Professional wedding advice for all walks of life. Feel free to ask anything and everything, no topic is off limits!


Watch the beverage, man!

White Russian, Katrina style:

1 part Kahlua
2 parts Vodka
1 part Light Cream or Milk
1 part Frangelico (Hazelnut Liqueur)

-Mix Vodka, Frangelico & Kahlua over optional ice cubes
-Pour cream or milk over concoction
-Mix, if desired... then drink

A... B... C... Easy as 1... 2... 3...

Fun Variations:
-Try Godiva Vodka or Vanilla Vodka
-Any type of coffee liqueur is yummy, Kahlua flavors all mix well

This is a great signature beverage for Cocktail Hours or Reception Bars. It is a great after dinner choice because it has a nice coffee/cream taste, without being too coffee-ish. Some only enjoy this cocktail during the Winter months, but we smart people know that it is spectacular year around ;)


Happily Ever After is the tricky part...

So, everyone is talking about 2010.... so futuristic... so weird... time keeps flying by...

"Time seems to go so slowly, and then all of the sudden, everything has changed." One of my college professors told my Political Science class, the day when a few of the suave university basketball players meandered in late.

"Punctuality may not be important to you now, but you're going to be old one day, believe it or not. Wrinkly skin, sagging muscles, age spots on your epidermis... You know what I predict will be a stand-out memory in your mind? You're going to look back at your youth and remember how you were always late for my class, and how because of that, I failed you." Without another wasted word on the topic, my professor turned to the dry-erase board and started jotting the day's lecture outline.

The basketball players looked confused, burped and again meandered out of the class room. As if that is normal? Maybe that moment in history won't stand out to those basketball players compared to other moments in their lives, but I am sure it has to at least make their Top 5 Most Embarrassing Moments list. Hopefully their wedding day, child's birth, winning awards, graduations, (if that ever played out), birthdays, and just special moments with family and friends are among the times those basketball players remember when they look back at their youth. But, just as those guys took their college professor for granted, (which led to them failing a class), people can take other people for granted... which leads to failed relationships, most notably, the scary D-word.... divorce.

Oprah did a whole segment on life after the wedding. She talked about how many couples put on the horse blinders during the wedding planning phase, hence ruining their relationship. People can focus so much on the wedding and not thinking about life after, which is the point of the wedding in the first place---correct?

If you think life will be different after a wedding, think again. Some people do change after they get married and become more devoted to their spouse, but many times people are disappointed to learn that their Prince Charming is still that frog they kissed a long time ago.

One of my dearest friends just called me as I was writing mid-blog... She happens to be newly engaged to a lovely British man and planning a December 2010 wedding. While we were on the phone, she reminded me of one of the bajillion reasons I respect and love her... We were talking about her dress ideas, her wedding likes and dislikes, her concerns with having a small-town-America wedding while her fiance's family was flying in from all over London and the world... and she said, "I am so excited!"

I said, "Well, yeah! This is what you want right?"

"Duh, Christy! I am happy about the wedding and everything, but I mean I am excited for afterwards... the whole being married thing."


"Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery"

To imitate, or not to imitate; that is the question. We've all heard conflicting mantras about imitation. Many lean towards imitation being lazy, copycat-ish, even unoriginal. In some circumstances, this might be the case, but I tend to disagree. I disagree with strings attached, of course. Don't get me wrong, I think copycats are awful to quite-awful and I'm an advocate of maintaining your identity... Yet, I am a firm believer in imitation being the sincerest form of flattery, as long as you put your own spin on it. You still must maintain your "you-ness". As Dr. Suess would say, "Today you are you, that is truer than true. There is no one alive who is youer than you."

With weddings, baby showers, birthday parties, holiday parties, (any festive gatherings really), someone has likely already had your "theme". How to deal with this? Do it again, but better. If you absolutely loved Eva Longoria's excessive use of calla lilies during her 07/07/07 Paris wedding, and love calla lilies in general--use them! There is no shame in using the same color schemes, flower genres, dress desginer etc as someone else... in fact, people do it on a daily basis. Again, you just have to put your own little spin on things.

Tweek the minor details. If you're choosing an all white/cream wedding and love how your friend used only white roses, add a touch of another type of white or cream flower or even some pearls throughout the flowers. This way, you're bringing varying shapes and designs to your floral bouquets and centerpieces, while still sticking with your color scheme.

Staying with the white wedding example... There are many fun ways to bring unique details to an all white wedding. You and your groom could exit your ceremony in a vintage white convertible instead of the traditional black limousine, (driving at a moderate speed of course, so your hair-do doesn't get all askew). Or have your flower girl wear angel wings! As if the adorable flower girl needs to be any cuter... We can all admit that she is the second most adored gal of the wedding festivities :) Here are some great websites that supply cute dress-up wings for children from varying prices ranges:

*http://www.fao.com/ On the pricier side, but wonderful quality.
*http://www.fairyandangelwings.com/ This website has the option to buy in bulk or buy a single pair of wings for less than $15. The bulk option is fun if you want to double their usage as your flower girl's birthday party favors for her friends later on... Yay for multi-purpose wedding purchases!
*if you're a crafty little minx and want to make them yourself this website has good step-by-step instructions, (please disregard the silly painted male model): http://www.instructables.com/id/How-to-make-a-pair-of-Angel-Wings/

I feel it necessary to exclaim at this time, every event is unique! Even though many weddings may seem similar, no two are exactly alike. So eat your heart out, nay-sayers; imitation really is the sincerest form of flattery :) When something works, make it work to your advantage. Work smarter-not harder!

Until next time, I'll leave you with this: The best/funniest example of flattering imitation I've seen in a while... http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bW5czKqT05A ...Lady Gaga has to be so proud :)


This one time... at the airport...

Imagine, if you will, I am sitting in the Denver International Airport with my twin sister Cheryl and my husband Pete. It is 9:45 on Christmas Eve morning. We are patiently waiting to board our flight to Tampa, Florida after being harassed by a few not-so-intelligent TSA men.

Oooh, the joys of holiday traveling. Here is how the morning went: After quickly and efficiently removing our shoes and laptops, we shuffle through the cattle lines of security scanners. It is our turn to shove our items on the conveyer belt. The temperamental x-ray box with car wash looking pieces, which are hanging tauntingly in my little carry-on's way, keeps spitting the bags back out a few inches before deciding to swallow them whole into the unknown. While I'm nervously pushing my bag onto the moving belt, the half-asleep looking androgynous TSA person motions me through the metal detector without a smile. I scurry along to the other end of the conveyer belt where I hold my breath waiting for my bags to come out of the aforementioned box.

No loud sirens, no flashing lights... I think I am in the clear. Low and behold, my bags are not exiting the temperamental box, instead, the TSA guy who is supposedly scrutinizing my bag with the sincerest of concern, is in actuality having story-time with his co-workers. I am baffled, aren't they supposed to be the creme de la creme of serious protectors of all-things-airport-security? Isn't this TSA guy and his comrades supposed to care if I have explosive devices in my carry-on baggage? I am no Nancy Drew, but I turned a listening ear to absorb some astonishing sentences about what the TSA guy had for dinner the night before and how his wife was a lousy cook.

At this point, I can't help but stare. There are a good four or five TSA men involved in this conversation about whose wife is the worst cook. A) I am offended because they are talking trash about their poor wives who probably try their darndest to make these unappreciative men happy and B) I am not in the mood to listen to this crap while being subjected to reverse racial profiling. Not cool. Then it gets better... the TSA guy, (who is blatantly not moving the conveyer belt along because his having story time has higher priority--or should I say higher National Security), notices me watching this travesty so he turns to me and mumbles something in an accusatory tone.

"Excuse me?" I ask loudly.

One of TSA guy's crony raises his voice, "He said, you could make this process go faster if you pushed your bags through the machine instead of just letting them sit there."

I stared at them in disbelief, "The belt was moving back and forth, I wasn't about to forcefully shove my bag and break tens of thousands of dollars worth of government equipment to save a few seconds. Patience is a virtue." The last part came out a little sarcastically.

Cheryl had joined me by this time due to half-asleep androgynous TSA person actually doing it's job while these TSA guys were dilly-dallying with story-time.

"What did he say?" Cheryl asked.

"Oh, just that we are slowing them down because I didn't push my luggage through. But in reality he hasn't moved the conveyer belt this whole time I've been standing here."

"Excuse me, ma'am?" The TSA guy's crony asked in a startled tone, as if he had been caught with his hand in the cookie jar.

I just stared at him, and he knew I was not going to be pushed around, so he turned to my husband and said, "Sir I need you to open your bag."

Pete cooperated and TSA guy's crony pulled out the see-through zip lock bag which contained deodorant and toothpaste.

"This does not meet Federal Regulations, I have to confiscate it."

"That is toothpaste, sir." Pete stated for the record.

"I'm aware of what it is, sir, but I have to do my job." (Apparently, my husband may not take a half empty six ounce tube of toothpaste, but I get away unscathed with my two different bottles of nine ounce bronzer tanning lotion... hmmm, story-time distracting maybe?)

We had won the first battle, crony won the second battle, and no one has won the war.

So, as if this was not enough to add up to an eventful morning at the airport, while we are trying to relax at our gate before boarding the flight, Round Two commences...

"OMG!" This woman literally said the letters, the acronym, not the word, "I mean, it's sucks when you're the best friend in that situation, ya know!?" Normal quiet travelers; meet Chatty Cathy. We've all been around a Chatty Cathy or two in our day, but she was the cream of the crop. Here are some of my personal favorites which I accumulated while discovering my iPod was dead:

1) "...and when I was arrested..." She trails off, and then gets louder, "I mean, it was in Europe and college, so it doesn't really count. Well, but, uh, I totally still got arrested!"

2) "I saw a documentary about gangs in Albuquerque and I was like, ooooh my gawd, I have totally been there before! And I forgot my toothbrush, yicky!"

3) "You don't have to do the same thing as everyone else! Do you need a tampon?" at this point, I nudge Cheryl...
"Did you hear that!" I whisper, "She just asked if that woman needed a tampon and didn't even adjust her volume!"

"No," Cheryl laughs, "She said, 'Are you going to Tampa?' "
Well, I thought to myself, I wouldn't put it past her.

Seemingly years later, we arrive in Tampa. We are greeted by my brother-in-law Ben who is chauffeuring us to our destination: Grammy's house in Sarasota. Grammy might just be the coolest woman on this planet and the exact opposite of everyone we had dealt with during our travels. She was born in 1911 and has more intellect than any intellectual or important public figure I've ever known or learned about. One of her most endearing traits is patience. She will never raise her voice to speak over someone. She is slow to speak when asked a question, slow to anger when a wrongdoing has occurred, quick to listen in every situation and above all, she is herself. She has never changed her opinion because it wasn't the current popular opinion. She won't tell you something because she thinks it is what you want to hear. If you find it hard to believe one woman could be this amazing, wait, there is more. When you actually listen to her comments, she is very witty and sly. Never in a condescending manner, but the woman can sure crack a joke. Last but not least, when she tells you she loves you, you feel it in your bones--you feel truly loved. She imparts the kind of knowledge, wisdom, and love that makes you want to be more open-minded and tender-hearted. Virginia Walters is one hell of a woman.

What in the world does this have to do with weddings and planning events? Everything. These types of people and daily interactions have EVERYTHING to do with everything. People who have customer service, as well as people who are polite and discreet, are a dying breed. Not only do your actions and comments affect people around you, they affect your job, your spouse, your family, your customers, your happiness, other people's state of mind, etc. One little comment, one nasty tone, one smirk or smile, one nice or mean gesture can have a domino effect and totally impact the world. It might take a village to raise a child, but it takes every human being to make peace on Earth, (and at a wedding).

Example: If you're kind to a Disc Jockey during a phone conversation, he/she might be more willing to apply a discount promotion that just so happen to have expire yesterday. Depending on how you handle a tiff with your caterer, they will still want your business, but they might be less likely to shower you with the highest levels of customer service. If your fiance's extended family overhears you or your family talking about their family inappropriately they will lose respect for you and may even spread and twist what they have overheard. You catch my drift.

There are so many situations that can be misunderstood and misinterpreted, there is no reason to negatively contribute to the universe. What if everyone followed the Golden Rule and treated others the way they wanted to be treated? Karma just might smile on us all :)


Frankie says RELAX

Remember when "You've Got Mail" came out with Meg Ryan and Tom Hanks? Well, I always smile to myself when I check my email and think of that woman's voice, "You've got mail!" That phrase seemed to dominate the 90's. It's funny how in the moment, trends seem so new and interesting... but when we're on to the new and more exciting things, the previous exciting thing will feel like ages ago.

Well, I'm being my usual cheesy self and thinking, "You've got mail!" as I open my email, (I use Yahoo, not even AOL, but a girl can still have fun). I see an email from one of my brides with the subject line: I NEED A FAVOR.

All caps, huh? No sugar-coating here. Wow, this has got to be good. I quickly forget the dozens of other emails and their subject lines, (I generally skim over all of them before deciding what emails need to be opened first), this email clearly has priority. As soon as I click on the email, I'm greeted with adorable pictures of an eight week old brown, black and white, Shitzu-poodle puppy. Uh-oh, I'm in trouble. Everyone knows my husband and I, as well as my twin sister are self-proclaimed, devout animal lovers. I already know what is coming.

The email outlines the fact that my client ordered Frankie, (the ridiculously adorable puppy), for her fiancé's birthday. Her fiancé's birthday happens to be Christmas Eve, ten days from when the email was sent. The problem is that the puppy is flying into the Colorado Springs airport more than a week before the birthday and my client reaaaaallllly wanted to surprise her fiancé on his actual birthday.

Never fear, Christy is here! Of course I tell my client I would be happy to watch her new pup so the surprise can happen perfectly. Just like with weddings, sometimes sacrifices need to be made so the day goes as close to perfect as possible. This time, the sacrifice is on my end-but I am a firm believer in karma. I've already got my twin sister's Siberian Husky and Maltese-Yorkie mix, as well as my own Black Lab and Pomeranian; what harm can ONE more do? Ehhh, my husband Pete will tell you...

"You agreed to WHAT?" he exclaims on the phone, trying to sound alarmed. I can tell by his tone that he is not the slightest bit surprised.
"Don't worry, it is just for a couple days, we will be in Sarasota visiting Grammy before you know it!" I assure him. I try to turn the conversation to National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation movie quotes, which he particularly loves this time of year.
"Christy, a couple means two. You're talking about eight or nine days. Has the fur-ball had his de-wormer shots yet at least?" He calls my euphemism bluff.
"I'm not sure... Ok, well I love you, see you when you get home!" I quickly get off the phone and start thinking about his favorite meal I can prepare for dinner to take his mind off our temporary 'situation'.

Among the many fun parts of having an eight week old puppy in the house:
-Frankie's not yet potty-trained
-Frankie's breeder put him on a plane to us, so he is very leery of his nemesis: the crate.
-Frankie's not yet accustomed to sleeping through the night
-Frankie's strongly dislikes his crate, yet he is not accustomed to sleeping in a bed, (and he tends to do nose dives off the bed, unaware that the bed has even ended and he is face-planted on the carpet)
-being a male puppy, Frankie has an affinity for humping everything, all two pounds of him..
-my own dogs are suspicious of this new furry squeaker
-Porter, my Black Lab, is not happy that she isn't the baby of the household anymore
-Frankie has not yet learned that his puppy teeth and nails are razor sharp and hurt like heck

Besides all of the interesting 1:30 AM, 3:00 AM, and 4:30 AM potty breaks, Frankie might just be THE cutest puppy I've seen in a while, and very deserving of a few days of my time. Although it is very easy to make up little white lie excuses to yourself and others, it is ALWAYS more satisfying in the long run to help out someone in need. You never know who will be there for you when you need a favor.
The lessons here? There are many, but to summarize:
1) Regular life still goes on when you're planning a wedding. Not only does your regular daily life go on, so does your work life, personal life, birthdays, holidays etc... These all still occur while you're planning your wedding and all of these wonderful things will keep happening AFTER the wedding is over. Don't let the, "Big Day" blind you from your even more important daily life. The present is a gift, don't overlook it!

2) Weddings, among other events in life, can be overwhelming... *GASP* The planning process and even the Big Day are not always perfect. The purpose of weddings and other important life celebrations is to bring together loved ones to do just that: celebrate. If you are too busy trying to control every detail of the day, you won't be able to step back, take every moment in, and enjoy your day. Your family and friends may or may not have been supportive of you and your significant other for the duration of your relationship, but this is the time to let them show their support and lend a helping hand. If you need to have your Wedding Planner pet-sit your fiancé's birthday/Christmas present for a week, don't be afraid to ask. If you need the best man to return everyone's tux rentals after you've left for your honeymoon, don't be afraid to ask! Channel that inner Bridezilla! This is the one time in your life when you're allowed to ask and even demand things be done a certain way.

Many times in life we get caught up in pettiness and forget what relationships are all about. Family and friends are supposed to be there in good times and in bad, in sickness and in health... sound familiar? Believe it or not, those words don't just apply to husbands and wives; friends and families vow that type of unconditional love as well. This means if you're willing to accept and lend a helping hand, when needed, you can count on your loved ones to reciprocate.

My husband's favorite term comes to mind again, "Team work makes the dream work, baby!"


Something borrowed, Something blue...

One of the oldest and most fun wedding traditions for the Bride to follow is the old adage:
"Something old,
something new,
something borrowed,
something blue,
and a silver sixpence in her shoe!"

This saying is very English, (the sixpence is a silver coin worth six pennies), and many think it dates back to Victorian times. So, it's a cute little poem, but what the heck does it mean? Every item represents good luck, fidelity, prosperity and love in one form or another. Something old represents something from your past life that you're bringing into you're new marriage. Something new represents the new bond your fiance and you are forming in marriage. Something borrowed is preferably from your Mother or an older sister, ideally passing on their happiness onto your marriage. Something blue represents fidelity, honesty and prosperity, (beliefs from the Roman and then early Christian times). And the silver sixpence was something English brides used to do in wishing for wealth, success and happiness.

One of the reasons this tradition is still carried out today is because it still applies to today. Couples still hope for everlasting love and happiness with their future bride or groom; people still want to believe in love conquering all. What I like most about this tradition is that it shows how every relationship in your life can be loving and supportive, not just the relationship with your significant other.

You might borrow your mother's veil or your grandmother's broach for your wedding day. Your dad might give you a necklace that belonged to his grandmother generations ago, which would qualify as old and new because it is new to you. When I bought my Vera Wang at Andrisen Morton's in Denver, Colorado, the sweet bridal consultant told me not to worry about my, "something blue." I inquisitively asked what she meant and she just smiled. "Don't worry about it my dear, you'll find out in due time." I am not a very patient girl and I thought about it often until my wedding day when I was putting my dress on. One of my bridesmaids said, "Aww, Christy that is so sweet!" I looked down and there was a delicate Tiffany blue ribbon sewn into the inside of my dress. These are the fun moments of weddings and marriage.

Many brides and grooms today will give each other a gift on their wedding day. My Maid of Honor who happens to be my twin sister as well, bravely ventured into the Groom's room where all of the groomsmen where waiting for the ceremony to start at the church and gave him a watch from me. My husband, Pete, only wears the watch on special occasions but he loves it because it is sentimental. I, on the other hand, had received my special wedding day gift weeks before we got married.

There were two beautiful contemporary chairs from Pier 1 which I had my eye on for my home office. Every time decorating our new home came up in conversation, those chairs were the first thing on my mind. My husband was always quick to change the conversation topic, as the chairs were not in our price range. But on Easter Sunday, we were eating at one of our favorite breakfast spots in Colorado Springs, "Western Omelette" when it happened. Pete was eating his usual breakfast chimichanga smothered in green chili. For those of you who have never had green chili, the word HOT does not begin to do this satanic food justice. At Western Omelette they make their green chili out of habaneros, and as my husband and his buddies love to say, "It burns twice!" To make a long story short, I am a plain jane when it comes to food, my tongue does not like spicy anything. Well, my beloved Pier 1 office chairs came up in conversation and my wonderful husband came up with a spiteful plan. "Have you ever seen that Food Network show, Man v. Food? Well, if you can eat this small bowl of green chili and not drink anything for five minutes afterwards, then I will get you the Pier 1 chairs as your wedding gift." My husband and his best friend, Jon, exchange knowing looks, they think there is no chance I would attempt such a feat. Much to their surprise, I take a huge spoonful and lift it to my mouth... freak out, and put it right back in the bowl where it came from. After the initial bravery wears off, twenty minutes pass. At this point pretty much the whole restaurant knows the battle royal going on at our table. The waitress comes to refill our drinks and gives me an encouraging boost of confidence.

Finally, Pete says, "Alright, if you don't eat the chili in the next two minutes, the deal is off the table." I don't know what came over me, but all I could think about was how perfectly those chairs would compliment my nice new desk and pretty black filing cabinets; I scarfed the green chili down before anyone could say another word. Pete and Jon just stared blankly at me, as if it didn't happen. "START THE TIMER!" I squealed, every microscopic part of my lips and mouth that the habanero had touched was on FIRE. The time ticked slowly by with taunts from the boys about how thirsty I must be... At last, the bet was over, I had won, I sipped on my chocolate milk and smiled politely at my dismayed husband. "Victory is mine! Lets go get those chairs, babe!" The three of us drive up to Pier 1, something is off, there are no cars in the parking lot. Then it hits us, every business is closed on Easter Sunday... I would have to wait for my "Something New"!!

What is the lesson here? There are a million and ten ways to spice up your relationship, and make the wedding planning process fun! You don't have to follow every wedding tradition just as every other bride does. It is very easy to personalize your wedding and make it memorable :)


My mother-in-law wants to invite HOW MANY OF HER TENNIS FRIENDS?!

Imagine this if you will: You and your fiance sit down to draft the guest list to your upcoming wedding. You are very excited thinking about your newly single gal pals meeting some of your fiance's cute cousins... and then it happens.... Your fiance pulls out a thick stack of paper, stapled together with color coded sticky tabs coming out the sides.
"What is that hunny? An old college project?" you nervously joke.
"No babe, my Mom already drafted her part of the guest list. She told me she wanted to make it easy on you, so you didn't have to spend one minute stressing. She divided her list into how she knows the guests."
You take a deep breath and peek inside the monstrous black hole... The categories include: Family, Work friends, Neighborhood friends, Book-club friends, tennis team/now, tennis team/college, tennis team/high school, tennis team/miscellaneous, tennis team/husbands, tennis team/coaches... You look up and your fiance is picking his nose.
"Hunny, do you know ALL of these people?" You ask, trying to control your tone.
"Nope." He states, as if you asked if he was hungry............. And it slowly dawns on you, these are early signs that you miiiiiiight just have a Mother-in-Law from H-E-double hockey sticks.

Never fear, Christy is here! If and WHEN a situation such as this arises, there are many right and wrong ways to handle your emotions. Talk honestly with your fiance about how many people your budget can afford to feed at your wedding. Hypothetically, wedding guest lists should be 50% Bride's side and 50% Groom's side. In real life, that rarely is the case. It is funny how often a person from a very small family marries a person from a very large family. Guest list numbers are not only determined by your catering/alcohol budgets, but also depending on your flower budget, i.e. the more people you invite, the more centerpieces you're paying for. So after you and your fiance have established how many guests you can afford, next is the issue of who you want to buy dinner for on your wedding day. Do you really care if your Dad's car mechanic witnesses you exchanging vows with the man you love? Think of order of importance.

If after rationally discussing budget issues with your fiance, he doesn't realize that you're hinting at his mother's excessive guest list, you can always outright ask him to talk to the parental unit himself. If he feels uncomfortable "upsetting" his mother, or doesn't know how to handle the conversation, you always have the option to talk to her yourself as well. These conversations can be tricky, but are good practice for your marriage. If boundary issues are going to be a problem in the mother/daughter in-law relationship, pre-wedding planning is always a great time to start establishing those boundaries!

As my husband always says, "Team work makes the dream work, baby!" Here is a great related article if there are signs of "communication problems" between the females: http://www.newsweek.com/id/206199/page/1
Ironically, my husband emailed me the article, but not his mother....