Charlotte Wedding Planner :: Andrea & Bashir’s Wedding

I think it’s about time for some wedding gawking! Introducing the new Mr. & Mrs. Hosseini! This gorgeous pair was united in wedded bliss at the Prestonwood Country Club on September 29th. The room seemed to glow with a romantic ambiance of neutral and warm colors. Take a peek at few of these beautiful images.

Venue :: Prestonwood Country Club
Photography :: Swank Photo Studio
Florist :: Fresh Affairs
Hair & Makeup :: Belloviso
Bridal Gown :: J Majors
DJ :: Bunn DJ Company
Videographer :: Heart Stone Films

Wedding Planner :: Hall & Webb Event Design

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Charlotte Wedding Planner :: Bow Tie Bonkers

I grew up in New Jersey. People just do not wear bow ties up there. A bow tie? Why in the world would someone wear a bow around their neck? Well, now that I live in beautiful North Carolina I can tell you that all sorts of stylish gentlemen are sporting this neck wear! Dress it up in a tuxedo or dress it down with a checked shirt and converse sneakers! Either way, the bow tie is seeing a revival with today’s stylish men. To me, it is the epitome of southern proper attire. Put a handsome groom in a bow tie and you have a magical combination. Check out these neck adornments and swoon over how dapper your groom can look too!

xoxo,
Laura

Charlotte Wedding Planner :: Wedding Welcome Bags

There is no better way to welcome guests to your wedding weekend than with a little piece of your personalities all wrapped up!  A trend that more and more couples are following today is providing welcome bags in each guest’s hotel room. It’s a nice way to let them know how excited you are to have them at your special day! So let’s talk about what goes into that clever little chinch…

1. A versatile vessel – All that cool stuff needs a home, so pick a bag that goes with your theme, colors, or personalities. Maybe you’re the clean and sleek kind of couple, then go with a solid and modern shape. If you’re the traditional kind, grab a bag with fun florals or maybe a canvas tote you personalized your self!

2. Toss in some edibles – What are your and your future hubby’s favorite snacks? Throw in some treats that your guests can identity with you! Love those old fashion coke bottles? Getting married in New Jersey like me? Include some salt water taffy. Think about your location and what kinds of things it is known for!

3. Pampering products – After a long night of dancing in heels and throwing back some champagne, there’s nothing more that I want than an aspirin and a bottle of water in the morning! Make sure you provide items that traveling guests may not have thought of. Aunt Lisa spill some wine on her new dress? She has a handy Tide Stain Stick in her welcome bag!

4. The Big Event – Provide guests with a timeline fore the weekend’s events. Include info on the rehearsal dinner for all that are involved and make sure guets know where and when they have some place to be! If you’re doing a brunch or luncheon that day after, make sure all your family and friends know the location. We don’t want that crazy college buddy walking into the ceremony 30 minutes late…

5. Play tour tuide – No one knows the area better than you! If you’re doing a destination wedding, make sure to scout out the area so you can provide guests with a map of local attractions, restaurants, drug stores, and any other place you think they may want to venture during their down time.

6. Thank You note – Your guests know how much you love them, but it’s always nice to hear it! Include a thoughtful Thank You card letting them know how much their presence at your special day means you. Make sure you also use this space to describe any sentimental meanings or stories behind the contents of the bag. Did you include your Grandma’s homemade jam? Let them know about all the love you poured into that little jar.

xoxo,
Laura

Charlotte Wedding Planner :: Monogrammed Bridesmaids Gifts!

As a bride, having your best gals standing by your side on your big day means more to you than they will ever know. Having their love and support, from getting that shiny engagement ring slipped on your finger to the big “I do’s”, is such a meaningful thing! You want to show your sistas how much they mean to you with a token of your affection. Bridesmaid gifts are just a little way for you, the bride, to show them how much they rock and how much help they have been during your bridezilla phase. Making each gift personal is what it’s all about…and every southern bride knows she can never go wrong with a MONOGRAM! I would monogram everything I own if I could, so why not give your ladies something special that has their signature mark on it too?

xoxo,
Laura

Charlotte Wedding Planner :: Two for Tuesday

HOLY MOTHER OF CHEESE. I made this Cheesy Broccoli with Chicken and Rice Casserole yesterday and OH LAWD. It was seriously delicious. My fiance’s (southern) grandparents came over for dinner last night and I knew I had to make something scrumptious. I found this recipe and it just screamed southern comfort food. Needless to say, his grandmother was throughly impressed with my cooking and made sure that I emailed her the recipe today! This recipe can serve 8-10 people so I cut it in half like I do with most recipes. We had just enough left over for the two of us to have lunch today! Perfect!

Bread Crumbs:
2 slices hearty white sandwich bread, torn into pieces
3/4 cup grated parmesan cheese
4 tablespoons butter, melted; plus two tablespoons chilled
1 garlic clove, minced

Casserole:
2 pounds broccoli (about 3-4 medium heads of broccoli), florets cut into 1-inch pieces, stems chopped
4-5 Cooked and shredded chicken Breasts
1 onion, finely chopped
1 1/4 cups long grain white rice
4 cups low-sodium chicken broth
1 1/4 cups half-and-half
1 teaspoon salt
2 cups shredded extra-sharp cheddar cheese
1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper

1. Heat the oven to 400 degrees. Grease a 9X13-inch baking dish.
2. Pulse bread, 1/4 cup parmesan cheese and melted butter in a food processor until coarsely ground. Add garlic. Set aside.
3. Microwave broccoli florets (save stems for later), covered, in a large bowl until bright green and tender, 2 to 3 minutes (no need to add water). Be careful not to overcook or they will become soggy and discolored.
4. Melt remaining butter in a large pot over medium heat. Cook onion and broccoli stems until softened, 8 to 10 minutes. Add rice and cook, stirring constantly, until rice is translucent, about 1 minute. Stir in broth, half-and-half, and salt and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium-low and cook, stirring often, until rice is tender, 20 to 25 minutes.
5. Off the heat, stir in cheddar cheese, cayenne, remaining parmesan, broccoli florets, and cooked chicken.
6. Pour the mixture into prepared baking dish and top with bread crumb mixture. Bake until the sauce is bubbling around the edges and the top is golden brown, about 15 minutes. Cool 5 minutes. Serve.

Charlotte Wedding Planner :: Wedding Cake Alternatives

I enjoy a piece of cake every now and then but if I’m craving something sweet and scrumptious, cake is not where I turn. And I know I’m not alone in this! Of course I am going to have a wedding cake at my upcoming May nuptials, but my fiance and I are also doing something a little more unorthodox…A PIE BAR! I love the way wedding cakes look (ours will be all white with fresh flowers cascading down) but I would rather stuff my face with an ooey gooey pie! So for all you nontraditional brides, or brides with a love for sweets, here are some alternatives or additions to your cake table.

Charlotte Wedding Planner :: Two for Tuesday

What do get when you combine Marinara sauce, Alfredo sauce, and a dash of some red pepper? This amazing Spicy Chicken Rigatoni! Carbs and I are very very good friends. I could eat pasta pretty much every day and this dish totally hit the spot. I made with my boo one night a couple weeks ago and we scarfed it down! It was easy and delicious ..I think you should try it tonight!

Ingredients
1/4 cup oil
1/2 Tbs crushed red pepper
1/8 tsp salt
1/8 tsp ground black pepper
1 Tbs chopped garlic
6 oz chicken, sliced
3/4 cup. Marinara sauce
1/2 cup Alfredo sauce
2 tsp butter
1/4 cup peas
1 lb Rigatoni pasta, cooked according to package directions
additional 1/2 t crushed red pepper (for garnish)

Directions
In a sauté pan, heat oil over medium heat. Add crushed red pepper, salt, black pepper and garlic and sauté just long enough for garlic to caramelize and red pepper to release flavor into the oil. Add sliced chicken and sauté briefly to coat in spices and garlic.

Add Marinara Sauce first and then Alfredo Sauce and bring to a simmer. Cook until sauce thickens slightly and chicken has reached an internal temperature of 165°. Turn off flame, add butter and peas and incorporate into sauce.

Drop cooked pasta in boiling water for 3 seconds. Let drain for 15 seconds. Toss with the sauce. Place pasta and sauce in pasta bowl, reserving the majority of the chicken to be placed on top of the pasta. Using a rubber spatula, scrape any remaining sauce from the pan to the pasta. Garnish with crushed red pepper and serve.

Charlotte Wedding Planner :: Andrea & Bashir E-shoot

Andrea and Bashir are such a cute pair! We have had the pleasure of working with them over the past year and are so excited to share in their special day! They will be getting married at the Prestonwood Country Club in Cary on September 29th.  Check out their gorgeous E-shoot, shot by Stacy Borelli of Swank Photo Studio.

Charlotte Wedding Planner :: Bella Bridesmaids Charlotte

Every bride needs her girls by her side for the big day. The bridesmaids’ fashion is so important to the overall look of the wedding…after all, you want your gals to be fabulous too, right? I got a chance to chat with Bella Bridesmaid shop owner, Cecily, about her little piece of bridesmaid heaven.

Q: What made you want to open a Bella Bridesmaid boutique?

A: It was a natural progression for me as I was searching for the right business concept and had experience in the bridal industry.  After visiting the Bella Bridesmaid in Atlanta with my sister, I knew the boutique would be the perfect fit for brides in Charlotte!

Q: What is the best advice you give to brides that come into your shop?

A: Keep an open mind and try styles that you might not be drawn to on the hanger! 

Q: What designers do you carry? Do you have a favorite?

A: We carry so many wonderful designers, from Coren Moore and Carol Hannah to Jenny Yoo, Ivy and Aster, Joanna August, and Lela Rose.  Check out our website at www.bellabridesmaid.com for the full list! 

Every designer that we work with has their own unique style, so it is very hard to have a favorite.  I definitely have certain dresses that I am in love with – Jenny Yoo ‘Aidan’, Joanna August ‘Newbury Street’, Coren Moore ‘Alex’, and Love Lane ‘Kate’ to name a few!

Q: Do you offer other things, like accessories, in your shop?

A: We do!  We currently carry brooches and earrings by Haute Bride, Vineyard Vines ties, jewelry by local designer Erin McDermott, Nina Shoes, and ringbearer pillows by Heart Paper Soul.

Q: What makes your shop different from the rest?

A: Our goal is to provide a one on one personal experience, so we work by appointment and really get to know each and every bride.  We focus on the overall theme of the wedding, and help style the wedding party in the dresses that will perfectly suit each bridesmaid and also reflect the look the bride wants to achieve.  We strive to carry unique designers that are not found in any other boutiques in the area. 

We make the ordering process as simple as possible, and your bridesmaids can visit their local Bella Bridesmaid to be measured for their dresses if they live out of town!

To make an appointment or to learn more about Bella Bridesmaid go to http://www.bellbridesmaid.com or email Cecily at Charlotte@bellabridesmaid.com.

Charlotte Boutique
2133 Southend Drive, Suit 104
Charlotte, NC 28203
Phone: 704.817.7547

Charlotte Wedding Planner :: Two for Tuesday

Today’s recipe comes with fond memories for me of growing up in Northern New Jersey. There are Italian restaurants on every block in my neighborhood, each boasting delicious menus. But one of my favorite dishes was alway Chicken Piccata. The saltiness of the capers and the juiciness of the fresh lemon was just perfect. It’s making my mouth water right now!

This dish was super easy, only took us about 30 minutes start to finish to make. It was super light and fresh and I’m already looking forward to making it again!

2 boneless, skinless Chicken breasts, cut in half lengthwise, to form 4 thin cutlets
1 cup Italian style bread crumbs
1 egg, beaten
4 Tablespoons butter
1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
1 cup chicken stock
1/4 cup brined capers, rinsed
1/4 cup fresh parsley, chopped
8 ounces Angel hair pasta
2 Tablespoons butter
1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese

Directions: Pour the bread crumbs in a shallow plate or dish. Pour the beaten egg in a seperate shallow dish. Take one chicken cutlet and dredge in the egg, and then in the breadcrumbs. Shake off any excess breadcrumbs and place on a plate. Repeat with all cutlets.

In a large skillet, melt 2 tablespoons of butter over medium-high heat. Place two of the coated chicken cutlets into the skillet. Cook on each side, for 4 minutes. Once thoroughly cooked, place on a plate and tent with foil to keep warm.

Add the remaining 2 tablespoons of butter. Let butter melt and then cook the other two pieces of coated chicken, for 4 minutes on each side. Remove from skillet and keep warm with other chicken.

Pour the lemon juice, chicken stock and capers into the warm skillet. Stir and scrape up any of the loose brown bits. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat slightly and let sauce simmer for 5 minutes.

Meanwhile, cook angel hair pasta according to package directions. Drain water and add 2 Tablespoons butter to pasta and 1/2 cup freshly grated parmesan cheese.

Serve chicken with sauce and pasta. Garnish with fresh parsley and more grated Parmesan cheese.