Advice To My Daughter


On your wedding day, my daughter Kathleen, you will inherit the platinum art deco engagement ring of your great-grandmother.  Tradition dictates that it goes to the first born daughter of each new generation.  While not of great monetary value, it is great of sentiment.

I was so concerned, during my tenure with the ring, of protecting it for the next generation, that I rarely wore it.  Yes it is old and fragile, being just twelve years shy of it’s century mark, but wear it.

I will pass the ring on to you on your wedding day, as it was to me from my mother, but while I do so with a glad heart, I also feel a mild sense of loss.  I really don’t know the ring, and never made it mine.  Make it yours, wear it, enjoy it, and all the while, take good care.  It was your dear Great-Grams, after all…In the photo above, my Grandmother, KK’s Great-Gram, is pictured with my mother.  Mom is about three. Below is “Great-Gram” in her later years.  Our youngest, little Julia her name-sake, is kissing her.  My Dad is holding little Julia.


And start a new tradition…I wouldn’t be at all surprised if Grammie will share the beautiful abalone butterfly Gramps made for her, which you will attach in your bridal bouquet.  Hopefully, future generations will follow suit…


My Dad took the picture above of my mother well before I was born.  Mom was quite a fisherwoman!  She is a true natural honey blond – she is where KK get’s her coloring…well from her dad too.   I can’t take all the credit.  🙂


And above…the beautiful butterfly carving from abalone shell made by my father for my mother.  To be showcased in a bridal bouquet… what a romantic start for a lovely piece.

Photos # 1 Unknown

Photo # 2 Mary P Karnes

Photo # 3  Bill Paredes Photos

Photo # 3  Mary P Karnes

Top Five Guest Complaints


Whew!  The WEDDING is over!  You have mixed emotions.  You’re happy, you’re sad, you’re excited, you feel the “let down”.  But what you PROBABLY haven’t thought of is…the Top Five Guest Complaints.

Number 1 – No Open Bar –  Other than food, this is your biggest cost. If an open bar is not in your budget, consider a “Signature Cocktail” like the one in the photo above.  The cost for a single cocktail is much less than to stock a full bar.  Click on the following link, and read a previous blog post of mine Signature Cocktails for ideas.  Or…how about a wine and beer bar only?  It would keep your cost down, and you wouldn’t need to employ as many bartenders. This is provided your venue allows these options.  Your bar choice is a big one when you choose your venue/caterer.

Number 2 – Hosts’ Requested Dress Code What does this mean?  Simply… the bride, or family has a certain vision, i.e., something like a “Black Tie Affair” which requires women to wear a long gown, and men a tux.  Weddings are expensive, not just for the wedding couple and their families.  It’s expensive for the guests as well – from the bridal shower, bachelorette/bachelor party, travel, hotel accommodations, to the GIFT.  To add more expensive on top of that, in the form of wedding attire, is asking a lot.


Number 3 – Wedding Date Around the Holidays – both summer and winter – Yes…I know.  My last daughter’s wedding was July 3.  But actually, this presented minor convict.  Our guests seemed to schedule their holiday plans around our wedding.  But a winter wedding presents a whole other host of problems.  According to polled wedding guests, a wedding around the winter holidays, “…was less than ideal due to conflict of other holiday parties and events as well as the financial strain of holiday gift giving.” One must admit…it IS pretty though…  🙂


Number 4 – Lack of Entertainment – Wedding Guests Polled said, of the weddings they had attended in the last 18 months, “…the weddings that provided some sort of entertainment…” (either a photo booth, slow motion booth or speciality act/dancers), “…was more enjoyable than one which did not.”  Why?  Sometimes, as hosts, we get all wrapped up in our own joy, and forget the wedding is not as important to our guests as it is to us.  Don’t take yourself, or your event, too seriously…


Mary P Karnes photos

Number 5 – Lack of Options for Special  Needs – Yes…all the bounty of a “Sweets Table” looks lovely and lavish, but what about those who for dietary, allergic, or health reasons can’t partake?  Did you provide a low fat, or non- sugar, (i.e. cheese plate), option?  I must admit…I didn’t at either of my daughters’ weddings.  Yes, wedding cake, macaroons, Italian cookies, chocolate covered fruit, canolis, etc. were offered.  But thought to other options at the end of the evening were not considered.  A miss…but one not to be repeated next time!  🙂



10 Things for the Mother of the Bride

Please enjoy the repost of the article “10 Things Every Mother of the Bride Should Know” from the website: — Here we go… 10 Things for the Mother of the Bride …


“1. This is your daughter’s moment to shine. Not yours. This doesn’t mean you can’t look fabulous, but a sexy, strapless, body-con gown is probably not the best idea. You are playing a central role on the day, but your daughter is the star. Elegant and classic are the right words to describe your look and attitude. Even if you dislike certain details (like your daughter’s sexy, strapless gown), keep it to yourself. Remember: compliments and smiles!


(above, my son-in-law, Robert with daughter Maggie – Patty Cloherty photos)

2. It is inappropriate to wear white, cream, or ivory. Mothers of the bride, do not even think about wearing a color in/near/around the whites on your daughter’s special day. It is totally inappropriate and unkind. She is the princess in white and no one should be close to her wedding gown color on the day.


(above, my “Mother of the Bride” attire for daughter Kathleen’s wedding – Hannah Colts Photos)

3. The Bride and Groom are running the show. Some mothers tend to be a little controlling and/or overbearing but on the wedding day, mothers need to know who is in charge. The bride and groom are the gatekeepers of all final decisions leading up to the wedding and throughout the day (or a designated professional, like a wedding coordinator). Unless you have been asked to run something, stay out of the way. For example: Thinking about surprising them with the family dog at the ceremony? Not without their sign off.


(Daughter Kathleen and son-in-law Tyler having it “Their Way” 🙂 – Hannah Colt Photos

4. Learn to pick and choose your battles wisely. Some traditions are nearer and dearer to your heart than your daughters. So if there is something you must see or do on the wedding day, like a Chuppa, confirmation during a catholic service, or even a Hungarian tea (true story), pick ONE that is a must. It will be seen with more importance and your daughter can’t say no to your one request, right? Just like the bride has to pick and choose her battles, so should you.

5. Get to know the in-laws. This is your daughter’s new family and in this day and age, the mother of the groom may be just as involved as the bride’s mother (or would like to be) when it comes to planning the big day.Especially when budgets are getting split. Brides, make sure both mothers feel included! How about a lunch date for the ladies to discuss the wedding details?


(Tyler and Kathleen with her in-laws – Hannah Colt Photos)

6. Be supportive, no matter what.. Even if your daughter is turning into bridezilla (which they sometimes do), mothers need to stay poised, calm, and collected. It is your job to be the pillar of stability during this crazy time and your daughters will want someone who can both help them make the big decisions and keep their cool when things go awry. We can’t promise it will be easy, but please try for the bride!

7. Offer to help, but only what you are truly willing to do. You should only offer what you want and can do. If you have a full-time job, maybe volunteering to meet with florists mid-week is a bad idea. Or if you have a special talent in table decorations or paper goods, offer to lend a hand here. Don’t offer your help on items that you have no interest in! And certainly don’t fill your schedule with more than you can handle. We know you want to be involved, just do it wisely.

8. Be open about the guest list. We know tradition states that mom and dad are hosting the party (i.e. paying for it) and therefore, the guest list should be decided by them. Not anymore. For this generation, the bride and groom are normally the ones in control of the almighty guest list. You should abolsutely have a say in whose invited (and how many), but does the great-aunt you’ve never met need to come? Or those ‘friends’ you haven’t spoken to in ten years? No. Be reasonable here.

9. Offer your wedding gown, but don’t force it. We know you may have been saving your wedding dress for your daughter ‘some day’, but styles and fashions have evolved. You should definitely make the offer, but please don’t be offended if the bride (politely) says no. Maybe offer the veil? Or perhaps a piece of the dress can be used, like lace? Seamstresses and tailors can do wonders with old dresses. Be open-minded

My wedding dress!


(While the girls didn’t wear my dress, both wore my headpiece with their own veils.  Kathleen above – Hannah Colt Photos)

10. Discuss wedding outfits with the mother of the groom. This may seem trivial, but having the mothers coordinate is a wonderful bonding experience! Plus, it is tradition (and polite) to share your look for the wedding. Also, as the head matrons, your look will set the tone for the wedding. The mother of the groom doesn’t want to outshine you (we hope) and wouldn’t it be horrible if you wore the same thing? Share!”

The Three Mother-in-Laws!  Above a picture of myself at Maggie and Rob’s wedding escorted by the best man, Matt, and brother of the groom, Robert. (Patty Cloherty Photos)


Above, the Beautiful Debbie, mother of Robert – Patty Cloherty photos

And Below, the lovely Janice, Tyler’s mom – Hannah Colt Photos


10 Wedding Day Musts – Part II


When I started thinking about it, I couldn’t stop!  I have another post for you… 10 Wedding Day Musts – Part II !  All photos:  Hannah Colt unless otherwise noted.

  1. Remember to return your “Something Borrowed” to the rightful owner!  Both my daughters, Maggie and Kathleen, borrowed my pearl earrings.  KK also borrowed a sterling silver marquisette necklace.  It’s important to return those items before you depart from your reception.  With all the hustle and bustle, the honeymoon departure, they could get lost in the shuffle.  image
  2. Dance.  Not just your first dance with your husband, or the “Daddy-Daughter Dance” but with your sister, brother, mom, grandma, friends, old Uncle Joe, etc.  You just may get a picture like the one below… (my four daughters dancing together)…  🙂 (This photo is actually mine – a high point in my life’s memories…)image
  3. If there is entertainment at your wedding, i.e., a photo booth, or slow motion camera, participate.  You’ll enjoy yourself, and the photos will be lasting memories.  Here is my daughter, Kathleen, below, having a heck of a good time!image
  4. Have a private moment with your dad, or your special male role model. image
  5. I know you want to get into the reception and get the ‘party started’ but take time out to get those special ‘once in a life-time’ photo shots.  You’ll be so glad you did in the next 20 years, 3o years…image
  6. Get lots of “candids” with, and of your guests.  Sometimes those are the must fun! Yes, those three bridesmaids are three of my four daughters.  image
  7. Don’t take yourself too seriously.  Yes, you may have been bridezilla up till now…but today’s the day to NOT!  🙂 image
  8. Consider an app such as “Flamingo”. It’s a “Real Time” photo sharing app. Offer it to your guests, and then all the night’s pictures can be gathered and shared on one location.  More on this in a later post. I had a lovely conversation with the co-founder, and am so impressed.  This app is GENIUS!  (available for apple and android)image
  9. Be prepared with some extra cash in case your want to ask your photographer to stay longer than the contracted time.  He/She may get some great shots then.  Our photographer, Hannah Colt from Powerstation Events, was incredible (as you can see from our photos!).  Some of our favorite pictures were taken during her “over-time”.
  10. Don’t forget the “little people”.  Your younger guests are happy and excited for you too.  (guest photo)11705321_10206551297088657_4309295581761637029_nI have more ideas…I may have created a monster!!  🙂