Friday, October 31, 2014

How to Give a Killer Maid-of-Honor Speech In 5 Simple Steps

How to Give a Maid of Honor Toast Photo: Getty Images

At most weddings, the the best man typically claims the "best toast of night" honors. His speech tends to be a mix of roasting the groom, as well as a few good-hearted sentiments for the new couple. And while the maid of honor gives a toast as well, it usually veers towards the standard, sweet script (read: forgettable) to ensure there are no hurt feelings — but it doesn't have to be that way! The MOH's speech can (and should!) be just as fun, heart-warming, and if not more memorable's than the guys. It just takes some thought. Here, a quick guide to stealing the show with your toast.

1. Ditch the Generic Praise

Too often maid of honor speeches devolve into a series of platitudes: "She's the best!" "She's so pretty!" "She's so funny!" While all of this might be true, this kind of generic praise doesn't have any heart. A guy you went on a date with the other night was "so funny"; your dog is "the best"; your obnoxious cousin is "so pretty." Use the toast as your moment to bring the bride to life. So, use stories to back up exactly how the bride embodies all of these qualities. This leads us to the next tip ...

2. Become an Awesome Story Teller

There's a reason stories are passed down from generation to generation — they resonate. We don't remember numbers. Or platitudes. Or generic advice. Stories stick with us. They breathe life into the bride and the groom — and do a better job of getting your point across than making a blanket statement.
"Sarah is such a great friend! She'd do anything for me!"
"When we were freshmen in college — thousands of miles apart and penniless — I had just been dumped by a boyfriend. I was devastated and spent my days crying. Sarah got a loan from the family she babysat for so she could come and visit me. She spent four days, sleeping on my dorm room floor, reminding me of how much better off I would be, but that it would take time to get there."
See the difference?

3. Remember: This Isn't About You

While a lot of the stories you tell should be about your time with the bride, you should not be the focal point. There's nothing worse than a speaker who goes on and on about herself! You hear about her parents; her ideas for the future; how she overcame adversity and then finally — finally! — she mentions the bride. This isn't your moment. You're simply the vehicle to explain why the newlyweds are so fantastic. Only bring yourself into the mix as necessary, and instead focus on the couple of the hour.

4. Leave the Ex-Boyfriends in the Vault

You have a treasure trove of stories about your best friend's dating life. The guy who claimed he was an attorney, when in fact he was just taking the LSAT. The guy who insisted he be called "El Jefe" whenever they got intimate. The guy whose mommy issues were so bad that he called his mom the morning after they hooked up. There's no doubt that these tales are hysterical, but they're also embarrassing. Think about it: Do you want your grandma knowing about your rolodex of guys from years past? No one wants to be reminded of their dating failures, particularly in front of their families, friends and new life partner. So, as tempting as it is, save the ex-talk for your next girls' night.

5. Start with the Bride, End with the Couple

You're likely giving a speech because you've been extremely close to the bride for a long time. Of everyone at the wedding, you have the best insight of how much the groom has changed your friend (hopefully for the better — if not, find some way in which for the better!). Your speech needs to be about the friend you knew long before the groom, and then pivot to what role the groom has played in your friend's life. Maybe she's even funnier now thanks to her new husband's sense of humor or his support has empowered her to take risks in new ways.
The point is that your toast should have an arc. Here's a quick outline:
"This is who my friend has always been."
"Then she met the groom."
"And not only is my friend still fantastic in the ways I laid out before, but now she's even more wonderful because of the groom in these ways."
"I'm so glad you found each other."
Stories, of course, will make each of these bullet points better, and ensure that you give a well-balanced (you want some laughs, followed by some tears of joy!) toast that the bride, groom, and guests will remember for years to come.

Thursday, October 30, 2014

Creative Wedding Favors: What Real Brides Gifted Their Guests

Who doesn't love wedding favors? They're always such a delightful memento, perfectly capturing both the happy couple's personality and the spirit of their ceremony. Planning your own tokens for your wedding guests? Get inspired by these ideas from readers.

"We got married in New Orleans and had a brass band play. After the ceremony, the wedding party came out following the band second-line style, waving the traditional hankie. So, of course, our guests all got second-line hankies of their own as their wedding favors so they could join in the fun!" — Marie P.

"We had a photographer take pictures of our guests as they came into the reception with Mickey by the fire place. We had a Disney wedding. Instead of traditional thank you cards, we sent them a copy of their picture with our thank you written on the back. It is a keepsake that is personally for them. We got so many phone calls from people thanking is for the pictures. Best part is it cost us .22 cents each and saved us from buying a ton of thank you cards." — Cathy G.

"A family friend is a real cartoon artist. He drew my husband and I and made custom wine labels, which we put on a bottle of wine for each guest staying at the hotel. All guests received a wine stopper. My hubby and I are known as the Princess and Hippie, so the wine label depicts him as a deadhead and me as royalty." — Katie M. 

"We gave each guest a blank coin to choose one of three charities for us to donate to instead of giving out favors. It involved them and allowed us to do something amazing! They ended up choosing a summer camp scholarship fund!" — Shulamit R.

"We got married in Italy, so we made homemade limoncello for each guest." — Sarah P. 

"We had a country wedding, and we made homemade cowboy boot and hat suckers." — Shayna W.

"We had a beach wedding in Thailand, so we gave each of our guests traditional wooden fans and wooden umbrellas to help them with the heat and sun." — Sheridan C. 

"I'm getting married Friday, and we will have a wooden crate with dirt in it, surrounded by sunflowers. There will be sunflower packets glued to popsicle sticks and a sign saying, 'Take one and watch love grow.'" — Symantha C.

"Blueberry jam from Maine (where my husband is from and where our wedding was), plus peach jam (for where I'm from). We let our guests pick theirs out." — Torie W.

"We did a CD of our favorite songs and personalized the cover with a thank you note for being a part of our special day." — Kristen G.

"A custom-blend coffee in a stamped cotton pouch. One side had hearts with our initials on it and said 'Love's perfect blend.' The other side had a cappuccino cup and said, 'Thanks a latte.' We also handed out wishing wands to send us off rather than rice." — Mackayla G.

"We gave our favorite cinnamon roasted almonds from the Minneapolis Farmers Market." — Kandace K.

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

5 Jobs for the Maid of Honor that Nobody Warns Her About

Maid of Honor Duties
Photo: Getty Images
Being asked to be the maid of honor is a big deal — even if it's your sister's wedding — the MOH is considered to be the bride's bestie, closest confidante, and the one woman she most trusts to help her get through the joys and tribulations of her wedding planning.

The MOH is responsible for making sure there will be bridal showers (even if she doesn't host one), planning the bachelorette party, and helping to corral the other bridesmaids for dress fittings and other necessary pre-wedding activities.

But there are also a number of things that the MOH is responsible for on the actual wedding weekend that no etiquette book will warn her about. These five are perfect examples:

1. Monitoring every member of the bridal party's alcohol intake on the wedding day.
Nobody likes to be the party pooper, but sometimes the MOH has to step up to the plate and tell the girls doing shots while they're dressing to cool it before the ceremony. Giggling on the altar, or tripping on your way down the aisle, isn't acceptable.

2. Knowing where the bride's personal items are at all times.
She'll probably have an evening bag that has her lipstick, tissues, her phone, and other personal items in it. She'll need to be able retouch lipstick during final photos and she'll need to refresh before her big entrance, toasts and cutting the cake. It's the MOH's job to have things on hand as needed.

3. Straightening up the bridal suite before the reception ends.
If the wedding venue is in the same place as the where the couple is staying, it's easy for the MOH to grab another bridesmaid and slip away to triage the bride and groom's bedroom before they retire for the evening. All the detritus of the bridal party dressing should be removed, the pillows should be fluffed and she might even consider leaving a romantic touch on the pillow.

4. Keeping safe the envelopes of cash.
Depending on the kind of wedding group and where they're getting married, there may not be a special place to put envelopes holding monetary gifts. Sometimes the wedding planner will hold them for the couple until after the wedding, but if there isn't somebody there to do that, the MOH needs to find a hidey-hole in the master suite or elsewhere to stash the booty.

5. Making sure the bride drinks as much water as she does alcohol.
It's easy for a bride to accidentally get drunk. Seriously. With the stress of the day, she may not eat even if there's food in front of her. And if the girls keep pouring champagne or cocktails and that's what she has to drink, she'll be downing it. Switching up between water and wine, so to speak, is a good way to help her make sure she's hydrated and sober when she heads down the aisle.

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

18 Creative Exit Toss Ideas

Amazing photo ops aside, the celebratory wedding exit toss is an age-old wedding tradition that dates back to Roman times. (Grains were tossed at weddings to symbolize fertility — of crops and for the couple!) Today there’s a ton of options to make your exit truly memorable. Here are our favorite examples from real weddings…
Explosive Confetti Poppers
You can buy them at party supply stores — they’re sure to provide a bang and an explosion of color. (From the album:  A Traditional Wedding in Austin, TX)
Lavender-Filled Paper Cones
Fragrant and delicate lavender buds were the perfect choice for this couple’s purple palette. (From the album: A Glam Purple Wedding in Lafayette, LA)
Custom Paper Airplanes
For a wedding in a children’s museum, it only makes sense to throw kid-friendly paper airplanes for exit well wishes! (From the album: A School-Themed Wedding in San Diego, CA)
Colorful Pom Poms
A crafty staple, these inexpensive and colorful pom poms are a festive (and soft!) something for guests to throw. (From the album: A Vintage DIY Wedding in Monroe, LA)
Rainbow Sprinkles
One of the newest sweetest ideas is to give guests small bags of sprinkles to toss. Yes, like an ice cream cone with sprinkles on top kind of sprinkles!
White Sprinkles
If you’re worried about rainbow sprinkles staining clothing (with a little sweat or rain those colors will run), use the all-white variety.
Homemade Ribbon and Bell Wand
Silk ribbons and wedding bells tied on the end of dowel rods make for a twinkly exit tunnel.  (From the album: A Vintage Indoor Wedding in Washington, DC)
Eucalyptus Leaves 
Make your exit toss do double duty! In birch bark cones, this couple had eucalyptus leaves serve as their aisle markers and as their exit toss material. (From the album: A Rustic Destination Wedding at Shaker Village)
Whimsical Bubbles
Bubbles are a cheerful addition to a ceremony or reception exit. Personalize your mini wedding bubbles and they’ll act as a favor! (From the album: A Vintage Wedding in Jefferson City, MO)
Spirited Cheer Poms
What’s more encouraging than the cheerleader’s equipment of choice? Hand out cheer poms in the sport enthusiast couple’s favorite school or team colors. (From the album: A Stylish Modern Wedding in Jacksonville, FL)
Mini Beach Balls
Get in beach mode at a destination wedding by throwing mini beach balls!
Rose Petal-Filled Paper Cones
Rose petals are an exit toss staple — patterned paper cones printed with the couple’s names add a personalized touch. (From the album: A Vibrant Garden Wedding in Wheaton, IL)
Sky Lantern and Sparklers
Amidst a sparkler exit, send off a wish lantern into the night for even more good luck! (From the album: A Lakeside Romantic Wedding in Montville, NJ)
White Streamers
For a more streamlined look, stick toyour wedding colors, as these two did with an apple green and white streamer exit. (From the album: A Creative Modern Wedding in Pasadena, CA)
Gold Glitter Confetti
Photo: Nancy Ebert // Featured: The Knot Blog
Photo: Nancy Ebert
Simple gold confetti is a sparkly and modern choice. (From the album: Sequins and Circus Wedding Inspiration)
Yay! Flags
Give your guests small flags to wave as you leave your ceremony and to take home after the party! (From the album: A Casual Wedding in Old Bridge, NJ)
Eco-Friendly Paper Confetti
Use environmentally friendly paper (it dissolves!) for an outdoor ceremony send-off. (From the album: An Outdoor Wedding in Mackinac Island, MI)
Sheet Music Paper Cones Filled With Confetti 
Paper cones made from sheet music (and then filled with peach confetti) are an easy way to honor your love of music. Take a tip from these two and put on a pair of sunglasses to shield the barrage of confetti flying your way! (From the album: A DIY Wedding in Edwardsville, IL)

Monday, October 27, 2014

2 Years......

Everyone says that Marriage is many things...I believe Our Marriage is Wonderful!!! Although we have been through many changes in the last year....moving from an apartment into out new home, 29 and 35 birthdays, adventures with the kids, some traveling and lots of laughs, we show and prove that we have a love that will last forever and all time. 

To My Husband,

For all the Love you give, Your generous heart, Your laughter and Everything else that makes you the best, I wish you a Happy Anniversary. I am looking forward to a lifetime with you. I Love You Forever and Always.....

Love Your Wife, 

Jasmine Cameron 

Happy Anniversary Camerons!

Sunday, October 26, 2014

Saturday, October 25, 2014

Thursday, October 23, 2014

5 Things Every Woman Should Know Before She Gets Married

My last article highlighted five things I thought every man should know before getting married. I think it’s important for men to direct most of their relationship advice to other men because we don’t have many outlets to learn about what it takes to have healthy relationships. I also know it takes two to create a successful marriage so I wanted to make a similar list for women. Here are five things I think every woman should know before saying “I do”:

1. You can live a fulfilled life without getting married

I think it’s important to start here because sometimes people talk about women and marriage as if a woman’s life is incomplete or unfulfilled if she doesn’t get married. I don’t agree with that line of thinking. Some women have no desire to get married and others may believe they haven’t found the right person. Either way, it is possible to have companionship, experience love, and find fulfillment without a husband. In fact, an extended period of singleness can help you in your process of self-discovery. Another reason to use this as a starting point is because a woman who feels she must get married at all costs might be more prone to making choices that are motivated by fear and desperation or compromising her standards–especially as she ages and feels like the pool of marriageable men is dwindling. We often say that something is better than nothing but linking yourself to the wrong person can be worse than not being linked to anyone at all.

2. There should be a difference between what you desire and what you require

Unlike many people, I don’t believe most women have standards that are too high. In fact, I think the standards of some women aren’t high enough. That said, it’s important for women, like men, to distinguish their “must-haves” from their “nice-to-haves”. The reason why, is a matter of simple math: the more non-negotiables you have, the fewer eligible men there are. If the only requirement is that he must live in the US, then you’ll have a pretty extensive pool from which to choose. If, on the other hand, he must be African American, over six-foot-five, make six figures, atheist, and live in Madison, Wisconsin, then you’ll be choosing from a much smaller pool. That’s why I think a woman’s list of non-negotiables should focus on the things they believe are most important. A woman who knows that financial stability is important should probably eliminate potential suitors whose actions show they can’t be trusted with money. Also, women who say that sharing the same religious background is important should not make a habit of seriously entertaining guys that don’t. It is completely normal to have desires but it makes more sense to be flexible with the things you think can live without than to compromise on the things you know you can’t live with.

3. His salary isn’t as important as his character

Whenever I hear about a famous couple splitting over the man’s (generally speaking) infidelity I always wonder whether the woman knew he was that way before committing to him. At times it seems like some women are willing to tolerate unfaithfulness as long as the man is able to support a certain type of lifestyle. Even though it comes up most often with celebrities, athletes, and other men in the public eye, it isn’t confined to men who are famous. One of my previous posts on BMWK included a story about a woman who stated that one of the perks of having a cheating boyfriend was all the nice things he bought her.
A man’s salary should be a reflection of how much he earns, not how much your heart is worth.
The latter is exactly what happens anytime you prioritize his money over your desires. It might seem like a smart compromise at first but very few people can find true joy, love, and contentment in that type of scenario. I believe one of a husband’s roles is to provide for his family but I don’t think a man’s earning potential is as important as his character. A high-character guy can earn more money but a high-earner can’t buy more character. His honesty, consistency, and integrity are what will really be most important in the long run as you face the type of challenges that inevitably come up in marriage.

4. You need to love you before you can love him

I said this to the men in my previous post and the same holds true for the ladies. You need to love and accept yourself, flaws and all, if you hope to love a spouse. One of the first steps to loving yourself is learning and accepting who you really are. This means being honest about your desires, your hurts, your insecurities, the things that make you unique, and everything else that shapes who you are. Doing this type of work before you get married will help in a number of areas. First, it will help you to not look to your husband as your sole source of happiness. Second, it will help you become more self-aware, a trait that is very useful in marriage. Sometimes our spouses can do things to trigger issues we brought into the relationship but self-awareness can help us distinguish new hurts from past pains. Third, a commitment to self-knowledge and self-love is needed to receive love from others. It’s hard to imagine someone accepting and loving parts of us if we can’t do the same for ourselves. This can lead to the rejection of people who actually want to be with you and the continuation of a cycle of feeling unloved and unlovable.

5. You can’t make a man move before he’s ready

I believe every man makes the decision to marry on his own terms but some guys take longer to get to that point than others. I understand why a woman who has been in a relationship for years might feel like she needs to put a little pressure on her significant other to get him to take their relationship to the next level. I believe both people in a relationship have the right to move according to a timeline that works for them but they should both know that the other person is not obligated to accept that timeframe. My advice? Talk to him about his intentions and the direction of your relationship after an appropriate period of time. Let your desires (e.g., marriage, children, etc.) be known, ask about his, and believe what he says. You shouldn’t have to pester, badger, trick, or force a person into a relationship with you. That’s not love. If he says he doesn’t believe in marriage and has no desire to get married, you can take that knowledge and choose to stay or you can leave in hope of finding someone whose desires match your own. This is why communication is so important in relationships. There’s no way to know what the other person wants unless you talk. Making assumptions isn’t going to cut it. Just because a guy takes you out, buys you gifts, says he likes spending time with you, and spends the night doesn’t mean he wants to marry you. It doesn’t even mean he wants to be in an exclusive relationship with you. He needs to move forward when he’s ready. Just know that you can move on whenever you’re ready.

Final Word

There are certainly other things I could say to my single sisters but I think these five are a good start. Marriage is a big commitment and it works best when both people have taken steps in singleness to be their best selves in marriage. Sometimes it means challenging the things we’ve been taught or told by others that might hold us back from truly being in a position to give and receive love. It may feel like hard work but it’s necessary if you want your marriage to be successful. Trust me, your future husband will thank you.

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

5 Things Every Man Needs to Learn Before He Gets Married


5 Things Every Man Needs to Learn Before He Gets Married
I’ve been married for almost two years, but I still feel compelled at times to share bits of wisdom I’ve collected over the years with singles that have intentions of being married some day. I think it’s especially important for married men to share with single men because so much of what we have all been taught about being a man is counterproductive to having a good marriage. I hope current husbands will also find this list useful because sometimes we don’t realize we’ve brought some unhealthy beliefs into our relationship until after we’re married. That said, here’s a simple list of five things every man should know before tying the knot.

 1. Women are people, not objects

Seems obvious, right? Unfortunately too many men have grown up believing women are objects to be collected or challenges to be conquered. This is a global problem, but this first lesson is especially important for the millions of black men who grew up hearing men that look like them casually refer to women as “bitches” and “hoes” in their music, in movies, and on TV shows. Understanding this fact will impact every interaction you have with a woman, whether as a single man on the dating scene or a married man at work. Most men will give lip service to how precious women are when they are talking about their own mother, aunts, grandmother, or daughters. Sadly, some of the same men who talk about their love for mom will leave their mother’s house and harass the first woman they see on the street. Your future wife will have her own thoughts, desires, ambitions, and feelings, but it will be hard for you to receive them and value them if you don’t see her as your equal. Always remember, “objects are collected, people are respected”.

2. Being a good husband requires more than having a degree and a job.

I know a number of black women who have dated in big cities that have described what I would characterize as a sense of entitlement among many of the black men they have encountered. Given the effects of substandard schools, mass incarceration, and unemployment, I could understand how some men with a degree and a job could have an over-inflated sense of their value on the dating market. While impressive on paper, advanced degrees and ambitious career aspirations say nothing of your ability or desire to resolve conflict, practice forgiveness, or encourage your future wife in her professional endeavors. Make no mistake, I certainly believe that part of my duty as a husband is to provide for my family. But, meeting material needs is only one aspect of provision. My wife also has social, emotional, and spiritual needs that a paycheck or letters behind my name won’t help me meet. I’ve learned the hard way that becoming a good husband requires moving beyond the basics.

3. Nothing you bring to the table is as important as your character

The type of husband you become will be strongly influenced by the type of man you are, and ultimately the consequences of a lack of character development (e.g. infidelity, abuse, etc.) will be remembered far longer than your ability to pay the bills. Your honesty, consistency, and integrity are not just a personal foundation for you. And, will also serve as a source of stability in your marriage and prepare you for the many challenges that you will face over the course of your relationship. Men have been mistaught for so long to focus on the parts of our lives that are easiest to quantify while neglecting the intangible qualities that really make us who we are. Thankfully, it’s never too late to develop the type of character that will help you weather the storms that will come in your marriage.

4. You need to love you before you can love her

I’m willing to bet that almost every relationship book for women includes some advice to women about learning to love themselves. The same advice holds true for men. A man that does not love himself or cannot accept himself is not ready to become a husband. If you are not happy with your life or have not dealt with the hurt caused by bad relationships, abuse, or family issues, you will find it difficult to fully receive or give love in your marriage. It’s important to know the type of baggage you bring into your relationship so that you can own your feelings and start on the road to healing. There’s one other point you need to know about being comfortable with who you are and where you are in life. If you are intimidated by a woman that is smart and successful or makes more money than you, that’s your problem, not hers. No woman wants to be with a man that has to make her (or others) feel small for him to feel adequate.

5. One body has to be enough

Sex is one of the most important parts of marriage, but many people don’t realize that we begin preparation for our married sex lives long before our wedding day. As a Christian, I believe that sex was created to be enjoyed within the context of marriage. While that may seem archaic to some, I have seen the types of problems that arise when one or both parties fail to properly manage their sexuality as singles.
For men, mismanaged sexuality often takes the form of unrestrained indulgence. We are trained from an early age to believe that manhood is defined in part by the number of women we’ve been with. We are also taught that it is normal for men to feed our sexual appetite in whatever ways we find convenient, from mistresses to strip clubs to pornography. All of these things reinforce one message: one body is not enough. And while we have come to see this as a fact of life for single men, taking this attitude into marriage is a recipe for disaster.
A man who has sought variety and relished the feeling of conquest (again, see #1) may find the transition to a single partner in marriage to be quite difficult. That’s why men who have no desire or show little ability to remain monogamous should not get married. One body has to be enough. That’s what you commit to when you take your vows and that is the expectation your wife should rightfully have. In the event that you fall short of that standard for any reason your response should be to confess what you have done wrong, accept the consequences of your actions, and begin to do the hard work of rebuilding trust in your relationship.

Final Word

There are certainly other things I could say to my single brothers, but I think these five are a good start. Marriage is a big commitment and it is never too early to begin preparing to be a husband. Doing so will likely require throwing out some of the things you’ve learned about what it means to be a man. It may feel like hard work, but it’s necessary if you want your marriage to be successful. Trust me, your future wife will thank you.

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

These Gorgeous Love Letters Found In Used Books Will Seriously Make You Swoon

What I love about used books is that in a strange way, they connect people and imbue an otherwise solitary activity -- reading -- with a sense of community. Our opinions on Raskolnikov and his actions may differ, but here's something we have in common. We've both held this book in our hands and eagerly turned its pages.

At the Strand Bookstore in Manhattan, we find a lot of mementos tucked in to the pages of used books: traces of other readers. Besides old family photographs, notes are some of my favorite things to find -- particularly when they're handwritten. The photos are great at revealing a single moment, but the letters and post cards often tell more of a story.

Here's a selection of some of the recent notes we've found in used books at the store. To see more found objects, check out the Strand Tumblr.

Monday, October 20, 2014

7 Honeymoon Destinations That Will Be Huge in 2015

Wedding planning can be stressful, but the honeymoon is a sweet, sweet reward. If you're planning a trip for 2015, you may want to consider one of these trending honeymoon destinations. Whatever season you choose to travel in, a world of incredible locales awaits.
1. Turkey. For the couple who loves history, Istanbul is perfect, especially in the spring. The days are long and the weather is calm throughout the country. Because of its welcoming culture, incredible landscapes, and luxurious resorts, Turkey  is becoming increasingly popular for tourists all over the world.
2. Italy. A longtime favorite of many couples, Italy is a feast for all of the senses. Consider Rome, Florence, or the Amalfi coast. (Lauren Conrad headed to Italy on her recent honeymoon!) Shack up with your sweetie on Lake Cuomo, and keep your eyes peeled for George and Amal.
3. Indonesia. A long (but worthwhile!) flight for those of us in the US, Indonesia boasts ancient cities, unbeatable beaches, and French-inspired cuisine. This exotic locale will leave you and your love feeling oh-so-inspired.
4. Japan. There's something for everyone on this island. The white sand beaches of Okinawa, the hustle and bustle of Tokyo, or the hot springs of Northern Japan. This country is particularly beautiful in the fall, when the maple leaves turn lavish shades of red and gold.
5. New England. After late-summer or fall nuptials, honeymooning in New England can be the perfect continuation of the festivities. World-renown for its autumn foliage, places like New Hampshire, Vermont, and Maine offer cabin or inn rentals for a crisp and colorful getaway.
6. Northern California. For the fall bride, this is perhaps the best time of year to visit cities like San Francisco, Sacramento, or Sonoma. The leaves turn to match the hue of the "Golden State," tourists crowds thin, and couples have a wider range of places to stay and enjoy.
7. Belize. The well-traveled bride and groom will love Belize; it offers the warmth and sun of many Central American countries, without a language barrier for English-speaking couples. Explore the white sand Caribbean beaches, learn to make chocolate in Toledo, or just cuddle up as newlyweds in one of Belize's charming hotels.

Friday, October 17, 2014

Jacqueline Kennedy's Wedding


PHOTO: Kennedy Wedding Photo Auction
It's been more than 50 years since the death President John F. Kennedy and more than 60 years since he married Jacqueline Kennedy, but the allure of this Royal-like couple still remains to this day.
With this in mind, RR Auction house in Boston is putting up 13 original negatives from their 1963 wedding. 

The description on the auction website reads: "Collection of 13 original and most likely unpublished negatives from the wedding of John F. and Jacqueline Kennedy. Each negative measures 3.75 x 5, four feature the newlywed couple, two show the entire wedding party, and the remainder show the cake, reception, and wedding attendees." 

PHOTO: Kennedy Wedding Photo Auction
Frank Ataman/RR Auction
PHOTO: Kennedy Wedding Photo Auction
The website also says, "These images were originally taken by a freelance photographer who had been asked to be a ‘back-up’ photographer for the wedding, and were discovered in his darkroom after his passing. Accompanied by 5 x 4 printouts of each negative, the very first prints that have been made from these negatives. In fine condition. John and Jacqueline Kennedy were married on September 12, 1953, in Newport, Rhode Island. The entire event was chronicled by Life magazine, which noted ‘their wedding turned out to be the most impressive the old society stronghold had seen in 30 years.’" 

The letter in the collection states that the negatives came from the estate of Arthur C. Borges. 

PHOTO: Kennedy Wedding Photo Auction
Frank Ataman/RR Auction/AP Photo
PHOTO: Kennedy Wedding Photo Auction
The auction ends at 7 p.m. today. 

One of the intimate photos even shows JFK cutting his wedding cake. 

PHOTO: Kennedy Wedding Photo Auction
Frank Ataman/RR Auction/AP Photo
PHOTO: Kennedy Wedding Photo Auction

4 Life Lessons to Take Away from Wedding Planning

Life Lessons to Take Away from Wedding Planning
Photo: Christian Oth Studio
Think wedding planning is all tulle and peonies? Think again. The road to matrimony is paved with poignant moments and important life lessons that every bride should take note of. Here are a few key things you might learn along the way.

1. Anything can be done ... in small steps.
When a bride first begins planning her wedding, the amount that needs to be done can feel insurmountable. "How can I plan a 200-person wedding when I can't even decide which save the date to use?"

The problem here lies in considering what needs to be done in totality, instead of individual tasks. Of course, you cannot make every decision for your life-changing event at once! You can, however, break your to do's into individual tasks and handle them singularly.

It's an important life lesson to remember when challenges or changes seem insurmountable. Marathon runners don't wake up one morning and decide to go for a 26-mile jaunt. Instead, they reach the finish line by training in intervals (and eating pasta... which also may be the fastest route to happiness).

2. Priorities are important.
Unless you're blessed with a Kardashian-sized wedding budget, chances are you've had to learn the word "prioritization" while planning your wedding. It's a process that may seems like the ultimate evil when you're forced to cut back on floral arrangements, but prioritizing is actually a blessing because it forces you to assess what really matters most to you — in your wedding, and in your life. Let your priorities color your choices, and you can't go wrong.

3. People matter most.
Go ahead and call us sappy, but weddings prove time and time again, that what matters most of all is the people you surround yourself with. Even if the cake topples; the rain falls; and the priest stutters, a bride and groom are ecstatic on their big day because they're marrying each other surrounded by their favorite people. It's a fact that extends far beyond the wedding day: life is brighter when you spend your days with the ones you love.

4. Life goes on.
When planning a wedding it pretty much feels like your big day will be the culmination of humanity. When you dedicate so much of your time and effort to something — whether it's a wedding, a career goal or a personal loss — it hard to see past the horizon. Surprisingly, though, the world always keeps turning.

Thursday, October 16, 2014

The Three Traits that the Best Bridesmaids (and Groomsmen) Share

Bridesmaid with White Tulip and Rose Bouquet
Photo: BlueSpark Photography
Being in someone else's bridal party is both a pleasure and a responsibility. When you consider which of your closest relatives and friends to include as bridesmaids and groomsmen, think about your expectations and how much you are likely to depend on your attendants — not just at the wedding but throughout the planning and preparation. Think of it this way: Just because Betty is your best friend and confidante doesn't mean she's the gal you want to count on to wrangle all of your elderly guests at important events. This doesn't mean you have to exclude her! Simply remember what matters most from attendants so that you can gently nudge her toward the things that are important. In that light, consider these three fundamental traits for selecting bridesmaids and groomsmen:

Reliability. An attendant should be a person you can count on to stay in touch in the weeks and months preceding the wedding, to listen to instructions, to follow up on requests without being reminded, and to show up on time and ready for all events.

Consideration. Considerate attendants may offer suggestions but will understand that they aren't in charge. They will look for opportunities to be helpful but won't add to the bridal couple's worries with special demands or needless criticism.

Courtesy. In a sense, attendants are ambassadors for the bridal couple and their families. At pre-wedding events and during the wedding reception, they will mix and mingle with guests, make introductions, look out for people with special needs, and behave appropriately at all times.

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

New Wedding Veil Styles Plus Tips To Wearing Them

Choosing to wear a wedding veil comes with lots of decisions. What type of veil looks best with your face and wedding dress, to how to wear it, what hairstyles work best with a wedding veil and what accessories will work too. We asked accessories designers Liv Hart of Enchanted Atelier and Myra Callan of Twigs & Honey for their advice on choosing the perfect wedding veil style — plus placement and how to rock this classic topper.

First things first: choosing the right veil. Just like the rest of your bridal accessories, you want to put a little thought into your selection. A few things to consider: color, level of detail and your reception venue. Try to choose a veil in a similar shade to your gown (this probably isn’t the best time to color block…), but don’t get too hung up on this detail. “Your gown and veil probably won’t be from the same designer, so the colors won’t match perfectly,” says Liv Hart, “But as long as the veil is in a similar shade it will blend in with your gown. You won’t believe how many shades of ivory and white are available.” Myra Callan suggests choosing something simple for a dress that is heavily embellished, but for a more understated gown feel free to jazz things up with rhinestones, lace or other intricate details. (See more on choosing the right veil here.)

Once you’ve picked a style you love, it helps to know where and how to wear it. Both Hart and Callan agree that it depends on both the style of the veil and your personal preference. In general though, the veil sweet spot is the crown of the head, where your head starts to curve downward, or just below. “It really illuminates the bride’s face,” says Hart. Before your wedding day, Callan recommends testing out comb placement. “You want to see how the blusher (if there is one) hangs and where the bottom edge hits to find the spot that is most complimentary to your overall look,” she says. Veils can be fastened with combs or clips. “For extra hold, you can slide bobby pins at a perpendicular angle to the teeth of the comb or make an “x” along the teeth of the comb,” says Callan.

To help you figure out where your veil will go check out the most popular veils below and tips for styling each:

The Drop Wedding Veil
halo veil | veil placement tips |
Veil by Hushed Commotion, Photo: Jen Huang

The halo or drop veil is on-trend right now and has a distinctly bohemian style. “An illusion comb is stitched in with invisible thread to allow the veil to almost float on top of your hairstyle. It can be placed at the crown of the head or just below,” explains Hart. And don’t worry too much about matching the color of your veil to your wedding dress. As long as the shades are close, they’ll blend nicely together.

Tip: To really highlight your veil, add a hair vine or elegant headpiece.

The Juliet Wedding Cap
juliet cap veil | twigs and honey | veil placement tips |
Veil by Twigs & Honey, Phot: Elizabeth Messina

To add a vintage or bohemian edge to your look a Juliet cap veil is it. “There are two ways to wear this style,” says Hart. “You can either take a lace or bead-trimmed veil and wear it as a cap, with the sides pinned back with combs or pins behind each ear, or with a veil attached to a separate cap.”

Tip: Add something extra to your veil between ceremony and reception. Flowers, combs and pins are all fun ideas.

The Cathedral Veil
veil placement tips |
Photo: Joey Kennedy Photography

Traditional veils like the elbow length, fingertip, chapel and cathedral styles can be worn with or without a blusher, depending on whether or not you plan to cover your face for the ceremony. “Typically, they are placed at the back of the head,” says Callan, “but longer veils can be placed further back.”

Tip: A long tulle veil like this one could crinkle easily. Have it steamed (not ironed!) before the wedding day.

The Blusher Veil
blusher veil | veil placement tips |
Heather Roth Photography

We love the modern edge of a blusher veil, especially when paired with a lacy, feminine gown. “Like the more classic styles, blusher veils are placed at the crown of the head, but can be made longer or shorter, depending on how far back you place the comb,” says Callan.

Tip: Want a more structured look? Instead of a nylon blend, choose a blusher in a heavier and more opaque silk tulle.

The Bandeau Veil
bandeau veil | enchanted atelier | veil placement tips |
Veil by Liv Hart Enchanted Atelier, Photo: Laura Gordon

“The bandeau veil is perfect for the fashion-forward bride. It’s typically worn across the eyes to the tip of the nose. It can be secured with combs or alligator clips depending on the style,” says Hart.

Tip: Make sure your wedding dress truly complements (and doesn’t compete with) this fashion-forward veil.

The Cage Wedding Veil
birdcage veil | enchanted atelier | veil placement tips |
Veil by Liv Hart Enchanted Atelier, Photo: Gossamer Vintage

The birdcage veil is the signature accessory for a vintage-glam wedding. “A cage veil is not always a standard size or shape, so you should find out which design is best for communicating your signature style,” says Hart. “I recommend a 9″ cage veil length. It’s the perfect length to place the veil off to the side of the head and drape across your face diagonally to allow your lips to be free.”

Tip: Try not to exceed 9″ — if the netting is any longer, it could come in contact with your lipstick, leaving you with a smudge on the netting and possibly your face .

A Word: Not feeling the veil but plan to wear one to please mom or grandma? Callan and Hart recommend wearing your veil lower on your head to avoid having it distract from your gown or face. “Another thing to consider if you want a subtle veil is width,” says Hart. “A narrower cut will lay flatter and offer more transparency than a wider, gathering veil.”

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

The Top 10 Honeymoon Destinations Of 2014, According To Facebook

A recent study by Facebook has some surprising revelations about the post-wedding travel tendencies of 2014's newlyweds.

Facebook gathered data from couples who "checked in" at destinations more than twenty miles from their homes within two weeks after posting a marriage life event. While the study is far from scientific, it does provide some interesting data about Facebook users.

Namely, although relaxing beach towns predictably claimed nine of the top 10 spots, Las Vegas was the most popular destination among both international and American newlyweds. Sin City was significantly more popular for international couples than those from the U.S., or as Facebook put it, "Newlyweds from the US were much less likely to check into Las Vegas on Facebook than couples from outside the US."

The graph below shows the median distance traveled by honeymooners based on country of origin. Couples from South Korea ventured the farthest, traveling more than 4,000 miles from home, while Americans' median distance was just over 500 miles. (Click on the image to view a larger version).

Here are the top 10 destinations among couples worldwide:

1. Las Vegas, U.S.A.

las vegas

2. Lahaina, U.S.A.

lahaina resort

3. Honolulu, U.S.A.


4. Playa del Carmen, Mexico

playa del carmen honeymoon

5. CancĂșn, Mexico


6. Punta Cana, Dominican Republic

punta cana

7. Montego Bay, Jamaica

montego bay

8. Antalya, Turkey

antalya turkey

9. Castries, St. Lucia


10. Gramado, Brazil

gramado brazil