New options in local wedding spaces
By Lisa Light
There are many decisions that go into planning a wedding. However, the most important decision is choosing the perfect venue. Think of the venue as the stage, the setting where the ceremony and celebration will unfold. It will set the tone and the ambiance, whether it be elegant and sophisticated or fun and whimsical. This is why it is so important to first decide what kind of atmosphere you want your wedding day to exude. Do want an indoor or outdoor wedding? What do you want to look at when you say, “I do”? What do you want to hear and smell? What makes you feel happy? The answers to these questions should narrow down the search a little, which is a good thing, as there are so many possibilities in the greater Capital Region.
Here are three helpful tips to keep in mind when selecting a venue:
Keep an open mind: When visiting venues, take a chance on something that might not seem perfect in the pictures—you might be surprised at how it looks and feels once it is decorated. An empty or raw space is the perfect canvas for your own design ideas. It might be smarter to select a venue where less is more.
Know your budget: Having a budget from the start will help make your decisions that much easier, especially regarding the venue.
Be realistic: Being realistic and accepting the space you have to work with that fits within your budget is key. Make certain you think about all the options in terms of layout of the ceremony and the reception at one site versus holding them at separate locations.
The Capital Region and surrounding area has many distinctive venues. Many are tried and true and well-known by most, but there are few newcomers to the scene and other less-known gems that are worth a look.
Inn at Erlowest
This Queen Anne style stone castle is nestled in the mountainside along the majestic Lake George, providing a one-of-a-kind experience for you and your guests. The Grand Ballroom, with large picture windows provides a breathtaking view of the lake and mountains. The terrace is a perfect spot for guests to enjoy cocktail hour on a warm summer night or cozy up to the outdoor fireplace on a cool autumn evening. Accommodates 200 guests.
Saratoga National Golf Club
583.4653, ext. 635
This is a perfect venue for elegant weddings from 30 to 300. Located on the award- winning Saratoga National Golf Course, this venue provides guests quintessential Saratoga elegance with modern flare. An exciting, new, private event space is due to be available in May of 2008 complete with floor-to-ceiling windows and an open-air terrace which will allow guests spectacular views of the golf course.
Universal Preservation Hall
This truly magnificent building, formerly a church, is currently being renovated as a performing arts center offering 7,000 square feet of raw, yet elegant event space. This is a must-see for couples who are looking for a one-of-a-kind location as the Great Hall takes everyone’s breath away upon entering, even without design and decor. Accommodates 350 guests
The Chatham Fairgrounds
The Chatham Fairgrounds is hardly new to the neighborhood as its claim to fame is holding the oldest, continuous running fair in the state. There are four buildings on the fairgrounds that are newly available for special events including the stage and grandstand which would be quite dramatic, a small octagonal house, a pavilion and the recently renovated central Fair House which is complete with a wrap-around porch. This is a venue that offers a lovely, country atmosphere in a unique space that will surely make any wedding memorable. Accommodates 300 guests
Although Naumkeag has been around since 1886 and available for events for a long time, few people think of it when planning a wedding. It is, however, one of the most stunning venues in the entire area. It is one of the many acclaimed summer “cottages” in the Berkshires. In actuality it is a 44-room, shingle-style estate filled with original furniture, ceramics and artwork collected fromAmerica, Europe, and theFar Eastand surrounded by eight acres of terraced gardens and 40 acres of woodland and meadow. It is perfect for a couple who would like a garden wedding and reception in a place that feels as though it is yours for the day. It is managed by The Trustees of Reservations,the nation’s oldest statewide land trust and non-profit conservation organization, which manage 99 properties of scenic, cultural, recreational and ecological value around the state, several of which are historic homes that can be rented for special occasions.They are all listed on their website, www.thetrustees.org. Accommodates up to 120 under a tent in the gardens.
Whether you are looking for old-world charm, rustic elegance or modern chic, there is a venue that is right for you in the Capital Region. These are only a few to begin with. For more information on other venues talk to event planners, caterers, the local chambers, museums, schools, camps and visit online resources.
Lisa Light is a local wedding planner and author of Destination Bride: A Guide to Planning Your Wedding Anywhere in the World. For more information visit www.lisalightltd.com
How to keep the costs down
By Francesca Bruno
Generally speaking, your wedding will be one of the happiest and most memorable days of your life. But let’s get real—a wedding can cost an arm and leg. The average price of a wedding in the United States is approaching $30,000. Don’t want to spend that much? Here are some tips on how and where to scrimp.
• Have your priorities in order—sit down and talk with your fiance and figure out what you would both be willing to compromise on (at the same time, don’t get too caught up in the nit-picky details).
• A wedding planner could actually end up saving you money because he or she will know where to cut costs based on experience.
• Pick a relatively “unpopular” time for the festivities. Think “off” months, like winter or early spring and/or a Sunday and Friday wedding. Saturday nights are still the most coveted wedding day.
• Cut down that guest list.
• Don’t invite people with whom you haven’t spoken to in years.
• Don’t feel obligated to let single guests bring dates.
• Don’t buckle to the pressure of having to invite all your co-workers.
• Don’t let friends bring their children.
• Don’t invite people more distantly related to you than, say, first or second cousins .
• Avoid going for the priciest invitations. Order online! There are great deals to be had. Be sure to request paper samples. While you want to save money, you also don’t want to send out paper thin invitations.
• You can also shop sales and really scour the Internet and other resources to find the best-priced dresses and tuxedos; consider borrowing or renting.
• Use limos or stretch cars for the immediate wedding party only, or cut them out completely.
• Let your caterer know about your budget and have them help you select less expensive foods, beverages and manners of presentation.
• Cut down on staff—try an hors d’ovres table instead of having them butlered.
• Hire a DJ instead of a band.
• Limit the time of your photographer. Maybe have him/her photograph the important parts: ceremony, portraits, and maybe an hour or two of the reception. You don’t have to have your photographer there the entire time, you will still get plenty of great photos. Also, ask for your photos on disc so you can make your own enlargements and/or don’t order the expensive album that they put together. The proofs are all you need.
• Honeymoon close to home with an outdoor excursion or road trip, or plan a trip to an island during their off-season.
• Examine all the resources you have through family and friends, including musicians or officiates, and ask others how they cut costs for their wedding
• Check out your favorite restaurant or one with ambience to see how much a private room or renting the whole facility would cost (this works better during non-peak hours, as the restaurant might be more inclined to accommodate when it’s not being inundated with customers).
• Look into having your wedding at a city park, which generally only requires a small fee (again, look for details and ambience).
• Want to be the true star of your wedding? Old-fashioned theaters and those with grand lobbies can function as both a ceremony and reception location.
• Take a trip down memory lane by having your wedding at your old high school or college chapel (this type of venue is typically cheap for alumni).
• Forget the ordinary! Have your wedding at a “different” location (maybe one that holds special memories, like a mountain top); and since these kinds of places aren’t standard wedding venues, you might be able to get a great deal.
• Use what’s in season.
• Tell your florist your budget and what you’d like so they can make flexible recommendations.
• Consider having your wedding during the religious holiday seasons, when a church will already be decorated (likewise, avoid having a wedding during Valentine’s Day—need you be reminded of those flower prices?) or find an outside venue such as a park or garden that is already filled with floral splendor
• For larger arrangements which will only be gazed at from afar, use inexpensive or larger, filler flowers.
• It’s smart—not tacky—to talk to the venues to see if any other brides will be using the facilities that day with whom you could coordinate flowers and split the cost.
• Get crafty and make your own centerpieces or bouquet (leave boutonnieres to a florist though) Or, opt for something other than flowers, like candles.
• Rent large potted plants, which visually fill a lot of space (or you can purchase them and have them for later use in your home).
• Consider ordering flowers from an online wholesaler, but keep in mind that you will also be responsible for prep and care.
• Make sure that cake is the only dessert that’s served (some reception venues will automatically bring out other sweets, which are part of the total bill).
• Square-shaped cakes yield more cake than rounded cakes of similar dimensions, so go square.
• Use “dummy cakes” to make your cake tower higher than it really is for that look of luxury minus the cost.
• Simple and natural additions like fruits or flowers are cheaper than gums and pastes and can look just as lovely.
• Consider cake alternatives, such as pies or elegantly-decorated cupcakes.
Look red carpet worthy while walking down the aisle
This spring, it will be difficult to tell if a bride is walking down the aisle or making her way down the red carpet. After a year-long love affair with the boxy trapeze dress, designers are emphasizing the waist and adding elegant details.
“This focus on the feminine calls for glamorous bridal jewelry fit for a queen,” says Shawn Diddy, Jewelry Television’s trend tracker. Here are some of the looks she’s expecting to be hot in 2008:
• Brides will make a “ready for your close-up” impact in an off-the-shoulder dress. The look from the runways calls for minimal accents — a single, “statement” piece of jewelry such as a pair of dangle earrings that sparkle or a thick, signature bracelet. Wear hair up to really show off your shoulders in that gorgeous dress.
• Pleats, ruffles and tulip tiers abound in light and frothy fabrics. Because of the unusual silhouettes of these trendy dresses, keep hair and jewelry simple. A loose chignon softens your face while a classic pair of diamond stud earrings adds elegance and light to the ensemble.
• A white dress and Grandma’s pearls is what everyone else is wearing, so why not go with this season’s hot pastels? Diaphanous dresses in shades of peach, blush and baby blue are fresh and stylish. Pull your hair back into a soft ponytail to show off sparkling crystal earrings or a necklace in a complementary color.
• Lace is always in, but this season’s unique lace details work especially well with long, flowing hair. Rich, jewel-toned, vintage-look jewelry adds texture to the ensemble.
• Whether the dress is short or long, designers have put the emphasis back on the waist. Nipped-in lines and wide belts or sashes showed all over New York’s runways. Because of the symmetry of the dress, wear your hair parted to the side and add drama with strong platinum jewelry pieces.
“Few brides can spend a fortune on a couture gown and estate diamonds so we recommend Jewelry Television’s Bella Luce Collection,” says Diddy. “Most pieces are platinum plated sterling silver for elegant, affordable, designer-inspired wearability.” For more information on the latest trends in bridal jewelry, visit www.jtv.com or check your local listings for Jewelry Television.
Courtesy of ARA Content
Why single parents should consider a family-oriented wedding when they remarry
When Tabitha Irwin began dating Michael Leach, she would never have predicted that this casual friend would turn out to be the man of her dreams. But once she realized that the 30-year-old radio producer had a heart big enough to embrace her and her four-year-old son Calym, she was smitten. By the following year, the couple announced their engagement.
One thing muted the joy of her pending nuptials — the memory of her own mother’s remarriage when Tabitha was a typical, insecure adolescent. “I wasn’t included in the wedding and, from then on, I never really felt like part of the family,” she recalls. “That’s why Michael and I wanted to do something special during the wedding to communicate to my son that he was going to be an integral part of our lives.”
The marketing manager was grappling with a problem experienced by most of the tens of thousands of single parents who walk down the aisle each year: What can be done to ease the concerns of young children who feel, on a conscious or unconscious level, that their secure place in the family is threatened by the marriage/remarriage of a parent?
After much research, Tabitha found a simple and emotionally satisfying answer to her dilemma in the form of a family-oriented wedding service that gives children a meaningful role in the wedding celebration. This five-minute ceremony — known as the Family Medallion service — can easily be integrated into any religious or civil wedding ceremony. It differs from the traditional wedding in only one respect: After the newlyweds exchange rings, their children join them for a special service focusing on the family nature of a marriage. Each child is given a gold or silver medallion with three interlocking circles, a symbol that represents family love in much the same way the wedding ring signifies conjugal love.
Although the family service seemed to be an ideal way to recognize Calym during the wedding, Tabitha and Michael let the kindergartener cast the deciding vote. First, they explained the meaning of the family ceremony in a way that a young child could understand. Then they allowed Calym to select the specific Family Medallion from www.FamilyMedallion.com that he wanted to receive. “It made him feel important to be involved in the decision-making process,” Tabitha adds. “He became more excited about the wedding with each passing day.”
The Leaches say they will never forget the moment during their wedding at a local park when Michel presented the Family Medallion to Calym. While the minister led Michael in a recitation of the words of the ceremony — a promise to love and care for the youngster and help him grow into a responsible adult — he placed the family symbol around his stepson’s neck. Calym responded with a giant hug.
“It was an incredible bonding experience,” Michael recalls. “In that instant, Tabitha, Calym and I came together as a family.” Tabitha was moved to tears watching her new husband make a formal commitment to her son.
As for young Calym, he was just plain thrilled. “I really liked having a ceremony just for me,” he explains. “It meant that Mike loved me and was going to be my dad.
For the wedding guests, this unique family service was the pinnacle of the marriage celebration. “Many later told me how moving it was to see us assure Calym, in such a loving and public way, that he would always be part of our family,” says Tabitha.
The family wedding concept is an idea whose time has come. With a high divorce rate — nearly two in five marriages fail, according to the Heritage Foundation — more and more single parents with young children are remarrying. Additionally, the U.S. is experiencing a wave of first-time marriages among young single parents who had a child during the course of a common-law union or other relationship outside of marriage.
Yet, despite the fact that a growing legion of single parents are bringing one or more children into their marriages, virtually no religious or civil wedding ceremony acknowledges the existence of these youngsters. This void frustrated Dr. Roger Coleman, ministers and president of Clergy Services, Inc., an organization in Kansas City, Missouri, devoted to developing family-oriented services for weddings and other important life events.
“The so-called traditional wedding ceremony does not serve the needs of couples with children, whether their own or children from previous relationships,” Coleman explains. “That’s because traditional weddings focus exclusively on the union of a man and a woman. The important role of existing children and the family nature of marriage are simply ignored.”
Today, more than 25,000 couples annually use the Family Medallion ceremony to help strengthen the bond between parents, stepparents and children.
Tabitha, Michael and Calym are among its biggest fans. Today, more than a year after their family wedding, the Irwin-Leach blended family is thriving. Young Calym is ecstatic to have a baby brother, who was born this summer. “He doesn’t feel rejected like I did when my mother and stepdad had a baby,” Tabitha says. “That’s because from the moment Michael and I decided to marry, we included Calym every step of the way.”
For more information about family weddings, visit www.familymedallion.com.
Courtesy of ARA Content
Tahiti, Bora Bora & Moorea: Beauty beyond your imagination
By Linda McClain, CTA
Are you planning a romantic vacation? Have you been thinking of an idyllic honeymoon? If you are looking for the most beautiful destination in the world, look no further! Tahiti, Moorea and Bora Bora could be your answer to finding paradise.
How do I get there?
Air Tahiti Nui, the international airline of Tahiti and her islands, offers non-stop service from New York and Los Angeles. French Polynesia is located as far south of the equator as Hawaii is north. It is about three hours longer in flight than Hawaii.
Faa’a Airport in Papeete, Tahiti, is approximately a 71/2 hour flight from Los Angeles, and 13 hours from JFK. Are you an American Airlines frequent flyer? Save money by using frequent flyer miles. Free air can be redeemed on both Air Tahiti Nui and Qantas Airlines to most South Pacific destinations.
Weather in paradise
There are two significant seasons: Summer runs from November through April. Daily temperatures average 82F. Winter spans from April to October. The temperature is about 78F, and it is drier. There is no hurricane or cyclone activity. Water temperatures range from 74F˚ to 90F˚.
Tahitian and French are the official languages. English is widely spoken in tourist locations.
The Pacific French Franc is widely used, although the USD and traveler checks are also accepted in select hotels and restaurants. Tipping is not customary.
• Polynesian history dates back to more than 1,700 years.
• The first Europeans arrived in 1595.
Tahiti was discovered by English explorer, Samuel Wallis in 1767.
• Historic Mutiny on the Bounty took place in 1789. When Captain William Bligh accused his crew of stealing food from his private reserve, his rage was returned with a vengeance. Numerous films and books have been made depicting this incident.
• Folkloric music and traditional dance are still very much a part of island culture.
Tahiti – Gateway to Paradise
Over 70 percent of the population lives in Tahiti. Papeete, Tahiti’s capital city, is a busy port for departing cruise ships and charter boats. From here, you can take a two-week cruise to the Marquesas Islands, one of the most remote areas on earth.
Most beaches in Tahiti have black volcanic sand. This region is distinguished for world class surfing.
Go downtown and experience unique shopping such as native handcrafts, wood carvings and shell leis. Don’t miss the chance to purchase a rare black Tahitian pearl.
People watch while dining at a sidewalk café or select fresh fruits and vegetables from the Municipal Market.
Gaugin Museum – Although more of a memorial to the famous painter’s life, you can peruse limited pieces of sculpture.
Tahitian Botanical Gardens are adjacent to the museum.
The Lagoonarium Pens – holding sharks and colorful lagoon fish can be admired from an overhead boardwalk. You can also snorkel with the fish.
Moorea – A Spectacular Island
Moorea is an 11-mile stretch from Papeete. Its’ haunting beauty can be seen at a distance. Choose a 30-minute ferry ride or 10-minute flight to continue your journey through paradise.
Stay in an over-the-water bungalow and have breakfast delivered by canoe. Watch a vibrant sunset fall to the sea from your own private balcony. If you can dream it, you can do it, here.
Love to snorkel? Boat transfer to an islet (motu) and marvel at the assortment of tropical fish in a true aquatic lagoon. There are 80 different species of fish in the islands.
Take a four-wheel drive safari excursion over breathtaking mountain vistas and rugged volcanic roads. Include a stop at a vanilla or pineapple plantation.
Historic buffs will appreciate Opunohu Valley, an ancient dwelling place with 500 structures and an open-air marae (worship area).
Bora Bora -The Pearl of the South Pacific
Often called the most beautiful island in the world, Bora Bora should not be missed. The volcanic island is just 20-miles around and is surrounded by a coral reef and magnificent lagoon.
From Papeete, it’s a short 45-minute plane ride to Bora Bora.
James Michener modeled his book, Bali Hai, on this island’s stunning beauty.
Bora Bora is famous for its incredible marine life, as well as diving and sailing.
Other activities you may enjoy
• Feed sharks and sting rays
• Black tip lagoon shark and manta rays snorkel safari
• Dine at Bloody Mary’s Restaurant
• Visit ancient temples.
Movies made in Tahiti
“Mutiny On The Bounty” (three versions) with Clark Gable, Marlon Brando, Mel Gibson and “An Affair To Remember” with Cary Grant.
Robert Louis Stevenson, author of Treasure Island, is said to have referred to the Polynesian people as the friendliest in the world.
If you are searching for ultimate tranquility and breathtaking paradise, the islands of French Polynesia are waiting for you.l
Linda McClain, CTA, is owner of Capital Region based Linda McClain Travel Services “From The Islands To The Highlands, No Dream Is Too Far From Here!” For more information call 372.7657 or visit www.lindamcclaintravel.com.
Tips on tipping
Guidelines for gratuities on your wedding day
By Francesca Bruno
Calculating tips at a restaurant is one thing, but when you hear wedding bells, the last thing you’re probably thinking about is how much you’re supposed to be tipping everyone involved in the festivities. Here’s what should you know for your Big Day.
1. Try as best you can to find out what the tipping policies for various venders are in advance. Some places will include tips, so be sure to read the contract before you reach for your wallet.
2. Set aside any anticipated tips in marked envelopes. Keep some extra cash on-hand in the event of emergency or surprise tipping.
3. Choose one or two trustworthy and reliable family members, friends or wedding party members (such as the best man) to serve as designated tippers.
4. Tip based on both precedent and performance. Although you can expect to tip many of those behind the scenes for their services, don’t be afraid to tip lower or higher on the tipping scale depending on how well the service was performed.
The rehearsal dinner
For larger parties, expect a gratuity of approximately 20 percent to be automatically added to the bill.
Bridal beauty prep
For the hair and makeup artists, manicurists, and other beauty experts there to make you and your bridal party shine, tipping 10 to 20 percent of the total cost for each service is customary, though optional. If they traveled to your house though, strongly consider a tip.
This is generally about 20 percent of the total cost. Sometimes you can even pay ahead of time.
The ceremony venue
Tipping an officiant is fairly optional, although it’s common practice to make a donation to the place of worship or to a related charity. When tipping, take into consideration the number of guests present. It’s fairly customary to tip anywhere from $20-$100 before or after the ceremony. Tipping the organist and musicians for the ceremony is also optional. If you choose to do so, a $5 to $20 bill for each musician can be taken care of after the ceremony by the designated tipper.
Delivery truck drivers and those working on the set-up should be given anywhere from a $5 to $20 bill, depending on the difficulty of the job. If family or friends are in charge of the set up, have them take care of this.
During the reception, the staff will generally consist of a manager, maitre d’, waiters, bartenders, as well as coat-check and parking attendants. About 20 percent of final reception bill should go back to these folks, who will usually split the gratuities among themselves. But, be sure to go over your contract beforehand – the gratuity might already be included in the final cost of the reception that you paid a day or two before the wedding.
• To keep the tackiness factor down, you can instruct the manager ahead of time that tips should not be solicited by the staff.
• Tipping the bartenders is optional, but if you do, it should amount to about 10 percent of the total bar tab.
• DJ/musicians at reception can be handed a $20 bill each at the end of the reception. If you are dealing directly with the owner of the company, it is not necessary to tip. But, if you dealt with a company who sent over a DJ, then tip.
And remember, although other professionals—such as the tailor at the tux shop, jeweler, florist, and photographer, as well as those who run their own businesses—don’t typically receive tips for their services. Feel free to send them a little something anyway, like a bottle of wine or even a handwritten thank-you note for a job well done.
By Genn Shaughnessy
Congratulations on your upcoming wedding! Whether you have planned for this day your entire life, just a few years or are rushing into wedded bliss, below are some essential beauty tips to get your skin into picture perfect shape.
8-12 months before
Body ~ Consult your doctor, then a trainer and begin a workout regimen to get your skin, body and mind in shape. A healthy mind is a strong mind and fitness will help you handle stress better, as well as relieve it. Set realistic fitness goals and determine what it will take to get you there.
6-8 months before
Image ~ Begin looking at magazines and wedding books for inspiration. Start thinking about how you want your overall appearance to be for the big day. Keep in mind classy not tacky. Also, be careful not to scare your beau by changing who you are.
3-4 months before
Skin ~ Visit a trusted salon or spa and consult with a licensed esthetician about any concerns or issues you have about your skin. Severe skin concerns should be diagnosed and treated by a licensed dermatologist.
2-3 months before
Make-up & hair ~ Look around for makeup artists & hairstylists and schedule trials. Once you have found “The One”, schedule your wedding day service or consult a pro to help guide you to do your own. Be weary of prices— just like everything else in life, if a deal sounds to good to be true, it usually is. Inexpensive might mean inexperience.
1-2 months before
Appointments ~ Schedule your nail services the day before your wedding. Double check your other styling appointments to make sure you are scheduled for the right place, time and stylist. Have a back up in mind just in case of a minor emergency or scheduling conflict.
From tips to toes, here are insider tricks to getting professional results at home. It’s a great way to celebrate yourself on a night-in with the girls.
Even the most inexperienced makeup users will have ease of application with the most ingenious lash tool ever invented – Sephora’s Lash Placement Kit is as easy as 1-2-3. Lashes are best applied after finishing your eyeshadow and mascara. Please remember not to sleep in them. To remove, pull skin taught like you would when tearing a band-aid and quickly pull off.
After deciding on which lashes best suit you, hold the lash up to your eye for size and take a look at how much will needed to be trimmed off the edges. Use the lash clamp in the placement kit to hold lashes. Take a small strand of Duo lash glue (some lashes include it) and rub along the edges of the lashes (I personally use toothpicks), leaving a tiny bubble on the corners. Hold up to your lashes, push into the lash line and let go. The thinner the strand, the quicker it will dry and slip less once placing them on. Finish off the look by using your favorite waterproof mascara under your own lashes to comb into the false ones. Voila! Purrfect lashes.
Sephora: Various styles of lashes, Lash Placement Kit and Deluxe Lash set. $8-$18, www.Sephora.com.
Lashes by Celebrity Lash Stylist, Dionne Phillips
www.dlashes.com four styles to choose from- $25.
Brows complete every look. Whether you want to fill in sparse areas or completely overhaul the shape and color, Eliza’s Eyes and Too Faced have you covered. Eliza’s Eyes has my absolute favorite brow pencil in the form of a chunky wax crayon. This crayon not only ads color, the waxy base makes every little hair stay put, leaving your brows perfect. Available at www.exhalespa.com,$28.
Too Faced Brow Envy Kit ~ This compact little set is all you need to get your brows in shape; it even has a mirror. Complete with tweezers, stencils, grooming stay-put wax and brow color in pencil and powder. Compact enough to keep up the grooming on your honeymoon.
Available @ www.toofaced.com, $35.
Kissable and non-transferable lips are the most requested of the lip products. The problem with most is they are so harsh and drying that they are uncomfortable to wear. Cover Girl and Lorac (pronounced Lah-rahc) have the corner in the market. After doing a little experiment on my hand, these two had the most impressive results. During a 10-hour makeup event, I placed five colors on either hand and checked every time I used hand sanitizer and washed my hands. I also tried to use makeup remover to scrub them off. They lasted nearly eight hours!
Lorac Longwear lip www.loraccosmetics.com $19.
Covergirl Outlast All Day Lipcolor is available in 41 shades and lasts up to 16 hours. A great fit for any budget. Available
@ Drugstores and www.covergirl.com $9.50.
At-Home Micro Dermabrasion
Zia Treatments—Natural micro-dermabrasion system. This complete system will resurface skin cells in just three simple steps. It’s paraben and aluminum-free and is sure to make your skin glow. An easy substitution to spa services to help cut down on cost without compromising the final result. Follow instructions as directed and do not overuse.
This system comes with a microderm tool, face scrub, skin balancing tonic and moisture infusion serum, $79.99. Available at www.zianatural.com.
Repair, protect and moisturize over-stressed skin and soothe aching joints with the benefits of a paraffin treatment. For spa-like service at a fraction of the cost, try The Sanctuary Spa Covent Garden Pure Pamper Box.
Take a hydrating salt or sugar scrub to slough off dead skin. Rinse off then slather a thick layer of a moisturizing mask or body butter. Dip hands or feet three times into the paraffin bath. (Be careful as it is extremely hot.) Wrap in plastic, then cotton mitts or booties and leave on for 15-20 minutes. Slide off when done and discard. Paraffin can be reused over and over.
Artemis Paraffin Bath, complete with paraffin bath, wax, mitts and plastic sleeves, $49.99. Available at www.artemiswoman.com.
The Sanctuary, Spa Covent Garden Pure Pamper Box includes
Body wash, body scrub, body butter, exfoliating wash cloth and fragrance candle.
Genn Shaughnessy is a broadcast personality, make-up artist & beauty expert. She has a regular beauty segment on FOX23 News Daybreak and has worked with national and international photographers & talent. She can be reached by email
at: Genny@DarkShadowsMedia.com or visit www.DarkShadowsMedia.com.
Thanks for the memories!
Wedding thank you note hints
By Francesca Bruno
You’ve had your ceremony, reception, had a blast on the honeymoon; and now it’s time to sit down and thank everyone who helped make your special day possible. Yes, everyone (even if you already thanked them in person). While it may seem daunting right now, don’t fret! Here are some hints on how to check this task off the post-wedding to-do list.
Don’t put it off too long. It’s not only poor etiquette to send out your thank you notes late, it’s also stressful. You can get thank you notes out of the way for any gifts you receive before the wedding by writing them the day the gift is received. For gifts received after the wedding, begin the process right after you return from the honeymoon. Why wait? Get your notes out within the first month after you’ve returned and you won’t have to worry about them anymore. Anything after three months is rude. Your guests took the time out of their busy schedule to attend your wedding; show them your appreciation by thanking them in a timely manner.
Hand-write and address your notes to give them a more personal touch. Use appropriate stationary or cards. To avoid hand cramping, write the notes over a period of time, setting goals for each day. Create a note-writing station with all that you’ll need—stationary or cards, pens, stamps and the gift list (or create a spreadsheet on your computer with guests, addresses and check-off boxes). Since everything is right there, you’ll have no excuse to put it off for another day!
Speaking of personal, always try to start with a personal note, such as “It was wonderful to see you.” NEVER begin your thank you notes right off the bat with “Thank you for…” Make sure they know your gratitude comes from more than just their gift. Also, if you have already placed a gift somewhere in your home, let the giver know that you’ve made good use of it. A simple message of thanks is all it takes—don’t spend too much time trying to be clever or lengthy. A few well-written words should be all that you need. If you have a photo of yourself with the guest at the wedding, you can include it with the card.
Don’t forget about those who were working behind the scenes. Show your appreciation for your wedding venders by also sending them a thank you note . This is an especially nice gesture if they were not in a position to be tipped the day of.
Double-team those notes! You’re both enjoying the wedding gifts, right? So enlist the help of your spouse and have him or her help with the writing. To make the division of labor a little easier, you could each write out the notes for your own family and friends.
Stealing the show
How to keep your wedding from becoming a five-fingered discount
By Francesca Bruno
Believe it or not, thieves will often target weddings to steal unguarded gifts. But problems with these wedding crashers can easily be avoided by following a few simple tips.
• Many wedding guests bring gifts to the reception. Consider having them delivered to your home or a relative’s home instead. Do this via an online registry and let others know that you’d prefer to have them sent there rather than brought along.
• Ask a trustworthy friend or relative to be your gift table attendant and to keep an eye on the monetary gifts. If the reception is large, think about hiring a security guard or two to stand watch.
• Be sure that you use a card receptacle with a lock – think birdcages, gift-wrapped boxes with a slit for a card or decorative mailboxes. Whatever you do, don’t just let guests put the cards on an open table or in a basket, where those with sticky fingers have easy access.
• Have a “kit” (tape, pen, extra boxes, and packing material) handy to deal with marking, storing, and transporting any packages.
• If the gifts are brought to the reception, arrange to have the gifts taken to a safe location afterward.
• Have the gifts placed somewhere far away from an exit (and within view) to help prevent anyone from sneaking out with your gifts.
• If you see anyone suspicious or a person you know doesn’t belong there, don’t hesitate to inform the manager.
• Consider buying wedding insurance. There are companies that will cover stolen gifts as long as the theft is reported right away.
• Even after the party’s over, some thieves will watch to see where wedding gifts are being delivered and whether the house is left empty. While you are on your honeymoon, invite someone to housesit for you or store the gifts with friends or relatives.
• Unfortunately, thieves aren’t always strangers who wander in – many people have reported their own friends and family members lifting gifts from their reception.
What if something happens anyway?
• The number one thing to do is to report the theft to the police immediately.
• Call the reception site to see if any of the employees saw anything or if there were any security cameras that may have caught any suspicious activity on tape.
• It won’t be easy, but explain to your guests via email or however you wish to pass the word along (depending on the number of guests present) as to what happened. Even though you may not ever receive their gift, don’t forget to send thank you notes. After all, they did take the time to get you a gift and attend your party.
The marriage of flavors
By Craig Allen
Something red. Something white. Something sweet, dry, fruity, acidic. A little stuck on finding the perfect wines to appeal to the many tastebuds attending your wedding? Well, it isn’t as hard as you may think and you don’t have to break the bank.
Start with a retailer or a caterer and ask for smaller wine producers. These boutique vineyards will give you better quality for the money because you won’t be paying the premium for those big brand marketing budgets. If the wine is less well–known by the group, they won’t have preconceptions about the wine. And better yet, it makes your event special because more than likely, folks won’t encounter it at another event.
I made your hunt a little easier by narrowing down the whites to Pinot Grigio. This grape tends to produce a dry, light wine, which works with a lot of foods. In fact, it is light enough to serve during the cocktail hour. It’s versatile in that you don’t get the heavy oak as you would with many Chardonnays and it isn’t overly sweet like a White Zinfandel. This wine is very popular with many people and it isn’t wildly expensive.
Il Conti Pinot Grigio ($7.99)
Fresh and inviting with bright fruit and an easy drinking style with a pleasing hint of almonds in the aftertaste.It has a brilliant straw color with emerald reflections.You’ll find a floral bouquet with a hint of pears and apricots.
Saint Michael Eppan Pinot Grigio ($14.99)
The grapes for this fine, fresh and fruity Pinot Grigio come from selected vineyards from the “Anger” location in St. Michael-Appiano.Its’ color is light yellow with a slight green luster.Delicate fruity aromas with fragrances reminiscent of ripe pears typify the bouquet.A wine which, when served chilled, tastes delicious as an aperitif and serves as an accompaniment to many Mediterranean appetizers, fish and white meat dishes.
Maso Poli Pinot Grigio ($17.99)
One of Trentino’s top wineries (particularly well known for their crisp, lively dry whites), this Pinot Grigio is more fleshy, fat and concentrated than most of its Trentino peers.It reveals considerable character as well as abundant amounts of pear, peach and apple-like fruit.
How about a Shiraz? There are some nice bottles coming out of Australia these days and they don’t cost an arm and a leg. Shiraz, like Pinot Grigio, pairs up well with many foods. It’s light enough for the cocktail hour and has enough body to carry a prime rib. Shiraz is fruit forward and doesn’t have the tannins or acidity in the back like other reds. You will also find better quality for the money than California Cabernets or Merlots.
Climbing Shiraz ($8.99)
Lithe and lively with juicy acidity against black cherry and cola aromas and flavors. Finishes with fine-grained tannins.
Yalumba Shiraz Y Series ($11.99)
Offers an exotic, flamboyant nose of blackberries and flowers, along with wonderful intensity, richness, fruit and glycerin.
Kilikanoon Shiraz Grenache Killerman’s Run ($19.99)
This one possesses a deep ruby/purple color, terrific blackberry and cassis fruit, hints of charcoal, licorice and earth and an opulent, voluptuous personality.
And you know you can’t have a wedding without the sparkle of bubbles!
A quick rundown
Champagne can only be called champagne if it is from the Champagne region of France. Grape varietals for champagne consist of Chardonnay, Pinot Noir and Pinot Meunier. Champagne is rich with a great body and hints on green apple. Budget champagnes will run you in the $30-$50 range.
Pierre Peters Blanc de Blancs Brut $39.99
Cava. This is the Spanish version of Champagne and is made with Macabeu, Xrel.lo and Perellada and sometimes Subirat and Riojan Malvasia. Cavas are a little lighter and dryer than the French Champagnes and are a much better value.
Segura Viuddus Brut Reserva Heredad – $21.99
Paul Cheneau Brut – $9.99
Prosecco. This Italian sparkling wine is named after the Prosecco grape. Prosecco is much lighter than champagne with softer fruits than Cava. Another good value.
Bisol Prosecco Crede – $18.99
Riondo Prosecco – $11.99
Yes one more to check out. Sparkling wines are produced all over, but the closest version to Champagne comes from California where they use the same grapes and method as their French counterparts. Price points vary, but it is still inexpensive when compared to champagne.
Schramsberg Blanc de Blancs – $36.99
Domaine Ste.Michelle Blanc de Blancs – $11.99
One more thought when looking at bubble styles.
Brut is the most popular and tends to have a better quality than extra-dry. If you want something a little sweeter, try Italian Spunmante or Frizzante (made from the Prosecco grape). And ladies, if you love a little color to your fizz go for the Rose. They are produced in the brut style and make a lovely presentation.
You have something white, something red and something sparkly… now it’s time to find something new, something borrowed and something blue.
A toast to your very special day!
Craig Allen is owner of All Star Wine & Spirits in Latham Farms. For more information call 220.9463 or visit www.allstarwine.com.
Top wedding tick-offs
Weddings are a joyous time to celebrate, but the stress of everything can cause aggravation for the bride, as well as the guests. Read below to see if you have committed any of these no-no’s.
Things that tick off the guests
• Seating them near the speakers, which are so loud everyone has to shout.
• Centerpieces so high that people at the table can’t see each other.
• It might be unavoidable, but having a long lag time between ceremony and reception can be a drag, especially for out-of-towners who don’t know the area.
• Getting stuck sitting next to a dud at your table.
• Guests who can’t control their liquor and take advantage of an open bar.
• Cash bar
• No bar
• Cold food
• No vegetarian food options.
• Not enough food – leaving hungry!
• A bar by the dance floor.
• Sitting at a table where you know absolutely no one—and they ignore you!
• A DJ who plays guest’s requested songs even though the bride asked him/her not to.
• A DJ who plays bad music that you can’t dance to.
• Theme weddings. A 1930’s theme might be fun, but if you only play swing music you will eliminate most of the people from the dance floor.
• Friday night weddings.
• Traffic getting to and from the ceremony to reception site.
• When it is indicated that transportation will be provided from the hotel to the reception at a designated time and the transportation leaves early or doesn’t show up at all.
• When the bar won’t serve drinks to people who have arrived for the cocktail hour a few minutes early – a few drinks for a few people a few minutes early doesn’t cost an arm and a leg.
• When the wedding is in the evening and dinner isn’t served until 11pm!Who wants to eat dinner at 11pm?
• Smashing cake in each other’s face is the most embarrassing thing to witness.
• Throwing the bouquet – is it really necessary to make the single women stand up to acknowledge that, “Yes, we’re single”? Don’t rub it in.
• Tossing the garter – another embarrassing thing to witness.
• When it takes forever to get going. Dinner should be served in a swift manner so that the party can get started. No one wants to be sitting there for 2 or 3 hours. After a while you just get bored.
• Having to wait in line for a drink at a bar.The best way to solve this is to make sure that your venue has enough to wait staff to go around and ask for drink orders.
• Too many speeches. It’s customary for the Best Man to make the first toast. It’s sweet if the groom wants to say a few words of thanks to the guests. But when everyone jumps in on the bandwagon with toasts and speeches and private jokes…it gets uncomfortable. Keep speeches short and sweet. Remember: less is more.
Things that tick off the bride
• Not sending in your RSVP – how hard is it to check off “yes or no” and drop the already-stamped envelope in the mail? If you leave your house on a daily basis and receive US Mail, this should be an easy task to accomplish.
• Vendors not returning calls in a timely fashion.
• Children at a wedding, especially screaming children.
• Bringing a guest when the invite was clearly for you and you alone.
• When a female guest brings a female friend because shedoesn’t havea date or doesn’t want to bring one.If you’re going to do that, make sure your friend at least gives the bride and groom a gift, otherwise they’re just getting a free meal and drinksout of it—its costing the wedding host more money, especially if the bride and the groompaying for the wedding themselves, which seems to be the case most of the time.
• When a female guest wears white.
• When guests bring their uninvited children (sometimes kids aren’t invited for a reason, i.e.to give parents a night out, to give other adults a kid-free environment, or to avoid having to invite 35 kids to your wedding).
• A drunk groom.
• A lot of no-shows.
• Taking so many pictures that you miss the cocktail hour and/or part of the reception. That’s the best part of the party because it’s where you can really mingle with your guests. After all of that planning, you want to enjoy your own party.
• Late guests arriving at the church. No one wants to be following the bride down the aisle.