{Farm to Table Weddings}

October 8th, 2014 | Posted by skirsner in Uncategorized - (Comments Off)

A few years ago, you may have heard the term “farm-to-table” in the same sentence as “wedding” and assumed that such a pairing would only exist in certain rural, mountainous, or more down-home venues. You might have imagined a more laid-back bride and groom who probably didn’t work or live in a big city. These days, of course, it seems that both cooking and eating out is all about the farmer’s market, sourcing local ingredients, and most likely eating meat, dairy, and other organic products from a farm not too far away from where you’re sitting.

Farm to Table{Photo via Style Me Pretty}

Today, many caterers and vendors may use terms like “fresh and local” to describe their ingredients, products, and flowers, as more and more people are joining the movement of producing and consuming locally grown food and products. And many brides and grooms are shunning the traditional wedding reception dinner, for which guests are often given the option of meat or fish. Instead, some weddings feature tasting menus with wine pairings; as a guest, you may just be served a dish featuring a piece of beef, lamb, and fish, for example – all from local farms, of course.

Farm to Table Insp{ Photo Via Green Wedding Shoes}

With farmer’s markets now abundant in most suburbs and cities, farm-to-table menus are accessible from almost anywhere. Let’s say a bride or groom chooses to create a farm-like setting in a suburban back yard or on the roof deck of a high rise in the city. In this case, the farm-to-table theme can be carried through as much by decor as by menu. Here are a few simple ways to incorporate the trend:

  • Seat your guests “family-style” at a few long “farm” tables instead of the typical eight or ten tops
  • Incorporate herbs and colorful vegetables into floral arrangements
  • Use vegetables names or types of animals to identify tables
  • Use or rent vintage crystal, china, or linen
  • When in doubt, use candles and lanterns – on the tables or hanging on the outskirts
  • Use small chalkboards or whimsical fonts
  • Instead of benches, use hay bales
  • Research local farms near your wedding venue to ensure you’re providing the freshest food available

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Liz Mathews is a Connecticut based mother, teacher, and freelance writer who blogs on children’s books and related topics at La La La (http://lalalaliz.com/). Her work has appeared in Quality Women’s Fiction, Town and Country magazine, and Literary Mama.

{Doie Down Under}

October 6th, 2014 | Posted by skirsner in Uncategorized - (Comments Off)

When you own your own business getting away for a few weeks can be pretty difficult, but nothing recharges and inspires me like traveling to a new place.  Australia, although similar to California in a lot of ways, did not disappoint when it came to gorgeous landscapes, hip boutiques, and awesome art.

The blues and greens of the water were breathtaking.

IMG_0548 IMG_0320 IMG_0335The rock formations were impressive

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Most people head to Australia for the gorgeous beaches, but the cities had a lot to offer in the way of great art, cool cafes,  and trendy boutiques and gift shops.

IMG_0511 IMG_0334 IMG_0285 IMG_0278 IMG_0461{Painting by Amy Howard}

I wasn’t expecting such an awesome street art scene! Melbourne especially was teeming with art around almost every corner.

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{Byron Bay}

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{Melbourne}

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{Melbourne}

Where have you been lately? What inspires you? Leave a comment below.

xx

Sara

{July Giveaways}

July 28th, 2014 | Posted by skirsner in Uncategorized - (Comments Off)

To celebrate “wedding season,” we are giving away robes all month long! If you missed our giveaway with Green Bride Guide and have yet to enter our contest with Style Me Pretty (going on until August 1st). Head on over the Emmaline Bride, for another change to win.

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{Happy 4th Of July}

July 4th, 2014 | Posted by skirsner in Uncategorized - (Comments Off)

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{Wedding Gift Bags}

July 2nd, 2014 | Posted by skirsner in Uncategorized - (Comments Off)

We’ve all been there: that moment you arrive at a hotel or rental house for a long weekend of parties leading up to a wedding. You may have been to this city or island or suburban town before, or you may be a stranger in a strange land. Regardless of your history with this place, you’ve had a long day of travel, you’re hungry, you’re thirsty, and your blood sugar is low. You look expectantly at the person who is handing you a key and wait for one of two possible outcomes: either you are handed that blessed gift bag filled with water, chips, specialty candy or mints, or he or she just smiles.

Wedding gift Bag

You can see where I fall on the decision of whether or not to offer your guests a gift bag. Yes, it’s an extra thing on your to-do-list during an already stressful time, but you have many – possibly even hundreds – of people who have most likely taken off work, traveled at least some distance, possibly paid for plane tickets or fuel for a long drive, and it’s a nice token of your appreciation. For both the weary traveler and the tired partier, the gift bag can go a long way of showing your friends and family that you appreciate them. So how do we decide what to add to these multifaceted goody bags? There are a few different approaches, and of course the amount you can spend on these runs the gamut from low-key brown paper bag to monogrammed tote bags or cooler bags (yes I received one of these at a wedding, and it’s still my favorite).

Gift Basket

  • The Essentials: Regardless of the wedding venue, your guests will most likely be up late, possibly drinking too much, and maybe a bit lost: always include water bottles, small snack bags of chips or pretzels or something to munch on, and a small packet of Advil or Tylenol is also a nice touch. A little candy or a maybe a specialty cookie is nice for those with a sweet tooth, and some mints for your guests to tuck in their pockets or purses. I also like maps of the local city or town if they’re available. I’ve seen some brides and grooms create their own custom maps with the only the necessary locations included – this is a great way to show your creativity and a fun way to introduce your guests to the area.
  • Local Color. Where are you getting married? What is your state or city or island famous for? Getting married in Vermont? How about a little jar of maple syrup or some Lake Champlain chocolate. Weddings held at beaches or islands often dole out a little jar of sunscreen, water bottles with logos, or even towels. Again, it all depends on your budget.
  • The Bag: here’s where I’ve seen people get the most creative. Of course it’s easiest and least expensive to go to a party store and stock up paper goody bags. This is of course perfectly acceptable. It’s really what’s inside that matters. However, there are other options here: what if you’re getting married in a city like San Francisco that doesn’t use shopping bags? Maybe a small tote bag would be a good idea. At a wedding we attended in Aspen, the bride used recycled shopping bags and ironed on the wedding date. I’ve also seen canvas lunch bags, sand buckets, the aforementioned mesh cooler, and even small garden pots. A nice way to make any of the bags or containers personal is to add a monogram or logo – you can include your names, the date, a simple heart, or even an outline of the state you’re in.

Gift Bags 1

Bottom line: gift bags for your guests are a guaranteed way to make a great first impression of your wedding weekend. It sets the tone that your guests will be well looked after before, during, and after the reception!

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Liz Mathews is a Connecticut based mother, teacher, and freelance writer who blogs on children’s books and related topics at La La La (http://lalalaliz.com/). Her work has appeared in Quality Women’s FictionTown and Country magazine, and Literary Mama.

{Nice Day For a Bright Wedding}

June 16th, 2014 | Posted by skirsner in Uncategorized - (Comments Off)

With Summer almost in full swing, it seems that color is everywhere! While some brides aim for pastels in the warmer months, the trend lately is for bold and bright colors. From bridesmaids robes, to rainbow cakes, here are several of my favorite colorful wedding ideas from around the web. Enjoy!

Rainbow bridesmaids{Photo: Three Nails Photography}

 

Rainbow Table Setting{Photo: Style Me Pretty}

Rainbow Grooms{Photo: Christine Farah Photography}

Eryn and bridesmaids Doie Lounge

{Photo: Callaway Gable Doie Lounge Robes}

Rainbow Parasols{Photo: Tux and Tales}

Rainbow Naked Cake{Photo: The Little Epicurean}

xx Sara

{Love is Love}

May 23rd, 2014 | Posted by skirsner in Uncategorized - (Comments Off)

Did you see that article in the Sunday New York Times Style section by Sheila Marikar: “Planners Adapt as Gay Unions Become More Common”? It immediately caught our attention since we’ve been talking about wanting to cover this topic here at Luxe Lounge as the landscape of this topic is changing at such a rapid pace. Today gay marriage is legal in seventeen states. Five years ago it was only legal in two. One of our initial questions: are there wedding planners out there who specifically cater to same sex weddings? This was immediately answered with a resounding “yes” after a very cursory Google search, during which we came up with more than a few credible and highly successful companies, including most notably 14 Stories, along with many very thorough gay and lesbian planning Web sites including Engayged Weddings and Equally Wed. 14 Stories and Equally Wed were also both featured in the Times piece. We were curious about, the possible challenges, if any, these wedding planners and sites would tackle.

Dewan_Demmer Photography{Dewan Demmer Photography}

14 Stories stands out as the original and perhaps most esteemed of the same sex wedding planning sites. On their site they explain: “Our goal is not just to plan innovative, distinctive weddings but also promote marriage equality and reduce homophobia in the wedding industry through our educational seminars for wedding professionals around the world.” The company’s blog features highlights with many of their clients’ weddings as well as various features and tips and tricks about all aspects of wedding planning.  Same sex couples are encouraged to be aware of the services available to them through local chamber of commerce. This is the unique and refreshing aspect of a company like 14 Stories: theirs is a very professional platform from which the founders can continue to make a difference. For example, Bernadette Coveney Smith, the President of 14 Stories, strongly encourages same sex couples to use celebrants. “Whenever possible, I encourage LGBT couples to use a Celebrant to officiate their gay wedding ceremony. Not everyone who is a non-denominational minister is a Celebrant.  Those who are officially Celebrants have taken intensive coursework on world cultures and traditions and been taught how to use stories to create custom ceremonies.  The curriculum is rigorous!”

Carolynscottphotography{Carolyn Scott Photography}

My oldest friend married her partner in a beautiful small ceremony six years ago in Nantucket. She explained to me that they wrote their own vows by researching non-traditional/same sex vows online. She also shared with me: “We spent the night before our wedding together, which isn’t the norm, most people gay or straight don’t stay with one another.  We had breakfast together and alone that morning- which was very nice and grounding.  It was a great way to already reflect on the party we had the night before and get excited together for that day. We also helped each other get dressed and get ready beforehand- so we didn’t have many elements of surprise about seeing one another but I am very happy we did it that way. I got to spend the entire day with MB and go through the entire experience together- from the nerves, to excitement, everything.”

Capitol Romance{ekate photography}

Though some same sex weddings may reject the traditional more conservative side of wedding planning, there are plenty of partners who embrace tradition and wish to host weddings that include the customary time-honored wedding practices. In the Times piece, Marikar explains: “Now that about a third of the states allow same-sex marriages, couples are casting a wider net when it comes to wedding planning, and the desire for something ‘gay specific’ is giving way to ‘gay friendly.’ That change in attitude has inspired a new set of entrepreneurs offering products and services that are comprehensive and sophisticated — and, in most cases, pointedly inclusive of gay and straight couples alike.” This is the direction we are headed. In the future there will be no need for same sex wedding planners because weddings will just be weddings.

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Liz Mathews is a Connecticut based mother, teacher, and freelance writer who blogs on children’s books and related topics at La La La (http://lalalaliz.com/). Her work has appeared in Quality Women’s FictionTown and Country magazine, and Literary Mama.

 

{Bridal Event Tonight}

May 22nd, 2014 | Posted by skirsner in Uncategorized - (Comments Off)

Are you engaged and in the Palo Alto area? Come join us tonight for the “What’s Your Something Blue” event at the Garden Court Hotel, in Palo Alto.

Something Blue

 

Tickets available here

Something new, something borrowed, and something blue are all wedding traditions that can sometimes get overlooked as brides overwhelm themselves with the larger aspects a wedding can encompass. Thus, focusing on these small but important details, “Something Blue” showcases a variety of fun, yet classy, unconventional wedding options that are sure to modernize simple, bridal traditions, into personalized wedding memories. The event will showcase upcoming lingerie and swimwear trends, jewelry and accessories designers, favor and stationery vendors and much more. Guest will also enjoy amazing entertainment, workshops, food and free flowing beverages. A perfect girls night outing.  Hosted by, talented event producer and stationary designer, Karla Randolph “The Card Lady”, this in one event no bride or bridesmaid will want to miss.

 

{Let’s Get This Party Started}

May 7th, 2014 | Posted by skirsner in Uncategorized - (Comments Off)

While those in the thirty-five and older crowd are probably most familiar with live bands providing entertainment at wedding receptions, those who belong in the younger demographic may in fact be more familiar with DJs. Though the band versus DJ has been an ongoing debate for some time now – DJs have actually become more and more prominent over the past fifteen years or so.

Dancing

{Photo: Paco and Betty}

For some, a live band is a must. It is certainly the more traditional, and at one point, more popular route to go. A live band provides much of the festive and celebratory atmosphere for the night. These professional performers and musicians are adept at reading a crowd and getting people up to dance – young and old alike. For us, it was one of the absolute key pieces of our reception. Though we were married in Vermont, we used a New York-based funk band. But not everyone likes to hear their favorite tunes appropriated by wedding singers. For some, only a DJ can provide the actual songs they imagine as the soundtrack for their evening. And, like bands, the good DJs know which tunes to select to keep the party moving.

Though many Milennials are very familiar and comfortable with DJs, they also still love live music. Similar to the passion for organic food and farm-to-table movement, many of these twenty-somethings may opt for more authentic entertainment at their weddings. Rather than using a DJ and a sound system, they want to see the musicians playing and watch the singers belt out their songs in real time. I spoke with Barbara La Valle, the band leader and manager of the east coast based Heartbeat Dance Band (the Knot’s 2014 Best In Weddings) and she had this to say about the trend: “Over the years, the influence of DJs in our marketplace has been devastating to live music.  Brides and grooms in their early 20s have sometimes never been to an event where the entertainment has been a live band!  But things are changing!  Brides are now telling me they are looking for something different – some way to stand out from the crowd and they really want a band.” Perhaps the pendulum is swinging back.

Ellen_Adam_Red Fish Blue

{Photo: Red Fish Blue}

Probably the biggest factor in determining band versus DJ is cost. Unless you are planning on a hiring a world-famous DJ that demands an exorbitant fee, live bands will most likely be costlier. Again, when considering a band versus a DJ, think about your venue. LaValle shared this about venues: “I love tented weddings.  I love the informality of it, I love performing outside, and acoustically it is ideal.”  Also consider your first dances – some songs are covered better than others. When we mistakenly asked our funk band to sing Willy Nelson’s “Moonlight Over Vermont,” it was a little awkward – not the best moment of the night. However, they did kill our father-daughter dance: Roy Orbison’s “You Got It.” Song selection is key with the first dances.

One of the first weddings I attended was that of a family friend’s on Cape Cod – who used a DJ. I asked my friend about their decision and she had this to share: “Matt and I chose a DJ and truly enjoyed a night of non stop dancing. We wanted the real versions of some of our favorites, especially our wedding song…not a band’s version. We also wanted a wide range of songs from Aretha to James Taylor to U2 to Dave Matthews, which can be challenging for bands. We wanted everyone up dancing…young and older!” I do recall this particular wedding to have been heavy on dancing, but I also might attribute that to the couple’s guest list and their high energy level.

Confetti Dancing

{Photo: Adam from W. Scott Chester}

So while both bands and DJs could argue that they’ll keep your guests up and dancing throughout the night, ultimately it’s both your decision and your responsibility to create an atmosphere that lends itself to dancing – if that’s what you want, of course. And, if neither of these options suits you, you can always act like a Millennial and be your own DJ. In today’s tech-savvy world, some brides and grooms use their own iPod set lists with friends acting as emcee. With the right speakers and a great playlist, you can’t beat that price.

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Liz Mathews is a Connecticut based mother, teacher, and freelance writer who blogs on children’s books and related topics at La La La (http://lalalaliz.com/). Her work has appeared in Quality Women’s FictionTown and Country magazine, and Literary Mama.

{Mother’s Day Promo Code}

April 30th, 2014 | Posted by skirsner in Uncategorized - (Comments Off)

It’s almost Mother’s Day– time to celebrate mom! This is a photo of my mom when she was 25 and in London at the “Changing of the Guard.” I love this shot– so stylish! In honor of moms everywhere, please use the code: LOVEMOM for 15% off (cannot be combined with any other discount).

Mom_Vintage

Do you have a vintage photo of your mom or grandma? Send it in (sara@doielounge.com) and we’ll post it on our Facebook page!