Michael Andrew now playing on musical invitations

Michael with Joann on her wedding day

Michael with Joann on her wedding day

Michael Andrew, headline singer, bandleader and Broadway bound performer has agreed for Music Box Invites to add his wide catalog of recordings to their musical invitations choices. Brides and other party planners can now choose from over 60 songs including wedding favorites such as Blue Moon, My Funny Valentine, Night and Day and the Best is Yet to Come. Plus, his original swing-style music and Christmas Favorites work for all sorts of celebrations. In addition, he can record a special song for those who want something really customized!

Joann Marks, founder of Music Box Invites is a huge Michael Andrew fan. In fact, he played at her 2011 wedding. And it was his voice that her guests heard singing “Fly me to the Moon” on the over-the-top musical wedding invitations she sent. The feedback from the astounded wedding guests was so effusive that she quickly teamed up with interior designer friend Nancy Faulk to launch a new company, Music Box Invites, to offer the same to other brides.

“We are so thrilled to have a talent such as Michael’s in partnership with us to create a unique and memorable experience with our invites” says Marks, “he is amazing and perfect for the quality we want to be able to offer our customers”.

Michael Andrew has been dazzling crowds coast-to-coast, including two years at the world famous Rainbow Room in New York City, and at Merv Griffin’s Coconut Club in The Beverly Hilton. Merv Griffin referred to Michael while on “Larry King Live,” as “one of the great singers of all time.” Michael recently starred in the World Premiere of the new Broadway bound musical “The Nutty Professor,” directed by Jerry Lewis with a score by Marvin Hamlisch and Rupert Holmes. Michael and the show received rave reviews and in TIME Magazine, Jerry Lewis called him “Broadway’s next star.” To find out more about this talented entertainer and listen to his songs, check out www.michaelandrew.com  or for a great video from one of his concerts, click here.

Michael performing at 2011 wedding of Joann and Doug Marks

Michael performing at 2011 wedding of Joann and Doug Marks

Music Box Invites offers a line of “Custom Couture” wedding invitations where each bride can work with the Music Box team to create a totally customized invitation package incorporating music or other sound bites. They also offer a semi-custom line beginning at only $20 per set where a bride can choose from one of our designs in various colors and papers. Offering personalized music or sound, sumptuous papers, custom jeweled products featuring fine details and superior workmanship, the end result is always a one-of-a-kind creation that is truly a work of art.

In addition to wedding invitations, the team can also create invitations with music for baby showers, bar and bat mitzvahs, Quinceañera celebrations, and other special events.

For more information, please contact Joann Marks (joann@musicboxinvites.com) or visit www.musicboxinvites.com

The Best Wedding Websites and Blogs you are not using

It seems the minute a gal gets engaged, she runs straight to her compute and goes to the Knot or Wedding Wire to start planning her big day. But there are tons of other Wedding Blogs out there that can offer a lot of information and those are the ones I want to review and concentrate on. My wedding was last year and I will start with some of the ones I found most helpful and then move on to ones I wish I had known about during my planning process. Here are the wedding websites or blogs that I like the best:

1. Here Comes the Guide – The first thing I did was run out to a bookstore and spend an hour comparing all the wedding guides out there and buying three large books (one with its own holder) and then never really using them. They were clumsy and awkward and not easy to use. I ended up making my own spreadsheet with formulas to plug-in due dates and budgets (I am willing to email it to any bride who wants to use it) and using a lot of the guides on this site. I would print out one before meeting with each wedding professional and ask the questions on the guide and it helped me make my decisions. The site seems to have changed since I used it last  – but I found the PDF’s were still there. There is a guide for pretty much all the categories such as photographer, invitations, and venue.  They also can lead to vendors in your state but not too many because they have to be “guide” certified: Their goal is to represent only the best event professionals in the industry. In order to do this, we require that each vendor go through a rigorous reference check in order to be Certified By The Guide. A vendor has to have been in business long enough to provide them with a list of 15 wedding industry trade references (that means other event professionals and not one-time clients) plus at least 15 recent couples to even be considered. Good vetting but you might miss out on some newer vendors who are willing to work very hard to make you happy. My biggest suggestion to them is to make it more user-friendly, have a section just for all the guides. Rating B+

2. Wed Me Pretty – A nice, simple straightforward blog that is easy to use and read – all blogs are sorted by categories such as “Wedding Dresses” or “Green Weddings”. They also have a neat “Ask an Expert Feature” where you can submit your questions.

3. Wed Over Heels – WedOverHeels is a wedding social network where happily engaged couples & helpful wedding pros connect to create fun & fabulous weddings! It is packed with tons of stuff including Bride/Groom “wed”site (check ours out), free blogs for both couples and vendors, real weddings, vendor directory by category and state and a community board that everyone can participate in. It is fun, interesting and all about love and finding inspiration for your wedding. Started by a married couple (they just celebrated 11 happy years), it works  a bit like a Facebook page. My only suggestion? Add a search button! Rating A-

4. Sweet Violet Bride – This website’s point of difference is it is for Brides looking for a Nature Inspired Wedding Theme. Even the vendors have to have some Nature Driven items to be included. Rustic Venuesethereal gowns, natural beauty, vintage decororganic blooms, country chic gorgeousness, great love stories…and more can be found on their website, blogs and soon in their new twice annual Wedding Magazine.  It is very organized and easy to use and showcases real nature inspired weddings. If you are looking for inspiration for your outdoor wedding, this is the site for you. Rating A-

5. WeClickd – A social network for weddings, this one is very easy to use. You can search for the word purple for example and everything purple will come up. There is a section where you can ask a professional a question, another for “trending” topics that works like a Facebook page so you can post comments and vendors have webpages so you can search for products. My favorite thing is the “Frame it ” button that you can add to your toolbar so that when you see something you like ANYWHERE on web you can click that button and it saves the picture to your WeClicked page. Rating A

One reason to check out these smaller sites is that they have more unique content and work with the vendors  to promote their services so you will learn about vendors you won’t find on the larger sites whose vendors have to pay to advertise.

Happy Wedding Planning – check us out when you need your Save the Dates and Invitations!



Over the top Weddings

As many brides are using spreadsheets and calculators to create their wedding budgets, I am sure a few have them have wished that money was no issue and only the sky was the limit. So what kind of wedding do people have when that is the case? Here is one wedding that was unbelievable …

downloadJames Stunt (Businessman) and Petra Ecclestone (Racing Heiress) –  So what does $19 million buy these days?  Well a fairytale wedding for one. The August 2011 wedding of 22 year old Petra to 26 year old James Stunt took place in Odescalchi castle ( £310,000 to rent)  , a spectacular 15th-century Italian fort. Each invitation was hand delivered  and presented in a beige suede box containing three different-sized scented candles each embellished with the Ecclestone family monogram. An estimated 250 guests flew to Rome for a three day event documented by Hello Magazine. The Castle overlooks Lake Bracciano, and the guests were welcomed by an extravagant dinner in the armory the night before the ceremony. The bill for this celebration dwarfed the six-figure sum her father Bernie paid for Petra’s engagement party at Battersea Power Station where 300 guests were treated to vintage Cristal champagne and pop star Rihanna was paid £250,000 to perform for the couple.

Wedding day, the medieval town of Bracciano ground to a halt, the cobbled piazza closed off as fleets of cars taxied 250 VIP guests (including Royalty) for the twilight ceremony inside the castle whose grounds had been transformed into what was described as a ‘magical world’ themed setting, with air-conditioned, flower-filled canopies to keep guests cool. They were greeted by an 18-piece string section from the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, which cost more than £100,000, led by renowned conductor Nigel Short, who performed a 40-minute selection of classical music. Accompanying them was the 20-member Tenebrae Choir, described as ‘one of the greatest choirs in the world’.

MoS2 Template Master

A team of ten make-up artists, including celebrity specialist Gary Cockerill, a close friend of Tamara’s, were flown out to help prepare the wedding party and family and guests were put up in £2,300-a-night Hassler Hotel suites. Petra, dressed in a £80,000 couture wedding gown by designer Vera Wang, set out from her suite in Rome 30 miles away in a white Rolls-Royce Phantom, before switching to a vintage Rolls Royce and her driver was F1 star Jean Alesi. She was accompanied by sister Tamara, 27, and two bridesmaids, close friends Skye Mellar and Ines Raddock.

The hour-long service, held outdoors, was also accompanied by the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra. Once pronounced man and wife, Petra and James, and their guests were serenaded by Italian tenor Andrea Bocelli, who performed his worldwide hit Time To Say Goodbye, then Somos Novios, ending with Can’t Help Falling In Love.

A reception followed in the castle gardens, where guests were served vintage Louis Roederer Cristal champagne and £4,000-a-bottle Chateau Petrus wine in an air-conditioned white marquee, while acrobats performed beneath hot-air balloons amid the first of the evening’s two fireworks displays (£100,000). It was the beginning of a night of opulent celebrations, which next saw Eric Clapton – a friend of the Ecclestone family – providing the music for the couple’s first dance, free of charge. Clapton was followed by The Black Eyed Peas (£1.5 million fee), and DJ David Guetta,  £500,000 (for a DJ!!! – maybe the Philharmonic is in the wrong business)

I know most of us can’t afford such an event but still want an “over-the-top” wedding. Short of winning the lottery (or a spot on the  David Tutera Wedding show); here are some suggestions:

Hay_steps_sm1. Pick an Historic Venue – all of us can’t fly people to Rome for a wedding in a castle, but in most cities there are some great Historic Places. In New York City, people can get married at the NY Public Library for example, and in Macon, GA there is a lovely place called The Hay House. When you choose a historic plantation or home, you don’t need to spend much on making the room pretty so you can save on linens/flowers/etc. Check out this link for a way to search for great places.

2. Choose a venue that is beautiful outdoors – Consider a Vineyard for your wedding. If the scenery is beautiful, again, you don’t need tons of decorations to make the event special.

3. Order very unique Save the Date and Wedding Invites – there is nothing more elegant than when a guest receives an over-the-top invite. If you are very crafty you can make them yourself or consider having a custom couture company do it for your. Music Box Invites creates MUSICAL invitations that your guests will talk about for years!

4. Hire a STAR to sing – Not everyone can afford the Black Eyed Peas but there are tons of “cover bands” who can do your favorite performer’s music. Some even dress up like the performer, we are not talking the cheap Elvis impersonators here but real singers who can make your event sparkle.

5. Fireworks? While fireworks can cost thousands of dollars and most places won’t allow them anyway, the sparkler exit is truly magical and beautiful and very photographic!

A sparkler exit is not extremely expensive but very memorable

A sparkler exit is not extremely expensive but very memorable



Exciting New Song List on Music Box Invites featuring Hollie

Hollie your Wedding Singer Black & White optimisedMusic Box invites is so excited to be teaming up with sultry singer – Hollie Kamel.  Hollie, Your Wedding Singer,  as she is know in London is a classically trained professional singer featuring a  vast and varied vocal range and style that works harmoniously with virtually any song choice.  Whether it’s a rip-roaring rock song or an emotional ballad, Hollie has an uncanny ability to find just the right mood and approach in her vocal performance to compliment the song perfectly. She is able to quickly understand what the songwriter is trying to achieve and by using a balance of her exquisite tone and perfectly honed technique she is always able to come up with exactly what is required.

Now, Hollie’s incredible talent will be featured in the most unique place — on YOUR wedding invitation! That’s correct, Music Box Invites has access to Hollie’s recordings and since Hollie’s wedding song list is over 100 songs – covering virtually all genres of music including: Pop, Jazz, Soul, Country, Swing, Contemporary & even Musical Theater; we are certain we can find the perfect song for any bride’s wedding invite. Or we can even ask Hollie to custom record a song for us if you don’t see the one you want!  Hollie joins our other incredible talent, Michael Andrew.  Hollie and Michael’s songs can be chosen as premium music for your invitations for $150 plus $1 additional for each invite. We can also record a song of your choice as custom music, for $250. Check out our new song list now.Hollie your Wedding Singer main head shot optimised

We spoke to Hollie about her career and how she decided to go into the “wedding” business.  She answered “I have a heartfelt passion for performing and knowing that every song I sing can hold a special place in someone’s heart adds that magical sparkle and edge! Creating the perfect Soundtrack to any event will make sure that every musical moment is a treasured memory and as a trained singer & dancer I have the experience and understanding of what ingredients are needed to add ‘Star Quality’ to all my performances!”

She started singing at a very young age & had her first ‘on stage solo’ performance at about 10 years old. She went on to become a Grade A student in Music & Drama, landing numerous roles within musicals and on the radio.  She then embarked on  ‘classical’ vocal training and was taught by the best; in fact her teacher had performed with the likes of Pavarotti. In addition to her singing career,she is also a qualified Dance teacher that specializes in Salsa, Bachata & Merengue.  And in her early 20’s she ran and part owned a Live Music Venue in her home town of Essex. Her past also includes being a School Musical Vocal Director and having an extensive corporate background in Media, Admin and Marketing. She also has a HND’s in Child Development, Behavioral studies which probably helps her when dealing with demanding brides and mother’s there of. This busy performer is also married to an amazing man (who is a former world hip hop dance champion and a celebrity choreographer and dj) and has a simply gorgeous little girl called Jasmine Lila, who is nearly 4.

To work with brides, she told us that she mainly LISTENS what they want for their special day and then she fills in the gaps and creates a customize soundtrack to fit her client’s needs.  This means she is interested in their wedding style (formal, casual, modern, funky), their color schemes, so as to make sure her attire compliments the occasion and not clash, what songs are important to them and why and basically connect with that magical sparkle that creates each and every beautiful wedding. She feels that she is creating personal memories that couples and guests will keep for years to come.

“Let me be the ‘Soundtrack’ to your Wedding Day!” says Hollie,  “My voice is my gift and my guarantee to you, as your Singer, is to deliver a professional performance above any other that will leave you & all of your guests amazed!”

2013-04-07 11.37.14And now, that passion can be heard BEFORE your wedding day on the invitation you send to your guests. Only Music Box Invites offers customer, couture MUSICAL wedding invitations that are so exquisite, your guests will think they are attending the event of the season. Like a red carpet designer made gown, these invitations are something that you will treasure forever.  Invitations begin at $20 for a semi custom suite (3 layer invitation with ribbon and buckle, RSVP card/envelope, box in assorted colors and standard music chip) or Custom Couture where the sky is the limit. We work with you to create the perfect invitation to match your theme and desires.

For more information on Music Box Invites; contact Joann.








First Month of Marriage Compromises

4 Compromises You May Need To Make In Month One Of Marriage

Marriage is a commitment that takes hard work and dedication to ensure a happy life with another person. Although there are many benefits to marriage, it is also requires a bit of compromising to ensure that each person is happy in the relationship. These compromises most commonly begin in the first month of marriage.

1. Sleeping Habits

You may be used to getting the sheets all to yourself, but in the first year of marriage it can be an adjustment giving up your space in bed and not getting the sheets to yourself. It can also mean dealing with someone else’s sleep schedule, which can include your spouse getting up at an early hour or going to bed much earlier than you. You can easily compromise on sleep, which will take time to adjust to before you both get in a rhythm.

2. Financial Decisions

Having your own bank account means having the freedom to chose where your money goes and what your expenses include. Sharing it with a spouse can mean compromising on where the money is used, especially if your spouse has a particular need. It can mean giving up certain luxuries, like shopping, once having to pay for other necessities in marriage. If your spouse has debt, it can also mean having to pay it off and put certain luxuries aside.

3. Schedule

Your schedule will likely change in the first month of marriage as you learn to spend time with your spouse after work or on the weekends. It can mean not heading out for a round of golf with your friends to spending Sunday cleaning or with your in-laws. Marriage means having to compromise with your schedule and have more flexibility to ensure the needs in your relationship are met.

4. Space

Whether your spouse moves into your home or vise-versa, it will be an adjustment giving up extra drawers in your dresser or part of your closet. Shortly after getting home from the honeymoon, many newlyweds often discover that they simply don’t have enough room in the home for their combined belongings, making it important to consider self storage units in Stockton CA without having to get rid of any possessions. This can make it easy to continue owning the items until moving into a larger space where you’ll be able to display and use them once again.

Planning for Life After the Honeymoon: Six Tips for Making the Transition Easier

The honeymoon period of marriage after the honeymoon actually ends is not always all it’s cracked up to be for newlyweds. This is especially true for traditional newlyweds who are living together for the first time. There will be many little things that they will have to adjust to when they first start living together.

1. Sleeping Together
This is not about sex. This is about the act of sharing a bed with another person. For someone who is not used to it, it may be very awkward at first. It takes time to get used to sleeping next to a partner. Make sure to prepare yourself for an adjustment phase.

2. Two Sets of Possessions
Combining the things of two people into one house can be a difficult task. If you do not have enough room, then consider the advantages of renting a storage unit. Even if the unit is just a temporary storage place until you get settled, the storage unit can help you until you get your new home organized according to an expert from Extra Space Storage .

3. Combining Finances
The financial issues face by newlyweds can be complex. Money arguments are one of the most common types of arguments for all married couples. Make sure to communicate openly about your finances to avoid conflict as much as possible.

4. Sharing the Chores
When it comes to household chores, you may not always agree about who should do what. They key is to sit down and discuss it. Draw up a list of weekly chores to ensure that everything gets done without conflict.

5. Choose Your Battle Lines Carefully
The key to maintaining a happy marriage is to let the little things go. You want to avoid conflict whenever you can. If you are always harping on your spouse about little things, then you won’t be able to impress upon your spouse your seriousness when the big issues arise. Don’t make a stand on an issue unless it’s very important to you.

6. Compromise
An ability to compromise is at the heart of any successful marriage. You must be willing to reach an understanding on all the issues in your marriage. No matter how big or small the issue is, make sure to reach a common ground with your spouse. A favorite saying at Music Box Invites is that “love is the highest form of tolerance” (that was said by Richard Burton!).

If you follow these six tips, you will find the transition into married life goes much more smoothly. You will avoid the rocky start that many people seem to face when they first face the challenge of sharing their lives.

So You’re Married, Now What? 6 Must Do’s After The Big Day

Your wedding is one of the most special times of your entire life. The thrill of the ceremony, reception and honeymoon can leave you absolutely breathless. However, when you are through with the fun stuff, there are a lot of tasks you need to get completed before you can really say your wedding work is over. Here are six necessary items on your After the Big day list …

1. Return the rentals

You need to make sure that all the rental tuxedos that you used for your wedding have been returned. You don’t want to come back from your honeymoon facing late charges for a tux you forgot about returning.

 2. Write the Thank You Notes

Your guests spent money giving you nice wedding gifts. The least you can do is to say thank you. Make sure to take care of this as soon as you get back from the honeymoon. Try to finish this within the first month after you start writing them. If  you got your invites from Music Box Invites, your custom thank you notes will have no additional design fee and you could even record your voices THANKING your guests!

3. Name Change

Many new brides do not realize that there is a process to go through if they want to adopt their husband’s last name when they get married. If you are going to use his name, then you need to get it legally changed on all of your documents as soon as possible to avoid problems.

 4. Talk About Money

If you didn’t do this before you got married, then you need to sit down and do it as soon as you can. You need to talk about whether you are going to be filing taxes jointly. You need to discuss whether you want to have a joint checking account. You also need to sit down and talk about retirement.

 5. Setting up Your New House

Often, newly married couples move into a new place together. If you are doing this, you will have to go through the process up setting up house together. Don’t forget to fill out your change-of-address forms when you are doing this. If you want to get some new furniture that you can’t afford, you could take out power finance payday loans from www.PowerFinanceTexas.com to get what you need to set up house in comfort.

 6. Have a Party

Taking care of all this stuff is a lot of work. By the time you get through all of these mundane tasks, you will be ready to let your hair down. Throw a party to celebrate your new marriage, and be sure to invite all of your friends to join you.


Our guest poster, Brionna Kennedy is native to the Pacific Northwest, growing up in Washington, then moving down to Oregon for college. She enjoys writing on fashion and business, but any subject will do, she loves to learn about new topics. When she isn’t writing, she lives for the outdoors. Oregon has been the perfect setting to indulge her love of kayaking, rock climbing, and hiking. 

Discussions to have with your intended before you get married

Once entering the season of engagement with your significant other, there are many conversations to have that involve discussing the future for a happy and successful life. It will not only make it easy to know what to expect in each stage of life, but will work to create a marriage that has more peace and unity long-term. Sit down before you get married and go through these FIVE significant areas.

1. Diet and Exercise

When creating a life together, your habits are bound to influence each other and will cause both of you to either thrive or fail in certain parts. Discuss what your diet and exercise will consist of, whether it means eating out on most nights or having a majority of home-cooked meals.

If you both want to exercise on a consistent basis, determine whether you’ll each join a gym or participate in outdoor activities.

2. Children

Whether you’ll have children or not will be the largest contributor to how your future looks. Determine if you both want children, and if so, how many. There should also be a timeline established on when you’ll start having a family.

3. Finances

Finances are the largest cause of divorce, making it important to discuss your spending and saving habits, as well as your long-term monetary goals. You’ll also need to decide if you’ll share an account, along with creating a budget to prevent arguments over where money is spent.

4. Security

One of the most important factors of your future together is your security to ensure peace of mind and a protected home. Discuss your security options, whether it involves adopting a guard dog or having a security system installed. Agreeing on different ways to protect both your property and family will make it easy to prevent loss or damages.

5. Careers

Long-term goals and dreams should be discussed before entering marriage to ensure you’re on the same page with what your lifestyle will look like. It’s important to each voice our personal goals whether you’ll both earn an income or one will stay at home after starting a family. Have a five-year plan in place and don’t be afraid to communicate should you have a change of heart.

Whether discussing money or home security needs, there are a number of topics to discuss before entering marriage to ensure there’s more unity and vision in the marriage, which will ultimately prevent a higher degree of conflict. Compromising will also be necessary with each person to ensure flexibility and a happy life together.

Preparing For Your Big Day: 5 Photographer Tips To Keep In Mind

The big day is approaching fast, and you want everything to be perfect. In the excitement and stress of planning the big details of the wedding, there are some logistical things that are easy to overlook. Wedding photos are a big part of the process, and the afterglow of a beautiful day can be spoiled bad pictures. So here are 5 photographer tips for you to consider:

Choosing Your Photographer

Choosing the right photographer is important to getting the look and feel you want from your photos. Online photography blogs and websites for local photographers will give you a good idea if the photographer’s style matches your own. Make sure you meet with the actual person doing the photography before the wedding; photos are much better with someone you trust.

Get Plenty of Rest

There’s no rule that says you need to overdo it the night before. You’ll find yourself more relaxed, more photogenic, and better able to cope if you call it a night a little early on the eve of the ceremony.

Photo-Readiness on the Day

Aside from getting enough sleep and and staying relaxed, it’s important to be well-groomed. This is no time for home hair cuts; your wedding photos are something you’ll want proud to display for years to come. A professional hair cut, manicure, and shave or trim are in order. They’ll not only help you look great, they’re very relaxing. White teeth are essential for a great pictures. Professional cleaning or whitening gives you a radiant, wedding day smile. The professionals at Drake Dentistry in Charlotte recommend getting your teeth whitened for a brighter smile. Make sure to book your appointments well ahead of time, professional whitening may take several visits. Try to schedule your final visit for a day or two before the ceremony for a fresh, clean look .best-teeth-whitening

Dare to Be a Little Different

Standard wedding photos are beautiful and traditional, but there are some new traditions that will help you get better photos. One new trend is the “First meeting” photos, and they’re a great opportunity to help you and your betrothed relax and enjoy each other and the rest of the day.

The best photos of any event occur when the subjects are relaxed and natural-looking. You’re put-together, looking great, and you’ve hired a professional photographer whose vision matches your own. Smile bright, relax, and let the day happen. Even those inevitable quirky little moments add to the memories you’ll take with you into your life together. The planning is finished, enjoy your big day.



Our guest blogger, Brionna Kennedy is native to the Pacific Northwest, growing up in Washington, then moving down to Oregon for college. She enjoys writing on fashion and business, but any subject will do, she loves to learn about new topics. When she isn’t writing, she lives for the outdoors. Oregon has been the perfect setting to indulge her love of kayaking, rock climbing, and hiking.

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