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#11 – 6 Months To Go!

It’s #WeddingWednesday and time to check in with our bride to be, Elizabeth! Holy cow, only 6 months to go?!

We’re Halfway There!

Yes, as of December 20th, it will officially be six months until our big day.  Where does the time go?!  This year just flew by… and I feel like we all say that every year, but seriously, this year went by even faster than normal…

I cannot believe that just about this time last year, in about 5 days to be exact, Thomas was getting down on one knee and asking for my hand in marriage…a whole year ago!

I’m constantly fielding the “How’s the wedding planning going?” question and I think that while it’s assumed that all brides are stressed out – people don’t always know (unless they’ve planned a wedding) exactly WHY it’s so stressful.  So, since I’m about halfway through the planning process I thought I’d give everyone a little window into what’s been done and what is still yet to come…

A few of the things we can cross off our list…

– Set a date
– Chose a venue
– Set a budget
– Develop a Timeline/To Do List and finances tracker/budget keeper
– Chose an officiant (One of my dearest friends – thank you Kate Baker!)
– Chose a caterer, had a tasting, and set a menu
– Purchase my dress
– Begin our rental order
– Finalize the guest list
– Chose a photographer/videographer and have our engagement shoot
– Reserve hotel room blocks and our Bridal Suite
– Reserve a tent
– Select bridesmaid dresses
– Create and send out Save the Dates (design courtesy of my amazing Groomy)
– Create our registry
– Set up our wedding website (again, thank you Groomy!)

 And here’s a peek at what still needs to get done over the next 6 months:

– Secure day-of transportation
– Finalize Honeymoon plans
– Purchase wedding rings
– Select, order and send out formal invitations
– Book rehearsal dinner location
– Finalize floral order / table decor
– Finalize cake order
– Purchase wedding favors
– Order groom/groomsmen attire
– Schedule dress fittings
– Order additional print materials (menus, escort cards, etc)
– The dreaded seating chart
– Find makeup and hair stylists
– Final walk through at the venue
– Obtain marriage license

 …and that’s a little glimpse into my world right now.  It’s also not even half of my list, so I better get going, I have a lot of work to do!  Until next time….Happy Holidays to everyone!

 


A Good Read

With the fall event season over and a few holiday parties still to celebrate – we at AE events have finally had a chance to slow down and take some time for ourselves!  In doing so, we’ve started to read, are reading or have recently read, these books that we thought we would share.  Now cozy up to the fire, get some hot cocoa (marshmallows too) and take some time for yourself!

“Gone Girl” by Gillian Flynn
Recommended by Danielle  – Now a major motion picture, this is the story of a couple who seemed the perfect match, but as time passes, their relationship starts to decay, leaving the husband blaming his wife for most of their unhappiness.  On their 5 year wedding anniversary, the wife disappears and all signs point to the husband – a media frenzy ensues and the story builds from there.  The mystery and intrigue kept me on the edge of my seat with every page I turned.

 

“The Passage” – by Justin Cronin
Recommended by Aubry – In an attempt to cure the world of disease, a doctor possessed by the recent death of his ill wife brings a unique virus onto US soil for testing. He creates a task force called Operation Noah enlisting a team of talented but emotionally broken and detached officers to collect equally disturbed test subjects for his trials–all incarcerated miscreants the world is sure not to miss.

Testing produces the same curious outcome on his first 12 subjects, turning each into crazed, blood thirsty savages with superhuman strength. However, the doctor is convinced that his 13th test subject–en route to his facility with special operative Brad Walgast–will produce a successful outcome. However, when Walgast learns that subject 13, Amy, is an innocent six-year-old orphan he cannot allow himself to complete his mission.

They attempt escape, but are captured and returned to the facility where Amy is injected with the virus. As she is recovering–seemingly still human–the other subjects tear the facility apart creating a ripple effect of infected humans crawling across the state. Brad and Amy are able to escape, but the world is slowly falling to the infected that haunt the earth like vampires. Brad must keep Amy alive, as she is the key to ending the nightmare.

This is a super badass read! It’s thrilling and has an interesting sci-fi plot that the author, Justin Cronin, weaves throughout multiple character stories and time periods throughout the crisis, aside from Brad and Amy’s. There are two sequels that will keep you hooked as well. It’s like The Walking Dead with vampires…look out for a film or TV series in the future. I’m sure it’s coming…

 

“Wild” by Cheryl Strayed – This year at the Rosie’s Place luncheon – “Funny Women, Serious Business…” our keynote speaker was Cheryl Strayed.  Her book has recently been made into a movie featuring Reese Witherspoon, due for release this month.  It’s the story of Cheryl’s personal journey at the age of 26 to hike the 1100 mile Pacific Crest Trail as she leaves behind drugs, a divorce, the loss of loved ones and seeks self-discovery. With no prior backpacking experience to rely on, Cheryl describes her life before and after this life-changing trek.

 

“The Goldfinch” by Donna Tartt
Recommended by Mindy –  This was a truly engaging story narrated by the main character, Theo Decker.  It follows him from a life-changing experience at the Metropolitan Museum of Art with his mother and then pulls the reader along an unexpected path through a life filled with art, drugs, mystery, survival, love and loss.  It was one of those truly great and gripping stories where you had NO idea where the author would take you next and has you reconsidering the idea of fate.

 

“What the Dickens” by Gregory Maguire – We were so fortunate to have Gregory Maguire speak at our recent 826 Boston “Books for Breakfast” event.  The story has the tagline “The Story of a Rogue Tooth Fairy” and given the slant of his other books, which take traditional fairy tales, but told from another character’s point of view, (“Wicked” being the most popular) we can’t wait to see how this story unfolds!

Happy Reading!


#10 – Registry Fun!

For #WeddingWednesday we give you our monthly check in with bride-to-be, Elizabeth…

The tradition of giving wedding gifts is said to have developed as far back as 3000 BC. from the dowry given by either the bride’s parents to the bride and groom as part of the marriage arrangement or given by the groom’s family to the bride’s family as a form of payment for their daughter. The families of the wealthy groom offered money, land or an ownership in the family business as “payment” for the daughter’s hand in marriage while the brides family provided the groom with the necessary items for the bride to start a household, such as linens, towels, silver, china, glassware, silverware and other household needs. Fast forward a couple thousand years to 1924 and Macy’s unveiled the first ever wedding gift registry.  After that pretty much everyone jumped on board! Nowadays couples can register at almost any store, setup honeymoon registries and even register for cash.

So a few weeks ago, Tom and I spent a fun Saturday registering for all the items we will need to “start our household” and the fun began at Crate & Barrel.  Thanks to a friend of Tom’s, we learned of a special breakfast Crate & Barrel hosts about once a month for engaged couples.  In the two hours before the store opens couples are treated to coffee, mimosas and munchies while being given a tour of the store with experts on hand to explain those kitchen items you’ve heard you need but have no idea why you actually need them. I must say, this was the best way to start our registry. We never felt pressured by the sales associates to sign up for items we didn’t want and as someone who is easily overwhelmed by crowds (and decisions), this special private time at the store was essential in putting together a well thought out registry of things we actually need and want . To find your own Crate & Barrel “Wedding Party” visit their website or click here.

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After Crate & Barrel, we headed over to Bloomingdales which provided a much different experience, although just as enjoyable.  While we had our own little registry scanner at Crate & Barrel (which is just as much fun as it looks like), at Bloomingdales, we had our own registry person!  Yes, an associate designated to us, who spent close to two hours with us, explaining products and lines, answering all of our questions and scouring the store for items we were looking for. To top it off, she is also available to us throughout the whole engagement and a year after we are married.  Any time we or our guests have a question – she can answer it. Gotta love Bloomies!

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So, of course, after our fun excursions I have some advice for other engaged couples out there…

Include a variety of items at various price ranges. Most wedding etiquette professionals suggest that registries have a mix of both prices and types of items, so that all of your guests will feel comfortable finding something they will be excited to give you. And while it’s okay to have more than one registry, it’s suggested to draw the line at three or four. The idea is to be helpful by offering your guests variety, not self-indulgent by listing your every wish in the world.

– Take your time.  We needed at least 2 hours at each store when we started our registry.  This is not something you want to rush.  Now is the time to do your research, pick up and feel the china and silverware. Envision the items in your home. Ask yourself if you will actually make good use of the items. Then take your time and allow yourself a few weeks to fill in and adjust your registry. Registering was a blast but after 5 hours we were maxed out. Just like the venue search, dress shopping and menu tasting, the registry process can be overwhelming and hard to do in one swoop.  So we continued to add to and fine tune our registry in the weeks after our first excursion. We refined our lists as we realized there were things we had registered for that we didn’t really need or want.  Which brings me to my next point…

– Register for what you want. Sounds simple, right?  But in the cloud of wedding books, articles, and magazines it’s easy to fall into the trap of listening to what certain people say you “should” be registering for.  In this day in age, couples are marrying later in life and it’s more common to be living together before marriage.  Meaning, many people find themselves already owning some of those quality items that they would traditionally register for.  If you already love your current kitchenware, then perhaps register for gardening equipment, camping gear or explore the idea of a honeymoon registry.  Most importantly, don’t feel pressured to register for something just because a list in a magazine told you to.

– Be aware of the store’s return and exchange policies. Typically, many wedding registry retailers have amazing customer service to accommodate to-be-weds’ needs but being aware of the store’s return and exchange timelines will help you better plan and manage your registry.

With that I’ll leave you with this really awesome guide to some of the most popular stores to register with and what perks they offer, from Brides.com: “The 24 Best Places To Register”

—Stay tuned for the next months installment from Elizabeth… 6 months to go!


Autumnal Air

New England fall weather is unpredictable. We’ve had a string of hot days, cold days, rainy days… but the one predictable thing is that the leaves in the area are going to change. I’ve noticed quite a few trees that have stood out as though they were on fire.  I could go into a long post about The Hunger Games and the “Girl on Fire”  – there’s a new trailer out for Mockingjay – but I should probably chat about something more event-related.  Look at this tree!  It’s aglow with orange and yellow loveliness! And against that beautiful blue sky?!

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How can you bring some fun Autumnal elements to your event?

We recently did an event for our friends at Arclight Capital Partners, LLC.  They wanted guests to feel as though they were walking down a long driveway lined with old oaks – and after creating some big trees for a fabulous entrance, we added in some lighting that looked like a cobblestone path.  Later on we also scattered some leaves on the floor for that final touch.

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In lieu of tree structures (they were quite large and quite heavy… not for everyone) you could also consider putting some stems of real leaves into your floral arrangements and perhaps add a dash of some wheat or other fall grasses (millet, fountain grass, turkey foot).  Sadly, like the season, these things are fleeting, but your florist should be able to find something lovely to accent your table.  Some well placed pumpkins, artichokes, pomegranates, apples, different berries, can bring you a pop of color, while also adding some texture to the table.

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Side note: We often encourage our clients to add “texture” to their tables. This can be achieved in many ways – by using textured tablecloths like the tweeds above, by adding in something that has some plaid (maybe a napkin?), so that you’re table isn’t just a flat color.  Sometimes texture is achieved by having containers of different heights for your centerpieces, adding a well designed menu card, or as referenced earlier, adding some unexpected elements like artichokes to the tabletop or trees to the entryway!

And of course there are all the colors! The fall brings to mind all shades of reds, oranges, and deep yellows.  Sometimes I am jealous of the person who picks the names for paint colors and fabrics, as fantastic titles like “Flame,”  “Pumpkin Spice,” “Tuscan Yellow” and “Rioja Red” make their way onto our tables.  Don’t overlook your brown tones – a lovely textured wheat-toned tweed or a soft plaid with brown accents can really add some needed interest to what could be another boring table.

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Don’t forget the plum tones too!  Ornamental kale, small eggplants, mums… all of these can also bring a bit of autumn air to your event. They are the precursor to the lush and deep reds of winter.  Ooh bright red berries and amaryllis with some frosted green touches… I’m getting ahead of myself. Fall is with us for such a short time, that I’m going to take as much of it in as possible!

Thanks as always to our friends at Winston Flowers for their great trees, High Output for their fabulous lighting, as well as Table Toppers and Peterson Party Center for some inspiring fall linens.


#9 – Say Cheese!

It’s Wedding Wednesday and time for our monthly check-in with bride-to-be, Elizabeth…

Say Cheese! No, not that kind of cheese, though I must admit I’m a little obsessed with the Deep Fried Truffle Mac n’ Cheese that will be served during cocktail hour on the big day… but I digress…

As I mentioned before, Tom and I decided early on that there were three things that were undoubtedly more important than any of the other aspects of the wedding: Venue and Food  – which I’ve covered in past posts – and today’s topic: Photography.

Making a decision on photography (and videography for that matter) was another difficult task for us.  Not only does Tom have several fantastic photographer friends but we at AE Events work with many very talented photographers as well!  However, I was intrigued by an advertisement I kept seeing from George Street Photography.  And while I was timid to go with a corporate company vs. an independent photographer – we found that what George Street offered for the price we could afford, was hard to pass up.

Some of the things in our awesome package that sealed the deal:

– Lead Photographer for 10 hours
– Assistant Photographer for 6 hours
– 90-minute Engagement Session with our Lead Photographer
– Online Proofing and Ordering
– Digital Negatives
– Leather bound Wedding Album + Two 6×6 Albums
– Videographer for 8 hours
– Wireless mic for the Ceremony
– High Def Blu-Ray DVD Master Copy of all footage + 5-7 Minute Highlight Reel
– Professionally Certified Video Editors
– Online Portal where you can manage the look of your day, prints, scheduling and have an event coordinator on hand to confirm your photographer the day before and the day of

I’ll save my final review of them for after the wedding, however I can say that so far I am very pleased with their service as well as the photographer that we selected from their network: Colleen Moore McCarthy.

Speaking of which… two weeks ago Tom and I took a day off to meet with Colleen at the Boston Public Garden (the scene of our engagement 9 months ago) for our 90-minute Engagement Session.  And we just so happened to get our shots back last night… Enjoy!

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Happy Anniversary Joanna and Bryan!

It’s Wedding Wednesday and while we can’t believe this lovely wedding is already a year behind us, we are still basking in it’s beauty!  Set at a gorgeous private estate, we brought some amazing vendors together to create the perfect wedding day for Joanna and Bryan on September 21, 2013.  They wanted a classic wedding, with elegant, romantic touches. It started with an outdoor ceremony (perfect weather), cocktails in the house (lots of bubbly), then dinner and dancing (Moroccan spiced lamb, yum!).  Happy Anniversary, you two!

We leave you now to enjoy the beauty of it all from the start of the day to the end – courtesy of Sarah Bastille Photography!

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Flowers by the talented Benjamin Newbold at Winston Flowers

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Joanna made such a beautiful bride!!!

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The Happy Couple! Congratulations all over again!

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Alternative to a traditional guest book – hand typed (or written) notes from guests offering “wishes and wisdom”.

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Many thanks to the vendors that made this wedding possible:

Photographer: Sarah Bastille Photography ¦ Flowers: Winston Flowers ¦ Linens & Rentals: Be Our Guest ¦ Audio & Lighting: High Output ¦ Tenting: Peterson Party Center ¦ Catering: Max Ultimate Food ¦ Videographer: Heirloom Pictures


#8 – Simple and Affordable Ways To Make Your Wedding Stand Out

As you know, we’ve been following the adventures of our in-house bride, Elizabeth as she plans her wedding next Spring.  This week she shares with us some of her struggles with DIY projects and what she’s learned thus far.

In a bride’s world of Pinterest and endless DIY projects floating around out there, it’s easy to get carried away with ideas you’d like to incorporate into your big day. But it can be a potential nightmare: you find yourself a few days away from the wedding, running errands and staying up till all hours of the night with your (reluctant) bridesmaids, making hundreds of paper flowers or gluing lace onto dozens of mason jars instead of getting your nails done at the spa and relaxing!  So where do those of us, determined to make our own wedding stand out with personal touches, draw the line?

Fear not!  Here are 10 simple and affordable ways to make your day memorable and give your wedding that extra personal touch… And my guests may just see some of these ideas on our big day next year!

1) Outdoor Amenities – Having been a guest at many weddings, I can say from experience that it really stands out when a couple shows that they have thought about their guests experience.  One small way to do that if you’re having an outdoor wedding or reception is to create a small basket of amenities to ward off sunburn and bug bites.  Similar to an amenities basket typically provided in the restroom, you don’t need to spend a lot and you can even stick to travel sizes from your local drugstore.  Just throw a few SPF 30’s and OFF bug spray’s into a cute basket that matches your theme and you’re all set. If you want to take things to the next level, give your guests a break from the sun with a few parasol’s lining the ceremony aisle (you can find them online for as low as $8 each) or go with a basket of pashmina’s for when the sun goes down (which can also be found at low cost when purchased in bulk online).

2) Something To Stand On – …for those standing up for you. Bridesmaids’ lives were made easier with the invention of the “heel protector” which stops the stiletto from slipping into the grass all day. Highly recommended for the bride and your bridesmaids will love you for getting them a pair too.  I personally like the SoulMates brand – they’re affordable and have different heel sizing options.  If your ceremony is outside on the grass (like mine) you can also purchase small cement stepping stones for your girls to stand on during the ceremony.  These can be found at Home Depot for as little as $2 each.

50e5c1cd2e079c3449b6b2d243e42afb3) Wish Toss Bar – I stumbled upon this awesome idea from wedding extraordinaire Mindy Weiss. Instead of having guests shower the happy couple with the same thing (like rice), let guests chose from different options such as rose petals, confetti, feathers and other toss-able items. Take it one step further and re-create Mindy’s vision with vintage drawers to store the different items — perfect for a rustic, outdoor wedding.

4) Personalized Bathroom Signs – If you’re at a unique venue such as an estate or farmhouse, you may find the bathroom situation to be a bit drab.  In addition to the usual bathroom amenities basket that most people create you can also spruce up the bathroom door, by hanging cute “MEN” and “WOMEN” signs, complete with a picture of each of you as a child in the background (because who doesn’t love baby pictures?).  Even better, find that super embarrassing (but super cute) photo of you wearing a diaper or tangled up in a toilet paper mess.

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5) Advice for the married couple – I love all the different ideas I’ve seen people come up with for their “Advice for the Bride and Groom” element… my favorite though was at a friends wedding where they offered “Mad Libs” cards at the bar, customized with a story that included the bride and groom. You’re bound to get some fun answers once the champagne starts flowing and I’m sure the couple had some great laughs when reading through them over the next few days.

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6) A New Spin On Old Photos – I absolutely love when couples display pictures of their parents and grandparents weddings, or honor a loved one who is no longer with us.  For a new spin on it, however, consider inserting black and white versions of the pictures into different sized glass hurricane vases.  Simply print the pictures onto vellum paper and then mod podge to the inside of the vase.  Once dry, add one or two tea lights at the bottom and place on a mantle, piano top, bar or anywhere else that needs some décor.

 

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7) Spice Up Your Ice  – This one works particularly well if you plan on having chilled champagne or wine displayed by the bars or any of the tables. Flower buds and petals can be purchased from a flower market or online distributer and then frozen into ice cubes. Boil water and let it cool to room temperate before filling the ice tray to allow for the most clear ice cubes.  And if you’d like to include the ice cubes in actual drinks, make sure to wash the petals thoroughly before adding them to the ice tray.

 

 

 

8) Engagement Photobook as a Guestbook – If you’re sick of the traditional and sometimes boring guestbook – which I honestly don’t think anyone even signs anymore – consider this alternative.  Create a high quality photo book of your engagement photos (or even your own photos of you both as a couple) to have guests sign instead.  Guests will want to look through it at the wedding, guaranteeing you more signatures and you also end up with something you can actually put on a coffee table at home to look through frequently!  Snapfish and Shutterfly are two great and affordable online resources but don’t forget that the photo department at your local drugstore can usually do them too now!

 

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9) Table Numbers – As a fellow dog lover – I had to include the cutest idea we saw from our bride and groom this weekend: Annie and Matt took pictures of their beloved dog Lucky, each one with a different number hanging around her neck, and then inserted the pictures into pretty white frames for their table numbers. It was easy, affordable, and gave a personal (and adorable) touch to each table! (Photo Credit: Stacey Hedman Photography)

 

 

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10) Traditional Wedding Cake With A Twist – Hate to break it to you ladies, but it’s just as much his day as it is yours! (See, I’m getting better honey!) So, surprise your groom with something he likes (sports mascot, band logo, Yoda, anything really) at the bottom of the cake and show him how special he is to you!

 

 

Join us next month when Elizabeth fills us in on her upcoming Engagement shoot and hopefully a sneak peak at the pictures!


WAKE UP, IT’S SEPTEMBER!

“Wake me up when September ends.” Green Day

Ah, the joy of fall in New England!  The revival of traffic!  The rattle and roar of Ryder and UHaul!  And let us not forget the return of crowded inboxes as we all leave behind our beloved beaches and march full force into the autumn season.  As a friend said yesterday, we’re back in the world of the “OMG, it’s September!”.

Once my annual mourning of summer is over, I manage to find inspiration.  There is revved-up energy in our city everywhere you turn…especially seen in the young minds flooding into our hallowed halls of learning, and in the work of the dynamic thought leaders working in our midst.  A great example of this is right at my doorstep…our fall conference in partnership with the Harvard Medical School’s Center for Primary Care.

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The purpose of the annual Innovations Conference is, simply stated, transformation.  Speakers take the stage to tunes by Imagine Dragons and MGMT, and attendees know from the outset that this is no ordinary day.  Every general session, every breakout, and every shred of content is created to promote the forward-thinking approach and creative dialogue that is shaking the foundation of primary care.

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From the seven-minute lightning round TED-style talks that feature the Center’s Innovations Fellows …to interactive workshops engaging attendees in “serious gaming” for health reform…to the signature “Smoky Cape Cod” dry ice cocktail that always has guests talking and laughing at the closing celebration, this event is truly catalyzing real change.Harvard Medical School Center for Primary Care - Innovations Conference

Now there’s something to “fall” for!
-Jana


The best thing I ever ate… this month.

Hello Friends, I hope you are all enjoying this mild summer. Did you take a vacation?  This summer, I was more than lucky to take a trip with my in-laws across the sea to Berlin.  This was MAJOR!  Most summer vacations involve trips to the beach or my parent’s house in NJ.

Berlin had so many sights to see, cool neighborhoods to check out, and some fantastic people, but one truly memorable event was the special dinner we had to celebrate my father-in-law’s birthday.  I thought I would share with you many images of this deliciousness.  Just looking at them, the flavors all came rushing back.  Oh my goodness. Yum. Eating at a place like this, with a fixed menu is not for people that are afraid to try new things or get squirmy when people mention offal. You have to be open to what the chef has prepared.  Try it. You’ll like it.

We opted for the four course “summer menu” which started with this gorgeous array of little appetizers – spicy nuts, shrimp with a gorgeous gelee, pork belly carpaccio… from here I’ll list the courses as they were on our custom printed menus.  Look at this!

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First Course – PEA: green melon / lime
cream chiboust & shelled young peas, green melon pickled in lime juice, sirup from green thai chili, ginger jelly, mint meringue & fresh lime paring, galangal.  It’s like a painting.

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Second Course – CODFISH: lemon / lettuce
codfish, beurre blanc from lemon with cream, lemon grass & lemon leaf and green chili pickled in fish sauce as well as roasted basmati rice, lettuce in lemon dressing (two separate plates to mix bites as you like – and yes my own personal orchid plant on the corner)

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Third Course – VEAL: celery / jalapeno stewed cheek of veal in veal foot-jalapeno jus, rolls of apple, celery, celery cream and shiso, celery-apple juice, dim sum veal head (again, two small plates, the veal was spicy, the apple rolls helped to cool each bite)

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Fourth Course – Calpico: raspberry / rhubarb
cream, sorbet & fresh raspberry, rhubarb stock, mousse of calpico (Calpico or Calpis is a common flavor profile in Japan)

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And as if that wasn’t enough, they followed up with some little delicious dessert bites of chocolate, orange and raspberry done three ways; white chocolate infused with orange (everyone got their own set of mini tongs), orange fondant over ice cream with fresh raspberry on top, orange tuile with raspberry sorbet… I think!

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So if you ever find yourself in Berlin, with some pretty euro to spend, consider getting a reservation at restaurant Tim Raue.  The chef is a native of Berlin. This is only one of his venues, but restaurant Tim Raue has a focus on Asian flavors.  Though the portions were small, they each held bites of perfection and we were full at the end. Beyond the food flavors, the details of the china, the presentation, the attentive staff, even the way the tables were custom made to hold the perfectly starched table cloth (check out their website)… everything was impeccable.  If you find yourself in Berlin, you will not be disappointed!  – Mindy


#7 – Drum Roll Please… The Dress.

Not so fast… stop reading now if you are expecting to catch a glimpse of arguably the most touted part of a wedding – the dress.  Unfortunately for my guests, the big reveal will be June 20th, 2015, right around 4 o’clock pm.  However, I thought it would be useful for those of you who may be newly engaged or soon to be engaged, to share what I learned during the dress shopping process.  And I’m going to tell you up front – it’s not at all like you envisioned when your Barbie got married….

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10 Things I’ve Learned About Wedding Dress Shopping

1) The Myth of Dress Shopping – It’s NOT an episode of “Say Yes to the Dress”: I will admit to watching endless episodes of “Say Yes to the Dress” and “I Found the Gown” with my Saturday/Sunday morning coffee… And even though a lot of professionals will tell you the “this is the one!” moment is a myth perpetuated by such shows, I was so excited for my own “Say Yes to the Dress” moment that I went shopping just five days after getting engaged!  Boy was I knocked off my feet.  Even though I went into the shop knowing I wouldn’t leave with a dress, the pressure of having an opinion (and trying to gauge what my mom and sister thought) was overwhelming.  I wish I could say I came home from that first visit glowing, but truthfully I was so exhausted I needed a nap.  My shopping visits over the next months were just as exhausting, though I will admit I did finally have my “this is the one” moment. Bottom line: Be prepared to be frustrated, stressed and overwhelmed and let the experience run it’s course.  I still believe everyone gets their moment.

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2) Knowledge is Power: After that first overwhelming experience, I knew the key to my success was to arm myself with as much knowledge as possible.  I credit theknot.com and their amazing directory of designers.  I was able to go through and see not only what styles I was interested in, but also what designers I liked.  I then weeded out the ones which were out of my price range, found out what shops in my area carried the designers I liked and went from there.  I’ve gone dress shopping now 6 times and at 4 different stores (Miss Ruby, Chryssie’s Bridal, Manhattan Bridal and of course the famous Vows Bridal Outlet), all of which offered an amazing selection and even more amazing customer service!  With the help of the associates at the stores and my friends and family, I was able to fine tune exactly which style and designer I liked the most.

3) A Penny Saved is a Penny Earned: With all that “Say Yes to the Dress” watching, it’s easy to fall into the trap of believing you need to spend thousands of dollars on a dress.  And I am here to tell you – as a fellow dress enthusiast – it’s very easy to find a dress you love that’s well within your budget.  Believe it or not, “The average price of a wedding dress is $1,355” according to a recent survey in Brides.com. Use your resources to find designers within your price range, find the stores that carry them, and do not try on a dress that is outside your budget… Which brings me to my next point…

4) DO NOT TRY ON A DRESS THAT IS OUTSIDE YOUR BUDGET:  I wrote that in caps for a reason.  It’s undoubtedly the worst thing you can do…In my opinion anyway.  Yes, there is a chance that you could try on a dress, outside your budget, and end up hating it.  But we all know the reality is that you probably will love it – and then you’re in trouble.  If you really have your heart set on a specific dress or designer that you cannot afford, try finding a sample that the store will sell you off the rack, or find a store like VOWS (From the popular TV show “I Found the Gown”).  Vows scours stores all around the US for designer samples – from Lazaro and Monique Lhuillier to Vera Wang and Oscar de la Renta – they then purchase them on sale, fix them up and resell them at a discounted rate.  Definitely worth a visit if you are in the Boston area – though be sure to make an appointment in advance!

5) Keep Calm and Carry On:  It’s easy to get wrapped up in the craziness when a sales associate tells you they can give you a discount if you buy the dress today. Or at a store like Vows, where dresses are off the rack, you risk losing the dress altogether if you leave the store without it.  I found myself really struggling with putting a deposit down on a dress at Vows to essentially hold it for 5 days while I thought about it.  I left the store, grabbed some lunch, took a deep breath and realized that if someone else bought that dress I wouldn’t be devastated – that was my answer. My advice…don’t make a monetary move unless you can’t live without the dress…I ended up not getting any of the dresses I almost put a deposit down on at Vows.

6) The Extra’s: Don’t forget to add in any likely alterations and accessories.  Most brides need shapewear (which isn’t cheap), shoes, and a veil or headpiece.  Either have these items built into your budget separately or include them in your dress number. Most likely you will need some sort of alterations, even if it’s just a bustle.  Keep in mind that some dresses will require more alterations than others.

7) That’s Classified:  Keep that dress under wraps!  I know it’s hard – I wanted to show off my dress to just about every stranger I ran into.  But the more people I told, the less special my dress started to feel.  Leave the big reveal for the big day… good things come to those who wait!

8) Sit IN it for Awhile and Sit on it for Awhile Literally, sit in the dress.  Walk around in it, jump up and down in it, and sit in it.  Is it comfortable?  You’re going be wearing it for 8+ hours so it better be!  Then sit on it… the decision that is.  I technically found my dress 2 ½ months ago but only recently made my decision that it was definitely the one. Unless you are under a time crunch there is nothing wrong with sitting on your decision for a while.  It gave me time to really envision the dress with our wedding and with a clearer head I felt more confident in my decision. Plus, if you have more than a year before your wedding, you also risk finding another dress you love even more!

9) Does it Match?: I personally had a tough time making a decision on a dress because of my extreme appreciation for all dresses.  I loved almost everything I tried on because I love everything about weddings!  The decision was made easier by reminding myself that the dress needed to fit with the rest of our wedding.  And while I think there are brides who can pull off any dress in any environment, I think most of us agree that the design of the dress worn for an art gallery wedding is much different from the one a bride wears for a beach wedding.

photo 3-My most recent shopping trip with my Mom and Sister-

10) Make sure it’s YOU: In the end, there were two dresses left.  There was the dress I had always envisioned myself wearing.  A very traditional look I had dreamed of and dressed my Barbie in.   But then there was the one I had envisioned in the last 6 months since being engaged… The one that matched everything else in our wedding… The one that gave me butterflies… The one that was the most like ME.  And while it’s hard to describe what this means without giving away what it looks like – everyone will know what I’m talking about when they see it next June…

…It’s the one. 

That’s all for this month!  Tune in next month for more wedding planning adventures!

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