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Magic of the Holiday Season

From the desk of Event Assistant, Ronnie Ayers…

It is officially 10 days until Christmas – which means I should probably start my shopping. Through the hustle and bustle of the Holiday Season, one of my favorite things to do is sprinkle in the Santa magic that we sometimes forget. My nieces and nephews are at the perfect “believing” stage, so my family and I are having so much fun getting creative with the young ones this year. Here are a few of my favorite ideas to go the extra mile this year to keep it magical!

“Facetiming” with Santa!

This is a fun, free app that gives you some “face time” (pun intended) with ‘Ole Saint Nick. It is pretty realistic and fun to see the young reactions when they see who’s calling!

Tip: before having Santa call, make sure the one answering knows what to request for Christmas!

Here is a screenshot of my cute niece, Dakota, using the app!

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Elf on the Shelf

I am sure everyone has heard or seen the Elves by now, and have found fun ways to display them. Some of my favorites: Elf driving Barbie’s car, roasting mini marshmallows over a candle, and making snow angels in powdered sugar! Definitely keeps the magic going on the days leading up to the big day.

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Christmas Eve:

Two ideas that I have fallen in love with for Christmas Eve can be carried out for years to come, and are so simple to do!

Santa’s Footprints

What you’ll need:
-Glitter
-Baking Soda
-Boots
-Spray Bottle
-Cookie Sheet

Mix the glitter and baking soda on the cookie sheet. Feel free to use as much or as little glitter as you would like.

“Prep” your boot by lightly spraying the soles.

Press the boot down in the baking soda mixture – making sure you get a good coat.

Then you make a trail of footprints leading from the chimney/door to the tree to show that Santa successfully visited that night!

This is such an easy (and light clean-up) project that can add a wonderful element to Christmas morning.

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Santa’s Keys

This is a perfect idea for citydwellers who don’t have a fireplace for Santa to enter. Craft (or buy) Santa’s keys and hang them on the front door, so that Santa has a way to come in to visit!

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Experiencing the awe and excitement through the eyes of a child is one of my favorite parts of the Holiday Season.

We would love for you to share with the AE Team your own fun and creative traditions!


Can’t Resist the Twist!

With the cold fall weather fast approaching, it’s important to take advantage of the few warm days we’ll have left. DIY Twister is fun game to play outdoors that won’t blow away in the autumn wind!

 

STEP 1: GATHER YOUR TOOLS

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Decide what colors you’d like to use and choose your spray paint style. For this particular party, we used the brand of spray paint that is used in construction or maintenance work. This can sprays straight down instead of perpendicular to the canister, as most general spray paint does. Either kind works fine as long as you choose colors that pop!

The next tool you’ll need is the stencil. We used a square piece of cardboard and cut out a circle from the middle. By using a stencil with the middle cut out, instead of tracing around a circular object, we were able to keep things cleaner and keep our spacing more even.

*HELPFUL HINT*

Keep the inside circle you cut out of the cardboard. You can use it as a placeholder when trying to space the circles out.

You will also need string and 4-6 stakes.

 

STEP 2: SIZING OUT YOUR TWISTER BOARD

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The next step is measuring out your “board” using the stakes and string. Our board was 6’ by 8’ and we started by staking the 4 corners and wrapping the string around each to create an outline. We then also strung a line down the middle of the board vertically and horizontally. These middle lines helped to keep everything in line.

*HELPFUL HINT*

Before painting any spots, make sure you are standing UPWIND of the direction you are spraying. There’s nothing worse than getting a face full of paint and paint fumes!

 

STEP 3: MAPPING OUT THE CIRCLES

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The first circles you’ll want to create are the 4 corners. The next circles should be on either side of the middle horizontal line, then on either side of the middle vertical line. Then, fill in the 2 remaining circles on either side to complete the border. Next, fill in the middle 2 rows. These rows are the easiest to complete—just line up your spots with the spots on the border!

*HELPFUL HINT*

This spray paint does dry quickly but not quick enough! Be aware when kneeling down that you aren’t on wet paint. You’ll also want to leave adequate time for the paint to dry and for the fumes to evaporate before playing.

Once the paint is dry, set up a comfy bench nearby, break out your spinner and enjoy a fun afternoon outdoors with Twister!

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The Big Day – June 20th, 2015

A final post from our in house Bride…

A little over 3 months ago all of the planning and hard work culminated into literally the wedding of my dreams. And since a picture is worth a thousand words, I figured I’d share some of my favorite shots from the day…

AJust one more thing before I shift into bride mode…

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Our vision was a romantic and classy estate wedding.  If you read any of my prior posts, you’ll remember that we settled on The Bradley Estate in Canton, MA, a red brick Gregorian-style mansion with an amazing brick edged parterre garden, romantically set behind the house and a large side lawn for a tented reception.

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For our ceremony we kept it mostly traditional, though we added in our own vows and a special sand blending ceremony with sand from both coasts to highlight our commitment to combine our two lives. To top it all off, we had one of our closest friends, Kate Baker, officiate the ceremony.

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We wanted cocktail hour to be classy yet fun, so guests sipped cocktails while they roamed the property and played games like corn hole and washers personally built and monogrammed by Tom.

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   The reception of course went by all too fast but what I remember most is being so in awe at all of the people who came to one place for us.  Our perfect day was made possible by our family, friends and of course our vendors who worked tirelessly to make everything perfect for us.  Gourmet Caterers did an outstanding job with the food, presentation and service.  And our DJ, Adam Conrad did an amazing job of keeping the night (and our guests) moving.

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Sperry Tents provided a wistful and light sailcloth tent with bamboo poles and candelabras.  I loved how it made the reception on grass still feel both upscale and intimate.

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We wanted our wedding to be romantic and classic with a little bit of sparkle. We worked with Peterson’s Party Center to accomplish this look with traditional fruitwood chivari chairs for both the ceremony and reception and alternated champagne and blush linens on our guest tables.  One of my pet peeves is when guest tables are too crammed, so we simplified the tables to include only rose petals, votives and centerpieces of gorgeous pink, cream and ivory roses from LauraJean Floral Design

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The table numbers were kept simple too, though each was placed in its own beautiful frame, which I had begun collecting from the moment we became engaged! I loved how this gave the tables a unique yet cohesive look.

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And for the sparkle, I scattered a few rose gold sequin linens (from Rentals Unlimited) throughout cocktails and of course on our sweetheart table.

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Our menu cards, along with the ceremony program and other various signage was beautifully designed by Mr. Tom Boates himself!

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In the end, everything turned out just exactly as we had envisioned it.  Perfect weather, the love of family and friends from across the country and Tom waiting for me at the end of the aisle. We couldn’t have asked for a better day!   

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                                                                                                                                        – Mrs. Boates signing off!

Venue: The Eleanor Cabot Bradley Estate
Tent: Sperry Tents
Caterer: Gourmet Caterers
Cake: Konditor Meister
Floral: LauraJean Floral & Event Design
Rentals: Petersons Party Center
Rose Gold Sequined Linens: Rentals Unlimited
Photography: George Street Photography
DJ: Adam Conrad
Officiant: Kate Baker
The Dress:  Mori Lee by Madeline Gardiner
Hair: Janet Rodriguez
Makeup: Danielle Austin


#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!