Friday, August 30, 2013

Happy Hour with AE: Minty Lime-Ady


 If you're feeling the heat on these last summer days, entertain your guests (or just yourself!) with a refreshing mint limeade!

Whether looking for a non-alcoholic cocktail for everyone to taste, or one with a grown up twist, this beverage is one for all ages to share.  

photos courtesy of Mark and Graham and Marin Mama Cooks


Makes 12 ounces of delicious limeade.  Will stay fresh for 2 days so this is a great recipe to make ahead!

What You Will Need:

 Your choice of vodka (try Tito's! It's taste is smooth and so is it's price!)
A 12oz. container of frozen limeade concentrate (we think Minute Made is the best)
Juice of 2 fresh limes 
Approximately 15 whole, washed mint leaves
Club soda (any will do!) 
Ice cubes


In a blender, combine the frozen lemonade concentrate, washed mint leaves and juice from 2 limes.  Blend ingredients until mixture is smooth.  Chill in the refrigerator until ready to enjoy.  Give the mix a good stir before pouring it over ice.  Add vodka to taste, stir, and garnish with a fresh mint leaf!

Pretty Presentation:

Try serving your minty limeade in a copper mug (Moscow Mule's aren't the only bevies that taste delicious in copper!)  Add a paper straw for a cute touch.  Want to be a little more glam?  Try a copper straw... we love these.  Bonus!  Good for the environment.  

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Wednesday Wednesday: An Invitation to Remember

Every bride wants an invitation that is so beautiful and unique that guests agree, it is just too lovely to throw away!  Brides are making trendy statements with 3D invitations, patterns and pops of color to make sure that their invitation stands out amongst the others!

Forget about the plain envelope and flat card.  Brides are taking invitations to the next level with pocket folds, bellybands and booklets to make sure their wedding invitations are not missed!

Photo and Graphic Design done by our friend Ink and Ivory Design Studio 

Patterns are on the rise AND we LOVE them!  From backing to borders to bellybands to liners - you cannot go wrong!  Patterns are also a great way to introduce your theme and set the tone for your BIG DAY.  

Photos courtsey of Micky Chase Jewelry and Oh So Beautiful Paper

Pop of Color
Don't be afraid of experimenting with a little bit of color when it comes to invitations!  While, save the dates have traditionally lent themselves more easily to color, don't fret about carrying it right on through to your invitation.   We love using colored paper and special ink treatments (such as foil stamping) to achieve color that wows.  
Photos courtsey of Marilyn Keepsakes and Parrott Design Studio 

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Wedding Wednesday: BEAT THE HEAT!

Well, August is almost over and we find one of the most beautiful times of the year to be a bride coming to a close. While we still have the last vestiges of summer upon us: green grass, blue sky, and flowers in full bloom, we are also embarking on one of the warmest times of year to host your wedding.  But, don't fret!  Today we are bringing you some inspiration to stay cool on your big day!

Print your wedding program on a fan...this will not only keep your guests cool, but also doubles as a special memento for guests to keep!

Photo and Programs Credit: our friends at Ink & Ivory 

Ask your makeup artist to prepare you for hot weather by not using any liquid products. Try to use powder or crayon options along with a primer and finishing spray to keep your makeup in place and looking great!
Photo Credits: Jim Davis Hicks

Let's not forget about the bridal party! When picking the bridesmaids' dresses and groomsmen's attire, look for a light weight material that will not only look good but keep them comfortable on your special day.

Photo Credits:  Our friends, Guerrin and Brett's, Instagram and Ava Strange 

Carry this light and airy feeling over to your reception. Opt for summer food selections like cold soups, fresh fruit skewers and simple, refreshing hors d'oeuvres!  Anything with cucumber is sure to cool down your guests.
Photo Credits: Anthony's Gourmet Catering, Delish, and Food & Wine

Provide guests with other 'stay-cool' options as favors. You could include items like sunglasses, flip-flops, personalized water bottles, parasols or even sunscreen! 

Photo Credits: Red Gallery Photography, Princess Wedding, and Great Lakes Bay

And last but certainly not least, we adore a lemonade stand!  Refreshing au natural and even better with a bit of vodka for a speciality drink that your guests will love.  Just seeing an ice cold lemonade makes guests feel cool and happy!

Photo Credits: Style Me Pretty and Lauryn Byrdy  

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Ask Ady: Gift Giving Etiquette for Bridesmaids

Dear Ady:

As a bridesmaid in my dear friend's wedding, I am having some trouble weighing out gift giving options.  With the financial endeavors that come along with bridesmaid duties, am I still obligated to give gifts for the engagement, the shower, and the wedding?  My hotel, dress, shoes, and hair and makeup is already tallied at over $800.  Even though I love my friend dearly, the expenses of her wedding are beginning to weigh on me.  

What is the appropriate gift giving etiquette when the wedding costs are costly? 


Gift Guilt, Columbus, Ohio 

Dear Guilty in Columbus, 

Interestingly enough, I just had a similar inquiry a few weeks ago - so that tells me this is a common worry for gals on a budget committing to weddings these days.  So, before I answer this question, I would like to say a few words to all of our beautiful brides out there... 

Ladies - go easy on your bridesmaids.  Where you can, please either make items like hair and makeup optional OR perhaps keep a bit held back from your budget so that you can treat your girls.  Also, when choosing bridesmaid dresses, bachelorette locations, etc. remember your bridesmaid's overall financial status.  If you are well into your careers and have discretionary income, then by all means choose a Marchesa dress and head down to Cabo, however, if most of your maids are new college grads or embarking upon growing families and you know their dollars are tight, then perhaps make more cost-effective choices.  At the end of the day, the important thing is not where you go, what designer your girls wear, or whether their makeup is done professionally.  The important thing is that your nearest and dearest stand with you on the most special day of your life. 

Ok, now onto the question at hand...when you accept the honor of being in a wedding as a bridesmaid, you also except the financial responsibility that comes along with it.  A good average is to plan to spend around $1,000.  If that is something that will tighten your purse strings just too much, you must talk to your bride-to-be immediately and be open and honest with her.   Ask her if you can cut out the more personal variables of her big day like doing your own hair and makeup so that you can afford the dress.   This upfront conversation may also prompt your bride-to-be to consider a dress/shoes/etc. that are on the more affordable side.   Remember, though, once you say yes, you are on the line for the commitments that accompany your choice.  You can't go back.  

Regarding gifts, yes, you must give the bride gifts to any event you are invited to attend.  So, in this case it would be the engagement party, shower, and of course, the wedding.  Here are a couple of suggestions to help you not overspend on gifts.  

The first would be to see if the bridesmaids would like to go in together on group gifts for each of these events.  Perhaps set a budget of $25 per bridesmaid for both the shower and engagement party and $50-$75 for the wedding gift.  This will allow each BM to save a little money, but also by pooling your funds you will be able to buy your friend something more extravagant.   

The other tip would be to set a TOTAL gift limit for yourself.  For example, $150.  Spend less on the engagement party and shower and the bulk of your budget on the wedding gift.  You could also "build" your gift as you go along.  For example, if she is registered for 12 wine glasses, perhaps give her 2 for at each of the parties leading up to the wedding, and for the wedding gift, give her the remaining 8.  

The bottom line is this..  

Being a bridesmaid is expensive.  Period.  However, it's a small price to pay for the very special honor and the memories you will create.  And remember, your besties will do this for you one day (if they haven't already)!  

Brides - remember you are honoring your best friends, do your best not to burden them.


Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Wedding Wednesday: Flower Fluff!

It's Wedding Wednesday and today we are dreaming of happy, fluffy, flowers...

Be it a voluminous bouquet, a single stemmed bloom, or a lush centerpiece, flowers with fluff are a visual favorite of ours.  These pretty poofs make for an impactful finish to any decor plan.  

Fluffy flowers can be found year round and at many different budget levels.  While peonies are ideal in the spring, and especially May, and tend to be a little higher priced, zinnia's are at their best in late summer and tend to be very cost effective.   Garden roses, however, are great options always and mid-priced. 

Here are examples of arrangements and bouquets for each of these fave fluffy flowers...  

Images courtesy of The French Bouquet Tulsa and Olivia Johnson

Photos courtesy of WeddingWire and The Blush Blog   


Photos courtesy of Wedding Bee, our good friends at Rose Bredl, and Ashley Rose Photography

And, don't forget about the carnation.  While this poor gal tends to get a bad rap, when used wisely, she is a great cost-effective way to get full fluff! 

Photo courtesy of Floret Cadet and Martha Stewart Weddings

In fluff we trust, 
AE!!  xo