Show helps brides-to-be plan the perfect wedding

Organizers at Jackson’s 2012 Bridal Show say this year’s wedding resource event brought one of the largest crowds in the show’s about 18-year history.

Future brides, mothers of brides, fiancés and friends filled the parking lot of the Carl Perkins Civic Center by late afternoon Sunday.

Some vendors at this year’s event said the 2011 Bridal Show brought in more than half of their business last year. Expectations were similarly high this year.

Lila’s Cake Shoppe workers estimated bridal show referrals to comprise about 60 percent of business last year.

Amy Stewart, of Ivey Hall chapel, said the company books between five and 10 weddings a year from the show.

Carl Jones, owner of Premier Place Catering, carved the word “love” in a honeydew melon that sat on his booth of flower-carved melons, chicken salad samples and a chocolate river.

“It’s all incredible,” he said.

Organizers said a portion of the event proceeds will be donated to the Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Foundation.

Attendees paid $3 to attend the wedding show sponsored by Froggy 104, Rock 92.3, TJ Network and The Jackson Sun.

Lauren Harris, a Union University freshman and model with the Zeta Tau Alpha Sorority, said she had never modeled before but would be volunteering for a good cause.

Her sorority organized the 4 p.m. bridal fashion show.

“We support breast cancer awareness and education,” Harris said.

Brides wearing “I’m the bride” stickers grabbed mini cupcakes, fruit-infused water and tastes of chicken salad, onion soufflé and cheese crisps as they moseyed through aisles of more than 90 vendors.

Katie Loftin, 29, said she met her husband-to-be Stewart Cepparulo, 28, at work about two years ago.

He is a Jackson police officer and she a nurse at Jackson-Madison County General Hospital.

Loftin said she was visiting family in Texas when her fiancé proposed on Christmas Day.

She said he left a box that said “To Katie from Santa” outside the family home.

“I looked back and he was walking up,” Loftin said.

Danielle Trudo, 22, met her soon-to-be husband Josh Kelly, 23, while attending Bethel University with him.

The two graduated in 2010.

Trudo said in preparation for a June 9 wedding, she had already booked the reception and ceremony venues and photographer for her wedding.

“It’s finally real, I guess,” she said.

She looked for a caterer at the bridal show.

But Linda Utley King and her daughter Tonji King, 38, said they would be looking at all the booths.

Linda King, mother of the bride, said she was very excited to see her daughter get married.

“It was like a dream until we started doing this stuff,” she said.

Tonji King met her fiancé Lamont Robinson, 38, through a mutual friend in May 2008 and they started dating in August 2008.

“I can’t get rid of him,” King said jokingly.

She has been planning the wedding for eight months, she said.

“I’m excited,” she said. “I think it probably won’t set in until the week of.”

New York’s first gay wedding expo: ‘an event that recognises us as equal’

Seth Slade and Marc Peloquim are feeling slightly overwhelmed. The two men are at Brooklyn’s Borough Hall for New York’s first gay wedding expo and have discovered, like many an expectant couple before them, that being surrounded by a surfeit of cakes, table decorations and flowers can make even the most hardened of heads start to spin.

“There’s a lot to take in,” said Slade, 47, who has been engaged to his 48-year-old partner of 14 years since the summer. “But it is very exciting to be planning a wedding – our daughter is 17 and too old to be a flower girl, but she’s a writer, so we’re going to ask her to write something for the ceremony.”

Nor are Slade and Peloquim alone in their enthusiasm. It might not be the most obvious of venues for a wedding fair – Borough president Marty Markowitz quipped: “Imagine what the people who built this building in 1846 would think if they could see us now” – but on this cold January day Borough Hall is strung with rainbow-coloured ribbons and packed with gay couples of all ages and ethnicities.

There are men in their late 70s who never thought they’d see gay marriage legalised and who are now spending the morning pouring over pictures of venues and sampling canapés; a smartly dressed older couple here to plan their daughter’s upcoming weddin; and gaggles of young women, newly engaged and keen to sample everything from dresses to champagne – one exuberant party contains no fewer than three prospective brides.

“I thought it would be fun to come and see what sort of thing was on offer, I’ve heard it’s the first event like this in New York,” said Kimberley Jones, a 25-year-old artist’s model from Atlanta who is due to marry her partner Kris later this year. “The day that they announced gay marriage was legal in New York I was at the YMCA at a Spice Girls singalong and the whole place went crazy. It was incredible. We came today because we’re still getting ideas for the wedding.” She paused to laugh. “To be honest, we’re not even sure which state we’ll be holding it in yet.”

Gay expo, Brooklyn
Kristen-Alexzander Griffith and Aaron VanderYacht

For 28-year-old Kristen-Alexzander Griffith and his partner Aaron VanderYacht, 25, getting engaged generated more questions than answers. “We got engaged in November, and the first thing we did was put gay wedding through Google, because we realised that we didn’t have a clue what to do,” said Griffith. “And all that would come up was a bunch of heterosexual businesses with a rainbow flag, which was fine, but really we had so many questions. I mean, do both of you have a bachelor night? Or does one of you have a bridal shower? We have engagement rings – do we both need to also get wedding bands? What about groomsmen?”

The realisation that there was little information for gay couples out there led the two men to set up their own blog.

“It just seemed to me that there was no real information out there about planning a gay wedding, so we thought we’d blog about our experiences and try and help other people,” said Griffith.

And top of those experiences was that bastion of wedding planning, the expo. “When we heard this was happening we knew that we had to come along,” added Griffith. “And it’s been fun. There’s lots of businesses here and it gives you a real idea of what’s out there. We’re having a great time.”

Gay wedding, Brooklyn
Claudia Pignatelli and Melissa Toro

For Melissa Toro, a 37-year-old medical sales employee and her partner of two years, 42-year-old, Claudia Pignatelli, the event has had a practical benefit. “We’ve found a minister here,” said Toro. “Which was great, because that’s the sort of thing that can be really hard to track down. And what’s wonderful is that she also does baptisms because we plan to have children. We got engaged this summer and it’s really exciting to be at an event that recognises us as equal.”

The minister, the Rev Dianne Kraus, has been performing inter-faith ceremonies for 24 years, and said she’s delighted to offer her services for gay weddings. “I think marriage should be open to everyone, and whatever I can do to help people on their journey through life is my pleasure,” she said.

At the table next to her, Rabbi Bill Kurry took the same attitude. “Actually, most non-orthodox rabbis have no problem conducting same sex ceremonies: it’s marrying into a different faith that can cause a problem,” he said. “Most of the questions I’ve had today have been from couples where one is Jewish and the other isn’t, and they’re just glad that I’ll marry them despite that.”

For other vendors there’s the chance to tap into the much written about ‘Dorothy Dollar’. Estimates of the US LGBT market put its value at over $650bn in 2006, and as Markovitz joked, “Love is love, green is green – and Brooklyn has always been happy to make money’.

They gay wedding expo featured more than 70 vendors, from local wine and patisserie shops to wedding photographers and jewellery designers. The expo also offered specialist services such as legal advice and honeymoon planning.

For Crystal Gonzalez, creator of the Marimacho clothes line for women who identify as masculine, it was an opportunity to promote her Steampunk-influenced line of tweed suits and bow ties. “We’ve had quite a bit of interest in wedding suits already,” she said.

Kimberlea Jaffe-Kressal is showcasing her newly formed gay wedding planning business – Love, Honor and Be Gay – which designs ‘unique, personal and beautiful weddings for queer couples in New York City and The Hudson Valley’.

Even those who don’t buy into the American wedding industry admit that the event is a little bit special. “To be honest, I find the whole wedding industry a bit gross,” said Mark Thornton, a 32-year-old producer who works for a non-profit theatre group and who is set to marry his partner Travis McHale later this year. “But that said I think an event like this is important. It was great that governor Cuomo passed gay marriage in his first year of office, and events like this continue to push the point that this is a normal thing to do. We want a small event in Vermont, which is where we met, but it’s nice to look around and see what’s on offer.”

Newton-John walks ‘white carpet’

Updated: 23:19, Monday January 16, 2012

Newton-John walks 'white carpet'

Almost five decades since she last starred in an Australian film, Olivia Newton-John has walked the ‘white carpet’ on home soil for the local premiere of the wedding comedy, A Few Best Men.

The acting icon and Grammy Award-winning artist was greeted with rose petals and a nuptial theme as she promoted her first Australian movie in 47 years in Sydney on Monday night.

‘I loved filming back home,’ she told AAP.

‘I haven’t filmed here since I was 17.’

Newton-John, who plays Barbara, the wild mother of the bride in the film, said she took up the role for a bit of fun.

‘The script was really funny,’ she said.

‘You don’t often read a script that is that good.’

Directed by Stephan Elliot, whose resume includes The Adventures of Priscilla, Queen of the Desert, the film follows the turbulent journey of a groom and his best men after they travel to Australia.

Elliot, who previously worked as a wedding videographer, said the film is a dig at the 3000 weddings he had to endure.

‘This was wedding revenge,’ he said.

Newton-John said she knew she wanted to be involved as soon as she saw the script.

‘I was on a plane and Stephan (Elliot) sent me the script and I just laughed out loud the whole way. I said I want to be part of this movie.’

And while that ‘part’ in the film involves her performing some questionable activities including dabbling in drugs, her co-stars say her humour allows her to play the role perfectly.

Laura Brent, who plays her on-screen daughter Mia, said working with an Australian legend was a dream come true.

‘She has the best sense of humour and you will see that in the film,’ Brent said.

Comedian Rebel Wilson described Newton-John as ‘hilarious.’

Most of the cast, including fellow Aussies Xavier Samuel, Tim Draxl, Laura Brent and Rebel Wilson and British actors Kevin Bishop and Love Actually star Kris Marshall, also turned out for the premiere.

And it wasn’t just Newton-John’s sense of humour that won the cast over.

Each said she was like a mother to them on set.

‘We never really get tired of telling everyone how wonderful she is,’ Samuel said.

‘She’s such a beautifully down-to-earth person.’

A Few Best Men is released nationally on January 26.


Hello & Co. Debuts Wedding Stationery Collection Inspired to Complement BHLDN …

Houston, TX (PRWEB) January 16, 2012

Mali Chi, founder and creative director of Hello Co, will be making a personal appearance with the first collection of BHLDN gown inspired stationery. When Mali set out to design her innovative line, she wanted to exemplify the essence of the gowns. Mali feels stationery is the insight to the tone of each bride’s wedding, transforming the aesthetic and feel of the event onto paper. From fonts to fine papers, she creates patterns and details to complement some of BHLDN’s most beloved gowns like the Eyelet Medley Sheath and the Windswept Gown. No other stationer in Houston boasts Mali’s passion for aesthetic and artistic craftsmanship.

When Mali Chi was asked about her inspiration for the collection, she expresses “Spending most of my career as an art director responsible for creating campaigns, I always look at the big picture. I address weddings using the same method to create an event that is cohesive from start to finish. It only seems natural to use the bride’s wedding gown for all the elements of the wedding day to revolve since there is so much emphasis leading up to the bride. The BHLDN gowns are so unique and artfully elegant, but BHLDN itself is even more than that. They offer an entire experience for the senses. That is my inspiration. Their approach is very parallel to my own, so creating invitations inspired by their gowns was natural.”

Event planners are invited and encouraged to bring their brides to the event. They will enjoy the afternoon browsing the BHLDN store served with an assortment of treats provided by the Black Hole’s baker, Alicia Alvarado and eco chic decor by Vernon Caldera. Mali, along with calligrapher Pat Leigh, of Calligraphy by Pat, will consult with brides to customize ideas and find the stationery to best complement their wedding. In conjunction with the beautiful gowns at BHLDN, the event creates an invaluable experience for not only the bride, but all involved in the wedding planning process.

About Hello Co: Hello Co. is a luxury stationery design studio based out of Houston, Texas, specializing in all things custom—including but not limited to: Letterpress, embossing, color trends, custom foils die cuts, monogram design, texture and typography. Founded and created by owner and designer, Mali Chi in 2008, Hello Co offers a full collection of Wedding Stationery, greeting cards, gifts and more. For more information please visit

Media Contact:

Sophee Houseman, Public Relations Associate

Retna Media

2100 West Loop South

Suite 900

Houston, TX 77027

T : 713.590.3674



Stuart Baggs turns his hand to wedding planning

Date Posted: 16/Jan/2012 12:45
By: Tessa Hawley


THE Isle of Man’s reality TV star Stuart “The Brand” Baggs has turned his hand to wedding planning.


The 23 year old businessman has taken part in the new Channel 5 series Celebrity Wedding Planner which will be screened on Friday.


Stuart, who shot to fame after taking part in the BBC TV show The Apprentice in 2010, will be seen planning a happy couple’s dream wedding alongside fellow Apprentice star Raef Bjayou.


However it seems all does not go to plan. The episode synopsis states: “A couple dream of a glamorous Ibiza-themed wedding and hand over control of their big day to former Apprentice contestants Raef Bjayou and Stuart Baggs who have other ideas.


“With every aspect of the ceremony and reception to plan they come up with some novel innovations including having the bride and groom’s dogs as ring bearers – but have a lot to prove after ruining the hen night.”


Other celebrities who have taken part in this series include former Atomic Kitten singer Kerry Katona, X-Factor twins Jedward and the 2010 Big Brother winner Josie Gibson.


Greg Barnett, Channel 5′s commissioning editor for entertainment, daytime and soaps, said: “A wedding day is arguably the most special day of a person’s life – our four couples are incredibly brave to trust their celebrity wedding planners with every element of such a momentous occasion.”

Celebrity Wedding Planner will be screened on Channel 5 on Friday, January 20 at 10pm.

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Wedding planners: Visalia expo showcases vendors’ latest offerings – Visalia Times

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Heather Barnes stood outside the doors of the Visalia Convention Center at 10:30 a.m. Sunday, waiting to gather ideas for her wedding.

The 24-year-old bride-to-be has spent months planning, even securing a venue for her October wedding, and all she needed were items to complete the event.

By noon, Barnes and her fiancé, Ryan Reed, had made their way around the more than 50 vendors on hand for the wedding expo known as “A Bridal Odyssey.”

The wedding show, put on by the Visalia-based event-planning company Mancini Production Inc., drew hundreds of would-be-brides, future grooms and bridesmaids throughout the day.

Wedding services ranging from photography, cake decorating and floral arrangements, and more fanciful offerings, such as white doves, cosmetic surgery and honeymoon getaways, were on display.

New trends for men’s tuxedos also made debuts, including a new collection from famed wedding dress designer Vera Wang.

A number of brides-to-be Sunday participated in a “cake dive,” where women plunged their hands into a wedding cake in search of prizes.

But for Barnes and Reed, all that mattered was preparing for their special day.

“She’s the perfect bride,” Reed said “But trying to keep the budget low is important, too.”

Plenty of choice for well dress theme

Plenty of choice for well dress theme

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ORGANISERS of the annual well-dressing in Malvern are holding a public meeting on Monday to pick a theme for this year’s event.

The well-dressing, organised by Malvern Spa Association, has been growing ever more popular in recent years.

Last year, a record 41 wells, springs and water features around the Malvern Hills were decorated by volunteers, and it is hoped this year’s display will equal or even break that figure.

Monday’s meeting will give volunteers old and new the chance to air their ideas.

Lionel Shorstone of the association said: “Last year the theme was togetherness, which gave people plenty of chance to celebrate William and Kate’s wedding, which was on the same day as the
well-dressing, so we had plenty of red, white and blue.

“I suspect that we’ll have plenty more this year, because of the jubilee – a diamond jubilee doesn’t come up very often.

“There are also some games in London, and 2012 is the anniversary of the sinking of the Titanic and of Scott’s failed expedition to the Antarctic, so there is plenty for inspiration.”

Last year’s gold winner was Barnards Green Trough, designed by Stephanie Underwood-Webb and friends and which looked at the relationship between man and beast.

Mr Shorstone said he has already heard from people who were keen to join in this year’s well-dressing.

He said: “We’ve a lot of young people involved, which is very encouraging.”

Monday’s meeting is at 7.30pm in the Lyttelton Rooms, Church Street, and entry is £3.

There will be a slide show of all 2011’s entries, plus the best of previous years.

This year’s well-dressing is on Friday, May 4.

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House of Brides Receives Raves for Allure Bridals Trunk Show

Allure Bridals available in sizes 2 - 32

Allure Bridals available in sizes 2 – 32

President Eva Buziecki states, “Allure’s appeal can be greatly attributed to the wide selection and variety of silhouettes and styles.”

Schaumburg, Illinois (PRWEB) January 16, 2012

House of Brides received an overwhelming response from customers who attended the designer’s trunk show of wedding dresses this past weekend. Brides have anticipated the designer’s newest collections of bridal attire. The salon was heavily booked all 3 days of the event with brides viewing the 2012 collections of Allure Bridals, Allure Couture and Exclusive Bridals.

The latest Allure collections emphasize the Statement Gown. The early trend for 2012 is dramatic design teamed with exceptional construction. The new Allure Bridals line focuses on flamboyant skirt design with both dramatic and simple silhouettes. Allure Couture marries sleek silhouettes with rich embellishment. Many styles feature Swarovski crystals. The Exclusive Bridals collection updates classic looks with modern details with an eye for figure flattering bridal gowns.

Allure is one of House of Brides most popular bridal collections. The retailer first premiered the collections with the Spring 2010 season and received an immediate response from their brides. Renowned for its exceptional quality and craftsmanship, the collection has been in demand at all 6 bridal salons. President Eva Buziecki states, “Allure’s appeal can be greatly attributed to the wide selection and variety of silhouettes and styles.”

The bridal retailer has used the designer predominantly in its recent marketing including print and in-store campaigns. The retailer will also use the collections heavily in its new 2012 catalog due to premiere later this month.

Due to the popularity of Allure Trunk Shows, the bridal retailer plans to showcase the designer in future trunk shows and events. House of Brides received a similar response to last year’s trunk show in Schaumburg. Future plans include trunk shows at the retailer’s other locations.

The Allure collections are viewable now at and samples are available at all 6 bridal salons.

House of Brides is open 7 days a week and has 6 bridal salons in the Chicagoland area. The locations are in Chicago, Glen Ellyn, Oak Lawn, Aurora, Orland Park and Schaumburg, the World’s Largest Wedding Store. Appointments are suggested. Contact House of Brides for more details.

About House of Brides:

House of Brides established its first brick-and-mortar store in 1929 and has since grown to 10 Chicagoland stores and global E-Commerce website, Millions of Brides and their wedding parties visit our salons and global website for over 30,000 wedding and special event products.



‘Bridesmaids’ Reality Check: Sarah Pease, Wedding Planner, Gives Skinny on …

“Bridesmaids” is up for some big awards at Golden Globes ceremony tonight: Best Motion Picture (Comedy or Musical) and Best Performance by an Actress in a Motion Picture (Comedy or Musical) for Kristen Wiig. The comedy is a bona fide critical darling and commercial success — most likely because the subject matter hits close to home for many folks (myself — four times a bridesmaid — included).

So how real are the situations and sentiments in “Bridesmaids”? And what exactly can people do to avoid becoming like Kristen Wiig and Maya Rudolph’s characters? Not to mention the burning question: Puppies as wedding shower favors — is that a thing?

I called upon Sarah Pease — owner and creative director of Brilliant Event Planning — for answers. Sarah has professionally planned high-end weddings for five years, and she demystified — and confirmed — plenty of the plot points to this year’s most celebrated ensemble flick.

As rewarding as your job can be, I’m sure it’s really stressful.
Imagine if every day of your job was the most important day of somebody’s life. That’s a pretty big weight on your shoulders!

Have you ever witnessed anything even remotely as crazy as what happened in “Bridesmaids”?
Well, there are a lot of things that sort of bubble up to the surface. The role that I play as far as my clients are concerned — a lot of times I am their confidant. One of the worst ones that sort of crushed my soul a little bit was the bride had her bachelorette party and one of her bridesmaids, who was — I can’t remember if she was married or engaged — ended up hooking up with some person who was not her fiancé or husband. On the bachelorette trip! And she was thinking, “Oh my God, of course that’s awful and what am I gonna say — how am I gonna act when I see her husband at the wedding?”

You’re out helping your friend celebrate the fact that she’s entering into a union with someone she’s going to be faithful to, and then you go and cheat on your own partner. That’s kind of a downer!
Right? I was literally just struck. I had one wedding where the bridesmaids were definitely on something. The girls were literally in a daze, every single one of them. And I don’t know what kind of drug they had taken, but they definitely had taken some. I would say, “We need you over here for a photo — can you come over here with your bouquet?” And she would look at me, smile, and turn around and walk the opposite way. Not in a, “No, I’m not coming” but in just in an “I’m in La-La Land” kind of thing.

That sounds like the scene in “Sixteen Candles” where Molly Ringwald’s sister takes painkillers on her wedding day and walks down the aisle all strung out.
That’s exactly what it was like! I was like, “There’s nothing I can do about this. So we’ll just have to corral them.”

Are the breakdowns and strained friendships in “Bridesmaids” indicative of things that you’ve seen?
Well, the reason why the movie is funny is because it has an element of truth to it. We’ve all been there — I have been a bridesmaid many times — and we’ve all been in that situation where you’re sort of thrown together and have this kind of mishmash of people that maybe wouldn’t hang out at any other time together. And I mean, yeah, look at what happens to brides when they’re planning their weddings: normal, friendly girls turn into bridezillas. And certainly there are bridesmaidzillas — that is an absolute fact.

And so often, as in “Bridesmaids,” you see your friend moving on to this new step in her life and it makes you take stock of where you are, and sometimes that stings.
That too — and I think the one-upping in that movie is very true as well. Especially from the perspective of a planner — there have been some clients of mine who’ve said, either jokingly or not, “I want to make sure that none of my bridesmaids look prettier than me.” Or like, who was the one character who was great at everything and planned everything?

Rose Byrne’s character — she and Kristen Wiig totally butted heads.
Yes! There’s always sort of that competition, absolutely. Even when it’s a group of girls that all get along together. I mean, throw in a bridesmaid dress and they all sort of lose their minds.

There’s a movie called “Bachelorette” debuting at Sundance this year. It stars Kirsten Dunst and Isla Fisher, and it’s about a group of girls who get asked to be bridesmaids for a girl they teased in high school. It’s interesting that all of these female ensemble comedies about the subject are emerging. What do you make of the sudden fascination?
It was only a matter of time until something girl-related, like a girl “Hangover,” came out, so I’m not surprised one bit. The wedding industry has already seen a tremendous amount of success in the TV arena.

It’s also interesting that the women in “Bridesmaids” are older. Not so long ago, brides on film were always in their early or mid-20′s, and these women are in their mid-30′s. Is that pretty indicative of real life, too — with your clients?
You hit the nail right on the head – especially here in New York City. People who live in large cities probably get married at a later age than those maybe in smaller towns. I mean, I’ll tell you as somebody who’s born and raised in Green Bay, Wisconsin, that most of my friends back home are married and have babies already. And I’m just about to turn 31, so I’m behind the times. I’m actually getting married myself, in June.

Ah, congratulations! Have you ever found yourself being the nightmare bridesmaid — or even now, bride?
Gosh, you can interview my friends and ask them if I was a bridesmaidzilla — I might have been! [laughs] I don’t think I’ve been a bridezilla too much. Just by virtue of being a wedding planner, I don’t think I get wrapped up in it as much as the average bride would. I think a lot of times the people who have a tendency to be a bridezilla are those that — they’re getting wedding’d, they’re not getting married.

In “Bridesmaids,” I don’t think Maya Rudolph’s character was as much a bridezilla as she was the omega to Rose Byrne’s alpha. At a certain point she just took a back seat to her own big day. Do you see that happen often?
Completely! I think that the people who have the most success are those who are really clear on exactly what’s important to them. So for example, “It’s important to me that you have this dress. It’s important to me that you have these earrings and these shoes and get your hair done.” But keeping in mind that requiring your people to do all those things might be an investment that many times is a huge financial commitment.

That’s also touched upon in the movie — Kristen Wiig’s character simply didn’t have the money for all this stuff. The bridesmaid dress, the flight to Vegas, throwing the shower. That’s happened to me before, too — I know it’s not unusual. How should real-life brides avoid becoming like Maya Rudolph’s character?

Yeah, I think that the pitch that I would give someone who’s wanting to make sure that they keep the peace — No. 1 is communication. And I think opinion polling isn’t a bad idea, in a non-confrontational way. I would recommend giving each one of them a call one-on-one as part of a wider conversation.

As opposed to what happened in “Bridesmaids,” which was a mass email about the bachelorette party that turned into an out-of-control conference call.
Exactly! I feel like sometimes bachelorettes are a lot of societal pressure — like, you have to go to Cancun. And it doesn’t have to be like that.

That’s another reason it’s so fascinating that Hollywood has finally peeked behind the curtain. Women are so polite about all this stuff — they don’t want to rock the boat, even when the demands are completely out of line.
Absolutely. And I really think before you pick up the phone and call any of your bridesmaids, one thing that you should absolutely do is write down everything you want to do — your desires for them as far as dress goes, shoes, hair and make-up, earrings, jewelry, bridal showers, bachelorette, travel and accommodations, wedding gift. Put all those numbers down on paper and see how much it adds up to and ask yourself, If the tables were turned, would you be comfortable spending that much money for your friend?

You mentioned the wedding shower — which makes me think of the movie and the fact that it had those outrageous invitations with live butterflies, and they gave puppies away as gifts. Have you dealt with any equally ostentatious favors or invites?
Well, there’s all different kinds of interpretations of what’s over the top and elaborate, but certainly we’ve never given away a puppy. Invitations are just one piece of the puzzle for me, but there’ve been mirrors and embroidered silk folios with crystals tied around it and strings of pearls. The sky’s the limit when it comes to these kinds of things. I think I read somewhere that there was a celebrity wedding where the favors were all iPads.

Woah. Sign me up for that shindig!
Right? Exactly. I’d like to be on the guest list!

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Wedding Tips & Trends.

Wedding Tips Trends.
By Fairmont Hotels Resorts
Monday, 16th January 2012

Fairmont is known worldwide as a place of special occasions, from the copper-roofed Fairmont Peace Hotel in Shanghai, to royal-favorite The Savoy in London, to Toronto’s Grand Dame Fairmont Royal York.

Many of Fairmont’s storied properties have hosted “first dances” for close to a century, and all are on the front lines when it comes to knowing what modern brides want. Here are a few trends Fairmont wedding experts predict will be big in 2012.

Every Wedding is a Destination Wedding – While destination weddings used to conjure images of white sand beaches and swaying palm trees, modern couples getting married close to home may still have friends and family flying in from all over the world. Many of Fairmont’s city center properties have seen more weddings book 2- and 3-night room blocks along with Sunday brunches to make sure out-of-towners have a vacation too. Gift bags have also stepped up to include more than water and an itinerary – considerate couples book neighborhood walking tours for guests and offer hand-picked restaurant recommendations and tips for local attractions.

“Couples want to make sure they’re taking care of guests who spend a considerable amount of time and money to be there for them on their big day,” said Wayne Harth, Director of Catering at Fairmont Chicago, Millennium Park.   “We’ve had brides arrange guided architectural tours and trolley cars to take guests around Chicago while the bridal party prepares for the evening festivities.”

Close-knit, But Not On a Shoestring – Intimate weddings give couples more time to spend with the people they care about most, and more money to spend on luxuries, both big and small. A growing number of couples are choosing to limit their guest list to 100 or less, but their nuptials still boast the budget of a much larger wedding.

“Our brides are having smaller weddings, but spending more per person, whether it’s on elegant menus or setting up elaborate play areas for kids. We had one couple set-up a fully supervised adjacent room with Wii games, arcade machines, sweet table and disco,” said Bruce Russell, London Wedding Planner for Weddings at The Savoy by Bruce Russell. “Another thing we’ve done to upgrade smaller weddings is to offer a la carte reception menus featuring six appetizers, six entrees and five desserts – all selected by guests on the day of the wedding. It’s a convenience and a luxury that invitees really appreciate.”

Keep People Dancing with Passed Small Bites – There’s no better way to make a DJ lonely than by rolling out limited food stations that immediately build up long lines – keeping people away from the music and quickly deflating a lively atmosphere. Instead of killing the party on the dance floor, forgo food stations for passed small bites that will keep guests dancing all night long.

“Passing tapas and desserts on the dance floor has become extremely popular and is a great way to keep the party going,” said Tracey Gavin, Senior Catering Sales Manager at The Fairmont Copley Plaza in Boston.  “As an added perk, you can get creative with the food you present, whether it’s mini ice cream cones or cheeseburger sliders. It’s definitely a memorable touch.”

Groom’s Role Grows – While many catering managers used to see grooms only twice – at the first meeting and on their wedding day – many men are becoming more involved in the planning process, particularly when it comes to menus and desserts. Formerly a regional staple in the Southeastern U.S., the groom’s cake has slowly been inching its way north and even as far as the UK and Europe, and taking different forms as it migrates. Whether it’s part of a “cake-scape” of different designs and flavors, a surprise gift from the bride featuring a favorite sports team, or just the classic chocolate treat of the groom’s choice, many couples are forgoing the traditional one size-fits-all confection.

“For the most part, brides still run the show, but we’ve seen a growing level of involvement from men in every aspect of the wedding,” said Ashley Pigott, Conference Services Catering Manager for The Fairmont Royal York in Toronto. “As grooms get more and more involved with picking dinner menus, music, and more, desserts have become a prime opportunity for them to show off their own style and preferences.”

Spicing up the Dessert Table – Having cupcakes instead of a wedding cake has been fashionable for years now, but some couples are getting even more creative with their dessert table by bringing out their inner child. Tiered donut cakes, old fashioned candy bars and huge spreads of cookies have taken over, giving guests an assortment of sweet treats to choose from.

“Many couples want a range of tastes and colors on their dessert table and are branching out beyond the traditional tiered wedding cakes and perfectly decorated cupcakes,” said Jenny Hytonen, Wedding Manager from The Fairmont Palliser. “One wedding we did had a whimsical candy bar filled with lollipops, gumdrops, licorice, taffy and more, and guests went wild for it.”

Decorating from Above – A stunning centerpiece may look great in photos, but many times they end up obscuring views and getting in the way of conversation. So, instead of arranging votives and flowers on tables, some couples are hanging their centerpieces from the ceilings – creating a dramatic effect that finally lets guests sitting across from each other see eye-to-eye.

“We had one bride with an Alice in Wonderland theme for her reception who wanted magical décor for her guests, so we hung creative Mad-Hatter style top hats and candles from our Hacienda Trellis – it created a stunning effect.” said Amanda Wingert, Senior Catering Manager at Fairmont Scottsdale Princess. “The hanging decorations have definitely become a popular feature and we’ve started to see a range of variations on the standard lantern and floral centerpieces.”

Future brides and grooms interested in more information on weddings at Fairmont can visit Fairmont Weddings online.  For a look at real Fairmont weddings as well as tips, tricks and ideas from Fairmont’s wedding experts, visit the brand’s social media site Everyone’s An Original.