Wednesday, May 26, 2010

A Wedding Story: Diane & Rachelle!

Welcome to the first Wedding Story that is featuring BRIDES! Today we have two brides who have both been planning their big days for a while and are now just a couple of months away from the big day!

First up we have Diane. Diane hails from New York and writes a fabulous blog: Life With Mr. & Mrs. Z! Here's Diane...

When are you getting married?
July 9, 2010

Where is your ceremony? Reception?
The ceremony will take place at St. John the Baptist Roman Catholic Church in Piermont, New York. The ceremony will take place at The View on the Hudson in Piermont, New York.

What made you choose that reception location?

The church and reception are along the shore of the Hudson River. It's so beautiful. Guest will be able to enjoy a wedding and the scenic view at the same time.

What aspect of your wedding are you most looking forward to?
Walking down the aisle and seeing my high school sweetheart. We have been waiting a long time for this!

What has been the best resource for you during the planning process?
The Knot. I am on it religiously! Since I am a "Platinum Wedding" fanatic, I also got some inspiration from the girls on the WE show. I also like Google Pages. It was a way to visually see all my planning!

How is your wedding going to be unique?
We don't have a set color theme for the wedding. We are incorporating a lot of colors into the wedding. Also, we are have a classic traditional wedding, but we are tying in modern elements to the decor.

Any advice for future brides?
Take your time and pace your stuff. I was engaged for 2 and a half years and I did stuff 2 years ago that I am not including in my wedding today. Everything does fall into place, but with patience and pacing, you'll be able to get your projects done! =)

Good advice, Diane. If you start making decisions for the big day 2.5 years out, you are giving yourself lots of time to look at wedding magazines and most likely will change your mind on one aspect or another. Take your time and gather ideas, but save the big decisions to 12-18 months.

Photo courtesy of Abbey Creative Photography.

Next up, we have Rachelle. Rachelle is from Texas but is planning a wedding in Indiana! You can check out the chronicles of her wedding planning on her blog: Soon to be Mr. and Mrs. Finck. With that, here's Rachelle:

When are you getting married?

July 24, 2010

Where is your ceremony? Reception?
My ceremony is at Trinity Lutheran Church and the reception will be at Turkey Creek Golf Course. Both are in NW Indiana.

What made you choose that reception location?

We chose the church because my fiance's family are members there and it's one of the oldest, and most beautiful, churches in Valparaiso. We chose the venue, mostly for the ease of everything & the price. We are planning the wedding from Austin, Texas over the course of the last year, so we had to do a LOT of pre-planning and pretty much narrow down a lot of our options before we even saw any venues. Turkey Creek is great at this kind of thing. Their coordinator has taken care of a lot of our details so we didn't have to worry about them. Plus, they have their own caterer, rental pieces, bake shop, etc...

What aspect of your wedding are you most looking forward to?

Not only marrying my best friend but being able to spend an entire day with everyone both of us are close to.

What has been the best resource for you during the planning process?
The internet... either blogs, the knot, emails with family & coordinators, and venue websites

How is your wedding going to be unique?
Because we're both living in Austin, we want to bring as much of Austin to Indiana. We knew our family couldn't handle the 100+ temps of Texas in July, so we're taking the show on the road and heading north. It will be interesting to see how well we can pull this off!

Any advice for future brides?
Stick to your guns and know what you want before you tell anyone your plans / thoughts. There are a lot of people who will throw their two cents into your wedding and try to give their advice, mostly because they love you and want you to be happy, but it will cause a LOT of stress if you aren't sure what YOU want for YOUR day. Make this day as much about your love for your Love and ENJOY THE DAY!!! It's only one day of the rest of your life, if the linens aren't the right color, it won't be the end of the world.

Perfectly said, Rachelle. If you walk into your reception and your off-white linens are white (gasp!), shrug it off. There's nothing you can do about it right then and no one will even notice anything is wrong!

Photos courtesy of Romonda Watley.

If you'd like to be a Featured Wife or Bride, please email me at

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Nuptial Trends: Signature Drinks!

Signature drinks are a fairly newer trend in the last few years that are popping up at cocktail hours everywhere! The neat thing about them is that you can pretty much match them to any color in your wedding! You can also come up with names for the drinks that rhyme with YOUR name or even poems. They serve as instant decor while also adding a personalized element to your cocktail hour.
A classic signature drink would be something like a martini; but really ANYTHING can be a "signature drink", even something sans alcohol. You could have mojitos, margaritas or mai tai's (oh my!).
You'll want to try to match the drink with your theme. For example, for a summer wedding, you'd want more of a fruity drink, like a watermelon martini or fresh-squeezed lemonade.

You also may want to match the drink to the color scheme of your wedding. It can bring your wedding colors into the space (coordinating well with your centerpieces & cocktail napkins).

If you need help figuring out which drinks are which colors, check out this site called: Stirrings
It is so neat. To find a drink in your color, click on the "Recipes" tab and a few menu boxes appear. You can pick the main ingredient (vodka, rum, etc) and a color (as well as the option to select occasion = wedding); then click submit. It gives you a list of potential drinks in your color!

Once you decide on your drink, it's fun to come up with a unique name for it. It can be a play on you and & your hubby's names or even your new last name. For example, The Martin's Martini.

Having a sign up near your signature drink will help your guests to be aware that it's there for them! You could have a poem with it or even the ingredients to the drink, if it's not a well-known one.

Have no idea what ingredients to put together?
Don't be afraid to discuss the idea with your caterer or venue staff; they will have ideas! Or do some research on your own... have a few friends over and do some guess and test :)

Did you do a signature drink for your wedding or do you plan on doing one? I'd love to hear your thoughts on them, ones you've seen at weddings or what you plan on doing for your own!

What we did for our wedding:
For our wedding, we had the reception venue serve Sea Breeze's at the cocktail hour. This is the sign I made; it read "Please enjoy a refreshing Sea Breeze! Love, The Newlyweds Mr. & Mrs. Friese" (Remember what I said about rhyming? Haha)

And here it is set up during cocktail hour (looks a little red here, but trust me, they were pink!)

All inspiration pictures courtesy of The Knot. Picture from my reception courtesy of Zenobia Photography Studios.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

A Wedding Story: Holly!

This week's Wedding Story comes from Rhode Island's own Holly Allan. With that, here's Holly...
When did you get married?
We were married on October 4, 2009.

The morning of the wedding Holly had her makeup done by Kristin Greene and hair done by Jen Dwyer from Salon Sante.
Where was your ceremony? Reception?
Our ceremony was held at Slatersville Congregational Church in North Smithfield, RI. This is the church that I was baptized and confirmed in and my parents are a big part of to this day. Our reception was at the Providence Biltmore Hotel.

Holly's bouquet, and all of the flowers, was courtesy of Jeff & Co.
What made you choose that reception location?

Bill and I dated for 8 years before we were engaged. I did not want a long engagement. We got engaged in October 2008. We lived in Newport for 5 years together and I always thought we would be married in Newport, it's where we met, where we dated, and where we lived together and met so many of our friends. Unfortunately, every place we looked at was booked well in 2011. With the beach wedding out of our minds and not possible to do within the next calendar year, we decided we wanted to have an elegant, sophisticated city wedding, and picked Providence as the location.It allowed us to get married in my church. We looked at every feasible reception spot in Providence. We loved the Biltmore. It had this old school elegance about it with the beautiful ornate lobby and the grand ballroom. I loved the view of the entire city of Providence from the ballroom, the high ceilings, rich colors and it allowed us some leeway with our guest lists, as they could accommodate up to 300 people. It was also a huge plus that our guests could stay at the hotel, since Bill is not from RI and half our guest list included guests from out of town.

The centerpieces at the reception.

What was your favorite aspect of your wedding?

I spent the majority of my time worrying about cocktail hour and the reception. While I enjoyed both, my favorite part of the wedding was our ceremony. Our minister was fantastic. She allowed us to design our entire ceremony. We picked the readings and chose all the elements. We also wrote our own vows. Instead of reading them all at once, we each read one vow at a time to one another. It allowed me to really listen to each one, instead of being nervous about saying mine after him. The ceremony was the easiest thing to fall in place and my absolute favorite part of our wedding.
Another favorite aspect of the wedding was all the personal touches we were able to add. We had tissue packets made with tissues with our last initial on them handed out at the church. We had our engagement pictures framed and displayed on a piano during cocktail hour as well as a guest book with all our engagement pictures in it for guests to sign.

Welcome table at cocktail hour

My husband is a cigar lover and we made our card box from old cigar boxes and had personalized matches and cocktail napkins. My mom and stepdad are beekeepers. We were able to use their honey as our favors at each setting. All these little things were a way for us to add our little touch to different aspects of the wedding.

The Favors
What was the best resource you used during the planning process?
I used a lot of message boards and blogs. Message boards were helpful because it was a way to tap into some local resources and also get a first hand and candid review of a vendor. It was also a great way to exchange ideas with other brides to be and learn how to accomplish some DIY tasks.

One of Holly's DIY Projects: Dancing Shoes!
Blogs were also a huge resource for me. I loved to look at local photography, videography, and other design blogs. I'd often find other weddings that used my venue and was able to get ideas of what might work there. It was also helpful to get different design ideas from other local weddings.

What's the one thing you would have done differently?
I would have found money in the budget for a live band. While our DJ did a great job, we had such a beautiful large ballroom and a band would have been the icing on the cake!

Speaking of cake...

Any advice for future brides?
We knew from the beginning of our planning process that one of the most important things was photography and videography. We made the decision to set aside a large chunk of time to spend with our photographer to take pictures. Our wedding was at 2 and our cocktail hour did not start until 5. This allowed us 1 hour with our wedding party jetting to all sorts of different spots around Providence to take pictures at a variety of different locations. Our photographer was able to take pictures that truly had a city and urban feel to them. We dropped off our bridal party at cocktail hour and had an additional hour to take pictures with just the two of us. This really slowed the day down for us and the whole day didn't fly by or turn into one big blur.

Some of the fun city shots Holly spoke of...
Another bit of advice- we took 2 days off before we left on our honeymoon. I would HIGHLY recommend this! It allowed us to get all our wedding related stuff home, pack, relax and then go on a fabulous 2 week honeymoon. I wasn't stressed out about packing for a honeymoon in those days before the wedding and it truly made our honeymoon feel so long.My last piece of advice that no newly engaged girl wants to hear- it's just one day. While it's a fantastic and special day that you will remember for the rest of your life, it is just one day. Take things in stride, the world will not end if something goes wrong or some little detail is overlooked. I always kept telling myself that. I had faith in the professional vendors I chose and I always tried to keep a realistic expectation of the day and not blow it out of proportion or stress myself about trying to make it this perfect, elaborate, over the top celebration and more just a celebration centered around us with people we love.

Holly & Bill's super fun entrance to their reception!
Holly makes good points about the photography and videography; it was definitely the most important aspects to us as well. There's so much going on that you end up missing things! I guarantee you will look back at your pictures, and even moreso your video, and say "I didn't even see that happen!"

All photos courtesy of Melissa Robotti Photography

If you'd like to be a Featured Wife or Bride, please email me at

Here is clip from Holly and Bill's wedding:

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

"I Do" Ideas: Ceremony Decor

This week's topic is Ceremony Accessories and Decor! Whether your ceremony is inside or out, there are tons of things you can do to personalize the space and make it your own. Let's go through a few ideas...

Monogrammed aisle runner... You can have on it your names, monogram and/or wedding date
For outdoor weddings, if you know it's going to be hot out, you may want to supply your guests with some sun defense methods...
One idea is parasols:
Another option is fans:
Have a canine friend? How about letting them be your "Flower Dog"
Check out the impact these flowers make on this altar. Beautiful.
Having an outdoor wedding? Decorate your arch! This one is just beautiful with the flowers in multiple shades of pink.
These two large floral arrangements make this huppah completely stunning
Moss letters are a nice decoration for the outside of the doors at the ceremony location
Pew flowers are a fun way to decorate or to serve as a symbol of a reserved row
Rose petals down the aisle instantly add color to your ceremony location
You can get really fancy with your "Reserved" seating signs; or you can even make signs for every chair like this couple did:
A hand-painted wooden sign is a cute way to point guests in the direction of the ceremony site
Having a unity candle? Get fancy with it :)
Large floral arrangements, like these willows, add a wow factor for the guests when they enter
For exiting your ceremony, you may want to think of a fun way for your guests to participate in your sign-off. A few options are:
Sparklers: Ribbon wands:
or Bubbles:

What we did for our wedding...

We had a pink and green floral arrangement on the altar,
as well as pink bows on the pews. The 'reserved' pews for the family and bridal party were marked with flowers.
For our ceremony exit, we had bubbles for each guest. I made tags for each one that said:
"Love is in the Air
Jen & Jay
September 5, 2009"
All of the guests really got into the bubbles
Finally, our bubble exit:

All inspiration pictures courtesy of The Knot. All my pictures courtesy of Zenobia Photography Studios.