Friday, November 28, 2008

Thanking Vendors

After you return from your honeymoon you'll probably remember to write thank you notes to all of your guests, but it's also important to send a thank you note to your vendors too.  I'm sure the idea of writing one more note after the 100+ you've already done seems like a chore, but your wedding vendors - location manager, caterer, baker, florist, wedding planner, bridal salon, etc..  - will really appreciate it and it's the right thing to do.  You could also call them up and say thanks.

The day after my wedding as we made our way from Long Island to Brooklyn, I called each one of my vendors to tell them how lovely everything was and thanked them for their beautiful work.  I think I sent a note to each of them along with an issue of Martha Stewart Weddings that featured our wedding (Fall 2004).

Not sure what to write?  Keep it simple.  Write it to the person you worked with and mention how happy you were with their work, that you and your fiance loved everything and that your wedding was a wonderful day.

Remember it's the thought that counts.

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Weddings on Holiday Weekends

Just a quick note to remind you that if you want to get married on a holiday weekend, like Thanksgiving weekend, it's important to check with your most important guests - immediate family members and closest friends - that they'll be available.

A lot of people have plans to travel to see their own families on holiday weekends, so don't assume that your best friend will be able to make it.

Wishing you and your families a very Happy Thanksgiving!

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Table Assignments

It's been a crazy day and I just started making the one thing I was assigned for Thanksgiving, my grandparents' spinach recipe - it's amazing and one of the few things I know how to cook.

Anyway, I saw a friend and her 4-year-old daughter for lunch and she was telling me about a wedding they recently went to.  My friend was a guest of the groom, and knew all of his college friends, but for some reason, the couple sat her at a table with the bride's friends because they all had little kids at the wedding too.

My friend ended up moving over to the table where she knew the people and her daughter had fun on the dance floor all night along.

Moral of the story:  It's always better to sit a guest with people he, she or they know, then to assume they'd be comfortable with people they don't know but in a similar situation.  For example:  If there are a group of friends who know each other and one person does not have a date, sit them with friends.  Don't sit them with strangers at the "singles table."

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

How to Treat Your Bridesmaids

I always hear stories of brides taking advantage of their maid-of-honor and bridesmaids - asking them to act more like their wedding planner than their support system.

I recently caught the movie 27 Dresses on cable. The main character, Jane, is a bridesmaid or MOH in 27 weddings. At each one, including her sister’s, she's acting more like a wedding planner and not a bridesmaid or MOH.

So let me just say this: Your bridesmaid and MOH should not be your wedding planner – unless of course that’s what she does for a living and has offered to work with you as your wedding planner.

It is NOT fair for you to expect your ‘maids to schedule appointments with vendors for you or do any research for you, unless they offer. Of course you can bring them with you dress shopping and to meet with a vendor, but they are NOT your private army of wedding planners.

Here’s a list of the main bridesmaid and maid-of-honor responsibilities:
  • Plan and host the bridal shower and bachelorette party

  • Shop for and buy the bridesmaid dress and accessories the bride selects without complaining

  • Attend the rehearsal and rehearsal dinner

  • If the bride asks – help with wrapping favors, binding programs, stuffing invitation envelopes, etc...

  • Show up on time on the wedding day with a positive attitude

  • Help the bride get ready

  • Walk down the aisle without complaining about the order or who she is paired with

  • Take part in the ceremony if the bride asks

  • Dance and have a great time at the reception

Monday, November 24, 2008

What would Giselle Do?

I caught Enchanted on TV earlier today. If you haven’t seen it, it’s a very sweet film that is not just for kids. Anyway, the main character, Giselle, wears a very large hoop skirt and has difficulty getting through doors and moving in general.

A few weeks ago, Nancy Swiezy, owner of wedding and event planning company, A Newport Affaire, and author of the blog Newport Weddings sent me a link to a video on how a bride can move gracefully throughout her wedding day.

If your wedding dress includes a hoop skirt, I highly recommend watching this clip so you don’t have any difficulty – or an embarassing situation – on your wedding day.

Friday, November 21, 2008

Music Matters

It’s important to discuss your music choices with your groom and your band leader or DJ. You never want to be surprised by a song that you hate or on that reminds you of someone you’d rather not think about on your wedding day.

You’ve probably been asked to draw up a play and do not playlist and it’s very important that you do. But you also want to think about specific songs you want for specific moments.

In addition to the first dance and father-daughter/mother-son dances, you have to choose a song for your grand entrance – and one for the bridal party if you want them to be announced too - you should pick a song to be played while your dad, best man and maid-of-honor are called up to the microphone for their toast, and you also need to pick a song for the cake cutting, bouquet toss and garter toss, if you’re having one.

These songs are a great way to personalize your wedding, without having to craft something or spend any money. Here are some creative song choices I’ve heard recently:
  • Recessional for the couple: Everlasting Love
  • Couple entering the reception: White Wedding, Now That We Found Love
  • Bridal Party entering the reception: Twist & Shout

What are you planning on selecting for these special moments? What songs do you or don't you recommend?

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Flavors & Fillings

It’s unfortunate that most guests — and brides — assume that while a wedding cake may look beautiful it will not taste good. Over the past few years amazingly talented bakers have been creating wedding cake masterpieces, that not only look gorgeous, but taste delicious too.

So here’s some wedding wisdom that will help ensure that you and your guests are pleasantly surprised at your wedding:

1. Attend wedding shows in your area, so you can taste a variety of cake flavors and fillings from different bakers, helping you narrow down the choice of bakers you want to schedule formal appointments with.

2. Realize that you can’t please everyone’s taste buds. As long as you, your groom and your parents — siblings, grandparents and best friends can have a say too (but you know what they say about too many cooks in the kitchen) — think the cake is delicious don’t worry about every single guest. There is no way you will be able to please the palette of over 100 people — that goes for the wedding menu too.

3. Find out what the baker is known for. He or she may be famous for their chocolate or carrot cake recipe. It’s important to work with his or her strengths.

4. Once you’ve settled on a cake flavor, try the different fillings they offer to find the perfect combination.

The cake above is from Brooklyn-based bakery, Mark Joseph Cakes

Image courtesy of Brooklyn Bride

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Honeymoon Planning tip

When planning for your honeymoon, do your research on what type of weather conditions you can expect while you’re away. Remember that hurricane season lasts from June 1st through November so the Caribbean is probably not a safe bet.

You can find out potential weather situations online or talk to a travel agent about when is the best time to go to your chosen location. And if you want to risk it, you may want to look into travel insurance just in case your destination gets hit with a storm before you get there, or hits while you’re away, so you can get back the money you spent on airfare, accommodations and any other related expenses.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

New Registry Spot: The Product Gallery

I received an email last week about a new tabletop/home decor online retailer that I just know you’re going to love.

Lynn Butler, a former style editor at Martha Stewart Weddings, and a stylist at a variety of other publications, including InStyle Weddings and O, has just launched The Product Gallery, an e-commerce store specializing in home, tabletop and garden products.

In addition to shopping for yourself, The Product Gallery also has a registry so you can pick out your favorite things and your wedding guests can buy them for you!

The image above is a silver porcelain cream and sugar set that I just fell in love with. Lynn has an amazing eye for unique and beautiful things. Definitely checkout The Product Gallery as one of the places you register at. (Remember, you should register at two to three stores.)

Wedding Planning Tip: You can spread the word of where you’re registered by mouth as well as on your wedding Web site or blog. Bridesmaids will probably print the information on your shower invitation, but you should NOT include your registry information in your wedding invitation. If someone isn’t sure where you’re registered at, they’ll ask.

Monday, November 17, 2008

Embossing 101

Engraved, letterpress and thermography are almost always featured as the three printing styles for your wedding invitations and stationery details. Today I got an email from Minna Designs and fell in love with one design in particular (though they are all gorgeous) that used embossing.

The couple selected their future monogram as the decorative element at the top of their invitation, and instead of having it printed in the same style as the rest of the invitation, the designer used an embosser to raise the paper in the design of the couple’s monogram.

The great thing about having a custom embosser created is that you can use that same embosser on other wedding details: programs, menu cards, favor tags, etc…

Minna is offering a 20% discount for orders placed in December 2008 to From “I Will” to “I Do” readers, so be sure to mention that you read about her company here!

Visit the Minna Designs Web site to see more styles in the collection.

Friday, November 14, 2008

Oh So Beautiful Paper

While browsing wedding blogs yesterday for the weekly Wed-site Roundup on, I came across a stationery blog that’s really fabulous. Oh So Beautiful Paper is filled with daily posts on everything from personal stationery to invitations to seating cards and any and everything else writer and ephemera fan Nole can find.

I’m also a huge paper fanatic and have shoeboxes filled with beautiful stationery and cards I’ve collected over the years that I’m afraid to use because they're so pretty I hate to let 'em go.

Browsing Oh So Beautiful Paper is so much fun for paper lovers as well as brides looking for inspiration.

It was very hard to pick an image from the site to run with this post, but the one I finally picked is from a post written last week. The post features the stationery details Nole created for a recent wedding. The reason I pulled this one is because I thought I’d add a wedding planning tip to this post, so here goes:

If there are a certain number of guest – close family members and friends - who you’d like to ensure have a front row – or second or third row – seat at your ceremony make cards that read “reserved” so other guests know not to sit there. But to ensure that these VIPs take their seats, let them know either in their invitation or over the phone or via email that there are a number of reserved seats put aside especially for them. You can also ask a member of your bridal party to stand near these reserved rows to make sure no one sits there by mistake.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Vintage Glam: The Blog

Our wedding was inspired by both our love of the 1934 movie It Happened One Night – specifically the movie poster – and my grandparents’ weddings from 1945 and 1952. Therefore, the wedding had a lot of retro details – matchbooks, small lamps on each table, dance cards, etc…

I just learned about a blog dedicated to all things vintage and I have to say it’s really fabulous.

Vintage Glam is filled with everything vintage: cake toppers, art deco jewelry, great retro venues, wedding dresses and any and everything else you can think of. Today’s post was on art deco fonts!

When I got engaged (2001) and married (2003) there weren’t any blogs to turn to for ideas so I had to sift through old pictures at my grandparents’ houses, I bought vintage matchbooks and stirrers on eBay ($60) and flipped through a myriad of books that reflected the styles of the time period I was trying to recreate. (Do I sound like an old lady – "When I was your age we didn’t have…")

Anyway, take advantage of blogs, Web sites as well as things offline to help inspire you. Remember to print out or copy any and everything you like and put it in your wedding organizer so you can show your vendors your vision. And you know what else: make your own inspiration board – either with Photoshop or the old-fashioned way: oak tag and glue – to help pull all of your ideas together.

And remember to have fun doing it!

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Ceremony Traditions

When it comes to weddings there are a lot of traditions brides and grooms include in the ceremony and reception - wearing something old, new, borrowed and blue, breaking the glass and tossing the bouquet are just a few well-known ones.

While planning your wedding spend some time researching - in books or online - different secular and religious traditions and talk to your fiance about which ones you should include. You can talk to your officiant about religious traditions and your parents can tell you about family traditions. You can also explore other religious and cultural backgrounds for ideas.

You can also create your own tradition. Either add your own personal twist to something you've read about or create a brand new one that you can pass down to your children.

Here's an example of a tradition with a twist: At some Jewish weddings, the bride will walk around the groom seven times at the beginning of the ceremony. I've seen couples switch it up and have the bride walk around the groom three times and then the groom walk around the bride three times.

Remember it's your wedding day and you should customize and personalize the details to suit your personalities.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Look Good in (Your Wedding) Pictures

A few weeks back Elayne Fluker (Managing Editor at and I gave an interview to Carson Kressley of Queer Eye fame on how to look good in your wedding pictures for the Nikon series, Look Good in Pictures.

Here are our tips on how to hire a photographer and general advice on looking good in your wedding pictures: (If the video below is not working, click here.)

Monday, November 10, 2008

After Party Basics

Many brides and grooms plan on having an after party after their reception. Either the couple will hire a DJ for an hour or more after the reception ends, or the DJ they hired for the reception will switch gears and begin playing more club-like music. Some couples will even switch locations for their after party.

I’ve only been to a few weddings where there was an after party and for all of them we didn’t know there was going to be one until well into the reception. Friends, and in some instances the couple, asked if we were staying for the after party. Dave and I knew what an after party was, but we had no idea that there’d be one.

We usually ended up staying, especially if they were close friends or relatives, but it got me thinking. Did they send out a formal invite for this party and just forget to send one to us? I’m not talking about an engraved card, but an evite or an email would suffice. Did they just expect people to find out by word of mouth?

If you’re going to have an after party please let your guests – or at least those who you want to stay – know about it. They’ll need to know where it is, especially if you’re moving locations, what time you're having it and when it will end, if they should change into more casual outfits and if you’re supplying any transportation to the location.

If your guests know what to expect in advance they’re more likely to join in the fun!

Friday, November 07, 2008

Help With Your Playlist

I’m sorry I missed yesterday, but I’m still caught up in all the post-election hoopla. Dave thought after Tuesday I’d stop paying attention to politics, but I find that I’m more interested now. Anyway, back to blogging.

Do you remember that wedding we went to in Barbados in 2007? The couple hired a local DJ but the groom was so paranoid that the DJ wouldn’t play great music that as a back-up plan he downloaded hundreds of songs onto his iPod.

After the DJ came and set everything up, the groom went over to him and told him that he created a playlist for the reception and that he should just plug the iPod into the speaker system. The groom did a great job. The party went on for hours and everyone had a great time. Though the DJ looked bored sitting there all night with nothing to do.

If this is something you’re thinking of doing, you might want to hire a professional music service to create a playlist for your cocktail hour, background music during dinner and dancing. I read about a company in the NY Times earlier this week that creates playlists for consumers and business. audiostiles will work with you to create the perfect playlist for your event. Either they'll email you a list of songs for your playlist or send you a CD with all the songs on them.

For weddings, they charge $75 per hour with a 2-3 hour minimum, plus the cost of songs. You can learn more about them by visiting their Web site,

Wednesday, November 05, 2008

Speak From the Heart

I was just talking to a colleague who has to write a toast for her sister’s upcoming wedding. She’s not sure what to write and while we were talking I remembered the tip I wrote on how to write a great wedding speech or toast in January of this year. I sent her the link to the post, and thought I’d share it will all of you again – especially for those who are newly engaged:

I hope you’ve all seen Wedding Crashers. It's one of the funniest movies about weddings ever. I’ve even heard that couples have actually hired “professional wedding crashers” to crash their wedding. I don’t quite understand that, but I guess if you’re going to have someone crash, you’d like to at least know who they are and what to expect from them.

Now I’m not saying that you should expect wedding crashers at your reception, or that you should hire professional ones, but there is an important lesson in this movie.

Remember the scene when Rachel McAdams’s character, Claire Cleary is talking about the speech she is about to give at her sister’s wedding, and Owen Wilson’s character, John Beckwith, tells her that her speech is, well, bad, and that she should speak from the heart?

This is so true. Whether you’re writing the speech you and your fiance are going to give at the rehearsal dinner or reception, or you are a maid-of-honor at an upcoming wedding, think about what you want to say. What emotions and feelings you want to convey. And most importantly, write your toast down.

Either write out the whole speech, or make some notes for yourself so you know what you want to say, and you remember to say it. Unless you are a professional speech writer and public speaker you don’t want to wing it.

I didn’t listen to this lesson when I was the maid-of-honor at my sister’s wedding, and I regret my speech. I wish I had really taken the time to make it more heartfelt than the three or four lines I said.

If you know you are expected to make a speech at your wedding, or at someone else’s, think about what you want to say a head of time, and if you need help ask friends or relatives for their advice, or you can hire a toast writing company to help you out.

Remember, most weddings are videotaped and if your toast is a disaster, you don't want it to end up on You Tube.

Tuesday, November 04, 2008

Election Day

I know you think about your wedding everyday, but today, Tuesday, November 4th make sure to take time out from planning to go and vote. If you think there will be lines at the polling place then bring some wedding magazines or print out some articles from wedding Web sites to read while you wait.

Today is also a very important day in my family. Some of you may have heard me say at events or read on the blog, “I swear on Aggie.” Well, Aggie has been a part of my family since 1980 and today she turns 91. Happy Birthday Aggie!

Monday, November 03, 2008

Beware of Traffic Patterns

While I’ve mentioned in the past that you should be aware of certain dates when planning your wedding – holidays, Super Bowl Sunday – you should also be aware of events happening in the community that may “interfere” with your wedding day.

Yesterday was the NYC Marathon and if your wedding was held near any of the streets that were blocked off – including the Verrazano Bridge – your guests, as well as yourself and your vendors, may have had trouble getting to the ceremony and/or reception locations.

Two years ago I got stuck on the wrong side of the NYC Marathon. I went to a yoga class in Williamsburg at 10am and when I parked the car and walked over to the class there were no barriers or crowds of people that would have tipped me off that the marathon runs thru the neighborhood. By the time I got out of the class an hour later the marathon was in full swing and running right down the street I needed to cross to get to my car. After waiting over 30 minutes I decided to make a run for it and literally jogged across the crowd to get to the other side of the street.

My point – be aware of any street festivals, parades and other events that may close off streets and disrupt normal traffic patterns. Your city or town’s chamber of commerce should have a list of upcoming events so you can notify guests of better directions.


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