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Wedding Cake Taste-Off Author’s Fitting

  • Posted on June 17, 2011 at 1:32 am


Today was all about me. Don’t you just want that sometime? To have a day when it’s about stuff you either have to or want to get done. Well, that was what today was all about.

Here’s what my day’s plan was:

  1. Videotape invitation to Brides for Wedding Cake Taste-Off and talk about my book.
  2. Dress fitting with Ms. Rose Jeffries of Rose Loves Fashion
  3. Call my co-Sponsor; Ms. Angela Gregory, Weddings at Riverside
  4. Make some calls
  5. Home to write.


Did I get all of that done? Absolutely. Was it as quick as it took you to read it? Absolutely, not. First off, I forgot to turn my phone off last night and someone called and awakened me around one am. Not fun, especially since I then did not go right back to sleep. My time to awaken was scheduled for 7:20 am. I did, but also heard someone hit the bathroom, as I was about to and so lay down for a minute. Not wise, I reawakened an hour later. Called ahead to my fitting to let Ms. Jefferies know I’d meet her an hour later than prescribed. Met with the videographer, picked up some luscious cake and off we went to just in front of Riverside Cake, to shoot.

Aerial View

I think she (Videographer) got some awesome footage, plus it was not hard to eat the cake either. Yummy! When you see the footage, I am sure you will agree. Video tapings being what they are, we ran over by 45 minutes. So now I am an additional hour late for my fitting. Plus, I had to dash down to the Garment District to meet her.

At the fitting, ladies, unless you sew (which I don’t) and of course after you have already approved of the design, and interjected your opinion on draping or comments about the spots where you might be uncomfortable (which I did), shut up. I added my two cents and nearly torpedoed the top. I’d put my head into the wrong opening and thought I was correct, which meant all the measurements were wrong. Not! Rose and her team soon discovered my mistake and pinning commenced quite efficiently after that. As you may know designers do the first fitting in muslin, so pulling out the muslin, would have been a lot of wasted work in this case, but not horrifying. I see now why doing a gauge in needlecraft is SO important. (I crochet.) The fabric and the drape is going to be luscious. I cannot wait for you to see it. THANK you Rose for your patience and talent. It is going to be fabulous.

Designer to Author for Wedding Cake Taste-Off

I had to go shoe perusing for a hot minute (Didn’t find a thing I liked, but I was in Midtown, anyway.), and then bead perusing as well. Got some ideas on a potential fun, but elegant necklace. What I find, for me, is after a bit of creativeness in another genre, I am ready to come home and do some serious writing. It’s kind of like oiling the pump. [You’ll find I am not very good at cliches.] Oh, and I made my phone calls in Bryant Park. Very soothing and just what I needed to get more work done. I now have a night of writing ahead of me and I am raring to go. WooHoo!


A waste of time?

  • Posted on June 11, 2011 at 1:44 am

Due to something I ate yesterday, my sometimes delicate stomach rose up in protest into the night/morning last evening, right after choir rehearsal.  Needless to say, the things I had prescribed to get done both last night and this morning in relation to the Wedding Cake Taste-Off event were not gotten to.  Spiritually, I suppose, one could say, I was forcing myself to rest.  Or at least to stay home and get a lot of reading done.  Theoretically, that is what happened.

I have so much to do, but today it was not to be done for the Wedding Cake Taste-Off event in July.  I am still in search of a champagne sponsor who will do the champagne service for the invited guests.  I did take a look again at my press release and tighten it a bit.

My editor came over yesterday and gave me marketing tips but not the final edits.  That’s frustrating, although the tips were quite wonderful, but I want to see the final edits so I can put them in and then send them off to the last person to read it BEfore the event.  Way before the event, I hope so that the book can go to print.  Of course, the cover design is not finished as yet either, so I shouldn’t fret anyway, right? The designer and I had a discussion about that and the eBook design, which is not to be done by the same person.  So . . .?  What about that flyer though for the event? [Pretty cool, I think.]  The designer captured exactly what I’d detailed.  That wonderful designer, is Fouzia Eldrissi’s ( website designer (  [Jjkodesign is having a contest for small businesses, you might want to check it out].  Ms. Eldrissi will be at the event on 10 July and she is interviewed in my new book.  She is a delight.

If I re-cap my week, actually it has been quite fulfilling really and it might even seem as if I deserved to rest.  I had a meeting with Angela Gregory the wedding coordinator of The Riverside Church, which is the (sponsoring venue) this week with regards to the planning and how things are shaping up.  I’ve spoken, (texted actually) the fabulous Rose Jeffries [] who is designing my outfit for the event.  Researched and acquired the bags that the goodies will go in, researched both California and upstate New York vintners, set-up both the website, it’s content, prize structure, bakers rules and added content to Like Page . . . actually it goes on and on.  Really, I did deserve to rest and I guess my body must have known that I wasn’t really planning to so voluntarily until Friday (today) afternoon, when I would walk the Highline.  Walking, although meditative, and somewhat recuperative is not resting, so all in all it was not a waste of time after all.  No, it was a great day to reflect on all that has been gotten done.  Forced though it was, it was still a great day, in the end.

Wedding Cake Taste-Off; Behind the Scenes – Part 2

  • Posted on June 9, 2011 at 8:43 pm

  • What’s the idea behind the Taste-Off besides publicizing my book? Well, there are two other ideas, that dovetail into the book and the brides.
  • What is one of the bigger subsegments of the reception that money can be thrown? The booze? Sure, if you don’t go with a cash bar.
  • The flowers, yes, maybe if you haven’t spent all your budget during the ceremony.
  • The cake? Yes, that’s it!

I knew you’d come up with it. The cake can get extravagant, plus if you don’t have or know of a baker, where do you go?

  • Do you go with word of mouth or do you go to someone you’ve seen on television, or in magazine or do you go to a wedding expo?
  • Or do you go to several bakers and taste-test their wares or a flavor you think might be what you want for your wedding? That can be both time consuming and expensive. It could also be frustrating.
  • What if your spouse to be can’t go at the same time you are doing your research, what then?
  • Do you buy a slice of what you like?
  • What if your spouse doesn’t like it or once you get it home, you realize you don’t even like it, then what?

The beauty of the Taste-Off is that the brides, grooms, and or wedding couples can come together on a Sunday and taste to their heart’s content, the baker’s best cake. Even look at their portfolio, check out their presentation, style and their price. But it is not just a bridal party bonanza, it is also an opportunity to showcase cake bakers/designers who have been in business for less than 10 years and who may have graduated through and from the WIBO process.

Coming up with the why, who, and where were easy. All of the whats and the how were the tricky parts, but as the time ticks down those seem to be taking care of themselves, too. I hope and it is my plan that it continues that way, too. I needed to come up with an idea for my logo, which initially I saw as an action type of logo, but then I realized that really could be just the background on a flyer. I decided to take it to a professional, but it still wasn’t resonating with me. The logo like the title of my book was posing a challenge, but finally I realized, I had to relax and it would come to me, what the logo could be, just like the book’s title did. After a strange weekend of our new Time Warner modem failing and being thrown off the Internet for 2 ½ days, I was able to come up with a usable logo. Mmmh. I like it. Meanwhile I was talking to other amazing women who were helping me make a successful start on through to and after the finish of event.

  • Rose Jeffries, a designer has signed on to design my gown for the event and offer an hour of her services as a giveaway to one lucky bride.
  • Additionally, Fouzia Eldrissi, one of the people I interviewed for my book is a wedding planner and she also will have a table set up and is giving away time for a winning bride, from one of the giveaways as well.
  • There will be additional giveaways for the brides, but I don’t want spill all the surprises here.
  • Plus, of course a special chapter specific to the event, that I believe each bride or wedding couple will appreciate.

The bakers and cake designer’s for the event will be able to showcase their best cakes for the taste-off, which will be judged for their taste, (blind taste-test) design and table presentation. They are allowed to bring their portfolios and I hope possibly get bookings while they are set up for the event. There will be two baker winners. too. I think they will be delighted to realize that the winning baker’s businesses will be publicized in local media outlets. Yesterday I finished the first drafts of my letters/emails to the various celebrity judges from around the tristate area. I can not divulge as yet who they are, but I have already received two verbal affirmatives. WooHoo!

Here’s the Behind the Scene Scoop-Part 1

  • Posted on May 28, 2011 at 5:16 am

Alright, I promised you a surprise and information on my book, well today you are in luck, I decided to tell you what’s been going on. You already know the name of the book and you already know the surprise, but what about the behind the scenes goings on . . . Do you want to know that?

For the last 5 – 6 weeks I have been working with a phenomenal team of women who have helped me put together an unforgettable book launch. I will say there were also a couple of guys along the way who helped as well. A lot of women have said that men are usually not known for listening, but listen to me they have been doing and I have to just send you all a shout-out for that as well.

My book is in final edits, YIPPEE! The process to getting it to the published state or eBook form has been longer than I thought it would be. You may recall, I finished or proclaimed I’d finished a while back and even likened it to giving birth. It is still feels like that. Now, I have decided to birth something else, but this time not alone. [Has that been done before? Is that like birthing with ‘a village’? Humm, maybe.]

One of the people I interviewed after being presented as a new author at Riverside Church’s wedding event, was Angela Gregory. Ms. Gregory is the Wedding Consultant at The Riverside Church and we talked about brides thinking outside of the box when it came to their weddings. She even told me about her book that she is currently writing about her experiences from her point of view as a wedding consultant. Now, I get to encourage her, as people encouraged me while I was writing my book. I have looked forward to doing just that.

About an month after our interview, I got an idea about how to publicize my book while benefiting two other types of people within the wedding process. I shared it with a few of my friends and then took it to Angela via email. She loved the idea and we threw some dates around and came up with 10 July 2011. Yup! Just 6 weeks from now, this new event will take place at The Riverside Church in the Assembly Hall.

What have I been doing since the date has been nailed down. Batting around ideas on how to publish my book. Doing rewrites that the wonderful Carla Lynne Hall, my editor, Internet marketer, and advisor has sent to me. Ms. Hall has been a Godsend, she has been so patient and has steered me on how to set up my website. She has reined me in when I have gotten excited about publishing right away and reminded me that there were still things to look at in depth before thinking about publishing anything, right away. As a seasoned author of several books herself, Ms. Hall continues to guide me with each step onto the correct path prior to publishing. Publishing is a whole other process, too. Her advice has been invaluable when it comes to marketing my book both in person and online.

From brainstorming with both Ms. Hall and Guya Rai (my WIBO-Workshop In Business Opportunities, classmate and part of my 1/3 of my brainstorming group from class.), led me to think outside the box myself with how to market my book. That is how I came up with the idea of the Taste-Off. Initially it was named something else, but by the time my first meeting with Angela came to an end, we trashed the first name and were going back to the drawing board. Then a thought, call it intuition, or call it God, the name popped out of my mouth and the people around me got a look of glee and delight on their faces. I ‘d come up with the name for the event. When I spoke to my team about it later, they concurred what Angela and her team told me at the end of our meeting, that it was a terrific name and it said exactly what it is. And that is how Wedding Cake Taste-Off was born.

The Surprise is Here!

  • Posted on May 27, 2011 at 9:14 am
Are you ready for the surprises?
  • First check out “From the Groom’s Perspective”.  It is from Noah St. John’s perspective on his wedding 2 weeks prior to his recent wedding.
  • Look for information on a special event that is brewing to launch my book.
  • My book’s title is:  da, da, tada!  New York City Budget Weddings:  Elegant and Affordable.  You’ll learn in my next post the angst I had at coming up with that title.

At one point my manuscript that my editor was looking at had 7 different titles.  Yes, that’s right 7 different titles, but none of them were fully resonating with me as the name of the book.  Then I learned, I needed to relax and the name/title would come to me.  On, I shared that the writing and finishing of the book was like giving birth [No, I personally have not ever given birth to a human child.], with all the angst of giving my child its correct name.  I even wondered, if my book would get a complex from going without a solid name for a month?  Well, now I have my 2nd favorite name for just under a month, now and it feels right and that’s why I feel I can announce it.  Yes, there was yet another name, [for a 2nd whole month] but then I realized that it could be better and this is the culmination of that thought.  So after 3 months of various contemplations I have my title.  Keep in mind that immediately following my finished product or what I thought was my finished product, I thought I had ‘the’ title.  I didn’t even think about another potential title for 2 months.  Mostly because I was busy going back and looking for mistakes, typos and just general cleanups in the manuscript.

New York Budget Weddings:  Elegant and Affordable — I think it has a nice ring to it.  What do you think?  Let me know what it conjures up in your mind when you hear it.  Really!  I am interested.

More later.  Happy Memorial Day Weekend!

A Surprise!

  • Posted on April 23, 2011 at 7:05 am

Very soon, I will have a posting from the groom’s perspective.  How often does that happen?  Plus, something, an event coming up in the near future.  Keep us in your “go to” websites.


A Do It Yourself Wedding in New York City For $15,000 Or Less, Is It Possible? Part III – Tips for you, too.

  • Posted on March 15, 2011 at 10:42 pm
  1. Car Rental for the weekend: Go Green with $160.33/weekend day whether it is for 6 hours or 24 hours. Go with the 24 since you can use it for those last minutes things that come up before the wedding. That is for a smart Fortwo, talk about making an entrance. Keep in mind with Hertz you can pick the car up at one location and drop it off somewhere else, as long as they have a lot. That could save you some time. For instance: pick up at a Hertz on the upper west side and drop it off at one of their hotel locations especially if you’re not going away to your honeymoon right away..
  2. Car rental for the 3-day weekend from Speedy-Rent-A-Car $205.00
  3. Rental from or are by the hour from $11.00 – $17.00 for the weekend depending on the car. A Scion Xb or smart Fortwo on the low end hourly or a Mercedes on the high end hourly at
  4. You can also offer your relatives and/or friends some money to use their cars, or perhaps they could offer their services and their car as a gift, to chauffeur you and your wedding party around for a couple of hours.
  5. What if you want to have your wedding catered, it is still possible to do it economically in a big city, whether it is in New York City or Chicago, or even Boston, you just need a bit of ingenuity to stay within your budget. If you’re a curious detailed oriented person like I am, then you’ll decide this is the fun part, the chase or the journey to your end destination is what you really want. It is actually the magic part about the entire wedding, I think, because you are at the stage where you are shaping the outcome of the day. It will take patience and possibly lots of legwork, to see just what you might be getting for the day of event, but the hunt (for the guys) is on and it can be a great deal of fun. Here are a few tips:
  6. Decide on the type of wedding and plan your food accordingly. The food, reception space and beverages will be the biggest part of your budget, no matter how large or small it is.  Such as casual, spiffy-casual, or formal, (usually sit down) While casual and spiffy-casual may come very close to looking like the same thing, they really are quite different when it comes to food. I have seen casually catered events start as low as $12.95 per person or just under $1200 for 85 people. This is strict buffet style, no seating provided usually, put stand-up cocktail tables in various spots with food arrangements on them along with some passed appetizers, can be just as elegant as a formal sit down affair as well.
  7. My friend’s wedding although it had a very high-church of various cultures feel to it had a casual reception, since all the guests were expected to bring something. With her committee of  ‘wedding corralling ladies’, the guests with each acceptance of the invitation, was then asked what they could bring to the reception. By doing it that way, my friend saved all sorts of money and even had leftovers. Wedding party paid nothing, zero, zip, for that feast. Their reception had everything from appetizers to desserts including rum balls, (YUM!).  Some of us were getting high just from the fumes of the rum balls; additionally there was even a fruit bowl.
  8. Another casual reception could be to have a stand around party with a huge sandwich or various pizzas or have your new mother-in-law make something for the crowd. You can probably strike up a deal with your favorite pizza store once you pass 10 pizzas. Figure at 3 slices per guest and you’ve got it made. For instance, a pizza usually has 12 slices and for 80 guests, you’d have to have 20 pies feeding each person 3 slices each. My neighborhood pizza store sells a large pie for $16 each, but if I ordered 20 pies for 85 guests, my budget for food would be at around $350. Even with spending $350 on the pizza, you must give your guests something to wash down the pizzas, so add $50 – $75 for some sort of beverages.  Have a variety of beverages and pizza flavors and you have a batch of happy guests.
  9. For more organic less oil, use whole grain flat breads; American or Italian version with different toppings, as your starter rather than bread and cheese.

10. Don’t forget to include something for your vegetarian friends or even people allergic or staying away from wheat.

11. Perhaps as I did you can get a combination price with another feature of the wedding. My limousine company managed a caterer and so     I able to receive a combination price. Plus, my new mother-in-law, made something special in large quantities at her son’s request. We had 85 guests, so with the 4-hour use of the limousine and the caterer  it was $625. My new mother-in-law’s food was gratis. Ours was a casual formal of sorts. It was buffet style with seating.  There was enough seating for everyone, but the only things passed were the Hors d’Oeuvres.

12. The formal caterer or sit down with service is where you’ll have to weigh your options on how much is too much. These types often run    as low as $27 per person and up into the tens of thousands. If you’re trying to do a wedding for under $15,000, as I am advocating then you’re probably priced out of this market unless you can strike a deal with one of your favorite restaurants. Perhaps Carmine’s, in which the food is served family-style, but everyone is sitting. This could be a possibility. My friends took me there for graduation and we ordered one full meal and had left-overs for two additional people.

13. If using Carmine’s works for you, I am betting that they can work for your budget as well. Think about it, a main dish for a meal is $21 – 25, which easily feeds 5 – 6 people. If you have 12 tables of 8 could still be less than pricey, but your guests will be full and have potential doggy bags to take home. Roughly your pricing could still be under $1000 ($400), even with the addition of salad, garlic bread, beverages, and dessert. YUM! A pure feast to behold.

14. Decorations are another item that can run into lots of pennies. In this instance, I am talking about the flowers for the bride and the wedding party and the extras for the reception to make it a wedding themed event. The extras could include tulle and floating candles, or almost infinite ideas as motifs or table decorations of some kind. Here are few of my favorites with pricing of the day:

15. Check any of the websites that sell pre-made flowers and you’re good to go. Flower arrangements start as low as $29.95 and go $79.95 for our purposes. Flowers can, of course go into the hundreds from these websites and upward if you use florists.  There are florists who offer budgetary wedding packages, but you will have to ask specifically.

16. To cut cost further, the bride and matron/maid of honor could be the only people to carry flowers and then everyone and everything else could be decorated at the ceremony venue with tulle, or aisle candles.

17. At the reception venue, the theme could be carried further with floating candles on the tables as centerpieces instead of flowers. If, like we did, you have a water feature, add some floating candles, larger than the table candles, to it and call it a day. Candles at the reception venue could run you a whopping $100 to start, unless you want or have a half an acre to decorate.

18. Additionally you could have:  balloons, silk roses, candy, vases of things (marbles, fruit, etc.) at your reception for decorations.

19. Add some special candies or other cheery items for the table; M&M’s or Jordan Almonds or Junior mints. We went with special made-to-order M&M’s. I bought 3 bags and that was all I needed, at $11 per bag, [The price per bag has gone up] it was a steal. And you get to choose your colors so they can coordinate them with your wedding colors. Pretty cool, I think and inexpensive, too.

20. Don’t forget those disposable cameras, so your guests can snap some fun pictures as well. Check out various websites and you might be able to get 9 cameras, all for $35, just like I did.

I hope some of these tips will help and they are useful to bring down the costs  on your dream wedding event.  So, it can be done with a bit of ingenuity, verve, and flair. Dreamers can