No, I haven't fallen off the face of the earth. I've just been ridiculously busy at the day job, and I've been spending every spare moment updating the designs on my website. They're all still a bit of a work in progress, but I'm getting there ; )

Back soon!



Photographer, John Dolan is hands down the master at capturing the joy and excitement of a wedding with his effortlessly exquisite style. Its been said that he, along with a handful of other photographers back in the mid-ninties, helped to change the aesthetic of wedding photography by doing away with the static poses and cheese-y smiles and taking a less planned approach. He captures intimate moments in a photojournalistic manner, but with an eye for beauty. Having photographed the weddings of many celebrities including Ben Stiller, Will Smith and Jennifer Lopez it says a lot that his client list also includes numerous high profile art directors and magazine editors who have quite a descerning eye for photography, including Darcy Miller. Many these clients liked both John and their wedding images so much that they hired him for hi profile advertising campaigns as well. John’s approach is exactly the opposite of planned which is as it should be. He has said that “The less hard I work toward making a picture and forcing it, the better they are.” Here are some of my favorite shots by John from the wedding of Matt Lauer to his stunning bride Annette.



How stunning are these journals from Elum Designs? They're hard-cover bound with rounded corners and wrapped in sophisticated yet whimsical custom printed fabrics. They even have a built in pocket on the back cover. Love!



Lately I have been enamoured by the work of the photographer Mel Barlow. While thumbing through my piles of wedding magazines several of her images have caught my eye. I am captivated by her stunningly fresh style and so I decided to look her up. It’s no surprise that her background is in fashion photography which is evident in the attention to detail and sense of design she brings to her wedding images. A member of the elite group of photographers, Elan Documentary, and based in both NY and San Francisco, you can check out more of her WPJA award winning work here



Here are my favorite paper and invitation finds for the week...

Top left: Stunning silk box invitation from Alia Designs; Top center: A beautiful program inspired by the damask walls of the St. Regis Hotel by Ceci NY; Top right: Flair Necessities; Bottom left: Thank you card from Peculiar Pair Press via Luxe Paperie; Bottom right: Thank you card from Hello Lucky via Luxe Paperie



I wanted to take a moment to highlight an exceptionally unique and beautiful wedding venue that is local to me. Located in Hamilton, NJ, The Grounds For Sculpture is a museum and outdoor sculpture garden with over 240 contemporary sculptures placed within the grounds. There are lush green gardens, waterfalls, a water lily pond, a lake, and even roaming peacocks. In short, it's a stunning location for a wedding. Ceremonies are held among The Nine Muses by Carlos Dorrien, located on the sculpture pad at the center of the park, in the Amphitheater pictured below or on the stunning and romantic Monet Bridge. Multiple locations within the grounds are available for receptions including for smaller affairs, the charming French provencial restaurant Rats, named after a character from the classic novel The Wind in the Willows. It’s really lovely.

Above images by Heather Waraksa

Top Left: Tangerine Photography
Top right: Images by Cathy
Bottom left & center: John Fischer
Bottom right: Images by Cathy

Monet bridge photo by John Fischer

The Amphitheater photo by Malgorzata Mosiek



Today’s post is about unique placecard ideas. I love the unexpected, a little off the beat and path. Remember, legibility of the information at hand is of utmost importance. You’d be surprised what I’ve been through with brides who are in love with a beautiful yet completely illegiable font which must be used for her placecards. But really, let your imagination run wild. It’s one of those little details that guests actually remember when it’s a little different than every other wedding they've attended.

Think about interesting ways to display your placecards. A fabric wrapped board, suspended from ribbons perhaps from a large floral arrangement, or affixed to a clothesline by patterned clothespins from Susy Jack are all a little unexpected and sure to capture the attention of your guests.

Photos from left: Jessica Claire via Details Details; Charming Gardner; Jessica Claire; Susy Jack ; Knottie Bio NPWedding

It never ceases to amaze me how many guests are still truly amazed at the placecard votives. While not exactly ‘unique’ to us wedding addicts, guests love them and they’re a relatively easy DIY project. The key is to use a straight sided votive holder in order for the vellum to wrap neatly around the holder. 3M vellum tape is also key. All other brands I’ve tried won’t hold up to the heat of the candle. Be sure to have your venue light them no more than 20 minutes prior to the reception start time or they'll get a little too hot for your guests to handle.

Inexpensive candy bars can be rewrapped in coordinating scrapbook papers featuring an elegant pattern. While the individually imprinted ribbon used in this example may be a bit cost prohibitive for most, this idea can easily be adapted by adding a small tag with the the guest’s name and table assignment. Try a calligraphy font like Burges Script. You’re guests will never know it wasn’t done by hand. Check out scrapbook papers from Anna Griffin. Her elegant patterns lend themselves perfectly to weddings.

Photos from left: ivillage; Paper Addict



Run on over to the unbelievably talented Cat Seto’s blog for a full week of wedding posts. For those of you who don’t know her, Cat designs a charming vintage chic line of wedding invitations, boxed notes and imprintables which feature her illustrations and watercolors and is the owner of Cat Seto Boutique which is a lovely shop in San Francisco selling stationery, gifts, dresses and misc. fresh finds from independent designers. She's just opened Paper Studio, a by appointment studio featuring her own line of invitations, custom work and a very well edited selection from other designers. Cat is living my dream! Here are some of my favorites from her collection...



Take a sneak peek at Monique Lhuillier's stunning Autumn '08 Bridal Collection here. How unbelievably elegant is this little number?



I’m dying to do a wedding in black damask d├ęcor. Damask is such an elegant pattern that makes a great statement in black, especially when paired with a vibrant color. It’s both bold and elegant. If you want an example of bang for your buck in black damask, check out hawaiibride2be's updated knottie bio. Her MIL made all of her linens, including those fabulous chair covers, from tablecloths purchased on sale for a steal at Linen's and Things! Here are some additional beautiful black damask inspiration...

Top Left to Right: Wedding Junkie; Jessica Claire; Bridal Bar Blog; Hawaiibride2be
Middle Left to Right: Laura Novak; The White Aisle; The White Aisle
Bottom Left to Right: Oliver Bonas; Bridal Bar Blog; Hawaiibride2be



The shear wealth of available and talented wedding stationery designers who are out there creating consistently stunning wedding invitations never ceases to amaze me . Take at look at my favorites for this week…

Top Left: Simply Unique Invitations
Top Center: Brown Sugar Design
Top Right: Alia Designs
Middle Left: Diane Lamendola
Middle Center: Simply Unique Invitations
Middle Right: Ceci NY
Bottom Left: It's Fancy
Bottom Center: Diane Lamendola
Bottom Right: Mr. Boddington's Studio



Flickr, the oh so helpful site that allows you to store, sort, manage, search and share photos online, has such a wealth of beautiful wedding inspiration right at your fingertips. It's also a great source to find vendors making everything from invitations to jewelry to cakes. Just look what I found today…

Top left: Stunning black damask invitations from Mew Paper Arts
Top right: Matching cupcakes on a custom black damask cupcake stand from Le Cupcake
Middle left: So pretty in its simplicity, a red and white cupcake tree from Sweet Avenue Bakeshop via Danivance
Middle right: Pretty letterpressed engagement announcement from msusser
Bottom left: Black damask mint tin from cicuska
Bottom right: Beaded bridal hair pins from cc design



I heart the 2008 Pronovias Vintage Collection of wedding dresses. My dress #1 was a Pronovias cap sleeve bateau neckline silk mikado number, quite similar to the dress in the top left of the photo below but with cap sleeves, that sadly never got to see the light of day. (It was ruined by the seamstress a month before the big day…don’t ask...)

This dress was so elegant in it’s simplicity, so perfect. I think that's what tripped up the seamstress. One false move on a simple dress and it'll definitely be noticed. Pronovias dresses are well made and very well structured. With a little wink and a nod to the 40’s and 50’s they are reminiscent of bygone era in fashion. If you’re planning a 40's movie star glamour inspired wedding, like Classic Bride in the inspiration board posted below, how perfect would it be to wear a dress from the Pronovias Vintage collection? Now available at their recently opened a flagship store in NYC at 14 East 52nd Street.


I have always gravitated towards elegant lady-like script fonts. The swirlier the better. I use at least one of them in almost every design I’ve ever created, unless I’m expressly asked not to of course. I am admittedly a bit font obsessed and am known to blurt out at incredibly inappropriate times the names of various fonts used in documents presented to me. I spend countless hours playing with the seemingly endless glyphs included with Bickham Script Pro and my new favorite font Burges Script. As many of you lucky ladies who got engaged over the holidays are looking for inspiration for your invitations, I thought I would share my favorite script fonts with you…



One of the more popular services I offer to brides through my design business, Merrilee Designs are custom monograms . As I’ve been too busy to do my follow-ups, I rarely get to see how my clients use their monograms, unless I happen to stumble across them accidentally. While perusing Wedding Bee today, I was so excited to see some of my handywork in a recent post re: Knottie Bios of the week. My client La'Kay, AKA So_n_luv, used her monogram everywhere from her invitations (designed by Beloved Designs) to her gobo, bubbles, ice sculpture and her adorable chair placecards. Congratulations La’Kay on a beautiful wedding!

Beautiful photography courtesy of Milton Gil



This is such an amazing contest with a very generous prize offered by the talented photographer Jessica Claire. For the second consecutive year she is offering free wedding photography as a prize to the most deserving couple. All you have to do is email the story of a couple who deserves free photography for their wedding. (Yes, it can be you!) She’s looking for a couple who have overcome great odds and/or has a wonderful inspiring story in general and who truly need the prize. (ie: can’t afford a lavish wedding on their own) The winner, determined by Jessica and her panel of judges, will receive free wedding day photography, including all the bells and whistles with online posting, a 9x12 album and a DVD of images. The most amazing thing is Jessica will even pay for her own travel expenses so the contest is open to anyone is the US! Check out the the full details at her blog.


Check out these lovely giclee prints from artist Kimberly Applegate. Her 5x5 prints of interiors focusing on beautiful comfy chairs are available to purchase for just $20 here. You can see more of her work including original oils and her latest commissions at her blog Joie de Vivre.

- -