Q&A with The Registry Less Traveled and a GIVEAWAY!

Yes, you read that right! Today’s post features my very, first giveaway on the blog — who doesn’t love free stuff?! But first, let me introduce you to Beth, owner of The Registry Less Traveled — the personalized gift shop, specializing in etched glassware. I was introduced to Beth through this beautiful bride — and couldn’t stop myself from interviewing her and learning more about her incredible small business. Please take a few minutes to learn why Beth opened up shop and be sure to check out her website! Don’t miss the giveaway at the end of this post for your own custom order!!LessTraveled72014-102What made you decide to open your own business? And when did you open?
I’ve always wanted to be an entrepreneur, but never new what the right business was for me. I wanted it to be something I was passionate in, but also something I could start with little risk. I received my MBA a few years ago and not long after decided to take a break from the grind of the corporate world to travel and live in Spain. I was enamored with the culture and in particular the Spanish outlook on work. When I returned I was particularly drawn to the idea of being my own boss and having the flexibility in a career to balance work and fun while doing something meaningful. I saw many of my friends be successful in at-home sales businesses, but couldn’t bear the thought of needing to depend on my close friends and family to get the business started.

It wasn’t until I was planning a bridal shower for my sister that everything clicked. I browsed her wedding gift registry looking for a gift and got lost in the midst of dish towels and blenders and was less than enthusiastic about gifting any of those [ridiculously overpriced] items to my sister. I laughed and thought, “Nothing says I love you like a dish towel, right?!” At any gift-giving event I had ever been to, it was always the custom or personalized gifts that left a lasting impression. When my brother announced his engagement, I purchased a set of personalized etched wine glasses, which ended up being their favorite gift. The concept was simple, yet elegant and I took a shot at trying to make them myself. After my first successful attempt at etching a wine glass, it was then that The Registry Less Traveled was born.LessTraveled72014-17What’s the meaning behind the name, The Registry Less Traveled?
The Registry Less Traveled is a play on words from the Robert Frost poem, The Road Not Taken.

Two roads diverged in a wood, and I— 
I took the one less traveled by, 
And that has made all the difference.

I was inspired by the idea of offering registry-like gifts with an “off the registry” personal touch. When it comes to gift registries, take the one less traveled by :)

You make so many great gift items! What’s your favorite piece to date that you’ve made?
Thank you! I recently starting making hand painted pillows using people’s handwriting. My grandfather who is 95 years old has a note from my late grandmother. I was able to paint her handwriting onto a pillow and he has said it is a treasured keepsake and reminds him of my grandmother every day. Talk about meaningful! Each pillow I have made since has a special story to go along with it. I love being a part of that.LessTraveled72014-87One piece of advice for someone looking to open their own Etsy shop?
First, do it! Etsy is an amazing outlet to showcase and sell your handcrafted items with little risk. However, to do so, create a strong and cohesive brand so your items do not get lost in the shuffle. The marketing and packaging is often just as important as the actual items. Finally, having a strong foundation of quality customer service is what keeps people coming back. One of my professors once told me that it takes 12 positive experiences to make up for one unresolved negative experience. In a feedback-driven environment like Etsy, this is so important to remember. With that said, you can’t please everyone and mistakes do happen, but use those opportunities to delight the customer. It goes a long way.

What’s your drink of choice?
A nice, cold Blue Moon with an orange slice!registrylesstraveledBeth caught wind that I love champagne and designed these custom champagne flutes for me – So cute! Want your own custom glassware?!

GIVEAWAY TIME! To enter, please visit The Registry Less Traveled — and leave a comment below with your favorite item from her shop! Winner will receive their own personalized item — a custom order up to $30! Winner will be chosen on Monday at random. Good luck!!

{event recap} Brides & Bubbly: BYOB Bridal Bootcamp

Another Brides & Bubbly in the books! Last June, I hosted my first Brides & Bubbly event with Work it Out — and here we are, one year later, still going strong! Last night, we teamed up with popular Hoboken faces — Hoboken Girl, EVJ Wedding Co., & The Bloginista — for a BYOB {Bring Your Own Beau} Bridal Bootcamp. These brave couples came out in the rain for a one-of-a-kind killer bootcamp class, led by Vanessa, that had them doing wheelbarrows & piggy-back rides and chanting “sweating for the wedding!” It was an intense workout, but they all had smiles on their faces — and the encouragement between the couples was just so cute to watch! Post-class, everyone enjoyed a much-deserved drink and went home with an awesome swag bag and raffle prizes!

Once again, I couldn’t have done it without my team at Work it Out and the fabulous local vendors who donated their services including: Hudson Cakery, Sweet Dani B, Yummie by Heather Thomson, The Salon by Soon Dar Secrets & EVJ Wedding Co.

To all our guests, thank you for coming — and congrats on your upcoming weddings! Enjoy the photos!
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IMG_5326all photos c/o Tulle Wedding Skirts, Inc.

Throwback Thursday: Bridal Bootcamp with My Own Balance

I’m linking up with my blogger bud and fellow University Dancer from my college days, Brittany of My Own Balance, for her Throwback Thursday series. Every Thursday she features an old post worthy of posting again for new readers or those who may have missed a great, timely post. And the timing of today’s post couldn’t be better! I’m re-posting Brittany’s guest post of her tips for getting in shape for your wedding from last summer and teasing my next Brides & Bubbly event — BYOB {Bring Your Own Beau} Bridal Bootcamp, which is next Tuesday, June 2! Be sure to click here for all the event details and leave a comment below if you’re interested in attending next week!
My Own Balance
I think you’ve all caught on that fitness is a big part of my life, so I’m pretty pumped to share this guest post with you! Keep reading for Brittany’s Bridal Bootcamp from My Own Balance — and her tips for getting in shape for your wedding!
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Hi all! I’m so excited to be here guest posting today! I met Caitlin back when we were in college and in the same dance company. I can’t believe how long ago that was now! It seems like yesterday!

Dancing evolved naturally for me into a passion for fitness. It is part of my lifestyle and I love blogging about my adventures in fitness and healthy living at MyOwnBalance.com. As a fitness blogger, one of the biggest questions I get asked is how do I get in shape for my wedding? We all want to look great on our big day, so I’ve put together a few tips on how to look your very best when you say “I do.”

1) Make a schedule. The number one rule of bridal bootcamp is schedule it in! With everything that is going on in your life right now it will be easy to brush off your workouts, especially if you have to think too hard about what to do. Schedule in your workouts every week and stick with them.

2) Try some new classes or a trainer. One of the quickest ways to get in shape is to confuse your muscles by trying something new. Pick an activity that is challenging and will push you to your limits. HIIT and tabata training are both extremely effective forms of interval training that are focused on pushing to your max efforts and with short recovery periods. Barre classes work your muscles until fatigue, while working with a trainer ensures someone will push you pass your limits. It doesn’t really matter what you do as long as it is challenging for you.

3) Squeeze in some double sessions. Sweating twice a day is a great way to kick your metabolism into gear and really see results.  A word of caution, don’t schedule a super intense workout both in the morning and in the evening. Instead try doing a yoga sequence when you wake up and then go to a spin class after work.  Or try Zumba in the morning and then 10 to 20 minutes of strength in the evening. Be sure to incorporate rest days and don’t repeat double sessions every single day.

4) Strength train. There is a common misconception that cardio is the best form of exercise for women and the more cardio you do the more weight you will lose. In fact, your muscles continue to burn fat much longer after a strength session than a cardio session. This means that the best way to lose weight and look toned is to add in some strength sessions to your routine. I recommend targeting arms, shoulders, back, abs, legs and seat, which will ensure you look great in your dress and on your honeymoon. Lifting heavy weights will not bulk you up but if you prefer lighter weights, try a barre class, which relies on low weights, high reps and working muscles to fatigue.

5) Purchase some DVDs.  Between work, wedding planning and trying to maintain some semblance of a normal life it can be so easy for workouts to hit the back burner.  Invest in a few good DVD options so you have something on hand and ready to go when you are at home.  Even 15 minutes is better than nothing!  A few of my favorites are TurboFireJillian Michael’s Body RevolutionPhysique 57 and Zumba.  There are a ton of great options out there so just read a few reviews to find the right one for you!

6) Rest. This is the most important tip!  Without rest your body can’t recover and the change you want to see won’t happen. All your hard work will pay off once you’ve allowed your body to rest and recover.

Remember, your diet will play a huge part in your results.  You can’t expect to look great eating cheeseburgers everyday.  There is no need to crash diet though!  Make sure you are eating balanced meals containing whole grains, lean protein, low-fat dairy and tons of fruits and vegetables.  Counting calories may also be effective for you, just make sure you are getting the right amount!  If you are too crazed with wedding planning to even think about cooking nutritious meals, try a meal delivery service.  I used Diet-to-Go for my wedding and found that it worked great.  Another option is to use a meal prep service like Blue Apron, Plated or Hello Fresh, which provides you with fresh ingredients that you cook up to create a healthy meal.

Commitment, hard work and keeping your eyes on the prize will help you look your very best on your wedding day! Be confident with your body and your results and know that your spouse-to-be is going to love the way you look no matter what!

Thanks for the awesome tips, Brittany! For more fitness fun, be sure to check out Brittany’s blog, My Own Balance.

{local vendors} Fox Events and Design

Here I go again making new friends with amazing women around town who also happen to be wedding vendors… Never ceases to amaze me how much talent and passion there is out there! Which brings me to introduce you to Britney, owner and visionary, behind Fox Events and Design. Read on for more about her event planning business and photos from a recent bridal shower she did in NYC!

From Britney…When I started my career I was producing events such as Sundance, the Super Bowl and Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week. I eventually decided to leave sunny California behind because I fell in love with a New York City boy and moved on to the city that never sleeps. After designing my own wedding off the beaten path in Costa Rica, I knew my passion for design and producing events was now going to be focused on weddings and helping other brides have a truly incredible big day. With that said Fox Events and Design was born and it has been an exciting, passionate journey of mine ever since!

I love everything about the planning process, from the initial meet and greet with my bride/groom/clients, to finding a destination for a wedding or location for an event. I have established a trusted book of amazingly talented vendors and artists who I work really well with and always deliver.

Being able to help my clients vision come to life is a pretty amazing feeling and something I am so thankful to be able to continue to see and hopefully feel for a very long time!

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Location:  Riverpark in The Cube 
Cake:  Hudson Cakery 
Balloons:  Party City
Stationery:  Juniper Street 
Flowers and Event Planning:  Fox Events and Design

Wedding in Wine Country

I got to spend the past weekend in beautiful Sonoma County, California celebrating our dear friends, Allison and Matt, as they tied the knot. It was such a breath of fresh air to spend a few days outside, biking, sipping wine and soaking in some much-needed sunshine. But all that aside, I was so honored to be a part of this couple’s special day — and witness the most touching ceremony I have ever attended. With hand-written vows and a performance of Ryan Adams’ “When The Stars Go Blue” by the bride’s cousin, there wasn’t a dry eye amongst the guests.

I wanted to share some of my own photos of the wedding, so as not to keep you waiting…with the hopes that I can get my hands on the professional ones soon!

IMG_4775{The happy couple wine tasting at Kunde Family Winery before the big day}

IMG_4797{All the ladies with the bride at the Welcome Dinner}IMG_4800{And all the gents with the groom}

Matt and Allison Rehearsal{The best rehearsal exit I’ve ever witnessed}

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IMG_4882{First dance}

Matt and Allison Wedding{An intimate newlywed moment in the vineyard at Paradise Ridge}

Congrats Allison & Matt! I’m so happy for you two — and so grateful to have been there to celebrate with you. Cheers to a happy and healthy marriage!

all photos c/o Tulle Wedding Skirts, Inc.

{real parties} Kerry’s Bachelorette Featured on The Bach

It’s always fun to take a trip down memory lane…especially when it involves warm weather, the beach and an awesome time spent with people you love! So it was no exception to relive Kerry’s bachelorette party from last summer on Shelter Island.

I’m thrilled to share with you this “Real Bachelorette” feature on the ultimate bachelorette party-planning site, The Bach! They captured our weekend getaway perfectly — mapping out every step of our trip. Be sure to check out the full feature here.

IMG_2771{Enjoying some afternoon cocktails at the über-trendy Sunset Beach}

The Bach really is a genius idea. It’s a one-stop-bachelorette-planning-shop for all you bridesmaids out there asking yourselves where to even begin to plan a bachelorette party. Pick your city. Browse venues, restaurants and activities. Create your itinerary. Email your guests. Such a simple idea – and such a great site! Be sure to check it out when planning your next bachelorette bash!The Bach Postcard

Top photo c/o Tulle Wedding Skirts, Inc.

{real weddings} Lauren & Christian

Oh Jenelle, you did it again…Took my breath away with your beautiful photography. I think you all remember Jenelle’s work from my own wedding photos — and here she goes again capturing Lauren & Christian’s elegant, old-world affair. What’s better than finding a wedding photographer who you love? Finding one who you become friends with. Thank you Jenelle for letting me continue to share your work with the world. I hope you enjoy Lauren’s interview.

DeMartino_1419_08242013_JS0434What’s your love story?
Christian & I met on a blind date. We were introduced by two mutual friends who were dating at the time. We double dated for a while, not sure that we were a good fit for each other, but eventually his quiet charm completely won my heart.

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When / where was your wedding?
Our wedding was held on Saturday, August 24, 2013 at Kimisis Tis Theotoku Greek Orthodox Church in Holmdel, New Jersey. The reception was held at Navesink County Club in Red Bank, NJ.DeMartino_1719_08242013_JK1212

What made your wedding dress you?
My dress was simply exquisite and it just made me feel beautiful. I loved how different it was. It had a vintage, almost old Hollywood feel to it. But it was also heavy!!!

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Tell me about your wedding style. What made your wedding unique to you?
I wanted my wedding to glow. I wanted it to feel like a warm, old-world love affair. My sister and I scoured antique shops looking for old mercury glass vessels for flowers and candles. I love candles and wanted them everywhere. I opted for the long tables (among great opposition from others) with flowers and candles flowing down the center. It was unique in its warmth and love. You just felt the love in that room when you walked in and best of all it was my dream in real life. The idea I had for so many months in my head was finally in front of me and that was incredible.

What’s one piece of advice you’d give other brides?
I have two pieces of advice (they go hand in hand):  1. Hire a fantastic photographer — the best you can afford. I truly am so thankful I did because those photographs bring tears to my eyes every time I look at them. They just capture beautiful moments that are easily forgotten years later and Jenelle’s talent is unparalleled. She is warm and wonderful to work with. Part 2. Enjoy the day. Feel every moment and just enjoy it. Step back at some point and just admire how incredible it is. It is the culmination of months of work and years of dreams and it will take your breath away.

DeMartino_2202_08242013_JK1540Photography: Jenelle Kappe Photography; Florist: Fine Flowers; Shoes: Manolo Blahnik c/o Garmany; Bridesmaid Dresses: The Dessy Group; Hair & Makeup – Glen Goldbaum 72; Band: The Storytellers NYC; Groomsmen Suits: Men’s Wearhouse

{event recap} Brides & Bubbly Bachelorette

A little snow didn’t stop our team of brides who came out for our first-ever Brides & Bubbly Bachelorette this past Sunday, March 1! The second the brides (and their friends) all arrived the studio was filled with girl-talk of whose wedding was where and gazing at each other’s rings. The buzz was electric and you could tell these ladies were ready for a good time!IMG_4572To make it feel even more like a bachelorette, I had everyone take a button indicating their role for the afternoon — maid of honor, bridesmaid, mother of the bride, etc. — and put our lucky “bride” in a veil and sash. Thank you Sandra for being a team player! Taylor then led the ladies in a killer Blended CandyBarre class — with the best playlist I’ve heard in a long time! It was compiled with each guest’s favorite tune — which made them all smile when they heard their song come on.IMG_4574

IMG_4552After class it was back to the chit-chat, this time with a well-earned glass of bubbly in hand. We wrapped up the afternoon with selfies at our photo booth station, raffle prizes and delicious coconut-avocado grasshopper bars (Don’t let the name fool you!). Then just like that it was back into the snow — Everyone leaving with a goodie bag filled with treats from local vendors, including EVJ Wedding Co. & Do You Tea.IMG_1348photo 1-3Thank you to everyone who attended and helped make this event a huge success! If you’re interested in hosting your own bachelorette party at Work it Out, shoot me an email.

All photos c/o Tulle Wedding Skirts, Inc. Sequin tablecloth by SparklePony. Iced tea provided by Do You Tea?

The Brides & Bubbly Bachelorette Party

WiO_Bachelorette_INSTA_v2_r0Brides & Bubbly is back! And it’s going to be better than ever! Get engaged over the holidays? Sissie asked you to be her maid of honor? Need to plan your BFF’s bachelorette bash? Well then this event is for you!

Join me this Sunday, March 1 at Work it Out River from 2 – 4 pm for our first-ever Brides & Bubbly Bachelorette Party! My girl, Taylor, and I will be working everyone out in a Blended CandyBarre class (that’s 25 minutes of spin, 25 minutes of barre) for a total body workout. After class, you’ll receive the complete WiO Bachelorette experience with our ‘happy hour’ of bubbly, socializing, networking and raffle prizes.

Tickets are still available, but space is limited. It’s $35 for one or $65 for two (you + a bridesmaid). You can purchase right here (under Burns) — or shoot me an email.1280464_10151834692882590_659683264_nSo who’s ready to get a little sweaty, channel their inner-ballerina and get in shape for that wedding dress with me?!

photo of me at our after-party. after dancing all night, it was time to sit down (and strike a Swan Lake pose).

{real weddings} Amy & Scott

Hi loves! I hope everyone’s year is off to a good start — January was a productive month and here we are in February already. I’ve got a thing for February though. The days start to get a little longer and love is in the air…there’s of course, Valentine’s Day — and it’s the month we got engaged. It’s always a quick month too, which just brings us one month closer to Spring.

I’m loving the elegance of this wedding. The photograph on the staircase is just jaw-dropping. Photographer, Susie Sefcik, did a beautiful job capturing this classic wedding. Keep reading for more — and be sure to check out the tons of amazing local vendors featured in this post!
sspw-1760What’s your love story?

Scott and I met four years ago at The Downtown in Red Bank, NJ on the 4th of July. I first spotted Scott from across the bar while dancing with a friend of mine. An hour or so later, my stare must have stuck as Scott reached out his hand to introduce himself with a good old, “Hi, I’m Scott”. After an intense two-way interview, we realized we were both from the area and came home on summer weekends, lived in Hoboken, were the same age, and had several mutual friends. What started out as an okay night, turned into one of the most memorable nights of my life. Scott enjoyed our meeting so much that when we left the bar, he walked to the nearest 7 Eleven, purchased headphones and walked a short 5 miles home at 2am to reflect on the night. There were definitely fireworks and the rest is history…

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When / where was your wedding?
Our wedding was September 20, 2014 at Shadowbrook in Shrewsbury, NJ.

sspw-1210What made your wedding dress you?
As a child, I always loved playing dress up. So much in fact that a wedding dress and veil was one of the most worn outfits in my dress up box. That being said, I knew how important finding the perfect wedding dress was going to be. To assist with my search, my mom, my Aunt, and two of my best friends came shopping with me in NYC. I found my dress at a walk-in dress shop while killing time before my appointment at Kleinfelds. It was the last dress I tried on and the only one the sales consultant picked out for me. She just knew it would be the one. As soon as I walked out in it to show my family & friends, there were tears. I must admit, it made me feel like a princess with the perfect amount of glitz and glam. As a fairly simple dresser, I knew this was my one opportunity to add a little sparkle without going over the top.

I had my dress altered at Ally Bridal in Hoboken which happens to be right across the street from where I live. Ally continued to personalize my dress by turning the sash with bow into a fastened belt which made it absolutely perfect.

I decided to leave the veil in my dress up box and wear flowers in my hair instead :)sspw-1378sspw-1461sspw-1197

What was your inspiration behind your theme, colors, decor, etc.?
My wedding style was very classic with a touch of bright colors. Our ceremony took place in the main garden of the old Georgian Mansion. The gardens, fountains and pergola were the perfect backdrop for the bridal party and elegant arbor designed by my florist.

Our reception took place in the Oak Room of the estate. My florist brought the rich tones of the English oak walls to life by incorporating bright textured centerpieces, with mercury votives and mirrors underneath bringing more light into the room. My sister-in-law Stephanie is a partner at Fancy That NYC and as a result I was lucky enough to have her do my invitations, programs, menus, cocktail napkins, and all the other paper accessories that can become completely overwhelming. She created the most beautiful and elegant designs that fell in line with our style.sspw-1507

What’s one piece of advice you would give other brides?
My advice for planning…Nail down your vendors right away. Figure out what is most important and book it first. For us, it was our band. We had The A Band on standby for a few dates before choosing a wedding date. By choosing our vendors well in advance, we were able to get all of our top choices and then take our time throughout the planning process rather than scrambling towards the end.

My advice for wedding dress alterations…Choose a trusted tailor; however, also make sure they are located in a convenient location for you. Having my tailor right across the street made it extremely easy to stop in for alterations. It took about 5 or 6 fittings down to the last week to get my dress to fit perfectly. Since the last 2 months before your wedding can be extremely hectic, save yourself time on the multiple appointments and make sure it’s convenient. Also, make sure you find someone who you connect with and trust. Ally from Ally Bridal made each fitting a memorable experience. I preferred the feel of a small boutique and personal attention over a large wedding dress store in the city with several people and distractions.

My advice for your wedding day…The planning is over and your wedding day has arrived! Everything is out of your hands at this point so enjoy the ride. Enjoy every aspect of the day from getting ready with your best girl friends to marrying the love of your life with all of our friends and family by your side. Take several moments throughout the day to look around and take it all in. Everyone is there for YOU! And the rest is happily ever after!sspw-1843

sspw-1888Congrats Amy & Scott! Thank you for sharing your gorgeous day with us!

Photography: Susie Sefcik Photography; Venue: Shadowbrook; Florist: Eileen Larkin Events; Invitations & Accessories: Stephanie Palumbo Fancy That NYC; Band: The A Band; Hair: Giovanna @ Jon Lori Salon; Makeup: Gracia Phillips; Cake: Piece O’ Cake