Clean and Crisp Wednesday, Apr 25 2012 

With the boom of Pinterest, anyone who isn’t planning their wedding-real or imaginary- is definitely decorating their one day “dream house.” The magic of home décor is that, unlike wedding planning, you can always keep garnering new ideas. Decorating carries no expiration date. No matter where you live now, there is always room for improvement, and no matter your budget, it’s always fun to look at dream ideas for the perfect “someday” home.

 

My hubby and I have a list of must haves for our future dream home. We bandy these ideas about, and over time, some fall off to the wayside, but some stick to each and every list we craft. We definitely need at least one large walk-in closet, a kitchen with double ovens, some sort of  fireplace, a ceiling fan in the bedroom, and plenty of large windows. I also have a wish list for my future home. Things that would be great additions and I’d love to implement/renovate over time. My master bathroom is very important to me. A bathroom is supposed to feel like a spa, and always smell accordingly. A haven of cleanliness and relaxation, the master bathroom is where I spend a huge portion of my time-showering, makeup application, hair styling, etc.

 

A major element of a beautiful bathroom is that it is white.

Soft and white. Clean and bright. Yes, I probably would work edelweiss into my fresh-flower rotation in my bathroom as well. 

 

 

Ivory, with its warmer tones, is my neutral of choice in all other regards (wedding color, living room palette, etc.) but for the bathroom and bedroom, only crisp white will do.

 

 

 

I also love a nice, plush towel. Call it an obsession, but I love nice thread count on towels and bedding. These are my absolute favorite white towels from Pottery Barn and the Hotel Collection from Macy’s… a HUGE perk of our wedding registry!

A fresh, clean white palette will make any space feel larger and more luxurious. By keeping the major color a lovely neutral, you can work in colorful accents over the years.

Right now, my accent is a dark, rich purple. I have a few plum hand towels, and a deliciously soft dark purple little rug in the bathroom entryway. Our current bath mat next to the shower is a softer lavender color, to ease the transition to the stark white shower curtain and other bathroom accessories.

 

 

What are your favorite bathroom décor ideas? Color schemes?

Media Credits:

first photo courtesy of houseofturquoise.com

second photo courtesy of pinterestguccibags.com

third photo courtesy of yourdictionary.com

fourth photo courtesy of designstaging.com

fifth photo courtesy of remodelista.com

sixth photo courtesy of potterybarn.com

seventh photo courtesy of webnuggetz.com

eighth photo courtesy of southernliving.com

ninth photo courtesy of room-by-room.com

 

Advertisements

Date Night Out Thursday, Apr 19 2012 

Every magazine and relationship expert will tell you how important “date night” is to a lasting marriage. Getting busy and bogged down with work, kids and other obligations can let romance fall by the wayside, and imposing a “date night” strategy will help keep your connection to each other alive.

One major problem I have with this is the incredible discrepancy between this “date night” philosophy, which is all about closeness and intimacy, and the comfortable options available to today’s couples. Let’s face it: a number of options are not quite “cuddle”-friendly.

Old movies like Grease embody the adorable drive-in date nights of decades past. But today, the dependable “dinner-and-a-movie” evening plays out in a series of uncomfortable seats. Most movie theaters today have horrible seating, with-get this- armrests that do not lift. How does that mitigate cuddling for couples, or even the ever-popular stretch-then-arm-around-the-shoulder? Come on, even airplanes, in all their infamous glory, let you lift your armrest!

Sure, some novel theaters (like the 21+ Luxe Level at the Patriot Place Cinema at my home theater in Foxboro, MA) do feature a plusher movie-watching environment, complete with first-class cushiony seats and a selection of beer, wine and snacks. But unless you want to fork over serious cash (for a new release, you could pay upwards of $25 per adult evening ticket) you’re stuck in the too-tight, too-cramped stadium seats that force you to stand up any time someone in your row wants more popcorn, sticky armrests locked in place.

Sure, some theaters do feature the fancier seats that allow the armrest to lift between seats, but not nearly enough. We all know how important cuddling is!

With all the FABULOUS new movies coming out this summer, why not bring back the Drive-In? You can cuddle up in your trusty old car, where you spend most of your commute anyway, put your feet up on your own dashboard, and sprawl out as you please. I would much rather go see The Dark Knight Rises in my hubby’s comfy Volkswagen Eos than be stuck in a dark room of strangers squished together, subjected to those annoying beams of light from not-so-subtle iPhone glances all evening long.

Drive-ins have proven to be a more enjoyable, intimate date experience- just look at all the happy couples who got to enjoy them back in the day. Younger couples today face more stresses, demands, less free time and of course, the ever-looming and rising statistic of divorce. Why not re-charge our date night attitude and invest in a future of happy date nights for years to come?

Bring back the cuddling in date nights! Who’s with me? Would you prefer the drive-in or comfier movie theater seats?

Media Credits:

first photo courtesy of assoconcierge.com

second photo courtesy of cinemaretro.com

third photo courtesy of eralving.com

fourth photo courtesy of cepro.com

fifth photo courtesy of theater.com

Wedding Reviews Sunday, Apr 8 2012 

OK, so it seems like wedding season is officially over, at least for me. April 8 marks my six-month wedding anniversary.

And I’ll never be a bride again. Now I’m just someone’s wife. (Monica from Friends, DUH!)

 

Anyway, for the very last of my “wedding” related posts, I’d like to link to my reviews of my vendors. I had some absolutely fabulous experiences with some incredibly talented people, and unfortunately some experiences that weren’t as extraordinary. But I feel like I learned a GREAT deal about negotiations, business deals, contracts, and dealing with vendors in general. In addition to getting married and taking that huge step into the real world, wedding planning offers us a glimpse into the “cash is king” philosophy and sometimes cold, cold world of business.

If you’re getting married in the Boston area or know someone who is, or if you’d just like to read about my wedding vendor experiences, have fun reading! I used Megan Gilner of The Brocade Blackbird for my AMAZING invitations and all of my stationary needs. She is not on weddingwire.com or weddinghchannel.com but she is superb! I even used her for our adorable Change of Address announcements, and will continue to use her for any stationary I may need in the future. Highly recommend! Check out her website here.

 

FYI: My venue was at my parents’ home in Norfolk, Massachusetts. I had an outdoor ceremony by their lake and a tented reception on their tennis court. I tried to be as specific as possible in each of my reviews, but if you should have any questions I would be happy to answer them for you.

So long, bridal time! I’ll be back, as a Matron of Honor when my little sis gets married one day. I’m like the Kate to her Pippa…right??

Read my reviews of all of my wedding vendors on weddingwire.com here,  Any trouble finding my page, I am “parisbride.”

Media Credits:

both of these photos from my wedding were taken by my fabulous photographer Heather Crofts

The Art of Home Sweet Home Wednesday, Mar 7 2012 

My mom is visiting us in Charleston this weekend! And as I prepare (read: deep clean, scrub, sanitize, dust, vacuum and deep clean everything again) my apartment for her visit, I’ve been making a little mental list of thing I’m excited to show her. Besides our fabulous new Swiffer wet jet and wedding album-she has heard ravess about both but never seen either in person- I realize that I am incredibly excited to show her “my” stuff.

No, I don’t just mean show her all my shoes and cupcake tins and stuff considered “mine” instead of “ours” in my husband’s and my home. I want to show her “my” market, “my” car wash, “my” drycleaner, “my” Walgreens, “my” vet, “my” Target, “my” nail place, “my” China food place (ok, that one might be “ours”) and all the fabulous little finds I’ve carved out for myself in my new surroundings. We’ve only lived in Charleston for about five months, and in that time we’ve made little routines. We drive to work, drive home, and hit up all these great spots along the way.

 

I’m reminded when my parents visited me when I was studying abroad in Paris in the fall of 2009. (swoon, seems so long ago) They had been to Paris many times- both with my sister and me tagging along and without us- so they had seen Notre Dame, Montemartre, and far more fabulous places than I could introduce them to. But when they arrived, and I promptly showed them the list of places I wanted to take them (can you tell I’m into lists?), my dad said so genuinely “We’ve seen Paris. We want to see your Paris.”

 

So I proudly paraded them one of my absolute favorite places in Paris- where my two girlfriends and I had spent many an evening. You won’t find it in any Zagat or tour guide, and you will walk from le Metro 8 stop at L’Ecole Militairre all the way to La Tour Eiffel and just pass it by. “La Terrasse” had become our favorite local haunt- we could actually afford more than one glass of vin and could sit outside under the heated lamps and just watch the Parisian world go by. And their croque-madame was very likely my only source of protein in five months. I also took them to a teeny, tiny Italian restaurant off la rue Cler (jealous? You should be!) that they actually said they preferred over the fabulous restaurant Laduree. We did the touristy, fabulous stuff- shopping at Christian Louboutin store across from Carla Bruni’s house and indulging in a dinner at Fouquets, 99 avenue des Champs Elysees-but the moments I remember the most were riding “my” Metro line or enjoying a quiet cup of chocolat chaud at the little café on my street, peeking up at La Tour Eiffel in le septieme arrondissement, my home for four months.

It might not be Paris, but Charleston is my new home, and I am so excited to show off the little treasures I have discovered! But first, I must get back to cleaning my apartment before Mom arrives!

 

Media Credits:

first photo courtesy of prlog.com

second photo courtesy of amipost.com

third photo courtesy of france-travel-secrets.com

fourth photo courtesy of eiffeltower.us

fifth photo courtesy of swifferwetjetreview.com

My First Restaurant Week in Charleston Wednesday, Jan 25 2012 

Last week was an indulgent treat for Charleston residents. No, not because of all the Republican presidential candidates in town, but because of the Restaurant Week program featuring the best local eateries.

 

Lowcountry food lovers could enjoy the best fine dining, selecting from prix fixe menus with options of 3 courses for $20, $30 or $40. As a New Englander transported to Charleston in November, I’m still adjusting to the Southern foods and the plethora of dining options here. This seemed like the best time hit the town and take advantage of a great deal.

On Thursday, January 19, my husband and I met a friend from out of town at La Fourchette on King Street. This adorable French bistro fell into the 3 for $40 category, and we were very excited to experience what this great-reviewed place had to offer. La Fourchette did not disappoint. I lived in Paris for four months, and the “steak frites” and “profiteroles” La Fourhcette served up were as wonderful as anything I enjoyed under La Tour Eiffel.

The servers were friendly-and not just because of the two fabulous bottles of Cote de Bruilly Pinot Noir we ordered. I snuck a few bites of my husband’s “beef bourguignon”, which was brought to the table in adorable red Le Creuset cocotte dishes and was absolutely delicious.

 

I can also highly recommend The Belmont Lounge for a nice après-dinner drink experience. If you’re looking for the perfect place for a date or to catch up with visiting friends, you should definitely try the cozy couches at this place.

 

My first Restaurant Week in Charleston was a wonderfully delicious experience! If you’re looking to splurge on your New Year’s Resolution a little bit (let’s face it, French food is just not diet friendly) for a night out, make sure to catch the next Restaurant Week!

 

 

Media Credits:

first photo courtesy to restaurant.com

second photo courtesy of forkandbottle.com

third photo courtesy of lecreuset.com

Wedding Secrets Part 4 Sunday, Jan 22 2012 

Another installment of wedding talk! Here we go.

Tip 1: Keep it Clean

We’ve all seen photos and video and sat hostage as some couples indulge in a slobbery, full-on make-out session at the altar. With parents, grandparents and friends of all ages looking on. Don’t be one of those couples. A dramatic dip is tasteful. Gently caressing your new spouse’s face is sweet. Anything more than that? Tacky. The same rule goes for the first bites of cake. I can’t stand when people smash the cake all over each other’s faces and then lick it off. So gross on such an elegant, classy day. Anything with too much tongue or too much passion should be reserved for just a few hours later, until the honeymoon really begins!

 

 

 

Tip 2: Kids or no Kids?

This is a hugely controversial issue about the guest list. I’ve heard of some brides stating that some guests will adamantly refuse to come to a wedding that their rugrats are left out of. Other brides go so far to include “Adult Reception to Follow” on the invitation. I am of the opinion that weddings are an adult affair, for adults only, and that should be understood by the guests. The envelope clearly indicates who is invited to the festivities. If you receive an invitation to “Mr. and Mrs. Parent”, does that include your children? Nope. Just the Mr. and Mrs. You would think that most parents would want a night out away from their kids- a date night? Some people will complain about getting a babysitter or traveling without their children, but that is their choice, not yours. You, as the bride, are arranging a beautiful day all about you and your love, and we know that can get pricey. There are also the logistical safety concerns. If your wedding is at a venue like a ballroom or restaurant, what is to prevent the pitter-patter of little feet from crashing into a glass window or even the cake display table? In my own case, since very few of our friends and relatives have small children, we didn’t have to face too much of this issue. One exception from the no-children rule? Newborns. One of my older cousins was still breast-feeding her two-month old baby girl, so obviously she was included on the list. I think most parents would appreciate a kids-free zone, so they can drink and relax and socialize without having to keep an eye on them. Maybe it’s just me, but an event where adults are drinking and focusing on dancing and enjoying themselves is not the place for young children.

Ultimately, the decision is up to you- if you have children of your own or are close to the children of your friends and you want them there, go for it! My suggestion? Be consistent across the board- if the age cut-off is 5, then everyone over 5 is invited and no one under 5 is allowed. All of your guests-friends, family, female, male-should follow the same guidelines. What do you think of children at weddings?

 

Tip 3: Keep an Element to Yourself

At a time when you’re sharing very intimate, personal details with your entire guest list, it can seem that you’re performing at a spectacle for everyone else to judge and comment on. Everyone is suddenly privy to how you met your fiancé, how he proposed, what you love about each other, and your plans for the future. This can seem overwhelming when you think about it. But the truth is, you are inviting your nearest and dearest friends and family to join in your happiness and celebrate with you. That means no one gets to dictate where you’re married, what time, who else is invited, what anyone else wears, or any other little details that can snag up your excitement. My suggestion to stay sane during the people-pleasing moments is to keep some secrets from the masses.  Don’t tell everyone and their guest what you plan on saying in your vows or who they’re sitting next to at dinner. People will have their opinions, and some may be more vocal about it than others. You’ll never be able to please everyone. Just accept that fact and move on. Focus on making yourself and your fiancé happy. Hopefully, your guests will just be happy to be there with you and keep any negative thoughts to themselves.

Tip 4: Don’t lose sight of the big picture.

When you’re meeting with vendors every day and making decisions at every turn, it’s easy to get caught up in the madness of the event. But it’s important to remember that you are celebrating something. Your love and commitment to each other. Sure, you can get weary with addressing envelopes, arranging seating charts and making everyone else happy. But when you have to decide whether or not to have chair covers, or how many appetizers-per-person for the cocktail hour, or who sits at what table, just remember: you will be married by the time any of this matters. When you’re munching on that delicious menu you’ve been angst-ing about for months or listening to your 8-piece orchestra strum away your favorite classical tunes, you will have a wedding ring and a husband by your side who has just promised to love and honor your forever. When you look into each other’s eyes, do you really care if all of the bridesmaids’ dresses match or how many tiers of cake you have? I didn’t think so.

 

Media Credits:

first photo courtesy of perfect-wedding-day.com

second photo courtesy of proposalplanning.com

third photo courtesy of cofamilies.com

fourth photo courtesy of sodahead.com

fifth photo courtesy of clipartof.com

sixth photo courtesy of strapyaworld.com

Wedding Secrets: Part 3 Tuesday, Jan 10 2012 

I just can’t stop thinking about my wedding. I received from very exciting news the day before New Year’s Eve: my wedding video trailer is ready! Watching the video gave me goose bumps, made me cry and brought me back to all the emotions and feelings of my wedding day. So here we go, another round of secrets and tips!

 

Tip 1: Hotel Help

If you’re inviting lots of guests from out of town, it’s a nice gesture to set up a block of guest rooms at a hotel to facilitate their booking. It can be hard to find a place that your aunts and uncles will enjoy but that your college friends can still afford. Most hotels will give you a complimentary 10-room block under your name to guarantee a special price, with the option of upgrading to a suite. I was married Columbus Day weekend in New England, very close to Gillette Stadium on Patriots-Jets game weekend. Hotel rooms were not easy to come by. We lucked out by booking a block of rooms at a hotel in Boston way in advance (like May)- keep in mind if you urge most guests to stay far away from your venue, you should also provide some sort of transportation to and from the wedding festivities. Another great idea? Welcome bags to leave in your guests’ hotel rooms. Our hotel did not charge a fee, but every policy is different. Additional tip? It’s a nice gesture to foot the bill for the rooms for your bridal party. Don’t forget to book a room for yourself and your new husband- the hotel will almost always upgrade you or sent you a bottle of champagne on your wedding night.

 

Tip 2: Must-Have Manicure

During your months of being engaged, and of course on your wedding day, everyone is going to be grabbing your hand to see your new sparkler. Do yourself a favor and treat yourself to manicures as often as you can. You don’t need to venture into the salon and fork over cash every week, but be sure to file down your nails and touch up any chipped polish at least once a week. If you have artificial nails, be sure to keep them filled and clean looking at all times. Grab a bunch of cheap nail files at the drugstore, and keep one in your car or purse for long lines and traffic lights. Look at it as research- you need to experiment with your favorite colors and styles for your big day.

 

Tip 3: Family Traditions

Your wedding is a joining of two families. You and your fiancé are coming together to start a new life together,as products of your parents and family members love and influence. Why not include them in some of the wedding details? We placed wedding photos of our parents, grandparents and great-grandparents in beautiful frames along the table around the guest book.  You can involve everyone- carry something old from your grandmother (or his- How cute is that?) It doesn’t have to be anything major- carry a small piece of a veil or gown, or maybe use a relative’s vintage cake knife. Have an aunt or uncle or grandparent perform a reading. Be sure to ask your parents and relatives what family traditions they included in their weddings, and gain inspiration together! Something very small and special could mean the world to a family member, who will most likely be thrilled to be involved in your wedding day.

 

Tip 4: Your Very Own Wedding Scent

One of my favorite tiny details of my wedding experience was my wedding scent. You can spray it in the car before you pick up your wedding dress, spritz the inside of the invitation envelopes, gift the fragrance to your bridesmaids, and even include a scented candle in the restrooms. That small whiff of elegance in the air will remind everyone of your signature style that carries throughout the entire event. Experiment until you find your favorite. Kate Middleton favored Jo Malone’s Orange Blossom candles to line the aisle at Westminster Abby on April 29, 2011- I went with Jo Malone’s White Jasmine and Mint. Inhaling that aroma still brings me back to the happiness I felt on October 8th.

 

Media Credits:

first photo courtesy of hotelbycity.com

second photo courtesy of manicuretable.net

third photo courtesy of timesunion.com

fourth photo courtesy of jomalone.com

Hollywood Wedding Dress Predictions Sunday, Jan 8 2012 

Engagement season is in full swing- just look at Hollywood! Drew Barrymore, Anne Hathaway, Britney, and Jessica Biel all have new rocks on their left hand, and now Josh Lucas has popped the question. Can we just take a second to marvel at how cute it is that Britney and Justin are engaged at the same time?

 

With all the new sparklers around TinselTown, everyone is looking forward to some seriously A-list weddings in 2012. Celebs are just like the rest of us- they love a good party. Whether they do an intimate family wedding at home, elope on a tropical island, or throw a big Hollywood bash, we can bet that some gorgeous wedding gowns will mark the special day. Here are some of my predictions for what Hollywood’s latest blushing brides may choose to wear.

 

Anne Hathaway is one of my all-time favorite actresses. Her classic beauty and down-to-earth attitude make her irresistible. She has worn some of the most gorgeous Red Carpet gowns in history, and I’m betting her wedding dress will be a one-of-a-kind stunner.

I think she’d look gorgeous in something like this Vera Wang lace ballgown.

Remember her character’s stunning mermaid dress in Bride Wars? Anne looked pretty spectacular. She could stun in something along the lines of this sophisticated, trendy one-shoulder Vera Wang.

Anne loves to show off her lovely neck and face. This striking Marchesa hits right at the collarbone, a silhouette that would look amazing on her.

What do you think the fashionista will wear when she ties the knot with Adam Shulman? I can’t wait to see what lucky designer she selects.

 

 

 

Jessica Biel, on the other hand, tends to favor body-hugging, dramatic gowns with a bit of Old Hollywood flair. You can bet this athletic chick will be working out every day leading up to her and JT’s nuptials, so her body will be more smokin’ than ever. I think she’d look stunning in this slinky Vera Wang.

 

 

We know how active “Jessie”, as Justin’s grandma calls her, is, so she’ll probably want something that she can easily move and dance in. I love this simple, structured strapless Vera Wang.

 

 

 

I predict these two will opt for a private, intimate, non-Hollywood affair somewhere outdoors and rustic (so far they haven’t even publicly announced their engagement, or any details of her ring) so we might not even get to see any photos of the couple! Hope we get a glimpse of something!

Drew Barrymore has always favored the more whimsical fashion options. She looks so genuinely happy and adorable in her sun-soaked engagement photo. When she wed Will Kopelman, this former wild child might opt for something ethereal like this champagne, flowy Marchesa.

For her third trip down the aisle, Drew might want to wear something more traditional-but still show her personality with something like this beaded plunging neckline from the now-vintage Priscilla of Boston label.

I’m so excited to see what she wears!

 

Of course, the sparkliest wedding gown will most likely belong to Jessica’s man’s ex, Britney Spears. When she weds fiancé Jason Trawick, I bet she’ll go for something a bit more simple but still a showstopper than when she married K-Fed. I could see her in something like this simple, flowy Vera Wang but amp up the bling on the beaded neckline.

Of course, she could go wild and crazy like that first short wedding dress, and opt for a color like this platinum Vera Wang.

Maybe to please her traditional Southern family-and her two sons- Britney might don an elegant, strapless couture-inspired gown.

I think whatever she decides, Britney will be glowing and happy on her wedding day- it looks like she has finally found her place, and I hope she’ll be happy and healthy in this marriage forever.

What do you think these lovely A-list brides will wear for their big days?

 

Media Credits:

first Anne Hathaway photo courtesy of justjared.com

second Anne Hathaway photo courtesy of marshu.com

third Anne Hathaway photo courtesy of glamour.com

fourth Anne Hathaway photo courtesy of glamour.com

first Jessica Biel photo courtesy of microdoted.com

second Jessica Biel photo courtesy of weddingcollections.us.com

third Jessica Biel photo courtesy of bridalgowns.uk.com

first Drew Barrymore photo courtesy of justjared.com

second Drew Barrymore photo courtesy of designberbridalgowns.com

third Drew Barrymore photo courtesy of bridalbuds.com

first Britney Spears photo courtesy of mirror.co.uk

second Britney Spears photo courtesy of iweddingdress.info.com

third Britney Spears photo courtesy of mybiggestday.com

fourth Britney Spears photo courtesy of latestfashiontrends.com

Wedding Secrets: Part 2 Tuesday, Dec 20 2011 

As promised, here is the second installment of wedding secrets to help any stressed out bride-to-be plan her perfect day. Happy planning!

Tip 1: Don’t Force the Fiancé

First of all, doesn’t that word sound fabulous? I loved hearing fiancé. Just wait-husband is even better. It’s tempting to dive in head first together, and present him with a list of tasks to help with the wedding. It’s his day too, you would think he would want to be involved, right? Not so fast. Some guys are excited and interested in music, tuxes, ceremony décor, champagne and seating charts, and some don’t care about anything but the date and time. Yes, you will need his help on a few things, but if he couldn’t care less about the hue of the tablecloths or the color of your bouquet, don’t make yourself (and him) crazy. Pick your battles. The absolute bare minimum that your fiancé must be involved with: his side of the guest list (including addresses!), selection of his groomsmen (at least six months before the wedding), where his parents sit at the reception, choosing your First Dance song(!) and meeting with the officiant. These little tasks can be spread out over several months, and you can remind him along the way. If you’re one of the lucky ones who has a flower-interested fiancé, enjoy it! Otherwise, just ask him if there is anything he feels strongly about, stick to the aforementioned list of activities, and make sure he has the time of the ceremony right! Use this opportunity to bond with your mom, maid of honor, or wedding planner.

Tip 2: Problematic Plus-Ones

It’s a hot guest list topic of any young couple: “Do we give our single friends a plus one?”

My opinion: Make a firm guide line, and stick to it. Use criteria like if they will have to fly across the country, if they will know other guests, if they’ve been in a relationship for a year, or whatever you feel fits your friends’ situations. Since we were among the first of our friends to get married, pretty much all of our close friends were single. We opted for plus-one generosity, but I was a bit surprised at how many of the (male) guests chose to come solo. Hey, weddings are a great place to meet people, so make sure to invite an equal number of available guys and gals and sit them near each other if possible. If you’re consistent across the board- family and friends alike- no one will suffer hurt feelings or invite envy. This should be fun, not stressful!

Tip 3:  Invest in Comfy Shoes

I cared more about my wedding shoes than my wedding dress. I am a high heel fanatic, and was adamant about my gorgeous Christian Louboutin wedding shoes. They survived my outdoor ceremony, plus dancing the night away. For our big departure, I changed into another pair of Louboutins-open toe and different pressure points can make a world of difference in your pain relief! Be sure to grab some comfy insoles and gel cushions to slip into your stilettos. No one will know but you, and the additional support (plus the “bride adrenaline”) will keep you dancing all night long! But I did not force this on my bridesmaids or female guests. We included some of those adorable Dr. Scholls fold-out flats in various sizes in the ladies room bathroom basket. Big hit! My mom and her sisters also stowed away some of their favorite flats- I am not a huge fan of this practice, but it’s a million times better than kicking off your shoes and padding around barefoot. Yuck.

Tip 4: Precious Paper Products

I spent a huge amount of time and effort designing our wedding stationary. Your save-the-date or invitation is the first hint your guests have about your wedding- the attire, color scheme, formality, vibe and character. I was lucky enough to find a wonderfully talented artist who custom-designed a monogram for us, that was able to carry through from our escort cards, dinner menus and thank you notes. Paper is an area where some people will tell you to cut costs or skimp, but I think they are very important because they last past midnight on your wedding day. A copy of your invitation and ceremony program will forever have a place in a frame in your home. This is a wise place to invest your time- you can really make your stationary your own to reflect your couple style, favorite colors and important traditions. My personalized menus were in French, to add a Parisian flair to the evening. I received so many compliments on all my stationary- everyone loved how it was unique and fresh. Some people freak out about the wording of the invitation, regarding who is “hosting”, etc. There are millions of etiquette experts out there, and your stationary designer can help you create your own clever wording to make sure everyone is happy. Have fun here!

Have fun in all elements of wedding planning. Soak up the vendor shopping, cake tasting, dress shopping and other magical moments along the way. Be sure to stop and smell the roses-or calla lilies, tulips, peonies or whatever strikes your fancy for your special day!

Media Credits:

first photo courtesy of magnetstreet.com

second photo courtesy of glamour.com

third photo of louboutin.com

fourth photo courtesy of weddingaccessories.com

fifth photo courtesy of technorati.com

Wedding Secrets: Part One Thursday, Dec 15 2011 

Hard to believe it’s been over two months since the wedding! It was such a whirlwind of emotion, beauty, and happiness- and did I mention the PERFECT weather? As I’m making the final edits to my proof for my wedding album (yay!) and look through the online gallery over and over (and over again) I’m reminded of all the love that surrounded us that day. Not just the love we have for each other that we were celebrating- but the love of everyone else that had traveled to be with us. It was such a fantastic moment in our lives, and that feeling of bliss and love is something we will remember and hold onto forever.

Of course, to get to that perfect day took lots of planning. Here are just a few of my tips for any bride-to-be, to enjoy the engagement time in your life and get yourself to that perfect wedding day! I’ll be spilling more bride secrets and wedding planning tips in the future, too, so please let me know what you think and what you’d like to know!

Tip 1: Get Organized!

This is my BIGGEST tip for any bride! Invest in a sturdy- and glamorous- binder, folder, or notebook of some kind. This will become your Bible where you store business cards of potential vendors, copies of contracts, fabric swatches, photos for inspiration, pages from magazines, and everything else wedding-related. My mom gave me a beautiful baby blue one from Mindy Weiss. Buy some extra clear inserts and labels to keep everything in its proper place and enjoy! My mom also had a big “Mother of the Bride”-embroidered tote to keep everything in one place as the binder gets fuller and fuller. Trust me, there is sooo much more paper than you would think!

Tip 2: Guest List Glory

The guest list really affects the budget of your wedding- the number of tables, flowers, meals, drinks, wait-staff, flatware, invitations, escort cards, etc. As tempting as it can be to limit the list to only your nearest and dearest, this is an opportunity for your parents to see people they haven’t seen in ages, to show off their beautiful child making this great step in life. If you’re lucky enough to have your parents host your wedding, this is an important point. Yes, this is your wedding, but it is a huge event that your parents have been looking forward to since the day you were born. So be respectful of who wants to invite whom, while keeping in mind that your guests are the most important part of the evening!

Tip 3: Life of the Party

One of my favorite parts of our wedding was our band. We struggled over the idea of band versus DJ, back and forth, back and forth. It was important to us to have continuous music throughout the night, with no lulls during the breaks that come with a live band. We found the perfect option- a band that comes with their own DJ! I was so happy that we were really able to tailor the music selection for what we wanted- some songs sound great played live to get the crowd moving, and we were able to hear some of my favorite soundtrack tunes(Wicked “As Long as You’re Mine” and Camelot “If Ever I Would Leave You”) from a disk during dinner. I received so many compliments on the singers throughout the evening, and they really kept the party vibe going all night long.

Tip 4: Flora and Fauna: Less is More

Flowers are a huge chunk of the wedding budget, and of course a huge part of the décor look of your day. If you’re going for a casual, laid-back look, definitely don’t angst about your flowers! I am soooo happy I went with low, small, elegant centerpieces rather than the tall, extravagant orchid arrangements I was once thinking about. If you want some dramatic and elegant touches, why not accentuate your guests’ plates with little blossoms? We included a white rose on the napkin of every female guest- the little details like that can really make a gorgeous floral statement without getting too pricey. As pretty as they are, remember that the flowers have the shortest shelf-life of anything you buy for your wedding except the food. They’re pretty and then they die. Your married life will go on, no matter what blooms graced your alter or table.

Tip 5: Don’t Go Bridal Party Crazy.

One of the most stressful and heartbreaking elements of a wedding for many brides is dealing with bridesmaid drama. This is a huge reason why I am still ridiculously happy that I only chose my closest girlfriends. Even though my husband had six groomsmen on his side, I stuck to my happily tiny party including just my sister, cousin and lifelong best friend. Don’t worry about the sides being even or lining up properly for the ceremony- we just doubled up the groomsmen escorting each girl for the processional. It’s much easier during dress shopping, plus remember that each bridesmaid is another bouquet and gift. I let my bridesmaids pick their own dresses and shoes- something else that gets harder the more ladies you add into the mix! This is a huge bonding time for you and your bridesmaids- don’t invite anyone into your bridal party (and your wedding day dressing room!) that you wouldn’t want to be friends with for life.

 

Tip 6: Deep Breath In, Deep Breath Out

Finally, don’t forget to breathe. Don’t sweat the small stuff. I totally forgot to put on my veil- I realized this when we were taking family photos after the ceremony! Something will go wrong, but I promise you, no one will notice half of the little details that go awry! Don’t sweat the small stuff. Laugh it off, and continue on with your day. It really is what you make it, and make it the best you can.

Media Credits:

first photo courtesy of bridalbuds.com

second photo courtesy of mzsapa.com

third photo courtesy of questmusique.com

fourth and fifth photos courtesy of my girlfriend Nicole Santarpia’s camera

Next Page »