Would you wear leather grown in a petri dish?

This TedTalk from Andras Forgacs presents the possibilities of fashion without the cruelty or environmental impact. PLUS it might actually be better quality leather than what you're wearing today.

4 Reasons to be Happy About Exclusive Catering

While in-house or exclusive caterers often seem pricey, their professionalism, experience, and quality cannot be matched by someone who is inexperienced at catering weddings.

6 Wedding Hacks for Your Big Day

Your wedding day is going to be one of the best days of your life, follow these tips to make it that much better.

Spotlight

Resourceful Bride: 3 Gifts Your Bridesmaids Will Actually Use

Choosing the right gifts for your bridesmaids can be a difficult task. ...

Resourceful Bride: How to Book Your Venue

So, you looked at a few venues online and you have bookmarked ...

Resourceful Bride: Choosing the Shoe That’s Right For You

For the bride who spends her work days in clogs or flats ...

Latest News

Cold Recovery: Sauteed Mushrooms with Leftover Wine

photo

When life gives you week-old wine, make sauteed mushrooms.

When you have a nasty week long cold some things are left undone; laundry, dishes, bathing, and that $40 bottle of wine I opened the night before my body became overrun with germs. That poor wounded soldier was waiting for me to return and watching as I sucked down cup after cup of wimpy herbal tea.  So, tonight I dine on delicious mushrooms sauteed in week-old wine.

My favorite part about this recipe is that it’s so freaking simple (read: I’m lazy).

Saute mushrooms and a few cloves of minced garlic in a little bit of olive oil for about 10 minutes.

Add about a cup of wine, a splash of balsamic vinegar, and then simmer until almost all liquid is gone.

Garnish with fresh basil or parsley.

Boom, tasty treats!

Resourceful Bride: Make It Work Moments

The dress has been purchased, the colors are set, the invitations have been sent, and the DJ has been contracted. Just as you start to relax, it happens…

Every bride has been there, that moment when something goes very wrong. It is at that moment when you decide to either let it break you or you make it work.

Below I share some of my favorite Make It Work Moments;

RG- becky bling

The One Armed Bride

A few weeks ago, I attended a beautiful wedding in a historic catholic church with all the trimmings of a traditional ceremony, but for one small difference: the bride was in an arm cast.

The issue: A few weeks before the wedding Becky,the bride, was preparing food for a birthday party, and cut her hand. The cut was so bad that she required surgery to repair the tendon. Needless to say, she was going to need a quite a few weeks to recover. This meant that she was going to have to walk down the aisle with a giant cast on her arm.

Make It Work Moment: Becky’s colors were purple and silver, with moments of bling throughout the wedding. Instead of freaking out over an ugly cast, she decided to bling it up! As seen in the picture above, Becky added large silver gems to her cast, which completely went with her wedding theme. There was still one issue, her fingers were so sore on the day of the wedding that there was no way her hubby could place a ring on her finger. Instead of stressing out, Becky grabbed the nearest silver chain necklace and the groom placed the ring around her neck for a truly special ceremony moment.

The Great Cake Delay

North Jersey has some of the best Italian Bakeries around, which means that they provide a lot of weddings cakes to brides in the area. One bride that I know was so excited to order from her favorite bakery that she paid extra for it to be delivered to a venue over 3 hours away.

The issue: The cake was set to arrive at the venue around 11:00am the morning of the wedding- plenty of time for the cake to be carefully put in its place, that is, until the van breaks down. The bride gets a call at 11:20am; apparently the delivery person is still two hours away and awaiting a tow truck. He is nervous about the cake and is trying to get someone else from the bakery to meet him so that they can deliver it ASAP.

Make It Work Moment:  It is 12:30pm and she has not heard from the delivery person in quite some time, the ceremony is about to begin.  Just a few moments before walking down the aisle, a clever bridesmaid sends her boyfriend with the wedding coordinator to pick up as many Krispy Krème donuts as they could carry. The bride and groom are big fans of the doughnut chain, so it seemed like a great idea. The coordinator starts to build a mountain of the doughnuts, topped with some pretty flowers,  while the couple says their “I Dos”. When everyone arrives to the reception, the doughnut cake is all the rage with the guests and the bride is smiling from ear to ear.  When the cake finally arrives an hour later, hardly anyone notices its tardiness.

A Heatwave in September

September can be a tricky month for weddings. Early September is very risky, and mid-September can mean the occasional warm day. What is not expected during a mid-September wedding is an all-out heat wave.  

The Issue: Fall was their favorite time of the year and the couple decided to get married in an old rustic church amongst 80 of their closest friends and family members. The problem was, the church did not have air conditioning and the Philadelphia area was experiencing an unprecedented heat wave. The temperature had reached 92 degrees the day before the wedding, and panic started to set in.

Make it Work Moment:  After a scorching wedding rehearsal the bride and bridesmaids went into problem solving mode. They went to the closest home improvement store, bought 2 large industrial sized fans and 4 cases of bottled water. They divided up the water and everyone stashed a case in their freezer to set over night.  In addition to the home improvement store, they stopped by the craft store and found a plethora of fancy hand fans that they could provide to the female guests as they entered the building. That morning, guests were encouraged to take a bottle of frozen water and fan themselves in style. While the wedding was certainly warm, guests appreciated the extra thought that the couple had put into their comfort.

Have you witnessed a Make It Work Moment at a wedding? We would love to hear about it in our comments section below!

Five things that change your apartment from “in transition” to “adult-ish”.

Part 1: The Living Room Edition

You’re all grown up… kind-of. Here are 5 changes you can make that transform your apartment from “I live off of student loans and watch reality TV.” to “I’m technically an adult, please take me seriously.”

 

1. Get a couch and let that broken futon die already.

1Couch

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

2. Make a media center. It sounds douchey, but makes a huge difference.

MediaCenter copy

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

3. Trade your concert posters for art. Flea markets, garage sales, and street venders are great places to find cheap, local, and unique pieces. Oh yeah, you can call them pieces, you’re an adult now.

Art copy

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

4. Destroy every cube-shaped storage bin in sight.

NoCubes

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

5. Hang some real curtains with a real curtain rod.

Seriously, these are so adult.

Curtains copy

 

Vintage Painting is on Etsy

Breathtaking Philadelphia Ceremony Venues for $350

Sphinx Wedding

Back in the day, if you didn’t want to get married in a church your options were pretty much limited to: city hall, an old firehouse, a cookie cutter hotel, or maybe a park.

Now, with a little creativity and an open mind, your low budget wedding could end up in a breathtaking event space.

Below I have highlighted some of my favorite event spaces in Philadelphia that are incredibly unique, accommodating, and very inexpensive to rent for your wedding ceremony;

 

Philadelphia Magic Gardens

Why you should rent this space: You should consider renting Philadelphia Magic Gardens (PMG) if you are looking for a truly unique and fantastical environment to say “I Do”. PMG is a staple in the Philadelphia art community as an incredible evolving folk art piece by Isaiah Zagar. It has the added bonus of being located on one of the most famous streets in the nation, South Street, which provides you and your guests will numerous post-ceremony restaurant and bar options.

Cost: $150-$350 per hour, depending on the day of the week and time of year

Capacity: 75

Pros: Aside from the obviously gorgeous pictures that you will take away from your big day, PMG will provide you with seating and tables as needed.

Cons: Parking is definitely difficult in this area, and PMG does not have a parking lot. There are however, numerous options for public transportation and South Street is a hub for taxi cabs. Also, if you are expecting over 50 guests and you want to serve refreshments, you must use their exclusive catering partner.

Contact:  http://www.phillymagicgardens.org/private/quote

Penn Museum

Why you should rent this space:

Penn museum is without a doubt, one of the most gorgeous and versatile places to say your vows in all of Philadelphia. If you want to get married next to a Sphinx (pictured above), in the stunning Chinese Rotunda, or in a simple garden ceremony, Penn Museum can make it happen.

Cost: Typically, Penn Museum is not the most budget- friendly of spaces to rent; however, they have rolled out a new Weddings: Simple and Sweet package, that will make your jaw drop.

For only $350, the museum will provide you with your choice of a unique space, chairs and a sound system.

Capacity: 25

Pros: On top of getting married in your choice of gorgeous rental spaces, Penn Museum is working on partnering with local restaurants to provide budget friendly options for reception dinners. This package provides all the necessities to make your ceremony happen.

Cons: This package is only offered on weekdays during museum business hours. Also, the capacity is small, as this option is truly meant as an alternative to city hall.

Contact:  rentals@pennmuseum.org  (215) 898-3024

American Swedish Historical Museum

Why you should rent this space:

If you are looking to make a grand entrance into your ceremony, look no further that the ASHM Grand Hall. The staircase is nothing short of incredible. If you are looking for a more intimate setting, take a look at one of their many exhibit spaces that are also available to rent.

Cost: $350 per hour, they are also quite inexpensive for all day rentals

Capacity: varies

Pros: Parking is free and included! They are adjacent to a public park, and therefore, noise restrictions are a non-factor. Their rentals fee for 5 hours is only $1500, so you could continue the festivities out on their grand lawn or any of their other spaces. They have multiple exclusive caterers to choose from and they can provide tables and chairs.

Cons: As with any museum, you cannot control what exhibits might be on display at the time of your nuptials, but if you are not picky this shouldn’t be a huge deal. I suggest meeting with the museum staff well ahead of time to see what they have scheduled to happen in the museum during your event.

Contact: info@americanswedish.org 215.389.1776

As an events manager and blogger in Philadelphia, I have been exposed to some pretty amazing event spaces. I know for certain that many museums, art galleries, and theaters would jump at the opportunity at hosting a wedding. One key thing I have learned in this business is; “You don’t know what is possible until you ask”.

Hot Tip: Why pay for an officiant? Here in Pennsylvania, there is an option to obtain a “self-uniting” marriage license. This means that you can have a friend or family member tailor your ceremony without the hassle of obtaining a license. For more information on getting married in Philadelphia visit;http://secureprod.phila.gov/wills/marriagelicense.aspx

The Tale of The Short Hair Bride

short hair bride

I was not the kind of little girl who imagined herself getting married in a beautiful chapel with a long flowing gown, and to everyone who knew me, it was inevitable that I was going to be a nontraditional bride.It is more than  likely that I had spent too many hours watching Hitchcock movies when I first got it in my head that I must evoke the hair stylings of Grace Kelly on my big day.

After a few months of growing my hair out from the pixie cut that I’ve loved for the better part of a decade, I tried to convince myself that the next inch is when my hair will suddenly feel full, wavy, and elegant. Three months before the wedding, and a week before my bridal shower, I started to panic. My hair did not look glamorous, in fact, it looked weighed down and flat (the way my hair had always looked whenever I attempted to grow it more than a few inches past my jawline). In my state of panic, I decided that the cure for my long hair blues had to be a bottle of platinum blond hair dye. You can probably imagine what happened next: My flat hair had become fried and, instead of Grace Kelly, I looked more like I belonged in an 80s hair band.

I looked awful, and yet, I thought I can make this work, I attended my shower with my  long bleach blond hair and continued to pin my favorite updos onto Pinterest.

The whole wedding was nontraditional- we were getting married in a movie theatre, there would be a marching band, and my husband and I would surprise our guests with a rap performance. It was all so unique, and yet, I was still trying to convince myself that I wanted traditional bridal hair on my wedding day. The problem was, I was not buying it anymore, and after a brief discussion with my Maid of Honor, it was decided that I had to be myself.

I booked an appointment with a salon, one that did not judge me for wanting to be a short hair bride, and chopped off 7 inches of hair a mere 3 weeks before the wedding. There was no turning back.

I have to admit, I was a slightly concerned at first: What if I had made a huge mistake? Well, you know what? The morning of the wedding I felt special, beautiful, and all of the things that a bride should feel. I got married to an amazing person who loves me and, most importantly, I felt like myself while doing it.

The moral of this story is not to encourage droves of newly engaged women to chop off their hair, but to say that your wedding day should be about celebrating who you truly are. If you are a short haired girl, own it! If you have a head full of awesome curls, own it! If you have tattoos up and down your arms, own it! Whatever you do,  stay true to yourself, and you will be a beautiful bride.

How to Get the Most Out of Your Wedding Photographer

Wedding Photography can be pricey, but what is worse than a huge bill is a missed moment. Many people consider their wedding albums a priceless souvenir from the greatest day of their lives, and here I talk with Philadelphia photographer Richard Barnes about how brides can get the most out of their photographer on their wedding day.

When a bride sits down with a photographer for the first time, what are some good questions for her to ask?

“Tell me about yourself. How long have you been a photographer?” There are so many new photographers popping up out there these days that have heard how much money they can make shooting weddings. You need to be careful of that. Also, “do you have more than 1 camera?” in case something malfunctions the day of.

It’s a few weeks before the wedding, ideally, how should the bride prepare for her wedding photos?

RB: Brides often search Instagram and send me samples of photos that they want to do. It’s often possible but it requires work and cooperation on the Brides part more than the photographers. For example, if you see a photo of a Bride and Groom and the entire bridal party laughing and jumping and acting like they’re having the best time of their life….then the Bride needs to 1. Make sure her friends personalities are like that to begin with and 2. Show THEM the pictures in advance and say “this is what we are going to be doing for the pictures, please practice this”. The bride should practice posing in a mirror or with a friend just shooting some simple snapshots.

What makes for a good wedding photo?

RB: Be yourself. SMILE, BE HAPPY (I’ve seen too many couples that just don’t like to smile )

What are some tips on getting really great shots on the wedding day?

RB: Allow enough time to do everything. Cooperation and communication is key. Everyone must know the plan and not just wander off. It will go quickly and smoothly if the Bridal Party knows what is happening next.

Let’s talk makeup- what looks good and what doesn’t in photography?

RC: The wedding day is not the time to try something new. Be yourself. Don’t overdo anything (…it’s not the 80’s anymore). Less is more. Natural and elegant is in.

Finally, any general advice for our brides?

Don’t chew gum during your first dance. The wedding will start late, don’t worry about it. Someone will fight, don’t worry about it. Your shoes and/or your gown will get dirty, don’t worry about it! Don’t over think or over do anything because it will all come together at the end of the night.

barnes

Richard Barnes is a Philadelphia area photographer with 35 years of experience in the field. More of his work can be seen at www.rbarnesphotography.com

Resourceful Bride: What to Buy and What to DIY?

Choosing to DIY your wedding can be a great way to add personality to your big day. It’s important for DIY brides to realize that, unless you are Martha Stewart (meaning you have 5 assistants and a few million dollars in the bank), you are going to have to pick and choose the DIY projects that won’t cause you to turn into a bridezilla.

Here are a few tips on what to buy and what to DIY for your wedding;

The Dress

Image taken from RyanSeacrest.com's "Worst DIY Dresses". Don't let your wedding dress end up on the list.

Image taken from RyanSeacrest.com’s “Worst DIY Dresses”. Don’t let your wedding dress end up on the list.

DIY or Buy?

Do not DIY your dress. Do not allow your Mom or Grandmom or anyone, but Vera Wang herself, to DIY your dress. Why? Because no matter how nontraditional you are, no matter how awesome your Mom is at sewing curtains, and no matter how amazing you think a DIY dress will be- a DIY dress can be spotted a mile away, and not because the hemlines are impeccable. You shouldn’t  spend your entire life savings on a dress, however, making a dress is far too stressful and there are better ways to save a buck. Acceptable alternatives to DIYing your dress are: buying vintage and getting the dress professionally altered, buying second hand and getting the dress professionally altered, and adding DIY pieces to your store bought wedding attire (i.e. veil, jewelry, sash- pretty much anything EXCEPT for the dress).

The Cake

Krispy Kreme wedding cake? Hell yes.

Krispy Kreme wedding cake? Hell yes.

DIY or Buy?

Because I work in the events industry, I have heard some real DIY horror stories, and none are worse than when the cake goes wrong. Unlike the dress, however, I do believe that a DIY cake can work. This is not to say that you should take your wedding as an opportunity to “figure out” fondant. Instead, think about how you might be able to express yourself in a cake-like fashion. I am a big fan of cupcake towers, Krispy Kreme donut mountains, or how about a cookie bar that goes as far as the eye can see? When it comes to wedding cake alternatives, the world is your ice cream bar.

The Flowers

wedding flowers

I purchased my dried wedding bouquets from Etsy user CherubinoCrafts, and I was absolutely thrilled with how they came out. Photo by Love, Sylvia Photography

DIY or Buy?

If you are a bride on a budget, flowers can become the bane of your existence. They are fragile, not eco-friendly, and they cost a TON of money. I have some friends who had good luck buying flowers from a bulk store and arranging them a couple of days before the wedding, but that requires putting faith in a lot of unknown factors. If you are a bride that will freak out two days before the wedding because your perfectly pink azaleas wilted while being flown across the country, then DO NOT DIY your arrangements. If you are like me, and you could care less about having fresh flowers, you can easily order some gorgeous dried bouquets on Etsy for you and your bridesmaids and brainstorm some unique centerpiece alternatives.

The Favors

Adorable seed vials from Etsy user: AproposRoasters

Adorable seed vials from Etsy user: AproposRoasters

DIY or Buy?

Some wedding professionals say that favors are a complete waste of money and that half of your guests will probably leave them behind at the end of the night. Well, they may be right, but darned if I don’t love a creative party favor! Let’s face it, jordan almonds are gross, and there are a million other  ways that you can creatively capture your wedding theme in a small, yet unique, favor. Etsy is full of some clever ideas, one of my favorites being the seed vials pictured above.

All told, DIYing can really enhance your wedding experience, just don’t let it get overwhelming, and remember to ask for help- after all, bridesmaids should do more than just sit around looking pretty in taffeta.

20130906-204901.jpg

DIYing your centerpieces and favors can give you the perfect opportunity to really personalize your wedding, but be careful not to overwhelm or underwhelm your space.

Cranberry Ginger Harvest Cake

photo

Okay, so it’s not Fall yet, but the weather has started to cool down, the kids have all gone off to school, and I am giddy with anticipation for my favorite time of year!
Tonight, I decided to make one of my favorite semi-healthy Autumn treats, topped with a scoop of vanilla ice cream for good measure.

Cranberry Ginger Harvest Cake

Ingredients

1 cup whole wheat flour
1/2 cup oatmeal, or rolled oats
3/4 cup Stevia
2 tbsps brown sugar
cinnamon (1 tsp.)
all spice (1/4 tsp.)
baking soda (1 1/2 tsp.)
salt (1/4 tsp.)
1/2 cup chopped candied ginger
1/2 cup dried cranberries
1/4 cup finely chopped walnuts
2 eggs (beaten)
1/4 cup canola oil
1/4 cup milk
1 tbsp vanilla

There is nothing tricky about this recipe. Set your oven at 350 degrees and grease a 9×9 pan. Toss your dry ingredients together, throw in your chopped ingredients and fold in your wet ingredients (don’t forget to beat your eggs first). Spread your batter evenly into the pan and bake for 30-35 minutes, until golden brown.
For a healthier option than ice cream, drizzle on some local honey and add a spoonful of yogurt. Enjoy!

New Year’s Party Cheese Balls

Need a New Years app? Make your own fancy cheese balls. Roll 2 inch sections of a goat cheese log into a ball and roll in anything. Chives, crushed walnuts, cranberries, and sunflower seeds were pretty tasty.

 

 

So You Forgot…. Gift tags

You forgot gift tags and writing on packages makes you feel like a slacker. Raid the holiday cards you received this year and cut off the covers. You now have a nice stack of gift tags and did at least one green thing this holiday.

If you know a few people with a sense of humor, use the family portrait cards in your stack. Children during their awkward years + geeky sweaters is comedy gold.