5 Ways To Serve Donuts At Your Wedding

September 14th is National Cream Filled Donut Day. Therefore today’s blog post is all about following the trend of including these delectable desserts as part of your wedding day festivities. Here are five ways that are sure to make a sweet impression on your guests.

1. The donut buffet:  According to Carrie Lux of Details on Demand, designer of donut and wedding favor bags, donut buffets are super popular right now. Indeed this is a wedding trend that shows no signs of letting up. Many couples offer the donut buffet as a stand-in or alternative to the traditional wedding cake. However there are other ways to offer these tasty treats to your friends and family.

Donut bar, wedding

2. As a welcome gifts: Have boxes of warm donuts delivered, in place of fruit baskets or other standard fare, to the hotel rooms of your out of town guests.

3. As a centerpiece: Use towers of donuts frosted with chocolate, vanilla and strawberry icing as a centerpiece for the kids table. Use paper coasters or flattened coffee filters between the layers to prevent the donuts from sticking together. Photo credit Martha Stewart Weddings.  

4. As wedding favors: place donuts in donut bags and leave on place settings for your guests. You can also place the bags near the donut buffet for guests to fill with the pastry of their choosing.  Bags available from Details on Demand.

5. As appetizers: after the ceremony, offer donut holes or mini donuts to hold your guests over until the meal is served. I

Stand Up To Cancer On Your Wedding Day

The second Friday of September is Stand Up To Cancer Day; this year it falls in September 8. 2017. Perhaps you are a loved one is dealing with cancer and you’re looking for a way to give a big F**k you to this dreaded condition. There are many ways, both creative and practical, that your wedding can be turned into a platform to Stand Up To Cancer.

1. If you are a cancer survivor bride like Jordan Lambert, you can face the illness head on with boldness and style.  When chemo took her hair, she refused to let it steal her joy and she opted to not camouflage her baldness beneath a wig. Instead she chose to adorn her head with this queenly floral crown during her ceremony.

Later during the reception, she exchanged the crown for a turban. When the heat of  the turban became too much, Jordan showcased her bald head beautifully tattooed with henna by her husband.

Says Jordan “Cancer gave me the opportunity to make beauty from pain. On my wedding day I was a living work of art.” Read Jordan’s complete story at Offbeat Bride. 

2. Donate your wedding gown to The Brides Project.  Undoubtedly you invested a great deal of time, money and emotion into choosing your wedding gown. Now that the wedding day has come and gone you could have a trash the dress photo session or you could take the opportunity to enrich multiple lives by donating your gown to The Brides Project. This charity offers “pre- loved” wedding gowns at a discount to brides and then passes the profits on to cancer research and support charities.

The mission of TBP is to support adults and kids impacted by cancer by ensuring sustainable funding to the Cancer Support Community of Greater Ann Arbor, and to provide brides with a socially-conscious, eco- and budget-friendly option for purchasing their wedding gowns .”For more information, visit  The Brides Project website.

3. Give your guests the option to make donations to cancer research in lieu of wedding gifts.

If you’re  like most of today’s brides and grooms you’ve led established lives before getting married. Therefore you probably don’t need any new kitchen appliances or household items as much as you need to figure out how to deal with the fact that you know have two of everything.

Instead of registering for gifts with a department store, why not create a fundraising page at the Cancer Research Institute’s website? On this page you can set your fundraising goal, describe why CRI is your charity of choice, and track donations. It also allows you to create a page for your cause on Facebook, where your guests can give directly through the social networking site. For more information visit the Cancer Research Institute

4. Give a donation in lieu of or in addition to wedding favors.   For example, take advantage of the American Cancer Society’s Wedding Favors program that enables brides and grooms to purchase scrolls indicating that a donation to the American Cancer Society has been made in honor of their guests in lieu of traditional wedding favors. For more information visit The Hope Shop 

Alternatively,  give a small edible treat dressed with a ribbon or card that states a donation to your charity was made in the guest’s honor.

Photo credit: Truffles For A Cause

5. Sell your unwanted wedding gifts on eBay. 100 per cent of the profits will go to your chosen charity. Ebay makes it easy to unload your unwanted gifts and claims to have raised over $750,000.00 for its roster of charities. The company does charge a per item insertion fee and a final value fee to list your items. However those fees are credited back to you, seller, once the item sells. Visit eBay For Charity for more information.

5 Signature Cocktails To Celebrate Your Autumn Wedding.

5 Signature Cocktails To Celebrate Your Autumn Wedding.

If you’ve chosen an autumn date on which to exchange your vows then you, like me, must be an autumn lover. In my opinion no other season pleases the five senses in the way that autumn does: the eye-catching colors of the falling leaves, the smell of crisp, clean morning air, the tastes of autumn fruits, Halloween treats and Thanksgiving delights, the feel of cozy sweaters long tucked away and the sounds of silence around the house now that the kids are back in school. Yep, autumn is the “It” season.

So my fellow autumn lover, are you going to let just any old cocktail serve as the signature drink at your wedding reception or are you going to express your love of autumn by offeeing a drink or drinks that vibe with the flavors, scents, colors and feelings of cozy warmth that is the stuff autumn dreams are made of?

Here are recipes for five seasonal cocktails that I’ve rounded up from around the web to share with you. If you serve any of these drinks at your wedding, feel free to leave a comment and tell me how much you enjoyed them.

1. Maple Bourbon Old Fashioned 

7 Autumn Inspired Signature Cocktails

2 tsp maple syrup

1 tsp water

1 piece orange peel

1 dash bitters

2 ounces bourbon

1 maraschino cherry 

Mix liquid ingredients well. Add ice cubes and orange peel. Garnish with cherry. Recipe and photo from Delish

2. Pumpkin Spice Martini

Ingredients

For the martini

2ounces pumpkin flavored vodka 

1 ounce dark rum

2 tablespoons pumpkin puree

1/2 ounce half and half

1 ounce maple syrup

1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract

3 ice cubes

For the rim

Graham crackers, cinnamon and sugar, pulverized in a food processor.

Directions 

Rim martini glass with graham cracker mixture. Place drink ingredients into a martini shaker a shake until chilled. Pour drink into glasses and garnish with cinnamon sticks.

Recipe and photo from No Spoon Necessary 

3. Apple Cider Moscow Mule

Ingredients :

Crushed ice

1 1/3 ounces caramel vodka

3 ounces apple cider

Ginger beer

Directions:

Fill mule mug with ice. Add vodka and cider. Top with ginger beer. Garnish with apple slices.  Recipe and photo from Pretty Plain Janes .

4. Persimmon Smash 

Ingredients:

1 ounce persimmon puree

1 ounce St. Germane

Champaign 

Ice

Directions:

Place puree, St. German and ice into a cocktail shaker. Shake until chilled. Pour into Champaign flute and tip with Champaign. Photo and recipe from Pippin Hill Farms

5. The Juice And Treuse

Ingredients:

3/4 ounce green Chartreuse

1/2 ounce Chareau

1/2 ounce Wild Turkey 101 Rye

1/2 ounce lemon juice

1/2 ounce simple syrup

1 ounce carrot juice

Ice

Directions:

Combine all ingredients in a cocktail shaker. Shake and strain into a cocktails glass. Garnish with a fennel frond. Recipe from Forbes. Photo credit: Nico Osteria.

The Wedding Guest’s Guide To Bow Ties

Did you know that the bow tie, the platinum standard in elegant wedding attire, has its origins in the Thirty Years War as nothing more than a means for Croat mercenaries to close the necks of their shirts?

In the 18th century the bow tie, or cravat, was adopted by the French who turned into a high fashion accessory.

August 28, 2017 is National Bow Tie Day. So today’s post is all about helping the well dressed wedding guest determine which tie is appropriate to wear to which wedding. Today bow tie options  are plentiful, but the following advice from The Genlemanual will help you choose the right bow tie for the wedding that you’re attending.

1. The White Tie Wedding

The white tie wedding is the alpha and omega of wedding elegance. It requires a black dress coat with tails and black patent leather shoes. A white bow tie is a must for the white tie wedding. White or black dress gloves are optional.

Bow tie vs Neck tie2. Black Tie Weddings

Black tie weddings are generally fancy evening affairs. The dress code calls for a formal black tux and a black bow tie

How to wear a bow tie to a wedding3. Formal Weddings

For a formal wedding a dark suit can be worn instead of a tux and the bow tie can be replaced by a regular neck tie.

How to choose a necktie for a wedding 4. Semi-formal:

Again either a bow tie or neck tie is acceptable. The appropriate choice of suit color is dependent upon the time of day; lighter colors for daytime affairs and darker colors for evening affairs.

5. Casual or Business Casual

For this type of wedding, you may choose to forego a suit and tie altogether. You wouldn’t even be amiss to wear a nice pair of clean, pressed khakis and a polo shirt.

All photos from The Gentlemanual

The Art Of Hosting The Office Bridal Shower

How to host an office bridal shower

So your office mate is getting married. Congratulations! You now have a reason to eat cake at the office. Not only do party calories not count but it’s  a nice gesture to throw a shower in the brides honor. She will feel appreciated  “and” it’s always good for co-workers to have a chance to celebrate over happy work place news that offsets all of that time spent jointly commiserating over work place woes. In general a work place bridal shower is not much different than any other bridal shower but there are some points that set them apart and should be remembered.

  • The general rule of etiquette is that only those who are invited to the wedding are invited to the bridal shower; However this rule does not apply to work place showers. In these cases everyone, men included, in the office should be invited, but in larger organizations the guest list may be limited to the department in which the bride works.
  • Gift giving to a bride that you don’t know well can be awkward, especially if there is no registry. If that’s the case, then a gift card or general household item in a neutral color is a safe bet. If there is a registry, then perhaps the shower organizers can ask the attendees to each chip in to buy one large item such as that $400.00 set of chef quality kitchen knives.
  • Skip games that focus on knowing the bride well. Instead opt for games like “Bridal Word Scramble” or “What’s In Your Handbag” where  each participant gets a number of points for having certain items in their purse. The rarer the item, say a silver dollar, the more points awarded. The winner is the one with the most points at the end of the game.
  • Ask each participant to contribute a food item or to make a monetary donation towards purchased food. Also try to take into account any special dietary needs of those who are donating. No one wants to help fund a party only to arrive and find out that there’s nothing for them to eat.
  • Avoid serving alcohol. It’s never a good look to be tipsy in an office setting. Serve punch, sodas or other non-alcoholic drinks instead. Alcoholic gifts to the bride are OK.
  • Lastly, do not shame or cajole anyone into participating in the shower. This should be a fun event, not another workplace obligation.How to host an office bridal shower

    Bridesmaids, What Are They Good For?

    Before writing this post I spent some time lurking in bridal forums. Whenever the question of what constitutes bridesmaids duties came up, the answer was invariably that they are there to support the bride. The problem I saw was that many brides-to-be seem to set a pretty low bar when defining support. For more than a few brides, support from bridesmaids consisted of nothing more than showing up to the wedding, standing there and looking pretty (as long as they don’t look prettier than the bride).

    According to tradition and etiquette, there are customary duties with which  your bridesmaids and maid of honor should  be willing to assist you and I don’t mean just holding up your dress when you have to go to the ladies room. I’ve included a list of a few of those duties here. In today’s busy world it may be unrealistic to expect any one bridesmaid to be able or willing to help with everything; However, if you have a bridal party,  or individual member of the party, that consistently refuses to help with “any” of these duties then you can save yourself a lot of aggravation by letting that member go or by foregoing the idea of a bridal party altogether. Just be sure to do so before they start purchasing their dresses. At a minimum, your bridesmaids should be willing to do the following prior to the wedding day:

    Attend bridal shows with you: Part of the excitement of planning your wedding is attending at least one bridal show, However having to attend them alone is no fun at all. When deciding which bridal show to attend, it’s best to choose an event that’s far enough in the future that it will give your ladies time to work it into their busy schedules.

    Throw you a bridal shower or bachelorette party: The maid of honor should be in charge of throwing the bridal shower or bachelorette party. But your bridesmaids should be willing to help out by chipping in cash, helping to send out invitations, setting up and taking down the decorations and all the other details that go into throwing the party.

    Actually attend your bridal shower or bachelorette party: After all, how can you trust someone to show up for your wedding if they can’t show up for your pre-wedding parties.

    Show up for the rehearsal: With the exception of out of towers, your bridesmaids should show up for your wedding rehearsal. Failure to do so can result is a less than smoothly running bridal entrance and exit.

    Help you choose your wedding dress: You can’t realistically expect your bridesmaids to accompany you to 15 different bridal boutiques, but you should be able to count on your maid of honor to assist you in deciding between the final three or four choices. You may also want to include your mother and at least one sister in this decision because nobody will be more brutally honest about what does or doesn’t  look good on you than a mother or sister.

    Help you address wedding invitations: This is a classic bridesmaids task. However it should only be trusted to those with good penmanship and attention to detail because you only get so many envelopes with your order of invitations.

    Pay for their bridesmaid dress and shoes: Some brides can afford to and will pay for the dresses that their ladies will wear. If that’s  not you then it’s perfectly acceptable to expect each bridesmaid to pay for her own dress and shoes. On the other hand,  you as the bride should not choose bridesmaids dresses that will put a financial strain on anyone. As a gesture of appreciation, you could gift them each with a necklace, pair of earrings or a bracelet to wear on the big day. It’s also nice to choose bridesmaids dresses that can be worn for other occasions.

    Lastly, your bridesmaids should provide plenty of emotional support:The weeks and days leading up to your wedding are going to be fraught with anxiety. You are going to need someone to bitch to regarding your groom, your future in-laws, those last five pounds, etc. So make sure you choose bridesmaids who will be there when you need a sympathetic ear.

    The Most Awesome Autumn Florals For Your Awesome Autumn Wedding

    The Most Awesome Autumn Florals For Your Awesome Autumn Wedding

    The autumn season, late August through early December, is a great time to have an outdoor wedding in Southern California. The temperatures have started to come down and Mother Nature is showing off her keen sense of fashion as she dresses the area in colors ranging from the yellows and golds of falling leaves to the the deep , rich hues of black calla lillies.

    You may associate flowers with springtime, but trust and believe that there is no shortage of beautiful, seasonal flowers and plants with which to decorate your seasonally themed autumn wedding or to carry in your bouquet. Here are a few of my favorites. In fact, black calla lillies were the main flower in my September 2006 wedding bouquet.

    Asiatic lilies: Unlike stargazer lilies with their lovely but overpowering fragrance, Asiatic lilies have no fragrance. What they do offer is a wider range of eye pleasing colors than other lilies. They tend to bloom early and have a long blooming season that ensures they will still be in season come autumn.

    Autumn wedding bouquets

    Gebera daisies: Gebera daisies are the fifth most popular flower in the world. These natives of South Africa come in a multitude of hues and symbolize innocence, purity and happiness. The large heads make beautiful and inexpensive centerpieces when placed atop river stones in large glass bowls or vases.

    Autumn wedding bouquets

    Roses: Roses are the Beyonces of wedding flowers. Not only do they come in a myriad of colors, white roses can be dyed to match a rainbow of color schemes. For autumn weddings, try matching blush colored roses with darker colors. Blush colored roses pair well with navy, burgundy or black bridesmaids  dresses.

    Autumn wedding bouquets

    Sunflowers: Known as the “happy” flower, sunflowers symbolize adoration, loyalty and longevity; all the qualities that you want in your marriage. Sunflowers always look towards the sun, the brighter side of life. In doing so they carry the energy of faith and belief in something “out there”. Photo credit Marisa Taylor Photography

    Calla lilies: The word “calla” means beautiful in Greek. Calla lilies have a wide array of meanings. White calla lilies are associated with the Greek goddesses Hera, patroness of marriage, and Venus the embodiment of lust and sexuality. From a Christian perspective they represent the purity of the Virgin Mary and the resurrection of Christ. Pink calla lilies represent innocence while black (purple) calla lilies represent royalty or passion, depending on your source. Photo source, The Bouqs Co.

    Autumn wedding bouquets

    Hydrangeas: According to the Flower Shop Network, “Hydrangeas are mostly used in spring and summer weddings. However due to their year round availability they are also popular in autumn and winter wedding bouquets: especially for winter brides who want a large white bloom.” To make a lovely autumn bridesmaids bouquet, wrap one or two hydrangeas blooms with burlap or seasonally colored ribbon. Photo credit Florium Soto Grande.

    Succulents: Nothing says California wedding like succulents. These tiny cactus cousins can either serve to accentuate your bouquet, as in the photo at the start of this post , or they can be the focal point as in this creation by Succulently Urban.  They are available in such seasonal colors as eggplant and pomegranate. Succulent bouquets add a really nice touch to outdoor and rustic weddings. 

    Coffee berries: Coffee berries., aka hypericum berries, are a popular and less expensive means to fluff out a bouquet. These berries come in red and green and add a colorful pop to your florals. 

    Autumn wedding bouquets

    Autumn leaves: Brightly colored autumn leaves are a charming way to add a seasonal vibe to your wedding. They can be added to bouquets and centerpieces or strewn along the runner instead of petals. They can also be used to decorate arches, chairs and place cards. Autumn leaves make beautiful props for wedding photos.  They can be used as background or you can take photos of your rings resting atop single or multiple leaves as I did with my husband’s and my rings

    Wedding rings resting on autumn leaf
    Photo credit: Connie Jones-Steward

    Wheat and barley: The autumn season is all about the harvest and nothing symbolizes the harvest like wheat and barley. This boutonniere, featured on the Wisconsin Bride blog, would look right at home in a barn wedding. Before deciding to use  dried wheat and/or barley in your wedding florals, be sure to inquire of your florist if she has experience working with dried plants. 

    Autumn wedding bouquets

    One final consideratiion in selecting your wedding flowers is to factor in the impact on the planet. When you choose locally grown plants that are seasonal to your area over those  that have to be transported from long distances,  your wedding will leave a much lighter carbon footprint on the environment.