DIY Wedding Projects and a Book Review!

DIY Wedding projects and a Book Review!  Ok…I’m going to state the obvious. Weddings are expensive – very.  Most of us don’t have unlimited funds to spend any way we choose on our big day; choices must be made.  One way to save is to employ as many DIY, (Do It Yourself), wedding projects as possible.  But even this option can be pricey.

Just the wedding cake can cost you a fortune!  (Photo creds: Patty Cloherty)

I discovered a new cozy mystery series recently.  It’s a “Garage Sale” Series.  ‘Garage Sale?’ you say.  Yes!  It’s super cute and gives one the best ideas.  But the series doesn’t revolve just around ‘tag sales’ as we prefer to refer to these sales in New England.  It’s just a fun backdrop.

Barnes and Noble gives us a great synopsis of the first book, “Tagged for Death“:

Starting your life over at age thirty-eight isn’t easy, but that’s what Sarah Winston finds herself facing when her husband CJ runs off with a 19-year-old temptress named Tiffany. Sarah’s self-prescribed therapy happily involves hitting all the garage and tag sales in and around her small town of Ellington, Massachusetts. If only she could turn her love for bargain hunting into a full-time career. 

One man’s junk is another man’s treasure

But after returning from a particularly successful day searching for yard sale treasures, Sarah finds a grisly surprise in one of her bags: a freshly bloodied shirt. . .that undoubtedly belongs to her ex, CJ, who now happens to be Ellington’s chief of police. If that’s not bad enough, it seems Tiffany has gone missing. Now it’s up to Sarah to prove that her cold-hearted ex is not a cold-blooded killer. . .

But finding that treasure can be murder.

I…LOVE…SARAH.  She is spunky, smart, and I think she and I would be great friends.  She’s just the kind of woman I’d love to hang with – of course I really enjoy the company of her creator, the talented Sherry Harris, perhaps that’s why I like Sarah!  🙂

So think about it…wouldn’t it be a great idea to look for garage sale deals when you’re attempting to create centerpieces for your wedding dinner tables?  You can pick up some mason Jars for pennies on the dollar at a tag sale, or perhaps some charming antique teacups to use as favors at a bridal shower. The options are endless!

My dad, 99 this year, was always a big garage sale fan in California.  I didn’t go with him as much as I wish I had.  We all have those little regrets, don’t we?  But boy did he make some finds.  My first set of golf clubs, at the tender age of 6, were purchased at a garage sale.  He cut down some adult clubs for me, and lovingly wrapped the shafts in some durable tape.  My father, who is a pack rat as am I, probably still has those clubs stashed somewhere…

Little Mary with Dad

The good news? Once you read the first book in the series, “Tagged for Death” you’ll want to read all three!  Click on the links if you’d like to order.  I included links to Barnes and Noble, but they are available at Amazon as well.

Book #2: “The Longest Yard Sale

Book #3 “All Murders Final

I must admit, after I finished book number three, I felt a little bereft.  But YES!!!  Book # 4, “A Good Day to Buy” is now available for per-order and will be available April 25, 2017!!!  I can’t wait!

I love these books, and much to my delight, each one seems to get better.  I enjoy the familiarity of a series.  You feel like you know the characters, as if they’re friends, almost family.  Harris achieves this effortlessly. Do yourself a favor and try this series.  Believe me, you’ll be hooked once you do.

Below, the lovely author, and my friend, Sherry Harris.

If you’d like to ready other posts on DIY projects, click on the links: DIY Wedding Flowers and DIY Wedding Ideas.

“The Wedding Sisters” A Book Review

As a wedding blogger, I occasionally get the opportunity to review books about weddings.  Could my job be more fun?

“The Wedding Sisters”, a delightful book by Jamie Brenner, is not to be missed.  If you like weddings, you’ll LOVE this book.  The story invites us into the lives of the four main characters, Meryl, the matriarch of the family, and her three daughters: Meg, Amy and Jo.  I was personally drawn to the book’s premise – three sisters planning their weddings… at the same time!  With four daughters of my own, I found it accurate, funny and poignant.  Brenner hits just the right cord of sisterhood.  The mix of love, competitiveness,  and a touch of pettiness, rings true.  Brenner must have sisters!


“The Wedding Sisters” never lost my attention.   The writing is fast paced, but still allows the reader to connect properly with the characters. I felt I personally knew all four women in no time.  Their careers are exciting, problems current, their struggles timeless; a perfect trifecta.   And just like in any family, the sisters are quite different.  I sometimes wonder, when I look at my own daughters, how four women from the same home and identical parents, can be polar opposites.  But similar to “The Wedding Sisters”, family always brings them together.  As Meryl, the mother in the story, thinks to herself: ‘There was the overwhelming sense…of time marching on…of the continuum of family.  Of being part of something greater than herself.”


I hope you enjoy the little montage of photos of my own daughters shown throughout their lives. Let me introduce you in order of age: KK, (believe it or not), a wedding/event planner like her mother; Maggie, a newly minted registered nurse recently graduated from the University of Pennsylvania; Tess, a college sophomore; and Julia, a high school senior.  It really is true…Sisters make the best bridesmaids.  If you’d like to read a former post addressing that, click on the link!  Sisters, the best bridesmaids




Interested in purchasing “The Wedding Sisters” by Jamie Brenner?  Just click on the link to either Barnes and Noble, or Amazon and you’ll be directed right to the book.  Easy peezy!  🙂

More good news?  Jamie Brenner has a new book coming out April 25, 2017, “The Forever Summer” set in Cape Cod, (one of my favorite ‘beach read’ settings), about what else…three generations of women.  Can’t wait! (You can even preorder!) “The Forever Summer” at Barnes and Noble or amazon  is available in Hardcover, e-book or audio.  Just click on either link to be directed.






# 2 EB Taylor

# 3 EB Taylor

# 4 Matt Stauble Media

# 5

# 6 Hannah Colt

Rustic Wedding Done Right



I research a lot of weddings.  I attend  a lot of ceremonies/receptions.  But recently, I observed a wedding via Facebook…and well, I was just impressed.  It takes a lot to impress me these days, as I see it all.  I’m talking about the nuptials of Kate, the daughter of a “Facebook Friend” and up and coming author of the Maine “Clam Bake Series”  Barbara Ross – more on that later!  Above, the beautiful Kate in her bridal gown by: Amy Kuschel Lennon.  Photo credits for photos #1, #4, #5, and #6 are by Abby Lorenz Photography.  Other photos are contributed by family friends!  🙂

I think why I was so taken with this wedding was because Kate and her mom, Barbara, seemed to take all the bits and pieces of my favorites and make it  work.  I have long been touting the wisdom, and BEAUTY of dressing the bridesmaids in individual dresses, both in style and color.  Check — they did that; a beautiful success.  Notice the photo below.


Love, LOVE the venue, “The Portland Company”.  It creates such a fantastic atmosphere of elegance with a rustic vibe, a lovely fusion.  Hard to accomplish, but when done right, not much can beat it.


The overall appeal of this venue could not have been achieved without the artistic touch of the flowers, done by Flowers Broadturn Farm.   The flowers around the “stage”, where the bridal couple said their vows, takes my breath away.


Below, the new Mr. and Mrs., showcasing my favorite thing…the wedding bouquet.  I have long held the belief that a bride should carry a bold bouquet of color to contrast nicely with her white gown. A  perfect snap of the whole family follows.  You know it’s a good wedding when everyone looks so joyous!



The ceremony venue easily converted into the ideal reception space – perfect combo of rustic  elegance.  And who pulled this off, (with great input by Kate and Barbara, I’m sure), none other  than Wedding Planner, ‘Daisies and Pearls’.13232976_10154299626320962_1466302834382357038_nAnd PLEASE, don’t forget to check out Barbara Ross’ delightful “Maine Clambake Series”  I’ve read all three books, and each gets better…


Wedding Options At the Hotel Del Coronado

So.. if you’re seriously considering a destination wedding…do you think the Hotel Del Coronado could be the right fit?  Think about it, you get the perfect weather of the south of France, but you’re still in the US.  And it’s every bit as beautiful!  I was gifted with a generous property tour, provided by the lovely Andrea, focusing on the multiple ceremony/reception sites the resort offers.  I think what most impressed me was the vast options a bride has to choose from — eleven in all!



The above two photos are my own, – the top one being from my room’s balcony.  We had a perfect day, as you can see, but then every day is perfect in the San Diego area. The green lawn in both pictures is “The Windsor Lawn”.  Remember, in my post, “Destination Weddings“, I pointed out the summer cottage Wallis Warfield Simpson shared with her second husband?  Well, the lawn is aptly named for the ‘Windsor Connection’.  Just click on the pink link if you’d like to read my post.


One of the most popular ceremony/reception sites is the Windsor Lawn. The hotel stock photo above showcases just how perfect a wedding would look.

Considering an evening affair, or just prefer your reception to be held in doors?  Then the Ballroom is for you!  Below is my photo of the Ballroom waiting to be dressed for the next event.  The following picture is the room in all it’s festive glory.  Notice any differences despite the decor?  Look at the chandeliers.


In my photo above, the chandaliers are stationed much higher.  They can be raised or lowered, depending on the guests’ preference.


Do you take the phrase, “Beach Wedding” to heart?  Then you have the option of being married RIGHT – ON – THE – SAND!


Perhaps you have a smaller gathering, and want a slightly more intimate affair – with an art deco vibe?  Then the “Crown Room” is the perfect choice.  Named for the crown shaped lighting fixtures, the room itself is a work of art.  Look at the fabulous room ceiling.  It’s breathtaking, but the maintenance that is required to keep it pristine is mind boggling.


Tomorrow, we’ll explore several more ceremony/receptions options on property.