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.