A place for help, advice, and ideas

Monday, August 30, 2010

Food- Part III Desert

Lately desert has become so much more than wedding cake. I'm going to focus on desert hours (yes, you read the right an hour of desert).

If you want to learn more about wedding cakes, go read this post by F.

To desert we go! There are so many great options out there right now for desert hours.

Candy Bars are a pretty great trend! They can be done pretty inexpensively and can leave a big impact. Candy bars can be done in your wedding colors and the canisters can be picked up from major retailers like Target. Think outside of the box for canisters, try using pillar candle holders. Buying candy at wholesale is also key. In addition, most candy has a long shelf life so consider buying at the end of different holiday seasons when candy goes on sale. Bonus if you pick colors coordinate with a holiday, red (Christmas & Valentine's Day), green (Christmas), blue (Hanukkah), pastels (Easter), pink & red (Valentine's Day).

Most sources suggest 3-8 ounces per guest, but even with that figure you want to make sure that your candy buffet has a presence. If you are placing it on a large table you don't want it to look slim. So it's important not only to consider the amount of candy per guest but also the size table you are using.

Make sure to include bags or boxes so that guests have someplace to put their candy goods! Also consider making fun labels for the candy which will not only make it easier for guests to pick what they want, but is an inexpensive way to spruce the table up.

Tip: Candy Bars are great for showers too!

Another option for desert hours are cookie bars. Similar to the candy bar idea cookie bars are arrangements of cookies. In addition you would be shocked about how many major grocery chains have great cookies. Cookie bars also can include homemade cookies by moms, grandmothers, aunts, and friends! Try combining both the cookie and candy bars for little something extra. I recently heard that cookie bars are very famous in some areas of Pennsylvania.

Simple plated desserts can't be forgotten about either. I always feel they are the most formal of all the options and usually include your wedding cake and another desert.

Recently, I attended a wedding where their was passed deserts. Treats were passed (by the waitstaff) around the venue for an hour. They had ice cream, cupcakes, sorbet, cookies, and so much more! It was delicious.

I'm curious what are you doing for desert?

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Crazy Week!

It's been a crazy week over in our house. We returned form our belated honeymoon in Costa Rica and it's been such a struggle to get back into the swing of things! I left my food posts hanging without any desert. I'm hoping to finish that I'm this week.

P.S. Belated honeymoons are amazing and Costa Rica was such a perfect choice.

Friday, August 13, 2010

Floral Inspiration

I am a big fan of simple bouquets consisting of one type of flower, especially for bridesmaids and I found these white anemones to be so unbelievably beautiful, especially with the bright pink dresses that I was inspired to share them with you this morning.

(Image via Style me pretty)

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Perfect Moments XX

No Words Needed. Perfection. Happy Almost Friday.

A special thanks to Meghan Sorel Photography for this inspiration

Wednesday, August 11, 2010


While weddings tend to be filled with happy emotions, they also seem to highlight the sad reality that people gone before us will not be able to attend and be part of the celebration as we wish they could. While we always miss those who have passed, on celebrations like weddings it becomes harder to ignore the fact that certain very special individuals are missing. For some it is a good friend, a parent, close grandparent, mentor, aunt, uncle, etc., but whoever it may be, the void cannot be filled. Rather then attempt to fill or ignore it, I suggest commemorating those individuals in a way that allows them to be close to your heart.

This is something I had to give much thought to when planning my own wedding as my husband unfortunately lost his father when he was 19 years old. It came to mind recently as I tearfully (and proudly) watched this now man escort his sister down the aisle 9 years later. 2 years ago I watched him give away his other sister's hand in marriage. With the planning of all three of our weddings within 3 years, each of the children commemorated their father in different ways, all of which were touching and in celebration of his life and all that he contributed to each of them. It was clear that He watched proudly from above on each of these days.

Along the years of attending weddings, I have seen many people pay tribute to those who have gone too soon in different ways and after this weekend, thought I would share some ideas with our readers. Some choose to make their memory something public, others more private,but however it is done, the important piece is to know that they are in your hearts and watching over your big day every step of the way.

-A memory candle: We chose to have a candle made and lit throughout the reception. As guests entered, they would find the memory candle lit, surrounded by flowers and a framed list of the names of those who gone before us whom we wanted to pay tribute to. Some choose to add poems, quotes, song lyrics or pictures surrounding the memory candle.

-A piece of clothing: A dear friend of ours lost her mother and on her wedding day, she had a piece of her mother's wedding dress sewn into the bottom of her own. It was a simple gesture that I found incredibly beautiful and touching. This can be done with any important article of clothing or something that was significant to that person (hankerchief, pocket scarf, etc)

-Jewelery/Other Significant Articles: Wearing significant jewelery is a way to keep them close in your heart, as is other things that were important to them. For instance, rosary beads around a bride's bouqet or something symbolic that the individual adored at the bride and groom's table.

-Pictures: Too many pictures of the deceased can be morbid, but one or two with the bride/groom can be a wonderful tribute. My sister in law wore a beautiful locket with her father's picture enclosed in it which brought tears to my eyes everytime I saw it

-A moment of Silence/prayer/reading:whether it be quietly amongst family prior to the hoopla of the big day, during the ceremony, or during a best man/maid of honor speech-it is an excellent, brief way to give rememberance to someone who cannot physically be part of the celebration.Using music, like their favorite song, is another idea that can be used.

-Programs: Many individuals who choose to have programs at the ceremony include brief dedication to someone who has passed

While these are only a few of our favorite general suggestions, there are many more ideas that we have seen other bride and grooms use that are individualized for the person who is so deeply loved. Making sure that the focus isn't on the saddness, but rather as a dedication and rememberance is key in order to continue on with the celebration of your marriage.

What other suggestions have others used, planned to use, or seen that helps to keep those who have gone before us close during the actualy wedding day ? We would love to hear.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Food- Part II The Dinner

After cocktail hour comes dinner. There are two main ways to do dinner at a wedding, sit down dinner and a buffet. There is also a third option while less common is still very practical. Let's break each one down.

Buffet: They are more casual and usually less expensive. They require far less wait staff for the guests which is key if you are staffing your own event. Buffets are great for early weddings because brunch items usually are very adaptable to buffets. Buffets should always offer at least two different types of entree. One of the best parts of a buffet is that you can offer more than one or two entrees. If you are only doing two types of meat I would stick with chicken and beef. However, I've seen fish substitute the beef and it works as well. The buffet should also include a choice between two vegetable and two starches. Think about it this way it's just like dinner at your house you want to cover at least three food groups. You also want to coordinate foods. If you are doing a filet, rosemary roasted potatoes would work well. You don't want to do beef tenderloin and Jasmine rice. The image below is an amazing buffet display. Notice the coordination and the table decor. I love the chalkboard menu too!

image via studio foto

As far as a salad or first course there are two ways to do this. You could have a plated salad. A waiter or waitress would bring each of your guests a salad or the salad would be placed at the seat while your guests are at cocktail hour. Below is a great example of what a simple plated salad would look like when the guests enter the room. Pretty right?

image via Mary McHenry

You could also include a salad in your buffet. Placing a salad bowl before the other food works well. I think it's best (if budget allows) to have a waiter or waitress at least manning the meat portions. Here is a great example of the salad portion of the buffet table.

image via Anna Kuperberg

Setting up your buffet is crucial. I love when buffets are accessible on both sides. I also think it's easier if silverware is at the end of the buffet. At least make sure that the buffet is off the dance floor you don't want food spilling and people falling and make sure that it's easy to access. If you have a wedding over 100 people having two buffet stations may be necessary (over 175 you may want to avoid a buffet all together). Creating risers is also really helpful and it adds depth to the food presentation.

Waitstaff or a DJ or can direct which table to go by either having the DJ announce it or a waitress or waiter stand at the table when it's their turn. You really don't want all your guests jumping up at once to grab dinner.In the image below you'll see a great example of a buffet that can be accessed from two sides.

image via Natalie Watson

One last tip on buffets they have a shelf life of about 2- 2 1/2 hours for both health and taste reasons.

Sit down: The more formal of the two options and usually (but not always) more expensive. You usually give your guests at least two options or serve a main dish that has two main components. If giving your guests an option try to include at least one menu on the table as it is often hard to hear servers over the other guests and music. As far as a salad or first course often times there is not an option and every guests gets the same plate. The image below shows a typical beef presentation at a sit down dinner.

image via Style Me Pretty

Some caters will request a rough estimate of how many people will want beef, chicken, or fish at your wedding. This can be done rather simply by including the three choices on the RSVP card. Again, guests can usually change their mind the day of the wedding as it's just an estimate.

Sit down dinners usually take more time than buffets so if you are both large party animals and don't want to spend time enjoying a full meal you may want to skip the buffet.

Family Style: In my experience this is the least common of the three dinner services, but offers some definite benefits. Cost wise this falls in between buffet service and sit down. It gives you a bit more formality (but still on the casual side) than a buffet service, but keeps the cost lower than a sit down meal. Family style basically means that two to three different dishes are presented on each table and divided between the guests at the table. Guests will either serve themselves or waiters and waitresses can serve the table. The salad could be plated individually or could also be added to the table. There are a few things you want to be aware of here, make sure your table arrangements are minimal as the food will take up a large portion of the table and you don't want things to get to stuffy. For the very same reason I'd also suggest keeping the amount of people at each table to a minimum as well. You also want to be careful with the foods you pick to serve. Typically Italian food is a great family style. Greek food and cornish hens also work out great. You want to avoid foods that require carving.

In both buffet and sit down dinners food during the dinner should not be crazy. You want something that most people will eat. Even if you and your fiance are big foodies Grandma Ann may not want to try foie gras at your wedding. Also, try to be somewhat respectful of dietary restraints and if possible offer vegaterian options.

Monday, August 9, 2010

Food- Part I The Cocktail Hour

This is going to be a series of three posts covering the three basic "food" parts of your reception, Cocktail Hour, Dinner, Desert.

Up first is Cocktail Hour.

Now, who doesn't love a good cocktail hour. Seriously, I think I do most of my eating during this part of the wedding. What can I say I'm a really big appetizer girl which means that cocktail hours are right up my alley.

Food: Most likely your caterer or venue will suggest items in which case head their advice, but ask for a tasting before the event. Go with things you love and that taste great. Often times people will say pick foods that compliment each other, but I'm going out on a limb and saying pick foods that are fun (and delicious). The cocktail hour is the time to pick foods that are fun!

Likely you will have either stations of food manned with wait staff, food on tables, passed appetizers, or some combination of all three.

If you are having manned stations you can include things that are made right in front of guests (great presentation). Items that work well on manned stations are pasta with different sauces, made to order sliders, quesadillas, mashed potato bars, sushi, and carved meat. Below is a great example of what a manned pasta station would like like.

image via Carla Ten Eyck

Unmanned tables should include easy self serve good. Items that are great simply placed on tables crudites, seafood, antipasto, cheeses, and fruit. Below are images of a simple tables with appetizers that are very easy to self serve great for tables. Notice the use of height in the first image (such a good way to add something to a simple table).

image via Carla Ten Eyck

Passed items that usually are fan favorites include pigs in blankets, mini potato puffs, sliders, bruschetta, and dumplings. The images below are creative and fun passed appetizers (I bet they taste good too!)
image via Laura Novak

You want to make sure all of your food can be eaten fairly easy, avoid very messy items and try to include at least one or two meat free options.

You may want to think about including regional foods that are special to you or your fiance. Marrying someone from New Orleans, Southern style grits, mini shrimp po-boys, etc. Love Mexican food think about including mini tacos or a quesadilla station.

Let's not forget the drinks!

Beverages & Alcohol: Each wedding and each couple is different. In general if you are going to do an open bar then guests will help themselves to what they choose. You could also have a few drinks to show off like a blushing bride or your grooms favorite beer, but please try to avoid beer can wedding pictures.

If you are not doing an open bar, but rather a few signature drinks this is a great time to show them off. Think about having a little fun. Infused vodka, margaritas, or spiked tea. Great presentation goes a long way think about large glass containers are always pretty and could be self serve. I'm not going really discuss cash bars. In my opinion if you are inviting people to a wedding you really can't do a cash bar. If you feel like you must then I would at least two beer and wine and then cash for only hard liquor, but really even then I think it's a no go.

Weddings without alcohol don't necessarily mean you can't have fun with your beverages too. Think about flavored lemonade, sweet tea, or cider. Again presentation goes a very long way. Below is a picture of a great non-alcoholic beverage presentation.

image via Ashley Garmon

Weddings are all about personalization. There are so many options when it comes to cocktail hour including having it before the ceremony.

What kind of cocktail hour are you planning?

Friday, August 6, 2010

One Year Later

"Love is patient, love is kind. It is not jealous, is not pompous, it is not inflated, it is not rude, it does not seek its own interests, it is not quick tempered, it does not brood over injury, it does not rejoice over wrong doing
but rejoice with the truth. It bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Love never fails."

Everyone always warns you to stop and smell the roses the week of your wedding because the whole affair becomes a whirlwind and before you know it, you are Mr. and Mrs. with months of planning behind you. Rarely though, was I warned about how the days after turn into weeks which turn into months and you land at your one year wedding anniversary in what seems like a blink of an eye. I can recall our wedding and all of the anticipation and excitement as if it was yesterday, yet so far away.

Last weekend, my husband and I woke up to a calm, cool, July morning without a cloud in the sky and as we sat outside we compared the day to the day we were wed. This led us into a conversation of reminscing about the day and all of what has happened since then. We laughed, smiled, and loved that morning a little more then an ordinary day. It is my vow in our marriage to make sure days like that are not few and far between. Life is short and it goes quickly, just like weddings, and embracing whatever it is you are experiencing in the here and now is vital.

So while we would normally be celebrating 11 years on August 6th, this year, we start back at one and celebrate our first anniversary as husband and wife-a very new and exciting journey. I look forward to what is to come and toast to the future.

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Guest Post- Family & Vendors

This post comes from one of my very best friends. Carroll Anne and I have been friends since we were clad in braces with frizzy hair (trust me we have come along way). She got married right before I did in 2009 and thankfully provided me with so much advice, inspiration, and sanity in the months and weeks before my wedding. Carroll Anne offered the following advice about using family members as vendors.

If you're lucky enough to have a family member in the wedding planning business or even one who has always dreamed of being in the business, my bridal advice to you would be to...LET THEM HELP!

Planning a wedding is an enormous task, and having someone whom you know and trust guide the way during any aspect of your planning is a huge asset! In getting ready for my March, 2009 wedding, I was fortunate that my uncle is a florist. He's worked for a bunch of different companies and currently works for 1-800 FLOWERS. He is a natural at designing arrangements and has done so for practically his whole career. While using him to design my centerpieces and bouquets was a no-brainer, I did have some questions and/or hesitations when it came down to meeting with him "formally" for the first time.
1.) Will he understand what I want?
2.) Will his style clash with mine?
3.) How much do I pay him?
4.) What if I don't end up liking his work?
While these questions brought me a bit of anxiety, the first meeting with him went well and I was feeling relatively calm until the day he brought over a sample of the initial arrangements for the centerpieces. Unfortunately..I HATED THEM! The vision I had in my head was NOT displayed in the sample he presented to me. I felt awful, but I had to tell him I wasn't happy. He was initially a bit hurt (as I imagined he might be), but I simply told him that "this was not what I was picturing." He ended up re-vamping the design and worked tirelessly for two full days before my wedding re-constructing the twenty centerpieces that I needed for the dinner tables (don't think my neighborhood florist would have taken that time or effort to make sure everything turned out the way I wanted it to).
On my wedding day, the centerpieces turned out looking gorgeous! The bouquets were equally as beautiful--my uncle was proud, and I was a thrilled bride! To this day, my uncle and I are closer than we've ever been because of our "business arrangement" regarding my wedding flowers. And of course...my flowers were a fraction of the cost, had my uncle not taken care of them.

Word to the wise: Definitely let the family help out if they are willing to do so! In the end, you'll be happy you did. Good luck!

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Black tie? Blue tie?

It's pretty crucial to state the dress code on your invitation or you will likely field questions about attire. There are so many different types of dress codes and every bride seems to have a different idea about what each one means. I'm going to try and clear it up for you.

White Tie: Is not frequently used today, but you may (if you are royalty or travel in that circle) see it on an invitation from time to time. This is the most formal of all options. Men it means tails and you guessed it a white tie. Ladies long gowns only and you may want to break out gloves.

Black Tie, Black Tie Required: The most common of formal attire. Men it means a tuxedo and for the women it really means formal. Ladies will wear long gowns, but a formal cocktail length dress is acceptable. Brides keep in mind if you are requiring that people wear black tie your groomsmen must be in tuxedos. Maids should be in long dresses, but I've seen the rule broken.

Black Tie Optional, Black Tie Requested, Black Tie Invited: This is also very common for formal events. Men it means tuxedo if you have one or can rent one, but if not, a black suit is acceptable. Unless you are in the immediate family and will be in formal pictures in which case you should wear a tuxedo. Ladies it's the same as above, but more women may tend to wear formal cocktail length dresses. This is my suggestion if you are having a formal wedding. It may be a really big hassle to have guests go out and rent a tuxedo. Brides if you are using this dress code it's reasonable to assume your groomsmen should be in tuxedos, however, you can be a little more flexible with the tuxedo (i.e. leaving out elements like a cummerbund or vest). Maids can wear cocktail length dresses, but I'd still do long if possible.

Note: Formal and Black Tie Optional mean the same thing.

Semi-Formal: This is the most common of all wedding dress codes. Men this means suit (jacket and tie). Ladies cocktail dresses, leave the sundress and formal gown at home. Brides your groomsmen can wear suits.

Informal: This is typical for an afternoon wedding. Men it means trousers (not jeans) and a collared shirt. Most etiquette books would suggest a suit (dark or light) with or without a tie.

Destination Weddings: In general I'd make sure to consult the bride or host of the event. For the most part men can wear linen pants and a collared shirt and ladies can wear sun dresses. This is going to vary depending on the event and the place.

In general if you are confused about the attire consult the host. If you are going to be included in formal pictures be sure to ask the bride and even then always be on the formal side.

Did I leave something out? What was your dress code?

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Invitation Formality

You never realize how much goes into those wedding invitations that usually arrive and get stuffed in a drawer or placed on the fridge until the date approaches. Once you are a bride you realize that there are so many questions to ask when it comes to invitations and what to write, but my take on it is to know your event before even attempting to cross that bridge. What I mean by that is make sure you and your future husband have an understanding of what you want the affair to be. Are you expecting guests in tuxedos? long gowns? beach dresses? khakis?.

The invitation is the first piece of the wedding that your guests are getting a taste of and so the formality, or lack thereof, should be sensed when they recieve it. For black tie and formal affairs, font is typically in a black font, embossed or engraved, lined envelopes and limited designs outside monograms. The words are written in proper etiquette form, ie " Mr and Mrs Smith request the honour of your presence" and the font is something classic and easy to read. For more laid back affairs, for instance backyard events, the words can be more casual. Think -rhymes, poems, etc. The color can vary and the design on the invite can also be more colorful and playful.

These are both extremes, but if your affair falls somewhere inbetween you can take bits and pieces from both to form the perfect invite. The font can be dark, but not necessarily black, their can be a bit more creativity with the addition of some form of design, and the wording can be proper but not completely out of your Emily Post etiquette book. The cardstock doesn't have to be the best, but shouldn't be flimsy either (FYI-110lb card stock is the standard, average card stock for those of you like me who had no clue when we began this process)and the font can be something a bit more exotic.

There are no real right or wrongs when it comes to invitations as long as they properly convey the type of event, and inevitably, the two of you as a couple. Going forward, I would save the invites that come in the mail so they can help spur ideas and inspirations.So what were/are your greatest invite questions? We'd love to be able to help!

Save this Seat

If you are having a large and or long ceremony you may want to consider reserving seats for your immediate family and bridesmaids.

There are several different ways of doing this. First, is simply to make your bridesmaids and immediate family aware that they are to sit in the first two rows, bridesmaids in the first row family behind them. In some churches maids will sit on the altar or to the side of it. For short ceremonies the wedding party may stand next the bride and groom. You would want to simply put a reserved sign on the first two or three rows.
image via Karen Wise

Another way of reserving seats is to send out within the ribbon cards to immediate family and close friends. These cards would match your invitation suite and be sent with the invitation to the family members that you wish to reserve seats for. In this case the first few rows (or however many you will need) will be ribboned off or have a sign that says reserved.
image via crane.com

image via brides.ca

Both of these cases work well if you have pews or rows of seating as you would not specify the order in which people sit.

In cases where you have individual seats that make up the rows and not one pew you may want to specify order. In which case signs on each individual chairs is a nice idea. Signs can be placed directly on the seat or on the chair back.

image via Aaron Delesie

Image via brides collection by Anthony Vazquez

If you love the idea of signs but don't want to specify order simple signs like these could be used.

Reserved seating may not be a required item in a ceremony by any means, but it does add to church decor and is a very easy and low budget DIY item.

I want to know are you reserving seats?

Monday, August 2, 2010

Vendor Spotlight- Makeup by Melinda

This vendor spotlight comes from my favorite makeup guru. I met Melinda when she was the manager at Blue Mercury in Woodbury, NY. She has such a way of making people look like a better version of their natural self. She is a featured vendor with LIWEDDINGS.COM and have my own private portfolio of wedding makeup I have done over the years. You can contact me Melinda Sarabia @ (516)650-9340 orMelstar72@aol.com.

Here is our interview with Melinda:

SB: Tell us a little about yourself?

M: I fell in love with doing makeup over 13 years ago. I first thought of it as a "job" to get me through college. I didn't realized how exciting it would be and that it would become apart of my life and much less of a just a job. Clinique gave me my start and I built a good foundation, from there on I worked with some leading brands in the industry including in depth experience with MAC, Laura Mercier, and NARS. After my first bridal makeup experience, which happened shortly after I started doing makeup, I became hooked. I immediately fell in love with the process and began doing them regularly. Now years later I am proud to say I am a successful makeup artist here in Long Island, NY that services brides. I enjoy every aspect of doing makeup for the bride and her entourage and feel lucky when she chooses me among the rest. It is always a privilege. I assure all ofmy brides when they choose me, that she is hiring a professional individual that cares about her ideas and feelings. It's ok to open and honest with me because I will be your beauty bud every step of the way!

SB: What inspires you?

M: I am inspired all the time. nature, music, moods and fashion inspire me most. When I see a face I'm immediately thinking what features I would enhance without looking like makeup. What alterations can I make to this person makeup.

SB: You are one of the first people around when the bride is getting ready on the big day, how do you handle this?

M: With a smile, sense of calm, and a little humor. I tell my brides relish in the moment because before you know it the last swipe of lip gloss will be gone.

images from bride's personal collection via Anthony Vazquez

images from bride's personal collection via Anthony Vazquez

SB: What is the biggest makeup mistakes that brides tend to make?

M: Not understanding that you can't fake good skin and that you should address skin concerns from the beginning. Do not wait a week before the wedding and (if possible) have a makeup trial during the season in which you will be getting married.

SB: Oh, about Makeup trials do you always suggest a makeup trial before?

M: Yes!!! I have had the occasional "my friends makeup was amazing and I trust you" which is great and flattering, but I like to know what your beauty needs are, the textu
re of your skin, the color of your eyes. I like to set the stage for the day of.

SB: Would you rather a bride bring in an inspirational photo for makeup or come up with what looks best on her ?

M: Whatever the bride is comfortable with. I work it either way. As long as I know the level of makeup she is comfortable with we are good.

SB: For the brides that decide that a professional makeup artist isn't in their budget what advice would you give them?

M: I would suggest seeing a professional before hand. I have had many brides who get hitched on an island and come to me for a lesson and beauty must haves. If you comfortable with your skills and interested in learning more then go for it.

images from bride's collection via Anthony Vazquez

image from bride's personal collection via Anthony Vazquez

images from Melinda's personal collection

Friday, July 30, 2010

Another Guest Book Idea

Last week, S shared an excellent post on new and innovative ideas around guest books. Using a wine bottle, or two, as a guest book is another modern way for guests to share with you their best wishes. Blythe, our guest blogger and dear friend last week, also used this great idea.

By simply peeling the labels and providing guests with a metallic marker, guests can leisurely sign the bottles with their thoughts for you and your new husband throughout the night. These bottles can then be displayed in your new homes and opened on special occasions. You can place multiple bottles out and label them with when they will be opened such as first anniversary, first night in your new home, first child, etc. When sharing the wine as husband and wife, you will be reminded of your special day and all those around you that shared in it. For a former bride who is currently experiencing quite a bit of nostalgia as her first anniversary approaches, I can't help but adore this idea and all the love it has to offer!

Photo credit- Bigmouthbride

Hair Inspiration II

Happy Friday to all..Here is some early morning inspiration for hair that we adore. We love the casual curls that still manage to be classy and stylish. Thank you to Linda Chaja Phtography and the beautiful bride for sharing this beautiful-do!

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Perfect Moment XIX

I'm loving this perfect moment! Taking the time to center yourself during your wedding day is a must. I love that the photographer caught this bride while she was praying. Such a beautiful moment on a wedding day.
image via Anna Kuperberg

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Escort Card Tip of the Day

To piggyback off of S's excellent escort card advice, (how beautiful were her candy apple masterpieces?!? SO worth the work :) I wanted to share an easy way to personalize escort cards that guests seem to love. My first tip is when possible, always find out the guests name. Go the extra mile even if your family and friend returned the RSVP card with the "And Guest" to find out who they are bringing. Adding their name to the RSVP card offers a very personal feel. Take the time to email, text or call your friend and family to ask who is going to be sharing the day with you all. This will help the "guest" feel at ease from the moment they walk in the door. It also becomes extremely helpful for you and your fiance when writing thank you cards!

Another simple, but extremely appreciated tip, is to acknowledge the other soon to be brides out there. Nothing is more exciting then attending a wedding when you are planning one and the excitement and love felt during the wedding is multiplied by 100 when you are thinking of your own day. My sister chose to acknowledge those people by labeling their place cards ..."The soon to be Mr and Mrs____." I followed suite with this advice and all of my engaged family and friends loved the personal touch. It also increased their excitement of their upcoming nuptials. I had one cousin tell me she kept the escort card on her fridge until they got married!

Place Cards

After I did the envelope printing I figured printing place cards would be no problem. I mean, I just did about 700 envelopes, 200 place cards, cake walk. You see where this is going right? Yeah, nowhere good.

I ordered the seating cards in cream and brown metallic paper from here. The place cards I ordered were supposed to come with a template, but the template was actually just a piece of paper that told you what size the place cards should be set up, but they did not take into account the margins between each place card. Serious PAIN!! I spent one night on the phone with customer service and had no luck. Basically, I was on my own.

However, I did just look at the downloadable template they have on their site now and it would work perfectly. Making this process seriously 10 times easier now. Honestly, it took me about 4 nights to figure it out. Four night about a month before your wedding is a TON. There were tears (everybody that knew me), there was blood (mine), there were curse words (mine), and I almost gave up and had my mom handwrite them, but I persevered and finally had 200 place cards printed.

Once I had a working template I was able to use mail merge on Microsoft Word to get my very very HANDY excel sheet. I had a column for inner envelope which is also the same as place cards.

After I had them all printed out I (with the help of my mom) started gluing them to the larger pieces of brown metallic paper that I cut out. I used this tape because I hate glue. I also used a paper cuter for this project to make sure all the brown pieces of paper were the same size ( I started cutting paper about 6 months before the wedding, it was an easy mindless task to do during the lull in planning).

Two days before the wedding my caramel apples came in huge boxes. I ordered my apples and the individual plastic bags from here could not have been happier with them. The apples came in boxes of three and three days before the wedding we started packaging them up. I had about four people helping at any given time and they took about 2 hours to complete. I used red ribbon to tie them up. I also found these brown little jewels at Michaels a few weeks before the wedding and was feeling extra crafty and added them.

After the actual printing fiasco making the place cards was one of my favorite tasks. It was the ONLY task that waited until last minute(due the perishable nature of the apples), but it was well worth it.

If you are printing place cards I would give yourself some time for perfecting the process. Don't wait until the month before just because you want to wait for the final guest list. There are people that you know will be there like you, practice with those names so that you are all set to go when you start getting the RSVP cards.

all images via Anthony Vazquez

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Perfect Moment XVIII

image via Jose Villa

I couldn't help but share this perfect moment. It's not from a wedding, but it is more than perfect. Married for 60 years.

Jose Villa you just may be the sweetest photographer I've come across. His website is just jam packed with the most beautiful moments.

Addressing Invitations

One of my wishlist requests was envelope calligraphy by Laura Hooper. Her work is seriously beautiful!! However, towards the end of wedding planning my budget was stretched thin and I had to delegate funds elsewhere. I decided that hiring someone to do computer calligraphy made no sense. My reasoning was I have a computer and a pretty good printer, I can handle it. I also printed my save the date envelopes so I did have some (albeit) limited experience.

Here is how I did it;
5 months before the wedding: I made sure my excel sheet was free of errors. I missed a few which caused me to go back and fix after printing ( Lesson learned- order extra envelopes). I then did a basic mail merge to two separate documents, inner and outer envelope. I also perfected the color I wanted to use. I used a dark brown instead of black due to the fact that my invites were dark brown and dark red. I downloaded the font from my invitations. I used this website, but there are many many others.

4 months before the wedding: My husband (then fiance) made envelope templates. I had him cut out about 30 pieces of paper that were the exact size of the envelopes so I could figure out how to feed the envelopes, how I wanted it centered. This was a great idea because it probably saved us from ordering even more envelopes.

After I "mastered" the technique, I started printing the outer envelopes. I printed them in alphabetical order and did it one at a time. For some reason my printer had issues with multiple envelopes. If you have lined envelopes be prepared for this issue. It took some time, but I hand fed each one. It took me about 2 evenings to do it. I kept them in alphabetical order in a box.

I then did the inner envelopes. My printer let me do about 10 at a time which saved me time and I did the inner envelopes in one evening.

This process caused me to pull out about half my hair (good thing I have lots of hair). For some reason I had a huge smearing issue that only happened with the outer envelopes (again, I think it had to do with the thickness). I tried everything from cleaning the heads between each print, manually wiping the ink compartment. In the end I could not figure it out, but it only happened sporadically which didn't actually cause huge issues besides for making me slightly insane.

After I had everything printed and in order my mom, sister, mother in law, and I started stuffing. We had a good system going. My sister numbered the invitation with an invisible ink pen, my mom put the invite in the first envelope. I stuffed them in the outer envelope and checked it against the list to make sure the inner and outer envelope matched, and my mother in law sealed and stamped them. It took us about 5 hours to do the entire thing. We did it the evening after my bridal shower.

3 months before the wedding: Everything got mailed out! My mom actually took them to the post office and had them hand stamp each envelope, she wanted them out of her house because they were sprawled out all over her dinning room table, ha.

The printing was mostly a one person job especially since I am pretty crazy and really need everything to perfect. I realized if I had someone helping me I would have made them crazy. The stuffing was made so much easier and more fun by the help of others!

In the end I had to order more envelopes because of the ink smearing issue, but the total for printing 315 invitations was about 60 dollars including ink. I would say DO IT if you already have a printer and some patience. It saved us a ton of money (especially since I had so many invitations).

Confession: I actually thought my mom would hand address the invitations because she has fantastic handwriting, but due to the fact that I am a perfectionist after a few envelopes I decided I really wanted the precision of exactly the same writing on each invite. However, my mother had a great point at the time that I wasn't hearing. Only a few household really get more than one invitation so by in large no one really knows what everyone else's invitation looks like. Furthermore, it isn't a detail most people even notice. However, at the time this advice was lost on my OCD bride brain.

So tell me how did you address your invitations?

Monday, July 26, 2010

Perfect Moment XVII

This perfect moment comes from Brett Matthews. I love these guys (and girls). They take fantastic pictures and this perfect moment is just what everyone needs to brighten up their Monday morning.

Friday, July 23, 2010

Designer Spotlight:Oscar De La Renta

Oscar de la Renta is now infamous for his own bridal collection after working under many other fashion designers. He is constantly working on elegance and definate style for his brides to be and we get so much inspiration from his very different, always fashionable designs. (Think Jenna Bush!) Here is a little dress inspiration for your Friday morning : )

all images from brides.com

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Rehearsal Dinner, Welcome Dinner

You say tomatoe I say tomoato. More recently rehearsal dinners have become synonymous with rehearsal dinners. It's likely that the terms have begun to be used interchangeably because when getting married at popular venues instead of churches it is often hard to schedule an actual rehearsal the day before the event. In which case rehearsal's may be skipped all together or there may be a quick run through immediately before the wedding (minus the bride).

Therefore, a welcome dinner inviting out of town guests to kick of the wedding festivities has often taken the place of a typical rehearsal dinner. I have to admit I love love big fun dinners. I myself had a large welcome dinner (most of our guests were from out of town). I loved having everyone there and mingle before the wedding. Etiquette has always stated that you should invite all out of town guests to the rehearsal dinner, but let's be serious for one second doing so may make your dinner almost the same size as the wedding. This is simply not in everyone's budget nor does this suit everyone's tastes. Now, I'm pretty traditional and by no means am I saying totally disregard the standard etiquette, but instead I'm suggesting maybe stretching the etiquette rule just a weeee bit. Here are a few options:

1. Having a small dinner with close friends, family, bridal party (and their significant others), and close out of towners. After which have small event at the hotel bar or patio area were you have reserved blocks. Take sometime to thank everyone for coming. This works because there is no pressure for guests to come to a long dinner, but they can still feel important and loved. The pitfall of this is that it might make your night a bit longer than you would like in which case planning an early dinner may help. Remember you should try at least to get some beauty rest the night before the wedding.

2. Another option is including dinner information on your wedding website. This works if having a welcome hour at the hotel isn't practical or your style. Include restaurant's that are close to the hotel as well as directions, phone numbers, and dress codes. Make sure to also include information in a welcome package or in a letter that will be in their hotel room. Keep in mind guests are traveling to come to your wedding. You don't want them to get stuck eating in a hotel room eating takeout alone.

I want to hear your ideas on this, did you think outside the box for your rehearsal dinner?

Perfect Moment XVI

This bride and groom are having a GREAT time and we cant help but love the carefree style.... Not to mention, those fabulous Badgley Mischka shoes :)

Much thanks to Kiss the Groom and the fabulous Elizabeth Messina for sharing it with us.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Unique Table Names

There are tons of creative ways to personalize your wedding day and table names seems to be one of the newer trends. Many bride and grooms want their big day to excude their personalities as a couple and this is an easy way to do it. It is also an easy way to incorporate a theme. Rather then seat your guests at table 1,2,3, etc, you can give each table a unique name. The bonus is that the names have no apparent order so you dont have to worry about family members or guests getting upset that they are at the table "after" so and so. (Yes, that really does happen!)

For our wedding, J and I decided to use words that we found to be important in marriage in lieu of table numbers. We chose things like love, friendship, trust, faith, etc. The task was a fun one because we spent the night each chosing a word and then explaining how it was important in our relationship. We were hoping to include that on the tables as well, but that was one of the DIY details we had to cross off our list at the end.

Other great ideas that I had come across along the process:

-Wine Names: J and I are big fans of vino and so naming our tables after different bottles of wine was an idea I adored. This is a perfect idea for a vineyard wedding. The place card holders can even be wine corks! Examples : Merlot, Pinot Grigio, Shiraz, etc. A brief description of the wine and how it is a metaphor for marriage could also be a fun way to incorporate this idea.

-Names of Cities: My sister and brother in law used this idea and found post cards from each of the cities. They chose cities they had travelled together, had family in, grew up in, etc. If you and your fiance' are big travelers, you can list names of all the cities you have been and ones you plan to travel to together. You could also put a picture of you both while in that city!

-Hobbies: Anything that you and your fiance do together frequently can be a great way to name tables. If you have a love for beaches, each table can be the name of a beach that you have been on together or again, plan to go on. My friend's sister used this idea for her summer wedding and it exemplfied them perfectly as a couple. The same can be done for ski mountains, golf courses, etc

-Song names: I saw this on a blog while I was doing some research and thought it was a great idea. The bride and groom were avid music lovers and they chose the name of a song for each table, placing the lyrics on each table as well.

-The word "Love" in different languages: This one of my favs and we tackled with the idea of using it as well, but weren't able to due to the amount of tables we had. Its a great idea and exemplfies love having no limits or barriers. Some of the romance languages sound beautiful, but we struggled with how some of the languages sounded after about 12. Still, a very unique and romantic idea.

-Where you met/Got engaged: Weddings are the best place to tell our sappy love stories. Maybe it was college, maybe it was high school, maybe it was via the internet, but a great way to tell a story is to name each table after something that was significant on your first date and then have the story of the significance on the table for the guests to read. For instance, if you met at college, you could have each table be the name of different locales that your love bloomed. This is fun for the guests and equally fun for you and your fiance to do. The same type of thing can be done to tell your engagement story. Again, fun to share with your guests and great to reminsce with together.

There are a number of other creative ways we have seen bride and grooms personalize their tables and we would love to hear yours as well. This is just one of the many fabulous details that can help personalize your big day


Guest Book a Do or a Don't

Guest books have taken a backstage at weddings recently, but I'm here to say they shouldn't! Creating a unique wedding book is simple, fun, and perfect keepsake. Here are some great ideas I just love.

1. Self portraits. Put a great Polaroid camera with some tape and markers on a table near the entrance. Guest snap a quick photo of themselves and then tape it in the book and sign a cute message. It's easy and a great momento. A great way to spruce this idea up is to include fun props on the table. Goofy pictures are always always a DO!

2. A coffee table picture book. Compile pictures of you and your fiance through the years and use shutterfly or snapfish to create an album. Make sure to leave space on the pages for people to sign around your pictures. Guests will love seeing pictures of you guys through the years. A fun spin on this is including pictures when you were growing up. Make sure to include markers that will show up on photo paper. Cute baby pictures always a DO. You can leave out the awkward adolescent pictures.

3. Post card collection. I'm loving having guest signs blank fun post cards from special places. Guests can pick a post card from a time in your life they were apart of. After the wedding these post cards can make beautiful wall decoration (check out this link). Double duty wedding keepsake and wall art a total DO.

4. A wishes/advice container. Have guests fill out wishes for you and place them in a large mason jar. It will be so much fun to read what guests wrote after the wedding. Sprucing this up by swaping the plain paper out with rocks, Creative and sentimental defiently a DO.

image via laura novak

So tell me for you is guest book a do or a don't?

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Guest Post --- Featured Wedding I

Our first featured wedding comes from one of my closest, dearest friends whom without, I would have never managed to plan a wedding and stay sane. She was my confident and sounding board through the tears and laughter of my wedding planning journey, and of course, a fellow mental health guru. Here is her advice on how she managed to stay sane (and plan a truly fascinating wedding across the country) . Please take note of the amazing photos, all courtesy of Geoff Horowitz and Joy Moody, whos work we absolutely adore. Doesn't hurt that the bride and groom are absolutely stunning and madly in love.

This will hopefully be the first of many guest posts that Blythe will make, as she has an insane amount of information to offer all brides, not to mention creative and innovative wedding details

When asked to share how I stayed "sane" during my wedding planning process, these four things came to mind as the most important tools that kept me balanced, centered, humbled, and happy:

1. Friends. I am lucky to call both Francesca and Sherin my friends! And luckily enough, all three of us were planning our weddings around the same time—I had two equally creative, stylish, and smart friends to experience wedding planning with. They too understood curse of what we clinicians diagnose newly minted bride-to-be’s: Wedding on the Brain. That’s right girls; we become wedding-obsessed women with WOTB. Every other word out of our mouths is “florist”, “dress fitting”, or “table settings”….and from my personal experience, nothing cures that better than the look you get from your non-bride friends that says, “Girlfriend, snap out of it.” I found relief from WOTB at my job because it put me around people who weren’t asking me to make seating charts and re-edited church readings. Sure, there was the occasional inquiry—my coworkers were interested, but not life-line dependant on details of our wedding. That environment snapped me out of WOTB and back into the world of every day life. To those friends, I am equally as grateful as I am to those who taught me about the world of planning/obsessing neurotically about a wedding (S & F, you girls are the best!)

2. Yoga. Yoga came into my life about three months before the wedding. I was a recreational runner before then, but when a friend invited me to a yoga class, I became hooked. Yoga turned my world upside down. I found myself checking into my inner issues—impatience, perfectionism, control—and learning how to let go. If I can accept my body for what it can do and stop expecting it to be perfect in yoga, I could take my yoga “off the mat”, as my teacher says, and find my breath and patience in my wedding planning. In yoga, we begin practice with an intention. At the end of practice, we express gratitude to ourselves for what our body was able to do. My advice to you, as a bride-to-be, is to wake up and before the every day thoughts take over, say your own gratitude: I am grateful for the roof over my head…the love in my life…the clothes on my back…the ability to move my body… You will be amazed at how quickly it shifts your thoughts from negative to appreciative of what life is giving to you at this moment.

3. Furbabies: Nothing makes me laugh harder than watching our lanky, leggy, goofy, wobbly, and knock-kneed 2 year old Great Dane puppy run around the dog park. With her long tongue hanging out the side of her mouth, Kingston teaches me so much about the laughter in life. She makes me smile even when I don’t want to. She seeks out any one for a good booty rub or a slobbery kiss on a cheek. There is so much I learn from her: If Kinston is tired, she takes a nap. Or two. Or three. She’s always up for a snuggle (yes, a Great Dane snuggle is quite a sight to see) and a belly rub. She truly lives life to the fullest. If we can learn any thing from our pets, it would be that life is too short and every moment counts—Great Danes, for example, live an average of 7 years. And they LIVE IT UP in those short years on earth! Our girl Kingston radiates that motto every where she goes…..eating a whole pizza off the counter top in one fell swoop? Why not, it was at her eye level….no qualms about it. Life is too short.

4. Let It Go. Also known as “How I Planned a Wedding Across the Country.” Let me explain: My husband is from New York, I am from Pennsylvania, and we live in Texas. Not exactly an ideal situation, but when we decided to have the wedding in Philly, we put on our big girl/big boy pants and strapped in for the ride. I’d say 90% of my planning was via email, research online, and phone calls. That left 10% for the few trips I made back to PA, flying solo, to meet with vendors. I would schedule all of my appointments in that week. Freak out central? Check. All of our vendors knew of our situation—a couple living across the country with a groom knee-deep in active duty Army ER residency. I had to be the decision maker and do my best to represent both of our needs. It wasn’t ideal, but it was my reality.
My advice to you is work with what you got and BE FLEXIBLE! You will surprise yourself at how much natural beauty can radiate from the day itself—if you don’t have time or resources to make a bathroom basket, don’t worry about it. If you can’t transport wedding guest gifts on an airplane, you can’t. Our weddings give us this great opportunity to celebrate our love with those we love. Do the guests care about the linens? No, no one remembers the linens. Do the guests remember if the bathroom toiletry basket was lush and flowing? No, most people walk right past it. Your guests will remember the smiles on your faces, and the way you look at your new husband as you take your first dance. Your guests will remember your warm embrace and personal words of thanks to them for being there. Your guests will ultimately carry home the beauty of the day and it will reflect the gratitude you have for life—love, family, friends, food, and music.

The reality is that your wedding is going to be beautiful. Why? Simply because it is your wedding. Human nature teaches us that the simple gift of altruism—giving to others—feels good. Sharing your love with others is all you need. You and your future husband alone are the key ingredients for that beautiful day, not the accessories. Accessories are simply that—side notes to the bigger picture.

It took me awhile, but I finally made peace with not having all the “pieces” I thought were important. In a way, planning from a distance was a blessing, as working within my means forced this Type A lunatic to take a chill pill and just let love lead the way. I will confess, however, that there was one very LARGE wedding day accessory missing that I wish I packed on the flight from Texas: A certain lanky, leggy, goofy, wobbly, and knock-kneed 2 year old Great Dane puppy that loves the wind in her flapping gums, stealing pizzas from the kitchen, and who makes life worth living for…