Crowning Inspiration

Take your centerpieces to a new level with dramatic height and texture
by adding curly willow or branching!

Often when designing tablescapes my client's ask how to create a dramatic look outside the use of excessive flowers and color. By giving your flowers a "boost" above the eye-level of your guests, you create a luxurious and opulent umbrella over their table.

Add a few votives, delicate flowers or crystals from stems. Candles on the table will bounce off the branches and create a romantic glow.


Box Office Wedding Save-the-Date

Have you heard?
One couple has gone above and beyond when it comes to their Wedding Save-the-Date. Jeff and Erin's Box Office Trailer has hit the airways and has people talking. Their 4 minute and 10 second video shows their "epic" love story, six-year courtship and engagement leading up to their 10-10-2010 nuptials.

Well, you have to give them points for creativity!
Check it out for yourselves at YouTube





Local woman to run with the brides

Written by Brittany Craig

The record: 36 seconds. Yes, imagine close to 800 brides storming through the doors to grab 2500 discounted designer gowns in less than one minute. Arms out wide, brides sweep in and grab as many dresses as they can. The tulle flies as they scurry over to squeeze a spot by the mirror. They try on dress after dress, swap with other shoppers and even bargain with one another. Its really one of the most competitive bridal sports there is – other than snagging the groom!

The Running of the Brides is a Filene’s Basement tradition since 1947. With eight sales a year in select stores, designer gowns that retail for as much as $9,000 are sold from $249-$699. Toledo bride, Rachel Grace will be participating in the January 29th Running in Columbus. She and five other friends are going down Thursday night so they can be at the doors first thing Friday morning. Sales like Filene’s offers brides the opportunity to have their dream dress. “I don’t want to comprise the quality of my wedding dress. I want to find my dream designer dress… and I am willing to drive hours to find the perfect one,” Grace said. No appointment is needed. Doors open at 8:00 a.m. and the sale goes all day or until all gowns are sold. Sizes, styles and fabrics vary. It’s suggested you bring “running buddies” to help you grab the gown you are looking for. “I plan on having each of the girls take a section of the store and grab as many dresses as they can…with a sweetheart neckline and trumpet style,” is Grace’s strategy.

In addition to Columbus, Filene’s Running of the Brides will be taking place in Chicago and Cleveland. Information can be found at filenesbasement.com/bridal. 

According to About.com the average wedding dress costs $3,000. Couture designers such as Monique Lhuillier can retail up to $20,000. But for many, saving on the dress allows for other extravagances on wedding day. So many brides are buying gently used gowns at upscale boutiques. Stores like White Chicago and WhiteXhange, believe bridal style shouldn’t have to be sacrificed for price. On-line boutiques such as PreOwnedWeddingDresses.com and EncoreBridal.com offer a selection of new, sample and nearly-new wedding dresses at the click of a button.

But you don’t have to go far for a good deal. Gallippo’s Bridal and Formal in Toledo is offering an exclusive sale with up to 80 percent off designer gowns that retail for over $1,500. “The designer offered me a break on the price of the gowns for purchasing this large selection. No two gowns are alike and all are brand new,” said bridal salon owner, Yvonne Gallippo.

One word of advice: dramatic alterations, repairs and cleaning can be costly and defeat the purpose of your discount. An alteration on the hem alone can cost as much as $200. Be sure to examine your dress carefully before purchase. Most bargains and re-sales are non-refundable.

See you at the finish line!

Brittany is the principle Event Designer and Coordinator for Crowning Celebrations. She specializes in wedding and social celebrations. You can follow her blog at http://www.crowningcelebrations.blogspot.com/ .


Crowning Inspiration... Valentine's Day Bridal Shower

sa la saison d'amour!
And no better time than to host a Bridal Shower with a Valentine's Day theme Tea Party

Rose Petal Tea
Tea Sandwiches
Heart-Shaped Lemon Scones
Orange Poppy Seed Bread
Creme Fraiche
Candied Orange Rinds
Strawberries in Lemon-Lavender Syrup

Rose Petal Tea
2 cups fresh fragrant rose petals (about 15 large roses)*
3 cups distilled water
Honey or granulated sugar to taste
*All roses that you intend to consume must be free of pesticides. Do not eat flowers from florists, nurseries, or garden centers. In many cases these flowers have been treated with pesticides not labeled for food crops. The tastiest roses are usually the most fragrant.
Clip and discard bitter white bases from the rose petals; rinse petals thoroughly and Pat dry. In a small saucepan over medium-high heat, place the prepared rose petals. Cover with water and bring just to a simmer; let simmer for approximately 5 minutes, or until the petals become discolored (darkened).
Remove from heat and strain the hot rose petal liquid into teacups. Add honey or sugar to taste. Makes 4 servings.

Tea Sandwiches
Four key parts to perfect tea sandwhiches: petit, crustless, thin and savory!

Deviled Egg Sandwiches
3/4 cup soft butter or cream cheese
20 slices bread of your choice
4 or 5 hardboiled eggs
8 ounces canned sardines in oil, oil reserved
2 tablespoons mayonnaise
2 teaspoons mustard
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper, or to taste
Spread 1 side of each slice of bread with butter or cream cheese. Place all the remaining ingredients except reserved oil in a food processor. Whirl until a spread is formed, adding reserved oil and/or mayonnaise to bring it to spreading consistency. Spread the mixture evenly over 10 slices of bread, top with the other 10, remove the crusts and cut into tea sandwiches. Makes 40 quarters or 30 finger sandwiches.

Smoked Salmon Sandwiches
1 cup soft cream cheese
20 slices bread, your choice
1/2 cup capers
12 ounces thin-sliced smoked salmon
Juice of 1 lemon
Black pepper
Spread the cream cheese on one side of each slice of bread. Dot with capers. Arrange the smoked salmon on 10 of the bread slices and brush with lemon juice. Pepper generously. Top with the other 10 slices, remove the crusts and cut. Makes 40 tea sandwiches or 30 fingers.

Cucumber Tea Sandwich Recipe
1 large cucumber, peeled and sliced very thinly
3/4 cup soft butter
2 teaspoons minced fresh garlic
20 slices bread
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1 tablespoon olive oil
Pepper to taste
Lightly salt the cucumber slices and place them in a colander to drain for 1 to 2 hours. Then combine the butter and garlic and apply to one side of each slice of bread. In a small bowl, stir together the lemon juice, olive oil, and pepper. Add the cucumber slices, coating them well. Arrange the cucumber on 10 of the bread slices, top with the other 10 slices, remove the crusts, and quarter. Serve immediately. Makes 40 tea sandwiches.

Crab Tea Sandwich Recipe
3/4 cup soft butter or cream cheese
1/4 cup finely chopped chives
20 slices bread of your choice
2 cups finely chopped crab (or shrimp or lobster)
1/2 cup mayonnaise
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1 teaspoon prepared horseradish (optional)
Salt and pepper to taste
Combine the butter and chives and spread the mixture onto one side of each slice of bread. Mix the remaining ingredients together in a small bowl, then evenly spread the mixture over 10 of the bread slices. Top with the other 10 slices, remove the crusts, and cut. Makes 40 quarters or 30 finger sandwiches.

Creme Fraiche
the perfect accompaniment to fresh fruit, scones and breads
1 to 2 tablespoons cultured buttermilk
2 cups heavy cream (pasteurized, not ultra pasteurized or sterilized, and with no additives).
Combine the buttermilk and cream in a saucepan and heat only to tepid (not more than 85 degrees on an instant reading thermometer). Pour into a clean glass jar. Partially cover and let stand at room temperature (between 65 and 75 degrees) for 8 to 24 hours, or until thickened. Stir and refrigerate at least 24 hours before using. The cream will keep about 2 weeks in the refrigerator.

Heart-Shaped Lemon Scones

2 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 cup sugar
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup cold butter or margarine
1/2 cup sour milk*
1 1/2 teaspoons grated lemon peel Additional sugar

In a medium bowl, combine flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Cut in butter until mixture resembles fine crumbs. Add milk and lemon peel, stirring just until mixed. Turn onto a floured surface; knead gently six times. Shape into a ball. On a greased baking sheet, pat dough into a circle about 1/2 in thick and 8-1/2 in. in diameter. Using a sharp knife, cut wedges in the dough, being careful not to cut all the way through. Or cut out with a heart-shaped cookie cutter. Sprinkle with sugar. Bake at 350 degrees F for 20-25 minutes or until edges are lightly browned.
Candied Orange Rinds - tasty in both coffee & tea

3 or 4 thick-skinned navel oranges
1 cup granulated sugar
1 cup of cold water
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon, optional
1 teaspoon orange or almond extract, optional
Granulated sugar, for rolling the orange rinds in

Quarter the oranges and remove from the rind. Scrape to remove the flesh and all white pith. Cut lengthwise into thin 2-inch strips. In a large saucepan filled with cold water, place orange rind strips. Bring just to a boil, remove from heat, and strain. Repeat this step two times. In a saucepan over a medium heat, completely dissolve the 1 cup of sugar in 1 cup of water. Optional ingredients of orange or almond extract may be added to sugar syrup if desired for flavor. Reduce heat to low; add the orange rinds and let simmer approximately 1 hour or longer or until the orange rinds are translucent. Using a slotted spoon, remove candied orange rind, shaking off excess syrup. Immediately toss with sugar, using fork to separate pieces so they do not touch. Place on a wire rack to cool and dry.
Store in an airtight container for one week. When ready to serve candied orange rinds may be dipped in chocolate.

Orange Poppy Seed Bread

3 cups all-purpose flour
2 1/4 cups granulated sugar
2 tablespoons poppy seeds, toasted*
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
3 eggs
1 1/2 cups milk
1 cup vegetable oil
3 tablespoons grated orange zest
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon almond extract
Orange Glaze (see recipe below)

* Toasting Poppy Seeds - Toast poppy seeds in a 350 degree F. oven or in a dry frying pan over medium heat. Stir occasionally, toasting only until seeds begins to brown.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease two 9x5-inch loaf pans.
In a large bowl, combine flour, sugar, poppy seeds, baking powder, and salt. Add eggs, milk, vegetable oil, orange zest, vanilla extract, and almond extract; stir until dry ingredients are moistened. Pour batter into prepared loaf pans. Bake approximately 55 to 60 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Remove from oven and place on wire racks.
While still hot, using a long-tined fork, poke holes in the top of the baked loaves. Pour Orange Glaze over loaves. Cool in pans for 10 minutes; remove from pans.
Cool completely before slicing. Yields 2 loaves.

Orange Glaze:
3/4 cup sifted powdered (confectioner's) sugar
1/4 cup freshly-squeezed orange juice
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon almond extract
In a medium bowl, combine powdered sugar, orange juice, vanilla extract, and almond extract; stir until well blended.

Strawberries in Lemon-Lavender Syrup
1 pound fresh strawberries
6 tablespoons water
1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
3 tablespoons sugar
3 tablespoons dried lavender flowers
Whipped cream or Creme Fraiche (optional)

Rinse and drain strawberries. Hull and cut into halves or quarters into a large bowl and set aside. In small saucepan over low heat, combine water, lemon juice, sugar and lavender and simmer, stirring occasionally, for about 3 minutes or until sugar is dissolved and lavender is infused. Remove from heat and strain syrup, discarding the blossoms. Pour strained syrup over strawberries and toss gently to mix. Serve berries and syrup right away in pretty glass bowls or stemmed glasses. Garnish with whipped cream, if desired.
Note: You can prepare the syrup in advance and let it cool. Toss with berries just before serving. Makes 4 servings.


The Sweetest Thing... Buttercream

As I mentioned in my article, 2010 is bringing back buttercream. Buttercream icing is more affordable and preferable among cake connoisseurs. Where as fondant is beautiful but usually pealed off by guests and discarded. Bakeries are finding new ways to make buttercream and traditional frostings look smooth like fondant.
You tell me which is buttercream and which is not....

truth is - they are ALL buttercream!

Bakeries can smooth buttercream to look like fondant and
apply decorative sugar flowers, fondant accents and gold leaf to dress it up.


Crowning Inspiration

It used to be that anything other than white or ecru for your
Wedding Invitation was nouvelle vague.
Here's a twist on the traditional...

and here's something a bit BOLDER.....


Invitation tips:
· Write out names in full, including middle names. Omit a middle name if necessary, rather than using an initial.
· It's appropriate to use the British spelling for "honour" and "favour", unless you prefer to use the American spelling of these words.
· Spell out all words, including the hour, the date and the year. Spell out all words in the address, including Street, Road and Avenue. The two exceptions to this rule in an address are Saint (St.) and Mount (Mt.)
· Use Roman numerals in names, rather than "the third" or "3rd."
· For ceremonies taking place in a house of worship, use "request the honour of your presence." Ceremonies taking place in a non-religious setting should say, "request the pleasure of your company."

Outer Envelope:
This is the envelope that you address. It should include the guest’s full name and proper title. For example:
Miss (or Ms.) Elizabeth Jones
123 Water Street
Bliss, Ohio 45678
Do not put “and guest” on the outer envelope. Save this for the inside.

Inner Envelope:
This envelope should be written in the same pen and ink as the outer. But only include the names of those invited. For example:
Miss Elizabeth Jones and Guest

Assembling your invitation:
· First, start with your ceremony invitation with a protective tissue on-top if needed.
· On top of that, lay your reception invitation, facing up. Add a protective tissue if needed.
· Then, put your response card envelope, addressed side down, with the response card facing up, tucked under the flap of it’s envelope.
· Any other insertions, such as maps, itineraries or directions should go to the very back, under the ceremony invite. Generally, insertions should go out with Save-the-Dates. But if it’s too late, send them separately so that they don’t take away from the presentation of the Wedding Invitation. Once you’ve received the RSVP from your guests, send additional information to only those who have RSVPed yes. This will save you on postage as well.
· The invitation and its components should go into the “inner envelope”.
· Mail invitations at least six to eight weeks in advance.
· Take invitation to the post office and request they be “hand cancelled” to minimize marks or tears caused by machines.

Need more info? Here are two experts to guide you:
Letter Perfect
Penny Stalin
(419) 535-1745

Brittani Frankowiak
Studio 1700


Toledo Free Press Eventista

The top wedding trends for 2010

Written by Brittany Craig

2010 is bringing in the New Year with bright color, eco-chic creativity and trends that will shock and delightfully surprise you!

Destination: Home
This year’s brides and grooms are paying for many items themselves and getting creative with spending money. As extravagances are cut, so are engagement periods. Couples are settling for Friday evenings and Saturday afternoons rather than waiting for evenings in prime seasons. They are setting up tents in their backyards, bringing home “comforts” into them: plush fabrics, tent liners, draping to add texture, along with floor seating and head “family” tables that include parents and immediate family.
Attire: In the Red
Red dresses or bold red accents for the bridal gown are making their way as of the top 2010 trends. This rich color allows a white bridal bouquet to pop! If a white dress is what you have your heart’s set on, go strapless. Accessories are following suit with bold, bright designs. Bridesmaid dresses are vibrant in bright orange, hot pink and turquoise. Over-the-top vintage accessories are shown layering pearls, sequins and oversized gemstones. But don’t do it all. Either go all out with dresses and accessories keeping flowers simple and sleek – or have fun with color in striking and glamorous bouquets with simple silhouettes.
Thankful Touches
Favors are making a return and they are showing their appreciation with homemade goodies and custom accents. In keeping thrifty, brides are baking up mom’s secret cookie recipe or other personalized favors. Favors are often used as place cards, wrapped to correspond with the wedding colors.
The Sweetest Thing – Buttercream
Buttercream is back – fondant is out. Buttercream is more affordable and preferable among cake connoisseurs. Where as fondant is beautiful, it’s usually pealed off by guests and discarded. Bakeries are finding new ways to make buttercream and traditional frostings look smooth like fondant.
Luminous Lighting
Lighting is “going green” with LED lights. LED lighting is more vibrant, produces little heat and takes little power to run. Lighting is one of my favorites! It showcases décor, illuminates flowers, spotlights the dance floor and creates a mood. Rotating logos, shapes and images, called gobos, create a 3-D effect. It’s become very trendy lighting the inside of your tent, as well as the outside with projected images of scenic landscapes. Together with a color wash, gobos create a trademark for your event.
Social Media
Couples are sharing their festivities on facebook, You Tube, personal websites and other media networks. Guests can RSVP, make hotel reservations and shop registries from one website. If guests are unable to make the festivities, they can view pictures and videos online.
Bold Invites
The wedding invitation is the first thing guests see and sets the tone for the event. Brides are bringing bold colors of fashion into print, pairing them with sophisticated, romantic designs and scripts. Seasonal attributes are contributing to the designs such as leaf motifs for fall and flower motifs for spring. Recycled materials are still strong, emphasizing chic and green.
Music is Bringing Back the Classics
Traditions such as the garter & bridal bouquet toss, father-daughter, mother-son dances, Anniversary dance and cake cutting are all coming back. DJs and bands are carrying the tune against iPods as professionals keep the guests dancing to a non-stop evening.
Flowers & Décor that POP
Garden fresh blooms from local and organic farms in the shade of deep purple, bright orange and hot pink are showing up, making a dramatic statement. Whether you are mixing flower colors or keeping it the same, use multiple vases in various heights, sizes and volumes. Dress your tables with monochromatic table linens in different textures to give tables depth and texture.
Photography & Videography are going HD
No one wants to miss a great party! And the same goes for the bride and groom. More couples are choosing to see each other before their ceremony for pictures. Often preventing them from enjoying cocktail hour, pre-ceremony and on-site photography allows brides and grooms to spend more time with guests. And you can relive your special day in vibrant color and crisp sound with HD videography. Today’s equipment is smaller, less intrusive with better sound quality. Videography provides a lasting image of the celebration’s sentiment and emotion.

2010’s trends are illuminating a down economy with color and creativity that’s sure to bring a bright start to any union!

Brittany is the principle event designer and coordinator for Crowning Celebrations. She specializes in wedding and social celebrations. You can follow her blog at http://www.crowningcelebrations.blogspot.com/.


Crowning Inspiration

Love these!

Take the cupcake tree to a whole new level
with these creative laser-cut cupcake wrappers!
Easily assembles to slip your favorite
cupcake or candy-filled cup
into a marvelous display.

Pack of 12 @ $12.50

Photos: Cupcake D'lights