Cute As A Button

Oh. My. God. You will not (I repeat, will not) be able to find cuter, more original caketoppers than these! One of my blog readers tipped me off on this AMAZING company, Nicole W Clark, and I am so happy that she did! Having spent the last hour perusing the website and envisioning myself & hubby as polymer clay mini-people, its safe to say that there are a lot of you out there who are going to find Nicole W Clark's work as amazing as I do.

Each of these fabulous little items is custom-made to you & your fiance's image based off of photographs and discussions. Your hair, your outfits, skin tone, flowers, pets (yes, pets!), and any other sort of items can be added to truly make YOUR cake-topper "one of a kind". Nicole's creativity absolutely astounded me as I was looking through her gallery ... she does an incredible, detailed job (and you know how big I am on details!)

The best part? You don't have one of those cheesy old-school cake toppers that gets tossed in a box after the wedding, never to be seen again. These cutie-patooties (I can't believe I just used that word) will not deteriorate, and as such, can be left out on display for all your houseguests, children, and grandchildren to see.

Nicole W Clark's company is based out of Ontario, but makes these cake toppers for clients all over the world (so getting it to Calgary should be no problem!).

*introductory price of $120 US*

all photos courtesy of Nicole W Clark's website


A Few Pics From The Calgary Wedding Fair

Close friends stopped by our booth at the Wedding Fair this past Sunday and took a few "in action" photos. Simply because it was such a great day and I want to relive it (hey, I'm allowed to do that!), I'm posting a few pics here for all to see. Enjoy!


Stop & Smell The Roses

One of my new favorite vendors is Stems Floral, located in south-west Calgary. For those of you who didn't see it, their display of flowers at the WeddingFair was absolutely stunning! Very cutting-edge and amazingly exquisite, with a healthy dose of bold & classic palettes ... I'm not what you would call a huge flower-fan (my only request from my wedding flowers was that they "generally match"), but I actually doubled-back so I could have a second look at everything showcased. Gorgeous!
A couture floral design gallery, Stems shows a keen eye for detail & design, and is most-definetely a fabulous company to explore!

Hmm ... Valentine's Day is coming up ... perhaps I'll drop a few well-aimed hints towards the
husband ...

*photos courtesy of Stems Floral website*


Thank You

A very big "thank you" to all the brides who stopped by our booth today at the Calgary Wedding Fair ... what a fabulous group of ladies you are! You all helped make our debut in the event a smashing success, and we'll only keep coming back for more!

I also spent a fair bit of time speaking with other vendors at the tradeshow, and have some great fresh ideas for things to post on this blog. However, I definetely need some "diva-time" (re: a hot bubble bath, and maybe a glass or two of pinot noir ... ), so please give me a day or two to get more ideas up!

'Til then, here's a pic of myself & our booth, about 10 minutes before the doors opened this morning.

*sigh* wasn't it a fun day? I wish I could do it all over again!


No Longer Just For The Famous ...

Are you saddened by the fact that some important people won't be able to attend your wedding due to distance? Perhaps you're having a destination wedding, or perhaps you simply have family far out-of-town?

While trolling the web recently (yes, I said trolling), I came across a great new concept to help solve this dilema. At Webcast My Wedding, they offer you the opportunity to do exactly that -- broadcast your wedding live on the internet! For the cost of $395 US, you get live stream that is able to support up to 25 simultaneous viewers (with more available), and a 30-day archive of the event. All you need is a video camera, a computer, and an internet connection.

I have to admit, my first reaction upon veiwing this website was "who on earth would actually pay for this?". However. A girl's allowed to change her mind, isn't she?

The more I think about it, the better an idea this becomes. I know from first-hand experience (my own wedding) that a destination wedding means fewer of those "important" people in attendence. Often, these people would love to be there, but for various reasons are unable to attend. Having live-streaming video means that, in a small way, they can still feel as though they witnessed the wedding.

I also know there are a lot of you out there who have family in different regions of Canada, or even in different countries, who won't be making it to your big day. How great would it be for them to see it actually unfold before them? Live?

Again, just a small idea on my internet forays. Hope it helps at least one of you out!


Are You Ready For Wedding Fair Season?

For anyone who has never been to a bridal fair before, let me paint a picture for you --- imagine thousands of brides-to-be, most travelling with an entourage of at least two other women, packed into a room that normally woud be considered vast and yet, somehow, has shrunk enough to leave a miniscule 4-inch-wide gap between you & the next person for the entire time you are there.

Sounds horrible? It isn't. Though chaotic at times, wedding fairs, when it comes down to it, are fun. As a bride-to-be, you will be treated like the princess you are the moment you set foot inside. Vendors will cater to your every (wedding) need; discounts will abound; and free tastings ... mmmm. Free tastings. Nothing to complain about there. Especially when it mainly consists of cupcakes, wedding cake, and chocolate. Can you say "Yum"?

Calgary has two large shows to speak of that are upcoming in the next few weeks. First up is Bridal Fantasy on January 14th at the Telus Convention Centre (tickets $15). This show has only been around for three years, but is steadily growing in size & scope. Though the list of vendors is smaller then the Calgary Wedding Fair , it is still a good bunch of companies to investigate, and if you are only able to attend this one, it will serve you well.

The granddaddy of the wedding fair scene in Calgary is, of course, the Calgary Wedding Fair on January 21 at the Roundup Centre (tickets $15). This show is huge. If you want the most bang-for-your-buck option, THIS is the one to attend. Boasting the most vendors and a great fashion show, the Calgary Wedding Fair is a fab production all-around. I *ahem* will also be making my wedding trade show debut at this fair, so please be sure to stop by booth #130 and say hello!

As someone who has attended three wedding fairs to date (two as bridemaids, one as a bride-to-be), my biggest tip would be to have your pertinent information (ie. name, address, phone number, and email address) printed out onto labels. This will not only save your hand from cramping-due-to-overuse on ballots, but will allow you to work through the room significantly faster. I whipped up about 30 of these babies before my foray as a bride last year, and had numerous other girls comment enviously that they wish they had thought of that (all the while rubbing their poor, sore wrists).

My only other tip? Have fun! This is a once-in-a-lifetime experience, and, even if you think you "have" everything, it will definetely provide you with food for thought.

Good luck!


Not Your Average Bridesmaid Tote

As part of their "bridesmaid gifts", a current trend for brides right now is to purchase cute little totes in which to package the rest of the gifts (or as gifts on their own).

Now, I love totes as much as the next person, but there are only so many a gal can have before it starts getting ridiculous. Right? Right?? Be honest!

So what to do?

Whilst out stretching my legs at a local indoor walking location (ok, ok ... I was power shopping at Southcentre Mall), I stumbled across these little beauties (pictured above, to the left, and bottom right) at Storageworks. Ta-dah!

"But Andra," you say "whats the big deal? Sure, they're funky little purses, but they're still just purses. Nothing too crazy there".

Au contraire, mes amis. To the casual observer, these are merely purses, but to those-in-the-know, they are actually amazingly fabulous lunch bags. Thats right, I said lunch bags. These little beauties are thermal, 100% spill-proof & wipeable LUNCH BAGS!

Can you tell I'm excited about these? What a unique-yet-totally-useable gift to give your girls! Who isn't sick of digging through countless plastic grocery bags in the office fridge, desperately trying to find their lunch? Who isn't sick of their old plain-jane reusable lunch bag? You can still fill them with other gifts like you would a tote, but at the end of the day these will definetely get used.

The best part? They're only going to put you out $15 - $20/bag. Can you say "what a deal?".

Available at Storageworks, at both their Southcentre and Crowfoot Village locations.


Mmm ... Cupcakes

Who doesn't love cupcakes? They're like scrumptious, fun-for-your-mouth tiny bundles of goodness (well, not healthy goodness, but, you know ...). At an average of $2.65/cupcake in Calgary, they're easy to sneak into a wedding budget, too. And oh how trendy they are right now!

Calgary brides' fascination with cupcakes can assuredly be attributed to the fabulous ladies at Crave Cookies & Cupcakes, who opened their first store in Kensington in 2004. Because of them, cupcakes have rapidly moved from standard-issue birthday party fare to mod wedding dessert. I've personally attended three weddings in the past year that had Crave cupcakes in place of the ubiquitous wedding cake -- its become a source of pride for a bride to be able to tell her fellow trend-setting guests that her cupcakes "are from Crave". No other explanation needed. With flavours ranging from Crave-O-Licious (pictured above) to Peppy Patti to Dirty Blonde, Crave's cupcakes are a fun twist on tradition.

You Calgary ladies might be surprised to find out, however, that cupcakes do not begin and end solely at Crave. There are a number of other fab bakers in & around the city that certainly deserve a look:

Cakeworks, located just off 30th Ave in the NE, does some marvelous work with their cupcakes. Though I haven't tried them personally, I've heard from a close foodie girlfriend that their cupcakes are yummy-yummy. And if their cupcake decorating is anything to compare to their wedding cakes , then my dear, you are in for an artistic treat!

The Buttercream Bake Shoppe not only has it's main store on 17th Ave , but also opens shoppe at the Calgary Farmer's Market at the Currie Barracks on Fridays, Saturdays, & Sundays. I like to think of them as having ye 'ole ice cream shoppe mentality -- they always have certain popular flavours in stock (such as Drama Queen and Lemon Souffle), but also have a rotating smorgasbourg of flavours throughout the month! Try out Creme Caramel, Cherry Sundae, Koo Koo Coconut, or Elvis Lives.

And last ...

Cake Creations is an extraordinary shop located in Canmore. A quick search on their site yeilds too-cute-for-words cupcakes with delicate icing flowers and funky cool patterns. I love the ones pictured at right ... aren't they just divine? So perfect for a spring or summer wedding!

Of course, if you're a DIY kindof gal, why not try making your own for your wedding? The great thing about cupcakes is that they can be made a few weeks in advance of the Big Day and kept in the freezer until necessary (*note* if using buttercream icing, it is better to freeze the cupcakes before they are iced, and then ice them the day or two before. Otherwise, the cold of the freezer begins to break down the butter, and make it less-tasty).

I (well, my mom, actually) did DIY cupcakes for my wedding, and they turned out gorgeous. With a delectable, homemade buttercream icing, they were talked about by guests for weeks after.

So why not give it a go? Because the icing is the key element of any cupcake, below is the buttercream recipie my mom used. Oh, and a few pics of how mine turned out (for inspiration, of course!):

Mom's Buttercream Icing Recipie

makes enough for 18 - 24 cupcakes (depending on how thick you ice them)

1 c. butter, softened
3 ½ c. icing sugar
1 tbsp. boiled hot water
1 tsp. vanilla

Beat butter until light & fluffy. Add the rest of the ingredients (plus any food coloring), and beat until mixed. Done.



I Love This Blog ...

... and you will too!

Fairly optimistic for my first post, but its in keeping with #327 on "Andra's New Year's 2007 Resolutions" list (er,"Be more optimistic", for those of you who don't happen to have a copy).

Seriously, though ... I really hope you do grow to love this blog. It was started as a direct result of my own futile search for locally-based wedding info, tips, & suggestions for my 2006 destination wedding/at-home reception. Even though Calgary is growing at an astronomical rate, even though the city is flooded with hip young people, and even though the wedding industry in the city is positively booming -- the focus still continues to be on Toronto & Vancouver as "style icons". Quite rightly, they both are great cities with great senses of style ... but I'm tired of my beautiful hometown always being the ugly step-sister. Calgary has some amazing things going on, and its time to start bringing them to light!

The primary focus of this blog will be on trend-spotting the Calgary wedding scene, as well as noting incredible vendors & resources. Of course, since we live in a web-based world (ahem), there will still be loads of on-line resources for your non-Calgarian viewing pleasure, too (I'm currently fantasizing about a nation-wide unification of all Canadian brides-to-be on this blog, but I think I'm getting a bit ahead of myself ... ). As I recently opened my own custom-invitation company (Epiphany Designs) in Calgary, there will also be occasional updates in regards to that as well. Gotta stay in touch with my customers!

So who am I? My name's Andra, and like the title of the blog says, I LOVE weddings. Anything to do with weddings. I stumbled across this passion while planning my own, and even though I've been married the ripe 'ole time of 5 months, I just can't shake the habit. So to you, I pass on my knowledge.

Lets hope I've got something useful to say!