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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 12.27.13

December 27th, 2013

For those brides out there who have yet to officially ask their bridesmaids, I have found the perfect way to do it.

The Party Posse bracelet


The Party Posse bracelet2


Super cute, right? When I saw this adorable bracelet from The Party Posse on Etsy, I knew that just about any girl would love to be asked to be a bridesmaid with this. It’s just as good as an engagement right, no?


I got 99 problems, but a bridesmaid ain’t one… Or is she?

February 28th, 2013

When women get engaged, they are excited – as they should be. That excitement can lead to some pretty rash decisions. Namely, choosing your bridesmaids. Now, many of us have thought about it long and hard and know who we really want to be standing beside us as we take a new last name. But sometimes, the excitement can get the best of us. I can speak from personal experience. One of my besties called me as we drove to dinner right after he popped the question. Of course, Joey told me to take the call so I could share the news. This is exactly how it went, in one long run-on sentence: “HIIIIIIII!!!!!!!! Guess what?! I’M ENGAGED!!!! Will you be a bridesmaid?” I never once regretted asking her, but I wish I could have contained myself a little longer so I could have made asking her a bit more special. Needless to say, she was shocked and didn’t believe that I was honestly asking her. I made six very good choices for my bridesmaids, so I was lucky.

However, lately, I have been hearing some bridesmaid horror stories. I’ve heard of drunk ladies who have asked someone to be a bridesmaid and then never brought it up again basically, pretending that it never happened. I’ve heard of women getting upset because someone else was chosen as the Maid of Honor – so what if the person was chosen was the bride’s only sister. I’ve heard of bridesmaids backing out of the wedding with only a month to go. I’ve heard of bridesmaids who have made the whole process about them rather than focusing on the bride. I’ve even heard of bridesmaids who got into a screaming match in the middle of the reception and had to be escorted out of the venue.

With all of that in mind, I think it is important to discuss this topic a little bit before I have to hear too many more of these stories. This is not a decision that should be taken lightly. You have to consider everything that goes into being a bridesmaid and encourage them to do the same before making a decision. If you’ve been a bridesmaid before, you know exactly what I mean – showers, bachelorette parties, dress/gown shopping, gifts, DIY projects… and the list goes on and on! So here are a few steps that can help when thinking about who should be such a huge part of your big day.

You don’t have to ask someone just because they asked you.

I hear so many brides say, “Well, I was a bridesmaid in her wedding, so I kind of have to ask her.” NO YOU DON’T. You should not feel obligated to ask anyone to be a part of your wedding. And as I was once told, “if you’re my [wo]man, then you’ll understand.” It is crazy to me that women get so offended when they aren’t asked to be in someone’s wedding. When this is all over, just remember what it was like to have to narrow down your list of friends to those very few. I bet you will never be upset someone didn’t ask you to be a bridesmaid again.

You don’t have to ask someone just because they are related to you (or your intended).

Honestly, who cares if she’s your cousin, sister or even fiance’s sister? If you are closer with your friends than this person, then she is not someone who should be part of the bridal party. Remember, you can’t choose your family, but you can choose your friends. And just because you are related, it doesn’t mean that you are friends. I know. I know. It sounds harsh, but I’m just being realistic. Do you want someone who barely knows you planning your shower? You might end up with the unicorns and rainbows you loved when you were in 2nd grade because that’s all she remembers about you. Think about it.

You don’t have to choose someone just to make the bridal party even.

You fiancé has 5 potential groomsman on his list, but you only have 3. So what? Nowadays, weddings are moving away from the traditional anyway. Who says you have to have an even number on either side? If you are thinking that you don’t want your pictures to be uneven, then you have nothing to fear. Most photographers can work with any number of people. If they are good at their job, they can figure out how to position your bridal party so that it doesn’t look lopsided. After all, they have done this before and are probably pretty artistic. If you are worried about that, then you have chosen the wrong photographer. We’ll save that topic for another blog post…

You don’t have to choose someone if they are unreliable.

See above comment about bridesmaid backing out a month before the wedding. I’ve even been witness to bridesmaids who were no shows for the shower or bachelorette party with no explanation or apology. Oh and did I forget to mention that she also didn’t pitch in any moo-la for either because she said she’d bring it with her and then proceeded to insist that because she wasn’t there, she shouldn’t have to help pay? Some people are just plain inconsiderate. Do you want that to happen? You have enough on your plate. Worrying about a bridesmaid shouldn’t be one of those things.

Sometimes it is hard to remember that this day is about you and your soon-to-be spouse with all of the suggestions and requests from other people. Ultimately, you need to stop and remind yourself that it IS about you. Your bridesmaids are supposed to be there to support and help you. It is up to you to choose them wisely. Or you can listen to me saying “I told you so.” The choice is yours.

What horror stories have you heard or experienced? I’d love to hear some and how you dealt with it. And just because I love them so much, here is a shot of my beautiful and amazing bridesmaids. I lucked out with this group!




Friday Finds 4.13.12

April 13th, 2012

BHLDN has to be one of my favorites when it comes to finding cute accessories, dresses and shoes. The style is hip, unique and completely adorable. This Friday’s find is really for your bridesmaids. Because I know how much you love them, I figured you might be on the hunt for the cutest dresses possible. I encourage you to visit their site and check out their line of bridesmaids and partygoers dresses. I have chose a few that I liked for your viewing pleasure. Happy Friday!





Spring is in the air!

April 5th, 2012

Spring is here! Who else is excited? Winter is not my favorite season, so any hint of spring makes me ridiculously happy because I know that summer is almost here, which makes me even happier. The emergence of brightly colored clothing in stores has really solidified the fact that the warmer months are here to stay.

This season, I have noticed two colors in particular that seem to be everywhere – bright yellow and coral. Now, I have always been a fan of these colors. Being a redhead and having almost transparent white skin, certain colors can be difficult to wear. However, I am pretty excited that these two are popular this season since they both look great on all skin types and with all hair colors.

I’ve taken the liberty of picking a few bridesmaids dresses in these two colors because you should be nice to your bridesmaids. Picking a color that compliments them will only make them look better beside you and your photos will look better too. All of these dresses are from The Dessy Group.


Friday Finds 3.2.12

March 2nd, 2012

While I was perusing the good ol’ Internet for some inspiration for another inspiration board, I came across this absolutely amazing shop, Dolly Pearl.

I am in love! Holy cow! The best part is that they have bridesmaids/special occasion dresses and bridal gowns. So what does that mean? You can buy one for yourself and also treat your bridesmaids to a dress they really will wear again. And with all the wonderful colors, they are perfect for Spring or Summer weddings! Here are a few of my favorites!

So incredibly gorgeous for a beach wedding or just add a ribbon around the waist for a cinched, more glamorous look (check out the website by clicking on the pic to see how it looks cinched)!

Can’t get enough of this adorable dress… Can we say reception dress? Or maybe Vegas wedding dress? Or vow renewal dress? Can I have it?

Talk about a bridesmaid dress I would wear again. Over and over and over. Wait, I do have some weddings to attend this year… maybe I’ll wear it to yours!!

Love the color on this one! And the practicality fairy strikes again! This perfect blend of elegance and simplicity allow this gown to be worn many, many times!

And who doesn’t need an adorable dress for their shower and/or rehearsal dinner? Pair this with some fun, colorful peep-toes and you are set!

Hope you love them as much as me! To visit the site and live in a fluffy, pretty world for a little while, simply click here or on the photos to indulge in the beauty.



Guilty Pleasures

February 6th, 2012

Ok, so I have to take a moment to talk about the most recent episode of Gossip Girl. It is one of my guilty pleasures. After the end of The OC, I had to find something to fill the void. Since they are both created and written by the same people, here I am. A Gossip Girl addict. Last weeks episode featured the wedding we’ve all been waiting for… Blair and Louis. No, I am not rooting for Louis. I just really like weddings. I am really hoping that Blair gets over her pact with the big guy upstairs and gets back together with Chuck. I loved the scheming drama produced by Blair + Chuck. And wouldn’t her union with Louis mean that she’d have to move to Monaco to be a proper part of the royal family? So sorry Louis, even though I thought you were a nice guy (until the end of the episode that is!), I was still rooting for the bad guy. And really, Dan? He just does not fit into this love triangle, or square, whatever you want to call it. And who else can sense that Georgina is not the real Gossip Girl and most likely just a hacker? I mean, come on. They can’t reveal that until the very last season or possibly even last episode. Where would the show go from there? Also, what the heck was up with that weird intro? Marilyn Monroe and Audrey Hepburn? I just didn’t really get it.

With my little rant out of the way, I want to talk about the actual wedding stuff involved. I will say that I wish we could have seen more details of the wedding, but I know this is not a TV show about weddings, so I will let that slide. So let’s focus on the attire. As we know from another episode, Vera Wang was the designer of the gowns for Blair and all her bridesmaids. And she did not disappoint. I love Vera and her style.

So let’s talk about the bridesmaids dresses first…

I completely love the idea of having different dresses for the maid of honor and the bridesmaids. I think the design fit Serena (Blake Lively) perfectly. Though I honestly don’t know of a single dress that wouldn’t look good on her. The short dresses are incredibly adorable and I am pretty sure I want this just to wear out on the town one night. Both are super flirty and cute. Just an all around ball of fun.

It was super sweet how she had Cyrus help walk her down the aisle. But I digress… I love the romantic feel of the lace on this dress. I think they really hit the nail on the head with this one. Everything, from the hair to the veil to the dress, just meshed so well. I kind of expected to see Blair in something a little more edgy, but this was really perfect and appropriate for the wedding. I will say that I was actually a bigger fan of the dress we spied her trying on when Vera actually made her appearance on the show. What do you think?

I guess I just feel this one is a little more like the recent Vera that I have been seeing all over the place. I love the layered “fluff.” It is just so whimsical and pretty, like a princess should be.

Well enough of pushing my guilty pleasure on you. If you are a Gossip Girl fan yourself, then you will appreciate this. If not, at least you got to see a few pretty dresses!! But now you know where I will be tonight… watching the next episode :)




What Saying ‘Yes’ Means for a Bridesmaids Wallet…

December 5th, 2011

Guest blogger, Jamie Dray of WeddObsessed, graces us with her presence today. Let’s give her a warm Nicki Ann welcome!

Real life scenario: Your very best friend in the world recently got engaged and asks you to be her maid of honor! Without hesitation, you say ‘yes’ and happily tell her you’ll be the best maid of honor that ever lived….

Fast forward a few weeks: You are afraid to open emails from the bride-to-be, fearing/knowing each message will contain a link to a designer dress with a cost equivalent to the down payment for a Ford Focus!:)

Through some informal research* combined with my personal experience as a professional bridesmaid (been in six weddings, and counting!), I’ve come up with a list of costs you should consider BEFORE you say yes to being in a wedding:

Dress/Shoes: $150 and up
While some brides are becoming more flexible on bridesmaid gown choices, there are still those traditional brides who want every girl in the same dress, sometimes wearing matching or even custom dyed shoes. Be prepared to spend around $200 on your dress and shoes, depending on the choice the bride makes!

Hair/Make-Up: $100 and up
Some brides make getting your hair and make-up done optional, but some may require it! Depending on the situation, this can be a pricey additional cost that you weren’t counting on. Make sure you ask the bride about her plans a few weeks in advance so you know not to spend that extra $100 on something else!

Shower: $75 and up
Of the 15 former bridesmaids I questioned for this post, the average amount they contributed to throwing a shower was $250. Sometimes bridesmaids luck out when a family friend or relative offers to foot the cost of the shower. Other times, bridesmaids are expected to pay for everything. No matter the situation, you should plan on helping pay for prizes, games and a shower gift from you to the bride.

Bachelorette Party: $125 and up
Did you know in the UK, bachelorette parties are called ‘Hen weekends?’ Fun fact for you! One of my friends from Ireland shared that bridesmaids in the UK typically don’t pay for their dress, shoes, hair or make-up–since the bride has asked them to be in her wedding, it is considered a favor to her and she foots the bill! Incredible, no? The bridesmaids and friends, however, DO throw a ‘hen weekend’ full of fun things and foot the bill for the bride! In the US, bachelorette parties can range from a fun girls night in, to dramatic trips to Vegas–so plan on forking over a decent amount of cash for this occasion. :)

Wedding and Shower Gifts: $100 and up
Gifts are very personal and will reflect your personality, so this one is hard to really give an average price. Generally speaking though, bridesmaids purchase a gift from the bride’s registry for the shower and give a personal, thoughtful gift for the wedding. The nice thing is about a registry is there are a variety of gifts at different price points so you can pick something that really fits your budget!

Travel:$50 and up
I’ve flown to Boston and Malibu to be in weddings and had a blast at each of them! Travel is another factor some bridesmaids forget about, but be sure to consider the location of the wedding when you say ‘yes’- -there is quite a difference between filling your gas tank to travel a few hours, and buying a plane ticket to the other side of the country! Also, don’t forget other trips you may make to go dress shopping, attend the shower or attend the bachelorette party!

Clothes, shoes, make-up and other bridesmaid duties: Grand total: $600 and up
Gym membership to be in your best shape ever for said wedding: $30 a month
Watching your very best friend in the world marry her soul mate: Priceless

(*All estimates based on personal experience/the responses of 15 of my closest gal pals with bridesmaid experience ‘a plenty.)


Friday Finds 6.17.11

June 17th, 2011

Again, I was scouring the blogs I follow and came across this and have to share it! It comes from Green Orchid Events in Las Vegas. Hmm… maybe I’ll get to meet them when I am there in September for the conference… any who…

I just had to share this when I saw it because I have a few bridesmaids dresses in my closet. I am sure there are a number of you out there who have a few as well. NewlyMaid is a company that recycles or donates your old bridesmaid, mother of the bride/groom, or even prom dresses and in return you receive a credit toward one of their LBDs (little black dress). Your dress is then either donated or recycled. I was a little confused on how one would recycle a dress, but you can read all about it here. The best part is that you can even recycle the LBD you get from NewlyMaid! So when you tire of that style, you can choose a new one!

So when brides say, “I wanted to pick something that you could wear again,” you can honestly tell them that the dress went to good use and a few alterations made it wearable again!


Meaningful shower gifts – Part Deux

June 1st, 2011

As promised, here are a few more ideas for meaningful shower gifts for those women who mean so much to you. I can’t take much credit for these ideas as they were sent to me by a dear friend. But they were just too cute not to share!


The red plate is a tradition that should be in every home. The red plate is to be used to celebrate a joyous occasion. When your husband get a promotion, he eats from the red plate. When it is your birthday, you eat from the red plate. When your child gets straight A’s, they eat from the red plate. It becomes a symbol of celebration and happiness. You can purchase your very own Red Plate here. While it comes with a card explaining the tradition behind the plate, here is a little poem I found online to include for the bride to read when opening by Celebration Ideas Online.

May today be one of many red-letter days
Times you’ll remember in so many ways
This gift is a tradition for you to start
A gift of love, straight from the heart
On days that are special that you’ll want to
Set out the red plate to celebrate it all
Honor the person and their great feat
On this special plate, let them joyously eat
It may be a birthday, promotion, good grade
A Little League win or wise choice that was made
May your years together as husband and wife
Bring you countless special days throughout your life
These wonderful times will come and go
Keep the red plate at the ready as your blessings flow

Here are two more that are similar in style but different mediums.

This tradition is just what you’d think. A basket of candles. But it isn’t just that. Each candle has a meaning to mark certain milestones in the marriage. What you’ll need are two candles of each color (White, Green, Navy blue, Pink, Cream, Red, Purple, Light blue, Silver). Wrap them together in some tulle or a cute ribbon and put in a basket. Be sure to include this cute little poem found here:

A basket of candles that come in a pair
in all different colors, for you two to share.
The white ones burn first;
they are wrapped in white lace
to celebrate your first married night
in your new chosen place.
The green pair is taller, and also much thinner;
burn with the first company you have over for dinner.
The dark blue candles are for after your first fight;
use them to burn while making up all night.
Pink candles set the mood and pave the way
for your first married Valentine’s Day.
Now, when your first year of marriage is through,
the cream anniversary pair, will light for you two.
Red candles aflame, both your futures are bright;
celebrate promotions you’ve worked toward with all of your might.
By this time we hope, maybe, just maybe
you can light the purple ones, on the birth of your baby.
And just when you thought you’d put these away,
take the light blue ones out for your fifth anniversary day.
Now just one more pair left – for the big “two five” –
the anniversary pair that will keep your love alive.
Congratulations (Bride and Groom)
on the start of your forever.
May the two of you always be happy together.
And burn these candles just the way we said,
but please don’t forget: blow them out before bed!


Same idea as above except with wine and you can choose whichever kinds you think the couple will like or go with brand names that are suiting for the event. Each bottle gets its own tag with the following poem:

Wedding Night
The night you have dreamed of is finally here
The future surrounds you with hope and yet fear
You’ve wanted so long to find your perfect mate
Sip this wine and toast this perfect date
The night is meant for you to share
Enjoy each other – a perfect pair!!

First Fight
When fights occur and tempers get hot
Pour a glass and be thankful for what you’ve got
If you always agreed it would certainly be a bore
And by asking for Krissy’s hand Bernie is surely
in for more!

First Anniversary
Been married a year, where did the time go?
No longer newlyweds, now you are pros
Hope the days found you in good health and
good spirit
Keep saying I love you –
one always needs to hear it!
Now toast this first date, it’s certainly not the last
And as you build your future don’t ever forget
the past!

First Dinner Party
Open your home to entertain and eat
Catch up with old friends and new ones to meet
When the night is over share this bottle of wine
But don’t sit down yet – it’s clean up time!!

First Christmas
A wise man said wine is better than beer
And now is the season for lots of holiday cheer
So pop the cork and relax a bit,
And when the night is through,
Kiss goodnight, close your eyes
And Santa will be good to you!

First Baby
The news that a baby will soon share your life
will make you a mother, not only a wife
You’ll see it through good times and sometimes
through bad
______ the loving mother
and _____ the dearest dad
Sadly _____ (groom) must drink this one alone, and _____(bride) with an empty glass
Sit back and relax – nine months will quickly pass!

Just a few more ideas for showers to keep things interesting and to give the bride something other than a pot holder. Have you heard of any other interesting traditions for bridal shower gifts? Please share!


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!!