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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.

Real Wedding: Lauren & Bill 5.12.12

May 30th, 2012

Well, the start of our 2012 wedding season came quicker than any of us could imagine. But it was not soon enough for me! I couldn’t wait to get our first couple of the year in here and get them married! They felt the same way.

Lauren and Bill are the cutest couple ever. The love they share is undeniable. I am pretty sure he would do absolutely any- and everything to make her happy. This is the stuff that happy marriages are built on. With that said, here are a few shots from their wedding.

Check out this gorgeous arch made of birch wood and topped off with a bit of floral accent created by Bill Chisnell productions. Super cute, right?

Lauren and Bill did a love letter ceremony. I have not seen this before and thought it was adorable. This is how it works: Prior to the wedding day, the bride and groom write love letters to each other. During the ceremony, the officiant explains the ceremony and then the two love letters are placed in the box along with a bottle of wine. The letters are unopened and the box is locked at the ceremony until an anniversary of the bride and groom’s choosing. On that anniversary, the box is opened, letters are read and wine is drank. What a great way to remind yourselves of how you felt the day of your wedding!!

Ok, seriously. How adorable is the flower girl’s tutu?! I mean, eat her up adorable!

They look just a little bit happy to finally be married, don’t they? Just a bit…

Announcing Mr. & Mrs. Petty! Her gown is gorg!!

I had to show this shot because I am a HUGE fan of stations. I think the versatility in food and the ability to eat as little or as much as you want are awesome. Not only that, but you see that chef in the shot? He’s also one of our grooms, Phil, who is getting married here next June! I promise he’s not working off his debt. He’s an awesome chef for big Burrito Catering.

I love mother-daughter dances. Who says dad should have all the fun?

Congrats Lauren & Bill!! We wish you all the happiness in the world!!

Photos by Julianna Zito


Tuesday Shoesday, Edition 48

May 29th, 2012

By now you know about my addiction to blue shoes, so I am sure it comes as no surprise that I am posting this adorable pair from BHLDN.

I can’t help but be drawn to these and wish they would magically appear on my feet. I can picture them with a cute little black dress… or a grey one… or a pink one… or a yellow one…


Friday Finds 5.25.12

May 25th, 2012

I found these adorable favors and fell in love. Skeleton keys are a super cute way to add in a bit of rustic flair to your wedding decor. Unless you plan on buying the skeleton keys in bulk, which can get pricey especially since this is a huge trend right now, you may be looking for a cute alternative.

Let’s talk about why I love these favors…

1. They are very practical because they combine the favor and the escort card into one.

2. They are actually made of plantable paper, so your guests can just plant them and watch them grow! What a great way to remind them of you and your future intended after the wedding!

3. They are not something personalized with your wedding date. No one is going to use that after the wedding making them a waste of your time and money.

4. They are super cute!!

You can find them on the Etsy site for a cute little shop, Recycled Ideas. If these aren’t your thing, check out the other items in their shop. I am sure you’ll find something!

Have a happy and safe Memorial Day weekend everyone! Thank a soldier (or ten)!



Tuesday Shoesday, Edition 47

May 22nd, 2012

I have been neglecting you. But I promise, with this post that I am dedicating some time to getting caught up and giving you more eye candy. So with that said, I bring you these amazing shoes from BHLDN.

I mean, seriously. I would be a most awful wedding blogger if I didn’t feature these. They are perfect! What wedding takes place without at least a wee bit of tulle?!


Friday Finds 5.18.12

May 18th, 2012

While perusing Pinterest, I found this adorable alternative card box. Seeing that so many brides are looking for cute and unique ways to add detail to their weddings, I figured this was a perfect thing to post. This would be super cute to keep in your house afterward as a place to keep your mail and bills as well! This one is from Bridal Musings and they even explain how to do a DIY version :)

Happy Friday!!


Tuesday Shoesday, Edition 46

May 15th, 2012

By now, I am pretty sure you know I love blue. And blue shoes? Well, they just make me sigh with happiness. Enter these Martinez Valero Heels.

How cute is the bow detail on the heel? And the vibrant blue is heavenly…


Friday Finds 5.11.12

May 11th, 2012

As I was browsing Etsy (don’t you just love the new layout of the site?!?!), I found these favors that I LOVE. They are so similar to my own mini bamboo plants that I gave out, but with a twist. Succulents are super popular right now and why wouldn’t they be? They require little to no work to take care of and every time your guests look at them, they will think of you and your future hubby. 

These ones are potted in coconut pots and are available from So Succulent on Etsy. The best part is that each and every one can be slightly different, which gives  it a bit of depth. I love practical favors! This one certainly fits the bill!


Well, it’s here…

May 10th, 2012

My 30th birthday is here. I am not one to mourn the passing of another year, but to embrace it. I’ve been known to yell “IT’S MY BIRTHDAY!!!!!” randomly throughout the day in the past. I am sure it will happen today at some point. Oh wait, I did already. The only people home when I did it were my dogs though, so maybe it doesn’t count. I plan to spend the day working a job I LOVE. Then, a little QT with my hubby and the puppies. Joey is either making me dinner or taking me out. I haven’t decided yet. I’ve gotten so many Facebook comments, phone calls and text messages that I am ready to throw my phone out the window. With all of that said, I couldn’t be more blessed or happier with my life.

A few years ago, I couldn’t imagine having everything I wanted. Nothing seemed to come easy. Now as I look back on that, I am glad it didn’t come easy. I learned from each and every experience. I became who I am today because of those experiences. This post might get a little long, but IT’S MY BIRTHDAY so I’ll write what I want!

Ten things I’ve learned in my 30 years:

1. Don’t live with your friends for too long.

When I went to college, I was assigned to room with a total stranger. I was pretty excited to meet someone new, but nervous because I didn’t know this broad. We spoke on the phone prior to moving in, but didn’t really know what to expect. Once we moved in, we were immediately best friends. We were inseparable. We had so much in common it was kind of weird. People actually referred to me as “Nicole of Lindsay & Nicole.” We came as a pair. Everyone knew it. When our sophomore year roommate requests came, we of course picked each other. That’s where it went wrong. We loved each other, but being so close (it was a dorm room for Pete’s sake) for so long damaged our friendship. We are still friends, but nowhere near as close. I miss her sometimes, but know if I ever needed anything or vice versa, we’d be there for each other.

2. It’s not what you know, it’s who you know.

OK, so maybe that first job out of college is about what you know, but after that, it doesn’t matter anymore. Life is about networking. The more people you know, the better. And make sure those people come from all walks of life. All colors, shapes, sizes, textures, personalities… You never know when you might need them. Or they might need you. Not that I am saying you should abuse your relationships, but “need” comes in may different forms.

3. You’re never too old to need your parents.

One of the first people I call when I am mad, happy, sad, or all three is my mom. She listens, takes my side, tells me I am acting stupid and loves me all the same. It’s unconditional. When I am sick, I want my mom. When I need to vent, I call my mom. When I have a question about my garden, I call my mom. When I am stuck in traffic, I call my mom. When my mom called this morning to wish me happy birthday, I thanked her for having me. And loving me.

4. Learn the value of a dollar.

I got a job when I was 16. Before that, I had been earning my keep by doing chores and helping my mom around the house. Since it was just the two of us, I had to help out. I know what it’s like to live on food stamps. I know what it’s like to not have designer clothes like my friends. I had to save every summer so that I could afford to go to college. I am not saying that people who haven’t had these experiences don’t know the value of a dollar. I am saying that despite all of these things, my mom instilled a work ethic in me that every parent should. I am not afraid of a little hard work. I know that with that hard work comes rewards. Every child should be taught that so they can appreciate what they have and not take it for granted.

5. Trust your instincts.

Even if those instincts lead you into something bad, it happens for a reason. I’ve made A LOT of mistakes in my life, but I know now that I will never make those mistakes again. Ever heard of “fight or flight?” It is real. Your body will tell you whether it is worth it to fight or run. Trust it.

6. Exercise and eat healthy (most of the time)

As you know, I’ve recently taken my health back. It was the best 30th birthday gift I could have even given myself. I feel better about myself than I have since high school. I am strong. I am confident. It feels good to be me. I am not saying I don’t indulge in the occasional dessert or gorge myself on pasta from time to time or drink beer and wine (Lord knows I do a lot of that!). But I know that if I want another 30+ years on this planet, I have to take care of myself. Like right now, I just saw a commercial for a ChocoTaco and thought, “Oh wow, I want one.” We’re not perfect, but you do the best you can.

7. Find what you are passionate about and do it.

You remember the advice from people when you were choosing your major in college? They all said, “Pick something you’ll enjoy doing. Don’t worry about how much you’ll get paid.” Part of me has to call bullshit on that, part of me says “amen.” I can’t think of many college kids who know what they want to do for the rest of their lives. But as long as you keep exploring your dreams and striving to reach your goals, you will end up being happy with your life and career choice. Take me for instance. A year ago, I was working in a job that paid the bills, but I dreaded going to work every day. I was miserable. Now, I am doing something I love and am incredibly passionate about. I love going to work. It is overwhelming at times, but I love it. I am a better person because of it. You keep reaching for it and eventually you will catch it.

8. Be a good friend.

I wasn’t always the best friend. I didn’t always make attempts to see my friends or spend time with them. I’ve put work, school, boyfriends, or my own laziness over my friends. But as I have gotten older, I realized just how important good friends are. You’ll lead a pretty boring and lonely life without friends. I would have never met Joey without my friends – one introduced us, the other agreed to go out with me that night so I wouldn’t have to be alone. They are the ones to buy you a birthday drink or bring over a bottle of wine when your heart gets broken. They don’t judge you and you can be yourself with them. Don’t take them for granted because you never know when they may be gone.

9. Don’t forget to schedule playtime.

I do this all the time. Forget that is. I work a lot. Sundays are my only real day off. Six days a week at between 8-10 hours a day makes for a long week. I am not afraid to admit that I have to schedule time to see my friends or spend some time with my hubby and puppies. It is so important to remember to fill your life with things you enjoy and not just working all day, every day. Go to a movie. Take a hike. Throw the ball for your dogs in the backyard. Sit on the deck on a warm spring morning and read a book. Whatever your pleasure, make sure you do it. Even if you do love your job, your life shouldn’t revolve around it.

10. Love fiercely.

I would honestly do any and everything for my family and friends. My husband means more to me than I ever thought possible. I literally mean it when I say, “If you hurt him, I’ll kill you.” Ok, well maybe I’d just break their knee caps, but you know. I am honest with the people I love. Sometimes brutally. But they know that is just the type of person I am and they expect it. I knew three months in to my relationship with Joey that I would marry him someday. We always put each other first. We always kiss and say “I love you” before we go to sleep. He gives the best hugs. He makes a mean spaghetti sauce. He is the only person I can imagine growing old with. I hope every single one of you feel the same way about your significant other. Everyone deserves to have that feeling.

Now, as I take my old bones and get ready to meet some new potential brides this afternoon, I will be thinking of everything I am so grateful for and how lucky I am to have the life I do. And if you hear me yell “IT’S MY BIRTHDAY” today, you’ll know why. I’m celebrating life.


Dear Nicki Ann…

May 9th, 2012

I have been getting so many questions now that wedding season has crept up on us. Lots and lots of brides have been asking questions about planning – not just our Mansion brides, but friends of mine across the country. I figured if they are asking these questions, you might be as well. With that, I am introducing my “Dear Nicki Ann” posts. I’ll be sharing the questions and my answers for your reading pleasure. Trust that by the time I am done, you should not become the dreaded bridezilla. And yes, I totally stole the Dear Abby headline.

Dear Nicki Ann, 

I am almost to my wedding day and have yet to buy my bridesmaids gifts. Since we are paying for the wedding ourselves, I don’t have a ton of money to spend on each bridesmaid. A friend of mine spent $100 on each bridesmaid, but her parents paid for the wedding. I want to show them how much they mean to me with a nice gift, but with 6 of them in the wedding, it makes it hard to find something that is nice and doesn’t cost an arm and a leg. How much should I spend on each bridesmaid? What can I get them?


Caring, but broke bride


Dear Caring, but broke bride,

I totally feel you! I had 6 bridesmaids myself and we didn’t have a ton of money left after the wedding planning was done. I’ve received some gorgeous gifts as a bridesmaid. From one bride, I received a pair of Swarovski Crystal earrings. From another, a sapphire and diamond necklace. Both were stunning gifts and I can only imagine how much they cost. While I really wanted to give each of my bridesmaids something on that same level, I just couldn’t afford it.

As you probably know from reading my blog, I am all about practicality. I don’t see a point in doing something that does’t carry it’s value past your wedding day. You can most certainly find some really gorgeous gifts for less than $100. Since you are almost done with your wedding planning, I am guessing you’ve heard of Etsy. Take a moment to check out the handmade jewelry, like this adorable necklace or this funky bracelet. If that still isn’t in your budget, it looks like DIY may be the way to go. Check out Honestly WTF’s DIY site for projects like this Macrame Bracelet or other fun projects. Maybe you’ll just have to make one for yourself too! Wrap the gift in a pretty little bag or box and include a heartfelt letter. Tell your bridesmaids how much they mean to you. It is as simple as that.

Something small and meaningful is better than spending hundreds of dollars on a gift that they will never wear/use again or might possibly throw out a year down the road. It isn’t about who spends the most on gifts. It is about being there for each other on one of the biggest days of your lives. So how much should you spend? I don’t know. How ever much you can comfortably afford. That is not something I or anyone else can determine. All I can say is do not go into debt just to prove that you love your bridesmaids. Show them with something simple and tell them that you can’t imagine them not being there for you on your big day.

That should be thanks enough. If it isn’t, then I think we have another problem.


Tuesday Shoesday, Edition 45

May 8th, 2012

I love funky shoes. I build outfits around shoes. I found this pair on They jumped out at me and screamed “SUMMER IS HERE!” I love the bright colors and wouldn’t these be so incredibly cute for a tropical honeymoon? You can pair them with a cute sundress or a colorful pair of shorts and tank. Love the versatility! Makes justifying the purchase a bit easier…