Wedding Notes: Ceremony Music to Set the ‘I do’ Mood

courtesy of

courtesy of

If you’re a bride elbows deep in wedding planning, and you find yourself being just as nervous about choosing the music and entertainment as you are about picking the perfect dress, it’s important for you to know something… You.Are.Not.Alone.  For cereal, every bride – even the most calm, laid back ones – will know doubt have at least one “AHH!” / freakout moment during her planning.

I like to think it’s because – deep down – we’re all still little girls planning our perfect day, and even less deeper down, we all want the same thing — our wedding day to be a flawless celebration of love, laughter and whole lot of GET DOWN.  Duh!

Which is why it’s so important to set the mood from the start!

Because musical styles are as varied as snowflakes, it’s vital for couples to narrow down their tastes and choose accordingly.  By carefully integrating both you and your beau-to-be’s musical preferences with the overall vision of the big day, you have the opportunity to create the perfect combination of sights and sounds that will have guests ooh la la’ing long after the day is done.

For instance, if you’re envisioning a stately and dignified wedding, chances are a hip hop artist or punk rock band aren’t the best choices to set the musical mood for your ceremony. While their look, dress and lyrical styling’s are just what you and your guests might need to drop it like it’s hot at the reception, the wedding itself would be more suited for a softer sound.  Maybe try a string quartet, a chamber orchestra (for larger weddings) or a classical pianist.  All of these will lend an air of sophistication to the affair, which can seamlessly be transitioned from one part of the ceremony to the next.

If you’re hoping to set a quiet, ethereal, romantic mood, you might prefer to go with a harpist, rather than a high-powered blues band.  Not that blues isn’t AMAZE in its own right, it just may not be the best fit for “ethereal.”  You could also try a jazz ensemble to help maintain the quiet momentum of a mellower ceremony, as well as a classical or easy listening guitarist… since these would all tend to lend a lighter, calmer, “cooler” air to your wedding festivities.

Other than choosing a musical style and performer(s) that you and your guests will enjoy, the most important consideration is to integrate the music into the overall ceremony in such a way that it provides the perfect tonal backdrop against which your marriage ceremony may unfold.  (Golly I sound professional, don’t I?  Haha!)

In fact, the right music will provide an accompaniment that can blend so beautifully, it will simply become a part of the ceremony, rather than standing out on its own.  And who can’t appreciate that?

Just be sure to take time and really pick ceremony music that fits you and your mood.  After all, your ceremony is really what the day is all about; so, why not start it on the perfect note?  (Haha, musical joke!)

Swag Altar Style: Decorating Your Ceremony with Love (+ 6 Amazing Details)

Because it provides the soul purpose behind the big day, your wedding ceremony is now (and forever shall be) the most pivotal point of your entire wedding day. It’s the moment you finally get to say “I do” to your boo in front of all your closest family and friends; so, it’s important to have your personal style reflected in its epic significance. But how to do it? Here’s a list of the latest and greatest trends that chic couples everywhere are using to decorate their altars with their love:

Garlands. And I’m not just talking about your grandmama’s busted, green holiday garlands either!  I’m talking anything with #swag ;) Whether it’s lots of tiny strands of lights, feathers or paper cutouts sprinkled into the backdrop or full and quirky strings of pomanders that dazzle your ceremony settings, garlands can be done as big or small  been seen everywhere. Not to mention, the festive festoons make for as a great DIY project! Because it can be designed to complement any wedding, theme or color, garland truly is one of the most workable projects. White, honeycomb garlands look simple and elegant, silk petal garlands add a touch of natural beauty, and colorful pom strings give a sense of playfulness.

photos courtesy of LiaMiCasa via,,,, and

photos courtesy of LiaMiCasa via,,,, and

Branches. A popular option for outdoor or seaside nuptials, this rustic altar pays homage to the great outdoors. A close representation of beautifully washed-up tree branches, these structural beauties can be bare-boned branch simplicity or rustic fullness complete with twigs and leaves. Fashion into a simple arrangement or construct an entire canopy but be warned: this DIY may require the aid of a handy friend or carpenter.

photo courtesy of

Signs. As one of the newest trends to lend a hand, these altar ornaments tend to lean more toward the untraditional side of things. From smaller signs to bigger banners, this type of altar decorum is known to say anything from “L-O-V-E” to “Today Begins Our Happily Ever After”. Just make sure the words you choose truly reflect your personalities as a couple, and don’t be afraid to get creative.

courtesy of

courtesy of

Flowers. Floral arrangements are more customary as far as altar options go but still stunning, nonetheless. To make this altar accessory truly unique, fashion with the best of your garden desires: pears, ivy, flowers, birds, butterflies, palm fronds, etc.

courtesy of,, and

courtesy of,, and

Bamboo. Similar to the branch altar displays, bamboo beauts can have just as much rural appeal as they do beach time entanglement. Because of their sturdy – typically cleaner – construction, they also work incredibly for building altar archways. Embellish them with a seaside theme by adding seashell garlands, palm fronds, tropical flowers, streams of tulle, or simply leave as be for a more rustic touch.

photo courtesy of

Lanterns. Add to your wedding day glow by adorning your altar with floating lanterns. Essential for a nighttime ceremony, you can dangle these luminaries in an arc-shape, putting a romantically modern twist on the traditional alter arch.

photo courtesy of

New! Personalized Aisle Runners: Because Every Bride Deserves a Proper Runway

Due to the runaway success of our previously launched Personalized Aisle Runners, we’ve received some seriously high demands to create even more personalized fabulousness for your wedding day celebrations.  Well, ask and you shall receive, my dear brides-to-be; because here at Marilyn’s Keepsakes, we like nothing more than to please…

… And yes, I totally just made that amazeballs rhyme up.  All I need now is two turn tables and a microphone :)  But until then, I’m SUPER PUMPED to introduce to you our 4 NEW! Personalized Aisle Runners!  Still available to be accented in one of today’s hottest wedding colors and still personalized at absolutely no extra cost to you… I give you, your proper runway…

Classic Monogram Aisle Runner

Classy Aisle Runner

Our New Monogram Aisle Runner

Modern Love Aisle Runner

DIY Decorations for All Occasions… Made Easy!

Looking to make a real statement?  Well then, do yourself a favor and check out our DIY Video on Paper Pennant Bunting below for great ways to create a one of a kind look without a one of a kind price!

Both fun and simple, bunting is one of the industry’s latest trends to hit the scene, and we’ve made it simpler than ever for every bride to use! 

Wedding Trend Alert: DIY Paper Pennant Bunting

photo courtesy of Lindsey Kroemer Photography

At Marilyn’s Keepsakes, we recognize the importance for the DIY bride to shine in all her shabby chic goodness!  We also recognize, however, that she can’t shine fully if not provided with the proper tools.  After all, not all of us our born killer crafters with do-it-yourself goodness infused into our DNA!

We can, however, own the right to fake it ’til we make it with our line of DIY Stationery.  Among the most recent addition is our DIY Paper Pennant Bunting Kit!  This do-it-yourself, dream project kit will leave your guests “oohing” and “awing” from the minute they step onto the scene to the minute they bid you adieu.  Because of its versatile nature, this one of a kind flag banner ensemble really lets your creative side shine by garnishing all your favorite events with a personalized touch of charm.

And by kitting these items altogether in one, simple package, we leave the fun part up to you for making everything from outdoor weddings and baby showers to anniversary extravaganzas, birthday parties, holidays and more a little bit more fun and a lot more personal!  See below for product details and decor options:

Paper Pennant Bunting Kit Includes:

  • 50 Flag Pennants
  • 12.5 yards of White Satin Ribbon
  • Complimentary CD with 40 pre-designed Templates for mixing and matching
  • Test Printing Sheets and Instructions for use

    When creativity reaches a lull, use one of our design options available on complimentary CD to re-inspire you! (courtesy of

Wedding Trend Alert: DIY Heart Fan Programs Have Arrived!

Modeled after our best selling program fans and shaped to curvy cutie perfection, our DIY Heart Fan Program Paper Kits are an ideal source for trendy brides to get really creative.  Whether you’re hosting an outdoor ceremony or taking your guests on a dream destination, it’s easy to see why these fun, heart shaped fans are one of the wedding industry’s leading accessories for brides to la-Louvre!

And because each kit comes with a complimentary CD of designs (see choices below), brides can choose to edit one and make it their own or start from scratch for a wedding day original. It’s truly up to you and will leave your guests with a breezy attitude for your beautiful day!

Click here to pick up a set today or check below for an example of the designs featured on our complimentary CD!

All templates available on complimentary CD!

Country Weddings in Indiana: Doesn’t Get Any Better Than This

Anna and her Papa making their way to the groom!

First and foremost, I’d like to thank all of you that sent nice weather vibes to Osgood, Indiana last weekend… because even though the rain eventually came, it was well after the outdoor ceremony concluded and the bride was properly covered :)

Secondly, can I just say what a BLASTIN’ good I had celebrating my girlfriend’s wedding!?  There were sooo many cute things they did with the ceremony, which I would encourage all my brides-to-be to at least take a gander at:

  1. The wedding was outdoors and incorporated all Anna’s (the bride’s) nieces and nephews.  Ranging in ages from little to little-er, Anna and her now hubs set up blankets on the grass in the front for all the little ones to lounge during the ceremony.  They also equipped them with candy; so, the level of satisfaction was at an all time high.
  2. Also, during the Sand Candle Ceremony, Anna and Brian (the groom) both had previously given the pastor a list of items they thought the sand represented from the other one.  So, when they were pouring their vases into the center vase, the pastor read off all the wonderful qualities each found in each other.  Sooo sweet!
  3. Another uber sweet thing the ceremony brought about was talking about the four family sides that would be joined at the marriage of Anna and Brian: Anna’s mom and dad’s family and Brian’s maternal and paternal sides.  Taking the ceremony reigns again, Anna and Brian stated their favorite qualities of each side and how they could only hope to emulate each.  Of course, this was a tear jerkin’ fave for the crowd.
  4. To keep the country fun rolling, dinner was served as a delicious buffet style meal — fixed with all grandma’s favorites!!  Including (buts obvs not limited to): fried chicken, country buttered rolls, potato and pasta salad, crisp greens, smashed potatoes and gravy and all the mouth watering trimmings you can imagine.  For serious, my mouth is watering right now just thinking about it.
  5. Of course, after all the swing like thunder dancing, refreshments were also served later in the evening, as well.  They had hot dogs, topped with every street vending condiment known to man and Anna’s favorite, bags of buttery popcorn.  de.lish.ous.

It was a beautiful day filled with beautiful people and even more beautiful memories.  Check out below to see what I mean… here are some of the shots I captured :)

The b.e.a.uuuutiful flowers surrounding the nuptial arch :)

The gorrrrrgeous bridesmaids wore robin's egg blue and carried bouquets of pink! Love.Love.Love.

The bride, escorted by her Papa, near the end of the journey -- as the BEAMING groom's madre (far left) watches sweetly for his reaction. One of the best moments!

Delilah, the flower girl extraordinaire, "patiently" waiting for Anna's arrival down the aisle with her color coordinated sucker :)

FINALLY made it! Just shut up with the awesomeness of Anna's dress... straight diva.

Boys will be boys -- more concerned with their candy than the ceremony, hehe :)

The entire bridal party getting their wedding on! Back-dropped by the stunning grounds of Anna's parent's Osgood home.

While his hat did make it back on, this little ring bearer still found his time better spent digging into a new sucker flavor than the ceremony details. So stinkin' cute!

Conversations took a turn to the serious :)

Saying the vows...

Hugging the 'rents...

Still eating the candy :)

Congrats again to Anna and Brian!  It was a wonderful day and hopefully a sign of even more wonderful days ahead!  Love love love to you both and cheers to many, MANY years of happiness!

For Your Viewing Pleasure: MK’s Latest YouTube Video Has Arrived!

Hello again, ladies and gents!  As some of you may already know, Marilyn’s Keepsakes has our very own YouTube Channel, chalk full of personalized goodies!  Most recently, we added a how-to webisode on our DIY Designer Program Fans. 

Not only does this beaut provide you with great ideas, but it also provides step by step instructions on how to create your very own, custom programs!  And who can’t appreciate that?  So, without further adieu, I give thee our video…

And for even more of a “WOW” factor, check out the pre-designed templates that come readily available on our complimentary CD – complete with purchase!  Leave them as is or jazz them up to your liking!  Either way, we’re sure you’ll love it!

All above designs available on Complimentary CD, which is included with each DIY Designer Fan Program Paper Kit purchase!

Wedding Tested / Bride Approved: Personalized Aisle Runners 4 Your Big Day!

My dear ladies in waiting, it’s time to roll out the red carpet (literally!) on your wedding day entrance… and here at Marilyn’s Keepsakes we’re oh so happy to help!

Because weddings are transitioning more into personalized events, rather than traditional affairs, it’s key for brides and grooms everywhere to find their ideal blend of modern day style and time honored taste.  And there’s no better way to do this than by putting your own personal spin onto wedding’s most traditional accessories.

<Enter: The Aisle Runner>

As your guests all anxiously await your arrival, set the stage with a personal note and choose an aisle runner that has been made custom for your newlywed debut!  Not sure what I mean?  Well, then, let me introduce our hostess with the most’est, Ms. Fabulous herself, Adrienne, as she gives you the dish on our latest YouTube Channel video on Personalized Aisle Runners:


Families – like Coffee – are All Kinds of ‘Blends’

Other things may change us, but we start and end with family. ~ Anthony Brandt

It’s no secret that I love my family… inexplicably loyal, loving and all kinds of uncanny, my family is the number one reason I am who I am.  And while I know the love I have for them is nothing new in theory, I also know our makeup is unlike any other.  Like all families, ours is unique, and as the saying for one of my fave fast food spot’s (Arby’s!) goes, “different is good.”

So, I consider it to be one of America’s finest qualities that different… is exactly what we got!  This is especially the case when it comes to families!  There is just about every type of family you can imagine… your family, my family, his family, her family, big family, small family (whoo! I feel like Dr. Seuss!)… you get the point.  There’s no such thing as “the norm” when it comes to defining a family. 

A few summers back, the Mister and I attended a wedding for a second-time’s-a-charm couple in Illinois, and while some couples choose to downscale their second wedding, Samantha and Todd did it up to the nines!  Love love loved their day, but I especially love love loved the way they made their marriage about their entire family and not just themselves.  They wanted to make sure their children – both from previous marriages – understood the importance of their role and the true significance of being a single family unit… not just a couple with step kids.

During the ceremony, they actually used our 4pc. Sand Ceremony Unity Set, and it worked out beautifully!  While traditionally speaking, the unity candle is directed by a couple lighting a central pillar using tapers pre-lit by their mothers, the unity sand ceremony let’s others join in the fun!  Hooty hoot! 

They were able to let their children pour in their favorite colored sand into their engraved, center vase.  By pouring all the grains in together, it became the ultimate symbol of “what God has combined, let nothing divide”… cause Lord knows nobody would want to separate all those grains!

Congrats and love to all families – regardless of their flavors!  Because at the end of the day, we all have potential to be the perfect blend :)