Life is a special occasion

Lauren Daversa Events New Advert

This is the latest advert I created. Thoughts...

Clay Wieland Photography

Bride N & Groom C have chosen their wedding photographer! Clay Wieland.

Clay Wieland, has been photographing people, places, and things in South Florida since 1989. He started his career in the photojournalism field and this has allowed him to approach each wedding or assignment with an unobtrusive style. Anticipating the Bride’s next move, the mother’s hug, a soft touch, and the groom’s smile, he captures and documents the moment in time.

Through Clay's visual imaging, your wedding story is told, and preserved for lifetimes to come. His studio is located in the Historic downtown area of Fort Lauderdale, Florida, in his hometown community called Rio Vista. From traditional church settings, to intimate home weddings, his attention to detail and personalized service will help to make your wedding day one to remember for generations.

Bride N, Groom C and I are all very excited to work with Clay on their special day, which is only four months away!!!

Photo courtesy of Clay Wieland

The Knot: Monogram Aisle Runner

Whenever I speak with a new couple about their wedding, whether or not they decide to hire me, I encourage them to check out The Knot. Hands down, it is one of the best resources for couples planning their wedding.

Often, I search through the Knottie profiles just to see what some of the extremely creative, and more often than not, thrifty bride-to-bes' are up to. This morning I came across a great DIY find, a monogram aisle runner. Hey, if you've got the extra $100-$200 to spend on an aisle runner for the church, woo-hoo. Check out Signature Wedding Aisle Runners. They come recommended and their products look good. However, if you'd rather spend a fraction of the cost, and think you can handle a little work then click here.

Top Aisle Runner courtesy of Signature Wedding Aisle Runners
DIY Aisle Runner Photographs courtesy of Road To The Aisle

Words of Wisdom

I wrote a post last week about the importance of writing thank you notes, and included a great website. Well, when it rains it pours. Verse It is another inspirational website for wording and addressing for every occasion. I'm having a blast surfing their website. Side question: do people actually still use the term surfing or am I just l-a-m-e?

ANYWAYS, they offer a huge selection of wording for all sorts of events and also a pretty informative FAQ. Here is a great invitation for a surprise birthday party invitation:

The Big Kahuna is 40[YEARS]...

It's [NAME] Birthday and we
want you to climb aboard the Big Kahuna's Yacht
to help us celebrate his launch into the Sea of Senility


The Big Yacht will set sail at [TIME]

Shhh! Keep it a secret...
we don't want [NAME] to think anything's fishy!

Hosted by the Kahuna's kids
Please R.S.V.P. by [DATE]

L | D Finds: Pink Design

There are a lot of fabulous wedding/event related companies today, and I came across a really cool one today. Pink Designs creates special events graphic designs: wedding monograms, save the dates, programs, labels, invitations, seating charts, postage stamps, table numbers, chair cards, business logos. Even baby shower invitations and baby monograms! And all of their stuff is amazing! Pink Design's stock monograms see for $6 for one (1) monogram, $15 for three (3) monograms or $20 for five (5) monograms. If you buy 5 monograms you will receive 1 free! If you are looking for a monogram that is all your own, you can get a custom monogram design for $20. Here are some of my favorites from their website...they also have a blog Pink Design Events.

A Sparkler Send-Off

Sparklers are not just for the Fourth of July! They make a wonderful accessory for any event, especially weddings. Picture each of your guests holding a sparkler and forming a sparkling tunnel just for you to pass through as you exit your reception. The perfect photo-op!

Not getting married? Don't be sad...of course there is still a use for these bright, shining fire sticks at your event. They can be used as party favors; place card holders; they can be used on cakes instead of candles; or, they can be stuck directly into the ground and lit to create a sparkling light-show effect at a reception.

Sparklers Online offers 10, 20 or 36 inch sparklers and have a 100% satisfaction guarantee! That means if for ANY reason you are dissatisfied with the sparklers you can simply return them for a full refund, plus they offer free shipping! Very nice.

One box of 36 inch sparklers will run you $60 and it has 48 pieces; one box of 20 inch sparklers will cost $35 and it has 48 pieces; and, one box of 10 inch sparklers will cost $45 for 288 pieces. Keep in mind, the shorter the sparkler, the less amount of sparkly-time.

L | D Finds: Bella By Karah

Bella By Karah is the designer I found for Bride N & Groom C's wedding invitations. They are having a tropical Caribbean wedding and using fuchsia and orange as their colors. Bella By Karah fit the bill one-hundred percent. Here is Bride N & Groom C's invitation. Excuse the pertinent information, which has been blocked.

Modern, original and unique is exactly how I would describe Karah's work. However, she has also been a joy to work with, very professional and timely. On top of all this, her pricing is fantastic! She has it all: invitations, cards, logo design, jewelry, announcements and custom artwork! Below are some of my favorites but definitely check out her website Bella By Karah.

It has been great working with Karah, and I look forward to working with her again in the very near future!

Cocktail Party Planning Guide

Unless you are preparing dinner for four, it can be difficult to determine how much food will be enough for an event. There truly are many, many factors that come into play in order to answer this question: what time is the event; how long will the event last; what type of food will you be serving; how rich is the food you plan to serve; how many men, women and children have been invited; will you serve appetizers and dinner.

Deciding how much food to serve at any event actually involves more art than a science. One of my favorite websites, Epicurious, offers readers a great cocktail party guide to help answer all sorts of cocktail party planning question like: planning the menu; serving the food; planning the cocktails; how to set up the bar; food & drink quantity charts; guest list and invitations; setting the scene; rentals & staffing; and timeline & prep tips. So just how much food is enough...

If you're throwing a cocktail party outside of typical meal hours, five or six types of hors d'oeuvres will be sufficient. Plan on each guests eating one or two of each kind. If your cocktail party takes place during meal hours, your guests will be hungry and there should be enough food to constitute a meal. Prepare eight to ten types of hors d'oeuvres and plan on each guest eating two to three of each. Also, younger men tend to eat more than women and seniors, so if you have lots of ties on your guest list, add a few extra hors d'oeuvres to your menu.

Before you stock your bar, you need to know how much alcohol and mixers to purchase. Check out the guidelines helpful for any bar setup. Here are helpful tips to keep in mind:

• It's always good to throw in extra in case the party lasts longer than you planned, there are additional unexpected guests, or one drink is more popular than others.

• Each guest will drink an average of two drinks the first hour and one drink each hour thereafter.

• A one-liter bottle of alcohol yields approximately 22 mixed drinks, so if you know how many guests are attending and what kind of bar you're going to have, you can easily figure out how much alcohol to purchase.

• To accommodate any non-cocktail drinkers, estimate one bottle of wine per eight guests, remembering that white wine tends to be more popular than red.

• One 750-ml bottle of Champagne fills six regular Champagne glasses. The amounts listed in the chart below account for how much Champagne guests will drink from the bar. If you plan to have a Champagne toast, you will need to purchase additional bottles—you only need to pour about a third of a glass for a toast, so plan on one bottle of bubbly for every ten guests.

• Garnishes are relatively cheap, so it's always smart to buy extras. Plan on a 1/2 lemon and 1/2 lime and two each of olives, cherries, and onions per guest. This means that if you have 24 guests, you'll need at least 12 lemons and 12 limes plus 48 each of olives, cherries, and onions.

• Plan on one and a half pounds of ice per person. This will provide enough ice for drinks as well as any ice baths for wine or beer.

Photo Courtesy of Alien Dream

L | D Finds: Pre-Owned Wedding Dresses

Many brides suffer from a case of champagne taste and beer bottle pockets when they are on the hunt for their dream wedding dress. While other brides just don't feel like, or can't afford to shell out big bucks on a high end gown. Well, where there's a will, there a way. And that way is by visiting Pre-Owned Wedding Dresses. They are a listing service designed to connect buyers and sellers of new, sample and used designer wedding dresses. For a fraction of the cost, you can pick up a designer dress by Badgley Mischka, Carolina Herrera, Demetrios, Monique Lhuillier, Oscar de la Renta, Pronovias, Vera Wang and on, and on, and on. And if you've already worn your dream dress, sell it to another happy bride and use the money for something practical like more honeymoon souvenirs! There is a $26 listing fee and no commission charge.

The most popular reason women sell their gowns is to give someone else a chance to enjoy it, broken engagements, a belief that it is not practical to keep it and being a two dress bride. Whatever your reason is, for selling or buying a pre-owned dress, it's worth it to at least check it out.

Not totally convinced yet, the Carolina Herrera, A-Line gown in Rice Taffeta, with champagne pleated taffeta bow detail and chapel train pictured above was originally priced at $2,500 and is being sold on Pre-Owned Wedding Dresses for $875. The best part, the gown has never been worn and has had no alterations.

Signature Drink Of The Month: Wayne's "French 75"

I previously posted about the French 75 for a different twist on a champagne toast so I was hesitant to post a similar cocktail, however. Recently, I sampled Wayne's "French 75" and decided to break that little rule. Wayne's "French 75" it the perfect cocktail for January's Libation of the Month! The warmth from the brandy is ideal during the cold weather, and the champagne is a light and unique pairing that works. Definitely a sipping cocktail, and don't skimp on the ingredients. Wayne's "French 75" is at its best when made with high-quality ingredients. Enjoy!!

Wayne's "French 75"

-3 tablespoons brandy
-1 tablespoon orange liqueur
-Crushed ice cubes
-1 lemon wedge
-1 small lemon rind twist
-1/2 cup Champagne or sparkling wine

Combine first 3 ingredients in a cocktail shaker or martini shaker. Cover with lid, and shake 30 seconds or until thoroughly chilled. Remove lid, and strain into a martini glass. Squeeze juice from lemon wedge into glass; rub lemon rind twist around rim, and drop into glass. Add Champagne to brandy mixture, and serve immediately.

Thank You Note Messages

Thank you notes, a requirement after you receive a gift, attend a dinner party, Mother's Day or Father's Day, birthdays, holiday time, after an interview. You name the occasion and there is probably some sort of written message that needs to be sent. Do you ever have a hard time writing your thank you cards? I have a degree in Writing and English and I struggle with them, and forget about my penmanship. But you still have to send them. I came across a blog,Thank You Note Samples, and it has a pretty good selection of messages. Now, I'm not promoting to flat out copy the words of others because your message, whatever it's for, needs to be sincere. However, if you have reached a crossroad, or can't even get out of the gate...,Thank You Note Samples is one place where you can head to and get your creative juices flowing. Below are some tips from the blog on Thanking people for money.

Thanking people for money isn't very different from thanking them for anything else-- except for one big thing: don't name the amount. This is the only case I can think of where you are not supposed to be specific about the gift that was given. What you do need to focus on however, is the gift you plan to buy with the cash. And when you think about it, it's just common sense. How tacky would this be: "Thank you for the money. I love money. It's nice to have in my bank and I know my friends will be envious."

No, instead you go the route of, "Thank you for the generous gift". If that seems like a minor difference to you and you still don't get it, nevermind, just do it. Or if you think that phrase isn't specific enough, add plenty of specifics to bolster it. Such as:

Dear Pete,
Thanks again for the very generous gifts for the kids. Tommy already bought a game he has been wanting for a while and Luke is having fun deciding what to get. It was great seeing you as always. Hope you have a very happy New Year!
Dear Aunt Freida and Uncle Ted,
Thank you so much for the generous graduation gift. It will be well-used on my trip to Europe this summer. I was going to bring along my old backpack but now I'll be able to get a new one with all the bells and whistles. I can't wait to pick it out.
It was so thoughtful of you to remember me on my special day.
Thanks again!
Dear Mr. Jones,
Thank you so much for the generous gift. It will certainly help with my college bills, which is a big relief. I may even treat Gina and myself to dinner this weekend.
Thank you from us both!

Whether you search the web for the right words to for your note, or you take your inspiration from blogs like Thank You Note Samples YOU HAVE TO WRITE YOUR THANK YOU NOTES!

Beer Tasting

Prefer a good pint of beer to a glass of wine? Host your own tasting party. Southern Living has a the blueprints to organize the perfect beer tasting. Invite your friends over with instructions to bring a few six-packs of their favorite limited edition beer. All you need are some beer glasses, like the Ikea's MJÖD Beer glasses priced at $6.99 for a 6 pack, a few yummy snacks like Chili-Roasted Black Eyed Peas, a bottle opener and you're all set!

Turn canned chickpeas or black-eyed peas into a unique and affordable party snack. Simply toss them in olive oil with a few seasonings and roast until crisp. The key is to bake the beans as long as possible without letting them burn. This will dry them out, making them extra-crunchy like nuts.

Chili-Roasted Black Eyed Peas
2 (15.8-oz.) cans black-eyed peas, rinsed and drained
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 1/2 teaspoons chili powder
1 teaspoon pepper
3/4 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon salt
Preheat oven to 425°. Combine all ingredients in a medium bowl. Transfer mixture to a lightly greased 17- x 12-inch jelly-roll pan. Bake 45 to 50 minutes or until crispy and dry, stirring every 10 minutes. Let cool 20 minutes.

Supper Bowl Party

I've been concentrating heavily on weddings but I really want this blog to be about all forms of entertaining. With that in mind, there is a H-U-G-E party day rapidly approaching ... Super Bowl XLIII on February 1st, 2009. Personally, I'm more into the commercials that air during the Super Bowl. It's amazing how much money is spent on those precious seconds during the game. Whether you're a fan of the sport of not, Super Bowl Sunday is a perfect excuse to get your family or friends together. Cheese are a few ideas that will score you a touchdown!

This would be the perfect invite!

What would football be without beer? Well, That's The Spirit offers up some fun twists to turn classic beer into a swanky cocktail:

The Classic Shandy: Background: Both the American Heritage® Dictionary and UK legislation have defined the "shandy", short for "shandygaff," as a mixture of beer and ginger beer, ginger ale or lemonade. This drink gives all the pleasures of beer with the refreshment of lemonade - a tangy, tasty drink. This old English tradition dates back to the 17th century. Although the origin is not clearly known, some believe that is was named after a local English pub where the beer was not of the best quality and was "flavored" with a sweet lemon mixture. Fill a pilsner or beer mug with lager and top with ginger ale, ginger beer or lemonade. If you are a bit more adventurous, try a Shandy with limeade. Don't be afraid to add ice to this drink. You can't do that with your beer.
Lager and Lime: Add a dash of lime juice or lime cordial to a light lager.
Snakebite: Mix your favorite beer (usually a heavier beer, like stout, works well) half and half with cider.
Black Velvet: Mix stout and champagne, half and half.
Beer Bloody Mary: Mix beer and tomato juice, half and half. Add a dash of Tabasco and a dash of Worcestershire.
Red Eye: Add a shot of tomato juice to any ale or lager (this cocktail is also known as Tomato Beer or a Red Rooster). If you add a splash of Tabasco, the drink becomes a Ruddy Mary.
Liverpool Kiss: Mix a dark beer with Cassis.
BeeSting: Dark beer and orange juice.
Skip and Go Naked: Combine beer, lemon juice and gin, with a dash of grenadine.
Broadway: Popular in Japan, mixing beer and cola is known as a Broadway
Caribbean Night Beer and an ounce of coffee liqueur.
South Wind: Beer with a shot of melon liqueur.

Of course, what would a Super Bowl party be without food? Food Network has some yummy recipes, like Six Layers and a Chip Dip, Teriyaki Chicken Wings, Slacker Jacks and much more!

A football game can seem to take forever to finish. Keep your party going strong by incorporating a few fun games during the time outs, half time or commercials. Try playing football charades. Divide your guests into teams and give each team five word cards that you've prepared in advance. Everyone takes turns trying to get their team to guess the football related word that they're acting out. The team that guesses the most words wins. Use a timer to keep the game from running into the next quarter. Here are several possible words for your game: cheerleader, helmet, football, touchdown, referee, coach, team, field goal, beer or buffalo wings.

The possibilities are endless for your Super Bowl party. It can be simple with wings and a keg, or elaborate with invites and centerpieces. No matter what you do, it should be fun!! So, what are YOUR ideas? Share 'em!!!

Centerpiece courtesy of InStyle Parties and if you are interested in recreating, take a flat of wheatgrass and stick with mini football players and goal posts.
Invite courtesy of Free Printable Greeting Cards
Beer Cocktails courtesy of That's The Spirit
Lager & Lime photo courtesy of Drink Swap
Six Layers and a Chip Dip Photo courtesy of Food Network

Wedding Etiquette: For The Groom

An informative website for any type of etiquette, especially wedding etiquette is Emily Post. This is where I came across the “Honey Do” list. Somehow, this list should end up in the hands of every fiance. Come to think of it, the "Honey Do" list should be in the hand of every single man existing on this planet!

The Honey Do List
  • Send her flowers – for no reason.
  • Send her flowers for a reason – the 6 month anniversary of your engagement, her birthday, because it’s one week until the wedding.
  • Take her younger siblings to a movie, ball game or the circus.
  • Take her Mom and Dad to lunch.
  • Give her a half hour foot massage – once a week. (Graduate to pedicure and she’ll never ask you to take out the garbage.)
  • Be her personal chauffeur for a day of wedding errands.
  • Leave little love notes on her fridge.
  • Plan one evening a week just for the two of you – no wedding talk allowed – just romance.
On a more practical level, here are some great ways for the groom to contribute his expertise to the wedding planning. If you are:
  • A techno guy, create and manage the wedding web site.
  • If spreadsheets are your thing, you can help manage guest lists, gift lists and to do lists.
  • A wine lover, you can help select the wines and liquors for the reception.
  • Into music, research and help select the band or music.
  • A car lover, take charge of all the transportation needs for the wedding.
  • A foodie, help with the menu planning and/or selection of the caterer.
Another enormous help to your fiancé is to write the thank you notes to your relatives and close friends. Sharing this responsibility goes a long way to reduce what can, at times, seem an overwhelming task.

And one of the best ways a groom can lend a hand is by working with his parents to get a head start on planning the rehearsal dinner. With all the planning needs intrinsic to a wedding, don’t feel shy about putting your expertise to good use.

Article courtesy of Emily Post
“The Kiss at Times Square” By Alfred Eisenstaedt

Wedding Etiquette: Responsibilities of the Mother of the Groom

Exactly what role does the mother of the groom play during her son's wedding. She can often feel a little lost. This feeling can be stronger when the mother of the groom has never participated in a wedding for a daughter or other sibling. Below is a list of rules that highlight the traditional responsibilities of the mother of the groom.

Mother of the Groom's Responsibilities:
  • The first rule of etiquette to be followed upon receiving news of the impending nuptials is to initiate contact between the families. Introducing herself and her husband to the bride's parents is her first responsibility. This may be as simple as making a call to the bride's mother and telling her how happy she is about the engagement or an informal invitation to dinner at their home. If preferred, dinner at a nice restaurant is always in order. This may be with or without the couple in attendance. If the parents live far away, a friendly letter is appropriate. A snapshot of the family and maybe even one of her son as a small child is always welcomed by the bride's mother and is a kind gesture.
  • The importance of providing an accurate and timely guest list can neither be over emphasized, nor the importance of sticking to the guidelines given to her as to the number of guests she many invite. Remember to include zip codes.
  • It is the bride's mother who will first select a dress for her daughters wedding. A gown of complimentary color and similar styling is then chosen by the mother of the groom. She must wear long if the bride's mother wears long or short if she wears short. The color should not match the bridesmaids, nor the brides' mother, but compliment both.
  • Reservations for out-of-town guests, invited by the groom's family, are the responsibility of the mother of the groom. It will be much more convenient if a block of rooms are reserved at a nearby hotel, which is near her home.
  • It is the responsibility of the groom's parents to host the rehearsal dinner. This can be as simple as a salad potluck with paper plates in the backyard or as elaborate as an exotic dinner with live entertainment in the finest restaurant. Everyone who takes a part in the ceremony is invited to the dinner. It is proper etiquette to invite the spouse or significant other of those participating, and the parents of children in the wedding.
  • Scheduled family photographs, prior to the wedding, will dictate the groom's parents time of arrival. If photos are not scheduled to be taken before the ceremony, the arrival should be no less than one hour before the appointed time
  • As the wedding begins, the groom's mother will be escorted down the aisle, to the first pew, right-hand side, by the head usher or a groomsman who is a family member. A nice touch includes the groom escorting his mother down the aisle. As the groom's mother is escorted to her seat, her husband will follow along behind. However, if the parents are divorced, the father of the groom will have been seated previously, two pews behind the mother.
  • The role as mother of the groom, in the ceremony, may include lighting the family candle on the altar, along with the mother of the bride. Family candles are lit after the candle lighters have left the altar area, and prior to the entrance of the wedding party.
  • The first official duty of the mother of the groom, during the reception is to stand in the receiving line greeting guests and introducing her friends and family to the bride and her family. Traditionally she stands between the bride and her mother. If the fathers of the couple choose to stand in the line, she will stand between them.

Photo courtesy of Fiberartsafloat Blog
Rules courtesy of Our Marriage