Real Weddings

Shannon & Brent

Who proposed to whom? Brent proposed to me.

How did you get engaged? We had been happily living in sin together for two years and we were packing for a January weekend away at our favorite little hotel in Philadelphia. He was acting so oddly, I could see him perspiring a little bit on his face, pacing around our bedroom and I thought, Hmmmmmmmm, something is up. I was in our closet grabbing clothes to pack and I turned around to put them in my bag, and he was standing right behind me. He said, I can’t wait until we get to Philadelphia, I wanted everything to be perfect, but I can’t wait. I’m sorry. He pulled out a little vintage ring holder from his pocket, opened it up… and said, I love you, will you marry me? And of course, I said yes. Standing in our little closet, in our little bedroom, in our little house, it was perfect.

Wedding date? June 10, 2017

Venue? Sombrero Beach, Marathon Key, Florida

Coordinator? Moi

Catering? We had dinner reservations for two after our ceremony at the Butterfly Cafe on Marathon Key.

Cake? No thank you. Key Lime Pie!

Cake Topper? LOTS OF WHIPPED CREAM!

Photographer? Oh we chose a cute, quirky couple that took all of the pictures

DJ? No DJ, we were serenaded by ocean waves, the island wind, seagulls… and some little boy chasing after an eel swimming around in the reef just off to our right.

Florist? Me again! I decided that I would make my own bouquet out of crepe paper flowers.

Hair/Makeup? Me: Thanks to mother nature I had some fresh sunshine on my face, a few loose curls and mascara and done. He: Thanks to poor judgement with head protection and the sun, he was sporting a mean tan line.

Anything else you’d like to say?
A little history of us. We met when we were in 2nd grade. We graduated high school together in a small town in rural Pennsylvania. He driving his 1989 Trans Am and sporting a moustache, that could be mistaken for a dirty lip and I with my acid washed jeans and hair lacquered half way up to Jesus. Yes, my friends, it was 1990. We never dated in high school, he hung out with much cooler people (upperclassmen) than I. He had no time for me, and even hung out with my older brother! Ahhh unrequited love. He reconnected with me in 2010 through the magic of Facebook. I was in the Navy in Virginia Beach and he was living in Pennsylvania, we were both newly divorced. He sent a message to me and I thought Go pound sand buddy, you lost your chance a long time ago. But he wore me down and I decided it wouldn’t hurt to be friendly. Besides, it was more than a little flattering that he was interested in me. But I was busy finding myself again after my divorce and wasn’t interested in any sort of relationship. So, we were just friends for a few years and dated other people. I finally retired from the Navy in 2012 and moved to New York to be near family and to figure out the next chapter of my life, about 3 hours away from Brent in Pennsylvania. We were still friends, communicating through text messages… eventually that turned into phone conversations that started lasting longer and longer each time we talked. We eventually decided that he would come visit me in New York, so he drove up to visit me early in January 2013. He stepped out of his car, thankfully not the 1989 Trans Am, and it was the first time we had seen each other since we had graduated in 1990. We spent the day together driving around the area where I was living, visited with my parents, and we went out to eat – our first date.  When he left the next day, we knew that was it. I knew I had finally met the person who set my soul on fire and made me feel deep comfort all at once, this was the love I had hoped for all my life. And he felt the same way. Yippeeeeeeee! I moved to Pennsylvania the following month to go back to school for Graphic Design and to live happily, in sin, ever after. 🙂

Wedding Planning Essentials · Weddings & Receptions

Modernist

Causally arranged, repetition and simplicity are hallmarks of modern style showcasing minimalistic whites, dotted with shimmering votives, and enhanced with simple florals combine to create a table setting with a decidedly modernist vibe.

Accented with silver, white on white is a classic recipe for modern chic. Clean lines, unfussy elements create a setting that is both trendy and polished.

 

9752-77-i_xoxo-rectangular-tin-box-with-lid6486308e992dfc4d80c09c86e79fbcdf__16787.1501529275.1280.1280.jpg
City Style Tag, City Style Sticker, and XOXO Tin

To add an additional layer of personality, take traditional glassware and make it modern with a fresh new silhouette and custom message. A custom wine glass is perfect for giving to your guests as favors and adding a little something extra to your table decor!

1254-14a_city-style-wine-labeld1475e18a4d3054c784c3ca45c7a2b20__21616.1501536582.1280.1280
City Style Wine Label
41008-pad-i_stemless-wine-glass-smallbcf31e91b6b1a2bfc64342dc52391fe1
Personalized Stemless Wine Glass

Greet your guests with these impressive, and unique, twisted fork handle stationery holders placed at their seat. A perfect fit for a city style modernist theme.

9864_77_i_twisted_fork_vintage_inspired_stationery_holders7cbd547ee2db67666ad5e11fc15411c7__89210.1456344864
Twisted Fork Vintage Inspired Stationery Holders

Add an additional personalized layer to each place setting with these city style menu cards. Uptown flair with a subtle modern twist. The simple wrap of ribbon and a lavender detail finish off the look.

plate-top-details-2
City Style Menu Card, XOXO Tin with City Style Favor Tag
and White Satin Ribbon

Sometimes all a wedding reception needs is a little flicker of candlelight to set the mood and these glass votives with a reflective silver interior add the perfect glimmer.

classic glass votive holder in silver
Classic Glass Votive Holder in Silver

Do what you love, keep it simple and remember this is your day. Each detail reflects you. A perfect balance of fresh and functional. Simple, neutral and anything but boring.

statinoery-overview
City Style Menu Card, City Style Favor Tag
The Street

Inspiration is not a four letter word

This word inspiration just keeps beating at my brain. There are days when those eleven letters feel like they add up to nothing but a four letter word. I’ve been spending the week looking for it everywhere. Yesterday, I was hoping a drive through the rolling blooming hills of California Highway 58 would propel me to that moment of inspirational clarity. It did not. It was a beautiful drive though, but I am biased towards the California landscape. There’s nothing like it and this year the “Cal-scape” is green and full of color. I wanted something to just pop out at me, make me stop and feel inspired. Something to bring on moment of WOW.

The thing is, inspiration comes when it comes. It can’t be pushed to just shout out “Hey dude, I’m over here!”. Actually, since I am fantasizing about it, I’d like to have seen Julie Andrews running through the mustard yellow hills in her light blue dress singing out “The hills are alive with the sound of music…”. Now that would be inspirational! Nice color combination too. Hmmmm…

Though at this moment I’d even take Ewan Mcgregor’s version from Moulin Rouge. That would have set all my Gay inspirational bells ringing. Inspiration check box: Checked.

Anyway, here it is Friday and I’m still working out my inspirational dilemma for the week. I’m searching and searching for that idea, that color, that texture that says create me, shape me, mold me into something grand. My mind explodes “Oh wow that is the coolest thing ever…”.

So far, I’ve got nothing. It didn’t come this week so I’m telling you about the idea of wanting it to come instead. I suppose the hunt in itself is based on inspiration so…

What am I hoping will happen here? Here’s the thing. I don’t want to write another 10 best list, or the top 5 something, or the cutest moments of this or that event. I’m kinda over those lists. It’s all regurgitation of something or someone and frankly we’ve all heard it before. So let’s be real here. Inspiration is going to have to come when it comes and I’ll make it as original as I can. It just won’t be in some repurposed top 100 something or another. It may just be me writing to tell you “Today, I’ve got nothing.”.

Inspiration is not a four letter word. It’s more like an eleven letter nuisance that I drive myself crazy with, and similar to other self imposed afflictions that cause a moment of insecurity now and then. Inspiration is my eleven letters of hell this week. It will pass. There is always another Monday that points toward Friday.

The Street

Holidays! It will be fun and you’ll love it!

We spent the last weekend getting ourselves ready for Christmas. Putting up the tree, decorating and putting lights outside the house. We moved to the new house a little over a month ago so we are a less about the outside this year. Watch out 2017! We can already see our neighbors like a little competition. This year, for us, simple was best – a string of fun multi-colored lights. Big bulbs! Old school.

I love the holidays. I love Christmas, the decorating, the baking – all of it. I LOVE IT! It takes me back to two distinct memories. My visual merchandising days at Saks in my twenties many, many moons ago because HELLO it’s all about decorating!  The other is holidays with my parents. When I was a little kid my mother decorated for every holiday or season. That’s probably where I got the decorating bug. And, I loved decorating the tree with them. The whole ritual of getting the tree, lighting the tree and decorating the tree. Being together.

Can you hear the holiday music in the background “It’s the most wonderful time of the year…” Lights are twinkling, people are happy, everything is festive.

This year it’s all about red. I drive my husband and our son crazy because  I do a theme every year. Every year our son, whose now 11, says “Do I have to help? You’ll just redecorate the tree after!” and every year I fain shock and say “Yes!  It will be fun and you’ll love it!” Ah, the joyful memories he will have of dad repositioning all the bulbs. My husband just rolls his eyes.

Times are tough; still I treat you to a lovely evening, and I get smart-alek BACKTALK“.
Faye Dunaway as Joan Crawford | ‘Mommie Dearest’

 

It really is all about the memories. I remember as a kid going with my dad to cut our tree down in upstate New York. He’d pull me on the sled and then pull me and the tree back on the sled. I wonder how much fun that really was for him? I am sure I complained just as much as my son does. What do I remember; the tree, the sled, my dad and love. We always had huge trees decorated with colored lights, lots of tinsel and gold or silver garland that looked like feather boas. Well, to a young gay boy they looked like feather boas!

We stress ourselves out at holidays over this and that and in the end it’s about the moments in-between. The ones that stick. The ones that light up at the smell of baking cookies and fireplace crackles.

Who knows how my son will remember these moments of his dads and the holidays. I’ll bet he won’t forget the love that surrounded them.

How do you decorate for the holidays?

 

Real Weddings

Seaside Wedding: Michael & Barry

Michael & Barry were married on August 6, 2016 at Gearhart Beach, Oregon.

Who proposed to whom? I Proposed to Barry

How did you get engaged? We went on a 4 day cruise through the San Juan Islands with friends for Barry’s birthday and in the sculpture garden in Roche Harbor, on San Juan Island, the question was popped.

Wedding date? August 6, 2016

Venue? Reception: McMenamins Gearhart Hotel, Wedding: Gearhart Beach, Oregon

Coordinator? Amanda Wolf

Catering? Gearhart Hotel

Cake? Laurie Clarke Cakes

Cake Topper? Sammy’s Flowers

Photographer? Donny Mays Photography

DJ? Spencer Crum

Florist? Sammy’s Flowers (sammysflowers.com)

Hair/Makeup? We are naturally that beautiful (none needed) LOL

Macaroons? Didn’t have any

Real Weddings

Olive Garden Proposal – Glory & Bridget

I love these three! We met Glory & Bridget when we were living in Portland, OR. Truly amazing people.

Bridge proposed to me at an Italian restaurant in 2003. Nothing elaborate, I was surprised with a beautiful ring sitting in my cheesecake after our meal. We finally got married on 11/1/14 at the county court house. We went to a yummy Mexican dinner and drinks with our closest friends after. 

Appetizers · DIY · The Street · Weddings & Receptions

10 perfect appetizers for your fall wedding reception

1. Brown Sugar-Glazed Turkey Meatballs

Because – meatballs and brown sugar. Perfect little mouthfuls of Brown Sugar-Glazed Turkey Meatballs! If you decide not to have these at your reception, save the recipe and serve them up at the next game event because Football season is coming – I think.

Get The Recipe

brown-sugar-meatballs
Image: Diethood

2. Mini Quiche Florentine

Everyone [almost] will fall for these Mini Quiche Florentines. Filled with spinach and cheese   – Instant hit!  Who says real men don’t eat quiche!

Get The Recipe

63473db1c796005e4696ad485723fb9f
Image: Sam Anderson @ HGTV

3. Grilled Corn Salsa

This dish would be a perfect side dish to the mini tacos below. Serve with tortilla chips and you’ve got a southwest theme in the making. Screen ‘Blazing Saddles’ in the background of the dance floor and you’ll have the most talked about wedding in town – along with the Grilled Corn Salsa.

“Hello, handsome. Is that a 10-gallon hat, or are you just enjoying the show?” – Madeline Kahn

cq5dam-web-616-462
Image: Cooking Channel

4. Maple Chili Popcorn

Feeling a little chili? – Warm things up with this perfect fall appetizer, or favor, at your reception. Food Network’s Jeff Mauro’s Maple Chili Popcorn is perfect for filling cellophane favor bags that guests can enjoy later or have on the tables for guests to grab and munch between spicy dance moves.

Get The Recipe

cooking-channel-maple-nut-popcorn-recipe_s4x3-jpg-rend-hgtvcom-1280-960
Image: HGTV.com

5. Ropa Vieja Mini Tacos

First of all, these Ropa Vieja Mini Tacos are the cutest little appetizer out there – I mean, COME ON! With two types of chiles, these junior spicy mouthfuls are sure to keep the guests warmed up for the dance floor.

Get The Recipe

original_camille-styles-fiesta-party-ropa-vieja-tacos_h-jpg-rend-hgtvcom-616-462
Image: HGTV.com

6. Bruschetta With Caramelized Dates, Walnuts and Goat Cheese

Whipping yourself up a Bruschetta With Caramelized Dates, Walnuts and Goat Cheese appetizers is a snap. Just toast a fresh baguette, then top the slices with a soft cheese — like chèvre — plus any combination of savory ingredients — like caramelized dates — and finely chopped pistachios or delicious crumbled bacon. See, it’s a snap. SNAP!

Get The Recipe

original_potluck-parties-bruschetta_s3x4-jpg-rend-hgtvcom-1280-1707
Image: HGTV.com

————

7. Taleggio Crostini With Apple, Thyme and Honey

These Taleggio Crostini With Apple, Thyme and Honey can be prepared with only a few simple ingredients and thyme – see what I did there? Spread cheese on toasted baguette slices, top with 1 or 2 apple slices, drizzle with a little honey and done!

Get The Recipe

cooking-channel-taleggio-crostini-apple-thyme-honey-recipe_s4x3-jpg-rend-hgtvcom-1280-960
Image: Andrea Albin, CookingChannelTV.com

8. Sausage and Stuffing Balls with Cranberry Dipping Sauce

I found this one on I should be mopping the floor. These Sausage and Stuffing Balls with Cranberry Dipping Sauce are an awesome autumn appetizer –  say that 10 times fast – and a perfect departure form the norm!  Perfect for Thanksgiving too!

Get The Recipe

sausage-and-cranberry
Image: I Should Be Mopping The Floor

9. Autumn Leaf Wreath Cheese Platter

I love this one! How easy right? Cookie cutters and cheese and viola you look like a wedding catering DIY genius – I mean really, cookie cutters and cheese, WHO KNEW!

This Autumn Leaf Wreath Cheese Platter would be a fun one for the kids to be involved too.  Layer in some pretzel crackers and your favorite sweet-tart relish and fall has arrived.

Get The Recipe

716
Image: The Yummy Life

10. Creamy Tomato Soup Shooters with Grilled Cheese Sticks

I love tomato soup! And, I love grilled cheese. Well, you might as well mix the two, right?

Our caterer, The Hitching Post, served Tomato Soup Shooters and they were a huge hit. Especially with the kids.

Get The Recipe

tomato-soup-grilled-cheese-i-howsweeteats-com-8
Image: How Sweet It is

 

Real Weddings

Santa Margarita Ranch Wedding: Alexis & Lisa

Alexis and Lisa were married on February 20, 2016 at Santa Margarita Ranch in Santa Margarita, California.

Who proposed to whom? I, Alexis, proposed to Lisa.

How did you get engaged? I had a hotel room, lined the entrance with candles and in the room had 25 balloons with reasons why I love her attached to the bottom of each one. The ring was in a big gift box and when she opened it I took it and proposed.

Wedding date? February 20, 2016

Venue? Santa Margarita Ranch

Coordinator? We coordinated and planned our wedding.

Catering? Dickies BBQ

Cake? Sea breeze cupcakes

Photographer? Nadine Solwick of Cheetah Photography

DJ? DJ Brian Solwick – DJ Cheetah

Florist? Bought and put together our own flowers and centerpieces.

Hair/Makeup? Hair and make up was done by Lisa’s sister Amy Friesen and our friend Ruby Rodriguez.

This was a totally DIY wedding. We loved planning, building, and decorating everything. We would do it all over again if we could! – Alexis

Real Weddings

Lovers Point Wedding: Mark & Skip

Mark and Skip were married on April 16th, 2016 at Lover’s Point park in Pacific Grove. The reception was held at the Robert John House built in 1907.

VenueLove’s Point Park

Event PlannerErin Wareham

CakeFreedom Bakery and Confections

DJDJ Andi

Photographer – Family Friend Amy