Monday, February 26, 2007

The annual Mother's Day Tea Party to benefit LLS

As you know, my family has gotten double-barreled by blood cancers in the past few years, and it has become my honor and privilege to help the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society of North Jersey to raise funds for research and patient/family support. I know firsthand how a new drug can take away a patient's suffering, how much the caregiver benefits from knowing that there are lots of people out there helping on every level.

So please do consider participating in the annual Mother's Day Tea party. No need to get out the teapot and teacups, make crumpets or invite friends to tea. It's simply a 'make-believe' tea party that asks you to take a moment on Mother's Day to think about all those Moms who fight the fight...and all the families who support them. Details are here: and please do e-mail me through my website if you would like to receive one of my donation invitations or host your own 'party.'

Thank you so much!

Friday, February 23, 2007

Dressing up your invitation envelopes

The new trend in invitation design is going more traditional and subtle with the invitation itself, and then adding a 'pop' with an unexpected design element. It might be a shiny colored monogram on the response card, bright jewel colors for the reception card, shaped cut-outs...and I love the new envelope liners at These colored and graphic liners slide easily into outer or inner envelopes, seal on securely, and give an added visual when the guest opens the invitation. Check them out as a great way to express your personalities and use the blank canvas of your envelopes as a place to 'paint' your favorite colors.

Today is all about articles....I'm working on a honeymoon registry piece for Resorts and Lodges, a trio of profiles for Bridal Guide, 7 pieces for, and I just pitched InStyle Weddings with a fun new topic I'm very excited about. Something's in the air right now... a kind of stall, or a breather. Seems like everything's on hold, a sort of getting-ready for what's certain to be a big flow of exciting new things. But it's quite amazing how so many of my friends are having the same kind of 'what's going on?' vibe in their worlds as well. Having just watched 'The Secret' as recommended on Oprah, I prefer to think of it as a sense of quiet preceding something good. Think I'll just make some hot chocolate and focus on the articles....

Sunday, February 18, 2007

A wonderful weekend away

Joe has done it again! We've just gotten back from a wonderful weekend getaway to Atlantic City, and I'm walking around here smiling, thinking about how great it was to hop in the car full of excitement, enjoy a great meal at Tun's, then dress up in my little red dress to hit the casino floor. I've discovered I'm a total spaz with Roulette, but I'll chalk some of that up to the fact that we *might* have been sitting next to Clay Aiken. Now, I'm no Clay-mate, giddy with AI fever and spastic with celebrity was more of a distraction: "Hmmmmm...Clay-like guy sitting at a roulette table wearing sunglasses....don't they only do that for poker? And he's wearing full face and neck makeup, has the new brown 'do, seems to be sitting there waiting for people to notice him....hmmmm...." So my functioning at the roulette table was not quite up to speed. I didn't know what 'betting inside' and 'betting outside' meant, since I'm not a big gambler. So I lost and walked away, noticing a few bachelorette parties in the room with women wearing truly baffling printed tee shirts to identify themselves as such. When you're a writer and you're in a big room filled with so many different 'characters' to observe, it's like a goldmine. So I'm sure those tee shirts will show up in a future novel someday...just with different wording. I did enjoy hearing Joe say that such crassness would be a dealbreaker...he shows his fine character and values every minute.

It was a terrific getaway, much-needed for both of us, and I'm so grateful that my guy plans such fun things for us. Oh, and I LOVED seeing the displays of Miss America shoes --- particularly Heather Whitestone's ballet shoes. I remember watching that year when she won and being completely floored by her performance. Brava.

So Clay, if that was you, know that you were in the presence of greatness for those few minutes. And I'm talking about Joe.

Friday, February 16, 2007

SO much fun! Create your wedding maps!

I spent hours checking this one out, and it's a lot of fun for the bride and groom to work on together.

Create terrific maps for your wedding day, or wedding weekend, at I love the little icons, the notes you can write about each location, how ridiculously easy it is to enter each location, the tool that allows you to feature your map on your wedding Web site....this one is a find!

Thursday, February 15, 2007

Iced-in for Valentine's Day

A Nor'easter blew through town, so my wonderful Joe -- knowing that travel would be virtually impossible on Valentine's Day -- surprised me by showing up with a dozen red roses, my favorite chocolate truffles, and an adorable card the night before. I had just finished up with a yoga workout, so I looked a mess when I answered the door. But his is the face I love to see when I open any door...

So we'll do Valentine's Day dinner by the fireplace tonight instead. I'm just trying to decide between the red dress and the black dress. If the heat doesn't kick on in this ol' Victorian house pretty soon, it's going to be thermal pajamas ;) Just kidding...this is the man who offered to WALK through the ice storm to get to me last night, so I'm putting together the ultra romance package, improved edition, just for him.

Until then, it's all about edits to the handbags story, making arrangements for a TV taping on March 15, finally getting to some articles for the beauty site (thanks for your patience, Nathalie!), arranging for the podcast to be recorded at a bridal show in a few weeks, and crossing all fingers and toes for some acquisitions meetings that are taking place this week. Trying to get the plate clear for our weekend getaway.... I read that the national average of vacations that people take is 6 per year. My jaw hit the floor on that one. ;)

Wednesday, February 07, 2007

Finding your venues with a great new Web resource

Wow, this one is amazing... is your one-stop resource for more than 85,000 venues, 292,000 meetings spaces, and 28,000 related services providers throughout the U.S. – making Eventective the largest such resource available on the Internet.
“No other venue resource – including the major travel sites like Expedia, Orbitz, Travelocity, or TripAdvisor – comes close,” said Steve Robertson, Eventective's Chief Technical Officer. “More listings mean more choices and only on Eventective can wedding planners and future brides and grooms be assured of seeing the complete universe of available local sites.”

This site speeds your ability to find, evaluate, and select venues for a bridal shower, rehearsal dinner, wedding and reception. You'll find the following features: Comprehensive search functionality that allows venue search by state, city, venue type, and/or capacity; Detailed profiles of venues, including descriptions of meeting facilities, amenities, and features, plus venue photographs and directions.

You'll get direct emails to query the venue, the tool to save favorite venues and vendors, track and organize multiple events, and invite attendees. You'll also see reviews from users who have used venues or vendors for their events.

“Now, Eventective offers listings that range from traditional hotel and restaurant-based venues to unique and special-interest venues, such as museums, boat cruises, and sports arenas that are often not presented elsewhere,” said Robertson.

"[You] can also send invitations to attendees, track responses, and provide travel directions,” said Robertson. “Eventective now is truly a one-stop experience for anyone desiring fast, easy venue and vendor selection while planning a wedding and reception.”

So for anyone who's ever written me looking for a great location, here's your ultimate resource. Keep it in mind for rehearsal dinners, bachelor and bachelorette parties, after-parties, morning-after breakfasts, and especially wedding vow renewal celebrations.

Sunday, February 04, 2007

Working on SuperBowl Sunday?

My, how things change. Literally, every year since I was born, my family always had a big blowout Superbowl party [er, 'big game' party, since the S-word is trademarked] -- a big buffet table covered with ribs, chicken wings, Korean meat sticks (Insoon Rim's recipe!), deviled eggs, antipasto, pigs in blankets, Mexican dip, shrimp cocktail, fruit platters, garlic bread knots, a football shaped name it. Sometimes it was just the five of us, sometimes we had a packed house. I remember when the Giants were in the Superbowl and it came down to that last field goal kick....we all got up off the couch, held hands, and were general spazzes until the kick was made. It was the best time you could ever imagine. People crashed our party once...yammering teenage girls who wanted to be near my brother's friends, which drove my parents out of the room to watch the game on a separate TV. It was a staple of my family's traditions.

This year, though, we're all exhausted from cancer world (4 years now!) and with my brother not coming and Dad's back hurting, there's not going to be a party. No Korean meat sticks. It's only for this year, but I'm a little weepy about it. Why in this challenging time for our family would tradition mean LESS? I just don't get it, but I can't fight the tide. Both of my parents just want quiet this year, so that's what we will do. But next year brings out the big gourmet spread again.

Joe and I are going to his friend's Big Game party, and I had one of those blissfully domestic days baking four batches of my chocolate chip cookies (laughing because the doilies I put on the bottom of the tray are SO not football-party-appropriate). The house smells like chocolate right now. So while it's surreal that both Joe and I are spending most of the day working until the party later, there's a bittersweet flow of how life changes shape and new things emerge. I'm caught between the nostalgia of wanting to hold on to family tradition and the excitement of watching the game at Jim & Joanie's party with my favorite person.

We celebrated our anniversary last night with a great dinner out, and then we hung out by the fireplace to watch a bunch of home flipping shows -- we'll be looking at a house that could be a contender, so my entire house value education comes from HGTV and TLC. I just learned to bring a marble along when you look at a house to see if the floor sags or slopes. Good to know. I'm curbing my looking ahead at the inevitable day when we find our place...but I do know that I'd like a great entryway with a table and mirror, a coat closet with new hangers, and a big, leafy plant. The rest hasn't taken imaginary form in my mind yet, which is all willpower for me. The writer's imagination can create amazing things. Right now, it's all about if the rooms are big enough and if there's mold in the basement. ;)

My procrastination is getting evident, so it's back to the handbags article. Check out the amazing clutches and zigzag bags at if you're shopping for your spring bags like I am....

Friday, February 02, 2007

The hottest gift trend -- gift certificates to Bed & Breakfasts!

Brides and grooms want them in order to de-stress and re-connect during the wedding planning phase. Parents LOVE them as thank-you gifts after the wedding. Bridal party members love them for planning their own romantic getaways. They're the hottest new gifts: gift certificates for the recipient's CHOICE of bed and breakfast listed on

I think it's BRILLIANT! Joe and I stayed at a gorgeous B&B on Long Beach Island ( last summer, and the cozy Victorian was pure bliss. So I'm very happy to recommend this as the perfect gift for before or after the wedding...and keep it in mind for anniversary or engagement gifts for others, as well!

And there's another attraction here: a B&B is the perfect place to hold your wedding vow renewal celebration. If you're not having the big wedding of your dreams right now, perhaps you can renew later. Or, your parents might be enjoying the party-planning so much, they may want to renew their vows and throw their own celebration. My new book Renewing Your Wedding Vows is out right now, so visit my site for more on that title, and think about the fact that B&Bs are creating wonderful, new vow renewal packages!

If you'd like to find out more about the gift certificates and vow renewal packages, here's their latest release:

Contact: Allison DeCongelio FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Phone: (212) 432-7693

Reaffirm Your Love, Renew Your Wedding Vows

Say “I do” all over again. Renewing your wedding vows is a wonderful way to celebrate your marriage after 10, 20, 50 or even just 5 years and vow renewal packages will take care of the planning for you.

New York, NY - More and more married couples are choosing to renew their wedding vows – either in small, intimate, family-only celebrations, or as bigger-than-the-original-wedding extravaganzas. Regardless of the style and size, bed and breakfast inns are a wonderful choice for vow renewal ceremonies. The intimate personalization that B&Bs offer is just the thing to make your wedding dreams come true…again!

Vow renewal ceremonies are surprisingly easy and simple to plan with the help of bed and breakfast packages from and books like Renewing Your Wedding Vows by Sharon Naylor. Packages offered by bed and breakfast inns take away the stress of planning a ceremony and reception. Here are a few bed and breakfasts that offer vow renewal packages.

Design Your Dream Renewal Ceremony
The Inn at Schoolhouse Creek, Little River, CA
This North coast California inn specializes in creating magical moments that will be joyful memories to cherish for a lifetime. Eight acres of extensive Cypress groves, lush meadows and beautiful flower gardens provide the perfect setting for your ceremony. The Inn at Schoolhouse Creek hosts formal and casual events for up to 150 people and will design your dream ceremony to renew your love.

Renew Your Vows
Lit Et Cheval Farm Bed & Breakfast, Frankford, DE Surround yourselves with nostalgia of days gone by and recite your vows next to a garden of azaleas and rhododendrons or on the dock of the pond. Your package includes accommodations for up to 6 people in private rooms, officiate, ceremony, a bounded photo album, champagne, hors d'oeuvres and refreshments, wedding cake and breakfast the next morning.

Sweetheart Vow Renewal Package
Brewster By the Sea, Brewster, MA Cape Cod is a perfect setting for this magic day. Whether barefoot on the beach, surrounded by blooming flowers in the perennial garden, or inside next to a crackling fire, your ceremony will be a dream come true. Brewster By the Sea is perfect for small groups and packages might includes an intimate ceremony, flowers, chocolate covered strawberries, champagne, wedding cake, hors d'oeuvres, digital photos, accommodations, and breakfast served to the love birds on a private patio or bedside in the winter.

Renew Your Love
Inn on Crescent Lake, Excelsior Springs, MO
If your vision of the perfect vow renewal ceremony includes an incredible setting, a beautiful mansion and the ultimate in privacy, then you have found the ideal place. With many packages to choose from, you can design your ideal ceremony. Let the Inn on Crescent Lake take care of everything, from the champagne to cake and even the accommodations.

The Perfect Outer Banks Vow Renewal
The Saltaire, Duck, NC
If you’re dreaming of a beach wedding, The Saltaire can provide you with unique accommodations that will create cherished memories. Choose between a ceremony on the beach or an intimate renewal of vows in the formal gardens. The Saltaire features five bedrooms for accommodations of up to 10 people, expansive living, dining, and bar areas, lovely gardens, a wrap-around porch, and a pool area ideal for outdoor receptions, where tents and tables can accommodate up to 125 guests.

Reconfirm Your Love!
Coastal Dreams Bed & Breakfast, Galveston, TX Whether you are celebrating your 5th or your 25th anniversary, vow renewal is a great way to express your love and devotion to your spouse. Let Coastal Dreams Bed & Breakfast provide the beautiful setting for this special day. An exceptional package for just the two of you includes officiate, champagne toast, chocolate covered strawberries and a discounted room rate at the inn.

Promise to Love Each Other Again
White Fence Bed and Breakfast, Stanley, VA Experience the romantic setting of White Fence Bed and Breakfast for your Vow Renewal Ceremony. Tall oak, maple and magnolia trees, flowering gardens and a quaint 1890 Victorian B&B create a picturesque backdrop for your special day. Packages includes digital photos, officiate, accommodations in Jacuzzi and fireplace suites, refreshments, wedding cake and flowers.

Wedding Vow Renewals
Villa Victorian, Gros Islet Village, St. Lucia Renew your wedding vows in St. Lucia; one of the best wedding destination spots in the world. Villa Victorian's Vow Renewal Special includes a bottle of champagne, the bride's floral bouquet and groom's corsage (of course made with tropical and exotic flowers) and a discounted rate for accommodations. Renew your vows and reaffirm your love in “a little piece of paradise.”

These and other bed and breakfast vow renewal packages can be found at

### is an established, 5 STAR rated bed and breakfast directory with thousands of bed and breakfasts, inns and small hotel listings worldwide. Millions of B&B guests find the perfect inn by searching more than 130 categories such as price, location and local activities and attractions.

Sharon Naylor is the author of over 30 wedding books, including 1000 Best Wedding Bargains, 1000 Best Secrets For Your Perfect Wedding, Your Special Wedding Vows, Renewing Your Wedding Vows, Mother of the Groom, The Mother of the Bride Book, The Complete Outdoor Wedding Planner, and others as listed at