Tuesday, February 28, 2012

The Second Biggest Question After The Proposal

Asking your nearest & dearest to be in your wedding party is a big deal, especially for the ladies.  I love the idea of making this a celebration, not just asking someone over text.  I did a post on grooms asking their friends to be in their wolfpack and here are 3 terrific ways for the brides to ask their best gals.  Enjoy!

#1. Make it memorable. There are so many sweet cards on the market (this, that and this one with a gift) and then there are a few items that create a great keepsake.  I love the idea of wine labels with your own photos or creating your own card to add an extra pop of personalization.

#2. For the above & beyond bride- DIY bridesmaid boxes. When The Wedding Chicks posted about these adorable Will You Be My Bridesmaid boxes, I kind of squealed for joy.  An honor this important needs to be presented in a big way and if you are up to this DIY task, crafting a special momento is the perfect expression of love.  Be sure to include bridesmaid dress ideas, a list of their duties and a countdown timeline to the big day.  

#3. Bridesmaid photo shoot.  This "Will You Be My Bridesmaid?" photo shoot featured in Style Me Pretty is a fantastic idea.  Professional photo shoots are such a rare treat, why not indulge your gals?  This could be a surprise shoot to ask your bridesmaids or scheduled to honor your favorite ladies in the world.  Keep the theme simple so all of you can enjoy the excitement.

Monday, February 27, 2012

Lessons From The 2012 Oscars

I love love love the Oscars and last nite did not disappoint.  I was blown away by so many dresses not to mention the glitz & glamour of the evening.  Last year I did a post after the Golden Globes on 5 lessons that brides can learn from award shows.  And what did the Academy Awards teach us?  Let's take a look.

#1. Know & dress your role.   The ranking of looking good at an awards show are: nominees, presenters, past winners and lastly the nominees dates.  Much like a wedding in that the couple getting married should shine the brightest on their big day, followed by the immediate families, wedding party and then the guests.  Trying to steal the happy couple's thunder is always a "don't".

Michelle Williams, Oscar presenter 2011  (Source)

Michelle Williams, stepping it up as an Oscar nominee 2012 
(Photo credit: Joe Klamar/AFP/Getty)

#2. Find a dress that is in line with your values. While watching the E! Red Carpet Countdown, I saw Guiliana Rancic interview Missi Pyle from The Artist.  Missi was proudly wearing the winner of the "Red Carpet, Green Dress" contest.  Suzy Amis Cameron, wife of director James Cameron, created this contest in 2009 to marry eco-friendly with high fashion with the only requirement for designers was to create a dress made entirely of sustainable materials.  Eco-beauty is officially here to stay and will hopefully be a stable on future red carpets. 

Missi Pyle (Credit: Steve Granitz/WireImage)

#3. Always have a speech ready. For some people, giving a toast at a wedding is just as nerve racking as  an award show nominee giving an acceptance speech.  In my experience, toasters wanting to 'keep it fresh' and not rehearse always talk too long and all over the place.  Unfortunately there is no music to cut off speeches at weddings so keep that in mind.  Organize your thoughts ahead of time and jot down a few key ideas/points you want to remember.  The best man typically goes first and is always a bit funnier and the maid/ matron of honor goes last and is more heartfelt/ emotional. The best equation for a great toast is: genuine emotion + heartfelt and/or funny memories + what this couple means to you - anything embarrassing.

Julia Roberts, Best Actress Winner 2001 (Source)  

Friday, February 24, 2012

And The Amazing Oscar Party Goes To...

In case you didn't know, this Sunday is the annual Academy Awards show aka the Oscars aka my personal Superbowl/ World Series/ World Cup.  I don't remember a time when I didn't watch the Oscars, it will always be the epitome of celebrity wonder & merriment for me.  Strangely enough, as obsessed as I am with the Oscars, I've never had a huge watching party.  The past couple of years I've been known to hang out with a bottle of pinot grigio and rapid fire text my friends who love this awards show as much as me.  This year I am doing an Oscar pool to select winners but still no party... maybe next year?  But if you are throwing a bash for 2012, I do have some ideas.  I did a post on Oscar party decor last year and this year I'm excited to showcase a few more options for the three main areas of a great party; food, drink and decor.  Enjoy!

#1. Food.  Just because our favorite celebs have been on a strict diet for weeks prepping for the Oscars, doesn't mean we can't enjoy some delicious indulgences!  A cute idea of making food named after the nominated movies and actors is always a party hit and this year served up a bunch of inspiration.  Try out a a fresh fruit spread (inspired by The Descendants), mini hot dogs (inspired by Moneyball), chocolate pie (inspired by The Help), and what movie awards show would be complete without popcorn?  Try this easy recipe for popcorn balls as a twist on breaking out the usual bucket of popcorn.

#2. Drink. Of course champagne is the standard drink for celebration.  But if you are looking for to toast the nominees in a flashier style, try out some fun cocktails.  Pizzazzerie posted some fun cocktail recipes, including the (Billy) Crystal Cosmo, Sweet Revenge (inspired by The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo) and The Golden Era (inspired by Midnight In Paris).  Or try out the Silent Martini (inspired by The Artist) created by The Vancouver Sun.  Cheers!

#3. Decor.  Hostess With The Mostess blog never disappoints, here is this year's list of nominee printable decor.  You don't need to go all out to create a special atmosphere, as seen by Jackie Fogartie Events displayed with using popcorn buckets as flower vases or posting cute movie signs in cupcakes.  Have a great time and let the best nominee win!

Black White & Gold Modern Oscars Party Centerpiece Idea - 2012
Hostess With The Mostess

Jackie Fogartie Events

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Things I'm Loving Right Now

#1. Polaroid Art.  Yes, you read that correctly: polaroid art.  Jersey Maids creates unique gifts from polaroids that are blowing my mind.  Such personal and creative items that have a real wow factor but are elegant enough to use again and again.  Total win. 

#2. Keeping up with non-wedding blogs.  If you are engaged, you most likely subscribe to some wedding blogs.  But, as I tell as my clients- do not allow your life to become wedding-centric.  Follow a few non-wedding blogs; a few of my favorite are The Glitter Guide (fashion/ beauty/ lifestyle), Tom and Lorenzo (celebrities/ fashion/ reality tv), A Cup of Jo (lifestyle) and my new discovery Brooklyn Fit Chick (health/ food/ fitness).  I'm putting this under my 'things I'm loving right now' post because I'm waist-deep in booking season and even as a planner my mind needs a break from weddings a few times a day.

#3. DIY that I actually want to try.  Self-admittedly non crafty as I am, it is very intimidated by seeing SO many DIY wedding posts.  These couples looked like professionals and had to have spent a lot of time perfecting so many ideas.  More recently I have seen 'easier' DIY projects that reflect the personalization aspect over the perfection aspect like this yarn chandelier from Hostess With The Mostess Blog.  My goal is to try some of these ideas and post about them on here, showcasing the good, the bad and the ugly.  If I can master a DIY project, anyone can so keep an eye out for upcoming crafty posts!

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Hitched!!! Jackson Wedding 11.12.11

As soon as I met with this bride in September 2010, I knew the partial planning experience over the next year would be a lot of fun.  And I was right!  I am so proud to bring you the professional pictures of the Jackson wedding on November 12, 2011!  This is a couple that even though they both have busy careers/lives, they were so excited about the wedding that working with them was a perfect fit.  They wanted to incorporate so much of themselves into the wedding details and every decision was well thought out; two examples being that this movie loving couple had movie candy as favors and their favorite movie posters served as a guest book.  

Not only did Chris & Ashley choose to have their rehearsal ceremony and block off rooms for out of town guests at the Towson University Marriott, but it was the perfect place for everyone to get ready the day of the wedding.  The wedding day was (luckily) an unseasonably warm  and beautiful day in mid-November with both the ceremony and reception taking place at The Mansion at Valley Country Club.  Now getting down to wedding details, I must first give a huge shout out to Nikki of Beauty N The Bride, who came to the rescue when the scheduled make up artist had a family emergency in the early morning hours of the wedding day.  I got the word from bride Ashley at 7am (which is when the make up was scheduled to begin) that her make up artist had to cancel and I called Nikki by 7:15am who dropped everything she was doing to drive from Bowie to Towson and saved the day!  The bride and wedding party got their hair done the day before at Cole Steven Salon with quick touch ups done by the bridesmaids the morning of the wedding.  The whole day was captured by James, owner of Be Photography who was a pleasure to work with and together we got the timeline back on track (after the 2.5 hour unexpected make up delay) by cocktail hour- a true testament to his work ethic and skill.  The bride, her bridal party and the father of the bride were transported from the hotel to the site in the father of the bride's company limo's.  As a special treat, the father of the bride secretly planned for a horse drawn carriage to be parked a few blocks before the site so he and his daughter could arrive in style.  Thanks to the carriage company, Carriages of the Capital, all the drivers and James for coordinating this secret plan. 

The ceremony was held in ballroom of the Mansion at VCC and Reverend Dr. Allen Robinson presided over a wonderful ceremony.  Canterbury Strings provided the ceremony music and cocktail hour music which was held, thanks to the gorgeous weather, both inside and outside the property.  The ceremony ballroom was converted to the reception room thanks to the awesome VCC staff. The wedding party and family flowers in addition to the site floral arrangements were provided by a friend of the bride's father.  And reception music was provided by a fraternity brother of the groom, DJ Gifted Hands.  He kept the party going and the guests dancing the entire reception which included the very sweet fraternity tradition of the brothers encircling the groom singing to his new bride.  The Mansion at VCC staff were so professional and on top of their game, they were definitely team players in adjusting to the new timeline and provided a delicious reception meal.  This couple had two cakes, the traditional wedding cake from the now closed Sweet Bakery Baltimore and a surprise groom's cake complete with his fraternity crest from Desserts By Dana.

Last but not least, I need to thank my amazing event assistant, Kellie O'Connor, who made my life easier by allowing me to feel like I'm in two places at once!  Once again, congrats again Mr. & Mrs. Jackson, it was a joy to work with you both and I wish you a lifetime of love!



Friday, February 10, 2012

Valentine's Day Food, From Dawn To Dusk

In this economy, a lot of couples are gifting more thoughtful, handmade gifts and gestures in lieu of expensive gifts.  One such path is to cook up your gift for Valentine's Day.  Whether you are celebrating the love day this coming weekend or on the actual day (next Tuesday), these recipes are sure to impress your sweetheart and stay light on your budget. 

Put a lovey twist on a breakfast favorite by trying out these cranberry buttermilk heart pancakes.  Breakfast in bed never looked so good! 


Lunch & Dinner
With the variety of lunch and dinner options available, there are two ways you can go: make your lovebug's favorite meal and/or make everything in the meal shaped like hearts.  I can't predict the favorite recipe part but I can give a few ideas for heart shaped food.  Sounds silly but that little extra effort can make a huge impact like the heart shaped cheese and pepperoni pizza... super cute!

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Recessionista Finds: Dresses!

The beginning of the year is prime time for deals on wedding attire, specifically wedding and bridesmaid dresses.  And being the recessionista-minded planner that I am, I have been thrilled to see a bunch of sales for brides come up so far this year.  Since there are so many discounts going on I rely on many blogs to keep me updated.  BrideFinds posted a great deal on Ann Taylor's wedding collection- 25% off wedding dresses for a limited time and oh yeah, Ann is throwing in FREE shipping too!  And for bridesmaids there’s a special coupon code in effect through Wednesday 2/15, giving your gals 20% off any order over $50!

In even more awesome news, Target has just launched a bridesmaids collection!  I could LIVE at that store if they let me, so it is a no brainer that I'm pretty excited about this line.  All dresses are under $70, they offer both short and long styles and the size range is 2-28.  The cost of being a bridesmaid can add up quickly and being able to buy a dress at a trusted nationwide store that you will wear again is pretty much all a girl on a budget could ask for.  After scouring this line, I saw a bunch of dresses I'd wear as a guest to a wedding or big event which is a total score for the price.  Happy shopping!

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

The Quick List: Gift Ideas

Now that all the football craziness is over, let's skip ahead to the next big holiday: Valentine's Day!  Since we are about a week out, I wanted to do a post on gift giving since that seems to be the hardest part about this holiday.  It's not as big as Christmas or a birthday but some thought is required.  I've pulled a few links and ideas together, hope these inspire you!

#1. Valentine's gifts for the ladies.  Thanks to the Well-Groomed Blog, well actually thanks to his smart wife, for coming up with great list of fun, sweet and creative alternatives to flowers and chocolate.  If you are a guy reading this and not sure of your lady's ring size, find a ring that she wears regularly and bring it to a jeweler for sizing... and make sure to put it back in the exact.same.place.you.found.it.

Kiel Mead Forget Me Knot Ring

#2. DIY Valentine's gift ideas.  There are some of you who are superiorly awesome in the way that you want to DIY most gifts and I deeply commend you.  Here is a lovely list of ONE HUNDRED handmade V-Day ideas.  Yes, 100.  Some are gifts for each other, some are home or party decor and there are even cute ideas for kids.
#3. Groomsmen gifts can double as V-Day or birthday gifts! The Plunge Project is one of my favorite 'new' blogs that I recently discovered.  I always have grooms asking me what to get their groomsmen and aside from the flasks (no one needs more than one), I love this guy gift guide.
Monogrammed Stainless-Steel Bar Tools Set, Single-Initial
#4. So can bridesmaids gifts! And the girls from The Plunge Project did it again- sweet and sassy gifts (on a budget!) for the gals in your life!
Cherries in the Snow. Custom Personalized Latte Mug and Saucer with Cherries