Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Emotional Groom Loses It When He Sees His Bride Coming Down The Aisle

When groom Conner Courtney saw his bride Hannah make her way down the aisle, he was overcome with an intense rush of emotion, breaking down in tears.
The groom's mom Kara recorded the powerful moment from the couple's wedding earlier this month, and uploaded it to Facebook where it has been viewed more than 1.8 million times at the time of publication.

"I had to turn my back and breathe or I was going to lose it once the music started," Conner told The Huffington Post. "I told Hannah's brother [who was officiating the wedding] to tell me when she was there so I could turn around. The moment I saw her was like seeing my entire life right in front of me."

Credit: E11even

"I'm usually good with handling my emotions, but after seeing her and her smile, it was tears of pure happiness and a radiance of love," the groom said. "I wanted to express that to her, and that's how it came out."

Conner and Hannah -- who first met at the gym in 2013 -- tied the knot at the bride's uncle's home in Arcadia, Oklahoma on June 13 in a rustic-style celebration. Hannah told HuffPost that she "figured [she] would get a few tears out of Conner" at the ceremony, but was still taken aback by his passionate reaction.

"All I could do was smile the biggest smile and cry the happiest tears," she said. "The look on Conner's face made my heart feel like it was going to burst because I felt so full of love. But when I look back at that day now, I really am not surprised by his reaction because he shows me that much love every day."

5 Fun Ways to Celebrate a Milestone Wedding Anniversary


My husband and I are approaching our 10 year Anniversary and after 2 moves, 3 kids and a 1 male betta fish later, this Anniversary is the first time I’ve put in work planning for a memorable celebration. Hey, 10 years of marriage isn’t anything to sneeze at. Marriage is work and to reach such a milestone we need to remember this day! Check out 5 ideas i’ve nailed down that could help jumpstart your milestone Anniversary planning.

 1. Take a 10 day vacation. When was the last time you did anything together for 10 consecutive days other than your normal daily home routine?


2. Go back to the place you were engaged and plan an intimate brunch or dinner together while laughing and crying about the very moment that you said YES!


3. Plan an activity together that is totally out of your comfort zone, but conquer it together and cherish the memories.


4. Update your wedding photo album with a fun and candid photo session around the city visiting some of your fave places.


5.Renew your vows with your original officiant and a few close friends who have helped you both make it through the years.


Monday, June 29, 2015

The 5 Best Parts of the Wedding-Planning Process

When you're dealing with guest list drama, having trouble sticking to your budget, or trying to diffuse bridesmaid blowups, it can be hard to keep the big picture in mind. You're certainly not alone if you've fleetingly considered just throwing in the towel and eloping instead during those challenging times. But planning a wedding isn't always a major pain in the neck — some parts are just downright fun. Here, our five favorite parts of the planning process.

Telling everyone you're engaged
  Sure, some people ask annoying questions. But there's nothing quite like hearing the excited shrieks, seeing the happy tears, popping champagne with your loved ones, and getting 100+ "likes" on your Facebook status update.

engagement photo

Photo Credit: Sweet Little Photographs
Touring venues This is the moment when the wedding starts to feel real. When you find the right venue, you'll start envisioning yourself actually walking down the aisle and making your first twirl around the dance floor as a newlywed.

waldorf astoria new york

Photo Credit: John Labbe / Wedding Planner: Preston Bailey

Shopping for the gown Yes, it can also be a stressful experience, but how often do you get to try on so many beautiful gowns in one day? And the moment when you find "the one" and start to really see yourself as a bride is simply the best.

shopping for wedding dress kleinfeld bridal

Photo courtesy of Kleinfeld

Cake tasting It's the one time you won't feel the slightest bit guilty about cheating on your pre-wedding diet — it's important research, after all. Don't be afraid to ask for seconds! 

cake tasting

Photo Credit: Nikki Stroud

The night before After months and months of planning, you're bound to be feeling a number of different emotions on the night before, from panic-inducing nervousness to can't-sleep excitement. But the moment when you say goodnight to your fiancé, knowing that you'll wake up the next day as a bride, is indescribable.

wedding bride and groom

Photo Credit: Ciara Richardson

Friday, June 26, 2015

The New Rules of Wedding Etiquette

In the world of wedding hashtags, up-to-the-minute status updates and tweets, we bring you the most common social-media-related wedding faux pas -- and discuss what to do instead. (You’re welcome.)

Instagram wedding sign
Photo by CD Wedding Photography

If You're Planning Your Wedding

Call your parents before pressing “post" or “tweet" to announce your engagement.
Your close friends and family will want to hear it straight from you first.
A Facebook status or tweet might be the most efficient way to get the news out, but it's not the most personal. You know which friends and family members would appreciate to hear the news directly from you. Plus, it's likely that older family members (like your grandparents) don't have Facebook or Twitter accounts and could miss the message altogether.
Change your relationship status in minutes or months -- it's up to you.
There's no wrong or right time -- some couples even do it at the altar!
Once you tie the knot, it's up to you and your new spouse to decide when to change your relationship status or last name on your social media sites. For some couples, this can be a very important moment; for others, it's no big deal. So if and when you're ready to make the change, go for it.
Post pics of your engagement ring. (Everyone can't wait to see!)
But keep the nitty-gritty details like cost and carat to yourself.
After you post your “engaged" status, your friends and family will be dying to find out what the ring looks like, so indulge them with a photo (you may want to prep with a manicure first). It's not bragging to share a pic with the exciting news. Leave out the other details, because how much it cost isn't anyone else's business -- the point is that it symbolizes the commitment you're making. Everyone's going to be checking out your hand for the first few months anyway, so make it easy for friends and family to admire from afar.
Designate a “tweeter of honor."
Enjoy your day and stay off your phone while still keeping everyone updated.
Your wedding day will fly by, and if you're on your phone or tablet the whole time, you'll miss out on what's important. Focus on the guests who have come to celebrate with you, instead of everyone in your social media circles. Strike a balance and designate a "tweeter of honor" -- it could be another bridesmaid who isn't your maid of honor (she'll have plenty of responsibilities already) -- to keep your social networks updated throughout the day so you won't have to. Another option is to schedule tweets beforehand, so they're ready to go without the hassle.
Send out traditional paper invites for the main event.
But email invites are totally okay for pre- and postwedding parties.
Paper invites are the way to go for the actual wedding day. In today's technology-based world, where your guests receive hundreds of emails a day, a physical invite has become so much more special. That doesn't mean you have to go over-the-top with an invite that sings and shoots confetti. Simple card stock and laser printing will do the trick. A paperless invite for the rehearsal dinner or morning-after brunch is a great option (especially if you want to cut down on stationery costs). Just because the invites are electronic doesn't mean they won't have style or be personal to you. There are plenty of sites that let you customize e-invites so they look beautiful and unique.
Keep your public posts positive.
Confront issues directly and privately via phone or in person.
We know wedding planning can be stressful at times. But before you post that status venting about all the guests who RSVP'd for too many people or complain about your future mother-in-lawzilla, pause for a second and think. Posting something negative about your wedding (even if you don't call out a person specifically) will only lead to hurt feelings. Instead, politely address each situation directly as it comes your way. That means picking up the phone and explaining to your guest that you don't have enough room for all the extras, and asking your fiancé to have a conversation with his mom. Trust us, the other route will only create animosity around your wedding.
Spread the word about your hashtag.
Tie it into your invitations and wedding website in a creative way.
We've gotten to the point where almost everyone (except maybe some older relatives) are familiar with the hashtag and know how to use it, so you shouldn't feel weird about putting it out there. Think of ways you can tie it into your paper elements in a pretty or witty way, like asking guests to share photos of themselves wearing custom temporary tattoos you send along with the save-the-dates. Letting your guests know ahead of time is crucial to having a successful feed of photos.

If You're Going to a Wedding

Wait to publicly post your congratulations.
If the couple hasn't made the announcement, then you shouldn't spill the big news for them.
It's exciting when you're the first to find out your best friend or sister is getting married, but hold off on the public congrats until they're ready to share the news themselves. They might be waiting for an important reason (like they haven't even told their parents yet), and there could be hard feelings involved if others find out they weren't in the know first.
Private message any wedding planning questions.
It can be awkward for the couple's other Facebook friends who weren't invited.
If you want to discuss wedding plans with the bride or groom, it's polite to do it in a private way. The couple may have hundreds of Facebook friends who aren't on the invite list, and it's not fair if each and every detail comes up on their news feed. Brides especially love to share wedding planning details, and she'll appreciate a friendly ear to listen if you call to find out how it's going. This is a busy time for the couple too, so don't be offended if they don't keep you up to date on every single detail.
Share pics of the bride and groom.
But respect their request if they ask you not to post photos before they do.
It's great that you want to show what an amazing wedding the couple threw, and Instagram the cake and the flowers. But some couples may want to wait to share photographic details of the wedding until they have photos from their professional photographer, so you should respect their choice. If you're worried about whether you're in the clear with posting photos, then wait until a close friend or family member of the couple does so first. Then you'll know it's okay to post away.
Leave the phone in your purse or pocket.
Posting occasionally is okay, but the couple invited you to celebrate their day, not sit there on your phone.
The couple spent a lot of time planning an event that you would enjoy, so don't spend the entire time on your phone posting about the wedding -- go have some fun! It's okay to share the love a few times, but you shouldn't opt out of hitting the dance floor in favor of tweeting a play-by-play. Plus, having a phone or tablet out all the time can get in the way of photos, and no one wants to look back on their wedding day to see a guest more engaged with a device than their reception.
Follow directions for the RSVP.
The couple's inboxes are already full of wedding-related details; a text, email or private message is likely to get lost in the mix.
Most paper invitations will include an RSVP card with an addressed envelope to send it back in, and couples will look for and expect responses by mail (before the deadline). If you lose the card, then it's okay to call and find out how the couple would prefer you to RSVP once you know whether you'll be attending.
Stay clear of the professional wedding photographer.
Take as many photos as you please, but don't let snapping pics get in the way.
Be mindful of the photographer and videographer the couple has hired to take photos of their wedding, especially during the ceremony. A good rule of thumb is to stay seated during the ceremony (and no leaning into the aisle or raising your phone way over your head either). Standing up or moving around can be distracting to the officiant, get in the way of the pros and ruin the view for other guests. Our advice? If you must have that amazing shot of the bride's entrance, get to the ceremony early and sit in an aisle seat to get great photos without having to pull acrobatic stunts.
Actually use that wedding hashtag.
The couple created a wedding hashtag for good reason.
If the couple has a hashtag, use it as much as possible on every photo and tweet. They're excited to have all of their photos in one place. Make as much effort as possible to use it and encourage others to as well. A tip: If you forget to use their hashtag when you first post the photo, just go back later and add their wedding hashtag in a comment.

Thursday, June 25, 2015

5 Things No One Tells You Will Happen Once You've Sent Your Save-the-Dates

There are a few universal wedding planning experiences and feelings that tend to come up for just about every couple the moment they pop those save-the-dates in the mail. We've rounded them up for you here.

Custom envelope for blue and white mountain wedding save-the-date
Photo by Carrie Patterson Photography
1. Friends and family will start to reach out.
While it may seem like a teeny task, sending your save-the-dates to your friends and family is one of those this-is-happening wedding planning moments -- for your guests that is. You may have gone over the details with your aunt on the phone or chatted with one of your bridesmaids about the dresses, but there's something that clicks as soon as a friend or family member gets your save-the-date. You'll start to get text messages, Facebook messages, Instagram posts and even phone calls from friends and family once they have their save-the-dates in hand. Expect there to be very specific questions at this point too, because this is the time your guests are most likely to start booking their flights and reserving their hotel rooms. (By the way, if you haven't already, now's a great time to reserve a block of hotel rooms.)

2. Your bridal party will get questions.
Same as above goes for your bridal party, especially if you happen to have a maid of honor who is known for her accountability. Some friends and family won't want to overwhelm you, so they'll go to those closest to you. To make it easy on everyone, send your bridal party and close family (aka your wedding VIPs) a quick email, giving them all the details they might need. Include a link to your wedding website, registries, and any pertinent travel and hotel information. All of this should already be on your wedding website, but trust us, they'll want to arm themselves with info just in case the questions come up.

3. Wedding planning will probably start to get more intense.
With all of the questions and details that come to light during this time, you'll probably start to feel a little more pressure around planning. Don't freak out -- it's completely normal. The best approach is to stay calm, refer to your wedding checklist often and keep it all in perspective (it's just one amazing day!).

4. You might be nervous...
This is also the point at which some couples start to question everything. Did we choose the right colors and theme? Should we have invited plus-ones? What will happen if it rains on the day of? Stop right there. Your wedding is going to be special no matter what. How can we be so sure? Because it's yours -- you two, your family and your friends. It's the people and the fact that you're bringing them all together for your wedding that's important (not the fact that you didn't upgrade the linens).

5. ...but you will most definitely feel excited.
Now's the fun part. Sure there will most likely be a few more panicky moments, and maybe even arguments between you and your fiance (or your mom!). But there will also be lots of late nights with your fiance and friends working on ceremony programs, cute signage for the ceremony, seating charts and escort cards that are filled with fun conversation. There will be cake tastings and talk of flowers and colors and all sorts of registry gifts arriving to your door. All of those little moments along the way are what make wedding planning so special. So have fun with it and get excited! You're almost there.

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Stuff Every Groom Should Know: How to Cry "Manfully"

So many wedding-planning books revolve around the bride — but it's the groom's day, too! The new book, Stuff Every Groom Should Know

by Eric San Juan addresses the wedding (and marriage) from a male's point of view, offering essential advice for grooms-to-be. Here, he discusses how to cry "like a man."
  Despite what those beer commercials tell you, men cry about more than a poorly cooked steak. If ever there’s a time when tears of joy are warranted, this is it. Here’s how to let the waterworks go while retaining your manhood.
groom crying

Photo Credit: Tye and Emily Photography
  Embrace your joy. Your eyes are welling up because you can’t believe you’re actually marrying this amazing woman. Allow yourself to bask in that feeling.

Let those tears come.
Tears are brave. Wiping them away before they trickle down your cheek is unbecoming. Let ’em roll!

Stay mum.
Avoid talking if your voice is going to crack. Pause for a moment to compose yourself. Man tears are awesome. Squeaky man voice, not so much. If you can, sneak off for a glass of water.

Dab, don’t rub.
Use your best man’s handkerchief to gently pat those tears. Rubbing will redden your eyes. Above all, avoid the honking nose-blowing.

Allow others to witness it. The hallmark of a real Man Cry is being unashamed in the presence of others. When people see the happiness streaming down your face, they’ll think you’re an awesome husband — because you are.

Snap out of it.
If you really can’t stop sobbing, visualize something totally un-sad to get yourself back in the game.

—Eric San Juan

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

How to Assemble the Perfect Wedding Invitation

So you are planning for the biggest day of your life, and you have already decided on those select few (or hundred) guests that will be attending your magnificent wedding. The stage is set, the date has been chosen, and you have a massive amount of invitations just begging to be sent out.

So exactly how do you put together a classy invitation suite for your wedding? Where do you begin?

Genevieve Nisly Photography Genevieve Nisly Photography

Here are some materials that you’ll need to put together a formal wedding invitation:
• The wedding invitation itself
• Reception cards, announcing the location and details of your reception
• Response cards
• Response envelopes, stamped and labeled with a return address
• Directions/map cards
• Inner envelopes
• Outer envelopes
• Tissue Paper (optional): Traditionally, many couples used tissue paper to prevent their ink from smearing. With today’s more smear-free invites, tissue paper is more of a preference than a requirement.

Now that you have all of these materials, just follow this simple six step guide and get started on those wedding invitations!

Make sure that all of your envelopes (both inner and outer) are addressed and stamped accordingly before assembling. This way there won’t be any awkward writing-mark indentations on the wedding invitation. Consult this page for specific instructions on addressing your envelopes.

Insert the wedding invitation into the inner envelope, with the front of the invitation facing the open flap of the envelope. If you’re using tissue paper, now is the time you would want to break it out to place between each layer.

Next, you’ll want to place the reception card face-up on top of the invitation. Note that if the invitation is folded style, enclosures will be placed within the folded invitation – not on top.

Place remaining enclosure cards (i.e. map card and hotel accommodations card) face-up on top of the reception card. If there are separate directions for the ceremony and the reception, make sure that the directions to the ceremony are on top of the directions to the reception.

Place the reply envelope on top of the enclosure cards – the reply card itself should be tucked under its envelope’s flap. Make sure to place face-up so that the printed side of the reply card is visible. Contrary to somewhat popular belief, do not place the reply card inside of the reply envelope.

After you have all of these elements inserted into the inner envelope, slip the unsealed inner envelope into the outer envelope with the names facing the back flap.

With these six easy steps, you’ll have your wedding invitations finished and sent out to your guests in no time. Not only will it make it easier for you by following these simple steps, but your invitations will have a classy appeal that everyone will be talking about until the big day.

Monday, June 22, 2015

Listen to Our Playlist of Anything-But-Boring Classical Wedding Songs

Classic Southern Wedding, Aimee and Larry - Church CeremonyClassical music and weddings go together like two peas in a pod. Think about it — when you close your eyes and imagine a ceremony, for example, what do you hear? Most likely, it's strains of Mendelssohn's "The Wedding March" or Pachelbel's "Canon in D." These songs harken back to the earliest days of weddings as we know them, and all musicians can (most likely) play them with their eyes closed.

Though we're all about updating and personalizing every part of a ceremony and reception to your liking, there's something about these tunes that strike up the most sentimental feelings. Naturally, we curated a Spotify playlist of our favorite classical music songs for the purist in all brides!

We obviously included the two songs mentioned above, because they are by far the most common and popular. Others, though, are equally appropriate. We're huge fans of Beethoven's "Ode to Joy," Delibes's "Flower Duet," Debussy's "Clair de Lune," and Bach's "Ave Maria." They're all elegant, simple, and provide a lovely backdrop to a processional. We also included Mendelssohn's "A Midsummer Night's Dream," Handel's "Water Music," Bach's "Jesu, Joy of Man's Desiring," and selections from Mozart's "Marriage of Figaro" for good measure.

Most brides assume they should include at least one classical song in their wedding playlist, but after listening to these, we have a feeling that more than one will make the cut! Sit back, relax, and enjoy these songs that couples have gotten married to for decades.


Friday, June 19, 2015

5 Ways to Honor Your Dad at Your Wedding

wedding blog, wedding ideas, how to honor dad at your wedding

We’re heading into Father’s Day weekend, so we can’t think of a better time to acknowledge all of the dads out there. Fathers have traditionally played an important role in weddings, from footing some (or all) of the bill, to giving the bride away, to toasting the happy couple at the reception. Sometimes, they’re even the groom! Whatever the case, they deserve our appreciation and recognition for all they do.

Here are five of our favorite ways to honor your dad(s) on the wedding day:

1. Borrow something from him as your “something old.” Traditionally, brides borrow jewelry from female relatives for this tradition, but there’s no rule saying that brides and grooms can’t borrow something from their fathers instead. You can just as easily secure your dad’s favorite tie pin to your bouquet as you could a cameo, for example, or grooms can carry or wear a favorite watch.

2. Let him choose the father-daughter dance song. This dance is often emotional for both the father and bride, and allowing your dad to choose the song can make it more so. But if your dad isn’t the sentimental type, that’s okay too. Just let him pick the song that he thinks best represents the two of you. For a fun touch, let him surprise you with it!

3. Give him a gift. This is a tried and true way to thank anyone important to you at your wedding. Consider giving your father an embroidered handkerchief, special cufflinks reading “Father of the Bride” or “Father of the Groom,” or a framed photo of the two of you, maybe one that includes a picture of you when you were younger and one left open to be filled with a photo from the wedding day.

4. Spend a few minutes together before the ceremony. Often, the wedding day flies by so quickly that you don’t get to say or do the things you planned. Arrange for five minutes alone with your father. You could even have it be a “first sighting” photo where he first sees you in your wedding attire. Then take those five minutes with him and tell him how thankful you are that he’s there to celebrate with you.

5. Write a poem or speech for him. If your father doesn’t mind having attention focused on him, take time during the reception to give a toast or speech in his honor. For the creative types out there, writing a song or poem dedicated to him is also a lovely touch.

A 4-Year-Old Flower Girl Stole a Kiss from the Ring Bearer in Her Mom's Wedding Photo!

Turns out, not all four-year-olds are afraid of cooties! Flower girl Anderson Hall surprised everyone at her mom Michelle Hall's Knoxville, Tennessee, wedding on Saturday when she misinterpreted photographer Leah Bullard's directions and — when Bullard prompted the newlywed grown-ups to kiss during a bridal party photo shoot — little Anderson planted a big smooch right on Ike, a very shocked ring bearer.

"I was setting up the bridal party to take the bridal party photographs, like I do at every wedding, and so I took a few shots of that, and then I said, 'Okay, I need the bride and groom to kiss.' So, when I said that, well naturally...she thought I was referring to her, because she thought she was the bride and so naturally she just leaned in for a kiss and kissed that ringbearer!" photographer Leah Bullard told WBIR Knoxville.

"Guess what! When momma kissed, Ikey and I kissed!! I was trying to get Ikey to kiss me..." said Anderson, who, according to Bullard, "was calling herself the bride the whole day."

Bullard attempted to get the wedding shot again: "I said...'Okay, let's try that again, one more time bride and groom kiss...' and [Anderson] really went for it that time, and it was hilarious!" the Knoxville-based photographer said. "I strive to capture the moment of the day, so for me to be able to capture that moment, that's a moment that the families can look back on for years to come and laugh and relive it over again."

Bullard said everyone in the wedding party got a big laugh out of the sweet, unexpected moment. And as for the budding "relationship" between Anderson and Ike? "He was the best ring bearer ever! And he thought I was the best flower girl ever! We're best friends," said Anderson.

Thursday, June 18, 2015

10 Epic Ideas for Your Marriage Bucket List

Marriage Bucket List Ideas
Photo: Getty Images
You're married. Now what? It's important to keep the spark alive even once the honeymoon period wears off. One way to do just that? Start dreaming up a list of every single thing you both hope of doing one day — the crazier the idea, the better. After all, novelty is the spice of life. And science has shown that doing new things as a couple is one of the secrets to a long-lasting relationship. To get the ideas flowing, we rounded up 10 epic to-dos to kick off your marriage bucket-list brainstorm.

1. Conquer your biggest fear together. Afraid of heights? Go skydiving. Scared of sharks? Take surfing lessons. Push each other out of your comfort zones — it's bound to strengthen your bond and bring you that much closer.

2. Take a selfie together on every continent (or at least six out of the seven). Getting to Antarctica may be a wee bit ambitious...

3. Plan a romantic cross-country road trip. Hit up the Grand Canyon, catch a Cirque du Soleil show in Las Vegas, have a pretty picnic at Garden of the Gods in Colorado Springs or take a wine tour in Napa Valley. The options are endless, really.

4. Build your dream home or turn the house you own into the place you both always envisioned living.

5. Train for a marathon together. And then run it, duh. Because couples that exercise together, stick together.

6. Start a family business. Even if it's something as simple as selling lemonade to the neighborhood kids or creating an Etsy shop.

7. Try something new in the bedroom or even outside of the bedroom weekly.

8. Take a cue from Landon in A Walk to Remember and name a star after each other.

9. Move abroad for at least a year or to any city within the US that has a culture very different than your own. New experiences are what keep relationships exciting. Plus, you'll be surprised at what you learn about yourself and your spouse in the process.

10. Have kids. Because honestly, what could be more epic than making a little human being that shares your DNA?

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

15 Things Every Bride Hopes Her Groom Will Think on the Wedding Day

Just as your thoughts are a jumble of nerves and excitement on your wedding day, remember that your groom is feeling a combination of crazy (good) emotions too. And though we can't say for sure what is going on inside your guy's brain on the big day, here are 15 things every bride hopes her groom will think.

1. "I can't believe I get to spend the rest of my life with this woman."

2. "I can't wait for the wedding ceremony to end so I can finally call her my wife. Who would have thought I'd be so excited about the commitment?"

3. "That dress...wow."

4. "Can I convince her to wear it again? If buying season tickets to the opera or symphony is what it takes, so be it."

5. "If it were anyone else walking down the aisle, I would be nervous — but every ounce of doubt fell away the moment I saw her."

6. "I'm grateful for every bad date I've been on, because I finally found the right one."

7. "She was right about those fluffy flowers (what are they called again?) lining the aisle, even if the decision did take way too long to make."

8. "Gisele has nothing on my wife."

9. "Beauty, brains, and heart — she literally has it all. I should remind her of this as often as possible."

10. "I still can't believe she wasn't taken before this. How lucky am I?"

11. "I wish I could find the words to tell her how special she is."

12. "My vows fall woefully short of conveying how great she is. Is there an app for that?"

13. "I'm going support her in every way I can from this day forward. Did I just write one of my wedding vows?"

14. "Is it my imagination, or does she look look more beautiful each day I'm with her?"

15. "This is way better than the bachelor party."

Tuesday, June 16, 2015

Unexpected Bridal Looks that Totally Work

From red wedding dresses to sporty sneakers, we can't get enough of the unconventional fashion twists we spotted on these real brides. Get ready to be inspired!
  1. Red Wedding Dress

    Photo by Marie Labbancz
    A deep red hue and modern silhouette create a standout style that guarantees all eyes will be on the bride.
    From: Wine Country Themed Wedding in the Woods at Pomme in Radnor, Pennsylvania
  2. Statement Jewelry

    bride wearing statement necklace
    Photo by Shannon Rosan Photography
    A mix of rhinestones and pearls offers just enough bling--and balances out the fuller tulle skirt.
    From: A Chic Vintage Wedding at The Inn at Park Winters in Winters, California
  3. Bridal Sneakers

    Bride and groom in sneakers
    Photo by We've Got Something Special Photography
    Teal Converse sneakers are a cool twist on the traditional "something blue" and will assure maximum comfort all day and night.
    From: An Elegant Backyard Wedding at a Private Residence in Youngstown, Ohio
  4. Floral Wedding Dress

    Photo by Babylon and Beyond Photography
    Red floral embroidery gives a white wedding dress a pop of color, as well as a touch of gorgeous texture.
    From: A Red Luxurious Wedding at Cafe Nuovo in Providence, Rhode Island
  5. Cropped Sequin Jacket

    Photo by Aster & Olive Photography
    A gold sequin bolero adds unexpected glam to a more rustic outdoor celebration.
    From: A Rustic Barn Wedding at The Columbia Ballroom in Columbia Station, Ohio
  6. Ombre Blush Dress

    blush ombre wedding dress
    Photo by Asteria Photography
    With a subtle hint of blush, a strapless dress perfectly mixes timeless tradition with modern runway trends.
    From: A Waterfront Destination Wedding at Wild Dunes Resort in Charleston, South Carolina

Monday, June 15, 2015

What to Consider When Choosing Your Ceremony Music

While I’m always a fan of tradition, when recently deciding on the ceremony music for our upcoming wedding, my fiancé and I went a different route. We wanted something personal, to stand out from the crowd. Gone are the days of only having Pachelbel Canon to choose from but with all the options out there, it can be a bit overwhelming. Luckily we have NY Ceremony Music right here, sharing their insight from 15+ years of making magic happen.


Evoking emotion is a core element to a ceremony and carefully chosen music never ceases to do just that. Some couples may have a special song that reminds them of the time they met and others may have a family song that’s cherished. Exploring songs that make you feel nostalgic is a great way to begin choosing your music selections.


Another key factor in choosing great music for your ceremony is the melody. When picking out a piece for an instrumental group, make sure the song has a strong melody for the musician to play. Lyrics are certainly relevant even for an instrumental group as your guests will likely have them going through their head if they recognize the song, however, without a strong melody, the piece may not translate well without the lyrics. Be selective. The Beatles for instance always have strong melodies in their songs. An easy trick to see if a song has a strong melody is to try humming it. If you can easily hum a melody, chances are the song will translate very nicely instrumentally.


The prelude is an essential part of the ceremony and it really sets the mood for the big day. And with that in mind, it’s important to know that the prelude music is for the guests. Every generation will be hanging out and socializing before the ceremony, so it’s really important to have a wide array of pieces that cover the scope of the generations attending the wedding. A good balance may be having some Louis Armstrong, Elvis and the Beatles as well as more modern groups like Radiohead, The Smiths, and The Fleetfoxes. Everyone should feel included and be able to appreciate this section of the wedding.


Over the past 15 years we have seen the ceremony evolve towards a more boutique and personalized occasion. The ceremony is a reflection of who you are. If Pachelbel Cannon or the Wedding March don’t reflect who you are, pick something which you have a personal relationship with. Pick a song that makes you truly feel a special emotion so that you will remember processing down the aisle to the love of your life for the rest of your life!

Friday, June 12, 2015

The Must-Know Dos and Don'ts of Wedding Guest Attire

Dos and Don'ts of Wedding Guest Attire
Patricia Lyons Photography
Nowadays, there are so many ways to showcase your personal style — especially at a wedding. Guests no longer need to follow to tradition when it comes to their looks for the special occasion. But when does your very own personal flair conflict with etiquette? Here, we give you what you can — and never should — wear on the big day.

The Dos:

Use good judgement: If the invitation does not indicate a theme or the wedding's level of formality, keep it simple, yet refined.

Embrace soft colors: Though pastels are usually associated with spring, they can work all-year round. A blush pink sheath dress or expertly-tailored suit will make you one of the best dressed no matter what the season.

A little black dress is a foolproof choice: The LBD is classic and comes in hundreds of iterations. If you are on the fence about what to wear, choose a figure-flattering black number and add some panache by way of your accessories.

Comfortable, yet stylish shoes do exist: You will be dancing and mingling all night, so you should work on purchasing a pair of stylish shoes that are still highly functional.

The Don'ts:

Avoid wearing white at all costs: This is the bride's day, so you shouldn't compete with her by wearing the same shade. In addition to pastels, there are so many other hues to choose from including a beautiful jewel tone or glamorous metallic hue.

Keep the embellishment to a minimum for daytime weddings: Most stylish women love a good sequined design, but they're not the best choice for daytime ceremonies. You can instead make up for that glitz with statement-making jewelry and shoes.

Leave sultry silhouettes for nights out: There is never anything wrong with flaunting your figure, but a wedding is not the place for unabashedly sexy looks.

Denim is a no-go: Some ceremonies are casual, but even then, that does not warrant wearing denim or chambray. Instead opt for a billowing maxi dress in a romantic print.

Thursday, June 11, 2015

The Sweetest "Something Blue" Ideas From Real Brides

  1. Sentimental Touches

    custom embroidery inside dress
    We love the thought behind this "something blue." The bride stitched pieces from her grandmothers' wedding gowns onto a piece of her mother's dress—one of her grandmothers collected pigs while the other collected hearts.

    From: A Formal Art Deco Wedding at Peabody Opera House in St. Louis, Missouri

  2. Custom Handkerchief

    something blue handkerchief
    Photo by Erin Paris Photography
    This couple's Hawaii wedding was full of beautiful details, but one of our favorites was the custom handkerchief that incorporated the bride's "something blue."
    From: A Rustic, Beach Wedding at Sunset Ranch in O'ahu, Hawaii

  3. Hidden Charm

    Greek Orthodox Cross sewn in dress
    Photo by Durling Photography
    As her "something blue," this bride had a Greek Orthodox cross, which her godmother had given her, sewn to her dress.

    From: A Formal Greek and Irish Wedding at the Grosse Pointe Yacht Club in Grosse Pointe, Michigan

  4. Family Heirloom

    aquamarine cocktail ring
    Photo by Sarah Kate Photography
    This aquamarine cocktail ring belonged to the bride's grandmother—and was used as a "something blue" in several family weddings!
    From: A Timeless White Wedding at The Four Seasons in Dallas, Texas
  5. Vintage Hair Clip

    vintage blue hair clip
    Photo by BG Productions Photography and Videography
    Why have one "something blue" when you can have two? This bride donned a blue, jeweled flower clip—that had belonged to her great-grandmother—in her hair, and she finished her look with sweet, light blue, crochet flats.
    From: A Rustic Fall Wedding at Mount Gretha in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

  6. Thoughtful Details

    Father's shirt wrapped around bouquet as something blue
    Photo by Peach Plum Pear Photography
    In remembrance of her late father, this bride had a piece of his mechanic shirt wrapped around her bouquet.
    From: A Fall Modern Wedding at The Icebox at Crane Arts in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

Wednesday, June 10, 2015

What Your Bridesmaid Count Says About You

Photo: Clane Gessel Photography
The number of girls you choose to include in your bridal party can reveal a lot about you as a person, as well as your likes and hobbies. Whether you're going big or keeping it super small, find out what your bridesmaid count says about you.

More Than 10
You're the social butterfly of your clique and always like to keep a gaggle of girls around you to ham it up with. Your motto in life is to work hard, play hard and that you do! After a long day at the office, you can either be found partaking in happy hour, meeting up with your meetup group or hosting a dinner party with your besties and their significant others too. You're charming and utterly irresistible so it's no wonder people are naturally drawn to your bubbly energy.

Anywhere From 7 to 9
You're a modern day nomad with besties scattered all across the country. Some may say you're indecisive, but your friends mean the world to you, and there's no way you could picture saying I do without them all standing by your side. You jump at the chance to take girls' vacays and enjoy gossiping about everything from celebrities to fashion to fiancés with them. Others would definitely describe you as outgoing, fun to be around and even the life of the party from time to time.

Between 4 and 6
While you love socializing and hanging out with your friends, you also like your alone time and can get overwhelmed when there's too many people around at once. Your bridal party most likely consists of your sister or or sister-in-law, your BFF since childhood and a few other ladies you've know for years and are currently still close to. You may have been a dancing machine in your single days, but now you enjoy drinks and dinner (and brunch, of course) with the girls on the weekend.

Less than 3
You couldn't decide between your group of girls so you simply opted to ask your two sisters instead. That doesn't mean you won't have your high school besties stop by for a quick champagne toast before the ceremony though. You're fiercely loyal, all about family and would do anything for the people you love in your life. In your free time, you like nothing more than hitting up a local museum, going to an art show or even checking out your favorite up-and-coming band at a dive bar. On the other hand, you're also completely happy having a movie night in with your man.

None at All
You march to the beat of your own drum, and as far as tradition goes, you're certainly not afraid to break with it. Of course, you have several close friends you could ask, but your wedding is small and you really want the focus to be on you and your fiancé. That's not to say you like being the center of attention though; in fact, it's quite the opposite. Small talk totally isn't your thing, as you much prefer deep conversations to mindless chitchat.

Tuesday, June 9, 2015

5 Things Your Wedding Planner Can't Fix

Owner of Weddings in Vieques, a destination-wedding planning company off the coast of Puerto Rico, Sandy Malone has helped countless couples plan their big day since 2007. Here, she breaks down what are out of your planner's control.

After almost eight years of planning almost 500 weddings, it's not uncommon to hear me yell the following phrase in my office: "I'm a wedding planner, not a magician!" I can only control so much of what happens. Most of it is up to the couple to take care of in advance.

1. If your wedding gown doesn't fit, I can't do anything about it.
By the time I see the problem, it's too late. You should have a proper fitting of your gown with a seamstress to make any fit adjustments. You need to have a professional do the fitting and alterations well in advance.

2. Sunburn isn't fixable.
Sure, if you've got last-minute access to an air-brush makeup artist, you can triage. But end of day, if you're planning to wear a gown that displays your shoulders and back, you have to be smart about what bathing suits you wear in the months, weeks and days leading up to your wedding.

3. A sudden hike or drop in the number of guests attending your wedding.
If you invited 200 people but wouldn't let me budget you for more than 45 guests because that's all you thought would attend, you're setting yourself up for a budget disaster. Likewise, if you take over a boutique hotel or guest house property that requires you to fill a certain number of rooms, but then a bunch of your friends you were counting on drop out, you will be responsible for paying for those empty rooms. That's why you should book your venue first — if you have overflow, you can direct them to other accommodations once your main obligation is filled.

4. The weather.
I can plan and execute the most incredible wedding in the world for my clients, even if I have to switch to our "Plan B" for inclement weather. But, I cannot control the weather. If it rains on your wedding day, you have to keep smiling or you will bring everybody down with you and ruin your whole experience. Stay optimistic but don't blame the wedding planner if Mother Nature interferes.

5. Bridal party punctuality.
I can give you and the bridesmaids a schedule and make sure every vendor (especially the beauty team) is where they're supposed to be on time, but if your girls run late and don't show up ready for beauty services, things will run behind.

Monday, June 8, 2015

How to Avoid Mama Drama When Planning Your Wedding

While wedding planning brings some brides and their mothers closer together, your relationship with your mom can also be a huge source of stress when you're planning your wedding. Here are four common mother-of-the-bride behaviors you might experience and our advice on how to handle them.
1. Your mom has very specific ideas for what is "right" when it comes to a wedding...ideas you don't agree with. Try to empathize with your mom. Weddings are as much about our families as they are about the couple, and your parents may be worried that your choices might reflect badly on them to their friends or close family members. So just like you may need to remind yourself that people aren't judging you based on your wedding, you may need to remind your mom of the same thing.
2. There is a specific and seemingly unimportant detail of your wedding that your mom doesn't like...and she just won't let it go. No matter how many times you tell her that it's totally cool to have a brunch wedding or to not wear a veil, she keeps insisting that you'll regret it. Arguments like these often aren't really about the detail in question; they are about the fact that you're asserting your independence as an adult in a new, huge, and very public way. Again, try to be patient with your mom if she's worrying out about the small stuff...and find other ways to gently remind her that you still need her in your life.
3. She secretly enlists your fiancé or your future in-laws to take her side during wedding disagreements. Going behind your back to get approval for her ideas isn't OK. While it's fine for your fiancé to chat with your mom about wedding stuff, it's not cool to conspire with your mom against you. Ask your partner to firmly tell your mom, "I see your point but I'll have to it over with [the bride] first and then we'll let you know what we think" when she tries to start these kinds of conversations. Then make it clear to her (and your future in-laws, if necessary) that you're not OK with that tactic. This is the kind of behavior that will only cause more stress for you and your partner once you're married, so it's better to deal with it directly now.
4. Your mom won't stop talking negatively about her body or stressing about what she's going to wear for your wedding. Body image issues can affect women of all ages, and being the mother of the bride can bring out certain insecurities about aging, so it's no surprise that your mom is preoccupied with thoughts of how she'll look at your wedding. Do your best to reassure her that you think she's beautiful and help her find something she feels great in to wear on your wedding day. If the negative talk is really getting you down, ask her what would make her feel more confident at your wedding or if there is anything you can do to help. Calling attention to her behavior might help put a stop to it.
If your mom is causing drama during wedding planning, try to think of your her as another adult and not just your mom. When you know another adult is going through a lot of emotions, you're probably patient whenever you can be and firm (but polite) when necessary. Try your best to give your mom that much...and don't forget to send her flowers for Mother's Day!
—By Rachel W. Miller

Friday, June 5, 2015

16 Dos and Don’ts of Planning a Bridal Shower

Garden vintage place setting for bridal shower
Photo by Braedon Photography

Do take the initiative to plan it.
Don't plan the entire thing yourself.

Whether you're the honor attendant or a family member, it's never a bad idea to get the bridal shower conversation going (and the earlier the better!). But just because you're game to coordinate and lead the charge doesn't mean you have to take it all on yourself. Enlist the other members of the bridal party and even the families of the bride and groom to give input and help out too. The best way to go about it is to get everyone together and ask what each person wants to help with instead of assigning duties. Anyone who is hosting should be included on the invitation as well.

Do organize a theme or group activity.
Don't make the bride uncomfortable.

Having a bridal shower theme or planning out a group activity will make the planning easier, and it's a talking point to bring together college friends and grandparents. But before you start making plans to have a sex toy demonstration or take everyone bungee jumping, ask the bride if there's anything they would be uncomfortable with. If it turns out they're anti-tradition and want to have a get-together that doesn't include the classic games or gifts, then you should respect that and come up with something they'll enjoy -- even if it isn't your thing.

Do pick a date early on.
Don't forget to ask the VIPs for their availability.

Even if you're planning to wait to host the bridal shower until shortly before the wedding, you're going to want to make sure you pick a time when most, if not everyone, can come. Figuring out multiple schedules can be a lot of back and forth, so it's best to start early and pick a date way in advance. Depending on where guests live, they may need to make travel plans, but if most people are local, you have more options. It's possible not everyone will be able to come, but there are at least a few people in the immediate family and the honor attendant who should definitely be there, so their schedules might be the deal breaker.

Do ask the bride for their guest list.
Don't invite anyone who isn't invited to the wedding.

Instead of starting from scratch, you should ask the bride to help out or make suggestions for the guest list. But before you send out invites, just do a quick double-check that everyone who's being invited to the bridal shower will also be invited to the wedding to avoid any hurt feelings.

Do give some guidelines for gifts.
Don't make the gift giving too raunchy.

Come up with a theme for the gift giving that ties in with the party. Share the couple's registry info, but let guests know they don't have to just stick to that if they have something else in mind – the bride might also love off-registry items, like activities for their honeymoon or gear for all of their hiking adventures. Our only advice here: Remind guests that the shower is an all ages affair, and while something tongue-in-cheek, like an artful karma sutra coffee-table book, will probably go over okay, you may want to avoid anything outright naughty, like sex toys and triple X-rated lingerie (save those fun goodies for the bachelorette party!).

Do send shower invitations
Don't go overboard on the paper.

Once you have all the logistics together, you should definitely send out invitations, even if most of the guests have helped out with planning the bridal shower. If a lot of guests are coming from out of town, the earlier you send them, the better—at least two months before if not earlier; if most people are local, four to six weeks should be just fine. That doesn't mean you have to go nuts with the invites -- those cute ready-made cards available at any card store are great. And you can even go paperless for this one with the help of a graphic designer or an evite service.

Do serve something to nibble on.
Don't cater an entire meal (unless you want to!).

Having some type of food is a must, whether it's inspired by breakfast for dinner or a sweets table. Consider catering if you're throwing a large party, but you could even make some of the main dishes and then supplement with catering additions, or have other guests contribute as a potluck. As long as the party doesn't cover all of dinnertime, for example, you don't have to serve a full meal. Light snacks or hors d'oeuvres or a continental breakfast of pastries, fruit and coffee are plenty. Just let guests know on the invite so they're prepared.

Do have a loose schedule.
Don't make it too detailed or strict.

Keep the momentum rolling by having a general idea of what you'll do at the beginning, middle and end of the shower. You may need to enlist the help of some other hosts for the gift-giving portion (you'll need at least two people -- one to bring each gift to the bride and another to write down who gave what). Just because you have a plan doesn't mean you have to control every single second. If The Newlywed Game inspires everyone to share their own hilarious stories, let it roll. But having a plan is helpful in case there's an unexpected lull in the party.

Thursday, June 4, 2015

15 Summer Registry Essentials

The weather is heating up and it’s time to get outdoors! Here are fifteen registry picks guaranteed to help you make the most of your summer. 

1. Melamine Dinnerware

The brighter, the better! Take the dinner party outside with these festive Mudhut Marika Dinner Plates, available at Target.
2. Updated Luggage

Summer is prime season for weekend getaways, and this Bric’s X-Bag Spinner from Bloomingdale's will help you travel in style.
3. Ice Cream Maker

Whip up your own frozen flavors with this Cuisinart Pure Indulgence Ice Cream Maker, available at Kohl’s.
4. LED Lantern

Display a few lanterns on your porch or patio for the perfect post-sunset ambience. This Gerson Scalloped LED Lantern from Kohl’s emits a lovely soft glow.
5. Personalized Beach Towel

Whether you plan to hit the beach, lounge by the pool, or relax in the park, a quality beach towel is a must-have. Our pick? Pottery Barn’s Reversible Awning Stripe Beach Towel. Bonus: You can have it customized with your name or monogram.
6. Beverage Server

With the Heritage Beverage Jar from Sur La Table, refreshing summer beverages are always on tap! Lemonade, anyone?
7.  Misting Fan

Keep cool even on the hottest summer day with this inventive Luma Comfort Outdoor Misting Fan from Kohl's.
8. Garden Planters
Put that green thumb to good use with these gorgeous Tuscan Planters from Pottery Barn.
9. Picnic Basket
Why not take advantage of the sunshine and balmy weather with a little al fresco dining? We love the combination of rustic and modern elements on the Sunnylife Wicker Picnic Basket, available at Nordstrom. Bonus: there’s a wine holder attached.

10. Herb Scissors

Summertime is the season for delicious herbs like basil, mint, parsley, and chives. These Mastrad Herb Scissors from Sur La Table make it easy to add them to every meal.
11. Outdoor Pouf

Kick up your feet with the Mina Victory Water Resistant Outdoor Cube Pouf, available at Nordstrom in scrumptious summer colors like lime green, orange, and turquoise.
12. Serving Tray

This sweet Garden Floral Tray from Sur La Table makes outdoor entertaining that much more fun!
13. Drink Cooler
Keep those beverages chilled at a beach party, backyard BBQ, or summer soiree with the Coleman Wheeled Cooler, available at Target.
14. Seafood Cracker
These Red Seafood Crackers from William-Sonoma are a must for feasting on lobster claws, crab legs, and other summer seafood staples.
15. Pool Tote

Pack up some sunscreen, a good book, and other summer essentials in this oversized linen Modern Pool Tote from Mark and Graham.