Keep It In The Family

I attended my friends’ wedding in Austin, Texas in April and it was absolutely lovely. If you haven’t gone to visit Austin I highly suggest it. It’s a hybrid of Brooklyn and LA plunked in its own little pocket in the lone star state. Other than the gorgeous weather, lack of humidity, and overall scenery, Austin offers a bike and pedestrian friendly city. I digress, per usual...

Guests arrived at  The Allen House located in downtown Austin and were instantly taken away by the scene. Umbrellas and chandeliers hung in the tree branches and provided a blanket of romantic light above our heads (thank to Christina Lewis of Wedding Warriors) . As soon as cocktail hour was over, we picked our table cards and took our seats. On each place setting.... the menu!  Myself and two other friends scrolled the list of items that we thought we had to choose from. We waited for the staff to come around and take our orders and then it happened…. The wait staff didn’t bother taking orders, they just put perfectly portioned family-style dishes around the table. Absolutely delightful and Photography by the Chad + Tressie at Two Pair Photography

Romaine Chiffonade with red wine vinaigrette served with caramelized with shallot & gorgonzola croustade with fig moustard

Bronzed Tilapia on reggianno arugula with tomato fennel broth
Truffled Mushroom Beef Medallions with pomme puree

Assortment of ice cream sandwiches 

Catering provided by Austin Catering and Coolhaus

Hand served by the Mr. & Mrs. - How cool are my friends?

Each table had 10 guests and two serving platters of each dish were placed on the table (in order of course otherwise there wouldn’t have been any room). 5 and 5.  Why do I think this is an awesome idea and one I’ll probably nab for my reception:

  1. Pick & Choose... And More!  If you’re a foodie like me, you always want to try as much as you can.  Having to pick just one option leaves you picking off of your friends plate or asking for a bite.  Family lets you sample as much or as little as you like. You also don’t have to worry about remembering what you checked off on your reply card for your meal. I have trouble remembering what I ate only 24 hours ago…. 6 months prior? Forget it.
  2. Save time. I attended a wedding once where the wait staff did a swirl around the table, stop, and arm swoop as they took orders, presented plates, and cleared them away. It was impressive and looked like it had been choreographed to mimic Be Our Guest from Disneys Beauty & The Beast but it took up a lot of time because there were only 2 sets of staff for a party of over 20 tables.  You’re going to be waiting a looooong time before your swirl, stop and swoop happen. With family style, food comes out at the same time for everyone- fabulous! 
  3. Save Some Dough.  Literally and figuratively. Family style reduces the amount of wait staff you need per table which can save you dollars. Instead of having 10 servers per table, you only need 2 or 3. You also can save on food cost because you are making food quantities based on the whole group, not individual people. It sounds backwards, but completely true. Portions are more manageable but there is actually more food to go around!
  4. Be Social!  I know that when it comes to eating out with my family we all sample what eachother has. Passing around plates and forkfuls is what we love best. Weddings bring people together and so does food. Family-style is a great way for you to talk with and get to know the new people at your table.  Thumbs up Anna & Ben, thumbs way way up!
  5. Totally Rocks.  I can’t tell you how excited all of us were at our table when we realized that we got to eat all of this food. I was at a restaurant in London and the dessert selection said “An Assortment of Sorbets and IceCream”. Well, that’s what I wanted and thought that description meant there was going to be a sampling of all of their flavors on one plate. Ummm, no. The waiter came around and asked me what I’d like to have and so I said “I’d like the assortment of sorbets and ice cream”- confusion all around.  That wasn't an option. Not even close. And then he made me choose, one type and one flavor, sigh. I felt a little devastated that I wasn’t going to get this beautiful plate of melon ball- sized sorbets and ice cream. Sad. So sad. So yes, thrill your guests by giving them everything- NOM FEST! 

Spread the love a little more with a family-style your reception. Great times, great people, and great food. Hooray!


And So It Begins!

Wishing everyone a very happy, safe, and absolutely wonderful Memorial Day weekend.  Summer has arrived!

Photo Source: We Heart It



10 Things To Do Before Your Wedding

I found this great post via Pinterest from Shefinds.com about 10 things to do the night before your wedding. Love this! 

Do a face mask
You want your skin to flawless, clean, and smooth on your wedding day. Your skin needs to be in prime condition for makeup application. I always suggest going to the spa 10 days prior to your wedding and booking a “just in case” dermatologist appointment 3 days prior, but doing a mild... repeat, mild mask will do your skin some good the night before!

Avoid using anything with a peel or tingle as it could irritate and redden your skin. Stick to shea butter, aloe, and cucumber. Nothing harmful can come from those (also make sure whatever you put on your face, youre not allergic too!)

Use an under-eye cream
Help reduce puffiness, lines, and dark circles with a night time under eye cream. My personal favorite is Kiehls avacado cream.  If you have sensitive skin, have no fear! Get a gel eye mask that you can store in the freezer over night. In the morning put the mask on your face while you eat your breakfast and enjoy your coffee/tea. You’ll look a little silly, but it’ll make for some great day of photos. 
Don’t drink
Shefinds says don’t drink. I say it’s ok to have a drink or 2 at your rehearsal dinner (obvi) and one small night cap before midnight is ok. One I say. One. I know personally when I drink my face gets a little puffy if i’m dehydrated, so if you're going to have a glass or 2, make sure to drink plenty of water. 

Set a bed time
I get it. This is your wedding day. It’s like every birthday, Christmas, graduation, and tooth-fairy visit combined, but you should still try to get as much rest as possible.  Since you’ll be getting up pretty early to begin hair/makeup, getting dressed, etc. you’ll want to try to get a good nights sleep. Midnight is pretty good, but anything after 1:00 AM you're probably pushing it. Don’t take any sleep aids of any kind- you don’t want to be groggy.  If you really can’t fall asleep just settle in bed, alone, and quietly watch some tv until you doze off. 

Don’t use social media (keep this time private)
I love this rule and completely agree with it so am just going to post shefinds.com verbatim...

“The most exciting part of a wedding is the big reveal when the bride finally enters the church and walks down the aisle. You want to hear everyone oohing and aahing, so don’t give them a pre-game show with constant status updates. Fall off the radar for a day or so in order for everyone to truly appreciate you as a bride.”- Shefinds.com

No texting with the husband
Kiss your sweetie goodnight at the rehearsal dinner and enjoy the excitement and anticipating for when you walk down the aisle. Constantly texting or calling doesn’t leave a whole lot of mystery for your special day. Allow your maid of honor and best man to do any communicating that needs to happen, but try to get the details ironed out ahead of time. 

Write a letter to your husband
Love. I think the written word is a true art form and one that is terribly underused. Writing letters is not only romantic, it takes courage to pen your truest feelings and deliver them to anyone. I love seeing Vimeos where a bride and groom write each other letters about how excited they are to marry that person- it gets them and me every time. 

Have one final meeting with your wedding planner
My thought is that this should happen at your rehearsal.  Your planner will be with you when yourself, the groom, parent,s in laws, and the entire wedding party are rehearsing lining up, walking down the aisle, photo bombing each other and so forth. Before you head off to the rehearsal dinner take the time to review everything prior to you leaving. 

Check in for your honeymoon flight
Most airlines allow you to check-in online 24 hours prior to your flight. Personally, I think you should give yourself 48 hours until you depart for your honeymoon. You are going to be tired, you're not going to want to rush, and just like your wedding, it’s so much better to travel when you're refreshed and relaxed...and not hungover By all means, go on a honeymoon the day after your wedding, but if you're holding off a day or two skip down to tip #10.

Watch a goofy, wedding romantic comedy with your girls
Okay, okay. I know I said have a reasonable bed time, but it's totally a great way to wind the night down with your girls and line up some wedding-related chick flicks like Father of the Bride or My Big Fat Greek Wedding and get into the wedding zone.

Some other suggestions
The Proposal
Sex and the City
Sweet Home Alabama
You’ve Got Mail
When Harry Met Sally

And We're Back!

It has been a busy couple of months!  Some great changes have come my way and now that I’m settled can get back to posting on the regular.  Even though we’re small, I’d just like to say thanks for still following and being patient. SO what’s up?

I’ve been really inspired by reading, hearing about, and seeing weddings that friends are planning, participating in, or have been to.   One of the things I’ve been talking to brides-to-be about is how to manage the stress of it all. Because lets face it, as wonderful and fun planning your wedding is, you are going to become stressed at some point.  You can be as cool as a cucumber, but I promise you at some point you’re going to get flustered, overwhelmed, bombarded, etc. but here’s the best part… IT’S OKAY!

It’s okay to feel all of those things, in fact it’s normal. I’d be a little concerned if you didn’t feel that way, ever. This is one of the biggest days of your life.  I like to think that getting stressed, just means your care.  See? It’s a good thing. The way you manage your stress though it more important than the stress itself. Here are some things to consider to reduce your stress (when it comes).

Be prepared
Before any planning begins organize yourself. There’s a lot to do so make sure you are in the right state of mind to begin planning. If you have a lot going on at work or in another area of your life, it’s not imperative to plan your entire wedding in one week.  You’ll have a much easier time if you’re willing, ready, and prepared to do so.  Think of it this way- you are the Project Manager for this event. You will have help along the way, but if you’re organized everything will go a lot smoother and things will be completed on time.

Know what you want
You are going to get a lot of opinions given to you from multiple people.  Many times, these opinions are just to get the creative juices going or are given because someone wants you to weigh all options before committing to a thought. As great as this is, I’m sure you have an idea of what your ideal wedding day is and what it’ll look like. Everything from the type of ceremony, general feel, food, etc. Get together with your fiance and create an overall picture of what your wedding is going to be and how it’s going to look. That way when the opinions start to filter in you’ll have an easier time with #3.

Thank you, but no thank you
This is often a hard thing to say (especially to in-laws).  Because you participated in the exercise of #2 you’ll have an easier time saying “thanks, but no thanks”.  I wouldn’t use those words exactly, but some responses could be:
  • Thanks! But we’ve decided to...
  •  I really appreciate your thought, but we’ve already committed to...
  • That’s a cool idea, but we’re happy going with...
Some people might be more adamant than others when saying “but really you should…”.  And those people sometimes just need to hear you say “no” more frequently.  The more passive you are, the more opinions you’re going to get. So this could actually be a great exercise for you to be more assertive J  

Take a minute
Whether it’s a vendor offering more options, a family member asking a laundry-list of questions or a BM/MOH planning all of your fun pre-wedding fetes- take a minute. You’re not required to respond to everyone all day long. Some days are going to be more packed than others, but it doesn’t mean you’re on call 24/7.  Take a minute. Take a breather. Take a break. Prioritize the priorities.  In my opinion, vendors come first. These folks are responsible for getting things done on your day. Pay attention to them- being a responsive customer makes their job easier and more enjoyable to do for you. 

Come back later
At some point you might want to throw your hands up in the air and say HALT!  I don’t recommend actually shouting at anyone, but certainly excuse yourself.  I know it took my sister a really long time to figure out her napkin color and it was something that began to frustrate her. Don’t try to push through stress- that just makes a situation even more stressful.  Take a minute, go outside, clear your head, walk around bare foot- do something to ease your mind for a few minutes and come back. No one is going to say you're the worst person in the world for letting off some steam so that you can think more clearly and articulate what you want.

No matter what, it’s going to be a great day and will be well worth the work and the stress (just the little bit that will come). 

Now, go forth and plan!

Photo Source: Roses