By the Light of the Silvery Moon…

…and some well-placed candles. Yes, yes, yes, I know the whole moon line is from a nursery rhyme, but hey, inspiration where you can find it, yes? And I happen to think that nothing is more romantic than an evening wedding with lots of candles (I might or might not have bought 500, give or take a few, for my own wedding). Flowers are lovely when done right, but give me hundreds of candles outside on a balmy evening…ah, now that’s pure loveliness. As spring begins to beckon with thoughts of those lovely starry evenings, I thought I would share some gorgeous candle inspiration to get your imaginations all atwitter…

Image via The Knot

Image by Terry deRoy Gruber

Image by Bellafotografica

Image by Vitalic Photo

Image by Nicholas Critelli Photography

Image by Pink Sugar Photography via Elizabeth Anne Designs

Candlelight just makes everything lovelier. Aren’t these mini-cakes beautiful?

{Photo by Julie Mikos}

And finally, two of my favorites, also by Julie Mikos:

The Ring’s the Thing

With apologies to Shakespeare, when it comes to engagements, it’s (usually) all about the ring. Now, I know plenty of people who chose not to go the ring route, but most women I know started dreaming about a ring on that all-important finger shortly after they were old enough to spell engagement! So if you were like me, the ring shopping started way before you even met your husband. Maybe in high school or college, taking a quick peek “just to get ideas” on a jeweler’s site that let you design your own ring? (Yeah, me too)

Here’s the thing about those oh-so-addictive jewelry sites: they only gave you a few options. Solitaire or with side stones? Shape of center and side stones, as applicable? Size and metal? And that’s about it. Sure, you got to choose the size of the diamond, etc. But it you wanted to go waaaay out on a limb and choose, say, a colored center stone (unimaginable, I know), then you were out of luck, at least at first.

Happily, things have changed a little. Diamonds may be a girl’s best friend (although I think my husband would have a thing or two to say about that), but ladies, Gemvara is giving them a run for their money. I just discovered this lovely little website, and my college self would have been in hog heaven with all these options!!

The concept is the same, but you get way more options (5,264 at last count). You select a ring, and then can either leave it as is (and there are so many lovely options):

Or adjust each part of the ring to suit your tastes and make it your own.

This ring was originally white gold with a topaz, but I thought it would be lovely in rose gold with diamond center and accent stones.

The ring below originally had a black diamond center stone, and I’ve created two versions one with just diamonds and one with water sapphire, black diamonds, and white diamonds.

I should, though, add this warning before you visit the site: with so many rings, from traditional to modern to antique, and so many options for each ring…Gemvara is WAY more addictive than other ring design sites. Pop some popcorn, grab a drink, and prepare to settle in for a while!!

Cover to Cover: Good Stock

I am dangerous in a bookstore. Really, really dangerous. I just LOVE books: the smell of leather, the heft of a properly bound book, and the joy of discovering something lovely in the stacks of an old bookstore.

Growing up, I loved to read biographies, and one of my favorite parts were the photographs and their attendant captions. Oh, the captions. It’s fascinating to me to see what the author or photographer chose to say about that image in just a few words. It’s like Twitter for books!

So traditional wedding albums, while lovely, always make me want to know more. I want to hear the story behind the images! Imagine my delight, then, to discover Good Stock. This lovely little company takes your story and turns it into a custom, handcrafted, keepsake book. Wedding story, family story, baby story…whatever your story is.

I’m especially smitten with their wedding and engagement story books. From the traditional…

(Aren’t you just in love with those sepia tones and hand-deckled edges?)

(Ah, captions. In this case, they included their wedding vows. How lovely is that?)

…to the unique…

(Moleskine-style binding to give the book a more journal-like feel. I love rounded edges!)

(dark blue trimmed leather = gorgeousness)

…to just pure fun!…

…Good Stock seems to be able to do it all. I think I might have just found an anniversary project!!

Which style is your favorite? What special words, memories, and keepsakes would you include?

Move Over, Shirley Temple

I actually have nothing against Shirley Temples — those sweet concoctions of lemon-lime soda and grenadine. But I don’t drink, so it always makes me happy when I go to a restaurant, and they have interesting non-alcoholic drinks that don’t involve cherry syrup (my most recent favorite involved apple cider, seltzer, and a secret fruit ingredient I’m still trying to figure out).

Homemade Ginger Ale {Gourmet, via Epicurious}

I’ve been noticing this trend more and more , and it seems I’m not the only one. Last month, the New York Times ran a piece on the rise of “mocktails” in New York and I, for one, applaud the consideration on the part of New York’s dining establishments. It’s long been a frustration of mine that those of us who choose not to drink are limited to soda (which I don’t often drink because of an allergy), and water (although sparkling water is lovely). Where’s the creativity for us?

All over the place, it seems!! I loved some of the descriptions in the NY Times article (which I came across courtesy of the Culinary Crafts blog): Asian citrus with rose syrup, pomegranate with lemon-lime, chamomile-grapefruit and hibiscus…even if the flavors aren’t your cup of tea, you have to admit that they sound interesting, and far more grown-up than that cherry syrup!

Hibiscus Punch {Outdoor Entertaining, via Epicurious}

When my husband and I got married, having an interesting option for the toasts was important to us. I love sparkling apple cider, but for our wedding, we wanted something a little different, and the Brick Hotel, where we had our reception, was kind enough to accommodate our wish with a signature non-alcoholic drink. I don’t remember what was in it now, but it was pink and fizzy and delicious (I tried to convince my husband that it was really light red, but I’m not sure he bought it!).

Papaya Melon Citrusade and Watermelon Lemonade, both from Martha Stewart.

If you are like us and looking for a fun, non-alcoholic signature drink for your reception, there are so many great options out there. What’s your favorite?

The Master Plan

I am what might charitably be described as Type-A…all the way! So when it came to planning my wedding, I didn’t just have a notebook, I had a notebook, a file folder, a binder, an online wedding file, and a step-by-step guide to our big day. As you might imagine, then, wedding organization is a topic that is near and dear to my heart.

Let’s take a look at some of your wedding planning and organization options—mix and combine as much as you like to find your wedding planning style!

Wedding Planning Professionals
First, a word about wedding planning professionals. I cannot stress how critical it is to have someone else to take care of the details in the days leading up to your wedding. There’s a lot of talk now about “day-of” planning packages, but personally, I’m not a fan. If you were NASA, would you want a new pilot to step in on launch day? Well, same thing with your wedding! If you’re going to take care of most of the details yourself and then hire someone to come in and help you pull it together, I recommend bringing them in at least two weeks before your wedding day. Take my word for it, the last few days before your wedding are stressful enough and you don’t want to be trying to bring someone up to speed on top of everything else. Plus, their professional reputation is on the line! Any planner worth their salt is going to want to start working with you before the morning of the wedding — if someone offers to charge you $200 to come in that morning and take care of things for you…run the other way, fast! The money can be spent on better things than handing over your wedding to someone who hasn’t been involved in the wedding before the day of!

If you can hire a wedding professional to help you design, plan and coordinate your wedding, do it! You can still be involved in the planning, and you won’t have to deal with adding hundreds of wedding tasks to your already busy schedule — you’ll have someone to help you through all that!

If you can’t hire a wedding professional to help you with (or handle) the details, then make sure you have designated family and friends standing by to help, and make sure they know who is doing what — true funny story from my wedding: I got a call in the limo asking if I knew where the toss packets were! Um…not in the pocket of my wedding dress! Which goes to show, even the most Type-A people can overlook details (like asking someone to take care of the toss packets!), which is why it is CRUCIAL to have help on your wedding day. Personally, I recommend starting that policy a few days before your wedding. Just like it’s a good idea to take time to enjoy being engaged before you jump into wedding planning, it’s nice to have a few days to savor being almost-married.

If you’re going the DIY route, there are a multitude of wedding planning tools out there!

russell+hazel Wedding Tools

If you’re like me and still love writing things down, then russell+hazel is about to be your new best friend. They have a wedding organizer, planning notebook and lots of other wedding prettiness to keep things organized without looking cutesy, which you know I abhor :)

As much as I loved my paper notebook, I did most of my planning online, and there are so many great options out there. A few of my favorites:

You can look at vendor reviews (including those who have received WeddingWire’s Bride’s Choice Awards), keep track of your guest list and RSVPs, and manage all of the other aspects of your wedding using WeddingWire’s planning tools. I primarily used WeddingWire when I was planning my wedding.

Google for Weddings
A new option on the online wedding planning scene, Google for Weddings is a joint collaborate between Google, Michelle Rago, and Style Me Pretty. If you’re a fan of Google Docs, this one is for you!

No, it’s not a wedding planning website, but I use Evernote for everything. Every single thing I plan, from a small dinner to a big shindig, from grocery lists to daily downloads (speaking of which, are you participating in The Challenge?), gets its own entry in Evernote. You can store text entries, photos, web clips, scanned notes (text inside your images is searchable). You can store anything. Seriously, if Evernote went down I would be in big trouble!! 

And because I can’t end a post without sharing a gorgeous inspiration photo, how great of an idea is this to dress up your wedding idea board?

Corkboard and shutters? Yes, please! Photo via Laura Winslow Photography.

How are you organizing your wedding planning details?

Paper Love: Lion in the Sun

Happy Friday, everyone! As I’ve mentioned before, I love paper. All things paper. So what better way to head into the weekend than with a look at some paper loveliness? Today, I wanted to share one of my favorites: Lion in the Sun.

At their Park Slope store, they produce such gorgeousness as these invitations:

I am totally in love with these white-on-black invitations. In. Love.

Vintage newspaper style. Be still my beating heart. Seriously? So great.

Since not all of us can make a trip to Brooklyn for our wedding invitations, the brilliant people at Lion in the Sun Park Slope decided to share the love with the rest of the world, digital style. They launched their online wedding invitation shop, PostScript Brooklyn, in October 2010. 

Aren’t they gorgeous? Check out more of their work on the PostScript Brooklyn and Lion in the Sun Park Slope websites.

The Chalk Art of Dana Tanamachi

If you appreciate typography (and chalkboards!) as much as I do, then you probably already love the work of Dana Tanamachi.

She’s a graphic designer who moonlights as a custom chalk letterer. She starts with a sketch like this:

And turns it into a work of art like this:

Amazing, right? She’s available for commission, so you could have this kind of gorgeousness at your own wedding! If your budget doesn’t allow for a grand installation, she does work on a smaller scale too:

I’ll leave you with my favorite piece, designed as a part of National Novel Writing Month. Doesn’t it just bring you back to the wonder of childhood, awed by fireflies in the night? For more information on how you can bring that same wonder to your wedding guests, visit Dana’s website.

Papercuts by Joe

I love paper. Adore it. I might have been known to buy gorgeous paper just because it’s pretty, even if I don’t have a specific project in mind (I find a project for it! Usually.). So as you can imagine, I love amazing paper art, and one Etsy store that has been on my radar for a while now is Papercuts by Joe. Joe makes intricate, lovely, and sometimes cheeky papercuts, and I love his work! In chronological wedding order…

Joe does custom wedding and event place cards. These cows would be fun for a fun country wedding, but if cows aren’t your thing, he’ll work with you to create papercut place cards that are totally you!!

As you probably know, your first anniversary present is supposed to be paper (my husband and I gave each other tickets to a show). This couple kissing on a bicycle would be such a cute 1st anniversary gift!!

{All images from Papercuts by Joe}

Some of my absolute favorites are Joe’s building papercuts. The one pictured above is a silhouette of the Chrysler Building, but check out Joe’s website for more stunning architectural papercuts. Seriously, wow!! Wouldn’t a custom papercut of a couple’s first home make an absolutely AMAZING housewarming gift??

All papercuts are make from archival black paper and come mounted on acid-free white mat board, so it will last! Custom framing is also available, or you can hang your new artwork in your favorite frames — everything I saw was a standard size, so finding a frame shouldn’t be a problem.

Which of Joe’s papercuts is your favorite?

Yes, modest can look like THAT.
Check out the rest of this great shoot, by Rebekah Westover.

Yes, modest can look like THAT.

Check out the rest of this great shoot, by Rebekah Westover.

Modest Inspiration: Winter Wedding Shoot

I am not ready for winter to be over with (although the weather doesn’t seem to agree with me). As one of the few people I know who actually seems to like the snow, I have been just the teensy-est bit appalled at how winter just seemed to vanish overnight! Maybe the weather will humor me and give us just a bit more winter, but in the meantime, go check out this great winter shoot featured on Ruffled.

{Photograph by Andrea Dozier}

Note to self: must buy blue ice skates for next year.

What’s your favorite thing about winter?