I didn’t think we could discuss wedding planning without discussing the diamonds and the rings so I asked Katrina to talk about her gorgeous rings and how to pick a diamond. If I had too I wouldn’t know where to begin and thought might be great help for others as well. I love love Katrina’s seven layers each and ever layer…If only I had the long enough fingers to wear them all!
Here’s what Katrina writes:
Dorothy and I met on the plane a few years ago. We had both been visiting Paris, and were on our way back home to New York City. She was at a flower show, and I at a jewelry show-being inspired, of course. Perhaps sadden by our realization that we were “not in Paris anymore” we did not strike up conversation until we were approaching the city. I think we were both intrigued by each others design and travel sensibilities. So much so that we shared a cab, became fellow book club members, trekked to upstate NY for a weekend of perpetual modern ballet concerts, enjoyed many superb NYC culinary experiences, and entered a lifelong collaborative and mutual friendship that often celebrates our mutual love of “all things beautiful”. We also happen to both be Libras…
Dorothy asked me to shed some jewelry light, and jewelry sparkle to her blog. I also, have weddings on my mind. Coming from the jewelry world, I have been busy with orders from my 7 Layers of Love® Ring collection. A line meant to mix, match, customize, and personalize. The question I get asked the most, is about diamond quality and size. The answers are endless, and multi-faceted, thus I will touch on 2 points that I feel are interesting and important, yet entirely subjective as well. GIA certification, & the celebrated 4 C’s.
My GIA Cert answer is entirely subjective:: get one for a diamond at least over ½ carat. Here is where you can find out how. (Also note that some large jewelry retailers, like Tiffany, have their own diamond grading system, so make sure to compare apples to apples.)
Most everyone has heard of the 4 C’s, a global standard for evaluating diamond quality, that began in the 40’s by the GIA; Cut, Clarity, Color, Carat. After taking diamond-grading classes with the GIA, I learned that there really is no right or wrong combination. Simply buy what you find mesmerizing and absolutely stunning. You may have a stone with a lower color grade, an amazing cut, with a few inclusions-if the prong hides those inclusions, and a brilliant cut brings out the color, you might have the perception of a million dollar diamond. Thus, know you have some compensating factors, and get what speaks to your soul and heart. That said, I like a lot of fire.
May you all find your own 7 Layers of Love®
Katrina Kelly, Jewelry Designer
Mark Welford Bloomsbury Flowers
Danny Weiss Danny Weiss Photo
Elise Rosenblum Pronovias
Stephanie Sica Another Wild Hare
Zia O’hara Zia Photography
her Wild Hare
Kim Wise Kim Star Wise Designs
A brief step away from wedding planning, as the guest blog series winds down, to discuss the at home cocktail party… which can be valuable information for showers, engagement parties and rehearsal dinners.
The home cocktail party is one of my favorite parties to work on. It’s personal therefore its different from any other one I have done because even in the same home the occasion is always different.
My favorite part is not surprisingly the flowers, working with the overall interior design, the fabric and especially the artwork as the as inspiration. The occasion, the guest of honor (s), the season, are all be a part of the inspiration. I’ve been very lucky to work around some really interesting art and beautiful homes.
When I can coordinate the cocktails and desserts with the flowers all the more fun. Spring party: spring blossoms, flowers on cake, in your cocktail, blossoms frozen in cubes, edible flowers on salad. Summer ? Mixed herbs in the bouquets and refreshing herbal cocktails.( A favorite of mine, The Olmstead at Robert in MAD, Hendricks gin, honey, rosemary, thyme and basil.) Favorite color blue? Blue blossoms, blue icing, blue cocktail or blue cubes… you get the idea. May sounds like a lot of one thing, but when distributed among your home the details become more like tidbits that string nicely together.
One of my favorite touches is greet your guests with fragrance in an entry (and in the bathroom). Ideally with fragrant flowers like a huge bouquet of lilac but if not the season than with candles. Two long time favorites Jo Malone Orange Blossom especially nice spring summer, fall winter try Pomegranate Noir. A new favorite Jo Malone’s Rose fragrance. Other favorites, Frederic Malle’s gardenia, or lily of the valley ( muquet) these are real splurges.
Of course think about your guests experience, food easy to eat bite size, nothing crumbly. Music to set the mood you want for the night but not so loud you discourage really good conversations.
Coordinate it all with a part of a guest of honors personality and it really feels like a special night.
Macaron shot : Mad for Macarons
Blue pastry Le Bakers Dozen
With so many brides asking for Downtown Abbey Style Flowers I thought I should wind down the series of guest bloggers for wedding planning by asking my British counterparts to guest blog. I met Mark and Stephen when I wandered into their shop in London to order flowers….we bonded right away over flowers and ballet. They being former dancers for the Royal Ballet …me planning my next career as a dancer , that is as soon as medical science catches up to my dreams/delusions. As far as flowers go we have a very similar sensibility.
Here is what Mark has to say:
I was thrilled to be asked by Dorothy to contribute to her blog; Dorothy and I have known each other for some years now and have visited each other in our design studios both New York and London. I’ve chosen to put together 10 simple, but useful, pointers when choosing wedding flowers, or indeed flowers for any large event. I hope you enjoy reading the blog and that you will find the information useful and informative. And please do come visit us if you are ever in London’s Covent Garden.
Top Tips for choosing wedding flowers from Bloomsbury Flowers, London
I would always recommend choosing seasonal flowers so if your favourite flower is the blowsy peony, do not decide to get married in February! Seasonal flowers are usually stronger and therefore better quality; they should also be a competitive price.
If you have a set budget, it’s better to spend the money where you and your guests will be spending the most time. In other words, the wedding ceremony may only be 45 minutes long so rather than dress that venue with lots of arrangements, save the pennies and put more flowers in the reception venue.
If you’re choosing mixed arrangements, it’s sometimes better to choose 3 different types of flowers and have more of them in each display. This makes the arrangement look stronger and more dynamic rather than cluttered and messy.
Foliage; this is an important part of any arrangement and again, seasonal is best. Go for herbs such as mint, rosemary and bay to add texture and scent to summer weddings and make the most of all the varied fall and winter foliage if your wedding is later in the year, remembering to include seasonal berries such as rose hips, hypericum and berried ivy.
One type of flower; spring weddings are a great opportunity for the ‘one variety of flower’ look that is very on trend. Tulips and narcissi in many varieties are abundant in spring and they look wonderful when used ‘en masse’. When they are in season, examples of other flowers that work well for this type of design would be peonies, hydrangea and amaryllis.
There are set times throughout the year that costs increase for your florist so again, it’s worth avoiding wedding dates close to Valentine’s and Mother’s Day, Thanksgiving as well as the lead up to Christmas and New Year.
Always ask to see samples of the flowers you and your florist choose close to the date of your wedding; planning a wedding may start at least 6 months before the big day which means the flowers and foliage you discuss with your florist will not be in their shop for you to see at that time.
If you’re having a church wedding, it may be possible to share the cost of the flowers with a couple who are marrying on the same day, as long as your flower and colour choice are the same!
Do not be surprised if your florist is not prepared to do the church/ceremony flowers while a friend does the reception flowers. Would you expect the caterer to agree to do the appetiser and allow you to have a friend do the main course? No!
Whilst not every florist expects a bride to arrive at the consultation with a complete cuttings and look-book for her wedding, it is useful to know what sort of style/colour/flowers a bride likes. It’s even helpful to know what she doesn’t like too so do take some time to buy a bridal mag or do some online research before meeting your florist for the first time. Pinterest is becoming an increasingly popular way of sharing ideas and designs and is especially useful if time and distance are an issue for meeting face to face. We have done a couple of weddings when the bride has been overseas and not arriving until the day of the wedding so this form of social media is very useful.
For more information on Bloomsbury Flowers please go to www.bloomsburyflowers.co.uk
A few beautiful shots from Bloomsbury’s website:
Follow this link for information on our book, ‘Flower Arranging’.
Past guest bloggers:
Danny Weiss Danny Weiss Photo
Kim Starr Wise Destination wedding New Orleans
Elise Rosenblum The Perfect Dress
Rena Hecht Same Sex Weddings
Zia O’Hara: Zia Photography
Stephanie Sica : Another Wild Hare
Danny Weiss of Danny Weiss Photo is todays guest blogger with tips on timing when to take wedding photos – his thoughts and why
I pulled this quote from Danny’s site I just loved, it’s what you want your photographer to see and capture.
“When I shoot weddings, that alarm goes off all day long. There are 1,000 of these moments – some funny, some joyous some sexy..
Without a doubt, time is your most precious commodity on a wedding day. When you have oodles of it, amazing things can happen, photographically speaking. When you hear the dreaded, “We are behind schedule,” Brides, Grooms, MOB’s—everyone involved—goes into super stress mode. So what’s the secret to cruising through bride and groom portraits, family pictures and bridal party pictures with ease? Communication.
Many months before your wedding day, have a conversation with your photographer. (This should happen before you talk to your venue, hair or make-up artist, or family.) Ninety-five percent of my clients see each other before the ceremony (I cannot impress upon, you dear reader, how much easier the day goes when all photography is done before the ceremony), so when I speak to my clients, I always start at ceremony time and work backwards to Getting Ready images and then forward to the end of coverage. When talking to your photographer, pad everything. If it should take 15 minutes to get from the church or temple to the reception venue, tell your photographer 30 minutes. If you think you’ll need 30 minutes for family pictures, figure 45.
The first draft of the timeline is always done in pencil. Once you go over it with your soon-to-be bride or groom and it is rock solid, take the timeline to your family and get their opinion, and discuss with venue, hair/make-up, band, etc. FYI it is not unusual for my studio to have 3-4 conversations about timeline with my clients before the wedding day.
Now that you have your set plan with lots of extra time built in all over the place, should something come up—and let’s be honest, it’s a wedding so something ALWAYS comes up—it’s a non-stress situation. You know you have that extra 15 or 20 minutes to pull from.
Hope this helps and have a GREAT wedding!
- Danny Weiss
Danny Weiss Photo
Few photos from one of the weddings Danny and worked on together which I believe wedding blog Merci New York covered.
With DOMA and Prop 8 hopefully getting nearer and nearer to the chopping block, I thought it was the perfect time to ask Rena from Red Letter Events to guest blog. Rena and I came to know each other thru a dear mutual friend, event producer and fundraiser, Larry Adelman. Larry never failed to pull all his friend into donating or Volunteering their time for the work he felt so passionately about, at GMHC, Aids Walk, Safe Space, Miracle House, Common Ground, Broadway in South Africa and the list goes. When he passed away last year, very prematurely he left behind a wonderful connected group of friends. Rena and I have had the good fortune to continue to work together …including a wedding with two brides!
A little on Red Letter Events
Rena Hecht has been a fund-raiser, advocate, and volunteer in the LGBT community for over three decades. Together with the late, legendary activist and special events producer Larry Adelman, she established Red Letter Events’ signature same sex weddings service.
Red Letter Events helps same sex couples create the day they envision to celebrate their love. From specialized wedding invitations and favors to gay clergy, Red Letter Events will make your wedding sophisticated, creative, personal, and unforgettable. Your wedding day will be you’ve waited for.
5% of the proceeds from all same sex weddings go to Empire State Pride Agenda,
New York’s statewide LGBT civil rights and advocacy organization.
Here is what Rena has to share
Is there any difference between planning your same sex weddings and a wedding between a man and a woman? Well, yes and no. Yes, in in that you may choose florists, officiants, and entertainers who understand the needs and sensitivities of same sex wedding couples. No, in that every couple wants a beautiful and personalized wedding that reflects their sensibilities.
A perfect example is the person who will perform the wedding ceremony.
Who better to talk about a same sex union than someone who is gay or lesbian? There are many wonderful gay and lesbian officiants who may not even be of your faith (or no traditional faith at all). My fabulous, warm, funny, gay rabbi cousin is officiating at an upcoming wedding of two brides who happen to be Protestant, and also for a wedding of a couple that is atheist. Then there is the wonderful state judge who drives all the way from upstate New York to officiate at same sex weddings because he wants to play a role in what he sees as an important part of history.
Another difference is that same sex couples are often older than male-female couples. You may have waited many years to see your dream of getting married become a reality. The kinds of choices you make for your ceremony and reception as a 50 year old couple are often very different from the choices of a 25 year old couple.
As a same sex couple, you should not feel limited to or constrained by typical wedding conventions. A best man or maid of honor may be replaced with an “attendant of honor” or a whole host of groomsmen for two brides or bridesmaids for two grooms! Maybe a groom will throw the bouquet. Maybe you will choose not to be walked down the aisle by a parent or parents, but rather walk together, proudly toward your exciting future as a married couple….
Previous Guest Bloggers:
Kim Star Wise on weddings in New Orleans http://www.kimstarrwise.com
Zia O’Hara http://ziaphotography.com – Picking your photograher
Elise Rosenblum http://www.pronovias.us – Picking the perfect dress
Alicia Benjamin – Personal Flowers
This week guest is Stephanie Sica from Another Wild Hare.
Another Wild Hare is a boutique event planning company based in New York City with a branch in Virginia. We are a personal firm that specializes in small details to make an event truly breathtaking. We have planned intimate affairs for 20 guests, as well as elaborate events for 800. Similarly, we have worked with budgets as minimal as $2 thousand to budgets as large as $2 million. Our range is infinite and creativity limitless. We traditionally start working with clients in the planning process; however, we can step in as soon as the day before an event to help!
What Every Couple Should Know Before Meeting with Venders:
Future brides and grooms are often times either wrapped up in the excitement of planning their weddings or overwhelmed by the very thought of it. For both reasons, that’s why wedding planners exist. Here are some tips from a planner to a bride or groom, basic things that are important to know before setting up meetings with your prospective venders.
First of all, the most important thing for both you and your partner to have a clear understanding of is your budget. Prior to meeting with any venders—venues, caterers, florists, musicians, photographers—you must have an idea and outline of how much money you’re willing to spend, how that money will be allocated or how much each element is allotted, and how much flexibility you have to work with. A useful tip… when you do meet or contact your prospective venders, if you don’t have a planner to do that for you, be sure to communicate your budget as 10% lower than what you’re willing to spend. Therefore, you’re more likely to end up close to your comfortable price point.
Secondly, you’re not prepared to meet with venders unless you’ve established your wedding date first. Once you know your date, the next task to take on is securing your venue. Thus, when you start speaking with other venders, you can specify not only the date, but also the location and time as well. Location sometimes affects venders’ pricing, as well as time affecting their availabilities and schedules.
The next important thing to know when meeting with venders is the questions you plan on asking each one respectively. This is something that most couples’ value in having a planner whose knowledge of the industry extends farther than the average bride and groom-to-be. Knowing the right questions to asks makes a conversation or meeting that much more efficient. Be sure to inquire about a photographer or musician’s style or the ability of a string musician to play a certain genre. It’s important to know what flexibility you have in regards to transforming and decorating the venue, both ceremony and reception area, as well as whether or not a venue allows open flames, hanging elements, or other specific, desired decor. Sit down with your partner and brainstorm a list of questions you want to know from each of your venders, it’ll help you save time in the long run!
Finally, it’s so incredibly important for a couple to know their vision for their event. Even more so than just being able to describe what you imagine, pictures are a huge help to photographers, designers, florists, or cake bakers. Specificity is the key to making your vision a reality! For photographers, gather pictures of poses you want to have taken or specific pairings of people who you need to be photographed together, along with names. For caterers, have an idea of your menu or the vibe you wish to create and for bakers, pictures and a list of possible flavors (or of not-possible flavors, if that’s shorter). As for musicians, it won’t be necessary at this early stage to have a song list per say, but it will be important to know whether or not you want a live band or DJ and what type of music you’re going for. The same goes for ceremony and cocktail music, know whether you’d like string artists or audio and what genres of music you prefer.
Ultimately, the best advice anyone can give you during the entire process of planning a wedding is to keep as cool, calm, and collected as possible. People in this industry understand the stress that accumulates leading up to that special day. Keeping these important things in mind will help to get your event underway and the ball really rolling. All the hard work will pay off when your vision comes to fruition and you can enjoy your wedding day! Keep calm and plan on—or hire a planner.
Thank you Stephanie
A little peak into their website
Since today is the first full day of spring, I thought we should go back to flowers for a bit. So I asked Alicia to write something on personal flowers. Alicia and I have worked together for years now. We both have a great love of flowers, particularly the soft feminine fragrant flowers. When I can’t do the personal flowers myself or not every one of them myself, Alicia is my go to flower girl!
When Dorothy asked me to be a guest blogger, and write about my favorite type
of floral work “ Personals” I jumped at the chance. The word personals is a term
used to describe everything floral related to the bride and bridal party. Including
Boutonnieres, corsages, flower girl baskets, pomanders, head wreaths, bridesmaids and of course the bride! To me a bride’s bouquet especially is an honor to create. Each one, unique to the bride’s personality…
(Of course being a hopeless romantic doesn’t hurt)
That being said it is important to keep a few steps in mind when choosing the perfect bouquet….
Firstly, although there are many beautiful flowers available today from all over the world, not all varieties work for a bouquet. (This can also be said for boutonnieres and corsages) Just because it looks good in a magazine does not always mean it is suited for a day filled with lots of photos and tons of hugs.
Work with your florist to decide what flowers will and will not work.
Secondly, It is important to take the style of the dress both for bride and bridesmaid into consideration when choosing bouquets. For a more modern look choose flowers that have a cleaner line such as mini Calla Lilies. For a more romantic flowing feel choose flowers that reflect that sensibility, like Garden Roses.
Lastly, No matter how you look at it bridal bouquets are pricey. Flowers themselves
are expensive, not to mention the time and effort it takes to make a cherished memory that lasts for years to come.
choosing flowers that are in their natural season tend to be more price savvy
then flowers that are not in season, but remember flowers in season in places like NY still imported in frost season. If your garden is dormant flowers will be imported from warm weather destinations and almost alway overseas. Not all areas have locally grown flowers in abundance.
The best advice I can give overall is to have fun!!
I leave you with a few photos of some bouquets I have had the pleasure of designing
with Cornucopia flowers and Dorothy Pfeiffer.
Photos by Dorothy Pfeiffer, Zia O ‘Hara and Danny Weiss Photography
Former Guest Bloggers:
Kim Starr Wise Event Design
Zia O’Hara Photography
Today we are very lucky to have guest blogger Elise Rosenblum from Pronovias US
A little on Elise and some some gorgeous photos from their collection
Elise believes everyone deserves the gown of their dreams.
From high profile weddings to fabulous concept catwalks she has been making this happen more years than she cares to admit to. She is the foremost authority in the bridal industry.
Owning her own full service salon for many years to running some of the most prestigious bridal salons in the country, Reem Acra, Saks Fifth Avenue and Kleinfeld’s.
She now is the Bridal Retail Director for Pronovias, USA located in NYC.
She appeared on two full seasons of “Say Yes to the Dress” and hosts “On the White Carpet”.
She resides in the New York area with her husband.
Tips from Elise
Here is some important advice when you first start shopping for the dress of your dreams.
Check out images of gowns that appeal to you. Make notes on what you like about each one. Select 10. When you compare the 10 images what do they all have in common. Shape, embellishment, (beads, lace, etc.) You can take these images with you. It helps the Bridal Consultant pull gowns for you based on your preliminary tastes.
Now, here is the most important part. When trying on, you must focus on the shape of the gown before anything else. Forget about the embellishments at this point, that comes later.
A-line is the easiest of all dress silhouettes to wear no matter what your figure looks like. Think of the shape of the letter “A”. That is exactly what the shape of the skirt is.
It comes in a few different cuts. Princess A-line has only vertical seams. Dropped waist or natural waistline with A-line skirt.
Fit and flair also know as “Baby- A-Line” has the A-skirt but more narrowed at the hip and the “A” skirt a little narrower than a full A-Line.
Trumpet style is exactly what the name implies. Think of a Trumpet upside down. This is an alternative choice when brides find the Mermaid silhouettes too curvy.
And speaking of curvy that is the Mermaids middle name.
You can always tell it is a Mermaid as opposed to a Trumpet because the Mermaid skirt always has a joint line or seam cutting across the knee.
There are a few different shapes “Flamenco” which as the joint line over the knee cutting across the lower hip.
Well, there you have some of your most important shapes. The right shape on you makes all the difference in the world.
After this has been established then the neckline and then the fabrication.
Previous Guests Bloggers
Zia O’Hara - Photography
Kim Star Wise - Event Design NOLA
This weeks guest is Kim Starr Wise of NOLA . Kim is a 2013 best of weddings pick on the Knot, Winner of Brides Choice Awards on Wedding Wire, Style Me Pretty Little Black Book Member and preferred vendor on Ruffled Blue Label. A little about Kim below before she convinces you to have your wedding in New Orleans!
Kim Starr Wise grew up in Upstate New York. Her “green blood” flows from two decades of family lineage; florists, landscapers, and horticulturists. Kim went to school in New York City, studied fashion, while secretly longing to work in a flower shop. She started her career in 1992, in a 100-year-old flower shop in Gramercy, NYC. Throughout the years, Kim studied under many well-known and famous florists. She opened her first flower shop in Park Slope, Brooklyn, NY in 2000.
Kim Starr Wise fell in love with New Orleans and decided to relocate in 2009, leaving New York City behind. Kim brings to NOLA her love of unique & quality flowers, a penchant for detail, and her ability to create gorgeous designs using the most magnificent materials to the simplest. Her passion for floral design is nurtured by daily trips to the flower wholesaler and canvassing the farmers market for local product and being actively involved in the floral industry.
Kim Starr Wise Floral Events incorporates distinctive design, color, texture, and style using elements of the old, the odd and the extraordinary to create a truly memorable event.
Laissez Le Bon Temps Rouler!
Did you know that New Orleans is the number 2 city in the country for destination weddings? Why is this? It’s because we have a really cool city, with really unique venues and traditions that you won’t find anywhere else in the United States.
I’ve compiled a list of local culture must have’s, must do’s, and must includes if you are local, or from out of town, and you’re getting married in New Orleans and want to embody the spirit!
- Consider having your event at an antebellum plantation. Destrehan Plantation is an amazing venue with immaculate grounds, history and a cool barn you can utilize for the ceremony or reception. http://www.destrehanplantation.org
- Get married in the French Quarter at Madame John’s Legacy; they have a courtyard for an outdoor wedding and an interior with so much character. Surely this is place haunted! http://www.crt.state.la.us/museum/properties/madame_johns_legacy/
- A French Quarter wedding mandates a 2nd Line with Mardi Gras Indians. Get out your hankies and parasols, march behind the Treme Brass Band and celebrate your event New Orleans style! http://www.anewmuse.com/BookingTreme.html http://www.mardigrasindians.com, http://www.nola.com/weddings/index.ssf/2011/04/second_line.html
- Cake Pulls! A local tradition where charms (one for each bridesmaid) are placed in the wedding cake on a thin satin ribbon and pulled prior to the cake cutting. Each charm symbolizes something different. http://iloveswmag.com/2011/07/21/uncovering-southern-traditions-cake-pulls
- Hire Kermit Ruffins, (if budget allows)! He’ll have your guests jumpin’ and jivin’ all night. Kermit is our one of local celebrities in the television show, Treme. He doesn’t come cheap, but he’s worth it! http://www.basinstreetrecords.com/artists/kermit-ruffins
- Masks & Mardi Gras Beads! Masks and beads can always be worn and incorporated into your event. They’re great for photo booths, gift bags or used a décor for the table. (What other city can you do this in?!)
- Churches, we really have so many that are incredible!! St Louis Cathedral is top on the list, and a tradition for local families. http://stlouiscathedral.org/
- Lastly, FOOD. It’s imperative that you have good food at your reception (even if you’re not in New Orleans). But if you are in New Orleans it’s imperative! NOLA has a variety of mediocre to fantastic (as any city) caterers, and Pigeon (pronounced: Pee-jeahn; say it with a French accent!) is our gem. http://www.pigeoncaterers.com/
It’s hard for me to say exactly which aspect is more of a draw to my clients… is it our food? Is it our amazing jazz musicians? Or is it getting married in one of our haunted venues that has a permanent table setting, with bread and wine for it’s resident ghost and a séance room? http://www.muriels.com/
I think it’s everything about this city. New Orleans has an old world romance and charm unlike anywhere else in the United States. Every inch of the French Quarter is drenched in a rich history, there is a pretty picture to be had on every corner. The scent of sweet olive competes with blooming gardenias during the day, and night jasmine reigns supreme in the eve. New Orleans really is a magical place where people fall in love… and get married.
Kim’s Contact info
Kim Starr Wise Floral Events
2032 Adams Street
New Orleans, LA 70118
Past Guest Bloggers