Would You Have an iPod Reception?

Just for the sake of argument, could you conceivably use your little ole iPod as a stand-in DJ??? Just hand it over to a friend who knows when to "hit it"? Guess what? You could.

While some couples pay hundreds or thousands of dollars for reception entertainment, others are loading their iPods (or digital Walkmans or other MP3 players) with their favorite songs, patching it into a stereo sound system and letting it rip.

Of course, as with all things DIY, the key to pulling this off is organization. If this is something you might want to do, be sure to have clearly programmed playlists for each section of the reception. Also, be sure that you have the attachments you need to make your iPod work with the sound system and make sure you have enough speakers. That's it!

Do you know anyone who has done their own reception music? Whether with an iPod or mix CDs? Tell us what you think!

DIY: Making Your Own Bouquet

More brides have made their own bouquets than you might think. When you really think about it, there's not much to it. It's also a great way to save money and customize your blossoms to your own taste.
If you're thinking about having a DIY bouquet, THIS video gives you a good place to start.

Weekend Cocktails: Cranberry Mojitos

With the holidays officially upon us, we thought we'd share a cocktail that takes advantage of the season. Your guests may never eat your cranberry sauce. But it will be hard for them to turndown your Cranberry Mojitos. We found this yummy recipe at Epicurious.com:

1 bunch fresh mint, trimmed (about 1 cup)
1/2 cup sugar
1 3/4 cups light rum
1 1/4 cups fresh lime juice
3/4 cup frozen cranberry juice cocktail concentrate, thawed
2 10-ounce bottles sparkling water, chilled

Using a wooden spoon, mash mint with sugar in bottom of large pitcher. Add rum and lime juice; stir to dissolve sugar.

Mix in thawed cranberry juice concentrate and water. Mix in 6 cups ice.
Serves 6.

Wedding Budget Tips: From The Groom's POV

-by Guest Blogger Mark Walerstein,
Founder of GroomsOnline

I remember the days when every weekend so many couples were getting married. It was very hard to find place and vendors to perform the receptions. Couples then started to have their wedding in some of the off months. Now with the economy very slow and many business in need of work, you can rest assure you can find something to meet your wedding budgets. Below are 5 awesome tips for you to save big on your reception and have it look spectacular. You can also use the wedding budget calculator at GroomsOnline.com to give you a great idea of what you can expect on spending and also keep track of what you are spending.

1. Choosing the off-season. Choosing the date of your wedding can determine the price you may pay. If you’re looking to save money choosing the right month will be crucial. Spring and summer are very popular seasons to have your wedding. You might want to choose months like October thru early November. Late November can be busy with company holiday parties.

2. Weekdays will Save you Lot$. Choosing a week day for your reception will give you more room to negotiate the price. Monday thru Thursday most vendors are not that busy with receptions or parties which will give you leverage when working out a price.

3. Location, Location, Location. Choosing the place to hold you reception will make a big difference. The more popular the location, the more likely they will be booked and the costs will be higher due to the demand. This may take some time but there are many places that have beautiful scenery and cost much less. I got married at a home that was converted into a reception site for wedding. Although it was out of the way, it was situated on a hill over looking the owners avocado farm with beautiful vistas and saved me lot of money. Your church or temple is a great way to save as well as you community center.

4. Negotiate Your Prices. Everything has a price and nothing is set in stone these days with the economy acting they way it is. If you don’t ask for a lower price you may never know if you can get one. So negotiate prices with every one of your vendors, especially if you are following tips one two and three. I will say that negotiating is good, remember also you get what you pay for so don’t try to low ball to much, that may offend you potential vendor.

5. Utilize Friends and Family. We have some very crafty friends and family that have made favors, decorations and table center pieces for many parties. All the guests seem to love them and we get praise from some vendors too. Some of your friends might have a very cool car that you may want to use instead of limo, so put those friends and family to work and you will save a lot more than you think.

Mark Walerstein is the founder of GroomsOnline. With over 20 years experience in the wedding industry starting as a DJ/MC, he has worked on thousands of weddings including some well known celebrities. Mark also helped with 100% of the planning for his wedding that over 300 people attended.

Wordless Wednesday - Patricia & Charles

Harlem, NY

Courtesy of Jen Huang Photography

Wedding Bridal Shoe of the Day: The Lily

Sure, these vintage-inspired slingbacks may seem out-of-season to the more traditional among us. But we're told that bridal shoes don't follow the same rules that govern regular fashion. Shelley George made these lovelies of satin and leather for a comfortable fit. And of course we love the antique-style brooch. Find out more about The Lily HERE.

What about the GROOMZILLAS???

We women often complain about our partners not doing enough to help in the wedding planning stages. But, believe it or not, women are not the only ones who can turn in to monsters during wedding planning. More and more men are getting involved in their wedding planning and taking the pursuit of perfection to new heights. Take a look at this report from a local television station and tell us what you think!

Weekend Cocktail Series

We continue our Weekend Cocktail Series with the... Pumpkintini!

We've been hearing about this one for weeks, but there are SO many different recipes for it. Here's the one we liked best from TwitterMoms.com:

1 graham cracker, crushed into fine crumbs
Ice cubes
1 ½ ounces rum
3 tablespoons pumpkin pie filling
½ ounce maple liqueur
½ ounce half-and-half

Place the graham cracker crumbs on a small plate. Wet the rim of a chilled martini glass and dip into the crumbs to coat. In a cocktail shaker filled with ice, combine the rum, pumpkin pie filling, maple liqueur and half-and-half. Shake, then strain into the martini glass.


Let's Do It Again

There are lots of practical reasons that would explain why a couple might want to renew or re-do their vows: From military deployment to wanting to be married before they get the money for a bigger affair down the road.
But it's also a growing trend among celebrities who just want to do their nuptials in a different way than they did the first time. (Think Mariah Carey and Nick Cannon.) Now, Mel B. (a/k/a Melanie Brown) and her movie-producer husband Stephen Belafonte have done it, too.
The couple wed in a Las Vegas ceremony back in June 2007. But they renewed their wedding vows this week with a four-day celebration in Egypt. Only their closest family and friends attended the ceremony. Mel says, "“We decided to do it for the kids." She has a daughter with actor Eddie Murphy and Belafonte has a daughter from a previous relationship.
Read more about Mel B.'s Egyptian nuptials in OK Magazine .

Wordless Wednesday

The Haskell - Simon Wedding
Florida 2008

Designer Spotlight: Amsale Aberra

Amsale Aberra is one of the top couture wedding dress designers in the world. She came to America from Ethiopia at the age 19 to study art. Her life took a turn when she was planning her wedding and had a difficult time finding a gown she liked. Amsale wound up sewing her own gown and before long she began designing dresses for other brides-to-be. She started her own company in 1986. Just last year that company racked up more than $25 million dollars in sales.

Here are several real brides wearing her creations:

See more at Amsale.com

Wedding Bouquets: From Real to Fake?

It may take some time to fix the U.S. economy and the current downturn is causing some brides-to-be to make changes in their plans. One change we're hearing a lot about is in flowers. When some ladies hear about the price difference between real and silk flowers, silks start sound a lot better than they did a few years ago. In fact, while some florists are ringing their hands over cheaper orders, businesses like AFloral.com report that they are looking forward to a good Spring 2009 wedding season.

The newest silk creations are designed with such detail that they can completely fool the eye. Then they're sprayed with a coordinating scent.

We don't know if silk bouquets are for every bride- maybe they are!- but they present a very interesting possibility. If you decide to go with silk flowers, you can reap some pretty nice benefits as long as you choose a quality product.

* Silk flowers are less expensive than real ones. On top of that, the price of a faux bouquet doesn't fluctuate with the seasons.
* Silk wedding bouquets can arranged long before your nuptials and can be kept forever after.
* They're allergy free and less likely to droop or fall apart.

Find more information at FlowersToThePeople.com.

Change Has Come To America: FEEL this!

Call it what you will- jubilation, happiness, exuberance, relief- people around the world are feeling it.
-from African-AmericanBrides.com member snissaj

Atlanta, Georgia, USA
Christine King Farris, Martin Luther King Jr.'s sister, reacts to the news at Ebenezer Baptist Church




Obama Zydeco "Oui On Peut" (Yes We Can)

America's First Family-Elect

Historic Moments as MSNBC Announces Obama Wins

Jesse Jackson in Chicago's Grant Park (New York Times)

Ladies & Gentlemen, I Present... President-Elect Barack Obama!

Did You Vote Today? Discuss!

It's an historical election day. No doubt about it. But that's causing some long lines and other issues associated with large turnouts. So, ladies, if you voted today please share your experience by clicking on comments. We would love to hear about how things went for you!

Election '08 Mash-Up

Well, we all know what tomorrow is. And we all know why it's important to our growing families. A lot of things are coming down the pike at the last minute and we want to be sure to share it with you.

There have been some problems with early voting. No one knows how widespread these issues might be and we'd like to think these are just the normal glitches. But even Oprah Winfrey had trouble with early voting in her neck of the woods.

Hilarious! "The Vet Who Did Not Vet" is short-but-funny video about why a presidential candidate's choice for his/her running mate really DOES matter.

Equally funny, but still thought-provoking is Wassup 2008. It's from the folks who first gave us this catch phrase, but this time with a serious twist.

Let us know what you think about these by clicking on Comments!

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