We’re baaaack!!!

We made it!  We’re back!  Back in the good ‘ole US of A.  What an awesome experience.  I still can’t even believe I was there in Switzerland gazing up at the Swiss Alps.  Thouse mountians are incredible…. I mean, really incredible.  It felt like if we just reached out far enough we would touch the canvas of a painting.  They just didn’t seem real.  And, unfortunatly, pictures do NOT do them justice.

The view from Murren, Swtizerland

I mean, look at that!!  Crazy, right?!  Murren is the little car-less village where my bride and groom tied the knot. 

At 5,361 ft above sea level, it’s an understatement to say we were high up!

The air up there was so crisp and fresh!  For a Carolina girl who’s used to living at sea level it was definitly an experience!  haha!
Unfortunatly, I didn’t get any Julie Andrews-type pictures, but I did get a few of these:

Thumbs up!  =P
I should have been an actress
I can thank my friend Lindsay for starting this picture trend! 

Now, there was one “minor” casualty during our trip… my beloved flat iron… =(   Europe and their darn 220v system…  Poor thing just couldn’t handle it.  Let’s just say our hotel room smelled like burnt plastic for a good portion of the day…. Yes, I had a converter and adapter… Yes, it said it was specifically for heating appliances… no, I have no idea how or why it happend…

View from the cable car (that’s how we got up and down the mountain)

I cannot wait to share the pictures from the wedding!!  Those photographers were amazing!!  I hope that one day I’ll be able to work with them again… maybe next time I can plan a destination wedding in France or Italy!  Ciao bella!

the hills are alive, with the sound of music….

For those who hadn’t heard, Premier Party Planners is going international!  Yup, that’s right – our international destination wedding is about a week away!  We are so excited for this trip!  And even though, I haven’t seen ‘The Sound of Music’ in yeeeeeaaarrsss (I might not have ever seen the movie from start to finish, actually…) the words of Julie Andrews are stuck in my head… naturally, with with our upcoming trip to Switzerland, I feel like I must watch it and be ready to re-inact the iconic image of ‘Maria’ running through the hills of Switzerland

Most folks who didn’t grow up under a rock or were born before 1990 are familiar with this image

Be prepared for something simliar from me, yet less creepy than this dude –

horizontally challenged random dude… I’d retire that shirt if I were you…

We will be flying out of RDU on Wednesday, Sep. 7th and will arrive in Zurich the next day.  We will then board a train and travel 2hrs south to the middle of the Swiss Alps to the town of Lauterbrunnen.  Once we arrive there, we will then have to take a cable car up to the small village where our bride & groom will officially tie the knot.  This romantic, medieval village does not allow any cars!   
The ceremony will take place on Saturday and will be an outdoor event on the terrace of our hotel with beautiful views of the Swiss alps.  *sign* sooo romantic!  I can’t wait to show you pictures!

Dress Shopping – part deux

So as you all may know, my parents came up this past weekend with the goal of purchasing my wedding dress.  Up until this visit I had been periodically checking out different bridal stores around the Raleigh area (“part une”). My mom had asked that I look around before her visit – that way I’d have a few of my favorites for her to check out and then we’d make a decision. Quick and easy… or so I thought!  Our “quick and easy” quickly evolved into “let’s exhaust allllll your dress options in Wake County”… She wanted us to go to the bridal mart in Burlington AND the bridal mart in Smithfield AND David’s AND all the other salons here in Raleigh… I was exhausted just thinking of all the driving we’d be doing!  (aren’t they tired of driving?  Didn’t they JUST drive 11 hrs from Florida?!!)

Thursday came, mom and dad arrived without a glitch.  We met up with the sales woman at the reception location and checked out some linen options, had dinner and called it a night.  Luckily, I was able to talk Mom out of going to Smithfield in exchange for us going to another store that sold the Maggie Sottero line (we had found a few different Maggie dresses that we both really liked!)  So we started our search in Cary at the Bridal Boutique of NC.  I would highly recommend this store to any dress-shopping bride!  They have a large selection, huge salon with lots of room for trying on dresses and comfy couches for dad’s to sit on.  J  I ended up finding two dresses at the Bridal Boutique that we loved!  After we left, we went over to Lana Addison (also in Cary) and tried on three more dresses.  None were a hit.  Not to my surprise, Mom did not like the original dress I had found a few weeks ago…. Sometimes our taste lines up… other times not at all.  So we left Lana’s and went to our final appointment at Victorian Rose on Glenwood.  This entire time, I have been searching for a dress with lace.  I knew I wanted lace on my dress… someway, somehow.  Unfortunately, VR did not have that wide of a lace-dress selection.  Now don’t get me wrong, there were a TON of beautiful wedding dresses!  But I knew what I liked and what I had been gravitating towards, so we eventually left without finding anything worth thinking about. 

The next morning, I was again able to talk Mom out of going to Smithfield right away.  We compromised and decided to go back to the Bridal Boutique and try on the two Maggie dresses I liked and then decide if we’re going to Smithfield OR back to Lana’s.  Nice compromise.  As fate would have it, we wouldn’t be going anywhere else.  I put on MY dress and I was sold!  I had needed to sleep on it, think about it (dream about it) and once I put it back on, I was ready to stop looking!  So as you can see/read I have “said yes to the dress”!!!!  (sorry, no pictures for this blog!)  I’m having a few alterations done (sweetheart neckline and they are extending the train) but otherwise the dress was perfect!  I LOVE it!  I wish I had it now so I could wear it around the house when Jimmy’s not home!  LOL   

So now we’re on to the guys attire and my bridesmaids!!  This wedding planning thing is fun!!   😉 

Dress Shopping – part une

Technically, I’ve been dress shopping three times now.  Once with my future sisters’-in-law and twice with an awesome college friend.  The first time, we went to Traditions by Anna which is this great boutique in North Hills where the dresses are way outside of my financial parameters… but they were having a sample sale!!  How could a bargain shopper such as myself pass up a sale that was boasting 50% off??!!  So we went and basically we were able to narrow down what style of dresses I didn’t like…. Which was a huge help!  Part of me wanted a ballgown – I mean, what other time in a gal’s life do you get to wear a big poofy white dress?!  never!  So carpe diem ladies!

Reema Acra Fall 2010 Collection

After trying on a few of the princess-style, I found that even though I love them, they just don’t flatter my body.  Oh well!  On to the next style….

I had a feeling I was going to like the fit and flare style the best (otherwise known as mermaid, or trumpet).  This style just hugs your body and can really flatter most any figure.  I tried on an organza dress with a rose applice right at the skirt where it flared out – loved it!!  The way the material was gathered across the body was so figure flattering! 

Jenny Lee 2011 Collection

So the first trip was a huge sucess!  I was able to start narrowing down my options.  The next trip was an impromptu “You-need-to-go-to-David’s-Bridal-at-least-once!!” trip with my college friend.  So I made us an appointment (the day of our trip, and yes, you do need an appointment at David’s) and I was able to try on even more mermaid style dresses.  I found two very pretty dresses that I like but I just wasn’t super excited about either one.  I mean, if the world was ending and I had to pick one of them, I would be fine with it…. but nothing “wow-ed” me.  So on to our next trip…

Most recently my friend and I went to Lana Addison, a super cute boutique in Cary.  Personally, I love Lana Addison because the salon is all done in purple – my favorite color!  I tried on a few more mermaid-style dresses and fell in love with one dress (& veil) in particular!  Oh my gosh – this dress fits all my criteria: trumpet style, check!  lace, check!  long stunning train, check!  sparkle, check!  funky-cool belt, check!!  I love love love it!  Totally ready to “say yes to the dress” but…. must wait for mom!  Mom & Dad are making a Dress-shopping-trip-to-Raleigh next weekend – this is when we will purchase my dress!  So we will have to wait for Dress Shopping – part deux!

A Very Groovy 70’s Wedding Shoot

Right now I feel like a little kid on Christmas morning, just waiting to open her presents…. (*squeal!*)  What might I be so excited for, you ask?… I am finally able to post the link to our 70’s styled wedding photo shoot!! 
I had so much fun hanging out with the fabulous Brent & Anna Deitrich of Live View Studios, make-up artist to the stars Karen Michelle Clark, the awesome vendors that participated (we couldn’t have done it without you!!!) and our lovely models and photography assistants.  During the shoot, Brent tuned into Pandora and we jammed out to (my favorite genre) classic rock from the 60’s & 70’s.  Everyone made the afternoon so memorable.  I look forward to working with everyone again.

Our inspiration all started from the dress. I took one look at that dress and knew we had something awesome on our hands.   

The lace, the style, it all reminded me of a by-gone area

My mind immediately started flooding with ideas of Twiggy-esq makeup, avocado green rotary phones, Polaroid cameras, and my Grandmother’s old family room covered in plastic (which I miss very much Grams!) Slowly but surely Anna and I had so many cool and unique details I knew the shoot would bea success!

I know I’ve already said this but we really could not have done this shoot without our generous vendors!! Leona Taylor of Frosted Bliss made our groovy cake. They were dusted with an ever-so-delicate shimmer that made the silver dots pop! Side note – I was tortured on the way down to the shoot with the delicious smell of sugar!! Yum!

I love the symmetry and design of the polka dots. 

The beautiful floral arrangements were created by Elizabeth Jones of Flowers by Elizabeth. Aside from the fact that Gerbera Daisies are one of my favorite flowers – I love how they remind me of a psychedelic Jimi Hendrix poster. The colors were a perfect fit!

The stationary was created by the talented Alison Citron of Love Citron. She is a budding graphic designer in theTriangle and I cannot wait to work with her on future endeavors! How cool is the font on the menus? They totally remind me of the PSA’s we used to watch in elementary school that were made in 1970-something.

Now on to the décor – I love the floating 45’s!! We were able to incorporate the vinyl records into not only the background décor but also all over the shoot! Notice the “chargers” on the tables? Vinyl… Under the cake – more vinyl.
Wondering what those pink and grey poof balls are?! A great DIY project! All you need is yarn in the color of your choice then wrap around your first three fingers about a million times (just kidding, more like 50). Then you’ll tie them off in the middle and cut the loops – poof! You have these cute little poof balls to add to your décor. Very easy to do while watching “Say Yes to The Dress”.
The Twister game was a last minute idea courtesy of Anna. It was perfect! After Eva Gabor played the (brand-new) game with Johnny Carson on the Tonight Show on May 3, 1966, Twister began making human pretzels of teenagers and adults all over the country. Not surprisingly, Twister was considered controversial (gasp!) and was accused of selling “sex in a box”. Most likely this came from the fact that Twister was the first game to use people as the playing pieces and we all know how risqué those positions can get! (Triva question – what love-interest did Carrie play Twister with in Sex and the City?!)
Lastly, I have to comment on how much I love the Bride’s pearl headband and that green chair!!! Brent & Anna, when you’re ready to get rid of that chair – call me!! I will gladly take it off your hands. =)
I hope for a few minutes, while browsing through the photos, your inner-hippie was transported to a time-gone-by where there was no such thing as the internet or emails…cell phones were something you saw on Star Trek… and peace, free love, and music were all the rage.

Oh, the joys of planning your own wedding….

Let me start of by saying that I LOVE weddings, I LOVE wedding planning, I LOVE my brides, I LOVE my job!   But this past weekend, I got a taste of what each of my brides go through at some point in time or another — checking out venues with their parents and the groom-to-be!  I will be totally honest and admit that I was nervous and not looking forward to it at all!   I didn’t know what to expect… so many opinions…trying to please Mom & Dad (they are pitching in after all!)…trying to please myself and Jimmy…. I remember hearing Bill Cosby say something about “you’ll go crazy trying to please everyone in your life” (there’s more to that quote but I forget…) *sigh* Moving on, I also have to admit that I was pleasantly surprised that we all got along a lot better than my initial paranoid-self was letting on. We actually found a place that all 4 of us love and it looks like we’ll be bookingthe venue! Yay! Crisis averted! for now…

I say for now because we still need to plan the menu and bar package. The depth of analysis that my mom is taking (and will continue to take) the planning for the menu & bar package is something that I’m typically not involved in with my brides. These are conversations that are usually done at home, with the bride & groom and/or the parents. I am more so, the information gatherer and the couple/family makes these decisions. Now, I definitely understand and appreciate why we’re going to such great lengths to analyze. every. single. option. we. have. My mom is a”number-cruncher” and wants to make sure we’re getting the absolute most for our money. I totally appreciate this and I’m happy we are doing it. But at the same time, I am gaining a new found appreciation & respect for my brides and what they have to deal with when it comes to handling family dynamics.

It’s been great getting to see things from the bride’s perspective and I’m really looking forward to planning the other details – the wedding DRESS! the flowers, the cake, the linens, the stationary… now that the church and the venue have been picked, I/we can move on to some of the more fun parts! Dress shopping, here we come!! =)

A Sweet Debate

So it’s official… I’ve been roped in… asked to take a side…  What side might that be?  The biggest debate in the wedding industry – cake or cupcakes?!  Which is better?  What will my guests like more?  What will my fiancé and I like more?  What is more cost-efficient?  These are all great questions and since I haven’t quite decided where I stand, I’ll be comparing the following categories: cost, style, & tradition to see who comes out frosted on top!   Cake? or Cupcakes? 

Okay, so what’s the cost?
Initially cupcakes exploded on the wedding reception scene because they were cheaper than a cake… but then bakers realized they had to individually bake, frost, and decorate every single one of those little suckers!  Cupcakes can be very time consuming and thus have become less “cheaper” than cakes.  Depending on how fancy you want your cupcakes decorated you may be better off getting a cake.  Current market prices for cupcakes range from $1.60 each to $3 per cupcake for basic frosting & decoration.  If you and your fiancé want something specific on your cupcakes (think fondant circle initials!), then you’ll need to check and compare prices. 

How cool are those fondant monograms?!

Last little side note – some venues will still charge you a cake cutting fee (usually around $1.50 per person) even if you’re having cupcakes… just something to think about!  =) 

Cake prices can come with the most modest, budget friendly price tag… all the way to a “I-could-have-payed-for-my-college-education-for-that-much-money!” price tag.  J

Just like cupcakes, cake prices depend on how many guests you’re serving and how elaborate you want the cake decorated.  Most bakeries charge more for fondant vs. butter cream frosting.  A classic butter cream wedding cake can be as affordable as $2.50 per serving all the way to $4.25 per serving.   Throw on some fondant or a few gum paste flowers and now you’re looking at $5.25 per serving.  A great, affordable option that you can’t get away with when having cupcakes, is the ability to serve the majority of your guests from sheet cake!  Double-layer cakes (4” tall!) with fillings run around $2.50-$3.00 per serving and your guests will never know the difference!  Another bonus when choosing a cake, most bakeries will make you a complimentary 6” round cake on your one-year anniversary.  This is the perfect solution for folks who do not like the idea of eating year-old frozen cake! 

Next, let’s look at style:

There’s just something about unwrapping your own little piece of deliciousness!  Personally, I love cupcakes!  They are fun, individual (I can visually see how many I’ve eaten!) and allow you to have much more of a variety.  You can have as many different flavors, frostings, and filling combinations as your baker can handle.  Who doesn’t like variety?!  Cupcakes are a great reception treat for the fun and trendy bride & groom who don’t have that “traditional” mom breathing down there neck (sorry Mom!).   Plus you get to really play with that cupcake stand! 

Now, if you’re having a more traditional wedding or just really want that photo opt with your beloved cutting that gorgeous cake then my recommendation is, call it a day and go with the cake!  Plus if the majority of your guests are traditional folks, they may think cupcakes aren’t cute… There are so many different styles, frostings, flowers, etc when it comes to decorating your cake.  The options are endless!  So sit down with your baker and let him/her get to know you & your fiancé.  Work together to come up with a design that encompasses the wedding and your personality as a couple.   You’ll end up loving your cake so much you’ll wonder why you even considered cupcakes! 

Lastly – The Traditions:
The wedding cake is a tradition that dates back as early as the Roman Empire (yep, that long ago!).  The original “cake” was actually a loaf of bread that the groom broke over the bride’s head as a symbol of his dominance in the marriage and over her.  Guests would then scramble for crumbs that fell to the floor.  These crumbs symbolized fertility (where do they come up with this stuff?!).  Thankfully that tradition disappeared fairly quickly!  Eventually Roman bakers began creating small, sweet cakes and the tradition of crumbling the cakes and then throwing the crumbs over the brides head began (possibly a segway into the throwing of rice tradition?!…).  Eventually what we now recognize as the modern wedding cake sprung from the 20th century.  Either way, you can see why brides have such a hard time letting go of this long standing tradition!   Least I remind you that the cake cutting is another tradition all on its own!  Having the bride and groom cut the cake together symbolizes their first joint task in married life.   The gesture of feeding cake to one another is a symbol of the commitment that the bride and groom are making to provide for one another.  So what have we learned today?  There are a lot of traditions wrapped up in that gleaming tower of sugar, milk, eggs & flour!

For those superstitious brides out there who don’t want to toss out tradition but still want fun and flirty can have the best of both worlds!  I have two great suggestions!  First, ask your baker to make you a supersized cupcake that looks just like the mini cupcakes (well, only in comparison!) your guests will be getting.  One that’s large enough for you and your honey to cut and feed each other from.  My second suggestion – have your baker make a 6” or 8” cake for you two to cut.  Most cupcake stands have enough room on the very top to hold a 6” cake – so it’s like your own unique cake-topper!  You can have your cake and eat it too!  (Sorry, I couldn’t resist!)

You and your hubby could easily cut that gigantic cupcake!

So what’s the verdict?!  The decision must be made – who’s side am I on?!  Well, when it comes down to it, I’m going to be on whatever side is best for each of my brides!!  (Stop it!  I can hear your “boo”-ing from here!).  But for those of you who are dying to know, I will be making this exact decision very soon for my own wedding.  So which will we choose?  My future hubby and I will be going with a ………. (drum roll please!) ……… CAKE!