Friday, November 28, 2008

Cookie Time!

This is one of my husband's favorites, but let's face it, who doesn't love Brittle! All kinds, Peanut, Almond, Macadamia Nut... and this recipe is so versitle that you can make any of those variations, in 10 minutes and in your Microwave!!!
Yes, in 10 minutes and in your microwave!!! No candy thermometer, and everyone loves it!!! No one believes me when I say it only takes 10 minutes!
{I make like 12 batches a year and give it all my neighbors!}
10-Minute Peanut Brittle
1 cup Sugar
1/2 cup Light corn syrup
1/8 tsp Salt
1 1/2 cups Peanuts (or Almonds, or whatever nut you choose)
1 TBS Butter
1 tsp Vanilla
1 tsp Baking Soda
Combine sugar, syrup, and salt in a 2 quart casserole dish (ceramic, like Pyrex)
Microwave on high for 5 minutes
Stir in nuts very quickly
Microwave 2 to 5 mnutes, stirring after 2 and 4 minutes until syrup and peanuts are lightly browned.
Stir in butter, vanilla, and baking soda until light and foamy.
Spread to 1/4" thickness on a well buttered or Pam'ed cookie sheet
Once cool, break into pieces and store in tin.
For a super special touch, once cool dip one end of the brittle into Chocolate and let cool again!

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Giving Thanks!

Happy Thanksgiving to everyone! Today is the day that we take a moment and give thanks for what we are grateful for, and if you haven't already, please take some time and reflect upon the things and people in your life that you are oh-so Thankful for!
I for one, and Thankful to all of you who read our blog and take part in my life. Thank You! Thank you for your loyalty, trust, faith, and all that you do for me! I am truly beyond blessed to have you!!!

Wednesday, November 26, 2008


I know this has been talked about on this blog before, and every bride thinks about how much her invitations will cost and how much will they cost to mail.

But you never know until those bad boys are actually in your hands. Don't assume that just becasue they measure properly for a .42 stamp that they actually will weigh properly for a 1 ounce stamp.

Wait until you have them and then bring them to the post office, have them weigh and measure them - then you will know the proper postage amount. You may even want to bring two, just in case.

{Really beautiful invitation picture from Unique Designs}

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Blogging Brides!

Name:: Ashley

Location:: Now we're living in Colorado but we're getting married right outside our hometown back in Pennsylvania.

Blog:: Lost in the Moment

Wedding Date:: July 25th, 2009

What do you do in real life?
Currently I am a full time student at Colorado State, majoring in Computer Science. I also work part time as a customer service rep for Bare Escentuals (mineral make up company).

Favorite Part about Planning your Wedding?
All of the DIY stuff! I have had such a blast making some of these projects with my bridesmaids and even my FI! I feel like they show just a little more of who we are too, because they're designed to represent us, not some template that can be found on the internet.

Least Favorite Part about Planning your Wedding?
Planning an out of state wedding. We only go home once a year, at Christmas time, and last Christmas we hadn't even started planning. In March I then had to go back home by myself to find a venue for the ceremony and reception as well as the photographer/dj. I feel like I'm missing out on the experiance of planning my wedding with my FI.

What is the best piece of wedding advice you've ever received?
In the end no one is going to care as much about your wedding as YOU do. I read a post on theknot about this and its been the best stress reliever when trying to make decisions. You just need to relax and continue on because your the only one thats going to notice if the napkins are a shade darker then the programs, or the ribbon on your Save the Dates is a little crinkled :) Don't worry about the little things, just remember the meaning of the day!

{Look for some more great stories from our Blogging Brides!}

Monday, November 24, 2008

Style Me Pretty!!!

In case you had not heard, Style me Pretty has started a new blog, The Little Black Book Blog - it features the best of the Little Black Book! Abby Larson of Style me Pretty always shows us magnificent wedding idea's and never fails to please!

The Little Black Book features the best and brightest {and the coolest}! It's a boutique style book of wedding vendors, only featuring 3 vendors per category, so if you are looking for the best, look no further! And if you wanted to keep up with each of those folks are up to, there's a new blog for you!

You can find MasterPiece Weddings in the Little Black Book all over Florida, North Florida, South Florida, and Central Florida - we've got the State covered!

Remember, Anything on the Planet, we can Plan It!

Friday, November 21, 2008

Cookie Time!

Every Friday through the end of the year I am going to post a cookie recipe that I bake every Christmas for you to enjoy! You already know my passion for baking, but I thought it would be fun to share some of my favorite recipes with you, and you can share them with your friends and families!

There is always alot of cookie sharing parties this time of year, along with hosting open houses, and family dinners. These recipes are sure to impress, and are pretty simple to make!

First, I have to start with a story. My husband's Grandmother {Mom-mom} always made these Italian Christmas Cookies called Dadals, and when she passed I was the only one with the recipe - she sent it to us while we were in college with a $20 bill. It was her way of helping us. I have held on to this recipe with my life! And every Christmas I am in charge of making these cookies.


1/2 cup butter, softened
1/2 cup white sugar
3 eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
3 cups all-purpose flour
3 teaspoons baking powder


2 cups powered sugar
1tsp Anise or Almond extract
1TBS Milk


1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Grease cookie sheets. Or use Parchment Paper

2. In a large bowl, cream together the butter and sugar until smooth. Mix in the egg and vanilla. Combine the flour and baking powder; stir into the creamed mixture until blended. Divide dough into walnut sized portions. Roll each piece into a rope and then shape into a loop, or pretzel shape. Place cookies 2 inches apart on the prepared cookie sheets.

3. Bake for 8 to 10 minutes in the preheated oven, until firm and golden at the edges

4. Allow cookies to cool on rack

5. Once cook dip tops of cookies into glaze and let dry

{You can scoop the cookies onto the Parchment with a very small cookie scoop or shape them as explained}

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Fizzy Favors!

Did you know that Jones Soda will personalize the pictures on their soda's for you! So if you wanted to have let's say and Orange and Blue Wedding, you can order the soda's with your pictures on them or a picture of your families... whatever you want! And then get the soda flavors or colors to match your theme!

These would also be a fun addition to your Holiday Party Drink Menu! But order by December 9th to have them in time for the Holidays! {Geez, are we that close to the holidays! Where did this year go!}

At $29.99 a 12-pack, for personalized favors, isn't a bad deal!

How fun, and yummy right! Fizzy fun favors!

Photo by: Caroline Johnson

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Be a Guest!

I am a guest on one of my favorite blogs of all time!!! Jen from Earth Friendly Weddings and I have been talking for years about me doing a post for her, but honestly, who am I to tell Jen anything about weddings and earth friendly affairs....

But then she had a great idea! Blog about making your wedding cake, because obviously ....well obviously!

And here I am!

Gator Cake Topper!

There are so many fantastically cheesey Gator Cake Toppers out there, so when I saw these - I thought they were too freakin' cute!

Meet Gilbert and Gracie, the cutest Gator Cake Toppers, E.V.E.R!

They can be shipped anywhere in the US! So go you, Go Gators, Go Cure Cancer, Go Get Married!!!

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Blogging Brides!

More on Amy F. from with the pixie grin... {she had our most hysterical post about "the girls"}

Cutting it out...

Hi there! It's been awhile, I know. Things are, holidays..and other fun stuff...And of course with all that's going on, there is always a little wrench thrown in to keep it exciting..

So, I'll just cut right to it...My future MIL booked THE perfect spot for our rehearsal dinner. It's a fab little place I used to work at back in my serving days..actually, it's probably my most favorite workplace...ever. Not only were the people amazing to work with and for, but the food would literally melt in your mouth..I remember specifically the beeftataki , the salmon served with coconut rice, the pecan pie with the homemade molasses ice cream. sigh. I miss it y'all. For real. So...they have this gorgeous covered patio that is going to be perfect for what we thought was going to be around 30 people...

Ok, this is a problem. My future MIL says that we invite the bridal party, parents, and out of town guests. But..uh..that's over 60 people. I. am. not. kidding. So who gets the axe? And what if they are all catching up at the reception? I can just see it:

"Oh wasn't that dinner just wonderful last night?" (says Maw-maw from Florida)

"What dinner?" (Aunt So-and-so from somewhere across the Mississippi River)

"The rehearsal dinner, of course...didn't you go?" (Maw-Maw again)

"Oh. I wasn't invited." (poor Aunt So-and-so from across the Mississippi River)

Sigh. What do you think? There isn't enough room, let alone enough money to pay for 60 dinners. How do we decide? What would you do?

So ladies, what do you think, what would you do?

Monday, November 17, 2008

I heart Snapdragons!

I can't tell you how loved I feel! Today, Kathy from KB dropped off a gorgeous bunch of Snapdragons - just because she knew it'd brighten my day! I don't know if she knows this but they are my favorite flower, the sweet smell, the gorgeous stems...simply one of God's most beautiful donations to this Earth - we take for granted.

 They have been a bright shiney spot in my week!!!

Thank you so much Kathy!!

Gosh, my friends are the best, my clients are the best! I feel so grateful!!!

Friday, November 14, 2008

Happy Shopping!

My favorite store is having a 25% off special this weekend, and I want to share the love!

Shop happy! Find that perfect little black dress for a Holiday Party, or a fab rehearsal dinner dress!


I heart our clients!!

I'd like to argue that we seriously have the best, cutest and sweetest clients - E.V.E.R!

Meet Audrey and Nate, they are childhood sweethearts getting married in January, and I think they are just the bee's knees.

This pictures is taken by Pure by Lindsey, isn't that puppy just too cute!!! So be looking for on on Audrey and Nate!!!

{actually all of our clients are fantastical!}

Thank you!!!!!

So literally, the Sweetest Thing! Today, after lunch the girls and I were craving serious Chocolate! So much so, we almost went to the drug store to get some... then I talked myself out of it... I am training for a triathlon afterall!

But then, this box showed up!

Who read my mind? But better yet, who would send such an incredible gift?

So as I torn open the box.. I found this.

and this...

For their close-up

The card was from Matt and Krystal from K- Gallery!!! Thanking us for speaking at The School of Rad!

Hey guys, anytime! You are so welcome!!! It was a blast! Thanks for the delicious gift, we ate them up as fast as we could... and I let the honorary SB have one too :) Thanks for the Sweet Treat!!!

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Radical School!

Kristin and I had a blast a few weeks ago! We had a chance to speak to a great group of photographers {at the School of Rad} about Marketing to Wedding Consultants. This class was taught by K-Gallery Photographers, Matt and Krystal. It was so much fun! What a fun group!

We got to meet and chat with photographers that we've had the opportunity to work with, and photographers that we've only had the opportunity to blog stalk! I seriously felt like I was meeting a group of celebrities! Yes, I am a dork! {but have you seen that picture of Krystal... }

So, to start off the day, I made cupcake truffles for the class, you can see Krystal is on a total sugar rush!

Then we set off to have a round table discussion about marketing and what as Wedding Consultants we look for from Photographers.

Then I got to be in the class photo:

All pictures taken by K-Gallery.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Three Blind Cakes!

So, I've mentioned before that at MasterPiece Weddings we set up Blind Cake Tastings for our clients! It's so fun to collect these ltitle white boxes and get them all set up for our clients!

We have a tasting sheet that they can judge the cakes, and we explain exactly how to taste your cake(s)... so I thought I'd give you a step by step on how to set this up for your clients, or friends or yourself.

We do this for several reasons. You go into the tasting without any misconceptions of the baker, if you've heard a rumor about their filling or cake, you won't know if it's Publix or 4-Star Baker that baked the cake. You truly pick the cake you like the best.

We make sure that the bakers we choose for your blind tasting can create the Masterpiece that you desire, and that it fits into your budget.

Now it's time for the rules.

First you need a Third Party, some one to gather the cakes and label them by numbers, and keep a legend. (we do this for our clients and they come by and pick up the fun!)

Have a cake tasting sheet, so that you can properly keep score of the cakes.
First taste the filling. On it's own. How do you like it, how's the mouth feel. Does it taste like the flavor it should?
Then taste the icing on it's own. How does it taste, does it leave an aftertaste? Do you like the flavor?
Then taste the cake, on it's own, just the cake. Is it baked to perfection? How's the flavor? Mouthfeel? Do you love the flavor?
Then all of the pieces together, taste them all. Do they work for you, do you love it! Is it the best thing you've ever put into your mouth? Is it heaven?
Then the client calls me and says.... we like {fill in the blank}!
So fun!
What do you think?

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Blogging Brides!

This week, more on Holly R. about planning a wedding in a small town. Some people who live in larger areas think it's hard becasue they have so many choices, think about it if the opposite were true!

One of the first steps in planning a wedding is picking the wedding date. After my fiance and I got engaged, we put a lot of thought into choosing a date that is special to us. With so many guests from out of town, and after having to travel to a ton of weddings these past few years, we thought it was important to choose a date that would accomodate the majority of our guests. The date we decided on was Sept. 5, 2009, which falls on Labor Day weekend next year. Being a 3-day weekend, we thought that this date would be convenient for our guests because they would have an extra day after the wedding to relax before they had to travel back home. We always hate waking up the day after a fun wedding and having to drive the 5, 6, or 7 hour trip back home from Michigan. It makes for a long Sunday. Having our wedding on the Saturday of Labor Day weekend would allow people to stay an extra day and let them enjoy the gorgeous scenery that the Upper Peninsula of Michigan has to offer.

As soon as we had chosen our date, we went to work on booking things. Getting married in a small town is difficult and easy at the same time, because there isn't much to choose from in terms of vendors. I knew I wanted to get married in the same church that I had grown up attending, so the first order of business was booking the church. Sounds simple, but Catholic churches (at least this one) won't guarantee your date until you complete the requirements for marriage. My mother called the church to get the process started, and they penciled in our date with the caveat that it would not be set in stone until we completed our compatibility test, met with the priest, etc.

Next on the list was reception sites. Again, there were very few places to choose from. We set up an appointment at the ballroom a few towns away and the country club that my fiance's parents are members of. We would not be traveling to Michigan for a few more weeks, so they penciled in the date for us and told us if anyone else called regarding that date, they would call us.

A few weeks later, I got a call from my mother saying that another girl who recently got engaged had put a deposit down at the country club that had penciled us in. And she happened to be reserving it for the same date as our wedding! And we had not received any sort of heads up from the country club! Of course, I was in a panic, because there are seriously only like two options for receptions in the town we're getting married in. And the country club was the only one that didn't require a lot of work in terms of decorations. Then my mom told me that she had seen the other bride's mom at a school event and the woman had asked her where we were having our ceremony. My mom told her we were getting married at our church and her mom said that the girl was converting to Catholic and they were going to get married in a Catholic church as well. The next day, I get a call from the priest of our church saying that someone else was looking to get married on the same day as us. I was in a panic again because as the church had made clear to me, our date was not set in stone yet. But to my surprise, the priest said he wanted to make sure I was positive about our wedding date, and if I was, he would tell the other person that the church was already booked. I was shocked that this girl's mother had called my church to see if they could get the church on that day, even after she knew we were getting married there. And I was grateful that our priest respected the fact that the church was our main priority, and we had made the call to him as soon as we had picked our date.

For the rest of the day, I questioned whether or not we should switch the date. There is only one hair salon, one florist, one DJ, one of everything in our town. Did I really want to compete with another bride for every vendor? I am not a huge fan of competition. I wanted to spend time negotiating prices, etc. before I went and booked all of these vendors. If we kept the Sept. 5th date, I would have to book everything as soon as possible just so I would have them all covered. Plus, I felt guilty that this girl would not get the church she wanted to get married in if we kept the date. I went home and talked with my fiance, and he told me that we should stick with our original plan. Would this girl change the date for us? Definitely not, and we wouldn't expect her to. So why should we feel obligated to change our date? We put a lot of thought into the date we chose. In the end, we decided to stick with the original date, although I still felt bad that this girl wouldn't get the church she wanted.

A few weeks ago we saw this girl at the wedding of a mutual friend. My fiance went up to her to say congratulations, and her mom came up to him and said "Why couldn't you just change the date?". Of course being the gentleman that he is, he just laughed and walked away. When he told me about it, I couldn't believe that this lady had the audacity to say something like that to him. How can you feel so entitled that you think everyone around you should change their plans for you? We are getting married too. It is our day too. And a long time coming. We have been together for seven years, it is about time we get married! The moral of the story, when it comes to weddings, do what you think is right for you, the person you love, and the loved ones that surround you. Don't worry about satisfying the rest of the world. Don't change your date just because someone else wants to get married on the same day as you. They would never do it for you. Another moral of the story, everyone getting married has priorities. Figure out what's most important to you, whether it be the church, the caterer, the music. Then book those vendors immediately so you don't have to worry about losing them. Once you have the things that matter to you in place, the rest of the wedding will come together easily!

If you are interested in being a Blogging Bride, please email me at melissa {at} masterpieceweddings {dot} net

Monday, November 10, 2008

The Sweetest Thing!

You know when you meet somone and you just know that you'll be fast friends! It happens with clients sometimes, you sit down to chat with them and you immediately find things to chat about, and totally hit it off.
When Lindsay came in to talk with Kristin and I - we loved her ideas - they may not have been traditional ideas, but who says they have to be, right? She wanted to wear a pink dress, and have a super fun cake topper, and leave on a tandum bicycle - and her colors were Hot Pink and Mango Orange... in November... who cares! That's what she wanted... and it was awesome!
Then, I got the sweetest thank you card from Lindsay!
Where to begin? Thank you for "getting us" and not trying to squeeze us into one of the stero-typical wedding couples. More importantly, thank you for actually being excited about our perhaps unusual ideas!! I had a great feeling as soon as I met you and I simply cannot imagine my wedding without all of you. The day was absolutely perfect and there isn't a doubt in my mind that much of that is becasue of your hard work, expertise and passion. I truly enjoyed sharing this experience with you and I am forever grateful for all that you did to make this day so special, so perfect!!!

Can't wait to get the pictures back from the photographer to share iwth you, because they are going to rock! Check out this awesome picture from their engagement session!

Thanks K-Gallery for a super fun day!!! You guys are fantastic to work with, always professional, timely, and just plan rock!

Friday, November 7, 2008

Have you met.... Kristin?

(Kristin on the right)
I know you met Kristin {my left and right hand} through our contest Boss vs. Bossy - and then again when we welcomed her aboard as our Associate.

But did you know her story, I mean really what makes this amazing woman tick? Kristin recently wrote about herself on Be A Planner- please take a peek.

Especially if you are new to the industry, Kristin's first hand Autobiography of her "day in a life" will make you feel like you aren't alone!

Lower Image by K-Gallery

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Parent Trap - Bonus Question

One more question came in about parents decking one another durning family picture time, you don't need to be afraid. Although you might be the first wedding that a step parent has decked another durning photographs... it hasn't happened to me yet.

But don't worry, you don't have to round everyone up for the "one big happy family" photograph if your parents dont' get along, or if you are not particularly fond of a stepparent. But you should meet with your photographer ahead of timeto discuss the types of photos you want and which members of your family should be included, and which should remain 10 feet away at all times.

A professional photographer is sure to have dealt with divorced family situations and can probably offer some expert advice on how to handle potential problems.

As for that sticky question - "Does my obnoxiouis stepparent have to be in your photo's? - the answer is probably what you've known all along - yes.

Leaving a stepmother you dislike out of your wedding photo's, for example is bound to hurt her feelings- and your dad's too! And it can affect your relationship with them in the future.

So, put on your big girl pants, and have some photographs taken with you and your fiance with yoru father and stepmother. Your dad will have a keepsake, and both of them will appreciate your generosity.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Parent Trap - Final Installment

It's sad that we are dealing with so many divorced families - but it's just lovely that everyone can put on a happy face for their daughter or son's wedding. Regardless of the happy face, we do our best to make sure everyone is comfortable.

That is where the issue of seating comes into play.

Cheap Seats

Problem:: "My parents don't get along at all. I can't imagine seating them anywhere near each other durning the ceremony. What should I do?"

Solution:: At a typical wedding, the first few rows of seats are reserved for close family members, with parents in teh front row, grandparents and siblings in the second row, and so on. If the relationship between your parents is that tense, tradition wedding etuquette states that the parent to whom you feel the closest - let's say it's your mom- would sit in the front row, while your dad would sit in the thrid or fourth row (with your stepmother, if he has remarried).

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Blogging Brides!

Name: Holly

Location: Living in Lake Zurich, IL (a northwest suburb of Chicago) and getting married in my hometown of Iron Mountain, MI (located in the Upper Peninsula)
Blog: a small town bride
Wedding Date: Sept. 5, 2009 -- Labor Day weekend!

What do you do in real life?
I am a biomedical engineer working on a next-generation patient monitor/defibrillator. My title is "Requirements Analyst" but I basically try to narrow the gap between marketing and engineering, researching what our customers want and translating it into engineering terms.

Favorite Part about Planning your Wedding?
Having an excuse to do the things I love. Crafty DIY details will be in abundance on our wedding day. And I'll be honest, planning my wedding is starting to make me reevaluate my career choices!

Least Favorite Part about Planning your Wedding?
The lack of options while planning a wedding in a small town. My vision for the wedding and reality are not always in agreement. It's difficult to choose a reception location when there aren't any to pick from!

What is the best piece of wedding advice you've ever received?
First I'd like to give the worst wedding advice I've ever received, and it seems to be the only advice I've been hearing recently: "It will all work out in the end." It will only work out because we do something to make it work out, things typically don't just fall into place themselves! But I received the best piece of wedding advice from my fiance's sister Angela, who said "Remember the meaning of the day and not all of the's so much more enjoyable!"

More from Holly next Tuesday....

If you'd like to be a Blogging Bride, please email me at melissa {at} masterpieceweddings {dot} net

Monday, November 3, 2008

Just Do It!

I am not one to push my polictical agenda on you. And I'm not going to.

I just want you to remember tomorrow that when you wake up, it's your Right as an American to vote. I don't care who you vote for {actually I do...} but you need to vote. Vote for who, you feel in your heart is right. When it's you and that little booth, do what you feel is the right thing to do.

And remember if you don't vote, you have no reason to complain over the next 4 years. When you don't vote, you are taking your Democracy for granted. Remember there are alot of people who don't have the same rights as we do as Americans - and we tend to take what we have for granted.

Either way it's a historical election!

We are living history here, and it's incredible to live where live and how we live!

{stepping off my soap box}

Parent Trap III

We know that dealing with divorced family members is a big stressor, and adds to the "making everyone happy" role. We are trying to help you keep the peace, and give you a handy trouble shooting guide.

Walk the Line

Problem:: "My Stepfather feels more like a "father" to me than my real dad, and I'dlike him to walk me down the aisle. Is there a way to do this without hurting my dad?"

Solution:: This is definately a toughy! First, whatever you are going to do, tell your dad{s} in advance, we had one bride wait until the rehearsal to deal with the situation and that was hurtful on all accounts. But to avoid hurting your dad's feelings, consider these other possiblilites: If your "fathers" get along well, perhaps they can both walk you down the aisle, one on each arm. If there's friction between the two, your stepfather can walk you halfway down, and your dad, who can then escort you the rest of the way to your groom, or vise versa.

Then the question remains, who gives this woman....? You can always have them say together in unison, "We Do" or "Her Families and I"... but that's up to you.
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