Thursday, April 30, 2009

Wedding Q&A Thursday: Mother of the Bride Dress

Our question this week comes from a Mother of the Bride!

Q: I need to start thinking about my dress. What length would be appropriate? knee-length, halfway between knee and ankle, ankle? What colors should I stay away from?

A: The style of your dress should be based on the style and feel that the bride and groom want to go with for the wedding itself. Since I know your daughter is choosing to have an afternoon wedding, but still wants to keep the day on the more formal side, you may want to do a semi-formal look. The exact length itself is not as important as the style of the dress and should be chosen based on your comfort in a particular dress length. If you have killer legs - keep it at the knee. If you are more comfortable covering up - go long. Stick with an elegant look that is more dressed-up than you would usually wear, you are the MOB and you want to keep in mind that you will be in many pictures and have a lot of eyes on you that day. If you are not a “dress” person, an elegant pant suit is ok if that is your style. After all, it will be a long day, so you need to feel comfortable or it will reflect in the pictures.

As far as what color to wear, we can start with what colors NOT to wear. Avoid wearing white, ivory and sometimes champagne (depending on what the bride is wearing) that may match the bride! Black has been said to be suggestive of mourning, and some say it is bad luck. On the contrary, it can also look very elegant, especially if it coordinates with the wedding's color scheme. So think about that before choosing black just because you are afraid to go in a more colorful direction. Some say to stay away from flashy colors like red, but again, I feel that this restriction depends on the wedding's palette. If the entire wedding is done in soft, muted colors, red may be a little too much. But if bright colors abound, go bright!

The best way to approach it is to first talk to your daughter to see if she has any feelings one way or the other. She may want you to wear the same color as the bridesmaids or a different shade in the color family. For example, say the girls are wearing light blue dresses - an elegant navy look would be perfect for the MOB. Other safe colors are always silvers and grays (which are VERY chic and popular right now), gold tones or champagne (beware if your daughter's dress leans toward champagne), bronze, espresso brown, lavender, blues, aubergine or burgundy - honestly, whatever works best with your skin tone!

In the end, you will feel the best and be the best representative of your daughter by wearing a dress that fits you well and makes you feel beautiful. The wedding day is about your daughter getting married, so you should remain tasteful and elegant, but that does not take away from the reason for the dress - getting you all dolled up to celebrate an important occasion for you as well as your daughter!

OH! I almost forgot a very important reference point - the Mother of the Groom! As the two of you shop, keep the lines of communication open, especially if you live in the same town. You don't want to wear the same thing!
Check out these dresses from the Mother of the Bride section on the Nordstom dress section:

Happy Shopping!

Do you have any questions for us? We feature a new question each Thursday, send yours in to and we might feature your question next!

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Low Country Boil...cake!

The universe is strongly urging me to cook a low country boil. I was craving the delicious Savannah delicacy all weekend - probably because it was so hot out. And then there were just LCB's everywhere! On my Mansion bride's dinner menu, catering quotes coming in for a November wedding's Low Country Boil welcome party...really everywhere, I couldn't name all of the appearances.

I thought I'd gotten away from that sneaky pot of deliciousness (I always feel like...the LCB's Waatching meeEEE!) and decided it's been too long since I've peeked at Custom Cakes' blog to see what's new and happenin' in the sweets department...

It's a Low Country Boil GROOM's CAKE! An amazing one at that...check out Minette's actual post for a funny story on how that smudge came to be on the bottom left hand corner.

Ugh, now I'm craving Low Country Boil AND velvet with cream cheese icing...argh...

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Martha Stewart Weddings

We just finished up a great weekend with three beautiful Savannah weddings - one of which will be featured in the fall issue of Martha Stewart Weddings - we will be sure to let you know when the issue is on the news stands so you can share in our excitement and check it out!

Tricia Huddas & Co. Real Wedding: Meredith and Mark

Meredith and Mark were married just a few weeks ago on a beautiful April day here in Savannah. I have to say that I am truly going to miss meeting with Meredith and her family! They have the most infectious laughs and when I was around them, I could not help but laugh right along with them. I can tell you that I had no need to ask the front desk where Meredith’s room was that day – I could hear her and her mother laughing and just followed the joyful sounds!

Meredith, her mother, the groom's mother and her maid of honor were getting their hair and make-up done in their hotel room by Savannah Day Spa. They were just enjoying the happy occasion and really taking in the day. Meredith was to wear a new wedding dress, but the veil had a meaningful history. It was the veil that her mother wore on her wedding day, and to add a special touch to the veil then, her mother – Sassy aka Grandma Farrar - had sewn on small pearls to match Meredith’s mother's dress. Following tradition, Meredith’s mother sewed clear sequins onto the veil match the sequin detail on Meredith’s dress.

The couple opted to see each other before the ceremony, and their amazing photographer, Jade McCully, shared these photos with us. They met in Emmet Park and walked around the park and Factors Walk area of historic Savannah.

The ceremony took place in Washington Square and the weather could not have been better - sunny, but not hot. They were wed by the bride's long-time family friend and pastor. Each had just one attendant, and walked down the aisle while the bride’s friend, Anna, played the violin. Her flowers were created by the talented team at Garden on the Square. The men wore classic blue seersucker suits - my favorite male attire for a casual, summer, Southern wedding!

A cocktail style reception took place at the Mulberry Inn. Mollie Stone created a stunning cake for the couple and the guests left messages in a Savannah coffee table book in lieu of a guest book. Everyone ate, drank and truly enjoyed the company of the happy couple and the beautiful April weather.

Congratulations Meredith and Mark, may laughter always be in your life!

Friday, April 24, 2009

Jackie's Wedding Planning Journey - Wedding Newsletter

Yes, it may sound like I am going totally "Bridal," but hear me out. This is a great idea to keep people in the know about your wedding. Believe it or not, many of your guests want to know all the details of your wedding - color scheme, centerpieces, about your bridal party, etc. It feels strange but so many of my parents' friends are asking so many questions about the wedding that I never thought other people would care about. People are nosy. Especially women, myself included. We all love weddings and want to know all about them! Since many of my parents friends are not blogger savvy I had to come up with a way to keep everyone posted on what is going on. Hence.....a newsletter all about the wedding! I ran the idea past a few of my mom's friends and they were so excited...more than I was expecting!

The Wedding Newsletter is something that I just started working on this week. My plan is to send it out approximately 4 to 5 weeks after I send the wedding invitations - about 3 weeks before the actual wedding. Not only is this a great way to remind those who have not yet RSVP'd, it also contains all the necessary information about Savannah that I could not fit in my invitations. Some of the things I am including are directions from the various hotels to the church, fun Savannah activities that guests may enjoy, a map of downtown Savannah, and anything that will help all of my out of town guests feel super prepared for their trip to Savannah. On a less practical note, I am sharing the "how he proposed" story and also doing bios for the Bridal Party, properly titled "Meet the Bridal Party." I am including pictures, stories and anything else I can fit into four pages. Suggestions are welcome! I am leaving one square blank. for guests to fill out with their best advice for Matt and I, cut it out, and bring with them to the reception. There will be some sort of container for them to drop the cards in. I realize not everyone will do this but it will be fun for those who do!

So, whether or not you are having an intimate gathering or inviting 500 people, this is such a wonderful way to make everyone feel important and keep your guests informed. The only real cost is some extra postage but if you are like me you ordered extra anyway.

If you all have any additional ideas I would love to hear them or if you think I am just going completely "bridal" let me know :)

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Wedding Q&A Thursday - Pre-Owned Wedding Gowns and Secondhand Advice

Just when you thought you knew what to expect from Q&A Thursday, we shake things up! Call us edgy if you like; just don't call us late for the cutting of the cake...HA! [Oooookay...I couldn't resist the cheesy joke...back to our normally scheduled post] We are flipping the scenario this week and having another wedding professional answer one of our questions.

Q: I was wedding dress shopping with a September bride this week. As she was cringing at what she was discovering to be her expensive taste, I joked, "eh, what the heck, you can sell it after your wedding." We got into a discussion with the saleswoman helping us about whether or not that's a really reliable method to staying within your budget (original cost - resale profit = dress budget). We were all quickly distracted by a more modestly-priced dress, but the interaction left me thinking about how little I know about the actual details of wedding gown re-sale and how little help I would be in counseling a bride about the option. So my question is - What is the inside scoop on buying and selling pre-owned gowns?

Josie, from, was kind enough to answer my question...and her answer just may help you too!

A: Buying a pre-owned wedding dress, when done wisely, is a great way to save money in your wedding budget. After all, it can be a huge expense for something you will wear just once. A $3000 dress, worn for 5 hours, equates to $10 a minute! Seems crazy when you could buy the same $3000 gown, pre-owned, and save up to 75% off the retail price. Just think of how far that money would go towards other wedding expenses or honeymoon costs. has over 2,100 new, sample and used wedding gowns for sale. And you can browse the gowns by criteria such as designer, keyword, price, location, neckline or silhouette. You can even save a list of your favorite gowns in your own private dressing room and share that list with your mom and friends for their opinion.

These are some of my favorite wedding dresses currently available on

If you do decide to buy or sell a wedding gown online, here are some tips and suggestions to make the process go smoothly.

Tips for Buyers:
• Research the gown’s retail price online and in bridal boutiques ahead of time. Knowing a dress’ market value will help you in your negotiations.

• Whenever possible, try on the gown at a local store (many pre-owned gowns are still available at retail) so can see how it fits/flatters your figure

• Ask detailed questions: when and where the gown was purchased, the fabric, detailing, alterations, flaws, cleaning and storage. If the gown is over 2 years old, ask about yellowing of the lace or other fine fabric. Ask to see photographs of the gown from all angles, including details.

• If applicable, confirm whether or not the gown is authentic to the designer and not a copy. A certificate of authenticity, a photo of the label, or a copy of the original store receipt are good ways to confirm this.

Tips for Sellers:
• Provide as much detail as possible about the fabric, the detailing, the fit/alterations, etc; and offer a copy of your original receipt.

• Provide photographs from different angles, including full length shots of the dress - front and back. Include photos of any detailing like beading or trim, and how the train looks down and bustled. Photos taken in natural light are best.

• Be honest, accurate and complete about any flaws in the gown. If the gown is new and unworn, flaws are typically not an issue. But if the gown was a sample or used in a wedding, provide details about the amount of wear and any marks, pulls, tears or stains.

• Have a reasonable price expectation. We offer pricing suggestions here:

For Both:
• Protect yourself in any online transaction. Get the buyer’s/seller’s full name, address and phone number. Use which offers great protection for both the buyer and the seller.

Readers - What do you think about Josie's advice? Do you have anything to add based on your personal experience buying or selling a pre-owned dress?

Do you have any questions for us? We feature a new question each Thursday, send yours in to and we might feature your question next!

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

The Wedding Dress to Match the Wedding Day

I had the pleasure of wedding dress shopping with one of my Fall '09 brides this weekend, and it was just as much fun as I hoped it would be - for both of us. I loved wedding dress shopping in preparation for my own wedding, so I was really hoping that she would have the same experience. We both got a little bit choked up when she put on the first dress. It wasn't "the one," but it made one thing clear - she looked amazing in wedding gowns and this was going to be a good trip!

By the time we got to Bleu Belle Bridal we had her general silhouette and style narrowed down and it didn't involve lace or eyelet. But she was still a good sport and tried on the amazing Vera Wang eyelet dress that called out to me as soon as I saw it in the boutique's window. Called to me, not her. Yes, I fell in love with a dress... Here are some pictures of it from where someone is actually selling my size...tempting, hahaha.

Before beginning the search for my own wedding gown years ago, I naturally gravitated toward lace and eyelet wedding dresses when I saw them in magazines and online. When I arrived at my first appointment at a bridal boutique, I pulled nothing but these dresses off of the rack. I tried the first one on and said, "It's so pretty, but it's not my wedding at all." That quickly, I realized that the church I was getting married in, the time of day, the reception location, the season, every other aspect of the wedding did not fit with a lace or eyelet gown - so I started over, and never turned back.

Now, almost 3 years after my wedding, I am still drawn to the same gowns, but I don't regret not wearing one because they didn't fit with the wedding I was planning at the time. I have always been sensitive to a wedding dress that seems out of character with the wedding itself, but this weekend's trip reminded me how important it is to remind all brides - beware of putting the dress before the wedding. There are so many beautiful dresses out there, but I think that it would be harder to plan a wedding around a dress, than to pick the appropriate dress for your wedding. So don't rush to order your dress - as exciting as this part of the planning can be. As your wedding day plans come together, your thoughts on a dress may evolve and you don't want to be, literally, sewn into a look by a beautiful, yet inappropriate dress.

As for my lovely eyelet friend....she'll have to wait patiently for another lucky lady (unmarried lady) to take her down the aisle.

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Loving these Kate Spade Place Cards...

This weekend was one of the cutest intimate weddings I've seen at the Mansion on Forsyth Park. The bride, Kristin, wanted her 16 guests seated in the round, at the center of the courtyard so that she and Rob could get married under the lovely chandelier. She ordered close to a ton of rose petals from an online wholesaler, and they did a nice job of helping to form our ceremony in the round. I will share some pictures once I get them, but I was really excited about her place cards that she had for the intimate dinner to follow the ceremony.

I have never seen these Kate Spade Word Place Cards by Cranes before this weekend. My favorite, of course, is "Playing Footsie is Encouraged." If you chose the right girlfriend to use that one for...and sat them across from an appropriate bachelor, you could really get something going, huh?

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Jackie's Wedding Planning Journey - Why I Chose Savannah

Savannah, Georgia is an incredibly popular city for destination weddings. I have met people who have traveled from all over the United States to have their dream wedding here in this southern city. I am lucky to live in such as city - there are so many vendors and sites to choose from. however my decision to get married here was not one I took lightly.

I was born and raised in Bradenton, FL. My entire family lives there, and were also born and raised in or near Bradenton. We are members of First Presbyterian Church, where Rev. Jack Wolfe married my Mother and Father in 1974. Rev. Wolfe also baptized me there in 1983 shortly after I was born. My grandfather passed away in January 2007, and was laid to rest in the memorial garden on the church grounds that my father designed and landscaped. With so much history it always seemed like that church was meant for my wedding. I must say sitting here writing all this down is making me tear up just a bit thinking about home!

The choice between Savannah and Bradenton was difficult on many levels, but a decision had to be made. For starters I tried very hard to be realistic and to put things into perspective. I occasionally get a tad over-emotional. Although grew up in Bradenton, Rev. Wolfe has since passed away, the congregation has gone through 3 pastors - none of whom know me - and I have lived here in Savannah for almost 4 years. Matt and I both work full time and Matt does not have a lot of vacation. Moreover, Matt and I - at the time I was choosing a location for the wedding - had recently decided that we really loved it here and were starting to house hunt. Our wedding would be the perfect opportunity for our families to come to Savannah and truly share this experience in a city that we have grown to love and are planning to make our home.

Once Matt and I decided we would like to have the wedding here, I knew I needed the approval of my mother and my grandmother. I spoke to my mom first, explained our situation and, to my surprise, she was thrilled to come to Savannah. She completely agreed to it as long as we had it in the summer! She is a teacher and has all summer off so I completely agreed. I really wanted her to feel like she could still help me plan and take care of things even though we weren’t going to be in Bradenton. I reminded her that we needed to talk to “Vovo”, my grandmother, before we made it official; and was so pleased when my grandmother had the same reaction. Both were so excited and both have still been highly involved in the planning even though it is a destination wedding for them.

Planning this wedding in Savannah has been better than I imagined. There are so many amazing wedding vendors in Savannah and everyone practices the "Southern Hospitality" that one would expect. It also doesn’t hurt that I work for an event coordinator. Tricia and Ainsley have been irreplaceable when it has come to helping make some key decisions about the wedding. They have worked with so many of the vendors, and having seen how they interact with brides they have been able to help me pick the best vendors for my personality.

Now that I’m about half way through my planning I couldn’t imagine having my wedding anywhere but Savannah.

Be Pretty and Prepared in Pink

While we're on the subject of engagements, be honest, are you reading wedding blogs and not even engaged yet? Yes, I know some of you are - and good for you. If you're on pins and needles, waiting for your beau to pop the question at any moment, why don't you try to foster some good karma by keeping your nails "ring ready" with some of these lovely and suggestively-named hues from essie.

tie the knot -or- blushing bride

or for a little more tongue-in-cheek approach...

starter wife -or- no pre-nup

Wedding Q&A Thursday: Help a Brotha' out...

Q: My future brother-in-law wants to propose to my sister in Savannah, can you help me with some ideas?

A: Fun stuff! And, technically, wedding-related since before all of the "here is the church, here is the steeple.."-mumbo-jumbo must come the engagement, right? Tricia and I both brainstormed on this one and came up with some suggestions. I think that the best way to take these is to use them as a generic template into which you add personal touches that relate to your relationship and individual stories...because THAT is was makes the proposal special. ANYONE can go to that restaurant and have the waiter bring the ring out with champagne for dessert. But that says nothing about your relationship - unless you share a running personal joke involving cliches.

From Me

I have to start out by saying that I think that the best way to propose is alone. But that is purely based on my own personal aversion to people being too focused on me. I also am really uncomfortable opening gifts in front of people, and would worry that my reaction to an engagement ring would be awkwardly marred by my self-conscious attention-phobia. If you think this sounds like your soon-to-be-betrothed, consider proposing in private and then surprising her with fun and romantic activities after the fact (or before).

Spa Surprise

Tell your girlfriend that you are scheduling her a massage. I think that this is innocent enough that it will just seem like a really sweet what-a-great-boyfriend-I-have gesture without setting her on edge like she should be expecting a proposal. Don't even take her! Leave the house or hotel a little earlier and say that you're doing something like getting your oil changed or going to the gym or looking for a good place for dinner. Then go on over to Savannah Day Spa ahead of her. Reserve one of their amazing, private Hydro-lounges for the big surprise. The package comes with adult beverages, fruit and chocolate - but let them know ahead of time that it's a proposal so they can help you with setting up any other special things you require.

She will check into the spa by herself and think she is just being taken down to a changing room! Surprise, you are there...proposing! It's private and peaceful and you can spend some time alone - taking a bath or steam shower, or just eating and drinking - before bedding down for a couples' massage instead of her solo treatment she was expecting.

From Tricia

Seems to me Tricia has put a lot of thought into this...and hers are pretty darn inventive.

Gift within in gift...
Take a carriage ride to a romantic restaurant like Bistro Savannah, Local 11 Ten or 700 Drayton. Order champagne, go all-out so that she's expecting you to propose. Look lovingly into her eyes and tell her you have something you've been wanting to give her for a long time... And then give her a gift of some sort that is not the engagement ring - but have the ring hidden in the gift. For example, give her a really nice purse with a story like "I know you've been saying you really need a new purse! So check this one out, it's got all these great pockets inside so you'll be able to find everything. That pocket could be for your cell phone and...wait..there's something in that big pocket..."

It will give her a nice pause before getting the ring and a renewed sense of surprise.

Traditional B&B
Check into one of Savannah's wonderful B&Bs or hotels, such as the Kehoe House, The Gastonian or The Mansion on Forsyth Park, and then head out to a romantic dinner. While you are at dinner, ask someone at the hotel, or a friend, to set up champagne, candles and rose petals in the hotel room. After dinner, come up with some sort of reason to go back up to the hotel room - spill something on your shirt, forgot something up there, etc. Have her walk into the room before you and kneel right down in the doorway so that when she turns around, shocked, you are ready to propose.

Pre-arrange with one of the street artists on River Street to give you a helping hand! Take her down to River Street for some pralines or cocktails and as you're walking by the caricature artist suggest you get your picture drawn. The artist will draw you as a bride and groom and then when he turns it around for the "big reveal" she will be surprised to see it, and then even more surprised when you propose!

Old-School Film Surprise
Bring an "old school" disposable camera with you and say that you just found it in the back of a drawer and you are curious to know what's on it, but you have to finish up the last few shots. Take a bunch of random pictures beforehand, including some with you holding signs saying "Will," "you," "marry," and "me." Take the camera out that morning and have a few shots taken of the two of you out-and-about in Savannah and then drop the camera off to a 1-hour development location. Pick them up later and suggest taking a seat in a nearby square to look through them. Obviously, let her do the flipping and she'll get the message.

Readers: Do you have a suggestion to help a brother-in-law out? We'd love to hear how your fiance popped the question, in Savannah or elsewhere!

Q&A Thursday Teaser...

We're going slightly off-topic with today's Q&A Thursday, which will be posted later this morning. But here's a related anecdote...

I was in Washington D.C. this weekend for a friend's Bachelorette weekend. We had a lot of fun with a great group of girls - many I knew from college, but also some new friends of hers from graduate school and work in D.C. At dinner I was seated across from one of the graduate school ladies, and we were talking about how she'd just set a date for her wedding. Another one of my friends overheard our conversation and jumped in with, "Wait, did you get engaged at the inauguration? Were you on TV?"

Sure enough, yes and yes. Here is the story from the Baltimore Sun. Apparently they were also interviewed on several national news broadcasts, though I can't find those videos anywhere! What a plan, huh? To have the inaugural committee invested in your proposal like that... I guess it paid off in a really special experience for both of them!

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

The Two-Week Wedding - Part Three

Time to wrap up the Two-Week Wedding's taking us about as long to blog about it as plan and execute it. If you need a refresher: Part One, Part Two.

As the ceremony was going on, we literally had Cape Creations Catering hiding in the Carriage House prepping and readying themselves for the cocktail hour. Savannah Special Events, A to Zinnias Event Florist and Savannah Custom Cakes were waiting on the sidewalk for us to clear the guests and begin load in. Once the last guessed exited the courtyard for an indoor cocktail hour, a detailed and well-planned one hour turn over ensued. As our crew moved chairs, and loaded in tables, linens were placed, flowers, candles and food stations were set up. We all just pitched in together and really transformed the space. As with any event, there are always hiccups - but before we could say, "oh my! we are short two linens," Robert from Savannah Special Events was already in his truck and on the way to the warehouse to grab them!
As the sun was setting, the final glass of water was placed and the guests stepped out into a magically transformed space. They had no idea that they would return to the courtyard for dinner – honestly, we are not sure what they thought, but were excited to see their faces as they all walked out to the courtyard.

We could not have asked for a better evening – being that this was November and the weather could be 80 or 50 degrees! We lucked out somewhere in the middle.

After the Bride and Groom were announced into their reception and enjoyed their first dance, the Bride's parents stepped up to the mic to welcome their guests to their daughters wedding. Her father made note of the last two weeks in a lighthearted toast to his wife and daughter and thanked all involved in making this the wedding that his daughter had always dreamed of.

The evening progressed, guests ate, drank and danced – and no one would have suspected that this was not the wedding that was planned from day one. The bride, groom and parents were wonderful to work with! This is never a situation that anyone should have to go through –but if you should happen to find yourself in a situation such as this, feel free to give us a call and we will pull together your event with style and grace!

Cheers to Lauren and Ian!

Monday, April 13, 2009

Real Wedding - Rachelle and Mark

So I misspoke when I said that Lizzie and Olin kicked off our wedding season, because the true start to a new year would come from the January 2 nuptials of Rachelle and Mark. Rachelle and Mark married at the Mansion on Forsyth Park with one of their intimate wedding packages. They all gathered on a beautiful January afternoon in Savannah – one of the reasons I love planning in Savannah! We can still have an outdoor wedding in January - it might be slightly chilly, but no snow plows required!

Classic and elegant is how I would describe Rachelle. She was gracious and excited like any other bride, and stunning – just look at how beautiful she is! She kept it all very simple peony bouquet by Harvey Designs, one of my favorite wedding flowers! That bouquet is simple, but elegant! Rachelle and Mark had a guest that was celebrating a birthday on their wedding day, and they wanted to make sure that their guest was included in the celebration since they were giving up their birthday to be with them. She had Custom Cakes create a cake that would pull double duty! It is in the style of an intimate wedding cake, but it was chocolate, her and her guest’s favorite flavor!

Photography provided by Denise Gonsales Photography.

Friday, April 10, 2009

Jackie's Wedding Planning Journey - Choosing Bridesmaids

Once Matt proposed, I knew the toughest decision I would have to make was deciding who my Bridesmaids would be. I have a large group of friends from college, along with friends from high school and new friends here in Savannah. At first, I wanted to have everyone be a bridesmaid - a la 27 dresses. In total that would have been 9 Bridesmaids, 2 Junior Bridesmaids and a Flower Girl - 12 girls total! I know friends who have had up to 12 in their wedding party and I am not turned off by the big number. Alas, a bridal party of 12 was just something that my budget could not handle. 12 bouquets, 12 gifts, wedding day transportation for starts to add up.

I read magazine after magazine trying to figure out how to handle the situation - methods for narrowing down, scripts for breaking the bad news, etc. No outside answer seemed to satisfy me. But after thinking it through on my own, and discussing it with close friends, I finally came up with a plan:

My Maid of Honor was always a given, Jessica, my best friend and sorority sister from college. My best friend here in Savannah just happened to get married last year making it easy for me to make her my Matron of Honor. My best friend from High School, Kristin, and another sorority sister, Courtney, are the girls that I would consider my two closest college friends. With them as bridesmaids I had narrowed it down to 4 maids (plus the little gals).

From there things got tricky. I still had 5 close sorority sisters/high school friends left that I felt I could not choose between, so I decided not to choose at all - leave it at 4 and be done with it. Problem solved, right?...Wrong! The guilt set in about 2 months after I had bought the bridesmaids' dresses. They were not giving me any grief, of course, but I was not happy to be leaving them as pure guests on my wedding day. They are my closest friends, whether there are two or five of them. Still knowing that I could not afford to have that many bridesmaids, I had to figure out some way to recognize them at the wedding and let them know how much they meant to me.

I decided to forget tradition that says "you're a bridesmaid or not a bridesmaid" and created "The Honorary Bridesmaid." It may even be a cooler position than bridesmaid because you get to pick your own dress and shoes and you get to sit for most of the ceremony! Each of my Honorary Bridesmaids will process down the aisle before the wedding party, carrying a single flower, be listed in the program, and sit in the front of the church with my immediate family. It may seem a small part to play, but it means a lot to me to recognize each girl that has meant that much to me.

I'd love to hear about the difficulties that you've had choosing your wedding party and how you chose to overcome them. Is there a whole army of Honorary Bridesmaids out there that I don't know about?

Thursday, April 9, 2009

Wedding Q&A Thursday – Honeymoon Registries

Q: I have heard about "honeymoon registries" from a few friends. What exactly are they and do they fall in line with proper etiquette?

B: Couples used to move in with each other after the wedding and straight from their parents' houses, so asking for kitchen and bath items was a necessity - people were literally helping them get started on their own. Nowadays more and more couples are getting married older, and often have already lived together or on their own and have a house full of items. This may make a "traditional" registry - dishes, linens, china, crystal, kitchen appliancess.. - a bit useless, unless such as couple is looking to upgrade home goods and such.

A honeymoon registry is a web site where you ask your guests to donate upgrades, activities or money towards the cost of your honeymoon in lieu of a concrete gift. Guests can buy you a night out on the town or breakfast in bed; they can pay for you to go zip-lining through the jungle or swim with the dolphins. The options are endless and many of the sites will suggest things for you to do based on where you are going - research you would be doing anyway.

So are they within the confines of proper etiquette? Well if you honestly don’t have a need for items, and don’t want to do a traditional registry (even though we suggest that you still register for some traditional items) a honeymoon registry is a great alternative. The thing is, if people want to give you a concrete token of their affection, they'll do just that, no matter how much you ask otherwise. But a lot of people will just give you money anyway, which you may be planning on using for the honeymoon - if you register, at least they can choose what they're helping to pay for.

But you don't have to take our meager word, Etiquette Queen Bee Emily Post has chimed in on the subject:

"Is a Honeymoon Registry appropriate? Yes, but don’t expect all guests to choose that gift option. Some will be more comfortable selecting a traditional gift, or giving cash. A honeymoon registry is an acceptable choice, but it’s probably safest to give guests alternate choices -- so it’s a good idea to still register for some traditional items, too."

So how do they work, exactly? Well, here is a site that is far better than us at explaining all the details on honeymoon registries! They have also done the work for you in comparing eight different honeymoon registries so you can see what is the best option for you!

We know you are out there, our google analytics tell us so, so be sure to comment and tell us if you used a honeymoon registry or what your feelings are about them. Your comments help other brides formulate their decisions!

Do you have any questions for us? We feature a new question each Thursday, send yours in to and we might feature your question next!

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

The Two-Week Wedding - Part Two

Part one of The Two-Week Wedding

The next week was a whirlwind for Lauren as she had to make decisions on the fly - decisions that she had already thoughtfully made in the past year of planning! She had to put a lot of faith in us as professionals, trusting that we understood her vision and were committed to making it a reality.

Guest hotel blocks were made near the old venue, greatly increasing the distance that guests would have to travel to and from the venue. In order to not inconvenience Lauren and Ian's guests, we needed transportation between the lodging and the venue. Both of the trolley companies in Savannah were fully booked - but they were still able to each squeeze us in and between the two we covered guests' transportation.

The Harper Fowlkes House is a house museum, so all of the structural "wedding venue" elements - tables, chairs, linens, dishes, etc - needed to be rented. Kendall and her crew at Savannah Special Events were there for us, as always, to bring that base structure to the house. Since the new ceremony venue was much different from the original, we had to reconfigure the floral decor. In Savannah, flowers are ordered two weeks out from the wedding date, so there was no option to change the order. But Lauren's florist, A to Zinnias, were able to re-work the flowers that were already ordered to fit the new setup.

After squeezing and re-distributing...calling in favors and crossing fingers...the wedding began with a beautiful ceremony in the house's classic backyard courtyard. Lauren and her father were both fighting back tears as they stepped out of the house to see her groom, family and friends! Lauren and Ian were married by the bride's Uncle in a touching ceremony that left not a dry eye in the house!

Including ours...but we had no time to dwell in the perfection of the moment because once the wedding party and guests had moved indoors for cocktail hour in the house we had to transform the courtyard yet again for the reception...

Tricia Huddas & Co. Real Weddings - Lauren and Ian, The Two-Week Wedding

Lauren and Ian are one of the greatest couples that we have worked with and, unfortunately, we only had two weeks to get to know them and get them married!

I received a call from Lauren's mother just two weeks before their wedding date. She was very upset that her daughter had been planning her wedding for a year at an all-inclusive venue, when, on the day of her bridal portraits, she was told "if you don't like it, then you can just take your wedding elsewhere," as she was trying to get answers to some of her questions and finalize her plans. I'd like to send a big "YIKES!" out to their customer service coordinator, whoever that may be.

So "take their wedding elsewhere" they did. Lauren's mother and I spoke for a frenzied 30 minutes as she went over the details they had in place and what they would now need - a venue for the ceremony and reception, Food and Beverages and a DJ. Otherwise known as nearly all of their wedding vendors. And even though I was thinking "WHAT AM I GETTING MYSELF INTO?!," I believed enough in our company and the wonderful Savannah wedding vendors that we work with that I was able to say “Please just call your daughter and tell her that we will take care of it – I don’t know what we are going to do yet, but we will make this even better then it was!”

I immediately started making calls to all of my good friends and venues! Most venues were booked, but I stumbled across a venue that had an opening and was absolutely perfect – the Harper Fowlkes House. Though I had never spoken to the bride and was not sure if she even knew that her mother had hired me in the last two hours, I called her photographer and asked that she send Lauren to see me after their bridal portrait shoot.

When Lauren walked into the beautiful courtyard of the Harper Fowlkes House she almost cried – PERFECT! This venue was exactly what they were looking for initially, but just never found! So we signed on the dotted line and the real work began.

Lauren and Ian's wedding ended up being an amazing evening. Check in tomorrow for the details that came together with the help of some of Savannah's best.

The Harper Fowlkes House and Courtyard.

Friday, April 3, 2009

Jackie's Wedding Planning Journey - Charleston Bachelorette Party

Although Ainsley introduced me last week, I wanted to take a second to tell everyone a little more about myself. I was born and raised in Bradenton, FL, approximately 1 hour south of Tampa. I graduated from the University of Florida, GO GATORS, in the fall of 2005 and immediately moved to Savannah. Matt and I met in college and have been in Savannah since – we have truly fallen in love with this town!

Now on to something that I hope all of you will experience as a bride or bridesmaid - the infamous Bachelorette party! The Bachelorette party is probably the most fun, as well as the most stressful, thing your Maid of Honor (MOH) will have to plan. Some brides choose to be involved in the planning, but not me. My bridesmaids are not only old friends from college and high school, but also new friends from Savannah. I wanted this to be a chance for all of them to bond before the wedding, so I let my MOH, Jessica, take charge and the entire weekend became a huge surprise for me!

So this past weekend I was wisked away to Charleston, SC with no clue what was in store for me – a little scary, but a lot of fun. We arrived in Charleston on Friday afternoon and settled into the amazing condo that the girls rented. It was fully decorated with dozens of x-rated balloons and inappropriate decorations, and I loved it! I, myself, was soon decorated with a Bachelorette sash that had twinkling lights and a giant twinkle ring, which gave almost everyone a headache. This was my “nice” night.

April, the best tour guide in Charleston, took us on a private ghost tour. Though I think I scared the ghosts off with my bachelorette flair, it was a fantastic way to see the city – walking all through downtown Charleston, and hearing fantastic spooky stories.

Apparently there are ghosts in the Spanish Moss..oooo..spooky

All the ladies on the ghost, that is not a ghostly orb over my shoulder, it's my bachelorette sash.

Next up was a big fancy dinner – my favorite! We ate at Magnolias, where I had the most excellent shrimp and sausage grits – a true Southern delicacy. And later we strolled around the town scoping out some bars and just enjoying each others’ company. I had not seen my Bridesmaid Kristin for over a year, so it was just nice to be with my best friends!

Saturday was shopping day! After an amazing brunch at Sweetwater CafĂ© the girls and I checked out King Street, and “Bridey,” the nickname that I was given for the weekend, spent way too much money! There is an amazing store downtown called, simply and appropriately, Cupcake, where we bought a few cupcakes each and I now wish I had bought a lot more.

On Saturday night the girls threw me a lingerie shower so that I would be well prepared for the honeymoon. Then, to top it off, there was a champagne toast where each girl told her fondest memory of me. There were a few tears on my end - I am a crier! - and they took advantage of the warm feelings I was having for them by instructing me to close my eyes while they dressed me up and prepared me for my “last night out.”

We had planned on bar-hopping around the Market Street area, but found our home at Mad River. We had such a great time there that we didn’t make it anywhere else, and I even got a Mad River Bride t-shirt! We spent the night dancing, singing and creating memories that will last forever. I would write more about Saturday night but you know what they say (or should say), “What happens in Charleston for your Bachelorette party, stays in Charleston.”

All in all it was a great weekend spent celebrating and bringing friends together. I learned that it doesn’t matter where you go or what you do on the road to the wedding, as long as you have friends and family around you to share in the journey.

Now that I have shared one of the crazier aspects of my wedding planning, I hope that you will continue to check in every Friday as I explore some of the tamer parts of my bride-to-be experience.