Friday, October 31, 2008

The Bridal Party Arrives on Facebook!

The Bridal Party  is thrilled to announce its fan page on FACEBOOK!  So far, we have 16 fans...and counting.  As we do here on After "YES," Before "I DO" & Everything In Between, on the fan page we'll post tips, information and exciting news as well as share ideas.

We'd love for you to become a fan, so stop in soon.

Thursday, October 30, 2008

The margin is narrow, but the responsibility is clear...

I finally received my sample ballot in the mail and such feelings of both excitement and calm came over me. Just five days to go until the election and the only thing I urge you all to do, no matter who your choice is or how long the lines are ... please VOTE!

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

MTV Casting Call

Yesterday, I received an email from an MTV producer alerting me that MTV wants a front row seat on your special day!  Their documentary series, Engaged & Underage, is casting for young couples to share their stories and experiences leading up to their wedding. 

If you are already engaged, between the ages of 18-22 and getting married in 2008 or January 2009, then MTV wants to hear from you!


Include when and where you are getting married and why this is important to you.  Don't forget to also include your name, phone number, email address and a digital photo of you and your future spouse, if possible.


Monday, October 27, 2008

The Tastiest Salad Ever

Although traditionally considered a summer salad, I recently fell in love and prepared a marvelous Broccoli Salad that I thought I'd share. If you love broccoli, this recipe is for you. If you're not a fan of broccoli, this recipe is for you. It's the perfect complement to any bridal / baby shower or engagement party even. The broccoli pairs beautifully with the toasted walnuts, bacon, cranberries, and onion. A little sweet, a little tart ... delicious!

  • 5-6 cups fresh broccoli florets (about 1 pound of florets)
  • 6 to 8 slices cooked bacon, crumbled
  • 1/2 cup chopped red onion
  • 1/2 cup dried cranberries
  • 1 cup mayonnaise
  • 2 tablespoons apple-cider vinegar
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper

1: Bring a large pot of water, salted with a teaspoon of salt, to a boil. Add the broccoli florets. Cook 1-2 minutes, depending on how crunchy you want the broccoli. 1 minute will turn the broccoli bright green, and leave it still pretty crunchy. 2 minutes will cook the broccoli through, but still firm. Set your timer and do not cook for more than 2 minutes, or the broccoli will get mushy. Drain the broccoli and immediately put into a bowl of ice water to stop the cooking. Let cool and drain.

2: Combine broccoli florets, walnuts, crumbled bacon and chopped onion in a large serving bowl. In a separate bowl, whisk together mayonnaise, cider vinegar and sugar. Add dressing to the salad and toss to mix well. Chill thoroughly before serving.

3: Enjoy!

Sunday, October 26, 2008

This Week In History: DIY Cupcake Cake, Flowergirls Off-White, Bridesmaid Giftables, 2007 Honeymoon Guide

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.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

We're Up & Running!

A little over a month ago we mentioned the facelift was receiving. And finally (drumroll please), it is complete!

We worked very closely with Onyx Code and are so pleased with the very beautiful result. Onyx Code patiently and diligently brought our vision to life. A little flash, a little pizzazz, lots of inspiring photos of our work and so much more.

Stop by and pay a visit whenever you like.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Way to Really Take the Plunge

I saw this video on Good Morning America and it has got to be every bride's nightmare!
Just in case you haven't seen it ...

Monday, October 20, 2008

What's Your Bridescope?

While browsing, I came across one of the cutest features i've seen in a long time, their astrology guide for brides. The AstroTwins, identical twin sisters Tali and Ophira Edut (professional astrologers) head up this section of the site and offer lots of advice for wedding planning. Not everyone believes in astrology, but it can be lots of fun to read from time to time. So, take a break from the stress of planning and check out your Bridescope. Here are a few excerpts from their cosmic wedding planner section for each sign:

ARIES, 3/21 - 4/19
Your Bridal Style: Trendsetting, attention-grabbing, exciting, bold

What's Important to You:
  • Looking and feeling your best
  • Being one-of-a-kind and adventurous
  • The walk down the aisle—your big solo moment
  • Asserting your independence, even as you join forces
Wedding Mantra: "Through my union, I become more of myself."

TAURUS, 4/20 - 5/20
Your Bridal Style: Sophisticated, classic, tasteful, elegant, timeless

What's Important to You:
  • Uptown style that's still down-to-earth
  • A polished, graceful presentation with some formality
  • Pleasure and indulgence for all of your guests
  • Getting your money's worth
Wedding Mantra: "I invest in the best."

GEMINI, 5/21 - 6/20
Your Bridal Style: Funky, eclectic, edgy, fun
What's Important to You
  • Fast-paced action and excitement
  • Cutting-edge style with dabs of tradition
  • An awesome music mix by the best DJ
  • Lots of variety and crafty touches
Wedding Mantra: "Curiosity is my companion and guide."

CANCER, 6/21 - 7/22
Your Bridal Style: Romantic, sentimental, traditional, feminine

What's Important to You
  • Family, family and more family
  • A close, intimate and meaningful day
  • The best food and music your budget can buy
  • Nurturing and pampering your guests
Wedding Mantra: "I create a future to honor my past."

LEO, 7/23 - 8/22
Your Bridal Style: Glamorous, heartfelt, dramatic, regal

What's Important to You
  • Lots of drama and fanfare
  • A glamorous gown that puts all eyes on you
  • Pleasing and spoiling your guests
  • A spirit of warmth and exuberance
Wedding Mantra: "I celebrate in royal style."

VIRGO, 8/23 - 9/22
Your Bridal Style: Simple, detail-oriented, natural, thoughtful

What's Important to You
  • Getting great deals and sticking to a budget
  • Control over the details that matter to you
  • A good, solid plan
  • Making sure your guests aren't inconvenienced
Wedding Mantra: "I allow myself to give and receive."

LIBRA, 9/23 - 10/22
Your Bridal Style: Feminine, stylish, romantic, sweet

What's Important to You
  • Looking gorgeous in your photographs
  • A beautiful, romantic setting
  • Feeling like a total princess
  • A sweet, sentimental ceremony
Wedding Mantra: "Harmony and balance go with me everywhere."

SCORPIO, 10/23 - 11/21
Your Bridal Style: Intimate, passionate, creative, striking

What's Important to You
  • Total control over the planning and details
  • Privacy and intimacy
  • Trusting your vendors
  • A creative event with unforgettable moments
Wedding Mantra: "I envelop my guests in the beauty of my creative vision."

SAGITTARIUS, 11/22 - 12/21
Your Bridal Style: Funky, free, creative, spirited, down-to-earth

What's Important to You
  • Fun and laughter
  • Funky style and original touches
  • A great party enjoyed by all
  • A spirit of abundance and generosity
Wedding Mantra: "Today belongs to all who share it."

CAPRICORN, 12/22 - 1/19
Your Bridal Style: Traditional, simple, timeless, elegant
What's Important to You
  • Family and friends—having your nearest and dearest there
  • A solid plan and a practical budget
  • Quality over quantity
  • Honoring tradition

Wedding Mantra: "I create the new from the wisdom of the old."

AQUARIUS, 1/20 - 2/18
Your Bridal Style: Unique, fun, edgy, hip

What's Important to You
  • Doing things your way
  • Surprising your friends and guests with the unexpected
  • A fun, artsy and avant-garde vibe
  • An awesome party!
Wedding Mantra: "I reinvent tradition to be meaningful for all."

PISCES, 2/19 - 3/20
Your Bridal Style: Dreamy, imaginative, romantic, sentimental

What's Important to You
  • An air of fantasy
  • Originality and artistic (even quirky) touches
  • Sentimental, heart-stirring romance
  • Feeling like a princess
Wedding Mantra: "My dreams become reality."

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Talking out of both sides of the mouth?

I don't usually jump on a soapbox when blogging, but this has been on my mind so I've decided to share.

Often, I come across posts from my fellow wedding consultants where they shake a finger at those who fail to take our business seriously as a BUSINESS and not a hobby. Many are frustrated by the idea that a bride who planned her own wedding should automatically assume she can become a professional in the field. Many are also frustrated by ill-prepared wedding consultants giving those of us who have honed our creativity, studied and worked hard a bad name by providing shoddy service and dropping the ball. Why? Because this is serious business and there is really little room for error when you're dealing with a client's once-in-a-lifetime event. A hired planner must be ready...there are no test-runs. However, some of the same consultants who complain are, in my opinion, enabling the behavior they claim to disapprove of. How? By offering "how to be a wedding planner" classes that often suggest if someone's a bride who recently got married feels she can be a professional wedding planner that the class is perfect for them. Facilitators of these courses also often downplay credited courses or formal educational programs, suggesting they might be a waste of time. And to top it all off, these "learn from the best" class fees usually range between $700 - $1500 for 5 hours. Now that's a big cherry, huh?

There are many different ways to pursue a dream. One can seek structured education in that field or one can seek hands-on/on-the-job training. There's never really one set path for everyone. Furthermore, what's getting lost here is the requirement of innate talent. For example, you may really, really, really want to become a painter, but if you lack the basic talent no number of painting classes or internships with successful artists is going to guarantee your success. The bottom line is, no single Saturday course (with lunch included) will make you a wedding planner worthy of a couples hard-earned money, especially in this recession. It's not that I think one shouldn't participate in a class or two along these lines, but know that there is much more required and it's not going to be easy. If these important points are left out, many could be at risk of being misled and further give those of us who are focused on top-notch service a bad name.

Ok ... I'm stepping down now.
Happy Planning!

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Ask Rashana: Confused in Houston

Dear Rashana,

I don't even know where to start. I am newly engaged and am now having to plan a wedding. I have never been one of those people who wanted to look like a barbie doll following a lot of traditions. I am very traditional in a non-traditional way. I just don't know where to begin.

We will be on a budget...I am guessing $10K. Staying on budget is very important. I want a small wedding party (just my sister as maid of honor)...I want everything to be chic, simple, and eclectic...I'd like the ceremony and reception to be held at the same place...the DJ and cake are very important. If you've ever seen the show Girlfriends, I want the wedding Joan would have, but on a budget.

How much should I expect to pay for a venue? How much is too much for catering? I really don't like the look of hotel weddings, so what are my options?

Confused in Houston

* * * * * * * * * *
Dear Confused in Houston,
Congratulations on your engagement! Although I work primarily with brides in the New Jersey / New York area, I can tell you with confidence that it's definitely possible to have the chic, simple and eclectic wedding in Houston, on a $10K budget. The average U.S. wedding costs $14K - $36K and Houston weddings tend to start a bit higher (around $18K), but there are several steps you can take to cut costs.

The first thing you should do is set a date at least 18 to 24 months from now. This will give you the time you'll need to research and negotiate prices. I always tell my brides EVERYTHING is negotiable, but starting early always gives you an extra "edge." Procrastinating will cost ya.

Thank goodness you're looking to have a "Joan Clayton" wedding and not a "Toni Childs" extravaganza, complete with Romona Keveza digs (wink). It sounds like you're comfortable being practical, so this could be easier than you think. Plus, you've already got the right idea in keeping your wedding party small. Just try to apply this to your guest list too, if possible. A number of 75 or less would be best.

Your reception will carry the biggest price tag. You should expect to spend 55%-65% of your budget here. So, when choosing the facility, consider a banquet hall or rented facility that accepts outside catering. Bringing in a caterer for a buffet meal could be a cheaper option than using a venue with their own kitchen. Definitely weigh both options, but think buffet no matter what. If you haven't already, you might want to check out Events Etc., The Milford House or Masraff's.  There's no clear answer to "how much is too much for catering," you'll just have to shop around and take time to taste, literally.  And if you're interested in having alcohol, consider limiting it to just beer and wine. Also, look into having a morning wedding and afternoon reception. You might save even more if you consider a Sunday instead of a Saturday.
Finally, being that you're not looking to follow many of the common wedding traditions, you may be able to fore go having lots of flowers and create centerpieces and focal points out of other materials to come up with something really special and cost efficient. When selecting a photographer, videographer and DJ, consider giving a newcomer or freelancer a shot. Also, plan to take on a few DIY (Do-It-Yourself) projects, such as invitations, programs and menu cards.  Michael's always has lots to choose from.

Best of Luck to You!
(photo courtesy of TheKnot - Wedding for 75 held at Masraff's, Houston TX)

Friday, October 17, 2008

McCaffrey International Trunk Show

We just received word that the McCaffrey International Trunk Show is going on now through October 19th at Kleinfeld Bridal.  Next to Oscar de la Renta and Romona Keveza, McCaffrey is my absolute favorite designer of bridal gowns.  Not many design houses can even begin to compare.  And the gowns featured during this exclusive event have never been viewed by the public.

Brides, you won't want to miss this one! 
Appointments are limited, so book now to ensure availability. 
Call (646) 633-4300.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

With this click, I thee wear...your NEW something BLUE

Introducing Wedding 2.0 from Bluefly!

Whether you're "in it" or just "invited," Bluefly has created a special section dedicated to helping you find the perfect wedding ensemble.  Everything from gowns to men's suits to shoes to handbags are at your fingertips, up to 40% off regular prices.  Check it out.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Tag, I'm It!

Lately, there has been quite a bit of tagging on my favorite blogs...and just when I was starting to feel left out, Jane from Delight Your Senses tagged me!  Thanks, Jane.

Here goes ...

Four things I did today:

1. Sat in meetings for 1/2 the day

2. Prepared spaghetti for dinner

3. Gave birthday gift ideas for someone's girlfriend

4. Watched The Real Housewives of Atlanta for the first time

Four things on my to-do list:

1. Final details meeting with November 1st bride

2. Check my mailbox

3. Order menu cards for November 28th bride

4. Try on my Halloween costume

Four of my guiltiest pleasures:

1. McDonald's

2. Reality TV

3. Gossip & fashion blogs

4. Shopping!

Four random facts about me:

1. I skipped the 7th grade and graduated highschool at 16

2. I am surrounded by folks named William and/or Keith (my husband's first and middle names are William and Keith; my father's name is Keith; my father-in-law's name is William; my grandfather's name was William; my great-grandfather's name was William; my brother's name is Keith)

3. My great grandmother's nickname for me is "Bubba"

4. I LOVE to sing

* * * * * * * * * *

And now I'm gonna tag the following people ...

Michelle at Charming: By Design
Christina at cHill Weddings
Danielle at Urban Glamour Style & Beauty Tips blog

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Larger-Than-Life Fairytale

For their wedding, Baltimore Ravens Daniel Wilcox and Shauna Chin had a larger-than-life fairytale book created for their ceremony (pictured above).  Can't say I've ever seen anything like that before.  I'm sure their guests were in awe.  Overall, they pulled out all the stops ... the couple married on the 50-yard line, the bride wore a couture Pnina Tornai gown and the guest list topped 300.  Seems they did most everything BIG.

Here are a few additional photos courtesy of Essence magazine:

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

FlAVOR of the Month: October 2008

This month I found a favor that's quite traditional...but with a personalized twist.  Our FlAVOR of the Month for October 2008 is ...

The Personalized Hershey Kiss from Beau-Coup
Hershey’s has been making chocolate candy since 1907.  For couples looking for the classic American treat to pass out on their wedding day, look no further.  You are even able to choose full-size bars or miniatures if you like.  Plus, Beau-Coup guarantees exquisite printing so your favors will look classy and professional.

(photo courtesy of

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

This Week In History: Martha's Bride's Guide, My Evening with Mr. Fabulous, Wedding Graffiti

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.

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