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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, 3.30.12

March 30th, 2012

You all know me by now. I love practical favors. So when I saw these cute tea party favors on Etsy from Dell Cove Spice Company, I knew they were perfect to share with all of my bridesmaids out there.

Each and every one of your guests can enjoy a nice soothing spot of tea and think of you and your future hubby. If you really want to go all out, you could even plan an Alice in Wonderland themed shower and attach a “Drink Me” sign to each. Dell Cove Spice Company also has a number of other awesome products (cocktail rim sugar, popcorn seasonings, BBQ dry rub samplers, etc.). So you could even create a little gift basket to give away as a door prize or even as a cute gift for the bride (& groom!). Oh and Brides, don’t forget this as an option as a gift to your bridesmaids!!



Tuesday Shoesday, Edition 39

March 27th, 2012

OK. Seriously. Wow. Jimmy Choo knocked another one out of the park.

When I saw these shoes, I literally gasped. My jaw dropped and my eyes popped out of my head (think cartoon “Ah-oo-ga!” eyes). I knew I had to share these with you immediately.

Now, I may have a difficult time explaining where you might wear these and an even more difficult time justifying the $2700 price tag, but I want them. If I save $200 per month for a year, maybe. In the meantime, I might have to go to Nordstrom just to visit with them.

At least I have you to share them with for now. Sigh…




Behind the scenes…

March 26th, 2012

I hear the same comment all the time. “You have the best job ever” or “You must really love what you do.” Yes, both are true. Not that I am tooting my own horn, but I put a lot of effort into making my job fun and staying educated for you. With that said, I think it is important that you know what we go through every day because a lot goes on behind the scenes. So this post should give you some insight into my life and other wedding vendors.

Day to Day Life

It may seem glamorous, but no we do not sip champagne by the pool, play on facebook and attend fancy events every day. Though that would be nice. Yes, we frequent facebook, Twitter and every other social network out there. Yes, we do sit and write blogs on the back porch on nice sunny days. Yes, we get to create gorgeous events and work with some really wonderful people.

But along with all of that, there are emails and phone calls from current and potential brides every day. To me, this comes before all of that other stuff. Most of the time we do not have the luxury of going right back to what we were doing before the phone rang. Our minds have moved on from that task and are already on to the next thing.

We also have to think about marketing and strategies for how to promote our business and put those into motion. These things all take time and effort. After all, it is most likely how you found us. Even if we are completely booked for the upcoming year, we have to keep going. If we stop, so will our business.

So in a nutshell, that is what we do aside from partaking in your wedding planning and activities. It isn’t always pretty, fluffy stuff. But someone’s got to do it.

Initial Consultations

This is the first meeting you have with a vendor. It could be a visit to a reception venue, a meeting to check out a photogs portfolio or a tasting with a bakery. There are a number of ways this initial consultation can take place, including over the phone. When vendors meet with you, they really want to get to know a little bit about you. Be ready to talk a little bit about yourselves and what you vision is for your day.

I am sure you have an idea of what type of vendors are going to be right for you. So it should be no surprise that every vendor has what they call the “ideal client.” They want to know if you are that ideal client or if you will mesh well. You may even want to ask them about their perfect client. It could be a good way to make a quick and easy decision on whether this person is right for you.

By the end of this consultation, you should be able to make a judgement about whether you would want to work with this person leading up to and on your wedding day. If they do not give you a quote or proposal that day, ask them how long it might take them to get it to you. For some vendors, there is a creative process that goes into each proposal. It may not happen overnight, but it also shouldn’t take weeks.

Design Phase

After the initial consultations, you should be able to narrow down your choices, select all of your vendors and sign contracts with them. Some may also require a deposit in order to set your date with them. This is when all the fun starts.

It’s all in the details. You get to talk about your vision and start working to bring that to reality. But remember, these things can take time. I know you want to think you are the only bride in the world, but you aren’t. Vendors get pulled in every direction (see the “Day to Day” section above) and they really just want to provide you with the best product possible. It can take time to do the research for portrait locations or design a stunning centerpiece idea.

I am not saying you should let the vendors walk all over you and put you off until the last minute. I am simply saying to be patient. You will get the very best of what they offer when they have time to create it. Work with them to set appropriate expectations and I can guarantee you will both be happy with the results.

Creating your day

This is where the magic happens. While you are being pampered and getting ready for your big day, we are running around to make sure every last detail is perfect. This is the part that we really love! A lot of people make your day happen – coordinators, florists, bakers, DJs, musicians, cooks, servers, photographers, dishwashers, bartenders, valet drivers, videographers, etc, etc, etc.

I think the most common misconception out there is that these people start working when the reception starts. Not true. We work for hours before your event and sometimes even days to make sure that your event is flawless. Not to mention the hours spent during the planning process. The end result and happiness on the happy couple’s face is what really make our jobs worth it. If we didn’t love it, we’d be crazy to do it.


So I know this was a long one, but I hope it was at least a little bit educational and helps you see what we really do for a living. I absolutely love what I do. Sometimes, I am tired. Sometimes, I wish the phone would stop ringing. Sometimes, I wish the phone would ring more. But ultimately, I love making people happy. And I get to do that every single day.



Friday Finds 3.23.12

March 23rd, 2012

During my wedding planning some things were neglected. Sometimes it was spending time with my dogs. Sometimes it was my work. Sometimes it was my blog. Sometimes it was my hubby. I think that things tend to get pushed aside because you are so wrapped up in the excitement and details. You can forget that your special someone is the reason you are even doing all this planning! I saw this and knew it would be perfect as a sweet little gift for him to let him know how much you love him. I found it on Emmaline Bride and it is the cutest! You can find the DIY instructions on the Emmaline Bride site.

So start making your list and reminding yourself of why you love him. After all, you should never stop saying “I love you.”



Inspiration: Don’t make me Blush

March 21st, 2012

One of the biggest color trends for weddings is blush. Blush with black, blush with gold, blush with ivory… the combos just go on and on. It just feels so pretty. I think of lace and flowers and fluffy dresses. Exactly the things I think of when I think of weddings. I just figured that you would all enjoy having a little something girly and pretty to look at today. I sure enjoyed looking at all the girly and pretty things to create this so…




Tuesday Shoesday, Edition 38

March 20th, 2012

Since today is the first day of spring, I figured it was appropriate to get in the mood. These cute peep-toes can be found on, which is one of my favorite sites to find affordable and adorable shoes all in one place. I mean, seriously. How could you not want these shoes? So fun and happy!!

They also come in black and blue and you know me. It took all I had not to post them in blue. But for variety-sake, I figured I should switch it up a tad.

Enjoy the first day of Spring! If you are in Pittsburgh, you know the day is already shaping up to be a good one!


Meals for the guys…

March 14th, 2012

We have to make adjustments when we change our eating habits, but some things die hard. I still love french fries, wings and meatball hoagies (or subs for those of you not familiar with our Pittsburgh term). So I decided to make a clean version of the meatball hoagie and fries. I want my hubby to enjoy this stuff too, so it is important to find things that are not too far out of his comfort zone.

Joey makes his own pasta sauce that is pretty awesome. He has a little chef hidden in there. I just have to get him to come out. So I will be using his sauce as a topper for the meatball hoagies. Sorry, he won’t share that recipe! It’s top secret! But if you ever want to come over, he will happily make it for you! But in case you want to try this on your own, here is a Clean Spaghetti Sauce recipe. I haven’t tried it, but it sounds pretty good!

I got this recipe from my new favorite blog, The Gracious Pantry. I was in the mood for meatball hoagies with pasta/marinara sauce, so I just made the balls not the dill sauce found in this recipe.


My notes:

*I used Jennie O Extra Lean 99/1, which comes in a package of 1.25lbs and I found it came out to the perfect consistency for the balls

*I am not a huge fan of onions, but I do appreciate what it can do for flavor, so I actually used about a tablespoon of onion powder instead

*I used panko crumbs because that is all I had


1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Spray cookie sheet with non-stick spray or line with parchment paper.

2. Put all the ingredients in a mixing bowl and mix well with your hands. *Engaged ladies – take your ring off please!*

3. Once fully blended, roll mixture into 1 inch balls and place approximately 1 inch apart from each other.

4. Bake for 20-30 minutes at 375 degrees.

5. Let cool and enjoy! Makes about 30 balls.

For the fries, I just took a sweet potato, sliced it into strips and placed them on a foil-lined baking sheet sprayed with non-stick spray. I sprinkled them with a little seasoning salt and baked at 375 for 20 minutes.

I decided to use a tortilla wrap for my roll in lieu of the bun and topped it with a bit of sauce and even though it isn’t very “clean,” I added a  bit of mozzarella cheese. Yum!

And that is it! These were super easy to make and I would definitely do it again. They worked out perfectly with the sauce because the sauce added a little more flavor. However, if you are planning on eating the meatballs without sauce, you may want to play around with the spices or leave the dried onions in the ingredients. They were a tad bland without the sauce. I would try adding Italian seasoning or a mixture of basil, oregano and parsley. No salt!! Excellent with the sauce though!


Tuesday Shoesday, Edition 37

March 13th, 2012

Well, I went shopping today. Yep. It felt great! I went to Kohl’s because my mother-in-law had a 30% off coupon, so I decided to tag along. You see, I have lost a bit of weight due to the fitness challenge I am participating in. Not a bad problem to have, right? I thought I’d treat myself to a new pair of pants or two. I walked out with 2 pairs of pants, a pair of Bermuda shorts, a skirt, a faux leather jacket, 2 peasant blouses, two tank tops and THIS adorable pair of sandals.

Ok, so I didn’t actually walk out with them because they didn’t have my size in stock, but I did order them from the handy dandy little kiosk they have and they are being shipped for free!! I knew I had to share them with you for two reasons. First, they are completely adorable and very versatile. And second, they are on SALE! I ended up only paying $25 for mine since we had the coupon, but still $40 isn’t too shabby! Talk about a great option for your summer weddings!!



Friday Finds 3.9.12

March 9th, 2012

Today, I decided to feature a friend of mine in this Friday Finds post. Yeah, I know. Doesn’t really seem right, does it? But there are bonuses to being my friend. And this is one of those bonuses. She is pretty good at what she does, so that plays a part in this too.

Lucy, owner of Bel Monili, has a knack for creating jewelry and accessories. I bought jewelry from her as gifts for my bridesmaids and was super happy with everything. I think one of the best things about her is that no two pieces are the same (unless you order them that way) and everything is completely customizable. If that isn’t enough for you, her prices are reasonable. You can get those customized pieces without taking a second mortgage on your home.

If you want a little something special for you on your big day, she also can create some really cute hair pieces.

If you are looking for a cute centerpiece for a shower or even an environmentally friendly alternative to a floral bouquet, she can make these adorable fabric flowers into arrangements or bouquets too!

You can check out Bel Monili on either Etsy, facebook, or her blog – or all three.



Inspiration: Red, Red Wine

March 8th, 2012

I recently had a bride who needed a little inspiration. She found her dream gown (which I won’t post on here JUST in case her FI decides to take a peek!). She had an idea of what colors she wanted to use. But she wasn’t quite sure how to bring her vision to life. She mentioned that the bridesmaids dresses were a burgundy color and that she was leaning toward a wine theme. It is a fall wedding so burgundy is a great color for that season. Well, I was all over that! I personally love wine. I get it honestly. My great-grandmother all the way down to my mom were/are self-proclaimed wine-o’s. But I digress…

So what do I do when someone is having a hard time finding their vision? Put together an inspiration board. And for your viewing pleasure, I have decided to post it here. I used a new board creator, so it is a little different than my previous boards. Let me know what you think!