Monday, June 30, 2008

Summer book club time!

Several years ago, I founded the first-ever bridal book club featuring wedding-themed novels. With summer beach-reads on everyone's minds, I thought I'd provide you with the discussion points for my own wedding-themed novel "It's My Wedding Too," in which a mother of the bride battles with the mother of the groom, and all of the happy endings are happy...but might just not be what you expect!

SPOILER ALERT! If you haven't read the novel yet, stop right here and print these questions out for when you and your book club finish reading. I'd hate to spoil my own big plot twists ;)

Discussion Questions
For your own Bridal Book Club Meetings

Book Club Questions for:

“It’s My Wedding Too” A Novel

Visit the ongoing book club discussion at
5 Visitors win a copy of my novel each month, so please do join us
in talking about my comedic
Mother of the Bride vs. Mother of the Groom battle…
And the bride who has to stay sane through it all!

Question 1:
Why do you think that Emilie and Anthony were able to keep their relationship so strong during all of this stressful interference by the mothers? Emilie called Anthony a 'reformed mama's boy,' so how much of their relationship strength comes from the fact that he loves his mom, but he has an adult level of separation from her and a great loyalty to Emilie? [In most chick lit novels, the conflict is that the couple splits and reconsiders marrying. I wanted to stay away from the usual plot point and keep the couple strong so that it's all about the relationships with their moms.]
Question 2:
What would have happened if he was still too close with his clingy mother?

Question 3:
What was the most outrageous thing the mothers did, and were you ever mad at them for Emilie's sake? We know that both mothers had issues from their past, but what do you think they were really trying to accomplish?

Question 4:
Emilie diagnosed Leah as practicing feng shui and magical thinking for something she wasn't yet ready to get (a new love). Why do you think Leah was simultaneously wishing for a man -- and throwing oranges in a superstition that would attract him -- and also pushing real men away? If she knew she wasn't ready, why was she still throwing oranges? Was it more about a wish for herself to be ready, to find something within herself that would allow her to be open? Discuss Leah's character and influence in the book.

Question 5:
Do you agree that eloping was the right thing for Emilie and Anthony to do? And how would you feel if your groom 'surprised' you with a private, secret elopement when you thought you were going on vacation?

Question 6:
What was the funniest scene in the novel? Did it remind you of something that happened to you, or something you WISH you could say to someone?

Question 7:
Share your stories of how your mom or FMIL are like Delilah or Carmela, or how they are even worse...

Question 8:
Did you expect Vic to come back to Carmela? [This was the hardest scene for me to write, and I actually had to walk away from it a few times. It was a complete surprise to me that my character had had enough, that he was done, and that was it. I never expected to have subplots that include NOT getting the guy, or that a happy ending could mean the END of a relationship. What do you think about their decision to split? How is it better for Carmela? For Vic?

Question 9:
What did you think about Leah’s ‘love story’ ending? Were you satisfied or dissatisfied in the form her True Love took?

Question 10:
If this novel were turned into a movie, who would you want to see playing these characters?

Monday, June 23, 2008

My TV segment on "I Do!" on NBC

Last week, I enjoyed the pleasure and honor of taping an etiquette segment for the new NBC upscale wedding show "I Do!" in partnership with TheKnot. It's always such a thrill to tape a big TV segment, and this one delivered me to Chelsea Market in New York City, which is a cavernous foodie mecca and the headquarters of The Food Network. So before my shoot, I explored the cheese store, a tea emporium, and a fantastic wine store as well as the cookie spectacle Eleni's where we shot the segment. TheKnot editor Anja Winnika is a delight, and the production team was top-notch, so I know this segment is going to be amazing. We covered the top etiquette hotspots including guest list hassles, destination weddings, thank you notes, and more, so look for me in July on "I Do!" on NBC, and check out the show's site to catch up on segments you may have missed.

Saturday, June 21, 2008

$9.99 bridesmaids' gifts!!

Since the average amount spent on a bridesmaid gift is in the range of $40 to $70 nationwide, I *had* to let you know about the limited-time-offer at Check out these very cute bridesmaid and junior bridesmaid gifts for just $9.99! Engraving is extra, of course, but this is a great start!

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

NEW! Pictures on M&Ms!

Joe just pointed this out to me -- you can now get your PHOTO on custom-designed M&Ms! Since edible favors are all the rage for showers and weddings, why not add a little kick of personalization with fun photos of the two of you on these brilliant incarnations of a favorite candy? They have 22 colors for you to choose from, five of which are too dark for photo impressions, and you can also include personal messages on the M&Ms. Visit their website to place your order [and since it's summertime, have your order delivered to a relative or neighbor who will be home, or to your office if that's allowed. You don't want your chocolates to melt in the sun!]

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Do you have etiquette questions?

What's proper in today's modern weddings? When do you need to send out invitations? What's the 'rule' about And Guests? Do you have to go table-to-table at the reception to talk to guests? These are some of the topics we've recently discussed on my Ask the Wedding Etiquette Expert message board on iVillage Weddings. Stop by and ask me your questions, so that you know you're getting the most current etiquette advice tailored to your situation. I'm here to help!

Friday, June 13, 2008

Not born yesterday

Sometimes I just have to laugh...

On one of my wedding Q&A columns, someone posted a question about cash registries and mentioned the site they had in mind, asking me what I thought about the etiquette of cash registries. I wrote back that it's still not proper to ask guests for cash gifts, even in the guise of an organized registry. My fellow community members voiced similar opinions. What resulted was a *blast* of name-calling messages sent from the original poster, and this person has been barred from the website.

Here's the thing...if you work for a bridal website of any kind, and if you've read the same marketing books that I've read, we both know that it's a common PR move to post URLs on social websites asking 'what do you think?' to spread the word about the company you want to promote. This particular poster only created a very Google-able discussion about how BAD cash gift registries are, including home mortgage registries. I've gone on record saying you *can* set one up if you wish, provided it's with a reputable bank or company, but you need to know that these new cash registries often *charge* you to create a cash gift program, and guests might get very offended at your display of greed. If you still want a cash or mortgage registry, I've advised, set up a traditional home registry as well so that guests have a choice.

Even if some wedding experts out there are saying, 'it's okay to ask for cash,' it's really not okay in the eyes of most wedding guests...and those are the people who will be gifting you. What I've found is that offended guests wind up giving you LESS. The choice is yours.

So, poster with the potty-mouth, thanks for giving us the opportunity to shoot down your site and openly discuss the Do's and Don'ts of gift registries. You've helped a lot of people.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

A photo from our wedding!

Our fabulous photographer Rich Penrose from has sent us an early collection of some of our favorite wedding day photos, and I'm including one here for you to see. More to come...the wedding magazines get first pick!

Monday, June 09, 2008

Catching up on life

Whew! This weekend was 'catching up on life' weekend, where I delved into my To Do list of things I put in motion *before* the wedding. Yes, that was almost 2 months ago! I happily took on several big assignments before the Big Day, and now it's time to fulfill all promises and deliver by deadlines. And in true Sharon Naylor fashion, that means beat the deadlines. For instance, I received the edit pages for my new book 'Home From the Honeymoon,' on Friday, and I spent the entire weekend line-editing the whole thing, done by 9pm on Sunday. And it was a blast. Considering I wrote this baby during the weeks before the wedding, there were surprisingly few typos. (Yes, typos still make me shudder, even 37 books later!). I find the edit stage to be the most gratifying, since the time away from the project gives you clear vision into what you were trying to say. And you get the clear vision of your editor. It's a rewarding point in the book creation process -- going from 300 blank pages (yikes!) to almost published form (yay!).

With this giant pack of papers covered with tiny hot pink post-it notes and my red pen scribbles all ready to go, I can set this aside and dig into the text for my other big ongoing project (I'll announce the topic soon!). I came up with the solution for a 'frustrating screeching halt' in the text while watering my peonies yesterday, so I'm excited to fire up the Macros program and get on it.

And can I just say how much I love seeing Joe work on technical improvements to our house? (Sorry, Giz, the praise continues!). We brought home our new 'baby': a big TV to replace my *20 year old* ancient TV where you couldn't read the words on the crawls at the bottom of the screen. And Joe did all the wiring and attaching and running cords through to the basement -- I have to admit that I was distracted from work because I wanted to just keep looking at him. Someone should market a 'hot guy working on the house' series of's a beautiful thing to see. And to be fair, I caught him looking at me as I was watering the shade garden. I like to think he was admiring my form, but he may have been making sure I didn't drown the ferns! We're enjoying domestic life very's a fine distraction from the post-wedding things we're making progress on whenever we have time -- picking proof numbers and writing thank-you's. There's still a month to go for TY's, according to the latest etiquette Do's. We're in good shape.

And not to sound like Carrie Bradshaw with her loaded questions, but is there any such thing as being 'caught up on life?'

Wednesday, June 04, 2008

Call your airline to confirm!

Warning! American Airlines has made several flight schedule changes specifically to the Eastern Caribbean, affecting travel between September 2, 2008 – November 19, 2008. So if this puts a crimp in your destination wedding or honeymoon plans, get on the phone right now! And tell your friends to double-check their travel plans as well.

Funny story: while in the waiting room at a medical center (I'm fine; just a routine exam), the nurse called me by my new married name...and it took a second to register "Wait, that's me!" After all the weeks of name-change hell, these moments are priceless!

Tuesday, June 03, 2008

Allergies and wedding season

Allergy symptoms can really make you miserable! And if it's your wedding day, indoors or outside, you don't want sneezing and congestion wrecking your Big Day. I have allergies, and I had an outdoor wedding....without one sneeze nor watery eyes. I'm a big fan of Nasonex (consult with your doctor first!) and they've added me to their star-studded roster of NasonExperts along with one of my heroes, fitness expert Kathy Kaehler. Check out my article on Allergy-Proofing Your Wedding.