Monday, June 30, 2008

It's my turn now

Hello friends in cyberspace. Tonight’s episode in blogland is written by Lenny. The other half of this dynamic duo as it were.

I wouldn’t get real comfy reading my accounts of life. The opportunity was afforded tonight and I’m giving it a shot. However, I get the real sense that Amanda is actually fairly worried about what it is I’m going to write. Love it! I figure if I do well enough to be invited back once a month, I’ll be doing good.

I’m not a blog rookie, I keep up my own sports blog (shocker, eh?) at See if you can even find them on the newly (terribly) redesigned site.

We’re exactly 11 months from the big day and I thought I would share a few thoughts with you.

A. The “Shady” Cake Lady is far from shady. She’s a very sweet lady who makes terrific cake. Actually those who coined the term years ago did it tongue in cheek, so realize that we put quotes around it for a reason. There’s nothing shady about that lady.
B. But even if there was something shady, I’d still eat her cake.
C. It is possible to pass Strossner’s Bakery in Greenville 11 times in a day and not buy a piece of cake. BUT we probably found the groom’s cake. Maybe I’ll have a chance to tell that story to you one day. Look at me – “the groom’s cake” um, newsflash, that’s me.
D. I get the sense that when people ask you “So how are the plans going?” they expect us to say that we are still searching for just about everything. And when we tell people that we have most of the main pieces in place there an “oh, wow, you’re on top of it.” (Rightfully so people say that to Amanda, not me.) Folks, we’re event planners by trade. This event just happens to be ours.
E. If after May 30, 2009, I never see another minute of the TV network WE, I will be just fine. As it is, my "man-card" is on probation I think.
F. And finally, I’ve been asked about 3 times if the Wofford t-shirt gun will appear at any point during the reception. That is for me to know, and you to find out.

I’ll leave you with this quick story. I know in my heart that many of our friends have been pulling for us to get hitched for a long time. Two in fact have expressed this idea in a very creative way. In our *ahem* years of dating I have been to my share of weddings. Unlike Amanda, I have only served in one. At that reception, Tim, went through the motions of the garter toss. Only rather than tossing the garter, he did his best quarterback pump fake and chased me down to jam the garter in my pants pocket. Fast forward to last year and doggone if the same thing didn’t happen again when Marc, husband of one of my co-workers Elizabeth, jammed her garter in my pocket.

Now, I can’t think of a more public display of someone saying, man to man, you’ve got yourself a great girl, time to come down our road. And they're right.

Thanks for giving me an opportunity to share a view from “the other side.” Maybe we can do this again in a month. I’ll let you plead my case to Amanda. :)

Sunday, June 29, 2008

A Reception Must Have!

I saw the picture above in the newest edition of Martha Stewart Weddings yesterday and thought "What a brilliant idea!" Who doesn’t love a little ice cream with their cake?

Saturday, June 28, 2008

The Save-The-Date Debate...

As the wedding draws closer, 11 months in just a few days, the discussion of our STDs has become a hot topic of conversation. After some major Internet searching, I just discovered Pose Prints.

Totally cute and unique...this STD has now moved to number one on my list. Now all I need to do is convince the groom....

Friday, June 27, 2008

Fan Mail!

How do you know that you’ve made a good decision on your cake vendor? When you receive an e-mail like this…

I was just reading your blog - I know you didn't eat all that cake and not even bring your pregnant pal a tiny little sliver... !!!

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Shady Cake Lady - Part II

We had the second meeting with the Shady Cake Lady. I know…I know but we thought we give this vendor one more shot and actually taste her cakes. Our meeting place you ask? A dark alley, the laundry mat…no it was actual her home!

I know, you may have gasped.

I did to and was way too excited for my own good as I traveled the two lane road to our potential “Cake Lady’s” house. My dear finance and I spent a wonderful hour at her beautiful ranch home, picked up our samples of Italian Crème and French Crème goodness and headed for G-Vegas (otherwise known as Greenville) for a impromptu family tasting.

Her cakes were FABULOUS!!!

So after meeting with four other vendors, we officially have booked the famous “Shady Cake Lady” for our big day. Consider it another check off the to-do list and now on to flowers as I channel Martha Stewart.

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

TODAY had a wedding!

If you, like me, had to rush out the door this morning and missed the anticipated wedding then here is your shot to view it again. I knew this couple would will as soon as I saw them in the first challenge.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

If I had a million dollars...

WE has turned Sunday into a “We-go-bridal” day full of fun, exciting…and sometimes annoying shows about brides in their planning for the big day.

While impressed as I am with some of the weddings from “Platinum Weddings” in which a bride will spend up to one million dollars to have it her way, I do stop and think – seriously?

If I had a random million dollars hanging around in my bank account, I assure you that I would not waste it on renting an elephant so my future husband can have his grand entrance for our wedding day. I mean...I’m sure we could find a nice Llama.

It's okay, you can call me boring but I’d probably save it, wait until I had more money until I could buy my own island and an elephant for my husband if he wanted one.

It makes one wonder how much of this “reality” is true as they say and how much is spun for TV. And who in their right minds of respectable high society would call a cable network to get on a show like this? While I still enjoy the show - I mean it’s not my money they’re spending – I can not stop smiling and thinking in the back of mind “fools.”

Monday, June 23, 2008

Dad’s Advice.

My dad, as fathers do, gives advice. Some of it is good, some of it is meant well and some of it is actually useful.

When I was eight, he gave one piece of advice that has stayed with me over the years. It was to be prepared that once I graduated high school, people would want to know what I was doing next. The same for college, dating, marriage until you were finally retired from your job and living in a nursing home. For instance after high school, did I plan to go to college, join the Peace Corp. or fight to save the whales? Something along those lines of general questions. And he was right, they did ask once I crossed that stage in June so many years ago.

Next came college (I postponed saving the whales) and the next question that was constantly asked was “what are you studying?” until graduation when it quickly became “do you plan to work or go to graduate school?”

I had planned to work and dove head first into the PR field flying around the country and visiting a state every three days in seemed. That was until I moved back to the South to be closer to my family and I was then hit with the question of “so when are you getting married?” From uncle to random neighbor, it seemed a very easy and reliable thing to ask a girl who had being dating the same boy for years. But still it came, every day (not joking…like every day) and sometimes several times a day, the never ask of when on earth would I settle down and decided to get married?

Again – dad was right.

Now, I’m planning a wedding and thought for a moment that the questions would stop. I mean…I have the answers. I graduated from high school, went to college, got a job and found a man. What more would you like to know people?

Today someone asked me the next big question out of the blue – “When are you planning on having kids?”

And again, I don’t have an answer…and dad was right.

Sunday, June 22, 2008

Channeling Fred Astaire…

When in a relationship, long or short, you never think about your beloved’s dancing skills until you approach the subject of your “first dance” as a married couple. My finance and I had never truly discussed ballroom dancing lessons. Shag – yes but not ballroom dancing.

That was until we both watched a promo video by a local videographer over the weekend. In the DVD’s reception highlights section and we watched a newly married couple dancing….well badly. Our conversation went something along the lines of “do you think he’s drunk” to mid-way through as the groom danced with his mother, “no, I think he’s just that bad.”

The bride looked great, the groom looked tipsy but all in all, it was not a very remarkable first dance. Needless to say I lost a few calories through my laughter but it brought to light that a dance studio is now a top priority as well as channeling Fred Astaire…

Saturday, June 21, 2008

Keep it simple...

Today was a busy wedding Saturday with a trip to the bridesmaid shop for my kid sister’s wedding. Like I mentioned in the earlier post that I was excited since I knew the dress would be great and more importantly – get to see everyone.

After a compare and contrast of dress A to dress B, my sister chose A which turned out to be my personal favorite of the two! Below is a photo of the great dress (Aster) from Simple Silhouettes (

Only five months away until I get to wear it!

Friday, June 20, 2008

My sister is too cute!

Tomorrow is my bridesmaid fitting for my kid sister’s wedding! I am so excited because:

A) She has great taste
B) I know that I’m going to wear a great dress

I’m also excited to see the rest of my family at the bridal store shin-dig. Should be fun and I’ll post pictures if I’m allowed.

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Team Bride...

I have been a bridesmaid more times than should be allowed.

Not complaining as I was very excited to be a part of their weddings (or future weddings to come), but when “27 Dresses” came out last January, my name would come up in conversations to the point of…

”You know (long dramatic pause) you remind me of that girl in the movie, always a bridesmaid, never a bride.”

Okay ouch. Thank you evil co-worker, please remind me to give you coal at the next inter-office gift exchange.

I decided to make my girls a contact list. Nothing major, but a quick explanation of who’s who, phone number and e-mail along with the colors of the wedding. I mailed it out a few weeks ago and I hope they find them useful as I try to keep my “Team Bride” happy as I possibly can…

Even with the snide remarks, I have learned a few things and one was that having bridesmaids is like organizing a small dance team. We all want to look good. We all go to great lengths to have our hair just right, make-up done and dress perfect. And more importantly we all want to make our “coach” a.k.a. “bride” happy and sometimes that was hard…especially if we didn’t know each other. So being bridal OCD I decided to make my girls a contact list. Nothing major, but a quick explanation of who’s who, phone number and e-mail along with the colors of the wedding. I mailed it out a few weeks ago and I hope they find them useful as I try to keep my “Team Bride” happy as I possibly can…

Yeah for Anna!

I just found out my dear friend, Anna, got engaged last night! Congrats to her and her finance. So thrilled!

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Wedding Verse of the Day

Happy thoughts for the morning...

American King James Version - Ruth 1:16:
"And Ruth said, Entreat me not to leave you, or to return from following after you: for where you go, I will go; and where you lodge, I will lodge: your people shall be my people, and your God my God"

Only 345 days left to go!

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Are you straight with me?

As an event planner I deal with all sorts of people on a regular basis. Some polite, some not-so-polite and some that should wear at tidy, little white jacket.

Nine times out of ten, I get to work with wonderful and helpful people. They go above and beyond to make sure the event goes smoothly. I never have to worry about their staff and the only thing that I need in order to “sweeten” a deal (when pleading for a good price) is a coffee from Starbucks. And on average, I’m planning an event once a month for work for a group I'm helping fund raise for, so needless to say….I “hang out” with the vendors a good bit.

It has amazed me over the course of the last few months how that happy-go-lucky attitude changes once you use the “w” word with your event.

Wedding = Brainless chick who will spend any amount on anything.This is an equation that I knew nothing about. Apparently it was lost in the owner’s manual that came with my ring.

I had used the term “I will walk from this deal right now if you not stop!” to a DJ who would not be quite this past Saturday. He freaked when I wanted to actually read the contract that I had to sign. I had not followed the norm of past brides and whipped out my check book and signe the dotted line. That's not how I do things - sorry. I just wanted to read the fine print…I mean don’t they say that on all those late night TV lawyer commercials?

Now, I'm starting to think that the “crazy” woman on Bridezilla is not really that much out of touch with reality as I first thought…

Monday, June 16, 2008

Picture perfect…

After several meetings, we decided to book our wedding photographer Olivia Griffin. Next to food (because I’m a girl who likes to eat), our photographer is the next largest purchase for our wedding day.

Her work matches her fun personality, which I really like. I can’t wait until our engagement session or bridal portraits or more importantly the actually wedding day!

If you have a few moments, check out her

Sunday, June 15, 2008

Happy E-Day!

Since March of 2008, my finance and I celebrate “Happy E-day” or “Happy Engagement Day” to remind us that our engagement will always be special (to us), allows us an excuse to hang out with each other and reflect on that big day as we prepare for our next big step together.

Below is our engagement story. Enjoy!

Great Things Come to Those Who Wait...

On March 15, 2008, my sweetheart of 7 ½ years asked me to be his wife and I’m still on cloud 9! I will warn you in advance that this maybe a long post. :o)

My birthday was Friday and he threw a huge surprise party for my 26th birthday (huge surprise because I truly had not a clue that anything was going on) with all of my friends and family at his house. My fabulous DZ sisters, Leslie and Catherine were able to attend and Catherine decided to spend the night.

The next day, we went to lunch with Catherine before she headed to her home in Charlotte, NC and then we were off to go antique shopping (it was my idea) for the rest of the day. We had just left the parking lot and Leslie called (who by the way had no clue that this was going on) to ask us if she had left her keys at Lenny’s house. Since we hadn’t left the city yet, we drove to Lenny’s house to search for the keys and found them. While on the phone with Leslie, I started to search on Google to see where in South Carolina we could meet up and decided to just take them to Catherine. I had just hung up the phone and Lenny handed me my nametag from the Greenville Braves (a former AA team of the Atlanta Braves) where we had met back in 1999 before we started dating in 2000. My response was “Wow! Where did you find this?” and he asked me to look on the back.

I turned it over and there was my ring!!!

By the time I realized “oh-my-gosh-this-is-the-moment”, he was already on one knee asking me the four words we all dream of hearing…”will you marry me?”


Saturday, June 14, 2008

Got Milk?


What a bustling, don’t-know-where-the-time-went, type of morning we had today. Meetings after meetings full of sugar and sweets – yum.

Who knew that you could eat so much cake at 10 in the morning? I mean…there’s always room for cake (or is that Jell-O)?

We are still in the process of finalizing our official “cake lady” and met with a wonderful woman in Greenville this morning. For fun (and since I nicknamed the last one) we’ll call her “Sweet Cake Lady” as she was indeed like her cakes, sweet.

As well as patient as we arrived a tad late to our appointment since it was actually 45 minutes away from my home and not 35 minutes as stated via Google Maps. But to be honest, if I was actually on time it would be a shock to everyone who actually knows me. Oh, well we made it there and met the rest of TEAM BRIDE, also known as my mother and middle sister.

Impressed by the mounds of sugar...I mean cakes...which were located in “Sweet Cake Lady’s” shop, TEAM BRIDE enjoyed strawberry cream pound cake, peach cream pound cake, white chocolate cake, caramel nut cake and lemon cake. Drooling yet? It was perfect for a “Got Milk?” TV commercial as we had all that cake and no milk!

No worries. I ate anyways and ignored the little voice of reason yelling “remember your diet!” in the back of my mind and made a mental promise to hit the workout routine later tonight. Still need to do that...

Again, it was oh so good.

Next was an impromptu to another bakery and a third meeting with a “cake lady” which earned the nickname of “Savvy Cake Lady” for our excursion. My fiancé really wants a special cake design that was done for the Greenville Braves (a double A minor league baseball team that is now the Mississippi Braves for those who, like me, are not up to speed on all our random sports trivia). Amazingly, we walked in the store and asked if they still by chance have the design from 1998. Long shot right?


“Savvy Cake Lady” found our little running baseball man in seconds flat and came make our grooms cake. I’ll try to post a photo of it as soon as I can find it on the internet. Got to love amazing “cake ladies...”

Friday, June 13, 2008

Let them eat cake!

My finance told me yesterday how he was looking forward to a non-busy weekend of relaxing, watching random college baseball games and sleeping.


Little did he know that I’ve already planned out our Saturday morning starting at 8 a.m. with a visit to the Farmers Market, followed by a 40 minute drive to a cake tasting at 10 and then off to a chat with possible DJ at noon, followed by a stop at the dress shop at 2 p.m.

I’m sure we’ll squeeze ESPN radio in there somewhere.

Oh the joys of wedding planning on the weekend! Saturdays are no longer for relaxing but instead to check off our mounting to-do list. But at least we’ll get to eat cake.

Thursday, June 12, 2008

To Knot or Not To Knot…

That is the question. I thought I was the last kid living under a rock (so to speak) to discover the big world of The Knot. Haven’t heard of it? Well take a visit.

You will be impressed. If we could get all the world leaders to work together like this, we may one day indeed achieve world peace. These women are truly some of the most creative ladies on earth. They know how to whip together a $20,000 event on a $10,000 budget. The “Knotties” as we’re called (hey I joined the force) have their own language with FI, FMIL and HTH. The website can leave one overwhelmed at times.

It has also become part of my daily routine for me now to visit the forum site and I saw this post that really brought the real world to light.

A little freaked...
Anyone else having troubles getting started? We've only been engaged two weeks, but everyone seems to think we should have our plans by now. I still don't know if I want the big hometown thing or the run away to Mexico thing. It's starting to freak me a little!

This young woman, probably very smart and chic – I mean I’m assuming here since I’ve only met her through the joys on internet networking – is going through the same thing that I went through oh so many months ago.

I did freak….like the next day after being engaged…in a Barnes and Nobles.

Of all places in the free world to have your semi-first-panic-attack and I would chose a high end bookstore. Surrounded by bridal magazines, books on how to plan and achieve the perfect wedding is when I saw exactly HOW BIG this business had gotten. I guess as a BM (or bridesmaid for those non-knottie readers) for so many years, I never really paid attention until then.

Now don’t get me wrong. I love events as it is part of my job. And I love when things look nice and people have a good time. But sometimes I forget to pause for a moment and breathe a bit during all of this. It is so easy to get caught up in the deemed "musts" of a wedding and forget the most important part of the whole thing.

I’m getting married!

Just like my grandmothers did in the minister’s homes back in the 1940’s and just like my parents did in my mother’s church back in 1979 and hopefully my kids will in 2030s (holy moly). Our big day is 11 months away and I hope I remember to have more “yeahs!” than “eeks!”

Not Cool.


Here comes the bride – there goes her dress
Charlotte bridal shop is closing without filling some orders or returning money, brides say.
By Kara Lopp

Staff PhotographerA note to customers is taped to the front door of La Bella Sposa on Tuesday afternoon.

Kara Gardner never thought she'd find herself a few weeks from her wedding day with an incomplete dress.

But Tuesday morning, she got word from La Bella Sposa bridal shop in south Charlotte that it was closing, permanently – and the dress she's to wear at her June 28 wedding still needed alterations.

So Gardner and about a dozen other bewildered brides dashed around the shop Tuesday afternoon grabbing free dresses, shoes and veils to make up for the money – and in some cases, the dresses – they lost when La Bella Sposa's owners went into foreclosure.

Gardner, a 23-year-old bride-to-be from Rock Hill, wouldn't say how much she paid for her dress. But her mother, De-De, said it was more than they had originally planned to spend – and now they'll have to pay another seamstress to alter it. Brides said most of the wedding dresses in the store ranged from $2,000 to $6,000.

The shop closed unexpectedly.

A Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department officer had been hired by the shop to stand guard outside.

Foreclosure papers were filed May 21 against owners Shannon and Brian Starcher, who are listed as the store's owners, in Union County, court records show. The case has not been decided. It's not clear whether the foreclosure filing involves the couple's home or another property.

The Starchers' situation left some brides without the dream dresses they paid for months ago - but were never ordered by La Bella Sposa. One bride said that, when she picked up what was supposed to be her custom-made, $4,500 dress, she got an already-worn look-alike.

Bride Elizabeth Lea, 24, of Charlotte has her dress but is out seven bridesmaids dresses she paid for at the shop. The dresses, Lea said, were never ordered.

She gets married Aug. 30.

“Honestly, I'm not as stressed out as much disappointed,” she said. “I'm really disappointed and kind of feel cheated.”

Lea hasn't decided how to replace the dresses. Very few bridesmaids dresses at the shop Tuesday matched - let alone fit seven women.

The brides-to-be who showed up Tuesday at La Bella Sposa, at the corner of N.C. 51 and Carmel Road, were snatching dresses and accessories they said didn't fit – but that they could sell online to recoup their losses.

That was Kara Gardner's plan Tuesday.

“Well, this is heavy, it must be expensive,” she said picking a beaded white wedding dress off a nearly empty rack.

“Maybe your sister can wear it. Someday,” her mom quipped.

Gardner's father, Lee, said this was the wrong time for such a change in plans.

“It's to that point where the little things are upsetting,” he said. “This is not a little thing.”

Records show a tax lien against La Bella Sposa this year. According to court records, the U.S. Department of the Treasury was granted what it wanted last month. The amount owed was listed as $1,838.

Phone calls to a number listed for the Starchers were not immediately returned Tuesday. No one answered at Shannon Starcher's line at work or at the main store number, and the voice mailboxes were full Tuesday afternoon.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

I'm getting a little brother!

Well not in the conventional way but in the brother-in-law way. My kid sister Jessica is getting married to a great guy Matt in October and I’m thrilled for them. I’ve never had a brother being the oldest of four girls and all so it’s a big step in my family to finally have some guys around for my dad to hang out with.

I mean…we try…but my sister and I are not addicted to Sports Center enough.

Here are few shots from their engagement photos. Their photographer is Sposa Bella out of downtown Greenville. Jessica and Matt’s photo is actually featured on the “details” page. So nice to know famous people.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

The Not So Shady Cake Lady...

Approximately at 8:30 a.m. this morning I finally got to meet the “Shady Cake Lady” at a laundry mat. It was like meeting Santa Clause at the mall as I originally thought she was an urban legend.

Now, I know it is rude to call one “Shady” but hey – I didn’t nickname her but I will say she (for this post let’s calls her Ethel) was actually a nice, well organized woman. The woman has 20 years of experience, lives in the mountains with her own bakery and makes about 4to 8 wedding cakes a week. “Ethel” rocked my world.

How much sugar does one have in their household to make EIGHT wedding cakes in one week?!? I wonder if she’s given up sugar all together – I mean after 20 years of baking, I’d probably be unable to look at that white stuff if I was not getting paid.

I was slightly in shock and I think my finance was as well.

It was refreshing to finally meet someone who was not after your wallet and actually wants something nice for your event, wedding or otherwise. Ironically tonight as I described my experience to my friend Amanda, I found out she used her as well. She was post trunk but pre laundry mat experience. She actually got to meet her at her house…so the “Shady Cake Lady” concept is losing its edge. Right now I’m trying to think of a more positive nickname…maybe “Little Ol’ Cake Lady” or “SLC” for short? Thoughts?

My goal with each vendor is to get three quotes (my job would be so proud) to compare cost. Yes, it sounds cheesy but I actually have received a few deals that way when the vendor realizes that you’re talking to the competition. Ask and you shall receive.

On a positive note, I did meet with the fabulous Kerin who is helping me with my overall wedding theme of “Oh Happy Day” which my fiancé and I came up with five days after we were engaged. It is an extremely happy day for us and while we (okay I) can be the sappy emotional one in the pair, our wedding day is a step into the next chapter of our lives together.

And with that…the fabulous video from Sister Act II just to get you in the mood.

Monday, June 9, 2008

The Eve Before the "Shady Cake Lady"

For the last few years (like four) I have heard about this amazing, fabulous, words-can’t-describe-it, cake lady who has been dubbed by several as the “Shady Cake Lady” here in Spartanburg.


I thought it was strange myself but apparently women from all over the Upstate call this woman even though her nickname contains the word “shady” for the grand celebratory events of birthdays, baby showers and of course, weddings.

So how does one earn the reputation for being “shady” and still earn a living? Funny you should ask because I did and nearly fell out of my seat in laughter when someone would tell me the story. It would go along the lines that this great lady (lets call her Mary for fun) worked for a large corporation that did not allow outside business transactions to go on inside the work place. Therefore brides (and sometimes unsuspecting grooms) would call her at work asking to make an appointment, get a cake sample, turn in a deposit, etc. and the answer was always the same.

“It’s in my trunk.”

She would then instruct you on where her car was located in the parking lot and you would then retrieve or leave said item. Someone once referred it to “the closest thing to making a drug deal” and hence the nickname was born. Why on earth would someone go to great lengths to get a wedding cake? Because apparently they are that good. So good in fact that it took me three weeks to get this lady’s number.

My favorite part is when I would talk about “Mary” to others in trying to find her number the response was, “I never did meet her until the day of the wedding” to “Oh - I so did that” which is my number one since it came from a former groom.

Now “Mary” and I have a meeting tomorrow at 8:30 a.m. to discuss cakes…at a laundry mat. So shady…

Our song...

8 years in the making...