Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Lauren & Jason | September 28, 2008

This past Sunday, we had the pleasure of coordinating the lavish wedding of Lauren and Jason, which was held at WoodWinds in Branford, CT. The couple was referred to us by Jason’s sister, Chrissie, whose wedding we coordinated back in September of 2006 (thanks Chrissie!).

Flowers and candles were in abundance at this event amidst a soft color palette of ivory, champagne, and pale pink. All of the ceremony décor did double-duty at the reception – the floral wreaths and altar arrangements adorned the entry staircase at WoodWinds, while the pew arrangements served as centerpieces for the cocktail tables. In the dining room, centerpieces alternated between silver candelabras and lush floral arrangements of hydrangea and roses. To add a touch of personalization to their wedding, Lauren and Jason chose homemade baklava wrapped in tiny gift boxes as their guest favor.

Although the wedding took place on a Sunday evening, the reception definitely had more of a Saturday-night vibe going on. The very energetic band – Nuts in a Blender – had the dance floor packed from the moment the first note was played.

With more than 300 guests in attendance, this wedding certainly kept us moving, so I was only able to grab a handful of pictures throughout the day. All of the below photos were taken by me, but be sure to check out http://www.jaylauren.com/ in a few weeks to see the amazing shots captured by photographer Jerome Braga of Studio 1923. This was our third time working with Jerome (who is a blast to hang out with, by the way), and at all three of the weddings we’ve done with him, the groom’s name has been Jason. Coincidence?

Lauren and Jason, thank you so much for letting us be a part of your wonderful day. We hope you have an incredible honeymoon in St. Lucia and we wish you all the best in your new life together!

Saturday, September 27, 2008

An Amish Wedding

Every year, I travel to Lancaster, Pennsylvania with my husband and his amazing family. It is one of the highlights of our year. The integrity and ingenuity of the Amish people is awe-inspiring. The beauty of the farmlands and countryside truly create a feeling of peace and calm. We also eat ourselves SILLY!

This year, as we were enjoying the splendor of Amish Country, I thought about how a wedding could be inspired by the nature of the area and its local people. As is the case with weddings, the Amish culture is also steeped in tradition.

Consider hosting your event in a beautiful location such as the gorgeous barn pictured below. It will set a rustic, simplistic and elegant tone for the evening.

(photo source unknown)

The Amish people are known for their refusal to use modern electricity. In keeping with that idea, try to use as little artificial lighting at your event as possible. Take it a step further by placing the candles in a mason jar and hanging them throughout the venue. Nothing is more romantic than a beautiful barn awash in the soft amber light of hundreds of candles.

(photo source unknown)

The beauty of nature is revered amongst the Pennsylvania Dutch. Use this concept in creating the feel for your event. Natural items such as wheat stalks, pumpkins, apples and garlands can serve as lovely centerpieces. Take advantage of the beauty that surrounds us every day in decorating your wedding.

(image courtesy of Better Homes & Gardens)

Traditional Amish fare consists of comfort foods such as farm-fresh fried chicken, potato stuffing, candied yams, and baked bread spread with apple butter. This meal would be great at a wedding served “family style” (where each dish is set on the table for guests to pass around) as is the custom when in Amish Country. This would really foster a sense of closeness and home. After all, a wedding should be about family!

(image courtesy of Dutchman Hospitality)

Quilting is at the heart of the Amish culture. Beautiful squares painstakingly sewn together are given to new Amish couples as they embark on their new life together. Incorporate this idea into a variation of the traditional wedding guest book. Set a basket filled with squares of various materials on a table by the entrance of your venue. Provide permanent markers and have guests indicate their well-wishes for your marriage on the squares. Find someone to quilt the squares together after the wedding. This beautiful blanket will serve as a memory of your special day for years to come.

(image courtesy of Broadway Paper)

Pies are a staple of Amish dessert. Instead of a traditional wedding cake, serve your guests Shoofly pie (a mixture of sweet crumbs and molasses) and Whoopie pies (sweet creamy frosting sandwiched between two small cakes). Usually made with chocolate cakes and cream filling, Whoopie pies can also be made with red velvet, pumpkin, and oatmeal variations. Give your guests a selection of these home-baked desserts and serve them with warm, comforting beverages such as hot mulled cider, strong coffee, and hot chocolate.

(photo source unknown)

(image courtesy of Kitchen Kettle Village)

A great favor to remind your guests of your Pennsylvania Dutch-inspired wedding, gift them with small jars of locally-produced apple, pear or pumpkin butter. Kitchen Kettle based in Intercourse, Pennsylvania (one of my favorite spots to visit) offers their fruit butters in mini jars- the perfect size for a wedding favor! Personalize it even further by customizing a label with your names and wedding date.

(image courtesy of Martha Stewart Weddings)

The love of family and friends that defines the Amish lifestyle is a perfect way to begin the marriage of two families.

Here are a few photos from our trip! (the following photos are courtesy of my brother-in-law, Ben Strano)

Elizabeth & Jay (isn't my husband adorable?!)

My in-laws

An Amish farm

Tractor on the farm

Lovely Amish sunset

Monday, September 22, 2008

Move over, Michael's.

Home decorating stores can be a great, unconventional source for reception décor. If you’re an autumn bride (or groom) planning a fall-themed wedding, check out these adorable pumpkin items that are currently on the market.

These pumpkin candles from Pottery Barn look just like the real thing and would provide the perfect accent to your cake table, place card table, or guest book table. (Starting at $6.00)

Fill this pumpkin jar from Crate & Barrel with Candy Corn or Reese’s Pieces to add a fun fall touch to your candy buffet. ($8.95)

Set the tone for your fall-themed reception as soon as guests arrive with these pumpkin place card holders from Pier 1. ($10.00 for a set of 4 - available in stores)

Sunday, September 21, 2008

How cool is this?

In my daily blog-stalking adventures, I came across this post by Matt Fink on Digital Media Odyssey’s blog about a wedding painter. What is a wedding painter, you ask? An artist who is hired to paint a scene from your wedding as it unfolds. What a neat idea! I had first heard about this when [b]ecker posted about it on his blog a couple years ago . . .

. . . but I’ve never seen it in action until now. Head on over to Digital Media Odyssey’s blog and take a look at the time-lapse video Matt shot of artist Martin Hardy doing his thing.

P.S. If you are looking for a videographer, Matt is awesome! He shot my wedding as well as the weddings of several friends. Check out his website at www.dmodyssey.com.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Reception Events

Gone are the days where guests were just expected to watch the reception musicians and passively sway to the music. Today’s brides and grooms are intent on making their event more interactive, ensuring that the guests walk away having experienced something different.

There are so many opportunities these days to make your wedding something unique and exciting for your guests. Activities and events within the reception accomplish this goal.

Although a classic, cigars made a resurgence a few years ago. Like selecting a fine wine, the search for good cigars has become a favorite activity for many. There are a few options for incorporating this renewed classic in to your wedding.

(image courtesy of The Wedding Chicks)

Seen in magazines such as Inside Weddings and Modern Bride, CF Dominicana maintains a listing of local cigar rollers who can provide their rolling services to your event. Guests will love watching as their cigar is created.

Another option is to provide a cigar bar to your guests. I incorporated this into my own wedding, as my husband is a big cigar fan. Select your favorite brands and types of cigars and arrange them in a humidor. Personalize it even further by including cigars with a monogrammed band (see Thomson Cigar’s website for options. Add another special touch by providing personalized matchboxes that your guests can take home as a favor (check out ForYourParty.com). Make cigar cutters, scotch and cognac available near the humidor, and this will make for a great event cigar lovers will truly appreciate.

These photos are from my own wedding (October 1, 2005).

(images courtesy of Reina McCuskey of MereMatt Studios)

You see people line up on the boardwalk or at the fair to be sketched in whimsical and colorful imagery. It’s always fun to see as someone’s features are exaggerated for humorous effect. Something about seeing a caricature brings people back to their childhood. Why not incorporate this fun activity into your wedding reception? Guests will truly love having their image in cartoon form as a way to always remember the fun they had at your wedding. Take a look at Quick Sketch’s website for more information about hiring a caricaturist for your event!

(image courtesy of Quick Sketch)

Dance Lessons
If you already have your guests on the dance floor, why not teach them a few moves? Hire someone to teach your guests various forms of dance. Salsa, ballroom and belly dancing are current popular favorites. Contact your local dance studio to locate an instructor who would love to teach your guests some new dance techniques!

(image courtesy of KC Dance)

Photo Booth
This is something most of us used to enjoy during a visit to the arcade. Put a few cents in and you would be rewarded with quirky photos of you and your friends. Brides and grooms are now bringing this activity into the reception venue. The photos that are produced will act as a great favor for your guests and they will always remember the fun they had at your event. Visit Classic Photo Booth’s website to review their services.

Silhouette Cutting
Silhouette cutting is the classic art of creating a portrait using black paper. The resulting image is not only beautiful but provides a sense of classic nostalgia. Guests will love to watch as their image is expertly carved into paper. The silhouette they receive can be used mounted on cards or framed to display in their home. Master silhouette artist Karl Johnson has been featured in publications such as Martha Stewart Weddings and Elegant Bride. Take a moment to browse his site and view his beautiful artwork.

(image courtesy of Martha Stewart Weddings)

Guests enjoy receptions where they are encouraged to participate. You have so many options to ensure that your wedding is unique and memorable.

Friday, September 5, 2008

Dessert to go!

What is better than a delicious, sweet cupcake? A delicious, sweet cupcake… ON A STICK! I swear, food always tastes better when placed on a stick. And the same is most definitely true for dessert!

I discovered this great dessert idea on Bakerella. Not only is it unique (and convenient!), but served with a small glass of milk and it is the perfect end to a wonderful reception. Serve it with little cartons of milk and it’s the perfect treat to send your guests home with!
(image courtesy Bakerella)

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

I'm in love

I saw this cake some time ago in a Martha Stewart Weddings magazine. And I instantly fell in love. For some reason, it makes me happy every time I look at it... so I wanted to share this bit of happiness with you.

(image courtesy of marthastewart.com)

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Monday, September 1, 2008

Curtain Call

In my journeys on the internet, I stumbled across this fabulous find on the Style Me Pretty blog

The bride and groom planned a sophisticated wedding in an old Broadway theater in Manhattan. The grandeur and drama of the venue were carried throughout all of the wedding details. This particular element was what caught my eye.

The invitation is your first opportunity to set the tone for the experience your guests can expect. In this case, the boxed invitation expresses the vision that the couple had for their wedding... and is a great way to introduce their guests to the venue they had selected. The fabric the curtain is made of is luxurious, dramatic and includes the colors that would be found throughout the event. This invitation is both beautiful and clever and will certainly catch the eye and interest of all guests.

(image courtesy of James Abel Events)