Friday, January 23, 2015

How to Save Money on Alcohol for Your Wedding Bar

Cutting back on cocktail costs can be a sobering task. Raise a glass to scoring big-day drinks on a budget with these money-saving tips.
rw-anthony-rusty-cocktails-13-354-00526-wd110176.jpg Photography by: Thayer Photographs, Inc.

Play Sommelier 

If you work it out with the venue to supply vino yourself, you’ll get better wine for the same price (or less), even with a corkage fee. “Choose lesser-known wines like Orvieto, Soave, or grüner veltliner for whites, and Rioja or barbera for reds,” says NYC wine consultant Lyle Kula.

Lower the Bar 

We’re not talking about setting up a cash bar—guests shouldn’t pay for anything at a wedding—but rather editing the selection of beverages. One or two kinds of beer, a red and a white wine, and a signature sipper or simply a good vodka, gin, and whiskey is plenty.
Get Signature Drink Ideas

Hold the Trays 

If you do offer a signature wedding drink, don’t have servers pass it around, says planner Calder Clark, owner of Calder Clark in Charleston, South Carolina. “Most people will take one but not always drink it—and that’s wasted money.” Instead, keep the cocktails at the bar, where guests can request it if they want one.

Do the Math

Considering serving wine and beer instead of an open bar to cut costs? Calculate the difference before you make that decision. “A bottle of wine contains five drinks, whereas a liter of vodka has 25,” says Richard Nix Jr. of Butler’s Pantry in Saint Louis.

Buy Bubbly on a Budget

Though Champagne technically only hails from the Champagne region of France, the sparkling wine you serve at your reception could come from Spain (Cava) or Italy (Prosecco). These worldly competitors pack a smaller price tag.
Get Creative Ideas for Celebrating with Champagne

Skip the Champagne Toast

It turns out, most people don’t touch their glass, literally resulting in money down the drain. Keep the bubbly at the bar for guests who want it.

Go for Quality Stemware

Remember these words: Riedel Bordeaux glasses. “Your caterer can rent them for about $1.50 a stem,” says Rebecca Feeney of Custom Event Group in St. Helena, California. “They make everything taste better, which frees you up to spend less on wine. Plus, they feel fancy.”

Thursday, January 22, 2015

9 Proposals That Went Terribly Wrong

Everyone likes an oh-so-romantic engagement story. You know, where the guy sets up a hidden camera or sneaks a series of gift boxes in a Christmas tree? We just can't get enough! But then there are the epic fails, the total disasters, and the just plain awkward proposal stories out there. If you thought that man who proposed with 99 iPhones had it bad, here are a few more painful proposal stories we found on Reddit...
  • somethingwickednc: "My dad stuck the ring in a stick of deodorant, then told my mom she needed to use it. Small argument ensues when mom tells dad she does not need it."
  • anonymous: "I proposed to my wife in Times Square at New Year's Eve (I was going for maximum cheezy!) She was pretty emotional and took a while to believe I was serious (even though I had a ring). This being New York, strangers started shouting at her to 'HURRY UP LADY, WHAT'S IT GONNA BE? WE DON'T HAVE ALL NIGHT!'"
  • aquariums: "I was on the ferry to the Statue of Liberty a few months back, and suddenly we see a plane writing something in the sky... Extremely slowly. Like, ridiculously slow. I know it must take a while to write something out in the sky, but it seriously took like 25 minutes for this dude to write "MARRY ME SUE" in the sky. By the time he had written Sue's name, the "MARRY ME" had faded from the sky."
  • ABlackThaiAffair: "I saw a guy propose to his girlfriend in a Subway at around 9 at night. It was so unbelievably awkward because it was just the three of us in the shop. She said no, the guy cried and I still had to order my sub while they sat there."
  • apiratenamedbob: "Pilot here. Guy ask me to fly him and his SO over a field, where 150 people had formed a heart and two rings. Huge show, I was really impressed. When she saw it, her response was: "Look at all those idiots! How ridiculous is that??" He did not ask his question that day."
  • aladyredditor: "I knew a guy who was at McDonalds with his girlfriend one time, and as a joke he wrapped a fry around her finger and said, "Will you McMarry me?" She started crying and called her mom and like started planning the wedding the next day. He hadn't meant to propose but he didn't have the heart to tell her so, so he just married her."
  • s**ttycats: "I was a restaurant in NYC once with my whole family and there was a couple at a table across from ours. The man had the restaurant bake a ring into a cake which was to be presented to his girlfriend so he could pop the question. The wait staff made this known to likely the entire restaurant so when the cake was brought out all eyes were on them. The woman proceeds to cut into the slice of cake finding the ring. She looked mortified. You could see the "are you f**ing kidding me face" on her a mile away. She said no. Promptly placed the ring on the table and left the restaurant, leaving the man behind with his head in his hands. He sat there for 20 minutes or so before paying his bill and leaving."
  • weaselmeat: "I proposed to my wife in Dublin, which is more difficult than it sounds because it's not a romantic city. After dinner, I decided that the Halfpenny Bridge was about the best place to get the job done. Right in the middle of my proposal, I hear the unmistakable sound of a drunk guy pissing off the bridge not 10 feet behind me. Ireland has never let me down."
  • Toast_n_Gravy: "I unfortunately didn't witness it but my best friend just got engaged and when her SO proposed they were in a little french deli. She had just put a massive mouthful of pie in her face when she saw he had got down on one knee. She was so shocked she spat the pie out all over herself, all over him, all over everything. She just sort of nodded ... it was very like her to do something like that so it's all fine but still ... I don't think he was expecting pie in his face."
  • Wednesday, January 21, 2015

    Gown Shopping Tips For Curvy Brides — Read Expert Tips Here!

    Whether you’re an apple, a pear (or any fruit in between!) an experienced bridal consultant can help you find the silhouette that works best for your shape. Worried that your curves will be a hindrance on your quest for the perfect dress? Don’t be! Check out these helpful tips from stylist Sara Viola and co-owner Lisa Litt of Della Curva, a bridal salon in California specifically for curvy brides, below!

    Della Curva 

    Know Your Body Type
    Curvy bride or not, it’s important to know your body type before you try on gowns. Ask your consultant what styles will flatter your measurements the most—you might be surprised at the amount of options out there. “Most curvy girls think they need a dress with an empire waist, but that’s actually not true,” Viola says. “A lot of styles will look good on them. They just need to know what silhouettes will complement them the most.”

    For instance, pear shapes  should avoid clingy mermaids that accentuate and the hips, while apple shapes should steer clear of clingy sheaths. “Fit-n-flare is generally a solid silhouette,” Viola advises. “I think everyone can find their signature style.”

    Find A Boutique With Larger Sample Sizes
    Save yourself a frustrating experience and find a salon that carries larger sample sizes, or caters to curvier body types. “You need to try on a dress that will zip up, so you can feel the most confident,” Viola says. “You shouldn’t start off feeling discouraged about your size!”

    Shop For Your Body Now 
    Even if you’re planning to shed some pounds before your wedding, your body type isn’t going to completely change. “If you lose inches in your bust, that doesn’t mean that you’re going to lose inches in your hips,” Viola says. “Order the gown that looks good today.”

    Avoid Shiny Fabrics 
    “Shiny fabrics like high-shine satins or fabrics with metallic threads reflect the light and makes you look larger,” Litt says.

    Structure Is Your Friend 
    Consider more structured materials like satin, lace and organza for a smoother silhouette. “Some chiffons might be okay, but for the most part, clingy fabrics are not forgiving,” Viola says. Ruching or gathering on the bodice and a lace-up corset are also safe bets, especially if you want to disguise your tummy. “A lace-up bodice has more flexibility, so if you lose weight, you can still cinch in your waistline,” Viola says.

    Wear Spanx To Your Appointment
    Before you hit the stores, make sure you’re armed with some body shaping undies.  “Whether you’re a size 4 or a size 24, Spanx will smooth out your tummy and hips,” Litt says. “You’ll stand straighter and feel better.”

    Invest In Serious Undergarments
    What goes underneath your dress is just as important as the dress itself. Set yourself up for success by investing in a good under-the-dress essentials.  “No matter your size, Spanx and a supportive bra are always a must,” Viola says. “A long line strapless  bra with extra boning in the bodice will help create a seamless look for bustier brides.”

    Keep An Open Mind
    Trust your bridal consultant. “We know what looks good, we know what works.” Litt says. “Even if you think something won’t look good on you, at least try it on. We’re trained to know what will flatter your body type.”

    Tuesday, January 20, 2015

    Flower Girl And Ring Bearer Get Married 20 Years After They First Met

    After their first wedding together in 1995, Briggs and Brittney Fussy couldn’t wait to do it again.

    The St. Paul, Minnesota, couple first met as children: He was the ring bearer, while she handled flower girl duties.

    The day was so special that the mothers of both Briggs and Brittney kept photos of the wedding on their walls for years.

    Brittney and Briggs took center stage as flower girl and ring bearer.


    That’s a fact Brittney mentioned when Briggs sat down in front of her during a college class.


    Briggs told FOX 9 it was their childhood duties that brought them together.


    He said, “It’s funny how God’s plan came into place.”


    “I didn’t even know her before she turned around in class and told me that.”


    Twenty years later, after five years of dating, the pair headed down the aisle once more.


    The Fussys are together again.


    It seems wedding magic might be real, after all.


    Congratulations to the newlyweds. This love was a long time coming.


    Their own flower girl and ring bearer are related, so there’s no repeat love story in the future.


    But, it’s one their own family is sure to appreciate one day.


    This wedding was worth the wait.

    This Gorgeous Proposal Photo Almost Didn't Happen

    Photographer Michael Justin was hired to shoot a proposal Monday night along the Long Island City waterfront in Queens. No big deal, he thought.

    He set up his cameras and flashes -- using his camera bag as a weight to keep the light stand from falling over on the windy night -- and texted the groom to ask about timing. Then, his phone died.
    "Time to stress the F out," Justin wrote on Imgur. "I went to do another test shot to make sure I had the correct composition ... nothing. My camera batteries were dead."

    After running to and from his camera bag -- which was directly in the proposal area -- to retrieve new batteries, he returned to his spot in time to snap the pics. But thanks to a gust of wind that knocked down the light stand, he was forced to run back to the proposal area and reset it. That's when he noticed the guy and girl in the distance.

    Luckily, he was able to run back to his secluded spot in time to take the photos -- and it's a good thing he did:

    Photo Credit: Michael Justin Films

    The bride-to-be told The Huffington Post that the waterfront is the couple's favorite place in Long Island City, and they walk there often. After dinner that night, her boyfriend suggested that they walk along the water in order to see if it had started to freeze. There, he got down on one knee.

    "All I remember saying was 'are you kidding me!? Are you kidding me?!' I was in complete shock," the bride told HuffPost Weddings. "I said 'yes' and we embraced. It was the happiest moment of my life!"

    Check out more of the beautiful photos below.


    Monday, January 19, 2015

    11 Fun Rehearsal Dinner Themes

    You don’t have to have stuffy sit-down rehearsal dinner. Rethink the typical setting and go for something a little more inventive. From a backyard to the bowling alley or on the beach – just about anyplace will work. Steal one of these ideas and your rehearsal dinner might be just as memorable as the wedding itself.

    A BBQ Rehearsal Dinner

    Host a relaxed outdoor dinner with all of your cookout favorites on the menu, like burgers, dogs, and mac and cheese. Upgrade traditional BBQ dishes and serve a gourmet version. Think: pulled-pork sliders and caprese salad kabobs. Have it in a backyard, at a local BBQ joint or even a nearby public park. Decorate the tables with wildflowers in galvanized tin pails and tie in classic details, like a checkered-print tablecloth and homemade citronella candles.
    What to Watch for: Like any outdoor event, you’ll need to prepare for the elements with anti-mosquito spray, fans (or heat lamps if it’s chilly) and an indoor plan in case of rain.

    A Fondue Rehearsal Dinner

    Instead of a traditional sit-down meal, guests can mingle over a buffet-style feast from fondue pots or even fountains. Start with toast points and various cheese pots: Blue cheese and Gruyere are good starters. Move on to meats, potatoes and veggies, which can each be dipped in sauces, like teriyaki and red wine, and cooked right on the table. For dessert, have fresh fruit, squares of pound cake or brownies, bananas and marshmallows, and pots of melted chocolate, caramel, marshmallow, honey and yogurt.
    What to Watch for: Fondue can be messy. You’ll want to have plenty of napkins on hand, as well as tables and chairs for guests to sit down and eat. If you’re hosting at home, you may want to hire a cleaning crew to wipe up tables and chairs to keep the fondue neat and tidy.

    A Bowling Rehearsal Dinner

    There’s no rule that says a rehearsal dinner has to be, well, just dinner. Bowling and arcade games are just the kinds of activities that will help break the ice between your families and friends. You could even make it a competition and give awards at the end of the night (don’t for-get to honor “Most Gutter Balls!”). Serve up beer and pizza right there at the alley or move to a nearby restaurant after the games are over.
    What to Watch for: Aim to rent out private lanes or even a separate room for dining. And steer away from any decor that’s too whimsical, like pennants and balloons, and decorate with a few fresh flowers to add a touch of elegance.

    A Casino Night Rehearsal Dinner

    Host a Monte Carlo–inspired affair, complete with classic casino games, like blackjack and rou-lette. Send out wedding rehearsal dinner invitations on customized playing cards for your casino night, and decorate surfaces with chocolate poker chips. Let your bridal party take turns dealing blackjack, poker and other card games (or hire a real dealer), and consider having bingo and raffle prizes. No casino is complete without lots of chic sips, so keep the champagne flowing as gambling guests spend the evening toasting the bride and groom.
    What to Watch for: Because guests will be moving around the room and having fun with the games, it may feel less intimate than if everyone is sitting at tables. You can solve this by having a seated dinner or cocktail hour first, so guests don’t miss out on mingling.

    A Clam or Lobster Bake Rehearsal Dinner

    If you’re near a beach, go the most traditional route and hire a crew to dig a two- or three-foot-deep pit lined with rocks and build a wood-fire top (there are catering companies that can take care of this for you). The alternative landlocked version works too: Order steamed clams and provisions and then set them up on big picnic tables for everyone to nosh on. Top your tables with checkered tablecloths and a few fresh flower arrangements. If you have the means and the space, end the night with a bonfire and s’mores.
    What to Watch for: It’s messy, so make sure your guests who aren’t as familiar with this style of party know they should wear super-casual attire.

    A Sports Game Rehearsal Dinner

    Get the wedding festivities underway with a rehearsal dinner excursion to a local football or baseball stadium for some tailgating followed by a game. Look into group packages —many ballparks have them, and some even offer options like a congratulatory message on the score-board. Have all the guests sign a “game ball” for you to keep.
    What to Watch for: You’re a superfan, but all of your guests probably aren’t. So instead, con-sider having the game-going portion of the night follow a more formal dinner. If you actually want to host evening at the ballpark, choose a game or team that’s fun to watch, but that you won’t be glued to, like a minor league game.

    A Wine or Beer Pairing Rehearsal Dinner

    It’s your typical dinner, but with a twist. Bring in a wine, beer or even whiskey specialist to help craft the menu to teach your guests how to pair the perfect sip for every course (even dessert!). So you might choose six to eight different wines of the same grape varietal (do all Shiraz or all chardonnay), so guests can really taste the difference. And make sure to pair each course with a great cheese. Décor-wise, let your theme be the guide. Use grapes and cheese boards as your centerpieces. If it’s a beer tasting, fill cute vintage beer bottles with a few fresh flowers.
    What to Watch for: You’ll want to get in on the fun, but don’t drink so much that you start off your wedding day with a hangover. Plan for plenty of food, so no one’s staggering into the cer-emony the next day -- and drink lots of water in between courses!

    A Tee Time Rehearsal Dinner

    Go one step further than the traditional country club or golf course rehearsal dinner and let eve-ryone spend cocktail hour perfecting their swing at the driving range. At dinnertime, name the tables after scores (birdy, par, bogie and eagle) and decorate with miniature hole flags anchored with colorful tees.
    What to Watch for: Golf courses and country club venues can be pricey, but don’t let that stop you. This idea also works in your backyard with a homemade, obstacle-laden, mini-golf course.

    A Picnic Rehearsal Dinner

    Spread out in a park with your guests for a low-key, fun outdoor affair during the day or early evening. Set up an old-fashioned spread (think: salads, sandwiches and lots of fresh-squeezed lemonade). You’ll want a mix of tables and blankets for seating, but use picnic baskets with a pretty decorated handle filled with food instead of traditional centerpieces.
    What to Watch for: Even though it’s picnic style, you still need enough food for your guests to make a meal, or you should let everyone know it will not be a full meal with some careful word-ing on the invitations. If you don’t want to be responsible for an entire meal, move the time to sometime in between lunch and dinner.

    A Dessert Buffet Rehearsal Dinner

    Here’s a sweet alternative to the traditional sit-down dinner hosted at a later hour (around 9 or 10 in the evening). It’s great if a lot of guests will be traveling in and won’t be able to attend until later in the day anyway. Host the dessert buffet at a local coffee shop, dessert bar or even at your home with a variety of pastries, chocolates, tarts and candy. Offer a few non-sweets too, like fruit or even bite-size sandwiches.
    What to Watch for: If your ceremony rehearsal has to happen early, but the party doesn’t start until late, you may have some time to kill in between. That’s okay -- just spread the news. Guests will most likely end up finding dinner on their own before the dessert party. You can do your part by suggesting a few restaurants in the area.

    A Beach-Inspired Rehearsal Dinner

    Going somewhere tropical for your honeymoon? Give guests a little sneak peek and transform your rehearsal dinner into your honeymoon destination. Hang hammocks from trees in your backyard, serve dinner buffet-style on long surfboards, and blend up some pina coladas and daiquiris. For fun favor ideas, try personalized messages in glass bottles or flip-flops. As an ac-tivity, have guests write in ideas for things to do on your honeymoon.
    What To Watch For: Transforming a ballroom or restaurant into a tropical paradise might re-quire quite a bit of decor, so it’s best suited for a spot that’s outdoors (when it’s warm of course!) or that already comes with a built-in beachy vibe.

    Friday, January 16, 2015

    10 Wedding Questions You Didn't Know To Ask

    When should I take off my veil after the ceremony?

    Everyone loves to talk about the veil, but nobody tells you exactly when to ditch it. While it's perfectly okay to wear the veil for the entire reception, there are two optimal times to take it off. The first is after the ceremony (have your hairstylist show a bridesmaid how to do this without messing up your 'do), and the second is after the first dance while your guests are eating. Once the veil's off, stick it in your bridal suite or have it "decorate" your chair.

    How should our wedding party travel to the reception?

    We bet you and your groom planned a perfect ceremony exit where you hop into a vintage Rolls-Royce and ride off to the reception. That sounds great, but yes, you're responsible for getting your wedding party there too. If you're going casual and want them to simply drive over, let everyone know this beforehand so they can carpool. Otherwise, rent a stretch limo, go vintage with a trolley or let them be kids again by cruising in a budget-friendly school bus -- of course, feel free to tag along for the ride!

    Do I really need someone to hold my dress while I pee?

    This depends on the dress. If you're wearing a full-length ball gown, you'll probably need an extra set of hands to help hold up the skirt while you do your thing. Trust us -- the cost versus the benefit on this is a no-brainer. But if you're sporting a silk sheath and a posse pee makes you cringe, go ahead and handle your own business. Another tip: There's a pee-ready Spanx designed with a hole in, well, just the right place. We'll stay classy and resist the oh-so-obvious dirty joke opportunity here.

    Is there an appropriate way to kiss at the ceremony?

    Remember the day he proposed, and you saw the ring and the tears in his eyes, and then you two started making out like maniacs? Yeah, don't do that. But your first kiss as a married couple doesn't have to be just a peck either. Do what comes naturally, as long as it doesn't involve visible tongue and last more than 10 seconds. Oh, and don't do the dip thing either -- unless of course you want to look like you belong in a Hugh Grant movie.

    What exactly do the bride and groom do during the cake cutting?

    The cake cutting typically takes place after dinner when your bandleader or DJ makes an announcement (you can also do this). If you have older guests who might be leaving early, do your cake cutting at the beginning of the reception just before the first dance. For the first cut, your groom's hands are placed over yours as you cut into the bottom layer of the cake. The groom makes the second cut solo and feeds the bride, and then it's your turn.

    Where do I put my engagement ring during the ceremony?

    Wear the ring on your right hand or have your aunt or grandma hold it. If you want to wear your engagement ring for the reception, put it on during the ride to your venue or just before being announced. For Jewish weddings, it's fine to wear your engagement ring, and then exchange stone-free wedding bands if you want to keep with tradition. Also remember: The band is usually worn closest to your heart on your left hand.

    Who lifts my veil?

    While more and more brides are wearing a veil flipped back for the entire ceremony or not wearing one at all, the most traditional bride still wears a veil over her face. If you like to keep things classic, there are two options. One is your dad lifts the veil when he gives you away, "revealing" you to the groom (like you really need help with that one). The other is for the groom to lift the veil just before the kiss.

    What side are we supposed to stand on during the ceremony?

    If you're in a church facing the altar, the bride stands on the left side and the groom on the right. Guests of the bride and groom should follow suit, sitting on the side of whoever they know best or are related to (hint: tell mutual friends to sit on the side that has less people). For Jewish ceremonies, it's the opposite.

    What's the best way to greet guests if I don't want a receiving line?

    Yeah, we get it -- you don't want to stand around after the ceremony in an assembly line. Instead, greet your guests during the reception by going from table to table during the first course. Just make sure you have time to eat too! Also, make a short speech thanking guests for coming and give a shout-out to vendors and parents (or anyone else who helped pay for your wedding!). While this moment with the mic shouldn't take the place of personal interaction with guests, it can be a great forum to let them know how much their support means to you.

    Can I take my shoes off at any time during the reception?

    We've all been to the wedding where guests cut loose on the dance floor and ditch the heels. But it's a little different when you're the bride -- especially if you're wearing a formal dress. Instead of going barefoot, bring a pair of flats for dancing. If you're getting married in the summer, have baskets of flip-flops in your wedding colors for your guests to slip into before they get down. There's one exception to the shoes-or-lose rule: beach weddings!

    Thursday, January 15, 2015

    8 Things Married Couples Get Wrong When It Comes To Sex

    By Jillian Kramer, BRIDES

    Photo: Getty Images

    "A healthy sex life is a key ingredient to a happy, loving, and lasting marriage," says sex expert Nikki Ransom-Alfred. Yet, "after the excitement of the wedding day and settling into marriage, couples will often find that the quantity and quality of sex will take a downturn." So what's a married couple to do? Check out these eight things you're likely doing wrong without even knowing it, and have fun correcting the problems beginning tonight!

    You're not doing the deed often enough.
    "Sex is how you express love and desire for each other, and connects the two of you on a physical, mental, emotional and spiritual level," Ransom-Alfred says. What's more, when you orgasm, your brain releases dopamine, serotonin and oxytocin -- the love hormone -- that keeps you crazy about your guy. "Discuss with your partner how often he would like to have sex and then see how you two can compromise so that all parties are satisfied," Ransom-Alfred suggests. Hint: The more often, the merrier you both will be.

    You're not openly discussing what you want.
    "Couples are often embarrassed to discuss sex with each other, even though they have it with each other," explains Ransom-Alfred. "Some are nervous to talk about their wants and desires for fear of being judged or turned down by the other." Start by telling your significant other that discussion about sex and sexual desires are a safe zone. Then, "talk with each other about sex acts that you've always wanted to try, new sex positions, what turns you on, what turns you off, and more," Ransom-Alfred says. "This will only enhance your sex life together and enhance your marriage overall."

    You're playing it safe -- and repetitive -- when it comes to sex.
    "It's common to become so comfortable in our relationship that we neglect we need to keep our sex lives new, fresh and exciting," says Ransom-Alfred. "Marriage is forever, and you can't expect to have the same kind of sex for the rest of your lives. You will indeed get bored in the bedroom and that spells trouble for the marriage." Ransom-Alfred suggests cracking open the Kama Sutra for inspiration and new positions you could try.

    You're wearing your sweats to bed.
    "We definitely need to keep it sexy in the bedroom, whether we've been married for two months or two decades," insists Ransom-Alfred. "Taking the time to be appealing for your partner shows them that you really care about them, about looking good for them and about your marriage." Make it a habit to slip into something silky when you get under the sheets. "Or wear one of his T-shirts to bed if that's what he finds sexy," she says. Of course, you can also go naked, too, and we doubt your husband will complain!

    You're not taking your time with foreplay.
    "Discuss foreplay with your partner and ask what they like, what really gets them hot and also how long he wants foreplay," suggests Ransom-Alfred. "Sexiness starts in the mind, so foreplay should begin well before taking your clothes off."

    You're not spontaneous enough.
    "Sex does not always have to happen at night, nor does it always have to be in the bedroom," Ransom-Alfred says. "Keep things spontaneous by surprising your partner with a sex session in the morning, in the shower while you two are getting ready, or the middle of the day." Another tip to keep things extra-hot? "Call your spouse right before lunch and have them meet you at home for a quickie!" she suggests.

    You're not making your bedroom a pleasant place to make love.
    "Many couples do not realize it, but the décor in your room will have either a positive or negative effect on your mood," explains Ransom-Alfred. "If your bedroom looks bland and boring, you will feel the same when you enter it. Your bedroom is your sensual space, so you want to feel sensual when you walk inside of it." Up the sex factor in your personal space by investing in fresh flowers, scented candles and plush pillows that beckon for romance.

    You're not showing enough non-sexual affection.
    "While a slap on the bottom or a sexual grope is hot, be sure to still show your partner affection and love in non-sexual ways such as hugging, massaging and holding them," advises Ransom-Alfred. That kind of physical love and affection translates outside the bedroom, and last until your next sex session. "The more loved a spouse feels, the more open he or she will be sexually."

    Wednesday, January 14, 2015

    Who You Should Invite to Your Wedding

    Time to start your wedding guest list! But where do you even begin? Follow our simple guidelines to create a wedding guest list that you’re comfortable with.
    Come up with a target guest count
    First, decide if you’d like your wedding to be small (under 150 people) or bigger (over 150 guests). Then, start jotting down names of all of the people you think should be invited to your wedding. Write down the names in this order, and then count to come up with a preliminary number.
    • - Immediate family members (parents, siblings and families, grandparents)
    • - Closest friends
    • - Close family members
    • - Friends
    • - Friends of your families
    • - Old friends
    • - Distant relatives
    • - Co-workers (both yours and your parents’)
    • - Others
    If the number is too high, you can start to cut guests from the bottom category and work your way upward.
    Split the list
    If your parents are paying for part or all of the wedding, then you’ll have to get their input into who you’re inviting. Ask each set of parents to write down their “dream guest list” and give them a target number. Be prepared to discuss the list with your parents – especially if they invite more people than you requested.
    Make rules – and stick to them!
    You don’t have to invite children, dates for single guests or co-workers. But once you make a rule, stick with it – and don’t make any exceptions or risk offending people.
    Don’t forget
    Remember that about 20 percent of those you invite will be unable to attend your wedding. If you’re having a wedding in your and your future spouse’s hometown, that percentage will be smaller, but if you’re having a destination wedding in a faraway place, it will be higher.

    Tuesday, January 13, 2015

    15 Stages Every Bride Goes Through

    Ask anyone who’s planned their wedding, and they’ll agree that the process evokes a wide range of emotions. You laugh, you cry, and you go through everything else in between. Instead of trying to explain them, we’ve illustrated the very common only-when-you’re-a-bride emotions and experiences that we’re talking about…

    When He Proposed

    When You Told Your Friends You Were Engaged

    When You Said Yes To The Dress

    When You Found Out Your Dream Venue Was Already Booked

    When You Tried To Talk To Your Fiancé About Invitation Motifs

    When You Started Your Wedding Workouts

    When Your Bridesmaid Told You She Didn’t Like The Dress You Picked For Her

    When You Were Trying To Stay Within Budget

    When You Were Getting Ready For Your Bachelorette Party

    When You Had A Meltdown Over Entree Options

    When Your Dad Saw You In Your Gown

    When An Uninvited Guest Showed Up

    What You Thought Your Wedding Night Would Be Like…

    What It Was Actually Like…

    When It Finally Hit You — You’re Married!

    Want more? (Yeah you do!)

    Monday, January 12, 2015

    8 So-Called Wedding 'Trends' We're Calling B.S. On

    Bridal magazines and blogs are quick to grab onto the latest "trend." Sometimes, those judgments seem reasonable -- we can totally see short wedding dresses taking off. But when media outlets declare donkey weddings or marijuana weddings the hot new wedding fad, we can't help but roll our eyes. Here are eight wedding "trends" we're calling B.S. on:

    1. Donkey weddings


    Some people may try to convince you that having a donkey at your wedding is a thing. Sure enough, an Arizona company called Haul N Ass Productions has trained donkeys -- err, "beer burros" -- to be wedding party entertainment. The donkeys walk around wearing saddle bags filled with beer for your guests and are billed as a great "ice breaker." Or you could just like, hire a bartender instead. That works too.

    2. Robot weddings

    In the U.S. and Japan, couples have been using robots like the four-foot-tall i-Fairy to officiate their wedding ceremonies. If you want to participate in this trend anomaly, you can call up Oscar the Wedding Robot who is based in Minneapolis and can serve as "officiant, ring bearer, flower girl, videographer, usher, reader, dancer, child charmer, or speech giver."

    3. "Hand lifts" for better engagement ring selfies (aka "relfies").

    Apparently, some women have undergone plastic surgery on their hands for a better selfie of their engagement ring. The surgery involves having fillers implanted to give hands a smoother appearance. Media outlets jumped on the story, and earlier this year, NYC dermatologist Dr. Ariel Ostad told SELF that he's seen a 40 percent increase in requests. Cue eye roll.

    4. Shadow weddings


    If your wedding is designed to be the perfect moment to declare your love for your spouse while looking beautiful, the "shadow wedding" is meant to be the exact opposite. Conceived by two California therapists, the shadow wedding takes place a week before a couple's actual wedding ceremony in order to "celebrate" the couple's unpleasant, unromantic baggage. The couple dresses in shlumpy clothes and makes depressing vow statements like, "I vow to be controlling and always think that I know what is best for you." While it's meant to offer a more honest counter to the idealized fairy tale wedding, it mostly sounds uncomfortable for everybody involved -- and so not a trend.

    5. Social media wedding concierge


    Earlier this year, the W Hotel announced a new "social media wedding concierge" service to help you craft the perfect hashtag for your special day. For $3,000, the concierge will live-tweet your wedding, splash Instagram with photos from the event and get all your guests to use your wedding hashtag.
    We're just kind of like ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

    6. Bum-flashing bridesmaids

    A good bridesmaid will do anything for her friend's special day, and apparently that sometimes includes dropping trou in the bridal party photos. In June, College Humor noted that a number of photos of bridesmaids showing their bums had been circling the Internet. While media outlets were quick to dub the salacious bridesmaid photo a new "trend," it turns out many of the photos were from porn sites and were pretty old. So, thankfully, we dub this not a thing.

    7. The "solo wedding"


    This "trend" comes from Japan, where the solo wedding is apparently the latest way to celebrate one's independence. Designed for the "modern woman," it's billed as a chance to celebrate self-love by getting married to yourself. For the equivalent of $2,750, the Japanese company "Solo Wedding" will plan a two-day excursion where the "bride" can pick out a dress and flowers and pose for photos. We're all about celebrating singledom, but there's got to be a more fulfilling way to spend a few thousand dollars?

    8. The marijuana wedding


    As legalized recreational marijuana takes off, many have been quick to announce the rise of the "marijuana wedding." Apparently, these events can include everything from edible pot caramels to marijuana leaf bouquets to vaporizers given as party favors. While this brand of wedding could conceivably catch on in Boulder, Colorado, we don't see pot replacing a nice old-fashioned glass of champagne in most of the country anytime soon.

    Friday, January 9, 2015

    9 Signs You Might Be a Perfectionist Bride

    Signs Of A Perfectionist Bride
    Photo: Getty Images
    It's all in the details isn't just another cutesy little saying for the perfectionist bride; no, she lives and breathes excellence in every single aspect of her life. Some might call her a bridezilla and others might simply say she knows what she wants. If any of the below sound familiar though, well, welcome to the club.

    1. The thought of not having customized save the dates or invitations made makes you kind of anxious.

    2. Come to think of it, so does making any sort of wedding-related decision. What if you find something or someone (AKA a vendor) you like better down the line? Then what!?

    3. Once you get started on Pinterest, you literally can't stop. In fact, you have a secret Pinterest board for pretty much all the wedding details, including one solely dedicated to the font choices you prefer for your day-of stationary.

    4. When your maid of honor or mother-in-law kindly offers to DIY the wedding favors for you, panic ensues. Those types of things are best left to you or a professional hand selected by you.

    5. The number of bridesmaids to the number of groomsmen in your wedding party has to match up perfectly or else someone's getting added/demoted. Visual symmetry for the win!

    6. You'd never in a million years dream of letting your bridesmaids choose their own dresses for fear of what they'd actually choose (even if it was "perfect").

    7. If Kylie Jenner had been your bridesmaid, you'd have made certain her blue hair was gone for the big day!

    8. Your budget keeps growing bigger and bigger every day as you realize how much all those teeny-tiny (and in your mind, absolutely necessary) details cost. Who knows, maybe you'll start selling your old designer duds on eBay to account for the difference?

    9. Hiring a wedding planner who "totally gets you" was the best decision you ever made because you know planning your wedding is a full-time job and you've already got one of those, unfortunately.

    Thursday, January 8, 2015

    8 Surprising (And Scientifically Proven) Things That Lead To A Lasting Marriage

    Finding and keeping a lifelong love can feel like a crapshoot. No matter how madly in love you may be, maintaining a marriage is never easy. And while you may know that sex, trust and compassion are crucial to keeping the flame alive, you may not be clued into some of science's more surprising findings about what makes a marriage last.

    Here are eight unexpected factors that may make for a happy, lasting marriage:

    1. Having a cheaper wedding.

    thrifty bride

    You may be tempted to bless your marriage with a fairytale wedding, but according to research from Emory University, couples who have thriftier celebrations are more likely to stay together. Among female respondents, those with a wedding bill higher than $20,000 divorced at 3.5 times the rate of those with a $5,000-$10,000 wedding bill.

    2. Meeting online.


    According to a study published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, couples who meet online have a lower divorce rate and report higher levels of marital satisfaction. Just another reason to brag about finding your spouse through the interwebs!

    3. But not living on social media.


    Are you Facebooking your way to divorce? According to a 2014 study from Boston University and published in Computers in Human Behavior, you just might be. Researchers determined that the use of Facebook and other social networking sites is linked to increased marital dissatisfaction and increased divorce rates. They also found that, among heavy social media users, 32 percent had thought about leaving their significant others, compared to 16 percent of non-social media users.

    4. Watching movies together.


    According to a study published in the Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology, couples who regularly watch movies together stay together. When researchers asked couples to watch films and talk for 30 minutes about the characters' romantic relationships, they saw divorce rates shrink by half. That's because conversations about movie characters' relationships act as safer environments for couples to think and talk critically about their own relationships.

    5. Responding to your spouse's random, distracting comments.


    According to psychologist John Gottman, when your partner interrupts your reading to point out a dumb meme on the Internet, they're not just trying to amuse you -- they're asking for your positive attention. And if you're constantly responding, "Not now, I'm busy," you're hurting your relationship.
    After studying these types of interactions between newlywed couples and following up with the couples six years later, Gottman found that still-married couples had paid attention to their partner during these little random interactions nine times out of ten, while couples that divorced had only paid attention to one another three times out of ten.

    6. Using the word "we" during arguments.


    "I" love "you" is great, but "we" love "us" is better. According to a study from the University of California, Berkeley, couples who use the word "we" and "us" during conflicts were better able to resolve arguments and suffered less stress from those arguments, compared to couples who used words like "I," "me," and "you." The study also found that using individual pronouns was linked to having an unhappy marriage.

    7. Putting your partner on a pedestal.


    Think your partner walks on water? Hold onto that thought -- for life. According to research from the University of Buffalo, viewing your partner with starry eyes may be key in preserving your marital happiness. The study asked 222 couples to rank their partner and themselves on a variety of characteristics several times over the course of three years. Those who over-inflated their partners' characteristics were more likely to stay blissful in their union.

    8. Doing things that you both enjoy.


    You may think sharing in leisure time is the most important thing in the world. However, findings published in the Journal of Marriage and Family indicate that sharing activities one partner strongly dislikes actually decreases marital happiness. When couples engage in activities both partners enjoy, both their short and long term marital happiness increased. Researchers concluded that it's less important that the two of you share the same activities than that you both are participating in hobbies that you actually enjoy, whether it's together or separately.