Breaking Down the Details- Tracking Down Some Notre Dame Gear   3 comments

As you know Mr. Darcy and I will be making our grand entrance to our reception to the Notre Dame Fight Song. Mrs. Sewing made the suggestion that she would get pom-poms and get guests cheering for us before our grand entrance. Mrs. Sewing may have been saying this in jest, but I have taken the idea and run with it. I know Mrs. Sewing will do an awesome job of getting the crowd guests all riled up for our big entrance, because Mrs. Sewing has studied such tatics (she bases her basketball picks for March Madness on which team has the best cheerleaders). Obviously we needed some pom-poms for this adventure and I have hunted down the perfect pair of Navy and Gold ones for the occasion.


I also needed to track down a Notre Dame garter for my something blue. A quick search of EBay revealed several options. I decided on this set.


Are final Notre Dame detail a Notre Dame groom’s cake.

Notre Dame Football Cake by Cake Lava


Are you incorporating your interests into the wedding details? How about a favorite sports team?


10 Reasons I Love My Vegas Wedding!!!!   Leave a comment

1. It’s an AWESOME destination within only a few hours drive!

Vegas is a hot travel destination and even hotter wedding destination. It’s only a few hours drives from SoCal, has a huge variety of venues (hotels, chapels, mansions, all-inclusive banquet halls, country/golf clubs, restaurants), has a ton of great spots to take incredible wedding pictures, and is the perfect place to go over the top or sweet and low-key. Best of all, EVERYONE LOVES VEGAS!!!

Awesome Wedding Photo in the Las Vegas Sign Graveyard by Mike L. Photo


2. Vegas has the most awesome vendors ever!

Right now I am watching a TLC episode of “Fabulous Cakes” specifically on Las Vegas cakes. In Vegas vendors go big or go home.

The mid-stage of a 3 ft x 4ft Las Vegas Strip Cake built by Freed's Bakery (Do you recognize the Wynn and the Rio?)


3. I get to spend the whole weekend with my guests.

From our rehearsal dinner to our meet and greet to the ceremony to the reception to the morning after brunch. Mr. Darcy and I have several events/days to spend time with our guests. I can’t wait! I am so excited!

4. In Vegas the party never ends.

I have made a list of five different bars where we can continue the party after the reception.

Parasol Up Parasol Down Wynn Las Vegas


5. Shopping!!!! OMG! Shopping!

I mean really Caesars’ Palace, Bellagio, Planet Hollywood, Fashion Show Mall, the outlets, Mandalay Bay, Paris, Encore/Wynn, Venetian, Cosmopolitan, and the Palazzo are just a few places that have incredible shopping. I can shop for all my honeymoon attire and some cute stuff for our honeymoon suite.

La Perla Siena Baby Doll


6. Awesome Photo Locations!

From Paris to Italy to Egypt to New York to Red Rock Canyon to the Neon Boneyard in Downtown the possibilities are endless. And thanks to a great deal being ran by Moxie Studios Mr. Darcy and I will be exploring Red Rock Canyon or the Neon Boneyard for our e-pics.

Red Rock Canyon


Neon Boneyard


7. The Food!

Celebrity chef’s restaurants abound and there is nothing more than good food and good wine that Mr. Darcy and I enjoy. From Bobby Flay’s Mesa Grill to Charlie Palmer’s Aureole to Emeril’s Delmonico Steakhouse the choices are endless.

Aureole at Mandalay Bay Resort


8. The Spas!

I love an awesome spa. The experience is just so aaaahhhh! I always feel renewed after a day at the spa. I love having a massage, a facial, and enjoy the facilities. Las Vegas has some of the most awesome spa facilites there are from Caesar’s Palace Qua Baths to the Venetian’s Canyon Ranch Spa.

Qua Bath's Massage Room


9. Many famous weddings have taken place here.

The most famous wedding is probably Elvis and Priscilla. Other stars who have married here are Judy Garland and Mark Herron, Bon Jovi and Dorothea Hurley, Axl Rose and Erin Evelyn, Dennis Rodman and Carmen Electra, Billy Bob Thorton and Angelina Jolie, Mickey Rooney and Eva Gardner, Jane Fonda and Ted Turner, Frank Sinatra and Mia Farrow, and Micheal Jordan and Juanita Vannoy.

10. Anything goes in Vegas.

I don’t have to follow the traditional wedding schedule (bridal party photos, ceremony, photos/cocktail hour, 4 hour reception).  We could have a theme wedding if we wanted to. We could get married in our car. I could wear a red dress and have my reception at In-and-Out.

Photo from my Favorite Vegas Wedding


Why do you love your wedding locale? Is it as awesome as Vegas?

Building a Bridesmaid Look   4 comments

All my lovely ladies now have their dresses (woohoo!). Mrs. Sewing my Hot Mama of Honor will be wearing this strapless dress.

David's Bridal Style 83707


Bridesmaid A and L have chosen this halter stunner for their duds.

David's Bridal Style 84177


Now it’s time to build a cohesive and creative look for these ladies that will reflect their own style. Also known as I will give them so guidelines and let them pick their own accessories. I think some gorgeous gold shoes will do the trick, in whatever heel height style makes them comfortable.  Here are some totally cute ones for under $50 (if your searching for some Mrs. Sewing, L, and A).

Katie and Kelly Grace Metallic Sandal


Capparos Band Sandal


Katie and Kelly Michelle T-Strap


I decided I would get the girls jewelry for the day of, so they would have one less expense. Originally I picked these earrings from Kate Spade.

Kate Spade Gum Drop Earrings in Blue


Mama Austen thinks they’re cute, but thinks the girl needs something more substantial, like a small chandelier earring. I didn’t really like the idea of a chandelier, but I found a gorgeous, dangley earring on Etsy from seller Belle Fleur Jewelry.

Gold Orchid and Freshwater Pearl Earrings


(I am totally ordering myself my own pair).

What do you think? Did you let your bridesmaids choose their own looks, give them guidelines, or did you totally dictate the look?

Red, Hot Cake Part 2   Leave a comment

So remember my wedding nightmare about the red cake, well we may have found a solution for the red cake. When I showed Mr. Darcy my two favorite red wedding cakes, he was totally digging the first one. Mama Austen, on the other hand, was not so thrilled with the idea. So after talking with Mr. Darcy for some time we thought what if we just took the design on our original cake and make it red? Ingenious, right? So that’s the new plan.


Instead of the round Nicole cake we will have a square cake with red ribbon and red swirls and fondant pearls with pretty iridescent paint, instead of piped on ones.

How did you pick out your wedding cake design? How many rounds of revisions did it undergo?

Posted July 3, 2011 by kcoleybear in Wedding Cake

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Wedding Tipping   Leave a comment

In Vegas tipping can sometimes make your trip ($20 dollar bill trick anyone). Tips are an important line item in all wedding budgets, because if you forget to add them in you may be find yourself struggling to figure out this expense in the few days before your wedding. Vegas weddings are unique in their tipping rules, because they are often not held in a traditional banquet hall. You should have all your tips ready to go in marked envelopes. Here is my Vegas wedding tipping guide:

1. The Concierge- I would give them a larger tip up front if you want to use their services, through out your stay (like if your honeymooning there). The concierge will make your show and dinner reservations and can tell you which seats and tables are the best or the best time to attend a show or exhibition. $20 plus is acceptable, depending on the services provided.

2. The officiant- It is typical to tip the officiant or donate a sum to the church, but in Vegas most chapels include the officiant. This doesn’t mean s/he shouldn’t get a tip. $25-$50 is sufficient based upon your package, how well a job he does, etc. Seeing as most brides who get married in a chapel only meet the officiant 10-15 minutes before their ceremony $25 is really sufficient unless you have a particularly difficult or long ceremony then a bit more may be appropriate.

3. The Wedding Coordinator- If you are getting married in a chapel then you will have your own planning coordinator, who may or may not be your service coordinator on the day of. This makes things a bit complicated. I am on my third wedding coordinator through the chapel, but very pleased with her. She has been super helpful and quick to answer all my questions. I hope she will be there the day of. For this coordinator I would recommend a tip of $25-$100. For me if she is there the day of and everything runs smoothly, she will get $100. If she is not I will split the tip between her and the service coordinator. I will give the servicing coordinators all tips for the ceremony (officiant, coordinator, ceremony musicians, photographer,and coordinators) in marked envelopes prior to the ceremony to distribute.  If you have a coordinator who you have hired outside of your venuesa tip is not expected, but may be given. Up to $500 is acceptable. Another great option if you feel your coordinator rocked it is to send a thank you note with some pro-pics for her portfolio.

4. Ceremony Musicians- This vendor is often included in most chapel packages, but tip should still be given. $15-$25 per musician is reasonable.

5. Photographer/Videographer- It is not required you tip these vendors unless they are not owners of the studio/business. The standard on this is 15-20% of the bill or $50-$200 per person. I will probably tip our photographer for the ceremony $50 because they are contracted through the casino and not owners of their own studio. My other photographers are the owners of the studio, so tip for them is unnecessary.

6. Delivery Persons- The people delivering your cake, flowers, linens, etc. to the wedding site deserve a tip to. $5 to $10 per person will do the trick. Pass an envelope with 5 or 10 dollar bills to your coordinator, so s/he can distribute them.

7. Wedding Reception Staff- The onsite coordinator, maitre’d, serving staff, bar tenders etc. are all included in this. Generally most venues charge a service fee which covers the tip for all these vendors, but make sure to double check with your venue. If a service fee is not included in your final bill then 15-20% of the food and drink fee should be given to the maitre’d or banquet captain to distribute among staff. I have a service fee included in my venue contract, but I will be giving an extra tip to my onsite coordinator. She has been incredibly helpful and gone above and beyond. I will be giving her a gift, thank you note, and check the day before or the day of.

8. DJ/Band- Some think this is optional, but I feel it should be done. If the DJ is not the owner of the company, then a tip of $50-$150 should be given. If it’s a band $20-$25 per musician is appropriate. Just hand this marked envelope to your on-site coordinator to distribute or have the best man give it at the end of the reception.

9. Transportation- 15-20% of the bill should be given to the drivers/attendants for all your transportation. If you will not be using this transportation either have a responsible guest distribute the tip or contact the company to see if you can give the tip to them ahead of time.

10. Hair and Make-Up: 15-20% of the fee should be given to your hair and make-up people, whether they are coming to you or your going to them.

11. Impersonators- We don’t have one of these at our wedding, but a lot of Vegas brides like to do an Elvis impersonator (if your looking the one I have seen most recommended on The Knot Vegas Board is Travis Allen). If you do have one you should tip between 15-20%.

12. Valets- You want to make sure you befriend these guys, because there going to be the ones running for your car or hailing you a taxi for every last minute wedding appointment you have. If they’re hailing you a cab then $1-$2 if they’re pulling up your car $2-$5 will do the trick. Some tricks to get your car quickly (it can take up to 30 minutes to get your car from valet) is to call ahead or give them a bigger tip up front and tell them your not feeling well. Keep an envelope of ones on hand in your purse for tipping these guys.

13. Bellmen- These guys are very important part of your wedding. They will deliver your dress, your alcohol for your in-suite reception/after party, or wedding cake for your in-suite reception. They will deliver the welcome bags to all your guests. Keep an envelope of five dollar bills with you so you can easily pull one out and hand it to them every time they deliver a wedding item to you.

Make sure you have all your tips set aside in marked envelopes before you leave for Vegas, that way it’s simple and easy. Make sure tipping is a line item in your budget, so your not caught off guard by this expense.

How much did you spend on tips? Was it a large portion of your budget?

My sources for this post are:

The Dollars and Cents of it All   Leave a comment

Planning a destination wedding incurs many line items that may or may not be featured at a non-destination wedding. I want to talk about the ins and outs of a destination wedding budget. I will be specifically addressing Las Vegas, but many of these items could be applicable to any other destination wedding. When you decide upon a destination wedding, you must decide to what extent you are going to host and take care of your guests. You have several options, rehearsal dinner for all guests, meet and greet/ welcome party (fun activity or party to greet all guests upon arrival), planned grouped outings (hosted or non-hosted), after party, and morning after brunch. The number of activities/parties you host will depend on the number of guests and your budget. Here is a sample of a weekend weddng in Las Vegas.


Rehearsal in Chapel

Rehearsal Dinner with Wedding Party and Immediate family at restaurant near Chapel


Welcome Party/ Meet and Greet- Brides in Vegas have several options for this. You could host an in-suite welcome party where guests can stop by, go bowling, set-up bottle service at a club or bar and reserve private area for guests, book a pool cabana, or do a tour of the Las Vegas strip.


Ceremony and Reception

After Party- You can meet up at a club, piano bar, or lounge in any of Vegas’s hottest hotels


Morning After Brunch- You can host this at one of the many buffets in Vegas or at a beautiful restaruant or do something more formal in-suite.

Mr. Darcy and I have decided upon the following schedule for our Vegas Weekend Wedding-


In-Suite Rehearsal and Rehearsal Dinner with Wedding Party and Immediate Family

Meet and Greet- Las Vegas Strip Tour on Double Decker Bus


Bridal Breakfast in-suite for the bridal party

Ceremony and Reception


In-Suite Morning After Brunch

Our goals for the weekend were 1. Provide as many meals to our wedding party to help them cut their costs and 2. To provide our guests with ample oppurtunity to celebrate with us and to thank them for taking the time to come celebrate.

We are still considering an after party for later in the evening. I really like the Chandelier Bar at the Cosmopolitan.

Chandelier Bar at the Cosmopolitan


Isn’t it pretty? Wouldn’t it be fitting to party with our wedding guests inside a giant chandelier, post wedding? My only concern is post wedding exhaustion. We will see.

The next line item that becomes a big deal for a destination wedding is transportation. You really help should your guests with transportation, especially if they are flying into somewhere and will be lacking wheels. 99.9% of our guests will be driving to Vegas, so we don’t have to worry about transporting guests from the airport to their hotels. We are providing transportation from the ceremony location to the reception location, though. We are also providing one bus from the reception to the ceremony location (Caesar’s Palace to Mandalay Bay) for guests, who want to return there instead of going around the strip.

Another line item for destination weddings’ is the welcome bag. These are not necessary, but go a long way in helping your guests feel welcome and extra special. Welcome bags can range from lavish to basic. Ours will be more basic, but have a few personal touches. Here are the basic elements of our welcome bags

1. Container- tote or gable box, we haven’t decided yet

2. Water Bottles- 2 smart waters with tags that say, “The smartest thing Mr. Darcy ever did was to ask Miss Austen to marry him.” and the other will say “The smartest thing Miss Austen did was say yes.”

3. Snacks- Mr. Darcy’s mom will be making Kifles (a Polish cookie) and I will be making Coconut Macadamia Nut Bundt Cake (a Hawaiian recipe)  to represent our two heritages.

4. Hang Over Kit- This will include mints, gatorade packet, and advil

5. Welcome Note- handwritten note, thanking guests for attending

6. Maps and Information about Destination- The concierge at the Mandalay Bay has agreed to give us a local entertainment magazine, map of the strip, and some other information for all our guests.

7. Starbucks Card- We may add a $5 Starbucks card also. I am not sure on this.

The key to welcome bags though, is not what’s in them, but how you distribute them. Every hotel is different in their policies, some have them delivered to the room, some will hand them out at check-in. Plus, when your having a destination wedding at a place like Vegas, your guests could be staying every where. You must decide whether to distribute them to each hotel or to hand them out at one time.

Did you have a destination wedding? What extra line items did you have in your budget?

Red, Hot Cake   3 comments

I will be heading to Vegas at the end of July and while there my only wedding related activity (so far) is to have a design meeting with the cake baker. Lately I have been haunted wedding nightmares including some about the cake. The worst is the cake falling over, when we go to cut it, and my dressing ends up being a hot mess of cake, frosting, and filling. The funny thing is that in the dreams the cake is red. Now the cake design that Papa Austen picked is not red. In fact it’s a beautiful square, white cake with gold piping and ribbon. Remember this cake (I have decided I like square better than the round):


I love the cake Papa Austen chose with a few changes, it will be square and the pearls will be fondant and painted with pearlized paint, but I am also thinking about this red cake thing. I associate a red cake with the unexpectedness of a red wedding dress, I think it’s daring and sexy. Part of me loves the idea of throwing this thoroughly nontraditional design into such a traditional element of a wedding. My two favorite red wedding cakes are

Red Wedding Cake with Light Blue Sugar Flowers


I love the simplicity and classic look of this cake with the classic smooth fondant tiered cake and cascading sugar flowers.

Red Fondant Cake with Monogram


I love the monogram on this cake.

So what do you think of the red cake? I am not completely sold on the idea of a red cake. I feel we are already having a somewhat non-traditional wedding and I don’t know if I want to take our traditional cake and make it so not. I love the gorgeous, bright red fondant, but am unsure it will be a favorite of Mama and Papa Austen and Mr. Darcy. At the end of the day the choice is basically mine, though. I guess I will need to decide before Mama Austen and I’s appointment.

Are my dreams leading me in the right direction? Or should I stick with my more traditional cake?


Posted June 30, 2011 by kcoleybear in Wedding Cake

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