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A Blog for the Discerning Bride

Archive for January, 2014

     
30
Jan
10 Bridal Show Survival Tips
categories: open houses, Tips and Advice, upcoming events

Bridal Shows, especially if you’re headed to your first, are full of anticipation and excitement. There are vendors anxiously awaiting your arrival, booths so full of inspiration your head might spin a little, giveaways galore, deals to be had, and of course fashion shows.

Be ready though- there’s also a LOT of people and the larger shows can be somewhat overwhelming. So why should you attend a bridal show or two during your engagement? Because you will get to actually meet the vendors that you are looking for all in one place (a huge time saver) and because there is nothing more fun than chatting with other brides. This is a forum created just for you where you can talk rings, dresses, flowers, photographers, and invitations without anyone telling you that you are obsessed and need to get a life. You are with your people.

To get the most out of the wonderful shows Arizona has to offer, check out our Bridal Show Survival Tips:

1. Think comfort. This is not the time to show off your latest shoe find- you will be on your feet a lot and you want to enjoy yourself. A cute pair of ballet flats or boots will do the trick. Jeans or yoga pants are perfectly acceptable too. Throw on a scarf and you’re ready!

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(Photo by: Sedona Bride)

2. Bring a tote bag. Many bridal shows will give you a bag upon arrival to carry your bridal show loot in but we think a large bag that fits over the shoulder is the way to go. You’ll be collecting massive amounts of information and you will want to have a bag that fits nicely over your shoulder and won’t potentially break.

3. Channel your inner Girl Scout. That’s right, I said Girl Scout. Even if you weren’t a Girl Scout, you know about being prepared and you know about the Golden Rule. First, pack water and your favorite energy bars (enough for everyone who is coming with you). There are usually opportunities to buy snacks at the show but they come with lines that take away from enjoying the show itself (and have limited options). Some vendors will offer food but you don’t want to count on that for sustenance. Second, you will encounter many people doing the same thing as you- chatting with wedding vendors, looking for deals, entering giveaways- and let’s just agree that patience will be your friend. Sometimes a booth will only have 1 person manning  it so they can only talk to one person at a time. If the vendor is intriguing enough, waiting to chat with him/her will be worth it.

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4. Expect deals for on the spot booking. Many vendors offer show discounts. What you will also find is some vendors who want you to book on the spot for those discounts. You can certainly do this if you have done your research prior to the show and know who you are dealing with. However, if you don’t feel a connection with a particular vendor, take a pass. No good deal is worth potential drama or second-guessing down the road. You will find many talented and trustworthy vendors at these shows just make sure you do your research before signing any type of contract. 

5. Bring pre-printed address labels. Many vendors will ask you to share your contact information with them for various reasons. You don’t want to write your name, address, phone and email each time you meet a vendor you’re curious about so print up some address labels prior to the show and voila! You will be uber-efficient and will have more time to visit more booths.

6. Set up a wedding email account prior to attending the show. You are going to be getting a lot of emails from all of the vendors at the show, even if you did not contact them personally. They all receive a list of attendees which has your information on it and they are legally allowed to contact you. Also, some vendors will need an email to contact you if you win a giveaway and some even offer discounts after the show to those who didn’t win. To avoid having your everyday email bombarded, use a free email service like Yahoo or Gmail to manage the influx. You’ll appreciate that  this account is just for wedding communication which also helps you take a break from wedding planning when you need it (and you WILL need a break, trust us!).

7. Be aware of the “Bridal Show Effect”. Even though you’re going to have a ton of fun, you need to realize that you might get overwhelmed and a little swept up in the excitement. You know how it’s easier to make a decision about bridesmaid dresses when you’re choosing from 4 rather that 14? And you know how you simply cannot make a decision if you have 20 linens to choose from but when presented with 3, you’re able to decide? Same thing with bridal shows. Visiting 18 photographers, no matter how fabulous each one might be, is unrealistic. Feeling overwhelmed due to the sheer volume of choices is the Bridal Show Effect and you can overcome it by accepting that you will not get to every single booth and you might miss a fashion show (which is actually the best time to visit booths!).

8. Make sure your phone is charged. You will often get to enter giveaways from booths using your mobile device- take advantage of the technology available to you. Undoubtedly, you’ll want to take pictures of ideas you see at the booths and will want to connect with vendors via social media on the spot so make sure your phone is ready!

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9. Know your bridal show style. Some shows are large and energetic, some are smaller and more refined. Neither is better than the other but you should know what you’re looking for. The larger shows obviously offer more variety and most-likely more giveaways and discounts while the smaller shows will have hand-picked vendors and a more intimate vibe. You will also discover shows that are in-between, like the Sedona Bridal Boot Camp and Sedona Bridal Fair. These are regional shows that appeal to brides beyond their locale, making them a growing niche in the bridal show circuit. Some bridal shows will focus on activities such as tours and fashion shows while others will spoil you with food and beverage tastings. One thing is true though, there is something for everyone!

10. Chat it up. Vendors WANT to talk to you so don’t be shy! They want to hear about your plans, answer your questions, and give recommendations based on their experiences. They have been involved in weddings a lot longer than you and you’ll be surprised at how much info you can get from them.  The wedding industry pros in Arizona are not only talented, they are genuine. They want to work with you, yes, but they also want you to be happy. Spending time with the vendors is one of the best ways to get the most out of your bridal show experience.

We attend many of the shows in Arizona and enjoy every one of them for their wedding inspiration and fun atmosphere. We hope to see you at one (or more) soon!

For a complete list of Arizona Bridal Shows, click here. Follow us on Twitter and Facebook for updates on shows and special offers.

Phoenix Bride & Groom, your Phoenix wedding magazine

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27
Jan
Farm to Table Menus Now Offered At Westin Phoenix Downtown
categories: fabulous reception sites, reception ideas, rehearsal dinner spots, trends in catering

“Farm to Table” menus have grown in popularity over the years but it’s still rare to find a venue (and a chef) who is willing to create a menu of this type for wedding receptions. If the idea of locally sourced ingredients that are in-season and the freshest you’ll ever find (i.e., the prettiest and tastiest)  appeals to you, then the Farm to Table concept is right up your alley. The Westin Phoenix Downtown now offers an extensive and customizable Farm to Table wedding and event menu, thanks to Chef Chad McDonald, who was recently appointed Executive Chef for the hotel.

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Chef Chad’s history and appreciation for local ingredients began at his family’s farm and at his first job at a hometown mom and pop meat market. Due to his passion for detail and understanding “the simplicity of a great dish”,  his career blossomed. He’s a man who has a love of food and community, making him a true farm to table ambassador.

In regards to the farm-to-table concepts going forward, Executive Chef Chad McDonald will tailor menus seasonally for the restaurant and for weddings by working one-on-one with local farmers. This will allow chef to know what’s freshest at all times. Chef will be rearranging banquet and catered menus according to what the local farmers can offer seasonally. This would be a new step in working directly with the local farmers. 

Chef will also work more hands-on – actually sitting down with our local famers to begin cultivating the relationship and also visiting the farms. This means, for example, chef could meet with couples-to-be at the very beginning of the wedding planning process so they could be involved in the decision-making process for which seasonal items they would want to incorporate from the local farms on their menus.

Just a few examples of the food you could have at your wedding under Chef Chad’s supervision:

Skirt Steak – Steaks are from a farm near Yuma, AZ

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Tacos, meatballs, flatbreads, salmon benedict, and  shrimp tacos are all potential menu items for your wedding- most ingredients in these dishes are sourced from local farmers and markets

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A sample of a complete wedding reception menu developed by Chef Chad is “The Natural” which includes roasted organic beet salad, Crow’s Dairy® chevre, frisee, balsamic drizzle, locally farmed organic green salad, the freshest available vegetables, sherry-Dijon vinaigrette, Cedar River Farms® braised beef short rib, wild mushroom ragout, pan crisped organic salmon, tarragon mustard sauce, Gerber Farms® Amish chicken breast, natural chicken verjus sauce, chervil glazed organic root vegetables, herb roasted local new potatoes, seasonal fruit crisps, and vanilla bean ice cream.

The entire hotel has a very cool urban vibe and I really want to hang out at Province Lounge and Restaurant, where the farm to table concept is also featured; Fuchsia pops against dark wood in our lounge, a vibrant setting where you can refresh with beverages and light bites from an exclusive menu of sustainably-farmed, seasonal selections.

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Choosing the menu for a large group of people, like you’ll be doing at your reception, may not be your first wedding planning priority but for those of you who are “foodies”, finding the right chef is important. Chef Chad may just be your guy.

Explore The Westin Phoenix Downtown online or contact Jocelin, The Westin Phoenix Downtown’s wedding specialist, directly: (602) 429-3528 :: Jocelin.Meesenburg@westin.com

Phoenix Bride & Groom, your Phoenix wedding magazine

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23
Jan
Engagement Session Tips from our Elite Circle Photographers
categories: Engagement, photography, Tips and Advice

It’s Engagement Season and if you’re one of the newly engaged, an engagement session is probably on your radar. Today we’re giving you the best advice and sharing some beautiful pictures with you. Actually… some of our Elite Circle photographers are giving the advice today!

Courtney Sargent Photography: 

1. When preparing for your engagement session, the first step is to make sure you choose a great photographer with a personality that you love.  Consider whether they will be able to make you feel comfortable in front of the camera during your engagement session and keep you calm on your wedding day. Will you be able to laugh with them, let loose, and show your true smile? When you have a wedding photographer you completely trust to capture all of the most important moments, then you can sit back, relax, and let them do their job of making you look beautiful.

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2. Allow your photographer to get to know you so they can help you choose a location for your engagement session that suits your personality and style. 

3. Spend your engagement session interacting with each other just as you would if there weren’t a camera there. Make each other laugh, kiss, be silly or do whatever you’re feeling inspired to do!

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4. Don’t be nervous! Engagement sessions are meant to be more casual than your wedding photos so it’s a great time for you to get to know your photographer and just have fun. A great photographer will help you with poses and provide as much guidance as you need.

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Photography by Verdi:

1. Always have FUN and show your true personalities.

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2. Shoot in a location that has meaning to you (our groom to be is in the Coast Guard).

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3. Bring your pets. They are a big part of your lives.

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Hagerty Photography: 

1. Have fun! I love it after the engagement sessions when we receive texts from our couples saying, “Thank you!  We appreciate all you did. Can’t wait to see the final product!” and “We had so much fun tonight!!”  

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2. Be natural. Our photography style is organic- we not only capture your special flirty moments, we capture you and a whole lot of fun in the images.  We always have two photographers, two angles, and two perspectives on the scene, to ensure that not a moment is missed.  

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3. We’re going to get to know you, you might as well get to know us. By the time you say, “I do,” we’ll have a strong sense of who you are and what you want to see as you turn the pages of your wedding album.  Because of pre-wedding meetings and your engagement session,  we’re not strangers when we arrive at your wedding. We’re friends who are eager to celebrate your day and to tell the story of your wedding through our photos.

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Jill Lauren Photography: 

1. Brainstorm with your photographer – if you have ideas and different things you want to try, work with your photographer to make it work keeping in mind that the idea isn’t to get “exactly” that same Pinterest pose but instead to take the concept and enhance it with your personality and your photographer’s skill.

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2. Relax and have fun – your engagement session is an opportunity to celebrate the love you share. This is the beginning of your love story. Don’t worry about looking at the camera all the time – this photo session will show the emotion you share.

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3. PDA is a good thing!!! Kissing, touching his/her face, holding tight, dancing to the music in your head, dips, laughing at that inside joke, cuddling, snuggling, “almost kissing”…. all great ways to show off and wow your friends & family with how fabulous you two look together.

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Thank you Elite Circle photographers for your advice and best engagement  session tips- we’re looking forward to the 2014 sessions!

For more engagement session tips, click here!

Phoenix Bride & Groom, your Phoenix wedding magazine

 

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20
Jan
8 Things We Love About Our Winter Spring 2014 Issue
categories: bridal fashions, fabulous reception sites, floral inspiration, for your ceremony, from the consultants, Giveaways and Contests, Grooms, health and beauty, photography, real weddings, reception ideas, Scottsdale Weddings, Tips and Advice, Trends, trends in catering, Wedding Inspiration

You know when you work realllllly hard on something but you don’t feel like you’re working because you love it so much? That’s how we feel about each issue of Phoenix Bride & Groom and we’re loving the Winter Spring 2014 issue so much we thought we would share some of the highlights with you.

1. We took fashion and showed it who’s boss: Every time we work with Avant-Garde Studio, we know we’re in store for something spectacular but who knew this would happen? The floral couture that came out of this shoot at the Phoenix Art Museum is unlike any Phoenix has seen. It truly is art within art. The fantasy begins here…

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2. A new venue debuts: We couldn’t be more delighted that Chandler’s newest event venue is sharing the good news in our magazine. SoHo63 is one of the coolest places to say “I Do” and they have jumped right in to the wedding market with fun bridal events and lots of social media activity. Congrats SoHo63!

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3. We just might be clairvoyant: Many pages of our magazine feature hues of purple, particularly orchid, and as you know, Radiant Orchid was declared the “Color of the Year” by Pantone. The news broke a few weeks after we wrapped up our photo shoot with Care Schmidt of Sterling Weddings & Events so you can imagine how excited we were that we had so much orchid inspiration for you. Not only will you find the color in our photo shoots, several brides incorporated purple into their weddings so our Just Married features will also take care of your purple craving.

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4. This real wedding captured something extra special: We were honored to feature David and Emmanuel’s wedding- it was a unique celebration of love that we hope to see more of- but what was really special to us? The look on each of their mother’s faces as they each walked down the aisle, sons by their sides. Hagerty Photography captured their looks of genuine happiness and we couldn’t ask for more than that.

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5. The guys get suited up: Editor Stephanie Gandy Riley interviewed Ted Baker London and Brooks Brothers to uncover the latest trends in groomswear. There’s fashion advice you never thought to ask about along with solid professional tips. Oh, and what trend does Ted Baker say will never die? Find out!

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6. We went on a food safari: Our creative crew, headed up by Monica McQueen of Tres Chic Events, set out to visit 3 different locations, Desert Botanical Garden, Westin Phoenix Downtown, and Sanctuary Camelback Mountain Resort & Spa, with a “food story” in mind for each. This one was shot at Westin Phoenix Downtown and the story was “Savvy and Savory”. What we captured were many gorgeous (not to mention delicious) food ideas for your reception. We didn’t just take pictures of food- we set a complete scene for a well-planned dinner for you and your guests. Enjoy!

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7. Entering our giveaway just got easier: We always have the best giveaways and we always offer an online entry form but now, we have a QR code (that square black and white code thingy) to make entering our giveaway even easier! Just make sure you have a QR code reader app installed on your mobile device, scan the code, enter your information, and submit. The giveaway for this issue is our largest yet so go on now, enter!

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8. Our cover is crazy pretty: We know, we know…we ALWAYS say we love our cover but this one has so much goodness happening that we can’t leave it off our list. Besides, shouldn’t we be in love with each of our covers? We think so.  Check out the huge floral arrangements on either side of the bride and groom designed by none other than Brady’s Floral Gallery- gorgeous right? And what about the couple, with their perfect hair- slightly messy for him, softly swept- up for her? And the groom’s suit- navy with a bow tie? Come on! How about the bouquet with uniquely textured ribbon and gigantic orchids? And the gown. Oh the gown, with it’s lace and ultra-feminine skirt! I bet you’re totally into this cover now, aren’t you?

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Which is YOUR favorite part of our Winter Spring issue? We can’t wait to hear!

Phoenix Bride & Groom, your Phoenix wedding magazine

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16
Jan
Sedona Wedding Boot Camp- January 18th
categories: Sedona, Sedona Weddings, upcoming events, Wedding Resources

The Sedona Wedding Boot Camp is the much anticipated bridal show that happens once a year in Sedona; it’s produced by the creative, genuine, and hard-working team at Sedona Wedding Studio and you’ll definitely miss out if you don’t attend; the vendors that participate are some of the most innovative wedding professionals you’ll find in Arizona and this is your chance to meet them and see what they’re all about.

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The 2014 Sedona Wedding Boot Camp is January 18th from 10-4 at Hilton Sedona Resort & Spa; free admission is for the Bride, Groom and one guest only (you must pre-register for free admission. Those who are not pre-registered will pay $10 at the door). Register here: http://sedonaweddingbootcamp.com/event-registration/?ee=3 

And good news- we’ll be there! Come pick up a copy of our Winter Spring 2014 issue- it’s full of wedding inspiration and is your complete wedding planning resource.

For a listing of all of Arizona’s bridal shows and events, see our list here: http://www.phoenixbrideandgroom.com/BridalShowsandEvents

Phoenix Bride & Groom, your Phoenix wedding magazine

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14
Jan
A New Option for Weddings at Sassi
categories: fabulous reception sites, for your ceremony, reception ideas, Scottsdale Weddings

OK, I’m going to come right out with it: Sassi is hands down one of the most gorgeous wedding venues in Arizona; the intimate atmosphere, Mediterranean architecture, luxe decor, spectacular food, and special attention make it a favorite in the Valley.

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Now for even more good news: The venue, which has seen over 850 couples say “I Do”,  is now offering a new “buyout option”, making your wedding venue options better than ever. See, in the past, Sassi was limited to accommodating up to 150 guests but with this new option, weddings of up to 225 guests can now rent the entire venue.  “Buying out” the space simply means that the entire property is yours! Pretty great, right?

Bernice Hertzfeldt, Director of Sales at Sassi, explains: Now you can have your ceremony on the garden lawn, cocktail reception in the courtyard, bar and patio, dinner in the restaurant villa dining rooms, and after party in the private Sassi room. It’s fun to name the rooms and invite guests into dinner then escort them to an entirely different experience for the after party. This {the Sassi room} is where the grand entry, first dance, toasts, cake, late night snacks and dancing and celebrating continues.

It’s a full wedding destination experience offering sunset and mountain views on the garden lawn for ceremony, world class cuisine and service, and an old world, romantic villa feel.

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How did this change come about? Bernice tells us: Many couples fell in love with Sassi but had too large of a guest list for our private room. With this option, they can now get married here….it is also the perfect place for celebrity couples and destination weddings since we only book one wedding per day. 

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(All photos: Terry McKaig Photography)

Your wedding venue options just got better and we’re so excited to see more Sassi weddings in 2014!

For more information, visit Sassi online, “Like” them on Facebook, or contact Bernice Hertzfeldt directly at: bernice@sassi.biz

Phoenix Bride & Groom, your Arizona wedding magazine

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