Friday, April 29, 2011

Happy Hour! Easy Breezy Lemonade

Easy-Breezy (they will think it's homemade!) Lemonade
1 bottle of Simply Lemonade with raspberry, found at your local grocer
1 2-litre bottle of Ginger Ale
Frozen raspberries, found at your local grocer
Several sprigs of fresh mint
Vodka to taste
Mix all ingredients and serve over ice.  Can serve in mason jars or champagne flutes for added charm.  Put a few raspberries in the glasses before you pour the lemonade.   If you have extra time, add the mint sprigs to the lemonade bottle the night before; this will give the lemonade and mint time to marry.

And!  To make it EXTRA special, we LOVE this drink served in a mason jar!   (honestly, we love almost ANYTHING served in a mason jar)!! 

Happy Friday! 

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Wedding Wednesday! Flower Girl and Ring Bearer Books

Flowers Girls and Ring Bearers are such a special (and CUTE) addition to weddings, but for many small children, the idea of walking down the aisle in front of a lot of people may seems SCARY!  Also, they take their duties very seriously and as adults, we need to remember that this is a BIG DEAL for them and it is best to get them comfortable with their job early on, so that they are not only comfortable with it, but good at it, too! 

Fortunately, there are some adorable books out there designed for this very thing.  Here are a few that we recommend.   As the bride, it is cute to send this book or give it to your flower girl/ring bearer months before the wedding so that they can read it all along.  A special inscription in the book will make it a keepsake for them for many years after. 

For Flower Girls:

Fiona the Flower Girl  $15.99 on The Knot

This one is GREAT for flower girls' aged 2-5. The Flower Girl $12.50 available at A Special

And now for the boys...

The Best Ever Ring Bearer  Barnes and Noble for around $10

10 Cool Things About Being a Ring Bearer for $8.95
The Ring Bearer $8.95 at Barnes and Noble.

As you can see, some of these books are by the same author and follow similar themes for both ring bearer and flower girl.  It's very charming to provide a set if siblings or cousins are both in the wedding.  They will love to read the books together. 

Monday, April 25, 2011

National Press: AE comments on Wedding Etiquette

Thank you to Contributing Writer, Shiloh Todorov for including us in the piece about Wedding Etiquette.  This is one of our very favorite topics!

You can always send your questions our way.  Feel free to email at   The source and details of the questions will always remain confidential. 

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Wedding Wednesday: Linens!

Don't underestimate the importance of linens!  We are big fans of using linens to achieve your overall design needs.  Yes, most venues will provide a standard linen and napkin, and although an upgraded linen may seem like an unnecessary cost (Why rent a linen when the venue provides them??), trust us when we tell you that a $15 overlay or $12 runner will do far more for your ambiance than even a floral arrangement (which you will spend so much more on)!

Let's look at a few examples:

Take a look at this cute table.  Notice!  No flowers!  The linen was under $20 which alleviated the need for an arrangement at all.  With $3 in votives, we stayed within the theme of Black and White Bash and saved a lot!

For this event, we did use the standard white linen (always make sure they are floor length!!) but we added so much depth by renting the red sashes and napkins which complemented the simple centerpiece of rose petals.  Imagine this canvas without the red sashes and napkins - it would be white, white, white.  Napkins can run as little as $1.30 per napkin and sashes as little as $2.00.   For a 100 person event, you are looking at as little as $350 to make a BIG statement!  Again, votives add that final touch. 

If you would like to use a white linen, still consider upgrading to soft ivory or very light beige linen and using a napkin as an accent color.  It just adds the tiniest bit of panache without making the room dark (which is definitely a benefit of light linens)!! 

We could talk about linens for hours.   They are our favorite event accessory!  So many options and so many price points.   There is something out there for everyone.  Don't settle for the standard - you are better than that! 

Friday, April 15, 2011

Happy Hour! Punched up Punch

Punch is so timeless and so delicious!   We can think of very few things that shout PARTY better than punch!  Here are a few recipes to try at your next soiree. 

Classic Lime Punch with Vodka

2 quarts lime sherbet
2 liters ginger ale
1 (46-ounce) can pineapple juice
Lemon slices
Lime slices
Maraschino cherries

In a punch bowl, add 2 quarts of lime sherbet. Then add ginger ale and pineapple juice. Decorate with lemon and lime slices and some maraschino cherries.  To spike the punch, add chilled vodka to taste. 

Champagne Punch


1 bottle champagne
48 oz. fresh-squeezed orange juice
48 oz. pineapple juice
3/4 c. peach brandy (add more to taste)
1 pkg. frozen sweetened strawberries
32 oz. bottle club soda
Fresh peaches & strawberries
Place frozen strawberries into chilled punch bowl. Add juices, brandy and champagne or ginger ale. Add ice & fresh fruit. Add club soda and stir.
Bourbon punch with pink grapefruit and mint

1/3 cup water
1/3 cup sugar
15 fresh mint sprigs, divided
4 cups strained fresh pink grapefruit juice
2 1/2 cups bourbon
12 dashes angostura bitters
1 cup club soda
1 ice block

Stir 1/3 cup water and sugar in small saucepan over low heat until sugar dissolves. Increase heat and bring to boil. Add 5 fresh mint sprigs. Remove from heat; cool syrup completely.
Strain syrup into punch bowl. Add juice, bourbon, and bitters; mix in soda and 10 mint sprigs. Add ice to bowl.  Use pretty fresh fruit for garnishes. 

Note, all recipes can be served without alcohol.   Just swap in ginger ale. 


Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Wedding Wednesday: To see or not to see, that is the question.


We get asked all the time whether or not couples should do a "first-look"moment rather than waiting until she is walking down the aisle.  There are benefits to a first-look, for sure, but the tradition of not seeing each other until the ceremony is one we just don't think you should buck.   

The first-look moment allows couples to see each other before the ceremony and take pictures prior to the ceremony, rather than cramming all of the pictures in to the cocktail hour.  And while this is great from a logistics standpoint (sure makes your photog's job easier, too), we just think you lose the special moment of seeing each other for the first time AT THE ALTER. 

That moment of walking towards your groom or watching your bride walk down that aisle is so incredibly priceless.  The raw emotion, the symbolism, the moment you actualize that you are walking to your future...all of these (in our humble opinion) outweigh being able to attend your cocktail party and get a few more pictures in good light. 

Friday, April 8, 2011

Happy Hour! We still love lychee...

Yum!  Lychee!   Many thought that the lychee would be a flash-in-the-pan when it came to cocktail staples, but it has proven the critics wrong!  Whereas, the lychee martini may not be served as the newest, hippest thing around anymore, there are still plenty of new and innovative lychee drinks out there.  We love serving lychee cocktails.  They are tasty, interesting to look at and very few people do not like lychee.  It's sweet without being too sweet, and we could go on for hours. 

Try this yummy cocktail, either tonight for Happy Hour or serve it at your next party.

Lovely Lychee Martini Ingredients:
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1 cup drained canned lychees (15 to 20, from a 16- to 20-oz can)
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • 6 oz (3/4 cup) vodka (preferably Grey Goose)
  • 1 1/2 oz (3 tablespoons) Cointreau or other orange-flavored liqueur

  • Special equipment: a cocktail shaker

Heat sugar and water in a 1-quart saucepan over high heat, stirring, until sugar is dissolved, then pour into a heatproof bowl set in a large bowl of ice and cold water. Let stand, stirring occasionally, until syrup is cold, about 3 minutes.

Purée lychees with sugar syrup and lemon juice in a blender until smooth, then force through a fine-mesh sieve into a bowl, pressing hard on solids and then discarding them. Fill cocktail shaker halfway with ice cubes and add lychee purée, vodka, and Cointreau. Shake 15 seconds and strain into Martini glasses.

This is a little time intensive, but definitely worth it. 

Here is a little info about the delicious little lychee: 
The lychee (pronounced LEE-CHEE), a fruit indigenous Southern China, has been a symbol of love and romance for more than 2,000 years. According to legend, back in the eighth century in the T’ang dynasty, Lady Yang Kuei Fei, the imperial concubine of Emperor Hsuan Tsung, had a passion for lychees. The emperor arranged for guards on fast horses to ferry lychees 600 miles to his palace, so they could arrive still fresh for his lady-love.
LycheeThe heart-shaped fruit, often erroneously called a lychee nut, has a thin, brittle red skin that peels easily. The flesh is a viscous white and surrounds a large, inedible brown pit that does look like a nut. Today, the fruit is grown around the world: through southeast Asia, the West Indies, South Africa, Madagascar, France and England. In the U.S., they’re grown in Hawaii, Florida and California.

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Wedding Wednesday: BLOOMS!

Taking a look at pretty blooms today.  We hear often that people just don't know what flower options are out there beyond roses, lilies, etc.  We are going to show you several interesting flowers that open up to big beautiful blooms for a full lush bouquet or centerpiece.  Many of these varieties can also be easy to arrange yourself. 

Peonies are an all-time favorite of ours and although these flowers can be expensive ($10 or so a stem), they make such an impact and are so beautiful, that you can use fewer of them to create something stunning. They are seasonal, however, so the best time to have peonies is late Spring and early Summer. 


Lisianthus are a gorgeous, fairly reasonably priced big bloom flower that offers a different look, but still lush and full.  They are also a very hearty flower, can last in a vase for up to three weeks, so they are great for outdoor weddings and can stand up to heat.  These gorgeous flowers are also known as Texas Blue Bells.  They come in a VARIETY of colors.

Lisianthus grow in warm weather climates and are native to southern US states.  Known to grow on prairies and in the wild, which is rare or such a beautiful cultured flower.   
Love this purple and white bouquet with lucite square vase.  So chic, simple and impactful.
 A bouquet like this is so stunning and will have your guests asking "What are those gorgeous flowers?"

Oh how we love the next and final flower:  Ranunculas are such a special pretty flower.  They can be found year-round and come in a variety of flowers and even sometimes in two tones.  They are gorgeous in a bouquet with other flowers or alone and look like someone picked them right out of a romantic garden especially for YOU! 

 Ranunculas in a bouquet
Pretty and easy DIY with ranunculas


Peony, lisianthus and ranunculas along or TOGETHER make one heck of a trifecta when it comes to party or wedding flower combinations.  You cannot go wrong! 

Friday, April 1, 2011

Happy Hour! Sauvignon Blanc

This post hits close to the heart.  The best, yummiest, tastiest wine on earth (in our humble opinion) is a Sauvignon Blanc.  Becoming more and more popular, THANK GOODNESS, it's getting easier to find on menu's amongst the Pinot Griogio's and Chardonnay's. 

A quick definition:

Sauvignon Blanc is a green-skinned grape variety that originates from the Bordeaux region of France. The grape gets its name from the French word sauvage ("wild") and blanc ("white") due to its early origins as an indigenous grape in western France. It is now planted in many of the world's wine-producing regions, producing a crisp, dry, and refreshing white varietal wine. Conversely, the grape is also a component of the famous dessert wines from Sauternes and Barsac. Sauvignon Blanc is widely cultivated in France, New Zealand, and California.
Depending on climate, the flavor can range from aggressively grassy to sweetly tropical. Wine experts have used the phrase "crisp, elegant, and fresh" as a favorable description of Sauvignon Blanc from the Loire Valley and New Zealand. Sauvignon Blanc, when slightly chilled, pairs well with fish or cheese, particularly Chevre. It is often recommended to pair with a traditional American Thanksgiving meal, and is known as one of the few wines that can pair well with sushi.
Along with Riesling, Sauvignon Blanc was one of the first fine wines to be bottled with a screwcap in commercial quantities, especially by New Zealand producers. The wine is usually consumed young, as it does not particularly benefit from aging. Dry and sweet white Bordeaux, typically made with Sauvignon Blanc as a major component, is the one exception.

We are especially partial to New Zealand Sauvignon Blancs and most specifically from the Marlborough region.  Not only are these wines UBER delicious, they are also extremely drinkable and mostly budget friendly, which makes them great to serve at parties.  

A few of our FAVES:

Might be our all-time favorite, this Kim Crawford is so tasty at $20.00, you may not be able to drink anything but it ever again.  So beware!

Almost as delicious and at $14.99 a little easier even on the pocket-book is Oyster Bay.  At the price and this taste, it's easy to keep a bottle on-hand at all times.  In fact, enjoying a glass right now as I type!

And last, but certainly not least, the BEST deal in town is certainly Fire Road.  Again, so drinkable and delicious at $9.99, you are practically STEALING from them!  Sip a nice, crisp Fire Road with a lovely summer salad and life is good!

Try these different varieties and see what suits you, but we give this warning:  once you go blanc, you never go back.