Saturday, November 29, 2008

Thrifty Holiday Gift Ideas

Looking for unique AND affordable gifts for the holidays this year? Check out these three great gift ideas I found courtesy of Oprah:

1. Gratitude Boxes - Buy an inexpensive decorative box and fill it with messages from the heart (ex: "100 reasons why I love you", "Thank you for....", etc...). Check out this article for more tips on making your own gratitude boxes.

2. Treasure Boxes - Fill a wooden "treasure box" with mementos from the past and organize them in chronological order (ex: fill your box with your child's keepsakes or if your planning a wedding, fill your box with memories from the time you 1st met your fiance through your engagement). Check out this article for more ideas on how to fill your treasure box.

3. 12 Dates of Christmas - Here's something you and your fiance can do together this holiday - during the month of December, plan 12 fun and inexpensive date nights together (ex: ice skating, a walk in the park, staying in for a movie night, etc...). Check out this article for more ideas for your date night.

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Happy Thanksgiving

From all of us here at Simply Perfect Weddings, Happy Thanksgiving to you and your family!

Photo courtesy of The Knot.

Friday, November 21, 2008

Pumpkin Cheesecake

With Thanksgiving less than a week away now, I wanted to share this delicious pumpkin cheesecake recipe with you from Martha Stewart. This cheesecake recipe is a nice alternative to the traditional pumpkin pie and can even be served as a dessert for your Fall wedding reception or bridal shower.

{This recipe serves 12}



1 1/4 cups graham-cracker crumbs (from 10 whole crackers)
1/4 cup sugar
4 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted


4 packages (8 ounces each) bar cream cheese, very soft
1 1/4 cups sugar
3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 cup canned pumpkin puree
2 tablespoons pumpkin-pie spice
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon salt
4 large eggs, room temperature


Preheat oven to 350 degrees, with rack in center. Assemble a 9-inch nonstick springform pan, with the raised side of the bottom part facing up.

Make the crust: In a medium bowl, mix cracker crumbs, sugar, and butter until moistened; press firmly into bottom of pan. Bake until golden around edges, 10 to 12 minutes.

Make the filling: With an electric mixer, beat cream cheese and sugar on low speed until smooth; mix in flour (do not overmix). Add pumpkin puree, pie spice, vanilla, and salt; mix just until smooth. Add eggs one at a time, mixing until each is incorporated before adding the next.

Place springform pan on a rimmed baking sheet. Pour filling into springform, and gently smooth top. Transfer to oven; reduce oven heat to 300 degrees. Bake 45 minutes. Turn off oven; let cheesecake stay in oven 2 hours more (without opening).

Remove from oven; cool completely. Cover with plastic wrap; refrigerate until firm, at least 4 hours. Unmold before serving.


Photo courtesy of Martha Stewart.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Pink + Purple Design Inspiration

The wonderful ladies over at Southern Weddings Magazine have done it again and have recently launched their new blog. The design board pictured above comes straight from them, and I knew when I saw it that I absolutely had to feature it on our blog as well! The details are simply stunning and the use of these bold colors throughout the entire reception is amazing!

Monday, November 17, 2008

Color Inspiration: Cameo Pink + Black

Today I bring you another beautiful creation from Martha Stewart Weddings. I love all things pink and this combination of cameo pink and black is just pure perfection in my mind!

Photo courtesy of Martha Stewart Weddings.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Sumptuous Plum

Beautiful...all I really have to say about this bouquet! Of course, it doesn't hurt that it's purple and it's from none other than Martha Stewart!

Photo courtesy of Martha Stewart Weddings.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Wedding Graffiti

I'm not exactly sure how I stumbled upon this site today, but I was sure glad I did! Wonderful Wedding Graffiti is an online vendor that provides wedding graffiti for all aspects of your big day. Car & window graffiti, dance floor monograms, candy labels, and tented place cards are just a few of the many items that they offer! I spent quite awhile browsing all of this eye candy and am thinking about getting some of my own graffiti from their home collection. Check out their website for more information about this great product!

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

White + Khaki Design Inspiration

One of my Fall '09 brides was recently having trouble choosing her wedding colors + overall design theme, but knew she wanted something simple, yet romantic with an all American feel. It just so happened that I was wearing a white dress shirt + khaki pants that day and pointed out that we could design her wedding colors based upon this all American look, but with a romantic twist to it. So, I came home and made this mini design inspiration board for her and she immediately decided these were her colors! This just proves that wedding inspiration doesn't always have to come from wedding magazines and if you take a look around, you just might find what you're looking for!

Photo credits: Top + bottom right photos courtesy of The Knot. Bottom left photo courtesy of

Skip the Favors, Donate to the ACS

Cancer is a subject that I can unfortunately relate to very well...several members of my family have passed away from cancer, including my father-in-law. With that being said, my own father is a cancer survivor which is why I am a big supporter of the American Cancer Society. If you too, can relate to what I am talking about, I encourage you to donate to the ACS in lieu of traditional guest favors. For example, simply take what you would have spent per guest on a favor (is it $1.00 per guest or maybe $5.00 per guest?), multiple by the # of guests attending your wedding, and donate that money to a foundation or charity that is close to your heart. The ACS will even print a personalized message on a stationary item of your choice in honor of a loved one you are remembering. One of my Fall '08 brides actually just did this at her wedding in honor of her father who passed away from cancer. In my opinion, you can't go wrong with this favor...guests can't throw this favor away when they return home and they can't leave it at their table at the end of the night. Check out the ACS's wedding favor website for more information about donating!

Monday, November 10, 2008

Crazy about Purple

Anyone who knows me, knows that I love purple...I've loved this color since I was a little girl and am always thrilled when a client chooses to go with purple for their wedding colors! Two of our summer '09 brides chose purple as their primary wedding color, and while searching for some purple floral inspiration this afternoon, I came across this bridal bouquet and boutonniere that I thought were a perfect match for each other. There's something so unique, yet so simple about purple calla lilies that I absolutely go crazy for! :)

Photos courtesy of The Knot and

Friday, November 7, 2008

Inside Sumer's Make Up Bag

Several months back I did a weekly blog segment called "Inside Sumer's Make Up Bag" and after a recent trip to Sephora (for my own mini makeup make over) I decided to bring it back! I am a huge fan of Sephora and can perhaps be called addicted to it! :) Since Fall is all about change and new beginnings, I decided it was time for a whole new make up look, so last weekend I made a trip down to the Ross Park Mall here in Pittsburgh and had a makeup consultation at Sephora. Not only did I change colors, I also changed brands in just about everything (minus the Dior Show mascara I previously blogged about)! Even though it's only been a week, I must say that I absolutely love all of the new products I bought and wanted to share a few with our readers.

Fav Product # 1: Nars Blush

Winner of 'Best of Sephora' 5 years in a row, this blush pulls out all the stops! 25 + shades to choose from, but if you can't narrow down a choice, try their #1 best selling shade 'Orgasm' for a universally flattering glow! Retails at Sephora for $25.

Fav Product # 2: Sephora Professional Flat Blush Brush

What better product to compliment a great blush than a great blush brush! I've used the typical round blush brush for years until now, and I must say that I'll never go back after trying this brush! I love this flat brush because the blush goes exactly where you want it to and no place else. This brush is great for highlighting your cheek bones and is extremely easy to use! Retails at Sephora for $20.

Check back next week for more of my favorite beauty buys!

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Trend Watch: Wedding Gown Bolero

Another 2009 wedding season trend that I feel will be making it's way to Pittsburgh is the bolero. Now, what may you ask is exactly a bolero? A bolero is a short jacket worn open in the front, and in this case, is worn over your wedding gown. Boleros can be worn anytime of year; however, are best suited for fall and winter weddings. Boleros were all over the runways this past fall and are now making a big splash in bridal retailers all over the country!

Photo Credits:

Monday, November 3, 2008

Photographer Spotlight: Joey Kennedy Weddings

Today I wanted to feature Joey Kennedy, an upcoming wedding photographer here in the Pittsburgh area that I had the privilege of working with several months back at Jessica & Brian's August wedding. A few weeks ago, I featured one of their images in this post and wanted to share more of Joey's work with our readers. Joey was kind enough to sit down with us and share more information about himself...check out our interview below and stop by his blog to see more of his work!

1. First off, tell us a little about yourself:

I know, for sure, that I was born into the right time period of history because even as a child, I was very visual. Visual media is my forum because I am an extremely creative person. Images have always inspired and influenced me and small, obscure details do not escape my notice. That is why I am an artist, and I am very active in the Pittsburgh art scene.

I produced a fine-art-photography exhibit called “Exposure” that ran for two years here in Pittsburgh. Eventually, more “Exposure” exhibits were opened in Cleveland, Detroit and Dallas, and those in Cleveland and Detroit are still being presented today.

In 2005-Present, I began teaching photography in Cranberry for the Butler Community College – both for credit and non-credit classes.

2. How did you get started in photography?

Believe it or not, I began my career in painting and sculpting because I have always been creative and artistic. But since painting and sculpting were very laborious and consumed a lot of time, I often lost interest before completion. However, nothing has changed my life more than the camera. It was an exciting revelation for me to discover that my creativity absolutely exploded when I picked up a camera. The camera has allowed me greater creativity, but in a faster forum. Photography is such a powerful tool for documenting life experiences and telling people’s stories.

3. Describe your wedding photography approach and style.

When I think of a wedding, it is a magical day when two people become one. It is “a dream come true” to find a mate in this life, and it is the day that every woman dreams endlessly about. I like the “vintage,” “dreamy,” “storybook-style” because it is so timeless and romantic. I love to capture and document those special moments of the wedding day, unobtrusively, without my clients knowing that I am there. It is pure excitement when they return and view the memories that are represented in the final images. Finally, I love to make my work look professionally much like the work exhibited in magazines like Vogue and Vanity Fair.

4. What do you like best about your job?

Without a doubt, I love working with the wedding couple! It is my job to learn their individual tastes. I love meeting the families of the bride and groom and listening to stories about them. I start off the day as an acquaintance to the families, and by the end of the wedding, they invite me to the next family reunion. I enjoy documenting and being part of every special occasion in a family’s life experiences. It is a great tradition!

5. What is your all time favorite photo that you have taken?

“A Kiss to Build a Dream On!” It is the story of Brian and Jessica.

6. What makes your business unique and why should we hire you as our wedding photographer?

I am that person that sees something completed in my mind before the process has begun. I create aesthetically pleasing images that documents and tells my clients story. I love to provide interesting, powerful imagery that creates curiosity and interest for all my photography projects.
I am that professional wedding photographer that will document your wedding day with exquisite creativity and old-fashioned romanticism. Each wedding is special and unique to you, as a couple, and that inspiration always helps me to create one-of-a-kind memories just for you.

You, as the wedding couple, provide the details of the pictorial documentation that you desire, and I provide the creativity and inspiration to accomplish your dream.

7. Where can we reach you?

I just released a new wedding blog at
I can also be reached at email and cell 814.547.1096

8. Anything else we should know?

Don’t let the 814 number fool you, I currently live in Seven Fields (Cranberry). I am willing to travel anywhere and have applied for a passport.

Thanks for chatting with us, Joey! We look forward to seeing more of your beautiful images in the future!

All images courtesy of Joey Kennedy Weddings.