Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Wedding Cake Advice from Sylvia Weinstock

1. Always use a reputable baker, board of health approved, with a good track record for professionalism.

2. Ask for a tasting and design session. Be sure you get what you like. Be aware that some guests will have food allergies (i.e. nuts and nut products).

3. Bring with you some ideas that you want incorporated in the design of your cake (i.e. colors, floral species, pictures of your gown, architectural elements, etc.).

4. Be aware of weather, refrigeration, air conditioning, and make sure you have a sturdy table for the cake.

Visit to see her amazing cakes!

Thanks Sylvia!

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Selling Your Wedding Dress

So at the family function this past weekend my cousin told me that she wants to sell her wedding dress. I asked her what she was asking for it and where she listed it.

She bought a Pnina Tornai at Kleinfeld three or four years ago for $4,800 plus alterations and shipping so I think the final total was in the $6-7K range. She wore it once and then had it cleaned. She listed it for $4500 about six months back on Bravo Bride and I think she also said Craigslist. She just lowered her price to $3900.

So what did I tell her? That she was asking way too much money for a used wedding dress –- even if it was only used once. I suggested that she lower her price to $2000 and see if she gets any nibbles and reach out to more Web sites that sell used and sample gowns. I also suggested she reach out to brick and mortar stores, like Vows in Newton, MA that sell used wedding dresses.

A bride looking to buy a used or sample dress for a lower price will probably not want to spend more than $1-3K on a dress and the higher end is only if it’s designer –- like Vera, Monique or Reem. If you can afford to spend $4K on a wedding dress you’d probably shop for a new one, not a used one.

Here’s a listing of some resources for reselling or buying used/sample wedding dresses and if you’re interested in my cousin’s dress, which is gorgeous, feel free to email me. Her dress looks like the one featured in this post without the decoration on the waist and neckline and it’s in white.

Monday, September 28, 2009

Engagement Ring Reminder

I went to a family event on Saturday and my aunt announced that she was engaged and showed off her gorgeous engagement ring. She said she had just gotten the ring that week. After wishing her all the best and telling her how beautiful the ring is - which it is - I asked her if she had gotten it insured.

Her answer: not yet.

I reminded her what happened to two members of the family: her mom and my sister who didn't have insurance on their engagement rings and how that was a big mistake. Grandma's center stone fell out and I think the story goes that it went down the drain and my sister's apartment was robbed and hers was stolen.

So I reminded Aunt Beth: After you get engaged you tell your parents, your friends and then your insurance salesman.

So congratulations Aunt Beth and Tony! I know you read the blog so please remember to call your insurance man today.


Friday, September 25, 2009

Guest Blogging on The Dish

Sorry for the short post but I'm running out the door to meet mom and RB for dinner.

Wanted to share a guest post I wrote for New York caterer Great Performances' blog: The Dish. I was told that I could write about anything wedding related and since it's a caterer's blog I wrote about my #1 wedding food. That's right! Pigs-in-a-blanket. You can read my post here.

Thanks Lonnie for asking me to guest blog!

Have a great weekend and a good fast on Monday!

PS - The wedding at the Plaza I wrote about in April was caterered by Great Performances and I have to say that the food was amazing! And they did serve PIBs. Thanks Dave and Haley for adding them to the menu.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Signature Drink 101

When planning your cocktail hour think about the fun things you would want there:

• An ethnic/regional band – klezmer, Dixieland
• Fun food – pigs-in-a-blanket, mini-egg rolls, popcorn shrimp, potato bar
• Creative décor – bright colors, cocktail napkins with a phrase instead of just your names
• Activities – photo booth, crafting station for guest book

For cocktails, you can have an open bar and still highlight a selection of drinks or a drink that you and your fiance want to have as your signature drink. How do you pick a drink or group of drinks for your wedding? Here are some tips:

1. If your wedding has a theme, look for drinks that fit the theme. For example, my wedding was 1930s retro inspired so we had a martini bar.

2. Color. Can you find drinks that fit your wedding palette? The colors of our wedding were pink, pale green, white/ivory and lavender so I only served martinis that fit that color scheme – Cosmopolitans, Green Apple Martinis, Classic Martini, etc… I ended up buying about six bar/martini recipe books and visited a few bars to make sure the colors worked, but I do realize I was an insanely detail oriented bride.

3. Location. Let your locale help pick your signature drink. Getting hitched in Puerto Rico? Find a cocktail with rum in it. Mexico? Tequila. California? Choose a variety of wines made in Napa Valley.

4. Culture. Where are you and your fiance from? Is there a special drink that fits? Are you French? Maybe you want to only serve a selection of French wines or champagne.

5. Or just choose your favorite cocktail. It doesn’t have to match anything. You can just have it because you like it.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Honor vs Honour and other Invitation Grammar Tips

If you’ve been reading this blog for awhile you’ve probably noticed that my spelling and grammar skills aren’t topnotch. So, to help me get better at writing I listen to Grammar Girl podcasts and bought her book last summer. I remembered that a few years back she gave a lesson on the proper way to write dates and I thought I'd repost the link to that podcast.

A groom called in to ask how he should have the year (2008) printed on their wedding invitation as well as the use of British English (honour) vs. American English (honor) on invites.

The general explanation is that we – the American public – tend to think of British English as a more formal language and therefore it is appropriate to use the British English spellings and year on an invitation, when you want to give the feeling of a more formal setting than say an invitaiton to a backyard barbeque.

Click here to read, or hear, what Grammar Girl had to say about correct grammar for wedding invitations. You can download the podcast for free.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

The Ceremony Toss

It's common to toss petals, birdseed or blow bubbles as the newlyweds leave the ceremony. Many of you may remember that rice was originally tossed, a traditional symbol of prosperity, but since learning that rice is harmful to birds, many couples provide birdseed for guests to toss instead.

When deciding what you want your guests to toss, think about the season or theme of your wedding. For a spring wedding have guests toss petals or flower heads with the stems cut off. In the summertime hand out sparklers and matches. Colorful autumn leaves are perfect for a fall ceremony, and you can make your own (paper) snowflakes for a winter wedding.

In lieu of a traditional toss, you can supply small bells for guests to ring, bubbles to blow or streamers and flags for them to wave. Whatever you decide to use, place them in paper cones or glassine envelopes, and have them distributed to guests as they enter the ceremony site.

You can personalize the toss holder by sealing them with a monogrammed sticker or write a note explaining to guests what they should do with the package - to toss them while you make your way up the aisle or hold onto them until you leave the ceremony site.

Monday, September 21, 2009

Bridal Shower Product Poems

My sister is planning a shower for next weekend and just email me for product poems for showers. Why she didn’t just go to Google I don’t know, but I did and one of the first links to pop up was an old post I write for iVillage Weddings. So I sent her that link and then realized she’s probably not the only one looking for these types of poems so here are some links to a few different versions of bridal shower product poems:

Remember that there are a lot of versions of each poem and you can customize them to fit the bride. If her name, or the groom's name, is the same as a product you can try to add it or if you have trouble finding a specific product just remove the line. For example, my brother-in-law's name is Scott so we added Scott toilet paper to the cleaning products poem. We couldn't find one of the candies mentioned so we just read the line without showing the product.

If you have a good poem please post it in the comments section or post the link to one that you like.

Friday, September 18, 2009

Anne’s Big Wedding Registry Don’t – Follow Up

A commenter on yesterday’s post left a few questions so I thought I’d answer them with a follow up to the topic of registering for cash. I’m assuming if one bride has questions others do too.

I’m torn on the topic of honeymoon registries because in some cases the registries actually send the couple a check even though guests think they are actually sending a gift such as a spa treatment or dinner at a local restaurant. I’ll make this your call as the bride and groom – making your decision based on the service you are thinking of registering with.

My feeling is that as long as you are legitimately getting gifts a honeymoon registry is fine. I think it’s nice that your great aunt Tilly is getting you a romantic dinner and cousin Bob is treating you to tickets to an activity at your honeymoon destination. I just dont' like the idea that your guest thinks he's sending you to a spa or activity while you are away but you're actually getting cash and not the gift he thinks he is giving.

Even with a honeymoon registry you should still register for traditional items for those guests who would prefer to send something for your home. And as for which stores to register at, you can select as many different stores as you like, though I recommend limiting it to three stores total – and that could be one honeymoon registry and two different retailers. And these retailers don't have to be home stores. You can register at any store that offers a registry, or check out which lets you register for any and everything available for sale on the Internet.

Feel free to email me or post a question if you have specific questions relating to your circumstance.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Anne's Big Wedding Registry Don't

Sorry this is such a short post but I really don't feel the need to defend my opinion on this one.  I was talking to someone today about their friend's registry - a honeymoon registry, which I think is fine - but then she mentioned cash registries and my flat out, not going to change my mind on this one is:  No way, no how.

There is absolutely no proper way to ask for cash gifts through a registry.  In my opinion it is wrong.  I've seen treasure chests on wedding Web sites that link to paypal accounts, I've heard of people not registering at retail stores because they thought that would encourage cash or checks at the wedding.

Look:  You're going to get gifts that your guests want to give you.  There's nothing you can do about it.  But please do not register for cash.  I know there are new sites that let you do that but it's tacky and it implies that you're greedy and in it for the money.

So just don't do it.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

I Love Stamps

My family thinks I'm crazy because I announced that I wanted to host Thanksgiving this year and I need everyone's address so I can send them a formal invitation.  I wanted to send an invite because I need an excuse to use these fabulous Thanksgiving Day Parade stamps just release from the US Postal Service.  Aren't they cool!

I love stamps.  I don't collect them but I think they add a touch of thoughtfulness to an invite.  It's like you really took the time to think of every detail.  I'm sure I told you how I actually called the main office of the postal service in Washington, DC two months before my wedding because they pushed the release date of the lavender-hued Audrey Hepburn stamp that I wanted to use for our wedding.  I asked them to connect me to the Hepburn estate so I could get their permission to have the stamps released in time for me to use them for our wedding.  They didn't and we used Cary Grant in a tux.  My dad's high school friend actually called me to tell me how much he liked the stamp - true story.  We used Audrey on our thank you notes.

Anyway, while most of your guests won't give the stamp a second glance, you may want to consider selecting a stamp that matches your wedding theme, colors or something wedding-y without being the typical wedding-themed stamp.  Right now I'm loving the King and Queen of Hearts as a wedding stamp.

Because of the recent stamp fare hike the USPS has recently issued new stamps at the new rate:  44 cents.  I thought these stamps might work for a wedding.  You can also go to and to customize a stamp with a photograph, monogram or other imagery.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Expert Advice: Working with a Calligrapher

You may be familiar with calligrapher Laura Hooper’s blog, A Lucky Orchid. I was lucky to have Laura design the invitation for the "I'm Getting Hitched" event in Washington, DC I spoke at earlier this year.

I personally recommend handwritten calligraphy over printed calligraphy when it comes to your wedding invitation and other paper details. I always find that printed calligraphy – no matter what the printer may say – is never as elegant looking.

A calligrapher will have several fonts that they can write, allowing you to select one that fits well with your wedding theme or palette. And of course she can match the ink to any color swatch.

I asked Laura for her tips and advice on working with a calligrapher for your wedding. Here’s what she had to say:

Budget – the first step to including hand-calligraphed writing in your wedding is to be sure that you budget for it! Calligraphy is a much loved art-form, and the intricate details and time associated with calligraphy do come at a cost, so be sure to bump up the invitation line item in your overall budget. Standard pointed pen envelope addressing can run from $2.50 - $5.00 (and sometimes more!) per envelope depending on the calligrapher and font style.

Choosing your Calligraphy Style – there are many different styles of calligraphy, from cute to classic to extremely elegant. You should choose your style after determining the overall theme and feeling for your wedding, and choose your font to further enhance that overall mood. I personally divide the styles I offer into “tiers”. Different tiers require different amounts of effort and will be reflected in your final bill. Visit Laura Hooper Calligraphy to see the styles the 20+ standard styles she works with.

Ways to Use Calligraphy – envelope addressing is the most well-known use for calligraphy, but you should also consider calligraphy for your programs, escort cards, menus, maps and hand-penned invitations. This most often involves mixing calligraphy with type-font, perhaps just featuring key words or names in calligraphy.

Working with your Calligrapher – the number one piece of advice that I could give for working with a calligrapher is to try to submit one complete/accurate list. We have hundreds of brides per year and write thousands of names and addresses any given week. Receiving multiple additions and changes starts to make things pretty confusing. We do understand that changes are often unavoidable, but you should definitely do your best to limit the additions, perhaps saving them to send all together. With that being said, it is also important to remember your calligrapher is human – mistakes will happen. The best way to deal with this is to plan ahead, order extra envelopess (generally 15% overage to be safe), and give plenty of time for your order to be completed slowly and carefully. (Note from Anne: Even if you are having envelopes addressed by a printer you will need to order extra envelopes.)

Laura Hooper Calligraphy offers a wide range of services including: addressing envelopes, custom invitations, seating and place cards, save-the-date cards, announcements, creating maps and monograms. Visit to view more of Laura’s beautiful work.

Monday, September 14, 2009

So Good

Yesterday the family made a Fairway run. For those of you not in New York, Fairway is a fabulous supermarket in Red Hook (as well as other tri-state area locations).

Several food companies were there giving out free samples but of course the most popular one was the ice cream company, SoCo Creamery. I never heard of them before so of course my dad and I had to stop and try a few of the flavors.

The owner suggested we try Dirty Chocolate which he claimed was the best chocolate ice cream ever, and you know what…it was! The other flavors (here's a complete listing) we sampled were good too: Espresso Cookie and Mint Chocolate Chip.

Since I featured the ice cream sundae bar last week I thought it would be appropriate to mention this delicious ice cream company, which makes over 100 flavors.

Friday, September 11, 2009


Food and weddings can be a very prickly subject. Your catering bill will be the most expensive cost you have and choosing a menu that will please almost everyone is always hard. But food can also be a lot of fun for your guests. Creating signature cocktails or a themed bar can be a lot of fun for you to plan as well as for your guests to enjoy, and then there’s dessert which can be as simple as a wedding cake or very involved by creating a dessert buffet or like the post yesterday an ice cream buffet.

Food can also be used as fun favors and as part of guest room gifts.

But here’s an interesting way to combine both the bar and desserts: Swirl Events, a fabulous wine tasting event company based in New York, is co-hosting a Wine & Dessert Tasting with Six different (and delicious) dessert artisans on September 23rd in New York City. Here are the details:

WHEN: September 23rd, 2009 from 7 to 9 PM
WHERE: AVEvenue at 15 West 28th Street Suite 10B New York NY 10001
HOW: Tickets are $36 per person and can only be purchased online, at

The co-hosts/dessert artisans include: Roni-Sue Chocolates, Sweet Muse, Gotham Cookies, Liddabit Sweets, WannaHavaCookie and Gourmetibles.

At the B-List Conference in April the bloggers enjoyed a wine tasting by Swirl Events which was very casual and a lot of fun. Anu (owner of Swirl Events) has done wine tastings for engagement parties, showers and even paired foods with wine for weddings.

If you and your fiancé are wine connoisseurs or you don’t know your chardonnay from your champagne, you may want to hire a wine expert to help you pair foods with wines for a wedding-related or any type of social get together. With all those wine glasses and serving pieces you received as gifts you’ll need to start entertaining and using them. Why not throw a casual wine tasting in your home?

To be honest, I was pregnant at the B-List so I couldn’t enjoy the wine but I loved the event format Anu put together for us. And of course I loved the pairings – different cheeses and truffles.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

I Scream for Ice Cream Buffets

Candy buffets evolved into dessert buffets and I just saw a new iteration on the theme: an ice cream buffet. The blog Eat Drink Chic featured a very detailed and stylish Make Your Own Sundae Bar that ice cream connoisseurs would fall in love with.

If you and your fiancé are ice cream fans, or if you’re having a summer wedding and think your guests would enjoy a frozen treat to cool off after dancing the night away, you should talk to your caterer and wedding planner/event designer about creating this type of dessert buffet for your wedding reception or even your after party.

I agree with Amy’s (Eat Drink Chic’s blogger) thoughts on having someone serve the ice cream for guests. As you know defrosted ice cream can get messy and you don’t want guests dirtying their clothes and it will also speed up the line if guests aren’t struggling with the scooper.

While this buffet is beautiful, remember that you can use this sundae bar as inspiration. Choose colors that will match your own wedding palette and your favorite flavors and toppings. I know I always say not to worry about guests' food allergies but you may not want to have nut toppings included in the topping choices just to be safe.

Visit for more detailed shots and sources.

Wednesday, September 09, 2009

Meals for Kids

If you're going to have kids at your wedding reception, don't forget to ask your caterer about a reduced price option for some kid-friendly foods. You may want to ask the parents what type of food their kids eat. Chicken fingers and spaghetti are popular items for kids, but better to know in advance if the kids don't eat meat or can't eat pasta.

I've said before that you don't need to worry about your guests' food allergies but when it comes to kids you should find out if there is something they won't or can't eat. You don't want parents running to a local market or diner to get food for their kids. And unlike a bar mitzvah where half the guest list is under 15, you are probably only dealing with a limited number of children so reaching out to parents shouldn't be too difficult. Especially over email.

Tuesday, September 08, 2009

Ribbon Bouquets 101

As we checked into our hotel on Friday we walked past a bridal party off to the rehearsal. How do I know that’s where they were off to? Well, the bride was carrying a bouquet that looked like it was made at her bridal shower. It was all ribbons and bows and the cuff looked like paper plates.

Here are some tips on putting together a ribbon bouquet:
1. Have three (3) paper plates stapled/taped together in the shape of a triangle and cut out a whole in the center.
2. Bring the following supplies to the shower: scissors, stapler and staples, tape and extra ribbon
3. Assign one bridesmaid or close friend to collect the ribbons as the gifts are unwrapped and attach them to the plates.
4. Use the scissor to add an extra curl to the straight ribbons
5.  Feed longer ribbons through the center hole to be used as a handle

If you're thinking of tossing a bouquet at the wedding, save money on a tossing bouquet and simply toss the ribbon one from your shower.

Thursday, September 03, 2009

Amenities For Your Destination Wedding

Dave and I are taking RB on a mini-vacation this weekend, and with the baby there's so many more things we need to worry about:  Diapers, bottles, pacifiers, formula.  The list goes on and on.  In theory we could buy things where we're headed but I don't want to take a chance that a drug store will be open at 2 a.m. when I need more wipes, for example.  

So of course we're over packing.  RB even has her own suitcase. 

When planning your destination wedding assume your guests are going to forget something or at least need something while they're away.  Some hotels will have a stash of toothbrushes and shaving cream available but what if they need hair gel or sunscreen or just batteries for an electric razor.

Check with your hotel about local amenities and give your guests that information in the guest room gift you're making for their arrival.  You should include drug stores, doctors, babysitting services, car services and any other type of business that you think is important for them to know.  Hopefully no one will need to refer to the list but if they do, they'll appreciate that you put one together for them.

Wednesday, September 02, 2009

Your Officiant Can Help You Make It Personal

I was talking to Elayne Fluker, the Managing Editor at, about a wedding she recently attended and she commented that it was the nicest ceremony she had ever been to. The officiant was not religious and took time in the weeks and months leading up to the wedding to meet with the couple on several occasions and really get to know them.

During the ceremony, she incorporated members of their family and friends into the ceremony, even having all of the guests in attendance announce them “husband and wife” at the end.

While most of the planning elements will revolve around the reception, it is important to remember that it is the fact you are getting married that is truly important. The ceremony should not be an afterthought.

If your officiant has known you or your fiancé (and the respective family) for years than it should be easy for him or her to incorporate personal details into the ceremony. But if the officiant is not that familiar with either of you, schedule a few appointments with him or her and share the story of how you met and fell in love. It’s okay to ask the officiant how they run a wedding ceremony – what they include, what they don’t – and be open about what the two of you want to include and what you don’t. Take the time to plan the details of the ceremony just as carefully as you’re planning the details of your reception.

Tuesday, September 01, 2009

Regarding the B (Guest) List

My cousin just told me that she was just invited to a wedding this coming Sunday. She explained that the bride, a friend, emailed her this afternoon and invited her to the wedding at the last minute because some of her guests had just canceled.

The main dilemma was if she could tell her job, which she started a week ago, that she would need Sunday off. (She works in retail in NYC.) But my advice to her on this subject doesn’t matter to this post as much as the way she was invited at the last minute.

While many wedding-planning sites will mention an A-list and a B-list as it relates to your wedding guest list your B-list invites shouldn’t go out later than 4-6 weeks before the wedding. I’d recommend sending these invites 6 weeks before the wedding with your a-list going out between 8-12 weeks before the big day.

No one should feel like they were an afterthought.


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