Monday, June 30, 2008

Kristen & Curtis

Kristen & Curtis were married on Saturday.

They had a beautiful traditional ceremony at Bayside Presbyterian Church in Virginia Beach.

Their reception at the Virginia Beach Resort Hotel was fantastic! It was ALL about the couple and their friends. Of course, it was beautiful with the ocean as a backdrop. There were lovely flowers, linens, and chargers. The ocean themed ice bars were incredible and the band Slick Nicel rocked! But one of the highlights of the evening was a special dance by the bride and groom. Another big hit was a surprise video message arranged by the Maid of Honor (and bride's sister) Kathy, from the Baltimore Orioles (the bride had interned with sister team, Norfolk Tides) - it was great fun!

all images : Echard Wheeler flowers: Seashore Florist

I had worked mostly with the bride's mother and didn't meet the couple until the rehearsal. We hit it off immediately. They are incredibly kind people and I was so honored to be a part of their day. The team and I wish Kristen & Curtis every happiness!

Friday, June 27, 2008

Wedding tea for favors

I spent a recent afternoon with Aisha, one of our clients who is getting married this coming October. She was excited to show me the favors she had found over the weekend: Wedding tea.

This wedding tea is made by Harney & Sons and let me tell you how incredibly good it is. First of all, as you can see it comes in a beautiful tin and once you pop the tin open the beautiful aromas of vanilla and lemon stream out of this white tea. Aisha sent me home with a tea bag to try that night and I fell in love. You can find this and more favors at

Not only is this favor pretty and yummy, but it fits so well with the overall feel of Aisha's wedding. She and Tony will be wed at the Lewis Ginter Botanical Gardens in Richmond, with the reception in Robins Tea House. Isha Foss Events is providing floral design as well, that will be Asian and organically inspired.

By the way, just a hint, to save 5% on your order with Beau-Coup, enter in code BB5. We found this at

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Samantha & Shane

Garden Enchantment!

Though threats of rain and thoughts of a muddy gown hung overhead, Samantha (Sam) and Shane’s memorable day was as enchanting as a garden wedding could be at Norfolk Botanical Garden on Saturday, June 21st. Tropical flowers, ladies clad in ocean blue, and an aisle laden in cantaloupe and magenta rose petals created a warm and airy ambiance for 60 guests on the Baker Hall Terrace.

Samantha was so funny, as it began to drizzle she knew the wedding might have to be held in the Rotunda instead of Renaissance Court as she had dreamed , but she continued to make jokes and said as long she could take her photos in Renaissance, she would be OK. Within a half an hour the rain cleared, but Sam didn’t want her 3 foot train to be ruined by the obviously muddy courtyard. Botanical Garden wedding coordinator Valerie Young suggested having the ceremony on the patio; the perfect solution, no mud and the reception was immediately following in Baker Hall. While the ceremony did not take place in the ever so popular Renaissance Court, Sam and Shane managed to have their wedding photos taken in the garden.

Immediately following a joyfully teary and intimate ceremony, guests entered a tropical paradise with amazing arrangements of orchids, stargazers and callas by Posy Floral Design Studio. The families were the funniest, cutest and most loving one could hope to see. The family danced to “Sunrise, Sunset” in honor of Samantha’s grandparents. Guests danced until the 11th hour when the couple drove off as family members celebrated. The d├ęcor was spectacular, the bride and groom were sheer perfection and the wedding was fabulous!

Congratulations Samantha and Shane, Stephanie and I loved working with you!


Poll: Would you pay to try on wedding dresses?

Well our poll is closed and 89% of participants would not be willing to pay a fee to try on wedding dresses.

I completely understand where brides are coming from. Especially since many of my clients try on a dozen dresses or more!

I also understand that the best stores invest a lot of time with the bride - some of whom, then by online or elsewhere.

Hopefully a balance will be achieved and brides will value the high level of personal service that you get at a bridal salon as part of a once in a lifetime experience. Perhaps then, the resulting sales will allow bridal store owners to recoup their investment without adding fees. We'll see!

Thanks to all who participated and to Carolyn for her comments. She gave us the idea for the post and is the winner of a Starbucks gift card!

Sunday, June 22, 2008

Falana & Ernesto

Falana & Ernesto were married yesterday at Bayside Baptist Church in front of their closest friends and family.
I have to say that I enjoyed this wedding for so many reasons.
The wedding party and family were so nice and cooperative and totally focused on the wishes of the couple. The in-house coordinator, Janice, was a pleasure to work with. Also, this was a morning wedding - a rare pleasure! We started promptly at 11:00 AM and were at Lesner Inn by noon where guests enjoyed the beautiful view from the deck overlooking the inlet.
The bride and groom were announced and went right into their first dance. Thanks to dance lessons, they took our breath away! The food, flowers, and music were perfect and guests danced just as much as at an evening event!
One of my favorite planning memories from this wedding is when Falana and another of my brides, Kim, crossed paths in the office. It turns out these doctors knew one another, and Kim's mother (also a doctor) had taught Falana. After some reminiscing we started talking about music for their ceremonies and the three of us ended up singing "You and I" in our conference room (Bics were flicked for this impromptu concert)! Both ladies chose to use the song in their weddings (ahh, fun times)!

Jennifer & Fred (June 7)

Congratulations to Jenn & Fred who were married 060708! Their ceremony was held at St. Matthews and a reception followed at The Chrysler Museum of Art.

Their colors were Turquoise (crush linen) and Brown (chaivari chairs) accented with the bride's favorite Gerbera Daisies in bright colors.

Our own Tania Peace was the Event Manager, and Stephanie assisted. Roger Cruz with Astro DJ kept the guests on their feet!

A great celebration for a sweet couple!

Monday, June 16, 2008

Bridal salon charging fee to try on wedding gowns!

A dear client and faithful reader alerted me to a situation being discussed heavily on the Knot. A bridal salon in New Zealand is charging brides to try on dresses. The fees, they say, are to cover cleaning and repair of gowns. They are also trying to discourage window shoppers and "brides without grooms"!

To read the article in its entirety, click here (fixed). Also, take a moment to participate in our poll! We love to hear from brides! Tell us what's on your mind.

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Bridal Boot Camp

Many of our clients express a desire to get in shape before their wedding day. Bridal Boot Camps have become very popular, with many studio programs, videos, and books centered around that theme. I found one such studio program in Virginia Beach. Platinum Pilates has been open for eight years, currently owned by Michael Uncapher for one and a half years. He has four instructors, whom conduct private and group classes.

For those of you who are not familiar with pilates, here is a quick synopsis. Pilates increases a person's flexibility, strength, balance, and control for a person's entire body. As read in the Platinum Pilates brochure, "the focus is on strengthening the 'powerhouse", the abdomen, lower back, and buttocks, allowing the rest of the body to be properly supported and move freely". There are over 500 exercises done in Pilates and Platinum Pilates has the needed machines to do these exercises.

I was very impressed with the studio when I met with Michael, owner and MAT specialist, last week. The atmosphere was very inviting and he and his staff were are very nice. I was able to tour the studio, getting a chance to see all the fabulous equipment that they have. Here are some of the pictures.

Michael was able to go over all the details of their Bridal Boot Camp Package with me. For the price of $600.00, the package includes the following,

1. Twelve private Pilates sessions (2 per week for 6 weeks) These are scheduled at the convenience of the client

2. UNLIMITED group Pilates for the duration of those 6 weeks. These are classes offered Mondays, Tuesdays, Wednesdays, Thursdays, and Saturday. They have morning and evening classes available.

3. One free Muscle Activation Techniques evaluation. MAT is used to eliminate muscle and joint pain and helps to restore your body's alignment.

4. One free Microderm Abrasion from the American Laser Center. Platinum Pilates has partnered with the American Laser Center in Virginia Beach to provide this great benefit in their package.

If you are interested in learning more about Platinum Pilates or their Bridal Boot Camp package, you can visit their website at or by phone at 757.486.8665.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Stay cool!

With temperatures in Virginia Beach topping 100 sizzling degrees, it is getting more difficult to stay cool.

I wondered if brides had "weather plans" for this heat wave. I contacted the wedding office at Norfolk Botanical Garden and was surprised to find that outdoor ceremonies took place as planned this past weekend! It was a scorcher!

Now brides, I understand that you have a vision for your day. I would not dream of trying to deter you. I do have some suggestions for helping guests to 'beat the heat'.

  • Bottled water - personalized labels and a drink tub make it special and prevents dehydration. Love these from My Wedding Labels

The clear polycarbonate drink tub is from Target!
  • Shade - a tent, an arbor, some bamboo poles with fabric draped awning style, or umbrellas/parasols. My favorites are these from Luna Bazaar

  • Fans - like those shown in the last post or this cute battery operated variety! I found these at
These little touches are sure to make guests feel appreciated and comfortable!

Monday, June 9, 2008

New fan programs from Carlson Craft

Carlson Craft has recently introduced a couple new fan programs to their collection. I, of course, had a couple favorites.

This program is made of 100% post-consumer recycled content. This is a perfect choice for those working at having a wedding that is green, or friendly for the Earth. The Recycled Paper Fan Program helps the Earth further by using heavy 100 lb. papers, which gets rid of the need for plastic handles! Fans are printed on both sides and can even be printed with black soy ink.

My other fave is the Peacock Fan Program. This can be done in 3, 4 , or 5 panels and are fastened together with brads. The program "fans" out, also eliminating the need for a plastic stick. Motifs can be changed at the top of the program and Carlson Craft has many motifs to choose from, including doing your own monogram. There are multiple colors to choose from, such as espresso and olive. I particularly like the pearlized shimmer paper options. The colors available in the pearlized shimmer are cocoa, latte, and silver.

Friday, June 6, 2008

My Mystic Tan experience

I have always wanted to try a "spray tan". My only experience with a spray tan was watching the episode of Friends where Ross sprays himself inside the machine multiple times on his front side, never actually getting his backside! Hilarious episode, highly recommended to anyone looking for a good laugh. Still, even with Ross' silly experience, I still longed to be sprayed a nice shade of tan. With the summer season fast approaching, I figured now was a great time.

I first consulted a local tanning salon to find out more about the process. I had already decided I wanted to try the UV-Free Mystic Tan. The Mystic Tan uses your body's own magnetic properties to attract the Mystic Tan spray. This is supposed to result in a natural looking tan.

In preparation for my big adventure, I was advised to do the following:

  • Take a shower and use a loofah to get rid of any dead skin cells
  • Shave my legs
  • Do not apply any makeup, lotion, or perfume
  • Be prepared to wear loose fitting clothing after the application
  • Do not expose myself to water for 4-6 hours after application. Any area that comes in contact with water will get a streaky look, which includes sweat. For this reason, it was suggested that I experience the Mystic Tan later in the day.

I arrived at the salon around supper time. The desk clerks were very helpful in going over the process with me. Here are the steps involved:

  • Place hair cap over your head. Do not cover your ears. Be sure to leave a little bit of your hairline exposed.
  • Use the provided lotion (generously) on the palms of your hands, in between your fingers, on the soles and sides of your feet and in between your toes
  • Remove all jewelry
  • Remove any makeup, lotion, or perfume with the baby wipes provided
  • You will also be instructed on the "poses" for while inside the booth. These are better left to the professionals to demonstrate rather than me try and verbalize it.
You are now ready to enter the booth. Once inside, the spray comes out from one side. You will need to decide whether you want to use the bronzer function. Apparently with this function, you will have color immediately when you exit the booth. I was advised that this was not necessary as your color will appear within 4-6 hours. I opted not to use the bronzer. You will press the green start button and step back onto the stand with your legs spread apart the full length of the stand. Remember to keep your eyes closed and mouth shut. Breathe through your nose. Each side lasts 14 seconds. Once I exited the booth, I patted (do not rub) myself dry. Again, remember to wear loose fitting clothes.
I was really excited to be tan! I was always the girl who tanned religiously in tanning booths when I was younger, but decided with age that this was probably not the best thing to do to my skin. So I waited for my UV-free tan to appear.
Unfortunately, it did...

Parts of my body were streaky. As you can see in the picture above, my leg has a nice streak running down the side. I also felt it was more orange than a natural tan color. As the "tan" began to fade, my coloring took on a jaundiced look. Overall, I was disappointed with the results. At least now I can say that I have tried it!

My recommendation: Ladies, definitely do not save this to the last days before your wedding. You will want time to either master the process or at least have it fade away should you not like it.

Thursday, June 5, 2008

Grand Exit from Church

Several brides have inquired about how to pull of the confetti, bubble, or petal exit - from the church. We suggest that the guests not be kept waiting while you take formal photos. Standing around in the sun and weather can really drain your guests and the party that follows.

We accomplish the departure a couple of ways:

If photos are being taken at church

The bride and groom recess after the pronouncement and exit the church. They make their way around the church (predetermined route) and re-enter. The wedding party and all guests exit the church and wait on the steps. The bride and groom, are now in place to exit the church again to fanfare! Return to altar for photos.

If most photos will be taken at another location

The bride and groom(and parents/grandparents) recess after the pronouncement and exit to a side room in the church. The wedding party and guests exit the church and wait on the steps. The bride, groom, parents, and grandparents do a brief (10-15 min.) return to altar. The elders exit the church and join guests for the bride and groom's sendoff. The wedding party departs for alternate location as guests depart for cocktail hour.

It is nice to arrange bottled water or lemonade for guests even during a short wait. We have also arranged strolling musicians and hankies for a New Orleans themed wedding that was followed by a parade! Additional refreshment awaited guests at the cocktail hour.

images Keith Cephus

* The product hanging so beautifully in the air is Flutterfetti! Check with your venue before use (Yes, it is biodegradable).

Wednesday, June 4, 2008


Thanks to those that participated in our poll! It appears that more people are offering a full host bar to their guests! But coming in a strong second are couples offering beer, wine, and a signature drink. In my experience the signature drink has been a martini but can be any beverage of your choosing.

Here are some martinis that I found on These could easily fit into a wedding theme:

A Lovely Pear


4 part(s) Absolut Pears Vodka
1 1/2 part(s) Peach Puree
1 part(s) Grape Juice White
1 part(s) Lime Juice
1/2 part(s) Apple Juice

100 Pumpkins


3 part(s) Absolut 100 Vodka
1 splash(es) Simple Syrup
1/2 part(s) Hiram Walker Pumpkin Spice Schnapps

Chocolate Souffle


1 1/2 part(s) Absolut Vodka
1 1/2 part(s) Chocolate Liqueur
1 splash(es) Frangelico

It really looks great when the drinks are displayed or stacked on a tray or their own special ice bar or luge! Here are examples from Ice Art that we used at weddings.

Monday, June 2, 2008

Gifts for the Groom in your life

The gift exchange between a bride and groom is an optional tradition. I personally find it very moving. Some exchange gifts the day before their wedding and other's the day of, covertly getting their gifts to one another. Whatever time you decide to do it, the decision of what to get can sometimes be the hardest.

What do you get for the man you are about to share the rest of your life with? Some would say, you are his gift. If you and your fiance have decided to exchange gifts, here are some ideas that should fit all price ranges.

For a sharply dressed man, how about these onyx and pearl cuff links. They are antique, dating back to the 1930's. They are made of platinum and 14 ct gold. I found these at The cost: $2175.00

For the technologically savvy man, how about this watch from Fossil. This stainless steel piece has Bluetooth capability and is only $250.00!

A groom who is a sports fan may love this autographed ball from the World Series 2007. Signed by Curt Schilling with the Red Sox, this ball is going for $369.99 at

Any sentimental grooms out there? Located here in Hampton Roads, Expressions-Custom Framing by Maura, can work with you to design the frame for your bridal portrait. Imagine the look on your groom's face when he sees the beautiful portrait in such a unique custom made frame layout. Here are a couple of my favs from Maura's gallery on her website. Check her out at (Remember though, to all our superstitious brides out there, don't let him see that portrait until after you are married!)

A free option, yet for most, probably the most meaningful gift of all, would be a poem written from your heart. Putting all of your feelings together surrounding the journey you are both embarking on together will surely make a gift he will cherish for the rest of your lives together.

So whatever you choose, try and consider your groom's personality and you will ultimately come up with a gift that he will treasure for a lifetime! We'd love to know what you plan on for a gift for the man in your life. Leave us a comment and let us know!

Sunday, June 1, 2008

Kristy & Matt

Kristy & Matt are married! It was simply smashing! Beautiful couple, beautiful day. fun, Fun, FUN!

Kristy, Matt, and I have been working together for over a year. She wanted something modern and original, he wanted great food and music. They both wanted lots of fun - and they got that!

We started with the perfect venue, the Half Moone Cruise and Celebration Center. We took a tour and saw the staggering views from verandas overlooking the river. Kristy and Matt booked it before it even opened. Vendors were carefully selected for their excellence and creativity. Keith Cephus was the shooter and provided the images for this post(except where noted).

The couple chose Ghent United Methodist Church as the setting for their ceremony. It was beautiful and low-key with a focus on the commitment they were making. They saved the flash for the reception where Cuisine & Co. provided a fabulous feast (Matt's picks)! Individual stations encouraged mingling and kept everything flowing. C&C coordinator, Dina Taylor selected linens that matched the wedding palette - corals for the cocktail hour and shades of green for the reception. The music from Roger Cruz with Astro DJ was INSANE! These guests were some of the best dancers I have seen at a wedding. It was a wild night!

Helga Macko provided the breathtaking flowers. Ice Art the bowling alley beer cooler and a snowboard - not shown (my non-pro photos):