Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Wonderful winter weddings! Yours is only 12 to 13 months away! make sure you pick up our NEXT issue due out January 5th for a TON of Inspiration!!

Monday, October 15, 2012


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Thursday, October 11, 2012

A Summer Picnic Inspired Reception

Inspired by pinwheels, Sugar Snap Events on location at The Sanderling  created a relaxed and playful feel reminiscent of a relaxing beach picnic on a warm summer day.



    Bride’s Bouquet
 The Sanderling’s new Pavilion was the perfect setting for this summer picnic inspired reception.  From the wood parquet dance floor (by Ocean Atlantic Rentals) to the colorful paper daisies hung from the ceiling (provided by Cultural Intrigue) to the casual and inviting tables tops, guests are sure to enjoy a relaxing and casual reception on the Outer Banks.

With many options for where to say "I Do", The Sanderling property's Main Inn Deck is an ideal location with the Atlantic Ocean as its backdrop.  It’s gazebo was adorned with natural Smilax Vines (by Sugar Snap Events) and bright yellow, orange, and hot pink paper daisies. Bamboo chairs (provided by Ocean Atlantic Rentals) accented with rice paper daisies completed the simple yet colorful look that complimented the casually elegant location. 

For those who want to feel the sand between their toes, look no further than the Sanderling’s beautiful beaches.  A bamboo altar was adorned with sheer white fabric and colorful cascading arrangements of orange Ranunculus, yellow/gold Gerbera Daisies, white Spray Aster, and pinwheel accents (flowers provided by The Roy Houff Company; arrangements/décor by Sugar Snap Events).  Bamboo chairs (provided by Ocean Atlantic Rentals) were in place for the guests and the aisle was lined with bright arrangements of orange Ranuculus, yellow/Gold Gerbera Daisies, white Spray Aster, greenery and pinwheels in pine wood boxes (arrangements by Sugar Snap Events).


Love is Sweet! Always a centerpiece in its own right, the 3 tier picnic inspired cake by Great Cakes was on display with the Currituck Sound as a backdrop. The wedding cake was complete with a quilted pattern, lime green Gingham bands, and pinwheels set on a bed of Wheat Grass and bright orange Ranunculus.

The Tables- burnt orange linens were topped with custom made green gingham overlays.  The centerpieces were mason jars accented with twine and custom made table numbers were filled with arrangements of orange Ranunculus, yellow Gloriosa Lilies, yellow/gold Gerbera Daisies, and white Spray Aster.  Bamboo chairs added to the casual summer feeling and clear round china and ivory votive candles completed the picture.  (overlays & centerpieces by Sugar Snap Events; custom table numbers and menu card  by HLR Designs; chairs/colored linen/clears dishes by Ocean Atlantic Rentals).

 Kids Table- A small white wooden table and chair set was just the right size for the little onesto have a party of their own.  Each place setting had a gingham placemat, basket filled with coloring books/crayons/crazy straws, a delicious cupcake “icecream” cone, bright colored vintage soda bottles, and a whimsical centerpiece of Gerbera Daisies, pinwheels, and wheat-grass in a burlap wrapped container.  Wet Your Whistle- continuing on with the picnic theme, guests were able to indulge themselves at the lemonade table which included lime-aid, traditional lemonade, and pink lemonade.  In addition, brightly colored bottles of soda were displayed in a wooden canoe.

   Escort cards, created by HLR Designs- a banquet table dressed with a lime green Gingham overlay held a rustic wooden tray filled with a bed of wheat-grass   Custom made pinwheel escort cards were perched in the grass.  One of the beautiful boxed wedding invitations was on display.

Who doesn't love a candy bar?  Varying height shaped apothecary jars (by Sugar Snap Events) held irresistible candies (provided by The Sanderling) for kids of all ages.  HLR Designs provided candy containers- each accented with a small pinwheel as well as the invitational sign from the bride and groom to help themselves to the sweet treats.

             Soundfront Gazebo- set on the waters of the Currituck Sound, the Sanderling’s gazebo is the ideal spot for sunset shots, for guests to relax, and in this case to get a sweet tooth fix.  The “windows” of the gazebo were adored with colorful spinning pinwheels.  The bench seats were accented with lime green Gingham pillows.  The candy bar was set up on the center of the gazebo- complete with matching linens, a variety of tasty treats, custom candy boxes, and a playful floral display.Customized Papers - The pinwheel theme was carried out in all of the custom print  materials from the boxed invitation to the escort cards to the candy boxes.

  Quality papers and attentive craftsmanship by HLR Designs captured the spirit of this playful wedding.


Thank you to all of the wonderful wedding professionals who helped with our themed photo shoot on location at The Sanderling Resort & Spa

Saturday, June 16, 2012

A Capri Inspired Poolside Reception

Source: via Lenore on Pinterest

Gorgeous poolside reception. I love the flowers dripping from the structure above the table. The many candles on the table gently illuminate the white flowers and have a glowing effect. The pool is serenely lit surrounded by abundant candles as well!

The reception was inspired by Capri Italy. More than 200 jasmine flowers were hung with subtle lighting in the cabana to create an Italian garden feel. Below the pool was surrounded by hundreds of candles to create magical effect.

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

2012 Spring Issue - Now Available

READ NOW or DOWNLOAD for later!

Our newest issue is now available only on our blog! Remember The Bride's Book magazine is available on your smartphone, tablet or computer! You can reda it now or download it to read later either online or off. If you like something and want to share it look for the download/share button so you can share a page or the entire magazine with a friend or a wedding professional. This issue is full of links and video so be sure to look on the page for more info than just a picture! In this issue we have articles on Helping your man to get involved in the wedding planning without being a nag! This issue is full of wedding IDEAS. Check out our Inspiration pages by Rachel Hamm of Bliss by Sam photographed by f8 photography. We also have gorgeous destination weddings in tropical paradises such as Cancun, Hawaii and Puerto Rico as well as Blowing Rock and Emerald Isle. This issue begins an expansive series feature on Getting Married in beautiful Asheville NC. In the next issue due out in July we will focus on Wilmington, Blowing Rock, Chapel Hill & Durham NC. If you are considering one of these destinations you will definitely want to check out our July issue! We hope you enjoy this issue and look forward to hearing from you!

Thank you!

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Calling all brides to be.... the Onslow Bridal Gala!
Feb 26 from noon until 4pm, at the Marston Pavillion, located on Seth Williams Blvd, Bldg 730, in Jacksonville, NC.
You will not want to miss it!
Advanced ticket can be purchased at or just stop by! We'll see you there!

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Calling all brides-to-be! Escape for a weekend of wedding planning bliss for you and a guest to the Wedding Show of the NC Mountains, November 18 - 20, 2011 at the Meadowbrook Inn in Blowing Rock. Enjoy three days of pampering, parties and planning where the wedding possibilities are limitless! Tickets include five meals, a spa treatment, signature cocktails, live music, fashion shows and all the trimmings of an actual wedding! / 800.GoRomance. Respond to our post with your name, phone number and email address to be included in the drawing! Winner to be announced November 15th.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Rainy -overcast - day in Asheville... So many clients to visit... If I miss you today, I'll see you at the show!

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Coming up in the Spring 2012 issue of the Bride's Book

We are so excited about our Spring issue! With a revamp of the magazine and a big focus on regional spotlights the Spring issue available March 2012 will feature Asheville, NC Complete with things to do, places to go, accommodations, and more! The perfect planning piece for your wedding! Be sure to sign up online to get a copy as soon as it is available! go to and guess what?! You will also be signed up for various contests and additional info!

Monday, July 11, 2011

The Wedding Photographer

Carolyn Scott Photography

Robin Lin Photography
Rumor has it that the wedding photographer is the most overpaid wedding vendor out there, so they say. I mean the camera's expensive but everything is digital so where is the expense? Okay so you do have to buy those fancy photo albums to slip your photos in but what else? Why do photographers cost soooo much? Couldn't Cousin Billy Bob take some pretty good photos and we could save that money for something else, right?! You know what I think? I think "they" are wrong. A successful photographer doesn't just point and shoot. They spend time getting to know their surroundings and framing the photo. The more they do it the faster they are at putting it all together and capturing the gorgeous photo that makes you FEEL what the couple is feeling at that very moment in time. Its part gift, part talent and part experience and it's a big part of what you pay for when you hire your photographer. But what else? Why is it that Billy Bob even with a good camera has a tough time capturing these moments that you want to relive day after day?
Beth Gillikin Photography
No matter how hard Billy Bob tries he will rarely think of the composition. He doesn't walk into the room or location and begin envisioning the art that he will be creating. Billy Bob (or Sally Mae for that matter) walks in and starts chatting with his buddy or distant relative and talking about old times and "how's your mama? It's been so long..." well you get the point. When you ask your _____(fill in the blank)____ cousin/buddy/aunt to photograph your wedding they have more on their mind than their new job. So they become distracted and the opportunity to breathe in the environment and plan the photos is lost.

Bella Rose Photography
And that is just the beginning of the process. What happens when the party gets started? The music is kicking and everyone is out on the dance floor laughing and having a wonderful time. You know Billy Bob is a guest too, I mean he has a job but he wants to have a good time too and you want that as well, right? So who could blame him when he puts the camera down to shake a leg for a few songs? Well unfortunately he missed this shot. Even if he decided to pick up the camera at the right time his position would be on the floor looking straight on or maybe up and the feeling would be lost.

The professional has spent the entire time since he stepped out of his (or her) car planning what shots to take and where. He may have even photographed a wedding at this particular location and knows where and how to get the best shots. But while your buddy is doing his thing the professional is capturing every piece of your wedding. The stationery, the entrance, the bouquets, the table settings all the little details that make your wedding yours. You don’t know this now but the day after your wedding or maybe a few weeks later you’ll find yourself wondering hmmm, what did the little flowers I so painstakingly chose, end up looking like?  Those detail shots the pro will take will be priceless later on.
Vesic Photography
So now we know some of the downfalls of hiring a friend or relative to take your photos to help document the best day of your life. But what else separates the professional from the amateur photographer?
The amateur when completed will then upload the images at shutterfly, picasa or some like location so when you want you can order your photos. He, or she, is done. They did their job. Ta Da!!! The professional on the other hand will go back to their studio and spend hours and hours editing the images. Perfecting colors, removing flaws, all sorts of things that make them the wonderful pieces of art that we see here. And those couples that bite the bullet and spend the money on a talented photographer are rewarded each and every time they look at the art created by a professional. 

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

The Wedding Planner

J. Lo did a great job in the movie, “The Wedding Planner”. She’s one of those actresses that we love to watch on the big screen. But she did nothing to describe what a wedding planner really does. Most people think of a Wedding Planner as an accessory to the rich and famous and that regular folks handle all the details and what they can’t handle they ask a relative or friend to handle. That works great for some folks. Some folks have planned their wedding since they were 10 years old. Most of us however, are new to this wedding thing and plan on doing it only once. So for that reason alone you should investigate what a wedding planner can do for you and how much she costs. What’s the worst thing that could happen? That’s right, you end up making a well thought out educated decision and that’s the best decision and approach you should take when you plan anything!

Bella Rose Photography
So let’s go over the pros of hiring a wedding planner. First, she is well educated on the reputation of the wedding professionals out there and well versed in what is a fair price to charge and who she can negotiate with in order to keep things within your budget. Second, this isn’t the only wedding she’s planned nor it be the last that he or she plans so no doubt she is full of ideas based upon your budget of how to create your vision at a variety of locations. Third , remember the last time you hosted a dinner party? You cooked the food, you cleaned the house, you sent the invitations (or made the calls), you shopped, you set the table, you answered the phone and door bell when it rang, you chose the music, you played the music , you thought up the ice breaker oh and you had about 5 minutes to get cleaned up and dressed before everyone arrived. THEN, you mingled, you thought of about half a dozen things that you should have done, some you tried to do while your guests were there as discreetly as possible. By the end of the night you had about 25 conversations interrupted and never completed, you barely had a chance to eat your dinner and enjoy your guests before it was time to serve dessert and then after your guests left it was time to clean up. That was a dinner party for only 4 or 5 couples! Imagine an event at a separate location or multiple locations with a guest list of about 125 or more?! Sure Mom can help but remember this is the only wedding her daughter will have…she should enjoy it just as much as you without all of the stress.

Diane McKinney Photography
So, now you are thinking…maybe it isn’t such a bad idea but I just don’t think I could afford it…Really?! In most cases you can. Remember you set your budget. If your budget is $5000 or $155,000 that is your budget. A wedding planner knows that her fees must ALSO come from this budget. Many (not all )are willing to negotiate their fees if possible in order to stay within your budget , assuming they want the job. They may also be able to tailor fit their services to accommodate you so that it makes it more affordable. They are organizational gurus, and depending on how many services they render as well as their popularity, they can cost a few hundred dollars or several thousand. In the Southeast for a full service wedding planner he or she will generally charge about $2600 while nationwide the average is about $3200.

Now you have the tools to decide if a wedding planner is for you..go out and begin meeting and interviewing and talking price to find the one that works best for you. Not sure where to start? Go to and choose your city. Then check out our Marketplace where we list all the best local wedding pros in your city.

Monday, October 18, 2010

Destination Wedding Spotlight: Kure Beach, NC

Destination weddings have been the craze for many years now and the Carolinas are no stranger to this concept. Historic, brick laden districts, river towns, sandy beaches and rolling mountains place both North and South Carolina in the destination wedding cataory with locations such as Jamaca, Mexico and the Adorondacks. Born and raised in coastal North Carolina, I have a special place in my heart for couples that choose to hold their big day in "my neck of the woods". As a wedding planner by trade but a life planner by nature, it is a great joy to offer more than just wedding services to my brides. As a native of the Carolina lifestyle I enjoy letting couples in on the secrets of where to get the best shrimp and grits, which area boasts the most stunning sunsets, where to get the "poshest" service, etc, etc... The Carolinas hold hundreds of perfect destination wedding locations and over the next few weeks we will spend time getting to know some of the areas that are perfect for the occasion. We begin our tour with the small, friendly, relaxing beach town of Kure Beach, NC...

Situated just 20 minutes south of Wilmington, NC, Kure Beach is one of several beach towns located on Pleasure Island. It is also seated just before the historic and picturesque area of Fort Fisher. Bathed in rustic and homey southern charm, Kure Beach is a gem burried in the sand. Known to fishermen worldwide for its pier and fishing, Kure Beach is also well equipped to handle small to medium sized weddings on the sand, at a lovely and colorful ocean front home or at many other locations. Dinning choices range from the seafood cafe, to the steak and seafood house to the option of having your event catered with elegant cuisine. Atlantic Avenue boasts the beach's best views with its wooden walkways and gentle breezes. Couples have the ultimate setting with the golden sand, froathly ocean waves and green sea grasses. Ceremony decore can range from the simple arbor to the even more simple but powerful statement of letting nature speak for itself and be the main decore.

Locals enjoy the opportunity to share their piece of paradise so when visiting be sure to inquire about the area's offerings in terms of food, lodging and activities. In nearby Fort Fisher, the NC Aquariuam at Fort Fisher is a beautiful option for the reception or rehearsal dinner. Dine in front of the shark tank and relax as twinkle lights glow from the railings above. Palm laiden outdoor spaces are available as well as elegant indoor areas. Sting rays, turtles, jelly fish and other aquatic life add to the party as they glide effortlessly in tanks around the Aqarium. The sea horse tank is a special treat and the perfect place for a gift station. Events coordinator Terry Bryant and assistant coordinator Emily Bullock are available Mon-Fri to help plan the wedding of your dreams. Rent the Aquarium's crystal fish for an amazing centerpiece or utilize a local florist to tie in your theme. Visit their website at to learn more about this stunning venue.

Be sure to take advantage of the unique grove trees that grow along the Fort Fisher shore; the shady groves are perfecy for memorable pictures and romantic strolls. Sitting between the Atlantic Ocean and the Cape Fear River gives Fort Fisher water views from almost every angle and affords the history buff a plethora of sites to see and information to gather. Families and couples alike can rent a small beach cottage of stay at on of the inns located on the island. For more information on this quaint beach town, visit the Pleasure Island Chamber of commerce at and be sure to check the section dedicated to wedding regulations and rules.
Photo left & center courtesy of Gary & NC Aquarium at Ft Fisher

Monday, September 20, 2010

Wedding Cake Inspiration from the Southern Mountains

It's no secret. I love me some mountains. I've lived in them all of my life and studied mountain tourism at the graduate level. They're in my soul. So when I see wedding trends related to mountain traditions I want to leap for joy and do cartwheels in the living room. Woohoo! Lately I've noticed rustic brides and foodies alike opting for a stack cake look for wedding cakes, including cake-buffet cakes.

Stack cakes are a tradition in the southern mountains, and are generally made of six (or so) thin layers of apple spice cake stacked up like a big plate of pancakes. Dried apples are tucked between each layer, and some variations include using apple butter in between layers.

There are two stories I've seen floating around regarding the origins of the Appalachian stack cake. One is a play on impoverished hillbilly stereotypes. The story goes that Appalachian people were too poor to afford an entire wedding cake and each guest bring a single layer. Another is that the James Harrod brought the cake back from Kentucky via the Wilderness Road in 1774.

Whatever it's origins, modern brides and bakers are offering their own twist on this Appalachian classic, and I've loving every bit of it.

~Hindsight Bride

Image from The Kitchn 

 Left Image from OnceWed; Right Image from Catherine O'Brien via Love and Lavender 


Image from The Kitchn

Image from Smitten Kitchen

Image from Project Wedding

Image from The Kitchn

Friday, September 17, 2010

Wiggles,Giggles,Crys & Laughs:A Guide to Children & Your Big Day

Organizing a wedding party can sometimes be like organizing a heard of cattle! Jobs, family responsibilities, travel and simply life’s little bumps can all affect the schedules of the people in your party which, in turn, can ultimately affect the outcome of your rehearsal and even ceremony. Along with the wedding party, wedding guests are up against a myriad of challenges which can cause them to miss your Big Day or be forced to only attend the ceremony and not the reception or vice versa. Often times, a conflict which exists before the wedding, such as childcare issues, does not simply disappear before the Big Day. Perhaps your maid of honor just had a beautiful baby girl or your piano player has two rambunctious boys that must accompany her to your event. Children can be a welcome source of entertainment in any situation but can also be an unwelcome distraction in more serious moments. That beautiful baby girl just may decide it is time to eat during your vows and those boys will certainly not make it through all of Ava Maria in the church pew. Also, do not forget that your may have a precious flower girl or ring bearer of your own that may make it down the aisle but need something to look forward to at the reception. Let’s take a look at a few ways to accommodate both wedding party members and guests with children…

First, understand that children are a natural part of life! Although you may not have any of your own yet, remember that your family and friends may have been handling situations with their children for a while. Even though they may be accustomed to making arrangements for them during special events, nothing would make life easier than having a plan supplied for their family’s needs.

Have childcare on standby. Local drop-in childcare facilities, nanny organizations and even churches typically have plans in place for special event childcare. Arrange a special rate with the manager of a local center and be sure to mention it in an insert in your invitation, on your wedding website and by word of mouth. Parents can enjoy the event while knowing their children are safe and happy while paying a reduced rate.

Be prepared with a “quiet room” at your ceremony. Even the best behaved child can have an off day! Hiring a babysitter to be available at your ceremony can save you and parents from loads of stress. List the option in your ceremony program in such a way that parents feel this is a benefit to them (rather than a forced option) and be sure choose your sitter wisely so that parents and children feel secure.

Have fun options for children at your event. Why should only the adults have a great time? Choose an area of your reception and dub it the “Kid Zone” complete with smaller tables and chairs, coloring projects and a few toys. To make the area more cohesive with your event, color coordinate the children’s choices with your colors and theme. Just because the area is dedicated to children does not mean primary colors are a must! If there is available outdoor space consider renting a bounce house or a small petting zoo; white rabbits would be a wonderful addition to the scene and a fun distraction for the kids. Use your imagination to create options that are both fun for the little ones and appropriate for your event.

Have “child friendly” food available. Although your boss’ wife may swoon at the idea of Oysters Rockefeller, a child will more than like squish up their face and say, “Ew!” Ask your caterer to provide a few options for children such as chicken of some kind, fruit and cheese. One sure fire way to keep a child happy is to keep their bellies full so make preparations ahead of time to make this a non issue.

I have often said that having a wedding is really your opportunity to play the ultimate party host or hostess! Having options for guests of all ages is a great way to help insure a happy time for everyone. Remember, however, that even your best laid plans my not “go as planned” when it comes down to the wire. Babies may cry, little boys may wiggle and parents may not choose to utilize the options you have put in place. In those instances just take a deep breath, walk down that aisle and say to yourself, “Well, at least MY children will never act that way!”

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

The Delayed or Post Reception

Post wedding receptions are becoming more and more common in our busy hectic world. There are many good reasons why a couple may want to get married now and celebrate later. From deployment, financial worries, illness, weather or simply a spontaneous elopement. Whatever the reason, the wording on your invitation is important in order to inform your guests that they will NOT be attending the actual ceremony and that can sometimes be tricky!

What you’re really doing here is announcing that you’re already married and you are now hosting a party. The first task, introduce yourselves as a married couple, then add the details of your celebration. To make it more personal you may want to incorporate your own verses. If you would like to hav eyour guests witness your vows consider a reaffirmation of your vows. You can do that at any time after your wedding. There is no need to hire a magistrate or clergy to do this as you are already officially married. Anyone can read your vows for you.

As far as timing, it is best to have your party or reception as soon after your wedding vows as possible but if for some reason it is long delayed you may want to consider hosting a 1st anniversary party. Such a party may be slightly more casual but could still include your reaffirmation as well.

Below are some examples we have compiled to get you thinking about how to compose your invitation. To get even more ideas talk to the stationer who will create your invitation. If you have an event planner assisting you he or she will no doubt also have lots of ideas on how to word your invitation and add creative elements to make it all your own!


We’ve Tied the Knot! 

Scott Casey and Angie Lawrence were married

Saturday, December 9, 2009.
Please join us as we celebrate on Friday, February 2nd 2010
At The Lake Delta Inn, 123 Karlen Rd
Anytown, Anywhere
At five o’clock in the evening


On Dec 9th at University Presbytarian Church
Scott and Angie became one heart.
Their love filled the house of worship like no others could.

Please join in celebrating their new start
By attending a dinner in their honor
At The Lake Delta Inn,
123 Karlen Rd Anytown, Anywhere
At five o’clock in the evening


Through the love that is in our hearts we,

Angie and Scott

will restate our wedding vows


Saturday, the 2nd of February

two-thousand and ten

at five-thirty in the afternoon

at the Lake Delta Inn

123 Karlen Rd

Anytown, Anywhere


They got their feet wet and played in the sand

And oh yes, they joined their hands!

Scott and Angie were wed Dec 9th on St.John’s Island.

In celebration of their marriage

On February 2nd at noon

Please attend a backyard barbeque at

The Lake Delta Inn, 123 Karlen Rd Anywtown, Anywhere


With a turn of the key and flip of their hair,

Angie and Scott threw caution in the air!

Join them in celebrating their December 9th elopement

By attending a brunch in their honor on

February 2nd at 10:00 in the morning

At The Lake Delta Inn, 123 Karlen Rd Anywtown, Anywhere


You are cordially invited to

the 1st anniversary celebration


Angie and Scott Casey February 2nd at 10:00 in the morning

At The Lake Delta Inn, 123 Karlen Rd Anywtown, Anywhere

If you’ve decided NOT to have a reception or party to celebrate your new beginning a simple "At Home" card will do, which simply announces that the two of you are married and, as the name suggests, that you're home. If you choose to send an “At Home” card, don’t forget to include your new names and address. Some couples also choose to add a personal note explaining why they eloped.

There is no reason why a delayed or post reception should be any different from a reception that immediately follows a wedding ceremony. The purpose is the same, to celebrate the union of a couple and the beginning of their new life together. Do you need the 3 + tiered cake or the big formal gown and tuxedo? No. As a matter of fact we would recommend general party attire and a less formal cake but it’s your party and your decision, the etiquette police will not come and take you way!

Finally, as far as who pays for what, it again, is no different than a traditional reception immediately following a ceremony. Today’s wedding receptions are hosted by the bride and groom themselves, their parents or any combination. It can be as small or as grand, as traditional or contemporary as the couple themselves. Embrace the moment that is yours with your closest friends and family and the new road ahead whatever it may bring.

Sunday, August 29, 2010

My little sister is engaged! Of course we all knew it was going to happen, but still, here we are. The date is set for 11/11/11 and my mother is already buried in a flurry of wedding magazines and ideas. You would think that although she has already gone through the marriage of one daughter-one daughter who, by the way, actually does this for a living she would feel calm and ready but no… She actually said to me, “Oh, I don’t know if those colors will work.” Amazing, mothers were defiantly created to encourage you and never let your head get too big all at the same time. Bravissimo mom, but I digress...

Having a big sister that is a wedding designer is rather convenient, but even I, older sister and professional cannot dictate some of the choices that must be made. Casual or formal? Indoors or out? Large or small? Grandiose or simple? These are the questions that each new bride is faced with and often times they have barley had the opportunity to let the engagement sink in before the race of finding a venue begins. For my sister Kate, and many other brides, some decisions are made simply based on personality or taste and practicality. For instance, by nature my sister is a “push the limits of fashion” kind of woman. (She glued glitter to her pocketbooks and wore heavy eyeliner before those fads were ever even thought of in Paris or Milan!) For her, certain venues are simply not workable due to their very structure. She is looking for a fashion forward, peacock feather laden type of event in which not one single rose will be found. To look at a garden venue would not only be a waste of time for her, but also for the ever hopeful venue manager. For some brides, budgetary concerns may dictate venue choice and many other aspects of their Big Day. From the get-go, my suggestion to brides is to be practical. Yes, this is your special day, but be careful not to set your sights too high, least you fall, and remember your theme. When faced with many different venue options, color schemes, flower choices and cake flavors, a couple can become overwhelmed and start making decisions just to get items ticked off the list. Push your personal limits a bit if you must but never go so far outside your comfort zone that you, a person who loathes the color orange, finds yourself surrounded by bridesmaids clad in the bright color because you watched one too many episodes of Million Dollar Wedding. To quote the Genie in Aladdin, “BEEEEEE yourself!” Remember who you and your fiancé are and created a happy “marriage” of the two styles to achieve a look you both will love.

Along these same lines, be sure to heed the advice of well meaning loved ones, but never forget this is Your day. I often comment to brides that for every opinion they have about their wedding, someone else has three more. A person (to remain nameless) actually suggested that my sister wear my wedding dress simply because we still have it and she is having a time finding the dress. Now, although beautiful, my A-line, champagne colored frock would look as ridiculous on her as I would in a leopard print mini skirt. My dress says nothing about my sister and only holds memories of my Big Day, which in truth was really not long ago enough for us to even consider using the same gown. Although well meaning, this suggestion was ridiculous and incensed my sister to no end. I reminded her that everyone feels differently about weddings the same way everyone feels different about pizza toppings or political parties or American Idol singers. This is life and with it comes an abundance of opinions but all-in-all it should be her and her fiancé that must feel comfortable with the outcome.

During the journey to the aisle a bride may change her mind many times and feel overwhelmed at the possibilities and choices before them. In fact, I have seen a bride change her entire theme 3 months before the wedding after reading an article and deciding she was on the wrong track-this is not a practice I would recommend. My own sister has been engaged for four months and has over a year to go and has changed her venue three times; however she has yet to place a deposit one one. Confusion of this nature is to be expected and, as long as the changes are not causing the loss of much money or delaying the course of events, are good ways to decide what you truly want. Now, having said that, it is best to get these changes out of the way early in the game to avoid the loss of deposits or the annoyance of every wedding professional in town. Do your homework and make informed decisions. If you have never felt any particular feelings towards sand dollars but suddenly want to stick them in every bouquet, boutonnière and centerpiece then take a step back and breathe. Is this real? Do you suddenly have a real affection for the dried fruits of the sea or is it simply a fad that will pass? Talk your whims over with your planner and use them as a sounding board for possible changes and ideas. You are paying them to not only keep you on track but to also remind you of your original ideas of the perfect wedding, you know the ideas you had before you knew that handing tying 1,000 ribbons to the branches of a historic Oak tree was even a possibility…

Brittany is the owner of Orchid Island Events, a wedding design and coordination company based out of Carolina Beach, NC. Orchid Island specializes in wedding planning for areas such as Wilmington, Wrightsville, Carolina and Kure Beaches, NC. She enjoys turning moments into memories on the Carolina Coast and invites you to gain ideas for your Big Day by visiting the Orchid Island website at

Monday, August 23, 2010

History Lesson: The Bouquet Toss, A Bachelor Dinner and a Flying Garter

Weddings are history in the making. The beginning of one family and the continuation of others, a wedding is a celebration of traditions old and new and are a platform for couples to showcase who they are.

While acting as planner for a wedding this past May, I noticed that the bride seemed to have a strong resistance to anything that even slightly resembled tradition. Strict instructions were given to my team: no bouquet toss, no garter throwing and absolutely, positively no special cake cutting. As a planner it is my job to make sure that the couple’s wishes (whenever not hideously ridiculous or outside the confines of the Law) are met. Even I agree that the garter toss recipient and the bouquet toss recipient should not be forced to dance together and when a groom smashes caked into a bride's perfectly painted mouth I want to faint. It was this super modern couple that got my wheels turning concerning age old wedding habits. Where did these activities come from and why, for goodness sake, do they often require people to chunk lovely items in mid air and hope that someone catches them? So, armed with a piqued sense of curiosity and a hot apricot tea (in my Minnie Mouse gets Married mug of course) I set out on a research journey. You just may be surprised at what this wedding planner’s fast typing fingers discovered…

· The Bouquet Toss…This tradition actually dates back to the fourteenth century when brides were considered to be covered in luck on their wedding day. Single women would vie for a piece of the bride’s gown hoping to take home a piece of her luck. This often times ended in a tattered and torn gown not to mention a bruised up bride! Brides began to rebel against the destruction of their dresses and began throwing stockings or garters at the crowd until they could exit unaccosted. Eventually the custom became the flowering tossing event know today. I recommend having your florist make a “toss bouquet” for this activity so that your precious bundle can be saved and not ripped to bits by all those single ladies gunning for your luck!
· The Garter Toss: An offshoot of the bouquet toss, the tossing of the garter was used to feign off the advances of luck hungry women and smooch hungry men! Once again considered lucky, men would fight to snatch a kiss from the new bride, a habit that new groom did not think much of. Men began removing the garter from the leg of his bride to show ownership and throwing it to his ravenous cohorts to save his new wife from Lord knows what. The tradition continues today and often follows the tossing of the bridal bouquet.
· The Bachelor Party: Originally known as the bachelor dinner or stag party, the bachelor party goes back to the early days of Sparta and the Spartans love of any reason to party. An engaged Spartan man would be treated to an evening of feasting and drinking as his friends (and often fellow military men) would toast to his new life. Although now known to often involve risque behavior, the bachelor dinner was originally created to allow the groom an opportunity to release pre-wedding jitters. Eventually women decided they needed to shake off some jitters too and thus produced the birth of the bachelorette party.

Of course there are many more traditions that need to be explained. But, if I spilled all the beans here, you would not have a reason to return and read more! Stay tuned to The Bride’s Book Blog for our next history lesson which will include the odd history behind the bridal party, the reason flowers became a vital part of the event and how the wedding cake evolved from a loaf of bread to the artistic creations we have today. Class dismissed!

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

My Wedding Day!

I wanted to share my big day with the readers of The Bride’s Book. I don’t think I can put into words the way I felt that day. I was excited, anxious, emotional, and tired. It took a year and four months to plan our wedding and it felt like it flew by in 20 minutes. The night was a blur. I look back now at our photographs and think “Was that really us?” It is all surreal. I have a feeling once we get our video back that is when reality will hit that it was us and that it was real.

We were so fortunate to have a warm sunny day. Our ceremony was outside on the Mississippi River in Cottage Grove, Minnesota. Our reception was inside at Mississippi Dunes Golf Course. Twenty minutes before the ceremony began my youngest sister drew blood by ripping open her leg on a broken couch! I was getting ready to pack up our stuff to head to the hospital for stitches when my extremely brave and tough sister Macy requested super glue to close the wound! If anyone knows Macy, this is typical. Oh the stories, this one being one we laugh about now. Especially since the bridesmaid dresses were above the knee and in some pictures the wound is quite showy!

I didn’t trip coming up the aisle in grass! However, I was waiting on a golfer yelling “FOUR” and someone getting hit by a ball. Our ceremony site was right next to a par 3 green! I want to apologize to our guests for the ceremony starting about 10 minutes late. The unwarranted construction caused some guests to arrive late. Including my Uncle, who met me just feet before the aisle and he wanted to stop and talk. Excuse me Uncle, Go and SIT DOWN. Again, love and laughs.

I’m a detailed person, so details at the reception were my favorite. I’m so in love with any Damask print. That was shown in my wedding and now has carried over to my house! We showed our excitement for cupcakes in our cupcake tower! The Candy Bar was a huge hit with the guests and made for a fun favor. In my opinion, my florist, Saba Flowers, could not have captured my idea of a centerpiece more accurately. And Brides, I believe any florist can do such a better, stress-free job when you pick flowers that are IN season. I did just that and the flowers were luscious and gorgeous and lasted for days! If anyone read my last blog post, I talked about the 350 lemons. They did a great job at the wedding! And afterwards, quenched much of my family’s thirst freshly squeezed!

Keith and I chose “When you got a Good Thing” off of Lady Antebellum’s second CD. This may have been my favorite moment of the evening. It was really the first chance Keith and I got to spend a second or two alone and take in the meaning of that day. I wish I could have frozen time in that moment. Eventually I got teased for having a weak throw in my bouquet toss. One special dance we had was the Anniversary Dance. I had seen this at weddings before, but every married couple is on the dance floor and the DJ plays a slow song and dismisses couples by years of marriage. Finally the last couple standing was my grandparents married for 50 years!

At the end of the evening I was so happy, but exhausted. It took me 30 minutes to take the bobby pins out of my head! Now in the weeks after the wedding, my favorite thing to do is look back at the photos my photographer, Kate Botwinski was able to show me. I can’t get enough of them! Brides, cherish your photos. These are pieces of art that you will have forever! I am completely in love with mine.

Thank you Bride’s Book for letting me share my big day with you! We love to hear about our reader’s weddings and see their pictures! Please share with us on our facebook page!

-Mia Mauer - Acct Executive with The Bride's Book