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What better way to celebrate an engagement than with cupcakes and champagne? Seriously. When our friend KO recently came in to work sporting a whole lot more sparkle on her left hand, we declared a cupcake celebration. So we decided on a little Sweet Revenge.

First… check out that sparkle…

KO's new Sparkle

Serious sparkle right?

Sweet Revenge is an adorable cupcake “bar” in NYC’s West Village.

Sweet Revenge NYC- Carmine St.

Not only do they have some of the most amazing cupcakes in town, they have a whole list of wine and beer pairings so you know exactly what drink goes best with the Malaysian Coconut or Crimson & Cream cupcake.

Let me say this. These are the best cupcakes I’ve ever tasted. Hands down.

I had the Fleur De Sel, which, is not listed on their online menu, because it’s just that amazing, and it’s special.  Imagine pure chocolate, and salted caramel heaven in your mouth. It’s like San Fran’s Bi-Rite Creamery’s famous salted caramel ice cream flavor on crack in petite cake form. Amazing.

So of course, almost all of us ordered that. KV ordered the Crimson and Cream, which is raspberry red velvet cake with cream cheese frosting, and surprise raspberries inside. She was gracious enough to share, and it was deliciously perfect with her raspberry bellini.

We HAD to have drinks with our cupcakes, after all it was a celebration!

Cheers to KO!

Cupcake and Bling...

Wine & Beer pairings at Sweet Revenge

Definitely worth checking out. Congratulations again KO!

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Photo Courtesy of Hostess With The Mostess Blog

Photo Courtesy of Hostess With The Mostess Blog

Just in time for Derby Day ladies… The Kentucky Derby is Saturday and if you haven’t already planned your Derby Day party, you best get a move on.  Break out those big hats, pinch your mint plants back and get ready for the most exciting 3 minutes in sports history… the Run for the Roses!  OK that was a little dramatic. But still… exciting!  I love horse racing… and big hats. I grew up going to the track in Saratoga in the summers with my family, so in some ways it’s in my blood I suppose.

If you can’t make it to the actual derby, here’s a wonderful recipe for Mint Julep Cupcakes from one of my favorite daily blogs Hostess with the Mostess!  The recipe is adapted from Cooking & Booking and was first discovered via YumSugar but we trust anything that comes from HWTM. LOVE IT! 

The full recipe from HWTM is below- but check out their blog for more derby day inspired ideas!

MINT JULEP CUPCAKES
{adapted from Cooking and Booking}

Ingredients:

Cupcakes
1 cup butter
2 cups sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon mint extract
4 eggs
2 3/4 cups flour
3 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup milk
1/2 cup bourbon (or whiskey)
1/2 cup Creme de Menthe

Icing
3 cups sifted powdered sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon mint extract
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 stick unsalted butter, melted
milk

*****

Directions:

Cupcakes
Preheat the oven to 350º F, and grease or line 30 cupcake cups.

Combine salt, baking powder, and 1 3/4 cups of the flour. Beat butter, sugar, eggs, and extracts in a large mixing bowl until creamy. Gradually beat in the flour mixture. Add the milk and liquors to the batter, then the rest of the flour (1 cup). Mix as little as possible, just until the batter comes together. Divide the batter evenly among the cupcake cups. Bake for 25-30 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center of a cupcake comes out clean. Let cool.

Icing
Combine the powdered sugar, salt, extracts and melted butter and beat until creamy. Gradually add milk until the texture is right for piping. When the cupcakes are completely cool, pipe or spread the icing on top. Garnish with cake sparkles or sprinkles, a straw (trimmed to size), and mint leaves.

 

Flour Seeds Custom Cupcake Mixes- The Perfect Favor!

Flour Seeds Custom Cupcake Mixes- The Perfect Favor!

We have a winner….Drum roll please……

Laura F. is the winner of our Flour Seeds Custom Cupcake Favor Giveaway from the Gourmet Gift Co.! This $50 gift certificate is good toward a custom order with Flour Seed Gourmet Gift Co.

Laura please email your contact information to weddingbellesonline@gmail.com and we will get you your gc! 

A BIG THANK YOU to the fabulous the Gourmet Gift Co. for this wonderful offer! Don’t forget to check out their products for your next Champagne & Cupcakes shower!

Keep an eye out for upcoming contests and giveaways from more fantastic retailers!

 

CUSTOM FAVORS: Flour Seeds Gourmet Baking Mixes

CUSTOM FAVORS: Flour Seeds Gourmet Baking Mixes

 

 You all know how obsessed I am with cupcakes… well this is the perfect favor for your cupcake themed bridal shower, or wedding reception. I’m a big fan of giving away favors that people can actually enjoy instead of trinkety nonsense  they’re going to throw away. So what better favor than food. Seriously.

These adorably packaged favors from the  Gourmet Gift Co., are gourmet baking mixes in beautiful customized boxes for your guests to enjoy! The cupcake mixes come in four tasty flavors including vanilla, chocolate, champagne and red velvet. YUM! Each mix is made with Nielsen-Massey Pure Madagascar Bourbon Vanilla and NO ARTIFICIAL FLAVORS OR PRESERVATIVES!  Wooo! Plus their amazing frosting recipes are available right on their website so your guests can replicate Flour Seeds incredible frosting right at home!

All you have to do is combine the ingredients from your own kitchen, bake and enjoy! Easy! You can personalize the label with a variety of colors to match your theme and add your own custom text. I so love this. Plus, the Gourmet Gift Co. is a Style Me Pretty Little Black Book member, so you know they’re good people. She doesn’t let just anyone in there you know.

Now here’s the best part… The Gourmet Gift Co. is giving away a $50 gift certificate toward a custom order.
This is the perfect addition to your champagne and cupcakes shower! 

All you have to do is tell us why you love cupcakes, and you can do it in THREE PLACES!
Comment here, send us a message on Twitter or post on our Facebook wall

We’ll pick a winner at random and announce a winner next Wednesday April 29th.

Be sure to check out The Gourmet Gift Co.’s founder, Tawnya Zebrowski’s blog Stylish Giving for more stylishly fun and easy DIY favor ideas!

HOORAY for Cupcakes and THANK YOU to The Gourmet Gift Co. for this incredible offer!

SO I made the trip this weekend for two of my favorite ladies. One is a beautiful and hilarious blushing bride-to-be, and the other might be the cutest little pregger mama I’ve ever seen.

The showers were super cute, so I wanted to share some of the lovely little details with you all! 

First up… babies 🙂 (Even though that’s not the objective here at Wedding Belles, a lot of the ideas can be applied to a BRIDAL SHOWER too! Take notes.)

 

Centerpieces

Centerpieces

Case in point. My favorite floral technique – bunches of same stem flowers that look beautiful in bulk! I’ve talked about this before, but budget friendly flowers in bulk look amazing together! These mini carnations worked perfectly and were perfect for the “It’s a Boy” Shower.

They also kicked up the tables with adorable stuffed animals, and INCREDIBLE cake plates. I had to go get one of my own after the shower. Home Goods is a magical place that everyone should visit. These cake plates came with TERRIBLE kiddie-bling. That’s the only thing I can call it. Wires with ribbons, buttons, soccer balls … you get the gist. Anyway… wire kiddie-bling removed and replaced with ribbons in shades of blue, gingham and polka dots it’s perfectly wonderful! You can change the ribbons depending on the theme and color scheme of the shower, and  it’s so easy! 

I’m making up my own right now, and can’t wait to share with you all the fun details! 

 

The other amazing little table details were the cupcakes! They came from out of Philly and all of the cupcakes had piped in icing shaped ducks, booties and rattles. AND, there were homemade chocolate lollipops shaped like safety pins and rattles! I mean… come one. How great is that! 

 

Cupcakes- Booties

Cupcakes- Booties

 

Ducky cupcakes

Ducky cupcakes

 

Chocolate Rattle Lollipops

Chocolate Rattle Lollipops

You can buy chocolate lollipop molds at craft stores, and follow recipes like this one from Jacques Torres, this one for two color lollipops, or this one for marbled chocolate lollipops to make and decorate your own fabulous favors! 

Moving on… Brides! 

My friend J is getting married in May, and while her shower was very traditional, it was completely unique to her at the same time! Love it. I’m a pretty staunch hater of shower games. HOWEVER, sometimes they can serve as great ice breakers, and really hilarious moments. You have to gauge your crowd. This crowd was all about fun, so the games were mild and very entertaining.

Because J and her fiance are honeymooning in Hawaii, her shower was themed accordingly with  starfish wine stopper favors, orchid centerpieces, red velvet cupcakes and a lei for the beautiful bride!

 

Orchid Centerpieces

Orchid Centerpieces

 

 

 

Starfish Wine Stopper Favors

Starfish Wine Stopper Favors

 

The Blushing Bride

The Blushing Bride

 

Red Velvet Cupcakes

Red Velvet Cupcakes

J got a few of the questions in the Newlywed Game (see below) wrong, and her punishment was based on her own personal vice… red wine. Her quick thinking bridesmaids made up red wine jello shots instead of the hard liquor variety for her to spoon out every time she got a question wrong.

 

The Newlywed Game

The Newlywed Game

All-in-all it was a wonderful weekend of showers- both bridal and baby! I’m so glad I could share these with you! I detailed three of the bridal shower games below.

 

Game #1- Bride Bingo

Print out empty grids- which you can find online- and have guests fill out the boxes with gifts they think the bride will receive- dishes, bath towels, blender etc. Then add bowls of m&m’s on the tables for people to use to mark the boxes as gifts are opened. Winners yell bingo, prize is distributed… you get the point. This keeps all of the guests engaged in the gift opening process and limits the table chatter at traditional showers. Plus it’s a great way to keep everyone involved.

Game #2- The Newlywed Game

Ask the groom a set of questions prior to the shower and have the bride guess his answers. Every time she gets a question wrong you can have her (eat a marshmallow or a piece of gum) which truthfully, is kind of gross… OR you could always make her take a red wine jello shot…(again… gauge your crowd accordingly)

Game #3- The Purse Game

Make a list, or look on up online of things that you may or may not find in your purse (comb, sunglasses, safety pin, 1986 penny etc.) Assign points to each item and have guests tally up their bags.

As everyone pinches their purse strings and adjusts to our not-so-hot economic climate, wedding goers can expect some changes in the air.


Smaller weddings with fewer guests

This is especially true now. The best way to cut your budget is to cut your guest list first. That way you can still treat your guests to a beautiful wedding with the unique and wonderful things you want without blowing your budget.


Destination weddings or destination type weddings closer to home

Again… your guest list can seriously shrink with destination weddings. People simply can’t afford the travel, hotel accommodations, gift…the list goes on for everyone they know. Your closest friends and family will make the trip, the others will skip but still send a gift. It’s a win-win.

More green and eco-friendly products and services
Green weddings have crossed the trendy threshold and are now in a full blown category as more and more people strive to live more sustainable and eco-chic lives.  Because of this, the “green wedding” has gone mainstream and vendors are tweaking existing services to accommodate the environmentally friendly couple.

Simplified decorations, centerpieces and wedding invitations
We’ll see a step back toward sweet and simple as people continue to have beautiful weddings without the fuss and fluff. This means simple yet elegant and budget friendly centerpieces alternatives and DIY invitations and decorations. More of that to come.


Increased use of online RSVP’s vs. traditional main-in RSVP’s

We’ve had this discussion already. But I for one feel there are ways to cut paper, postage and the killing of trees for some of your invites including the bachelorette, the shower and maybe even the wedding depending on what kind of party you’re planning to throw. Although I have to say I still really love a real paper invite. You can always do recycled.

Buffet Meals, Hors D’oeurve and cocktail receptions
Opting for one of these budget friendly options eliminates the stuffiness that can accompany a sit down dinner, and if done right can make for a really great party atmosphere with tons of dancing, mingling and snacking throughout the night! These are especially great for outdoor receptions! The possibilities are endless!

Cheesecakes, cupcakes and miniature desserts
Again. I’m a cupcake whore and I think having them at your wedding is an excellent alternative to pieces of stale cake that often go uneaten because the dance floor is full.  For go the cake. Downsize to miniature versions that look beautiful set out, and won’t cost you the farm.

 

Courtesy of 1-800- flowers.com

Courtesy of 1-800- flowers.com

 

 

The Champagne and Cupcakes post is one of our most popular and now you can make the perfect centerpieces for a Champagne & Cupcakes shower. I work with a serious cupcake maven named Megan at my happy little day job. She does not mess around when it comes to cupcakes. So for her birthday someone sent her this fabulous non-confectionary cupcake made out of flowers! The credit goes to 1-800 Flowers, but there are plenty of how-to’s out there on how to make your very own Cupcake Centerpieces out of my favorite cheap and easy stems- Carnations, peonies, mums and more! Perfect for your cupcake themed shower!

For step-by-step DIY directions check out Inspired Ideas.

 

Courtesy of Inspired Ideas

Courtesy of Inspired Ideas

My cousin got an invitation in her in-box from Kate Spade for a Champagne & Cupcakes party promoting their Spring line.  I thought it was such a cute idea that I needed to pass it on as a shower idea.

Shower’s are stuffy no matter how you try to shake ’em up.  BUT, lately more “unconventional” showers are starting to pop up like daises among the perfect little begonias.  Throwing an unconventional shower might shock the brides Great Aunt Milly, but we are moving forward and there’s no reason you can’t incorporate a little bit of tradition with a whole lot of fun for a shower. 

Before you start to plan though, ASK THE BRIDE WHAT SHE WANTS. I know it’s supposed to be a shower for her, and she’s not supposed to know anything about it…blah blah blah. But if you throw something she is going to hate, better to know before you call the caterer.

So, throwing a Champagne & Cupcakes Shower is different and super cute. Host one in the early afternoon  or even later on as a cupcake cocktail party. Cupcakes and Champagne make everyone happy.  These are some of my favorite east coast cupcake connoisseurs.

Babycakes NYC-New York, NY – “Delicious Everything-Free Cupcakes”- Oprah loves these gluten free, refined-sugar free, vegan treats!  And they deliver!

Crumbs – New York, NY- The Red Velvet and Boston Creme Cupcakes are INCREDIBLE.

Petsi Pies– Somerville, MA & Cambridge, MA- Known for their Coconut Creme Cupcakes and Whoopie Cupcakes filled with whipped cream!

The Baltimore Cupcake Company– They specialize in custom made cupcakes in a variety of flavors and a pretty amazing portfolio of “cupcake cakes.” Definitely worth checking out.

Fresh Cupcakes– Charleston, SC- These really are the freshest little desserts on King St.   The Pumpkin are surprisingly sweet and the Mint Chocolate Chip is my personal favorite.

Polka Dot Bakeshop– Charlotte, NC- Don’t you just love the name? They have the traditional Vanilla, Chocolate and Red Velvet, and the not-so-traditional including Smores, Mexican Hot Chocolate and Espresso.

Feel free to add any of your favorite local cupcake spots to the post and skip the “stuffy” in your next shower.

 Baltimore Cupcake Company
“Angel” Cupcake Cake

Angel Cupcake Cake

Baltimore Cupcake Company
“Miss USA” Cupcake Cake

Baltimore Cupcake Company

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