Lauren & Shaun ~ A Beautiful Summer NJ Affair

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Our first wedding of the summer could not have been more beautiful.  Lauren and Shaun wed on June 27th at Maplewood Country Club in Maplewood, NJ.   Lauren spent the morning with her bridal party and family getting ready in the enormous bridal suite.  Hair and make-up, done by Magda and Jessica of Magda Designs, had all the girls looking amazing.  Throughout the day Sue’s team from Romantic Garden worked hard at creating a beautiful floral display, which had a very organic, forest feel, bringing all the visions we had been planning with Lauren, Shaun and their families for months to life.

 

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As guests walked into the lobby they were awed by a unique escort table which boasted manzanita branches cascading down and connected to a tabletop branch.  Under a piece of raised glass there were floral and woodland pieces along with moss and ferns.  It was an incredible creation and had guests in awe.  The ceremony kept consistent with the feel of the evening, with moss and bark branches at the doorway and aisle, along with birch trunks that were finished with amazing florals and foliage.   The chuppah completed the look.   It really felt like an enchanted forest, which was exactly what Lauren and Shaun envisioned.

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Walking into the reception was certainly another WOW moment for the guests as they were welcomed by a warm amber glow created by Luminous Designs and gorgeous centerpieces with hanging candles at each table.  Once the reception kicked off the dance floor was never empty. With the Bobby Attiko Band from Hank Lane Entertainment playing for the evening it seemed as though no one wanted to miss a beat.  Their large repertoire of music kept everyone, including the Bride ad Groom themselves, interested and dancing!  In Sync Photography and Videography were able to capture all the excitement throughout the wedding. 

As you all know from reading about our events, there is always that special touch that makes the wedding unique.  One of the most unique aspects of Lauren and Shaun’s wedding was the use of a “wedding painter.”  Martin Hardy spent the entire reception located in the corner of the ballroom painting a picture of the wedding right as it happened.  He captured the band, the bride and groom, the guests and even the flowers.  He continuously observed the action and painted all night.  Guests were constantly going over to watch him as he created.  It was a wonderful feature and at the end, Lauren and Shaun have a hand painted scene from their wedding.

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 As the evening came to a close guests made a stop at the candy bar to make a fun goody bag to go topped off with an ice-pop and mini Ben and Jerry’s ice creams.   Water bottles also awaited everyone at the front door to cool down after a long night of dancing.  Everyone jumped onto the charter bus from Gogel Limousine and headed back to the Hilton Short Hills.  The next day Lauren and Shaun left for their Hawaiian honeymoon where we know they were looking back on a fantastic evening. 


Congratulations to such a wonderful couple!

Candice and Leah

 

The Finishing Touch Featured On Style Me Pretty

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The Finishing Touch Wedding and Event Planning is so excited that our couple Jenn and Eliu's wedding in the Dominican Republic is featured in the Style Me Pretty blog "Obsessions for Brides."  The blog was created by Abby Larson, and features the most innovative and chic wedding ideas out there.

Abby writes about all things wedding. Everyday, she posts her favorite finds, her latest loves…she tries to create a place where creativity and ideas thrive, where you can find weddings that eliminate the walls of tradition, and focus instead on the unique personalities of brides and grooms everywhere.Editor Eddye selects pictures from some of the most chic weddings, and we are thrilled that she selected Jenn and Eliu's island dream celebration.


Click here to read the Style Me Pretty blog on Jenn and Eliu's wedding. 

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We are also very proud to be listed in their Little Black Book of the best wedding vendors.  Style Me Pretty’s Little Black Book is a highly critiqued collection of wedding service providers – from mom and pop boutiques to A-Listers. Personally recommended by industry insiders and Style Me Pretty readers, there are a few hand-picked listings per category.   The Finishing Touch is excited to be listed among these vendors in New Jersey!

Our tips featured on 201bride ~ Planning Great Events Leading Up To Your Wedding Day

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The process of planning events leading up to your wedding day doesn't have to be stressful.  The Finishing Touch offers  some great tips for planning your fabulous engagement party, bridal shower, bachelorette party and rehearsal dinner on 201bride.com for the month of September.  Click here to read the fun article, and get started with your ideas today.

Fun Press in Brides NJ-Creative Reception Ideas

We always enjoy helping our couples come up with creative and unique reception entertainment ideas to delight their guests.  Some of our fun receptions touches are featured in the current issue of Brides New Jersey.  See the article below, and click on each page for a larger image.

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The Finishing Touch Team

More New Press ~ Great Tablescapes

The Finishing Touch, Wedding and Event Planning is featured in Contemporary Bride's newest issue for some beautiful tablescapes from several of our fun NJ & NYC Weddings.  We are always happy to help our couples come up with unique and creative ideas and love getting to share the finished product.  Our  Planning team and our Finishing Touch Design Team work with our Brides every step of the way to come up with fabulous decor.

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A special thanks to our floral vendors who designed the amazing centerpieces featured in the article above:

Tiffany & Howie
Diana Gould Ltd.

Whitney & Michael
The Garden Shop

Karyn & Carmine
MDS Floral Design

Stacy & Jeff/Irene & Alex
The Romantic Garden

Mariana & Andrew
Thomas C. Anderson


Mexico ~ Part Dos

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We welcome you all to read the final details of Nicole's recent trip to scope out the Riviera Maya/Cancun sections of Mexico.  Be sure to click the link to read the first part below if you missed it the first time.

On our third day after arriving in beautiful Mexico, we drove into the heart of Cancun to visit NH’s sister hotel, ‘NH Krystal Cancun’. Located in prime location on Cancun’s strip, the rooms overlooked the most beautiful views of the blue-green water and reefs.  Even better, this NH hotel gives guests the option of going all-inclusive or a la carte while offering many of the same delicious restaurants as NH Riviera Maya does. The hotel offers 325 rooms, specialty restaurants and four banquet rooms that are able to accommodate 90-420 guests.

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Our group enjoyed lunch at El Mortero, a Mexican restaurant which was themely decorated and offered the best margaritas in town! Lunch was brought out on numerous ceramic pigs that hosted as mini-grills roasting shrimp, lobster, beef, chicken, scallops and pork. Their family-style meals and festively decorated interior provides a great venue to host a rehearsal dinner for your guests. Afterwards, we toured the hotel’s sleeping rooms, banquet rooms and outside terrace & pool area which featured 3 different mock wedding tables along the railing of the ocean. While past hurricanes have wiped out much of their beach, NH is actively restoring it with large sand bags and boulders. The upside of having no beach is you are literally on the water; the ceremony area is conveniently situated right on the coast with the waves crashing beneath you!

 

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After dreaming of perfect waterfront wedding, we then traveled downtown to do some local shopping at the large outdoors market where we found souvenirs, clothing, jewelry and food to bargain for. That night, we returned back to Riviera Maya and enjoyed a full-course dinner at NH’s gourmet restaurant, ‘Senses’.  We were treated to the best Asparagus & Cream Soup I have ever tasted, yellow-tailed tuna and a full sized wedding cake created by their talented outsourced cake designer.

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Once Thursday rolled around, our wonderful hosts wanted to take us off-site to visit what Mexico has to offer and we were excited to be joined by our Association of Bridal Consultant president, David Wood. Our Cancun DMC drove us about an hour away from our hotel to Tulum, home of the Mayan ruins. I have to say, it felt like a party bus as we were offered waters, sodas, beer and wet hand towels on our trip over! Upon arrival, we had our own personal tour guide who guided us through the ruins as we got to experience one of the three most visited archaeological sites in Mexico and one of the best preserved coastal Mayan sites. Our next stop was Xel-ha, a natural aquarium that hosted numerous water activities such as a Lazy River through mangroves, swimming with dolphins, scuba, snorkeling and natural cliffs to jump off or swing from ropes. Xel-ha is extremely accommodating as they offer an all-inclusive package of $120 which allows you access to most activities, lockers, a wide-array buffet AND drinks! The resort is a perfect choice for a day-trip with your family and friends.

That night, we had our bon voyage dinner at their Italian restaurant, ‘Cinque Terre’. We all exchanged contact information and sipped on champagne as we said our final goodbyes to the friends we had spent so much time with over the past week. ABC’s president, David Wood, thanked our hosts of NH with a brand new ABC-logo’d umbrella for all.

NH provided each consultant with a hard-copy information booklet informing us of all the options we can offer our brides and grooms in the future. NH hotels, featuring locations around the world, offer a great way to vacation in style. If you are interested in hosting your destination wedding at any of their resorts, please ask us for more information as we would be happy to provide!

Click here to read Part I

Hasta leugo!

Nicole

 

Another Gorgeous Couple makes the Magazines ~ Jill and Alan in Contemporary Bride

Our gorgeous couple Jill and Alan are featured in the current issue of Contemporary Bride NY for their chic wedding at The Puck Building in New York City.  Check out the article below and click here to read our blog on their wedding.

 

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Happy Planning,

The Finishing Touch Team

Nancy & Rafael – Old Hollywood Glitz & Glamour Wedding

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Nancy and Rafael came to us to help them fully plan their dream wedding.  The Bride expressed her love of the glamour of old Hollywood and wanted to capture that feeling at their wedding.  We went right to work creating an unforgettable day for them and their guests.

Our design team at The Finishing Touch Event Design worked closely with the couple to design the look of the wedding from top to bottom.  This included unique beautiful pocket invitations that featured a red damask cut out velvet border and blind embossed monogram.

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Stationery photo by Ron Holtz Photography

After almost two years of planning, the big day finally arrived.  The beautiful sunny and warm Saturday afternoon was captured with stunning photography by David and Tami of The Studio Photographers.  The Bride looked like a Hollywood femme fatale herself in her mermaid style lace and crystal gown and dramatic cathedral length veil.   She wore gorgeous crystal and pearl necklace and earrings custom designed by Vandana Jewelry and crystal adorned open-toed pumps.  The Romantic Garden created a stunning hand tied cascading bridal bouquet of all white flowers.

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The traditional Spanish Catholic ceremony was held at the majestic Cathedral of Saint John the Baptist in Paterson, NJ. 
 

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Guests were greeted by gorgeous tea length ceremony programs, created by our design team, which detailed how the couple incorporated traditions from their Hispanic culture into the ceremony.  Some of these traditions included the coin (arras) and cord ceremonies.  The arras represents the groom's dedication to the welfare of the bride.  It signifies the bride and groom's mutual hope for wealth, prosperity and security as they build their lives and family together.  The cord symbolizes the love and friendship that bind the couple together.  The figure eight shape of the cord represents the infinite nature of matrimony.

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After taking pictures both inside and outside the church, our couple was whisked off in their limo with their bridal party to take romantic pictures at Lambert Castle in Paterson, NJ.  On beautiful grounds and with a historic backdrop, they posed and laughed as the Studio Photographers captured all of the highlights.

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Then it was off to the Westminster Hotel in Livingston, NJ where the reception was to be held.  The Westminster was the perfect venue to hold this event with its red and gold color scheme.  The lounge in the hotel's restaurant, The Strip House, with its photos of Hollywood starlets on the walls and signature red velvet wallpaper was a perfect place for the couple to take fun, romantic pre-reception photos.

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As guests entered the hotel, they were greeted by gorgeous white Manzanita trees adorned with red crystals provided by The Romantic Garden.  Hanging on the trees were whimsical crystal embellished seating cards created by our design team.  

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Guests had the opportunity to sign their photo guest book created by The Studio Photographers which featured their beautiful engagement photos.  

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The room was also decorated with framed childhood pictures of Nancy and Rafael as well as framed photos of “old Hollywood” couples to set the theme for the reception.

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Guests enjoyed the fabulous cocktail hour while listening to Spanish guitar music.  The Westminster created a Peruvian station especially for the Groom to reflect his heritage.  The station featured fantastic ceviche served in martini glasses based on an old family recipe.

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The Westminster also mixed up refreshing Watermelon Martinis and classic Mojitos that were passed to guests on silver platters.

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Upon entering the ballroom, guests saw the magnificent 4-tier black and white damask wedding cake designed by The Westminster that took center stage.  It was topped with red roses and a crystal monogram cake topper.

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The room was a glow with beautiful lighting and the couples monogrammed logo on the dance floor provided by In the Mix Entertainment. 

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The ballroom was set to mimic the look of a 1940s supper club with square tables covered in custom garnet crushed shimmer linens from Cloth Connection and black chivari ballroom chairs with burgundy velvet cushions from Party Rental Ltd

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Black napkins enrobed custom crystal embellished menus and were topped with white orchid heads. 

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The Romantic Garden created two different stunning centerpieces.  The tall centerpieces featured red roses, white hydrangea, and white ostrich plumes with a crystal "necklace" atop trumpet vases with a hanging crystal pendant inside.  The centerpieces were illuminated from their bases. 

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The low centerpieces featured red roses, white hydrangea, and black ostrich feather tufts in black glass cubes. 

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To complete the look, tables were topped with square mirrors, red rose petals, black beaded table lamps, and damask adorned candles.  The tables were also named after classic romance movies like "Casablanca" and "From Here to Eternity."  One of the tables was named "Aladdin" after the movie the two longtime sweethearts went to see on their first date!

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Guests dined on the Westminster's famous Filet Mignon and danced the night away to a DJ from In the Mix Entertainment and a full 12-piece Latin band, La Orquesta C.A.N.I. 


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To add a little glitz to cake cutting time, the Bride removed her veil and changed into a feather and crystal fascinator, which is a fun retro-style hair accessory that fit perfectly with the feel of the wedding.

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To put a sweet end to a fabulous reception, guests were treated to a red and black candy buffet.  Guests happily filled up the personalized take away containers from our design team with gourmet chocolate covered almonds, M&Ms, cherry jelly beans, white chocolate covered pretzels, and mini nonpareils.

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After the reception, guests were invited to join our couple to relax and wind-down into the wee hours of the night at the hotel’s Strip House Lounge. 

 

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It was a truly magical event that we were honored to be a part of.  We wish this fun couple a lifetime of happiness filled with glamour and romance.  

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Happy Planning,

Priscilla and Soroya

Guest Blogger: Julie Laudicina, Celebrant-Options For Your Ceremony

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You don’t want a cookie-cutter wedding ceremony?  Well, you have several interesting options…depending upon some choices you make.

When you are planning your wedding, sooner or later you will have to make decisions about your wedding ceremony.  For some couples, you will have your ceremony in your church, synagogue or temple.  Your ceremony will conform to what is prescribed by tradition or specific denominational requirements.  If this is you, you will have the familiar ceremony you want…that has the words you love to hear and the rituals you treasure. 

But an increasing number of couples want to have more say about what is said and done in their ceremony.  They find they do have options if they select a civil wedding officiant who works with them to create the ceremony they want.  Some officiants offer very limited choices in the ceremony they conduct.  Other officiants provide a broad array of ideas and options to personalize your ceremony.  Look for them if you’d like wider choices and more personalization, but expect to pay more for their services.

Here are some elements of your wedding ceremony that can be personalized…that can make your ceremony unique…that will make your ceremony one that without a doubt is created just for you.

Procession

You may think there is a standard formula for the procession.  But, let me tell you…you can do a procession in so many different ways, and there are really no rules.  The bride and groom can enter together as adults presenting themselves to be married.  Both the bride and groom can be escorted in by their parents on either side of them, symbolically showing their support and love.  The bride may chose to enter by herself…walking down the aisle to meet her groom, an independent woman making the entrance of her dreams.  And don’t forget to plan on how your parents and grandparents make their entrance – it’s a special day for them too.  Then there are pets and children…!

 

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Vows

The variations on what you can say as your wedding vows are endless.  Just take a look at all the sample vows on http://www.myweddingvows.com/.  The bride and groom don’t have to say the same words.  You can add a phrase or two that is humorous…like “I promise to pick up my socks and actually put them in the laundry bag.”  You can mix and match phrases from sample vows that you like.  You can write your own vows…but do it well ahead of the week of the wedding so you aren’t under last minute pressure.  Just remember these are the most emotional words of the ceremony – the promises you make for a lifetime.  Give it thought…lots of thought. 

 

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Rituals

There are many ways you can inject meaning into your ceremony with wedding rituals…handfasting, ring-warming, medallions for your children, dove release, sharing wine, sand, candles, or butterflies.  And then there are all the beautiful and rich ethnic rituals that can be adapted to suit you.  Incorporating a ritual into your ceremony can end up being something that puts your ceremony into a class by itself.  You may think you want a “short and simple” ceremony…but it doesn’t take much more time to include a meaningful ritual that will make your ceremony more memorable to you and your guests.  And it doesn’t have to be hokey at all.

 

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Click here to read about our couple Jill and Alan's wedding where Julie was the Celebrant 

Location

Once you decide you aren’t having your ceremony in your church, the doors are literally open up to all sorts of possibilities for the location of your ceremony.  Among your options are:  a park, your back yard, a roof top, a garden, your favorite restaurant, your parents’ living room by the fireplace, a cruise ship, a beach, your university library.  Be mindful of weather and comfort for your family and guests.

Most of the venues (event space, catering halls, hotels) you check out for your reception will accommodate a ceremony too.  Don’t be constrained by their usual ceremony routine.  Think about how you could stage your ceremony in their room in a different way, ask them to take out the silk flowers you don’t like, and check out the sound and lighting systems.  Don’t forget to ask about a rain plan if they suggest an outside ceremony.

 

You don’t have to have your wedding ceremony be just like all the others you have been to.  Your ceremony can be about you.  It should feel like your ceremony is an authentic reflection of your values and wishes …and especially your dreams of what that moment will be like when you say “I do.”  (By the way, there’s no rule that you have to say that!)

 

Click here to visit Julie's blog where she mentions this one.

 

Best Wishes,

Julie 

Julie Laudicina, Celebrant!

Web site:  http://www.julielaudicina.com/

Blog:  http://julielaudicina.blogspot.com/

2009 Brides Choice Award – WeddingWire.com

 

Deborah’s Traditional Berberisca

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On the Thursday before our couple Debbie & Julian’s
wedding, we were able to experience a traditional Moroccan Berberisca ceremony
and reception at the Four Seasons in New York City.

The ceremony includes many traditions which sometimes means the
Bride’s hands and feet are decorated in elaborate designs with henna.  Henna is a red dye made from crushed henna
leaves.  Although Debbie chose not to
include Henna in her ceremony, the other elements in the ceremony, according to
tradition, are done to prepare the bride for leaving her family. 

A large part of the ceremony was the females in Debbie’s
family and friends assisted her in getting dressed, which was an elaborate process.
She wore an intricately designed ornate gown called a Traje de Berberisca, which is traditionally a gown that is worn
by Brides in the family and passed down for this special day
.  Debbie also wore a gorgeous crown handmade
by her mother, Licita, which was embellished with beads and jewels. 

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Once ready, the Bride was announced into the reception room,
greeted by waiting family and friends. 
The couple’s guests greeted the Bride with singing and ululations
(wailing noises) to show their happiness about the couple’s upcoming
marriage.  

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After speeches and traditional songs, the guests enjoyed a
lavish buffet from Foremost Caterers featuring delicious tea sandwiches and
pastries.  They also enjoyed traditional
Moroccan mint tea. This was followed by a performance by a traditional Moroccan
sitar duo.  

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It was a beautiful and very interesting afternoon that we were honored to attend.  We hope you enjoyed these photos from Ron Holtz Photography.

All the Best,

Candice and Priscilla
 

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