Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Happy Halloween!

Okay, so I am going to take a quick break from our regular programming to show you the 80s Cafe (aka the Girls and Guy of The Office)! We decided as a group that our theme this year would be 80s, and the one instigator of the theme decided to NOT dress up! (yes, you, Kim!) But here is everyone else - I hope you get a giggle!

From Left to Right: Shea, Me, John and Brandy

Gotta love Shea's blue eye make up and her side pony and crimped hair! It's totally bitchin' dude!

Brandy with her knee high socks, rainbow eye make up, nails each a different color, her hair has streaks of gold along with several braids- her layers of cloths, yeah, there are no words!

Yup, this totally radical chick is moi! I have on black pumps with white scrunchy socks, black leggings my amazingly bodacious gold belt, neon pink hair which is sprayed to the max, and in a banana clip! (can I just tell ya, that blue eye make up is really hard to do!)

We are one totally tubular group! Don't ya think!

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Q&A: Ask the Pro's! Wedding Cakes!

I came across a great local article on Wedding Cakes by one of my favorite bakers, Debbie Welch-Busser, from Ms. Debbie's Sugar Art - I found the article in our Local Wedding and Reception Magazine, and I thought I'd share it with ya'll.

Q. When should I start shopping for my wedding cake?
A. Answers range from 4 to 12 months. Many specialized wedding cake designers limit the number of wedding cakes they do and can have some of the more popular wedding dates booked as much as 12 months in advance. You should call and inquire about your date's availability then request a consultant to see the designer's personal work and discuss ideas, budget and flavors. You can select your cake designer long before you select a cake design and should choose your gown style and reception decor as soon as possible as this will help to guide you with the cake design.

Q. How can I make sure my anniversary tier is tasty a year later?
A. Remove your cake ornament or other non-edible decorations. Place the cake in the freezer for 3-4 hours to firm the icing. Then wrap tightly with plastic wrap or large plastic freezer bags, double or even triple bag the cake. Remove as much air as possible with either a vacuum sealer or a straw, sucking all of the air out- air is the bad guy! Now place the cake in the smallest bakery box possible then tape all of the seams and open folds. Wrap the box with plastic wrap then with heavy-duty foil using a fold down method for maximum protection from frost. Place in the freezer. Set out to defrost the morning of and do no remove wrapping until thawed. It is NOT recommended to have a custard or fruit filling in this tier because they tend to start breaking down and will affect the taste of your cake.

There is more, but I thought these two were good to know.

PS- Don't know what in the world is going on with the fonts and sizes, it must be the crack, but dont' tell anyone.

Monday, October 29, 2007

Studio - Almost Done!

We have been working so hard on my new studio - furniture is coming together. The television is mounted, all we are waiting on is the tables - which were supposed to be here in 3-8 weeks, eight weeks is this weekend, and there is no sign of the tables! The photographers I love are bringing images for me later this week! Thanks Caroline Johnson Photography and Powers Photography!

I am just getting so excited!!!

I'm so Lucky to have this Guest Blogger!

I feel so blessed and Lucky to have Erin from Lucky Designs guest Blogging for us! She has such a great story, and her work is just so beautiful! Her monograms are so personal, with such a unique and classic approach. So without further ado, here is Erin!

Happy Monday to the readers of Masterpiece Weddings. Melissa has been kind enough to invite me to guest blog today. As a newlywed, I loved planning my wedding. As a result of many compliments on our wedding stationary, I began Lucky Designs (with the help of my family). I greatly enjoy creating invitations, monograms, etc. for brides and their fiancés.

For those of you planning a wedding, shower, or any kind of event, I invite you to consider using a monogram to pull all the elements of your special occasion together. Monograms have been incorporated in household items for many years; however, they seemed to have really taken off in the wedding industry in 2005. A monogram does not have to a couple’s initials, but could also be a symbol (such as a leaf, flower, flourish, or pattern). Not only do colors pull an event together beautifully, but a symbol or monogram does as well (The Knot).

When creating a custom design for my customers, I love to hear about the venue, flowers, bride’s dress, date, and the couple’s overall style. For our wedding, my husband and I really focused on our venue for inspiration – a landmark museum with amazing Art Deco style of architecture. Our monogram and décor was simple, in order to not take away from the location. One couple that worked with Lucky Designs made a landmark the focal point of their monogram – the St. Louis arch!

Your monogram can be a part of your wedding plans from the very beginning – making an appearance on your Save The Dates. Incorporate a monogram in as many elements of your wedding as you see fit. Monograms enhance ... wedding website design, invitations, bouquet jewelry, menus, gobos, banners, aisle runners, table runners, or a something blue for a bride.

Check out some more of her beautiful work:

Friday, October 26, 2007

Sydney and Peyton!

You guys are too cute! Yes, Sydney and Peyton are twins. And by chance, I just so happen to totally agree with all of you that they are totally adorable!

I have gotten a so many emails today from you all asking about the girls - and thank you, I am super duper proud! I can't wait to see them!!!

They just turned one earlier this year - YES they are twins, for those of you who thought my sister was just THAT fast.

For the baby shower I did in fact make each of the girls a quilt - for those of you that just assumed I did. I personalized each on with their names on the bottom - her colors are pinks and browns. I think it's purdy!

Any other questions, just ask. :)

Off to West Palm Beach!

Here we go again! I am leaving for West Palm Beach today (well technically tomorrow) for an 80th Birthday Party! So fun!

But as an aside, I get to see my nieces that just turned one! Sydney and Peyton, here I commmmmeeee!!!!

I am really excited, it should be a blast! I'll let you know all about it when I get back (the Party), and hopefully include some photographs for you to take a peek at.

I hope you have a great weekend! I hope you have something amazing planned, and if you have no plans at all, that's perfect too!

Introducing Sydney and Peyton: (Peyton is the one crawling closer to the camera)

Thursday, October 25, 2007

One Final Tip on Tipping!

Tapped Out Yet?

Well here's some good news: There are some people you don't have to tip. It is easy to remember that you don't tip the owner of a business, but instead tip the people working for that owner. In addition, the florist, bakery, and bridal shop will not be expecting a gratuity, nor will the invitation or party rental companies. Thank-you notes are, as always, universally and eternally appreciated.

However if you feel like ANY of your vendors have gone over and above and beyond the "call of duty" then a tip is always appreciated.

Yup! That's me working on 352 amazing buttons!

Tipping, Part Cuatro!

I was sort of over the french themed numbers after Deux.... so on to Spanish!

So who are these lucky recipients of your generosity? We'll begin with the first person you may encounter and then walk through the rest of the day.

· Hair, Makeup & Nails: Whether you go to the salon or the pros come to you, you tip the hair stylist, makeup artist, and manicurist just as you would normally, about 15% to 20%. If the bridal party is paying for their own services, it's nice if you take care of the gratuities, but of course it's not necessary.

· Wedding Coordinator: I am alittle hesitant to essentially talk about tipping myself, but why not.... Maybe you have a full-fledged "Franc" planning every little detail. Or perhaps someone from the bridal shop helps you with some loose ends during the day. No matter how intricate or basic their jobs are, they usually won't be expecting a tip. If you'd like to show your appreciation, you can include a monetary thank-you in a note, or perhaps send them a little gift after the wedding. (I love the thank you note best!)

· Delivery People (from the florist, bakery, party rental): They load up the truck, find their way to your reception site, and then oftentimes have to dance around the other delivery people, or even the band setting up, lugging in cumbersome flower arrangements, delicate cakes, and stacks of chairs. Show how grateful you are for all of their labor by offering about $10 to each delivery person. (but it's totally optional!)

· Officiant: It may seem a bit odd to slip an envelope to the person officiating your ceremony, but it is the proper thing to do. It's tradition for the best man to hand over the tip, which should be between $100 and $200. If you're getting married in a church, they'll often expect you to donate a percentage of your total wedding cost -- so if your wedding is $20,000, a $2,000 donation is gratefully appreciated. However, if you don't belong to this church and you didn't have a lot of involvement with the officiant, you can choose to contribute a lower amount.

Thus ends our series on Gratuity - I'd love to hear what you think....

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Tipping, Part Trois!

Welcome back for another fun filled edition of Gratuity, and You! It's your hard earned money - so who gets it and how much, that's the question, and I am here to help!

· Musicians (ceremony and reception): Whether an organist or string quartet is accompanying you down the aisle, if you're cutting a rug to a 12-piece swing band or a single DJ, tipping the musicians is completely optional. If you do decide to "show them the money," calculate $20 to $25 for each member.

· Photographer/Videographer: This is completely optional. If you're paying top dollar for their fees, they shouldn't be expecting a gratuity. However, a thank-you in the form of cash is always appreciated, especially if the photographer or videographer doesn't own his or her own studio, honestly even if they do, and they are treating you well, a little present is always nice. Estimate $30 to $50.

· Transportation: We're sure you've heard a story about a limo driver who gets lost on the way to the reception and the bride and groom arrive an hour late. Well, those drivers don't deserve a tip. But if all goes smoothly with your transport to the party (and we're sure it will), add about 15% to 20% of the total to the bill. Unless gratuity is already included! Make sure you check before you hand the chauffeur a wad of cash.

Tomorrow, we'll talk about the rest!

And thanks for all of your comments and emails so far, great info all around!

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Tipping Part Deux!

So who are the lucky recipients of your hard earned moola? Let's start with where the most of your money goes, the Food.

Banquet Manager, Maitre d': This is where it's very important to check if you're already paying a service charge. If gratuity is not included in your bill total, figure from $200 to $300 as a tip, depending on the size of your wedding. This amount should go to the person in charge of your reception; if there's more than one person in charge, divide the gratuity among them.

Caterer & Waitstaff: If your reception isn't in a hotel or club, there's a good chance your caterer has to work out of a tent or minimally equipped kitchen, and the waitstaff may have to run up and down steps carrying heavy trays. In these circumstances it's nice to show you appreciate all of their efforts. Figure the tip according to the number of waiters -- decide on a dollar amount (let's say $20) and multiply by the number of servers working at your reception, plus some for the catering manager. This total can range from $250 to $500.

Bartenders: Once again, it's time to scrutinize the bill -- sometimes at hotels and clubs a service charge is included in the liquor bill. If there isn't one, leaving 10% of the total liquor bill for the bartenders is a nice gesture. Try to find the head bartender when handing over the cash.

Keep in mind that A LOT of the time the gratuity is included in your final food bill, but if it's not, or you feel your catering staff or venue have gone above and beyond a little extra is always appreciated! Or a nice gift or a gift certificate is super thoughtful!

Tips on Tipping! Part 1

This week a bunch of my clients have been asking about gratuity. So I figured they probably aren't the only ones with these questions. I am going to dedicate the rest of the week to tipping your wedding vendors.

So, you feel pretty confident that you've completed calculating costs for the big day. But wait -- before you close that budget binder, did you remember to include tips? Technically, no one should expect tips, but many vendors might, since tipping has become standard practice.
Depending on where you're getting married, the protocol will vary. Here is a simple rule of the thumb: most of the time you tip employees, not owners. Don't add pressure to your wedding day -- designate someone to be in charge of tipping. The host of the event (often a dad) or the wedding consultant is the perfect person for the job. Several of my clients give me a bunch of white envelopes, and tell me to definitely give these out to "so and so" or tell me to use my discretion.
Advance Prep
The last thing you want at the end of your reception is someone having to count out cash when offering the tips. Set aside pre-determined amounts beforehand and place them in labeled envelopes. This way, your gratuity guy or gal simply has to hand over the designated envelopes, leaving little room for error. Having an additional envelope with a bit more cash is not a bad idea either -- that way, if the bill is higher than expected, or someone really went the extra mile for you or a guest, you can be sure to take care of it right then and there.
Get the 411
Before you just start dolling out money, however, find out about the tipping policies. Talk to the hotel or club manager at your reception site to see how tips are normally handled. Also find out if a service charge is included in the total on your bill. If so, you don't need to offer an additional tip. Remember, it's completely acceptable to have these kinds of conversations with your vendors, preferably at the time you sign a contract, rather than the day of the wedding. You can only know what people are expecting if you ask them.
Tomorrow tips on who and how much!

Monday, October 22, 2007

Cluster it!

I love the look of all one flower or all one color clustered together. I just think it looks so pretty! I had recently seen the most amazing all Carnation arrangements, Carnations, can you believe it! And they were absolutely incredible!

Just keep in mind a great cost saving idea is to use all one flower (an inexpensive one) and use a fair amount of them - it'll look great! I guarantee it! Check out these great Martha Stewart idea using a lot of carnations.

Friday, October 19, 2007

Everyone's Favorite Awesome Baker, Blogs!

Charm City Cakes Blogs! Yep! Check it out, Mary Alice is bloging for the bakery! She's showing behind the scenes funness, and great pictures and video's it's gonna be Awwwwesome!

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Big Announcement!

I've been waiting and waiting to announce this - but I think the time has come! MasterPiece Weddings Studio is opening SOON!

I am so excited to finally show you pictures, and get you up to date! Our furniture started coming in, and our favorite photographers are coming in with their pictures for our walls soon - and I think it's starting to look really homey! Don't you!


Wood Floor Going in!:

Wood Floor Done! And Furniture Entering the Room!:

Our Door, just because, well, I'm On The Door:

More Updates to come! We are officially opening November 1st!

Lourdes and Andrew are Hitched!

Lourdes and Andrew got married in Miami - and it was beautiful, and super personal, I mean after all that is what a wedding is all about, right! The joining together of two families, two very unique families and starting one anew!

Lourdes' mom grows amazing Orchids, her bouquet bookmark was from her mother's garden, which I think is just amazing!

The bread that is being carried down the aisle is a Ukrainian tradition, by the beautiful, Abigail in her Traditional Ukrainian outfit! This bread has been around and carried down from generation to generation! It's gorgeous!

Andrew is a sword collector, so they HAD to cut the cake with a huge very sharp object! Of course!

Instead of a guest book everyone signed a platter that will be glazed and fired by one of the bride's best friends, Elaina, It really turned out beautiful!

And one of my favorites is that Lourdes' Lace Veil was over 300 years old! It dates back to the time of Napoleon! Amazing, huh!

There were just too many personal touches to mention in one post, so I'll get ot the others later, I promsie!

Photography by: Robert Suarez

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Relax, it's just Yoga!

I think that some people find Yoga intimidating. Even I did, before I started practicing Yoga regularly - I went out and bought 2 Yoga DVD's, because I couldn't show up at Yoga class and not know anything... but now I have a routine, on Wednesday and Fridays I do Yoga first thing in the morning - 6AM. And I love it, it starts my day off with both relaxation and strength training. My instructor, Anisa, is amazing! Probably the best Yoga instructor E.V.E.R! She's patient and kind, and well, the best Yoga instructor ever!

But even if you can't have Anisa - you might want to consider practicing Yoga - or letting your clients know that it's a good way to both strength train while getting ready for your wedding, during the planning process. And even to do Yoga breathing prior to your wedding!

It's actually a trend right now, where bride's are doing Yoga prior to their wedding, before getting ready on their wedding day!
Moral of this story, don't be intimidated, just go with an open mind - and remember Yoga is a practice, it doesn't have to be perfect!

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

First and Only Certified Organic FDA Approved Baker!!!

In honor of Blog Action Day (okay, week) I wanted to let you know that a good friend of mine at Erickson Design told me that Bleeding Heart Bakery in Chicago is the first complete certified organic bakery in the country!!!

You might remember them from the EXTREME Cake Challenge on the Food Network, the one where Duff, Geof and Mary Alice judged. Did you see that one? They were the way cool couple that did the upside down spinning cake. It was way cool.
I think it's pretty great that they are doing everything they can to make the Earth a better place and still keeping our sweet tooth's satisfied!

And our friends at Erickson Design are planting a tree for every invitation set that is purchased. Because they realize that not every bride will choose recycled paper, so every little bit helps! So far they have planted 50 trees in New Orleans! Great work, guys! And their invitations are just beautiful! Don't you think?

Monday, October 15, 2007

Getting Inspired!

After a bazillion wedding pictures, 352,000 magazine snap shots, 923,000 opinions how do you find your personal inspiration. How do you determine what you want. It's no easy task!

Look around you, look at flowers, paintings (and not necessarily wedding themed paintings), take a look at things that you like everyday - your favorite tree, your favorite car, your cup of coffee, or your favorite china pattern. Just take a look a the things you look at everyday, but look at them differently.

I love creating boards for my clients of random photographs (mostly wedding related photo's) although this is from Liquid Sky to see how beautiful and sometimes fun things can capture your feelings your mood.

Because after all, it's your day, it's your dream and it's your mission (sometimes ours) to make sure your dreams come true!

Welcome to Miami!

I just got back from an amazing wedding in Miami! Lourdes and Andrew - thank you for including me in your plans! I hope to get your pictures up here as soon as possible! You both are an amazing couple! The ceremony was so personal, the reception was as beautiful as the two of you! I hope you are having a blast in Napa Valley!

Lourdes did so many things to make sure the event was classy - and make sure to include both of their heritages! Lourdes' family speaks Spanish and Andrew's is Ukrainian, so Lourdes did her vows in Ukrainian and Andrew did his in Spanish, the families kept the theme in the reception doing the toasts in multiple languages, it was super special!

The food was amazing, she had Cuban Food, Ukrainian food, and Italian food, all so delicious, I've never seen so many guests go back for seconds and even thirds!

I can't wait to post pictures soon!

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Being 3 Rocks!

Harrison turned 3 and he loves food and helping his mommy and daddy cook! So his mommy wanted to plan a party for 3 year old's to make food, and do a food themed party! How fun, right! (or she's insane to have a bunch of 3 year old's cooking in her beautiful home) but it turned out amazing! They made their own Pretzels, and Pizza, and Whoopie Pies! Mommy and I made Popcorn Tubs Cupcakes and I made a Hot dog Birthday cake, it was just a blast! See for yourself!

Happy Birthday again Harrison!

The 3 Year Old Chefs!

It's Pizza Time!

The Final Pizza Product! Perfect in every way, no?The Hot Dog Cake and Cupcakes!
Birthday Boy and Whoopie Pies Unwrapped!
Blogging tips