Thursday, August 28, 2008

Throwback Thursday

President and First Lady
Barack & Michelle Obama
October 18, 1992
If these two aren't THE
pivotal Chocolate Bride & Groom,
then I don't know who is.
The absolute pride and adoration shared
between these two is seen as strongly
today as it was in these pictures.
So real, so in love, so inspiring.
Congratulations on the nomination, and we'll see you at the White House!

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Wedding Day Emergency Kits

We all know that we dream of the perfect wedding, but sometimes, not so perfect things may happen. Like a run in your stocking, or hair that just won't stay put AFTER your stylist leaves the premises (hint, keep your stylist around until after the formal after-ceremony photos!)

Here's a nifty list of things that you should keep close at hand just in case one of these emergencies arrives. And please, for the love of all things duchess satin and white, leave it with someone who is responsible enough to keep up with it - like say, maybe your planner?

For Clothing
1. Sewing kit with needles, thread, buttons, and safety pins
2. Toupee tape (for keeping clothes in place)
3. Scissors
4. Stick-on instant hemming tape
5. Clear nail polish (for runs)
6. White chalk (for masking stains)

From the Drugstore
1. Breath mints
2. Bandages
3. Blister protection
4. Antacid
5. Pain reliever
6. Preparation H (for undereye puffiness - told to me by a former beauty queen, now planner)

For Touch-Ups
1. Blotting papers
2. Cotton swabs
3. Tweezers
4. Emery board
5. Lip balm
6. Tissues
7. Hand lotion
8. Bobby pins
9. Comb
10. Lipstick
11. Powder
12. Small mirror
13. Nail polish in the shade you're wearing
14. Hairspray

If you all think of anything else, just leave it in the comments section for all those brides to be!

Monday, August 25, 2008

For Those of You In Love With Photography.....

We all know that there are some things that are areas of our weddings that we are not willing to negotiate on. Mine was photography. My photgrapher HAD to be excellent, and he HAD to do photojournalism. When I say that I lucked out finding him, I mean I REALLY lucked out...

The one reason that I loved my photographer so much is because he and I had the same types of ideas in our head when it came to him working with the wedding. I didn't want many formal pictures and really wanted him to catch the essence of what was going on throughout the entire day. If I had high expectations, I can assure you that he performed above and beyond them. I was at ease with his level of participation throughout the day, and when I look at my pictures I am literally thrown back into that day and loving every minute of it.

This brings me to a couple of points that most brides who are photography snobs such as myself should always remember....

Your wedding pictures will define your memories of the big day for the rest of your life, so it's very important to choose the right photographer. To help you make the best choice, we've compiled a list of 16 questions to ask potential photographers.

1. What's the photographer's primary style -- traditional, candid, or posed? (Go for someone whose forte is your favorite style.)

2. What's the photographer's philosophy about shooting weddings? (This question will give you an idea of the shutterbug's expertise and passion for his work.)

3. Does the photographer shoot in color, black and white, or both?

4. How independent is the photographer? Does she prefer that you describe exactly what you want, or would she rather have free rein to capture the festivities on film? (This point determines how you two will work together.)

5. Will the photographer you talk with be the one who actually takes your wedding pictures? (This is crucial! Each photographer's style is unique.)

6. Has the photographer shot many weddings? (Experts say a wedding neophyte is a risk. You want someone who's experienced with wedding mechanics and won't miss key moments.)

7. How many weddings will the photographer shoot on your wedding weekend (or even on your wedding day)?

8. Is the photographer open to a list of must-take photos (pictures you definitely want shot)?

9. How does the photographer determine price? By the number and kind of prints you think you'll want, the hours the photographer spends on your wedding, the developing time, or a combination of the above factors? How many rolls of film will be shot, and how many proofs and final prints will result? Are packages available? Can you get a price list?

10. What kinds of cameras does the photographer use? (This will acquaint you with the photographer's experience and knowledge.)

11. What kind of lighting and other equipment (such as tripods) does the photographer use? Does the photographer bring backup equipment in case of emergency?

12. Does the photographer develop his own film? How long does he keep negatives? Can you buy your negatives from the photographer?

13. Ask yourself: Does this seem like a person you could tolerate throughout your wedding day? You'll want to feel very comfortable around your photographer. Rapport is important with all wedding professionals, but it's crucial here!

14. Carefully examine each photographer's past work (the book). Be sure you're looking at work shot by this particular photographer, not by other professionals who work at the same studio.

15. Notice whether:

photos are framed and centered well

photos are over- or underexposed

lighting is effective

details are visible

people look comfortable and relaxed

16. Call references and ask:

Were you satisfied overall?

Did the photographer get the shots you wanted?

Has the photographer responded promptly to orders?

Once you've found a photographer with the skill set, style, vision, and personality you're looking for, you'll need to agree on a contract.

Some people believe that a good wedding photographer ONLY photographs weddings. I don't particularly believe that frame of thought, but then again, that is just me. I believe that a true photographer can catch moments in time just as they are supposed to be caught, whether you are wearing a wedding dress, or posing with your family.

Have fun when choosing a photographer and make sure that every penny that you spend is worth it!

CB Theme Highlight

A theme is the overall vision your wedding day envokes. Over the years, the importance of having a theme has become outstanding as wedding professionals and vendors have taken the route of catering everything by way of the theme and is no different. When I joined CB back in 2004, I had no idea that weddings had themes but now I can't see it any other way. CB Theme Highlights will be themes that the messageboard has found done exceptionally well.

Today's CB Theme Highlight is: Princess/Royalty/Dreams do Come True/FairyTale

One of the most awesome things about choosing a royalty theme is that your choice of colors is endless! Almost any color combination can bring about some regality. Bold, bright, dark, or even pastels can make your day stand out!


GO ALL OUT! There are no holds barred when you're the Queen. Go for that cathedral length veil or train you've always wanted. Visit sites like Ebay or and purchase yourself a crown. Accent your jewelry and dress with sparkling jewels. Pearls, rubies, saphires, emeralds, and of course diamonds add just the right amount of sparkle and bling.

Scroll invitations are an elegant touch to this theme. They are sure to give your guests the feeling that they are attending a royal ball and not just your average wedding reception. If you're not feeling the scroll idea, many companies offer themed invitations as well. To add an extra spark of elegance, sprinkle gold or silver dust into each invitation and seal envelopes with wax and engraved stamps.

Personalized touches:
I created a royal crest for my husband and I, merging his love of music with my love of writing to be used on our programs and other special items. The personalized crest idea is really becoming a favorite with the royalty/fairytale themed affairs. Outlines and templates for creating your own crests can be found pretty easily by googling them!

Have a royal fanfare. Hire a professional trumpeteer to announce your entrance. If you don't know anyone who plays the horn, download a fanfare or pick up a cd that contains one.

Rent an old-school luxury car like a Rolls Royce, or book yourself a horse and carriage. Every princess deserves a royal escort.

Theme accents:

Castles, glass slippers, scrolls, jewels, elegant monograms,
big curls, crowns, tiaras, flowing gowns.

These are only a VERY few ideas...for more, visit the messageboard!

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Throwback Thursday

Thomas and Valeria Gray
December 13, 1959
"epiphany1969" of the Messageboard writes:
Quick story - most of you all know that my father is now in a nursing home because of the damage from his stroke in January. He is unable to clearly communicate with us any longer.This summer my son started a project to electronically archive all of my mother's photo albums. That was the first photo that he scanned. I came up with the idea to put some of the pictures on my son's laptop and take them to show my dad at the nursing home. You shoulda seen how he stared at and studied that wedding picture. It was priceless. 48 years later - that love is still there.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Now back to our regularly scheduled programming...

Question of the day:

In all of our attempts to be unique and brand-new, do people still adhere to the rules of which side each family sits on, or do we just let people sit anywhere?

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

And now, a message TO our sponsors...

I'm taking this time away from bridal banter to note that yes, the CB messageboard is down. The reasons for this hiatus have not been clearly stated, however I can assume that there are principalities at work here. Now, more than ever family, I need for you all to help fuel this blog and the ChocolateBrides mission. Help us to show the world what ChocolateBrides means. Help us to remind our beloved founders what ChocolateBrides means to us.

In fear of sounding too much like the ending sequence of the Care Bears movie, I need for you all to let us know...

What does ChocolateBrides mean to you? What has it provided for you? What does it mean to you that the board is down? and any other things you'd like to say!

Ladies and visitors, the doors of the church are open...please comment!

Monday, August 18, 2008

MochaWifey's Random Thoughts

MW Random Thought #4 - I ain't stuttin you.

Maybe I was a heffa....maybe I was being a jerk...or maybe I was just staying true to my word.

My wedding invitation read, and I quote,
"Ceremony will begin promptly at 4." and we did. Sorry to the bridesmaid who missed the whole thing, but that direction went for guests AND participants.

Just because you're a briesmaid or a groomsman, my dear aunt Sally, the coordinator, or WHATEVER you are, please don't believe that I will halt my day to await your grand arrival. As my grandmother would say, "I ain't stuttin you"....See you at the reception boo.

Friday, August 15, 2008

MochaWifey's Random Thought #3

If you see the bride eating...from the plate she paid upwards of $49 for.....that means DON'T RUN UP TRYING TO TALK TO HER!

Why do people think that just because you're sitting down, or quiet for the moment its an open invitation for them to come yammering off. I paid GOOD money for this food, let me eat it!

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

If You are a bride, READ THIS!!

Being a part of the ChocolateBrides Community, I've been blessed to attend quite a few weddings. Regardless of whether it was a wedding of a fellow CB who I've had the awesome pleasure of knowing through the board, friends and family members, or sometimes absolute strangers to which the CB magazine is reporting, I tend to see the same repetitive I'm gonna clue you in to a few.

  • Number or code the back of your RSVP cards to correspond with your guest list so that you can tell who the returned cards belong to! I can't tell you how many people don't know how to properly fill out and return an RSVP card. Having a small way to identify their card will save you tons of confusion and time.
  • At your rehearsal the night before, take a minute and jot down the order of the processional into the reception. It holds up YOUR entrance when the DJ or coordinator has to walk up and down the bridal party line with a piece of paper asking everyone's name, or making sure that people are standing in the same order as they are written in the program.
  • Tell your DJ what kind of music, if not a specific song altogether, that you would like for your bridal party to enter on. I've seen at least three weddings where a really upbeat couple had to enter their reception to smooth jazz. Uncute.
  • Clearly DEFINE and EXPLAIN exactly what you want your hostesses and helpers to do! I have been to quite a few receptions where hostesses were sitting around while friendly helpers took on the task of setting up the guest table and other tasks. I've also seen people who have no business running the guest list, suddenly being in charge of telling your Aunt Mabel where she's supposed to sit, and rather rudely I might add. Also, if you expect these people to set up ANY decorations, leave clear instructions about where you want things to be. You do not want people pulling things out of boxes going, "I wonder what she wants us to do with this thing?" No matter how much of a perfectionist or micro-manager you THINK you're still gonna want to be on your wedding day, you will not be the least bit concerned with these things. Trust me. Plan ahead.
  • Since we're on the subject of the guest entrance table, make sure you have people at the door who will respect your wishes NO MATTER WHAT. It may mean them catching a few nasty looks, or evil glares, but the goal is not to make them popular, but to make sure that your orders are followed. Even if you made it crystal clear in your invitations that only RSVP'd guests will be allowed into your plated reception, it will go right out the window really fast if your cousin Peaches is at the door laughing and chilling instead of holding up the law.
  • You do NOT have to allow any and everyone who asks to help, the opportunity to help. Woe to the bride who let her shaky handed cousin Pearline cut out the monograms she wants perfectly sized for her programs. Please, give Pearline a job that doesn't rest solely on her ability to hold scissors steadily and save yourself the heartache of having to wait until AFTER she's ruined all $15 worth of your specially purchased paper only for you to have to go out and buy some more and then cut it yourself anyway. There are times when trying to be nice, doubles your workload.
  • Take your Maid of Honor with you when you have your final fitting. Not just because you want to "ooh" and "ahh" together, but because you need for this woman to know exactly how you want your dress fastened and how the bustle works! It would make no sense at all to spend that hefty fee for a glamorous bustle and then spend a half hour standing helplessly in the bathroom of your reception hall while your MOH tries to figure out what ties with what.
  • Please inform your mother and mother-in-law that they are NOT to beat up the coordinator on the day of the wedding. As hard as it may be, the mom's have to realize that the way your day plays out is the way you've planned and coordinated with your wedding staff. Let them know ahead of time that they are not to grandstand and assert authority over your vendors or planner just because their baby got married today. I have seen TWO weddings where the mother of the bride and even one where a mother of the groom, who had no prior knowledge of the couple's wedding plan, came in and restructured seating, changed music selections, even changed the order of the program to suit themselves. Tell Mama nem to "saddown somewhere" or they just might catch a beatdown from your coordinator.
  • If you hire a coordinator, hire one with thick skin. Your wedding day may be beautiful on the outside, but baby there are gonna be some battles underneath. People cuss, fuss, and act a clown behind the scenes at weddings. Nothing will be accomplished easily if your coordinator is in the bathroom crying into her hanky because Aunt Ruthie has cursed her out. Yes, even YOUR dear sweet Aunt Ruthie will act a hell's bell fool on her favorite niece's wedding day. Guests, obviously, don't know the work that has been put into a wedding or reception, all they know is what they see. Some guests, don't like when they see themselves sitting a bit of a distance away from your head table, or when they find out that they can't enter the hall until a certain time. And believe it or not, there are some guests who will totally flip if a coordinator politely reminds them that they have not RSVP'd and should stand to the side until they are approved entry. Your coordinator and staff should be well-equipped to handle any emotional outbursts. Take a good long look at her. If she seems like Aunt Ruthie would have her hemmed up, seek other arrangements for the day of the wedding.
  • EAT! Your wedding is a big event. Your body is going to be pumping out so many endorphins that you just might forget that no, you cannot live on love alone, you need fuel. I personally forgot to eat at my own wedding and had a splitting headache until the next morning. Make sure that you have a small snack throughout the day to keep your energy up. You will thank yourself later.
  • SMILE! (or at least look happy) People are snapping pictures from all angles at all times. You do not even want to know how many brides have seen pictures of themselves after the wedding and said, "What was I thinking about right then?"
  • Be attentive to your groom. Yes, its the wedding, and its a big party and you have to greet people etc, but you just attached yourself to this man for LIFE, the least you could do is make sure he knows where you are at your own reception. I have seen with my own two eyes, grooms who are left sitting at their head tables eating while the bride is showing her cousins the new ring.

I would like to personally take this time to honor the life of a great entertainer and helluva Chocolate Groom Mr. Bernard Jeffrey McCullough aka Bernie Mac. What an example of great husbandry and loyalty. Mr. Chicago, you will be forever missed. From one Chi-Town to another, love you Uncle Bernie!

Friday, August 8, 2008

When Someone Tells You Who they are....

Believe them!!!

An anonymous friend recounted a prime example of why you should always follow that tidbit of Maya Angelou wisdom... names have been changed to protect the questionable...

"When I first got engaged Charelle was at everything. She was there at the engagement party. She was asking me what the bridesmaids were going to wear. She was in it with me it seemed."

MochaWifey: What happened?

"She just started pulling back. I guess I should have just let her, but I was holding on to that beginning attitude she had and believing that if I made adjustments and accomodations, she would be alright."

MochaWifey: What do you mean, adjustments and accomodations? What kind of "pulling back" are you talking about?

"When things started coming up, bridesmaid fittings and rehearsals, etc, she started pouring out all these reasons why she couldn't do it. She told me she couldn't afford the dress, so I offered to put some of the money down for her. Then it was she didn't have a babysitter, so I was considering allowing her to bring her kids to my adult reception. I was doing everything to make a way for her to be a part of my day, but she wasn't putting up half the effort."

MochaWifey: What do you regret the most about this experience?

"Just that I didn't take her for what she was showing me. Everyone has issues that come up, and I tried to be a good bride and friend, but when I look back...she was on some BS and I should have just let her excuse herself when she tried to. She wound up being one of my biggest headaches during my wedding. She complained about everything, missed important dates, and had constant run-ins with my other bridesmaids.


MochaWifey's Random Thought #2
When someone tells you who they are...believe them. If someone is giving you chance after chance to dismiss them, please give them their pink slip.

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

The Art of the Stiletto

noun, plural -tos, -toes, verb, -toed, -to·ing.
a short dagger with a blade that is thick in proportion to its width.
a pointed instrument for making eyelet holes in needlework. –verb (used with object)
to stab or kill with a stiletto.
[Origin: 1605–15;stylus) + -etto "true">-ette
So, after laughing for about a good half an hour about the definition of what we women see as a staple wardrobe item, I figured that I would post something about how to walk wonderfully in these types of shoes when you are having a backyard wedding, or a wedding where you will be around open areas on the ground (parks and the such), or on uneven ground (gravel). While skimming the internet looking for shoes for our brides to be on the Chocolate Brides website, I came across a picture of little supports for the heels of your shoes.
I am sure that if you google this you will be able to find it, but my searching led me to a site called I am not sure how they work, but I am confident that they will make you a bit more sure of yourself walking on uneven ground.

MochaWifey's Random Thoughts

I'm starting something new times through my own planning and then with helping other brides these random thoughts often come up. Crazy things people say to us, and the reactions that spring to your mind which you can't say out loud...Sometimes they're nice...sometimes they're not-so-nice, but you guys can handle it! If you have any BRIDAL random thoughts of your own, email them to me at to have them featured here!

Random thought #1

If I say "Adult Reception"....don't call me and ask, "So, you saying I can't bring my five year old?"
Reading is fundamental.

Monday, August 4, 2008

Straight Up Speechless

I think I'm borderline obsessed with the Obama family. Kudos to Ebony Magazine for allowing Michelle Obama to grace the cover of this month's issue. Soooooooo fly.

PS- Tell Barack that we said Happy Birthday!

To Bar or Not to Bar -

Trust me - I know that LAST thing that you want is somebody telling you the rights and wrongs of planning YOUR wedding. Especially when YOU'RE the one footing the bill. Chile please.

I came across this very interesting article on MSN about "wedding traditions" as it relates to having open bar. Disclaimer: Don't be offended this is just somebody's opinion - aint nothin' that they're saying law.

Going to a wedding reception that does not have an open bar is like going to California and only seeing Fresno. No offense to Fresno, which I am told is lovely, but no one goes to the West Coast just to check out the haps in the San Joaquin Valley. At the risk of mixing analogies, you go to California to drink margaritas in San Diego, have a few Red Bull and vodkas in Los Angeles and enjoy fine wine in San Francisco.

An open bar is part of the unspoken contract between bridal party and guests. In exchange for a generous gift and any expenses incurred through the purchase of new hair styling, clothes or travel, you must provide your guests with an opportunity to make total asses of themselves in a rented space. You win out in the long run because you will own your reception video — and what is left of their reputations — forever.

Besides, you don't want to be known as a closed-bar wedding. You could host an elaborate ceremony on a scenic Hawaiian bluff with the Rev. Jesse Jackson presiding as the bride and groom parachute from a B-52 Stratofortress while Yo-Yo Ma and Kid Rock perform a breathtaking duet and, if you don't provide free booze, the only thing any guy in attendance will say about that day is, “Dude, closed bar.”

Friday, August 1, 2008

Aqua Blue & Lime Green

click to enlarge

Another jaw droppin' color combo. Much love to ForeverKirks from the messageboard who posted this.