Thursday, August 28, 2008

Rules to BlackBerry By

(me reading emails on my BlackBerry while waiting to have my car inspected)

A year ago, you could have never convinced me that I'd be so attached to my CrackBerry...but yes, I too have fallen victim. As a business-woman, I feel it crucial to have access to the Internet and email at all times. Moreover, it's critical that I respond to my clients at all times as soon as possible. Thankfully though, I'm not too far gone. I have it set to cut off at a certain time at night and to cut on at a certain time in the morning. Also, I don't wear it on my person and don't look at it during meals. Sometimes you might even find it at the very bottom of my purse mingling with a few lone bobby-pins. But for those for whom your BlackBerry has become "an extension of your hand," let the following excerpts from this Forbes article serve as intervention:

Are You Addicted To Your BlackBerry? staff, April 2008

Its nickname, CrackBerry, says it all. There is no recreational use of Research in Motion's BlackBerry. It is a compulsive addiction, or you're not a user.

Academic studies back up the notion. One, by David Vance, assistant professor of accounting at Rutgers-Camden university, and Nada Kakabadse, professor of management and business research at the U.K.'s University of Northampton, found that a third of BlackBerry users show signs of addiction "similar to alcoholics."

"People may be spending less money on cars, they may be spending less money on their houses, but it turns out the BlackBerry is the one essential," Duncan Stewart, president of Duncan Stewart Asset Management, told The Associated Press.

The BlackBerry found its first big pool of users in corporate America. Helping with productivity and collaboration at work, it lets employees keep up with colleagues, customers and suppliers even while away from the office.

For business travelers, it proved a time-saving godsend, converting traveling dead time--at airports and en route to and from meetings, hotels and restaurants--into something productive, and allowing that extra half-hour of sleep that no longer needed to be sacrificed to answering e-mails on the laptop.

But, like addicts, users of these devices are not using the time savings and productivity gains to shorten their work hours. Instead, they work longer. Glenn Wilson, a psychologist at King's College London, found that two-thirds of users check work e-mails out of office hours and on holidays.

Getting more done, thanks to the speed of communication, doesn't necessarily enhance the quality of life.

Wilson found that a compulsion to reply to each new message led to constant changes of direction, which inevitably tired and slowed down the brain. The distractions of constant e-mails, text and phone messages are a greater threat to IQ and concentration, he says, than taking cannabis.

Dr Jerald Block, writing in The American Journal of Psychiatry, has suggested that people who send excessive texts and e-mails many have a mental illness. There are four symptoms, Block says: suffering from feelings of withdrawal when a computer cannot be accessed; an increased need for better equipment; the need for more time to use it; and experiencing the negative repercussions of their addiction.

One solution: Don't slavishly respond to every e-mail. In Europe, it is increasingly considered ill-mannered to read an e-mail that arrives during a meal, let alone answer it, just as it would be considered rude to read a book at the table during dinner.

Social mores can change. Smoking was once acceptable in public too.

Stress and a compulsive addiction to overworking aren't solely caused by wireless push e-mail, though it makes it easier to get hooked. And there is a generation that has grown up expecting to connect 24/7 to friends and family by e-mail, IM and SMS that can separate work and social never-severed connectivity.

If you are not one of them, you don't have to go cold turkey. Remember, even the CrackBerry has an off button.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

A Lot Can Change in 50 Years

(photo courtesy of Flickr)

Last night, while reading my Dialogue (the Association of Bridal Consultants' newsletter), I came across some really interesting statistics taken from the June bulletin of The American Association of Retired Persons (AARP).  Their story on comparing weddings from 50 years ago to today reported eye-opening figures which not only supported the well-known facts that weddings cost a lot more now and divorce rates are higher, but also showed that brides and grooms are about 30% older, couples are having 42% fewer children and the life expectancy of men (while still lower than women) has grown an exciting 14%! 

Take a look:

Monday, August 25, 2008

Nuptials in Newark: The Wedding of Malinda Williams & Derrick "D-Nice" Jones

We posted about actress Malinda Williams' wedding blog on a little over a month ago and this passed Saturday they finally sealed the my hometown of Newark, New Jersey! The wedding was held at The Mezzanine and Malinda was absolutely radiant in a gorgeous strapless gown with tiers of pleated cascading tulle ("Evita" by Maggie Sottero).

Here are photos and Essence's account of their special day:

On Saturday, August 23, actress Malinda Williams and former rapper and present celebrity deejay Derrick "D-Nice" Jones wed in a quaint ceremony at The Mezzanine in Newark, New Jersey. As Barbra Streisand's "Evergreen" played softly, Malinda made her grand entrance, wearing an ivory, strapless, beaded, ruffled-tiered gown by Maggie Sottero, champagne Christian Louboutin satin pumps, and a veil and hair adornment compliments of Lori London, while carrying an eggplant calla lily. The couple's vintage-mod wedding theme was captured by organic décor of tall branches, ivory hydrangea, floating votive candles, and brown, taupe and ivory river rocks.
As her dad, Frederick A. Williams, III, escorted his baby girl to her hubby-in-waiting, Derrick watched his bride intently, his eyes brimming with tears. "When I saw her I lost it, because she was so beautiful," said Jones, who was debonair in a Giorgio Armani tuxedo, shirt, and pocket square, a Brioni tie, and Salvatore Ferragamo shoes. "I'm thinking, This is my wife. I'm marrying my best friend."Malinda echoed her husband's sentiments: "All I kept thinking was, I'm almost there," said the former "Soul Food" series star, beaming now that she can officially be addressed as Mrs. Jones, "just a few more steps and this is it!"The bridal party of thirteen, including bridesmaids and groomsmen were equally chic. Malinda's sis Leslie Dunn served as matron of honor, while maid of honor duties went to celebrity fashion stylist Tiffany Hasbourne.
The bridesmaids included Terri J. Vaughn, Nicole Ari Parker, Vanessa Williams, Malinda's sis Lisa Sorensen, and junior bridesmaid Ashli Jones, Derrick's daughter. All were radiant in taffy, strapless David’s Bridal gowns and chocolate sashes clipped by beautiful broaches. Derrick's best men, Chris Lighty, founder and CEO of Violator Management, and Keith Forte, along with groomsmen Scotty Morris, Anthony Rahsaan and Ryan Jones were slick in black Ralph Lauren suits. During the exchanging of vows, Malinda caused a ripple of laughter among family and friends by proclaiming an emphatic "I absolutely do!"
At the reception, the newlyweds, who have known each other since they were 18, enthusiastically greeted their guests as husband and wife before sharing an intimate first dance to Grover Washington, Jr.'s "Just The Two of Us." Deejays David Berrie, M.O.S. and Kiss alternated on the wheels of steel, spinning classic R&B and hip-hop while guests danced till midnight.As the evening came to an end, the couple walked away, hand-in-hand, but not before sharing their promises to each other. "I just want to spend every day showing her how much I love and appreciate her," said Derrick. "It's the only thing I plan to do for the rest of our days together.""I don't believe in forever," said Malinda. "What I do believe in is living it up every day, because tomorrow is not promised to us, so we can only let tomorrow take care of itself and maybe we'll reach forever. Let's just get through today and make every day a choice to stay married."

Friday, August 22, 2008

"Bonjour," "Hallo," "Ciao," "餵," "Hello" to our distant Blog Readers!

In reviewing our blog stats, as I do quite often, I was pleasantly surprised to see our national and global reach is growing!  It's official...people are truly reading and sharing After "YES," Before "I DO" & Everything In Between
Over the last 30 days, our top 10 cities have been Newark-NJ, Oklahoma City-OK, New York-NY, Sacramento-CA, Houston-TX, Seattle-WA, Dallas-TX, Chapel Hill-NC, Chicago-IL and Atlanta-GA.  Also, some of our international readers reside in Bangkok, Sydney, Montreal and London.  Many are reading our blog entries in other languages too, such as Turkish, Italian, Thai, German, Chinese, French and Dutch.

Well, "HELLO!" to you all and thank you so much for paying us a visit!

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

St. Pucchi: Extravagant, Ostentatious Magnificence

(St. Pucchi Spring 2009, not yet available for sale)

Nowadays, it seems quite common for brides-to-be to proclaim their wish of being "simple, yet elegant" on their wedding day. Actually, I've come to expect to hear this. But the celebutante in me maintains hope that there are still a few out there openly seeking nothing short of opulence. This idea brings St. Pucchi to mind. As far as I'm concerned, St. Pucchi's designs are extravagant, ostentatious magnificence ... eye candy at its best! Feast your eyes on a few of my favorites, below.

If you're a bride-to-be looking for a truly extraordinary gown, definitely don't forget St. Pucchi. And even if you're not shopping or don't have the courage it would take to pull one of these beauties off, feel free to imagine and live vicariously through these photos.

Monday, August 18, 2008

This Week In History: Bride or Groom's Name First?, The Wedding Date Planner

Your After "Yes," Before "I Do" & Everything In Between blog archive reminder has arrived!
Take a look back at what we were discussing this week one year ago.
(wedding cake by Confetti Cakes)

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Choosing The Proper Neckline

Picking the perfect dress takes a lot of time and effort. And while brides consider beading, fullness, embroidery and bustles, they should also pay very close attention to shapes and necklines. After all, all styles are not always flattering on every body type (hence the photo above).

Here are a few guidelines to remember when choosing a neckline:

Spaghetti Straps
  • Ideal for women with small breasts and petite frames
  • Strap size: The smaller the woman, the smaller you can go with the strap
Off the Shoulder

  • Good for full breast sizes and pear shaped figures
  • Bad for full arms
  • Highlights shoulders and collar bone

  • Best suited for women with smaller breasts
  • Works well with broad shoulders
  • Bad for women with large breasts
  • De-emphasizes the bust area, usually perfect for the more conservative bride
  • Good for women with small breasts (will allow them to appear bustier)
Scoop (Round)
  • Usually good for all figures
  • Ideal for large busts
  • Good for women with medium-sized breasts interested in accentuating cleavage
  • Perfect for elongating the neck
  • Not ideal for small busts
  • Great for broad shoulders
  • Great for petite frames

  • Similar to an off-the-shoulder style, but made with more fabric
  • Better for fuller arms
  • Good for prominent collarbones

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Pop the Question in ESSENCE

Grooms-to-be, this one's for you ...
It's time for the Essence “Will You Marry Me?” Contest!

For two years, Essence has helped men create surprise marriage proposals within their pages. Millions log on to to view the proposals and vote for their favorite couple—*awarding the duo with a once-in-a-lifetime experience a fabulous all-expenses-paid wedding and honeymoon.  Now you and your beloved could be among their next set of winners.

In an email, tell Essence what makes your gal extra special and why you'd like to surprise her with a proposal in the magazine. Send your submission to no later than October 31, 2008, along with your full name, address, daytime and evening phone numbers and a photo of you and your lady.

Good Luck!

*NO PURCHASE NECESSARY. The Essence “Will You Marry Me?” Contest ends on October 31, 2008 at 11:59 PM. Open to legal male residents of the 50 United States and the District of Columbia who are 19 years or older at the time of entry. VOID WHERE PROHIBITED BY LAW.”

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

FlAVOR of the Month: August '08

Our FlAVOR of the Month for August 2008 is ...

The Woven Set of Maracas from Plum Party
(Throwing a highly charged party/reception centered around music? Building a fiesta theme? Just wanna honor your Puerto Rican heritage? These might be for you!)
Description: Maracas were created and first used by the native Indians of Puerto Rico: the Tainos, as a percussion musical instrument. A pair of these are used to create the unique sound so common in Latin American and Puerto Rican music.  For use during special events, these colorfully woven little maracas look great at each place setting or as a party favor. They really get a party going because no one can resist shakin' their maraca!  Comes in sets of 4.

(photo courtesy of

Monday, August 11, 2008

A Name After My Own Heart

If it weren't for just 1 too many "r's," I might have had to declare the name of this gown, which is Rasharna, to be extraordinarily PERFECT! (wink)

But aside from that, this Maggie Sottero is really a funky little number. After initially seeing it on the Polka Dot Bride blog, I just had to post about it here. If any brides-to-be out there are polka-dot lovers, you might want to try this gown on for size. It comes in white, diamond white, champagne with ivory lace/topaz accents and blush with ivory lace/blush accents. The gown also features Swarovski crystals, glass beads, bugle beads, seed beads, and sequins on an A-line empire waist with a soft organza pleated skirt with a chapel length train.

Here are a few photos, courtesy of Maloman Photographers, of a recent bride wearing Rasharna. It's always a plus to see fashion in action. Happy Planning!

NEW from The Bridal Party!

We are pleased to announce the newest addition to all service packages of The Bridal Party ... the SWEETS SIDEBOARD!
(also affectionately known as a candy buffet)

The Bridal Party will design and construct each Sweets Sideboard specifically for each of its clients, to incoporate their favorite candies, sweet treats and event color palette. All candy jars, cake stands, serving platters, utensils/scoopers and favor bags will be delivered and set up for the client. Their only job will be deciding and providing the sweets! Caramel apples, truffles, personalized M&Ms, macaroons and jelly beans are our favorites, but the options are surely endless and we'll help every step of the way to make the best choices for a gorgeous display. Guests are sure to be pleased as they hand-pick (or scoop) and prepare their own take-home confections.

Sunday, August 10, 2008

Edible Centerpieces

Pink Cake Box (one of my favorite bakeries in Northern New Jersey) recently created edible present centerpieces" for a Tiffany & Co. themed bridal shower. What I great idea!

Each cake surprised its guest table with a different flavor too ... some almond cake with amaretto filling, a few others lemon cake with fresh strawberries and vanilla custard, a couple chocolate cake with oreos and cream, and finally red velvet cake with lemon cream cheese filling. As usual, job well done!

Saturday, August 9, 2008

27 Dresses?

... well, just in case you're still deciding, here are a few more to consider for the maids. Happy Shopping!

Tea length princess line gown with contrasting trim and separate sash.
Silk dupioni bubble hem bridesmaid dress. Also available in brown, blue, black and white.

Left: Shirred strapless dress with sweetheart neckline. Features skirt with detachable train. Right: Strapless gown with tea length skirt. Features ruffle detail on bodice and princess seams on skirt.
Left: Slate-gray silk shantung A-line bubble dress accented with gathered Cummerbund at waist, ruffled hem. Right: Raisin chiffon sheath with gathered bodice, ribbon trim at empire waist.
Left: Scarlet silk shantung A-line tea-length gown, halter neckline, natural waist, cascade drape in front. Right: Satin A-line gown, square neckline, pleated drop waist and tie at back.
Left: Sweetheart neckline dress with asymmetrical pleated bodice, fit and flare skirt accented with contrast color sash. Extra length not available. Available in two-tone or solid color. Right: Halter neckline dress with asymmetrical pleated bodice, A-line skirt.

Sleeveless silk bubble v-neck available in a multitude of color variations such as purple, brown, blue, beige, black, yellow, green, red and pink.

Thursday, August 7, 2008

Cham"painless" Flutes

I was lucky enough to have received a set of gorgeous Swarovski Crystalline toasting flutes for my wedding from co-workers. And, my August 3rd bride had a pair of engraved "Park Avenue" beauties, drenched in Austrian crystals, from Things Remembered (pictured above). But not everyone is willing to sacrifice such a pretty penny on this sort of keepsake.

So ... here are a few very affordable options, courtesy of Target!

  1. "Vina" - set of 6 for $19.99
  2. "Magnifico" - set of 4 for $24.99
  3. Jean M. "Flared" - set of 2 for $30.99
  4. "Esperienze" - set of 4 for $29.99
  5. "Atelier" - set of 4 for $29.99

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