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Cover Photo courtesy of Howie Oren Photography •

So happy to present the August {6th edition} of The Best Wedding Sites Magazine. This issue focuses on the fun {and girly} palette of pink, purple and grey. A few weeks ago on my daily blog, Brenda's Wedding Blog, I featured the 6th round of the Wedding Vendor Challenges with three vendor teams from across the country putting together amazing designs. This month’s challenge required the teams to create a bridal shower tablesetting with a dessert display {and of course the ideas can easily be applied to weddings and/or any type of party}. Like the previous challenges, I have some great DIY’s for you - both as downloads and at home designs which can be created with a simple list of supplies. I am honored and blessed once again to be given the opportunity to work with each of these amazing vendors and to showcase their beautiful work with you. If you are a vendor and would like to participate in a future challenge, please let me know. I’m working on something extra special behind the scenes that I hope to be able to share with you all soon and brides and vendors will love it. Which brings me to a little announcement. First the sad news - this will be the last e-glossy of The Best Wedding Sites Magazine. I might bring it back one day, but for now my other work demands with both the directory and blog + family time is making it hard to keep up with a monthly magazine. But, don’t worry - I have good news!!!! The Best Wedding Sites Magazine will still be coming to you each in the Wedding Magazine section on Each month will feature a specific color palette just like the e-glossy did and the articles and goodies will be found right online all week long. In this issue, I’m featuring the Shopping by Color Palette Guide in pink, purple and grey plus Real Weddings, pink and purple cocktails, another AMAZING Giveaway for my readers, and a few other suprise features. I’m super happy to welcome back Jana Marie Erwin of Cherry Tea Cakes with more terrific edible goodies. Her yummy recipes can either be made for your upcoming party or any day of the week. This month Jana joins us with strawberry basil ice cream and raspberry lemon cupcakes. YUM!!!!! This issue can easily be viewed on your iphone and/or ipad with ease. Simply double-click any ad or link to be taken directly to the website. Enjoy . . . xoxo


PS: I’d like to give a special thank you to Samantha of Papermints {} who has helped me behind the scenes in designing the layouts for the Real Wedding spreads.

A Special Note For Vendors: If you are interested in participating in a future wedding vendor challenge, please let me know. And, if you would like information on advertising in either the magazine, blog or wedding directory, please email me at bestweddingsites{at}gmail{dot}com

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in this issue . . .

above: an orchid inspired bridal shower photo shoot by Something Floral

B lank Slate to Final Beauty Wedding planning is now in full swing, and it’s time to choose a venue to host your special day. Popular locations often book dates a year or more in advance, so you must reserve your wedding date as soon as possible. But before you can do that, you and your fiancé must visit

It may go without saying, but before visiting a potential wedding location, make sure you book an appointment. You want to be able to take your time and discuss any questions you may have with the events coordinator. When scheduling, try to visit at the same time of day (and day of the week, if possible) you plan to have your wedding. That way it will be easier to really see what you have in mind with similar natural lighting and other environmental influences.

each venue and make a final decision on the perfect one. However, walking into an undecorated facility can

Before visiting, be sure to discuss with your partner any

It is difficult to envision your wedding décor and unique pizzazz on such a blank slate. But, there are some things you can do to help spark your imagination and truly conceptualize the final beautiful product while visiting.

particular elements you desire and are looking for in

feel overwhelming.

your location of choice. Write down a list of any questions or concerns you may have and bring it along with you. It is all too common to get caught up in the amazing views and atmosphere and not remember anything when asked if you have any questions. And in order to avoid confusion later on in the decision making process, write down the answers to every question for each venue. If you can, bring sample materials along with you that will be used in your wedding ceremony and reception. Bring fragments of any decorations you plan on using. Fetch a swatch of fabric from the bridesmaid dresses to see how the colors will match and blend with the various elements within the venue. And as a last resort, at least bring pictures of the colors and styles you are thinking of using. Then you will be able to find the best space and arrangement within each venue to suit your desires.


Blank Slate to Final Beauty | continued

Take a camera with you during your visit and be sure to

plenty of time to see all that each venue has to offer and

take a lot of pictures. Make sure to photograph facilities,

take the time to ask as many questions as possible. And

great locations for wedding photos, and any other

once you’ve decided on and booked a venue, be sure

elements that stand out to you. This will be beneficial in

to keep your expectations as realistic as possible, try

keeping everything straight when it comes to narrowing

not to stress too much, take a deep breath, and your

down your selection. It will help you to remember specific

celebration will be simply unforgettable.

scenery details that you liked at each location and will help during the creative process in designing exactly what you

About the Author:

want and ensuring each element is absolutely perfect.

Olivia Nicholas is a seasoned wedding planner with over

Having actual photos, instead of merely memories alone, will

ten years in the wedding business. She has a passion for

keep details organized; you won’t imagine things differently

all things related to the celebration of marriage; from

than they really are.

engagements to weddings to the honeymoon. This passion also motivates her to work in her spare time as a freelance

When it comes to visiting venues and narrowing down

writer and author for

your options, being organized is key. You won’t be caught fumbling around and will be able to keep facts

Photographs courtesy of Lauren Methia Photography

straight. Just be sure to take your time and really soak

based in Boston, MA.

everything in. Don’t try to pack too much into a single day.

Venues Featured in Photographs:

It may seem ideal to visit several venues in a single weekend,

New Bedford Whaling Museum, New Bedford, MA

but you don’t want to feel overwhelmed. Leave yourself

Willowdale Estate in Topsfield, MA

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A Rock the Dress Session in a lavender field Photography: Tricia of Equinox Photo • Venue: Keys Creek Lavender Farm •


Wanda is wife to Bill Goldberg {the former professional wrestler}, a mom, a TV show host, and a stunt-woman. Tricia of Equinox Photo was asked to photograph her Rock the Dress session at the gorgeous Key's Creek Lavender Farm. Wanda and Bill had married at a destination wedding several years ago

and never got the opportunity to do a bridal session. For the shoot, Wanda donned her lace wedding gown by Bonny and her favorite cowboy boots. After many years of being a model and actress, this Canadian beauty is a natural in front of the camera. She was playful, fun and sassy. The result? Stunning photos of a gorgeous bride rocking her dress in fields of lavender. 8 | ISSUE 06

Vendors: Photography: Tricia of Equinox Photo • Venue: Keys Creek Lavender Farm • Styling: Stylish Details •

Photography: Tricia of Equinox Photo • Venue: Keys Creek Lavender Farm •

[ Rock the Dress ]

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a Vintage LOVE BIRD WEDDING Photographer: Anapaul Photographers • Venue: Castaway •

[ Shelby & Keith ] Burbank, CA From the bride . . . For our wedding we had vintage/love bird theme. Our colors were a fuchsia, light pink, grey & ivory. We did a lot of homemade details and used the amazing location and all its flowers and greenery to our advantage.

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Vendors: Photographers: Anapaul Photographers • | DJ: Good Times Entertainment • Venue: Castaway • | Cupcakes: Cakery Bakery • Flowers: Shirvan Design • | Wedding Dress: Alfred Angelo • Hair: Alexa Brodsky Makeup: Lauren Morales | Invitations, Place Cards, Programs: Made by bride & groom | Flower girl tutus, bags, ring bear pillows: Made by friend of family | Mens Suits: Al Weis Suit Outlet

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Photographer: Anapaul Photographers • Venue: Castaway •

[ Shelby & Keith ]

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an Elegant


Photographer: Kristen Weaver Photography •

[ Jamie & Brian ] Winter Park, FL Brian’s 3 daughter’s were a very important part of the day and they were included in the sand ceremony too. And, while the cake was being served - there was even mini ice cream cones. As written by Kristen, the photographer . . . “Jamie and Brian planned out every pink and gray detail, from the specialty J&B custom logo to the little folded paper games, fans and menus. Everything looked classic, elegant and fuss-free! As soon as the sun set, Casa Feliz lit up the reception with gorgeous hanging lights and a cool breeze.” 16 | ISSUE 06

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Venue: Casa Feliz • Photographer: Kristen Weaver Photography •

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Vendors: Photographer: Kristen Weaver Photography • | Venue: Casa Feliz • Bridal Salon: Modern Bridal • | Bridal Shoes: Alex & Marie | Groom Suit: Ralph Lauren | Hair and Makeup: Luisa V • | Catering: Arthur Catering • | Cake Designer: Connie Cakes Floral Designer: Carly Ane Floral Studio • | DJ: Soundwave Entertainment • Officiant: Rev. Georgiana Johnson • | Lighting: Kaleidoscope Event Lighting •

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it’s a Giveaway! So exciting - it’s your chance to enter to win amazing prizes from great vendors. Contests runs thru 11:59 pm Friday September 2nd, 2011. Winners announced on Best Wedding Sites the morning of Tuesday September 6th, 2011. Enter Here:

You could be the lucky winner of one of the following . . . 1. A Cecilia Ombre Tiara Comb in your choice of color. 4 1/2" silver comb with silver wire. Shown in clear, violet and tanzanite Swarovski crystals arranged in a graduation of color to create an ombre effect. The center of the piece forms a small peak which measures 3/4" high. from Tilley Jewels • & 2. Four pairs of the beautiful, flat heel "Crystal" design flip flops for your bridal party. They are available in 53 satin ribbon colors and 9 flop colors that are made with Swarovski crystals from Weddings Are Fun • 3. One minimergency kit for the bride and 4 kits for the bridesmaids from Ms. and Mrs. •

Shopping by color

color palette: pink, purple and grey

Pearl Beaded Bracelet With Flowers Kim Smith, United Kingdom pearl beaded charm bracelets, beaded necklaces and fashion jewelry

Rose Topped Gift Boxes White Tulip Boutique, Connecticut well-crafted, elegant, details for life's cherishable moments

The Perfect Vintage Carnival Wedding Invitation Lasso'd Moon, Vermont custom designed invitation suites and cupcake wrappers Rosette Rosebud Flower Hair Clip Seventh Studio, Utah handmade accessories 22 | ISSUE 06

Tropical Orchid Origami Wedding Favor Boxes LMK Gifts, New Jersey one of a kind, affordable handmade favors

I Love You to the Moon and Back on Canvas Art Studio 54, Massachusetts Cluster Blossom necklace Begurple Designs, Australia unique fabric creations and accessories

Floral Chic Letterpress Coasters Pink Orchid Press, Texas designer letterpress boutique

Secret Garden Design Ruffle Wristlets Murwati, California handmade handbags and wedding clutches

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from contributor Jana Marie Erwin of Cherry Tea Cakes •


Cupcakes Lemon cake with raspberry jam inside & a raspberry buttercream. The tart lemon and raspberry are a perfect combination.


1 3/4 cups sugar 3/4 cup unsalted butter, room temperature 2 tablespoons grated lemon peel 3 extra-large eggs 1/4 cup fresh lemon juice 3 cups cake flour 1 teaspoon baking soda 1/4 teaspoon salt 1 1/2 cups buttermilk seedless raspberry jam DIRECTIONS Position rack in center of oven and preheat to 350°F. Line 24 cupcake tins with paper wrappers Beat sugar, butter and lemon peel in large bowl until light and fluffy. Add eggs 1 at a time, beating well after each addition. Beat in lemon juice. Sift flour, baking soda and salt into medium bowl. Stir dry ingredients into butter mixture alternately with buttermilk, beginning and ending with dry ingredients. Divide batter among prepared pans along with a dollop of raspberry jam. Bake until tester inserted into center of cakes comes out clean, about 15 minutes.

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Raspberry Jam Buttercream Frosting INGREDIENTS

1 cup butter, softened 1 teaspoon vanilla a pinch of salt 4 cups confectioners’ sugar raspberry jam to taste (about ½ cup for me) DIRECTIONS Whip butter, salt, and vanilla till creamy then whip in powdered sugar in a stand mixer using the paddle attachment. Beat on a medium speed until light and fluffy. Add jam and continue until incorporated.

by Jana Marie Erwin of Cherry Tea Cakes

Strawberry Basil


2 eggs 3/4 cup sugar plus additional for strawberries 2 cups half and half 1 pound strawberries, hulled and sliced 1 tsp. lemon extract 2 handfuls basil

Cherry Tea Cakes is a blog devoted to food and life and Jana’s little adventures. She’s an Arizonan currently living & baking in Washington, D.C. Cherry Tea Cakes is an amazing concept as there is no profit, only benefit. When Jana’s schedule allows, she takes catering orders and the "profits" of the order, go to benefit a charity. The only money kept is to cover the cost of the ingredients. The labor is all volunteer and in the end she feeds you, and the impoverished. Unless asked otherwise Jana donates the profits to a local food bank.

DIRECTIONS Scald one cup of half and half along with ½ cup sugar and one handful of basil over medium heat in a medium sauce pan. Remove from heat. Allow to sit for a few minutes before discarding the basil. In a stand mixer whisk together the yolks and ¼ cup sugar until light and fluffy, then gradually pour the scalded half and half down the side of the bowl as the mixer is still going. Pour the mixture back into the sauce pan, stirring constantly with a wooden spoon until the mixture has thickened and will coat the back of the spoon. Remove from heat, and pour through a fine mesh sieve into a clean bowl. Add in the remaining half and half and lemon extract. Chill the custard thoroughly. About two hours. Place strawberries in a bowl and dust lightly with sugar. Allow to sit for one hour. Puree the strawberries and push through a fine mesh sieve, and into the chilled custard. Puree the basil and add into the chilled custard. Stir gently to combine. Transfer the mixture to an ice cream maker. Allow the ice cream to churn until finished. Freeze according to the manufacturer’s instructions.

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HPNOTIQ Harmonie . . . the perfect drink for summer weddings Blushing, Bubbly, Bridal cocktails with HPNOTIQ Harmonie {a new lilac infused liqueur} are light, fruity and perfect for summer weddings and events.

Sweet Harmonie

2 parts Harmonie and 1 part club soda over ice with a blackberry garnish. The Harmonie MUST be really cold before pouring

True Love 1.5 ounces Harmonie .75 ounces Gin .5 ounces Simple Syrup .5 ounces fresh squeezed lemon Shake all ingredients vigorously (at least 18 to 20 shakes) and pour into champagne flute or rocks glass, top with champagne and orchid flower garnish

B lushing Bride

2 parts Harmonie 1 part Vodka

1 part white cranberry Fresh lemon squeeze Shake all ingredients vigorously (at least 18 to 20 shakes) pour in Martini or rocks glass, garnish with a luscious raspberry

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B lushing Bride

pretty pink cocktails for the . . .

Consider cocktails such as the Blushing Lady {a fruity, sweet-tart drink that is bright and delicious} and the Pink Spice {a flavorful drink that isn’t your usual vodka cocktail}. Not only do they all pop in flavor, they pop in color – and nothing makes a better bridal shower than a blushing bride and a signature drink.

P ink Spice The single-distilled qualities of Karlsson’s Gold Vodka – made with Swedish virgin new potatoes – create a perfect

B lushing Lady

balance in this spicy cocktail. This is the drink for the bride

No other liqueur makes a brighter cocktail than PAMA

who loves spice and adventure in her life. Add 2oz.

Liqueur – not only is its ruby-red hue pretty, it lends a hand

Karlsson’s Gold Vodka, juice of half a pink grapefruit,

to creating deliciously sweet-tart drinks, especially for the

1 stick of lemongrass, a few springs of fresh cilantro,

lucky lady as she anticipates the big day with the most

a splash of vanilla simple syrup and grenadine in a shaker

important man in her life. Add 1oz. PAMA, 2oz. vodka and

with ice. Shake and strain into a chilled Collins glass,

1 oz. pink grapefruit juice in a mixing glass with ice; shake

garnish with a grapefruit twist and marvel at your

and strain into a chilled martini glass rimmed with sugar.

gorgeous cocktail.

before pouring.

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Vendor Challenge | Pink + Purple Spring Issue + Grey

SOCIAL themed bridal shower

The tablescape for this grown up ice cream themed bridal shower featured gorgeous quilted gray and white table coverings, cream scalloped plates, vintage ice cream sundae glasses, ice cream spoons, and pink and purple flower arrangements featuring carnations, roses, and wax flower. The tables were seated with silver chiavari chairs. Ashley created a weaved effect on the chairs backs using silver chair ties. Each place setting also featured an individual favor box tied in pink ribbon, topped with little paper flowers, and with little coordinating tags that read "Life is short, Eat Dessert First". Inside each favor box were tied stacks of vanilla Whoopie pies, with purple vanilla cream filling. For the drinks, Ashley featured sparkling raspberry and regular lemonade but dressed up the pale pink glasses 28 | ISSUE 06

with gray striped straws and frozen blackberries to add a touch of the dark purple. Ashley even created custom ice cream napkins. She placed the napkins on a vintage coffee table which was decorated with a delicate purple bunting, purple lilacs, and a weaved ribbon background featuring a poster that said "Keep Calm and Eat Ice Cream". The dessert table featured banana split bites, ice cream shaped sugar cookies, chocolate covered cherries, ice cream cone cake pops, strawberry milkshakes, a custom ice cream carton cake, strawberry cream chocolate covered Oreo's, and three candy jars filled with waffle cones, strawberry whoppers, and pink and purple marshmallows. see more photos here


Custom Stamped Napkins

Stylist and Designer: Attention 2 Detail Events • | Photographer: Howie Oren Photography • | Flowers: Dahlias Flowers • | Strawberry Oreo’s: Sweet Tooth Sweetie • | Ice Cream Cone Cake Pops: Sugar Parlour • | Custom Cake: Whipped Cakes | | Ice Cream Cone Cookies: Lizzie Jean's Cookies • | Keep Calm Poster: Keep Calm Shop • | Mini Garland: Art’s Delight • | Ice Cream Spoon: Beach House Living •

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Vendor Challenge | Pink Spring + Purple Issue + Grey

purple as the dominant color, pink as the secondary color, and silver as the accent. The table linen was a standard, polyester table cloth in plum, but I wanted the table to have some "wow factor" since it was the first table guests would see when they arrived and it would set the mood for the rest of the shower dĂŠcor. I surrounded the edge of the table with realistic, faux/permanent, Phalaenopsis orchids in an eggplant color. I wanted to pull visual focus to the top of the table, where the guestbook, favors, & welcome cookies were displayed.

BRIDAL SHOWER in a walnut grove As written by Kim or Something Floral . . . This sunny, summer afternoon bridal shower was set in rural Michigan, at a private residence in their picturesque walnut grove where tall trees provided shade. A hint of sun with yellow rays of light peeking through the lush green leaves created natural spotlights across the grounds. Orchid patterned invitations from Papermints set the mood for stately elegance and provided a visual hint to guests that there would be more orchids and purple, pink, and grey to come at the shower. I wanted the welcome/guestbook table to coordinate with the dining tables but not replicate them exactly so while I used a table of the same size and shape, I chose 30 | ISSUE 06

The welcome/guestbook table contained a cookie stand brimming with petite butter cookies that were decorated with dainty pink and violet roses. Miniature, faux/permanent, violet Phalaenopsis orchids were placed & suspended in the center pillars of the cookie stand for an extra pop of color and to enhance the orchid theme. A variety of artisan-crafted earrings, custom created by a local jewelry designer, were offered to guests as favors. After guests arrived and signed the guest book, they were encouraged to select a silver gift box (tied with pink satin ribbon) and their favorite pair of earrings from the 40+ pairs on display on a jewelry holder floral arrangement. I opted to make napkin rings using a beautiful, hot pink, pleated satin and velvet ribbon. The velvet added a surprising (for summer) touch of lux that was perfect for the elegant shower. A beaded brooch was pinned to each napkin ring for a hint of sparkle, and a darling, moss-covered table number sat atop each dining table to help guests find their assigned location. see additional information about the flowers and even more photos from the shoot here


Paper Doily Cupcake Wrappers

Styling, Coordination, Floral Designs, and Cupcake Wrapper Designs: Something Floral •

Venue: Private Residence, Hillsdale, MI Photographer: Urban Fire Studio • Stationery and Paper Goods: Papermints • Linen Rentals: Fabulous Events • Earrings / Jewelry Favors: Shining Moment • Silvertone Earring Boxes: Notable Notions • Moss Table No: White Tulip Boutique •| Petite Butter Cookies: Jonesville Bakery • | 31 Cupcakes: Kroger •

Vendor Challenge | Pink Spring + Purple Issue + Grey



Lots of white was used for this shoot with pops of pinks, purples and grey to create an elegant and refreshing bridal shower. The shoot was photographed outside on the deck in the afternoon sun and the addition of the sheer drapes helps soften the sun's rays. see more photos here Party Styling: Pamela Smerker & Dawn Rumin Favor Boxes: Pamelia of Party Starters • Photographer: Studio Sister Photography • "Mod Wedding" printable collection: A Blissful Nest • Cupcake Pedestals: The Pastry Pedestal • Cupcake shaped soaps: Milk and Cookeez • Sugar Cookies: Firefly Confections • Candy Tubes: Fancy That | 32 | ISSUE 06


Butterfly Paper Confetti Template

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The End Vendors interested in advertising in the next magazine or participating in a wedding challenge, please email for more information | |

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Best Wedding Sites Magazine - August 2011  

Welcome to the August issue of The Best Wedding Sites Magazine. This issue is a Summer Celebration and features the color palette of pink, p...

Best Wedding Sites Magazine - August 2011  

Welcome to the August issue of The Best Wedding Sites Magazine. This issue is a Summer Celebration and features the color palette of pink, p...