Sunday, June 30, 2013

Stephanie & Dave : Eleven Weddings Photography

Meet Stephanie and Dave. Stephanie is a reporter for WPIX in New York and her husband Dave is a standup comedian and writer. Together they have a blog called My Almost Married Life where they give their readers a glimpse of their sitcom-like lives.

And as of May - they can not only talk about their life leading up to the wedding, but now their life after it! As you'll see below, Stephanie & Dave's wedding was not only beautiful, but looked like an absolute blast! Stephanie shares some great tips on how to ensure your day is nothing but fun. Enjoy her story in her own words below...

...

I always say ... I want just a few things in life. Love, happiness, financial stability and DANCE PARTIES. Yes, dance parties. All day, every day!
As a married couple (as of May 19th) we aim to work on our relationship daily. As career driven individuals, we are always looking for ways to improve upon our craft. But as for the dance parties ... I can say we've mastered them. Thanks to our wedding day. I'm still living off the high of the memories ... me, my best friends and family -- kick-ball-changing the weekend away in Boca Raton, Florida.


The highlights are endless. We picked the Boca Raton Hotel and Resort because of the property's lush landscaping and amazing amenities. For three days, about 50 of us sipped cocktails with umbrella straws at the near and when the sun went down, we headed for the bar and danced until the wee hours in the morning.




But really, nothing will ever top our wedding day when 120 people gathered to watch our 'I do's. Ask Dave, I'm not a relaxed person. People had bets on when I'd have my breakdown, not if I'd have one. Turns out, I was cool as a cucumber the entire day. Maybe it was the champagne ... or the fact that I had a small wedding party comprised of just family ... or my makeup artist, Diane, who has the most soothing Jamaican accent and eye for natural beauty, that I knew I was in good hands.



As soon as Dave and I saw each other (at our reveal) our smiles stuck until we returned from the honeymoon. He cried when I walked down the aisle (swoon!) and spent the night by my side on the dance floor. He even joined me the the middle for a killer 'Siegel' version of the 'Harlem Shake'. OH EM GEE. Do it at your wedding. Seriously. We laughed for days afterwards just watching our cousins, who are otherwise pretty chill, whip out dinner napkins and use them as lassos during the 30-second shake fest.



But the best part of the wedding, by far, was when Dave and I jumped into the pool in the middle of our reception area. Talk about an adrenaline rush and best ending ever! Luckily, I'd taken off my Angel Sanchez gown an hour before. But even if I hadn't, I probably would have jumped in. The water felt amazing ... And it was probably one of the most passionate (and memorable) first 'married couple' kisses ever! 



Our advice: Don't hold back on your wedding day. Don't try to please anyone but yourselves. Love. Laugh and most importantly, rock out.




















And now for your viewing pleasure, it's the Siegel Wedding version of the Harlem Shake!



If you'd like to keep up with Stephanie and Dave's hilarious shenanigans, visit their blog My Almost Married Life or follow them on twitter @Stephtsoflias and @standupdave



Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Kai Fragrance

I was told you were supposed to wear a new scent on the day of your wedding, so Kyle and I decided that would be our wedding gifts to each other.

He easily decided on Neroli Portofino by Tom Ford, but I on the other hand, had a very hard time choosing  my perfume. I'm not a fan of strong scents, and wanted something fresh and airy. I was checking out at a boutique in Manhattan Beach, when I randomly smelled a sample of Kai perfume at their register. I literally said, "This is the best thing I've ever smelled!"

The rest is history. I wore Kai on my wedding day, and have continued to be a devotee to to all of their products ever since. I even bought a Kai body buffer on my honeymoon in Bora Bora! I recently picked up their new Kai travel kit for all of my trips this summer. It's the perfect travel accessory complete with shampoo, conditioner, lotion, body wash, and body bubbles. Definitely a must for any bride's honeymoon packing list!

All of Kai's products are based on their one signature unique scent. They are all environmentally friendly, sulfate free, and made in the good ole' U.S.A. Check out why myself and celebs like Gwyneth Paltrow, Nicole Kidman, Kelly Ripa, Giuliana Rancic & Charlize Theron are all fans!

And thanks to our friends at Kai, one lucky follower will win a bottle of their Kai Eau de Parfum, the scent I wore on my wedding day!

You know the drill, comment on the blog post below to be entered into a random drawing. The winner will be announced on the blog Monday, July 1st.

To see more of Kai's amazing products and to find a Kai Retailer near you, visit www.kaifragrance.com. Their products are also sold online through Barneys New York & The Ritz Carlton Shops.

Be sure to show some love and "like" them on Facebook. And don't forget to comment on the post below for your chance to win!



Scotus

My parents taught me to sit in a pew every Sunday. My parents also taught me that sitting in a pew every Sunday doesn't make you a good person. Above all else, it's how you treat people.

I am thankful for how they raised me and that they too are elated by today's historic ruling and the effects it has on so many of our dear friends #loveislove


Monday, June 24, 2013

Tie The Knot.Org

Everyone's favorite Modern Family star is here to talk with us about how a simple bow tie can make a big difference in the fight towards marriage equality. Enjoy my interview with the one and only Jesse Tyler Ferguson!

Hopefully the millions who let Modern Family into their homes each week will also allow equality and acceptance into their lives. To stay up to date with the latest on the fight for marriage equality and to get a bow tie of your own, visit Tie The Knot.Org. Out of the $25 you spend on a bow tie, $20 goes to foundations supporting marriage equality! What's better than a little Fashion & Philanthropy?





Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Bliss & Bone

As we know, first impressions are the only ones that truly matter. And your wedding invitations are the first glimpse your guests will get of the look and feel of your Big Day. 

I spent months scouring the internet trying to find modern and unique invites that didn't fit the cookie-cutter mold, which ended up being a grueling search. If any of you are on the lookout, as I was, for some one-of-a-kind wedding stationary, then look no further than Bliss & Bone.

The newly launched Bliss & Bone is an elevated custom-quality "wedding goods" company specializing in wedding invitations that are avant-garde, cultured, tasteful, eccentric, and impeccably one-of-a-kind.  

Take a look at some of their jaw-dropping collections. Could you imagine receiving one of these in the mail? Now that's a first impression!

The Lucent Suite:


The Prana Suite:

And thanks to the masterminds, Cindy & Carl of Bliss & Bone, one lucky gal will win a set of custom coasters! Just comment on the post below with the design suite you like best for a chance to win! 







Not only does Bliss & Bone offer wedding invitations, they construct an entire brand for couples including cocktail napkins, table numbers, menus, and coasters - which one of you will be lucky enough to win! Just comment on the style you like best below!

Winner will be announced on the blog Monday, June 24th.


Monday, June 17, 2013

Running With Heels

Running with Heels is online magazine and blog featuring DSW and is devoted to women who love shoes. So, basically every woman alive. Visit Running with Heels to stay up to date on the latest shoe trends, fashion, and news, and for monthly articles by yours truly!

Their summer issue is now available for download on iTunes now. Get your copy today! https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/rwh-feat-dsw/id501357508?mt=8





Sunday, June 16, 2013

Father's Day



From the Girl Scouts Father/Daughter dance to the Big Day, my Dad has always been by my side. With his witty sense of humor and realistic take on life, he's the real-life Steve Martin in "Father of the Bride."

He may have had some heart attacks along the way, but in the end it was all worth it to walk me down the isle. Not everyone is fortunate enough to have their dads with them on their wedding day, which is why we should cherish our dads even more, especially on Father's Day.

Thank you Dad for always playing devil's advocate every time I've wanted to bitch. 

Thank you Dad for saying I should chase my dreams, but still worry about things like health insurance.

Thank you Dad for making me watch SportsCenter every day growing up instead of cartoons.

Thank you Dad for teaching me to never go to bed angry.  

Thank you Dad for raising me to appreciate good music - Bruce, The Beatles, The Temptations...

And Thank You Dad for always setting the example of the type of man I should marry. 


I can thankfully say I did marry someone like my father. And Dad, you'll be happy to know that Kyle now wears boat shoes as well.

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

All in the Family



I come from a big Italian family. My mom's parents both came from San Marino, Italy. When I ask my dad what heritage I am on his side, his response is always "Hillbilly." Meaning his parents came from Virginia. So basically I'm a Guido/Redneck. Everything make sense now?

To me, life is just a series of memories. Some are good, some are bad, but overall, it's just moments in time strung together. And your wedding will be one of those monumental memories you look back on over time.

The two weeks leading up to the wedding are usually the most stressful. You can plan ahead all you want, but lots of details can only be handled in the days leading up to it. Every time I found myself getting stressed in the final days, I would stop and try to remember what it's all about.

At no other point in your life will all of the people you've met along the way be in one room at the same time again. Your family, friends - new and old, are all going to be there. When you think about it that way, there's no way you can take that night for granted.

My grandpa, who can still drink all of my cousins and I under the table, is known for his bluntness and a dry sense of humor. So when he spontaneously joined me on the dance floor during "Build Me Up Buttercup" - my entire family lost it!

I was so thankful not only for his generosity, but for sharing with me a moment in time that will always stand still in my mind. A great memory.





Sunday, June 9, 2013

Shana & Joey : Sandusky Bay Photography

Meet the adorable Shana & Joey who decided to have a chic black and white winter wedding. Shana & I shared the same laid back approach, but as we know even the most relaxed people are pushed to the max on their wedding day! Their I Guess I Do moments include Long Distance Planning, Wedding Date Drama, & a Growing Guest List. Enjoy Shana's story in her own words below.
...

Let me just start by saying that I am a very detail-oriented person in everyday life. So, naturally, when I was seemingly laid back over any and all wedding details, my closest friends assumed I must be on an IV drip of Xanax. The truth is, I was never the girl who dreamed of my wedding day my entire life (although I am guilty of creating a wedding Pinterest board simply because I am highly lacking in the creativity department). I had heard the story time and time again - things WILL go wrong, don't let it ruin your day. So I decided to take the laid-back route through all the hustle and bustle of wedding planning. That being said, I still had my fair share of I Guess I Do moments.


Joey and I had been together for around eight years. I was in my first year of graduate school and he had just graduated and landed a great job. A great job that was four hours away, might I add. So we spent our entire engagement living in different cities and planning a wedding in our hometown of Sandusky, Ohio. Planning a wedding in the midst of graduate school is not the most ideal situation. Add driving eight hours almost every week to the list and you have my I Guess I Do moment number one.




On top of all that, making decisions was not my forte. This is somewhat of a problem seeing as wedding planning involves one tedious decision after another. Luckily, I had an amazing florist/decorator who made mostly all of the d├ęcor decisions (and did a fabulous job, might I add). I also had an awesome planner at my venue who took care of all the play-by-play details of the wedding day. With the help of these lovely characters, my parents, a few close friends and other family members, we were able to pull everything together.


Now, my mom had begged me to have a destination wedding. In retrospect, I probably should have listened to her. A destination wedding would have fit my laid-back (or maybe just lazy) approach to planning and decision making. But being the stubborn little diva that I am, I decided to have a traditional wedding. A nice, big, expensive, everyone-and-their-second-cousin-has-an-opinion traditional wedding.


Flashback to the day I was engaged. I was on cloud nine, floating in la-la land, never thought I would come down from the happy feeling that I felt in that very moment. Until we chose a wedding date, that is. I actually ruined a few relationships over a wedding date, which brings me to I Guess I Do moment numero duece. Listen up, future brides, because this is a lesson I had to learn the hard way: Choose a wedding date that works for you and your husband and have no regrets. There will undoubtedly be people that cannot attend, but unfortunately no one (at least I hope no one) has the time or energy to send out a survey to 200 people asking what date will work best for them. People who love and care about you will understand this. Trust me.


I think almost every bride can agree with me when I say one of the biggest I Guess I Do moments in any wedding is the guest list. I had been to the weddings with 500+ people, and they were a great time. However, Joey and I both agreed that we wanted a more intimate wedding with people who were actively a part our lives and our relationship. NEWSFLASH: this decision will never go well when getting married in a small town where you both grew up and attended a small Catholic school. But any bride knows that - at the end of the day, you have to make cuts somewhere. So make a decision with your fiance, draw the line, and stick to your guns. After all, it is YOUR day, and YOUR paycheck (and by YOUR I mean your parents).


Now flash forward to our wedding day. After all of the I Guess I Do moments of wedding planning (some of which I shared above and some of which you're glad I didn't share), my husband and I had made up our mind that we were not going to let anything ruin our day.



The day started out fabulous, listening to fun music and drinking mimosas with all of my best friends. Being that I was trying to be so laid-back, I essentially had made no plans or had any serious expectations. And by no plans, I mean no plans. I had a makeup artist coming to do makeup for a few of my bridesmaids, my mom, my grandma and I. I didn't plan a time schedule for everyone to get their makeup done which resulted in my grandma missing her makeup appointment which resulted in a not so happy grandma. In addition, I thought it would be a good idea to have everyone get ready at my house instead of the church. Wrong again. I was the last person to arrive at my house and it was mass chaos – I couldn't find my makeup, jewelry, overnight bag, etc. On top of that, the strap on one of my bridesmaids' dress broke and the other bridesmaids were frantically trying to fix it.


Finally, the dress was fixed and I had gathered up what I thought was everything I needed. I headed to the church, arriving a casual 20 minutes later than when the priest had told me to be there. Everything from this point on was in fast forward – we lined up, music was playing, and the next thing I know I'm standing at the altar with my soon-to-be husband. The night before he had given me a beautiful bracelet that I wore on my wedding day. He has a slight obsession with watches and in return, I had bought him a really nice Michael Kors watch with a traditional mushy-gushy-I-can't-wait-to-be-your-wife note that I could not wait to give to one of his brothers to give him before the wedding. Standing at the altar and for the first time in the last several hours I was able to take a moment to breathe and think, it suddenly dawned on me that I had no idea where his gift was (I later found it and gave it to him the next day).


After the ceremony I realized I had forgotten the party bus playlist that I had spent an hour making the day before. However, at this point in the game I was done entertaining any I Guess I Do moments. I was married to my best friend and surrounded by all of my favorite people in the world AND my favorite drink, Great Lakes Christmas Ale. I don't think life could get any better than that.


In the end, I always remember the advice of one of my good friends: “You need to learn to live in the moment.” You have to be completely in the beautiful, once in a lifetime moment that surrounds you. There are going to be many things that go wrong – but there will be so many other, more important things that go right – and that's the beauty of it. Remember what this day is all about – you and your husband. You got to this point because of love and you should spend your entire wedding day fully taking in that love and the company of all of your favorite people in one place. It really is a magical thing.


And as an added treat, here is Shana & Joey's wedding highlight video!



Photographer: Sandusky Bay Photography  Videographer: Pix n Flix  Florist: Kirk Miller Floral Design  Venue: Kalahari



Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Marilyns Keepsakes Giveaway

How cute are these personalized mason jars? Thanks to our friends at Marilyns Keepsakes one lucky Un-Bride will receive a personalized set! How do you win? Just comment on the post below to be entered into a random drawing. Winner will be announced Monday, June 10th. 
For all of your wedding accessory and personalized gift needs visit www.marilynskeepsakes.com. They have everything from cake toppers, to stationary, to bridal party gifts. A one stop shop for all of your wedding needs!




Sunday, June 2, 2013

What Not To Do When Picking Out a Wedding Dress





Everyone from my fourth grade niece to my fifty-year-old mom, have spent their Friday nights watching "Say Yes to The Dress." I included, was a total "Say Yes to The Dress" junkie. Having seen the show numerous times, I envisioned how my dress buying experience would be. When I found my dream dress, I would weep and cry, hug my mom, the heavens would open, the angels would sing, and I would continue to weep and cry.

Cut to me finding my dress: "Yeah, it's cool. I like it." That's it. No tears, no angels, no tissues. That was seriously it. It was a very logical matter-of-fact reaction. When the bridal stylist asked me again if I was sure this was my dress, my response was "Sure. Looks good."

My reaction wasn't because I didn't like the dress, it was just my natural feelings at the time. But because I didn't have my "Say Yes to The Dress" moment, I second guessed my dress decision everyday leading up to the wedding. The dress didn't make me cry, so it wasn't really the one? 

It wasn't until I met wedding dress designer Rani Totman of St.Pucchi, that I realized how normal my reaction was. She told me that out of every 10 people at her salon, only 5 or less cry. So no need to analyze and agonize over the dress decisions you make. Our reactions, whatever they may be, are perfectly okay. Waterworks or not.



Would you agree with me that buying a dress only to find it half off a month later, may be one of the worst feelings ever? The same goes for wedding dresses, so don’t be in a hurry to buy them right off the bat.

Have fun trying them on, but do your homework. If you think you've found the dress, go home and see when that designer is having their next trunk show. That way you’ll be buying your dream dress, but with at least ten percent off, which will likely cover your sales tax.

Also be mindful of changing trends from year to year. I had a long engagement of two years, so a dress that may have been in style the first year of my engagement may have gone out of style by the time I got married. But this doesn’t mean you should procrastinate. Wedding dresses take six to eight months to be delivered, so if you wait too long, you’ll be forced to pull from samples, which drastically limits your selection.

Lastly, bridal designers show off their new collections every April & October. So if you get engaged around those months, be sure to try on dresses after those bridal fashion weeks. You may see a dress from a new collection that you fall in love with, but might have missed otherwise.



You may not have known this, but Young MC actually wrote his line, “Don’t just stand there, bust a move” as advice for brides trying on dresses. Really this isn’t a known fact? I’m surprised! All kidding aside, this is one nugget of information I wish I would have known during my dress search.

We’ve all seen the drill. Stand on a podium, suck it in, smile, and try to picture yourself wearing that gown. But one thing I wish I had done is SIT. No one ever told me I should try SITTING in my dress. And on my wedding day, boy did I find out the hard way.

Sure the thing looked great on me, with its corseted back making my waist look super tiny, but when I tried to put on my shoes for pictures, I realized I had a major problem. I couldn’t sit, let alone breathe in the thing! It was like my internal organs were cursing my name everytime I tried to bend.

So take it from me, as a girl who’s spleen may still be suffering, move around in your dresses when you try them on. Sit, squat, do the “Dougie,” whatever you need to do to make sure you are nothing but comfortable on your wedding day.



We are always our own worst critics, especially when it comes to pictures. How many times must you take a picture with your girlfriends until everyone agrees it’s one they all like? I’m guessing more than once.

So be sure to take lots of pictures of every angle of the dresses you try on, even the angles you find least flattering. You can’t pick and choose what glimpses people will get of you in your dress. So make sure your dress not only flatters your front, but your back, your sides, and every area in between.

On my wedding day, I turned around and said, “This thing has a train?” See that’s why I’m here for you guys. I’m your guinea pig. Now onto more things I wish I would have known.

Take note of how the fabric appears in pictures. Lots of times, dresses made of taffeta or silk satin may look great in person, but the way the light hits them causes them to look wrinkled in photographs. And after all, it’s the photographs that are going to last a lifetime.

Lastly take note of how your body looks in the pictures. My favorite body part is my waist, so I made sure to find a dress that cinched it (so tight I couldn’t breathe…). So if you like your arms, or your legs, or your collarbone, be sure to choose a dress that shows them off, and more importantly that shows off your partner’s favorite assets as well. And speaking of partners…



When picking out a dress, the question asked by all bridal stylists is "What style are YOU looking for?" But have you ever stopped to ask your soon-to-be husband what HE'S looking for? I was tossing and turning over two dresses, both I could have seen myself wearing down the aisle. One was a fashion-forward lace and organza number and the other a more traditional hip hugging silk satin rouched dress.

That night, I asked my future husband, "Do you like lace?" His answer - "I hate it." Welp, problem solved.

Let's face it, girls dress to impress other girls. Guys could care less what is 'trendy' or 'cute.' They just care about how the outfit makes your body look and how it makes you feel. I don't think a guy has ever uttered the phrase, "Your legs look really hot in those printed palazzo pants!" (Well unless they're gay and then by default have an awesome sense of style.)

If I wouldn't have stopped and asked Kyle about what he liked, I would have been walking down the aisle in an uber trendy lace gown that I'm sure my girlfriends would have loved, but more importantly Kyle wouldn't have. Your fiance loves you, so of course he is going to say you look great no matter what. But just remember, he's the person you should be dressing for, not everyone else.

You may cry or you may not, you may choose lace or you may not, you may choose a dress you can breathe in or you may not. Everyone is unique, as will be every dress shopping experience. But in the end, remember it's fit over fashion. And more importantly, it's not about the labels, it's about the love.