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

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 :)

 

Bridal Shower Alternative: Give the Couple a Proper Toasting

courtesy of I Love To Laugh! via facebook.com

Recently, a friend of mine (holler for a dollar, Candice!) had her “bridal shower” here in town, and I couldn’t help but get a kick out of the theme.  Thrown by her mom and aunt, they decided to do a “Wine & Whiskey: Stock the Bar” themed celebration, and I gotta admit… I thoroughly enjoyed it :)

Instead of bringing your typical BB&B / Target / Crate & Barrel / fill-in-the-blank-of-your-fave-registry gift, friends and family were requested to bring their favorite bottle of booze (be it beer, wine or otherwise) and / or their favorite barware accessory to stock the couple’s latest home remodel: their new bar!  Now, before anyone starts calling the authorities for potential abuse, I think it’s important for me to state their case :)

Candice is everything but traditional.  Since moving to Chicago six years ago with her long term beau, they’ve really already built a life together.  Candice is the kind of girl, if she wants a gravy boat – for whatever reason one would want a gravy boat – she’ll buy it.  If she wants to drop everything and take a trip to the Canary Islands next week??  Well then, by golly, she’ll book her plane ticket that day at lunch.

She really is one of a kind, and after already living together for such a significant time anyway, they really did have mostly everything they needed to make their house a home, which generally includes all the appliances, dishware, kitchen accessories, towels etc. that would normally be put on a registry.  Therefore, her mom came up with the brilliant bar themed idea to complement their newest renovation, as well as their love for entertaining!

I mean, how can you not love that??  After attending such a celebration and seeing all the fun, it’s hard not to get wrapped up in the fabulousness of such an event… but what’s even more amazing is the practicality of it all too!  Candice and Jared (or her gentleman caller, as C refers to him, haha!) love to entertain!  With the majority of both their families living in Indiana and them posting up shop in the Windy City, they highly encourage their “open door” policy and vow to never turn away a wearisome traveler or friend from their welcoming embrace.  Hence, the theme becomes even more amazing!

Heck, even for the less open / more closed door couples, I still stand by this being a good idea!  While I may have hung up my party hat after an incredible four year stint at IU, there are still the throw back occasions that cause for toasting.  And while I’m country born and bred and will always have a taste for brew-ha-ha, it’d be nice to be able to offer something for the classier pallets that come my way when need be… especially without spending half the grocery budget to do so!  Haha, booze is expensive!

In the end, it’s OBVS up to every individual couple on what will work best for them, but this was one I knew I had to share!

Cheers to C and Jared and many. MANY years of happy toasts!

C+J (courtesy of Candice)

Could Fourth Time REALLY be a Charm for J.Lo?

Could wedding bells be ringing for Jennifer Lopez and current BF and back-up dancer, Casper Smart? (courtesy of hellomagazine.com)

According to recent reports from online celebrity sites, such as E!, there has been talk around the water cooler that Jennifer Lopez may be making her fourth trip down the aisle to say “I do.”  Rumors sprung into action after a mysterious tweet from Roberto Cavalli – fashion legend and long time friend of J.Lo – buzzed through the blogosphere yesterday afternoon.  The tweet went as follows:

“Today , Jenifer Lopez. Call me…… She ask me. To create a special dress. For her next weding. ! Wich color … Do you advise me. ?” (twitter.com)

While the spelling, broken English and horrendous grammar (dead sere, can’t even look at it without my former editor noggin twitching!) should’ve been a dead giveaway this was not THEE Roberto Cavalli, the press went haywire over the coulda-shoulda-woulda of it all!

J.Lo – famous the world over just as much for her unspeakably good looks as her incredible cross-media / cross-cultural talent and appeal – has been a long time supporter and friend to Roberto Cavalli.  Her body is no stranger to his clothes (as shown below); so, it seemed a bit out of place to have such a long withstanding, respected friendship be blasted over a place as public as Twitter.

J.Lo dubbed three Cavalli (pictured with her) ensembles at the World Music Awards in 2010 alone! One for the red carpet; one for her perfomace, and one while accepting the Legend Award for Outstanding Contribution to the Arts. (photos courtesy of fashionwindows.net)

After further reading, however, my suspicions were – in fact – proven true, and no, Roberto was not behind the “nails on a chalkboard” tweet that caused all the commotion.  Apparently, Mr. Cavalli’s twitter account was hacked… I mean really?!  Getagrip, people. 

After her separation from Marc Anthony in July 2011, she began dating back-up dancer, Casper Smart, and while they may be hot and heavy on the media radar, there have been no confirmed reports that marriage has even been part of the conversation.

I suppose it wouldn’t be totally off mark though… Just like J.Lo’s body is no stranger to Cavalli’s clothes, the girl herself is no stranger to marriage.   At 42, she’s already had three failed marriages, one long term relationship with Sean “Puffy” Combs / Puff Daddy / P.Diddy / Diddy / whatever he goes by these days and one infamous nickname forever linking her to Ben Affleck.  Oh, Bennifer, how I miss thee.

But no matter what the future holds for Ms. Lopez, one thing is for dang sure… the girl knows how to rock a wedding dress :)  So, if the path should wind her back down the marriage brick road again, she’s sure to look devastatingly stunning.  I mean, just look at the girl’s history…

First Marriage

The first marriage sprung from love with Cuban-born Ojani Noa. The two were hitched in 1997 but sadly ditched by 1998. (photos courtesy of latina.com and examiner.com)

Second Marriage

The second marriage came after her split from P.Diddy back in 2001 to back-up dancer, Chris Judd. The two were divorced by January 2003. (courtesy of people.com)

Third Marriage

The third and longest lasting marriage was to none other than Grammy award winning artist, Marc Anthony. It lasted from 2004-2011 and resulted in the birth of two beautiful twin babies, Emme and Max. (photos courtesy of popsugar.com and fanpop.com)

Wedding Day Must: Remember Your Favorite Faces with Pretty Panoramics

courtesy of theknot.com

Exclusive / Schmeglusive.

Whoever said exclusivity makes something superior is seriously mistaken.  This year, brides and grooms are taking it back to the old school (because I’m an old fool, who’s so cool… bah, couldn’t resist) with the ever famous, turn-of-the-century-inspired, all inclusive wedding portrait.

In typical watch-the-birdy fashion, couples are having their guests take a minute and say cheeeeese for the camera as a collective group.  These popular panoramics are a super fun way to remember all the people who celebrated the day you said ‘I do’… not to mention, they can make for one incredibly laughable experience!

Because the size of guest lists varies from couple to couple, it’s EXTREMELY important to keep your number in mind when creating the shot.  You need to be sure to work with your photographer and find just the right location.  Ideally, the best location would be found directly in or right next door to your ceremony site.  That way, all your guests are already together and your celebrant can inform them of the photo op before mass chaos ensues and a mad dash to the reception begins.

OBVI – the larger the number, the harder the shot; so, keep this in mind when finding your spot.  Consider areas with an aerial view or places with large staircases where guests can be staggered and tiered.  If your numbers get too high and the shot becomes too difficult, consider doing something more abstract… be less concerned about capturing every single face, and be more concerned with simply having everyone there for a more spirited shot.  Check out below for some examples :)

Take the shot from above to show some serious love :)

 

photos courtesy of blairnicolephotography.com (top) and shangchenphoto.com

Use a staircase to see every face :)

photos courtesy of kimgrubb.com (top) and wallflowerphoto.com

Try something artsy… you’ll feel super smart-sy :)

photos courtesy of Google Images (top) and flickriver.com

But no matter what you do or if you even do it… just be sure to enjoy your day and all the people that go with it!

Congratu-gagement: Diamond Rings Ring in the New Year

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:

  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

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)