Monday, November 9, 2009

Come join us at the next AFWPi Networkign mixer for wedding professionals!
Redesigning the website. Check it out and let me know what you think!

Monday, September 21, 2009

San Francisco Wedding Giveaway

We are looking for one deserving couple to win!  Share your love story.

Join us!

On Tuesday OCTOBER 6, 2009, we invite you to join us at 1 Fort Mason in San Francisco at the Meet The Dream Team Mixer from 6-9 pm. This event is dedicated to the contestants who have entered to win The 2010 San Francisco Dream Wedding Giveaway. It's the perfect opportunity to meet the generous sponsors who make up The Dream Team and learn more about their services. There will be lots of fun surprises, so be sure to drop by! 

Come learn more about the vendors responsible for this community-driven project and how you can enter for a chance to win a $100,000.00 Dream Wedding!  We hope to find a hard-working and deserving couple who values the impact of giving back to the community around them.

About The Dream Wedding Giveaway
San Francisco is, without a doubt, one of the most romantic spots in the country. It’s also the perfect choice for this upscale destination wedding valued at $100,000.00! One very deserving bride and groom, along with 75 of their closest friends and family, will celebrate in style, at the luxurious Hotel Vitale, located in the heart of San Francisco. After the wedding, the winners will head to Napa for a relaxing 3 night honeymoon, filled with quiet dinners, private wine tastings, and other exclusive activities.

The 2010 San Francisco Dream Wedding Giveaway is more than just a wedding contest. Over forty premier Bay Area wedding and hospitality vendors are collaborating to make this once in a lifetime dream come true. They’ll work together as a team for almost a year, planning, coordinating and designing the most unforgettable Wedding of the Year, for one very lucky couple in love. By implementing exquisite details and top notch products and services, this amazing wedding will definitely be worthy of platinum status. The contest closes on November 25, 2009 at 11:59 p.m. PST.

Could it be YOU?

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Surf And Sand Holiday Special


Summer may just be ending, but if you want to reserve a prime day and time for your holiday party, it's time to book it now!

Thanks to the landmark Surf & Sand Resort in Laguna Beach, you can give yourself - and your guests - an early holiday present with a variety of bonuses available when you book your holiday celebration by Sept. 25.

Call now to reserve your festive celebration at the spectacular Surf & Sand Resort, and your celebration will be enhanced with complimentary festive centerpieces, and your choice of one of the following:

Complimentary oceanfront guestrooms*
Gingerbread Man cookies and milk to-go
Complimentary valet parking
Holiday spiced coffee station

Surf & Sand Resort welcomes celebrations large and small to enjoy an incomparable location on the beach, elegant settings and creative catering. Generously inclusive packages start at only $75 per person.

Click here to view holiday menus.

Call the experts at the Surf & Sand Resort today for the best selection of Holiday Party dates. 800.664.SURF.

*Complimentary guestrooms based on availability and upon food and beverage spend. Package pricing not inclusive of service charge and tax. Minimum of 40 guests.

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Wine Convention

I have just returned from the annual convention for WineShop at Home. What a fantastic experience. We arrived on Saturday morning and headed into Napa for a visit to several of the local wineries. I wanted to share some of my favorites with you.

One favorite was Paraduxx, a part of the Duckhorn Wine Company. After check in, you go outside and relax in the peaceful back yard area and get comfy in cushioned patio furniture under two huge shaded trees. These tastings, offered in contemporary settings, feature tableside service, silver trays, modern stemless Riedel 'O' glassware, and perfectly paired cheese complements -- an ideal way to experience Paraduxx's rich, food-friendly blend. In 1994, Paraduxx sourced four tons of Zinfandel from the 100-year-old vines of Napa's Korte Vineyard. This Zinfandel was blended with Duckhorn Vineyards' own Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon and Petite Sirah to create the first Paraduxx vintage. Since then, Paraduxx has grown to include grapes from the Rector Creek Vineyard in Yountville, which benefits from well-drained rocky alluvial soils and Napa's temperate climate. The winemaking team has been so pleased with the fruit from Rector Creek that Paraduxx has used this Zinfandel as the basis for the development of its proprietary red.

2008 Rose`: Aged in 100% stainless steel. It is a blend of Zinfandel, merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon, and Cab Franc. This wine has inviting aromatics and a food-friendly structure highlighted by a smooth, rich entry, delicious fruit and bright acidity. Very nice for a hot day!

2004 Paraduxx: Aged 18 months in oak, 65% American, 35% French, 70% new, 30% second vintage. This vintage is 65% Zinfandel, 28% Cabernet Sauvignon, and 7% Merlot. It has a medium bodied texture with velvety integrated tannins and a long finish. It has complex flavors of wild boysenberry, strawberry, currants and nuances of toasted oak.

2005 Paraduxx: Was aged in oak for 18 months. This vintage is a blend of 60% Zinfandel, 32% Cabernet Sauvignon, 6% Merlot, and 2% Cabernet Franc. This wine is medium bodied with a chewy texture, approachable tannins, lengthy finish. ripe flavors of raspberry, red cherry, and boysenberry, are balanced by complex notes of dark chocolate, espresso bean, and black licorice.

2006 Paraduxx: Aged 18 months in oak (50% American, 50% French, 50% new, and 50% second vintage. It is a blend of 64% Zin, 27% Cabernet Sauvignon,7% Merlot 2% Cab Franc. It has a dense color with a red cherry hue, aromas of plum, chocolate, and cherry pie accentuated by hints of violet, clove, cinnamon spice and vanilla bean and flavors of Bing Cherry, strawberry, raspberry, blueberry, mocha, and molasses.

And my favortie was the 2006!

If you are out and about on the "less traveled" Silverado Trail, do treat yourself to a tasting at this winery. It is a great experience.

I will post more of my favorites along with a posting about the wine conference next time!

Thursday, June 25, 2009

After Party Shoes for Comfort

Women who love their high heels may already be aware of ‘emergency’ flats that roll up and fit inside a purse in order to be slipped onto tired feet the end of a long night of dancing. Two new companies in England have taken the concept a step further by selling their version of portable flats in vending machines at nightclubs.

Rollasoles sell for about GBP 5 and come in four colors: Hi Ho Silver, Gold Digger, and Back to Black and Pink. When tested in Oceana and Liquid nightclubs, the classic looking ballet quickly shoes sold out. Rollasoles is planning to introduce more vending machines and eventually branch out beyond the UK.

Afterheels are similar rollable ballet flats that also sell for about GBP 5 but have—according to the company—the added feature of being sustainable; the bodies of the shoes are made from natural materials and the polypropylene insoles are fully recyclable. Both Rollasoles and Afterheels are sold with a matching bag to carry their wearer's stilettos home. It’s hard to imagine a place where this kind of convenience wouldn’t appeal to female clubgoers.

Websites: —

Contact: —

Spotted by: Raymond Kollau

Monday, June 22, 2009

DIY Wedding Ideas- Wedding Day Wine Corks

Credit to Savvy Scoop -- OneWed's Bridal Blog

Corkey Creations
Make unique wine cork coasters for favors for your wedding guests

If you are a wine lover like myself, consider carrying over your passion for wine into your wedding day. Wine corks can be used in a variety of ways to add some style to your big day! If you are well prepared, I suggest simply starting a year out and saving all of your wine corks as you celebrate your upcoming wedding and using these for place cards or decorations. Let your friends and family know your plans and have them start saving their corks, depending on how many you think you will need.

The most common way to use wine corks in your wedding is to use them as escort card holders. Shave down one end of the cork so it can sit up sturdily, and cut a slit in the other side just large enough for you to slip an escort card in. If you like the look of these, but do not feel you are creative enough, you can purchase these in sets at numerous locations, one being Corkey Creations on Etsy as shown below.

A great favor idea for your guests are cork coasters in sets of two or four. These you can easily make yourself or purchase. These coasters will use more corks per favor, so if you plan on making them, start early or gather a lot of friends and family members to help out! For example, each coaster takes 8 corks, and lets say two coasters per guest (16 corks), for a 100 person wedding you would need 1,600 corks. While you might be ambitious and do this yourself, I suggest this only if you are having a smaller wedding or buy them through a company.. The last thing you need as a bride is to have a pile of 1,600 corks in your living room with a few weeks left before you walk down the aisle!

Wine wreaths are a fun way to add decor to your room, I usually see these hanging on the front doors of the church or reception site to give your guests a fun preview of what is to come! Another decoration idea is to use these candles that are designed to look like wine corks on your tables to add a romantic atmosphere with keeping up the wine cork theme. Or fill flower vases with wine corks to use as your centerpieces at the reception. Have colorful flower arrangements coming out of the vases for something a little different.

I love how these small wine corks can add such variety and personality to a wedding. Start early collecting them and gather your friends in an assembly line to help you make them yourself!

How have you used wine corks for your wedding day?

Photo Credits:
Photo 2~ Top: Corkey Creations; Bottom Left: Beau Coup ; Bottom Right: Wine de Zein

Photo 3~ Left: La Petite Chic; Right: Do It Yourself Weddings

Wine corks are perfect as escort place card holders, or make a cute wine wreath

Fill glass hurricane vases with wine corks for decoration at your reception, or use as an accent on napkin ring.

Blog Post by Bubbly Bride Caroline Eaton
Caroline has three years of wedding coordinating experience, and recently founded Bubbly Bride, a brand new wedding planning blog offering "wedding inspiration for less stress and more champagne." She is a wedding consultant, twitter addict, optimist, dreamer, and loving wife!

Bubbly Bride
Caroline Eaton
Bubbly Bride Events

To order wines for your wedding visit

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Did something on your Wedding Day turn wedding bliss into a wedding disaster? Would you like a chance to do it all again? Send us a video clip of your nightmare in action, or just send us a clip telling your wedding disaster story, and you could win a complete wedding redo! You must be 18 years old to enter. The Deadline to enter is Wednesday, June 10 at 10am. Presented by


Submission Guidelines:
Video must be 2 minutes or shorter.
File formats accepted: wmv, mov, mpg, flv, 3gp, 3g2.
File size limit: 20 MB.

Monday, June 1, 2009

Dream Destination Caribbean #3

By Tamara Collins

The Caribbean comes alive in Jamaica's plantation houses turned grand hotels and funky thatched-roof bars spilling the sounds of reggae onto the streets. Sun-drenched beaches and thrilling watersports lure most visitors to Jamaica, but many may be surprised to find a lush, mountainous terrain that unveils rivers and waterfalls spilling through verdant valleys. Newlyweds, families and beach bums alike find plenty to fill their day in Montego Bay, Ocho Rios and Negril. Whether hiking through a virgin jungle or sipping rum punch on the beach, Jamaica's rhythm appeals to all walks of life. Dinner for Two: Perched high above the sea with panoramic views of Port Antonio and beyond, Mille Fleurs raises Caribbean fare to a new level in a romantic setting. Beach Lovers: Placid, crystal clear waters make doctors Cave Beach the perfect spot for a day in the sun. Pleasure Trip: Explore Jamaica's wilder side while riding a raft down the Great River. After dark: in July, music feeds the soul at the fourday Reggae Sumfest in Montego Bay.

Friday, May 29, 2009

Dream Destination Caribbean #2

Turks and Caicos Island

Eco-travelers find their niche in this string of tranquil islands. The turquoise waters tempt scuba divers and snorkelers onto coral reefs teeming with colorful fish and ocean giants like manta rays and humpbacks. On land, bird watchers get an eyeful in protected national parks. Providenciales (a.k.a. Provo) offers the most to visitors seeking "city" life, with golf, shopping and luxury hotels, as well as some of the most beautiful beaches in the world. Dinner for Two: The ocean breeze stirs the palm fronds overhead at Coco Bistro, a romantic seaside restaurant that brings french flair to favorite local dishes. Beach Lovers: Sapodilla Bay Beach on the west coast of Provo lends a peaceful refuge on sugary white sand with shallow waters perfect for taking the plunge. Pleasure Trip: J&B tours whisks couples away to a deserted beach for a private picnic. After Dark: Groove to an island beat at Lone Star Bar and Grill, where live music draws a crowd on Fridays.

Dream Destination Caribbean #1

With the promise of pristine beaches, warm aquamarine water and unlimited activities, the Caribbean beckons couples in search of rest and rejuvenation as well as adventure. Each of its tropical isles, from the Bahamas to St. John to Aruba, has something unique to offer. We reveal 10 of our favorite hideaways, where the two of you can revel in the romantic, luxuriously laidback vibe that keeps the Caribbean cool.

The Bahamas

This extensive island chain is home to 700 islands and islets, each with its own distinct flavor and appeal. on Nassau/Paradise Island, the most developed area in the archipelago, the jet set finds its comfort zone at posh resorts while families, fun-seekers, and gamblers have their temptations as well. Dinner for Two: Dine on succulent sushi at the world-renowned Nobu at Atlantis. Beach Lovers: Three miles of white sands and calm waters off Paradise Island's Cabbage Beach provide the perfect combination of romantic vistas and watersports. Pleasure Trip: From Nassau, take a boat or seaplane to the secluded out islands. Snorkel the pristine reefs of the Exumas, fish the shores of Andros or explore the rich cultural heritage and ecological wonders of Grand Bahama island. After Dark: The vibe is laidback and sophisticated at Pure nightlife in nassau. Snuggle up in a private bamboo cabana until the music calls you onto the dance floor.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Free DIY Wedding ebook

Tis the season to be married! It's that time of year when most couples are deciding to tie the knot. True love is eternal and nothing is more sacred than that. With this economy it is hard to get all the things you want for your wedding. Did you ever think about saving money by creating your own things for your special day? We have plenty of crafts to help you save that money.

Get it now!

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Weddings On Ice Event July 25th, 2009

Orange County Ca: Kim Turcotte has founded a cool concept. She calls it “Brides on Ice” (see the upcoming Orange County Bride Magazine ad coming soon). Jenny our model is not only gorgeous, she’s also a mean hockey player. We managed to create these images and withstand the potential of experiencing frost bite while doing it.



Photography and post by A. Michaels Photography

Wedding Tennies & Formal Shoes will also be exhibiting at this show.

Saturday, April 18, 2009

So Cal Bridal Show April 26th, 2009

Come see Wedding Tennies & Formal Shoes at the Great Bridal Expo in Anaheim, April 26th.

Show Preview Purchase Tickets Win!

Watch a preview of everything you'll see when you attend the Great Bridal Expo. Order tickets to the
Great Bridal Expo online.
Click here to get started!
Win dozens of
prizes, including
a honeymoon,
airline tickets,
jewelry and

Great Bridal Expo :: Everything for your wedding, honemoon and new home in one convenienct place.

Accessories, Bakeries, Banking, Bridal Fashions, Bridesmaid Dresses, Cakes,
Catering, Ceremony Locations, Cosmetic Surgery and Dentistry, Dance Lessons, DJs,
Entertainment, Favors, Financial Services, Florists, Guest Accommodations, Insurance,
Jewelry, Honeymoons, House and Home, Invitations, Music, Officiants, Party Rentals,
Photography, Reception Locations, Rehearsal Dinner Locations, Transportation, Travel,
Tuxedos, Videography, Wedding Coordinators, Wedding Dresses and Gowns, Wedding
Registry (china, stemware, cookware, and more) Wedding Rings, and even more!

Show Date: 04/26/2009
Show Time: 12:00 NOON
800 W Katella Ave
Anaheim, CA 92802

Map Link

Friday, April 17, 2009

A Toast To Mothers!

Mothers. Grandmothers. The special friends who “mother” and nurture us deserve our special gestures of appreciation and thanks this Mother’s Day. Celebrate the moms in your life with a special gift of wine.

You can choose from a case of her favorite wine, select stemware to add sparkle to her table, Personalized Wine with a special image and message just for her, or go for a gift that reminds her how much you love her every month – Wine Club. And, to add to your choices we are offering two new baskets with all the colors and abundance of Spring!
Take a sip of Spring with our divine new wines. Our new wine releases for the month are, indeed, showstoppers! Each and every wine is a sensation.

Our Artisan Wines
The WineShop At Home family of exclusive, handcrafted wines represents a diverse selection of varietals, styles and regions. You can mix and match a case or two of your favorites to share with family and friends and begin to build your personal wine cellar. If you purchase a case from a Tasting or are a Wine Club Member, you will receive FREE Shipping. Choose from Red Wines, White Wines and Specialty Wines to create the perfect mixed case for her.
Artisan 5 Star Stemware
Our old-world production utilizes the skill of glass blowers and special forming techniques to bring you the very best for both your everyday and special occasion home tables. The brilliance and clarity of our crystal perfectly mirrors the color of your wine while its strength from thermo shock toughening provides resistance to scratching and breakage. Choose from Red Wine Stems, White Wine Stems, Sparkling Flutes and our Decanter to give her the ultimate in wine enjoyment this Mother's Day.
Personalized Wine
Special occasions and social gatherings call for a very special wine at a wonderful price. Our Talmage personalized wines exceed all expectations on both counts. Some of our finest exclusive wines are reserved for bottling under this special label, just waiting for you to personalize to make your own individual statement of good taste. Choose from Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Chardonnay and Sparkling for your personalized image and message for your mother.

Wine Clubs
Unlike most wine clubs we offer you plenty of choices each month. You decide which of our two clubs - Club Select or Club Elite - best suit your taste and budget. Love reds? No problem. We won’t ship you whites. Love both? You’re in luck! Come join us for as long as you like. You decide. Be the first when it comes to tasting new wine releases that debut in our Wine Club. Click here to find out about how to get your Mother exclusive wines delivered to her door every month.

Own your own Wine Business -- as Seen on The View

When the economy tanks you can rev it up with the income you’ll earn as a WineShop At Home Independent Wine Consultant. There’s never been a better time to start a recession-proof career. For as little as $99.00 you can pour up a whole new opportunity for yourself and say goodbye to those recession blues forever.

Visit for more information on the options for starting your own wine business.

Say I Do to Gifting the Bride & Groom With Wine

2.3 million weddings take place every year in the United States – breaking down to nearly 6,200 weddings a day. Over $19 billion dollars are spent on purchasing wedding gifts for the bride and groom. One of the hottest new trends is gifting the bride and groom with high-quality wines.

Presenting them with cases of wine so they can start their own wine cellar is a unique gift idea that can start the new couple off on a lifetime of wine enjoyment. Offering gifts of personalized wines – often with the couple's photograph, name and date of the wedding – is also a standout and a lot more appreciated than that toaster oven. Special boxed wine gift sets also make great gifts for the wedding party and as do sparkling sets of handcrafted stemware.

Whenever, wherever those 2.3 million weddings are taking place, you’ll hear the sounds of glasses clinking. Your gift of wine can keep the glasses filled with exclusive, handcrafted wines from WineShop At Home.

Check out our vast selection of hand-crafted artisan wines, wine accessories, and gift baskets at

Thursday, April 16, 2009

One Happy Customer Got "Cushy" Shoes

We received this great testimonial the other day and wanted to share with you!

"Thank you so much for delivering the wedding flip flops for my daughter's wedding so promptly! We received them yesterday, in plenty of time for her last fitting. I really appreciate the effort that you made to rush the creation and delivery of the merchandise so that we would not be the least bit inconvenienced.

Best of all, my daughter Alyssa was delighted with the final product! She said that they were "darling" and "cushy"and very comfortable. I am so pleased at how they turned out, and they are just elegant and simple enough to work for the reception and for the honeymoon afterwards. We will definitely recommend you to all of our family and friends.

Thank you again,
Lauren Leinz "

Our flip flops and tennies are great for wearing at the reception when your feet might be getting sore but they also do double duty for the honeymoon. We also make colored flip flops for the bridesmaids so they can be elegantly comfortable too!

No Sore Feet

We recently had a client who's daughter loved her flip flops so much that she became a repeat client. Actually she was from Canada but would be vacationing in Florida for a week.

She writes ....
"I ordered a pair of wedding tennies last year for my daughter in law and she absolutely loved them......she said her feet were comfortable all evening......and no sore feet for her. I have another son getting married in September of this year and would like to order a pair of sandals for his future bride ....I am going to be in Florida the week of April 16th to the 24th.....and wondered if it's possible to have them shipped to me at our condo while we are there ?? "

We were able to make another pair for her son's bride and ship them to her in Florida for her to receive while on vacation.
We can ship anywhere anyway you want!

My Tailor Ruined My Hem

The other day I had a client that had ordered her flip flops with a 3 inch heel. She had them for a couple of months but hadn't worn them. They were the "Sweet Dreams Lace Platforms" in white. she had written to me "I LOVE THEM! The problem is, the girl at the bridal salon was wrong. She told me I would need a three inch heel. I went for my fitting, and when the dress is all tightened up, I only need a flat shoe...MAYBE a half an inch."

She thought it might be too late to exchange them and that there might not be enough time to get a new pair. We have a new flip flop with the fabric straps and a 1/2 inch heel. We made them for her right away and she was able to make her fitting. They came out beautiful with that low heel!

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Wine Tasting at Home

This weekend I had the honor of hosting a wine party for my best friend's "Thirty Something Party!" It was nice to celebrate at home and

have someone come in to educate us about the various wines. We learned some cool techniques that I am sure most of us will probably try, sampled wines, learned what we did and didn't like about the wines, I realized my best friend has a bionic nose that could actually smell the cherries in the wine! LOL! Overall it was a really fun night, that left us giggling, very happy ;-), but most importantly we were able to celebrate someone who is very special to us all!

The in home wine party is a really cool concept and is perfect for a birthday celebration, bridal shower, or for an intimate get together of friends. For our event I used Cindy from Tasty Vines to showcase a sample of their wine selection. If you are looking to host a wine party, you can contact Cindy at or 714.970.6380.

Thank you Cindy!!!! :-)

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Have a "Green" Wedding

Help preserve the planet without surrendering flavor or flair.

Eco-conscious brides and grooms need not set aside their convictions to have the destination wedding of their dreams. With a little planning and creativity, a far-flung event with a small gathering of family and friends can be nearly as green as a ceremony in their own backyard.

With any wedding-local or destination-travel, energy consumption and waste have an environmental impact that lasts far longer than the event itself. "The typical U.S. wedding and honeymoon generate 9 to 16 tons of carbon dioxide emissions," says Jennifer Hattam, the green lifestyle editor for Sierra magazine, "almost as much as the average American generates in an entire year." Tying the knot far from home creates even more obstacles when striving to go green, adds Tara Soloway, cofounder and head coordinator for LUXE Destination Weddings, a consulting firm and travel agency. "Destination weddings require excess travel, so there is definitely a concern about how we are placing our footprints in the sand."

Soloway and other event coordinators suggest compensating for those flights through the purchase of carbon offsets.a donation to companies that invest in renewable energy. You can calculate the greenhouse gas emissions of your wedding event at sites like and and then purchase the offsets that will ensure a carbon neutral experience.

These calculators also add up the impact of your hotel stay, which puts out about 30 pounds of greenhouse gases per night. You and your guests can pay for these offsets, or let Leading Hotels of the World make a donation for you. When travelers book a reservation through their website,, the company makes the visit carbon neutral by purchasing offsets on their guests' behalf.

Which resort you chose makes a statement as well. Properties that practice green initiatives like recycling, composting and water conservation are doing their part to lighten the impact. Some resorts even have solar panels that minimize energy consumption, use reclaimed water for irrigation and include eco-sensitive materials in their buildings and decor. Visit the Green Hotels Association website ( for a list of conscientious resorts and hotels.

Nature's Own

A flower-filled garden or romantic beach at the chosen destination is the picture-perfect, eco-friendly setting for an alfresco wedding to remember. When san Franciscans Lindsay Imai and Cliff Hong chose a park for their nuptials, they didn't know how "green" they were. "We weren't conscious of the energy savings of picking a park," says Imai, "but we love nature so it was the ideal place for us." Daytime ceremonies and receptions in a natural setting versus an energy-consuming reception hall can eliminate up to 2,000 pounds of carbon dioxide from your event's total output. And relying on the charm of the surroundings cuts down on waste produced by extravagant decorations.

No wedding would be complete without flowers, but their impact on the environment can be extensive. "Flower production is chemically intensive," notes Marc Kessler, owner of California Organic Flowers. "Just about every aspect of conventional flower growing is detrimental to the environment and to the workers who grow them." Kessler suggests that you source out local, organically grown blooms to be assured that no residual chemicals linger on the petals and that the fuel consumed to bring them to your wedding was minimal. You can also repurpose the bouquets for the ceremony, reception and dinner parties to minimize the waste.

The food served should be considered just as carefully. Local, organic fare is fresher and better for you and the environment. "Produce picked that morning is more delicious because it has a higher sugar content," says Jenn Louis, owner and chef of Culinary Artistry, a sustainable catering company in Oregon. Ask your caterer if leftover food will be donated to local shelters and whether tablecloths, dishes and flatware are reusable, suggests Louis. "Composting and Recycling are other important steps to minimize waste."

Eco Elements

But there's no need to sacrifice elegance and sophistication for environmental sensitivity. "Green weddings push designers to think outside of the box," says Eden Roderiguez, whose event planning company, End Design, produced Alicia Silverstone's uber-green ceremony in 2001. "It challenges us to get more creative, and in the end, clients get a uniquely beautiful experience that reflects their own sensibilities." During a recent destination wedding in Sweden, Roderiguez shopped at local vintage stores for vases and collected cuttings from neighborhood gardens (after asking permission, of course) to give the wedding a sense of place. "There's so much beauty in simple things," she notes. "Just look around you. What's local, what's free? Pinecones, shells and stones are all natural elements that you can incorporate into the event." And what's more elegant than candlelight? Soy-based candles are a clean-burning, energy-saving light source that can be reused at different functions throughout the celebration.

Long before the ceremony, brides can make eco-conscious choices when buying their dress, invitations and rings. Gowns made from natural fibers at fair trade factories are a good option, as is buying from a shop that gives part of the proceeds to charity. Green alternatives for invitations include recycled paper or cotton, while using a website to announce day-of details eliminates paper waste entirely. For the rings, conflict-free diamonds and recycled metals show your commitment to each other and social responsibility. Lindsay Imai's fiancéought his ring from Green Karat, an online jeweler that recycles metals, and her rings were handed down. "They both belonged to my paternal grandmother," she says.

Even your registry presents an opportunity to invest in a healthy planet. "Say you register for organic sheets or energy efficient appliances-you're giving back to yourself and the environment," notes Meghan Meyers of Portovert, an online magazine promoting green weddings. And charitable giving is just a click away when you register at sites like and, which donate a portion of their sales to your charity of choice. "With 2.5 million people marrying each year, that's a significant amount of money going to charity," Meyers adds.

While your wedding is a special day that celebrates your love for one another, it also offers an opportunity to embrace the world around you. In the process, it may raise the eco-awareness of your guests, the caterer, florist and even the resort to the simple beauty and elegance of living green.

"There's so much beauty in simple things. Just look around you. What's local, what's free?"

Friday, March 20, 2009

Destination Wediquette

Faraway affairs are often less formal than homegrown vows. Still, when it comes to matters like money, bridal gifts and invitations, a few rules apply. Here are some tips to help guide you through the list of dos and don'ts.

Guest List

With an affair far away from home, you needn't feel compelled to invite your third cousins twice removed. Just remember that in between the cost of airfare and accommodations and getting time off from work and school, not everyone on your list will be able to join you.

Typically, about 70 percent of the people invited to a destination event show up, according to Claudia Cantillo, Wedding Coordinator at Dreams Cancun Resort & Spa on Mexico's Riviera Maya. Still, Cantillo notes, "Couples should never count on guests not accepting their invitation". If you select a particularly fantastic locale, don't be surprised if a majority of friends and family make the trip.

What about those who can't go? Throw a party once back home. This kind of "reception" can be large or small, formal or informal, and gives you and your new spouse a chance to celebrate with all of your nearest and dearest. "Plan the decor around your destination," suggests Joann Delgin, Director of Wedding Strategy with Sandals resorts. "And be sure to have wedding photos or even the DVD on hand to share with those who couldn't attend". Generally, gifts are not expected at this type of party, but well-wishers will probably bring something anyway.

Save the Date

Preferably, "save-the-date" cards for a faraway event should go out six months to a year in advance so that friends and family can work the trip into their budget and work schedule. This way you'll also have an idea early on of how many people will be able to attend. While electronic cards such as E-vites are growing in popularity, Delgin recommends sending both the save-the-date cards and wedding invitations formally via airmail. "E-vites are fun and creative for casual occasions, but your wedding is a once- in-a-lifetime event".

As the big day approaches, create a simple website to keep invitees informed of travel and accommodation options along with price ranges, transportation details, activities and any other information that may simplify the process. "Keep the information current, and email guests each time you make significant changes," recommends Cantillo.

Money Manners

Getaway nuptials generally call on invitees to pay their own airfare and lodging, while you pick up the tab for food and beverages. Nonetheless, you should still price tickets and rooms for your guests. "Call a few airlines and negotiate a group fare," says Kelly McLeskey, Catering Director at California's Fairmont Sonoma Mission Inn & Spa. She also suggests contacting the hotel you're staying at to find out about group discounts on accommodations.

Be sure to book your reservations early as group rates typically are based on availability. If money is truly a concern for your attendees, let them know their presence is the only wedding gift you need and make yourself available to assist in any way possible. Besides getting them discounted accommodations, perhaps you can also help them pair up on rooms. And, as Delgin suggests, consider tying the knot at an all-inclusive resort, where the rate includes all the food, beverages and most activities.

Wedding Gifts

As with any nuptial, avoid the mention of gifts on the wedding invitation. In fact, you should appear completely unconcerned with gifts once you've arranged the registry. A family member or member of the wedding party will inform guests where you are registered and let invitees know to either send the presents to your home or to only bring gifts of money or gift certificates to the destination. "No one wants to lug that vintage toaster across the country-twice," says Delgin.

Some resorts and hotels allow couples to register their honeymoon online, a process that works just like a gift registry, says Cantillo. "Your friends and family can purchase parts of your honeymoon experience as a wedding present".

Bridal Shower

With traditional nuptials, inviting guests to the shower and not to the wedding is improper protocol. But since so many bridal couples elope or opt for a private affair at a small venue, modern etiquette suggests destination events can be an exception to this rule. To avoid offending anybody, make sure your maid of honor or a family member informs shower guests that your wedding is an intimate event and-if you throw a party once back home-that you and your spouse will see everyone at the reception. Wedding gifts are optional and should never be expected. Still, since bridal showers were created to "shower" the bride with gifts, guests attending your gathering will most likely bring a present.

Rehearsal Dinner

"Typically, the rehearsal dinner is for the bridal party, immediate family and out-of-town guests," Delgin says. "But since everyone has traveled to be a part of your destination wedding, it's a good idea to include the whole gang". This type of celebration can be as formal as a sit-down soiree or as laid-back as a beach barbecue, the expert notes.

If you're watching your budget, one idea is to invite your close family and the wedding party to the dinner, and then ask everyone else to join you for toasts and dessert, says McLeskey. "It's a great way to include everyone without spending a fortune".

Dress Code

The first thing to consider is the environment. Are you tying the knot outdoors in a beachside setting, atop a hillside, or inside an elegant hotel ballroom? If you're heading to an island, go for natural, lightweight fabrics like silk chiffon, silk organza and satin crepes rather than a big ball gown. Look for dresses that drape your body rather than cling to it, especially in a tropical climate. A shorter dress works well in an outdoor environment where you might get a longer outfit dirty. And skip the veil if it's going to be extra breezy.

For the groom, a white dinner jacket or light, breathable fabrics like linen and poplin are great alternatives to a formal tux. Just make sure you two wear outfits that mix well together. Because your wedding guests may have to travel to a place they have not visited before, it's wise to state the dress code on the invitation. Depending on your preference and the location, this can be anything from "cocktail attire" and "dressy casual" to "resort wear" or "evening resort attire". Bottom line, says McLeskey, "You don't want your guests to feel overdressed or under dressed".

Nuptial Favors

There are many ways to welcome guests and show you appreciate their attendance. If the whole wedding party stays in one place, prepare a small treat and leave it at the front desk so that people receive the gifts when they check in. "This can be a welcome basket or tote bag filled with local maps, native snacks and an itinerary of events," Delgin says, adding, "A beach or tote bag makes for a great keepsake and remembrance of this special time".

An alternative to creating and shipping dozens of packages is to give attendees a gift certificate to the hotel spa or a nearby restaurant. Or put together a mini-guide to the area to keep your invitees entertained. For instance, if you're marrying in wine country, provide a bottle of locally made wine along with a map for guests to orchestrate their own winery tour.

Quality Time

One of the great things about a destination wedding is that you get to spend quality time with family and friends for a few days. But just because your loved ones came all the way to a far-flung locale doesn't mean you have to spend every minute with them, particularly not after the big day. Declining invitations to socialize with your guests following the "I dos" is neither inappropriate or against tradition.

Nonetheless, since many invitees may stay at the destination for some time, offer tips on activities they can enjoy in and around the area and introduce them to other guests who are sticking around. You can even send your invitees a questionnaire beforehand to determine special interests and construct a fun itinerary based on the resort activities, Cantillo suggests. Still, says Delgin, "No one is expecting you to plan 24 hours of activity each day to entertain them".

If the two of you still feel guilty taking time for yourselves after the wedding, arrive a few days ahead of your wedding party, or simply look at your trip as an opportunity to enjoy the company of your loved ones in a wonderful vacation spot. After all, you and your new spouse have your entire lives to spend in each other's arms.

Monday, March 16, 2009

Legal Considerations

A guide to marriage laws and regulations in North America, Mexico, the Caribbean, Hawaii and the South Pacific.

Whether you have your heart set on Fiji, Cancun, Jamaica or Las Vegas, it's essential to know the official destination wedding procedures at your chosen locale before making the travel arrangements. Does the country require a minimum residency period? How many witnesses are required? Many places ask only for a passport or photo ID, while some call for birth certificates, blood work and translated copies of your documents.

Below is a list of locations featured in Elite Wedding Collection magazine and the specific nuptial formalities associated with each. Note that numerous resorts and hotels guide couples through the paperwork, so be sure to ask for the type of services available when you first contact your destination.

North America Weddings

United States Weddings

Obtaining a marriage license: Apply with county clerk in the city of wedding.
Identification needed: Most states ask for photo ID or passport; some also require social security numbers and proof of divorce or death certificate, if applicable. You may be asked for a certified copy of your birth certificate.
License waiting period: Varies from state to state
License fees: From $10-$100
Residency period: Varies
Witnesses needed: Varies

Canada Weddings

Obtaining a marriage license: Apply with county clerk in the city of wedding.
Identification needed: Most Canadian states ask for photo ID and a birth certificate, along with proof of divorce or death certificate, if applicable.
License waiting period: Varies from state to state
License fees: From US$10
Residency period: Varies
Witnesses needed: Varies

Caribbean Weddings

Antigua Weddings

Obtaining a marriage license: Couples apply at Ministry of Justice and Legal Affairs in St. John's
Identification needed: Passport or driver's license and birth certificate. Proof of divorce, death certificate or deed poll, if applicable.
License waiting period: None
License fees: From US $150
Residency period: None
Witnesses needed: Two

Aruba Weddings

Obtaining a marriage license: All documents must be sent to the Civil Hall one month prior to the ceremony.
Identification needed: Apostille documentation from country of citizenship verifying partners' single status. Valid passports and copies of pages showing relevant details. Copies of birth certificates with raised seals. Proof of divorce or death certificate, if applicable. Copies of passport pages of witnesses.
License waiting period: All documents to be submitted at least one month prior (by courier) to wedding date.
License fees: From US $80
Residency period: None
Witnesses needed: Two

Bahamas Weddings

Obtaining a marriage license: Couples apply in person at the American Embassy, Nassau, or a Bahamas notary public.
Identification needed: Proof of arrival in the Bahamas. Passport or birth certificate and photo ID. Proof of single status by the U.S. Consul, proof of divorce or death certificate, if applicable.
License waiting period: One day
License fees: From US $100
Residency period: None
Witnesses needed: Two

British Virgin Islands Weddings

Obtaining a marriage license: Apply in person at the Attorney General's office in Tortola on the day of arrival.
Identification needed: Passport, birth certificate, proof of divorce or death certificate, if applicable.
License waiting period: Three days
License fees: US$110 in B.V.I. postage stamps if BVI resident for 1 day; US$50 in BVI Postage Stamps if resident for 15 days or more.
Residency period: None
Witnesses needed: Two

Dominican Republic Weddings

Obtaining a marriage license: Send written request for permission to marry to the American Consulate in Santo Domingo.
Identification needed: Valid passports for the couple and any foreign witnesses. Affidavit stating marriage status. Original copies and photocopies of birth certificates, and adoption certificates, name deeds and decree absolute, if applicable. Original and photocopies of death certificates. First, middle and last names must show up identically on passport, affidavit declaration and birth certificate. Documents must be translated into Spanish by the Dominican Consulate or Embassy in the United Stated.
License waiting period: Varies
License fees: From US$20
Residency period: None
Witnesses needed: Two (non-family members with valid photo identification)

The Grenadines Weddings

Obtaining a marriage license: File your application in person at the Ministry of Legal Affairs.
Identification needed: Passport, birth certificate and proof of divorce or death certificate, if applicable. All documents must be notarized, and in English.
License waiting period: One day
License fees: US$190, plus US$7.50 in stamp fees
Residency period: None
Witnesses needed: None

Jamaica Weddings

Obtaining a marriage license: Apply and receive a marriage certificate from the Ministry of National Security in Kingston.
Identification needed: Photo identification plus proof of citizenship (certified copy of birth certificate which includes father's name). Certified copy of death certificate or divorce decree, if applicable. Documented parental consent if either party is under 21.
License waiting period: One day
License fees: US$75
Residency period: 24 hours before ceremony
Witnesses needed: None

St. Lucia Weddings

Obtaining a marriage license: Apply with Attorney General through a local solicitor.
Identification needed: Passports, original birth certificates and proof of divorce, death certificate or deed poll, if applicable. Couples wishing to be married within the Catholic Church must have the couple's local parish priest liaise with a priest on the island.
License waiting period: Two days for processing
License fees: From US$195
Residency period: Four days before applying
Witnesses needed: None

St. Martin Weddings

Obtaining a marriage license: Apply with civil registry at least 14 days prior to ceremony.
Identification needed: Birth certificate (or copy with raised seal). Certificate of good conduct (including certificate of single standing). Medical certificate issued within three months of event; a blood test is required. French translation of English documents.
License waiting period: See below
License fees: None
Residency period: One of partners must be a resident for 30 days (residency card is required), but many resorts help couples speed up procedures.
Witnesses needed: None

Turks & Caicos Weddings

Obtaining a marriage license: Apply with registrar in Grand Turk.
Identification needed: Proof of single status (notarized copies of affidavit and proof of divorce or death certificate, if applicable). Birth certificate and photo ID.
License waiting period: Two-Three days to marry
License fees: US$50
Residency period: 48 hours before applying
Witnesses needed: None

U.S. Virgin Islands Weddings

Obtaining a marriage license: Send a letter requesting or call to request a marriage license to the Territorial court of the U.S. Virgin Islands in St. Thomas/St. John (340- 774-6680) or St. Croix (340-778-9750) or download application at
Identification needed: Proof of divorce.
License waiting period: 8 days (from receipt of notarized application. Couples need not be on-island).
License fees: US$50
Residency period: Same as waiting period
Witnesses needed: None

Mexico Weddings

Obtaining a marriage license: Apply with the Registro Civil in city of wedding.
Identification needed: Passport and birth certificate. A copy of tourist card or visa. Proof of divorce or death certificate, if applicable. Names, addresses, ages, nationalities & tourist card numbers of four witnesses. Blood tests are required and must be performed in Mexico.
License waiting period: Two to four days
License fees: Around US$200
Residency period: Two days (no minimum stay for Cozumel)
Witnesses needed: Two (18 or older)
For more information, go to

Hawaii Weddings & South Pacific Wedding

Hawaii Weddings

Obtaining a marriage license: Apply with county clerk for a license valid throughout the State of Hawaii. To obtain your license application, please call the Hawaii County Department of Health at (808) 974-6008 and request a "Marriage License Packet." Or visit for license application and information.
Identification needed: Couples must show proof of age with valid ID or driver's license. Proof of divorce or death certificate, if applicable.
License waiting period: None
License fees: $60
Residency period: None
Witnesses needed: One
For more information, go to

Fiji Weddings

Obtaining a marriage license: Couples apply at the Registry Office in Suva, Nadi or Lautoka. When marrying on Vanua Levu, registration must be in Savusavu and for the island of Taveuni or outer northeastern islands, register in Taveuni.
Identification needed: Original birth certificates and valid passports. If applicable, decree absolute with court stamp, death certificate of former spouse, adoption certificate and legally stamped deed poll; this also applies if a married woman has reverted back to her maiden name.
License waiting period: One working day
License fees: US$11
Residency period: None
Witnesses needed: Two (minimum 21 years old)

Love on Location

By Isabelle Gullö

With an eclectic collection of wedding destinations at hand, why wait until your honeymoon to begin the journey of a lifetime.

Imagine exchanging vows on a silky soft beach, on the hillside of a wine country resort or in the grand ballroom of your favorite city hotel surrounded by a circle of family and friends. An increasing number of bridal couples trade the traditional church affair for a getaway wedding. And it makes sense. Besides the thrill of celebrating this milestone at an exciting locale, arranging a destination wedding can save time and money, whether it's just the two of you saying "I do" on secluded Caribbean sands or a gathering of 100 friends and family members at a cozy country resort. Better yet, with professional coordinators on location to handle tiresome details, couples can relax and focus on each other as their "weddingmoon" approaches. So go ahead, fantasize about a tropical island escape, luxurious mountain retreat or cosmopolitan hideaway. We'll give you plenty of reasons to wed away, along with tips on how best to plan your own dream event.

Stress Less

The idea of spending the days before the wedding unwinding on a deserted beach or gliding down powdery ski slopes rather than fretting over last-minute preparations inspires many brides and grooms to opt for an alternative to homegrown vows. And while it may seem difficult to plan this kind of event from afar, getaway weddings usually require less work than conventional affairs. Many properties have on-staff wedding coordinators or catering teams that take care of most-if not all-of the arrangements, from the decor and dinner menu to activities and guest accommodations.

Having someone at the wedding location to handle the essentials can spare you a lot of stress. If a property does not have its own coordinator, ask the concierge to recommend a local wedding planner along with a list of professional vendors in the area. Once you've found the ideal person, be sure to discuss your specific wedding style, your goals and desires for the big event as well as your budget.

For a completely worry-free experience, look for a hotel or resort that provides full wedding packages, including an expert planner, marriage license, officiant, flower designs, photography, champagne, dinner and wedding cake.

Ultimately, you decide what's important on your special day. For example, a destination ceremony and reception can be simple or extravagant; your guest list can be trimmed to include just your immediate family; formal suits may be traded for tropical shirts and sarongs. With a getaway wedding, it's easy to do things your way.

Quality Time

The average wedding lasts about four hours, which doesn't leave couples much time to spend with their guests, many of whom may have flown in from across the country to help celebrate the big bash. Since many attendees have to travel anyway, a fabulous locale allows the event to become a vacation or family reunion, where you and your nearest and dearest can enjoy each others company, snorkeling, horseback riding, shopping or exploring local attractions together. Need time alone with your sweetie? Arrive a few days ahead of your wedding party or plan fun daylong activities to occupy your loved ones while you sneak away to hike waterfalls or dine at a gourmet restaurant.

What Cost Love

It may come as a surprise, but even after you add up the airfare, reception and accommodations, a luxurious wedding weekend at a fabulous destination often costs less than a formal to-do at the hometown country club. For starters, your guest list is typically whittled down-traditional nuptials average 164 attendees compared to 53 guests for destination "I do's".

Many resorts and hotels offer all-inclusive bridal deals, comprehensive packages that generally cover all means, drinks and activities under one flat rate. Some places even promise a free honeymoon as well as kickbacks on guest accommodations if the couple brings in a certain number of people for their event.

Having a destination wedding not only means your romantic getaway begins even before the actual ceremony, but you avoid footing the bill for a grand reception and honeymoon. As a bonus, many honeymoon packages are surprisingly affordable and may include such special touches as accommodation upgrades, complimentary champagne, en-suite massage and private dinners.

Another idea is to follow an elopement or small wedding away with a formal celebration back home. With the help of wedding webcams provided by some resorts, family and friends get to enjoy the ceremony live from afar. Keep in mind, you decide the level of intimacy for your special occasion and invite accordingly.

Bridal Etiquette

Proper protocol of a getaway wedding calls on invitees to pay their own airfare and lodging, while you'll pick up the tab for food and beverages. Nonetheless, you should still price tickets and rooms for your guests. If money is a concern for your attendees, let them know their presence is the only wedding gift you need and make yourself available to assist in any way possible. Perhaps you can get them a discount on accommodations or help them pair up on rooms.

Wedding Favors

There are many ways to welcome your guests and show you appreciate their attendance. If the whole wedding party stays in one place, prepare a small treat and leave it at the front desk so that people receive the gifts when they check in. An alternative to creating and shipping dozens of packages is to give attendees a gift certificate to the hotel spa or a nearby restaurant. Or put together a mini-guide to the area to keep your invitees entertained. For instance, if you're marrying in wine country, provide a bottle of locally made wine along with a map for guests to orchestrate their own winery tour. With an intimate wedding party, greet guests at the airport, especially if you're familiar with the location and they are not. If you've got your hands full, ask your maid of honor or best man to help, or consult the concierge about airport transfers.

Save the Date

Give friends and family fair warning, preferably six months to a year in advance, so they can work the trip into their budget and work schedule. As the big day approaches, create a simple website to keep guests informed of travel and accommodation options and price ranges, transportation details, activities, restaurant suggestions and any other information that may simplify the process.

With so many resources available at today's upscale resorts and hotels, including expert wedding coordinators, dedicated concierge teams and informative websites, arranging your getaway event should be a breeze. The toughest part may well be to select your favorite out of the nearly 100 outstanding locations presented in our Elite Wedding Collection. Enjoy the planning process and remember the famous quote from Walt Disney, the man who knows how to bring fantasies to life, "If you can dream it, you can do it".

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

2009 Wedding Trends

Outdoor Weddings
Barns, wineries, vineyards, backyards, hilltops with a view. . . Tent weddings are all the rage! Outdoor settings can be personalized to reflect a spirited and casual vibe, or totally elegant. The décor possibilities are endless.

Vintage Inspired
It’s the ultimate in recycling ‐ from vintage cake toppers to vases and pottery for your centerpieces to completely mis‐matched vintage china settings, a return to “all things old” makes for a beautiful and relaxed ambience. If the mother or grandmother’s wedding dress is not a viable option, have it re‐created from a picture!

Local Farm Produce, Eggs and Meats
From pesticide‐free flowers to organic menus, local farms are the best place for everything fresh and abundant. When the Chef goes shopping, make sure he wears his chef’s jacket so the locals can see he supports the community. Nice to list the name of the farm on your menus as well.

Something that Creates a “Buzz”
Personal and whimsical touches add just the perfect “something extra” that brides are looking for. Have just one unexpected thing that guests will talk about for decades to come ‐ incorporating their grandmother's best recipe as part of the menu, a champagne station in the restroom, a whimsical favor from the city in which the bride & groom met, or forgoing favors and making charity donations. Even in the most sophisticated of events, just one whimsical touch will get guests talking and give them something to remember.

Color Combos & Patterns!
One of everyone’s favorite things to speculate on! This year waves goodbye to pastels and hello to rich colors like navy, orange with dark ruby reds, plum, and amber. Chocolate brown is still a great color to mix with, however basic black is coming back strong – brown has had the spotlight for too long! The ever sophisticated black comes on strong in 2009, and carries through into flowers, cakes and accent colors (your bridesmaids will thank you forever for this one if they get to wear a “little black dress”!)

Bronzes and coppers are the metallic of choice this year.

For people looking for a color that reflects a fresh, new beginning, beautiful bright greens make a great splash. Especially fun if paired with other “brights” – robin’s egg blue, bright yellow or orange.

Patterns everywhere, mixed and matched – linens, bridesmaid’s dresses, china. . .Toile, florals, damask, polka dots, even gingham – there’s a pattern to fit any mood and style.

Tapas and Sample Stations
Great for sophisticated evening weddings, or when you’re short on space for a sit‐down

Also fun for a cocktail hour, creating an “urban lounge” atmosphere.

“Foodies” love tasting bars ‐ every whim granted! Wine and cheese stations will be
educational as well if you hire a professional sommelier to provide pairing pointers.

Update the “old standards” with fresh takes on the menus – breathe new life into
“South of the Border”, “Asian infused” and “Americana”.

Ethnic Entertainment.

To showcase the different cultural backgrounds of the bride & groom, try one ethnic mix
for the cocktail hour and a different one for dinner and dancing.

Wedding Logos
Still hot into 2009, graphic elements create a unified look for your wedding stationery,
and can be anything from a flower to a bird, to a non‐representational graphical
element. They may reflect the location of the wedding, the wedding theme, or one of
the bride & groom’s favorite things.

Libations, Wine Collections, Bar Chefs and Awesome Signature drinks.

Wine is still a major focus in 2009 – pair for your client, offer to pour their own
collection with a corkage fee (offer to decant as well).

Bar Chefs are all the rage, creating “Signature drinks” fro the bride and groom, and
creating drink “recipes” that pair beautifully with the menu and incorporate local fresh
herbs, produce and purees (yes, produce!) such as a 6‐flavor bellini bar with fruit purees
(peach, pomegranate) and fresh herbs (mint lavender, fresh flowers).

Champagne bar ‐ pick your favorite bottles of bubbly and don't forget the mixers, such
as Chambord, Midori, cranberry juice, and pineapple juice. Guests will have so much fun
making their own signature cocktails.

Along with the vintage craze, “vintage” cocktails are back as well. Make sure your
bartenders brush up on their “Manhattans” and “Sidecars”.

Late Night Snacks
Guests need a little “pick‐me‐up” as the night goes on. . .! Gourmet popcorn or french
fries served in brown paper cups or mini Chinese food containers, after dinner cheese
boards, tray passed sweets like cheesecake lollipops, mini ice cream sandwiches, mini
root beer floats, and warm chocolate chip cookies with milk shots – make it fun and

Monday, March 9, 2009

Countdown to Your Wedding Day

THE KEY TO A SUCCESSFUL WEDDING away is to plan early. To help you get off to a good start, wer've put together a checklist that covers all bases of your destination event, including when to order the wedding invitations, book a photographer and schedule the wedding dress fitting.

A Year to Six Months Before the Wedding

  • Decide on a budget.
  • Determine the style (formal, informal), size (wedding party, guests), and setting (church,garden, beach) for the ceremony.
  • Target a wedding date.
  • Select a destination - check the internet or contact a travel agent.
  • Create a file for contracts, notes of conversations, and other wedding-related information.
  • Research the marriage license requirements of your destination. If possible, request an application ahead of time from the foreign consulate, chamber of commerce, or tourism department.
  • Call or send for information on wedding sites; wedding-package details from hotels, chapels, consulates, and tourism departments; and consultants who can assist in legal matters and coordinate the ceremony site, officiant, flowers, music, and other details.
  • Evaluate wedding packages and select a wedding service or consultant who can assist you with long-distance arrangements.
  • Choose a maid of honor, best man, and other attendants.
  • Develop an invitation list, then send a save-the-date note.
  • Select wedding attire.
  • Sign up with a bridal registry and select gifts.

Four to Six Months Before

  • Negotiate and finalize ceremony and reception details with your wedding service providers, independent consultant, or onsite coordinator, communicating any items that will personalize your wedding.
  • Make sure to collect signed contracts that confirm the arrangements.
  • Finalize your guest list.
  • Order wedding invitations, announcements, and thank-you cards.
  • Negotiate and arrange air, hotel, and ground transportation for the wedding party. Make additional arrangements for the honeymoon.
  • Confirm your arrangements with the photographer and videographer.
  • Buy wedding rings and have them engraved.

Two to Four Months Before

  • Obtain necessary legal documents, including passports and/or visas if traveling to a foreign destination.
  • Get any necessary inoculations.
  • Choose gifts for the maid of honor, best man, and other attendants.
  • Address and mail invitations.
  • Begin composing your vows (if you want to write your own).

One to Two Months Before

  • Have your final dress and headpiece fittings.
  • Have a formal wedding portrait taken.
  • Send a wedding announcement and picture to your hometown newspapers.
  • Shop for your travel wardrobe.
  • Consult with a professional shipper if you are shipping your wedding dress.

Two Weeks Before

  • Contact necessary offices for name change forms (driver's license, social security, etc.).
  • Confirm travel and wedding arrangements.

>One Week Before

  • Review final details with the hotel, photographer, videographer, florist, musicians, and others involved in the wedding.
  • Arrange to meet with your officiant before the ceremony.
  • Make sure everyone's wedding attire is in order.
  • Plan guest seating if needed.

Upon Arrival

  • Visit with your consultant and/or officiant.
  • Apply for the marriage license.

The Wedding Day

  • Focus on the important things--each other--and try to stay flexible about everything else.
  • Have Fun!
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