Introducing Ticings: Edible Toppers for your Wedding Cake, Cupcakes or Cookies

Recently, I have had the pleasure of getting to know Mia Natsume of Sweettoof Studios.  At Sweettoof, Mia creates Ticings, which are edible toppers for your wedding cake, cupcakes or cookies.  Not only limited to weddings, Mia can recreate your company logo to place on a take-away corporate event cookie or a cute edible decal for your baby shower cupcakes.  The sky is truly the limit with how Mia can transform your ordinary desserts into something your guests will truly remember.

I invite you to read about Ticings below!

Ticings Edible Decals for your WeddingTicings® edible toppers from Sweettoof Studios Inc.

Want to add a personal, yet affordable touch to your wedding cupcakes or cake? Consider Ticings® edible cake and cupcake toppers.

Developed in 2009 by a single mom with a love for elegant and delicious foods using simple ingredients, founder Mia Natsume designed Ticings to professionally embellish soft-frosted baked goods with 1-2-3 application—just frost, peel and press!

Ticings are made of a gluten-free sugar and cornstarch base printed with food-grade inks. Printed in the USA using special equipment that ensures fine detail and brilliant color, Ticings are made of thin sheets of mildly sweet icing. Applied to buttercream, cream cheese or other frostings, Ticings merge with the top layer of frosting to create a seamless, artful and completely edible surface design. Their proprietary print method accommodates even the most complex designs and can even replicate 3/d textures created in Photoshop or other similar graphic programs. Thus, we can reproduce your wedding dress lace, invitation graphic, a watercolor painting, photograph or other image* — designs are limited only by your imagination!

Choose from either full sheets that can be placed on any frosted surface of a cake or other frosted surface, or individual rounds measuring one, two, two and one half or three inches for application onto mini, standard or jumbo cupcakes, cookies, chocolate covered Oreos™, brownies, French macaroons, frozen treats and more. Ticings are so simple to apply! With a shelf life of 12+ months, they can be ordered well in advance of your event, and provided to your baker or pastry chef or applied yourself. They can be placed on the desserts ahead of time, and can even be frozen after application.

Get Engaged

Ticings for your bridal shower!

Ticings offers a variety of pre-printed images for wedding, shower, birthday, holiday and all-occasion at, as well as unique sprinkle and sugar decorations for both cake decorating and mixology.  By popular demand, monogrammed sugar cookie favors are now available for shipping nationwide.

Edible dahlias for your wedding cupcakes

A bouquet of dahlia Ticings for your wedding cupcakes

Committed to developing inspired confectionery products made with genuine ingredients, great taste and contemporary appeal, Ticings can be contacted at

* PRODUCTION NOTES: Due to the nature of the food coloring inks we cannot exactly match your colors but will take care in producing as close a match as we can (you may send a print sample if color is critical but additional matching time is charged at $35/hr). Low resolution files such as gifs will not reproduce well—the sharper the image, the better your ticings! Vector artwork always preferred. Please avoid large solid black areas and lines under .15pt. We do not accept licensed images for which you do not own the copyright and maintain the right to refuse any graphics. Contact us for our digital customization guide that includes directions, color palette and ideas for application.

Fear and Loathing of Public Speaking (as a Wedding Officiant)

This is a story about how I learned to get over my fear of public speaking in conjunction with becoming a wedding officiant.

About four years ago I became friends with a woman who suggested I become a wedding officiant.  She had been an officiant for 22 years and thought I had a knack for it.  At the time I was running three other businesses and I just couldn’t see myself wearing another hat.  But I am a huge risk taker so I agreed to listen to her.  When she finally convinced me, we began putting together Seattle Wedding Officiants.

To break into the field I offered free officiating services for the first five couples.  I needed to get my feet wet and free is always good, right?  I really didn’t think too much about my fear of public speaking.  I had been working out of my home for the past five years and no longer had to attend big meetings where I wanted to crawl under the table if anyone asked me a question.  I was truly one of those white-knuckle express speakers.  The less I had to speak, the better.

So I got my first wedding.  The bride and groom were an amazing couple and they were very enthusiastic about their ceremony.  They not only wanted a traditional ceremony with a greeting, vows, ring exchange, etc., but they also wanted a Hawaiian lei exchange, a unity candle ceremony and a Celtic hand fasting ceremony.  I was already reeling with anxiety about officiating my first ceremony but the prospect of adding these “mini” ceremonies sent me over the top.  I contacted my mentor and expressed my concerns.  She told me, “Elaine, it figures you would get something like this for your first ceremony.  You will probably never get another one like it!”  (Note:  She was right about that.  I have never been requested to do another ceremony like this one!)

I really wasn’t sure how to proceed so I did the only thing I could do:  I began practicing and practicing and practicing.  I read for my brother.  I read for my father.  They thought I was great.  I thought I was a nervous wreck.  Finally, as a last resort I called upon my two most trusted and devoted companions: my two chocolate labs, Oscar and Oliver.  Yes, that’s right…every morning I called them out to the living room by saying: “Let’s go get married.”  They would wag their tales and come out with me and sit down and wait for their treats, which was their cue to settle down.  The interesting thing with them was that the more enthusiastic I got, the more enthusiastic they got.  I spoke, they wagged; I spoke and they got a treat; I spoke and they barked with happiness!  I married them about 45 times to practice for that first wedding.

Two Chocolate Labs

Oscar and Oliver

I went on to do my first wedding brilliantly and have officiated hundreds of weddings since then.  These days when I get an inquiry from a couple and their numbers are up around 200 guests, I say: “Bring it on!”  I now LOVE to speak in front of any size group as a result of taking the plunge four years ago and perfecting my public speaking along the way.

I have to admit, however, that my dogs were a great help to me.  Their adorable faces looking back at me as I read through that first ceremony is something I will never forget.

Customs, Rituals & Traditions: Something Old, Something New…

Each week I will examine a wedding custom, ritual or tradition that has been passed from generation to generation.  We’ll look at it’s origin and how it has influenced the lives of our ancestors and hot it impacts us today.  We’ll also look at how we create our own customs and how these new traditions are a reaction to and a reflection of our changing world.

Where did the wedding custom of “something old, something new, something borrowed, something blue” come from?

Something Old, Something New, Something Borrowed, Something Blue

The next line of this old saying actually hints at its origin. The complete phrase is:

Something old, something new
Something borrowed, something blue
And a silver sixpence in her shoe.

A sixpence is a coin that was minted in Britain from 1551 to 1967. It was made of silver and worth six pennies. So this wedding tradition is definitely English, and many sources say that it began in the Victorian era.

Each item in this poem represents a good-luck token for the bride. If she carries all of them on her wedding day, her marriage will be happy. “Something old” symbolizes continuity with the bride’s family and the past. “Something new” means optimism and hope for the bride’s new life ahead. “Something borrowed” is usually an item from a happily married friend or family member, whose good fortune in marriage is supposed to carry over to the new bride. The borrowed item also reminds the bride that she can depend on her friends and family.

As for the colorful item, blue has been connected to weddings for centuries. In ancient Rome, brides wore blue to symbolize love, modesty, and fidelity. Christianity has long dressed the Virgin Mary in blue, so purity was associated with the color. Before the late 19th century, blue was a popular color for wedding gowns, as evidenced in proverbs like, “Marry in blue, lover be true.”

And finally, a silver sixpence in the bride’s shoe represents wealth and financial security. It may date back to a Scottish custom of a groom putting a silver coin under his foot for good luck. For optimum fortune, the sixpence should be in the left shoe. These days, a dime or a copper penny is sometimes substituted, and many companies sell keepsake sixpences for weddings.

Something Old, Something New, Something Borrowed, Something Blue

Please share with the readers the items you collected for your Something Old, Something New, Something Borrowed, Something Blue tradition on your your wedding day.

Who Should Officiate Your Wedding: Family Member or Professional Officiant?

One of my colleagues recently asked me this question:

“Many of my couples ask me how can a wedding officiant who has only met them once make their wedding personal vs. having a family member do the ceremony who has known them their whole lives? What would you say are the pros and cons?”

Choose an officiant wisely!

Choose your officiant wisely!

Let me begin by saying that having a family member officiate your wedding ceremony is a lovely idea.  Weddings are all about bringing family members and friends together to enjoy a personal moment in a couple’s life.  So it would make sense to invite a family member to tie it all together. Having a family member speak about the couple is something that cannot be duplicated by an officiant.  Many of the guests will know this speaker personally and will naturally look forward to hearing him/her share the couple’s story.  Those are some of the pros.

Here are some of the cons:

  1. What if the family member gets cold feet?  Public speaking isn’t for everyone.  If a family member doesn’t have experience with speaking in front of 150-200 people, chances are they are going to be extremely nervous and might freak out at the last minute.  Make sure your family member is really comfortable with public speaking.
  2. What if the family member has a conflict with the couple’s beliefs?  The couple could want a nondenominational ceremony and the family member could have strong religious beliefs and want to incorporate something to that affect.  Make sure your family member is in agreement with performing a wedding ceremony that complements your religious beliefs.
  3. What if the family member has a conflict that day and can’t make it?  While this day is one of the most important days in a couple’s life, not everyone feels the same way – unfortunately, this includes family members.  This person could be travelling from across the country and decide at the last minute that they cannot afford the trip.  Confirm with your family member at least 4 weeks and then again in 2 weeks that they are still on board.
  4. What if the family member just flakes out?  (I don’t mean to sound pessimistic but I have received many calls from brides frantic because their family member changed their mind at the last minute.)  Families…what can I say?  It happens.
  5. Last but not least, what about the paperwork?  Does your family member understand how to fill out the marriage license, including obtaining witnesses?  Do they know little details such as the fact that the courthouse requests that the marriage certificate be filled out in black ink?  Make sure to go over the wedding packet prior to the ceremony.  Call the courthouse with questions if necessary.

Now let’s take a look at the more commonly used option:  hiring a professionally trained, licensed and ordained minister.  I cannot speak for other officiants, but here are some of the pros of working with me:

  1. The first thing you are going to get when you hire me is a prompt reply to your inquiry.  I pride myself on responding to inquiries usually within one hour.  By the time I have received your contact information that you have filled out via my website, I already have 11 pieces of information about you.  This allows me to begin building an outline of what it is you and your fiancé are searching for in an officiant.
  2. Next I will confirm my availability via e-mail and advise you about how to proceed – a quick phone chat is usually the next step where we set up a free one-hour consultation.
  3.  At the consultation the very first thing I will ask you about is “your story”: how and where you met; how long you have been together; the proposal, etc.  Next we will talk about your vision for your ceremony.  Do you want a non-denominational ceremony; do you want me to read something from the bible; do you want a short ceremony or a long ceremony?    I will then go over all the paperwork involved before, during and after the ceremony: the marriage application; whether you are taking your husband’s last name and the process of obtaining a certified copy so that you can legally change your name; filling out the actual paperwork at the ceremony (witness requirements), etc.
  4. The other element to my consultations is that I not only cover the ceremony portion of the wedding, but I also have a wealth of information about local vendors.  Therefore, if you have any missing links for your wedding, i.e. photographer, caterer, etc. I can refer you to someone I know and trust.
  5. Lastly, I will make myself available before, during and after the ceremony by phone, e-mail, or Skype.  When you hire me you get someone who is committed from beginning to end.  There really is no end to our relationship actually.  I am still in contact with many of my couples as they have their first anniversary or celebrate the birth of their first child.
Wedding packet

Making it Legal!

I can’t really think of any cons.  I guarantee that I will be there and while I do have a caveat in my contract that clearly states that if I get hurt and can’t make it, I have six back-up officiants that I work with all year long.  By the way, I have officiated hundreds of weddings and I have never missed one!

In summary, you do not want to – and shouldn’t have to stress out about your officiant.  Whether it’s a family member or a professional like me, you want to feel comfortable that you have chosen someone you can count on.  You want someone who is knowledgeable about the ceremony process before, during and after the ceremony.  So take the time to make the decision of whether you want Uncle Joe or a licensed and ordained minister who has officiated hundreds of weddings and has all the answers you need to enjoy a seamless ceremony experience!

Please feel free to share your officiant experience in the comment section below!

Customs, Rituals & Traditions: Celtic Handfasting Ceremony

Each week I will examine a wedding custom, ritual or tradition that has been passed from generation to generation.  We’ll look at its origin and how it has influenced the lives of our ancestors and how it impacts us today.  We’ll also look at how we create our own customs and how these new traditions are a reaction to and a reflection of our changing world.

Handfasting: An Ancient Wedding Tradition

We have all heard the expressions “tied the knot” or “giving one’s hand in marriage”. But have you ever wondered where those sayings came from? And no, it’s not in the same category as the “ball and chain”! It’s in reference to the ancient tradition of handfasting. This lens gives an overview of the ancient tradition of handfasting in Wedding ceremonies.

What is Handfasting?

The term Handfasting is taken from Old Norse “hand-festa” meaning “to strike a bargain by joining hands”. Handfasting is the tradition of lightly binding the hands of a couple together using a cord, rope, ribbons, a scarf, tartan or strips of fabric. It is meant to signify a couples coming together as “One”. (or perhaps to keep the Groom from running away!) Whatever it’s original intention, it has become a popular new tradition for today’s couples seeking new and Spiritual ways to honor their love.

Origins of Handfasting                                                                             

Origins Of Handfasting Handfasting was originally practiced by the Greeks and Romans. The Romans created a garland made of magnolia, elder and roses. It was then wrapped around the couple’s wrists to signify love and fidelity. In ancient legends, lovers were united together as they “tied the knot” in the tradition of Celtic handfasting. The ceremony was especially common in Ireland and Scotland. It was commonly the way that couples were “officially” married before the church became involved in Wedding ceremonies. Variations on the theme have since been used in other countries as well. Handfasting has seen a modern day resurgence owing in part to the movie Braveheart,in which William Wallace and his girlfriend Murron are joined together with a handfasting ceremony. This has especially been true in Scotland where the movie is based.

The Colors Of Handfasting

In the traditions of Celtic handfasting the couple’s wrists are bound together using ribbons of thirteen different colours. Each color has it’s own special meaning:

The Colors of Handfasting

Red: passion, strength, lust, fertility
Orange: encouragement, attraction, kindness, plenty
Yellow: charm, confidence, joy, balance
Green: finances, fertility, charity, prosperity, health
Blue: tranquility, patience, devotion, sincerity
Purple: Power, piety, sanctity, sentimentality
Black: strength, wisdom, vision, success
White: purity, concentration, meditation, peace
Gray: neutrality, canceling, balance
Pink: unity, honor, truth, romance, happiness
Brown: earth, grounding, talent, telepathy, home
Silver: treasure, values, creativity, inspiration
Gold: energy, wealth, intelligence, longevity



[Handfasting~A Wedding Ritual]. November, 2011. Retrieved from:



The Wedding Ceremony

I blog about everything wedding: venues, style, vendors, traditions and more!  What I haven’t blogged about, however, is the actual wedding ceremony.

One of the first things I always tell my couples is, “There is no right way or wrong way to craft your ceremony.  Only your way.”  Having said that, there are some basic components that are a good guideline when you are setting up the structure of your ceremony.



They are:

The Greeting
Reflections on Marriage
Ring Exchange
Blessing or Well Wishes for the Future Couple

In this blog post I would like to address the Greeting.

After the bride has arrived at the front of the venue to take her place next to her groom and all the guests have been seated, there is this quiet moment right before the ceremony begins.  It is a moment of anticipation for the couple, the guests, the family, and me.  At this point in the wedding everyone is really wondering what is going to happen next.  I  believe that the first words that come out of your officiant’s mouth should be thoughtful, meaningful and engaging so that everyone can feel at ease and personally invited to this celebration.  I always like to begin with something like: Welcome Friends and Family to the celebration that will unite (bride and groom) in matrimony!  Next I might say something special about family and/or friends that have traveled all the way from (fill in the blank); and/or those that have passed but are acknowledged in our hearts; and/or how the couples’ wish is that everyone will soon have the right to marry; and/or a special thank you and acknowledgement of both sets of parents for raising the couple and guiding them on the path that brought them to this moment.  At this time the couple may even choose to honor the parents by presenting them each with a bouquet of flowers as a special “thank you.”

In summary, the Greeting is really a time to set the tone for the remainder of the ceremony.  It is an opportunity to put everyone at ease and welcome them as a community to not just watch the couple get married but to feel they are a part of the celebration.

Bella and Jin at Snoqualmie Falls 2011

In future posts I will cover each component of a wedding ceremony.   Next will be “Reflections on Marriage.”

Do you have a special greeting that you incorporated into your wedding ceremony that you would like to share?

Get Married – Give Back!

For many years now I have been searching for a good volunteering gig that satisfied my desire to give back to the community but was also a good fit for me.  I finally found it!  Yesterday, Christmas Eve, I had the pleasure of volunteering my time in the FareStart kitchen.

“FareStart is a culinary job training and placement program for homeless and disadvantaged individuals. Over the past 19 years, FareStart has provided opportunities for nearly 5,000 people to transform their lives, while also serving over 4.5 million meals to disadvantaged men, women, and children.”

In addition to their contract kitchen, FareStart has a restaurant located on the ground level of their downtown location at the corner of 7th and Virginia.  The restaurant is available for events — parties and weddings — and I will be promoting this program along with their director of catering at the Wedding Show on January 7th and 8th at the Convention Center.  All proceeds from banquets held at the restaurant go right back into the program.  If you are heading to the wedding show, please stop by to say hello and learn about a fantastic program that I am proud to be a part of.

Farestart restaurant 7th & Virginia

Please take a moment to watch this short video to learn more about FareStart.   Congratulations are also in order for FareStart for winning the James Beard Foundation’s Humanitarian of the Year award for 2011!


Happy New Year!

Happy New Year!

Now that 2011 is almost over, I want to take the opportunity to say, “I had the time of my life”.  I met and married over 100 couples.  I got to meet the loving families behind the lovely couples.  I learned more about how to provide the best experience possible for the bride and groom.   But most of all I was honored and grateful for all the people who took the time to meet with me — couples and vendors — and the many relationships that came out of those meetings in 2011.   I really mean it when I say “your happiness is truly my success.”  I have had the good fortune to find my career niche and it just continues to get better and better every year.  I want to thank all those whose lives have touched mine to make my life so meaningful.  I look forward to helping craft and create more beautiful ceremonies in 2012.

Please enjoy this video montage that I created as 2011 comes to an end and we get ready for 2012.  Happy New Year!

Love, Love, Love 2011

Customs, Rituals & Traditions: The Skinny on the White Wedding Dress

Each week I will examine a wedding custom, ritual or tradition that has been passed from generation to generation.  We’ll look at its origin and how it has influenced the lives of our ancestors and how it impacts us today.  We’ll also look at how we create our own customs and how these new traditions are a reaction to and a reflection of our changing world.

The White Wedding Dress

White has long been accepted as the traditional color of the wedding dress, but wedding gowns were not always white. The marriage of Queen Victoria to her cousin Albert of Saxe- Coburg in 1840 has had more influence on weddings than any other. Queen Victoria put the wheels in motion by marrying in white. Though brides continued to wed in gowns of different colors, white was now set as the color of choice for weddings and has continued ever since.

Queen Victoria: 1840

The Industrial Revolution also brought about change. By the 1890’s and the arrival of the department store, almost every woman could realize her dream of being married in a “new” wedding dress. The white dress was gaining popularity and in 1890, Ladies Home Journal wrote: “That from times immemorial the bride’s gown has been white”. Although this statement was not true, it shows how deeply accepted it was that a wedding gown be white. Although white was popular, some brides, especially the frontier brides, wore dresses that were more practical and could be worn after the wedding. As wedding dresses closely resembled the fashions of the time, only a little alteration was needed for the dress to be perfect to wear again.

Edwardian brides took the traditions of their Victorian ancestors to new extremes. Fashions became more extravagant as the decade progressed, but came to a screeching halt with the outbreak of WWI. Styles became simpler, and also reflected the changing role of women in society with hems getting shorter and the disposing of tightly laced corsets. Coco Chanel was a powerful force behind the change in women’s’ fashions, and was the one who officially introduced the short wedding dress in the 1920’s. It was a white knee length dress worn with a long train. This cemented white as the universal color of the wedding dress.

Coco Chanel: 1920

When the Depression hit, brides made do with their “best” dress for the wedding. My great grandmother, who was married in 1928 had a new white wedding dress, but after the wedding she dyed it navy, keeping only the collar and cuffs white—a common practice at that time. During WWII, women considered it their duty to give up the traditional wedding , although most brides might be engaged only for a few weeks or even days before the wedding took place. This did not leave enough time to find a wedding dress so the best suit had to do. If the bride was set on having a white dress, one could be borrowed or rented for the ceremony. If both the bride and groom were in the military they were married in their respective uniforms.

After the war, prosperity made it possible for the large dream weddings inspired by the Victorian era to become a reality. Grace Kelly’s marriage to Prince Monaco garnered much publicity because of its grand fairy tale wedding. She wore a white silk and lace gown. The focus of wedding dresses has shifted since the 1950”s. The emphasis now is on the individuality of the bride. So whatever color you choose to be married in, you now know a bit more behind the tradition of the white wedding dress.

Vera Wang: 2011

McIntyre, K. (n.d.) [The History of the White Wedding Dress]. Retrieved from:

Choose Seattle For Your Destination Wedding

I am so inspired by my beloved city of Seattle!  I was born here, have lived here almost my entire life and can’t think of another place I would rather be.  Let’s face it, we would all like to be laying on a beach in sunny Hawaii during the cold winter months.  But Seattle’s climate is so manageable, and there is so much to do here:  Why not make Seattle your destination wedding location?

My background  includes planning and executing trips for travelers who want to experience Seattle.  As a result, my expertise in all things Seattle has been a terrific asset when working with couples who are coming here from out of town.   First and foremost, let me craft a beautiful ceremony for your special day.  Working together, we can create something you will always remember and cherish.  Then let me help you plan the weekend (or longer if you want to travel to other areas of the state).    I can set you up at a downtown hotel, find a venue for your destination wedding and recommend a fabulous restaurant where you can enjoy a meal created by one of our fantastic local chefs.  I can even set up a show for you at one of our downtown theaters.

Having the good fortune of experiencing Seattle first-hand my entire life has provided me with the tools and inspiration to create a destination wedding you will never forget.

Call me for a free consultation today!  206-406-7919