Friday, December 28, 2012

Strawberry Basil Balsamic Daiquiri {Signature Drinks}

Yesterday we told you about the fab vinegars at Sapore. Well, now we're going to share a delicious drink recipe that uses them! Cheers!

Strawberry-Basil-Balsamic Daiquiri

8 ounces dark rum
1 cup halved hulled fresh strawberries
4 whole strawberries for garnish
1/4 cup light brown sugar
1/4 cup loosely packed basil leaves
1 tablespoon aged balsamic vinegar
1/2 pint strawberry ice cream
2 cups ice

In a blender, combine all ingredients except the whole strawberries and blend until smooth. Pour into chilled glasses and garnish with the strawberries.

Thursday, December 27, 2012

Sapore! {Local Finds}

Another one of our fabulous gift finds this year were the gourmet vinegars and olive oils from Sapore. Sapore is owned by two of our industry friends, Renee and John Farr, and is located in Capitol Hill. We adore their selection of really fun vinegars (dark chocolate balsamic anyone?) and olive oils and they will even do petite versions for wedding favors.

The signature Sapore bottle is definitely one of our "favorite finds" for 2012!

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Tiny Pies!

We continue with our wrap-up of favorite holiday gift finds. We fell in love with these sweet mini pies from Tiny Pies. They come wrapped in cellophane bags or in petite Mason jars. I did a wee bit of sampling and can personally say that the apple cranberry, sweet Texas pecan and the chocolate brownie pies are delish!

They also make adorable wedding favors (and you can customize your pie flavor)!

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Ho Ho Ho!

Wishing everyone a very Merry Christmas!

Monday, December 24, 2012

Visions of Sugarplums!

Credit: David Sawyer

"… while visions of sugarplums danced in their heads." The famous sugar plums spoken about in Clement Clark Moore's beloved poem, "'Twas the Night Before Christmas" were actually sugar-coated coriander. Later the recipe changed and included other spices and dried fruit.

Bags of sugarplums would be such a cute favor idea for a Christmas wedding!

This recipe is based on the confection we know today. Sugar plums tend to absorb the powdered sugar, so redust just before eating, if you like.

2 cups whole almonds
1⁄4 cup honey
2 tsp. grated orange zest
1 1⁄2 tsp. ground cinnamon
1⁄2 tsp. ground allspice
1⁄2 tsp. freshly grated nutmeg
1 cup finely chopped dried apricots
1 cup finely chopped pitted dates
1 cup confectioners' sugar

1. Preheat oven to 400°. Arrange almonds on a baking sheet in a single layer and toast in oven for 10 minutes. Set aside to cool, then finely chop.
2. Meanwhile, combine honey, orange zest, cinnamon, allspice, and nutmeg in a medium mixing bowl. Add almonds, apricots, and dates and mix well.
3. Pinch off rounded teaspoon-size pieces of the mixture and roll into balls. (Rinse your hands often, as mixture is very sticky.) Roll balls in sugar, then refrigerate in single layers between sheets of waxed paper in airtight containers for up to 1 month. Their flavor improves after ripening for several days.

Sugar Plums
This article was first published in Saveur in Issue #39

Friday, December 21, 2012

The Sweetest Gift!

Each year we look for the most fun, creative gifts to use in our weddings. One of our favorite finds this year was this delicious jewel box designed to look like a delicate French macaroon. What a perfect place for bridesmaids (or brides) to store their rings!  We love this as a gift for female attendants or perhaps a sweet way for a groom to propose. And we adore all the colors!

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

The Personal Touch {L&S at Woodend}

 When I first met Leslie, we had a common bond.  We both love acoustic acts that play at local bars.  Leslie and Shawn had planned an amazing celebration at Woodend Sanctuary before they left for Thailand to start their lives together helping refugees.  It was a daytime celebration starting with a beautiful morning ceremony in the grove.

The guests then moved up to the portico and the lawn for some yard games of bocci ball and a bride and groom themed cornhole.  They were serenaded by the sweet melodies of Timmie Metz, who Leslie and I both knew from playing Tuesday nights at Clyde’s of Georgetown!  I loved that she went with an entertainment act who was a personal date night favorite of the couple!

Ridgewells provided an amazing spread for the guests to graze on.

The bride decided to forego the traditional floral centerpiece and opted for using a personal touch instead.  Her grandfather was a scientist and had a big array of beakers left over from his lab.  We filled these with water and food coloring to keep in her blue and green theme!  Guests heard about her grandfather’s experiments over the toasts!  

The best man and maid of honor gave toasts that had me doubling over with laughter- and I had just met the couple a few months earlier!  The maid of honor found an old email that the bride wrote her after her first date with Shawn-- epic!

DJ Dan Goldman kept the party going inside while DominiqueAttaway Photography  shot the couple enjoying their family and friends!  The couple had rented a section of Irish Times for their post party to keep the celebration going all night long!  

Thank you to my amazing vendors and my assistant Olivia who helped this daytime celebration go off without a hitch!

xoxo  Amanda

Venue: Woodend Sanctuary Bethesda, MD
Caterer: Ridgewells Catering
Entertainment: Timmie Metz and DJ Dan Goldman, Bialek’s Music
Photography:  Dominique Attaway Photography
Cake: Sticky Fingers Bakery

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Sneak Peek {Shawn & Leslie}

Love this image from one of Amanda's weddings by Dominique Attaway. More to come on this charming Woodend wedding!

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

American Cancer Society Wedding Scrolls

Seriously… who needs another bag of Jordan almonds?  

In lieu of the traditional wedding favor, brides and grooms can now consider American Cancer Society wedding scrolls. For a small donation, a beautiful scroll is placed at each guest’s seat or a tent card at each table acknowledging that a financial contribution has been made to the fight against cancer.

The wedding favor is a time honored tradition; yet, many favors amount to nothing more than kitsch in the back of your closet or a snack for the ride home. An American Cancer Society wedding scroll or tent card is a personal and meaningful alternative.

Scrolls may be in memory of someone you’ve lost to cancer, in honor of a survivor, or a general dedication to the fight against this disease. Text is customizable and presented on the customer’s choice of paper with either gold or silver-tone rings. Each scroll is elegant and designed to reflect the personal style of the bride and groom.

Cintia and Bernard Alvarez had this to say about Wedding Scrolls: “At our wedding, we were able to thank everyone…and we felt the Wedding Scrolls fit us perfectly.  Our guests loved them – it was thoughtful and meaningful.”

Since launching the Wedding Scrolls program in 2010, the Society has raised nearly $100,000 for the fight against cancer. The program has gained interest in the past year, with many couples opting for a toned-down and tasteful wedding in response to the current economic climate.

“With so many people out there struggling, couples are finding it tacky to spend money on almonds and candles just for the sake of having a favor,” said Katarina Madej, communication and marketing director for the American Cancer Society of NY & NJ.  “An American Cancer Society Wedding Scroll is a truly tasteful gift for your guests. The $3 donation per scroll funds cancer research and patient service programs supported by the American Cancer Society.  It’s a meaningful, and possibly lifesaving, alternative to the traditional favor.”

American Cancer Society Wedding Scrolls can be easily purchased with just a few clicks by visiting  Thanks to Katie Curl for the text and images. 

Monday, December 10, 2012

The Full M-O-N-T-E

I was lucky enough to get to join my old friend Monte Durham recently for a small product preview party of his new hair care line. You might know Monte from his "Say Yes to the Dress Atlanta" fame but I know him as the top wedding day hairstylist I used for the better part of a decade here in D.C.

Monte may know plenty about wedding gowns but he also knows tons about hair having spent years behind the stylists' chair at Elizabeth Arden and then his own salon at The Greenbriar. Despite his diva persona, he's never been much for fussiness when it comes to hair or hair product so I love that he's come out with his own streamlined products. Only five products to take care of all your hair needs. Right up my hair slacker/low maintenance alley!

“The biggest challenge was working with chemists and choosing the products. I tested shampoos and hair conditioners. I wanted to use every one of the products myself. I kept saying, I need a quarter of this or of that.” Finally, pleased what was inside the bottles delivered exactly what was promised, Monte put his seal of approval on his newest enterprise.

Saturday, Dec. 15, and Sunday, Dec. 16, Monte will launch his luxury brand at the Perfect Image retail shop inside The Greenbrier resort. He will introduce trial-size and 8-ounce bottles of M-- moisturizing shampoo, O--one-step conditioner, N--natural root lift, T--taming balm, and E--ever hold hairspray.

I've been using my sample sizes of the M-O-N-T-E products and I have to say they smell amazing and make my hair feel fabulous. And I love the lack of parabens and yucky ingredients.

TLC will sell M-O-N-T-E products online until Feb. 1 at His line will remain exclusive to The Greenbrier and throughout the United States at other high-end resorts and department stores.

Friday, December 7, 2012

Perfectly Plaid {Flashback Friday}

Clockwise from top left: tablescape (The Party Dress), cake (Flickr), linens (Brenda's Wedding Blog), invitations (Beast Pieces), candles (Things Festive), bouquet trim (Wedsmack), shoes (Things Festive), dresses (Wedding Stand)

Plaid may not be limited to the holidays but I always think of Christmas when I see a festive red plaid. Check out these fun takes on plaid for weddings. The bridesmaids' dresses would be so festive for a December wedding! Happy Friday everyone!

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Sneak Peek {Mary Beth and Christine}

We love this composite shot of Sara's fabulous couple, Mary Beth and Christine, from their wedding at LongView Gallery. Thanks to Juan Carlos Briceno for sharing the photo. More images to come!

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

I'm Dreaming of a White (Feathery) Wedding!

I have to admit that I'm a sucker for white holiday decor and I kind of love feathers so combining them both makes me pretty happy. And I love the idea of a white holiday wedding blinged out with fluffy feathers. Heaven!

Gorgeous white feather bouquet!

Not sure if I have the guts to put feather angel wings on the back of my chairs but part of me really loves it. The other part needs to lie down for a bit.

Wishing you a fabulously feathery day!

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Romance in Red at the Cathedral {Rebecca + Jason}

The beautiful and historic National Cathedral was the location for R + J’s September wedding ceremony.  The couple, who live in NYC, chose to get married in DC because it is the bride’s hometown.  The bride and her family spent the morning getting ready with hairstylist Giselle of Hair by Giselle and makeup artist Nikki Frasier at the Ritz Carlton on 22nd Street. 

The day could not have been more beautiful for Greg Gibson to take photos in and around the Cathedral. 

The bride loves the color red and decided to use that as the overall theme of the wedding.  Check out her beautiful red bouquet (made of red roses and red dahlias) against the white of her wedding dress. 

She had her bridesmaids wear bright red dresses.

The ceremony at the Cathedral was intimate and beautiful as only a ceremony in the grand space can be.

After the ceremony, everyone moved to the Corcoran Museum for a night of dinner, drinks and dancing.  Red linens covered each table.  Capitol D├ęcor created six beautiful tall centerpieces out of manzanita branches and rich red roses and six lower arrangements that consisted of a cluster of smaller vases each filled with a single type of flower such as roses or dahlias.  The head table was a long rectangular table that consisted of the tall branch centerpieces and the white bridesmaid bouquets.

Custom menu cards, tables named after places important to the couple's courtship and squares of fabric for the guests to sign, that would be later used to make a quilt, were some of the fun and creative accents that made this wedding so special.

Lighting provided by John Farr Lighting highlighted the columns surrounding the event space as well as the dancefloor area.  DJ Jason Wallace made sure to keep everyone on the dancefloor all night long.

The tasty cake, specially designed by the bride’s cousin, was made with white frosting and red ribbon on each layer.

As a send-off, the Groom specifically designed a fun candy buffet with red and white candies (mostly gummies – his favorite).

A HUGE thank you to my associate Amanda Smith who helped run the day of and made sure everything went smoothly!

Thank you also to Joel Wolke and his team at Occasions Caterers for the amazing food and fabulous service.  And thank you to Greg Gibson for sharing his amazing images with us!

Congratulations Rebecca + Jason!