Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Have Yourself A Healthier SuperBowl!

It's about that time again, the great American pasttime of celebrating the SuperBowl with friends, food & drinks.  Last year I wrote a post on festive football decor and snack ideas which a lot of people responded to, I even got a few photos of their set ups!  This year, one of my personal goals is to stay on track with my fitness, so I have been researching healthy SuperBowl ideas.  Besides, aren't most engaged couples looking to stay in great shape leading up to the wedding? 

While SuperBowl parties and "healthy eating/drinking" don't necessarily go together for some people, according to a recent poll conducted by the National Restaurant Association survey, "42% of Americans say that nutritious options are a mandatory part of their game day spread" (source).  So here are just a few ideas and recipes to help even out your game day table.

I've come across some great options thanks to my weekly (free) email subscription to Fitness Magazine.  They have some awesome suggestions for keeping this festive football holiday healthy.  Such as tips on healthy tailgating, crockpot recipes, healthiest party foods (YES! Bruschetta made the list!) and the best way to "tackle" a superbowl party spread & stay on track.

Grilled meat is healthy & delicious! Source

The most obvious way to integrate healthy foods into your gameday is to make a more nutritious version of your favorite foods.  Most parties have chips & dip and here is a great twist on the dip side, Grilled Corn Salsa.  Pair this with some multi grain chips and you are leaps and bounds below the typical chips/dip combo calories.

Another healthy take on an American favorite is swapping out regular french fries for sweet potato fries.  You can buy them frozen from the grocery store (I buy Ore Ida Sweet Potato Crinkle Fries, the serving size is 13 fries for 140 calories) or you can buy whole sweet potatoes and make them yourself

And since I do realize the need to balance things out, here are free printables for football decor along with receipes for team spirit popcorn & homemade pretzels.  And one more free football printables for good measure.  Enjoy!

free football party snack printables

Super Bowl Football Party Ideas

Monday, January 30, 2012

Making Your Wedding Flowers Last

The advantages of having real flowers in your wedding are obvious; they are beautiful, smell wonderful and add a fabulous personalized decadence to your decor.  On the flip side, the obvious drawback is that most flowers have a short life and you can really only enjoy them on your wedding day and in the professional photos. Luckily for today's brides, there are a few options for making your wedding flowers last.

Studio Eriksdotter specializes in helping brides treasure their wedding flowers forever. I learned about Erica thanks to a company profile in a post from Washingtonian magazine.  This booming business started when Swedish founder Erica Eriksdotter was asked by a friend to paint a bridal bouquet as a gift for his future bride.  The process works by sending in a photo of your bouquet and Erica will hand paint a canvas replica.  Prices and more specific instructions are on her website.   

Taking this trend one step further, Flowers Into Paintings is a company who uses your actual flowers in their paintings!  You send in some flowers from your actual bouquet and FIP will use them to create an original piece of art.     

Last but not least is My Flowers Forever, a company who transforms your flowers into beads for lifelong keepsakes as well as daily jewelry!  I hope these companies have provided some inspiration to those of you looking to make your wedding flowers last. 

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Turf Valley Bridal Extravaganza 2012

Last Friday Felicity C Weddings LLC participated in the Turf Valley Bridal Extravaganza 2012.  I was so excited because last year's show was my first bridal show ever as a vendor and it was such a hit!  I have to thank Reverend Laura Cannon of Divine Transformation for giving me the heads up about the Turf Valley Bridal Extravaganza.  There are so many shows during booking season that my business side was definitely hesitant to jump in without a vendor recommendation.  Last year I did meet a bunch of great couples and was fortunate enough to work with them on their 2011 weddings.  This year I decided to team up with preferred vendor, My Flower Box Events LLC, to share a table and it could not have turned out better!  They are a local florist specifically focused on weddings located in Canton Square in Baltimore and their staff is just amazing as their arrangements!  

I have worked weddings at the Turf Valley Resort a bunch of times now and their event staff is top notch.  Getting the opportunity to meet with brides & discuss wedding plans is what I love to do and pairing with a vendor I trust was essential.  Kathy from MFBE is so knowledgeable and brought a fabulous selection of beautiful arrangements.  There was a great range of vendors at the show and before it all got started I was able to walk around and check everything out.  I will definitely be setting up some vendor meetings soon and I can't wait to get started on some of these 2012 weddings!  I took a few photos of the table and our display with my own camera, enjoy!          


Tuesday, January 24, 2012

The Quick List: What You Need To Know About Wedding Dresses

Most brides will not try on wedding dresses until they are engaged.  Which means that all of your wedding dress experience is based on movies, bridal shows, gossip and what you always HOPED your magical dress shopping experience should and will be. 

Well, there is a lot more to this than just picking a day and a few stores to shop.  I've pulled a few awesome articles that give brides the full picture of what goes into buying a wedding dress.  Enjoy!

#5. What No One Admits About Wedding Dresses- Huffington Post Weddings

Monday, January 23, 2012

Boudoir Sessions: Not Just For Brides Anymore

In the last couple of years I've been seeing more and more photographers offering boudoir sessions for brides to be or even newlyweds. The basic idea is a private, tasteful photography shoot of the bride that has a stylized theme that can be anything from super sexy to super romatic to super playful.  Think lots of lingerie, bedroom scenes, full on hair and make up, fun props like thigh-high stockings, football jerseys or even cupcakes- whatever goes.  The bride typically gifts the groom with an album of these secret photos for the wedding or for an anniversary.  All the boudoir sessions that I have seen on wedding blogs (brave girls to put out their dressed down photos online!) have been all female shoots.  That's what boudoir meant to me, specifically a one person sexy shoot.   

Then I saw this amazing engagement boudoir shoot thanks to Well Groomed Blog and I kind of fell in love with this idea.  A couples boudoir session that is very playful, intimate and romantic at the same time.  This is such a great option for low key couples who are not interested in the highly stylized engagement shoots.  And these photos are sweet enough to show off to friends & family.  So if that sounds like you, this is another great option for engagement shoots!

*Boudoir credits; photo one, photo two, photo three

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Putting A Spin On The "First Look"

About a year ago I wrote a post on first looks, which have only grown increasingly popular.  In the past few months I have seen some great twists on this idea and I can't wait to share them.

#1. The "Not Really" First Look.  I adore this photo of the couple holding hands but not seeing each other before the ceremony.  Too.Cute. 

bride and groom holding hands

#2. The Father-Daughter first look.  As a bonafide daddy's girl, I will definitely be using this idea. 

first look with father
first look with father

#3. The "First Look Breakfast".  A sweet & private way for the couple to connect without the fuss first thing on their big day.

Monday, January 16, 2012

Hitched!!! Trincia Wedding 10.22.11

I have been excited about the Trincia wedding since I first spoke with Maggie & Nick last summer!  The wait is over and I'm so happy to present the professional pictures of their wedding on October 22, 2011.  Working as their day of coordinator was a great experience as Maggie and Nick are such a wonderful couple who were both very focused and excited about their big day.  Even though they currently live in San Francisco, having lived in MD a few years ago they decided to plan their wedding around what they love about Baltimore.  Over many skype meetings, I grew to know Nick & Maggie as a sweet, fun loving couple who are a perfect compliment to each other; he has a great creative mind and works in design and she is an organized project manager.  Every detail was personal to the couple which I loved.  The ceremony and reception took place at Gutierrez Studios at Clipper Mill in Baltimore, MD, an industrial site where Nick used to work.  There is even a bench that he made still on the site grounds!  To see this site transform from a working shop during our final site visit on Wednesday to their personalized wedding venue by Saturday was pretty amazing.  With family & friends joining the celebration from California to Boston to New York, Maggie & Nick decided to maximize their guests' downtime by selecting the Admiral Fell Inn, which is in the heart of Baltimore neighborhood Fells Point.  Transportation of the guests to the wedding was provided by Just Class Motorcoach.      

Now getting down to wedding details, the bride's makeup was done by her sister Penny who was also the maid of honor and the bride's talented cousin Anne Weber did her bridal hair.  I'm SO jealous of how many insanely talented friends Maggie & Nick have, the whole day was captured by freelance photographer Chris Haynes.  The ceremony was held in front of the studio entrance and performed by Jim Ezell, a family friend who flew in from California.  His ceremony was complimented by another friend who provided the ceremony music with his guitar skills and lovely singing voice.

The reception was held inside the studio space and cocktail hour was held in the lobby with the escort cards on display as well as the creative time capsule guest book.  The studio's industrial edge was enhanced by groom Nick and his brother providing weather balloons and stringing lights for a glowy atmosphere (see photos below!) and the amazing floral arrangements were provided by Gordon Florist who got Maggie's vision spot on.  I told you that this couple definitely has talented friends, Matt Makowski was the MC and set up all the sound equipment for the 'ipod DJ'.  For anyone who is skeptical about using an ipod for a wedding, Maggie & Nick did an exceptional job with the playlists and kept the party going all night long.  Catering was courtesy of the amazing Sacha's, if you keep up with my 'hitched' series then you know that I love working the Sascha's crew and I cannot think of enough compliments for their staff, professionalism, service and food.  As a super fun twist on the traditional wedding cake, Maggie & Nick had cannoli tower which was provided by Baltimore favorite, SugarBakers Cakes.  More amazing personalized details- Nick handmade the Natty Boh bride & groom heads for their tower topper and they offered guests Berger cookies as the favors, two very big Baltimore favorites.  Last but not least, I need to thank my amazing event assistant, Kellie O'Connor, who made my life easier with all her hard work.  Once again, congrats again Mr. & Mrs. Trinica, it was a joy to work with you both and I wish you a lifetime of love!


Friday, January 13, 2012

Interesting Wedding Superstitions

One of my blogging goals for 2012 is to post more about international weddings.  While researching different cultures, I've found that a lot of their traditions originated in some very old superstitions.  Since today is Friday the 13th- the most superstitious day in America- I've pulled together a list of my favorite international wedding superstitions.  Enjoy!

#1. Middle Eastern brides paint henna on their hands and feet to protect themselves from the evil eye (source).

#2. Saturday is the unluckiest wedding day, according to English folklore (source).

#3. If the younger of two sisters marries first, the older sister must dance barefoot at the wedding or risk never landing a husband (source).

#4. The bride is said to be doomed if she wears her complete wedding outfit before the big day (source).

#5. Pre-colonial Filipino superstitions warn that the groom and the bride should avoid traveling before the nuptial to prevent accidents from happening (source).

#6. In Russian villages they still believe that only sorcerers and ill-wishers “cut the path” of the newlyweds to harm them. No one should cross the path in front of the bride and bridegroom neither on their way to ZAGS (Registry Office) and/or church and back (source).

#7. When a London chimney sweep saved King George II's life 200 years ago, the King declared that all chimney sweeps bring good fortune and should be treated with respect. It's now considered good luck to see a chimney sweep on your wedding day, and many hire out their services to come to the ceremony and kiss the bride (source).

#8. It is bad luck for a bride to see a nun or a monk on the wedding day because they represent chastity and poverty (source). 

#9. To make sure their love keeps burning throughout their union, Finnish brides head to the altar carrying an appropriate symbol: a match (source).

#10. In ancient times the bridesmaids dressed in identical clothing while the bride wore a different dress and a veil. This was done in the hope of confusing the evil spirits that may be descending on the bride (source).

Photo credits: photo 1 and photo 2

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Guest Post: Why Giving Your Photog More Time Is Key

Do you want good photos at your wedding or do you want jaw dropping, breathtaking, phenomenal ones?  My name is Cicely Procopio and along with my husband Jason, we are Procopio Photography.  I think we can all agree that on your wedding day you want better than good pictures, you want to have the best portraits your photographer can produce! What you as the client can do to get these stunning pictures is to give your photographer enough time to photograph you. I can’t emphasize this enough, the more time we have alone with the couple, the better and more creative the pictures will be.

Every photographer is different so I would recommend asking your wedding photographer how much time they would like with the two of you. We typically shoot the couple on their wedding day for an hour. Some clients give us more than an hour, but on average it’s an hour of shoot time with just the two of them.

A First Look is key, which is when the bride and groom see each other privately before the ceremony. Don’t cringe! A first look is actually so much better than seeing your spouse to be for the first time at the ceremony. We have found that first looks are more intimate, more personal and much more emotional. The only people at your first look are you, your fiancĂ© and your photographer. If you don’t do a first look you will be seeing each other for the first time with all of your guests at your wedding is staring at you.

Also, a first look will make it easier for you to have a relaxed and fun wedding. Think about your wedding day. You have to fit in this hour of portraits of just you and your fiancé, you have to do bridal party pictures (that take 30 min) and family formals too. If you see your spouse to be before the ceremony, that opens the door to being able to do the hour of portraits of just the bride and groom right after your first look. You can check that off the list, done!

Then there are the “bridal party all together” pictures. Again, every photographer is different so be sure to ask your wedding photographer how long they need with your bridal party all together. We spend a half hour with the entire bridal party all together. So you do a first look, roll right into the hour of couple’s time and then a half hour of bridal party pictures. Done, done and done before your ceremony even starts! Whew!

Then, the only other type of posed pictures you will have left on your wedding day is your family formals. Some couples decide to tack this on before the ceremony as well. You know what that means? You can actually attend your cocktail hour or have private time with just you and your new husband/wife and relax after your ceremony. Or, if you are up for it, you can do more pictures of just you and your spouse for as long as you like during cocktail hour. Basically, if you do all your pictures before the ceremony, cocktail hour is no longer mandatory picture taking time, it becomes whatever you want it to be.

Any angle you look at it, we prefer first looks and our clients do too. They are private, more emotional, and they also open up your time line immensely for whatever the bride and groom want to do. Our advice for brides that still aren’t sold on the first look idea we highly recommend scheduling two hours of cocktail hour (not including travel). That way we can accomplish the hour of bride and groom portraits, a half hour of bridal party all together pictures and then a half hour of family formals.

Depending on how the day flows, some couples will choose to split up their hour of portrait time (of just the two of them) into two 30 minute sessions or three 20 minute sessions. It all depends on how their day flows and what they want to do. Whatever is best for you as a couple is fine, just make ensure that you give your photographer enough time to capture the images you have been dreaming about your whole life.


(All images credited to Procopio Photography)

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

The Quick List: FREE Stationary Templates!

Who doesn't love free stuff?  Especially when wedding planning!  Sporadically the wedding blogs I follow will have links to free stationary templates.  Instead of just posting each individual link, I wanted to get a bunch in one place for you.  Enjoy!

#1. Thank You CardsLove Vs. Design has some great templates for weddings, this template comes up a winner for these sweet thank you cards.

#2. Save The Date Cards The Wedding Chicks are my go-to for awesome free templates as well as great items in their retail shop.  I adore the simplicity of these std's, especially the full tutorial for those DIY-hesitant like myself.

#3. Wedding InvitationsDownload & Print has some fab options for free templates, such as this one I love.    

Invitation Template

Monday, January 9, 2012

New Year, New Goals

2012 new years party brunchThe new year is officially in swing and kicking us into 2012.  I truly believe in setting an goal with an action plan versus just a one line 'resolution' that is a wish or a hope. I have to confess that in December I was already excited to start 2012 and mentally calculating my personal & professional goals.

Maybe it's the event planner in me, but I like to take my time to focus about the end goals, work backwards to create an action plan to keep myself accountable.  My series of questions go like this: My goal is ______________.  In the past 6 months, I have _____________ and I have not ___________________ to meet my goal which resulted in _____________.  I need to change ___________ to improve & hit my goal.  The hard part is being honest enough to admit that there are real reasons to explain why you have not hit your goal yet.  The great part is when you find out what you can change so you can achieve your goal.  

After I created a goals outline, I was very inspired by the simplicity of having three key words as a goal guide for the new year.  I got this idea from following Austin event planner Camille Styles, here is the post on her first word, second word and third word.  My 3 words are for my entire life but applicable to my company as well.  Motivation, focus and balance.  I want these three words to serve as an abbreviated reminder of my full goals outline.  As I am working on a task; what is the end goal to motivate me, what is my focus for this task and am I keeping a balance in my overall activities?  I encourage you to think about your life goals for this year, work backwords to create an action plan and then think of three words that embody your overall goals to keep you going day to day.  Here's to an exciting year ahead, wishing everyone can meet (and exceed!) their goals!

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Guest Post: Military Bride Part 2

Welcome back to the second post telling the story of one military bride's journey.  Here is the link to the first post in case you missed it.  This post is about the civil ceremony Abby & her husband planned before they were stationed in Guam and her introduction to being a military wife.  To keep up with her fascinating life, check her personal blog.  Enjoy!


We chose to have it in Maryland because it was faster than Virginia, and the courthouse was a stone building with a lot of character in a Historic District. My mom and I shopped for a white dress, my wedding dress. At the time the only wedding dress I was sure I would be wearing. I wanted something not too formal (there was still hope for a wedding gown later) but serious enough for the occasion. As soon as I put it on I knew. It was fitted, with ruching, knee length and a cute little criss-cross in the back. Nicole Miller had hit the mark. I came out to oohs and ahhs, I gave my mom the look that this was it. I double checked that it wasn’t too sexy and given the okay we bought it. The love for this dress is equal to that of my Wedding Gown. But I can wear this one all the time! This was shortly after the first Sex and the City movie had released and it just so happened that I had a pair of hot pink Manolo Blahnik shoes which I had purchased (on sale) with my first Big Girl Job paycheck. Oh yes, I wore them. My mom gave me her diamond necklace as something borrowed and my best friend gave me sapphire earrings as something blue. I was set! The groom’s outfit was probably picked out in less than an hour, but he looked incredible in sand colored slacks and vest, with a baby blue shirt and tie. I was impressed. And let the flip flops slide.

We decided to have a few wedding like elements. We went cake tasting and ordered a small cake decorated with a beach scene to represent Guam. We picked the Chart House in Annapolis for dinner after; his father had attended the Naval Academy so it was a nice touch as well. The staff there was fantastic and had menus printed with Congratulations to Mr. and Mrs. H. They even ushered the family to a small corner of the lounge/bar when we first arrived as a make shift cocktail hour. Growing up, my mom and I would go to a florist every Wednesday to get flowers for the house, so the ladies there were more than happy to help us pick out some flowers for me to put together in small vases. They also surprised me with my Yellow Calla Lily bouquet wrapped with ribbon and pinned with pearls. How could you not feel like a bride? We also put together little favors of snack-sized bags of chips to represent where we first met and a few other favorites. We used my mom’s rice basket from my parent’s wedding as part of the decor which was a beautiful finishing touch.