The Hermes Kelly

In my obsession with everything French today we're going to discuss the Hermes Kelly. The origins of the Kelly first appeared, in its original form in the 1930’s but it wasn’t until 1956 that it truly became a star. Grace Kelly, the Morocco princess of the time had particular interest to it. Grace Kelly favored the handbag style when she was pregnant, because it initially allowed her to hide her pregnancy from the paparazzi.

The Hermes Kelly handbag is a top handle style that you carry by hand. They are roughly rectangular in shape and function in a similar way to an envelope. With the width wider at the bottom and quite narrow and sleek looking at the top. They feature a flap that comes over the top and fastens with a lock. They are available in several different sizes. A regular sized Kelly handbag starts at round $7000 US dollars and can go well above $25,000 US dollars depending on the color, leather type and other details. They are one of Hermes most expensive handbags following closely on the heels of the Birkin. New Hermes Kelly bags must be ordered from Hermes stores (assuming you get on the waiting list).

691 Madison Avenue
New York City, NY  10065


Parasols: A Wonderful Accessory!

Parasols can be a lovely accent to add to your wedding. With their pretty designs and romantic old-fashioned feeling, paper parasols are quite charming.

From beach wedding to Victorian soirée, whatever your bridal style there’s a parasol or umbrella to match.
On a hot summer day, parasols can be a nice thing for your bridesmaids to carry in lieu of flowers. Even if you do not want to have anyone actually carry a parasol down the aisle, they can make a nice prop for photos later on.

For the outdoor wedding, guests will appreciate parasols, as they often arrive early for the ceremony and must sit in the warm sun.

Or try placing parasols at the end of the main aisle in buckets for guests to take as needed, or alongside each seating row. This will provide guests with the perfect shade in elegance!

The Great Destination Wedding! By Guest Blogger Joanna Rensing Bailey

 The Great Destination Wedding!
Joanna Rensing Bailey, Joanna Bailey Weddings

Once upon a time, a Destination Wedding was a luxury enjoyed only by the rich and famous. The image of a stunning bride on the grounds of a European Villa gracing the glossy cover of Martha Stewart Weddings or Grace Ormonde Wedding Style left us all wanting their life, if only for a few days. Today, however, the opportunity for any couple to plan their dream wedding in a location other than their home exists in spades.

I am often asked, “How do you plan a wedding remotely?” As a rule, I always visit the location shortly after it’s been chosen. Once a couple has chosen their perfect spot, we determine whether or not a traditional venue is a wise choice, such as a hotel or resort. If traditional does not work for a client, we go outside the box. Having planned weddings in the middle of fields, abandoned barns, quiet and untouched islands, outside the box can be fun, wildly successful and so exciting! Once the venue has been chosen, we set about to locate our vendors. Modern technology is the best friend to any resourceful wedding planner. Through email, internet research and a few good old fashion phone calls, all of a client’s needs can be met.

Another question that is a constant is, “How do you find the right people to work with and how do I know the pricing is fair?” This is the test of even the best wedding planner. As you may imagine, some destinations offer more variety (and therefore competitive pricing) than others. If you are choosing a more traditional venue, in additional to the resources your wedding planner will have, the on site event coordinator is going to have a bevy of credible, local vendors that you can choose from. Should you choose to forgo the traditional and venture to the unique options, the sky is the limit. So many fabulous options are mobile, and can either be shipped to your location or brought in with you. Imagine a regionally authentic, custom menu to offer your guests, and the local musicians offering their hometown flair.

The remaining, and often primary, question I get is “How can I ask my family and friends to travel?” Unless you still live in your hometown, and all of your family and friends live there as well, your friends and family will be traveling. For a substantial number of couples, for their friends and family, this already is a destination wedding of sorts. So, the question is, are your guests traveling to Kansas City or the Dominican Republic to share your wedding?

Enjoy the opportunities at your fingertips. One of the first things I tell a couple when the planning process begins is to dream big. And, more often than not, your $50,000 budget can serve you just as well in Hawaii as it can at home. Key factors in planning a successful destination wedding include time of year, location, guest count and vision. Dream big, and ask your self “why not?”!

Joanna Bailey Weddings is an award winning, full-service boutique wedding planning and design firm. Combining a unique combination of Southern charm and modern sophistication, the Joanna Bailey Weddings design team delivers a personalized approach to your wedding day. Joanna Bailey Weddings has grown rapidly, designing custom weddings at home, across the country, and around the world. For more information, please visit us online at http://www.joannabaileyweddings.net/

Joanna Rensing Bailey




Recipe provided by Saveur

A croquembouche is a tower of cream puffs held together with caramel. In France it is the traditional cake for weddings, baptisms or communions.

French for "crisp in mouth," this elaborate dessert is classically made with profiteroles (tiny, custard-filled cream puffs), coated with caramel and stacked into a tall pyramid shape. As the caramel hardens, it becomes crisp. For added glamour, the croquembouche can be wreathed or draped with spun sugar.


1 1⁄2 cups water
12 tbsp. butter
2 cups flour
9 eggs


1 1⁄2 cups milk
1⁄2 cup sugar
4 egg yolks
3 tbsp. cornstarch
1⁄2 tbsp. vanilla extract
16 tbsp. unsalted butter; softened


4 cups sugar
1 cup water
1 and 1/4 cups of corn syrup

1. For the pâté à choux: Preheat oven to 425˚. Combine 1 1⁄2 cups water, butter, and 1⁄4 tsp. salt in a large heavy saucepan and bring to a boil over high heat. Remove pan from heat, add flour all at once, and stir vigorously with a wooden spoon until mixture forms a thick dough and pulls away from sides of pan, 1–2 minutes. Return pan to heat and cook, stirring constantly, for 1–2 minutes. Remove pan from heat, allow dough to cool 5 minutes, then vigorously beat in 8 eggs, one at a time, making sure each egg is completely incorporated. Dough will come together and be thick, shiny, and smooth, and pull away from sides of pan.

2. Dip two spoons in water, shake off excess, and scoop a walnut-size piece of dough with one spoon. With other spoon, scrape dough onto parchment-lined baking sheet, setting pieces 1" apart on baking sheet. Lightly beat remaining egg with pinch of salt and brush each piece of dough with it. Bake until puffed and light brown, about 10 minutes. Lower heat to 350˚ and continue to bake until well browned, about 15 minutes. Allow puffs to cool.

3. For the filling: Bring 1 cup milk and the sugar just to a boil in a heavy saucepan over medium heat. Meanwhile, whisk remaining 1⁄2 cup milk, egg yolks, and cornstarch together in a large bowl. Slowly pour half the hot milk into yolk mixture, whisking constantly, then return mixture gradually to milk in pan, stirring constantly with a wooden spoon until it thickens and just returns to a boil. Stir in vanilla and transfer to a bowl; cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate until cold. In a large bowl, beat butter until pale and fluffy. Add cold filling and beat until smooth, 3–4 minutes. Cover and refrigerate until ready to use. Spoon filling into pastry bag fitted with a plain 1⁄4'' tip. Gently poke a hole with a chopstick in the flat side of each baked, cooled puff. Fill each puff with filling.

4. For the caramel: Divide sugar and water between two shallow saucepans and stir to mix. Cover and cook over medium heat until sugar turns amber, 15-20 minutes. Remove from heat. Reheat caramel when it becomes too thick. (Making caramel in two saucepans will allow you to rewarm half the caramel, keeping it fluid).

5. To Assemble: Using tongs or a chocolate-dipping fork, dip top of filled puff in hot caramel. Place puff, glazed side up, on a plastic-lined tray. Form base with 12–14 glazed, cooled puffs, sticking them together with dabs of caramel. Add puffs, layer by layer, to form a hollow cone. Allow caramel to cool slightly, until it is the consistency of honey. With a spoon, drizzle thin strings of caramel around cone.

Amusez-vous bien!

Bridal Style; Guest Blogger Yelena Johnson ( The Stylish Soiree)

Bridal Style

My name is Yelena Johnson, and I’m the Creative Director and Principal Planner of Beverly-Hills based event firm, The Stylish Soiree. In addition to planning weddings I style brides and the entire bridal party, so Denise has asked me to share my bridal style knowledge on this lovely blog. I’ll be penning a series of guest posts related to wedding style over the next few weeks, and am tackling the toughest part first: bridal style. Here goes!

On your wedding day, all eyes are on you. The eyes of those nearest and dearest, from folks you see regularly to the cousins you haven’t seen since you were five. And not only are eyes on you for that moment in time, but your photographer’s lens will commemorate exactly the way you looked on your wedding day for all eternity. If you’re feeling the pressure to look like the perfect bride, take a deep breath - you’re not alone.

Bridal style is a topic that many engaged women struggle with. From finding the perfect style to choosing between bright white and soft white satin through swatches (hint: never, ever pick the bright white!), wedding dress shopping can feel spark powerful emotions - not all of them positive. To help future brides navigate the endless sea of white satin and chiffon, The Stylish Soiree lends our styling expertise to each dress shopping session, consulting our clients on what works best for their wedding, personality, style and body type. For brides who are struggling to find their ideal wedding dress without professional help, here are a few quick tips on how to achieve a bridal style that is uniquely you, and innately stylish:

1. Consider Your Venue & Theme

So - you just got engaged! The first thing you’re going to do is go and try on a million poufy white dress, right? Wrong - first, take a step back and consider your venue and wedding theme as well as overall style. Brides often make the mistake of shopping for their gown first, before they have booked their venue or set a theme for their big day. While it’s exciting to go dress shopping, remember that while a sweeping 4 foot chiffon train looks lovely on you and would look lovely in a luxe banquet hall, it’s not going to translate well to a beach or barn wedding. And there’s nothing worse than looking out of place at your own wedding.

2. Know Your Style

It’s easy to get so carried away by seeing yourself in a big ball gown with a million pickups (a la Belle in Beauty and the Beast, no less) that you reconsider your usual low-key style and snag the ball gown. However, I’d urge you to take a step back and reconsider. Everyone bride a style that is true to their personality, taste, likes and dislikes. If you have always been a girly-girl who loves pink, ruffles and ribbons, don’t buy the plain Jane gown that your mother wishes you’d choose. Likewise, if old-school J. Crew simplicity rocks your world, step away from the ball gown littered with pickups, rosettes and beading (on a side note, stay away from pickups altogether, regardless of your inherent style; it may have worked for Belle, but that was the 90s, ladies). By staying true to how you choose to dress on a daily basis you’ll help your look stand the test of time.

3. And Speaking of the Test of Time…

My biggest piece of advice to brides styling themselves on their wedding day is this: make sure your dress stands the test of time. To determine this, ask yourself three questions:

1. Would this dress have looked good in the 20s, 30s, 40s, 50s?
2. Would this dress have looked okay ten years ago, and would it still look okay ten years from now?
3. Is this dress overly trendy; i.e. it have more than one or two trend-driven elements to the construction of the gown?

The rationale behind these questions is as follows:

1. The 40s through 50s in particular were a defining time in fashion, when garment construction and fit were perfected. Dresses were made to fit and flatter a woman’s body, and garments made in those eras still look beautiful and stylish today. So, if your potential wedding dress would have looked good back then, chances are it possesses truly timeless appeal.

2. If your wedding dress style passes muster in the late 90s as well as in the foreseeable future without sticking out like a sore thumb, chances are you’ve found a time-tested winner. You can guess future trends by taking a look at some of the more cutting-edge fashion designers and extrapolate from there.

3. If a dress has more than one or two trend-driven elements to it (i.e. a skirt that is covered in rosettes as well as a single shoulder strap), chances are that the overall appearance will look dated in the future. As beautiful as rosettes and one shoulder strap gowns may look right now, both design elements are so ‘in’ that they will likely be ‘out’ in the near future. Think like Ms. Klum and bid trend-driven gowns ‘auf wiedersehen’ to achieve a stunning wedding day look that stands the test of time.

I hope I’ve imparted some useful advice to style-conscious brides out there who are hunting for the perfect wedding gown. Stay tuned for my next guest post on bridesmaid style, in which I’ll reveal where to find affordable and stylish bridesmaid dresses. And don’t forget to check out Denise’s expert guest posts on my blog, The Stylish Soiree.

Warm Wishes,

Yelena Johnson


Educational Tool for Hiring Entertainment

A special thanks to our newest guest blogger Ray Martinez! Today Ray offers his expert advice for hiring entertainment! Enjoy!

Many brides seem to think that choosing entertainment is as difficult as choosing a health insurance plan. But with a little research, the choice should be fairly easy.

With the economy being a big factor in comparison shopping, brides can also rely on advice from friends or referrals from other vendors they may be working with.

Many entertainment companies offer packages raging in prices to suit your particular budget, but will also offer a number of upgrades that will determine the final cost.

Here are a couple of important things to remember when choosing entertainment.

Reliability: One of the most important factors is the reputation of the individual or company you are dealing with. Experience and longevity plays a big part in knowing that if they have been in business as long as they have, there is a reason for it. They are reliable and dependable. They will be there to take care of your needs.

Service: Entertainers are in the entertainment industry, however they are also in the service industry. When they understand that they chose their profession, one of the things that came with the job was to serve you the client, not for the client to serve the entertainer. Some entertainers are better than others, but the service they provide can make the difference between an ordinary event or an extraordinary event. That difference is how much extra they give to you in regard to service and dedication. Keep in mind that you are hiring a personality to fit your needs not a tool.

Performance vs. Technology: It's been said that people don't mind paying good money to be entertained. That is true to some extent, but the rest of that statement is how much value comes with that entertainment. There are two types of entertainers, performance entertainers or technological entertainers. A performance entertainer can use his skills to motivate an audience, know what music to play at the right time, read the crowd, where as a technological performer only knows how to push buttons. There is no entertainment value.

Standards: When you walk into a car dealership you expect a certain type of service based on the brand of automobile you are purchasing. However if you walk into a Mercedes dealership, the standards of workmanship, customer service and care are extremely higher, but also at a premium. The difference in those standards and price is someone that genuinely cares about the well being of their customer and the personal fulfillment the client and the company both receive as a shared experience.

Options: Yes, you have many options that may fit into your budget, but do not skimp on the budget for entertainment. People will remember if they had a great time or a horrible time at your event due to the entertainment you chose. You can not fire a bad entertainer on your wedding day. Choose carefully. Also remember that one thing that God gave a woman that he did not give a man, is intuition. If your gut tells you to go with that particular vendor, then go with it. If you have any reservations then do not hire them. The same holds true for any vendors you may be considering hiring.

Insurance: Many venues insist that their vendors have liability insurance before allowing them onto their property. Chances are if an entertainer charges a very low price, he is doing this as a hobby and does not have liability insurance. Besides the entertainer having insurance, make sure you insure yourself and hire a professional who knows what they are doing. You may pay slightly higher than what you have budgeted, but with the headaches, and problems that could arise by going the cheap route, the best insurance is knowing you can't put a price tag on peace of mind.

Easy: Choosing entertainment really is easy. May I recommend that you visit http://www.weddingwire.com/ which is a site for brides to post their reviews of vendors they have used. Search for the vendor by name and let them sell you the services of their vendors.

Don't Forget: There is a network of many great professional entertainers to choose from. Many will range in prices, but make sure they are a member of N.A.M.E. (National Association of Mobile Entertainers) or A.D.J.A. (American Disc Jockey Association). As a member of one of these fine associations, you can be assured they will adhere to the professional standards and services that can meet your personal needs.

Written by Ray Martinez

American Disc Jockey Hall of Fame Inductee
Two-Time So. California Entertainer of the Year
National Male Entertainer of the Year
Author: "Performance Beyond Expectation"
"Music from My Heart-Orchestrating Your Business and Your Life"

Ray Mar Productions
P.O. Box 5511
Goodyear, AZ 85338
(623) 386-8891


Guest Blog Post: New Favors and much more from Kate Aspen (Part 3)

Ahh! All the buzz and busy-ness of the past few months culminates today. We just launched twenty-six favors and one brand new bridesmaid gift addition on KateAspen.com. We’re all so very proud of the new favors! And even better, we know they’re just what brides-to-be are looking for because, well, they tell us!

Oh! And our newly redecorated website is live today as well – check it out here http://www.kateaspen.com/

Denise has been kind enough to include a little video of the new favors with this post (thanks Denise!) I’ll just provide a little commentary on the highlights and then let you enjoy. . .

Eco-cool! I personally love the "Write from My Heart" notebook and pencil set and the "Natural Impressions" photo album joining our eco-friendly wedding favor collection.

  • Our cherry blossom collection continues to bloom with the addition of a delightfully presented sap flavor. Smells divine!

Two new Fleur-di-Lis favors-a-gift-ready frosted glass votive-
join our other fabulous fleur flavors launched in 2009. Think Euro-chic and old world glamour at your wedding reception, and cap it off with the new Eiffel Tower place card holder-so-so-tres...oh just go look!

Next time – Wedding Full of Favors, anyone?



Laura Reed in the Online Brand Relations Manager for Kate Aspen


Christian Louboutin

With his signature red sole, Christian Louboutain helped bring the stiletto back into fashion. The designer's professed goal is to “make a woman look sexy, beautiful, to make her legs look as long as [he] can.”

Louboutin received inspiration for his lethal-looking stilettos from an incident that occurred in his early twenties. He had visited a museum and noticed that there was a sign that forbade women to enter while wearing sharp stilettos, for fear of damage to the extensive wood flooring. This image stayed in his mind, and he later used this idea in his designs. "I wanted to defy that," Louboutin has said. "I wanted to create something that broke rules and made women feel confident and empowered."

Christian Louboutin's designs have gained popularity among socialites and celebrities, several of whom have made public appearances sporting the signature red soles.


Choosing The Perfect Wedding Photographer by Maria Linda Garcia

When I look back at the time I was preparing my wedding I would have had the knowledge I have now about photography. I was not aware of the different features to look for or things to consider when selecting a wedding photographer. I simply went with the photographer that my cousin used for her wedding, (where my husband proposed, a story of it's own one day I will share). The photographer did a great job as far as putting him self out there as he offered us a picture portrait of our engagement as well as capturing the moment of the proposal. Which I must say, it is a way to personality and of course, price.
We did not considered any of this when we chose our wedding photographer. So here are few steps to take when choosing the perfect wedding photographer for your special day.

The first thing to do is to determine the style of photography you like. There are two styles, traditional or photojournalistic. The traditional style is composed of posed portraits. This one is more of a classic style.
And then there is the photojournalistic photography style, which is about capturing the day as it happens in a more candid way. Very minimal posing is involved with the the photojournalistic style a no looking at the camera is needed. My favorite if I might add. And the most popular style theses days. There are some photographers that will incorporate both styles in their work, however the professional candid shots will dominate the flow. That is why it is very important you define the style you like the most as this is very important factor when choosing your photographer. Then, once you do this, you will concentrate on the photographers with that particular photographic style.

The second thing to do is after you have selected the list of photographers you like after viewing their work, based on your style of choice is to narrow them down according to your photography budget. And this is something most brides don't have. Photography is one of the last things the majority of the brides tend to put at their bottom of their list. And it should be as important as getting the dress and location for the wedding. The wedding photography is the only thing you will have left from your special day that you can cherish for ever. The photographer is the artist that will be there to record moments you might not even know or remember that happened and transform them into pieces of art for you to share and remember for ever. Therefore, when creating the budget for your wedding, make sure you include photography with a budget you can live with, without cutting yourself short.

A Third step would be to meet the photographers you have on your list. I feel it is very important to make sure you have some sort of a connection with your photographer. Remember, this is a person you will need to be comfortable with as this will show on your photographs. We all are, somewhat self conscious and it certainly helps when you have someone on the other side of the camera that you feel relaxed with and free to be yourself. You also want to make sure that what he/she offers as far as his image style and finished products are exactly what you are looking for. So take time to meet with them and ask as many question as you can think of to make sure all your concerns are satisfied.

These are the main steps to follow when choosing the perfect wedding photographer, style, price and personality. It does not have to be in this order. Ideally, in a perfect world price would be the last, as when you find the photographer that their images speaks to you and you like their persona, money would not be a factor. A photographer will be one of the vendors if not the only one you will remain in contact after the wedding and in many cases becomes a friend.

All images and content are copyrighted Maria Linda Garcia Photography, LLC.


Meet The Experts!

Complimentary Wedding Seminar for the Recessionista Bride

Presented by CS Brides

Join CS Brides Editor-in-Chief Elise Hofer, White Chicago Bridal
and many more vendors to pick up cash saving wedding
tips while enjoying wine and appetizers. From a financial planner
to a wedding stylist, these bridal experts will be on hand to
chat about anything and everything weddings where your questions drive the discussion.
There are no presentations just a panel that arms you with budget saving tips to ensure your
wedding goes off without a hitch!

For more information visit:

Or call 312.397.1571

Please RSVP to rebecca@bettiebombpr.com


Chandeliers and Candleabras

Candelabras really are a wonderful choice of table decoration for weddings.

Are you planning on a candlelight wedding? Set your beautiful candelabra off in style with a stunning floral display!

Decorative candelabras are a must at any wedding celebration, from the ceremony to the reception.

Chandeliers are a lovely addition to any wedding or special event.

Chandeliers add a grand and stylish elegance to your event.

Chandeliers can offer the perfect lighting that can completely change the look  for your event!


Wedding Trends by Laura Reed

Whew! The last couple of months have been busy here at Kate Aspen. We’re redesigning our consumer website to bring brides more up-to-the-minute, cutting edge information on trends and styles plus we begin the first launch of our brand, spanking new wedding favors here very soon. So exciting!

One thing we really enjoy is our ongoing conversations with brides-to-be. We ask about their wedding plans, and they fill us in on all the juicy details. Our design team pours over their input and voila! We’re able to bring the highest quality, most “uniquely you” wedding favors to the market.

From our bride-to-be surveys, you might be interested to know that while colors and styles change, some things remain constant. Take colors, for instance. The latest data shows that white is still the favored, main color theme for weddings. Follow that with blues and then black and you have the top three main color selections going into the 2010 wedding season.

Then it gets interesting – because the “pop” is in the color pairings. We see brides pairing all the colors of the rainbow with their main theme favorites. Some direct quotes from our survey:

White with: 

Tiffany Blue
Forest Green
Pink and Purple

Black with:

Berry Red and Pewter Silver
Gold and bright fall wildflower colors
Aqua Blue and Lime Green

Oh how our brides keep us on our toes!

And as far as wedding favors go, we ask our brides to close their eyes and imagine the most perfect wedding favor ever. Their answers remain pretty much the same here, too. Brides want practical, memorable and affordable. We do see personalized favors becoming even more popular than before, so we’ve incorporated all of their wishes into our newest wedding favors, too!

Are you a bride-to-be that wants to share your hopes and dreams for your wedding plans? If so, drop us a line at kate@theaspenbrands.com and we’ll tell you how to participate!

Looking forward to sharing the new 2010 wedding favors with you in the next couple of weeks! So exciting!

Laura Reed

Online Brand Relations Manager

Kate Aspen


Wedding Inspiration Boards

Congratulations to all of you new brides to be! Not sure what color palette you're looking for? Here are just a few ideas that I've chosen. 
Not quite the color you were looking for?
Go to Wedding By Color at http://www.weddingbycolor.com/