Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Delish! Pumpkin spiced cupcakes!

I had a hankering to bake something to symbolize the start of fall the other day so I whipped up some scrumptious pumpkin spiced cupcakes with cream cheese frosting and topped them off with little skull toothpicks to represent Halloween (I can't wait!). ENJOY!

Here is the recipe:
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon coarse salt
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground ginger
1/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon ground allspice
1 cup packed light-brown sugar
1 cup granulated sugar
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, melted and cooled
4 large eggs, lightly beaten
1 can (15 ounces) pumpkin puree

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line cupcake pans with paper liners; set aside. In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, and allspice; set aside.
In a large bowl, whisk together, brown sugar, granulated sugar, butter, and eggs. Add dry ingredients, and whisk until smooth. Whisk in pumpkin puree.
Divide batter evenly among liners, filling each about halfway. Bake until tops spring back when touched, and a cake tester inserted in the center comes out clean, 20 to 25 minutes, rotating pans once if needed. Transfer to a wire rack; let cool completely.

2 (8 ounce) packages cream cheese, softened
1/2 cup butter, softened
2 cups sifted confectioners' sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

In a medium bowl, cream together the cream cheese and butter until creamy. Mix in the vanilla, then gradually stir in the confectioners' sugar. Store in the refrigerator after use. I mixed red and yellow food coloring until it made a vibrant orange color.

Monday, September 28, 2009

Photo tip: padded hangers!

We see so many beautiful wedding dress shots but we always tell our brides to make sure your gown is displayed on a padded hanger! It might seem silly, but your dress should be showcased in a beautiful light and a plastic hanger doesn't fit the bill! Most wedding gowns come with at least a heavy-duty hanger and many with silk padded hangers, but if not, please make the investment! Your wedding dress will thank you!

Alex Studios

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Inspiration: the South of France

It's no secret that we love to travel and our favorite locale is Nice, France located on the Mediterranean. We went back last fall and I took some shots for design inspiration. I absolutely love the architecture in all of Europe, but especially what you find dotted along the coast from Antibes to Monaco and San Remo, Italy! Enjoy!
A lovely hotel in MonacoApartment building in Menton, France
My favorite; the Hotel Negresco in Nice, France

The Royal Hotel San Remo in San Remo, Italy. We really enjoyed our stay at this whimsical, old resort!

Thank you to our friends at Exquisite Weddings Magazine for the fantastic interview about us!
Merci, merci!
Read the article here

We hope to see you next Tuesday for an amazing launch party!

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Getting Started: Destination Weddings

We love planning destination weddings and the fun it brings to the happy couple and their loved ones. When considering a destination wedding, here are some tips to keep in mind:

Location, location, location: most often destination weddings are a way for the couple to keep things simple. You can celebrate your nuptials with close family and friends, often times save a ton of money, and combo your honeymoon. With that being said, stateside locales like San Diego, Palm Springs, and Hawaii are great as you can usually find great airfare and package deals for cheaper than European, Caribbean, and other destinations. Check out hurricane or "off" weather seasons, too. You don't want to have an amazing outdoor celebration planned and have to move inside!

The fine print: Most couples we talk to have no clue that you need a beach permit for a ceremony, no matter how large or small. Also consider what type of permit (if any) your reception venue requires. Many cities have noise ordinances that require music is turned off early; sometimes at 10 pm! Insurance is also a big one; on Maui you need a $1 million insurance policy (we always recommend our client pick up a policy anyway, but read the fine print so you know what it needs to cover).

Extra costs: Many destination event venues offer "packages" that we usually urge clients to really think about. What if you don't want pink roses or the in-house photographer or want more than 100 photos? Often times negotiating items within pre-set wedding packages is doable. We did this with one wedding in Mexico; we flew in a photographer so were able to remove the resort's photo fee and barter for more cake and other items. If your venue allows for bringing in outside vendors, this is often times a benefit that will save.

Privacy: Remember that when you get married in a public place (on the beach, in a park, or an open air venue like a resort), you might have rented the space but it won't stop gawkers from walking by and stopping to watch your vows. Though we always do our best to curb people from standing too close, you really have to keep in mind that you can't make people leave the beach so part of your crowd might be watching in Speedos! Are there a handful of weddings going on during your wedding? We have steered clients away from venues that act as wedding factories and have six weddings going on at once (no kidding!); it takes away from the magical feeling of your own.... While most venues are really good about this, be wary.
Finally, remember that like with all wedding planning, the process should be fun. Especially when you're considering a destination event, you need to think about what cool activities are nearby for your guests. Can they get away without a rental car? Are there free snorkeling, boating, or other activities at the resort? Your guests will not only love celebrating with you but they'll appreciate the thought you put into planning a fun experience for them.

As always, happy planning!

Friday, September 11, 2009

Pacific Wedding Guide, here we come!

We are really excited to join the Pacific Wedding Guide family for our Maui branch! A special thank you to the lovely Tara for the fabulous blog posting about us and for getting us on board!
Check out this fantastic site, complete with fab vendor finds, travel tips, and gorgeous photos!

Sunday, September 6, 2009

Dressing up

Okay, okay - it's no secret that I love for things to look pretty and to dress up ordinary daily things, whether it's preparing coffee at home with a tray of spoons, cream, and sugar in funky containers or putting out a delish anti pasti spread with Italian or Proven├žal linens and dishware.....so I thought I'd make these little panna cotta desserts look a little prettier with linen napkins I bought on our last trip to Provence, France and a glassybaby to top it all off! I think they help to make life (and dessert) look a little sweeter :)

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Cake week: A delicious homage to fall

San Diego Magazine's Best of Party

We had so much fun participating at San Diego Magazine's Best of Party!
With food from George's at the Cove, Nobu, Oceanaire, and so many amazing restaurants, wineries, and other awesome stations, the party was so much fun!
Here are a few photos:
Delicious square cupcakes!

Our table scape

Thank you to the lovely Robin at Grand Floral! She is wonderful!
Thank you to our friends at San Diego and Exquisite Wedding Magazines! Stay tuned for details about the fabulous Exquisite Magazine launch party on September 29th!

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Cake week continued...

A whimsical confection for a winter wedding
Frank Ross

Cake week!

I thought it would be fun to spotlight some of our most favorite cakes from years past!
Check out this fairytale-like cake - photo by Kate McElwee


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