Congratu-gagement: Diamond Rings Ring in the New Year

courtesy of brandonkidd.net

One of my favorite parts of a New Year is all the new bling that starts popping up amongst family and friends.  With the gift giving season picking in December, it’s no wonder that so many young men choose this time to get down on one knee and ask the four words so many women long to hear, “Will you marry me?”

While I love love loved everything about my wedding day, and the marriage has been one increds journey… I must confess that there was something sooo special and exciting about the planning process.  I like to tell brides it’s kind of like a 12-18 month long Christmas Eve.  With all the anticipation swimming around the talk of the big day, one can’t help but feel butterflies of excitement on the daily!  And according to theknot.com, here are the top ten things newly engaged brides-to-be should do:

  1. Start a Wedding Planner.  Create a beautiful keepsake to house all your favorite engagement memories… from the down-on-one-knee story to favorite photos, inspiration ideas, to-do lists, favorite designers, venues, caterers and more!  Trust and believe, by taking a little time here and there from the beginning to end, you’ll easily have one of the best memory books evs!
  2. Plan an Engagement Party.  Whether you choose to throw one for yourself or let others take on the celebratory task, having an engagement party is a great way to officially announce your nuptials to family and friends, all while rejoicing in your love.  Plus, it’s one more reason to get out some pre-wedding partying!
  3. Pick a Date.  First things first.  You can’t start reserving venues or hiring vendors without knowing the date you’ll need them; so, be sure this is one of the first things you check off your list.
  4. Set a Budget.  Along with selecting a date, setting a budget is key in planning your big day.  After you know what kind of finances you’re working with, you’ll know what kind of wedding day to plan for.  From the most elaborate and over-the-top to the simply chic, DIY shindigs, all weddings must first start with a  feasible price tag to work around.
  5. Find a Reception Site.  Generally speaking, a couple uses over 50% of their overall budget on their reception; so, it’s important to find the one that works best for you and reserve it right away!
  6. Make a Wedding Website.  This is a great way to keep track of all your to-do’s, as well as provide information to family and friends as plans come along.  This is an especially useful tool for out-of-towners you hope to attend who will need to make transportation and hotel reservations.
  7. Consider a Consultant.  Many brides-to-be like the thought of hiring a professional to help ensure their big day goes off without a hitch, but if this isn’t in your budget, consider taking advantage of your family friends – especially moms and already wed maids – to help cross your t’s dot your i’s.  It’ll make them feel important and help take some of the stress off you!
  8. Start a Guest List.  One of the biggest factors in planning your wedding (and maintaining a budget) will all come down to the number of people you invite.  By merging two sets of family and friends, it’s important for everyone to have a voice and make sure all their A-listers are included!
  9. Find a Wedding Dress. YESSSS!  One of the BEST parts of being a bride is of course the wedding dress.  Try on lots of styles.  Search lots of websites, and have fun with it.  Most of us (hopefully) only want to do this once; so, make sure you make it count!
  10. Plan for Pro Engagement Pictures.  While the wedding day and all the days leading up to it will come and go, the photography will live on forever.  So, it’s oh so important for every couple to find their perfect photographer and get in a pre-wedding practice round with engagement pictures before the big day.  These can also be the shots your use for everything from your newspaper announcement to invites and more! 

Royal Indeed: Duchess’ Wedding Dress Draws in Record Crowds

courtesy of CNN.com

Just when you thought the #hashtags and Royal Wedding watches were over… the event heard ’round the world rears its way back into ‘ooh la la’ all over again!  According to CNN, UK’s Telegraph, and People.com, the Duchess of Cambridge - more widely known as Prince William’s prettier half, Kate Middleton – and her decadent dress have given Buckingham Palace a fiscal cause for celebration.

Profitting millions upon millions in ticket sales, the dress and all its trimmings went on display from late July to October 3, and while exact numbers won’t be known until after the year end audit, first case estimates put more than 600,000 visitors in eye line with the royal wedding WOWSA gown, breaking the previously held record of visitors from 1994 of 420,000.

photos courtesy of people.com

The Alexander McQueen dream dress – designed by Sarah Burton – is considered the Rolls-Royce of wedding wear.  Composed of silk gazer and hand-tatted lace intricately comprised with shapes representing the counrties of the UK, this knock out gown also features a 9 foot train and several bling-tastic accessories. Among the ones on display, the Queen Mum’s ‘something borrowed’ 1936 Cartier halo-styled tiara and a pair of Robinson Pelham diamond earrings, a ‘something new’ gift from her parents which featured their family crest.

And the ‘oohing’ and ‘awwing’ doesn’t stop there!  While the majority of money raised will go to preserving the Royal Collection – housing thousands of paintings and treasures of the Royal Palace, the Duchess of Cambridge asked that a slice of that ca-ching go to charity.  According to the Telegraph:

When she gave permission for the dress to go on display, the Duchess made it clear that she wanted the gown to raise money for charity, and a proportion of the takings will go to the charitable foundation set up by the Duchess and her husband to receive wedding gifts.  (telegraph.co.uk)

But what’s next for the dress, one might wonder?  Straight to storage, and rightfully so!  According to a palace source,

Kate is “keen to ensure that the dress survives undamaged for as long as possible, and so this inevitably means limiting the number of times that it is transported or displayed.” (people.com)

In the meantime, we can all still sigh in remembrance, keep the Royal Wedding pics a Google search away and hold close to a our memory bank, the day a Prince married a Princess.

Putting Other Proposals to Shame: A ‘Will You Marry Me?” Masterpiece

Proposal stories are my favorite.  Maybe it’s because the delivery is always set up for a happy ending.  Maybe it’s because every day after feels like Christmas Eve until the big day comes.  Or maybe it’s simply because I’m a hope*ful romantic who will always believe in happily ever after… Idk.

But what I do know is, if this guy’s setting the standard… I feel sorry for all you dudes out there who have to go after.  Click below.  You’ll see what I mean :)

Click Image to watch YouTube Video :)

Marilyn’s Keepsakes Celebrates the Royal Wedding in Style

courtesy of onewed.com

It was a royal affair last Friday as the future King of England, Prince William, wed his gorgeous lady, Kate Middleton in a ceremony fit for the ages.  And while the couple spent their day getting married at Westminster, smooching on Buckingham’s balcony and living la vida loca at reception after reception, we here at Marilyn’s Keepsakes did our fair share of regal toasting too.

(Prepare to be impressed – haha!)

We feasted on fine breakfast cuisine…

courtesy of Lindsey Kroemer Photography

courtesy of Lindsey Kroemer Photography

courtesy of Lindsey Kroemer Photography

courtesy of Lindsey Kroemer Photography

courtesy of Lindsey Kroemer Photography

We toasted the nuptials with class, sophistication and Welch’s Sparkling Grape Juice — c’mon now, people, we were on the clock :)  And yes, those glasses are engraved with W&C.  Love.

courtesy of Lindsey Kroemer Photography

courtesy of Lindsey Kroemer Photography

We imagined what their breakfast time together would look like…  And yes, those mugs are engraved with William and Catherine… I mean, we are THEE personalized wedding company; it’s simply what we do :)

courtesy of Lindsey Kroemer Photography

courtesy of Lindsey Kroemer Photography

We even dressed to the nines in our finest – and biggest - hats and got our wedding reception photo booth on, duh!  All in all, a successful work day!  P.S.  Our fearless leader, Carolyn (far left), wore that same black hat when Prince Charles wed Princess Diana – William’s parents - once upon a time in the same famed ceremony.  Now, that’s commitment! P.P.S.  The backdrop reads, “The Royal Wedding of… William & Catherine.”  Yep.

MK ladies lookin' F.I.E.R.C.E! (courtesy of Lindsey Kroemer Photography)

Getting a bit ridiculous. (courtesy of Lindsey Kroemer Photography)

And then, I ruin it. Whoops. (courtesy of Lindsey Kroemer Photography)

Sigh.  Now, I suppose all we can do is sit and wait until Prince Harry pops the question :)

A Few Last Things Before the Royal Wedding Rings!

We’re mere hours away from the Royal Wedding Extravaganza; so, I thought I would razzle dazzle you all with my ahh to the mazing Photoshop skills.  Yep, just making things weird with a little Clip Art, floating royal heads morph job.  Ahhh, (fake) memories – hehe!

Anyhoot, with the wedding right around the corner, there have been some last minute announcements.  First, the wedding program has been made available to the public via the British Monarchy; so, if you’re interested in following along as the love birds say “I do”… simply follow this link.

Secondly, even though the official announcement hasn’t been made, I know Prince Willy and his pretty lady Kate are very saddened they didn’t invite me to the big day celebration.  I mean hellloooo??  Check the “retouching” skills.  Haha!

Thirdly, no matter how you’re celebrating or even if you’re not celebrating at all… it’s always good to wish any crazy kids taking the plunge good luck.  So, here at Marilyn’s Keepsakes, we would like to wish them both the biggest pot of luck ever!  Cheers, to Britain’s finest and all the years of happiness to follow!

Where Were You When… Royal Wedding Watching Parties!

photo courtesy of utahsatellite.com

Go ahead.  Try to say that five times fast… You tried it, didn’t you?  Sweetness :) 

Well, my little chick-a-dees, the time has almost come!  We’re literally within reach of the final countdown before the whole world explodes with Royal Wedding Fever on Friday!!!!!!!  (Please note the extra exclamation points, suggestive to the over-abundance of excitement brewing within this pretty little lady!)

Now, I know not everyone loves the Royals quite like I do, and I’m also aware that others (gasp!) may even find the whole thing a bit silly and extravagant.  (waahhn, waaahhhnnn!)  However – and this is a VERY BIG however – it’s still a royal wedding, people!  And at the end of it, somebody is actually made a princess!!  A real, live princess!  Not the pseudo / semi / quasi versions we make ourselves to be, but a true blue, tack-it-to-her-title-and-put-it-on-her-license PRINCESS!

I can’t help it.  I am literally beside myself.  And while most of you out there – like me – will be working for the man while the royal brew-ha-ha goes down (mayhaps not DVR’ing from two different households to ensure ultimate coverage), there are still others out there who will be taking this event a bit more seriously.

According to Yahoo News, people (namely ones of the female variety) will be setting their alarms before the sun has even had a chance to put it’s game face on and congregating all over the world for Royal Wedding Watching Parties!

Armed with I’m sure the same enthusiasm male cohorts share during Super Bowl Sunday’s finest, people all across our great nation are planning both public and private viewing parties for the Royal Wedding of Kate Middleton and Prince William… each with a price tag to match! 

For instance, for the holy moly rollers, you may want to check out the Trump International Hotel & Tower in Manhattan… because for a measly $1,075, you can have a  (very short) night in one of Trump’s renovated rooms, watching the wedding and enjoying breakfast from 5:00 am to 9:00 am.  You can even spring for a late checkout, in order to “nap after the ‘nups.”

If that doesn’t tickle your fancy, perhaps one of the 15 packages offered at the Ritz Carlton in Washington will be your ticket to Royal Wedded bliss.  Starting at around $429, you’ll give a hearty “here, here!” for Prince Willy and his pretty Katie Baby within the confides of one of the nation’s most well known residents. 

Still too much?  Well, why not just gather with some of your favorite girls, dress in giant hats and toast some spiked tea?  Seems like a good option to me!

But no matter what the price you’re willing to spend, find solace in knowing that no matter where you are… as long as you have a cup ‘o’ tea, a couple crumpets and a few jolly cups of brews, you’ll easily be keeping with the times and celebrating royally :)

Exes at a Wedding: Tell Me Should They Go? Yes or No? Yes or No?

There's about to be a - what? A Girl Fight! (photo courtesy of nicolewelchphotography.com)

My lovely co-worker and fellow Royal Wedding stalker, Carolyn, sent me this little ditty yesterday about the latest and greatest gossip to come out of the final Royal Wedding countdown.  And hold onto your oversized hats, ladies, because this regal romp features the names of all William’s ex-ladies-in waiting that will be in attendance on the big day celebration… that’s right.  I said ladie(s).  And I said ex.

This raises a very common etiquette question, which I am often asked, “Is inviting exes to a wedding an acceptable formality or an all out calamity?”  Of course the ball can roll both ways and is completely dependent on the feelings of each particular bride and groom, but it seems to be a common denominator for at least one side to consider during the pre-wedding plans.  And I’m sad to report, there is no cut and dry answer. 

For cases as sensitively sticky as these, it truly is all about your comfort level as a couple.  For instance, if the ex is a mutual friend who parted with a drama free, curtain closing exit, moved on to a new love and still remains a loyal comrade… the risk of a “Help me Jesus!” moment between one of you and one of them is incredibly slim to none.

However, if the ex had to be de-friended Facebook style after she was caught using her former password privy to colorfully update information, shortly before papering the neighborhood with vicious lies and uncomfortable allegations… mayhaps, it would be best if she was left off the guest list… or better yet, out of the country on the day you say “I do.”

OBVI, these are the kind of decisions that have to be worked out individually by the couple, pending their particular preferences.  Every couple is different.  And every ex is different; you just need to make sure the conclusion you MUTUALLY come to is one you are both comfortable with… just like the one Kate Middleton and her Prince Charming came up with.

And, what are the Royal Wedding conclusions on exes? you may ask.  Will it be <gasp!> the situational scandal of the century?  Ehh, not so much.  In fact, Kate Middleton, the future Mrs.of Prince Willy, is even friends with a few of her future hubby’s former flames.  <sigh>  Nothing like a breath of fresh, drama free air to get the day started off right.   

According to E!’s online post, here are the blasts from Prince William’s past that will be in attendance on his April 29th wedding: 

Davina Duckworth-Chad

This blonde beauty - who once accompanied Prince Charming on a cruise of the Aegean Sea back in 1999 - still remains good friends with the hunky royal, and even invited him to attend her 2004 wedding to Thomas Barber, the son of a baronet. Gotta say, seems pretty clutch things worked out as they did, as Davina and Big Willy are technically related. Yep, this socialite's mummy dearest just so happens to be cousin's of the late Princess Di... weeeird. (photo courtesy of vanityfair.it)

Rose Farquhar

Daughter of Captain Ian Farquhar, this former fling of William's was his first serious girlfriend, but before you start shouting "scandal," it's important to note that they were together during the puppy love days; and Ms. Rose has remained good friends of both Will and brother Harry since. (photo courtesy of thesun.co.uk)

Arabella Musgrave

For those of you who may also consider yourselves professional fans of PW's, perhaps you remember this ultra passionate romance between him and Arabella Musgrave, which began with an infamous upstairs rendezvous at a holiday party back in 2001. Only to avoid a long distance relationship did the two break it off, leaving me to wonder how this saucy little minx made the list? Mayhaps her connects as a PR rep for Gucci? That would do it for me, haha! (photo courtesy of eonline.com)

Jecca Craig

This former flame of Prince William's was another pre-university love. The two spent a lot of time at her family's estate in Kenya, where they infamously carried out a "pretend engagement," and the two have remained close throughout the years. (photo courtesy of eonline.com)

2011 Grammy Highlight: Katy Perry’s Wedding [Video] Revealed

Call me sentimental or even a celebrity stalker… really it makes no matter to me, hehe!  Buuuut, I’d be lying if I didn’t say that Katy Perry’s performance at that 2011 Grammys wasn’t the highlight of the show!

For cereal, the girl can perform – no doubt, but when she paired her high flying performance of Not Like the Movies with moving pictures from her and Russell Brand’s wedding day, I was swooning in my seat! 

There’s just something about seeing a happy couple on their wedding day that will always give me with the warm and fuzzies:  The way a groom eagerly awaits for his soon to be wife at the other end of the aisle and the way the she glows from the inside out as she makes her way to him… (Sigh)…  Idk.  I just la-Louvre it!

So, once I saw the pictures shine behind Katy Perry’s beautiful lyrics, I couldn’t help but a little misty-eyed.  After all,

“Just like the movies.
That’s how it will be.
Cinematic and dramatic with the perfect ending.
Oh! It’s not like the movies.
But that’s how it should be.
When he’s the one,
You’ll come undone.
And your world will stop spinning.
And it’s just the beginning.”
     

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=H-aYOpBaFLI]

Hear Ye! Hear Ye! Facsimile: the Royal Wedding Sends Fax-tastic Save the Dates

Prince William + Kate Middleton

photo courtesy of mamapop.com

According to reports from the Daily Mail, the royal family’s Queen Elizabeth is all about taking things to a trendy level when it comes to the upcoming nuptials of her dear grandson, Prince William and his lucky lady in waiting, Kate Middleton set for April 29 of this year.

Dictated by protocol, the Queen Bee herself wrote a letter, which was transmitted via fax, to all expected sovereigns on the guest list.  Sovereigns – out of respect and tradition – customarily receive advanced notice from other “foreign heads of state and non-VIP guests.” (dailymail.co.uk)

Among those already confirming their “faxy” RSVP’s??  Former sovereign of Greece, King Constantine (who also happens to be William’s godfather and close friend / 2nd cousin to Prince Charles), his wife, Queen Anne-Marie and their eldest son, Crown Prince Pavlov; Serbia’s Crown Prince Alexander (who is also the Queen’s godson) and his wife, Crown Princess Katherine; and the Romanian Monarchy, led by former King Michael and his wife, Queen Ann.  Looks like we’re in store for a pretty royal funky chicken come April! 

Not only that, but even though all confirmed guests are well into their 60s, 70s and even 80s – minus Crown Prince Pavlov who is still a spring chicken among the others at 43 – they were all so quick triggered with the fax machine acceptance and responses!  Ha!  My poor dad still only types with his index fingers!

But I suppose this kind of new age Save the Date should come as no shock to those of us stalking down the regal wedding deets.  After all, it was a tweet heard ’round that world that first solidified the engagement news of Prince Willy and Katie Baby and even the fax machine Queen Mum is also a Facebooking  and Flickr all star; so, it’s no wonder that sovereign Save the Dates would be sent facsimile style.  

And what’s even better??  There’s still more to come!  These sovereign guests will join the 1,800 other privy invitees when the formal, embossed in gold and written by hand invitations go out next month.  I guess for the sovereign royalty though, any kind of heads up in a situation like this is always nice.  I mean, everyone knows when it comes to royal nuptials, there’s about a schmillion other things you could be doing that day instead… (please note the sarcasm and move along.)

But I gotta give ‘em props.  Between the tweet-confirmed engagement, the Queen gettin’ her FB and Flickr on and the fax-ilicous Save the Dates, this is one modernized and efficient family wedding!  And we all know, nothing says romance quite like “efficient.”  Haha!  So, if the Queen Mum is listening, I thought I’d let her know, our fax number here is 800.486.3491, and if you just want to put ATTN: Mary Dietz on it somewhere, I’m sure I won’t have any issue in receiving it…

The gauntlet has been thrown…

And for all my other royal brides-to-be out there looking to make a statement with your “Pencil Us In!” announcements, be sure to check out our full line of DIY & Printable Save the Dates!

Kate & William Sitting in a Tree… W.E.D.D.I.N.G!!!

The Royal Engagement of Prince William and Kate Middleton

photo courtesy of telegraph.co.uk

It’s been less than 48 hours since the royal engagement of Prince William to Commoner (still can’t believe this type of terminology exists) Kate Middleton was announced, and already the world has gone bu-bu-bananas about it!  Don’t believe me?  Well, perhaps you’ll believe CNN, WSJ, MSNBC, NPR, BBC… you give me a 3 to 5 lettered acronym, and I’ll give you their example of world getting whacked for weddings of the royal garden variety.

For instance, if you’re a gambling gal, feel free to head on over to CNN, where you’ll find an article cataloging the long list of items you can place your British pounds on!  People are taking bets on everything from when the wedding will be and where it will take place to the length of Kate’s train and the color of the Queen’s hat!   (Come on, pink!)

Or perhaps you consider yourself more of a financial and political opportunist; so, you might want to hit up Forbes or the Wall Street Journal where you’ll find arguments for and against the cost of the wedding – paid out of the tax payer’s pockets – to the (fingers crossed) overwhelming amount of UK and *African tourism they hope will spin from all this wedded madness.  *If you’re wondering, Africa???  It’s because Kenya is where Big Willy got down on one knee for his lady to be!

Really, it doesn’t matter what you’re looking for; because if ever there was even a faint whisper of concern, excitement, knowledge or otherwise uttered about the upcoming nuptials of the world’s most talk about royal family… you best BUUHHH-LIEVE there’s somebody or several somebodies out there who have already reported, tweeted, facebooked, YouTubed, blogged (holllerrr!), sent up smoke signals, Morse coded, tattooed on their forehead and / or regurgitated all its epic yumminess to the masses.

I, of course, know this because I’d be one of those people at the top of the list creepily concerning myself with it.  As some of you may already know, this ain’t my first rodeo when it comes to the royal wedding watch.  Last August, I wrote the infamous post, “Yes, Prince William, I will Marry You”: A Young Girl’s Dream Shattered?, as if William were my childhood bf and already pegged me as the perfect Best (Woah!)Man.  But alas, I’ll settle for a simple invite, kids - wink, wink, nudge, nudge.

So, as a Royal Wedding connoisseur, I think my favorite tid bit to surface thus far from all the mayhem is the ever so elegant engagement ring!  Originally worn by the late Princess Diana (William’s mum and hands down, the best leading lady evs!) as her engagement ring back to Charles in 1981, the 18 carat Sapphire stunner is now the crowning jewel amidst Middleton’s ring finger!  In an interview conducted by the BBC, Prince William had this to say (see clip below):

“It is a family ring, yes.  It’s my mother’s engagement ring; so, I thought it was quite nice ’cause (um) obviously she’s not going to be a round to share any of the fun and excitement of all this.  This is my way of keeping her close to it all.”  (Prince William, BBC News Interview)

(Pause to compose myself)  Aww!  I love love love that!  And I love love love all this!  Congrats to Kate and William!  May you live each day as it was your first and each night as if it were your last – ooh la la!  And cheers to many, many years of happiness!  You can be sure Marilyn’s Keepsakes will be watching!