Tuesday, September 30, 2008

The Date Game

I had lunch with a friend the other day and she told me that she was invited to a wedding held at 3pm on a Friday afternoon on a non-holiday weekend. The wedding was also held about 2-3 hours from New York City where a lot of the guests were coming from, so many of them had to take the day off of work.

I’m sure you’ve heard of Friday night weddings and even weekday weddings, but a middle of the day weekday wedding is unusual – especially if the weekday is not a holiday (4th of July, Labor Day, Memorial Day).

When you’re picking your wedding date you have to consider your guests. Not every single one of them, but talk to you key group – immediate family on both sides and close friends. If everyone lives in the same city/town you’re getting married in then a weekday wedding shouldn’t be a real problem – and it can save you money – but a middle of the day weekday wedding can be difficult for people to get to.

So before booking a ceremony and reception site think carefully about what will work for you and your guests. And one more thing: Even though Super Bowl Sunday is on a weekend, you shouldn’t pick it as your wedding date, unless you don’t mind that more than half of your guests will be running to the bar to catch the game.

Monday, September 29, 2008

Out Damn Spot!

I couldn’t find the clip online but there was a sketch on Saturday Night Live this weekend I wanted to share with you. The skit was a used wedding dress store where the dresses were used – 2, 3, 4, even 36 times – and stained – coffee, bird poop and soup were a few of the stains mentioned.

To be completely honest, the segment wasn’t one of the funniest ones I’ve ever seen, but it got me thinking… If a bride does buy a “used” dress either on eBay, at a consignment store or even at a sample or charity sale there’s no guarantee that the dress will be in pristine condition.

Remember that when you buy a dress at a sample sale, charity sale or  consignment shop – or even if you're planning on wearing you mother’s, grandmother’s or a friend’s dress - the first thing you should do is get it cleaned. And don’t just drop it off at your local dry cleaner. Ask the retailer where you bought the dress to recommend a gown cleaner/preservationist or call one of the three companies I recommend and ask them about pick-up/delivery, pricing and how long it will take to clean. Make sure you tell the company that you only want the dress cleaned, not preserved, and then once you get the clean dress back take it for alterations.

*If the dress you are wearing is a vintage dress – mom’s or grandma’s – take it to a seamstress first to see if you can wear it and what alterations are needed, then get it cleaned before alterations begin.

Saturday, September 27, 2008

Speech! Speech!

I haven't been asked to make a toast/speech at a wedding in quite a few years. I'm not nervous in front of a crowd, I’m more anxious about making sure I say everything I want to say. My problem is that I don't like to write things down. I prefer to wing it, and so far I haven’t heard any complaints.

But if you're nervous about making a speech or toast at an upcoming wedding, or worried about a toast someone will be making at yours, here are a few toasting tips:

1 - If you have no idea what to say either write out the whole speech or a few points you want to make sure your say.

2 - Practice your toast/speech if you're not comfortable speaking in front of a crowd. Even if you know all of the guests, you'll be more comfortable if you rehearse a few times in the days before the wedding.

3 – Keep the dirty jokes and inappropriate comments for the bachelor and bachlorette parties.

4 – Remember to make it sweet and simple. No bride was ever upset because the toast maker wished the couple a happy life together.

5 – And keep it short. The guests are there to mingle and dance so keep your speech or toast to less than 2 minutes. Longer speeches can be said at the rehearsal dinner the night before.

If you want a few more tips, watch this clip on how to make a wedding toast.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Sweet Memories

Maybe it’s because I just came back from Paris, but I love these Eiffel Tower cookies at BestWeddingSites.com. You know I’m a huge fan of edible favors, and cookies are always a sweet treat for guests. Themed cookies are really the best of both – personalization and food.

You can find cookies that fit almost any theme. (I had tooth shaped cookies made for Dave’s graduation party last year.) Think about the icon you are using on your invitation, the decor on your cake or even mimicking the theme of your tables. If you are naming your tables instead of numbering them you can easily find a cookie shape to match the theme. Travel themes are very popular with couples naming their tables, so these Eiffel Tower cookies would definitely work if Paris is on your seating chart.

BestWeddingSites.com has a large variety of other cookie themes, including: gift boxes, champagne bottles and snowflakes.

You can serve cookies with your dessert course or wrap them in glassine bags with favor tags and have guests take one (or two) as they leave.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

(Non-)Wedding Blog: Ruby Press

Ruby Press is one of my favorite PR companies. Melissa always reps the most amazing clients – iomoi, viv&ingrid, Ladybug Art and Rosenow Floral Design - to name a few. A few months back Melissa started the Ruby Press Blog and I just love checking in every now and then to see what amazing products she’s come across.

The items she writes about include food, fashion, home items, events and everything in between. This image here is promoting the Vintage Fashion Expo that took place in San Francisco last weekend. Now unfortunately, I missed it, but I love this photo and I’m adding it to my inspiration board.

Remember, you never know where you’ll find inspiration for your wedding, so you should definitely look outside traditional bridal sites, magazines and blogs. Tear what you find out of magazines. Bookmark and print out items you find online. Keep all of your tear sheets and printouts in your wedding organizer or special inspiration folder and bring them with you when you’re meeting with your vendors to show them exactly what you like/want.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Registry Tips from Design Expert Michael Graves

Registering for wedding gifts is one of the wedding planning to-dos that you should "drag" your fiancé to. After all, the gifts you’ll be getting for your engagement, shower and wedding will be for him too, right?

I asked Michael Graves, designer of the Michael Graves Design line at Target for his top three registry tips. Here’s what he had to say:

Tip 1: Essential Kitchen Gadgets for All
When considering what kitchen gadgets to register for, couples should start with a few key essentials such as cutlery, food storage containers, blender, smooth-edge can opener, angled measuring cups, remote cooking thermometer, silicone oven mitts, apple corer and slicer, potato ricer, garlic press, cheese grater and vegetable peeler.

Also consider gadgets that you use everyday such as the toaster oven, microwave, coffee pot, salt and pepper mills, paper towel holder and napkin holder.

Tip 2: Customize your Kitchen Gadget Assortment
With the popularity of food cooking shows, magazines and Web sites, more and more couples are venturing into the kitchen. Depending on one’s experience and passion for cooking, there’s a wide variety of gadgets available for cooks of any skill level.

Discuss what your food habits are and register for kitchen gadgets that make the most sense for your individual needs. Don’t end up with a large kitchen gadget that stays in the box hidden away in a cabinet for months or even years.

Once you’ve covered your basic gear, build your registry according to your unique cooking needs and skill level. Some specialty items to consider include a hand mixer, food processor, spice rack, kitchen tool set, mandoline slicer, wine rack, roasting oven, Panini press, bread maker, rice cooker, deep fryer and food processor.

Tip 3: Don’t Forget About Design
Keep in mind that kitchen gear doesn’t have to be solely utilitarian. I designed my collection for Target with a modern aesthetic in mind that will add an interesting look to any kitchen décor. Have fun with your kitchen design and use counter-top appliances as the show pieces of your décor.

Find the universal essence of your kitchen needs and infuse them with products that add a dash of whimsy and familiarity yet enhance your life by bringing a smile to your face everyday.

Personal Note: I have a Michael Graves dust pan that I use all the time. It's great because once you sweep the dust in it doesn't fall out. It gets caught in a lip built into the design. I couldn't find it on the Target Web site, but I know it's still in stores.

Monday, September 22, 2008

The Bride Cuts the Cake

I’m speaking at an event later this week and I had to put some tips together on wedding cakes and dessert trends. One of my favorite wedding cake tips is to pick a fun song to cut the cake to. So I went on Google to see what cake cutting songs were out there and this is one of the lists I found at OurWeddingSongs.com.

Thousands of other Web sites came up so if you enter "wedding cake cutting songs" into Google or another search engine you’re sure to find more songs if none of these feel right for your wedding:

Sugar, Sugar (The Archies)
The Sweetest Thing (U2)
Thank you (Led Zeppelin)
Everlasting Love (Natalie Cole)
I Got You Babe (Sonny & Cher)
Recipe for Making Love (Harry Connick, Jr.)
Cut the cake (Average White Band)
I will never find another more sweeter than you (K-Ci and Jojo)
Love You Madly (Cake)
Chapel of Love (Dixie Cups)
Ain't That a Kick in the Head (Dean Martin)
It's your Love (Tim McGraw & Faith Hill)
How Sweet it is (James Taylor)
That's Amore (Dean Martin)
Love and Marriage (Frank Sinatra)
Hit Me With Your Best Shot (Pat Benatar)
Eat it (Weird Al Yankovic)
When I'm 64 (The Beatles)

Friday, September 19, 2008

Wedding Blog: Ritzy Bee

North Virginia and DC wedding planning company, Ritzy Bee Events, has one of the most beautiful wedding blogs, appropriately named Ritzy Bee. In addition to featuring photos from real weddings Maria also posts stylish products from vendors across the country (check out Stephannie Barba’s Couture Maps).

If you’re thinking of getting married during the fall months you must see the top 10 ideas for fall weddings by guest blogger, Kathryn of Snippet & Ink produced for the site. Each favorite fall item/post features an inspiration board with creative ideas from wedding magazines and vendors.

If you're still looking for ideas for your theme and color palette, Ritzy Bee is filled with fabulous ideas that are sure to inspire every bride.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

The Wedding Salon: Los Angeles

Los Angeles-area brides: It’s time to order your tickets for the September 22nd Wedding Salon event!

The Wedding Salon is a true luxury wedding event, featuring the finest wedding vendors in the LA area, including: Sylvia Weinstock, David Tutera, Tiffany & Co and Mindy Weiss!

Unlike other bridal events, at The Wedding Salon couples can plan their wedding by using their senses:
  • tasting cakes and hors d'oeuvres and sipping cocktails

  • listening to local bands

  • touching invitations and other stationery elements

  • seeing floral arrangements, wedding albums & videos
The event will be held on Monday, September 22nd at The Beverly Hills Hotel from 4 to 9pm. Tickets can be purchased on the show's Web site for $50 for you and a guest.

The New York area show is on Wednesday, October 22nd and the Miami show will be held on Monday, November 10th. Click the appropriate city to order your tickets.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

A Creative Stationery Idea

We’ve all seen cute cards to send to your girlfriends asking them to be your bridesmaids, but this is the first "Will You be My Groomsman?" card I’ve ever seen. It was shipped in an old cigar box and accompanied by a cigar in a holder to the groom's close friends and relatives. Isn't it fabulous?!

This fun design was created by Lilah Paper, a Kansas City based custom stationery company. The company has a complete line of wedding and social stationery and can work with you to create a unique invitation and stationery wardrobe for your wedding. Below is an image of one of my favorite designs from their wedding collection.

Wedding Planning Tip: Always order a proof before signing off on your stationery order. A proof may cost a minimal amount of money, but it’s better to spend this nominal amount before your stationer prints your complete order. A proof will allow you to confirm the coloring and wording on your invitation and it’s your one last chance to make any changes.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

It's a Wrap!

If you’re getting married outdoors, a nice idea is to supply guests with a pashmina.  As you can see from the photo above the bride and groom realized that their guests may not have known how chilly it can get at night in the California hills and offered pashminas to help keep them warm. They also realized a black colored wrap would not match everyone’s dress so they offered a range of colors.

Since you’re going to need more than a dozen or two you should try to look for bulk deals or companies offering wholesale prices to consumers in stores or online.  If you live in NYC they sell pasminas on street corners in many tourist neighborhoods as well as in Chinatown. If you buy them off the street try to get the price down because you’re buying so many.

And you don’t have to supply a pashmina for every female guest. Have enough on hand for 50% of the women at your wedding. Some will come with their own wraps or have sleeves on their dress.

Monday, September 15, 2008

Wedding Cake for Rent

My favorite element of the wedding is the cake. My wedding was all about the cake - the number of tiers, shape, design, flavors and fillings. Ask my family and they will tell you that I was obsessed with the cake. To this day, whenever my dad goes to a wedding he calls me, from the wedding, to tell me about the cake.

Just like I was cake crazy, every bride "obsesses" over something - the flowers, her dress, the food, the music. For those of you who would rather spend your budget on something other than the wedding cake, you can now rent a beautifully decorated cake and spend your budget on other details.

Fun Cakes in Michigan will rent you one of their beautifully already “baked” three-tiered cakes – made from styrofoam and decorated with fondant and gumpaste – for $150 plus shipping. (They ship nationwide.)

If you'd like to create something original for your wedding, you can work with owner Kimberly Aya to create your own three-tiered design for as little as $250.

And don’t worry, you can still cut the cake with your groom. Kimberly hides a piece of real cake into the bottom tier, so no one will be the wiser, unless you tell them!

Friday, September 12, 2008

NYC Event with Hostess with the Mostess, Jenn Sbranti

I’m sure you’re all very familiar with the Hostess with the Mostess, Jennifer Sbranti, and her fabulous blog, Hostess Blog. Jenn will be in New York later this month for her next Hip Hostess Series. The theme of the event is Modern Parisian and Jenn will share lots of great entertaining tips.

The event is being held at Robert Verdi’s Luxe Laboratory on September 30th and you can attend one of two sessions: 7:30-9pm or 9:30-11pm. Click here to sign up for one of them.

The event is sponsored by Chambord Black Raspberry Liqueur so you know the cocktails will be great. But in addition to cocktails, guests will learn how to create themed centerpieces, dress up glassware and mix signature drinks.

If your still at a loss as to what your wedding theme should be, Modern Parisian could be very romantic, but for more great ideas visit Jenn’s site, Hostess with the Mostess and send your bridesmaids there for bridal shower ideas!

Thursday, September 11, 2008

You are Seated at Table...

When you’re planning your seating chart remember that there are two places in the reception room that are not regarded as the best seats in the house. Sitting next to the band or a DJ’s speaker makes it hard for guests to have conversations at the table. And sitting next to the kitchen places guests far from the dance floor and center of activities, as well as puts them right next to a very busy area – waiters and bussers with large trays coming and going.

As you can see from the photo above, we were seated next to the kitchen at a recent wedding we attended. Now that’s fine, someone has to be seated there, but it’s important when you’re arranging tables that you consider very carefully who you put in these chairs.

If you are inviting someone that either you don’t really care for or don’t care if they get upset with you, you can place them in one of these areas. The other option is to place friends or relatives that you know won’t give you an attitude or a problem for being seated next to the band or kitchen.

At this wedding we were with a group of friends of the bride and groom, and besides me, no one mentioned the fact that we were next to the kitchen. They did however notice that we were sitting under a vent and that it was hard to get a good look at the first dance and speeches from our seats.

So when you’re finalizing your seating chart it’s just as important to think about where the tables will be in the room as it is to plan who will be sitting at each table.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Digital vs Disposable Cameras

Do you remember last year I told you the story that I went to a concert and at the beginning of the show I remarked to Dave how surprised I was to see so many people waving lighters? And then he corrected me and explained that those weren’t lighters but cell phones and digital cameras.

My wedding planning tip related to this story was that you shouldn’t waste money on supplying guests with disposable cameras. (Not to mention the cost of developing the film.) The majority of your guests will bring their own cameras to your wedding and the day after you’ll receive dozens of emails with links to photo galleries filled with pics from your wedding.

I took a few pictures of guests taking pictures at a wedding last weekend, and I really liked this one. The groom’s sister sat in the first row of the ceremony and was able to get some great shots.

So was I.

Tuesday, September 09, 2008

Get the Party Started

Last year my friend Elissa and her groom were announced and entered the reception while the band played Billy Idol’s White Wedding.

The couple above, Val and Rob, made their entrance to Now That We Found Love by Heavy D and The Boyz.

I love when couples get creative and pick fun/untraditional songs for their wedding. If you’re looking to make a great entrance, talk to your band or DJ about your options. You can choose an unexpected song or make a more traditional entrance and then surprise guests with a fabulous first dance.

And you don’t have to limit a creative playlist to the reception. You can also create one for your ceremony – when guests are being seated, your processional, during the ceremony and the recessional.  Though I will say, hearing Nirvana’s Smells Like Teen Spirit sounds weird when played by a string quartet.

Search the Internet for creative playlists, but talk to your band/DJ before you finalize it.  They'll know if something won't sound right and have ideas for what will.

Friday, September 05, 2008

Wedding Video Tip for You and Your Guests

Here’s a random planning tip for brides, grooms and their guests:

Whether you're sitting at a table, standing online at a buffet or shaking it on the dance floor, be aware of your surroundings. I’m not talking about people cutting in line or a tipsy dancer, but beware of the videographer.

You don’t want to get caught on tape with an unhappy face on, so whenever you sense a blaring light coming in your direction it’s probably the light from the videographer’s camera. As you see/feel the light approaching no matter what you’re doing put on a happy face. Smile. Laugh. Look like you’re enjoying yourself - even if you're not.

No bride wants to see unhappy faces at her wedding.

Wednesday, September 03, 2008

Technical Issues

I'm going on a mini-vacation so I've scheduled posts to run through early next week.  I'll try and check to make sure the scheduled posts go live when they're supposed to, but I'm apologizing now in case they don't.

Have a great week/weekend!

My Other Food Obsession - Chocolate Lava Cake

You already know my obsession with pigs-in-a-blanket, and I was so happy to see them being passed at the wedding we went to this past weekend. But while I think pigs-in-a-blanket are the perfect food for the cocktail hour, I also have a favorite pick for dessert.

Yes, I have an obsession with wedding cakes, but at many of the weddings I’ve attended in the past five years, a slice of wedding cake was not the only item served for dessert.

I’m sure you’re all familiar with the chocolate lava/molten chocolate/chocolate volcano cake. It is so unbelievably good, that if the main course was horrible, you’ll walk away saying it was the best meal you ever had simply because the menu ended on such a high (and rich) note.

As you can see from the image above, we were served the chocolate lava cake with some fruit and a small scoop of vanilla ice cream, and from the photo below you can see how much I enjoyed it.

Wedding Planning Tip – You may save money on your catering bill if you decide not to serve a separate dessert course and only serve wedding cake and coffee/tea at the end of the meal, but check with your caterer. He may have an additional dessert already built into the package price. If you are planning on serving your wedding cake, talk to the caterer about a lighter dessert to complement it – sorbets or fresh berries are always a hit.

Tuesday, September 02, 2008

Wedding Blog: Brooklyn Bride

Being a Brooklynite I was immediately attracted to the fabulous wedding planning blog, Brooklyn Bride. The blog, written by recent bride and fellow Brooklynite, Vane, is filled with inspiration from real weddings as well as information on modern planning products and talented vendors.

Today I received an email that Vane has opened up a shop.   Bklynpillow sells fabulous ring pillows. You can order one to match your color scheme and they’re the perfect way to add a personal detail to your ceremony. Click here to see the complete collection.

Of course I'm partial to the purple one.

Monday, September 01, 2008

What Not to Do When You're in the Wedding

We went to a great wedding this past weekend and I got a lot of ideas for future tips. I thought I’d start the week with what you’d think is an obvious one, but after this weekend apparently isn’t.

Gum chewing is not allowed, especially when you are a member of the bridal party.

As the best man made his way down the aisle, the guest sitting next to me asked me if he was chewing gum. As he reached the altar and turned to face the crowd it was apparent that he was. And he continued to throughout the ceremony.

I don’t know if we were the only two guests to notice, but I’m sure if the bride knew she would have asked him to spit it out before the processional began.  Of course we won't tell her, but she may catch it on her wedding video.

So you don’t have to worry about gum chewing, just ask – or have your wedding planner ask – everyone to spit out any gum, sucking candies or breathe mints right before the processional/ceremony. You may want to ask them to spit them out during formal pictures too.

PS – We noticed halfway through the reception that Dave had stepped in gum and suspect that it was the best man's.


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