Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Heart-Stopping Wedding Photography

After the vows have been said, the wedding cake has been cut and the last dance ends ... wouldn't you LOVE to only be left with these for the rest of your life?!

First, I'm pleased to present Amy Squires Photography ...

Also, it's my pleasure to share Jessica Claire's photographic genius ...

So, if you're lucky enough to live in California or fortunate enough to fly either of these ladies wherever you are, GO FOR IT! Memories are priceless.

Inspiration Board: Autumn Candlelight

The holidays are always a wonderful time to plan milestone events like weddings ... after all, the holidays are all about family anyway. And for the first time, I'm working with a couple planning a Black Friday wedding (the day after Thanksgiving). The bride and groom both have open-minded artistic visions, so their primary focus is that their wedding is received and remembered through emotion. While the color scheme is still evolving, the signature warm hue "Dahlia" has been locked in. So, here's my first inspiration board for this couple's nuptials.


Credits (top, left to right): Delicate Ceremony Programs tied with Dahlia satin ribbons (photo courtesy of TheKnot.com); Chandelier Draped Ballroom - Richfield Regency; Autumn Wedding Party park scene (photo courtesy of Brides.com); Autumn Hue Bouquet - by Avi Adler; Dupioni Silk Shantung Flowergirl Dress - Little Flowers; Tall Stems in Vases amidst Votive Candles (photo courtesy of TheKnot.com); Bridesmaid Gown in "Dahlia" - David's Bridal; Three-Tiered Embroidered Wedding Cake - Sylvia Weinstock Cakes; Caramel Apple Favors - Mrs. Prindables Handmade Confections; "Take A Wish" Jar (photo courtesy of Brides.com); Gobo Monogram Dance floor Lighting

Monday, January 28, 2008

Wedding Lingo

My good friend Tamiko Hargrove of Helen Julia NY brought this cute little list to my attention today. It's Real Simple Weddings' Lingo Cheat Sheet; a list of popular acronyms used by brides-to-be across the country, particularly on message boards and blogs (yes, brides, you have your own language).

Here's the list, to help you make sense of it all:

BM: Best man, or bridesmaid
DW: Destination wedding
FBIL: Future brother-in-law
FFIL: Future father-in-law
FG: Flower girl
FH: Future husband
FMIL: Future mother-in-law
FOB: Father of the bride
FOG: Father of the groom
FSIL: Future sister-in-law
GM: Groomsmen
GP: Grandparent
MOB: Mother of the bride
MOG: Mother of the groom
MOH: Maid of honor
OOTG: Out-of-town guests
RB: Ring bearer
TBP: The Bridal Party (no secret why this one's my favorite ... wink)

(photo courtesy of WeddingChannel.com; gown, Elie Saab for Pronovias)

Cues From The Red Carpet: 2008 SAG Awards

Award-show season is upon us! And, the star-studded 14th Annual Screen Actors Guild Awards took place last night in Los Angeles. Most agree, the show was a huge success ... "by actors for actors."

Here are a few cues from the red carpet for brides:

Red Carpet Cue: Actress, America Ferrera
Option for Brides: Avine Perucci, Demetrios

Red Carpet Cue: French actress, Marion Cotillard
Options for Brides: Badgley Mischka, Pronovias

Red Carpet Cue: Actress, Sara Ramirez
Options for Brides: Jim Hjelm, Rina di Montella

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Inspiration Board: Fairy Tale Flutter

I've been working quite closely with a lovely couple anticipating a June 2008 wedding for a while now. When first we met, the bride expressed great interest in a "butterflies and fairies" theme and I really loved this fun idea, along with the chocolate / turquoise color scheme chosen. Also, the venue booked is one of the sweetest and most romantic in this area, The Madison Hotel's Conservatory (pictured above).

Here's my first inspiration board for this couple's special event.


Credits (top, left to right): Wedding Ceremony Adorned with Feather-light, Hanging Paper Butterflies; Butterfly Motif Invitation - Style On A Budget; Butterfly & Dragonfly Place card Holders - Beau Coup; Chocolate Wedding Cake w/ Blue Scroll Detail - Crumbs of Paris; Seated Bridesmaids in Turquoise Gowns (photo courtesy of TheKnot.com); Grass & Butterflies Centerpieces / Place settings; Strung Paper Butterflies - Shinoda Design Center; Flower girls w/ Fairy Wings; Sheer Chair Covers w/ Butterfly Appliques - Party Cloths New York; "Subtle Blues & Creams" Table Setting (photo courtesy of Brides.com); Viliana Satin Sling Back w/Rhinestone Strap - Perfect Details

Saturday, January 19, 2008

CREWCUTS Weddings & Parties

J. Crew just launched CREWCUTS Weddings & Parties, which features adorable dressy items for kids (especially flowergirls). Stop by JCrew.com and check it all out (including this sassy little number)!

Friday, January 18, 2008

Angel Threads

I first discovered Angel Threads in 2003 and was immediately impressed by the quality of their hand-crafted bridal accessories. A couple of my own keepsakes were made at Angel Threads. Several of their pieces are perfectly suitable for passing down through the generations and I encourage all interested in the idea of creating heirlooms to take a look at what they have to offer.

My favorite? Their hand-stitched silk garters! (pictured above)

Ballroom Chair Covers

Ringbearer Pillows

Wire-mesh Flowergirl Baskets

Thursday, January 17, 2008

Bag Envy

The fashionista in me simply could not resist posting about this. I'm actually quite shocked I'm just finding out about them. What are they, you wonder???

Louis Vuitton's Monogram Shearling pieces ... "Storm" and "Thunder!"

Though rather strange, I think these are adorable. I can't say these are my characteristic type of bags, as they are likely an acquired taste, but I'm swooning nonetheless.

Grab one for $3000+ by calling 1-888-VUITTON.

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Brides, It's YOUR Day!

(photo courtesy of Don Ptashne)
Getting married is an inordinately massive event that demands, often times, overwhelming amounts of time and energy. For most, it is a joyous milestone dreamed about for many years in advance. Thus, it goes without saying that brides are focused on their weddings ... down to the minor details. With that said, this goes out to all brides everywhere: IT'S YOUR DAY!
Your wedding is about the loving relationship you and your fiance have built together and the promising new life you will soon begin. Just because the two of you wish to fulfill the dreams that YOU have built and refuse to compromise what should be one of the happiest days of your life does not mean you are selfish, obnoxious or a Bridezilla.

More specifically, do not allow your bridesmaids to place the above labels on you. Here are a few scenarios to brace yourself for:

  • The bridesmaids don't like the dresses you've chosen.

  • The bridesmaids hate the color scheme you've decided to have.

  • One or some of your bridesmaids have huge tattoos on their arms and refuse to temporarily cover them because "they don't want to have to change who they are."

  • According to your bridesmaids, you're being too extravagant ... too showy ... too vain.

  • Your bridesmaids agree to participate in your wedding, but fail to show up for important fittings and/or planning appointments.

  • One or more of your bridesmaids threaten to drop out of the wedding unless they get what they want.

If by chance you come across any of this, ask the culprits to see themselves out of your wedding with haste. You don't need the stress. You don't deserve the headache. When/if your bridesmaid gets married, she can pick HER styles and colors. When/if your bridesmaid walks down the aisle in a silk Vera Wang gown, she can proudly display HER skull & crossbones tattoo. It's an honor to be asked to participate in a friend or family member's wedding and if you accept you should remain gracious and helpful, not confrontational or spoiled. If any of your bridesmaids feel they can't deal, ask them to kindly step aside.

Brides, it's YOUR day! Don't allow anything or anyone to steal your joy.
(stepping down from soapbox)

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Monday, January 14, 2008

To Each HER Own

Isn't it always the same story? Someone is engaged to be married ... bridesmaids dresses are selected, usually $100 - $700 a pop ... after the wedding, the dress sits in the back of the closet never to see the light of day again. There are even movies made about it (i.e. 27 Dresses)!

Ready for an alternative? Check out twobirds bridesmaid, who have created dresses the bridesmaid can wrap in 10 different ways to compliment HER individual style and body shape. There are currently 10 colors to choose from and they fit all sizes (yes ... even PLUS size).

Not a bad idea at all. ;-)

Saturday, January 12, 2008

The Star Ledger's Wedding Section

Be sure to pick up the Sunday Star Ledger this week. Their special Bride & Groom section will be included ... chock full of helpful articles, ideas and vendors for New Jersey couples!

You'll even see an ad for The Bridal Party!

Friday, January 11, 2008

The Best Things Come In Small Packages

I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE boxed invitations! So when I stumbled upon Simply Modern Weddings' post, Cool Bridal Shower Invites (which featured an ultra cute Jill Smith invite sold on one of my favorite sites, PlumParty), I was inspired to share it plus a few finds here. Because let's face it, sometimes it's good to think inside-the-box.

Candy Mail Yum Box Invitation ... for a fun-filled bridal shower

Grapevine & Cork Letterpress Invitation ... for vineyard and winery themed affairs

Sittin' Pretty Champagne & Fun Invitation ... perfect for bachelorette parties

Start Spreadin' The News ... NYC inspired save-the-date / invitation

Thursday, January 10, 2008

Grooming for Wifehood

  • Scenario #1: You're engaged and within a year or so, you will become a Mrs. and will be in many ways RESPONSIBLE for another adult

  • Scenario #2: You're a newlywed, still adjusting to for better or for worse, taking your new way of life as it comes ... in stride

  • Scenario #3: You're a party/event planner and you simply can not resist evolving and expanding your beautifying and entertaining skills

  • Whatever the case may be, you'd be wise to check out the classes being hosted by 2 of my absolute favorite specialty stores!

    PotteryBarn Spring Decorating Class
    Call your local store for details - Cost: FREE!

    SUNDAY, JANUARY 20: Learn tips on updating and accessorizing your home. Class time is limited, so be sure to call your local store for class times and to reserve your space.

    Cooking Classes at Williams-Sonoma

    Bridgewater Commons Mall, NJ - All Classes 7pm to 9pm - Cost: $55 per class

    WEDNESDAY, JANUARY 30 - Bowl Game Party: Host a party for the big game this year. We guarantee that fans will cheer when you present this spread of wonderfully spicy fare) On the menu: Chipotle Guacamole, Fresh Tomato and Chile Salsa, Mexican Meatball Soup and Chicken Enchiladas. Presented by: Chef Maral Apelian Banks

    SUNDAY, FEBRUARY 10 - Foods of the World New Orleans: This dinner menu features dishes from one of America's most beloved culinary cities, New Orleans. From our Foods of the World: New Orleans book, the recipes combine traditional flavors with contemporary flair. On the menu: French-Fried Eggplant, Cheese Grits Souffle, New Orleans-Style Barbecued Shrimp and Bourbon Pecan Tart. Presented by: Chef Maral Apelian Banks

    MONDAY, FEBRUARY 11 - Seasonal Dinner Citrus: At the peak of flavor in winter, citrus is perfect for enlivening both savory and sweet foods. Our dinner menu features orange, lemon and grapefruit in a variety of exceptional dishes. On the menu: Citrus Salad with Mint and Red Onions, Lemon Zest Spinach, Sauteed Scallops with Lemon Beurre Blanc and Lemon Pound Cake. Presented by: Chef Michael A. J. Greene

    MONDAY, FEBRUARY 25 - The Versatile Panini: A favorite in Italy, panini are sandwiches filled with meats, cheeses, vegetables and other ingredients, then grilled to crisp perfection. We'll show you how to use a panini press to create simple appetizers, savory sandwiches and even a delectable chocolate treat. On the menu: Ligurian Panini, Tapenade Crostini, Pressed Croque Madame and Chocolate-Banana Croissant Panini. Presented by: Chef Michael A.J.Greene

    SUNDAY, MARCH 9 - Easy Easter Dinner: For your Easter dinner this year, streamline preparation by purchasing a baked ham from a local market. Then round out the meal with a few irresistible dishes that you make yourself. On the menu: Popovers, Frisee Salad with Bacon, Potato and Onion Gratin and Coconut Cupcakes. Presented by: Chef Maral Apelian Banks

    MONDAY, MARCH 10 - Food Made Fast Vegetarian: Part of our Food Made Fast cookbook series, Vegetarian is a comprehensive collection of simple-to-prepare meatless entrees that take advantage of seasonal produce and bold spices. We will show you how to make a few of these satisfying dishes. On the menu: Red Pepper and Goat Cheese Frittata, Tofu Stir-Fry with Black Bean Sauce, Chickpea and Sweet Potato Curry and Wild Mushroom Risotto with Peas. Presented by: Chef Michael A. J. Greene

    MONDAY, APRIL 7 - Fresh Pasta: More tender and lighter than its dried counterpart, fresh pasta is easier to make at home than you might imagine. You'll learn to prepare pasta from scratch along with some simple sauces that complement fresh pasta perfectly. On the menu: Fresh Pasta, Fresh Spinach Pasta, Wild-Greens Filled Ravioli with Walnut Sauce and Zucchini Lasagna. Presented by: Chef Michael A. J. Greene

    SUNDAY, APRIL 20 - Festive Spring Brunch: Welcome the arrival of spring with this festive brunch. Our menu showcases fresh ingredients of the season, including slender asparagus, tender young greens and ripe berries. On the menu: Two Berry Smoothie, Farmers' Market Greens with Goat Cheese Toasts, Cinnamon-Buttermilk Muffins and Asparagus and Potato Frittata. Presented by: Chef Maral Apelian Banks

    MONDAY, APRIL 28 - A Simple Spring Dinner: Invite a few friends over to enjoy the fresh bounty of the new season. This simple spring dinner includes dishes that you can prepare in advance, so you can serve a memorable meal in no time. On the menu: Warm Black Olives, Asparagus Soup, Torn Pasta with Zucchini and Arugula and Lemon Angel Food Cake. Presented by: Chef Michael A.J. Greene

    Wednesday, January 9, 2008

    Help Future Brides...Get A Free Gift Card!

    For those who have already walked down the aisle ... this one's for you, courtesy of WeddingWire.

    Tuesday, January 8, 2008

    Oh, Martha!

    Need wedding cake ideas? Wondering if your style is whimsical, modern or rustic? Thinking about incorporating seasonal accents? Want to highlight your hometown or favorite location? Fabric or floral motif on the brain? Well, herein lies a treasury of inspiration!

    (available at most book stores, including Barnes & Noble)

    Monday, January 7, 2008

    The Best First Dance Ever

    Just for laughs ... an oldie but goodie.

    Sunday, January 6, 2008

    The Hottest Wedding Date Of The Year

    I first started to notice this such number sequence craze with 4-4-04. And last year ... well ... let's just say the number 7 seemed to be lucky for just about everyone: July 7, 2007 fell on a Saturday and the rest is literally HISTORY.

    So, here we are 6 days into 2008 and Friday, August 8th continues to generate lots of buzz in the wedding industry. Why?

    1. The date has a pretty nice ring to it.

    2. It's set to be really popular for Chinese weddings (since eight is considered the most fortuitous of numbers within that culture) and it is the chosen date for the start of the Beijing 2008 Olympic Games (no coincidence).

    3. It falls on a Friday ... though not optimal for most engaged couples (Saturday is still the prime choice for weddings), still attractive nonetheless because of the possibilities for great themes and deals via automatic lower prices for Friday night weddings.

    4. Turn the number 8 on it's side and you get the infinity symbol = FOREVER, NEVER ENDING, UNTIL THE END OF TIME.

    5. The phrase “I Love You” has exactly 8 letters.

    For those of you who have chosen 8-8-08, have fun! There are so many great ways to draw from this theme. And don't forget to start your wedding at 8AM, 8PM or exactly 8:08. (wink)

    Saturday, January 5, 2008

    On-Site Venue Coordinators vs. Professional Wedding Planners

    While thumbing through my wedding magazines and blogs for the day, I came across this post over at Delight Your Senses, who actually referenced the original author from Planning...Forever. I was really happy to see this, because many brides confuse the coordinators at their chosen venue with professional event planners or consultants. One is not a substitute for the other and they do not cancel each other out.

    I think this puts everything into perspective quite well ... easy as 1, 2, 3.

    1. On-Site Coordinators are responsible for the venue. Their alliance and most important concern is the venue. The venue pays their salary. A professional wedding planner is responsible and accountable to services requested by you. She/He is a third party, an advocate and the director of your vendors and your wishes.

    2. On-Site Coordinators may have limited vendor referrals. Most of them will have a source of vendors that they love to use at their facility. Because this DJ doesn't scratch their floors and this florist cleans up after themselves, etc, etc. Instead, a wedding planner knows many vendors that can fit into many different budgets and match client's personalities. It's our job to know GREAT vendors that may not advertise!

    3. On-Site Coordinators are only present during the reception (or time at the venue). They are not open to take your 10pm etiquette phone calls, or attend photographer meetings, or negotiate with DJs, or have lots of design ideas and magazines for you to look at. A professional wedding planner is there during the planning stages through to the rehearsal, ceremony and reception.

    4. A professional wedding planner will make sure this is NOT you on your special day. Now that you have the facts, you can determine what your needs are.

    Friday, January 4, 2008


    Three offbeat finds ... for the non-traditional couple:

    Not Your Ordinary Topper

    Especially for the think outside-the-box bride and groom, GaugeNYC crafts letter and word sculptures to top the most glamorous of cakes! Using common materials such as aluminum, brass and sterling silver, these shining pieces leave lifelong impressions. Custom designs are also available by request.

    Will You Be My Bridesmaid?

    This set of 6 vividly colored cards offer a touching and stand-out way to ask your best gals to stand up for you at your wedding. Each also comes with matching bracelets. Conveniently available for purchase through AdvantageBridal.com.

    Thanks For Making The Trip

    What a cute and affordable way to thank guests for attending your destination wedding?! These Luggage Favor Compartments are just too clever. After all, there's no etiquette book that says you must package favors in pastel colored, ribbon wrapped boxes with your monogram attached. Just fill these up with your fav goodies, personalize the label and give your photographer specific instructions to include them in with his/her detail shots. If your interested in purchasing these nifties, post a comment ... I'd be happy to share.

    Thursday, January 3, 2008

    Summer Preview: They'll All Scream For Ice Cream

    What's summer without ice cream? With that said, consider this delightful DIY confection as a charming addition to your bridal shower or bridesmaid tea: Ice Cream Cone-Shaped Cupcakes! Design them according to your color palette ... arrange them as centerpieces ... gift them as favors. You can't go wrong. This one's sure to be a hit no matter what.

    Cake pan available at JCPenney.com.

    Wednesday, January 2, 2008

    Workout, Wii Style

    Note: If you haven't noticed already, I'm on a fitness kick ;-)
    To my husband's surprise, about 3 weeks before Christmas, I decided I wanted a Nintendo Wii. He was shocked, as were others who pretty much know I'm not really into video games. Nevertheless, once I played a few rounds of Wii Sports on a whim one day, I was hooked.

    While attempting to surprise me with a Wii for Christmas, my husband quickly found that it was one of the hottest and hardest gifts to find. Just when it seemed all hope was gone, he was able to "strategically" secure one, and not for a trumped up eBay price, but for it's retail $250 price tag. (Yea Babe!)

    Wii Sports, the game collection that comes with the console, is great because you can bowl, play golf, tennis and baseball, even box. It's lots of fun, it's interactive and it raises your heart-rate ... hence, a good source of exercise! So, I was not too surprised when I heard Wii Fit would be hitting North America soon. Already a huge hit in Japan, Wii Fit is on it's way ... probably early Spring 2008. You can even pre-order if you like.

    Another fun way to focus on bettering your health.

    Tote Your Couture

    How cute is Juicy Couture's NEW Honeymoon Travel Case?!

    Reasonable excuses to buy:

    1. Great gift
    2. Fashionable find
    3. Permissible purchase

    Peace, Love, and Juicy!

    Tuesday, January 1, 2008

    Success at the Most Popular New Year's Resolution

    For many brides-to-be and Americans overall, lose weight is the #1 New Year's resolution! Few succeed in keeping their resolutions, nevertheless when planning a wedding and deciding to lose weight or change eating habits, it's something you'll want to really try to commit to. Easy tools that help keep you motivated and organized are crucial.

    About 3 years ago I was introduced to FitDay, a great online weight loss tool which is really very intuitive. For those of you who have already heard of FitDay, you've discovered how helpful it can be in your quest to lose weight and eat healthier altogether by offering a FREE diet and weight loss journal through which you're able to track your foods, exercises, weight loss and even nutritional goals. For example, if you've decided you need to monitor your calcium or cholesterol intake, this can help you keep track of how well you're taking care of your bones in addition to how healthy you're keeping your heart by monitoring these levels in the foods you eat. Or maybe you're starting the South Beach Diet and need a way to accurately keep track of carbs. No problem! FitDay works well for any diet and is fully customizable to your personal needs.

    I guarantee this will help you fit into that silk-white mermaid gown you ordered without incident. Try it and let me know what you think!

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