Best Wedding Sites Magazine - February 2011

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I am so excited to present to you the first issue of The Best Wedding Sites Magazine. Since we're still in February {for a few more days}, this issue is all about love. So, of course the colors red and pink will be seen throughout the pages. Earlier this month on my daily blog, Brenda's Wedding Blog, I featured a Wedding Vendor Challenge and showcased 5 different vendor teams that came together to put together amazing creations. The theme for this particular challenge was to create an intimate Valentine's Day dinner tablescape for two with a dessert display {and the ideas of course can be used for bridal showers and weddings}. There was to be no models to keep the shoot attainable for all readers to re-create. And, lastly, there had to be at least one DIY design that could either be downloaded or created from a few crafting supplies. Oh, and the color palette was the pantone color of the year...honeysuckle pink, with red and grey. I am so appreciative of all the vendors that joined in on my first challenge and helped make it such a huge success. It was so much fun to put together and see everything unfold. I loved being able to see how each team took the same concept and put their own special spin on it. The results were amazing. In this issue, you will see these 5 challenges with even more photos than what I shared with my blog readers and I have even more exclusive DIY downloads for you. Another fun feature in this issue is the Handmade "Love" gift picks. I've asked fellow wedding pros to submit their top 5 picks for their favorite handmade "Love" items. These items could either be something to create or even items that are found on etsy. I wanted the items to be anything that represented love to them since this issue is all about love. And, having the word "love" on the items was not a requirement. I just adore the items that were submitted to me as it's wonderful how presenting an idea or question can result in such a lovely array of choices. Along with the challenges in the coming pages and the handmade "love" picks, you will also see a Red Hot Engagement Session, spectacular real weddings and even a table setting that all incorporate red or pink into the color palette in one way or another. And, lastly I end this issue with a super sweet Love photo shoot that strays a bit from the color palette, but still represents love beautifully, and that is peach. Enjoy . . . xoxo


PS: I have to give a special welcome to Christine who has been joining me behind the scenes on both my blog and It's now time to officially welcome her to you all. I'm certain you'll be seeing more from her in the coming year. She has helped put together the last article in this issue and already has been keeping the Destination section of my blog updated each Tuesday with the latest in destination wedding and honeymoon news and deals. Plus, she’s worked many late nights with me while we plugged away on getting the new up and running these past few weeks. Welcome Christine to the wonderful world of weddings!

A Special Note For Vendors: The March Wedding Vendor Challenge is already underway and of course if you are interested in participating in a future challenge or have any questions about advertising, please feel free to email me at bestweddingsites{at}gmail{dot}com

in this issue . . .

above: from Springtime Whimsy photo shoot by Weddings by Socialites

Vendors: Photographer: Stephanie A Smith Photography Event Designer: Cheers Events Location: Ft. Desoto state park in Florida

Vendors: Coordinator and Florist: Something Spectacular Custom Floral and Event Design and Something Floral Photography: Kim of Urban Fire Studio | Stationery and Paper Goods: Belletristics Truffles: Rocky Mountain Chocolate Factory | Cupcakes: Butter-Nut Bakery

Kim of Something Floral explains her photo shoot details:

We worked with the primary colors of red, honeysuckle pink, charcoal grey, silver, and other accent shades of pink. The centerpiece is an 8" cylinder vase filled with fresh strawberries and the florals included: Roses (variety: Red Intuition), Matsumoto Asters, Lisianthus, Delphinium, and Israeli Ruscus.

Vendors: Co-planner, Concept collaboration, On-site styling/design {cupcakes, cookies, doily sandwich wrappers, all props}: Lovely Little Details All paper designs: Cut the Cake Designs | Co-planner, Concept collaboration, Inspiration photo provision: Glam Candies Photographer: Gladys Jem Photography | Monogrammed Mugs: Anthropologie | Vase: Crate & Barrel {cookie jar} Picnic basket & quilt: vintage family heirlooms | Sweets Stand: Food Network | Cake stand: Williams-Sonoma {doubles as a punch bowl} Barona Silver Tray: Pottery Barn | Monogrammed Silver Napkin Rings: Pottery Barn

Jacin of Little Lovely Details explains her vision behind this shoot as a romantic seaside picnic {turned proposal} . . .

Items included a vintage picnic basket, an heirloom quilt as a tablecloth, homemade raspberry cupcakes with ruffled frosting made by Jacin of Lovely Little Details herself, a gorgeous bouquet of pink and white ranunculus, gorgeous bouquet of pink and white ranunculus, pretty mason jars to hold the hot cocoa and marshmallows with doily lids tied with bakers twine, accompanied by custom labels from Cut the Cake Designs, and peanut butter & jelly sandwiches wrapped in a doily with a custom label.

a recipe box proposal Tara of Cut the Cake Designs made the recipe cards/ dividers and Jacin added text in between each one to act out a real "proposal" - the images above show the evolution leading up to the proposal and ring at the end. {PS: the recipe box was custom made by Jacin's dad using one of her grandmother's drawers from an antique desk} The above tabs/cards read . . . • love is . . . a picnic by the shore, just you and me • my favorite memory of us . . . sharing our first kiss in the pouring rain • love that you . . . can always find the bright side of a cloudy situation • someday we will . . . look back on this day with happy hearts . . . because . . . I have a question? • the next tab reads "will you marry me" • followed by a card with a "yes" or "no" checkbox and hidden behind all the cards is an engagement ring

Vendors: Wedding Planner: Two Wedding Belles | All paper designs: Little Bit Heart Photographer: Amanda of Swoon Over It | Beeswax Candles: Best Wedding Sites Boutique

Jessica of Two Wedding Belles explains her ideas behind the shoot: The amazing team focused the design around using honeysuckle pink, deep red, and touches of grey set against soft whites to keep the look clean. We wanted to keep it playful and fun, almost as a nod to our younger days of passing out valentines in school, so the entire shoot was based on a “Bee Mine Valentine” theme. The ‘Bee Mine’ garland really stood out because of the soft tulle used to string it together. And the paper and string table runner added pops of color to the table without overpowering it. Little valentines in red and honeysuckle were framed by paper doilies, and customized tags were used on the wine glasses and a small glass honey bottle to make the theme coheseive.

We also chose to incorporate paper hearts, which were an easy way to add color to the table covering and the dinner table’s centerpiece. In fact, paper was a key element to adding a lot of depth to the design without spending a lot of money. Scrapbooking paper is so rich in its textures and patterns, and there is such a large variety out there from which to choose. Little bees can be found on the hanging spiral piece and the fruit skewers, as well as on the small beeswax candles from Best Wedding Sites Boutique (which smelled so good!) Of course, you should have some sweet honey if there are bees around, so we opted for a simple yet tasty dessert display that incorporated fresh raspberries and blackberries with honey drizzled on top. Each individual berry has a bit of a honeycomb texture to it, and when stood up on a plate, looks kind of like a beehive, too.

Vendors: Coordinator and Table Design & Linens: Get Married in Banff | Flowers: Alpine Flower Gallery Photographer: Jessika Hunter from December Photography | Venue: The Juniper Hotel | Pinwheels: Shannon of Twirlie Whirlies All paper designs: Carey of Lasso'd Moon | Floral Accoutrements: Corrine of Buds and Blooms | Donuts: Tim Hortons

Angie of Get Married in Banff explains her ideas behind the shoot: The base of the sweetheart table was a charcoal taffeta table cloth which looked stunning with the pinks, reds and Pantone Color of the Year Honeysuckle Pink. We wanted to include something fun into the table because the pinwheels were so cute and whimsical so the donuts were added as well as the almonds. Every couple likes to snack on sweet treats and we thought that the donuts would be something

really unique. We chose the Juniper Hotel in Banff to do the photo shoot at because of the slate wall in their Bistro. The slate wall was a perfect backdrop for the pinwheels and it also accentuated the red and pink colors of the flowers. The flowers are actually in tin cans covered in lovely patterned paper that matches the pinwheels. We wanted something really lovely to hold the donuts so we chose to use antique cake plates. The whole shoot came together on a perfect, sunny day in Banff and everyone worked so hard to create a wonderful table. We were really pleased with how the Valentine's Sweetheart table turned out.

Vendors: Wedding Planners: Valley & Co. | Photographer: Elle G. Photography Fabric Button Bouquet: RBK Creations | Paper Goods: Papermints | Mini Smores: Sweet Lydia's

Aleah + Nick of Valley & Co. explains their ideas behind the shoot: Our inspiration for this challenge was to create a non-traditional feeling for a sweetheart dining table. In true Valley & Co. fashion, we staged our teak table and chairs on Mission Beach. It was a beautiful, cloudless day and the sunshine was shining. We have been together for many a Valentine's Day {too many to count!} and we love to spend the day relaxing on the beach or riding our beach cruisers. What better place to shoot our inspiration than on our beach?

We dressed our teak table wtih a crisp white linen and lined it with a simple satin runner to give it a pop of color. Vintage French plates from Nick's parents and antique spoons from Aleah's grandmother flanked our place settings. Old candlesticks added a touch of glamour to this otherwise coastal table. Our fabric flowers were carefully placed in a simple white vase that added interest. When creating your Valentine's Day table, get creative and step away from decor purchased down the Valentine's Day aisle! Look to your own stock of heirloom pieces and create a look that's comfortable and timeless.

This beautiful red and chocolate brown fall wedding, planned by Green Orchid Events and photographed by John Morris Photography, features Kate and Ge from Boston. They were married at the beautiful Red Rock Casino, Resort and Spa in Las Vegas. Along with Kate’s love for the color red, she also wanted to honor her groom’s Chinese heritage and some of his family flew in all the way from China to witness their wedding. They had an intimate wedding ceremony on the Veranda Terrace with red florals and rose petals on the aisle. Followed by a cocktail style reception with family and close friends. The bride carried a bouquet of red roses and burgundy calla lilies and the wedding cake was decorated with red roses and crystals. Vendors: Wedding Planning and Coordination: Green Orchid Events Venue: Red Rock Casino, Resort and Spa Linens: Courtney Smith of CCS Designer Events Floral Designer: Enchanted Florist Hair/Makeup: Makeup in the 702 Sweetheart Table Chairs: Chameleon Chair Photography: John Morris Photography Acoustic Guitarist: Family friend Officiant: Family friend

from Kelly McWilliams... "This free sprited Spring Time Table is the epitome of whimsical, from the crystal chivari chairs to the fresh roses, hydrangea, pink tulips, red gloriosa, & pink gerber daisies. The goal of this design concept was to have something that you truly just couldn’t help but smile at, and to sit and feel joyful. Underneath the array of flowers that are placed anything but precisely across the table lay two embroidered table runners. The center piece stands tall with pink wax flowers spilling over the edges to create a light wispy look. The bright flowers and charcoal linen are such a wonderful contrast to the white ceramic pieces that are placed so delicately amongst one another. The sweet chubby white birds and tea pots add another layer to the design concept. We decided to implement as many details as possible, including the calligraphied place cards that also served as the menus." Vendors: Design and All Details: Weddings by Socialites | Flowers: Signature Florals Photography: Ashley Brockinton Phototgraphy | Venue: The Resort at Marina Village | Cakes: Kakes by Karen

This garden wedding, planned by Jessica of Experience Events took place on the beautiful property of Gedney Farm in the Berkshire mountains in MA. Flowers were the focus at this spring wedding and they were designed by the talented Ariella Chezar. After a simple ceremony, guests enjoyed cocktails in the garden outside the barn. The tables were draped with vintage inspired lace tablecloths and silk overlays. Rustic lanterns could be seen tucked into corners of the garden and the candles were surrounded by rose petals. Inside for the reception, tables were draped in charcoal quilted taffeta and the centerpieces had a unique mix of vintage silver pieces overflowing with garden flowers.

Vendors: Event Design & Management: Experience Events Photography: Eric Limon Floral Design: Ariella Chezar Venue: Gedney Farm Paper Goods: Mr Boddingtons Studio

Chelsea of Chelsea Patricia Photography and her fiancé Brock had an amazing vintage theatre/Christimas wedding in Montgomery, AL. Their colors were originally red and green as the wedding was being held so close to Christmas and red is Brock’s favorite color and bright green is Chelsea’s absolute favorite color {she drives a green Beetle and all her business branding is green}. Then Chelsea decided on a pink dress {she wears a pink streak in her hair most of the time}. Slowly touches of pink were added everywhere and the vision came together. They also married in a theatre, so there was a theatre theme carried out as well. Chelsea wrote, “I did all of the planning and coordinating myself, which may not be right for some brides, but being a professional wedding photographer myself, I knew JUST what I wanted.” Vendors: Ceremony: Auburn University Montgomery Theatre | Venue for "after-party"/reception: The Chapel Hill Meeting House at The Waters in Pike Road | Wedding Dresses {pink for ceremony, short white for reception}: Light in the Box | Birdcage veil with genuine swarovski crystals and ostrich feather fascinator: My Pink Wedding Dress {made by Chelsea herself} | Vinyl Monogramming: Sassy Sisters | DJs: Exponential Entertainment | Photographer: Jaime Delaine Photography | Cinematographer: Ryan Rodinis | Cakes: Big Bad Wolfe Catering | Bridesmaids Dresses: charcoal grey cocktail dresses of their own choosing | Men's Attire: charcoal vests and fitted pants from Banana Republic, green skinny ties from Amazon, and black Converse low tops | Groom's Shoes: custom made red Converse low tops with their wedding date 12.11.10 | Flower Girl Attire: pink sparkle Toms with charcoal grey dress | Hairdresser and Makeup Artist: Pirate Hair Art

The ceremony and reception music: The parents & grandparents entered to "Nessun Dorma" by Chris Botti and the groomsmen entered to "Appalachian Spring" from the Broadway production Blast. Chelsea's dad and her son, gave her away and they entered to River Flows In You by Yiruma. Brock's uncle married the bride & groom & when they kissed, they played "Kiss the Girl" from The Little Mermaid. One of the groomsmen then invited everyone to the after-party and exited to "Be Our Guest" from Beauty and the Beast. When Chelsea and Brock exited, all of their family threw fresh long stem roses on stage, reminiscent of classical theatre and the roses were then brought to the reception and displayed there. Chelsea and Brock entered the reception to Kings and Queens by 30 Seconds to Mars and Chelsea's dance with her dad was to Cinderella by Steven Curtis Chapman and Brock's dance with his mom was to "Simple Man" by Lynyrd Skynyrd. Chelsea and Brock exited their reception after their DJ announced the High Five was back (a line from one of their favorite shows, How I Met Your Mother) and they ran out giving high fives to everyone down the row.

Food and Favors: There was sliced fried turkey, the bridesmaids baked 2 dozen cookies each, family members made key lime cake cut into slices, and Chelsea ordered a few dozen cupcakes from Sam's Club. She did not want the traditional bride's cake as their wedding was all about personality. So there was a cake that looked like Chelseas's very own DSLR camera, Brock's cake was sheet music with UGA’s fight song handwritten on rice paper, And, Chelsea's son has a lego cake. There was also an entire hot drink table with coffee, hot chocolate and apple cider. They had Starbucks coffee, then a decanter with hot water for mixing with the hot chocolate and apple cider packets, and even bright green metal little buckets filled with every flavor creamer imaginable. For favors, guests received small bags of three different kinds of popcorn as well as theatre-style boxed candies in a myriad of flavors. For cold drinks, they had vintage type glass bottle cokes and diet cokes, as well as pink lemonade and sweet tea—Southern favorites.

Handmade “Love” Gifts Erika of

Top 5 handmade “love” gift picks from wedding bloggers and vendors - each item links to the shop for easy buying. Thank you to all who submitted their picks.

Borrowed and B leu . . .

One of my favorite symbols of love is the sweetheart tree ~ also known as a tree with carved initials ~ because of its timeless romance and heartfelt simplicity. All of these handmade items are a wonderful representation of love. 1. A wedding cake topper with a custom pair of love birds on a tree with your initials from Orly Design 2. Tree Bark Lovers Carving Copper Necklace from Monkeys Always Look 3. Custom heart tree print pillow cover. Personalized with your names or initials from Cozy Blue 4. Personalized Wooden Heart Rubber Stamp from Live the Chaos 5. Custom 8x8 Sweetheart Tree with Initials, Autumn Forest from Shelley Roze

Tara of

Cut the Cake Designs . . .

1. LOVE red glittered cream burlap banner from Funky Shique 2. Coffee and Cake tea towel from Mr PS 3. Mr.White with Bow Tie from Dancing in the Rains 4. Tea Love Knit Mug Cozy with Heart from Knit Storm 5. Cira Necklace from Tree and Kimball

handmade “love” gifts continued . . .

from Miriam of

Glam Candies . . .

1. {love is…friendship} because friends will be there when you need them the most… Handmade greeting cards from iralamija shop 2. {love is…finding your soul mate} over a cup of coffee… Mr. Darcy Proposal Mug from Brookish 3. {love is…a celebration} those 3 words whispered, “I love you” will always give me the butterflies… Cake Embellishments and Decorative Sweets from Andie’s Specialty Sweets 4. {love is…expecting} taking risks… Organic Booties for Newborn from Sweet Pea Toad Tots 5. {love is…cherished} treasuring heirlooms passed from one generation to the next… Custom Calligraphy on Tiny Bridesmaid Trunk from One Heart Studio

handmade “love” gifts continued . . .

Carey of

Lasso’d Moon . . .

Love in Unexpected Places 1. 5x7 Love Quote Photo Letter Print from Kina B Designs 2. XOXO LOVE KISS - Vintage Hand Stamped Silverware Set from Jessica N Designs 3. 10x10 Love Signs Fine Art Travel Photography Print from Bomobob 4. 8x10 Le I LUV U Fine Art Travel Photography Print from Bomobob 5. Paris is for Lovers Fine art photograph from Irene Suchocki

Lauren of

Every Last Detail . . .

1. Vintage Wood Type LOVE from Monki Vintage 2. Love banner with red fabric hearts from Victorian Station 3. LOVE Photo Blocks from Simply Perfect Decor 4. Deluxe 8x10 I LOVE YOU print from The Love Shop 5. Engraved With LOVE Personalized Tall Birch Wood Vase from Bragging Bags

handmade “love” gifts continued . . .

Erin of

Sparkle and Hay . . .

Favorite picks for spreading some homemade love 1. A Love Letter. Book Shown is “How to Write a Love Letter: Putting what’s in your Heart on Paper” 2. Heart Shaped Pie Lollipops. Something about pie is just comforting – as though all pies are made with love. And in a heart shape – done! Make yourself or buy from etsy. Item shown from Skipping Stones 3. Coffee with a Heart. Learn how to make your significant other’s favorite hot beverage – and top if off with a heart. (same counts for breakfast, waffles or pancakes can be make into a heart shape too!) Item shown from Martyn 4. A Date to Remember. I love turning memories into art – this idea; “A Date to Remember” would be a sweet gift for any number of loving occasions. Item shown from Stubbs Studio 5. A Cozy Knit Blanket. Because when do you feel more loved than when snuggled up together? Knit yourself (with some super soft yarn) or buy. Item shown from Northern Lodge

Jacin of

Lovely Little Details . . .

1. Sterling Silver Love Ring from Wire Name Mike 2. Love Mason Ball Jar Clear Polymer Rubber Stamp from Sugar Skull 7 3. Wedding hanky for mother of the bride with Gift Box from Emroidery by Linda 4. To Mommy, My World from One Life Jewelry 5. Red Heart Paper Straws and Sprinkles from Cupcake Social

How the bride and groom met . . . Alison and Marc met at a Halloween party and the Alison went as the pink panther and Marc arrived as 'a guy who just came from a bbq' (because he had). One of Alison’s friends knew Marc from back-in-the-day and thought he'd be a great match for her cousin, so he was invited to the party. In the end, the cousin ended up not showing, and the rest is history. Their first date was at the Wine & Food show, and Alison quickly learned that Marc loves cowboy boots and that he knows everyone in Ottawa!

Photography: AliphAurMeem Photography

Vendors: Ceremony: Evangel Temple Reception and food: Capital City Club – Terrace Ballroom Photographer: Chelsea Patricia Photography Wedding planner/coordinator: Weddings by Jill

Inspired by romance, this “Sweetheart Table for Two” photo shoot by Kate of Lovewell Celebration Design and Laure of Laure Lillie Photographie offers an intimate approach to sharing your first meal as husband and wife. The snowy backdrop of The Patisserie in Skaneateles, NY presents the perfect setting for this shoot which is easily warmed by the rich color palate of whites, browns and peach. The rich chocolate pintuck linens provided by Jamie Owens of A Pink Door combined with the tulip flower centerpieces and white china place-settings offer a stylish display. Taylor Rental in Syracuse supplied the Mahogany Chivari’s, table and peach napkins. The eyelet votive holders paired with handmade posted hearts add an element of creativity and romance. What better way to maximize this experience, then to indulge in a festive linzer cookie graciously provided by The Patisserie. This delectable dessert adds color to the table and is elegantly displayed atop a handmade Valentine, providing the perfect opportunity for you to add a special message to your sweetheart. Vendors: Concept & Design, DIY pieces, Florals: Lovewell Celebration Design Photography: Laure Lillie Photographie | Pastries: The Patisserie Chairs and Table: Taylor Rental | Linen: A Pink Door

The End

Vendors interested in advertising in the next magazine or participating in a vendor challenge, please email me for more information at bestweddingsites{at}gmail{dot}com | |

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