Grab a Book – “The Guest List” by Melissa Hill

If you’ve ever gotten married, been in a wedding, attended a wedding, planned a wedding, dreamed about your future wedding, or even imagined planning a wedding, you absolutely must read this book!

Because it really delves into all of the emotions and the behind the scenes drama that almost always surfaces in families when weddings are being planned. 

Of course, since it’s a novel there are a lot more instances of drama that unfold which would probably make any real life couple not only lose their minds, but even risk calling off the entire event! Or eloping and not telling anyone until after it’s done.

As a sometimes wedding planner, I always love stories about weddings…the actual planning, the excitement of wedding gown shopping, cake tastings, planning the guest list and seating to make sure people who don’t like each other aren’t next to each other (and what happens when they are!), the ups and downs of things going wrong, family and friends trying to tell the bride and groom what they should and shouldn’t do, etc., etc. 

Then there’s always an unexpected twist…and in this book, there are quite a few! And for someone who can usually figure out how events are going to unfold, and even how a lot of books are going to end…let’s just say I never ever anticipated the ending of this one! Not even close!

The characters are totally believable, in fact some of them reminded me of people I’ve dealt with in my wedding planning semi-career. 

Nothing ever goes smoothly in the planning, either in real life or in this book. But the important thing to remember is that the wedding is just one day. Your marriage is for a lifetime.

So whether you’re only dating, engaged, planning a wedding, married, or just looking for a lighthearted fun book that’ll make you laugh, as well as wonder what comes next, you can’t go wrong with this one!

Download it on your kindle or go out and buy it and enjoy! I know you will!

A Flamingo Bridal Shower

Several weeks ago a few of the girl flamingos came to me with a problem. Or really a question. One of their friends, a flamingo named Fiona, had just gotten engaged, and they wanted to give her a bridal shower. 

Not just any bridal shower though, but one she’d remember for years. A very special, and of course, very pink event. And since they remembered the wedding I’d helped them with a few years ago for another friend, they figured it would be much easier if my friend Karen from Main Stream Events and I helped plan and coordinate it.

How do you say “no” to a group of flamingos when they’re looking at you with those big flamingo eyes and ruffling their bright pink feathers?

Knowing Karen would happily agree to help, I told them to get a guest list together, give us a couple of dates and a few of their ideas and we’d take care of it.

Of course, they already had all that ready for us, and after thanking me several times, they flapped their wings in excitement and headed out to buy shower gifts for their friend while Karen and I set to work!

The first thing we did was to select shower invitations. We presented the girls with several styles to choose from. With so many opinions it took a while, but they finally selected their favorite and Karen sent the order to the printer. 

We even found a special flamingo bridal shower stamp to use for mailing the invitations! How awesome was that!

Next on the list: decorations. They had to be feminine, pink of course, with a hint of gaudiness that flamingos just love! And we gave them a lot of ideas to choose from! So many, in fact, they wanted to use them all and use every room on the first floor of our house (where else?) for the party!

“Only if you flamingos clean up afterwards”, we said. And they agreed. Fortunately.

And no bridal shower is complete without a few games, and we ordered some really nice ones to use! (With Karen and I volunteering to host the games so we wouldn’t have to play.)

Next came ideas for the food. Flamingos love their shrimp, as we all know, so of course their favorite shrimp dishes were included, along with some colorful charcuterie boards.

And of course, no flamingo party event is complete without cocktails, including of course, pink champagne to toast the bride-to-be.

Flamingos also love fancy desserts, and this event absolutely has to have an array of beautiful yet delicious cakes and cookies, of which the leftovers, if there were any, would be boxed up in treat boxes for shower gifts for the attendees as they left. Karen and I actually saved a few of them in the kitchen just in case there weren’t enough left to fill up the leftover boxes!

We gave them a choice of cookies and cakes to choose from, and although they wanted them all, we insisted they pick only two cakes and four trays of cookies! Which do you think they chose?

And of course, all the gifts were wrapped in pink! Fiona had a wonderful time opening everything, and wondering how she’d get them all home!

And just before the party ended, Fiona handed out these cute little message in a bottle gifts to her “flock” to ask them to be in her wedding. Perfect ending to the shower! We also made sure everyone signed the guest book as well as getting a special treat box to take home filled with leftover goodies from the shower.

Yes, it was a lively party, and the perfect bridal shower. Every flamingo had a great time, and they cleaned up as promised, (while drinking more pink champagne of course!) and we sent them all home in a limo. After all, you can’t let flamingos drive after they’ve had a bit too much to drink!

Photo Sources: 1st Row: SE paper designs; Card Hunter; Kristen Smith via Etsy; PaperandInkDesigns; Pumpkin Design Cards – 2nd Row: – 3rd Row: Eve’s Crafts; Jessmy via Emmaline Bdide; Kaxixix; Pioneer Woman; Soiree Love- 4th Row: LooseyGoosey; Big Dot Of Happiness – 5th Row: source unknown- 6th Row: source unknown; Little Creek Creativity via Emmaline Bride – 7th Row: source unknnown via Etsy; Kazana via Emmaline Bride; Hooray Days; Sweet by Natalie; Lucansandme creations; CookieCutterBaking – 8th Row: ; 9th Row: KseniyaaRevia-Need My Flock; Twisted Velvet; Amazon – 10th Row: hqlimo,com

Introducing Mr. and Mrs. Flamingo

Such a romantic love story…from the time they met, they were just tickled pink over each other!

And when they came to us for help with planning their wedding, well, how could we resist! After all, we just love flamingos, and this couple, well they were just the perfect pair…birds of a feather, shall we say! Pink feathers, that is!

Meet Dolly and George. Two of the most romantic flamingos we’ve ever worked with. Well, actually they’re the only flamingos we’ve every worked with, but several of their friends who attended their wedding appeared to be, well, quite taken with each other, so we may have some feathery referrals here! After all, I have been known to coordinate some rather special weddings!missingmiami com

Actually this adorable couple met at a lovely park in Florida, where they were both visiting some of their relatives. Flamingos have really big families, so it’s amazing that Dolly and George were able to find each other as they did. But then again, when it’s meant to be, and it’s true love, it’s easy to stay in the pink of things!

Dolly and George dated for only a short time before they realized this was the real thing! One of their favorite dates was riding the flamingo boats at the Florida theme parks, so naturally he proposed to Dolly on one of those rides. How perfect!examiner com

And the ring, well…what else can we say….don’t you just love it??!! Only the best for Dolly!preebrulee com

So the wedding plans began full speed ahead! Lots to consider, and of course, they wanted everything perfect! So much to plan…good thing we were available to help them!

After setting the wedding date, they decided they wanted a beach wedding, since they LOVED the water! How totally appropriate! And it made the decorating plans quite easy! Like using this beautiful pink floral arch…islandsandsbeachweddings com

Of course Dolly wanted the perfect bouquet, so what better than pink flowers and pink feathers….with a little touch of bling here and there, of course! She really liked all of these, so it was a bit of a tough choice to pick the right one!

Wedding invitations were another matter…there were a lot of different ideas out there, and they had to sort through quite a few before they narrowed it down to these! Any guesses as to which one they picked? And of course they used the personalized flamingo stamp!

The wedding cake…that presented another set of delicious decisions! You do know that the reason flamingos are pink is because of the shrimp they eat, but the cake just wouldn’t taste right in a shrimp flavor. Right? So they narrowed their choices down to these styles. Just had to find the right flavor. In sort of a salmon-shrimp pink….

Of course, the wedding reception menu was fairly easy. Shrimp canapés, shrimp rolls, steamed crabs stuffed with shrimp, and of course, a few very special flamingo drinks…

And George was in charge of planning the getaway transportation. He had a bit of trouble deciding between these two…

And of course every bride needs a bridal shower. For some of her closest feathered girl friends! And Dolly was no exception. Her best friend Molly put together a wonderful event, and the gifts, well, let’s just say they were perfectly selected for the event! Here are some of the pictures from this fabulous event!

Finally…..the big day arrived. The wedding guests were so excited….! And there were a LOT of them! (And not just flamingos!) Dolly and George have a lot of friends and family! They were all so excited they just kept flapping their wings everywhere! And when the bridal party started down the aisle, well, some of the guests almost flew into the air they were so excited!

And their photographer captured all the special moments of the wedding! Here are just a few of them. Didn’t she do a wonderful job??

What a day! What fun….and Dolly and George went off on their honeymoon to a perfect little flamingo vacation cottage that was decorated just for them….freakingnews com2

It’s amazing what can be done with a little creative thinking! So…if you know any flamingos who are planning a wedding, send them our way!

Disclaimer: All content posted here is assumed to be in the public domain. If you find one of your images here and wish it to be removed please contact me.

Photo Sources: 1st Row: – 2nd Row:; – 3rd Row: 4th Row: – 5th Row: 6th Row: via ebay;; source unknown – 7th Row:; via pinterest;  seaoflovestudios;; – 8th Row:; goodtoknowmedia; heartfeltandmade blogspot;; via Sara Burnetts Boards – 9th Row:;; blog, – 10th Row:; – 11th Row: soiree event;; spokanebrideblog; blackberryvine blogspot;;; via etsy; pizzazzerie –12th Row: msn foxsports;; personal files; via flickr – 13th Row:; source unknown; grazier photoblog; jen osojnicki photography; jen osojnicki photography; jen osojnicki photography; jen osojnicki photography;; via etsy; via tumblr – 14th Row:

Dreaming of My Mother’s Wedding

Hanging in our guest room closet is a yellowed and torn lacy dress that has undoubtedly seen better – and happier – days. And it carries memories that I wish I could see and hear. And since today is my husband and my wedding anniversary, I thought it appropriate to post this story today.

I found the dress in my mother’s attic many years ago. It had been hanging there since my mom and dad moved into their first and only home sometime back in 1940 or so. They were married on June 18, 1938. 77 years ago. And the dress hung there until I had to clean out her home eight years ago.

I have this one picture of her and my dad on their wedding day. And I cherish this photo.
Mom and Dad Wedding
I wish I knew more about their wedding day. But my mother was an extremely private person, and as much as she loved my father, I don’t know a lot about their early days together. I never had the nerve to ask, because my dad passed away when I was only eight years old. And even though I was an adult in my fifties’ with a teenage daughter when my mom left us, I had never asked her much about her wedding, because I knew the memories would make her cry. Because of all the special times she never got to share with the only man she ever loved.

And although I don’t totally know all of their story, I want to share some of what I know, and some of what I can only imagine.

My mom fell in love with my dad the first time she saw him in high school. I can imagine them laughing together after school, and him coming over to see her at my grandfather’s farm. I’m sure they spent a lot of time together on that big front porch, and rocking in that old porch swing I wish we still had! Times were different in the 1930’s, and I can imagine that my grandfather kept a close eye on the young man who was “courting” his daughter.

I’m sure when my dad left for college, my mom was unbelievably lonesome for him. She went to college at a school close to home, but he attended college in Williamsburg, which back then was a long way from their homes! Although I’m sure they wrote letters back and forth to each other a lot, since phone calls were so expensive, one of the regrets I have is that I never found any of their letters to each other, and my mother kept almost EVERYTHING. What a treasure that would have been!

It must have felt like an eternity for them until college graduation happened. And my mom and dad were finally able to start seeing each other regularly again, in between her teaching school and my dad working as a salesman for his uncle. Obviously, they both knew they were meant to be together. And like every young girl totally in love, she dreamed of her wedding day!

On Christmas Eve, 1937, my dad brought her Christmas present over. She was expecting (and hoping for) a ring. And I can only imagine the disappointment on her face and in her heart when my dad handed her this big box, beautifully wrapped I’m sure, that was her gift. My mom being the lady she was, opened it, and tried not to show her disappointment when she saw it was a hand-crocheted pillow with the initial “C” on it. (Since her name started with an “L” she should’ve known something else was coming, but…) Evidently her disappointment really showed when she told my dad how much she liked it, and he asked her what was wrong (smiling to himself, I’m sure). And then he pulled out the REAL gift! And that ring was…and still is…beautiful! Because I have it now (and the pillow)!

Knowing my dad, and the times they lived in, I’m sure he’d already talked to my grandfather and had his permission. And he’d probably been a lot more nervous asking him than our future son-in-law was when he talked to Ashley’s dad! So now they were officially engaged! And here’s the young bride to be!

From that evening until their wedding six months later, I’m sure all my mom did was count the days until she was a bride. Her two brothers and her older sister were already married, and I’m sure she’d dreamed of her wedding day since the day she first saw my dad.

Weddings in that era were usually quite simple and for the most part, included only family members, and maybe a few close friends. Being a farming community, money was tight, and wedding expenses were kept at a minimum. A few flowers, a wedding cake, and food made by family and friends, and that was basically it. Sometimes there was another couple standing up with the bride and groom, and sometimes there wasn’t. And even more unfortunate, there were very few wedding photographers to memorialize the day. I’m happy to have the one picture!

Mom and Dad had a small, simple wedding, but nonetheless perfect for them. I do know a few bits and pieces, but here is where my dreams step in, as I imagine her on her wedding day as a young woman of 25, the same age as my own daughter….

My mom was an excellent seamstress, and most likely she made her wedding gown, sewing every stitch carefully because it was the most important dress she’d ever make. (I so wish it had been better preserved.) She wanted to look absolutely perfect when she stepped down the stairs to meet her husband-to-be.

I’m sure she woke up that warm and sunny morning quite early, because she was so excited. Downstairs, her mom, and probably some other relatives, were already preparing food for after the ceremony. I’ve never found a picture of their wedding cake, but I can imagine that someone in the family, most likely her sister-in-law Ruth, who was an excellent cook and seamstress, made it herself as a gift for them.

As the bride-to-be, I can imagine my mom sitting in front of her vanity mirror, carefully arranging her hair and putting on just a touch of makeup. Her hands probably shook a bit, and even though I never remember my mother wearing nail polish, I can see her applying it for that day. After all, her engagement ring was about to receive its mate!

The wedding was set for early afternoon, at my grandparents’ house. Her older sister Mary was there, wearing a light blue dress, and would hold her bouquet for her during the ceremony. Although she would have been called the Matron of Honor today, back then she was just there standing with her sister, and most likely her husband was standing with my dad.

How I would love to have heard the conversation between the two sisters that morning! It’s hard to imagine my mom as the young woman she once was, and I’m sure she was just as nervous and scared and excited as brides are today. I can also imagine their younger sister, who would have only been 13 at the time, rushing into the room and wanting to be a part of the action as well. And most likely being shooed away because they had important things to discuss that she was too young to hear!

As she put on her wedding gown, and her sister helped her zip it up, I can picture her turning to the mirror and watching as her veil was attached, and wondering who that woman in the mirror was. She was becoming a different person…no longer a single lady, but now a WIFE! Wondering what changes that would bring…

Rachel and Clay were married in the living room of her childhood home. Everyone was standing, because there wasn’t a lot of room for extra chairs, and she had a large family, who were all in attendance. I can picture her walking down the stairs on my grandfather’s arm, dressed in his best Sunday suit, nervous but smiling, my mom with her veil over her face, and carrying a huge bouquet of roses, as was the style for brides at that time. All she could see was my dad’s face. And as she walked down the stairs, all he could see was her.

And they were married. No fanfare, no row of bridesmaids or groomsmen. No sit-down dinner with champagne toasts and dancing. No elaborate decorations. Just a simple ceremony, cake cutting and pure happiness. A dream come true for a young bride and groom. A brief honeymoon, and then on to start their life together.

Mom and Dad Young

And yes, until his premature passing a brief twenty years later, they did live happily ever after.

Photo Sources: Personal files


What Are You Going to Carry?

This is another part of the wedding that has so many different facets. Almost every bride has a bouquet of some sort. Usually it’s flowers, but today, it can be a myriad of different styles and textures; some brides carry silk flowers as opposed to fresh, since they’re easier to preserve.

Most brides today however, still prefer fresh flowers in colors that complement their bridesmaids’ dresses, or a striking bouquet that is the perfect accent for their wedding gown.

My mother’s bouquet consisted of an array of roses, her favorite flower, with a sprinkling of lilies of the valley. It suited her perfectly.

Bouquet styles range from the traditional round bouquets to the pageant styles which feature long stemmed flowers that are carried on the side, cradled in the bride’s arms, and allow her dress to be better shown off.

Cascade bouquets are also very popular, with flowers that flow down towards the floor, making an elegant statement as she walks down the aisle. These bouquets are carefully designed to coordinate with the dress, so as not to hide the beautiful details behind the flowers, or to dwarf the bride.

Nosegay bouquets are smaller and usually round, perfect for bridesmaids as well as the bride.

There’s also a pomander style, also sometimes called a kissing ball, which is a ball of tightly arranged flowers tied with decorative ribbon. Although carried by a flower girl, brides can carry these as well, and they can also be hung throughout the ceremony and reception for floral decor.

Some brides carry one or two large flowers with the appropriate ribbons, which makes a huge dramatic statement. Or they may elect to carry a few long stemmed flowers, often roses, and which some brides elect to give a flower to the mothers/grandmothers as they walk down the aisle.

Our daughter has decided on a combination style bouquet with one large tropical statement flower surrounded by other smaller tropicals. It’s going to be beautiful!

Brides have also been known to wear their flowers on their arm, similar to corsages, only bigger. That way, they can easily carry their flowers with them as the greet their guests at the reception 

Some carry bouquets made with colorful feathers as well as flowers. Perhaps even with strings of beads woven through it and cascading down.

Other brides elect to use brooch bouquets, made entirely from jewelry pieces, many of which are pieces handed down from family members. Such bouquets are spectacularly beautiful, but a bit heavier than the traditional flowers. (Maybe they’re actually designed to keep the groom in line during the wedding day festivities, since they’d hurt quite a bit if the bride had to use that bouquet to keep her new husband in line!)

Some years ago brides carried family Bibles with a few flowers on top, and some still do. Today’s brides may also choose to carry a special book that has a special meaning to the two as a couple. It could be a diary of their dating history that was compiled by them both; perhaps even a fancy scrapbook of their lives. 

Bouquets are usually designed by the florist based on the bride’s height, as well as the style of dress, so that it doesn’t overpower her or her gown on the wedding day. Usually when visiting the florist our brides are given a number of sample bouquets to hold to determine which style and size they prefer before actually selecting their actual flowers.

And after the wedding, what do you use for the traditional bouquet toss? Today’s brides are more reluctant to toss an expensive bouquet, preferring to preserve it rather than leave it behind, since so much thought was put into selecting it. And the brooch bouquet was definitely not meant to be tossed!

Most of our brides have elected to use a toss bouquet which is smaller and made from flowers similar to their bouquets. I’ve also made several of their toss bouquets myself using silk flowers which provide yet another memento of their special day.

Bouquets are as individual as the bride herself. They’re another fun and creative part of the wedding planning. And remember, you can have what you want within your budget, because it’s your wedding!

And as an update to this post, here’s what our daughter carried! It was amazing and just perfect for her! And note the charm on the bottom which is a picture of her with her grandmother.

In Search of the Perfect Flavor

There are so many different styles and types and flavors of wedding cakes being used today….where do you start?

Traditionally a lot of couples still use the traditional almond flavoring, but trending today….anything goes. Just like the styles of cakes. It’s hard to say what you’ll find at any wedding you attend!

One of the most favorite parts of wedding planning for most couples, and for wedding planners, is making sure the food is perfect for the bridal couple as well as the guests.

And the most important part in that is making sure the wedding cake is exactly what the bride and groom envision…both in style and design AND flavor! Most of the couples we’ve worked with, including my daughter and future son-in-law were adamant about the flavor!

And how to be sure you’re going to like it can’t be assured unless you go cake tasting! It’s a tough job, but someone has to do it, as the saying goes!

Not only do the style and design and colors on the cake have to be perfect, but it has to taste good as well! We’ve all attended those wedding in which the cake itself was beautiful, and placed on a perfect cake stand, but it was dry, too dense, the icing wasn’t good, or similar problems. It made for great pictures, but half eaten plates left at the reception tables aren’t what you want.

When Ben and I got married we asked our bake shop to make our cake chocolate, with white icing, of course. But as we cut into in, I found myself whispering “It’s not chocolate!” But that was a number of years ago!

Now wedding cakes are available in a range of different flavors, from the always popular almond to vanilla, strawberry, chocolate, key lime, hazelnut, mocha, and everything in between!

You can also add your choice of flavored fillings in between the layers, and can even use different flavors in between each layer.

So cake tasting is very important. And in most cases, even the groom comes along. After all, who can resist sampling all those goodies? And sometimes you’re actually “forced” to try out three or four different cake designers, just to be sure you have the right one! Cake tastings are not exactly what you’d think, because the bakeries usually use cupcakes in different flavors for the bride and other attendees to sample. One bakery we visited had an array of “fake” cakes to show us different styles they’d done over the years.You can also add your choice of flavored fillings in between the layers, and can even use different flavors in between each layer.

You can also add your choice of flavored fillings in between the layers, and can even use different flavors in between each layer.

One of our brides wanted cake pops rather than the traditional wedding cake. Sure, they planned to have a small one layer cake on display to cut and serve each other, but the main dessert was to be cake pops!

And not just any cake pops. She wanted cheesecake cake pops! Raspberry flavored cheesecake cake pops. Which most bakers didn’t do because of the difficulty of storage as well as getting the proper consistency.  But we found someone who said she could do it. And proceeded to set up a tasting.

And she did a great job! She suggested we not do all raspberry since there are people (our daughter who was a bridesmaid being one of them!) who actually didn’t like raspberry. Personally it’s one of my favorites!

And the cake pops were delicious, and we decided on were a combo of vanilla and raspberry. They were quite popular at the wedding, and the display was beautiful! They even added a small one layer cake that they could cut and feed each other, to keep within the age-old tradition!

Funny thing…I brought several of the pops home from the tasting and left them in the fridge for my husband and daughter to try. I hadn’t had a chance to tell her the purple ones were raspberry, and later she called me and told me how delicious those purple ones were! Go figure!

The cake tastings for Ashley and Chris were fun as well, even though the groom was out of town so her matron of honor had to fill in for him. All Chris cared about was that it was almond flavored!

Brides and grooms are also changing what they have for their cake, like our bridal couple did with the cake pops. Couples are now electing to serve cupcakes, usually in a tiered display: cookie cakes; or donuts as one couple recently did; from their favorite doughnut shop of course.

One couple even decided to have a selection of various pies, since neither of them liked cake. Another made the pies into a “cake”.

Then there’s the couple who opted for a wedding cake made from rounds of cheese accented with fresh figs and grapes, since their wedding was held at a winery!

Or there’s also ice cream cakes….

Then there’s also the “naked” wedding cake, for the couple who doesn’t like frosting. Personally I don’t understand that, but that’s not my decision

Actually it’s what the bride and groom want, because after all, it’s your wedding! You deserve to have all aspects of it perfect! And delicious….

And as an update to this blog, here’s the cake Ashley and her new husband had at their wedding. And it was delicious as well as beautiful!

P.S. Note the little fish tail at the back of the cake…just for Chris!

We Knew You’d Be Here Somehow

There’s this framed saying that we’ve seen at a lot of weddings recently. “We knew you’d be here…if heaven weren’t so far away.”pinterest

For a lot of brides and grooms, this brings some very bittersweet memories. Your wedding day is said to be one of the happiest days of your life. You want to share your happiness with everyone you love. But what happens when you’re missing loved ones because they’re no longer here?

While our blogs so far have all been light and humorous, and somewhat tongue in cheek, this one is going to take a different direction, so be forewarned. But please bear with me as I write, because this is something that is very close and dear to my heart, because I was one of those brides missing very special loved ones at my own wedding.

Every little girl dreams of the day her dad will walk her down the aisle to her waiting groom. It’s tradition, and something every dad looks forward to with mixed emotions. In my case, that was impossible, because my dad died when I was only 8 years old. I never had even the opportunity to dream about it. My uncle, who was married to my mom’s youngest sister, stepped in and tried to fill my dad’s shoes as best he could during the intervening years. But unfortunately he died ten days before Ben and I were to be married, which of course necessitated our changing our wedding date. And my cousin walked me down the aisle instead.

If I had it to do over, I would’ve asked my mother to do it.

Last week my husband and I went to visit the venue where our daughter Ashley and her fiancé Chris will be married next year so that we could get a good look at the set up for planning purposes. All of a sudden, emotions just hit me. You see, not only did it bring back memories of not having my dad to walk me down the aisle, all of a sudden it hit me that my mother, who died seven years ago, and who absolutely adored our daughter more than anything in the world, wouldn’t be there either. And suddenly I got very emotional and very sad. Not because our daughter was marrying the man of her dreams next year, but because my mother wouldn’t be there to see her only grandchild on her wedding day.

This is when all of the memorials to family members we see on line really hit home. We coordinated a wedding for our daughter’s best friend Shadoe last year, and she gave us a number of pictures of her and her fiancé’s families to frame and set up on a memorial table next to the arch where they would say their vows. And one of those missing family members was Shadoe’s dad. Talk about an array of emotions for this wedding planner….1378467_10201558323712875_1102083655_n

And because her dad wasn’t there, there was no father-daughter dance. But there WAS a mother-daughter dance that she even surprised me with! And as she and her mom danced to “I Hope You Dance”, I must say the tears were coming to my eyes!

Today, as couples wait a bit longer before they get married, there are a lot more loved ones absent from wedding day festivities. How I envy the pictures I see online about the grandmothers being flower girls, and even being included as bridesmaids! If only my daughter could have that luxury, but both of her grandmothers are no longer here.

There are a lot of options for brides and grooms to honor those who are gone but would have been included in their special day. The important thing to remember is, this is YOUR day, and if you choose to honor and include those lost loved ones, then do it! It’s not sad. It’s not putting a damper on a happy day. It’s YOUR wedding! It doesn’t take away from the happiness of the occasion. It brings family together at a time when family should be together.

Whether you choose to light a candle in someone’s honor, set up a display of family photos, put a picture on an otherwise empty chair, put pictures on a locket on your bouquet, include a family recipe at the reception, or any number of other special memorials, you need to do what’s meaningful for you and your fiancé!

As I look forward to Ashley and Chris’s wedding, I know they will decide to especially honor our missing family members. Chris unfortunately never met any of them, and Ashley only had the privilege of knowing my mother well, and meeting her dad’s father only once. But weddings are for family and friends, and I know this one will be special.

If you’re a bride or groom who’s missing some special people and want to include them somehow…do it. There’s no right or wrong way. It’s Your Wedding.

And we know they’d be here. If heaven weren’t so far away!etsy

Photo Sources: 1st Row: via pinterest – 2nd Row: personal files – 3rd Row: personal files – 4th Row: source unknown; – 5th Row:;;;;;;; via pinterest; 6th Row: via etsy

You May Now Bark at the Bride!

After the flamingos hired us to do their wedding, word must have gotten around. Now we were approached by this wonderful canine duo who wanted a small but special wedding for family and a few close friends.

Rusty and Samantha met at doggie day care. Even though Sam is an older woman (by a year), Rusty was instantly smitten. And how could he resist those big brown eyes and soft golden hair?!chickensmoothie com

Obviously it was love at first sight! Rusty came home that night and informed his mom Ashley that he’d met “the one”! He couldn’t stop dancing around the room and wagging his tail!

From that day on, Rusty and Sam were inseparable. He taught her to play ball; she taught him the correct way to bond with cats without getting his nose scratched! He taught her how to swim (even though she was a bit scared of the pool at first, he gradually coaxed her down the steps and into the water). They even went to one of the local parks and went down the slide! The result – two Golden Retrievers who could swim together, play ball in the pool, and go on all kinds of adventures!

They had a lot of fun dates together, and one of their favorites, of course, was going out for ice cream together. They had no trouble sharing the same bowl, and didn’t argue about who had more! And since Ashley paid for it, that was even better! Rusty and Sam Ice Cream Date

It wasn’t long before Rusty made the decision that he just had to propose to his lady love; he just didn’t know when to do it, or how she’d react! He thought about a Christmas engagement, but decided Valentine’s Day was much more appropriate.

So he planned the perfect evening. With the help of his mom, he selected a gorgeous ring, and even bought flowers and special Valentine treats for them to enjoy. He was a bit nervous, but when Sam’s mom dropped her off at Rusty’s house, he KNEW as soon as he saw her it would be a perfect evening! And it was!

But yes, he was more nervous as the time grew closer to “pop the question”! What if she said no? What if she didn’t like the ring? What if he dropped it and couldn’t find it? Poor Rusty….he was really starting to get to be a mess.

But then he remembered his mom had told him everything would be fine, after all, when Chris had proposed to her, he was a bit nervous, and even dropped the ring, but everything had turned out great. So why should he worry!?

Arf, arf……

But after dinner he got his nerve up, put the ring on his nose like he’d planned, and, well, the rest is history….of course she said yes! And she proudly wore the ring, and showed it off every chance she got!

Of course, planning a wedding for two golden retrievers was, well interesting, to say the least, because they really had their own ideas of what they wanted. Rusty and Sam’s moms suggested a double wedding for when Rusty’s mom Ashley and her fiancé Chris got married, but that idea was quickly vetoed. They wanted their own day! And who can blame them?

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They wanted something simple but pretty. The other dogs from day care as their wedding guests. And of course, their doggie parents and grandparents and Rusty’s favorite vet!day care guests

They selected the friends they wanted to be in the wedding, and chose their flowers, but then…where to hold the ceremony? It had to be just right. Something that reflected their personalities!

Well, where else but beside Rusty’s pool in his mommy’s back yard! Complete with rubber ducks, of course! Then they could always jump in and take a swim during the reception if they felt like it! Needless to say, the swimming wasn’t an idea that Rusty’s grandparents were overjoyed about, but anyway…..they wanted everyone to be happy!

So the big day arrived. It was beautiful and warm and sunny. A perfect day around the pool for a wedding. All of their friends couldn’t wait! They were so excited!

The wedding party was perfect. The best man and groomsman were perfectly dressed in their bow ties, and the ring dog, well, he performed his duties impeccably! He didn’t even drop the rings!

The maid of honor and bridesmaids and flower dog…well, what can we say…

However, as always, the bride and groom were absolutely beautiful… can you say that about the groom? Well, let’s make that handsome! Although Sam did make him change his tie after the ceremony. And lose the hat!

And of course, no wedding is complete without the perfect wedding cake. And this one certainly suited Rusty and Sam perfectly!

It was an absolutely perfect day, and after the reception, and a send off of bubbles, Rusty and Sam drove away for a romantic honeymoon in the Outer Barks.golden_retriever_put_out_the_tongue_bubbles

Their photographer also presented them with a lovely photo album of their special day!

And after all the fun and festivities, well, a lot of their friends got ideas of weddings as well that day! And we got to plan their weddings, too!

NOTE: Even though not all of these pictures are actually Rusty and Sam themselves, Rusty and Sam are actually a real doggie couple who are totally devoted to each other and are really sort of engaged! And you know how we just adore love stories….

Photo Sources: 1st Row: – 2nd Row: personal files – 3rd Row: personal files – 4th Row:; source unknown – 5th Row:; 6th Row: personal files – Amanda Hedgepeth Photography – 7th Row: source unknown – 8th Row: personal files – 9th Row: source unknown;; source unknown;; source unknown; source unknown – 10th Row: via pinterest; via pinterest; via pinterest; threegreenleavesphotography; via pinterest; source unknown; source unknown – 11th Row: –12th Row: thecleverlittlecupcakecompany – 13th Row: source unknown – 14th Row: – 15th Row:;;;; source unknown;;

What Do You Want Thrown at You?

It’s tradition. As the happy couple exits the reception, or even sometimes as they exit the church after the ceremony and head to the reception, everyone gets the opportunity to throw something at them. Or shall we say, toss something over them. Something lightweight that won’t HURT them that is!smanthascottevents

Where did that tradition start, anyway? Well, in earlier times the throwing of rice over the newlywed couple symbolized fertility and prosperity. In fact in some countries, dates or figs are still tossed at the departing couple. However, I’d really hate to be hit in the head or face with dates or figs! They can hurt, not to mention what they could do to that pretty white dress!

When my husband and I were married, it was still rice. And sometimes when that rice hits you just right, it can sting! And I can tell you, it took weeks to get all the rice out of our car, because one of our guests decided it would be really fun to throw a whole big handful at us as we got in the car. In fact, when we finally sold it, there was probably still some rice in there hiding between the seats!

But rumors started many years ago that rice tends to expand in the tummies of the birds that eat it afterwards, making them sick or even causing them to die, and rice became no longer acceptable. Truth is, birds eat rice in the wild all the time, and we’ve never seen any exploding birds. Birdseed or sunflower seeds have since replaced it at a lot of weddings, and I’m sure the birds are more than happy about that! They still get a great dinner, just like the wedding guests! It’s your basic win-win situation! Normally the birdseed is wrapped in little tulle bags that can easily be opened to toss the contents…please don’t throw the bag itself like I’ve seen some guests do as a joke! It sort of hurts!

But today, many couples are opting for other items to be tossed over their heads, or even having certain things waved at them as they leave! It’s all up to how creative they want to be!

For military weddings, the arch of swords/sabers is normally used as the couple leaves the ceremony, and we love that tradition! We hope all of you military couples who are eligible to participate in it take advantage of the pageantry, because it has such special meaning! (And don’t forget the cake cutting with the sword that is also used!)

There are a lot of other getaway ideas that are being used today, that are really fun, and innovative! The possibilities are endless, and so much more fun when tied into the theme of the wedding. (Except when you get to the clean up, but then again, you’re definitely going to have someone ELSE do that!)milbodas net

Bear in mind that many venues have rules as to what can be thrown due to safety reasons. Even though bubbles are quite popular with brides and grooms, and are actually inexpensive (and make for a great photo op), bubbles have a tendency to “pop” sometimes in places that will make the floor quite slippery, especially if it’s a wooden deck or a tiled floor. And no one wants the responsibility of someone slipping on bubbly soap residue! Outside on concrete or grass, or on the beach, is a different story! However, watch out for your dress, because some of that bubble mixture can also stain those delicate fabrics!

Flower petals or lavender have become very popular as well. Silk flower petals are pretty, but have you ever tried to toss silk rose petals? Doesn’t work too well. So you need real ones, which will need to be used no later than the day you pick them up, because as they age, they have a tendency to turn brown. Plus they can be slippery on certain surfaces. Lavender also works well, and has a nice aroma to it. And you can put them in such adorable containers! Some couples have even used colorful fall leaves for an autumn wedding. But just be careful what kind you use, because you want them to land on the newlyweds, and not on the people around you!

How about using confetti? Either paper confetti, or some of the bright, colorful mylar pre-packaged confetti you buy at the party or craft stores? Or even sequins! However, talk about being hard to get out of your hair, or your veil, or your clothes! That stuff just likes to stay everywhere! Again, be sure to check with your venue, because you’re going to have to have someone to clean it up really well! I remember one New Year’s Eve party at our house when my brilliant husband decided to toss two huge trash bags of paper punch confetti he’d been collecting for the past year. He almost wore out our vacuum cleaner the next couple of days! (Notice I said HE!) And for several years we were still finding little pieces of it hidden behind furniture!

You can also use any number of different shaped paper punches and scrapbook paper or vellum to make your own confetti in any number of little shapes! (We really like the idea of snowflakes for a winter wedding!) But again, the clean up can be rather interesting!

And you don’t have to just toss the confetti as the couple is leaving. This couple had it all totally dumped on them as soon as they were pronounced husband and wife! Wonder how long it took to get it out of her hair!pocketfulofdreams co uk confetti release

Pinwheels and ribbon streamers are a novel touch to wave at the couple as they depart, and they can also be used for favors! Little bells or even your choice of miniature musical instruments can be used as the couple either leaves the ceremony or the reception. Again, great wedding favors, and no clean up!

For a beach wedding, we really do like the idea of tossing little miniature beach balls, either in the wedding theme colors, or even printed with the couple’s name and wedding date on it. But beware, do NOT let the kids get their hands on these and start a beach ball fight at the reception! That could be, well, a bit tricky, shall we say! Use them as the bride and groom leave the reception. And then, even better, the kids will probably do the clean up for you, because they’ll enjoy their new toys!

We’ve even found this idea of hanging piñatas around and breaking them over the couple as they exit! The piñatas make great décor, and you never know what could be in them! Confetti (most likely), candy, who knows!confetisystelm-via-tumbler-pinata-breakaway

And sparklers are really popular now, and the pictures some photographers have taken with the sparkler exits have been absolutely amazing! However, there are also some venues that will not allow sparklers to be used because of the potential for fire. Plus, you do need to make sure that everyone who has their hands on a sparkler is well, shall we say, un-intoxicated enough to be trusted with them! You certainly don’t need singed hair or burned clothing!

We would, however, caution against a couple of things. Silly string, while fun at a birthday party or even a bachelor or bachelorette party, should be a big NO at your wedding. Not only can it get all over your wedding gown, it can also potentially stain your guests’ clothes, as well as those rented tuxes! Not a good idea! And we also found this idea of shooting a cork “gun” as the happy couple goes by for a western theme wedding. However, we honestly don’t think this is a great idea either! How about you!?

As a final suggestion though, has anyone thought about tossing money? Not coins, please, because that could really hurt! But a bunch of fives or tens, well…that would be a great thing to try….make them into paper airplanes, even? Hmmm….on second thought, that could really start a bit of a mad dash to grab the cash, so, let’s stick to some of these other ideas and give the happy couple their money in the form of checks or gift cards!

However, it’s YOUR wedding….we’re just there to plan and make sure everything goes the way you want it!

Photo Sources: 1st Row: – 2nd Row: emgpublicatios.wordpress; – 3rd Row: source unknown; source unknown; 4th Row:;; – 5th Row: 6th Row:; – 7th Row: blog.glendaloughman.or; bp.blogspot;;; – 8th Row:;; icingdesignonline.blogspot; – 9th Row:; via etsy; – 10th Row: – 11th Row:;; –12th Row: koruwedding.blogspot; – 13th Row: confetisystelm via tumblr – 14th Row:;; bp.bogspot;;;studiotran – 15th Row: masterpieceweddings.blogspot;

Don’t Forget Your Toes

Almost every bride we know has her nails done especially beautiful for her wedding day. That left hand is going to be wearing a very important new ring, and she wants to be sure her hands look perfect!tishs nails pinterest

Remember back when you first got your engagement ring? You had to make sure your nails were always looking their absolute best! You wanted to show everyone in the world your new ring, and your manicure had to be in tip top shape! You found yourself talking more with your hands, especially the left one, and even giving change back to customers with your left hand, even though you’re right-handed and it took a bit getting used to! And if someone didn’t notice the rock on your ring finger, well, you made sure that it was somehow right in front of their face!ering

So of course, on your wedding day, once he puts that new ring on your hand, you’re going to be doing the same thing! Right?

Now granted, when you were picking out all of those manicure styles after you got your engagement ring, you probably went a little crazy at times, didn’t you? Like some of these?

And we know you didn’t go THIS crazy! No one would even notice the ring! (Someone please tell me that these are just models and that no one would really do this….)

But your wedding day nails…that’s a whole different story. And I’m sure you’re going to try several different nail salons and styles to be sure you get exactly what you want. The last thing you need is for someone to do your nails and you not like them and not have enough time to get them changed. And whatever you do, be careful with them. We advise having them done the morning before the day of the wedding so you’ll have enough time to get them re-done if they’re not right, and if by some chance a problem develops, you can get an emergency repair! Just be sure to tell the salon what’s going on in case you need help from a nail technician that day!

Of course, it’s easier to make those emergency repairs if you don’t go with styles like this. Which are beautiful, but they sort of detract from those beautiful new rings! And the chances of messing them up are a lot greater. Plus, the next day, after all the festivities are over, well, you may have to have them re-done before going on your honeymoon. And who wants to have to do that when all you want to do is get away with your new husband and relax!

Now when you’re in this process, there’s something else to remember. Chances are you’ll remember, especially if you’re having a summer wedding. But if you aren’t, here’s your reminder!


This goes not only for you, but also for your bridesmaids! After all, their feet deserve a little pampering as well. And chances are, they’re going to be wearing short dresses, so their feet are really going to show!

More than likely you’re going to be wearing some type of open toe shoes whether you’re a spring/summer bride, or even a fall or winter bride. We had this discussion earlier, remember? So those little toes are going to be peeking out of those beautiful shoes! And they have to be looking their best as well!

And if you’re a beach bride, and especially if you’re getting married on the beach itself, well you’re probably either going to be in flip flops or barefoot! And you KNOW your toes are going to show, and they have to be at their very best of perfection as well!

Maybe you’re thinking, “but my feet are ugly” or “but my bridesmaids’ feet are ugly!” Guess what. There’s no such thing as ugly feet when you’ve had your pedicures and it’s your wedding day!

Hurting feet after being on them all day in new shoes, as we mentioned in another blog, but not ugly! And they’re certainly going to deserve another pedicure after all the festivities are over, or at least a good long warm soak and foot massage…and you can talk to your new husband about that!prestonwynne com

Just don’t try to talk HIM into having a pedicure before the wedding, even if you’re all going to be on the beach in flip flops! We really, REALLY don’t think that’s going to happen! Or if it does, he’s not going to tell you! Or his friends! (Unless they go with him and don’t take their cameras! Trust me, these pictures were staged!)

Of course, there’s always the honeymoon, and I bet he’d be a lot more receptive to going with you then to have a pedi than before the wedding, because no one will know him wherever you’re going!

Photo Sources: 1st Row: via pinterest – 2nd Row: source unknown – 3rd Row:;; 4th Row:; – 5th Row: via pinterest; via pinterest; via pinterest;;;;;;; – 6th Row:; via pinterest; – 7th Row:; – 8th Row:; – 9th Row:; via pinterest – 10th Row: weddingshoesblog;;; madamebazaar via tumblr – 11th Row: –12th;;

Can’t I Just Plan It on Pinterest?

Pinterest is one of our favorite sites! We can actually get lost on there for hours. It’s addicting. One pin or one board leads to another, and before you know it, well, let’s just say you’ve added a lot of pins to a lot of different boards! And thank goodness for that feature they added that tells you if you’ve already pinned that picture, because I used to find myself pinning the same thing three or four times on the same board! Guess I really liked it, huh?main-pinterest-board

Almost every bride has her own wedding dream board, or boards, that she uses to save all of her ideas. Sometimes she started the boards before she even had a ring! Or in some cases, before she was even dating anyone! Well, a girl can never be too prepared!

Thank goodness they added that secret board option, and now they even have an unlimited number of secret boards rather than just three! You can pin all the wedding dresses you like, and your fiancé won’t be able to snoop around on your board and see any of them! (Assuming he’s on Pinterest!) They’re making it all too easy for us to get lost on there.

And yes, you can certainly use Pinterest as a planning tool. In fact, we even encourage it. We certainly have our share of wedding boards on Pinterest! But there’s one very important thing to remember. Not all of the great ideas you see on there are as easy to do as you think. Or as affordable. Using some of those ideas can easily add another $3,000-5,000 on to the cost of your wedding by the time you’re finished! inspired ecard

How can that be? Easy. Most of those pictures on Pinterest are professional photos, not photos taken by family and friends. The cute DIY favors and table decorations are really gorgeous, but when you start to make them, they don’t always look like the picture! Unless you have a really crafty friend to help you. (Fortunately, we have a number of talented and crafty people who can put together some amazing decorations.) And you can find yourself spending a lot more money than you’d planned, unless you have a lot of those “40% off one item” or “25% off your entire purchase today only” craft store coupons, and several friends to go shopping with you with extra coupons!board-a-reality

You can sometimes go wild with ideas on Pinterest, and decide on an over-abundance of things that you just HAVE to have, and when you start putting it all together for that day, well, there’s sometimes not enough room on the tables for the food! Or you can’t see around the centerpieces to the people across the table from you. Or you decide you like two or three different styles of decor, but unless you know what you’re doing, it can look like two or three different styles that don’t look right together! Or you may fall in love with a certain style of bouquet and decide to make it yourself, but when you’re done, it doesn’t look right with your dress, or it’s too big or too small for you, and it just looks wrong! Then you’re scrambling at the last minute to find someone to help you out!wedding-ideas-board

And all those photo ideas….there are some really great ones, but please don’t pick out 20-30 poses you just HAVE to have, and give them to your photographer. Five or six, yes, but discuss with him/her what your ideas are and let the professional decide what to shoot. He/she most likely has ideas just for you and your fiancé that are perfect for the two of you and no one else! You hired the photographer because you trusted their work and their creativity. Let them do their thing!

One other very important point. Someone has to be available to place all your decorations around the venue, as well as collect them afterwards, and let’s face it. You certainly aren’t going to have time to be doing that, and neither are your attendants, or your family! You have other things to do that day!

Bottom line, if you’re a DIY bride, or a Pinterest bride, that’s fine, but make sure you have someone trustworthy to help you that knows how to put everything together. (Like a wedding planner!) Your friends may tell you they can put all the decorations out for you, but what happens when they forget something, or don’t get to your venue in time? Or even worse, are too sick from the night before to be able to do what they’re supposed to do! It may look easy when you’re pinning all those things you just HAVE to have, but trust me, when you start trying to put everything together, unless you’re really creative and organized, you’re going to get overwhelmed and miss some important details! And your wedding day is NOT the day to have that happen!wedding-planner

Remember…it’s your wedding! You want it right. And we’re ready to help you make your day as special as you are!planning

And be sure to follow us on Pinterest!