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!

In Loving Memory Ooh La La: Keep the Ones You Love Close on Your Wedding Day

courtesy of phindystudios.com

After attending a friend’s wedding (wad up, Tay!), I was inspired by her incredible strength and her unique ability to personalize every part of her day with meaningful details and touches that oozed with her impeccable taste.  But it wasn’t until months later when her professional wedding photos (and an additional pinterest.com image sent from our very own Lauren Trisler!) came across my desk that I was reminded of a the beautifully inspired way she chose to keep the memory of the ones she lost close to her heart during her wedding ceremony.

They go by a number of names, but they are best known as Bouquet Charms or Bouquet Lockets and are placed along the stem of bridal bouquets for keeping safe and stunning looks.  The thought behind the bouquet charm is to give brides a perfect place to keep the ones who have passed on with them as they say ‘I do.’  You can literally hold the ones you’ve lost near and dear during all the big moments of your ceremony, all the while creating an instant keepsake that looks spectacular and feels even more special.

Even if your one of the most fortunate brides ever and have never lost a loved one, you can still get amazing use out of this sentiment by adding your nuptial initials or favorite quotes to a charm and wrapping them around your bouquet!  After all, what bride couldn’t use a little extra meaningful ‘oomph’ at her wedding? 

Not to mention, these gorgeous gems make for great DIY details… giving every bride the opportunity to be as fanciful or simple as she wants!  Check out below and see what I mean :)

photos courtesy of (from top to bottom, left to right) ohdearphotography.com, etsy.com, Wedding Inspirations via pinterest.com, vancitybride.com, divajewelsco.com, aileentran.com, boards.weddingbee.com, jubilantwares.com and stylecollective.com

Personalized with Love: Adding Sentiment to your Wedding Dress

courtesy of thesweetestoccasion.com

While we’ve discussed how you can create a custom look on your wedding day with the article DIY Divine: 5 Ways to Personalized Your Wedding Dress, we haven’t talked about the importance of your dress’ sentimentality! 

I mean, helloooo?!!?  It’s a wedding, people!  It’s all about sentiment!

Which, as sad as I am to use this reference, I was reminded of by Kim Kardashian (dun dun dun) on her 2 day / 4 hour E! wedding special.  On the days leading up to her wedding, Kim was shown rummaging through her late father Robert Kardashian’s old button down shirts.  She wanted to find one that she remembered, in order to incorporate it into both her wedding gowns. 

Once the shirt was chosen, she had two heart-shaped panels cut out of and sewn onto the left sides of both of her custom made Vera Wang dresses.  Because her dad couldn’t be there physically, this was her way to keep his presence and memory alive during the celebration… and while the marriage may have died 72 days later, the idea of sewing sentiment into your wedding dress has lived on! 

Thanks to Pinterest, my beautiful co-worker, Jessi and a Google Image search, I was able to gather some pictures of how real life brides are taking on this filled with feelings challenge and including it on their big day through…

Custom Labels.  Whether you choose to use your name, monogram or simply represent the date, custom labels and patches can be created and sewn under the bodice on the inside of the dress for an extra special touch of love.

photos courtesy of (clockwise from top left) etsy.com, vivestyle.ca, itsabrideslife.com and bridalwave.tv

Custom Patches. For the riskier bride hoping to make a statement and /or really capture a memory, you may try sewing on a meaningful patch of fabric or a symbolic panel or shape directly onto the dress itself.

photos courtesy of (clockwise from top left) beautyfashiontrends.com, weddingbee.com, sequinsandcandy.com and purlbee.com

Custom Hangers.  If the thought of sewing something permanent into your dress gives you the bridal gasps… might I suggest doing a fun personalized hanger?  Not only do they look great and make for amazing photography shots, but they are also non-damaging to your dress!  Boo and Yeah!

all photos found on pinterest.com via (from top to bottom, left to right) Stephanie Holland, Jessi, Victoria, Chloé Plénet and Jessica Elizabeth

Love is all Around: So, Go Out & Spread It

cuortesy of deshow.net

This past weekend, my girlfriend and her beau to be attended a couple’s retreat as part of their pre-marital preparation, and because it was mandatory for them – as it will be for most of you – I asked her to take note of any highlights.

As Melissa went on and on about the different programs put on by different couples, she was sure to reiterate the blah blah of it all, showcasing that – up until the end – her high point was noted by interrupting bathroom breaks and cold cut turkey sandwiches.  Wow.

But before my overwhelming jealousy could fully set in, she started talking about one session called “Building Your Identity as a Couple” led by a husband / wife duo who offered advice on how couples can bring the best parts of their lives and merge them into their new “identity” as one, singular unit…  In layman’s terms, how to take a good ‘I’ and a nice ‘You’ and merge them into an even more astounding ‘We.’

They used examples of how couples can use what they’ve learned from past experiences with family and friends, as well their background knowledge and views on politics, religion, morality, (fill in any other non-PC-hard-to-talk-about-subject here) and build a life that will reflect them both equally and notably.  While the overall sentiment can come off a little cheesy, the underlying notion of taking the best of yourselves as individuals and merging them into an even stronger family unit is pretty inspiring.

And at the end of the session, there was left time for questions; so, Melissa explained that after a brief pause of awkward silence, a young lady sitting caddy corner from her raised her hand and said,

“In your program you talk a lot about how a person’s individual identity is often times a direct reflection of the people they surround themselves with.  This worries me a little, because the men in my fiancé’s family don’t have the best view towards women.” 

Mel said the girl then proceeded her statement with graphic examples of how her fiancé’s brothers and male relatives were more than likely to treat women as objects, rather than partners, and on numerous occasions have even spoken ill about and targeted her directly.  Um, yikes?

But before my darling girlfriend, Melly, could shout out any of her, “Oh no he didn’t!” comments, the couple leading the session – without hesitation – gave one of the most eloquent explanations ever :)

They began by prefacing how family dynamics can be tricky and should be dealt with the utmost of care.  While it’s never okay to force / make / threaten your significant other to “ditch” his or her family, it is now and forever shall be okay to express how you feel.  The couple then offered this jewel of advice, which I hope you all can walk away with:

“Don’t worry about the family being a bad influence on you… strive instead… to be a good influence on them.”  Genius.

So many times, it seems as though it’s easier to become engulfed with all the negative.  So easily, we can lose sight of what’s positive, which is why I love love love the message this couple is sending.  At the end of the day, every bride and groom-to-be can choose to write their own happy ending, and if we all lead through an example of positivity and love, and “poo poo” all the Negative Nellies, it will be a lot easier to see the light at the end of the tunnel… literally.

With that said, please feel free to leave your ray of sunshine below (ie. something about your love that makes you smile, a way you’ve been inspiring OR inspired, etc.)… we’ll leave the snarly stuff to the 5 o’clock news :D

Sapphire Engagement Rings: To Trend or Not to Trend in 2012?

The royal engagement ring, first shown on Diana with Prince Charles, then on Kate with Prince William. (courtesy of weddingdresscolection.blogspot.com)

Alright, Kate Middleton, you win… again.  According to recent findings, sapphire engagement rings are becoming all the rage in 2012, and while diamonds will always be a girl’s best friend — a sapphire makes for an awfully close second and not mention, one heck of a ‘something blue.’

Penelope Cruz showing of her sapphire bling. (courtesy of since1910.com)

Due to their conflict free, less pricey existence, as well as their Princess, Duchess and Penelope Cruz support staff, these true blue ‘Will you marry me?” details have wedding trend watchers on high alert and with good reason.

They can be found just about anywhere — from eBay and Overstock to antique jewelers, department stores and more; many collections of sapphire stocked engagement rings are popping up all over the grid and it’s no wonder why.

While mainly known for their brilliant blues, sapphires also have a wide range of colors, varying in shades of pink, yellow, white and even green, but it’s not necessarily their colorful personality that has brides’ heads turning… it’s their beautiful meaning.

According to Gemstone Gifts, Sapphires are symbolic of sincerity, faithfulness and truth, and what is more perfect than those three things to accompany you on your marital journey?? 

But no matter what rock you choose, just be sure it’s backed by the right man ;)

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! 

75 Years of Marital Bliss Will Pull Anyone Out of the Post Holiday Blues

Welp, it happened.  As freshly hung 2012 calendars start to open, revealing the start to a New Year, I can’t help but get that little twinge of the holiday hangover blues.  Ugh.  I’m guessing most of you can relate to this.  It happens every year for me when I come down from the elated joy and excitement of spending the happ-happ-happiest time of year with family and friends, receiving all the unnecessary (but much appreciated!) presents and getting all that extra time off work (wink)… only to have it all come crashing back to reality… I’m telling you, it’s a tragic yearly tale.

Haha.

But I’m proud to say that 2012 proved to be my shortest holiday hangover ever when I came across this gem on my Google News search…

World War II veteran, Robert Erskine and his beautiful bride, Susan, are not only Britain’s oldest couple, but they are also its most celebrated.  Not spending a day a part since WWII, this forever young couple clicked up their heels on their 75th wedding this past New Year’s Day and gave this little lady one more reason to give the blues a much needed buh-bye!  

I mean, Hello?!?  Can you say CUTEST?!?!

courtesy of dailymail.co.uk

Silver?  Yes.  Golden?  Of course!  But it’s not every day you hear of a couple celebrating their DIAMOND Anniversary; so, it seems to be a rare treat to find that Robert and Susan Erskine did just that!  Surrounded by three generations of family and friends in Edinburgh on New Year’s Day, the couple was  inundated with love, cards and well wishes, and rightfully so. 

Robert, 100, and Susan, 99, prove that wedding vows still mean the same no matter how much time may pass.  Susan was even quoted saying, “Marriage doesn’t seem to be valued now the way it used to be, with all these celebrities getting divorced after just a few months.  I just don’t understand it at all.” (dailymail.co.uk)

And mayhaps Mrs. Erskine doesn’t understand because she knows just how important love is, but how daily living can sometimes get in the way.  So, with her realistically in love approach she continued on, “We’ve taken life one day at a time, and walked through it hand-in-hand with one another.”

((((sssssiiiiiiiggggghhhhh)))))

Seriously, how can you not be warmed from the inside out after hearing that?  Congrats, Robert and Susan on 75 years of love, laughter and memories and cheers to many, MANY more years of happiness :)