Monday, June 30, 2008


Unlike it's acronym-twin, Save the Dates ("STDs") are actually good -- they let all your guests know the date of your wedding well in advance for planning purposes. Although our wedding is in the States, it's still somewhat of a "destination" wedding, with Newport being a touristy seaport town. Many of our guests will be traveling from outside Rhode Island, and since it's the start of the "busy" season, they will need to make hotel arrangements ASAP. With this in mind, I'm hoping to send out our STDs in August, which is a good 9 months prior to our date.

I've been toying around with the "what" and the "how" of my STDs, though. At first, I was set on doing "messages in a bottle," which can actually be sent through the mail without utilizing boxes. Then, that seemed a little to kitschy, and the little scroll wouldn't be large enough to put all the information that I want to include on it.

My second idea was to do luggage tags. Ebay has some really cute chrome ones, shaped like planes or with hearts on them, that come in their own individual boxes. The problem with these though is the price. At almost $2/each, plus the cost of shipping them out to our guests, it would put us over budget.

Next, I was getting desperate and thought we'd just send postcards with our information. But, then I read an article on, which said that by the time many of the postcards arrived, they were damaged. I don't want our guests first "experience" with our wedding to be "damaged."

So, where does that leave us? I want something that gives our guests a taste of what our wedding will be like -- something modern, fun and, ultimately, very classy. I want to provide them with enough information to entice them to make the trek to Newport, RI, and I want to highlight the necessity of booking rooms early. What do I have in mind? You'll just have to wait and see....

Wednesday, June 25, 2008


Yay! My BFF/MOH moved to NYC on Sunday! I have to admit that I was feeling a little lonely here without my FI and puppies with me, so I'm really glad that she's here now. Hopefully, we can take full advantage of all the free stuff that NYC offers in the summer -- movies, concerts, etc.

Our first order of business is attending a Priscilla of Boston Sample sale on Friday from 8am-8pm. Since I don't have to be into work until 9:30, she and I are going to head over there for the opening. Although I already have my dress, they have heavily discounted bridesmaid dresses and flower girls dresses, as well as bridal accessories. Who knows what we may find! But, since the sale is so early, and I live way out in Queens, I'm going to bunk with her and our friend Steph on Thursday night. It'll be just like old times -- a sleepover! As it turns out, Steph is also coming with us, since she's engaged, too. It's like an epidemic these days.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Wedding Website

Since starting this blog, I've neglected to actually get our wedding website off the ground. However, that's all about to change soon! Stay tuned for the link to the most fabulous wedding website ever!

Sunday, June 22, 2008

Piece of Cake

As I continue to look for an affordable, yet unique wedding cake, I ran across these pictures from InStyle Weddings. Each of them has a quality (or two!) that I like, yet most of them seem as if they'd be cheaper to make than the Ben-Israel cake I originally posted about. I've come to realize that unless you consciously make the cake a focal point, then it's largely unnoticed. Even then, if there's a specialty groom's cake (as we will have), then the "bride's" cake is chalked up as "just another wedding cake" and the "oohs and ahhs" are reserved for the groom's. In light of this, I can't justify spending thousands on it, especially when it goes uneaten by many guests.

This is actually one of my favorites. It is simple, yet classy and, most importantly, there's some "pop" to it with the different flowers. I would use irises, orchids, lilies, lilac, etc in my color scheme in between the layers.

This is a really simple idea, but the unique cake plate and blueberries add some drama to it (the good kind of drama). As long as there's some type of blueberry filling, the blueberries wouldn't be out of place at our wedding. Since blueberries are also FI's favorite, I'm sure he'd have no problem with that.

I chose this picture not for the cake, but rather for the cake stand. I think that even a plain cake can be made outstanding with an elegant or unique cake stand. This plain white cake, with even just a few orchids or irises on top, would be an instant eye-catching on top of a tall glass cake stand.

This is a simple, yet classic cake that's made unique by it's square shape. If we use real flowers instead of sugar paste flowers, this shouldn't be terribly expensive to make.

Moving into the slightly more expensive designs, this cake is cute without being overly elaborate. I think it's too tall for us, but I like the "off-centerness" of the layers, and the winding flowers. These flowers are made of sugar paste, but I'm sure it's possible to get real flowers if they would be cheaper.

This design is deceptively simple. It's modeled after an Emilio Pucci design, and I think it's fabulous, especially given our water theme. However, I'm not sure how much it'd cost or even if a local bakery could replicate it.

Finally, I'm back to another elaborate design that's (shockingly) also Ron Ben-Israel. The tilt of the layers is particularly what I'm drawn to, as the design on the layers could be discarded and the flowers could be real instead of paste. Overall, I think a similar look could be replicated for less than I'm sure Mr. Israel charges.

What do you think? Should I stick with the original idea, or go with one of these?

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Whole Lotta Wholesaling

How did people function before the World Wide Web? More importantly, how did people plan a wedding without it? What did brides-to-be do before wedding blogs, planning sites, and The Knot were available? Personally, I think it's a blessing and a curse. On the one hand, it'd be much harder to find vendors, hotels, etc without the internet. Plus, there are millions of great ideas floating around out there, just waiting to be plucked by the diligent web-surfing bride. On the other hand, there are millions of great ideas out there -- ideas from weddings that you want to implement (a fancy term for "copy") and of course, beautiful wedding ideas that you want to top. Ideas that you want to invent and share with the world via Grace Ormonde, and then have legions of brides copy you (that was probably a little too ambitious-sounding, wasn't it?). In any event, I digress...

My purpose in writing this post was to inform all those brides-to-be out there about the greatness of wholesale shops, especially for basic floral needs. Although many don't have their entire inventory online, some do and are willing to work with you over the phone and internet. Wholesale shops often boast better pricing than the rental fees quoted by your florist or venue. This is because your florist and venue are buying their products from wholesale shops themselves, and then marking up the price. So, why bother with the middle man when you can go straight to the source, especially when you'll come out on top?

One wholesale shop I've recently discovered is here in New York -- Jamali Floral & Garden Supply ( While they have a large warehouse in Manhattan, they also post most of their products online, which are available for shipping. Here are some of the great deals that I've found, including things I'm thinking of purchasing:

Floating candles for the cocktail hour centerpieces, Set of 16: $16

Antique white lanterns, both 20" & 14," for lighting the outside lawn: $22 & $12.99, respectively. Or, a case of 6 20" lanterns is $108; case of 6 14" is $57. Since we'll need several, I may consider buying in cases to save more. The only problem with these, though, is that they are out of stock until "Spring 2009." I called the store, but they won't know an exact date until closer to the end of year.

Aquamarine Acrylic Sea Glass (many colors available), as vase filler or decorative accent, 2lb bag: $11

25in Peacock Feather Spray: $5

7x14 Glass Cylinder Vase, handblown in Poland: $25, or $84/case of 4

Metal Tulip Vases, 9", 12", 15", the unique modern style of these vases may go well with our contemporary theme: $17, $23, $28 respectively

There are TONS of other great ideas and products on Jamali's website, and plenty of other wholesalers out there. My basic advice is to never just accept the price quoted to you by your florist, venue or any other vendor. Take the time to research it -- use the internet! If you can buy it for the same price (or cheaper) than you can rent it, why wouldn't you?

Monday, June 16, 2008

The Pretty Side of Planning

Planning lately hasn't been a barrel of laughs. In fact, it's mainly been a pain in my neck, consisting of choosing bridesmaid dresses, coordinating the day of coordinator, and finally securing a florist. This is the ugly side of planning. The "we need your 50% deposit immediately or we'll cancel your hold on that date" side of planning. Weddings are a cutthroat business; those aren't hearts and rainbows in your vendors' eyes, they're dollar signs -- and don't let anyone tell you differently.

Once you realize this, though, you can move past it to the prettier side of planning. It's the hearts and rainbows side, or rather the "oh I don't care how much it is, I just have to have an 5 ft swan heart ice sculpture!" What better symbol of our undying love and our intertwining lives than that of two blocks of ice carved into swans with their necks melded together in the shape of a heart?! (Insert the requisite "cold-hearted" jokes here). So, before my inherent sarcasm and skepticism ruin a perfectly good "pretty planning" post (how's that for alliteration?), here are some new inspirational pictures of flowers and reception centerpieces:

This is absolutely perfect, even down to the colors! I love the idea of using a single type of flower for some of the centerpieces, and I love the way this one cascades between the varying heights of vases.

Again, the colors are fabulous, and I like the idea of decorating the chiavari chairs without completely covering them in organza or sashes. This might be a cute way to distinguish the bride and groom's chairs.

I like the varying shades of purple and pink in these flowers, but I don't know if they'd clash with the darker blueish purple of the irises. It might be a nice contrast to have some centerpieces with this pinkish purple and others with the darker irises.

I love the uniqueness of this bouquet! Although not as prominent as I'd originally planned, I do still anticipate using peacock feathers in the overall design. I think the very few used here are charmingly unexpected, while still being elegant. The colors match perfectly, as well.

And that, folks, is the pretty side of planning. Now, if only we had a florist...

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Block Heads

Who knew it would be so difficult to get a hotel room block? Apparently, all the hotels have been scheming against unwitting brides, suckering them in and then blindsiding them. Hotels know you need them. It's a small thing, but as with most things in life, it's the small things that matter. What's the point in having a big shindig wedding if no one shows up? The guests won't make the trip without a place to stay, and in "destination" towns like Newport, you don't leave finding a room up to chance, especially during the "busy" season.

It's all a big racket, like a bad scene out of the Godfather. Before they do something for you, you must do something for them, and unfortunately guaranteeing at least 20 rooms of business isn't good enough. Oh no, you must also have some sort of "function" with them. A "food and beverage" function, to be exact, usually with a hefty minimum starting around $2000. Since we've already planned our rehearsal dinner and reception, that really only leaves the option of the day after brunch. Hotels know this, and they use it to their advantage. No regular continental breakfast will cover those fees. We're talking an elaborate "made-to-order" omelets and french toast brunch; one that will require at least one $65 chef attendant.

Having little choice, say we agree to this extortion. What then? We're guaranteeing 20 rooms of business, after all. That's worth something, right? Those rooms will be discounted significantly, right? And, we'll get a free room, a suite nonetheless, as the happy couple, I'm sure. Oh no! Think again. Our prize is the mere opportunity to stay there, the mere pleasure of being in their company. After all, it's their busy season. PLENTY of people would LOVE to have those rooms.

Well, fine then! Let other people have those $300/night rooms. You can take your fancy made-to-order omelets and shove them up that attendant's ... ok, a little over the top, perhaps, but you get the idea. We're not playing your game! We will not yield! I'm not exactly sure what we're going to do yet, but we'll think of something... I hope.

One Last Suggestion

It occurred to me that I've become very close with my sales lady at POB lately, as I've been making regular trips there to look at bridesmaid dresses. In fact, I've been there looking for bridesmaid dresses more times than I went there looking for MY dress. I think I've pretty much memorized their catalogue by now. Thus, as my absolute LAST attempt to find a dress there, here are my final suggestions. If these don't work out, then I'm moving on to bigger and better things.

As I mentioned yesterday, I still like the "tip of the shoulder" dress ( I think the girls would too. However, I'm a little cautious about the peony color. The sales lady thinks 5 dresses in that color would be too "much," which I guess translates into too "bright." I think I disagree with her, but it's hard to know since there are ZERO sample dresses in that color. Since I've decided that she may be right, I decided to counterbalance that brightness with another dress. So, if I go with the peony dress for 3 girls, then 2 of my girls will be wearing this dress in the sweet pea color:

While I don't think it's the exact same color as peony, I do think they would complement each other. What do you think? It's obviously going to be difficult to ever know for sure, since there aren't any peony samples. If we went with these, it'd be on a hope and prayer that they looked ok together. I'm not entirely sure it's a chance I want to take.

Monday, June 9, 2008

Bridesmaids do POB

As I mentioned previously, two of my bridesmaids, Allyson and MOH Lauren, went to POB in Tyson's Corner, outside of DC, last week to try on dresses. Over the course of the afternoon, they tried on numerous dresses, including those that I'd selected and lots others (who can resist the call of an afternoon fashion show?). And, what my faithful bridesmaids returned to me was a full report of their findings, complete with pictures and documentation. Without further ado, I give you their scouting report:

Their favorite dress was one I had not originally picked out. It was very elegant, but I thought it was missing something. When I went back to POB last weekend with FMIL, I tried on this dress, and added a brooch in the middle of the empire, which added a lot, but I still think it may be too "bridesmaid-y" for me.

For the rest of the dresses, I'll present them to you in true runway shoot style. It's the First (and only) Annual LBGM Bridesmaid Fashion Shoot!

Allyson makes a perfect model. She's got perfect posture and a killer smile. Of course, by the looks of her clenching hands, I can't help but wonder if she's plotting my early demise. I swear I'll pick a dress soon, and I promise to keep the Bridezilla in check!

I'm pretty sure this is Lauren's diva pose, but it could just as easily her ghetto "I'm gonna beat yer a**" nature coming out. By the looks of things, I've decided against both of these dresses (for fear of my own safety).

You may recognize this as one of the dresses that I had originally chosen as possible bridesmaid dresses. Well, don't let their smiles and diva poses fool you... they hated it. Personally, I think they look great, but maybe I'm just biased towards the dress.

Unfortunately, they weren't able to try on the "tip of the shoulder" dress that I loved because it wasn't available at that POB location. So, I'm keeping it in the mix, but other than that, it's pretty much back to the drawing board.

Sunday, June 8, 2008

It's too Late to Apologize (it's too laaaate)

I apologize for my absence last week. As you know, I moved to New York last Sunday, and then I started my new job on Monday. Everything has been very hectic! Added to that, the internet in my apartment was on the fritz all last week, so I couldn't update!

Speaking of my apartment, you'll be happy to know that I did find a place to live, and it's in Middle Village, NY. Irony of ironies, Middle Village is the old "Little Italy" of New York, where all the mobsters used to live and hang out. I guess I just can't get away from the Italians! Many "notables" are buried in the St. John's Cemetary here, including John Gotti, Lucky Luciano (boss of the Genovese crime family), and Carlo Gambino (boss of the Gambino crime family).

Middle Village is located in between Brooklyn and Queens, so it's about a half hour commute on the subway to my job in the Lower East Side. Not too bad, all things considered. The best (worst?) thing about my subway ride is that I get out at the Canal Street stop every day to go to work. As you may know, Canal St is the infamous Chinatown street that carries VERY realistic knock-offs of every bag imaginable -- Dolce & Gabbana, Gucci, and Fendi to name a few. While I've always been a fan of the "real thing," it's very tempting to buy a couple $30 knock-offs to diversify my collection! It'll be our secret. :P