Thursday, June 30, 2016

4 Steps to Looking Flawless in Your Engagement Photos

Photo: Alison Conklin Photography

You've taken the perfect #EngagementRingSelfie, you've screamed "I"m engaged!" from the loudest social media rooftops, and now it's time to announce your happily ever after to the world with the perfect engagement photo session. But what about your makeup for those photos? Sure we all know that wedding day beauty is of the utmost importance, but these photos should also stand the test of time — and that starts with your beauty look. Lucky for you we've partnered with our friends at Pixi Beauty to get you engagement photo-ready in four easy steps.

1. Get Started on That Bridal Glow

We'll never tire of saying this: The bridal glow all starts with taking great care of your skin! Upping your water consumption should be first on your list, but after you schedule your engagement photo session it's time to get serious about skincare. Enter Pixi's iconic Glow Tonic ($29) — the glow is in the name! — for a healthier and firmer complexion by photo shoot date. Ginseng and glycolic acid help tone and firm, while Aloe Vera makes this alcohol-free toner soothing and hydrating. Add this product to your day and night routine, after cleansing, to see glowing results. Finish off with the all over Glow Mist ($14).

2. Show Off Your Skin With Barely-There Foundation

Wedding photos and lighting can be more intense, but engagement portraits are often shot during the day, with nothing but natural sunlight to highlight your features. Take advantage of that lighting and go for a foundation that makes you look and feel as natural and easy as possible — after all these portraits won't feel as formal as your big day photos. Forget a face full of caked on makeup; the idea here is to let your natural beauty shine through. It all starts with prepping the skin (aka the glow), and adding coverage slowly, as needed, so that you look more au natural. Skip the powder and start with a redness reducing primer (Redness Reducing Primer, $22), followed by a light beauty fluid (Flawless Beauty Fluid, $30) to even out the skin tone with a barely-there look. A dab of a concealer and highlighter combo (Illuminating Tint & Conceal, $24) in all the right spots (read under the eyes — don't forget the corners — the brow bone, and cupid's bow) should be the final touch.

3. Be the Blushing Bride

The glow is the first step, and now you want to add that "I'm so in love" rosy flush. They'll never know you aren't a naturally blushing bride with a gel based cheek color. Dab on a hint of Pixi's Sheer Cheek Gel ($14) in Rosy or Natural for a look that hydrates and soothes while giving off that subtle radiance every bride craves.

4. A Natural Lip

While you want some color, a bold lip could be the difference between timeless photos and something that looks trend-driven and outdated 10 years from now. A light tinted balm (Tinted Brilliance Balm, $14) crayon should do the trick — giving you a dewy lip, without any stickiness, and just a hint of color.

Wednesday, June 29, 2016

Timeless Décor Items You Should Definitely Include in Your Wedding Registry

Photo: Courtesy of black+blum
It's so easy to get a little trigger-happy when it comes to registering with those tempting little laser scanners at retailers. While even the best of us can go in with a plan, all too often brides end up receiving gifts they registered for — that they will never, ever use. To ensure you use AND love every piece you select, it's important to save the trends for a rainy day shopping excursion — and focus on timeless pieces for your registry. This way, they'll stick with you (and your décor) forever, as will the memories of guests who've gifted them!
There's nothing worse than having flowers gifted or delivered to your door and having no means to display them. When it comes to both timeless and meaningful gifts, you can never go wrong with registering for a classically beautiful vase (or two!) For brides who love little and big blue boxes, Tiffany & Co. crafts gorgeous vases to suit any style.

Serving Pieces
Any hostess knows the importance of a quality, neutral, and chic serving platter. After working so hard on entertaining a large party, presentation is everything. For brides to be that sweat silver, Pottery Barn offers the Antique Silver Sentiment collection of serving bowls, platters and utensils that will add a touch of elegance and grace to any place setting. For Neiman Marcus registrants, designers Wallace Silversmiths have stunning silver pieces certain to wow your guests, while fine china designer Juliska has created neutral pieces in unique shapes and sizes that are modern enough for trendy brides, yet perennial and chic enough for the long haul.

Photo Frames
You're going to want to display your wedding photos throughout your home, and while novelty Mr. and Mrs. frames are adorable — they're not as classic or timeless as some other options. Consider registering for silver or wooden photo frames that can stick with you as your décor and home evolve and change. Kate Spade offers an assortment of silver, rose gold and gold photo frames that will stand out on their own as they display your most cherished memories.

Candle Holders
Nothing completes a holiday or dinner party tablescapes like a pair of gorgeous candlesticks. With this in mind, aim your scan gun at classic options such as silver candlesticks, crystal votive holders, or any complementing combination of the two. Waterford Lismore collection offers chic, sparkly votive holders, while home décor designer Nambé offers silver, wooden and glass options in all sizes you're sure to love (and light!).

A Classic Piece
Certain furniture items will never go out of style. While some couples might be hesitant to register for a big-ticket item like a couch, consider the fact that many attendees would prefer to chip in for a large gift that you can cherish forever, rather than something like a toaster or blender. Many retailers will allow you to register for furniture pieces, so consider what would be the ideal piece for your house or apartment now, as well as your future home. If you're registering for china, for example, you'll need some place to store it. And it would be pretty awesome to have a buffet or bar cabinet to store your new glassware (and booze!) Crate & Barrel offers an array of bar carts and their Marin Shiitake Bar Cabinet is a versatile and classic piece. Registering at Macy's? Their furniture department offers both corner curious and china cabinets perfect to showcase your new place settings!

Tuesday, June 28, 2016

5 Reasons Big Budget Wedding Flowers Are Absolutely Worth The Splurge

Photo: Saul Metnick
Of course, you can get the look for less, but isn't the real thing always better? We think so! As if you needed another reason to pick peonies for your wedding day, here are five reasons that'll leave you completely convinced as to why those big-budget wedding flowers are really worth every penny.

1. Because you get what you pay for!
When you deal with less expensive flowers, unfortunately you usually find yourself with lower end design work and less attention to detail (although not always), notes Bronwen Smith, lead designer and owner of B Floral. A lot of time you also end up with more greenery, which can be a good or bad thing, depending on the specific look you're after. For this reason, Smith recommends keeping in mind the amount of greenery you'd like, versus what would be unwantedly added because of a misdirected floral budget. "Perhaps it goes without saying that a big investment should always be carefully considered and that, more often than not, high cost equals high quality," adds floral expert Caroline Bailly, owner of L'Atelier Rouge.

2. You have more options.
Like anything else, there are different levels of flowers. And with a bigger budget, you'll not only have a wider variety of florals available to you, but a better selection on the higher end of the spectrum as well, points out Smith.

3. Pricy flowers typically take up more space and make a bigger impact.
Did you know that pricy, higher end flowers usually take up more space than less expensive ones? According to Smith, it's true! "For example, a peony takes up more space in a bridal bouquet as opposed to a carnation, meaning more bang for your buck." Bailly seconds this. "Peonies may prove pricy," she says, "but many of their varietals, especially in peak season, have rather large heads, so the florist needs less of them when putting together arrangements."

4. They're a work of art.Smith suggests thinking of your floral arrangements and bouquets as a work of art. And the better the art, the higher the cost, right? "These are what people are going to notice on tablescapes, bars, as well as in your wedding photos." If you're investing in the venue, the dress and everything else, you'll want to make sure that all of that investment is captured, stresses Bailly. "Flowers help create and shape the feel of the reception room, the wedding altar and even your bridal portraits." 
5. It's your wedding, and you deserve to treat yourself! Set the tone for your marriage and beautiful things to come with an ambiance that reflects the relationship you have and want, says Smith. "It's a once in a lifetime chance to be over the top." So go ahead and splurge and treat yourself to the best of the best! 
Remember: A seasoned florist is worth her weight in gold!!!Almost anyone can source beautiful, high quality flowers, but not everyone can arrange them in a beautiful, high quality way, warns Bailly. "Many flowers that come at higher price points are absolutely worth the extra expense, provided that they're being designed in a manner that truly highlights their special qualities and not just added to a mass of flowers where what makes them meaningful might be camouflaged.

Monday, June 27, 2016

25 Tips for a Great Summer Wedding

outdoor summer wedding

Photo Credit: Sherman Chu Photography If you’re having a summertime wedding, you’re probably envisioning a gorgeous, blue-sky day that’s like something out of a movie — a sea of perfect, white roses everywhere you look, and your guests in high-fashion ensembles walking through the gardens with champagne glasses in their hands, remarking how this is the most beautiful wedding they’ve ever seen.
What you’re not envisioning is those same guests overheated, dehydrated and slumping in their chairs from the humidity, sweat pouring down the back of your dress, and hundreds of mosquitoes stuck in the icing of your perfect summer wedding cake. Or the guests remarking that they’ve never been so uncomfortable in all their lives.
Don’t let mother nature steal your summer wedding perfection! We have the top tips for preventing the dangers of the dog-day summertime heat and humidity for your guests’ comfort, your cake’s survival, and your wedding-day bliss. Here’s how to plan ahead for cool comforts and a critter-free cake:

Keeping Guests Cool

summer wedding

Photo Credit: Annie X Photographie 1. Choose an Indoor-Outdoor location. If you haven’t already booked your site — whether all-outdoors or all-indoors — look for a beautiful reception site that offers both outdoor and indoor party areas, such as one with a fabulous ballroom and a lovely outdoor terrace overlooking manicured gardens, a golf course, or the ocean. Guests can decide if they want to be in the outdoor elements, or comfortable inside in the air conditioned building. Especially if you have older or pregnant guests, it’s essential to provide a cooler environment option for all.
2. Rent A/C units. If your wedding will be in a tent, or out in the open air, be sure to rent high-quality, portable fans that you test out in the rental store to judge their strength and relative silence. Great party fans now run at a lower volume level so that everyone can hear the toasts and the music. Invest well in plenty of these fans for everyone’s comfort, and place them around the seating area, the bar, anywhere guests will gather.
3. Provide cooling gadgets. At hot outdoor weddings, and even on the tables of the terrace, set out vases or theme-appropriate containers of little hand-held, battery-run fans, or pretty paper fans for guests to cool themselves with.
4. Provide sunscreen. If guests will spend hours out in the sun, you’re a terrific host to set a spray bottle of high-SPF sunscreen at each table as well.
5. Serve lots of ice water in stylish glasses with pretty slices of lemon, lime or orange. Who says your water can’t coordinate with your wedding colors? Guests at outdoor weddings love having fresh, ice-cold water brought to them throughout the event, so be sure to order hand-passed ice water service on silver trays. If you’re having a more informal wedding, consider stocking the bar or buffet with a few ice-filled coolers of water bottles.
6. Use natural shade. Scout out your location and ask the site manager to arrange seats and tables under the shade of trees, or with big, bright table umbrellas.
7. No burning their butts! If your site will set out metal chairs for the ceremony or outdoor seating, be aware that metal can heat up in the sun. Either arrange for chair cushions or invest in fabric slip covers for chairs that will be placed in peak sunlight.

Protecting Your Look

8. Choose a summer wedding gown made of lighter fabric, appropriate for a hot-weather summer wedding, and talk to your gown stylist about fabrics that breathe, such as cotton organdy, chiffon, crepe, or voile over silk. You don’t want horrible sweat stains under your breasts, at the base of your spine and at your armpits.
9. Choose a tuxedo fabric that also breathes for the men, and select open-backed vests for the men’s comfort as well.
10. Choose the right shoes. Go for comfort as well as style with thicker heels that won’t sink into soft summertime grass.
11. Skip the train. If your ceremony and reception will be outdoors, skip the long train that only gathers grass stains with every step you take.
12. Prepare for summer hair. Curls and sculpted up-do’s often don't fare well in hot, humid weather, so go for a trial-run hair styling with a pro, explaining your summer wedding date and experimenting with sleeker hairstyles such as a pulled-back chignon or low ponytail. Hairstyles with height just aren’t going to look good for long in hot summer weather.
13. Re-think the flowers in your hair. Individual fresh blooms tucked into your hair won’t have a water source and may be the first to wilt, which is not the best effect on your wedding day.
14. Pack blotting papers and powder. Guard against shine on your nose and forehead by including plenty of blotting papers and powder in your purse or emergency kit, and ask a bridesmaid to let you know when you need to treat your skin shine so that you don’t look oil-dipped in your important photos.
15. Skip the perfume. If you don’t want swarms of bees around you, skip the scent until the evening hours when you can freshen with a gentle spritz. If you or your groom have outdoor allergies, check the day’s pollen counts at or, and use your regular allergy medication to prevent the sniffles, sneezing, red and watery eyes, and stuffed-up sinuses that can wreck your look and comfort.

Keeping Flowers Fresh

16. On a hot day, beware of your summer wedding flowers wilting quickly. Sometimes, they’re droopy when they reach you, having suffered during shipment from the floral store to your location. So ask your floral designer to transport your flowers with extra attention paid to their water sources, such as setting all the bouquets upright in a container with a few inches of water for the stems to drink from [you would need to make sure that your bouquet handles are wrapped in such a way—such as just around the middle of the gathered stems—so that cut stems are exposed at the bottom to drink up water, not fully covered by satin ribbon. Or choose single-stem flowers as both a budget idea and as a more realistic plan to keep flowers fresh and cool.
17. Choose your summer wedding flowers well for their water source ability. For instance, hydrangea is a lovely summer flower, but it wilts in minutes without a good water source, so floral designers advise you to keep the hydrangea out of your bouquet and off of your groom’s lapel, instead placing sprigs in little, water-filled vases on each table.
18. Keep your summer wedding flowers ultra-cool before the ceremony, perhaps popping all of your bouquets into the refrigerator between the pre-wedding photos and when you depart for the ceremony. And don’t spritz centerpiece flowers with water for outdoor settings, since direct sunlight will burn that water right off the bloom and turn your flowers brown. Ask for summertime-sturdy flowers and an efficient water source for all of your flowers, so that they keep their strength and look stunning throughout the event.
19. Store your tossing summer wedding bouquet in the site’s refrigerator or in a cooler you bring with you, so that it’s not sitting in the heat, losing its moisture and color.
20. Decide on a Plan B for later-in-the-day photos. Often, wedding photographers will bring you outside for additional couple photos while the dancing is going on, so look carefully at your summer wedding bouquet before you bring it into the frame with you. If all the flowers are droopy, dry and damaged from the heat, just leave it out of the frame and pose without it. Digital cameras capture every detail, and you don’t want to wind up with the horrible surprise of ‘those flowers are dead’ when you get your fabulous couple kiss-shot photos and see the damage in hi-resolution. So be sure to look closely and make the styling decision of whether or not to have the blooms in the shot with you.

Protecting Your Food

seafood bar on ice

Photo Credit: Sherman Chu /  Event Planner: Sasha Souza Events 21. The heat can do terrible things to some of your menu items, including making guests sick. So be sure that all seafood, cheeses and meats are stored in super-cooled serving dishes, perhaps on platters made of ice, and that the caterer keeps replacing sun-warmed salad dressings with cooler, fresher supplies every so often. Specifically ask for this cool-food service, as a safety measure.
22. Choose lighter, non-creamy fare for your cocktail party stations and your meal, to reduce the risk of spoilage. Summer menu items of cold, refreshing veggies, cold seafood, mango skewers and gazpacho shots are far more palatable in hot weather than heavier, cream-sauce dishes…and they’re often less expensive.
23. Cover those serving platters. Keep the flies and bees away by choosing chafing dishes and serving platters with lids on them, and don’t decorate your buffet table or stations with bee-attracting flowers.
24. Prevent mosquito and gnat dive-bombers from attacking your cake [they love the sweet frosting!] and keep your cake from melting in the sun—and collapsing to the floor—by having the site staff keep the cake in the refrigerator for the majority of the reception. It can be wheeled out, fresh and cool, when it’s time to cut the cake.
25. Add frozen drinks to your bar menu for your guests’ comfort and enjoyment.

Friday, June 24, 2016

6 Cool Food and Beverage Ideas For Your Summer Wedding

wedding blog, wedding reception, wedding ideas, weddings, wedding food, wedding catering

Happy July! We’re in the heart of summer, and today we wanted to offer up some of our favorite food and beverage options for summer weddings. Think light, think refreshing, think fruity . . and have fun with it! Here’s a list that’s sure to whet your appetite:

1. Iced drinks (nonalcoholic). Whether you have an indoor or outdoor wedding, the heat is sure to be a factor. Offer a selection of cool, thirst-quenching drinks such as iced tea, fresh juice, and fruity spritzers. I’ve even seen couples create whimsical lemonade stands featuring different colors and flavors of lemonade. Truly fun and adorable!

2. Iced drinks (alcoholic). Summer is the time to offer bar options that aren’t suited to the rest of the year. Some of the most popular summer cocktails are sangria, mint juleps, mojitos, rum punch, tequila coolers, limoncello, pina coladas, watermelon martinis, and peach bellinis.

3. Cool appetizers. Consider offering a raw bar, or individual shrimp cocktails on shaved ice. Gazpacho shots, mixed fruit kebobs with dip, crouton cups filled with mini Caesar salads, or sweet watermelon bites paired with feta and mint are among our favorite cold appetizers.

4. Bring the grill indoors. For your main meal, consider offering guests an elegant summer picnic theme. Pair grilled steaks, chicken, and/or fish with fresh and bright salsas and sauces, or go the barbecue route with pulled pork and beef brisket.

5. Keep the sides light. Some of our favorite summer side dishes include pesto pasta salad, succotash, cucumber salad, summer herb potato salad, tomato and goat cheese salad, and zucchini salad with yogurt-dill sauce.

6. Incorporate summer fruits in your dessert offerings. Whether you intend to offer only wedding cake or a wide variety of dessert options, keep flavors light and/or tart to infuse summer into your menu. Popular summer flavors are lemon, strawberry, blueberry, raspberry, melon, pineapple, apricot, and mango. Among the most popular summer desserts are sorbets, shortcakes, dessert “pops,” mini fruit pies, tortes, mousse, and cobbler.

Tuesday, June 21, 2016

How Much Input Can We Have with Our Wedding Vendors?

advice photo
Photo: Peter Van Beever 
Building a team of vendors can make or break your wedding experience. An awesome team will take care of any problem before it even arises, and will help you take your vision to the next level. But, of course, you're the client, so you're entitled to some input, right? Here's where to find the line between enough input and too much, according to our experts.

Of course your wedding vendors want to hear . Whether it's the florist, the caterer, or your wedding band, getting input from you is what turns an event into your wedding! But as professionals, you do also have to recognize when to step back and let the experts do their jobs.

When it comes to the florist, working out a style and color scheme is great, as is some guidance as to flowers you love (or hate). Less helpful? Trying to pick the exact blooms that will be in each and every arrangement. There's no way to know what your florist will find at the flower market until he or she gets there, so trust that they'll do their best to get you what you want, and will find you the next best thing if those peach roses came in a little too orange.

Working on the menu with your caterer? They wouldn't have tastings if they didn't want you to sample their food and talk to them about your likes and dislikes. And many caterers are even happy to work with you to include family recipes that aren't part of their usual repertoire. But again, draw the line before you start tweaking things that they've perfected over the years or offerings that are dependent on what's freshest. Tomato salad is great at the height of summer, but in the dead of winter, there's a reason your caprese now has roasted tomatoes instead of fresh ones.

When you're working with a wedding planner, acknowledge where their expertise trumps your opinions. They've built a career organizing, negotiating, timing, and arranging, and they've learned a lot of their tricks the hard way. If your planner insists that something just can't be done a certain way — and has a horror story to back it up — that's the time to give in. The same goes for creative license. Your planner will work closely with you to suss out all of your likes, dislikes, and expectations, but once it comes to actual event execution and nitty-gritty details, let the experts take over.

Monday, June 20, 2016

10 of Our Favorite Wedding Day Hair Accessories for Summer

small beaded headband
Photo: Courtesy of Nordstrom

Wherever your fairytale wedding takes you, these dreamy accessories will let your hair take center stage, without upstaging you. From veils to crowns—our exquisite and unique take on the top 10 hair accessory trends for summer, has something for every bride.

Photo: Courtesy of BHLDN

The Simple Statement Veil
This light and airy Parisian cirque veil complete with a hand-sewn organza ribbon hem, is cut to circular perfection—enveloping you from head to fingertip. Wear as a blusher, or flipped back for a more voluminous look. (Ribboning Cirque Veil, $250, BHLDN )

wedding headpiece
Photo: Courtesy of J Crew

The Side Comb
This handcrafted gold-leaf comb adds instant opulence and glamour to your big day. Consider this comb an ideal compliment to a side swept 'do, or an understated side swoop. (Jennifer Behr Eos Comb, $419, J Crew)

wedding headband
Photo: Courtesy of Nordstrom

The Head Band
For a dainty halo effect, dress your locks in this gold plated headband complete with lustrous freshwater pearls and beaming rhinestones. (Ines Pearl & Jeweled Head Band, $310, Nordstrom)

body framing veil
Photo: Courtesy of BHLDN

The Body Framing Veil
This intricate, French Chantilly lace hem is oval-cut to drape delicately around the shoulders. Perfect for that walk down-the-isle and romantic first dance! (Visionary Chapel Veil, $650, BHLDN)

face framing wedding veil
Photo: Courtesy of J Crew

The Face-Framing Tulle
This modern take on the veil is ideal for a demure, yet flirty, look on the big day. It's designed in fine tulle to let your groom catch a glimpse of your beauty as you float down-the-isle. (Short Tulle Veil, $198, J Crew)

hair crystals
Photo: Courtesy of Free People

The Individual Sparklers
Dress your locks with subdued sparkly gems like these metal hair clickers featuring shining rhinestones. Perfect for braids and messy buns. (Crystal Hairbead Clickers, $24, Free People)

hair flowers
Photo: Courtesy of The Left Bank

The Dainty Florals
This silk organza flower complete with freshwater pearl & Swarovski crystal centers can be placed anywhere for a bold, yet swoon-worthy statement. (Sara Gabriel Raquel Clips, $157, The Left Bank)

floral headband
Photo: Courtesy of Free People

The Whimsical Floral Crown
We're not quite done with floral crowns, and this understated colorful confection dressed in Mulberry paper florals is the reason why. (Cosmo Daisy Crown, $38, Free People)

small wedding headbands
Photo: Courtesy of Nordstrom

The Bohemian Head Wrap
Winding luminescent crystals make this delicate head wrap the ideal headband or cascading adornment to a sensuous mermaid braid. Dainty alligator clips let you design a look that's all your own. (Vera Bohemian Head Wrap by Untamed Petals by Amanda Judge, $145, Nordstrom)

beaded headband
Photo: Courtesy of Free People

The Woodland Crown
For our etherial brides, this delicate crown is fastened in preserved dried thistle and baby's breath, wrapped around floral twine. Ideal for forest weddings and woodland fairies! (Thistle Flower Crown, $148, Free People)