Wednesday, December 30, 2009

What a great Christmas gift! Hot off the press is the winter issue of Seattle Metropolitan Bride + Groom Magazine featuring our whimsical British Isles themed winter table.

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

Easy Entertaining: New Year's Eve

We hope you all had a terrific holiday! Now that Christmas is over and the gifts have been unwrapped, I am starting to think about New Year's Eve! We have dear friends coming into town so I wanted to add some fun little touches to our table.
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
4. Fringe each strip
5. Tightly wrap the paper around and around your swizzle stick and tape the loose end

6. VoilĂ 

Enjoy and have a very safe and fun New Year's!
*Please email us photos of your take on our DIY project!

Monday, December 21, 2009

I love the glittering look of these little cranberry gems (thank you to my mom for finding this recipe!). Add them to a gourmet cheese board for a pop of sweetness and tartness or add them to a glass of bubbly - string three through a stir stick and drop in a champagne glass for a festive flair. Enjoy! Aleah*Sparkling Cranberries
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:

Sunday, December 20, 2009

It's nearly time; I love getting decked out for the holidays - my sparkly baubles and feathered hair pieces come out to play!
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

Color Splash: blush pink and black

It's no secret that I love anything and everything French! I was looking through photos of our last European trip and wanted to put together an inspiration color board based on a photo of the Eiffel Tower I took at dusk. Gorgeous!

From left to right: 1. Croquembouche from Martha Stewart 2. Personal photo of the Eiffel Tower 3. Veuve Clicquot Rose from 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

Monday Coffee: Holiday gift giving and tipping

We know that this holiday season might be a bit tighter for some so we wanted to lay out a few guidelines on who you should tip and whether to tip cash, homemade holiday cookies, or a gift basket.
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

Photo Love: Frank Ross Photographic

Stephanie + Coby were such a fun couple; I love this photo from their big day by the super-talented Frank Ross

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Color Splash: icy blue, copper + gold

While mixing metallics can scare people, the end result can be super fun and oh-so unique! I made these JOY cards for our Etsy Holiday Collection and really loved the color combo so I took it a step beyond to create a color splash board using the color palette.

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

Nick's Picks: Being a Thoughtful Groom

A large percentage of proposals happen during the holidays, which means that some of you might be holding onto that little box containing a hand-picked engagement ring, waiting for that perfect holiday moment to pop the question.

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

Photo Love: Alex Studios

I just love how simple this photo is. It captured a special moment between a bride and groom (one of our favorite couples, Renee and Alex) and speaks volumes.

Monday Coffee: how to be a gracious holiday party guest

It's that time! Holiday party season is here and (following our popular "how to be a gracious wedding guest" post) we wanted to share some tips on how to be a gracious holiday party guest.

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.
Happy Holidays,
Aleah + Nick

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Nick's Picks: Skip the Flask

One of the most common questions I hear from grooms is "what should I do about the groomsman's gifts?" I always say "skip the flask."
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

Hotel Monaco Fall Open House II

Here are some more photos from the awesome and super-duper talented Laurel McConnell from the open house at Hotel Monaco we coordinated in October: Delish cake by Tallant house

Our Monaco-themed display - floral by the amazing Wendy from Ravenna Bloom (don't you love the enormous leaves?):
Resident goldfish
Gorgeous gowns by Calla Bridal
Pedersen's Event Rentals and gorgeous floral by Ravenna Bloom

izzy girl
FLME's table - candles courtesy of glassybaby - check out those adorable favor boxes made by our own Amanda!

Monday, November 30, 2009

Monday Coffee: have a holly jolly holiday party!

It has arrived....the holiday season is upon us! For most that means shopping, visiting friends and family, and parties!
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!
Happy Planning,
Aleah + Nick

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Hotel Monaco Fall Open House

We coordinated Hotel Monaco's Fall Open House last month and just got these fantastic pics from the lovely (and incredibly talented + sweet) Laurel McConnell . As there are so many fab photos, we'll post more in between our Monday Coffee and Nick's Picks postings this week. If you have never been to the hotel or Sazerac (delish restaurant/cater of the hotel), you must! It has such a whimsical feeling and, knowing me, I love the Mediterranean/Monaco feeling. From the wall paper to the furniture, it's totally Belle Epoque meets fun!

Floral by Ravenna Bloom
A peek at our table
Tallant House
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

Happy Planning!
Aleah + Nick

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Last week our Senior Associate, Amanda Graham, visited the Hyatt Regency in Bellevue for a lovely open house and tour of their mega-luxe expansion.
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

Monday Coffee: to host or not to host...that is the question

Most of our clients want to offer their guests a full bar for the duration of their reception. Most clients, that is, until they get an estimate! Hotels and caterers usually offer a flat rate fee per hour for each guest. During that time they will have unlimited access to beer, wine, soda, and hard liquor (if you opt for it). However, offering a full bar can be extremely expensive and confusing.

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!
Happy Planning,
Aleah + Nick

Saturday, November 21, 2009

As the holidays have arrived it means parties, entertaining, friends and family, and good food!
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