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Rustic Weddings

Vintage-Rustic-Decor

Rustic Weddings

Mason jars and chalkboards and burlap, OH MY! If somebody told you a year ago that the rustic wedding trend would be dying down by the end of 2015, they would’ve been wrong. Rustic weddings are STILL the most popular wedding theme at the moment. What is a rustic wedding you ask?

Rustic weddings, also know as barn weddings, or wild west weddings, are a way for a couple to offer chic, quaint charm and without spending a gargantuan amount of money. Some couples also prefer it because they want to create a warm, enchanting atmosphere, as opposed to cold, formal and stuffy.

Think a rustic-style wedding is for you? Here are some tips for how to create a rustic wedding that will put your guests under the whimsical spell of love.

Location

As for the location of your rustic wedding, the obvious choice would be outdoors. There are rustic wedding venues all over the U.S. Some let you rent out a large barn space, and some let you rent out farm land, either way, you will most likely be getting married amongst the beautiful trees.
barn wedding

Invitations

You will most likely want your invitations to be simply designed, with natural, earthy colors. Using lace, burlap, or even old-style typography will also strongly communicate your theme to your intended guests. We adore these invitations designed by Etsy seller tranquillina:
rustic wedding invitations

Decorations

You have many decorating options to help you create your rustic atmosphere. Just grab a bunch of mason jars, burlap rolls, hay barrels, and wild flowers and go to town! Here is some inspiration to get your creative juices flowing:
Vintage-Rustic-Decor

Cakes

Whether you choose a simple, minimally frosted, or bare naked cake, your rustic wedding cake should be a complement to the themes and colors you have displayed for the rest of the wedding. We think that naked cakes are the perfect touch on a rustic wedding. These cakes tend to be decorated with fruits, flowers, and even plants as opposed to thick icing and fondant designs. We love this Three-Tier Naked Cake with Strawberries and Roses by Ellen Hutto:
Naked cakes
(BY GABRIELLA RELLO)

Bouquet

Your rustic bouquet should also be a reflection of the rest of the wedding decor. Taut, sphere-shaped bouquets are not for rustic weddings, and should be considered more for formal weddings. Instead, try piecing together wild flowers that match the other decorations, and don’t worry about making it look perfect, as they are supposed to evoke a come-what-may feeling!
rustic wedding bouquet

Guest Book

Signing a guest book at a rustic wedding should transport your guests to another world for even just a few moments. You could set up an old typewriter (one that still works!) on an antique desk so that your guests can type out their messages of love, or you could have postcards that your guests can fill out and then “mail” back to you by putting them in a vintage suitcase. We love this message-in-a-bottle idea from Etsy seller Angelfishweddings:
message in a bottle wedding idea
Planning a rustic wedding? Tell us about it in the comments section below!
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Where to Honeymoon

baha-mar-resort-bahamas

Where to Honeymoon

We know there are an overwhelming amount of choices for where to honeymoon. You and your new hubby may want to sink into the soft sands of a remote, secluded beach in the middle of summer. Or, you might want to bundle up and ski gracefully down the mountains in Park City in November. Obviously, budget, personal preference, and time of year will all play a part into where you end up going. We have compiled a list of popular honeymoon destinations (some old, some new) to help stimulate your decision process.

The Classics

Bahamas

Whether it’s the velvety sand, aquamarine waters, historic sites, or luxury resorts, Bahamas has you covered. The new Baha Mar Resort in the capital city of Nassau is getting raves reviews and boasts five hotels in one, plus a casino (coming soon.)

baha-mar-resort-bahamas

Paris

Ah sweet Pari! It does not get any more romantic than the city of lights. Experience the breath-taking view of the Eiffel Tower from almost anywhere in the city and gorge yourselves on delectible food, wine, and art. Can you hear the french accordion already? Tres magnifique, no?

honeymoon in Paris

Kauai

Another tropical local located in Hawaii, the Island of Kauai is a gorgeous getaway for you to consider. Along with crystal-clear waters and mocha-sand filled beaches, Kauai hosts plenty of canyons, trails, and state parks if you’re in a more adventurous mood. Aloha!

Hawaii-Honeymoon-Princeville-Ranch-Adventures

Venice

Venice is a city of many nicknames including, The City of Water; The City of Bridges; and The City of Masks. Whatever you call it, the romantic atmosphere is rich and palpable. Take in an evening of exquisite opera at Teatro La Fenice, go for a slow quiet stroll along the streets, or hire a gondolier to row you along tiny, charming canals.

Nguyen_Elwell_D_Park_Photography

Domestic

If you are in the U.S. and you are looking to save a little money by not going oversees, these are some domestic options that can provide just as much oomph as the foreign destinations.

Orlando

If your honeymoon doesn’t fall into the dead middle of summer, then consider a trip to Orlando, Florida. This place is home to a TON and some of the BEST theme parks in the world, like Islands of Adventure, Universal Studios, and of course, Disney World. Put on your mickey hats and get down there!

disney honeymoon

Napa Valley

Want all the thick, lush scenery and charm of Tuscany without having to pay the airfare? Try Napa Valley, where the mustard plants are plentiful, creating miles of lemon-lime roads for you both to gaze upon together. The list of activities for Napa can include winery/vineyard tours, fine dining at the famous French Laundry restaurant, and indulging in a sweet picnic for two.

napa valley

Park City, Utah

If your honeymoon falls on the winter season, consider Park City, Utah. Home of the Sundance Film Festival, this city has a cool, classy western atmosphere and plenty of activities including, mountain skiing, luxury spas, and hot hair ballon rides. You could also aimlessly explore the quaint streets of this winter wonderland.

utah

New Favorites

Nicaragua

If eco-adventures are what you’re feeling, maybe look into a Nicaraguan honeymoon. Nicaragua is steadily becoming a favorite for travelers who want the central American vibe and atmosphere, but don’t want to dish out as much cash as they would for Belize or Costa Rica. Nicaragua has plenty of beaches, volcanoes, and rain forests for you to dig into.

Mediterranean Cruise

Can’t decide on just one romantic European city? Why not hit a gaggle of them by hopping on a Mediterranean cruise? Anywhere from 6 to 15 days, these cruises will bring you to some of Europe’s oldest, most exotic places, like Athens, Lisbon, Rome, and Venice.

cruise

English Countryside

Thanks to George Clooney and Amal Alamuddin’s 2014 honeymoon in the U.K., the county of Berkshire is quickly becoming one of the most popular honeymoon destinations in Europe. With gorgeous castles, intensly-green landscapes, and a quick hour drive from London, it’s no wonder this destination is luring more and more freshly-married Americans.

english countryside

That’s it brides! Good luck planning your honeymoons. We hoped this helped narrow down where you want to go. Where are YOU planning on going for your honeymoon? Let us know in the comment section below.

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How to Narrow Down Your Wedding Guest List

wedding guests

How to Narrow Down Your Wedding Guest List

how to narrow down your wedding guest list

We know that the stress of planning your wedding can feel like being inside a pressure cooker at 250 degrees Fahrenheit. On top of that, the guilt of having to nix people from your guest list can send you boiling over the edge. We are here to tell you that you don’t have to indulge that guilt. This is YOUR special day, and cutting people from your guest list is one of the fastest, most efficient ways to cut from your overall budget. Here at The Bride Box, we’ve gathered some wisdom and techniques on the art of the guest-list chop. So, grab a pen, pair of scissors, or X-ACTO knife and get ready to cut cut cut…

1st Consideration: Venue

First and foremost, you need to decide on a venue. You can’t really determine how many people you can afford to entertain unless you first know the cost of entertainment per head. Decide on the location of your reception and then you will have a rough number to start with.

2nd Consideration: Percentages

You also need to decide on what percentage of the guest list is allotted to you and your fiance, and what percentage is allotted to your parents. Because the bride’s family pays for most of the wedding, they usually have more control over the guest list than the groom’s family. You can work that out however you see fit, but keep in mind both sets of parents will want to invite their close friends.

3rd Consideration: Groups

Another good way to slash larger quantities of peeps is to think about the groups they fit into, such as young children, co-workers, extended family, or acquaintances. Perhaps you decide that you don’t want to invite the extended family that you never see anyway. Maybe you decide that you don’t want to mix your private life with your work life by inviting your co-workers. If you cut the entire group, you will also avoid hurting certain people’s feelings.

4th Consideration: Time

If there are still more people that you are conflicted about, a good rule of thumb is to think about the last time you saw them. If it has been a year or more, you can probably leave them off the list. Of course, there are going to be exceptions to this. If your bestie moved to the Southern France two years ago, to live off of wine and baguettes, you’d still want to toss her an invite!

5th Consideration: Introverts

Another thing you may want to think about is any introverts that are in your circle of friends. Some people may care a great deal about you but also dread weddings due to their shy nature. Cutting these people from the list may not only do you a favor, but them as well. If you’re not sure about a particular person, you can always just be honest and ask them how they feel in a way that doesn’t put them on the spot.

We hope this helps you cute down your wedding guest list! Remember, this is one of the most important, special days in your life, so don’t let ANYONE make you feel guilty for your guest-list decisions! Good luck brides!

wedding guests

What techniques are you using to narrow down YOUR guest list? Let us know in the comments section below!

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Who Pays for What in a Wedding

wedding photo

Who Pays for What in a Wedding

Picture this scenario ladies: It’s 3000 b.c. and your family has decided that you will marry Lord So-and-Such from a neighboring village. You haven’t met this man, but you hear from the townsfolk that he’s mildly handsome and has plentiful farm land and lots of animals that will provide you with all the support you need. Now picture your father offering this man some of your family’s cows, land, or jewelry in order to make the union between your families more appealing.

It all sounds like such a whirlwind of enchanted romance!

Who Pays for What

Or not. Luckily, we don’t live in the old days anymore. We are no longer tasked with securing our family name’s future and livelihood through marriage. Now, we are free to fall in love with whomever our heart desires. There are, however, some modern financial customs that stem from these ancient dowry dealings. The following is a rough guide to the traditional rules that most modern families adhere to when paying for the various costs of a wedding. Of course, you may have your own take on things, so let this serve as a general outline of information you can turn to if you are lost in a quagmire of financial decisions:

The Bride’s Family:

Traditionally, the bride’s family is going to cover most of the total wedding bill. These costs include, but are not limited to:

– Engagement party
– Wedding planner or coordinator
– Bridal party transportation to wedding
– Vendors
– Gifts for the couple
– Reception costs, including food, music, decorations, rental fees and entertainment
– Ceremony costs including rental fees, decorations
– Flowers for ceremony and reception
– The bride’s wedding dress and accessories
– Invitations, announcements, programs, and mailing costs
– Favors
– Photography
– Their own attire and travel expenses

wedding photo

The Groom’s Family:

Ladies, this is where your man’s family comes in to take some of that pressure off your family’s plate. It will also probably keep your father from having a nervous breakdown:

-Rehearsal dinner
-Alcohol at the reception (optional)
-Their own wedding wear
-Gifts for the couple

groom and mother

But don’t think you and your guy are getting off scot-free! You are both responsible for a few small, yet very important expenses for the big day:

You:

– The groom’s ring
– The groom’s wedding gift
– Bridal part luncheon
– Gifts for the bridesmaids

Groom:

– The bride’s engagement ring
– The bride’s wedding ring
– The bride’s wedding gift
– Boutonnieres and corsages for the wedding party
– The officiant’s fee
– The honeymoon
– The marriage license

bride and groom wedding photo

Did you notice how the groom’s family list was significantly shorter than the bride’s family list? This is most likely due to those ancient dowry customs we were talking about before. But, due to ever-changing, ever-evolving hearts and minds of the modern 21st century couple, these customs are becoming less and less revered. If both of your families have a different take on things, then more power to you all!

Happy planning brides! How are you budgeting YOUR wedding? Let us know in the comment section below!

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10 Wedding Guest Book Ideas

postcard wedding guest book

10 Wedding Guest Book Ideas

Hey brides! We’ve compiled a list of 10 wedding guest book ideas we think you’ll love! These ideas are fresh, unique, and are bound to impress your guests and get them talking.

#1: Game Board Pieces

Ladies, why not dust off some of those old board games and put them to use at your wedding? Your guests can help you “build” memories with an old Jenga or Giant Tumble Tower set, by signing and constructing the pieces. Check out this fun set up: (photo: LOA Studios)

top 10 wedding guest book ideas

#2: Custom Art

One of the best things about the Etsy age is that you don’t have to know any good artists. There is an absolute bevy of brilliant creators, just waiting to custom design almost anything for you. Find one whose work you like and commission them for an illustration of your choice. You can have your guests sign certain elements within the piece. We love this bee thumbprint idea, taken from etsy seller Bleu De Toi:

custom wedding guest book art

#3 Polaroids

This concept might be older, but we still don’t see it many weddings, which makes it a lasting, unique idea. This is not the cheapest guest book option, but if you have the extra wiggle room in your budget, it will be well worth it. Not only will you have signatures and advice from your loved ones, but also a snapshot in time that you can relish for the rest of your lives together. Photo: weddingdecor.sg

picture wedding guest book idea

#4 Postcards

Nothing says, “Greetings from happily-married land!” more than a postcard guest book. Display a box or suitcase full of various cards for your guests to choose from. You could set up a washing line and have guests hang them after signing, or provide a mailbox, so they can “mail” them to the bride and groom as seen in this photo from sweetchicevents.com

postcard wedding guest book

#5 Typewriter

Planning a vintage wedding? It doesn’t get more vintage than a typewriter guest book. Have your friends and family type out a message for you, either of love, well wishes, or sage advice using one of these historically-significant machines. Get bonus vintage points by setting up on an antique desk, complete with lamp and feather quills. Check out this photo (found on Pinterest) for inspiration:

typewriter guestbook idea

#6 Paper Hearts Frame

If sweet chic is more your flavor, then consider assembling a paper hearts picture frame. Let each guest spill whatever is in their hearts onto tiny paper versions. If you think hearts are a little played out, maybe try leaves or something similar. We love this creation from Etsy seller PrettyProposal:

paper tree leaves guestbook idea

#7 Mad Libs

If you are planning a more light-hearted wedding, then how about giving out Mad Libs? You can get super creative with these and provide everyone at the wedding with hours of entertainment. This design from JenezeDesigns.com, is just one of the many options out there for this hilarious activity:

madlibs for weddings

#8 Keys

Everyone seems to have an idea of what makes a happy marriage. Asking your guests to document theirs onto little bronze keys is a good way to capture this wisdom. Just attach small cards and keys with a piece of ribbon and ask guests to sign and drop them in a glass jar, or have them hanging from a centerpiece of your choosing, like this tree, found on danademille.weebly.com.

key wedding guestbook idea

#9 Guitar

Imagine you and your husband, sitting by the fireplace on your umpteenth anniversary while he plays you sweet songs on the acoustic guitar that everyone signed at your wedding. Does it get any more special than that? The concept couldn’t be easier. All you need to provide is the guitar, and then sit back, and wait for the guests paint it with good intentions. Check out this beauty, seen on Bespoke-Bride.com:

guitar wedding guestbook idea

#10 Globe

This one is our favorite alternative guest book idea. It’s unique, elegant, classical, and perfect for you and your fiance if traveling is on your horizon. Guests can not only sign it, but also leave traveling tips from their own experiences. Plus, it’s a wonderful addition to almost any room in your home. This globe, from Weddbook.com makes us want to go EVERYWHERE!

globe wedding guestbook idea

We hope you found some inspiration for your special day! What unique guest book will you have at YOUR wedding? Let us know in the comment section below!

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Unique Wedding Favors

bottle wedding favors

Unique Wedding Favors

Hey there brides! Sometimes, you just get overwhelmed with all the options for wedding favors. We’ve assembled some of the hottest wedding favors out there right now. We’ve also provided some out-of-the-norm ideas if you want something a bit more unique:

Vintage Inspired Packaging

We are in love with this Vintage airmail gift packaging from The Knot Shop.

You should be seeing more vintage-inspired favors pop up in weddings this year due to the popularity of the rustic and vintage wedding movements.

unique wedding favors

Succulents

If uniqueness and adorableness is what you want your favors to be, then look no further than tiny succulents. Everyone could use a little extra exoticism in their homes or lives, and they will appreciate something they can use to enrich their office lives. We found these cute, 2-inchers at Etsy seller AudandEl.

The perfect size for your guests to carry with them!

succulent

Bride and Groom Cookies

Who doesn’t LOVE Oreo cookies? Who wouldn’t ADORE little Oreo cookies dressed up as a bride and her tuxedoed groom? These cookies are among the bestselling favors at beau-coup.com, and if you read the stellar reviews, you can see why. Yummy!

oreo cookie wedding favors

Koozies

Koozies are a great gift for your guests. They are inexpensive and incredibly useful, especially if you’re having a beach wedding. Just think about it: everyone can actually use their favors AT THE RECEPTION. Genius! These koozies, from Etsy seller and partner of The Bride Box, RookDesignCo are sure to keep those wedding beers frosty!

wedding koozies

Spices

They say love is the spice of life. Why not package up some love for your wedding guests with some serious seasoning? Your guests will think of you and your wedding everytime they’re cookin’ up the goods in the kitchen. Etsy seller spicywedding lets you customize little spice bottles with photos of you and your groom to be. Simply adorable!

spice wedding favors

Mint Rolls

After all that delicious food and champagne, let’s face it, your guest are gonna need some minty freshness. These amazing creations from Etsy shop BabyEssentialsbyMel, are sure to please. Not only is the packaging perfect for an outdoor/rustic wedding, but you can also personalize the labels. Perfection.

mint wedding favors

Customized Jones Soda

I’m sure all you smart ladies know that Jones Soda Company will customize and affix a label for your ordered sodas. Now why not customize it with a picture of you and your honey for wedding favors? This is definitely a unique idea and bound to be a crowd pleaser.

bottle wedding favors

Skeleton Key Bottle Openers

Add a touch of ornate magic to your reception by giving your guests skeleton key bottle openers, like the ones we found on Etsy shop TreesofLace.
Your guests will not only appreciate the uniqueness, but will also be able to “unlock” their favorite beer while partying at your reception.

skeleton key wedding favors

Chopsticks & Silk Fans

If your wedding theme is a bit on the exotic side, why not give out personalized silk fans and/or chopsticks? If it’s hot, your guests will appreciate the usefulness (especially in the south) of the fans, plus they will create luscious photo ops. Check out these gorgeous fans and chopsticks at myweddingfavors.com.

asian wedding fanswedding chopssticks

Seed Packets

Rock solid, long-lasting love requires patience, understanding, and nurturing. Why not give your friends and family members something of their own to plant and nurture? Sending your guests home with white hydrangeas, pink peonies, or even African blue lillies will create a visual reminder of your special day. We found these wonderful, customizable seed packets on Etsy shop FavorUniverse:

let love grow wedding favor

Stay tuned for more wedding tips and advice! Be sure to let us know what you’ve chosen as your wedding favors in the comment section below!

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Top 10 Money Saving Tips for Your Wedding

elegant wedding invitations

Top 10 Money Saving Tips for Your Wedding

Greetings Brides! We thought we’d take the opportunity to help many of you out there, who are planning your weddings, with financial advice. We know it can be a grueling, arduous effort to plan your nuptials, complete with nagging in-laws, cat-fighting bridesmaids, and more cake tasting than the average stomach can handle. The least we can do is offer some tips on helping you save some of your dough so you can alleviate some of that palpable stress you’re bound to be feeling.

Tip #1: “Hire” Your Friends

Do you have crafty gal pals? Why not ask them the favor of helping you put your wedding together? Hiring a professional wedding planner/organizer/crafter can be one of the biggest wedding expenses that you’ll have to dish out for. Getting together with your friends on a weekly basis for a wedding-craft and wine extravaganza can not only help you towards your wedding goals, but also provide you with some much-needed stress relieving laughs. You could also tell your friends that their time put into this endeavor can be their wedding gift to you, thereby saving them money as well. It’s a win-win ladies. Check out this DIY idea board from Weddbook.com:
diy wedding crafts

Tip #2: Bigger & Fewer Tables

Ladies, we know you fantasize about your reception hall, and how there are tables for miles, with everyone you’ve ever known, sitting around them, their eyes glimmering with a mixture of awe, emotion, and jealousy. Now picture fewer, bigger tables, instead of lots of little ones. Fewer tables means you have to construct fewer centerpieces, and fewer dollars dished. We love this outdoor table set up from Rajabf.com:
wedding reception tables

Tip #3: Friend Photography

Do you know any amateur photographers with amazing, expensive cameras? Chances are you do. With photography software becoming increasingly popular, people don’t necessarily have to take the most perfect pictures on site, and can tweak them later. There are a lot of folks out there who are fairly savvy with a camera and VERY savvy with Photoshop, so you don’t necessarily have to spend lots on a photography bill.
Top 10 Wedding Saving Tips for Your Wedding

Tip #4: Buffet vs. Dinner

You may want to consider having buffet-style food at your reception, as opposed to plated, or family-style. Having plated meals with controlled portions, being served by an elegant wait staff may SOUND appealing, but that can add up quickly. Firstly, you need to pay for the extra wait staff AND tip them at the end of the night. You also need to send out response cards so that guests can indicate their meal or meat preference, which is another added expense. Look at this unique dessert buffet set up from Cakeslindalewis.com:
Wedding Dessert Table

Tip #5: Your Friend’s Band

We all know that typically, a DJ is going to be less expensive than a band, right? Well, what if your friend, or your friend’s friend has a band and is willing to play for very little money, or even free? Maybe you pay these nice musicians back one day by hooking them up with free mani-pedis, or whatever your trade may be. Hey, musicians need to stay well kept too…(below picture was taken from DanceBands.com)
wedding bands

Tip #6: Local Flowers

Flowers can be one of the most important, mood-setting elements of your special day, and we don’t think you should have to skip them altogether just to pinch pennies. If you buy flowers that are local, or in season, you will most likely save a decent percentage on this expense. The Association of Specialty Cut Flower Growers is a great resource for finding flowers near you.

Tip #7. Design Your Own Invitations

According to TheInvitationBlog.com, the standard, one panel wedding invitation can cost around $2 – $5 per invitation, while a print-your-own design version can be $1 or less. Try your hand at making your own design, or enlist the help of a friend who’s good with Adobe software. Make it a simple, elegant black & white design and save even MORE on the cost of printing. We are loving these simple, but beautiful invitations from onewed.com:
elegant wedding invitations

Tip #8: Bargain Hunting

I’ve got three little words for you, brides: Ebay, Craigslist, and Etsy. There are loads of former brides out there who are willing to sell their gently-used sets of wedding decor on Ebay or Craigslist, you just have to spend a little time hunting. Etsy.com is great if you’re in search of decor that is fresh and new. If you are able to find a newer shop on Etsy, they will be more willing to haggle with you in order obtain your business and garner a good review.

Tip #9: Secondhand Dresses

You don’t necessarily have to buy a severely USED dress, ladies. Sometimes women will just decide against a certain dress, after they’ve purchased it. They may have gained a bit of weight, making the dress no longer fit, or they may just decide to go in a different direction at the last minute. Websites like oncewed.com or stillwhite.com connect brides to be with former brides looking to get a little something back on their purchases. Just make sure you get plenty of photographs, and even ask the owner to Skype with you for a bit before buying. Look at this gorgeous gal selling her stunning Monique Lhuillier gown for 67% off the original price!
Wedding dress for sale

Tip #10. Twigs & Branches

The centerpieces at your reception can be one of the most biggest expenses in your wedding budget, especially if they are floral. They can be upwards of $150 per centerpiece. Luckily for you, natural/rustic weddings are all the rage right now. If you were to assemble your own pieces using twigs and/or branches, it could save you roughly 75% percent of the cost. Start collecting branches now, ladies. Nature is free! Martha Stewart has some awesome ideas for branch-themed centerpieces!
branch themed center pieces

We hope these tips will help you save some on your big day! What are you doing to save some money for your wedding? Please let us know in the comments below!

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Top 5 Wedding Trends for 2016

Top 5 Wedding Trends for 2016

Top 5 Wedding Trends for 2016

Hey all you brides to be! Here at The Bride Box, we have scowered the internet and magazines to compile a list of the top 5 trends we predict will be all the rage for 2016 weddings. So, without further ado:

#5: Mad Men Style.

It’s no secret that the popularity of AMC’s Mad Men has slowly given rise to a newfound appreciation for all things 50s and 60s, especially in the realm of attire. We predict that in 2016 you will see more weddings than ever adopt this vintage sass, complete with poodle skirts, bowties, mint juleps, and pillbox hats; just hold the excessant smoking please. We love the mod style of this bride and her bridesmaids from FloridianSocial.com – photo: Christina Karst Photography

Christina Karst Photography

#4: Drone Photography

While drone photography can be a noisy and expensive endeavor, it can provide some lush, beautiful aerial views (such as the shot below, taken from http://www.dronestagr.am/stansky-mlyn/) of your special day. Drones are not the cheapest of options, and of course safety can be a concern, so you want to make sure you have an experienced pilot guiding the drone.

Top 5 Wedding Trends for 2016

#3: GoPro Photography

Given the versatility, quality, and affordability of the GoPro brand, we think you will see more people than ever using it for their weddings in 2016. You don’t even need to stock up on GoPro cameras to create some wedding magic. Even just one camera set up in a photo booth, the arbor, or even the bride’s bouquet can do the trick. You could have the camera set up in a high spot to capture a time-lapse video, or even strap it to a bottle of liquor like these insanely creative people: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_Pb4nN7ykHc

#2: Blush Pink

Blush pink weddings have never really gone out of style, but we think that given the rise of vintage wedding trends, you’ll definitely be seeing more blush pink weddings this spring. Not only can the blush tones be seamlessly incorporated into the vintage style, but those lovely blush hues add elegance, softness, and class to any wedding affair. Here’s a color palette, taken from FabMood.com to help your blush wedding scheme:

blush pink

#1: Naked Wedding Cakes.

With people becoming more and more health conscientious, it’s no wonder that naked (not frosted with icing on the outside) wedding cakes are becoming more popular. Instead of garnishing your cake with the usual fondant icing or gumpaste flowers, naked cakes look best when topped with fresh flowers and/or fruits. Thanks to the Jolie-Pitt wedding ceremony in the South of France last year, naked wedding cakes are now on everyone’s radar. Check out this blackberry-espresso filled cake, topped with fresh, dark berries and figs, made by Lael Cakes. Yummy!

naked wedding cake

What trends do you think will be popular for wedding in 2016? Let us know in the comments section below!

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Must Have Wedding Pictures

Must Have Wedding Pictures

Here are some of our favorite must have wedding pictures you need to have taken on your wedding day:

The number one must have – A romantic shot of you and your husband!
Must Have Wedding PicturesPhoto: Rachel Kara

The rings. Show off your gorgeous bling!
the ringsPhotos: Adaigon Studio; Lara Rios Photography; Chris Joriann Fine Art Photography; Alain Martinez Photography

You have to get a picture of your bridesmaids helping you get ready for your walk down the aisle.
Must Have Wedding PicturesPhoto: Knotting Tree Photography

Have a fun wedding exit planned like sparklers, confetti, etc.? Don’t forget to get it on camera!
wedding exitPhoto: Kati Mallory Photography

You need to make sure to get a good shot of your wedding dress and your bridesmaids’ dresses!
the dressesPhoto: Kylie Martin Photography

Your Invitation Suite. This might be the most forgotten photo.
invitationsby: April Lynn Designs

Your delicious wedding cake will go fast – don’t forget to get capture it in a photo!
cakeby: Deliciously Decadent Cakes

Reception details. You don’t want to forget how beautiful your reception was on your big day.
reception detailsPhoto: Rebekah J Murray

You spend a ton of time talking and educating yourself about flowers with your florists, so don’t forget to capture your beautiful bouquets!
bouquetsPhoto: Love, The Nelsons

This is a given. You need to make sure you have a great picture of everyone in your wedding party!
wedding partyPhoto: Jessika Feltz Photography

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Wedding Planning Q&A

Wedding Planning Q&A

Wedding Planning Q&A

Wedding Planning Q&A

How to decorate the reception tables in a cost effective way when you aren’t having a plated dinner but a buffet instead.

Instead of hiring a florist, DIY your centerpieces! First, you’ll need to decide what type of look or theme you are going for and then you can begin to choose your centerpieces from there! While you can find hundreds of ideas on our “DIY” Pinterest board, here are two of my favorite ways to DIY your décor on a budget:

Floral in Water: Buy tall thin vases, fill with water, and submerge a single stemmed flower (choose your favorite!) or let it float on the top! You can even dress it up by adding a waterproof light in the bottom to light it up when the lights are dimmed!

Vintage Beauty: A couple of vintage books with a small potted plant or succulent makes the most beautiful centerpiece! And don’t worry about having every table match – switch it up and add vintage items such as a birdcage or some pearls to dress it up!

And by adding a couple of tea lights to each table, you can never go wrong.

How to choose the flowers and food for a rustic/country wedding in May.

There really aren’t any specific flowers that are “supposed” to go with a rustic wedding – you can make any type of flower go with your theme, depending on the look you are going for! My best advice to you would be to chat with your florist about the types of flowers you like, your budget, and what look you are going for, and they will have tons of ideas to get you started so that you can narrow it down!

What to put on a table with your guest book for a rustic wedding.

Some items I love to dress up a rustic wedding are box crates, personal photos in rustic frames, and mason jars with simple flowers. And of course, with a burlap or lace runner, you can never go wrong!

What are the most affordable pink flowers for a Spring wedding?

There isn’t really a correct answer to this question, because it all depends on the florist you choose! Some florists have access to every type of flower year round and won’t charge you more even if they are “off season.” And some florists just don’t have that access (typically it depends on where you live) so they may not be able to get some flowers and they may be able to get them at a higher cost.

In addition to that, it depends on the shade of pink you are going for! Some are more of a pale pink, and some are more bright so it all depends on the look you are going for and what palette you’ve chosen! I would speak with your florist about specifics and they can steer you in the right direction!

If you use the “pick a seat not a side” sign for the ceremony, should you still have ushers?

Ushers are never a requirement, but they are a great way to involve friends and family who are not in the wedding party! They can usher grandparents and/or parents to their seats as part of the ceremony, formally walk each guests to the seat of their choice, hand out programs (because wind and programs placed on chairs don’t mix well!), or be there to tell guests to take their seats when the ceremony is about to start!

How do you set up a wine table for guests that will be user friendly, with no bartender?

First of all, check with your venue to ensure this is allowed! Some venues only allow this if all guests are over 21, so just be sure to ask before any plans are in place! You would hate to show up on the wedding day and be told that no wine can be served!

The easiest and most guest-friendly way to do this is to place two bottles of wine on each table – two is generally good to start! I typically place one white and one red on each guest table at the start of dinner and that way, guests don’t even have to get up from their seat and there’s no waiting in line!

If a bottle is used, have the catering staff or your planner replace it with a full bottle, or you don’t need to replace it at all if you want to limit the drinking. From experience, I rarely have to give more wine to tables of 8-10!

How far out in advance should you send out Save the Dates when your wedding isn’t until May 2016? I just don’t want to send them too close to the invitation.

I am going to answer this question with a question…

Are you having trouble narrowing down your guest list?

If the answer is yes: Don’t send out save the dates. This is the easiest way to narrow down your guest list because the later guests know about your wedding, the more likely they are to already have other plans! If they know two years in advance, then most likely every guest will be attending! I know this may sound harsh, but if your guest list is at its maximum, then you can pick and choose who you want to send them to!

If you’re not worried about your guest list, then send them as soon as you’re venue is chosen and your date is booked! And when I say booked, I mean a deposit is given and a contract is signed. DO NOT send out save the dates until then…or you may have to re-send new ones!

How much should I budget for alcohol? What’s a good formula to figure it out when doing a signature drink, wine, and bear instead of a complete open bar?

This is going to differ based on your family and friends. Do they drink a lot? Or are they lighter drinkers? Are they more of a wine and beer crowd? Or do they go right for the shots? The first step is to know your guests and what you expect them to drink that night and how much!

A great resource to use is The Wedding Alcohol Calculator

But always remember, you know your guests better than anyone else does. And you can always use leftover alcohol later on!

Are you supposed to tip the alterations person?

Tipping is a tough subject when it comes to weddings but in my experience, tipping your alterations person is not a requirement or expected. Of course, it will depend on your specific area and the shop you choose!

The best thing to do is to just ask! They will tell you the honest truth as to whether or not they expect a tip.

What are the best websites for ordering invitations that won’t break my budget?

Wedding Paper Divas is probably my personal favorite save the date and invitation site for brides. They have a HUGE variety (almost too huge) for all types of weddings and for brides on a variety of budgets!

My close second favorite are the Etsy shops who make invitations. They personalize your invite, send you the images suite, and you print at home or print anywhere that will work with your budget! This way, you get the personal experience of designing your own invitations, and you’ll be able to work on a very tight budget! Also, they can even personalize other aspects of your wedding to match your invites, such as escort cards and favor tags!

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Check out great wedding planning advice and much more from Jenn at The Overwhelmed Bride and look forward to more expert advice and planning tips in future editions of The Bride Box. Check by often to read more wedding planning questions answered by Jenn.

What are your wedding planning questions? We will get them answered in our next blog post!

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10 Things to be Aware of When Planning A Beach Wedding

10 Things to be Aware of When Planning a Beach Wedding

10 Things to be Aware of When Planning A Beach Wedding

Lauren Louise Photography

I grew up in the beach town Delray Beach, working city events held on the beach and along our beach-side downtown strip. Now that I own a wedding planning and styling company, I am very aware of the beauty and hazards associated with a beach event or wedding.

Lauren Louise Photography

Here are my top 10 Things to be Aware of When Planning A Beach Wedding:

Weather

Wind, rain, and high tides are all something beach brides should be cognizant of when beginning the planning process. Beach weather can be extremely fickle and can affect everything from the landscape to the hair dos. Check average temperatures and rainfall in an area around the time of year you plan to tie the knot.

Sand

Sand is just one of those things that gets everywhere and will stick with you for the rest of the night. Wear a dress that is comfortable and light that allows you to wash off any sand that may sneak up your leg and on your feet. Consider going barefoot during the ceremony and wearing flats at your reception so you do not have to worry about the length of your dress being perfect in heels, but dragging down the aisle.

Erosion

Beaches are natural landscapes built on tiny particles of broken down shells and other sediment. My beach changes constantly. One week there are large drop offs from the sandy beach to the breaking waves, the next it is flat as can be and seems to stretch on for eternity. Check with your city to make sure there are no dredging projects planned around your wedding date.

Handicap Guests

Grandma Sue and her walker are going to have a hard time treading through the sand to your ceremony. Consider your guest list and their needs before committing to a beach wedding. Many rental companies, or beach side venues will have flooring available to rent, but these will of course result in additional costs. Consider what is most practical for your guests and budget.

Shade and Lighting

The thing about the beach is that it is ideal for a tan. No awkward intrusion from foliage lingering over you. However, this can prove a little tricky and at times uncomfortable for guests. Plan on having your wedding begin as the sun is beginning to set. This will give you the best light for pictures and the highest level of comfort for you and the guests. If you plan to have the party continue on the beach after the sun has set, you’ll need to bring in lighting that meets city and environmental regulations and provides enough light for guests to navigate the reception space.

Lauren Louise Photography

Have a Backup Plan

Whenever I am planning a wedding held outdoors I always stress the importance for a back up plan – especially during hurricane season. Many cities have strict rules as far as tents are concerned so if it is raining that perfect beach wedding may need to move to your indoor reception site.

Beach Guests

Finding a secluded private beach is always the most ideal option. Public beaches with high foot traffic can equate to large men in speedos checking out your first kiss. Not always the most ideal photo album cover. Finding a reception venue located on the beach or with views of the ocean, will allow for a private beach space for the ceremony and a perfect back up plan.

Sharp Objects

Everything from broken bottles to broken shells find a way onto the beach. Be sure to rake the ceremony’s location and pick up any pieces that may lodge themselves into your foot while walking down the aisle.

Parking

Parking near a beach can be a real pain, especially during “season” in most places. Plan to either have transportation provided from your reception venue, a hotel everyone is staying for the evening, or a public parking garage.

Cost

While many people believe that opting for a beach wedding, or an outdoor wedding is more cost effective, it can end up racking up the same amount of dollars as an indoor wedding. It will take some research, but it is possible to have the beach wedding of your dreams, for a dreamy price tag.

Hiring a wedding planner familiar with the beach will help you sort out the details and keep your budget in line. They will pull together a team of vendors familiar with the landscape and your dream beach wedding will become a reality.

Photo credit: Lauren Louise Photography
Wedding Design and Prop Rentals: Jenny Does Weddings
Floral Design: Ever After Event and Floral Design
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Jenny of Jenny Does Weddings is a blogger, wedding planner, and stylist who can be found spending her weekdays blogging and her weekends’ thrifting.

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You’re Engaged! Now What?

You’re Engaged! Now What?

You’re Engaged! Now What?

Lauren Louise Photography

Last year on New Year’s Eve my life took an unexpected turn. What I thought was a casual holiday lunch date, with my boyfriend at the time, quickly turned into the moment I would start the process of planning the biggest party of my life along with the merging and creating of a new family.

With engagement season among us, my social media feeds are filled with guys on one knee and ring fingers with extra sparkle. So now that you’re engaged, what do you do next?

Enjoy the Day

First, enjoy the day! You and your fiancé will be surrounded by so much love and so many clinking glasses that you won’t have time to think about anything else. We chose to wait until the next day to post any updates on social media, allowing us to first share the news with our family and close friends who were all coming over for New Year’s Eve – and engagement celebrations that night.
Lauren Louise Photography

Length of Engagement

Deciding how long you would like to be engaged is another important step. Some couples decide to be engaged just long enough to save up for the next ring, while others choose based on the season they would like to tie the knot. We knew we wanted to enjoy the engagement and get married in the spring, so we set a day in May 2015 – one year and 5 months of engagement time. I normally suggest a yearlong engagement. This will give you enough time to nail down your preferred vendors and plan the wedding, honeymoon, bachelorette party, engagement party…. you get the picture.

Budget

Believe it or not, this determines everything. The budget of your wedding will affect everything from the guest list to the venue. Let your family decide what they are comfortable with contributing, then find ways to start saving your own money. We opened a joint savings account through Ally with a high interest rate and opted for a smaller guest list, allowing for more money to go into our honeymoon and venue.

Meet with Wedding Planners

Once your date and general location is decided upon, start researching and meeting wedding planners in the area, especially if you are someone who is easily overwhelmed by wedding plans. Your wedding planner will listen to you, get to know you as a couple, wrap their head around your style and budget, and present you with a clearer vision of your day. This person should make you feel at ease and take on wedding planning responsibilities that are difficult for you to juggle.

You're Engaged, Now What?

Most importantly, remember to fill the planning process with love and fun! Make decisions that are based in love and practicality and you’ll never go wrong.

Photo credit: Lauren Louise Photography – http://laurenlouisephotography.com
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Jenny of Jenny Does Weddings is a blogger, wedding planner, and stylist who can be found spending her weekdays blogging and her weekends’ thrifting.

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Simplify

www.njohnstonphotography.com

Simplify

N Johnston Photography

The main reason why we get overwhelmed in any situation is that there is too much on our plate. We over-promise and over-commit our time and energy to too many people, projects, and events. This can be especially true during the holidays and while planning such an important event as your wedding! We feel it is our obligation to be stressed out. We feel we are doing something wrong if we don’t have a never-ending to-do list. It can be hard not to get lost in the keeping-up-with-the-Jones’ mentality. If you are feeling like it is all too much, I encourage you to pause and take a step back.

Ask yourself “Why am I doing it?”

The best advice I received from a dear friend who is like a mom/cool aunt/honest girlfriend (aren’t those the best?) while my now husband and I were planning our wedding was: “If it isn’t necessary, say “no”. Now, being a people-pleaser and a true “yes” person, this was very uncomfortable and scary for me. In hindsight, I am so grateful for it. To give you a little background, my husband and I decided to do a very non-traditional celebration. Our guest list was 40 people. We rented a property of 4 homes in the Catskill mountains over 4 days. We bused our friends and family from NYC and spent the weekend playing games, cooking, and enjoying the surroundings. We set up a big tent in the back yard and had a long “rehearsal” dinner full of speeches, laughter, singing, tears, and a serious dance party, that rivaled the actual reception. We decided to spend money on what was most important to us, like awesome food from our favorite restaurants and handmade recycled quilts for our guests. The point of the story is, this didn’t “look” like most weddings. It was different from what our friends did, and different from what our family may have envisioned. And it was missing most of the components that blogs and magazines focus on. Every time we thought we “needed” something we asked ourselves “why?”. If it fit our vision and our priorities, then we would work it in. If it didn’t, then we moved on.

Simplify

As a bride-to-be, it is important you take whatever time you have and prioritize it. If your wedding isn’t until the Spring, I encourage you to hold off on any planning until after the holidays. Try to be present and enjoy being engaged! Enjoy all that the holidays mean to you and your fiance, and your soon to be in-laws. Take time to speak with your fiance about traditions that are important to you, and what traditions you would like to have as a new family. Focus on the bigger and intangible aspects of your union. Anything that doesn’t require your immediate attention (be honest with yourself) can wait. You are building the foundation of your life together, and that is the most important thing to remember.

If the big day is fast approaching, and/or the holidays create more than you can handle, I encourage you to see where you can create more space. The first step towards change is the willingness to make it happen. This can be the greatest obstacle. But I can attest that the real magic happens outside of your comfort zone. Practice saying “no”. Take a look at the reasons behind your purchases. Pause before saying “yes”. Is your heart in it it? Why are you doing it? Is there an solution that you haven’t considered? Taking control over your decisions is incredibly liberating. Knowing the purpose and motivation behind your actions is empowering.

It is so easy to get lost in the noise. It is easy to spend hours obsessing over candle holders. But your time, money, relationships, and well-being are far more important. So simplify. Ask yourself what is truly necessary and what isn’t. Ask yourself why you are doing it. And trust yourself enough to know what is best. Your friends and family love you for who you are, not for the superficial stuff. Take some time now to define what matters most. The holidays are the perfect reminder to get back to what we value and what we hold as sacred. Use this to your advantage. Own this important and temporary time in your life to take control as the bride-to-be. And don’t be afraid to say “no” or “I’ll get back to you”. It will benefit you and your future husband for years to come.

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Jennifer Jakes is a Certified Health Coach who is on a mission to support people in living their best life. Through simple recipes, daily motivation, and 6-month programs she helps people achieve their wellness goals. J.J. loves to run, cook, bike, make homemade face masks, be in nature, laugh, play, dance, and find balance as a yogi. She is a student of the world and is always ready for the next book or adventure. Please join her at fastpacedfoodie.com, on Facebook and on Twitter.

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Practice Gratitude

Practice Gratitude

Practice Gratitude

Practice Gratitude

We all know there is a lot of added pressure during the holidays. We feel the need to have the prettiest tree, bring the best dish to the potluck, pick out the perfect gift for the boss, and so on, and so on. Every magazine, commercial, and news show highlights this, only adding to our stress. We are trying to keep up with the needs of our day to day lives with the added demands and requests that the holidays bring. Now add in wedding planning! You may feel completely overwhelmed by your countless to-do lists and calendar appointments. It doesn’t have to be this way! Below are three quick and simple exercises to bring you back to the present moment feeling lighter and brighter.

Practicing gratitude has been scientifically shown to reduce stress and anxiety, while allowing you to experience more joy and focus. Your mindset is an incredibly powerful tool in taking control of your life and how you feel throughout the day. It is the difference between being in the driver’s seat, or feeling as though you are being pulled around by obligations and expectations. Gratitude is creating awareness around and acknowledging the things in our lives that we appreciate. The idea of expressing gratitude may seem fluffy or hippie-dippie, but the effects are real.

Here are 3 simple ways to practice gratitude in your busy life:

1) Make it a part of your morning routine.

Set the alarm 15 minutes earlier (trust me, hitting the snooze button isn’t doing you any favors). Take a moment first thing, before you look at your phone, or respond to emails, or search Pinterest for “place-card holders”. How you act upon waking dictates your day, so create a little space between you and all that you must do. Sit down with a glass of warm water and lemon, or tea, or coffee. Take time to write down all that you are grateful for, in that moment. The thoughts and emotions may come easily. Or, you may be surprised that it is hard to think of anything – and that is ok, too! Try to get super specific. For example: “I am grateful for my Mom”, can be expressed as “I am grateful for my Mom’s great taste in flowers. I am grateful for her ability to speak her mind. I am grateful that she wants to be such a big part of our special day”. Can you feel the difference? Try to write 5 reasons for each person or subject you list. You can either write until you’ve filled a standard sheet of paper, or set a timer for 10-20 minutes. Take a deep breath and now go about your normal morning routine. Notice how taking just a few minutes to pause and focus on all of the good that you already have makes you feel. When we live our lives from a place of comparison and lack, we forget how incredibly blessed we already are – with or without shiny envelope inserts, or the perfect “something blue”.

2) Tell someone.

Whether it is your fiance, the caterer, or your future mother-in-law. Take a moment to call, to text, or to send an e-mail simply saying “thank you”. Tell them why you are grateful for their place in your life. Express this gratitude without any ties to a response or to your own ego. They will be so happy to hear from you without any strings attached. It will also be therapeutic for you to take a break from your day to share love and appreciation with someone important to you. Even in your basic interactions at the grocery store, or when shopping for bridesmaid gifts, pause to look the salesperson in the eyes and genuinely thank them for how they assisted you. If that doesn’t have you feeling all warm and fuzzy inside, then get yourself a hot cocoa and try again!

3) Choose your words wisely.

The words you choose also have a huge impact on your feelings and emotional state. How you think about a task, a person, or a decision, determines how you approach it. If you view a situation as being a burden or an obligation, you won’t be very excited to “deal” with it. Again, bring the idea of creating space into these interactions. Pause and rephrase your internal and external dialogue surrounding the tasks in your day. How you do something is equally (if not more) important as what you are doing. When you find yourself wanting to complain about something or someone, first find one thing that you are grateful for in regards to the situation. Taking the moment to express appreciation will have you feel differently about the situation, and have you feeling more at ease. For example: “I am dreading calling the rental company. I don’t have a final count because my relatives in California won’t get back to me. And, I can’t decide which style chairs I want!” can become “I am so grateful for Mark at the rental company. I trust he will help me make the best decision. I am grateful to have so many family members who want to celebrate with us. I know it will all work out.” See the difference in the tone? Think of how statement one makes you feel versus statement two.

Your ability to express gratitude is responsible for how much joy and ease you experience. I encourage you to begin to incorporate these exercises into your day. Remind yourself how excited and happy you are to have so much to do, and for all of the love in your life. Embrace the abundance that these big events bring. Express gratitude to acknowledge how temporary it all is. Smile and move through your day feeling genuinely grateful. This is a lifelong practice that will support you every step of the way.

Jennifer Jakes is a Certified Health Coach who is on a mission to support people in living their best life. Through simple recipes, daily motivation, and 6-month programs she helps people achieve their wellness goals. J.J. loves to run, cook, bike, make homemade face masks, be in nature, laugh, play, dance, and find balance as a yogi. She is a student of the world and is always ready for the next book or adventure. Please join her at fastpacedfoodie.com, on Facebook and on Twitter.

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BHLDN Hacks

BHLDN Hacks

BHLDN Hacks

BHLDN Hacks

As a new bride and stylist BHLDN is essentially a daily feast for my eyes. Everything from their website to the package that arrives at your door is perfection. Well almost everything – their prices can be slightly out of reach for many new brides. The good news, if you love BHLDN then you likely love vintage pieces. And if you love vintage pieces then you love searching for a bargain. Many of their items are vintage inspired and incorporate elements of weddings from other eras. With the right amount of creativity, thrift store hunting, and Etsy searches you can easily make your favorite BHLDN pieces more affordable.

BHLDN

Bridal SashSash

A moment of sparkle doesn’t need to cost over $100. BHLDN’s sashes are gorgeous and completely hackable. All you need is a brooch, or a cluster of small brooches that compliment each other, some tulle or silk or satin ribbon from your local fabric store.
Pin the brooches to the ribbon and make sure the brooches do not weigh the ribbon down, causing your sash to droop. Measure the ribbon by wrapping it around your waist and cutting at your desired length. You can easily pin the brooches with the ribbon laid underneath to your dress and tie the ribbon in the back. Not the crafty type? Check out LoveForeverBridal on Etsy for a affordable bridal sash.

Average price: $40 – $60
Savings: $60

ClutchClutch

BHLDN’s clutches are intricately beaded and reminiscent of clutches from the 40s and 50s. Because they were so common in those decades they are often times easy to find in your local thrift store, for far less than $200. Don’t have a thrift store nearby, or in a time crunch? Visit Etsy and search “beaded clutch” you’ll see a range of colors and prices.

Average price: $30 – 70
Savings: $170

Robes

Robes

Who doesn’t love a picture of the bridesmaids and bride in their coordinating robes as they have their makeup and hair prepped for the big day? Floral silk and cotton robes are certainly trending right now and make for some pretty darn adorable and bright pictures of the bridal party. A $60 price tag may not seem too crazy, but when it is multiplied by the average bridal party size of 5 things get a little budget un-friendly.
Head over to Etsy and search for “floral robes” and you’ll see a variety of robes your bridesmaids are sure to love like the ones featured on SunsetToSunrise.

Average price: $20/robe
Savings: $40

Sadie Wrap

Sadie Wrap

For brides planning to walk down the aisle this fall or winter considering a chic wrap or shawl is a must. I’m a full-bred Florida girl getting married in New Hampshire, so you better believe I was on the hunt for an affordable wrap. I had this vision of white fur covering my shoulders and I found the perfect piece at my local Goodwill. Luck have it, the piece was also 50% off bringing the final price to $30. That is a far cry from the Sadie Wrap’s price of $190. Furs are tricky to buy online, you want to make sure they don’t have any hidden holes or smell funny. I would definitely recommend searching your local thrift stores, especially in wealthier areas of town, as furs were a common status symbol.

Average price: $50 – 70
Savings: $120

Saving money can be fun and very rewarding, but if you absolutely love a piece and you’ve been pinching your pennies whenever possible I think a few splurge items are perfectly fine. I purchased my reception dress from BHLDN and I couldn’t be happier with my decision. The fit was perfect, I will not need alterations, and seeing it on me made me smile like a silly goon for hours. My advice to all brides: splurge when something makes you smile like a silly goon.

Jenny of Jenny Does Weddings is a blogger, wedding planner, and stylist who can be found spending her weekdays blogging and her weekends’ thrifting.

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Our Story: Laurie Mascia and Kemal Ajan

Our Story Laurie Mascia and Kemal Ajan

Our Story: Laurie Mascia and Kemal Ajan

bandg

How We Met (First Date was March 29, 2011):

Kemal and I met at our previous job. We worked at a marketing agency, and I was the proofreader, while he was the IT guy. A coworker told me that “someone liked me” in the company. It was pretty funny; it felt like high school. I found out this someone was Kemal. I debated on adding him on Facebook, and a friend convinced me I should. He accepted and asked me out for coffee. I told him that all I could promise him was coffee; I wasn’t looking to date anyone or be in a relationship. We went out for coffee. Then for lunch. Then dinner…and well, the rest is history!

How We Got Engaged (March 23, 2013):

Anyone that knows me well knows that Sadie (my dog) is very important to me. I rescued Sadie several years ago, when I was living alone in Boston. Kemal learned early on that Sadie had to be a part of the family, no matter what! And Kemal loves Sadie now, too.

While we had a mild winter, it was still rather chilly on March 23, 2013, but Kemal really wanted to take Sadie to the dog park with me. Even though the sun was out, Kemal and I were freezing as they stood in the dog park and watched Sadie play. After enduring the cold as much as we could, we decided to see if another area of the park was a bit warmer.

Dog

We drove to another section of the park, and discovered a nice area with a dock surrounded by beautiful trees (my favorite). They got out of the car, and I immediately began taking pictures of the trees and the other scenery (something I always do ha). There was no one else in this part of the park. We all made our way to the dock and looked out at the beautiful, glistening lake.

Then, all of a sudden, Kemal fumbled around in his jacket and said he and Sadie had a present for me (our two-year anniversary was coming up on March 29). He took out a small box that was wrapped up in a doggie poop bag (haha — don’t worry, it was unused!).

I asked, “What is this???”

“Just open it!” Kemal said.

I ripped open the bag (which was tied with ribbon, by the way) and saw a small jewelry box. I looked at Kemal nervously as he got down on one knee and asked if I would marry both of them (Kemal and Sadie, of course!).

I opened the jewelry box and was stunned by the gorgeous ring inside and immediately began freaking out. In all the excitement, I hadn’t even answered his question! But I said yes, of course!

And at that very moment, on the lake that was previously empty, with no human or animal in sight, a white swan appeared right next to us at the dock. We didn’t realize at the time how significant this was, as swans are a symbol of love, and a reminder of the blessings found in our relationships. Not to mention, swans mate for life…Ever since the proposal, swans have been following us around, too!

Our Wedding (June 1, 2014):

We had a rather long engagement, I suppose. But we wanted to have an early summer wedding, since I am in graduate school and very busy during the school year! My goal for the wedding was to keep it simple and sophisticated. I also wanted to add a personal touch to everything I could. The two weeks leading up to the wedding, I slightly regretted this (haha), but once I saw how much everyone loved everything, I realized it was all worth it.

Our Story: Laurie Mascia and Kemal Ajan

Luckily, when our wedding day arrived, the weather was perfect. We had a very long day. We had two ceremonies, and several Bosnian traditions to uphold (Kemal is originally from Bosnia). I started getting ready around 8am, and our night wasn’t over until 1am the next day! It was all a blur, really. But at the same time, I was able to savor a lot of the special moments. The day really does fly by though.

DIY Bride:

My Aunt helped to create our wedding invitations. She also helped me create all of the “Day Of” printables, including programs, menus, table numbers, and thank you notes. Everyone loved these!

For our guestbook, we decided to do a quilt. The actual quilt is still in progress (thanks to my Stepmom!), but at the wedding, we had everyone sign pieces of fabric. I can’t wait to have this keepsake in our home!

I painted and glittered a lot of items that were on display at the wedding, including signs for our card box, guestbook, our initials, and a Mr & Mrs sign at our table. I also created the display for our escort cards, and my other aunt wrote the names on them.

Sweetheart table

I had a special “In Memory” table with pictures of my grandfather, and Kemal’s grandfather and grandmother who have passed away and couldn’t be there. It meant a lot to my grandmother and his parents to see these pictures there. In addition, I had a picture of my grandfather on my bouquet, so he could “walk down the aisle” with me, even though he wasn’t there.

I crafted my own card box, and painted my own “Happily Ever After Starts Here” and “Pick a seat, not a side” signs for the reception.

Jewelry

Invitations

For the most part, if I saw something online, I tried to make it myself instead of just simply buying it. I saved some money this way, and it made everything more personal. I did buy some things like the 100 fabric flowers we wanted to pin on each of our guests. The Bride Box gave me so many great ideas as well – I had my photographer take some fun shots of the I Do shoe stickers and me wearing the “I Do” Promovizion Sunglasses featured in The Bride Box! It expanded my original ideas, and really helped tie everything together. I loved receiving packages every month with wedding related goodies! I love trying out new things, and I really didn’t know some of these things even existed!

Promovizion Sunglasses featured in The Bride Box

I’m very happy with how everything turned out, and I am super grateful to have worked with such an incredible photographer. I now have these gorgeous pictures to stare at, since the actual day goes by so quickly!!

I Do shoe stickers featured in The Bride Box

Bride and groom

bridal party

VENDORS

LONG ISLAND, NY

Photographer: Lindsey Light Photography lindseylightphoto.com/index2.php

Flowers: Sayville Flowers www.sayvilleflowers.com

Venue: Mansion at Timber Point lessings.com/corporate/venue_home.aspx?ref=10

Wedding Dress: Designer, Mori Lee; Purchased at Bridal Suite of Bay Shore www.bridalsuiteofbayshore.com

Tuxedos: Rented from Black Tie Tuxedos www.blacktieofny.com

Bridesmaids Dresses: Designer, Bari Jay (girls could pick their own style in chiffon), from www.bridesmaids.com

DJ: Tommy’s Tunes tommytunes.com/main.html

Hair and Makeup: Sadaf Mahmood (sister in law of one of my bridesmaids)

Limo: All Star Limo www.allstarlimo.com

Invitations and Printables: Anne Marie Mascia Design and Illustration www.behance.net/annemariemascia

Laurie Mascia is one of The Bride Box’s featured brides! If you would like your wedding featured, please fill out the online application here: www.thebridebox.com/submit-your-wedding

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What to Wear for an Engagement Shoot

What to wear for an engagement shoot

What to Wear for an Engagement Shoot

One of the best parts of my job is styling engagement sessions. They are each so unique to that couple’s own style and love story. I am often asked, “What is the best thing to wear during an engagement shoot?”

Lauren Louise Photography

Consider Location and Climate:

I live in Florida, which means as much as I love pea coats and cozy sweaters, they are hardly ever the practical choice. Think about what will make you feel pretty and handsome, yet comfortable for at least 3 hours. As far as location goes, if your vision is to climb the tree where the proposal took place, a mini skirt may not work. Consider instead a maxi dress that is easy to move in, while still providing a dramatic or ethereal element.

Consider Your Style:

Think about your personal style. What does your home look like, what would you be excited to frame and hang on your wall? I’ve seen everything from bathing suits, jean shorts and a striped v-neck, to formal gowns. I love them all. Having your picture taken for 3 hours isn’t always the most natural feeling, even if you know the photographer. If I wore heels during my session I would have been so focused on not toppling over that going barefoot was the practical choice for me. If you feel confident in what you are wearing you’ll be focused on the moment rather than that tight itchy waistband.

Lauren Louise PhotographyConsider Your Partner:

Do not match. Instead, compliment. A formal gown wouldn’t make sense with a pair of cargo shorts and a white t-shirt. Maybe one of the stripes in your partner’s check is the same color as your flower crown. Having subtle similarities can add cohesion to the pictures, without risking a prom moment.

Micah Kvidt PhotographyConsider Your Props:

The styling doesn’t end at the clothing. Many shoots I have styled feature furniture, textiles such as blankets, pillows, flowers, books, chandeliers, you name it. When we shot our engagement session I knew I wanted to evoke the whimsy found in the pages of my mom’s old fairytale Golden Books. The book’s illustrations and the props I brought along were colorful and graphic. Therefore, Glen and I chose to wear neutral colors of cream, blush, grey, and khaki allowing the props and the fairytales to shine.

Consider Going Bridal:

How many times in your life do you get to wear white lace head to toe and have it looked at as perfectly normal? Not often. I always encourage brides to embrace their bridal style throughout their engagement. Intricate beading, lace, white dresses, tulle, diamonds, full skirts, and sashes are all items and textures I strongly support.

Lauren Louise PhotographyConsider a Flower Crown:

There’s just something about flowers wrapped in a circle and placed on top of your hair that will make almost any girl happy. Skeptical? Just try it; you’ll begin to wonder if wearing one to work is within the dress code.

At the end of the day remember that this session is supposed to be an adventure in love. You are capturing the beginning of your lifetime together. Soak it all in and be sure to wear something you won’t find in your closet – a smile.

Jenny of Jenny Does Weddings is a blogger, wedding planner, and stylist who can be found spending her weekdays blogging and her weekends’ thrifting.

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Top Wedding Questions Answered

Top Wedding Questions Answered

Top Wedding Questions Answered

Q: How to go against all the trends. I’d rather sink the money into finishing out basement than into a wedding.

A: This is YOUR wedding day and it can be whatever you want it to be! If you don’t like the wedding trends, then do what YOU like! Do what reflects the two of you as a couple – that is what makes a wedding so special – not fitting in with the rest of the world.

If at the end of the day you are married to the person you want to spend the rest of your life with, then your wedding was a success. And that is all. Here is one of my articles that may help shed some light: http://www.theoverwhelmedbride.com/the-blog/what-is-a-wedding

Secondly, if you don’t want a wedding, then don’t have one! Financial issues are one of the top areas for divorce so I urge couples to start their marriage with no debt…and a wedding doesn’t help that! If a large wedding or any reception just isn’t your thing, then that is your decision and your decision only! Don’t let anyone tell you how you should start off your marriage – as long as those vows are said, I think your wedding day was perfect.

Top Wedding Questions Answered

Q: How do you serve a nice, elegant but budget friendly meal for a wedding of 130? I can’t find caterers that have affordable dining options.

A: I am so sorry to hear that you are having trouble finding caterers that will work within your budget! They are hard to find but I promise they are out there!

A couple options that tend to work great within tight budgets are:

1. An appetizer reception. No, I don’t mean that your guests get a couple appetizers each and they are done for the night but a large number of heavy appetizers are served, some stationed and some passed, and this will more than fill up your guests. Many caterers call this their “Heavy Appetizer Option” so I would chat with them and see if this is something they offer!

2. Pasta Bar: This is one of my favorites because everyone gets exactly what they want! You have a couple of pasta options available (or even one is fine too!), a couple of sauces, and toppings for everyone to choose and it is served buffet-style! It is a great way to fill everyone up and give everyone what they want. And pasta is always a more cost-effective option when it comes to caterers.

3. Food Trucks: I am not sure about everywhere else, but here in Los Angeles, food truck catering is getting huge! The truck has a kitchen of their own and they are always on wheels, so guests can order whatever they would like from the truck or you can pre-order it, and you just pay for the cost of food! There are tons of food truck options, varying from tacos to sandwiches, and even sea food!

Look forward to more top wedding questions answered in upcoming blog posts from The Overwhelmed Bride.

With Love,

Jenn Hallak

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Wedding Planning Q and A

Wedding Planning Q and A

Wedding Planning Q and A

Jenn Hallak, owner and editor of The Overwhelmed Bride, began coordinating weddings six years ago and immediately fell in love with the industry. From coordinating, to opening new wedding properties, to her position as Catering Director, consulting for wedding venues, and finally marrying her prince charming in June of 2013, this woman has experienced every angle of the industry.

We have asked her to help answer some wedding planning questions directly asked from brides themselves.

Q: How do you keep a buffet style meal for a 150 people served in an hour?

A: You will have no problem getting 150 guests served within an hour and will have plenty of time for seconds. I’ve seen double and even triple the guests go through a buffet line within an hour so you are good to go! A couple of recommendations that may help:

  1. Have your DJ or MC dismiss tables. Generally you will start with the wedding party and family first but the order is completely up to what you and your fiancé choose! This helps the buffet line to run smoothly and ensures guests aren’t standing in line for their food…no one wants to do that!
  2. Instead of one large buffet table, set up buffet stations or a two-sided buffet! You can have the salads at one station, sides at another, and meats at a third station, for example. This allows guests to walk freely throughout the reception and allows more guests to be getting their food all at once!

Regardless of whether you decide to split it up or keep one long buffet line, your caterer will help ensure all guests are fed and full.

Wedding Planning Q and A

Q: What do you do when you don’t want children at your wedding and the MOG won’t listen/doesn’t care and insists on the nieces and nephew being there?

A: First of all, if she is helping to pay for the wedding then you may not be able to do anything about this. I know that this is always a tough one when the parents are paying but at some point, you may have to give in in some instances if she is paying for the wedding.

If not, then here is what I would tell her:

Kids cost money too! Yes, they need to be fed, they need a chair, a table to sit at, a favor, etc. and all of that definitely adds up to far more than just the kids meal cost. I would explain to her that the two of you have decided against all children in order to make everything work within your budget.

This is generally the top reason for not inviting kids. However, if there is another reason you have for not inviting them, then I would just explain that to her! You and your fiancé should sit down with her and clearly explain why you have decided against having kids at the wedding and she should respect that because it is YOUR wedding day!

With Love,

Jenn Hallak

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Budget Friendly Thrift Finds for Your Wedding

Budget Friendly Thrift Finds for Your Wedding

Budget Friendly Thrift Finds for Your Wedding

There are about a million and one pieces to a wedding. Between the necessities, such as chairs, and the gifts for the wedding party it can seem like an endless list of items you need to work into a budget.

Recently, many brides have been turning to thrift stores in an attempt to dress their wedding in a unique fashion while pinching a few pennies. These are a few of my favorite things I’ve found for my budget friendly wedding that could help you in your search.

Lauren Louise Photography vintage dress

The Dress

Before you look at me with those crazy eyes, just trust me. Over the past 6 months I have found a total of 3 perfectly perfect vintage and handmade wedding dresses, all under $130. I am lucky enough to fit into my Grandma’s dress from the 1950s, but that did not stop me from buying three other potential dresses- because that’s just what happens when you have a pretty sparkly thing on your finger.

Don’t be afraid to thumb through the wedding dresses hanging in your local thrift, vintage, and consignment shops. I found the most beautiful 1950s designer wedding dress stuffed in a plastic bag in the back of a thrift store for $40.

Keep in mind, finding a size or two larger is always better than it being too small. A seamstress will work his/her magic and create a custom fit just for you.

 

Vintage Cake Stand

Cake Stand

Every time I see a cake stand in a thrift store I feel an impulse to purchase. Your cake is about as important as your dress, and it

certainly deserves a gorgeous cake stand to stand upon.

Cake stands are even great to stack on top of one another, creating a multi-level dessert bar. Plus, every new home will need at least one to proudly display homemade treats.

 

Vintage VeilThe Veil

As beautiful as they are, I’m not entirely sure why veils cost $100 on a good day when you happen to hit up a trunk show or bridal sale.

I recently found a gorgeous long veil with lace details running along the edges for $10. Which means if it happens to fly off your head as you are walking down the aisle and it is only worn for 10 pictures, you won’t feel so bad about it.

Thank You Gifts

Squirral

This might be my absolute favorite thing to purchase during our thrifting adventures. Here you have an opportunity to find something completely unique and personal. During one of our trips to our favorite outdoor antique fair we purchased a pair of candle holding squirrels for my mom and a 1930s Maine license plate for my stepdad (he might love the great state of ME more than he loves me). There’s just no way I could have found those gems at the mall. I think my mom about cried when she saw the squirrels, and understandably so.

I hope this blog post helps in your quest for budget friendly thrift finds for your wedding!

Jenny of Jenny Does Weddings is a blogger, wedding planner, and stylist who can be found spending her weekdays blogging and her weekends’ thrifting.