Friday, November 19, 2010

out with the old

in with the new!

2010 is a wrap…for weddings anyway.

It’s time to update the countdowns. All of the 2010 newlyweds are basking in married life. They’re off the blog. But there’s a whole new group of brides and grooms on the horizon. There’s already a 2012 countdown on the books. 561 days sounds really far away!

I’ve made some other updates as well. If you haven’t done so already, find 10,000 weddings on facebook and twitter for live updates on new posts.

I’ve also added some blogs that I like to read…not all wedding related. Some are about my other passion - vintage - and some are just plain, old funny…or obnoxious. Check ‘em out.

Stay tuned for more countdowns! 2011 is shaping up to be one of the biggest wedding years that I’ve experience so far…hard to believe.

-The perennial bridesmaid

Monday, November 15, 2010

go ask alice

I have been elbow deep in wedding invitations for a friend. I am just about finished now but working to make the deadline while caring for a sick puppy made me feel a little bit like I was snowed in late last week.

Then it happened. I realized that I was dangerously low on all of those pesky household items. You know the ones. Napkins. Laundry detergent. Soap. TP. Boring. Why do I always run out of everything at the same time?

I had no time or desire to go to Target and stock up. That always leads to at least an hour trip and spending $50 more than I planned on extra things that I didn’t need in the first place.

Then I found it.

Alice.com  My savior.

I think I’m in love.

This site is amazing. You can order all of the household goods online and get FREE shipping to your door in just 2-3 business days. This saves hours of time waiting in line to check out at the store and wading through aisles to find your preferred brands. All of the brands and goods are right there. Online. You can compare prices and quantities. Alice even finds coupons for you!

No, I am not being paid to write this. I wish I was. I felt it was my duty to pass the word on.

It does take a little bit of time to set up “your account”. Once you do that, Alice remembers all of your favorite brands so every time you login you can just click what you need to restock and checkout. She taxes where appropriate based on your zip code so you pay what you would in the store.

Alice has got all of the drug store goods too. Even the make-up.  She's got some non-perishable food and drinks too like granola bars, coffee and tea.  Maybe I will never step foot in commercial store again.

She’s so thoughtful. Alice even takes the liquids and adds extra tape around the caps and puts them in a zip lock bag just in case something crazy happens in shipment.

This has changed my life. I know that’s a bold statement but I don’t see a need to ever step foot in a big box store again. I have gained hours of my life back. Saturday mornings are mine!

Not to mention, I never have to lug the 12 pack of toilet paper into the house while simultaneously carrying a 2 gallon jug of detergent and 6 pack of paper towels. The balancing act is over. The box will be on your door step for you. Free. Really.

Fiance. Wife. Bridesmaid. Whoever. You need to check out this goddess called Alice.com. Thank me later.

-The perennial bridesmaid

Friday, November 5, 2010

it’s a wonderful life

With Christmas just 50 days away, I’ve started considering my holiday décor, drinking egg nog and watching my favorite old time Christmas movies. My number one choice is the classic film “It’s a Wonderful Life”. “Every time a bell rings an angel gets its wings.” Totally my favorite quote from that movie. The message in the film is pretty awesome. An underlying theme seems to be that family and love manage to conquer all. The hard times pass and things always seems to get better. The flick is quite relatable to our current time period and economic state.

This week alone there has been so much good news in my world that I was reminded – it is a wonderful life!

Where to begin? Well, 2 baby boys were born to 2 near & dear friends of mine. All parties are healthy and happily celebrating their first born. While on the topic of babies, another special couple found out the gender of their baby on the way to everyone’s delight. And finally, another expecting couple went to settlement on their dream house this week.

Needless to say, I am thankful for an unlimited text plan because the announcements, updates, pictures and overall good news have been coming through like a rain shower.

Speaking of houses, I’ve identified my own dream house and the simple fact that it could actually be a reality at this point in my life. Fingers crossed.

In other spectacular news, one PopPop is recovering well from a triple bypass surgery he underwent last week. He shows off his scar loud and proud against my squeamish wishes. Additionally, another friend is pursuing his longtime dream of running the New York marathon this weekend. I’m thinking good thoughts as he approaches that milestone.  Two important people in my life continue to advance their careers as they both started new, dream jobs this week.  Sweet November!

And, because this is a wedding blog after all, one of my 2011 bride friends got the long awaited call that her wedding gown is in! Naturally, she can’t wait to try it on and imagine her dream wedding that is just months shy of reality.

Moral of the story is that this has been a week for dreams coming true all around me. I want to remember this one for a very long time. And maybe go out and celebrate too…

-The perennial bridesmaid


Wednesday, November 3, 2010

harvest time

As you can probably tell, wedding season has slowed down greatly for me. Rather, it has come to a halt until next year. I am still planning and crafting but not nearly as much as earlier this year. I can tell you that January is booked out the wazoo with celebrations so stay tuned!

In the meantime, I am busying myself with all things I love about the end of the year. From pumpkin patches to wreath making! I am passionate about everything fall harvest and the holidays have to offer.

If you are planning a fall wedding, there are so many great natural resources to decorate with. One of my favorite centerpieces is the ol’ pumpkin. It is such a great standby. Of course, you can use plain pumpkins and gourds to create a harvest tablescape. You can also go the mini route with a bowl full of the smaller pumpkins and gourds. But my favorite is the pumpkin planter!

All you need to do is carve a large pumpkin. Make sure the opening is up top and is at least 6 inches wide. Pull out all of the seeds and mush. Place a seasonal potted plant inside. Try a mum, kale or my favorite, an ornamental pepper. There you have a centerpiece and conversation piece in one. It will look like the plant is growing out of the pumpkin! Feel free to dress it up further with raffia or ribbon. One thing I should mention is that you don’t want to remove the plant from the nursery container it came in. The plastic will help preserve the pumpkin longer. If the soil sits directly in the pumpkin, the pumpkin will rot quickly.

Bonus: use mini pumpkins for your place settings or escort cards. Put the name and table number on cardstock that you attach to the mini’s stem.  This will complement the centerpiece nicely.

I made this centerpiece (with the colorful pepper plant) for added fall decor in my house a few years ago and everyone that stopped by raved over it. Imagine the impact dozens of these can have at your fall harvest wedding! Try it for Thanksgiving this year.

-The perennial bridesmaid






















photo: wiki

Friday, October 29, 2010

legoland

So this isn’t actually a firsthand 2010 wedding experience but it is too good not to mention. And besides it is only one wedding layer removed. If that doesn’t make sense, it will.

My friend helped her friend out with some of her wedding related tasks. Typically that means making programs, addressing invitations or consulting on hair and make-up. This time it meant playing with legos!

Yup, legos. Just like when you were a kid. They built lego people (I hope that is PC) as pictured below to hold the escort cards. Note the tank in the back carrying the lego bride and groom. So fun!



















You could say that a theme in this particular wedding was dorkdom. Or maybe I’m just being offensive. But their save the dates were definitely Star Wars themed. The bride and groom’s heads were photoshopped onto the iconic Star Wars image of Princess Leia and whoever the lead male character was. (I probably just offended Star Wars fans around the globe.)

Then there was the aforementioned lego people.

And finally, the other clue that there was a dorkdom theme going on…their first dance was to the Juno theme song. Remember that one?

It goes something like this…
I don't see what anyone can see, in anyone else
But you

That song is not necessarily dorky but it gets better. They rewrote some of the lyrics and sang them! How perfect is that. Oh and the bride actually called the groom a dork in the song.

So there you have it. A theme of dorkdom. I love originality in wedding planning.

Dorks rule.

-The perennial bridesmaid

Monday, October 25, 2010

tish you

Last month, I went to my very first tish.

What’s a tish you ask?

So did I. The wedding invitation indicated that it was an opportunity to celebrate the bride and the groom individually before the ceremony. Bring a story. A poem. A song. Whatever. Just come to celebrate that person. This is apparently a common practice at Jewish weddings. I think it’s typical for the groom to have a tish in Jewish practice, maybe not the bride. Being that this was my first Jewish or semi-Jewish wedding, it was all Yiddish to me.

I attended the bride’s tish which began about an hour before the ceremony. Friends from near and far gathered around and told stories about the bride as a child, as an adolescent and a young adult. It was a fun hour reminiscing about how she got to that day…her wedding day. The stories were funny and sentimental.

Overall, I was tickled by my first tish.

Fast forward 4 weeks and I found myself at a rehearsal dinner for another young bride and groom who would soon be husband and wife. We went through all of the rehearsal dinner rituals…cocktails, hors d’ oeuvres , dinner and before dessert, speeches. Usually the host, or the groom’s father, says a few words about how delighted he is to welcome the daughter-in-law into the family and how she’s a great match for his son.

At this particular rehearsal dinner, the father of the groom spoke followed by a brave 10 year old who was a junior bridesmaid and the bride’s niece. She spoke about how her aunt is her favorite aunt and how happy she was for the bride.

Then it snowballed.

One person after another stood up and spoke about the couple. They told funny stories and, of course, stories about the beginning. When the couple met and how they got to the current day.

I sat back and listened.

I thought about how much I really like these impromptu speeches pre-wedding. Call it a tish. Call it a celebration. It doesn’t matter. See, the ceremony is totally scripted but these speeches are less planned and seemingly a surprise to the bride and groom. It is fun to hear so many perspectives about the bride and/or the groom in small gatherings before the actual ceremony. I even learned new facts about people that I know rather well. You never knew who will say what!

-The perennial bridesmaid

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

oh the places you’ll go

Yes, that is a Dr. Suess book. I couldn’t resist after last week.

So I travelled 2/3 of the way cross country to be a bridesmaid in a fabulous wedding in Boulder, CO. What a picturesque setting. The mountains create a beautiful backdrop for a wedding. Or a simple trip to Target. Which I managed to do the morning of the wedding in order to stock the bathroom basket. As I stepped out of Target and saw the grandiose skyline in front of me, I had to catch my breath. These Coloradoans sure have it figured out!

The wedding was story book. Princess meets her prince charming. They fall in love. Travel to exotic places. Kiss and live happily ever after. Really. That’s the kind of couple they are. They literally rode off into the night in a sleek, white Rolls Royce. Who are these charming people? My family. Lucky me.

As it turns out, I have a large family. At the exact moment this story book event was taking place out west, another cousin was being proposed to back east. Yup, at the very same moment. How is that possible? The charming groom-to-be carved “will you marry me” into a pumpkin! That is one jack-o-lantern to remember. Well played.

You think I’m finished? Within hours of the wedding and proposal, another engagement took place. This one was half way around the world! No joke. One of my friends travelled to Greece with her beau. Little did she know, she would leave a boyfriend behind and come back with a fiancé.

Oh the timing of all of these couples’ milestones! Could it have been the 10.10.10 love bug?

-The perennial bridesmaid

Friday, October 8, 2010

perfect ten

10/10/10 is arguably the most popular wedding date this yet. And it’s just days away. Lots of superstitious brides and grooms are getting ready to walk down the aisle on Sunday. I am sure Vegas will be packed and Elvis will be busy.

Ok, I suppose not all the brides and grooms are superstitious. Or are getting married in Las Vegas. Some may just think it’s a really cool date. It is. Just like next year’s big wedding date will be Friday 11/11/11.

This will probably come as no surprise but I have a wedding to attend on 10/10/10. I am a bridesmaid and this marks my first time flying cross country to be in a wedding. Or attend one for that matter. Oh and my last wedding for this year.

I’m looking forward to my trip to beautiful Colorado. I’ve spent the last few days packing, repacking, making lists and checking lists. There’s something about packing for a big vacation that has me reevaluate more than half of the articles in my closet. Anyway. I digress.

10/10/10 here we come! I’ll be signing off for a few days but will be back with some art deco wedding goodness to recap.

-The perennial bridesmaid
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 















Photo courtesy of Perfect Postage.  A great resource for unique wedding postage.

Friday, October 1, 2010

speak easy

Last month I gave a speech at my friend’s wedding. I recall writing a panicked post about this event as it approached and I was, um, speechless. Well one sleepless night I managed to get all of my thoughts on paper in some sort of organized fashion. And I delivered the speech at the wedding as requested.

They laughed. They cried. Success, right? Tears and laughter were my goal.

But because I can’t speak in front of an audience off the cuff like the wedding belle, I really needed to prepare. So here’s my advice to all you fearful wedding speech givers out there. I’m pretty sure you won’t find this anywhere else when you google wedding toast or speech. (Trust me. I looked for this kind of guidance.)

Consider the audience you are delivering the speech to. Yes, fourth grade grammar. In other words, do you want to speak to the bride and groom directly in second person for the guests to listen in on? Or do you prefer to speak to the guests about the bride and groom in third person while the couple listens in?

Second person = you fell in love and got married.
Third person = they fell in love and got married.

There’s no right or wrong way to do it really. This is personal preference but absolutely something to think about. Ask yourself who you are addressing.

What else? If you do go the route of writing the speech in advance, write like you speak. If it’s written like a novel or textbook, I think you will lose your audience quickly.

Things that I knew I wanted to avoid… I’ve heard a lot of wedding toasts and a few stick out in my mind. Not for good reasons. Not everyone needs to prepare a speech. Some people are gifted like that. If you are not one of them, prepare something or you may end up a rambling fool. Recognize the difference between a wedding speech and a lecture or church homily. Seriously. I’ve seen it and it’s awkward! On the other end, if you haven’t prepared, it may be too short and therefore, empty. Also awkward.

And finally don’t make the speech all about you. Ok, you should probably introduce yourself somewhere throughout the speech. Obviously interject your tidbits about the couple or your perspective of their relationship. This is where the humor can come in. But I once heard a girl talk all about her and the bride’s (her sister) relationship growing up and how they weren’t actually friends and blah blah. The works. I’m pretty sure she never mentioned the groom. At all. Double Awkward!

I’m no expert on this topic but these are some points that I took into consideration when writing my speech and observing others. Overall, just speak from the heart about your bride and groom. And that’s really all you need to know!

-The perennial bridesmaid

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

vintage vixen

There is a new trend taking storm in professional photography and gift giving. Lots of ladies are channeling their inner glam and posing vintage pinup style. Not trashy pinup but a classier, flirtatious version.

Professional photography studios specialize in creating your vintage look.  Think Vargas girls. You select a theme and outfit and your hair and make up are done to coordinate. If you are not comfortable in a risqué Marilyn pose, perhaps you can mimic Sandra Dee. The options are endless…what about a sexy Rosie the Riveter look? Hmm.

Are you looking for a day-of wedding gift to give to your groom? This is a really unique gift that will definitely impress! Not to mention that you have probably been following a bridal workout so now is the time to capture your slim physique in this style.

You can also give this gift to your husband for your first wedding anniversary. Paper is the traditional first anniversary gift. And these photographs are printed on paper, right?

Bachelorette parties are taking a liking to this day of pampering. Groups can go together and inspire each other’s vintage themes. This isn’t my cup of tea but it sounds like some ladies are having a good time playing dress up.

And if you are having a vintage themed wedding, you might just want to invite your guy to the photo shoot. Use the professional pics of you both in theme for your save the dates, invitations other aspects of your wedding.

One of my friends inspired this post. Of course I love all things vintage so when I heard about her photo shoot I thought it sounded so fun! She had a wonderful experience with a local vintage pinup photographer plus professional hair & make up artists. Her pictures turned out fabulous! The rollers and red lipstick really suit her. These studios are surfacing all over the country but the popular, booked up photographer in Philly is Celeste Giuliano. Her work is very cool.


-The Perennial Bridesmaid

Friday, September 24, 2010

behind the seams

I picked up my knee length red bridesmaid dress yesterday from the tailor. When I dropped it off it was practically ankle length and the straps were excessively long. The woman pinned, poked and cut the dress to the shape of my body. Yes actually cut it! Right before my eyes. In less than a week it magically fit thanks to my Korean Fairy Godmother.

With a price.

I’ve complained about this before. I know. Waa. But why does properly tailoring a dress have to cost so much? This was the highest yet. The alterations actually cost more than the dress itself in this case!

Don’t get me wrong, properly tailoring your clothes makes a world of difference. This isn’t an area that should be skimped on. (Although, I am guilty of saving some money by say, not taking the side of a dress in as it should be. I am the only one that suffers by looking 10 pounds heavier in the extra satin.)

Not this time though. It properly fits all around. I am going to wear this dress again. Famous last words.

I came to the conclusion that there must be a way to get dress alterations at a lower rate. I’ve tried a few things outside of the brick and mortar tailor shop.   No shop equals less overheard cost according to my theory.

  • Naturally, I asked around for an old Italian neighbor who does alterations in her living room - right next to her plastic upholstered sofa. (is that just a Philly thing?) No one had a granny to recommend though.
  • I trolled craigslist for a seamstress looking for work. None locally. Does anyone sew anymore?
  • My last idea is to find a fashion design student. A senior preferably. Someone who knows what they’re doing and who actually WANTS to alter satin bridesmaid dresses for some extra cash. After all, I live about a mile from one of the nation’s leading fashion colleges. These students must live amongst me, right? Why can’t I find them and save some serious alteration money?
If you have a recommendation of a serious sewer that fits one of the 3 criteria above, I am all ears. I’ve got more dresses to alter…

-The perennial bridesmaid

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

now booking

It has been a quiet week on the wedding front but hey, it’s only Wednesday!

It may be quiet this week but it looks like January 2011 is booking up quickly. This includes one long weekend in Las Vegas for a bachelorette party. We’ll be staying at the Flamingo because we just couldn’t think of a better place to base this party. We’re also planning on seeing a cheesy Vegas show. Chippendales anyone? Why not?

Needless to say, I am very excited about the upcoming trip! I’ve already began planning what I'm wearing…

-The perennial bridesmaid



One of these days I might just get a picture with the iconic 'Welcome to Las Vegas' sign.

Monday, September 20, 2010

baby, baby

First comes love
Then comes marriage
Then comes the baby in the baby carriage

I took a break from the wedding circuit this weekend to attend back to back baby showers. Literally. Back to back. Just 2 hours apart.

So I learned that jungles are big for the 2010 tykes. Specifically monkeys. They were a feature on each baby’s registry. They had the whole jungle nursery thing going on. Cute.

I also learned a few new shower games. I don’t actually know baby shower games so maybe they’re not new at all but I suspected some originality that I am here to pass on to the world wide web.

Enjoy.

First, Make a Baby. Get your mind out of the gutter. This is a competitive game and grandmas were present. You take play-dough and make a baby. The Mama-to-be then judges the babies. Voila!

Baby Songs. Make a play list of songs that mention baby in them. Really this game could go on all day. Think about all of the baby songs you know. Anyway, make a short playlist. Have guests write down the name and artist of each song. The guest with the most correct guesses wins. And you’ve got yourself some background music for the party. Double voila!

I think you could easily transfer the Baby Song game to a Love Song game for a wedding shower. Make a playlist of songs mentioning love (which really are endless) and have guests record the song and artist throughout the shower.

Oh baby!

-The perennial bridesmaid

Friday, September 17, 2010

mmm, chocolate

God, I love getting chocolate as a favor. It never gets old. Don’t let anyone tell you chocolate isn’t a good favor.  The last rehearsal dinner I went to included a personalized favor. It’s nice to get a favor at the pre-wedding dinner although not a requirement.

The favor was mini Hershey bars so I was in heaven but they DIY’d a spin on the bars that made it oh-so personal. The groom’s family printed out the wedding logo on standard business labels and then wrapped each chocolate bar individually. This is an idea I never thought of before but hello! So simple. And much more cost effective than getting those customized M&M’s or customized Hershey Bar labels online. You will pay a premium for those.

The crafty ladies didn’t stop at the chocolate bar labels. They took it further to really personalize this favor. The dinner was held at a brewery and homebrew beer was one of the wedding themes so bottle cap magnets were made with the wedding logo and silly pics of the couple. Bottle caps! Clever. Again.

Here’s a pic of how they neatly packaged it all up in cellophane envelopes.





















Remember, a professional wedding logo is not a requirement. You can create a monogram or use your initials and get the same effect. These favors could also be given to guests at a shower or even the wedding.

-The perennial bridesmaid

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

consolation prize

The mere reason bridesmaids were invented was to tend to the bride’s every wish, right?

Well, I accepted the challenge of scouting vendors to handcraft hair pieces for our March bridal party upon the bride's wish. They should be black and made of feathers and rhinestones and evoke some old Hollywood glamour. We’d like for the bride’s birdcage veil to sort of coordinate as well. Perhaps a feather fascinator for her too.

Sounds easy, right?

Not exactly because there are just SO many great vendors out there to choose from. I decided to post an alchemy request on etsy to see who could propose the ideal product at our price point.

The bids poured in. 

The final decision was made today and the order was placed. Since there are so many artisans out there, I wanted to give a few of the runners up some blog time by featuring their work.  Which I just love.

Check ‘em out.


Yaneth and Co



 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Pick Me Flowers
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

 
Paper Silk Made
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Rtisan
 


 



-The perennial bridesmaid

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

one hot disaster

Seriously. There is never a dull moment in this thing I call bridesmaiding. But you already knew that. Hence the need for a blog to hash out all of the details. But this newest catastrophe is just that. A catastrophe of Mother Nature size.

I know I go on and on about the need for planning and being organized and doing things in a timely manner. Blah. Blah. Blah. Sometimes it just doesn’t matter how organized you are or how far in advance you plan because Mother Nature and her natural disasters won’t consult your plans before wrecking havoc on them.

Months ago we booked a cabin in the foothills of the Rockies for a Boulder, CO wedding that I am in next month. The contract was long ago signed, sealed and delivered. Now all I had to do was think about the views I would enjoy and the trails I might be able to explore on the property while on wedding downtime. (And hem my dress.)

Wrong.

We won’t be enjoying the views or the trails. The vacation house was destroyed in the 4 mile canyon wildfires that swept through the area last week. Of course, it is a major loss and shame for the owners of the home who were so friendly and great to work with. I feel terrible for them. I’m sure we’ll find other accommodations but these kind people lost their house. What a tragedy.

The show will go on and the local disaster will not hold a candle to the wedding that will take place. What? Too soon?

-The perennial bridesmaid

Thursday, September 9, 2010

logo of love

I hope you already read yesterday’s post about the cool wedding I went to this weekend. The details were not missed. But it all began with a wedding logo.

Way back in 2009, the bride and groom commissioned a graphic artist to create this logo. It was meant to include the wedding theme colors: purple & blue and wheat or kraft. And of course it was outlined in polka dots, the primary or initial theme of the wedding. (I later learned that the tandem bike was the “secondary surprise theme”!) Also, note the 2 fonts introduced on this logo. I don't know their names but these 2 fonts were carried out on all wedding print collateral.

There you have it. The birth of a brand. Known as Leigh & Aaron 9.5.10.



















Everything was branded. Well, not everything. It was done tastefully. The logo was on the invitation and all colors and polka dots were included. You may recall reviewing the invitation, if not catch up!

The logo image with omitted text was used for the table numbers as pictured yesterday. It was also used to indicate the cake flavors. Oh and also for the ‘just married’ flag. All pictured in yesterday’s post. Go see how many logos you can find...

The photobooth printed out guests’ images in real time with the logo on it! I thought this was really unique. Probably because I’m technically impaired and have no idea how they DIY’d this. It’s the little things that impress guests so think outside of the box.





















Other printed materials were not branded with the logo but more so with the chosen colors and fonts. Check out a page of the program.




























And the place cards that I referenced yesterday. Even if you’re not going the extra mile and branding your wedding, you can still do something informal like this for the escort cards in your own color scheme. Just hang them up on a clothesline. So simple but refreshingly different.




If you are overwhelmed by this level of wedding marketing, have no fear. You don’t have to brand everything! Perhaps you can come up with a monogram that you like. Just remember to be consistent and use it on several elements of your wedding.

Happy marketing!

-The perennial bridesmaid

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

in tandem

In order to recap last weekend’s wedding, I feel that I really need to summarize the bride and groom. Here are a few adjectives that describe who they are: Marketer. Hombrewer. Jewish. Natural. Crafty. Ohioan. Theatrical. Bicycler. Laid back. Original.

Keep those in mind.

Ok, now onto the wedding.

Sunday was one of those perfect September days that make you thrilled for fall but also nostalgic for summer.  Not a cloud or hint of humidity in the sky. The grounds of the John J. Audubon Center  made for an excellent natural setting. The couple crafted an original ceremony from beginning to end. It included Jewish traditions such as the huppah and the breaking of the glass as a shout out to the bride’s background. They wrote their own vows and friends read select text from the couples’ favorite poems & books. They had a custom made Ketubah, a Jewish marriage contract shown below, which mimicked a bicycle. The laid back ceremony was accented by a circle of guests seated in chairs and coordinating blankets to observe.


After the breaking of the glass by the groom, guests made their way to the unique barn for cocktail hour. We enjoyed homebrewed beer that was made with love by the groom. The place cards were hand crafted name cards that were pinned to a clothesline complete with photos of the couple on another clothesline above.

And I almost forgot the West Philly Orchestra that played throughout the ceremony, cocktail hour and part of the reception including the horah, another Jewish tradition. The sound of horns brought a little bit of soul, a little bit of funk and a lot of original entertainment to the wedding.



The reception was held in a pavilion just up a trail from the barn and adjacent to the ceremony site. It was donned in purple and wheat accents as that was the color scheme of the event.































The newlyweds made a theatrical entrance on their own tandem bike complete with a ‘just married’ flag! What a fun surprise.

























The crafty details that went into this entire wedding were more than I’ve ever seen before. DIY at it’s finest! Let’s see… I mentioned the homebrew beer that was drank well into the night. Each beer had a clever name and description.  they were named for the bride and groom's families.  Even the toast was with a craft champagne beer by the brewmaster groom.































Then there was the cake display. It was actually a cake buffet of about a dozen types all made by friends. Each cake donned a little flag that stated the flavor and baker. The center cake was topped with a tandem bike which was cut by the bride and groom. I'm sorry to say that I didn't sample ANY of these because I was having too much fun on the dance floor.  How did I do this to myself again?

Then there was the homemade favors…they were a little bit of heaven in the form of chocolate and peanut butter called “buckeyes”, a shout out to the groom’s Ohioan roots. They were packaged complete with a poem by the bride about the buckeye and how it relates to the couple.































A DJ took over after a gourmet barbecue dinner and dancing ensued. For those interested in other forms of entertainment, there was a photobooth to cheese it up in, games of cornhole to play and trails of the Audubon to explore.
All and all, it was a laid back yet detail oriented event that truly captured both the bride AND groom’s personalities. These people seriously know how to throw a party!  Thank goodness I am friends with them.

Stay tuned for the next post related to the marketing that surrounded this wedding. What do I mean by that? You will see! Here’s a hint…branding.

-The perennial bridesmaid

Friday, September 3, 2010

going global

Man, I love weddings but they are seriously popping up left and right. In the last 2 weeks, 2 great friends got engaged! Yay!

The first proposal was on the back of a boat at sunset. How romantic! Having known both the guy and girl separately for years and now watching them unite forever is truly awesome!

The second proposal occurred 2 nights ago. He popped the question at the exact location of where they first met. All of their friends were in on the surprise so they were there to take pictures. Mexico 2011 here we come!

Love is in the air this weekend. On the same day, in 2 different time zones I have a couples shower and a wedding. Obviously, I can’t be in 2 places so I am attending the wedding and, yes, giving a speech! Although, I am a bridesmaid in the wedding that the shower is being held for, I will just have to be there in spirit. Bummer.

Finally, dresses. I need to pick up a bridesmaid dress this afternoon and place an order for another one for a March wedding. The collection is growing. So far, I haven’t worn the same color twice in a wedding!

Looks like I am facing 2011 head on! It is shaping up to be the biggest wedding year yet with 7-8 on the horizon so far. I'm updating the countdowns on the right as quickly as possible! There seem to be more destinations playing into these wedding themes too. That should make for some interesting posts.

Stay tuned.

-The perennial bridesmaid

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

smokin'

Most people select a glossy ivory wedding card from Hallmark and insert some cash or a fat check when going to a wedding. This is pretty standard and it’s what most expect to receive as a wedding gift. Often the couple is registered at a few home stores. It’s easy to select a gift for the couple if you don’t want to just give cash. And of course, some wedding goers get creative and shop off the registry for a crystal frame, vase or the like for the couple’s gift. The adventurous may even give a wine of the month gift which was my personal favorite gift to give in 2008.

But no one has ever given the gift I am about to tell you about before now. I suppose I should never say never! But seriously…

My friends were like 2 kids on Christmas morning unwrapping their wedding gifts the morning after their reception. They tore through numerous cards and saved the wrapped gift boxes for last. The came to a large rectangular box, opened the card and saw that it was from the groom’s uncle and family. The paper came off to reveal a Pamper’s box. Surely they didn’t receive diapers as a gift. Upon further review, the gift was inside. You’ll never believe it…

Hot Sauce.

A variety of hot sauce. Yep, the kind you put on wings. Unbelievable. Strangest wedding gift ever! I could understand if there was some kind of inside joke. Maybe the couple loves wings or hosts a wing eating contest every year or the wedding was barbecue style as opposed to the actual formal wedding that it was. But no, there was no common denominator. It was just a totally random diaper box full of condiments from a family of six. Pun intended?

Who doesn't love hot sauce?   I’m nearly speechless.

-The perennial bridesmaid


Hot Sauce by ChefKnifeRevolution

Monday, August 30, 2010

black is back

Remember a few years ago when everyone was saying “ohmigod, green is the new black” and then “pink is totally the new black”. Every color was suddenly the new black meaning you could wear it with anything. I never really knew what happened to black. Where did it go?

Well, guess what… Black is back!

Thank god. It is slimming. It is elegant. It is also versatile.

This past Saturday I logged in a full day of bridesmaid dress shopping for a March wedding. We tried on short, long, strapless, wide straps, one straps, cocktail dresses, gowns, sheaths, sacks, you name it. It was exhausting!

It came down to the very last one we tried on. It wasn’t what we thought we were out to get but sure enough it looked great on everyone. The bride was happy with it and even the groom gave the thumbs up. We found the dress at Priscilla of Boston. It is a sweetheart cut, long chiffon dress in classic black. The idea of wearing black to a formal, evening wedding just makes sense to me.

I have noticed that black bridesmaid dresses have been popping up at a few of the weddings I have attended lately. I love it! It couldn’t look better than trying to put several girls with different skin tones in watermelon, teal or sage. And you can totally wear black again, ha!

Black is black and its back. Alleluia!

-The perennial bridesmaid

Thursday, August 26, 2010

the nerve

A close friend asked for my advice the other day on how to politely decline the request to use her house to host a bridal shower. This sounds like a tough one but it actually isn’t. Once you hear more details, you too will agree that she needs to say no.

Let’s call my friend Sally.

Sally was recently married. She chose her family members as her bridesmaids. They threw her a lovely bridal shower. (Not totally relevant to this story.) One of these family members is now engaged and chose to have mostly friends for bridesmaids and did not include Sally. She was fine with this decision. Less responsibility for her, right?

Wrong.

The harem of bridesmaids decided that the shower should be held at a family member’s house so they asked Sally to host! Sweet Sally was put on the spot and quickly agreed. Only a few days passed when she realized that she didn’t really WANT this responsibility nor was her husband too happy with it. After all, she wasn’t asked to be a bridesmaid so why take this huge task on?

My advice? I told her that she needs to tell these girls that she is not able to host the shower at her house. Period. It’s not her responsibility!

The kicker is that some of these other girls have houses where they can hold the shower. Of course, there are other options like having it out somewhere if their budget allows.

The bottom line is that the bridesmaids are responsible for hosting the bridal shower (and the mothers of the bride or groom, if they so choose). That is exactly why a bride choses bridesmaids.  They are essentially friends and family chosen to host events and help the bride throughout the wedding process. 

-The perennial bridesmaid




























bridal shower invitation by yours truly
note it says: Hosted by the Bridesmaids

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

pooch of honor

You may have noticed my absence the last few days. My lack of posts is a direct result of my new buddy, Wilson. He is an adorable beagle/basset hound mix that we adopted on Monday. Some good folks found him running loose on the highway and rescued him from traffic. So sad…but now he is happy in his new home!

I am quickly becoming one of those crazy dog people. I want to dress him up, take his picture and show him off all day long. I’ve already seriously considered his Halloween costume options. I’m not kidding and they are available in stores.

So I now realize why so many people want their pooch to be in their wedding. There are lots of creative ways to get your pup involved. I took to etsy to find a few good options.

Ring Bearer by designsbybam
































Bridesmaid by ProperPuppy




























Ok so maybe Fido won’t cooperate long enough to participate in the actual ceremony. You can still represent him or her in the wedding...


Cake Topper by dandelionland























Favor by Thecookiecouture
































Invitation by leahfelicity




























omigod! I’ve totaled crossed over.

-The perennial bridesmaid

Friday, August 20, 2010

writer's block

Why is it that I rarely have a problem coming up with strong words to write here but when it comes time to write something meaningful, I’m stumped?

Where am I going with this?

I have the honor of giving a speech at my friend’s wedding in a few weeks. There are so many things I could say. So many directions I could take it. The hard part is articulating it into a speech (and not one of my crazy blog posts) that makes sense to a broad audience of friends and family.

Funny because I actually thought the hard part would be delivering it but I seem to be less worried about that aspect. I suppose all of the past wedding reading experiences have prepared me for this opportunity. Wedding reading should be a pre-requisite to toast giving. Just a thought…

I already had an idea of how to open the speech and close it thanks to the public speaking class that was required in college. They did promise me that I would need those skills in my adult life. So in case you’re wondering, the standard structure in this case is to open with a shout out to everyone who made this possible and close with a toast to the couple. What’s in between is usually heartfelt and hopefully comical as well.

As I tried to organize my thoughts, I googled wedding speeches. There are actually sites dedicated to free wedding toasts. I recommend you do this for fun some time. I don’t recommend using the free speeches though. The sappy poems and metaphors are kind of funny but not what I had in mind.

May your winters be full of twinkling white lights,
may your springs be full of freshly picked flowers,
may your summers be full of bright blue oceans and
may your autumns be full of warm cups of tea.

Ha. Really!?

Stay tuned for the results!

-The perennial bridesmaid

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

unveiling

The bride has just made her way down the aisle and is standing next to her groom. The officiate is a stately man with a strong voice and forced sense of humor. He is standing right in front of the couple with his broad back to the audience.

My clever and naively humorous boyfriend says in what he thinks is a whisper but I perceive as a stage whisper, “The priest looks like he is going to spit on them. Is that why she wears a veil?”

What? No that is not why she wears a veil! My immediate “I’ll explain later!” hushed him for the moment.

But it occurred to me that I never did explain why a bride wears a veil.

Where did the tradition come from?

The olden days of course. These wedding traditions all came for centuries prior. Some of them don’t make sense anymore but we still carry them out anyway.

Most, if not all, marriages were arranged back in the day. Arranged to the point that the man hadn’t even seen his bride until they were getting married. Unfortunately, women back then were treated as property so typically their father was getting something in return for his daughter. Perhaps land or animals. If the man’s daughter was not attractive, he had to literally hide that fact under a veil. No sense in sending the groom running or the whole business deal could fall apart. Nauseating.

But even the attractive ancient brides wore a veil because it was considered bad luck for the bride and groom to see each other on their wedding day, even during the exchange of vows. To an extent, that tradition stands true today. At the end of the ceremony, the man would lift the veil to show that the woman was his subordinate.

And that is where this great tradition of wearing a bridal veil comes from. Romantic isn’t it? Kind of makes you want to rethink your veil. Oh and if you think that is bad, stay tuned for why bride’s traditionally carry flowers. It is even more romantic.

-The perennial bridesmaid

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

yum

I went to a tasty wedding this weekend. It was at Rivercrest Golf Club in Phoenixville, PA. I had heard a ton of mixed reviews about the food at this place so I was anxious to experience it. Let me tell you, all the food was phenomenal. Turns out they got a new chef and he did them good!

Boy, was I full when I left there.




It started out with the cocktail hour. Well it actually started with the nuptials poolside which was really very lovely.  The bride looked beautiful with her birdcage veil and Maggie Sottero dress. Now onto food... Cocktail hour had the norm ample cheese table. Beyond that there were enough stations to make a meal out of. There was the oh-so-trendy mashed potato bar. Have you seen this yet? They served 3 kinds of mashed into a martini glass. Your choice. Then you go to town with toppings. I’m not sure who started this trend. It is popping up at many cocktail hours. It’s cool but heavy for so early in the evening. I totally filled up on it anyway.

Moving over to the scallop station, yes scallops & shrimp! They were being cooked right in front of us. If given the choice when planning a wedding between scallop station & mashed potato bar, I would go scallops all the way. But that’s just me!

What else? 2 bars at either end. A string quartet. More hot food stations with the old standards like m favorite pigs in a blanket. A Chinese food station with wontons, dumplings, egg rolls. Mmm. Needless to say, I tried it all! By the time we sat down for dinner, I could barely eat the filet and crab cakes that were cooked to perfection.

Enough about the food, the wedding itself was a classic affair. The color scheme was black and white with hints of damask patterns and hot pink. Even the cake had a damask pattern iced on it. The cake was great and made onsite. Oops, I brought it back to food!



-The perennial bridesmaid/ foodie

Friday, August 13, 2010

what's in your pocket

Everybody wants a pocket on their wedding invitation these days.  It's currently all the rage.  The pocket stores the response card & envelope, hotel info, directions and whatever other info accompanies the actual invite portion of the invitation.

What did we do before the evolution of the pocket?

Anyway, here's an example of a pocketfold invitation that we put together earlier this year.  It is a 5x7 horizontal layout with the pocket on the bottom.  We went with a modern template.  The script is right aligned and the complementary scroll image is on the left which we hand stamped.  The color scheme matches the colors of the wedding - navy, yellow & ivory.

-The perennial bridesmaid














Tuesday, August 10, 2010

sneaky

I know this is a wedding blog and all but once in awhile I like to deviate to what comes post wedding…life, birthdays, family but I’m still talking parties! Where am I going with this?

Cake.

A couple of years ago we threw a sneaky surprise birthday party for my pops. We pulled out all of the stops at his retro bowling themed party. If you could make it, I hope you liked it! This was a fun one to plan.

Back to the cake.

It was a magnificent, enormous Chuck Taylor sneaker! My father has worn these shoes day in and day out for as long as I’ve known him and well beyond that. It was only right to include this in his grand birthday. By the way, he only wears the ivory converses.

With no further ado, the cake…































Bringing it back to weddings…this is an excellent option for a groom’s cake at your wedding. Especially if your groom is anything like my dad. And if he is, good luck!

-The perennial bridesmaid

Monday, August 9, 2010

baseballette

It feels a little bit like January 2nd today. I woke up still sleep deprived, slightly dehydrated and sad that the festivities are over. But it’s Monday so here I am, attempting to work and stop relishing in the fun of what went down this weekend. Clearly I am failing at that attempt so here is the recap.

The long planned and awaited baseball bachelorette party took place on Saturday. Fortunately, we had a warm and sunny August afternoon that called for, what else, but barbecue and beer? We claimed a rare shady, grassy knoll in the concrete jungle that surrounds Citizens Bank Park as our own. We set up what I like to think of as a gourmet tailgate spread complete with a fruit tray, olives, champagne, baked goods, dips, chocolate and veggie burgers.

This obviously wasn’t your boyfriend’s tailgate. It was a bachelorette party.

I do have to admit that the boys make putting a tailgate party together look quite easy. Schlepping cases of beer, keeping things cold, remembering all appropriate cooking utensils and actually grilling on the pavement can be more laborious than I ever imagined. We managed though and the fun was well worth it.

True to baseball form, we had our own 25 man roster. It was the largest bachelorette party that I’ve ever planned or attended but this goes to show the character of the bachelorette. Friends travelled up and down the east coast to make the event and some even flew cross country. In addition, all 25 had a uniform of matching tees with funny baseball puns custom designed by our resident graphic designer and assembled by another great friend of the bride. The bachelorette got to wear a special white Phillies cap donned with the inevitable tulle veil. That was the worst of the bachelorette swag.























Or perhaps the garter was.























The goal of the game was to make an appearance on the jumbotron. (Actually that is my goal at every Phillies game.) Some of our party managed to make an appearance sans the bachelorette. How bitter sweet!

Oh well, the impromptu hoola hoop dance party was fun anyway.

It truly took a team to pull off this event. The Phillies lost but the bride won everyone over!

-The perennial bridesmaid




photo courtesy: nadine friedman

Saturday, August 7, 2010

lovebirds

I sure am behind schedule this week as round 2 of wedding season picks up in full swing. Today a bachelorette party. Next week a wedding. Yesterday bridesmaid dress shopping. Here we go again! Stay tuned for details.

The surface of my refrigerator is beginning to fill up with more wedding & shower invitations, save the dates, thank yous and other cute announcements for this season’s events. Today I wanted to feature a DIY save the date.

It is a 5x7 brushed gold one sided card. The personalization is 2-fold. First, actual engagement photos of the couple are centered up top.  Real pictures! From my understanding, different photos were used on each card. The photographs were taken by Lorraine Daley and her sidekick Greg. The engaged couple chose Ridley Creek State Park in Delaware County, PA. They were lucky enough to get a rare low humidity, cool summer day which as we know ladies, leads to a good hair day!

The couple is working the lovebird theme with the birdcage stamp. In addition, they had a custom stamp made with their deets by Love To Create Stamps. Good choice. I can imagine the endless possibilities on future DIY projects for that stamp.

For a girl’s first wedding DIY project, she did a-okay! I like the lack of mass-produced feel this save the date evokes. Judge for yourself…

-The perennial bridesmaid

Thursday, August 5, 2010

icing on the cake

In an era when reality televison and cooking shows have combined to produce offspring such as Cake Boss and Ace of Cakes, it is no wonder that wedding cakes are huge again. Pun intended. Cakes don’t seem to be an area where couples cut corners, layers or tiers for that matter.

By now you have probably heard about Chelsea Clinton’s lavish wedding last weekend. Her wedding cake alone was allegedly nine tiers, 500 pounds and 4 feet tall. It took 9 people to put it together! Did I mention that it was gluten free?

My friend is having a wedding cake buffet at her September reception. This entails about a dozen friends all putting their best cake forward to offer a tasty variety for dessert. Each cake will be displayed on its own cake stand and will be neatly labeled with the type of cake and any necessary dietary info. Yum! I will be sure to sample and follow up on that cake buffet.

Another cake I’d like to feature was one that we had thought up for a bridal shower a couple of years ago. The bride was wearing a cherished pair of blue Manolo Blahnik shoes on her wedding day. (Carrie was actually wearing these in white when she married Big for you Sex & the City fans.) To make a long story short, the shoes were hard to find in the right shade of blue and size that the bride wanted. The bridal party all knew what the shoes meant to her so we decided to preview them at her shower…in cake form. She loved it! A very skilled baker put this together.











































Now I’m hungry.

-The perennial bridesmaid

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

shameless plug

The title says it all. 

If you didn't already get the idea, I like to make things.  Wedding DIY projects usually entail invitations, thank yous, announcements, etc.  I've talked about a few projects here and there are others that I will post one of these days.  In the meantime, I have a new, ahem product line, if you will.  Call them bridesmaid cards or whatever you'd like. 

Newly engaged ladies are always so excited about asking their friends and family to be their bridesmaids.  Many times they send a card stating the obvious question.  Customizable bridesmaid cards are available on my etsy shop. 
























-The perennial bridesmaid

Friday, July 30, 2010

escort service

Cocktail hour is winding down and you are trying to find your seat. You go over to a large table and pick up a little escort card with your name on it. You know the one. It’s folded in half and in calligraphy it says you and your husband’s name or you and your date’s name or maybe just you “and guest”. Next to said names, it lists your table number.

There are always so many questions around how to properly do the escort cards. I am here to finally regulate the right and wrong way to the escort cards/list/board.

Rule #1 – only ONE escort card per couple, married or unmarried.
The only time you would stray from this rule is when they are not sitting together. For example, you may have a head table where your bridesmaids are sitting and their dates are at another table. Then obviously the dates get another escort card with their table number.

Rule #2 – Fill in ALL guests’ names.
If they are married, it should read: Mr.& Mrs. John Smith OR John & Jane Smith. (How formal you are is really up to how formal you want your wedding to be.)
If they are not married, it should read: John Smith & Jane Doe BUT if Jane Doe was your invited guest and she’s bringing John Smith as a date, put Jane’s name first. Jane Doe & John Smith
When you receive the couple’s response card, you should fill in the names that they listed there. If they choose to put “Jane Doe and guest” on their response card, then and only then is it ok to put that on their escort card.  Obviously they didn't read the 4th bullet point in the post about how to properly RSVP.

Rule #3 – Alphabetize by last name.
So that guests can easily find their name and table, be sure to alphabetize with the invited guest’s last name. Mr.& Mrs. John Smith would be under S. If Jane Doe is bringing John Smith as a guest, then they are alphabetized under D. Jane Doe & John Smith

Feel free to replace “escort card” anywhere above with “line on a guest board” where ever necessary. Many couples are opting for these trendy lists. They’re cool and often less labor intensive for the couple to put together. Rock out with it. Just follow the rules above.

-The perennial bridesmaid

Escort Card by impressioninvitation on Etsy