Tuesday, March 31, 2009

It’s in the bag - a custom bag for your bridal party

Have you thought about ways to say “Thank you” to the people that have helped you get ready for your wedding? Do you want your bridal party to have a special gift from you that shows your appreciation, but you want something super special and unique? Today I want to introduce you to 1154lill.com . Who are they? Simply, women that think out of the bag.

In 1999, Jen Velarde founded 1154 LILL studio, a place where customers can be creative, and create individualized handbags and accessories. These then became their own ‘designer bag’, and let’s face it; don’t we all want a ‘one of a kind bags’? Now I know you’re going to say “but they are not in NY Lisa”…I know, but I think it’s worth a day trip. I had so much fun looking at over 150 designer fabrics that range from brocade, sateen, silk, cotton - all across the color spectrum including a ‘special wedding palette’.

Laurie Strong the manager of the Boston store, shared with me why she became a part of 1154 and what it’s like to create something new everyday.

This shop is great Laurie, what is the first thing a bride to be or any woman that walks in does?

I think people that don’t know the brand, are really excited that they have found a place where they can get a bag, that is functional and as unique as they are. They take a look at some of the samples we have here, and then the hardest part – choosing which bag to design for themselves.

So why will a bride from NY want to make the trip here to design something for her bridal party?

From the moment they walk in, we tell them “take a breath.” Look we realize that this can be a stressful time, but we want to make this fun for them. Some have an idea of what they want to get for their bridal party, they have checked out the site before they come here. Other times we mix and match it up.

What do you mean ‘mix-it-up’?

We have several types of bags that are typical for brides and their bridal party. We have clutches (Grace and Erinn), hand-held with a strap (Chloe); some that go from day to night clutches (Carolina and Anne), and of course there are makeup bags, jewelry rolls and coin purses, which are really cute if you have flower girls. It’s the perfect size for them. So a bride may want to pick a bag and/or pattern to match the personality of the bridesmaid. That will make every bag unique for the girls. I know some people may think that something that is "custom made" is super expensive, but ours range from $28-100 for bridal bags.

How does someone choose with all these fabulous fabrics and colors?

The bride will either try to tie in the theme of the wedding colors or personalities of the girls when she is choosing. Sometimes it’s an accent color or ribbon that she is having trouble with, that’s where we come in and suggest options. Of course the final decision is hers. Again, we want this to be fun and as stress free as possible for her.

Do you ever have the entire bridal party come in to the store to create their bags?

Absolutely. If they want to do that, I would recommend that they call at least 1 day in advance and we will create a workspace just for them. It’s a great time for the bridal party and also a fun icebreaker for the mothers to get to know each other better if they come. It’s a fun atmosphere and everyone is having fun.

Can they do it during the day – say if they come up for a day trip?

If they like we will make space for them, but if there are more than 5 we recommend that they book an appointment if possible. We get a lot of girls from NY that will come up for the weekend and just happen to find the store as they are walking around and pop in to take a look and want to get started right away.

I have a few brides that are very interested in “green” vendors. Do you have ‘green products they can use?

We have a few that are eco-friendly but we are saving carbon by having everything produced here in the US and not outsourcing. As both the demand and fabrics become available, we would consider getting more colors and styles that are ‘eco-friendly’.

What would you like the bridal party to know and remember about you and 1154 LILL?

We absolutely understand that this is both a fun and stressful time for her. Our job is to take a bit of the stress out and put some fun in this process. If a bride is interested in creating her bag on line – she should take a look at the styles and colors, let me know her budget and we can work with her from the comfort of her home or office. They should know that it takes about one month from start to finish – from the moment they design it until they receive the finished product. When we have an order of 5 or more we offer a 10% discount and we always have specials going on. I really would love it if they would call or stop by. We are here for them.

Just so you ladies know, while I visited the location in Boston and they do have other locations. Don’t’ feel like taking the trip, there is a representative located in Long Island who will come to your home or location and bring the party to you (there is an 8 person min. requirement for this service). No matter which way you choose, you will be able to create a one of a kind bag…almost as special as you and your girls are.

For more info: Boston Boutique
220 Newbury Street • Boston, MA 02116
617.247.1154 • boston@1154lill.com
To have Kristen Cuozzo come to your home or location in NYC, contact her at:
LILL on Location – Long Island
email: kcuozzo@lillonlocation.com

Monday, March 30, 2009

Registering with Michael C. Fina (part 2)

There was just so much good information that was shared during our meeting, here is part II of my interview with Meryl Gold and Teegan Conti of Michael C. Fina.Can you give me some advice on when they should register?

It is best to register before any wedding-related parties or happenings, and definitely before your engagement party. Often, we see a bride right after the ring goes on the finger! And hopefully for the woman’s sake, that was a Michael C. Fina ring.

When registering, it is important to select pieces for your “todays” as well as your “tomorrows.” You may think you don’t need something now, but 5 years down the line when you are hosting your first family get together, you’ll need it! It is in your best interest to register now while people want to get you a special token to commemorate the start of your life together as husband and wife.

You mentioned Michael C. Fina rings – if the groom didn’t pick the engagement ring from you, can you help them pick out their wedding band? I mean you have an amazing selection here.

Absolutely, we also offer unparalleled service and selection when it comes to engagement rings and wedding bands. Our new designer Ring Boutique features more than 1,000 rings from over 25 of the world’s leading designers. We have great people here who will work with the couple to find the rings that they will both love for a lifetime.

Michael C. Fina is more then just a registry, what makes you so special?

We truly pride ourselves on our knowledge, concierge-level service, attention to detail, and our ability to understand who the couple truly is. We build lifelong relationships with our customers everyday, and create a memorable experience for them that will hopefully last a lifetime.

At Michel C. Fina we are more than tableware, we also offer our clients a custom invitation and stationary department, engagement rings, wedding bands, couture & fine jewelry pieces, great giftware, and stunning art glass.

Is there anything else you want the readers to know about MCF and the people that work there?

A Michael C. Fina registry consultant is passionate about creating a style that is unique to the individual. It's not just a table or china out of a box—it's a reflection of who you are, your personality, and the memories these pieces will bring to you and your family as you use them to celebrate all life’s milestones as well as everyday occasions. We are a family business and we treat everyone that walks through our doors like family.

So there you have it. No matter which store, or shop you choose to begin your registry, this is great information for you to have. Of course, I will be getting the 'scoop' from other registries and soon to help you, I'll even post a list of stores in NYC that will allow you to register. Just want to take the questions out of 'where can I register'.

Until next time...

For more info: Michael C. Fina is located at 545 Fifth Avenue, at the corner of 45th Street. You can reach the store directly by calling 1-800-288-3462.

Saturday, March 28, 2009

Wedding event not to be missed and there's one today for the guys!!

I know the weather is a bit dreary outside, but I’m hoping these events will bring some sunshine to your day. There is actually one today (just found out about it yesterday and already told the guys) so if you’re in the area, check it out.

For the man in your life…TODAY Saturday, March 28 from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m., John Varvatos is celebrating Spring in style. Drop by his newly redesigned SoHo shop on Saturday for comped Bloody Marys and brunch. John Varvatos himself will also be there to toast the occasion. RSVP to johnvarvatos_soho@vfc.com

April Events:
New York Magazine Bridal Extravaganza…The premiere bridal event of the season sponsored by New York Magazine at the Metropolitan Pavilion is finally here. On Wednesday, April 1, from 5-8 p.m. the evening will be filled with fresh ideas, expert advice, and creative solutions to inspire both brides & grooms. This event has the industry’s top talents and over 90 vendor participants. From gowns and jewelry to flowers, caterers, and registry ideas, this event covers every aspect of planning a wedding, straight from the pages of New York magazine’s Summer 2009 Weddings issue (on newsstands now and if you haven't seen it yet, there are two covers to choose from. Totally HOT!!). With Victoria's Secret as a participating sponsor, you know there will be some beautiful pieces to keep in mind as you plan your honeymoon.

You can meet New York Weddings editor Denise Penny and special guests; celebrity wedding planner Marcy Blum of Marcy Blum Associates, Mary Cleaver of The Cleaver Co. Catering, pastry chef Pichet Ong and a cake tasting from Ron Ben-Isreal cakes. The collection of bridal gowns from Mark ingram Bridal Atelier are a showstopper and not to be missed. You can purchase your tickets online thru next Tuesday March 31 (via Ticketweb): $50 for two, $35 for one with special online-only offer at http://nymag.com/weddingsevent

While not just for the guys (I know a few women that smoke), on Thursday, April 2nd, from noon until 6pm, De La Concha will be hosting a tasting of the fine cigars from Gurkha. Mr. Robert Dow, the Gurkha Rep, will be on hand to answer questions and explain the various blends that make up this brand of cigars. When you buy 2 Gurkha cigars you will receive 1 complimentary cigar. We will also feature a spirits tasting in the afternoon.

Exclusive Invitation: Rediscover the Art of Celebration atop a Greenwich Village Penthouse on Thursday, April 2nd from 6:30-9pm. Join Ramscale Studio, “Tip of the Tongue Caterers, Seasons A Floral Design Studio, Danette Koke Fine Arts, Print Icon, and A Starry Night DJ’s for an awaking of the senses. This is a super casual evening, which will showcase these vendors. If you are interested RSVP to Rocky Scott at rocky@ramscale.com or call 212.206.6580 for more information.

A reminder on April 16-25, Vera Wang will have a trunk show at her flagship store. Call 212.628.3400 to make an appointment.

That’s it for today. I’ve got to get more pixy dust and get ready for next week’s interviews. There is a lot of really good information coming up, but I’m always open to your suggestions, topics, and questions, so keep them coming. Write to me at bridalease@gmail.com

OH Congrads it's official: Bruce Willis and Emma Heming are husband and wife. After their wedding celebration in the Caribbean last weekend, the actor and the model/actress were wed in a civil ceremony Friday at a friend's house in Beverly Hills.

Until then your fairy bridal-godmother wishes you a great weekend…

For more info: John Varvatos Soho, 122 Spring Street (at Greene Street) 212.965.0700 www.johnvarvatos.com
NY Magazine Event: Metropolitan Pavilion 125 West 18th Street (between 6th & 7th Avenues http://nymag.com/weddingsevent
Vera Wang - 991 Madison Avenue at 77th Street http://www.verawang.com
De La Concha - 1390 Avenue of the Americas (bet 56th and 57th Sts) http://rmelendi.wordpress.com/
Ramscale Studio 463 West Street (off the West Side Hwy.) @ Bethune Street http://ramscale.com/ramscale.html

Friday, March 27, 2009

Grooms we're breaking down the budget

If you were one of the 20 or so men, surrounded by 500 brides at the event this past week, I salute you. You brave men ‘looked interested’ as women busily chatted all around you about place settings, dresses and invitations. I did see one very stereotypical male act, which made me laugh. As the women you promise to walk through life with looks at dresses, you walked, in some instances ran directly to the bar for a cocktail (one for her, two for you). Bridal events can be overwhelming, so on behalf of women everywhere whose fiancee don’t go with them, I want you to know how special you are for being there.

After speaking with several of you, the wedding budget was your biggest concern. How were you going to pay for this without breaking the bank, and still making her happy? Gone are the days when the brides’ family pays for everything and you shouldn’t assume they will. Unless you’re in your very early 20’s, you’ve been out of school and already working for a few years. Hopefully BEFORE you proposed, you started saving for your wedding/future as the new dynamic duo. Even if you haven’t, there are ways to heal the bleeder that has now become your bank account. Don’t worry; I have a game plan for you.

Who pays?
While this might not be the most comfortable conversation, you should have it with your beloved and both sets of parents. Right up front, have in mind how much you can afford to spend and who will be (if either) helping you.

What kind of party will it be?
Now, you can get down to business and decide what kind of wedding you’ll have – formal, outdoors, the local courthouse, a popular away destination, or underwater at a marina (hey, it could happen). Will it be morning, afternoon, an entire weekend, or an entire week of celebrating? Yes, I know a couple that celebrated for an entire week before their wedding. What is the most important thing to you both – photography, reception with an open bar, the band? OH…the dress, you know this vision of white (or pink or this season’s hot color, platinum) isn’t included in that dollar amount, but you knew that right?

Bank or bleeder?
Open a separate account and start putting in a set amount of money into it for wedding expenses regularly. There will be a lot of little things that you won’t anticipate having to pay for, so be a boy scout and be prepared.

Credit anyone?
A credit card may not be the way you want to pay but it does have a level of added protection against wayward vendors. Should there be a problem most credit card companies will help you get at least a portion (if not all) of your money back. More importantly see if your card offers ‘points, perks or cash back’. If it does, they will add up quickly and come in handy, trust me.

Guests, I guess

I know you both may want to invite everyone you know, but if you put a cap on your guests, that will lower the cost of the reception. Think of it this way…you know how expensive it is when 2 couples go out to a nice dinner and you decide to pick up the tab? Well think of it as inviting 125 couples and you’re picking up the tab. Suddenly 50 couples (100 people) is the magic number. This is your wedding, not the Superbowl.

Finally, remember you’re trying to start a new life together – debt free. So you don’t have to impress the Jones’ even if you can. Don’t live on the edge of your finances. No matter how wonderful your wedding day is going to be, it’s just a day. Plan for your lifetime together.

Until next time…

P.S. John Varvatos is celebrating Spring in style. Drop by his newly redesigned SoHo shop where the noted menswear designer will be in there to toast the occasion. So if you're looking for a new suit, stop by. RSVP today to johnvarvatos_soho@vfc.com and stop by Saturday, from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m.

John Varvatos Soho, 122 Spring Street (at Greene Street), (212) 965-0700, johnvarvatos.com

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Registering with Michael C. Fina (part 1)

Today you're really lucky to have both Meryl Gold and Teegan Conti of Michael C. Fina to share their insight on bridal registries and what makes their registry process so unique. Michael C. Fina IS a fun store.

First I want to thank you both for taking the time to meet with me. I know this is a busy time of the year for you. But you know what, the fact that you are willing to give me a few minutes shows that you are dedicated to making this a stress-free time for the bride. So on behalf of my brides and grooms, I thank you.

So what are the 'hot pieces' that people are putting on their registry this year and what can couples 'pass' on?

What’s “hot” is shots of color like fuchsia & shades of green from grass to lime in glassware, salad plates or chargers. These are some fun colors that move a bit away from the traditional ones their parents registered for. We think that couples want to put some fun on their table. That doesn’t mean that they aren’t looking at traditional patterns though; they are doing a bit of both and embracing a mix between the two.

As far as what couples can “pass” on, it’s the cheap kitchen gadgets like peelers, spatulas and colanders. Why register for things you'll go out and buy yourself?
If they are looking for less expensive things to add for showers, parties, etc., I would suggest candlesticks, picture frames or other decorative items for the home.

What are busiest times of the year that you see a spike in bridal registries?

Really, we see brides at all times of the year. It all depends on when they plan to get married and when they are having their engagement party.

I know you're taking over Fortunoff's registry and offering an additional 15% completion, why are you doing this?

We aren’t taking over Fortunoff’s registry per se as we have entered no agreements with Fortunoff, but we are getting the word out to registered brides and brides-to-be that Michael C. Fina is the ultimate source for your bridal registry. With the largest selection of tableware on the East Coast and our knowledgeable and accommodating consultants committed to creating your dream registry, every bride is sure to fall in love with Michael C. Fina.

All brides that register at Michael C. Fina get a 15% completion discount. For Fortunoff brides who convert their registry to a Michael C. Fina registry, we are giving them a gift valued at $250.

Monday, we'll continue our conversation with Meryl and Teegan about the registry at, Michael C. Fina. Tomorrow, it's all about the grooms.

Until then...

For more info: Michael C. Fina is located at 545 Fifth Avenue, at the corner of 45th Street. You can reach the store directly by calling 1-800-288-3462.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Registries - the crystal, the flatware, the pots, oh my!

The most asked question after “have you picked a date” is “have you registered yet?” Some of you have been living together for a while, so you think you have what you need right? Others, not living together and need everything. Either way, the process can be daunting. You know what, I’m going to be honest - - I heard that gasp, thank you very much. The truth is, registering can be a nightmare, not fun, reduce 300lb men to tears. Did I burst the bubble or are you saying “thanks Lisa for saying it out loud.”

By now you know me. I’m going to give it to you straight and if there is an expert in an area I’m writing about, I’m going to interview them. Tomorrow we’ll have some great information from Michael C. Fina that will help you no matter where you are in the registry process.

To get you started, here are some KEY pieces of advice:

  • Don’t go on a Saturday or Sunday unless you absolutely have no other possible alternative. I know some of you may travel to NJ, Philly, Conn or Boston to be with your family during this process, but if you can go during the week, you will be much happier. Believe me.
  • Don’t bring your entire bridal party. Sure your mom, his mom or maybe your maid or honor, but if you go to Williams Sonoma with 7 people in tow, it’s just too many cooks spoiling the soup.
  • Don’t expect to do it all at once. Trust me, I’ve been a wedding planner and a bridal consultant. No one, not even yours truly can do it all in one day. There is just too much to see, too many decisions to make and after 5 hrs of looking, all the plates look the same and ‘fine paper and plastic' is looking better and better.
  • Don’t spend all day doing this – see above. If for travel reasons you must, break it up. Come in early when you’re fresh, have had your coffee (or three) and then take a mid-day break for lunch before you return to complete it. Remember, stores are quiet(er) the moment the store opens. To register at closing time just isn’t fair to the bridal consultant who has already been helping brides for 8hrs that day, and most importantly, you won't have the time you need. Please keep that in mind.
  • Don’t let people tell you what YOU should get. While recommendations are great, you’re going to have to live with it, and if you are a modern kind of girl, French dinnerware will not make you happy.
  • Please don’t ask for a copy of your friends registry and then proceed to copy everything she picked. You are not she – even if you’re best friends. Do people actually do that - yes. You can make these decisions. I have great faith in you.
  • Don't believe that "XYZ store is special because they are offering you a completion package unlike any other". The truth is they ALL stores offer completion packages of at least 10%.
  • Do take a walk through your registry store of choice to get a feel of the products they have, but don’t register that first time. Take your time and just look. If a store doesn’t have what you need, then don’t register there just because your friend did. While you can start your registry on line, it's much better to go in person at least to finalize your choices.
  • Do take stock (no pun intended) of what you really need; pots, pans, formal dinnerware, knives and forks that actually match (unless you don’t want them to on purpose) and those things that will carry you through your entire marriage.
  • Do ask your fiancé to be a part of the process. It will help you feel as if he is involved and tell him you ‘need him’ to pick the barware. This is actually true be cause the weight of the scotch glass or beer stein has to be heavy enough for him and his friends. I’ll talk to the grooms soon about registering as well.
  • Do register for a variety of things at different price points. Pick frames, candlesticks, salt/pepper shakers as well as your formal crystal. Provide a wide selection for people to choose from.
  • Do only pick things that you will NEVER return. It is poor form and frankly rude to ask for something and then return it. I promise you, your Aunt Jane will want to see the gravy boat she purchased from your registry, not the True-Religion jeans you traded it in for.

Finally, don’t sweat it after all…it’s just a pot, even if it’s Le Creuset (which I highly recommend if you like to cook!).

Until tomorrow….

Monday, March 23, 2009

Monique Lhuillier - a meeting to remember.

On Thursday March 19, I met one of the kindest and most amazing designers at Bergdorf Goodman, the one and only (Diane) Monique Lhuillier. While not many designers are approachable, Monique took time to speak to each and every person that attended this intimate showing of her dresses. From bridal editors, to brides-to-be she was kind, warm and gracious to each and every one.

Born to French, Spanish/Filipino parents, Monique was raised in the southern part of the Philippines called Cebu. As a child, Monique was very influenced by her mother's glamorous sense of style and was exposed to the importance of style because the family traveled extensively to her favorite destinations Paris and Los Angeles. At the early age of 15, Monique left home to attend the prestigious Chateau Mont-Choisi boarding school in Lausanne, Switzerland. It was while she was in Switzerland that she decided to pursue her dreams of becoming a designer. She decided to attend the Fashion Institute of Design and Merchandising (FIDM) and move to Los Angeles.
While planning her own wedding, she believed that she could create the type of dress that made anyone who wore it feel like a princess. I don’t have to tell you, if you have one of her wearable pieces of art, you do.

Her ready to wear dresses are often seen on the red carpet on some of her celebrity clients: America Ferrera, Katie Holmes, Scarlett Johansson, Jewel, Jada Pinkett Smith, singer Pink and Eva Longoria just to name a few. Recently, she has partnered with Royal Doulton on a collection of dinnerware, stemware, gift ware and flatware.

I won’t tell you that her dresses are inexpensive. In general, the average price range for the bridal collection is about $3,000 to $10,000. If you are thinking of wearing something 'different to wear during your reception, her ready to wear ranges from $2,000 to $8,000. However each bridal piece that I saw was uniquely embellished, belted, or laced. Likewise, each dress was more jaw dropping than the next. You know what, that’s what every bride wants on her special day; to have that effect on her husband-to-be and guests.

No matter if it’s her beautiful bridal, sexy ready to wear, handbag or her table top collection, they wear the stamp of quality and excellence that is truly Lhuillier.

KEY FACT: Remember there are always trunk and sample sales where you can find one of these creations (even if it’s ‘last seasons’) drastically reduced so make sure to go.
Monique Lhuillier Headquarters: 1201 S. Grand Ave. 3rd Floor
Los Angeles, CA 90015
213.747.8811 t
213.747.9311 f
Website: http://www.moniquelhuillier.com/index2.html

Saturday, March 21, 2009

Happy Saturday to you ...

I just wanted to make sure to remind you of events that are coming up. I've included codes (that means FREE!!) and/or emails for you to RSVP to attend (also FREE!!). I really look forward to meeting a lot of you - I'll be there, so introduce yourself to me and let's get to know each other.

As an aside, I had a lovely time meeting Monique Lhuillier at her bridal showing this week. I'll have a few photo's early next week, so look for them. I also wanted to take a moment to express my appreciation to you for reading my column and hope that I'm making your planning a bit more enjoyable.

If you didn't read my column yesterday (shame on you -just kidding!) I have just started writing about the grooms in your lives. So hint to them that every Friday there will be some information, questions and answers, and free events coming soon just for them. You can feel free to ask as well.

On to this weeks events...

Monday March 23 from 4-9pm

Sylvia Weinstock, Colin Cowie, David Tutera, complimentary beauty services by The John Barrett Salon, Cocktails and Hors d’oeuvres, gift bags Victoria Secret Lounge and sooo much more. You will definitely have the opportunity to have a lot of your questions answered and meet some of the leaders in the wedding industry.

I look forward to seeing you at The Roosevelt Hotel – that’s the corner of 45th Street and Madison Ave. Use code MRFNY09 on www.weddingsalon.com for FREE tickets for 2.

Thursday March 26 from 6-8pm

Pronovias and InStye Weddings are hosting a “Spring Bridal Party” at the Pronovias flagship store.
There will be cocktails and Hors d’oeuvres; a runway fashion show and makeovers; exclusive shopping specials, giveaways (including a honeymoon to Aruba) and so much more. If you haven't been to this store yet, it's really beautiful and located at 14 East 52nd street on 5th Ave. For your FREE tickets please RSVP: instyle_rsvp@timeinc.com ASAP.

Trunk Shows:

Come see this seasons dresses at the Monique Lhuillier Trunk Show - - March 26-29
The Bridal Atelier Mark Ingram 110 East 55th Street, 8th Floor , New York City. Please schedule an appointment by calling, 212.319.6778

Saks Fifth Avenue will have the Amsale trunk show - - March 26-28
For more information or to schedule a private appointment, please call 212.940.2269

April preview (because I want you to be in the know....)

April 1, New York Magazine is hosting an event that you would be an 'April Fool' to miss. This evening is filled with fresh ideas, expert advice, and creative solutions to inspire New York brides & grooms. This year they have the industry’s top talent and over 90 participants. From gowns and jewelry to flowers, caterers, and registry ideas, this event covers every aspect of planning a wedding. It will be at the Metropolitan Pavilion 125 West 18th Street (between 6th & 7th Avenues). Tickets (via Ticketweb): $50 for two, $35 for one with special online-only offer at http://nymag.com/weddingsevent

April 16-25, Vera Wang will have a trunk show at her flagship store. Call 212.628.3400 to make an appointment. When I receive more information on this, I'll update you.

Well, this should keep you busy for a day or two. I love reading your comments so keep them coming.

For more info: Contact the vendors directly

The Roosevelt Hotel - Corner of 45th Street and Madison Avenue
Pronovias - 14 East 52nd Street on 5th Avenue
The Bridal Atelier Mark Ingram - 110 East 55th Street, 8th Fl. 212.319.6778 for appt.
Saks Fifth Avenue - 611 5th Avenue 212.753.4000
New York Magazine Event - http://nymag.com/weddingsevent
Vera Wang - 991 Madison Avenue at 77th Street.

Friday, March 20, 2009

Grooming the groom

First day of Spring

First Bro-man movie “I Love You Man” is out today - more importantly,
First day of ‘Grooming the Groom’.
I believe things happen in threes so you gotta love it!!

Hi Guys (and ladies I hope you read this section as well),
I want to welcome you to your own space. A place where every Friday, all your questions will be answered. A place where you can come, to find the real ins’ and outs’ of the groom experience.

I know you're thinking, what qualifies me right? Simply, ’Ive been known to talk a groom or two off the ledge in my time. Do I know everything there is? Obviously not, I’m not a guy – BUT – all of my male friends will tell you that I’m a good ‘Guys-Girl’. Yes I am watching March Madness right along with you. As a matter of fact, I’m writing this and watching American vs. Villanova. While I think Garrison Carr is on FIRE, it just isn’t enough…but I digress.

More than anything, it’s been my experience that you fellows are ‘short-changed’ in this engagement process. While some of you are of the “I gave her the ring, so just tell me where to show up” mind set, if you’ve been engaged more than 2 weeks, you know that’s not going to fly for long. Frankly it shouldn’t. This ring is the beginning. Your involvement, even though sometimes it may not seem so, IS appreciated, needed and wanted.

So I’m going to walk you through the process. Since I’m not sure where you are let’s start at the beginning. I promise I won’t preach, I’ll just gently guide you. If you get stuck, I’ll give you the nudge you need to get over the hump.
Let’s get started:

  • Your Budget
  • Who is going to be your supporting cast (that means your ‘Best Man, groomsmen and what are they supposed to do)
  • All the pre-wedding stuff (from the registry, to parties and all the emotions in between)
  • Looking your best (tux vs. suit)
  • The final hour (I haven’t had a groom pass out at the alter yet!!)
  • Yes that is a ring on your finger.

… you get the idea

I’ll address all of these and a lot more as we go though this together. Just like the girls I’ll have some ‘special event info’ just for you too. I’ll tell you that I’m working on an guys night at…well, you just have to come back to find out more ;-)

Thanks so much for allowing me to be your Groom-Godmother. Until next week…

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Your nails are a perfect 10!

If you are like most, the night your guy proposed your nails were…let’s just say, not the way you thought they should be to show off your sparkling ring. They may have been chipped or perhaps your nail polish just didn’t do your ring justice. Did you run immediately, not to pass go, to the salon to have a manicure? Of course you did.

With all the planning, your nails may be taking a beating and they simply are not quite the way you want them to be but, don’t fear. I’ve some great tips from Essie Weingarten, president and CEO of Essie Cosmetics. These tips are guaranteed to have your nails ring ready and perfectly groomed for your big day and every day after. She's also recommending 'Cloud Nine', 'Happily Ever After' and 'No Pre-Nup' as perfect bridal polish choices. No matter which Essie polish you choose, if you follow her tips, your nails will be the least of your concerns on your wedding day.

1. For the longest lasting manicure on your big day, be sure to start with a base coat so the polish sets.

2. Then, wait two minutes before applying each coat of polish and finish off with Essie’s ‘Good to Go’ Top Coat – the fastest drying topcoat around.

3. Always use a thick layer of a base coat made specifically for your nail type (dry, brittle, weak, aging, etc.), such as Essie ‘Fill the Gap’ for dry aging nails or ‘Millionails’ to strengthen weak nails.

4. Keep a Cuticle Pen tucked away to hydrate nails throughout your big day.

5. Use Essie’s new color “Mesmerize” from the Spring Collection on your toes for your ‘something blue’.

6. Pack Essie’s Non-Yellowing Top Coat in your honeymoon luggage to help prevent your manicure from fading during your romantic vacation.

If you follow Essies’ tips, your ring won’t be the only thing that people will notice. They will see a perfect the 10 that you are (and your nails will look great too!).

Thanks Essie!!

Until next time, I’m your bridal fairy godmother….

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Happy St. Patrick’s Day to you my lovely brides and grooms.

Today, let’s talk about traditions. Maybe if you are of Irish heritage you want to incorporate some of these in your special day.

Did you know that in Ireland, an Irish bride's wedding ring is called a Claddagh. It’s the ring that has the heart, held by two hands with the heart topped by a crown. The hands represent faith, the crown symbolizes honor, and the heart signifies love. The ring’s motto is: “Let love and friendship reign.”

An old Irish tradition calls for the wedding couple to walk to the church together before exchanging their wedding vows. As they walk down the main street to the chapel, onlookers would not only throw rice to bless the marriage, but larger items as well, such as pots and pans. Wow…that would hurt.

The traditional Irish bride often wears a blue wedding dress, rather than a white dress. Blue symbolized purity in ancient times and only in 1499 did a white wedding dress begin to symbolize virginity and purity. I wonder if this is where we got the ‘something blue’? hmmmm

English lavender, an ancient symbol of love, loyalty, devotion and even luck is often mixed with the bride’s wedding flowers to help insure a happy and long-lasting union.

Finally, it is a symbol of luck is to be married on St. Patrick's Day and considered the luckiest wedding anniversary date in Ireland. So if you want a ‘bit of Irish luck today’ why don’t you and your future partner, promise that today will be the first day of your lives. We can all use a bit of luck…just look out for the flying pots and pans.

Until next time I wish you smiling Irish eyes...

Monday, March 16, 2009

It's a nice day for a GREEN WEDDING

There are so many of you that are thinking of having a “GREEN” wedding but is it possible? After some research, I discovered that any party that involves food, drink, or travel means that you, and your guests are increasing your carbon footprint. Let me put it this way, if you spend about $25,000 (which according to statistics is the average spent on a wedding), you have significantly increased your carbon output more than your average dinner party or even you doing a pub crawl with 20 of your friends. Don’t fear, there are ways to make this smaller and over the next several weeks I’ll give you some tips.

Get rid of the non-necessary things.
You’ve been to weddings before right? Do you honestly remember the little ‘take-a-way’ that was on the table? Did you truly drink the ‘wine’ that was in the pretty bottle? If not, then you can save your guests travel footprint by skipping it completely. What you would spend on that little knick-knack, donate that money to the http://www.terrapass.com or http://www.carbonfund.org to offset their travel to your event as well as your event itself.

Recycle a tree
Where every possible use recycled paper for your invitations. You know that really cute little piece of tissue paper in some more ‘formal invitations’, you really don’t need it. It was a custom established a long time ago to prevent invitations from leaking – remember that was the time when each invitation was written by hand with a quill pen. I don’t think you’re going to do that…are you??

Eat locally
Especially if you are having an outdoor wedding, do everything you can to use organic or locally grown food and wine. Even if you’re not, ask your caterer to see if they can what kind of food they are using. Remember it costs a lot less to get locally grown veggies than something that has to travel from a different state or the other side of the country.

Remember 27 Dresses??
Times have changed and bridesmaids’ attire has gotten a lot better. I’m sure that every woman now has a ‘little black dress’ so why not allow your bridal party to wear something they already own. The guys can wear a dark suit. That saves stress as well as money.

Flowers and other stuff.
Instead of hothouse flowers and other flowers that have been covered in preservatives, and shipped from across the planet, look for local and seasonal flowers. That will absolutely save you money as well as they will follow your theme.

Look, it’s not impossible to do it green, you just have to really think about it. No matter what you do, I’m sure you’ll have your family and guests GREEN with envy.

Until next time…

Sunday, March 8, 2009

Best man, best woman and all the other guests - how do you choose?

You have only been engaged 48 hours and all ready you feel the stress.Your twelfth cousin, twice removed is expecting to be invited to your wedding. Many years ago when weddings cost a lot less and the bride and groom were 21 with very little to say about the ceremony, you just allowed the mothers to make all the plans.

Well now times have changed and as you find your ‘season’, ask both sets of parents and your fiancée to create a guest list. I know this can be daunting, but I promise you if you don’t do this early, an aunt here, or a co-worker there can create a guest list to rival the inauguration.

Here are some helpful suggestions on how to invite those special people to share your day while keeping your number realistic. Remember – Budget, venue, number of guest, in that order.

Your budget is set, and you don’t want to go over it. You’ve picked your venue and that number – the magic number is all the venue can hold. How do you choose – Rank your guests.

I know it sounds horrible, but believe me it’s necessary and if anyone tells you they haven’t done this for their wedding, don’t believe them.

A’s are your closest family and friends. These are the people that you absolutely can’t live without them sharing your day.

B’s are relatives, co-workers, sorority/fraternity brothers and other assorted people you’ve not seen on a pretty regular basis. Only YOU can determine what ‘regular basis’ means.

Make sure that your parents and fiancé have given you their lists and before you chop off uncle Lou. If he’s already on your mom’s list, take him off yours and like magic…one space has just opened. This is also the time when you have to decide if your going to invite people as single, plus one and do you invite small children.

Don’t forget that your bridal party needs a seat at your reception too.

Speaking of your bridal party…

Just because you’ve been in every cousins wedding since you were 16 doesn’t mean that they want to be in yours. Don’t feel as if you must ‘repay the favor’ an invite them to participate, unless you want to.

Who are the key players?
Maid/Matron of Honor, and a Best Man. These are usually your best friend or closest person in your life. It could also mean your future ‘in-law’ if you have an especially close relationship. It’s completely up to you. Now because friendships blur, don’t be surprised to see a ‘best woman’ or a ‘man standing up for the bride’.
Feel free to have bridesmaids and groomsmen, but the number no longer have to match. You don’t need it to be 1:1, nor does it have to be 12:12. Remember this is a wedding, not a football team. If you have an odd number that’s ok – really!

If you really want to limit the number that attend, because of money or simply because you just can’t say no to anyone try this:

Elope – City Hall or Las Vegas, or anywhere in between. Just you, your fiancé.
Small Intimate Ceremony – Only you and your closest family and friends. OR
Destination Wedding – not a lot of people will travel to Italy but you still may have more than you can afford if you have it in Aruba. Still traveling far away will limit the people that will attend.
Either small and intimate or destination, you can then have a big party after to celebrate. That party can range from something formal to a blowout party. Something super casual and relaxed.

No matter which way you choose, I’m sure it will be beautiful and filled with fun memories.

Until next time…

Friday, March 6, 2009

The Four Seasons Hotel is an elegant reception choice

When you think of timeless elegance, unparalleled service and an attentive staff, the Four Seasons Hotel Located between Park and Madison Avenues, comes to mind. The hotel provides superior luxury even by New York standards; from the moment you enter the door you know you are somewhere special.

Recently Ms. Susan Lee-Bishop, the assistant director of catering, had a few moments to speak with me about the hotel and why couples should consider having their wedding there.

Why should a bride consider having their wedding at the Four Seasons Hotel?

“At the Four Seasons, we have the ability to make a couples dream wedding and honeymoon come true. We can help with you with every detail including wedding invitations and floral decorations; from your cocktail party until your party is over, you don’t have to worry. We can handle every detail for you.

Once you decide to have your wedding here, you can simply relax. We will treat you and your guests as if you are family in our home.”

How far in advance do you need to make reservations?
“We have so much experience and such a great staff that we can create a wedding experience in as little as 3 weeks; if we have the space available. Likewise, we already have reservations for 2010.”

I think that once the couple has a time-frame when they think they want to get married, they should call us. Again it depends on the couple and our space availability, but it’s from seven to nine months.”

Are there any ‘hot months’?
“We are seeing that July through October are the new ‘hot months’ for weddings, but we still have a lot of very traditional May and June weddings as well.”

Along with having great music, the couple is interested in the food. What makes the menus at the hotel unique?
“We have the ability to customize and personalize the menu to just about any theme the couple wants. This means we can offer every type of event from an elegant cocktail buffet to a grand banquet. If there is a ‘special cake’ you want, all you have to do is bring in a photograph of it, and we can recreate it for you.”

That does bring me to the question how much would a wedding reception at the Four Seasons cost?
“We completely understand that given the economy that couples are budget conscious. We were talking about ‘hot months’ before. I think that the ‘hot nights’ if you will, fall on Saturdays. Our wedding package offered on a Friday or Sunday may be more appealing from a price standpoint. Our package includes a honeymoon suite for the evening, as well as a customized wedding cake designed by either famed cake designer Sylvia Weinstock or Ron Ben-Israel."

Are there any additional costs that a couple may have to consider?
“When you have a wedding here, there are no hidden costs in the basic wedding package. I will say, the only potential additional fee is for linens that are not our standard ivory and copper. The reason is because we have to rent them from an outside vendor and the cost if the couple wants them is nominal.”

If you are looking for a hotel that is timeless, then the Four Seasons New York, is the hotel for you.

Until next time...

For more info: Further details, availability and price information may be obtained by contacting the catering department at the Four Seasons Hotel New York at 212-350-6501.

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

How not to break up with someone like Jason Mesnick

I really have to write just a quick note about the Bachelor last night.

Like many of you who watch and were rooting for this single dad to find the love of his life, I sat there with my mouth open saying “Oh My God”, over and over. I can’t imagine what happened to have him change his mind and to do it so publicly? It seems that Melissa’s parents were ‘right’ not to want to be a part of the publicity of it all and didn't want her heartbroken. I'm not a parent, but I was heartbroken for her just the same. Being in a real-relationship is work, real work and it takes two, so good luck to Jason and Molly.

You my lovely couples are living in the real world; away from the spotlight and the things that are ‘made for television’. Your life and love are hopefully real. The excitement of the engagement is great but it’s just the beginning. While I’m hoping to help you navigate through the sometimes stressful wedding planning, I will say that your partner may sometime see you as, a bride or groomzilla (yes groomzilla’s exist). Don’t worry, as long as you both communicate daily and work together things will be fine. In the end, the engagement is just the beginning, the wedding is just a day – the marriage is what we’re hoping will be for a lifetime.

Key: Being a good partner means being able to communicate daily, and remember the reasons you want to be together.

If however, you have decided to end your relationship, don't do it in public. Don't take them to a restaurant in the hopes that they won't create a scene. For gosh sakes, don't do it in front of millions of people. Keep in mind that at one point in time you, at least liked this person and this, even if 'expected' will still be hurtful. Knowing it's over and hearing it are two very different things. Maybe like Ross and Racheal of "Friends" fame, you just 'need a break'. Take one. Talk it out. If you decide that you can't be together, treat this person with the kindness and dignity they deserve. Remember it could be your brother, sister or even you on the end of a broken heart and relationship.

Until next time…

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