Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Wedding Etiquette Wednesday...How To Write A Thank You Note

Ann Marlin, owner of Cloud 9 Papers is continually asked about thank you notes. She puts it best, "A personal thank you note is the only appropriate way to say 'Thank You!' At one time, notes were not considered necessary when you thanked someone in person. Today, with guest lists being longer and guests busier, a personal thank you note is the only way to make sure sincere appreciation is expressed. Just telling someone who has given you a gift, how much you appreciate it, does not 'cut the cake!'"

Thank You Do's and Don'ts

1. Never, Never, Never, send a pre-printed thank you card. When you send a pre-printed card, you are telling the person receiving the thank you that their gift didn't mean enough to you to even receive a mention in your note. A warm personalized, handwritten note, regardless how brief, tells the guest how much you appreciated the gift and how it will be cherished for years to come. Handwritten notes express sincerity.

2. Be sure to send thank you notes to friends and relatives who arrange showers and parties for you. It is appropriate to thank them for the party or shower in the same card you send thanking them for their gift.

3. When you receive more than one gift from someone, each gift must be recognized with its own thank you card. If you receive a shower gift from a friend or relative and then, three weeks later, receive a wedding gift from the same person, it is not appropriate to thank them in one card. Shower gifts should be acknowledged within ten days of the party and wedding gifts within two weeks after returning from the honeymoon. Wedding gifts arriving in advance of the wedding, should be responded to immediately, so that an extended period of time does not pass between receiving the gift and it's thank you.

4. Be sure to put your new return address on all thank you cards. Your guests will appreciate having your current and correct address.

5. Although colored ink is readily available in your favorite stationery store today, it is still more appropriate to write your notes in dark blue or black. It is more easily readable.

6. When writing thank you notes, never start the note with "I." Always use "you" more than "I" or "me" in the note.

Friday, March 26, 2010

Ask the Expert...Carissa Passerella

Every bride wants to look her absolute best on her wedding day. We asked our 'go-to' beauty expert, Carissa Passerella with Carissa Beauty for a few of her wedding day make-up tips. Carissa is the master mind behind the incredible blog Hooked on Beauty and is also the Beauty Expert for WalMart. Carissa is on the cutting edge of all trends, is a leader in her field and is an all around fantastic person to spend time with! We love her and know you will too!

1. What is your best tip for finding a wedding day make-up artist?
Investigate them the same way you would any other vendor. Make sure they offer a trial run and see what they’re using, especially for foundations. If they’re using lines like MAC or Bobbi Brown, move on. I use lines that are truly for professionals, stuff you’ve never heard of like Kett, Kryolan, Koh Gen Do, Eve Pearl, Graftobian, and two different lines for airbrush makeup too. Lines like this are made for photography and offer the best looking coverage. Foundations aren’t the only important part, but it’s a good barometer to see what the rest of their kit offers.

2. How should brides get gorgeous pre-wedding skin?
Plenty of water and watch the alcohol intake especially on rehearsal night. I’ve met with so many girls who have zero dark circles and perfect skin which is all shot after too many cocktails the night before the wedding- and looking fresh isn’t something makeup can help. Get a facial if your skin looks congested, but you can probably just get by with being faithful to a good exfoliant. Sloughing off old skin clears the way for new vibrant skin which will look gorgeous in pictures.

3. Why should brides hire a professional make-up artist?
For the same reason you hire a hair stylist, you probably can do it yourself but the professional result is so much better. Girls who don’t wear makeup especially need a Makeup Artist because they don’t know the tricks to ‘no-makeup makeup’ so they either completely over-do it thinking they need ‘more color’ or they wind up looking pale because they didn’t use enough. More than amount used though, it’s the products themselves that makes it all worth the fraction of your budget to hire an artist.

4. What is your tried and true go-to product?
La Femme eye shadows

5. False eyelashes – yes or no?
Absolutely. I have an arsenal of lashes that fit all eye shapes and lash lengths. What I use isn’t detectable in person and most grooms can’t even tell. It’s the best way to dress up your eyes without adding color, they’re the natural girl’s best friend.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Monica & Stephen...and an outrageous cake adventure...

Last Saturday, Ann and I were in Winter Park for the wedding of Monica and Stephen at the gorgeous Sunspot Lodge at the top of Winter Park. The day started with the hilarious adventure of us carrying a three-tier wedding cake up the mountain on the open-air chairlift. The cake box was so large that we were unable to put down the safety bar; as I held on to the cake box for dear life, Ann held on to me - as it felt like we could slip off at any moment, especially as the lift stopped and swayed many times throughout our ride. We were laughing so hard tears were flowing and more so we were freezing - note to self: suits and heels are definitely not appropriate chairlift attire!

Putting the silly story of our cake adventure behind us - we were so happy to see Stephen and Monica get married. They had been together for over six years and traveled with family and friends all the way from Florida for a week of wedded bliss in the snow. Congratulations!

The photos are courtesy of Adam Houseman with Adam & Imthiaz Photography.

Will You Be My...?

We were scanning Etsy and came across these fun cards - a neat way to ask your best friend/sister/brother/shoulder to cry on/ball watching/football tossing/shopping pal/beer drinking/confidant/dessert sharing buddy/etc., to stand by your side on the big day.

We found these cards through the following Etsy companies;

Greencard, GiraffeNotes, LittleLadyCompany, JenuinePaper, ekcetera, upup

Wedding Etiquette Wednesday - Wedding Customs and Traditions

It's fun to look back and see where wedding customs and traditions originated. We get asked all the time so here are some answers- more to come!
Something Old represents the link with the bride's family and the past. Many brides choose to wear a piece of antique family jewelry or a mother's or grandmother's wedding gown or handkerchief.
Something New represents good fortune and success and her hopes for a bright future in her new life. The wedding gown is often chosen as the new item.
Something Borrowed is to remind the bride that friends and family will be there for her when help is needed. "Borrowing" is especially important, since it is to come from a happily married woman, thereby lending the bride some of her own marital bliss to carry into the new union.
Something Blue is the symbol of faithfulness and loyalty.
A Silver Sixpence in her Shoe is to wish the bride wealth. Some brides still place a penny in their shoe during the marriage ceremony.

Bride On Groom's Left
Because the early Anglo Saxon groom so often had to defend his bride from would-be kidnappers, she stood to his left, leaving his sword-arm free. The "best" warrior in the tribe stood by the groom and was responsible for helping defend the bride, thus the placement for the modern day best man.
First Kiss
No ceremony is complete without the kiss. In fact, there was a time when an engagement would be null and void without one. Dating back from early Roman times, the kiss represented a legal bond that sealed all contracts. The kiss that seals the wedding is much more than a sign of affection. It has long been a token of bonding - the exchange of spirits as each partner sends a part of the self into the new spouse's soul, there to abide ever after.
The Wedding Cake
Beginning in early Roman times, the cake has been a special part of the wedding celebration. A thin loaf was broken over the bride's head at the close of the ceremony to symbolize fertility. The wheat from which it was made, symbolized fertility and the guests eagerly picked up the crumbs as good luck charms. This tradition evolved and spread to England in the Middle Ages where the guests of a wedding would bring small cakes and stack them together. Later, a clever baker decided to amass all these small cakes together, covering them with frosting. Thus, the modern tiered cake was born. The bride and groom make the first cut of the wedding cake to signify sharing their life together. Every guest then eats at least a crumb of the cake to ensure good luck.
Tossing The Bridal Bouquet
Tossing of the bridal bouquet is a custom which has its roots in England as it was believed that the bride could pass along good fortune to others. In order to obtain this fortune, spectators would try to tear away pieces of the bride's clothing and flowers. In an attempt to get away, the bride would toss her bouquet into the crowd. Tradition says that the single women who catches the bouquet is the one who receives the bride's fortune and will marry next.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Wedding Etiquette Wednesday: Attire 101

A couple was getting married, and it was only three days before the wedding. The bride calls her mother with some bad news. "Mom," she says, "I just found out that my fiance's mother has bought the exact same dress as you to wear to the wedding." The bride's mother thinks for a minute. "Don't worry," she tells her daughter. "I'll just go and buy another dress to wear to the ceremony." "But mother," says the bride, "that dress cost a fortune. What will you do with it? It's such a waste not to use it." "Who said I won't use it?" her mother asked. "I'll just wear it to the rehearsal dinner."

We've all been faced with the question, "What should I wear?" Here's a few guidelines to help break it down.

Daytime Wedding For Her
- A fun floral dress
- A skirt and a sweater set with beautiful shoes
- A light colored suit
- A beautiful hat that coordinates with your outfit

Daytime Wedding For Him
- In the summertime, a light-colored suit, especially linen or seersucker
- Winter weddings call for warmer clothing, including wool suits, a navy blazer with charcoal pants, and perhaps a sweater and tie underneath a blazer
- A dress shirt, tie and dress pants is acceptable, but dress it up with a blazer if you can
- If the invitation says formal, wear a dark suit. Tuxedoes are not appropriate before 6 pm

Evening Wedding For Her
- Dress as you would if you were going out to the theater or to dinner.
- A cocktail dress – nothing too sexy but something fun to dance in. Black is fine.
- A dressy suit or a cocktail suit
- Wear darker colors and look for something sophisticated
- Avoid beads or sequins unless the invitation specifically says black tie

Evening Wedding For Him
- A dark suit is always appropriate
- If the invitation says casual or semi-formal, you can wear a blazer and slacks with a nice tie

Black-Tie Optional For Her
- A cocktail dress, perhaps to the floor

Black-Tie Optional For Him
- If you have a tuxedo, or just like wearing one, by all means do so
- Otherwise, wear a dark suit. Dress as formally as you can.

Black-Tie for Her
- A formal dress, usually to the floor
- Bring out those beaded purses, fancy wraps and formal jewelry that's been waiting for an occasion such as this

Black-Tie For Him
- A tuxedo is the only appropriate thing to wear. If it says creative black tie, he should still wear a tuxedo, perhaps with a black shirt or collarless white shirt.

- White. (This rule has relaxed some, and you can get away with wearing a printed dress with a white background and some cream colored clothing. Just be careful not to upstage the bride.)
- Black to a daytime wedding
- Jeans
- Anything too sexy or revealing
- Anything torn, with holes, stained, too big or too small for you!

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Angels Among Us

My beautiful and amazing friend of 26 years, Stephanie Houghton who is a nurse, recently visited Haiti with her fiance John Hudson who is a brain surgeon. The stories they came back with were heartbreaking, inspiring and funny at the same time (there were crazy roosters and chickens that refused to let them sleep). An article was recently written about their journey and the lives they touched. I encourage you to read it and think all the positive thoughts you can about those in need and the people that are making a difference.

I know they plan to head back in the near future so we will keep you updated. Many thanks to Stephanie and John, Project 81, the wonderful things they do and the hope they spread.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Spice it Up

How cute is this?! Thank you to Kelsey at The Sanctuary for passing this fantastic idea our way!

The bloody mary mix paired with a mini bottle of vodka is a great idea for not only a favor at the end of the evening (as guests might need it the next day!), but it's also a great addition to any welcome bag. Go all out and add a jar of olives and even a custom swizzle stick.

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Sneak Peek: Eco-Beautiful Weddings Photo Shoot

We were asked to join the very talented photographers Adam and Imthiaz Houseman of Adam & Imthiaz Photography in designing a photo shoot for Eco-Beautiful Weddings. The theme was "eco-friendly and green" welcome baskets...stay tuned for more details, additional photos and the full magazine spread!

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Mark Your Calendar...JW Marriott Wedding Showcase

Mark your calendar for Saturday, March 13th from noon to 3pm for a Wedding Showcase at the JW Marriott in Cherry Creek North.

"It’s your special day, all eyes are on you and everything’s perfect, from your amazing dress to the tuxes, flowers, food and incredible location. Bring your dream wedding to life at the JW Marriott Wedding Showcase at Cherry Creek on March 13, from noon to 3. The JW Marriott in Cherry Creek just finished renovating their amazing event space and you’re invited to this first class exclusive Wedding Showcase. Enjoy wine and cake tastings, sample cuisine prepared by their world class chef, learn about the latest trends in design and floral arrangements, plus you can plan the perfect party with live entertainment demonstrations."

Reservations are required and space is limited for this exclusive event so don’t wait, call 303 253 30-67 today!

Wedding Etiquette Wednesday

Now that you have your beautiful wedding invitations – what is the proper way to address them? Here is a great list of traditional formal guidelines to help you put your address list together properly. Although these are the traditional guidelines in addressing wedding invitations, they are just that - guidelines, so feel free to deviate from these if you prefer to make your invitations more personal or more casual.

General Information / Addresses & Zip Codes

Nicknames or abbreviations should be avoided when possible except for Mr., Mrs., Jr., etc. You may use an initial if you do not know the full name, or if the person never uses his given name.

Cities, states and numbered streets are written out in full (with the exception of D.C.). In regards to addresses, the only optional abbreviations are for Saint (St.) or Mount (Mt.), which can be written either way.

Making sure you have the correct address is paramount. There is nothing more frustrating than having a beautifully addressed invitation returned to sender with postage markings all over it because of an incorrect address or insufficient postage.

When should I send out my Invitations?

Invitations should be sent out six to eight weeks before your wedding date. If you have a large number of out of town guests, we suggest eight weeks to give your guests the courtesy of making reservations and securing travel arrangements more economically.

Mailing Your Invitations

When you first receive your invitations, assemble one complete invitation (including the tissue paper, any maps or additional insertions, and the stamp on the return response envelope) and take it to your local Post Office for weight and measurement. Sometimes it's the size and not the weight which may require more postage than one first class stamp, so we encourage you to take it to the window and have a postal worker weigh and measure it for you. This step can save a lot of aggravation later. Ask to see their selection of wedding stamps and see if they are available as self-stick stamps. When it is time to mail your invitations, if you hand deliver them to your local post office window, you can request that they be hand canceled with a rubber stamp, instead of by a machine. It makes the front of the envelope look a lot more attractive without the large ugly black postal markings all over it.