Saturday, February 28, 2009

Sweepstakes and contests for the bride!

Since so many wedding traditions are all about Luck (tossing the bouquet, the first dance, the old, new, borrowed and blue, etc.), you can consider yourself lucky that you have so many opportunities to WIN so many amazing things for your wedding and for your future together!

At every bridal show you attend, you could win a free honeymoon, free photography, free hair and makeup services, and more. Some couples win free receptions! Not bad for an hour on Sunday browsing through the bridal expo at the Ramada!

If you're the contest-entering type, now is a VERY good time for you. The top bridal sites offer plenty of contests, and you'll find amazing contests at your favorite magazines' websites. Here is one that's going on right now...the chance to win a free Prius from Better Homes and Gardens. I've signed on to their site so that I get access to all kinds of national contests, and with an easy click, it signs me up for my daily entry. Piece of cake. Right now, I'm trying to win an elliptical, which would be an amazing addition to our home gym.

Where else will you find great contests for life after the wedding? Go straight to HGTV, and get connected to their awesome contests, as well as to those at DIY Network and Fine Living.

In this economy, you're going to find bigger and better contest prizes out there, and it costs nothing to sign on. Just make sure you're being smart and not giving out your SS# or other personal data that could get your identity stolen. I find that sweepstakes endorsed by these major media websites are usually safe, but I still read the fine print.

Good luck to you!

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Real brides and grooms offering vendor referrals

Now this is a good one!

We all know that the best way to find outstanding wedding vendors, and to find the best wedding sites, is to ask recently-married friends and relatives who they used, who they would recommend, and who they didn't like.

But what if no one you know has gotten married recently? What if you've just moved to a new area and don't have a big circle of friends to consult with yet? Are you out of luck? No, there's a great resource called Wedding Mapper that not only lets you build a fun map for your guests' use in finding the hotel, ceremony and reception sites; it shows you Real Life wedding couples in your area, who they used, how they rated them, what they had to say about them AND you can e-mail those couples to ask any additional questions you have.

It's a fabulous extra tool in your research, to get you the best of everything on a budget that's right for you. Joe and I used this site when we were planning our wedding, and we loved it. I've recommended it in the past as a fun budget-saving way to do the directions thing, but I also wanted you to know about the 'inside scoop' element!

What are grooms buying for their brides INSTEAD of diamond jewelry?

Diamonds are expensive these days, but grooms still want to get something fabulous for their brides. Find out in my cover story, "5 Questions With Sharon Naylor" at

Monday, February 23, 2009

My Mother of the Bride Book is #1 on Amazon!

Lots of Moms out there are getting the advice and ideas they need to be wonderful wedding-planning partners. My book The Mother of the Bride Book is the #1 book for moms on, with my Mother of the Groom book also tops on its own list.

Since moms are important members of the planning team, I've enjoyed focusing on them and helping them navigate the new trends and etiquette rules, both in my books and at my podcast "Here Come the Moms" at Wedding Podcast Network.

Another perk of giving Mom a book of her own? I say the things you want to say, like "Chill out," "It's the bride and groom's wedding, not yours," and "Stop trying to compete with your friends or the in-laws."

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Catch me on Get Married...again!

New Jersey Bride and 'The Bachelor' wedding gown

My editor Molly Tully at New Jersey Bride has just posted a very fun blog about the wedding gowns that could potentially be worn by The Bachelor's pick. Read it here and join the discussion about what his Bride might select!

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Embattled Bridesmaids, Sylvia Weinstock, Preston Bailey and Colin Cowie

Whew! It's been quite a day! I invite you to visit to see my segment that aired this morning -- all about smart booking of your wedding day transportation...and while you're viewing the show, check out my 'opening act' of Sylvia Weinstock, Ron Ben-Israel, Preson Bailey and Colin Cowie and their latest masterpieces.

Since you'll be working closely with your bridesmaids, check out my interview on Irene Levine's blog Fractured Friendships, to make sure that you don't wreck the harmony between you and your friends. This is Part2 of my discussion with Irene, so be sure to check out Part 1 as you peruse her phenomenal site!

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Catch me on Get Married!

This is just one of my recent appearances on Get Married with Colin Cowie. Tune in on the 18th and the 25th of this month to see my newest segments, and keep an eye on my website to catch my past appearances.

We're building a new Sharon Naylor on TV page that will be up shortly, so you'll see plenty more of my appearances on Get Married there!

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Combat wedding stress with some Love Bets!

Laughter makes all the wedding stress go away...and so does reminding yourselves how much fun you both have together when your world isn't full of Wedding To-Do's, envious friends and pushy parents. I wrote this book to bring some laughs back into your life, to give you tame, romantic and racy things to 'win' from each other, laugh at yourself, show your skills (and by that, I mean tennis or bowling! But you can interpret that however you'd like!) and generally just show your 'awesome side' to your partner again...instead of being miserable, tense and stressed-out by the wedding plans.

Look at this book as an investment in keeping the two of you close during this busy time...and good luck with your bets! Write to me through my website to share your Love Bets stories. I may just include YOU and your bets in the 2nd edition of this book!

Get your copy of Love Bets here.

Sunday, February 08, 2009

Show Me Some Roses

Your floral designer can best create your dream wedding flowers when you have photos to show...and I have a great resource for you: the White Flower Farm Catalog, which is gorgeous, filled with detailed photos of classic and new varietals of roses, dahlias, lilies, orchids, lavender...any type of flowers you'd like to incorporate into your wedding decor.

As an added perk, the catalog will serve you well if you're going to plan a garden, some borders or container plants together. Joe and I have an amazing area mapped out for a shade garden, and I can't get enough of the suggestions in this catalog. So look at this handy catalog as a great tool for Now and Later!

Thursday, February 05, 2009

Etta James/ Beyonce versions of 'At Last'

Okay, normally I don't get involved in celebrity catfights, but since we're talking about the #1 First Dance song at weddings, I have to speak up about the Etta James/Beyonce clash reported here.

I can TOTALLY understand Etta James's displeasure at not being given the chance to sing her own song at the momentous occasion. This is her song. She sings it at every concert and -- in my opinion -- knocks it out of the park with pitch-pure tones and a voice that brings her faithful fans to tears. I was a MESS at her concert. I was BLISSED-OUT dancing to "At Last" at my own wedding.

There's no denying Beyonce is a tremendous talent, and her presence at the inaugural festivities was a crowd-pleaser.

I'm not going to justify, defend or otherwise comment on reported remarks by Ms. James, because no one ever knows the real story. I just would have LOVED to see BOTH women perform the song for the Obamas. It would have been amazing.

So when the Team Etta and Team Beyonce shirts hit the market in a few hours, it will be interesting to get reports from professional deejays on the percentages of brides and grooms who request Etta's version and Beyonce's version of the song for their wedding playlists.

Bouquet Chic is a Bride's Must-Have!

My review of 'Bouquet Chic' by Kimberly Aurora Kapur:

I must have said 'Wow!' twenty times *before* page 20! This book is visually stunning, well-written, and inspiring in a way that few other bridal floral books have achieved. At once modern and fashionable, the looks are achievable no matter where you stand on the Chic Scale. This is THE book you want to buy for the best images to show your own floral designer, and THE book you want to flip through for a boost on days when wedding planning is stressful. It's impossible to be tense when you're looking at vibrant orange bouquets and romantic sage green and white cascades. The text is brilliant, the production quality brilliant, and you'll even find inspiration for your wedding PHOTOS...surely, you'll open this book in front of your photographer and say "I want a shot like THIS!" Bouquet Chic is a must-have!