Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Gustavo Mottola {A Makeup Lesson}

Sorry for the extended absence everyone. I always take a little time off around the holidays since I work through most holidays (Labor Day, Memorial Day, etc.) but now I am back at it!

While I was off, I had the good fortune to see one of my industry colleagues, makeup artist Gustavo Mottola. I've known Gustavo for eons and we've done some pretty phenomenal weddings together. He is such a great guy plus he always makes brides look stunning (and it's fun to see the latest celebrities that he's done--Penelope Cruz, Julia Roberts, Paris Hilton, Katie Holmes)! Recently, he's developed his own line of organic skin care and makeup (Gustavo Cosmetics) so my eco-friendly brides love him even more. No animal testing or harmful chemicals or any yucky stuff!

The reason I got to see Gustavo the day after Christmas was that he was part of my stepdaughter's Christmas present. She's in high school and apparently the trend for 14-year-old girls is to wear as much black eyeliner as possible without actually tipping over from the weight of it. Since I didn't want her to go through life looking like she'd been sucker punched, I called Gustavo and set up a makeup lesson.

He was so great at showing her how to do everything from clean her face to how to put on blush so that it looks natural to how to do her eyes without caking on the liner. She left looking so pretty and with a bag full of new makeup and lots of confidence. I even got a party favor: Gustavo's Vitamin C Lifting Serum. I have been faithfully applying it and I could swear that I look 25 again. For those of you saying that you thought I was 25, I love you the most!

Check out Gustavo if you're looking for great wedding day makeup (and hair--he has a resident stylist) or just a lesson to learn how to do your own. And check out his amazing organic products online!

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Brand Spankin' New Location {Georgetown Cupcake}

I was strolling down M Street in Georgetown just last week admiring all of the hussle and bussle of the holiday season. Just as I came upon Dean & Deluca, I glanced across the street and noticed the most delightful little shop! And how much more excited was I to see that it was the brand spankin' new Georgetown Cupcake location!

Now this shop is clearly larger than their last location, which sits pretty on the corner of 33rd & M St., offering plenty of room to sit down and enjoy a tasting of all their wonderful creations! Oh, how we do love the cupcake! And what a fabulous treat for your wedding guests, giving them oodles of options to nibble on!

{Photo by Jaime Windon, The Blonde Photographer}

Happy planning!
Amy Lorraine

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Engaging Affairs #1 in Washingtonian Again!

We are so thrilled to announce that Engaging Affairs was just voted the #1 wedding planner in the Washington, D.C. area by The Washingtonian Bride and Groom magazine. We want to thank everyone in the industry who voted for us and all the brides who have been so supportive of us this year. We couldn't do it without amazing clients and the world's best colleagues. Thank you everyone!

The winter 2010 issue just hit the stands so be sure to grab a copy!

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

A Wedding Planner's Wedding; Part I

Oh, the pressure! A wedding planner planning her own wedding. After weighing the facts, I made the conscious decision to get married here, in DC, surrounded by my favorite people. (and, my Engaging Affairs associates)

Like many of my clients, most of our guests would have been traveling in from out of state so location was key. The U.S. Chamber of Commerce was our venue of choice for many reasons. First, it was completely unexpected. You get a wedding invitation and it lists the name of a hotel or a banquet space, sometimes even a restaurant. But a government organization building like this, how interesting! Besides that, it has the location going for it- 1615 H Street, directly across from the White House and the amazing detail in the function spaces. I always say, the more interesting the room, the less you have to do to it! Our guests noticed details we never even saw, and we had many planning trips to the space.

While I have done other events in the building, each had a more regal feel (see the photos above of my past weddings there) that somewhat "fit" the framework of the space. I had slight concerns as I went in a more modern direction, something I hadn't tried there before! Check out my take on the space in the photos below.

You can show me pictures of a million weddings, and trust me that's how many I have seen, and I might love them all. But at the end of the day, for myself, I kept going back to elegant, classy green and white. Then I realized, that wasn't enough "me". I have a little more bite to my personality than that. So, I added black. It's funny, brides do black tie affairs all the time, but many seem to be scared of black as a color at their wedding. (A secret, it looks fabulous with the right flower colors popping off of it)

And so there you go! Peek #1 into the wedding planner's wedding. Stay tuned for more installments about decor, lighting, entertainment, food and surprises!

And of course, thank you to Justine Ungaro for the fabulous images!

Insider's Guide to Sunny Honeymoons

Teresa Belcher of Honeymoon Islands has sent us some more fabulous ideas for sunny honeymoons from Virtuoso. Check out their website! I don't know about you but I could use some surf and sun right about now! Whether you're considering Hawaii or the Caribbean Islands or the Mexican Riviera, there are some fabulous resorts and great deals. Send us a postcard when you get there!


Monday, December 14, 2009

The Bubbly Bride: The Ultimate Wedding Cocktail Guide

Just by the title of this book, you know we're going to love it. Bridal Bubbly. Bubbly Bride. Plus, what's not to love about a book full of fabulous wedding drink ideas?

Natalie Bovis-Nelson is a mixologist extraordinaire who is the editor of the site TheLiquidMuse and is launching an online cocktail show called "Inspired Sips with The Liquid Muse." In her latest book, "The Bubbly Bride," Natalie shares fun cocktails for every stage of wedding planning from engagement drinks to bachelorette party shots. The signature wedding cocktails are even divided into themes so you can choose the perfect drink for your garden wedding, tropical reception or Asian-inspired event. I love the "green" cocktail section. But my favorite section has to be Battling Bridezilla! Check out this fabulous drink to calm your nerves.

Chill Pill

Lavender Water
1 ounce lavender infused vodka
1 ounce lavender -infused simple syrup
1/2 ounce fresh lemon juice
Splash lavender soda

Shake lavender vodka, simple syrup and lemon juice with ice. Strain into champagne flute and top with lavender soda.

In case you don't happen to have lavender-infused vodka on hand, check out this fun one:

The Male Stripper Made Me Sin

1/2 ounce vodka
1/4 ounce cinnamon schnapps
1/4 ounce cream
3 red hots

Pour vodka, schnapps and cream into a shot glass. Drop red hots in the bottom of the glass.


Friday, December 11, 2009

A Picture Worth A Million Words

Pictures and art of all kinds are just marvelous to me. I love when people get creative and adore pieces that strike conversation, both at events and in my home.

I found this fabulous artist, Dee, on and just adore the art she makes with words! Her work is distinct and unique. She also does custom work and can coordinate your art colors to match your wedding or home decor. Also, it's so incredibly affordable for a thank you gift for a mom, bridesmaid or anyone else who strikes your fancy!

Hang them in your reception or your bathroom!

Check out Dee's shop on HERE

Happy decorating!
Amy Lorraine

Thursday, December 10, 2009

modern or traditional... textured or flat? {Amy & Clark}

Ahhh, I do adore the touch and feel of a fine invitation. Whether you are preparing for a formal holiday dinner or an upcoming wedding, a beautiful invitation to your fete should not be overlooked.

There are so many variations of papers, fonts, colors and design concepts in the world to choose from. You shouldn't have much trouble finding an invitation that portrays "you" and the type of event that you are hosting. There is the ever-growing concept now in paper products of designing your own invitations and corresponding menu cards, programs and escort cards.

The first step in designing your own invitations is getting in touch with a graphic designer {or graphic designer turned invitation producer}. Having a consulting session with them will allow you to download all of your wishes for what your design concept will look like in the end product. From colors to modern or whimsical fonts to formal or fun vibes.

Clark and I worked with a great friend of ours and graphic designer, Jason VanDorsten, on our invitations. Jason was super fun to work with and offered so many ideas and creative ways to make our invites more like us!

Here is a glimpse at our first round of invites after telling Jason all of my HUNDREDS of ideas!! Oh, how fun!

Once you have your final design, you can work with either your invitation producer on the printing options or find a local printer that can walk you through the paper types and printing options.

To contact Jason directly for product design, email him at
{} or find his website HERE.

Amy Lorraine

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

A Family Affair

As I look back at my CRAZY October, and start to fill you in on it, I realize it started off in such a familiar fashion. Of course a wedding is a family affair, as my blog post title describes. But the wedding of John Yavari and Christina Aumann was more of that to me than normal.

This past year, and next year is shaping up to be, a tremendous year for me and sibling weddings. A huge honor and one of the biggest compliments in my book. This year, I had the pleasure of doing three weddings for sisters OR brothers of past brides. Let's start with John and Christina and work our way backwards.

John and Christina met in school and that was just the end of that.

Heartthrob that he was, and I know this because best man Nick Caldwell, brother of my former bride Allison (Caldwell) Bliss, collected keys to John's room from the lovely ladies in attendance at the wedding during his speech. (See, it was a big Engaging Affairs extended family affair!) Anyway, Christina had captured his heart and the couple got engaged just before his sister, Josephine, wed Robert Reger last October.

The two weddings, as they should be, were very different. The first at the Stephen Decatur House in Washington, DC and John and Christina's at the Ritz Carelton, Pentagon City. The first had more of a land ans sea feel, appropriate for the bride and groom's professional dealings, while John and Christina's was more red hot and sultry with color and had a modern twist on a favorite traditional venue. Jo's wedding had live fish, John's wedding had a live ninja. Similar, but completely different. Exactly what I love about weddings, but what I love even more about sibling's weddings.

Not only was the family the same, but I got to work with a hand full of the same vendors as well. Toni Footer from The Write Image got us going again with invitations. Justine Ungaro captured the day in stunning style. Leslie at Fancy Cakes by Leslie created two more breathtaking cakes and Digital Lightning lit up to space to create the appropriate feel. Thanks for sticking with the team everyone!

Ok, so I mentioned this was one of the three family weddings I had the honor of participating in this year. Stay tuned to recap the other two and their sibling's events!


Tuesday, December 8, 2009

More Amazing Bridesmaid Ideas

So, after Bride Amy posted about what her fabulous Maid of Honor started for her by way of keepsake Charm Bracelet, I started to think back about how horrible I was about not posting about my wedding experience. My BRIDESMAIDS like so many of yours, are and were simply fabulous. They did some amazing things to make my bridal shower feel truly unique.

My favorite, and the thing that brought a tear to my eye, was the wine presentation. Each of my 5 bridesmaids bought me a bottle of wine, which they decorated, and with personalized prose, they told me when I was to drink each bottle; On my WEDDING night, for my first Hanukkah (holiday) party, my first Dinner Party, my first Anniversary and the one that made me cry, the birth of my first child,which I was told my husband would be drinking alone. It was such a sentimental, thoughtful "ceremony" of sorts.

So what else can YOU do as a bridesmaid to make you bride's experience special? Here are a few more ideas.

Personalize dessert or tea china- Everyone chooses their formal and informal sets, but grab 6 or 8 girls, choose a theme (polka dots, primary colors, etc) and each of you make a dessert plate or tea cup and saucer that has the same theme, but are each a little unique. The bride can call it her accent china.

The cookbook- Go a bit further than the recipe on an index card. Have someone collect all the recipes before the shower, laminate them and actually create a book for the bride. Each entry should include when a good time (date, holiday, occasion) is to make the dish.

Friday Night Knitting Club? Does anyone in the group knit? Have everyone buy a different yarn color and create, or have made, a completely unique afghan or throw that the bride can wrap hersel
f in when her hubby is not at home or when she has to start getting up for late night feedings (some day).

So, if bridal BINGO and toilet paper bridal gowns are not up your alley, there are definitely other ways to let your bride know how special she is to you.


Monday, December 7, 2009

Quick Get Away! {Amy & Clark}

Bachelor and Bachelorette parties are more than ever a staple to your engagement period. And for many years, this outing has typically been a fun night out on the town with your closest friends. Now, couples are branching out and doing joint parties, spa days or golf outings. I have also heard of a lot of bridal parties wisking away the bride or groom to all out away weekends to their choice destination location. Everything from the Florida coast to Paris, France!

I was just sitting here day-dreaming of my own away weekend coming up soon and thought I would share a few pictures from my most recent bachelorette weekend.

If you recall, our very own Sara was recently married {Pictures from her wedding coming soon!} and we had an absolute BLAST at her away weekend at Disney World in Orlando, FL. We went in late October and it was wonderful having the warm sun beating down on us while laying by the pool for a few fabulous days! Now, it wasn't so much fun coming home to the freezing cold, but that's just life I suppose.This is a great pic of Sara & I. Trying to get into the Disney spirit and I had 5 pins of flair... who knows what I was thinking but it was fun!!

Obviously when it came to my own wedding, I was so excited to get out of DC for a few days and go on what is hopefully going to be the most fabulously fun girls weekend I have ever experienced! What is better than having all your best girlfriends with you for 3 days, at least 6 great meals and countless bottles of champagne?! We have decided to head out to the of Big Apple NYC in late January. Granted, it may be a bit chilly that time of year in New York but that's just fine with me. Snow boots, puffy coat and a new sweater and we'll be set!

Clark's brother {& Best Man}, Rob, decided to take the guys and head out to Snowshoe Ski Resort in WV for his bachelor weekend. Definitely more of a macho man trip than tromping down 5th Avenue shopping but we'll let the guys have their fun too.

I'll be sure to post pictures after our trip, stay tuned!

Whatever you end up doing to celebrate your last single times with your friends, have fun & be safe! We need you in one piece on your wedding day :)

Amy Lorraine

Friday, December 4, 2009

Advice Needed! Bridesmaid Gifts {Amy & Clark}

Game on, brides & bridesmaids out there! With only a few months to go and a MILLION options, I need some help coming up with some fabulous ideas for great bridesmaid gifts! Every bridesmaid has received gifts ranging from trinkets to jewelry to Coach bags... what did you love most? Items that you could wear, eat, or sit on a shelf as eye candy??

Let me know your thoughts, ideas and what you have seen out there that went over well! I have 11 bridesmaids, yes 11! Think budget friendly ;)

Then there is the thought of doing individualized gifts, something personal for each marvelous maid?

Bride & Groom Published! {Sloane & David}

Check out the current Bride & Groom {Washingtonian's Wedding Magazine} on shelves now and catch a glimpse of Sara's clients, Sloane & David. They had an all out wonderful affair at one of our FAVORITE venues, The Ronald Reagan Building. It was a great wedding with tons of fun guests dancing the night away and not to mention, the catering staff there is phenomenal!

Be sure to catch the NEW edition of Bride & Groom coming in January 2010! It will have the full line up of DC's Top Notch Wedding Vendors in their Annual List. It's a great resource for brides and not to mention, gives the full run down of who's who in the city!

Thanks to our darling friend, Justine Ungaro, for the beautiful photos!

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Gay Weddings in DC

I recently had the distinct pleasure of hearing Bernadette Smith of 14 Stories, the country's most successful gay wedding planning company, speak about gay weddings coming to D.C. You may not know that earlier today the DC City Council voted in favor of allowing legal marriage. This isn't the final vote but it is a good sign.

Bernadette spoke on the positive impact that gay marriage had on Massachusetts (her state) and how it would bring tons of new revenue and jobs to the city (hooray!). Plus, who doesn't love thousands of additional weddings each year?

We are an open and affirming wedding planning company and love creating unique and personal weddings for all couples so we look forward to this new avenue opening up for D.C. Thanks to Bernadette for sharing her knowledge and enthusiasm! And thanks to Closed Circle Photography for the beautiful picture above!

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Charming & Memorable {Amy & Clark}

In my opinion, one of the best parts of friendship, dating, engagement and marriage is the memories you build along the way with the people you hold nearest and dearest. I adore receiving gifts that are meaningful and ones that I will be able to keep with me for many years, often reminding me of a special trip, event or person.
My fabulously wonderful Maid of Honor, Stephanie, came up with a great idea to gift me with a charm bracelet and have each of the women in my life send a charm to represent a memory that I have with them. Stephanie started out by giving me a sweet bracelet from Tiffany & Co. and let me know then that each week until my wedding I would be receiving a charm from someone in my life. What fun!! I have very much enjoyed receiving fun charms of all shapes and sizes, some with hilarious memories, some with inspirational words, all amazingly memorable!

You can get creative and send sea shells, glass, vintage coins - whatever reminds you of the bride's style, personality or memories you have together!

If you are a bride who loves keepsakes, this is a great gift for you! Just send this link to your MOH and hope for the best...

Happy Planning!
Amy Lorraine

Among Life's precious jewels,
Genuine and rare,
The one that we call friendship
Has worth beyond compare.
~Author Unknown