Friday, November 28, 2014

10 Awesome Perks Of Getting Married Really Young

By Michelle Horton

I never imagined I'd be the "type" of girl to get married young. And if that sounds judgmental and presumptuous, you're right. I was judgmental and presumptuous about college girls wearing engagement rings, or people making life-long commitments before their 25th birthdays. I think my exact opinion was: "Pssssshh" with a somewhat disgusted look, probably rolling my eyes.

And that's a majority opinion in his country, in this decade. While it used to be normal and expected for young women to settle down and get married before the ink dried on their high school diplomas (and in some subcultures, that's still the case), mainstream society has taken a major shift. Young wives are widely assumed to be old-fashioned, anti-feminist, super religious, ignorantly inexperienced, destined for divorce -- usually all of the above. This new societal stereotype is everywhere from whispery gossip to TV plots. A "smart and educated young lady" knows better.
Yet as life happened, I willingly signed a marriage certificate in 2008, with an 8-month-pregnant belly between us. I was 22 years old.

Six years later, I've had more than just my perspective shifted. I've grown and matured in so many ways -- mostly because of things in and around my marriage. Yes, marriage is challenging and getting married at a young age sets us up for unique obstacles, but there are also little-known perks to entering marriage and adulthood roughly at the same time. It's not all bad decisions and dead ends.

1. We grew up together.
My husband is 30 years old, but I remember him at 18. I remember him living with roommates and delivering pizzas, fresh out of high school. We've been together through college classes, internships, big moves, small moves, graying hair, changing bodies. We've watched each other launch careers and tackle goals that we once dreamed up on thrift-store furniture, in what feels like former lives.
We grew up together, but also because of each other. I'm proud of the man he's grown into, and I know he feels the same pride and respect toward me. We've come a long way, and it's nice to have someone witness the progress.

2. There's less baggage.
We both have separate pasts. We didn't "save ourselves" for marriage, or have a high school sweetheart storyline. But in a way, we did. He's my first and only adult relationship, so all of that grown-up intimacy -- the shared apartments and pets and memorable traveling adventures -- is something I've only shared with him. I didn't spend a bulk of my life with someone else; how could I? I was off the market by 20 years old. All of our baggage is checked together.

3. It's relatively easy to combine lives.
In a lot of ways, it was pretty easy to join our lives together. We didn't have deeply established adult lives, habits, and patterns to change. Instead, we developed a system and rhythm as we went. I started my career with a new last name. He didn't have a set-in-his-ways lifestyle to uproot. No prenups, no complications. There's something to be said for building a life on a single foundation, rather than figuring out how to merge two separate structures.

4. We learned the hard lessons sooner rather than later.
Getting hitched at the beginning of adulthood helped me chop away the delusions of Happily Ever After or a rom-com plot line long before resentment or bitterness settled in my heart. Marriage also provides real-world lessons on things like sacrifice, commitment, companionship, compromise, and unconditional love. It's hard to change and grow with another person, no matter how old we are, but the effort and struggle teaches us a lot. It can make us better versions of ourselves, giving us opportunities to understand faith, endurance, forgiveness, and patience. It tests our limits, breaks us down, and helps us develop more mature perspectives than the typical dating pool allows. Young marriage isn't easy, but the important things rarely are.

5. We didn't waste money (because we didn't have any.)
Our "wedding" cost less than $100. And that was totally acceptable and understood.

6. We had very low expectations.
I didn't wait a decade for "The One," or for a magical time when my stars aligned. If I spent years planning and dreaming up the perfect wedding and marriage and husband and life, I would have been severely disappointed. Instead I went along with life, choosing to be -- and stay -- in love.

7. We've shared every milestone and achievement.
We've gone from mouse-infested apartments and empty bank accounts to a comfortable adult life and everything in between. Everything we've accomplished -- separately or together -- has been met with a familiar high-five.

8. Crazy, wild memories? We've got 'em.
The fact that my husband has first-person memories of me at 19 years old and all of the ridiculous, passion-fueled memories that come with a young romance is something I'll be quite grateful for as I hit middle age.

9. We're happier, apparently.
According to the National Marriage Project's 2013 report, "Knot Yet," the most satisfied 20-somethings (between 20 and 28 years old) are married, as opposed to being single or cohabitating. In fact, those who reported their marriage as "very happy" were largely between 24 and 26 years old. Another study showed that those married between 22 and 25 years old have the greatest likelihood of having an intact marriage. And The Huffington Post reported on more research that showed clear benefits to getting married in our 20s.

10. We've got nothin' but time.
Even if my marriage implodes and we change and grow in opposite directions, we'll still have plenty of time in our lives to move on to new experiences. We'll have learned important lessons from our marriage, matured in ways we needed to, and we'll take that growth with us.
On the flip side, my young marriage can give me that much more time with the one person who's stuck by my side through every stage and evolution -- and loved me through them all. The one person who has been there for every milestone and moment, and who knows every past version of myself. At the end of it all, time is what matters.

Thursday, November 27, 2014

Brides Share the Best Marriage Advice They've Ever Received — and Actually Use

Brides Share Marriage Advice
Photo: Coco Tran
When wedding bells are in your future, friends, family, even strangers feel fit to give you marriage advice. Not all of it will be welcome, but these brides received guidance so spot on, that they use it in their married lives. Here, they share the words of wisdom they've taken to heart. We recommend remembering their words of wisdom once you tie the knot.

"Don't listen to respond, listen to understand." — Misty R.

"Marriage isn't 50/50. You both have to give each other 100 percent. If you do that it will all work." — Kellie M.

"Keep your business to yourself. Your marriage problems are between you and your spouse. Don't share your petty frustrations with your friends and family." — Kendra C.

"No silent treatments. Talk when you're upset and work through it so it's not a lingering issue" — Jennifer J.

"Treat your husband like your best friend first." — Mandy H.

"Realize that not everything they say or do is a personal attack." — Gwen M.

"Always kiss hello and goodbye, even if you're mad at each other!" — Mommie S.

"Be nice to your spouse. It's amazing how rude or inconsiderate some people can be to those closest to them." — Diana Z.

"Always remember the way you felt on this day your wedding day." — Rose D.

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

15 Wedding Trends We're Grateful For Right Now

As we head into the Thanksgiving holiday, we want to take a moment to reflect on all the wonderful wedding moments that we've been lucky enough to witness this. From mismatched bridesmaid dresses and tulle gowns to wedding pies and wedding hashtags, there are so many trends we're grateful are making their mark on the wedding world. In honor of this season of giving thanks, here are 15 trends that all of us here at Loverly just can't get enough of this year.

1. Dog guests: Because they're way easier to please than human guests.
2. Wedding hashtags: Because they make it so easy to Instagram stalk your own wedding. Avoiding this trend because you don't feel witty? We've got the secret to creating a killer hashtag right here.
3. The ability to register for cool stuff: Because you want a tent and a grill way more than a new 
stick blender. And now, thanks to Target, you can actually turn your hobbies into your registry.
4. Engagement ring selfies: Because unapologetically showcasing your ring has never been more acceptable. Here are some tips for getting that perfect shot.
5. Mismatched bridesmaid dresses: Because not everyone looks great in a halter dress. We love the idea of letting your girls pick something that they'll actually be comfortable in on your big day! Just make sure the dresses they pick look good may not know this, but there is an art to the mismatched look!
6. Adorable ring bearers and flower girls: Because little kids look awesome all dressed up. Here are 10 other reasons why you should consider inviting kids to your wedding.
7. Floral crowns: Because they're an oh-so-romantic take on the traditional veil. Have your florist craft one of these crowns to match your bouquet for a cohesive look.
8. The rise in surprise proposals: Because just popping the question isn't enough any more thanks to this guy and this guy. The extra effort makes the "yes" that much better.
9. Wedding pies: Because we can only eat so much fondant. This trend is a fun way to get creative with your dessert table. Plus, you can celebrate your family's heritage by having your loved ones contribute their favorite pie recipes!
10. Surprise moments: Because weddings were made for tears of joy. Remember when this groom organized a flash mob for his bride? Or how about when this paralyze bride WALKED down the aisle?
11. Tulle gowns: Because this look is oh-so-feminine and quintessentially bridal. Rocking a tulle gown is a gorgeous way to embrace tradition without sacrificing your personal style.
12. Unique wedding foods: Because farm-to-table cuisine is so much more delicious than a cookie-cutter meal. Consider having a craft brew bar or source locally-made honey for your's those personal touches that your guests will remember. 
13. The rise of the first look: Because there's nothing sweeter than capturing that intimate moment forever. Whether you actually see each other or you just hold hands around a corner, staging a first look is a great way to get rid of some of those pre-wedding jitters.
14. Braids on braids on braids: Because they take any hair do from drab to fab instantly. Find inspiration for your bridal braid here.
15. Inspired floral bouquets: Because there's more to wedding flowers than just roses and calla lilies. Yes, we love the classics, but the textures and colors that come with thinking outside the box are pretty special, too.
LGBT Seattle Wedding Captured by Michele M. Wait

From Black Tie to Casual: Wedding Guest Dress Code Explained

Have you ever received a wedding invitation in the mail that left you completely clueless about what to wear? Between "black tie optional" and "semiformal," the language can be tricky to decipher. But we've got you covered. Here are the most common wedding-guest dress codes explained so that you arrive appropriately — and stylishly! — dressed to the celebration.

The Invitation Says: "White Tie"
This the most formal of all dress codes (think: White House state dinners).
•For the ladies: A formal floor-length evening gown.
•For the men: A tuxedo, a long black jacket with tails, a formal white shirt, white vest and bow tie, white or gray gloves, and black formal shoes.

The Invitation Says: "Black Tie"
This is the next most formal wedding dress code, and usually means the wedding is an evening event.
•For the ladies: You can go a bit dressier and wear a formal floor-length gown, or choose a short, dressy cocktail dress. (If you're unsure about the appropriate dress length, the bride, wedding party, or friends should be able to answer your questions.)
•For the men: A tuxedo. A black bow tie, black vest or cummerbund, and patent leather shoes are also suggested. For summer weddings, a white dinner jacket and black tuxedo trousers are also acceptable. (You might be able to get away with a conservative black suit as a substitute for the tux.)

The Invitation Says: "Formal" or "Black Tie Optional"
The wording here indicates something slightly less formal than black tie is acceptable. So, a tuxedo isn't required, but the event is still formal enough for one to be appropriate.
•For the ladies: A long dress, dressy separates, or a formal cocktail dress.
•For the men: A tuxedo or a formal dark suit, white shirt, and conservative tie.

The Invitation Says: "Semiformal" or "Dressy Casual"
Take your cues from the time of the event: Wear darker, more formal colors for an evening wedding; opt for light colors and fabrics for a daytime event.
•For the ladies: A cocktail dress or a long, dressy skirt and top.
•For the men: A suit and tie, dark or light depending on the season and time of day.

The Invitation Says: "Festive Attire"
Relatively new, this one can leave many guests scratching their heads. Basically, guests are given the go-ahead to have fun and play with their look. Opt for cocktail-party attire featuring bolder colors and playful accessories.
•For the ladies: A cocktail dress or party dress in a fun color, paired with playful accessories.
•For the men: A suit and tie, jazzed up with a bright tie.

The Invitation Says: "Casual"
This indicates the wedding will likely be held outdoors or on the beach, meaning the event will be much more laid-back, especially when it comes to attire. That said, jeans, shorts, and tank tops are probably not appropriate unless they're specifically noted as acceptable.
•For the ladies: A summer sundress is appropriate (just make sure the fabric isn't overly formal).
•For the men: Dress pants or khaki pants with a button-down shirt, tie (though you might be able to get out of wearing a tie), and sport jacket or sweater.

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Are You Superstitious About People Trying on Your Engagement Ring?

We know you love your engagement ring and want to show it off to everyone. And it’s super likely that while people are oohing and ahhing over your new diamonds, a few of your friends, family members or coworkers may ask if they can try it on.

We’ve heard about a lot of brides and grooms being a little superstitious when it comes to letting others test-drive their engagement rings, and there’s a pretty heated discussion about it happening right now on our Chit Chat community board. Some brides may feel like their ring is something special between them and their fiance, and letting someone else wear it for a few seconds can bring bad vibes into the relationship. Others feel like it’s no big deal (after all, it’s not like your sister or BFF is going to run off with it!). Below, a few of our favorite comments from our community board about both sides of the argument.

“I had my friend, my sister and my Mom ask to try on my ring.  I had no issue with it because it wasn’t like they were going to steal it or take a hammer to it or throw it across the room.  Now if some rando wanted to try it on then I would say no and quickly walk away, but a close friend or family member?  I don’t see the issue.

Just remember that the meaning behind the ring is what is important.  The ring itself is just a piece of jewelry, but what it signifies to you is the important part.  And someone else trying it on does not diminish the significance and it certainly does not have the same significance to the person trying it on.  To them it is just a pretty ring.” - Maggie0829

“A few of my friends tried it on. I was the first one to get engaged so they were excited and wanted to see what it looked like on their hand. No big deal.” - emmaaa

“I think it is really weird to ask to try on someone’s e-ring. If they want to see how a ring looks on their finger, they should go to a jewelry store.” - littlemushroom

“I understand others are excited and want to see the ring, but they don’t need to be trying it on. I was asked once and I said no. It’s sorta similar to showing your friend your wedding dress and her asking to try it on. It’s something that holds a lot of value to you being the one to wear it. I would just say “I’m not comfortable with that” and move on.” - Sugargirl1019

“I can’t tell you how many people who have tried on my ring! Not to mention my Fi’s grandmother who wore it for 40+ years before it was given to me!” - AzAnnie

Monday, November 24, 2014

This Guy Drummed Up The Perfect Proposal For His Drum Major Girlfriend

This marching band marriage proposal hits all the right notes. In a video posted to YouTube on Sunday, Jacksonville State University's drum major Kara Mullinax got a big surprise when her boyfriend and former band member Nic Burgess popped the question to her during an alumni reunion performance in Jacksonville, Alabama. In the middle of the cadence, the drums were turned around to reveal the words, "Kara, Marry me." The look of surprise on her face says it all:


 "I was just so shocked," Mullinax told FOX affiliate WBRC. "Everything went fuzzy and blurry. I looked down and saw Nic on one knee. I ran down the podium and went down there to him. It was just unbelievable. I was just shocked about everything. It was an incredibly happy moment."

5 Things Every Bride Thinks on Her Wedding Day

bride and bridesmaids
Photo: Getty Images
Your wedding day will surely be a roller coaster of emotions as unique as the big day you've planned. But there are some thoughts that every bride is sure to ponder. Here, real brides dish on what they thought on their wedding day.

What if I trip going down the aisle?
"I slipped on my shoes — these gorgeous peep-toe stilettos — and I froze," says one bride. "It occurred to me in that moment that there was a very good chance one of those beautiful heels was going to sink into the grass and I'd fall on my face in front of everyone."

I'm nervous.
"I loved my [then fiancé] very much, and I knew I was marrying the right man," says a bride. "But I still felt worried. I think if you didn't worry, you might be taking the whole marriage thing way too lightly."

I really hope nothing goes wrong.
"You want to be that bride who gets away with everything going just as planned," says another bride. "Ha! It's a fun thought to entertain, but it's not going to happen."

Is it time for the ceremony yet?
"I thought the morning would fly by because of all we had to do — the hair and makeup and pictures with the girls," says a bride. "But it crawled. I found myself checking the clock constantly and only five minutes would have passed. I was ready to get married and wanted time to just hurry up!"

What will my fiancé think when he finally sees me?
"My husband and I decided to do a first look, and I was both excited and nervous for him to turn around and see me," explains one bride. "I worried that he wouldn't like the dress I picked, or the way I did my hair. But I also secretly hoped he would like it so much he would cry!"

Friday, November 21, 2014

The 5 Most Common Wedding Planning Mistakes

Common Wedding Planning Mistakes
Photo: Getty Images
While every wedding has its own challenges, there are a few mistakes that brides and grooms make on a consistent basis. Take these five tips and learn from fellow engaged couples' mistakes, rather than repeating them!

1. Overscheduling your guests
Whether you're getting married at home or away, you need to remember that your guests have lives too and they're not necessarily committing 24 hours a day to you for your entire wedding weekend. Leave time for them to handle real life or to explore where you're getting married.

2. Asking too many people to be a part of your wedding party
Twelve bridesmaids and 12 groomsmen may have been what you've always imagined, but when it comes down to dressing them, giving them thank-you gifts, and paying for bouquets and boutonnieres for that many attendants, you can easily break the bank.

3. Forgetting to feed the wedding party on the big day
If you're all tied up getting hair and makeup done, somebody needs to be responsible for making sure that everybody has something to eat. If you don't feed the bridesmaids when they're with you all day doing beauty services, you might end up with a few drunk-and-disorderly attendants by ceremony time — not to mention grumpy.

4. Worrying too much about the music taste of the guests (and especially your parents)
Consider what you want to dance to at your wedding. It's important to keep your audience in mind when you make your playlist or choose your band.

5. Failing to do proper welcome packets for out-of-town guests
Even when you get married at home, you cannot assume that your friends, family and colleagues who have traveled to celebrate with you know much about the area. They would really appreciate directions to the events, plus local restaurants and attractions.

Thursday, November 20, 2014

4 Signs a Bride Has Gone Overboard with Social Media

Social Media Weddings
Photo: Getty Images
Social media has become the most effective planning tool — and the most stressful timesuck — for brides. At first, it's a good thing, as you gather your ideas all in one place. It helps you sort out which color combinations you really like, and what doesn't work when you put it all together. But sometimes, all the overload of information can nearly put a bride over the edge. Here are four signs it's time for you to step away from your Pinterest board (at least for a little bit) while planning your big day:

1. You're sending vendors way too many options.
While it's smart to get your wedding ideas online, you have to know when to stop. You can't send your wedding planner 25 cake pictures and the florist doesn't want to see 50 different bouquets and centerpieces. A few of each that represent exactly what you want is the best route to go.

2. You've signed contracts, but can't stop creeping wedding Pins.
After you have made your selections and put down deposits with vendors, it's a good idea to back off Pinterest. If you continue to binge, you'll second guess all of your decisions. Continuing to add to your portfolio of wedding wishes will simply cause you stress (and more money if you decide to change your contracts).

3. Your groom is beginning to get annoyed.
Whether you'd like to believe it or not, your groom is not as enamored by Pinterest as you are — and he probably doesn't want to spend every single night looking at cakes, dresses, flowers and napkin colors.

4. Instead of asking your maid of honor for her opinion, you're asking all of your followers.
You shouldn't share your wedding "likes" and "dislikes" via your social media if you haven't invited all of your "friends" to your wedding. It can be insulting to ask the group's opinion on which favor or bridesmaid dress you should choose unless everybody reading your feed is invited.

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

The Biggest Myths About Plus-Size Wedding Dress Shopping

Plus-Size Shopping Myths Debunked by Pretty Pear Bride
Photo: Christine Glebov Photography via Pretty Pear Bride
Shafonne Myers, owner and CEO of Pretty Pear Bride, the world's only magazine for plus-size brides, knows a thing or two about fashion and weddings. As a certified wedding and event planner and a gal with a serious love of all-things weddings (and a former bride herself), Shafonne understands the unique challenges of shopping for a plus-size wedding dress.

Wedding-dress shopping for plus-size and curvy brides can be the worst experience ever — but it doesn't have to be that way! Here, we're debunking some common misconceptions about searching for a plus-size big-day look.

Myth #1: Bridal salons don't carry anything in your size
So many plus-size brides automatically assume most bridal salons don't have options for curvier women, but you always have options! You determine which salon you pick, plus what fabric, silhouette, size and style you want. If a salesperson says you don't have options, then that is not the place for you. If you're concerned, call the store in advance to find out what sizes and styles it carries.

Myth #2: You don't need to bring undergarments to your appointment
This is one of the most important things to have with you during your dress-shopping excursions. Undergarments and shapewear are made to enhance your look, so you won't get a true depiction of how the dress will look on your wedding day if you leave them at home.

Myth #3: You have to wear an A-line dress
A-Line dresses look great on plus-sized brides, but there are many other silhouettes that flatter a fuller figure. Don't be afraid to try on different styles (think: Empire waist gowns, corset styles, and mermaid silhouettes) — you might be surprised about which look you love most.

Myth #4: You should hide your curves
Being plus size or curvy isn't something that you should be ashamed of or afraid to show off. You are marrying someone who loves you and your shape, so flaunt those fabulous curves down the aisle.

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Wedding Guests: Reception Seating How-Tos

If you're having 50 guests to a buffet, you may or may not want to give people specific seating assignments. But if you're having 100 guests or more and serving a seated meal, you'll want to make sure everyone's got a specific place to sit. Why? For one, people like to know where they're sitting -- and that you took the time to choose where and who they should sit with. It's also helpful if you're serving several different entree choices, because the caterer and wait staff can figure out beforehand how many chickens, filets, or veggie dishes a given table gets because they (you) know who's sitting there. Read on for tips on how to seat neatly.

The parent-seating question is a flexible one. Set it up in whatever way best suits everybody.

Start Early

We've been at kitchen tables the night before the wedding (or even wedding morning) with a bride and groom just starting their seating chart. Don't let this be you -- you've got more important things to think about at that point! Sure, it's fine to make last-minute changes, but try to get the chart mostly done at least a week before the big day.

Hit the Keys

Create a new spreadsheet. If you haven't already, insert a column into your guest list document categorizing all the invitees by relationship: bride's friend; bride's family; groom's friend; groom's family; bride's family friend; groom's family friend. This way, you'll be able to easily sort the list and break it down into more logical table assortments. Now you'll need to separate these lists into distinct tables.

Create a Paper Trail

If you're feeling more low-tech, draw circles (for tables) on a big sheet of paper and write names inside them (make sure you know how many people can comfortably be seated at each). Or you could write every guest's name on a post-it to place accordingly.

Head Up the Head Table

A traditional head table is not round, but long and straight, and it is generally set up along a wall, on risers, facing all the other reception tables. It may even have two tiers if your wedding party is large. Usually the bride and groom sit smack-dab in the middle (where everyone can see them), with the maid of honor next to the groom, the best man next to the bride, and then boy/girl out from there. Flower girls or ring bearers usually sit at the tables where their parents are seating, much to the relief of the bridesmaids and groomsmen. Decide to seat this way, or plan a sweetheart table for a little one-on-one time.

Switch Things Up

But you don't have to do it that way. All the maids can sit on the bride's side, all the groomsmen on the groom's. Or maybe you're not into being on display, or you don't want your wedding party to feel isolated from other guests. Let your wedding party sit at a round reception table or two with each other and/or with their dates/significant others, and have the head table be a sweetheart table for the two of you. (How romantic!) Another option -- you two sit with your parents and let that be the head table, with the wedding party at their own tables.

Place Your Parents

Traditionally, your parents and your sweetie's parents sit at the same table, along with grandparents, siblings not in the wedding party, and the officiant and his/her spouse if they attend the reception. But if your or your honey's parents are divorced, and are uncomfortable about sitting next to each other, you might want to let each set of parents host their own table of close family and/or friends . This could mean up to four parents' tables, depending on your situation -- or have the divorced parent who raised you (or your honey) and his/her spouse/date sit at the table with still-married parents. (Phew, confusing!) Remember, the parent-seating question is a flexible one. Set it up in whatever way best suits everybody. If you're unsure, don't hesitate to talk to the parents in question about it before you make your final decision.

Tame Tensions

There may also be situations in which certain family members just do not get along. Maybe they haven't spoken in years. Maybe the last time they saw each other there was a drunken catfight. Understandably, you want to keep them as far apart as possible. Think about these kinds of relationships (or lack thereof) before you even begin making your chart, so you can take them into consideration in the first place and begin by seating Aunt Hattie at table 3 and Aunt Lucy across the room at table 15. Trust us -- they'll appreciate it.

Play Matchmaker

Again, all your college or high-school friends will be psyched to sit at a table together -- and especially if you and your beloved went to the same school and have the same friends, this works out well. It also gives them all an opportunity to catch up with each other, because they may not have seen each other for a while. But again -- reception tables offer a cool opportunity to mix and match your friends and your honey's -- who knows who'll hit it off? Consider seating friends who don't know each other (yet), but who you think will get along exceptionally well, at the same table -- and the rest is history. It can't hurt!

Monday, November 17, 2014

Couples Exchanging Gifts on Their Wedding Day Is Getting More Popular — Here’s 10 Gift Ideas

Guests aren’t the only ones giving gifts on the wedding day! The old tradition of couples exchanging presents pre-ceremony is back and happening in a big way. Think of it as the zero anniversary present (but there are no rules or traditions like paper or gold for this one!). But this isn’t just any gift–your wedding is a once in a lifetime event. Let your choice represent the importance of the day while speaking to your fiance’s style and personality. We’ve rounded up some of our favorite ideas that you can buy right now. Oh and don’t forget to include a “I can’t wait to spend the rest of our lives together” note for extra points!

If They Love…Curling Up With a Book
Gift Ideas to Give to Each Other |
Left: Fire HD 7 inch Tablet, $139,
Right: First Edition of One Hundred Years of Solitude by Gabriel Garcia Marquez, $2,200,
For something fun you know they’ll get a lot of use out of, opt for the hottest new e-reader or a tablet where they can collect favorite reads. If you want something that can easily become an heirloom, a first edition of their beloved novel is the way to go. Editor’s Note: If you go the first edition route you’ll need to do plenty of research and use a trustworthy book dealer to make sure you’re getting a book that is not only legitimate, but in good condition too.
If They Love…Getting Their Heartrate Up
Gift Ideas to Give to Each Other |
Left: Surge, $250,
Right: Tory Burch for FitBit Metal Hinged Bracelet, $195 (not including FitBit Flex),
Today’s exercise fanatics have a whole range of wearable tech to choose from. If your fiancé really loves to sweat, a fitness tracker that will enhance their workout is a sure win.
If They Love…Raising A Glass
Gift Ideas to Give to Each Other |
Left: Engravable Bottle of Macallan Fine Oak 21 Year Single Malt Scotch Whisky, $484,
Right: Engravable Dom Perignon Vintage Champagne, $225,
Whether their favorite vice is whisky or wine you can easily personalize a special bottle. Save it for sipping on another celebratory occasion or milestone like your 5th anniversary or the birth of your first child, or pop it after the honeymoon.
If They Love…Staying Organized
Gift Ideas to Give to Each Other |
Left: Grand Mirrored Jewelry Box, $229,
Right: Personalized Wood Accessory Valet, $125,
Now that you’re going to both be wearing rings forever, you’ll need a pretty place to keep them safe while you’re digging in the garden or traveling abroad. Adding personalization like a monogram or inscription will make the box a sweet reminder of your wedding day every time you reach for your watch.
If They Love…Accessorizing

Gift Ideas to Give to Each Other |

Left: Star Wars Cufflinks, $85,
Right: Love Bracelet, $10,700,
Jewelry is an easy choice because your fiancé can actually wear it on the wedding day. Choose something that shows their sense of humor or go the other direction and opt for a classic that they’ll never take off (no, really).

Solange Knowles Got Married in Total Hipster-Chic Style (And Wore an Epic Wedding Jumpsuit and Two Capes!)

Solange Knowles and Alan Ferguson pose on their wedding day
Vogue via Instagram
So… where do we even start? Solange Knowles and Alan Ferguson got married in New Orleans on November 16 in basically the modern, most hipster-chic wedding of the year, hands down. But what exactly made it so darn cool?

Well, for starters, Solange wore not one, but two amazing capes to complete both of her bridal looks. Solange and Alan pulled up at the Holy Trinity Church near Bywater, Louisiana, for their wedding ceremony on white-painted vintage bicycles, and Solange totally rocked a low-cut ivory Stephane Rolland jumpsuit with an attached cape for her prewedding look. (Oh, and it looks like she pedaled the whole way with heels on. Rockstar!) Plus, she even had white roses and greenery decorating the bike. Alan matched his bride with a sharp white Lanvin suit.

For the ceremony, Solange changed into an incredibly regal ivory Humberto Leon for Kenzo wedding dress with an attached cape, as seen in her gorgeous wedding photos taken by Rog Walker. She accessorized her insanely chic look with red lipstick, stacked gold Jill for Lady Grey bracelets and Stuart Weitzman shoes. We love that Solange incorporated her own boho, fashion-forward style into her wedding look, making her bridal style uniquely her.

Oh, but let’s not forget Beyonce’s sexy maid of honor dress in a stunning all-female, all-white wedding portrait, shared by Vogue. Queen Bey wore a white Torn by Ronny Kobo dress and white platform heels (and kind of pulled a little bit of a Pippa — but come on, it’s Beyonce), and their mother Tina Knowles looked elegant in a draped column gown and gold accessories.

Solange and Alan’s wedding was a total family affair as well — Jay Z and Blue Ivy were there in white ensembles, as well as Solange’s 10-year-old son, Julez (with her first husband Daniel Smith), wearing a stylish white tux and sunglasses.

She walked down the aisle to a special song: a symphonic instrumental rendition of Donny Hathaway’s, “I Love the Lord, He Heard My Cry.” Kelela, Questlove and Kindness also performed at the reception.

“Everyone I worked with on the wedding are friends who I love,” Solange told Vogue via e-mail. “Everything was a labor of love.”

And finally, this wedding was so amazing that even the usually-private Bey shared multiple snaps on Instagram, along with two from Vogue and Questlove:


As we suspected, Solange and Alan secretly got engaged on her 28th birthday in June. The singer also wore more stylish white looks for her rehearsal dinner and family movie night (the couple chose to show Mahogany, which the newlyweds saw on their first date).

Friday, November 14, 2014

5 Things to Consider When Selecting Your Wedding’s Color Scheme

Wedding planning isn’t all about selecting the right venue and vendors. In fact, most of those choices are the easiest for couples to make. The planning hiccups often occur when it comes to deciding on the smaller details. Today, let’s talk about choosing your wedding’s color scheme.

I was surprised at how many of the brides I worked with had no idea where to start when it came to choosing their color scheme. This was one of the reasons I created the Susan Southerland Color Selection Wheel. I wanted couples to see color options within a monotone color scheme (different shades of the same color), a complementary color scheme (colors on opposite sides of the color wheel), or an analogous color scheme (colors that border each other on the wheel). I also designed the wheel to easily fit in any bride’s planning binder so she could bring it along to all of her appointments.

While using a tool like this one can be invaluable in making your color choices, there are a few other things you’ll want to keep in mind:

1. The season. One of the easiest ways to narrow down your color choices is to consider the season of your wedding date. Spring weddings are a great time to choose lighter tones like pale yellow, dusky pink, or sky blue. Summer ushers in vibrant tones like turquoise, rose, or ivy green. In the autumn, richer earth tones are more popular, such as russet, burnt gold, plum, or copper. Neutral tones with touches of cool colors dominate a winter color scheme…whites and ivories, winter blue, or various shades of purple are most popular.

2. The mood. Are you trying to introduce drama into your wedding design? Consider a bold red or deep tangerine scheme. Prefer to keep things soft and romantic? Opt for pastels like mint green or lilac. If you’re more of a classic or vintage bride, neutral tones like ivory and champagne would work for you.

3. The location. Is your venue already going to be decorated due to its overall design or an approaching holiday? Consider building your color scheme off of what will already be there. Odds are, the décor will coordinate well with things like the carpet and wall hangings. This could make your choices really easy, and save you money on décor!

4. The inspiration. Do you have a favorite flower that you want to incorporate in your wedding? Maybe your color scheme should be based off of that. Do you and your future spouse love the outdoors? You could consider a color palette based off nature. Allow yourself to be inspired by what speaks to you!

5. Your personal taste. What really matters in the end is what appeals to you. Don’t hesitate to have navy blue as a color choice in the summer just because it’s a darker tone. You can always choose a more summery accent, like buttery yellow, to tie in the season. Choose what makes you happy!
Whatever ends up helping you choose your colors, keep them limited to no more than two or three to keep your look clean and cohesive. Have fun with figuring out how to bring in your colors in ways that will wow your guests. Whether your colors are trendy or timeless, they’ll help make your wedding a truly memorable experience!

Thursday, November 13, 2014

These 7 New Unique Beauty Treatments Will Make You Wedding Ready

Unique Spa Treatments for Brides | Nathan Smith & Yoon Kim |
Nathan Smith & Yoon Kim

A few months before your wedding, you may want to hit up the salon and get the works. Massages, facials, body wraps and other spa treatments are a great way to de-stress for a few hours (we know that planning that seating chart is driving you crazy!).
While you’ve probably heard of the typical treatments you can get at any spa, like a seaweed wrap or a mud bath, but recently some really cool, unique treatments have been making waves. A few of our editors tried out some of these new treatments, and below are seven that we loved.

Yes, you could opt for a traditional facial before your wedding, but since this is such a special day, a facial with actual gold powder in it is more up your fabulous alley. I went to Mario Badescu and tried the Gold Mask, which promises “the reduction of fine lines and wrinkles, leaving the skin more firm, toned and glowing.” Besides feeling like an A-lister with gold on my face, I noticed that my skin was smooth, glowing and photo-ready for at least a week after the treatment.” – Jessica Zaleski, Assistant Editor NYC: The Gold Mask, $105, Mario Badescu, LA: Pure Gold Radiance Facial, $310, The Beverly Hills Hotel, Boston: 24K Gold Facial, $165, Equinox, Austin: 24K Gold Facial, $170, Spa Reveil, Miami: 24KT Gold Facial, $160, Trump Miami

I never knew coffee beans had full-body benefits! This scrub and detox wrap proved me wrong. The unique mix from the pros at Paul Labrecque Salon and Spa includes green coffee beans, coffee bean oil, fresh jalapeno and mint — creating an amazing earthy scent and a warm, tingling sensation. The aesthetician first scrubs your whole body down to exfoliate the skin then uses the “cupping” technique to target problem areas reducing cellulite. Your skin also reaps the benefits of being a million times softer afterwards. What bride wouldn’t want that?! Hellooo, honeymoon. – Jamie Miles, Assistant Managing Editor NYC: The Green Coffee Bean Detox Body Wrap, $185, Paul Labrecque Salon and Spa, Baton Rouge: Red Stick Cellulite and Detox Slimming Wrap, Medical Spa of Baton Rouge, LA: Coffee Wrap, $100, Terra Day Spa, Tucson: Warm Hazelnut Coffee Body Wrap, $115, The Karma Day Spa, Portland: Island Espresso Mud Wrap, $131, Kanani Pearl

As far as beauty treatments go, putting bird poop on your face is as pretty strange as it gets, but it’s really not as bizarre as you might think. For the most part it’s just like a traditional facial, but with an extra step — a paste of powdered nightingale droppings (pre-sterilized with UV light) and rice bran are applied to exfoliate and brighten. I was most surprised by the fact that there was no bad smell — it actually reminded me of Rice Krispies (which is probably because of the rice bran). Afterwards my face felt clean and had a nice glow to it for a day or two, but I wouldn’t say there were any long-term results. What really stood out to me was how gentle the facial was. All of the products used are all-natural which is great if you have sensitive skin or prefer to avoid chemicals. – Simone Hill, Assistant Editor
NYC: Geisha Facial (aka Bird Poo Facial), $180, ShizukaNY.comLA: Organic Signature Facial, $95,, Boston: Naturally Nourished, $115,, Chicago: Natural Enzyme Facial, $120/60 minutes, MirrorMirrorSalon.comDallas: Signature Holistic Facial, $95,

Stay with us on this one, because it sounds like something out of a science fiction flick. After cleansing and exfoliating with a traditional facial, your technician will mix a cocktail of vitamins, retinoids and peptides together and spread it over your skin. To make sure these essential ingredients absorb directly into the skin, they’ll then apply a white, gelatinous mask connected to electrodes to safely pulse ions and sound waves on your face. This process is called Iontophoresis and Sonophoresis treatment. Even though I was scared to try it, I’m glad I did! My post-treatment, no-makeup look was bright, fresh and even. – Rachel Torgerson, Editorial Assistant Editor’s note: The white mask they apply will cover your mouth, but leave your nose open. If you get claustrophobic, you can ask your technician to leave your mouth uncovered as well.
Englewood: Environ Precision Iontophoresis and Sonophoresis Treatment, $250, EstheticaMDJupiter: UltraSonic Facial, Euro Esthetica SpaPlaistow: Plumping Peptide Facial, $95, Bella Visage Skin Studio, Greeley: Ultra Sonic Facial, Beso Hair Skin Laser SpaWashington, D.C.: Skin Tightening Ultherapy, Washington Institute of Dermatologic Laser Surgery 

LUSH spa describes the Synesthesia treatment as “a complete merging of the senses into a fully choreographed massage.” I know it sounds a little bizzarre, but this was seriously some of the best 80 minutes of my life. You start by choosing how you want to feel by picking a word from the chalkboard on the spa wall, like “relax” or “peace.” I chose “mind cleanser,” and my mind was totally cleansed when I left. The massage tries to fuse together all of your senses by filling the room with amazing smells and the sound of bird songs (the massage even goes with the music).  I think a doctor should prescribe this massage to every bride and groom before their wedding because it works wonders. – Jessica Zaleski, Assistant Editor NYC: Synesthesia, $230, LUSH, Philadelphia: Synesthesia, $230, LUSH, Alexandria: Pure Sensory Journey Massage, $129, Pure Aesthetica, Washington DC: Chakra Balancing Massage, $70, Logan 14 Salon & Spa, Miami: Aromatherapy Massage, $119, McAllister Spa

I opted for the Brighten Facial at Exhale Mind Body Spa. In LA it’s nicknamed the “Red Carpet Facial” — so you can imagine how I glowed like a movie star after. The multistep facial utilizes iS Clinical products complete with a cleanse, 2 masks, extractions and a calming serum. It’s as close as you’ll get to a clinical facial in a relaxing spa environment (which all brides need!). This facial helps reduce fine lines and dark-spots while leaving you relaxed, glowing and 100% ready for your wedding week! – Samantha Roberts, Assistant Editor NYC: The Brighten Facial, $200, Exhale Spa (Exhale spas around the country: Boston, Chicago, Dallas, Miami. Los Angeles)

Scrub-a-dub-dub! Massages, yoga and meditation are all great way to unwind, and so is taking a dip in hot and cold baths. It’s actually not a new concept. Noble ancient Greeks and Turks used to indulge at the communal baths too. For about an hour I hopped around from baths of an extreme range of temperatures. The attendant suggested starting with a steam to really loosen my muscles and open my pores and then gradually move from hot to cool — ending with an ice cold dunk at the end. My favorite bath was filled with salt water so that you can float — it was the only time I was really able to get out of my head and stop thinking “am I doing this right?”  If you really want to go decadent you can even opt for upgrades like red wine and olive oil baths. – Simone Hill Editor’s Note: Go with your fiancé or a few friends if, like me, you’re not one to sit still for long — the atmosphere is quiet and calming which is great relaxing, but I did start to wonder if there was such a thing as too much relaxation.
NYC: Thermal Bath, $75,, San Francisco: Banya Basic Day Pass, $60,, Tucson: Aquavana Experience,, Miami: Hydrotherapy Playground, complimentary with stay at The Standard Miami,, LA: Spa Access, $30 or free with spa treatment,

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

18 Thoughts Every Bride-to-Be Has While Dress Shopping

Wedding Dress Shopping Thoughts
Photo: Getty Images
If you thought buying the perfect prom dress was hard in high school, just wait until you go wedding-dress shopping. Between the expectation to find "the one" and a crew full of people offering up opinions left and right, the whole experience can be completely mind-boggling. Whether you're about to go to your final fitting or you just booked your first bridal salon appointment, here's what every engaged girl thinks while searching for that perfect gown:

1. "OMG! I'm getting married!"
2. "I can't believe I'm actually trying on wedding dresses right now."

3. "I hope I wore the right undergarments ... I don't want anyone to judge my underwear or bra."

4. "Um, are all wedding dresses supposed to be this hard to get into? Okay. Apparently they are."

5. "Definitely not feeling this one ... or this one."

6. "But wow, this one looks good! I hope everyone likes it."

7. "Please say something positive. Ugh, I knew [insert name here] wouldn't like it, but I knew [insert name here] would love it too!"

8. "But wait, it costs how much!? Maybe we can bump up the budget? Or cut back on the guest list or something?"

9. "We can totally make this work."

10. "On second thought, however, we probably shouldn't."

11. "I suppose I'll try on that ugly dress my mom likes so much ... Actually, I don't hate it."

12. "This is nothing like Say Yes To The Dress, weird..."

13. "I wonder if my fiancé will think I look hot in this one? He totally will."

14. "I think I found the one, but I'm not crying. Is something wrong with me? Am I heartless?"

15. "At this point I don't even care if anyone else likes it because if I have to try on one more dress I might throw up or punch someone in the face."

16. "Yes, they all love it!"

17. "This is the best day ever."

18. "My wedding diet starts now. Seriously."

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

12 Thoughts Every Bride Has About Pinterest

What Brides Think About Pinterest
Photo: Getty Images
Pinterest. One little URL, endless bridal inspiration. Outside of bridal magazines, Pinterest may just be the number one resource for brides-to-be today. While the bottomless supply of venues, details, and dresses to gawk at is certainly exciting, brides that have been down the aisle know Pinterest can also pose its own... challenges.

Here are 12 thoughts every bride has probably had about Pinterest (in sequential order, naturally) ...

1. "Sweet goodness, this may be the best thing that's ever happened to me."

2. "PINS! So many pins! I'm never sleeping again."

3. "Wait, did Lauren's sister-in-law just steal my centerpiece idea? What the! I need a secret board."

4. "I should have never created a joint board with my future sister-in-law. That bouquet is hideous! It burns my retina! Will she be upset if I delete that pin from the board? What is the etiquette here?"

5. "Oh no, mayday, this is all far too out of budget, what have I done? I just want to live in Pinterest! Reality is overrated."

6. "Image uploaded by user? NO source? NO vendors? Is there no humanity in this world?"

7. "Ugh, is that dress better than my dress?"

8. "I wonder if that's her real hair ... It can't be."

9. "Wait, those flower girls are so cute! How can I rent toddlers?"

10. "Okay I want that exact photo of my fiancé and I. I wonder if I should print it out for the photographer?"

11. "All I want is to get married in a chateau in France with a dress personally designed by Vera Wang! That's all I want. Is that really so much to ask?"

12. "Oh wow, I can't remember the last time I went to the bathroom. Do I have an addiction? I wonder if I could be on MTV's True Life: I'm Addicted to Pinterest? Do you think they do your hair and makeup on those shows? I pinned the perfect casual up-do ..."

Monday, November 10, 2014

Nothing transforms a space quite like the right lighting. Candles, string lights, light bulbs, colored lights and lanterns all create ambience and add warmth to indoor and outdoor weddings alike.
Below are 19 magical lighting ideas that will leave your guests positively spellbound.