Monday, April 27, 2015

15 Things Every Bride Thinks the Night Before Her Wedding

Shapewear For Last Dress Fitting
Photo: Getty Images
No matter if your wedding-planning philosophy is to keep calm and carry on or to spend every post-work minute perfecting your seating chart, the morning of your wedding is a frenetic and exhilarating time for even the most zen brides. When a bride's mind is racing before her nuptials, here are fifteen thoughts to emerge from the mayhem.

1. “Did I remember to pay the caterer?”

2. “I hope my fiancé loves my dress as much as I do. What if he doesn't?”

3. “I wonder what would happen if I tripped walking down the aisle.”

4. “I must not trip walking down the aisle.”

5. “What do I say when the officiant asks me to repeat after him?”

6. “Where are my vows? What did I write in my vows?”

7. “Tomorrow is the most important day of my life thus far. I sure hope it lives up to expectations.”

8. “I wonder if my fiancé has a case of cold feet. On second thought, I wonder if I have cold feet.”

9. “I'm making a lifelong commitment for the first time today. And I thought signing the lease on my first car was a big deal.”

10. “Someday, I bet my husband and I will laugh about how nervous we were to walk down the aisle.”

11. “I hope I don't tear up. Did I remember to use waterproof mascara?”

12. “I can't wait to see the finalized reception space. Is it too early to sneak a peek?”

13. “Diving into that wedding cake after months of shunning sweets will be heaven.”

14. “I wonder if my fiancé will cry when he first sees me at the end of the aisle.”

15. “I can't believe I get to marry my best friend tomorrow.”

Friday, April 24, 2015

10 Completely Brilliant Wedding Hacks You Definitely Need to Know

If you're hoping for a stress-free wedding (who isn't?!), you'll need a well-stocked emergency kit by your side...and a few hacks up your sleeve! Here are 10 super-smart wedding hacks that will help you get down the aisle in one piece.
1. Planning to tie the knot in a park or on the beach? Stock up on veil weights NOW. If you're having an outdoor wedding (or at least planning to take some photos outside), attach little weights to your veil to keep it from blowing around in the wind.
2. Use Jetaport to make booking hotel rooms for your guests a cinch. If you're trying to find the best group accommodations, we've made it way easier to book hotel rooms for your guests. It's fast and completely free!
10 Completely Brilliant Wedding Hacks You Need to Know ||  
3. Get a 2-3 tier cake for display/cutting and then serve guests from a sheet cake that's hidden in the kitchen. This will allow you to have a beautiful cake without going way over budget.
10 Completely Brilliant Wedding Hacks You Need to Know ||  
4. Set up a separate email address to use for all wedding correspondence. Being organized is the key to any successful wedding. Bonus: you and your partner can use it for shared bills after you're married. It's a win-win, really.
10 Completely Brilliant Wedding Hacks You Need to Know || 
Photo by
5. Ask the post office to "hand cancel" your invitations. This means that instead of running your invites through a machine, they'll use a special ink stamp to mark your invitation and then sort it by hand. That reduces the risk of damaging those pretty envelopes you painstakingly picked out.
10 Completely Brilliant Wedding Hacks You Need to Know ||  
6. Number the back of all your RSVP cards. Put a tiny number on the back of each card and then number your guest list accordingly. If guests don't write their name on the cards (or their writing is illegible), you'll still be able to figure out whose it is!
10 Completely Brilliant Wedding Hacks You Need to Know ||  
7. Have your bra sewn into your dress. You'll have a lot to think about on your wedding day, so make sure your strapless bra isn't one of them. If you have your seamstress sew your bra of choice into your gown, you won't have to worry about your it peeking out at inopportune moments.
10 Completely Brilliant Wedding Hacks You Need to Know ||  
8. If you spill red wine on your dress, dump a pile of table salt on the stain right away. The salt will help draw out a good amount of the wine right away, and you can have the remaining stain professionally treated later.
10 Completely Brilliant Wedding Hacks You Need to Know ||  
9. If you want to wear stilettos for your outdoor wedding, slip on heel protectors. Walking down the aisle without tripping is hard enough, so make your life easier with these little guys. They increase the surface of the base of the heel, so you won't sink into the grass.
10 Completely Brilliant Wedding Hacks You Need to Know ||  
From Solemates
10. Freeze the top tier of your cake uncovered for about 20 minutes before wrapping it in foil. If you're planning on eating your cake on your first anniversary, make sure you can actually enjoy it! This trick will prevent any icing from sticking to the foil when you wrap it and stick it in the freezer.
10 Completely Brilliant Wedding Hacks You Need to Know ||  

Thursday, April 23, 2015

10 Traditional Touches to Work Into Your Wedding

There's nothing quite like a classic wedding. From the timeless details to traditional touches, these are the ceremonies that are as stunning today as they will be twenty years from now. So if you're a bride-to-be with a passion for the perennial, here are a few of our favorite elements that will make your wedding truly one for the ages.
A long veil: There's nothing so quintessentially bridal as the cathedral veil.
A beautiful bouquet: We love the look of a classic bouquet, with its stunning florals, sweet colors, and sophisticated shape.
A gorgeous gown: Pink dresses may be on point right now, but a formal, floor-length dress in white has staying power like nothing else. When you look back on your wedding photos in thirty or forty year, you won't regret rocking a more traditional dress.
A fatherly send-off: While the reasoning behind your father "giving you away" may be a bit antiquated, the notion is quite sweet. After your emotional walk down the aisle with dear ol' dad, ask him to say something nice to your partner, shake his hand, and then give you a kiss before heading back to his seat. The photo op is reason enough to embrace this tradition!
Bridesmaids in black: A black and white color palette will definitely stand the test of time, so have your ladies rock some black dresses for a classy touch.
Fabulous flower girls and rad ring bearers: Kids can really enhance your ceremony, so bring on the little ladies and gentlemen!
Have some aisle style: From the aisle runner to the subtle yet totally stunning floral details, make a traditional statement with your aisle decor.
Timeless tablescapes: A pretty table gets us every time. Metallic accents and pretty petals are sure to get your guests talking for all the right reasons.
A classic cake: The most timeless pieces make a statement without too much fuss, so keep your cake simple and sophisticated. Understated white detailing will definitely do the trick.
Getaway in Style: A vintage car (complete with cans and a "just married" sign) is the perfect way to ride off into the night as newlyweds.
Keep it traditional with more ideas for a classic wedding on!

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

What to Do If You Have Doubts About Your Wedding Dress


When I went wedding dress shopping, I bought the third one I tried on without giving it too much thought. In retrospect I probably shouldn’t have been quite so nonchalant about the decision, because as I stood before the mirror at my first fitting I thought, “Huh. I’m not sure if I love this...” It’s a beautiful dress, but I suddenly wasn’t sure it was right for me. I’m happy to say that I’m back to loving my wedding dress, but those moments of hesitation felt crummy. Here are some tips for dealing with doubts about your wedding gown, from a bride who has been there:

Make sure you’re not just being indecisive. As any bride knows, there are just SO. many. dress options out there. With an endless variety of fabrics and silhouettes and necklines and shades of white, it can be tough to narrow it down. If you were town between two equally lovely styles, it’s natural to second guess your choice a little bit. But don’t let that indecisive bride brain play tricks on you! Trust that initial instinct that told you to say yes to your dress.

Consider the possibility that you might be overthinking it. I kind of threw dagger eyes at friends who suggested this to me, but hear me out. You are your worst critic. Chances are you are nitpicking at things that no one else would notice in a million years. I know I was. Find that happy place between indifference and over-analysis.

Don’t underestimate the power of alterations. Good tailoring can absolutely bring your gown to a whole new level of gorgeous. You are much more likely to feel beautiful and comfortable in a dress that’s been fine tuned specifically for your body. Adjusting the straps, tweaking the waist, or modifying the neckline will make a world of difference.

...Or embellishments. Maybe your gown is just in need of a personal touch. Try glamming it up with a crystal belt, sweetening it with a satin sash, or adding a hint of whimsy with a floral applique.

Don’t let the dressing room lights fool you. Fluorescent dressing room lighting is not a great look on anyone. It’s harsh and yellow and adept at magnifying even the teeny-tiniest of flaws. If you’re not thrilled with your gown, it might help to quite literally look at it in a more flattering light. It will look much better out in the wild.

Find a reception dress you love. Changing into a little white dress for the reception has become an increasingly popular bridal trend. Consider wearing the gown for the ceremony and then switching up your look for dinner and dancing.

Remember the big picture. It’s cliche because it’s true: in the end, all that really matters is you’re marrying the person you love. And trust us—your fiance is going to be blown away by how gorgeous you are when you walk down that aisle!

Photo Courtesy of Kirstie Kelly

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

13 Questions for the Designer Behind Every J.Crew Bride

jcrew-bridal-designer-molly-schaul-interview-0315.jpg Photography by: Courtesy of J.Crew
Bridal designer Molly Schaul at her own wedding in 2010.
You may be thinking big for your wedding-day style. But for Molly Schaul, this season it was a few little things that made her wishes come true. Alongside J.Crew’s mix of aisle-perfect gowns, the designer behind the brand’s bridal collection included shorts, camisoles, minis, and even a jumpsuit—all created with your I do’s in mind. “I have dreamt about designing a bridal line with separates since I was a fashion student at Parsons [The New School for Design in New York City],” Schaul says. “It gives a bride more to choose from.” We got in touch with Schaul to learn more about how customers are responding to her fashionable proposal.

What can you tell us about the latest collection for J.Crew bridal?

Our newest bridal collection was inspired by a beach-themed getaway. With the destination theme, we added really beautiful silhouettes—and expanded our bridal separates.

Those separates include shorts! How is the J.Crew girl reacting to new ideas for the big day?

She is loving it! The J.Crew girl is all about standing out and being bold and unique, but still feminine and timeless. We have delicate lace pants, skirts, and cropped tops coming out this summer.
jcrew-bridal-designer-molly-schaul-interview-spring-2015-shorts-0315.jpg Photography by: Courtesy of J.Crew
J.Crew’s Laine sequin top and shorts.

J.Crew bridal is known for offering chic, quality designs at workable price points. What are some of the details you focus on to pull off what is a unique niche for brides?

We always make sure that we use the best quality fabrics possible. Even if the fabrics are affordable, they still have to meet our standards, which are very high. I don’t think people realize the lengths we go to in order to offer the best fabrics and detailing, which includes working with mills throughout Europe that have been in families for generations. The fit is also super important to us. We fit gowns sometimes up to four times just to make sure the fit is perfect.
jcrew-bridal-designer-molly-schaul-interview-spring-2015-georgiana-gown-0315.jpg Photography by: Courtesy of J.Crew
J.Crew’s Georgiana burnout floral organza gown.

If a bride chooses a more traditional gown, what are your recommendations for pulling it all together and making certain the look is her own?

First, make sure the gown fits properly. A good-fitting gown is going to make a bride feel comfortable, confident, and beautiful.

After that, choose unique accessories. Don’t always opt for a “bridal”-appropriate piece of jewelry or shoes. Instead, borrow a gorgeous family heirloom or find a piece of vintage costume jewelry and make your own heirloom to pass down later. When choosing shoes, go for something fun, festive, and venue-appropriate; there is nothing more cookie-cutter than a matching white satin pump.
jcrew-bridal-designer-molly-schaul-interview-spring-2015-sadie-gown-0315.jpg Photography by: Courtesy of J.Crew
J.Crew’s Sadie Swiss-dot chiffon gown.

J.Crew also offers bridesmaids dresses. What are some of your tips for making a bridal party look its best?

It’s great to have your bridal party mix and match. Pick either a color story (I have had friends send out color chips to their bridal party so there is no confusion) or fabrication and let your bridal party choose the styles that they feel the best in. The fit is super important in a bridesmaid dress, as well, so always make sure every single bridesmaid tries on their dress well in advance of the wedding day. That way sizes can be exchanged and alterations can be made if need be.

What do you love most about your job?

The satisfaction of knowing that someone chose one of our gowns to wear on one of the most memorable days of their lives.
jcrew-bridal-designer-molly-schaul-interview-spring-2015-sloane-skirt-0315.jpg Photography by: Courtesy of J.Crew
J.Crew’s floral beaded top and Sloane skirt.

Were you designing bridal when you got married?

I was designing bridal when I got married and was so lucky to be able to design my own gown and party dress. My gown had a hand-encrusted bodice made of tiny sequins and crystals and the skirt was tiers of the most delicate French Chantilly lace and silk tulle. My party dress was a tiny little slip dress covered in paillettes and ostrich feathers. I absolutely loved my gown and dress!

Tell us about your celebration?

I was married on June 20, 2010, at the Gramercy Park Hotel in New York City. We had an intimate wedding of just under 50 guests.

What was the most memorable part of the wedding for you?

Seeing my husband for the first time on our wedding day.

What was you and your husband's first dance song?

“Love Me Tender” by Elvis Presley.

What is your favorite thing that you registered for?

My All-Clad pots and pans. I love to cook!

Where did you honeymoon?

We went to the Hawaiian island of Lanai.

What's the one piece of advice you pass on to brides and grooms planning their wedding?

My husband and I had a whirlwind engagement. We were engaged for only three months and it was liberating to know that we didn’t have time to fret about every little detail. We just went with our gut feelings and everything turned out fine! Even if couples have long engagements, remember to enjoy the moment and don’t sweat the little stuff.

Monday, April 20, 2015

Average Wedding Cost Hits All-Time High Of More Than $31,000, Survey Says

Brides and grooms are spending more on weddings than ever before, according to a new survey.
The Knot's 2014 Real Weddings survey found that the average wedding spend is now $31,213. And that doesn't even include the cost of the honeymoon. The average in 2013, for comparison, was $29,858.

The Knot surveyed 16,000 of their members married between January 1 and December 31, 2014. Kristen Maxwell Cooper, deputy editor of The Knot, confirmed to The Huffington Post that this is the highest number since the site began collecting data in 2007.

"Over time, we've seen that the guest list has gone down and wedding spend has been going up," editor in chief Rebecca Dolgin told CBS This Morning on Thursday. "And really what that's all about is that people want their guests to have this amazing experience. So they're inviting fewer of them, but really going all out with them."

The survey also revealed the top 25 most expensive places to get married in the country. Check them out in the infographic below:

via The Knot

According to the survey, 45 percent of couples went over budget, 26 percent stayed within budget, 6 percent came in under budget and 23 percent didn't have a budget at all.

And it looks like many couples these days are still getting financial help from family to cover wedding costs. Only 12 percent of respondents paid for the whole wedding themselves. On average, couples contributed 43 percent of the budget, the bride's parents contributed another 43 percent, the groom's parents contributed 12 percent and "others" account for the remaining 2 percent.

Friday, April 17, 2015

Yes, It's Possible to Plan an Awesome Bachelorette Party on a Meager Budget

Alternative Bachelorette Party Ideas
Photo: Getty Images
If you want to throw your favorite bride the amazing bachelorette bash she deserves, but simply don't have the dough to go big — think a girls' weekend in Las Vegas — don't despair. "A bachelorette party doesn't necessarily have to be sexy," explains Jesse Tombs, senior event producer for Alison Events. "It should be a celebration of a woman's single life before she met her beau. Pictures from her college days, baby pictures and funny stories are more interesting and original than penis shaped pasta. Keep it classy and simple — and skip the stripper."

Here, Tombs suggests eight incredibly fun ideas that won't break the budget. In fact, they should all come in at less than $100 a woman!

Go for a game of mini-golf.
"Make T-shirts and create teams within the group to make the game really memorable," suggests Tombs.

Challenge your BFFs to bowling.
"Book a private room in the back to have cake, and hang funny posters of the bride on the walls," Tombs says.

Shop for lingerie until you drop.
"Then go for lunch at a cute café and unwrap the gifts bought for the bride during shopping that day," says Tombs.

Paint your own pottery.
"Or take a class, and ask the teacher to use the space afterward to open presents," Tombs suggests.

Taste Merlot — or the bride's favorite blend — in wine country.
"Small buses or town cars usually run $50 to $70 per guest for the day to drive around to different tasting rooms," notes Tombs. "Bring a picnic lunch along to enjoy in one of the wineries' picnic areas."

Get your party on — at home.
"Invite the girls over for an at-home facial and watch old movies," says Tombs, "or light a bunch of candles or a fire in the hearth and have a cozy night swapping stories, drinking Chianti and eating flat-breads and good chocolate."

Host a blind wine tasting at your house.
"Each guest brings a different bottle of wine, then the bottles are placed in brown bags and everyone has to vote on which one they liked the most," explains Tombs. "It's often funny when the one everyone gravitates to is from Trader Joe's." Pair the wine with easy and simple pre-made snacks, and snag inexpensive wine glasses for all your guests from IKEA, Tombs suggests.

Get crafty with a floral crown workshop.
"Find a local floral designer that teaches wreath-making or crown-making classes," instructs Tombs. "It's feminine, romantic and chic. Dry the crowns and keep forever as a memento of the occasion, or use them on your special day for décor!"

Thursday, April 16, 2015

10 Lessons My Parents Taught Me About Marriage


In just a few days, my husband Dan and I will celebrate our very first wedding anniversary. It's been a whirlwind 12 months, full of illness, heartbreak and change, but facing these obstacles with my husband has made them easier to handle.

Just a few short months ago, my parents celebrated their 30th wedding anniversary. Like most couples, they have also faced their fair share of challenges during the duration of their marriage, and they relied on each other to get through them.

I feel fortunate to have such great role models for my own marriage. I can't help but reflect on everything they have taught me about marriage. Here are just 10 of the lessons on marriage I have learned from them.

1. Marry someone who loves you and respects you.
My parents are deeply in love with each other, but they also greatly respect each other. I prioritized finding a man like that, and thanks be to God, I did!

2. Say "I love you" every day.
My parents tell each other "I love you" throughout the day. They always told my brothers and me "I love you" every day too. Now I make a point to tell my husband "I love you" at least once a day, and usually more than that.

3. Apologize to your spouse when you mess up.
My parents are pretty awesome, but they're not perfect. Sometimes one of them will sin against the other and then need to apologize. No one is perfect, and it's easy to hurt the ones we love the most. My parents taught me the importance of admitting your mistakes and apologizing.

4. Forgive your spouse for messing up.
Just like you will sin against your spouse, your spouse will sin against you. My parents always accept each other's apologies and offer genuine forgiveness.

5. Both spouses should know all vital family and household details.
When my brothers and I were young, Mom stayed at home with us. Daddy worked full-time, and he handled the bills. At one point, Mom told him that she wanted to learn everything about our household finances. For several months, she took over the bills, until she was satisfied that she could handle it easily and by herself.

On the flip side, my mom primarily took me to my pediatric gastroenterologist. Still, she always updated my dad with all the details after my appointments, and he took me to at least one appointment every year. No one wants to think of catastrophic events, but both of my parents were always prepared in case something happened to the other.

6. Support each other's career aspirations.
My mom chose to be a SAHM, but she also channeled her creativity and talents into home-based businesses, volunteer work, and self-development. She rose through the ranks of Toastmasters, and she worked as a professional speaker. My dad supported her in everything she did.
In turn, my mom supported my dad's decision to open his own law practice with another attorney. When he was especially busy, or between secretaries, my mom helped out at the law office.

7. Not all married couples will have kids, and that's okay.
When you live in South Carolina, and you're very involved in a Christian community, it can feel like the sole purpose of marriage is to pop out babies. That sort of expectation can be really stressful, whether a person doesn't feel called to parenthood or suffers from infertility. While my parents obviously love having three kids, and while I hope to have my own Mini Me running around one day, I don't feel pressured to have kids.

I remember very clearly how I felt when my dad once casually mentioned to me that not everyone is meant to be a parent, and there was nothing wrong with that. I was just a teenager, and clearly years away from being in a position to even think about parenthood, but it was like a weight was lifted from my shoulders that I didn't even know was there.

8. Not everyone gets married, and that's okay too.
Again, there's a pretty clear expectation in southern Christian circles that you grow up, get married, and pop out babies. Considering I didn't even have a boyfriend until I was 24, I definitely secretly felt like a freak who would be single forever. Again, I remember my dad just casually telling me that some people never get married, and they live perfectly happy and fulfilling lives.

As an adult, it seems obvious that my self-worth isn't tied to my marital status, but as an angsty teenager, I thought perpetual singledom would be a reflection on me as a person.

9. Marriage really is in sickness and in health.
Daddy is not the most outwardly emotional of people, and he continues to provide strength and comfort for my whole family while Mom battles cancer. But when we were in the hospital last May for her brain surgery, and she was allowed two visitors at a time, he was always one of them. As long as he was allowed to be there, he never left her side. I've always known how much my dad loves my mom, but I've never seen it as clearly as when he sat by her hospital bed, holding her hand.

10. Cherish every single wedding anniversary!
I cannot believe my parents have been married for over 30 years. I cannot believe I've been married for almost 12 months! While my parents' 30th wedding anniversary was a huge milestone, I love how they recognize their anniversary every year. I know my husband and I plan on doing the same, starting this weekend!

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

8 Things Every Bridesmaid Should Pack With Them on the Wedding Day

8 Things Bridesmaids Need on Wedding Day
Photo: Clane Gessel Photography
The day is finally around the corner and your role as a bridesmaid is about to come full circle. So as you're packing up your bridesmaid dress and your heels, don't forget to bring along a handful of bridesmaid must-haves to make sure you make it through the day without a hitch!

1. Tissues
If ever there was a time to stuff your bra with tissues, now would be it. You can never have too many with you on the day of the wedding. Whether it's to dry tears, fix make up, or help dap off last-minute stains, pack as many as you can.

2. A change of shoes
When the ceremony ends, kick off the shoes that are starting to leave pretty little blisters all over your toes and pop on a pair of stylish and comfy flats. You'll have more fun flirting with the dance floor this way.

3. A cell-phone charger
You have a long day ahead of you and it's always good to make sure your phone has some extra juice to it. Bring along your charger so that you won't have to worry about 20% battery life when the bride asks you to snap some extra photos for her when the party starts.

4. Band Aids
Lots of them. For everyone around you — even party guests who have to use a chair as a crutch because their poor feet have had a little too much fun on the wooden dance floor in uncomfortable shoes.

5. Pictures of hair and makeup suggestions
Skip the umms and the hmms when it comes to how you want your hair and makeup to look on the day of the wedding. Come prepared with photos and ideas to show the bride and the beauty team.

6. An extension chord
Because there's never enough outlets for everyone or every curling iron.

7. Your own beauty kit
Have a kit of your favorite makeup items with you so you can do quick touch ups before pictures and in between trips to the dance floor.

8. A good attitude
No matter what's going on, be sure to enter the wedding day adventure with a positive attitude and some fun energy, supporting the bride more than you ever have before!

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Trend Report: 7 Best Colors for Bridesmaid Dresses

In with the new and in with the old. We're loving the hot new colors of the year, while still holding on to the oldies-but-goodies that keep growing in popularity. So without further ado, here are some of the best colors for bridesmaid dresses.

1. Neutral bridesmaid dresses
Neutral dresses are making a huge comeback. Perfectly sophisticated and easy to accessorize, neutral bridesmaid dresses are here to stay. We recommend mixing metallics or jewel tones with this color for a bold look or pretty pastels for a more romantic look.
Image Source: Love, Asha Photography
2. Coral bridesmaid dresses
This sassy color is growing exponentially in popularity from past seasons. Gorgeous for summery beach weddings. I recommend coral all of the time because it looks wonderful with all skin tones and hair colors!
Image Source: Addison Studios
3. Pastel bridesmaid dresses
Pastels are red hot right now -- well not literally -- but they are popping up in weddings everywhere. We're pretty in love with any pastel actually. Perfect for a spring wedding but also unexpected in a destination wedding.
Image Source: Alyssa Turner Photography
4. Deep blue bridesmaid dresses
Various shades of blue are popular in 2014. From dusty blue for winter to royal blue for summer and the always classic navy blue for fall or anytime. Blue is a great backdrop for flowers and accessories.
Image Source: Samuel Potter Photography
5. Gray bridesmaid dresses
A classic color for all seasons. Gray can be perfectly accented with almost any color combo, but we love it best modern with all white flowers or bursting with colorful bouquets.
Image source: Diana Lupu Photography
6. Blush bridesmaid dresses
This feminine staple also translates well at any venue and with almost any color combo but works best in spring and summer.
Image source:
7. Mint bridesmaid dresses
This fun shade of green is still hanging around in 2015 after making an appearance the past few wedding seasons. Great for spring through summer and perfectly accented with gold or rose gold.
Image source: Maggie Sottero
Whether your bridesmaid dress color falls on this list or not, the color you choose can add a whole lot of lovely to your wedding day. And that always makes our list.

Monday, April 13, 2015

Here’s What You Need To Know Before Making A Wedding Candy Bar

wedding candy bar  with mandms
Photo by Clean Plate Pictures
We don't have to tell you how much fun candy bars are (and they make a pretty awesome photo op, too!), but pulling off a beautiful display is not as easy as it looks. We reached out to candy and dessert bar experts for tips on how to create an amazing wedding dessert and candy bar. Here's the scoop straight from the pros for making your own sweet display!

Q. How much candy should I buy? 
A. Stock at least 1/4-1/2 lbs of candy per guest. "Some [guests] will take less and some will take more, so it all evens out," says Lisa Blackler, owner of Lisa's Candy Buffet. Even if you don't think your friends and family are likely to go overboard on the candy, Madeleine Ernest, founder of Pretty Sweet Candy Buffets, recommends stocking the bar anyway. "I've had clients say, 'Well I don't think the older adults will take it or the men won't take it,'" she says. "They may bring it home to the kids or grandkids, so plan accordingly." 
Q. How do I keep the candy buffet from looking messy during the reception?
A. The easiest way to keep a candy buffet neat and stocked is to hire an attendant. "If the wedding is going to be held in a banquet facility, you can ask them to assign one of the staff to man the table, keeping it neat and refilling the jars as needed," says Madeleine. If an attendant isn't available, consider only offering the candy bar at the end of the night as your guests exit.

Q. Where do I start when it comes to design? 
A. The most important rule is to keep your candy bar cohesive with a theme or color scheme. "My pet peeve is when people just throw some jars on a table and call it a candy bar," says Lisa. "It [the candy buffet] has to be visually captivating. I love when guests say it looks so pretty they don't want to touch it. That's when I know the job was done right."

Q. What kind of candy should I pick?
A. As long as you have a mix of flavors and treats, anything goes. Make sure you take into account any guest allergies, and either leave those candies off the list or make sure they're clearly marked. Another factor Madeleine cautions to consider: the temperature. Melting can be an issue in warmer seasons, so either keep your candy buffet in air conditioning or choose candies that won't be a soupy mess by the end of the night. The season can also inform the type of candy—for example, cinnamon and pumpkin favorite treats work for fall while tart lemon and citrus candies are perfect for summer.

Q. How do I decorate the candy buffet without spending too much on decor? 
A. An easy trick from the pros? Flip the escort card table into the candy buffet after your guests are seated. Lisa suggests using the escort card table for the candy bar later on in the evening so that you can reuse any floral arrangements or decor.

Friday, April 10, 2015

10 Honest Marriage Vows You Never Hear At Weddings

Love is patient, love is kind, love endures, blah blah blah, isn't it all wonderful? Vowing to persevere through sickness and health and in wealth and poverty is tradition, and it's comfortable when associated with lace and roses. But hasn't it proven to be fairly useless when it comes to forging marriages that last forever? How many people have mouthed the words, "until we are parted by death" while privately plotting to move on as soon as a more attractive option presents itself?
Here's a set of wedding vows with practical merit. They might sound unconventional and unromantic. They're certainly not poetic, but these promises, if kept, will go far in sealing a marriage for the ages.

1. I promise to clarify my expectations.
A marriage ends because a spouse has failed to meet the expectations their partner brought to the marriage. Expectations are unique, and come packaged inside your fiancé's brain. You may think these things are obvious or universal, that "everyone knows" what makes a good husband, what makes a good wife. But the truth is, your expectations are yours alone -- spawned from your experiences and locked in your head. There is nothing you can assume about your partner's idea of what a good marriage looks like. No harm will come from being very specific and concrete about exactly what you want, not just in bed but in the bank account, at the dinner table, with regard to parenting and everything else. If you're too shy to mention what you believe is the right way to behave, and you're hoping everything will become obvious as time goes on, you're not ready to get married. Get it all in the open, and keep putting it out in the open. If someone fails you, they should have to do it by choice, and not have ignorance as an excuse.

2. I promise to give you the benefit of the doubt when it comes to money.
One of the biggest adjustments when entering marriage is joint finances. From being on your own and subject only to your own ups and downs, you're now responsible for another person, or you're depending on another person. That can be scary. Here's a vow you can make that will help: If your spouse spends a lot of money on something, trust that they know what they're doing. Trust them until it becomes impossible not to trust them. Don't come out of the gate suspicious. Here's why you can do this: You didn't marry an idiot. Right? If you think they're overspending this month, chances are they're expecting a special check, or they're compensating for underspending last month, or something else. This is not a fool; this is your spouse. Surrender the worry that they're going to drive you into financial ruin. Give the benefit of the doubt. If they really do appear to be ruining you, then the last benefit of the doubt you can give is that they don't know any better and need help. Help kindly and respectfully, not with judgment and blame.

3. I promise to make sure I'm not just hungry before I yell at you.
Do your wife or husband a favor: Eat your favorite sandwich and then come back and yell at her/him all you want, if you still feel like it.

4. I promise not to give in to you for the sole purpose of using my compliance against you later.
Some people call this passive aggressive behavior, but this is a very specific maneuver that you can understand and avoid: Being the good person, even though you don't want to, is not always good. Being so compliant and docile that a halo pops out of your hair and lofts itself over you, bathing you in its golden light, is sometimes a trick, and you really intend to strangle your spouse with that halo somewhere down the road. Being so good that next time there's an argument, you can point back to this moment as an example of how your goodness practically rent the sky in half -- that's not goodness. Don't do that. It's not going to help in the long run. If you don't want to do something, fight not to do it. If you want to do something, fight to do it. Be honest and don't posture.

5. I promise to defend you to others, even if you are wrong.
Your spouse is going encounter plenty of haters and critics. Don't join them. Ever. In the privacy of your pillow, or your sofa, or your minivan, you can have conversations that need to be had, if there's really something that needs to be addressed. But you don't need to agree with someone who's calling him a boor, or her an idiot. There is nothing uglier than watching a husband degrade his wife or a wife demean her husband in front of other people. It doesn't make you smart or funny. It's just a low behavior. Your spouse's criticism hurts plenty, even if it's private and kind. If it's public and rude, it's almost unbearable.

6. I promise to try to put you before the children.
This is tricky, because your biological imperative will be to put the children first. Your physiology will be directing you to eat the face off your spouse if he or she threatens the children's progress and happiness in any way. This is why it's possible to make this promise to each other: to really try to prioritize each other sometimes, even though the children are absorbing so much of your life. In reality, if you truly prioritize your spouse and leave your children out on the porch in a dirty diaper in the rain, the police will come. But because you're a normal person and not some child-abusing monster, you're not going to do that. Making this promise might actually result in some time spent together as a couple, some choices made for the benefit of Dad's or Mom's agenda and goals instead of the kids' activities all the time, and some needed balance.

7. I promise to do the stuff neither of us wants to do, if you really don't want to do it more than I don't.
My husband hates to do the dishes. He really hates it and thinks it is disgusting. I do not like to look at spreadsheets or think about money. At all. It gives me panting fits. Now, I don't especially want to do the dishes either. Nobody wants to do the dishes. But I'm okay doing the dishes -- yes, every single time, even if I also cooked the dinner, even if he left a plate full of gravy and broccoli bits hardening in the sink. I don't really care that much, and I'm not going to stand on principle to try and chase some goal of "fairness" and make him do the dishes half the time. If fairness were what we were after, then I would have to pay attention to the checking account and have a budget and worry about mortgages. And I don't. That's not fair either. But we don't care because we've made this promise:

8. I promise not to keep score.
You can't win marriage. There are no points. Any reckoning or score-keeping on your part is only going to result in told-you-so trumpeting or sad dissatisfaction. Not keeping score means you don't have to pay back the good stuff, and you don't get to punish the failures. It also means you can give freely, and that you have a soft place to fall when you fail yourself. There are consequences for every action -- good and bad. That is true. But "forgive and forget" works two ways -- you forget the good stuff you did and the bad stuff he/she did. In return you can expect your bad stuff to be forgotten, and your spouse to give you good stuff without measure.

9. I promise to not care if you get fat or skinny or old.
I'm talking about getting fat, people. Butt, huge. Arms, wiggly. I'm also talking about hot bodies wasting away to nothing. Boobs, gone. Butt, gone. Can we talk about hair falling out? Not just boy hair, but girl hair too. Weird moles developing. Facial hair getting thicker or thinner. Googly eyes. The truth is, you don't really care about these things. Your favorite person is your favorite person until the end of time, even if their head falls off or they grow a third leg. Even if a dragon comes and eats off the lower half of their body or they turn purple or get warts. You know what matters is on the inside, and you can articulate it. If you want to utter the most romantic words a woman will ever hear, say, "I will love you forever, babe, even if you get wicked fat." Trust me. Your skinny fiancé will love you for this.

10. I promise to put your happiness before mine.
Really it all boils down to this, doesn't it? You promise to subvert your needs, your wants, your goals and priorities, to those of your spouse. And he or she does the same for you. If you're both working for the other's happiness, earnestly and sincerely, then you're both going to be ridiculously happy. Here's the key though: It's not enough to sublimate yourself and be a virtuous martyr for his/her dreams to come true. You also have to allow your spouse to do the same for you. You have to be able to say "Okay!" when he says "Go!" To say "Thanks!" when she says "I don't mind!" And trust that when it's your turn to reverse roles, you'll do the very same. Because in the end, it's not even selflessness. It's working for the common good. And if you can't say you'll do that, then "until we are parted by death" is just going to be a long, dull, sad life sentence.
In my opinion, if you can't wholeheartedly vow these things, you shouldn't be getting married. Yep, it's a little tougher to promise "in fatness and in emaciation, even if my mother hates you" than it is to promise "in joy and in sorrow, forsaking all others." But which is really braver, and what promise more meaningful?

Thursday, April 9, 2015

A Groom's Style Checklist

Worried that with all the wedding hoopla, you'll forget those wedding cufflinks? Read on for a groom's checklist of everything you'll need.

Groom getting ready before wedding
Photo by Jade and Matthew Take Pictures
With all that wedding planning crowding your mind and your bride's focus on her outfit, you might forget about all the formalwear. But looking good requires planning ahead. How to go about it? Follow this to-do timeline.

Three Months Before

  • Decide what you and your groomsmen will wear. Go tux shopping or reserve rentals for you and your posse.

One Month Before

  • If you're buying a tux, make sure alterations are finished and go in for a final fitting. If the tux still doesn't fit quite right, the shop will still have time to make final alterations.

One Week Before

  • Get a haircut!
  • Get a manicure (no polish -- just clean, buffed nails).
  • Buy new boxers for the big day. Surprise your bride with something stylish.

One Day Before

  • If you're renting, pick up your tux. Make sure your groomsmen, your father, and the ring bearer get their tuxes, too.
  • If you're renting or buying, double check that all the elements are included in the correct size: jacket, trousers, shirt, tie, vest or cummerbund, shoes, cuff links, and dress socks.
  • If you will be dressing somewhere other than at home, pack up your outfit and grooming products today. You should gather:
    Hair products
    Cummerbund or belt
    Coat or jacket
    Cuff links and studs
    Dress shirt
    And last, but definitely not least, the wedding rings

The Morning of the Wedding Day

  • Get a close shave.
  • Take a hot shower.
  • Remember your deodorant! This might be a high-sweat day.
  • Remember the rings. Place them in your pocket to entrust to your best man sometime before the ceremony.
  • If possible, ask your mother to pin on your boutonniere. This mother/son moment will bring a tear to her eye.
  • Breathe slowly and deeply, take one last look in the mirror, and get ready for your lovely bride's entrance.

Wednesday, April 8, 2015

5 Questions to Ask Your Fiancé Before You Say "I Do"

In the months since he proposed, you and your fiancé have chatted about how you'll divide your finances, who'll wash the dishes, and whether you want kids. But experts agree there are five questions you probably haven't asked — that you totally should — before you walk down the aisle.

1. How will we spend holidays?
"In-laws can compete for your company at Thanksgiving as if it were the Olympics and your presence is the gold," says April Masini, relationship expert and author of Think and Date Like a Man. Avoid holiday squabbles by discussing the ideas of trading off years, inviting everyone to big, blended-family events, or whatever creative solution you agree to, together. "If you don't ask these questions before the wedding, you're going to run up against time constraints [and] emotional blocks that will cause unwanted fighting, and worse — feuding," Masini says.

2. Are you willing to relocate for a job?
Waiting until you land your dream job to ask if your husband if he's willing to move across the country could turn into a nightmare. Discuss your long-term goals upfront and just how far you're willing to travel to achieve them — or see him achieve his. "It's important to discuss where you want to raise children, too, and whether you're willing to live away from family," psychologist Lauren Napolitano says.

3. Is it ever okay to take off your wedding band?
We can all agree your husband shouldn't hit the bar without his wedding band — but what about the basketball court? Some men aren't comfortable playing sports while wearing jewelry, and you may want to shed yours to garden or get a mani. "The wedding ring issue touches on issues of respect," Napolitano explains. So decide when and if it's okay for either of you to go ring-less before you slip them on for the first time. "If you will feel disrespected by your spouse's removal of his ring, you need to make that clear upfront," Napolitano says.

4. What's the deal with our exes?
Exes, especially when children are involved, can linger long after a relationship is over. So is there a place for your pasts in your present? "You should ask each other how you feel about not inviting exes to the wedding, and then how you expect to include them in your married life afterward," Masini says. "When couples have different expectations of including exes in their lives, fireworks — and not the good kind — can erupt."

5. What's your ideal lifestyle?
Do you dream of living in a 200-year-old farmhouse while your beau longs to settle into city life? "Many couples differ on this issue and it creates significant problems," Napolitano warns. Lay your lifestyle blueprints on the table and if they don't match, search for a middle ground. "If you can compromise — say a small house or townhouse outside of a city — then both parties can be happy," Napolitano says.

Tuesday, April 7, 2015

8 Unique Save-The-Date Ideas

 Our favorite thing about save-the-dates? There are no rules! Your invite-before-the-invite can be as fun and creative as your personality. This will be the first peek into your wedding for guests, so make it count! We’re sharing 8 innovative save-the-date ideas that are sure to inspire.

1. Take a look inside! A vintage window is all you need to create an absolutely adorable save-the-date.Royce Sihlis Photography
2. Feeling artsy? This sweet and playful save-the-date, created with chalk, could not be cuter.The Ones We Love Photography
3. All hands on deck! This couples’ nautical themed save-the-date is the perfect way to get guests excited about all to come. Brooke Images 
4. Are you ready for your close up? A mock movie poster is perfect for couples who are ready to step into the spotlight!
5. No bones about it! Incorporating your pets into your save-the-date is a surefire way to have everyone saying “Aww”.George Street Photo & Video
6. We’re falling for this fall inspired save-the-date. Just because it was a summer wedding, doesn’t mean this couple couldn’t capture the beauty of another season! George Street Photo & Video
7. Kick up your heels! This rustic style save-the-date is a perfect representation of this couple’s laid back style. Jeremy Harwell
8. You won’t want to miss these coming attractions. If you ask us, this save-the-date is movie magic! Katie Deobald Photography
-Melissa Hammam

8 Unique Save-The-Date Ideas