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Wedding Flowers

  • Posted on December 27, 2011 at 5:17 pm

Thinking about flowers for your wedding?  Having trouble deciding on which flower means that special something to you?  Perhaps you already know exactly what you want.  Everything is easy smeasy, right?

You’ve been told , perhaps by your local florist, that you can get your flower or anything you want or need, at any time you want it.  The flower doesn’t necessarily have to be in season in your area you’ve been told, but it is in season somewhere and you can order that flower and have it at your wedding anytime you want it, right?  A flower that is not grown here in New York or even the northeast, can of course be gotten from the southwest, or even further south, South America including one of the Americas in the southern hemisphere. That is all very true of course, but what you are not being told is that there can be quite a hefty price attached to receive that very special flower you want.  Yes, of course you can have any flower.

Another reason, the florist may say that everything is in season and can be in season all the time, is that flowers now rather than 60 or so years ago, have been cross pollinated to present a varied flower, more resilient, an even more exotic flower in look and scent. A flower that can be grown almost anywhere. Just because this is the case, is that specific bloom going to be within your budget, whether it is merely a victim or cross pollination or has been flown in from the southern regions of the world? Whether it is science or imported, is the price tag too great for your budget.

When my husband and I were getting married, I’d found a beautiful purple and exotic flower within the Brooklyn Botanical Gardens. Found the name, looked it up online, and found that it would be in season during the summer time, however I hadn’t look to see where it was natively grown, and if it were here in the northeast. Alas, it was not in season in New York City during that time frame and I had chosen a flower that was so exotic, that it was not even in season in the United States. Getting it from the southern hemisphere was prohibitive to our budget.

When picking out your flowers be mindful of what is in season and exactly where it is in season, if you go the route of a florist. The florist can get you anything you want at any time of the year, but be smart and do some research on your own as well.

While compiling the budget for you wedding, you of course can always give yourself breathing room around your segments, so if you run into something like a pesky out-of-season bloom, perhaps you can splurge. If you feel it is a bloom you will not be able to live without, then and only then, if you have the money figured into your budget to use for this specific instance, by all means do it. Tell yourself ‘you deserve the splurge’ and do it, but if you have not worked it in, then don’t blow the seams off your budget by getting this one item. If you do it for this bloom, you will undoubtedly do it for almost anything else in your wedding purchases. If done repeatedly, you won’t be able to call your budget a real budget and will start to spend future money on your wedding, which I do not condone.


Here’s some tips to keep your cost within budget or lower:


  1. Do further research, there may be another bloom that mimics your exact flower that is in season within your area.
  2. Look at your wedding attire, see if there is something in or on it that represents a bloom and go with that one, if it is in season. (That’s what happened to me. I revisited my dress’ appliqués, which were hydrangeas. Perfect they were in season during June, and in purple*.)
  3. Do you have a theme to your wedding, maybe there is a flower that works perfectly with your theme. (It’s probably not the exotic flower you initially had in mind, but it will lend itself to something more reasonably within your budget.)
  4. Hey! Here’s a novel idea; confer with your fiance’. Maybe there is something that could be highlighted that you both like. Maybe you won’t even go the flower route. Mmmh!
  5. Purchase your bouquets from an emerging florist, rather than a big named flower company. (They might be able to not only drop them off, but supervise the handling of the blooms for decorations and handing or pinning them to or on your wedding party.) See

    Handheld or table setting blooms

  6. Purchase your bouquets from your local florist shop.
  7. Purchase your blooms from a local deli. (Don’t forget you’ll be in charge of making of the bouquets.)
  8. Purchase your blooms from one of the web or phone floral companies. They’ll deliver to your door. (Probably the day before your wedding.)
  9. Purchase from a warehouse or giant florist out in the outer boroughs. (It’s great to live in New York City for many reasons and this is one of them.) (If it’s from the warehouse: Don’t forget you’ll be in charge of making of the bouquets.)
  10. (Perish the thought) Silk or flowers made of cotton/polyester. They may not smell like real flowers, but if gotten at the right place, you can have your beautiful blooms forever. (Why not spritz the scent of your choice on your flowers?)


All in all, wedding flowers even though they can expand into ten or more segments within your wedding, they do not have to completely obliterate your budget. With some planning and ingenuity you can stay within your budget and have a beautiful wedding with beautiful wedding flowers. Just think outside the wedding flower box, and win.



Doesn’t it look like she is in a greenhouse?   No, she is standing in the midst of silk blooms.  Can you tell the difference?


  • Posted on October 23, 2011 at 1:47 am

Happy Holidays and a Very Happy &

Properous New Year.

And if you are in another state with family, I wish you love, happiness and to have a safe return.
My hope for all whose weddings are in the coming months is that it does come under budget, while still being elegant and fun.

There has been even more events that I have gone to, that I think you may want to know about, so I have composed of list of things that have happened but need your help and things that are in the process or preparation to happen, that also need your help.  Two are monetary help and one is political clout help.  If you have any of the latter please lend it to Debora of Deja Vu Book Lounge in east Harlem.  More about that later.

The films that would greatly appreciate funding and or just publicity are:


Beantown, A Documentary Film

Set in an impoverished Afro-Ecuadorian town is home to Ecuador’s top soccer talent and yet even after 2002’s World Cup they remain marginalized by the same people that celebrate their athleticism.  The film includes interviews with soccer players; Valencia, De La Cruz, and Delgado.

It’s a wonderful film, still in the process of being made.  The ending has almost been shot, but the producers need funds to get back to Ecuador, to film, then funding for editing and then of course marketing.


Contact  The producers are Betty Bastidas and Maia Monasterios.  To see more information on the film, go to


The second film’s title and information I will have at a later date.  The film is set in South Africa and involves getting children into and respecting dance as a medium of release, enjoyment, and discipline.


The book store, I mentioned above needs political clout.  The bookstore is located at 112 East 116th Street, New York, NY 10029 between Lexington & Park Avenues.  In the heart of Spanish Harlem.  In fact my friend’s store is just around the corner in La Marqueta.  His store is La Bodega.  Yummy food, good conversation and terrific gift items too.  Check that out, too.


Back to the bookstore:  Deja Vu Book Lounge.  The owner Ms. Debora wants to have a book fair.


Very similar to the Harlem Book Fair, which had its humble beginnings, back in 1997.  It was QBP Magazine and Mosaic Books along with African Diaspora Book Group, who got that off the ground.  One of co-Founders of both African Diaspora Book Group & QBP Magazine were instrumental in putting that book fair on the map and garnering Time-Warner’s support.  Ms. Debora, needs that help now for the book fair she wants to start and present.

The book fair is now scheduled for April 21st 2012.

The challenge is getting to have it on the block with the sponsors she has garnered.  The very same block with her book shop, rather than being pushed off to a non – trafficked  section of Harlem.  Being in the heart of where the action is has its perks.  It’s safer for the both the participants and the visitors.  Plus, it is easy to get to for all.  The book fair will feature poets, writers of Hispanic origins as well as urban origins (people of color and from and around the neighborhood).  She already has some well-known participants.  Ms. Debora already has the backing of her block, it just seems to be the politicians of her community who are against bringing literacy to the neighborhood through a book fair.

Here’s my call to you to get involved, especially if you have some political cache’.  Get involved to bring literacy in the form of poetry, other writing back to the neighborhood.  Don’t you think it’s about time?




Why haven’t you heard from me of late you may wonder?  I have had a glitch on my website.  I’d write my blog or articles and sometimes I’d usually write into the website itself, but of late, I haven’t been able to see what I have been writing while I’ve been writing it.  I would either have to highlight it to see it or publish it and then if I needed additional editing I would then have to take it into edit form again, which meant I couldn’t see it again.  Talk about ghost writing or invisible ink, but via the Internet.  Quite frustrating!!  That was quite a glitch, which I had to work out.  It was an odd thing to say the least.


Another reason I haven’t been updating you on what’s what in my life, is I have been putting more finishing touches on my  book, New York Budget Weddings, Elegant and Affordable, in case you’d forgotten the title – NOT, before it went back to my marvelous editor for the final  edits.  I also decided to add another chapter which I have never seen addressed by anyone or anywhere while I both researched more and re-read my book and others on similar subjects.  While I was re-reading, you know I had to do some of my own editing, which spurred me to write more about the subject at hand.

With both of these, one technical and one artistic, plus checking out the food events around town, that are out of the ordinary, I’ve been pretty busy.  I’ve missed chatting with you and find out what’s going on with you, so as someone said in a movie said “I’m BAAAACK!  Back with —  two count’em — two entries about the food antics happening in New York City and around me.  Soon to come a podcast with the winner of “The Wedding Cake Taste-Off”, along with some of our guest vendors.  Keep your eyes here.  See you soon.

Great Spot in South Bronx For You AND Me

  • Posted on July 29, 2011 at 8:26 am


Last Friday, 22 July, I had a truly fun experience. I was able to catch up to a friend of my husband’s, John Colon, and experience a new establishment – – to me in the South Bronx. The place is The Gallery Lounge, 26 Bruckner.   It’s a beautiful spot with yummy half moon sherbert-colored, orange leather banquettes, a long bar and few table set-ups.   Sounds lush and something out of Florida, doesn’t it?  My friend is of course John Colon of The LatiKnow Company, (which Educates through foods) and is also known for setting up restaurants’ management teams [notably 809 Restaurant & Lounge] in and around New Jersey and New York area, plus his dream come true–his current shop, La Bodega {Food Distribution} in La Marqueta.

I went there to talk to my friend, John Colon, about possibilities of our teaming up together in a mutually beneficial business  with regard to my Wedding Specialties. The experience I had was truly wonderful. Several minutes after my arrival, John came out to greet me in a white double-breasted jacket, to show me what he foresaw in the near future for the space and then back to the kitchen. On the way back, he asked me if I wanted to see “his” kitchen. I was surprised, not so much that he can cook, since I knew that already, but that he ls now a chef. John has always loved food, to eat, yes of course, through education for the customers about uses for certain foods.  Also educating the restaurant team on how to both treat and serve their customers, but also now educating his customers’ palate through their eating experience.  He is all about widening people’s awareness of the arts of Spanish foods from the Hispanic perspective on a broader spectrum.  And now he gets to do just that every Friday and Saturday nights, here at the Gallery Lounge, from 7 pm – 4 am.

I was also able to meet his Consulting Chef Tamar Poysner,  who won Rachel Ray’s 2009 competition:  “Hey You Can Cook 4”.  Ms. Poysner in 2010 was on Gordon Ramsey’s Master Chef program as well.  By now you are wondering what’s the idea behind all this talk of food on a wedding website, right?  Think event space, food, chefs, what does that spell?  Reception site. And I was there on your behalf, asking about possibilities of having your wedding and reception here.  Right now we are working out the details, but have your event for under $10,000 with either full-service or cocktail parties.  Keep in mind for a sit down it is suggested no more than 50 people.

The two chefs were in their element in their kitchen, [and so was I], joking, trying out new recipes, etc. as they continued washing their hands after everything they touched [a very good sign].   I even got to taste a couple of the newer items that they were trying out on their menu, for the evening. It’s always fun to go to talk business and wind up being offered tidbits of food.  I hadn’t expected that at all.  A surprise tasting as it was, for me and you. Yum!  Let me list what I liked there so when you go, you will know:

  • Hot, hot, hot Salsa dance music.
  • Tamarind Sauce and Curry Puff
  • Meet-Lover’s pizza (consisting of Shrimp, rather than pork of sausage.) YUM!~
  • Canoa
  • Jerk Burger [with cheese, of course] Slider

All I can say is YUM!!!!  Go!  Experience the Spanish-Caribbean blend from these two chefs’ diverse and co-mingling cultures.  Ms. Poysner throws in a bit of Italian cuisine she learned during her winning tour to Tuscany.  Together Chefs Tamar Poysner and John Colon through their cooking are able to share their passion for food, via their styles of cooking together for you.  Imagine having that at your wedding and reception.  Again, I say YUM!!!!

The Gallery Lounge, 26 Bruckner Boulevard, Bronx NY 10454

Look for wedding workshops and seminars in the near future in this spot.  There’s even an art gallery complete with paintings on the walls.  Fun and Yummy!




Same-Sex Marriage Equality-Yes [Finally] Today; Wedding Toppers Tomorrow?

  • Posted on June 28, 2011 at 1:50 am

At Unity of New York, yesterday there was rejoicing in the aisles, in the congregation, and on stage as Rev. Paul Tenaglia’s moratorium was summarily dispensed with because the vote to allow same sex marriages came back in the affirmative. Rev. Tenaglia emphasized this by having various groups stand up and proclaim their sense of pride, accentuating that we all deserve and now all do have pride in choice of who we can marry. Equality is not equal if all cannot and do not experience the same things, including getting married. Just the night before the news spread like wild fire throughout the city, and probably the state, that the law had been voted on, and marriages could commence 30 days hence or starting on 25 July. Anyone wishing to get married can register as early as 5 July 2011. The vote in the affirmative could not have come at a more propitious time, the start of weekend of the Gay Pride March. I am sure it felt like it was a sign from the heavens, to march with renewed pride and celebration.

What does this mean for New Yorkers? It means that no longer does the Gay Community have to get married in one of the other states to the north of us and live in “sin” or as nonentities, without rights and benefits of being married here in New York. It means also that they will get to experience the same marriage or contractual agreement challenges that other married couples go through during the life of their marriages, now too. But even before that, other things may have to be taken into consideration. A friend of mine suggests this first year may be one of chaos, much like the new cars that come out onto the market (You know, the ones that have come from concept first into new car form). As every straight person who lives together before marriage, can tell anyone—living together and living married are two completely different things. In this first year, relationships that had been going along smoothly, even though there was no marriage available, may go through growing pains now that they can get married, or even break up because they can get married.

The other interesting thing is that I have heard that there is now a scarcity of wedding cake toppers, since the passage of the vote for same-sex marriage, (according to 1010 WINS-7/26/2011) you know those traditional and ‘so-called’ comical cake toppers that often go on top of the wedding cake for the show at the reception. Here’s what I hope will happen to those wedding cake toppers: I hope that whoever manufactures them, now gets real models for each group of people that are being depicted. Have you ever noticed that all of the wedding cake topper figurines only have one or two different faces? There is no real differentiation between a Caucasian, African Diaspora, Asian, or Hispanic figurine. That is other than skin tone and possibly thicker eyebrows for Hispanic and curlier hair for the people of African Diaspora descent. Otherwise all are based on Caucasoid features. In order to have real inclusiveness (within the wedding cake topper) more thought must put into the manufacturing process, as well. Possibly this doesn’t seem to be a big deal, but when you look at your cake topper and it looks nothing like you, you begin to wonder who’s wedding is it anyway. Inclusiveness does not mean every one looks alike, acts alike, or even dresses like. It means we are all included at the party, no matter what our differences. That’s really what makes a party fun, don’t you think? I for one, believe that. Now that we’ve gotten the big stuff out of the way, let’s start on the wedding cake toppers.


With regard to the wedding cake toppers there are many ways to remedy that challenge. Some I can even tell you about in another blog entry. Some really fun DIY (Do-It-Yourself) projects to make your wedding (cake topper) yours and fun.


Getting Ready.

  • Posted on June 28, 2011 at 12:17 am

As the day approaches for the event, I have started to do my own taste-testing.  Not from the wedding cake bakers in the running though, just random bakers.  What I found interesting though is that my stomach knows right away what is good and not to ever approach again.  I think I told you about the upcoming video in which I am tasting cake.  Well the props, (yes they were real) were from the fabulous Carrot Top.  Neither cake was a wedding cake, but oooooh, they were good.

The other day, I was in the mood for more cake, but not anywhere near Carrot Top, so I went to a random bakery nearby and had what I had hoped would be a chocolate cake.  Alas, it was possibly pound cake covered with chocolate frosting and topped with sprinkles.  It was good, not fabulous, but my stomach was not pleased in the least.  The moral of the story is, even though it’s cake and covered in chocolate, doesn’t mean that it will be good all the way through.

Cakes, Cupcakes, & Frosting: Being Within A Trend

  • Posted on June 21, 2011 at 7:33 pm

It’s seems I am within a trend.  That is when it comes to cakes, frosting, and even cupcakes.  Did you see the NY Times article “Viewers Still Drool For Frosting Fantasies“?  It is quite an interesting article about how many television show events/competitions there are on television now, pertaining to the cake.  When I say the cake, I mean the full size and the mini or cupcake.  Plus, evidently there are more bakery business openings these days than regular restaurants.  It seems the price point for start-up costs and success rate is much easier and greater with a bakery than with restaurants.  Too many moving parts to be handled in the restaurant than for a bakery.  Think of both of those this way:  The restaurant is like the general practice doctor  vs.  (baker) the specialist.  The bakery can then of course specialize further to either, just cookies or just cupcakes, or even just cakes (and possibly pies).  Wedding Cake Taste-Off At Riverside Church video.

Now you’re wondering why, do I think I am within a trend?  Right?  Well, because of the Wedding Cake Taste-Off, which is being held on Sunday, 10 July from 2 pm to 5:30 at The Riverside Church of New York, 91 Claremont Avenue.  What is that?  It’s a chance for brides to taste baker’s cakes while voting on the best, plus one bride has the chance to sit on the judges panel.  A few of the judges include, Gail Watson of A Simple Cake and Loren Brill of SweetLorens.  It’s going to be a lot of fun, but how could it not, when it involves cake?  Plus, I’ll be there with my new book and giving away selections from the book:  New York City Budget Weddings, Elegant and Affordable.

Besides the cakes, cupcakes, and frosting trends, there are also contests to figure out who and what the best bake good is in both look and taste.  So see I am in the midst of the trend.  We’ll have cake, frosting, judges, and a book.  Unlike a lot of the television programs, as stated in the article by Ms. Alexandra Stanley in The NY Times, the Wedding Cake Taste-Off will have great tasting cakes.  That’s the whole point after all.  Ms. Stanley goes on to say that most times the television cakes are sights to behold, but not good to eat.  The Wedding Cake Taste-Off will have both, since real people want both.

Behind the Scenes Scoop – Part 3

  • Posted on June 19, 2011 at 9:49 pm

To say that I am excited is an understatement. There are still a number of things to get done in the next three weeks. One is to find a champagne sponsor/vendor. I am looking for a New York State champagne vendor first, but may open that up a bit, as long as the champagne tastes good and is within the bride’s budget.  fortunately I have a couple of people working on this with me.  I am confident by midweek that will be in place as well.  If given the opportunity I will probably enlist those same people to do the taste-test of the champagne, since I am definitely not a connoisseur. Or maybe I should use my tongue after all. Mmmh.  Maybe I could do a taste-test with one from one of the guest judges’ establishments, plus the champagne and make a decision. What do you think?

All in all, I am in the middle of the end and it is still fun. Much like when I was writing my book and dreaming (literally) about what would be written next, I am being awakened during the night or early morning to get up and write, I ‘ve started awakening knowing what I am supposed to do during the day in relation to the upcoming event. Whether it is to help the event along toward its success by securing both cake bakers/designers [In Process] and the judging panel [DONE] or making the aspect of the brides attendance fun and exciting [DONE]. That’s the hunt for me, a lot like the hunt of our wedding on a budget, the writing and finishing of my book. It is a fun excursion, that I do like. I hope you will reap some of the benefits of my hunt.

Things to look forward to in the next 3 weeks, a video about the event and the book-from yours truly, my book: New York City Budget Weddings: Elegant and Affordable‘s soft launch during the event at Riverside Church on Sunday, 10 July 2011 in the Assembly Hall. There will be lots of chances for brides to walk away with a copy of selections from the book. The name of the event is Wedding Cake Taste-Off and interested bakers can now go to the website: to get more information, rules.  Brides can sign up via email: or calling to: 866 675 9994.   I hope you all can come. It is going to be a lot of fun for all of us all.


Day of Event Flyer