Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Top 10: #4 Personalize your wedding

4. Personalize your wedding. If you have high expectations for your big day and really want to impress your guests, go for a personalized, signature approach instead of just over the top or traditional. Over the top can be done, and it has been done before, but what guests will really appreciate are all of the little unique touches that they won't find at another wedding. Whether it's a custom monogram, a pattern that is carried throughout the decor, a signature drink, or a unique theme, it will pay off to stray from the path of normalcy and guests will be happy for the change in scenery. Don't know where to start? Get inspired by some of the countless wedding blogs online that feature stunning, one of a kind real weddings. Style me Pretty and It's a Jaime Thing are great places to start. Magazines also offer great ideas, one of my favourite features being a Californian wedding that used a roll of pale yellow and grey paisley wallpaper as their aisle runner to tie in the paisley pattern they used in their printed materials. There are so many truly inspiring ideas out there, and you might regret not thinking outside the box once it's too late to change anything.

Monday, June 29, 2009

Top 10: # 3 When you find "the" dress, buy it!

3. When you find "the" dress, buy it. Ok, so this may be contrary to others who suggest you should try on a gazillion dresses to find the perfect bridal gown, but I believe that when you fall in love, it's for real. I, for one, walked by the store window of a bridal shop and gazed upon my dream dress. It wasn't exactly what I had initially envisioned as my wedding dress, but the more days I spent away from it the more I realized it was perfect. When I went back to the shop weeks later my dress was gone forever and it was too late to order another. I did end up finding an almost equally perfect dress that was very similar, but I still have fond and bittersweet memories of the one I let get away.

Sunday, June 28, 2009

Top 10: #2 Be realistic about your bridesmaids

#2. Be realistic about your bridesmaids. Being a bridesmaid is an honor, but it's also a job. A job that comes with such a vague description that it can end up causing major drama throughout the wedding planning process. Not every girl is born to be a bridesmaid, and you're more than likely going to be choosing your maids based on close friend or family ties, and not on helpfulness/ usefulness in terms of assisting you. Just like men, bridesmaids can't always read your mind and know exactly what you want them to do and when to do it. Well, unless they're like me, of course!

The key to "bridesmaid bliss" is to examine the roll you expect your bridesmaids to fill, examine their expectations of being a bridesmaid, and finally, to communicate with them. I am not saying you should give them a long list of tasks as soon as they assume the roll of BM by any means! What I am saying is to make sure your expectations are align, and to be fair, honest and reasonable with them. Don't be a bridezilla, but don't be a push-over.

The best way to communicate this is to let them know what is in store from the get go. If you ask a crafty friend to be a BM, then right away let her know how creative you think she is and how you would love some help with the design elements of the wedding. Is your future sister-in-law completely clueless when it comes to cutesy things but great with numbers and tables, ask her for help with seating arrangements and so forth. And if you're a control-freak bride who wants to do it all on her own, make sure you let your eager beaver MOH know before she starts to get overly involved with planning your perfect day.

The best idea is to politely and graciously delegate reasonably sized tasks to the appropriate people, and this will ensure that things will get done according to plan. Just remember, your bridesmaids may have no idea what to do, so unless you ask for their help you shouldn't begrudge them for being useless (because some of them will be).

Saturday, June 27, 2009

Top 10: #1 Expect the Unexpected

1. Expect the unexpected. No matter how thought out or carefully planned it is, every wedding or event WILL have some bumps. Not everything is in your control, and you just need to take a deep breath and accept that. The weather may not be the sunny blue skies that you prayed for, the florist might be an hour late getting your bouquet to you and hence you only get to see it for mere moments before you walk down the aisle, and maybe you'll nervously stumble through your speech in front of all your guests. Perhaps someone will leave their red Elmo tape measure on the podium throughout all of the speeches at the reception and use a hot pink feather boa ( I mean, really?) to gather the linens on your guest table without running it by you (yes, this really happened, but I was too sweet to say anything to the wedding co-ordinator). Regardless, your day will be wonderful and perfect despite it's imperfections, and you just have to embrace the moment and roll with the punches.

Top 10 things every bride should do...

As a newlywed AND a wedding planner, I often get asked what my most valuable advice is for the bride-to-be, and what I have learned through planning my own wedding and others. I don't want to be one of those pessimistic girls dwelling on what could have been, as I honestly did have an amazing wedding day. However, I can look back on my big day and openly admit that there were flaws, however minor they were, that could have been avoided. In the interest of saving other brides-to-be from some equally avoidable obstacles, I compiled a list of the 10 things I would do if I could do it all over again.

Indeed, some brides are no-fuss, no-muss and may not be bothered with the list. I can guarantee, however, that if you're anything like me (a detailed oriented, crafty and creative gal dreaming about the perfect day) that this list is a valuable tool that could save you much duress and emotional pain. Some are things I did in fact do, and am so happy to have incorporated them into my wedding. Others are mistakes, misunderstandings and miscommunications that can easily be avoided with a little forethought. And a few I've learned from helping brides along the way.

Here is the list, and over the next few days I'll break down each number into a lengthier post. Feel free to comment and add some of your best pieces of advice.

1. Expect the unexpected.

2. Be realistic about your bridesmaids.

3. When you find "the" dress, buy it.

4. Personalize your wedding.

5. Don't underestimate the value of photos and video.

6. Prepare for takeoff.

7. Accept that you WILL need help.

8. Be picky with your guest list.

9. Don't be a bridezilla.

10. Give yourself some time between the wedding and honeymoon.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

I'm a Mrs! Name changing woes...

We all know the hassle of replacing lost or stolen credit cards or ID, but what about changing your legal last name? Most married women will tell you of the challenges of tracking down the forms and necessary paperwork to change your last name for all of your accounts, legal records, memberships and so on. The list goes on and on, and most newlywed Mrs.’s will tell you that they still get mail addressed to their maiden name. Well, at least I know I still do!

I recently had a bride who reflected over the stress of planning a wedding and how it doesn’t end after the big day. The work doesn’t cease after the wedding, and although the stress drops off there is still the pain and hours of work involved in changing your name. That is why when I heard of a great local (Vancouver) company that aims to make your name changing experience easier, I jumped for joy! What a great tool to offer clients, and even better, what a great shower gift! Imagine giving your friend and bride-to-be something she can really use, and something that no one else will have thought of! Basic packages start at $29.99, and whether you’re looking for yourself or for  friend, checking out www.imamrs.com will definitely be worth your while!

Carnation Nation: Flowers for the Recessionista

The national flower of Spain is a hardy, inexpensive bloom, and is available in almost every corner shop or grocery store. Despite it’s availability and affordability, I have never been a big fan of carnations. My first encounter with the flower was in Gr. 4 on Valentine’s day. A boy with a childhood crush decided to propose to me in front of the class and gave me a bouquet of carnations (no doubt intended for the teacher). Completely mortified, I stuffed the carnations in my backpack upside down, and threw them in the garbage as soon as I got home.

I haven’t really paid much attention to the flower since that day, but I’ve never been drawn to them in any way when browsing for flowers. As a good friend with a family business in memorials once said, carnations are the flower of funerals, and who really wants flowers that remind us of death? My negative feelings toward the carnation proved to me to be a challenge. With the current economic climate, why not try and use this affordable and versatile flower in new ways?

One thing to focus on when working with carnations, or any flowers for that matter, is to minimize flaws and maximize assets. Since the abundance of stem and greenery takes away from what carnations have to offer, get rid of the stem! What do carnations have to offer? Well, they come in a variety of vibrant and complimentary colours, and they bunch together quite nicely. The two centerpieces I designed that are featured on this post show two very different sides of the carnation: girly glam and understated modern. Carnations also make great pomanders that can be used for pew decor, and a google image search of carnation centerpieces is sure to provide you with loads of ideas.

Carnations may never win my heart over like peonies or orchids, but I have definitely gained a newfound respect for them. The next time I’m picking up a few groceries for dinner, I might not walk past the carnations with the same indifference as I did before. In fact, I might even head straight for them.

For the sweet tooth...Candy Buffets!

I was first introduced to the “Candy Bar” or “Candy Buffet” while planning my own wedding. It seemed like such a fun and cute way to incorporate our wedding colours, and it gave guests something to do while they waited for us to get our photos taken. Since it was a late addition to the wedding, we didn’t have very much time to source candy, and thus shelled out quite a lot of money at the Sweet Factory. There are more affordable ways to track down candy for your event, though. Bulk sections in grocery stores usually have everything from jelly beans to m&ms, and buying candy after holidays ( think Valentines & Easter) will always get you a good deal!

Doing the candy buffet was so much fun that our jar selection  grew from 5 jars to 13! The more jars I bought, the more candy I needed to fill them! I also wanted to dress up the scoops a bit, so I wrapped the handle in ribbon and used a few feathers as a fun accent. The matching cello bags were purchased on ebay, and then adorned with a custom sticker bought from etsy.com. The great thing about candy buffets is that they are so versatile. For a more laid back, old fashioned feel, why not try wooden scoops with small kraft lunch bags accented with a monogram. I’ve also seen small sand shovels used as scoops, and small pails to hold the candy for a kids function.  Candy buffets are a great alternative to goody bags at a birthday, or cake/desserts at a shower. The options are many, and only limited to your imagination!

Cupcake Heaven

Note: I am transferring some posts from my old blog, to this new one, hence the different dates in the the posts!

April 1, 2009

My husband Kevin likes eating cupcakes. I like making them. Some would say we’re a match made in heaven, but I already knew that. 

Before I started my quest to master “cupcakery”, I truly underestimated the craft. It can’t be THAT hard, right? I mean, they’re just cupcakes. Wrong. Cupcakes, if made to be consumed almost immediately, can be a fairly easy task. Making cupcakes look almost too pretty to eat, however, is a lot of work. Getting the perfect texture of icing without flinging icing sugar all over the kitchen is the easiest part. Separating the icing into different bowls to colour them is messy, sticky and really not that fun. Getting the icing into the pastry bag is, again, messy to the extreme. When multiplied several times over for the different colours, you are left with a disaster of a kitchen, very dirty clothes, and no enthusiasm to decorate your cupcakes. It DOES get better after your first time though, I promise.

Last night I decided to get in the Easter spirit and baked 36 cupcakes ( 24 mini, 12 regular). It never occured to me that Easter isn’t for quite a few days, and I would be left with 36 cupcakes in my home with nowhere to go (they have since found a home in the tummy’s of co-workers.) Next time I’ll bake closer to the holiday so that I can actually give them away to people for a reason! Anyways, I saw a very cute idea using mini eggs on top of the icing to make it look like they’re sitting in the grass, so I decided to try it out. I also made some fondant rabbits and flowers to add to the Easter theme. While I was decorating I decided to try out a few new “cupcake charms” I have acquired for future use. I have a set of super cute faux engagement rings that would be great for an engagement party or bridal shower, and little baby bottles meant for a baby shower. Love them! I have some tricks up my sleeve for the cupcakes for Meghan’s upcoming shower, but I’m keeping that a surprise;)