Monday, March 30, 2009

Dress For Less

Something borrowed, something blue, something old, and something...used? Second-hand is fast becoming the hot new trend in wedding planning as many of us are dealing with tight budgets these days. But just because you want a bargain doesn't mean you have to skimp on style. Enter - an online resource for the bride that wants to look like a million bucks without spending that much.

Here is how it works: For a low, one-time fee of $25 newly-wedded wives can list their gently used (only worn once! for less than eight hours!) dresses for up to 12 months and brides-to-be can search them by designer, keyword, size, silhouette, neckline, size and location. Some of the dresses are as much as 70% off the retail price so even if it has to be shipped from a far away location it will be well worth the shipping fee.

Just for fun (like I need an excuse to think about having another wedding) I looked up some of my favorite designers and I found a beautiful J. Crew gown that normally retails for $2450 and was listed for $800- that's a steal! But the one that really made me weak in the knees was a silk taffeta Vera Wang number, normally retails for over $4000, listed for half that much! Is the third anniversary too early to renew your vows? ;-)

The only drawbacks to a site like this is that items listed are only one size so it might be tricky finding the dress you like in the size you need. But it is definitely worth a look in case you get lucky and find the bargain of a lifetime!

Grand Opening!

I am so excited to announce that my Etsy store is finally up and running! It has been a long time in the making and I have spent many hours researching, brainstorming, and creating to make it happen. A labor of love for sure!

When I first decided that I would start my own business I had already been a fan of Etsy for a while and I knew it was the perfect venue for me. Being in Vermont there is not a huge amount of people to support a specialty business like mine, so being able to reach millions of viewers online from all corners of the globe is just amazing.

I have a few items up now and a bunch more to come so be sure to check it out!

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Stowe Mountain Resort

Clockwise from top-left: post-and-beam ceiling in Spruce Camp, outside the Toll House, dining area and view out to the deck at the Cliff House, the staircase leading up to the stone patio at Spruce Camp.

This past Friday I had the pleasure of touring the wedding facilities at the Stowe Mountain Resort in Stowe, Vermont. Stowe is the quintessential Vermont town with a high-end twist- beautiful mountainscapes, charming covered bridges, but superb shopping and fine dining abound in this small town nestled at the base of Mount Mansfield.

Now, I must confess, that when I was first looking into wedding venues I did not inquire with Stowe, fearing they were well above my price range, but I was very much mistaken. With all the glamorous amenities and magnificent scenery you would think Stowe would be in the top ten most expensive wedding venues in Norther Vermont – au contraire! Stowe has so many options for venues (ten to be exact) around their property that there is something for every budget.

Calais on the gondola ride back down the mountain.

But before I get ahead of myself I must talk about the best thing Stowe has to offer – Calais Lovejoy. Calais and I met at the VT Vows Wedding Affair last November and I was at once drawn in by her warmth and sincerity. She is the Wedding Coordinator for most of the venues at Stowe and let me tell you, this girl knows her stuff! As she gave me a tour around the grounds (which took almost two hours- that is how much stuff there is to see there!) all I could think of was how much less stressed out I would have been if I had been lucky enough to have her helping me with my wedding! A personal wedding coordinator, something that most of us would not even dream of being able to afford, comes with the standard package at Stowe – that alone would have sold me!

Don't think that getting married at Stowe is only for outdoorsy types that want to get married at the top of a mountain with the sun setting in the background (although the Cliff House looks amazing- even for the city girls). There is also the gorgeous post-and-beam Spruce Camp with stunning architecture and a native stone fireplace – one inside and a second one outside on the stone patio. And if you want something a little more traditional and ballroom-esque there is the Toll House a little farther down the road, complete with a charming terrace garden hidden in the back perfect for your ceremony and cocktail reception.

Spruce Camp with the mountain in the background.

It's not all about scenery at Stowe, though, with their NECI trained chefs even the food I have had in their cafeteria after a day of snowboarding is to die for. I can't imagine how great their event food is. Of course with entreés like Chevré & Spinach Stuffed Grilled Chicken Breast with Charred Sweet Pepper Coulis and Pan Roasted Duck Breast with Caramelized Onion Smashed Potatoes it sounds like the sky is the limit where cusine is concerned.

The bottom line is that I have done a lot of wedding research in the last few years and I was shocked at how affordable Stowe was- especially considering that you get a wedding planner in the deal, something that would cost you several hundred to a thousand dollars if you hired an outside person. Since most of us are planning on a tight budget these days, it is more important then ever to get more bang for your buck and all-inclusive deals tend to be just that. At Stowe you get the all-in-one package without the stale Hotel Ballroom vibe and that is worth shouting from the mountain top about.

You can contact Calais at: 802-253-3666 or

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Felt & Wire

I just stumbled across this great new blog over at Strathmore Paper. Many companies (ahem, such as myself) have incorporated blogs into their corporate identity but this one stands out as one of the most innovative and creative ones I have seen. The writing is witty and does not necessarily focus on paper (which could get a bit boring after a while), but on how paper is used and who is using it.

The post that stood out to me the most was this one - a great plug for using vintage stamps to mail letters. This has become an increasing trend for wedding invitations recently and I think it's a great idea. What better way to inject some romance and timelessness into your special event? They even include some great links to places you might procure your own vintage stamps which I am going to have to bookmark for future use!