Save-the-Date Magnets at Pose Prints

Looking for something fun in wedding stationery? Caricatures are becoming more and more popular among those who want to let their guests know they're in for a good time. Also, Save-The-Date magnets have been around for years because they can "stick around" as visual reminders before a wedding- and as mementos after the wedding. This week we found out that PosePrints is combining both ideas in their Save-the-Dates and allowing couples to customize them. Pop over to the website when you get a chance and take a look at some of the options. Here's one of our favorites:

Adding A Little More Activity To Your Day

I'm happy to report we're still at it in week four of the State Farm 50 Million Pound challenge. Not perfect, by any means, but still on the wagon.
I am not one of those people who hits the gym daily. As a matter of fact, most days, my toddler is all the intense physical activity I can handle. But I've been reading some really good tips about adding just a little more physical activity to your day. While they're nothing new, they're great to remember because a little goes a long way.

Getting up from your desk and walking around.
Basically, this tip asks you to consider doubling the number of times you get up from your desk. You can either walk around the office, walk a couple of flights of stairs or walk around outside.

Parking farther away from the grocery store. You've heard this one before. But think about doing it everytime you're in a parking lot. Don't worry about getting the spot closest to the door. Instead park closer to the ends of the lot and STROLL.

Taking the stairs. If you work in a skyscraper, this is not for you. But I've been finding lots of non-work places to climb the steps, such as the doctor's office.

Stretching before bed at night. (And in the morning, if you have time.)

Join us in continuing our health goals at State Farms' 50 Million Pound Challenge:

Priscilla of Boston: Not Just For Celebrities

When Houston Rockets basketball player Brian Cook tied the knot earlier this month, his bride Victoria Velasquez (left) caused a sensation in a stunning gown from Priscilla of Boston’s Platinum Collection.

But lots of non-famous brides-to-be are also discovering gowns from Priscilla of Boston thanks to the lush fabrics, beautiful beadwork and attention to detail.

The newest Priscilla of Boston bridal gowns come with glam modern details like “crumb catchers” and empire waists, but also with vintage touches.

Each gown is custom made and sizes go up to 24. The standard order time for gowns is around 16-18 weeks. See more gowns and read about real bride La’Keidra O. Hardeman on the Priscilla of Boston website.

A Wedding As Unique As You Are

- by Lisa

There are many ways in which you can make your wedding unique – many more than I can address in this one blog. That being said, I do want to address some ways in which you can use details to make your event not only stand out from the rest, but also make it absolutely extraordinary!

Creating the floral design plan is one of my favorite parts of wedding planning. Flowers are so beautiful and make everything seem so romantic and magical- like a dream you do not want to wake from. They make any event come alive. When I think of weddings, I think of flowers. There is nothing more special than a nicely designed floral piece, and in some instances; the designs have taken my breath away. For me, it’s not the big beautiful designs that are so impressive, but the well chosen ones containing the minutest detail – reflecting the feeling, formality, and style of the event as a whole.

One way in which you can really make your pieces unique, is by customizing the container. Having a country – outdoor theme? Try putting your blooms in a Longaberger basket, with a simple ornament – “To Love” – attached perfectly with a coordinating ribbon. Or perhaps you are having an Italian theme, with foods from Italy. Try putting your pieces in different shaped pasta sauce jars. Keep the labels on for an additional creative touch. One table can be labeled Ragu, while another Prego! For a home wedding, galvanized pails might be the container of choice. Having a “City” themed wedding? Maybe your centerpieces might not have flowers at all, but items that originated from your city of choice. So many choices and ways in which you can make your wedding stand out.

Votive candles are as indoctrinated into weddings as flowers these days. Every wedding has votive candles, 3-4 surrounding the centerpiece, mostly in clear glass jars. Candles add a beautiful soft light that make things have an extremely romantic feel. Why not enhance your look with colored and textured votives. It’s just a small touch that will make a huge impact – making your wedding stand out from the rest. Also, place them in other places – on the buffet, the gift table, etc. I really do not think that you can use too many candles.

The bows. By now we've seen them on the chair covers, in the hair, on the back of the dresses, and on the flower girls. It may be time to get bows a well-deserved rest. Here is a nice alternative to the more traditional “bow”. It’s nice, clean and works well on Chaivaris. For chair covers, I would go with a simple band. It’s easy, slides over, clean, no mess –and more importantly - no fuss.

Wordless Wednesday: Monisha and Calvin

Cabo San Lucas, Mexico
Courtesy of Michael Clark Photography

Wedding Gown of the Day: Amy Kuschel

Amy Kuschel

This dress is from Amy Kuschel's beach destination line. But we think it's gorgeous enough to wear anywhere! It's made of french chantilly lace with a bateau neckline and an open back, and finished with a trumpet/flutter skirt. The hidden beauty of this dress? It actually converts to a mini-dress for your post-ceremony transformation. Go, butterfly!

Weekend Cocktail Series: The Divinitini

Ahhhh. Did you think bartenders had run out of -"tini's"? If so, you would be WRONG. We haven't personally tried this week's chocolate-laden concoction (we WILL this weekend), but those who have say it's simple divine. Maybe that's why it's called the Divinitini.

We're told it was created by the barman at the Sanderson Hotel in London's West End. The recipe we like best is below and was taken from

For Each Cocktail:

4 squares of chocolate, melted
1 fl oz orange vodka
1 fl oz vodka
A dash of Grand Marnier
A dash of Creme de Cocoa
1 slice orange
Garnish with a purple pansy

Put the melted chocolate, orange vodka, pure vodka, Grand Marnier, Crème de Cocoa into a cocktail shaker. Crush the orange slice and add. Shake well and then pour into a chilled glass, decorated with a pansy on the side, and sip.
If you can't find a purple pansy, don't worry about it. ;)

Want to Lose Weight? Get Some Sleep!

Recently, scientific studies have shown a correlation between sleep and weight loss. To sum it up, scientists have found that improving the quality and length of your sleep can actually help you to lose weight by regulating your hormones. That's right: burning the midnight oil can keep you from burning calories. People who are deprived of sleep suffer from a hormonal imbalance that increases hunger, while decreasing the levels of the hormone that suppresses appetite.

I'm no scientist, but I have experienced the too-little-sleep/can't-lose-weight- no-matter-what phenomenon. I've also noticed that I eat so much more when I'm tired, as if my body -realizing that it can't get rest- tries to get more energy from food. That's when something that feels like hunger is really your body telling you something else completely.

If you've decided that 2009 is the year for making peace with your body, do yourself a favor: Read about how improving your sleep can promote weight loss and get your rest! Also, join us in continuing our health goals at State Farms' 50 Million Pound Challenge:

Waste Not, Want Not

-by Guest Blogger

I know I have alluded to this in past entries, but I think it’s important enough to mention again. It’s all of our responsibility to protect the environment, be mindful of waste, and be socially responsible. Additionally, in these tough financial times, I think most would be interested in saving some dough! Of course, like everyone, I too have my hang-ups. When it comes to the wedding budget, I help my clients prioritize and define where they want to spend their money. Same holds true being conservative on waste, choosing items that are environmentally friendly, and offering budget friendly ideas. Many of my clients want to conserve on certain aspects of their wedding, but don’t want to completely toss out all those beautiful extras. We guide our clients in where to conserve and give them ideas on how to do so, while maintaining the look and feel of the wedding. So, that’s what I want to do. I want to discuss just a couple of areas where you can conserve and give you great resources on how to do so.

– We have had couples offer favors, and we have had couples not offer favors. If you're a couple "in favor" of giveaways, you could opt for favors in the form of charitable donations. In other words, you could donate money in your guest’s names. If you're looking for some ideas on how to make this work, is an excellent resource. They will allow you to not only create a foundational favor registry, but a gift registry as well.

Transportation – Couples want to get to and from their wedding in style. But this may be an area where you can cut down significantly. Many couples are opting to get married at a location that offers the ceremony and reception at one location. One huge advantage to this is that everyone can “get there” and you do not have to hire specialty cars and such. But if your ceremony and reception sites are in different locations, you can opt to not transport the wedding party, which would cut down on limos, gas, and cost. Often times, wedding party members and/or their dates have their own cars (rental or otherwise) that they can use and you can use your money to rent a classic car or hire an hourly airport shuttle. The Lincoln Town Car will cost you less, and offer you one way transport (rather than the expensive 3-4 hour minimums that most limo companies offer). How about contacting a valet company to drive you in a hybrid or electric car? There are many options and many possibilities that are “green” and budget friendly, and not take away from the elegance of the day!

In terms of guest transportation, a shuttle bus is a great option. Even though there is an extra cost to you, it makes it easy for your guests, especially if many are from out of town or unfamiliar with the area. It cuts down on the need for map and direction cards, gas consumption, as well as the worry that guests will get lost. This is especially true if your ceremony and reception are in two separate locations.

A few small changes by many couples add up to a lot of energy and money savings.
Happy planning!

Haute Mama: Mother of the Bride Dresses

In the last few weeks we’ve looked at wedding gowns and bridesmaid dresses. But what about dresses for the mother-of-the-bride or mother-of-the-groom? It’s important to remember that the mommies want to look great, too! A bride-to-be recently asked me if there was a place where her mom to try on different options for the wedding. I suggested she try David’s Bridal, where her mother could try on a variety of affordable dresses in a range of sizes.

Sophisticated Mom

Ultra-Modern Mom

Couture Mom

Glam Mommy

David’s is also having a sale right now, with some gorgeous gowns going for as low as $79. See more mother of the bride dresses. And if you decide to stop into David’s with your mom, please be sure to come back and let us know how it goes!

Handmade Bridal Shoes: DiKusa

Why are handmade goods so popular for weddings right now? Part of the reason is that they allow a lot of room for customization and personalization. But they also impart a quality that makes them suitable for heirlooms and "handing down". We were intrigued recently when we heard about companies focusing on handmade bridal shoes. One of them is DiKusa, which features intricate designs using hand-beading, embroidery, Swarovski crystals, and rhinestones.

See more at DiKusa's website by clicking below.

Staying Inspired While Losing Weight

If you've visited our message board, you already know that several of us signed up for the 50 Million Pound Challenge (headed up by Dr. Ian Smith and sponsored by State Farm) at the beginning of this year. Many of us have been on crash diets in the past. But as the adage goes, "Slow and steady wins the race." Many of us are just finding out how true that old saying is. I have lost 17 pounds since January. But, for me, my success truly depends on paying attention to my state of mind.

Here's my issue: I'm not a new dieter. I'm a serial dieter. Heck, I've even been a cereal dieter. (Ugh, don't ask. Just know that I'll never replace dinner with a bowl of kibble ever again.) Somewhere along the way, in the course of every diet no matter how much weight I lost, I got discouraged. Sometimes it was because of a plateau, other times it was because my taste buds just wouldn't take another day of whatever ultra-restricted menu I was following.

But now I'm working WITH my body instead of against it and allowing a little give and take when it's called for. I'm able to stay inspired by reminding myself that staying healthy really is a journey (and a fun one when you have friends to travel with!). So far, that change has given me the steady weight loss I had been looking for. When I think back on it, I realize that it's easy to slip when you lose sight of the goal. Nowadays, I no longer dwell on how far I have to go. I'm able to remain inspired by reminding myself where I'm headed with my health. Visualizing myself as I want to be and doing what I want to do without getting tired seems to do the trick for me.

If you're looking to get healthier, join us!

Wedding Vendors: Professionals vs. Hobbyists

- by Lisa

What are the differences in hiring a professional vendor vs. a hobbyist? There are valid pros and cons to each. I’m not just talking about coordinators/planners, but also about DJ’s, florists, videographers, and photographers – collectively. Even though everyone has a different art and different strengths, the topics which I will discuss do cross “vendor lines”.

1. Professionals dedicate their career to their art. What’s good about this? They have more time to think about their business and their work, which gives them more time to make themselves, and their product, better and more attractive to you (the Bride and Groom). They are focused on the goal. They are able to take calls at all times of the day (without a boss breathing down their back). They are able to schedule meetings at times that are convenient for you (as they are available during the day and evening – minus meetings, events, and other engagements). They also have more time to keep up with the industry trends, and keep you up to date with happenings around your local area.
Many hobbyists are very good at what they do. However, focus may be lacking. When the day job consumes 8-10 hours a day, how much time do you think they have to focus on making their product more appealing to you (the Bride and Groom)? How responsive will they be when you call with questions, concerns, or an emergency? Will they have to wait until the work day ends to attend to your needs? Will they be available during the day, if that’s more convenient to you?
2. Cash. Generally professional vendors are a bit more expensive than hobbyists. Why? Overhead! Generally, they hire people who are knowledgeable bring their talent to your wedding. They also invest more money into their business, thus equipment used is generally of higher quality. The vendors spend more time educating themselves. For instance, the DJ will have a greater selection and knowledge about music, crowd control and crowd patterns. The planners will spend more time making sure all the details are addressed and tended to. The editing of the video will be of better quality. Often times, vendors will rent space so that they can broadcast their work in style. All of these small details make a huge impact on the outcome of your day.
Hobbyists generally have less overhead, and another job, and therefore can afford to charge a bit less.
3. A lot happier Brides. I know from experience that those who dedicate their time and energy to their wedding career have a lot happier Brides. I know both sides of the story. I had a full time job and a wedding business. I have also had my wedding career. When having a full time job, I had happy Brides, but since going full time, I have ecstatic brides. I really do believe that the difference is in the small things that now I am able to do to make my couples and their families happy.

I am not advocating that you spend a ton of money in every aspect of your wedding. However, I do think it’s important that you hire people that will help you create the day you dream it will be. There are different levels of professionals, and you will find a few that will fit your style and budget. After all, you are making a huge investment as you start of your life together. It happens once. There should be no regrets and no looking back and wishing.

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