Friday, January 29, 2010

Just for Fun: Me and Dave Sing & Dance with Preston Bailey

Gloria Gaynor performs her signature song, I Will Survive, at Preston Bailey's book party. Can you spot me and Dave partying with Preston? (Hint I'm not wearing my glasses.)

And here's a pic of me, Dave, Preston Bailey and Marcy Blum having a laugh.

For more pics from the party click the Photo Credit link below.

Video Credit: Wedding Podcast Network

Photo Credit: Guest of a Guest

Hair and Makeup Tip on Tipping

I got my hair blown out the other day at a salon I've been going to for years for blow outs and when I went to pay my bill I was told that I couldn't add the tip to the credit card payment. Tips were now cash only.

I had a similar issue at two other salons this year and I refuse to use a non-bank ATM at a bodega so I had to go back the next day with a cash tip for the stylist, which I felt really bad about doing.

If you're getting your hair or makeup done at a salon for your wedding - or any other occasion - you should ask if you can add the gratuity to the bill or if you need to bring cash for it.

Also, when it comes to your wedding you should check if gratuity is included, especially if the stylist is coming to you.

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Preston Bailey's Celebrations Book Party

Just got in from the fabulous party for Preston Bailey's latest book Celebrations and trying to think of a wedding planning tip based on something at the event.

The setting was gorgeous. The food was delicious. And the entertainment was amazing - Gloria Gaynor singing I Will Survive live! But a tip...

I guess it would have to be inspiration.

Of all the details that were at the party -from the passed hors d'oeurves to the dessert buffet, the sort of naked dancers to Gloria Gaynor's performance and the life size gold and silver statues to the cages lit with electric ice cubes - the party offered a lot of ideas for people planning an event, whether it be a wedding or other celebration.

When you're attending parties, wedding or otherwise, take (mental) notes about all the different details and party elements because wedding inspiration doesn't have to come from other weddings. You can be inspired by anything.

And if you're looking for some amazing inspiration, check out Preston's new site,

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

DIY Do's and Don'ts

Many brides want to create the details for their wedding. You can find tons of DIY wedding projects on blogs, Web sites and in books and while they look beautiful they may not be so easy to make. Here are some quick dos and don'ts you should follow if you are considering calling yourself a DIY Bride:

DO give yourself enough time to complete the project - weeks and months if necessary

DO a test run to know exactly how many materials you'll need, how long it will take you and how complicated the project is

DO ask friends and relatives (aka bridesmaids) to help

DON'T forget that time is money so compare the time you'll be spending to complete a project vs. how much it would be in savings. Saving $200 may not be worth three weeks of nights crafting

DON'T be upset with yourself if you can't complete the project

You DON'T have to DIY every element of your wedding just because you think you're a DIY bride. Pick and choose the projects you want to do

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Don't Let Wedding Planning Take Over Your Life

Planning a wedding is time consuming but there’s no reason that it should take over your entire life. I do know girls who quit their jobs to plan their weddings and even dropped out of college – I’m sorry, took a semester off – to plan, and I think both are completely ridiculous things to do.

Whether you have a year or a matter of months to plan you will have enough time to plan every detail. I promise. All it takes is hiring vendors who you trust, a helpful fiancé and group of friends and organization.

Don’t leave all the details till the last minute if you can help it. Make your favors – if they’re not perishable - weeks in advance. Once you finalize the bridal party and ceremony send the info to the printer for your program. Don’t be afraid to ask others for help.

There’s nothing wrong with taking a few days here and there off for appointments but save those vacation days for your honeymoon!

Monday, January 25, 2010

Shades of Pink and Red

I received an email to day from Beautiful Blooms in Philadelphia on their stunning Valentine’s Day arrangements and just fell in love with this one. I love the different shades of pink mixed together.

If you’re thinking of having a pink or red wedding color palette Valentine’s Day is a great time to look for floral inspiration. There will be displays in floral shop windows and online flowers sites and you can also find red and pink inspiration in home, clothing and food store displays. Today I walked by a bakery with pink iced cupcakes in the window and Broadway panhandler – a kitchen store – with pink and red colored cooking supplies and aprons on display.

Wedding Planning Tip: If you are planning on getting married around Valentine’s Day don’t be surprised if the price of red roses seems high. They’re in demand the week of Feb 14th, so think about using other types of red and pink flowers in your bouquet and centerpieces. And if you’re getting hitched in the week or two after Feb 14th you may save money on red roses because the demand will have tapered off.

Photo Credit: Marie Labbancz

Friday, January 22, 2010

A Quick Tip for Grooms

The groomsmen are your responsibility.

Don't make your fiance email and call your friends and relatives to tell them what to wear, where to be and when. The bride has enough to handle, including the bridesmaids, so help her out and take the initiative to find a tux rental shop and make an appointment (tell her when it is so she can be there) and email your guys and make sure they show up.

Then take on the additional responsibility of confirming that they all know when to pick up their tuxedos and that they do the weekend of the wedding.

It's a rather simple task and you'll gain lots of brownie points!

Thursday, January 21, 2010

FREE TICKETS: NYC Wedding Bootcamp Next Wednesday

I told you wedding events will start cropping up every week now that the holiday season is over. Here’s another one for NYC-area brides:

The Wedding Bootcamp – produced by 4PM Events (they also produce The Wedding Salon in NYC, LA and Miami) – will be held at NY Wedding Dance (1261 Broadway, Suite 510) on Wednesday, January 27th.

The Wedding Bootcamp is an educational wedding event featuring a variety of wedding experts who will give brides-to-be tips on how to avoid hidden wedding costs and save money on your wedding. You’ll also learn basic wedding etiquette, enjoy cake tastings and cocktails and receive a fab gift bag.

Admission is $15 for two (bring your groom for complimentary dance lessons!) but The Wedding Salon is allowing me to offer 10 free tickets! Visit and enter the code BRINYC to register for the event for free!

And don't forget to bring these essentials with you to any wedding event you attend.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Backup Your Files

My computer's memory is full so I think it's time to get a new one - and one with more memory. The last time I bought a mac I didn't think I needed a lot of memory because I didn't have an iPod so there were no music files, I rarely took pictures and never took video so all I had to save were Word and Excel files.

In the past year all of this has changed.

I got an iPod for Hanukkah in 2008 and have hundreds of songs saved. And since RB I'm constantly taking pictures and video. So today we're off to Apple to buy a new computer with a lot of memory.

When planning your wedding you are probably going to be downloading music ideas for your ceremony and receptions, taking pictures of ideas and of course after your wedding you'll be downloading and uploading pictures and videos that you and your family/friends took on the big day. You may even download podcasts from the Wedding Podcast Network to listen to wedding planning advice or planning tools from various wedding planing Web sites.

In order to protect everything on your computer I highly recommmend getting a backup system to protect all of your files - wedding related or not. It won't be fun to have to start collecting guest addresses again. And I'm sure there are non-wedding files on your computer that you won't want to lose, possibly forever.

Friday, January 15, 2010

Don't Wait Till the Last Minute to Pack for Your Honeymoon

Dave and I are taking the baby for a short vacation but with a baby our carry-ons only rule is impossible to enforce. Besides trying to remember everything we need for her I'm forgetting everything I need for me!

I made a list last weekend of everything she would need and it included some items for me but with work I saved packing for both of us till tonight and I'm scrambling to remember each and every item we'll need. I'm sure our destination will have basic necessities for all three of us but I hate having to spend money on a toothbrush or extra bathing suit when there's one at home that I forgot to bring.

The point of my post is that the week of -- and especially the day before -- your wedding you'll have a million things on your mind. You'll save yourself a lot of stress by packing everything you need for your honeymoon in advance and then you can just add last minute toiletries the night before you leave. And if you want you can call a luggage delivery service who will pick your bags up at your door and ship them to your destination for you. ( is one service that comes to mind.)

With a luggage shipping service it'll be much easier to leave your reception and head straight to the airport. Imagine the perks you may get by showing up in your wedding dress and him in a tux! Or you could buy yourself a fun going away outfit to change into before you make your exit.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Exclusive Wedding Dresses

I don't know if you're following my new Twitter feed, @aisledash, but tonight I attended a preview of four Oscar de la Renta dresses exclusively at Bergdorf Goodman in New York.

It's rare, but some designers do make wedding dresses specifically for a salon. The salons selected are usually high-trafficed/high-sales businesses like Bergdorf and Kleinfeld. When you're trying on wedding dresses at any salon and the salesperson says it's an exclusive to them then you won't find that dress anywhere else. Don't think the salesperson is lying just to make a sale. If you do think it's a sales tactic you can always call the designer's office and ask if they have any exclusives with the salon you visited.

While exclusive dresses are one-of-a-kind wedding dresses, more often than not they are variations of wedding dresses already on the designer's line. So if you do like an exclusive dress but think it's a littl e out of your price range ask to see the rest of the designer's collection because a less expensive version may be available.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Who Keeps the Ring When the Engagement is Broken?

Have you heard War of the Roses on 103.5 KTU in New York? I listen to KTU at work all day and LOVE this segment – it’s at 5:40 every evening. Basically the DJs pretend to be a flower site and offer an unsuspecting man or woman (though it’s usually a man) a free delivery of a dozen roses to send to anyone in the country. These cheaters are targeted by the person they are cheating on – the idea is to discover whether or not their suspicions are right? In addition to name and address the suspected cheater can send a message with the flowers.

And of course, the cheater always sends it to someone other than his girlfriend, fiancé or wife. Once the message is given the girlfriend/wife confront him on the phone.

Today it was an engaged couple and the bride dumped her fiancé who told her the cheating would end once they are married – she didn’t believe him. She told him the wedding is off and that she’s keeping the ring, selling it and having a big party with her girlfriends.

Technically the ring is not hers to keep. Etiquette dictates that no matter who cancels the wedding, for whatever reason, the ring goes back to the guy who paid for it. If the ring was a family heirloom on the bride’s side she keeps it.

Of course etiquette is a set of guidelines and not rules that are set in stone. If I was her I’d probably keep and sell the ring too. Wouldn’t you?

BTW, this guy's message: Dear Natalie: I land Friday am and plan to land in you Friday pm. (He's a pilot.)

I'd dump him just for thinking of that cheesy message.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Scouting Locations

If you're getting married in the town you currently live in then scouting the ceremony and reception sites won't be hard. You'll probably visit a few different locations before settling on the perfect venue for your wedding. But, if you're planning to get married somewhere else - a destination wedding - finding a ceremony and reception site may not be as easy.

Looking online, reading local wedding magazines and hiring a local wedding planner are all things I recommend doing in order to help you find the perfect venue. However, I do not recommend signing a contract with any venue until you get a chance to see it in person. You don't want to fall in love with a site based on images from their Web site and then get there and find out the place you already gave a deposit to isn't exactly how it looked in the pictures.

Take the time to visit the city you are getting married in, scout a few locations and meet with several vendors while you're there. You can even make the trip a mini-moon. Throw in some romantic meals and relaxation time and enjoy some time away.

Monday, January 11, 2010

Local Resources Can Inspire Everyone

I'm a huge proponent of local wedding resources. Bridal shows, in-store events, local magazines, Web sites and of course blogs are chockfull of great vendors, venues and real weddings specific to that city, state or region.
Today I got an email about a new blog, targeting the Boston-bride, or Boston-area bride. The blog,, features vendors, planning information, inspiration and real weddings.

Since it's a new site there's not a lot of info up yet but I recommend checking back regularly if you live in the area. They are sure to have useful resources for the beantown-area bride.

And if you don't plan on getting married in or around Boston the blog can still help you too. You may not be able to use their vendors for your big day, but their inspiration and real weddings may inspire your own wedding.

Friday, January 08, 2010

Bridal Shows: What to Bring With You and What to Leave at Home

Bridal show season has officially begun! Now that the new year is here you'll be hearing about bridal shows, expos, showcases, wedding parties and other wedding-related events for brides (and grooms).

These events are filled with vendors featuring their work, the latest wedding dresses, delicious appetizers and cakes to taste, giveaways and goodies for engaged couples.

Some events are very big and others are more intimate. Whatever type of event you are attending here are some suggestions on what you may want to bring with you:

1. A bag to collect business cards, brochures and giveaways from prospective vendors

2. A buddy. You don’t have to bring your groom, and after the first one he goes to he may not go again so willingly. Ask mom, your sister or a bridesmaid to keep you company.

3. A pen and paper to take notes of conversations you have with vendors as well as ideas you see that you want to remember.

4. A camera, and not just the one on your phone. Snap pictures of flowers, cakes, dresses and anything else you want to add to your wedding planning folder or organizer.

Here’s what not to bring with you:

1. A wedding organizer/planner. Organizers tend to be very heavy so take notes in a planning notebook and place those pages in your organizer when you get home. I recommend the planning notebook at russell+hazel because the pages are perforated and 3-hole punched.

2. A long list of questions to ask vendors. These are quick meet and greet opportunities, vendors want to talk to as many prospective clients as possible so don’t monopolize someone’s time with tons of question. If you like a vendor call them to schedule a formal appointment.

3. A negative attitude. If you’re not in wedding planning mode don’t waste your time. There’s always another wedding event that you can attend.

Thursday, January 07, 2010

Making a Fabulous Exit

If your ceremony and reception are at two different locations a simple idea is to supply guests with flower petals, birdseed, bubbles, flags or sparklers as you and your groom leave your ceremony site and head for the car (or other form of transportation) taking you to your reception.

If you’re planning on having your ceremony and reception at the same location, you can supply these items to toss or wave as you walk up the aisle, as you enter your reception or as you leave at the end of the night.

I know it’s hard to leave before your guests. Every bride wants to savor every moment of her wedding till the very end, but I’m telling you from experience, you’ll have a better memory of saying good-bye and then running through a crowd of cheers. I found it a little sad to be the last ones to leave the ballroom, all dressed up and holding a box with the top tier of my cake in it. All the tables had already been stripped, the band gone and the dim lights switched to full power. I think the last shot on my wedding video is me sitting on the dance floor in my dress with my groom.

I was so into the party that I never wanted it to end. I didn’t think of how it would feel to be alone in that bare room without our guests and music playing.

So when you’re planning your wedding details, think about your wedding timeline and talk to your groom about making a fabulous exit – similar to the entrance you made at the beginning of your reception. It will be a great memory and photo-op.

Wednesday, January 06, 2010

Tip from My Friend Vane of Brooklyn Bride

I'm on the phone with Brooklyn Bride blogger Vane discussing our talk for Saturday on How Not to Have a Cookie-Cutter Wedding and since I needed to write a post I asked her for a piece of wedding advice to share with my readers. Here's what she had to say:

"When it comes to planning your wedding don't follow the trends. Trends come and go and you'll find that when you look at your wedding pictures 20 years from now they may look dated."

I quite agree with Vane but don't not read wedding articles on trends to avoid being trendy. There may be a "hot" idea that you and your fiance really like and is very you.

Tuesday, January 05, 2010

Ideas from a Bar Mitzvah

At many Bar and Bat Mitzvahs I've attended over the years I noticed that there were two separate cocktail hours - one for the kids and one for the adults. The kids had entertainment, an alcohol-free bar and kid-friendly appetizers. The adult cocktail party had a full, open bar, background music (jazz trio) and adult-oriented appetizers.

There always seemed to be a lot of "concerned" dads wandering over to the kids area to check on their sons and daughters. At a cousin's Bat Mitzvah when I was about 20 my father confided in me that the dads wanted to eat the kid-friendly food, instead of the "fancy stuff" and that's why they checked on their kids so often.

Kid-friendly foods always attract adults and I think it's part nostalgia and part deliciousness. how many times do we, as adults, get to eat mac n cheese, sliders and chicken fingers?

When planning your cocktail hour - whether you're having kids at your wedding or not - talk to your caterer about adding some of the traditional children's menu item to your "adult" menu. These items will probably be the first ones the waiters run out of!

Monday, January 04, 2010

New York City Wedding Event - Ticket Giveaway

This Saturday, January 9th, Vane form Brooklyn Bride and I will be speaking at the Wedding Crashers event in Brooklyn.

Our talk is specifically on 10 Ways to Avoid a Cookie Cutter Wedding.

The event is from 10:30am to 5pm and will feature over a dozen fabulous Brooklyn-based wedding vendors and six mini-seminars on a variety of wedding planning topics. Tickets are $40 for the full day and $20 for either the morning or afternoon session. But if you email me at - and are a bride, not a vendor - I will give you a pair of tickets for free! -- Sorry, but the pair of free tickets have been taken.

And if you are debating on whether to spend a Saturday at a wedding show, remember that it's indoors so it will be warm, it will get you out of the house and there will be free food and and drinks for you and your fiance (or mom, or MOH or BM) to enjoy. There will also be some great raffles and giveaways.

Hope to see you there!


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