Friday, November 30, 2007

Cute holiday wedding idea

I was browsing through the latest Williams-Sonoma catalog this week and came across this kissing ball/pomander made from evergreen and holly:
If you're having a holiday or winter-themed wedding, wouldn't this be a fun idea for your flower girl to carry? Or you could use them as pew decorations to decorate your aisle.

Thursday, November 29, 2007

Join us on Facebook

Perfect Memories now has its own page on Facebook, thanks to the new business pages now available on the site. Check out the page and become a fan.

Right now, you can start or join a discussion on the discussion board, post a question on the wall and network with other brides. I'll be posting useful and fun Facebook tools for your wedding and maybe creating a few of my own.

You can also add photos from your own wedding to share with other brides. The page can become whatever you want it to be, so please become fan and help create a great resource for brides-to-be.

UPDATE: I just added the first Perfect Memories quiz to Facebook. Visit our page to test your wedding IQ!

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Wedding vows a la Dr. Seuss

Polka Dot Bride posted last week wedding vows written by Marty Blase in the fashion of a Dr. Seuss book. I love the whimsical lightness of these lyrical vows. . .though you'll notice that all of the serious stuff in traditional vows is still in there. Imagine how entertained you would be as a guest if the couple exchanged vows like these.

A snippet:

Pastor: Will you answer me right now
These questions, as your wedding
Groom: Yes, I will answer right now
Your questions as my wedding
Pastor: Will you take her as your wife?
Will you love her all your
Groom: Yes, I'll take her as my wife,
Yes, I'll love her all my
Pastor: Will you have, and also hold
Just as you have at this time
Groom: Yes, I will have, and I will hold
Just as I have at this time
Yes, I will love her all my life
As I now take her as my wife. .

You can read the entire vows here. I do think it's a little bit long, especially since this is just the groom's part. Maybe you could mix in the bride's vows as well, so there's a back and forth between the officiant, bride and groom.

Obviously vows like this will only work for certain couples. You need to be okay with being lighthearted during a ceremony celebrating a very serious commitment (Marty's bride actually vetoed this idea, so they didn't even use them). And what makes it is the quick-paced banter, just like a Dr. Seuss book, so you'll need to be comfortable with performing in front of your guests--and confident in your memory skills. Even so, any bride or groom is subject to an emotional memory lapse when they're reciting their vows, so a cheat sheet is definitely a must.

Monday, November 26, 2007

Fab 5: Guest book alternatives

Welcome back from a long Thanksgiving weekend. I hope everyone filled up on lots of turkey.

In today's Fab 5, I'm sharing five ideas for your wedding guest book. Almost every wedding has one: a book that guests sign as they enter the reception or ceremony. The traditional guest book contains pages and pages of blank lines (And often costs way more than its worth, just because it is a "wedding" guest book. If you want the traditional book, consider purchasing a pretty journal instead--you'll save money!). Most guests will usually sign just their names, and the book gets shoved on a shelf or in a closet, rarely looked at again.

With just a little creativity, brides and grooms can choose a guest book alternative that will not only be more meaningful to them, but will also be more interesting for their guests. Whichever option you choose, be sure to have a sign with instructions--many guests may be bewildered by a different choice. Here are five popular alternative to the traditional wedding guest book:

  1. Wishing Tree

    Your guests write wishes or advice for your happiness on individual cards, and hang them from a small tree, which can double as a welcoming decoration at your reception. If you can't swing the tree, pick up some branches from a craft store and display them in a vase. For a more cost-efficient idea, try a "Wishing Bowl" instead, and instruct guests to toss their cards into a glass bowl.

    What to do after the wedding? You could use the cards to create a wedding scrapbook, combined with photos, invitations and other mementos from your wedding. Or, store the cards in a memory box and break them out on anniversaries.
    Image from Weddingbee

  2. Polaroid Guest Book

    Station a friend at the door to snap photos of your guests as they enter, and have guests write their message in the space next to their photo. You can find these instant photo guest books online, but if you're feeling crafty, create your own with card stock, scrapbook paper and photo corners. The book doubles as a photo album you can share and browse for years to come.
    Image from Beau Coup

  3. Signature Photo Mat

    Collect your guests' signatures on a photo mat, add a photo from your wedding and frame. Hang on your wall for memories of all of the people who cared about you and shared in your special day.
    Image from

  4. Wedding Quilt

    Set out pre-cut quilt squares and acid-free pens for your guest to sign. You can choose squares that match your wedding colors or, perhaps more practical, the decor of your home. After the wedding, quilt the squares together (add some unsigned squares as well) and cuddle with your new husband under a blanket of love (I know, I'm getting a little cheesy here!).
    Image from

  5. Custom Photo Guest Book

    Create a customized guest book with your own photos. You can use engagement pictures or pictures of the two of you throughout your relationship--or you could even incorporate pictures of you growing up. This provides another option that doubles as a photo album, plus your guests will enjoy looking at the photos.

    I couldn't find a book out there that's sold specifically for this purpose--if you know of one, let me know. However, you can make your own in several different ways. If you have a design program, this would simple enough to create. For my own wedding, I created and purchased the book through iPhoto, using an image of lines created in word when I wanted signing space. By hand, purchase scrapbook paper and attach photos with photo corners--you can find lined paper, but it doesn't have to be.

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Renew your vows and help Pittsburgh set a world record

I posted a few months ago about Pittsburgh's plans for the largest marriage vow renewal as part of Pittsburgh 250. You can now register to take part in this record setting event, which takes place February 10, 2008 at the Carnegie Music Hall in Oakland. Visit this site for more information and to register for "Re-Union: World's Largest Wedding Vow Renewal."

According to the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, about 500 of the 700 spots for couples remain. If registration fills up, 1,400 people will renew their wedding vows together in a ceremony officiated by Pittsburgh Mayor Luke Ravenstahl. Afterward, couples will enjoy champagne and cake and take home gifts bags for their participation, plus have a chance to win prizes.

The site says to dress as if you're attending a wedding and encourages couples to don their wedding gowns and tuxedos.

Whether you just married the love of your life or have been together longer than you can remember, sign up for this unique event and be a part of Pittsburgh (and world record) history.

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

New poll: Did your fiance ask your parents for permission to propose?

Last week, the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette published a story about the traditions and trends of asking parents for their daughter's hand in marriage. The article features some interesting points-of-view from both sides of the issue.

I'm wondering how many grooms out there are asking the parents for permission before proposing to their girlfriends. Please vote over the next two weeks in our poll in the left column of this blog.

Poll results: What will you do with your wedding dress?

Our last poll is now closed: What will you do with your wedding dress after the wedding? It seems like most people still go the traditional route by preserving their wedding gowns.

The results:

  • Preserve it: 62%
  • Donate it: 18%
  • Trash it: 12%
  • Sell it: 6%

Thanks for voting. . .a new poll will be up soon!

Friday, November 16, 2007

Choosing your first dance song

What song will you and your new hubby choose for your fist dance? In the first ever Perfect Memories iMix on iTunes, I've picked 10 of my favorite tunes for first dance songs. But, these are just my choices. . .what songs do you like best? Let me know and I'll create a "Reader's Choice" play list of first dance songs to share with brides and grooms everywhere.

My iMix:

So what would you pick for your first dance? Leave me a comment and I'll compile the results soon.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Fab 5: Budget-friendly wedding gowns

When I posted a Fab 5 a few weeks ago on designer wedding gowns, I promised a look at some more budget-friendly finds. Here are five wedding dresses I love, all under $1,000:

  1. Nicole Miller

    I love the casual elegance of this halter dress, which would be great for a beach wedding.
    Style C00014 by Nicole Miller, Image from The Knot

  2. Watters Brides

    For a less formal affair, choose a knee-length gown like this embroidered lace dress.
    Style 9049B from Watters Brides, Image from House of Brides

  3. David's Bridal

    Many brides fall for dresses with pick ups, but this new gown offers a twist: delicate pick ups on a lace dress.
    Style E9210 from David's Bridal, Image from David's Bridal

  4. Sarah Danielle

    Elegant and refined, this gown features on off-the-shoulder neckline, draped fabric, rhinestone buttons and a sweep train.
    Style 5360 from Sarah Danielle, Image from The Knot

  5. Alfred Angelo

    I like the "flowy-ness" of this satin and chiffon wedding dress, embroidered with lace and crystals.
    Style 1620 from Alfred Angelo, Image from The Knot

Monday, November 12, 2007

An inside look at a Pittsburgh Pirates wedding

Did you ever wish you could see the wedding of a Pittsburgh sports star? Saundra at planning. . .forever events recently planned the wedding of Pirates starting pitcher Zach Duke and his gorgeous bride Kristin in Indiana. You can get an inside look at their wedding, and at the life of an event planner in her four-part recap:

Enjoy...and congratulations to Zach and Kristin!

P.S. My schedule's a little off this week. . .come back tomorrow for a brand new Fab 5!

Friday, November 9, 2007

A Vera Wang honeymoon

Vera Wang's name has become synonymous with wedding gowns, so why not extend the Vera Wang experience into the honeymoon? Most people realize that her designs go much further than wedding dresses, spanning everything from fashion to china to mattresses. But her name is also on an exclusive hotel suite at the Halekulani Hotel in Honolulu, Oahu, Hawaii.
The marketing and branding genius of this suite impresses me so much. First of all, though it's not labeled a "honeymoon" suite, putting her name, so popular with brides, on a hotel in one of the top honeymoon destinations was the right decision. Also, the suite creates a total Vera Wang experience--the ultimate goal of any branding program.

So if you stay in the Vera Wang Suite, what do you get? A gorgeous getaway with views of the Pacific Ocean, Waikiki Beach and Diamond Head. Vera Wang designed the suite herself, combining products from her home, bath, gift and accessories lines with unique Hawaiian furniture.

Beyond that, you'll even get to indulge in some of Vera Wang's personal favorites, like watching a film from her "Vera's favorites" movie library or sipping on a cocktail from the specialty menu she helped create.

The full list of amenities rivals any luxury suite, with a welcome gift, private butler service, in-room fine dining and more. In true Hawaii-style, you'll even receive a surfing lesson. Certainly, this is the place to stay for a relaxing, pampered honeymoon.

Wednesday, November 7, 2007

Pittsburgh flair: A black & gold wedding

Last week's Pittsburgh flair talked about treating your guests to some black and gold candy, but what if you want to take the Pittsburgh-inspired color scheme to greater lengths? What if black and gold were the colors of your wedding?

A black and gold event may conjure images more Steelers tailgate party than stylish wedding, but it doesn't have to be, as this inspiration board from Snippet and Ink proves:
When Snippet and Ink posted this a couple of weeks ago, I immediately thought of the Pittsburgh color scheme, though of course that wasn't what she had in mind. She describe it as being bold and unexpected, and it certainly is. But it still has a formal, elegant feel to it.

If you're going to plan a black and gold wedding, my advice is to keep most of the elements clean and classic. Also, a healthy dose of white will lighten things up. Go for style over local kitchy-nes. You'll end up with a wedding that's modern, memorable and totally Pittsburgh.

Tuesday, November 6, 2007

Reviewing your vendors: A how-to guide

I love that brides use the Web to share vendor reviews with other couples. These reviews, both good and bad, can help couples avoid a costly mistake, discover an unknown option and make an informed decision.

However, today I was reminded that not everyone may be aware of how to best publish a review, or even how to find reviews to read. A poor bride wrote a scathing review of her New Jersey bridal shop--on my blog's profile page in a blog directory. I'm not sure how that happened (other than being in the wedding business and having the word "Memories" in our name, the two businesses have nothing in common), but I wish I could contact this woman to point her toward some proper outlets for her rage.

And so I give you my tips for reviewing your vendors:

Find the proper outlet
In most cases, your vendors are local businesses, so post your reviews to local Web sites. Local message boards, such as the Pittsburgh board on The Knot, are a great forum for this. Also look at sites like Bridalhood and Wedding Wire, which focus on vendor reviews. In Pittsburgh, you can add your reviews to the Pittsburgh Wedding Vendor Reviews Blog.

Share the good and bad
Don't just review the bad vendors. Sharing positive reviews is just as important as it will point couples toward the right companies. Plus, readers will place more trust in your assessments if you're able to share that you had good relationships with other vendors (because let's face it, some people really can be bridezillas!)

Choose your words carefully
Before you hit "publish," step back and take a look at what you wrote. Again, this is a matter of earning respect for what you have to say. Proofread your post for spelling and grammar (if this isn't your strong point, ask someone else to do it for you). Ask yourself if your review is fair and truthful.

Also, be careful about bringing another vendor's name into the discussion. In the bridal shop review I mentioned above, the woman closed with "use 'X' bridal shop instead." Now, hopefully, she just meant this as a recommendation for a shop she ended up working with or knows friends who have. But a statement like this, without further explanation, can lead to suspicion about the authenticity of the review. It truly crossed my mind that this review might actually be written on behalf of "X" bridal shop to scare business away from a competitor.

Resolve your complaint
It's important to share your experiences with other brides, but sometimes it's not an isolated incident or it's a more serious matter than not liking a vendor. For more official results than simply posting to a wedding Web site, report the company to your local Better Business Bureau.

Monday, November 5, 2007

Fab 5: Winter wedding invitations

The weather's starting to turn colder quickly (and is anyone else depressed by how early it's getting dark???), so of course I'm starting to think about winter wedding ideas. In today's Fab 5, let's take a look at five options for winter invitations:

  1. The Holiday Season

    I love the warmth of these cherry and chocolate invitations from KenzieKate, and the textured envelope looks just like a sweater.

  2. Baby It's Cold Outside

    This invitation is called Fluffy Feather, but doesn't it remind you of Old Man Winter blowing a windy puff of snow? I found this design by Vreelanddesign on Etsy.

  3. Wrap It Up

    It's so chilly that your invitation needs a sweater! I adore this creation by RedBliss--the invite is wrapped in pistachio cashmere, accented with a crystal snowflake that is echoed in the design and tied with a chocolate bow.

  4. Wedding on Ice

    Silver works wells for a classic winter wedding. This simple invitation from Now and Forever features sheer paper wrapped around a silver card.

  5. A Warm Glow

    Warm your wedding up with a dash of gold. This invitation from Wedding Paper Divas features a classic, romantic design.

Thursday, November 1, 2007

The guests are out of control

Brides get thrown into a world of etiquette when planning their wedding, but who hasn't wished that guests had to take their own crash course as well? Weddingbee's Miss Chickadee led me to this article, which lists ten of the biggest mistakes guests makes. Here's my take on those mistakes:

  1. Not sending RSVPs: Yes, yes and yes. My biggest complaint when I planned my own wedding. Send the darn card back--the bride & groom have provided you with a lovely self-addressed stamped envelope.

  2. Sending RSVPs with extra guests: If your name or "and guest" is not on the card, you're not invited. Couples choose their guest list based on their budget, their space and the feel of the evening.

  3. Bombarding the bride with phone calls and questions: This is more of a collective issue than an individual one. A guest making one or two phone calls is not bombarding. It's just a fact that lots of guests may call to ask the same question. Guests, try a family member or a bridal attendant first if it's a question the bride doesn't need to answer.

  4. Buying a non-registry gift: This can be good and bad. Don't feel bad about buying from the registry; the couple picked items they actually want! However, if you know the couple well and pick a heartfelt gift that you know they will really like, then go for it.

  5. Showing up late: Well, it happens. Just don't draw attention to yourself when you slip in, and don't complain about the ceremony starting without you as these guests did (scroll down to the third story from the bottom).

  6. Bringing a big, heavy gift: I've also read that it's bad etiquette to bring any gift to the wedding, that you should have it shipped to the bride and groom. Personally, I've never been to any wedding where the majority of guests didn't bring their gifts along. But if your gift would be awkward for someone to carry, it's definitely smart to have it shipped.

  7. Giving unexpected toasts: This faux pas should read "giving drunken, inappropriate toasts." Some couples choose to invite anyone who wants to make a toast to do so. You should make sure your DJ or whoever's in charge of the mike keeps control.

  8. Requesting songs: Um, really? I don't think there's anything wrong with guests requesting songs. You want your guests to dance, and they're more likely to do so if the band or DJ plays songs that they like. It's up to the bride and groom to make sure the band or DJ knows what they don't want played.

  9. Drinking too much: Certainly. Guests can make fools of themselves by taking too much advantage of that open bar. Remember, not only will you be drawing attention away from the focus of the evening, you'll also be caught on film.

  10. Crashing your wedding: Well, if you're crashing a wedding, then you're not a guest. Humorous movies aside, obviously this a breach of etiquette.

I really do think a lot of guests are completely oblivious to these etiquette rules, a lot of which are just common sense. This list doesn't even cover some other big ones, like wearing white to a wedding or not sending a gift (even if you're unable to attend). Or, as Saundra at planning...forever pointed out in her guest rant about a week ago, RSVPing and then not showing up at all.

Anyone got any guest horror stories to share? Did someone violate one of these rules or something else completely different?