Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Pure Chocolate Splendor!

I was going to blog this beautiful story myself but the photographer, Shannon Smith of 831 Photography(Akron, Ohio) worded it so well, I simply decided to ask his permission to repost his blogging of the wedding of Stacey and Ernest! Enjoy!

Stacey & Ernest's Wedding

What a beautiful wedding at the Akron Civic Theatre. I was totally impressed with the style and organization of LW Special Event Planning from Los Angeles, California. LaTonya was super easy to work with, and kept everything right on track.

Stacey had a very unique way of receiving her bouquet - the women in her life most important to her each delivered a flower, and at the end, her mother hand tied the flowers into a bouquet - very original!

If you've never had the pleasure of visiting the Akron Civic Theatre, I'd suggest you make time! It's a very beautiful location, in the middle of being restored to it's original glory. The ceremony took place in the Grand Foyer, an absolutely amazing room with beautiful carvings, artwork, and lighting. The manager was extremely helpful, basically giving us full access to all the amazing areas of one of the most unique theaters in the country. It is only one of a handful of theaters in the US that have an ambient ceiling - projected clouds, twinkling lights, and a seamless look. You'd swear you were outdoors!

Thanks again to an amazing couple for letting us capture your day. Stacey & Ernest, best wishes for your future!


MochaWifey's thoughts:
  1. Thanks again Shan, Stacy & Ernest and LW Events for sharing with us!
  2. BEAUTIFUL use of the natural architecture and decor of the Civic Center! For CB insight on selecting great venues, click here.
  3. The ChocolateBrides are LOVING the birdcage here for more pics and ideas on them!
  4. Obvious great job on selecting a photographer! CB's, click here to view a beautiful slideshow of these fabulous Chocolate nuptials by visiting the 831 Photography blog!
  5. Seamless selection of a great event planner! LA CB's, be sure to check out LW Events!

Thursday, May 21, 2009


We WILL return shortly! But in the meantime, enjoy the following video. It will make you laugh!

Saturday, May 9, 2009

CB Notable Quotables : Chronicles of a Borderline Bridezilla Part 1 1/2 by CB Lilspyce

The following post was written by a current member of one year ago, prior to her May 2008 wedding! Thanks for the insight LilSpyce and Happy 1 Year Anniversary!


For the past year and half that we’ve been engaged I have learned so many things about myself and about our relationship. Actually during the first six months I didn’t do any planning because I was still in the shock stage of being engaged and getting married. It was too good to be true. But for those of you who haven’t reached that experience let me give you some tips... Before you start, get ready because it’s a long one.

1. THIS IS YOUR WEDDING!!! Not your mama’s, not your best friends, not your sister’s. Do what YOU wanna do for YOUR WEDDING. If you want Big Bird to launch right off of the front stairs of the church and fly off into the sunset as you walk out of the church, call Sesame Street and get it done! The reason I say this is because we can be some really caring individuals and when our friends and/or family say they want this (in your wedding) or they want to wear a certain dress or they want vellum on the invitations, we tend to cater to them knowing that’s not what you wanted to do. Five years from now, you will still be trippin over things you didn’t think went right or you wish you could change, while that person five years from now won’t give a flying fluky! If they call you a bridezilla, sometimes that is more of a compliment.

2. Don’t get it twisted! The planning period is also part of the premarital counseling! There have been times I could’ve bust my baby’s head (forget about white meat) I’m talkin about to the skull! But I love him even more, because I’ve been blessed to have a man that wants to participate in this planning process (when I’ve heard of so many women that future husbands left it all on her). I already know it was times he could’ve choked me out. There are times when he will forget about something you asked him to do. There will be times when she’s snappy and you would think she’s possessed and cross the line of no return. Or times the Groom will not take something as serious as you. Don’t pay them no mind, relax, take a breather, keep pushin and work it out. If you can’t make it through this, your marriage will not stand as strong as you think.

3. Make sure you pick people in your wedding party who are they to TRULY SUPPORT YOU (this is so critical so please pay attention). It’s one thing to buy a dress and walk down the aisle. But the true bridesmaid/ groomsman(s) will call you (you won’t have to call them) and ask "what have you done as far as planning", "have you picked out a dress, if not let’s go find one", "do you need help with anything..." If they are late on their dress payment, they will contact YOU and let you know their situation (Guess what, there is no reason you should have to call and ask them.) I really have to thank some of my bridesmaids on this they have really been there for me and pushed me at times I didn’t feel like doing anything. Your true bridesmaids are like will say don’t worry about your cake server or bookmarks and take care of it, and help you out on 200 invitations. Or others will stalk and make you get out and check out bridal shows, dresses, venues, and work in a sweat shop to get 200 invitations done. Some, even though they may be the youngest may help out whenever needed and told me just to take a seat. Or some who has traveled on public transportation for 4 hours just to meet me at work so she can be with me when I bought my dress (how many of you have SISTER like that), designed my aisle runner and told me not to worry, stalked me about planning and also worked in the sweatshop. And even one friend who lives at least an hour away has called and asked "do you need help?", "I have some books for you".... My friends have their hands completely full, and came to me and said let me know what you want for a bridal shower, and are taking care it themselves as the others plan the bachelorette party. I’ve been truly kicked out of that process. My cousin sat with my sister and cut and prepped my table card numbers (they’re teens! I couldn’t get that from some grown folks!) His best man has jumped on the responsibility of getting the guys in to get fitted for their tux. Whatever I ask of some of my groomsmen they’ll do (ex: burning 100 music CD’s) Even my fiance's sister has told me, if you all need help let me know. Through my bridezilla times, they have truly been there suckin it in and having my back. That is what a bridesmaid purpose support you and have YOUR back! The bridesmaid is the representation of support as your stand at the altar. And the bridesmaid will oblige to you because they truly care and are happy for you. So even if a person asked to be a bridesmaid, remember this is one of the most special days in your life. They don’t have to be in your wedding because they’ve known you for 15 years, hell your family has known you for all of your life, but there is a reason you didn’t put your relatives in it.

4. More Harm than Good. Some people may bring more harm then help. You will have some people who will call you and say I’ll help! But you already know they might screw it up. I don’t care if it’s your mother! If you think the end result will be poppin a cap in their ass, let them stay home. They love you and you love them, but be as polite as possible and tell them no. Make sure you have a team that mesh together on your "Sweatshop" projects (ex: favors, inviations, save the dates, etc.,.). Once again, no one is as critical to this wedding as you are-this is YOUR DAY. No one else knows what you want and how you want it but YOU. And once again, five years from now, no one will care but you!

5. Friends and associates. Just as this is a part of pre-marital counseling this is a trial between you and your true friends. Dealing with Tip 3, you will learn who your true friends are and those of you who I call "band wagon jumpers" a.k.a associates. Band wagon jumpers will jump on anything that is good, but when the goin gets tough, they find another band wagon to jump on. BEWARE because you will most likely see this. The one person you wouldn’t think would be a perpetrator.... will! I’m tellin you folks, people will come out of pocket that you would never expect! They have not come to the understanding that it is not about them. Fortunately, I already knew this coming in and some of my predictions were right so it’s not as hard for me as I thought it would be.

6. Stick to your budget!!! I’ve been watching a truckload of Bridezillas, Rich Bride Poor bride to learn to stick to your budget!! I’ve watched so many episodes where they took out a second mortgage, bounced $12,000 in checks, maxed out credit cards. You know how much money you have. If your income is $30,000 a year, why are you trying to spend $20,000 on a reception alone! If you want an expensive looking wedding, then get out there and hustle for it. Just because it looks expensive doesn’t mean it has to be expensive. Get out there and hustle, become best friends with sales ads! One thing I can truly thank my mother for is the teachings of budget shopping. On the other hand, I’ve also inherited the eye of expensive things. I can walk into a store and everytime I can pick the ten most expensive things in there. There is only a few things that I have bought full price- everything else has been discounted at least 50% off! Another way to save money, cut kids from reception activities. I know you love them, but do you really want to spend $30 on a plate that kids will play around in. Of course, the kids in the wedding should be invited, but a way to make sure all of the mature guests have a seat in your 250 room occupancy, leave the kids out! If you have open bar, you want to make sure that as many guests as possible can take advantage of an amenity you came out of your pocket for! Some people will complain, but then again....TOUGH TITTY! They can invite kids to their own reception (but I’ll bet they will second think that idea when they’re bill is coming out to $10,000! for the reception alone...)

7. DIY!!! For those of you who don’t know, DIY means Do-It-Yourself. If you’re like the rest of us that didn’t have a silver spoon in your mouth, this will become a term you will truly know. This will reduce the price of things tremendously. I’ve reduced my flower cost by at least $300 because we did the bridesmaid bouquets ourselves. I’ll be damned if I spend $20-30 on a bouquet for someone who hasn’t called me or been the least bit supportive just for them to throw it away in the matter of days. I might as well turn myself into jail now, because I’m definitely asking for a case. Screw that!! The cheapest invitation that I’ve found (that actually looked like a wedding invitation) was $130 for 100 invitations. We’re doing pocketfolds so if you don’t know we’ve saved at least $500 because we’re doing our invitations ourselves. It’ll be a lil more work but it’s worth it and it will definitely bring the more artistic side out of you that you didn’t know you had.

8. Don’t let no monkey stop your show!!! I don’t care if that monkey is your mother. Sometimes, the people that are dear to us, will cause us the most grief. Mostly, this is not done to hurt you, but some people do not truly understand the wedding process. There will be times, you feel like jumpin on a plane to Vegas and elope. Be calm, and remember it will be well worth it for your special day.

9. Internet vs. In-store. The internet is not always the best buy. I interact with a lot of brides-to-be (this is the time to plug and they purchase everything offline. Don’t you believe it!!! Prices online look good but when you add tax and shipping into the matter, it might have been cheaper to purchase it inside of a store. One thing you will have to do is just window shop, price things. Research store sales. Ooooo!!! candle holders are on sale 25% off. STOP in two weeks, they will be 50% off. Become best friends with....
Hobby Lobby
Dollar Tree
Family Dollar
Sam’s Club
Paper Source
LCI Paper (online)
Hancock Fabrics
Jo-Ann Fabrics
Factory Card Outlet
Party City
Thrift Stores
Oriental Trading Company
Clark & Montrose Wholesale District (Chicago)
And of course....EBAY

Some of yall are looking like..."I don’t do Thrift Stores or Dollar Stores". Then you are a true fool!! FYI, those two stores are hidden treasures. A lot of their stock is overstock from big chains like Macy’s, Target, Crate N’ Barrel, etc., and there is nothing wrong with the product, it just didn’t sell well in that store or they ordered too much of the product. Especially check out the thrift stores in the "wealthy area". Also, check out and call some wholesale stores, if you tell them what you are doing, sometimes they will be happy to let you in their stores to shop. For instance I wanted floralytes for my centerpieces and they ranged about $39 for 10 (without tax or shipping). I jumped in the yellow pages and talked to floral stores to find them. I found the the lights in a wholesale store but when I called and inquired she told me to come in that same day and she would work it out for me. I ended up spending $40 for 20 and if I saw something else, to go get it!! Once again, this is where you learn about true hustlin. Anyone can go to the corner and sell a nick. But I can also, find some bridal jewelry that cost $85 but pay only $.75 on sale (that’s 75 cents) and I did!

10. Bridal Journals. Register with a bridal site so you can see what other brides have done (keyword: NETWORK). Get some ideas you may have never thought of. For instance (time to plug again), I registered with and I’ve learned so much from those ladies. In addition to that, they are supportive and encouraging of your wedding planning when no one else is, because they have been there or are still dealing with it. Create a journal (when you cross into that world it will be a "J") and post your vents, ideas, and pictures. A great way to keep track of what your doing. In addition to that you will get supporters that will keep up to date with your daily interactions of wedding planning. During this process you will need it. They’ll call and instant message you about your progress and will also send a "butt-kick" smiley when you ain’t been on the job. I love them so much!!! Not only that, it’s a way to swap items you purchased and don’t need anymore. Or someone might have just married and they’ll pass on those 10 boxes of votive candles they don’t need for free.

Last but not least, (actually number 1 to me) get right with God (not just you, but you and him/her)!!! He is our best supporter and provider. Things will not go right if you don’t have him in your life. There were times, I started trippin because money situations flipped out and I didn’t know what to do. God stepped in and said "I got this!" and made a way out of no way. I have taken money from one aspect of this wedding and invested money in something I didn’t plan to and he provided a way to still get things done! I have seen so many blessings in these past months that I lose my composure as I sit here and type this. If you open up and confess to God, you don’t know what God has in store for you. First of all, he has blessed me with such a supportive and loving man, he’ll do whatever I ask of him. Four years ago, as I set in a room, I had no idea that I was looking at my husband and two of my biggest supporters. How many of you can say I have girlfriends who will work hours on invitations into the morning, how many of you can say you have a girl who will jump on public transportation for four hours just to meet you so you can make a payment on your dress and then go home! How many of your girlfriends venture out with you every other day to do "window shopping" for your wedding plans. How many of you have girlfriends where you can snap off and then they’ll look like "who you talkin to..." and do whatever you TOLD them to do without hesitations. How many of you have friends that are excited about the fact that they’re booking a condo and going all out for your party!

Folks, your relationship will not last if you don’t put GOD first. Forget that, I’m just spiritual crap! I’m a believer of GOD!! If you don’t you, are leaving that relationship open for any and all negativity to come in. When that money situation get too much, praise and give it to God! When the people you thought were your friends start fallin to the curbside, get on your knees and praise God for blessing you with the few that will go through the fire for you (and then commence to kickin them to the curb). Let go of that pride and envious spirit and give it to GOD!!! When you do, watch how many things start fallin into place. What’s so ironic is a year ago my fiance and I gave it back to God. And from then on (even before that), God has truly worked it out for all of us.

Monday, May 4, 2009

Why Chocolate Brides?

"You know, as a black woman, I just don't see the point. Why do we have to be so separate all the time? I mean, you don't see Asian Brides or Latina Brides magazines, do you? I'm just gon stick with the magazines I got, ain't no point of us making ourselves MORE separate. See, that's what get on my nerves, black folk always got to be making a fuss about....."

Sound familiar?

I've heard this argument so many times in the past five years of my life in the ChocolateBrides family. Well-meaning black women choosing to tear down the self-pride CB tries to partake of in the interest of being unified with the mass media as a whole. For a while, I did begin to feel a bit ashamed. When telling coworkers what magazine I worked for, I would hesitate a little before stating CHOCOLATEbrides, and simply state that I wrote for a bridal blog and mag. I would feel a little, I guess racist, when I would finally reveal that it was a bridal conglomerate which catered specifically to African-American brides. Some caucassian coworkers did give off that "oh" face when I said it, while others simply looked like, "well isn't that cute".

This post won't be long, so let me get to the point. I was in Borders today. I bought my beautiful goddaughter a book to read and then we waited near the entrance for my husband to return from the restroom. While we stood there, in the magazine section, in the year 2009, I looked down at the bridal section and EVERY SINGLE cover, featured a caucassian-american bride. Every hairstyle was blonde or light brunette tendrils cascading over heartshape strapless bodices. Every face showed rosy cheeks with pale pink shoulders, and I had to admit, as I stood there, that it frustrated me. Not so much for myself, because I am nearing my fourth anniversary and through the help of CB, I found my own way. My frustration was for the others. The other woman who cannot seem to figure out how her beautiful loc'd tresses will ever fit the stereotype of the bride. The other black woman who's predisposition to voluptuous curves and bubbly silhouette tends to make visits to bridal boutiques embarassing and hurtful. The woman who does NOT have the resources nor the family structure to allow the lavish and over-zealous affairs written about in these other magazines.

I was frustrated and angry for HER.

ChocolateBrides exists because we DO need a place to embrace one another.
ChocolateBrides exists because we DO deserve a small piece of the bridal world that we can put our own stamp on.
ChocolateBrides exists because we DO have cultural, ethnic, physical, sociological and financial differences from the rest of the world.

And you know what?

That is okay.

It does not make us racist, divisive, obnoxious, or arrogant.
What it does is help us show the world that we are beautiful, frugal, creative, imaginative, resourceful, loving, loveable, and yes, dare I say it MARRIAGE MATERIAL.

So, the next time you find yourself in a conversation that asks, "Why ChocolateBrides?" please, for the sake of progress, ask, "Whatever would we do withOUT it?"