Rene'John Designs

Blogging Beautifully For Today’s Brides

REAL WEDDING – Karen & Wayne

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One of my favorite photojournalistic photographers Mr. Tommy McCart took these fabulous pictures of one of my favorite couples.  It was such a pleasure working with this couple who put all their trust in us and we didn’t let them down.  Enjoy Beauty!


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Floral and Table Design by Rene’John Designs

August 26, 2009 Posted by | Real Weddings | , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Vendor Spotlight


Who’s your cake boss?  My cake boss is Gail Ciriello of Cheesecake Etc. .  I have known Gail for about seven years now and what most impresses me about Gail is her tireless work ethic.  She works very hard at what she does and I have watched her business grow as a result.  Gail cares for her clients and wants them to have the best on their special day.  Her cakes are amazing! And they taste as good as they look!


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Peninsula Yacht Club - Charlotte, NC


Meet Gail Ciriello and Enjoy Beauty!


RJD:  How long have you been making these amazing wedding cakes?

Gail:  I have been making wedding cakes for eleven years.


RJD:  Why does cake baking give you so much joy?

Gail:  I grew up in an Italian family where we lived to eat instead of eating to live.  Baking was a daily occurence but the sweet stuff was a special treat.


RJD:  Do you have a nightmare story about a wedding cake that you totally turned around in time for the wedding?  How did you handle it?

Gail:  Anyone who has been in business this long has at least one nightmare story to share.  My worst was when I had to make a delivery in downtown Charlotte for a Friday wedding.  The cake was a huge 5-tier with white icing and intricate dark brown scrolls piped all over it.    A city bus pulled out in front of me and when I hit my brakes , the sections of the cake slid into one another.  So much for my  beautiful brown scrolls.  As I often transport my cakes in sections and assemble them onsite, I was prepared with extra icing for such an emergency.  So when I pulled into the parking deck of the venue, I set up my delivery cart right there in the parking deck.  I scraped off all the ruined icing and re-iced the cake.  When I delivered it, it was perfect and the ordeal was invisible to my bride!


RJD:  How do you help your brides with the cake design process?

Gail:  I meet with all my brides for an inital consultation that includes both a tasting and design session.  I ask her questions about the venue, the style of the wedding, the food they are serving, the time, and what she wants her “dream” cake to look like.  Many brides already have definite ideas.  For those that don’t, I have tons of pictures for them to look through to get them inspired.  I try to make each cake unique for that bride and her special day.  I am NOT a fan of “cookie cutter” cakes.  Basically – I LISTEN!


RJD:  In this economy how do you work with budget conscious brides?

Gail:  There are many ways to work with a budget conscious bride.  We can limit the flavor and filling choices, make the cake a bit less extravagant or the most popular way is to create a smaller cake that is exactly what the bride wants and supplement the extra servings with a sheet cake.


RJD:  What do you feel is your best contribution to your couples?

Gail:  I am passionate about what I do!!  I believe that most bakeries can make a cake look good but not all can make them taste good too!  Brides do not have to settle for one or the other.    When a bride books with me, she can be confident that her cake will be made from scratch and that I understand exactly what she wants.  I bake the cake AND decorate it so nothing is lost in communication with other employees.  The buck starts and stops with me! 



August 25, 2009 Posted by | Local Flava, Tastebud Treats, Vendor Spotlight | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

What is beautiful in your mind?



What exactly is beautiful?!  Glamour Magazine, one of the nation’s leading beauty and fashion magazines is in an uproar over the semi-nude pictures of  plus size model Lizzie Miller in it’s newly dropped September issue.  A “plus-size” model by modeling industry standards even though she is a  size 12 – 14.



For this post, I am going to get on my soapbox.   This is very personal to me since I am a  beautiful plus-size woman.  I have gone up and down in my weight all of my life, also doing some so-called plus size modeling in my 20’s at size 10 – 12! 


With obesity rates for US females ranking us 8th in the world, I am well aware of this problem.  Is this good news?  Heck no!  Many of us are trying to adopt new healthy eating habits and incorporate exercise into our daily lives to live long and productive lives.  But the reality, which is my reality and most of the women in the US today is that we are not a size 0,2, 4, 6 or even 10.  The average size of the American woman is a size 14 in this country!  


What I am truly tired of is the constant barrage of thin, thin women being made this country’s beauty symbols through popular beauty publications, television, movies, internet and print advertising.  Too many of our young women who are not these thin model like people are becoming self-loathing, habitual dieters, diet pill popping, some even becoming anorexic and bulimic in their desperate attempts to become these unrealistic symbols of beauty! 


The outcry that has resulted from Glamour Magazine’s pictorial of Lizzie Miller is a standing ovation from average sized women around the country.  They are thrilled to see someone that looks like them and is happy in her own skin!  Beauty is said to be in the eye of the beholder but I say that Beauty is how you see yourself! 


I applaud Glamour magazine for their bravery in rocking the status quo.  To read Glamour Magazine’s blog post regarding Lizzie Miller’s pictorial, click on Glamour”.


In keeping with this topic, Rene’John Designs will be featuring a future blog category called  “Botticelli Brides”.  This is a specialty section for brides with curves.  A pictorial spread of beautiful curvaceous woman who are proud of themselves, who they are at whatever size they my presently be.  This section will provide on-line and local resources for the shapely “Botticelli Bride”.   Watch for it and Enjoy Beauty!  (That’s you)

August 23, 2009 Posted by | Botticelli Brides | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Color Me Pink

Pink peonies, pink roses, pink tulips, oh my!  Pink is such a girly color and I love it.  Here are some beautiful wedding pictures from a wedding that used pink and green to express their love. 

Enjoy Beauty!

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August 22, 2009 Posted by | Color Me Perfect, Flowers | , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

duomo di San Martino

Duomo di San Martino Building in Lucca, Tuscany

Tuscany, Italy is definitely known as one of the most romantic destinations on earth!  I have studied it from afar for quite some time.  One day I hope to see its beautiful sunflowers and fields of red poppy. Perhaps sample the wine from the rolling hill vineyards.  This is a land that appears to be frozen in time with its historical Tuscan homes and cobblestone streets.  Where the air is sweet and filled with the sound of music and the smells of authentic Italian cooking.  Is this the place for your destination wedding?

Check out Tuscany and Enjoy Beauty!


Narrow Stone Walkway Between Buildings


Sunflowers in Tuscany


Field of Poppy Flowers



Pizzeria in Tuscany


Rolling Hills of Tuscany

Rolling Hills of Tuscany


The Ponte Vecchio, Florence, Tuscany

The Ponte Vecchio, Florence, Tuscany


Married In Italy

Married In Italy


For more information on Tuscany, please visit Mad About Italy and Discover Tuscany.

August 18, 2009 Posted by | Destination Wedding Locations | , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Vendor Spotlight

OOH La-La, Tuxedos!



Sandra & Dwight Hailstock

I have been blessed to know some professionals in this business that will lend a hand without you even asking.  Sandra and Dwight Hailstock, owners of  The Formal Touch are two such people.  When I arrived in Charlotte some 8 years ago, I met Sandra and Dwight and they were so nice to me.  They offered their studio as a place that I could advertise.   They are always there if you need them.  This same altruistic attitude is shown in the excellent service offered to their customers.  Your experience with The Formal Touch will be one that is enjoyable and informative in a warm and friendly environment where service is first.


Meet Sandra and Dwight and Enjoy Beauty!


RJD:  How long have you been in the formal wear business and why do you love it so much?  

TFT:  We will celebrate 10 years in the formal wear business on August 2, 2009.  We love it so much because it is such an honor to be a small part of such a special day in someone’s life.  We enjoy working with the bride and groom to get just the look they are hoping for with the coordination of colors and style.


RJD:  What is your favorite style of tuxedo and why?

TFT:  Well, the style is different from the groom to the groomsmen because typically we are trying to make the groom stand out with his coat style, while with the groomsmen, we are trying to show color with the vest and tie.  Based on those reasons, our favorite tuxedo for a groom would be the Trilogy II by Oscar de la Renta and the one button Notch Tuxedo for the groomsmen.







RJD:  What wedding experience touched you the most? 

TFT:  Probably when Chancellor Adams was the ring bearer in a wedding that we provided tuxedos for.  As you know, his mother was shot while pregnant with him and subsequently died and he sustained some challenges in life.  He was such a delight when he was in the store for his fitting and he would have been such a joy to his mother had she lived.


RJD:  In this economy, how do you work with budget conscious brides?

TFT:  We have the ability to give them options because we have so many styles of tuxedos and accessories.  They can choose a more expensive tuxedo but choose to select a less expensive style of shoe or vice versa to keep the cost down.  We also offer a ring bearer special which helps to keep the cost down for any children in the wedding.



RJD:  What do you feel is your best contribution to your couples?

TFT:  We sincerely hope that our best contribution is to provide the very best not just in selection but most importantly, EXCELLENT SERVICE and the confidence that they can count on us to come through for them even when their guys don’t quite do what they’re asked to do.

August 17, 2009 Posted by | Local Flava, Vendor Spotlight | , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Vendor Spotlight

Tommy McCart

Gracious, humble, and extremely talented.  These are words that describe Tommy of  Tommy McCart Photography.  His style of photography is fresh and original exhibiting a photojournalistic styling that enables his clients to relive their special day over and over again.  What a pleasure it has been to work with Tommy and to know him as the kind and truly caring professional that he is. 



Meet Tommy McCart and Enjoy Beauty!


RJD:  What made you become a photographer?

Tommy:  I always had a love for photography. I was given a camera  as a Christmas
gift at the age of 8 from my parents.  As a child I used to set up scenes with
my toys and photograph them.  It was so silly.  I later realized that I loved
photographing people, capturing their emotions, etc.  After that I was
hooked and I have never let my passion die!


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RJD:  What is your favorite style of photography and why?

Tommy:  My favorite style of photography is what I call natural photography.  It is
telling a story with images.  It captures my client’s special day in their
style, while telling their story.  I love when  my clients tell me that they had no
idea that I had captured all of those special moments.  They didn’t  even remember me being in the room.   I was totally unobtrusive!


RJD:  What wedding experience touched you the most?

Tommy:  I  had a bride about a year ago that had  survived brain cancer. The bride and
her mother were wonderful, strong people. They looked at life in a whole new
light and her wedding so embraced that! It was a wonderful celebration and
I felt honored to be there to capture such a wonderful time in all of their


RJD:  In this economy how do you work  with budget conscious brides?

Tommy:  In today’s economy , couples are still getting married, they are just on
smaller budgets.  We custom create wedding packages to work with many budgets.  We are a team of four photographers willing to work with you and address your particular needs!


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RJD:  What do you feel is your best contribution to your couples? 

Tommy:  My photography is of course my best contribution to my clients’ special day.  But beyond that I feel that our customer service ranks really high.  This shows  in our level of service and excellence in photography.  This is what I have been told by my wonderful clients.  Their needs and vision for their day is our first priority!  I approach each and every wedding as if it were my first.  With each wedding I demonstrate the same drive and creative determination that I have shown in every wedding that I’ve done before.

August 14, 2009 Posted by | Local Flava, Vendor Spotlight | , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment