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Weddings at The Mansion

Nicki Ann's Wedding Blog

In her blog, Nikki Ann shares with you her insights, thoughts, and feelings on all things women, wedding, marriage, and event-related.

Rain, Rain Go Away

September 29th, 2010

The past two days in Pittsburgh have been rainy, dreary and chilly. As I have mentioned to many people, I am boycotting fall. It can’t possibly be time for pumpkin patches and apple cider yet! Although, that does sound good. I feel like the summer has gone by too quickly, but that’s what we get for being completely pummeled by our busy weekends. However, the weather was the inspiration for this post. They say, rain on your wedding day is supposed to bring good luck and a long happy marriage. I say, that’s crap. It very well may be good luck, but no one wants to worry about getting mud on their wedding dress, the bridesmaids’ heels sinking into the ground during pictures or the groomsmen splashing each other in a puddle. Since the weather is something that not even weather forecasters can predict sometimes (especially in the late spring or early fall), what/how should you be prepared for a wedding that falls during these unpredictable seasons?

How to safeguard yourself:
1. Rain boots – You know, the vinyl ones that we all wore as kids that are now back in style? If you are nervous about rain because the weatherman is saying there is a 90% chance, you might want to grab a pair of rain boots. One of my best friends got married in February and rather than risking ruining her wedding shoes, I bought her a pair of light blue rain boots from Target. They were $25 and were perfect for the snowy weather. I suggest grabbing a pair of these if the weatherman is calling for rain a week before the wedding. You can get express shipping if you need to or can purchase them as a back-up plan in case Mother Nature doesn’t have the same vision of a warm, sunny day on your big day. You can always return them if you need to! Oh and they are still cute after the wedding too. You can find them online here.

2. Umbrellas – Ideally, the rain will come only during the ceremony (as long as it is inside). Then, it will clear up before heading out for photos and the reception. Then you’ll have the good luck and not have to worry about getting wet. Ideally. If your luck is anything like mine, it would wait until the photos to start a torrential downpour. So umbrellas are the most obvious solution. Regular umbrellas will always work, but why not turn them into an accessory for the photo shoot? I like the clear dome umbrellas seen here. However, if you are worried about that tiny little dome covering your entire gown, a white golf umbrella (here) would be an alternate option.

3. Shawls – If it is unseasonably cold, you may want to consider buying the bridesmaids or yourself a shawl. It’s like a blanket you can wear. No, not a snuggie please! Here is a site where you can find a bunch of different colors. This is a nice way of having your bridesmaids match and not have to worry about being cold the day of your wedding. It is also hard to find something that goes with the gowns and is dressy enough to be seen in photos. And it’s a nice keepsake for them for after the wedding.

4. Pack Makeup – You will most likely stay under a unbrella. But just in case you get a little bit wet, make sure you have makeup, hairspray and bobby pins handy. Pack them up in a waterproof bag for easy travel. You’ll most likely have back-ups for makeup anyway to touch up after those tears of happiness, so this may not be any additional trouble.

How to safeguard your party:
1. Rent a Tent – If your ceremony or reception is outdoors, contact an event rental company to get a tent to cover the nuptials. While you may dream of open, blue skies, this may not be ideal if the clouds open up on you. Even if it isn’t raining, it might be scorching hot. So you may want to consider giving your guests some cover so they can actually enjoy the party without layering on the sunblock.

2. Alternate locations – Check with your venue to make sure there is a back-up location where the event can be held. If there is not, see #1. You’ll also want to ask about any fees associated with using the alternate location. You may want to consider spending the extra deposit fee if your wedding falls during one of those crazy unpredictable months. If you don’t use it, you are out the money. But if you need it, it is there.

While I hope the rain only happens from 12:00am until 12:01am on your wedding day (to give you that good luck of course), I think it’s best to be prepared for the unpredictable!


Four Weddings and a nap

September 25th, 2010

This weekend, I have absolutely NOTHING going on. Some people might complain that they are bored and want to find something to do. Not this girl. After a summer jam-packed with weddings and other events every weekend, I am ready to relax and take naps and watch movies like Mamma Mia!, which is what I happen to be doing at this moment. So I woke up this morning, earlier that I wanted, and went to breakfast with Joey. When we got home, I laid on the couch where I haven’t moved since. I had DVRed Four Weddings from last night, so I started watching it and it gave me the bug to create something new. Shortly after that, I decided to take a little nap. It was glorious :) When I woke up, I decided to create an inspiration board for my co-worker who happens to be getting married at the end of May next year. We talk about our weddings all the time at work. Since we live in Pittsburgh and the city revolves around football, she was worried about it looking like a Steeler themed wedding. I don’t think she has to worry about that. She has some great ideas. So my inspiration for creating this board came from watching Four Weddings and taking a nap on my first weekend off all summer. I hope Shannon enjoys the board!!


Vote for me!

September 24th, 2010

<img src="" alt="Weddzilla Guru Awards 2010"Weddings - Wedding Vendor Reviews - Wedding Tips - Wedding Events - Wedding Dresses- Wedding Cakes- Wedding Venues


How to be a good bridesmaid, let me count the ways…

September 23rd, 2010

In the last year, I was in 3 weddings – two of which I was the Maid of Honor (MOH) and the other a bridesmaid who guided the MOH since she had never been one before. I just got a message from someone who is returning the favor as MOH in her best friend’s upcoming wedding. She said that the future bride was such a wonderful MOH that she wanted to make sure she did anything and everything to make her big day as special as her own. She asked me for tips and that got me thinking. So here are some tips for bridesmaids and MOHs to keep your brides happy:

1. Do unto others. You have all heard this before. Treat others as you want to be treated. This is not the easiest thing to do because you may not be the needy type or as laid back as your bride. The thing is that you are in the wedding because you are one of the closest friends she has. I would assume that you know her pretty well and know what she would want. So maybe I should say “do unto others as you think they would want.”

2. Have a sturdy shoulder. This is a very stressful time for brides. They want everything to be perfect. No doubt, something is bound to go wrong. But don’t tell her that! Your job is to reassure her that everything is going to be beautiful and flawless. If something does come up, take care of it – especially on the wedding day. If at all possible, make it so that she never knows anything ever happened. Sometimes things are out of your control and you may need to inform the bride. But if it is something simple like the photographer needing help rounding up the bridal party for photos, step up and help. When she is in the planning mode and is crying because the flowers aren’t the exact shade of pink that she wanted, be there for her. It may seem silly to you at the time, but to her it is a big deal. She has been envisioning how her wedding will be and when that is altered, it can be the straw that broke the camel’s back. It may not even be about the flowers. The point is, just be there for her. After all, you are one of her closest friends and that’s what friends are for.

3. Community Service. Offer to help with anything and everything – frequently. Even if you hate crafts, offer to help with the handmade favors. Even if you have only 1 free hour in an entire weekend and you could really use a nap, offer your help. If she hasn’t already, she will be in your wedding someday. You’d want the offer too. On the same page, ask how the planning is going. Make it a point to ask her when you talk to her. She’ll appreciate the fact that you are thinking about her even if you have to write it down to remind yourself.

4. Ask about dresses before you go shopping. Imagine going into a bridal shop to look for bridesmaids dresses and the bride pulling out a gown that is awful. Your immediate response might be to laugh and say, “Yeah, that would be a good one” in that sarcastic tone. But this is the very same dress she has had plastered all over her wedding binder for months because she absolutely loves it. This is why it is good to ask what she has in mind before beginning the search. If she wants a certain color that you know makes you look so pale you might as well have been hibernating in a cave for the last 3 years, suck it up. It is her wedding. You can always go to a tanning bed or get a spray tan if you are that concerned about it. Now, if she is not set on a specific color, you can politely suggest another color that may be more flattering to everyone. But be careful of wording because it isn’t about you.

5. Party!! Throw her the bridal shower and bachelorette party of her dreams. If you know she loves tea parties, throw a traditional tea party brunch for her shower. If she loves to dance, take her to a dance club to boogie down all night for her bachelorette party. Again, this is not about you and what you want. This is for her. Again, she’ll most likely do the same (if she hasn’t already) for you. I would definitely ask the bride what she has in mind for those two parties. While you are planning it, she may prefer something more casual to a fancy brunch for her shower. Don’t hire strippers without checking on the “policies” for the bachelorette and bachelor parties. If she has said no exotic dancers (I should probably use the PC term. After all I don’t discriminate, make that money!), then her future husband may be a little upset if she has men shaking their thingies in her face.

If you haven’t gotten the gist of this whole post, I will reiterate. Do what you think she wants you to do. If you are not sure, ask. And overall, just be a good friend. Don’t over think it. She’ll most likely ask for help if she needs it, but be there for her. The day is going to come and go just as fast for you as it does her. So enjoy it and be honored that they asked you to be there for them on their big day.


Ridgeview Acres Farm

September 20th, 2010

Yesterday, I went to Ridgeview Acres Farm. It is located between Donegal (right off the PA turnpike) and Ligonier. I had a meeting with a bride in the morning and she had an appointment with them a little later that morning. I was happy to tag along for the appointment because I am always up for finding great vendors to use. She had come across their booth at the Ligonier Country Market and fell in love with their work. The owners, Bob and Sally, have lived in Bob’s family farm for the last 17 years. They were previously commuting from Cincinnati to help keep the farm in the family and finally decided to make it their daily work and make the move. They started out growing vegetables to sell and slowly started growing flowers that they would cut and sell in bouquets at local markets. This has evolved into a much larger production and they now prepare floral for a few weddings a month. The greatest thing about them is that they grow all their own flowers. They do use wholesalers now and then to provide those exotic flowers that they cannot grow or flowers in the winter months that they are not able to keep in their three greenhouses.

We met with Bob. He was great and really friendly. The appointment lasted about 2 hours because he went through and described past weddings and gave his opinion on how they felt the arrangements turned out for them. It was interesting to see how they design. Most of the arrangements are different, so no two centerpieces are the same. They use a lot of color and really give you that unintentionally beautiful look. In all honesty, I was nervous at first. I didn’t think this was the right type of florist for my bride. She had a very specific color scheme in mind and wanted something a little more uniform. However, Bob had won us both over in the end. We talked more about what she wanted the color scheme we wanted to stick with for the flowers and he was more than willing to work with us. I truly believe the centerpieces will turn out beautiful. They will each be unique and definitely a conversation piece. I can’t wait to see how they turn out! I knew as soon as I left that this wonderful business needed to be shared. Make sure you check out their wedding info here!


I just love this site!

September 17th, 2010

I really do. I think this is such a perfect way to share your ideas with future brides. Of course, it is only an “outline” from which you would work, but it is a great way to let brides know how you think. Plus, all of the photos I use are from sites that I can actually order things from and I also try to keep the prices at a reasonable amount. I know I would hate it if I saw something on one of those style boards and couldn’t have it.

My bride had another color scheme she wanted to explore, so I decided to do another style board for her. It is similar in style – bird theme and vintage – but slightly different colors. She was looking at teal, copper, brown and ivory. As I was working on pulling the colors, they did not have copper, so I used the closest one I could to that which was a gold tone. So when looking, imagine copper in lieu of the gold.


Vintage Peacock Wedding

September 14th, 2010

I recently offered my wedding coordination services to a friend from high school. She was my big sister in cheerleading and always a spunky, fun person. I asked her what she envisioned for her wedding and was very excited when she told me what she had in mind. At first, I wasn’t sure what to do with it. She had originally wanted a peacock theme but then found a picture of a wedding cake that she fell in love with. The cake had light yellow and green flowers with a bird’s nest as a topper and simple green ribbons lining each layer. It is a beautiful cake. So I started doing some research. I decided to go with two different color schemes and let her choose which one she liked better. Then, as I was flipping around online, I found the perfect centerpiece that combined the yellow and green with the peacock, something I never thought would work. Then, I found the most handy little tool online to date – an online inspiration board creator. This is something I had planned to create for each bride so they could visualize what I had envisioned. However, you can imagine my excitement when I found one that I can create online and send to my brides via email. It is through the Dessy Group and they also allow you to post your inspiration board to your blog. So after a very exciting hour, I give you Vintage Peacock wedding :)

Larissa & Jason – 9/10/11 : PANTONE WEDDING Styleboard : The Dessy Group.


Bermuda, Bahamas, come on pretty mama!

September 2nd, 2010

Yesterday we had an appointment with our travel agent to discuss our honeymoon. I was pretty excited to say the least. This will be our first vacation in over 2 years – for longer than a long weekend, that is. After all, we are headed to Deep Creek, MD in 2 weeks. But we are talking about sun, sand and clear water beaches here! Sorry Deep Creek, but you don’t compete with that. We had sat down together one evening and scoured the internet for reviews on the best beaches around. We had discussed what we wanted from our honeymoon and both agreed. We wanted some place south of Pittsburgh (preferably far south), all-inclusive, and we want to swim with dolphins. We had discussed Italy, but decided that would be a trip to take another time because there would be too much to see. We just want to relax on the beach with a cold drink in our hands. This is obviously not for everyone. Some people want the adventurous honeymoon. Just not us.

From our research, we were able to narrow our list down to about 10 places. When we got together with our travel agent, Lisa Dilla from Destination Anywhere (sorry, there is no website, but I can give you contact info if you are interested!), we went through our list and she told us what she knew about each place. This was so helpful. There is only so much you can find out online and frankly, I not sure how much of it I can trust. She had directed us to Apple Vacations in order to get an idea of pricing. However, you cannot see pricing for airlines until about 330 days before travel. It was painful. But finally, the day came where we could see pricing for our exact dates, though it was still early and not as many flights were available yet.

There are definitely some positive points to using a travel agent. The first is that they know a lot about different places. We were able to narrow our list of 10 even more just by asking if they were out of our price range. She was able to give us a general idea of pricing and the of atmosphere the islands. She also had not heard much about one of the locations (Margarita Island, Venezuela) because it hasn’t been as popular in the last few years. This was not the end of it though. She said she’d do some research and let us know what she found. So bonus #2 – they’ll find out if they don’t know the answer. Travel agents use a few different companies to book trips through and often can find better pricing for you. They can see more easily if it would be cheaper to leave on a Monday, rather than Sunday.

We have narrowed our options to 3. Tied for first place is St. Lucia and Curacao. We think both have positives and negatives. We are waiting to find out what other options may open up for us in the next few months. The third option is Cabo San Lucas. It is by far the least expensive, but from other’s reports we have heard it is extremely hot in July (like miserably hot) and since it is on the Pacific Ocean, there are many beaches that are not safe for swimming due to rip tides and currents and all that fun stuff. We definitely want to be able to swim in the ocean, so this is a pretty big negative for us. We are planning to book by the end of October, so I will be sure to post with our final decision! In the meantime, here are a few photos to hold you over :)


St. Lucia