Sunday, January 31, 2010

The Norah Award winners for January 2010

This month, I have a very special group of wedding industry luminaries to honor with Norah Awards. These talented and generous experts have volunteered to be my Board Members for the NY chapter of Wish Upon a Wedding, though which we will be granting dream weddings to people with life-threatening illnesses. As busy as everyone is, especially in an economy like this one where every weekend is vital, how honorable of these wonderful people to set aside their time to bring wedding wishes to life. I'm honored to know them, and very happy to name them to our roster of Norah Award-winners:

~ Stella Inserra, wedding and event coordinator,
~ Rhonda Bassat Rivera, inspiring event planner,
~ Amanda Picone, dream wedding photographer,
~ Wayde West, party-starter and entertainer extraordinaire, Brower, award winning event designer and producer/planner,
~ Beverly Johnson, premiere event planner,
~ Courtney Kern, event designer and coordinator,
~ Denise Hernandez, innovative event coordinator,
~ Lisa M. Barr, delightful bridal blogger,
~ Cassandre Snyder, wedding and event planning innovator,

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Wish Upon a Wedding Launches!

And I am so glad to be a part of it. Here's the hottest, latest news:

America’s only wedding wish granting organization, Wish Upon a Wedding produces weddings & civil union ceremonies at destinations across the United States for couples facing life-threatening medical conditions.

By celebrating the courage & spirit of these couples, it is our hope that others facing similar situations will find hope, strength, and the promise of eternal love.

Officially launched in January of 2010, Wish Upon a Wedding currently has five chapters to serve Wish Applicants. Beginning February 14, couples residing in or wishing to get married within 300 miles of the following cities are eligible to apply for weddings: San Francisco, Los Angeles, Orlando, New York and Chicago. Receive a reminder email about when we will begin receiving applications. If you reside in another area, we still encourage you to stay connected as New Chapters open regularly.

Get Involved

There are many ways you can lend your talents to facilitate wedding wishes for our Wish Recipients. Here’s how you can help.

Follow us on Twitter: @WishUponWedding

Become a Fan! Facebook: WishUponaWedding

And if you're in the NY and NJ areas, join our team here at the local NY chapter!

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Groom's Boutonniere Choices

The following is an excerpt from my book What's Your Bridal Style?, which I wrote with Casey Cooper of Botanicals, Inc. in Chicago....

First of all let it be said: You are not required to wear a boutonnière. But, wearing a boutonnière-- a small embellishment of fresh flowers or greenery-- allows you, as the groom, the opportunity for additional self expression. So, if you choose to wear one, it will be the final touch on the clothing ensemble you’ve so carefully assembled. One other advantage of a boutonnière is that it will distinguish you from your guests and your waiters if you have a formal, black tie wedding.

Here are some suggestions for matching your boutonniere style to your overall wedding wardrobe style:
Black Tie/Formal
Structured blossoms with distinctive shapes: miniature calla lilies, spray roses, stephanotis, freesia, and orchid blossoms. The clean shapes of these flowers stand out nicely against a formal jacket.
Textural items such as herbs & berries: lavender, rosemary, hypericum, tufts of hydrangea, spray roses. A combination of materials works well for this wedding wardrobe style.
Something local, indigenous, abundant, or traditional to the area: a hibiscus bloom picked right before the ceremony and tucked into a white linen jacket (St. Barthes); an orchid lei (Hawaii); a marigold garland (India)

Take advantage of fresh materials only available during the season of your wedding:

Spring: Lily of the Valley, muscari, individually wired hyacinth blossoms
Summer: nerrine lilies, agapanthus blossoms
Fall: viburnum berries, oak leaves, rosehips
Winter: white pine tips, snowberry, holly

The most popular boutonnière for the groom is to wear a flower that appears in the bridal bouquet. For example, if your bride is carrying a gathering of exquisite ivory miniature calla lilies, you might wear a single ivory miniature calla lily. If she is carrying a gorgeous collection of exotic Mokara orchid sprays in shades of amber, red, and tangerine, a petite trio of amber Mokara orchid blossoms would look smashing on your jacket. A loosely bound bridal bouquet of wild flowers, herbs and berries might lead you to select a few berries backed with a sprig of rosemary for your boutonnière.

Some of the more unusual boutonnières in recent weddings have included acorns and oak leaves, a miniature pine cone paired with a sprig of fragrant white pine, and chocolate fiddlehead fern curls neatly tucked into the lapel.

A groom’s boutonnière can and should be slightly different than the rest of the wedding party and family boutonnières. Use this section to check off the spotlight style points that sound good to you:

_____Color Sometimes the bride and groom carry and wear white and ivory flowers, while the rest of the bridal party carry and wear more colorful flowers, or vice versa.
_____Size The groom typically wears a slightly larger boutonnière than the groomsmen and male family members.
_____Complexity A boutonnière designed with a few different blossoms as opposed to a single bloom for the rest of the wedding party.
_____Detail A simple stem treatment such as a ribbon treatment finished with a tailored knot, an Asian inspired snake grass sleeve to hide the stem, or an organic twist of banyan root.

Your bride will be selecting the flowers she is going to carry; you’ll be selecting the flowers you’re going to wear. There needs to be a visual blend and balance of style. There will be an influx of likes and dislikes, aesthetic influences, history, possibly ancestry, possibly practical issues such as allergies…

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Are you using your bridal luck?

Consider yourself lucky! All throughout time, brides have been thought to possess an extra dash of good luck -- and it is that good luck that has to be protected in all of those superstitions we put in our wedding days. Guests wanted to tear off a piece of the bride's lucky dress, so they would dive at her to rip a piece of fabric from her gown...and we made that one safer by having her throw her bouquet. The lucky sixpence in your shoe became a lucky penny, or a saint medallion sewn into the handle of your bouquet. Something Borrowed, Something Blue.

We could go on and on, but what I'm suggesting is that you made great use of your bridal luck by...oh....say... winning the HGTV Dream House! Or a new elliptical machine! Or a laundry room makeover! Or a free honeymoon! $2,000 off of your photography! A trip to the Golden Door spa for you and your bridesmaids as the world's best bachelorette party!

Entering giveaways is supremely easy, and I start my own day by logging on to HGTV to put in my daily entry for that Dream Home. They're so awesome over there, it's an just fill out the form once, and then each day you fill in your e-mail address and it fills in the rest. Simple. Done. Consider me one step closer to that house in New Mexico with the awesome views, the 12 cool housewarming gifts, the eco-friendly everything, the fab furniture and chef's kitchen. I'm dreaming of winning that baby. And entering every morning starts my day with a dash of optimism and hope, the time to sip on my Dunkin Donuts coffee and imagine living in my new house in New Mexico. Not a bad way to start the day.

So add a few sites to your Favorites list so that you can enter to win some pretty amazing stuff for your home, for you, and for your wedding [right now, has a contest going for $1,500 gift cards to Staples -- that would pay for your invitations, ink, programs, place cards, thank you notes, and so much more!]

Check out the Sweepstakes pages at:
Better Homes and Gardens [Scroll to the bottom to get to the Sweepstakes link]
Fitness magazine
DIY Network
And at your favorite bridal websites, where they're always running amazing sweepstakes for free honeymoons and girls' getaways, destination weddings, and more

And go to bridal shows. Not just for the free champagne and hot appetizers. You could win some pretty fabulous stuff IF the prize comes from a reputable vendor and free doesn't mean a cheapo prize. You've got to compare and shop smartly. Awful, free tuxes are still awful tuxes!

Tuesday, January 05, 2010

15 Guest Book Ideas

Get creative with your Guest Book! Why set out a plain, lined book with a big feather plumed pen when you can do so much more? Either go artsy with a colorful and unique blank book, or ‘dress up’ a traditional, white ‘Our Wedding Guests’ sign-in book in your own personalized ways.
When you match your Guest Book to your wedding’s style and location (such as at the beach), your Guest Book becomes something extra-special to match your personalities and impress your guests. We have some suggestions for creating your own stylish and unique Guest Book:

Book Alternatives:
Creative covers: In place of the traditional, lined, white guest book, go to the bookstore to pick up a decorative lined or unlined journal with a terrific cover to match your wedding’s style or theme. It could be floral, ocean blue, decorated with graphics of colorful autumn leaves, red velvet-covered, funky vellum-covered with opaque hearts or shooting stars – the options are endless
Single sheets: Instead of a bound book, set out individual sheets of card stock that guests will sign and leave on a silver platter or in a basket. You can go formal with ecru cards to match your invitations, or go artsy with pink, heart-shaped cards. You’ll keep these as a loose collection of cards or insert them in your future photo album or scrapbook.
Going with color: Choose colorful pages, either in book or single-sheet format. Bright red, sage green, even dark colors that can be written on with metallic silver ink pens.
Photo-journals: Set out one of the new styles of photo-journals – they have a sleeve for a photograph (which you can fill with any pictures or printed quotes you wish – even greeting cards or postcards you love) plus lined space or blank room to write a message. Guests choose a page to sign next to their chosen insert.
Autumn leaves: Like the ‘single sheets’ category above, only you’ll set out artistically cut leaf-shaped papers in bold oranges, yellows and persimmon reds. They’re a forever reminder of your autumn wedding. Select your cut-out theme to match your wedding style and season (like snowflakes for winter, or daisies for summer), pre-made from the craft store.

Decorating Covers and Inside Pages:
Glue Gun Genius: Glue a starfish or sand dollar to the front cover of your Guest Book
Stick-Ons: Affix your own selection of theme-, season-, and color-appropriate decorative stickers to the covers of your book, and also randomly spaced throughout the inside pages
Your Monogram: Stamp the letter of your monogram at the top of each page, in colored ink
Quotes: Pre-write your own inspirational or romantic quotes on the tops or bottoms of every other page, leaving room for guests to sign. For example, Browning’s “the best is yet to be...”
Message From You: In colored, metallic or classic black ink, sign your own book with personalized messages written to your guests from the two of you. A simple “Thank you for being here!” penned on every other page adds a nice touch.

Audience Participation
Hearts or Flowers?: Set out sheets of theme stickers and invite guests to ‘decorate’ their own pages with their chosen hearts, flowers, words, and so on…it’s an ice-breaker for guests too!
Which Color Pen?: Set out a collection of colorful gel pens or metallic ink pens, calligraphy pens or classic gold pens for guests to use.
The Kids’ Book: Create a separate ‘children’s book’ just for child guests to autograph or in which to draw pictures for you
Any Comments?: Encourage your guests to jot a little note to you, rather than just signing their names. If you’ll make your own single sheets, print a note on each to that effect.

Save It
* Keeping It Safe: Your Guest Book is a priceless keepsake, and you’ll treasure those autographs and messages from family and friends for years to come. So consider storing it in a plastic container or other safe place in your home.