Congratulations are in order for my Assistant Evan Blum and his lovely dear wife Katie who are expecting their baby son in January. We are so excited here at Bartlett Hills, for we are like an extended family having worked together for so many years.
Evan & Katie had their baby shower here last Sunday and I wanted to share some pictures with our fans. The theme was “The Cat in the Hat”, a well loved book by Dr Seuss.
Guests were greeted in the foyer by a stuffed cat in a hat that belonged to Evan as a child. How endearing that his parents have saved it all these years. I know I still have a childhood doll that I just cherish. Along with the stuffed cat was a very whimsical vase filled with gold fish and the very clever shower invitations written by Evan in Dr Seuss speak. Yes, you’re picturing where this is all headed.
When the guests walked into the banquet space the centerpieces were adorable diaper cakes with big bold red, blue and polka dot balloons. Edible gold fish and a platter of green eggs and ham were offered at the tables before the luncheon was served. Yum, I didn’t realize green eggs were so appetizing.
Also, on the guest tables, cake table and fireplace mantel were Dr Seuss books. Yes, Cat in the Hat, Hop on Pop, One Fish- Two Fish- Red Fish- Blue Fish, Green Eggs & Ham, Happy Birthday to You, Oh, the Places You will go, and so many more. The books brought back many happy memories for me and I’m sure for some of their guests. I think Mom saved all these books too. Won’t it be special for Evan to tell his little one someday soon “these were my books when I was your age son”.
The shower cake was graced with Thing 1 and the cute saying, “Little Hands, Little Feet, Hello Baby, Goodbye Sleep”. So very true.
Baby Blum will be a well-dressed little boy with all the adorable outfits they received. And oh my, lots of hats. He’ll be a cool cat in those hats-pardon the pun.
All the staff here at Bartlett Hills wishes Evan & Katie a beautiful and healthy baby boy, whose name shall be John Chase Blum. Congrat’s to you both.
Guest Blogger: Heather Liwapattanapichit-Owner of I Do Table Seating has come up with an amazing way of having a fun time doing your seating arrangements for any special occasion. Please read below as Heather explains how it works. Mary @BHills.
PLanning Like a Pro-
There is a brand new way to create your seating arrangements; introducing the first and only Seating Planner! This unique planner has your guest name tabs on Velcro to make it super easy to plan and organize your seating. Take the ‘work’ out of planning, and make it simple and fun! The purse sized planner fits up to 250 guests and the notebook sized planner fits up to 500 guests, making it portable and convenient to take on the go! You can take and use this planner at your friend’s house, your work, a restaurant, or anywhere. Additionally, this fabulous seating planner is personalized with your wedding color and your upcoming last name to make this a perfect keepsake!
Plan like a pro with a seating arrangement planner of your own! Trust me, this is the one tool you don’t want to be without while planning your special day. You will save time and stress to make your wedding planning as smooth as possible! Check out WWW.IDOTABLESEATING.COM. For an extra 10% off, enter the discount code savetime1 at checkout, expires 12/31/14.
For more information or any questions please contact I Do Table Seating at email@example.com.
Beautiful Fall Scenery @ Bartlett Hills
I love “junktiquing” and one of my favorite areas to shop is in Clinton, Iowa. It’s a quaint town mixed with yesteryear architectural charm. Last Spring I discovered a new shop named Deja Vu. It’s some consignment furniture, mixed with vintage and antique collectibles. The shop is clean and well organized. One of the things I love most about this shop is that each item has a price tag with three dated prices. So if something doesn’t sell in October, it has a marked down price for November and a December price. If the item is still there or if you can wait. Not me though. Inventory moves pretty fast so there is always something new to discover and love.
On my first trip here I found so many goodies- I was in HEAVEN! As you travel through the shop you find something very unexpected in the back room. It’s called “The Dressing Room” at Deja Vu. And on the racks are beautiful wedding gowns, bridesmaid dresses and dresses for Mom. Some shoes and accessories too. They are resale and in perfect condition and fantastically priced!! Only about 2 1/2 hours from the Chicago suburbs and so worth the trip. If you like the idea of saving tons of money on your gown, don’t mind going green and reusing and reducing this could be the place. The Dressing Room offers a very large suite for trying on your gowns and comfortable antique seating for your entourage.
The Dressing Room is located at 101 5th Ave. S, Clinton, IA 52732. The number is 563.242.3356 and hours are basically 10am to 5pm and closed on Sunday. Make a day of it and doing some antique shopping, enjoy lunch and or go to the Rose Casino even.
5 Things Your Guests Won’t Tell You
By Alan Berg
I remember hearing Colin Cowie speak to a group of Wedding Planners in NYC. He said that he tells his couples (who are spending millions on their weddings) that it’s not really their wedding. It’s their first chance, as a married couple, to host a party for their friends and family. That surprised me as we always think of weddings as being for and about the couple. The ceremony is definitely for and about the couple. The party that follows is a celebration of that marriage, with your closest family and friends.
If you accept that perspective, what would you do differently? If you’ve been a guest at one, or more weddings, what would you have liked to have told the newly married couple, but you couldn’t (or you and other guests just told each other, quietly at the table or afterwards)? Here are 5 things that your guests won’t tell you (unless they’re brutally honest or blunt).
1) Your guests won’t thank you for making your Mom, sister, best friend or maid of honor work on your wedding day. They’re not wedding planners, they’re your closest family and friends. Let them mingle, dance and enjoy the day.
2) Your guests won’t thank you for making them wait while you take pictures. Sure, they’ll eat, they’ll drink, but if it takes too long they’ll start wondering where you are. They were invited to celebrate with you.
3) Your guests won’t tell you that you put way too many things on your wedding registry. Make it easy for them to buy you the things that you really want. It’s hard for guests to know which things you really want (like a beautiful honeymoon, fire pit or down payment on a house), when there are 250 items on there. Give them the option to contribute dollars towards your registry so you can choose how to use it. Also, understand that a gift should not be required. You invited them to share your wedding day, not to necessarily have to pay for the privilege. If they want to give a gift, make it easy.
4) Your guests want to see, and hear your ceremony. Ask them to stay in their seats so everyone else can see. If you’ve hired professional photographer and videographer (real, experienced pros), and you share the photos with them (easy enough to do with online proofing these days), they’ll all be able to see and hear you taking your vows. Have someone ask everyone to turn off their ringers as well. You don’t want to hear a phone ringing on your wedding video. Everyone has a camera phone, but that doesn’t make them professionals. Don’t let them get in the way of the pros You’re investing good money in professional photos, let them do their job and they share it with your guests.
5) Your guests won’t thank you for hiring the cheapest wedding vendors. They don’t care how much you paid, they only care about the end result that they see. An iPod is not a DJ. Your uncle is not a professional videographer and won’t know where to stand to not be in everyone’s way. That Craig’s List vendor you hired is cheap for a reason. Don’t hire cheap. Hire the best value, and that often means spending more. Just follow your priorities and invest in them. You won’t be happy when the photos aren’t what you wanted or the dance floor is empty.
What I’m trying to say here is that you know what it’s like to be a guest at a wedding, just try to remember that when making your choices. If it’s summer time, make sure there’s shade for your outdoor ceremony. Make sure there’s air conditioning. Don’t just pray that it won’t rain, or won’t be 110 degrees… have a real plan for it. Put yourself in the shoes of your 100, 200 or more guests and have them raving to you about how great everything was. You don’t always get kudos for doing it right, but you almost always lose points for doing it wrong. I wish you, and your guests, a very happy wedding.
This copyrighted article was written by Alan Berg, professional speaker, author and business consultant – North America’s Leading Expert on the Business of Weddings & Events, and published in Beautiful Bride Magazine. To find out more about Alan Berg visit www.AlanBerg.com © 2013 Alan Berg
The Four Things to Look for when Buying Engagement Rings
By Dominick Donaldson
There’s something inherently special about diamonds. For centuries they’ve intrigued and fascinated many people. The earliest diamonds are believed to have been mined in India where they have been known for thousands of years. Since then, the precious stones have taken on an almost mythical status. The way they sparkle in the light is hypnotic; men and women have fallen under their spell and the history of diamonds has its fare share of stories about people going to extremes to own them.
For a long time diamonds were the preserve of the very wealthy. Several factors including how they are mined and their exclusivity pushed the price up so far many people owning diamonds was an impossible dream. But recently all that has changed and now owning a piece of jewelry with a diamond is relatively affordable. The most obvious example is the popularity of diamond rings as engagement rings.
Of course diamonds are still a luxury item with the most expensive easily fetching six figure sums when they are sold. However, the popularity of diamonds has increased since the 19th century and due to an increase in supply, improved cutting and polishing techniques and a methodical grading process there are now diamonds on the market to suit most budgets. Owning a diamond ring for most people is no longer a dream but a reality.
Diamonds are graded according to what are known as the “4C’s”, carat, clarity, colour and cut. A combination of these four factors will determine the value of a particular diamond. The very best, the ones that score highest, will become highly valuable while the ones that do not figure as high up on the grading scale will, in all likelihood, be used to make jewelry for high street stores. It’s these diamonds that are affordable to most people and these diamonds that make up the majority of sales in diamond rings and in particular, engagement rings.
Buying an engagement ring is relatively easy but it’s good to have some knowledge of diamonds before starting a search. That’s not to say you have to have an in depth knowledge of the history of diamonds but it is worth having an overview of the “4C’s” as it will help in you selection.
Carats- Carats are units of mass used to measure precious stones and pearls. A carat measures exactly 200 mg, this is also known as the metric carat and has been widely used since 1907 when it was introduced. The bigger a diamond the more carats it will have. Carats, when referring to smaller diamonds, can also be broken down into fraction, for example 0.3.
Clarity- Diamonds are graded on a clarity scale, with a ‘flawless’ diamond being the highest grade of clarity. Clarity refers to how clear a diamond is and if it has any flaws in it. Flaws occur as part of the diamond forming process. They can look like fractures, stains, or bubbles and are called ‘inclusions’.
Colour- The colour of a diamond has a big impact on its value as well. Colour, or perhaps more accurately, the absence of colour, is what an expert will look for when grading a stone. The most expensive gems will have no colour at all. The lack of color is testament to the quality and rarity of a stone as most diamonds have some colour. Diamonds come in all colours from yellow to grey and although no colour is preferable, pink diamonds are very expensive and highly desirable.
Cut- There are many different diamond cuts; pear, heart, oval, but the most popular by far is the ‘brillant cut’. This type of diamond cut is designed to get the maximum brilliance from the diamond and is the classic shape that most people think of when they picture a diamond.
“Over my 25+ years in the wedding industry I have had a few brides and or grooms get cold feet. Not too many, but I remember them all because it’s just so heart-breaking in almost all cases. And on the other hand, sometimes it’s a blessing.”
Reprinted with permission by author Kim Synder
With the high cost of weddings today, and the even higher cost of divorce, sometimes not thinking marriage through all the way is the worst thing you can do. It can be heart breaking if the bride or groom gets cold feet and calls off the wedding, but is doing so such a bad thing? Everyone needs a ‘before you get married’ list to make sure you are truly ready for the life of holy matrimony.
Questions to ask Yourself:
1. Am I in love with the idea of marriage, or am I in love with the (wo)man? Am I just looking at the excitement of everything that it takes to put a wedding together, and not focusing on anything beyond the wedding day?
2. Am I having second thoughts before I even set the date, or even a month before the wedding?
3. Am I ready to be faithful and true to only one person for the rest of my life?
4. How honest am I with myself? What are my true feelings for my significant other?
5. If wedding plans are already in motion, am I just going along with them not for fear of hurting someone’s feelings, or making them feel like they were used for their money, or as if their money was wasted, even though I want to call the whole thing off?
6. Am I emotionally, physically, and mentally prepared for all aspects of marriage?
7. Am I ready to say ‘I do’ without any doubts that I am doing the right thing?
8. If need be, am I willing to pack up my whole life and move away from friends and family if asked?
9. Am I willing to leave my friends behind for my husband/wife or will my friends always come first?
10. Is my significant other accepted by my family? If not, why? Does it bother me if they don’t? Am I marrying him/her just to anger my family?
11. Am I willing to wait longer than I already have to make sure that I am really ready to be married to this person, or do I just want to get it over with?
12. Have we had the important talks about children, and families?
13. Do either of us have any debts, and who’s responsibility do they become once we are married?
14. Do we have the same expectations of marriage?
15. Do I like the way my significant other is around children, will they make the kind of parent I want for our children?
16. Do you see yourself married to this person for 5, 10, 25, 50 years or more?
17. If I am pregnant, am I just getting married because you feel it is the best thing to do for the baby? Am I willing to wait until after the child is born to make sure that I am marrying out of love and not a sense of duty?
18. Have we talked with our religious leaders? Have we made any decisions as to what faith to practice and with which we will raise our children?
19. If we are not currently living together, am I willing to give up my home to move into his/hers, or to give up the space in my home for him/her to move in with me?
20. If I am a virgin, do I really understand what will happen on my wedding night? Am I ready to take that step with this man/woman?
21. Am I getting married just to keep my significant other in my life? Will they leave if I don’t marry them whether I am ready to do so or not?
22. Do I see myself waking up next to him or her every morning? Does the thought put a smile on my face?
23. Do I trust my fiancé with my life, my heart, and my soul?
24. Do I look forward to life after my wedding with a smile on my face, or do I feel unsure and fearful?
25. Am I getting married because all of my friends are married and I feel left out?
26. Can I imagine my life without this person by my side helping me through it?
These are not cold unfeeling questions you must ask yourself; these are questions you need to ask yourself to make sure in your heart that s/he is the one. These questions will potentially save you and everyone involved a lot of pain and heartbreak. It may be difficult to be adult enough to stop the wedding before the date, but it will be a huge emotional disaster (and even more costly) to decide just days after the wedding that you made the biggest mistake of your life.
You really need to ask yourself if you are getting married for all the right reasons. Never allow yourself to be pushed into getting married if you are not emotionally ready to give all of yourself to that person. You can not just go along with marriage. Waiting months, days, or even years to get married is never as heartbreaking as realizing after the fact that you just blew it. If the person you love is not willing to wait, maybe they are not the right person for you.
Talk to your future spouse about your feelings. If you do not feel comfortable doing so, this could be a warning sign for problems ahead. An honest open relationship is the foundation of a happy marriage. If you do not feel you can talk to him/her about your doubts, if they tell you it’s nothing to worry about, if they react badly, or do not respect your feelings, then you definitely should consider postponing or canceling your wedding.
Sit down and write out all of the reasons you love him/her, your hopes, your dreams, your fears, your doubts, and your dislikes. Listen to your heart and pray about it. Talk about it with a trusted friend or someone who is willing to help you see both sides of the question. Make sure you are able to talk freely with this person to see if marriage is really the way to go.
If you decide after answering all of these questions that you just have a case of cold feet and your life as you know it is not ending, go ahead and plan the wedding. Get yourself prepared for the biggest day of your life.
Copyright 2008 Kim Snyder, owner Overall Beauty Minerals. Home of Magic Lash Eyelash Enhancer! Visit her today at http://overallbeauty.com