Thursday, December 27, 2007

A Christmas to remember

With *so* much involved in our first Christmas in our new home, what will be the memory that stands out the most?

Could it be our Christmas tree FALLING right after we got it decorated? Um, no...

How about the mad rush to clean the place up after finishing the office just days ago? No, that's not it.

Discovering that a few of our platters broke during the move? Nope.

Having our families at our first Christmas dinner, enjoying a fabulous meal, laughing and getting to know each other better? Filling our home with the presence of family? Yeah, that's the one.

For any big event -- like the momentous, one-time-only FIRST of a Christmas in a new home -- you may have a lot of expectations, wishes, hopes and dreams. And if you're lucky, many of them will come true. One of the most important parts of Christmas for me this year was to give my parents a really nice holiday. So Joe and I went to their place for Christmas our pajamas. And we had our family's traditional eggnog toast and present session. Which was priceless to me. So all the hard work was worth it. You only get one of these. And if the most important part goes well...then it's a dream come true.

Monday, December 24, 2007

Chris Botti and Vinx...the concert of the season

Chris Botti took a moment after his concert at the Blue Note to pose for a photo with me. If I look a little stunned, it's because Chris decided to give my shoulder a little rubdown. I said to Joe, who took me to this concert as my Christmas gift, "maybe that's just what his hand does...he just does the trumpeting motion." Joe came back with, "That's not his playing hand!" My wonderful man didn't have to ask Chris Botti to step outside. He's not the jealous type....amen. But the conert was phenomenal! We were one table away from stage right, and when he played "When I Fall in Love," I had tears in my eyes.

Right after the Botti concert, Vinx took the stage ( for another awesome concert. This guy can play, and he's hysterically funny. Congrats to you, Vinx, on your fresh start. Music fans, get your copies of these two artists' CDs...and see them both in concert. It's soul-satisfying.

Thank you, my Joe, for a beautiful night...your shoulder rubs are *way* better. ;)

Friday, December 21, 2007

Rave reviews in Tango Magazine!

Read what Tango Magazine has to say about "The Bride's Diplomacy Guide":
And pick up a copy of US Weekly magazine -- the one with Heidi Montag on the cover -- this week to see my advice at the end of the cover article. The Essential Guide to Wedding Etiquette is available at
Happy holidays to you all, and welcome to wedding world all newly-engaged couples! This is peak time for popping the question, so I'm here to help if you have any questions about wedding budgets, etiquette, organization, vows, toasts, pre-wedding parties, and more. And listen to my podcast "Here Come the Moms" at to start on the right foot with the're not just building a wedding, you're building a life together, so plan for all of those important issues and compromises to come!

Thursday, December 20, 2007

Catch me on "Get Married" with David Tutera

My Bulova wedding day timetable ran again this morning, on Lifetime's "Get Married" -- If you don't catch it today, you can see it anytime by hitting the link to the right [David has a teal shirt on, and it's episode 24].

Dismissing the myth that everything slows down the week before the holidays, my phone's been ringing off the hook with some amazing opportunities! [My publicist Julie Berry is phenomenal, keeping me on track during this chaotic time of the move and the holidays.] Here's what's coming up in January: a taping for Good Morning America, two tapings for Better Homes and Gardens, fun is this?....I'll be attending the movie premiere for "27 Dresses" in New York City []. Joe and I are bringing a few friends along, so that should be a great reward for all of this pre-holiday action.

Coming soon....the next installments of Sharon's Top 5....

Monday, December 17, 2007

First one into The Office -- Michael Jordan!

The Big Day has arrived! Not the wedding day...that's The Big Day for '08. Our Big Day was the official, everything's-done move-in day for our home office! Joe and I partnered on a huge, overwhelming task of taking a 1950's den [which Joe's brother Adam had described as a VFW hall] and turning it into a spotless, modern Caribbean-blue home office with white shelves and the most amazing white moulding you'll ever see in your life. I've been to designer showcase homes that weren't this ideally detailed. I'm over the moon!

Getting back to Michael Jordan, yes, he was the first to enter the room. Joe's framed photo of him was the first item placed on our shelves, quickly followed by my Oprah mug [a gift from O from when I taped the show in Chicago], and my Wonder Woman statuette where she's fighting a three-headed dragon [I *love* that statuette...every writer should have one!] and my entire library of books. This was the first time I have ever seen *all* of my books lined up in my own home. My Dad has a shrine in his office, but never have I had my work displayed like *this* where I live. So it's an amazing time right now, as we're pulling things out of boxes that we forgot we owned [it's been 6 months].

I think the stress of such a huge project, mixed with the stress of planning a wedding, mixed with the stress of the holidays and more new home business would break most couples. But this is how you test and refine your partnership. We made it through, and now we're experiencing our first days in the new house *without* the crushing burden of drywall issues and painting issues and spending every waking moment at Home Depot. [Love ya', Home Depot, but don't want to be there *all* the time!].

I woke up at 4am just to go downstairs and look at the room, put a few more books on the shelf, and thank my lucky stars that this man, and this life, are mine.

Monday, December 10, 2007

Sharon's "Now's The Time" Report -- Wedding Rings

In my wedding budgeting books 1000 Best Wedding Bargains and 1001 Ways to Save Money and Still Have a Dazzling Wedding, I talk about Great Timing as the best way to save thousands on your wedding elements. At certain times of year, gowns are priced 30% to 50% lower, for instance.

Right now is the time for shopping for your wedding bands. With the holiday season upon us, all of those jewelry stores are enticing shoppers with huge discounts, so Now's the Time to get your savings of hundreds if not thousands of dollars on your wedding rings and additional wedding day jewelry, gifts for the mothers and bridesmaids, and even those cufflinks for your men. 40% to 70% off adds up to a LOT.

Check out the newly expanded collection at my favorite jeweler, Hearts on Fire ( I just discovered the Simply Bridal Pave band that could be my choice when we visit the jewelry store sometime this month, armed with the discount postcard the store sent us last week. Just breathtaking on both accounts!

Swing dancing in the Electric Slide LESSONS?

This was a weekend of Dance Extremes. We saw the best and the worst of dance floor antics, all in the middle of an awesome extended weekend. Let me explain...

On Thursday, Joe and I went to see Big Bad Voodoo Daddy in concert, and it was incredible. What struck me most was how obviously the lead singer *loved* performing. Even 20 rows away, I could see that big smile...the guy loves his job. They even performed 'Heat Miser' from the Christmas special, which I *loved.* And people were swing-dancing in the aisle. Music has the power to raise energy, and you could feel it in that room.

And music also has the power to raise your eyebrows in the universal 'Huh?' At Joe's company's holiday party in New York City this weekend, the deejay thought this was 1982. "Now we're all going to learn how to do the Electric Slide!" And the guy gave a lesson. Left, two three...right, two three...and back two three. Huh? He handed out maracas, lightup roses, Santa hats and glow necklaces. Niiiiiice. He cleared the room and the fantastic socializing took place outside the ballroom. Joe works with great, fun people, so it was really nice to see them all again. I think the last time I saw them was at the company softball games.

The best part of my weekend? Hearing Joe singing along to a CD as he worked on the office details. The room looks amazing thanks to his fantastic detailing -- I'm the primer guru and shelf-painter, so my artistry isn't quite as evident. We had a minor medical emergency with a cut on Joe's finger, and I was basically a spaz rifling through the first aid kit. Not my finest moment, but I'm just glad that he still has his fingertip, the cut didn't hit bone, and the law of averages delivered a minor accident rather than a big one. It's a very helpless feeling when someone you love has an injury...which I'm sure Joe could relate to when I got atomic buffalo wing sauce in my eye shortly afterward. My adorable man handed me protective eye goggles for the rest of my lunch [he's awesome.]

So we had a dance of our own...the dance of completing this office, which is just days away. Sure, it's frustrating to have tasks take longer than expected, but that's what happens when you're All Quality. Which is important....

Friday, December 07, 2007

Brides and Grooms LOVE to entertain at home

So much so, in fact, that wedding registries are filled more with entertaining items like appetizer plates, martini sets, fondue plates, fun drink stirrers, and my own personal favorite: adorable placecard holders to match napkin rings. Designing your tabletop turns you into the David Tutera, Colin Cowie, Preston Bailey and Sasha Souza of your own home, so think about your upcoming holiday plans and how you can accessorize your table now....and hold on to these items to use at your every party in the future.

I just shopped for my Christmas placecard holders at Kate Aspen[], and I got the whole set of twelve place card holders for $21! We have our choice now....keep 'em or have our family take them home.

Setting the table is an act of love, since you're gathering the most important treasures of your and friends. So it's no wonder that the biggest trend in registries is entertaining items! They're a guilt-free, sentimental shopping spree! So check out my choice, and cruise through the Kate Aspen site to purchase your own tabletop accents, favors and holiday gifts. A % of your purchase goes to the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society, as well.

Thursday, December 06, 2007

Barbara Kingsolver would be proud...

Barbara Kingsolver is, of course, the bestselling author of "Animal, Vegetable, Miracle," a book on eating locally-grown foods, as well as some of my favorite novels including "The Bean Trees." My friend Jen introduced me to Kingsolver's work, and she's become one of my icons. Nature is a primary focus of Kingsolver's beautiful novels, so I recommend them highly for all of your green lifestyle and eco-loving friends. Where I fit into this post is my latest appearance in the media, in a feature for Garden Plate magazine [] where I encourage party hosts to ask their caterers about locally-grown foods and local wineries. Every choice makes a difference.

Wednesday, December 05, 2007

Win some shoes!

A girl's gotta have great shoes, so sign on for Steve Madden's daily shoe giveaway, from now until December 18th: I'm a big proponent of contests and sweeps, and I've won some pretty fantastic things. So I'm going to start sharing my favorite sweeps sites with you in future posts. Don't miss out on your chance to win cash for the wedding, vacations, home furnishings and decor, and of course, shoes! Come back often for Sharon's Sweeps!

Monday, December 03, 2007

Catch me on David Tutera's show Get Married on Thursday!

A few weeks ago, I ventured into New York City for a taping of Get Married (, and the show is set to air this Thursday at 7:30am on the Lifetime Network, and again on December 20th. My segment, which focuses on the best timetable for the 24 hours before your wedding, is sponsored by Bulova, which just goes to show that timing is everything!

And speaking of timing, I have a 300-page edit due this month, right in the middle of holiday preps and working on the office. So I spent the morning picking out drill bits and awesome little painting sponges for moulding, which brings up *another* tidbit of wisdom for today...having the best tools is everything, too. I zipped through the moulding first coat in an hour with my fabulous little find (best $2.49 ever!) and now I can get back into editing my new book Love Bets before my afternoon chat with's Amy Cress. Who says things slow down during the holidays?

Just a reminder, too, that I'm answering etiquette questions at's Weddings section, so come visit me there! And go get your future mother-in-law something nice for the holidays. Now is when you set the foundation for your relationship, and you'll want it to be as loving, friendly and respectful as possible. My podcast is up at's "Here Come the Moms," and the current show shares the story of a mom and bride who have created a *wonderful* relationship during the planning process.

Friday, November 30, 2007

The Bride's Diplomacy Guide is here!

My new book just arrived! I just popped open the box and pulled out the first copy, hot off the presses. I'm so proud of this book, since it's about relationships, keeping the peace with all of the people around you as you're planning your wedding. I pull no punches, either. If someone's acting up, I'll tell you how to boot her from the bridal party. But first, you'll get a collection of great, diplomatic scripts on what to say when dealing with her, with hopes that it won't get to that point. Here, you'll find solutions to 150 of the most common diplomacy problems from step-parent issues to jealous siblings, pushy guests who want to bring their kids, vendors with an attitude, and more.
No one plans a wedding alone. I wrote this book to help you deal better with the issues that other people bring to the table.
Pre-order your copy at, and if you have friends and relatives who are newly-engaged [or will soon be engaged], be sure to tell them their People Problems can be solved with this book!

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

First holiday in our home

It's our first holiday in our new home, and with what little energy we have while finishing up the office, we're starting to set those wonderful traditions for the life we're building together. We just ordered matching Christmas stockings from Pottery Barn ( using Joe's Aunt Chris's bridal shower gift card. We just bought a few new ornaments for our tree. We're watching the holiday specials together. Our Christmas lights have arrived. Next weekend, we attend my family Christmas party, and we attend Joe's office holiday party. And we're going to see Big Bad Voodoo Daddy's holiday concert. We're so lucky that we get to spend the holidays with both sides of our family, especially since my parents are feeling pretty well these days. We have a lovely holiday season ahead of us....a mix of old and new holiday traditions to blend our lives perfectly.

Monday, November 26, 2007

The top First Dance Songs

Finally! A collection of beautiful First Dance songs that's not endless or outdated!

Check out the classic and most requested First Dance Songs at

The list works double-duty as a great collection of music for your dinner hour and dessert hour. Slow-dancing is so romantic for your wedding guests!

So close we can taste it!

The office looks AMAZING! Joe pulled the edging tape off the windows and bookshelf last night, and the transformation is just incredible. We're so close to it being done that I'm putting the champagne in the refrigerator for the upcoming celebration. What a beast that room was! I look back on our Before pictures with thick tar glue on the walls from the paneling, that awful shag carpeting, a dark pall over the room...and now we have a beautiful, vibrant blue room with white contrast that has such great energy to it. We're both going to create such terrific things in our office.

The best part is that since it was such a huge challenge, a Goliath to take down, every other task our house needs is going to seem so small in comparison. Paint the bathroom? That'll take a day or two. Yes, we're exhausted. It's been a long haul, and the chaos of our boxed books and computer equipment has been a big drain. But we're almost there. Very soon, we'll be 'moving in' to the best room of the house.

Also so close we can taste it is our wedding day! We're under 5 months now, and yesterday we picked out all but one of the songs for our ceremony. We just need our recessional song, which may be an instrumental of the song from 'The Princess Bride' (you know the tune)....we're not sure yet. But Pachelbel's Canon in D and Air from Water Music are definitely on the list. It took all of 3 minutes to play some snippets on, and we have most of our songs set. Not a bad way to end a busy weekend.

And lastly, a big welcome to all the newly-engaged couples whose Thanksgiving celebrations included Popping the Question! If you're just starting your planning now, look through my posts here for my Top 5 lists, and feel free to e-mail me with any questions you have. For etiquette issues, come to my message board at iVillage Weddings (Ask the Wedding Etiquette Expert), and for my books and line of shower and wedding favors, visit me at

Saturday, November 24, 2007

Kate Spade for your wedding day clutch

How beautiful is this? And check out the sale price:

Looks like we know what I'll be carrying on my wedding day!

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

How to say Thank You

Writing thank you notes can be a daunting experience. How do you word a thank you for an extra-generous gift, without saying only "Thank you for the generous gift"? How do you word a thank you note for a gift that you plan to return? What happens if a guest attended the wedding and didn't bring a gift? How do you sound like YOU? What's the one thing you should never write? I tackle all of these issues and more in my new book:
A thoroughly modern manual for expressing gratitude-quickly, painlessly, and personally!Thank-you notes are essential-but they don't have to be torturous to write and stilting to read.
With this concise guide, modern couples can make the task easy while adding essential personal touches to each note they send. Filled with information on everything about writing the perfect thank-you, including:
- Modern technology like email, DVDs, and videostreaming-to use or not to use?
- The top 15 thank-you mistakes-and how to avoid them
- A thank-you thesaurus
- How to word thank-you's for non-traditional gifts, including charitable donations and honeymoon registries
- Thanking the bridal party and other special people
- Creating unique cards with stamp art, photos, and more
- Thank-you checklists, shopping lists, and a writing timetable
I wrote this book to put the fun into writing thank-you's, so that brides and grooms can tackle the task with confidence.
Get your copy at, or at Amazon or Barnes & Noble

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Holiday shopping from a favors website?

Absolutely! These collections of beautiful favors are ideal for holiday table place settings and take-home favors, hostess gifts that are *way* better than bottles of wine, and gifts for the neighbors, teachers, babysitters and others on your your future in-laws!

Shop from my collection at Kate Aspen favors, and 20% of my profits will be donated to the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society:
If you have recently-engaged friends or relatives, you can now request signed copies of my books at Just put 'signed copy' in the subject line of your e-mail to me. 20% of special book sales go to the LLS as well.
Happy shopping!

Monday, November 19, 2007

Fall meets winter

We woke up this morning to a beautiful snowfall...with brightly-colored autumn leaves on the trees. Winter's in a rush to get here, isn't it? So as I'm priming the shelves of our office bookcases, I'm looking out the window to a gorgeous show outside. Big fluffy snowflakes drifting past orange trees...far better than usual gray of a snowfall that turns everything into a black-and-white movie. Today's a busy day as I bounce back and forth between joyous priming and optimistic pitching of my new book series. Even my errands will be dual-natured as I run to the post office with press kits and then to the lumber yard for moulding. It's such a thrill to have the office crest the top peak of a rollercoaster ride and now start zipping into a speedy ride after that long, slogging climb. The pieces are coming together, with Joe and my Dad teaming up on expert carpentry work, while I slip into the narrow storage closet to paint the interior, ready the shelves, and do a little happy dance in my paint-spotted socks because I can *see* this room the way it's going to be. I mentioned to Joe that it looks like the tea room at a five-star Caribbean resort, with bright blue walls set off by pristine white moulding and shelves. When that protective paper comes up off the hardwood floor, I may have to sit down and catch my breath a little....

We're moving into the next 'season' of our office renovation...

Friday, November 16, 2007

Slowed, but not stopped

A sinus infection can really knock you off your feet. Especially when the holiday season is here and there's so much to do. So I'm taking a sick day today to nurse myself back to full strength, delving into "Love In The Time of Cholera" in the steam of a bubble bath, sipping on pomegranate tea, and recharging the batteries for our upcoming busy weekend. Joe just called to see if I would like dinner from one of my favorite places tonight, and even in the fog of antibiotics with no appetite at all, I'm looking forward to that sandwich.....and to working on the office with Joe. We have a narrow closet that I'm going to have to climb into to prime and paint that should be quite a snapshot!

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

The last days of the Dream House

If you're anywhere near the tri-state area, don't miss your chance to visit the Conde Nast Dream House: Two words: swag bag. And the place is phenomenal...

Joe and I had a blast at Bed Bath & Beyond last night, armed with a great coupon and our shower gift cards. We completed our china set and picked up a bunch of other house essentials -- and we stopped in at the holiday decor aisle for kicks -- for a once-only soon-to-be-wed shopping spree. Our awesome friends and family gave us the gift of an unforgettable evening in the store...which is half the fun of registries.

And big news just in gown has arrived at the bridal boutique! First fitting is in January. What a great phone call to get today! Almost as good as chatting for an hour last night with my niece Madison. She's created the menu for our morning-after-the-wedding breakfast, and she asked 'So what are we doing for your bachelorette's party?' She's almost 13, so that wasn't a question I was expecting. What are we going to do for the bachelorette's party? I'm thinking jazz club...which is where Joe and I had our very first date....makes me sigh just remembering that night...yeah, I think that's where we'll go. No Bahama Mama's in Hoboken for me. I'm about 10 years too old for that [Joe, stop laughing!].

Monday, November 12, 2007

Joe in print!

Last night, Joe showed me his first byline in a law journal, and this morning I went out and bought some steaks and other goodies for a celebratory meal. I'm so proud of that accomplishment, it's unreal. Add that to his hard work on the house, particularly our office-in-the-works, and it's time for a special dinner of appreciation. What a catch he is!

I'm so not motivated to work today, but hopefully I'll get a second wind as I dip into a fun, new article. I had a little trouble this morning with a name-dropper, and it really has me aggravated. Yes, I write the Peaceful Bride column on iVillage, so I know the tricks to bounce back into harmony. But when someone bites the hand...that can be deflating for a little while. So I'll follow my own advice and gratitude journal a bit, talk to some better people, hop on the exercise bike for a while, then delve into a fun and rewarding project. Too much great stuff going on to lose much time over someone's bad won't happen again. That's the silver lining. ;)

Friday, November 09, 2007

My new podcast is up!

On my podcast 'Here Come the Moms' at Wedding Podcast Network, my co-host Holli Ehrlich and I spoke with a bride and her mother-in-law about their harmonious wedding-planning partnership -- and I think *every* bride-to-be (and mom-in-law-to-be) would love to have the kind of respectful friendship that these two women have! So come listen in as they talk about how they worked together, learn their insights, and find out how to make this ideal arrangement work in your life, too --

Thursday, November 08, 2007

Joe tells his friends...

In all the chaos of the new house and the wedding, we've both just gotten around to contacting some of our long-distance friends about our upcoming wedding! Joe's law school buddies sent their congratulations, and that's so much fun to have these e-mails launch some great stories about their times together in school. When you hear from an old friend, those memories come alive again. Joe just beams when he talks about his great friends, and it's easy to figure out why he's so beloved by his circle. This guy lights up a room. At the shower, I found myself scanning the room for him -- as I was running glasses of wine out to the back deck for our guests, or pouring glasses of milk for the kids (to offset the sugar rush of the gigantic cookies we got them!) -- and when my eyes found him, he stood out in an almost brighter color, as if everyone else in the room was in black-and-white.

In the days after the party, and all the eyebrow-raising revelations of who said what and who did what, there's a palpable sense of contentment that I will never have to worry about Joe wanting to knock me down a peg. Ovid wrote: "If thou wouldst marry wisely, marry thy equal." It's all about values and similar beliefs about what makes up kindness. Does this person have my back? With 100% certainty, I can say Yes.

Wednesday, November 07, 2007

Check this site out!

This one just came to me through my affiliation with Ladies Who Launch, and what a find it is! Filled with great ideas for green living and healthy lifestyle, Vital Juice Daily is going to keep you nice and balanced throughout the wedding planning months and afterward! Sign on for their newsletter, and check out their Dictionary -- my favorite entry: 'fauxbia.'

Sharon's Top 5 Quotable Authors

When you're getting ready to write your vows and your toasts, you may want some great quotes to express how you feel, using the words of iconic authors and philosophers. In my books Your Special Wedding Vows and Your Special Wedding Toasts, I've provided hundreds of my favorite romantic quotes that really capture the essence of what love is all about. And I recommend these quotes as great 'starters' for inspiration as you write your own words for the wedding.

My top 5 quotable authors are:

1. Dr. Maya Angelou: "Only equals can be friends" and too many other gems to mention.

2. Anne Morrow Lindbergh: Make it a point to read her book 'Gift From the Sea'

3. Elizabeth Barrett Browning

4. Marianne Williamson

5. William Shakespeare

I also love Rumi, Lao Tzu, Thoreau, Emerson...and here's a great way to bring your family history into your wedding: quote a relative. Maybe your grandmother had sage advice about marriage from her 52 years with her husband. Maybe a parent always says, 'To thine own self be true.' The iconic quotes don't have to be from a PhD. or The Bard.

Here's where you can find my books:, and also see the Love Quote of the day, which is new every day. Today's quote is "Love is a great beautifier," by Louisa May visit often for even more terrific love quotes.

Monday, November 05, 2007

Best party EVER!

Joe and I really know how to throw a party. It helps to have some know-how from being in the celebrations industry myself, but the soiree was even more fantastic because Joe was so involved with all the decisions, choosing the menu, keeping things running smoothly, circulating between the natural groups of guests, and he made an amazing Planter's Punch that everyone loved. It was one of those very important personal touches to the day.

Now just in case you think nothing goes wrong at a wedding expert's pre-wedding party, here's a little inside scoop. The caterer wasn't open yesterday, so we picked up the trays on Saturday with detailed instructions for re-heating. First batch went into the oven, and as I wrapped the mini hot dogs in dough, I looked up and there was about a foot of smoke covering the kitchen ceiling. Drips on the bottom of the oven were burning off. An hour before guests would arrive, and we had about 15 more trays that had to go into the oven. So all windows were open, all doors, and we just kept going with the heating up! I can look back and laugh about it now, but it was quite the shocker. A short while later, with the drips burned off, we were back in business and the entire catering menu was a were the dishes that some of our close friends and family so generously brought to add extra special meaning to our day.

It meant the world to us that we had our friends and family gathered together, and especially to see my parents feeling well and laughing with their loved ones. We haven't had a big celebration in my parent's place since before the cancer years, so this was a monumentally important day for all of us. What matters most is always the people you have around you. We're blessed beyond belief.

Thursday, November 01, 2007

What's your dream honeymoon destination?

I just received this from Honeymooner's Review Guide ( and thought I'd share their survey results with you...the site has user reviews of honeymoon locales and resorts, so it would be a good addition to your research as you consider where YOU want to go for the vacation of a lifetime....

Honeymooner's Review Guide just completed a poll for couples in the process of planning their honeymoons and expressing where they would "like" to go for their honeymoon. The Fiji islands were the top choice for the dream honeymoon destination with 19% of the votes. It squeezed out the Hawaiian Islands with 18% and French Polynesia with 15%.

Michelle McKenzie, Vice-President of Honeymooner's Review Guide, noted that, "This poll does not necessarily indicate where they ended up going for their honeymoon, but where they would prefer to go. Often budgetary issues limit the final destination of honeymoon couples. Actually, the Hawaiian Islands are the number one final destination of those who complete our post-honeymoon survey."

The results of their latest poll are revealed here from highest to lowest as follows:
Top Honeymoon "Dream" Destinations

Fiji....................................................................... 19%Hawaii...................................................................18%
French Polynesia...................................................15%Europe..................................................................15%Thailand................................................................11%
Jamaica................................................................ 9%

So why are these honeymoon destinations so alluring? Fiji has 330 islands, some with private resorts and others totally deserted. When imagining a place with white sandy beaches, palm trees, beautiful coral reefs and seclusion, Fiji fits the profile perfectly. Along with this ambiance comes some of the best island hospitality. The Fijian people are always friendly, saying "Bula" (hello) at every turn, going out of their way to make you feel welcome and comfortable.

A honeymoon in Hawaii offers dramatic coastlines; volcanoes; lush, green forests; native Hawaiian culture; tropical breezes; white sand beaches; picture perfect sunsets and spectacular resorts. This is the magic that keeps bringing honeymooners to the Hawaiian Islands. Not only are the Hawaiian Islands a tropical paradise, but each is unique in its own beauty. Hawaii honeymoon destinations offer everything couples could want for the perfect tropical honeymoon.

French Polynesia is engraved in our minds with the exotic over-the-water bungalows that are a dream to most couples. Tahiti is the main island in French Polynesia, but the most popular islands to visit include Bora Bora and Moorea. For the best in luxury and exotic accommodations, French Polynesia is a top pick.

Top Honeymoon Resorts for these and other destinations are available on the website.

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Getting ready for the party

In the swirl of activities surrounding any pre-wedding party, make sure the focus stays on the meaning of the event....plan a toast to your partner and offer a wishing-well book or bowl where guests can write their congratulations to you. You'll flip through this happy-notes book often as the hectic planning months come at you, when you get cranky, when the plans become all Too Much. Those frustrations are fleeting when you take a look at the one you love, and all the rest falls away. It becomes about the two of you again.

Monday, October 29, 2007

The best room in the Dream House

On Saturday, I appeared at the Conde Nast Dream House along with master cake designer Sylvia Weinstock, author of "Buff Brides" Sue Fleming ( and a number of other top wedding experts to mix and mingle in the elegantly-appointed Conde Nast Dream House on West 73rd in NYC. Despite the rainy day, we had a fantastic turnout of brides and grooms, all interested in hearing about the new trends in favors from Kate Aspen. My room had the outdoor terrace, so there was a wonderful breeze -- party in Sharon's room! Among the most wonderful moments: talking with the gorgeous, willowy models about how they created their updo's, hanging out with Sylvia Weinstock and flipping through Preston Bailey's design book as Sylvia pointed out her cake masterpieces in the photo features (Sylvia has a new book coming out soon, so keep an eye out for that one!), trying chef Marc Alvarez's shrimp, couscous and pomegranate bites, and of course the Godiva room. It is possible to make a lunch out of truffles and strawberries. Cocoa is good for you, right? ;)

After the event, it was all about dressing up for a Halloween party at a local pub, and long story short...we were the only ones to show up in costume! So we turned around and headed home to watch A Haunting on TV. Perhaps we'll pull out the Halloween costumes for a party in town on Wednesday. With our couples shower coming up this weekend, there's lots to do. The menu? Oldschool Italian with sausage peppers and onions, tortellini marinara, Chicken Savoy, green salad, Sicilian pizza, antipasto, mini meatballs, and of course pigs in a blanket (gotta have that!) with an array of desserts. This is the first time my college friends and bridesmaids will all be together since we were *at* college in 1991. I couldn't be more excited to share this important celebration with our families, with friends, and with my Joe. Who, rather than enjoy a relaxing evening last night, donned his painting clothes and did the ceiling to perfection. This is a relationship of true caring and generosity of time. I can't wait for my friends to meet him....

Friday, October 26, 2007

Set a great table for fall wedding events!

For ANY wedding event where guests will be seated at tables (engagement parties, showers, rehearsal dinners, the wedding reception), pay attention to the little details for an impressive tabletop! My shipment of fall leaf placecard holders just arrived, and now I'm *really* excited for our fall bridal shower and Thanksgiving! Click on the link below to see what these gems cost us [they're in the Fall Favors section], and shop for your own adorable placecard holders and tabletop accents!

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Don't miss the Dream House!

Join me on Saturday the 27th from noon to 4pm at the Conde Nast Dream House!

For the complete schedule of events, click here:

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Come shop with me!

I'm thrilled to announce that my Kate Aspen favors shop is open for business! While the Kate Aspen team and I continue to work on my line of personality favors and packaging, you can shop to your heart's content at Joe and I have chosen our own wedding favors from Kate Aspen, and we think you'll agree that this is an amazing source for all your party favors. Here are just a few selections that I adore:

A percentage of sales through my Kate Aspen Shops site will be donated to the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society.

Inside the Conde Nast Dream House

One word: Wow.

Last night, Joe and I attended the launch party of the Conde Nast Dream House in New York City, and it was absolutely gorgeous. We pulled up in the limo, stepped out onto the red carpet, had our photos taken, and - after I almost fell down the stairs when my heel caught in the carpet [yeah, I can make an entrance!] - we toured the chic rooms of the townhouse. I'll be on the third floor on the 27th, so I scouted my future setting, then visited with Sarah Ryan in the beauty center where they were giving manicures to guests. It was almost a sensory overload, with so many gorgeous rooms to see, all of the sparkling details, and many displays of Kate Aspen favors everywhere. On the stairwell, I ran into editor-in-chief Millie Martini Bratten for a quick hello, and then bumped into Amy Cress, the head of the I Do Foundation (, the top charitable registry out there.

If you're in the area, be sure to get your tickets to attend any of the events at the Dream House: It's definitely something to experience first-hand!

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

What do you know about diamonds?

The GIA has launched its new website, so take a look to educate yourself on the ins and outs of diamond grading and selection: The more you know, the better your chance of finding that perfect diamond for your engagement ring or wedding bands....and for any wedding day jewelry gifts you might wish to exchange.

Monday, October 15, 2007

Best weekend ever

Have I mentioned that I'm marrying *the* most romantic and thoughtful man in the world?

Joe planned the perfect fall weekend getaway for overnight in New Hope, Pennsylvania where we stayed at a haunted hotel (and heard the ghosts in the middle of the night!), lunched at a fabulous eatery where we had spiked hot cider and cheese fondue, visited tons of great little shops, took a ferry cruise to see the wildlife (swans and herons were there, peregrine falcons had been spotted earlier in the day), did some Christmas shopping, shared ice cream cones on the avenue, then had a five-star gourmet dinner in an amazing restaurant that used to be a church at one time. I flip over the warm bread/soft butter combination, and add in butter-soft filet and the smoothest Cabernet ever...that's fine living! Better yet was the chance to walk hand-in-hand with my Joe, and have his strong arm hold me up as I teetered on my heels while walking on brick sidewalks. It doesn't get better than that!

I write often about the need for a pre-honeymoon, to just get away from it all -- all the work stress, home stress and wedding stress. Just hop in the car and get out of town. And this was the perfect pre-honeymoon. I said in the car, "I feel satisfied all the way down to my bones." That's the sign of a great pre-honeymoon

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Tuesday with Martha

Tune in to Martha Stewart Sirius Satellite Radio at 7am on Tuesday morning to listen to my segment on defining your bridal style. Here's a bit about the show:

Martha Stewart’s Morning Living with Kim Fernandez & Betsy KaretnickMonday - Friday 7 am - 11 am ET (LIVE)Description: Sharing the Good Things everyday on “Morning Living” on Martha Stewart Living Radio. “Morning Living” with Kim Fernandez kicks off Martha Stewart Living Radio programming each and every weekday morning, with the nation's most noted chefs, lively celebrity interviews and top-notch expert advice on living well. There's no better way to start your day!Recent Guests: Cynthia Rowley, Kate Spade, Chef Mario Batali, Chef Lidia Bastianich, Chef Paul Prudhomme, Chef Zarela Martinez, Barbara Kafka (James Beard Lifetime Achievement Award 2007,) Master Chef Andre Soltner, Michael Lomonaco, Patricia Volk, Barbara Damrosch, Eliot Coleman, Graham Rice, Preston Bailey, and Jane Seymour.

AIR DATE/TIME 7:15amEST on Tues, Oct 16th

Monday, October 08, 2007

The Sears Wishbook

When you were a kid, did you ever sit down with the massive Sears Wishbook in the fall, circling all the things you wanted for Christmas or Hanukkah? That and the back-to-school issue of Teen magazine were THE big things to get in the mail back then, and it made such an impact that I remember how the Sears Wishbook smelled. My parents must have laughed to see what my sister, brother and I considered 'must-haves,' just as I'm laughing now over the products they're marketing to kids. A toy Kenmore mixer I can understand, but a coffeemaker with real drip-stop capability? For 4 year olds? I'm thinking back to my own little toy kitchen, with the fake bananas and the little cereal boxes, the mini steaks and plastic lettuce and tomato slices. Now kids have parmigiana reggiano and EVOO bottles in their play kitchens. This cracks me up...

Now, my evening of flipping though catalogs has me checking off blankets and holiday decor items like little LED lights for each window of the house....hmmm....I may suggest to Joe that we each get the other a toy for Christmas...there's some fun stuff out there.

Speaking of fun stuff, some random items popped up on our bridal registry. We didn't sign up for them, and no one has our password, so I have some calls to make today.

Thursday, October 04, 2007

Staying on schedule

Planning a wedding is a LOT of work. From many, many meetings with vendors to doing everything at the right time, it's a lot to keep track of. I'm often asked how Joe and I are staying on track with our wedding plans, and we're using my own book! (I couldn't have imagined when I wrote it that I'd be using it someday!) We're checking off things in The Busy Bride's Essential Wedding Checklists, and we're right on target. Mostly. Some things do have obstacles in front of them, but this is keeping things from slipping through the cracks, giving us the important reminders that we have to tackle this task or that task, and most importantly -- giving us the peace of mind in knowing that we're doing everything at the right time. There won't be last-minute scrambles or late fees or extra stress. We're on it.

The best part? We can look back over the first five months of planning checklists and see that we've already accomplished so much! It's a great feeling to know we're on top of things, and that what's left on the list isn't so overwhelming. As we work on our house and work our hectic jobs, it's good to know that we have a handle on the wedding plans. October opens up a new section of to-do's, most of which we've already done or talked about, so we're in great shape.

Next task on our list: sit down with the caterer to share the list of menu items that we've picked out, and show him our wedding cake design. And then it's on to writing our vows...

Tuesday, October 02, 2007

The Conde Nast Dream House

Don't miss your chance to hang out in a chic Manhattan townhouse with Sylvia Weinstock, David Tutera, Sasha Souza, and...wait, who is that on the list? Appearing on Saturday the 27th at the same time as Sylvia Weinstock, from noon to 4pm? That would be me. :)

Come visit me on the 3rd floor to hear me talk about defining your reception style and choosing the perfect wedding favors: And be sure to check out the calendar of events to see who else will be speaking and mingling at the various seminars and cocktail parties. It's a monthlong event, so there's plenty to see and do!

The Top 5 Conversations to Have Before You Get Married

Hopefully, you're having lots of conversations about the wedding plans! But right now, I want to get you thinking about something bigger than the wedding. The Marriage. In all of my wedding books and articles and during my TV interviews, I emphasize that it's all about the marriage, not just the wedding. You're building a life together, so set down the best foundation for it by taking some time to share your deepest values and beliefs about the following:

1. How you'll spend holidays. It's only fair to spend even time with both families, so figure out how you'll divide your time, or if it works best for you to host the holidays at your place this year, your siblings' place the next year, etc. It's of the utmost importance to the health of your marriage that you have a solid plan and realistic expectations about sharing important time with both of your families equally. Talk about what you both expect of the other and how you'd like it all to go.

2. How you'll handle money. Do you want to keep your separate accounts, and then get a joint account to share? How important is it to you that you have an emergency fund, and how much do you want in it? What are your wishes about investing any cash wedding gifts? You both have to be on the same page on this topic, because it's a big one...a leading cause of arguments. But you can neutralize it by chatting on this topic now, and putting that Compromise tool to work.

3. Where you want to live. Stay in the apartment, or buy a house after the wedding? Who needs to be closest to their job? Do you love the city, or do you want the suburbs? Even if you're years away from relocating, now is the time to really understand what your future spouse envisions for the future.

4. How you'll have each other's backs. In times of conflict with others, how would you like your partner to support you? Some of us just need to be heard and not hear suggestions on how to solve the issue. Some of us want to joke about the problem, while that's the last thing others want in a time of conflict. So talk it out now..."how can I best support you when you need me?"

5. Who handles the housework? "I'll take the dishes and the laundry." "I'll take care of the lawn and the dusting." "We'll alternate with the food shopping." Since you both have jobs, your second job of maintaining a home together is one that's equally important to both of you, so custom-create your responsibilities list, so that no one is fuming that all of the housework falls on them. It's a silly fight, one that can be so easily prevented. Just make sure to agree on a flexibility program...if one of you is jammed with work or studying for exams, the other will pick up the slack and handle the laundry, etc.

Talking it out now can prevent problems later. So schedule a few chat sessions over a relaxing dinner and really have your whole focus on each discussion. And don't plan a marathon future-planning-session where you talk about all of this at once. Break it into easier chunks of time, and call it an investment in your future happiness.

Monday, October 01, 2007

The Office fights back

We've had about enough of the home improvement challenges posed by our home office. Yes, when you undertake a renovation project, you have to expect problems and delays, but every time we think we're set to start painting as the final step before we can 'move in' (and I can stop working on our bedroom end table via laptop), some little snafu stops us in our tracks. This time, it's a few of the electrical outlets being ungrounded. So we pause again until the electrician can get out here for a 1-2-3 grounding job. Not a monumental delay, but still enough to frustrate.

We are MILES from where we started...the room used to be dark wood paneled with orange shag carpet, with weird locks and alarm strips on all the windows. It looked like a VFW hall rigged as a maximum security prison. Not the style we had in mind. Now, it has beautiful cherry birch hardwood floors, gorgeous mouldings around all the doors, fresh sheetrock that's just waiting for its coats of Caribbean Blue paint...Joe put it perfectly when he said 'the worst room in the house is going to be the best room in the house.' In just a short while...

Now for those of you who have written me about our wedding plans, I have no updates for you right now. We're all about the office. But thanks for your messages of excitement, your questions and your wishes for a beautiful wedding. I'm marrying the best guy on earth. That's all I care about...well, that and getting an electrician out here today ;)

Sunday, September 30, 2007

It's a small world, isn't it?

This morning, my Google Alerts showed me an article in which I *appeared* to be quoted about a wedding between two dogs in Delaware. They even have a prenuptial agreement (and no, the reporter refrained from calling it a 'pre-PUPtial agreement'). Now what's really wild is that one of the owners is named 'Sharon Naylor,' listed as part of Mr. and Mrs. Craig Naylor. Which is not me. And in further coincidence, I went to college in Delaware. And I am a wedding expert. But this is not my dog's story. I'm just mentioning it to you here as an example of how Google Alerts can be a great thing for you. Here's how:

1. For your wedding research, Google Alerts will search out and report any designer trunk sales or shows that have been planned at the last minute. You'll get news on your caterer or your banquet hall, your honeymoon locale, even the tulip crop in the Netherlands ("the tulip crop has frozen! Tulips won't be available for weeks!", etc). Since so much of wedding preparation is research, Google Alerts can be your own little investigative reporter.

2. Google Alert-ing yourself will deliver any articles or blogs in which your name is mentioned. So you could find out about stories in which your company is mentioned, blogs where you're mentioned, or get that fun FYI about people with the same name as you doing whatever they're doing. I already knew about some other Sharon Naylors out there -- a poet, a photographer, a volunteer for medical I know there's a mother of the (dog) groom with the same name that I will have for only a few more months now.

Friday, September 28, 2007

A great question from Amy in Wisconsin

There are some great questions coming out of Wisconsin and Minnesota! Amy in Wisconsin wrote this morning for a solution to her problem: neither she nor her fiance want a wedding cake, so what can they do instead? Here is my answer sent to her:

Hello Amy:

Great question! If you don't want a wedding cake, is there another option of sweet dessert that would work? The symbolism in the cake is 'the sweetness of life together,' so I'm seeing more couples trade in a cake for some other sweet item they prefer taking a gorgeous crystal glass of chocolate mousse that's been piped in a swirl, and taking turns feeding each other a spoonful. Guests are then treated to their own dessert glasses of chocolate mousse -- either dark or white chocolate with raspberry sauce. This can be done with a sorbet or ice cream, gelato, even cultural desserts like a rum mousse. I'm even seeing big chocolate covered strawberries that have been dipped to look like a bride's gown and tuxedo (see these at And health-conscious brides and grooms are feeding each other heart-shaped cuts of cantaloupe.

Anything sweet in your love story, such as the dessert you shared when you got engaged? A family dessert recipe?

If you're not into the sweet stuff, this tradition can be enacted with a beautiful piece of bread to symbolize abundance and fertility with the grain...

Best wishes to you!

Sharon Naylor

If you have a question you'd like answered by me -- and it IS me answering these questions, not a team of interns sitting at a long table listening to iPods -- just contact me directly through my site, or come to my iVillage message board if you have an Etiquette issue to solve.

Thursday, September 27, 2007

Recent brides -- Donate your dress for a great cause!

Got a wedding gown? You can be on TV!
Good Morning America and Brides magazine are looking for women willing to donate their wedding gowns to help a good cause–the Making Memories Breast Cancer Foundation, which resells the dresses to new brides, all proceeds going to women with breast cancer. Bring your dress to Times Square on October 4th, and enjoy a fashion show while you’re there! E-mail

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

It's launch day for "What's Your Bridal Style?"

It's been almost two years in the making, and today is finally the launch day for "What's Your Bridal Style?" -- the NEW FIRST STEP IN WEDDING PLANNING.

You can't communicate what you want to all of your vendors unless *you* know what your style is, and since it's so easy to get overwhelmed by all the gorgeous photos of cakes and flowers and gowns out there, you could get swept into spending more or having your plans get out of control.

So use this book together to answer questions about your style -- what's in your closet? What's your favorite pair of shoes? -- and you'll be all set!

For more details, to order your copy, and to get a sneak peek at the Introduction of the book, click here:

If you'd like me to autograph a copy of this book for you or as a gift for someone else, just visit me at and put Signed Book in the subject line of your e-mail.

Sunday, September 23, 2007

The Top 5 New Trends in Bridal Showers

1. Going co-ed. Why should the men miss out on all the fun?
2. No wrapped gifts. That endless gift-unwrapping session that embarrassed even the bride has gone out the window. Now, guests are being asked to bring an unwrapped gift with just a bow on it, for a Display Shower where all the gifts are set out for display and the bride and groom just walk down the line and comment on how much they love each item. Whoever thought this up was BRILLIANT!
3. No games. So put the clothespins away. Everyone just wants to mingle and eat the great food without enforced fun.
4. A guest book or guest advice cards where everyone leaves a message or advice for the bride and groom. Great keepsakes.
5. A very fun theme, to make it different from every other dinner party, get creative with the decor and menu, and theme out the drinks and favors. Lots of creativity going on in matching the theme to the couple's personalities.

Thursday, September 20, 2007

Stamps to match your invitations! Brilliant! has been a spotlight vendor on my website in the past, and now they've come up with another wonderful innovation that you're going to LOVE -- postage stamps that *match* your invitation design. Check it out here:

Monday, September 17, 2007

The Moms meet

Joe and I had the wonderful opportunity to have our mothers meet for the first time *at* the initial planning session with our wedding florist. We looked at lots of possibilities for the decor and the personal flowers, and Kathy our florist did an amazing job of guiding us through all the possibilities. I'm always aware of how overwhelming these tasks can be for those who are not in the wedding industry, and when I started getting overwhelmed myself with the sheer number of choices, it reminded me of how important it is for any bride to break these tasks down into smaller steps. We didn't plan everything in one shot. We left a few decisions open, so that we could discuss them further on our own time. If you feel things spinning, slow it down. Push the topic of ceremony decor aside and focus on the boutonnieres. Something smaller. To get that Done feeling, to gain some ground. And if you'll bring your moms along as we did, know that they're just listening for now, inspiration will hit them later, and they need to know that it's okay for them to say, "Hey, I think I'd rather have pink flowers in my corsage rather than white ones." They need to know that you'll allow them to change their minds. That makes for a happier planning experience even past the planning session. Now, this doesn't mean the moms can overrule what you want...ours would never do that, but there are all kinds of moms out there! If you're getting too much frivolous interference, you have the right to close the issue and say the ceremony decor *will* include daisies, even if that's not your favorite flower. It's a delicate dance, but this is where the fun, bonding stuff comes into play. And it's a tremendous gift for you to include the parents in their favorite areas when you can. Years from now, we'll all have the great memories from that day. That's the good stuff in wedding planning.

Friday, September 14, 2007

Be "The Peaceful Bride" at my iVillage Weddings Blog

I'm so happy to announce the launch of my new blog at iVillage Weddings:

Since so many brides and grooms face enormous wedding stress, I'm blogging about all the ways you can restore your balance, re-gain your perspective, and deal with all the people around you as the wedding increases everyone's emotions (and suggestions!)

We came up with this one in tandem with my upcoming book The Bride's Diplomacy Guide, and I also have a Wedding Bliss Trips e-book and MP3s at my site for guided meditations and additional solutions. So check them out at my site, and hook yourself up with a great plan to keep wedding stress at bay.

Monday, September 10, 2007

The Top 5 Toasts to be Made at A Wedding

Get your copies here:

Here are the top 5 Toasts, in traditional order:

1. The Best Man's Toast is still the first toast of the event -- if you have more than one Best Man, they both/all get to speak briefly
2. The Maid/Matron of Honor's toast -- again, if you have more than one, each gets the microphone for a brief toast
3. The bride and groom take the mic to thank their parents and guests for sharing the day with them. This can be done after the first or second course so that there's not a long procession of toasts at the start of the event.
4. The parents make a toast to the bride and groom, again later in the event (some parents opt to make this toast at the rehearsal dinner instead of during the wedding itself, since they don't want to appear as 'wanting a spotlight' on the couple's day).
5. The groom makes a toast to his bride ("Isn't she beautiful?" or "Thank you for saying Yes") and the bride may also propose a toast to her groom now. This one is proposed late in the event, often right before or after the cake-cutting.

[And an extra one...brides and grooms who have kids or are blending their families often like to propose a toast to their children, and we're also seeing older kids and teens proposing toasts to their parents]
[We're also seeing more toasts proposed from the bride and groom to the site staff, the chef, the wedding coordinator and other important wedding vendors who *really* did an amazing job helping to create a gorgeous wedding.]

Friday, September 07, 2007

Joe and I work on our wedding website

The wedding is quickly approaching! So Joe and I sat down this week to finalize our guest lists, collect up those addresses, pick out our hors d'oeuvres and stations, and complete our wedding website text before we send it out to everyone on our list. We had a *blast* writing up the wording on this one, so I can only imagine how much fun it's going to be to write up our wedding vows together. [There are three key words I'm expecting him to suggest, so let's see if I'm correct. I'm sealing them in an envelope right now.]

Party-planning is on our minds, and we've been tapped to lead the planning for our town's Halloween party, since last year's bash was --and I quote the president of the town association -- 'legendary.' Yes, we really knocked it out of the park last year, so it's going to be a tough act to follow. But we do have a top-notch couples' costume picked's Top Secret right now, but I'll share details soon. If we have to miss Sasha Souza's legendary west coast Halloween bash, I'm glad we're doing our east coast extravaganza.

Have a great weekend, everyone!

The Top 5 Things to Put in Guest Welcome Gift Baskets

1. Bottles of water. That's the #1 thing guests want -- and look at the new, fun shapes of water bottles for kids. Most guests say they prefer water over bottles of wine or soft drinks.
2. Snacks and sweets, such as Reese's peanut butter cups, Oreos, Kit Kats, the brand-name goodies
3. Gift cards for coffee. A $5 gift card to Dunkin Donuts or Starbucks means that you're buying them their morning coffee (and add a note about where the nearest coffee shop is. Some guests don't like the hotel coffee in the lobby.)
4. A note from you, handwritten if possible. If you have a lot of guest welcome baskets, a computer printout is fine. Just add this personal touch to thank them for traveling all this way, fighting traffic and going to such lengths to be there for your big day. Let them know how much their presence means to you.
5. A fresh copy of the driving directions they'll need, info on the hotel shuttle's departure time on the wedding day, any itinerary details like the location of the cocktail party that night, and the cell phone numbers of people they can call if they have questions or needs (designate a volunteer for guests' phone calls; you'll have too much to do to field questions on where the local Target is). A complete itinerary with all needed details is much-appreciated.

Wednesday, September 05, 2007

The Top 5 Ways to Make Your Engagement Portrait Stand Out

Have you ever looked at the engagement announcements in the newspaper and thought: why are they all in the same pose? True, some newspapers have actual requirements on poses they'll accept for print, and I'm not suggesting that you do something's just that they all look pretty much the same! If you're going to display your engagement portait in your home, why not *coordinate* it with your decor colors or choose a setting that works with your living room or bedroom style, like a beach background or leafy green trees? That's #1, then: build your decor color into the photo's location and background. If you're not sure of your home decor color yet, stick with neutrals in what you wear. You wouldn't want to have on a bright pink shirt and then try to place that in a cool, blue and tan room.
2. Alternate who's in front. You'll get lots of different options in poses from your photographer, so don't be limited by his or her insistence that the groom always stands behind the bride. Why not have him sit, and you drape your arms around him as you lean in over his shoulder. (And by 'him,' I mean your fiance, not the photographer ;)
3. Get a laughing shot. Those forced smiles get quivery after the first dozen or so pictures, so say something to crack up your fiance and let the photographer get you both giggling or in full-out laughter. That could be the perfect shot, and very 'you.'
4. Coordinating shirts? I have a hard time with that one, but it's in the top 5 here because it is so popular as the 'cute couple shot.' Plus, if you're working your home decor color theme, it could be an amazing look.
5. There are better ways to show off the ring than to hold your hand up awkwardly against his chest. He could take your hand and bring it to his lips in the ultimate chivalry shot, with you looking blissful and in-love. See how it feels best to get your hand into the shot. If he hugs you from behind, for instance, you could wrap your arms across yourself onto his arms (it looks better than it sounds -- try it out.)
There you have it...the top 5. For your additional shots, be playful...hop onto his back, have the photog snap a few shots of the two of you lying back in the grass, get your dog into the photo, and invite your families to the session so that you can get some great *family* portraits for one sitting fee. There's so much you can do to show your personalities, your playfulness and the things you value most.

Tuesday, September 04, 2007

The Top 5 Things To Do At a Bridal Show

Welcome to my new "Sharon Naylor's Top 5" list! You'll see my additional top 5 lists at in the Weddings section, but my blog here will offer original content just for loyal visitors. And every once in a while, I'm going to throw in a FREE BOOK for the first person to write -- so keep an eye out for those announcements. Your Top 5 things to do at a bridal show are:

1. Sign up for each vendor's mailing list, for great giveaways and contests. (We just won $250 off our honeymoon by signing on to a travel agent's list, so it really does work!) I suggest that you set up a separate, free e-mail account for your wedding sign-ups, since you're going to get a LOT of e-mails from wedding world. It's always best to have them all in one place and not crowding your personal e-mail accounts.
2. Bring pre-printed labels with your name, address, phone number and website, so that you can just walk around with a sheet of stickers to affix to each mailing list. Saves you time and prevents hand-cramping.
3. Talk to the vendors on display about the samples they're showing...what kinds of flowers are those in the pictures? What's the name of this song? A bridal expo is a great place to get new details and ideas, even if you don't hire that particular pro.
4. Participate in audience games...yes, it may be cheesy to get up there and do a line dance, but audience members who participate in the show often get a prize for doing so. At a recent bridal expo I attended, participants received tickets to a TV show taping. At another, participants got coupons for free wedding-day hair and makeup. Not bad for 5 minutes of line-dancing!
5. Talk to other brides and grooms. Especially if you don't have a lot of your details set, others may have done some terrific research and can tell you about that fabulous estate home garden their coordinator found for them, or a fantastic custom wedding favor artisan, etc.

Thursday, August 30, 2007

Hello Minnesota and Colorado!

I'm so thrilled to 'move' into the great states of Minnesota and Colorado! Visit me here at my newest column:, and thank you Jodi for the lovely invitation to answer real couples' questions on your terrific site. Congratulations on your launch!

And I invite *you* to submit your ideas for my Top 5 columns coming next week. You can reach me through my website

Have a great holiday weekend, everyone!

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

The Today Show: Wedding Rings

The Today Show Throws a Martha Stewart Wedding has just announced their spotlight rings, and one set is a Hearts on Fire duo. On my website,, you'll see that I'm spotlighting Hearts on Fire as my vendor of the summer, since they're the designer of my own engagement ring. Cast your vote at Of course, with all the excitement over the big ring unveiling, I'm starting to search around for my own wedding band. I'm thinking of going simpler with a thin band of white gold, no need for pave or channel-set diamonds. The sparkler Joe chose for my engagement ring is all the brilliance I need.

We're in the final countdown now before my new blog launches at -- I'll be advising brides, grooms and their families on how to keep the peace within their planning circle. My blog is tied in with my upcoming book The Bride's Diplomacy Guide, giving you the exact wording you'll need to clear up any simmering conflicts. If you have all-out warfare going on, as sadly happens with some weddings, I'll give you the top tips for removing yourself from the fray and getting your wedding bliss back. We launch on 9/4, so visit me there and submit your comments and questions.

After the upcoming holiday weekend, I'm adding a new feature to my blog here, which will continue even with the iVillage harmony blog. It's Sharon's Top 5 list, which will share the top 5 in different categories such as favor trends, bridesmaid gifts, registry items, honeymoon essentials, and more. So check back for Top 5 lists to share with everyone in your (hopefully harmonious) wedding planning circle...

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Word from Alaska

I've received letters and questions from all over the world -- as far as Thailand and Australia, New Zealand, India, and Colombia. Last night, I received a letter from someone in Alaska, and that gave me such a thrill! It made me think about how my brother ran a marathon to raise money for the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society through Team in Training ( -- with the marathon in Alaska, we heard all about the whales, bald eagles, and the warning that you *might* get a polar bear on the running path. That would certainly shave a few minutes off of my running time ;)

Having just seen the Jane Goodall special 'Return to Gombe,' I'm amazed at the behavior of wild animals, the Alpha competitions and brutality in one minute and the tenderness of a mother with her twin babies in the next minute. This too brought me back to the summer when my friend Jen hosted me at a lecture given by Jane Goodall...I wish I could go back to that moment again.

As you plan your wedding, think about the eye-opening experiences offered by the place where you'll go for your honeymoon. Don't just think about hammocks by the beach and meal plans. What can you pre-learn about the culture? What tastes and sounds will open you to the world out there? A honeymoon is meant to be an escape after the wedding plans, but it can also be an escape from the same-old routine of your life. I hear stories of couples who checked their e-mail, texted their friends, lived on pizza and beer even in the most exotic locations. That's fine if that's your thing, but to avoid any sense of 'I wish I could go back,' try to devote a % of your honeymoon to All Things New and Different. It could be just one day. So many couples say they have a divide between them -- one wants to do all adventurous things and the other wants to just lie down on the beach and chill out. The best honeymoons are 50-50. You'll need a good amount of downtime the first few days, even if you think you have everything under control now. The people *around* you will ratchet up the stress level for the wedding, and any number of small adjustments can pop that last straw onto your back. So give yourselves day #1 and day #2 of your honeymoon to just unwind, keep your schedule as flexible as possible, and give yourselves the gift of some new adventures and the absorption of another culture and mindset. Over 20 years later and I still feel a deep relaxation from the vibe in Bermuda. I can still taste the poi from Hawaii, even though I thought it was disgusting at the time. I can still see the heads on the shrimp in Martinique, and taste the tiny little squares of cheese from a tasting menu. How much I would have missed without these great adventures.

Joe and I booked our honeymoon this weekend, and when the time comes, I'm sure we'll mix up our combined need to Chill with our need for culture and adventure. The world comes together in resort locations, so talk to your fellow honeymooners to absorb even more of a worldly infusion. You never know who you're going to meet, and what will cross your path...

Friday, August 24, 2007

Get away from your wedding!

Want to get away from all that wedding stress? Take a Bliss Trip instead! You're going to LOVE the MP3 and the e-book we've put together for you...Kerstin leads you on guided meditations (her voice is *so* calming), and I offer rescuing insights on the top common wedding stressors, all to take you away from Wedding World for a few minutes a day, melting all that tension away.
You'll be a happier bride with a much better perspective on your Big Day.
Start your own Bliss Trip here: You'll be glad you did.

Our invitations are in!!

They say the *best* day of wedding planning is when your invitations arrive in the mail, newly-minted, still smelling of fresh ink, the first real and tangible part of the wedding day. Linda at gave me the heads-up that ours would arrive on a certain day, and given that it was a *rainy* day, I spent entirely too much time looking out the front and back windows. No soggy mess of paper pulp with a trail of green ink running down the driveway!!

The FedEx truck sound came from out back, and I actually ran for the door. The box was wet. Oh no...

I had originally planned to wait for Joe before opening the box for the first time, but I couldn't let it sit there wet. If I had to hold a hairdryer over all 175 invitations that afternoon, I was going to do it. They were unscathed, and beautiful. Joe's suggested Willa Cather quote is featured at the top of the card, and it's absolutely perfect. So now they'll sit in a dry box in a safe place while we enjoy the matching, monogrammed informal thank you notes we chose for all of our engagement and housewarming gift TYs. It makes me smile to pass that box...

As I tear myself away from wedding dreaminess, I'm back on my article assignments for the week, and blissfully back to pitching my newest lineup of home remodeling and decor articles to Blueprint, Martha Stewart Living, Woman's Day and others. It sharpens the senses to delve into other categories, as I'm finding out now while trying my hand at a new fiction genre. It's always good to be a beginner at something related to your field...the learning curve is so inviting...

Monday, August 20, 2007

"If all you say is Thank You, that's enough"

That's one of my favorite quotes. Gratitude plays a big part in the best of weddings, and here's an article on how to find additional ways to say thanks:

Visit my site for more on my book The Bride and Groom Thank-You Guide, and get ready to write out terrific TY's throughout your entire engagement and wedding season.

Thursday, August 16, 2007

An all-black butterfly

Yesterday, I saw a big, black butterfly with two little red dots on the tips of its wings, and I stopped in my tracks. Butterflies are an important symbol in my family -- my grandmother and her 6 sisters formed The Butterfly Club while the 4 brothers were off fighting in World War II. I've seen lots of monarchs around here, which I love, but seeing that all-black one. I just got an icky feeling. Something has happened to someone....

Today, we got the news that the last of the four brothers passed away peacefully in the hospital in Florida. Uncle Frankie was sitting on the side of his bed, then just reclined and passed on. From the original 11 siblings, we only have two still with us. I like to think that Uncle Frankie was welcomed by his brothers and sisters and that they're all sitting around a big table eating my grandmother's meatballs and braccioli, the wine is flowing, and they're all very happy to have Frankie with them again. Some very cool things about Uncle Frankie: he made the newspapers at age 80 for chasing down a pickpocket and getting his wallet back. He played softball in a league well into his 80s. During a family visit, he lifted my brother up to pick an orange from his orange tree in the backyard. Considering that Steve was 25 at the time...just kidding! Steve was about 4, I think. Uncle Frankie was part of The Greatest Generation, those who thought of others before themselves, and he loved my grandmother dearly...called her 'my Rosie.' Such a close and loving, protective family with kind, kind souls. They never had much materially, but they were rich beyond measure. Rest in peace, Uncle Frankie. And enjoy those meatballs...

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Today Show Throws a Martha Stewart Wedding

This morning, Joe and I watched the Today Show's presentation of the four competing couples, each vying for the dream wedding. As much as I enjoyed their presentations, I couldn't help being like every other bride out there, wondering what *we* would do for the talent portion of the competition. Stand-up comedy? Joe's a master with that, and I can crack him up once in a while. This reminds me of the first time I really made Joe laugh...on one of our very first dates, he was driving me home, and I totally forgot about being demure and polite on the date. I was just so comfortable with him that I tagged on a sarcastic 'genius' at the end of a sentence, and I can still see it like it was yesterday. His head snapped toward me, and in that moment where everything goes into slow motion, you think you've totally blown the date, and you're wishing for a time machine to go back and say something different, he laughed and said how much he loved that. [And it just took me a long time to type that out, since it still cracks me up].

Ah, sweet memories of the early days...the now days are even sweeter. Even when he's wiped out from work, Joe still indulges my spontaneous moments of wedding talk -- he inspired the idea for one color theme for the ceremony, and another color theme for the reception. Genius! In a non-sarcastic way. So we will have blue and green for the ceremony, and orange, yellow and green for the reception. My bouquet has now gone from white and blush pink to a white and blush blue. So there's my 'Something Blue' as well. Wedding plans tend to bloom in spurts like suggestion pops out other ideas. What matters most is that every facet of our day is coming from US. And even if the colors change in the organic flow of a wedding, it's still going to be our beautiful day.

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Friends first, work second

While searching through past e-mails for a message from a Tv producer, I saw a weeks-old letter from my friend Susan. I had planned on responding, but life swirled me away from it. So I cleared off my desk, and spent the entire afternoon on correspondence with the great people in my life. My friend Katie in Utah. My friends Lindsay, Susan, Kim and Pam. My cousin Terry in North Carolina. My aunt Millie. It just took a few seconds to dash off a quick handwritten note to each, and I feel as if someone poured a fresh energy drink into me. It's the quality of the people you connect with. So as you plan your wedding, take even a few seconds to connect with the people who fill you.

Oh, and great news in my wedding world. Mom found The One. THE dress, the 20th she tried on total -- a bright pink with a great wrap and a flowy tea length skirt. The color is *amazing* on her, and she bought it on the spot. I'm so thrilled that I got to be there, and to see the look on her face when she tried on that one. Some advice to mothers of the bride and groom: shop from the bridesmaid's rack! You *will* find elegant tea length dresses there -- as opposed to the beaded shiny-sparklies they have over in the mom's traditional racks. Yes, you'll see some provocative backless dresses, halters and strapless, but you'll also find these flowing, lovely classic dresses for you to choose from...for way less than you'd expect. Enjoy!

Monday, August 13, 2007

Shooting star

Last night, after an absolutely wonderful weekend, I went outside to see if I could view any shooting stars in a preview of sorts to tonight's meteor showers -- and there it was! One bright streak across the sky. I would have made a wish, but I've had so many come true this week that I couldn't come up with anything in the moment.

Joe and I chose our wedding cake design from a selection of dozens that I printed out off the Internet. We received our wedding invitation proof (gorgeous!). We've made our plans for the curtains in the bedroom, living room and dining room. And while we were at the town pool, shooting down the water slide and being *that* in-love couple in the pool, I was quoted in Bob Morris's column in the New York Times. How fun is that?

It can sometimes seem like you're drowning in details, that there's so much work to be done, so much on the To-Do list, that you almost get blinded to how much you've accomplished. (I wrote a column on this for Positive Thinking Magazine -- So last night as Joe was making dinner, I kicked back and surveyed our progress. We've come a loooong way. It was unsettling a few weeks ago not to know where anything was, but now between the two of us we're finding the dustpan and the FedEx supplies and even my bathing suit. It is getting better, and we are getting there. It's the same with anyone's wedding plans, including ours. That To-Do list can swirl like a vortex and you can lose focus on just how much is done because you're standing in the middle of it. So, and I've posted this before but it bears repeating, write down what you've accomplished, admire your Done list, savor the feeling of satisfaction with even the smallest accomplishment. And all will be well.

Wednesday, August 08, 2007

The DON'T List

One of the most important steps in planning your wedding is writing down what you DON'T want. It's how you clear the way for what you do want, how you communicate to parents and vendors so that they don't get unreal expectations, and -- best of all -- it's how you share with one another what each of you wants for the Big Day.

I've created a section on my website where you'll find free DON'T List worksheets in several different categories. Just print them out, and include them in your bridal binder for filling-in as you move forward through your wedding plans.

Here's the link to take you to my site and the DON'T Lists:

USA Today

My book "Mother of the Groom" has been spotlighted in USA Today! Check out the article here: This appearance led to a call from the New York Times Style section, a possible TV segment on iVillage, a radio interview on GreenStone Media, and of course lots of action with my podcast "Here Come the Moms" on The Wedding Podcast Network ( Of all the people involved in the wedding, it's the mother of the groom who's often wondering what's going on. She knows the old-world rules of the groom's family paying for the rehearsal dinner, but what's all this about her being invited to design the flowers? When did THAT happen? It's a great time for the MoG, since she's often invited into territory that used to be the domain of the bride and her mother. I'm really looking forward to bringing my own MoG to the flower planning session when we get to that step. Everyone gets to share in the fun. Well, almost everyone ;)

Monday, August 06, 2007

Are you gratitude journaling?

It's the only way to keep your balance as you work through the wedding plans and manage your life! So check out my Bride's Gratitude Journal as the perfect way to keep your perspective and have a great keepsake later -- so much of wedding planning gets lost in a kind of post-Big-Day amnesia, so your daily notes will re-reveal to you how generous and supportive your friends were (even if your sister was a brat at the gown shopping trip!). Here's your link:

All about the color

We popped a cork on a bottle of champagne to celebrate the first brush of color to go up on the bedroom walls. It's a gorgeous tan, nice and warm, and coat one looks great already. As if that splash of happiness wasn't enough, we also ordered our wedding invitations -- white with sage green to go with our spring theme -- and Joe suggested a beautiful Willa Cather quote to put at the top of the single panel card. It's beautiful, and Linda at just wrote with a few style tweaks to make it even better. So I'm off to design our reception cards and thank you notes, and then we have this delightful task in the Done column. We're taking our time and savoring every step.

After a weekend of painting with Joe and spending time with my niece and nephew, I got a 10-hour night's sleep, so I'm raring to go today. No more running on fumes. I'm giddy about writing the e-mail a day entries for Pash Weddings, answering my lineup of questions at iVillage Weddings, and checking in with my editors at Martha Stewart Weddings and Elegant Bride about two real-life weddings I'd like to feature for them. Nothing gets done on Fridays during the summer -- the industry screeches to a halt as everyone heads down the shore or to the Hamptons -- so Monday is always non-stop. Which I love. Asian pear iced tea is nice and cold here by my side, so I'm off....

Friday, August 03, 2007

Tasting food for the reception

It was awesome, a class act all the way, and terrific food from start to finish. We not only chose our entrees, but we decided that our ceremony will be outside if the weather serves, and our centerpieces will be low-set. Looking around the room, I saw a lot of bored grooms (wearing flip-flops, no less!), so I am overjoyed that Joe was 100% present and enthusiastic about the tasting. That's every bride's dream.

So when it's time to do your wedding menu, ask about having a tasting with the caterer. It's always better to have personal experience, because the crabcakes that sound great on a printed menu might taste bland in-person. The onion focaccia could be a brick. You never know. So with your food and with your cake, always get plates in front of you.

Tonight, we see The Police in concert, and then it's a weekend of priming and painting. Yes, I've said that every Friday, but we're ready now. My niece and nephew arrive in town this weekend as well, so I'll be skipping out from the paint fumes to take them to the pool, and the annual toy shopping trip has turned into an annual shoe-shopping trip for my niece. They grow up so quickly! It's a great weekend ahead....progress, progress, progress.

Wednesday, August 01, 2007

A new contender for the bridesmaid dress

While scanning the dresses on a website, I found a new possibility for my bridesmaids. It's pretty, has a fabric contrast tier at the hem, and -- best of all -- it's an easy order for each of them. Sounds like a winner to me. But this brings up an important piece of wedding advice: don't make any decisions when you're tired or frustrated or depleted. I'm running on fumes today, so I'm not dropping the gavel on any bridesmaid dress. As soon as the phone guy is done (6 hours and counting), it's time for a bubble bath so that I can try to recharge for my Bloomberg TV taping tomorrow afternoon and then the big reception menu tasting with Joe tomorrow night. It's going to be fabulous to leap out of home renovation world and into wedding world. Just us and a roomful of excited engaged couples all getting platters of gorgeous gourmet foods and desserts placed in front of us, the champagne will be flowing, music playing. It's like a vacation into a beautiful alternate universe. This is the fun stuff, truly once-in-a-lifetime, dreams-come-true level. Very important to erase your 'other world' stuff so that you can enjoy it. I plan to stuff my face. ;) Plenty of time to lose those 5 pounds for the dress.