Friday, November 30, 2007

Inspiration Board: Old Hollywood Glamour

I was married 3 1/2 years ago and had a BLAST planning my wedding. It was July 17 ... a balmy, vibrant Saturday afternoon ceremony splashed with hues of celadon and pink ... followed by dancing the night away, under the stars, in "Toni Child's Romona Keveza." I LOVED my wedding! But, what if I could do it all over again??? Hmmmm. I think I'd try this:


OLD HOLLYWOOD GLAMOUR
Credits (top and left to right): Mermaid-style Wedding Gown - Ines Di Santo; Laser Etched Plexiglass Invitation - Grapevine Weddings; Satin-draped theme wedding cake; Red Hots Candy Favors - twentyandseven.com; Raspberry White Chocolate "Shots" & Spiraling Red Table Setting - Taste Catering; Red Rose Place cards - (photo courtesy of Modern Bride); Black duet satin soft fluted gown - Alvina Valenta; Dolce & Gabbana Metallic Patent Leather Peep Toe - eLuxury.com; The Hudson Theatre, NY - Millennium Broadway Hotel; Pouch-style Purse embellished with pearls & gold bangles - Lula Guinness; 1937 Rolls Royce Phantom III - Luciens Limo; Candlelit Entry Staircase (photo courtesy of Fete NY)

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Save-The-Dates, All Bundled Up

(Note: I'm smiling as I type this post)


Okay, so I have never really been a huge fan of save-the-dates. Unless used to give guests advance notice to a destination and/or holiday weekend wedding, I've always felt save-the-dates take away from the pomp and circumstance of the formal wedding invitation.

Nevertheless, these adorably clever save-the-dates have stolen my heart. I'd find a reason to send these! Absolutely perfect for wedding dates falling close to the holidays ... courtesy of RedBliss, $18 per piece.

Sunday, November 25, 2007

What It Costs To Get Married

I saw this great article in the Fall/Winter 2007 edition of Brides New Jersey and had to post. Over the years, I've come to find that most non-married people really have no idea what type of wedding they can or can not afford upon becoming engaged. This article serves as a pretty good eye-opener to what married-couples-to-be are in store for ... in the tri-state area, especially New Jersey.


MUSIC

  • 4 hours of live music by a popular 13-piece band of accomplished musicians with tour experience: $11,000
  • 5 hours of professional DJ service, plus an MC and a light show: $1,695
  • 4 hours of basic DJ service, plus a pianist for cocktail hour: $1,095

RECEPTION

  • 4-course, plated dinner with 5-hour premium open bar, cocktail hour with passed hors d'oeuvres, champagne toast and wedding cake at a historic garden estate : $245 per person
  • 5-course, plated dinner with 5-hour open bar, buffet hors d'oeuvres, champagne toast, and wedding cake in a ballroom with stunning city views: $150 per person
  • 3-course, family-style dinner, with 4-hour open bar, champagne toast and wedding cake at a reputable Italian restaurant: $50 per person

PHOTOGRAPHY

  • Deluxe package from a photojournalist with 20 years of experience, including two hours of rehearsal-dinner coverage, unlimited wedding-day coverage plus assistant, DVD presentation, online gallery, and 30-page bridal album: $9,100
  • Premium package from a wedding photographer, including unlimited wedding-day coverage, wedding-album design session, and image CD: $2,995
  • Standard package by a wedding photographer from a wedding-planning center, including 6 hours of coverage, 3 photo albums and 1 11"x14" print: $975

CAKE

  • Fondant-covered red velvet cake with sugar flowers from a landmark baker, serves 140: $1,400
  • Fondant-covered vanilla cake with chocolate ganache and strawberry mousse filling, by a pastry chef who works out of her home, serves 140: $750
  • Buttercream-covered vanilla pound cake with raspberry filling, from a family owned bakery, serves 150: $495

FLOWERS (bouquets)

  • Bouquet of hydrangeas, roses and miniature calla lilies, garnished with berries from a floral design studio that has been featured in bridal magazines: $225
  • Bouquet of cymbidium orchids, roses, mini spray roses and faux diamonds by an event florist: $195
  • Bouquet of lilies, dendrobium orchids, larkspur, roses, Italian ruscus and asters wrapped in satin ribbon from a small flower shop: $65


And for those of you who live outside of New Jersey or major metropolitan cities, http://www.costofwedding.com/ can help you get an idea of what your wedding will add up to be.

Friday, November 23, 2007

Any Way You Slice It

The idea of the groom's cake began as a Southern tradition and lately, has become more and more popular at weddings. These days, the groom's cake could be any reflection of his hobbies, favorite sport, alma mater or even his profession. Some groom's cakes are served at the rehearsal dinner, however, most times this alternative confection accompanies the wedding cake itself.

So here's to giving your sports enthusiast, wine expert, cigar connoisseur, billiards addict, hip-hop junkie, soon-t0-be-ball-and-chain a little piece of the spotlight. Take note of these fabulous ideas that'll make your groom's cake the talk of your wedding!



Thursday, November 22, 2007

From My Family To Yours

Have a very safe and blessed Thanksgiving!

(Turkey Place Card Holders by Beau-Coup)

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Picture-Perfect Party Dresses

Engaged, newly married or just enjoying yourself single ... be sure to check out these picture-pleasing dresses if you're party bound.

Satin & Sequin Cocktail Dress by Jovani Fashions, Jovani - Black Sparkle Trim Sheath by Iodice, Neiman Marcus - Ruffle Ivory & Teal Dress by Mint Jodi Arnold, ShopBop - Lace Strapless Dress by BCBGMAXAZRIA, Nordstrom

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Oprah's Favorite Things!

Like thousands of people, I record The Oprah Show everyday on our DVR. And no matter what, this time every year, I look most forward to the Oprah's Favorite Things show. To my surprise, today was the day!

Apparently, most of Oprah's ratings come from Macon, Georgia and as a "thank you" to the residents, the show was filmed in Macon in front of an audience of gracious locals. So Nice!

Here's the 2007 rundown, just in time for the start of holiday shopping.


UNITED ARTISTS 90TH ANNIVERSARY PRESTIGE COLLECTION
UGG® AUSTRALIA CLASSIC CROCHET TALL BOOT
TOYWATCH WATCHES
THE PILLARS OF THE EARTH BY KEN FOLLETT
THE DISCOVERY CHANNEL'S PLANET EARTH DVD SET
THE ARTISAN® STAND MIXER FROM KITCHENAID HOME APPLIANCES
SHAKLEE GET CLEAN™ STARTER KIT
SCRABBLE PREMIER EDITION FROM HASBRO
SAMSUNG PROGRESSIVE HD CAMCORDER SC-HMX10C
RACHEL PALLY SWING TURTLENECK AND SAILOR PANTS
PERFECT ENDINGS CUPCAKES FROM WILLIAMS-SONOMA
O'S GUIDE TO LIFE
MELAMINE BOWLS, MEASURING CUPS AND SPOONS FROM WILLIAMS-SONOMA
KAI BODY BUTTER and BODY BUFFER
JOSH GROBAN'S NOEL CD
HDTV REFRIGERATOR WITH WEATHER AND INFO CENTER FROM LG ELECTRONICS
CLARISONIC SKIN CARE SYSTEM
CIAO BELLA BLOOD ORANGE SORBETTO
BREVILLE IKON PANINI PRESS FROM WILLIAMS-SONOMA
CLAUS PORTO SOAPS FROM LAFCO NEW YORK

Monday, November 19, 2007

Poll: What's Your Favorite Wedding Style / Theme?

This time our next inspiration board will be created with the minds and imaginations of our readers in mind. SO, using 5 words or less, submit your wedding style or theme!

Post your idea in "comments."

Sunday, November 18, 2007

Personalized Magazine Covers

Of course, being able to personalize milestones and special events is what most folks planning celebrations are interested in. And luckily, there are tons of different ways to pull this off ... and here's one I came across recently: Personalized Magazine Covers, by YourCover!

Celebrate Your Wedding with a YourCover Unique Personalized Magazine Cover ... your photos on front & back ... personalized headlines ... the works. They even come with a deluxe frame. Personally, I think this is a great idea for bridal showers and/or bachelorette parties as well.

Friday, November 16, 2007

Signature Martinis ... w/ a Holiday Twist

Even though it's now considered tried and true, I still love the incorporation of the signature drink for celebration events. Here are a few tasty martinis perfect for the holidays:

MAYFLOWER MARTINI
(courtesy of Food Network)

Ingredients:
2 teaspoons sweet vermouth
Ice cubes
1 part gin
2 parts white cranberry juice
Whole cranberries on toothpicks, to garnish

Instructions:
Pour 1 teaspoon of sweet vermouth into each martini glass; swirl glass to coat and pour out excess. Set aside. Fill a martini shaker with ice cubes. Pour 1 part gin and 2 parts white cranberry juice. Shake vigorously. Pour into martini glasses. Serve chilled with a garnish of whole cranberries on a toothpick.

PUMPKIN PIE MARTINI
(courtesy of New York Magazine)

Ingredients:
2 parts Absolut Vanila vodka
1 part pumpkin schnapps
Splash of cream (or substitute a splash of orange juice)
Nutmeg

Instructions:
Shake all the ingredients in a cocktail shaker with ice and strain into a martini glass. Garnish with nutmeg and cherry.

CANDY CANE MARTINI
(courtesy of The Boston Globe)

Ingredients:
1 tablespoon superfine sugar
1 tablespoon hot water
¼ cup very finely crushed candy canes
2 ounces vanilla vodka
½ ounce white creme de menthe
1 teaspoon whole milk
1 small candy cane (for garnish)

Instructions:
In a microwave-safe cup, heat the sugar and water for 30 seconds or until the sugar dissolves. Spread crushed candy canes on a piece of waxed paper. Fill a martini glass with ice cubes, swirl it around, then tip out the ice. Dip the rim of the glass into the crushed candy canes so the candy sticks to all sides of the rim. Fill a metal shaker with ice and add the vodka, creme de menthe, sugar mixture, and milk. Shake vigorously and strain into a martini glass. Decorate with the candy cane.

GINGERBREAD APPLE CRISP MARTINI
(courtesy of Cocktail Times)

Ingredients:
1 oz Monin gingerbread syrup
2 oz Bacardi Big Apple rum
2 oz apple juice
Splash of lemon juice

Instructions:
Place 1/2 cup of simple syrup and 4 tablespoons of graham cracker crumbs on separate plates. Dip outside rim of martini glass into simple syrup, then into graham cracker crumbs several times to ensure coverage. Set aside. In a cocktail shaker, combine rum, gingerbread syrup, apple juice and lemon juice. Shake with ice in a cocktail shaker and strain into rimmed martini glass. Garnish with red apple slice.

$2K ARISTOCRAT MARTINI...here's to having money in your pocket on New Year's Eve!
(courtesy of Daily Olive)
In Las Vegas, the city of ultimate extravagances, when you're on a roll, you might be tempted to order a $2,000 martini at Body English (a club at the Hard Rock Hotel and Casino).

Ingredients:
Remy Martin Louis XIII Cognac
150 year old Gran Marnier
Splash of Dom Perignon

Instructions:
Chill 2 ounces of Louis XIII and 1/2 to 3/4 Gran Marnier 150. Pour into a martini glass, then top with Dom. Serve with a ruby and diamond encrusted swizzle stick - and voilà, that will be $2000 to the hostess.

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Exclusive! Bridal Sample Sale at Saks

A friend and old colleague of mine is a bridal buyer for Saks Fifth Avenue. She passed on the message that their exclusive sample sale is once again upon us! Hundreds of gowns from the foremost names ... including Vera Wang, Reem Acra, Monique Lhuillier, Ulla-Maija and more. Save up to 70% off original retail prices.

Nov. 28th - Dec. 5th
Saks Fifth Avenue NYC location, 3rd Floor

All sales are final. No in-store alterations. Shipping available.

Happy Shopping!

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

WHOSE WEDDING IS IT ANYWAY?

Per Abby Larson of Style Me Pretty, WHOSE WEDDING IS IT ANYWAY? SEASON 7 is CASTING COUPLES!

Are you planning your wedding day, but the never-ending tasks keep getting in the way? Are you and your fiancé fun and fabulous, but drowning in details? Then let WHOSE WEDDING IS IT ANYWAY? hook you up with a top-notch wedding planner, to help organize the wedding of your dreams and take you down the aisle in style.

The Style Network is currently casting for the seventh season of Whose Wedding Is It Anyway? Looking for couples with or without a planner, who want to share their wedding-preparation adventures with the hit prime-time wedding series!

All participants must be 21 years of age or older and have a wedding date set from November 20, 2007-March 1, 2008. Please send your info and wedding story to dwcasting@trueentertainment.net

Good Luck!

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Inspiration Board: Destination Design

Our latest inspiration board ... especially for soon-to-be-weds who'd rather "run away and get married."

DESTINATION DESIGN
Credits (top and left to right): Sandy Seashell Landscape Wedding Cake -Beach Weddings; Bride Profile Snapshot (photo courtesy of theknot.com); Majorica Pearl Wedding Earrings & Houston Satin Pleated Handbag - Perfect Details; Mint Bridesmaid Dresses - Alvina Valenta; White Reception On The Beach - Luxe Destination Events; A-line Silk Bridal Gown - Pronovias; Pebble "Place cards" - (photo courtesy of Michelle Turner Photography); Handmade Tropical Fans - Preston Bailey Crystal Wedding by Sandals; Message In A Bottle Invitations - My Personal Artist; Satin-Wrapped Rose Bouquet - Terrie Easley Designs; Oceanfront Resort - Halekulani, Hawaii (where hubby and I honeymooned)

Sunday, November 11, 2007

scam (skām): A fraudulent business scheme

Yesterday, I received my first wedding scam attempt (guess my latest marketing and advertising efforts are starting to work). I received an email from an "Irish" bride-to-be whose fiance was offered a job in the U.S. and needed help planning a small wedding in New Jersey. I vaguely remembered hearing of certain swindle attempts on wedding vendors (especially photographers and videographers), so my radar peaked immediately, however, I didn't jump to any conclusions right away. I responded to the email, drew up a preliminary proposal, quoted cost of service and submitted an invoice for payment. Nonetheless, when it became apparent that the bride-to-be and her French fiance only intended on mailing a cashier's check, I knew right away what I was dealing with ... a scam! I happen to know that international cashier's checks are not fully validated for 90 days. So even though the check may clear at first, if found to be phony, the money is later deducted.

I must say, it's very sad that so many take time out to scam innocent people and it's even sadder that so many fall victim and lose thousands of dollars. The email I received even toted a closing salutation of "God Bless." Just heartless.

Finally, I had hoped that this was an isolated situation, but low-and-behold, I received a similar request again TODAY ... this time from the U.K. (sigh)

Here's a copy of the original email (below). Wedding vendors, take note.

My name is Serena Jones, from Rathmines, Ireland (Europe ). I will be coming over to New Jersey with my Husband Virgile Raymond who's French by nature but has actually naturalised in Ireland.

We'll be moving to the US to start a new life because my husband to be just got a job with the Coca-cola Co. in NJ and i have made plans of opening my new kiddies fashion store in NJ as soon as we are settled in. Just before then we will be getting married on the 19th of April, 2008 and we have decided to get married in THE STATES since we're moving on and we pretty know our new move would be wonderful. We will be needin' a good wedding planner to take care of our wedding event both ceremony and reception for our guests and our convenience because we require the best for the best memories for our children in future and as a matter of fact we have made a good budget for the best on our wedding day.

We prefer the ceremony and reception event to take place in a location and we are expecting at most 60 guests on the day of our occasion because most of our families in Europe and in the United Kingdom will be present for this wonderful occassion. Also, we would like you to know we prefer the reception and ceremony to take place in a location for the convenience of our guests and would love the ceremony to be in a garden setting and the reception in an indoor location in Matinsville, NJ or surrounding areas because the weather is unpredictable at this time of the year. We haven't made any venue reservations yet but we are sure the wedding planner can do that on our behalf as we are looking for a customized wedding planning package that involves virtually every aspect of planning except the band which we are already making arrangements for. The total wedding budget is 25,000$US. Please let us know if you can help work with us for the success of our event and can help work within our budget as we're not opened to spending a dollar more than the above bidget?


Hope you're enjoying a blissful weekend!
Thanks and God bless,
Serena&Virgile

Saturday, November 10, 2007

Top 20 Reception Ideas for 2008

Love this list from New York Magazine ... I just had to share!


1. Avoid playing boring piano music during the cocktail hour. Choose a genre you love that people can’t bust a move to, like experimental jazz, bluegrass fiddling, or emo-rock like Radiohead and their sound-alikes. Alternately, showcase a type of music native to your or your fiancé’s heritage—think strolling mariachis, Caribbean steel drums, or a flamenco guitar-and-mandolin duo.

2. Supplement the often-ignored wedding cake with passed desserts. For one recent reception, planner Xochitl Gonzalez of Always a Bridesmaid worked with caterer The Raging Skillet and How Sweet It Is to dress up the bride’s favorite junk food. Mini devil dogs, mini Rice Krispie treats, and mini peanut-butter cups were served on silver platters at the end of the night.

3. Transport your guests in style. A shuttle bus can be such an eyesore; why not rent a few vintage cars to chauffeur guests instead? Brooklyn’s Film Cars has a diverse collection, including Model Ts, Jaguars, and checkered cabs (from $425 to $1,350 for three hours). Other fun options include San Francisco–style trolleys and the usually obnoxious red double-decker tour buses, which, in this context, feel inventive and humorous.

4. Even if you don’t normally, think like a foodie for one night. Andrea Correale of Elegant Affairs Catering recommends chef-tended stations for the cocktail hour. “Basically, think three horseshoe-shaped bars around the room, with stools around them, and behind each one is a chef cooking up little plates right there in front of everyone.” Each is like a tiny open kitchen with its own specialty: Asian, French, American, Cuban, etc. “For guests not seated at the bars, set up little furniture clusters nearby, to which wait staff can bring food.” For the reception, include menus at each place setting. For one wedding, event designer Preston Bailey made edible menus out of chocolate ($25 each).

5. Rent a photo booth. Get one that produces double film strips. Have an attendant cut each down the middle—guests keep one strip, and the other can be pasted into your guest book.

6. Get creative with your tabletop décor—if not to flaunt originality, then to be a little more eco-friendly. Instead of the usual floral centerpieces, consider something different, like feathers in glass vases, plants under bell jars, glass sculptures, or even arrangements made of paper flowers. For one reception, Bill Kocis of Bill Kocis Important Flowers built tables of clear Plexiglas. Each was itself a vessel, filled with water, polished black river stones, and Koi and goldfish. For another wedding, Preston Bailey contracted a glassblower to make tall, Dr. Seussian sculptures for each table.

7. Serve quirky late-night snacks as guests exit your reception. Sure, a hungry guest’s impromptu order for takeout pizza is always clutch, but having your caterer think of what to serve for midnight munchies will reap a more memorable result. Think a Nuts 4 Nuts cart for a winter wedding, and an Italian-ice cart or even a Mr. Softee ice-cream truck in summer. Alternately, have a candy station. Providing jars of sweets with scoops and little plastic bags may be an overdone trend, but it’s overdone for a reason. It works.

8. Plan a good coat-check strategy to avoid long queues blocking the entrance and dampening first impressions.

9. Take a design risk and seat your guests at a few really long tables.

10. Make your guests the center of attention.“For one wedding’s response cards, we sent blank square cards that read, ‘The favor of a creative response is requested,’ ” says Jung Lee of Fete. “Guests sent back wonderful replies. We displayed them like artwork at the reception so the guests could see one another’s interpretations.”

11. Get married at an unusual location. Not another wedding at the Tribeca Rooftop! Sure, the space is amazing, but its popularity is turning it into a bit of a factory. Instead, look into some more unexpected places: For starters, there’s BAM in Fort Greene, the Coney Island Aquarium, the Hudson Theatre in Times Square, the old Loew’s Theatre in Jersey City, or the Central Park Zoo. One New York City couple got married in rowboats bobbing atop the lake in Central Park! (see photo below)

12. If you’re giving favors, select gifts that won’t be immediately discarded. Will anyone really use that silver frame engraved with your names? Realistically, probably not. Give a favor that is much more personal (FYI, stamping your moniker on something does not make it personal). Give something that’s functional: If the weather forecast predicts rain, why not give everyone an umbrella? For a wedding in the late fall, planner Alison Hotchkiss of Alison Events rolled up colorful fleece blankets and piled them on a table for guests to take as they walked to the outdoor reception area. If you’re marrying in summer, near a pool or beach (with some potential for communal late-night dipping), give beach towels.

13. Make boozing an elegant activity. Hire expert sommeliers or place individual vodka-and-Malossol-caviar stations carved out of ice on each table.

14. Showcase what you’re passionate about as part of the entertainment. If you’re a cheese connoisseur, have staff roll cheese carts to each table during the first course, or before dessert. If it’s dessert wine you love, create a little self-serve station after the cake-cutting. If it’s cigars, erect a special station to hand-roll them.

15. Get your favorite takeout place to cater your wedding.

16. If you can afford extravagances, do something that will elicit an emotional response. Planner Francesca Abbracciamento recommends skywriting. Yes, skywriting! “One father-of-the-bride chartered an old-time White Baron plane to fly over the reception, streaking the sky with puffy white hearts around the bride and groom’s initials.” For something over-the-top at night, commission a fireworks display. “No one is better than the Grucci family,” says Karen Bussen, author of Simple Stunning Weddings. If a big-budget show isn’t in the cards, late-night sparklers, while not as awe-inspiring, are just as—if not more—fun.

17. Display seating assignments in a unique way. Stationer Rebecca Schmidt-Ruebensaal likes to hang them from a tree with different-colored ribbons. Event designer David Stark did an escort-card table that wasn’t really a table “as much as it was a wall of sunflowers where each place card was pinned to the center of the flower.” Also, for table numbers, nothing says “corporate event” like sterile laminated cards on stands. Do something prettier. At one barbecue-and-bluegrass vineyard reception, planner Alison Hotchkiss wreathed vintage numbers (found at a local antique shop by the bride) with a eucalyptus branch.

18. Take your cue from Truman Capote and host a themed reception. Communicate your theme through your invitations, décor, and cocktails, but don’t impose it on the dress code, unless it’s something easy, like black and white.

19. Make a cool video of the party. Or, rent a video booth. It’s a private, more comfortable (though potentially more incriminating) way for guests to leave fun messages on camera. The mechanism works much like a photo booth; guests tap the touch-screen to start a two-minute recording—long enough to say something nice or funny; brief enough to avoid getting into too much trouble.

20. Plan for after-hours action. Seek out different locations or, stay put. Turning your reception into an after-party spot can be a costly endeavor, but the perk is that guests don’t drunkenly straggle to the wrong location.

(photos by Shawn Connel, Holger Thoss and Jeni Holder)

Wednesday, November 7, 2007

Give Generously, Celebrate Joyfully ... Design Merrily

'Tis the season to use the holidays for inspiration!

Take a cue from winter, in all of its splendor, with these little embellishments:

Newlyweds and Couples Holiday Cards (Tiny Prints)
Gold Tree Place Card Holders (
Beau-Coup)
Spruce Monogram Wreath (
Ballard Designs)
Christmas Parcels Wedding Cake (
Rosalind's Desserts)

TableToss

PlumParty is one of my favorite party sites, carrying some of the most unique supplies and great planning tips. Plus, their table combinations make throwing something last-minute really easy too!

TableToss (by PlumParty) is a whole new approach to table top design, with colors, textures and mixes for every occasion. Of course, you can mix and match depending on your needs, but it's always nice to have a starting point just in case "party block" sets in.

Plus, for friends of The Bridal Party, enjoy 10% off your purchase now through November 10, 2007.

Use coupon code: PlumThx07. Hurry!

Monday, November 5, 2007

5 Things I Can't Live Without

(just a random non-wedding related post for today)

1. Family & Friends

2. Jergens Ultra Healing Moisturizer

3. DVR (digital video recorder)

4. Music

5. Lucky Magazine

What are your 5???

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