Friday, December 7, 2012

How to Not Invite Children to Your Wedding

Here is a post I came across today at a blog titles "Oh Lovely Day"  It's very well done and I thought I should share it with you, since this is one of the questions I am asked frequently.
So if you click on the title, it will take you to this very well written article! 

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Sisters Bridal Closes--Brides are Jilted!

Wow, in this morning's paper there is an article about Sister's Bridal closing their doors and leaving a lot of brides high and dry without their gown(s). Unfortunately, I have been expecting this for a long time.  We removed them from our favorites list several years ago because they were "short selling". This is how it works;  you come in and choose a gown at XYZ Bridal Shop, and instead of ordering YOUR gown with the down payment, XYZ orders Jane Smith's gown, who came in six months ago and picked her  gown out and made a deposit (which XYZ used to order the gown of a bride who's wedding was closer)!  Then XYZ waits for another bride to come in and put money down for HER gown to place the order for YOUR gown.  It's a vicious cycle, and basically a downward spiral because they are always hoping someone will order a dress, so that they can purchase the dresses that someone has already ordered (but they've already spent their deposits).  Stores that start doing this get into sticky wickets with their suppliers too, because they are waiting on their money, and the suppliers put them on COD delivery so that they know they will get paid.  Basically they are robbing Peter to pay Paul, as the old saying goes. 
A reputable gown shop will not require full payment up front, if they ask for that much, beware!

Unfortunately a lot of  brides have been caught in the crossfire.  If you are one of these brides, Here Comes the Dress here in Valpo, might be able to help you get your gown.  Here is the comment they posted on the article:

"We are another Valparaiso bridal boutique, and we've been able to assist brides who've been unable to get their dresses from Sisters. We can contact the same designers and get the dresses re-routed to our store for pick up. If you know of anyone in distress, they can contact us. 219.728.1328 or"

We're also willing to do what we can to help at Affairs.  This sort of thing just shouldn't happen to a bride, but unfortunately it does. 

Have you been affected by this closing?  Leave a comment and share your experience, in the hope that it will help other brides avoid a heartache like this in the future.

Saturday, June 2, 2012

Polka Dot Bride's Suggestions for What to Do and Not Do for Your Wedding!

One of my favorite wedding blogs is Polka Dot Bride which comes from Australia.  This morning I was catching up on some back posts and found this one which talks about do's and don'ts for your wedding.
I thought it was very well done, and I couldn't say it better myself, so I'm giving you the link to go read it. 
I am particularly in agreement over the "hiring professionals" for your wedding.  I can't even count how many couples have been disappointed with their photos because "a friend" did theire photography, or they found someone really cheap; unfortunately, you get what you pay for.  In this day of digital SLR's there are a lot of people out there calling themselves "wedding photographers"--beware! 

We've had major DJ or "lack of DJ" disasters with ipods loaded with 30,000 songs to provide the music for a wedding.  Yes, the ipod did play the music, however everything else that the DJ does was NOT there--and it really showed.  I have said many times, if a DJ only played music, I could put CD's on my sound system and play music, and save people a lot of money!  Of any service you hire for a wedding, your DJ is probably the most critical when it comes to having a fabulous party.  They keep things moving, keep the guests informed of what's going on and what will be happening shortly, they do all the introductions and announcements, and yes, they play music (and reading the crowd is an art too, a good DJ knows what music is getting them out there to dance--very important).

So click on over to the Polka Dot Bride's post, I think everyone can learn something important from it.

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Showered With Love

I think the best thing about being in this business is having the opportunity to have a party of our own once in a while!  Having all the resources at hand to make it really special.  I really enjoy planning parties, and carrying a theme through the entire event, from the first moment that the guests receive their invitations. 
Last Sunday we had Megan's baby shower!  Her little baby girl is due in mid May.  We started planning this in December, and my office has been totally overwhelmed with  stuff for the shower!
We chose a letterpress invitation from Spark! Letterpress Love for the shower (sorry about the white blotch, but I had to blot out some private contact info there).  It was printed in taupe and lavender, and set the theme for the entire event--bird's nests, birds, bird houses--as well as the colors--lavender, pink, soft green.  The colors were inspired by the colors of Dutch Mints--my favorite candy!  I've always not only loved the wonderful minty taste, but also the soft pastel colors of these mints.

We had so much fun planning the theme and all the little touches we could add.  My kitchen staff went above and beyond the call with the luncheon!  It was amazing!  So many cute little touches.  The deviled eggs that looked like little chicks were adorable! 
Megan was kept on a "need to know" basis, which about drove her crazy!  We didn't really tell her what the whole plan was beforehand, so it was so much fun to surprise her.  Her reaction when she saw the room and all that we had done, made it all SO worthwhile!
I'm just going to post all the photos here for you to enjoy.  It was such a fun afternoon. I can't tell you all how much I appreciate the help of everyone at Aberdeen, especially Patti, Jen and Kim!  They did an amazing job with the lunch!  Kathy was a huge help setting everything up, and Julie and Becca and Kathy did such a great job of keeping everything rolling and managing everything so that I could sit down and enjoy the shower.  We have such a wonderful team at Aberdeen.  It is so much fun to work with all of our awesome coworkers!  What a pleasure.  After 13 years at Aberdeen I still love going to work every day.

Here are some photos of the shower for you to enjoy:

Apologies for the somewhat random order  of these photos!  I am a better party planner than I am a Blogger!!  :)
We served two punches, a peach-strawberry sangria and a non alcoholic fruit punch. 
My oldest daughter, Amy, was a huge help with the invitations and keeping track of the RSVP's.  She also took care of the wish cards, and the bingo cards.  Most importantly, she did the impromptu MCing of the party, and saved me from "public speaking" which is something I really don't feel comfortable with! :)
On the table as guests arrived, we had the "Wish Cards" for everyone to fill out for Kate.  It was a little idea we all had loved on Pinterest.  We have a little album for them to go into, and took photos of each of the guests at the shower to put with their wish card.  I think it will be something that Kate will treasure for years to come. 
We didn't get into a lot of shower games.  We did bingo boards for the guests to check off different gifts as they were opened.  I like that one because it gives folks something to do while the gifts are being opened.  Kacie, one of Megan's dear friends, provided some terrific little prizes for that.  Megan's mother in law, Marie, took care of the "diaper raffle" for us, and did a smashing job!
My sister in law, Kathy, helped me put together and decorate all the little birdhouse favors.  They turned out so cute.  We filled them with Dutch Mints (of course!)
Trey pin spotted the centerpieces, which really made them pop, even with the daylight outside.  He also put a lavender uplight on the trees in the corners which was a nice little touch. 
So now Megan has lots of lovely new things for her little baby!  Their living room looked like a pink bomb had hit it on Sunday night!
Thanks for indulging me, I hope you enjoy seeing our little party.  It was so much fun, I just want to do it all over again!

Monday, February 13, 2012

Letterpress Love

At Affairs, the letterpress company we deal with is Spark! Letterpress Love.  I know now where their name comes from.  I always thought it was just that they "loved" the final product--the deeply impressed print, the yummy papers--I had no idea.  Then I went with a friend to the Old Mill House Gallery and Printing Museum.   The owner, Jim Anderson, is an encyclopedia of information on printing, printing equipment, processes, and basically, everything related to the printed word.
Jim, also known as "Boe", grew up in Ybor City which is the Cuban area of Tampa where they had a big cigar industry years ago.  It's an interesting area. Incidentally, he also plays blues on the bass with other musicians, and he runs a little restaurant with authentic Cuban dishes.  In addition, he does reinactments of a freed slave named Fielder Harris at a local historical site.  Jim started out in the printing industry at age 14 and learned the trade.  He loved the old equipment and machines, and when computers started to obselete these beauties, he started buying them up.  He has some amazing machines.  My favorite is the Chandler Price press which is from the very early 1900's.  Just the sound of it is awesome.  I could listen to it purr for hours.   He has an amazing room full of old printing machines--linotype machines (used to set type automatically--a machine that works much like a computer actually! But that's another post!) printing presses of all different sizes, makes and shapes, and boxes and boxes and BOXES of type! 
So I asked Jim to explain the printing process to me so that I could take pictures and pass the information on to you, my blog readers, in hopes of conveying to you the art that this really is.  This type of printing is VERY labor intensive.  It isn't something where somebody pushes a few buttons and then goes off to do something else while it prints a thousand copies.  This requires a human to set it all up, feed it, and run it, every second that it is working.  When you receive a letterpress invitation, note card, or business card, you are actually receiving a little individual work of art--a treasure from the past that has been kept alive by a small group of dedicated, passionate individuals.

So, how does it all begin?  Before anything else can happen, the design has to be decided, and the type has to be set.  EACH LETTER is an individual piece.  You may have seen these wooden blocks with letters on them in antique stores.  The letters started out being made of wood, and later they were made from lead.

The type is taken, letter by letter, and placed into a "type stick"--a wood or metal tray which is held in one hand and the other hand picks up the individual letters and sets them into the stick to compose a line.

 Keep in mind, the line is composed backwards, and upside down!  AND all the letters are backwards. 
 The lines are then put together to make a page inside a metal frame called a "chase".  The printer uses a surface called a "stone" which is normally made from very smooth, flat, marble, to set the type which is known as "composing the type".   The surface has to be smooth and flat so that the pieces in the chase are all evenly high or low.  If the type is not set all at the same level, some letters will be darker and deeper than others, because they will pick up the ink differently on the press, and it won't look even. 
When the type is all positioned in the chase, the printer then has to fill in the spaces between the type, so that something will hold the print in place.  For this they use "furniture", little plain blocks, that are set lower than the type so that they won't pick up any ink when the chase is put in the press.
Then the printer uses a device called a "quoin" to lock the furniture and type tightly into place.  The whole assembly has to be perfectly tight, or it will slip and move when it's put on the press and the printed pieces won't all be the same, and they won't stay in nice neat lines.  The quoin is tightened with a key that expands it so that the type is all held tightly in place. 
When the chase is filled and locked with the quoins, it is called a "forme".  The forme is then placed into the press.
This is a picture of a small little tabletop press.  The circle of metal you see is the "ink disk" where the ink is placed.  The red cylinder below is the "ink roller" which when you operate the press, goes up to the ink disk and picks up the ink. The forme is below the ink disk in the sort of square area between the ink roller and the ink disk.  The individual piece of paper is placed in the area just below the handle you see on the front.  So when the operator pushes down on the handle, the whole assembly kind of clamps together, the ink roller goes up to the ink disk, picks up the ink and inks the forme, then it all pushes together to put the image on the paper.  Whew!!!  I have a little video I took of Jim operating this little press that might make all this a little more clear:

So, of course, a company that is making letterpress invitations isn't using a little tabletop model like the one you see here.  They are most likely using a much larger, heavier, floor standing motorized model.  But the initial set up work is still there,  whether it is done on a tabletop or a floor standing large press, it is still a little piece of art. 

I hope that this will give you more insight into the beauty of letterpress invitations.  Yes, they are more expensive than thermography or conventionally printed invitations, but they are so special!  When you send your guests a letterpress invitation, you are sending them a message about what your wedding is going to be--VERY special!  These are definitely refrigerator invitations!
Here is a video I found on Youtube showing a little more about the whole process, with some great commentary.

Oh, ok, one more:

So when you are choosing your invitations, whether they are thermographed, flat printed or letterpress, be sure that you think about the impression that your invitation will make when your guest opens the envelope and holds it in their hands.  What message will it convey? What will it tell your guest about your party? Will it tell your guest what to expect at your wedding? If you ask yourself these questions when you are choosing your invitations, you will find the perfect choice to send to your guests!
And remember, we are here to help you find that perfect invitation!

Cast Your Vote! Which do you like better?

When Megan and I were at the Association of Bridal Consultants conference in Baltimore last November, we found a company at the trade show that has these darling little wagons and carriages that would be PERFECT for a little ringbearer or flowergirl that weren't quite big enough to walk down the aisle themselves.  Yeah, I know, people use wagons.  Somehow the red wagon just doesn't work for me, unless the color for the wedding is red!  These are so pretty, and could be decorated with an appropriate color to match the wedding. 

So here is the controversy.  Megan likes one and I like the other!  I'm not going to tell you who likes what because I don't want to taint the results.  So we need you all to cast your vote for which one you think is the cutest/would be the best for using in a wedding.  And if you think we are nuts and should just continue with the wagons, let us know that too! 
I'm looking forward to your comments! Thanks!

Saturday, January 28, 2012

The Special Event--Really Special!!

This last week was a busy one for Megan and I!  We spent four days in Tampa, Florida for a conference which is put on by ISES, The International Special Event Society.  Can I just say, AWESOME!!!!!
We went to meetings and presentations on all sorts of event production related topics.  I attended sessions on floral design, general trends and directions that the event industry is headed, lighting, as well as some on the more nuts and bolts aspects of the business.  I feel like my head is going to explode with all the new stuff! :)

 This was from a class on doing simple things with flowers that don't necessarily require a florist.  This is something we do a lot!  We really got some terrific ideas for simple centerpieces, decor, aisle runners, etc.  This was an herb wreath that was tied to the bride's chair with a pretty ribbon.  The wreathes smelled divine! The little table was done with a "vintage romantic" theme.  Lots of silver mercury glass, roses, ranunculus, mums, candles.  It was lovely! The main speaker was Ian Prosser who had an entire alphabet of letters behind his name!  He also had an absolutely delightful accent and a terrific sense of humor.  Just listening to him was so entertaining!
 This class titled "Four Weddings and a Budget", discussed four wedding schemes with very expensive tables, where they showed how the table could be done more economically.  What was most interesting about this class was that the floral arrangements really drove the cost of the tables up! They showed one table where the centerpiece alone was $1200!!!!!  Not thinking we are going to see a lot of those at Aberdeen Manor!
This class was on having hard goods on hand that could be reused and repurposed.  We have accumulated quite an inventory at Aberdeen Manor.  It was fun to see some new and fresh ways of using some of the things we already have!

So what were some of the trends and directions that weddings are headed this year?  Well, according to Pantone--the world renown gurus of color--the color of the year is TANGERINE TANGO!  If I had to describe it, I guess I would call it a deep red orange.  Now since orange is probably my least favorite color, I'm sure you can guess how excited I was about this news!  Fortunately though, it's actually a pretty orange (I never thought I would say that about any orange!) and with the right accent colors it could be gorgeous!

Last year the "color of the year" was honeysuckle, which was actually a sort of dark pinky mauve.  We will probably start seeing more of it in weddings this year and next.  It takes us a while in Indiana for these things to filter in from the coasts! :)
Silver continues to hold firm as the metallic accent of choice, however gold is beginning to make a comeback.  And of course, bling, crystals, sparkly things, are all still huge in weddings.
The three big trends in weddings that we heard lots of talk about? 
First, the romantic, blingy, vintage theme is huge.  Lots of lace and ruffles, lush linens, extravagant centerpieces and florals with lots of hydrangea, roses, garden flowers, tons of candles.  soft colors or even all neutrals. 
Another popular theme, was the country/shabby chic direction.  Antiques, wildflowers, milk glass, mason jars, handpainted signs, homemade jam for favors, you get the idea.
The third trend we saw mentioned quite a bit, was Urban Sleek.  Lots of clean lines, minimal fuss, sharp contrasting color palettes, really, totally opposite to the other two trends! 
Of course the one thing we all agreed on was that when it comes to weddings, there are no rules!  And the trends and themes of weddings all get mixed and matched on a regular basis.  What is important is that all the elements hang together.  So you might be shooting for an urban sleek sort of wedding, but you love the "bling" so maybe you would have circles of faceted ribbon around the sleek cylinder vases on your tables. 
Another hot trend is the David Austin garden roses.  SO beautiful!  And they smell awesome!!
Take a closer look at the one in the center--that's called Green Eyes.  They are amazing! 
It's so different!  Here's an even closer look:
Isn't that an interesting look?  Can you see it in a very modern bouquet?  Or mixed with other flowers in a country bouquet?  I thought at first they had somehow stuck a green Trix in the middle of a white rose!

When push comes to shove, you go with what you love, and somehow it all ends up working together.  That's what's so much fun about weddings and being in "the biz"!  We get to play with all these themes and colors, designs and ideas--I LOVE MY JOB!!!!!!

There is so much more to talk about, but I'm concerned that all these photos are going to stop up the download, so I'm going to stop for now and see if this works.  I'll write more about the conference tomorrow! As if all of these fabulous sessions weren't enough, they had a huge trade show!!  OH MY!!!!  So there's lots more to report!  Stay tuned!

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Aberdeen featured in Wedding Essentials Magazine!

We are very proud to tell you that the feature article in the current issue of Wedding Essentials was shot right here at Aberdeen Manor!  We had a great time with the staff and photographers from Wedding Essentials.  They spent an entire day here in late November, shooting all the pictures for the article.  And it turned out gorgeous!  The color palette was "peacock colors"--royal blue, teal green, deep purple-- awesome colors to work with!
For the shoot, we provided invitations, tables settings and linens, menu cards and place cards, hors d'oeuvres, an entree plate, tuxes, and the backdrop of our ballroom and chapel.  We decorated the cake table with peacock feathers, and even made it snow over the dance floor!  We had a great time planning all the different aspects of the photos and figuring out how we could best
Click on the link above to see the current issue online, or stop by and we'll be happy to give you your own personal copy--we'll even autograph it for you! :)