Was it always like this?

Between my recent post on bridal party expenses, which you can read here,  and some conversations I’ve shared with others, I’ve been thinking a lot about the state of the wedding world these days (bear with me, this might get a little all over the place).  How did it get so trendy?!?! 

It’s common to hear brides say that “they have been planning their weddings since they were little girls.”  This may have consisted of ripping a few pictures from magazines or dreaming up a vision of the big white princess gown in their head, but I’d say, arguably, that for the most part little girls’ plans were mostly that, a vision. Typically, if you wanted to immerse yourself in wedding details you had to seek it out, buying magazines from the bookstore, visiting vendors, etc. The wedding industry was very much a tight niche that only the betrothed could access.

Fast forward to 2011 and the world of social media, and what do you have? In your face weddings.  Suddenly, we see weddings everywhere: on TV, in mainstream magazines, on every blog imaginable. We’re watching couples get a complete dream wedding makeover a week before they say I do, flipping channels to the screaming bridezilla having a meltdown like that’s standard and not even batting an eyelash while parents drop thousands of dollars in a swanky bridal salon for a dress their daughter will wear once. Some could even argue it’s become the trendy way to throw a party what with the Kardashian debacle, but that’s another story (check out this interesting graphic). My point is, it’s not just a life milestone anymore, its a social milestone and an outlet for entertainment from the media. Brides (and sometimes grooms) now have every detail of their wedding figured out before they even find their significant other. Thank you Pinterest.

More shockingly, I think this wedding boom is evident in the everyday bride planning her own personal wedding. Couples are willing to spend extravagant amounts on this single party because that’s how wedding’s work. I see clients all the time who have what we affectionately refer to as “champagne tastes on a beer budget.” They want it all, lighting, crystals, big floral arrangements, fancy lounge furniture, designer gowns, letterpress invites you name it. Often times they don’t even realize how much money these things actually cost.

It seems like with the wedding world in everybody’s face it’s not uncommon to see couples who are simply trying to “one-up” their friends and relatives all to prove that they can have the most over the top wedding of the year. It’s become a competition to see who can throw the best party of them all. Maybe this is the way it always has been, or maybe it’s just a testament to my upbringing, but I feel like weddings just used to be simpler. The wedding has always been referred to as the most important day of your life, so naturally brides wanted to make it special and go all out, but I think this remained on a very personal level between the bride, the groom, and the family. Maybe it was always over the top and I was just sheltered, or maybe it really has become trendy on a whole new level.

Don’t get me wrong, it’s a fabulous industry to be in. I love what I do. I love the clients I work with (even the crazies). I love doing whatever it takes to make that day as spectacular as it can be for my couples.  I too love staring at the pretty pictures of lace and tulle and flowers on my pin boards and gawking at the ridiculous shows. I might not have had visions when I was younger but I sure have inspiration tucked away now. At the end of the day though, I just have to chuckle. When did weddings become mainstream and how did that happen? Who decided that this would be the next industry boom? Man were they right!

And for their sake I hope they are making a lot of money!

Thoughts?

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Choose Your Plate Please…

I’ve found myself watching a lot of food shows on TV in my spare time lately… and reading a lot of food blogs… and feeling generally guilty with myself for not making any effort whatsoever to cook (which is awkwardly coupled with a strong urge to make fabulously delicious three course dinners that no individual could possibly consume alone and which my budget most certainly can not handle). Needless to say – eating is on my brain. Soooooo….where else to direct my hunger than my blog. Woo hoo. You’re welcome.

Food is the number one way to satisfy your guests at an event in my opinion. Ok, I lie. Number 2.  Liquor for the win! Anyway, food is muy importante and as long as you’re not serving the same old stuff people will remember it. (of course they are probably likely to remember the terrible stuff too. It is what it is) Que this article I stumbled across the other day from Bon Appetit: 16 Foods That Should Be Banned From Wedding Menus. (all images/text courtesy of Bon Appetit) It’s pretty spot on, though I have a few qualms.  Here we go:

 Raw Bar: On a warm afternoon, an array of mussels, clams, and oysters fanned atop a bed of ice might seem tempting. But if a caterer handles raw seafood carelessly, watch out. “For safety reasons, oysters need to be kept cold from the moment they’re removed from the water until the moment they hit your tongue,” says James Beard Award-winning author and oyster connoisseur Rowan Jacobsen. Even if no one gets sick, only true pros can assemble an outstanding raw bar. “If clams or oysters have shell bits or get unintentionally scrambled, it ruins the whole experience, so I just tend to steer clear of them at big events,” Jacobsen says.

My thoughts…oysters (and sea foods) are an acquired taste …why waste food, steer clear period!

 Shrimp cocktail: Contrary to what many caterers think, building a mountain, a fountain, or a volcano of shrimp on a buffet table does not necessarily make them more appetizing. And when they are prepped too far in advance, which is what the venue staffers usually need to do for a big group, taste can suffer as well, leading to soggy and limp shrimp. And who likes that?

I have a hard time turning down a good shrimp cocktail, but I agree… warm shrimp… that’s the worst!

 Crab cakes: Cooking crab cakes for a crowd is the culinary equivalent of stepping out in a head-to-toe feathered ensemble: it should only be attempted if you know exactly what you’re doing. In a perfect world, crab cakes are served right from the pan or fryer, with exactly the right crab meat-to-breadcrumb ratio. (Hint: more crustacean than crumbs.) In the wedding world, they tend to be lukewarm, wan, and mealy. Avoid.

See my oyster opinion…just avoid

 Bruschetta:  Be warned: this involves a high splatter risk. Whoever thought it would be a good idea to take a piece of hard, crusty bread, pile it high with tomatoes, and then expect people to eat it while standing up has never worn a silk jersey dress. That said, if it’s made with peak summer tomatoes and we’re sitting at a table (with utensils), bring it on.

This is where I disagree. I love me some Bruschetta and cannot willingly turn it down if offered!

 Sliders: Mini-burgers (usually served just before last call with the requisite paper cone of fries) have become so predictable at weddings now that you can practically time the moment the waiters will start handing them out on the dance floor. Just once, we’d love to be sent off with a bacon, egg, and cheese sandwich on a Kaiser roll, or perhaps a steamed roast pork bun. (Our own studies have shown that both ward off hangovers quite nicely.) A pack of Advil would be much appreciated, too.

If you go mini – my vote is for the mac and cheese. Or the soup shots with the mini sammich. My stomach is growling already….

 Crudite Platters and Ranch Dip: This is a wedding, not your monthly book club night. Crudités just don’t feel synonymous with (what we hope is) one of life’s defining moments. If you’re looking for something inexpensive and vegetarian for cocktail hour, try edamame hummusfalafel balls, or vegetable tamales.

I must have missed this memo – since when were these a wedding favorite?

 Cheese and Crackers: Like the crudités, this just feels too familiar—and not in a good way. Gougères, queso fundido, broiled feta—there are so many more interesting ways to celebrate the goodness of cheese in a bite-sized package.

Again… where was I?

  Chicken Marsala: It’s inexpensive and crowd-pleasing, so we get why chicken reigns at weddings. But the boneless breasts used for Chicken Marsala are prone to drying out. By the time the dish reaches the table, it’s often too rubbery to cut through, let alone eat. If you must serve chicken breast, have the waiters bring it out in parchment paper (en papillote) and let guests open it themselves. Even better, forgo the traditional plated main dish in favor of family-style platters of juicy drumsticks, wings, and thighs with the skin left on and torched to a crisp.

Heard.

  Surf and Turf: As food writers Jane and Michael Stern explain in their book, The Encyclopedia of Bad Taste, this classic pairing of beef and seafood was once a symbol of hedonism. But these days, this 1960s throwback feels slightly tacky and overblown. It’s also riddled with timing challenges for the catering staff, so most times, neither surf nor turf comes out at the right temperature or texture.

Why not try something a little different right?

 Carving Stations: As food writers Jane and Michael Stern explain in their book, The Encyclopedia of Bad Taste, this classic pairing of beef and seafood was once a symbol of hedonism. But these days, this 1960s throwback feels slightly tacky and overblown. It’s also riddled with timing challenges for the catering staff, so most times, neither surf nor turf comes out at the right temperature or texture.

Holiday house anyone?…

 Things in Martini Glasses:  Some wedding caterers hope that if you put a scoop of mashed potatoes into a martini glass, the spuds will instantly morph into something elegant. But the potatoes tend to be gloppy, the glass unwieldy, and the concept just doesn’t work. Do everyone a favor and keep the stemware behind the bar where it belongs.

I prefer the vodka thank you.

 Steamed Veggie Medley: This ho-hum Eisenhower-era side dish typically has some combination of peas, carrots, and green beans. We can’t fathom why it’s still served at so many weddings. Are people just suckers for the word “medley?” Are caterers opposed to braising, roasting, or sautéing? Or has it been served for so long that chefs have stopped seeing it for what it is: cafeteria food with an Ozzie and Harriet pedigree.

Do I have to clear my plate to get cake?

 Fake Cake: Here’s the concept: A bride wants a fancy-shmancy wedding cake, but she can’t afford one. So she hires someone to make a display cake, consisting of fondant (rolled, decorative icing) draped over Styrofoam tiers. Then she serves guests a sheet cake that’s been stashed in the back room since yesterday. If a pricey cake isn’t in your budget, rethink dessert in a creative way: perhaps a pie table, cake pops, petit fours, or an ice cream sandwich bar. Hell, even cupcakes work and we’re (almost) sick of cupcakes.

Not sure I am on board with this one. I am most certainly sick of cupcakes at events though. 

 Chocolate fountains: Repeat after us: More truffles, fewer chocolate fountains. Not only do they make us think of bar mitzvahs and, again, cruise ships, but they also seem unhygienic. (You know the ring bearer is so double-dipping.)

Sorry sis.

  Fruit Kabob Centerpieces: It’s sort of the inverse of the fact that no one wants to be one to take the last hors d’oeuvre off a tray: No one wants to be the first person to bust into the fruit kabob centerpiece. People will hover, discuss, even murmur admiring words, but rarely will they dig in. Simple white bowls filled with plain or chocolate-covered strawberries are prettier, more tasteful, and guaranteed to get devoured in seconds.

Painful attempt to recreate Edible Arrangements.

 Cheap Wine: Okay, it’s not food, but booze is highly important to the whole wedding experience. Big event venues often charge an exorbitantly high mark-up for fairly uninspiring wines. Instead, book a space that allows you to bring in your own alcohol; then buy in bulk from your local liquor store (make sure to request a case discount) or find a wholesale distributor who sells to the public. Many stores allow customers to set up tastings with the managers so you can discuss your wedding menu and sample several wines before you place an order. Uh, start your new life under the influence of crappy wine?

Or under the influence of a crappy hangover..yikes!

So there we have it. It seems caterers are getting much more creative these days, especially when it comes to the passed appetizers, and I am loving it. Now I’ve officially made myself hungry….

Color of the Year

First off, let me blanket statement an apology for being MIA for well, almost a month pretty much. I’ve been a bit tied up with work, holidays and vacation. YAY! (more on that later) But alas, I am back and preparing for the new year. 2011 will be a year of big plans for me – though I will not be making resolutions because I hate those. I read a study the other day that said of the people who make new years resolutions 14% of them are more likely to fulfill their goals for the year vs. 3% of those who don’t make resolutions who fulfill their goals. Interesting right? I digress…

It’s pretty typical for weddings/social events/fashion or really anything to follow the trends of the year. We always have those lovely reminders of grandma’s wedding bonnet and our parents poofy dress sleeves to remind us of the trend of the decade. The design world is no different. Every year Pantone, aka color mecca, comes out with a color of the year. Some past ones include:

source

The mimosa shade of yellow was pretty common in the wedding world last spring in the grey/yellow combination (still makes me swoon every time I see it). Tourquise was poppping up everywhere right around summer time, so I’m sure you’ve seen them both. I’m a little behind on the post but 2011 has just recently been announced. Drumroll…

Honeysuckle! Of the pink variety that is. You can read all about the announcement here courtesy of none other than Pantone (I really do talk about them alot don’t I? Maybe I should find a new obsession ha). I could not be more excited. This fuscia/cranberry/pink esque color is one of my favorites. It’s a color to “lift the spirits.” Who doesn’t want that on their big day?

Now, depending on where you look the shade variety might vary but I like it all the same. Color combos are immediately popping into my head. Honeysuckle with grey, or yellow, or navy. Like so: (please excuse my paint skills, I’m on a pc 😦 ug. )

In a bit m0re elegant of a manner it could work. so I put together an inspiration board (very roughly and on paint again – excuse the slop):

You get my drift. It’s a color scheme that could be dressed up or dressed own. Quite frankly – I’m excited to see what become of honeysuckle in the 2011 wedding world!

Pinch me am I sleeping?

Because it’s like my dreams are coming alive. Why’s that you ask? Well aside from my extremely quirky (and realistic) dreams as of yet – that’s a story for another time – this following wedding is the epitome of my latest dreams. I have found myself being drawn to the same style of weddings lately – maybe it’s because we just closed up the summer wedding season which is always beautiful, or maybe its a nice swing of trends, or perhaps I’m just getting tunnel vision currently – whatever it is – i’m loving it.

“It” – is a simple style, laid-back but still feminine and glamorous, outdoor weddings. Case in point the event below. The following wedding took place in Manhattan Beach in Southern California. Photography was done by Erin Hearts Court, florals by JL Designs, and once again showcased on my mecca Style Me Pretty.

The couple planned most of the event themselves (with help from their floral designer) and took the event location – The Shade Hotel – as inspiration for the feel of the wedding. I absolutely love the color palette of whites, greens, and grey executed beautifully through the cymbidiums, hydrangeas, tulips, and calla lilies.. I think it is very chic and elegant, but also very natural in feeling (not to mention the pale green is one of my favorite colors – heyo!). The husband did all of the designing of paper goods, website, invites, etc, so it was definitely a DIY wedding – also one of my favorite parts!!

The grey bridesmaid dresses are from JCrew (love!), and look awesome against the green bridesmaids bouquets. Those bouquets by the way – are tied for one of my number one details from this event. Why? Because every bridesmaid carried a bouquet of a different flower. OBSESSED! I especially love the super parrot tulips (the green/white ones in the bridesmaid picture toward the end). They are so unique!

The personalized bouquets are tied with the ceremony decor – specifically the fabric draping on the “ceiling.” This is the second time I have seen this style of treatment and I think it is so beautiful. I can’t look at it enough.

Enough about the details though – how cute are the pictures of the couple?! Laying in the sand, chillin on a vintage beach cruiser – they capture the event so perfectly.

OK, enough swooning. If you want more pictures check out the gallery on Style Me Pretty. I will keep dreaming.

Swallowed up in Satin

This week has been one of those filled with the “man I wish…” thoughts. Why? Because it is the close of Bridal Market 2010. What is that? Only the New York Fashion Week of the wedding world! Bridal Market is when all of next seasons designs from some of the largest bridal designers are released/showcased. Each designer hosts a fashion show in NY, and the who’s who of the wedding market (salon buyers, bloggers, magazine editors, etc) are invited.

Since I will not be attending anywhere in the distant future, I have been blog-stocking to see some of the designs of 2011. Warning there are  LOT of photos to follow! My current faves include:

Adele Wechsler

 

love the bottom of this dress!

the criss-cross ribbon on the bodice is beautiful - not to mention the subtle pattern!

love the color. love the pockets. love the straps. love

Alisa Benay

a searsucker wedding dress!!!!

Amsale

(I had to hold myself back – I am legitimately obsessed)

simple straps and a subtle pattern

feminine but not too much

apparently I’m into the subtle patterns this year. Just realizing that! ha!

Anne Bowen

reception dress with a hood - heyo!

a little bit of pop

Chaviano

tulle just makes me smile

again the pockets. I love the one shoulder. Still undecided on the hem.

Christos

polka dots. even if everyone else is a hater

Dessy

(some love for the bridesmaids)

 

swooning over the ombre!!!

don't usually like long - but I'm feeling this print

Ines De Santo

 

reminds me slightly of fireworks

bling. but not BLING!

Monique Lhuillier

 

I can't get over this neckline

or these sleeves

Pnina Tornai

(usually not a fan but she stole my heart this season)

 

Feeling the feathers on the shoulder

beautiful silhouette!

reminiscent of napkins but in a weird way I like it

Priscilla of Boston

 

ceremony to reception like it ain't no thing!

Ramona Keveza

 

I don't have the balls to wear this color - but I like how different it is

it's like she's floating

Reem Akra

 

ignoring the headpiece, I melt

Watters

 

movement without moving
LOVING the two-toned bridesmaids dress. Can’t. get. enough.
a little something something for a snazzy mama
a little bit of spunk and totally party ready

whew!!! now that the slide show is over! 🙂 For serious though, I am a little dress obsessed, but rightfully so. Your wedding dress is one of the few things you will take with you from your event forever. I don’t mean the literal – it will sit in your closet and rot way – I mean that this is what you will be staring at in photographs for your entire life. You want to make sure you look banging!

Not to mention, I whole heartedly believe that your dress makes the event. That’s right I said it. I think the dress should be the first purchase, because it totally sets the entire tone and theme of the wedding. Huge ballgown on the beach in summer? You’re not only going to need a TON of deoderant – you’re probably going to look out of place. Same goes for a tiny sheath dress in a huge cathedral or castle. Just doesn’t work. So yes – the dress is the (next) to main event – after the getting hitched part that is.

It needs to be done right. Bridal Market 2010 did no wrong.

Goodies, Goodies, Lots of Goodies

Ok so it’s been quite some time since the last post, so to makeup for it, i’m going to share lots of fun things with whoever it is that is reading my blog! 🙂

I had this week off and spent this past weekend visiting my sister. Basically this means tanning, lots of food, and shopping. All of the items linked below relate back to this weekend in some way or another – inspiration perhaps.

I took the opportunity of nice weather and a day to myself to tan. I love the beach so naturally I fell in love instantly with the below engagement shoot showcased on Junebug Weddings.

The next day consisted of lots of shopping. I was looking for new shoes. I am a sucker for flats – how cute are these custom made flats from etsy seller extraseed? Bride or Bridesmaid – you can definitely dance all night!

Barnes & Noble was also an important addition to the day. I love books and love to see them incorporated into events like centerpieces on style me pretty

and these DIY hardback books for pretty much anything from Elizabeth Anne Designs

And naturally, a shopping trip isn’t complete without some fashion purchases. Fashion, specifically Louis Vuitton, was a source of inspiration for this engagement shoot on 100 Layer Cake. How fun!

A final stop for the weekend was a hunt for Vera Bradley. I think with her latest lines Vera is on the way back in. You can’t help but love her for all things gift related, but I have specifically fallen in love with the below bag which will be arriving on my doorstep before long. The Ditty Bag is the perfect catch all for bridesmaids gifts, no?

And last but not least, not particularly related to the weekend, but my heart strings can’t help but pull from these adorable scratch off invitations from etsy seller unlesssomeonelikesyou.

Lots of things to drool over, at least I did. On another note, I start my new job tomorrow, so expect a lot from the world of events this week. Happy Monday!

Paint the town Red

If you have picked up any magazine recently you may have noticed that the new color of the season is Red. Bright Crimson Red. (Jewel tones, with a bit of a brighter twist, also seem to be popping up everywhere.) I always find it interesting how design trends follow fashion and colors on the runway creep into interior design, graphic design, and obviously event design.

This is not the best quality image – but the below picture is from one of my favorite books of the moment, the Visual Miscellaneum, made up completely of info-graphics. This particular one is showing the Pantone colors of the season for the past few years.

So Fun!

Anyway, Pantone is the design color mecca, but if you look at the Spring 2010 (the last portion of the rainbow) there are more than a few colors that were popular in the wedding world. Since Red is such a striking color I am very interested to see how it appears this coming season. I personally picture it as more of an accent, but it can definitely play center stage in the right setting.

I tried to find some good photos, but it’s late and i’m tired so…here are some of the combinations that I’ve seen a lot lately:

Red and tan or camel (think: gold hued bridesmaids dresses with red Gerbera bouquets? love). The good thing about this combo is that the tan color tone can mellow out a bright red very easily.

Red and teal (a very vibrant version of teal was also a fairly popular color last season as well – toned down a bit it would be a nice classic combination). This screams a fun party to me.

Red and purple (again purple was a HUGE color for the spring season, so this would be an awesome way to use it as an accent and phase it out. Cranberry and plum anyone? Sidenote: we will be bringing in a touch of red to pair with the dark plum in an upcoming event I’m doing; glad to know it won’t be outdated 🙂 ha)

The good thing about having a bright color pop like red is that it really goes with any thing. Red and black is very classic (Audrey Hepburn – black dress, red lips), I think you could even get away with a darker red mixed with a pink hue of sorts…

hmm…something to consider. Anyway, colors make me happy, and the turn of the season is always exciting for me – waiting to see what’s next on the horizon! Not to mention – I am obsessed with all things Pantone!