Thursday, September 25, 2008

Passion For Planning Your Own Wedding ≠ Passion For Wedding Planning As A Business

One of my favorite wedding planner blogs, Tidbits on Weddings by Socialites, featured a really interesting post today.  Kelly McWilliams, the blog's author and extraordinarily talented destination wedding planner, mentioned a few thoughts on the difficulty of being a wedding planner and operating a planning/consulting business...and I don't think I could have expressed it any better (thanks Kelly).

I love planning weddings and events, but this is SERIOUS business folks ... not a hobby, not a past-time, not a part-time job.  And if you're interested in hiring a planner, make sure he/she shares the sentiments above and below.  Here's an excerpt from Kelly's blog to consider, especially those who tend to doubt the value of having an experienced and dedicated wedding planner/consultant or persons interested in building a career in wedding planning themselves.  Also, having planned your own wedding and done a good job does not mean you can/will/should succeed as a wedding planner/consultant.  A unique skill-set is required (see below).
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Here's the thing gang. It is HARD and I mean really hard to be a wedding planner. I am not even going to try and deny that. Is it fun? Yes. I love it. I am totally addicted. When I talk to a bride and I say, "I am so excited!" I am not kidding- I really am. You have to have a passion for it. A passion for planning your own wedding does not mean you will have the passion to plan 15 weddings at the same time, with 15 different personalities, tastes, and styles. And if you're going to do this for a career, that's what you have to plan on doing. Also, you have to be prepared to work your arse off. I work a minimum of 60 hours a week, and during our wedding seasons, there are weeks on end where I don't get a day off and I work 14 hour days 3 weeks straight. Why do wedding planners have to work so much? Because on top of the weddings that we're planning, It's a business that has to be run. Accounting, marketing, public relations, administrative- it's a long list. I so wish that there was a wedding tv show that showed what this job is really like. I think so many people would be surprised.

(Photo courtesy of Gembso Events)

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Ask Rashana ...

Planning a NJ wedding from out-of-town and need the inside scoop on the Garden State?  Looking for tips on how to better handle your meddling FMIL (Future Mother In-Law) during your wedding planning process?  Not sure what style or color shoe will go best with your wedding gown?  Can't decide between two or three or five color schemes and would like an objective opinion?

Ask Rashana!

As founder and managing director of The Bridal Party LLC, I have lots of knowledge to share as well as a few tricks up my sleeve.  So brides, it doesn't matter what your question is and you may be as open as you wish.  I'd love to help and answer any wedding/event related questions you may have!  Just email your question and we'll anonymously post here at After "Yes," Before "I Do" and Everything In Between.

Monday, September 22, 2008

Cues From The Red Carpet: 2008 Emmy Awards

Last night, the 60th Annual Emmy Awards aired and of course, all eyes were on the fashions on the red carpet. Some stayed in line with tradition, but there were plenty trend-setters as well. The one-shoulder look definitely seemed to be a popular choice.

Here are a few cues from the red carpet for brides:
(click on bridal fashions to enlarge ... my favorite, as always, is the Oscar de la Renta at the end)

America Ferrera
(Inspired options for brides from the following collections: Amsale, The Cotton Bride)

Nicollette Sheridan
(Inspired options for brides from the following collections: Oleg Cassini by David's Bridal, Edgardo Bonilla)

Eva Longoria-Parker
(Inspired options for brides from the following collections: Angel Sanchez, Amsale)
Heidi Klum
(Inspired options for brides from the following collections: Badgely Mischka, Vera Wang)
Christina Applegate
(Inspired options for brides from the following collections: Amsale, Oscar de la Renta)

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Promo Pics!

Enter for a chance to win a free Classico wedding photography package from Bella Pictures!

The free wedding package will include one Bella Certified Photographer, unlimited photographs, digital negatives and online proofing. You will also receive a 30-page 10" x 10" flush mount album as well as three 8" x 10" prints and three 5" x 7" prints.

When you're planning the wedding of your dreams, every little bit (of help) counts.

Enter Today!

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Sneak Peek: Chocolate Twist

Plans for my Chocolate Twist bride are coming along really well. I can't wait to share details and photos, but for now, here's a tiny teaser.

More to come in a couple months...

Facelift Anyone?

Abdominoplasty, calf augmentation, collagen injections, liposuction...yes, all huge trends among celebs and even us regular people too. Let's face it, in this day and age you must be willing to adjust and update yourself, right?  Well, guess who'll be adding to those revampment statistics, sort of.  Instead, we're tearing it all down and starting fresh.

Stay tuned for The Bridal Party's website redesign...courtesy of none other than OnyxCode!

Monday, September 15, 2008 photography

Today, I've decided to profile and share a recent interview I conducted with a talented up-and-coming photographer, who also happens to be one of my childhood friends. He started out as a graphic designer and has studied photography in order to add it to his répertoire yielding work that is so inspiring. Also, his dedication to excellence truly admirable. Those of us in the wedding business know how important it is for service providers to be committed, skilled and honest. After all, we're handling people's once in a lifetimes...and as veteran wedding planner Linyette Richardson-Hall would say, "there are no do-over's."

Introducing Chad Pennington, founder and lead photographer of photography!

How/Why Did You Decide To Offer Photography As A Service?
I've always loved photography as an art. I started out with graphic design and through that I got a feel for a great many arts, but always had certain images in my mind and ideas of photos. Being a graphic designer, photography sort of came easy to me, but I was sure to study and made sure I did my homework before officially adding it on as a service. To make it plain, I studied photography for 3 years before purchasing my first camera. Why? Because even as a child I remember my mother telling me "when you're doing a service for someone, whether they're spending $10 or $10,000, do the same work and be dedicated."

What Inspires Certain Shots? What Drives Your Creativity?
The people and the moment. I'm a people person, so I interact and make sure everyone is lively and participating. I also draw from things I've studied. I've kind of developed a plethora of ideas in my head that I pull from at certain times. Honestly, the most important thing for me is to leave someone with memories they can go back to after 20 or 30 years, some they may have forgotten but the work is there to help them remember. They may not remember the photographer, but they have those details to treasure.

Are Your Favorite Photos Of The People or Of The Details? Would You Call Your Style "Photo journalistic?"
I would say my favorite shots are of the people. Detail shots are always great to make an album complete, but for those who perhaps could not make it to the wedding, with good photography showing emotion and expression they're able to look and get a sense of what it was like to have been in that moment. As far as technique, I would say I'm more "freestyle" than "photo journalistic." I don't limit myself to a boxed-in type of format. I'm always aiming to tell the story through pictures without following any specific mold.

What Techniques Do You Use In Order To Get Your Shots Unobtrusively?
I use a telephoto lens which allows me to stay further away, but I also have 85mm and 55mm that help really capture the important moments without interrupting. Plus, I'm always mobile throughout each event. I stay on the move.

What Would You Say Is Your Primary Goal? service the need. That's why I stay flexible because everyone has different needs. I really enjoy making people happy, so this comes really easy for me. For instance, I just signed up with a non-profit agency called Flashes of Hope where photographers dedicate their time to shoot children in hospitals fighting Cancer. I love it! Just to see someone light up and be able to capture that moment is priceless. I would never be able to capture that through graphic design and that's why I really love photography.

What Sets You Apart From Other Photographers?
The finish! It's all about the finish. And with my background in graphic design, it allows for a more pristine result. It's all in the details at the end of the day.

Friday, September 12, 2008

FlAVOR of the Month: September 2008

This month I stumbled upon two awesome favor ideas and just couldn't decide which was better, so our FlAVORs of the Month for September 2008 (which happen to be right in line with the fast-approaching change of the seasons) are ...

Marzipan Chocolate Pumpkins from Martine's Chocolates

Each of these tasty candies are handmade. They are hollow chocolate enhanced with food coloring. Too cute!
For a perfect presentation, place them into clear boxes and affix a personalized tag with the couple's names and/or monogram. Available flavors include Milk Chocolate, Dark Chocolate and White Chocolate.

3-Way Photoframe Paperweights from
Latest Buy

This is definitely not your average paperweight. It's like, out-of-the-box thinking, but totally in-the-box! Each crystal cube holds three photos and the invisible mirrors inside allow you to see all three photos at three different angles. Simply tie ribbons in your wedding colors around each and voilà! = a multi-dimensional and multi-functional favor.

(photos courtesy of and

Thursday, September 11, 2008

This Week In History: Wedding Logos, Websites for Ideas, Fall '07 Palettes

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 Sugar-Couture)

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Oh Baby!

Yesterday I received a few snapshots of my clients Keisha & Keith's new baby boy, Jacob Aidan.  Isn't he a cutie?! 

Jacob was born July 1st and made 10 weeks yesterday.  Keisha, just having finished maternity leave, is now back working but still basking in blessing of motherhood and is in complete awe of her little "Jakey." Also, the proud Mommy and Daddy are gearing up to celebrate their 1st wedding anniversary on October 20th.  Boy, time sure does fly!  So happy for them.

Monday, September 8, 2008

Shirley & James: Fairy Tale Flutter

Today, I finally got to feast my eyes on my June 15th couple's photos!  The photographer, Airlangga Wattimena did a magnificient job and like most event planners who anxiously await snapshots of their work, I felt like a child on Christmas Day.

Soon after I first met Shirley, I tagged her my Fairy Tale Flutter bride because she requested the sweetest theme of butterflies and fairies.  I first put together an inspiration board and the ideas continued to flow from there. 

To adhere to her theme tastefully we constructed a garden theme and developed a cohesive ambiance throughout.  For example, crystal butterflies were strewn through her bouquet of apricot and ivory roses and delicate paper butterflies were positioned along the ceremonial arch as well as in all floral arrangements and centerpieces.  The bride wore a gorgeous lace sheath with a custom mantilla.  In her hair she wore a sparkling butterfly headband by Giancarlo Miranda (plus the matching bracelet cuffed her wrist).  Pink Cake Box provided the miniature wedding cakes gifted to each guest at the end of the night, and of course sugar butterflies sat atop each of the gorgeous confections.  Finally, we decided to make the wedding cake a show-stopper, so the 4-tier beauty was iced with chocolate to compliment the latte/brown/blue color scheme.

The wedding was lovely ... a romantic Sunday-afternoon celebration held at The Madison Hotel in Morristown, New Jersey.

(special thanks to pianist Jamal Barnes, hair stylist Alnisa Hanks, makeup artist Tamiko Hargrove and wedding day assistants Jocelyn McKnight and Chavonne Lenoir)

Thursday, September 4, 2008

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Bon Appetit, by way of Williams-Sonoma

Williams-Sonoma's schedule of Autumn cooking classes has been released!  These are perfect opportunities to learn new culinary techniques to surprise your fiance/hubby with during the holiday season.  Classes include demonstrations and samples of featured dishes, as well as printed recipes to take home with you.  Space is limited, so make your reservation right away.  Each class is $55.

The following schedule is for Bridgewater Commons, New Jersey (908.707.9222).  If you're interested in classes in other locations, call your local Williams-Sonoma store for information.

TUESDAY, SEPTEMBER 16 - Gastropub Cooking
A culinary trend that began in London in the 1990s, gastropub cuisine has won over diners with innovative, well-executed dishes rooted in traditional pub fare, with influences from other European cuisines. On the menu: Mesclun, Arugula, and Fennel with Prosciutto and Pear Vinaigrette, Aubergine and Tomato Stacks, Roasted Chicken with Bacon, and Warm Molten Chocolate Cakes.
Presented by: Chef David Ritter

SUNDAY, SEPTEMBER 14 - Fall Dinner Party
From our New Flavors cookbook series, this dinner party menu shows off autumn ingredients at their seasonal best, including wild mushrooms, hearty root vegetables, and sugar pie pumpkins. Best of all, you can do some of the prep work in advance. On the menu: Warm Wild Mushroom Salad with Bacon Vinaigrette, Roasted Beets with Orange and Herbed Goat Cheese, Porter-Braised Chicken Thighs with Root Vegetables, and Brown Sugar Pumpkin Pie with Toasted Pecan Crust.
Presented by: Chef Maral Apelian Banks

MONDAY, SEPTEMBER 22 - A Farm-Fresh Supper
Supporting local farming is garnering much attention these days, so head to your farmers' market and pick up the ingredients for a seasonal supper. From our New Flavors cookbook series, these recipes allow the fresh flavors to shine. On the menu: Chickpea Dip with Toasted Cumin and Pomegranate, Sauteed Broccoli Rabe with Garlic, Anchovies, and Chile Flakes, and Braised Chicken with Apples, Cider, and Brandy
Presented by: Chef Michael A. J. Greene

SUNDAY, OCTOBER 5 - Autumn Brunch
These brunch recipes, from our Essentials of Breakfast and Brunch cookbook, are just right for a simple weekend meal or a house full of guests. Some of the dishes can be prepared the night before, so even the cook can enjoy a few extra winks! On the menu: Fresh Citrus Spritzers, Scrambled Eggs with Spinach and White Cheddar, Almond Breakfast Cake, and Savory Brioche Pudding with Prosciutto.
Presented by: Chef Maral Apelian Banks

MONDAY, OCTOBER 13 - Making Pizza at Home
Learn to make pizza that rivals the finest pizzerias! Once you master basic crust and sauce recipes, the possibilities are limited only by your imagination. On the menu: Thin-Crust Pizza Dough, Simple Tomato Sauce, Pizzette with Garlic, Mushrooms, and Goat Cheese, and Sausage and Artichoke Calzone.
Presented by: Chef Michael A. J. Greene

TUESDAY, OCTOBER 7 - Dinner in France
French cuisine is beloved for a good reason: The food is rich, delicious, and immensely satisfying. You'll learn to prepare some classic dishes using recipes from our Taste of the World cookbook. On the menu: Wild Mushrooms Tartlets, Potato Gratin, Braised Chicken with Shallots, and Poached Pears in Spiced Red Wine.
Presented by: Chef David Ritter

MONDAY, OCTOBER 20 - Williams-Sonoma Family Meals: A Simple Supper
Our new book, Williams-Sonoma Family Meals, encourages families to share the pleasures of cooking together. This simple supper features seasonal ingredients, from fresh herbs to butternut squash, and ends with a decadent chocolate treat that is a guaranteed crowd-pleaser. On the menu: Grilled Vegetable Antipasto, Herbed Garden Salad with Goat Cheese, Roasted Butternut and Bacon Pasta, and The Best Hot Chocolate with Marshmallows.
Presented by: Chef Michael A. J. Greene

MONDAY, OCTOBER 27 - Cocktail-Party Hors d'Oeuvres
During the holidays, you can never have too many recipes for hors d'oeuvres. To help you expand your repertoire, we selected these savory starters from our new book Mix Shake Stir; they're perfect for serving at cocktail parties or before a formal dinner. On the menu: Fried Green Olives, Crostini with Root Vegetables and Goat Cheese, Dried Cherry, Bacon, and Pecan Mix, and Warm Tomato Chutney Dip.
Presented by: Chef Michael A. J. Greene

SUNDAY, NOVEMBER 9 - Williams-Sonoma Family Meals: Casual Get-Together
From our new Williams-Sonoma Family Meals cookbook, this dinner menu encourages the entire family to cook together. There are simple tasks for everyone, and the team effort will produce scrumptious results. On the menu: Hummus and Pita Bread, Tabbouleh, Chicken Kebobs, and Chocolate-Striped Pudding Cups.
Presented by: Chef Maral Apelian Banks

Monday, September 1, 2008

License to be Married

One of my closest friends was married via civil service wedding this past July (the happy family are pictured above). For many civil services are becoming more and more appealing because of their convenience, low cost and of course lack of stress. Brides and grooms who practice different religions and/or are from varying cultural backgrounds find civil service weddings to be a better option as well. But, whether you're being married at a City Hall or at a church, obtaining the marriage license is the first essential step. So, how does one go about applying for a marriage license in New Jersey?

Applications for a New Jersey marriage license must be acquired at the municipal office in the bride's town. If the bride is not a resident of New Jersey, the couple may apply at the municipal office of the groom's town. If both are non-residents they can apply at the municipal office of the town where the ceremony will take place.

The application fee is $28.00.

Required Persons
When applying, the bride, groom and one witness (at least 18 years old) must be present.

Identification Required
Birth certificates are required for proof of age. If birth certificates are not available, two other forms of ID displaying date of birth are required (such as a driver's license, passport, baptism document, military release document or non-driver's license photo ID). In some cases, proof of residency may also be required.

Age/Consent Requirements
Anyone under the age of 18 would need parental consent documents signed by both parents. Anyone under the age of 16 would need parental consent documents AND a judges approval.

Physical Exams
Premarital blood tests are no longer required in the state of New Jersey.

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Finally, here are at-a-glance instruction sheets with more detailed information on the processes in both New Jersey and New York:

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