Monday, 30 March 2009

A New Way to Celebrate: The Renaissance of the Slumber Party

So you just got engaged and you are beaming. You know who you want to ask to be your maid of honor and your bridesmaids but you don’t know exactly how to ask them. You want to make it special and fun but you are looking for a new idea. Why not return to your childhood dreams and share them with your BFFs by throwing a slumber party to invite your friends to be part of your bridal party? You could stock your apartment with stacks of wedding magazines, watch your favorite childhood flicks (maybe St. Elmo’s, The Breakfast Club, Heathers or Troop Beverly Hills?), have a mixology course in your living room to try out potential signature cocktails for your wedding or engagement party, buy a selection of cakes to provide inspiration for your wedding cake and just have a good old fashioned great time with your best girls. This type of party never goes out of style and it might be a refreshing change from nights out in the city. No matter whether you are 25, 30 or 35, spending time with your closest friends is one of the best ways to put a smile on your face and get you on the floor laughing – you can be crazy, young, silly, and most of all yourself. Who better to celebrate your engagement with than your friends who have seen you through thick and thin, the bad dates, the great dates, and to help you get ready to marry the man that you love?

Another option here of course, is for the maid of honor or chief bridesmaid to organize this party once the bridal party is formed. The idea for the bridal slumber party is that it occurs at the beginning of the engagement – it is a way for the bride-to-be to share her excitement about her upcoming nuptials and to reminisce with her great friends about the past, to be a kid again before starting her new journey. Being engaged is a very exciting time and having her friends surrounding her, supporting her and celebrating with her makes this time all that much more special.

If, however, the members of the bridal party all live in different locations (e.g. different states, cities or countries), then you could always throw the slumber party at the very end of the engagement. If you know that your bridal party will all be in town before the wedding, why not invite them into town a day earlier than expected. You could do pre-wedding home spa treatments (no facials for the bride please!), and help the bride relax and get ready for the wedding, whether that means assembling cones for flower petals or just chilling out and watching your favorite wedding films (like Father of the Bride, My Big Fat Greek Wedding, My Best Friend’s Wedding).

On a more personal note, my closest friends (you know who you are) helped make my engagement a wonderful experience – they were there for me every step of the way to make sure I was laughing all the way through and happy. I cannot say enough how much I treasure each and every one of them for their support and their generosity. I had the time of my life thanks to them so for all the bridesmaids out there – just care for your friend and why not throw a slumber party in her honor to bring back the child in all of us - Just think of the 4 Cs – Candy, Chocolate, Cocktails and Cake – and you can’t go wrong!

Saturday, 28 March 2009

The key to all Bachelorette Parties & Hen Dos = The Flow

Whether you are organizing a weekend in Vegas, a spa day and afternoon tea in London, a night out on the town in New York, or taking a pole dancing class followed by games and karaoke – no matter what you plan, the key to all bachelorettes and hen dos is the flow of the party. In order to keep the flow going from one event to the next do spend time making sure that the time allotted for each activity is sufficient and that you allow enough time to get from one location to another. While you may not want the bride-to-be to know what you have planned, do share the details with the other bridesmaids and party attendees so that all of your guests can organize transportation, have the right wardrobe as well as make sure to let them know what the prices for each activity cost so that it is all transparent when you ask them for the money (Etiquette note: make sure to do the money transfer before the bride arrives or via bank transfer or check so that she is not privy to any of the financial transactions).

As maid of honour or chief bridesmaid you have put a ton of work into organizing this fab party maybe even down to the tiniest detail but like with any good party you have to be ready for anything - people could be late and throw off the timing of your events, the tour of the town could turn out to be a bore or the bars you selected from your guide book might end up being on the wrong side of town. When you see that things are not going according to planned, work with it – think Carpe Diem. See what choices you have around to take advantage of. Could you hop in the car and go on a road trip? Is there a place to go shopping nearby? A good bar that you know in the neighborhood or the next city over? For example, during my good friend Irina’s bachelorette in Antwerp, Belgium we had just left dinner and cocktails at a sushi restaurant and were headed to a bar when we came upon a carnival and decided to take advantage of the fun within. We went in the haunted mansion, ate cotton candy and even won Irina a magic wand after one guest won a shooting game. After about an hour of playing around we headed to the bar and continued the night of fun. Don’t underestimate the fun that can be had by seizing the moment. The key to the party is to keep the bride-to-be happy so keep the adventure and surprises coming to ensure a smile on her face at all times!

Also, just a note regarding games: whilst fairy wings and large plastic tiaras may not be your style, I am a firm believer that games are a great part of any bachelorette party or hen do. Games ensure that the bride is the center of attention (where she should be of course) and they also allow everyone to relax, be silly and have a good time (add cocktails if you want to add some spice to the game playing).

Good luck party planning!

Friday, 27 March 2009

BOVEY CASTLE – Dartmoor National Park, Devon, England

For all of those couples based in London but looking to escape the city for their wedding day, why not opt for a beautiful and relaxing pastoral setting? Bovey Castle is located in Dartmoor National Park in Devon – it is a stunningly romantic castle set against the breathtaking backdrop of the English countryside. At Bovey Castle, you can plan a wedding from 2-150 people within any of their 7 main functions rooms which include: the Cathedral Room, Adam Room, Library, Edwardian Dining Room, Bovey Room, Dartmoor Suite and the Summer House. The Summer House is a unique opportunity to have your ceremony outdoors with cocktails and champagne to follow on the Croquet lawn overlooking the picturesque lake.

Bovey Castle is equipped with all of the amenities any bride or groom could dream of from an onsite spa and golf to organising a romantic picnic boat, hot air ballooning, falconry, tennis, croquet or archery classes. With so many activities to choose from you won’t have to worry about how to keep your guests busy and having a ball during your extended weekend wedding. You can find the full list of activities here:

If you like the idea of a destination wedding but want to make sure that all friends and family can attend or you don’t want to give up your English heritage, then do take a look at Bovey Castle. You could plan a lovely wedding weekend or even a week away to spend quality time with your close family and friends. With gorgeous rooms, breathtaking scenery and just the right amount of countryside luxury - what more could you ask for in a wedding location?

To view the Bovey Castle wedding brochure, please go to:

To find more information about Bovey Castle, please go to:

Monday, 23 March 2009

WEDDING CHIC by Nina Willdorf = A Must Read for all Brides- & Grooms-to-be!!!

Wedding Chic: The Savvy Bride’s Guide to Getting More While Spending Less by Nina Willdorf, the author of City Chic, is a must read for all brides and grooms of all budgets no matter what city or country you live in. Whilst the book is targeted to the US market, most of the information, hints and tips can be applied in other countries as well. It even has helpful hints from many famous names in the wedding and fashion business (Sylvia Weinstock, Frédéric Fékkai and David Tutera to name a few).

This book isn’t about going cheap, it is about being smart and having the right information to go into meetings with your vendors prepared – knowing where you can cut costs and what little tricks will help you save money where you least expect it. Wedding Chic is an easy and enjoyable read with topics ranging from which flowers to select depending on the season, to how to structure your bar and what types of champagne or wine to buy, to what type of cake frosting tastes best and is budget friendly (buttercream!).
This is truly a wonderful book for all brides- and grooms-to-be. It covers all of the subjects you need it to and will help you to make smart decisions along your journey to the aisle. Nina Willdorf has created a go-to guide for how to have a chic and luxurious wedding of a lifetime without breaking your bank. If you don’t already have this book in your library, go out and buy it today!

Tuesday, 17 March 2009

Paris Fashion Week report: COLLETTE DINNIGAN

I adore Collette Dinnigan’s new Fall line. Fairy princesses and Grecian goddesses with art deco embellishments – her gowns have it all. Just behold their beauty and for all of those brides out there asking themselves the big question – the answer is Yes, the white creation up above would make an outstanding wedding gown for any bride who is looking for a sophisticated gown that would make her feel relaxed, carefree and absolutely stunning!

Paris Fashion Week report: ELIE SAAB

Sweeping one-shoulder gowns in silvers, greys and dusty blues sprinkled with outstanding black creations. The beautiful flowing silhouettes of Elie Saab’s Fall 2009 line could be a great inspiration if you are working with a seamstress to create your own unique gown. Some of these looks would also prove a wonderful choice for a beautifully chic mother-of-the bride.
For those brides who love a sophisticated yet spicy red lip, why not have your bridesmaids don the red while you stay neutral creating an eye popping contrast in photos?

Thursday, 12 March 2009

DRAMA = Your troublesome friend…do you invite them?

Everyone has a friend who causes trouble – whether they drink too much and get nasty or they whisper secrets behind your back or they have a not-so-nice history of not getting along with many of your other friends. The big question when it comes to your guest list is: Do you need to invite them?

The answer isn’t clear cut. Is this a very good friend of yours or an old friend who has hung around your inner circle? Is it an acquaintance that you happen to know through others? Or is this one of your closer friends who over time you wish you weren’t so close with after all?

- If this person is an acquaintance that you only see occasionally, is not within your inner circle of friends, and you don’t feel obligated to invite them, then your answer is simple: Don’t invite them.

- If this person has been a good friend of yours in years past or now but can act out from time to time or drive you mad occasionally, then the key to the answer is whether you want this person to remain in your life after your nuptials. If the answer is yes, then no matter how much you fear this person’s attendance at your wedding, you should definitely invite them.

- If this is a friend who you have been close with for many years but in recent years you have drifted apart and this person’s friendship only brings you grief and unhappiness, then the question should actually be focused on whether you actually want to be friends with this person at this point in your life and in the future, rather than solely focusing on your guest list.

At the end of the day, if a little voice inside you says that you care for this person and take pleasure having them in your life, then do keep in mind that not inviting them to your wedding is not something that can be easily fixed with an “I’m sorry” so the answer is clear: Invite them.

Monday, 9 March 2009

Milan Fashion Week report: BOTTEGA VENETA

If you are the type of bride who adores fashion and prioritises her gown above all else, but would like a gown that is extraordinary, unusual and absolutely magnificent, why not go with a designer masterpiece rather than limiting yourself to bridal designers? Any of these Bottega Veneta creations would make a gorgeous and utterly unique wedding gown. Tomas Maier has created some crazy beautiful pieces for his Ready-to-Wear Fall 2009 whether they evoke the 1920s or Grecian goddesses, each piece has its own voice and each could be made for a bride.

To see the full line of Bottega Veneta Fall 2009 fashions, go to:

Friday, 6 March 2009

Why go to Provence when NY is so much closer?

This is a location that would make any nature-loving bride and groom proud. If you dreamed of a wedding in the rolling Tuscan hills or the lavender fields of Provence but with the current economy have decided to plan a wedding closer to home or if you have relatives that can’t travel so a destination wedding is not in the cards, then Wave Hill could be an absolutely spectacular option for you and you wouldn’t have to give up any of that natural enchanting beauty. On the contrary, you can still have the wedding you always dreamed of without forsaking the location of your dreams. Wave Hill is a 28-acre public garden and cultural centre in the Bronx overlooking the Hudson River and Palisades. It has been designed to celebrate the artistry and legacy of its gardens, landscapes and magnificent views so why not take a look and see if you would like to celebrate the happiest day of your life there? Just imagine you, your fiancé and your loved ones on a warm late spring/early summer evening celebrating your marriage in the vast gardens overlooking the Hudson, drinking kir royals while the sun sets followed by a beautiful candlelit dinner….now, doesn’t that sound magical?

For more information on Wave Hill, please go to:

Thursday, 5 March 2009

Wedding hair: More ideas to inspire

From the Academy Awards to the Grammy's, amazing hair styles can be found left, right and centre so take advantage of what you see on the red carpet and use these photos and the ones you find in magazines to help you select your wedding look.
Don't forget that awards shows are great for makeup looks as well so try to find the perfect smokey eye or red lip while you are at it!

Wedding hair: More inspiration from the awards ceremonies

Here are some more great looks. Just a tip - if you are going for a wedding look a la Audrey Hepburn, definitely try out Penelope's hair style above. It will definitely make you a vision ready for Tiffany's. More looks to come so stay tuned...

Wedding hair: Look to the awards ceremonies!

If, like many brides, you find yourself flipping through the latest bridal magazines every month for great hairstyles for your upcoming engagement party, rehearsal dinner and wedding but you just can’t find the right ‘do to suit your style or your gown, then don’t worry. You may think that what you are seeing is either too plain or too overdone or just not you. Why not look outside of the bridal market for inspiration from the red carpet? The above styles are all great looks coming straight from the Emmy awards, Golden Globes, SAG awards and the Oscars.

If you can’t find a style you like here, why not take a look at the recent runway shows for inspiration or fashion magazines? is another great place to find the latest looks of the stars. So if you are into clean and classic or perfectly messy, you are sure to find something to suit your personal style. Then bring the pics you like to your hair stylist and they can help you tweak the styles to make them unique to you.

If you love the braided bang (fringe) that Jennifer Aniston donned at the Oscar’s as much as I do, then take a look at the how-to video below.

Take a look at the next blog entry for more fabulous looks...

Monday, 2 March 2009

DRAMA = The Registry Part II: The How’s (How many? How to notify guests? and How to deal with relatives that just don’t get it?)

How many registries should I have?
Technically, you can have as many registries as you like. However, the more registries you have the more work it is for your guests to buy you gifts especially if you have 5 items on 1 registry, 10 on another, 12 on a different registry, 20 on another and 40 on your final registry. I would recommend selecting 1-3 stores to register your gifts – possibly 1 big department store for your main items, 1 specialty store for those must haves, and 1 for your honeymoon or another specialty store. This makes it easy on guests because without doing much searching they can see all of their choices for your gifts.
How do I notify guests where we have registered?
There are two key ways that are manners-friendly to let your guests know where you have registered.

1. Your Wedding Website - On your wedding website be sure to include a page with where you are registered. If you want to add a nice and polite touch, do mention to guests that their attendance at your wedding is all that is desired but that if guests choose to bring a gift then you are extremely thankful for their kindness.
2. Word of Mouth – For all of your family members and your older guests, word of mouth through family and friends is a tried and true polite way to pass on the message regarding where you are registered. It is best to wait until a guest or family member asks where you are registered before giving them the information.

Please note: Another option that stores may give you is to include a paper within your invitation notifying guests where you have registered. In the US and Canada this approached is deemed unacceptable in terms of invitation etiquette. In some cultures, such as in most of continental Europe, where registering for gifts is not widely known and understood – stores may advise you that this is an acceptable way of informing and educating guests of your registry. However, I would still strongly advise against this option since it sends the message to guests that in order to attend your wedding, they must bring a gift and that is certainly a faux pas of grand proportions.

However, should your friends or loved ones throw you a bridal shower, it is okay for them to send out info along with the invitation on where you are registered since the whole idea behind this event is to shower the beautiful bride with gifts!

What if guests are based in other countries from that of the bride, groom and the registry?
If you are based in the US or Europe, for example, but you have numerous guests flying in from all corners of the world, don’t fret. Most registries these days allow people with foreign credit cards and foreign billing addresses to purchase goods. Just double check this before signing up for your registry so that all guests no matter where they are based can be sure to buy the perfect gift for you.
What happens when some relatives or guests don’t understand the concept of the registry?
If you and your fiancé have relatives and friends from countries that do not typically use wedding registries then your guests might not know much about this topic or its purpose. If this is the case, then I would recommend explaining to your family members that you have created a wedding registry because there are a number of things that you either need for your new home or items that you would treasure and would have special meaning if you received them from them. However, as the bride and groom, there is a level of acceptance that you should have regarding the culture of your families and guests. In many cultures, money is given for the wedding whereas gifts are given upon a couples’ engagement. In Polish culture, for instance, pieces of art may be given for the marriage or silverware passed down from generations. In China, many people give an I Ching coin to the lucky bride and groom as they symbolise wealth and good fortune. While you can explain the registry and the importance of your choices to family and friends, you should also understand that the gifts that you receive may be even more exciting and personal that the ones you registered for. Embrace your guests’ choices and who knows – you may even end up with a beautiful painting that would add that je ne sais quoi to your loft apartment or silverware that is irreplaceable and passed down through centuries! Now isn’t that more unique than another La Creuset pot?

Sunday, 1 March 2009

London Fashion Week report: JENNY PACKHAM

Slinky embellished sparkling gowns in a gem-inspired palette of chiffons and satins. Jenny Packham's latest runway unveils a melange of designs crossing between old Hollywood glamour and hippy chic. The perfect silhouettes for a bride who wants to see her bridesmaids look amazing floating down the aisle leading the way to the main event: a gorgeous and breathtaking bride. With any of these gowns your bridesmaids' attire would perfectly compliment your wedding gown should you decide on a Jenny Packham bridal gown.
Do also take a look at the relaxed, yet enchanting beauty of the models' hairstyles in the photos above. If you are looking for a hair design that will be soft and flowing, not stiff or severe, definitely bring the photos above to your hair dresser to try them out. Tiny braids and hair pulled back on either side are all the rage so if you would like to see a variation of these styles, take a look at Jennifer Aniston’s hair at the Oscar’s this year or photos from The Hills (see below).

For details and photos of Jenny Packham’s latest ready-to-wear show or to see her bridal line, please go to:

For a photo of Jennifer Aniston at the Academy Awards, go to:
To see photos of the girls' hair styles on The Hills, go to: