Modern Chinese Wedding

Find a cocktail that fits your theme and style, swoon over a tea-party-themed engagement shoot and check out tips on buying a house with your beau – this week is full of fun and information!

 

How to find your signature drink and serve the perfect cocktail to your guests! — Team Wedding

You’ll be swooning over this quirky, tea party-themed engagement shoot. — Wedding Chicks

Think outside-the-box with this sharp, modern Chinese wedding – and pay extra attention to the beautiful photography. — 100 Layer Cake

Be wowed by this bride’s epic, beautiful flower crown – it’s the hairpiece of a goddess! — Ruffled

An easy, inspirational how-to on wedding makeup with a natural, “just you” finish. — A Practical Wedding

Tips on buying a house for your new married life – check them out! — Team Wedding

Saying, “I do,” this winter? Take a peek at this ice castle styled wedding shoot! — Artfully Wed

We are loving this colorful, upbeat California wedding – and the family style seating. — Style Me Pretty

You’ve got to see this J Mendel collection of architectural designs – gorgeous wedding gowns to show off gorgeous, womanly figures! — Inside the Lovely

This vibrant (and colorful) wedding will knock your socks off. Can you tell we’re inspired by all things vivacious this week? — Boho Wedding

 

More: Top Wedding Blogs of 2014


Bridal Beauty Tips & Advice

In the midst of all the wedding planning and festivities, it’s hard to remember simple tasks like taking care of your cuticles and getting rid of those circles under your eyes. But, as a bride, it’s important that leading up to the day you say, “I do,” that you’re also carving out time to prepare your hair, skin and nails for all of the photos and memories. And once prepared, there are certain must-do’s and plans you need to make in order to have a fun, care-free and beautiful day of being the blushing bride. Jot down our 5 musts for every bride to conquer before she walks down the aisle, in her beautiful gown, towards her handsome groom.

1. Get your eyebrows waxed.

Bridal Beauty Tips & Advice

Even if you’re used to plucking your brows yourself, go for it. You don’t want any stray hairs popping up on the morning of and better yet, you won’t even have to pack a tweezers for the honeymoon. Your eyes are going to be the most important part of your bridal beauty. They’ll show every emotion in every photo and every glance at the groom, you want the frames (your eyebrows) to be ready for action! If you’re nervous, have them done for your bridal shower so you know what to expect and can figure out the best day to have them done before your date arrives.

2. Stay away from the sun.

Bridal Beauty Tips & Advice

In the weeks leading up to the wedding, stay out of the sunshine. You aren’t going to love having funky tan lines or sunburn on this special day, when all eyes are on you. And if you go to the tanning bed, we urge you to stop, the extra bit of color is not worth the damage you’re doing to your skin. Instead embrace your natural coloring and figure out what foundation and blush makes you radiate. With the right swipe of the makeup brush you can always add a bit of a sun-kissed glow without the risk of skin cancer, think about it.

3. Go with faux lashes.

Bridal Beauty Tips & Advice

Whether you have big eyes or almond-shaped, faux lashes are a must for every bride. They’ll open up your smile, they’ll pop in photos and you can find a variety of colors and sizes that make you feel comfortable. Make sure if you’re doing your makeup yourself that you have tons of practice before the big reveal and make sure you find lash glue that is waterproof (and dries clear). If you’re having a pro do your makeup, have them try on different styles and sizes so you know what to expect.

4. Make sure your hair is touchable.

Bridal Beauty Tips & Advice

So long are the days of hard and tight updos. Even if you decide to tie up your locks, make sure there’s a soft, romantic and touchable nature about the style. Brides are meant to be beautiful and whimsical, not fierce and uninviting. Unless your dress calls for a ballet bun, stay away from tough hairsprays and severe designs. Your wedding day calls for you to be the best version of yourself, and that means you need to be comfortable too!

5. Buy a new perfume.

Bridal Beauty Tips & Advice

You look the party, you feel the part .. well, you need to smell the part too! Splurge a little and buy yourself a brand new scent for your wedding day. Don’t use the same ole fragrance you’ve used since you started dating your fiance. Instead, surprise him with a new scent. You are his new wife, so it’s only natural you’ll want to debut a bit of newness as you walk down the aisle to say your vows.

 

all photos via Style Me Pretty


wedding checklist

photo credit: sinksanctity via photopin cc

Planning a wedding takes time and patience. This is especially true if you’re planning a large affair, but is equally applicable if you’re only planning on inviting a handful of people. It’s often the case that as you get deeper into your wedding preparations you’ll uncover more things which need to be attended to, and more problems which need to be solved. But there’s an easy way to make sure that you’ve covered every little thing, and that’s to create a comprehensive wedding checklist.

Creating a wedding checklist doesn’t necessarily mean sitting down for hours to record absolutely every task and item you’ll need for your big day. Instead, think of your checklist as a way to make sure that you remember the essentials. Keeping your checklist manageable is a great way to make sure your wedding is too, and there’s no better way to do this than to divide your list into three separate parts.

The Primary List

The essentials are those things that no wedding could do without. Your shortlist should include:

  • Rings
  • Invitations
  • Venues for both the ceremony and reception
  • Outfits for both partners
  • Your vows, if you’ve decided to write your own
stressed bride

photo credit: legdog via photopin cc

The Secondary List

Your secondary checklist should include items that, whilst not ‘essential’, would certainly make your wedding day more enjoyable. Some of these may be dependent upon the choices you’ve made for your primary list.

  • Outfits for the wedding party: bridesmaids, groomsmen etc.
  • Music. People often like to have a DJ or band, but a sound system will do equally well if you’re on a budget
  • Decorations, for the reception venue and dinner tables
  • Food and drink, if your reception venue is not catered
  • Furniture, if your venues are sparsely or un-furnished. Fortune Woods is a great place to get dining sets if you need to kit out your reception venue.

The Tertiary List

Finally, you may wish to include some of these optional extras just to give your wedding a bit more sparkle. But remember, these things are not essential. Attend to your primary list first, and only spend time on these items if everything else is organised.

  • Wedding favours. You will need to order these early, get them on your list.
  • Seating arrangements. If you don’t allocate seating, sensible people will still manage to sit down.
  • The cake. You may want one, but your wedding will still be marvellous if you don’t have one.
  • The photographer. Everyday cameras are of such a high quality these days that shelling out for a professional photographer isn’t as important as it once was.

 

 

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Buying someone a present can be tiresome, but when you need to buy presents for potentially hundreds of people, this task can seem overwhelming. Unfortunately, when it comes to wedding favours, this is exactly what you are doing. In case planning a wedding wasn’t tricky enough, your wedding favors need to hit exactly the right note or you might worry that your guests will go away feeling a little underwhelmed.

Customising Gifts for a Small Party

So, how do you go about finding just the right wedding favours? Firstly, it’s important to remember that wedding favours don’t all have to be the same. Of course, finding individual favours is much easier when you’re planning a small wedding, so if you intend to invite more than 30 people this probably isn’t the right option for you. However, if you are only planning on inviting a few select people, matching the gift to the guest will be made substantially easier.

To keep your preparations in check, and to make sure any one guest won’t feel less favoured than another, make sure you allocate a sensible budget to each purchase. No more than £10 a head would probably be considered reasonable.

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Planning for a Larger Wedding

If you’re planning a larger wedding you’ll probably be hoping that you can select one type of gift that will be appropriate for every person who receives it. By doing so, you can buy in bulk and make valuable savings with regards to your wedding budget. In this case, you could choose one of two options.

Mix and Match

Firstly, consider selecting a gift type that you can purchase using a ‘mix and match’ process. This means you’ll be able to purchase 100 individual gifts that are all different varieties of the same type. For example, Just Miniatures sells a superb range of different types of popular spirits which come in cute little miniatures that are perfect for the table. If you select, say, 8 different types, you could place one of each on a table as favours and give your guests the option of swapping if they don’t like their gift

Sentimental Gifts

Secondly, you might consider selecting a gift that will hold sentimental value for each person who attends your wedding. These could potentially take any form, such as a keychain containing your engagement photo, a silver spoon engraved with the date of your big day, or even something as simple as a spray of dried flowers of the same sort carried by the bride. Whatever you choose, each one of your guests will love it – not because it’s been chosen for them, but because it’s been chosen by you.


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A simple braid can add a youthful, fashion-forward appeal to any hairdo on any and every bride. We’ve rounded up the chicest, the most artistic and the most beautiful bridal braids around to give you inspiration and ideas for your big walk down the aisle. Let’s have a look, shall we?

Braided Bridal Hair IdeasSimple and sweet, this braid can be a day or night do.

Braided Bridal Hair IdeasThen again, a complete wrap around braid makes for the perfect foundation for a flower or jewel accent.

Braided Bridal Hair IdeasThis vintage-inspired hair style is beautiful and quite unique, don’t you think?

Braided Bridal Hair IdeasA bit messy and youthful, we love the personality and garden-flair of this design.

Braided Bridal Hair IdeasIf you’re looking for a more bohemian vibe and have the length to do it, a sweet side braid may be the perfect choice!

Braided Bridal Hair IdeasThis style is so artistic and creative, perfect for a bride with outside-the-box style.

Braided Bridal Hair IdeasWe love how this small braid peeks out of the lush, volume of this beauty’s hair.

Braided Bridal Hair IdeasRomantic and delicate, this braided crown is the perfect treat for a 1920′s or hippie-esque wedding day.

Braided Bridal Hair IdeasJust a side-swept braid and a beautiful clasp, sometimes that’s all you need to make a statement.

Braided Bridal Hair IdeasAre you lucky enough to know how to fishtail braid? If you do, use it to your advantage like this bride did!

all photos via Style Me Pretty


Bachelorette Party Games

Looking for some fun that doesn’t include dirty jokes or phallic-shaped balloons? Instead of strippers and uncomfortable moments, it’s okay to plan a party with the girls that involve a classic sleepover, chick flicks and games that everyone can enjoy and participate in. Maybe you want your mom to join in on the fun or even your mother-in-law-to-be; we’ve compiled a list of fun games and activities that won’t make anyone feel embarrassed or excluded. Let’s take a look, shall we?

1. Do you know your groom?

You can buy this quiz book at your local Barnes & Noble or make up your own for the bride to fill out! Have the groom give you the answers before the party starts and then make the bride fill out the little test during the party – make the questions fun and silly, so everyone can enjoy!

Bachelorette Party Games

2. What’s in the bag?

Grab a big tote and fill it with random objects. Then walk around the room and let each lady put her hand inside and guess what all the items are. Mix in everything from tennis balls to hairbrushes! This one is sure to get a few giggles.

3. Sweet & Spicy.

Create notecards for everyone to scribble a memory on about the bride and groom. They should be either “sweet” or “spicy” – and you can theme the entire celebration around this idea – from decor to snacks!

Bachelorette Party Games

4. Mad “Groom” Libs.

Also known as “finish his sentences” – it’s like Mad Libs that everyone can play. Have the groom fill out sentences about the bride. Then have everyone guess what he “finished” out! This is another game that will cause lots of giggles and laughs, especially when everyone starts comparing their answers.

5. Guess the Wine.

For something a little “tastier,” have all the ladies bring a bottle of wine to the party – concealed in a paper bag. Everyone tastes each kind and votes on their favorite, guessing along the way what type, year and how much it costs.

Bachelorette Party Games

photos via Style Me Pretty

Southern Garden Wedding

Create your own custom monogram, check out some rad reversible bridesmaids and take in beautiful wedding inspiration with our guide to the best of the week!

 

A southern, garden wedding that will absolutely knock your socks off .. it’s a must-see! — Style Me Pretty

We are swooning over this peachy and creamy beautiful wedding, take a peek. — Ruffled

Not only was this wedding budget-friendly but colorful and fun too! — Rock’N’Roll Bride

Free People is one of our favorites in the fashion world and this inspirational spread lets us know they know what they’re talking about when it comes to weddings too! — 100 Layer Cake

Create  your own custom monogram with Wedding Chicks. — Wedding Chicks

Need some cake inspiration? Check out these delicious-looking, floral adorned favorites! — Rustic Wedding Chic

You’ve got to see this gorgeous Zazzle wedding invitationsu and stationery. – The Knotty Bride

This engagement session is stunning, romantic and like the title says, quite whimsical too. — Green Wedding Shoes

You’ve got to see these reversible bridesmaids dresses by Durga Kali. — One Wed

Dusty blue is in and this idea board will definitely get your wheels turning for what colors to choose for your big day! –The Perfect Palette

 

More: Top 10 Wedding Blogs for 2014

 

Shaped-Wedding-Ring

Your wedding is supposed to be one of the best and most significant days of your life. Most women start dreaming from an early age of their special day and have a fairy-tale dream wedding in mind. It can also be one of the most stressful days in your life. But don’t worry. With meticulous planning, you, too can have that perfect day.

There are many factors to consider when planning a wedding: from choosing diamond engagement rings to arranging your reception.

  • Budget
  • Guest List
  • Venue
  • Clothing
  • Jewellery
  • Photographer
  • Catering
  • Flowers
  • Transport
  • Church/Registry Office

1 Make Your Perfect Wedding Easy on the Budget v3

Stretching your Money

One of the biggest hurdles that you have to overcome when planning a wedding is your limited funds. With so many things to take into account and plan for, the budget will soon get stretched and cuts will have to be made. The average wedding in the UK costs over £20,000.00, which is fairly a large amount of money. This means that you may have to come to a compromise when planning the special day.

Cut out the caviar or a few less boxes of wine or champagne – there are many ways that you can stretch your budget to get the most for your money, especially if you are willing to turn away from conventional wedding ideas. Instead of invitations being done at professional printers, you can get loads of templates on the internet and design your own wedding invitations. If you get some good quality card or paper, you should be able to print these on your printer at home and save yourself a bit of money.

The Guest List

This is an area that a lot of people struggle with as we want everyone who knows us to attend and celebrate our happy day. The amount of people attending the wedding party and reception can have a massive effect on the cost of a wedding.

For the wedding party, catering for 100 people is going to be a lot cheaper than catering for 200. If you can cut the amount of people attending during the day and invite them to the evening reception, you could save yourself a lot of money. It also makes the ceremony a lot more intimate with having only close family and friends.

Getting Dressed

One of the largest expenses tends to be the bride’s dress. Along with the hiring of the suits and bridesmaids dresses, this soon can eat into your ever dwindling budget. This is usually the hardest thing to get the bride to compromise on as well. Most dresses are tailor-made, so this does increase the cost somewhat.

If you can find a dress off the shelf, then you can also save yourself a bit of money. Instead of having four bridesmaids, have two instead. This may cause a few headaches as who to ask and who to leave out, but if you sit down and explain to the potential bridesmaids though, a compromise can be achieved.

Wedding Rings

Of course, you need to choose from a wide selection of rings. Rings are a part of your special day that should not be compromised on as you will be wearing this, hopefully, as a token of your love for the rest of your life.

Do not go buying these on a whim and make sure that you choose a retailer who has the proper accreditation. There are many clever ways to reduce cost, without compromising your ring designs. If a bride chooses a Platinum wedding ring, a matching groom’s wedding ring will no doubt be expensive in the same Platinum metal. Choosing 950 Palladium, with the same natural white finish as Platinum, will reduce your wedding ring budget significantly. Palladium wedding rings are now available in almost all plain wedding ring styles, regardless of the style or profile of the ring.

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Summary

All in all, it can be one of the most stressful days in our lives. Some people end up worrying so much about having the perfect wedding and that everyone else is enjoying themselves. They forget that it is their special day and that they are the ones who should be enjoying it. When you plan your wedding make sure you have a reasonable budget and do not go over the top too much. Alternatively, buy your loved one a Diamond ring and jet off on a plane and get married on a beach, it can work out a lot cheaper!


Mason Jar Wedding Decor

Mason jars are one of the most trendy pieces of decor in the entertainment world. From backyard BBQ’s to beautiful weddings, these versatile cuties are popping up everywhere. And we’re here to share several fun ideas on how to incorporate them into a part of your wedding festivities. From drinks to favors, they can do it all. Let’s see how!

Signature Drinks

Mason Jar Signature Cocktail Weddings

Dress up your signature cocktail of the day with a mason jar! Big or small, clear or blue – choose a style that fits your day and your sips! You can also coat your special mixes for the kiddos or non-alcoholic drinks with these pieces to make them easier to find. We love the personality and extra vintage or rustic style they can bring to food and drink portion of the day, which is a lot of time the most memorable!

Floral Centerpieces

Mason Jar Floral Wedding Centerpieces

Cover your jars in gold and decorate the reception! Use them as vases to show off your flower choices and spill them over the tables. Of course, they don’t have to be dipped in glitter, instead leave them bare for a more natural selection. They’re a charming, warm and inviting way to decorate the tables, don’t you think?

Shower Delights

Mason Jar Bridal Shower

Don’t forget your bridal shower when thinking in terms of decor! Your drinks, your flowers, your favors, your lighting … even some of the games can be helped with a round of jars at your hands. You may even want to use them as place cards for your bridal brunch – whose sitting where is quite the important necessity.

Fun Favors

Wedding Favors Mason Jars

Cupcakes in a jar, ready-made recipes, filled with honey or homemade jam, mason jars are the perfect container to create the most perfect wedding favor for all of your guests to enjoy. There are endless possibilities and so many ways to get creative. Add this idea to your spring wedding, vintage-inspired celebration or casual, rustic party.

Romantic Lighting

Mason Jar Wedding Lighting

All you need are some tea lights to create this warm romance. Line the aisle for your evening ceremony, or dress the reception tables with these little cuties. Then again, making a lantern like this could be the perfect way to bring brightness to your reception area .. a barn, a garden, a cottage ….

all photos via Style Me Pretty

A ball gown will make you feel like a bride, but those with pick-ups lining the skirt will make your feel like a princess. And let’s be honest, what bride doesn’t want to feel at least a little bit like a princess on her big day?

Wedding Ball Gowns with Pick-up SkirtsThis ball gown will still throw off your beautiful shape!

Wedding Ball Gowns with Pick-up SkirtsLight and frothy, this gown’s pick-ups just add extra whimsy and volume.

Wedding Ball Gowns with Pick-up SkirtsDreaming of looking like royalty on your walk down the aisle? Try out this gown!

sabina-atelier-aimee-wedding-dress-primaryThere’s a certain artistic appeal to this dress, and we’re swooning over the lace underlay.

Wedding Ball Gowns with Pick-up SkirtsThe creaminess and richness of the satin is absolutely stunning.

Wedding Ball Gowns with Pick-up SkirtsA bit more youthful and refreshed, there’s a rogue princess vibe happening.

Wedding Ball Gowns with Pick-up SkirtsWe are loving the different textures that make up this gorgeous design.

Wedding Ball Gowns with Pick-up SkirtsMaybe you’re a bit more relaxed in your princess vision, how about one of a Greek goddess instead?

Wedding Ball Gowns with Pick-up SkirtsWe had to throw in a blush-toned beauty. Pick-ups made with flowers? There’s nothing more bridal than that!  9dfc40dfe89981fc4d255435ad27d217Another gown with a youthful trendy, the slight pick-ups here add the right amount of drama.

all photos via Brides

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Want to walk down the aisle to a super-romantic song for your vow renewal, but have no idea which song to pick? Check out our list of songs for a vow renewal and see which one inspires you the most!

Want more ideas? Check these out:

  • Everything I Do (I Do For You) – Bryan Adams
  • Just the Way You Are – Billy Joel
  • Can’t Help Falling in Love – Elvis Presley
  • What a Wonderful World – Louie Armstrong
  • I Knew I Loved You – Savage Garden
  • Wonderful Tonight – Eric Clapton
  • Amazed – Lonestar
  • Save the Last Dance For Me – The Drifters
  • You’re Still the One – Shania Twain
  • The Rose – Bette Midler
  • Maybe I’m Amazed – Paul McCartney
  • Unchained Melody – Righteous Brothers

Pick a song that speaks to your relationship and how much you still  love and cherish one another. Have fun picking out a song together!

 

elegant summer wedding Pinterest

 

Every couple aspires to have a unique and memorable wedding day but many of us can get bogged down in expectations and customs, leading us to believe that there is little room for fun or individuality. However, this couldn’t be further from the truth.

Summer weddings especially have the potential for a more fun and elegant atmosphere since the season is, by its very nature, warm and welcoming. A summer wedding presents many opportunities to be light-hearted while retaining an element of. Here are some top tips to help you celebrate your unique day in style.

Themed Weddings

Many brush off themed weddings as cheap and tacky but when done right, themed wedding days can appear beautifully coordinated and incredibly fun. Whether you hire a professional wedding planner or take on a more DIY approach, themed weddings provide lasting memories and are easy to pull off in summer since you can make good use of open outdoor spaces i.e. an Alice in Wonderland themed garden party in manor house grounds.

Serve a Seasonal Menu

Take advantage of the beautiful flavours of summertime at your wedding by swapping the traditional white icing wedding cake for something a little more seasonal. Summer is such a popular time of year for weddings it can be hard to appear original with your choice of menu, but it is possible if you take inspiration from the right sources.

Think of summery treats like strawberries and cream and fruit salads and maybe try to incorporate this in a citrus-infused wedding cheesecake or meringue. Guests will prefer something a little less heavy on a balmy summer’s night too so a fresh light dessert is perfect.

As for drinks, try and serve a summertime tipple that’s a bit out of the ordinary such as Wine Smoothies. Guests will not be expecting this gorgeous refreshing option as these make for a more personal and sophisticated alternative to say, margaritas and other ubiquitous summer cocktails.

The Natural Bride

As much as many brides will beg to differ on the biggest day of their lives, less is more when it comes to achieving an elegant look and opting for a more natural style with your dress and hair can actually make for a more laidback and relaxed mood. Grand hairstyles and overly-ornamental wedding dresses can obscure the bride’s natural beauty. Whilst opting for a minimal hairstyle and a chic dress instead, such as an A-line gown is perfect for summer and creates a graceful curve-hugging silhouette (whilst creating the illusion of elongated legs).

Ensure the male guests look equally fetching and elegant at your summer wedding too with the help of some stunning designer ties and cravats. Whether you go for classic bow ties or flamboyant silk scarves for your groomsmen, these provide the perfect finishing touch to any suit style – whatever wedding theme you opt for.


include engagement photo in invitation Pinterest

Every couple wants their wedding day to be as unique as their relationship. Brides place a huge importance on getting an individually-designed gown, grooms may spend time choosing a special waistcoat, cummerbund or tie, and a wedding planner may be employed to make sure the design and décor of the event is unlike any other gone before.

One of the most essential aspects of any wedding is the wedding invitation. The invitations may, for some guests, be their first indication that a wedding is even on the cards. Many guests will also choose to keep their wedding invitations as a memento of the day, and some couples have theirs framed as a keepsake. For these reasons, and more, it’s therefore important that you ensure your wedding invitations are as beautiful and unique as the rest of your wedding day.

Envelopes

When it comes to envelopes, you will also have the choice of either making your own or buying them new. But bear in mind that the larger your guest list, the more time consuming crafting your own envelopes will be. Most brides find it simple enough to purchase envelopes in bulk and add their own unique touches to the design. Start by choosing the perfect colour for your envelopes by visiting www.allcolourenvelopes.co.uk. Matching the colour of the envelopes to the primary colour theme of your wedding is a clever idea that will give clues to your guests about the décor and design, and may give them some ideas for their outfits.

Include a Gift

Some couples go the extra mile by including a gift with their wedding invitations. It’s very common for these types of gifts to be engraved, as a personal touch that is sure to impress any guest. However, it’s more popular to place such keepsakes on the dining tables at the wedding reception, try including them in your invitations as a way to offer a unique and thoughtful gesture.

Make it About Your Relationship

The point of a wedding is, of course, for your friends and family to witness a declaration of love made between you and your partner. This event is all about you, therefore it wouldn’t be seen as too self-serving to include details of your relationship in the wedding invitation. Some choose to turn their invitations into a timeline; others use a map to illustrate all the important milestones they’ve reached together. Others simply choose to include their engagement photo, as a reminder of the love that’s being celebrated.

Use Unconventional Materials

Invitations don’t necessarily have to be made out of paper. Depending on your time and budgetary restrictions, there’s simply no limit on what you can make your invitations out of. Ideas include:

  • Word-of-Mouth (usually a phone call)
  • Digital (usually either a text or an email)
  • Napkins
  • Balloons
  • Embroidered Bags

The Finishing Touch

Finally, to make your wedding invitations totally unique, you could think about including a handwritten message to each of your guests. Doing so will not only show that you’ve put time and effort into your invitations, but that you care and respect each of the people you are inviting. Invest in a good ink pen and brush up on your calligraphy before personalising each and every invitation with a message from the heart.


It’s a sad but inescapable fact that, for many twenty- and thirty-something couples thinking of tying the knot, the financial burden of the big day can be weighty. The conflicting demands of striving for promotion and trying to get a foot on the property ladder, whilst trying to be responsible by putting any spare pennies away for a rainy day, all conspire to take their toll on the bank balance; and, well, weddings can get expensive. If you and your beloved are planning to make your commitment to one another in tighter times, here are a few suggestions for reducing some of the costs of the day:

1) Borrow as much stuff as you can

If your venue comes with everything included then this may not be possible, but if you’re starting from scratch then enlisting the help of everyone you know can save a heap of cash, as well as turning the big day into a fun collaborative effort. Chair and marquee hire, for example, will take a sizeable chunk out of your budget, and you won’t even have anything fun to show for it. Ask around your nearest and dearest (in plenty of time!) whether they have any spares you can borrow for the day; mismatched chic is a big wedding trend at the moment, after all…

2) Make yourselves an amazing wedding playlist

While the idea of having a live band or DJ at your ceremony is undoubtedly a lovely one, the associated expenses may leave you looking sorrowfully at your bank balance and wishing you hadn’t bothered. Making yourselves a wedding playlist of your own not only virtually eliminates the costs but can also be a fun activity for you and your fiancé to do together when you just can’t face looking at the guest list yet again. Even better, using an online music platform like Spotify will allow others to add to the playlist, so you could enlist help of the bridesmaids and groomsmen too. See our top wedding music guide for  inspiration.

3) Include stuff for the day on your wedding list

You might never need an ice bucket or podium again in your life, but serving dishes and a cake stand will be as useful at the wedding as they will be at home afterwards. Use every resource available to you by incorporating useful items for the big day into the gift list: this entrée paddle from The Great Gift Company, for example, is so beautiful and useful you’ll be sad you didn’t have it in time to use at the reception. Just make sure that your guests are aware of the timescale, and don’t rely on anything turning up on time until you’re absolutely certain!

 



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We recently wrote an article about how expensive it is to be a bridesmaid.  The cost of being part of perfect wedding can really add up and the bridal shower is a big expense.  So, In order to help you still meet all your responsibilities but not break the bank we have come up with a few things to consider when you throwing the bridal shower.

Location, Location, Location

Just like in realestate the location matter when it comes to price.  There are many and unique locations that are free to use so don’t spend the extra money on rental fees.

Shower Invitations

Bridal shower invitations can be as inexpensive as you would like them to be.  You can even do digital invites that are free if you are really looking to lower your costs. However, with that being said if you will do a search online you will be able to find many stationery companies where you will be able to get 25 – 50 invitations for less than a dollar a piece.

Décor

Just like with wedding traditions it is good to have something that is borrowed so don’t hesitate to reach out to the other bridesmaids to see what cute decorations they may have.  Once you have the main decorations items in place you can add balloons and other small accessories without spending too much.

Games

Games are great for your budget because many of them don’t cost a thing.  With a little preparation you can plan many games that will be a huge hit with your guest but not a big hit to your wallet.

Food

When it comes to saving on your food budget you will want to avoid hiring a caterer for the shower if possible.  Making the appetizers yourself may take a little longer but can save you a ton if you have the time.

Favors

A bridal shower budget can quickly be blown out of proportion when it comes to the party favors but if you use a little creativity you can make some adorable favors that are still in budget.

Winter Wedding Inspiration

This week we’ve compiled lots of great inspiration and advice for your upcoming wedding. From how to use your Pinterest boards to your advantage to a beautiful, eclectic winter wedding – take a peek at this week’s best of the best!

 

Do you have a vision of a beautiful, garden-themed wedding in mind for your big day? If so, take a look at these ideas to get the planning going! — Team Wedding

Check out this beautiful, eclectic winter wedding and snag some snazzy ideas and inspiration. – Rock’N’Roll Bride

Drool over this bridal shower inspiration complete with the most magical bout of poppies. — Style Me Pretty

Just in case you missed it, we had to feature this Ultimate Wedding Planning Checklist – it’s a must print! — OnceWed

Inspiration is not replication. Read about real inspiration and how to use it. — Team Wedding

Create your own wedding flowers with Bloominous – easy and fun DIYs! — 100 Layer Cake

These Wexford wedding rings will absolutely blow your mind. They are gorgeous! — Offbeat Bride

A backyard wedding full of romance, whimsy and personal touches .. get inspired! — Ruffled

This collection by Galia Lahav is absolutely stunning. They have a sexy side and hit every curve in the most perfect way. — Wedding Chicks

We are  loving the uniqueness of this vintage, greenhouse wedding inspiration! — Green Wedding Shoes

 

If you’re looking to have your pooch make his or her debut on your big day, we say, “That’s A-Okay!” But, you need to do it right. And that’s why we’ve compiled some quick and charming inspiration. From how to dress your furry best friend to his or her place on the sidelines, here are some adorable ways to have your pet walk down the aisle too!

Dogs in WeddingsHave your pup get ready with the boys, with a bow tie of course.

Dogs in WeddingsOf course, the little guy can dress up like the groom too.

Dogs in WeddingsHave your pooches act as flower girls, tutus and all!

Dogs in WeddingsThis beautiful golden retriever is decked out in a gorgeous, green collar.

Dogs in WeddingsAnd this little cutie has a necklace on, just like the bridesmaids!

Dogs in WeddingsIt’s okay for your pup to make a debut just for pictures.

Dogs in WeddingsThen again, a little pink dress could be exactly what your pet needs to dawn on your big day.

Dogs in WeddingsOthers may have their dogs come out just for the party, after the I do’s have been said and it’s time to dance.

Dogs in WeddingsThe photo ops you can get by having your pet lounge around as the girls get ready, are far too adorable to be missed.

Dogs in WeddingsHave your flower girls and ring bearers take the reigns on taking care of the cute pooches!

all photos via Style Me Pretty

Cocktail Ideasvia

Serving a great cocktail at a wedding is essential. Guests look forward to them and they become a part of the entire experience. From spicy lemonades to classic martinis all the way to delicious mocktails for non-alcohol drinkers and the kiddos, it’s not as easy as you may think to find the right “signature” drink of day. It not only has to fit your couple style and the wedding’s theme, but the bride and groom need to like it too! But, before you start tasting, it’s important to figure out what “style” to serve. Whether you have a modern wedding or a trendy, shabby chic affair, there are certain drinks that will fall under that umbrella. And we’ve narrowed them down to five categories – take a look!

Classic

If you’re wedding is shaping up to be a more traditional or modern celebration, you may want to serve up a couple of timeless, classic treats. From smooth vodka martinis with an olive garnish to a gin & tonic, the class and sophistication surrounding these drinks will certainly round out the theme. Of course, a classic mocktail for the kids has to be a Shirley Temple!

Classic Vodka Martinivia

Casual

Maybe you’re throwing together a shabby chic, vintage-styled wedding or deciding to say your I do’s under the oak trees, you need a cocktail that tastes delicious, but also has that laid-back, casual style as well. For a more relaxing sip, think about serving up a frozen lemonade & rum or a peach tea & rum combination. Then, for the little ones or those that don’t drink alcohol, a virgin Arnold Palmer is the perfect choice!

Lemonade & Rum Cocktailvia

Feminine

Who doesn’t love a fruity and sweet cocktail? Everyone does! Please the crowd and the bride with a cocktail that not only looks beautiful, but tastes like the best dessert you’ve ever had or tropical vacation you’ve ever been on. Think about serving up a chocolate martini or a white, fruity sangria. A raspberry lemonade can also be intertwined for a girlish, non-alcoholic addition.

White Sangriavia

Fun

Cosmos, Sex on the Beach and Fuzzy Navels are fun, delicious crowd-pleasers that may not be appropriate for a more “classic” setting, but they are classic in taste. If you’re having a youthful, fun-loving celebration after the big walk down the aisle, try one of these lively drinks to start the night of dancing off right. For the kiddos, make sure you’ve got some mini milkshakes on hand.

Sex on the Beach Cocktailvia

Creative 

If you’re not satisfied with anything, why not create your own cocktail? Have a taste-testing session at home or with the bartender, and then brainstorm on the names! For example, at my own wedding, we had cocktail served that were modeled after me and my husband’s favorite movie candies. So, we had the “Hot Tamale” and the “Junior Mint!” And then, get creative with a virgin sip as well. From, cotton candy “mocktinis” to dreamsicle shakes, get imaginative with this option too!

Cotton Candy Martinisvia

Best of the Best Wedding World

Figure out how to pack everything you need for your honeymoon into your carry on and what it costs to be a bridesmaids in this week’s favorites roundup! Enjoy!

 

Were you asked by one of your gal pals to be a bridesmaid in her wedding? If so, check out exactly what it costs so you can plan and prep! — Team Wedding

Drool over this incredibly beautiful stationery from Alisa Bobzien. You’ll fall head over heels in love with the designs. — Grey Likes Weddings

This modern wedding popped right off the computer screen. Look at that bride, look at those chic details … — 100 Layer Cake

Grab some funky, fun platform show inspiration. If you’re thinking of an eclectically styled wedding, you’ve got to dress the party! — Offbeat Bride

Thinking about going with a bronzed look for your walk down the aisle? Peek at this tutorial for some help! — Wedding Chicks

Are you a mother of the bride and feeling like a speech should be made to support your daughter on her wedding day or even during her bridal shower? Take a look at this example speech to feel inspired. — Team Wedding

Need help packing for your honeymoon? Here’s how to do it right … — Style Me Pretty

This rustic, New Orleans wedding is sure to give your some beautiful, romantic inspiration. — Green Wedding Shoes

Youthful and edgy, check out this photoshoot from France for some bohemian-styled wedding ideas. — Rock’N’Roll Bride

Every bride needs one. Go and print off this Ultimate Wedding Planning Checklist. — Once Wed

 

The DJ’s played the last record, the last dance has been danced, the honeymoon’s officially over, and the chaotic whirlwind of events has finally come to an end. What’s next on the agenda? Here’s some things to keep in mind when life goes back to normal.

Practice gratitude. Take some time to smell the roses, literally, and reflect on all of the fun filled events leading up to the your wedding day. Fish out the wedding gifts and figure out what will be actually be used and how many duplicates you’ll need to return. Ask your partner if you really need the gigantic home popcorn maker, and decide which gifts stay or go. There’s only so many crock pots, rice cookers and toaster ovens a family needs, right? Write out some personalized thank you notes for your family members and your friends. Let them know how much you appreciate all that they have done to make your wedding a success. You’ll feel lighter and happier for giving back in return for all you’ve been given. It’s also a perfect way to announce your new home address so you can stay in the loop with all your loved ones.

Sort through photos and decide if you’d like to create a digital or print photo album. This is a fun way to bond and reminisce over all of the joyous wedding festivities. Also, remember that many commercial photographers have specific rules on copyright information and deadlines for purchasing shots. Keep the communication lines open and be sure not to procrastinate, you’ll want to have those treasured moments for years to come. Other ideas include ordering a DVD of the wedding celebration, an easy, convenient choice to replay for future anniversaries. Don’t forget to make extra copies for Mum and Dad.

Unfortunately, there’s no easy way to put this, but you’ll have to buckle down and do some paperwork. It will definitely pay off in the long run, so don’t procrastinate on updating all of your personal identity information. Check the websites for printable forms or digital PDF documents that can be filled out online, saving you time and energy. Remember, this includes updating your name, address and phone number on your driver’s license, passport, social security card and credit card. Although it may seem time consuming, it will give you and your partner both peace of mind.

Schedule a meeting to sit down and discuss your financial and healthcare plans. Topics to be discussed include setting a weekly and monthly budget and choosing to decide on a joint bank account. Other vital things to be discussed include family healthcare plan options. You’ll need to review the costs and benefits of each plan to make sure it’s the right fit for you. Be sure to weigh out the pro’s and con’s of each choice, you’ll want to be on the same page as your partner to avoid any arguments. As you settle into the next phase of your life as a married couple, take it easy and roll with the changes. Stay in the loop and check out a site like ProlongLove.com for all the latest on relationship and sex info.

matrimonial home

photo credit: Chris JL via photopin cc

Marriage is a celebrated event that offers so many exciting future prospects, a major one being settling down and raising a family. One of the first steps after tying the knot for many couples is to search for the perfect matrimonial home. Here’s a few special tips to keep in mind when scoping out prospective houses.

Goals

Decide on your long term goals. As a couple, communication is paramount, and taking the time to verbalize your long term goals as a married couple will help guide you in the right direction. Focused on building a family? Keep this goal in mind as you peruse houses and stay on the lookout for multi-bedroom homes that can sustain your ideal family size. Be wary of kitchen areas with sharp counter edges and old wooden flooring that could be hazardous children. If you or your partner has non-traditional work at home careers such as art or fitness, you will need to consider finding a space that has enough room to accommodate accordingly.

Consider Doing A Property Up

If you are really looking to make the best possible investment, and you or your partner has some basic DIY skills, it could be worth looking at a property that requires some work. With only a little bit of elbow grease one can relay carpet, repaint walls, and replace cabinets. Rewiring a building can raise the value of a property considerably if the current system is well out of date. Check out tips on selling homes for ideas on how to improve an investment via DIY.

Your career

Fine artists and digital artists alike will need the right environment to pursue their craft. Although every artist is different, usually the right studio space offers a calm haven from the hustle and bustle of everyday life. Some unique ideas include searching for places with modern floor-to-ceiling windows, which allow ample light for some natural inspiration. Look for a space that has enough room to have shelving for supplies such as paints, brushes, canvases and more. Digital artists may need more room to shelf a large multi-tiered desk to house computer equipment. Usually a large monitor, drawing tablet, scanner and printer are used for many digital art tasks. Communicate your needs with your partner and together you are sure to find the best fit for you.

Fitness professionals such as personal trainers or pilates and yoga instructors will benefit immensely from having their own studio space. Giving clients the option of a personal one-on-one training session is often convenient for both parties. Home gym ideas include having a space that is detached from the main house, allowing for a quiet space to stay focused. A fitness space will vary depending on the expertise of the trainer, but a well-rounded fitness area will include cardio, flexibility and strength equipment. Audio equipment is also ideal for music and giving clear directions to a small class.

Hobbies

Always stay true to yourself and remember your personal hobbies, make time for cultivating those hobbies, whether it’s gardening, cooking or being an avid car enthusiast. Those with a green thumb will need to find a home with a large enough lot to have room for impeccable landscaping. Aspiring gourmet chefs will need an adequate kitchen space to slice and dice. In turn, car enthusiasts will definitely be on the lookout for a large garage, spacious enough to fit cars, storage solutions and tools for the hobby.

photo credit: Alex E. Proimos via photopin cc

photo credit: Alex E. Proimos via photopin cc

As newlyweds across the country begin to take the plunge, make sure to check your potential Rental Yield for up to date market research on the profitability of properties across the UK.

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In the past year, I’ve watched over 200 hours of wedding video footage. And I’ve loved every single second of it. I can honestly say that I never get tired of watching the same beautiful union, yet also appreciating the one-of-a-kind love story that precedes each marriage.

I’ve silent-laughed at tipsy dance floor moves, wiped away tears during father-daughter dances, been wowed by fire-dancers at engagement parties but mostly I’ve said “awww”  because wedding videos capture the emotion of the day in a way pictures miss.  So if you’re planning your own dream wedding or attending one in the near future, check out these adorably candid clips guaranteed to make you smile, as well as train your eye to capture the best candid wedding video footage!

1.  Sweet Wedding Day Gift from Bride

Sylvia gave Ryan an adorable gift right before they got married. If only it would open.

 

2. Bride’s Magic Wedding Dress Spin

A moment capturing the magic of ‘Say Yes to the Dress’ without the crazy drama!

 

3. Groom REALLY Wants Some Wedding Cake

What do you think is sweeter – the cake or that kiss?

 

4.  Ringbearer Answers: When I Grow Up…..

Just imagine how cute this clip will be at this little guy’s wedding!

5. Ringbearer Shyly Says “I Love You” to Bride

Little James Bond is back with special (and bashful) video message to the bride

6. Groom and Groomsmen Serenade Bride

The just-wed groom and his bro’s sing “Sweet and Lovely” to the bride — barber shop quartet style!

7. Bride and Groom Pinky-Promise During Vows

A throwback to middle school has never been more adorable :)

8. Couple’s First Dance to “Wagon Wheel”

Country-cute and awesome dance moves? Why didn’t I think to do this!

9. Groom’s Sisters Sing “Count on Me” to New Sister-in-laws

How refreshing is it to see in-laws welcoming someone into the family? Props to these singing sisters!

10. Epic Couple Hi-Fives After Saying “I Dos”

Because, at the end of the day, your spouse is your best friend.

 

Claire Hawkes is the Social Media Director for WeddingMix by Storymix Media.  She loves helping couples create a one-of-a-kind, priceless wedding video memento when they use the WeddingMix app and HD rental cameras. Share your wonderful and wild wedding stories with her at claire@storymixmedia.com!

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While the basic wedding structure hasn’t changed much in decades, the invention of the Internet has allowed engaged couples to easily build websites dedicated exclusively to their wedding plans and big day. Also called “websites,” wedding websites allow you to add all that vital information that won’t fit on your invitations, such as registry and hotel info, directions, the ability to RSVP online, and even some backstory about how you met, how long you’ve been together, etc. With that in mind, let’s check out five of the top wedding website builders currently in existence and what makes them so gosh-darn cool:

1. AppyCouple

Shell out $28 big ones for this wedding app, the alternative to the wedding website! Most people are attached at the hand to their smartphones these days, and AppyCouple provides everything you need to create a custom wedding app featuring all that pertinent information about your nuptials. An added bonus? Lots of visually-pleasing themes to choose from!

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2. Glo

A free one-month trial is available for Glo, which costs between $19.99 and $34.99 per month if you decide to use it. Hailed as one of the most feature-tastic of all wedding website creators, it may be the most expensive, but you can understand why! Advanced options include matching online invites, guest list management, RSVPs, and tons of amazing-looking themes. You can even upload your own design to use on your site!

3. Wedding JoJo

Forget the clutter and confusion that accompany many wedding websites. Wedding JoJo is a clean, easy-to-navigate site complete with lovely templates, simple options, a planning kit, blog integration and so much more. Pick from the freebie or the paid option depending on what you want.

4. Weebly – Free

Weebly gives millions of people a surprisingly easy and affordable way to create a site that is as unique as they are. Weebly gives everyone the freedom to start a site, blog or online store that works brilliantly across computers, phones and tablets. While not strictly designed for weddings, it is so flexible and easy to use that it is perfect for your wedding website.

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5. eWedding

Start with the free two-month trial and pay $14.95 per month afterwards for this feature-rich options. eWedding’s premium option isn’t as expensive as its competitors and contains all the wonderful features you’d expect. Note that the free option includes ads, and the themes aren’t exactly up to proverbial snuff. However, it’s still a viable option for the budget-conscious couples of the world.

More Options

Check out these additional options:

  • Beside You Forever ($29) — One design and a few simple options complete with RSVP, email, photo and registry features.
  • Wix (Free) — A full website builder with an added wedding option — free and easy to use, it also contains flash options.
  • Nearlyweds ($14.99/mo or $99/yr) — Full featured with plenty of design options, although the designs are a bit stale.
  • Wedsite ($39/6mo, $49/yr, $69/2yrs, 7 day trial) — No ads and fairly nice designs, this option features unlimited photos and a music playlist option.
  • WeddingWindow (Free – $139/yr) — Another full featured option, it’s more expensive, however it offers both free and premium themes.
  • Momentville (Free – $49.95) — Not the prettiest wedsite option available.
  • WeddingDonkey (Free, $10/mo, $15/mo)
  • Weduary (Free, Optional Paid Themes)

Pick one you like and have fun!

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Garden Weddingvia

Garden weddings are one of the most popular, most beautiful and most romantic of themes. But, what kind of garden wedding would you want to plan? That question could pose a lot of problems to a lot of brides. In fact, there are many wedding ideas that have a “theme within a theme”  question you would need to work out. When it comes to vintage, what decade are you trying to pay homage to? When it comes to contemporary, are you going with an art decor style or artistic flair? And when it comes to a garden wedding, we’re here to break down 5 of the best themes and routes to take.


Garden Wedding Ideas & Themes

Victorian:

If you’re imagining a garden-styled wedding filled with vintage, Victorian touches, then all you need are the creamy neutrals to start your foundation. There’s something very Jane Austen about this setting and we’re loving the charm and sophistication piled up into this idea and tablescape.

Garden Wedding Ideas & Themes

Countryside:

For brides looking for something more casual and laid-back, go with a venue that meshes with your vision. A country field, mason jars and bouts and bouts of baby’s breath are all you need to start the planning. And, of course, a free-flowing gown, burlap and a bit of lace too.

Garden Wedding Ideas & Themes

Fall:

Who doesn’t love a beautiful, fall garden wedding? Harvest colors, gourds galore and the most beautiful, voluminous greenery you could ever imagine. It has quite the bohemian vibe too, which we find super photoesque and trendy. Not to mention, the weather during the autumn months can be absolute perfection.

Garden Wedding Ideas & Themes

Wildflowers:

If you’re looking for something a bit brighter, go for the wildflower look. With no rhyme or reason to the decor and the use of all and every vivacious color, you’ll have a wedding full of youthful inspiration and fun. Obviously, this theme fits well right into spring and summertime. And don’t forget your floral crown!

Garden Wedding Ideas & Themes

Romance:

More saturated tones and an evening setting make for a romantic flavor. Choose a venue with a beautiful home or big botanical garden to create the coziness, warmth and romance you’re looking for. My favorite pairings for a romantic, garden wedding? Soft midnight blues, blush tones, dusty miller and natural makeup.

all photos via Style Me Pretty

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Wedding blogs provide a wealth of helpful information, from dress ideas to venue advice to how to deal with annoying relatives and much, much more. We’ve rounded up a few of the very best wedding blogs from 2014, so feel free to check a few out the next time you reach a planning crossroad:

1) Wedding Chicks

Wedding Chicks is a site celebrated for its “pretty and fun style,” with the women behind the blog consistently posting inspiring ideas. Complete with a free printables section, you’ll find lots of stylish ideas here.

2) Style Me Pretty

Renowned for featuring “dreamy real weddings,” Style Me Pretty is ideal for the style-obsessed bride who loves a good visual. The locations shown on this blog are always gorgeous!

3) The Budget Savvy Bride

The average cost of weddings? $30K! It’s therefore no surprise that many couples are looking to save wherever possible, making The Budget Savvy Bride a great resource. Their Real Weddings section breaks down the budget of practically any wedding you can think so, so be sure to check it out on days when wedding-related stress is getting to you!

4) Belle the Magazine

A blog designed for the “sophisticated bride,” Belle the Magazine offers everything you need to know about the year’s hottest wedding trends. See what’s new and awesome in dresses, cakes, centerpieces and plenty more. The Dress of the Week feature is also super-nifty.

5) Ruffled

If you’re retro-obsessed and know your wedding will feature lots of vintage goodness, Ruffled is the blog for you! Find cool ideas, free printables and awesome DIY projects here.

6) Wedding Bee

Updated daily by over 20 real brides all over the country, Wedding Bee is another fabulous resource. It also features a very strong community, including active boards where brides ask and answer questions.

7) Every Last Detail

Created by a planner-turned-blogger named Lauren, Every Last Detail is chock-full of stunning images and lots of helpful information. The Wedding Planning section is especially helpful, and includes budget, wedding style and honeymoon tips among others. There’s also an “ask the expert” section in which you can ask Lauren your most burning wedding questions.

8) Offbeat Bride

An ideal blog for the “alternative” bride, Offbeat Bride features plenty of unusual and unique wedding ideas and tips.

9) The Knotty Bride

A hilarious and highly-entertaining wedding blog, The Knotty Bride offers an entire boudoir section among many other helpful tips and tricks. Find the best of the wedding industry here!

10) DIY Bride

Channel your inner Martha Stewart with DIY Bride, which features tons and tons of totally cool wedding crafting ideas. Learn how to make your own centerpieces and favors among other nifty stuff.

11) Brooklyn Bride

A chic, sleek blog for the modern bride, Brooklyn Bride’s editor is also an interior designer, and provides plenty of stylish ideas to inspire you.

Did your favorites make the cut? Any you swear by? Let us know!

 

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Let’s face it — the last thing you want to do after your wedding is the daunting task of writing thank-you notes. It’s not that you’re unappreciative … you’re incredibly thankful for all the gifts and well wishes you received. It’s just that after months of wedding planning, doing another wedding-related job seems overwhelming.

Fortunately, writing thank-you notes doesn’t have to be a difficult, headache-inducing task. By following these simple tips, you could actually enjoy writing your thank-you notes!

  • Realize this is your final responsibility: Here’s the best news: this is the last wedding-related task you have to complete. Once you get those thank-you cards in the mail, you can kick back and say goodbye to the stresses of wedding planning once and for all. The light is shining brightly at the end of the tunnel. You’re getting close. Just knock these thank-you notes out, and you’re done!
  • Be yourself: The great thing about writing thank-you notes is that you have the opportunity to be truly sincere. You don’t need to worry about being so formal as you do with wedding invitations and other wedding-related tasks. Just speak from the heart. Let the person know how grateful you are for their gift, and refer to how you’ll use it and benefit from it. When you get the chance to write from your heart, it’s a lot easier and lot more fun.
  • Get your spouse involved: Ready for more good news? You don’t have to write all the thank-you notes yourself! That’s right, your spouse can step in and help shoulder the burden. Working on this project together lightens the load and it gives you a chance to work side-by-side in harmony. You can divide it up however you wish, but the easiest way is to typically have each person write the thank-you notes to his or her friends and family.
  • Take your time: You don’t have to rush out of the ceremony and immediately start writing your thank-you notes. You have time to complete the task. Set it aside for a while and enjoy the start of your new life together with your partner. Etiquette dictates that you have two to three months after the wedding date to get your thank-you notes sent out. That’s plenty of time, so there’s no crazy rush.
  • Do a little at a time: You may have hundreds of thank-you notes to send out for your wedding, but don’t let that overwhelm you. Instead of trying to tackle that huge task all at once, set a goal of doing a small batch of thank-you cards each day. Doing a little at a time makes it much easier and less stressful, and it allows you to really devote your attention to each card you’re writing, ensuring it is personal and sincere.

See, writing thank-you notes isn’t so hard after all. With these tips, you can even have a little fun with it!

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Photos are a huge part of weddings. After all, when you put so much effort into planning the perfect day, isn’t it important to capture those memories and all of the little details that make them shine? As any married person will tell you, the day goes fast. When it’s over, you finally realize just how important quality photographs can be.

But wedding photography doesn’t have to be just about a good photographer capturing moments on one day. From bridal showers to photobooths, you won’t regret capturing your wedding day (or wedding months!) from every angle.

Get Silly with Photobooths

Photobooths have made a huge comeback, to the point that they’re now nearly ubiquitous at weddings. And why not? The photographer simply can’t capture everyone that’s there, and a photobooth gives your friends and family the chance to make their own memories and show the special couple just how much fun they’re having on their big day. And it’s not just adults that enjoy photobooths; they’re also a good way to keep children attending weddings occupied.

2 frame around face

However, photobooths do not have to appear only during the wedding reception. A photobooth is a perfect activity for a couple’s bridal shower. Guys will enjoy participating in something outside of opening gifts, and it’s a way for mutual friends that have just met to get to know each other better and interact. The photobooth should be open from the beginning of the party to also serve as an icebreaker.

 

It doesn’t take much to set up a photobooth in a home or venue. Simply set up a table of props with a sign and instructions for guests. Props could come from anywhere. If you hire a professional photobooth vendor, they typically come with a prop box. Otherwise, there are online sites that sell props of all sorts. But I encourage you to think outside the box!

Look inside your garage and around your house for items to use as props, and be creative!

For the couple that loves boating, fishing and the outdoors, they used products they had inside their own garage. And think beyond a standard black sheet as your backdrop. Hang sheets of burlap or fun patterns of fabric.

4 photobooth props

5 photobooth table

6 photobooth sheet

Capturing Showers

A bridal shower or a bridesmaid’s luncheon is a great time to capture relaxed, genuine moments of the bride’s core group of friends enjoying time together. Recently, a bride I worked with hired a photographer to take professional shots of them having fun after their afternoon luncheon.

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9 GIRLS BEACH 3 8 GIRLS BEACH 2

10 GIRLS BEACH

Having a professional capture this special time together will give the bride a lifetime of memories of the wedding events outside of just her ceremony and reception. And the photo session is a perfect start to creating a bridesmaids gift! The bride could make a photo book from the photography session for each of the girls, and then sign the inside of the book with a heartfelt thank you note for being part of her wedding.

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11 GIRLS FUN RING

Using Photos in the Wedding Décor

Using pictures from a bridal shower, engagement session or simply a happy vacation together, the bride and groom can create a photo book to use as a guest book at their wedding. Attendees will leave well wishes, words of marriage advise and encouragement to the couple, making for an invaluable memento that goes beyond just another photo album or a guest book filled only with words. If you use photos from a shower or a bachelor/bachelorette party, it’s also fun for the guests to see the finished pictures from the party and recap the good fun they had!

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Pictures of the special couple are a good way to decorate areas of a venue when you are trying to turn your attention away from dull or unsightly locations. At one wedding I recently worked, framed childhood pictures of the bride and groom were placed on these bland restroom doors in the reception venue. (Be very careful to use removable adhesive and get permission from the venues anytime you affix photos to walls and ceilings.)

15 restroom boy 14 restroom girl

 

Couples oftentimes ask for ways to remember those family members that have passed away. One bride created a memory shadowbox of the groom’s late father and placed it on its own table with a framed letter that she wrote to him right before he died. The letter from the bride to her future father-in-law shared her love for his son and promises that she would take care of him throughout their marriage.

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There are also photographers who offer on-site editing of pictures that are taken during the getting ready process of the wedding and through the ceremony, and then replay the pictures in a slideshow during the reception.

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What other ways have you seen photos creatively used at a wedding or shower?

Leah McCarthy is a wedding planner and caterer based in coastal South Carolina. Inducted into The Knot’s hall of fame as a top 100 planner in the country, Leah regularly blogs about her experiences and insight in the industry for WeddingPaperDivas.com.

wedding inspriration

Wedding blogs, sites, magazines, Pinterest…there’s plenty of wedding inspiration out there! Ideas on style, color, location, flowers, cakes, bridesmaids dresses and favors are all available via such resources to provide the inspiration you need. But let’s be clear: inspiration is not replication! While you can certainly use ideas from various resources, the key is to ensure your wedding is a reflection of you and your partner. You don’t want anything at your wedding that’s there “for the sake of” having it!

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Every Couple is Different

Remember, what you want for your wedding isn’t going to be the same as what others want/had. And that’s just fine. So don’t incorporate Scrabble pieces into your wedding if you don’t play because you saw it at a friend’s wedding, or opt for retro hairstyles on bridesmaids even though you’ve never really enjoyed them. Your wedding should be a reflection of you and your soon-to-be hubby, so if you want Star Wars favors or a ska band to perform at the reception, go for it.

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Tips for Making Wedding Ideas “Your Own”

Rather than being a “copycat,” you can employ plenty of options for making ideas you see on assorted blogs and sites yours. Find a concept or two you love and challenge yourself–how can you put a new spin on it? What big or small things can you do differently? Another option is to combine elements from several ideas/resources to create something that’s uniquely you.

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Inspiration also comes when thinking about your personality, your groom’s personality, and what you’re like as a couple. Have the reception catered at the restaurant you went to on your first date, or play the song you heard the night of the proposal for your first dance. Throw a winter wedding because you both love to ski, or have a beach ceremony because neither of you can get enough sand and surf.

Do what’s right for you–it’s your wedding, after all! You don’t want to look back in a few years and wish you had stuck to what you liked rather than feeling the pressure of having a “cookie-cutter” wedding.

Remember, the idea is inspiration, not replication! Enjoy creating your dream wedding that friends and family will talk about for years to come.

What has your experience been finding wedding day inspiration? Leave a comment and share your tips!

 

 

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Unique Garden Weddings

Featuring an airbrush makeup how-to and some gorgeous, springtime weddings – this week had some great bits of advice and inspiration. Check out our favorites from this week’s wedding world!

 

Check out this fantastic list of bridesmaids’ gift ideas. Get inspired and see if one is right for your group of ladies! — Style Me Pretty

We are absolutely loving all of the details involved in this vintage-inspired reception. — Wedding Chicks

Take a look at this DIY Airbrush Makeup  How-To using Temptu makeup, our favorite. — Grey Likes Weddings

Isn’t this offbeat, unique garden wedding incredibly charming? And we’re dying for one of those mini cannolis! — Offbeat Bride

Don’t forget your nails when it comes to your day-of, bridal beauty. Check out these beautiful manicures for some unique ideas! — Team Wedding

Thinking about a destination wedding?  Hop on over and look at these beautiful ceremony spots in Jamaica. — Once Wed

This is not only a beautiful, rustic scene and inspirational wedding shoot – but the two grooms are gorgeous as well. — 100 Layer Cake

Or maybe you’re into something a bit more Southern, like this gorgeous celebration. — Ruffled

Why not wear garden roses in your hair, you’re the bride! And these DIYs will make you feel like one. — Wedding Chicks

Feeling like eloping in Hawaii? Well, after this bit of inspiration you certainly will. — Green Wedding Shoes

 

 

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mother of bride speech

photo credit: Kisså via photopin cc

Trying to write your speech as the mother of a beautiful bride? Despite knowing how you feel about this upcoming special event, putting feelings into words is often a challenge. Take a look at the following example speech courtesy of Wendy Hayes and see if you aren’t inspired to write your own beautiful ode to your precious daughter, or make a few tweaks to this one:

It is with incredible love, joy and pride that I stand here today to wish my beautiful daughter, a blessed life, full of happiness, joy and much laughter.  And if there is any such thing as angels –[the bride] is one.

 [Bride] is the sunshine to all that know her and truly, as all children are, the most beautiful gift and blessing I have ever been given.

As a little girl [Bride] was always happy, always finding good in all creatures and her aura of gentleness was like honey to the bees, attracting everyone to her.

 [Bride] your kindness and generosity, your calmness and strength are inspirational. Your wisdom and maturity are beyond your years. These qualities permeate every aspect of your life. As a mother and as a partner you are a natural mum, giving my beautiful grandchildren a blessed life of love, fun and caring. You really are a mother goddess meant for a tribe of little ones around you and yes I believe a tribe you will have.

 [Bride] you have a beautiful partner in [Groom], and I am proud of you both. [Groom] I value the love, laughter and security that you give to my daughter. Together you both create a wonderful family. I know [Bride] loves you with all of her heart and that you are her true friend and true love.

You were both so very young when you first met eight years ago. You have weathered some tough storms together and stayed by each others side, and I respect you both for that. We only have to look at [children] to see how much love, security and ease there is in your family. Your love and respect for each other is reflected in your beautiful children- such exquisite little ones – you know how much I love them…to the moon and back!

 [Bride] I know there were times that were not easy for us, I remember the challenges we had in your teens and I know we have talked about this but I want you to know that sometimes as parents we don’t always get it right and that we have many lessons to learn. Children are the greatest gift and we gain so much and learn so much from our children, I am grateful that I have learned a great deal from you, my darling daughter. I am delighted with whom you have become and very proud of you, even if at times I did get in your way. All these memories add to the richness of our relationship and the treasured friendship I have with you, which makes me feel incredibly lucky and blessed to have you not only as my daughter but as my very best friend.

And now that you are grown I may not hold your hand each day but I will always hold onto your heart.

 [Bride and Groom] you have [my husband's] and my support and love for you as a couple, and as a family. May you both be blessed with much happiness, love and laughter and may today’s joy always stay with you. With all our heart we congratulate your commitment you have made to each other today. We love you.

Wendy suggests reading this speech out loud a few times to familiarize yourself with it and practice it in your speaking style. She also notes that it’s perfectly okay to cry, just have a little waterproof makeup on!
 

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destination wedding etiquette

photo credit: Steve Corey via photopin cc

 

Throwing a destination wedding doesn’t mean you have to go without bachelor and bachelorette parties, bridal showers and other traditional events. These events provide friends and family with the opportunity to celebrate with you (and give you gifts). If you’re considering inviting people to these events who aren’t invited to the wedding, it’s a good idea to state that gifts are not expected on the invite. Many couples also choose to celebrate after they’ve gotten married, with such events including formal affairs or casual backyard barbecues. With all of this in mind, let’s take a look at a few etiquette tips for destination weddings:

Wedding Gift Etiquette

Since destination weddings present special challenges to those attending, many opt to send gifts directly to the bride and groom, or to the homes of their parents. This avoids dealing with gifts while flying or otherwise traveling. Gift certificates and cash gifts are usually brought to the wedding.

Another viable gift option is to purchase gifts from the couple’s honeymoon registry. If they’re working with a destination wedding specialist, it’s very likely they’ve created such a registry. This allows attendees to purchase fun things for the honeymoon, such as snorkeling activities, drinks on the beach, special dinners, spa treatments, etc.

While destination weddings are usually more causal, they’re no reason to ignore party etiquette.

 

Wedding Reception Etiquette

For the couple: let guests know what to expect, such as dress code, food and length of the reception. Do this before everyone leaves for the trip! Remember to seat guests of the same age together, and to dance! Don’t let the party get dull.

For guest: be agreeable! If you aren’t a fan of the meal, order room service afterwards. Remember not to be too drunk, too loud or too demanding. Make conversation with your fellow guests. Bring a gift or send it ahead of time.

Parents’ Duties

The idea that the bride’s parents have to cover all wedding expenses is long dead, as couples today often have their own income and are older in general. However, both sets of parents usually expect to contribute, which is fine. If either or both sets are paying for destination wedding expenses, they certainly don’t have to cover guest plane fare. It’s also essential that the parents help the wedding be as stress-free for the couple as possible, and provide them with plenty of time to spend together. This means occupying talkative family members among other things.

Guests’ Duties

The main duty of guests is to enjoy themselves, though all are expected to pay for all travel-related expenses. They still need to bring gifts as well, and if the gift is too big or otherwise doesn’t travel well, simply send it to the couple’s home. It’s also important to remember a destination wedding is usually a honeymoon as well, so guests should give the couple “alone time.”

Wedding Party Etiquette

It’s normal to want family and special friends as the wedding party, however it’s also good etiquette to ensure a destination wedding works for everyone. Wedding parties for destination weddings are usually much smaller, with a Maid of Honor and Best Man the only “party members.” The bride and groom generally pay for the travel expenses of the wedding party. This includes airfare, transportation, food and accommodations. Everything else is on the wedding party. It’s also important to give everyone enough notice to take time off work and make all necessary arrangements.

Reception Seating

If the destination wedding includes more than a few guests, it’s necessary to come up with a seating arrangement. A few tips include:

  • Seat guests with those whom they will feel comfortable around, such as seating co-workers together.
  • Seat couples together and children with at least one parent.
  • Alternate men and women around each table for more formal occasions.
  • The bride, groom and bridal party generally sit at a long table in the front of the room. No one should have their backs to the guests.
  • Have the couple’s closest friends and family seated as close to the front table as possible.
  • Use printed place cards to identify each seat.

Enjoy planning an amazing destination wedding! Expense aside, everyone involved will undoubtedly love the chosen location.

 

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It costs about $1,700 to be a bridesmaid, according to a WeddingChannel.com 2010 survey. Among the biggest expenses are traveling to the wedding, the bachelorette party, and the bridal shower. Many bridesmaids don’t realize how quickly the expenses add up, says Amy Eisinger, the site’s associate editor.

“From the moment they announce the engagement, to the day your friend walks down the isle, if that’s a year and a half, you don’t realize that you’ve spent $1,600,” she said. Costs are also on the rise again.

“We saw the cost go down during the recession because brides were incredibly cost conscious in what they were asking their friends to do,” Eisinger said.

So what to do when you want to be in your best friend’s wedding, but can’t exactly afford everything that comes with it?

“Be honest up front,” says Jodi R.R. Smith, author of The Etiquette Book, which includes advice on all things ‘wedding.’

“If you try to be able to do it, then you end up maxing out your credit cards and going into debt,” Smith said. “You should never be going into debt for a friend’s wedding.”

Smith advises women to tell the bride-to-be that you can’t afford to be in her wedding in person, such as while getting coffee. Don’t do it at an event, such as a bridal shower, and don’t “throw a fit” about the expense, either.

“You are allowed to say, ‘Look, I’m just not going to be able to afford the $200 wedding dress and the trip to Mexico for the bachelorette party and the fact that it’s a destination wedding in Key West,’ ” she said.

Brides who want their friends with them at the ceremony will probably take on some of the expense, such as the dress or plane ticket.

“If it’s a choice between having somebody be in your wedding party or having them all wear designer bridesmaid dresses, I would choose the people and the cheaper bridesmaid dress,” Smith said.

Trying to figure out what bridesmaids can and cannot afford gets sticky, which is why making a spreadsheet with estimated costs is a great alternative. Unexpected surprises do occur, however, such as the Las Vegas bachelorette party in the movie Bridesmaids.

“Instead of the bachelorette party in Vegas, [if] you’re all East Coast people, have it in Atlantic City,” Smith says.

Budget-Friendly Tips for Bridesmaids

  1. Dress: If the dress costs $300, don’t be afraid to research and suggest cheaper alternatives. You can also suggest the bride name the color and allow everyone to pick their own dress. This is a big money-saver!
  2. Party: Having the bachelorette party and the bridal shower in the same weekend is ideal and saves on plane fare.
  3. Gifts: Group gifts are always a good idea for the bridal shower and the wedding.
  4. Accommodations: Staying in a hotel? Ask one of the other single bridesmaids if she wants to share a room, or any single friends that will be attending the wedding.
  5. Budget Balancing: Come up with a number of how much you want to spend, and keep a running tab throughout the planning and event process. This will help keep your spending in check, particularly if the wedding is spread out over the course of a year.
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While wedding websites and social media status updates have become commonplace for sharing wedding details, printed newspaper announcements are still considered special (especially if the newspaper is The New York Times). Announcement details vary from paper to paper, but it’s best to obtain the publication’s requirements like word limit, picture size, deadlines and associated fees before preparing your submission.

Photo via nytreprints.com

Photo via nytreprints.com

Here are a few additional items to consider when submitting your wedding announcement:

Publication

Typically couples submit a wedding announcement to their local hometown paper and/or that of their spouse. Some couples also opt for a national newspaper or alumni newsletter/magazine.

Timing

Although many papers will not print wedding announcements until after the ceremony has taken place, confirm the newspaper’s publication deadlines so you allow ample time to complete your wedding announcement submission. As an FYI, The New York Times requests that announcements be received at least six weeks before the wedding.

Wedding Details  

Think of your announcement like a wedding invitation, and provide details like the date, location and your parents’ names. Also, include the city of residence for your parents as well as for you and your spouse once you’re married. The names of wedding attendants are often added too.

Education and Occupation

Give background information on you and your spouse such as where you went to school, your career and where you grew up.

Photo

Many newspapers will accept photos to accompany the wedding announcement, but be sure to ask about photo size and quality before submitting (e.g. black and white vs. color, pixel requirements, etc.). Most importantly, don’t submit original wedding photos as many publications don’t issue returns. Submit copies of photos with your name, wedding date and phone number on the back.

Contact Information

Include your phone number and email address with the announcement in case the editor has any questions or needs additional information.

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Perhaps your sister is getting married this summer, or you’re invited to a number of friends’ weddings in the span of a few months’ time. Whatever the case, there’s plenty of stuff to do as a wedding guest, even if you aren’t a member of the bridal party! Check out the ultimate list of what you need to know before you attend your next wedding, and remember, be gracious and have fun!

RSVP

  • Do not, repeat, do not bring a guest unless the couple has indicated that you can do so on the invitation.
  • Be sure to double check that you wrote your name on the RSVP card.
  • Leave the kids at home unless they are part of the wedding party. It may not be mentioned in the invite, but that’s not a reason to bring them.
  • RSVP on time!

General Etiquette Tips

  • Don’t text or call the bride the day of the wedding to ask questions or discuss whatever issues you’re having–she has enough to do.
  • Be present! Put the phone and the camera down, and celebrate with the bride and groom!
  • The pretty sparkly plates at your place setting? Those are chargers. Do not use them as dinner plates.
  • Bring a gift, even if it’s a small one. If you are purchasing a gift, send it to the couples home instead of bringing it to the reception. Cards are always a nice touch.
  • Be there on time! Whatever the start time says on the invitation, show up at least 25 minutes beforehand.
  • Read all of the information on the accommodations card and wedding website so you don’t have to ask the bride or groom for anything in the days leading up to the ceremony.
  • Stay out of the gosh-darn aisle during the ceremony!
  • Avoiding grabbing items you find. This includes an umbrella covering the photographer’s equipment, candles, centerpieces, other people’s favors and jackets.
  • Don’t attempt to turn your friend’s wedding into your family photoshoot/reunion–this is not the time or the place.

Vendors

  • Please remember the bride’s wishes. If the planner tells you that the reception space isn’t open until a certain time, don’t argue.
  • Know that the photographer will get the shots that the bride and groom want. It’s not on you to capture every moment.
  • Refrain from jumping in front of the photographer with your own camera during important events.
  • Avoid talking to the photographer during the ceremony.
  • Don’t take your own photos next to or near the photographer.
  • Remember that vendors involved with a wedding most likely know more about what’s happening when and why.
  • The couple hired a professional photographer for a reason! They don’t need you to do it, or any other guest. Just sit back and enjoy everything.

Attire

  • Dress according to the weather, and check the weather report before you leave. Sweaters and or umbrellas may be necessary.
  • Dress according to the setting. Use the invitation to determine the style of the wedding and recommended attire. If you can’t figure it out from that, ask fellow attendees, not the bride.
  • And while this is obvious, for goodness sake don’t wear white!

Reception

  • Please remember that the bride and groom (and perhaps their parents) are paying for you to eat and drink. Your job is to enjoy it!
  • The couple *really* wants you to dance and use the photo booth! Like, really.
  •  At the reception, don’t assume “extra” favors such as cameras, candies, centerpieces, bottles of champagne, etc. are yours to take! Unless the couple tells you to take what you want, don’t!
  •  Arrive at cocktail hour when it starts, and stay the entire time. The bride and groom likely have a plan for this event, so keep that in mind.
  • Don’t try to push and shove your way into the reception because you’re ready to sit down. Everyone else wants to sit down, too.

Every wedding is different, however these tips are pretty darn universal. Keep them in mind, and have fun!!

 

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Mother of the Bride & Groom Advice

Whether you’re the mother of the bride or the mother of the groom, it’s important that you look the part. But, it’s also important that you try not to outshine the your daughter, future daughter-in-law or act as one of the bridesmaids. From silhouettes to colors, it can be challenging finding a dress that not only fits your body, your personality, the style of the big day and goes along with the MOG & MOB rules. But, have no fear, we’ve rounded up 5 of the best colors to choose from if you’re at a loss of what to wear on you daughter or son’s wedding day!

Mother of the Bride & Groom Fashion Advice & Tips

A bit of sparkle is okay …

If your daughter or son is planning a formal, evening event, it’s okay to dawn of bit of sparkle. Nix the bold or dramatic colors and keep them discrete, but it’s okay for the mom’s to feel glamorous and beautiful too, in a tasteful way, of course. Soft golds and creams, powder silvers and even very pale, pastel blues and lavenders make for a great foundation to add a bit of shine to.

Mother of the Bride & Groom Fashion Advice & Tips

Try to stay away from black, but charcoal could be nice …

Personally, I’m not a fan of black for the moms. It doesn’t seem joyful enough on such a happy day. You don’t want guests to think you’re in mourning for your child’s wedding, instead, if you’re looking for something darker and always flattering, try out charcoal for a more romantic style.

Mother of the Bride & Groom Fashion Advice & Tips

Why  not try some black & white prints …

If you really want to add a classic black into your ensemble, why not make it a print? This gown is not only age-appropriate but it’s gorgeous and lighthearted. The black doesn’t overpower the design and moms will still feel sophisticated, comfortable and fashionable. Also, this print will never outshine but blend into a wedding party full of gorgeous monochromatic tones.

Mother of the Bride & Groom Fashion Advice & Tips

Blue hues are the best …

I’m a huge advocate of blue tones for all moms. It’s good luck and you can find a shade of blue for every body type and skin tone. You can dress it up, dress it down and mix it well within any and every type of wedding and style theme. It’s also one of the easier tones to find when you’re shopping for gowns, let alone ones that are made for MOB’s & MOG’s!

Mother of the Bride & Groom Fashion Advice & Tips

 Creamy neutrals are always beautiful …

If you’re shopping for a spring or summer wedding, moms may want to go with something a bit lighter to pay homage to the season and to feel more comfortable because of the weather! Try out some creamy neutrals, from beige to tan or golden tones, mom will blend in with the wedding party but still look like a VIP of the day, which is essential.

 

all photos via Style Me Pretty

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