Wednesday, December 30, 2009
We had so much fun putting this table together and utilized vintage brooches from our grandmothers, Nick's grandfather's pocket watch, antique cake plates from my great grandmother, and lots of interesting and unique pieces.
Our goal was to create a table that was cozy, regal, and fun to sit at. We wanted guests to feel that they could stay and chat all night and the pieces of interest (like the gold gilded books, menus on flocked English damask paper, and shortbread and jam) lent well to our goal. We asked wedding artists friends Janet Maples from izzy girl and Anne Bradfield from Floressence to provide us with amazing paper and floral pieces and boy, did they deliver!
We hope you love it as much as we do!
Saturday, December 26, 2009
I am thinking about a fun and vibrant Parisian-themed hors d' oeuvres table (think fun French dessert plates and jewel-toned accents) and thought of the perfect mini-project: whimsical fringed drink stirrers.
Here are directions for my easy-peasy project:
1. Find some curious and fun stir/swizzle sticks or straws (mine happen to have spheres on top) and pick out delicious paper to accent; I am using vellum as it bends well and holds shape
2. Cut paper from an 8.5" x 11" sheet in strips - about 1" x 8.5" is perfect
3. Tape one end of the paper to your swizzle stick or straw
Monday, December 21, 2009
For the simple syrup, raw cane sugar or real brown sugar lends a nice molasses flavor to the cranberries, but regular granulated sugar (or a blend of brown/white) will work.
2 cups cranberries, picked over
2 cups water
2 cups sugar (see head notes)
More sugar for coating: I do a mix of medium-grained organic sugar for the first coating, and then a second toss with regular granulated white sugar. Place the cranberries in a medium glass bowl and set aside.
Make a simple syrup by bringing the water and sugar just to a simmer in a medium saucepan. Let the syrup cool for a couple minutes and then pour it over the cranberries. If the syrup is too hot the cranberries will burst, so be careful. Cover and refrigerate overnight.
The next day, drain the cranberries and toss them with larger grained sugar until they are well coated. I only use a scoop of sugar at a time, and small batches of cranberries, so the sugar doesn't get too damp. Place the coated cranberries on a baking sheet to dry for a few hours.
Do a second toss with the regular granulated sugar, this typically takes care of any sticky spots on the cranberries. Let dry another hour.
Makes 2 cups of sparkling cranberries
*Recipe from: www.101cookbooks.com
Sunday, December 20, 2009
Here are some adorable Anthropologie pieces mixed with.....Forever 21 accessories! It's all about mixing and matching quality pieces with less expensive accessories for a fabulous look. Enjoy!
From left to right 1. Wrapped in ruffles Anthropologie cardigan - $128 2. Feathered headband $4.80 from Forever 21 3. Sequined fingerless gloves - Forever 21 $4.80 4. Demi-sequined cardigan from Anthropologie $128 (pair with jeans or a ruffled black skirt)
5. Flower headband $6.80 Forever 21 6. Pearl + ribbon bracelet Forever 21 $$4.80 7. Felt lei cardigan (perfect for Christmas brunch) Anthropologie $118 8. Complete outfit by Ann Taylor - Top $85 and pencil skirt at $118
These little accessories also make for fab stocking stuffers or last-minute gifts!
Friday, December 18, 2009
From left to right: 1. Croquembouche from Martha Stewart 2. Personal photo of the Eiffel Tower 3. Veuve Clicquot Rose from VeuveClicquot.com 4. Gorgeous confection gown from J. Crew Weddings
5. Burlap Paris pillow from Etsy's Petit Coterie 6. One of our bride's J. Crew gold sandals - photo by Kate McElwee 6. Delicious cake from an open house at Hotel Monaco - photo by Laurel McConnell
7. Paper goods on Etsy - The Shabby Boutique 8. Lovely baubles by J. Crew
Sunday, December 13, 2009
Here is a short list of who you might want to provide a holiday tip or gift to:
- Your postal worker who delivers your mail day in and day out, rain, sleet, or shine! They can't accept cash tips, so how about a hand-written thank you note with box of homemade holiday cookies (anything under a $20 price tag) or a great coffee box with beans, biscotti, and a mug?
- Anyone who provides you with continual service such as a hair stylist, manicurist, florist, or personal shopper can be given a cash thank you or a gift basket (think gourmet goodies with a nice bottle of wine) - up to $75. Keep in mind they make you look good so showing your appreciation is a good thing!
- Garbage and recycling drivers - a cash gift up to $25 or home-baked cookies or a large travel mug with gourmet cocoa mix
- Any home workers you might have like gardeners, housekeepers, cooks, etc. can be offered a cash tip up to $50 each or also a homemade gift basket
- Anyone else not mentioned like your dog groomer, doorman, or anyone else who provides you with a service on a regular basis can also be given a gift card or a cash gift from $20-50 or a homemade gift. A doctor or dentist can be given a written thank you note (gift not needed)
While these are merely suggestions, be sure to enclose a thank you note to each person you tip or gift this year. Let them know how much you appreciate their great service!
Happy Holidays, Aleah + Nick
Tuesday, December 8, 2009
I would actually love to see this used year-round - for winter weddings or holiday parties using oversized gold ornaments, icy blue fabrics, and glittery copper accents would be stunning.
For spring or summer weddings, let the blue shine through in the table cloths and bridesmaids dresses. Punch up the tables with gold chivari chairs and copper place settings. It's okay to mix and match!
For fall events, lean more towards gold and copper as your primary colors and punch colors of icy blue as napkin or programs.
The end result will be scrumptious!
*photos from a couple of our past events; I Do shoe shot and invitations by Alex Studios
Canada Dry box shot by Laurel McConnell
Two linen samples from La Tavola
Scrumptious sandwich photo (top right) by Urban Unveiled
Proposing to your significant other and planning your big day should be something to remember for all of the right reasons. Grooms-to-be can jump-start the planning process by doing some legwork pre-proposal (yep, in addition to picking out a ring!). Contact some wedding vendors ahead of time and check them out. Feel out their style; check out wedding planners - visit their sites and blogs to see if you like their work or if you think your bride-to-be would love their style.
Check out or make a list of some perfect venues that might have some significance to you and your bride. Do a bit of research and see how far out each venue is booked and what their guest capacity and food and beverage minimums are like. Most of our clients come to us needing a venue and a date; dive right in and enjoy the start of your engagement by putting some thought into the first steps of planning. Then sit back and enjoy being engaged! Your bride will be excited to be engaged but she'll really appreciate the time and thought you put into getting the ball rolling! Nick
Monday, December 7, 2009
I. Bring a hostess gift that's easy to open or use at the party. While flowers are always sweet, don't present them to your host/hostess unless they are already in a vase or perhaps a poinsettia that's potted (though keep away from kids and pets). While flowers are such a nice gesture, the last thing your host wants is to have to scramble to find a vase amidst a bustling party.
II. Bottles of wine or champagne are always great gift or you can opt for less expensive sparkling beverages like cava (from Spain) or prosecco (from Italy). Usually about $10 a bottle they are delicious! Of course, cookies and other party food are also great items to bring to parties as your host can display the goods immediately.
III. Most hosts and hostesses know that you are making a stop in between other holiday parties but don't rush out the door! Stay and mingle, visit with your hosts, and enjoy the food and drink they put so much effort into. After all, the holidays are all about good company, friends, and family.
Aleah + Nick
Wednesday, December 2, 2009
Keep your wedding fun; don't make it feel like a job or a burden to the friends you are asking to be involved. The costs for then can escalate quickly when you calculate any travel, tux rental, bachelor party, and other wedding-related events. You're inviting your groomsmen to stand by you and it should be an honor. Here are some simple gestures that your groomsmen will appreciate.
If you're renting tuxes, set up a fitting for those local groomsmen and make it an outing for everyone. Surprise them by paying for the rental (usually under $100 each); the cost is minimal but the gesture large. Treat them all to dinner and drinks afterwards as your thank you.
Instead of a standard gift (like a flask), set up a day of golf and drinks for your groomsmen and pick up the tab. Somewhere during the day, snap a photo of all of the guys and gift them the photo in a frame on your wedding day. Not only are you still giving a token gift, but you created a memory.
Following these simple tips helps to keep the title of groomsman an honor and shows your friends that you appreciate their support and want them to enjoy themselves.
While not every groom can afford to treat all of his buddies to golf and drinks, find a happy medium. Splurging just a bit on treating your friends now will speak volumes years from now.
Tuesday, December 1, 2009
http://www.mcconnellphoto.com/ Delish cake by Tallant house
Our Monaco-themed display - floral by the amazing Wendy from Ravenna Bloom (don't you love the enormous leaves?):
Gorgeous gowns by Calla Bridal
Pedersen's Event Rentals and gorgeous floral by Ravenna Bloom
FLME's table - candles courtesy of glassybaby - check out those adorable favor boxes made by our own Amanda!
Monday, November 30, 2009
Nick and I love to throw holiday parties and have a little trick to share: rent! Yes, renting items like plates, cloth napkins, and even cocktail tables will spruce up your party won't break the bank, and will make clean-up easy!
Most rental companies rent out glassware and dishes for about $.50 a piece; well worth it considering you can just pop 'em back in the box and return. No hours of clean-up!
You also have the luxury of picking cool and whimsical items like icy-looking cocktail plates, frosted martini glasses, and silvery overlays to perk up your holiday theme.
Add punches of color with bowls of ornaments, garlands, and colored napkins if you'd like.
Abbey Party Rents, Pedersen's Event Rental, Rented Elegance, and AA Party Rents all carry an assortment of these items in fun colors and textures and don't worry, you can rent as little as two items if you want!
Aleah + Nick
Sunday, November 29, 2009
Floral by Ravenna Bloom
A peek at our table
We selected some of our most favorite wedding artists to take part:
izzy girl - Janet Maples creates the most stunning paper suites
Julep Nail Parlor - the perfect spot to take your bridal party pre-wedding!
glassybaby - they rent (yes, rent!) their glass votive vessels for weddings and special events. Not to mention, they make the perfect gift!
Ravenna Bloom - Wendy creates lush and gorgeous floral pieces (contact her for holiday party decor and floral!)
Calla Bridal - stocks gorgeous wedding gowns and frocks
Seattle Parties - Sean and Leslie certainly know how to get the party started (and keep it going)! Pedersen's Event Rental - for all of your fab party and wedding rental needs
Tallant House - absolutely scrumptious cakes and desserts
L & M Chair Covers - clean, crisp, and consistent chair covers to transform your table
Julep Nail Parlor
Aleah + Nick
Saturday, November 28, 2009
Here are some photos of the new event space; pretty amazing! From more intimate weddings to large corporate events, the new space has something for everyone!
The Grand Ballroom is adorned with whimsical, enchanting chandeliers (crafted in France) with blown glass spheres, bringing a rich glow to the room.
We encourage you to check out the space for your next event!
Monday, November 23, 2009
Here are some easy-peasy tips for cutting the cost:
1. Offer the lower of the bar packages offered by the hotel or venue. Trust me; your guests likely won't know the difference between a "lower shelf" and "top shelf" vodka or bourbon. If they do, they won't say anything!
2. Cut the hosted bar during dinner. At most weddings guests are sitting during dinner and won't get up for another drink. Closing the bar during the dinner hour can save you thousands. Seriously. Calculate the cost of some hotel bar packages - $15/hour per guest x 200 guests = $3,000! Add gratuity and tax on that and we're nearing $4,000 for a virtually unused bar for one hour during dinner!
3. An option to keep guests happy is to either have wine on the tables or have table side wine service during dinner. You can also opt for a per-glass price during this time if Aunt Edna wants to get up for a glass of wine; it'll likely run you $6-8.By these simple cuts you're saving yourselves while still looking like the fabulous hosts you are!
Aleah + Nick
Saturday, November 21, 2009
I like to have little gifts and fun food items on hand for when friends stop by or when we get invited to an impromptu cocktail party.
Here are little hostess gifts that won't break the bank.
Trader Joe's sparkling apple cider is so tasty and makes for a fun token to bring when stopping by a friend's house $3
Festive champagne glasses from Red Envelope are the perfect gift to bring to a gift exchange
Rosemary + lavender sea salt $11.50 from bella cucina
Cranberry Balsa Wood gift set $35 from bella cucina
Preserved lemon cream $12 from bella cucina
Sea salt caramels from Crate + Barrel - $19.95
Adorable snowflake soap from Crate + Barrel $1.25 eachHappy Holidays!
Aleah + Nick