Thursday, January 26, 2012

Getting the Most Out Of A Bridal Show

Bridal shows are a magnet for newly-engaged couples.

It's the first taste of your new life adventure. 

Everyone there is excited for you; eager to help you put together the wedding of your dreams. 

There are lots of vendors in one place; all putting their best work on display.

Choice, choice, and more choice.

The logical place to start, right?

Yes and no.

Don't get me wrong. Bridal shows are great – no doubt about it.

A world of information.

What's new, what's trendy, and what's available in your area.

But … you do not want to come away from a show with names and faces blurring in your mind, thirty pieces of paper stuffed into a bag, and the feeling of being overwhelmed even before you've started the hardcore planning.

I see that a lot at shows.

Brides and grooms walking in a daze from one booth to another.

Their eyes glazing over as they try to take it all in.  

So how do you avoid that?

Know what you can afford to spend.

Before you go anywhere near a bridal show, you need to know what your wedding budget is.

This may involve uncomfortable discussions with contributing family members (a discussion for another time), but the bottom line is .. the bottom line is important! 

You need to know what your spending limits are at the outset. 

So that you won't realise something you like is beyond your means once you've already set your heart on it, and, more importantly, so that you do not incur debt.

Praez Occasions

Do your homework.

Take the time to find out who the vendors are going be at any given show - and run some internet searches. 

There are very few vendors without a website these days, and plenty of them have blogs as well. 

Check those same vendors out on Facebook. If they have a business page they should have recent material which you can look at. 

Follow their tweets. 

Read their testimonials. 

Look online for reviews. 

See if other wedding professionals are recommending them.

You can get a real sense of what a vendor can do  – and then relate to it or not. 

This will help you to do a lot more than just window shop at a show.

Picture This of CT

Don't be afraid of consultations.

You've done your research and you're standing in front of a vendor's booth admiring his or her handiwork. 
But there are other couples around you – all wanting a few moments of that vendor's time. 

Don't shy away from the offer of a consultation if you like the vendor's work. You need to be sure that this vendor is a good match for your personality and vision – and you can't always get a feel for someone in five minutes. Just as they can't get a feel for you. The relationship with vendors is a two way street. They need to be as comfortable with you as you are with them – and there's really no other way to do that than to sit somewhere quietly and learn more about one another.

Bridal shows are a resource for brides and grooms. So don't just wader around the booths. Go prepared. You'll walk away with something tangible if you do!

Happy planning!

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Share the dress

The fabulous Carisa Lockery (of CR Socials) and I put our heads together recently - and decided to hold a joint contest.

Ever wonder what kind of necklace goes best with the neckline of your wedding dress?

Or whether you should forego a necklace completely?

Well here's your chance to find out ... and win a $75 gift certificate from lili lutu and $75 towards a Day-Of-Coordination package from CR Socials.

$75 will get you a really nice piece of jewelry - and shipping is on me.

Entering couldn't be easier.

Like lili's wedding corner on Facebook, and then upload a photo of your wedding dress - or dream wedding dress - to the page.

I'll leave a comment telling you which kind of necklace would pair well with the dress and that will be that.
You'll be entered into the contest.

If you feel uncomfortable posting a photo of your dress (or of you in it), don't worry. Just like the page and leave a post saying that you've sent me the photo in a private message (at lili lutu). That way I will be the only person seeing the dress and you can still enter the contest.

The winner will be chosen via

That will take care of Round One.

A second contest - hosted by Carisa - will follow next week.

Photos will be accepted till 1300 EST on Saturday, November 5th, 2011.

That's 11/05/11 at 4pm EST.

Good luck!

Monday, February 14, 2011

Happy Valentine's Day Drawing

Happy Valentine's Day everyone.

Lets celebrate with an open heart necklace!

The drawing is being held in my online store, and will end at 2330 EST tonight, February 14th. The winner will be announced on Facebook on the 15th, as well as in a comment here on the blog.

Good luck!

Monday, November 8, 2010

CT Bridal Event - a recap

Bridal shows rock!

There's really no other way to put it.

Over the past year and a half or so I've participated in several as a vendor, and I've loved each and every one. But I have to say that being able to participate both as a vendor and as a blogger is simply awesome.

For the past four years, Kia Martinson-Wenzel of ESTOccasions has organized the CT Bridal Event. So far it's always been Fall affair - but, based on the popularity of the event, that is set to change. A Spring show is being added in 2011, and can I just say ... I think it's a splendid idea!

Yesterday's event was held at UConn's Alumni Center in Storrs, CT. In a reception hall filled with the most wonderful natural light streaming in from countless windows and a really great staircase. Talk about making a grand entrance coming down these stairs!

Alumni Center

Julie Sweeney (below) oversees events at the Alumni Center.

Julie Sweeney

Networking has taken me in exciting directions over the past several months - and I am happy to report that yesterday's vendors were among the most interesting I've ever met. 

Tiff's Wicked Cakes
Must say I was extremely glad that my children were gone by the time Tiffany Flanagan arrived with the Groom cake featured above. I suspect that despite the sign, they would have had a hard time staying away from those whiskers! I had a hard time myself, truth be told.

Creative Cookies by Jennifer
I spent a fair amount of my time familiarizing myself with the products on offer but, alas, my photo-taking skills need serious honing. I can't give all of the vendors present pictorial representation in this blogpost, but you should get an idea. I'll be showcasing many of them in more details as the weeks roll by, too.

Mary Kay

I was thrilled to discover that the people behind Chocolate Covered Affair not only have plans to open up retail space, but they are planning to offer gluten-free treats. We'll be catching up with them very soon!
HGK Designs
As I traveled between the various rooms and displays, something jumped out at me. There was a sense of camaraderie between strangers that is not easy to come by  at shows. Kudos to Kia here - because she clearly knows her vendors. It certainly made the whole experience that much more pleasurable!

London and Hartmann Photography
AIS Audio Media Solutions
UConn Department of Dining Services

Cam Fogg
Now while the rest of us were manning our tables downstairs, the ladies from Love Me Two Times were upstairs ...

... attending to brides-to-be at a wonderful trunk show. 

There were dresses, shoes .. and bling!

Love Me Two Times

Pre-loved designer dresses at absolutely fantastic prices! Imagine getting your bridal gown for $49 or $99!

Sandi from Love Me Two Times with brides

And because I know you are all dying to know just who the Soon-To-Be Mrs. Turner really is, I'll end with a photo of her .. in her prospective wedding veil.

Meet ... Ashley.

Soon-To-Be Mrs. Turner

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Invitation Week: Praez Occasions

Cake by JCakes

Last year I was a rookie in the industry. Although I'd made jewelry for weddings, I hadn't spent much time in the presence of other wedding professionals. 

That changed in early December 2009 - when I was invited to a networking event by Connecticut Perfect Wedding Guide.

It's no understatement to say that the course of my life changed that night.

I caught the bug.

And since blame needs to be laid somewhere, I'll credit these two lovely ladies, who were introduced to me by ... my husband! He came along as my guest (handholding at its finest) and did his fair share of networking on my behalf.

You know how people say that the conversation flowed like wine?

It did that night!

Architecture, ceramics, and the Old World (which is where I was headed a few days later) in the space of a few short hours. And we parted with a promise - that I would bring back a piece of the Old World in the form of lace from my homeland.

I am happy to say I kept my promise, and that when we met again in February of 2010 I was given a personal introduction to the world of Praez Occasions.

What a world!

Praez Occasions is a full-service design firm with an unconventional flair for making lasting impressions.  

The focus is on helping clients announce their affairs with exceptional quality and sophistication; expressive of their distinct vision, style and persona.

Praez Occasions was birthed in 2004 - as an extension of its mother company Praez Media; to provide couture, bespoke invitations to brides, corporate and individual clients alike.

Rae Boykin and Zeb Powell came from corporate backgrounds in business administration, marketing and accounting, but were disenchanted by the mundane, cookie-cut, customized invitation companies available to them. Thus began a journey, through their innate passion for graphic design, font and paper, to unite their two passions into what is known today as Praez Occasions.

Design for Therez Fleetwood Bridal of Dallas, Texas

Zeb and Rae have this to say about their art. 

Inspired by everything around us, we design and hand-craft custom creations that entail rich tones, textures and unique embellishments from around the world.

Authentic Swarovski crystals, beautiful jeweled brooches and pins, imported Thai silk boxes, folios, wraps and pouches.


Save the Date cards, invitations, programs, escort and menu cards are all fabulously handcrafted to the clients' specifications (including use of different languages) and shipped all over the world.

Today's luxury events require a higher level of detail and impeccability than beautiful paper and fonts, Rae says. We answer the call with exquisite options that take your stationery to the next level.

Photo by Dina Rudick for the Boston Globe

They are certainly getting their point across.

Not only are they signature partners of Chad Michael Peters - the renowned floral and event guru from Boston - they have also been featured in several high end publications and websites.

Grace Ormonde

Well Wed   

The Ritz-Carlton        

Luxurious Weddings        

I have to add here that - upon request - Zeb and Rae can also service your event with sustainable specialty papers that are eco-friendly, FSC / SFI certified, and even tree-free.

If you're looking for people you can trust to take your vision and bring it to life, I can't recommend Praez Occasions highly enough. And as you can see - their work truly does speak for itself.

Experience the difference Praez Occasions makes – and see what gorgeous things they can do for your next event!

Visit their website, email them on, follow them on Facebook, or call them, toll-free, on 888.697.7239.

Alternatively you can talk to them on Skype using praezoccasions.

If you are in Connecticut, you can visit them (by appointment) at their studio.

60 Connolly Parkway
Suite 10C
Hamden, CT 06514

This Sunday, November 7th, Zeb and Rae will be at the Perfect Bridal Extravaganza at The Woodwinds in Branford. The first few brides to visit their table will get $100 gift certificate towards their invitations - so make sure you get there first!

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