Welcome to the Best Wedding Sites Magazine . . . the wedding planning source for dream weddings and honeymoons. From your Engagement, to the Bridal Shower, to your Wedding Ceremony and Reception, to your Honeymoon - we have everything you will need for each stage of the wedding planning process.

Here you will find the archive of posts before the daily blogging moved permanently back to Brenda's Wedding Blog after hearing the comments and requests from my readers. Please be sure to visit our vendor guide to find your wedding pros and resources.



Celebrate Love with a Sparkling Wine Cocktail + other recipes

I recently received samples to make the most delicious cocktail - think champagne, but with a colorful and flavorful twist. With all the engagements that happened over the holiday season, it's time to toast congrats as well as ring in the new year with something bubbly - a festive sparking wine.

[yellow tail] bubbles is the affordable go-to sparkling wine. You can enjoy the bubbly on its own or with Chambord Liqueur in this Chambord & Champagne cocktail recipe. The drink is divine and looks like the color of passion - this is definitely my choice going forward when toasting instead of the traditional champagne - which for me has always been a bit hard to swallow. Oh, and the bubbles bottles have a special resealable cork known as the “Zork”. How awesome is that? As Yellow Tail explains, you will have the classic experience of popping a cork but with the convenience of being able to save what hasn’t been consumed. By re-sealing the bottle you will maintain gas pressure.

Chambord & Champagne
1/2 oz Chambord
[yellow tail] bubbles

Add Chambord to bottom of flute glass and top with [yellow tail] bubbles. Garnish with a raspberry.

And, if you have any left over bubbly you can make the Blackberry Fizz, a nice, sparkling cocktail created by Jonathan Pogash of The Cocktail Guru. Like Chambord & Champagne, the Blackberry Fizz is a wonderful drink to serve at parties celebrating the newly engaged couple or any other special occasion. Spiked chocolate truffles are another nice touch for engagement parties. You can put the sweet treats out as small desserts, or beautifully package them for party favors. Use Chambord to make the Chocolate Truffles from The Joy of Cooking (recipe below).

Blackberry Fizz (served at Madison & Vine, NYC)
2 large fresh blackberries (or 1 oz. blackberry puree)
3/4 oz. fresh lemon juice
3/4 oz. simple syrup
2 oz. Yellowtail sparkling wine
1 oz. Lillet Blanc
1 oz. Gin

Directions: In a mixing glass muddle the blackberries (or add the puree), along with the lemon, simple, Lillet, and Gin. Then add ice and shake well. Strain into a chilled champagne flute and top off with the sparkling wine. Garnish with a blackberry on the rim of glass.

Chocolate Truffles by The Joy of Baking

8 oz. semisweet or bittersweet chocolate, cut into small pieces
1/2 cup heavy whipping cream
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
2 tablespoons alcohol *Chambord, Tuaca, Four Roses or Conjure Cognac
Coatings for Truffles: Dutch-Processed Cocoa powder, sifted / Melted or tempered chocolate / Confectioners sugar, sifted / Toasted / Chopped nuts (pecans, walnuts, almonds, hazelnuts) / Toasted coconut / Shaved chocolate 

For Chocolate Truffles: Place the chopped chocolate in a medium sized heatproof bowl. Set aside. Heat the cream and butter in a small saucepan over medium heat. Bring just to a boil.  Immediately pour the boiling cream over the chocolate and allow to stand for a minute or two. Stir with a rubber spatula until smooth. (If the chocolate doesn't melt completely, place in the microwave for about 20 seconds, or over a saucepan of simmering water, just until melted.) If desired, add the liqueur. Cover and place in the refrigerator until the truffle mixture is firm (this will take several hours or overnight).

Place your coatings for the truffles on a plate. Remove the truffle mixture from the refrigerator. With your hands, a small ice cream scoop, a melon baller, or with a small spoon form the chocolate into round or mis-shaped bite-sized balls. Immediately roll the truffle in the coating and place on a parchment lined baking sheet or tray. Cover and place in the refrigerator until firm. Truffles can be refrigerated for a couple of weeks or else frozen for a couple of months.

To Toast Nuts: Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (177 degrees C) and bake nuts (pecans, walnuts or almonds) about 8 - 10 minutes or until brown and fragrant. For hazelnuts toast about 15 minutes or until the skins start to blister. Remove from oven and roll in a clean dish towel. Let the nuts 'steam' for about 5 minutes and then remove the skins. Once the nuts have cooled, chop coarsely.


Friday Favor of the Day : Fleur-de-Lis Bottle Opener

This Fleur-de-Lis Pewter Finish Bottle Opener from The Wedding Outlet is both stylish and practical. It's also a picnic-basket essential and a classically crafted souvenir to cap off a lovely occasion.

This exquisite pewter-finish bottle opener features a Fleur-de-Lis design. Gift presentation includes delicate, cream-colored Fleur-de-Lis-themed gift box with clear, display cover, a coordinated band that says Fleur-de-Lis Bottle Opener and a cream-colored satin ribbon and bow.

Shop Fleur-de-Lis Themed Accessories

The Wedding Outlet is a sponsor of Best Wedding Sites


Top 10 vegetarian dishes fit for a sumptuous wedding feast

Article was written by Sarah Rigos, founder of bridal registry website Starlight Registry

Just because you are vegetarian does not mean that you can’t have a fabulous wedding supper! In fact, there are so many options to choose from that if they are done properly, the chances are that even non-vegetarian guests will not be able to tell the difference.  

There are plenty of wonderful dishes to choose from when creating your all-vegetarian dinner, so sit back and browse through some of these tasty ideas and see if there is anything that catches your eye; or puts your taste buds in motion.

Spinach and Mushroom Phyllo triangles can be an elegant addition to any wedding menu. The light layers of phyllo crust are buttery and the mushroom and spinach leave a rich taste on the pallet. Used as a side dish this selection adds an interesting layer to any entree choice.

Kamut Penne with Tomato Sauce. While anything with tomato sauce is not usually recommended for a wedding (given all the light coloured finery) this is a wonderful dish that can be adapted with an Alfredo sauce if you are truly concerned about the sauce. Add a crumbled walnut topping for an eye-popping (and mouth watering) twist.

Ravioli is always a good choice for an entree. Again, this dish can be adapted with a cheesy Alfredo sauce if you are concerned about spillage.

Mushroom and Spinach Quiche is always a good choice for a wedding. The quiche can be served in squares or triangles and is very filling without being messy.

Pasta Primavera is always a rousing success at any event. Add a light cream sauce and you will have your guests (vegetarian or not) talking about your wedding dinner for months to come.

Roasted Garden Vegetables are a good choice no matter what you choose as an entrée. Choose colorful vegetables; baby potatoes, baby carrots, broccoli tips and snow peas tossed together make for a colorful mix.

Grilled Portobello mushrooms are a meal in and of themselves.  Served over wild rice these elegant additions to any menu make for a very filling addition to any wedding menu.

Vegetable Lasagna is an option that has been increasing in popularity and there are plenty of caterers that make a fantastic version of this delicious and filling dish.

Rice Pilaf is a filling and versatile addition to any wedding menu. It can be served as a base for an entrée or it can be a side dish all by itself.

Vegetarian Swedish Meatballs are made either with tofu or with soy food substitute for meat, but given the right seasonings there is really no difference in flavor from regular Swedish meatballs, and can be an excellent addition to any wedding menu.

While these are by no means the only types of vegetarian dishes available for your wedding dinner, perhaps they will give you an idea of the kinds of menu options available and will hopefully help your creative juices flowing when it comes to the many delicious kinds of food that are available for vegetarian wedding menus.

recipes featured:
spinach and mushroom phyllo, vegetarian swedish meatballs, rice pilaf
spinach-mushroom-quiche, roasted vegetables, vegetable lasagna, grilled and stuffed portobello mushrooms

Article courtesy of Starlight Registry


Winner Announced : $200 towards custom or pre-designed invitations

It's time for me to announce the winning recipient of the pre-designed or custom wedding invitations from LePenn Designs.

The winner is Liz who wrote: "I'm not sure what the invite name is BUT I AM IN LOVE!!! It is the pink box one! It has pink and grey writing. I cannot even contain my love for this invite!!"

Congratulations Liz - I'll be emailing you personally for your mailing address or if you see this before I write, feel free to send me a message. Please note: winner(s) have 48 business hours to reply or another winner will be selected.

For All My Brides and Family of those planning a wedding:
Don't forget to enter the current wedding giveaway here


Winner Announced : Fresh Florals from 1-800-Flowers

It's time for me to announce the winning recipients of the $50 worth of fresh flowers from 1-800-Flowers that had been hosted on the previous Brenda's Wedding Blog which is now merged here.

The winners are both Kristin - and this was totally by chance . . .
Kristin #1 who wrote: "I'm not sure what the invite name is BUT I AM IN LOVE!!! It is the pink box one! It has pink and grey writing. I cannot even contain my love for this invite!!"

Kristin #2 who wrote: "LOVE tulips!! Can't use them in my Sept. 28, 2012 wedding, but sunflowers are a close second!!"

Congratulations to both Kristin's - I'll be emailing you personally for your mailing address or if you see this before I write, feel free to send me a message. Please note: winner(s) have 48 business hours to reply or another winner will be selected.

For All My Brides and Family of those planning a wedding:
Don't forget to enter the current wedding giveaway here


A bright, bold and fun starfish themed Florida wedding with a sundae bar

Location: St. Augustine, Florida
Color Palette: Teal, Orange, and Fuchsia

Wes and Liz of Weber Photography were the lucky two to photograph the gorgeous wedding of Tamara and Manuel. I love what they wrte . . . "There was an air about them of just simply being grateful to have each other. It was an absolutely wonderful day all around." And, wait until you see the ring bearer - his name is Riley and he's so cute and furry :) You can even spy him on the dance floor. The colors in this wedding were bright, bold and fun - and they look perfect paired together. There was even a sundae bar at the end of the night along with a beautiful sparkler exit.

Wedding Vendors:
Photographer: Weber Photography by Wes + Liz
Hair Stylist and Makeup: Debbie's Day Spa
Floral Designer: Flower Works
Reception Venue: The Loft at the White Room
DJ: Y? Entertainment


Giveaway : wedding books from best-selling author Sharon Naylor

Happy Tuesday and Happy New Year!!! Congratulations to all those that are newly engaged and welcome to the new home of Brenda's Wedding Blog and the ever popular weekly giveaways. Joining us this week is Sharon Naylor, the best-selling author of over 35 wedding books. Sharon is offering 1 lucky winner a copy of her Mother of the Bride book along with five floral cameras and 2 winners will receive her Wedding Weekend Events book.

To enter the contest, please leave me a comment {wedding thought} with your wedding date and what you are most looking forward to with your wedding planning. The contest runs thru Monday January 9th, with a winner being selected on Tuesday January 10th. Please be sure to leave your email address on the comment form so I can email you if you're the lucky winner {it will not be published}. PS: don't forget to share this post with all your engaged friends.

Contest prize: 3 winners of wedding books from author Sharon Naylor
Contest Deadline: Monday January 9th, 2012 at 11:59pm EST
Contest Question to Answer: What you are most looking forward to with your wedding planning?
{PS: don't forget to include your wedding date to be eligible to win}

Would you like FOUR additional entries into the giveaway?

For Entry Number 2: Simply follow Sharon Naylor on twitter and then come back here to leave a 2nd comment letting me know you're now following Sharon Naylor on twitter.

For Entry Number 3: Tweet the following . . . "I just entered to win wedding books from @sharonnaylorwed on @weddingsites. Enter Here http://ht.ly/8gJ5J" and then come back to leave me a 3rd comment with the link to your tweet and your twitter id.

For Entry Number 4: Simply follow Best Wedding Sites on Twitter and then come back here to leave a 4th comment letting me know you're now following @weddingsites on Twitter

For Entry Number 5: Simply like Best Wedding Sites on Facebook and then come back here to leave a 5th comment letting me know you've now liked Best Wedding Sites on Facebook

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