The Dandelion Patch

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Confessions of a Customer

In keeping with our wedding-related blog theme for the week, I was lucky enough to have one of our satisfied customers, Nkeisha Dumas send a glowing testimonial to me about her recent experiences at The Patch. Now, we get these kinds of emails and phone calls frequently, but since she is sooo lovely, has been a customer for a few years, and because I have a blog deadline – I asked her if she'd be interested in getting interviewed! Not only did she agree... she said that I could share a picture (or two) of her and her new husband, Mark, in sunny Jamaica!

You can read her responses to my thought-provoking questions below.(ok, they're not thought-provoking, but nonetheless, her answers to my questions are below...)

Thanks, Nkeisha and Mark, for allowing us to be part of your very special day!

nkeisha and mark

nkeisha and mark

1. What is your full name and your new husband's full name? Did you change to a married name? Why or why not?

Nkeisha Smith and Mark Smith. I haven't officially changed to a new name as of yet because I haven't received the marriage certificate yet. Mark and I were married on the island of Jamaica and it takes 6-8 weeks for the certificate to come back. As soon as I receive it, I will make the official change. I like the idea of taking on my husband's name because it represents a further connection that the two of us have and also symbolizes the fact that I am a part of a large, strong family unit.

2. How did you find The Dandelion Patch?

I stopped by the old Vienna location (Mill Street in Vienna) to look for birthday card stock for my young daughter. Then, as I was preparing for the wedding, I saw the advertisements listed in the various local wedding magazines and remembered the store. The two locations in Vienna and Reston made it very convenient.

3. Of all the other options with regard to your wedding stationery, why did you choose The Dandelion Patch?

Service, selection and quality. The staff was very friendly and knowledgeable. The shop itself had a large selection of stationery and was able to address all of my needs, from the save-the-date cards to the invitations and on to the wedding programs. I ordered custom save-the-date cards and wedding invitations. Then, I used the Reston location to print the programs, escort cards and menus. The on-site printing saved us a lot of money and the quality of the stationery was just as good as a larger, more expensive outside vendor.

4. What did you end up choosing as your wedding invitation and how did that reflect your theme or style?

I chose a William Arthur wedding invitation because it reflected the casual feel of our destination wedding. It was simple, but yet elegant.

5. Now that your wedding is complete, what is the best advice that you woud give a bride-to-be regarding her wedding ensemble?

I would suggest that a bride-to-be have an idea of how they want their wedding to feel before buying anything. This is true for any aspect of the wedding, whether it is the stationery, the dress or the wedding favors. If you know how you want to feel on your special day and what you want to convey to your guests, finding the items for your wedding can be easy and fun!

6. What was your favorite part of your Dandelion Patch experience?

My favorite part of the Dandelion Patch experience was working with such a great staff. I trusted their judgment and felt comfortable with the selection of the stationery items. In the end, I was very satsified with all of my purchases.

I also liked to browse the display items in the store :-)

7. In your own words, how would you describe The Dandelion Patch?

It completed the wedding. I was able to satisfy every stationery need (and more) with one stop!

Monday, July 28, 2008

Fun with Favors

Occasionally we are asked to write articles or to speak as experts on certain topics. When our friend Cindie Reinhold asked us to write something for her Brides and Weddings magazine about favors, I was sure that the right person for this job was our very own Vicky Radovich Macleod.

Vicky is our Inventory Manager for The Dandelion Patch, a recent bride herself, and quite simply our go-to-gal for all questions related to our product offerings. Plus as a previous 2nd grade school teacher, she's one heck of a writer!

wedding favors

wedding favors

wedding favors

Favors are those simple touches that make your event special, personal, and quite frankly...memorable. The Dandelion Patch has many options, so let us know what kind of event you're having and our experts will be happy to suggest some special, personal and memorable favors that will work within any budget. Vicky's article goes into more detail below...

Oh, and by the way...if you see Vicky around the stores (she works at both), please humor me and ask for her autograph. I told her that she was gonna be famous from this blog!

Fun with Favors
Vicky Radovich Macleod, Inventory Manager at The Dandelion Patch

Planning a memorable wedding is all about the details. Once the venue, wedding dress, flowers and cake are selected thoughts turn to wedding favors – those special remembrances of your day that guests will carry away with them.

Edible favors such as the traditional Jordan almonds or bite sized cookies can be ordered in small packages with personalized labels. If you prefer to assemble your own treats, tiny boxes in every color and shape are available to coordinate with your wedding colors or theme.

Lovely miniature round boxes, festooned with realistic silk flowers and containing botanical delights such as flower seed ribbons, or dried flowers and organza sachet pouches are especially nice for a spring or summer wedding. Herbs can be planted in small individual flower pots and tied with personalized ribbons. Flower seed packets tucked into baskets for guests to select as they leave the reception can be enjoyed for seasons to come.

Favors which reflect the location of your wedding can add a bit of fun and whimsy to the day. Small bags of seashells or saltwater taffy for a beach wedding or miniature bottles of wine with personalized labels for a vineyard destination are a thoughtful gesture.

Remember that presentation is everything whether you choose to place one favor at each seating, one between each couple or have the guests select their own from a table or basket. Personalized ribbons, labels, tags, boxes and bags are available from the stationery store where you purchase your wedding invitations, as are many of the previously mentioned favors. Your local stationery expert can suggest ways to make the remembrances your guests carry home with them as unforgettable as your special day.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

5 Most Common Mistakes Brides Make

Today I just received the most recent edition of Brides and Weddings. Every quarter Cindie Reinhold (Editor and Publisher of Brides and Weddings) prints 160 or so pages of honest, good-to-the-last-drop advice from many of our fellow wedding professionals from AWP (remember I told you about Association of Wedding Professionals in an earlier blog?).

Anyway, I was flipping through the glossy pages to find the article written by our own Vicky Radovich (more on that later), when I found a GREAT list written by our good friend, Marc McIntosh of Washington Bridal Showcase. The Patch has been attending Marc's shows in Fairfax County for the past three years and I can promise that he's got the largest bridal event in town. Marc's a great business person and a wonderful resource for all of us in the wedding world. In his own words, here's Marc's short list of the pitfalls that any bride should (and could) avoid.

P.S. In case you don't know yet, we'll be at the Dulles Expo on Sunday, September 7th for Marc's fall event. For more info on tickets click here.

marc mcintosh

The Five Most Common Mistakes Made When Planning a Wedding
Marc McIntosh
Executive Producer, Washington Bridal Showcase

1. Trying to do it all by yourself
Enlist your fiance, friends and family in the planning. It will be more fun, less stressful, and can be a great bonding experience. Consider using the services of a professional wedding coordinator or a trusted friend to look out for all of the details on your wedding day and keep everything on track.

2. Failure to explore ALL of your options.

If you buy the first dress you try on, book the first reception site you visit or hire the first photographer you talk to, you will likely second-guess your decision later. The better strategy is to take your time, compare options and shop around. Take advantage of all of the planning resources available to you, including bridal magazines, web sites and bridal shows.

3. Failure to plan for the unexpected.
Planning an outdoor wedding. What if it rains? Planning a winter wedding? What if it snows? What if a member of your wedding party can’t make it? You will eliminate the potential for wedding day stress by having a backup plan in place.

4. Trusting your wedding to non-professionals.
It’s tempting to try to save money by using Uncle Charlie and his camera. After things are over, all you have are the memories ... and the photos and video. Trust the important elements of your wedding to the professionals.

In the wedding business, there are some businesses who survive because there are new brides every year who don’t know better. Do your research. Ask your other vendors and newly married friends for referrals. It’s a close-knit industry, and soon you will know who is reliable and who is not.

5. Failure to allow time for yourself.
You will need a lot of energy to make it through your wedding day, so get as much rest as you can in the days prior. You are much more likely to enjoy your special day if you are not exhausted or stressed out. Treat yourself to a day at the spa, go on a quiet date with your fiance or simply set aside time for a nap.

Friday, July 18, 2008

Woodlawn Plantation

A couple of weeks ago, The Dandelion Patch was fortunate to host a booth at a “tasting event” by R&R Catering. The event was held at the Woodlawn Plantation and the views were simply breathtaking. There was a perfect spot for a cocktail reception, and an even better location for a wedding ceremony—over looking a scenic view of Mount Vernon. If you are searching for an outdoor destination wedding location that is indigenous to the Washington Area, I can’t think of a more beautiful option.

But because I didn’t know much about the Woodlawn Plantation, I googled them. And here’s what came up at Wikipedia (when you win your next game of trivia, you can thank me later):

Woodlawn Plantation is located in historic Fairfax County, Virginia, near Mount Vernon (plantation), George Washington's historic home. In 1799, George Washington gave Eleanor Parke Custis Lewis and Lawrence Lewis 2,000 acres (8 km²) of land as a wedding present. The Woodlawn house was constructed and finished on the plantation in 1805. Today, the house and surrounding gardens are all that remain of the plantation with the rest of the property long since sold to developers.

Woodlawn is located on a hill that overlooks land which had been owned by Washington, and the Mount Vernon property can be seen from the Woodlawn house. The house is now a museum and is open to the public and is part of the National Trust for Historic Preservation organization. On site is also the Loren Pope Residence, a Frank Lloyd Wright designed house.

woodlawn plantation pictures

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Bridal Shower at McCormick & Schmick's

mccormick and schmick

Win a free Bridal Shower for 20 guests! The Dandelion Patch will take care of the invitations and favors, and McCormick & Schmick's will take care of the food and entertainment!

Stop by The Dandelion Patch or McCormick & Schmick's Seafood Restaurant in Reston Town Center from July 15th to the 31st and register.

McCormick & Schmick's at Reston Town Center
11920 Democracy Drive | Reston, VA 20190 | 703.481.6600

The Dandelion Patch at Reston Town Center
11923 Market Street | Reston, VA 20190 | 703.689.2240

The Dandelion Patch in Vienna
111 Church Street NW | Vienna, VA 22180 | 703.319.9099

No purchase necessary to win. Certain restrictions apply. Please visit The Dandelion Patch or McCormick & Schmick's in Reston Town Center for details.


Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Stationery Trend #10: Paper Prose

What happens when you roll up your favorite lines from a bunch of chick flicks and beach reads, a few glasses of wine, a passion for paper and a talented girlfriend? Answer: a darling concept from Verbatem. Hand drawn by Terri Pluma, this line is colorful, personal and funny in a push-the-envelope kind of way.

Verbatem boasts that their Paper Mantra collection is full of quirky diva references sure to get any conversation started. I am confident that they are the only stationery with a uniquely personal biography on the back of every card! Here’s a couple of my personal favorites:



Here’s a picture of me and Terri at her booth at NSS:


Speaking of keeping things personal... when Terri created my bio, she listed:

Heidi Kallett, Shopaholic, Retail Therapist, Stationer Extraordinaire! (She’s such a smart lady…).

Heidi Kallett

Heidi Kallett