Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Wowzers, I've been a little naughty over the past week, not writing anything!! With the holiday weekend, and the last week of school, it's like bam!, things are insane!

I thought I'd cover some cute things today....accessories!! Favors, garters, fun little touches that are what makes a wedding personal!

I came across this fabulous little company the other day, they are based in Miami, GirlyBows, and they make the most exquisite party favors, table decor, and some really "girly" accessories! Great for showers, weddings, birthday parties, etc. I especially love the money/card boxes, and I LOVE that everything is custom made!

To wear or not to wear. Brides, even if you aren't going to do the all-famous (and embarrassing!) toss, I think you should wear one, even if only you and your husband are the ones who see it. (and maybe the photographer because he/she took a shot of it before you put it on) It's just a tradition I feel shouldn't be forgotten!! However, there is always the problem of finding ONE that is "you". I mean, who wants the same old boring one from Wal-Mart that everyone else buys? It's not like you can walk into any department store or lingerie department and BUY one either (they really are quite hard to find!!), so many brides turn to the internet. There are many sites that have some gorgeous (and expensive ones), but hey, you only get married once, right? =) Here's some sites I love for this (and one ebay seller that has pretty ones!) Many of these places also sell coordinating accessories for other aspects of your wedding as well. Several do custom orders.

Wedding Favors Unlimited

My Garter, personalized & custom garters

Ice Standard

Eye Catching Creations (Military & Sports themes! Website is a little difficult to navigate)

Trent Valley Mercantile-Canadian Ebay Seller
They do alot of custom items, all is very good quality, and fabulous customer service. What more could a girl ask for?? Oh yeah, they don't charge you a small fortune!

I have to say, I know I listed several different companies to find garters, but hands down, I recommend the last the most. Their pricing is amazing, and they just have gorgeous items! Debbie is quick to respond, and I always like to recommend small-time merchants if I can. =)

As far as other wedding accessories, ring pillow, guest book, flower girl basket, there are just SO many options out there. Most of the companies I posted in regards to garters also sell these other items, many of them to match the garter. A really neat option for the flower girl & ring bearer is to buy plain white (or ivory) basket/pillow, and then "dress" them up with your wedding colors by using ribbons, crystals, charms, etc. You can take a $6 pillow and turn it into a work of art without spending $45 on something that is going to be used for less than an hour! Same with the basket. If you are really creative, you can actually make these two things.

For the guest book, a fun idea is to use a scrapbook, start a few pages back, and have guests write in their "advice", "best wishes", etc. Then you can add your pictures in after the pages of the written advice, and the first few pages can be your invitation, program, and other items from you wedding (place cards, table numbers, things like that). It's a great keepsake, and you'll have it forever! Plus you can display it on your coffee table! Whereas the normal guestbook, well, if you're like me, it'll be stuck up in a closet for the next million and a half years! In the years since my wedding, that guest book, that was SOOOoooooooooooooooooo important (and that I spend like $40 on!) hasn't been opened more than once. The ONLY reason I've even opened it? Because I was digging in a closet for something and it fell off the shelf it was on and bonked me in the head!

How about instead of buying a $20 pen with the feather & weird stand, taking a few plain Bic pens, wrapping them in ribbons (to match your colors), and topping with various silk flowers. Place these in a ribbon wrapped cup (try ikea for a glass, they are under $1!) or clear glass with some type of rocks or clear gems at the bottom, and voila!, you have a pretty container that is actually pens! You can also take these pens (and you can use gel inks if you want some color & sparkle) and make them like a small flower "garden" by using larger containers. Use some sand in the container, and wrap the pens with green ribbon for a "stem" of the flower at the end. Way cooler than a feather pen (unless you have feathers incorporated in the wedding...which feathers are REALLY fun to use in centerpieces!!)

Voila! Some fun ideas that also save you some money. Great for the bride who likes the whole DIY route, or is super crafty. I've done many of these ideas myself for brides....well, I mean, that IS why you hire a wedding have someone to do all your wonderful ideas while you enjoy your engagement!

Next time.....why are flowers SO expensive anyway? The myth of Silk VS Real!

Okay, so maybe not. But I'll come up with something interesting.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Simple Rose Hand Tied Bouquets

Just a couple of bouquets I threw together recently. The purple (it really is purple...I don't have the most fabulous camera, so it looks a little "off" in the color) roses are Blue Curiosa, wrapped with a shimmery organza ribbon & accented with a gorgeous crystal brooch (antique of course, for the "something old"!)

I actually found the brooch on ebay in a huge lot of antique brooches. I love to use these in completely random ways, such as adding a brooch to a plain tank top, using it to "pick up" part of a skirt, attaching to a beautiful satin ribbon & tying around neck or your wrist,
taking a pair of matching brooches and putting
on your favorite pair of shoes (yes, yes, I love shoes!), or even placing one somewhere on a handbag to add some extra "flair". (yes, I used the word "flair". It's a requirement, those 15 pieces of flair!) *grins*

Seriously though, there are so many neat uses for brooches, I think it's wonderful that such an awesome piece of jewelery is becoming popular again!

This particular pink is my second favorite rose variety, Rosita Vendela. They range from pale to deep pink with a hint of white/cream in them. They are almost a bi-color rose, but not quite. This year Martha Stewart used them in her Mother's Day arrangements on

This particular bouquet of the Rosita Vendela's have a gorgeous "bouquet jewel" in them, a pink crystal bow. The pink crystals range from light to dark pink, and I think they add something special to this already gorgeous bouquet!

There are 17 roses (normally I use 18-22, but it was all I had...I made these just to make them really!) hand tied with a white satin ribbon (I use double-face satin, it's a heavier weight, and is nicer to the touch), and accented with a gorgeous pink crystal dragonfly brooch!

These sweet little arrangements have the Rosita Vendela roses, and small daises for accent. Ivory satin ribbon is wrapped around the container (the "vases" are actually sorbet cups!!), and I made small ivory bows with some wired ribbon.

I made these for my daughter's preschool teachers, just to brighten their weekend! They were SO pretty. You can see the darker Rosita Vendela roses in these arrangements!

This corsage was done for my neighbor's daughter Stephanie for her prom. She wore the most gorgeous blue cinderella ballgown, and the ribbon on the corsage matches it perfectly (and it also matches the ribbon on the corset back of her dress. Intentional matching of course!) It has an Oriental Lily (mmmm, yummy smell!), a single Blue Curiosa Rose, and a sprig of Blue-Purple Hydrangea from my personal garden. I also made a matching flower for her date, Caleb. It's just a single Blue Curiosa Rose with simple greenery. I'm hoping to have some pictures of the two of them, as she looked stunning!!! (I did her makeup as well)

Next time....I'm not sure yet. Perhaps a post on some details, and how to have gorgeous accessories for prices that won't break the budget!

Sunday, May 17, 2009

A peek into Fall

So yesterday I had a "pow-wow" with one of my brides, Erin. For the occasion, I threw together some bouquets, a couple of table arrangements, and of course...I made some chocolate cake balls. Here's some pictures of the flowers!

We also had a wonderful cake tasting at Annie's Bakery, a cake place located in the tiny suburb where I live in Murphy. I just love this bakery, they have fabulous cakes, and she does cupcakes for her tastings! I even got to take a couple home...they have GREEN icing on them, my son's FAVORITE color. I guess now I don't have to bake him that green cake this week! =) While I'm not a huge fan of icing, her White Chocolate Buttercream, mmmmmmm. That was yummy. I highly recommend her, especially as she's got great talent, AND she's not a small fortune either. She never freezes cake (yay!), and only takes a couple of weddings each weekend, which makes me VERY comfortable because I know that the cake will be there on time, it will be gorgeous, AND it will be fresh!

Erin has choosen a gorgeous paprika color for her bridesmaids dresses, and they will all have accents of a gorgeous gold color. It's a fall wedding, and we are completely running with the theme!! Hydrangeas, red roses, orange roses, these gorgeous yellowy-orange roses with red centers (the prettiest bi-color roses I've seen. Now to find their NAME!), red hypercium berries, the miniature calla lilies in the reds, Mmmm, it's going to be GORGEOUS!

The two bouquets here are just a starting point, for size, to see some colors, etc. I cannot wait to see the reception with the HUGE dramatic centerpieces...the tall vases, the gorgeous antique hydrangeas, the tall budding curly willow branches, and clusters of hydrangeas on the branches! We're actually going to do several types, to make it not completely uniform. Smaller vases with roses, probably some dahlias, and lots and lots of candlelight!

The detail's are all still coming together, but with the cake tasting yesterday, and the meeting about flowers, I just want to fast-forward to September, to see how all the hard work will play out, and to see a truly wonderful couple share their joy & love with their families!!

A look into my "office". =) Yup, my kitchen table loaded with all the wedding "stuff". And of course the all-important computer...where all the magic starts! Okay, so maybe thats really my brain, but I didn't think posting a picture of my brain was very wedding-y!

Up next.....some spring & summer flowers, and a peek into the world of Tiara Making....wait, okay, so maybe just a peek into some ideas FOR wedding tiaras! *grins*

Saturday, May 16, 2009


This is completely off topic, but Monday is my son's 3rd birthday. Birthday's are usually HUGE around here, I go all out, big cake, party, the whole she-bang.

However this year there was a caveat, as daddy (my husband) was called out of the country on business (lucky bugger actually!!! Back down in Sydney, I'm incredibly jealous!). So, we decided to postpone the birthday celebrations, since Theoden IS only 3, he'll be okay and not really notice the difference.

OOPS. I think I was a little wrong on that front! Because Eowyn (big sister, my oldest) has it all figured out, and she knows how to read a calender now! (smart, but ruins my plans!!) So she's been telling Theoden all week that his birthday is on Monday. Then today, the mail came, and of course Miss Eowyn found the birthday cards before I could intersect them to hold them until Monday.

Yeah, didn't work out so much! But this is where is gets adorable. His Sugar and PawPaw sent him a small amount of "mondey" (as he says it), $5 to be exact (little stinker, he KNEW how much it was too!! How on earth did he learn about money???). Then there's a second card, this one JUST a card. Total 3-yr old MELTDOWN because there wasn't any "mondey" in it! SO, being a mommy, I took it back and said that maybe he missed it, ran into the kitchen and slipped in the only bill I had in my wallet, a $10 bill. Little stinker knew how much THAT was too!! So now he is RUNNING around the house yelling that he now has enough "mondey" to buy the toy noise-making helicopter he wants at Wal-Mart (yes, he said he's buying it from Wal-Mart). The best part? The toy he's talking about is $15 even at Wal-Mart! This was something he saw 2 weeks ago, and I had told him "no, it's $15, you can spend $1". He REMEMBERED the amount of money he needed to buy that toy!

Just so adorable! I wish I had taken the time last night to clear my camera, because a picture of that would have been priceless!! However, I'll leave it with some pictures of him from the wedding a couple weeks ago....he made the most ADORABLE ring bearer!! I still cannot get over how darn cute his little tux was!!

Yes, it was as hot and humid as it looks that day...the two of them just look like they are melting a bit once they got to the steps!!!

Next time....I will post some pictures of the lovely flowers I've assembled for this weekend. It's prom (ugh, corsages!!! All those tiny bows), and I have a couple of floral consultations as well. Of COURSE I made a lovely batch of chocolate cake balls for the occasion. Hey, I have to serve my brides something sweet, don't I? Might as well me pretty too!

Thursday, May 14, 2009


So, a few days ago I mentioned that I would put up some information on Wedding Photography...sometimes a controversial issue! Mainly due to cost, many couples struggle with this decision. Personally I feel that wedding photography is not only as important, but also as personal as the type of undergarments the bride chooses to wear!

There are many types of photographers....different styles, personalities, approaches to the art. I call it art because it IS an art form, and when it is your WEDDING day, it becomes very very personal. You want a photographer who will not only take the key shots (walking down the aisle, groom's reaction to the bride's beautiful entrance, the first kiss, family shots, etc), but also one who will capture the essence of your day! There's always videography, but lets face it, how many times are you REALLY going to watch the video of your vows? Most couples who choose to do the videography choose this option due to special friends and/or family who are unable to attend their wedding. But pictures are something you will display in your home, on your walls, and give to your family! (especially your parents, even more so if they are the ones paying for it!!!)

I ALWAYS recommend to my brides to first set a budget for photography. THEN start looking at photographers that are in your budget. Photography for your wedding can be anywhere from $500 (any less, and I really tell them to be completely SURE the photographer is worth it!! There is HOURS Of post-processing in wedding LEAST 20, typically close to 100 and this is factored into the price you pay) to over $10,000.

Once you have set a budget, really do alot of research, what style you want, if you want a traditional wedding style, or the current trend of "photo journalism" type coverage. Then look at what type of post-event processing you want (airbrushing, toning, changing the colors, sepia, black & white, etc. The possibilities are ENDLESS!!!), and then start interviewing.

In the age of digital (because 99% of wedding photographers shoot in digital these's more cost effective, and you can do more effects. Airbrushing is SO MUCH EASIER in digital! Any photographer worth their weight will be able to do this in a way that is natural and NOT weird looking) more pictures are shot, and you can even go the route of not having your photographer make your wedding album or any proofs. They can throw it all up on a website for you to share with your family and friends, and throw everything on a CD for you to print yourself. They will probably need to be contacted if you want SUPER DUPER huge pictures (large than 16x20 usually), but this keeps costs WAY down, and gives the couple a little more flexibility and time to create their wedding album.

Photography, there are many options. From finding a fabulous photographer who is just starting out in weddings (this takes trust, but if you are on a budget, I recommend it. I personally keep a list of this type of photographers, and you can get your entire wedding with engagements & bridal sessions for under $1,000) to the super-duper pro who's done more weddings than they can possibly remember (this category goes for photographers who have done at LEAST 100 weddings. You will also pay a HUGE premium for this type of the least $3500 is the base price...but you'll average around $5,000 if you want albums, engagement session, and bridal sessions. Some of these types of photographers even cover the rehearsal, which I think is really awesome. You'll have some great memories of what is usually a fun relaxed family affair!!

I do have some favorite photographers, but I never EVER push them on my brides....because while I do like some vendors, how they work, their personalities, etc, every bride had a different idea of what SHE wants (okay, the groom too!), and I feel that while I can give recommendations, when it comes to the wedding photography, it's just such a personal thing!

My top three Photographers here in Texas

Laura Haney Photography (Excellent photographs, and great pricing for those brides on a budget)
Stacey Reeves Photography (quite a unique gal. I've got some fantastic pictures of her "dancing" at a recent wedding!!!!)
Ed Verosky Photography (while based in Austin, he is FABULOUS. I just adore him and his work!!!!)

Of course there are others I love....and I have a huge list of great photographers. These are just some I enjoy working with, and they are all a pretty good range as far as pricing, so it gives you some different ideas on how much to spend!

And one parting word of advice. Please please PLEASE do not count on Uncle Joe to take your wedding pictures!!!! UNLESS he is an experienced wedding photographer and is also willing to actually give you some type of contract (just to put everything down in stone, and gives you options if he drinks too much and just gets shots of your shoes). Just because he has a nice camera does NOT mean he knows how to use it for a wedding!!! This is just something I feel so strongly about. If your budget is tight...cut something else out. Alcohol, special favors, those super designer HAVE to have good photography, because you can never EVER recreate the 'bridal glow' that you will only have on your wedding day! Sorry guys, re-doing them, it's just not going to be the same. TRUST me on this one!!!


Photography credits go to Adair Weddings and Ed Verosky Photography.

Monday, May 11, 2009

Ling/Lichliter Wedding May 2, 2009

A selection of arrangements & special details from
the Wedding of
Miss Zi Ling & Mr (soon to be Dr) Gary Lichliter

Ceremony Program (outside) I did these at the very last in the day before! They came out wonderfully!

The ribbon in this picture is NOT the one we used. In fact, I purchased the thin little ribbons in Chocolate Brown, Taupe, Champagne, and Ivory, and so the programs ended up having different ribbon colors. Gary (the groom!) picked out slightly different paper as well. The paper I used to a "template", I only had ONE sheet of it, but the end result was nearly identical. Fairly easy to put together, and the total cost was under $30 for 150 programs. Programs from a printer will run anywhere from $75-$1,000 for 100 programs (depends on the detail!) I've never had the cost run over $100 for DIY programs. (okay, so I don't factor in as much time as I should...but that is why you have tie bows & finish things like this!)

Forsythia (silk) & red lanterns that were hung from the trees. The Groom's mother, Carol bought the forsythia branches, and her friend Michelle took a set of plain white paper lanterns on a lighted string (from Target of course!!!) and spray painted them red, since red is the color of "luck" in Chinese Tradition. (Zi is from China, so this wedding was a huge blend of east meets west.

The effect was just stunning, and you can see the yard is already beautiful without anything else! These pictures were actually taken AFTER the tents have been taken down, but still give an idea of a cool look for an afternoon wedding! Best part? Since it was overcast, we were able to actually turn the lights ON, and they just glowed!!!

Another lovely little detail...inexpensive, yet can be really pretty when used! I made these paper cones out of 4 different shades and textures of Ivory paper and then using the same stamp as we used for the invitations AND programs, stamped the top inside of the comes. We chose to not emboss these (as the programs and invitations were done) simply because they were only for the rose toss. Sadly because of the rain, we didn't get a chance to use them

Little bows can also be added to paper cones, as well as the couple's names and wedding date. There is even paper you can buy that is embedded with wildflower seeds, and your guests can plant the "cones" after the wedding!

Small table arrangement with Gebera Daisies, small sticks of curly willow, and Hypercium Berries (the red type). Placed in a rectangular vase of clear crystal. Can be placed in any type of lower vase. These vases were about 6" high.
These cute little arrangements were used for small "cocktail" table in a "mingling" area. (the wedding was a cocktail-type party...not a seated or buffet dinner/lunch) We chose these types of flowers because they blended in beautifully with the gorgeous garden backyard of the groom's parents!

Something like this can also be sent home with your's not super expensive ($25) yet has a wonderful personality of it's own!!!

Creamy Hydrangeas with blue-green accents (SO gorgeous) with Curly Willow.

These large arrangements used creamy hydrangeas that had green and/or blue accents to them. (I believe they are the "antique" hydrangeas. Doesn't matter, they were GORGEOUS!! Also, these pictures were taken 6 days after the event...shows how well they stood up!

One of the "bouquets" that I threw together at the last minute to place on the cake.

Assorted roses in "julep" style silver containers. We used the green, orange, yellow-red, and these pretty reddish roses I found. These centerpieces were used in random spots throughout the event. They added a nice pop of color, and a couple of the roses actually had that gorgeous scent that you usually only get from either purple varieties or roses or roses from your garden!

Green dendrobium orchid boutonniere with hypercium berries. For the "background" (the two leaves) I used leaves that I had snapped off the hypercium stems.

Another of the Gebera daisy, Hypercium Berries, and Curly Willow centerpieces. This sits on the most popular spot for the indoor portion of the event...the bar!

This photograph was taken 5 days AFTER the ceremony, so it just shows you that if taken care of properly, fresh flowers will last a long time! Of course it helps buying flowers wholesale, the same day they are delivered from the grower! (I try my best to plan all trips to the floral wholesale site within 48hrs of their delivery. This way you'll have the freshest flowers possible, but they won't look like one of those 1-800 flower places send out from time to time!

A smaller Hydrangea & Curly Willow arrangement (note the different vase used's smaller and not nearly as all) I cannot take ANY credit for his, as it was Dr Wayne Lichliter (the groom's father's twin!) who put this together! In fact with all the late nights pulled for this event, he really saved me a TON of time. Plus he's just awesome to hang out with. =)

For those of you who are on a tight budget, anything above can be re-created in smaller sizes, what will work with your budget, etc. Also if you have a special set of vases you would like me to use, please let me know! I love using vintage items, or items that are sentimental to a bride and/or groom in their wedding. One of my favorites is taking fabric from a favorite relative of the bride & turn it into a super unique, completely customized ribbon/wrap for your bridal bouquet! And of COURSE slipping in something blue (even if it is just a single crystal!) and attaching hankies. 90% of brides start crying at some point, and this will come in handy. Plus it'll keep you from ruining your makeup....the professional makeup that probably cost a small fortune to have applies.

*unless otherwise noted all photographs, designs, and floral arrangements are courtesy of Adair Weddings. All items can be re-created! Please bear in mind we at Adair Weddings like at LEAST 2wks notice if you need/want us to create and finish programs for your ceremony, paper cones for a rose toss, place cards & table numbers, and reserved signs (a MUST if you are having an outdoor wedding, or not having ushers escort guests to their seats). We can either purchase paper for these items, or create them from paper provided. Contact us for pricing on these items, as they tend to vary depending on the style/design you choose.

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Misc Ramblings....

Detail of Alannah Hill She's Thrilled Frock (detail is on bottom of skirt area)

So, I WAS going to post about Photography, and why you should have a professional, yadda yadda. BUT, since it's Sunday night and not only am I a day late in posting, I'm also not in "wedding mode" at the moment!!! I've recently begun a closet cleanup....and my brain is a little obsessed (okay, alot!) with shoes & clothing at the moment!!

I wanted to share one of my favorite designers here in the US, Nanette Lepore. Also my favorite (and okay, I'll admit it, I like her more than NL!) designer out of the US, Alannah Hill. Both have exquisite details in their clothing, everything is well tailored, and the clothing is just GORGEOUS!!!!!! Here's some links to the designer's "official" sites, then I"m going to add some pictures of MY favorite pieces (that I have the privilege to actually own!) No, no, no, don't get excited....I'm super cheap and everything has come from either ebay or super-duper deep discounts at a coupe of outlets I hit up. That I have friends who work for the company (two major department stores come to mind!) who seriously hook me up. Otherwise I'd be sporting Gap and Banana Republic clothing, from the sale rack! (okay, so often I am sporting those two retailers!!! Gap is fab for basics, and BR for some key pants that fit my booty!)

Alannah Hill (it's an Australian site, also uses flash, so it can be slow at times)

Nanette Lepore (flash site...can be slow at times. drat it all, why can't everything be plain html?)

Some of my favorite favorite pieces (Okay, so I only own 3 Alannah Hill items....but it isn't sold here in the US, and I have to find sellers on ebay who don't want my money AND a pint of blood!!! lol)

She's Thrilled Frock (I love it, they use "frock" instead of "dress". How proper!!) All pictures were taken from the ebay seller I purchased the dress from. I saw it when I was in Sydney in the middle of March, and just fell in love with it. I nearly purchased it before I left, but couldn't wrap my head around the cost. I was lucky to find it on ebay for much less. Of course, now I need an occasion to wear it!

Photograph from ebay seller lv157, who has a wonderful Alannah Hill store.
She also ships to the US happily at very nice prices! With the current exchange rate, for the quality of the clothing, you'll get a good deal if you visit her store! She has some FABULOUS items as well. Also ships extremely fast for being half a world away!!!

Alannah Hill "Oooh Juicy Lips" Cami. Found this little gem for such a low price, I'm reluctant to admit it! (I seriously felt like I was stealing from the seller...especially since she only charged me the amount I would normally pay for domestic shipping in the US, not registered international mail!!!) I was VERY luck to obtain it in both the Nude AND the Pink. Apparently the pink version was a sample made, but never produced for the retail Alannah Hill stores. I've only worn the nude one, and received so many compliments I cannot wait for a reason to wear the pink one next!!!

The Detail on these cami's, they are INCREDIBLE!!

On to Nanette Lepore. I'm going to post a few of my personal favorites...not all of them do I personally own...I think even if I had endless fund for clothing, I would be hesitant to buy all I love. At heart, I am simply a girl (okay, woman!) who loves beautiful clothing, but cannot justify purchasing items unless they are at fabulous bargains! (My goal is to take over the entire closet, perhaps my husband can take over a hall closet or something)

Amour Cream Silk Top

Gorgeous cream silk top....with a rosette at the chest. Can be worn
untucked" with slacks, skirt, or tucked into either. I personally love to pair this top with a gorgeous Cynthia Steffie skirt I picked up a couple years ago for less than $10 in ebay, and the result is really quite pretty, if I may sat so myself!! The skirt has "kick pleats" in the front, where there are beaded flowers, which helps tie in the rosette on this top. Black (or brown) heels, and I"m good to go! On cooler days I add a neutral color cardigan. Hey, Texas weather is very unpredictable!!

Black "bustier", black lace over a gorgeous orangy-red-iridescent fabric. Simply stunning! I admit I got the picture from the seller I obtained the top from, it's not my own. At $2.99 plus $3 shipping, it was a deal I could simply not resist! (not to mention it had been freshly dry-cleaned!)
A gorgeous top to wear out on the town with slacks or dressy jeans, or JUST the right skirt. It can also be work strapless! I wish I had the style "name", but alas I do not! Nanette typically "names" all her designs.

Just a small sampling of my insane and out-of control closet, but also some great pieces that can help inspire the bride-to-be! I think the above proves that ebay is a fantastic site, and you can really find some fabulous bargains there! All items posted above were under $30, with the exception of the Alannah Hill dress, and one must bear in mind that the "retail" starts at $195 for the items above (most are in the $300 range. In US dollars)

All for now. My next post....Shoes, and some fabulous options for your wedding day, that fit IN your budget! Shoes do not need to be $500 to be beautiful on your wedding day!!

I promise I am going to get to the photography subject...but isn't it more fun to cover shoes and fashion? After all, most brides need to plan the honeymoon wardrobe!!!



Friday, May 8, 2009

Wedding Dresses

The Dress. The second "star of the show", the first being the bride. We all know how INSANELY expensive wedding dresses are, but as a bride, you want to be a princess, have a gorgeous gown, etc on your one special day. Soooo, you dole out the thousands on a stunning creation that you'll wear once.

Or will you.

You see, modern technology has given brides some options when it comes to buying a wedding dress. Ebay is one of my favorite places to troll, as I often find dresses that cost thousands go for less than $100 (with or without shipping). In fact, occasionally, I pick up a dress here and there, because I know that I come across brides who WANT the fairy princess $1000 dress, but simply cannot afford it. Then I get to step in and be the fairy godmother, and wave my "magic" wand.

If you don't have time to troll ebay, search through craigslist, various wedding websites, etc, I am more than happy to help find your dream dress as a price that you can afford. I cannot always promise success, but I will try everything in my power!!! One thing to keep in mind, ESPECIALLY on ebay, is watch out for sellers who sell 15 Vera Wang dresses at $100 or less. Chances are you will be buying a fake. I recommend sticking to small-time sellers, or someone who offers a return policy. Always ALWAYS use a credit card via Paypal, this way if you do get taken, you have some protection (as ebay doesn't always, okay, rarely, hold seller accountable). Please please please avoid sellers from overseas that scream "we can make anything, any size, whatever color you want, all for $249.99!!!". These are some of the poorest quality gowns a bride can CAN get lucky, but 9 times out of 10, yeah, it's not so pretty. This doesn't stop people from buying them, or stop these "seamstresses" from selling them (I personally love the "we are a factory for a famous label, your dress will be the same thing without the label!" line). If you are in doubt, contact a professional! Most wedding planners will be able to help you with this. If you really don't feel so good about a deal, walk away. Well actually, run the other direction!!!

I also have contacts where I can pick up "sample" gowns for a fraction of their original cost (yay!). These are typically in a size 10 (wedding dress size 10, which is about a street size 4-8 depending on the designer), and can be taken in, but not always taken up. This is for both wedding dresses AND bridesmaids dresses. I even keep some dresses on hand in my office from time to time, and I am more than happy to pass savings on to you if I can!

Of course MOST brides want the oh-so-fabulous fun of trying on gowns, going to different bridal shops, etc. (of course you can always shop the boutiques, and find your gown cheaper elsewhere!) I think EVERY bride should take the time to make an appointment with a truly luxe bridal salon. (even if you know you cannot afford a $10,000 dress!) It's just an experience you will remember forever, and it really is MUCH more fun than some well-known "big box" bridal shops across the US. Of course if you are in NYC, you simply must make time to visit Klienfield' there's nothing like it anywhere else!

In closing, there are a million options when searching for your wedding gown. In the end, please remember it is YOUR day, and you should have the final say on your dress!! Don't let your bridesmaids talk you into that poofy butt-bow, or electric blue dress to be "different", unless you really really feel that you want it!! Just because mom's paying for the dress, it doesn't mean she gets to pick it! Remember, it's the dress YOU have to wear on YOUR wedding day, and it will be forever remembered in the photographs you'l have sitting on your coffeetable for years to come. *smiles*

Tomorrow.....Photography. To spend or not to spend! (and why you should!)

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Tips & Tricks

Since I am still working on the details from my most recent wedding, I thought my post today would be about some tips & tricks in the wedding industry!

A few "cost-saving" things to look at closely.....

Printing your own invitations.

Before committing to this, you must look at the cost of your time, ink from your printer, and do you REALLY want to spend hours doing this? The savings factor, it's not always there. Typically invitations run about $100-$200 for 100 (this includes invitation, envelopes, reply cards, and usually the inner lined envelope). Printing at home, it's REALLY close. Most "kits" run about $40 for 48 invitations, ink about $20 (depending on the cost of your ink cartridges), and then any additional details, bows, stamping, etc will be around $20. So you are looking at a cost of about $140 (ish) to print 96 invitations!

I have personally done the invitations for brides before, and the savings is never more than about $50, UNLESS we're talking about some serious detail, I really REALLY recommend to brides that they order invitations! Unless of course they need 48 or less to send out, then it's worth it, as pricing for invitations typically starts around $75.

Doing your own flowers

This is an interesting subject. IF (and only IF!) you feel comfortable with all the work that it takes to put together bouquets, corsages, boutonnieres, this can be a cost-saving option. But to really have savings, you need to stick with one or two types of flowers, and keep it simple! If your dream bouquet had orchids in it, please hire a professional! Orchids are VERY fragile, and they really need to be handled in a specific way, as well as wrapped/wired for use in a bouquet. If it's simple roses you are after, it's possible to do it yourself. Sams Club is going to be the best option for flowers, just be sure you order at least a month in advance, or else you may not get the colors you want.

However, I do recommend all brides consult with a matter what they decide to do. This way you can see in person what it's supposed to look like, and get a good idea of how much work it'll be. You will also be able to find out what is in season on your wedding date, and bear in mind flowers that are in season will cost less than those not in season. Typically any flower can be ordered year-round, some are just more expensive in their "off season". Some colors will not be available at certain times of year. This is one pro of using a florist, as they can typically order just about anything. Doing your own flowers WILL limit your choices.

Something else to keep in mind. Fresh flowers cannot be put together any sooner than the night before, and even then it can be too early. They also need to be stored in either a refrigerator, a cooler, or a room that is kept VERY cool (and dark). If you have an evening wedding, flowers need to be processed and put together the same day, or you run the risk of them dying, browning, etc. It also helps if you can take some sort of class beforehand, as your wedding day is NOT a good time to be working with flowers for the first time!!

DIY Wedding Planning

This can be tricky. While finding vendors, arranging tastings, etc can be done on your own, you are at the mercy of wedding sites, (which many vendor pay for the "preferred" titles!), referrals from friends, etc. A couple of great things about hiring a wedding planner is they have vendors that they know and trust, they typically know who isn't so wonderful, and a GOOD wedding planner will actually save you money on the long run.

There are typically two options when you hire a wedding planner. You can have one from the very beginning, OR do the bulk of it yourself, and hire someone to come in for the rehearsal and the actual wedding to keep everything running smoothly. It sort of gives the bride some peace of mind, and believe me, your vendors will actually thank you, because it makes their job easier. If there is a problem, question, etc, they can ask the wedding planner, and not be bothering the bride for something like "do we have another silver tray for passing drinks?". It really just makes your experience as a bride less stressful, and it WILL make the day run MUCH smoother. I cannot tell you how many times I've attended weddings as a guest, only to end up sending the wedding party down the aisle because no one thought they needed a wedding planner (or the venue's "coordinator" wasn't really there to help the bride).

Also, it never hurts to contact a wedding planner and tell them your budget, etc. They may just help you out because they love weddings (I know I do this because I simply ADORE weddings. There is nothing more wonderful than seeing a couple in love!!), or they may be able to refer you to a planner who's just getting started and is taking on clients at lower fees. It also never hurts to ask for a discount! Most wedding professionals have ads on various websites or in magazines/bridal guides, and they offer discounts in their ads. If you ask, they may give you a discount that they are advertising somewhere!

Having Uncle Joe take the pictures

Unless Uncle Joe is a professional photographer, PLEASE PLEASE hire a wedding photographer!!! If your budget doesn't allow for this, see if you can find a student or a photographer just starting out that will shoot your wedding for the cost of materials (mileage, film (if they use film), processing fees, and any printing costs) for the chance to build his/her portfolio. Just because Uncle Joe had a nice expensive camera does not mean he will know WHAT to shoot, and the angles & lighting needed for the wedding pictures that will actually capture the essence of your day!

Again, a wedding planner can help with this. I personally have a list of photographers I love that have wonderful portfolios (and personalities!!! this is another MUST!!), but I also keep a list of photographers that maybe don't have as much experience, but are willing to work for little to no fees for the chance to build their portfolio.

Wedding Cake

Please, please, PLEASE hire a bakery that has a good reputation for your cake!! If you are in a budget, there are options to save money, and you can go with a simple design as well. A tiered cake has to be constructed properly, or it could be a complete disaster!

Also, I really recommend to brides that LOVE cake, find a bakery that does NOT freeze your cake! Freezing a cake takes away from the texture, and it can often dry a cake out. Most people can't tell the difference from a cake that was frozen, but this is something to keep in mind when interviewing bakeries, and having cake tastings. Most bakeries serve fresh cake for it's important to ask if they do this on your wedding day as well! Of course VERY complex designs need to be frozen to come out, so keep this in mind as well. (especially shaped's easier to shape a cake that is frozen VS one that has been refrigerated or just baked)

I hope these help someone out. I'll bring more advice as I continue blogging here, but this is a good start! Any questions, please contact me! I welcome questions from brides and/or other professionals in the wedding industry. I always like to talk about weddings....I mean, who wouldn't? Isn't being a part of a love story a wonderful thing?



Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Some Past Florals....

A selection of some bouquets I have constructed in the past. All can be "recreated", and of course, I welcome customization!! I love when a bride brings me a special strip of fabric to use as the ribbon on her bridal bouquet, or a gorgeous brooch that was her grandmothers to be attached to the handle. There are endless options out there when it comes to crafting a bridal bouquet, and while I have many many ideas, there is always something out there that I haven't thought of yet!

Stay tuned for more pictures soon....I had a wedding this past weekend for a lovely couple who blended both Eastern & Western culture and tradition into their truly unique and special day!

I also have more pictures of bouquets, including some special "bouquet jewelery" that had become so popular. In addition to some pieces I order from a source of mine, I can also make many different designs to be placed in your bouquet. Austrian crystals offer the chance to completely customize your bouquet jewels! Contact me for more information

And now, a selection of some of my favorite bouquets......

"Melissa" Bouquet

A stunning hand-tied bouquet of Rosita Vendela roses, wrapped with a white taffeta wired ribbon & an overlay of organza with beaded flowers (unfortunately you can't see the detail very well!)

I did this particular bouquet for a very dear friend of mine, Melissa. Her and her hilarious husband were married on Valentine's Day, 2009. We had the honor of not only attending their intimate event, but we also had the thrill of shooting their wedding photographs! I actually surprised her with the flowers....she had decided to go with silk flowers because around Valentine's day, well, even wholesale flowers go WAY up! I just happened to be walking through Wal-Mart and spotted them putting these prices I still am in awe of!

On a side note, I came across an article the other day, apparently the Rosita Vendela roses are some of Martha Stewart's favorite roses. The FTD arrangement by Martha Stewart for Mother's Day has them in it!

"Sophie" Bouquet

Creamy Blue Hydrangeas, Oriental Lilies, Creamy Sahara Roses, and Pale Pink Sophie Roses, this bouquet was wrapped with white satin ribbon, pinky-purple organza, & was accented with beaded "bouquet jewels".

Underside view of the same bouquet. The handle has a wide white satin ribbon, with a pale pinky-purple organza "wrap".

"Afternoon Tea" Bouquet

A stunning hand-tied bouquet with a center of Blue Curiosa Roses surrounded by a band of the gorgeous Green Tea roses. The handle is wrapped in a white satin, and a collar of purple organza.

The Blue Curiosa roses are some of my personal favorites, because they actually smell like traditional roses. In fact, most of the purple/lavender roses have the lush rose garden smell! The color range is from a pale silvery lavender, to some even deeper than the Blue Curiosas shown above! I love when a bride chooses these types of the effect of such a stunning (and typically unexpected!) color palette, it's unique, and when you can smell them, it's even more wonderful!!

Of course there are other varieties of flowers that can be used for your wedding that will smell wonderful. Peonies, Plumeria, Oriental Lilies, just to name a few. One of the wonderful things about choosing flowers for your wedding, is you can pick whatever you want! It's rare that we can't get a particular flower variety in, although if it's "out of season", you will pay a premium. I really recommend brides research what is going to be in season around their wedding date, OR if you are completely set on particular flowers, plan your wedding date around your flower choice! This is a great way to save some of the budget, as flowers can run into the thousands very VERY easily!!

I pride myself on keeping costs down for my brides. All of the bouquets I have shown here come in at under $100, and the price varies depending on the season. I believe that as not only a wedding planner, but as a florist, I should help my brides save more money, not spend more! With careful planning, you can have the wedding you want at a's just all about prioritizing your wants/needs/have to haves, and keeping things in perspective!

More to come. I simply cannot wait to share the Ling/Lichliter wedding!! Even with the storm, it was stunning!