Wrapped in Love: 5 Unique Wedding Shower Gifts

courtesy of clker.com

courtesy of clker.com

First and foremost, before I being the list of MK’s top picks for unique and fabulous wedding shower gifts, I need to begin with a disclaimer… because like 99.9% of all wedding details, the shower gift should be all about

the bride!!!

… and groom.

Haha!

So, my disclaimer is this:

Before you even consider your shower gift, consider the bride, her groom, their taste and your relationship with each. Sure, everyone wants to give a gift that stands out… just don’t be the girl who gives one that would cause them to walk out after :)

For example, if you’re dealing with an infamously picky bride who you don’t know as well as others? Stick to the registry. I repeat, Stick.To.The.Registry :)

But if you’re attending a shower of a family member or friend who you know, love and understand? Don’t be afraid to have a little fun and buy something brilliant! Below are five such examples of gifts that may not be registered for, but just may be the one thing she’ll love the most!

1 | Forget the Registry, Pamper the Bride. While this might not seem like the most couple-centric gift in the world, trust&believe, it’s one that they’ll both benefit from! Planning a wedding can be stressful; so, by giving the bride a gift of pampering herself with a spa, you’ll not only help make her feel better… but her beau-to-be, as well. I mean, hello??? Who doesn’t like a happy, healthy lady ;)

courtesy of swizzyland.wordpress.com

courtesy of swizzyland.wordpress.com

2 | Personalized Glassware. This is one I can personally vouch for! Every bridal shower registry I’ve ever seen always has some sort of wine, mug, whiskey, champagne flute glassware on it… So, it’s really amazing when you show up with something of equivalent quality personalized just for the soon-to-be newlyweds! Not only is it unique and sentimental, but it’ll be something they’ll have and use for years!

courtesy of marilynskeepsakes.com

courtesy of marilynskeepsakes.com

To view a wide variety of affordable and engraved glassware, check out our selection of personalized barware :)

3 | Add a Personal Fave to a Registry Staple. If you’re more of a traditionalist and live or die by the registry, no worries! This list is still for you! You don’t have to stray from the registry to still give the bride and groom something unique! For example, if you get them wine glasses, accompany it with your favorite bottle. Or perhaps you’ll purchase a crockpot; well, then why not start a custom crockpot recipe book? Purchasing a set of bowls? Perf! What could be greater than filling them with supplies for delicious ice cream sundaes?? Um, nothing! Haha!

courtesy of bostonmagazine.com

courtesy of bostonmagazine.com

4 | Date Night Money. Okay, so I realize money walks / money talks doesn’t seem like that unique of an idea, but it is if you center it around the notion it’s to be used for a pre-wedding date night :) All too often, couples become consumed by all the planning, they forget the courting. So, give them a reminder by providing them with some spending money specifically for an ooh la la evening out. If you worry money is too generic, specify the deal by catering to their tastes: movie passes and a gift certificate to their favorite restaurant, tickets to the theater or their fave sporting event, an overnight stay in a fancy hotel, etc.

courtesy of brimcdanielblog.com

courtesy of brimcdanielblog.com

5| Customized Honeymoon Things. Depending on your closeness with the couple, personalizing their honeymoon stuff can be super fun. I’ve seen everything from custom luggage tags to Swarovski bedazzled bikini bottoms, featuring the Mrs. {fill in new last name here}. Plus, you only get to be newlyweds for so long; so, why not let them revel in all the Mr. & Mrs. accessories while they can?

courtesy of aliexpress.com

courtesy of aliexpress.com

Shower Power: 4 Fabulously Fun Decoration Ideas

courtesy of noimpactbride.com

courtesy of noimpactbride.com

Ladies and well, ladies ;)… start your DIY engines and rev into some of today’s most fun wedding shower decoration ideas! (& yes, I’m totally talking in exclamation point, because I want y’all to be just as hype as me about some of these ahhh(to the)mazing decorating ideas!

Now, we all know, it part of the obligatory duties for a bride-to-be to have a shower. Whether its thrown by a favorite cousin, a fancy bridesmaid, a mom (be it by relation or soon to be marriage) or otherwise, it’s always fun to dress – in the case of a shower, your space! – to impress!

OBVS, depending on where the shower is thrown, it’s key to keep the room – be it someone’s home or some place rented – in the forefront of consideration for decorating. That disclaimer aside, let’s look at these 5 Decorating Dreams below :)

1 | It’s all about air… Balloons, that it! So, I recently attended a bridal shower and absolutely fell in la-Louvre with their OVERfilled, OVERabundant use of balloons. It was fabulous incarnate. Legit, the place was floor to ceiling balloons, and it looked all kinds of incredible! But not only did they achieve an awesome look, but they were more than happy brag about the cost! Balloons are Peep-styled cheap, ladies; so, pending a rental fee on a helium tank… you can get some serious bang for your buck with these festive floaters :)

collage courtesy of mph.ie

collage courtesy of mph.ie

2 | Monochromatic Marvel. Pick a color… any color… and then??? Go absolutely NUTS with it! Like really go nuts with it! And don’t just use one shade of it — use all of them, haha! It really creates for a dramatic look :) Now, while it’s best to pick one of the bride-to-be’s wedding colors, but again, if the space doesn’t allot for any kind of coordination, it’s always safe and easy to go neutral and still make a place pop :) Thinks crisp whites, creamy linens, sparkling silvers and  tawny taupes. Are you picturing it? Good, now picture it everywhere and fall in love!

collage courtesy of theweddingspecialists.net

collage courtesy of theweddingspecialists.net

OR…

collage courtesy of ashleyholmgren.blogspot.com

collage courtesy of ashleyholmgren.blogspot.com

3 | Have an Issue? Here’s a Tissue. (& lots of it!!) Just like the balloons above, tissue paper is a super cheap way to be a decorating diva! If you’re a lady who loves to DIY, there’s no better decorating companion than this thinly sliced paper! From poms and flowers to table runners and ceiling danglers, tissue paper is fun, easy and low cost way to make ‘em go “Ooh lala!”

collage courtesy of thai.alibaba.com

collage courtesy of thai.alibaba.com

4 | Be a Theme Queen. Is the bride really into 1920′s glam? Or mayhaps superheroes are her thing? Does she gaga for Lady Gaga? Absolutely ape over all things royal? If your lady in waiting is really into something – be it an era, a book, a way of life, etc. – give her a really memorable shower and decorate it around her interest. Not only will this narrow down your options, it’ll create a whole lot of fun in the process too!

collage courtesy of burnettsboards.com

collage courtesy of burnettsboards.com

 

7 Unique Bridal Shower Ideas She’ll Love

courtesy of woodlandsbride.com

courtesy of woodlandsbride.com

Alright, ladies, everyone knows being a bridesmaid isn’t cheap. Being that I’ve been one a schmilly times over (#truestory); at the very least, find comfort in knowing you’re in good company ;)

But alas, I digress, because even if you’re a real life 27 dresses like this fine piece of real estate or a bridal party rookie, throwing an awesomesauce shower for your bride-to-be is simply one of the many responsibilities of the ‘maids. After all, <fingers crossed> she’s only gonna get to do this once; so, as amazeballs bridesmaids, we wanna make sure it counts.

Mae West put it best, “You only live once, but if you do it right, once is enough.”

Substitute “live” with “marry,” and I believe you have all the reason you need to make sure her shower is nothing short of spectacular! Below are 7 Ideas to help inspire just that :)

1 | Dress in Theme. There are very few times in one’s life when it is socially acceptable to wear white head to toe, and being a bride, you own that right. So, in the case of the shower, let the bride bedazzle everyone in a hot-to-trot white dress; while the rest of you whip out your best little black dress. I mean, hello?? Win / Win! Bride in white and everyone else rockin’ out LBD style!

courtesy of fabulousarizona.com

courtesy of fabulousarizona.com

2 | Bling It Out w/ Ring Pops. Everyone knows the baby shower clothespin game (say “baby” and give up the pin), but in the case of the wedding shower, swap “baby” for “bride” and give out Ring Pops instead! It’s a tasty twist to a traditional engagement and will keep your guests engaged the entire time!

courtesy of chrismoncusphoto.com

courtesy of chrismoncusphoto.com

3 | Ensure the Use of NEW Utensils. Consider your wedding registry; if you haven’t ever had one, consider what you’ve bought in the past… Pots, Pans and Blenders, oh my! That’s right. So much kitchen gear! So, why not ensure she’ll get good use of them by having guests RSVP with their favorite recipes?! Then, you can compile them in a special keepsake cookbook for the bride-to-be to take with her when she goes!

courtesy of muchmorethanthebirds.blogspot.com

courtesy of muchmorethanthebirds.blogspot.com

4 | Mmm Mmm Mimosas. Whether you’re throwing an early morning brunch crunch or late afternoon shindig, consider setting up a mimosa bar for guests to enjoy! Not only will the drinks look beautiful and taste yummy, but they will also help keep the guests loose and in good conversation. It’s all about mixing, mingling and making friends, people!

courtesy of kojo-designs.com

courtesy of kojo-designs.com

5 | Creative Cakes FTW. And speaking of things looking beautiful and tasting yummy, don’t be afraid to have fun with the dessert! Whether you DIY it yourself and put it on order for someone else, coming up with a super tasty treat that double as decor, is always a crowd pleaser!

courtesy of thepartydress.net

courtesy of thepartydress.net

6 | Involve the Groom. Alright, so everyone KNOWS it’s the bride’s day ;), but she wouldn’t have her day, if it weren’t for the man waiting at the end of the aisle; so, why not involve him in the shower? (Dudes, don’t worry, I’m not asking you to come! Haha!) But you could do a newlywed game show inspired shower game. Ask the groom questions about their relationship beforehand and see how many his lady-in-waiting can answer! It’s also a great way for people who maybe don’t know the couple that well to get to know them :)

courtesy of lisahadleystudios.wordpress.com

courtesy of lisahadleystudios.wordpress.com

7 | Don’t Forget to Bow the Rehearsal Bouquet. As the bride opens her ribbon covered gifts, don’t forget to have one of the ‘maids use a paper, plastic or whatever plate is available (!!!) to gather them altogether and create a bouquet that she’ll be able to use at the rehearsal. *Also, don’t forget that for every ribbon she breaks = one future child! This is especially fun for the grandmas-to-be :)

courtesy of whitmeyerphotography.blogspot.com

courtesy of whitmeyerphotography.blogspot.com

Snapchat Styled Reception: Speed Photos with the Newlyweds for the WIN!

courtesy of mashable.com

courtesy of mashable.com

A few weekend’s back, I had the honor and privilege to attend my cousin’s (wad up, Cort!) wedding in Arizona. Set on the beautiful grounds of Carefree Resort right outside of Phoenix, it was my first time seeing the desert… and it absolutely blew me away.

Now, I’m not saying I could handle the 120+ dry heat in the summertime, but warm 80′s and cool breezes or March?  Bring it.  Haha!

But for cereal, the backdrop of the entire evening was sweeping views of sunset, desert and scenery… took homegirl’s breath away.  I might even go as far to say, it was one of the prettiest weddings I’ve ever seen… that’s right, SEEN!  As in real life, reality TV or otherwise.  I’m telling you… s.t.u.n.n.i.n.g.  (Sadly, I was a fail, and only managed to take #selfies – woofiest; so, please enjoy these promotional shots from their website, haha!)

courtesy of carefree-resort.com

courtesy of carefree-resort.com

 

courtesy of carefree-resort.com

courtesy of carefree-resort.com

courtesy of carefree-resort.com

courtesy of carefree-resort.com

Seriously.Dead.From.All.The.Colors.

But stunning ceremony aside, my favorite part of the evening came right after dinner when the DJ announced that everyone needed to return to their seats for at least the next two and half minutes… Two and a half minutes?? Say whhhhaaaaa?? 

Then, the master of ceremonies’ emcee continued on by telling us just how much the bride – my cuz – and groom – her Daniel ;) – truly appreciated everyone for being there.  The newlywed Kennedys wanted to make sure to remember each guest who was a part of their big day, and in order to do this, they needed a picture with each and every one of us!

So, while Aram Khachaturian’s The Sabre Dance (trust me, you know the nightmare) played over the loudspeakers, Cortney and Daniel – followed freakishly quickly and closely by their photographer - ran frantically from table to table posing with each group of people.

Some of the shots were funny.  Some of them were serious.  Some – especially by the tables who had obviously been previously forewarned – were well planned out, while others were thrown together haphazardly and hilariously… But no matter what the outcome of the actual shot was… all of them were definitely 100% authentic and 100% amazing.

And what a great way to make instant memories and set the tone for the rest evening!!  Love love loved it and would love to see it at more receptions!!

Spring Wedding Dreams: 6 Tips for the Perfect Backyard Wedding

courtesy of layersoflovelyblog.com/

courtesy of layersoflovelyblog.com/

Spring is LITERALLY right around the corner, and as someone who spent the last several months buried under Indiana snow and ice, can I just say…

Okay, now that that’s out of the way :)

And nothing makes me more excited for spring than the thought of all the grooming, gardening and blossoming that comes along with it!  Add on to that the charm of a backyard wedding, and you might as well put me in hog heaven!!

For cereal, this year, I’ll be attending and a part of (yep, two more bridesmaid dresses added to the collection!) a half dozen wedding day nuptials, and the best part?  Over half are outdoors!!  Love. Love. Love.

Knowing that so many brides and grooms are opting for the outdoors, I gathered 7 of the best tips to ensure your in-the-elements nuptials go as smoothly as possible.

1 | Solar Powered Chandeliers. Okay, how to words??  This idea is so awesome; I’m literally rendered speechless! Not only do the chandeliers provide something spectacular to look at during the daylight, but as the sun sets, they’ll powered up to provide all kinds of luminescent pretty!

courtesy of glitterinc.com

courtesy of glitterinc.com

2 | Glow Baby Glow. Flying off the coattails of the theme above, another great way to get that glow is by painting pots with glow in the dark paint!  Available in a variety of colors, these unique additions really come to life after being fueled by the sun all day… creating an unmatched ambiance :)

courtesy of dornob.com

courtesy of dornob.com

3 | Diaper Dandy Hanging Plants.  Sooo, a little less glamorous than its above counterparts, but brilliant nonetheless!  Every wonder how to keep your potted plants swinging without risking dirty water drippage?  Um, hellllooo?!?!  Simply add a diaper to the bottom above the original base, and viola! Mess free success!

courtesy of ladybirdln.com

courtesy of ladybirdln.com

4 | Vase Valence for Fences. Both economical AND beautiful, this budget friendly bloom is great for a DIY bride to go nuts on!  Between the shapes, sizes and colors of glass bottles and the floral friends that will be accompanying them, the options are practically limitless!  And when you knot them along a fence, the look is nothing short of stunning!

courtesy of thefarmersnest.com

courtesy of thefarmersnest.com

**Extra Tip** No fence?  That’s fine!  The bottles can also be hung from tree branches, posts or whatever!  Get creative :)

5 | Further Fence Fashion w/ Mirrors. Absolutely – hands down – adore this!  Talk about getting more bang for your buck! Using framed or hung mirrors through your setting will immediately create the illusion of more space and grandeur!  Not to mention, it can also be a cheap and fun DIY project :)

courtesy of notjustahousewife.net

courtesy of notjustahousewife.net

6 | Bring the Indoors, Outdoors.  Love love love the use of indoor furniture outdoors.  There’s just something fun and whimsical about an oversized couch or lounge furniture decorating a backyard that just makes me happy :)

courtesy of theardentsparrow.blogspot.com

courtesy of theardentsparrow.blogspot.com

Agree or Disagree: Problems Only Bridesmaids Will Understand

courtesy of blog.quickflix.com.au

courtesy of blog.quickflix.com.au

For the majority of females, between the ages of 20-35, you have more than likely experienced THEE experience of being a bridesmaid.  Being 30 myself, I’ve been in my fair share, and as such, have seen first hand how things can sometimes not go according to plan.

Recently, one of the most ridiculous (and one of my favorite) websites ever, buzzfeed.com, came out with an article highlighting what they saw as problems only bridesmaids would understand.  While some of them were definitely outrageous and were meant more to insight humor, rather than factual information… I couldn’t help but find myself nodding along in agreement to several of them.

Below is some of the more pertinent, universal problems, I believe bridesmaids will experience at least once during their service in a wedding party.

1. Money. Money. Money. Money. (pause) MONEY!  I’ve been in enough weddings to know that being a bridesmaid quickly takes a toll on your disposable income.  Sure, it may not seem so bad because the expenses are spread out over the course of several months. But one look at the chart below, and there’s no denying you’ll be spending a pretty penny.

courtesy of memorablegifts.com

courtesy of memorablegifts.com

2. Your Social Media + Social Calendar will be Taken Over. From Pinterest and Facebook to Instagram and SnapChats, ladies, it’s time to prepare yourselves for the bridal invasion.  Of course, all these social media networks will only further remind you of your social calendar events

3. Uncomfortable Shoes, Unflattering Dress.  Of course, famously or infamously, most brides will lay claim to the ever present mantra of, “And they’re so great, you can wear them again!”  {insert eye roll here}  Granted, bridesmaids’ dresses have come a long way since our mama’s days, but… I’m gonna be real honest with you, 9 times out of 10, you still will never re-wear any part of it.  You just won’t.  But find comfort in the fact that no one else will either :)

courtesy of someecards.com

courtesy of someecards.com

4. Drunk, Over-Emotional Bridesmaids.  You know there will be at least one in every crowd.

courtesy of lovelyprettycheerythings.blogspot.com

courtesy of lovelyprettycheerythings.blogspot.com

5. Drunk, Under-Rational Groomsmen. Yep, they’re even worse.

courtesy of scottandtemphotography.com

courtesy of scottandtemphotography.com

Not to mention, keeping feuding family members at bay, helping the bride go to the restroom, dealing with the inevitable bridal hierarchy, etc.  Being a bridesmaid can be a lot of work, but let’s be real, at the end of the day, we’re all still honored to be asked… and celebrate a girl who loves us enough to have us there in the first place :)

courtesy of blog.shootq.com

courtesy of blog.shootq.com

For more issues like these and buzzfeed.com’s full list, click here.

7 Super Fun, Super Unique Wedding Ideas

courtesy of lixximphotography.com

courtesy of lixximphotography.com

Every bride wants to have a day that is one for the memory books – both rightfully and deservedly so!  Therefore, when planning your wedding day, one of the best pieces of advice to follow is deeply embedded into the wise words shown below:

People may not remember exactly what you did, or what you said, but they will always remember how you made them feel.

Same is true for your wedding day.  Very few people will remember what they ate, what you wore or how the tables were decorated, but they will most definitely remember if they had a good time!  In order to make your wedding day as fun as possible, try incorporating some of the below suggestions into your party planning to maximize the amusement!

1.  Serve Signature Drinks and / or Brews.  Whether your create an original concoction or simply provide your favorite beer, wine or spirit, it’s always fun to offer your preferred beverage to your guests.  **For the budget savvy, this is also a great way to cut the open bar budget without cutting it out entirely.  Below are the cards I made for my brother’s wedding this past October.

courtesy of me :)

courtesy of me :)

courtesy of me :)

courtesy of me :)

2.  Create Mixed Tape Wedding Favors, a Treat for the Eyes (AND) the Ears.  In lieu of the more traditional wedding favors, burn CD’s of your favorite and / or wedding songs that will accompany each guest home.  Every time they pop it in, they’ll be transported back to pop-lock-n-droppin on your big day!

courtesy of weheartit.com

courtesy of weheartit.com

3.  Have a (Pre)Wedding Party Field Day.  While some bridal parties may all know each other, the chances of that happening are very slight.  Because most are made up of a mix of friends during all points of your lives, it’d be nice for them to have an opportunity to hang prior to the wedding.  So, why not invite all your bridesmaids and groomsmen out for a field day of fun, games, mixing and mingling?  It’s like old school enjoyment at its finest!

courtesy of foxxfoe.blogspot.com

courtesy of foxxfoe.blogspot.com

4.  Glorify Your Dance Floor with Glitter.  Pending on where your reception is, often times, the venues will offer certain “flair fillers” to really make your reception unique to you.  I recently attended a wedding where they did it, and it was absolutely divine!  Think Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show, except with less intimidating figures ;)

courtesy of Victoria's secret via justjared.com

courtesy of Victoria’s secret via justjared.com

5.  Provide Some Room on the RSVP for a Song Choice.  I absolutely la-Louvre when brides and grooms do this!  I helped my cousin (wad up, Kimmi!) plan her big day, and we were DYING over some of the right-in suggestions.  Everything from ridiculous Alma Mater fight songs to ones that we had all but forgotten – very awesome!

courtesy of capitolromance.com

courtesy of capitolromance.com

6.  Incorporate your Baby Pictures with Table Numbers.  Remember your awkward years appropriately.  For each table, provide an image of you and yours that corresponds with the correct number.  For example, at table one, put each pick o photo from when you were one to help provide decorum.  If for nothing else, they provide great conversation pieces!

courtesy of pinterest.com

courtesy of pinterest.com

7.  Make ‘em Say Cheese.  And you can never go wrong with a well-equipped photo booth!  Whether providing a machine or a photographer run ensemble, providing a photobooth gives you instant memories you’ll easily laugh at for years!

courtesy of cakechooser.com

courtesy of cakechooser.com

Bridal Buzz: 6 Simple Tips to Make Wedding Planning Easier

courtesy of Lazaro via jlmcouture.com

courtesy of Lazaro via jlmcouture.com

Give yourself a break, ladies!  Wedding planning can be rough, and the more you stress, the rougher it can get.  And the rougher “it” gets, the rougher you’ll get… and I can’t be having any of my bridal beauty queens looking or feeling anything but FAB(to the)ULOUS on their wedding day!!

So, here are 7 Tips & Tricks (you might not have thought of) to make your planning all the easier on you!

1 |  Create a new email account specifically for wedding planning.  If you’re anything like me, you probably already have more than one email address.  One for work.  One for play.  One for Junk, and one for “I’m not sure what I was thinking and / or am embarrassed that I bought from there” emails.  Yep, guilty :)  So, by creating a fresh new account, you’ll keep everything in one place and – more importantly – away from any other distraction!

courtesy of google.com

courtesy of google.com

2 |  Use a personalized return address stamp.  And save LOADS of time on addressing all the invites and thank you cards you’ll need to send.  Trust(&)Believe, when I say this is a HUGE time saver!  Plus, with all the designs out there to choose from, it’ll even add cool, custom look to whatever you’re mailing.  Win / Win!

courtesy of Studio255 via etsy.com

courtesy of Studio255 via etsy.com

3 |  Number your RSVP Cards.  That way, each number will correspond to a particular invite, and you’ll easily be able to decipher illegible names or who has yet to get back to you at all.  In a perfect, this wouldn’t be needed, but let’s be real, we all people who will drop the ball  - mayhaps even some of us have been guilty a time or two :) – and this just makes it easy.

courtesy of lavastationery.com.au

courtesy of lavastationery.com.au

4 |  Break in your bridal shoes.  I’d like to think this one goes without saying, but as every bride might not be the I-have-two-closets-one-for-my-clothes-and-one-for-my-shoes type, it’s vital to stress just how IMPORTANT it is for your shoes to be properly broken in.  Wear them while doing laundry or watching a movie.  Put them on while vacuuming or simply lounging around… just make sure to put them on and break them in!

courtesy of elegantweddingconcept.com

courtesy of elegantweddingconcept.com

5 |  Create a list contacts for vendors to call on your wedding day.  Let’s be real, you need to be worried about gettin’ your hur and makeup did and lookin’ Beyonce level *F*L*A*W*L*E*S*S*  No need for you to deal with last minute questions; so, create a list of people you trust to handle certain situations, and let them handle it.  Even if they have to come to you for verification, at least you’ll remain hands-free :)

courtesy of PaintTheDayDesigns via etsy.com

courtesy of PaintTheDayDesigns via etsy.com

6 |  Use Postcards for Thank You’s.  And cut out the middle man of the envelop altogether.  No more sticky sealing or additional postage; just a crisp, clean alternative to a newlywed’s must do list.  Use a picture from your wedding to create something even more sentimental… not to mention adorably distracting!  People are less likely to notice if you got writer’s cramp at 2am and had to write a little less ;)

courtesy of nostalgicimprints.com

courtesy of nostalgicimprints.com

Winter Wedding Reception Trend Alert: Bring the Outside In

courtesy of christianothstudio.com

courtesy of christianothstudio.com

This past weekend I attended a grand wedding (congrats again, Joey and Megs!) at the Crowne Plaza Grand Hotel in downtown Indianapolis.  Part of the historical Union Station, this black tie optional, evening event was nothing short of opulent and amazing!  Truly, it was a dream :)

I could go on and on with things I found interesting and appealing, but rather than bore the blogosphere with my rampant ramblings, I’ll focus on one trend that really stood and has been supported by the likes of David Tutera and Martha Stewart… and that’s to bring the outside world into your indoor celebration!

With outdoor and rustic weddings becoming more and more popular with each coming year, it’s no wonder that this kind of decorating detail is nothing short of HUH-UGE to winter wedding settings.  Sure, every one loves the extravagance of crystal chandeliers and dazzling icicle designs for winter’s wedded bliss, but there is a warmth and richness that comes from bringing in the beauty of nature to your big day!

While the Crowne Plaza in Union Station – a majestically reformed old train station – is already a ahhh(to the)mazing setting in and of itself… see for yourselves below :)

courtesy of seanmolin.com

courtesy of seanmolin.com

Joey and Megan did a spectacular job at bringing the outside in with grand scaled centerpieces and rustic details, which paried perfectly with the old train station charm.  It was the kind of eye-catching beautiful that you would normally see in the movies.  And I mean that in the most literal sense possible: my eyes were caught and feverishly dancing from detail to detail in mad procession.

While J & M decided to bring the outside in with rustically matched decor, that’s not the only way winter brides can exploit this trend!

Consider dangling icicle lights to create either an outdoor crystallizing effect or rather, a wintery starlit sky, like below…

courtesy of afaeryorchardproject.blogspot.com

courtesy of afaeryorchardproject.blogspot.com

Bring in branches, and create a look that has storybook fairytale written all over it.  You can even do it in HD color like a David Tutera dream…

courtesy of davidtutera.com

courtesy of davidtutera.com

…orrr keep it simple, sleek and chic in all white…

courtesy of bridalguide.com, marzime.hubpages.com and celebritystyleweddings.com

courtesy of bridalguide.com, marzime.hubpages.com and celebritystyleweddings.com

Combine one of the looks above with lots and LOTS of candles, and you’ll create a wintery look that is both merry, bright and bound to delight!

courtesy of onewed.com

courtesy of onewed.com

Fill your space wisely with snowflake lighting that not only looks spectacular, but also functions seamlessly:

courtesy of onewed.com

courtesy of bridalguide.com

But no matter what you do, just be sure to have fun with it!

Throwing a Bridal Shower for the 21st Century Bride

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Let’s face it: getting married today is not like is was 50 years ago – heck, 30 years ago if we’re being realistic – and 10, if we’re completely honest :)  Brides and weddings today are no longer the cookie cutter ceremonies of our grandparent’s era – no sir!  In fact, they are very far from it.

Recently, I had the extreme fortune of being a part of such a discussion with my grandma, good ‘ole Dottie :)  Now, you see, Dottie, is from a very, very old school of thought.  Turning 87 this year, her and my grandfather have been married for 64 years!  And that, my friends, is nothing to shake a stick at!

Anyhoot, in lieu of my baby brother getting married this weekend, there has been nothing but wedding around the family water coolers, and as Jamie – the future bride-to-be – was discussing some of the final details of seating chart drama, Gramma Dottie couldn’t help but let out a large, low, long winded whistle, commenting, “Man, this sure ain’t like it used to be.  We served cold cuts at our reception, and there wasn’t all this fiddle about who could sit with whom or who was or wasn’t speaking to, for or against the other… eesh.”  Another long whistle and she was gone.  Haha!

This got me thinking about how much really has changed and how dissimilar things really are… how dynamic and different each couple’s situation is.  Today’s bride, not only comes in all sorts of shapes, sizes and styles, but she also comes from a completely different background, school of thought and altogether situation in general.  Couples today aren’t just marrying each other, pending their age, race and religion match.  No way.  No how.  More and more couples today – in fact – are marrying who they want, how they want and when they want.

Sometimes, (Gramma, close your ears) sometimes, couples even choose to not get married at all!  Sometimes, they just live together with no deadline or direction on making it official  And when (or if) they do choose to make it official, for some, it might not be the first time they did.  For some, it might be the second or third  or fourth time around!  I think you get my point…

Marriages today are extremely unique – each providing a different situation to the next, and one area I’ve really seen this being broadcasted is in the wedding showers!  Recently, I’ve attended several of these “unique circumstances” showers, and it was very interesting the take some took.  Whether it was the couple’s second marriage or they’d already been living together or because they were getting married later in life and already had everything they needed, each shower was structured in the same uinique way as the couple, and it was very fun to be a part of!  Below are some examples:

  1. Let’s Hear it for a Holiday Theme.  I went to one shower that was holiday themed.  The couple had been living together for several years and had pretty much already established all the typical shower stuff  (ie. plates, appliances, kitchen utensils, towels, etc.).  So, they thought it would be fun to have a shower where each guest bring some sort of holiday decor — be it for Christmas, Halloween, Thanksgiving, Valentine’s Day etc.  That way, when they were decorating for all the most festive times of the year, they’d have all the ones they loved with them as well :)
  2. Looking to Build on Love.  For another shower, the bride and groom had both previously been married with children but had been living separately.  After months of searching, they finally found a home that would accomodate both families post nuptials – an old, super duper, fixer upper.  While neither one was keen on having a shower – as they both still had gifts from the first time around – their families insisted.  Hence, the Live off Lowe’s gift card shower was born!  Rather than going out and spending money on new place settings, the couple received money to go towards fixing up their new home.  Absolutely loved this!
  3. Not Big Enough for a Shower, just a Little Sprinkle instead.  (This is mayhaps my favorite!)  In this case, neither the bride or groom had been married before, but they were both in their forties, well established in their careers and home appliances.  Therefore, the couple’s friends chose to give them both a “Sprinkle” where they rented out a room at their favorite restaurant – the one where they went on their first date – and had guests bring well wishes, favorite stories or marital advice for the soon to be newlyweds.  It was sosososooo cute, and the couple really loved it!
  4. Wine  for the Win!  Okay, this was my favorite :)  Haha!  In this case, the futire Mr. and Mrs. were huge wine connoisseurs and collectors.  So, rather than have a typical shower, they threw a party for friends and family and simply asked that each bring their favorite bottle of wine to help fill their cellar with love, support and above all, the deliciousness of fermented grapes :)

So, you see, no matter what the situation, just find the one that’s right for you, and if it hasn’t already been invented, be the trailblazer and make a new one!  Who knows, you might just end up being a trendsetter too :)