What They Did Right: Lisa and Howie at Caramoor (Reception)

Posted by on Oct 8, 2010 in Blog | 2 Comments

After the gorgeous garden ceremony (which, very happily was not thwarted by rain nor cloud) Lisa and Howie’s 300 guests made their way into the Venetian Theatre.  One of the most wonderful things about Caramoor is that is isn’t just a wonderful backdrop for weddings, it is actually a center for music and art and, for most of the summer the Venetian Theatre is the setting for a series of concerts.  The sound and lighting are always beautifully handled by Warren of Go Production Services.

This was Always a Bridesmaid’s first time collaborating with Matthew Robbins.  Lisa and Howie’s guests were from all areas of each of their lives.  Classmates from college, family friends, law school friends, rabbinical school friends.  When talking about it, we all loved the concept of bringing a series of “family trees” to life for the escort card display and Howie designed an oversize mural that we affixed envelopes with each guests’ calligraphed (by Laura Hooper) onto it.  I often write about tiny details that can help make a large wedding seem more personal and while brainstorming one day Lisa decided that they would write EACH AND EVERY GUEST A NOTE that would thank them for coming and (of course) tell them what table they were seated at.   It was a huge, huge, huge hit.

Great Performances provided the food and catering services which included a multi-course meal as well as series of adorable passed desserts that enabled us to keep the party going without anyone having to forgo their sweet indulgence.  And of course, there was the amazing cake provided by Ron Ben Israel.  At the end of the night the amazing staff at GP set up a flower wrapping station- Matthew constructed the centerpieces so that they were mini bouquets- and we were able to hand each female guest a bouquet as a favor.


Details, Details, Details: Lisa and Howie at Caramoor

Posted by on Aug 31, 2010 in Decor & Details | 13 Comments

I am still riding high off of our wedding this past Sunday at Caramoor Center for Music and Art.  Howie and Lisa came to us only about 15 weeks ago to work with them on their wedding.  This was a first for Always a Bridesmaid- not because their engagement was short, but because we’ve never worked on a rabbi’s wedding before.  Lisa is a rabbi and runs the conversion program at Central Synagogue.  This was a wedding that was just FULL of details! Fun, fabulous, details.  I wanted to share some of them with you because I hope that they inspire you!! I think that details don’t have to just add beauty to a wedding, they stand as tiny opportunities to add some more meaning to your day.

So, here we go!  As a couple, they had been to more than their fare share of weddings, and probably had a drawer full of kippah to show for it with couple’s names and wedding dates stamped on the underside.  As a couple, they are terribly witty, and rather than repeat this tradition letter for letter, they saw an opportunity for a chuckle. At a wedding with at least 20 rabbis and cantors in attendance, everyone would know what to do with their kippah right?  Well, just in case someone forgot….
Between them, as a couple, Lisa and Howie had a total of 8 loving parents and stepparents, all of whom were under the Chuppah. Along with that were nearly a dozen siblings! So, for the program, rather than the ins and outs of the ceremony, we offered “A Lineup” . Because they were only one page, we decided to place a pattern on the back, which mirrored their invitation. These were custom created by Smock with the help from Judy Paulen Designs at Bloomingdale’s.
Mayra, Rebecca and I were just in LOVE with Lisa and Howie’s Ketubah, which was designed by the same woman who created Chelsea Clinton’s ketubah (that was sheer coincidence, btw). I love this particular design for its beauty, but when I actually saw it up close I understood why it was ALSO the perfect ketubah for Chelsea’s interfaith wedding as it was written in Hebrew (as is traditional) but with English just beside it.
The couple was beyond excited for their Horah. We slated in a full 30 minutes for it. Being a summer, outdoor wedding, they kept saying “We want people to be drenched from sweat after this horah”…. So, in that spirit, we created sweatbands for people. Right before the music began, waiters from Great Performances came out onto the dancefloor with trays of wristbands that said “1. Place on wrists 2. Enjoy Horah” Clearly, it worked, because not only were people screaming like Justin Beiber had entered the tent, we had a crowd fully clad in white wristbands and out of breath when it was all over.
Of course, some details are simply there to be pretty, and, we love those too, so I’ll share a couple with you! We worked with Matthew Robbins on this wedding, who brought in 30 fabulous farm inspired tables. I’ll wait to share the full look and tablescape, but we utilized tiny silver coffee service trays as chargers, and replicated the design from the invitations on the menu cards, which were warmed up with just a sprig of pine.
And, the icing on the cake was… well, the cake itself! The incomparable Ron Ben Israel created this absolutely astounding cake. It was just amazing. Not only did it pull design elements from the invitations, but it tied in the silver details of the room along with the blue tones (the lettering was navy and silver) of the room decor. Truly delightful!

Avoiding Inspiration to Frustration

Posted by on Aug 26, 2010 in Blog | 6 Comments

We’ve been slacking on the posts lately because, frankly, we’ve been busy little bees here at Always a Bridesmaid over the last couple of weeks.  We had a wedding on Long Island last week, a wedding at the Pratt Mansion and this weekend we are up at Caramoor, for a wedding whose details I absolutely CANNOT wait to share.

Recently, (and I mean recently, my client for this weekend was only engaged for about 15 weeks!) we were at Ron Ben Israel’s studio exploring cake options for our client’s wedding at Caramoor.  The bride loved this relatively simple cake of Ron’s featured  on the cover of Elegant Bride Magazine:

Screen shot 2010-08-26 at 3.17.41 PM Ron explained to her though,that while this cake, designed expressly for this cover, works well on this small scale setting, this same kind of cake would vanish in the oversize tent it would be displayed on at her wedding.

His point to her made a bigger point to me that I thought I would share with you.  Sometimes Inspiration can lead to Frustration.  The same way that we always know that what we see on “reality” TV isn’t real, is the same way that not everything in a photo shoot is actually real.  What works on camera and in a photo studio is totally different than what works in real life.  And the same can be said for a lot of nuances and details in a wedding.

This is more food for thought than it is anything else.  When you see a photo shoot that makes you drool, remember that it was produced.  By that I mean it was designed to be created in close quarters, for examination under a microscope and not replicated 10, 15 or 20 times under time constraints.  By the same token, photo shoots are often designed to make an impact to a camera, which is an intimate eye, and may not be the kind of thing that in a large room, or a tent or ballroom that actually translate well to the human eye that is actually there.

Photoshoots are inspiration points, not replication points, so keep that in mind when you start working on the design and details of your event. If you  are working with a designer or a florist, trust them to interpret your inspiration points on a scale and with a degree of originality will show off you and your location.

What They Did Right: Kelly and Brian

Posted by on Oct 14, 2009 in Blog | 4 Comments

We have been so busy this fall with weddings (and loving every moment of it) that I have not gotten a chance to harass photographers for wedding photos. So, how happy was I when I got an email from Susan Baker today with a wedding we did together a few weeks ago? VERY!

I loved Kelly from the moment she walked through our door. She was so sweet and so organized! She made things so easy with her easy going attitude and many excel sheets. The wedding day itself was no different. The wedding reception and room block were at The Union League Club in midtown and  the ceremony was at St.Ignatius Loyola on the Upper East Side. An offsite ceremony, especially when the bride and groom are not seeing each other before the ceremony, are usually pretty stressful for the planner. We need to get people into cars/limos/buses, make sure that everything is ready to go at the ceremony, get our cues straight with the musicians for the procession… all while making sure that the bride remains unseen. Not always the easiest thing, but with Kelly and Brian, it all seemed so relaxed and leisurely!

The ceremony blew me away in person and so it made me happy that the photos really captured the beauty of the it. The acoustics in the church were fantastic and when her song started to play, I literally got chills.


The flowers were provided by Castle Pierpont and were spectacular. Uptown Swing provided the music…and guests danced all night. A friend of the couple sang “Crazy Love” with the band for their first dance. I loved the personal touch and it didn’t hurt that his voice was AMAZING. It made that song jump up on my “best first dance song list”. To top it all off, Ron Ben-Israel provided the cake, which was so amazing and smelled so good, that Salome and I were afraid to go near it!

Thanks again for these wonderful photos Susan! You can check out more of her shots on her blog!


Congratulations to the happy couple!

What They Did Right: Angy & Jarvis Reception

Posted by on Sep 30, 2009 in Blog | 3 Comments

This is one of my FAVORITE receptions, I think!   It was so exciting to design and Ira Lippke’s photos are fantastic. We worked with Charles at United to create this fantasy garden. As a nod to Alabama, we served…..Alabama Slammers! On our summer tree (which was 10′ tall) we hung our escort cards. Angy and I thought it would be fun to name the tables after different cities in Alabama and New Jersey….. little did we realize that it was going to cause such a Ruckus! People from NJ take which town they are from VERY seriously! For cocktails we brought in pillows in purple and mango for the in-house lounge furniture and kept the linens a clean white. Charles’ team created modern Papyrus arrangements with little fish floating in them. For the reception, the space at Guastavino’s is stunning, but we wanted to enhance it a bit. We worked with BML Blackbird sound and lighting to add purple uplighting to the walls and kept the space a bit dark to enhance the pinspots. We brought in some ballroom chairs, as well as these amazing linens (actually, the linens and a custom issue with India is another story for ANOTHER day and another blog post) and Purple champagne flutes from Classic Party Rentals. The cake by Ron Ben Israel looked almost too good to eat. Oh, and in case you were wondering, she got her stunning dress at Mark Ingram.