Posts categorized "Ideas and Inspiration"

July 12, 2007

Pinks, Teals and Whites...

My adorable sister-in-law, Carrie, is getting married next August at the Cape in New England. She has had a tough time choosing her palette because she wants to find a balance between color and elegance...sometimes a difficult task! But, she has settled on a palette of a fuschia pink, dark teal and creamy white. I love the combo and wanted to share her board with you. Not so much an inspiration board, simply a color board that will help Carrie balance the three hues.

Carrie_2 

Top Row: Orchids by Banchet Flowers, Gown by Monique on Brides, Cake by Petite Patisserie; Center Row: All photos by Brides; Bottom Row: Ribbon decor by Oh How Charming, gown by Lazaro; fabric by Anthropologie

June 27, 2007

Ideas and Inspiration: SocialDesign

The girls over at SocialDesign emailed me this morning about their oh-so-fabulous blog. I am loving their sense of style, and I know that you will too. It is so refreshing to see such great wedding inspiration!

I love this wedding that they are featuring on the blog...yellow, black and white. So crisp! Although the girls didn't design this particular affair, it is still such great inspiration.

Social_design

And for those of you who are wondering where the inspiration boards have gone...sit tight. With the cross country move, setting up the house, etc. time seems to slip away from me each day. Not to worry, though, we will have lots of upcoming inspiration boards!

June 25, 2007

Ideas and Inspiration: Something Blue

I am loving the idea that Hostess With The Mostess has on her site today...a tiffany inspired bridal shower!

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Blue_5\

She has complete instructions on how to create this adorable look, as well, which is  so great. I loooooove that Jennifer (the writer) uses such a broad range of items to build this tablescape...from paper plates to flutes of champagne. AND she includes links where you can buy everything. Ummm, does it get any easier???? An added touch to the whole event...call your local bakery and see if they can make a tiffany cake (or mini cakes), using blue fondant icing and a white fondant ribbon. If the fondant is too pricey, ask them to use a tiffany blue icing, then place a white ribbon around it yourself!

If you haven't already, definitely check out The Hostess with the Mostess...SUCH good ideas for all of the wedding parties that a girl needs!!!

June 20, 2007

A Stunning Affair...

My beautiful sister, Erin, is turning 34 today and my family is busy getting ready for her birthday party. In lieu of a standard post, I am just going to leave you with this absolutely beautiful wedding that Martha featured a few years back. It's proof that a wedding, rich in tradition and beauty, will always stand the test of time...

Ms_weddings

June 19, 2007

Pretty Palettes

Again, from the Martha Stewart Weddings Winter 2005 issue, I found these great color palette ideas...

Lush Purples with Chartreuse Accents...

Purples

Sweet Pink Pinks with Patterned Accents...

Pinks

A Modern Mix of Greens and Blues...

Greens

Here are some tips when finding your color palette:

-When choosing a palette for your wedding, keep in mind the colors already in place at the site where the ceremony or reception will be held, and build around them.

-If there's one color you especially love, make it resonate by mixing it's various shades, both soft and strong.

-Using one or two colors with a  neutral shade as white, taupe, or brown is nearly always effective. If you pick three or four colors, consider using one or two of them sparingly; intense hues make particularly striking accents. Combining more than four color families, however, can look haphazard.

June 18, 2007

Ideas: Welcomes and Send-Offs

I found this great article in an old Martha Stewart Weddings that I thought I would share with you...

Since most weddings these days are more about the entire weekend, than the day itself, it seems like the organizers have to come up with different ways of keeping guests entertained. Here are some of Martha's tips for keeping the wedding weekend stress free for the planners, while still fun and relaxed for your guests...

Welcome

-Set the tone for a weekend wedding and let guests know what events lie ahead by hanging welcome packages on the doors to their hotel rooms. The gift box above, hung from a ribbon includes an itinerary of events and a map of how to get from one to the next. It also contains information about the area, such as a list of restaurants, interesting sites, places to shop and twenty-four-hour drugstores. A package like this is easy to assemble. You can download maps and type other information on the computer in advance. Toss in a disposable camera, a bottle of water, plus any other little extras you like.

-A typical wedding weekend might go something like this: guests arrive Friday afternoon or evening and are welcomed at a cocktail reception or rehearsal dinner by the couple and their parents; the ceremony and reception take place on Saturday; then everyone departs on Sunday following a farewells brunch for the newlyweds. In addition, the couple might have additional, more casual activities such as a volleyball game or guided tour of local landmarks planned. Couples should allow some free time for guests to relax and do as they please.

-It's important that pre-wedding parties or dinners not detract from the main event. If the reception will be a formal dinner, you might plan a casual barbecue for a rehearsal dinner that includes all guests.

-A day-after breakfast hosted by a relative or a friend, ends the weekend on a sweet note and allows the bride and groom to spend more time with their guests. Food should be uncomplicated; pair homemade items that can be made ahead of time with store-bought extras. Cookies and candies are easy for guests to take for the trip home.

Bottom line...keep your guests happy by giving them some direction. But, don't go so overboard that all of the other extras take away from the main event. When in doubt, go for activities that are casual and relaxed.

All from Martha Stewart Weddings, Winter 2005 

June 15, 2007

Ideas and Inspiration: Mother of the Bride

Day to day, I get a lot of questions that don't necessarily fall into one category or another. So, I am going to make a new category called Q & A...basically just questions that I get from readers! Since most of you are in the trenches of wedding planning or simply read this blog, as a way to stay connected to such a fun time in your life, I really encourage everyone to comment on the Q & A's.

Q. I am currently planning my May '08 wedding in California and my Midwestern Mom is having a meltdown. My fiance works in the fashion business and Mi Madre is well aware that there will be quite a fashionable crowd. I'm having a difficult time helping her find a classic, yet fashionable Mother of the Bride outfit...got any suggestions?

A. My mom had a heck of a time trying to choose the perfect outfit. And to be honest, when you look at what mothers are "supposed" to wear, there just isn't a lot to choose from. Throw in a fashion forward crowd, and it is no wonder she is having a meltdown!

The good news is that more and more stores are starting to catch on to the problematic "mother of the bride outfit dilemma." Many of the major department stores, like Neiman and Nordstrom, now have sections on their websites devoted completely to the mothers. How great is that! And, the dresses are by well known designers like Carmen Marc Valvo, Vera Wang, Elie Tahari and so many others.

Bottom line...when you are the mother, aim for spectacular. But understated. You cannot go wrong with a well-made gown in a soft hue like champagne (not beige), black or pale pink. Go for something that flatters your figure and that is made with a beautiful, luxurious fabric. I love these gowns from Neiman Marcus and Nordstrom...they are so simple, but so chic.

Mother_of_the_bride

June 14, 2007

Pretty Palette: A Mixed Bouquet

I love this palette that Joy over at Oh Joy, posted the other day...varying shades of pinks, green, blue and white. It seems so effortless. So, summer chic. Sometimes, people think too much about their palette and it almost becomes cliche. The best wedding colors, in my opinion, are those that don't seem forced or staged.

Oh_joy2 

Top picture is by Oh Joy!, Bottom (left to right) are from Oh How Charming!, J Crew and House Martin. Pretty, hugh!

June 07, 2007

Samantha and Ryan, Fashion and Flowers

Honestly, the most stylish part of this wedding was the fashions and the flowers. Each dress, each centerpieces, each bouquet complimented one another to perfection...all without seeming overly matched or coordinated.

First, the fashion...the girls wore butter yellow dresses from Simple Silhouette, with the maid of honor simply tying a navy ribbon around her waist. The boys were in classic black tuxes. I will see if Samantha will give us the full run down of vendors when she is back from her honeymoon.

Fashion_1 

The bride had on a very simple, but incredibly elegant mermaid style gown. It was SPECTACULAR.

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On to the flowers...Sam and Ryan went for that "fresh from the garden" look...with peonies, lilies, roses and a slew of other varieties. They managed to pull of a garden style with a sweet sophistication that is incredibly difficult to achieve. The centerpieces all used vases of varying shapes, heights and sizes and were filled in creative ways with green beans, brussels sprouts and banana leaves. The end result was gorgeous.

The bouquet...

Bouquet_1

The centerpieces...

Flowers

All in all, the wedding was beautiful. I will say that with or without the perfect details, the wedding would still have been just as lovely. It is incredible how stylish good friends and a loving family can be.

June 06, 2007

Samantha and Ryan, The Details

More on Sam and Ryan's wedding today...I particularly loved all of the TLC that went into each and every corner of this wedding. From monogrammed napkins to picture perfect placesettings, you could really tell that every element was thought about carefully. Here are a few of my favorite details...

First, the cake. OH MY, the cake. It was so beautiful. It had these little fondant lemons that looked so real, you just wanted to touch them.

Cake_2

The stationery that they used was also gorgeous...the apple green color was perfect for the summer ambiance, and brought out kind of a chic, casual feeling.

Stationery_1 

And finally, I HAD to put a picture up of the candles and vases that they used...literally filled with green beans and brussel sprouts. Sounds crazy, looked awesome.

Veggies_1

Tomorrow is going to be intense...all about the flowers and the fashions. Just thinking about it makes me all giddy inside:)

June 05, 2007

Samantha and Ryan, The Venue

As I mentioned yesterday, I attended the most spectacular wedding over the weekend. Samantha, an editor at a well known magazine, is a friend of mine from college and Ryan, a professional lacrosse player and now a dear friend of mine, tied the knot at Ryan's parent's GORGEOUS bed and breakfast. As I was going through the pictures, I realized that I have so many great ones...there is simply no way to put them all in one email. Instead, I am going to break the wedding down to three parts: The Venue, The Details, The Fashion & Flowers. First, The Venue.

Ryan, being perhaps the luckiest boy in the world, grew up at the Antrim 1844, a picture perfect bed and breakfast in Taneytown, Maryland. The photos on the website hardly do this little gem justice. I swear I nearly keeled over with delight when I stepped out of the car...and it only got better and better as the weekend unfolded.

Grounds2 

The weekend started with a welcome BBQ for all of the guests. This was held at the family farm (complete with llamas and donkeys), just down the road from the Inn. It was a perfect, casual get together and completely set the tone for the entire event. Paper lanterns, some red and white checkered table clothes and cocktails served out of mason jars added to the natural ambiance. Sadly, my plane was delayed and we didn't arrive until after dark...thus, I didn't get any great photos of this event.

The next afternoon, they held a pool party....straight out of an Audrey Hepburn movie. Everyone just lounged around under the trees, sitting on yellow and white striped towels and feasting on the best cookout food. A perfect afternoon.

Pool_party

The ceremony was held in the beautiful rose gardens at the Inn...it was intimate and sweet, without seeming staged at all. Unfortunately, it started raining buckets 2 minutes after the bride walked down the aisle. We all hustled into the nearby tented area and finished the ceremony there. It seemed completely romantic and cozy, and the bride took it all in stride, which put everyone at ease.

Ceremony2 

The cocktail hour was held in the courtyard, then the reception was tented nearby. Each area, although all next to one another, seemed unique. Each one, perfect for that portion of the evening.

Cocktail_hour

Reception3

Tomorrow, I will tackle the little details that made the wedding so special. I can't wait for you guys to see the Martha-esque touches that Samantha and Ryan pulled into their wedding.

June 04, 2007

Up-Do

I hope everyone had a great weekend. I was actually at a wedding in a small town right outside of Baltimore and I must say, it was one of the most lovely weddings I have ever been to. Every detail was executed beautifully, from the centerpieces to the fashions...all was picture perfect. Tomorrow, I will put together a full spread for you to see.

A couple of readers have asked me for pictures of my hair at my own wedding...I was lucky enough to have my cousin do my hair, so she was able to follow me around all night with extra bobby pins and hair spray. Otherwise, this is a little bit of a tricky "do" as your hair can't be too short, too fine or too heavy.

Hair_photos

My cousin set my hair so that we could easily just take out the pins and have a more casual look for the reception. She didn't use any rubber bands so there weren't any funny creases or bends in my hair. The only thing that you can't really see in the photos is the gardenia that she tucked into the base of the bun...it was a really subtle, romantic touch.

May 31, 2007

More Gowns!

Last month I did a write-up on the Fall 2007 gowns...I really thought that I had found my favorites for the season. Well, as I was doing yesterday's inspiration board, I discovered so many more that I am madly in love with. I am particularly in awe of the beautiful detailing that seems to be mastered this season...from antique lace to delicate beading. Some a bit traditional and others more unique and contemporary, the Fall 2007 season seems to be filled with beautiful designs.

Wedding_gowns

First Row: Carolina Herrera on Brides; Second Row and Third Row: Kenneth Pool on Brides; Fourth Row: Romona Keveza on Brides

May 25, 2007

Summer Color Palette

I just got back from the Stationery Show in NY where inspiration is basically enveloping you...it's in every corner, on every wall and often, on the ceilings and floors. This year's talent was great and I applaud all of the designers who busted their tails to get there. Anyway, while I was working, I ran into celebrity event planner Mindy Weiss. She and her business partner, Janis, are so sweet and seeing them reminded me that I hadn't been to their website lately. Mindy always has great ideas in her Q&A section and stunning photography of events that she has done in the past.

As I was browsing Mindy's site, I found a GORGEOUS picture of beach side wedding with a color palette that I have officially fallen in love with. And, since it has reached a lovely 85 degrees here in Boston, the colors seem to be completely fitting for a beautiful summer affair...

Blue_green_2

Dresses: Left by Monique Lhuillier on BridesCenter by Shelli Segal and Right by BCBG at Saks.

May 22, 2007

Ribbon Detail

Holly, over at Decor8, recently posted about this great ribbon company called The Ribbon Jar. It got me thinking about all of the little ways that you can incorporate a beautiful ribbon into your wedding decor. It is incredible how an inexpensive detail can add so much, if done with elegance and style. Here are some ways that I have seen ribbon incorporated beautifully...

Ribbon_detail

All of the photos are from Oh How Charming! with the exception of the green hanging place cards, which are from the Charming Gardener. I love how elegant these ribbon details are...from silk wraps on invitations and napkins, to program ties that add a shot of color to your decor and even wispy strands just blowing in the breeze. So romantic and dreamy.

You can use ribbon to elegantly tie your favor bags or boxes, to wrap inexpensive vases, to hang photos of yourselves, to add detail to your wedding stationery...oh, the options are endless. But please remember, an overdose of ribbon crafts can also come off as cheap and cheesy. Try to stay simple with your colors and styles, and forgo the elaborate bows. Opt for elegant fabrics and chic, simple ties.

May 15, 2007

Color Palette Ideas

Here are some palette ideas for those of you that are struggling to find your look...

The first was inspired by my own wedding...Chocolate & Cream. I brought in accents of blush pink and champagne, but sage green, coral or a deep pink would all look beautiful too. Actually, chocolate and cream are both great foundation colors that you can build on for any wedding.

Chocolate_cream

from left to right: chocolate gown by Vera Wang, decor by Krislyn Designs; gown by Vera Wang on Brides

Second, a classic black and white affair...with a twist. I love infusing traditional colors with bright, bold hues. It is just such a fresh way to update a classic.

Black_and_white_2

from left to right: black and white Oscar de la Renta gown on brides, flowers by Ariella Chezar, gown by Monique Lhuillier on Brides

I really love both of these palettes. They are both old and new, classic and sophisticated. Plus, you won't ever get sick of them when you look back at your pictures!

April 27, 2007

Pretty Spring & Summer Colors

I get so many requests for help in choosing color palettes...it seems like so many soon-to-be's have a hard time bringing colors together that work and that make sense aesthetically. For example, you may love orange and chocolate brown, but when brought together, you realize that they have a close resemblance to candy corn at Halloween.

So today, I wanted to start a series of posts that I am going to do on choosing color palettes for your wedding. I absolutely love the two that I have chosen for today and think that they are perfect for a Spring or Summer wedding .

First is Navy, Yellow and White...

Navy_yellow

From Left to Right: Vera Wang, Z Gallerie, Abaete, Antony Todd

This color combo is your quintessential summer palette...perfect for a beachy wedding in Miami, at the Cape or Nantucket. I really like using preppy colors in a super sophisticated way, so if you choose a look like this, make sure to infuse elements with a modern feel so as not to seem so themed.

The second palette that I am LOVING is done with various shades of bright pink...

Pinks_2

From Left to Right: Artfool, BCBG at Saks, Photo by Oh How Charming!, J Crew

These colors are just perfect for a fun, Spring or Summer garden wedding. I love that there is such a contrast between the pinks and the natural elements of an outdoor wedding. Plus, the white of the gown really pops which is never a bad thing!

What are your current favorite color palettes? I would love to hear from you! 

April 26, 2007

I Love Vera, Lots and Lots of Vera

Yesterday I told you that I would post my favorite Vera Wang gowns for the 2007 season. Well, I seriously couldn't choose. They are all GORGEOUS. Some are a lot more wearable than others, but they are all architecturally stunning. What struck me the most about this particular season, is the detail on each gown. Take a look...

Vera_wang_detail

The craftsmanship involved is completely incredible...in each gown, she manages to find the balance between timelessness and chic sophistication. Bottom line, Vera is amazing. Of course, the price tag is often pretty amazing too.

So now let me tell you the story behind my amazing gown AND my amazing price tag. I had exhausted just about every dress in the city of Houston before finally deciding on a super simple Ulla Maiji gown. I was happy, but not thrilled. I decided to ask the sales girl if she had ANY other gowns that I hadn't tried on. She thought for a minute, then without a word headed into the back room. Seconds later she returned with what I will always believe was the dress of my dreams. A Vera Wang from her Luxe Collection. Yep, your heard me right. To make matters better (or worse if you are my dad), it fit like a well made glove.

Now here is the amazing part...the dress was purchased by a bride who that morning, had come in and canceled her wedding. Because it was sized for this particular bride, they were going to have a hard time selling the gown on the floor. They offered it to me at 50% off. Done deal. We handed them the credit card and never looked back.

Since this fateful day, I've told my gown story a handful of times. Sadly, more than once, someone has said, "that happened to me too!!"  So now I'm thinking that perhaps there wasn't a sad bride or a canceled wedding...but I don't care. It was still worth every penny. Probably because they weren't my pennies.

Here are some pics of me and my glorious dress...

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Ahhh, the dress. Although it feels completely awkward posting pictures of myself, I do love this dress.

April 25, 2007

2007 Gown Round-Up

Thank you all so much for your great feedback with the site design! It looks like design A is the clear winner so far! Next week, I am going to put A against a new design to see what you guys think. This round however, will end on Sunday, so don't be shy about commenting.

One of my readers asked if I would do a little round-up of some of my favorite gowns for 2007....Um, of course!!! I still honestly believe that my wedding gown is the most beautiful gown ever in the history of wedding gowns, but I suppose there are some pretty ones out there this season. Just teasing. To me, a wedding gown is a lot like a child. Yours is always better.

Here are some of my favorites for 2007...

2007_gown_round_up

Okay, let's discuss. The top row are gowns that are a little more traditional. With that said, each one is completely infused with a contemporary style that I love. From the left, the designers are Melissa Sweet, Jim Hjelm and Amsale. I loooove the Amsale dress. It reminds me of something that Chloe from Project Runway would do.

The second row gowns are all a bit more flowy...almost grecian. This style, for now, is more of what I gravitate towards. It just feels whispy and romantic. I envision a low, very loose bun and antique gold earings to complete the look. I am still kind of obsessed with lace and I love that these designers brought in a very sexy appeal to such a traditional fabric. Designer on the left is Oscar de la Renta and the center/right are Badgley Mischka.

The gowns on the third row are sweet, almost innocent. And yet, they seem so timeless and elegant to me. I absolutely love the detailing on each of these gowns...the first has such a pretty silhouette, the second has gorgeous lace detailing without seeming over the top and the third has such beautiful layering. You don't see gowns like this often. From the left, the designers are Angel Sanchez, Carolina Herrera and Angel Sanchez again.

If you know about my love affair with all things Vera, you are probably wondering why I don't have any of her designs up here. To be honest, it's a totally different beast. Tomorrow, I am going to have my new favorite Vera dresses...I thought they deserved a post all on their own.

April 19, 2007

Calligraphy Fans

I have had a couple of requests lately to post about creative ideas for summer fans...if you are having an outdoor wedding anywhere in the summertime, fans are a great way to cool off your guests, while still bringing in another element of design. And yet, most of the fans that are out there are either the sandalwood versions or they are paper fans on popsical sticks. Although I do love some of the wooden fans, they are not always right for every ceremony.

That is why I was super excited to stumble across this beautiful idea by Grace Connell..

Calligraphy_fans

Okay, well maybe this wasn't meant to be a fan...but it certainly works! You could either leave the panels loose or you could bind them at the base so that they are already fanned out for your guests. They are so beautiful and I absolutely love the idea of incorporating calligraphy in unexpected ways.

April 12, 2007

R. Wood Studio

So, I am being a little cheap today, but the post on R. Wood Studio, over at Oh Joy, was just too pretty to resist! R. Wood Studio is this incredible little company out of Athens, Georgia that crafts the most gorgeous pieces of everyday and special occasion ceramics. Believe me when I tell you that the owner Rebecca, and her 12 artists, are enormously talented and in my opinion, create work that is as beautiful as it is timeless.

Anyway, Rebecca recently did a feature on A Country Wedding that was so beautiful, I just had to share it.

Country_wedding

Okay, now take a look at the GORGEOUS ceramics...and, even more exciting, they have a bridal registry!

R_wood_studio2

April 06, 2007

Invitations!

For Friday's eye candy, I found this gorgeous spread in Martha Stewart Wedding's Fall  2004 issue...invitations galore! There are way too many for me to name, so shoot me an email if you love one and I will let you know who the designer is (you can click on the image to make it larger and see more detail). Enjoy!!

Invitations

April 05, 2007

Ahhh, Paris!!!

I found this drool-worthy spread in the Elegant Bride, Fall 2004 Special Fashion Issue. I am completely in love with these pictures...so completely romantic and inspiring.

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Paris_2

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Ahhh...If only we could all be tall and thin, with gobs of money to spend on couture gowns...

April 04, 2007

Summer Weddings

Since so many of you are having summer weddings, I wanted to share with you this great piece from Martha Stewart Weddings Special Collectors Edition 2004 issue (yes, I am that obsessed)...

Cherries

Cherries are the epitome of summertime. For a cute favor, you can buy a bunch of cherries at your local farmer's market then fill little bakery bags with the fruit and a cute, clear monogrammed label on the front. Make the gift even more adorable by scalloping the top edge of the bag. OR, you could enlist friends or a local patisserie to bake mini cherry pies, packaging them in a white bakery box with a label, then tied together with bakery twine. I love these ideas!!

Peaches

How gorgeous are these apricots...they are such a pretty color and completely perfect for summer decor. Using a barrel of apricots for centerpieces at an outdoor wedding is the perfect way to bring in a warm, charming ambiance (while saving money to boot!).  I love the seating cards too...Martha's tip is to write names on a strip of thin art paper and use a pencil to curl ends in opposite directions. You can then hang the paper from bamboo toothpicks inserted through the apricot to look like stems. How perfect!

Lanterns

Okay, I have been obsessed with paper luminaries for some time. To me, they so incredibly beautiful...kind of magical and utterly romantic. Not to mention, they are inexpensive and easy to make. Here are some of Martha's tips on making these lanterns yourself..

You will need strings of full size Christmas lights with clear bulbs (remove every other bulb), light-colored paper bags about 7 inches wide (for each lantern, you'll need two the same size), a utility knife, a ruler, 2-inch round self-stick labels and 2-inch-wide single-face satin ribbon (one 48 inch length of each lantern)

1. Trim the tops of each bag to make straight edges. For the top of each lantern, stick a label on the inside bottom center of one bag to reinforce. Reaching inside the bag with a utility knife, cut two 1 1/2" slits, making an X on the label.

2. To attach bags to lights, first remove a bulb and slide the socket through the X, and then screw the bulb back in.

3. For the lantern bottom, slide a second bag up over the first one.

4. Lay the center of the ribbon on top of the wire at the socket; wrap ribbon snugly down sides of bags. Knot at bottom and let ends hang.

Voila! Okay, well maybe they aren't EASY...but certainly doable!

April 03, 2007

DIY Stamped Seating Cards

Having both of my sisters, and myself, get married in the last few years, we have accumulated quite the selection of bridal magazines. Last night, out of boredom, I started pouring through old copies of Martha Stewart Weddings. She never fails to amaze me...this stuff is so cute and still so great for today's weddings.

So, I wanted to take this week to highlight some of my favorite features from all of these bridal magazines that are sitting on my shelf, collecting unnecessary dust. This one is for DIY Stamped Seating Cards...

Seating_cards_2

How great are these?! Here are some tips (along with some updated resources) from the magazine as to how to make them...

-Scour clip-art sites for some images of birds and blossoms that you love, them have them made into a rubber stamp.

-Pick up a small variety of ink pads from your local craft store or online (try to find colors that are more sophisticated like chocolate, rose, mano and a great green).

-There are some great papers from Paper Source that could be used for this project. They carry the pre-converted seating cards either in a tented style or flat, with a mini-envelope.

-Try to come up with 5-10 different patterns with your stamps, then repeat that same composition a few times. This way, your cards will look random but not completely chaotic.

-When stamping, place a piece of paper under the paper so that you can allow the stamped image to run off the edge a bit.

Of course, you are certainly not limited to birds and blossoms. The options for these are really endless...your stamp could be something as simple as a calligraphied word reading "love" or "peace." or it could be a series of intricate patterns and prints, custom silhouettes, anything really! 

March 30, 2007

Guest Blog: Haile Parker McCollum

Haile Parker McCollum, owner and creative director of Fontaine Maury, has very sweetly offered to share with us some really great, tried and true tips for planning a successful wedding. Haile is the epitome of style and elegance, and aside from her planning own wedding, she is a pro at hosting fabulous parties. So, listen carefully because she knows her stuff!!! Take it away, Haile!

Hpmwedding

I have a few simple pieces of advice for anyone planning a wedding. This is not an exhaustive list, just some pointers that come to mind.

First, to avoid any misunderstanding before you entwine yourself for life with your husband’s mother, communicate to her a firm number of guests she can invite. It’s very difficult to undo a list once it’s been created. Not to be unfair, you should also communicate your wishes to whoever is throwing the wedding for you. One of my Aunts informed me that I had to invite “cousins down to her generation that were still living”. The cousin total came to 40.

Second, choose what aspect of the wedding is most important to you and stick to your guns on that point. My stick to my gun point was color. My other, very traditional, Aunt kept offering in a very sweet way to help me choose an ivory invitation with black engraving. Being a stationery and product designer, ivory and black just didn’t fly with me. Our invitation was heavy paper in deep red with white engraving. She called it our paper valentine invitation.

Following the invitations lead, my bridesmaid dresses were shades of pink, red and orange, as were the tablecloths, lanterns and flowers. If you set the tone from the beginning it actually makes your job easier. If you’ve decided to go with reds, you can eliminate with grace the chocolate bridesmaid dress your maid of honor is trying to talk you into.

Third, and this relates to point #2, let some of the decisions that other people (your Mother, or in my case 3 Aunts) insist on making for you wash right on over you. Letting go of some of the decisions can be difficult, but it must be done especially if someone is throwing the wedding for you. That is a diplomatic way of saying whoever is footing the bill needs to have some say. I wanted no part of a veil, but it was important to my traditional Aunt and I decided that it was not one of the details that I was going to get worked up over.

Hpmtent

I also originally has chosen a different reception site, The Aunts stepped in and told me it was to be on family property. The result was dramatic as you can see. We were all pleased in the end.

Thank you so much, Haile...such great advice. And I can say from experience, SO true. Check back Monday for a new inspiration...have a great weekend!

March 29, 2007

More From Sonya!!

So sorry for my tardiness today...I have been on a fun work trip and didn't have a spare minute to put up today's post, which is actually super useful and fun. Sonya, editor of Daily Candy Dallas, is telling us all about her reception details for her upcoming wedding...so here she is!

Once my fiancé and I had some basic ideas in place about the wedding ceremony, we set to work on the reception. Naturally, I wanted something wicked small. And, naturally, my beloved wanted to invite what seemed like the entire city of Dallas. So we made started by making a guest list. In Excel (I’m crazy that way), which we revised many, many (Did I mention many?) times before we ever made another decision. After settling on a figure (200), it was pretty clear to me that my hopes of having it at someplace small was out of the question.

This time, I did the brainstorming solo. I knew a large venue with a large crowd wouldn’t be ideal for me, so I needed to find a venue that I thought everyone (including myself) would be comfortable in. That meant no fancy reception halls, fancy flower arrangements, or even a dance floor. Of course, I was at a loss for ideas. Of course, I turned to my friends who are all brilliant and seem to know volumes more about all my little quirks than I do. One suggested a museum. And I liked it – until I realized renting out the Dallas Museum of Modern Art was beyond our budget. Another suggested an art gallery because, well, Dallas is teaming with art galleries. And the light bulb suddenly went off above my head

My fiancé and I had both been to the Dallas Center for Contemporary Arts for events in the past, and we loved the space so much. It was big yet small, simple yet elegant, and perfect yet perfect. We reached out to the venue, told them what we wanted (a casual get together of our industry friends to meet and, oh, hey, we just got married), and gave them the freedom to suggest whatever logistics they thought would work best (our cocktail tables are great, arrange them in clusters, the bar goes here). Again, it was one of those situations where I just felt like they’d know more about throwing events in their space than I ever could, so why not let them do their job and relax? So I did. And immediately set to work figuring out all the other details.

I cringed at the idea of traditional guest books. And, in the interest of full disclosure, I was already knee-deep in old issues of Martha Stewart Weddings. (Say what you well, but that woman knows her stuff,) Luckily, the very first magazine I’d ever picked up had a fantastic idea: Print tiny cards with the bride and groom’s names and have attendees use them to write little messages of love, hope, whatever to us. To make this possible, I headed straightaway to Paperie & Co. Next, I enlisted the help of master calligrapher Tara Jones to create a couple of signs that said, “Your message for Sonya and Paul” that we could elegantly attach via ribbon to a couple of glass containers from Garden Ridge Pottery

Next came the favors. After tossing up a couple of DIY ideas (we heart Martha), I decided on gorgeous handmade soaps from Valsey and Me. Guests will receive a package of five wrapped with a lovely grosgrain ribbon, and each one will say the date of our wedding, our names, and, on the back, “Made Exclusively for the Kixes.” So adorable.

We’ve decided to serve dessert and light hor d’oeuvres at the reception, but haven’t quite decided who will provide both. At the moment, the frontrunner for cake is Sprinkles Cupcakes. But for the non-sweets, we might easily turn to Costco for the food and drinks. As for decorations, we may just use our lovely centerpieces from the wedding to spruce up the museum. But because there will be an exhibit on display, we figure that might be all the decoration we need.

Thank you so much, Sonya, for sharing all of your wedding details...please send pictures as soon as you get them! I know that with your great taste, the event is sure to be a smashing success!!!

March 28, 2007

Guest Blogger: Sonya Castex, editor of Daily Candy Dallas Edition

Today's guest blog is written by one of my favorite people in the world...Sonya Castex, Dallas Editor for Daily Candy. Yep, you read it right, an editor at Daily Candy. How much better did this day just get!?!

So, I am going to quickly pass to pad (as in key pad) over to Sonya so she can you all about her wedding details...

I was never the girl who wanted to get married. Don’t get me wrong, I always liked the idea of finding someone to share your life with, but the idea of wearing a frilly white dress with long veils and blah, blah, blah always made me cringe. So when the other little girls were playing dress up in their white Easter dresses and pretending to live happily ever after with the family dog, I was busy envisioning myself as, well, anything else.

So when the time finally came last August to start planning my own wedding, I had only one demand: Keep it simple. And split the ordeal in half. My idea was to have something intimate, familiar, and, er, tolerable, which would only be possible if we did it in small doses. The solution? We opted for a small wedding and a separate party-slash-reception for our friends the next night.

Luckily, I knew exactly where my invitations were coming from ages before my fiance had even popped the question. And that made things much easier. Once Abby shared her idea for the wedding invite (a simple affair with only a few lines of text meant for only close friends and family) and reception invite (a more traditional invite with less-traditional ways), we had some tangible manifestation of the events we wanted to create. And that made everything seem to come together.

We decided on an intimate dinner party for 25 friends and family with a wedding tossed in for good measure all situated in a breathtaking backyard that belongs to two of our BFFs. Because I quickly realized I had no desire to trick out the setting, I turned it all over to the geniuses at Todd Events. We told them our initial ideas (simple and cheap!), and let them have at it. Their ideas for the tables (easy), lounge seating (elegant), our make-shift alter (gorgeous), and flowers (simple) has consistently amazed me. So it has enabled me to completely sit back and relax.

For the food, we talked to a few local caterers, but, in the end, decided just to go with our favorite restaurant, Alessio’s (We so heart the crab meat lasagna). We asked the chef to come up with his own menu since everything he makes is amazing. He created something around our two favorite dishes (the lasagna and calamari) that would appeal to the various tastes of our guests, so we are very pleased.

The cake was a total no brainer: Dallas Affairs. Because we weren’t doing the traditional cake (thank gawd), we asked them to come up with a simple, round, chocolate cake (my favorite) with periwinkle blue icing (our colors). On the top, we asked for a design to match our wedding cookies, which I just happened to stumble across online. The cake’s going to be filled with strawberries, Kalua, and an Italian crème icing. But for our one guest who’s allergic to strawberries, we’re going to have a special mini cake created just for her.

Picking the dress took about five minutes. I went straight to the Internet and searched for a simple dress (in ivory with an empire waist, criss=crossing straps, and a long fishtail) that I had been coveting from J. Crew’s weddings and parties shop,  Sadly (or luckily?), it wasn’t available this season, so I went to www.ebay.com and found it for only $75. Then I promptly ordered J. Crew’s bridal monogramming for something blue and had it sewn into the dress at our local tailors.

Sonya will be back tomorrow with all of the lovely finds that she is incorporating into her reception!

March 23, 2007

A Soolip Wedding: The Review

Today, I am super excited that Rhonda, creator of Our Wedding Plus, is going to guest blog all about the Soolip wedding event that happened this past weekend in LA. I am so jealous that she got to go, but she's promised to give us all the highlights! And, here's Rhonda...

Hi everyone! It’s Rhonda from the Our Wedding Plus wedding planning blog. I love reading Style Me Pretty every day and definitely get a lot of my inspiration from Abby’s creations! So as you can imagine, I feel greatly honored to have been asked by Abby to give you a compilation of my experiences at A Soolip Wedding last Sunday.

A Soolip Wedding was an incredible combination of top-notch wedding professionals, presentations by an amazing group of wedding experts, a collection of green wedding resources, and a fashion show of Monica Lhuillier dresses. Oh yeah, almost forgot the 5-star food from Social Hollywood that was included with admission! As you can see this wasn’t your average bridal show! 

A_soolip_wedding_2

(photos courtesy of Jules Bianci Photography)

Here’s a quick rundown of what happened… 

The wedding experts were truly inspirational! Kathy Nenneker, the editor of Los Angeles Weddings magazine shared an amazing list of practical wedding tips. I took five pages of notes during her twenty-minute presentation. Wanda Wen, the cofounder of Soolip and the host of the event, shared great suggestions on how to wrap gifts (she is famous for her appearance on NBC’s Today Show demonstrating her wrapping skills). She also gave a unique idea to personalize your wedding, which I’m going to post on my blog tomorrow! Finally, the star of the show was Jo Gartin, named by Vogue magazine as the “best wedding coordinator” and has had Courtney Cox Arquette, Brook Shields, Molly Shannon, Tori Spelling, and Tim Allen as clients!

The Green Wedding was an entire room dedicated to eco-friendly wedding vendors. These included Bokao’s Aveda Salon, featuring eco-friendly make-up and beauty supplies, Green Bliss ecospa featuring eco-friendly spa services (they also gave me a hand massage!), and Green Weddings & Events an eco-friendly wedding planning company. Something else I learned was that it is possible to pick an eco-friendly photographer, one who uses only digital photography. This not only saves paper by allowing you to view wedding images via an online photo lab as opposed to a traditional proof book or proof prints, but also eliminates the use of excess chemicals used during the development process. This idea I got from Jasmine Star of Jasmine Star Photography. She is an eco-friendly photographer, digital only, but of course you will get your final photos on paper or in a beautiful album. She took some great pictures of the event, posted on her blog… www.jasminestarphotography.blogspot.com. She’s an incredible photographer if you’re in the Southern California area. 

The fashion show of Monica Lhiullier dresses was at the level of “high fashion” you might see in Elle magazine or Vogue. It was really an incredible experience. They even handed out excellent champagne and wedding cake to enjoy during the show.

So I guess what I’m trying to say is if you ever get the chance to go to A Soolip Wedding, go! I think it is run annually, so keep a lookout next year. 

Thanks again Abby for letting me share my experience with your readers!

 Rhonda

www.ourweddingplus.blogspot.com

Make sure to check out Rhonda's blog...she has some really great info and some lovely inspiration of her own! Have a good weekend!

March 19, 2007

A Cake Gallery

Sadly, this post has made me gain exactly 3 pounds...in one sitting. But, it was worth it. These cakes are so over-the-top gorgeous, they just might make you jump in your car and head to the nearest bakery.

Oh-So-Cute Cakes...
Cute_cakes_2
Chic, Architectural Cakes...

Chic_cakes
Tradition with a Twist Cakes...

Tradition_with_a_twist_cakes

Precious Mini Cakes...

Mini_cakes3

Print and Patterned Cake...

Print_and_pattern_cakes

These are not just cakes..they are art! Take a few moments to browse the gorgeous sites of the above cake makers...

Cute Cakes - Top Row: First two by Lovin Sullivan, third by Brides; Bottom Row: Flower Girl Bakery, Lovin Sullivan and Cute Overload

Chic Cakes - Top Row: Jan Kish, Collette Foley, and Brides; Bottom Row: April Reed

Traditional Cakes - Top Row: Alice's Tea Cup, Collette Foley, Lovin Sullivan; Bottom Row: Carlo's Bakery, Confetti Cakes, Cheryl Kleinman

Mini Cakes - Top Row: Alice's Teacup, Colette Foley, Cheryl Kleinman; Bottom Row: Cheryl Kleinman, Alice's Tea Cup, Little Venice Cake Company

Print & Patterned Cakes - Top Row: Maisie Fantaisie, Lovin Sullivan, Lovin Sullivan; Bottom Row: Confetti Cakes, Margaret Braun, Brides

March 15, 2007

A Soolip Wedding

I am sure that most of you have already heard about A Soolip Wedding, but I wanted to write about it as I think is it such a wonderful thing...and, it goes along so nicely with the Green Wedding post from a few days back!

Soolip puts on a wedding event each year, bringing together the most elegant & stylish vendors that share similar aesthetics, into one space so that brides and industry professionals can see the wedding as a fabulous, cohesive whole. This year, the focus is on the eco-conscious bride and groom who want to create an elegant, sophisticated affair without comprimizing environmental values. Environmentally sustainable elegance...which in my opinion, is the new little black dress.

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A_soolip_wedding

A_soolip_wedding3_1 

Thanks so much to Jules Bianchi for the fabulous pictures of last year's event! Check out the rest of Jules's site when you have a minute...she is a very talented photographer!

A Soolip Wedding will feature everything from tree free papers, to organically grown party foods and favors that have a life beyond your actual wedding. Gowns by Monique Lhuillier, make-up by Sephora and hair by Chris McMillan will grace the runway. And...perhaps the best part of the day, guests will have the opportunity to "drop in on the experts" as they share advice and ideas.

The event is THIS sunday so if you are in LA or can swing the trip (ie...rapid rewards on southwest?), it will definitely be worth it. The owner and head designer at Soolip, Wanda Wen, is a lovely woman with spectacular taste. I have no doubt that she will pull off the environmental wedding with sophistication and originality. Tickets can be purchased online at www.asoolipwedding.com

SO...for those of you that are able to go, please shoot me an email when you get back!! I would love to hear all about it! I am hoping that one of you can guest blog all about the event!

March 14, 2007

Wedding Favors!

Check out these great wedding favors that I found over at Bliss Weddings Market...

Bliss

The owner of Bliss emailed me a while back and I only recently had a minute to take a look at the site...I love her stuff! I am sorry, but those nests could possibly be the cutest favors I have seen in a while. A lot of the items are "assemble yourself" (but not "make from scratch," which is a really good thing),  so her prices are very reasonable. Although there is a lot to sift through on the site, there are some really great/non-cheesy favors and packaging ideas to be had!

March 13, 2007

From a Living Room to a Wedding!

First and foremost...make sure you answer the contest question from yesterday! I am going to choose a winner tomorrow night and with a Sephora gift certificate at stake, there is nothing to lose!

As most of you know, I love Domino Magazine. And, one of the sections that I love the most is where they transform a single outfit into an entire room. Every time they do this, I am completely shocked at how dead on it is. And the best part...you see a clear sense of their inspiration (the outfit) without it being overly matched or coordinated. Exactly what good design is all about.

So...I have decided to be a bit of a copycat and take on the impossible (well, okay...that is a bit of an exaggeration). Let's see if we can transform one of Domino's gorgeous rooms into an equally stunning wedding affair!

Here is the room that will serve as the inspiration...

Domino_room3

And here is the wedding that I have come up with...drum roll please....

Domino_transformation

First Column: Notte by Marchesa at Neiman Marcus, Cake by Alice's Tea Cup, Gown by Oscar de la Renta on Brides
Second Column: Flowers on Brides, Sculpture on Brides, China and linen by Classic Party Rentals, Flowers on Brides, Pillow by Urban Outfitter, Ottoman by Taylor Creative

Third Column: Gown by BCBG on Saks, Chandelier on Domino, Suit by Banana Republic

So? What do you think? I tried to allow the room inspire rather than dictate the wedding...using colors, textures and simply a feeling that I got when I looked at the original picture. My favorite design aesthetic is tradition with a twist, so it only makes sense that a wedding could easily follow suit. What is your favorite aesthetic? Can it be transformed into a wedding?

I would LOVE to hear your thoughts! Also, If you have a particular room, photo, piece of artwork, etc. that you want me to tackle, send it on over.

March 05, 2007

A Green Wedding

Over the weekend, I devoured the latest Domino magazine. For those of you that don't know me, this is my very favorite magazine in the entire world...I literally wait by the mailbox for it to come each month. Then I wait until I can find the perfect uninterupted moment to really read it, (i.e. Sunday afternoon with the windows open, my pup asleep on the floor and a hot cup of coffee in hand) to completely absorb every page. My love affair with Domino is somewhat of a problem...it's an obsession.

If you haven't read the latest issue, the entire mag is devoted to living a green inspired life...to improving our planet inch-by-inch, person-by-person. And what I found incredibly fascinating is that living green doesn't mean living in a bland or colorless world anymore. Many of the great designers are catching up with the environmental concerns and are coming out with sophisticated, green inspired designs . ABC Carpet and Home (in my opinion one of the best home stores in the country)  has a new line called Pure that is completely eco-friendly and completely eco-fabulous. Think chairs covered in vintage saris, sofas made without heavy chemicals or dies and stuffed with organic cotton then covered in hemp fabrics. And, they are GORGEOUS.

So I am now completely inspired. And why not put that inspiration into the one thing that I do best..weddings! I have scoured every magazine I own, searched through all of the most in-the-know sites for green design, pulled specification info on some of the more popular wedding designers, and much to my delight, have come up with a lovely, green inspired wedding...and all in just a couple of hours. So of course that makes me wonder, what could YOU do in a couple of months?

Fashion....

Olivia_luca_1

The gowns above are all designed by Olivia Luca who is extremely conscious of the fabrics that she uses and their effect on the environment. Many of her pieces are made using 100% raw silk, others using Certified Organic 100% Cotton Sateen. The best part though, (because let's face it...as a bride, you want to look spectacular), is that each Olivia Luca gown is made from scratch, based on your own ideas and personal style. So, not only can you tell all of your friends that you are wearing an environmentally friendly gown, you can also tell them (with a bit more sass) that it's couture.

Invitations...

Good_on_paper

Good On Paper (the top row) uses 100% Recycled Paper and Vegetable Based Inks, Abby Jean (bottom row...toot toot) uses papers that are up to 100% recycled.

Flowers...

Flowers

California Organic Flowers specialize in seasonal, fresh cut flowers.They can be delivered anywhere in the country, bunched and ready for you to create your own arrangement. If you can find a local flower farm near you, however, it is best to buy those that you can easily transport. Also featured are really great paper vases, a summit vase and transSglass vases, perfect homes for your organic flowers.

Food...

Debra_king

Debra King designs the most gorgeous cakes, all made with organic ingredients and fresh flowers. That means no artificial colors and  no preservatives, so your guests can enjoy a slice of cake completely guilt free. Well, sort of.

Olive_green

For catering, find inspiration in Olive Green Catering's over-the-top, elegant organic menus....

Almonds with Piment d’Espelette
      Cheeses, Black Mission Figs & Acme Breads

      Two Toasts:
      Fresh Shell Bean Puree with Garlic & Rosemary
      Green Olive Tapenade with Chopped Egg & Savory

        Piccolo Fritto
      Fried Artichokes & Lemon
      
      
      
      Rocket Salad with Corn & Cherry Tomatoes
      Niman Ranch Rib-Eye Steak Grilled over Vine Cuttings with Salsa Verde
      Roasted Fingerling Potatoes with Scallions & New Garlic
        Green Beans with Extra Virgin Olive Oil & Fleur de Sel
      Aïoli
      
      
      
      Ginger & Mulberry Ice Cream Sandwiches

When it comes to the food you serve, try to find local caterers that offer fresh, locally grown organic ingredients.By choosing seasonal ingredients, you can avoid  additional additives and preservatives that many caterers use. If you don't have a caterer that offers organic products in your area, there are online sources (see below) that can ship directly to the kitchen of your choice.

Other great tips for pulling off a green inspired wedding:

Decor
-Use organic 100% cotton table linens and napkins  and beeswax or soy based candles for decor. OR, for an outdoor wedding, place eco pine torches around the grounds for an all-over glow.
-Rent tents, china,  linens and silverware...rentals fall under the recyclable category.
-Use organic, locally grown flowers from area farmer's markets if possible. Potted plants transport well and can be planted in your garden after the reception. If you don't have local markets, contact Organic Bouquet for fabulous, fresh flowers.

Food & Drinks
-The food you serve should be locally grown and organic. Again, talk to your caterer about the quality of their products and make sure that they are able to get the best season ingredients. According to Domino (and me, as I live in SF where some of these companies are based), Cow Girl Creamery has the best cheeses, Niman Ranch has the best beef, pork and lamb, Diamond Organics has wonderful produce and Horizon (available nationwide) gets the gold star for butter.
-If you can afford to do this, buy organic wine, coffee and tea to serve your guests
**Anything that you buy locally cuts down on fossil fuels used when shipping products. If you are getting married in a remote area and can't buy locally there are online sources that will ship fresh, organic ingredients directly to you.

Hotel & Travel
-It is definitely more eco-friendly to have your wedding and your reception in the same location (or walkable). Check with the Green Hotel Association to see if your favorite spot is green.
-If you have to travel from point A to point B, see if your city has eco-limos for your bridal party and set up carpooling for your guests.
-While planning your honeymoon, check out Eco Resorts...the greatest source for environmentally friendly (and still completely decadent) vacations.

Favors
-Give a tree! What better way to give back to the world.
-Use centerpieces or place settings that double as favors...potted plants in vintage tins, votive soy candles.
-Wrap recycled boxes filled with Miette's organic macaroons in this adorable and sustainable wrapping paper.
-Leave your guests on a sweet note with organic chocolate truffles

Resources
Portovert, a new, green weddings magazine filled with wonderful information for creating an eco-friendly wedding.
Eco Fabulous, a blog for the eco-minded style maven.
ZahZoom Weddings & Parties, a full service wedding planning company that caters to green-minded couples.
Domino Blogs, great resources for great green design.
Splendora, check out their new eco-style section with super shopping tips and go green links.
Sustainable Style, a blogger's guide to living green...and living well.
Girlawhirl, a girl's guide to making your way in a green world.
Tree Hugger, the blogging bible for living a green lifestyle
Fabulously Green, the best in environmentally sound design

**Email me your tips for other great, green resources!! There is a great article on Brides for designing a chic, stylish eco-friendly wedding. You should definitely check it out!

And finally, my friends, I must admit...I am somewhat "green" when it comes to living in an environmentally friendly world. I am working to educate myself and modify my lifestyle in simple ways and I just hope that you are too. There are so many small changes that we can make when it comes to weddings...use organic ingredients and recycled papers, give your guests favors that will create a better world or those that are made organically by local artisans. Recycle the cans and bottles that are used during your reception and use fresh, locally grown flowers.

As trite as it sounds, every little bit counts...every little bit is important.

March 02, 2007

DIY Wedding Recipes

I have to be honest. On my wedding day, I was such a case that having to create my own appetizers, sweet favors, desserts or cocktails, just might have sent me over the edge. I can't imagine having to juggle baking times with make-up application or plating appetizers while making sure my hair stayed put, though so many brides do just that!

While I was planning my own wedding, I told my mom that as long as there was good food, good wine and great music, the wedding would be perfect. And if you are on a tight budget, that is a tall task. So for those of you ambitious and very organized brides, here are some drool worthy recipes that will really bring the cost of the food bill down, while maintaining a super chic, sophisticated affair (and if you can get your sister or your cousin to make them for you, even better!)...

From Colin Cowie's gorgeous site...Mozambican Chicken Wings and upscale Sausage Rolls:

Colin_cowie_apps3

Mozambican Chicken Wings Ingredients
-16 medium-sized chicken wings
-1 cup chili dip (recipe follows)
-1 tablespoon salt
-Vegetable oil for shallow frying Instructions

Put wings in a large stainless steel bowl and salt very well. Pour half a cup of the dip into the bowl and rub into meat with your hands. Leave to marinate for 2 hours. Fry wings in hot oil over medium heat. The wings should be fried on both sides until crispy. When all the wings are cooked, transfer them into a serving dish and pour remaining half cup of chili dip over the wings.

MOZAMBICAN CHILI DIP

4 tablespoons crushed red chilies
2 tablespoons finely chopped garlic
125 ml vegetable oil
1/4 cup lemon juice
2 teaspoons salt

Place all the ingredients into a blender and whiz until smooth.  The chili dip keeps for months in the fridge.

Click here for the sausage rolls recipe!

From the shear genius that is Martha Stewart...Sugar Cookie Cakes and Champagne Sweets:

Martha_stewart

Sugar Cookie Cakes
-8 cups sifted all purpose flour
-2 tsp baking powder
-1 tsp salt
-2 cups unsalted butter, softened
-4 cups sugar
-4 eggs
-4 tsp vanilla extract

Sift flour, baking powder, and salt into a large bowl; set aside. Put butter and sugar into the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Mix on medium speed until pale and fluffy. Mix in eggs and vanilla. Reduce speed to low. Gradually mix in flour mixture. Divide dough into 4 pieces; flatten each into a disk, and wrap in plastic. Refrigerate until firm, at least 1 hour (or overnight).

Preheat oven to 325°, with racks in upper and lower thirds. Let 1 disk of dough stand at room temperature just until soft enough to roll, about 10 minutes. Roll out dough on a lightly floured work surface to 1/4 inch thick, adding more flour as needed to keep dough from sticking. Using cookie cutters, cut out 2 dozen 3 1/2-inch rounds, 2 dozen 2 3/4-inch rounds, and sixteen 2-inch rounds. Transfer to baking sheets lined with parchment paper as you work, keeping rounds of the same size on the same sheet. Repeat with remaining dough. Chill in freezer until very firm, about 15 minutes.

Bake until edges turn golden, 15 to 18 minutes. Transfer cookies to racks; let cool completely. Transfer icing to a pastry bag fitted with a small plain round tip (such as Ateco #6). Pipe around top edges of each cookie, about 1/4 inch from edge; fill in with a thin layer of icing. Smooth with a small offset spatula. (Reserve about 1/4 cup icing for assembling cookie cakes.) Let set, at least 6 hours (or overnight).

Stack 3 large cookies, securing with dabs of icing in between. Repeat, stacking 3 medium cookies and 2 small cookies on top. Secure a gum-paste flower on top of each cookie cake using a small amount of icing. Repeat with remaining cookies and icing. Let stand until set, at least 30 minutes, before packaging. Click here to get the Royal Icing recipe!

Classic Champagne Cocktail 
Makes 1, This recipe can be multiplied easily.

-3 drops bitters
-1 cube sugar
-1 ounce Cognac
-4ounces chilled Champagne

Drop bitters onto sugar cube; let soak in. Place sugar cube in a Champagne flute. Add Cognac, and top with Champagne.

From the Food Network kitchens, these two desserts are throwbacks to backyard weddings filled with family and friends...Mexican Wedding Cookies and Limoncello Cheesecake Squares.

Food_network

Mexican Wedding Cookies

1 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
1/2 cup confectioners' sugar, plus more for coating baked cookies
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting hands
1 cup pecans, chopped into very small pieces

Preheat the oven to 275 degrees F. Line cookie sheets with parchment paper.

Using an electric mixer, cream the butter and sugar at low speed until it is smooth. Beat in the vanilla. At low speed gradually add the flour. Mix in the pecans with a spatula. With floured hands, take out about 1 tablespoon of dough and shape into a crescent. Continue to dust hands with flour as you make more cookies. Place onto prepared cookie sheets. Bake for 40 minutes. When cool enough to handle but still warm, roll in additional confectioners' sugar. Cool on wire racks.

Limoncello Cheesecake Squares

Nonstick cooking spray
8 ounces purchased biscotti
6 tablespoons (3/4 stick) unsalted butter, melted
3 tablespoons grated lemon zest
1 (12-ounce) container fresh whole milk ricotta, drained, at room temperature
2 (8-ounce) packages cream cheese, at room temperature
1 1/4 cups sugar
1/2 cup limoncello liqueur*
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
4 large eggs, at room temperature

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Spray the bottom of a 9 by 9 by 2-inch baking pan with nonstick cooking spray.

Finely grind the biscotti in a food processor. Add the melted butter and 1 tablespoon of lemon zest, and process until the crumbs are moistened. Press the crumb mixture over the bottom (not the sides) of the prepared pan. Bake until the crust is golden, about 15 minutes. Cool the crust completely on a cooling rack.

Blend the ricotta in a clean food processor until smooth. Add the cream cheese and sugar and blend well, stopping the machine occasionally and scraping down the sides of the work bowl. Blend in the limoncello, vanilla, and remaining 2 tablespoons of lemon zest. Add the eggs 1 at a time, and pulse just until blended. Scrape down the sides of the bowl as needed.

Pour the cheese mixture over the crust in the pan. Place the baking pan in a large roasting pan. Pour enough hot water into the roasting pan to come halfway up the sides of the baking pan. Bake until the cheesecake is golden and the center of the cake moves slightly when the pan is gently shaken, about 1 hour (the cake will become firm when it is cold).

Transfer the cake to a rack; cool 1 hour. Refrigerate until the cheesecake is cold, at least 8 hours and up to 2 days. Cut the cake into squares and serve.

*Limoncello liqueur can be found at most liquor stores and in the liquor department of some specialty markets.

Okay, now I am hungry. Do any of you have any other good wedding recipes that you have seen around? Do share! We can all get nice and hungry together.

Have a great weekened...next week, I have not 1,  not 2 but THREE inspiration boards!!

February 27, 2007

Splurge Vs. Save: Dresses

I was perusing the Grace Ormonde Wedding Style site today and completely fell in love with some of the gowns that they feature for 2007. The magazine's focus is style and high end design and it shows... the gowns on the 2007 runways that are highlighted really are drool worthy. As is everything else on this site. The flowers are GORGEOUS, the event designers are over-the-top beautiful...I could go on and on and on. Okay, focus.

Today's post is a splurge vs. save. I tried to find gowns that were comparable either in cut or style, or at the very least, gave that ahhhh how pretty feeling for both the splurge and the steal. Here we go! The splurge gowns are all $1500 and above (most of them far more). The save dresses are $1500 and below (most of them far less).

Top Row, left to right: Rosa Clara, Junko Yoshioka for Bonaparte NY, Oscar de la Renta; Bottom Row: Vera Wang, Ruben Perlotti (most photos from Wedding Style)

Splurge_dresses

Top Row: J Crew $1000, Carmen Marc Valvo at Bloomingdales, Ramona Keveza on The Knot $1500; Bottom Row: J Crew $250, ABS by Allen Schwartz $300, Mary L. Couture at Nordstroms, $238

Save_dresses
The main element you should look for, if you are dress shopping on a budget, should be simplicity. Find a dress you love, then scour stores to find a simpler, toned down version. If you take away some of the ruffles and beading, even an inexpensive gown will look chic and sophisticated.

February 23, 2007

It's All In The Details...

It's all in the details. I admit, a bit cliche, but when it comes to a wedding, it's so true. Chances are, most of your guests won't remember the pretty flowers you placed in the bathroom or the flawless topiaries that covered up corners, the crisp linen napkins that are the perfect shade of green or the pattern on your cake that took weeks to design. What they will notice, however, is the big picture...the style. And most of the time, that style is the result of many, many beautiful details that you thoughtfully infuse into various elements throughout the entire affair.

My friends over at Wiley Valentine recently told me about this incredibly talented wedding coordinator, who really knows how to create details...lovely little anecdotes that when brought together, create a grand impression. Here are some pics from Oh How Charming event design studio that are sure to inspire!Oh_how_charming_multi_cultural2

Oh_how_charming_bahamian_2_1

Oh_how_charming_country_2

Oh_how_charming_carribean_soiree_2

Oh_how_charming_backyard_2

Lisa, at Oh How Charming, is brilliant. She has been featured in all of the best magazines...Town & Country Weddings, Grace Ormond and InStyle to name a few. She has a truly beautiful perspective and I am sure that my girls over at Wiley Valentine are right...she's sure to be the next big thing! 

What are some of your favorite details? I would love for you to share your thoughts!

February 22, 2007

Mini Cakes or Cupcakes?

I know that cupcakes, in lieu of wedding cakes, were so 2 years ago...but, I love them. I just can't help it. There are such adorable creations out there these days, I am just wondering if cupcakes are here to stay? Has the mini-cake taken it's place in the world of cake trends? What do you think...I would love to hear your comments! And, if you know of a particularly great vendor for any of type of cake, we are starting to build a vendor referral category.

Here are some of the most beautiful Kylie Lambert cupcakes...

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Versus, the oh-so-adorable mini cakes...

Mini_cakes

Photos by Brides and Peggy Porschen

Now, I'm hungry! For more eye candy, check out the GORGEOUS cakes at Miette in San Francisco. Their little specialty cakes are so pretty and would be the perfect detail for a quaint, charming wedding.

February 20, 2007

Winner Picked!

If I haven't expressed my gratitude enough...thank you, thank you thank you!!! Everyone that posted, during the Mindy Weiss contest, had such creative and constructive thoughts. Honestly, I feel really confident with the direction that I am taking with the blog and the comments only helped to solidify those sentiments. So, without further ado, the big winner of the Mindy Weiss planner is........

Trolley!!! Here is is her post:

"I'd definitely agree on the suggestions about how-tos & other practicalities, but what I look for most is how to communicate & operationalize (elaborate? expand? develop?) a vision. Many brides, myself included, have a distinct taste. That taste, however, is not trained like a designer's, and it causes confusion, complication, and extra work in creating a beautiful event.

By way of example, imagine my saying "modern" to a florist, because what I wanted was "architectural," to me, they mean the same thing, to her, they mean dramatically different things. This impedes her ability, as a vendor, to give me the best possible service, and it impedes my ability, as a bride, to both enact the vision my fiance a& I share, and to be a good client.

I read many blogs for the "real wedding" aspects, because I like the cameraderie, and the inspiration, but what I read vendor & enthusiast blogs for is the know-how that their unique expertise brings. I think that your style inspiration boards are the beginning step of the enunciation of vision process, and if you were to develop that theme further in this blog, I would be ecstatic."

I chose Trolley's post as the winner because I really feel like this comment is the bottom line of Style Me Pretty. It's seeing your vision, your style to fruition. I remember when I was planning my own wedding, I told my florist that if my wedding were furniture (random, yes), it would be an old vintage wingback sofa adorned with sequined pillows. She responded by telling me that if her wedding were furniture, it would be a steel dining table with an antique crystal chandelier. Makes no sense to the average person, but it makes perfect sense to a bride. It is so incredibly difficult to articulate your vision to all of the different vendors AND ensure that they all interpret it correctly. Style Me Pretty will help you...it will give you inspiration, terminology and tools to bring your ideas into a cohesive style.

Okay, so really, I am not this decisive. I couldn't just pick one winner...I decided instead to pick 3! Yikes. The second and third place winners are going to win a set Abby Jean personalized stationery!  YAY!  Second Place, goes to Greer for taking to time to write such a thoughtful and insightful post and Third Place goes to SWC for commenting on two really important components of the wedding process...the "how two" portion which is a must if you are on a budget and the logistics of the entire affair.

Although I HAD to pick a winner, I am so grateful to all of those who commented. This blog is a labor of love to me, and I want to make sure that I am writing about topics that you both want and need. I am going to stay focused on the Style aspect of your wedding, though I will also begin to bring in new ways to translate that style into different budgets, different looks and simply different ways to tell your story.

Check back later today for another style post!

 

February 19, 2007

Splurge vs. Steal

update...one of my favorite people, Melissa, just pointed out that I mispelled the word splurge...spluge on the photos. Yes, it's finally out in the open. I am a TERRIBLE speller. That is why design works for me! No words! I once spelled the word Massachusetts wrong on an invitation that went to 50 Massachusetts natives. and now, I am just a little too lazy to go in and change all of the photos:) The secret is out!

First and foremost...only 1 day left in the Mindy Weiss planner contest. A winner will be announced tomorrow morning, so there is still plenty of time to post a thoughtful and unique idea!

Let's get to it. Today is the first (of hopefully many!) Splurge vs. Steal posts, focusing completely on bridesmaid's dresses. I think that the settling on a bridesmaid dress is one of the trickier components to the wedding process. With different heights, shapes and sizes, not to mention budget constraints, it is incredibly difficult to find a gown that all the maids will agree on.

With that said, so many everyday designers are coming up with really great, affordable options that are MADE to flatter all different types of girls. Here are some of my top picks for all budgets:

You can't go wrong with a slimming little black dress (plus, your girls will be more likely to cough up the cash if they really can wear it again)...

(Below) ABS Satin Dress $375, Diana Cotton from J Crew $270, As U Wish from Nordstrom's $68

Black_dresses
An empire waist dress (with a little breathing room) is another style that will flatter a wide variety of figures and hide ALL sorts of flaws...

(Below) Anna by thread $400, Camilla by J Crew $250,  Brocade Mini dress on sale at Anthropologie  $129.95

Empire_waste
Chic and sophisticated NEVER goes out of style. Scour stores that you wouldn't typically think of for simple silhouettes, like major department stores, chains, sale racks at places like Anthropologie and J Crew and even places like Target and TJ Max sometimes have dresses that are timeless in cut and color.

(Below) Vera Wang, Emma by J Crew $195, JS Boutique at Nordstroms $118

Sophisticated
If you're bridesmaids feel gorgeous, your wedding day will be so much easier. Here are some dresses that will make your bridesmaids feel like a million bucks...

(Below) Group USA on Brides, Lighthouse Dress on sale at Anthropologie $84, wrap dress by Victoria's Secret $98, Satin dress at Nordstrom $130 

Save
(Below) ABS Style $275, Lola at Jenny Yoo $382, Dot Shirtdress by ABS $220 and Tara by J Crew $340

Splurge

Hopefully these dresses will give you a good idea as to where to begin...if I am being completely honest, I think that the new J Crew Spring line and the Vera Wang collection are the best. I am a bit biased, as my bridesmaid's wore Vera Wang, but it's true. In Vera, everyone looks good. It doesn't matter what shape, size or coloring they have, Vera's gowns just fit. 

**Remember, send me YOUR ideas for bridesmaids dresses (or anything else wedding) and I will create an inspiration board for you!**

February 14, 2007

Contest: Mindy Weiss Planner

Every night, after work, but before Primetime, I blog...I reach into my little bag of goodies, finding the most innovative and unique ideas that people are doing, and I write. And, much to my delight, brides are reading it! Everyday more and more people check out my blog and it is actually starting to take on a life of it's own. I love that.

And yet, I have no idea who those readers are. What they want, what they love. So today, is you're day. I really want this blog to be a place where brides (and grooms) can chat, give ideas, discuss dilemmas and obsess over their own wedding style. It only happens once (or twice?), so you should revel in all of your self indulgent thoughts! Pretty soon, it will all be over, the white dress tucked neatly in the closet, the pictures put away in your favorite photo album...take full advantage of this time, ladies. Time really does...fly.

Mindy_weiss_4 So, for all of you quiet readers out there, I ask you this...what are you lacking in other wedding websites? What do you want to read when you come to this site each day?  Anyone that can come up with the best answer, will win this INCREDIBLE wedding planner, by celebrity wedding coordinator, Mindy Weiss. Mindy has planned the weddings of  Trista & Ryan, Nick Lachey & Jessica Simpson, Gwen Stefani & Gavin Rossdale, Jackie & Adam Sandler and most recently Heidi Klum & Seal! Ummm, wow. At $99 a pop, and chock-a-block full of tips and advice from the best of the best, this is a great prize!

Please don't be shy...I want to make this blog really useful and something that you will read every day. The last day of the contest is Tuesday, so...let's get this party started!

Can't wait to hear your thoughts and ideas! Please use the "comments" tab at the bottom of the post.


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February 08, 2007

Color Palettes

Okay, I admit, this post is a little cheap of me, but I have just had one of those days. I wanted to do a little spread on the pink and gold theme that Martha has in her latest issue. I love it. I love it. I love it. Pink and gold, my two favorite colors.

Martha_pink_and_gold

I can't even tell you my excitement when I saw this spread. It actually surpassed my reaction to an Elegant Bride feature on silhouettes that I had a while back...

Brides

So that is it for today...sorry guys, I know that I didn't give you much. Tomorrow, I have a really fun post planned, so definitely come back!

February 05, 2007

Edible Favors

Favors seem to have come a LONG way from your standard Jordan almonds haven’t they? It is amazing how extravagant the favors can get at weddings these days. Let’s see, I have received silver fortune cookies with personalized messages inside, jeweled Chinese slippers to “dance the night away,” monogrammed chocolates, customized mini photo albums and even bottles of champagne (okay, well that was from my own wedding so I guess it doesn’t count). Bottom line, favors are becoming more and more personal, and more and more extravagant.

First, lets look at the trends in food favors…No one, and I mean no one, does this better than my best friend, Martha. Take a look at these oh-so-adorable sweet treats that Martha is featuring on her site this month.

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Ummm, yeah. I could die, they are so completely adorable. If she does anything really well, Martha teaches us that you can be crafty AND elegant at the same time. It is all about choosing favors that have personal meaning or are native to the area that you are being married. When you pair that, with simple, sophisticated packaging (key word here people is SIMPLE), you typically have a homerun.

The thing with Martha though is that it takes a pretty patient, crafty person to really see her ideas to fruition. Even if you are the most creative and artsy bride, really hand involved favors can be time consuming, sometimes overly expensive (because of all the little parts that make the whole) and even more often, a bit impractical. We tried to do something similar at our wedding with these darling little bakery bags and my favorite chocolate chip oatmeal cookies. We took hours stuffing these little bags as delicately as possible, taking extra care not to wrinkle or crush them. Flash forward to my wedding reception…I walked in to find that the hotel had not given them quite as much care and attention as we had, crushing all of the perfect little bags, then lazily plopping them down on the table. UGH. Bottom line, sometimes, the lovely ideas that we have for our favors, aren’t always the best or most practical routes.

So here are some great ideas for ready-made food favors …

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Top Row: First 2 from left, brides.com, 3rd on right from MarieBelle; Bottom Row: left photo by Richart , Center and Left by Coco Designs

And finally, Brides.com came up with this great idea list for the budget-minded bride. Although you have heard some of them before, I think that it’s got some good ideas. I am adding some links with great sources to make the list even more useful! Oh, and I took off some of those that weren’t that great. You can see the full list here.

Hands On

Draw guests out of their chairs with a candy buffet or bakery cart. These interactive stations allow guests to fill favor bags (or pastry boxes) with the treats of their choice. *You can find great favor bags, pastry boxes, organza bags, clear bags, etc. at Nashville Wraps. Check out the incredible candy selection at Dylan's Candy Bar in NY or for the budget minded, Sweet Nostalgia.

Double Duty

Choose favors that also serve as place cards, or even centerpieces, to save money. Think small wrapped boxes of chocolate that you can stack as centerpieces, or labeled Champagne bottles that double as place cards. I was thinking the other day that a cute centerpiece would be to stack vintage champagne saucers in the center of each table. How cute is this to compliment the champagne bottles as place cards idea! Beacoup.com has the most enormous selection of favors. Check out the mini champagne buckets that are good place card holders (and you can overflow with chocolates), the petite mint julep cups (perfect for a single truffle tucked inside) and the silver ice cream scoops (then the food theme can be taken home with them).

Classic Favorite

Cookies. Think cutouts that match a blossom in your bouquet. In many cases, these sweet bites can be designed by your confectioner. Here are some INSANELY cute cookies that can be ordered online. They are perfect because they come complete with adorable custom packaging (complete with a picture of your choice) and can be shipped anywhere in the country! They can also be personalized with your initials...

Eco-friendly

Choose a favor that will help the environment. Think evergreen-tree seedlings. Visit greenworldproject.net to place your order.

Family Bonding

Bake cookies with mom, enlist bridesmaids to help fill clear boxes with Jordan albums or craft Christmas stockings with grandma. Cocoa Designs creates thee amazing little cocoa-covered nuts that are a perfect substitution for the Jordan Almond. The description on their website says "A little jaggedy and ill shaped, Cocoa Nuts have an unexpected crunch, they get your hands all messy when you eat them and they are definitely not fancy like truffles or chocolate confections. " I love that!

Win-win favors

You can never go wrong with chocolate. But don’t forget less traditional (and less expensive) sweets that can make a lasting impression, such as taffy sticks or caramels. Buy the sweet stuff at candywarehouse.com. Dean and Deluca have some amazing candies though if you are on a tighter budget, check out the old-fashioned candy sticks at the candy warehouse, the adorable salt water taffy at Sea Shore Taffy and the "a-little-bit-expensive, but oh-so-perfect" sea salt caramels at the Little Flower Candy Company.

Give guests a growing favor, such as potted herbs, to cook with at home. I love a favor that can actually be used, and not simply devoured on the car ride home. If you adorn the pot with a handwritten note or your favorite herb recipe, it adds a really personal touch. To save even more money, although it might be a bit time consuming, you can make your own!

I think that with favors, the most important thing to remember is this…by the time your guests have fallen back in love again while watching your ceremony, devoured a delicious meal that they didn’t have to pay for, drank from numerous glasses of champagne, wine and cosmopolitans, and danced the night away…they most likely won’t be thinking too much about what kind of favor you have chosen. So, in my opinion, the favor should really only be used if it adds another dimension, or a unique and pretty feel to the wedding. If you can’t afford to, or simply don’t have the time to, design a lovely favor…skip it! And don’t look back.

February 01, 2007

Invitations, Part II

The other day, I was reading a bridal forum about invitations and the conversation went something like this...

Bride 1: "I know this girl that spent $3,000 on wedding invitations...isn't that crazy!? She must be totally insane!"
Bride 2: "Seriously. Why would you spend any money on something that people are just going to toss in the garbage."

Ummmmmm, yeah. The feeling that passed over me when I read that is comparable to a bride hearing that someone just dumped red wine all over her dress. Okay, maybe that is a bit dramatic (I did play the lead in the 8th grade school play) but, seriously. That is the WORST attitude in the world! The invitation (and I am saying this partly because I design invitations for a living, and partly because it's true), is the first thing that guest's will see! Not only does it set the tone for the entire affair, it helps your guests determine just how great the wedding will be! It helps them decide what to wear, it helps them to understand the formality, it helps them to know your personalities even better, it helps them to determine whether you have taste or not. Although it sounds extreme, it's sort of true. How many times have you received an awful invitation and thought to yourself, "ugh, another cheese cube kind of wedding."  (am I still being a little dramatic?)

Bottom line, even if you don't have a large budget, your invitations can still be spectacular...AND, can still make your guests think that they are being invited to one swell party.

Ilee is this incredibly beautiful collection that I found the other day, when browsing Pomegranita. The watercolor designs are gorgeous and have sort of a contemporary/romantic feel to them. And, the prices start at $4.50 for a set of 200 including the invitations with hand painted illustrations, outer envelope with return address, blank inner envelope, reception card with hand painted illustration, rsvp card and rsvp envelope with imprinted mailing address.

Ilee

WIley Valentine, one of my very favorite designers, is also doing a great job at designing affordable luxury invitations. They have a line of GORGEOUS invitations that is flat printed on smooth, heavy weight papers so you get that really expensive look, without the really expensive price tag.

Wiley_valentine

Crafty Cards is yet another great budget-conscious option. According to one of the posts on Daily Candy, for $350 they’ll do it all (invite, R.S.V.P., return address on envelope), and only charge you for the paper and the shipping. That is pretty impressive. I didn't check with them but if this pricing is still the case (or anywhere near this pricing for that matter), this is quite a deal. And, to make it even sweeter, their designs are really great!

Crafty_cards

Kenzie Kate just finished her new collection of invitations and they are beautiful. For around $1000-1500, you will get a set of 100 invitations, response cards, printed envelopes and enclosure cards. Although that isn't cheap, it certainly isn't unreasonable. Here are some pictures from her great new designs...

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So there you have it. Proof that you really can get a great invitation on a budget. So please, people...don't just assume your guests will toss the invites into the trash. They just might put it on their fridge with all of their treasured artwork!

January 30, 2007

Invitations, Part I

update...more lovely invitations pics have been posted today!

Before I dive into the current invitation trends, I wanted to mention something that my good friend, Christine Traulich, at RedBliss said to me recently..."Invitations should reflect personal style rather than the trend-of-the-moment." This is so true. This should be the mantra that you repeat over and over again throughout the entire wedding process. Your wedding is about you and your fiance...not, about what is hot or in fashion.

With that said, it is nice to know what other people are talking about. After all, it's the trends that last, those that are timeless and yet elegant, sophisticated though chic, that help design to really evolve.

I actually planned (and wrote, for that matter) a super long post about trends in invitations and wedding papers. Then, just when I was going to post it, I changed my mind. I guess my thought is that whatever the trends may be, it is so important that your invitations surpass trends...they are just one of those wedding details that should simply be pretty. Invitations, in my opinion, are made to be ooooohed and ahhhhhed over. They should be frame worthy, magazine worth, and something that will always be a tangible reminder of your perfect day. So instead of reporting on trends, this post is all about invitation eye candy!

Engraved Candy...

Engraved_invitations_1

Top Row: Wren Press (photo from Brides), Claudia Calhoun (photo from Brides) Louella, Center Row: All Louella, Bottom Row: Abby Jean, Kate Spade and Abby Jean again.

The pics above are all of engraved invitations. Colored papers are super hot right now, and chances are, will be for a long time to come. Engraving allows you to print light colors, on dark papers, to acheive that ultra crisp, vibrant look that is needed for so many designs, and to add a level of sophistication and style to your wedding suite. Although engraving is typically a bit more expensive, the end look is unmatched (please note, most of the Abby Jean invitations that I print are engraved:)

Letterpressed Candy...

Letterpressed_invitations

Top Row: Braun & Brown, Mr. Boddington, Hello Lucky, Center Row: Hello Lucky, Black Pearl Press, Good on Paper, Bottom Row: Seraph, Neah Bay, Ceci NY

Letterpress will forever remind me of walking into Anthropologie...that lovely vintage chic feeling you get, where everything just seems a bit more romantic and girly. Some of the best letterpress designers, like Mr.Boddington, The Charming Gardener, Peculiar Pair and Julie Holcomb, have found the perfect balance between elegance and whimsy...and customers are eating it up!

Belly Bands and Wraps...

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all pictures above by Ceci NY

Another hot trend in invitation design is the "wrap." Slightly mismatched invitation pieces (from reception cards and direction cards, to weekend event cards and parking instructions) all held neatly together with some sort of wrap (some call it a belly band) or folder. Despite the fact that I have yet to do these wraps for my own line, I love them. I love being organized and this is just the way to do it. Wraps range from oh-so-luxurious cashmere, to casual paper bands to sweet ribbon ties. Lisa Hoffman, the incredibly talented designer of Ceci NY, has mastered the art of the wrap. She manages to tidy up each invitation with a look that only adds another design dimension to the overall look and feel of the invitation.

That wraps up Part 1 of the Invitation trend...tomorrow, we will focus on budget fabulous invitations!