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The Top Questions to Ask Your Bridal Boutique Before Making a Purchase

Once the engagement ring is purchased, it is time to find the perfect wedding dress. Wedding dresses are a high-ticket, once in a lifetime purchase. While there are a collection of reality shows and articles sharing the inside scoop on what is in trend and what is not, there is still a lack of professional advice on the gown purchase process. I know it’s way more exciting talking about things like Bridal Fashion Week; however, my hope is every bride enjoys the dress process from beginning to end. Buying a wedding dress can be an emotional process. The more knowledge you have going in will make things more enjoyable and less stressful. After fifteen years as a bridal industry expert, I’m here to share my top questions every bride should be asking before they say “yes”.

The Top Questions to Ask Your Bridal Boutique Before Making a Purchase
Photography: Kristen Weaver

What is your return policy?

Every boutique is different; however, most boutiques operate as “final sale.” Whether it be an off-the-rack dress or a special order gown, “final sale” is a standard. Most designers do not have a storage facility to hold onto returns. Bridal designers are in many ways very small businesses unlike our go-to ready-to-wear online boutiques. From a bridal boutique’s perspective, it could take a store owner months or years to find another bride for the dress. There are a handful of online bridal sites offering returns, but the challenge is they may hold onto your money for up to a month. Look at the final sale policy as a positive. You have to know when to stop shopping and enjoy the dress you found.

Do you have an in-house seamstress?

Every boutique operates differently when it comes to alterations. Often bridal boutiques hire seamstresses as full-time employees while others have partnership agreements. Occasionally, you will see bridal boutiques not offering in-house seamstresses. Instead they provide their clients with a list of recommended seamstresses in the area. If the dress you are considering needs extensive alterations or custom changes, it may be best to work with a full-service boutique offering an in-house seamstress option.

What does “special order” mean?

Kristen Weaver
Photography: Kristen Weaver

When we hear special order, we think custom. Special order in bridal does not mean the dress will fit you like a glove when it arrives. Your bridal boutique will measure your bust, waist, and hip. They will plug these measurements in the designer’s size chart to determine the closest size. You should still expect alterations. Designers do offer custom gowns for additional fees. When you hear a stylist say “special order,” this is the perfect time to ask what they are meaning by the term.

Where is the dress made?

This question is for those needing peace of mind. If you are special ordering a wedding dress, knowing the location it is being produced in is incredibly important. Dresses made in the U.S. or Canada tend to not run behind as there are less parties involved and shipping is quicker. If a dress arrives with a flaw, the resolution time is faster given it doesn’t have to be shipped overseas. Depending on your wedding date, this question can have more value. Peace of mind is everything when you are weeks away from your wedding.

Is it possible to order extra material from my dress?

Whether you are looking to add a capped sleeve or create a flower girl sash, having the option to order extra material is incredibly helpful. Some designers do not sell the fabric from the gown. This is a concern when it comes to alterations. There are many reasons why a seamstress may need additional fabric. For example, when the CrossFit trend started, we saw brides getting toned while gaining inches of muscle. In this case, a seamstress may need to replace a panel to give you more room.

How long has the designer been in business and do they have reputable stores?

We have all seen the horror stories of bridal boutiques closing without notice. What we don’t always hear about are the designers. There are new bridal designers entering the market every week. Unfortunately, not all of them will make it. Check to see how long the designer has been in business and who their other retailers are. If they are carried in established boutiques that is always a good sign.

The Top Questions to Ask Your Bridal Boutique Before Making a Purchase
Photography: Kristen Weaver

Tali Gallon is an owner and stylist of The Bridal Finery located in Winter Park, FL. The boutique offers a new concept to luxury bridal.

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Wedding Emergencies….They Happen! Are You Prepared?

After years of wedding planning, I have seen it all.  We’ve had a wedding guest pass out from heat stroke and dehydration, a pregnant maid of honor go into labor during a reception, and a flower girl suffer an allergy attack from a bee sting (thank you, EpiPen!!). From broken bones to broken down vehicles, emergencies can happen, even on your wedding day.  So when you are preparing all your Pinterest details, planning your layout, and meeting with your vendors, you need to ask yourself… if an emergency happens at our wedding are we prepared?  If you don’t know where to start, we can help!  Here is a short list to get you prepared:

Wedding Emergencies
Erin Morrison Photography www.erinmorrisonphotography.com

Security

Stop the emergency before it happens by having some security and standards in place.  Many wedding venues require security, such as an off-duty police officer, to make sure the event runs smoothly and there are no issues with unruly guests or damage to the property.  Is security common?  Yes!  Are these issues common? No (thankfully!).  The presence of security alone is usually enough to deter wedding crashers, drunk drivers, and family drama that has gotten out of hand.

Limit Alcohol

Wedding Emergencies

Repeat after me: No one will take shots on my wedding day.  Now say it louder for the people in the back (especially the groomsmen!).  Over indulging in alcohol can make your wedding turn into a party that you were not intending to have.  Hiring a licensed and insured bartender is key.  They will not only limit alcohol for guests that have over done it, but they will also institute rules like no shots or keg stands (hey, this isn’t a frat party) so your guests don’t get too far gone in the first place.  Oh, and that million dollar liquor liability insurance policy they bring should definitely help ease your mind as well.

Erin Morrison Photography www.erinmorrisonphotography.com

Take Care of Your Guests

Wedding Emergencies

Food allergies, heat stroke, bee stings… all of these can happen, but they are more likely to happen if you don’t take good care of your guests in the first place.  When choosing your catering menu, ask around for any food allergies or diet restrictions you need to be aware of (sometimes I see this on the RSVPs!).  If you are having an outdoor summer wedding have fans, cooling stations, and plenty of water.  Talk to your venue about their policy on pesticides and spraying for bugs (most commercial venues have a routine for this) and see if you need to offer your guests bug spray or have citronella candles lit outside.

Hospital & Emergency Rescue Locations

wedding

I once had a wedding that decided to spoil the kiddos with a bounce house during the reception.  It was great, until the 4 year old ring bearer bounced right out of the house, on the ground, and broke his arm.   Making matters worse, we were in the mountains with no cell phone service and all of the guests were from out of state and unfamiliar with the area.   Because I was knowledgeable about the location of the nearest hospital, I was able to tell the parents directions to the nearest ER.  Do a quick online search of facilities near your venue, or ask the venue owner, and have the address handy or printed directions if you won’t have service or wifi.  During an emergency, minutes matter, and getting someone medical attention as fast as possible can make all the difference.

I hope these getting started tips help you feel a little at ease so if something goes wrong, you know you have it covered!

The Photographer and Venue Credits:

Juice Beats Photography at Cardinals Nest Wedding and Events
https://www.juicebeatsphotography.com | Instagram: juicebeats1
http://www.thecardinalsnest.com/ | Instagram: cardinalsnestweddings

JoPhoto at Dara’s Garden
https://jophotoonline.com/ | Instagram: jophotos
https://www.rothchildknoxville.com/daras-garden/ | Instagram: daras_garden

Erin Morrison Photography at Dara’s Garden
https://erinmorrisonphotography.com/ | Instagram: erinm_photography

Leah Moyers Photography at Grandview
https://leahmoyersphotography.pixieset.com | Instagram: leahmoyersphotography

Lindsay Ruggieri owns The Bride Link, a wedding advice and planning website, and also owns Custom Love Gifts, Events, & Prints, an event planning company that specializes in wedding details such as invitations and gourmet wedding favors.

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Your Pre-Wedding Night Packing List

Everything you’ll need to be ready for your big day

Image Credit: Sweet Ice Cream Photography on Unsplash

Wedding planning revolves around checklists and in the days leading up to your nuptials you’ll need them more than ever to make sure everything gets done! Between breaking in your shoes, last minute check-ins with coordinators and submitting your final shot list, you’ll have enough on your plate without worrying about forgetting to pack something the night before. That’s where this guide will come in handy, to give you peace of mind that you’ll have everything you need for your special day.

Essential toiletries & tools

Image Credit: Charisse Kenion on Unsplash

Makeup and brushes – even if you have a makeup artist coming, bring your everyday and best cosmetics. This way, if you end up not liking your look, you’ll have your favorites at the ready for last-minute fixes.

Face mask – choose one that you know hydrates your skin and has no chance of causing a reaction. Do not risk using anything new on your skin in the days leading up to your wedding.

Skincare – pack everything you would usually for a night away. Make sure to have make up remover that can cope if you are wearing heavy-duty coverage.

Toothbrush – toothpaste, floss and mouthwash for fresh breath all day and all night.

Hair care – hardcore hairspray, heavy-duty shampoo and conditioner to wash away hardcore hairspray, dry shampoo, bobby pins, hair bands, hair brushes, any styling tools you’ll be using and heat protection.

Body – shower gel, razor, shaving gel, body mitt, deodorant, moisturizer, perfume.

Extras – Remember to pack your favorite items from your gorgeous bridal subscription boxes, as well as a nail file and tweezers for any hairs that may have escaped waxing or surprise chips in nails. Plus, if you are wearing false lashes, keep the glue close by!

Bridal clothes & backups

Image 3

Image credit: Jeremy Wong Weddings on Unsplash

Wedding dress – of course, plus any accessories such as detachable skirts, second outfits and shrugs/cardigans if it’s going to be cold.

Underwear and PJ’s – something comfy and color coordinated for the day and something special for the night, even if you do both end up passed out in your pajamas after all the celebrating!

Bodice/Spanx – make sure to pack the undergarments you have already tried on with your dress to ensure that you don’t have visible straps or lines.

Tights, socks + extra pairs – even if you are wearing bare legs, having a pair of back up tights and socks is a good idea in case your shoes rub, or you get chilly in the evening.

Shoes – your wedding shoes and any flats for the evening for when your feet get tired.

Veil – and any other hair or headpieces.

Second outfit – everything you’ll need for your evening change of clothes.

Must have accessories

Image 4

Image Credit: Sweet Ice Cream Photography on Unsplash

Something old – something new, something borrowed, something blue… and a silver sixpence for your shoe!

Jewelry – your earrings, rings, bracelets and necklaces for both your wedding and the day after, ideally kept safe in a travel jewelery case to avoid any damage before your big day.

Regular clothes

Casual clothes – For the day after, remember you’ll probably be hungover so have some comfies at the ready and get that #wifey t-shirt packed too. Equally, if you’re doing a post-wedding brunch, make sure you plan your outfit in advance ready to pack.

Underwear – bra, pants, socks, tights and double up on everything so can rest easy.

Weather protection – sunnies and sun cream if it’s hot. Coats, under clothes, hat, scarf and umbrella if it’s not.

Bathing suit – and goggles if you’re planning to use any pool facilities.

Image Credit: Clay Banks on Unsplash

Final thoughts

Sewing kit – for last minute tears.

Safety pins – see above.

Band-aids – for cuts and blisters.

Shoe cushions – in case they rub.

Painkillers and tampons – should you need them.

Birth control – if you use them.

Any medications – that you need to take.

Cash – just in case you need to get a taxi or a drink for any reason.

Charger – to keep your electronics juiced.

Headphones/speaker – for watching movies, shaking it out in your room.

A book – for relaxing the night before.

Admin

Don’t forget your other checklists! You should be able to just relax and get ready when you wake up on the morning of your big day, but just in case make a final list of everything you need to check up on and make sure to bring it with you so you can relax fully when you get into your PJ’s for the last night of unmarried life.

And relax

The night before your wedding should be a little nerve-wracking, but mainly super exciting. Ideally, by this time all loose ends will be tied up and by following this guide you should have everything you need to be able to just chill, run a bubble bath and unwind before one of the biggest days of your life!

 

Nat is a fashion-conscious blogger with an interest in all things wedding related. Having been married for over four years, Nat is still running her wedding blog entitled Help! I’m Getting Married. Her other interests include health and beauty, family, travel and hanging out with her cat.

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Laser-Cut Wedding Inspo

Intricate lace, complex patterns, and artsy shapes; these are a few ways that laser-cut details can wow your wedding guests and create that magical feeling on your big day. We have picked out some of our favorite laser-cut details from recent weddings in hopes they will give you some helpful laser-cut wedding inspo during your creative wedding planning process.

Table Signage

We love this Sweets & Treats table signage for your wedding dessert table.
Laser-Cut Wedding Inspo

Photo credit: Claire Thomson Photography

Bride & Groom Chair Signs

We absolutely adore these wedding chair signs made by Narwall on Etsy.
Bride and groom chair signs

Photo credit: Narwall.Etsy.com

Rustic Sign & Easel

Give your wedding guests clear direction on where to sign your guest book with this rustic signage.
Rustic wedding sign

Photo credit: StylineDesigns.etsy.com

Wedding Cake Topper

A beautiful glitter cake topper from The Bride Box featured vendor, ZCreateDesign.
Wedding cake toppers

Photo credit: ZCreateDesign

Black Laser-Cut Floral Invitations

Simply stunning laser-cut black floral wedding invitations.
Laser-Cut wedding invitations

Photo credit: ElegantWeddingInvites.com

Wine/Champagne Tags

These wine laser-cut tags make for a great gift for your wedding party!
Wine laser cut tags

Photo credit: SouthernFriedPaper.etsy.com

Save The Date Magnets

Send these save-the-date magnets out to your wedding guests to help them remember your big day is approaching.
Save the Date magnets

Photo credit:  CorkCountryCottage

To Have/To Hold Signage

Use this sign to take beautiful wedding pictures, as well as attach them to your sweetheart table.
To Have and To Hold Signage

Photo credit: bhldn.com

Cheers Fence Sign

Another lovely wedding sign to use at your bridal shower, engagement party, or even on your big day!
Cheers sign

Photo credit: The Nicholas

Colorful Floral Invitations

We’re in love with this laser-cut wedding invitation from ElegantWeddingInvites.com.
Colorful Floral Wedding Invitations

Photo credit: ElegantWeddingInvites.com

Which one of these laser-cute wedding ideas would you incorporate into your wedding? Let us know in the comment section below this blog post.

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9 Edgy Wedding Hairstyles

Striking Red

9 Edgy Wedding Hairstyles

Most wedding hairstyles are french twists, subtle curls, and luscious chignons. That’s all fine and dandy, but what about the rest of us who like to walk a bit more on the wild, hipster side? We need a little inspiration too. Something a bit less politician’s wife, and a bit more viking warrior goddess. Here are 9 edgy wedding hairstyles we love right now:

1. Slicked Back

Show off your high-fashion side with a classic, bold slicked back style
Slicked back wedding hair

[photo via Style Me Pretty]

2. Elegant Cornrows

Once a traditional African style of hair grooming, cornrows are being seen in more and more weddings:

9 Edgy Wedding Hairstyles

[photo: Valerie and Company Photographer]

3. Ponytail Quiff

Ponytails aren’t just for little girls anymore. Keep your neck cool this warm season with a soft quiff updo.

Ponytail Quiff

[photo via: Trendy-hairstyles-for-women.com]

4. Striking Red

They say you can’t wear red for your wedding, but that doesn’t mean you can’t infuse your locks with some daring scarlet.

Striking Red

[photo by: Sammy & Me Photography]

5. Single Braid

Braided updos are a dime a dozen. Show off your cool, bohemian side with a long, straight do with a single, chunky side braid.

Single Braid

[photo by: Amanda K Photography]

6. 50s Funny Lady

Try this gorgeous 50s updo that is both classic and modern edge at the same time.
50s Funny Lady

[photo via: Refinery 29]

7. Faux Hawk

Luckily, you don’t have to take the side-shave plunge when trying to achieve the mohawk look. This can be achieved with a few bobby pins, and a little bit of trickery.

Faux Hawk

[photo via: Yahoo.com]

8. Bold Bouffant

We don’t care what anyone says, you can pull off a punk blue bouffant without looking like Marge Simpson.

Bold Bouffant

[photo via Style Me Pretty]

9. Lagertha

Show off your viking warrior side with a beautiful viking-inspired faux hawk braid.

Lagertha hairstyle

[photo via: Twist Me Pretty]

[hr]
How will you be wearing your hair for your wedding day? Let us know in the comment section below this post.

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10 Reasons to Have a Kid Friendly Wedding

funny picture of kids

10 Reasons to Have a Kid Friendly Wedding

Kids are cuckoo. That’s just a fact. Some people choose to have a kid-free wedding, and with the wiled coyote antics of those little bundles of energy, it’s easy to sympathize. We invite you to consider the alternative of inviting those balls of sunshine to bask in your wedding bliss glow, and crank that reception into high gear.

Here are 10 Reasons to Have a Kid Friendly Wedding:

1. Little miss wedding and chill:
wedding dress and chill

(via Tumblr)

2. This adorableness with a monkey on his back:
10 Reasons to Have a Kid Friendly Wedding

(mark janzen photography)

3. This guy, who’s demonstrating his sweet crunch-style moves on the dance floor:
kid dancing

(via Mashable.com)

4. “I know you guys are trying to get married and everything, but Mickey says it’s time for swimming:”
funny flower girl photo

(Abby Photography)

5. Somebody crown this guy “King of the Dance Floor” already:

kid dancing at wedding

(via YouTube)

6. This guy who’s “breakin” hearts:

break dancing kids

(photo by Brett Maxwell)

7. This kid, doing his best happy dance:
kid dancing in photobooth

(Alante Photography)

8. This guy, who’s got a Saturday night fever…
Saturday Night Fever dancing

(via Evoke.ie)

9. “Um, I can’t marry you right now, I’m busy:”
funny picture of kids

(via Girlschannel.net)

10. These kids that are stayin alive, stayin alive, ah-ha-ah-ha….
funny picture of kids dancing

(Via TeamJimmyJoe.com)

[hr]
Planning on having a kid-friendly, or kid-free wedding? Tell us about it in the comment section below!
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10 Charming Ways to Surprise Your Groom

Tender Tie

10 Charming Ways to Surprise Your Groom

In modern society, it is a given that the guy is supposed to surprise the gal. Popping the big question at your favorite restaurant, throwing that surprise 30th-birthday party, showing up at your door with flowers and a chick flick when you’ve had a bad day, etc. Why not take the opportunity to turn the tables and surprise HIM on your big day? Show him that you too, are skilled in the art of the unexpected and shower him with a secret attack of sentiment. Here are 10 charming ways to surprise your groom:

1. Geek Garter

Surprise your sweetheart with a pop culture garter that is specific to his geeky passions like his favorite superhero, video game, tv show, or sports team.
10 Charming Ways to Surprise Your Groom
[photo: Something Blue Wedding Photography]

2. Love Letter

Tell him how much he means and how excited you are by crafting a quick, from-the-heart love note. Hide it in his dopp kit, or be extra cute and give it to the flower girl or the ring bearer to give to him when they reach the alter.
Love Letter
[photo: dnk Photography]

3. Message on a Fingernail

We love this clever, sneak attack of putting a tiny message on the polish of your ring finger. When he grabs your left hand and pulls it towards him, watch both his and your eyes well up.
Message on a Fingernail
[photo: Freshly Wed]

4. Lego Links

Everything is awesome indeed! Before the wedding, stash a pair of Lego cufflinks among his belongings. Or better yet, give them to his best man so he can help apply them.
Lego Links
[credit: Michelle Prunty Photography via WeddingsOnline.ie]

5. Tender Tie

If you are a crafty cat, you can try sewing or embroidering a secret tender message of love on the underside of his tie. He’ll find this as he’s getting dressed, and it’s 100% guaranteed to melt his heart.
Tender Tie
[Janae Shields Photography]

6. Groom Gear

We’ve all heard about wedding survival kits, but those mostly include items for the bride. Why not assemble a groom kit, complete with everything your guy’s gonna need like socks, mints, and maybe a wee bit of alcohol for nerves.
Groom Gear
[credit: ShadesOfPinkPaperBtq]

7. Sentimental Sway

Put together a kick-ass dance routine with your bridesmaids to show him how you move. Dance to some Uptown Funk, Single Ladies, or even a mash-up of some classic dance hits.
Sentimental Sway
[photo: Craig Warga Photography]

8. Emotional Engraving

Get his wedding band engraved on the down low. Write your own inscription, because it will be more special that way. Keep it short, simple, and from the heart.
Wedding Band Engraved
[photo: Susan Stripling]

9. Double Take Cake

We are willing to bet that your man is a Star Wars junkie, and that it’s probably at a fever pitch lately with the release of the new film. Have your baker hide a Star Wars design in the back of the cake, and watch his eyes gleam like lightsabers!
Star Wars Cake
[cake design: Julia Baker; photo: TierByTier.co.uk]

10. Lingerie

Nothing delightfully surprises a newly-wed groom more than a little something special on your wedding night. Wow him with some new lingerie that you think he would love and spoil yourself at the same time.
Lingerie
[photo: Claire Pettibone lingerie]
[hr]
How are you planning on surprising YOUR groom? Tell us about it in the comment section below.
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11 Reasons To Have a Bohemian Wedding

12 Reasons To Have a Bohemian Wedding

11 Reasons To Have a Bohemian Wedding

Delicate ribbon, furrowed creaky trees, crisp flower crowns and woven dream catchers. The rustic trend seems to be slowly evolving into a new, more free-spirited bohemian style. We’ll be seeing more and more of these hippie-chic weddings in the months to come. Here’s our list of 11 reasons to have a bohemian wedding:

11 Reasons To Have a Bohemian Wedding

[credit: Danelle Bohane via Rue de Seine]

1. These pretty pastel dream catchers, hanging from a simple wooden frame perfectly sets the tone for a beach boho wedding:
dream-catcher backdrop

[design: Petal Play Design & Violet and Pearl Vintage; photo: Olivia Leigh Photographie]

2. These gorgeous crystal leaf earrings by Erin Fader:
crystal leaf earrings

[photo credit: Whiskers and Willow Photography]

3. This flowing maxi-style dress topped with nature-inspired embroidery by Lihi Hod:
nature-inspired wedding dress

[credit: Eyal Nevo]

4. This lovely, off-white cake that is simple, smooth, and adorned with one, single strand of greenery:
off-white wedding cake

[cake: Windflower Cakes; photo: Maria Lamb Photography]

5. This super-natural, middle-parted hairstyle, topped with a beautiful floral crown:
natural wedding hairstyle

[flower design: Bows and Arrows; photo: Ryan Ray Photography]

6. This mountain-side, wooden-frame alter with antique glass, wildflowers, and vintage luggage transports us to another world:
wooden-frame alter

[event styling + florals: Laura Giuliani; photo: Wild Whim Design + Photography]

7. This untamed & colorful bouquet design by Pearl & Godvia:
colorful bouquet design

[photo: Paula O’Hara]

8. These fruit-infused water bins, set on an antique end table, that is sure to quench our thirst for boho style:
fruit-infused water bins

[photo: Alixann Loosle]

9. This dinner setting with gold candle votives and Moroccan-style tableware, surrounded by a utopia of hanging lanterns and rich greenery:
boho wedding decor

[design & florals: Knot Just Flowers; photo: Meghan Elise Photography]

10. This cake, sparsely decorated with wild flowers & baby’s breath, and just a hint of marble pattern:
Boho style wedding cake

[cake: Sweet Lydia’s of San Diego; photo: Whiskers and Willow Photography]

11. This exquisitely creative tent, made from twigs, is a beautiful idea for a fall or winter wedding:
Winter boho-inspired wedding ceremony

[design: Oleander; photo: Lauren Fair Photography]
[hr]
What elements are you including in your boho wedding? Tell us about it in the comment section below!
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10 Unique Alternatives to Traditional Wedding Cake

cookie shot glasses

10 Unique Alternatives to Traditional Wedding Cake

Newsflash: Not everyone likes cake. It sounds like blasphemy, but it’s true. Of course, you are welcome to stick with tradition and have the lovely cake of your heart’s desire, but these days, it’s not absolutely required. More and more couples are choosing to forgo the usual multi-tiered beast in favor of something that is more unique and fits their personality. Check out our top 10 Unique Alternatives to Traditional Wedding Cake:

These gorgeous pink and blue cotton-candy ice cream shots will be a highlight for guests and provide plenty of photographic inspiration:
cotton-candy ice cream shots

[credit: SugarAndCloth.com]

This charming cake that refrains from climbing into the usual multi-tiered style, and stays grounded with one layer and topped with plump, fresh berries:

10 Unique Alternatives to Traditional Wedding Cake

[photo credit: Lauren Michelle; cake by: Pasticceria Dolce Sosta in Pienza]

This pretty pink display that brings the joy of the ice cream social to a wedding:
ice cream sundae bar

[credit: Emily Clack Photography]

These creative shot glasses made from cookies, and filled with delicious, cold milk, that will make your guests instantly salivate:
cookie shot glasses

[food design: Kim Stoegbauer of The TomKat Studio; photo credit: Rennai Hoefer of Ten22 Studio]

This donut food truck that proves donuts are the new cupcakes, and will surely keep your guests sugared up for the night:
donut food truck

[credit: Laura Gordon Photography]

This mini waffle station, complete with toppings, that takes advantage of everyone’s love of breakfast for dessert.
mini waffle station

[credit: One Sweet Appetite]

This eloquent tree of mini pies, that will not only give your guests the sweetness they crave, but will also allow them to portion control:
tree of mini pies

[Pies by: Tara Guerard; photo: TaraGuerardSoiree.com]

This multi-tiered macaroon tower that will draw guests in with its lovely color:
multi-tiered macaroon tower

[credit: one love photo]

These rose-shaped beauties that are cut from apples, wrapped in puff pastry, and dusted with powdered sugar are sure to impress every guest at the wedding:

apples wrapped in puff pastry

[credit: Cooking With Manuela @ CookingWithManuela.blogspot.com]

[hr]
Are you forgoing the wedding cake in lieu of something more unique? Tell us about it in the comment section below.
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10 Ridiculously Fun Games for Your Wedding Guests to Play

flip cup

10 Ridiculously Fun Games for Your Wedding Guests to Play

Not everyone at your reception is going to be sweating on the dance floor. Whether they’re shy, don’t drink, or just not that active, you’re going to have guests that don’t like to dance. So, while the extroverts are jumping away to the DJ’s tunes, here’s some ideas for fun games for the rest of the crowd, or anyone looking to cool down in between songs:

Video Game Wall

How fun is this idea of setting up a giant video game display? Either make use of a big white wall or set up a projector screen and then let the dance dance revolution take over your reception.
10 Ridiculously Fun Games for Your Wedding Guests to Play
[credit: Jody Burnett and Shannon Belletti]

The Shoe Game

Call it The Newlywed Game with a twist. Sit back-to-back with your newly-minted husband, take off one of your shoes and trade him for one of his. Have your guests ask you questions about your relationship, and then you both hold up the shoe of the person you think best fits the answer.
The Shoe Game
[credit: Katelyn James Photography]

Stand Up Sit Down

Have every guest stand up at their table. One by one, eliminate people with certain criteria (i.e. If your birthday is the last day of the month, sit down.) The last person standing, gets a special prize!
wedding games to play
[credit: Melanie McLean]

Croquet

There’s nothing more quaint or classy than a nice & colorful wooden croquet set. Invite guests to the field, have them pick their color, and let the mallets fly.
outdoor wedding games
[credit: Apryl Ann Photography]

Big Kissing Wheel

We love this Price-Is-Right “spin” (see what we did there?) on the classic kissing game. If you don’t happen to have a giant wheel lying around, you can always use a spinner from an old board game.
wedding kissing wheel
[Credit: Ren Davis of Studio 29 Photography]

Flip Cup

Drink. flip. drink. flip. Bring everyone back to the fun-loving, all-flipping days of college, and they’re sure to have a blast.
flip cup
[credit: Jake and Necia Photography]

Instagram Contest

Have an Instagram contest that your guests can participate in, using a unique hashtag created just for your wedding. The winner can receive a prize, at the end of the night, or soon after, for the best/most unique photo taken at the wedding. Not only will guests have fun searching for that perfect snap, but it’s a great way to get more creative photos from your wedding.
wedding instagram hashtag
[credit: Faithfully Focused Photography]

Paper Fortune Teller

Place one of these decorative beauties at each table, and let your guests spend hours having fun while getting to know you and your fiance a little bit better.
fortune teller
[credit: Kat’s Krafts]

Icebreakers

As hard as you try to make sure that your guests are seated together by association, but you’re going to have to combine a few strangers no matter what. This icebreakers game is a great way to loosen everybody up with some fun instead of forced conversation.
wedding icebreakers
[credit: Ala Cortez Photography]

Put-A-Ring-On-It-Toss

This one gives your outdoor reception a good old fashioned carnival feel. Guests will “step right up” to prove they’ve got the best hand-eye coordination of all your friends. Plus, it’s fairly inexpensive to put together.
wedding game ideas
[credit: Instructables.com user Blipvert]
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What games are you planning on having at your reception? Tell us about it in the comment section below!
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Top 12 Wedding Backdrop Ideas

door wedding backdrop

Top 12 Wedding Backdrop Ideas

A wedding backdrop is a great way to add flair to your wedding. Make it personal, make it fun, or create an ethereal scene worthy of a Lord of the Rings film set. This dynamic decor element can either hypnotize and entrance everyone as you say your “I dos,” or it can serve as a unique photo op for your guests, during the reception. Take a look at our Top 12 wedding backdrop ideas:

Indoor Ceremonies

1. This soft, elegant display made from paper streamers, that shows you don’t have to break the bank to create a stunning backdrop:
paper streamer backdrop
[source: Jemma Keech Photography]
2. This sweet and charming blue-painted slat wall with garland and bursts of fuchsia and white, that creates a Victorian, yet rustic feel:
slat wall backdrop
[source: Tru Studio Photography]
3. This festive, potted greenery backdrop that brings the outdoors in:
 Top 12 Wedding Backdrop Ideas
[source: The Weaver House Photography}
4. This amazing winter tree laced with pink and champagne streamers, and set in front of a beautiful brick wall:
tree backdrop
[photography: Kellie Kano]  [design: Elissa Keno]
5. This simple, yet modern chuppah, made from birch wood and laden with lush flowers, set in front of white drapery.
drapery backdrop
[source: Tasha Owen Photography]
6. These giant vases with pink flowers, baby’s breath and romantic votive candles that creates its own archway:
beautiful wedding backdrops

Outdoor Ceremonies

1. These quaint, free-standing white doors with a pop of pink and peach flowers on top:
door wedding backdrop
[photography: Katelyn James]  [design: Amanda Veronee]
2. This small archway draped in simple, off-white cloth, embellished with crisp, white flowers, and flanked by country barrels, that reminds us sometimes, less is more.
wedding backdrop idea
[source: Michael and Carina Photography]
3. This beautiful book-inspired backdrop that also doubles as a fairytale theme:
wedding fairytale backdrop idea
4. This old barn door that was recycled and set behind big white blooms, and an antique bird cage:
barn door wedding backdrop
[source: Photo: Jacqueline Campbell for Birds of a Feather]
5. This inexpensive and genius display of 1000 graceful little paper cranes:
paper cranes wedding backdrop
[source: Derek Martinez Photography]
6. This simple draping that reminds us that even though nature can be a bitch, sometimes, we can make her work FOR US:
tree backdrop idea
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What backdrop ideas do you have for YOUR weddings? Tell us about them in the comment section below!
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Wedding Time Capsule

Wedding Time Capsule

Wedding Time Capsule

Yes, photography is the usual, reliable method we use to capture our best moments and memories, in order to savor them for all time. What if there was an additional, more unique way in which you could save your wedding day bliss? What if there was a way you could keep this bliss secret and sealed until a special anniversary, when you and your husband could unleash it upon yourselves and reminisce together? There is a way, with a wedding time capsule!
Wedding Time Capsule
[photo by Katie Day]

Concept

First, you’ll want to determine what kind of time capsule you’re going to have. Is it going to be filled with things that you and your fiance will hand pick and put in together during a romantic ritual? Do you want to have your guests fill it with specified items during the reception? Or, do you want it to be a combination of both? Really, the question is whether you want to be surprised on that future date.
wedding capsule
[photo credit: Love Me Do Photography]

Things to Put Inside:

  • Stuff from the ceremony and reception like an invitation, the program, etc.
  • A copy of your wedding vows.
  • Sealed letters to each other about your love and excitement, etc.
  • A CD or flash drive of songs from the reception or songs that are popular on the radio at that time (this will be especially interesting if you are picking a date that is far in the future.)
  • A bottle of wine to celebrate with when you open the box.
  • A copy of a publication (newspaper, topical magazine, etc) from the date you are sealing the capsule on.

Things For Guests to Put Inside:

  • Memories or Anecdotes from when they first spent time with you as a couple, or how and when they knew you were perfect for each other, etc
  • Have them fill out postcards or something similar with advice and wisdom that they think will help you either 1 year, 5 years, 10 years from now.
  • Provide them with a digital camera (does not have to be expensive, as long as it takes decent pictures and can connect to a computer via USB) to take goofy pictures with during the reception. This will provide you with your entertainment when going through the capsule.

guestbook time capsule

[photo credit: Red Gallery Photo]

Container

For your container, you should choose something that is big enough to house a bottle of wine, if you are including one. If you have chosen to forgo the wine and are putting mostly paper items into your capsule, you can go with a decorative glass bottle. This will give a sophisticated, future-message-in-a-bottle feel to your capsule. Just make sure the bottle is padded by something and safe from breakage. If you need more room, then try a larger, wooden chest-type box. You can find one with a clasp and lock, or nail it shut together when the time is right.
Wooden time capsule box
[wedding capsule from Etsy seller TheCarpentersD]

Important Note!

If one or both of you aren’t very good at being patient or have an insatiable curiosity, then it is very important that you give your capsule over to a loved one for safe keeping. We would recommend a family member, or an extremely close friend. Just make sure it’s someone you know will be in your life on the chosen future date and someone who is responsible enough to keep it safe and not look inside!
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What are you putting in YOUR wedding capsule? Tell us about it in the comment section below.
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Something Old, New, Borrowed and Blue

Something Old, Something New, Something Borrowed and Something Blue

Something Old, New, Borrowed and Blue

In this country an old couplet directs that the bride shall wear:  “Something old, something new, Something borrowed, something blue.” – 1898 compilation of English folklore

It’s a saying/tradition we’re all familiar with. Some of us might not know that tradition comes from an Old English rhyme (“Something Olde, Something New, Something Borrowed, Something Blue, and a sixpence in her shoe.”) These five objects each represent a different concept that the bride is supposed to carry on into her marriage. You certainly don’t have to abide by this tradition, especially if you are not superstitious. If you are going to participate, don’t let it overwhelm or stress you too much. These are usually little things that your family members bestow upon you so that you don’t have to think about it too much. Although, you can certainly gift them to yourself if you are so inclined.

Here’s a brief rundown of our favorite ideas for Something Old, New, Borrowed and Blue:

Something Olde

Definitely the most sentimental of all the “somethings,” Something Old is supposed to represent continuity and tradition. A lot of mothers and grandmothers donate their old gems, broaches, gloves, or pearls for this portion. Obviously, you’ll want to work with your matriarchs to find the perfect, personal fit for you. We love this idea of tying an old photo from your parents or grandparents wedding day onto the bouquet from JunebugWeddings.com:
Something Old, Something New, Something Borrowed and Something Blue
[La Vie Photography]

Something New

Something new is supposed to represent optimism for the future. Some brides keep it simple and use their wedding ring or dress as their something new or assume they will have a new piece of jewelry gifted to them the day of the wedding. However, you can also have fun with it and let your creative juices flow. We like the idea of using your bridal shoes as your something new. Check out these Badgley Mischka ‘Rouge’ pumps, found on Nordstrom:
something new

Something Borrowed

Something borrowed is supposed to represent happiness. This is where you can start to think a bit outside the box. What you borrow, doesn’t necessarily have to be something you wear. You can borrow dishes for the reception, or even borrow a wedding theme from a family member, or even your parent’s or grandparent’s wedding song. We love the idea of borrowing old family photos from both sides to create table centerpieces (via The Wedding App):
something borrowed

Something Blue

Blue is most people’s favorite color for a reason. Among other things, blue represents purity, love, and fidelity; all concepts you want to infuse your marriage with. Some brides enjoy hiding their blue underneath the dress with blue shoes or a blue garter. Both are wonderful ideas, but if you’re looking to take a walk on the wild side, why not apply a temporary tattoo? We love this bold, floral tattoo from Etsy seller Siideways:
something blue
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What are YOU doing for Something old/new/borrowed/blue? Tell us about it in the comment section below!
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Buffet Style Vs. Plated Wedding Dinner

Buffet Style Vs. Plated Wedding Dinner

Buffet Style Vs. Plated Wedding Dinner

One of the first things you will deal with when planning your reception is the age-old dilemma of a buffet style vs. plated wedding dinner. Which is less likely to break the bank? Which one will make your guests jump with delight and make their glands salivate? Check out our blog for the pros and cons of both options!

Buffet Style

buffet style wedding

With a buffet style dinner, all courses are served on different tables, and guests are invited table by table to come up and serve themselves. There is usually no table plan at a buffet dinner.

Pros: Buffet style usually offers a wide variety of food for your guests so that there’s something for everyone (remember to include a vegetarian main course.) This option will save you a bit of money on the amount of service staff needed. A buffet also provides opportunities for your guests to mingle and warm up to each other before hitting the dance floor for some uptown funk action!

Cons: People usually think that buffets are cheaper than seated dinners with set menus, but that’s not always true. Usually, the caterer will make a lot more food than will be eaten so that it doesn’t run out. Because of this, buffet style dinners can create a lot of wasted food. This arrangement can also get a little crazy and people can end up waiting a while to eat if certain guests are slower at getting their food.

Tips: You can really up the elegance of this option by decorating each buffet table with intricate little details. Present each dish in unique, and beautiful serve-ware and serving utensils. Combine cold and hot dishes with finger food options. You can also include a fresh-cooked option, i.e. having a chef prepare sushi or wok dishes right at the table!

Plated/Served Dinner

Buffet Style Vs. Plated Wedding Dinner

The plated dinner is generally the most traditional of the different dining options for a reception. The Bride and Groom constructs a table plan which gives each guest a place at a particular table (usually denoted by specific associations or circles) and guests are served a 3 or 4 course set menu.

Pros: You will usually save money on the amount of food, because the caterer will know exactly how much to buy based on your numbers. Your guests won’t have to worry about finding a seat or people to sit with, because this is prearranged for them. Also, everyone will be fed around the same time, so hopefully you don’t have too many hungry guests!

Cons: The staff portion of your bill will be a bit higher, as you will need more servers per guests. Since there are fewer options with a pre-planned meal, you might have certain guests who won’t be able to eat everything and might go hungry.

Tips: Give guests at least a couple of options for the main course. Send out a meal choice option with their invitations, so you can get this info to your caterer long before the reception. Avoid any options that might be considered too exotic so you can be more safe.

That’s it for now brides! Are you planning on having a buffet style or plated dinner for your reception? Tell us about it in the comment section below!

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How to Write Your Own Vows

our vows

How to Write Your Own Vows

Greetings ladies! Are you planning on writing your own vows for your wedding? You might be a bit overwhelmed wondering where to start. Read on to get some tips and pointers on the fine art of vow creation.

how to write your own vows

Step 1: Get Inspired

How can you set about creating something unless you first get inspired? Use books and the internet to look at as many different examples as you can to get an idea of WHAT you want and HOW you want it to be. Create a new folder on your desktop labeled “Vow Inspiration” and start loading it up! Encourage your fiance to do the same and then you will both be imbued with the creative power of inspiration!

Step 2: Get on the Same Page

Once you both have a rough idea of the direction you want to go in, make sure that you and your fiance are on the same page. First, you’ll want to go over your plan with your wedding officiant. Different churches may have different rules when it comes to vows. Some might not allow DIY vows, and some may require you to recite some of the traditional vows. Once you have done this, you’ll then start the process of agreeing on HOW you will both set about writing the vows, and what tone you want to create: Funny, romantic, tear-jerking, etc.

vow writing ideas

Step 3: Brainstorm your Beloved

We know that sounds kinda funny. Normally you would brainstorm things like new job possibilities, or ideas for other kinds of creative projects. What we mean by “brainstorming” your beloved is: Grab a paper and pencil and jot down all the aspects of your relationship that are the most special to you. What kinds of moments do you want to share with your wedding guests? Where did you first meet? When did you know you were in love? What do you love about him? Write down anything and everything that comes to mind.

Step 4: Dare to Declare

We promise that if you give yourself enough time to do the brainstorming in step 3, and make sure you are thinking about those key moments and memories, it will make the process of declaring your vows much easier. “In sickness and in health, through the good times and the bad,” are traditional vows that go without saying. Why not declare something more personal, like, “I promise to let you play Call of Duty in peace for at least 2 hours when you have had a bad day.” He could vow something like, “I promise to give you and your gal pals the living room all to yourselves so you can drink wine and watch Leonardo Dicaprio movies, at least once a month.”

Step 5: Revise and Refine

Once you have all your vows written down, you’ll want to revise and refine it until it is ready for the big day. Try to make sure there’s nothing that is too personal. You want to make sure that your wedding guests can connect to and relate to what you’re saying, even a little bit. You’ll also want to try to cut it down so that it does not take forever to read aloud at the ceremony. A good rule of thumb is to keep it to one minute or less per person.

Step 6: Practice Makes Perfect

Nervous about reciting your vows in a room full of 100 + people? Practice, practice, practice. We cannot stress the importance of this step enough. A lot of couples want to surprise their future spouse by not revealing the vows until the ceremony and end up getting tongue tied and feeling regretful. Practice saying your vows aloud to each other over and over again until it feels comfortable. If you really need to surprise each other, write a separate set of vows and recite them to each other in a romantic, honeymoon setting.

our vows

*Extra Credit!*

Create a Keepsake

Want to use your vows to create a special keepsake that will last forever? Why not create a frame-able piece of art with them? If minimal is your style, you could just frame your original vows that were written in pencil. Or if you’re handy with Adobe software, you could digitally render them onto a photograph of the two of you. The possibilities here are endless.

That’s it beautiful brides! Are you planning on writing your own wedding vows? Let us know what steps you’re taking and if you have any advice for your fellow future brides in the comments section below!

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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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Vendor Spotlight: Wedding Essentials

Vendor Spotlight: Wedding Essentials

The Bride Box has worked with some wonderful brands and artists this year! All of these unique items can help make your wedding day exactly how you envision it to be! Here are just a few of them that you should check out:

Nothing But Glisten
This talented artist makes custom hand stamped utensils and jewelry. Use Nothing But Glisten’s “I Do” and “Me Too” forks for the cake cutting at your wedding reception and order a wedding bouquet charm with your initial and wedding date to attach to your bouquet.

wedding bouquet charms

Smock Paper
We love how this great brand creates everything on bamboo paper or 100% recycled paper and are powered by wind energy. Use their notebooks to keep yourself organized during the wedding planning process and have them help you create the wedding invitations of your dreams on their luxurious bamboo paper by customizing a design to make it your own.

smock paper wedding invitation

Burlap and Linen Co.
They use a unique blend of natural and vintage inspired products to create memorable pieces for your big day. Whether you would like shabby chic wedding table decor, a custom ring bearer box or anything else special for your wedding, Burlap and Linen Co. can help you make your dreams a reality.

table wedding decor

Lauren B. Beauty
We loved featuring their blue shades of nail polish in The Bride Box! The quality and color is simply stunning. Their polish is made in the USA, is vegan-friendly, has not been tested on animals and is free of harsh chemicals. Their collection features a wide range of shades from dark to light; you’ll be sure to find that perfect color nail polish for you at Lauren B. Beauty!

nail polish

Have a product you would like to include in The Bride Box? Click here to contact us.

Cheers!

The Bride Box Team

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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.