Sunday, September 27, 2009


UPDATE: The Audrey Hepburn movie mentioned in the previous post was "Funny Face" NOT "Funny Girl" which, of course we all know was Barbara Streisand's movie in the 70's. Gees. If I wasn't so tired I would have caught that BEFORE I hit "Publish Post"! Sorry!

First Look Revisited-Photos Before the Ceremony

Ok, how many weddings have I attended---maybe over 1000? I rarely get teary at weddings any more, for one thing I am normally too busy trying to get everyone down the aisle! Once in a great while something will get to me though. Well, today I happened to be in the ballroom just as the photographers went out to the garden with Audrey to do some pictures. I snuck over and peeked out the windows. Oh my gosh, she looked absolutely radiant. Her gown, her veil (modeled after Audrey Hepburn's in "Funny Girl" she told me later--stunning!) she just looked amazing!

So I'm in the ballroom getting some photos of their centerpieces and their cake and all, and kind of keeping my eye on what was going on in the garden.

The breeze was gently tickling her veil and the ruffles on her train. It was really a beautiful afternoon to be in the garden. I happened, (just by chance of course, ahem) to be over by the windows as Ethan came into the garden. What an electric moment!!! He nearly broke into a run! It was evident that he could hardly wait to get to where she was standing! The smile on his face went from ear to ear, and obviously the emotionality of the moment was affecting him too.

I wish I could find the words to tell you how poignant, how tender, how sweet this was. The tears were streaming down my face! I couldn't help it, it was such a beautiful scene.

I had nearly recovered myself, (silently thankful that I had used my Blink mascara so at least I knew I didn't have raccoon eyes!!) when they both pulled out the tissues and dabbed at each others' tears. I lost it all over again. SO sweet.

(This is also a great photo to check out the veil! Is that incredible or what?!)

It was just so, SO special! I am hoping that Ethan and/or Audrey will post a comment on this post about how it was from each of their perspectives. I think it would be very helpful to those couples who are considering doing a "First Look" moment before their ceremony, and might be on the fence about it.

If you are dead set against it, that's fine, we can work with that. It's possible to get those photos done during the cocktail hour and still move things along. However if you are one of those couples who are considering it, well, it never hurts to hear what someone who has been there has to say about it, right?

Did YOU take your photos before the ceremony? Tell me about it, you can always comment anonymously if you're shy. I have friends who did this 30-35 years ago and still get choked up about it. We need to hear from you ALL!

Let me know what you think. Tell me about your experience. Keep your eyes on this post and hopefully, when the dust settles, these two will tell us about how it was from THEIR perspectives!

Affairs Updates--to Market to Market!!!

Friday was a sad day at Affairs and Aberdeen Manor. It was our wonderful Michelle's final day with us. Sigh. Michelle has been attending classes on Saturday since January to go into teaching and she starts the "student teaching" portion in a week or two. I guess this is the heavens getting their just due, since Megan left teaching last May to come work with us full time, now I am having to give Michelle to teaching as penance! Michelle is one of those people who will be good at whatever she chooses to do. She's organized and intelligent, caring and tactful. I knew the day I met her six years ago that she would be awesome at Aberdeen and I have never been disappointed. So while I wish her all the best with her new career, I'm still feeling very sorry for myself. I'll try not to be cranky! Haha.

In happier news, we have pretty much finished converting the shop over to a point of sale system. Everyone is excited about being able to use the scanning gun! Zap! and we are done! No more written out receipts, or laborious searching for prices when the tags fall off! It's wonderful! Michelle, Megan and Amanda have really done a terrific job getting this system set up and working. Now if I can just figure out all the little tricks with it! I spent 20 minutes trying to figure out how to open the cash drawer the other day to give someone change for a $20! Gees! Turns out it wasn't that tough, but knowing where to look is the kicker!!!

This coming weekend is the National Bridal Market in Chicago! Megan and I are very excited about it! This is the wholesale market where we go to find all the new and fun items for the shop. There are companies from all over the world, with all the latest in everything weddings. I have a file in my desk with all the little notes I have made for things we need to look for, and items that some of our clients have requested (I WILL find those pearl necklaces Alyssa!!!!!) Megan and I will be in Chicago on Sunday and Monday searching out all the latest and greatest. If anyone has any special requests, let me know this week so that I can add them to the list. I always enjoy seeing what the gown styles are, getting some idea of where the trends are headed. Usually by the time I come home my head feels like it has been stuffed full of tulle and my feet are screaming from all the walking, but it's an amazing show and I always look forward to it with great anticipation. It will be particularly fun this time to introduce Megan to all my contacts as my business partner! She has gone with me a number of times over the years (it's hard to believe that this is my 14th year of attending the Market!) this is our first "joint venture" though. It's wonderful to have her perspective on "what brides like". Being a newlywed herself, she has a fresh perspective on things that will be a big help. She also is my conscience when it comes to space considerations and cost considerations! :) We make a great team.
So let me know if you are in search of any particular wedding items! We'll add them to our list! Watch for the Market Report next week!

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Shower Etiquette Update:

Opinions seem to be running heavily in favor of NOT having guests address their own envelopes. I would have to agree with this. The comments say it all.
I did like the idea of the hostess taking the box of thank you cards and addressing the envelopes for the bride herself. I thought that was a nice solution if you’re worried about the bride’s time.
There’s just something so weird about getting an envelope in the mail with your own writing on it! It feels almost creepy!
Let’s just hope that we can maybe squash this trend with the showers and that it won’t spread to the wedding receptions! Wouldn’t THAT be special!

Here's some little facts about etiquette that you might be interested in reading:

The bride should send out her thank you notes for showers withing 2 to 3 weeks of the shower.

For the wedding, the notes should be sent no longer than 3 months after the wedding.

Wedding guests can send wedding gifts for up to a year after the wedding date.

It's actually not socially correct (don't you love that term?) to bring a gift to the wedding! The wedding gift should be sent to the bride's mother's home where the gifts are opened and displayed before the wedding, or to the newlyweds' home after the wedding. (This is, admittedly, a little old fashioned. I remember seeing the gifts all displayed on tables at my grandmother's home for my parents wedding, in the movie that they made in 1949. It always seemed like a sweet tradition though.)

Did you know that a note that has "thank you" printed on the front is not considered "proper" by Ms. Post? The bride should send notes to gift givers before the wedding on her own "personal" stationery, (and yes we all still have that, right?) The notes would have either her name or her monogram on the front of the card, but never "thank you".

You should never use the married name or monogram until AFTER the wedding service.

Oh, and when you send or take a gift to someones wedding, ALWAYS put a note or a card with your name on it, INSIDE the box. That way if the card on the outside is separated from the gift, they still have a way to figure out who it is from. I can't tell you how often we find cards just laying on the gift table, and we never know whether they are associated with a gift, or if they are just a card that someone missed the card box with.

So if anyone would like to stop in and order your "personal stationery" I would be happy to help you with that! :) (It actually is a nice thing to have, all kidding aside. There's nothing like a handwritten, received in the mail note, it's even more special nowadays with all the electronic communication!)

And remember, etiquette is not designed to make our lives harder or more complicated, its purpose is to give us guidelines so that our lives are easier. You have only to host a wedding reception, and wait for those stragglers to send back their response cards to know what I mean!! That's a topic for another post though!

Anyone have any thoughts about all this?

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Task Force Tips Open House

Thursday evening we catered a "Chamber After Hours" for Task Force Tips. Their new 100,000 foot addition includes a fire museum and a front that looks like an old firehouse. They even have an old steamer, horse drawn fire engine that was brought to its place of honor in the museum a couple weeks ago, pulled by a team of Clydesdales---AWESOME!!!

We felt that since they were following a "firehouse" sort of theme with their museum, that we would stick with that for the food for the open house, and do some hors d'oeuvre sized portions of typical firehouse fare. We had a lot of fun brainstorming about what sort of dishes to do. The final menu was yummy! chili, with all the fixings, mini Italian beef sandwiches, a mashed potato bar with all kinds of goodies to pile on your mashed potatoes, and of course the required cheese and crackers and crudite's with dip. (Isn't there a law somewhere that if you have appetizers you are required to serve these?)

We revved up the crudite with a dynamite presentation.

I had a lot of fun finding the glass containers for all the different veggies. It turned out really pretty and colorful, and yes, people actually ATE them!

The big hit of the party, though, was the mashed potato bar. We had scoops of our fabulous homemade (from REAL potatoes!) mashed potatoes in cups, and the guests could choose from a number of toppings. Shredded cheese, bacon, sour cream, chives, gravy, cheese sauce with broccoli; it was yummy and it was the talk of the party!!

We set up food stations in the four corners of the area, and the desserts in the center. This helped to spread the crowd out, and prevent lines, as well as controlling the amount of food. It worked very smoothly, and everyone enjoyed the conversation and socializing as they went back and forth, sat at tables, got something else to eat, etc. It was a very social setting. Of course, any time you get Chamber people together it's a social event!

I haven't heard the final count yet, but I would guess that they had over 400 people attend. It was hard to get a good feel for numbers because it was so big and spread out. The area where we set up the tables, chairs, and food, was actually larger than our ballroom, and looked small, in comparison to the other 95,000 square feet.

Preparing, transporting and setting up that much food for that many people involved about three days of prep work by our kitchen staff, 2 days of finding, gathering and packing equipment, decor and the like by our set up staff, and several hours of actual set up time the day of the event. Fortunately, everyone was on their game and it went very smoothly.

The fine folks at TFT were great to work with and happy to help with anything we needed. They even used a scissor lift to string an extension cord to the outside corner for the twinkle lights! With the ceiling being 30+ feet up there, it was no small thing. Just goes to show that having the right tool for the right job is critical! :) We are all now coveting their panel trucks and "mouse carts" (little two shelf storage carts with a skate board behind them for scooting around that big area! Sooooooo fun! And such a huge help with moving lots of stuff around quickly!)

Congratulations Task Force Tips on your beautiful new home! And thanks for letting us be a part of your celebration!

Tamara and Mark 9-13-09

Sunday evening was a reception for Tamara and Mark. I don't think I saw her without a big smile on her face the entire evening! What a wonderful couple! So happy to be with each other.

They chose to use orange and a soft green as their colors, September influence!
The bridesmaids had separates with tops that they chose. With everyone wearing the same color, it was very pretty, and each bridesmaid felt comfortable in the style she chose.

Tamara's gown had a very "vintage" look. Beautiful lace on both the gown and the veil.

The couple that took the honors for "longest married" in the anniversary dance had been married for 61 years! Wow! And they were so cute dancing. You would have thought they were still newlyweds! Maybe that's their secret!

The Hora involved the usual "bride and groom on chairs" thing. I must admit, my heart stops when they do this. I'm always ready to run for the phone to dial 911! I haven't seen them drop anyone--yet--but boy! it is SO scary! I can't imagine what it feels like for THEM!!

Congrats Mark and Tamara!

Amanda and Mike September 12, 2009

Seldom is the weather so spot on, absolutely, perfectly perfect! Last Saturday though, was the all time perfect day in the garden. The temperature was mild, with a slight breeze, the skies were clear. It was one of those weekends where we are glad to live in the Midwest!

Amanda and Mike did some really cute things for their wedding on Saturday. Their "placecards" were beach rocks, with the names painted on the fronts and the table numbers on the backs, it looked very pretty on the table!

Hidden Garden's Jim and Kenton were here setting up the centerpieces and getting everything all prettied up. Linda Monroe did her usual beautiful job with the cake.

Their dip at end of their dance was super!

It was nice to have the freshness of a new color season. They used chocolate brown, a soft green, and bright fall shades--orange, gold, yellow. Very bright and cheery, and so September!

Hard to believe that September is already here! Where did the summer go?

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Beautiful Wedding Cakes!

My daughter, Amy, sent me this link to a site she found with some really incredible wedding cakes. Here's one of them to tweek your interest!

If you go visit the Cake Wrecks blog, be sure to check our her posts about groom's cakes. OMG, they were so funny! Fortunately we haven't had any deer groom's cakes at Aberdeen Manor, yet. Please, if your groom hunts, DO NOT share this with him! This is just for us girls to have a little chuckle about, ok?

Somehow I look at this and hear Bambi yelling "Mother! Mother!" Eeeeeeeeek!

This gal has a bunch more like this. I'll keep you posted. Check her out! Too funny!

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Showers and Thank yous

Today I am going to bring up a controversial topic. Thank you envelopes at showers.
At some showers, the hostess passes out the envelopes for the thank you notes to the guests, and then the guests are asked to address the envelopes to themselves, so that the honoree of the shower will write the thank you, put it in the already addressed envelope and mail it.
I've been at some showers where guests just kind of expected this, and at other showers where some of the guests were offended by it. There was even a guest at one shower who refused to do it.
I think that the theory for doing this is that the busy bride or new mom doesn't have the time to fill out the address for the envelope, so we need to help her out by addressing it for her.

I am tempted to weigh in on this now, but I would rather hear what everyone who reads this blog thinks about it first!

So let's hear it!
Where do you stand on this practice?
If you gave a shower for someone, is this something you would include?
Why or why not?
Any alternative ideas?

I will post my opinion about it next week. First I want to hear what everyone else thinks!

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Isabel and Sean 9-6-09

Sunday afternoon, following the ceremony for Candi and Jeff, we quickly cleaned up and turned things over in the chapel. When Isabel and Sean arrived with their families we were ready and waiting for them. The ballroom was looking grand as well. Isabel, and Sean's mother, Kathy, chose sparkle organza overcloths in mint green and lavender for the tables. The colors were very subtle and soft. The hydrangeas in the arrangements coordinated beautifully with them.

The florals were a combination of lows and highs. The high arrangements were very interesting, with LED downlights under the arrangements that shone down into the glass vase below. As the evening went on, and the lights were turned down for the dancing, they really looked lovely.

They began their afternoon by doing their photos together in the garden so that they would have more time to relax and enjoy the time following their ceremony, and their cocktail hour. They were finished with the photos and ready to go for the ceremony with plenty of time left over.
We did have a few brief sprinkles immediately after the ceremony so it was a good thing they were able to do their pictures in the garden beforehand!
Rather than having placecards, they chose to use a scroll with each guest listed and their table assignment. It's a very pretty alternative to placecards and comes with a very helpful computer program for organizing your guests and tables. Using the scroll also gave them lots of room on the table for their photo mat that their guests filled with signatures and good wishes.

Following the cocktail hour and hors d'oeuvres, with an excellent guitarist, everyone enjoyed a delicious dinner of prime rib and pecan crusted chicken. There is just nothing that smells more enticing than roasting prime rib and baking yeast rolls in our kitchen! It makes me hungry just thinking about it.
Transaudio's Mike was, again, at the mike, for both the ceremony and the reception. He is such a pleasure to work with! Isabel and Sean took advantage of the free dance lesson that Transaudio includes with their service. The crowd went crazy when Sean spun her around and twirled her across the dancefloor!

The dip at the end had everyone cheering and clapping!

Hopefully the photographer got the FRONT view of the dip! :)
You never would have known it was a Sunday night by the way this group partied! Their guests all had a terrific time, and the dance floor was full to the very end.
Wonderful party Isabel and Sean! When the bride and groom dance, so does everyone else! We see it week after week. You two had a lot of fun dancing and partying, and so did your guests.
So that, in three installments, was our weekend at Aberdeen. Three really great couples, and a lot of good times had by all.
By the way, did you know that September is the second most popular month for weddings? June is #1 of course. September and October have statistically the lowest chance of rain (hah! tell that to Katie and Tom last year who had 10 inches of rain on their wedding day 9/14! Floods and the whole nine yards!!!!) Temperatures are usually a little more moderate in September and October too.
We have lots of weddings coming up here in the next few weeks, so I will try to keep up and let you all know what we are doing and post photos.

And just so you know, my posting is governed mainly by my energy level! If I don't post about a wedding, it isn't any reflection on the couple that had the wedding. We have so many wonderful couples, and I strive to come up with new adjectives and ways of describing them and their beautiful weddings. I don't want anyone to have hurt feelings if I don't mention something about their wedding, or write more about one than another. That's what is really hard about having this blog. Just know that it's my amount of energy on Monday and how busy things are, that determines how much gets posted.
As always, I enjoy your comments and welcome any questions you might have. Hopefully my blog will help you with ideas that you can take and work around to fit your day. let me know if I can help!

Candi and Jeff 9-6-09

Early Sunday afternoon we had a small ceremony in the Chapel for Candi and Jeff. Candi came from Texas for the ceremony and arrived in town on Thursday!
They were having a smaller affair, for about 90 people, and their reception was going to be at a local restaurant that's owned by a friend.
They used some really powerful colors! Fuchsia, bright green, and orange! Wow! It packed some punch! Flower Cart did a beautiful job with the flowers (as usual!) I thought the chapel looked amazing!

Don't you just LOVE the moss balls scattered all across the platform? They really made it interesting!

Here's a close up of one of the floral arrangements on the side. Those colors really sing!

Following the ceremony, the couple released the guests row by row. The guests gathered outside the door, and when the last guest went out the door, Candi and Jeff and her son, Bryce, rang the bell and then went out to the waiting hummer limo through a cloud of bubbles. The guests went on to the restaurant for their reception while the wedding party went to do pictures at Taltree Arboretum.

It was such a pleasure getting to know these two, even though it was brief. They are really a delight, and a lot of fun. I'm sure their reception was a blast!

Congrats Candi and Jeff! Stay cool down there in Texas!

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Leslie and Josh 9-5-09

Another busy weekend at Aberdeen Manor!

Saturday evening, Leslie and Josh had their ceremony in the garden. What a perfect day for the garden! The temperature was perfect, the sky was blue with just a dusting of fluffy clouds, just a light breeze (not good for the unity candle; it seemed to stay lit though.)

Two VERY serious flower girls left the little trail of petals down the aisle. They were absolutely intent on getting them perfectly placed. Everyone had a little chuckle over watching them!

Leslie decided to use our newest cake plateau. You can see it above and in the previous post. Her cake looked absolutely beautiful on it.
We now have six plateaus to choose from. One of them we have to get photos of yet. It's a low round, probably 24 inches across, and a mirror sets into it. So it's a silver edge with a mirror for the cake. Very pretty. We've had it quite a while, just haven't used it and gotten a photo, so nobody really knows about it. So now you know! I'll put our fake cake on it and take a picture, that might work.

Leslie and her mother planned a beautiful wedding and reception. Her invitations, programs, and menu cards were all done by Affairs, and came from Envelopments Everything coordinated, one to the next. They were done in shades of ivory, tan and a deep victorian lilac that matched the bridesmaid gowns perfectly. We also provided matching victorian lilac favor boxes that were filled with some decadent little truffles and tied with the narrow ivory ribbon that was used on the invitation and the programs.

We used a special square napkin fold to showcase the very elegant menu card. They also decided to use our ivory bichon tablecloths which added a beautiful shimmer to all the tables.

The flowers were done by Flowers with Jazz. They used some high, some low, some with our cylinder vases, it mixed it up nicely and looked great. The shades of lavender roses, blue larkspur, bright green bells of ireland and Kermit mums , along with pale pastel lisianthus, were stunning in the tall arrangements. The hydrangea were tipped with dark blue to blend them in. In the cylinders they used white dendrobium orchids, and the other tables had low arrangements in clear square containers of hydrangea, roses, and lisianthus.

Dinner was delicious. Hors d'oeuvres during the cocktail hour were followed by a combo plate of bistro filet and pecan crusted chicken. Yummy! Their cake, from Strongbow bakery, was both white and chocolate.

Transaudio's DJ Mike was on the mike, so of course, the events moved smoothly from wedding to reception and on through the evening, like a well oiled machine.

Congratulations Leslie and Josh! Fabulous wedding, wonderful couple! All the best for a wonderful future together, you two!

We move on to Sunday! However that will be a separate post, because I am finding that every time I download a photo, the spacing changes! It's very frustrating!

Saturday, September 5, 2009

The New Cake Plateau!

Here it is gals! Our new SQUARE plateau! Beautiful!