Friday, 28 May 2010

My Top 4 Tips on Favors

I have such sweet memories from when I was a little girl when my parents would come home late at night from weddings of our italian friends and neighbors. They would always arrive all dressed up with a little pouch of pastel colored Jordan almonds. I loved them then and I love them still today!

The reason that brides and grooms traditionally give Jordan almonds or any almonds that have a sugar coating is that fresh almonds have a bittersweet taste, which represents life. The sugarcoating is added with the hope that the newlyweds' life will be more sweet than bitter.

Different cultures - Italian, Greek, Middle Eastern - each have their own versions of the tradition. But that is just what it is - a symbolic tradition filled with hope and celebration.

Today, favors are much more complex. A lot of couples give favors either because they really want to thank their guests for coming to their wedding or because favors are cute or even because they feel like they have it is a must at a wedding to have a personalized favor with their names and wedding date on them.

I believe that favors are meant to be a little thank you gift to your guests for sharing such a special day with you. They are a little extension of your big day for your guests to bring home with them.

Here are my top four tips on the world of favors:

1. Make them personal
Being a thank you gift, the favors should be personal, not necessarily personalized, but definitely personal. Think of who you are a couple. If you love cupcakes, set up a cupcake stand for guests to bring 1 or 2 cupcakes of their choice home. You could do the same with cookies or fruit tarts from your favorite bakery. If you and your fiance adore wine and are getting married in a vineyard, give each couple a bottle of wine that you love from that vineyard. If you are music lovers, give them something music-related like a cd with your favorite songs.

2. Bring in your culture.
If you and your fiance are from different cities, states or countries, go ahead and give something from where you are from. For example, at a wedding that I recently planned and designed, the bride was from Iceland and the groom's family was from South Africa so we gave out chocolates from Iceland and South Africa labelling each basket of goodies with the country that they came from.

3. It is not about the price.
Sure there are expensive favors and less expensive ones but that isn't really the point. Delicious chocolate chip cookies baked by your aunt and tied up in a little clear bag with a pretty bow are just as personal (and taste just as great) as your favorite bottle of wine with a gorgeous personalized label. So think about what is meaningful to you and your groom-to-be as well as what fits within your budget.

4. You do not need favors.
Don't feel pressured to give favors. Spending money on low cost, impersonal trinkets with your names on them will take money away from the rest of your budget and who knows where the favors will end up? If you don't have the time to brainstorm about the perfect favor or to create or buy personal favors and you would prefer to spend that part of your budget getting a better photographer, florist or band - then do it! At the end of the day, your guests have come to see you get married and share this joyous occasion with you and that is what they care about.

Here are some favors that I just love and people to work with who really do an amazing job at creating favors specific to you and your groom.

The unique, personal candy tables and favors designed to fit with your wedding style by the lovely, talented Jackie of Merci New York. Jackie creates favors and welcome baskets based on all of your favorite things and personalizes them as well!

A personalized wine bottle label and cigar by the fabulous Marina and Stacey of East Six. Take a look at the previous article I wrote all about East Six.

These are map tote bags created by Laura Hooper, who also does outstanding calligraphy. These are a great gift for a destination wedding or a wedding where most of your guests are coming from a different location. Check our my previous article on Laura.

Wednesday, 26 May 2010

Where to stay on your honeymoon: THE DATAI, Langkawi, Malaysia

A few years ago I have the wonderful opportunity to go to The Datai in Langkawi, Malaysia. It is an abolutely spectacular hotel with breathtaking views that rendered me speechless, amazingly relaxed and sated.

The Datai is tucked in the middle of an ancient tropical rainforest, on the northwestern tip of Langkawi with a secluded white sand beach facing the calm Andaman Sea.

It truly is the perfect spot for a honeymoon especially if you are looking to relax with a fresh mango cocktail on the white sands, swim in the warm waters and enjoy the quiet time.

The Datai has one of my favorites spas as it is in the midst of the rainforest. I would highly recommend the Datai Jade massage as a couples massage. It is a dynamic style to dissolve deep muscle tension and soothe the spirit. You will each have two therapists working of each of you in synchronized movements using a variety of massage techniques from around the globe including Japanese Shiatsu, Ancient Balinese, Traditional Thai and Hawaiian Lomi-Lomi. It is just heavenly with the sounds of the stream outside.

If you are looking for a bit of adventure during your exotic trip to Malaysia, definitely spend 2-3 days in Penang as well. Penang is just a boat trip away from Langkawi and offers a dynamic combination of Buddhist, Hindu and Muslim cultures, temples and foods.

In fact, Penang is one of my favorite places in the world as far as food goes. You have an enormous selection of cuisines to tempt your palate from Malaysian hawker and Chinese seafood and fish dishes (go to Bali Hai! across from the water) to Indian curries and Japanese restaurants. So scrumptious!

Bon voyage!!!

Monday, 24 May 2010

POPPIES & POSIES: The perfect team to create a beautiful garden- or vintage-inspired wedding!

I am so happy to feature Poppies & Posies this week. The co-founders, Sierra and Juliet, are so sweet and lovely. Their style is absolutely precious and enchanting.

A bit about Poppies & Posies...

Poppies & Posies is a boutique floral and event design firm based in New York City. Sierra and Juliet, met when they both moved to the Big Apple in 2007. Sierra had been planning events for bigwigs like the Learning Annex and Donald Trump) while Juliet was working at places like Martha Stewart and Surroundings Flowers.

One day, they got to talking, and decided to combine their love for design, flowers, and parties. And so... Poppies & Posies was born!

Every detail of their fabulous fetes is meticulously designed and, whenever possible, handcrafted. Their arrangements are inspired by the organic movement and composition of the country gardens that both girls spent sunny summer days in as children. They love what they do and hope you will too!

A bit about their weddings...

They work on weddings of all sizes from 30 guests to 300 guests. They are happy to help clients design their weddings to fit any aesthetic. Their favorites are those that incorporate vintage elements and/or country inspired design concepts.

They love being challenged and pushed to create new ideas that fit each bride and groom's individual styles. For example, they are currently working on a design concept that will use vintage tins, but in a fresh and modern way.

Sierra and Juliet work in venues all across NYC, upstate New York, New Jersey, and Connecticut. This summer they are most excited to be designing weddings at the Foundry, Brooklyn Academy of Music, Guastavinos, Stamford Museum & Nature Center, and the City Winery.

If you are looking to create the sweetest, most romantic garden- or vintage-inspired wedding, run, don't walk to the phone! No excuses!

Poppies & Posies

Thursday, 20 May 2010

Romona Keveza Trunk Show at Bridal Reflections, NYC

Bridal Reflections and Romona Keveza invite you to meet designer Orlando of Romona Keveza as he unveils the Fall 2010 bridal collection straight off the runway.

When: Thursday, May 27th through Saturday, May 29th 2010
Designer appearance: Saturday, May 29th
Where: Bridal Reflections, 260 5th Avenue, New York, NY 10001 (between 28th and 29th St)

There will be special pricing on the gowns, so if you love Romona Keveza designs, definitely go check it out!

To RSVP and make an appointment, please call 212.764.3040

Wednesday, 19 May 2010

The Belgian Wafel Truck

As many of you know, I lived in Brussels, Belgium for five years. During my time there I fell in love with the warm, sweet, chewy, perfect waffles (aka: wafels) that you can buy from the waffle trucks.

Well, I am ecstatic to say that all New Yorkers can now enjoy authentic belgian waffels as well thanks to the Wafels and Dinges - Good Things Belgian waffle truck.

With all of the late night snacks that you can offer your wedding guests, why not surprise them and order a belgian waffle truck? Or have the truck make a visit to a bridal shower or bachelorette to add some more fun and food for your guests with a sweet tooth?

There is the Liege wafel that is my personal favorite, which are the ones from the trucks in Belgium that I adored.

Then there is the rectangular Brussels wafel that you can top with strawberries and whipped cream or ice cream or speculoos spread (a creamy spread based on speculoos cookies that have spices and clove) or a number of other toppings (aka: dinges). Wafels and Dinges even offers bacon and syrup wafels!

To try the wafels out for yourself, check out where you can find them in NYC on their website.

Smakelijk!!! Bon appetite!!! (Enjoy!!!)

Monday, 17 May 2010

HOW TO: Style an engagement shoot...

I have recently been styling a number of engagement shoots and thought it would be really helpful to give you some pointers on how to make your shoot unique to you and just as fabulous and wall-worthy as your wedding photographs.

Last Friday, Jen Huang of Jen Huang Photography posted the following question from another photographer on her Facebook page and I believe that it is really helpful for all of you brides and grooms who will be taking engagement shoots...

Q: How do you avoid shooting engagement sessions that look like every other engagement shoot you've done?

A: Figure out what's special to your bride and groom and style it in a way that brings out what is special about them. Photographers who are successful are usually expert stylists and directors as well. For example,... I just shot an engagement for a bride and groom who loved travel. Instead of just telling them to do "whatever" I showed them the recent Anthropologie catalogue which was shot in India, and pretty much dressed them and styled them to get that look. You have to find the balance between dictating the style and being too casual. Many of my brides and grooms look to me for guidance, and we talk extensively about their engagement before hand.

Now, this being said, do keep in mind that typically you will just set a date with your photographer for the shoot and decide on a location, whether it be your apartment or house, a park or somewhere else. It is really up to you to make the shoot amazing and original.

Here are some tips on how to style your shoot if you aren't already working with a professional wedding stylist:

1. Find your style.

Think about what story you want to tell. For example:

How did the two of you meet? What are your favorite pastimes?

Do you love to travel to Europe and love art? Maybe your shoot should be inspired by your favorite paintings.

Are you a food and wine lover? Maybe your story should be told through visiting vineyards or going to your local green market (preferable when it isn't so busy) and then cooking together.

Do you love to read and both love vintage everything? Then the library or second hand book shop combined with an antique look and feel would be perfect.

2. Pick a location.

What is your favorite spot in your city and town? Outdoor photos tend to look more amazing than indoors as the natural light looks think about what buildings, homes, parks, streets you love and tell your story with photographs from the outside.

Do you want photos on cobblestone streets or in front of brownstones? What about an old plantation home or a farm? A big lake in a park? The steps of your local museum? Select a location that fits with the look and feel you are going for.

3. What to wear?

What type of outfits work best with your overall style and theme? If you are going vintage like Mad Men, maybe a bigger skirt would do or a fitted dress. You could bring your fiance to Brooks Brothers for Mad Men inspired suits.

Or if you are looking for casual elegance and are shooting on a boat, think polo shirts for your man with linen trouser and a cute summer dress with a sweater for you.

4. It's all about the props...

Just like in the theater, props always help to tell the story. Having a cappucino in a cafe, riding bikes through the park, riding horses, reading a book, smelling a bouquet of flowers - these are just some of the many ideas that you could think of. Just make sure that it helps you to tell your own personal story...

5. Be colorful.

While the LBD (little black dress) is a staple part of every girl's wardrobe, I don't believe that it is the best choice for photographs since it keeps them dark and doesn't add much to the story.

Try to choose a color so that the photos have flavor. For example, if you and your fiance wear all light colors and are against a lighter backdrop with pastel colored props, then your photos will have a softer, more romantic, spring/summer feel whilst if you are both in deeper, jewel tones, your photographs will seem more dramatic fall/winter feel.

Photo above is by Jen Huang Photography.

Friday, 14 May 2010


Allow me to begin with this: I love Jen Huang Photography.

Gorgeous, fine art photos that capture every detail and expression are Jen's specialty. Jen is one of the loveliest people that I have had the pleasure to work with and her talent it extraordinary.

Jen's photos are for the romantic - they tell the stories of each unique couple beautifully with a soft, artistic sensibility.

Jen works in New York, California and does Destination Weddings wherever you like!

Her portfolio includes both digital and film work and she is known for her fresh, clean and light filled images. Jen's brides and grooms love her unobtrusive style and attention to composition and detail in every photograph.

Recently Jen's work has been featured in BRIDES New York Magazine, Get Married Magazine, The Knot Magazine, Style Me Pretty, Brooklyn Bride, Wedding Chicks and Style Unveiled.

Thursday, 13 May 2010

Top 4 Tips on how to stay happy & sane before your wedding...

Lifestyle Choices

Stress kills. Job pressure, financial obligations, family drama and a Blackberry that won’t quit all add up to a negative impact on your life - not to mention looking good in front of everyone you know!

In your preparations, begin to set personal parameters and give yourself time to just breath.

Here are four steps to help prepare you for the big day and make sure that you can enjoy it since this is a wonderful time in your life!!!

1. Sleep is paramount in staying healthy and we don’t get enough of it.

Shut down the electronics a couple hours before bed, read a book or enjoy a hot bath. Quality sleep cannot be swallowed or purchased. Build your own sleep cave – a dark, cool room, no TV and all the eye masks and ear plugs it takes to get you at least 7 hours of shut-eye.

2. Breathe. Meditate. Do yoga.

Stress manifests itself in our physical body and doing Yoga or learning how to breathe properly will help you manage your load.

3. Learn to say, “no.”

Date night with your fiancĂ©e should have rules…no Blackberries and no cell phones. Protect your personal time.

4. Lean on your friends and family.

Weddings are stressful and it is nice to know that so many people care about you. People will offer to help. Take them up on it, even if it is just for coffee.

Til next time - stay happy and healthy...