Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Planning an Intimate Wedding

I just discovered the Intimate Weddings website, created by Christina Friedrichson, author of Intimate Weddings: Planning a Small Wedding that Fits Your Budget and Style. The website offers helpful, informative articles on planning a small wedding. The great thing is that the articles have useful advice for all couples, regardless of the size of your wedding.

I just read 15 Unique Ceremony Ideas which has excellent suggestions, such as having bridesmaids carry candles instead of bouquets. Another is arranging the seating of the ceremony so that guests will be around you, in a circle. There are several good ideas to create a more intimate atmosphere for your wedding.

The article 50 Ways to Save Money on Your Small Wedding offers suggestions that allow you to have a great wedding on a small budget. A few of my favorites are:

#8 - Guys, do you really need a tux? What about a suit?
#19 - Use potted plants or herbs as an alternative to cut flowers.
#25 - Is it necessary to have an elegant rehearsal dinner? If not, why not have a more casual dinner. Why not go out for Chinese food or order a pizza. What about a backyard barbecue?
#48 - Call your local university or college to find out if there are any talented photographers at the school that shoot weddings.

Check out the website for some great ideas you can use for your own ceremony.

And check out the book for even more ideas!

Friday, March 27, 2009

Do you live by the mantra "reduce, re-use, recycle?" Then this is the bouquet for you!

I found this funky Alternative Wedding Bouquet on Etsy, of course. REFENERII, the creator of this wonderful design, uses salvaged metals and found objects. The artist created this bouquet using salvaged aluminum wire, embellished with Swarovski crystals. The bouquet comes with a display stand, so it can be a keepsake after the wedding.

Best of all, this bouquet will never wilt!

What do you think of the forever bouquet? Leave a comment to share your thoughts!

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Hawaiian wedding- in Chicago?

Some couples dream of a wedding in Hawaii, complete with fresh flower leis and Hula dancers.

If that describes you, but maybe with some budgetary constraints - there is some good news. You can have a Hawaiian wedding right here in Chicago! You don't have to break the bank and fly to the islands - you can have the islands come to you!

Barefoot Hawaiian, recently featured on ABC 7's 190 North program, has everything you could possibly imagine for a tropical event- and more! Here you can rent props for your island-themed event, such as palm trees, g
iant parrot displays, and Tiki lanterns. You can even hire professional dancers to greet your guests with flower leis and entertain them with amazing performances.

You can visit Barefoot Hawaiian's very cool Hawaiian Shop in Des Plaines to find all sorts of decorations and party goods- even wedding cake toppers! And I would be doing a disservice if I didn't mention the Hawaiian shirts - they have over 500 different shirts!! And I'm not kidding - I've seen them!

So be sure to check out Barefoot Hawaiian for your tropical wedding (even if it's in the Windy City).

Monday, March 23, 2009

Funky cake toppers for funky folks

The other day I was browsing Etsy.com (which offers tons of unique, handmade items), looking at all the amazing wedding products. They have everything you can imagine - I love it! Anyways, while I was looking around, I came across these fabulous cake toppers.

It's no secret that I'm fond of wedding cakes. Now I'm a fan of cake toppers - at least those made by Bunny With a Toolbelt. Heck, ya gotta love 'em for the name alone!

Click here to visit the website of artist Hilary Pfeifer, owner of Bunny With a Toolbelt, who was featured on Etsy.

These cake toppers (and others!) can be purchased at the Bunny With a Toolbelt Etsy shop. You can even have your own custom-made cake toppers created - just for you. How cool is that?

Friday, March 20, 2009

Girls' Night Out - with a cultural flair

Today I stopped in at Mah Rose Salon to inquire about henna parties. You can either go to the salon with your pals, or they'll even come to you!

Wouldn't it be fun for a Girls Night out? Or a Bachelorette Party?

You, too, can have happy henna hands......

Would you consider a henna party? Post a comment & let me know!

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Henna hands are happy hands

After blogging about a bride who was "henna-ed" prior to her wedding, I got the itch to get my own henna hands. So, this past Saturday my friend and I went to Mah Rose Salon in downtown Des Plaines, where we both had our hands adorned. It was so much fun!

It was fascinating to watch Sadia, the gifted artist, at work on my hands, but I have to admit that I was distracted by the Bollywood music videos on the little t.v. in the corner. I couldn't stop watching! The music made me want to start dancing - which you really shouldn't do when someone is painting on your hands with reddish dye.

The only problem was, after we left, I had to go home to change clothes. We were going out to dinner with another friend and my sister (it was my birthday outing!) and I wanted to wear a cute outfit to show off my henna! Sadly, some of the drying henna paste came off of my arm, but the stuff on my fingers made it through the wardrobe change. It wound up looking great, even though my arm design was a bit lighter than my hands. Oh well. My brown jacket with the three-quarter sleeves showed off my fancy arms quite nicely, thank you very much!

We went out for dinner at Ethiopian Diamond in Chicago's Edgewater neighborhood. Since this is the area where three of us grew up, there were many refrains of "remember when." Our amazing dinner was followed by coffee and chatting at Julius Meinl Cafe, a Viennese coffeehouse on Lincoln Avenue. Sipping my steamy melange, I was transported back to Vienna, where my husband and I spent our honeymoon -15 years ago!

All in all, it was a wonderful day!

Monday, March 16, 2009

Holi Festival of Colors

The Celebrant Foundation & Institute sponsored the 2009 Holi Festival of Colors and Unity on March 8th in New Jersey.

As a member of the Celebrant Foundation, I am proud to say that the organization works to promote unity and understanding. The Holi Festival, which is known as a holiday of colors and unity,
celebrates the victory of good over evil and the triumph of devotion.

Take a look at a video clip by clicking here.

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Best Wedding ?

The Word Arrangement blog just posted an interesting question: What's the best wedding you ever attended?

That got me thinking. I think my favorite wedding was my friend Julie's wedding - 15 years ago! I was the maid-of-honor and got to be right in the middle of everything. My mom made the bridesmaid dresses, so we all spent time together for that process.

Before the wedding, the bridesmaids (and Julie, of course!) went out for breakfast. We went back to Julie's house to get dressed and sip champagne.

There were mishaps - her sister-in-law passed out during the ceremony and people were screaming and panicking. It was very surreal. The sister-in-law was fine (even though she fainted one more time before the ceremony ended) and the ceremony was lovely.

The best part was the reception! Julie and I have been friends since grammar school and I know her whole family. Uncle Kenny taught me how to speak with an official "hillbilly" accent when we were in West Virginia. Granny made me peach cobbler when we were in high school. These people are the best! I remember singing "I've Got Friends in Low Places" with everyone at the reception. And I mean everyone sang! It was like a big, fun, crazy family reunion - and it didn't even matter if you were really in the family!

Visit the Word Arrangement website to see other people's posts... and then post your own!

Friday, March 13, 2009

Birthday cupcakes - am I in Heaven???

Isn't it beautiful?

Truly a work of art, this was the
best cupcake I've ever had IN MY ENTIRE LIFE!!!!

After a fabulous Sunday dinner with our dear friends, I was surprised with the most incredible birthday cupcakes in the history of cupcakes (and birthdays).

Do I have the best friends, or what?

I am one very lucky girl.

This delight was a giant chocolate cupcake, topped with whipped chocolate ganache and - get this!- filled (that's right, it even had a treat inside!) with white vanilla/sour cream filling.

Can you imagine it? Well,
I didn't have to - I got to EAT it!!

Do you think they read my cupcake posts? Hmm.... I wonder.

In any case, I managed to wait just long enough to blow out the candle before I devoured my dessert. YUM!!! Life is good!

Thursday, March 12, 2009

The Armadillo has left the building.....

The other day I was telling my sister-in-law about the amazing groom's cake at the wedding I had recently officiated. She said, "A groom's cake? What's that?" So, our friend (who's originally from Texas) explained to her about groom's cakes.

Inevitably, conversation turned to the armadillo cake, popularized by the 1989 movie, Steel Magnolias. I am both intrigued and disturbed by these cakes. I can't help being amused by the ones that are red velvet cake inside, also known as the Bleeding Armadillo Cake. Nothing says "happy marriage" like roadkill baked goods!

Groom's cakes originated in the South, where tradition had single women bringing a slice of the cake home and putting it under their pillows. This would ensure that they would dream of their true love and would wake up knowing who they would marry. Hey, I guess if you can also catch the bouquet, you've got it made!

In the past, brides would design the cake and surprise the groom on the wedding day with their creation. Nowadays, grooms often pick out their own cake.

Whether you're passionate about candy, video games, or grilling - there's a cake just for you! As you can see by these pictures, there are all sorts of fun and wacky cakes (and grooms!) out there.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

OOPS! I spoke too soon....

So, I was officiating a wedding recently at the lovely W Hotel on Lake Shore Drive, and I was so very "in the moment." The space was gorgeous - the room all aglow in candlelight, artfully decorated with orchids. There was a beautiful, satiny wedding cake and a funky, car-shaped groom's cake. The bride was beautiful and the couple were two of the nicest people I've ever met. It was all so perfect.

One of the best parts was meeting with the folks from Fig Media who made up the video/dj/photographer team. They were great to work with - professionals who knew what they were doing, were easy to work with, and fun! (Alvin, the dj, was even nice enough to laugh at my bad jokes during the rehearsal.)

I especially have to give kudos to Melissa, the videographer, who was victim to my over-eagerness. There I stood in the center of the room, as the couple waited just outside the frosted glass doors. After having gone out to clip a mike on the groom, Melissa came in and walked across the dance floor, just past me, to get back to her video camera. I believe I mouthed "Ready?" to her. Feeling all the eyes in the room on me, and sensing the couple's eagerness and excitement bubbling into the room, it seemed like everything was in slow motion. So, as Melissa strode past and shook her head "No," my brain somehow registered that as "yes" and I began the ceremony. OOPS! I apparently need to work on my interpretive skills!

After the ceremony, Melissa gently informed me that she wasn't able to get the beginning of the ceremony on tape. But, ever the professional, she had me re-do the intro in the back of the room (near the kitchen- much to the chagrin of one of the servers) and was really nice about it.

What can I say - sometimes I get wrapped up in the moment!

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

An inter-cultural wedding

Today I serendipitously (ha! I finally got to use that word!) came across the website of Dorai and Melinda Iyer, a couple who were married in a beautiful inter-cultural wedding in 2000.

Dorai, a native of India, and Melinda, originally from Chicago, dubbed their event "the Cool-Ass Hybrid Multicultural Weddingthingy". Well, as far as I'm concerend, their wedding looked very cool!

Day One of the celebration was the Mendhi Party, where Melinda and her bridesmaids decorated with henna. This is just the beginning - she had both sides of her hands done!
Day Two was the rehearsal, where the bride wore a gorgeous sari given to her by her in-laws.

Day Three was the Ceremony and the Reception. Rather than the bride being escorted or "given away," the couple walked together. 
The ceremony included Hindu rituals, including the Saptapadi, or Seven Steps Ritual. The couple took "seven symbolic steps together, toward a long and happy union." As the couple took their steps, the officiant recited the following:

Let us take the first step to nourish each other the second step to grow together in strength the third step to preserve our blessings the fourth step to share our happiness the fifth step to care for our children the sixth step to live long and happy lives together the seventh step to remain lifelong partners and friends, two imperfect halves to make a more perfect whole. With these seven steps we have bound our friendship. You have become mine forever. From today forward we will share equally in all that life offers us.

This was a such a lovely wedding, and a perfect example of how couples can blend their backgrounds to create a ceremony that is truly a reflection of them.

their website to see more pictures and to read the wedding script. You can even view the menu - but don't do it on an empty stomach because it will make your mouth water!


Monday, March 9, 2009

Who says weddings can't include zombies?

While checking out one of my favorite blogs, Offbeat Bride, I came across the story of Michelle and Matthew, a couple whose wedding caught my attention. They were married last Halloween in a wedding which included little skeleton decorations and a zombie themed ceremony.

Zombies? That's right. Zombies.

How cool is that?!

Check out the fun pictures from the wedding of Michelle and Matthew (in my book, a very cool couple) and read excerpts from the ceremony at the Offbeat Bride blog.

And to all you zombie lovers out there - call me! I really want to do a zombie ceremony!

Or better yet- a swamp monster ceremony! Or vampires?

Any takers? Helloooo???

Thursday, March 5, 2009

The Right to Marry

Today, people protested California's Prop 8 which prohibits same-sex marriage. As a Celebrant - and as a human being - I applaud all the folks who got out there to "March Forth on March 4th." I await the day when all couples in every state have the right to marry.

Thanks to Talking Points Memo for posting a photo gallery from the San Francisco protest.

Thanks to all of you who continue to fight the good fight.

Monday, March 2, 2009

It helps to have talented friends

The following video shows the most thoughtful and sweet "toasts" I have ever seen. Maybe I'm prone to weepiness, but I had tears in my eyes. ("Mommy's not crying, honey, I was chopping onions.") The video is a bit lengthy, but well worth it. Enjoy!