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Personalized Gifts, The all-occasion gift that truly touches the heart

Personalized Gifts, The all-occasion gift that truly touches the heart

(ARA) - Finding a gift that really touches the heart is the great challenge of all gift giving, whether the token is for the holidays, a birthday, wedding or other special occasion. A personalized gift is the perfect expression of caring, commitment or gratitude.

Personalizing gifts doesn't have to be difficult, says gift expert Raymond Miller of My Wedding Reception "Turning an OK gift into something truly special can be as simple as adding a name or monogram to the gift," Miller says. "And these days, it's possible to personalize virtually everything, far more than the towels and bathrobes that were once most associated with the concept of monogramming. It's a cost-effective, thoughtful way to give a very personal gift.

You can personalize a gift in several ways:

* Engraving for glass and metallic gifts, like beer mugs, coffee cups, money clips, etc.
* Debossing for leather gifts such as wallets, clutches and luggage
* Embroidering for fabrics like linens, towels, totes and cosmetic bags

Miller offers some advice on how, when and for whom a personalized gift is appropriate:


For many people, gift giving is rarely as stressful as it is during the holidays
. Faced with a long list of people to shop for, it's easy to feel overwhelmed and at a loss for gift ideas. Opting for personalized holiday gifts can make the task easier. A simple gift, such as a holiday ornament or mug - the kind of item you might give to an acquaintance or office friend - becomes a unique offering when you add the person's name. And personalization can add an air of sophistication to more individualized gifts, such as a humidor or wine stopper and pourer set.


Finding perfect bridesmaid gifts can be a challenge, especially for brides who have a large wedding party and multiple attendants to buy for. Most brides want to give gifts that speak to the individuals who helped make her big day so special. Choosing a single elegant bridesmaid gift, such as a tote bag or cosmetic travel bag, and adding personalization is a great way to make the gift unique and memorable. The concept works for gifts for groomsmen as well. Traditional groomsmen gifts such as flasks and beer steins can all be personalized with a groomsman's name or initials. Personalization also adds a layer of sophistication to elegant gifts like cufflinks and business card holders.

Family events

Whether it's a reunion, graduation, birthday party, anniversary or other family celebration, what better way to remind family members of their common bonds than with a personalized gift? Adding the family's last name, monogram or even a favorite saying to a carefully selected gift can elevate a lovely memento to the status of treasured keepsake.

"Personalized gifts never go out of style, and they're touching, welcome gifts that are appropriate for a wide variety of occasions," Miller says. "Although we're primarily known as a wedding reception website, many of our customers tell us they come to us for personalized gifts for many other occasions in their lives, from birthdays to bar or bat mitzvahs, anniversaries to graduations." For more personalized gift ideas, visit My Weddin g Reception

Radiant Skin Care Tips for a Winter Bride

Radiant Skin Care Tips for a Winter Bride
On Location @ 9525 N. Sommerville Dr., Fresno, CA 93720

You can have Radiant skin on your Wedding Day!

Preparing your skin for your Wedding day should be at the top of your list. You will be so happy that you went the extra step in preparing your skin. Whether you will be doing your own make up or will be having a professional, preparing your skin will make all the difference.

Here are a few helpful tips:

Do’s and Don’ts Do’s

1. Meet with a professional Skin Care Expert at least “6mos.” Prior to the wedding, if you can. Get a Skin Analysis so that together you can determine your needs. Do you know what your skin type is? Having the “right” skin care program is very important and a consultation is usually free. Getting helpful skin care tips and preparing your skin is essential for healthy glowing skin on your wedding day and your pictures will be even more beautiful.

2. Start your Skin Care Program. Even in a minimal way you need a good At-Home skin care regiment. Having the right cleanser is a must. At this point your Esthetician can map at a program that will keep you on tract to have Radiant skin on your wedding day. Remember this… Cleanse, exfoliate, hydrate & protect.

3. Waxing…This is another reason why you want to meet a Skin Care expert ahead of time so that you and the Esthetician can work together on your “Eye Brow Design” and the Esthetician gets to know your skin and what type of wax will work for your skin. Some skin types are so sensitive that they are red for hours and if you wax the face or lip area you are taking a chance if you have not prepared your skin properly.

4. Now that you have taken these essential steps to having Radiant Skin you need to start thinking about your make up for that special day. Professional Bridal makeup is different then your everyday make up. So meet with your Esthetician to start your Makeup Consultation and do a trial run.

Rule of thumb on a budget… When considering your Skin Care Regiment and all the thing you might need, start with the cleanser first if you can’t get all items just start adding as you go, one item a month, don’t overwhelm yourself.

Follow these helpful tips and the week of your wedding will be all about getting pampered and enjoying the whole experience stress free!

Here are a few reminders of what not to do if at all possible.


1 . Don’t use Soap to cleanse your Face. Don’t wait until the week of the Wedding to think about your skin regarding Blemishes, Waxing and Make Up.

2. Don’t over hydrate to confine sate for under cleansing. Not having the right cleansing program can make you feel like you have a mask feeling on your skin. So we tend to think we are dry when in fact you just need to cleanse and “exfoliate” properly.

3. Waxing the day before the Wedding especially if you have not been waxing is a Big No No. You could experience unwanted results.

4. If you have never gotten a facial now isn’t the time to get one the day before your wedding. If it is within 5 days you should be safe. Make sure you let the Esthetician know about whether you use Retin A. Check all your moisturizers, foundations and cleansers for products that might have exfoliating properties as these may cause unwanted peeling, which will leave your skin flaky the day your make up goes on.

5. Don’t leave home without your sun screen! SPF 15 in the Winter is fine unless you are going to the slopes you will need a SPF 30 !!

Congratulations on your Wedding and enjoy your day! Have fun the week of the
Wedding getting ready. Have a Spa day with your Brides Maids and or your
future Spouse. Preparing ahead of time will allow for a “Stress Free” day.

On Location @ 9525 N. Sommerville Dr., Fresno, CA 93720

Wedding Day Disasters, Can Be Avoided! Here's Some Advice

Wedding Day Disasters, Can Be Avoided! Here's Some Advice
Learn More About The Author Of This Article - Click Here

Everyone dreams of having a perfect wedding. However, it is not uncommon for every bride's special day to be plagued with at least one or two wedding disasters. Know several forms of wedding disasters, follow our simple tips on how to deal with a few common wedding day disasters, and realize that a disaster-free wedding day is actually possible.

Wedding planning helps to avoid disasters on your most special day. But despite all efforts to achieve a perfect wedding there will always be small hiccups along the road that could turn your day into a major disaster! With proper planning and a simple change in your priorities you will be able to relax and actually enjoy marrying the person you love.

There seems to be no such thing as a disaster proof wedding. It is not uncommon for couples to find their wedding day to be plagued with one or two significant disaster. This article isn't really so much about how to avoid your wedding disaster, or even how to minimize the wedding disaster potential, but how to handle one so that the disaster does not have to ruin, or even heavily impact, your wedding day.

Planning a wedding is one half optimistic jubilation and dream realization and one half delegation. Division of labor or proper delegation on your wedding day plans may result to a fabulous wedding. If, however, you become too demanding, delegate too heavily and heap piles of responsibilities onto just one or two people, or try to master every chore yourself, you are definitely asking for wedding day disasters to show up and make themselves well known on the big day.

Small Disasters, Large Disasters, and Opportunities

Disasters are going to range from small to large. Anything can happen on a wedding day. The flower girl might wet her pants or the groom might faint, forget his vows, or forget where the church is and what time he is supposed to be there. Using your potential disasters as an opportunity requires a very special mind set, but one that anyone is able to achieve. Weddings become so important, especially to women, because they earmark an event that is "supposed to happen" in a very "specific manner."

When we can start to let go of the "supposed to" and "should" theories, then we can focus in a more determined fashion on what is most vital to us, why we are going through with this highly expensive and taxing endeavor, and how we can make sure we enjoy our own wedding day. For all the money, time, energy, and thought that we put into a wedding, so many men and women alike find that they either barely even remember the day or didn't have time to enjoy the day. We usually spend more money, time, and energy on wedding planning than we do for vacations and yet we don't completely enjoy them or at least remember them? How logical is that?

Turning a problem into an opportunity is not easy, but it is very simple. The primary step is learning to recognize any chance or room for improvement or change from the traditional wedding ceremony. The second is learning to allow yourself an ideal emotional day and let the details fall as close to as you hoped as possible. If your emotional experience is beautiful and life affirming, the physical experience around you will be better.

A Change in Priorities Breathes New Life into Weddings

A simple change in your priorities may be just what you need in order to achieve your perfect wedding. Simple changes in your priorities or minor shift in your perspective might as well change your entire wedding day experience. The ability to be flexible no matter what happens is just the beginning. Nothing will change and it will not make you less joyful while you exchange wedding vows if you allow your flower girl to change into different clothes after she wets her pants. Watching your about to be husband go on the fly when it is his turn to recite his wedding vows allows you to witness honest beauty rather than watching him blow it. These small but vital changes in perspective are a strong piece of bringing together the perfect wedding day. Ditching the ideas of "could be" and "should be" and "want it to be" and transforming your day into an honest celebration of love, family, friends, and the future creates a while new vibe for the entire wedding.

With enough perspective alterations - your wedding day can go from that story book fantasy that ends with a notated disaster that stands to ruin the whole day to a beautiful day without pretense, without judgmentFree Web Content, and without emotional distress.


Will It Rain On Your Wedding Day? Try This Useful Weather Tool!

Don't Let a Disaster -- Natural or Otherwise -- Ruin Your Big Day

(ARA) - The sun is shining, birds are chirping and the bride is beaming as she walks down the aisle. In a perfect world, this would be the setting for every wedding; but in reality, that is not always the case.

In recent years, hundreds of weddings across the country were ruined or postponed by disasters, both natural and man-made. Seven hurricanes made landfall in the Southeastern United States this summer causing widespread damage and interruptions. Sixteen states experienced flooding bad enough to make it onto the Federal Flood Report; there were wildfires out West; and rockslides in Colorado.

And those are just the natural disasters. There were also fires set either intentionally or accidentally at churches, synagogues, hotels and banquet halls; flights that had to be cancelled because of engine problems or bad weather; people who got into car accidents; cars that wouldn't start; and the list goes on.

"You never know when something will go wrong which is why you should protect yourself by buying wedding insurance," says Robert V. Nuccio, exclusive program administrator for the Fireman's Fund wedding insurance program. "Everyone has car and homeowners insurance, but wedding insurance is something most people don't even think about until it's too late."

With the national average for wedding expenses now around $20,000, more families are seeking to protect their investment from unforeseen glitches. Nuccio points out a policy costs the same -- $195 and up depending on your coverages -- whether you buy it six months or two weeks before the event; but by waiting, you run the risk of not being insurable.

"A lot of people were out of luck this past summer when a total of four hurricanes made landfall in Florida," says Nuccio. "For a while there it seemed like every week there were evacuation orders in place. A lot of events were cancelled because they were in evacuation zones; others because the facilities were destroyed in a storm. The people who didn't have insurance lost a lot of money."

For those who say 'my wedding isn't happening during hurricane season, or even in a place hurricanes will strike,' Nuccio offers this example: "Your wedding may be in May; you booked the facility in December; but what if a month before the ceremony, the facility was destroyed in a fire, flood, or tornado? What would you do?" asks Nuccio. Without insurance, you'd most likely lose your deposits and have to pay a lot more to secure a different facility. If you had a policy covering cancellation or postponement, you'd be in good shape. "Most people also opt for coverage of the additional expenses associated with arranging alternative services," says Nuccio.

Among the other coverages available

* Photography -- If you elect this coverage and the photographer fails to appear or the negatives are lost, damaged or stolen, the cost of re-shooting the event will be covered. The policy will pay to fly or drive the wedding party back to the event location, put them up in a hotel, feed them, redress them, re-rent the facility, rehire a photographer, buy a new cake, buy new flowers, re-shoot the event, then drive or fly the participants home.

* Special attire -- If your wedding gown or the attire of attendants is lost, damaged, or stolen, or the bridal shop goes out of business, this coverage will provide for repair or replacement.

* Jewelry -- This coverage allows you to repair or replace jewelry when it is lost, stolen or damaged.

* Gifts -- This coverage is intended to protect you against damage, theft or loss of your wedding gifts.

* Rental property -- If you are renting chairs, tables, or tents for the wedding, this will cover the value if something gets lost, stolen or damaged.

* Personal liability
-- The majority of banquet halls require party hosts to supply them with liability coverage, including Host Liquor Liability. “This isn’t always spelled out very well so make sure you read your rental agreement carefully,” says Nuccio. “I’ve had clients find out they need it at the very last minute, and it’s more expensive to acquire on very short notice.”

There is wedding insurance available for just about any situation you can think of. "Except for cold feet,” says Nuccio. “Change of heart is not covered."

He points out that similar coverage is available for other social events, including bar mitzvahs; anniversary, birthday and engagement parties; and baby showers. For more information, call (800) ENGAGED or log onto

Courtesy of ARA Content

Bridal Beauty 101 - Beauty DO's & DON'T's!

Bridal Beauty 101

By: Charish Hoover - owner

Your wedding day makeup can either make you look older (especially in photos), or younger.
It's important to start your beauty preparations far in advance to your special day.

Here Are Some Helpful Tips You Can Put Into Action Now, To Benefit From On Your Wedding Day,
And Everyday!

If you have facial fine lines and wrinkles, Choose a quality (more expensive) facial foundation. There are so many brands such as Mac, Avon, Mary Kay, Cover Girl, etc., but each carries lines that aid in diminishing fine lines, and refer to age defying qualities. It's worth trying some of these out for your wedding day look. Some are really good. My personal favorite is CoverGirl Advanced Radiance. I've received a few compliments when I wear this (I'm now 40).
For Oil Control, & A More Silky Smooth Finish - Add a more perfect appearance to your face using loose translucent powders like CornSilk.(Minimizes the appearance of pores, doesn't build up in fine lines).

Avoid makeup entirely and some grooming of the face for your wedding day.

Some brides don't like makeup, or wear it on an every day basis. Let's face it some of you don't need it, however when it comes to
wedding pictures, do not go without any makeup, or facial grooming at all.

Whether or not you will be using a professional makeup artist, below are some things to consider.

What should you consider?

When it comes to wedding photos, many brides don't realize that no eye makeup at all can mean naked looking eyes (in a non-flattering way) in photos. If you don't like eye liner, consider applying just a light line to the top lid only, and consider some artificial lashes that add POW to your eyes. Older brides who have under eye lines should take this route especially by adding liner and mascara, or artificial lashes only the top lids. By doing this, you draw attention upward away from beneath your eyes, where you don't want people looking, thus adding a more youthful, wide eyed appeal. Think Bambi!

Again, when it comes to your wedding pictures, no lipstick or lip color
will look drab in your wedding day photos. Again, if you don't like makeup, consider lining your lips at a minimum with a light shade lip liner, smudge the ends with your fingers, and extend the shade to fill in the rest of your lips (to avoid the traced look), and then add some shiny lip gloss to give your lips a fuller look.

Bushy eyebrows are a distraction, and a beauty no no.
Brook Shields got away with it, but that was quite some time ago. Consider having your brows professionally tweezed before your wedding day if you are afraid to do this yourself. The proper arching can make you look more refreshed, happy, and younger.

Wear Sunscreen daily on your face and exposed areas of your body. SPF 15 or more.
If you must have a golden tan on your wedding day, consider using a tanning lotion that darkens your skin tone, or taking a visit to your local tanning salon and ask about their sunless tanning booths. These artificial tanning services, or lotions are much better today than they used to be and provide a very natural, believable looking tan. With the effects of the sun on skin (aging), skin cancer etc. being more in the spotlight than ever today, it's worth finding healthy alternatives to the old fashioned sun bathing.
Some Day Spas offer airbrush tanning, and this is a healthy, great looking alternative to lying in the sun.

Exfoliate your face and body at least one time each week. More often for oily skin.
If you don't do this, or don't know what it is, it's time to learn. There are many great exfoliating products available at department stores, drug stores, and places like Target, or Wal-Mart.
Exfoliating your skin is the process of using a mild abrasive lotion or sponge on the face and body to rub off, or eliminate dry, dead skin cells, thus revealing newer, fresher skin cells.
The process if done regularly, can revive dull looking skin, and add a more youthful, healthy look to the skin and body.
Exfoliation can also extend the life of any tan. One product I like personally can be found at Target stores, by St. Ives Swiss Formula Apricot Scrub (Invigorating). Once you try this scrub, you'll love it, and the way it makes your skin feel. Another great product for faces in addition to the above mentioned product it Noxzema face cream. Rub it on your face in the shower, or over the sink, and gently brush your face with a soft bristle tooth brush (using circular motion). This can be done gently under the eyes, nose, and the rest of the face where it may be difficult to use the scrub. Your face will feel refreshed.

IMPORTANT: It's always important to test any product or method on your skin before using it full-force. Always use sun screen after exfoliating as fresh delicate skin will be vulnerable to the sun, and expect a slight pink hue to your skin after exfoliating as well. If irritation begins, stop all treatments, or adjust the method and product. Use any method with discretion and at your own risk.

Starve yourself, or crash diet before your wedding day. It is a proven fact (ask any wedding consultant), that crash dieting, starvation diets leads only to fatigued, cranky brides that often faint or feel faint on their wedding day. Crash dieting also leads to the individual often regaining the lost weight, and then some after the wedding day is over.
Instead Try The Following:

1. Drink plenty of icy cold water daily.
Studies have shown that for every 8 oz. glass of icy cold water you drink the body burns 25 calories extra. Drink 4 glasses spread out throughout the day, and burn an extra 100 calories! Don't like water you say? Try substituting a glass or two with some Crystal Light (5 calories per glass). It's better than not drinking any ice cold fluids.

2. Get plenty of sleep each night 8 hours minimum. Recent studies show that people who lack adequate sleep each night have a decrease in the hormone called Leptin. Leptin lets the body know when it is full and should stop eating, therefore with sleep deprivation being a problem, an individual is more likely to be have more aggressive cravings, and a more insatiable appetite.
Also, Scientists suspect that sleep deprivation lowers person's basal metabolic rate which is the number of calories you burn when you rest.
To learn more about LEPTIN, and leptin weight loss - CLICK HERE


Small And Large Fresno Wedding Hall Options To Consider

Small And Large Fresno Wedding Hall Options To Consider
by: Robert Phillips

FIND THE PERFECT FRESNO WEDDING VENUE (or anywhere) by doing a search at:

Weddings come in all sizes, shapes and forms depending on what the bride and groom prefer. While there are a number of factors that come into effect when selecting a wedding hall, you will want to consider how large of a wedding you desire. From there, you will be able to better judge what facility would be most appropriate.

To start, let's highlight some wedding hall options for a large wedding. Banquet halls are always ideal as they are equipped to handle medium to large parties. Typically the banquet manager will provide services to help arrange catering and decorations. There will generally already be a bar and dance floor on site and it can ultimately simplify the overall process.

Another excellent option to consider is a hotel ballroom. With varying styles available, it allows for everyone to be satisfied. On-site lodging is a huge perk to having the wedding at a hotel ballroom as out-of-town guests can typically receive discounted rates. In addition, some hotels offer wedding package deals that can help save some money.

The final large wedding hall to consider is a country club. While this may be the most expensive option available, it does provide a gorgeous setting and an unforgettable experience. Similar to a hotel, many do provide package deals; it just may be a bit pricier. Just make sure you check into the quality of the food and service as well as the overall reputation of the country club.

If you are looking for a smaller wedding, outdoor weddings are ideal. Whether it is at a national park, in the mountains, on a ranch or beach, there are numerous locations to consider. It allows you to select an ideal setting that is romantic, beautiful and comfortable. The one tricky aspect to outdoor weddings is the weather as there is no controlling whether or not it rains or is too windy or too hot.

The most obvious option for a wedding hall is at a place of worship, such as a church, synagogue, or mosque. A lot of people like this because of the sacred environment and the generous price tag. It can also eliminate the need to travel from the ceremony to the reception. Just know that you will typically need to bring your own decorations and food.

The list of options for where to have a wedding hall is literally endless. Knowing how many people will be attending can help with the process as it will drastically narrow the options down.

What To Wear To A Winter Wedding

What To Wear To A Winter Wedding

Last January, Gord and I were invited to a formal wedding in snow country. My first reaction was, "I have nothing to wear," which made Gord burst out laughing. He knows my taste in clothes and always remarks how perfectly elegant I look, no matter what the occasion.

But this was different. It was a winter wedding. And I was at a loss for ideas. So I began to research for choices. I was surprised to find lots of information and opinions on what is best, both online and offline. Winter weddings have been steadily growing in polarity in recent years. The contrast between the snowy outdoors and cozy, elegant venues makes for an atmosphere of added romance.

Dress For Location

Cold winter weddings by their very nature require additional thought about what to wear. Of course if the wedding is formal, your choices are limited to tuxedos for men and evening gowns for women.

In our case, the wedding party was formal but the guests had no restrictions. Also, the wedding was indoors, except for a quick outdoor sleigh ride only for the wedding party photos. I was relieved. I didn't have to worry about extra 'woolies' and such. And, I already had an elegant black faux-fur mid-calf length winter coat that would go well with any dress.

Dress Styles

My research revealed that dresses should be knee-length to tea-length with no plunging necklines or high slits. Sleeves are better, but if the dress is strapless or has spaghetti straps, just add a wrap or bolero jacket.

The prevailing recommendations are to avoid bright colors such as yellow and orange, which are best suited for spring weddings. Instead, they suggested ladies dress in rich wintery colors such as burgundy, gold, deep plum, black if accented with bright accessories, and forest green, while reds should be deeper tones only. The focus was on single colors with lots of texture in the material itself.


The jewelry should be light and add a sparkling contrast to the dress. Diamond settings or gems like rubies and emeralds are appropriate. A simple necklace, earrings and/or a small jeweled handbag will add just the right sparkle. The overall effect is the glamor of elegant simplicity.

Thanks to some wonderful jewelry from Gord throughout the years, I have all the sparkle I need. I chose a rich black velvet fitted A-line dress falling just below the knees and accented it with my gorgeous ruby pendant on a gold chain with matching earrings given to me by Gord for our 40th wedding anniversary. My pump shoes glittered in the color of rubies to complete the outfit.

I could tell it turned out just perfect by the sparkle in Gord's eyes when he whispered to me that I was the most beautiful woman at the wedding.

I wish you all the best in your own search for the perfect dress for the Winter Wedding. Follow the heart of romance and you can't go wrong.

Promise Rings, and Rings For Engagement

Rings Above Available At

Rings For Engagement and Promise Rings

by: Jason Estabrook

Before you buy that ring for engagement or start looking at promise rings there are several things that can make your experience more enjoyable. More than just the standard questions of; How much? And What’s it made of? In this article we’ll go over everything from promise rings to the complexity of diamonds and how they’re rated.

First we’ll go over promise rings. This is a modern day symbol of commitment and monogamy. They are inherently inexpensive but definitely do not lack in value. For example Genuine Diamond Twin Heart solid 14K White Gold Promise Ring would be a great choice. It showcases a stunning lab created red ruby and is set beside 6 genuine point diamonds.

Rings for Engagement, These vary in price widely in style. Generally they are gold with a genuine diamond or cubic zirconium. The rule of thumb is to spend 3 months salary on your engagement ring. If you decide to follow adhere to that rule, you should really look into what you’re buying and make sure your getting the right ring for the price.

Diamonds are a way to add value to any ring. The secret is knowing which ones are best. To do this we take a look into the 4Cs. The 4C’s are simple, they’re a Diamond’s Cut, Color, Clarity and Carat. Each of the 4Cs are important. I won’t go into too much detail, instead I’ll hit the important parts and save you some reading time.

The Clarity

A diamond’s clarity is determined by the number, nature, position, size and color of internal characteristics called “inclusions” and surface features called “blemishes”. But lets be honest Most inclusions and blemishes aren’t going to be visible to you. You might want to go a little less on clarity so you can afford a larger “cut” diamond. This of course is completely up to you.

Carat Weight

There is not a lot to say about “Carat Weight” So we’ll just touch on this topic sort of lightly. Carat Weight is a unit of measurement. 1 carat = 0.2 g and so on.

The Color

The Color is determined by grading visual comparisons. Colored diamonds may be yellow, green or brown, green or shades of pink. Blue diamonds contain the element boron (B). Natural yellow diamonds contain the element nitrogen (N). The amount of yellow color decreases the value of a colorless stone. The ideal diamond should have no color at all, like a drop of spring water.

The Cut

The Cut, ensures that the stone has maximum brilliance and sparkle which would not be the case if the stone were cut for just carat weight. A stone is characterized poorly by poor optimization of brilliance and fire or leakage of light from the pavilion.

If you’ve stuck with me this far you should be good to go.

Scent-sational ideas for wedding favors

Scent-sational ideas for wedding favors

(ARA) - Hunting down the perfect wedding ensemble, negotiating seating arrangements with squabbling relatives, honeymoon flight reservations that change on a dime - how did something that should be so joyful become so stressful?

Planning a wedding can be a high-pressure time, even for couples with a clear vision of what they want and the budget to accomplish it. One aspect of your wedding that doesn't have to cause stress is choosing wedding favors. Go with something simple, elegant and timeless that will fit the lifestyle of virtually every guest - aromatherapy.

Scent is a mood-setting gift that can help establish the tone for your reception, and remind guests afterward how much they enjoyed sharing your big day. You don't have to give every guest a pricey personal essence or resort to costly scented candles to achieve the perfect aromatherapy wedding favor. Making your own favors not only saves you money, it puts your personal stamp on the mementoes your guests will keep long after the wedding day has passed.

What's more, says Tom Havran, an aromatherapy expert with the personal products company Aura Cacia, "making aromatherapy favors together can help a harried couple slow down, refocus and remember what's really important - that they're about to begin a wonderful life together and that the special guests they've assembled will bear witness to it all."

Havran offers some tips for using aromatherapy to combat wedding-planning jitters and create memorable favors:

Surround yourself with scents that soothe. A potpourri that features real lavender flowers is a wonderful way to bring comforting, peaceful aroma into your home. Sprinkle the flowers with lavender essential oil and tuck a sachet of the mixture in with your bed linens. Place a bowl on the dining room table. Store some in a mesh bag inside the luggage you'll be using for your honeymoon. Make the same lavender-based scent the centerpiece of your aromatherapy favors by placing it in small, handmade sachets that guests can carry home.

Planning a holiday wedding? Create a "wise men's favor" by recycling an empty tea tin. Paint it with your wedding colors or cover it with festive gold paper. Fill the tin with coarse salt and sprinkle with 16 drops of eucalyptus essential oil, 16 drops of lemon essential oil, 16 drops of frankincense and/or myrrh essential oils, and replace the lid. Include instructions to release this ancient sacred scent by removing the lid and placing the tin in a warm location.

Another idea that's good year-round is a soul-warming spa kit. Create a home spa kit with a mineral bath and a body and massage oil. These gifts have a green, lemony-balsamic aroma that revitalizes the body and chases away the blues. Wrap these items in a small basket, adding a loofah or other bath items. Or present them in a personalized mini-tote that features the wedding couple's name and marriage date.

Here's the essential oil blend you'll create to add to the mineral bath and massage products:

16 drops peppermint essential oil
16 drops sweet orange essential oil
16 drops lavender essential oil

To make the mineral bath, combine the essential oils with these ingredients (readily available at a drugstore or pharmacy):

1 cup sea salt
1 cup Epsom salt
1 cup sodium bicarbonate

To create the spa kit body and massage oil, combine the essential oil drops with:

2 cups sweet almond oil
1 cup grape seed oil

For a fizzy foot soak, mix the essential oils with the ingredients below (available at a drugstore or pharmacy):

1 1/2 cups sea salt
1 cup Epsom salt
1/4 cup sodium bicarbonate
1/4 cup citric acid granules

Use 1 to 2 tablespoons in a basin of warm water for a revitalizing foot soak.

For an exfoliating foot scrub, mix the essential oils with:

2 cups granulated sugar
1 cup sweet almond oil

Gently massage 1 tablespoon of mixture into feet and toes, then rinse away granules.

For more aromatherapy wedding favor ideas, visit the aromatherapy experts at

Indian Wedding, Hindu/Sikh Weddng At Central California Winery Venue - MUST SEE!

This Indian Wedding, Hindu and Sikh wedding took place near Fresno California at a beautiful winery located in Madera California.

Find a winery under "Central California" on

This couple had a gorgeous day, and view of the vineyards as well as a breathtakingly beautiful tent wedding reception.

Wedding designed by:
Linens, chairs, and sashes by the Linen Shoppe as seen on http://www.FresnoWeddings.Net/ .

Wedding Cakes - What's HOT, and what's NOT!?

by: Charish Pyatt Hoover
Owner: http://www.FresnoWeddings.Net/

Everyone LOVES wedding cake! If you don't, well, then I question just how human you are!? ;-)

If you're like me, the first thing you likely notice when you walk into a couple's wedding reception is not just the heavenly aura put off by the wedding cake somewhere across the room, (being displayed almost as if it's a non-touchable work of art), but you most likely notice the heavenly smell as well. A smell that takes you back to your child-hood when you remember sticking your finger in mom's frosting, or getting to lick the bowl clean when all the mixing and pouring is done. A smell that brings good feelings of contentment, and warm hugs.

Some cakes are just too pretty to cut, (Of course that's why the wedding photographer's picture of the cake is so important, so as to preserve this edible work of art that smells so darn good!)

When I started out in the wedding industry in 1991, most people had not heard of fondant covered wedding cakes. In fact a photo of most wedding cakes from back then today - would most likely easily be "dated".

Then, it was common to see multi-tiered buttercream wedding cakes (topped with frosting flowers), and displayed on extravagant plastic (supposedly fairytale-like stands). Some of these stands were inspired by castles, some were just bridges, and some even had water fountains running through them. Most were topped by a traditional bride and groom wedding cake topper.

TODAY, it is rare to see cakes and cake stands as mentioned above. Our more modern bride and groom often take a more simple, and elegant approach when choosing their wedding cake design.

In fact, I'd go so far as to say, that the artistic appearance of the wedding cake is more important than ever for today's bride and groom, , , , but , , , without sacrificing excellent flavor, which can often be the case if choosing a cake designer without ample experience in the actual baking aspect of the cake.

Today - I see a good balance of cakes that are either Fondant (a sweet clay-like covering), or traditional buttercream frosted. Both have their benefits, unique taste, and decorative possibilities.

Frosting flowers are a thing of the past. (see gumpaste flowers below).
Today's cakery's often deliver a cake that is without flowers, that can, and often will be decorated with real flowers brought by the hired florist once the cake has been fully setup on its table.

It is becoming more common to see edible (gum paste flowers) as decorative accents on wedding cakes in place of real flowers, however real flowers are still used most often to date.

Both fondant covered and buttercream frosted cakes can be decorated with CAKE JEWELRY - which can either be a fashionable cake topper, monogrammed cake topper, and/or things such as pearls, or gems (aka BLING), placed all over the cake in a decorative manner. It is also common for colored, decorative, silk ribbon to be used around the base of each tier to add color, style, balance, etc.



I have learned that fondant covered wedding cakes tend to hold up better in higher temperatures, therefore if you're having your reception at an outdoor wedding venue, it would be wise to consider this option.


While some couples choose a more simple, elegant look for their wedding cake, there are those who want a cake designed specifically for the purpose of serving as an expression of their personalities, or a special passion in their life.

For example: One couple chose a wedding cake in the shape of a fire truck topped with a riding bride and groom. The groom had been a firefighter for many years, and the couple thought that this design was not only a tribute to the groom's dedication, but to the many firefighter friends/guests that were to attend their wedding reception as well. As a small tribute to the bride, a small duplicate of a tiny blue sports car she owned and loved was placed to the side of the fire truck.

So what's HOT, and what's NOT when it comes to wedding cakes? The answer is pretty much anything that suits the styles, and personalities of the bride and groom is HOT!!! What's NOT? I say who cares?

Whether you want a mini fondant wedding cake for each of your guests, a six tiered buttercream wedding cake smothered in daisies, or an elegant and completely BLINGED out fondant wedding cake, , , , , be sure to choose your cake designer/baker carefully, as few things can harm your reception success than a lopsided wedding cake (delivered late), , , that not only looks little like you had discussed with the designer, but also leaves a lot to be desired in the flavor department!


2010 Vera Wang Bridal Gown Collection

Yesterday marked the end of Bridal Fashion Week in NYC. At their shows, designers reveal their latest collections (and the newest styles and trends) that will be available in Fall 2010/Spring 2011.

If beautiful wedding dresses makes you drool, then you won’t be disappointed by the newest collections from Vera Wang and Monique Lhuillier.

The inspiration for Vera Wang’s newest wedding gowns came from 1964’s “My Fair Lady” starring Audrey Hepburn. Black accents, soft romantic lines, and layers and layers of fabric showcase the sophisticated femininity that is a hallmark of Vera Wang’s style.

Tips for first-time brides and grooms combining households

Tips for first-time brides and grooms combining households

(ARA) - First-time brides and grooms are older than ever before, according to recent U.S. Census Bureau figures. The median age for men marrying for the first time is now 28 and it's 26 for women - that's 30 percent older than in 1960.

Because today's first marriages are occurring later in life - not to mention second or third marriages - more often the modern dilemma is whose couch stays and tallying how many flat-screen TVs the couple has between them.

When couples married 40 years ago they were barely into their 20s and often still living at home. The traditional wedding shower carried great value in that age as it supplied newlyweds with all the necessities that married life required, including dishes, cookware and bedding.

Bob Gomori got married last year at 27 - just one year shy of the median age for men. However, Gomori had already built a successful career as a franchisee of the moving company Two Men and a Truck in Youngstown, Ohio, and he'd already owned his own home for several years. He had a unique vantage point of the challenges associated with combining households for first marriages.

"It's tough because you both have things that you want to keep, but to keep it all is certainly not the most efficient thing to do," Gomori says. "The successful couples I see as a mover are those who take first marriage as an opportunity to take inventory of what they have and sort it out before they combine homes. I know it's a lot to think about, particularly with wedding plans in the works, but ultimately you avoid moving things two or three times, and you save money in the long run."

Certified professional organizer Monica Ricci is a renowned organizing expert, speaker and author based in Atlanta. Ricci counsels her clients on effective organizing and simplifying strategies for home and work, and offers free advice at

"Try not to be too attached to something simply because it's yours," says Ricci. "You each deserve to keep some items you love. Remember, the more you streamline now, the easier your move will be. "

Ricci and Gomori agree proper planning is the key to starting off on the right foot in the early years of marriage. They suggest the following tips for combining households for first-time marriages:

* Go through each house together, and identify which items are duplicates. Talk about each item honestly. If you can legitimately use two of something in your new life, such as televisions or stereos, go ahead and keep both.

* Do the same evaluation for small items, such as silverware, as you do for the larger items. These smaller items can add up quickly, and often produce the most basement or attic clutter.

* Organize with boxes and colored markers. Contact your local Two Men and a Truck moving company to purchase a variety of box sizes before you begin so you can appropriately tag and box both items that stay and those that go along the way.

* Think about donating to those in need. If a garage sale isn't of interest, consider donating to local churches or synagogues, homeless shelters or the Salvation Army.

The experts agree that couples can successfully blend two households if they take time on the front end to address the move. The key, as with all organizing projects, is proper planning. For more moving advice, visit

Courtesy of ARAcontent

Sandals Resorts - Memorial Day Weekend SALE!

Hot Savings at Sandals Resorts

Sandals Resorts - Memorial Day Weekend SALE!


Booking Window: Now – May 31, 2010

Travel Window: Now – December 28, 2010 & January 1 – December 28, 2011

Blackout Dates: December 29 – 31, 2010 & February 19 – 26, 2011

Minimum Stay: 3 nights

Bluntly Honest Grooming & Beauty Tips For Brides

Bluntly Honest Grooming & Beauty Tips For Brides


By: Charish - California Weddings

Being that I have worked as a wedding professional since 1991, and started out as a wedding photographer for many years, I've seen a lot of brides, their wedding dresses, hair styles, makeup jobs, etc.

With that said, I've seen some very beautiful brides who needed little to no help with their appearance on their wedding day, and of course the opposite as well.

Regardless of your genetics, YOU as the bride owe it to yourself, and your groom to make every effort possible to look your very best on your special day. Likewise, the groom has the same responsibilities to both you, and himself.

Most brides want their wedding ceremony decor, and their reception decor to be unique, spectacular, memorable, etc., , , so - it only makes sense that a bride would take the same level of care, and interest in her own appearance on her wedding day.

Things that are often overlooked or undervalued when it comes to the bride's appearance are:

1. Facial and nose hair - Yes, in my years as a wedding photographer, I've seen far more protruding nose and facial hairs on brides than I care to admit. Not only was detail very important to me as the photographer, but how does one tell the bride on her most special day, , , "Um, you've gotta hair coming out of your nostril." , or "In this lighting, I can see every hair on your upper lip, and chin." Needless to say, I never said these things, but simply did my best to re-pose or position my view from the lense that would best flatter or hide the issue at hand.

Solution? Waxing and plucking has never killed anyone, and for the sake of your wedding day appearance, photos, video, etc., , , , I'd say a little pain would be worth it ;-) Also, contrary to what some may believe, waxing will not cause more coarse hairs to grow back in, , , it's actually quite the opposite, as the waxed/plucked hairs will likely be replaced with softer, finer hairs. (See Also THREADING Below)

2. Messy, bushy, eyebrows - Both the bride and groom should pay extra attention to this area of their face. Eyebrows are frames to the eyes, and unruly, bushy eyebrows can make a huge difference in the overall appearance of the upper half of the face. Eyebrows can make you look more alert, more youthful, or tired, and quite simply worn out.

Solution? We've all seen these new mall kiosk businesses that offer eyebrow threading! I highly recommend that this be considered at least a couple of days before your wedding, but only after you've had a trial run by the same business, and individual approx. 2 months prior to make sure you like the shaping, results, etc.

Makeup & Hair - Far too many brides (in my opinion) skimp on having their makeup and hair professionally done. The reason for this of course is to "save money", , , , but at what expence really? Their appearance? The difference between a professionally made-up bride, and a self-done makeup job by the bride is often like night and day. If you're going all out on the cake, flowers, and decor, why would you put yourself on the back burner? Remember this is supposed to be a once in a life-time event, , , so don't treat yourself like you're not important for a once in a life-time knock out bridal look!


Skin Care (and I mean everywhere on your body) - A dry bride is a dull bride, and whether we're looking at your face, your arms, and legs, or your feet, nobody wants to see a bride with dry, dull skin.

Solution? Start a total-body skin care regimen several months prior to your wedding day. Let's call it a skin fitness routine. This routine should include exfoliation of the skin a minimum of one time per week. My personal favorite exfoliating product is (St. Ives Exfoliating Apricot Scrub "Invigorating") as it gives the skin a great scrub, and leaves it feeling smooth, and fresh. Be sure to wear sunscreen after using any exfoliating product. Also remember to include a great overall body moisturizer right after getting out of the shower to keep skin smooth. On the wedding day - try a cream oil based moisturizer to give your arms, legs, and feet a smooth, healthy sheen. Just for fun - add a tiny bit of glitter gel or powder to your feet to give them a sexy shimmer. A mild glittery/bronzing powder can be added (in moderation) to your arms, legs, shoulders etc., but only if it matches your skin tone. Again a professional makeup artist would be beneficial in this area.

Nails, on hands and Feet - My personal favorite is the French Manicure on both hands and feet. This is a clean, classy look that will match any wedding dress, as well as hair, and makeup job. A lot of brides focus on their hands, but neglect their feet. Feet can be and should be a sexy addition to your wedding day look, just remember to include your feet in the above mentioned skin care regimen, and DO get that French Manicure for the toes!

Solution? Don't do a manicure job yourself, and don't simply go with the cheapest deal in town. Few things would be more embarrassing on your wedding day than to see your nails flying off during your ceremony, or any time during your special day.