Friday, May 27, 2016

7 Ring Dishes That Are Totally Perfect for Stashing Your Engagement Ring






GoldInitial
Image Courtesy of Fox + Lilly

While you'll probably want to wear your engagement ring all the time, there are definitely moments when you should take it off, like while you're cleaning or doing dishes or heading to the gym to lift weights. And while it's totally safe tucked back into the ring box, you'll want to have a few other safe places to stash your newest accessory so that it doesn't accidentally slip into the sink or fall behind your dresser. Thankfully, ring dishes are more than just functional: They're totally cute, and make fantastic engagement gifts! We've rounded up some of our favorites to fit every style, from sweet to funky to a little bit cheeky. Take a peek!

Personalize this gold-splattered dish [above] with your new monogram and wedding date, or let the one-of-a-kind details shine. Fox + Lilly Gold Initial Ring Dish, from $17.98, available on Etsy


CeramicLotus
Image Courtesy of dgordon

If the beautiful texture and gilded edges weren't enough to sell you on this lotus-shaped dish, it also comes in a bunch of other colors, so you can match it to your décor. dgordon Ceramic Lotus Ring Dish, $20, available on Etsy


SeaCalling
Image Courtesy of Anthropologie

This shell-inspired trinket dish has a soft, natural vibe, and comes in two sizes: The smaller size is perfect for an engagement ring and wedding band, while the larger will also hold bangles or necklaces. Sea Calling Trinket Dish, from $28, available at Anthropologie


West Elm
Image Courtesy of West Elm

For a bride with a playful side, these hand-painted dishes are made by the artist in Brooklyn. #LOVE seems like a perfect fit! BDB Jewelry Dish, $38, available at West Elm
ADVERTISING

RingCone
Image Courtesy of Modern Mud

Put your rings on display with these gold-accented ring cones, which will keep that bauble from slipping away. Modern Mud White and Gold Ring Cone, from $34, available on Etsy


DaisyPlace
Image Courtesy of Kate Spade

With this dainty Kate Spade design, there's no question what the dish is for! Daisy Place Ring Dish, $30, available at Kate Spade


Doughnut
Image Courtesy of Dwaal & Park

Doughnuts, anyone? This ceramic dish looks good enough to eat. Dwaal & Park Doughnut Jewellery Dish, $11.99, available on Etsy

Thursday, May 26, 2016

5 Creative Ceiling Centerpieces

Who says centerpieces are strictly reserved for reception tables? Draw guests' eyes upward with these showstopping ceiling installations.



5 Creative Ceiling Centerpieces

Who says centerpieces are strictly reserved for reception tables? Draw guests' eyes upward with these showstopping ceiling installations.
  1. Shine On

    light bulb ceiling installation
    Photo by Buffy Dekmar Photography
    Light things up with an industrial installation made entirely from ornate glass bulbs strung at varying heights.
  2. Dream Weaver

    dreamcatcher wedding decor
    Photo by Braedon Photography
    Suspend string lights and dream catchers from trees for a bohemian look that's totally DIY-able.
  3. Freshly Picked

    hanging terra cotta planters
    Photo by Rebekah J. Murray Photography
    Flower-filled hanging pots draw the eye up, and ensure guests don't spend the night trying to chat over bulky centerpieces.
  4. Light As a Feather

    feather and flowers ceremony arch
    Photo by VUE Photography
    A rustic wood arch gets an eclectic upgrade thanks to striped feathers that add a pop of pattern and texture.
  5. Wild and Free

    flower ceiling installation
    Photo by Hazelnut Photography
    Hanging amaranthus creates a whimsical, garden-inspired ceremony space.

Wednesday, May 25, 2016

How to Avoid the 7 Most Common Wedding Guest Mistakes


guest mistakes
Photo: Getty Images
 
Nobody wants to be that wedding guest — you know the one, the had-one-too-many-drinks cousin who ends up jumping in the pool at the reception, or the oh-so-awkward best man who spends his whole wedding toast talking about his failed relationships. Yeah, no one wants to be that guest. But, turns out, even the most well-behaved wedding guests can make minor missteps in their journey as an attendee. Being invited to someone's wedding is a big honor, and you don't want to offend the bride, groom or their families with some silly little faux pas. Luckily, we tapped Sharon Schweitzer, international etiquette expert, author and founder and CEO of Protocol & Etiquette Worldwide, for her expert tips on the major etiquette mistakes to avoid. So listen up, wedding guests!

1. Yes, you must send a gift.
Whether it's the neighbor down the hall in your apartment, your niece's cousin once removed, or your very best friend, a gift to the bride and groom is always expected. A gift is a sign of well-wishing as a couple takes their next steps. Use their wedding registry to get gifts that the happy couple truly wants and will use throughout their married life. Pro tip? Don't break the bank, but rather buy a gift that matches the relationship. For example, you'll spend more on your brother than on your distant childhood babysitter.

2. Always RSVP.
Websites such as Appy Couple, and Paperless Post provide options for beautiful digital invitations for couples to reduce their carbon footprint and cut back on the hassle of snail mail. However, RSVP still means respond if you please (respondez s'il vous plait in French). Please make sure you RSVP within the time stated on the invitation to avoid a call from the bride's friend or family member asking if you're attending.

3. Don't be a wedding crasher.
The names on the invitation are the people invited. If you receive a paper invitation, look at the inside envelope. Does it list "and guest," your partner, children or family members? If not, then they are not invited. If a guest is not included, don't ask if you can bring one.

4. Be smart about technology and social media.
Resist the urge to take nonstop selfies and close out of Snapchat. If you must, take a few photos and then tuck the phone out of sight. Before you post anything to Instagram, Facebook or another social channel, check with the bride to see if it's okay to upload photos. It's poor form to Tweet or Facebook the ceremony or reception — think about it: You're sharing a couple's private moments with thousands of people who were not invited.

5. Wearing white is still off limits.
Avoid wearing a dress, suit or ensemble that is any shade of white, ivory, off-white, pearl, ecru, eggshell or cream to a wedding. These colors are reserved for the bride, and if you wear them — she will certainly spot you, and not in a favorable way.

6. Don't rain on the wedding parade.
Don't do tons of shots, heckle the toasts, let your phone ring or buzz like crazy, or use your camera flash to interrupt special moments. Celebrate, find time to congratulate the couple personally, and mix and mingle. Don't spend the entire night glued to your phone or the bar. Celebrate with the ones you love, and meet new friends along the way.

7. Keep your comments to yourself and participate.
Maybe you think the bride throwing her bouquet is a silly tradition. Maybe you don't like the wedding colors. Maybe you think the ceremony was too long and religious. Whatever the case, refrain from making negative comments or not participating. This is not your day and it's not about you.

Tuesday, May 24, 2016

We're Getting Married Mid-Week at City Hall. Can We Ask Our Guests to Skip Work to Celebrate With Us?

There are nearly endless options for weddings. Formal or relaxed? Religious or secular? Summer or winter? The way you and your fiancé choose to celebrate is totally up to you. Whether you're saving up for a big expense (like an incredible vacation or a new house) or would rather not be the center of attention, having a wedding at City Hall is becoming more and more popular, even for couples who don't want to elope. But Friday and Saturday afternoon are some of the busiest times to pop in and get hitched, even if your local option takes appointments in advance, meaning a lot of these weddings occur mid-week — and even mid-workday. So if you're planning to have a few guests along, can you ask them to take time off to join you downtown? Here's what our experts think.
Most states require a witness or two at your marriage, so you'll definitely need to ask a friend or family member to take the day off to join you for your ceremony (that is, of course, unless you're totally happy with a stranger waiting in the DMV line signing your marriage license!).
When it comes to other friends, think about the scale and timing of your celebration. Are you getting married first thing in the morning, followed by brunch at your favorite restaurant? See if your guests can take a half day and head to work in the afternoon — armed with a really great answer to the "Where were you this morning?" questions!
If you're aiming to wed in the afternoon and then go out to dinner to celebrate, you could ask guests to leave work early, or head to City Hall with just your witnesses and have friends join you for a restaurant reception once they're out of work.
For the couple that's hoping to spend the day celebrating, keep in mind that some guests might not be able to take an entire day off of work. In this case, you might want to keep your actual wedding day very intimate, and then plan a weekend celebration for guests who couldn't get out of the conference room on Tuesday. Any reason to celebrate again, right?

Monday, May 23, 2016

Breaking in Your Wedding Dress Tips
Photo: Meredith Perdue
 
Finding the wedding dress of your dreams is a moment that you'll never forget. You can call it love at first sight, or fashion luck, but either way, getting your hands on THE dress is reason to celebrate. But before walking that frock down the aisle, you've got to make sure you're going to be comfortable. In order to dress to impress on your wedding day, and feel good enough in that dress to dance the night away, here are seven ways to break your gown in before it's time to wow the crowd when you walk down the aisle in it.

1. Put Your Shoes On
Take the shoes you plan on wearing on your wedding day out of the box and walk a few steps in them with your dress on. You'll be able to get a good feel for the length of your dress and also how it will feel to walk in it on the big day.

2. Take a Trip to the Bathroom
It may sound silly, but peeing in your wedding dress is often a time consuming adventure you should always practice and perfect beforehand.

3. Have a Dance Party
Put on your favorite Spotify playlist and dance around in your wedding dress. Get a good feel for how you'll move around it when you hit the dance floor.

4. Take a Seat
Sitting down in your dress will help you break it in and make it feel less stiff. That way, you'll be able to feel comfortable when it's time to taste that delicious food at the reception.


5. Try on Accessories
The best way to see what kind of necklace, bracelet, or even earrings work well with your dress is to try on any and all options you have when your dress is on.


6. Find the Perfect Bra
Because finding the right kind of support can make all the difference.

7. Walk Up and Down
Walk up and down stairs, back and forth in your hallway. All of this walking practice will be of good use on your wedding day when you have to move around quickly, without worrying about falling or feeling stiff in the dress of your dreams.

Friday, May 20, 2016

5 People You Don't Have to Invite to Your Wedding


Wedding Guests Not to Invite
Photo: Getty Images
 
Deciding who makes the guest list is no easy thing (seriously, we don't envy you). But making an already tough task even more difficult, says Sarah Glick, wedding planner at Brilliant Event Planning in New York City, "is the unspoken social expectation that anyone and everyone you interact with on a daily basis needs to be invited — read: your boss, your coworkers, the dog walker." She's here to tell you that's not the case, and give you five guests you can strike from your list, stat.

1. Your boss.
Glick admits that everyone feels like they have to invite their bosses in order to avoid awkward in-office situations. "Plus, there's the whole they control your job dynamic and, let's face it, we want our bosses to like us," she says. "But if you are only inviting your boss because you feel morally obligated, I would be willing to bet that your boss is only attending because they feel that it would be rude if they didn't. Do yourselves both a favor and skip the invite; your boss will (silently) thank you."

2. The friend that's not actually your friend.
Says Glick, "We all have that friend whom we rarely speak to, but that we feel obligated to invite on the basis that we have been friends for so long." But let's be real: A friend not in-the-know may not even be aware you're getting married. "If you haven't talked to someone in over a year, think about whether or not you truly want to share one of your biggest life moments with this person," Glick says. "If the answer is no, then he or she doesn't need to be invited."


3. Your parents' friends.
This is an especially tough line to draw in the sand if your parents are footing the bill for your big day. But Glick says that, "while your parents understandably want to have their closest friends present to help celebrate your big day, it's fair for you to draw the line at friends that you have met before. Begin the discussion with your parents by saying you appreciate all they are doing for you and truly want them to have their closest friends there to celebrate the day, but would like to keep the overall feel for the day as intimate as possible, and suggest that you look at the list together."

4. The Facebook friend.
Glick asks, "When you got engaged, did you have a Facebook friend or two pop out of the woodwork to congratulate you? This friend was probably not even someone you've spoken to since high school, but they sent such a nice note your way that now you feel obligated to invite them." Don't. Seriously, don't. "While it was sweet of this person to reach out, the Facebook friend — or any other person that sends you well wishes, but whom you don't really know — does not need to be invited," Glick says.

5. Distant relatives.
Your Great Aunt Sally, sweet as she may be, doesn't have to make your guest list. "Everyone has distant family that they see only when there is a wedding or a funeral, if you even see them then," says Glick, "and there seems to be an unspoken rule that all family gets invited, regardless of how close you are to them. But while this might have worked well a century ago when people lived closer to their extended families, it doesn't make sense now. People often live far away from cousins and other extended family and have little interaction, if any at all. If you only see them for a reunion-style event, you don't need to invite them."

Thursday, May 19, 2016

After 44 Years of Dating, This (Super Cute) Couple in Their 80s Finally Got Married

How long would you wait for your boyfriend to pop the question? Chances are, your answer is nowhere near the length of time one couple from Leeds in the UK waited to put a ring on it — a whole 44 years long! Colin Dunn, 84, and his beautiful bride Sally Smith, 82, finally tied the knot after putting off their marriage for more than four decades.

The adorable (see photographic proof below) couple met in 1972 when Smith was working behind the bar at a social club who Dunn, a lorry driver, just so happened to visit after he got off of work every week. "Sally used to serve me every weekend when I'd go in after work," Dunn remembers. "We got chatting and she got used to me going in. Eventually, I asked her out."

Smith, with four children of her own from a previous marriage, decided to accept his offer and, as you can tell, the rest is history. But although they were incredibly in love, they didn't go running off to the altar just yet.

"Marriage never entered my head at that point," Dunn admitted to Metro UK. "We were always so busy looking after the children or going on holiday to Blackpool." And even when the kids grew up and left home, the English pair kept putting off their nuptials for another day. "We kept on saying, 'it'll be next year, it'll be next year' — but we were happy as we were," Dunn added.

What ultimately pushed them to say their "I do's" was a series of heartbreak.

"Just before last Christmas I lost my brother Harold and shortly before that I lost my eldest brother, too," Dunn said. "We were going through a bit of trouble and we started thinking what if this happened to one of us? We decided we wanted to be man and wife."

And man and wife they became at St. Mary's Church while 100 of their closest friends and family watched them exchange rings. Just look how adorable they are on the big day! Even with the long wait, Smith couldn't have been more elated. "The day was lovely, even the weather. We had a beautiful cake at the reception but the highlight for me was actually getting married."
Awww.





Dunn admits that relationships take a lot of work, but that it's SO worth it in the end. "It's the little things — if she falls asleep, I wake her up when it's time to go to bed. I make her meals and make her tea. We've had little fall-outs over the years, just like everyone, but we have the same views and we always agree on everything," he gushed. "We have always been happy."


tears-of-joy.gif
Photo: Giphy

TBH we'd wait 44 years to marry a sweetheart like this, too. Congrats you lovebirds!

Wednesday, May 18, 2016

7 Unique Items to Add to Your Welcome Bags

ideas for welcome bags
Photo: Beautiful Day Photography
 
We're always looking for fun ways to personalize your wedding, from writing your own vows or sending your pup down the aisle to including family recipes in your dinner menu. Another great opportunity to add a playful touch or tell more of your love story? By getting creative with your welcome bags! The options are pretty much endless, so we rounded up a few of our favorite unique welcome bag additions — take a look at what we came up with!

Local Drinks
While we love Earth-friendly reusable water bottles, swap them out for something that speaks to your wedding's location. Tuck in a couple bottles of your favorite local craft beer or artisan sodas, or pick drinks sourced from your home towns (say, a bottle of Sam Adams for a Boston bride alongside Shiner Bock for a Texas groom). If you want to include wine, seek out miniature bottles over the full-sized versions — guests will be more likely to open a bottle that only holds a glass or two, especially if they're only in town for a couple of nights (and they won't have to worry about checking a bag to get that big bottle home!).

DIY Cocktail Kits
Do you two love Moscow Mules? A can of ginger beer, two mini bottles of vodka, and a fresh lime will give your guests all the fixings to mix up their own. Add a line to your welcome note with quick instructions, or a brief story about why this drink is one of your favorites.

Childhood Favorites
If you're a baker (or have a family member who is!), bust out that secret family recipe and add homemade cookies or brownies to the bag — they're a great sweet treat, especially if you decide that now's the time to share the big secret (even if the recipe is Tollhouse!). Not so domestic? See if your caterer might be willing to do the heavy lifting.


Morning-After Supplies
Advil and Tums are no-brainers, but what about something to get guests going for your post-wedding brunch? Bottles of cold-brew coffee and pastries from a local bakery will give them a little bit of a kick after a night of dancing. In keeping with the cocktail theme, you could also include cans of tomato juice, tiny bottles of Tobasco sauce, and miniature bottles of vodka for Sunday morning Bloody Marys.

Something Fresh
If your wedding is during peak fruit season, tuck in locally-grown snacks for a break from sweet, salty, or baked. Think Georgia or Palisade peaches, New York apples, or Florida oranges. For something fragile like a peach, wrap it in cloth or make sure it's gently placed on top so it doesn't get bruised during transport.

Activity Survival Kits
Getting married on the beach? Tuck in towels and sunscreen so guests can enjoy the sun and sand. In the big city? A map of the public transportation system (and even a day-pass!) alongside blister bandaids will help guests wander the streets. Wedding on a ranch? A bandana and hand salve to soothe their palms after a day holding the reins would be totally welcome.

For the Littlest Guests
Having a kid-friendly celebration? Include snacks like Goldfish or Mini Oreos, perfect for little hands, alongside age-appropriate activities like coloring books, playing cards, or no-mess crafts.

Tuesday, May 17, 2016

To the Wife Who Has Anxiety and Depression, From Your Husband


2016-05-16-1463437880-3211998-ScreenShot20160503at5.39.16PM300x300.png
To my wife and my best friend,
When we first met five years ago, I never thought I would be writing this. As we stood on stage in front of all of those strangers, acting our hearts out, I never once believed we would find ourselves here. We’ve come a long way.
When we first met, I’d never been truly close to a person who suffered from long-term anxiety and severe depression. They’d been merely buzzwords thrown around too many times by people who couldn’t think of another way to describe their daily frustrations.
“I think I’m going to have a panic attack.” or “Oh my gosh, I’m so depressed” became a monotonous phrase that strangers were all too happy to proclaim when the coffee shop ran out of their favorite muffin or they were forced to stay in the library a little later than normal to finish a paper instead of going to the bars with their friends. It was a signal to others they had problems and they wanted people to recognize and sympathize with their petty difficulties.
But you were different.
I never saw this monotony in you. To the contrary, you were always so bright and full of life and energy. But then, slowly, I started to see the side of you that you were so apt to hide from me and the rest of the world for fear of being found out. The multiple days where you would stay in bed, or not shower, or the days where eating a meal seemed like too much work. The times I would catch you crying and you would try to hide it in a (poor) attempt to smooth everything over.
We have now been together five years and married for nearly two of them. The time we’ve spent together has been amazing but truly defines an “emotional roller coaster.” Writing from the perspective of a husband who always likes to consider himself truly honest and, for lack of a better term, “manly,” it seemed inconceivable for me at first that there were days I couldn’t make you feel better. That I was powerless to change how you felt.
When you reached your lowest low, it was difficult for me to not take personally your statements asking me to simply let you be and that you needed to work through it on your own. That there was nothing I could do to be a better husband or companion and help your sadness and anxiety go away and that, yes, you were crying, but it was nothing I had done. At that time, I’m sad to say, your assurances fell on deaf ears.
When you reached your lowest low, you said something to me I will never be fully equipped to handle. “The only reason I’m still alive is because I couldn’t do that to you. I couldn’t kill myself only because I know how much it would hurt you.” That’s what you said. It broke my heart. In one sweeping statement, you managed to communicate exactly how much you value me and at the same time how much value you have placed on yourself. The frustration that comes with not being able to tell your depressed wife how much you love her, how each day is brighter with her in it, and instead knowing she will simply smile and not fully believe you or not realize what you’re trying to communicate is truly one of the hardest feelings I’ve ever had to overcome. In a word, I felt helpless. Leading up to our wedding and even a few months past it, I felt absolutely immobilized. I firmly believed there was nothing I could do. I felt trapped in a cycle of trying to understand your depression, to getting frustrated when it got too bad, and finally returning to wanting nothing more but to help you feel better. A truly unenviable position for any new husband.
But today is a brighter day. It is more than a one year since that day and, after numerous phone calls and quite a few tears, you have been meeting with a psychologist who has helped you (well... helped both of us) learn to deal with your depression and anxiety in a healthy, controlled way. I have learned that there will always be days when you are down. Days when you are not quite yourself. And, while some days are a struggle, I am still trying to learn that when you are unhappy, there may not be a root cause.
I know it still scares you. While your suicidal thoughts have dissipated, I know you constantly think about a day when they might reenter our lives and the home we have made. But know that this time... this time I will be ready.
When we first met, I was a foolish college boy with a tremendous crush. I was not properly equipped to handle the effects of mental illness, nor was I ready to deal with the perceived backlash I thought could only be my fault. I was ready to give in to whatever you wanted, even if those tendencies were reckless or self-destructive.
Today, I am a man. Today I am your husband.
When we first met, I thought you were different. I was right. Because despite the internal battle you fight on a daily basis, you still manage to be truly the best wife I could have ever hoped for. Despite the challenges mental illness will no doubt bring to our future, I welcome them head on. So long as we can do it together.
Your vigilant defender,
Your husband

How to Avoid Opening Bridal Shower Gifts in Public

Bride and bridesmaids in matching silk robes
Photo by Kay English Photography
Cocktails, couples' trivia and cake—there's nothing like a fabulous bridal shower! So how come every time the moment for gift opening arrives the festivities take an iffy turn? Whether you're a guest on the giving end or the bride on the receiving end, for some reason, this should-be-wonderful part of the shower gets uncomfortable (for all parties involved). There are a few simple reasons for this, and we have expert insight from Jeff Beil, CEO of Tendr (the easy and elegant way to gift money to the to-be-weds), on how to keep your bridal shower stress and tension free when it comes to opening gifts.
Time Vacuum
“Ask 100 people what their favorite part of a party is, and not one of them will say 'watching someone else opening their presents.' At best it's not fun; at worst, it's anxiety producing," Beil says. It eats up a large portion of party time, since the to-be-wed has to open each gift one at a time, pause for “oohs" and “awws" and put on a big display of excitement.
Disengagement Party
It's also natural for individual guests to become disinterested while the bride isn't opening their gift specifically. That adds a lot of tune-out time, depending on the number of attendees. “Unless there's a way to have all of your guests interacting with the bride and each other, individuals will start to feel left out," Beil says.
Gift Misgivings
Another reason some guests dislike this part of the party? Their potential anxiety around gift quality. “Maybe they aren't the best gift giver, or maybe they aren't as financially stable as other guests, and they have to worry about everyone's judgment," Beil says. These money concerns are unfortunate, but inevitable and prevalent, so guests giving more modest presents might not want their offering compared with the more lavish ones in front of the whole group.
Spotlight Stress
As tedious as this process can be for shower attendees, it can also be a bit taxing for the bride-to-be. “She's put on the spot in front of all her guests, opening every present with a smile plastered across her face," Beil says. “It seems that the gift-opening process is something that should be done in private, and not with the whole room waiting for a reaction. Now, we're not saying it's no fun to receive presents—keep 'em coming!—but high expectations for the bride to fawn over every item can take a lot out of her and definitely strain the party mood.
Activity Alternatives
In order to maintain a light, fun atmosphere, include games and activities that let guests interact in a fun, effortless way. This is a particularly great idea if you have many guests who've never met. Some fabulous bridal shower games to try? “A 'Does the bride really know the groom?' questionnaire game, having your guests write creative date night ideas for the soon-to-be newlyweds, bridal shower Scattergories and bridal Jenga," Beil says.
Note Well
Ultimately, no bride wants to appear ungrateful to her guests by neglecting their thoughtful gifts, but it may be in everyone's best interest for her to open them in private. That way, the actual shower can consist purely of fun activities and bonding time. But to ensure that every attendee gets the gratitude they deserve, Beil recommends that the bride-to-be write very personal thank-you notes. “Thank-you cards are often generic. Take the time to write a personalized thank-you for each specific present, including how you'll use it, what it means to you and, of course, how much you appreciated your friend's presence at the party," he says. “This will make your guests feel truly special. Chances are, they'll feel relieved they didn't have to sit through the gift opening!"

Monday, May 16, 2016

11 Effortlessly Romantic Wedding Hairstyles


11 Effortlessly Romantic Wedding Hairstyles
With all the things a bride has to worry about on her big day, who has time for fussy hairdos? Whether it’s a sweltering summer day or snowing winter evening, soft curls barely pinned back or braided with a beautiful clip or a few blooms is all you need! To show you what looks we love, we’ve collected 11 of our favorite effortlessly romantic wedding hairstyles.
1. Loose natural waves look incredible with the addition of a chunky jeweled headband. 
Courtesy of Bo and Luca Hera Headpiece
2. A quickly tied bun is so chic with an open back dress and crystal clip. 
Photo by Belathee Photography
3. Who knew baby’s breath could look so magical? Simply twist and pin random, large pieces of curled hair, then add texture with finishing spray. 
Courtesy of Steph, Hair & Makeup by Steph

4. Barely pinned bangs and a delicate floral headband look simply stunning.
5. This half French, half fishtail braid is breathtaking with a few sprays of flowers tucked in between. 
Photo by Yolandé Marx; Hair by Marnel Toerien
6. This Dutch crown braid gets a modern twist with face framing pieces pulled loose and a vine of flowers intertwined. 
Photo by Antonova Kseniya; Hair by Nika Zaiceva

7. Vintage glam feels less forced with loose side swept curls and a beautiful hair accessory. 
Courtesy of Steph, Hair & Makeup by Steph
8. A ponytail is anything but plain when you tease at the crown, wrap the holder, and curl the ends. 
Hair by Elstile
9. For a romantic up-do, try creating a loosely braided chignon and adding a few lilac blooms. 
Photo by Elena Eliseeva; Hair by Svetlana Fischeva

10. A half up, half down style is perfect for a beach or country wedding with these wide curls and floral clip.  
Photo by Tina Shawal Photography
11. This crown of roses sits a top of a curled bun, with pieces pulled out here and there for an ethereal ‘do. 
Photo by Lindy Yewen Photography
-Aliana Heffernan

Friday, May 13, 2016

5 Ways I Made My Wedding Feminist

Like many feminists, I have always regarded the institution of marriage with some skepticism. While at one point in my life I thought I would never get married, I changed my mind when I met my husband, Chuck. Being with him made me feel like I wanted to experience everything life had to offer — including marriage and whatever that entailed. I wanted to celebrate our love and our life together with the people we care about the most and honor our commitment to each other.
But marriage will always be a tradition borne out of the patriarchy. So there I was on our wedding day, a feminist dressed in ivory, clutching my father’s arm while he walked me down the aisle. Making a wedding “feminist” is a tough task — nearly impossible, and I found myself having to make concessions along the way. For example, while I originally wanted to walk down the aisle alone, in a nod to my independence, giving my dad his moment and avoiding hurting his feelings was much more important to me.
Luckily, I still found some ways to incorporate feminist values into my wedding that made me feel comfortable. This is not meant to define for anyone else what a feminist wedding is, and I do not claim that the way I did things is the “correct” way to have a feminist wedding. In fact, fundamentally I think what ultimately makes a wedding feminist is when the bride and her partner have the freedom to create the type of wedding celebration that feels right for them.
1. We picked a progressive officiant
We had a woman Justice of the Peace conduct our ceremony who was on board with the type of wedding we wanted to have and was willing to work with us to create a ceremony that reflected our philosophies. I met with her before the wedding and told her how important feminism is to me and gave her some suggestions of language I wanted her to incorporate in her remarks, like a reading from bell Hooks’ book, All About Love. She also let me veto several of the traditional customs in wedding ceremonies — like when the officiant thanks the father of the bride for “giving” her away — a notion that implies the woman is a piece of property being transferred from one man to the next. Our officiant understood what we wanted and didn’t want and became our partner in creating a customized ceremony.
2. We incorporated feminist readings into the ceremony
My husband I are not religious at all, so biblical readings were not an option for us. However, we both love literature, so I began looking at some feminist writers for inspiration. I ultimately settled on a poem by Maya Angelou and an excerpt from the Supreme Court decision that legalized gay marriage. Both readings emphasized values I believe are crucial to a successful marriage — equality, fairness, and respect.

3. We wrote our own vows
Writing our own promises to each other was important to us. Being able to stand up in front of our families and friends and read the vows we wrote for each other felt empowering. I felt a sense of agency that I think would have been lost had we used more traditional, generic vows. They were words that came from our own hearts and were written exclusively for us.
4. I vetoed the veil
When I first got engaged, I imagined I would wear a non-white, colorful dress — maybe even black! The idea of wearing virginal white bothered me. But finding a non-white dress was a lot harder than I thought, as they are still rare. I ultimately decided on an ivory dress, which felt like a compromise. But throughout the process, I knew I did not want a veil, even though my friends kept insisting I try one. The lifting of the veil is another symbol of property transfer — once the groom removes it, he takes “possession” of his bride. I felt good in my ivory gown and veil-less head, and I’m glad that I didn’t let anyone pressure me into wearing one.

5. I kept my last name

I’ve built a pretty solid career in my 30 years of life, and I also have a PhD, so my title of “Dr.” will always trump “Mrs.” My last name represents me and where I come from, and I didn’t want to change it. And what I really didn’t want was to be introduced, for the first time, as Mr. and Mrs. Charles Fritch, as though marriage erases my entire identity and subsumes it under my husband’s. So I had the DJ just announce as the newlyweds, Brittany and Chuck, and have proudly kept my last name in tact (no hyphen). While I respect and support the women in my life who have taken their husband’s last name, keeping that tradition was not in line with my personal beliefs. We have decided that when we have kids, their names will be hyphenated to include both of our last names, a move that feels right for us.
Infusing our wedding with feminist values made the day even more special, because doing so reflected who we are as people and what we aspire to. Ultimately, however, what makes a marriage feminist is not your wedding itself, but a relationship built on equality that you create together every day.
2016-04-29-1461895614-4576251-195_BRITTANYCHUCK.jpg

Thursday, May 12, 2016

Guys: If You Don’t Know What To Wear To A Wedding, Watch This

It’s that time of year again: wedding season. Those joyous few months when it seems like all the people you have met throughout your entire life have picked the same small window of time to marry each other.


Save-the-dates and invitations fly out of your mailbox like:
mail animated GIF

But the “wedding section” of your closet is more like:
tumbleweed animated GIF

Thankfully, online retailer ASOS created a handy video that breaks down the ins and outs of getting dressed for your friend’s/cousin’s/girlfriend’s cousin’s special day — be it on a beach, in a ballroom or in the country. Watch it below:

Wednesday, May 11, 2016

50 Quotes About Love and Marriage

Whether you're in need of some inspiration for writing your vows or need help preparing for a big toast, these quotes will bring out the Shakespeare in you.



Writing your own vows is a popular (and beautiful) way to personalize your ceremony, but sometimes, finding the right words can be tricky. Or maybe you're preparing to make a toast and need a little inspiration to make your speech one-of-a-kind. To help you out, we've compiled our favorite wedding-appropriate quotes, ranging from what it feels like to fall in love to how to weather the ups and downs of marriage. Read, write, and be inspired!
wedding vow own wedding vow bridal guide polka dot bride

Photo Credit: Polka Dot Bride via Lover.ly Falling in Love:
  • “Once in awhile, right in the middle of an ordinary life, love gives us a fairy tale.” —Unknown Author
  • “And I knew exactly how old Walt Disney’s Cinderella felt when she found her prince.” —Elizabeth Young
  • “When you look for the right person, you always end up with the wrong one. But when you just sit by the corner and wait, he comes along and shares the corner with you.” —Unknown Author
  • “When you realize you want to spend the rest of your life with somebody, you want the rest of your life to start as soon as possible.” —When Harry Met Sally
  • “I’m feeling alive and with every breath that I take, I feel like I’ve won. You’re my key to survival.” —Secondhand Serenade
  • “You know when you have found your prince because you not only have a smile on your face, but in your heart as well.” —Unknown Author
  • “For it was not into my ear you whispered, but into my heart. It was not my lips you kissed, but my soul.” —Judy Garland
  • “For you see, each day I love you more 
Today more than yesterday and less than tomorrow.” —Rosemonde Gerard
What is Love?
  • "You know you're in love when you can't fall asleep because reality is finally better than your dreams.” —Dr. Seuss
  • “Being deeply loved by someone gives you strength, while loving someone deeply gives you courage.” —Lao Tzu
  • “When I sleep, I dream of you, and when I wake, I long to hold you in my arms. If anything, our time apart has only made me more certain that I want to spend my nights by your side, and my days with your heart.” —Nights in Rodanthe
  • “Love is life. And if you miss love, you miss life.” —Leo Buscaglia
  • “I love you, not only for what you are, but for what I am when I am with you. I love you, not only for what you have made of yourself, but for what you are making of me.” —Roy Croft
  • “To find someone who will love you for no reason, and to shower that person with reasons, that is the ultimate happiness.” —Robert Brault
  • “A hundred hearts would be too few to carry all my love for you.” —Unknown Author
  • “You will find, as you look back upon your life, that the moments when you have truly lived are the moments when you have done things in the spirit of love.” —Henry Drummond
  • “Love recognizes no barriers. It jumps hurdles, leaps fences, penetrates walls to arrive at its destination full of hope.” —Maya Angelou
  • “Love doesn’t make the world go round. Love is what makes the ride worthwhile.” —Franklin P. Jones
  • “In the arithmetic of love, one plus one equals everything, and two minus one equals nothing.” —Mignon McLaughlin
  • “It is love that makes impossible possible.” —Indian Proverb
  • “Walking with your hands in mine and mine in yours, that’s exactly where I want to be always.” —Fawn Weaver
  • “In dreams and in love there are no impossibilities.” —Janos Arnay
  • “Two souls with but a single thought; two hearts that beat as one.” —Friedrich Halm

The Meaning of Marriage:
  • “A successful marriage requires falling in love many times, always with the same person.” —Mignon McLaughlin
  • “The groom always smiles proudly because he’s convinced he’s accomplished something quite wonderful. The bride smiles because she’s been able to convince him of it.” —Judith McNaught
  • “You don’t marry the person you can live with … you marry the person you can’t live without.” —Unknown Author
  • “Grief can take care of itself, but to get the full value of joy, you must have somebody to divide it with.” —Mark Twain
  • “Sexiness wears thin after a while, and beauty fades. But to be married to a man who makes you laugh every day, now that’s a real treat.” —JoAnne Woodward
  • “Being someone’s first love may be great, but to be their last is beyond perfect.” —Unknown Author
  • “You make me happier than I ever thought I could be, and if you let me, I will spend the rest of my life trying to make you feel the same way.” —Friends
  • “What greater thing is there for two human souls, than to feel that they are joined for life — to strength each other in all labor, to rest on each other in all sorrow, to minister to each other in all pain, to be with each other in silent unspeakable memories at the moment of the last parting? —George Eliot
  • “A happy marriage is the union of two good forgivers.” —Robert Quillen
  • “A good marriage is one which allows for change and growth in the individuals and in the way they express their love.” —Pearl S. Buck
  • “The greatest marriages are built on teamwork. A mutual respect, a healthy dose of admiration, and a never-ending portion of love and grace.” —Fawn Weaver
  • “The highest happiness on earth is the happiness of marriage.” —William Lyon Phelps

The Ups and Downs of Marriage:
  • “In a marriage, each partner is to be an encourager rather than a critic, a forgiver rather than a collector of hurts, and enabler rather than a reformer.” —Unknown Author
  • “The real act of marriage takes place in the heart, not in the ballroom or church or synagogue. It’s a choice you make on your wedding day, and over and over again and that choice is reflected in the way you treat your husband…” —Barbara De Angelis
  • “Coming together is a beginning; keeping together is progress; working together is success.” —Henry Ford
  • “Whatever our souls are made of, his and mine are the same.” —Emily Brönte
  • “Grow old along with me; the best is yet to be.” —Robert Browning
  • “When the darkness rolls in, I’ll be there through thick and thin.” —Hilary Duff
  • “I don’t know where I’d be without you here with me. Life with you makes perfect sense. You’re my best friend.” —Tim McGraw
  • "Because today, when I look into your eyes, my love for you only grows. It’s even stronger now. My love will never waver. And this I vow to you, today, and always and forever.” —One Tree Hill
  • “There is no such thing as a perfect man or a perfect marriage. But the one I have is perfect for me.” —Fawn Weaver
  • “Remember, we all stumble; every one of us. That is why it’s a comfort to go hand in hand.” —Emily Kimbrough
  • “The beauty of marriage is not always seen from the very beginning…but rather as love grows and develops over time.” —Fawn Weaver
  • “I wasn’t sure that love could survive everything we put it through, but you were. You were sure, you were always sure.” —Boy Meets World
  • “Before we met, I was as lost as a person could be and yet you saw something in me that somehow gave me direction again.” —Nights in Rodanthe
  • “Marriages, like a garden, take time to grow. But the harvest is rich unto those who patiently and tenderly care for the ground.” —Darlene Schacht
  • “Love never gives up, never loses faith, is always hopeful and endures through every circumstance.” —Corinthians 13:7

Tuesday, May 10, 2016

Real Brides Reveal: "What I Wish I'd Known Before Getting Engaged"

Getting engaged may be a blessing, but no one ever said planning a wedding is easy! As with any other major life milestone (having kids, buying a house, etc.), you might get thrown a few curveballs along the way. We asked real brides to share what surprised them the most about planning their big day — here's what they had to say.

engagement ring

Photo Credit: Smith Studios Photography Quotes submitted by BG's Instagram and Facebook Community:
"I was shocked by the cost of it all. I knew prices went up over time, but wow! You want me to pay what just to feed 75 people? Sheesh." —@angela.martindale1
"I totally thought we could have our dream wedding for less than ten grand. Who was I kidding?! We aren't spending much more than that, but it has been so stressful. I can't wait for the wedding planning to be done and to just be married." —@t.m.higbee
"I got engaged in September, and we are getting married on April 23rd, so I had eight months to plan, which I thought was plenty of time. However, it's been a mad scramble! I'm shocked by how much work goes into one day. In retrospect, I think having more than a year to plan would have been ideal. The last few months have been hard and tested our relationship. Sometimes, all we talk about is wedding plans and not about our day or feelings or relationship. The more time you have, the less stressed you'll be. However, I know all of our hard work will totally be worth it, and I'm so excited for our special day." —@david_y_lia
"I had no idea that after six years of dating, I would fall even deeper in love with my fiancé! I love being engaged. #itgetsbetterandbetter" —@irenedonnelly
"This is going to be my second marriage. I'm surprised by all of the great things available online to help plan my wedding. Years ago, you had to go to a boutique or to a wedding planner to help plan your wedding. I was able to do everything myself now, from finding ideas on Pinterest to picking out my invitations online. Not only is it so much easier to plan a wedding this time around, but I also find it to be much more enjoyable." —@PamelaZottiTanskey
"Picking the person you want to spend the rest of your life with is the easiest decision you'll make in the whole wedding process. I am a floral designer (@localcolorflowers), and even for an industry professional like me, planning is a struggle when I thought it would be a breeze. One major challenge is that I like a lot of different design styles, so having to choose one is a lot of pressure, and everyone has an opinion! Ultimately, the venue will dictate the style direction, so deciding where to get married is the biggest hurdle. Also, you have to take in many other considerations such as price, proximity, limitation, time parameters, cost, etc. Nothing is perfect! I will leave it at that." —@irenedonnelly
"I'd been daydreaming about my wedding since elementary school, but the planning is so much different than fantasizing about it. Making huge decisions and putting the puzzle pieces together is fun because you see it take shape, but it's also weird that A. the mystery is gone and B. that's it, these are your flowers, cake, venue, dress, etc. I love all of my elements, but I could have 20 weddings, all with different themes!" —@candice.thompson.14
"I wish that I would have known people wouldn't see things from my perspective. I have so many ideas, but my family keeps giving their unsolicited opinions  — with the décor in particular — and that's not what I want. #stressful" —@the_real_cilla_1992
"I wish I had known that most people don't understand guest list etiquette. If it only lists you on the invitation, then you're the only one invited! And please don't offer to pay for the extra guests that we don't know." —@carlytefft4
"I never imagined how sensitive the guest list would be. Older generations expect certain plus-ones to happen. I wasn't prepared for certain people to stand their ground on the guest list. I gave in to the request, so there was no compromising. Sigh, mothers can be difficult. #momplayedhardball" —@rp1610
"I wish I had chosen my venue before my dress. I got so excited that I bought it before I really should have. Luckily, the style works with my ballroom venue even though we were initially thinking of having a backyard wedding." — @adriana.vasquez.5
"Be open-minded, especially when it comes to your venue. Venue shopping isn't as fun as I thought it would be. I had my mind dead-set on a theme, but then I realized that Pinterest barn weddings aren't that realistic at the Jersey Shore. So I took a step back, started looking again with a blank slate, and ended up going in the complete opposite direction. Now I'm having a classic wedding on the Navesink River." —@brittanyyymeow
"I hated looking at venues — after a while, they all started to look the same. By the fourth one, I said, 'this is it!' I wanted the fun stuff to begin." —@nat_franco
"Don't go dress shopping at too many places! I ended up trying on over 40 different dresses, and in the end, I couldn't make up my mind. I have given myself until the end of the week to decide." —@eleni_kts
"Saying 'yes' to my fiancé was an easier decision than saying 'yes' to my dress! There were so many beautiful styles to choose from, and I didn't want the dress shopping experience to end!" —@yogamaddani
"You may not ever have that sappy, emotional 'I'm saying yes to the dress!' moment. I never found a gown that I was 1000% in love with, but I eventually bought a nice one that I liked. It looked beautiful in pictures, but I still wish I would have had that special moment." —@mypie05
"You may find your dream gown in the most unexpected place. I bought the first dress I tried on while I was supposed to be looking for bridesmaid dresses. My mom passed away last year, and her favorite color was pink. I walked by this beautiful blush dress by Allure; it was a style I never thought I would like. The consultant asked if I would like to try on a bridal gown, and I said, 'Sure, why not?' She brought in the same dress that reminded me of my mom. When I tried it on, the tears began flowing, and I just knew I had to buy it that day." —@nanaloo16
"Do your research. When you find the perfect dress: 1. Put down a partial payment (most reputable shops allow this when you special order). 2. Pay with a credit card — not debit, not a check, nothing else! I was unfortunate enough to make the mistake of paying in full, and my money was used to cover the cost of another person's dress. The bridal store filed for bankruptcy, and I lost thousands of dollars (so did many other people in our area)." —@haydenlaynes
"We're planning our wedding from a distance. We are now living in Buenos Aires, Argentina, and we will tie the knot by the beach on the Northern Colombian coast (we are both Colombians, born and raised). It is crazy how long it takes for vendors to respond to our inquiries. One month to answer an e-mail? Are you kidding me?! Ugh." —@senenita
"The simpler plans are the best. You don't have to spend thousands on flowers — a few simple flower arrangements or just a bunch of tulips are all you need on tables for décor. Whole Foods will put together bouquets at a fraction of the cost of florist prices." —@leighscar
"I had no idea how stressful planning a wedding could be (especially choosing the bridal party), but it's worth it." —@SusanTucker
"I hated the entire wedding-planning process! If I had the money, I would have just hired someone to plan it all for me while I sat back and relaxed. My fiancé is so much more of a bridezilla than I am." —@seraphtron

Monday, May 9, 2016

A Planner Reveals 3 Wedding Trends She'd Like to Retire

With unlimited sharing of pins, grams, and tweets these days, trends spread faster than wildfire. While such sources can provide invaluable inspiration, Alison Hotchkiss Rinderknecht of Alison Events dishes on a few wedding trends she wouldn't mind saying goodbye to.
woman-holding-smartphone-1015
Photo by William Iven

Electronic Invitations 

We're all for going green, but opting out of sending a physical invite makes us want to shed a tear! Not only does a beautiful invitation set the tone for your wedding, it announces the couple's intention to marry and petitions for the recipients to join the celebration. There's something to be said about receiving an invitation in the mail; an announcement so dear that it shouldn't end up in your junk folder.

Boring Welcome Bags

Welcome bags are a thoughtful way to greet out of town guests upon their arrival, but all too often they are packed with items that just end up getting tossed in the trash at the end of the weekend. We prefer curated welcome bags filled with gifts such as a thoughtful note (along with the weekend's itinerary), local goods friends and family can use (or enjoy if you go the edible route) during their stay, or a meaningful keepsake they'll want to take home. Remember: It's quality over quantity!

Overly Themed Weddings

We are all for weddings that reflect the bride and groom's personalities, interests or heritage; but there's a fine line between telling a story and being overly produced. Steer clear of generic themes such as The Great Gatsby and instead focus on bringing in more personal elements.

Friday, May 6, 2016

Atelier Pronovias Shows Airy, Romantic Gowns for the 2017 Collection

Intricate embellishments give streamlined silhouettes an ethereal tilt in the Atelier Pronovias Spring 2017 collection. Take a peek at every wedding dress below.
 
 
Atelier Pronovias 2017 collection Barcelona Bridal Fashion Week
The Designer: Atelier Pronovias
The Details: This season, Atelier Pronovias closed out Barcelona Bridal Fashion Week with a gorgeous collection of weightless gowns inspired by "La Ciel" or, the sky. Wispy feathers, floral appliqué and flowing capes gave sleek silhouettes a touch of ethereal texture. Every gown appeared to float down the runway, illuminated by hundreds of suspended lights.
The Look: These dresses range from lingerie-inspired sheaths with strategically placed lace embellishments to elegant crepe column gowns with crystal-encrusted backs and sleeves. The collection featured a gown for every wedding style—including a grand taffeta ball gown or two.
See every dress from the Atelier Pronovias line below. Love these looks? Get more Pronovias wedding dress inspiration here.
Atelier Pronovias Spring 2017 wedding dress
Atelier Pronovias Spring 2017 wedding dress
Atelier Pronovias Spring 2017 wedding dress
Atelier Pronovias Spring 2017 wedding dress
Atelier Pronovias Spring 2017 wedding dress
Atelier Pronovias Spring 2017 wedding dress
Atelier Pronovias Spring 2017 wedding dress
Atelier Pronovias Spring 2017 wedding dress
Atelier Pronovias wedding gown
Atelier Pronovias wedding dress
Atelier Pronovias wedding dress
Atelier Pronovias wedding dress
Atelier Pronovias wedding dress
Atelier Pronovias wedding dress
Atelier Pronovias wedding dress
Atelier Pronovias wedding dress
Atelier Pronovias wedding dress
Atelier Pronovias wedding dress
Atelier Pronovias wedding dress
Atelier Pronovias wedding dress
Atelier Pronovias wedding dress
Atelier Pronovias wedding dress
Atelier Pronovias wedding dress
Atelier Pronovias wedding dress
Atelier Pronovias wedding dress
Atelier Pronovias wedding dress
Atelier Pronovias wedding dress
Atelier Pronovias wedding dress
Atelier Pronovias wedding dress
Atelier Pronovias wedding dress
Atelier Pronovias wedding dress
Atelier Pronovias wedding dress
Atelier Pronovias wedding dress
Atelier Pronovias wedding dress
Atelier Pronovias wedding dress
Atelier Pronovias wedding dress
Atelier Pronovias wedding dress
Atelier Pronovias wedding dress
Atelier Pronovias wedding dress
Atelier Pronovias wedding dress
Atelier Pronovias wedding dress
Atelier Pronovias wedding dress
Atelier Pronovias wedding dress
Atelier Pronovias wedding dress
Atelier Pronovias wedding dress