Sunday, February 28, 2010

Vibrant Cayman Island nuptials

We love tropical destination events and couldn't help but share this vibrant, lovely, and downright fun Cayman Island wedding. Captured by Jim Gates, the images are just so cheery! Enjoy! Aleah

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Nick's Picks: How to get your party started on the right foot

The start of the party is what sets the tone for the rest of the event. Here are my top (simple) tips for getting your party started on the right foot:

1. offer a coat check and/or a gift depository- you'd be surprised how many people don't provide this and it leaves your guests carrying bags and coats while trying to eat, drink + visit.

2. after guests make a deposit at the coat check, have waiters greet them with drinks and hors d' oeuvres. If you're offering up a bar, have waiters at the ready with trays of red wine, white wine, and water. *Don't pre-pour beer - it's best served fresh and cold.

3. the music you start off with sets the initial tone of the party. In most cases we're fans of starting off slower and working in faster/more energetic music as the party progresses.

4. greet your guests. make sure, as the host/hostess, you work the room and thank your guests for attending. This is especially important for a wedding reception.

5. timing is key. If you're hosting an event with significant markers (like toasts, announcements, performances, etc.), make sure that you don't leave your guests waiting...and waiting...Have an emcee make some sort of announcement if there's something to come.

Maybe most importantly, end on a high note. We spend a lot of time explaining to our clients that there is an expiration time on a party. Leave your guests wanting more - and don't let them stick around to watch the breakdown. Cheers!
Nick

*Photo from blog.wineenthusiast.com

Monday, February 22, 2010

Check out the Chic Clutch Hunt Giveaway from Merci New York

Our lovely friend Jackie from Merci New York has whipped up an amazing giveaway on her blog. Here are the details:

One lucky reader will have the chance to win a luxurious Amanda Pearl clutch, valued at $298. We're also featuring an assortment of Amanda's other pieces, which are absolutely stunning. She's truly a rising star in the luxury accessories market and someone brides should have on their fashion radar...

Visit the Amanda Pearl website and comment below with your favorite Amanda Pearl piece {it need not be bridal, so have fun perusing her entire line}!

To increase your chances of winning the Le Pouf clutch, there are four additional ways to enter this contest:
1. Tweet this: I just entered to win the @AmandaPearly #chicclutchhunt giveaway at Merci New York! Check it out here: http://bit.ly/doaqQR{via @MerciNYC}. Then leave a second comment once you’ve tweeted.
2. Blog about the Chic Clutch Hunt giveaway {feel free to use our oh-so-pretty giveaway graphic!} and comment with your blog link.
3. Post about the giveaway on a message board and comment with your link.
4. Share the Chic Clutch Hunt giveaway on Facebook and let us know via a comment.

The giveaway winner will be chosen at random and announced via the Merci New York blog on Monday, March 8th at 8:00 PM EST

Be sure to enter and add Merci New York to your daily reads; Jackie has an amazing sense of style and posts great finds often!

Monday Coffee: 2010 stationery trends

We thought it would be fun to get an East Coast take on invitation and stationery trends - Owner and designer Corrie from Invite Couture was kind enough to answer some questions and lend insight to our readers - enjoy!

Q. What new trends are you seeing for 2010?
A: I'm not sure if other designers are seeing this as well, but I've been getting a lot of requests for black and white printed designs. Not only is this palette b
beautiful and works with every color scheme you can think of, but it's also a very economical option as far as printing goes as well. Another trend I'm seeing is the elimination of RSVP cards. Nowadays to save money on their invitations, couples are opting to in addition to their invitations create a wedding website where they allow their guests to RSVP. That eliminates the need to include RSVP cards, envelopes and costly stamps with their invitations. I've always had a lot of requests for pocketfold style invitations. I'm not sure if its still a trend (it was back in '08 when I got married) but nonetheless I still have a lot of brides asking for them.

Q: What advice do you have for couples looking to go "greener" with their invitation suites?
A: One thing I recommend is asking your stationer about the types of stock they use. Invite Couture uses all FSC Certified stocks, meaning the papers we use are produced using trees grown in sustainable forests. Soy and other eco-friendly inks are also popular, but another printing method which is worth asking about is digital offset. Digital printers use less chemicals during the printing process and are much more eco-friendly than other methods, as well as economical. My final tip for creating greener invitations would be to pare down the number of pieces you include in your wedding stationery suite. For example, if you don't need them don't include a bunch of insertion cards in your invitation suite. The trend I described above referring guests to a wedding website allows you to up additional information on the web as opposed to wasting paper and ink. Same goes for items like escort cards, menu's, etc at your reception. Instead consider doing signage instead of printing an item for each guest. You'll save money as well as the environment as well.

Q: What is your favorite color palette for 2010?
A: I love the turquoise trend. It can be used so many different ways and get totally different effects. For example, for a ranch wedding you can pair turquoise and silver like southwestern jewelry. Or for an South Asian wedding do turquoise with a variety of jewel tones. For a modern city wedding turquoise, gold and cream would be especially classy. Because it's such a strong color I love all the different combinations you can create with it.

There you have it!
Happy Planning, Aleah + Nick


A few pieces from Invite Couture

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Sunday fun: galoshes!

I came across these super cute images of a bride and bridesmaids donning galoshes and had to share!
Happy Saturday! Aleah
*both images via Chicagonow.com

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

A roundup of really great finds

We wanted to do a roundup of some great finds this week - there's surely something for everyone!

Falling whistles: you must check out this site and read about this cause- it's for an absolutely amazing cause that will touch your heart. Starting at just $30, 100% of your purchase of a whistle necklace will help rehabilitate children of war in Congo.

WeddingChicks.com has posted a template to some very sweet menu and escort cards for free

We love Paloma's Nest (I just ordered the 2010 egg for our office!) and yesterday Caroline went live with a lovely new site for easy ordering. Her heirloom pieces make for great birthday and thoughtful gifts and, of course, ring bearer bowls. Check out her eggs, blocks, adorable little satchels, and bowls.
For all of you industry pros (and our clients) Julianne Smith (AKA Garter Girl) has launched a fantastic program for planners. She's offering two delicious garters for emergency kits (we all need 'em!) and...she is offering a 10% discount to clients of wedding planners! Check out her site for more details
Happy Planning! Aleah + Nick

Monday, February 15, 2010

Monday Coffee: a few tips to help you select wedding artists

A big step in the planning process is locating amazing florists and invitation designers who will work with you to bring your wedding vision to life.
Here are some of our top tips for helping you to interview and select those artists:

1. ask all the right questions - how many weddings/events does the vendor work on at each time? Most vendors know their talent and work load ability and won't take on too much as they don't want to compromise their reputation. But it's always best to ask. Ask about experience but also ask get to know the artist on a more personal level. Inquire about where they get inspiration from, how they like to work, and what makes them tick. Relating on a personal level is great for a mutual relationship.

2. show the artist photos of your vision to help relay your thoughts. Reading back to our last Monday Coffee post re: staying true to your vision, be sure to give your wedding artists some creative freedom. Most invitation or floral designers we know really don't want their clients to want to simply copy a wedding from a photo or something they found online. After all, they are the experts so let them show you what they can do.

3. work with them to get the creative juices flowing. Meet over coffee or in their studio and work on sketches together, create vision boards, and let them whip up some color inspiration. You'll be amazed at what you can accomplish in a fun + relaxed sit-down.Photo from Kate Hill Flowers via polkadotbride

4. talk budget up front. We work with our clients to determine how to best allocate their wedding budget so if you are without a planner, be sure to relay this information to each artist up front. Most artists are willing (to some extent) to offer up great suggestions or alternatives to help bring your vision to life if your original budget doesn't allow for certain flowers or invitation styles you might want.

Happy Planning!
Aleah + Nick

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Truly Vintage Wedding Goodies

Nick's parents were married in May of 1974 in a sweet celebration. We came across these treasures in a box and I just had to share them for Valentine's Day.

I love how bright and charming the flowers on this invitation are.Check out these cocktail napkins! So funky + sweet!This is pretty cool - this handy little system helped them track their gifts with stickers and a coordinating book to write names and gifts. Wow - 360 gifts?
Do you have any vintage finds from your parents' or grandparents' weddings? Or your own wedding? We'd love to share them!
Aleah

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

57 Grand: Oh-so chic bridesmaids dresses

Nick and I had such a great time in NYC hanging with fabulous industry peers, checking out some super parties and events, and getting the inside scoop with some amazing vendors.
We love the ladies at 57 Grand in the Garment District - Carmen and Saukok are so sweet and incredibly talented. They realized there was an untapped niche and decided to create lovely custom bridesmaids dresses - all under $200.

I personally think this dress (above, white dress) is gorgeous enough on its own to act as a wedding dress for sweet nuptials or a beach ceremony! I love how each of their dresses is named after an NYC street! So fun!

This bow is detachable and you can also order a shawl or bolero for different looks



Here's the scoop: check out their site and pick a color that fits your wedding palette and ambiance. Let your bridesmaids choose a style that fits their body type and personality (what's so awesome is that any of these dresses they really can wear again and again). They request a sample size in the dress/color they like and 57 Grand will ship it to them. If everything fits, they'll whip up the bridesmaid's very own dress in the fabric, style, and color they want. The entire process takes about 12 weeks and the dresses are made in NYC (actually across the street from their sweet little studio).
I love this accessory and want one for myself!
In addition, they have some great inexpensive + chic accessories (headpieces, belts, oversized bows) and are adding more to their collection this spring. Even better, they have partnered with Operation Prom, a non-profit that helps dress deserving NYC area students for their proms!


I am eager to purchase my own Riverside sterling grosgrain number next month!
*Be sure to tell them we sent you!
Aleah

Monday, February 8, 2010

Monday Coffee: staying true to your vision

We always tell our clients that we are here to help bring their wedding vision to a reality. We also strive on providing a super fun planning process and wedding experience.

Here are our favorite tips to guarantee you have a fun and successful planning process and stick to your vision, whatever that might be:

1. smile. seriously. don't get weighed down by the sometimes overwhelming world of wedding planning. if you don't have a planner who will keep you on track, be sure to create a timeline to keep the planning process going in the right direction. trust us, it feels great to stay organized and give yourself time away from planning as well. don't look at the planning process as a huge list; break it up into months/weeks and you'll breathe much easier.

2. stay true to you. you and your significant other are not the same as "Joe" and "Samantha" whose wedding photos you might have seen on a wedding blog. while it's great and helpful to get inspiration from magazines and the internet, focus on elements of flowers, colors, photos, food, and music that you like rather than trying to style your wedding completely after someone else's.

3. get creative. don't try to simply replicate your cake, flowers, and lighting from those photos you've seen online by bringing said photos to your vendors and asking them to copy. again, inspiration is fantastic (and we create vision + inspiration boards all the time to help guide our clients), but...asking all of your vendors to replicate another's wedding really isn't a reflection of you. Let your vendors get to know you and help you with some amazing ideas you might not have thought of. after all, they are the experts.

4. brainstorm. consider what story you want to tell to your guests. are you an adventuresome couple? brainy? love to travel?

5. incorporate you. see #4 above and really strive to incorporate pieces of you both in your ceremony and reception. not every aspect of a wedding has to be structured or super formal - have fun with it! whether it's creating an amazing first dance mixing your favorite Etta James song and a hip hop tune, bringing in an ice cream or taco truck for late night snacks, or wearing citrus shoes - do it! Whip up some funky save the date cards with photos of you on your travels. Name your tables after your favorite movies (yes, as out there they might be!). We see so many of our clients have so many amazing, fun, and unique vignettes in their weddings when they follow this advice.
*image from peach-pearl.blogspot.com
*image from intimatewedding.com

6. share the duties. you're entering into a lifelong marriage and why not start off on the right foot? break up your wedding tasks into a) things you like and want to tackle (like floral design or selecting a chic color palette), b) things your sweetie is eager to handle (maybe it's creating an out-of-this-world bar with signature drinks or making an awesome play list for the band) and c) those things you want to do together and will cherish throughout the planning process (maybe it's assembling invitations, planning your honeymoon, or working out a scrumptious and unforgettable international menu your guests won't forget)

7. have fun. really. your wedding is a celebration of you and those who you love are there to support you. be sure to laugh throughout the process. don't take things too seriously.

8. eat cake. this is a personal favorite and makes for a fun afternoon. :)
Happy planning! Aleah + Nick


Frank Ross Photography

Friday, February 5, 2010

Friday night fun: a gorgeous Aurora Borealis-inspired vision board

We whipped up this inspiration board for one of our sweet, sweet couples who weren't quite sure about their wedding color palette and textures. Well we wanted to help pull their visions together and Voilà! This was the result: a magical, yet sophisticated vision.
aurora borealis: www.wandermelon.com
linens: www.latavolalinen.com
blue cake: www.specialevents.com
rope place mat: www.beachhousedecor.blogspot.com
hydrangeas: brides.com
runner: craftwww.snfavors.com
pillows: www.burkedecor.blogspot.com
shoes: www.thisnext.com
love out loud: www.inspiredbybeatriceclay.com
leaves: www.philipjong.com

Nick's Picks: to tux or not to tux

A common question from many of our grooms-to-be (and their leading ladies) is whether a tux or a suit is appropriate for their big day.

As a rule, let's lay it out on the table: a tuxedo is appropriate if you are holding a true black-tie affair. So what does that mean?: the type of venue (country club, hotel setting, or a private estate might mean black tie) an evening wedding with a several course plated dinner often can set the formality of black-tie. Many times this is stated in the invitation as well; if you aren't prepared and don't let your guests know, some might show up under dressed. There's nothing worse than a couple's attempt at creating their magical black-tie affair ending with guests in casual attire.

Emmett + Marie had a true black tie affair - a large Catholic ceremony and a downtown evening dinner reception *photo by Carol HarroldWe help our clients to make this decision early on in the process - we once talked a groom down from wearing a white tux when their wedding was set in a very casual outdoor garden - talk about a mismatch!

Suits on grooms are becoming more and more popular for lots of reasons: 1. they can be inexpensive 2. you and your gents can wear and wear again 3. you have endless options for colors and styles
Emily + Ryen had a wedding in the woods so tailored suits worked well *photo by Amore StudiosWe'll throw yet another option in the mix: beach wedding attire. Many of our clients are planning nuptials on exotic beaches but still want to look put together and sharp. Think light linen suits or pants paired with woven bamboo dress shirts - good looking but light and airy. The last thing you want is to be dressed in a heavy suit in 80 degree weather.

Eugene + Michelle were married on the beach in Mexico; Eugene dressed in a linen suit and breathed easier *photo by La Luz Photography
With this being said, dressing to the nines in a suit certainly doesn't mean your wedding is not formal. It just sets the tone for a non-black tie event. After all, it's your wedding - stick to what's comfortable, suitable for your setting, and looks good.
Nick

*Stay tuned for my picks on suit and tux styles

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Inside Scoop: The Bal du Moulin Rouge

Continuing our inside scoop series (look back for our our inside scoop on Magnolias Linens, Preston Bailey's Celebrations party, and the Eco-Beautiful launch from NYC), we'll take you across the Atlantic from NYC to Paris. In constant search for amazing decor, color combinations, venues, food, and overall cultural influences we can incorporate in our events and design, we travel to some pretty sweet locales.
*this is the incredible front to the holiday card we received last year
This photo by Wetcanvas.com
We were lucky to get the VIP treatment and a backstage view into the famed Moulin Rouge in Paris (and you all know of my obsession with anything French!), thank you to the lovely Carole Herry. Not only did we get one awesome history lesson, but we got a rare insider's look into the Moulin Rouge. Thank you again for the interview as well!

Most know the Moulin Rouge as an over-the-top famed French Cancan dance revue, which in part is true. It's also a gourmet restaurant and a cultural phenomenon. Arguably the world's most famous cabaret, the Moulin Rouge has been stunning and entertaining hundreds of patrons a night since 1889. Rather risque in 1889, the original Moulin Rouge dancers debuted with outfits and moves that no one had ever seen. Thus, the Cancan dance was unveiled!

One of our photos - you aren't allowed to snap photos inside; and for good reason! You must check it out for yourself!
Rather unassuming from the front (though recognizable by the red windmill on the roof), once you enter the Moulin Rouge you are transported into another world. Another era. Ushers seat 850 guests each show (there are two shows each night, 365 days a year) with incredible precision. We were treated to a private table with champagne service and an unobstructed view of the absolutely insane stage. The props, costumes, and design of the entire show is out-of-this-world! Going through 1,000 costumes each night is no easy feat but the dancers pull it off with ease. Photo by SLuniverse.com
Many are classically trained in the French Cancan style, and put on a show like none we've ever seen ! The precision of the wait staff is so impressive; each night 115 maitre-ds, waiters, and servers and 25 chefs prepare quintessential French cuisine for the patrons.
The food, the champagne, those Cancan dresses. Très magnifique!

Of course, they allow for special events; what a party that would be!
If you find yourself in Paris you must visit the Moulin Rouge. And tell 'em we sent you!
Stay tuned for our Moulin Rouge-inspired table soon!

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

An insider's look: Magnolias Linens

If it's one thing we know from our clients and readers, it's that people love the inside scoop. Sharing a bit of our expertise of quality artists and resources for our clients is important to us so without further ado, the spotlight is on Magnolias Linens in NYC.

We love the ladies at Magnolias Linens and recently partnered with them on a SoCal table design shoot (the magazine comes out next month). While in NYC last week we just had to visit their storefront and man, was I in heaven! Like a kid in a candy store I was in awe of the amazing colors, textures, beading, and the endless options for linens.


The owner, Asema Ahmed, is lovely and explained their process of making the linens and shipping them out to clients. Each and every one of their linens is unique and created in India. Clients can order linens in an assortment of various colors and styles and some can be made into runner or napkins. If a client sees a linen they love but want it, say, in navy, voilà! They'll create it! Talk about a VIP service. We are always impressed with wedding artists that truly cater to each individual client (after all, each client is unique) and Magnolias Linen certainly does that. Be sure to check out their site http://www.magnoliasgroup.com/home.html

Monday, February 1, 2010

A recap from Preston Bailey's Celebrations Launch Party

Last Thursday were were incredibly fortunate to have attended Preston Bailey's own Celebrations book launch party at the Armory in NYC.
Of course, we can't just show you photos - we wanted to share more of the experience (and man, what an experience it was!).
The Armory is a renowned space in Manhattan and (having seen the pre-event photos) was completely transformed by Preston Bailey's team and Marcy Blum. When we walked up the front steps we were delighted at the incredible illuminated floral "shadows" that followed us. It's so important to surprise guests with unexpected details and if Preston Bailey has taught us anything over the years, it's this.
Once we made our way up the stairs, a magically draped corridor greeted us, having us really wonder what was in store. These absolutely amazing "trees" dripped crystals and anchored the entrance and were so incredibly unique and whimsical. An enormous runway lay ahead, complete with a revolving "conveyor belt" of photos of Preston's work. Words can't quite explain, so here are some photos of this:

Guests were greeted by Preston and waiters with wine and hors d' oeuvres upon entrance (a must, in our opinion).

If you ever have the honor of meeting Preston Bailey, you'll quickly realize why he is so amazing at what he does. He's just too kind, humble, and incredibly sweet. Nick + I were thrilled at the chance to chat with him a couple of times and tell him what an inspiration he is to us. We were also impressed (when out of a room of so many) that he embraced us and recognized us as the husband and wife team he'd invited. His work truly is just outstanding and his attitude is the icing on the cake!
Naturally, we brought a congratulatory gift to the host and he was so kind and appreciative (we were happy to see this photo by Lisa Barr at the NY Examiner posted the next morning!).
Of course, Preston's party was chock-full of a supporting cast of A-list celebrities in the design, wedding, and entertainment world. Preston's work has long been admired by the elite.



We noshed on some delicious hors d' oeuvres like rosemary-speared lamb, Philly cheese steak bites, braised short ribs with celery root puree, edamame on seaweed crisps, and so much more. In our opinion, it's not much fun to attend a party and not experience everything, including the food. Preston had two oversized square bars topped with statues of him (covered in gilded leaves - amazing!), and scrumptious dessert displays. I am a sucker for macaroons and these were the best I've had! Preston's signature drink was a Leblon Specialty Caipirinha that was sexy, tasty, and fun.

Possibly the most amazing element of the party was the lighting. Nick and I agreed that the lighting made us feel like we were in a different world as it was "textured" and there were layers upon layers of different visual aspects.

These visually stunning orchid and ribbon trees were amazing and had this whimsical glow.
Once Preston had a chance to graciously greet each and every guest, the music (an awesome fusion of a DJ playing eclectic world music and a band playing instrumentals) swelled and all eyes turned to the runway. Four sexy models walked to catwalk, dressed only in Preston's fabric flowers! They really left us all wondering what was to come.

Preston gave a lovely speech thanking those who support him - and then Martha Washington was introduced and belted out "Everybody Dance Now" - awesome! Gloria Gaynor took the stage and had everyone singing along to "I Will Survive!" This was all just so cool!

The color of the lighting changed with the mood and by the end of the night we were treated to electric blue, amber, and rosy pink lighting that made for a fun and lighthearted mood.

The larger-than-life arrangements were beautiful




Enormous chandeliers flanked stunning oversized fabric floral arrangements (these flowers were accented throughout the party and were featured in his book) and enormous "globes" with LED ice cubes anchored the runway and added architectural interest.

The party continued with guests taking to the illuminated catwalk and dancing into the night. We had so much fun sitting back and watching!

We also had the chance to chat with the infamous (and oh-so sweet) Sylvia Weinstock. We have admired her amazing cakes for so long so it was really fabulous visiting with her! Sylvia is a joy and, might I add, is quite hilarious!Marcy Blum is absolutely lovely and such a talent. She played an important role in helping Preston with the party and Nick and I were sure to thank her for helping to make it such a smashing success.


Guests were given a thoughtful parting gift; a gorgeous handmade crystal-studded pouch containing a thank you note from Preston and his partner, Theo Blackman's, beautiful CD.

Thank you so much, Preston, for doing what you do and doing it so well and, of course, for inviting us. Truly a night we'll always remember!