First Steps for Gift Registry

We’re often asked about what to put on the wedding registry. Each couple is different; however, we wanted to include some staple pieces that our brides (and grooms!) are loving right now. We suggest that you start your registry on a day that works for both you and your finance’s schedules. Then, make a plan of attack – are you going to department stores and the mall? Are you scouring the internet for the coolest items? Whatever you do, our suggestion is to have FUN with it! Start your registry and then take a break. Go to the next store or site and then grab some bubbly. Finish and celebrate at a restaurant you’ve been dying to try. Enjoy the process and have fun with wedding planning!


If you’re like us, you love fine china. We think Micheal C. Fina store in New York has the most comprehensive selection of china available. Here are a few collections that have been popular with our brides.

A Chef’s Kitchen Equipment

We’re excluding the traditional pots and pans, knives, and cookbook selection in this post. Here are a few tools and pieces of equipment for the kitchen that we think are a must!

Decorating your New Home

Don’t forget to add the pretty items to your registry! This is one of our favorite parts to the registry! Mintwood Home is a local D.C. company that we love and you can create custom pillows for any room in your house! #ihavethisthingwithpillows 🙂 Another favorite home and monogram store is Number Four Eleven in Savannah. Number Four Eleven will create custom monograms for you for your wedding day needs (talk to us about this – we love monograms!!) and then you can have them monogram beautiful dinner napkins for  your head table to reuse at your dining table! …A win for the registry and your new, beautiful home!

Duck book-ends | Dinner napkinsMirror  | Blue Ginger Jars.

If you would like more ideas for your registry, ask us! We help all of our couples with custom registry lists to use to prepare for their big day.

Easy Thanksgiving Sides

Thanksgiving is one of our favorite holidays! We love when family (or friends – #friendsgiving) come together to laugh and spend quality time with one another. While cooking a big meal can be a daunting task for most, it doesn’t have to be. Here are some easy side dishes to make for the group that won’t take too much time…you know, so you can go back to enjoying the wine 😉

Cranberry Apple Crisp from My Mom’s Kitchen
Green Bean Casserole from Katie Lee

Cranberry Apple Recipe

3 cups McInstosh apples, charred, unpeeled
2 cups cranberry, fresh, whole (1 bag of cranberries equals 4 cups)
1 1/4 cups cugar, granulated
1 cup oatmeal

1/2 cup sugar, brown
1/2 cup flour
1/2 cup butter
1 cup pecans

Combine apples, cranberries, granulated sugar and oatmeal. Place into a heavy casserole dish. Combine brown sugar, flour and butter. Spread this mixture over the apple cranberry filling. Top with pecans. Bake at 350 degrees for 1 hour.


Pies are a perfectly acceptable side, especially when they are as beautiful and delicious as this chocolate- bourbon pecan pie from Buttercream Bakeshop in DC. Order yours for Thanksgiving and be set!

We wish you and yours a wonderful Thanksgiving holiday!

Green bean casserole | Cranberry Apple Crisp | Bourbon Chocolate Pie

In Full Bloom – Hazel & Ian’s Wedding

We are beyond thrilled to see Hazel & Ian’s wedding in the summer issue of The Knot national magazine! This amazing couple got married in September of 2015 in Oxford, Maryland. The bride dreamed of a “Father of the Bride” style wedding in Ian’s parents backyard full of beautiful blooms and memorable details. This knockout beautiful bride and I met many times over the course of a year to plan and design her dream wedding to Ian. She wanted an elegant pink and purple garden wedding while her fiancé, Ian, wanted an Ohio State themed wedding and requested Nelly to be a part of the wedding.

I’m not going to lie – at first, it was quite a challenge to blend Kate Middleton’s style with Nelly’s, but after months of designing the details, I finally was able to design an event that was a true reflection of both the bride and the groom. Hazel got her wish of a Father of the Bride wedding and Ian got his wish of Ohio State and Nelly – all blended together and shown on the pages of The Knot.



As guests arrived to the home following the Church ceremony, waitstaff greeted them with his and hers signature cocktails. A nod to both of their favorite college basketball teams, hers was a “Penn Stater” or “Nitony Lioness” made of gin and rose petal syrup and lychee juice while his was “The Buckeye” from Ohio State made of lemonade and iced-tea. As guests walked into the backyard, a beautiful floral-adorned custom archway lead to the dock and raw bar. This stunning couple have some height to them – he is 6’5 and she is 6’3. With this, the archway was designed specifically for them so that they could stand underneath with the suspended chandelier for their first look …and what a first look it was! This might be the prettiest first look I’ve ever witnessed!


Cocktail hour was filled with inspired cocktails and hors d’oeuvres from Gourmet by the Bay. Guests were offered mini shrimp and grits, crab and corn fritters, tuna tartare in tobiko cones, fried zucchini blossoms, and a true Eastern-Shore raw bar spread!





As dinner was served, guests found their seats underneath a stunning sailcloth tent by Atlantic Sailcloth Tent Company. I’m a complete sucker for a sailcloth tent, especially one on the water and on the Eastern Shore! For the design of the tent, we used La Tavola Linens and mixed in custom linens using the floral illustration that Inslee created for Hazel & Ian. The floral illustration was used on the invitations by Winifred Paper, the custom napkin bands designed by us, the escort cards and more. Inslee took Hazel’s vision of an English garden filled with pinks and purple flowers and brought it to life in her beautiful designs.




After dinner, as Hazel & Ian got up to do their first dance, a curtain was drawn back that said “Get up up on the Dance Floor! – Nelly” …a small nod to Ian’s favorite artist and something we thought appropriate to get guests on the dance floor for the rest of the fun evening!




Cheers to you, Hazel & Ian! Thank you for including CCS Weddings in your unforgettable wedding weekend! We wish you a lifetime of love and happiness! xx



Design and Planning: Cristina Calvert Signature Weddings & Celebrations

Photography: Abby Jiu

Florals: Victoria Clausen Floral Design

Catering: Gourmet by the Bay

Band: Spectrum, Washington Talent Agency

Tent: Atlantic Sailcloth Tent Company

Rentals: DC Rental

Linens: La Tavola 

Videography: Monachetti Weddings

Paper: Winifred Paper

Calligraphy: (invitations) Penned by Palmer; (day-of and signage) Just Write Studios

Floral Illustration: Inslee

Wedding Gown: Matthew Robbins of Love Couture Bridal

Hair and Makeup: Behind the Veil

Groom’s Suit: Hugo Boss

The new Ritz Paris

The iconic Parisian hotel, The Ritz, Paris, recently reopened its doors after four years of renovations and redesign and the look is everything you want it to be! In one word – INCREDIBLE!  The famed hotel is known for the “incomparable savoir-faire in making every visit exceptional.” With the rebirth, The Ritz Paris now welcomes guests to enjoy their new spa, ‘CHANEL au Ritz Paris’ appropriately named after Coco Chanel, whose first store was in the hotel for nearly 34 years. Brides – wouldn’t this be a beautiful location and venue for your dream Parisian wedding?!


The beautifully appointed Chanel room


CHANEL au Ritz Paris Spa


Such a stunning venue for your wedding or special celebration! CCS Weddings & Celebrations would love to help you plan your perfect Parisian getaway at The Ritz, Paris!

Meet our New Intern, Caroline!

I’m thrilled to introduce you to the newest member of the CCS Weddings team! Our new summer intern, Caroline, started last week and has already been a great asset to our team! We can’t wait for you to get to know her this summer! She’ll be helping with behind the scenes work, blogging (something I haven’t done in so long), coming up with fun entertaining ideas and healthy living tips, and assisting onsite with events. We are so excited to have her this summer! Without further ado, here is Caroline…



Hi! My name is Caroline Linder and I am from Potomac, Maryland.  I am nineteen years old and go to Elon University in North Carolina, where I am majoring in public health and minoring in psychology.  In March 2016, I was initiated into the Kappa Delta Sorority.  My favorite colors are pink and Tiffany blue and my favorite clothing brands are Lilly Pulitzer, Tory Burch, Free People, and Lululemon.  My hobbies include running, swimming, crafting, and learning about fashion and art.  I like to think of myself as an optimist, where I see any situation as a growing experience.  I also think of everyday as a time to start something new and enhance my life.

I am looking forward to learning about the party planning and wedding industry with my internship with Cristina Calvert Signature.  I have seen, so far, that there are lots of components and organizational tools that go into visualizing an event, such as communicating closely with the clients, budgeting money, and thinking outside of the box to make everyone feel comfortable with the process.  My favorite task so far was observing an engagement photo shoot, where I got to see how props are displayed and how much time and effort is involved with the owners of the property, the couple getting married, the photographer, and of course, Cristina’s expertise.

Bowties & Bubbly at Chesapeake Bay Beach Club

We had a fantastic time at this year’s Bowties & Bubbly event held at the Chesapeake Bay Beach Club! The area’s best bridal event turned out to be a smashing success! We designed a room (and styled shoot) with Michaels Design Florists, Simply Jessica Marie, Buttercream Bakeshop, White Glove Rentals, Renee Hollingshead Photography, Loverly Bridal in DC, Capital Custom Clothiers, Trumpet & Horn, Allison Harper and Company, Amanda C. Bee, Jenn & Jules, Select Event Group and Concours Vintage Limo. Here are a few photos from Renee Hollingshead of our dreamy coastal styled shoot.

reneehollingsheadphotography_bowties_and_bubbly-15 reneehollingsheadphotography_bowties_and_bubbly-19 reneehollingsheadphotography_bowties_and_bubbly-33 reneehollingsheadphotography_bowties_and_bubbly-108 reneehollingsheadphotography_bowties_and_bubbly-255

C & J’s Honeymoon: Part III – Santorini, Greece

The last leg of our honeymoon brought us to Santorini, Greece! This was the perfect spot to spend our last five days watching the world go by with a lovely view! We were graciously welcomed to our room at Ikies Traditional Houses in Oia and what  a ‘room with a view’ it was! We were cliffside and could overlook downtown Oia from our personal hot tub. The location was approximately a 10 minute walk into town and turned out to be our favorite hotel of the whole trip. The staff were beyond hospitable, the rooms were gorgeous, and the breakfast served on the patio every morning was to die for! I can’t say enough about this hotel! You need to visit Santorini in life…and you need to stay here!


Our time in Santorini was spent truly relaxing, drinking wine and watching the most beautiful sunsets I’ve ever seen, and trying as many delicious Greek foods as we could. The Greek food was incredible – literally everything we ate was better than the last. Some of our favorites were at Floga restaurant in Oia. I had the fresh catch of the day, and while I can’t tell you what type of fish it was (maybe bronzino?), it was the best meal I had the entire trip! Food and wine were big parts of this trip so it was only fitting that we took a cooking class and wine tasting tour by Santorini Food and Wine Tour. Most trips include up to 25 guests; however, when we went, we were the only people on the tour and it was such a wonderful experience! We were greeted at our hotel by the tour guides and taken to the Atlantis Winery were we sampled around 15 wines…at 10:30 in the morning. 🙂 We learned about how grapes are grown on the island, the different styles of Greek wine including the famous sweet dessert wines, and became fast friends with the tour guides. We then went to a restaurant and had the entire place to ourselves with the Chef who taught us how to make spanakopita, tomato fritters, baklava, and chicken with feta sauce.


Leaving our honeymoon trip and specifically, Santorini, was very hard. My goal is to keep adding stamps to my passport throughout life and Justin certainly got me started with this trip! My surprise trip turned out to be one I will always keep close. I’d love to help you plan a surprise trip for your loved one…and Justin says he will even help you keep it “Top Secret” if you’d like! 🙂




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Thinking about having a destination wedding?

I’d love to help you plan your wedding and have my passport ready!

C&J’s Honeymoon: Part II – Marrakech, Morocco

Our second part to the honeymoon began in Marrakech, Morocco! We arrived to the Menara Airport in Marrakech and I instantly noticed how many roses there were. Roses lined the desert streets until we arrived closer to the Medina. Our cab driver pulled down a bustling and busy street and said “here.” I started to worry as “here” didn’t look like a hotel. To my surprise, the doors opened and I walked into the Jardin de la Koutoubia and was instantly at ease. This Riad, or estate-turned-into-hotel, was so peaceful with a gorgeous pool, gardens everywhere, and of course, red roses at every turn. We were greeted with delicious traditional Moroccan mint tea and pastries as we awaited our room.


Justin and I finally got to our room, which was in fact, a small apartment for USA standards. We had two floors, a lower patio and upper patio that both overlooked the French garden and cafe, and to top it off, a palm tree that the room was built around and extended outside. This room (picture below) was incredible! So enough about the room, we need to talk about the Medina with all of it’s sights, sounds, and spiced-filled smells that awaited us just a few blocks away.


The best way to describe the Medina – the Jemaa el-Fna –  is that it’s a sensory overload in the best way possible! As you walk into the Medina (square), you are greeted with men wanting to take you for a camel ride followed by snake charmers playing intoxicating music that lure out King Cobra snakes. As you walk a little farther, you will start to see the orange juice carts (tip below), carts of spices and nuts, belly dancers and acrobatic men who honestly should be on (America’s) Got Talent!


The souks line the perimeter of the square and all have a theme to them – spices, leather goods, lanterns, foods, pashminas, etc. I need to insert a little personal point here – I LOVE souks but they aren’t for everyone. The items are beautiful and handcrafted but some serious negotiations have to take place for you to purchase these items. Thankfully for me, I married a master negotiator (similar to Samuel L. Jackson from the Negotiator movie) and he’s taught me a thing or two about how to negotiate in the souks. We prepared to shop in the souks by researching appropriate pricing for the different items that I knew I’d love – pashminas, leather goods, tea sets, etc. This was helpful to have a base point to begin the negotiations. I guess you can say I mastered Moroccan Negotiation 101 because I came home with so many items, Justin had to leave shoes and books in this wonderful country to account for my new luggage weight limits on our next few flights. ….Yes, he’s a good one! 🙂


When we weren’t shopping in the souks, we took a cooking class, rode camels in the Sahara, and visited a traditional Berber village in the Atlas Mountains. The fantastic cooking class was at the Riad Le Monceau on tagine cooking. It was truly a highlight for me as I love to cook! The class began outside in their garden where we chopped and mixed and then was finished in their kitchen as we cooked by candlelight. The class was led by Chef Rachida. She was so helpful as she explained every step and every ingredient! We finished the 4 hour class with a delicious meal at a beautifully-set table for the participants and all left with with full stomachs, new friends, and an appreciation for Moroccan tagine cooking. The next day, we rode out to the Sahara Desert and rode camels!! I would have never imagined I would ride camels in the Sahara, but it was the best experience! The only real problem we had with the camels were getting on and off of them. Our camels seemed to be friendly and one of them, Madonna, even had a baby camel that followed us. Justin’s camel was named Madonna and mine was named Shakira. 🙂 It was a hot trip but one that I’ll never forget!


Before we moved on to our next country, Justin and I decided to hire a private guide to take us to the Atlas Mountains and visit a traditional Berber village. The trip took around an hour from Marrakech and was approximately $100 for both of us. We had a very nice driver who took us to the Argan area of Morocco where 90% of the world’s Argan Oil is made. We watched ladies crack and crush the nuts to gather this precious oil that helps my hair not have massive amounts of frizz. We then carried on to the Berber village where we saw many locals living their life in the mountains. The mode of transportation is donkey, the traditional meal includes mint tea, goat, and vegetables, and the tongue is a version of Berber that is known only to that village. We walked around, saw the school filled with children, and hiked in the mountains for a few hours before we drove back to the “bustling” city of Marrakech. I say bustling as this trip back to Marrakech made it seem like we were in NYC compared to the Berber village. Prior to this trip, Marrakech reminded me of a city still in the 1940’s.


In all, everything that everyone says about Marrakech is true! It’s an incredible city rich of spices, exotic experiences, and amazing textiles. Justin and I have already planned a trip back and if anyone reading this would like to go, we are happy to join you!


Tips for cruising through Marrakech:

  • If you order orange juice from the carts (and you should!), pay the extra $.10 per cup and get the plastic cup. They don’t always clean the cups to US Standards so the plastic cup is better
  • When eating at restaurants, bread is always brought to the table but sometimes they charge you for every piece. Read the menu prior to accepting it if you don’t want it.
  • Use bottled water whenever you can.
  • Invest in a nice Riad. The experience of the Jemaa el-Fna is incredible, but it’s so nice to come back and not be overwhelmed with the city life outside.
  • Attire for ladies should include covering your shoulders at all times. If you don’t have the right dress or shirt, buy a pashmina and cover up. The brighter the color of dress, the better.
  • Covered shoes are recommended while walking through the souks.
  • Our general prices (in US Dollars) from Spring, 2015:
    • Cashmere Pashminas $8-12/per
    • Tea cups, silver tea pot, water holder $35 for the set
    • Camel silk 8′ table cloth $25
    • Leather poofs $30
    • General Lunches including tip $6-15 total for 2 people when eating outside of the Riad
    • Orange Juice $.50/glass in plastic cup
thumb_NQ5C9871_1024Lobby of our Riadthumb_NQ5C9634_1024First floor of our room. The palm tree is on the left sidethumb_NQ5C9653_1024Honeymoon rose petalsthumb_NQ5C9896_1024The pool at the Riad looking down from the Indian restaurantthumb_NQ5C9883_1024Different perspective on a Moroccan lanternthumb_NQ5C9833_1024Pashminas everywhere! I’ll take them all!thumb_NQ5C9794_1024Justin and I with Chef Rashida at the cooking classthumb_NQ5C9699_1024Candlelight cookingthumb_NQ5C9722_1024Tagines of chicken, lamb, or vegetablesthumb_IMG_2934_1024thumb_IMG_2927_1024View of the Jemaa el-Fna from abovethumb_IMG_2805_1024Orange Juice cartthumb_NQ5C0074_1024Shakira and Madonna together! 🙂thumb_IMG_2915_1024Oh hey there!thumb_IMG_2807_1024thumb_IMG_2813_1024Moroccan spices at the soukthumb_IMG_2823_1024thumb_NQ5C0145_1024Our hike in the Atlas Mountainsthumb_IMG_2941_1024Tassels everywhere! Did I mention I love this country?