Sunday, February 28, 2010

Registry Event: Get The Star Treatment

New Jersey Brides, join Macy's Wedding & Gift Registry for an event featuring fun beverages, hors d'oeuvres, and great registry experts to help you create your dream registry. Bring your fiancé and he can play 007 with the scan gun while you sip your drink and approve his choices. You'll also receive a fabulous gift from The Knot. The perfect weeknight date!

Call the number below for your chosen store to reserve a spot now! Please be sure to include your phone number, which store you are coming to, and how many people plan to attend.

Date: Wednesday, March 3rd
Time: 7:00pm
Macy's Freehold
3710 Route 9 South
Freehold, NJ 07728
Upper Level
RSVP: 732-761-6305

Macy's Willowbrook
1100 Willowbrook Mall
Wayne, NJ 07470
Upper Level
RSVP: 973-812-6105

Date: Thursday, March 4th
Time: 7:00pm
Macy's Bridgewater
400 Commons Way
Bridgewater, NJ 08807
3rd Floor
RSVP: 908-429-3305

Date: Friday, March 5th
Time: 7:00pm
Macy's Short Hills
1220 Morris Turnpike
Short Hills, NJ 07078
3rd Floor
RSVP: 973-912-5605

Macy's Rockaway
75 Townsquare Mall
Rockaway, NJ 07866
Lower level
RSVP: 973-442-2605

Date: Friday March 12th
Time: 7:00pm
Macy's Paramus Garden State
500 Garden State Plaza
Paramus, NJ 07652
Lower Level
RSVP: 201-291-3305

If the above date don't work for you, keep checking for future Sip & Scan events in your area!

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by Rashana Anderson
Founder & Managing Director, THE BRIDAL PARTY

Saturday, February 27, 2010

Trust, Devotion, Friendship

Today I came across this little video all about bridesmaids, courtesy of The Dessy Group.  In just over two minutes, it covers the role of the bridesmaid and even touches on the history behind it.  For instance, did you know in ancient times bridesmaids were "protectors against evil spirits?"  Go figure!  And with that said, in many instances, not much has changed.  After all, being a bridesmaid has a lot to do with trust, devotion and friendship.  The very best of intentions are required from each bridesmaid and from the bride during such a high-pressure time, but it's also important to have FUN!

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by Rashana Anderson
Founder & Managing Director, THE BRIDAL PARTY

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Cozy Cup

So wedding blog = wedding posts, I know.  But I'm so in love with my new "cozy" that I felt compelled to share with all of you.  Doesn't my Starbucks non-fat chai tea latte look snugly and comfy?  You've got to admit, my pink coffee-cup-cozy is nothing short of adorable.  Courtesy of Wayside Violet, it's hand knit with a gorgeous cable stitch, the perfect eco-friendly alternative to those disposable paper sleeves. Plus, Wayside Violet offers a variety of nifty colors and styles.  Too cute!

Check out Wayside Violet's etsy shop and blog for more cozy, lovely items.  And definitely consider a coffee-cup-cozy for each of your bridesmaids*.
(*You should have known I'd find a way to tie this back to weddings...)

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by Rashana Anderson
Founder & Managing Director, THE BRIDAL PARTY

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

After "I DO"...Where to Bid Adieu

Spring is on its way and I'm already excited about being in the thick of wedding season.  And as we planners and brides-to-be continue with scoping and preparing for THE BIG DAY, it's also important to remember to put just as much thought into THE BIG DAYS AFTER.  That's right gals/guys, don't forget about the honeymoon.  I always say the honeymoon is likely the best of times between newlyweds, so special attention should be paid...especially when it comes to accommodations.

Now if you're on a tight budget, I may not be the person to talk to when it comes to destinations and accommodations.  Why?  Because ever since my husband and I honeymooned in Hawaii, frolicking the suites and sights of Halekulani and Fairmont Kea Lani (pictured above), we've somewhat unashamedly become hotel snobs.  For us, resorts and accommodations are extremely important and on them we do not skimp (which is why I don't do honeymoons and refer all of my clients to a world-class agent...wink).  Still, this doesn't mean you have to break the bank.  For goodness sake, you will have just gotten married.  But just remember to make it special and put lots of thought into your first days together as husband and wife.

Here are six of my favorite luxury resorts, perfect for honeymoons this year:
Four Seasons Resort Sharm El Sheikh, Egypt (Africa)
Enjoy a seaside resort experience unparalleled in the Middle East. Superb dining, spa, fitness, diving and sports – and luxurious guest rooms clustered like a hillside village above the shimmering drama of the Red Sea.

Clayoquot Wilderness Resorts and Spa, Vancouver Island (British Columbia, Canada)
A premier eco-safari destination inspired by late 19th century Great Camps. Situated at the mouth of the Bedwell River, where it spills into a nine-mile-long fjord, an enclave of 20 great white canvas guest tents, massage and treatment tents, dining tents, lounge tents and a massive timber cookhouse peek out shyly from the dense bush. This resort offers a discreet paradox of individual pampering, and remote, untamed wilderness.

Scottsdale Hyatt Regency Resort and Spa at Gainey Ranch, Sonoran Desert (Arizona)
Set amidst flowering cactus and framed against the majestic McDowell Mountains, private lakeside casitas overlook the Sonora mountains with rooftop decks for prime stargazing. Perfect for golfers and tennis players. Plus, their fabulous spa, Spa Avania, covers 2.7 acres of indoor/outdoor treatment rooms, gardens, pools, and meditative spaces.

Amanjiwo, Indonesia
This resort overlooks Borobudur, the ninth-century Buddhist sanctuary. Rice paddies and distant volcanoes complete the landscape. Couples looking for something special should book the Dalem Jiwo suite, which has a private 15-meter infinity pool and a personal butler on call around the clock. A beautiful natural location, outstanding facilities, exceptional service and a small number of rooms to ensure exclusivity and privacy.

Burj Al Arab, Dubai (United Arab Emirates)
This legendary and symbolic hotel has attracted international attention and awe, ensuring its place as one of the most photographed structures in the world. Designed to resemble a billowing sail, Burj Al Arab soars to a height of 321 metres, dominating the Dubai skyline. Illuminated at night by choreographed lighting representing water and fire – Burj Al Arab is simply individual, inspired, impressive.

One&Only Palmilla, San Jose Del Cabo (Mexico)
Considered The "Jewel Of Baja," the serenely private and sensually elegant One&Only Palmilla features expansive ocean-facing accommodations, each with veranda, sunbeds, and indulgent amenities. Internationally acclaimed as the quintessential embodiment of elegance, every need is attended to with gracious hospitality, and the distinctive artistry of Mexico is discovered at every turn, from wrought iron as delicately patterned as lace to massive wooden doors weathered with age for authentic beauty.

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by Rashana Anderson
Founder & Managing Director, THE BRIDAL PARTY

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Wedding Bootcamp...In The City

If you're free this coming Monday, head on over to Ralph Lauren's daughter's famous candy store, Dylan's Candy Bar, and discover the latest tips & trends to help you plan your wedding!

This educational seminar will feature the best vendors from the weddings industry, so let the experts teach you how to avoid hidden costs and save. Get step by step details, loopholes and "tricks of the trade."  Learn proper etiquette for the ceremony, rehearsal dinners, engagement parties, showers, and bachelorette parties.  Enjoy cake tastings, cocktails, gift bags, AND enjoy complimentary mini-makeup consultations from Bobbi Brown The Studio.

Sign Up Now!

The Wedding Bootcamp - New York, NY
Show date: Monday February 22, 2010
Show hours: 6:00 PM to 8:30 PM
Venue: Dylan's Candy Bar
Address: 1011 Third Ave, New York, NY 10021

Dylan's Candy Bar is an experience in of itself, so if you haven't had the pleasure of visiting, here's an advance video tour:

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by Rashana Anderson
Founder & Managing Director, THE BRIDAL PARTY

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Hostess with the GIVEAWAY!

Hostess with the Mostess™, one of my absolute favorite virtual destinations, is holding a SURPRISE GIVEAWAY for brides-to-be (and to any friends & family members looking to help them out with a generous, budget-boosting gift)!  MagnetStreet Weddings is offering up a fantastic wedding invitation giveaway at Hostess with the Mostess™ this week: 100 Pocket-Style Wedding Invitations & Coordinating RSVP Cards…an amazing $425 value!!

• Post a comment to the HWTM blog telling them which Pocket-Style Wedding Invitation design(s) from MagnetStreet Weddings you especially love!
• Giveaway ends Sunday, February 21st at midnight PST. Winner is chosen randomly and will be announced on the HWTM blog as soon as they’ve accepted the prize. Good luck, everyone!!

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by Rashana Anderson
Founder & Managing Director, THE BRIDAL PARTY

Ask Rashana: Do You Ever Turn Down Business?

Dear Rashana,
I'm an up-and-coming videographer slowly breaking into the wedding industry.  Right now, in addition to acquiring clients, I've been focusing on setting up a proper and fair business model through market research and networking.  But one issue I'm still a little wary of is if it's ever OK to turn down a potential client's business?  I read in your interview on the Think Splendid blog that celebrity event planner Preston Bailey gave you the best piece of business advice you've ever received ("No matter how afraid you are or how unqualified you might feel, never walk away from an opportunity...").  But does this mean you'd never turn down business?
- Video Girl

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Dear Video Girl,
When I first began building a foundation for THE BRIDAL PARTY I never planned to turn any potential clients away.  I was eager and anxious to take on all inquiries.  I realized fairly quickly however, I could not run an honest and meaningful company if I failed to set expectations and standards.  There are two things in play here: 1) Ability/Talent and 2) Trust/Comfort.  As far as ability/talent, thankfully I have yet to come across an event I felt I couldn't handle with flawless execution.  But if this were to ever become the case, I'd graciously refer that client to a colleague I was confident would better suit her/his needs.  When it comes to trust/comfort, it's imperative that brides and grooms feel comfortable with their wedding vendors, but it's equally as important that wedding vendors feel comfortable with their brides/grooms.  And for this reason, yes, I have turned down business.  It hasn't happened often (thank goodness), but it has happened.

As you build your business, I'd recommend you check out a few of Harry Beckwith's books, particularly "What Clients Love: A Field Guide To Growing Your Business."  In it, Harry lists these four rules for choosing clients - because after all, our prospective clients shouldn't be the only ones choosing.
  1. Trust Your Instincts. If something feels wrong, it will be.
  2. Bad clients don't produce minimal returns; they produce losses.
  3. If a prospect is most interested in cost, you will never be happy and always be vulnerable.
  4. You cannot cut a bad deal with a good person or a good deal with a bad person.
Also look out for early warning signs and red flags, like promises of future work, severe questioning of your rates, weird contract revision requests and the stick-and-move technique (continuously playing on your sympathy in efforts to obtain "extras" not agreed upon).  As you referenced in your letter, Mr. Preston Bailey did give me the best business advice I've received thus far, about never walking away from an opportunity, but even he openly admitted on his blog recently,
NOT ALL CLIENTS ARE RIGHT FOR YOU!  If, in the first meeting, your gut is hurting do not take this job. This might be one of the biggest mistakes I have made in the past–a mistake that cost me not only money but many sleepless nights.
For me, it's essential that I run a business based upon integrity, dedication, flawless execution and honesty.  Thus, making certain my clients and I are comfortable and that we trust each other is far more important than any profit to be made on my behalf by entering into an agreement with them. 

I hope this helps,

P.S. As an "ole film buff," I LOVE-LOVE-LOVE wedding videos! Best of luck to you.

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by Rashana Anderson
Founder & Managing Director, THE BRIDAL PARTY

Monday, February 15, 2010

Inspiration Board: Vintage Romance

I'm working with a couple planning a late-October wedding who've chosen to design their event based upon the theme, "Vintage Romance." Now, any busy wedding planner will tell you...nowadays anything "vintage" is all the rage with brides-to-be. But exactly what does it mean? The truth is, it means lots of things. Just take a look at what says:

vin⋅tage [vin-tij]
1. the wine from a particular harvest or crop.
2. the annual produce of the grape harvest, esp. with reference to the wine obtained.
3. an exceptionally fine wine from the crop of a good year.
4. the time of gathering grapes, or of winemaking.
5. the act or process of producing wine; winemaking.
6. the class of a dated object with reference to era of production or use: a hat of last year's vintage.

7. of or pertaining to wines or winemaking.
8. being of a specified vintage: Vintage wines are usually more expensive than nonvintage wines.
9. representing the high quality of a past time: vintage cars; vintage movies.
10. old-fashioned or obsolete: vintage jokes.
11. being the best of its kind: They praised the play as vintage O'Neill.

–verb (used with object)
12. to gather or harvest (grapes) for wine-making: The muscats were vintaged too early.
13. to make (wine) from grapes: a region that vintages a truly great champagne.

–verb (used without object)
14. to harvest grapes for wine-making.

Told ya! The word has many meanings, which allows any bride-to-be having a "vintage" wedding to interpret it anyway she pleases. Have fun with it, girls!

As for my "Vintage Romance" bride, planning is well under say. Arrangements for a live swing band have already been made. Specialty lighting, linens and rentals are pending. And where decor is concerned, we've decided to build an ambiance of candlelight and infuse Autumn hues of eggplant and pistachio. This will be a truly magnificient event. I couldn't be more excited! Here's my first inspiration board for this couple's nuptials.

Credits (top, left to right): Gourmet Caramel Apples - Mrs. Prindables Handmade Confections; Eggplant Pleated Halter Bridesmaid Dress - Jim Hjelm Occasions; Vintage Romance Floral Centerpiece; Sheer & Ruffled Chairbacks - Wildflower Linen; Monogrammed Tea Cups by Anthropologie (photo courtesy of Style Me Pretty); Westmount Country Club; Pistachio Macaroons (photo courtesy of Sugar Head blog); Oyster Silk Shantung Bridal Gown - Alvina Valenta; Exotic 4-Piece Truffle Collection - Vosges Haut-Chocolat; Silk Flower Girl Dress w/ Apron Sash - Little Flowers by Odyssey; White Anemone Chair Detail (photo courtesy of Style Me Pretty); Couture Vintage-Style Cake; Place Cards tucked into Gemstones (photo courtesy of InStyle Weddings); Laser Engraved Acrylic Invitation - MODERNpress; Miniature Blueberry Pancakes; Personalized Purple Hershey Kisses (photo courtesy of TheKnot); Eggplant Banded Letterpress Invitation Set - EASTSIX

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By Rashana Anderson
Founder & Managing Director, THE BRIDAL PARTY

Sunday, February 14, 2010

DIY Project: Ruffly Rosette Wreath

Here's a DIY project for a really beautiful little adornment, perfect for brides-to-be.  This felt rosette wreath is featured on and could be used to enhance any event decor...perhaps a bridal shower, bridesmaid tea or even the location where the bride's dressing the day of her wedding.

What You’ll Need:
- a 12 inch styrofoam wreath form
- approximately 2 1/2 yards of felt
- straight pins (enough to match the number of felt circles needed, plus two for attaching the hanger)
- scissors
- a 3 inch circle template
- a pencil
- ribbon for hanging

Using a pencil and your circle template, trace circles onto the felt. Cut the felt circles, and fold them in half twice to form rosettes. Insert a pin near the bottom corner of the rosette, about 1/8 inch from the corner.
Attach the felt rosettes to the wreath form, making sure to group the rosettes tightly enough that no styrofoam is showing through the rosettes. After you’ve added a few, fluff and adjust the rosettes to your liking. Continue making, pinning, and attaching the rosettes until you’ve worked your way around the wreath form. If you have circles that are slightly misshapen or that have a little pencil or ink on them, place them toward the outside or inside edges, where they can’t be seen when the wreath is hanging.
After you’ve finished adding the felt rosettes, cut a 5 inch length of ribbon, fold it in half, and attach it to the wreath form with two pins to form a hanger.
Note: This project could take anywhere from 12-15 hours, so be prepared.  Ultimately, as you can see above, the end result will surely be worth it. Have fun!

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by Rashana Anderson
Founder & Managing Director, THE BRIDAL PARTY

Friday, February 12, 2010

LOVE-ly Save-The-Dates

Basketball star, Carmelo Anthony, and television personality, LaLa Vasquez, mailed out Valentine's Day inspired save-the-dates for their upcoming wedding this week.  Very cute!

The couple has hired celebrity wedding planner Mindy Weiss, who also worked on the weddings of Heidi Klum, Eva Longoria and Gwen Stefani.  And although Carmelo and LaLa split most of their time between Colorado and California, their nuptials will be held in New York (where both were born) on July 10, 2010.

So far, LaLa has toured such premier locations as Pier Sixty and Cipriani, but an official venue has yet to be announced. Congrats to the happy couple!

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by Rashana Anderson
Founder & Managing Director, THE BRIDAL PARTY

Vanilla vs. Chunky Monkey

(photos above courtesy of Sedona Arizona Wedding Photography)

When it comes to brides' choices of shoes on their wedding day, some go for "vanilla" (traditional white or ivory, conservative) while others opt for "chunky monkey" (outside-the-box, expressive, colorful). It's such an expression of personal style today, so there really isn't a wrong or right choice. Which flavor would you go with?

(top to bottom, left to right: Badgley Mischka white satin shoe, Martinez Valero white satin pump, L.A.M.B. platform booties, Ruthie Davis white maryjanes, Report white sandal, Tori white silk platforms, Christian Louboutin ivory stilettos, Alexander McQueen sandals, Stuart Weitzman cross-front shoe)

(top to bottom, left to right: Charlotte Olympia metallic striped pump, Nina Ricci yellow lame pumps, Alexander McQueen blue patent peep toes, Touch of Nina red shoe, Paris Hilton green croc pump, Betsey Johnson magenta heel, Betsey Johnson silver heel, Dolce & Gabbana leopard denim pump, Brian Atwood gold studded pump)

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by Rashana Anderson
Founder & Managing Director, THE BRIDAL PARTY

Thursday, February 11, 2010

From "Project Runway" to "Project White Aisle"

Is it possible you're as big a fan of Project Runway as I am? If you're just as in love with this American reality TV show that focuses on fashion design, you're probably familiar with last year's contestant, Carol Hannah Whitfield. Carol Hannah was by far my favorite designer and I'm thrilled to have learned not only is she living in New York City and still designing, but she recently previewed her own wedding collection.

With a fine selection of gowns for brides and bridesmaids alike, Carol Hannah has brought the same sophistication, construction, whimsy and femininity to this debut offering. These gowns and dresses are just lovely. And I'm excited to share a few of her creations with you below:


Carol Hannah's full collection will be presented on March 20th in Charleston, South Carolina and mid-April in New York City.

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by Rashana Anderson
Founder & Managing Director, THE BRIDAL PARTY

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

The Perfect Complement to Etsy...

Introducing Wedsy!  That's right.  It's the best of Etsy for brides.  Proof there's always an opportunity to make anything ALL ABOUT BRIDES. Perfect, indeed.

Though still in beta and not directly affiliated with Etsy, Wedsy is perfect for 'brides who love Etsy for the one-of-a-kind handmade finds...' and automatically compiles the most popular items for you.  It's updated daily with bridal jewelry, cake toppers, wedding supplies, favors, guest books, invitations and vintage items galore.  Go on over and check it out!

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by Rashana Anderson
Founder & Managing Director, THE BRIDAL PARTY

Monday, February 8, 2010

Paper, Cotton, Leather, Flowers, Wood...

Once you've said "I Do," finished the layout for your wedding album and mailed off the last thank-you note you officially enter the realm of the MARRIED.  Hooray!  The doors are now open to the yearly celebration of your gifts.  And lucky for you (and probably more lucky for your husband) there's always been a preset list of anniversary gifts by year.  Now...the gift-list has evolved over the years, but since I often times enjoy sticking to tradition I'd like to highlight the traditional first five anniversary gift themes: paper, cotton, leather, fruit/flowers and wood.

    • Gift Idea: Airline Tickets to one of the top romantic destinations in the world, perhaps Aspen, New York City, Costa Rica, Tahiti, Italy or Greece.
    • Gift Idea: An exquisite piece of artwork for your home.

        • Gift Idea: A clothing shopping spree...a few new suits for him, a few classic dresses or lingerie for her.
        • Gift Idea: Matching monogrammed bathrobes and/or luxury bedding for your master suite.

            • Gift Idea: A fabulous set of designer luggage.
            • Gift Idea: An item for personal style...a leather tool belt or wallet for him, a pair of Christian Louboutin pumps for her.

            • Gift Idea: Four dozen for each month of marriage.
            • Gift Idea: Plan a romantic picnic, complete with fresh breads, fruits, cheeses and wine.


              WOOD: 5TH ANNIVERSARY
              • Gift Idea: Design/renovate a game room or home movie for him or a custom walk-in closet for her.
              • Gift Idea: New dining room furniture, complete with china cabinet and sideboard.

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                by Rashana Anderson
                Founder & Managing Director, THE BRIDAL PARTY

                Thursday, February 4, 2010

                Couture Choices For Wedding Websites

                My friends over at informed me last night that they just launched brand-new wedding websites, including exclusive designs from Monique Lhuillier, Vera Wang, Lela Rose and Oscar de la Renta (my personal favorite).  Brides already love to personalize their wedding, and this is another way a Vera- or Monique-clad bride can actually have a wedding website that ties in with her wedding gown designer.  What fun!

                The new wedding websites also feature hundreds of other personalization options including interactive wedding maps that help guests locate all the wedding events via Google maps.  Go on over and choose your couture design today.

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                by Rashana Anderson
                Founder & Managing Director, THE BRIDAL PARTY

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