Monday, January 31, 2011

Bride's Choice Winner {Wedding Wire}

Weddings, Wedding Venues
2011 Bride's Choice Awards | Best Wedding Photographers, Wedding Dresses, Wedding Cakes, Wedding Florists, Wedding Planners & More

Engaging Affairs was awarded the Bride's Choice Award by Wedding Wire. Cool. We love brides and it's always nice to be loved right back!

Snow Days {Bride Style}

Anyone who lives near D.C. knows that we've had quite a few snow days lately. And if you have kids, like me, that means lots of outdoor snow activities. This past weekend I did so much sledding with my children that my entire body aches (the snow shoveling probably helped, too).  I thought it would be fun to catch brides and grooms doing all the fun snow activities that my kids love!
Making snow angels!  Lots of these in my front yard.

And who can resist catching snowflakes on your tongue? Hope everyone is having as much fun this winter as these couples are. Happy Monday!

Friday, January 28, 2011

Death on the Aisle {Chapter Seven}

Chapter Seven

            “I’d say that went well,” Kate said as we listened to Jeremy Johns storm off to find the bride’s stepmother.
            “Do you want me to go after him?” Richard didn't make a move toward the door.
            “And do what?” I asked. “Catch him and stuff him in a closet?”
            Richard’s face brightened. “Now you’re talking. Sometimes I feel like we share the same brain, Annabelle.”
            I groaned.
            “I hope he doesn’t agitate Mrs. Barbery.” Mandy wrung her hands in front of her. “She’s much easier to work with when she’s not upset.  The last time she got worked up she decided to change the staff uniform design and made me redo the menus for a week.  The chef wanted to kill me.”
            Kate looked at Mandy’s worried expression and touched her arm. “Have you ever considered a different line of work?  Because your job is starting to make our job look like a party.”
            Mandy gave a weak laugh but still looked worried.
            I clapped my hands together to rally my troops. “Okay, I think we should find where the bride ran off to and try to talk her off the ledge and then worry about Jeremy.  I’m sure he’s more bark than bite, anyway.” I turned to Mandy. “Can you help us find the bride?”
            “Follow me.” Mandy led everyone from the casual dining room into a huge main salon. “I’ll give you a tour of the ship. We’re bound to run into her along the way.”
The main salon was decorated in almost all white with accents of black and silver: pristine white carpet (which explained the mandatory slippers), curved white couches, metal and glass coffee tables and what looked like James Bond memorabilia displayed in glass cases along one wall.  It didn’t look like South of France meets South Beach yet so I figured this must be more the father-of-the-bride’s style. This boat was his baby, after all. I wondered how Jeremy Johns planned to work his mash-up theme around this look.
Mandy walked us through the room to a set of glass doors that led outside. “This is the way to the transom and the main staircase. It’s how Mrs. Barbery wants guests to enter. Has the biggest ‘Wow’ factor.”
“So we’re putting the tent up here?” I looked out and saw the large wooden floor of the extended transom at the base of the wide staircase. Even though the ship was huge, we’d need all the extra space we could get for a hundred and fifty guests plus the staff to wait on them.
Two blond boys in white shorts and black shirts identical to Mandy’s were polishing the metal stair railings.  They looked like they were barely out of their teens but I assumed they were part of the staff.
“Who are they?” Kate asked, watching the tanned boys work.
“Deck hands,” Mandy said. “They have a lot to do before next weekend.”
“Too bad,” Kate said so only I could hear her. “They’re cute.”
“They’re children,” I hissed back.  “Hands off.”
Kate made a pouty face, which I ignored.
“Let’s go upstairs so you can see where Mrs. Barbery thought we’d put the ice table for the raw bar.” Mandy walked outside and around to a set of stairs.
We all followed her and came out on an upper deck with a covered lounge area that held a large round table and white padded benches curved around it.
“We thought the raw bar could go against this wall,” Mandy said motioning to a wall with another set of glass double doors in the center. "To one side, of course."
I looked around. “That should work but I don’t know how we’ll get it up here. A huge block of ice will never make it up that narrow staircase.”
“You can use my crane.” A deep voice came from behind us and we all turned around. A husky man with dark brown hair and a deeply tanned face came up the stairs in a white uniform that was as spotless as everything else on the ship. He smiled and extended his hand. “Captain Frank Hammer at your service.”
“Annabelle Archer.” I shook his hand first and everyone else followed suit. “It’s nice to meet you. You have a lovely ship.”  I didn’t know if this was what you were supposed to say to a captain but he seemed pleased.
“She’s a beauty, isn’t she?” he said.
“We were just taking a look at where Mrs. Barbery wants everything for the wedding,” Mandy said, her voice jumpy.  “Are we in your way?”
The captain gave a dismissive wave of his hand. “Of course not. I’m at your disposal. If there’s any way I can help, let me know.”
“You mentioned a crane?” Richard said. I know he was as worried as I was about getting the giant ice block on board.
“Of course. We have a crane to get large things onto the ship. I’m sure we can use it for your ice block.”
“That would be perfect. Thank you.” I breathed a sigh of relief. One more thing checked off my “to-worry-about” list.
“We’ll get out of your way, Captain.” Mandy waved us all back to the stairs. Was it my imagination or was Mandy unusually nervous around the Captain? 
Before I could figure out why such a friendly man as Captain Hammer made the Chief Stew so jumpy, a piercing scream came from below. We all hurried down to the lower deck and saw one of the deck hands lying on the floor of the transom clutching his ankle.  The other boy knelt over him.
Mandy rushed over to them. “What happened?”
“One of the steps gave way,” the uninjured boy said.
Captain Hammer pushed past us and knelt over the boy, prodding his puffy ankle. “Probably just a sprain. Let’s get him inside.”
“I don’t understand how this happened.” Mandy looked on the verge of tears.  “I can’t tell Mrs. Barbery there’s been another accident.”
“I don’t think you’ll have to,” Richard motioned for us to look above where a woman with long, unnaturally red hair stood glowering down at us wearing a black fur-trimmed silk robe.
“Unless I’m mistaken . . .” Richard began.
Mandy lost all color in her face. “That’s Mrs. Barbery.”
I cringed.  This was not good.

Thursday, January 27, 2011

The Dandelion Patch Hits Georgetown!

The Dandelion Patch has hit D.C. and we're so excited!  You may have known the other locations (Reston, Vienna and Leesburg) but now the same fabulous wedding invitations and great customer service are available in Georgetown.

Be sure to stop in a say hi to owner Heidi Kallett and her amazing team.  If you're looking for stunning wedding invitations, be sure to call and set up an appointment with a wedding specialist.  They carry everything from gorgeous letterpress to classic Crane's plus tons of great gifts.  Happy shopping!

The Dandelion Patch
Shops of Georgetown Park
3222 M Street NW
Suite W-055
Washington, DC 20007

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Winter/Spring Engaged Magazine Hits the Stands!

Check it out!  The always gorgeous Engaged Magazine is hitting newsstands this week.  The magazine is chock full of real DC weddings, invitation advice from Heidi Kallett of The Dandelion Patch, music advice from music agent extraordinaire Andy Kushner and much more.  Be sure to pick up a copy and get inspired!

Modern Trousseasu at Hitched {Trunk Show}

Join the Hitched ladies and Australian born designer Callie Tein for the Modern Trousseau Bridal Gown Trunk Show coming up on Friday, February 4th & Saturday, February 5th at Hitched!
If you've been having trouble settling on the perfect dress, the Modern Trousseau Trunk Show is the event for you. Ever popular with Hitched brides, designer Callie Tein's collection is full of a wide array of stunning gowns, each one equally as unique as it is classically beautiful. Whether you're in search of a sophisticated lace sheath or a fun, full-skirted tulle ballgown, you're sure to find the dress of your dreams!

One of the reasons we adore Modern Trousseau so much is because they're able to completely customize their gowns for each bride. At the trunk show, you'll have the opportunity to meet Callie to discuss any changes you might like to make to your gown, as well as receive custom measurements to ensure an impeccable fit. In addition, Hitched will be offering 10% off of all Modern Trousseau gowns purchased over the course of the weekend! This show is sure to book up quickly, so make your appointment today by calling 202.333.6162 or emailing

What: Modern Trousseau Bridal Trunk Show
When: Friday, February 4th & Saturday, February 5th
RSVP: 202.333.6162 or (Please remember, gown trials are by appointment only!)

Monday, January 24, 2011

Wedding Dress Art {Brooklit Bride}

We're so excited to share a yummy new find with you! Brooklit Bride is the new Etsy shop by Brooke Hagel that specializes in custom bridal illustrations, bridal art prints, tags, cards and other handmade gifts. Brooke's illustrations are so fabulous and fun!  This is the perfect gift for a bride-to-be or a perfect way for brides to keep a stylish reminder of their wedding dress. 

I love the adorable tags you can use for bridal showers, bridesmaids' gifts or even favors.  What bride wouldn't love a gorgeous, fine art sketch of her gown?

The composite of bridal gowns gives me the idea of having Brooke do multi-generational sketches.  How great would it be to have your mother's gown, your grandmother's gown and your gown all displayed in gorgeous sketches side-by-side? There are so many possibilities for Brooke's lovely bridal art!

You can also check out Brooke's fun blog, Fabulous Doodles, for more of her amazing designs!  We hope you love Brooklit Bride as much as we do!

Friday, January 21, 2011

Death on the Aisle {Chapter Six}

Chapter Six

Jeremy Johns looked me up and down and then did the same to Kate. One eyebrow arched in obvious disapproval. I wasn’t sure if it was my khakis casual look or Kate’s just-tumbled-out-of-bed hair that elicited the near grimace. “And you would be?”
“I’m Annabelle Archer and this is my assistant, Kate.” I put out my hand for him to shake. “We’re from WeddingBelles.”
His face remained blank.
“They’re the wedding planners,” Mandy added.
“Oh.” He gave me a perfunctory handshake. “Then maybe you can explain these miserable blue linens.” He pointed at the pile of pale blue tablecloths like he was accusing a murderer from the witness stand.
“These must be what Richard sent over for the bride to pick from.” I ran a hand through the pile.  Aside from one unfortunate shiny number and a too-heavy brocade, the linens weren’t bad. They were exactly what the bride had requested: pale blue with some texture.  I especially liked a nubby powder blue silk.
Jeremy Johns put his palms up. “Maybe there’s been a misunderstanding.  You see, I’ve been given compete artistic control over this event and these linens do not fit into my vision.”
“Since when do you have control over this wedding?” Kate asked. “We’ve been working on this for five months.”
Jeremy folded his arms across is chest. “Since Mrs. Barbery called me in.  This wedding is going to be on national television.” Again with the arching eyebrow. “You don’t think she’d leave the design up to you two, do you?”
Mandy gave a nervous laugh, “Why don’t we all talk this . . .”
“It isn’t just the two of them,” Richard walked through the sliding door behind us and I saw it led to a galley kitchen. 
I breathed a sigh of relief. I rarely had this reaction when Richard joined a tense situation but it was good to have a diva on our side, too.
“You’re with them?” Jeremy sized up Richard but didn’t make a face. It helped that Richard wore a flawless polished cotton shirt in peacock blue with crisp tailored white pants and looked every bit the nautical aristocrat.
“Richard Gerard of Richard Gerard Catering.” He didn’t extend his hand. “But, yes, I’m with them.”
“And I’ll have you know we’ve designed some very fancy weddings,” Kate said. She’d made it from drowsy to defensive.
“I’m sure you have, sweetie,” Jeremy's voice became syrupy sweet. “But this is a whole other league.  Trust me, I’ve designed Mrs. Barbery’s house in the Hamptons and her flat in London.”
“Decorating a house and designing a wedding are two entirely different things,” Richard said.  “So unless the client wants new drapes, why don’t you run along and let us do our jobs?”
Jeremy sucked in air audibly and Mandy groaned.
“Mrs. Barbery flew me down to put my signature style on this wedding.” His voice was nearly a hiss. “All the properties I’ve designed for her have a distinct style and so will this wedding.”
“I’m almost afraid to ask.” Richard said. “What is the signature style?”
Jeremy fanned his hands out in front of us like he was pulling back curtains to a stage. “South Beach meets the South of France.”
Everyone was silent for a moment.
“You must be out of your mind,” Richard finally said.
Jeremy sniffed. “Mrs. Barbery likes to mix the vintage with modern. It’s eclectic.”
 “I know I’m still half awake,” Kate muttered to me. “But I don’t get it. It sounds like "shabby chic" on crack.”
Jeremy’s face reddened. “I don’t expect you to understand what we’re doing up in New York.”
“This is insane.” Richard turned to me. “First we have a TV crew crawling all over the ship and now we have to work in a neon-goes-French-country theme?”
I broke in. “Aren’t you all forgetting something?”
“I doubt it,” said Jeremy and Richard at the same time, then they glared at each other.
“What about what the bride wants?” I asked. “This is her wedding, after all.”
“Thank you, Annabelle.” The bride stepped into the room behind Jeremy. This was getting absurd. Any more people and we’d be nose-to-nose in the narrow dining room.
Kristie wore black yoga pants and a form-fitting Batik-print tank top and it looked like she’d just finished her practice.  Her ash blond hair was pulled up in a high ponytail giving her an extra inch or so, which she desperately needed.  Everything about Kristie was tiny and delicate down to her soft voice.
Jeremy turned around and smiled at the bride. “We were just discussing your wedding,” he gushed. “And how it’s going to be a fairytale come to life.”
Kate made a gagging noise and I dug an elbow into her side.
“Oh, I heard you. My stepmother may have flown you here, Jeremy, but this is not her wedding.”
Jeremy opened and closed his mouth like a fish.
Kristie smiled at the rest of us. “But since my father and stepmother are hosting this wedding, and Jeremy is here, I hope we can all work together.”
Richard started to say something but Kristie continued. “Because if we can’t, then I’m perfectly willing to call this whole thing off.”
She spun on her heel and left the room.
“Well, I guess that settles it,” Mandy clapped her hands together, clearly glad to have the confrontation over with.
“Hardly,” Jeremy said. “That girl is not in charge. I’m going to talk to Mrs. Barbery.”
“Come on,” I said, looking from Jeremy to Richard. “I’m sure we can find a compromise.”
Jeremy turned and pushed through the door. “Over my dead body.”
“That can be arranged,” Richard called after him.
I shot him a look. “You are not helping.”
“What?” he asked in his most innocent voice. “You said to be accommodating.”

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Riding in Style {Linder & Associates}

This past week I helped my dear friend Linda at Linder and Associates find a great photo of one of our brides with/in/around a limo for an upcoming magazine ad in Engaged!  We found this fun one of our bride, Elisabeth Hahn, who got married last summer.  I love that Elisabeth is chilling out in the limo on the way to meet her groom for some pre-wedding photos!

The whole search made me think that wedding day transportation isn't something that brides usually put a lot of time into but it's one of the most crucial aspects of the wedding day flow.  Late limousines, lost limousines, broken-down limousines.  These are all things that can ruin your wedding day if you don't hire the right company. 

I am very particular about transportation companies because I've seen too many disasters and had to fix too many limo problems.  Which is why I use Linder and Associates so consistently. I've worked with Linda for years is she is one of the most organized and detailed people I've ever met.  She won't just book cars for you, she walks you through the entire day to make sure that the transportation and routes work.  She'll arrange limos, classic cars, valet and just about anything that involves moving people. 

Thanks for getting our brides to the church on time for so many years, Linda!

Jorge Manuel at Hitched {Trunk Show}

The bridal industry is buzzing over hot new designer Jorge Manuel, and you're invited to see his gowns in person during the Jorge Manuel Bridal Gown Trunk Show at Hitched on Friday, January 28th & Saturday, January 29th!

Jorge Manuel is a fresh Miami-based designer, and his young, fun personality is certainly reflected in his unique design aesthetic. His gowns are both architecturally modern and classically chic, creating a fashion-forward feel that is truly his own. Each gown is distinctly beautiful in its own way, though the entire collection incorporates rich silk fabrics, unique embroideries and appliqu├ęs, distinctive beadwork, and an impeccable fit.

But don't take our word for it—these are gowns that you absolutely have to see in person to fully appreciate! At the trunk show, you will have the opportunity to view Jorge Manuel's latest collection, as well as to meet Jorge in person (a true treat!). As an added bonus, Hitched will be offering a 10% discount on any gown purchased over the course of the weekend! Don't miss out on the incredible opportunity to view this spectacular collection—make an appointment today by calling  202.333.6161 or emailing

What: Jorge Manuel Bridal Trunk Show
When: Friday, January 28th & Saturday, January 29th
RSVP: 202.333.6162 or (Please remember, gown trials are by appointment only!)

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Nice Day for a White Wedding at The Park Hyatt {Melissa + Brandon}

I knew from the moment I met the bride, Melissa, and her mother, Susan, I was going to enjoy working with them.  They both had an excitement and positive energy towards everything, not just the wedding, and it was contagious.  The bride’s parents live here in Potomac and the bride and groom live in one of my favorite cities (and some would call my home away from home)…South Beach Miami, so we had to plan our meetings around Melissa’s visits back to the area.  I was finally able to meet Melissa’s equally energetic other half a few months before the wedding at our tasting at the Park Hyatt.   

Starting off the wedding weekend, the bride, groom, bridal party and relatives enjoyed a rehearsal dinner at DC’s trendy L2 Lounge in Georgetown. Wedding day began with beautiful weather and the ladies getting their hair done by Remona of Hair by Remona and their makeup done by Kim Giammaria of Beauty Mark.   After everyone was done getting beautiful, the bride and groom saw each other for the first time in a very special, private moment.  They then hopped into a limo and took pics around the city.  

In an all white room, surrounded by loving friends and family and beautiful white roses and under a stunning white fabric and crystal chuppah, Melissa and Brandon became husband and wife.  

Following the ceremony, guests nibbled on appetizers such as lobster blt, salmon and gruyere croque monsier, mini mac and cheese with duck confit.  Guests were also able to enjoy the pommes frites station offering three styles: Sweet Potato, Black Pepper and Sea Salt and Regular.  There was a photobooth on hand for guests to print out pictures of themselves.  Always a hit!

Entering the ballroom, guests were wowed by the white draped room, white dancefloor, beautiful white linen and gorgeous white centerpieces.   All of the flowers for the wedding day, including the custom designed chuppah, were created by the talented Da Vinci’s Florist.   The lighting, provided by John Farr Lighting, made the room and centerpieces pop.

After several heartfelt toasts, the band, PrimeTime, had the dance floor packed all night long with favorites from all decades.  

After the cake was cut, the much anticipated dessert buffet opened.  The bride’s mother spent the last few months before the wedding making all of desserts that were placed on the buffet.  She is an amazing baker and guests enjoyed every last morsel.  I am actually thinking about hiring her to do this for my other brides!  

Kurstin Roe of Kurstin Roe Photography was the photographer for the day.  He was so great work with, keeping everyone on time.  As you can see, his photos are great as well!  One of my favorites didn’t take place until well into the reception when he grabbed the bride and groom and posed them within the cherry blossom glass “rooms” in the main lobby of the Park Hyatt.  The photos could not be more stunning!

Thank you to Michael Deltette and his AMAZING team at the Park Hyatt for everything!  Their service and professionalism through the planning and on the wedding day did not go unnoticed by anyone.

Thank you also to my amazing assistants for the day, Erika and Kim, who worked so hard to make sure everything was perfect!

Congratulations Melissa and Brandon!

Get Married!

With a nod to all things new this season, the Spring issue of Get Married magazine—available today on newsstands—includes a fresh look at the latest bridal styles.  The magazine continues to inspire, entertain and surprise.  Throughout the pages are an assortment of delectable designs and budget-friendly fashions, including cool registry items, gorgeous cakes, stylish invitations and hot-off-the-runway spring dresses and accessories.  In addition, Get Married in Times Square newlyweds are profiled along with some of the winning details voted on by the audience.  Check it out!

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Vera Wang in D.C. {Fall 2011 Bridal Collection}

Relaunch Redux {Michelle's Memos}

We couldn't wrap up our relaunch redux without giving a shout-out to a true friend of Bridal Bubbly: Michelle Alberg, the woman behind Michelle's Memos. Not only did Michelle contribute two prizes to our summer giveaway deluxe, but she is a darling to work with, as we have dozens of times. Plus, Michelle's studio carries a ton of eco-friendly papers, and discounts on just about EVERYTHING, including brands like William Arthur.  You can reach Michelle at for an appointment. Thanks, Michelle!

Monday, January 17, 2011

Monique Lhullier at Carine's {Trunk Show}

Relaunch Redux {Lucky Duck Press}

A big Bridal Bubbly cheers to talented Brooklyn-based letterpress shop Lucky Duck Press, who participated in our giveaway extravaganza last summer. We are fans of Patrick B's wedding invitations, of course, but also his business card and announcement designs. Check out his website for more from Lucky Duck.

Friday, January 14, 2011

Death on the Aisle {Chapter Five}

Chapter Five

“Wow.” Even though Kate wore sunglasses she still shielded her eyes as she looked up at the massive ship that was to hold the wedding.  We stood on the dock in front of the ship waiting to be let on board.
“I told you it was big.” I held my hair back with one hand as the breeze blew it into my face and cursed myself for forgetting to bring a hair band. We'd parked near the open air fish market and walked over to the docks but I could still smell fish when the wind blew. I hoped the wind would change on the wedding day.  Nothing like being downwind of a fish market to set a romantic mood.
I looked up at the ship and tried not to openly gape myself. The ship was technically a super-yacht and spanned over 160 feet from end to tip, dwarfing every other boat in the harbor. It rose three stories above us with each level getting progressively smaller, much like a tiered wedding cake. I assumed the helicopter pad, which would be our dance floor, and the hot tub, which we were covering to use for the ceremony, were on the top.
The sides of the ship gleamed white with only the boat’s name, Diamonds Are Forever, in black script  with a faceted diamond next to it in metallic silver marring the pristine surface. What wasn’t white on the boat was shining chrome.  I could only imagine how much effort it took to keep all of it polished and I was glad that wasn’t my job, although as a wedding planner I’d had to do far worse tasks before.
Kate looked at the boat's name. "Guess they like diamonds."
"Try James Bond movies," I said. "The bride told me her father is crazy about Bond flicks.  The main tender is GoldenEye." I motioned to the smaller boat that was at attached to the far end of the yacht.
Kate raised an eyebrow. "Better than naming boats after Bond girls, I guess."
“Welcome aboard,” a voice with what sounded like an Australian accent called to us from above. “You must be the wedding planners.”
“Yes,” I called back even though I couldn’t see where the voice came from. “Annabelle and Kate.”
“I’m Mandy, the Chief Stew.” A tall, leggy woman with straight brown hair appeared at the top of the gangplank that led onto the ship. “Leave your shoes in the basket, put on some slippers and come on up.”
Kate and I both exchanged our shoes for black leather slide-on slippers with the name of the ship and a diamond embossed on the top.
“Maybe I should get the name of my apartment building put on my slippers,” Kate said under her breath. “It’s a nice touch.”
I elbowed her in the side. “Oh, be quiet.”
We walked up the wooden bridge that linked the ship to the dock and met Mandy at the walkway that ran along the outside of the main deck.  I noticed that she wore a black uniform with the ship's name and a silver diamond embroidered on the left side just like the slippers. 
“I’ve been looking forward to meeting you,” Mandy said, giving us each a quick handshake. “Mrs. Barbery wanted me to get you settled before she joined you.”
Ah, the stepmother.
“So what exactly is a Chief Stew?” Kate asked. Sometimes I was glad Kate was so direct because it saved me from asking so many questions.
“I’m in charge of overseeing what goes on inside the boat, from making sure the owners get their breakfast on time to ordering new uniforms to overseeing the inside staff. That kind of thing.” Mandy waved for us to follow her. “I've been working on boats for years but just joined this crew when the boat was in Australia. Ever since I came on all the staff has talked about it this wedding.”
So I'd been right about the accent. I liked Mandy and the fact that she liked to talk so much. It would be much easier to figure out what was really happening on the ship with her on our side. “How many are on staff?” I asked. 
“Fourteen including the captain.”
“Fourteen?” Kate’s mouth gaped. “Where do you all sleep?”
“The crew quarters are downstairs.  The ship also can sleep up to fourteen additional guests but we rarely have that many people stay on board.” Mandy led us into a casual dining room that held a tufted beige banquette curved around the wall and a polished wood table. Papers were spread across the table.
Kate whistled. “This is some boat.”
“Well, the bride is expecting one hundred and fifty wedding guests,” I said.  “It has to be a big boat.”
“And this is some wedding,” Mandy said. “I don’t know how you do this for a living.”
Kate and I both shrugged.  We’d heard this a lot before.
“We were hoping to talk to the bride this morning,” I said. “Is she around?”
Mandy motioned for us to take a seat at the table and started stacking the papers into piles. “She’s doing yoga downstairs in the gym. We’re not supposed to disturb her until she’s done. Imbalances her energy or something. But she should be finished pretty soon.”
Kate’s eyebrows popped up. “There’s a gym on board?”
“Oh, it’s small,” Mandy said. “Like a big closet attached to the steam room.”
Kate looked at me. “Steam room?”
Mandy gave a half smile. “Helps Mrs. Barbery with her stress.  And after all the things that have been happening, that’s a good thing, believe me.”
“What do you mean?” I asked.  “The TV crew? I thought she wanted the wedding filmed.”
“Oh, no. Not that.” Mandy moved a silver tray with glasses and a pitcher of water from the sideboard to the table. “Mrs. Barbery loves publicity.  What she doesn’t love are accidents.  Mr. Barbery is crazy about this boat and if anything happens to it he goes nuts. And when Mr. Barbery goes nuts, Mrs. Barbery practically lives in her steam room.”
“So what’s been going on?” I said.
Mandy shrugged as she poured out four glasses of ice water. “Nothing major. Just some little things. A rail on the stairs from the transom came loose, we lost lights for a while yesterday and the doorknob to the pantry jammed locking one of our staff inside for a couple of hours.”
“That doesn’t sound so bad.” Kate took her water from Mandy and inspected the glass that was etched with the name of the ship and the ubiquitous diamond. She nudged me. "Impressive branding."
Mandy lowered her voice. “The bride thinks the boat has bad energy and all these things are a sign she shouldn’t get married here.”
“What does Mrs. Barbery think?” I asked.
“She’s not happy about all the glitches but she’s also been planning on having a wedding on this ship for months. We had the entire thing recarpeted in pale blue to go with the bride's colors. The invitations went out weeks ago and her friends are starting to fly in from all over the world.” Mandy took a long drink from one of the glasses. “There's no way she’s canceling this wedding. I think she’d have it even if the bride didn’t show up.”
“That would be different,” Kate said. “I wouldn’t mind a bride-free wedding.”
I shot Kate a look then turned back to Mandy. “So then it’s not the TV crew that the bride’s upset about?”
“Well, it didn’t make her happy, that’s for sure.” Mandy’s voice got even lower, like she expected the bride to be crouching outside the door. “But I think it was just the icing on the cake.  She’d been getting worked up for the past few days.  Every time something would happen, she’d become more convinced that the boat has bad energy.  When the TV crew came aboard, she just lost it and started yelling about moving the wedding.”
I knew that the bride was very attuned to energy vibrations, as she put it.  We’d even chosen the wedding colors, pale blue and silver, based on their positive vibrations.
I leaned close to Mandy. “Do you think the bride is serious about not getting married on the ship?”
“Well, she seemed to calm down after talking to her father,” Mandy said. “Between you and me, I think he’s trying to keep his wife and his daughter happy at the same time but owes it to his wife to keep her more happy.”
“What do you mean?” Kate asked.
“Well, Mrs. Barbery loves entertaining on the ship but she won’t be doing that for the next three months because her husband gave the bride and groom the ship for a round-the-world honeymoon cruise.”
Kate’s eyes widened and she looked at me. “Did you know about this?”
I shook my head. “No idea.”
Kate wagged a finger at me. “You never find out where couples are going for their honeymoon.”
Now it made sense. “So he’s making it up to his wife by letting “Diamond Weddings” film her hosting a big, society wedding on board.”
“That’s what we all think,” Mandy said.  “The crew was told to do anything we could to make sure the bride got lots of peace and quiet.”
Kate looked around. “The ship does seem quiet.”
The door to the dining room swung open and a tall man burst in. His blond hair swept back from his face in a perfect wave and he stared down as us over his slightly upturned nose. He wore a navy suit with a pink shirt and a pink tie of exactly the same shade widely knotted at his throat.  He  dumped the pile of blue cloths that were draped over his arm onto the table in front of us.
“Someone had better start explaining this mess or I am out of here.” He folded his arms and glared at all of us.
Mandy gave me an apologetic look. “Meet Jeremy Johns. Mrs. Barbery’s designer from New York.”
So much for peace and quiet.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Relaunch Redux {E. Isabella Designs}

Back in July, when we held a giveaway for one $50 gift card to E. Isabella Designs' gorgeous Etsy shop, I said something along the lines of a picture is better than words at showing how lovely these handcrafted dessert plates are. Well six months later, I still feel the same way-- so behold the loveliness:

Which one is your favorite? Be sure to check out Elizabeth's Etsy shop for more of her charming creations-- and thanks so much, Elizabeth, for being part of our blog relaunch!

Find Your Dress for Less {Sample Sale at Carine's}

For D.C.-area brides who haven't found their wedding dress, be sure to check out the sample sale at Carine's this weekend.  Amazing deals!

Relaunch Redux {Parker's Crazy Cookies}

Our very own Sara fell in love with Parker's Crazy Cookies last summer when they were nice enough to contribute 25 bags of wedding cookies to our relaunch. Dave Parker's cookies can be customized to actually look like a bride and groom, and Sara was dying to use them for one of her weddings. Laura has used them for three of her weddings and guests went nuts for them. The company also makes non-wedding related cookies that are every bit as delicious and cute. Check out a sampling below, and visit their website for more scrumptious options.