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.