I have always felt a gift diamond shines so much better than the one you buy for yourself. – Mae West

July 26, 2011 § Leave a comment

The ring. It’s a big deal. It sets the tone of your engagement. When you pop the question and she’s 100% in love with the ring (like she loves you), then you’re golden. If it’s not the right ring, you may have a problem. Here are some ways to avoid the guessing game to start your engagement off in a blissful way.

Let’s get real. The ring is all about her.

Yes, a good relationship is all about compromise and give and take, especially in a marriage. Lean a little more towards the “give” and get her what she wants. Taking her ring shopping and having her pick out her own engagement ring may take some of the fun out of the process. If you don’t want her to do all but pay for the ring, start asking her questions.

What shape of stone do you like? Oval, round, marquise, princess, emerald…

What type of metal do you want? White gold, yellow gold, platinum…

What style? Classic, simple, vintage, bling-bling…

Look at the jewelry she already owns. That will tell you a lot about her style and what type of jewelry she likes to wear. Ask her family and friends. Even take them with you when you go to pick it out. It is extremely important for you to keep your opinion out of the process and make it all about her.

Find a good jeweler.

Bottom line, go where you feel comfortable. Build a good rapport with the jeweler. Make sure it is someone who you can trust and someone who is patient and one who truly cares about getting you the perfect ring and not the “sale”. See what their policy is on tightening loose diamonds, re-dipping, other maintenance, etc. You may find one who is willing to service the ring at little to no charge as it experiences wear and tear. Also, make sure your jeweler has a good return/exchange policy.

The diamond.

Now, unless she specifically says she wants another stone, like a sapphire or emerald, do NOT even think about getting her something other than a diamond. No surprise stones! Most likely, every girl at some point has dreamed about getting a diamond, and for some, their engagement ring might be their first diamond. Not a good time to decide she needs a sapphire because she likes blue.

If you’ve shopped for diamonds before, then you are probably familiar with the whole cut, color, clarity, and carat. I will spare you the details here and let you hear the presentation from the jeweler. I promise, you will hear all about it. Just use your best judgement when picking out your diamond and find the best for what you can afford. It’s best to know ahead of time what cut she likes.

Make sure the jeweler can provide the diamond’s certification. If he/she does not have the certification, don’t buy the diamond!

The band of gold (or platinum)

This can be even more overwhelming than picking out the diamond. This is where knowing her style really comes in handy. The setting also gives your diamond the compliment it needs. It will transform a beautiful gem into a stylish piece. Get the opinions of her closest friends and family for this one. Make sure you know if she’s all about the yellow gold or the white gold/platinum. You really don’t want to surprise her on that one.

All in all, listen to her. She’s probably been dropping hints since your dating became serious. She may tell you what she wants in subtle hints or she may tell you word for word what she wants. Either way, listen to her and you can’t go wrong.

Some of my favorite jewelers…

Ashbrook Fine Jewelers

 

Ben Bridge

 

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You can always tell what kind of a person a man thinks you are by the earrings he gives you. – Audrey Hepburn

July 22, 2011 § 2 Comments

When it comes to jewelry, my style is somewhat simple and classic. I like to collect pieces that I can wear everyday with virtually any outfit. I look at jewelry as an investment. It’s a statement that shows others a little bit about who you are. I do think it’s important to find your jewelry identity and what works for you.

Take this JewelMint quiz to find your style

Some of my favorite jewelry and designers:

 

Alexis Bittar

 

Rolex

 

I was reading my InStyle magazine, the August 2011 issue, and I came across some earrings that I absolutely love! The issue featured Katie Holmes on the cover and for their feature interview. She’s wearing Colette diamond and 18kt black and gold earrings.

The idea of seeing everybody clad the same is not really my cup of tea. – Christian Lacroix

July 17, 2011 § Leave a comment

To be honest, most wedding dresses to me are like a sea of white. I have a hard time finding a dress that really captures my attention. A couple of months ago, I was able to attend the opening of a designer wedding dress boutique called Rosa Clara. I was floored. Just the design of the store itself was a work of art. Everything was black and white and lit in a way that I wanted to buy another wedding dress. The dresses were one of a kind. The beauty in the structure and architecture of the dresses outshone the fabric. The style was simple, elegant, modern, yet classic. I have never fallen in love with a collection like I have with Rosa Clara.

Rosa Clara is a designer from Spain. She has stores all over the world, but only one in the US which is in Dallas, TX. The last picture isn’t Rosa Clara, but my all time favorite wedding dress. It’s Audrey Hepburn in Funny Face.

It is always better to be slightly underdressed. – Coco Chanel

July 15, 2011 § Leave a comment

Being in the business of weddings, I get the chance to see hundreds of people each weekend come through our venue. Among every group we have, there is a variety of people. Some will be dressed to the nines, some in their Sunday best, and on one occasion recently, I saw shorts, which is so not right. I wonder what goes through a guest’s mind when they are getting dressed to come to a wedding most likely at a place where they’ve never been before. Church weddings and ballroom receptions aren’t the only venues anymore, so it complicates the wardrobe selection a bit. We are a primarily outdoor facility, so here are some tips on how to dress for a garden wedding.

Brides and Grooms, you may want to specify “garden wedding” on your invitation

This gives the guests an idea of how to prepare for the weather elements as well. In the winter/early spring, they may need a coat. In the summer, dress for the heat.

Guests, when you receive your invitation, do some research on the wedding location.

Most venues have a website, so take a look at venue’s ceremony and reception facilities. The wedding and reception may be all outdoor or partially outdoor/indoor. This can be a huge determining factor in how you dress.

Girls, if you go to a wedding at an outdoor facility, pay attention to your shoes.

If you want to wear some sort of heel, you might want to go with a wedge. We all know stilettos and grass don’t go well together. You may even consider a stylish flat of some sort.

Guys, a suit works great.

You definitely don’t want to go any dressier than a suit. I think ties are optional too.

The less to carry, the better.

Girls, you really don’t need to bring much. Try to scale down to a clutch or a wristlet if you can. Going through a buffet or getting out on the dance floor can be tough with a big bag.

Remember, it’s not about you.

You never want to out dress the bride and groom or wedding party. Keep it simple and classy because you are at the wedding to support and celebrate.

 

If I get married, I want to be very married. – Audrey Hepburn

July 14, 2011 § 1 Comment

As part of this blogging process, I wanted to interview several professionals in the wedding business. I have a long list of people I would love to interview, but I thought I could start with the one’s I am closest to, my parents.

Norris and Luanna Cole are the owners of The Plantation House, a wedding and reception venue in Pflugerville, Tx. They have successfully run their business for 14 years with close to 700 weddings under their belt. What makes their business even more unique is the fact that they both work together. In regards to my title, I consider my parents “very married”.

What made you decide to start a wedding business?

We’ve always been entrepreneurs. When we purchased the house 17 years ago it had a unique look. Our vision was to raise our family and have our children’s weddings here. The timing was just right, God opened a door, and we took a chance. Norris and I really balance each other out, with my people skills and his business sense.

How do you separate your home and your business?

We keep all personal areas, bedrooms, and living areas all private from weddings and guests. It’s very hard to do when you work and live in the same place. Our motto: Try to run the business and don’t let the business run you. Always make time for family. You have to make an effort to make the time. Brides expect a lot of time from you when you are planning their wedding.

What is your secret to longevity in an industry with a high turnover rate?

Staying fresh, current, and having a brand. You have to target the clients that want your brand. Worry about your own business and not what any of your competitors are doing. We always aim to educate the brides rather than “making the sale”. We are always improving the property and we study and follow the trends. Wedding trends change rapidly.

Describe working side by side with your spouse.

We have a very unique relationship. We genuinely love spending time together. We communicate very well. We just enjoy each other and we have a deep respect for each others’  talents and weaknesses. When I am stressed, he is my calm. We definitely laugh a lot!

What inspires you?

Happy people. I love clients who feel like family at the end of an event. We are part of such a special event in their lives. I love people in love. Our business is God-led and he brings us the perfect couples.

Norris, describe Luanna in three words.

My best friend

Luanna, describe Norris in three words

Hilarious Handsome Strong

What advice would you give a young, aspiring wedding planner?

Always put everything into question form when talking with a bride. You want the bride to feel they’ve made their own decisions. It’s always good to have a hard shell too. Remember, it’s not your wedding day. You are a service, but don’t get walked on. Your service deserves respect. Make sure you set time limits and boundaries on your service and availability.

Describe some of your biggest mistakes.

Thinking I know everything about a wedding, it’s my way or the highway, not being flexible at times, doing two weddings in a day, not being realistic on headcount. Everything I know and do now is based on a mistake I made in the past.

Name the hardest thing about what you do.

Having enough endurance to get through an event as I’ve gotten older and no sleep. I tend to wear all the stress of an event and I am an extreme perfectionist. I also always stress about the weather.

If you weren’t in the wedding business, what would be your dream jobs?

Norris: I would be a heart surgeon or a donut shop owner so I could close at 10am and play the rest of the day.

Luanna: This is actually my dream job! But if I had to choose a different one I’d do anything in the fashion industry. I would have loved to be a model, but I’m not high maintenance enough.

Name your top three most memorable wedding moments (good, bad, or funny).

1.  One time we got 7 inches of rain in 2 hours during an event. We have a creek that flows under a bridge across our road. Everything was completely flooded and no one was able to leave the property until about 4am. We were wading around in water about mid-calf.

2.  We had a cake delivered by a non-professional cake maker. As soon as she left, the cake started splitting in half. It took about four of us to hold it together so it wouldn’t fall.

3.  We had a bride and groom cancel a wedding 30 minutes before their ceremony. All the vendors were already set and we had to turn guests away. Around 11:00, the bride and groom decided to come back to the house and really get married. They showed up in flip-flops and shorts. Norris performed the ceremony and I was the photographer.

Describe a typical Saturday.

We actually start the preparation process on Thursday. Saturday morning we wake up early. We do all the final cleaning, set ceremony (if it wasn’t done Fri), and we usually show about 2-3 appointments. This all happens before noon. Then we go to Whataburger (pre-game meal). We come back home and continue cleaning and prep, spray our perimeter with spectricide for bugs, put our feet up for 30 min., then get dressed for the event. We usually receive vendors all throughout the day. We are always completely ready and confident the moment the bridal party and family arrive. Then the party is on from there. It’s very important for us to show grace and kindness throughout the entire event. Hospitality and professionalism is most important.

Norris, name three fashion pieces that describe Luanna’s style.

Diamonds, pearls, and platinum.

Luanna, name three fashion pieces that describe Norris’ style

Athletic shorts, cowboy boots, and starched jeans.

What are your secrets to being happily married for 29 years?

Forgiveness, saying “I love you” all the time, respect, and a good, listening ear. Lots of laughter-at each other and at yourself.

Describe your wedding.

August 14, 1982. It took place at my hometown church in Tulia, Texas. We had about 200 guests.

Colors: lavender, yellow, and white

Bridesmaid’s dresses: Lavender long, taffeta, ruffled, and satin with a sash. They carried white and yellow button daisies.

Groomsmen: Silver/grey western tuxedos and ostrich boots.

I loved everything except that derby hat (fashion fail)

We had a classic church reception. We had a receiving line, fruit, mixed nuts,beautiful china, and punch. My cake was a four-tiered cake that was made as our wedding gift. The groom’s cake was boot shaped and the baker forgot to add the sugar, so it was terrible.We changed into our trousseau and I even wore a corsage. I also wore it the next day on our plane ride to Vegas hahaWhat is your favorite season for weddings?

Spring and fall. There’s beauty in all seasons though.

Of everything in your landscape, name your favorite flower.

Double knock out roses in red.

Your favorite tree?

Magnolias and live oak

If you didn’t have a wedding on a Saturday, describe your perfect day.

Wake up with no stress, eat at my favorite restaurants, go shopping around Austin, and curl up on the couch and have mindless thoughts.

What are the three most important items in your business?

My calendar, computer, and my house.

The Plantation House

Who said nights were for sleep? – Marilyn Monroe

July 14, 2011 § Leave a comment

Time for one of my all-time, can’t live without beauty products! Drum roll, please…..Estee Lauder’s Advanced Night Repair!

I was introduced to this little bottle of heaven about three years ago when I worked for Estee Lauder. I began using it and have not stopped since. This product gives your skin that fresh, well-rested, and bright look. It also smooths the face and slows the aging process. I personally feel you are never too young to use anti-age products.

You need to start with a freshly washed face. Put half a drop of ANR on the back of your hand, evenly distribute the ANR all over your face. Any extra product you have left on the back of your hand, rub it in. We need to keep those hands looking young too! For best results, apply your moisturizer right after you apply the ANR.

Another cool beauty tip I love is to mix a drop of ANR with your liquid foundation and apply. It will give you a smooth, almost airbrushed look!

As a matter of fact, I rather feel like expressing myself now. – Audrey Hepburn

July 14, 2011 § Leave a comment

Welcome to my little piece of the internet! Hopefully you can find something of worth or entertainment on this little blog of mine. I am truly fascinated by style, all style. I don’t necessarily believe there is a “right” kind of style, but I do believe there is a wrong. You may agree or disagree with me and that’s fine. I am committing myself to writing these posts to further educate myself and to just have fun!

A little over a month ago, I left my classroom as a 5th and 6th grade music teacher to move to Austin, TX to become a wedding and event planner. I grew up in the wedding business and my new transition is somewhat of a homecoming for me, literally, since the wedding venue is also our home.

photo courtesy of AJH Photography

Keep reading this blog and you’ll see topics like fashion, make-up, my fav beauty products, wedding trends and decor, wedding dresses and bridal couture, and wedding etiquette. Why Antebellum? I’m from Texas, I was born and raised in the south, and I believe in most of what the south represents like elegance, poise, grandeur, etiquette, beauty, and big hair.

The bigger the hair, the closer to God, right??

Where Am I?

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