AYW Exclusive: How to Throw a Winning Bridal Shower

‘Tis the season…of romantic, wintry proposals! And with proposals, come months spent planning- weddings, of course, but also, wedding showers. If you’re the lucky friend or family member taking on the potentially daunting task of throwing a bridal shower for the special bride-to-be in your life, read on for a simple how-to…

 

The guest list: first things first! Answer the following questions: will this be a ladies only event? a couple’s shower? a lingerie shower? This information helps determine who will receive an invitation. In some cases, the guest list may be limited to bridesmaids, close friends + close-in-age female family members. In others, invitations are extended to elder family members of the bride and groom, family friends, etc. The “theme” usually plays a role in dictating who appropriate guests are. Bringing us to our next topic of conversation..

The theme: Upon choosing the general type of shower you’ll be throwing, consider choosing a theme based on the bride’s personality + preferences. Does she have a favorite vacation spot? A love for travel? Does she prefer a certain type of cuisine? Have a favorite, festive cocktail? It’s what makes any event unique: the details, large and small, that are designed with the belle of the ball in mind. Once you’ve decided on a theme, get your creative wheels turning! Hop on Pinterest or a wedding + lifestyle blog and keep your eyes open for adaptable ideas for decor, cuisine, signature drinks, and fun event-specific group activities. We love how this tropical styled shoot we created could be easily translated in to a fun, summery shower theme idea! And finally…

 

The execution: We always recommend working with trustworthy vendors, no matter how small or large the event you’re coordinating may be. Trust your florist, caterer, stationer (etc.) to help in making creative decisions. Be sure to thoroughly explain your vision for a specified theme, and allow for their professional input as often as necessary. If you’re DIY-ing any portion of the event, don’t be afraid to delegate! It’s likely that there are other close family members and friends that would be honored to help in pulling the shower together.

Most importantly- have fun!  And we don’t just mean during the shower- we firmly believe that the planning process of any event should be enjoyable and memorable. Savor these celebratory moments leading up to the big day, you’ll wish you could relive them later on!

And, of course, should the task of planning a shower seem too daunting, the doors to our AYW office are always open! :)

 Photos:

Allen Tsai Photography, Simply Mox Paper, Culinary Art Catering, The Wildflower Floral Design

As You Wish Exclusive: Giving Thanks

In the spirit of the fast-approaching holiday season, we’ve been reflecting on our recent months… packed full of beautifully unique weddings, incredible partners within the industry who have helped to bring our wedding-design dreams to fruition, supportive family members and friends, and clients who have trusted us with their most special day- making it possible for us to do what we love. Our hearts swell with gratitude! We so adore this time of year!

We put together a little inspiration page of colors, decor elements, blooms, and the like that we’re crushing on right now. Grab yourself a piping hot cup of your beverage of choice and enjoy…

Wishing you a very happy holiday season of fully bellies + full hearts! XOXO, the As You Wish team

AYW Exclusive: B.O.N.T. Modern-Tropics Styled Shoot

This sunshine-y (and sweltering) Dallas day has the As You Wish design team reminiscing on one of our all-time favorite styled shoots to date: a Modern-Tropics themed feature in the Spring/Summer 2015 issue of Brides of North Texas. The team of creatives that helped make this chic, rainforest-esque design scheme (dreamt up by our lead planner, Rachel Burt) come to life, was top-notch. Grab yourself something sweet to sip on- little umbrellas are optional, but highly recommended- and peruse some serious prettiness.

Big thanks to-

Venue: The Nuvo Room
Photography: Allen Tsai
Videography: Tyler + Lindsey
Florals: The Wildflower
Stationary & Place Cards: Simply Mox
Ghost Chair Rentals: Suite 206
Table Rentals: Shag Carpet Props
China, Flatware & Stemware: Posh Couture Rentals
Linens: BBJ
Catering: Culinary Art Catering
Gown: The Bridal Salon at Neiman Marcus
Hair & Make-up: Makeup by Wendy Zerrudo

Autumn Inspiration

Now that we are into October (and finally experiencing some cooler temperatures!), its getting easier to justify those Pumpkin Spice lattes and fabulous boots we’ve all been dying to pull out of our closets! Here at As you wish…, we love all of the deep, rich colors that this season has to offer and wait all year for just the right time to use them!

To keep YOU excited about everything cool and crisp, we put together this Inspiration Board based on an antique orange, peach, and muted red color palette, and peppered it with pops of deep fig. While we can appreciate the traditional reds and oranges of the changing leaves, we wanted to create something a little less expected and a little more elegant!

Whether you’re envisioning your own fall-inspired wedding, or just love this time of year, this combination is sure to make you feel warm and cozy!

 

Once you have the perfect overall vision for your day, it’s time to think about adding in some fun elements that offer a high level of sophistication, all while keeping in line with the fall-time feeling you’re aiming for!

For your escort card display, consider using branches and leaves spray-painted entirely gold for an added glam factor.

 

To sweeten up your cocktail hour, request mini candied apples as one of your passed hors d’oeuvres–your guests will be “ooing” and “ahhing” over how adorable these little bite-sized beauties are!

 

And finally, end the evening with one final homage to the season by handing out tiny pie favors–think pumpkin, apple, and even pecan pies all wrapped up in sweet little boxes.

 

Happy Fall!

 

Photos by: Martha Stewart Weddings, Martha Stewart Weddings, and Williams-Sonoma

 

Pint-sized Food… BIG Impressions

Is there a cuter (or tastier) sight to your wedding guests’ tired eyes than that teeny little slider sitting pretty with all of his slider friends at the buffet? How about a mini tomato soup shooter with an itty-bitty little buttery toasted grilled cheese triangle perched on top? The miniscule possiblities are endless, but these petite little morsels are sure to wow your guests (and you, bride!) in a GIANT way. Here are just a few of the heavy hitters in the diminutive food world that will get your mini food party started on the right foot:

 

The Boss – AKA the Slider:

These little guys are the perfect substitute to serving comfort classics at a more upscale event. You may shudder at the possibility of burger grease getting all over your guests’ brand new Jimmy Choos, but fear not! A baby bijou slider allows for the comforting, yummy burger flavor without all of the greasy, frock-ruining mess.

 

The Perfect Couple – AKA the Grilled Cheese & Tomato Soup Shooter:

Who doesn’t love (as a child or adult!) curling up on the couch on a rainy day with some steamy tomato soup and grilled cheese to boot? This is another example of a comfort food staple that can be “dressed up” in a small package. The tomato soup is all grown up in an elegant little shooter glass, while the grilled cheese has trimmed down to a sleek little triangle spear. 

 

The Health Nut – AKA the Mini Salad Cup:

Somewhere in the mix of burgers and fries and cheese, there has to be a healthy item, if for nothing more than for you and your guests’ conscience’s sake. That’s where the mini salad cups come into play. With fresh ingredients, and oftentimes served “decomposed” with the dressing in a little shot glass on the side, this item still has all the fun of the mini food gang but without the calories and guilt. And with all of the colorful veggie options, it can add a feeling of brightness and festiveness to the buffet table.

 

The Sweetie – AKA the Mini Milkshake Shooter:

Last but certainly not least, the elusive and luxurious milk shake shooter. With so many fun and luxe options for mini desserts, one of the most popular has got to be the mini shake. After a night of drinking and feasting, what better way to settle your stomach than a creamy, milky, mini shake or two? These shakes have a fun 50′s feel that scream nostalgia and old-world charm.

 

Here at As you wish…, we have jumped onboard the mini food train ourselves, oftentimes suggesting our guests go this fun, yet elegant, route when conferring with their caterers of choice. Here are just a few examples from some of our Real Weddings that have utilized this teeny and tasteful trend:

 

Nestled in ceramic spoons, these bite-sized ceviche bites were so festive and adorable for this outdoor reception at the Belmont…

 

At the Dobbelaer wedding, these little french fry cones made a late appearance, and then quickly disappeared in mere minutes…

 

These gorgeous creme brulee pots were a fabulous and modern alternative to the traditional slice of cake at this fun, DMA wedding…

 

Julie and Aharon treated their guests to these teeny waffle cones filled with kalamata olive whipped potato and roasted cherry tomatoes that were beautiful, delicious, and so creative…

 

Until next time, have a sweet, tasty, and tiny-food-fantasy filled afternoon!

 

*Photos by: Sulia.com, BestFriendsforFrosting.com, Elizabethanndesigns.com, Lundlund.com

Let Them Eat Cake?

 The classic wedding cake has always been a staple at weddings around the world, but current trends have today’s brides searching for new and unique ideas that will set their wedding apart from the rest!

While some brides have chosen to keep the cake but personalize it into something that’s one-of-a-kind, other brides have gone in a whole different direction. So whether you’re looking for a fresh, new spin on the traditional cake-cutting or you just simply hate eating cake (is there really such a person?!), here are a few cake alternatives to get your wheels turning… and your mouth watering!

 

Small Cakes

If a giant 7-tiered cake is overwhelming to you or doesn’t seem to suit the fun, laid-back vibe you’re going for, consider selecting a few small cakes that still capture the design of your wedding and give you something to cut into without breaking the bank!

 

Cupcakes

For brides that are already regulars at the local cupcakery, why not incorporate that love into a tower of cupcakes! The bride below selected individual cupcakes in her favorite flavors and then had a large, specialty cupcake made that they could actually cut into. If you’re wanting to forgo the traditional “cutting,” you could simply feed each other a cupcake instead!

 

Cake Balls/Cake Pops/Cake Truffles

Tiny, delicious balls of cake are definitely trending right now and are an easy way to get that cake taste in the perfect bite-size piece. Set them out on display, pile them up into a cake shape, or have them served individually to each guest–everyone is sure to love them!

 

Non-Cakes

If the taste of cake in any form is just not your thing, get creative and serve a tower of whatever it is that makes you smile–from donuts to creme puffs, macaroons to mini-pies–anything can be stacked into a beautiful wedding-worthy display!

 

Dessert Stations

Last, but certainly not least, if your sweet tooth is just too indecisive to narrow it down to just one item, go full force with an all-out dessert station! Include a small cake if you are wanting something to cut into, or take your pick of any other bite-sized delight to feed to your sweetheart. Anything goes! Your guests will thank you for the awesome selection and sugar overload!

 

No matter what direction you decide to take, when it comes to sweets, you really can’t go wrong!

Photos by: Kym Skiles with F8 Photography, Perez Photography, Jonathan Ivy,  Carter Rose with F8 Photography, Gary Donihoo with F8 Photography,  Elizabeth Anne Designs,  Ron Parks Photography, Kym Skiles with F8 Photography

 

A Taste of Texas

Most of my couples host out-of-town guests at their weddings – from across the country and around the world. And when travel-weary guests arrive, nothing conveys a warm Texas welcome like a basket overflowing with the most delicious delicacies the Lone Star State has to offer. From sweet bites for snacking to sophisticated fare that will please even the pickiest palate, all the makings for a perfect do-it-yourself gift are right here in your own back yard. Below are some of my favorite local food finds – pick a few or gather them all to help make your event a memorable Texas experience!

Dublin Dr. Pepper: Invented in Waco in 1885, Dr. Pepper has since become one of the most popular soft drinks in the world. Most folks have tried the mass-market version by now, but few can say they’ve tasted good old-fashioned Dublin Dr. Pepper. Named for the home of the world’s oldest Dr. Pepper bottling plant, this sippable treat is made with real sugar, just as it was over 100 years ago. Dublin Dr. Pepper is only available in a limited area, and we’re lucky to have a handy supply at Central Market stores here in the Metroplex.

Pecans: The pecan is the official state tree of Texas, and the nuts it bears are our unofficial favorite snack food. If you’re lucky enough to have a pecan tree at home, by all means take advantage of your crop when it comes to gifting. Those without a back yard hookup need look no further than the Texas Pecan Company. They’ve been serving the Metroplex for over 25 years, offering everything from plain pecan halves to tempting pralines to rich chocolate covered pecans. Order online or visit their factory store in Dallas (see website for details).

Wine: With over 150 wineries in Texas, there are no shortage of selections when it comes to great wine. At As you wish…, we love Llano Estacado’s Chenin Blanc and Signature Melange. Both award-winning wines are widely available and deliciously affordable!

Bottled Water: Texas Crystal Water is one of our most refreshing local favorites. Bottled from an aquifer in Central Texas, it’s available online and at area Central Market stores. The company even offers custom labeling – perfect for weddings!

Popcorn: Dallas-based Popcorn Texas is a division of Yo Pop Etc., a family owned and operated gourmet popcorn company. With over 25 flavors to choose from, you’re sure to find a favorite. We love both Jalepeno and Ranch! Order Popcorn Texas products online or visit their location on Midway Road.

Mozzarella Company Cheeses: Paula Lambert’s Mozzarella Company is a gourmet gem that’s been supplying Dallas residents and many of the area’s finest restaurants with top-quality handmade cheese since 1982. The company’s rich, creamy namesake is as popular as ever, and a wide menu of additional varieties are available to satisfy any craving. Caciotta, Crescenza and Feta are just a few of our favorites. You can find Mozzarella Company cheeses at many local retailers including Central MarketTom Thumb and Whole Foods.

Shiner Beer: Straight from the Spoetzl Brewery in Shiner, Texas comes the Lone Star State’s best-loved brew! Why not share this one-of-a-kind find with your out-of-town guests? Shiner Bock’s rich, full-bodied, distinctively smooth flavor is perfection on a warm summer day. Find it for under $8 at most liquor and grocery stores, along with Shiner Blonde, Shiner Light and the rest of the Shiner lineup.

Chips and Salsa: There’s no shortage of Texas-made salsas, but we’ve narrowed the field to just two of our favorite chip-toppers today. Texas-Texas Premium Salsas come in nine delicious varieties, from basic Mild to Peach Pecan. We recommend ordering online, and they are well worth the wait! Another option when seeking out salsa is visiting a family-owned Mexican restaurant, such as Desperados, many of which offer pre-packaged hot stuff for take-home snacking. Pair your salsa with blue corn chips for a true Tex-Mex treat!

I hope you have a delicious time exploring all of these local food favorites! The items on this list can be used to fill welcome baskets or to create individual favors for your guests. Enjoy!

A Spa Day for Everyone

You might be surprised to hear how one of my latest grooms spent the afternoon before his big event. He didn’t play a game of golf, though that might have been fun. He didn’t have a round of beers at the local sports bar with his Best Man, either. Instead, I arranged for an outing that would leave him relaxed and looking his best when it came time to say his “I do”‘s.

For this, he headed to a spa. To be specific, I’d booked him an appointment for a full-on, luxury barber’s shave, including a warm towel wrap and probably a little witty conversation. I loved the idea – and so did he!

In fact, expanding this concept into an event is an absolutely original way to get together with your wedding party. You know me – I’m all about originality and creativity! So, how about gathering both sides of the aisle – bridesmaids and groomsmen – for a late morning brunch, followed by a relaxing trip to the spa? For starters, everyone enjoys Eggs Benedict or Belgian waffles (and maybe a Bloody Mary or two), then the girls head off for an afternoon of pampering and the guys make their way to a spa just their style.

FACE Salon Spa Retreat for Men, for instance, is just such a spot. Located in the West Village in Uptown Dallas, FACE offers facials, hair services, and hand & foot “details”, as well as a Signature Shave featuring Billy Jealousy products. There are even flat screen TV’s and draft beer in the waiting room. Nice! Or, try Uptown’s The Boardroom Salon for spa treatments in a masculine environment that includes leather chairs and a pool table! Another option is Massage Envy, right around the corner, and I can personally recommend it for a relaxing massage.

Staying in the neighborhood, the West Village is also home to a couple of options for the ladies in the group. Spa*Habitat is natural and organic all the way, and has been touted in Lucky, Allure and Modern Luxury Magazines. Their Summer Citrus Massage sounds like heaven and is perfect for this season! The Avalon Salon & Spa also offers a full menu of services and treatments. Bread Winners Cafe & Bakery, just a short walk or ride away, is a great place to start the day with a delicious meal.

Whether you choose to explore these spas, or others in your area, a day like this is a wonderful way to show your appreciation to the members of your wedding party. Everyone loves great food and a little relaxation – both the girls and the guys, too!

Photos by: Fodor’s Travel Intelligence, Florida Deal Daddy, The Wedding Salon, Body Beautiful, and Tall Horse Wines

Elegant Cakes for the Budget-Conscience Bride

Allow your guests to literally get a taste of your style! Here are some tips to having a beautiful and luxurious wedding cake without breaking the bank.

Tie your cake in to the rest of the reception by decorating it with fresh flowers. Sugar flowers are time consuming and expensive for your cake designer to create. Forgo the faux flowers and opt for a fresh, cohesive look!

 Sometimes less really is more! Display a small, elaborate cake and have a sheet cake cut and ready in the kitchen for the catering staff to pass. That way, your guests can enjoy your cake immediately after you cut it. Want to take it to the next level? Ask your baker about satellite or styrofoam cakes. Bakers intersperse styrofoam layers with your real layers to create the illusion that your cake is larger than it really is. When you cut into a real cake layer in front of your guests, they have no reason to think it is made of anything but cake!

Don’t be a square! Square-shaped cakes may be visually appealing, but the distinct edges make it a bit harder to construct and it ends up costing you more. Traditional round cakes are elegant and cost efficient.

And for those that are really not that into cakes and just have a sweet tooth, skip the cake all together and have a tray of sweets available in a beautiful dessert display. This allows for variety and convenience.

At the end of the evening, your guests will have been “wowed” by a cake that you secretly saved money on. What a sweet deal!

 

 

Photos by:   Jennifer Yarbro Photography, Paul Ernest Photography, greenbrideguide.com, and dreamstime.com

Wedding Cake 101

Having a wedding cake tasting might very well be the sweetest part of planning your wedding (literally)! Here we break down the different types of cakes and possibilities – with our handy guide, take the guesswork out of cake tasting and let your tastebuds do the rest! If you need help locating a fabulous cake vendor in the DFW area, contact As you wish… we can help you find someone who is just right for you!

Cake Glossary
1. White Butter
The traditional option, and with good reason: it tastes great with any filling or frosting. For a fresh take, pair it with passion fruit or vanilla Swiss meringue buttercream.
2. Moist Yellow
Just a little bit richer than white butter, it’s the second most popular choice of brides. When it comes to fillings and frosting, the sky’s the limit.
3. Almond Dacquoise
Unexpected and nutty, this meringue is a nice complement to basic cake layers like white butter. It’s delicious with chocolate, praline, or even white-chocolate buttercream frosting and filling.
4. Lemon Poppy Seed
This refreshing cake tastes best with citrus and vanilla flavors. Go with lemon curd and lemon buttercream or white-chocolate buttercream frosting.
5. Carrot
Spicy, sweet, and sometimes nutty, it’s often coupled with cream cheese icing. Experts like to serve it with caramel-cream cheese or white-chocolate filling, or vanilla buttercream.
6. Red Velvet
It relies on cocoa for its chocolaty taste and a splash of red food dye for its dramatic color. Try it with cream cheese frosting, or chocolate-hazelnut, chocolate, or caramel buttercream.
7. Marble
Not only does it look pretty, but it goes with just about everything. It’s great with fruit fillings, especially raspberry preserves.
8. Chocolate Butter
After white butter and moist yellow, this cake is third most popular. White or chocolate frosting is a typical pairing, but apricot, pistachio, coffee, or rich caramel flavors work too.

Frostings and Fillings


1. Caramel Sauce
2. Caramel-Cream Cheese Filling
3. Chocolate Ganache
4. Lemon Curd
5. Swiss Meringue Buttercream
6. Chocolate Buttercream
7. Apricot Jam
8. Pistachio Buttercream
9. Cream Cheese Frosting
10. Raspberry Preserves

images via Martha Stewart