Signature Drink Saturday: Poinsettia Cocktail

3/4 cup cranberry juice
3 ounces simple syrup
6 ounces orange liqueur (cointreau)
1 (750-milliletter)bottle Champagne, chilled
18 fresh cranberries

In a cocktail shaker with ice, combine the cranberry juice, simle syrup and orange liqueur. Shake well (until the shaker is covered with condensation).

Strain the mixture, dividing it between six Champagne flutes.

Add the Champage, dividing it between the glasses. Garnish each drink with 3 cranberies skewered on a cocktail pick.

Recipe from Valerie Peterson's "Peterson's Holiday Helper," Clarkson Potter, 2008 and Virginian Pilot, 11.23.08, Gracious Living Section,page 12.

Mandy & Jay

Mandy and Jay are a great couple that are getting married next fall at the Bay Creek Marina on the Eastern Shore. Check out a few images from their engagment session last weekend with Scott Hayne Photography. I am thankful for such great couples!

Meg & Jon

I told you I'd be posting more Scott Hayne photos really soon...and as you go.

The couple pictured are very near and dear to my heart. Meg's older sister Melanie is my best friend, sorority sister, college roommate and maid of honor and her mom Debbie is my floral partner in every event that I do. The entire Pence family is extremely close to mine so I feel as though I have watched Meg grown over these last 9 years into a beautiful woman. Meg and Jon are pretty incredible to watch, they are definitely in love and have such a spark. I have been anxiously waiting for these images since Scott shot them last week and I am very proud to show you some more of his phenomenal work.

Meg & Jon: I love you both and can't wait to watch you become man and wife! Only a few more months and all your wishes will come to fruition.

Monday Meeting: Scott Hayne Photography

I personally fell in love with the work of this weeks vendor through my husband James...He was checking out a local photographers blog and I fell in love. I thought I knew or knew of most great photographers in Hampton Roads...but apparently I was missing one. Scott Hayne! I have blogged some of Scott's amazing photos in the past week and you will definitely be seeing many many more great images from him in the coming weeks and months.

It is important to point out that "Scott Hayne" is really 3 factors...Scott (the visionary pro), Adina (the lady behind the scenes) and his beautiful clients...because trust me, we all know that a photographer is nothing without a beautiful subject.

You will rarely (if ever) see Scott at photo shoot without his wife and business partner Adina. She is the grand communicator, the holder of the flash, the album creator, the office manager...and Scott's 2nd set of hands and 2nd set of eyes. My husband and I had the amazing opportunity to be on the other side of the camera with Scott and Adina and it was a fabulous opportunity...

Check out this question and answer session with the great Scott Hayne:
AC: How did your love of photography begin?SH:I discovered in 2001 when I bought my first digital camera that I was seeing things a little different than traditional ways. I think God gave me wide angle eye that saw more than just the object that I was focusing on. Instead, I really paid attention to the surroundings that the object was in. Knowing that I was able to capture different perspectives of what could be a mundane scene jump started my career. From that moment on I was excited to throw my sometimes unusual view into my photography.

AC:What is the biggest trend you are seeing in the world of Wedding Photography today?SH:Volume photography unfortunately. I pride myself in accepting a select few weddings each year which allows me to focus on the client relationship and the artistry that is involved in my work. Many studios are changing their business model to produce huge volumes of "cookie-cutter" weddings with cheap prices and sub-standard work. I pride myself in providing a unique look and a true artistic flair to each of my weddings.

AC:What is your favorite moment to capture on a wedding day?
SH:We like to set aside a private meeting where the groom first sees the bride before the ceremony. This meeting results in a true real moment where the couple can express their joy, love and sometimes awe that we are able to document from a distance. If the couple does not want to see each other before the ceremony then my favorite moment(s) are during the private shoot after the ceremony where I am able to flex a little creative muscle. During this time the couple can relax a bit, have fun and just be real for 30 minutes or so and forget the stress of the day.

AC:What would you consider your style of photography?SH:Hmmm. I'll let people decide on what my style is. Some words people have used to describe my look are - emotional, real, colorful, dramatic, different. I haven't figured out one word to call it yet. Got one?

AC:What advice would you give a bride and groom when they are trying to pick a photographer for their wedding day?SH:Find one that you click with. Find one that uses a style that you like. There are lots of great photographers out there but each has their own unique look. Does it match what you like? Could you see yourself just hanging out with him or her outside of business? Whomever you choose make sure you spend some time with them on your wedding day where they can really show off what you hired them for. Would you hire Wolfgang Puck to cook your dinner and give him 5 minutes and a bowl of oatmeal? Just give us the time and we can create some amazing and memorable images!

Below are some of Scott & Adina's favorite client images...let us know what you think:

Check him out for yourself...

A Bit Personal...

My husband James was at a shoot last weekend with a fellow photographer and they grabbed this quick shot of my super cute family...I don't usually divulge into the personal life, but it was an image with all 4 of us somewhat looking at the camera. These 3 beautiful faces are why I work so hard...

Signature Drink Saturday: Electric Lemonade

1 1/2 oz. Vodka
1/2 oz. Blue Curacao
2 oz. Sweet and Sour Mix
7-Up or Sprite
Lemon Slice
Maraschino Cherry
Combine all the ingredients in a blender and blend for 15-20 seconds until smooth. Pour over a highball glass filled with ice and garnish with a lemon slice and maraschino cherry.

Recipe courtesy of Drink Of The Week.

Wednesday Weddings: Real Couple Jerri & Shaka

I know that my Wednesday Blogs are supposed to be about wedding etiquette...stories or something else fascinating (wink wink) about weddings or receptions...but I received this pictures from one of my favorite people Scott Hayne and I just had to post them!

I have many photographers that I love to work with...but I love Scott, his ethic and his super cute wife (and business partner) Adina. Below are just a few pictures from his recent e-session with my beautiful couple Shaka & Jerri. They are having an outdoor wedding in May at a beautiful gazebo and these engagement pictures were taken at their Alma Mater, Hampton University. Take one look at these photos and you'll fall in love with Scott Hayne Photography as well...

Monday Meeting: Emily Patti

In honor of my birthday week I am going to celebrate with honoring something that we all know and love...CAKES! Honestly, I am not a humongous fan of eating cakes...but this weeks "Monday Meeting" vendor creates much more than a delicious cake...she creates a true masterpiece and a beautiful work of art. Emily Patti of Patti Cakes is one of my favorite bakers...and people in general. After spending last Saturday with Emily and 4 of my fabulous brides I knew that she would be the perfect person to highlight this week. Emily gives some great advice below and some beautiful pictures...

How did you get into creating and designing special event cakes?
I have always had an artistic streak growing up but never really utilized it. When I had my son, I started making his birthday cakes every year. A few years later, a friend of mine literally forced me to make her wedding cake. It turned out to be a huge success! My business grew not only from a love of art, but a lifelong love of sweets as well.

What is the biggest trend you are seeing in the world of Wedding Cakes?
Having an extreme groom’s cake featured at the wedding along with the wedding cake. This is a way to get your fiancĂ© to become willingly involved and excited about the process and together we can come up with something so creative and that will be such a conversation piece at the wedding! This is a great way to let the personality of the groom or the two of you as a couple shine. Plus, unlike featuring a groom’s cake at the rehearsal dinner, everyone has the opportunity to see it.

What is your favorite part of working with a bride and creating her dream day?
Having the opportunity to hear her ideas and details in order to come up with a cake that is truly unique and personal. It’s more fun to combine our ideas to come up with a piece of art that makes a statement rather than just serve as the “expected” wedding cake. I’m so fortunate that I’m given the opportunity to create the centerpiece for a couple’s biggest day of their life.

What is a cake trend that is over-used in modern weddings?I have been so lucky to work with brides that relish the opportunity to get creative with their cake that I haven’t really come across something that is “over-used”. I always say “it’s trendy to be unique!”. Take this opportunity to let your ideas run, choose cake flavors that you really like and not what you feel is expected, and start your own trend.

What advice would you give a bride and groom when they are trying to pick the best cake with the best vendor?
Follow your heart! The cake is ultimately an edible, artistic expression that should compliment your personality. It should not only serve as a memorable centerpiece for your event, but leave a delicious taste in the mouth of all your guests. Choose the vendor that you truly believe understands the image and feel that you are trying to convey.

Grooms Cakes: Yes, These are completely edible.

Signature Drink Saturday: Strawberry Watermelon Mojito

A beautiful warm Saturday deserves the recipe for a beautiful "warm weather drink"...

1½ oz. Smirnoff Strawberry Vodka
½ oz. fresh lime juice
½ oz. mint-infused simple syrup
1 cup fresh seedless watermelon, cubed and chilled
1 bunch fresh mint leaves
Club soda

To make mint syrup, bring 2 cups of sugar and 1 cup of water to a boil. Once the sugar has dissolved, remove from heat and add 8 to 10 mint leaves. Let cool for 30 minutes. Strain. Combine vodka, lime juice, simple syrup, ½ cup of watermelon and about 10 mint leaves in a cocktail shaker with ice. Shake for 10 seconds. Strain into a glass with ice and remaining watermelon. Top with club soda. Garnish with additional mint leaf.

recipe from and the four seasons resort, florida.

Fashion Friday

I love modern events with a vintage feel...

One of the great "it" items of the 2008-2009 wedding seasons is an item that fits directly into that scenario and comes from an era I love the 60's...birdcage veils.

I have seen brides wear this once vintage item at every type of wedding...from a Saturday night black tie affair to an outdoor morning ceremony. These veils are timeless.

Check out a few of my favorites:

Tigerlily: Frances veil
Tigerlily: limited edition birdcage Alysse Veil

Tyler and Eric

Here are just a few pictures of my fun couple Tyler and Eric. They are getting married next summer at her mothers house on the water...the event is going to be magnificent! I am sure the rest of their engagement pictures are going to be beautiful...we were on a boat in 40 degree water but Tyler sure was a trooper! Thanks James!

Wedding Wednesday: Real Wedding of Hannah & Stefan

WOW! I have been anxiously waiting for my very talented hubby to post these pictures for a few weeks and I am very excited to showcase our final wedding of the season Hannah and Stefan.

Hannah and Stefan got married on a crazy windy day at the Lesner Inn in Virginia Beach and I was so impressed with Kate, Tracy and their staff. Debbie Pence created magnificent centerpieces made of gladiolas and apples...sounds crazy but it sure was pretty. Sweet Dreams by Stephanie created their YUMMY cake and of fabulous husband James took some beautiful pictures. It was a really great event that merged two very different cultures into one beautiful wedding. Here are some pictures of their beautiful day.

The Lesner Inn
Our Pretty Tables My Favorite Shot Ever!
A beautiful sunset and a beautiful bouquet
Someone videotaping James taking photos...
Best Man Coco and Stefan
Stefan and the Sunset

So vibrant
We finished off each place setting with a flower in a flat fold napkin

The wind permitted us from keeping the candles lit but it was still pretty


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