Winter Wedding Reception Trend Alert: Bring the Outside In

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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 :)

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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…

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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…

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

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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!

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

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

A Return to Formality: Serving Sit Down, Plated Dinners after the I Do’s

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Alright, ladies and gents, let’s point the pinkies outward and get classy for a moment, shall we?

<sips champagne from her Waterford crystal… and go>

While weddings have always been and will continue to be an affair for every bride and groom to plan as they see fit, there has been a definite resurgence of refinery as of recent years… and the pip pip cheerio of it all has me pleasantly surprised :) Sure, this kind of a sophisticated splendor never really went away, but one way that it’s really made an impact of late is in plated dinners at reception hall feasts.

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Talk about decadently delightful :)

During an interview with Bridal Guide, Elizabeth Creasey of an LA based catering company, WHOA, Nelly! stated one of their current, biggest requests from Hollywood A-Listers in reference to these plated feasts is for gold silverware, suggesting a “more sophisticated” affair.  Check out below for some examples of this golden boy appeal :)

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And if adding entree choices to your buffet free meal is an option, might I suggest you consider adding a dish that showcases either yours, his or both your cultural culinary?  This is an extremely popular take for brides and grooms cross all cultures, and it adds an additional touch of sentimentality to an already beautiful occasion.

But if you’re wondering what to offer that will have mouths watering for more, why not try 2013′s go to dish wish: pork!  ‘Tis true, kiddos.  Apparently pork has become the go-to meat for today’s modern wedding settings.  While it is one of the oldest and most commonly consumed meats all over the world, it also has the ability to be transformed into sooo many delicious dishes… so, forks up, porks up!  Ha, I couldn’t resist :)

But no matter what you decide – buffet styled, plated meals, pitch in or otherwise – just be sure you make it your own :)

Wild Card Wedding Trend: Brides + Grooms who Kick Back + Campout

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Last summer when Matthew McConaughey tied the knot with long time girlfriend, Camila Alves, in front of 100 of their closest family and friends, a new trend was born!  According to US Magazine, McConaughey and Alves took their guests, which included famed Woody Harrelson and filmmaker Richard Linklater on a “high end” camping themed wedding adventure at their home in Austin, Texas.

But this was not just your average, childhood, sleep-away camp escapade.  Sure, the couple reconstructed their property into a campsite, but that doesn’t mean guests were roughing it by any sense of the phrase!  McConaughey and Alves not only offered the option of “celebrating all night long, camping out in state-of-the-art tents set up on [the couple's] property,” but they also offered showers, restrooms AND air-conditioning!  (Maybe the good ‘ole Kidwell family should’ve taken lessons from this duo before taking us on one of their camping “extravaganzas.” Ppppfffttt.

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In regards to this kind of star-studded nuptial digs, however?  Um, yes please!  And I’m not the only one!  Because celebrities tend to celebrate our biggest fashion and social trends, it’s no wonder that this idea took flight for brides and grooms planning their  2013 nuptials!

Coined “glamping,” grown up or glamorous camping has become all the rage with today’s modern brides and grooms looking to have a little fun!  According to Bridal Guide, couples are finding the idea of an adult version of summer camp super fun and a way to keep the celebration going.  Thus, paying proper homage to their ceremonial “I do’s.”

Not only that, but just like Matthew and Camila, they’re also doing it in style!  These wedding themed campgrounds aren’t filled with leaky, over heated, days of Yore tents covered melted ‘mallows.  Oh no.  Brides and grooms taking on grownup camping are all about serving up guests with oversized, ultra luxe tents, complete with electricity and fresh linens!  Talk about a new take on an old tradition!

Absolutely love love love this?  But how about you?  Would any of you turn your ceremony into a s’more-filled celebration?

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Introducing the 2013 Dream Team: New Year, New You, New Us & New Excitement

So, after a slight hiatus (so sorry to have been gone so long, loves!!), I’m super PUMPED to announce Marilyn’s Keepsakes is back to blogging and embracing all kinds of business boosting changes!!

That’s right, my fellow blog-a-teers and bride-to-be’ers, MK is gearing up for the New Year in a completely New Way!!!!!  And if the ultra ecstatic wording and excess use of exclamation points haven’t set your SQUEEE levels to the appropriate setting, please take into consideration the dancing doll-baby below!!!!! Haha!

^^Yep. That pretty much sums up my excitement level right now!^^

Firstly, the Blog is Back!! And will return to its former glory with dual weekly postings every Tuesday and Thursdays! So, mark your calenders, pretty ladies, and start your eCommerce loving engines.. because our journey back to awesome starts today!

“Why the sudden return to the bi-weekly awesomeness known as MK’s blog?” one might ask.

Well, that’s do entirely to the even bigger awesomeness that we are now under new management, ownership and overall ahhh(to the)mazing direction…  <enter stage right> Amy Furrow!!


No stranger to shooting for the stars and making big things happen, Ms. Furrow – our fearless leader and your new favorite retailer specialist! – has now set her sights on her growing passion for growing business… and the best part?  It’s all for you!

So, keep your eyes peeled, ears open and excitement levels engaged for all that’s in store!  And in the mean time, feel free to take a gander at our new digs, ya dig?


Oh No He Didn’t: Get Your Wedding Day GangSTAR On!

For serious, I just about DIED when I saw this tickle-me-pink treat this morning!  Sent to me from Ms. T (wad up, Lauren!), via, this one of a kind wedding day detail is just about as unique as they come.  Why? One may ask.  Well, to put it frankly, it’s because it’s about the groom!

All too often when it comes to wedding planning, grooms are rarely (if ever!) mentioned.  Falling to the wayside after the proposal, soon-to-be-hubbies almost always become props in their bride’s wedding day plans.  But the most amazeballs part is how gladly said grooms assume their role in the way, WAY back just to please their queens.  (Sigh)  Whether they don’t really care about the details or they simply care about her too much, I always seem to warm from the inside out at the thought of the notion :)

With that said, however, I also absolutely la-Louvre when a groom takes matters into his own hands (without roughing the bridal waters) and provides his lady with a special surprise, unique to his personality, as well as their love. 

Set up as anniversary present for his wife, Denne, Dan made a “slammin” rap mix for their one year celebration.  With the help of, Dan was able to put his lyrics to music and accompany it with photos from their wedding day.  Haha!  Too and much.  Check out below and see what I mean.

My only concern now is… who am I gonna make one of these treats for??  It’s not like you have to have a good voice to rap; you just have to have a voice!  Therefore, it’s something open for all!

Old Soles & Young Love: How the Wedding Shoe is Changing

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Like everything else in today’s modern weddings, the shoe selection has also taken on a less traditional approach.  No longer are the days of white and ivory pumps and black tuxedo shoes –  oh no, my friends!

Today’s modern brides and grooms are opting on the side of trendy and leaning towards shoes that showcase their personalities.  Sure, sure, everyone knows that wedding shoes with color have been around for a minute, but I’m not just talking about color.  I’m talking about e.v.e.r.y.t.h.i.n.g from color and comfort to crazy and charismatic.

Chuck Taylors are now the new fashion forward flats.  Cowboy boots are the edgier Manolo Blahniks, and trojan sandles are the cutting edge of slip-on’s. 

I’m telling you what, there just doesn’t seem to be a limit to what brides and grooms will wear… and I la-LOUVRE it!!  While I was all over the idea of colored shoes years ago, I can’t help but smile when I see this trend put into action.  Don’t believe me??  Just check below and see what I mean :)

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Congratu-gagement: Diamond Rings Ring in the New Year

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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, here are the top ten things newly engaged brides-to-be should do:

  1. 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!
  2. 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!
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. 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!
  6. 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.
  7. 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!
  8. 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!
  9. 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!
  10. 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! 

Winter Wonderland Weddings with Snowflake & Icicle Inspired Décor

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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.

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Sprinkle in snowflake lighting to really make ‘em ooh and ahh.

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Drizzle your decor with draped crystals and create the look of poshly lit icicles.

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Sculpt an impeccable setting with ice, mini floras and fur (yes fur!!)

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Cover up with a chic cardigan and take your gown to celebrity status.

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Or for the super sassy, try a frisky fur wrap!

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Make your cake top pop with Old Man Winter’s prettiest creations.

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Surround your guest with chilling-inspired love from floor to ceiling — this is by FAR my fave!!!

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Let Your Guests Keep on Truckin’ with Late Night Meals on Wheels

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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.”

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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

Real Life Wedding: Falling in Love is BEST Packaged by Family Fun

The gorgeous bride and her handsome groom. (courtesy of

Recently I had the distinct pleasure of not only attending but also rockin’ it out as a bridesmaid at my cousin Kimberly Lynn’s wedding.  Marrying the man of her dreams, the former Ms. Kidwell wed Brian Mitchell during a b.e.a.uuuutiful fall fiesta ceremony in the heartland of the Midwest.  Surrounded by their closest 450 - give or take – family and friends, the duo said “I do” at Kim’s childhood parish, St. Barnabus Catholic Church on October 15, 2011.

It was a celebration for the ages, sprinkled with all things fabulous, and to say it was a joy to be a part of it all would merely be the tip of the excitement iceberg!  As many weddings as I’ve attended (Kim and Brian’s marking the 50th the Mister and I have attended together alone!), it never ceases to amaze me at how original each one is… how the individuality of the bride, her groom and their families seem to take the same occasion and mark it with something genuinely unique, something uniquely them… I’m telling you, it’s something nothing short of amazeballs.

And because it’s always such an honor to be included in a celebration, I like to glorify the creativity of each by sharing it with the masses (you’re welcome, haha!) and posting it for all to see!  Below are some of my favorite parts… feel free to be inspired:

Post Rehearsal / Pre-Wedding Slumber Party.  Kim had all the girls over for a final Girl’s Night In after the rehearsal, and in a word, it was fantastic.  Giving one of the best attendant gifts ever, we celebrated the evening by watching one part of the gift,  Bridesmaids and secretly “ooh’ing and aww’ing” the other… unique bridesmaids’ jewelry – picked out by the bride herself – for us to where on the occasion.  Love love love!

How much do you la-Louvre those colors together? (courtesy of Google Images)

Killer Color Combo.  As sampled above with the bracelets, the colors were purple, orange and green.  The mother of the bride, my fabulous Aunt Gail, is a DIVA when it comes to decor; so, there was no doubt that the wedding would be nothing short of F.I.E.R.C.E. when it came to its overall layout… and I have to admit, just looking at the floral arrangements alone, you can see just how fierce it was… Tyra Banks, eat your heart out!

And yes, that would be my bouquet barely peaking in on the right and me totally cut out. Yep, haha! (courtesy of

The Bride wore Purple Pumps.  Keeping in theme with the wedding day and the trendy modern bride, Kimmi sported her best plum pumps for the occasion, and showed off her boogie shoes in style!

I wanna put on, my my my my my Boogie Shoes, and boogie with you! (courtesy of

Crowd Pleasing Priest, personalized by friendship.  Being graduates of the local Catholic high school (Roncalli, what?), Kim and I had the pleasure of seeing one of our former classmates (and prom kings!), Dustin Boehm, reach the high honor of joining the priesthood.  Kimmi decided no other priest would do, and Dustin, errr, cough cough, Father Boehm was the one chosen to oversee the whole newlywed nuptials!  He did such a Tony the Tiger GRRREEEAAAT job!

Father Boehm in person and in action! (courtesy of yours truly and

Father of the Bride Speech, marked with Love.  So, being a complete sentimental nut, one of my favorite parts of a wedding day is always the time honored father of the bride speech, and my Uncle Rich did not disappoint!  One of the best parts was when he totaled to the years of marriage Kim and Brian had backing them between the families, and because the Kidwell side is such a force to be reckoned with… he had all of us stand up and officially welcome Brian to the fam… all 900 and couting.  Haha! 

Kim giving her Papa a hug after his speech, so sweet! (courtesy of yours truly!)

Ceremony Shoes + Reception Runners.  Kim’s nephews, Jackson and Austin, rocked it out as ring bearers and were both equipped with wedding shoes for the ceremony and running shoes for the reception.  Genius.  I also like how they took it upon themselves to ditch their jackets, ties and tuxedo shirts as well.  Ahhh, boys :)

Work it out, Jackson! (courtesy of yours truly)

Glorious Groom’s Cake.  Vastly becoming one of my favorite parts of the reception, their Groom’s Cake was one of the best I’ve ever seen!  Courtesy of Cheryl Blessing of, K+B’s groom’s cake was representative of their hometown pride and their fanatical love for the NFL.  Kim, being a born and raised Indy girl, loves the Colts, and go figure, she falls in love with a Illinois native / Chicago Bear extremist.  Yep.  I can hope their kids are smart enough to make the right choice ;)

Touchdown perfection! (courtesy of

Epically assembled with dance circles, laughter and all kinds of greatness, I could go on and on (and ON!) about Kim and Brian’s wedding, but sadly, like all good things, this post has to have an ending.  So, here’s to Mr. and Mrs. Mitchell…

As you sit side by side on the roller coaster of life, remember to scream at the peaks, hold hands through the dips, laugh through the loops and enjoy every twist and turn!  We love love love you and cheers to many years of happiness!