Wednesday, July 29, 2009

On the way to Cape May - Congress Hall

Cape May Beach
Classic beach cabanas near Congress Hall
While vacationing in Ocean City, NJ this summer, I planned a nice day trip with my son to Cape May. Since I am always looking for ways to combine business with pleasure, I thought it was the perfect opportunity to take an unguided tour of this charming Jersey shore Victorian town and then pay a visit to the historical and much talked about Congress Hall. With my three year old tot-in-tow, we headed off for a great day of adventure (photo above is courtesy of

Although I have a GPS in my van, I opted not to use it. Instead I decided to enjoy a slow joyride through Cape May and soak up the sights and sounds of this visually stimulating town. Being a resident of New Jersey for nearly all my life and having an architectural background, I am not sure how I managed to NEVER visit Cape May! I have always admired the appeal and charm of Victorian period architecture with all the lacy gingerbread details, steeply pitched roofs, bay windows, wrap around porches, balconies and rainbow colored exteriors. When I decided to pull over and figure out where I was, I just happened to stop right in front of Congress Hall! Perfect!

The "pleasure" part of my trip consisted of my son and I leisurely strolling around and shopping on Washington Street and Beach Avenue. There were plenty of clothing, lingerie and gift boutiques, jewelry and toy shops, ice cream parlors, restaurants, etc. I even took a few moments to go into the Church of Our Lady Star of the Sea to light a couple candles, and to admire the beauty within. The next few photographs are buildings that I saw in the surrounding area of Congress Hall. I think they capture the true feeling of Cape May quite beautifully. If you want to see more great photos, log onto this website, and take a look. It gives an excellent representation of the eclectic architectural styles of the Victorian period in Cape May and and overall feeling of the romantic charm of this elegant little seashore resort.

The Inn at Cape May
The surrounding businesses on Perry Street
Love the pink paint and the lacy gingerbread trim!
Businesses on Washington Street
Plenty of shopping!

Hotels on Perry Street
I think that little piece of blue awning is Uncle Bill's Pancake House?!!!

Congress Hall

Ok, on to the "business" part of the trip:-)! When all the shopping and ice cream eating was complete, we took a tour of Congress Hall. I have only read about this exclusive seaside resort in elegant Wedding publications and have seen many gorgeous photographs. It has a relaxed but luxurious feel. It occupies an entire beachfront block that overlooks the Atlantic Ocean. It is a perfect choice for couples looking for an elegant and romantic beach location to tie the knot.

Upon entry, what I found to be the most striking, and aesthetically appealing, was the mix of colors chosen for the interior walls. It changed from room to room from canary yellow to Tiffany blue to varying shades of brown, etc. The painted black and white checker board floor in the Grand Ballroom was another amazing decor standout. Just speaking from a color palette perspective, this historical building has PERSONALITY!

The next few pictures depict the color palette of the interior.
(photos courtesy of

The Brown Room
The "Gatsbyesque" cocktail lounge

The Grand Ballroom
Love the black and white checkerboard floor and Tiffany blue walls!
(The next two photographs of the Grand Ballroom
are courtesy of Faith West Photography).

The linens selected for this Wedding are fabulous!!!!!

Other standout features include the classic grand lawn in which many couples are married. The sweeping veranda, with wooden rocking chairs, is another location where Weddings and cocktail hour celebrations are held. Couples can also wed on Congress Beach if they so desire. The eclectic feel of Congress Hall is further exemplified by the nightclub in the basement. When I entered The Boiler Room, I got the feeling I was back in Manhattan in a trendy club in Soho. It definitely has a cool NYC vibe going on; original exposed brick walls, a stainless steel bar and adjoining tables, dark red lamps, cozy couches and low tables. I can only imagine the atmosphere when the lights are dimmed, and the music is jamming. Certainly a great place to continue the party and gather for after Wedding cocktails. The Boiler Room takes a very unexpected departure from the elegant surroundings on the upper floors but is really quite intriguing!

Congress Hall
Picture of the grand lawn, pool and veranda

(photo courtesy of

The Boiler Room
Manhattan style nightclub located in the basement
(photo courtesy of

If you are newly engaged and considering a Wedding at Congress Hall, packages start at $126. per person. If you would like more information you can log onto their website at Or you may call them at 609-884-6553. It's a "shore" thing in Cape May!

Sunday, July 19, 2009

For the Babes!

A gorgeous new collection of Christening gowns
has arrived at A Beautiful Touch! Handmade of
ivory and champagne silk, white satin and
beautiful lace they can be customized to
fit your specifications.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Bridal Gown Cleaning and Preservation

You found the perfect Bridal gown and you had a dream come true Wedding. Now, you are wondering where to take your beloved dress to clean the DIRTY hemline and to remove that lipstick, food or wine stain.

You can treasure your special moment in time with our HAND cleaning and preservation service. A Beautiful Touch deals with a local business (female owned) that has 30 years in the Bridal business. Experience is very important when deciding where to take your priceless gown. Fabrics are delicate and must be handled properly. Also, if you have elaborate and extensive beading or crystals on your gown, the high heat of the machines (at the dry cleaners) can severely damage, melt or destroy that beautifully detailed work.

Your gown will be hand-cleaned to it's original brightness with a special hypo-allergenic solvent. It will then be treated for preservation. The gown and veil will be placed in a window box for you to view. The box will be incased in an outer box for safe storage. This process will take about one to two months. You may take the gown out of the window box if you wish to observe the brightness, then carefully repack for storage.

Please store your gown in room temperature ONLY. Excessive heat will cause a breakdown of the fibers, causing the gown to yellow. DO NOT STORE IN AN ATTIC! Basement storage, due to moisture, may cause mildew.

We do not recommend storing your shoes or slip within the box. Shoes could soil the gown and the slip takes up too much space. There is however, a larger box available if you must include the slip. You may store the garter or pillow.

A HALF deposit is required at the initial drop off and the balance is due upon completion. If you wish to have your gown hand-cleaned and preserved please call me at the Boutique to make an appointment for drop off time and inquire about prices (856-858-3777). We kindly ask that you make an appointment so there is no waiting time.

We can also clean Christening, Communion and formal gowns.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Warm and "Personal" Memories

Many Brides who come into our Boutique are looking for
a personal gift to give to their special Bridesmaids.
One of our best sellers, are these luxury knit chenille robes
that can be personalized with a name, monogram or
title. They not only make a very practical gift but are a
beautiful sentimental thought as well.

We are almost half way into the summer:-( and it seems as
though the October Brides are looking around for some ideas.
We even have '10 Brides (as in getting married in 2010),
starting to purchase Wedding accessories for their Big Day!

As you will notice in the photograph above (courtesy AVI Studios),
this picture was taken in a warmer month in
a summer resort location. The personalized robes are
perfect for winter months to keep cozy and even in
the hotter ones as they will help to protect from the
sub-zero temperatures from the cranked up air

These robes make wonderful gifts for the future
Bride and Groom too!!!! Perfect with their monograms!!

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

What's "cooking"?

Brides (and Grooms) just want to have fun!!!
This "cheeky" NEW French style apron is
custom made especially for A Beautiful Touch.

It is perfect for the Bride who has
1-800-Reservations on her speed dial!
The little "quickies" recipe book (in the
Groom's apron pocket) is one of
the fastest selling novelty items in our
Boutique. It is a very cleverly marketed
recipe book that compiles good meals in
thirty minutes or less:)
It is a gift that definitely gets giggles.

The success of our Boutique is due to the
way we mix our elegant merchandise with
the more whimsical gifts. We believe this
is the most memorable time of a woman and
man's life, make it fun!
We are sure here to help with that!!!

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Exquisite Jewelry for the Bride

Since our modest beginning, back in September of 2000, we have
come a long way with our selection of Bridal and Wedding
merchandise. Our jewelry "department" made its debut in
October 2005, with a small but distinctive collection of
Swarovski crystal and CZ necklaces, earrings and bracelets.
Over the past four years, it has grown to include an
extensive and tremendous collection of some of the prettiest
and finest Bridal jewelry around. We are expanding it even
more, with the addition of four custom made jewelry towers to
hold HUNDREDS of sparkling new jewelry.
Earrings are our specialty. We have a tremendous selection of
Swarovski crystals and Cubic Zirconia's that are perfect for the
Bride, her 'Maids and the entire Bridal party.
The jewelry featured in this post today, is the merchandise
that was purchased in our latest jewelry shopping adventure!
Glamour is our middle name. Crystal chandelier
earrings paired with a beautiful bracelet are real
show-stopping accessories.
Perfect for the Bride or Mother-of-the-Bride
who wants to make a statement.

We will keep you posted on the up coming additions
to our fine jewelry line that is going to be showcased
in our new jewelry towers!!

Friday, July 3, 2009

Real Brides - Beautiful Presentations

A beautiful idea for someone to present a collection of gifts, especially personal apparel for the Bride's Wedding day, night, Honeymoon or happily ever after, is to wrap them in these damask stacked keepsake boxes. Whether the gifts enclosed are a trendy zip-up "Soon to be Mrs." hoody, a cozy terry shower wrap or an elegant peignoir set for the Bride's trousseau, they will make a outstanding presentation.

Our newlywed Bride, Lauren (married June 6, 2009), was lucky enough to receive a beautiful repertoire of personal gifts for her Bridal shower that ranged from hip and chic to sophisticated and refined. These photographs show the blushing Bride opening very special gifts from her mother. Her mom carefully packaged all the items with the most important and traditional piece, her peignoir set, in the bottom box so it would be opened last. The other items consisted of a cute cotton crystal cami set, slippers and a pretty silk chemise.

All of these personalized apparel items and pretty underthings were purchased at our boutique, A Beautiful Touch. The stacked damask boxes are also available as well. This five piece set can be simply wrapped and tied with tulle and adorned with satin ribbons and roses. Or they can be left undecorated since they make quite an impressive presentation on their own.

Thank you Lauren for sharing some of your pictures with me and allowing my readers to view your beautiful day! I am sure they were able to gather a few inspiring ideas:-)