Archive for July, 2011

Rehearsal Dinner Ideas for a Wedding Rehearsal Dinner

Saturday, July 30th, 2011

There are many facets to getting married and one of them is the wedding rehearsal dinner.  As a bride and groom, you want to have fun at this special occasion, spend time with family and close friends prior to getting married and naturally, make this dinner about the two of you.  Here are some rehearsal dinner ideas that you can incorporate into your wedding weekend.

First, like any party, you should try to theme the event and make sure to carry this theme throughout from the invitation to the party.  For us, we love to take jump shots from around the world.  We have us jumping from the beaches of Florida, to the Eiffel Tower in Paris to Half Dome in Yosemite.  Thus for us, it was natural to theme our wedding rehearsal dinner Jumpin’ for Joy.

Look to yourselves as a couple and think of the fun aspects about the two of you. Are you both skiers, computer or music geeks, sports fans, beach bums?  What as a couple are you two known to be by your friends and family and literally bring that to the party. Use these personality traits as part of your decor whether it is displayed in your dinner menu, the party favor or even the table centerpiece.

Also, consider the venue as a part of your theme.  One wedding rehearsal dinner I coordinated was at the beach and we had a BBQ.  The invitations, centerpieces and party favors all included some aspect of the sand and sea.  There are many websites that you can turn to such as your local city’s dinning guide, Great Places or Rehearsal Dinner Guide to research party venues.

When booking your venue, a few aspects to keep in mind are the time of year because of weather issues, number of guests you are hosting, location in proximity to the wedding and whether or not you will be in a private dinning room.  For other tips when scouting a venue for an event, turn to pages 19 to 22 in my book Budget Bash.

A few rehearsal dinner ideas to save money are to make your own invitation, centerpiece or dinner menu.  Also, if the dinner is outdoors, hang some inexpensive lighting or lanterns to add atmospheric lighting to the venue.  We used different photographs of us jumping and made our own invitations and menus and then played off the French theme of the restaurant and created our own French styled-centerpieces.

And don’t forget on your rehearsal dinner invites to let your guests know about parking availability, whether or not to bring a sweater and time and date.  It is amazing how often people make mistakes and confuse the day and time with the wedding versus the wedding rehearsal dinner.

Hope you picked up a few tips for your wedding festivities.  Until next time, remember the Budget Bash mantra:  make it simple, stylish, fun and economical to all!

Energy Bar Recipe

Monday, July 25th, 2011

Here is a quick and easy energy bar recipe that is delicious.  The only ingredients required are raw cashews and dates.  You can also modify these vegan bars with coco, lemon or lime to name a few other flavors.  This recipe comes from the summer issue of Veg News.

The energy bar recipe requires 2 cups raw cashews and 2 cups pitted dates.

1. Blend the cashews in a food processor until the nuts become a fine powder and then add the dates.

2. Blend both ingredients until well mixed and the dough is sticking together.

3. Then, if desired, add another flavor.  I added 2 tablespoons of cocoa powder and blended some more.

Once the dough is well formed, place it in a foil-lined baking dish roughly 8″ by 12″ or if you just make half the recipe, then an 8″ x 8″ pan.  Press the dough down with a spoon or your fingers until it is evenly distributed in the pan and refrigerate the dough to form the vegan bars (30 minutes to an hour minimum).

Cut your vegan bars and start eating! For later snacking, wrap the cut bars in plastic wrap and stick them back into the refrigerator or freeze them for a later date. Another bonus about this energy bar recipe is that the bars are gluten free.

For other quick and easy recipes including party planning tips, click here. Enjoy, and until next time, remember the Budget Bash mantra: make it simple, stylish, fun and economical to all!

Simple Flower Arrangement

Friday, July 22nd, 2011

Talk about a simple flower arrangement.  Can this get any easier? A couple of flowers with some greens in a vase.

Change up the look of the bud vase with colored glass or beads and just add one of your favorite figurines to make this simple flower arrangement.

For more ideas on how to make a simple flower arrangement, check out my easy to ready book Budget Bash.  Until next time, remember the Budget Bash mantra:  make it simple, stylish, fun and economical to all!

Chair Sashes and Wedding Chair Decor

Wednesday, July 20th, 2011

An important part of any sit-down party is the chair your guests will be spending most of the event in.  One way to spruce up the chair is with chair sashes.  Here are some ideas for wedding chair decor that can also be used for any special dinner party you might host.

Want an inexpensive yet elegant touch to your table decor? Chair sashes add a lovely accent to a dinner table and don’t cost too much to rent.  You can tie the sash horizontally with a bow or knot,  or as I did, tie the sash vertically to change up the look on the chair.

Another wedding chair decor idea is to make Just Married signs and place them on the back of the bride and groom chairs.  For our wedding, we took two photos, superimposed Just Married on them and then enlarged and mounted the photos on foam core and placed the signs over the chair sashes.

You can also just write Just and Married on two individual signs and place them on the back of the chairs.  Another wedding chair decor idea is to have your florist create flowered pom poms and hang those from the back of the chair.  In fact, to save some money with your wedding flowers, you can first use the chair adornment on the aisle chairs during the ceremony and then recycle them at the reception.

Chair sashes come in a variety of colors and fabric textures.  You can also mix and match the chair covers with the chair ties as well.  For a corporate dinner event, we used ivory linens and chair covers and then burgundy napkins and chair ties.

Another use for chair ties is weave them through the top back of the chair and then criss-cross them on along the back and down the chair to where the seat cushion is.  This look takes a bit of time so be sure to build that into your timeline.  In fact, unless you have practiced or have tied chairs at previous events, you should estimate at least a minute a chair for a basic knot or bow.

Finally, one last wedding chair decor idea is to order extra large square shaped chair covers and then knot them in the back.  We did this for a birthday party and it added a new dimension to the room.

I hope you found these wedding chair decor ideas useful and can incorporate one of them at your wedding or next special event.  Chair ties are an easy, quick and inexpensive decor idea that will add beauty to any room or dinner party.  Until next time, remember the Budget Bash mantra:  make it simple, stylish, fun and economical to all!

DIY Centerpieces

Friday, July 15th, 2011

Having a summer BBQ and looking for quick and easy DIY centerpieces? Why not make your own.

Here is what to do for a western themed BBQ or any other outdoor summer event.

For this arrangement, we first went to a secondhand store and purchased old cowboy boots.  Secondly, we stopped at the market and purchased inexpensive flowers and greens.  Finally, (very important) we lined the inside of the boot with some plastic wrap and then placed a wet oasis inside the boot and arranged the flowers.

And there you have DIY centerpieces for your party!

For other quick and easy DIY centerpieces, check out pages 59 to 65 in Budget Bash.  Until next time, remember the Budget Bash mantra: make it simple, stylish, fun and economical to all!

Cheap Wedding Veils Made to Look Expensive

Thursday, July 14th, 2011

Weddings become very expensive in a matter of minutes so what I thought I would do is share with you how to make cheap wedding veils look expensive.  In my quest for an ivory wedding veil, I was amazed when I started shopping as to how expensive this one item can cost and thus was determined not to go overboard yet still make sure the veil was elegant and beautiful.

When I started looking for an ivory wedding veil, I was determined to match the picture I found in a magazine of my wedding dress, and I wanted to make sure that it t didn’t take away from the majestic long mermaid dress I was going to wear.  However, when I started to shop I nearly dropped!  The wedding dress shops wanted $175 to $250 for a plain simple veil plus it would take six to eight weeks to get the veil.  Where were the cheap wedding veils I asked?!

So, like everything else these days, I went to the internet and typed in cheap wedding veils and found quite a few stores listed in downtown Los Angeles.  They were all located within the same square block making it easy to park and start hunting.  It didn’t take long to find my ivory wedding veil.  I found it at at store called Royal Accessories located on East 9th street, downtown L.A.  They had a large selection, were very friendly and helpful and best of all took credit cards!

I found the exact tulle veil I wanted and then took it to the seamstress that was shortening my dress.  Since she was cutting off the bottom, I asked her to take off some of the lace appliques that were stitched onto that part of my dress and sew them onto the veil.  What started out as a $15 ivory wedding veil (plus $25 for the seamstress) turned into an expensive looking wedding veil that comparatively could have cost hundreds of dollars!

Other helpful hints to make cheap wedding veils look expensive is again to start off with a plain tulle or lace veil and add crystals to the veil.  Or you can find a decorative hair piece and add some lace or tulle to that as well.  My mother actually had a white flower hair comb and all she did was add an extra couple of white silk flowers to it as well as a few crystals and it turned out beautifully.  Better yet, I still wear it to this day!

Finally, looking for a real bargain? Ask around to borrow your veil.  That is how my quest for my wedding veil started.  Until next time, remember the Budget Bash mantra: make it simple, stylish, fun and economical to all!

Some Wedding Planning Tips from a Los Angeles Wedding Planner

Monday, July 11th, 2011

As I mentioned in a previous post, this Los Angeles wedding planner recently coordinated her own wedding and what I thought I would do is share some wedding planning tips.  These helpful hints work for either a wedding or any other special event you may host.

  • If you take photos or have a professional photographer, prior to the event, create a shot list of important memories you want from that day.  Remember it’s a live event and you only get one take.
  • Create a timeline and be as exact as possible to ensure you have all aspects of your event in place prior to the start time.
  • Go with the flow, something always seems to happen, just don’t worry and have fun!

Being a Los Angeles wedding planner also put a bit of stress on my wedding since of course, I am very detailed oriented, and I wanted to make sure that everything was in place for my special day.  One of the wedding planning tips I tell my brides (which I tried to follow that day) was to be in the moment.  Focus on what is going on in the now and don’t worry about later or what could have been.

For more wedding planning tips, check out a complete checklist I created in my book, Budget Bash.  You will  find not only a to-do party checklist but also many other important tips and helpful hints to help you create the wedding of your dreams.  Or just simply call if you are looking for a Los Angeles wedding planner, and I would be more than happy to provide you with a free consultation.

Until next time, remember the Budget Bash mantra:  make it simple, stylish, fun and economical to all!

Angelina Cafe Paris and French Hot Cocoa

Friday, July 8th, 2011

While we were on our honeymoon in France, we drank the best French hot cocoa ever at Angelina Cafe Paris.

This French hot cocoa was so thick and rich. I couldn’t even drink the one portion they served me, I had to split it with my husband!  Angelina Cafe Paris has quite a history and is a must visit for those going to Paris, France.  It was established in 1903 and serves breakfast, lunch and tea.

Angelina Cafe Paris is famous for their French hot cocoa and if you are traveling in the summer, get their first thing in the morning since the cafe does not have air conditioning.  In addition, late mornings, lunch and tea can get quite crowded with a line out the door.

Finally, I must say that the French hot cocoa at Angelina Cafe Paris is not a Budget Bash item, but well worth the price.  Until next time, remember the Budget Bash mantra: make it simple, stylish, fun and economical to all!

Traditional French Food

Wednesday, July 6th, 2011

My husband and I traveled to Europe on our honeymoon and spent our last two nights in Paris. Of course, we had to sample traditional French food and what better way than in a bistro.  I must say that French food in Paris is delicious and so fresh.

Victor ordered the French onion soup, typical traditional French food, and I ate the steak tartar. Because steak tartar is raw meat and some recipes call for raw eggs, it’s difficult to find this menu item in the US. But being in France, just had to sample this classic French food in Paris. I must say, it was beyond delicious!

Of course, what would traditional French food be without France’s delicious bread and butter? The butter is so sweet, like a dessert. It was a good thing we were only in Paris for two nights! Finally, to cap off our French food in Paris, we were served these delicious cappuccinos.

More to come since we spent 21 days in Italy! Until next time, remember the Budget Bash mantra: make it simple, stylish, fun and economical to all!

Colored Engagement Rings

Friday, July 1st, 2011

Colored engagement rings are all the rage right now especially with Kate Middleton wearing Diana’s sapphire engagement ring.  Of course, another newlywed bride, moi, wanted something different from the pack and loved princess cut engagement rings.  So combining the two, here is a picture of mine on our wedding day.

Right now, brides are looking at various colored engagement rings including pink diamonds, yellow diamonds, emeralds, sapphires and even less expensive stones such as amethyst, topaz and aquamarine to name a few.  Moissanite engagement rings are also very popular right now.

What is great about Moissanite engagement rings is that you can combine diamonds within the setting decreasing the overall cost of the ring but yet you still have the sparkle and elegance of a diamond center stone.

Colored engagement rings or Moissanite engagement rings are a fun way to go when considering purchasing your engagement ring.  Whichever you choose, cherish and enjoy wearing it and just wait for all the compliments!

For tips on what do you for your wedding after the big engagement day, check out my party planning book Budget Bash to get great tips on selecting a venue, creating a checklist, addressing your invitations and more!  Until next time, remember the Budget Bash mantra: make it simple, stylish, fun and economical to all!