Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Ringing in the New Year

A New Year's Eve wedding is full of meaning - not only are you celebrating the coming of the New Year but also the start of your new life.

I've always felt that the NYE wedding requires something a little more different that the normal wedding, where glamour reigns supreme. How about having your guests feel like they were coming to a fabulous event and have them dress up in their prettiest party dresses. And not to be outdone, let your bridesmaids wear their favorite LBD. Everyone will look amazing, and be in a non-cheesy festive spirit.

Let's make a toast to celebrating in style!

Images via chickdowntown.com.

Monday, December 29, 2008

Resolutions and Guest Relations

We're a few days from 2009, but that doesn't mean we can't start making a few etiquette resolutions for what will most likely be a busy social whirl of weddings to attend to in the coming year.

For the Bride

I can pretty much sum up the golden rule of etiquette for the Bride to be: don't be a Bridezilla! Yes you are special, but that doesn't entitle you to boss around your friends and family like they are your servants. I shudder at the horrors!

For the Guests
Here are a few tidbits on courtesy and thoughtfulness that will prevent you from making any social faux pas and have the bride and groom grateful to have you there.

Respond in a timely manner: give the bride and groom one less thing to worry about by RSVP as soon as possible. The couple have a lot to plan (seating arrangements, catering, seats, tables, etc) and can't do anything until they know how many guests will be in attendance.

Get there early: weddings are not the time and place to be fashionably late, especially at the ceremony. I would be so upset with myself if I were to miss my dear friends saying their vows. After all, you're not there just to drink the alcohol and eat their food!

The Ceremony: leave the pictures to the professionals and avoid disrupting the ceremony by not taking any pictures of the ceremony with a flash camera.

The gift of giving: if you are invited to a wedding, but cannot attend, it is still customary to send a gift. Also, the couple's registry should have a mailing address to ship to so they don't have to worry about taking care of any packages at the end of the night. And if you wait until the very last minute, don't worry, you still have a year to send a gift.

One isn't always a lonely number: most couples will specify if you are allowed to bring a guest by including your name and guest on the addressed invitation. If not, do not assume you can bring a guest or call the bride or groom if it is okay to bring a guest. Receptions, especially, can be a costly affair, but don't worry - I went to a wedding without a +1 and sat with a delightful group of people. Think of the opportunities to meet new people and getting to know the special people in the bride and groom's life.

Everything in Moderation: no one ever wants to be know as that guest so keep your alcohol intake to a minimum. Yes, the open bar is tempting, but the embarrassment and not to mention rudeness should dissuade you from any undesirable behavior.

Image via Fete.

Friday, December 26, 2008

Best Laid Plans - Part I

Hope you had a wonderful Christmas! Did any of you ladies get an extra special present?

The last two weeks of December is one of the most common times when couples become engaged, so congratulations to all you lucky gals out there who have recently become engaged!

After the proposal and all the celebratory events in your and his honor, the most pertinent thing on a bride's mind is getting down to the wedding planning.

Planning a wedding is one of the most exciting, rewarding, and often times nerve wracking experiences. What happens if the dress doesn't fit? Will the flowers wilt? Where are those blasted shoes? The best man forgot the rings?

Working in the wedding industry, I am extremely lucky to know the right people to help me get the job done. Here a little wedding planning primer of the fist major issues to help you get started on planning an unforgettable day and remember the wedding golden rule: Earlier is always better!


Set the date: Do you want a Spring Soiree? A Mid-Summer Dream? A Fall Ball? A Winter Wonderland? Just remember that if you're planning on getting married during the wedding high season, March thru September, you'll want to do everything early.

Budget: Decide on how much you want to spend on the wedding. For some of you, it may be a grand affair but for others, you may opt for something a little more simple and chic. Make sure you plan accordingly to your and your fiance's lifestyle and not get into major debt after everything is said and done.

Leaving it to the Professionals: if you decide to hire a wedding planner, now is the perfect time to do so. He or she will know exactly what to do not to mention knowing everyone who's worth knowing. My favorites in the Southern California area are Mindy Weiss and Jeannie Savage at Details, Details.

Which came first, the design or the location? I'm putting down these next two elements in conjunction with each other because you really can't decide one without the other.

Decide on Design: start pulling out pictures from magazines, save visual inspirations, anything that you think you want at your wedding. Then start narrowing down your design aesthetic and remember the big picture. If you're planning a posh party at the Ritz, the mason jars with daisy probably won't work, but you can incorporate it at another event (think of the many brunches in your honor). Often times, I see a miss-mash of too many elements because the bride didn't really define her wedding look. But above all, make a personal statement - don't lose you and your fiance's personalities by what others think is "right" for you.

Location, Location, Location: will your have the ceremony and reception at the same place? Or will you decide to hold the event in two different locations? Keep in mind the most popular venues are booked early so if you're heart is set on The Beverly Hills Hotel or the Brooklyn Botanical Gardens, book early. While deciding on the location, ask if the venue supplies certain items (catering, chairs, tables, etc.), or if they work with preferred vendors. This will help minimize the costs. If necessary you may have to use some outside resources such as a rental company. Also ask about any deposits, cancellation/refund policies before making any final decisions.

The White Dress: now is the perfect time to start looking for a wedding dress. I've seen brides start looking for their dress even up to a year and a half in advance. Wear some nice underwear, bring some heels and get a little glammed up - you can't really tell if you love a dress if you look like you just rolled out of bed. If you have had your heart set on a divine Carolina Herrera or stunning Monique Lhuillier, know that these dresses take at least a minimum of 6 months to order as a wedding gown is made to order. Planning to go the European route? Those dresses also take about 6-9 months. Make sure you ask before purchasing as you never want to be the bride that gets her dress a few days before the wedding. If you put off the decision of picking a dress to the very last minute, you will be paying very high rush fees to get the dress in on time. And don't second guess yourself - wear something that speaks to you. Ask about in house alterations and what their store policy/contract is so you aren't left in a rut.

And above all else - breathe! This is going to be one of the happiest times in your life and enjoy the moment - it goes by in a flash.

I'm going to revisit this topic as time goes by - there's a lot of information out there and it can be overwhelming reading it all at once! And if you're an eager beaver, you can find a complete list in any of the bridal magazines.

Happy Planning!

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

A (Tiffany & Co.) Blue Christmas Without You

Goodness - can you believe that it's only one day until Christmas? It seems like this year has gone by so fast!

I know in today's crazy, hectic world we are always on the go and we sometimes forget to reflect on all that is important to us. So for today's post, I wanted to take a moment to say thank you to all you brides, readers and supporters for the last three months (has it only been three months!). None of this would have been possible without you.

I'll be spending time with the loved ones and will be back on Friday. I hope you are having as wonderful a Christmas as I am.

Merry Christmas!

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Bridesmaids Revisited

There's a picture in the summer issue InStyle Weddings of Bill Rancic and Giuliana dePandi's Italian wedding of her maid of honor and her bridesmaids.

Guliana's maid of honor, her sister, is wearing this stunning canary yellow Oscar de la Renta dress and her bridesmaids are wearing complimentary colored dresses by BCBG.

Now this got me thinking - what a great way to update that staid bridal party look. I love the mix of designer and mid-priced to create the look because everyone looks like a million dollars.

Your Maid of Honor: she's your dearest friend, your beloved sister, your go-to-gal. Honor her by dressing her in something fabulous and having her stand out a little at your wedding.

With so many color options available to brides and her bridal party, and non-traditional wedding designers creating some gorgeous frocks, you'd be hard press not to find something. Happy shopping!

Here's a few options to get your creative minds going:

Bold Citrus

L to R: Zac Posen & Carmen Marc Valvo

Yellow Fever

L to R: Bill Blass & Diane von Furstenberg

Easy, Breezy Beautiful

L to R: Escada & Nicole Miller

Basic Black

L to R: Oscar de la Renta & Laundry

Haute Pink

L to R: Marchesa and Jim Hjelm

Teal Appeal

L to R: Valentino & Tadashi

Birds of a Feather

L to R: Oscar de la Renta & Sue Wong

Majestic Magenta

L to R: Badgley Mischka & ABS

Fan Girl
L to R: Zac Posen and Chick Downtown

Images via Style, Neiman Marcus, Jim Hjelm, Chick Downtown.

Monday, December 22, 2008

The Bold and the Beautiful

I love a big, bold damask print, especially when it's in a chic black and white. It makes the occasion look so much more grand, opulent and sophisticated.

Wedding Dress: Legends by Romona Keveza. The dramatic contrast between the black and white is simply stunning and was the inspiration for the wedding design. Talk about designing around the bride's dress.

Reception: I found this bold reception look from Jessica Claire Photography, an amazing photographer in Orange County, CA. Don't you just love the twist of using both contemporary and traditional chandeliers?

Invitations: these damask invitations are from Mooks Design in the United Kingdom. I like these invites because they aren't too excessive on the damask print as sometimes invitations can be. And the inverted colors of give a touch of the unexpected.

Flower Power: give a splash of color to the grand affair by adding rich red roses. With a classic black and white palette, any bold color will do, but I think the red just makes it a bit more decadent.

Petit Pastry: these bite sized wonders are from UK cake maestro Little Venice Cake Company.

Reception: Another angle of the reception by photographer Jessica Claire. The seating arrangements are a fantastic mix of circular booths and long tables. I think I see some Philippe Starck ghost chairs! And look at the damask wallpaper what a novel idea - it incorporates the color scheme and the aesthetic without being overdone. So much better than a busy damask table cloth.

Maid of Honor: This fluid gown comes from the Vineyard Collection - fabulous!

Images via www.brides.com, www.jessicaclaire.net, www.mookdesign.co.uk, www.lvcc.co.uk.

Friday, December 19, 2008

Winter Wonderland

Winter doesn't officially start until Sunday, but that doesn't mean we can't celebrate early.

Oh winter, with your icy color palette, so cool and chic - what a wonderful wedding you would make!

Reception: Martini glasses with a circular ice cube and sprinkled with edible silver flakes updates those delicious cocktails.

The view from outside: a snowy white landscape gives inspiration for our Winter Wonderland theme.

Maid of Honor: Oscar de la Renta designs a sleek gown for your best gal pal. A plunging V neck makes for an oh so feminine look.

Snow Maiden: Monique Lhuillier's dreamy confection of hand embroidered lace and fluffy appliques is the perfect dress for any winter bride.

Registry: what a clever idea! Use these beautiful crystal flower arrangements from Marc Jacobs for Waterford at the reception. Not only are they gorgeous, but they'll last beyond the wedding.

Invitations: set the mood by sending your guests a beautiful invitation from CECI New York.

Reception: From Brides, "creating an all-white setting that looks contemporary means furnishing your reception with elements that have a café feel—plush chairs, small tables—plus loads of fringe, just for fun. Vinyl stools and a café table embellished with fringe instantly send the message that this wedding will be mod and magnificent."

It's in the Details:
this Philippe Starck for Baccarat candle holder is a sparkly crystal cool accent.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

It's a Wrap

To quote a Christmas song "Baby, it's cold outside!"

Being in sunny southern California, I have the luxury of not having to deal with any overly extreme weather conditions. But for you brides in other parts of the country (especially the northeast) the weather can put a damper on planning a December wedding.

Thank goodness that the good people at Pronovias have thought about designing some beautiful shrugs and jackets to compliment your dress because let's face it - who wants to wear their big, white North Face Parka on their wedding day?

Love, love, love the look and the black and white photography!

Images via www.pronovias.com

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

'Tis the Season for Giving

Do you remember that Celine Dion Christmas song that goes

"Don't save it all for Christmas Day Find a way To give a little love everyday"

It's one of my absolute favorites and it got me thinking about ways to give back, especially during these worrying times.

Today more and more couples are saying "I Do" to a wedding registry that gives back to charity. Here's a couple of organizations that doing their part to not only helping you have a special day but also giving to someone less fortunate.

I Do Foundation: Celebrate generously by creating a wedding gift registry with the I Do Foundation's partner stores and up to 10% of gift purchases will be donated to your favorite charity. Or you can give wedding favors for Charity by making a charitable donation in their honor.

Wedding Channel Charity Registry: WeddingChannel.com will make a donation to your charity of choice every time someone uses WeddingChannel.com to purchase you a gift from one of your registries.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Bright Ideas

I've never been much of a candle girl, but these beauties have got me changing my mind.

The amazing Margot Elena, innovator of luxurious formulas and packaging designer extraordinaire has designed a life of some of the most lovely candles I've ever seen. And don't forget to check out her bath and body line, Lollia - it's every girl's dream come true, combining luxurious fragrances with romantic details.

And 'tis the season of giving, so why not give some of these away as presents to those special ladies in your life? Delicate fragrances and a feminine glass vase afterward - I'll say yes to that!

Images via www.lollialife.com.

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