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?!

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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  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!

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  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.

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  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).

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  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.

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

Five Must Haves for Your Winter Wedding

I have to admit that I love winter. It says “cozy” to me and I think there is something romantic about the season, too. If you are having a winter wedding or thinking about it, here are five ideas that can set a winter wedding apart from any other.

Wintry Backdrop for Photography – When it’s cold and snowy outside, it can be the perfect time for romantic wedding photos! The photo below is one of my favorites. It just wouldn’t have the same appeal if it were shot on a bright green lawn! I love her jacket, the way she is holding her bouquet and the perfect snowy backdrop. By the way, my team and I searched the web trying to find the source for the photo but the one page that kept coming up apparently is no longer active. And I can’t help but wonder if it was from a professional photo shoot or from a real wedding!
Winter Wedding Photograph in Snow

More great wintry photos! Each one is fabulous in part because of the snow!
Winter Wedding Photos Outdoors
Blue Winter Wedding – Ingar Sørensen – Sørensen Foto, Oslo, Norway

Cozy Wrap to Wear with Your Gown – If you are having a winter wedding don’t forget to get a wrap of some kind to wear. As seen in the photos below, it can range from a sweater to cape to stole and more. The right wrap can enhance your bridal attire and look great in photos. Depending on the weather, you may also need gloves, too!
Winter Wedding Wraps

Boots for Snow/Ice/Rain – If having your ceremony indoors, your “regular” wedding shoes will be fine; but what about going to and from the ceremony? A pair of boots is the perfect solution. And if you plan this with your bridesmaids so that they wear boots, too, you will have lots of great photo opportunities. And of course, if your winter wedding is outdoors (yes, some couples do this) boots will probably be a necessity!

There are so many styles of boots that will work. Just choose something that suits your personal taste.
Winter Wedding Snow Boots

Candles With Winter Touches – Even though candles can work just fine all year long, in winter they are especially lovely and the season offers so many options for decorating with candles. In the photos below you can see cranberries, cinnamon sticks, and bark added to complement the candles. These winter touches are easy to include and they will enhance your décor.
Winter Wedding Candles

Winter-Themed Beverages – The winter season offers so many opportunities for creating special beverages for your guests. As shown in the collage below, a hot chocolate buffet/bar is perfect for the season as are luscious winter-themed cocktails and hot apple cider.
Winter Wedding Beverages

~ Collages created by Sher Silver.

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Resources:
Winter Wedding Pinterest Board
Winter Wedding Accessories

UPDATE: The lovely bride in the first photo has given me information on the photographer. The perfect winter photo was shot by Rachel MacPhee from Haven Life and Photo.

Winter Photos:  Anastasiya Belik Photography, IN Photography, Rebekah Westover Photography, Ingar Sørensen, Oslo, NorwayWraps:  Anastasiya Belik Photography, Lifesong Photography, Lane Dittoe Fine Wedding Photographs – Boots:  Double Take Photography, Thayer Allyson Gowdy –  Candles:  Mark Scott, Better Homes and Gardens – Beverages:  Ode to Inspiration, Wedding Blog by the Breakers, D Magazine, The Fromagette

Red Wedding Color – Seven Vibrant Combinations

Red has been a popular wedding color for quite some time. It can be used by itself, of course, but it also pairs well with quite a few other colors. It can take on very different “vibes”, depending on the colors it is combined with. In this blog post I will share seven collages using red combined with other colors.

Please click the collages to see the full-size versions.

Red & Black/White Wedding Colors:
Red combined with Black and White is a classic, sophisticated choice for wedding colors. It really can be used just about any time of year. And it’s a rather easy combination to work with. For example, there are lots of flower choices in red … roses, mums, tulips, and poppies to name a few. I did two collages in this popular combination.
Black-White-and-Red-Wedding-Colors

Black-White-and-Red-Wedding-Colors 3

Red and Silver Wedding Colors:
Red and Silver can be a somewhat dressy wedding-color combination. The silver adds elegance and pizzazz. This combination can work just about any time of year and would be especially lovely for an evening, winter wedding.
Red and Silver Wedding Colors

Red and Turquoise Wedding Colors:
Red and Turquoise is another wedding-color combination that works all year long. I’ve seen the turquoise substituted for Christmas green for a more modern look.
Red-and-Turquoise-Wedding-Colors

Red and Pink Wedding Colors:
Red and Pink is often considered a “girly” wedding-color combination and you really have to be careful with to keep it from looking too much like Valentine’s Day …. unless, of course, that is the look you are going for!
Pink-and-Red-Wedding-Colors

Lavender, Purple and Red Wedding Colors:
Lavender, Purple and Red is another combination of wedding colors that can be a bit “girly”; it just depends on how you use the colors. It can also be sophisticated, with the right touch.
Lavender-Purple-Red-Wedding-Colors

Red, White and Blue Wedding Colors:
Red, White and Blue is often used for military weddings or to honor a bride or groom who is in the military. It also can be a great combination if you want colors that bring in Americana to your wedding décor.
Red-white-and-blue wedding

Red and Green Wedding Colors:
Red and Green are traditional Christmas colors and can be a good choice for a wedding held during the Christmas season. You may want to consider adding a pop of yellow for a unique touch!
Winter-Wedding-in-Red

You may have noticed that even though the title is “… Seven Vibrant Combinations” that there are actually eight! After I published this post, I had a request from a reader for a Red and Gold collage so I created one and added it here.

Red and Gold Wedding Colors:
Red and Gold is an elegant combination that works well for a semi-formal or formal wedding. It would be especially nice for a winter wedding but can work in other seasons, too.
Red and Gold Wedding Colors

And if you are using red in your wedding colors, you might think about wearing red wedding shoes. There really is nothing like a pop of red with a wedding dress!
Red-Wedding-Shoes

~ Collages created by Sher Silver.

Please click the photos to see the huge, full-size version.

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Resources on Our Pinterest Boards:
Red Wedding Ideas
Pink and Red Wedding Ideas
Red Wedding
Wedding Color Story Collages
Bridal Shoes

Photo Sources: Red & Black/White 1:  Lemon Lime Photography, Kate Haus Photography, Samantha Erin Photography, Driscoll’s, Tumblr, Amanda Oakleaf Cakes –  Red & Black/White 2: French Wedding Style/Franck Boutonnet, i take you, 100 Layer Cake/Delbarr Moradi Photography, Mark Joseph Cakes  –  Red and Silver Collage: Colleen Rosenthal Photography, Ces & Judy’s, Studio Diana, Photography and More, Shari’s Berries – Red & Turquoise: Studio 563, Lane Dittoe, Fair Cake, In Focus Designs Studio, Studio 563  – Pink and Red: Sarah De Shaw, documentary associates photography, With a Grateful Prayer and a Thankful Heart, Lauren Ross Photo –  Lavender, Purple & Red:  Vallentyne Photography, Party Inspirations, Abby Jiu Photography, Party Inspirations  Red, White & Blue: Tidy Mom, Eat Drink Marry, Style Me Pretty, Wedding Chicks – Winter Red: Wedding Chicks, BHG.com, Erin Jean Photography, Eva’s Cupcakes/Eva Blixman|Fotograf, BHG.com, BHG.com – Red & Gold: NA, Sean Money + Elizabeth Fay Photography via Ruffled Blog, Bouquet by Noaki, CoCo’s, South Asian Bridal Magazine, Sweet and Saucy Shop –  Red Wedding Shoes: Style Weddings & Events blog, Sara Popp Photography, Nordstrom, Manolo Blahnik, Sadie Higs Photography, Bend the Light blog, Ivy Weddings, McAvoy Wedding Photography