September, 2009 | Wedding Blog & Party Planning Ideas by Moments of Elegance

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Browsing all posts in September, 2009.

Gift Ideas for Your Wedding Party

They’re your best buds, your amigos, the people you hand picked to help you on your special day. Now, it’s your job to say  “thanks.”  When selecting gifts for your wedding party, here are three easy tips to keep in mind:

  1. Give them something you know they can use  again — it’s just practical and besides who in this day and age can afford to throw money out the window?
  2. Personalize it – there’s just something extra special about a gift with a monogram.
  3. Make sure it’s age appropriate – don’t give a junior groomsman a flask!

At, we can help make your bridal party gifts elegant, personal and whimsical.  We have a variety of gifts for all budgets starting at $25 and up. Here’s just a few of our best sellers!



For more groomsmen and bridesmaid gift ideas, please visit, the premiere destination for stylish favors, custom gifts and bridal accessories.

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Soup’s On!!!

A first-rate soup is more creative than a second-rate painting.
–Abraham Maslow

There’s a crisp clean chill in the air. It’s fall and it’s time for something that will warm you from the inside out.  And there’s nothing that will warm your soul more than a hot steamy bowl of homemade soup.

If you are in the mood to cook up a pot of soup, you must visit, there are four hundred fall soup recipes to choose from!!! For any home chef, this is the go-to website for recipes. The site features thousands of recipes, outlines the ingredients and preparation for each, along with helpful user reviews. The best part is it’s FREE!!!

Here are some of our fav fall soup recipes and wine parings:

french onion soupFrench Onion Soup


  • 2 lb medium onions, halved lengthwise, then thinly sliced lengthwise
  • 3 sprigs fresh thyme
  • 2 Turkish bay leaves or 1 California
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 stick (1/4 cup) unsalted butter
  • 2 teaspoons all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 cup dry white wine
  • 4 cups reduced-sodium beef broth (32 fl oz)
  • 1 1/2 cups water
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  • 6 (1/2-inch-thick) diagonal slices of baguette
  • 1 (1/2-lb) piece Gruyère, Comte, or Emmental
  • 2 tablespoons finely grated Parmigiano-Reggiano

Special equipment: 6 (8- to 10-oz) flameproof soup crocks or ramekins; a cheese plan


Cook onions, thyme, bay leaves, and salt in butter in a 4- to 5-quart heavy pot over moderate heat, uncovered, stirring frequently, until onions are very soft and deep golden brown, about 45 minutes. Add flour and cook, stirring, 1 minute. Stir in wine and cook, stirring, 2 minutes. Stir in broth, water, and pepper and simmer, uncovered, stirring occasionally, 30 minutes.

While soup simmers, put oven rack in middle position and preheat oven to 350°F.

Arrange bread in 1 layer on a large baking sheet and toast, turning over once, until completely dry, about 15 minutes.

Remove croûtes from oven and preheat broiler. Put crocks in a shallow baking pan.

Discard bay leaves and thyme from soup and divide soup among crocks, then float a croûte in each. Slice enough Gruyère (about 6 ounces total) with cheese plane to cover tops of crocks, allowing ends of cheese to hang over rims of crocks, then sprinkle with Parmigiano-Reggiano.

Broil 4 to 5 inches from heat until cheese is melted and bubbly, 1 to 2 minutes.

Wine Paring:

Butternut Soup with Cumin


  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 3 medium onions, peeled and sliced (3 cups)
  • 3 pounds butternut squash, peeled and cut into 2-inch cubes (8 cups)
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 3 sprigs of fresh thyme
  • 3 cups chicken broth, vegetable broth, or a commercial broth or bouillon cubes
  • Croutons


In a 6-quart heavy-bottomed soup pot, heat the oil over medium heat and stir in the onions. Cover, reduce the heat, and braise for 15 minutes, checking that the onions don’t burn.

Add the squash to the onions. Sprinkle with salt, pepper, cumin, and thyme; cover the pot. Braise for another 15 minutes, checking once in a while that the vegetables do not burn.

Add the broth, bring to a boil, cover, reduce the heat, and simmer for 30 minutes or until the squash is tender.

Purée the soup in a blender or food processor in batches or use an immersion blender. Reheat the soup; taste for salt, and add more cumin to taste. Serve boiling hot with croutons.

Wine Paring:

$17.64 and up


For tortilla soup

  • 1/2 white onion
  • 1 pound plum tomatoes
  • 6 peeled garlic cloves
  • 2 [dried] guajillo chilies* (about 1 ounce)
  • 2 [dried] ancho chilies* (about 1 ounce)
  • ten 5- to 6-inch white corn tortillas
  • about 2 cups peanut or vegetable oil for deep-frying
  • 8 cups chicken stock*
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano, crumbled
  • 1 teaspoon coarse salt

For avocado relish

  • 2 ripe California avocados
  • 1 small vine-ripened tomato
  • 2/3 cup finely chopped white onion (about 1/2 onion)
  • 1 to 2 fresh serrano chilies
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh coriander sprigs
  • 2 teaspoons fresh lime juice
  • 1 teaspoon coarse salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon coarsely crushed black peppercorns
  • 8 fresh coriander sprigs
  • Garnish: lime wedges


Preheat broiler.

Coarsely chop onion. In a well-seasoned 9-inch cast-iron or other heavy ovenproof skillet arrange onion, tomatoes, and garlic in one layer and broil about 2 inches from heat, turning vegetables occasionally with tongs, until tomato skins are blistered and lightly charred, about 20 minutes. Cool vegetables.

While vegetables are broiling, remove stems, seeds, and ribs from chilies (wear rubber gloves). Heat a dry griddle or heavy skillet over moderate heat until hot but not smoking and toast chilies, 1 or 2 at a time, pressing down with tongs, a few seconds on each side, or until more pliable. Transfer chilies as toasted to a bowl. Cover chilies with hot water and soak about 20 minutes, or until soft.

Drain chilies, discarding soaking liquid, and in a blender purée with vegetable mixture until smooth.

Cut 6 tortillas into quarters and cut remaining 4 tortillas into 1/4-inch-wide strips. In cleaned 9-inch skillet heat 1/2 inch oil until a deep-fat thermometer registers 375°F. and fry tortilla quarters in 3 batches, turning them, until crisp and pale golden, 30 seconds to 1 minute. With a slotted spoon transfer quarters as fried to paper towels to drain.

Fry tortilla strips in 2 batches in same manner, transferring with tongs to paper towels to drain and keeping them separate from fried tortilla quarters. In a plastic bag with a rolling pin finely crush tortilla quarters.

In a 5-quart heavy kettle bring stock and chili pur?e to a boil, stirring. Stir in crushed tortillas, oregano, and salt and simmer, uncovered, whisking occasionally, until tortillas are soft and soup is slightly thickened, 30 to 45 minutes. If necessary, season soup with salt and pepper.

Make relish while soup is simmering:
Quarter avocados, removing pits, and peel. Cut avocados into 1/4-inch dice and finely chop tomato. Wearing rubber gloves, finely chop chilies, including seeds if desired. In a bowl gently stir together avocados, tomato, onion, chilies, and remaining relish ingredients until combined well.

Divide relish, fried tortilla strips, and coriander among 8 soup plates and ladle soup over mixture. Garnish soup with lime wedges.

$14.99 and up

All recipes and wine parings are courtesy of

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The Lowdown on Hostess Gifts

“I would thank you from the bottom of my heart,
but for you my heart has no bottom.”

~ Unknown

Hostess Gifts are a murky area, aren’t they just? When do you give one? Is a bottle of wine appropriate? Lots of questions. Here’s the lowdown for you.

When should I bring a hostess gift?

According to our friends over at the Emily Post Institute, for cocktail parties a gift is completely optional. You can always bring a bottle of wine, muffin mix or a seasonal gift like an ornament. If it’s a dinner party, yes, bring a gift, but keep it under $25. You can bring a bottle of wine, a small potted plant, scented soaps, or flowers. For an overnight stay, a gift is required, you can give it to your host anytime —  upon arrival, during your stay or after you leave.  The gift should be in relation to the length of your stay, for a weekend stay you can send flowers and for a week long stay you can give the host a gift certificate to a spa or restaurant.

Does the hostess gift have to be wine or flowers?

Of course not! Feel free to get creative! Check out these sites for inspiring ideas:

Whether you go you hand make a hostess gift or you hand pick a beautiful bouquet of flowers, if your gift is from the heart you just cant go wrong.

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Something old, new, borrowed & blue

Something old, something new
Something borrowed, something blue
And a silver sixpence in her shoe.

We’ve all heard it. All brides have to have something old, something new, something borrowed and something blue on their wedding day. But did you ever wonder where that wedding tradition actually came from? The saying dates back to the Victorian era. It started in Great Britain around 1551. And for good luck  and happiness brides have been honoring the tradition ever since.

Let’s break it down for you:

  • Something old –  represents the link between the bride’s past especially her ties to her mother or grandmother, most importantly it signifies the continuity between the bride’s family and her new one. Oftentimes brides wear a piece of antique jewelry.
  • Something new – symbolizes good luck and happiness in the marriage. The wedding dress is usually the something new and it represents the fact that the bride and groom are building a new life together.
  • Something borrowed – is especially important because the bride should “borrow” something from a happily married friend, to lend the bride some of her martial happiness. This piece is of course returned after the wedding and can be anything of sentimental value.
  • Something blue — is the ancient symbol for faithfulness, purity and loyalty. In the olden days, couples wore blue arm bands, but the modern bride usually wears a blue garter. FYI…Moments of Elegance features blue garters ranging in price from $18 to $22.

So, there you have it.  May your wedding day be a memorable event filled with love and happiness with a little dash of luck!

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How Do Ya Like These Apples?

Today is officially the first day of the fall season.  When I think fall I always think of apples. Of course there is nothing better than a fresh crispy apple, but there are so many fun things to do with apples from cider to chutney.  Enjoy these festive fall apple recipes.

Easy Apple Cider featured on

Serves: 8


  • 1 (64 fluid ounce) bottle apple cider
  • 3 cinnamon sticks
  • 1 teaspoon whole allspice
  • 1 teaspoon whole cloves
  • 1/3 cup brown sugar

DIRECTIONS: In a slow cooker, combine apple cider and cinnamon sticks. Wrap allspice and cloves in a small piece of cheesecloth, and add to pot. Stir in brown sugar. Bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce heat, and keep warm.

Apple Chutney from Clean Food cookbook by Terry Walters

Makes 3 cups


  • 1 cup apple cider or juice
  • 2 cinnamon sticks
  • 5 cloves
  • 8 firm and tart apples (Granny Smith, Macoun or other)
  • 1 cup golden raisins
  • 1/2 cup maple syrup
  • 1 tablespoon grated fresh ginger
  • 1 large onion, diced
  • 1 fennel bulb, halved, cored, and diced
  • pinch of sea salt
  • zest of 1 lemon

DIRECTIONS: Place apple cider, cinnamon sticks, and cloves in a small pot over medium heat and simmer 15 minutes. Turn off heat, remove cinnamon sticks and cloves and set aside. Meanwhile, peel, core, and dice apples.

In 2-quart pot, combine apples, raisins, maple syrup, ginger, onion, fennel and salt. Place over medium-high heat and add in spiced apple cider. Bring to boil, reduce heat and simmer 45 minutes or until chutney is thick. Remove from heat, fold in lemon zest and serve warm or cold.

Apple Crisp recipe by The Neelys featured on the

Serves: 8



  • 5 Granny Smith apples, peeled, cored, chopped small
  • 1/4 cup finely chopped pecans
  • 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoons maple syrup
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice


  • 3/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/3 cup brown sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 6 tablespoons chilled butter, cut into pieces
  • 1/4 cup coarsely chopped pecans


Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

For the Filling:

  • Mix all the ingredients together. Place into 7 to 8-ounce ramekins.

For topping:

Mix the flour, brown sugar, cinnamon and salt in large bowl. Blend the butter into the mixture until it forms pea size lumps. Stir in pecans and sprinkle over filling.

Bake crisps for 35 to 40 minutes. Cool 10 minutes before serving.

Planning a fall dinner party or evening get together?   Consider these recipes and then look for some cool fall party favors!

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Avoid the Top 5 Wedding Mistakes

Weddings are a crazy mix of joy and stress. For many of us, we have been planning our weddings since we were little girls. We want the big day to go off without a hitch. Although, things can, and let’s be perfectly honest something will probably will go wrong.  But trust us, you’ll get over it! In any event, here are the top five wedding mistakes brides-to-be can make.

1) Issues with the marriage license. Be sure to know the rules and regs in your state or the state you are getting married in. They do vary, so you’ll want to  know what’s what.

2) Postage. Wedding invites come in all sorts of shapes and sizes, so be sure to take yours to your local post office to ensure that you have proper postage for your envelopes. It would be a bit of a bummer if all your invites were marked “return to sender.”

3) Last minute beauty treatments. Weeks before your wedding is not the time to try out a new hair cut, hair color, facial, beauty treatment, tanning bed or fad diet. The last thing you want is to have purple hair and red splotches on your face in your wedding pics!

4) Waiting too long to buy a wedding dress. Getting your dress should be one of the first things on your “To Do” list. It can take months to get your dress. You”ll also want to factor in times for fittings and alterations.

5) Booking the hotel rooms for your guests. You’ll want to reserve a book of rooms for your guests soon after you book your locale. You can always cancel them.

Fun and Festive Fall Favors

The days are getting a wee bit shorter and  the leaves are changing — fall is here. Whether you’re planning a fall wedding or a just for fun fall party, you’ll want to check out these festive fall favors.

imagemagicca8e4do13Truly, is there anything more beautiful than watching the leaves change? These fall favors capture nature’s beauty and bring it right to your table.  You”ll just love the  Autumn Leaf Candy Dishes, perfect to use as wedding favors or for any fall themed event. The lovely Leaf Place Card Favor Boxes with Designer Place Cards are sure to make a statement at your event.

When we think of fall we think of the bounty of the fall harvest and these edible favors are sure toimagemagiccacbljii bring the harvest home. You can almost smell the yummy “Fall for Love” Muffin Mix.  The Sachet Tea Infuser Favors – Autumn Blend brings the tastes and scents of fall like apples and vanilla  right to your tea cup.

imagemagiccaerpq2sThese cute and clever fall wedding and party favors are sure to delight your guests such as the Fall Leaf  Bookmark Favor or the Autumn Leaf Design Bottle Opener. Just so you know, these are just a few of the new fall favors and table decorations featured on To find more check out the  Fall Wedding Favors online catalog.

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The Number One Dinner Party Dilemma

Cooking Rule… If at first you don’t succeed, order pizza.

What should I cook? It’s the number one question/dilemma on every host’s mind. Since most of us didn’t go to culinary school the prospect of cooking for family and friends can be a bit daunting.  One of my fav celeb chefs, Jamie Oliver, makes cooking for your crew easy peasy. So before you host your next dinner party, you must check out his website Jamie

Oliver gained fame with his cooking series The Naked Chef, no he didn’t cook naked!!! What he did do was cook food that was simple to prepare yet tastes delectable. I personally owe him big time because his mashed potato recipe is always a hit at every Thanksgiving at my house. Who knew you were supposed to let the potatoes rest for five minutes before you start mashing ‘em? Thanks Jamie!

When you visit his website, you’ll find hundreds of recipes along with videos of  Jamie preparing the dishes, wine tips, and his food blog. Oliver even provides fun party theme ideas for you like Christmas Anytime or Chilli Freak – perfect for all those Sunday football parties! It’s not too late to use your grill. Here’s a link to a video of Oliver barbecuing chicken legs and thighs. Yum! As he says,”It melts in your mouth.”

So before your next dinner party, cook naked, you know find simple yet delicious recipes on Jamie I guarantee these recipes are so fool proof, you won’t have to order a pizza.

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Planning a recession wedding?


Recessions and weddings just don’t mix. Do they? But if you are a bride planning her wedding in today’s economic landscape, you’re going to have to be one savvy girl to pull off a stylish, yet affordable wedding.  You can do it! First, you’ll need to put down those wedding mags for just one minute.

You must read these tips, before you step one foot in that bridal salon. Trust me. Here are wedding tips for every recession bride:

  1. Set your budget — you’ll need to have a figure in mind before you can plan your special day.
  2. Set your guest list — know your numbers are you having 50 or 500 people?
  3. Make a list — write down the three things you can’t live without on your special day.
  4. Be inspired — start a note book with all the things that inspire you colors, dresses, flowers etc.
  5. Do your research — ask around and find out how much wedding cost in your area, you’ll need to know what the going rate is for venue, photography, flowers, and more.

I know spread sheets and budgets aren’t too romantic. You’ll need to know what you can afford. Like before you get convinced you’ll need to release a colony of Monarch butterflies when you exit the church, you’ll need to know how that will effect your overall budget.  It’s your special day and if you want butterflies then, you should have ‘em but that might mean forgoing that $10,000 hand made wedding dress.

How big is your wedding gonna be? Will it be a massive event in which you invite every person you know? Or will it be a small event for family and close friends only?

You need to determine what you can and can’t live without on your special day. This will help you make important decisions. For some brides lavish floral bouquets are the thing for others it’s gourmet food.  Make your must have list and stick with it!

For today’s bride, the choices are truly endless and it can be overwhelming. An inspiration book will help you figure out what speaks to you in terms of colors, themes, dresses and more.

Before you meet with any wedding vendors in your area, make sure you know how much the average wedding costs in your city or town. You don’t want to find out later that you paid waaay more than other brides for the exact same service. On the flip side, it will give you a reality check on what services cost in your area. If you are budgeting say $200 for flowers and in your town florist charge $2000, you’ll need to come up with a plan B.

You’ll find that planning a wedding is an emotional event and getting clear on what you want and what you can afford will give you some much needed focus.

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How to Write the Perfect Thank You Note

“I would thank you from the bottom of my heart,
but for you my heart has no bottom.”
~ Unknown

Has writing thank you notes gone the way of women wearing white gloves and men wearing hats? I think not. If it’s old fashioned to sit down and craft a thoughtful hand-written thank you note, then call me old-fashioned!

Writing the perfect thank you note is waaay easier than you think. Just follow these simple rules by manors maven   Anna Post (yep, she’s related to Emily Post):

  • Say thank you for the specific gift
  • Say something in praise of it or say how thoughtful the gift was
  • Add a few personal lines like look forward to seeing you this fall
  • Or end with a “thanks again” and then sign off

paisleynotecards_l1How easy peasy is that? So easy! Now the only thing you’ll need is the perfect stationary to write your perfect thank you note on. Check out these “Letter Perfect” Elegantly Monogrammed Note Cards in stock at Moments of Elegance. These thank you cards are so elegantly affordable too, with prices starting at just $4.99. You’ll want to stock up on these classic vintage inspired  note cards, so you’ll always be ready to say “thank you.”

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