Monthly Archives: March 2011

Grand Gesture Proposals: A Grand Idea?

The other day, I spotted the above video (thanks, Ryan Seacrest!) where a high school guy, Jason Pitts, asks his friend, Lianna Cohen, to go to the prom with him, but he doesn’t approach her and ask. No, no we now live in the times of “Glee.” Instead of simply asking, Jason decided to write a song and sing while playing his guitar as a group of his friends sang backup. Although these two friends are not looking to get married (at least I hope not!), this video caused me to start thinking about grand gesture proposals.

Tonight, America’s favorite “Deal or No Deal” host, Howie Mandel, is premiering a new show called “Mobbed.” From seeing the commercials for the show over the past couple of weeks, it seems that a group of people come together to unsuspectingly dance as some type of gesture is performed. During tonight’s premiere, a woman slowly walks through who are crowd dancing to “Everlasting Love” as she prepares to be proposed to by her soon-to-be-fiancé. The commercials make it seem as though she is genuinely shocked by the gesture and overwhelmingly happy.

We’ve all seen or heard about another type of grand gesture proposal – proposing with the help of a Jumbotron at a game. “Will you marry me, (insert name here)?” pops up on the screen for the entire arena to see. Then the couple is seen on the screen as the guy gets down on one knee and waits for his answer. Although we all may have heard about these types of proposals, “Brides Magazine” conducted a survey and all five guys came back with the same response – No way, it’s impersonal!

With “Mobbed” and Jumbotron proposals in mind, what do you think about grand gesture proposals? Personally, I think intimate proposals are the way to go. A performance may be memorable; however, a proposal at your favorite place to go together may be much more meaningful in the moment and looking back years later.

Oh, and to Jason who wrote the song, sang, and played guitar in order to ask Lianna to the prom, you have major confidence. Had I been in Lianna’s shoes and had a song specially written and performed for me, I would have said yes too.

 

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Product Spotlight: Guest Book Signature Frame by JavaJaneDesigns

Well, I’ve done it again. I’ve gone on another Etsy discovering adventure, and I am, as always, excited by my find. This time I was not looking for jewelry. Instead, I was looking for guest books – one of the smallest yet most important details of a wedding. While searching, I found many traditional items, such as books to be filled with signatures and sentiments, but then I came across what I like to call guest book art.

Andie from JavaJaneDesigns creates guest book signature frames by combining individual pictures taking the form of letters or numbers surrounded by white matting and encased by a black or white frame. When compiled together, the photos mesh to spell out a couple’s last name or the date they were married. Everything about the guest book signature frame can be customized. You can choose the font you would like the pictures to depict (maybe you would like your pictures to have a boxier font rather than the swirls pictured above), as well as the size, style, and color of the frame.

As guests arrive at your wedding, instead of signing a book, they sign the matting surrounding the pictures. Like a guest book, you will still be able to read the warm wishes people write. However, you are sure to look at your guest book signature frame far more often because it can serve as art in your home, which makes the cost ($149) that much more worthwhile.

After the last song is played at your wedding reception signaling the end to a wonderful day, you will have a piece of personalized art to hang on the wall of your home. Pictures + personalized notes = a unique (and multi-purpose!) guest book by JavaJaneDesings. Another great find.

*Note: In my opinion, this guest book signature frame may also serve as a great bridal shower or wedding gift!

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Adventures in DIY: Centerpieces

photo courtesy Lindsay Smith

Recently, I attended a baby shower for my close friend, Lindsay’s, sister, Christy. I know you are now thinking, “Whoa! I’m not at that stage yet!” However, the centerpieces (featured in the picture above), which my friend’s mom, Sue, created, can be easily transformed to appear at a bridal shower or even a wedding.

And so we begin our adventure in Do It Yourself (DIY) centerpieces…

Using carnations and crisp white vases found at Crate and Barrel, Sue created charming centerpieces quickly and for a discounted cost. Because she chose a simple flower, Sue decided to add some interest to the tables by placing black and white photographs of Christy and her husband, Mike, on photo clips complete with ribbons. The photos and their presentation created interest, but more importantly, they added a unique personal touch.

By simply removing the baby shower confetti from the table, this arrangement could be perfect for a more casual wedding and, of course, for a bridal shower. Although the flowers work well, you could also use gerberas, lilies, hydrangeas, or tulips. If you are willing to up your DIY budget, roses always look beautiful. I am also a fan of the photos because for guests who may not have known you or your groom for your entire lives, baby photos (or photos of you throughout your life) provide a fun context of who you both have become.

In terms of presentation, vases are always appropriate. However, one of the biggest trends is using mason jars, which are relatively inexpensive. They can be easily found online on sites, such as Etsy and ebay. In addition, mason jars can also be found at craft stores, such as A.C. Moore. Because they are sold in so many different places and all have a unique look, you can mix and match mason jars to create interest.

photo courtesy Christine Maguire

Although I mentioned earlier that the first centerpiece is perfect for a more relaxed wedding or any type of bridal shower, you can easily create more formal centerpieces. The picture above, taken at this year’s Philadelphia Flower Show, demonstrates that idea. By combining glass vases of varying heights and textures together with tulips, hydrangeas, and roses, the centerpieces quickly achieve a more elegant look. You may also want to scatter candles in between the vases.

Choose your favorite flowers, mix vases together with mason jars, and display photos to create your own DIY centerpieces, which your guests are sure to love. Most importantly, have fun on your DIY adventure (and ask a professional for help whenever necessary).

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Save Forever or Sell

It’s the days following a wedding. The bride has walked down the aisle; danced until dawn with her groom, family, and friends; and escaped to a warm beach on her honeymoon. Now the only question left is, “What do I do with my dress?” There are several ways to answer this question.

Some brides choose to forever save their wedding dress. It serves as a reminder of a special day that was months in the making. It also might be the dress found on a wedding dress shopping day shared with close friends and family. As the bride walked out of the dressing room, everyone cried. She knew it was the one. While one bride chooses to save her dress as a reminder of her wedding and another wants to savor the day she found her dress, another bride may want to give her dress to her daughter in the future.

However, some brides are good friends with their closet, while others may have overspent their bridal gown budget. If you are one of these brides, you may want to consider selling your wedding dress. You will forever have the memories of the day you spent in your dress, but by selling it you will be able to save space in your closet and save your budget too. Through selling your dress, you will also be able to make another bride’s wedding day special. Having the ability to positively influence such a momentous occasion for someone else may actually be the best part.

The website PreOwnedWeddingDress.com is just one example of an online retailer that sells wedding dresses. The steps to sell a dress are simple: join, post a description of the dress along with photos, and pay a $25 fee. According to this chart, if your dress is less than 2 ½ years old, you can list it for 50% off the price you paid.

Your memories will last forever through the moments you had and the pictures you took in your dress. It’s up to you, save forever or sell and help to make another bride’s day even more special.

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A Modern Twist on Elopement: A Q&A with Kara Bowman

“Let’s just elope!” It’s a phrase many couples state while planning a wedding because, let’s face it, wedding planning is stressful. For many couples, eloping will only remain as an idea because they prefer to host a traditional ceremony and reception surrounded by family and friends. However, what if eloping was something you truly wanted to do?

Meet Kara Bowman and Garrett Low. Kara and Garrett got engaged in Peace Valley Park, located in Doylestown, PA, one night while walking their dog ‘Melo. At one point during the night, Kara kept walking while Garrett secretly attached a bag to ‘Melo’s collar with a note that said, “I love you Mama. Will you marry my Daddy?” After Kara saw the bag and read the note (which did not happen immediately!), Garrett got down on one knee and proposed right in the middle of the park.

Since getting engaged, Kara and Garrett have weighed different options about how they would like to get married. Below, Kara discusses why she and Garrett seriously thought about eloping, its advantages and disadvantages, as well as her top 10 tips brides should follow.

Going to the Chapel: When you first got engaged, what were your initial wedding plans? Did you want to have a traditional ceremony, or were you thinking about doing something different?

Kara Bowman: We bounced around practically every idea you could imagine at first, including a traditional wedding with over 300 guests, destination wedding, tent wedding, and even a backyard wedding.  After a couple months we had almost 100% set our minds on just the two of us eloping to Bora Bora.  Considering that this is my second marriage, I was not keen on having a big to-do and neither was Garrett.  We just wanted to focus on the two of us, and go somewhere special and paradisiacal to mark the start of our lives together.

GTTC: Why did you want to elope?

KB: It was a combination of a few things.  Mainly, we wanted to only focus on each other.   Additionally, the stress of planning a huge event did not particularly thrill either of us.   Nor did the idea of wedding politics and formalities.  A private and intimate wedding is just more our style.  We are each homeowners and would like to sell both houses to consolidate to one sooner than later.  We have some short-term financial goals to meet, and the thought of spending in excess of $50k on a party blew our practical minds. We try to “live life simply” as a general motto, really focusing on what’s important.  A huge expensive wedding is just not a personal priority for us.

GTTC: What are the advantages and disadvantages of eloping? What about larger weddings?

KB: The advantages of eloping:

  • Reduced cost in most cases
  • Intimate and special experience between 2 people only, allowing the focus to remain on the married couple to be.  There are fewer distractions and less opportunity for drama.
  • Lower stress level and less details with which to be concerned.
  • No need to fly right after the wedding.  You’re already there!

Disadvantages of eloping:

  • You miss out on the big party.
  • Transferring marriage licenses between states or worse, countries, can be confusing and time consuming.
  • Planning is not as hands-on.  I’d imagine it is more difficult to go meet with vendors, sample food and cake, see certain options in person, etc.
  • You risk hurting the feelings of those closest to you.  Our mothers and siblings would have been crushed, which was not something we were okay with.  Not to mention that many couples prefer sharing their wedding experience with loved ones…like us!

The advantages of elaborate weddings:

  • It’s nice to have everyone who is important to you present.
  • Big parties with great food and drink are always a fantastic time too!
  • Out of town guests are always a pleasure to see, and big weddings really tend to bring families together.
  • I love to get dressed up in formal wear!  I love to dance!  And I love to socialize!  I’d just rather do those things at somebody else’s wedding.

Disadvantages of hosting a large wedding:

  • Level of stress and planning involved
  • Nerves and mental exhaustion involved with being the center of attention for so many hours.
  • I personally feel more relaxed to marry with a smaller group present.
  • Higher costs

GTTC: You mentioned your mothers and siblings would have been “crushed” had you decided to elope. Are you now planning a more traditional ceremony and reception surrounded by family and friends? If so, what made you change your mind?

KB: Consideration of the feelings of those closest to us is about half of what changed our minds.   Equally, though, it was fear of looking back with regret.  My family is very important to me, especially my immediate family. The thought of them not being a part of my wedding day memories made me uneasy.  Plus, having grown up in Bucks County, I feel very nostalgic towards the area.  Garrett feels very much the same.  It seemed only natural to get married in a place that’s comforting to both of us.  And so our intimate chic woods wedding concept came to be. I am not sure it could be called totally traditional by any means, but it is slightly more so in that we will not be all alone on the other side of the world. Since deciding we will stick around to get married in front of friends and family, we’ve had a great time being creative while planning a small custom woodsy wedding that fits “Karrett” perfectly!

GTTC: From a bride’s perspective, what are your top 10 tips for couples planning a wedding?

KB:

  1. The less hands in the pot, the smoother the decision-making will go. You’ll definitely need help from family and friends with arranging, organizing and planning, etc, but don’t let them sway you from your initial preferences.  Go with your gut and don’t let the opinions of others alter your actions.
  2. Personalizing and paying close attention to detail is a good way to make guests feel like they are part of something special. Considering the small amount of guests Garrett and I have settled on, we can really focus on hand-crafted guest favors, custom wine labels, pictures, floral arrangements, reciting personalized vows, etc.
  3. Allow ample time to plan a wedding. In order to enjoy the period of being newly engaged, you have to be relaxed.  Garrett and I enjoyed chit chatting and brainstorming about random ideas while coming to agree on a “vibe” we were looking to accomplish for our wedding.  We didn’t rush into booking things nor did we commit to certain ideas right away.  Relaxing together to envision our wedding allowed us to enjoy the idea of not only getting married but also being married.
  4. Get involved with the D.J./band before hand. Music is so important, especially to Garrett and me.   Make sure your D.J. or band understands your desired vibe.  Unless you discuss it ahead of time, he/she will just play the painful wedding “usuals.” Music makes the party and having all of yours and your guests’ favorites will really get people up and dancing!  You just have to be willing to hammer out specific play lists ahead of time.
  5. Most vendors are far more flexible than they originally appear. If you do your research and ask the right questions, you will find that many “set” options and packages are changeable, and that seemingly “fixed” prices are negotiable.
  6. Delegate planning jobs accordingly. May the bride stick to that at which she is best, and the groom to that at which he is best.  I’ve been focusing on more of the favors, flowers, invitation things, attire things; while Garrett has taken over honeymoon planning, finding musicians, and finding a photographer.  If neither of you like a particular task, then you have found the perfect job to delegate to one of the future mothers-in-law!
  7. If you are having your hair and/or makeup professionally done by someone you don’t already know and trust, get a trial first!
  8. Remember your thank yous along the way. There are always cards and gifts coming to you during the time you get engaged, up through after the wedding.  Engagement parties, showers, bachelorette parties, and especially the wedding itself all require written thank yous.  Plus, people are constantly volunteering a helping hand, and doing nice things to make your life easier.  In this case if you are not into the traditional “thank you card”, you can always make a special phone call, send a monkey mail, or even send flowers or a gift to show your appreciation.
  9. Don’t forget to keep talking about the day to day. Planning a wedding should be fun, not tedious and irritating.  You can’t discuss “the wedding” 24/7.  Remember to maintain an interest in each others day to day interests.  Otherwise you’ll get burned out from planning.
  10. Have fun and realize that once the day has arrived, your work and planning is done. It’s out of your hands at this point.  All that’s left to do now is enjoy!

Instead of eloping, on 9-10-11 (what a cool date!), Kara and Garrett will return to Peace Valley Park to exchange vows by Lake Galena surrounded by close family, friends, and of course ‘Melo, who will serve as ring bearer. The day will continue with an intimate reception following the ceremony. Congratulations, Kara and Garrett; all the best!


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Say “I do” to Colbie Caillat’s “I Do”

You make we wanna say

I do, I do, I do, do do do do do do do

Yeah, I do, I do, I do, do do do do do do do

Cause every time before it’s been like

Maybe yes and maybe no

I can’t live without it, I can’t let it go

Oh what did I get myself into?

You make we wanna say I do, I do, I do, I do, I do, I do

The above lyrics are from Colbie Caillat’s latest single “I Do” off of her new record, “All Of You,” which will be released on July 12, 2011. While Caillat has stated that the song was never intended to be about marriage (if you focus on the entire song, especially what she sings at the end, it’s actually not), many people have adversely stated that it is a perfect wedding song.

Personally, I have to agree with other people. From the moment I first heard Caillat’s new single, I have been thinking “I Do” is perfect for a wedding. Caillat’s voice combined with the song’s breezy, upbeat tempo and lyrics create a perfect processional or recessional song. “I Do” would also be fun to use for a couple’s first dance.

Check out the official video, which was released yesterday, for “I Do.” What do you think? Would you say, “I do” to “I Do?”

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A New Kind of Save the Date: Videos!

Once you have gotten engaged, picked the date for your wedding, and finalized your guest list, the next step is to mail your save the date cards. However, before you run to the mailbox, you might want to consider one of the latest wedding trends: save the date videos.

According to Arkansas-based photographer Mallory Berry, when she was planning her own wedding, she happened upon save the date videos online and decided it was something she wanted to explore. However, without previous video experience, Mallory knew it was not something she wanted to create with a video camera. Therefore, she turned to her still camera instead.

Now a couple of years later, Mallory’s research for her own wedding has paid off and she now creates videos for other couples, which have been prominently featured on sites from Project Wedding to Brides.com.

Before creating a the video, like the first one above, which takes three to four hours to edit, Mallory captures anywhere from 600 to over 3,000 pictures of a couple. Although it is a lot of photos, they are taken in succession, which means after one click, the shutter captures every move the person makes during that sequence. Couples can also have a video created, like the second one featured above, that focuses more on objects and drawings and can be completed in one to two hours. Either way, the end result is a one-of-a-kind video solely featuring pictures and music, which showcases a couple’s personality.

Before you run to the mailbox with your save the date cards, consider creating a save the date video which you can copy to a disc and mail; post on YouTube or Facebook; or e-mail. Your guests will definitely enjoy receiving a video, and with a photographer’s help, you will have a blast creating it.

For more information on Mallory Berry and the videos she has created, check out her website. The best news is that Mallory travels and can create videos with objects remotely from her studio in Arkansas – a win for all!

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