Posts Tagged ‘Inspiration’

I’ve been thinking lately about certain elements of our wedding that might up the ante for our guests and might not cost too much. We are having an open bar at our reception; our caterer does not negotiate any other way, except to perhaps skip the bar altogether. While we were visiting, our wedding coordinator was unable to give us a tour of the facility, and so the owner gave us the grand tour himself.

Later, my father went out of his way to compliment the owner on the beauty of the facility and his business skills. My father, a dynamite businessman himself, enjoys going out of his way to do these things. “Thank you,” the owner said, and then instructed the coordinator to add an ice sculpture and a martini bar– normally two extras that the caterer can provide at the expense of the couple– as his gift to us! To which I say, way to go, Dad!

Had this not been the case, I probably wouldn’t have considered a signature cocktail as an option for our wedding. We’re Irish, and like our beer. But, since it was gifted to us… well, that’s another story entirely! A few cute names, some signage, and green-colored drinks, and we’re good to go. And… sorry, but did I mention that it’s free?

Here are some options for frou-frou signature cocktails–


This gimlet was featured in this month’s edition of Martha Stewart Weddings, and I kind of love it. It’s so cute and summery feeling! Granted, I’ll be honest here and tell you that I have no idea what a gimlet is– what kind of alcohol does it use? Those look like mint leaves, right? Any ideas?

Speaking of mint leaves, a Mojito is another great green option. While The Knot tends to overwhelm me, they have some great (color coordinated!) signature cocktails, including this mojito!

Mojito   What You Need   Handful of mint leaves 3/4 oz. fresh squeezed lime juice 3/4 oz. simple syrup* 1 1/2 oz. light rum Club soda Lime wedge, for garnish    How to Make It   Muddle mint leaves in lime juice and simple syrup. Add ice...

Thank you, Carly Roney, for including the recipe:


What You Need

  • Handful of mint leaves
  • 3/4 oz. fresh squeezed lime juice
  • 3/4 oz. simple syrup*
  • 1 1/2 oz. light rum
  • Club soda
  • Lime wedge, for garnish

How to Make It

  • Muddle mint leaves in lime juice and simple syrup.
  • Add ice and rum and shake briefly.
  • Pour ingredients into highball glass.
  • Top off with club soda.
  • Garnish with lime wedge.
  • *Dissolve 2 cups sugar into 1 cup boiling water. Let cool. Refrigerate any leftovers.


Also on The Knot, I found another adorable summer-y drink, the Key Lime Pie. 

Key Lime Pie    What You Need   Lime juice Crumbled graham crackers for rim 1 1/2 oz. KeKe Beach Key lime cream liqueur 1 1/2 oz. vanilla vodka Squeeze of fresh lime 1 1/2 oz. half-and-half    How to Make It   Saturate rim of a martini g...I’m very intrigued by these crushed graham crackers…

What You Need

  • Lime juice
  • Crumbled graham crackers for rim
  • 1 1/2 oz. KeKe Beach Key lime cream liqueur
  • 1 1/2 oz. vanilla vodka
  • Squeeze of fresh lime
  • 1 1/2 oz. half-and-half

How to Make It

  • Saturate rim of a martini glass with lime juice.
  • Dip upside down into graham cracker crumbs.
  • Pour liqueur, vodka, and squeeze of lime into a shaker.
  • Shake and strain into a martini glass.
  • Add half-and-half.


Of course, if you’re thinking about green cocktails, the first thing that pops into your mind, as it did mine, is an Appletini. Well, maybe not the first thing, but it sure is up there. The Knot provided another recipe for this drink.

Appletini    What You Need   2.5 oz. sour apple liqueur 2 oz. vodka Sour mix and triple sec to taste Apple wedge, for garnish    How to Make It   Shake and strain ingredients except apple wedge into a chilled martini glass. Garnish with a...I really like the color of this one, too. Also, the woman’s hand featured in this picture is very nicely manicured. Well done, woman in black dress, well done.


What You Need

  • 2.5 oz. sour apple liqueur
  • 2 oz. vodka
  • Sour mix and triple sec to taste
  • Apple wedge, for garnish

How to Make It

  • Shake and strain ingredients except apple wedge into a chilled martini glass.
  • Garnish with apple wedge.

This is probably one of the most feasible drinks to make, since it was a martini bar that the owner of the site gave us, not a catch-all cocktail confection. Also, remember how I was planning on having apples in vases at the bar? Could be way cute! What if I could do the Appletini and the Key Lime Pie to go with the bar decor of apples and limes?

Oh, goodness. I need to be reeled in. Love the enthusiasm, though.

What do you think? Do you have a signature cocktail? And how did you name them?


Read Full Post »

So, I went back to Anthropologie to try on the dress that I blogged about before– you know, the turquoise number? However, when I got to the store, I was disappointed to find that my memory failed me. It wasn’t turquoise at all, but emerald green. Pretty dress, but I’m really not feeling the color. So, I’ve done some more internet searching, via Nordstom and Bluefly– and I still haven’t given up on Anthropologie. Here’s a few of my favorites!

This first one is from Anthro, but if there’s one thing I’ve learned from shopping at Anthropologie, it’s that you need to try their clothes on before purchasing, unlike perhaps Gap.


My eyes are blue, so I’d really like to wear a blue dress. This one, however, from Nordstrom, is not blue, but I love it. This is my sister’s vote.


While I also like this dress, my fear is that it may look like an Easter dress from middle school when it’s actually on me. This Betsey Johnson dress from Bluefly, while whimsical, would have a different affect:


I will certainly continue looking, but I wanted to leave you with perhaps my current favorite dress from Bluefly. Wouldn’t you know it– I showed it to my sister, and she said, “That’s the dress that I wanted to buy!” I pulled the bride card, which I’ve only done on a few occasions, and told her that I  think I win when it comes to the rehearsal dinner. : ) I love it because I can wear those awesome yellow shoes I liked.


I love daisies. Absolutely love them! And while I didn’t want to wear a black dress, the very bright color in this one is beautiful. I love it! Perhaps I might be making a purchase very shortly. We’ll have to see!

Read Full Post »


Yesterday evening, my sister and I drove an hour to the airport. We stopped at our favorite sushi place for dinner, where she scolded me for drinking root beer with my sushi. Then, we got on a plane and flew home to spend the Easter holiday with our family. Before jumping on the jetplane, we stopped at Hudson News or Borders-to-go or something like that, and got magazines for the flight. For the past two and a half years, I’ve picked up a wedding magazine. They’re just my favorites, engaged or not. Yesterday evening, I did the same as usual, picking up a copy of Inside Weddings, spring 2009.

Rach and I sat at our gate. Before opening up the magazine, I popped into Starbucks to grab a cup of coffee, since I hadn’t slept much the night before. I had a lovely time talking with the Barrista– from the way she handed my my change and my latte, I realized that she was from Ethiopia, which I love so deeply, having visited last winter. We talked about Ethiopia for a little while, and had a really pleasant time. Unbeknownst to me, my entrails were about to be turned into mush.

Back at the gate, I flipped open my magazine. Rachel sat on her computer. All was calm and quiet with the world. And then I saw it. And had a heart attack.

Featured in this issue of Inside Weddings  was over-the-top wedding after over-the-top wedding. I’m talking multi-million dollar affairs. Fourteen bridesmaids in one, seventeen bridesmaids in another. HUGE chuppas upon covered in flowers. Centerpieces made of roses shaped into swans. Two Monique Luhlier dresses for one event.

One bride and groom rented the Kodak Theater in Hollywood. You know the one– it’s where they host The Oscars. This same couple had a gospel choir, hired professional dancers to pose as stunt doubles for their first dance.

I thought I was going to die.

My latte sat forgotten at my feet.

Once I reminded myself to breathe– inhale, exhale, repeat– and was able to stick my eyes back into my head, I started to get really angry. I mean really angry. My sister, meanwhile, had leaned over my shoulder to look at the weddings in question, and exclaimed, “I want my wedding to look like that!” And I got angrier.

I should blame it on the wedding industry, which I knowingly take part in and enjoy thoroughly. But I just don’t think that’s it. No vendor that I have ever spoken to has suggested that Brandon and I order centerpieces made out of swan-roses, or get a Sylvia Weinstock cake flown in from New York. It just hasn’t happened.

There’s just something about being bigger and better, keeping up with the Joneses and all that, that absolutely incensces me about those weddings. It’s not that they depreciate the value of our wedding– nothing can really do that. But they do set up so many expectations that I cannot (and don’t want to) live up to– no one can.

So, I’ve decided I need to work on anger management. Which I think means… no more wedding magzines. I LOVE Martha Stewart Weddings, and with my lovely subscription, I will still read with voracity. Sure, I’ll read the blogs I love. And maybe, once in awhile, I’ll pick up a magazine at Borders– not to buy, just to peruse. What I don’t want is to see another wedding at the Kodak Theater. This isn’t a production, it’s a wedding. And if magazines and real weddings are going to take my mind away from the sentimentality and turn it into one big show, then c’est la vie.

Read Full Post »


Well, there’s nothing like entering addresses into an Excel Spreadsheet to spice up a stormy Sunday night.

I love planning my wedding. Take that back, I love planning things, from birthday parties, to showers, to fundraisers. It’s so fun to make a vision come to life. The past few weeks of wedding planning, however, have been less than exciting– calling vendors to check on details, working on addresses and fine-tuning the guest list, figuring out costs of hair/makeup/beauty– all while attempting to remain upbeat and love the experience.

Everything feels like another item to add to a list. Call the florist– check! Arrange day-of makeup– check! Arrange day of hair for self and bridesmaids– almost. Take care of myself– definitely not. The idea of pampering myself with a manicure, or a trip to Sephora for a nice facial scrub is just something else to add to the list of wedding things that need to be completed.

How do you keep yourself from getting lost in the tedium? When you see nothing but to-do lists, how do you zoom out and focus on the experience as a whole?

As they say, the Devil’s In the Details.

Read Full Post »

I’m pretty excited right now! Our ring bearer is a little boy I nanny for, named Ciaran.He dressed as a monkey for Halloween (I found the costume!) and, before he could talk, he would beat his arms on his itty bitty chest like a monkey, and say “Ooo Ooo!” It’s probably the cutest thing in the world. Forgive me for gushing, but I love this kid. Of course, when it came to be Christmastime, the natural gift-of-choice was his very first Curious George book, and now, he’s obsessed. I mean obsessed. I bought him a big ol’ collection, and since then, his parents have bought another compilation and a few smaller books, as well. He has lots of monkey toys– a stuffed George toy, and two other monkeys, named Harlow and Lowell.

He’ll be two just before our wedding, though, and I’m a bit terrified that he’ll be a little temperamental about getting down the aisle. If he doesn’t, that’s fine– we won’t make him wear a tux or anything; that’s a lot with only a 50% chance that he’ll deliver on the day-of. BUT, while trolling around on Etsy, I did find this adorable fabric at fabricsupplies shop that I think I’ll use to make his ring pillow!


How adorable is that?! We’re not using blue in the wedding, but really, I just can’t pass up the adorable monkeys!! We’ll send it home with him and his parents, since his room will soon be decked-out in a jungle scene.

I also found this one from MyHeartAndSew


I like ths colors of this one better, but I’ve developed a deep aversion to palm trees after going through a period of obsession in middle school. And, is it too much if I use this fabric from WinterWindDesigns for the underside?


OK. Yes, maybe that’s too much. But, as my friends would say, “We like the enthusiasm!” I was thinking of a circular pillow with a cute little button in the middle. And so, I found these at SewingRabbit‘s shop:

il_430xn_59178713One of these might look cute smack-dab in the middle, dontcha think? Lots of cute ideas for my favorite little boy– I’m OK with not matching, or a bit of corniness, if that makes Ciaran happy… and more likely to walk down the aisle!

You can just call me the Pacifier.

Read Full Post »

Well, you’ve seen the bouquet, you’ve seen the church flowers. Here’s what I’m thinking for our reception. To jog your memory, our beautiful reception venue looks like this:

Photo by Cindy Patrick

Photo by Cindy Patrick

 So, we’re thinking about flowers like these for our reception space. We’re going to alternate high and low arrangements, with more low than high. Theme flowers, like I mentioned before, are going to be white calla lillies, hydrangeas, and white roses. Here’s what’s inspired me:





I really love the vibrant green of the stems. The top two have way more calla lillies than I can probably afford, as they’re pretty expensive. But I thought this was a nice way to incorporate the fresh green of the rest of our decor, and also keep it natural and muted. I love the Thai leaves that are incorporated as well– they add a really nice element of greenery that I’m very attracted to.

For our low arrangements, something like this–





I love the hydrangeas– not many blossoms are needed to make a full, lush arrangement! And, again, they’re a nice, muted tone, but still can be a wow when clumped together. There won’t be any callas in the small arrangements, only the large ones.

And, I’m thinking of hatching another DIY project. I cannot imagine that children will appreciate flowers– I just don’t think they will. Perhaps at the kids tables, I’ll use buckets filled with crayons, coloring books and candy as a centerpiece, instead of cluttering the table with them, which I was going to give out anyway. Is that tacky? I’ll make sure they’re toward the interior, instead of a very photo-visible exterior table.

So, what do you think? With an estimate of 22 tables, how many high and how many low?

Do you have signature flowers for your event?

Read Full Post »

I’ve been thinking a lot about Church flowers. Initially, I’d wanted fresh flowers on all the pews. Let me refresh your memory of what our church looks like:


So… I counted at one point. But I’ve forgotten. All I know is that’s a long-ass aisle, with an exorbitant number of pews. It seats 750! You can hardly blame us, then, when I realized that fresh flowers on all of the pews was definitely pork spending in our budget.

Without shame, I present our solution: silk. Yep, that’s right, silk flowers. I’m going to do it, and it will hopefully is going to look good. My dear cousin also used silk flowers (and I wouldn’t have been able to tell!), and I trust her to-be-wed judgment best of all. I saw this picture on the Knot, and thought, of course I can make that!


I probably won’t monogram the cones– I just found out that my Aunt has a ton of them that her daughter used for her wedding– also with silk flowers. Since hydrangeas are a theme flower for the day, I’ll probably use them in my DIY fake arrangements. Also, I’ve seen real hydrangeas that I was positively convinced were fake. They’re a good flower to work with, I think.

I would still like to have some fresh arrangements in the front of the church, however. Perhaps some ferns; we can then pot them in our new apartment (which I must blog about soon!) OR, we can do themed arrangements, like these:


However, my mother and I are terrified that they’ll get lost in the huge expanse of the Church. It will be like Where’s Waldo? all over again! It’s just so huge that I’m afraid no one will see them, and we will have wasted our money. We can (and will!) recycle them, incorporating them into the reception somehow– perhaps at the gift table or near the place cards?

Our florist gave us a few very helpful hints when considering church flowers that I thought I’d pass along:

  1. If there’s more than one wedding at the Church per day, call the other brides scheduled to be married and split the difference of the flowers. Go with a simple white, and you can combine costs to use the flowers at the Church all day; then, donate the flowers to the Church. You may have trouble obtaining information about the other couples from your Church, but if they relent, you could easily reduce a $300 arrangement down to $100.
  2. For centerpieces in the front of the Church, consider using triangular bases, such that the Florist will only incorporate the flowers into the facade of the arrangement, like a set in a play. Since they will be facing front, from the altar, and the congregation will get no perspective on the fullness of the flower, you can use 1/3 the number of flowers as a normal arrangement. The downside of this idea is that you will not be able to easily recycle these flowers; the jig is up if the front-heavy arrangement graces the gift table.
  3. Don’t skimp on your bouquet. Get the most elaborate, beautiful and expensive bouquet that you can afford. Your attendants don’t need anything special. Aside from the pictures, their flowers will end up abandoned on a chair or table while they dance the night away. Your flowers, however, are a part of your ensemble. (And, traditional ettiquette dictates the groom’s family pays for the brideal bouquet!)  
  4. Lastly, don’t sink all of your money on church flowers. In the grand scope of the event, with the average wedding reception lasting 5 hours and the average ceremony lasting 1, the church flowers will be visible and appreciated for a mere 1/6 of the event. That’s so little time, and so little money to be wasted. Instead, opt for nicer arrangements at your reception, or more elaborate bouquets that will be appreciated by guests and your attendants thoroughout the event.

Next up: the reception.

Read Full Post »

Older Posts »