Archive | April, 2012

A Mani Mela Bride: Brianna (Part IIIV)

27 Apr

One of my absolute favorite things about planning my wedding is all the small details that my fiance and I have been making careful, thought-out  decisions on. I realize I’m in the minority here; little minute decisions are usually the bane of most brides’ existence. One of my favorite details so far (and not a small detail, of course) has been picking out  flowers.

I really love flowers – and obviously, who doesn’t enjoy flowers? But I think my appreciation for flowers and plants extends beyond the normal person’s. Living plants in my home or in the office brighten my mood, and I value their simplistic power to make someone’s day. Think about it – flowers accompany almost every big event in our lives, from birth, to graduation, to a noteworthy performance, and many other momentous occasions in life (like weddings!). So, after very careful consideration I created a collage for my florist (Le Jardin European Floral) to bring with me on our first meeting. Below are some of the pictures I showed my consultant.

(Note of advice: bringing a collage of pictures really helped get my vision across to the florist. She was able to offer advice on cheaper alternatives that still fit my taste because she was able to see what styles I love. I’d encourage any bride to bring pictures with when you meet your florist. You won’t regret it!)

I love absolutely everything about this bouquet. Although my wedding color theme is a deep burnt autumn orange, I am more interested in soft peaches and plays on orange that are romantic and feminine for my own bouquet.

Not only are the colors fabulous in this arrangement, but I *love* the variety of sizes and colors. My favorite floral displays have a wide mix of textures, varying colors (of the same base color – like the variety of oranges and pinks in this bouquet,), and a multitude of different sized flowers.

Okay, how stunning is this bouquet? This is one of my all-time favorite bouquet pictures that I have ever seen. This was a popular one that circulated around Pinterest for awhile, and I made sure to add it to my collection of images right away. I especially love the beautiful succulent popping through in the middle. (don’t even get me started on my affinity for succulents)

You’re probably starting to notice a trend in these pictures – I like chunky flowers.  Chunky huge flowers are the key to my heart. Ranunculus are my most favorite type of flower (and unfortunately out of season for my wedding), and I love thick, chunky peonies paired with delicate (but still chunky!) roses.

Here are some other pictures I used for inspiration:



A Mani Mela Bride: Brianna (Part IIV)

20 Apr

As the weeks have passed, I’ve let you know about my experiences planning my own wedding which is coming up this September. I’ve covered much of the booking basics, including venues, photography, DJ, and more! However, this week, I wanted to talk about inspiration. Vendors and inspiration go hand in hand, considering the vendors you hire should ultimately support the inspiration and vision you have for your own wedding. You book venues, florists, photographers and the like who have a style that exemplifies what you want, so that you can pull off the wedding you’ve always dreamed of.

Sparking your own inspiration is simple. Early on I created a folder on my computer where I saved picture after picture to get my creative juices flowing (p.s. Pinterest is great for this). It’s as simple as that, and today I thought I’d share some of these with you.

I knew from the get-go that orange would be my theme, as it’s my favorite color, and a deep burnt orange fits the September season very well. While the cake isn’t really my style, the dresses seen here totally are. The dresses I chose are very similar in style and color to the ones you see here, but of course the ones I picked are much cuter. 😉

This centerpiece idea, aside from being totally opposite from my color scheme, is very similar to the one I actually ended up choosing. I love the raw curly willow branches adorned with flowers. I don’t want to give too much away, but let’s just say that this was a very influential picture.

This picture I love because it has so many great “orange” ideas! I particularly love the orange shoes, which I had originally planned on doing before I found my dress (which unfortunately just doesn’t go with the orange shoes I had wanted at first). I love the orange lanterns and touches of orange on the cake. With big idea boards like this, even if the pictures don’t show anything you absolutely love, they sure help to get your mind churning and help you think creatively about what you want for your wedding.

The thing that’s great about this inspiration board (even though it’s teeny tiny – I know!) is the romantic touch. I love the very feminine and detailed touches. I want my own bridal presentation (hair, dress, makeup, flowers, etc) to be very romantic in this same way – lacy, soft, timeless, and stunning.

Here is some of what has inspired me as I’ve planned the details of my own wedding. What sort of things have inspired you?

Hot Mama Boudoir!

20 Apr

Today we have some absolutely stunning pictures to show you! This is Steph, who is a NEW MOM!! She looks so awesome, you would never even guess she had a kid with a body like that! We had such a great time getting this mommy all dolled up for a birthday gift for her husband, which we just know he’s going to love!

Mani Mela provided hair and makeup artistry for this shoot, and the ever-wonderful Laura Ivanova captured these magnificent photos you see here! Enjoy!



Gorgeous Photo Shoot Sneak Peek!

19 Apr

Here is a sneak peek of a gorgeous photo shoot which Mani Mela provided hair and makeup artistry, decor, and florals for. Stay tuned for more fabulous pictures and all the details coming soon!

These amazing pictures were captured by the wonderful Duke Seigars of Captured Moments by Duke. Big thanks – we can’t wait to share even more of your beautiful photos soon!

A Mani Mela Bride: Brianna (Part IV)

13 Apr

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The last couple weeks I’ve covered some of the biggest vendor decisions you and your spouse will have to make – venue and photographer. Aside from these two, and maybe videography (which was simple for us, as we have family friends who are taking on the task of capturing our wedding on video) most of your other decisions are not so time sensitive or time consuming.

Depending on the DJ you are interested in, you may or may not have to worry about booking them sooner rather than later. In my experience, this took a bit of digging. Originally, my fiance and I had hoped a family friend who is a retired DJ would be able to DJ our wedding (he had done a great job at a couple of the weddings we had attended) and after trying to reach him by email and Facebook multiple times, and lots of finger crossing, we heard through the grapevine that he wasn’t able to do it. It’s never a good experience trying to reach someone and having to eventually hear back a verdict from someone else, rather than from the actual person! So we decided to look elsewhere.

After that disappointment, we started looking on The Knot , which has proved to be an excellent resource while searching for vendors (like our photographer).  After taking a pretty casual poll from friends and family about preferred local DJ’s, then using The Knot as backup to their suggestions, we decided on Instant Request. Instant Request is a very popular and well known DJ service in the Twin Cities. We were intrigued not only by the good things we had heard from people, and the awards they’ve won, but by the good deal we got! They offered a special this past summer in celebration of an award they had won. Also a positive, it was very easy to get in contact with someone for a price quote and booking our wedding reception dance. We are also using their services for our wedding ceremony, which is only a small extra fee, yet another bonus!

The thing I really love about Instant Request is the way they let their clients have complete customization control. As a big music lover, this is huge to me! Instant Request uses a program on their website where you can input all your likes AND dislikes (sorry, wedding guests – I’ve already let them know not to play any country music!), specific songs you would like played, genre preferences, and more! I am someone who would DJ my own wedding to make sure only good music is played if I could, so I could not have been happier to really have my say in what will be played. I know for some people, the amount of control and choices is overwhelming – but for me (and any other music freak bride, I’m sure) it’s a godsend!

There are a crazy amount of DJ’s in my local area, and I can imagine it’s about the same everywhere else, so this decision can be a process. But if I can pass along some advice that has been given to me, I would tell all brides to spend the money on a DJ. Don’t let Uncle SoandSo DJ so you can save some extra bucks, don’t make a wedding playlist on your iPod to be blasted out over the speakers – do your guests (and yourself!) a favor, and leave the party music in the hands of someone else. Do some research, ask around, and find out what  DJ’s in your area are known for keeping a party going and playing the right music at the right time (Come on, your Grandma doesn’t want to hear Lil’ Jon – save that for once the older guests have cleared out), and you’re sure to find someone who will be a good fit for your wedding reception.

A Mani Mela Bride: Brianna (Part III)

6 Apr

 Booking your various wedding vendors is stressful. I felt like I was rushing to beat every other September bride to rightfully claim my wedding date with all the vendors I had my heart set on. I knew that just about every place books up quick, but fortunately for me – I had over a year until my wedding date to plan, but still I started early. And this is a key bit of advice I have for all brides: start planning as early as possible.

Aside from wedding/reception venues, which I wrote about last week, photographers get snatched up in the blink of an eye similarly. I tried searching for Minnesota photographers on Google and didn’t really find anything that great. I took suggestions from friends and family, but truly my greatest resource for photographers was The Knot makes it so easy to find a good variety of photographers in any area (and it is good for finding so many other venues, too!) and you can sort vendors by price range as well, which is really helpful when trying to stay within a budget.

Through The Knot I found an amazing photographer named Jamie, who runs her own photography business called Juxtaphotos. Her website caught my eye – her photo galleries were stunning, she seemed very sincere and dedicated, and I had to have her as our photographer! I sent her an email and she responded super fast asking to meet up and chat about what we were looking for in a photographer. We met in her adorable studio, had a beer with her, and knew right away she was our girl! We booked her, and our engagement session, and have been absolutely thrilled with the pictures she’s taken.

We met Jamie for our engagement session a couple months later at a beautiful park in St. Anthony, MN, almost exactly a year before our wedding. My fiance, Jake, and I were a little nervous because we definitely didn’t know any good poses, but Jamie put us at ease right away and had great suggestions for poses and pictures.

Jamie was so dedicated, she even rolled her pants up and hopped in to a grimy green lake to get this awesome shot (in 50 degree weather, no less!)

Thanks to we found an excellent photographer for our engagement session and wedding day, and I know that as Jake and I continue on in to married life, perhaps having kids some day, we will call up Jamie to get our big moments documented because we have been so impressed with all her work.

For all brides looking for a photographer, my advice is to really take time to look through a variety of different photographers’ websites and galleries. Each photographer has a different style and technique, and if you search around you will absolutely find what you’re looking for. It takes time, but the research will pay off if you do it!

Stay tuned next week for more about my engagement journey!

Wanted: Web Design Intern

5 Apr

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Mani Mela is looking for a tech savvy intern for our busy spring/summer season! As an intern, you will gain valuable resume building experience with our company. Job duties include fine tuning our current websites, helping to build our new sister company website, and managing our databases, as well as some office management tasks. All of our websites (Beauty, Linen, Weddings, Main) target different segments and markets, so you will learn a lot about target segmentation while working on our sites.

We are looking to hire as soon as possible, so please e-mail your resume and relevant work samples to if you are interested in this position.