Filed under: Wedding Planning 101
courtesy of greenweddingshoes.com
With fairytale classics being remade into blockbuster gold like Mirror, Mirror and Snow White & the Huntsman, it’s no wonder why enchanted wedding decor is at an all time high for brides. Both artsy and fanciful, woodsy inspired details just seem to capture the kind of ambiance brides want for their ourtdoor, forest or barnyard weddings.
And one area I’m truly pleased to see reflecting such a whimsical look is none other than the bridal bouquet. Ethereal in inspiration and decadent in design, these one of a kind bouquets create just the right amount of “once upon a time” magic that will easily have couples living “happily ever after.” (Yeah, I totally went there.)
Start the pallet with large blooms, such as cabbage roses, robust ranunculus, heart stopping peonies or diva-esque dahlias. Then, mix in wildflowers or other natural, earthly, nonfloral elements to your already blossoming bouquet. Finish it off with a dash of sparkle or touch of flowing feathers and see how fantasy can turn into real life enchantment.
But don’t take my word for it. Simply check out below and be amazed for yourselves :)
photos courtesy of (tope to bottom, left to right) thefrenchbouquettulsa.com, marthastewartweddings.com, floweropera.wordpress.com, acephotographs.com (inset), marthastewartweddings.com, greenweddingshoes.com, greenweddingshoes.com, ruffledblog.com, kristynhogan.com, floweropera.wordpress.com, Google Images and ashleysbrideguide.com
March 27, 2012
courtesy of weddingwindow.com
Huffington Post’s Kara Reinhardt reported 7 tips on how brides can budget on their wedding gown shopping, and they were soooo good I knew I had to share! She makes her money as editor of Cheapism.com; so, you can imagine, she’s quite the expert :)
Check out below and see how some brides choose to save and still stay sassy on their wedding day:
1. Consider a bridesmaid dress in white. A sales consultant at a salon may not volunteer this option, but many elegant designs come in an array of colors — including white or ivory. If you prefer a clean, simple silhouette to a full skirt and sequins, a bridesmaid dress could play a starring role for the cost of a supporting player.
I actually had a friend who did this – wad up, Leah! Not only did she looked absolutely b.e.a.uuuutiful on her wedding day, but she OBVS saved moolah on the gown; therefore broadening up her budget on other areas!
courtesy of Leah Matis
2. Plan a less formal event. If you imagine yourself at the altar in a cathedral-length veil, skip ahead to the next tip. But couples open to an outdoor wedding or any other casual setting can save a lot on attire. A lightweight dress for a beach ceremony is likely to cost far less than yards of embellished silk satin.
3. Seek out sample sales. Bridal salons offer big discounts a couple of times a year to clear out sample dresses, selling them as is. You may cringe if you’ve seen scenes of brides-to-be lunging at piles of marked-down gowns. But things may be more civilized at a local salon — some even take appointments during these sales. Ask about upcoming events and sign up for email lists.
4. Don’t overlook department stores. Off-the-rack retailers such as J. Crew and Ann Taylor have become go-to sources for brides on a budget, offering attractive styles and prices. But department stores have also embraced the bridal business. Cheapism found that Nordstrom is one of the best places to buy a cheap wedding dress. You can order online or make an appointment with a wedding stylist at select locations. Bloomingdale’s and Lord & Taylor also feature “wedding shops” on their websites. The dresses don’t take months to come in and can be returned.
5. Don’t assume mass-market means cheap. While these retailers set prices as low as a few hundred dollars, sticker shock is still possible. Most styles by BHLDN — the Urban Outfitters/Anthropologie wedding brand — carry four-figure price tags, and the most expensive is $6,000. Bebe is introducing a bridal collection expected to start near $1,000. Many salons carry lines that start well below that level.
6. Give secondhand sources a chance. You may balk at consignment shops and classified websites, despite the alluring prospect of a designer gown at a discount price. But sites such as Recycled Bride and Encore Bridal often feature new and sample dresses as well. New dresses don’t necessarily carry the bad karma of a called-off engagement, either. One bride is selling a $1,430 Mikaella for $600 on PreOwnedWeddingDresses.com because she switched to an outdoor venue and a simpler dress. My own bargain was hiding in the basement of a bridal consignment shop and could be ordered in my size. The experience came complete with a pedestal in front of a mirror, an attentive sales consultant, and a tearful sister-in-law exclaiming, “This is just like ‘Say Yes to the Dress’!”
7. Choose a color other than white. At New York’s bridal fashion week this fall, none other than wedding dress doyenne Vera Wang showed not one white or ivory gown. Many of her designs were black (can you believe it?), but even blush could help you sidestep the markup on anything labeled bridal. White isn’t always the easiest color to wear, and a different shade might better complement your skin tone. If you’re the type of woman who likes to turn heads, refraining from white is a surefire way to make a statement with your wedding gown.
(Kara Reinhardt, huffingtonpost.com)
March 13, 2012
courtesy of bowtiesandbliss.tumblr.com
With warmer weather springing into action and the chill of winter rapidly thawing into brighter days, it’s time for outdoor weddings to – alas! – find their place at the center of the bridal arena once again . Hopefully after properly shaking off Old Man Winter’s blues, brides can revel in breathing in the fresh air and say ”I do” in Mother Nature’s finest surroundings.
Because outdoor venues become more and more popular every year, brides are constantly looking for ways to one up all the other return-to-nature couples and find ways to stand out amongst the crowd! And even though your wedding day is said to be all about you (and I guess the dude saying “I do” too, hehe), brides still have a pull to make sure their guests all well entertained and properly taken care of. And one of the CUTEST ways I’ve seen brides take advantage of this is by offering their guests favor sunglasses to wear throughout the ceremony!
I mean, helllooo??? How can you not absolutely adore this idea?! The play on words here alone is worth the favor… **Don’t get blinded by our love **Our love’s so bright, you gotta wear shades **Take a pair for the love we share… oh, you get the idea :)
And not only do the shades provide a suitable service during the ceremony, they can provide an even more fashionable one after. Simply, watch as your guests have fun sporting them during the reception, dancing the night away to “I wear my sunglasses at night,” making funny faces in the photo booth or simply posing Joe Cool for pictures. Check out below and see what I mean:
photos courtesy of (from top to bottom, left to right) ispwp.com, mebophoto.com, weheartit.com, sunglasswarehouse.com, headvsheart.com, weddingbee.com, leafophoto.com, disneyweddingsblog.com and greenweddingshoes.com
March 6, 2012
courtesy of fiftieswedding.com
Happy Valentine’s Day to all those who love! Whether you’re in it or out of it, love truly is all around us, and there’s no better day to exploit it (or try and avoid it, haha!) than February 14th!
Personally, I’ve always been a fan of the big V-day… even during my most single and sullen of days, I learned quickly to appreciate the holiday as one to simply celebrate love… in all its forms! The love I have for that someone special. The love I have for family. The love I have for friends. Etc. Heck, if nothing else, it’s a day to simply celebrate the fact that mailboxes are a little more full with pink and red cards and stomachs with pink and red cupcakes. Yum-may.
And with all the pink and red being displayed – from store front to home front - I couldn’t help but think about two-toned weddings and just how b.e.a.uuuutiful they can be — and in today’s Cupid themed case, just how b.e.a.uuuuutiful Pink + Red can be! Be sure to not only check out the images below, but also take some time to spread the love to someone today! After all, it is in giving that we receive :)
photos courtesy of (left to right, top to bottom) lovefromtheoven.com, halterneckwedding.onsugar.com, jessicalewisphoto.com, blog.celeb16.com, colorsareblushandbashful.blogspot.com, thestylishbloom.com, blog.paper-source.com, etsy.com, sophistimom.com and flickr.com
February 14, 2012
courtesy of robertortizphotography.com
With everyone going green these days, it was only a matter of time before weddings would catch the earth friendly fever. And why not?? We’re all raised under the respectful manner to “love our mothers;” so, why should Mother Nature be any different?
One area to really show your “Mother” loving ability is found within the confines of the biggest expense in your wedding budget: the reception. While some couples are opting to budget crunch out favors for the guests, others are simply choosing to keep costs minimal.
Both smart and stylish, eco-friendly favors are the latest and greatest gifts to hit the wedding market. When deciding which favor will be friendliest, keep three R’s in mind: Reduce, Recycle and Reuse, and incorporate them accordingly. Below are some ideas on how to keep Mother Nature pleased during your planning:
- Trees, Please: Who says Arbor Day is the only day to hug a tree and save a life? Planting trees throughout the year is a great way to honor your guests, while making an everlasting impression of your love for the environment… think of them as symbolic saplings, if you will. As the years progress, trees become greater in size and rooted in strength – just as you and your Mister will! (Awwww!)
- Potted Centerpieces: Perfect for all the do-it-yourself brides out there, these powerful potted plants serve a dual, ovation worthy purpose. Not only do they make fabulous, eye-catching centerpieces during your big day, but you can invite your guests to take them home and replant them their gardens. AND, if you stick to perennial flowers, your guests will delight in seeing them come back year after year :)
- Dandy Donations: It truly is in giving that we receive, which is why making a donation to your favorite charity in honor of your guests is an ideal way to help out Mother Nature, while helping others. A perfect example of a gift that keeps on giving, donations – no matter how big or small – help make a difference! Not to mention, with the ease of a donations, there will be no excess wrapping paper or trash! Now, that’s a “hooray” I can really get behind!
- Shop Locally: Consider reducing your carbon footprint by shopping close to home. Driving long distances or having things shipped separately or from long distances can only add to the problem; so, be a part of the solution, instead, by looking online for the best deals in your area and taking advantage.
In the end, every little bit counts; so, why not do the eco-chic thing and be a bride who goes green? And feel free to check out our line of Eco-Friendly Wedding Favors and give the earth a hug today!
February 9, 2012
courtesy of brandonkidd.net
One of my favorite parts of a New Year is all the new bling that starts popping up amongst family and friends. With the gift giving season picking in December, it’s no wonder that so many young men choose this time to get down on one knee and ask the four words so many women long to hear, “Will you marry me?”
While I love love loved everything about my wedding day, and the marriage has been one increds journey… I must confess that there was something sooo special and exciting about the planning process. I like to tell brides it’s kind of like a 12-18 month long Christmas Eve. With all the anticipation swimming around the talk of the big day, one can’t help but feel butterflies of excitement on the daily! And according to theknot.com, here are the top ten things newly engaged brides-to-be should do:
- Start a Wedding Planner. Create a beautiful keepsake to house all your favorite engagement memories… from the down-on-one-knee story to favorite photos, inspiration ideas, to-do lists, favorite designers, venues, caterers and more! Trust and believe, by taking a little time here and there from the beginning to end, you’ll easily have one of the best memory books evs!
- Plan an Engagement Party. Whether you choose to throw one for yourself or let others take on the celebratory task, having an engagement party is a great way to officially announce your nuptials to family and friends, all while rejoicing in your love. Plus, it’s one more reason to get out some pre-wedding partying!
- Pick a Date. First things first. You can’t start reserving venues or hiring vendors without knowing the date you’ll need them; so, be sure this is one of the first things you check off your list.
- Set a Budget. Along with selecting a date, setting a budget is key in planning your big day. After you know what kind of finances you’re working with, you’ll know what kind of wedding day to plan for. From the most elaborate and over-the-top to the simply chic, DIY shindigs, all weddings must first start with a feasible price tag to work around.
- Find a Reception Site. Generally speaking, a couple uses over 50% of their overall budget on their reception; so, it’s important to find the one that works best for you and reserve it right away!
- Make a Wedding Website. This is a great way to keep track of all your to-do’s, as well as provide information to family and friends as plans come along. This is an especially useful tool for out-of-towners you hope to attend who will need to make transportation and hotel reservations.
- Consider a Consultant. Many brides-to-be like the thought of hiring a professional to help ensure their big day goes off without a hitch, but if this isn’t in your budget, consider taking advantage of your family friends – especially moms and already wed maids – to help cross your t’s dot your i’s. It’ll make them feel important and help take some of the stress off you!
- Start a Guest List. One of the biggest factors in planning your wedding (and maintaining a budget) will all come down to the number of people you invite. By merging two sets of family and friends, it’s important for everyone to have a voice and make sure all their A-listers are included!
- Find a Wedding Dress. YESSSS! One of the BEST parts of being a bride is of course the wedding dress. Try on lots of styles. Search lots of websites, and have fun with it. Most of us (hopefully) only want to do this once; so, make sure you make it count!
- Plan for Pro Engagement Pictures. While the wedding day and all the days leading up to it will come and go, the photography will live on forever. So, it’s oh so important for every couple to find their perfect photographer and get in a pre-wedding practice round with engagement pictures before the big day. These can also be the shots your use for everything from your newspaper announcement to invites and more!
January 5, 2012
Everyone knows a wedding day is really all about the bachelorette party that proceeds it…
Okay, so that’s a lie (haha!), but they are a super fun tradition nonetheless! And what better way to celebrate your ‘last fling before the ring’ than with decking out your entire bridal party in custom made tees?
They’re fun. They’re fitting, and most importantly, they make you stand out from the crowd! They’re also reusable, because let’s be real… who wouldn’t love another extra teesh in their closet?? You know this pretty lady would :) And below are some of my fave designs!
Starting at $15 and available in four sizes and a variety of colors, these bridal party tees make for even greater gifts when you personalize them at absolutely no extra cost!
Bridal Entourage T-Shirts
courtesy of Lindsey Kroemer Photography via marilynskeepsakes.com
Team Bride T-Shirts
courtesy of Lindsey Kroemer Photography via marilynskeepsakes.com
Future Mrs. T-Shirts
courtesy of Lindsey Kroemer Photography via marilynskeepsakes.com
Keep Calm & Marry On T-Shirts
courtesy of Lindsey Kroemer Photography via marilynskeepsakes.com
December 15, 2011
courtesy of michellewellsphotography.ca
There is just something so magical about winter weddings. The crisp weather. The sparkly icicles. The slow falling snow. The dazzling night skies. It’s a perfect setting for romance, snuggling up and dancing the night away with the one you love the most.
And after looking through several of these Frosty the Snowman inspired designs – featuring intricate lighting, crystallized ice sculptures and baby’s breath centerpieces – it’s super hard for me to believe that Old Man Winter remains the least popular season to say ‘I do.’
Below are some of my favorite wintry wonders. I hope you enjoy them as much as I do.
A dash of twinkling baby’s breath can make all the difference.
courtesy of myweddecorations.blogspot.com
Sprinkle in snowflake lighting to really make ‘em ooh and ahh.
courtesy of eyedialogue.com
Drizzle your decor with draped crystals and create the look of poshly lit icicles.
courtesy of foreverphotographystudio.com
Sculpt an impeccable setting with ice, mini floras and fur (yes fur!!)
courtesy of bellzandwhistlezblog.blogspot
Cover up with a chic cardigan and take your gown to celebrity status.
courtesy of dressestutor.com
Or for the super sassy, try a frisky fur wrap!
courtesy of ungovernableungraceful0211.blogspot.com and Oscar de la Renta via weddinginspirasi.com
Make your cake top pop with Old Man Winter’s prettiest creations.
courtesy of thecakeblog.com
Surround your guest with chilling-inspired love from floor to ceiling — this is by FAR my fave!!!
courtesy of myweddecorations.blogspot.com (top and bottom) and brendasweddingblog.com (center)
December 13, 2011
courtesy of coutureclosetboutique.com
These days, a wedding isn’t just a brief moment in time… it’s a monumental event for the ages! In fact, I’m often reminded of a quote from Wedding Date - the 2005 film starring Debra Messing and Dermot Mulroney (dream!) - when I think of just how epic some weddings have become. Shortly after Kat Ellis (Messing) arrives in London for her sister’s wedding, her mom (played by Holland Taylor) informs Kat that:
“This is a marathon, not a sprint. We’ve got welcome cocktails today. Then, tomorrow’s Young People in the Park and Stags and Hens. Friday’s the picnic, then the rehearsal dinner, and since you left you no margin for jet lag, I need you to hydrate.”
Of course not everyone goes that over the top when planning their big day, but that doesn’t mean their day feels anything less than a marathon. From sun up to sun down, a bride, her groom and everyone else in between have a lot of ground to cover… and while some might say the key to duration is hydration… others are more lenient towards sustenance of the chewable variety.
And in big cities like New York, Los Angeles and Austin, Texas, grub is precisely what they get! These big time metro poles are famous for their food truck industries, which they are becoming all the rage in wedding day agendas! In LA, for instance, mobile grub doesn’t get much bigger than In-N-Out Burger, which has been providing years worth of service to brides and grooms looking to keep their guests full and focused well into the night.
It’s also a great way to talk to guests you may have missed! One bride (pictured below) used In-N-Out Burger at her reception and said, “We didn’t do a receiving line at the reception, but while everyone was lined up to order their food my husband and I went down the line and greeted everyone while they waited. It worked out really well and helped fill the time that people were just standing around.”
courtesy of weddingbee.com
Love love love. Of course, there are so many other ways to keep on truckin’ even if there are no trucks.
At my sister and brother-in-law’s wedding a couple years ago, there was a break between the ceremony and reception for the bridal party to get pictures; so, while everyone else was enjoying a wide assortment of hors d’oeuvres and cocktails, the bridal party was schlepping through a park trying to capture the perfect shot. Matt and Jess (the SIL and BIL) didn’t want their favorite people to suffer however and provided all of us with White Castle burgers and fries to go, as a tied-me-over ’til dinner.
You might also consider:
- Food Carts
- Hot Dog Stands
- Popcorn Machines
- Goody Bags
- Krispy Kreme Doughnuts
- Late Night Pizza Delivery
- Midnight Snacks
- Homemade Treats
December 6, 2011
courtesy of onewed.com
Who doesn’t love the holidays? The gathering of family and friends. The music. The food. The fun. The laughter. The extra time off work (wink, wink). ‘Tis true, my friends. The holiday season really is “the most wonderful time of the year!”
Therefore, I would like to encourage all my lovely ladies in waiting to use this time of year to rev their wedding planning engines into warp speed. Take advantage of all the small pleasures the holidays bring and use them to start checking things off… after all, Santa’s not the only one making a list and checking it twice… you are too!
So, before things get too crazy, consider using some of the following tactics to make the most of your season’s greetings:
- Because the holidays create a time to gather all your loved ones in one area, you can easily get and share advice with other / former brides-to-be. Ask family and friends for their top do’s and don’ts; so, you know what to look for and what to avoid.
- If you find yourself hosting a party, take this time to test out potential caterers, florists, bakers, etc. It’s an ideal time to “try out” who will have what it takes to impress all your guests!
- Since many people vacation during holidays, get with your bridesmaids and go dress shopping. Not only will they provide an honest reaction to your wedding gown options, but you can also start to see what bridesmaids’ dress styles will work for them.
- Take time to practice wedding day hair and makeup. Whether you’re doing it yourself or getting it done, chances are it’s going to be something fancier than usual; so, what better way to show off a fabulous look than when surrounded by family and friends?
- Even benefit from bad weather. After the holiday shopping rush is over and snow is still on the ground, people tend to snuggle up and stay in. I say, “Get out!” Go exploring for interesting ceremony and reception sites, and don’t be afraid to try something new… it just might end up being your ideal location.
- On a tight budget? No problem! There are innumerable post holiday sales that you can gobble up, which will surely help you get the most bang for your buck!
- If anything, use the holiday season to get organized. If you’re sending out holiday cards, you’ll more than likely have a list or people and addresses that you’ll need for invitations. Keep this list handy and be one more step ahead of the game!
Thanks for stopping by and cheers to many, MANY years of happiness!
November 29, 2011