there were two things i was certain of when i got engaged
the guy i was going to marry
and that there would be mason jars at my wedding
lots of them
everything else seemed to fall into place
around all the mason jars of course
...and then came baby...

Friday, October 29, 2010

happy halloweenie

{via martha stewart}

wishing you all a happy & safe halloween!!

we're having a few friends over this evening to carve pumpkins & eat hearty fall food. yummmm

still haven't figured out a costume yet, but i just saw this funny video from the daily candy crew & now have a few last minute DIY ideas up my sleeve. check it out!

ciao for now : )

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

spotlight on margot + kevin: real wedding

it's that terrific time of year when everyone's inner child comes out to play. halloween is just around the corner, which makes today's wedding a perfect fit! margot & kevin tied the knot on the fantastic festive day just one year ago in a gorgeous chapel in old town chicago. they continued the festivities at the amazing university club of chicago, which lent a wonderful gothic feel to the entire day as you're about to see. what i love about their halloween nuptials (besides everything), is that they didn't let it take over their decor, while at the same time, didn't shy away from getting into the spirit of the day. everything about this couple gives off a fun vibe, from the skull & bones bow tie to the angel wings. i love all of it & am certain you will too. enjoy!

love this picture for many reasons (the fireplace would be one)

we got married at st. michael's, an old church, that survived the great chicago fire
in old town
. we picked it because it was very ornate and had a lot of chicago history. because it was so ornate, as you can see from the pictures, we didn't use any flowers in the church. instead, we used glass encased pillar candles to line the aisle. i thought this was super clever and had never seen it anywhere before. also, the church would not let us throw anything, (flower petals, rice, etc.) so the flower girl just carried a rose ball, which she then quickly destroyed after the ceremony was over.

gorgeous lighting

candles make everything pretty

the flower girl's rose ball


let's give it up for the newly married couple

mr & mrs

we get by with a little help from our friends

he's learning quickly

we chose the university club of chicago because my husband really liked it & it helped that my dad is a member of the club. it turned out to be the best place for a halloween wedding because of its mysterious and gothic feel, which i loved. the stained glass windows and wood ceiling added a lot of character. i also knew that they served great food, took care of the cake, and had hotel rooms for guests. it is located in downtown chicago on michigan avenue overlooking millennium park and lake michigan. we had a lot out of town guests and we wanted to give them a real chicago experience.

this room is simply amazing

even better in color!

the couple steal a kiss before the party gets going

absolutely love her dress

love the deep red centerpieces

the first dance

my cake was red velvet to match the decor. i had a chocolate buttercream frosting on the outside instead of the traditional white fondant.

devilishly good

Yum, with a capital "Y"

trick or treat

here come the costumes

love bow ties in general, but this one takes the cake

i absolutely love all of their flowers

yes, those are feathers

everything was pretty great, but my favorite part of the wedding day was after dinner during dancing when everyone started getting into their halloween costumes. some people put on face paint, others used napkins as headbands, and some even had capes and vampire fangs. i got to put on my angel wings that seemed to match my dress perfectly. i also had given my bridesmaids black masquerade masks that had a little sparkle in them. there were touches of halloween everywhere but it was not overwhelming. i had black feathers and "hocus pocus" roses in my bouquet. kevin had a skull and crossbones cuff links and bow tie which just looked like polka dots from afar. during cocktail hour we had spiderweb design linens which were later used for the the candy station. we had to have a trick or treat candy station as our favors for our guests, where they could make there own treat bag on the way out. kevin and i were really happy that we could celebrate halloween during the wedding. everyone enjoyed themselves.

the happy couple

love the mask

how fantastic are angel wings on a bride?!


i don't think i could have found a better picture to end with

advice to other brides, if you are doing a halloween theme, careful not to over do it. i would get so excited about using all the great halloween decorations available out there, but then it started to focus more on halloween and less about the wedding/marriage. i decided to cut out a bunch of halloween stuff and just have touches here and there. one thing i wish i would have done would be to use small-medium sized pumpkins on the tables to designate the table numbers.

thank you so much to margot & kevin for sharing these amazing photos with us. your wedding was absolutely gorgeous and made me very excited for halloween!


ultimate bride
the university club of chicago
food and cake:
the university club of chicago
flowers and design:
heffernan morgan
bbj linens
hall's rentals
the stu hirsh orchestra
stephen green photography
chicago video works
day of coordinator:
an urban affair
limos: s
teve win signature transportation
paper good:
joanna walker design
bridesmaids dresses: jenny yoo collection

Monday, October 25, 2010

see it to believe it: requesting fabric swatches

{via j.crew}

sometimes the best deals are online. only problem with ordering online is that a beautiful sage green dress might look more like pea soup when it arrives in the mail.

i had my own little run-in with online color deceit. i had been on the hunt for a yellow dress for my bridesmaids & finally found what i thought was the perfect strapless dress online. i hastily had all of my bridesmaids purchase one without seeing it for myself in person. i received a text message from one of my bridesmaids about a week later that said something along the lines of, "got the dress today! it's very pretty & really bright." i immediately asked her to bring it over. as soon as i saw the dress, i realized she was being a top notch bridesmaid by downplaying the whole thing. it was highlighter yellow. i mean, glow-in-the-dark, blinding, bright yellow. luckily, the online retailer we purchased from was beyond flexible and ended up taking back all of the dresses & gave full refunds.

MOST online retailers, especially those that carry bridesmaid dresses, have fabric & color swatches for all their dresses & are happy to share with consumers.

after the highlighter dress debacle, i inspected all dresses in person or had an online retailer send me a swatch.

sometimes that blush pink dress online really looks like blush pink in person, but why risk the chance of getting hot pink?

Friday, October 22, 2010

all-inclusive trip for two: yes, please!

brides magazine and daily candy have teamed up to offer a 5-night all-inclusive getaway for one lucky reader (plus a guest, of course). go here to enter for a chance to win. i already did : )

Thursday, October 21, 2010

get your gilt on: discounted wedding goods online part II

a few weeks ago i mentioned that for five days, gilt would be featuring an online wedding shop. the sale started yesterday and they have AH-MA-ZING wedding goodies that you need to feast your eyes on ASAP! act fast, these deals are definitely not going to last.

here's just a small selection of what they are offering online:

this gorgeous reem acra gown. normally $4,900, gilt price $2,995

beautiful, white stuart weitzman slingbacks. normally $355, gilt price $119

love these fancy diamond drop earrings. normally $1,500, gilt price $759

freshwater pearl headband, beautiful. normally $175, gilt price $89

brighten your smile for the big day with go smile. normally $356, gilt price $150

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

spotlight on lauren + mike: real wedding

today we're heading to the city of brotherly love and we're going first class all the way. lauren & mike exchanged vows in the same gorgeous cathedral her parents were married in many moons ago. they continued the festivities in a breathtaking ballroom that exudes elegance and was stocked with the best food philly has to offer. not only did these two college sweethearts have an amazing ceremony & reception location to work with, but they had the fantastic city of philadelphia as their backdrop.
if you've never been, you should probably book a trip as soon as you're finished reading this post. i love all of the history, the authentic italian food & the fantastic accents.
ok, enough talk, time to check out the gorgeous photos. sidenote: i absolutely love how almost every photo could be mistaken for a couple straight out of the forties or fifties.

can't get enough of these two

from the bride:
from the moment mike proposed in a beautifully landscaped garden at a symphony-orchestrated fountain show at longwood gardens, i was ready to start planning the wedding of our dreams.......with the help of a few people :)

wow is all i can say

the bride & her maids

the only snag that day which seemed like a huge deal at the time (and in hind sight, is not worth skipping a beat over) was that the vintage rolls royce we had expected did not show up that morning! luckily, between my husband and the wedding coordinator we were able to find a pretty sweet replacement, a vintage bentley, so everything ended up working out and i still had the white car i had envisioned. a piece of advice for future brides is to take a deep breath and roll with the punches, although my initial reaction was one of disappointment, we made it work and i realized there is nothing that is more important that day than saying i do to the man of your dreams.

the bride has arrived!


mike and i are very traditional by nature, so the catholic church and ballroom style wedding suited us perfectly. there was a lot of sentimental value associated with the ceremony location which was an ornate, cathedral style church founded in 1843 - made even more special by the fact that my parents had tied the knot in this same church 29 years ago!

here comes the bride

such a beautifully ornate altar

woohoo, the mr & mrs!


this is one of my favorites

the beautiful rittenhouse square

the handsome groom

the groom & his men


hello backdrop

as for our table arrangements, we nixed the seating cards for framed, poster sized seating charts that incorporated 2 of our favorite engagement photos. the names were overlaid onto the poster sized engagement photos & set on easels - very adorable idea if you took the time to have an engagement photo session and want to put those images to good use.


great gatsby would've been proud

yes, please

we chose fall for a few reasons, 1) that's our favorite season 2) our relationship originally began in october and 3) we love the color scheme & the weather, (and not to mention, the timing with our engagement!) - all made fall the perfect choice for us.

i wanted to tie in the fall theme as much as i could while making sure every detail exuded class, elegance and the ballroom ambiance i was trying to capture. my bouquet consisted of calla lilies, stephanotis with pearl centers, and roses. to add some variety, each bridesmaid carried a different bouquet. the types of flowers remained the same, but they all carried different colored roses, hypericum berries and orchids.


it's hard to pick just one favorite moment of the day because everything felt special and exceeded my expectations. if i had i to pick a few, one would include our first dance which wasn't by any means perfect, but we had a blast!! (and i think the crowd was pretty entertained too!). mike and i performed a choreographed ballroom dance, which added to the fun not only during the big day but in the days leading up to our wedding while taking dance lessons at the society hill dance academy.

the dip

the food/viennese dessert room and the band were just a few of my other favorites. all of the food from our cocktail hour to the final dish was exactly what i had envisioned - it was served and cooked to perfection. the band kept the crowd entertained on the dance floor the entire night. rather than starting out with the normal dinner music routine, we kicked it off with dancing and having all guests join us on the floor - it set the mood for the entire evening. the venetian sweet room was definitely a delight to have. there was something for every guest's sweet tooth - from cookies, to a biscotti and cannoli, to cakes, pies, and an international coffee and liqueur bar- the guests were sure to find something they could enjoy!

sweet! literally : )


time to get down to business

unfortunately, several years ago my grandparents from the mello side passed away, and although they could not be present physically, i wanted to incorporate their memory into my wedding somehow. my father had saved two of my grandmother's brooches just for this occasion and i pinned them both to my bouquet. another great way to incorporate loved ones who have passed is to include their names in your ceremony program booklet.

welcome baskets filled to the brim with philly treats

what a wonderful world

i know i'm missing lots of details and i could go on and on because it truly was the best day of my life. not only did i get to marry the love of my life and best friend, the whole day was magical and there isn't a single thing i would change. if anything, i would love to relive that fairytale day, and every bride should take the time to breathe, appreciate, and savor every minute of their wedding from the planning to the day of!!!

thanks a million to mike & lauren for sharing their gorgeous wedding with us. it truly was a party to top all parties!


reception venue location: the ballroom at the ben at the benjamin franklin house
ceremony: st. paul's roman catholic church
cake and viennese sweet room:
termini brothers pasticceria
flowers: sansone and company, haddonfield, nj
eve of milady from bridal garden
bridesmaid dresses:
bill levkoff
black tie philly
glass slipper productions, sample
the quake
details rittenhouse square
godiva chocolatier
rehearsal dinner:
dante and luigi's
creative images photography