Rene'John Designs

Blogging Beautifully For Today’s Brides

A Letter To My Brides


A new year is upon us!  Many of you have gotten engaged over the holidays and are anxious to begin your wedding plans!  How exciting, a new year and a new life with a partner that you love so much.

I would just like to take this time to speak to you before it gets really crazy in your life and in mine.  I am requesting of my brides this year to prioritize their lives.  Please put what is most important first.  We are living in a time where many of us have never been affected by such a negative economy.  As a country we are dealing with several wars at a time and many of our loved ones are among the fighting men and women defending our country.

When planning a wedding, it is so easy to get caught up in the hustle and bustle.  The many money issues, family politics, time constraints, wedding vendors, etc.  If we make a conscious choice to go into the planning of our weddings with what is most important, we can minimize some of the stress involved.

Melody, when Drew asked you to marry him, did he say that you had to wear a $6,000 dollar designer wedding gown or he would never look at you again as his one true love?  Susan, did Blake tell you that those 250 cupcakes had to be perfect when you both knew you had a very limited budget?  Donna, will you delay your wedding once again because the perfect church in your mind is not available again on that date?  Keisha, why would you put someone in your wedding that causes you so much stress?  Isn’t this your wedding? 

By the way, all of the above brides are fictitious.  I just wanted to give you some examples of scenarios that you all may be experiencing.  It doesn’t matter what anyone else thinks, this wedding/marriage is about you and your fiance.  Keep this in mind when beginning the most important time of your life!

Honored to be your wedding planner,


December 31, 2009 Posted by | A Letter To My Brides | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 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!


cheesecetc (2)

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

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!


img_1563[1] (2)



img_1488[1] (2)

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!


img_2129[1] (2)


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