Friday, June 27, 2008

That's your bag, baby! Yeaaaa!

One of the hardest things after having us photograph your wedding is lugging your photos all around town to share with friends, co-workers and family. No longer will you have to haul your proofs barefoot uphill both ways in the snow with your bare hands.

We have always tried to find cool ways to deliver pictures. Boxes and ribbons and bows and all sorts of things have come and gone. Well, we now have something better ~ something really cool. We decided to "green up" our wedding photography delivery. During a late night business meeting earlier this year we decided that we did not just want to make our business more green, but we also wanted to help other people be more green as well. Our tree promotion was the first idea and now, our packaging.

We have been anxiously awaiting these great new canvas bags and they finally arrived today. You know the great thing is you can totally re-use this bag over and over, and you don't even have to shorten it, unlike that bridesmaid's dress buried in the back of your closet!

In fact the new bags arrived just in time for us to force an associate of ours (who was stopping by for a meeting) to model them.

If you happened to need custom invitations and or graphic design you need to call Carla David Design, and be sure to tell Carla what a fabulous model she is.

Lastly, the fabulous embroidery was done by our great friend Danya of PS I Luv You.
She makes great custom embroidered clothes at the most reasonable rates you will ever find. (I loved this shirt in particular and made Rissa buy one.)

Really Tacky Advice

My family is far from being Forbes 500 wealthy. I did not grow up in a mansion and have never lived a life of pampered luxury. Spa treatments are really a treat to me. However, in a million zillion years I would never consider having a "faux cake" made of styrofoam at a wedding or any event at all for that matter. Yuck! That is the tackiest advice I have ever, ever heard.

Recently I was reading an article with tips to help shave down a bride's wedding budget. Among the other gems in this story, it suggested that brides could get styrofoam and have it decorated like cake. "Guests will never know" and it will "look great in pictures."

So I called a friend of mine who is a professional wedding cake decorator & baker. (Her name will be concealed to protect the innocent ~ ie her "foamy" clients : ) She said that yes, in fact, it is cheaper. As long as you have more than about 120 guests. So it has to be big. If the cake is smaller than 120 servings, it is not significantly less to go foamy because it is more difficult to decorate styrofoam due to its surface texture and light weight. And it's still not free ~ or even altogether cheap. You will need to pay someone anyhow to decorate your foamy. And then, at the end of the wedding, you will throw foamy in the trash.

My baker friend brought up another interesting point ~ styrofoam is not exactly eco-friendly. So if you are leaning at all towards being green, this option is not only tacky, but also will take a bazillion years to break down in the landfill.

As it turns out, this same baker has done several foamies this year and is even working on one today for a couple getting married at an extremely expensive venue in the area. Their big savings with foamy... cha ching... about $35 considering the number of guests they will have. This couple bought their foamy cake as well as ordering luscious layered sheet cakes for the catering staff to cut in the back. Wow. $35 ~ that's not even a tank of gas in my VW Beetle. Apparently, the bride wanted a huge over-the-top cake only for photos, or something like that. Why not just blow the extra $35 and make it a real one? I just don't get it.

There are lots of fun dessert trends out there. I love the cupcake towers. Truffle towers are fun, too. The cheesecake displays are quite fabulous. One bride we photographed last summer had heavenly lemon meringue pies. Guests were crazy about the pies. Nathaniel and I were crazy about the pies. We've seen lots of girls do small, pretty cutting cakes for pictures and then have a dessert bar with chocolates, tarts, cupcakes ~ you get the idea. We were at a fun wedding last month where the bride had warm apple crisp served in bowls with ice cream. It was a hit & really yummy. And there is always the stand-by chocolate fountain as long as you are indoors (windy days don't mix well with chocolate fountains and outdoor venues...).Seriously, don't be tacky. If you need to shave your budget but still want to make a splash with your dessert, sit down with your baker or caterer and turn your brain on, be creative! In fact, I am all for personality! Who wants to have the same wedding everyone else has? The warm apple crisp was creative and truly suited the nature of the couple. The dessert trays are fun and allow for some real individuality. Don't get me wrong, I LOVE cakes. Love them. We buy cakes for every occasion, seriously.A beautiful cake can really set up your entire wedding reception and when made by an intuitive, talented baker, express a lot about who you are as a couple!

But foamy is tacky.
No one wants to look back one day with nostalgia as they are telling their grandchildren about their wedding and say "Oh, we saved $35 with this styrofoam cake. Isn't it lovely?"

~ Rissa

P.S. All desserts shown on this blog are REAL. Like, they have substance ~ they were made with food ingredients. You could eat the whole, entire thing. So grab a fork, folks and dig in.

P.P.S. If you are one of our contracted brides and you are considering a foamy ~ don't do it! Stop by, mention this blog, and I will give you the $35 bucks to go for the real deal. Hey tho -- if I get to your wedding and foamy is there, you owe me the $ back.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Black Ankle Winery

At a recent networking event for The Chesapeake Sustainable Buisness Alliance I was introduced to a wonderful new winery in Frederick County. In the fabulously renovated bank in Catonsville that is home to Alter Ego, I learned all about the winery and its new beginnings.
The story is truly inspiring to me because the couple that began Black Ankle Winery is in much the similar situation as Rissa and I. They have started their own business from the ground up and have taken care and lots of hard work to make it by their own standards, desires and beliefs.
Most impressive to me though, was the wine. Many of you know what a wine lover I am and I was blown away by the fact that the wine I sampled was
a) delicious
b) organic
c) from the first pressing!

Usually brand new wine from a brand new winery is not so impressive, but I invite you all to partake and I assure you, assuming you like dry wines, you will be very delighted with the wine, the owners and their story! The tasting facility officially opens in July so maybe (likely) you will see me there!