Tuesday, April 28, 2009

A Warm Welcome

This weekend, I was blessed to watch as my husband’s best friend vowed to forever love a wonderful woman. The wedding was held on a beautiful beach in Cape May, NJ. The reception afterwards was a casual and intimate affair- that perfectly reflected the personalities of the bride and groom. Congratulations Jeff & Christine! I wish you the very best in your lives together.

When we arrived at the hotel to check in, we were given an adorable little gift. It was a blue metal pail with a white toy shovel. It included a few snacks, maps and information on the town, an adorable seashell candle and information on the couple’s favorite places in Cape May. I love the concept of the couple providing their guests a nice surprise that will welcome them to the experience they are about to share.


Although this idea is perfect for a destination wedding, it can be done no matter where you plan on getting married. Here are a few ideas for kind of items you could include in your guest’s welcome package.

-A map of the town. Include directions on how to get from the hotel to the ceremony and from the ceremony to the reception.

-A postcard depicting the town. Include a warm, personal note on the back welcoming your guests

-Some favorite local treats that the town is famous for (e.g. Hershey chocolate in Hershey PA, saltwater taffy in a beach town)

-A listing of your favorite restaurants in town. Be sure to include ideas for breakfast, lunch and dinner.

-A listing of your entertainment hot spots. List the movie theater you like to frequent, a favorite bar, and other interesting activities in the area.

-Information on local attractions. You can contact the local Visitor’s Center and they can provide you with some pamphlets on area sights and attractions.

-A few trial size samples of products they may need. If you are in a beach town, provide a small bottle of sunscreen. If you are getting married in winter, provide some hand warmers.

-A mini bottle of champagne and a few candles so your guests can enjoy a romantic evening, celebrating your wedding day by reliving their own!


And keep in mind that the vessel you set these items in can also set the tone for your wedding. Take, for example, the bride I mentioned who used a pail in honor of her beach wedding. For a rustic New England wedding, you can use a beautiful woven basket. Use your imagination to ensure that the packaging is just as intriguing and personal as the surprises inside!


Did you create a welcome basket for your wedding guests? What did you include?

(Boston, Miami and Nantucket welcome baskets shown are by Kate Parker Weddings)

Monday, April 27, 2009

Vendors Unveiled: Datura - A Modern Garden

This week, Bliss Weddings spotlights a modern and stylistic floral designer. This florist is truly a master of his craft and has absolutely transformed many events through his unique use of form and lines in floral arrangements. We would like to introduce you to floral artist Tony Palmieri!




Name: Datura - A Modern Garden

Website: http://www.amoderngarden.com/

Blog:
http://www.amoderngarden.wordpress.com/

Where are you located, and what geographical area(s) do you service?
Our office is in Middletown, Connecticut -- we service all of Connecticut, southern Massachusetts, Rhode Island, and some of New York State. -- we'll go anywhere!

How long have you been in business?
15 years

What drew you to floral design as a profession?
Believe it or not, I started out as a delivery person 22 years ago. I was working full-time evenings as a graphic designer -- when my first son was born, I needed some extra income and took a job delivering flowers, which I did on and off for 5 years. When the owner of the store approached me about learning how to design florals, my initial response was, "no!" -- but as soon as I picked the knife up, I knew I had found the perfect medium with which to express myself.

What do you feel sets you apart as a florist?
What sets Datura apart from other florists is the understanding that floral design is an art -- a form of sculpture. We never make the same arrangement twice. Every design is a new opportunity to express ourselves and, in turn, our clients. The fact that we view each flower as an individual, expressive creature helps us to mold them into designs that transcend the aesthetic and move into the deeper realm of emotion.

What do you love most about your job?
I love the fact that I get to have my hands in dirt and rocks -- that I get to play with sticks and stems and blooms. Honestly, it's like being a kid -- getting my hands dirty. I feel so fortunate that I am able to make a living creating art with my own hands. It was the only thing about graphic design that I didn't like - the fact that it was all computerized. There's nothing better to me than having a vision and letting the forces of nature work through me to make that vision a reality.

If you had to describe yourself in one word, what would it be?
Clever. It's my favorite thing to be called.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Bridal Registry Best Practices


My husband Greg works in retail management for Bed Bath & Beyond. As a manager, part of his job involves overseeing the store’s bridal registry program. The irony of this situation is that when we were planning our wedding a few years ago, Greg was a classic example of a disinterested groom. He would roll his eyes whenever I’d talk about the wedding (which was pretty much non-stop, so I can’t really blame him). Needless to say, I find it rather amusing that his days are now often spent explaining the benefits of fine china versus everyday china to engaged couples.

I recently sat Greg down and picked his brain about bridal registry do’s and don’ts. Below are his words of wisdom, along with a few tips of my own.

Don’t be afraid to splurge.
This is your chance to “shop” for items you wouldn’t normally buy for yourself, such as high quality cookware and cutlery, so go ahead and register for pricier items. Groups of guests will often go in on a gift together and split the cost.

Don’t do all of your registering online.
Nothing beats registering in your pajamas from the comfort of home, but keep in mind that some stores carry merchandise on their website that is not necessarily sold in stores. Guests who prefer to shop the old fashioned way may become frustrated when they arrive at the store, only to find out that the majority of items on your registry have to be purchased online.

Do fill your registry.
Couples who hope to receive cash gifts are often hesitant to add a lot of items to their registry in hopes of discouraging guests from making a purchase at the store. However, keeping your registry lean doesn’t necessarily mean that guests will opt to give cash. Instead, they may take the liberty of selecting a gift item on their own, which may not suit your taste.

Do keep your registry up to date.
If you’re planning to have an engagement party, you may decide to register shortly after you get engaged so that guests have some gift ideas. However, don’t do the bulk of your registering until a few months before the wedding. Stores rotate their inventory throughout the year, and items you may have registered for a year ago when you first got engaged may very well be discontinued by the time your shower invitations go out.

Do consider seasonality.
If you register in June for your October wedding, resist the urge to add a patio set or outdoor grill to your registry. Chances are, these items will no longer be available in the store when your guests are shopping for a gift in the late summer/early fall.

Do take advantage of the bridal registry associate.
I realized that didn’t sound quite right after I wrote it, but what I mean is, take advantage of the associate’s knowledge. They have been specially trained in the registry program and know exactly how many bath towels, hand towels, and wash cloths you should include.

Don’t do all of your registering in one place.
Give your guests some options. This is especially important if you have guests traveling from out of town. Make sure the geographical locations of the stores you’ve chosen to register at are convenient for everyone to get to. (This one obviously came from me, as a Bed Bath & Beyond employee would never advocate registering somewhere else.)

Don’t rush the process.
Registering is not a quick errand you can run on your way home from work one night. Plan to spend a good two to three hours getting your registry set up initially. And don’t think that you have to complete the whole thing in one day. Couples often make a few trips back to the store to finish the job.

Do you have any other registry tips to share? Let us know by leaving a comment and we’ll donate a dollar to the Alzheimer’s Association as part of our Comment for a Cause initiative.

[Image source: www.ksfy.com]

Monday, April 20, 2009

Vendors Unveiled: Jordan Caterers

Our latest segment of Vendors Unveiled spotlights the amazingly talented Jordan Caterers. Enjoy getting to know their Event Planner and Designer, Marissa McCue!

Name: Marissa McCue

Website: http://www.jordancaterers.com/

Blog: we're about to begin one ... stay tuned !!

Where are you located, and what geographical area(s) do you service?
We are statewide - main office in Cheshire , second location in Darien opening spring 09... exclusive caterer at The Guilford Yacht Club, New Britain Museum of American Art, Lyman Homestead, Whinstone Tavern-Stanley Golf...but we cater to many tremendous venues throughout Connecticut.

How long have you been in business?
Jordan Caterers celebrates 30 years this year. Personally 18 years in the business, 7 as a planner for Jordan Caterers.

What drew you to event catering as a profession?
I have always been in the restaurant business..through high school and college...love the energy! I have a degree in Art, so planning and designing was a really natural marriage if you will... to the food and beverage background I have. I love that it's a different party each time... different clients, venues, tastes and styles..colors, idea's and personal stories... it allows me to really be creative and have fun with my clients.

What do you feel sets you apart as a caterer?
We have a really talented culinary team with varying backgrounds. They have trained and chefed parties all over the world. Our food is wonderful and innovative; the displays are creative and fresh!! We also have a design and decor team and are happy to consult with clients by request. We provide full service for our clients.

What do you love most about your job?
My clients... there's NOTHING better that a bride walking into her celebration and saying "this is just so much better than I ever dreamed of"... who doesn't want to be a part of that?

If you had to describe yourself in one word, what would it be?
Creative

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Fun Find: Wine Cork Candles


Planning a vineyard wedding? These Wine Cork Candles from Wisteria would be a lovely addition to your event d├ęcor. Made of paraffin wax, they’re the same size and shape as real corks, so they fit perfectly in the top of a wine bottle. You can pick up three sets of four different cork designs for just $18.00. Wine bottles are not included, so be sure to save your empty bottles and set them aside during the months leading up to your wedding.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Don't Make the "Must-Take" Mistake


When I was planning my wedding a few years back, "must-take" photo lists were all the rage. Brides would scour The Knot message boards for wedding photos posted by recently married knotties and dedicate a section of their Knot bio to images they hoped to re-create on their own wedding day. Certain photos became infamous and made it onto almost everyone's must-take list. I can recall one of a couple dancing in the middle of their guests where the bride and groom were in color and everyone else was in black and white.

The whole must-take concept never made much sense to me. What made the infamous wedding photos beautiful and interesting was the fact that they captured a candid, unscripted moment in time. Imitating someone else's moment in order to achieve the same image would defeat the purpose entirely. Not only that, but I imagine the re-enactment, so to speak, would feel completely staged and awkward: "Okay, you stand there and I'll stand here. Now, rest your head on my shoulder . . ."

That being said, must-take photo lists do have their place a wedding if you have specific group shots you want taken that day. Just don't get too carried away. Posing for photos with every combination of family members imaginable will take up valuable time that you could be spending interacting with your bridal party and guests. That's when the genuine, candid moments happen.

Trust your photographer. You hired them because you loved the images you saw in their portfolio, so give them the creative freedom to capture your unique wedding day through their own eyes.

If you created a must-take photo list for your wedding, what was the end result? Did you get the images you wanted? Any photographers out there care to weigh in on must-take lists?

Monday, April 13, 2009

Charming!

As odd as this sounds, one of my favorite parts of wedding planning was selecting the gift for my maid-of-honor... my younger sister and best friend- Lindsey. It was important to me that I find something very meaningful and beautiful for this person that would stand by my side as I said "I do". I decided on presenting her with a charm bracelet. I spent HOURS browsing through charms that related to our lives together.

Here are just a few examples of the simple symbols that had incredible meaning for these two sisters:

Witch charm - For the time we went to Salem, Massachussetts with our father.


Tooth charm- For when I lost my first baby tooth due to an ill-fated bed jumping session with Lindsey


Teddy bear charm- For my favorite teddy bear that Lindsey wrote on with permanent marker because she was jealous I got a paper fan at a friend's birthday party


Check out some of these great websites for beautiful charm bracelets! Any of your bridal party members would be honored to receive such a thoughtful gift.


photo sources:
Bracelet~ First Treasures
Witch charm~ Just Nan
Tooth charm~ Charm Factory
Teddy bear charm~ Marty Magic

Vendors Unveiled: Raw Photo Design

In this week’s edition of Vendor’s Unveiled, we learn more about Eric Langlois of Raw Photo Design. I first met Eric a couple years ago through his wife Amber. Since then, we’ve had the opportunity to work with him on a few different photo shoots and he’s become a good friend of Bliss. We are huge fans of Eric’s work. He has a very unique artistic style and has a talent for making all of his subjects look like professional models. Honestly. Take a look at his blog and see for yourself. Eric is also lots of fun to work with. You can tell that he loves his job and it comes through in the way he puts everyone at ease when they get in front of his camera.


Name: Eric Langlois

Website: www.rawphotodesign.com

Blog: Same

How long have you been in business?
4 years

Where are you located and what geographical area(s) do you service?
Based in Danbury, CT and service clients worldwide.

What drew you to photography as a profession?
I really loved the idea of having the ability to make people feel really good about themselves and creating a piece of art that would signify them as a couple.

What do you feel sets you apart as a photographer?
I'm constantly trying to evolve my style and avoid the usual wedding photography cliches that are a part of so many photographers' work. My team brings something fresh and new to each and every single wedding we cover. Whether it's a different lighting technique, pose, or camera angle, we're always striving to create a new and different piece of art for each one of our clients. Another aspect that I think really sets me apart is the amount of time and effort I spend really getting to know each and every one of my couples. I include an engagement session in each wedding package which gives my clients and me a day to hang out and get to know each other before their actual wedding.

What do you love most about your job?
Creating artwork that blows my clients away and makes them feel awesome about themselves. I love the moment during a session or wedding in which my client really opens up, lets their guard down, and allows me to capture the essence of them as a person. Creating an environment and atmosphere in which a person can fully open up and be completely comfortable in front of the camera is about 95% of my job and the part I love the most.

If you had to describe yourself in one word, what would it be?
Entertaining

Monday, April 6, 2009

Vendors Unveiled: Flowers by Danielle

We have had the pleasure to work with Flowers by Danielle for a few of the events we have coordinated. Danielle's work is always impeccable, unique and breathtaking. Her staff is friendly and always excited to collaborate with the clients and other vendors. It is obvious that floral design is their passion and it comes out in their attitude and their art!

Name: Danielle Farrer

Website: http://www.flowersbydanielle.com/

Where are you located, and what geographical area(s) do you service?
I am located in Monroe, CT. We travel the entire state of CT and Westchester County NY.

How long have you been in business?
We have been in business for 9 years.

What drew you to floral design as a profession?
I grew up working in a retail florist and loved doing the wedding aspect of the business. Upon graduation from college I tried the corporate world for one year and realized my passion was with flowers. It all began doing friends and families weddings and through word of mouth, after pleasing thousands of brides over the years, my love of flowers is still flourishing. When you love what you do, it doesn't feel like work at all!

What do you feel sets you apart as a florist?
We are not a retail florist. We are wedding and event specialists. We take great pride in providing our brides and clients with the utmost freshness and quality flowers in the market, as we order per event. We don't use a lot of fillers and greens to enhance our work. The day of your wedding is the only event on our calendar and our focus is on you, as we're not interrupted with funeral and hospital deliveries and walk-ins.

What do you love most about your job?
Every wedding is unique and putting smiles on peoples faces! We treat every wedding as if it were our own.

If you had to describe yourself in one word, what would it be?
Passionate

Happy Birthday Elizabeth!


Today is Elizabeth's special day. Care to leave her a few birthday wishes in the Comments?

Sunday, April 5, 2009

Modish BIZtips Monthly Goal Meetup: April 2009


The author of one of the blogs we visit regularly, Jena at Modish BIZtips, is challenging all of her readers to come up with a list of at least five business-related goals we want to accomplish during the month of April and posting them on our own blogs. Her hope is that by everyone coming together and publicizing their goals, we’ll all hold ourselves more accountable for completing them. At the end of each month, we’ll check in with one another to gauge our progress and develop a new set of goals for the following month.

We thought this was a fantastic idea, so we’ve posted our list of goals below. You can read Jena’s original post here for more information and to see who else is participating.

1. Rewrite individual bios for website. If you visit our website regularly, you’ll know that we had bios up when we launched the new site back in November. After some time had passed, however, we decided that they were too “corporate,” for lack of a better word. We want to inject some more personality into them, so it’s back to the drawing board for some editing.

2. Finalize new marketing materials. We recently revamped our package structure and service offerings and we’re excited about the changes, but now we need to update our client marketing materials to follow suit.

3. Have headshots taken of our new Bliss team members. Two lovely ladies have recently joined the Bliss team and we can’t wait to introduce them on the blog, but since a picture is worth a thousand words, we’ve been holding off until we have some shiny new headshots of them to accompany the announcement.

4. Invite five new vendors to participate in Vendors Unveiled. One of the best parts of being involved with our clients’ weddings is the opportunity to collaborate with other wedding professionals. A few weeks ago, we introduced our new Vendors Unveiled interview series on the blog and it’s been a great way to get to know the many wonderfully talented vendors out there. We hope to increase participation over the coming weeks.

5. Convert blog to WordPress. We’ve wanted to convert our blog to WordPress for some time now, but with so many other items on the to-do list, we just haven’t gotten around to actually doing it. Hopefully this Monthly Goal Meetup will provide us with the necessary motivation.

Be sure to check back at the end of April to see how we’re doing!

[Image credit: "Goals" by Flickr user Jill Greenseth]

Thursday, April 2, 2009

With This Ring

I love the idea of replacing the traditional ring pillow with a ring dish or bowl. Pick something that reflects your personalities or have it customized with your names.

Every night, right before you go to bed- you can both place your wedding bands together in the same dish they sat in before you exchanged them the day you were wed! And every morning when you awake, you will remember the promise you made to each other and how that ring you slip on your finger is a symbol of that promise.

[ring dish by etsy seller Paloma's Nest]

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Comment for a Cause: 1st Quarter Recap

Back in January, we introduced our Comment for a Cause initiative: for every comment posted to our blog, we would donate $1.00 to a charitable organization. We're pleased to announce that we will be donating $20.00 (hey, every little bit helps, right?) to The Humane Society thanks to the efforts of our loyal blog readers.

With the first three months of the year behind us (where did the time go??), it's time to select a new charitable organization for the 2nd quarter, and that charity will be the Alzheimer's Association.

If you've been following our blog, but have been too shy to post a comment, we encourage you to come out of hiding. You don't have to reveal any identifying information about yourself in order to post, although we do prefer that you include at least your first name (when you post, you'll be asked to enter an email address, but this information is not shared with us when the comment comes through).

Thank you to everyone who has commented and please keep 'em coming!