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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.

Shower her with gifts… meaningful gifts.

May 29th, 2011

The wedding season is in full effect. You can always tell when the shower invites begin to roll in. My bridal shower was two weekends ago and I am still reeling with excitement and love. I cannot believe how many people came to shower me with love… and gifts! Wow. I do have to say, it was quite overwhelming. I received my Kitchen Aid Mixer and Keurig coffee maker – the two items I told Joey I was going to buy regardless of whether I received them at the shower or not. I thought I had everything at that point. I opened a steam mop from my mom, lingerie from my aunt and more kitchen towels than I will need for at least the next 5 years of our marriage. Then I got to this one large bag. As I opened it and pulled out a quilt, my aunt called out that it was from my dad. See, he had been talking about this one gift that he had been saving for me for a long time. He said it was a gift from my mom, him and my great-grandmother. She went on to explain that a quilt was made by my great-grandmother for each of her grandchildren on their wedding day. This was the one that was made for my mom and dad. I have to say this was probably one of the most meaningful gifts I received that day. Knowing it was something passed down from my family and now it is mine to pass along to my children. From the picture, you can tell I was completely speechless and just in awe.

Then, this past weekend, I was at a shower for a friend who received a handkerchief. It was from her mother and attached was a poem.

The Magic Hanky
I am just a little hanky, as square as can be;
but with a stitch or two, they’ve made a bonnet out of me.
I’ll be worn home from the hospital, and on special days,
and then I’ll be carefully pressed and neatly packed away.
Then on the Wedding, I have been told,
every well dressed Bride must have something old.
So what would be more fitting than to find Little Old Me,
a few stitches snipped and a Wedding Handkerchief
I Will Be!
And if per chance, it is a boy, someday he still will Wed.
So to his Bride he can present
the “Magic Handkerchief” once worn upon his head.

I immediately had to maintain eye contact with my fork so I didn’t start to cry. Maybe I am just emotional and feeling a little sentimental as my wedding day approaches, but I couldn’t stop thinking the absolutely adorable poem and meaning behind the hanky. I found a website where you can purchase the “Magic Hanky.”

Stay tuned for a few more meaningful shower gift ideas!!


Friday Finds 5.27.11 – Part I

May 27th, 2011

So this first find is not something you can find on the internet. It is a photo of my grandmother and my grandfather, also affectionately know as my Gram and Pap.

It is their wedding day. She was just 16! I am 13 years older getting ready to experience that same joy and wish she were here with me to be a part of my day. That is why I actually got the photo. My Aunt Linda is in town from Georgia and I asked her for a little help digging up some pictures for the memorial photos for the reception. My Gram passed away from cancer when I was just 9 years old. When I saw this photo, I was in awe. They both looked so young (and they were!). The veil she is wearing is gorgeous and her gown was so beautiful. In talking to my Pap about my Gram’s attire, he mentioned that both were still in the attic. I couldn’t believe it! I was stunned that something like that was still around. Stunned and sad. I wish I had known her veil was still in existence. I would have loved to have worn it on my wedding day and I know she would have been so proud for me to have it. But mine has been purchased and paid for and since it is being customized, not returnable.

So from this “find,” I give you advice. Spend some time talking to your family. Your mother, father, aunts and uncles and more importantly, grandparents. They are the ones who would know if something like this is still around and if it would be something you would want to have for your wedding day. I am hoping someday to be the owner of this dress and veil, even if just for display.


Friday Finds 5.27.11 – Part II

May 27th, 2011

My second find for you today is a pair of oh-so-whimsical heels that grab my attention every time I see them. It seems like I have clicked on them a million times to double-check the heel height. I absolutely love these shoes by Badgley Mischka (They can be found at Zappos)!!

And since of course my aunt had fun digging out photos, I give you one of myself as a baby. At least we know now when my shoe obsession began!



May 24th, 2011

I truly have some inspiring friends. One of my best friends, biggest supporters and role models decided to take her photography business full-time. Leaving her day job to focus on the things she truly loves. Her business, her photography, and most importantly, her family.

Another of my friends leaves this Saturday for China where she will spend the next seven weeks in a language immersion program. She knows very little of the language, probably only enough to get her from the airport to her living quarters for the next two months. It is part of her graduate program, but through a different university so she doesn’t even know any of the other students meeting her there. Education is something she is truly passionate about and going to a foreign country when she doesn’t even know the language is amazingly brave.

It doesn’t stop there. I have friends who have moved to new cities for a career without fear of not knowing anyone. Friends who truly care more about their family and friends than themselves. Friends who juggle nursing school, a full-time job, and a 1-year-old daughter.

It is things like this that truly inspire me to move forward with my journey as a business owner. Someday, I too will be able to quit my day job and spend every waking moment building my own business, not someone else’s. Someday, I will go to a country where I don’t know the language, at least for a week’s vacation :) Someday, I will have a family to put first above any and all other things. But until that day, I continue to be inspired by my friends and know that someday I will be there too.


Yeah, yeah. I know.

May 24th, 2011

I know I never posted anything last week for Friday Finds. I was busy gearing up for the stylized shoot Saturday with Jen McKen (can’t wait to share photos by the way! It ended up being so cute!) and totally forgot to post something. So with that, I promise to post not one, but TWO Finds this week to make up for my slacking.

Here’s a fun picture of the crew at the shoot Saturday to make it up to you!

From left: Me, Jen McKen, Greg Bish, and Dmitriy Babichenko


Friday Finds 5.13.11

May 13th, 2011

I am usually not extremely superstitious… except when the Steelers are in the playoffs. In honor of my fiance’s favorite day(s) of the year (Friday the 13th), I figured it would be interesting to highlight some of the wedding superstitions from across the world courtesy of The Knot.

Good Luck and Bad Luck
1. Hey, brides, tuck a sugar cube into your glove — according to Greek culture, the sugar will sweeten your union.

2. The English believe a spider found in a wedding dress means good luck. Yikes!

3. In English tradition, Wednesday is considered the “best day” to marry, although Monday is for wealth and Tuesday is for health.

4. The groom carries the bride across the threshold to bravely protect her from evil spirits lurking below.

5. Saturday is the unluckiest wedding day, according to English folklore. Funny — it’s the most popular day of the week to marry!

6. Ancient Romans studied pig entrails to determine the luckiest time to marry.

7. Rain on your wedding day is actually considered good luck, according to Hindu tradition!

8. For good luck, Egyptian women pinch the bride on her wedding day. Ouch!

9. Middle Eastern brides paint henna on their hands and feet to protect themselves from the evil eye.

10. Peas are thrown at Czech newlyweds instead of rice.

11. A Swedish bride puts a silver coin from her father and a gold coin from her mother in each shoe to ensure that she’ll never do without.

12. A Finnish bride traditionally went door-to-door collecting gifts in a pillowcase, accompanied by an older married man who represented long marriage.

13. Moroccan women take a milk bath to purify themselves before their wedding ceremony.

14. In Holland, a pine tree is planted outside the newlyweds’ home as a symbol of fertility and luck.

Those are just the first 14 of The Knot’s 50 Wedding Facts & trivia article. Read more here.

I particularly like #36. Though in lieu of family preparing food, we’ll be having random chefs in St. Lucia preparing our food while we relax. Maybe I can talk someone into do this for when we get back though…


It’s not always about the bling…

May 10th, 2011

Ok, well on your finger it is, but not on the rest of your body. It seems a huge trend right now is leaning more towards the texture of your gown rather than how many people can see themselves reflected in it. I thought I would take a minute to discuss just what I mean.

P.S. If you are in love with any of the gowns, simply click on them and you’ll be redirected to the designers webpage :)

Lacey Lucy

This gorgeous gown by Alvina Valenta is a perfect example of how lace can be just as gorgeous as a blinged out gown. It is elegant and detailed, yet simple.

Plain Jane

This gown is FAR from plain. I mean, it is Oscar de la Renta for Pete’s sake. I love the bow detail at the shoulder. Gorgeous!

Layered Laura

Now I love Vera Wang as much as the next girl, but *for me* some of her gowns are a little large (i.e. very full and puffy). I LOVE the look of this dress because it is true Vera fashion, but on a smaller scale.

Tulle Tara

Now I am not a tulle type of girl, but when I saw this gown I just knew it needed to be on this blog. It’s name is Cinderella and I can’t see what girl would not feel like a princess in this gown by Alfred Angelo? (Ok, so there is a little bling, but not much!)

Floral Flora

I can’t say enough about this gown by Galina Signature sold at David’s Bridal. Love the floral details!!

Ruffled Rita

This gown by Simone Carvalli is perfect for a southern belle looking to embrace the old southern charm.

Feather Heather

As I watched an episode of Say Yes to the Dress, I heard this awful description of a bride wearing a gown with feather details. Her family and friends said she looked like Big Bird. And she did. More is not always better. However, this gown by Jasmine Couture has just the right amount of feather detail and gives the dress depth. Love!

Applique Annie

After all the talk about Kate… excuse me, Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge… how can I leave out applique? I mean, her gown was gorgeous and if you noticed had the most beautiful applique design around the bottom hem. Here is one by Priscilla of Boston that is enough to make you feel like a Duchess.

These are just a few of the options out there. Believe me, I had a really tough time narrowing it down. So for the ladies out there who just don’t think bling is their thing, there are other options that will make you feel like the goddess you are!


Friday Finds 5.6.11

May 6th, 2011

For today’s find, I have a wonderful song brought to you by my co-worker, Shannon, who is getting married in under 1 month! She shared this song with me one day and I just fell in love. It is beautiful, real and would be a great first dance song for someone still on the hunt for a perfect song.


Here is another one for good measure, not that it is new by any stretch. but still a great song: