1 (2 liter) bottle chilled lemon-lime soft drink or ginger ale
2 cups chilled vodka, optional
1 large black plastic cauldron (available at party or craft stores)
1 punch bowl that fits inside the cauldron
1 plastic hand (available at party supply stores), sterilized in hot water
1 block dry ice (available at supermarkets, ice cream shops or ice companies)
Pour the gelatin mix into a large bowl. Slowly stir in the boiling water. Stir at least 2 minutes, until the gelatin is completely dissolved. Stir in the pineapple juice. Let cool to room temperature.
Wearing heavy duty gloves or using tongs, place the block of dry ice in the bottom of the cauldron. (Dry ice will burn skin, so handle it with gloves and tongs and keep it away from kids and pets!)
Use an ice pick to break the block into smaller chunks, if necessary.
Fill the cauldron with just enough water to cover the dry ice. It will begin to "steam."
Place the punch bowl inside the cauldron, on top of the dry ice. The cauldron will appear to be magically smoking.
Entrap the sterilized rubber hand between the cauldron and the punch bowl, squeezing it tight so the hand appears to be reaching out of the mist for help. Hot-glue the hand to the cauldron, if necessary, to hold it in place.
Carefully pour the drink mixture into the punch bowl. Slowly add the chilled vodka and lemon-lime soda or ginger ale. Stir gently to mix.
Perfect sweet snack. Perfect for Halloween or any of the holiday or celebration.
Maple Cinnamon Spider Web Fritters
Vegetable oil, for frying
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon granulated sugar
3/4 teaspoon baking powder
3/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon fine salt
3/4 cup milk
1 large egg
1 tablespoon maple syrup, plus 1/4 cup for brushing
1/2 cup confectioners' sugar
Jelly spiders, orange or black nonpareils, for garnish, optional
Pour enough oil in a large skillet so it's about 1 inch deep. Heat oil over medium-high heat until a deep-fry thermometer registers between 280 to 300 degree F.
Meanwhile, whisk together the flour, sugar, baking powder and salt in a large bowl. Make a well in the center; add the milk, egg, and 1 tablespoon maple syrup. Whisk the dry and wet ingredients together until smooth.
Transfer batter into a large size pastry bag with a # 3 or 4 open tip. Carefully squeeze batter in a circular pattern and then back and forth into the oil, to make a free form spider web-like design, about 3 to 4 inches in diameter. Cook until bottoms are golden, about 2 minutes. Using tongs or slotted spoon, turn fritters over and cook until golden on other side, about 1 minute more. Transfer the fritters to paper towels to drain briefly. Brush lightly with maple syrup and dust with confectioners' sugar. Repeat with remaining batter. Serve warm or at room temperature alone or with the garnishes.
Liza and Lou's wedding ceremony on Saturday was touching and beautiful. Lou's uncle, Father Zammitt, officiated the service with personal touches that only a close family member can offer.
The flowers from Kim at My Flower Box were beautiful and accented the burgundy bridesmaids dresses perfectly.
For this wedding, we helped with only the wedding ceremony and then sent everyone on their way to the reception. With such a large bridal party and a priest who is from another state, Liza's mother felt it was necessary to have someone to help keep things in order. We worked together to organize the ceremony and make sure everyone knew where they were supposed to be and when.
As I sat in the back of the church during the ceremony I was able to reflect and what an amazing job it is that we do. There is a very special moment right before the ceremony begins, it's one of my favorite moments during the wedding day. That moment happens when we're standing in the back of the church with the bride and her dad, just after the maid of honor has started her walk down the aisle. We're waiting for the music to change and preparing the bride for her walk down the aisle to join her groom. I love that moment because it's always different. The bride runs through a range of emotions and they're always so clearly shown on her face.
These spice cookies from the Food Network look screaming good.
2 cups all purpose flour, plus additional for rolling out dough
1/4 teaspoons baking soda
1 tablespoon pumpkin pie spice
1/2 teaspoon fine salt
3/4 cup unsalted butter, slightly softened
1/3 cup granulated sugar
1/3 cup light brown sugar
1 large egg
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
Hard candies, try yellow, red, and black (Jolly Ranchers preferred)
1/4 cup water
3 tablespoons egg white powder
3/4 teaspoon orange extract
1 1/2 to 2 cups confectioners' sugar
1 empty metal tuna fish can, (about 6 ounces) for cutting cookies (See Cooks Note)
Lollipop sticks, available in craft or bakers' supply stores
For the cookies: Whisk the flour, baking soda, pumpkin pie spice, and salt together in a medium bowl.
Beat the butter in a large bowl with a handheld mixer until fluffy. Scrape down the sides of the bowl, add the sugars, and continue beating until light, about 3 minutes. Add egg and vanilla extract, beating until smooth. Gradually add the dry ingredients while mixing slowly to make a smooth dough. Divide dough in half and press each half into a disk. Wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate until firm, at least 1 hour.
Transfer 1 disk of dough to a floured work surface and roll about 1/4-inch thick. Cut into cookies with a pinched tuna can (see below). Transfer cookies with an offset spatula to a nonstick or silicon lined baking sheet.
Cut out eyes and a mouth with a pastry tip, fat straw, or a knife. Press the lollipop sticks into the narrow end of each cookie, if using. Repeat with remaining dough. Press excess dough together, roll and cut into cookies. Refrigerate cookies for at least 30 minutes.
Evenly space the racks in the oven and preheat to 350 degrees F. Put the candies in a small plastic bag and hit with a rolling pin to break into little pieces.
Bake the cookies just until they are set, about 20 minutes. Remove baking sheets from the oven and carefully sprinkle the broken candies into the eyes and mouth of the cookies. Continue the cook until the candy liquefies, about 3 minutes more. Cool cookies on pan for 10 minutes before removing from the pan. Cool cookies on a rack.
For the icing: Whisk the water, egg white powder and orange extract in a medium bowl until foamy but smooth. Gradually whisk in the confectioners' sugar to make a smooth icing. Spread a layer of icing over the entire surface of the cookies with the back of a teaspoon. Let rest until the icing sets, about 30 minutes. Serve or store in a covered container for up to 3 days.
Cook's Note: Remove the top and bottom of the tuna can and discard. Wash and dry well. Pinch the sides of the can together to make a skull-like shape.
The folks at the Food Network shared these great tips for a great Halloween Party.
1. Keep it devilishly simple
Make the celebration short — the same length you would for a birthday party (about an hour and a half for tots under 6, about two hours for those between 7 and 12). This allows enough time for a costume parade, a few activities and some nibbles. Holiday-themed invitations, silly decorations and easy party games are the key to memorable and fun festivities.
2. Send out invitations at least two weeks in advance of the party
Your local party store or invitation web sites offer Halloween invites, or, better yet, you can make easy cards at home. Those handy with scissors can trace and cut out a spider or web (think of the fold-and-cut process used for paper snowflakes) — or a simple witch hat or pumpkin "carved" from construction paper.
3. Don't make it too scary
While it's great fun to transform your home or other location into a haunted house to set the mood, keep in mind the age of the littlest party guests. While black lights and eerie music can be amusing for elementary-age kids, it can frighten impressionable preschoolers. And you'll be sure to hear from parents whose children wake them in the middle of the night with nightmares.
4. Have fun with decorations
There are fabulous party decorations available that work with all ages — from creepy cobwebs and smiling bats to carved jack-o-lanterns, broomsticks, and friendly skeletons — that can be purchased from local party stores or five-and-dimes. You can also set your kids to work by taping butcher paper to the walls and letting them decorate their own haunted houses or graveyard scenes, complete with flying ghosts, red devils and witches.
5. Transform your kitchen into a laboratory
Rubber fingers swimming in tomato sauce, crumbled chocolate cake topped with gummy worms or eyeball deviled eggs are a few ways to create a spooky setting. Rubber bugs, pieces of fur or other objects with a distinctive feel work well in shoeboxes or drawers. Instruct guests to speculate the ghoulish item inside and award prizes for guesses that are right on the money.
6. Keep everyone busy
Have handy crafts and games for younger guests, and try filling a vat with fruit and let older kids bob for apples. Purchase little pumpkins at the local farm, pass out magic markers and have a face-drawing contest. Play a game of Halloween character charades or pin the tail on the devil. Try to "catch" white skeleton heads — white balloons with faces drawn on in magic marker — with nets. Divide the kids into teams and enjoy a "mummy wrap" contest. Put plastic spider rings around the house for a great take-home favor.
The name says it all. Avoid the crowds and register online for everything you need for your bedroom and bathroom. "Beyond" items range from wall hangings to MP3 accessories. Check out their free Bridal Toolkit feature, which allows you to do everything from inputting your wedding-related appointments to completing the seating chart.
A spin-off of Crate & Barrel, CB2 offers a specifically modern assortment of products, including contemporary tableware and furniture. Register for anything on the site and check out their funky area rugs and bed linens to create a hip living space. The site also features a "spread the news" function that sends guests a notice of your upcoming event and provides a link to your registry.
Register online or in stores for items including table linens, glassware and even contemporary furniture. Registry features include free announcement cards and a completion program offering a one-time 10-percent coupon for unpurchased registry items.
This Minneapolis-based retailer sells modern furniture, tableware, jewelry and more inspired by classic modern designs from Finland. They offer a partial-payment option that allows several guests to contribute toward the same gift.
This site offers thousands of items to register for, from tableware to fireplaces. Their completion program offers a one-time 10-percent discount on unpurchased items for one year after your wedding date. They also offer free shipping and no sales tax for items shipped anywhere (excluding New Jersey).
Owner Didier Milleriot specializes in tableware and linens from France and will print custom descriptions and photographs of registry items for you to give to your guests. Register in person at this Chicago-based retailer or over the phone, and the registry is posted online for your guests.
This home-furnishings retailer offers a 20-percent completion program for 90 days, free registry announcement cards and online sign-up as well as in-store scanning. Plus, you can include a personalized note on your registry informing guests of your decor preferences.
Register for dishes, furniture and more in Moss's signature modern industrial designs. You'll receive a gift notification as soon as a purchase is made, and you can decide when you'd like items shipped to you.
At housewares staple, you can register for anything from towels to tableware in their signature classic American styles. Pottery Barn offers an online thank-you-note manager and 10 percent off most unpurchased registry items for up to one year after the wedding.
Based in Portland, Ore., this shop carries modern home and personal accessories from emerging and classic designers worldwide. Register in person or via e-mail. The owners will order any item from the catalogs of any of their manufacturers for you to add to your registry.
This Atlanta-based retailer specializes in radical modern and contemporary designs from the 20th century along with designs from the present. Register online for funky tabletop items, bathroom accessories, lighting and more from designers including Alessi, Herman Miller and Knoll.
Although primarily known for its jewelry, this exclusive retailer offers a host of great tabletop items for $100 or less. Registry items can also include Tiffany china patterns, sterling-silver picture frames and crystal barware.
Register online for an impressive selection of modern items for all aspects of the home. Unusual items include scented chew toys for your dog and an artsy piggy bank. Alert friends to your registry via e-mail; announcement cards are also available.
This site offers an eclectic mix of fashionable, contemporary itemsÃ³everything from glam cocktail rings to affordable napkin rings. Items are created by well-known brands as well as artisans not found elsewhere. Register for anything on the site; home-decor items include furniture, lighting and vases.
If you've started working on the wedding then you've probably given the colors and flowers some thought. You may have even visited floral designers, maybe even chosen the one that you felt that connection with and was right for your budget.
It's time to give your bridal bouquet some consideration.
You have some choices to think about color.
flowers and image from Romance of Flowers
flower from Simply Beautiful, image from Philip Weber for Arthur Remanjon
or Full of Color
image and flowers from Romance of Flowers
and then Shape... Round, Oval, Hand-Tied, Cascading, Nosegay, there are many options.
Talk to your designer about:
The kinds of flowers - structured, frilly, soft, tropical, traditional, modern, etc.
The weight of the bouquet - do you want large or small?
The finish of the handle - totally covered with ribbon or stems showing? Do you want to add something personal like a piece of jewelry? Is there a specific color or treatment for the ribbon?
Happy Anniversary to our Blog! We're one year old today! In celebration here's one of our earlier posts that we happen to love.
Top Ten Things to Remember for your Wedding Day.
image from Amy Deputy
Things tend to get a little bit hectic around your wedding day. Here is my Top Ten List of Reminders. Print them out or jot them down - you are going to need them.
1. Don't forget about the marriage license. You have to actually give it to your officiant. It doesn't count if you leave it at home.
2. Remember a hankie. It does not matter if you rarely cry. It is just like the umbrella theory - if you have a hankie you will not cry. And if you do, well, then you have a hankie.
3. Scuff your shoes, please. Do a shimmy in your front yard in your wedding shoes. Actually, wear them around the house for a few hours too. Break those puppies in.
4. Leave your cell phone at the hotel. You do not need your phone. You will not be taking calls. I am certain someone will have a phone if you need one.
5. Eat. Please. Before the ceremony AND during the reception. There is plenty of time to visit the tables.
6. Pre-pack. Start the packing process a few weeks ahead. Pack everything separately for different events, especially if you will be moving around. Pack for the honeymoon at least two weeks before the wedding. It will save you a trip to Rite-Aid on the way home from the Rehearsal Dinner for sunscreen.
7. Your camera. Remember to bring it or have someone else bring it for you.
8. Hold hands with your Groom. Look him in the eye when you say your vows. Try your very best to feel comfortable in front of all of your guests during the ceremony.
9. Take a minute if you need it. Have your wedding planner schedule in some time for you to be alone with your brand new husband after the ceremony. It will give you two a chance to chat and breathe.
10. Have fun. This is an amazing time. Enjoy yourself. Try not to let the little things annoy you. Remove yourself from people that are causing problems.
Even after planning hundreds of weddings, sometimes we still cry on the wedding day. No, not because of something going wrong, but for sentimental reasons. This wedding planner got teary eyed twice during the beautiful wedding ceremony and reception for Katie and Jake on Saturday.
Their wedding ceremony was in the newly restored and very beautiful Corpus Christi Church in Baltimore City were almost 200 guests gathered on a crisp October evening for the Nuptial Mass. There was a moment just after the lighting of the Unity Candle where Katie and Jake looked at each other so lovingly (while holding hands and a hymn was being sung) that reminded this wedding planner of why she is a wedding planner. The talented photographer Arthur Remanjon also recognizing a special moment when he sees one, raced up the aisle to capture the image. On his way back to the rear of the church he whispered "I love this job" as I nodded through teary eyes. Experience has taught us about genuine moments between bride and groom and we are grateful for those.
Four motor coaches then shuttled the (mostly out-of-town) guests to The Belvedere where guests were wowed by the decor on the 12th floor for the reception. The Platinum Room was the scene of the very fun and lively cocktail hour and then guests were invited to the Grand Ballroom which filled with deep red and purple flowers against a cream embroidered sheer table linen.
To start off the reception, the bride's mom gave a very moving "welcome" (the second time we got teary eyed) and tenderly acknowledged the bride's dad and the groom's dad who have passed away. The mom is a wonderful lady and we are so glad to have gotten to know her during the planning process. The best man then followed with a hilarious toast that had everyone in good spirits by the time dinner began.
The dinner started with a served Caesar salad followed by a delicious buffet. The wedding cake was served an hour after dinner to each guests and a special treat of chocolate covered strawberries were displayed on the coffee station.
This was a fun group for sure! Katie and Jake are among the first of their young friends to marry and there were dozens and dozens of twenty-somethings there with them to celebrate. Thankfully our deejay Evan Reitmeyer of MyDeejay.com knew just what to play to keep the crowd very, very happy. From what we heard through the grapevine, the party continued after the reception up on the 13th floor bar at The Belvedere into the wee hours of the morning.
Our other fabulous vendors: Jeanne Graham from Blue Sage was the floral decorator, Bobby Dill from Event Dynamics provided the lighting, the linens were from Table Toppers and the rental chair cushions and napkins were from Party Rental. The videographer was Jim Skipper of Black Tie Video and we are grateful to the wonderful staff at The Belvedere for their terrific service as always.
Congratulations Katie and Jake. We loved working with you and are so happy that you had a perfect wedding day.
Lori and Gregory were married on Saturday at The Suburban Club by Rabbi Andrew Busch. Lori worked with a designer on Etsy to create invitations with a bird motif that was subtly carried through the wedding. She found fabulous paper from Paper Source with the perfect little birdies that were used for the programs, escort cards, and even the guest book backdrop. More on the oh-so-cute backdrop later.
Jeanne from Blue Sage floral created a blue fabric chuppah - one that matched Lori's shoes perfectly. She used gerber daisies accented in the same orange that Gregory had on his suspenders. Lori and Gregory are both into bright fun colors which was clearly evident in the entire wedding celebration. The linens from Table Toppers in bright orange and pink were accented by orange chivari chairs and pink cushions from Party Rental for the cocktail hour.
After the cocktail hour, guests moved into the beautiful ballroom where the tables were dressed in more muted color linens and bright floral centerpieces. The flowers were each pinspotted by Perkins Event Lighting, which made the colors even more vibrant.
The cake was just what Lori requested, the cake that her mother made for each celebration growing up. The couple cut into the marble cake late in the evening while guests were treated to delicious desserts and a fun ice cream bar.
The crowd was on the dance floor all night thanks to the sounds of Spectrum. The entire day was well documented by Amy Deputy and Black Tie Video. We'll be sure to post Amy's pictures when they are ready. We can't wait to see photos of Lori's traditional lace gown mixed with the bright pops of color.
The guest book screen was a huge hit. Lori and Gregory made a folding screen of doors and covered the doors with the same bird motif paper. We strung ribbons across the screen and guests clipped their well wishes on the ribbon. It was full of love and congratulations by the end of the evening. Guests were also treated to a photo booth area with Amy Deputy. A bright fabric was hung as a backdrop and everyone mugged for the camera.
Many thanks to Rita Feinberg and the entire staff at Suburban. The service was wonderful and the food got rave reviews. It is always wonderful when a couple can be married at a Club that is like a second home for the whole family.
Looking for a place to register for air conditioners, patio furniture and ceiling fans? Everything on Lowe's expansive Web site is fair game for your registry. The site also allows couples to e-mail their registries to guests.
Wondering where the Groom's cake came from? The folks at GetMarried.com tell us how it came to be.
cake from Charm City Cakes
"Certainly not a new concept, the groom’s cake is making a comeback. The idea dates back to the 19th century when the newlywed couple served up a dense fruit cake with or without icing. Some say that the white icing was meant to mimic the bride’s dress, while other accounts claim that no icing was used and the cake was kept fresher longer. Either way, legend has it that if the single women in attendance were to take a slice home and place it underneath their pillows they would dream of the future husbands.
In today’s era, the groom’s cake tradition is routed in the South. Frequently a chocolate or red velvet cake, it was first served to offer up an alternative flavor to the vanilla wedding cake that had to look a certain way. Meant to be a gift from the bride to groom (often a surprise), the cake can come in any shape, theme, or form. Liquor flavored or chocolate flavored, you won’t find flowers on these cakes, but perhaps mascots of sports teams or colleges.
While it’s not a required element of a wedding, it makes for a personal touch served up at either the rehearsal dinner or the wedding reception. If you opt to serve it at the reception, display it next to the traditional wedding cake or roll it out along side when you’re ready to share his surprise. The cake should later be cut and put in to-go boxes for guests to take home. If the cake is large enough, this sweet take out treat can even serve as your wedding favor. Regardless of when or how you serve it, make sure you select a cake that reflects his masculine style, his wants, and of course his personality."
Nicole Palermo - a local wedding day makeup artist - has created a new line of skin care. We think you should check it. The all natural line called Porcelain Beauties has no chemicals, preservatives, parbens, isn't tested on animals, an is recycle friendly. Sounds green to us!
This cute idea comes directly from the master of ideas - Martha Stewart.
We all love the idea of giving bridesmaids and groomsmen something they can use for the wedding, but also use in the future. Each time they reach for that special item they will think of you and the fond memories of your wedding day.
What better way to personalize those items than by sewing an adorable tag into it? You've seen these tags on handmade items and they're very easy to come by (and inexpensive!!)
There has been a lot of chatter in the blog-o-sphere about wedding thank you notes. Kelly Ashworth has a great post about those pesky pre-printed thank you's.
Kelly directed her readers to this Peggy Post article on Wedding Thank You Notes. Since thank you notes are the final impression of your wedding we're posting the tips here.
When should notes be written?
Contrary to popular myth, the happy couple does not have a year’s grace period. All thank you notes should be written within three months of the receipt of the gift. Ideally, a response should be written on the day you receive a wedding gift. If that’s not possible, set a daily goal. It’s a lot easier to write three or four notes a day than to have to write a hundred notes in a month after the wedding!
What stationery should be used?
First of all, stationery is the operative word here: No fill-in-the-blank cards, no pre-printed cards, no phone calls, no emails and no generic post on your website!
Who needs a note?
Anyone who gives you an engagement, shower or wedding gift, even if you have thanked them in person. Individual notes should be written to people who contributed to a group gift.
Anyone who gives a gift of money: cash, checks, contributions to savings accounts and donations to charities.
Mentioning the amount is optional, but it does let the person know the correct amount was received. You should mention what you plan to do with the money.
Your attendants. A warm personal note attached to your gifts to your attendants will let them know how much you appreciate their efforts and support on your behalf.
Anyone who hosted a party or shower for you. Ideally these notes should be written within two days of the event. Each host or hostess should be thanked individually with a note and a thank you gift.
People who house or entertain your wedding guests. A note and a small gift should be sent to anyone who houses or entertains out-of-town wedding guests.
People who do kindnesses for you. The neighbor who accepts delivery of your gifts when you are at work; the cousin who supervises the parking at the reception – anyone who assists you before, during or after your wedding.
Suppliers and vendors. You don’t have to write everyone you hire for services, but anyone who exceeds your expectations will appreciate a courteous note of thanks.
Your parents or whoever is hosting your wedding.
Ten Do’s and Don’ts of Thank You Notes
Do personalize your notes and make reference to the person as well as the gift.
Do remember that a gift should be acknowledged with the same courtesy and generous spirit in which it was given.
Do be enthusiastic, but don’t gush. Avoid saying a gift is the most beautiful thing you have ever seen unless you really mean it.
Don’t send form letters or cards with printed messages and just your signature; don’t use email or post a generic thank you on your wedding web site in lieu of a personal note.
Do promptly acknowledge the receipt of shipped gifts by sending a note right away or calling and following up with a written note in a day or two.
Don’t mention that you plan to return a gift or that you are dissatisfied in any way.
Don’t tailor your note to the perceived value of the gift; no one should receive a perfunctory note.
Do refer to the way you will use a gift of money. Mentioning the amount is optional.
Don’t include wedding photos or use photo cards if it will delay sending the note.
Don’t use being late as an excuse not to write. Even if you are still sending notes after your first anniversary, keep writing!
Elizabeth Bailey Weddings & Events is a full service event planning company located in Maryland. Elizabeth began her event planning career over 20 years ago and has the confidence of a loyal client following in and around Baltimore, Annapolis, and Maryland's Eastern Shore.
Now joined by additional associates, the company teams up with Maryland's best vendors to create and organize wonderful parties. They are known for their compassionate and competent services, always with a friendly smile. They are experienced in coordinating all types of social events such as weddings, rehearsal dinners, showers, anniversary parties and birthday parties for grown-ups. Excellent references.