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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 9.30.11

September 30th, 2011

I know you have all heard me talking about all the blogs I “stalk.” I get inspiration and ideas from these blogs. It keeps me in the loop. I love reading these blogs. I have a ton of favorites. I follow about 35 different ones. How do I keep up with them all? Well I use a little site called Bloglovin’. It’s easy to create an account, plug in the website and voila! Every time there is a new blog post, it shows up here. You can read them once a week or more. I have to read each day to keep up with all of these!

I am not sure what I would have done without this inspiration during my wedding planning process. Not only do I read other wedding coordinators’ blogs, but photographers as well. Sure, I wanted ideas for details, but I am not the most natural subject in front of a camera. I

I suggest that all of you go out right now and sign up for an account and start getting inspired! Not sure where to start? Here are a few of my favorites:


 (yes, that is a shameless plug for my own blog!)


Nicki Ann’s Top Ten continued…

September 29th, 2011

So as not to drag on too much, I thought this post needed split up. Too much reading makes everyone want to click away! So today, I continue with the top five ways to help your venue give you the perfect wedding.

5. Be on time.

This is an easy one. Be on time for your appointments, with your payments, and on the big day. You make an appointment for a reason. Both parties agree to the time and know they can attend. If you find out you cannot make it, it is proper to call or email and change the time. Our time is just as valuable as yours. And don’t make us chase you down for the payments. We don’t want anyone to have a bitter taste in their mouth during the wedding planning process. We want you to have the best day of your life just as much as you. Which brings me to the last one. If you are late on your big day, things get rushed. We want everything to be relaxing and fun as well as beautiful.

4. Don’t assume anything.

The worst thing is when a bride comes to you the day of and says “But I thought you were going to take care of that.” Unless it is something you previously spoke about and/or is in the contract, don’t assume it is going to happen. There are some things that are easy to put into motion last minute. There are others that are not. It’s not very easy to get 180 lobster tails the day of your event if you didn’t order them in advance.

3. Be decisive.

We want you to have your fairy tale wedding. Depending on how far in advance you are of your wedding, you will find new inspiration as the process goes on. You might change your colors 4 times before settling on the final one. And even then, you may question your decision and want to change it again. At some point you need to make a decision and stick to it. I’ve seen weddings where the couple has made changes all the way up to the day before the wedding. This caused a ton of stress and frustration for everyone involved. While it turned out to be a gorgeous wedding, it could have easily gone the other way.

2. Limit the cooks in the kitchen.

There are so many wedding vendors who say they will only speak to the bride about the wedding. This has become such a necessary practice because moms and mother-in-laws and wedding planners and grandmas will all try to call up the vendors and make changes to the wedding. Then, come the day of the event, the bride is unhappy with how the event turned out because it isn’t what she expected. If you hire a planner or just want mom to help you make the decisions, you need to either let the venue know this person is allowed to make changes or you need to call and do it yourself. Again, we want your event to be exactly as you imagined it. It will be nothing but a ball of confusion for everyone if there are too many people in charge.

1. Be happy and be yourself.

Often, wedding professionals don’t even meet the bride until the day after the event. This is because they are so wrapped up in making the wedding perfect, they become this crazy, high-strung woman. It is helpful for us to get to know you. The REAL you. We need to know what makes you tick. Are you generally a calm, relaxed person? Are you always uber-organized? Are you a tomboy at heart, but love to put on a pretty sparkly dress sometimes? This is the biggest day of your life. I understand. But if you are hiring competent vendors, you should have nothing to worry about (See #9 for questions on how to ensure this!). What I am saying is RELAX. Enjoy this time. Because before you know it, it’s all over and then you are just an old married lady like me.

We love our brides! Love us back :)


Winner, Winner, Chicken Dinner!

September 28th, 2011

I recently put out a call to hear about your engagement stories. I wanted to share the winner by facebook vote. Kelsey Pitini is now the happy owner of a gift card from to help her become Mrs. Kelsey Currie (has a nice ring to it!) after she and her fiance Pat tie the knot next August. Here is her entry:

“Just yesterday, we had a birthday party for Pat Currie, (my now fiance)- I had a very stressful day, and he asked me to come over and talk to him for a minute in the backyard of our house, which we just recently purchased together. I was so annoyed and screamed at him, asking “Will you just let me EAT?!” – but he was persistent, so I walked over toward him, with pulled pork in hand. He took his birthday hat off, and inside was a tiny red box. We have a daily saying, which he said on one knee, “You’re my best friend. You’re my favorite. You’re the love of my life. I love you, always and forever,” but this time he added, “Will you marry me?” I crumbled into a little ball and eventually got the strength to stand up and say, “YES!!!” The sad part? I was caught standing there with a fly swatter and a pulled pork sandwich in my hand, maybe not as classy as I usually am, but that is what makes it so memorable!! I can’t wait to visit The Mansion at Maple Heights, and start the journey of a lifetime with my husband- to- be!!!!”

Congrats to the happy couple! You are so lucky to have a great picture to capture the moment perfectly. Now let’s make this the wedding of your dreams!!


Nicki Ann’s Top Ten…

September 28th, 2011

Things to do to help your venue build a perfect reception:

10. Set your budget.

It is an exciting time when you first get engaged. The first thing you want to do is to set your date and book a venue. But let me explain why this should not be the first thing you do. You aren’t going to know where to start. It’s as simple as that! Without setting a budget, you aren’t going to know if the venues you are visiting are even in the ballpark. And furthermore, once you get there, you aren’t going to know if you can afford the food, alcohol or decor packages you want. Don’t set yourself up for disappointment. Figure out how much money you can spend and then explore the vast number of venues in your area.

9. Do your research.

When I say explore the venues in your area, I mean exactly that. Do your research. Explore online. Email them. Call them with your questions. Once you have all the info, you can narrow it down to the ones you want to visit. Sometimes you need to actually see the space before you can make a final decision, but you should be prepared before you go. It is just like choosing a wedding gown. You’ll know it when you see it.

8. Get your head count.

Talk to both sides of the family and have them draw up a tentative list of people. I say tentative because it is going to change slightly as your go through the process. You will want to do it fairly early because you need to know if your guests can fit into the space. You don’t want to go to a venue, fall in love and then find out all of your family and friends will not fit. If your list is 180, you are probably looking at around 150 people who will actually attend. There is an unwritten rule that 20% of your guests will not attend. I’ve heard: “But I went through my list and am pretty sure that everyone on there will come.” So did I. I ended up having 194 people on my guest list. One hundred-ninety-four people who I thought would never miss it. My final count was 144, of which about 8 people were no-shows.

7. Write up a vendor list.

About 1 month before the wedding is crunch-time. You are excited. You have final fittings, payments, and decisions to make. One final thing you should do is to write up a list of all of the vendors you are using along with a contact name, phone number and email to give to your venue. I know you are thinking, “You really want me to add one more thing to my to-do lists a month before the wedding?” No, I don’t. Compile this as you book your vendors. This is helpful to the staff at the venue because we can help to make sure that everything is set and just how you want it while you are primping your hair and getting dressed to walk down the aisle.

6. Make a timeline.

I know you probably don’t even know where to start with this. But there are a number of people who can help you with this. Your DJ, caterer, venue, or wedding planner have done this once or twice. You should talk to each one of these people and get input on how they think your day will work best. Then put this all together the way YOU want it. If you don’t like a suggestion, speak up. It is your day. But a timeline is a must. Trust me. The day of your event, you are being pulled in so many different ways. The last thing you will want to do is decide what comes next. Print out copies for each vendor who will be there the day of your event.

Check back tomorrow to read the top 5!!!


Tuesday Shoesday, Edition 12

September 27th, 2011

If you’ve been shopping online for wedding attire, you’ve undoubtedly come across BHLDN’s site. I figured there is no better place to find a cute pair of shoes than a trendy shop, so this week’s Polka-dot d’Orsays come from BHLDN. Talk about vintage-inspired style! I love the bow in combo with the polka dots. CUTE, CUTE, CUTE!


What not to say…

September 25th, 2011

Now that I am married, there are a few things I do NOT want to hear from people. So let’s talk about what not to say to newlywed brides…

1. “So, when are you going to have babies??”

This is my absolute biggest pet peeve. Please, please, please do not let this be your first question to the new bride and groom. They just got married for Pete’s sake! Let them enjoy each other for a day or so before you jump in and start the pressure to have children. That is a pretty private and personal question to be asking, especially if you barely know the bride. Unless they have talked with you about wanting to have children right away, do not ask this. Have you ever thought that maybe they are unable to have children? Or maybe they just don’t want to have children, period? Now I may be pushing 30 (eeks!), but my biological clock only has a low, faint tick right now. I am just not quite ready. Neither is my husband. We might be next year or not for another 5 years. But asking me every time you see me is not going to make me any more ready anytime sooner. We get puppies instead. At least we can put them in a kennel when they are bad.

2. “So do you plan on quitting your job/staying home and taking care of the children?” (i.e. “Will you be putting your children in daycare?”)

First, see #1. If you’ve breached this topic and they are planning on having children soon, why would you think this is any of your business? And furthermore, with this economy there are really not many couples who can afford to live on one income. Let’s step out of the 1950s people. The woman does not have to stay at home to take care of her children. Daycare is a perfectly normal choice for children of working parents. I am a product of daycare. I, while some people may beg to differ (hehe!), turned out normal. In fact, I am sure my outgoing personality is due to the fact that I was in daycare. And have you ever considered that the woman might LIKE her career? I am not knocking people who are financially and mentally capable of having one parent stay home with the children. My MIL was a stay at home mom. He had a great childhood and is very… normal? (Just kidding babe!) I am just saying that you should not force your own opinions on other people. After all, they are capable adults who just got married. I think they can make a decision together on how to care for their children.

3. “So how many months are you?” (i.e. “You LOOK pregnant.”)

Really?! I know most brides workout and eat healthier (or just not at all, which I do not recommend!) right before their big day. I did too. I also know how easy it is to put on a few pounds during the honeymoon. I also ate anything and everything that I wanted while I was on my honeymoon. And now I have been kicking myself for it. But really?! Please do not indicate to any newlywed bride that she looks like she has gained a few pounds. We know. We can tell how our clothes fit. Thanks for pointing it out though. I think I’ll just go eat a cake now.

4. “He’ll always be his mother’s son.”

I’ve addressed this in a previous post, Tips from a Married Lady…. I KNOW this. But I am his wife, not his mom. I do not expect to take over her role or take her place. She’s his mother, for Pete’s sake! There is room for two women in his life. It is a shame that people get this confused. I just don’t think people know how annoying it is when people say this. He may be his mother’s son, but he is his own man. He is capable of making decisions and doing things on his own. Now this statement is even worse if it comes from your husband’s mom. It’s like she is saying, “You may have married him, but I’ll always come first.” Mom gets jealous of her new daughter-in-law and tries to put her in her place. Come on! Curb the jealousy and accept a new person into your family. Maybe it will be nice to have a fresh, new person around. Thankfully, I do not have first hand experience with this one. I’ve seen it though. Just remember how this feels ladies because when you have grown children, you do not want to be the one saying this to your daughter-in-law.

I am sure these are just a few of the things that newlyweds hear in their first few months of marriage. Can you think of any others?


Friday Finds 9.23.11

September 23rd, 2011

How cute is this adorable “Just Married” sign? I made one of these for my Vintage Carnival shoot back in May. Let me just tell you, mine was made from paper and it took about 2 hours to cut, glue and put together. This one by Spottyhen is so cute and only about $30 USD! I vote you head on over to their Etsy site and grab one now!!


“If you are always planning a wedding…

September 22nd, 2011

… Then you don’t have time to plan a divorce.” At least that is what Jackie, wife of former NBA player Doug Christie, says. This couple has had 16 weddings – one for every year of their marriage. We are not just talking vow renewal. We are talking dress, cake, wedding planners, the whole 9 yards. When I first heard about Doug and Jackie, I thought that it was a little over the top.  I thought that maybe they have too much money and don’t know what else to do with it. That or that she is crazy. I am not an avid watcher of Basketball Wives LA but when I heard that they were featuring the wedding, I had to watch a few episodes to see what it was all about.

I heard this quote by Jackie and it really got me thinking. I completely agree with her. Do I think you need to have a wedding every year? No, but that would be pretty fun, at least for dorks like me. But it’s not the wedding that really matters. It’s the reminder of why you love each other and why you made the commitment in the first place. Even after 16 years of marriage, Doug broke into tears when repeating his vows. Isn’t it so reassuring that there are some famous couples out there who can make it? You hear about the dream couples like J. Lo and Marc or Will and Jada who divorce and it breaks my heart. It makes me wonder if it is because of their fame or another reason.

I recently heard that the staggering “50% of all marriages end in divorce” is not actually true. What is true is that percentage increases significantly for  first time marriages. I also don’t think the people who marry five times for 6 months and divorce help these statistics. Most of the ones we hear about are celebrities, but that doesn’t mean they are to blame. They are just the ones we hear about.

The reason marriages succeed is because the people in them are willing to MAKE it work. It is not always easy. I know you have heard it from grandparents or the miracle couples who have lasted 30, 40 or even 60 years together. Those are the people to whom you should listen! They made it 60 years! Hello!!! I can’t claim to be an authority on how to make your marriage work since I have only been married for 2 months, but I do know that it will take work and there will always be trying times ahead. As long as you are willing to put in some effort, it is possible to make your marriage work. If it means renewing your vows every year, do it. Take a note from Doug and Jackie. If they can do it, so can you!

Because every post is better with a photo, here’s one of my absolute favorites from my photographer, Erica Hilliard.





September 21st, 2011

I’ve been doing some thinking… I am a giving person. So I decided to have a contest.

What does this involve, you ask? Well, it involves you telling us your engagement stories. That’s pretty much it. Nothing crazy. I just want to hear about how he (or you!) popped the question. Give all the details. I want to know if it was romantic, creative, funny or all of the above.

How do you enter? Easy! You have to hop on over to facebook and “like” The Mansion at Maple Heights page. You can easily do that by clicking here. Then leave a comment on our page with the details. You don’t have to be a current or past bride at the Mansion. However, if you want to be, you can add that to your story and I’ll contact you :)

How will the winner be chosen? This part is up to you! Once you have commented on our page, spread the word to your family and friends and have them like our page and your comment. The person with the most “likes” on their engagement story wins!

What’s at stake? Yeah, this is the good part. Remember my post about the website? If not, you can read it here. I have a gift card from them to give away. I already changed my name, so I don’t need it. But I bet there are a bunch of you who do! Do you know what a pain it would have been without the help of this site? It automatically fills the forms from the information you include. Easy-peezy.

Look! I have the gift card here and it’s burning a hole in my pocket!

Because I am so anxious to give this away, I am going to be cutting the contest off on 9/27/11 at 11:59pm. The winner will be announced on 9/28. So get to likin’ and writin’ ladies and gents!



Tuesday Shoesday, Edition 11

September 20th, 2011

While I usually post photos and links of shoes for your wedding day, today I thought I would mix it up a bit. These ones are perfect for your bachelorette party :) 

How adorable would these be with some skinny jeans or tights and skirt? Super cute and I don’t know about you, but I love boots in general. So much more comfy for bustin’ a move on the dance floor! They can be found at After 6 Shoe Lounge.