Meet The Team

The details DO matter! They come together to create a feeling that will not soon be forgotten. When your guests share about the fun they had at your wedding, they may not remember the exact song, the color of lighting, the entree you served, etc… but they will remember the awe when they first walked into the reception, the warmth they felt when you shared your first dance, the surge of energy they got when the band hit the stage, and the feeling of hope and romance as they watch you and your new spouse begin your new life together. They remember how they “felt” that night!

How do you want your guests to “feel” when leaving your wedding? Let us help you create and design the perfect details that your guests will remember for years to come!

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  • Brandee Gaar

    OWNER, LEAD DESIGNER

    BrandeesmallI am a party planner and I LOVE planning parties! I designed my first soiree at the age of 6 when I convinced my babysitter to help me plan and execute a surprise anniversary party for my parents complete with invitations (their closest neighborhood friends of course!), decor (balloons, streamers and a home-made banner), wine (Asti Spumante…will never forget!) and hors d’ oeuvres (pigs in the blanket if my memory serves). It was a great night! Since then, my love of event planning has grown and my taste for the details has matured (thankfully!).

    I graduated from the University of Central Florida with a degree in Business Administration /Hospitality Management and was blessed to be on the opening team of the prestigious Gaylord Palms Resort here in Orlando, FL. After 6 years of planning large scale corporate events I decided to follow my passion for planning weddings…and so became Blush!

    Weddings excite a special emotion that gives me a high like no other event! I love everything about the process of planning a wedding. Hearing the engagement story (and how nervous he was), how he (or often she) picked the perfect ring, what their vision for the perfect day is and of course meeting the excited family members anxious to help in any way they can! My 2 favorite moments on the big day…the moment he sees his bride for the first time (sometimes during the first look, sometimes the moment she steps into the aisle) and the moment I get to preview the reception space with my newly married couple! I love seeing their eyes as they take in all of the details we have meticulously planned for so long and hearing my favorite expression “It’s so much better than I imagined!”.

    I am a mother to 3 stunningly beautiful little girls…Emma, Hannah and Lilly and wife to the love of my life, Ira. They are my biggest fans and I am blessed to get to live each day with them by my side!

  • Alison Watkins

    COORDINATOR

    Alison WatkinssmallMy dream of event planning came early on after I planned my high school prom.  I went on to attend the University of Central Florida where I earned my degree in Hospitality Management.  After graduation I became a Meeting Planner for the Emergency Medicine Learning & Resource Center where I planned and executed educational conferences from 50 – 400 attendees as well as designing special events for the non-profit organization.

    I have also worked for the American Automobile Association (AAA) where I collaborated with other planners to create fresh, exciting conferences and special events for the organization’s Board of Directors and other top club executives.  My extensive professional background in corporate and social event planning was the perfect fit for Blush!  I pride myself on excellent service and will accept nothing but the best for each of my clients.

    I am a Certified Meeting Professional (CMP), I serve on the Advisory Board for the University of Central Florida’s Event Management Degree, and I am a member of Meeting Professionals International.

  • Maria Balestriere

    COORDINATOR

    MariasmallI am a born and raised Florida girl! I grew up in Ocala and moved to Orlando to attend the University of Central Florida, where I received my bachelors degree. I started in the hospitality industry working at the beautiful Gaylord Palms Resort & Convention Center as a Conference Coordinator. It was an amazing experience and made the love I had for meeting & event planning even stronger. I went on to work for various companies such as the Laser Institute of America planning and executing conferences. I joined the Blush team in 2012 and love every second of it.

    I love EVERYTHING weddings! I love meeting my bride and groom, hearing about how they met and the proposal. Every couple has their own “story” and that is what makes every couple and every wedding unique.  I love the planning process and can’t wait to see the vision and hard work unfold on the wedding day.  No two weddings are the same. I love seeing and feeling the love in the room not only between the couple but from all of the family and friends who have been lucky enough to experience the journey of the couple thus far. The wedding isn’t the end but only the beginning of a beautiful marriage.

    As for myself, I have been extremely blessed to marry my college sweetheart, best friend, and love of my life.  We have been blessed with two amazing, beautiful children and I look forward to what our journey and our story holds for us in the future.

    “When you realize you want to spend the rest of your life with somebody, you want the rest of your life to start as soon as possible” ~Nora Ephron, When Harry Met Sally

  • Kristen McDonald

    COORDINATOR

    KristenMcDonaldsmallI love weddings!  From the very beginning, when he places that ring on her finger, to when the last guest has trickled out of the reception smiling, and everything in between!  I cry during the ceremonies, first dances and parent dances and laugh during the heartfelt toasts and silly dancing throughout the night.  I have been with Blush for two years and have worked with some wonderful people during that time.

    Let me back up a bit so you can see where I came from.  I was born and raised in Georgia, but headed south for college at the University of Florida.  At UF, I obtained a degree in Commercial Recreation and Event Planning which allowed me to help plan philanthropic events for my sorority and major sporting events, such as the NBA Jams All Star Weekend in Philadelphia.  Before coming on with Blush, I worked at the historic Casa Monica Hotel in St. Augustine, FL, hosting unique special events including weddings, charity benefits and exclusive private parties.

    I thank my amazing family, my husband, Scott, and my daughter, Avery, for allowing me to do what I love every day!

  • Lisa Hernandez

    COORDINATOR

    LisasmallAs a wedding coordinator, I am dedicated to exceeding my clients’ expectations. I look to develop a personal relationship with my bride and groom, focusing on their needs to make each event unique and unforgettable. When I think of weddings, what comes to mind is one of the most memorable days in someone’s life and my passion is to assist couples in making that day a reality.

    I absolutely love attending weddings and working for Blush has given me the opportunity to plan them as well. Each wedding is very different but one thing always remains the same, that one look that the bride and groom give each other knowing it’s the beginning of their happily ever after…and that’s why I love what I do!

  • Kyle Grafton

    COORDINATOR

    KylesmallI am originally from Darien, Connecticut and will always be a New Englander at heart.  I attended college in North Carolina, where I was swept up in a frenzy of post graduation weddings.  With my experience planning and coordinating Red Cross blood drives for my university and other student government events, I easily transitioned to helping plan and organize several friends’ weddings after graduation.  My love of weddings was heightened by these experiences, and since then I have had my hand in helping with several other weddings and church events.

    Upon moving to the Orlando area, I joined the Blush team, where I have gained immeasurable knowledge and experience in coordinating the most important day of a couple’s life.  My goal is to give you the wedding of your dreams in a stress free way.  I want to give you a calm, fun experience that runs smoothly and far exceeds your expectations.  I can’t wait to work with you to create the gorgeous day that is perfectly and uniquely yours!

  • Elizabeth Barrow

    COORDINATOR

    ElizabethsmallI grew up in Jacksonville, Florida in a family with nine siblings and parents that have been married for over 40 years. When I was 18, I moved to Orlando where I earned a degree in Business Administration and Marketing at the University of Central Florida. My career in the wedding industry began in 2008 when I joined the Perfect Wedding Guide and Central Florida Bride team.  As an Account Executive, I had the opportunity to meet with some of Central Florida’s top vendors. We had opportunities to explore and develop relationships with these vendors, get to know their business plans and help develop the marketing tools necessary for them to reach the brides and ultimately be successful. During my tenure, I helped to market over 125 vendors, established relationships with some of Orlando’s most elite wedding professionals and was recognized for my achievements in sales by the Perfect Wedding Guide. In addition, we executed the largest bridal shows in Central Florida, helping to showcase the latest wedding trends, products and services that appealed to today’s bride.

    I’ve always been excited about weddings. I am a believer of true love and married my true love 5 years ago. We now have 3 beautiful children and he is my biggest fan. He would be the first to tell you that planning is my life. I love to coordinate, design and plan. Having the privilege to work with the Blush team, allows me to bring these talents to fruition and help bring a bride’s vision to life.

    Your wedding day is one of the most important and special days of your life. I promise to direct you in the right path, towards vendors you can trust. My experience, expertise and knowledge in the industry will guide you toward a day your guests will be talking about for years to come.