noritake unique wedding favors unique wedding favors
Learn the 4 C's of diamonds at Abazias.

visions of sugarplums

Wishing everyone a wonderful holiday, and a Happy New Year! I'll be doing a little baking over the holiday, something I'm really looking forward to (more for the outcome than the process). If you also happen to enjoy baking, and haven't yet discovered the Cupcake Bakeshop you should definitely check it out. Cheryl Porro posts amazing cupcake recipes like Pine Nut and Candied Orange Peel Cupcakes with Christmas Spice Buttercream Frosting (!!) or Adzuki Bean Paste Filled Chocolate Cupcakes with Matcha Green Tea Frosting. Yowza! I made her recipe for Pomegranate-Grapefruit Cupcakes last year on New Year's, and I've never been so pleased with myself.
I'll be back in regular circulation on the 2nd of January, in the mean time I hope everyone has a restful holiday with the ones you love!

wediquette: the envelope please...

Periodically Xochitl (pronounced so-cheel), our resident wediquette expert and owner of Always a Bridesmaid Wedding Consulting, answers an etiquette question submitted* by one of our readers. So, (without further ado):

Q: How can I appropriately address envelopes without addressing women by their husband's first name? Call me a feminist, but even if I were adopting my partner's last name (which I'm not), the idea of ever being called Mrs. HIM just gives me shudders. Is it appropriate to address a married couple as (for example): Mr. John Doe and Mrs. Jane Doe? Mr. and Mrs. John and Jane Doe? The Doe Family?

A: The most correct is "The Doe Family", though I'm also fond of "Mr. John & Mrs. Jane Doe", it's not Peggy Post approved but it sounds fluid. "Mr. & Mrs. John and Jane Doe" is a little too tricky.
How do you feel about simply "Mr. & Mrs. Doe" and then writing "John and Jane" on the inner envelope? For couples who have kept their maiden names I suggest "The Smith-Doe Family".
For women with professional titles, I personally refuse to remove their title simply because they are married. In that instance I usually suggest people write
"Mr. John and Dr. Jane Doe". I hope that was helpful!--Xochitl of Always a Bridesmaid

*If you've got a question for our expert, submit it by clicking "submit your question" in the right hand column, under "wediquette".

the coveted designer/bargain shoe

tracy reese pumps
There is nothing that makes me happy like a fancy pair of shoes for a bargain. A big bargain! From $390 to $195. AND they have sizes other than 10 and 5. I hate it when they only have the extreme sizes! From Tracy Reese, visit PiperLime for the down low.

keepin it short and sweet

short and sweet from BCBG
I'm back! While we were a bit stuck there for a while, we're back at home now. Our new niece, Simone November Dalton, is the cutest little chipmunk ever and we weren't all that broken up about having to spend a little more time with her supreme cuteness.
Anywho. I think my first official task shall be to share with you these very Carrie Bradshaw-ish numbers from BCBG Max Azaria. Any one of these would be at home at a bachelorette bash, a rehearsal dinner, or... (and I love this idea) why not change into something a bit more fun, a bit more saucy for the dancing and merriment portion of the reception? How fantastic would you be on the dance floor in that first one? All available over at Nordstrom's, all under $500.


Happily stuck in Canada with my peeps on account of the enormous huge-antic snow storm. I'm hoping to be back at my computer by Tuesday, but you never know. The friendly skies? Not so friendly right now. Hope you are all cozy, and not needing to travel!

out-of-towner's totes

Thanks to sender-inner Pam for letting me know about these adorable little totes. Wouldn't these make excellent little welcome gifts for your out-of-towners? Fill them with maps, local restaurant menus, area attractions, maybe a local treat or two... instant welcome kit. Who doesn't love a tote bag? The trick is deciding which letters to get. Word on the street is that ink colors can be customized, two letters can be added, and they come in three sizes. Here for the deets.

weathering the winter

I guess winters here are no colder here than they were in Brooklyn, but somehow they feel more blustery, more treacherous. The incoming snow storm they keep talking about on the news probably isn't helping. When we were apartment dwellers all we ever had to do to prepare for snow and cold was put on a hat. Now we own a shovel. We have a driveway. We have pipes that could freeze. We got our gas bill yesterday (not good). The other day I told Dell to salt the steps to melt their dangerous icy coating. He used my fancy French sea salt. Now they are Steps de la Mer. I usually love winter, but winter this year is kind of stressing me out. SO, you can imagine how much I am loving the idea of daydreaming a bit on a tropical getaway.
Based on my inbox, it seems as though plenty of you are also sick of the cold, and are either planning destination weddings or looking for off-the-beaten-path honeymoon escapes. Jake's Resort fits the bill either way. I LOVE how quirky and indie this resort is; with the cute little villas, each one different from the next, the beautiful beaches, the snorkeling, and the poolside bar. And don't you kind of love the name? I bet Jake's has some very different kinds of Steps de la Mer. I think I might like his better.

weddiquette: keeping kosher

Periodically Xochitl (pronounced so-cheel), our resident wediquette expert and owner of Always a Bridesmaid Wedding Consulting, answers an etiquette question submitted* by one of our readers. So, (without further ado):

Q: I know that this is pre-mature, since I won't be getting married for another 2 years, but my wedding has to be Kosher, and I cannot find any sites about who to go to and what needs to be done for a Kosher wedding. My mother and I are both clueless since she is Christian and I am reform (Jewish), and had never planned on having a Kosher wedding, but because of my groom, it has to be done.
I know that the meal will be Kosher, but what about the cake? So, do you have any advice?

A: The Kosher issue is tricky, but it's not as hard as you would imagine. Depending on where you are located and if you have a venue selected already or not, your process will differ slightly. This also assumes you are having a Saturday evening wedding.
Generally here is how it works: Either you are working with a space that is open to outside caterers or a venue with on-site catering. If you know in advance that you are going to need Kosher, you should start looking for venues that allow off-site caterers in. I think it works out more economically and often affords you more choice in WHO your Kosher caterer is.
If you have your reception facility booked already, you should start by asking your location for their recommendation/required kosher vendor. You should ask for the menu offered at your particular venue and move from there. Typically venues will have a preferred or required Kosher caterer and often they have a set menu that mirrors the menu offered at your venue.
If you are booking a space and then looking for an outside Kosher Caterer, then the world is your oyster, because you can design a menu around the season and your tastes, just as you would with any other kind of catering (with Kosher Provisions in mind).
Kosher food has a reputation for being bad, but it simply depends on HOW the caterer works and what you serve. Certain cuts of beef just simply aren't as good, because they are imitations of the "real" cut, and a good caterer will steer you clear of those and make recommendations that are really quite delicious. Additionally, nothing on the wedding can START until after sundown, so keep that in mind as you are planning. So often BAD kosher catering is prepared on a Friday afternoon and re-heated after sundown on Saturday. Thus the reputation for overcooked items. One of the things you should ask is WHEN they cook most of their food. Prep is fine the day prior, but cooking should happen that evening.
If you are in the New York area, I strongly suggest Foremost Caterers. Not only do they provide a Kosher meal, it is absolutely some of the BEST off premise food that I've ever tasted. It is imaginative, hip, pretty and the service is wonderful.
In terms of the cake, anything that you ask your caterer to serve (including wines and champagnes) must be Kosher. This means that the cake must be Pareve. A lot of people don't like Pareve baked goods, (I personally LOVE them). Discuss the option of serving another tasty dessert (a fruit tart, etc) as an alternative for those guests who aren't such big fans of Pareve.--Xochitl of Always a Bridesmaid

*If you've got a question for our expert, submit it by clicking "submit your question" in the right hand column, under "wediquette".

bcbg bargain

A beautiful gown from BCBG Max Azaria. I love that it's so inexpensive (less than $400.00), and the color is divine. Did I mention that it's 100% silk? Not that there's anything wrong with synthetics, but lets face it, you won't necessarily get pure silk paying even twice that a bridal boutique. If anyone gets a chance to try it on, let us know how it goes.

the early bird...

Heads! Today at noon Ann Wood will be updating her online shop, including her collection of fine feathered wedding cake toppers. New single birdies will also be available for any of us who might not have finished our Christmas shopping, (now you know where I'll be at noon!)

the best dress ever

I actually gasped when I saw this dress. I'm speechless. I love it more every time I look at it. I can't list the reasons why I love it, I just do. I don't care that it's not all white, I would SO get married in this dress. I found it at Nordstrom's, but the label is Notte by Marchesa.

1154 lill studio

I discovered 1154 Lill Studios thru my sister, who has one of their custom, design-your-own purses on her Christmas list. Love the creative styles and formats they have to choose from, and their prices are very reasonable. Today I worked on some beautiful invites with a yellow and pewter color scheme, which I'm totally smitten with now. I created these three combos on the same clutch, but there are quite a few templates to choose from as well as a huge selection of fabrics. Might come in handy as bridesmaid's gifts, or for yourself. They have more formal options as well.


I'm going to reveal something slightly embarrassing right now. Whenever I go home, my sisters and I have this bonding ritual where we do each others hair and makeup. It's nice, actually. The embarrassing part is that my dad, long ago, dubbed this ritual "Fussy Pretty Beauty Shop". He just sort of came out with it one day, as in "We have to get going girls! We don't have time for this... this fussy pretty beauty shop!" Needless to say, all three of us could not stop laughing, and we were probably late for whatever it was we had to go to. Anywhoozy, the title stuck. So now on lazy mornings over the holidays when we're all at my parent's house hanging around in our jammies, we'll look over at each other and ask "Fussy Pretty?". What follows is a colorful dust cloud of powders, shadows, and blushes. We're girls. We like things like this. My point is that the Blockbuster Palette from Sephora that I got for Christmas last year was like the best thing that ever happened to Fussy Pretty Beauty Shop. 64 eyeshadows (most of which are totally wearable), 32 lip colors (love the glosses), 7 cheek colors, and a translucent powder... and a partridge and pear tree. This pallette is available again this holiday season (they sold out really quickly last year), and at only $48, would make a fantastic present for any of your girls. Bonding potential abounds.

jennifer behr, again

I've always loved Jennifer Behr's collection of dressy hair bands, especially the metallic lace bands I posted about a while back. Today I visited her website for a little Christmas shopping, and discovered her new Holiday 2007 Collection. I pretty much had to post them, they're so perfectly bridal. I especially love the satin one.

nervous system

nervous system jewelry
How perfect would these be for a tropical wedding? Each piece in this series by Nervous System is a unique, one of a kind composition. Tiny circles of varying sizes make up the complex patterns that mimic the natural forms of corals. The pendants hang on 16"-18" sterling silver chains, and the pins are affixed with a nickel silver pin and clutch. They are also offered with a silver finish, and in several other unique coral-like patterns. The delicateness of these gives them just the right amount of formality, in my opinion.

Mackenzie's Sketchbook