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31 Maclarnon Rd
Salem, NH 03079


Bridesmaid Gift Idea

Are you wondering what to get your best gals as a little “thank you” for being by your side through the planning process and standing with you as you marry your best friend?

Around here, I’m all about recommending items that can be useful to a person’s daily life and for ladies who do wear makeup, they typically love a great makeup bag! What makes it even more special is when its personalized. It’s a lovely reminder of your friendship and your wedding day.

Our friends at Bridesmaids Gifts Boutique has the perfect one for your gals {maybe even one for you to}, the Maddison Makeup Bag. This bag is just the perfect size, not too small & not too large to handle the essentials. The velvet fabric makes it durable and the pretty tassel adds a bit of fun flair to make it stand out from others. They come in a few color options to choose from for the main bag color:

  • Pink
  • Beige
  • Purple / Lavender
  • Light Blue
  • Dark Blue

Then, you can also choose from an array of thread colors for their initials:

  • White
  • Sea Foam
  • Plum
  • Pastel Pink
  • Pastel Blue
  • Oasis Blue
  • Navy Blue
  • Lavender
  • Fuchsia
  • Coral
  • Bright Green
  • Black
  • Metallic Cooper
  • Metallic Silver
  • Metallic Gold

As I like to “see” items that I stand by, I chose the Purple / Lavender {shocking, I know} bag with white lettering.

bridesmaid gift

I love the durability, the size and the fabric texture of it. It’s also a great size for all my makeup essentials!

A bonus this product offers that differs from other websites, is that you can personalize the color and lettering to the person, you don’t have to buy it in bulk all in one color. If you decide not to use your wedding colors, that’s where you can personalize it even more and have each bag made in their favorite color!

If makeup bags aren’t your thing, check out all the other gift ideas they have to offer.

Labels: Blog

Tips on What to Wear to a Wedding

guest wedding attire

Brides spend so much time thinking about what they are going to wear, dress, shoes, veil, accessories? Add to that the selections for grooms, bridal attendants and parents of the couple and there is hardly any time left to worry about how the guests will be dressed when they arrive.

Just like with the marrying couple, acceptable attire for guests may be dependent on the setting and the weather. Certainly, beach wedding demand much less formality than an exclusive country club. Standards do however exist for wedding guests. Let’s review etiquette and expectations to help your guests decide.

Dress for the Setting

Weddings may take place in a religious center, and therefore may have certain customs and expectations. This can also be influenced by culture, so be sure that open shoes, bare arms or head coverings are not offensive or insulting. The time of day is also a factor in the dress code. Afternoon weddings, although it maybe formal, may require slightly less formal attire than an evening wedding. Often guests can get an understanding of the affair from the style of the invitation, is it formal, semi-formal, informal? Beach weddings does not mean dress for a “beach day,” so avoid showing up in your bathing suit! They are a little more informal, you should still plan to dress up, but make it something sand proof.

Black Tie, White Tie

Know the difference between “black-tie required,” “black-tie optional,” and “white-tie” levels of formality. Not all formal affairs are created equal. When attending a wedding that is BLACK TIE REQUIRED, this indicates that men should be wearing tuxedos with a black bow-tie. Women should select a full or tea length gown. The later in the day the event takes place, the more formal your dress should be. This is often confused with BLACK TIE OPTIONAL events, which are also formal affairs. For this type of event, the expectation is crisp suits with a tie for male attendees, and a formal gown or cocktail dress for female attendees. The biggest difference here is that tuxedos are not required. The most formal occasions, called WHITE TIE are rare (think Royal Wedding) but demand specific dress. Tuxedo jacket with tails, a white pique vest, a white bow tie and gloves for men, and very formal gowns for women, often with gloves and formal wrap.


With summer weddings especially, the tendency is to wear light weight clothing in lighter colors. It may be tempting to wear that creamy ivory or white summer dress you have hanging in the closet, or that crisp white linen suit just back from the cleaners – but resist the temptation. Unless you have been asked to wear white for “theme” purposes, this is a color that is still reserved for the bride. We realize this may seem old-fashioned, but it’s a convention not to be broken. Unless you are invited by the bride to wear white/ivory or know without a doubt that she will NOT be wearing white/ivory, you should make other outfit arrangements!

Stick with the Theme

Popular with today’s couples is the idea of a themed wedding. From vintage to modern, bohemian to rustic, whimsical to modern, and beyond, we encourage you to get with the theme. Learn as much as possible about the expectations of the dress associated with the motif and then go for it. Keep in mind that you will be attending a wedding, so even though you may be dressing for a theme, remember that there are still rules-of-thumb for how you dress: Don’t dress to casually, don’t wear anything too revealing (skirts too short, or cleavage), include fun accessories that add to the outfit, and choose colors for the appropriate months/season.

Labels: Blog

The difference between a Wedding Planner & Venue Coordinator

black thumb studio

You’re planning for the biggest day of your life, your wedding. Imagine all the details it will take to execute the event that you have always dreamed of. You may be considering engaging someone to help with all planning, coordination and execution. Will the venue coordinator at your reception site be suitable for this role? Maybe. Let’s consider the differences between a wedding planner and venue coordinator to help make the decision easier.

Venue Coordinators (VC) can certainly be a valuable connection when scheduling items related to your reception, such as selecting the tables, chairs and linens kept on-site, as well as, meal selections and food counts. Their job, after all, is to act on behalf of the venue to make your affair run seamlessly while on premise. Note – if special colors or styles for linens or décor items are needed, the couple may need to order them separately through a party rental company and arrange for delivery to venue.

A Wedding Planner (WP) will be by your side long before the wedding day and stays tuned-in to your needs throughout the ceremony and reception. They are with you until the last guest has departed and all of your décor, personal belongings and gifts have been packed. Count on your wedding planner to be your right-hand for everything important in the flawless execution of your entire day. Not only will a WP collaborate with a VC to ensure correct placement of guests, gifts, entertainers and receiving lines, she is also available to help out if anything unexpected happens during the day.

black thumb studio


As you might expect, VCs handle items having to do with the venue. Tables, chairs, linens, food. If the venue is handling the catering, the VC will manage the staff, servers and timing of meal, as well as the set-up and breakdown of the tables & chairs. A VC will typically stay on-site until the event has kicked off, or sometimes through the meal, leaving for the day early into the event.

In addition to handling all the items at the venue (either with support of the VC or without), the WP will also handle all coordination of pre-wedding tasks, event flow and scheduling. Managing each element ensures that all details are accounted for and scheduled. Additionally, reviewing needed items periodically to be sure they are correct in number, and in line with event style and theme is also part of the service. Most importantly for day-of flow, WPs will also direct vendors on where and when to arrive, keep them informed of event time-frame and advise on logistical changes, as well as performance execution.


A VC will likely provide a list of preferred vendors but typically do not manage any of the coordination with them. Meeting with, selecting and managing the vendors, in addition to coordinating their performance throughout the wedding will fall on the shoulders of the couple and/or the other vendors.

With a WP, the couple can rest assured that every aspect of the entire day will be accounted for and managed providing them with peace of mind. WPs also help select vendors, attend planning meetings leading up to the wedding, assist in reviewing the contracts and become the point of contact for the entire day of the wedding until the last guest departs. Best of all, they move your plan forward assuring that every detail falls into place perfectly the day of the wedding. If the DJ or any other vendor is running late, the WP will devise a plan to cover the gap. If your caterer falls ill and is short staffed for delivery and service, the WP will call in a team to assist.


A VC will provide time-frames for doors opening, food service, clean-up and breakdown of tables and chairs. They have been hired by the venue to manage all the logistics required to move events through the site, and they are great at managing these items. They are not, however, fully responsible for your other wedding day plans and special elements or timelines outside of food service. It is not a VCs job to coordinate with outside vendors, inform of any logistical changes (outside of food and beverage) or manage your wedding party. If you are unsure about what your venue will assist with – just ask for an itemized list of services.

When you hire a WP, they work for you – not the venue. So, they will work with the couple prior to the event to map out the happenings of the day creating a smooth event. During the wedding day the WP will coordinate vendor arrivals and drop-offs, devise a detailed plan for and with the photographer, all formal dances, cake cutting, etc.

Direct Access

While you may have worked with one specific VC throughout your pre-wedding preparations, it is possible that you may have someone completely different running the day of events. It’s true the venue will have staff to assist in items included in the contracted agreement, but it might be someone unfamiliar with you and your wedding details.

Reversely, WPs get to know your desires, preferences and expectations prior to the wedding day, and will take control of the details to manage a flawless experience for you and your guests. This includes handing out their cell phone numbers to vendors and the wedding party and answering calls and texts on the fly and executing the detailed timeline they created with your vendor team. They are knowledgeable of the wedding plans and can put out any last-minute fires.


VCs are not equipped for, nor are they compensated by the venue to, help design your perfect wedding. The VCs are overseers of the reception location and may be limited in their knowledge of outside suppliers and opportunities for the couple.

In contrast, WPs assist with the planning and design of your entire wedding. From invitations and floral design, to color schemes and music selections, they act as trusted advisors and hands-on assistants so that the happy couple can enjoy their big day. Beyond the planning, WPs also assist in decorating the ceremony and reception area, cueing the DJ and coordinating all the vendors including any make-up touch-ups for the bridal party prior to the ceremony.

The Bottom-Line

Both a venue coordinator and a wedding planner can be valuable assets to a couple on their wedding day. When they are working together, and fulfilling all their responsibilities as outlined, it produces a smooth and effortless event.

The most important factor influencing your decision to hire an outside wedding planner should be your expectations. If it is important to you that your wedding and the planning process be stress-free and the wedding day is professionally managed by someone who has your best interest in mind, then you may favor a WP, as they will act on your behalf, providing an extra set of eyes, ears and hands throughout the entire process. Essentially, their job includes anything the couple needs, and does not end until the event is over.

As professional wedding planners, we love to work with great venue coordinators. With both a strong VC and a professional WP, it ensures the best experience for our clients.

Labels: Blog

5 Ways to Eliminate the Stress of Planning a Wedding

From the moment a date is set for your wedding, it’s easy to get wrapped up in every detail that comes with your big day. Sometimes, that excitement can even turn into stress and you may find that, during your short time being engaged, you felt anxious due to all of the things on your to-do list. First, take a deep breath…..

planning a stress free wedding

Now, check out five ways to get rid of stress when planning for your big day.

Organize Your Goals

There are tons of wedding organizational tools at your disposal that help you break down what to plan for and when for your wedding day. The key is to break down your goals into more manageable monthly and weekly goals. Even if your goals overlap, breaking them up into bite-sized tasks will help take the stress away from the larger event.

Delegate to Your Tribe

Just because you have a specific vision for your wedding doesn’t mean you should take on each task by yourself. Your parents, future spouse, in-laws, and even your wedding party, are all ready and waiting to help you when you need it. In fact, they may even feel a little left out if you forget to ask them for help with all of the wedding planning duties. Let your friends, family, and professionals help you when you’re getting too overwhelmed. When you need someone to babysit your dog, you call a friend. When your dishwasher breaks, you call a professional repairman. So why wouldn’t you call upon your tribe when planning your wedding? Most importantly, don’t try to do everything on your own.

Hire a Professional Wedding Planner

From finding the venue and creating the invitations to choosing a dinner menu and a color scheme for a whole wedding, it will get a little hard to manage everything on your own. This is especially true if you, your family or friends don’t have any experience with planning a wedding. Some tasks are best left to the professionals. Even if your chosen venue has an event coordinator and an in-house catering team, investing in a professional wedding planner to be by your side throughout the entire process will help elevate the stress. You will be amazed at how much weight will be lifted off your shoulders.

Don’t Get Bogged Down on the Details

The amount of detail that goes into planning a wedding can be extremely overwhelming, especially if you want to customize every detail. Keep in mind that at the end of the event, the most important part of the day is that you married the love of your life, the details are secondary. Try to prioritize the most important details that you want to focus on. For the details, consider either the minimalistic approach or the “standard route”. Some of the less important details may include the music the DJ plays during the off periods, what types of chairs for the ceremony and reception, what the tablescapes look like, and what type of beverages you serve.

Take Care of Yourself

Self-care is important and even more so during planning a wedding. Try to take some time each day, or at least each week, to focus on your mental clarity and physical health. Pamper yourself with getting a massage or spending the day at a spa, getting your hair done, connecting with your friends to discuss non-wedding things, do something fun, eat healthy, be outside and take time for physical fitness. It’s more than wanting to “look” your best on your wedding day, you want to make sure you feel your best too.

Labels: Blog

12 of the Best New England Lake Venues

Selecting the perfect lake setting for your wedding

Looking for an idyllic setting for your wedding, but trying to stay local? Consider the beauty and elegance that can be captured at one of New England’s lakeside wedding venues. No matter the intended size of your event, New England is home to a variety of venues that may suit your needs, from the massive Lake Champlain (Vermont) to the petite Lake Duncan (Lakes Region, New Hampshire).  Before touring the countless lakes located throughout the region decide on the mood of your weeding. If you are looking for upscale and elegant, you may consider one of the vast number of well-established venues offering numerous amenities along side the picturesque landscape. Perhaps you seek a more rustic and charming location that is more about you and your beloved vowing before family, friends and nature, there are numerous sites that offer quaint New England hospitality just right for nuptials.

6 of New England’s Spacious Lake Venues

The Woodbound Inn – Lake Contoocook

Rindge NH
 – This venue has been an Inn serving travelers to New Hampshire since the late 1800’s, finally adding the Edgewood Banquet Hall in the 1980’s. This venue offers extensive grounds on the shores of Lake Contoocook and overlooking Mt. Monadnock. Weddings can be held in a variety of areas throughout the property using tents (weather dependent) and out buildings, or in the main facility using the banquet hall. Guest rooms, restaurant, pub and recreational activities are available for all during their stay. www.woodbound.com

Mountain Top Inn & Resort – Lake Sherburne

Photo courtesy of Tree Life Photography

Chittenden, VT
 – This incredible mountain venue affords multiple ceremony sites, 700 private acres, meadows, woods, gardens, and mountain views that change with the seasons. With mountain themed lodgings, guests can choose from rooms, cabins or guest houses, all overlooking Lake Sherburne, one of the largest in the area. You may choose the rustic barn, lakefront beach pavilion or one of many outdoor options for the ceremony and reception. https://mountaintopinn.com

Spring House – Spring Lake

Block Island, RI
 – While most of Rhode Island relies on the ocean for water front activities, there are a variety of lakes and ponds located within the state as well. Most of these are for recreational purposes only, not housing formal buildings or offering events calendars. Spring House, with Spring Lake on its properties offers the best of coastal views and seaside charm, from lake to ocean. www.springhouseblockisland.com

Interlaken – Lake Wononscopomuc

Lakeville, CT
 – This venue provides exclusive weddings, with a “one wedding per day” policy to ensure each party is the focus on their special day. Making up the Inn and grounds is 30 acres of English cottage-style gardens, lake views, and seasonally inspired farm to table menus. Spa services, and special “romance” packages are also available. https://www.interlakeninn.com

Lake Pearl Wrentham – Lake Pearl

Wrentham, MA
 – Overlooking an immaculate 128-acre lake, Lake Pearl Wrentham includes 15,000 square feet of flexible event spaces, many with water views, and 25 acres of expansive lawn and private beach that create a unique New England destination event and wedding venue. Each wedding experiences a unique, private entryway, separate indoor/outdoor cocktail spaces, personal bridal suites, dedicated bridal attendants and access to romantic grounds, gazebos and beaches for inspired wedding pictures. http://www.lakepearl.com

Bear Mountain Inn & The Barn – Bear Lake

Waterford, ME
 – Boasting plenty of rustic charm, this facility is hip and modern while providing the natural charm inherent to the setting. Located at the base of Maine’s White Mountains, this venue can accommodate up to 150 guests, and offers a tented outdoor option May through November for up to 250 guests. www.bearmtninn.com

6 of New England’s Cozier Lake Venues

Chocorua (Church) Island Chapel – Chocorua Island, Squam Lake

Holderness, NH
 – A truly unique site for weddings, this island once housed the country’s first resident boys camp. Since 1928 this island has been under the management of the Chocorua Island Chapel Association and offers regular Sunday morning worship services from June through September. The association allows limited use of the island for wedding ceremonies and other religious uses. No alcohol is allowed on site. www.churchisland.org

Lake Morey Resort – Lake Morey

Fairlee, VT
 – Feature packed, and amenity rich, this resort sits on pristine Lake Morey and is surrounded by the green mountains of Vermont. From intimate affairs, to large scale events, there are options for all, both indoors and outdoors. Offering 130 guest rooms this location can be the site for a wedding weekend, as water sports, on-site dining and an 18-hole golf course are available to guests. www.lakemoreyresort.com

Monponsett Inn – Lake Monponsett

Halifax, MA
 – Located minutes from Boston’s South Shore, this waterfront wedding venue provides an idyllic scene for wedding celebrations. Offering both indoor and outdoor options, the venue features an outdoor gazebo, lakeside dock and indoor meeting and ballroom spaces to accommodate parties up to 220 guests. Wedding packages are available and offer flexibility in planning. www.monponsettinn.com

The Pavilion on Crystal Lake – Crystal Lake

Middletown, CT 
– The Pavilion on Crystal Lake offers beautiful indoor and outdoor areas for your wedding day, accommodating up to 200 guests. Use of the wedding suite is included in the event fees. There is also a Lake Cottage that is also available for rent providing all the comforts of home including a full bathroom, full kitchen, and plenty of space for getting ready.

The Lodge at Moosehead Lake – Moosehead Lake

Greenville, ME
 – Located in the North Woods of Maine, this Private Inn is surrounded by woods, fields, and stunning lake and mountain views. Specializing in small weddings and elopements, this location has a handful of lodge rooms, and carriage house suites. www.lodgeatmooseheadlake.com

Blithewold – Narragansett Bay

Bristol, RI
 –Providing the perfect backdrop for summer weddings, this beautiful mansion and garden venue provides sunset views of the Narragansett Bay from one of many terraces or covered porches. The venue includes a forty-five-room mansion, rebuilt in 1908 in the English Manor style. Lush flower gardens, water gardens and rock gardens dot the landscape making this a luxurious and exquisite site for your “I Do’s”. www.blithewold.org

A Beautiful Location Awaits You

New England is riddled with picturesque scenes, from mountain views, secluded woodland and lush farmlands, to breezy oceanside sands and relaxing lake front cottages. You cannot go wrong with any of the options, but when a relaxing lake shore wedding is what you seek, it’s nice to know that you can find just the right option here in New England. Not all lakeside venues are the same, coming in a wide range of sizes, locations and amenities. Visit some of these unique treasures to get a better feel for your style and vibe.




Labels: Blog