Thursday, February 26, 2009

Special offer from BARWA Photography

During a recent chat with one of our favorite videographers, Marcin from Digital Ink Studio, I learned that he and his wife Joanna have recently expanded their service offerings to include contemporary wedding photography. Since this is a new venture for them, they are offering a limited number of photography packages to Connecticut couples at the special introductory rate of $1,000. This special offer includes up to 10 hours of coverage with two photographers.

We’ve had the pleasure of working with Marcin and Joanna a number of times and we always have a blast with them. Visit the BARWA website for more information about their photography services or check out the BARWA blog to see some of their recent work.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

How Not to Become a Two-Dress Bride

If you’re not familiar with the term “two-dress bride," it’s pretty self-explanatory: a bride with not one, but two wedding dresses. And I don’t mean a traditional ball gown to wear at the ceremony and a slinkier number to change into at the reception. This is a bride who purchases a dress, and then decides that said dress just isn’t what she sees herself walking down the aisle in, so she purchases a second (or a third, or a fourth). Not only is this cost-prohibitive, it’s just plain unnecessary. Here are a few simple strategies to avoid falling victim to this unfortunate circumstance.

Don’t jump the gun on dress shopping.
Dress shopping is by far one of the most thrilling parts of the wedding planning process. As a result, most brides are eager to get this crossed off the to-do list in a hurry. Try to hold off, however, until you have some of your essential wedding plans in place. Your venue, for instance, can have a major influence on the design of your event and, consequently, your attire. An ornate ball gown with a cathedral train has no place at a casual afternoon beach wedding.

Don’t bring too many people shopping with you.
One thing all brides learn very quickly as they start to plan their weddings is that everyone has an opinion, and most people don’t hesitate to share it in the form of unsolicited advice. While in theory it may seem like a good idea to bring your eight bridesmaids, mother, future mother-in-law, grandmother, aunt, cousin, second cousin, etc., this is one case where “the more the merrier” most definitely does not apply. Getting that many people to agree on anything is nearly impossible and conflicting opinions will only complicate your decision. Plus, you run the risk of being talked out of something you really like. Instead, bring just two or three of your closest friends or family members whose opinions you value.

Trust your gut.
You knew your fiancĂ© was “the one” when you met him. Chances are, you’ll experience a similar epiphany while dress shopping. Many brides start out with a pre-conceived notion of the kind dress they want and end up purchasing something completely different. If the gown you fall in love with doesn’t match the vision you originally had in your mind, be open to that.

Once you’ve made the purchase, stop looking!
You will always, always find something you like even better for the simple reason that new and stunning dress designs are hitting the runways all the time. Don’t let temptation rear its ugly head. Once you’ve purchased your dress, close that chapter of the planning process and move on.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Handmade by Someone Else

I love to create (which comes in quite handy as a wedding planner)! For my own wedding, it was apparent from the beginning that a lot of my details would be do-it-yourself.

If you're not so "crafty" and still want some beautiful, handmade details for your own event, check out Etsy's wedding page. They have everything from invitations to cake toppers to ring pillows. You will spend hours browsing this site... I know I can!

Here are some beautiful finds from this wonderful site!

Daphne Bridal Tiara by SarJil Design Studio

Unity Candle Set (color customizable) by Paula's Petal Pastries

Wedding Invitation by Blossom Accents

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Does the roof of your mouth stand still on an island?

That has to be the strangest blog post title ever written, but I wanted to take a moment to address a few commonly misused words in the wedding industry, as this is a bit of a pet peeve of mine. The misuse is occurring everywhere from The Knot message boards to vendor websites and blogs. Below I offer definitions for the offending terms as well as their grammatically correct counterparts (source:

Palate vs. Palette
You don’t select a color palate for your wedding; you select a color palette.

pal-ate (noun) The roof of the mouth, consisting of an anterior bony portion (hard palate) and a posterior muscular portion (soft palate) that separate the oral cavity from the nasal cavity.

pal-ette (noun) The range of colors used by a particular artist.

Stationary vs. Stationery
Your invitations are not part of your wedding stationary; they’re part of your wedding stationery.

sta-tion-ar-y (adjective) Standing still; not moving.

sta-tion-er-y (noun) Writing materials, as pens, pencils, paper, and envelopes.

Isle vs. Aisle
On your wedding day, you don’t walk down the isle; you walk down the aisle.

isle (noun) A small island.

aisle (noun) A longitudinal division of an interior area, as in a church.

Are you using these terms correctly?

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Love Is (Still) In The Air

Although Valentine’s Day just passed, I still feel like love is in the air.

One of the best things about attending a wedding as a guest is to enjoy the romantic atmosphere with your significant other. As we go through our days, sometimes it becomes tougher and tougher to take the time to really cherish each other and do things to spark the passion and love in our relationships.

A great gift from the couple to their guests can be a renewal of romance. Your favor can act as the catalyst for this. Instead of traditional guest gifts, why not give other couples something that transport them back to the early days of their marriage.

Movie Night
There is nothing I love more than to enjoy a movie with my husband. We love to spend time together, snuggled up on the couch- watching our favorite films! A favor consisting of a Blockbuster gift card and a bag of popcorn will encourage your married guests to schedule a cozy night in, getting reacquainted with each other!

Romance Personified
Champagne and chocolate strawberries are seen as as the ultimate romantic snack. Provide each couple with a split of champagne and a box with two chocolate-covered strawberries. They can light a few candles at home and watch the sparks fly!

Extravagant Gesture
For the no-limits budget, nothing says classic romance like champagne and caviar! Your guests can pack this in a picnic basket and enjoy a beautiful day, recreating the romance that inspired them to get married in the first place!

Given how busy people are nowadays, romance tends to take a backseat to every day chores. Your wedding favor will be greatly appreciated by guests, as they find inspiration to rekindle the spark in their own relationship.

(photo credits: movie night basket via On-A-Whim, chocolate-covered strawberries via Ranch Foods Direct, champagne & caviar via

A Refreshing Favor Idea

I recently stumbled across the website of MyJones Soda, a company that creates personalized bottles of soda with your photo and a quote. What a fun favor idea! These aren’t your average, run-of-the-mill colas either. MyJones offers a variety of delicious-sounding flavors like Crushed Melon, Blue Bubble Gum, and Fufu Berry. At $29.99 for a 12-pack, these sodas would also be a great addition to your pre-ceremony beverage bar. Discounts are available for ordering 10 or more packs. Visit to place your order.

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Website survey - we just need a minute!

A fellow wedding planner has developed a brief survey to collect information about what brides and grooms value in terms of vendor websites. We’d love it if our blog readers would take a moment to fill it out. Below are the instructions:

I promise this will only take a minute of your time! If you wouldn't mind, please click on the link below and answer 9 quick, easy questions about different design aspects of wedding vendor's websites.

Wedding Vendor Website Survey

We won't record anything about you other than what state or country you are from - we don't even ask for your email address so no spam or anything like that.

You will likely see this link on lots of other blogs and sites - this survey is being shared all over the blog-o-sphere so please take the survey only once. If you have additional comments on the subject, please feel free to email me with those and I will share them with the other wedding vendors who are participating! e can't wait to hear what you have to say!

(If you are a wedding vendor and would like to participate, just copy this post to your blog and email me the link at emilie {@} emilieduncan {.} com - I will send you the results once we have closed the survey in March)

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Happy Valentine's Day!

And a perfect way to celebrate this romantic occasion is to order in some delicious food, snuggle up on the couch and rent one of Bliss Wedding's Top Ten Wedding Movies recommendations!

Mamma Mia! (Elizabeth's current favorite. Embarrassing confession: I've watched it TWICE today alone!)

It was like shooting a sitting duck. A little small talk, a smile and baby I was stuck.
I still don't know what you've done with me. A grown-up woman should never fall so easily.
I feel a kind of fear when I don't have you nearUnsatisfiedI skip my prideI beg you dear.
Don't go wasting your emotion. Lay all your love on me

Love Actually

Whenever I get gloomy with the state of the world, I think about the arrivals gate at Heathrow Airport. General opinion's starting to make out that we live in a world of hatred and greed, but I don't see that. It seems to me that love is everywhere. Often, it's not particularly dignified or newsworthy, but it's always there - fathers and sons, mothers and daughters, husbands and wives, boyfriends, girlfriends, old friends. When the planes hit the Twin Towers, as far as I know, none of the phone calls from the people on board were messages of hate or revenge - they were all messages of love. If you look for it, I've got a sneaking suspicion... love actually is all around.

My Best Friend's Wedding
Michael... I love you. I've loved you for nine years, I've just been too arrogant and scared to realize it, and... well, now I'm just scared. So, I realize this comes at a very inopportune time but I really have this gigantic favor to ask of you. Choose me. Marry me. Let me make you happy. Oh, that sounds like three favors, doesn't it?
Father of the Bride
I used to think a wedding was a simple affair. Boy and girl meet, they fall in love, he buys a ring, she buys a dress, they say I do. I was wrong. That's getting married. A wedding is an entirely different proposition. I know. I've just been through one. Not my own, my daughter's. Annie Banks Mackenzie. That's her married name: Mackenzie. You fathers will understand. You have a little girl. An adorable little girl who looks up to you and adores you in a way you could never have imagined. I remember how her little hand used to fit inside mine. Then comes the day when she wants to get her ears pierced, and wants you to drop her off a block before the movie theater. From that moment on you're in a constant panic. You worry about her meeting the wrong kind of guy, the kind of guy who only wants one thing, and you know exactly what that one thing is, because it's the same thing you wanted when you were their age. Then, you stop worrying about her meeting the wrong guy, and you worry about her meeting the right guy. That's the greatest fear of all, because, then you lose her. It was just six months ago that that happened here. Just six months ago, that the storm broke.
Wedding Crashers

Anyway, I saw this widow and she's a wreck. She has just lost the person she loved the most in this world and I realized we're all going to lose the people we love. That's the way it is, but not me. Not right now. Because the person *I* love the most is standing right here and I'm not ready to lose you yet. Claire, I'm not standing here asking you to marry me, I'm just asking you not to marry *him* and maybe take a walk, take a chance

The Wedding Planner

Love can’t always be perfect. Love is just love.

The Wedding Singer

I wanna make you smile whenever you're sad
Carry you around when your arthritis is bad
All I wanna do is grow old with you.
I'll get your medicine when your tummy aches
build you a fire if the furnace breaks
Oh it could be so nice, growin old with you.
I'll miss you, kiss you, give you my coat when you are cold.
Need you, feed you, I'll even let you hold the remote control.
So let me do the dishes in the kitchen sink
Put you to bed when you've had too much to drink.
Oh I could be the man to grow old with you.
I wanna grow old with you.

My Big Fat Greek Wedding

My family is big and loud but they're my family. We fight and we laugh and yes, we roast lamb on a spit in the front yard. And where ever I go, what ever I do they will always be there.

Sweet Home Alabama
What do you want to be married to me for, anyhow?
So I can kiss you anytime I want.

27 Dresses

Love is patient, love is kind, love is slowly going out of your mind!

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Fun Find: Preserved Boxwood Hearts

I received the latest Ballard Designs catalog today and am loving these Preserved Boxwood Hearts to decorate church pews. The included hanging ribbon is sheer to blend seamlessly with any wedding color scheme. At $34.00 for a set of two, they are a bit on the pricey side, so if your budget can’t accommodate the quantity needed to decorate the full length of the aisle, pick up two or three sets to distinguish the first few rows of pews that are reserved for bridal party members and family.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

The Color of Ideas

I have never made it a secret that one of my favorite things in world is color. I enjoy finding new and different color combinations. I look to my surroundings to constantly discover color schemes that are complimentary and unique.

Pantone® is the world leader in the “color industry”. It is the most widely used standard for colors in print, paint and manufacturing. Their Color Think Tank identifies new colors and continually creates new and interesting color palettes.

(source: Wikimedia Commons)

Pantone® can be a great resource in determining your event color scheme. Their website provides information on fashion’s up-and-coming color trends and the latest color inventions. Take a moment to browse through their site and you will see colors working together that you would have never thought to combine. The concept that any colors can compliment each other given the correct shade and value is one that will remove the limit from the combinations you can use for your color design. It can be very inspiring to put away the traditional rules you have always adhered to regarding color.

A lot of color combinations have been “done to death” for weddings. Take a chance and ensure that your event is truly one of a kind!

Monday, February 9, 2009

Never forget your anniversary

Does your man have trouble remembering special dates and anniversaries? Well he no longer has an excuse with these unique calendar keepsakes from Not Just Any Old Day. They offer sterling silver calendars that can be incorporated into a variety of jewelry and gift items, from bracelets to business card cases and even baby rattles. A beautiful Swarovski crystal or gemstone marks your special date. What a neat idea!

These keepsakes would make a very special gift for the bride or groom-to-be. Prices start at $98.00 for a calendar charm. Visit to see their full array of gift items.

Monday, February 2, 2009

To see, or not to see (each other before the ceremony): that is the question

Over the past few years, the traditional notion of the bride and groom seeing each other for the first time on their wedding day as the bride makes her journey down the aisle has been falling by the wayside. Many couples are now opting to have a “first look” before any of the wedding festivities get underway. Often, this involves staging the bride and groom’s first meeting in some way. For instance, the groom’s back is turned while the bride makes her way down a staircase or garden path to meet him, at which point the groom turns around and the couple comes face to face for the first time to see each other in their wedding attire.

While we’ve only had a handful of couples partake in this new trend, the decision of whether or not to see each other before the ceremony has become one of the many logistical wedding details to finalize, and there are benefits to both options.

To See
One of the best reasons to see each other before the ceremony is to preserve time. This is especially true if you have a short window of time between your ceremony and reception during which to take formal photos. After getting the necessary bridal party and family group shots, you certainly don’t want to have to rush through the bride and groom portraits in order to make it to your reception on time, so carving out a block of time before the ceremony to accomplish this is a great way to ensure that the remainder of your day runs on schedule. The first look is also a good option for couples who wish to attend their entire cocktail hour, since that period of time is typically designated for keeping guests occupied while the couple is elsewhere taking photos.

Another reason couples may choose to meet before the ceremony is so that they can enjoy some private time together (in the company of their photographer, of course). Brides and grooms are pulled in so many different directions by well-meaning guests once the wedding gets underway and, after reflecting back on their day, often feel as though they hardly spent a moment together. Taking a couple of hours to be alone with one another creates a wonderful bonding experience for the soon-to-be-married couple. Many couples who opt to have a first look report feeling much more relaxed once the ceremony begins, as seeing each other beforehand gives them a sense of reassurance.

Not to See
For every couple who chooses to see each other before the ceremony, it seems there are at least five who prefer to go the traditional route and have their first look as the bride appears from behind a colorful trail of bridesmaids and makes her way down the aisle. Whether this decision is based on the old wives’ tale that it’s bad luck to do otherwise, brides and grooms who see each other for the first time at their ceremony often report feeling a greater sense of excitement and anticipation when the ceremony begins. Another reason couples may choose to wait until after they have exchanged vows to take formal photos together is so that their wedding images truly depict them as a married couple, complete with wedding rings in place.

It’s a personal choice for every couple and there is certainly no right or wrong answer. If you're a bride- or groom-to-be (or a recently married couple), we’d love it if you’d weigh in with your opinions on why you decided to/decided not to see each other before the ceremony. Leave us a comment and we’ll donate a dollar to The Humane Society for every comment posted as part of our Comment for a Cause initiative.

{Images courtesy of Raw Photo Design}