Thursday, December 20, 2007

Beach Wedding

Photos Courtesy of Tim Zielenbach

For those of us who are dreaming of a "White Christmas" (white sandy beaches, that is), these wonderful photos from wedding photographer Tim Zielenbach were sent to us by bride, Krystin Walker Brinker to spark our imagination. The wedding took place on the beaches at the Hilton Head Marriott Resort & Spa, which perfectly complimented the color palette of blues and yellows.

Friday, December 14, 2007

Holiday Party

A few weeks ago, my sister threw a Christmas party for family at her eco-friendly condo. The colour palette- sparkling silver, deep burgundy (a nice twist on the traditional "poinsettia red"), accented with bold black. She complimented the silver chandelier by using polished silver chargers and candlesticks on a slate silk dupioni pintuck tablecloth. She also rented black napkins and decorated glass vases with handmade paper pomanders, which took minutes according to my crafty sister. The result: a polished, yet warm and inviting atmosphere to compliment the "mediterranean potluck" menu.

Outdoor Alters

Lately, i've been planning our wedding floral decor, particularly the alter, and I came across the website of the design firm End Design, whose own wedding was featured in Grace Ormonde's Wedding Style magazine a few years ago. I think hers was one of the most memorable alters with a panel of draped deep magenta silk and extra large rose pomanders, with a backdrop of a vineyard. Speaking of pomanders- I love this twist on the traditional "kissing ball" floral initials with small cube & round florals. (sorry I cant find the source- feel free to email me!) How cute!
Or if you prefer something more traditional, check out these beautiful outdoor alters from photographer Elizabeth Messina's site. I'm loving the row of ribbons- they make such a wonderful linear statement (and an inexpensive one too). For ribbons, try going to JKM Ribbon- they have a really great selection.

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Martha Stewart Portfolio

For all the wedding enthusiasts out there that love Martha Stewart Weddings, you'll definitely enjoy Rebecca Thuss's website, which displays the wealth of creative ideas she contributed as the former style editor. To the left is one of my many favourite candy buffet editorials she has created.

Ribbon Jars

As an avid ribbon collector (thanks to Martha for her ribbon organizing tips!), you can imagine my delight as I found this fabulous webstore The Ribbon Jar. Not only do they sell tons of ribbon by the yard, they have of course, jars filled with ribbon by colour theme. Some examples: "Pink Lemonade" (pink & lemon ribbons), "Summer Garden" (earth tones, leaf printed ribbons), and "Recycle" (green ribbons). This got me thinking... wouldn't it be great to give out something similar as favours at a bridal shower, baby shower or wedding? You could give away smaller jars filled with a small blank cardstock paper, ribbon, embellishments and have polaroid cameras ready to take photos at your event (to embellish with the contents of the jar).

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Surprise Engagement Party

Photo By: S.Roberts
This past weekend we hosted a surprise engagement party for my sister and her fiance. The theme was pink and orange polka dots, and each aspect of the decor was carefully designed to incoporate this concept. A close friend of the future bride handmade invitations complete with pink and orange polka dots to set the tone of the party, and the room was filled with handmade personal touches which included:

  • personalized water bottles
  • circular menus featuring a picture of the couple's dog the night of their engagement
  • personalized drink straws
  • polka dot cupcakes in shades of pink and orange
  • table arrangements of pom pom lumieres in pink, orange, and polka dots placed on glass cylinders set down long family style tables
  • accents of crystals and polka dots (inscribed with important marriage values, for example "trust") hanging from the lumieres

The event was held as a sit down dinner for 40 family and friends in attendance. In order to ensure that a good time was had by all, several activities were planned to encourage mingling:

1. Humorous photos of the couple were attached to long strings of ribbon. "Thought bubble" stickers were provided and guests were able to add funny comments or thoughts to the pictures
2. A photo corner was set up with props that guests could use to imitate the future bride and groom as their picture was taken
3. A dance instructor was hired to teach the guests basic dance steps in preparation for a night full of dancing at the wedding!

The whole evening was united by the celebration of an impending marriage in a sea of pink and orange polka dots. Congratulations Kim and Nick!

Baby Shower Ideas

I just had to post up these photos from a baby shower featured on Orange Beautiful's blog- they are too cute! On the left are book name plates that guests signed. On the top right a pretty way to present the classic "baby name guessing game", and below, are the party favors- mini salt and pepper shakers with tags that say "Sugar & Spice and Everything Nice".

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Personalized Petals

I found these gorgeous dupioni silk petal cones from superstar wedding planner Mindy Weiss 's webstore These cones are about $10 a piece ($12.50 with the embroidery) but you can easily use fancy coloured paper to create a similar look. Imagine the photos of your guests holding these and showering you with petals! (You can find bulk rose petals at most floral shops. charges about $140 for 6000 petals, and use the rest to trim the aisle!)

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Whimsical Seating Cards

There are many different ways to create memorable seating cards for your guests. At the wedding of Suzanne Son Hing and Ben Russ, guests were treated to a unique and beautiful display of seating cards. Each guest found their name written on a palm tree or starfish hanging from strings of crystal beads. Guests were able to release their card by pulling on the delicate bow that tied them to the beads. Here are some tips on how to use this idea in your wedding:

1. Go to a scrapbook store and using a die-cut machine, cut shapes which compliment your theme and color story

2. Write each guests name on both sides of the shapes

3. Punch a hole in the top of the shape. To dress up the hole, you can insert an eyelet

4. Tie the shapes onto long strings of beads using a simple bow so that the card can be released with one pull

5. Hang the strings of beads in alphabetical order from one long stick of bamboo (to prevent tangling in the wind). Tie the bottoms of the strings to another sticks of bamboo to keep them straight. Alternatively, you can hang the strings from trees.

This attractive and unique display of seating cards is sure to catch your guest's attention!

Thursday, November 1, 2007

Pasta Favor Idea

I love the idea of giving a gourmet party favour that people can eat at home. Why not give away small cello bags filled with dried handmade pasta- complete the look with a grossgrain ribbon tie, your logo sticker and a small recipe tag.Try to find exotic pastas such as imported organic wheat pasta, black octopus ink pasta, truffle scented pasta, or even chocolate pasta. Or, try giving away a small jar of your favourite pasta sauce, and tie a cute wooden spoon around the jar. These would be a great favors if you're having a rustic Tuscan themed wedding!
Photo from Getty Images

Monday, October 29, 2007

Choosing a Wedding Hairstyle

Photos Courtesy of
- There might be many interesting and inventive hairstyles that might catch your eye, but try to stay with something that's modern yet classic. Don't pick a hairstyle you may regret in 10 years! Try looking at vintage photos from various eras. My philosophy is, if you love a style that's 40 years old, you will probably still love it 40 years from now. Above are some great examples.

- Book your hair appointment well in advance, as some stylists book up very quickly during the wedding high season.

- When you book with your hairstylist, give a written, detailed list or contract of the services you'll be needing that day of and keep a copy for yourself. That list should include a details such as: the booking of your hair trial, time frame (arrival time and total time), whether or not the stylist will provide an assistant, where the services will be performed (salon or home), and who is getting their hair done (it may or may not include mothers, and wedding party).

Sunday, October 28, 2007

Building a Colour Palette: A Winter Celebration Brunch

When looking for inspiration for parties, often I consider the guests of honor. I think about all of their favorite colors, activities, foods, and interests trying to find a central theme to build the party around. This past winter I hosted a congratulations brunch to celebrate the success of a dear friend securing her dream job, and the engagement two friends. In considering their favorites, I decided to base the color scheme of the event on two things: 1) the black and white coloring of my friend's little dog Zoe, 2) purple, the favourite color of the bride-to-be. With these two colors in mind, I began shopping for inspiration at the local fabric store. After finding a modern black and white toile fabric, I set out looking for accents in black, white, and purple.

Renting cloth napkins from your local party store in bold colors is one way of dressing up your table and adding character. You might also consider incorporating your colors in stemware and dishes, as I did with the use of black martini glasses and chargers. The table decor was complete with mirrored tiles from the local hardware store, white carnations tightly packed in black vases from the home decorating store, and glass tealight holders. The eye catching black and white toile and accents deep purple worked so well that it inspired the bride-to-be to use this color story in her own wedding!

The Finished Product:
Photo By S.Roberts

Friday, October 26, 2007

Indoor Garden Party

I found these great whimsical vegetable motif invitations from Kates Paperie, and was inspired to put together a bridal shower (or any party!) inspiration board. Here are some ideas:
Venue: There's nothing prettier than a glass greenhouse or solarium to house this party, especially if it's during the cold weather months.
Decor: Create simple centerpieces from potted herbs (the ones featured here are from, potted baby veggies such as tomatoes. Or, fill a galvanized tin watering can with fresh flowers.
Food: Serve vegetable sandwiches, organic fruit spreads and preserves, farm cheeses and tea.
Cake: A while ago, Martha Stewart made the most adorable Peter Rabbit's garden cake. She has a similar one online now, called the secret garden cake.
Party Favours: Enclose the seeds of the bride's favorite vegetable or fruitin a pretty envelope. I found these from Paper-Source.

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Putting Your Stamp on Your Event

It's the details that your guests will remember, so put your personal stamp on your invitations, literally! For a few dimes more, you can put your own photo onto real postage stamps. Try a black and white photo, a photo of your beloved pet, or even a photo of something special related to your event. Of course, the more you purchase, the greater the discounts, so consider using these for your invitations, reply cards and thank you cards. For For US Postage, try and for Canadian Postage, go to Canada Post.

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Simple Elegance on a Manor

Photos Courtesy of D. McInnis
The stone façade of a manor inspired by the 1920’s, it's surrounding lush gardens, and the ivory walls of it's formal ballroom were the perfect inspiration for this timelessly elegant wedding. The bride chose a classic palette of ivory, champagne and celadon green, which flawlessly complimented Graydon Hall Manor, an era hideaway in the heart of Toronto, Canada. The bride’s bouquet was composed of ivory stephanotis blooms, with pearls embedded in each bloom. She walked down a canopy draped aisle on the manor’s terrace, lined with fresh rose petals and celadon hydrangeas. The bride and groom said their vows under a grapevine arch woven with freshly cut green and ivory hydrangeas. Afterwards, guests enjoyed cocktails and hors d’oeuvres served in white glove fashion in the manor’s lush gardens, while being serenaded by a string quartet.

Guests then dined on plated gourmet meals of their choice, in the ballroom over vases overflowing with beautiful ivory and green hydrangeas, and luxurious oversized ivory roses. Afterwards, guests retired to the glass observatory for a late-night selection of classic petit fours, crème brulee served on silver tasting spoons, aged cheeses and enjoyed a nightcap of fine liqueurs.

A Real Cheese Cake

I couldn't resist but to post a picture of this cheese cake from Waitrose Entertaining (based out of the UK). It's a three-tiered cake made from Cashel Blue, Vignotte, and Gorwydd Cearphilly, shown garnished with green grapes. It's so simple yet it makes such a great impression on guests during the cocktail reception or on the dessert tables. Try supplying crackers, roasted honey and nuts, various spreads and jellies like port wine jelly and fig preserves. This cake would fit in especially if your venue is a vinyard or a farm.

Invitations on a Budget

After making a trip to the local stationers yesterday, i've found some great budget-conscious ideas that could help make your invitations more dynamic without the couture-stationer budget. According to the stationer, the biggest budget inflators are: custom features like letter pressing, boxes, custom envelopes, and paper choices.
1) Custom Features - There are tons of features that you can add to your invitations. One of my favourite online stores, Paper-Source, supplies items like coloured printable labels, embossers, rubber stamps, and adorable DIY invitation kits that will make your invitations extra special without that "special" pricetag. I've even found these ever popular boxed invitation kits (comes with boxes, invitations, labels, linen thread, and a real starfish) for about $6.92, which is a steal compared to about $25 from a couture stationer. How amazing would these be for a beach wedding?!
Photo Courtesy of
2) Custom Envelopes - At most invitation places, any envelope that's not a white or cream A7 (5"x7"), is considered custom. I've found some great ready-made square envelopes that are about 0.42 each. Even Kate's Paperie offers a 25% discount on some of their envelopes if you purchase 100 or more. Also check with your stationer, who may be selling off over-runs (extras from previous jobs) of perfectly good envelopes for a fraction of the cost.

Sunday, October 21, 2007

The Editor's Wedding: A Dream Wedding Come True

Photos By: Scott Moody
Sometimes inspiration for your wedding palette comes from something as simple as your own name. In this fantasy wedding, the bride’s Chinese names means orchid. So she chose a palette of raspberry and kiwi inspired by the natural colours of the chartreuse orchid, for which she is named. Not only did the orchid inspire the color scheme, but it also appeared in the details of the wedding from their monogram to the bouquets. The bride walked down an aisle lined with raspberry coloured parasols held by her guests, to a canopy of white dendrobium orchids to meet her groom. Her formal Reem Acra ball gown was complemented by a round bouquet of white, pink, and green cymbidium orchids. The bridesmaids were beautiful in their custom made silk raspberry colored Chinese-inspired dresses with a modern halter neckline and kiwi colored trim.

During cocktail hour, guests mingled to the sounds of a string trio while the bridal party took their pictures. As the bridal party posed under the shade of pink parasols with crystal trim detail, guests were surprised with a special treat- Taiwanese bubble tea in shades of pink and green.

The reception was held in a tent overlooking the Marina in exclusive Wexford Plantation on Hilton Head Island, South Carolina. One hundred white lanterns hung from the ceiling over a combination of rectangular and square tables. Square floral arrangements of orchids and green hydrangea decorated tables that were covered by linens in chartreuse iridescent taffeta or fuchsia flutter organza. During their first dance, guests surrounded the dance floor holding candles with the words of the bride and groom’s song inscribed on hand made wax catchers. In keeping with Chinese tradition of toasting the guests, the bride and groom hand delivered mini 3-tiered wedding cakes to each of their guests as gesture of thank you for sharing in their special day.

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Pawfect Pets at Weddings

"Joey" the Yorkie. Photo By S.Roberts. Contributions by Nicole Roberts
If any of you're like me, and refer to your dog as your little sister (or brother), and you just can't imagine your special day without Rover by your side, you'll need to read this first!

1) Check with your venue on what kind of restrictions there are on having pets. Most bylaws won't allow animals into any place where food is served, unless it is outdoors or in a place where food isn't prepared. Put it on your priority list when checking out venues!

2) Hire a trainer or appoint someone who the dogs are comfortable with to be solely in charge of the dogs on the big day. Responsibilities could include transporting them to the venue, instructing them, feeding them, and supervising them. A great idea is to have your dogs walk down the aisle, and then have them transported home after the ceremony so they can be comfortable at home, but still a big part of your ceremony.

3) If you plan on having any outfits, it might be wise to instruct the person in charge of your dog on how to put it on and rehearse wearing it so that your dog is comfortable. Joey's outfit featured above is from My Faux Paws' Bridal Collection!

4) Speaking of your dog's comfort- if your dog is not used to wearing clothing, it's probably best to stick with a decorated leash and collar for the special occasion.

A Southern Soiree

Photos by S.Roberts, Contributor: Nicole Roberts
There's no better inspiration for choosing your wedding colour palette when you're surrounded by beautiful waters and breathtaking sunsets living in Hilton Head, South Carolina. This bride chose a brightly hued palette of aquamarine, tangerine, and fuschia, and incorporated the palm tree into their monogram to symbolize the south. The bride walked down an aisle lined with fuschia and tangerine rose petals, and wed under a Southern oak tree decorated with fresh flower pomanders. She even had silk aqua robes embroidered with each of her bridesmaids' own monogram in fuschia. The bride, in contrast, subdued the colours by wearing a traditional Melissa Sweet dress with lace overlay, and held a cascade of white phalaenopsis orchids.

During cocktail hour, while the bridal party boarded a 45 foot sailboat for pictures and the bride and groom's first champagne toast, guests were invited to enjoy bottles of personalized Jones Soda in aqua and orange, as well as personalized bottles of water and a selection of Italian sodas.

The reception was staged in a tent at the exclusive Long Cove Plantation, in which a combination of long family tables and square tables were dressed in Italian inspired linens, and decorated with multilevel orchid & fruit centerpieces. Tangerine parasols brimming with white orchids over the edges and balls of pink roses hung from the ceiling, while a romantic pink glow came from coloured spotlights. As a sweet nod to both the bride and groom's heritage, guests were treated to orange flavoured (and coloured) fortune cookies in custom boxes, as well as an Italian cookie buffet (200 dozen cookies) and a candy buffet. At the end of the evening, the bride and groom parted through a sea of guests holding sparklers, making their getaway in a matching blue convertible.

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Choosing A Venue & Setting A Date

The venue or place where you hold your wedding ceremony and reception is most likely the biggest financial commitment you will make for your wedding. Often brides are overwhelmed by the choices, and can often be pressured into making a hasty decision. Here's what you should absolutely know before booking a venue:

When to Book the Venue
Some venues can be booked one to two years in advance, so the first thing on your priority list after annoucing your engagement is to secure a venue. However, you should never feel pressured by the venue or anyone else to book a venue you're unsure about.

Step-by-Step Process of Searching for the Perfect Venue
1) Have a guest list ready to go. Believe it or not, you will save yourself a lot of headache by coming up with a preliminary guest number before you dive into the venue search. Get as close to the actual number as possible. Hold a meeting with your parents and his parents, and put together a list before you shop for venues.

2) The hosts of the event should make a priority list of what they want in an ideal venue. For our wedding, we knew we wanted the ceremony, photos, and reception at the same place. That's why we chose Graydon Hall, pictured left, because it would allow us exclusive use of their grounds for all three.

Here are some suggestions to help you get started on your priority list:

Priority & Solution
1. Budget - The venue must be able to provide all food, drink and rentals for $XO,XOX in total or $XO amount per person.
2. Food - The venue must have the ability to cater a customizable menu, not just the same meal for every event. -or- The venue should be able to provide a lot of food for my guests; I dont want them leaving hungry. -or- The venue must be able to cater a Kosher, Chinese, Vegetarian, etc. meal.
3. Location - the venue must be in less than 1/2 hour driving distance from most of our guests and the hotels in the city, because we have a lot of out of town guests
4. Service - the venue must provide really great service, because good service is really important to us
5. Atmosphere - The venue must be able to host a tented wedding. -or- The temperature will be low when we're getting married, it's a priority that we can do both the ceremony and reception indoors.
6. Type of Venue - My friends knew they were falling in love for the first time on the golf course, so they knew it would be perfect to get married on one. Whether it be a golf & country club, mansion, restaurant, hotel, art gallery, or industrial building, keep your eyes open for the different types of venue that would go with the look and feel you want your event to portray.

3) Compile a list of venues in the area in which you would like to hold the event. Try to write as many details down about the venues that you see online, or via brochure. Now that you have your priority list, you'll be less overwhelmed by the choices and start to only see ones that can cater to your priorities. Try to organize your list by location so that you can visit the ones you like in the same day.
Then when you've narrowed down the list to about 6 or so, book a Site Inspection or Venue Tour. Read below under "Signs of a Good Venue" to see what to look for.

4) Prepare a list of questions to ask the venues before you visit them. Some examples might be:
- What is your capacity? (Make sure you get all of their different seating capacities, or specify each one if you know you're going to have a sit down dinner for example).
- If you're looking at venues that supply "Wedding Packages" ask to be clear on what is included (ie: passed hors d'oeuvres, appetizer, main course, dessert, dessert buffet, tea, coffee, wine, alcoholic beverages (open bar), room rentals, other rentals, etc.)
- Are there minimum spends? (Some venues, especially restaurants, require you to spend a certain amount on high demand dates such as Saturdays).
- Will there be more than one wedding or event going on at the same time?
- Will there be a GM or person from the venue available to me on the day of?
- Is there a bridal suite? (There should be, and please inspect these as well as the washrooms too!)

Signs of a Good Venue
Having been through many, many venue tours (for our own wedding and for friends' weddings), we have discovered a few things to look for in a good venue:

1) From the minute you first make contact with them, the venue should be working for your business, not the other way around. The venue tour should be informative and accomodating, and never pushy. Take a look at the staff working at the venue site. Are they positive, smiling and accomodating? Ask a few people for directions, or questions about the event they're doing that evening. If they're disgruntled or confused, it's not a good sign! How they treat you during the venue inspection is a great indication of how they will be treating you and and your guests on the day of.

2) Word of mouth and experience is by far the best way to find a great venue. We were considering a famous golf and country club for our wedding only to find out that several of our friends had attended different weddings there, and had found the food satisfactory.

3) Lastly, know that every venue has its flaws. In other words, be realistic. Even though there are many things on your priority list, you will most likely have to compromise something at the bottom of your list. For example, you've fallen in love with a venue but it's not in your budget, consider doing an amazing lunch bash.

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Making Pre-Fab Invitations Fabulous

Original Image courtesy of

Pre-fabricated invitations or invitation kits were once on the last resort list for those trimming their budget, but now retailers have made available some really inexpensive, yet elegant designs for us to use at home. Purchasing an invitation suite like the one shown above from Target, could cost upwards of about $10 per set, but this invitation kit works out to be about $2 per set.

Now with home printing & computers, it's easy to personalize the invitation. In the example above, i've added a monogram at the top, and a simple letter charm (these can be found at scrapbook supply stores) on the ribbon.
Two other important things to remember working with pre-fab invitations:
1) Clean cartridges by preforming cartridge head cleaning process (included in printer instructions).
2) Always test on a scrap piece that's the same size and similar stock. Test it until you've perfected the process before you start printing on the real thing.

Invitation Wording

There's no need to be confused about how to word your invitations anymore: KenzieKate Invitations has a wording section on their website that provides a variety of templates on how to word your invitations, according to who's hosting the wedding. You can browse through about 11 templates per host and see which one works best for you! One of my favourites:

With joyful hearts
we ask you to be present
at the ceremony uniting
on DAY

Monday, October 15, 2007

Event Photography for Charity

Photo Courtesy of Charitable Photo
For some people, hiring a good professional photography might be the biggest service splurge spent on their wedding. Now people can feel good about this big wedding expense because Charitable Photo, based out of Toronto, offers their photography services with proceeds going to help people living in poverty in Nicaragua. The photographer was touched by the people and their needs on a trip to Nicaragua last year that he started his own non-profit organization, Charitable Photo is also available for birth announcments and other events. What a great idea!
A Country Wedding
Photos By: J.Chan & F.Bouwma

Of all the wedding presents that this bride and groom received, the most special gift came from the groom's father. He built a barn with his own hands to house the wedding reception of his son and his new bride on his 50 acre land in Belleville, Ontario, Canada. Other special touches included flowers handpicked from their garden and a special ceremony by the pond on their property. Wedding favours were jars filled with honey freshly harvested from the groom's father's beehives. Now that is truly sweet!

Picking a Color Theme

A Few Things To Think About

When selecting your colors for your party or wedding, remember to consider a few things:

Mood What kind of mood do you want your guests to encounter, from the minute they receive their invitations to the minute they leave should be a huge influence on what colors you choose.

The Two-Complementary-Color Misconception When choosing theme colors, there is a common misconception that you have to use two complimentary colors at equal amounts. Color can be applied in many, many ways at your event. It could be as minute as a hint in a floral arrangement, or as splashy as wash of colored spotlights during the reception. Colors can also be tone on tone like red and pink or brown and taupe, and dont have to be complementary.

Color Breakdown It might be helpful to give your florist or event designer a breakdown of colors, either by percentage or print out a color chart. For example, if you plan to build your color chart around one neutral color, and have accent colors your color breakdown might look like this: 70% Ivory, 20% Brown, 5% Mellon Pink and 5% Leaf Green. Also something to keep in mind are the colors of the surroundings. For example, if you are getting married in a garden, you'll most likely see a lot of white from the chairs, and green from the garden. If your color scheme is pink and brown, for example, you could add a brown aisle runner and pink rose petals. At the reception, the most color will come from the walls of the reception hall or tent, and the tablecloths. For example, if you are envisioning a chocolate & lime wedding, you would want to rent chocolate tablecloths or sew chocolate runners with lime centerpieces.

Traditions & Significance One other important thing to think about when choosing your colors is the meaning of certain colors. It really depends on the people attending your event and how traditional they are. For example, in Chinese culture, white, navy blue and black are considered to be mourning colors, while red and gold are colors of prosperity.