Saturday, November 29, 2008

Planning a Celebration of Life – Not Your Typical Funeral

"Planning a Celebration of Life – Not Your Typical Funeral

I wonder if you have seen the new trend in funeral services. Ok, now you wonder what does funerals have to do with weddings or events. Well funeral is an event, and people actually hire people to help plan this event. And funerals are not even called funerals or memorials anymore. Their called Celebration of Life or Life Celebration.

There’s a lady at my church who told me that she doesn’t want anyone crying at her funeral. No one is allowed to wear black, but white, and put her in a sexy party dress, not in her deaconess or church dress. And lastly she wants joke and party and laugh at her funeral. No tears allowed for she has lived a long happy life! She warns and threatens that to me every time we talk about a person we know that’s passed or death or having a funeral at our church. She wants everyone to celebrate her life, not her death!

She’s not the only one that thinks that way. And it’s become one of the newest trends in the event business. So here’s a few tips to pull off a celebration if you just don’t know how to do one.
First you should have this type of service to celebrate the life that the person lived, by remembering the good times, not the death as I said before. You can have it at the time you would normally do a funeral or sometime after the funeral.

The celebration can be held at your church like you would do a funeral but call it a celebration. You can have it at your home or a hall or a place that you loved one was fond of or is all about such as a beach if it was something they would like to do. And then have a hall or gym to feed everyone at. Make sure that you decorate the place of where they will be eating if it's held at aa venue. Remember it's a celebration! Just as the funeral, the family and/or clergy should lead the service. Close friends of the deceased should be able to participate. It’s their loss too.

Now you wonder what kind of activities should be done at the celebration. Well a video/picture slide show can be done just as you do for a wedding or a party. Funny stories of your loved one can be told. You can have a gospel choir come in and sing a lively song or a group or someone you know can sing thier favorite song, or a song that speaks about them. Ask couple friends and familymembers read a poem of your loved one life. Have memorial songs and lyrics incorporated into the celebration.

Memorial folders or program with the story of their life and their picture to be presented to each guest. Have a memory table with their pictures of their life or their art or anything that shows who they are, and what they meant to you. You can also place a little memorial tree, (one that’s pure branches) that people can write little notes of what they think of deceased tied to a ribbon. And at sometime their read allowed. You can even have memorial favors. Yes! That’s what I said. Memorial favors - something that reflects who they are. A keepsake for everyone to remember this day. For my grandmothers funeral we gave out little angels that was made out of beads. I still have it to this day and hang it on the Christmas Tree every year. I call it grandma’s angel.

Lastly use your cultural customs, family traditions in the celebration. I’m from Jamaica, and a week before the funeral, all the family gets together and stay together. We do things to keep each other laughing by playing games and joking with each other to make the pain less hurtful of our loss. At night we sing silly songs (most of them were cultural) and funny acting of each other and the loved one. In Jamaica they use to sit outside under something. We call this “Night Night”. Friends and church members will cook a lot of food for us everyday including the day of the funeral and take care of our personal needs.
So just remember that Celebration of Life is just a way to reflect on a person’s life. It’s a way to celebrate instead of morning. ‘Cause we have hope that someday soon, we will see them again.

Monday, November 24, 2008

The Wedding Guide - Wine Tips

Tips For Serving The Perfect Wine

  • White and rose wines should be refrigerated just until chilled, for 1 to 2 hours.

  • Light red wines may be chilled only slightly.

  • Full-bodied red wines are always served at room temperature.

  • When figuring servings, allow one glass of wine per guest per hour. The average serving of dinner wine or champagne is 3 to 3 1/2 fluid ounces; of cocktail or dessert wine, 2 to 2 1/2 ounces.

What Wines Go With Which Dinner Courses?

Sherry is usually the first wine offered at dinner, usually with a soup that contains sherry. A dry white wine is served with fish or with an entree to which it is complementary. Red wine is normally served with red meats, duck and game. At less formal dinners, a claret or light red wine may be drunk throughout the meal. When champagne is the only wine served, it is served as soon as the first course has begun and then throughout the meal. When other wines are included, champagne is served with the meat course.

Appetizers - Since the concept of appetizers is to tease and please the palate before a meal, dry or medium, light bodied acidic white wines are usually good choices because they have a refreshing quality that tends to stimulate one's appetite. The carbonation in a sparkling wine is great with many hor d'oeuvres.

Fish - Dry white wine (Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc) usually pair best with seafood because the wine's crispness allows the food's subtler flavors to surface. Also, light bodied red wines with little tannin (Gamay Beaujolais) are delicious with firmer-fleshed fish, like Swordfish, that are grilled or prepared with tomato in the sauce.

Poultry - poultry and pork, depending on how they are prepared, their tastes, textures and appearances vary, as do the choices for a perfect wine match. Carefully consider the sauces to help you select the right wine, a white, blush or red may be appropriate.

Veal - the leanness and dedicated flavor of veal is complemented by lighter red wines, well aged red wines or dry white wines. Be careful to not overwhelm the flavor of the meat and consider the flavors in the sauce.

Beef/Lamb - are higher in fat and require wines with sufficient tannin to cut through the full flavor of the food. Fine cuts of meat pair wonderfully with complex or aged red wines (Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot). Meats that are braised in tomatoes or are highly seasoned or marinated need an aggressive younger red (young Cabernet Sauvignon).

Ham - cured ham with wine takes careful matching of the contrast of the saltiness and sweetness of the meat. If the ham glaze is sweet, a fruity rose or blush (White Zinfandel) can be a nice match for both taste and color.

Recommended Food and Wine Pairings


· Cannelloni - Chardonnay
· Fettucine Alfredo - Frascati, Sauvignon Blanc
· Fettucine Marinara - Gamay Beaujolais
· Lasagna - Chianti, Cabernet Sauvignon
· Linguine Clam Sauce - Soave, Chardonnay
· Tortellini al Pesto - Pinto Grigio, Sauvignon Blanc
· Spaghetti Primavera - Soave, Sauvignon Blanc


· Fish, grilled or broiled - Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc
· Fish, baked or sauted - Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc
· Fish, blackened - Johannisberg Riesling
· Fresh shellfish - Sauvignon Blanc, Johannisberg Riesling
· Lobster Thermidor - Gamay Beaujolais, Zinfandel
· Fried Catfish - Chardonnay
· Baked Dover Sole - White Zinfandel
· Salmon en Croute - Sauvignon Blanc
· Salmon with Buerre Blanc - Chardonnay
· Cioppino - Zinfandel, Gamay Geaujolais


· Roasted Chicken - Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc
· Barbecued Chicken - Gamay Beaujolais
· Sweet and Sour Chicken - White Zinfandel, Johannisberg Riesling
· Chicken with Brown Sauce - Chardonnay, Gamay Beaujolais
· Roasted Duck/Orange Sauce - Zinfandel, Pinot Beaujolais
· Chicken w/Cream Sauce - Chardonnay, Johannisberg Riesling


· New York Strip Steak - Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot
· Beef Stroganoff - Merlot, Pinot Noir
· Beef Wellington - Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot
· Au Poivre (Pepper Steak) - Cabernet Sauvignon, Zinfandel
· Filet Mignon w/Bernaise - Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot
· Roast Prime Rib - Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot
· Tournedos of Beef - Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot
· Hamburger - Gamay Beaujolais

Friday, November 21, 2008

The Truth here's the truth.....the whole truth and nothing but the truth. LOLOL ok ok for real, being a wedding and event planner is fun, and stressful, tiresome, exhausting, exciting and everything in between! There's so many emotions, so many choices to make and help to the bride's vision come to life. But at the end of the day, well more like when it's all said and done, the final toasts been given and they all say their good byes....IT WAS WORTH IT ALL! All the drama, the bridezilla mood swings, the crazy demands that some brides think they must have, the happy and sad tears, the smiles and laughter, I'm ready to take on the next bride, or the next event to bring to life! I love it and can't get enough of it! I love helping people so why not do something that helps someone on thier big day!

Sometimes, yes I must admit like right now....I just want to shut off my phone from the non stop ringing, the forever flowing emails that exhausting and frustrating (mostly from vendors), and just take a break and walk away and breathe. Yes my eyebrows go up when the budgets are tight....but each bride deserves the best and will provide the best no matter the budget. Each deserves a fabulous day! No doubt about it!

So truthfully, this is my passion, and dream and will not stop pushing and promoting. I will not give up on doing my thang! I believe everyone should get out there, especially the young generation like me and live your dream, start your own destiny, own your own company. Even if your previous dreams fall like mine have...there's always a reason. I found out why, cause this is what I'm ment to do. Somewhere along the line..I will figure out away to apply my IT degree in this path. But I love designing, I love decorating, I love making people smile!