Your Wedding, Your Way: Every Detail Counts

How many weddings did you attend last year that were exactly like the rest? Probably a few, considering 2.3 million couples in the United States get married every year. Using your creativity to put individual, unique touches can go a long way towards making your big day stand out – and we just don’t mean coming up with a clever #brangelina style hashtag. Let your personality really shine through with these tips:

Wedding Cake Ideas

Don’t Be Cookie Cutter (with the Cake!)

Gone are the days of your standard white wedding cake. There are so many emerging trends this year that really push the limits of tradition (even black wedding cakes!) and will get your ideas (and sweet tooth) rolling. Naked cakes have paved the way for our new favorite, the drip cake, and the emergence of crystals and their healing powers enters the wedding desserts world with an assortment of geode-themed cakes. The detail that goes into hand-painted and textured cakes is breathtaking and will really wow your guests.

Your cake topper is also a great opportunity to throw tradition to the wind and add a unique, personalized touch. Replace the old-fashioned arm-in-arm bride and groom with something that shows off your personality. Unlike some other smaller décor details of your reception, the cake topper is sure to make a prominent appearance in all of your cake cutting pictures! Need some inspiration? We’re just in love with this rustic (yet timeless!) We Do topper. Looking for a more contemporary look: you’ll love our Modern Acrylic Square topper.

Bridesmaid Gift Ideas

You’ve Got a New Last Name – Why Not Flaunt It?!

One of the craziest parts of getting married is your name change (if you decide to go that route, of course). No doubt you’ll have a full-blown freak out (in a good way!) the first time you see your new name written down. And if you’re anything like us, your closet is stocked full of monogrammed gear, so your wardrobe is going to need some serious updating. Our personalized white sun hats are a fan favorite, and the perfect accessory to rock on the beach during your bachelorette party too!

DIY wedding ideas

DIY Done Right

If you’re the creative type, crafting can be a super enjoyable part of the wedding planning process. Who wouldn’t love to have your girls over, pop a bottle of Prosecco, and whip out the hot glue gun? Now, we don’t mean your entire venue needs to look like a Pinterest board IRL. But, some small handmade touches, such as our hand-painted table numbers or scrapbook-style photo displays can add legit personality to your venue. Just don’t wait until the last minute, since every DIY project in the history of DIY projects has always taken longer than expected.

bridesmaid gift ideas

Bridesmaid Appreciation Day

Over the past few months, your bridesmaids have worked their butts off planning your shower and your bachelorette extravaganza, all the while keeping an eye on your nutty Aunt Sandra. Show them some appreciation for keeping you sane by giving a meaningful, hand-picked gift. Most brides do give something day-of to their maids, but many end up giving the same bulk gift to each bridesmaid. Go a step above by personalizing each gift for your girls. Our engraved cocktail shakers are always a huge hit. And no surprise there – who isn’t ready for a stiff drink after all of this planning?!






Three Things We Can Learn from Meghan and Harry

The time leading up to your wedding day should be the happiest time of your life. The stress of planning, however, can easily put a damper on the romance of your big day. Don’t let it get to the point where you spend more time with your to-do list than your fiancé — take a page out of the newly-official Royal Couple’s book in order to enjoy every moment leading up to your day.

Okay, so you may not *officially* be becoming a princess, but you should totally still feel like one. And when was the last time the Duchess of Cambridge was stressed out? I mean, they all get a butler, right?

Photo By Paul Grover/The Telegraph

  1. Don’t Worry about Anyone Else

There won’t be any topping of William and Kate’s 2011 nuptials, nor should there be. Harry and Meghan’s wedding will be unique to their relationship, just as you and your future hubby’s own wedding should be. Even with the massive pressure Harry and Meghan will be facing to keep all of the Royal Family traditions, there’s no doubt there will still be a few special, personal touches added to the day – possibly as quirky as a banana flavored wedding cake, Prince Harry’s personal favorite flavor! And don’t feel pressured to match the extravagance or size of a someone else’s wedding, either. Try to keep it intimate – not only will a smaller guest list save you money, but you also won’t feel like you only got to spend a split second of your reception with each of your 350 guests.

wedding planning tips

  1. Sacrifices Will Be Inevitable

The soon-to-be princess can also teach us to never lose sight of the bigger picture. Yes, your wedding day will be the best day of your lives, but you’re also beginning a lifelong commitment to marriage. By accepting Harry’s proposal, not only has Meghan decided to give up her career, but she’s also agreed to live a life forever in the public eye. Now, some might say it’s a no-brainer to trade off some privacy in order to marry into the Royal Family. But being in the constant public eye is NOT easy, and Meghan’s status is going to be elevated beyond just that of a celebrity. Harry’s public message from 2016 pleading with the media to give them space goes to show exactly the type of challenges the soon-to-be newlyweds will continue to face for the rest of their lives. What’s this mean for you? Yes, centerpieces are important. But not as important as committing to move for the other when that job promotion takes you to the opposite coast, or realizing that yeahhh, he really is allergic to dogs and your future pet scene may involve aquariums instead.

meghan marble prince harry

Photo by Samir Hussein/WireImage

  1. Don’t Let Family Drama Stress You Out

If anyone tells you they don’t have family drama, they are lying (even if they are royalty!). Samantha Markle has been very vocal about her newly engaged half-sister’s relationship with their family, and certainly hasn’t sugarcoated it. Even more, William and Kate’s newest addition could easily make its first public appearance on May 19th and steal quite a bit of attention from the bride and groom – sometimes it just happens that way. And just like any wedding, there will also be much scrutiny (and probably even some bickering) in regard to the guest list and seating arrangements. So, keep in mind that even with a seemingly unlimited budget and resources like Meghan and Harry have, there’s still no avoiding family stress and drama for your big day.






Wedding Planning: Let’s Get Down to Business

Way down the road into your happily ever after, you and your spouse will both look back at your wedding and reminisce – and not just about the big day, but also about all of the big moments leading up to it. So why not get this year started off with a bang of productivity in order to reduce last minute stress and allow yourself to enjoy every second?

Nail Down the Weekend-Of Logistics

You’ve already made major headway into planning – dress? Check. Honeymoon? Booked. Obviously, you tackled the fun stuff first. But now is the time to discuss the general flow of the day with your hubby-to-be. For example, deciding whether or not you’d like to do a first look or not may seriously impact the day’s timeline, and could mean you need fewer (or more!) hours for the limo rental and photographer. Will you have a lot of out of town guests? If so, keep in mind that for some venues, securing a block of hotel rooms nearby can be surprisingly difficult, so make sure to get on top of that pronto.

Start a Journal (if you haven’t already!)

With every decision comes ten more nitty-gritty details too. Feel like you’re forgetting everything? Find a small journal or notepad you can carry around in your purse for the next few months. That way, when you’re out for drinks with a girlfriend and the perfect phrase for your bachelorette t-shirts strikes, you can jot it down. You can also keep important dates and vendor phone numbers all in one place without having to dig four months back into your email’s inbox. Check out this Kate Spade bride2be notebook – it’s absolutely adorable, and you won’t believe how cheap it is!

Figure Out Your Money Sitch Now

Do chardonnay and a calculator go together? They do now. Grab both, and set aside a few hours to really wrap your head around all of your wedding expenses. Getting on top of your finances early is so important. For example, knowing that you’re going to have to pay both the photographer’s deposit AND the balance of your dress in the same week could save you lots of stress when it comes down to crunch time. This Wedding Cost Estimator can be a really helpful tool – and eye-opening if you’re still in the early stages of planning.

Of course, weddings are insanely expensive (especially if you and the fiancé are paying for most of it yourselves), but make sure you can stomach the amount you’re charging on your credit card. Otherwise, maybe consider rolling back a few add-ons. Meaning, do you really need the “ultra-deluxe lighting package” from the DJ when your venue is already stunning on its own? Also, vendors that let you order samples before shelling out any major cash are a huge plus. You can order a variety of free samples of Save the Dates and Invitations from Exclusively Weddings here.

Checklists, Calendars and More Checklists

Now, we don’t want to steal the spotlight from your big day, but chances are that you probably have *at least* one or two other weddings this year to attend besides your own. That’s a few weekends that you can kiss goodbye to using for planning your own wedding, especially if you’re involved in throwing the bridal shower or attending the bachelorette too. Did your wedding just get once month closer in terms of planning? Don’t freak out! You’re going to accomplish SO much during the next few weeks, remember?

Our tips:

  • As long as you set mini-milestones for each month, you’ll totally be fine and motivated to keep making progress
  • Post a calendar just for wedding planning on your fridge as a visual reminder you’ll see every day in order to stay on top or your tasks
  • Don’t leave anything you can do ahead of time for the 30 days leading up to your wedding. Stuffing welcome bags for hotel guests? Addressing envelopes for invitations? Who cares if the wedding is still eight months away, get that stuff done now! That way, when your dress finally comes in and you need (surprise!) three extra fittings and more alterations than you expected (hey, just being realistic here), you’ll be glad to have all of the easy minutiae done with way ahead of time

Still feeling overwhelmed? Get our free wedding countdown planner checklist here to help keep you on track.



Ringing in 2018…with Wedding Bells

The good news: The stress of the holidays is over – phew, time to relax. The bad news The amazing news In other news…you’re getting married this year! And if you’re like most brides, January brings a sudden onset of panic that you’ve fallen way behind in planning and/or are wondering where to start.

That’s where we come in. First, don’t fret – even if you’re having a spring wedding, there’s still plenty of time to get everything done. Even more important, there’s nothing more powerful than a productive, can-do mindset. Try these tips to tackle January and get the best year of your life started off on the right foot!

Focus on Yourself

This year is going to inevitably be a roller coaster of stress and excitement – so why not get your mental health in as best shape as possible to start? Even taking fifteen minutes to pamper yourself every night can go a long way in boosting your mood, reducing stress, and feeling energized. After a busy day of planning, unwind by lighting some candles, putting on some cozy socks and throwing on a facemask. Personally, we can’t get enough of this pore clearing charcoal mask by Origins. Don’t forget, every bride feels overwhelmed at some point during the wedding planning process. So, when you feel like running for the hills, try running a hot bath instead.

Detox a Little Bit of Everything

There’s nothing less productive than setting unrealistic resolutions you’ll break six days in. Instead, try slowly cutting back on things out that will in turn make you feel refreshed, healthy, and happy in the long run. That extra glass of wine after dinner? Opt for a large glass of water before bed instead. Headed to brunch with your MOH? Fill up on some fruit before jumping into the breakfast casserole. Many Pure Barre and Orangetheory locations are running awesome deals for new members for the New Year. And we don’t just mean cutting out alcohol and calories – try to detox the negativity in your life, too. That girl from high school that you loathe who is (of course) getting married two weeks before you? Unfollow!

Cross that One Thing You’re Dreading Off Your List

January is the perfect time to check that pesky task you’ve been avoiding off your to-do list. The cold weather makes for less temptation for plans (hibernation, anyone?), so you may find a few free weekends on your hands. Even if your big day is still nine or ten months away, take advantage and get those time-consuming DIY crafts started, or get dress shopping with your impossible-to-please mother-in-law checked off your list now. Still haven’t ordered your invitations? Check out our elegant Pearl Pleasure embossed invites and check that off your list too!

Make Time for Date Night with the Fiancé

Remember, as stressful and expensive as planning a wedding can be, you should still enjoy the process. If you’re feeling overwhelmed, take a weekend off from planning completely and grab dinner and drinks at your favorite local spot with the fiancé! This is the only (and brief) time in your lives that you’ll be engaged, so make sure to celebrate the anticipation of the big day that’s just around the corner.




10 Tips for Surviving Your First Year of Marriage

The idea of “surviving” your first year of marriage may seem strange. “Of course, we’ll survive!” you’re probably thinking. “Not only survive, but it’s going to be awesome!” And the truth is that you are absolutely right. Your first year of marriage is absolutely incredible, filled with so many more “firsts”, so many adventures, so much love. Most couples do make it through their first year of marriage, and they do so without a hitch. That doesn’t, however, mean that the first year is unimportant. And that doesn’t mean that it’s always easy.

The first year of marriage is the foundation for the rest of your marriage. And while most couples do fine, they miss out on opportunities to create a relationship that will get them through those harder times down the road. So many couples find themselves so busy their first year of marriage, with careers, home hunting, family planning, etc., that they overlook key things. And these things are what can mean the difference from a long, happy marriage and one that is short, unhappy, or both.

10 tips for surviving first year of marriage

These ten tips are what help separate the couples that last from the couples that don’t. While some seem obvious, especially at the beginning, towards the middle and end of the first year they start to be overlooked – or just not thought of as being that important. But remember, they are important. And by doing them you will find yourself not only surviving your first year, but decades more to come too.

1. Learn To Communicate What You Want

Throughout your marriage you’ll discover that communication is key. In fact, you’ve probably already heard people tell you this and have learned it from past relationships too. But knowing you should communicate and actually doing it on a daily basis are two entirely different things. Men and women speak a different language. Here’s a simple example: A woman might say, “Gosh, the trash has gotten so full in the kitchen,” meaning, “Hey, husband of mine, take out the trash.” The man, on the other hand, only hears, “The trash is full,” and looking over will agree, totally missing the message to actually do something about it.

couple in nyc

This doesn’t mean your husband is a bad guy – it just means it didn’t get what you wanted him to do. Cut to the chase ladies and say what you want, “Take out the trash.” It will save you both a lot of frustration.

And, this works for everything. Want to go on a date? Tell him! Want to try that new restaurant? Tell him! Want more flowers on the table when you get home? Tell him!

2. Continue Dating

Some couples feel that once they’ve sealed the deal, they no longer have to worry about dating. But dating is what keeps the magic alive when you’re married. Now that you are both seeing each other all the time, some of the spark starts to fade. Continuing to date give you both a reason to get dressed up and to get out of the house. Some of the happiest couples are the ones that manage to work in weekly date nights, no matter how busy life is. They make it a priority to make each other feel special. Don’t underestimate the power of having something fun to look forward to on a regular basis.


3. Learn Each Other’s Love Language

There are numerous books and blogs out there about the concept of “love languages”. And while some may come across as cheesy, the basic message behind it is super important. Everyone receives love differently and has a natural tendency to give love differently as well. When you know each other’s love language, you are better equipped at knowing what “little” things will make a big difference. 


For example, your wife might receive love through gifts, which means that bringing home small tokens of your affection (flowers, coffee, a book) regularly will keep her feeling loved (i.e. happy). If her love language is gifts, chances are she will give you lots of gifts herself. But if that’s not your love language, you might start to feel like you’re not getting what you need – like physical touch or words of affirmation.

Knowing from the beginning how your partner best receives love is a sure-fire way to keep you both feeling good (and can help get you out of trouble when you find yourself in a hole). Not sure what your love language is, take this quiz to find out!

4. Talk About Long-Term Goals

Most couples, long before marriage, have discussed their long-term goals, hopefully as individuals and as a couple. But not all of this registers the same way until you are married. Your husband might have told you years ago that he wanted a big family, something you found endearing on that date. “Aww, what a sweet family man!” But now that you recognize you would be the one having those five children, it might not seem so wonderful. Or maybe it does! The point is that the sooner you get on the same page about the big things (where you see yourself in five years, ten years in your family, your career, etc.), the better prepared you both will be when it’s time to actually make those decisions.

family on beach

5. Don’t Take Mistakes Too Seriously

It’s easy to blow things out of proportion, but it’s important to remember that your marriage is just beginning. There is a lot to learn in this first year, which means lots of mistakes will be made by you both. And while it’s crucial that you communicate about how you feel, try to remember that you have a lifetime together to get things right. Give your partner the benefit of the doubt, laugh about what happened, and start fresh the next day. Life’s too short to waste your time holding grudges or feeling upset. Take a deep breath, tell them what they did wrong, and move on.

6. See The Romance Behind The Little Things 

When you spend a good portion of every day together, when you’re starting to take on those daily roles of cleaning the house, grocery shopping, cooking, etc., it’s easy to overlook the little things. But these little things are reminders of how much you love one another and of the commitment you have made. Instead of finding yourself complaining about your partner not doing extravagant things to show their love to you, take a step back and look at all of the little things they are doing to help keep your day-to-day life happy.

couple in bed

7. Have Lots of Sex Good Sex

This, hopefully, is a no-brainer, but it’s actually fairly shocking how many couples stop having (good) sex within that first year of marriage. Sex for many couples suddenly turns into an expectation, something to check off their to-do list (Each other? Check!). But that’s not what marriage (or sex) is all about. Good sex should be about making sure the other person gets what they need while simultaneously making sure you are getting what you need. Your sex life should be fulfilling and exciting for both of you. The second it isn’t, you need to hop on a cruise, order champagne service, and remind yourself.

couple walking

8. Learn Something New Together

Looking for a way to take care of date nights and lots of good sex? Learning something new together is another staple behind relationships that last. Try taking dance lessons or learning a new language. Start a garden or read the same book together. Learn about wine or motorcycles or weather patterns! Find cooking classes to go to together. Seriously, learning anything new together is fun. And the best part is that it ensures you’re spending time together (perhaps laughing at each other) – and that’s a big part of a happy, successful marriage.


9. Take Trips Together To New Places

Whether it’s Spain or Cincinnati, traveling together is important. It gets you out of what can become your daily rut (wake up, work, eat, go to bed) and gives you both something to look forward to. So many couples only travel when they feel like they can do something big, which itself is a big mistake. Don’t overestimate the power of the day trip or the weekend getaway. Go explore your town together. Hop in the car and eat the world’s best cheeseburger. Go to local festivals. Go to … wherever!

The big picture behind this is that not only will you be making memories together, but you’ll be experiencing new things (a la dating), and spending time together (which, in case you haven’t been paying attention, is kind of key to having a successful marriage!)

couple traveling together

10. Don’t Neglect Your Life 

Yes, you love your partner. And we’re sure you want to do everything you can to make sure your marriage works. But you absolutely cannot forget to neglect the things that are important to you – your friends, your family, your passions. So many couples, in the name of love, forget to take time for themselves, especially in the first year. Don’t miss out on girl’s nights or guy’s nights. Don’t feel bad about taking a day to yourself to go do something you love. Yes, sacrifice is part of marriage, but the second you start to feel unhappy, chances are, your partner is unhappy too.

Schedule time each week for you both to do something on your own that you love. Just make sure that, when you see each other later, the sex is really, really good.

couple's feet

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5 Things Every Bride Should Do On Her Wedding Day

No, this isn’t a list of the things you are already planning on doing, like getting your hair done, getting pictures taken, showing up … Most brides have their big days planned months in advance, being sure that all of the major must-dos are taken care of. And while each bride is planning to ensure that everything will go accordingly to plan (with only one “hitch!”), in hindsight, many look back, wishing that they would have done some things a little bit differently.

The main moral of the story: How YOU are feeling is the most important part of the entire day.

So many brides are so absorbed in their to-do lists, wanting to be a part of each and every detail, that they miss out on the big stuff.

These five things (yes, add them ALL to your list), will help you not only enjoy your big day, but will make sure that, when you look back on it, it was as special and magical as you had hoped for.

  1. Wake Up Early: Before you start lamenting and saying, “It’s my wedding day! Why in the world would I want to wake up early!”, let’s think about it for just a minute. Your wedding day is one of the most important days of your life – why would you want to take a minute from it? Waking up early allows you extra time to relax and to soak up each and every moment. Those quiet moments in the early morning, whether by yourself or with the people that mean the most to you, will be the most reflective, peaceful moments of your entire day. Have a cup of coffee (or a mimosa!) and take e.v.e.r.y.t.h.i.n.g in.



  1. Don’t Worry: Let’s try that again. Don’ worry, too much. You will worry. You’ll worry about the big things and the little things, the things you can control and those that you can’t. But there are some things on your wedding day that you just have to let go of. There are so many moments where you should take advantage of just being present, rather than worrying about if the drinks are being served on time, if your aunt has arrived yet, and if anyone is signing the guest book. As much as you can, take a deep breath, remind yourself of how happy you are, and let other people do the worrying for you!


  1. Do Something Extra Special: “I’m getting married! Isn’t that special enough?” Yes! Of course it is! But those little extra special things before you say “I do” can help make it even more memorable – and they can help you relax too! What is something you love? What is something you’ve always wanted to do? Things like getting a massage in the morning, having a private yoga class for you and your bridal party, finally trying that breakfast or brunch place everyone has been talking about can help you get in the mindset that, yes, this is an extraordinary day.


  1. Find Ways to Say Thank You: No wedding can happen without people. From your parents to your family, your wedding planner to your best friend, your wedding is the culmination of amazing relationships. While no one is arguing that it isn’t your big day, saying “thank you” to those you love and appreciate is a great way to make everyone happy. Try writing thank you cards in advance, letters, or arranging for a small token of appreciation (like flowers) to show up on doorsteps and hotel rooms (hint: we also have wedding favors your guests will love).


  1. Don’t Miss It: This isn’t referring to a Runaway Bride situation. In fact, this is far more common than that. So many brides, so caught up in the day’s schedule and the goal of attaining perfection, completely miss out on their day. They miss out on really seeing how beautiful the flowers ended up looking, how good the cake tasted, how spectacular they looked, how amazing their now-to-be husbands are. Remind yourself to take deep breaths. Remind yourself to pause and look around. Remind yourself that, yes, today really is just that fabulous.


Photo credit: The above wedding photo and header image used in this post was provided by Smart

Ideas for Your Vintage Rustic Wedding

A stunning field of lavender was the backdrop for the spectacular wedding of Lauren and Chris in Daylesford, Victoria, Australia.

The wedding theme was “vintage rustic” and the beautiful wedding photos will give you lots of great ideas that you can incorporate in to your own wedding.

When asked how she chose the vintage rustic theme, Lauren says, “Chris and I are both very laid back people who love spending time outdoors! If given the choice we would always choose vintage and wood over modern and glitz. When we look at lifestyle, from our clothing to the interior in our apartment, we knew that a vintage/rustic theme would best reflect our personality as a couple. We wanted to have a wedding that we wouldn’t look back at photos of in 50 years and cringe at our decoration choices; therefore neutral, natural and vintage elements were all used to hopefully produce a timeless wedding.”

The setting is gorgeous!

Lauren’s lovely all-white bouquet is made of peonies and accented with cameos, to give it a personal touch.

The bridesmaids’ bouquets are complementary to the bride’s but use soft pink peonies instead of white.

The aisle décor is perfect for the wedding style and the tree decorated with flowers is an unexpected and creative touch!

The display at the beverage station shows how to take something from average to exceptional. The addition of the fruit at the base of the dispensers adds a decorator’s touch.

The display of flowers hung from the ceiling is breathtaking!

The all-white cake uses lots of texture to create a stunning creation.

The yummy dessert bar offers little bags so guests can take goodies home with them.

Milk and cookies is a great way to end the evening in a gracious show of hospitality.

The lavender field is the perfect backdrop for romantic photos.

More details from the bride, Lauren:

How did you select your wedding dress?
Much like our wedding theme, I wanted something elegant and timeless! I have never been the biggest fan of giant princess dresses… They’re just not me… So from day one I was always trying on fitted or lightly flowing gowns. Suzanne Hardward has always been an inspiration for me; the garments they produce are absolutely stunning! I had seen footage of a Suzanne Hardward runway show, showcasing their newest wedding dress designs, and the coloured ribbon used on this gown immediately caught my eye. When I tried it on for the first time my mum bawled her eyes out, I guess that was the reaction I was aiming for (happy tears of course).

Tell us about your reception:
Our reception was full of laughter and tears, but it was absolutely perfect! The décor blew me away, our whole set up looked even more beautiful than I could have imagined! By the time our reception started the sun began to set yet the weather was still nice and warm. Our guests were constantly commenting on how stunning everything looked, how delicious all of the food was, and how happy we both looked. Our speeches had us both in stitches; I’ve never laughed and cried so hard at the same time in my life! My bridesmaids had to fix my makeup multiple times, but I wouldn’t have had it any other way!

What was the highlight of your day?
Apart from the obvious (marrying Chris), I think the fun that everyone had dancing and singing together after the speeches at our reception really topped off our night! This was probably the first time that we had all of the people who really mean the most to us, in the one venue, and everyone was just so happy. I really didn’t want the night to end even though I was absolutely exhausted! Thinking about all of our friends and family goofing around together; age differences between people, and whether they actually knew each other or not meant nothing to anyone, because we were all celebrating the same thing together. Thinking about our entire day still brings a smile to my face every time!

Wedding Photographer: Blumenthal Photography –

Sault – Daylesford, Victoria, Australia
Event Styling & Planning: A Lavish Affair
Wedding Gown: Suzanne Harward
Bridesmaids’ Dresses: White Runway
Groom’s Attire: Vera Wang
Groomsmen Attire: Raffaele Ciuca
Flowers: Victoria Whitelaw
Cake: Cake Face (Call Me Cakeface)
Rings: Just Me Jewellery