Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Star's Inspirations: Personalize your Big Day with Photos!

We have seen photos used a myriad of ways as a decor element at weddings and events.  No matter how they are used, photos add a nice personal touch and a bit of uniqueness to your Big Day.  Whether you exhibit a bunch of photos or just a few favorites, your guests will enjoy the opportunity to view them at your wedding.  If you've had engagement photos taken, consider using them as wedding decor - it is a great way to show them off to your friends and family!  Another idea is to display childhood photos of you and your fiance or maybe use a variety of photos taken at various times throughout your relationship.  Some couples choose to display their parent's wedding pictures or photos of loved ones who have passed.  Whatever you decide will be perfect!  Display your photos in elaborate crystal frames for a formal look or string them along a clothes line for a casual garden wedding.  Below are just a few of our favorite ways to display personal photos at weddings.

Amanda and Hal, one of our September 2012 wedding couples, displayed their parent's, grandparent's and great grandparent's wedding photos on a table at the entrance of their venue.  A little sign naming the couple and their wedding date was placed next to each frame.  This was such a sweet touch and we loved how they included a photo from Hal's propsal to Amanda in the center.  For more on Amanda and Hal's big day, see this previous post.

 Photos courtesy of Callaway Gable Photography

Another one of our couples displayed various family photos to create an ancestry table.  Guests enjoyed  perusing these photos during the reception.

Photo courtesy of Callaway Gable Photography

Jessica and David, one of our October 2012 couples, used framed photos from their engagement shoot as table numbers.  This was a clever way exhibit their favorite engagement shoot photos!  For more on Jessica and David's wedding, see this previous post.

Photo courtesy of Docuvitae Photography

One of our October 2011 couples also used photos as table numbers.  For more on Stephanie and Darren's stunning wedding see this previous post.

Photo courtesy of Ryan Phillips Photography

We love how this couple displayed a variety of photos at their bar.  They included baby pictures of the bride and groom as well as a few quirky and sweet photos of the couple together.

Photo courtesy of Found Vintage Renals

Stringing photos around a tree (or fence, or wall, for that matter) is such a simple way to utilize your personal photos. 

What a great photo op!  Love this!

Photos courtesy of Simply Chic Events

We love the look of black and white photos strung across a mirror.  So simple yet elegant!

Photo courtesy of Ashley Bee 



Thursday, February 14, 2013

Sterling Engagements Wishes: Happy Valentine's Day!

Happy Valentine's  Day!  As most of you know or are about to learn... I'm a hopeless romantic, so of course Valentine's Day is always a favorite of mine...

 Photo courtesy of deviantArt

I'm always inspired by love, affection and passion between people.  It's part of our business to be as wedding planners but also I am just as an individual.  Today as I sat down to write this post, I was inspired by so many things but here are a few of my favorites that I came across...

Love is....
Photo courtesy of deviantArt

 This one's amazing... 
Photo courtesy of  Speaking Beauty


Photo courtesy of Pinterest
 So hot!

Photo courtesy of  Junebug Weddings

Just precious...

Photo courtesy of Twitter

And of course... my all time favorite!

Photo courtesy of Tumblr   

Have a happy day and wonderful evening however you celebrate! 

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Star's Favorite Sweets: Dark Chocolate Love Cookies

Today I am sharing with you one of my new favorite cookie recipes: The Perfect Dark Chocolate Sugar Cookie.  This recipe comes courtesy of Rosie who is the author of one of my favorite blogs, Sweetapolita.  This blog is constantly inspiring me to bake.  My mouth waters just looking at the pictures of her amazing sweet concoctions!  The Perfect Dark Chocolate Sugar Cookie recipe was posted just before the Holidays and I knew I had to try it.  Adding chocolate to anything, even a traditional sugar cookie recipe, is bound to produce delicious results, right?  Let me tell you, it did!  These cookies were such a hit at my annual holiday cookie exchange party that I decided to make them again for Valentine's Day.  My husband loves having home baked cookies out on the counter so I thought I'd surprise him with these love cookies for Valentine's Day.

I must admit, this recipe is quite tedious as it has various steps involving chilling dough, rolling it out, re chilling, cutting shapes, re chilling, etc. but let me tell you, it is well worth it and all of the steps really do matter!  If the steps are followed correctly, this recipe produces the most amazing dark chocolate sugar cookie (which must be why Rosie named them "The Perfect Dark Chocolate Sugar Cookie").  These cookies keep their shape and are an awesome blank canvas for decorating!  They are firm enough to hold together nicely when you pick them up but have a bit of chewiness when you bite into them.  You'll thank me for this one!


      6 cups all-purpose flour, sifted
      1-1/4 cups dark cocoa powder
      1 teaspoon salt
      2 cups (4 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
      2 cups granulated sugar
      1 cup light brown sugar
      3 eggs, cold
      2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract


  1. 1. In large bowl, sift together flour, cocoa powder and salt. Set aside.
  2. 2. In an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream butter and sugars until fluffy and pale, about 5 minutes. Beat in eggs until just combined.
  3. 3. Add flour mixture and mix on low speed until thoroughly combined. Add vanilla and blend.
  4. 4. Remove 1/2 of dough from bowl, make a ball, and place on a large piece of plastic wrap on counter.Wrap the sides of wrap over the ball, then press down with the palm of your hand and make a disc about 2" thick. Finish wrapping the disc with the plastic wrap. Repeat with 2nd half of dough. Chill both discs of dough for about 45 minutes.
  5. 5. Remove one disc and remove plastic wrap. Place on top of a large piece of parchment paper (I use a silicone rolling mat underneath to ensure it doesn't slip while rolling, but you can even dampen counter so the parchment sticks a bit.), then place two 1/4" wooden dowels on either side of your dough, then another sheet of parchment paper.
  6. 6. Roll dough (this will require a bit of elbow grease for the first few minutes until it softens up a bit) so it's flush with dowels--they will ensure that your dough is even thickness.
  7. 7. Preheat your oven to 325° F. Slide your parchment paper and dough onto a board, then place in refrigerator for about 15 minutes.
  8. 8. Remove from fridge, and cut your shapes using the cutters of your choice, placing them on a baker's half sheet lined with a silicone baking mat (or parchment), with 2" clearance around each one and the edge of sheet. Place sheet with cookies into freezer for 15 minutes before baking. Bake until cookie edges are just crisp, about 16 minutes.
  9. 9. Cool sheets on wire racks for 10 minutes, then gently remove cookies and place on wire racks to finish cooling.

Photos courtesy of Sweetapolita

Happy Baking!


Friday, February 01, 2013

Star's Inspirations: The Perfect Valentine's Day Card

Valentine's Day is right around the corner which means I am on the hunt for the perfect card for my  dear husband.  Cards have always meant a lot to me, even back when I used to adorn them with macaroni.  I enjoy perusing the card isle of my favorite stationary shops and choosing the perfect card for the perfect person on the perfect occasion.  From time to time I even enjoy making my own cards.  

According to History.com, Valentine's Day has been celebrated for centuries in various countries throughout the world.  By the mid 18th century, friends and lovers of all social classes exchanged handwritten notes or small tokens of affection in the name of St. Valentine.  "According to the Greeting Card Association, an estimated 1 billion Valentine's Day cards are sent each year... Women purchase approximately 85% of all valentines" - History.com.  Although Valentine's Day can often seem like a cheesy holiday, I must admit, I love it!  I like the idea of taking one day in the middle of cold, gloomy February to express your love for others and feel loved as well.  It's also a good excuse to get a mani-pedi, wear a sexy red dress and if your lucky, get flowers and chocolates!

In previous years, my husband and I exchanged cards for every major event: birthdays, holidays, graduations, promotions, anniversaries, etc.  My hubby always chose a nice card and wrote a thoughtful message in it and I did the same until a few years ago when he suggested that we stop giving each other cards.  He felt that since we'd been together for a number of years, that a card for every occasion was unnecessary.  At first I was disappointed and a little sad, but when I really thought about it, I understood and actually kind of agreed; however, I wasn't ready to say goodbye to exchanging cards forever!  We compromised and decided on two cards a year: One for Valentine's Day and one for our Anniversary (the occasional love note is ok too :).  I kind of enjoy this new tradition because it makes these two cards mean so much more.  Now that we have a little one, I know I may not have the time to peruse the card isle like I used to, so I am shopping online.  I've found so many I love but I've narrowed it down to the following:

I'm slightly obsessed with Paper Source products, and their cards are no exception.  Love these! 

How fun is this check box/fill in the blank card?!

Photos courtesy of Paper Source

Papyrus' cards are always stunning.  They are so detailed and intricate that the recipient of the card can't help but feel special!
Photo courtesy of Papyrus 

Etsy is a great place to find super unique cards.  A few of these are sweet and a few are silly. Love them all!

Photos courtesy of (1) Etsy Shop PABD Elegance, (2) Etsy Shop jdeluce
(3) Etsy Shop StrangerDays, (4) Etsy Shop PABD Elegance

Whether you are single, in a relationship, engaged, or married, I hope you'll enjoy choosing the perfect card for a special someone.