October 23,2009

Magical Destinaton Wedding in Mexico

This is a wedding that I just love but I didn’t plan. Even if I didn’t plan it, I love great photos and love to share photos that I adore!

Juan Carlos Briceno of Fotobriceno shot this multiple day wedding in Morelia, Mexico. He shoots a couple of weddings every year in Mexico or Latin America (other recent spots have included the Riveria Maya and Cartagena, Colombia). He is a native Spanish-speaker so weddings in Central and Latin America are a specialty. I absolutely love the dramatic settings of the glamorous, sexy portraits.

Love the sultry mood of the shot below!

New day, new dress. There were three different ceremonies on three different days!

I adore the Old World feel of the photograph below!

Inside the gorgeous church.

No rules against throwing confetti, obviously. Lucky ducks!

The third ceremony: a native Purepecha Indian ceremony from the region.

And no restrictions on fireworks, either! Can you sense my jealousy?

Thanks to the bride and groom, Rebeca and Daniel, and to Juan Carlos for letting us share this stunning wedding. For more amazing photos of this wedding, check out the Fotobriceno blog. Hope it helps inspire anyone planning a wedding in Mexico!

October 22,2009

Flower Power!

Those devoted readers of Bridal Bubbly may remember that the Engaging Affairs team did a floral workshop this summer with the fabulous ladies at Petal’s Edge. We learned the proper way to make emergency bouquets, corsages and boutonnieres (which comes in handy in our line of work, let me tell you). Now the talented Petal’s Edge crew is taking their flower workshops public so that you, too, can learn the tricks of the trade.

Bridal Bootcamp. Want to save money but feel insecure about your ability to provide a professional look to your wedding flowers? Join this intense one-day, weekend workshop and learn how to arrange flowers with industry experts. Course covers flower selection and care, design tips, and common mistakes. $150 per person, which includes the cost of flowers and box lunch.
Saturday, December 5 or December 12. 10 am – 2 pm.

Flower School. Love flowers and want more experience? This series of classes takes place over three evenings and is appropriate to the person who wants to learn about how to buy, care for, and arrange flowers. Several methods of flower arranging will be covered. Classes are hands-on with flowers that students take home after class. $250 per person.
Wednesday – Friday, December 2 – 4 or December 9 – 11. 6 – 9 pm.

Winter Workshop. Join us for holiday-inspired flower arranging projects. Take one class or both. Course includes the cost of flowers, all supplies, and a holiday masterpiece to take home. $100 per session or $150 for two.

  • Floral Topiary: November 30, 6 pm. Use an uninterrupted mass of carnations to create a festive tabletop tree.
  • Dining table centerpiece: December 7, 6 pm. Winter fruits and vegetables add a conversation piece to this unusual pairing of flowers and holiday greens.

To register, please call 703.518.8488 or email info@petalsedge.com.
These workshops sound so fun that I’m tempted to go back to flower school myself!

October 21,2009

Bimini Bay for the Weekend, Anyone?

Any newlywed bride will tell you that your wedding day will be here and gone in a flash. A week long wedding getaway might just be the next best thing to savor the moments… let’s say, in the Bahamas?
We adore Danielle Dunfee, at Bimini Bay Resort and Marina who has loads of packages ranging in price points to make the most of your big day. With packages that include poolside massages for the bridal party, who wouldn’t love you for asking them to be a bridesmaid? Private air travel for the bride + groom, personal butler service and a post-wedding day brunch make Bimini Bay one of our favorite venues to bring clients to.
Not to mention, the resort offers a “Paint Your Day” package where for $299 per person you can fly down, meet the Chef in person {and do a full tasting!} and tour the property + island before signing a contract! How fabulous is that?!

Engaging Affairs has been lucky enough to plan destination weddings in the Caribbean and in the Bahamas, and we know the value of working with a great resort. Working with a fabulous property like Bimini Bay makes life so much easier! Let us know if you are interested in Bimini Bay or contact Danielle directly at Office: 305-403-2357 or ddunfee@biminibayresort.com. We love any excuse to fly to the Bahamas, of course!

Doesn’t this pool look like a fabulous alternative to rain and the impending winter?
Happy planning!


Calling All Grooms: The Art of Shaving!

As one of my favorite wedding stylists says, “It’s really all about the babe in the white dress.” That may be true, but grooms are an important part of the wedding day. More and more, we’re seeing grooms who are very involved in the planning and who also want to feel special on their wedding day.
We all know that there are hundreds of salons and stylists for brides to be pampered by but very few places for men. Enter The Art of Shaving in downtown D.C. (near the Mayflower Hotel). Not only does this shop carry natural shaving and skin care products that are made with essential oils and botanicals (and I am all about natural products and totally dig essential oils), they have a barber salon that features old-fashioned shaves and haircuts for gentlemen.
This is the perfect spot for groomsmen to gather the morning of the wedding and enjoy a professional shave while the bridesmaids are getting fussed over. Or a fun starting point before a bachelor’s evening out.
The Art of Shaving has locations all over the country and an additional D.C. location in Union Station and two in Northern Virginia. So check out this great spot and treat your guy to some wedding day pampering of his own!

October 19,2009

Fall Wedding Details: Leaf Save-the-Dates and Invitations

From the first time we met, Kendall told me how much she loved Fall and wanted to really bring that element into her wedding. She also told me that invitations were very important to her and she wanted something completely unique and creative. Enter Saima Says Design.
Saima has created some gorgeous invitations for my clients, and I knew she would be the perfect creative mind to bring to Kendall and Nick’s wedding. After meeting with Kendall and hearing Kendall’s vision, Saima went to work to create a coordinating suite of paper products for the wedding that would include the Save-the-Date, invitation, program, menu card and even favor stickers. Fall leaves and deep fall tones of burgundy and gold would be the uniting elements.
The Save-the-Date is often the first element that guests see and when guests got Kendall and Nick’s boxed Save-the-Date, they were blown away. Each box contained an elegant brown paper leaf tied to a real twig with rope. The card contained the basic wedding information (names, date, location) on one side and hotel accommodations on the other. This creative announcement let guests know that this wedding was going to be special.
The drama continued with the invitation. This time packaged in a chocolate brown box, the elegant wedding invitations were tied with a rich brown satin ribbon and presented on burgundy silk boards with the reception and response cards tucked into a pocket on the other side of the board. The silk boards sat in the boxes on a bed of colorful autumn leaves. Talk about glamour and WOW!

Even though the wedding isn’t for another few weeks, guests are so excited about this event because the Save-the-Date and invitation have let them know that it will be an amazing and unique event. Stay tuned to hear about more fun Fall wedding ideas from Kendall and Nick’s wedding! Special thanks to Fotobriceno for the lovely product photography.

October 16,2009

Creating Fabulous Welcome Bags (or Boxes)

One of the things we love to do at Engaging Affairs is to personalize weddings. And of my my favorite ways to do this is with the welcome bags that out-of-town guests receive at their hotels.

Because we are in D.C. and so many of our couples have guests coming from all over the world, I think the bags are an important way to start the celebration and make guests feel welcome. I use the word “bags” generally because we like to use boxes, baskets, tins or any other fun container that fits the bill. Just keep in mind that guests will rarely be able to take the container with them (unless they have a huge suitcase) so don’t put all your resources towards that part. We have used crab baskets for Eastern Shore weddings, DC skyline bags for city weddings, hatboxes for very swanky affairs and metal boxes for modern weddings. Now we try to choose containers that are recycled or recyclable like boxes made of 100% recycled paper or bags made out of recycled plastic bottles.
I don’t think welcome bags need to be elaborate. It’s better to include a few really unique, personal items than have a bag jammed full of random items. Also, remember that your guests will only be in town over the weekend so filling a bag full of enough snack food to last them through the end of the year will be a waste.
Here are what I consider to be the welcome bag essentials:
An itinerary. It’s helpful to include a list of the events with the dates, times and street addresses, especially if you have numerous activities over the wedding weekend. Include pick-up information if you are providing transportation so guests know when and where to catch the buses. If you have different events for wedding party or immediate family, consider two versions of the itinerary. Of course, then you will need to put names on each bag so that guests will get the proper schedule!
Map or city guidebook. DC puts out a great guidebook called The American Experience that includes a map as well as tourist attractions and restaurant listings. Pocket metro maps of DC are also helpful if guests will be staying downtown.
Something personal or related to the city. We like to do colorful decorated cookies from Bundles of Cookies of The White House or Capitol. Guests love them and they are yummy! Just last week, we did bags of personalized cookies of the bride, groom, the family dog and a Kansas Jayhawk from Parker’s Crazy Cookies. The cookies looked just like the people (or animals) and guests got such a kick out of them!

For a Fall-themed wedding, we did caramel apples wrapped in cellophane. For a bride whose wedding color was lavender, we did bags of dried lavender and lavender-scented soaps. A very political couple did bags of red, white and blue Jellybellys. An Eastern Shore couple included a stuffed crab (a toy, not a real crab–yuck!) and a tin of Old Bay so their guests could take home the flavor of the region.
After that, you can do as much or as little as you want. But don’t feel like you need to do what is expected or what you’ve seen a dozen times before. Instead of bottles of water, get customized reusable stainless steel water bottles. Cuter and better for the environment. Or skip the water and include a $5 Starbucks card. Or a can of Sophia sparkling wine with a pink straw attached.
Buy favorite candies or snacks in bulk and repackage them in metal tins. Favorites goodies include: nuts, dried fruits, M&Ms in your wedding colors, jellybeans in your favorite flavors, or candies like Sourpatch Kids or Runts. Godiva or Toblerone candy bars are also nice options to satisfy a sweet tooth.
Of course, food isn’t the only option. We have done bags themed entirely around bath products with soaps, bath bombs and loofahs in the bride’s colors. A cherry blossom scented bath gel is always a fun addition to a DC welcome bag.
Try to avoid things that require a lot of effort to enjoy. Bottles of wine can be nice but guests will need to get a corkscrew from the hotel before they can enjoy it (unless you include a customized corkscrew in the bag). The same goes for food that requires a knife (like small wheels of cheese). Keep things simple and easy.
The key to creating great welcome bags is to set a budget and then get creative. Guests will appreciate the thought you put into a bag that has a connection to you or the city you’ve chosen to be married in. Then tie it all together with custom labels, tissue paper, a cute tag and ribbon for a look that will make your guests feel like the VIPs they are.

Have fun!


October 15,2009

An Opulant Affair at the Omni Shoreham

It is such a pleasure to be asked back to assist with a sibling’s wedding. About half way into the planning, Aisha Parker, sister of my former bride Shani Parker, realized how overwhelming planning her wedding could be on her own. Fabulous Aunt Rita was still in the picture but helping Aisha plan from the west coast didn’t allow for all the hands-on planning necessary. So, lucky me, I got the call once again to work with this wonderful family.

Aisha and Alex have such a great story. While planning her sister’s wedding two years earlier, Aisha was challenged to find a man and coaxed into joining match.com. At the same time, Alex was getting ready to end his subscription to the service. Just the day before, he saw Aisha appear and he quickly sent her an e mail. He was about to sign off, so he sent her his email address so they could continue talking. A few months later, she agreed to meet him and the rest was history! And, my favorite part, he proposed in her favorite place, Disney World, in front of Cinderella’s Castle. Now that is a Prince Charming!

It’s so important that not only each bride has a day fit for her own style, but certainly sisters have days that are different from each other. Aisha and Alex chose the beautiful, historic Omni Shoreham Hotel for it’s lush garden space in DC. With an August wedding pending, I was keeping my fingers crossed for good weather.

It could have been worse! The bride stunned in Ulla Maija purchased at Hitched Bridal Salon. The day was humid, but the bride, groom and their guests endured the heat and thankfully were given a bit of shade for the outdoor ceremony. The temperature cooled a bit by cocktail hour as guests mingled around the patio and backyard grounds of the hotel.

As I always do, I brought the bride and groom into the ballroom before the rest of the guests and the tears came rolling. We had transformed the Empire Ballroom into an Old World Hollywood space, complete with VIP bar area, built-in staircase and custom bar with hanging chandeliers. The colors were warm and romantic and the flowers were more lush than an overflowing flower market. It was a scene right out of a movie that could have only been created by the fantastic team at Capital Decor and Events. Thank you to Jeffrey, Kelly, Patrick and their fabulous staff.

Guests were entertained by DJ Aaron Couch from Bialek’s Music and the day was captured by Julie at Blue Sky Films and Michael Bonfigli Photography. We also cannot leave out Digital Lightning for helping to create the mood in our reception.


October 14,2009

Rustic Wedding Charm on a Horse Farm {Kristina and Mark}

Sometimes with weddings it truly is about the location, location, location. This was true with the beautiful wedding of Kristina and Mark last weekend on Kristina’s family home and horse farm in Potomac. The gorgeous rolling hills set the stage for the event and the home’s tree-lined drive and white fence were even featured on everything from the Save-the-Dates to the menus to the itineraries.
From the start, the bride wanted a wedding that wasn’t like every other wedding she’d attended. She wanted hers to be fun and very personal and full of great details. We decided to play with the space we had and really take advantage of the gorgeous pasture behind the house. After the ceremony at St. Bartholmew’s Catholic Church in Bethesda, guests enjoyed a cocktail party that featured croquet, boccie ball and a live painter. Ladies could shed their heels and slip into brightly colored flip-flops for the lawn party, and everyone loved trying out the old-fashioned photo booth from PoshBooth. Susan Gage Caterers provided delicious hors d’oeuvres including favorites like mini heart-shaped grilled cheese, petite burgers and fire shrimp while listening to beautiful harp music from MSE Productions.

Local painter Patricia Rice captures the beautiful wedding landscape as guests look on. After the wedding, the bride and groom have a work of art to remind them of their wedding day!
After finding their names on the giant chalkboard propped against a tree (custom-made by an artisan I found on Etsy), guests moved into the dinner tent where Ociana had created beautiful floral arrangements in warm autumn colors to go with the dusty peach linens, brown hemstiched linen napkins and woven rattan chargers. Guests feasted on yellow tomato gazpacho, filet mignon, corn pudding, and three different flavors of wedding cake.

The bride’s dog, Carmel, joined the wedding and sat calmly by the Mother of the Bride during dinner!

After dinner, the amazing band, Simply Irresistible, took the stage and blew everyone away. I work with a lot of bands and these guys from Atlanta were phenomenal. Not only were they talented and high-energy, they were so nice and easy to work with. French tennis star and singer Yannick Noah (the bride comes from a big tennis family, to say the least) took the stage to serenade the bride and groom and had everyone dancing and singing.
When the band finished, the party didn’t stop. Guests enjoyed hot donuts from Talk of the Town that were made on-site then moved to the after-party around the pool where DJ Andres spun dance music until the wee hours of the morning. This was one fun party!


October 13,2009

Getting Hitched! {Amy & Clark}

With only 5 months to go until our wedding, I had to get the search started pronto for the perfect gown to wear down the aisle! To be honest, I didn’t have a favorite designer, I was skeptical about the neckline and skirt type I would prefer {to do a ballgown or not? who knew!}, and I just really had not a clue about which fabric I would feel most glamorous in. All I knew is that I wanted to have fun doing it!

We set out on a bright sunny day in late September, just a week into my engagement, to find “THE Gown.” With my dear mum and maid of honor, Stephanie, in tow, we were off on our way with several appointments set up at several different bridal salons in the Greater DC area. I had to have ‘the full experience’ I thought to myself as I set up appointments back to back…

30 + gowns later and an entire day full of silk, lace, buttons, zippers, taffeta and appliqued flowers, we had become pros at getting in and out of these fabulously couture pieces of artwork! It did become clear to me as the day went on that I am definitely a “romantic” type of bride.

We have always had a very close relationship with Hitched Bridal Salon in Georgetown and send clients to them constantly knowing they will be taken care of. But I have to say, I had the best experience with them searching for my own gown! They are a team full of fabulous women and they will certainly make sure you find the gown that best suits your style. Leigh Ann knew right away the gown that would work for me… first one I tried one that day… and it’s the one I ordered! Now, how is that for understanding their clients hopes and dreams?!

Must Haves when searching for a gown:
1) Make appointments – showing up unannounced can mean that you won’t have one-on-one time with a consultant and may not be able to try on gowns.
2) Wear an outfit that easy to get in and out of. And not to mention, do your hair & make up – it will make you feel better when you slip into couture if you bring the best of yourself. Definitely wear a strapless bra as well, unless you are looking to be fully exposed in front of people you don’t know!
3) Bring snacks & bottled water if you have back-to-back appointments – it’s easy to get grumpy with your mum & maid of honor if you are hungry and drained. Not that I am speaking from experience…
4) Ask before taking photos as many of the salons have policy against this.

My favorite designer of all turned out to be Ulla-Maija, like many of our brides. Check out their collections at Hitched and online. The one I fell head over my Manolos for… well, you will just have to wait for Wedding Day to find out!

Amy Lorraine