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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.

Friday Finds 4.29.11

April 29th, 2011

First, I have to give a shout out to one of my matrons of honor, Stephanie, because today is her birthday! Woo! I don’t even know if she is reading this, but if she is HAPPY BIRTHDAY!!

Second, it is the long anticipated and overly talked about Royal wedding day. Yes, I have any and everything royal wedding related recording on my DVR to be watched this weekend. I can’t wait to see all the details. Last summer, I had the pleasure of attending the wedding of a close friend of my FI’s family. The groom was Scottish, but had grown up in England. I was enamoured by the hats the ladies from England were wearing. They had so much detail and pizzaz. I wanted one.

Well, today of all days is a great day to feature this wonderful shop I found online. Hadleigh Hats (located in England, so unless you are there on holiday you’ll probably want to order online) has the most adorable fascinators, hats, and accessories. Here are just a few to peak your interest, but please check out their website for more. I feel more royal just browsing!

Ok, who wants to have an English style wedding and have all the ladies wearing one??


Vegas Inspiration

April 27th, 2011

I have this friend who has been engaged for about 8 or 9 years. I always tease that I am going to plan a wedding and surprise her with it. I missed a phone call from her last night and I got to thinking. If I really could plan a wedding for her, what would I do? She is a colorful, happy, fun, outgoing, wonderful person. I knew there would have to be bright colors. I originally was thinking a backyard BBQ type of wedding because she is a casual type of person. But that just didn’t seem to fit.

My friend and her fiance met online. Eight or nine years ago, that wasn’t as common as it is now. They always joke that since they met unconventionally, they would have to have an unconventional wedding somewhere like Vegas. Immediately the famous “Welcome to Las Vegas” sign popped into my head. After putting all my thoughts together, I came up with a fun wedding theme that I think would suit their personalities perfectly. It embraces the Vegas theme with class. And the cake was a great find (pat myself on the back) because she is actually quite good at roulette!

While she will remain nameless, she knows who she is. Enjoy!!

Credits (clockwise):
Bouquet, The Knot
Shoes, Manolo Blahnik at Neiman Marcus
Wine Stopper,
Place Card Holders,
Bridesmaid Dress, Alfred Sung Style D470
Necklace, Etsy for BM Jewelry Designs
Ring, Etsy for The Elephant Garden
Vegas Sign
Roulette Cake, Pink Cake Box
Invitations, Rexcraft
Groomsman Suit, J. Crew
Aviators, Banana Republic


Friday Finds 4.22.11

April 22nd, 2011

Since my bridal shower is just under a month away, I thought I would share this great little article from Martha Stewart Weddings. Have questions about who should host? Who should be invited? How much should your mother and FMIL be involved in planning? When should invites go out? This article addresses all of these things. If you are the MOH, this article is for you!

If you are floating around on the site, you might find this handy-dandy article that will help get your creative juices flowing on which activities to include. Just make sure your bride is the game playing type. I know there are many-a bride who greatly dislike the games played at showers. However, this slide show offers a ton of really cute ideas to get the guests involved without playing the same old, “How well do you know your future spouse?” bubble gum game.

And I just have to include these because they are oh-so-cute! See the How To.

Photo from Martha Stewart Weddings.


Vendor Spotlight: The Urban Gypsy

April 19th, 2011

I am so excited to share this vendor with you. I met Paulette, the owner of The Urban Gypsy, at a bridal show this past March. She had brought a few samples of her work and I immediately knew this was someone I wanted to work with in the future. Not only was her work creative and gorgeous, but her personality really stood out. We met for coffee to get to know each other a little better and ended up sitting there for 2 hours just talking randomly about design and goals for our business in the future. She and her family had plans to go to a festival and they actually had to come and interrupt to get us to stop talking. We could have been there for 5 more hours.

I can say that this is someone I will most definitely be working with again. And again. And again. As a matter of fact, we have something in the works right now. But you’ll have to wait for the details :)

So what is so great about The Urban Gypsy? Well I asked Paulette a few questions to help you get to know her.

NAE: What is your favorite color scheme from a wedding you have done?
UG: I did a fall wedding that used autumn orange, green and cream. My fantasy is to do a peacock-blue and purple wedding and a platinum and hot pink wedding.

NAE: What is the most unusual request you have had from a bride?
UG: To construct a necklace out of fresh orchids. The bride was so pleased, she had tears in her eyes, and so did I…

NAE: What made you decide to open your own floral shop?
UG: After two decades in the corporate world, I was ready to let the real me takeover. It was time to stop dreaming about how I wanted to live, and start living the dream. What a dramatic, positive effect it has had on my health, happiness and my family.

NAE: Which non-floral pieces do you love to incorporate into your work?
UG: Grandma’s brooch. A small beloved toy. Vintage ribbon. Old Buttons.

UG: NAE: If you could be any flower, which one would you be?
The calla lily. Graceful. Unpretentious. Perfect in any situation.

NAE: How far in advance do you suggest for brides to meet with you?
UG: 6 to 12 months is the usual, but I’m accommodating–I’ve met with brides in as short as a few weeks from their wedding.

NAE: I’ll let you bloom: What else do you want to share?
UG: I’m very versatile, creative and open-minded. My role is to enhance the bride’s vision, not so much as to change it. It’s about building relationships with my brides. I want them to know that they are in capable hands; they will be well taken care of.

NAE: Where can brides find you?
UG: The best way to reach me is via e-mail: They can make an appointment at my lovely space in Polish Hill for a free consultation where I’ll give them my complete attention:

3101 Brereton Street
Pittsburgh, PA 15219

Here are a few pictures of her work to give you a better idea of the beauty of her work.


Friday Finds 4.15.11

April 15th, 2011

I’ve been thinking a lot about prints. I think it is more in how you apply the print and rather than the print itself. I found this dress and absolutely love it. I love everything about it!!! Style, print, fit. Everything! The Dessy Group recently released it’s new Spring 2011 line. This is only one of the many amazing dresses in the line.

What do you think?


Vendor Spotlight: Jen McKen Photography

April 10th, 2011

I have known Jen McKen for over 17 years. I knew her before she was Jen McKen. I called her Jennifer, Jenny, and Popeye among many others. But most of all I called her my best friend. And I still do. Her mom was “Mama Kenrick” for Pete’s sake. We spent every waking moment together from the time we were in 6th grade until graduation. Even when we decided to go to different colleges, our friendship never faltered. So needless to say, I know her pretty well.

Because I do know her so well, I know it would be a shame if you didn’t. I asked her a few questions that I thought would help you get to know her and her photography style a little better. Let’s see what she had to say:

NAE: Tell me about your ideal client.
JMP: This may sound cheesy but….an optimist. I see a pessimist and I go running in the opposite direction. Life is too short to be negative. I like to surround myself with like-minded people, both in my personal and professional life. When I’m around an optimist, my work glows. I love clients who aren’t afraid to think outside the box, who are successful in their own right and who aren’t afraid to laugh at themselves—or at me! LOL

NAE: How long have you been at this and how did you get your start?
JMP: I’ve been doing the “photography gig” since my sophomore year in college. I started working at the school newspaper with NO experience other than I wanted to take awesome photos. My junior year, I traveled to Costa Rica as part of a college summer class and collected life style photographs to start building a portfolio. Soon after I returned I saw an ad in the local newspaper that they were seeking a photographer. I applied with my portfolio in hand and got the job. Now when I look back, I was horrible (hey everyone has to start somewhere!! Haha) I was able to hone my craft while working there for 6 or so years. I decided to quit the paper job when my business and family began to grow.

NAE: Besides weddings and engagements, what other services do you offer?
JMP: I specialize in PEOPLE! Preferably happy people!! LOL I love shooting families and senior portraits on location HOWEVER….I just finished a small-scale boudoir, maternity and newborn studio. This will serve as my space for meeting with wedding/engagement clients but a shooting space for those shoots that require a bit more privacy like boudoir…bow chica wow wow!!

NAE: What advice do you have for the bride and groom in preparation for photos on their big day?
JMP: Meet with your vendors IN PERSON if possible. Not only do you get a sense of their personalities but you can also get a clear understanding of what you can expect for your final product. Pick a photographer that compliments your style, personality, and overall look you’re going for. If you don’t like the images you see on their website, you won’t like the final product or images. Just like each wedding planner, DJ, cater is different-so are photographers. We all have our own style…just because they have a business doesn’t mean they are the right vendor for you.

NAE: What is your favorite moment during a wedding?
JMP: There are soo many! My personal favorite moment is when the father and daughter see each other for the first time, or the moment before the doors open at the back of the church and the anticipation and excitement between a father and daughter. No matter how grown up, successful or independent a woman is, she turns into “daddy’s little girl” again for a brief while. It tears me up every time!

NAE: What is your advice for choosing a wedding photographer?
JMP: Brides, you will be with your photographer longer on your wedding day than the man you’re about to marry. Make sure you “LIKE” your photographer. Hire someone you could see yourself be friends with outside of the “wedding world”. The day goes so much smoother and your photos are so much more personal when you have a photographer that you enjoy being around. Long gone are the days of a grumpy, pushy photographer…….and consider doing a first look. I talk in-depth about it here.

NAE: How do you break the ice and get your clients to relax?
JMP: We laugh and we talk-just like old friends. People typically love to talk about themselves-especially their engagement story. While they are spilling the beans and laughing at each other’s version of the story, I’m getting my shots! Before long, having a camera there is “no big deal”.

NAE: I had a tough time figuring out what to wear for my engagement sessions. What suggestions do you have on this?
JMP: The safest thing: BE YOURSELF!! Often times I see people going out and buying all the trendiest outfits, etc and trust me they look fabulous…..but if you think about it…REALLY think about it, if that’s not how you really dress everyday-why fake it for the photos. On the other hand, if you want to “take it up a notch” there are great resources available such the gals from Wardrobe Wednesday . They do an amazing job at putting together inspiration boards from everything from kids, families, engagements session AND they list coupons for stores periodically. My only other advice is to try not to be “matchy matchy.”

NAE: Where can brides find you?
JMP: Holla at me, tell me a joke or just say hi!
About me:


Friday Finds 4.8.11

April 9th, 2011

Oh boy. I did it again. Friday came and went without a find. But I have a good excuse. I was feeling under the weather. I have been so crazy lately, that I think feeling run down just took a toll on me. I hope you’ll forgive me :)

This find comes from an old co-worker of mine. She had found an article with numerous different options for wedding registries besides the usual Bed, Bath & Beyond and Macy’s. Now, don’t get me wrong. I LOVE BB&B. It’s one of my favorite stores. But Joey and I already live together. And I have been living on my own for 10 years now. We have most of the things we need. We ended up registering at BB&B and also You can read more in the post I wrote about our registry experience here.

I wanted to share a few other options for registries. My friend sent me this article, which does not really give a high view of wedding registries, but gives lots of alternatives to the usual BB&B or Macy’s. To make it easy for you, I’ll list a few options.

These allow you to register from any store all on one site:

Do you love food? Or maybe you just aren’t a good cook and want to make sure your FI eats in your first year of marriage? Here’s the perfect registry for you:
4. Foodie Registry

Or maybe you are like me and want to go somewhere fabulous for your honeymoon?

Do your hopes of owning a home come before getting your Kitchen Aid Mixer (You’re crazy because that is the most important thing of my registry, but I guess I get it. LOL)?

What are some other registry sites out there that you have/are using??


Friday Finds 4.1.11

April 1st, 2011

One thing I have been kind of dreading is the whole name changing process. I know there are a million places I will have to contact to change my name. After all, I have had this name since I was born! Well now there is a handy-dandy little site, that helps with all of this. The site takes all of your information and auto-completes all of the forms needed to submit your name changing documents. There is a small fee of $29.95. But for those brides who are constantly on the go and have chaotic lives like myself, this is chump change. Anything I can do to make my life easier is alright in my book. This site may not be for everyone, but it will help those who need to make a lot of changes. You can complete all of the forms in advance of the wedding, but cannot submit many without an actual marriage certificate. By the way, they suggest getting a few copies of that so you have it to submit to the institutions who require it for the change to be valid.

Remember, you won’t want to change your name until after your honeymoon if you are traveling where a passport will be required. If your names do not match, photo ID or not, they will not let you on the plane. You do not want to be stuck in an island paradise because they won’t let you back into the US. Oh wait, that actually sounds pretty nice…