April 30, 2011

Royal WEDDING Cake of the Day!

One word: breathtaking!! Today's Cake of the Day comes in royal fashion. This magnificent eight-tiered wedding cake was created by cake-maker Fiona Cairns and her team. The confectionery masterpiece covered in cream and white icing and decorated with up to 900 delicate sugar-paste flowers was centre-stage at the Buckingham Palace reception.

Read more about the story behind the creation of the cake here!

Karen's Fabulous Frugal Wedding Tip #3: Do It Yourself Centerpieces

Centerpieces at your engagement party and wedding really do dress up the event. However, centerpieces amongst all the plates, napkins, cups, and cutlery you must have at the table for each guest can get pricey. SO, why not just make them yourself? Below you will find a set of different centerpieces that, with my help, you can make for a fraction of the cost.

Shall we?

Aqua Springs 6 Piece Centerpiece Set

This Aqua Springs 6 Piece Centerpiece Set is valued at $50. It includes an 11" x 13" Heritage bowl, aqua-colored glass crushed ice, three pillar candles (4", 6" and 9" tall), and a dogwood flower stem. To make this centerpiece on your own you will need the following:

A bag of Blue Gems from Dollar Tree (pack of 12-$1 a bag) or a pound of Blue Acrylic Ice Rock Vase Gems from Factory Direct Craft ($6), short cylinder/circular Vase from Dollar Tree ($1), Artificial Flowers from Dollar Tree ($1), White Unscented Candles in three different sizes from Dollar Tree ($1)

To Make: Take your vase and place the three white unscented candles inside it. Proceed to pour the gems or rocks into the vase surrounding the candles. Snap the stems off of the artificial flowers so you just have the petals. Dig them into the gem or rocks. CENTERPIECE COMPLETE!

Total estimated price of Karen's Fabulous Frugal 6-piece centerpiece set = $6.00 ($11.00 if rocks are used instead of gems)!!

Tropical Beach 21 Piece Centerpiece Set

This Tropical Beach 21 Piece Centerpiece Set is valued at $59. This Centerpiece set includes a 10" x 10" clear glass pedestal vase, river stones, decorative sea shells, three shell candle holders, three floating candles, 12 tea light candles and 2 phalaenopsis orchid spray. To make this centerpiece on your own you will need the following:

A pedestal bowl-the one I found was from Table And Home ($20), Bag of shells from Hobby Lobby ($10), Small River Stones from Hobby Lobby ($3) Luminescence Filled Glass Tealight Candles, 5-ct. Packs from Dollar Tree ($1), Artificial Flowers (white) from Dollar Tree ($1) Distilled Water($1)

To make: Take your bag of shells and set aside your large ones. With the remaining bag of shells and small river rocks, pour them into the pedestal vase leaving about half of the bowl empty. Proceed to pour in the distilled water until it reaches past the top surface of the shells. Then, position 2-3 tealight candles onto the surface of the water. For the remaining large shells, disperse them around the table placing your remaining tealights on the inside of them. Snap the stems off of the artificial flowers so you just have the petals; disperse around the table. CENTERPIECE COMPLETE!

Total estimated price of Karen's Fabulous Frugal 21-piece centerpiece set
= $36.00!!

Sometimes it's kind of nice to do it yourself...especially at a lower cost!

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April 29, 2011

WEDDING WEEK: Planning an Engagement Party

An engagement party is the time for couples to revel in excitement with their potential wedding guests in honor of the next chapter they are taking in their lives. Though the word "party" is attached to the event, the host should really set a mild yet celebratory tone for the party. If there is one key word I would accompany with an engagement party to make it successful is PERSONALIZATION. I say this for many reasons, one, depending on the size of the wedding you anticipate having, your engagement party may be the BIG celebration with all friends and family. You might plan on having your actual wedding be small and intimate; not including everyone that was invited to your engagement party. Therefore, you really want to make each guest feel special. To do this, we must use all Five Senses, especially the activation of sight.

Activate Sight


Sending out personalized invitations to guests that uniquely showcase the engagement party theme is one of the ways you can activate sight. I like the idea of creating your own handmade ones and at Michaels craft store they have several cutouts that with some fabulous stationery from Fine Stationery would make it so pretty & perfect. Be sure to make a couple things clear on the invite: 1) The mood of the party..fun & flirty, semi-formal, or formal 2) If this is the main event (ie: your wedding will include a small party of close family & friends 3) Whether or not you are accepting gifts. Usually at an engagement party gifts do not need to be brought, but lately this is becoming the norm.


It is very gratifying to see your name written out. It makes you feel relevant and important and this is the exact feeling a host wants the future bride and grooms' guests to feel. Two places that have ready made place cards is The Wedding Outlet and Paper Style. Another great option is shopping at Etsy, an online crafter's boutique store. It has great place cards that you can purchase or find ideas to make your own creations.


Renting out a hall at a venue can be pretty pricey because usually you are not just renting the space, often times they require you to have a food & beverage minimum and as the host you do not want to be burning a hole in your wallet, after all this is just the first step in the wedding process, there is still a bridal shower and bachelorette/bachelor party to plan!

Thus, the most affordable yet still intimate outlet is to have the engagement party at a restaurant. Preferably a restaurant that has a separate area that can be enclosed. That way people are free to roam & mingle apart from the main dinner table/s. Not to mention, a restaurant usually has a bar, and for those who would like to drink or even drink more than your budget can accommodate, they can serve their needs at the restaurant bar.


Just because you're at a restaurant you can still dress up their tables. Unless the restaurant already has nice, clean table cloth, purchase table cloth that matches the theme & colors you are going for.

*Picture from: The Party Dress

Bride and Groom Table

It makes sense to have a table that showcases the couple, after all, this party IS about them. Ask the bride and groom to give you various engagement photos that you can include in beautiful frames to be placed on a dedicated table for them (you can even use the photos as decorative paraphernalia such as table centerpieces or streamers). Also, place a sign in book on the table for people to give their congrats! Gifts can also be placed on this table.

Food & Beverage Table

If you are having a small, intimate engagement party, being served food at a restaurant from a menu is an appropriate option to take. But, if you're having a large party, cut out the headache of individual orders and set up a buffet with food that caters to all dietary needs. Below is a beautiful example of a Food & Beverage Table at an Engagement Party courtesy of Cake Ink.

With this example I love how they expedited sending out Thank You cards by placing "Thank You" grab bags on the table for their guests.

~Centerpieces should be included on all the tables used at the engagement party. Click here where I will showcase some DIY centerpieces that are quick, easy to make, and affordable.

Easy enough right?

April 28, 2011

Karen's Fabulous Frugal Wedding Tip #2: Custom Bachelorette Shirts

Let's face it, when you're having your Bachelorette Party, EVERYONE around needs to know that you and your bridal party are the showstoppers for the weekend. Besides being the loud ones stumbling in at 4 in the morning after a crazy fun-filled night, there is one more obvious way to stand out: Custom Bachelorette shirts.

Buying custom shirts for your bridal party can get pricey, especially since they will only be worn for one or two nights so it's important to make the shirts cute and noticeable, but in the most cost effective way. That is where Bachelorette Girl from Zazzle.com comes in.

Above is an image of a tank I custom designed on the Bachelorette Girl site (click on image for a larger view). You can change the font, font size, font color, shirt color, position, you name it, on whatever type of shirt you would prefer. You can add an image to the shirt and even include writing on the back.

The clincher is that it is so affordable. For the example images above it came out to less than $19.00 a shirt since it would be bought in bulk! In essence, you could afford to have two different shirts for the weekend! How can you beat that?

This makes me want to go plan a Bachelorette Party just so I can have a cute shirt :-)

April 27, 2011

WEDDING Cake of the Day

Cinderella's Wedding Cake in Sedona! The bride loved Cinderella so Sedona Cake Couture captured the elements of her favorite fairy tale princess in this over the top cake. It's your special day, choose a cake that fulfills your fairytale wedding :-)

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April 26, 2011

WEDDING WEEK: Save the Date and Your Money

Weddings are obviously expensive and according to Cost of Wedding, the average cost of a wedding is $24,066. However, the majority of couples spend between $18,050 and $30, 083 on their wedding, NOT including the honeymoon or engagement ring!

For those of you on a tight budget, let me suggest a couple of things: 1) Create a budget & STICK TO IT. There are frugal ways to make your wedding look fabulous and this week I will share some tips on decorations and other things that will still make your wedding stand out.

2) Take out a piece of paper right now. In your head set a number for the amount of people you would like at your wedding -the least amount and the most. Now, on a separate piece of paper write down all the people you are really close to. Then, go back to the numbered piece of paper and fill in the spots starting with the people closest to you--------You now have your wedding guest list ;-). It is this major step that will help lead you toward planning the perfect wedding. We will discuss this more later in the week.

I will leave you with one of my cost saving ways that can make your wedding fabulous!

Karen's Fabulous Frugal Wedding Tip: Save the Dates

So you've set a date and you want to make sure the ones you love can make it to your special day. The details are not completely set for the wedding other than the date, but it is crucial to get the word out soon so that your potential guests don't forget it. It needs to STICK in their minds... what other way to ensure they remember than by sending MAGNET 'Save the Dates' through Vistaprint.com?!

Above is an example of one of the MANY templates they have to offer that is completely customizable. You can even insert a photo to make it more personable. The best part is that for a set of 25 'Save the Date' magnets you can get them for less than $13!!

Keep checking back for more of my wedding tips :-)

WEDDING Cake of the Day!

This is perhaps one of the most classy, elegant wedding cakes I have ever seen! Today's Wedding Cake of the Day was done by Cory Lewis of Cakes by Cory Lewis, and the photo was taken by Ramblin’ Rose Photography. STUNNING!!

April 25, 2011


Spring and Summer are synonymous with wedding bells, so what better time than now to have a Wedding Week where I feature cakes, decor, and all of my favorite wedding creations?! This week I will showcase all things wedding; engagement dinners, invitations, wedding decor, cakes, bachelorette parties etc. This will all lead up to one of the most anticipated weddings of the century; Prince William and Princess-to-be Kate Middleton.

Pictured (courtesy of WeddingSutra.com) we have Marcia Cross and the amazing 5-tier cake she had for her Summer wedding a couple of years ago. The cake was enormous as you can see; it looked like it could be as tall as her. The cake had a different flavor on each tier which used a mix of beautiful flowers including roses and hydrangeas.

Stay tuned for more on my Wedding Week blog!

April 24, 2011

Cake of the Day!

To celebrate the end of Lent and my chocolate dry spell I bring to you the best Cake of the Day. ENJOY!!

What was I thinking giving up chocolate?!

How to Plan a Large Birthday Party-Part 5: Give Your Thanks

One of the most important things to do at the conclusion of a party you have hosted is to thank your guests for coming. You should send out thank you notes/cards no later than a week after your party. Since my party was a birthday party I wanted to add a little twist and give each of my guests birthday cake.....Gold Canyon Birthday Cake Candle that is ;-)

Each guest had this candle and a thank you card waiting outside of their hotel door for them. You can ask the hotel to deliver this type of stuff to your guest's rooms and of course you can do it yourself like I did.

So there you have it! To recap you have learned that in order to successfully map out a birthday party for a large group you need to create an itinerary followed by sending out invitations. As you wait for RSVPs, you can start ordering and creating decorations, paying attention to how you can apply minor details to make the party standout. Moreover, we have learned how to handle potential guests who have not RSVP'd and we have captured the importance of how to thank our guests at the conclusion of our party.

I hope this week long blog entry about How to Plan a Large Birthday Party was helpful and you can go out and plan your next large birthday party successfully. If you have any questions or comments please feel free to reach out to me.


How to Plan a Large Birthday Party-Part 4: Dealing with RSVPs

As you are creating your decorations and ordering food and drinks for your large birthday party, you are at a stand still because you do not know how many minor details to make for individual guests and you have no idea how much food & drinks to order. You realize that the RSVP date has long passed and you have not heard from a couple of your guests. You need to hear from them as soon as possible, but you do not want to send them yet another text about the large birthday party around the corner.

Evite is your answer.

Evite is such a great tool to use because it is a friendly way of letting your potential guests know that they have an event to RSVP to. The above image shows an Evite that I sent to some guests who had not RSVPd. Unfortunately, some people do not understand the importance of RSVPing, but this way is the best way to let them know and get an answer quick since a lot of people actively check their emails. All you need are your potential guests' email addresses and then Evite will do all the work! The cool thing about using Evite is that when your potential guests do RSVP, the update gets sent immediately to your email.

April 23, 2011

How to Plan a Large Birthday Party-Part 3: Minor Details

Minor Details tie the whole party together. They are the little, yet BIG things that you add to a party that make it stand out. Below I will show you just some of the minor details I used during my 23rd Mardi Gras meets Masquerade Birthday Party.

Minor Details #1: Welcome Party Bin

For all of my guests' rooms I left them a welcome party bin that included their masks for the party, personalized door hangers with a bag full of candy, more treats, and an itinerary for the weekend.

To make the above door hanger I simply purchased a wooden door hanger from Michaels

I then painted it royal purple with paint also purchased from Michaels, and then adorned it with a cute mini frame. Next, I took the first letter of each guest's name, cut out the corresponding letter from a magazine, and fixed it in the middle of the frame that I glued onto the door hanger. On the back of the door hanger I placed this bag of treats equipped with EBOOST to give them lots of energy for the weekend...

As for the itinerary for the week, I used Vistaprint to design a welcome/itinerary card.

Click here for a continuation on the Minor Details I used for my party!

How to Plan a Large Birthday Party-Part 3: Minor Details CONTINUED

Like I said, Minor Details truly do add to a party! Check out my continuation of some of the decorative ideas I created for my 23rd Mardi Gras meets Masquerade Birthday party below.

Minor Details #2: Mask Cork Board Creation

I really wanted to capture the mask look with my party since masks are a huge part of Mardi Gras and Masquerades. To make this Mask Cork Board Creation you will need the following:

(1) Mask (2) Corkboard (3) Hot glue gun w/ glue sticks (4) Construction paper that matches the color scheme you are using for your party. All of these items can be purchased at Michaels.

To create, evenly align 4 pieces of construction paper onto the cork board-glue accordingly. Find the center of your cork board and position the mask in the middle-glue accordingly. You're done!

Minor Details #3: Mardi Gras Sand Vase

To make this table piece you will need the following:

(1) Mini vases (2) Bag of purple sand (3) Pipe cleaners (assorted colors that match your theme) All of these items can be purchased at Michaels.

To create, take your bag of sand, pour it in the vase leaving about a quarter of an inch to the top free, and then dig the pipe cleaners into the sand. To make it look unique, bend the pipe cleaners in different directions!

Minor Details #4: Mask & Feather Pot

The final picture of this creation is coming soon as I failed to properly upload it. But, the picture to the right gives you a little bit of an idea as to how the final look turns out. To make this Mask & Feather Pot creation you will need the following:

(1) A small clay pot (2) Lots of feathers that match your theme colors (3) hot glue gun with glue sticks (4) wooden tongue sticks (5) small Styrofoam ball (6) Construction paper that matches the theme colors of your party (7) Traceable mask (8) glitter
All of these items can be purchased at Michaels.

To create, take your bag of feathers and separate the single color you want to use on the pot. In this case, I chose the purple feathers and left the remaining two colors for my other pots. Next, I took my hot glue gun and glued the feathers on the outer surface of the small clay pot as well as the inner surface. From there, I took my small Styrofoam ball, cut it in half, and placed it in the inside of the pot.

Separately, I took a traceable cardboard mask found at Michaels and traced it over my desired colored construction paper. Be sure to use a light pencil when doing this. Cutting out only the outer part of the tracing, I proceeded to glue it on top of the traceable cardboard mask. I did this to make the mask more durable. Since there were still light pencil marks from my tracing, I took glue and outlined the eyes and mouth of the mask as well as the inner part of the eyes and mouth with the glue. I then poured glitter on it and waited a couple of minutes for it to dry. Once dry, I glued the wooden tongue stick to the back of the mask and then pressed the wooden tongue stick portion into the Stryrofoam that had been placed into the pot. Mask & Feather pot creation COMPLETE!

Minor Details #5: Mardi Gras Box and Mardi Gras "beads"

I really like to fill up a room with as many minor details as I can! There are two ways in which I did this, one with a box, the second with construction paper. With the above creations you can easily enhance a room.

To make the first Mardi Gras box creation you will need the following:

(1) small cardboard box (2) construction paper that matches the colors of your theme (3) hot glue gun and glue stick (4) ruler

To create, take your ruler and measure the sides of the small cardboard box. Take your construction paper and using the measurements you just obtained, trace out the measurements, varying between different construction paper colors. Cut what you traced and glue it directly onto the cardboard box. COMPLETE!

To create the Mardi Gras "beads" take a cutout punch like the one below

as well as your designated construction paper and slide the construction paper into the cutout punch, punching various colors along the way. Use the circles you punched out as Mardi Gras "beads" and disperse them throughout the party. You can even use them as streamers by punching a tiny hole in them, stringing chicken wire through them, and hanging them on ceilings and walls.

There you have it! These were just some of the ways in which I included Minor Details in my party :-)

April 21, 2011

Cake of the Day!

What happens in Vegas stays in Vegas...or in your stomach! Today's Cake of the Day comes from Sugar Creations located in Savonburg, KS. Rebecca Sutterby is the owner of Sugar Creations and she is an award-winning cake artist. Below you will find a wedding cake she designed for a Vegas themed wedding.

Rebecca Sutterby's cakes have been featured in Brides magazine and People magazine to name a few so if you're looking for a credible cake company check out Sugar Creations!

April 20, 2011

How to Plan a Large Birthday Party-Part 2: Decorations

So you've chosen the theme for your party, created an itinerary for the birthday party, sent out invitations and are now waiting for RSVPs. What to do, what to do? It's time to start getting decorations!

I wanted to activate sight the second my guests walked into the room where I was hosting the first part of my birthday celebration and I knew there was only one decoration company that could bring my vision to life; Oriental Trading! This company has party supplies, crafts, and party decorations for absolutely ANY occasion. Since I wanted to bring my Mardi Gras meets Masquerade theme to life, I ordered a metallic gold door curtain to hang at my door so it screamed "party time" as soon as my guests stepped up

and I ordered the Mardi Gras Design-A-Room Set. It was simple to use, all I did was unravel the set, obtain adhesive tape, and stuck it to the walls of my party room. This look really enhanced the theme!

The Mardi Gras Design-A-Room Set also came with 'people' that you could also stick to the walls which I thought was so cool and a must have.

What is a Mardi Gras meets Masquerade party without masks? On one of the nights of the party I wanted to incorporate masks. But, not just any masks; I wanted masks that could be easily taken on and off and not tamper with my guests' faces and hair. So I decided to get beautiful hand masks also from Oriental Trading.

As I constantly say, choosing three main colors to match your theme makes buying and creating decorations so much easier. The three main colors I chose for my party were gold, purple, & green. The hard thing about a Mardi Gras meets Masquerade theme is that there are a lot of color variations like royal purple, dark purple,light purple etc. so if you can stick to two or three stores that have your exact colors that is the safest route to go. For me I stuck with three: Oriental Trading, Michaels and Party City

Since Michaels and Party City were local stores, I used them to fulfill quick, basic decor needs like helium for my balloons, streamers, arts & crafts supplies, and cutlery/napkins/cups.

Remember in my HELLO KITTY Baby Shower blog I discussed the importance of MINOR DETAILS? Though I fulfilled my decor vision with physically bought decorations, I still needed to create decorations of my own that would serve as minor details. Stay tuned to see all the ways in which I implemented minor details!