MK’s Inspiration Station: Light Up Your Reception (& Guests) with Photo Booth Backdrops

As if the schmillion other posts I’ve previously done on this topic weren’t evidence enough, let it be known to all – men, women and children alike… I la’louvre Photo Booths!  (For those of you who don’t speak Mary:  la’louvre = deep rooted levels of paramount love, which hover somewhere between “pushing the limit” and “you’ve gone too far” – hehe.)

Which is why I am through the roof with excitement to present our latest line to enter the realm of  awesomeness – aka Marilyn’s Keepsakes :) – Personalized Photo Booth Backdrops!  With reception photo booths becoming one of 2010′s biggest wedding trends, it’s no wonder we wanted to be first in line to give brides-to-be something to make them even more amped to use them on their big day!

Available in 6 designs, 13 of today’s hottest wedding colors and personalized absolutely free of charge, these are the kind of products dreams are made of!  Okay, okay, maybe dreams is taking it too far, but at the very least, there have to have some sort of rainbows, candy coated shells or pot’o’gold magic somewhere in their formula, because they are all kinds of fab(to the)ulous and create a great way to inspire interaction and entertainment among your guests!

Below are the current designs we’re offering – as modeled by yours truly, three of my work cohorts and a bucket full of ridiculousness :)  Of course, I’m using the word “modeled” here very loosely – haha, but we’re workin’ it nonetheless!  So, without further adieu, I give thee Photo Booth Backdrops, as presented by Marilyn’s Keepsakes:

Flourish Photo Booth Backdrop

Timeless Photo Booth Backdrop

Embracing Hearts Photo Booth Backdrop

Regal Photo Booth Backdrop

Vintage Scroll Photo Booth Backdrop

Elegance Photo Booth Backdrop

Wedinator’s Finest: Shedding Light on “Classy” Weddings Everywhere

A couple of weeks ago, a friend at work (holllller, Amy!) sent me an email about Wedinator.com… a Web site whose “prime directive” is to “trash your special day.”  Now, I know what you’re all thinking - “Well, that’s pretty negative directive.”  – and I know this, because I thought the exact same thing.

That is until; I ventured onto the site and laid these baby blues on what can only be described as some of the most retina burning images ever.  And yes, I just coined the term “retina burning,” because they’re the kind of images that stick with you, long after you’ve clicked out and moved on.

Intended as “all in good fun” humor, - well, I suppose until you land on it yourself – this site allows people to upload, vote, digg, share, tweet and retweet photos from the more colorful moments / colorful weddings around the world.  Whether you saw it on a site or lived through it yourself, Wedinator.com gives people the opportunity to share and exploit their most outrageous wedding pics… that will – at the very least – make you feel better about your life for the sheer, simple fact you’re not in them.

Here are some of my favorites from Wedinator’s Finest:

#1)  A helpless groom tries to get his new wife / life together… but with little to no luck.  Hahaha!  Reminds me of the end scene of Sixteen Candles when Molly Ringwald’s sister took “a few too many” muscle relaxers to ward off the discomfort of her “monthly gift.”  Classic.

#2)  Maine – perhaps home to the greatest General Store ever – really knew what they were doing when they put this little piece of heaven together.  I mean, I know when I picked out my wedding gown, the only thing that could’ve made it better was the ability to practice my right to bear arms and drink a cold beer.  Hahaha!

#3)  This next one is a real prize, and with one glance, you can see why.  While it pretty much goes without saying that brides want their grooms to be several things, I’m almost 100% certain scary, muderous ninja is not one of them.  Wow.

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#4)  And speaking of ninjas… who invited this guy?

#5)  Not to be outdone by ninjas, pirates also like to show up on the big day… and apparently take brides captive with a wink, smile and loaded barrel rifles.  Why???

#6)  And what wedding guest wouldn’t want to share their cake… especially with a guest as “cuddly” as this one??  GROSS!

#7)  Following the adage, “share and share alike,”  nothing says harmony and romance on your wedding day quite like these underage, future felons of America… awww, memories.

And for more photos just as magical as these, feel free to log in and tune on to Wedinator.com.

Wedding Trend Alert (cont’d): Different Themes for Engagement Sessions

On Wednesday’s post, I focused on the entertainment value of choosing to do a Themed Engagement Session, as opposed to the standard hold-hands-and-stroll-down-a-path-while-smiling-back-at-me photos.  (You know exactly which ones I’m talking about.)

While I let you in on some of the more fab(to the)ulous reasons why costume corralling can be a très magnifique way to have fun and create great memories, I also wanted to share some ideas to help jump start your creative juices.

Here’s a random sampling of some of my faves :)

Retro Chic / 1950s Inspired

photo courtesy of greenweddingshoes.com

Off to War / Military

photo courtesy of carolinetran.net

*Prop* Yourselves Up

photo courtesy of chriscraymer.com

Breakfast @ Tiffany’s

photo courtesy of axioo.com

Gear Up / Location, Location, Location!

photo courtesy of youropenair.com

1920s Speakeasy / Bonnie & Clyde

photo courtesy of claytonaustinlovestories.com

Cowboy / Country Girl

photo courtesy of dellaflora.com

Vintage Trip to the Fair!

photo courtesy of elizabethannedesigns.com

Rockstars / Celebrities

photo courtesy of kristyhuston.com

Sport’s Fans

photo courtesy of brookeandpedro.com

Wedding Trend Alert: Themed Engagement Sessions

Roaring 20's Theme (photo courtesy of Jessika Feltz Photography)

Whether you choose to be a saucy minx, Stepford wife or sassy girl-next-door, planning an engagement session around one of your favorite themes is a great way to capture and create memories that otherwise would’ve been lost to the masses… and not to mention, they provide an even better excuse to whip out that allstar treasure chest of Halloween costumes from year’s gone by :)

For cereal, 2010 is all the rage for themed engagement sessions, and I couldn’t be more excited!  If you’re anything like me, you more than likely have a bajillion shots of “everyone look over here – watch the birdie!, watch the birdie! (SNAP!)” pictures filling every frame, album and drawer in your house.  The people and outfits may change from shot to shot, but the poses are always the same… hence why costume driven engagement pics become even more entertaining!

In general, engagement sessions give a couple and their photographer a great arena to practice posing before the big day but are sometimes uncomfortable and not the easiest avenue to generate creativity.  By allowing yourselves the ability to embrace different characters, themes or eras, you and your *boo-to-be will easily be driven to a whole new level of awesomeness! 

After dressing to the nines, even the most nervous Nellies can come to life.  Take my Mister, for instance.  Don’t get me wrong, ladies; I love my husband very much, but if you think for one second the man enjoys showing off his handsome mug for a camera, you’d sadly be mistaken.  In fact, I would compare his level of awkwardness to that of Chandler from Friends during his and Monica’s engagement session.  If you’re not familiar with this reference, please know… it does not paint a pretty picture.   Seeeee… (article cont’d below)

photo courtesy of Jessika Feltz Photography

photo courtesy of Jessika Feltz Photography

So, whether you choose to dress it up or dress it down, just remember that dressing up your pre-wedding pictorials is just the ticket for unique pics and fun times!

Doll Up Your Wedding Day in Bows from Head-to-Toe

photo courtesy of VeraWangWeddings.com

Back in 2002, I had the good fortune of working in a bridal store.  Every day was an adventure, but my favorite days were the super slow ones where the other consultants and I would spend our “free time” perusing (and sometimes slipping on) the discontinued, couldn’t-sell-them-even-if-they-were-free dresses stored in the waaaay, way back.

Known as the bridal gown graveyard, this was the area of the store that housed the finest of 80′s fashion… you know, where everything is oversized and unflattering?  While there were a number of fashion detail “don’ts” accountable in this area, no detail was more predominate than that of the (drum roll, please)… GIANT BOW. 

Generally, God awful in size and ill placed in design, even the most dainty of bows seemed out of sorts somehow.  I mean, honestly???  Why would anyone ever want a bow – wired for bulk and poof – travelling across their backside?  It’s like a target for wide load and “geeesh” comments… and nobody wants that on their wedding day.  

However, as time went on, I began to see the reemergence of bows in bridal gowns – as well as countless other wedding day details, and I must say, this time around, it’s one of my favorite wedding trends to date!  There’s a girlish simplicity that bows – when done correctly –  seem to produce that is untouched by most other details, and because of the doll-like connotation they carry, it’s always fun to see how designers can change it from one item to the next.

Below are some highlights of bridal bows workin’ hard for the cuteness (sooo hard for the cuteness)!!  Haha!

Vera Wang and Paloma Blanca are two designers that integrate bridal bows exquisitely into their gowns.

photos courtesy of VeraWangWeddings.com and PalomaBlanca.com

Home for some of the best DIY divas ever, Etsy.com shows how beautifully bows can be incorporated into your headpieces.

photos courtesy of Etsy.com

And because we love helping brides-to-be trend up their wedding day details, Marilyn’s Keepsakes also knows the bows!

photos courtesy of MarilynsKeepsakes.com

Fun Wedding Detail: Let Your Bridesmaids Brooch it Up!

photo courtesy of Katie Marsh Photography

photo courtesy of Katie Marsh Photography

Brooches are no longer just for your Grandmama’s jewelry box.  In fact, they can be an artistic pop of vintage charm when added to the right spot of  wedding attire.  This past summer, I was in a girlfriend’s wedding (whhhaddup, Dre!), and while the bride dressed all of to the nines in low back, tee length aqua gowns, she let each of us finish off our look with a crystal brooch of our choice.

An original to the core, Dre – the bride – knew she’d never be happy with cookie cutter bridesmaids dresses; so, she installed the help of a friend’s mom to craft and create each one of the nine bridal party dresses for her big day.  (Lea, we’re still thanking you!) 

The backs’ of the dresses - containing a super low cut out to the waist and modern, tie closure - became an instant favorite to all of us… especially when we trimmed the modern, bow closure with our vintage, crystal brooches.  The final look was incredible and created for super beautiful photos!

photo courtesy of Katie Marsh Photography

From Mess to Masterpiece: Finally, a Way to Love Those Hideous Bridesmaid Dress Disasters

It’s time we just put all the cards out on the table… While we may never admit it to their faces, we’ve all been involved in a wedding where being a bridesmaid felt more like a punishment.  Namely, because of the ill fitting, unflattering, over-the-top uncomfortable torture chambers we were forced to wear.  Yes, ladies, I’m referring to the ever (in)famous (dun dun dun!) bridesmaid dress.

While bridesmaids’ dresses have come a long way from their 1980 counterparts – eek!!!

photo courtesy of somethingbluedesignscalgary.blogspot.com

There are still quite a few in the mix that are downright dreadful.  Sure, there may not be as many metallic fabrics, ruffled sleeves or giant bows available, but even with all the 2010 trendsetting options, there are still ones that simply should be left on the shelf.

Yet, I digress.  We can’t blame a bride entirely for making us prance around like “What Not to Wear” victims.  In fact, she’s merely the messenger.  She may have found the dress and made you wear it, but she sure as heck didn’t design it.  Therefore, I say we blame the designers of these dresses by demolishing their epic fails and turning them into something we can love (and never have too many of)… throw pillows!

While researching different ways to salvage old dresses, I came across an article Samantha Baldwin wrote for the Examiner.com where she provided step by step instructions on how to turn drab bridesmaid dresses into fab home décor!

Being an avid fan of anything artsy fartsy and creating throw pillows myself, I was all over this idea like white on rice!  Making pillows is SUPER easy – truuuuuust me, if I can do it, ANYONE can do it – and can save you a boat load of money.  It doesn’t take much time at all, and since the material is already provided, the cost will be next to nothing!  Below are some of Baldwin’s examples, as well as Marilyn’s Keepsakes step by step instructions on how to create decorative pillows of your own! 

From drab to fab! Turn old bridesmaid's dresses into warm home accessories! (photo courtesy of examiner.com)

Step by Step Instructions to Create your own Pillows! 

Materials You’ll Need:

  • Bridesmaid Dress for Destroying
  • Scissors
  • Sewing Needles
  • Color-coordinating Thread
  • Straight Pins
  • Sewing Machine
  • Iron + Ironing Board
  • Pillow Stuffing

Instructions:

  1. Find it.  Find the old bridesmaid dress debacle(s) and lay them out flat on the floor.
  2. May it pay.  Take out your anger on the dress (and all the tragic pictures it caused) by cutting away any zippers, seams, necklines or hems; so, you’re only left with non-stitched, raw material.
  3. Shape it up.  Consider the shape you want to create.  Be mindful of the amount of material you have, as you will need to create to equal halves of the same shape.  Of course, it’s easiest for beginners to stick to simpler geometric shapes (ie squares or rectangles) before working their way up to, let’s say, a 12 pointed star. 
  4. Cut it out.  Next, cut two identical shapes out of the raw fabric, allowing at least a 1/2″ for the inseam.  If you notice the fabric frays easily, be sure to add stitching to the edges to prevent any extra wear and tear.
  5. Pin it up.  With the material flipped inside out, place a pair of matching sides together and pin them neatly into place. 
  6. Stitch it up.  Begin stitching the two identical shapes together, leaving space for your inseam and a small opening at the end.  **For the more sewing savvy divas creating rounder shapes, don’t forget to cut small, equidistant slits along the outer edges of any curves you may have.  This will ensure your pillow has a smoother shape.
  7. Turn it out.  After stitching the two shapes together – while still leaving a small opening at the end for stuffing – turn the casing right side out and iron it flat.
  8. Let it breathe.  Then, prepare your small opening by tucking a half inch of fabric inside the pillow and ironing it flat. 
  9. Stuff it full.  Once the casing has been ironed flat, stuff it to your desired fluffiness.  **Pillow filler works great and is available at most local craft stores, but you can use whatever you want to fill it up – beans, Styrofoam balls, feathers, cut up t-shirts, etc.
  10. Close it up.   Finally, stitch your pillow closed and enjoy it!!!  (Perhaps for the first time ever!) 

Thank You Postcards: Affordable Brilliance for Trendy Brides!

When a girlfriend at work (holllerrrr, Nat!) brought me a recent wedding thank you she received, I was nothing short of (capital D) delighted!  You see, when Chris and Kierston Baughn decided to send out their wedding nods, they decided to send them out in style with Personalized Postcards… ummm, hello?? Can anyone else say, “Genius!”?

photo courtesy of Kierston Baughn

I mean, c’mon!  Everyone loves getting mail; make no mistake about it, but there’s just something extra special about receiving a postcard.  Postcards – especially to me – have a very sentimental feel.  Both retro and nostalgic, they can often times capture what regular mail cannot.  Whether it’s because their connotation centers around tropical beaches, exotic travels and lazy vacation days or that they’re super cute and easily accessible, there’s just something to be said for the power of postcards.

And when you combine the über cuteness a postcard already has with your own personal touches and the USPS’s low mailing costs (True!  Postcards only cost $.28!), it truly is a win/win for all involved!  So, for any of you brides-to-be hoping to add some fun to all your obligatory thank you writing, I would totally suggest looking into this!

Tori Spelling *Tweets* about Her New Celebreality Wedding Show

photo courtesy of people.com + Albert Michael/Startraks

Even though I still have a hard time calling her anything but “Donna” (dun-nu-nun-nu! dun-nu-nun-nu! CHH! CHH!), Tori Spelling has been making her own name famous for years.  Staying close to her 90210 roots and starring in Oxygen’s hit TV show, Tori & Dean: Home Sweet Hollywood, Spelling, alongside her husband, Dean McDermott and their two children are vastly becoming one of today’s most recognized families.

And – as one of her recent Twitter tweets established – their fame just might be expanding into the wedding world. Yesterday, Spelling announced via the Web 2.0 guru that she and Dean will be starring in Oxygen’s new pilot, Tori & Dean: Weddings.  She later tweeted that the combination of her planning skills and Dean’s “take it to the wall” attitude will be the key factors in planning someone else’s dream wedding.

And while I have no idea how their wedding planning skills will mesh with today’s modern bride to create her “dream wedding,” I’d be lying if I didn’t say I’m über curious to see how it all pans out… especially since Donna – errr, Tori - will always have a soft spot in my heart.  

I mean, c’mon.  Despite the fact that she makes schmillions of dollars and is happily married with two beautiful babies, I can’t help but remember how “Donna” was always considered the less hot version of her much hotter counterparts (Shannon Doherty and Jennie Garth); nor will I ever be able to erase all the heinous right hooks the media has thrown her way over the years.   

Between her life-under-the-spotlight upbringing, famed plastic surgery debacles and crazy Spelling Mama Drama, Tori has showed us all just how cruel of place Beverly Hills can be and – in her own right - has emerged the underdog we all secretly root for.  Which is why I’m super excited to see her doing so well and would like to say to her directly, “Go ahead with yo’ bad self, Mrs. McDermott… go ahead.”  

And be on the lookout for the pilot episode of Tori & Dean: Weddings!

Go Ahead… Try Before You Buy!

How many of us have bought a tube of lipstick – truly believing it was “our perfect shade” – only to go home, put it on and realize we look like a complete yutz???  Yep.  Lord knows I’ve been there.  In fact, I have a whole bag of makeup dedicated to “rejects” alone.  Why I keep them??  The world may never know… and yet, I digress.

Because makeup testing is so limited, especially when buying online, it’s easy to get an overload of non-acceptables, which is definitely UNacceptable when shopping for wedding makeup!  This is why I love love love that makeup sites are becoming more interactive!

Case ‘n’ Point: MaryKay Cosmetics.  They are a perfect example of how brides-to-be can take a more “hands on” approach to shopping for cosmetics online.  By providing their Virtual Makeover tool, brides have the ability to try before they buy!  Simply upload your own photo, paint your face every color under the sun and see what looks best on you!

For ease purposes, you can browse by overall look, makeup type or shade preference.  It really is fun to do and gives you the ability of making yourself over, without all the mess… and face washes in between!!  And who wouldn’t love that??

So, what are you waiting for?  Primp away!

And for more beauty tips and tricks, please feel free to contact Natalie – MaryKay consultant extraoidinaire – who will gladly help you on your journey of putting your best face forward the day you say “I do!”