Monday, April 27, 2009

Busy Weekend at Aberdeen!

Wow, spring is here, and we are already hopping on the weekend! We had a baby shower on Saturday in the lower level of the chapel, it was such a nice affair. Our couple Saturday evening was a delight. What a nice wedding! Great crowd. Cheryl and Mike were so sweet. They used Tiffany blue, hot pink and orange accents as their colors! It was really pretty! So bright and happy. The bridemaids gowns were street length with the blousy bottom that's so popular right now, and they were SO cute! I really think they were something the gals could actually wear again!
They had a marvelous meal! Hors d'oeuvres, cream of potato soup, Caesar salad, and a choice of chicken picata or a New York strip steak, with roasted red potatoes and California vegetables. Lovely meal. The guests were definitely happy!

Their "cake" was actually cupcakes! So cute! Designer Desserts did the cupcakes for them, and they were so beautiful. At the top was a gigantic cupcake. It was darling, and so different.
Then about 10:30 we had a dessert table out for them to nibble on with cookies, brownies, lemon bars, and such, as well as coffee. Nobody left hungry!
Sunday I attended a meeting for the Association of Bridal Consultants up at Sand Creek Country Club. Had a chance to have lunch with some old friends from years back in ABC. It was a good time. I was asked to speak about working with venues. Those of you who know me, know how much I love to talk in front of a group! Not my favorite thing! But it went well.
So while I was at the ABC meeting, Jim was at work for a wedding shower in the afternoon. It was a very unique shower. They didn't do the usual shower format. It was more of an open house. It was from 2 to 5, and people just came and went, brought their gifts and put them on a table, ate, drank, and chatted. I must admit I was a little skeptical when they told me about how they wanted to do this, but it really worked out so nice! I think all of us who have attended showers know how BORING the gift opening can be! It's fun for about one minute--that would be the minute that she opens your gift! The rest of the time is SO hohum! You can't really talk to anyone, you just have to sit there and watch gift after gift. This shower was really pretty darn cool. Everyone seemed to be really happy with it. It's something to consider, if you aren't a big fan of the usual shower shindig.
Anyone have any other great ideas for wedding showers?

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

New Library Books!

We have added three new books to our library! "Colin Cowie's Extraordinary Weddings" is an amazing coffee table sized book with lots of beautiful pictures and fabulous ideas for making your wedding unique and personal. We also added "Wedding Chic" by Colin Cowie, which is a smaller volume but equally big on fabulous photos and ideas.
"Simple Stunning Weddings" popped up on my Amazon account ("if you like this book, then we think you might also like THIS book!) as I was ordering Colin's books (I can call him Colin because we had drinks in a bar in San Diego in 1998! :) with about 4 other wedding consultants!) It's a lovely book by Karen Bussen who is a New York "wedding designer" with lots of colorful pictures and delightful ideas, all themed to the different chapters--a beach wedding, a chic club type wedding, a bed and breakfast wedding, etc.
Needless to say, I had a wonderful time looking through these books and getting all charged up about the coming summer season! If you would like to stop in and look through them, you are welcome any time! We'll get you a cup of coffee or a soda and you can look to your heart's content. We have many, many wedding related books, and all but just a couple of them (the unreplaceable ones) are available to check out for a couple weeks if you want to look at them more thoroughly.
If there is an idea you really like that you just need a copy of the picture or the page, we can hook you up with that too.
I hope you will take advantage of this little "wedding library" in our shop and make good use of it.
Hope to see you soon! (We're open from 9 to 5, Tuesday through Saturday and until 8 p.m. on Thursdays.)

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Saved Wedding Cake

This morning in my Google Alerts an article popped up about a piece of wedding cake from the wedding of Queen Victoria's daughter being sold at an antiques sale in England. The wedding was in 1871! Now come on! Who is going to want to have a moldy old piece of 150 year old wedding cake? Well, if you want it, they are selling it for the rock bottom price of 145 pounds (about $200-$225 depending on the day and the exchange rate). Just exactly what does one DO with something like that? Put it in a glass dome on display? Yuck!
So, I say to Jim, who keeps a piece of cake like that anyway? His answer, "It was probably someone like you who had it in the back of the frig!"
The moral of this story? Marry a man with a sense of humor. He'll keep you laughing, even if it's at your own expense!

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

A couple of days ago I posted a “tweet” about needing some input on gown shops in the area. Here’s our dilemma. Unless someone has a really lousy experience with a gown shop, we don’t usually hear about it. But we do have gals ask us every day where there is a good gown shop, so I am asking all of you gals out there to help me with this one.
Obivously, if you were married 5 years ago, the information may not be as accurate as it would be if you were married last fall, but I would still like to hear any input you have.
Good or bad, we need to network about this.
What I have found in the past was that there are some gown shops that treat you like royalty until you place your order and plunk down your money, and then all of a sudden you become Cinderella! So how was your experience with YOUR gown shop? Did they treat you well before AND after the sale was made? Did you feel that they sincerely cared about you and your wedding and did whatever they could to make your experience a good one?
Most wedding gowns can be ordered and received in 2 to 6 months. Obviously it depends on the company that the gown is being ordered from, but some even have “hanging stock” that can be sent out right away. How was your experience with ordering?
Alterations are another area I would like some input on. Did your gown shop provide alterations with your gown up to a certain dollar amount? Did they refer you to good people to do the alterations? Was the gown ordered way too big or too small?
Did you order your bridesmaids gowns from the same store? Was their experience a good one as well?
What about your accessories? Selection, price, value? What were your impressions? Did you end up purchasing other items from the same shop or did you go elsewhere?
I would love to have some comprehensive data about the gown shops in our area, so that when someone asks me, I have an answer that is backed up with current data and information.
So help me out here ladies! Either leave a comment or email me at and let me know what your story is!

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Making Your Day, YOUR Day

The watchword in weddings seems to be “simple but elegant”. Ask any bride what she invisions—that’s what you hear. I’ve never been quite sure what this actually means or how one achieves it. My suspicion is that “simple” translates to not expensive, and elegant is basically I want it to “look” expensive even though we are keeping it simple. Not sure. I would like to see a new thought for weddings. How about if, instead of simple but elegant, we start thinking in terms of “unique and personal”? We can do so much more with that!
One of the first posts I wrote, back a couple years ago, talked about making your wedding personal and reflecting your interests, values, and personalities both as individuals and as a couple. My most favorite weddings are always the ones where the bride and groom have taken time to really think about their celebration. They bring their families into it, their wedding day becomes not only a celebration of them as a couple, but of their families and extended families as well.
Last night’s wedding was lovely. Holly and Mark live in Virginia, so we didn’t really have much opportunity to talk with them about their plans. I have known Holly and her family though since before she was born, so it was great fun to see what a lovely young woman she has become and so heartwarming to see how happy they were together. But I digress!
So I get out to work yesterday and do my usual walk through the ballroom, looking for little papers on the floor, lightbulbs that might have burnt out, wrinkles in tablecloths, etc. and in the lobby, on the side tables are two photos. At first glance I think, oh, Holly has had a formal portrait done before the wedding in her gown. This is a very common tradition in the South. But no, I look a little closer, and it’s Holly’s MOTHER in the picture, in 1973! So, these are the only two photos in the lobby, anywhere. Hmmmmm I think. Well, that’s very sweet, maybe they are bringing more photos later of the groom’s parents, or their grandparents’ weddings or whatever, as folks often do.
So everyone arrives for the reception, and still, there are just the two photos of Arlene in the lobby. So the bride and groom arrive, and off we go with the introductions and all the usual reception things. Somewhere during the cake cutting, I notice that Holly’s veil has some absolutely amazing lace on it, 6 or 8 inch wide, gorgeous lace. And then, I notice that the appliqué work is very similar to her mother’s gown. Hmmmmm! Then it clicks! This IS her mother’s gown! But wait a minute, mom had the big 70’s sleeves and high neck, and this gown is sleeveless and open neck. Time to investigate further!

Here's a photo of Holly in her lovely, and very fashionable gown:

I go back and look at the photos again, and Holly’s family is all in the lobby taking some photos. I ask Arlene about the gown, and it IS her gown, remade by Holly’s Godmother for her to wear. Wow! Too cool! I couldn’t help but think, when Holly danced with her Dad, how much this must mean to him, dancing with his beautiful daughter, in this gown, that he had danced with nearly 40 years ago. SO sweet! If good luck and happy thoughts were ever bestowed on any bride and groom, there had to be tons of it in that gown.

Here’s a couple of other thoughts you might consider to personalize your wedding. But remember that the whole meaning of “personalize” is that it is personal to you.

1. Do mom and dad, or grandma and grandpa maybe, have their knife and server, or toasting flutes from THEIR wedding that you could use?

2. How about a cake topper? My good friend Chris was telling me that their family (and it’s a BIG family!) has a 50’s cake topper, the fluffy lace, plastic bride and groom kind, that has been on everyone’s cake that has gotten married in her family for the last 30 or 40 year! How cute is that! She says they paint the bride and groom’s hair to match the couple who is getting married and off they go.

3. Baby bonnet/handkerchiefs. Back when I worked in a gift shop in the late 60’s we sold a little baby bonnet that was made out of a handkerchief. It came with a little poem about giving it to the baby when they grew up to carry on their wedding day (or in the case of a boy, for him to give to his bride to carry) and directions on where to remove the stitches so that it became a hanky again, and also instructions on how to tack it back together to be a bonnet again for their child when it was christened. I know these bonnets are around, because I had to have sold 200 of them. I just loved the idea. Ask your mom, or your fiance’s mom. Maybe they have forgotten about it and it’s folded up in someones hope chest somewhere!

4. Your mother’s gown. There are people here in the area who are VERY talented and can redesign your mother’s gown into a beautiful gown for you. If your mom’s gown is beyond hope though, you might consider making a handkerchief from the fabric to carry on your wedding day, or possibly salvage some lace from it. I have seen christening gowns made from wedding gowns as well. If you don’t want to actually cut into the gown itself, there might be a crinoline or veil that would work. Be creative.

5. Music is another area where we see folks get very creative. We have had a couple of dads in the past that recorded themselves singing the song that they would dance to with their daughter. Of course, if your dad can’t carry a tune in a bucket, that might not be a very good idea!

6. Pictures are always a sweet and sentimental way to honor your grandparents and parents. In the lobby, you might want to gather wedding photos of the relatives and place them around the room. Just be sure to make a little placecard type label that tells who they are and their wedding date. Or I suppose you could have a contest to see who could identify them and their wedding year correctly, that might be fun!

7. Guest books have branched out into many different directions. Photo mattes that guests sign are a great idea. There are also guest books where a photo is taken of each guest or couple, and then the photo is put on a page in the book along with the their best wishes written to the bride and groom, on their own page. This has always seemed so much more meaningful to me than just their names in a book on a line.

8. How about having each guest write on a square of fabric with fabric pens, and then the squares could be assembled into a quilt after the wedding?

Weddings are steeped in traditions and sentiments. Make yours special with touches that reflect you and your families. Let’s change the watchword from “simple but elegant” to “unique and personal”!

Thursday, April 9, 2009

What about a New Year's Eve Wedding?

We have booked August 22nd, but we still have the October 10 date open! Some lucky couple is going to have an awesome anniversary date for the next 80 years!

Another fabulous date that we still have available is New Year's Eve. We have had weddings for the past several years on New Year's Eve. Every one has been an amazing evening. Just think about it, you start the new year as a married couple--how romantic is that? It's the perfect way to begin a new year, and end an old one.
AND 12/31 is on a Thursday this year which gives everyone a 4 day weekend! You could have a lovely little mini-moon in Chicago, and not miss work!

Years ago, everyone went to parties on New Year's Eve. They had big parties at the hotels, and banquet facilities, and restaurants, and you made your plans months in advance just to get the best choice. We've seen this change over the years, and for particularly the last 10 years or so, it hasn't been a big party night for most folks. Consequently, we find that the guests are thrilled to receive an invitation for a New Year's party and have such a wonderful occasion to celebrate. It's unique, one of a kind, and ever so special!

At Aberdeen, we usually just move things back a little to accommodate the holiday. Instead of the usual 6 p.m. starting time, we can start the reception at 7, have dinner from 8 to 9, and then end the reception at 1 a.m. instead of 12. It gives everyone a chance to party, count down the New Year, and then by 1, they are usually ready to wind it up.

Think about all the possibilities for decorations, favors, themes and such! It could be a very elegant black tie affair, or it could be a colorful carnival type of theme. There's so much you could do with this date! Another big plus is that the Christmas decorations are all still up in the chapel and the ballroom, so you can have all the beauty of a Christmas wedding as well.

And the best part about having a New Year's wedding? For the rest of your married life the entire world celebrates your anniversary with you every year! How fun is that?!

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Easy Read with a Great Point!

I just finished reading a really good little book, "Leadership and Self Deception" by the Arbinger Institute. I know, sounds really dry and boring, doesn't it? Well, it IS a business type book, after all :). Anyway, it's a quick read, in parable style (like Fish! and Cats! and the Cheese book--they all make their point by telling a little story, which takes a little of the dryness out.)
The premise of the book is that we sometimes put ourselves in a "box" when we are dealing with other people. When we are "in the box" we are thinking only of ourselves, and when we are "out of the box" we are empathizing with others and thinking of their needs--thinking of them as people.
Why I mention this is that all the time I was reading this book, I was thinking how much it applied to our personal lives as well as our professional lives. In fact, it would apply even MORE to our marriages and our relationships with our children. Even though it is a business book, most of the examples they give in it actually are marriage and child related.
It's really a simple concept, but so far reaching when it is applied. Here's the Amazon review:

Using the story/parable format so popular these days, Leadership and Self-Deception takes a novel psychological approach to leadership. It's not what you do that matters, say the authors (presumably plural--the book is credited to the esteemed Arbinger Institute), but why you do it. Latching onto the latest leadership trend won't make people follow you if your motives are selfish--people can smell a rat, even one that says it's trying to empower them. The tricky thing is, we don't know that our motivation is flawed. We deceive ourselves in subtle ways into thinking that we're doing the right thing for the right reason. We really do know what the right thing to do is, but this constant self-justification becomes such an ingrained habit that it's hard to break free of it--it's as though we're trapped in a box, the authors say.
Learning how the process of self-deception works--and how to avoid it and stay in touch with our innate sense of what's right--is at the heart of the book. We follow Tom, an old-school, by-the-book kind of guy who is a newly hired executive at Zagrum Corporation, as two senior executives show him the many ways he's "in the box," how that limits him as a leader in ways he's not aware of, and of course how to get out. This is as much a book about personal transformation as it is about leadership per se. The authors use examples from the characters' private as well as professional lives to show how self-deception skews our view of ourselves and the world and ruins our interactions with people, despite what we sincerely believe are our best intentions.

While the writing won't make John Updike lose any sleep, the story entertainingly does the job of pulling the reader in and making a potentially abstruse argument quite enjoyable. The authors have a much better ear for dialogue than is typical of the genre (the book is largely dialogue), although a certain didactic tone creeps in now and then. But ultimately it's a hopeful, even inspiring read that flows along nicely and conveys a message that more than a few managers need to hear. --Pat McGill

LOVE the line about John Updike. Haha! You can buy it at Amazon it's only about 10 bucks, and worth every cent. This is a business book that you can read and apply to ALL the relationships in your life. I know it has been an epiphany for me!

Friday, April 3, 2009

Calling all Volunteers!

This is something I have been thinking about for a long time, but haven't been brave enough to actually take action on it. I think the time has come though, and we need to go for it.
What's the idea? Here it is------drumroll please!
What will it be? I think we need to get together about 6 to 10 of our past clients, mainly brides and/or grooms and talk about what we could do to improve the Manor. (See this is where the bravery comes in, because I want to hear the bad more so than the good!)
We would meet maybe 4-6 times a year, and have a glass of wine and maybe some "nibbles", and just kick around ideas, hash out issues, things like that.
I would like to do it on a volunteer basis, so I am throwing this out there, to those of you who maybe still follow this (both of you! :) If I don't get enough volunteers this way, then I will try an email to past brides and see what we can come up with.
Any thoughts from anyone on this?