The Champagne Reception

Saving money is on many a bride’s mind in these times of job insecurity and recession mania. Budget weddings are a huge trending topic, seemingly year after year. But cutting corners… DIY weddings… prioritizing. It can all sound a bit like deprivation. We think it doesn’t have to be quite that depressing, though.

So what if you don’t have a Hiltonesque bundle of cash to spend on your gown and bridal jewelry and especially the reception, which is usually the biggest wedding expense? With all things vintage still being on trend, we have a suggestion for all those brides-to-be who feel a little put out that a mega-bash is not in the cards. Namely, the champagne reception.

bridal jewelry

Once upon a time, the champagne reception was de riguer among the stylish, who frowned upon the sort of nuptial excesses we’re all subject to today because we can’t peel our eyes away from those godawful wedding-themed reality shows.

It was a simple and elegant mid- or late-afternoon affair featuring champagne, cocktails, and lovely non-alcoholic drinks; light hors d’oeuvres and nibbles; and of course, wedding cake. There was music and mingling, but likely no dancing because the kind of venues one chooses for hosting a champagne reception are meant to inspire conversation rather than carousing.

The champagne reception is a real money saver because no sit-down meal is served, the music should be ambient not in-your-face, and the event itself will often be shorter in duration than what is today a more traditional wedding reception. And yet no one need know that you’ve chosen a champagne reception so as to be able to spend your bridal budget elsewhere – hello, bridal jewelry and bubbly upgrade! -because it’s such an elegant choice. More elegant, in some ways, than a reception that includes neon glow sticks on the dance floor and meatballs on toothpicks.

We love this old fashioned wedding reception option for brides and grooms who want a classier affair. Possibly also a more intimate one. Feelings of deprivation? You won’t find them here!

 


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Four Wedding Jewelry Trends for Summer 2013

We seriously can’t believe that we’re already halfway into the first month of 2013! But we are, so forward we go! And we decided the first thing we’re duty bound to do is make a few predictions about the year’s jewelry trends. This summer we expect you’ll be seeing a lot of wedding jewelry that could be described as fresh… striking… unique… and exciting. This is going to be a pretty amazing year!

Specifically, we bet you’ll be seeing more:

Floral Bridal Headbands – Pretty and feminine, floral bridal headbands are showing up on brides of all ages. Pair this look with a simpler wedding gown, lest you end up looking sickly sweet instead of just sweet.

Statement Colors – Crystal bridal jewelry will never go out of style, but 2013’s brides are going to be a lot braver when it comes to color than brides of years past. Look for bold, saturated colors on brides – think deep blues, royal purples, and brilliant black and silver.

Artisan Inspired Pieces – Whether that means the continuing popularity of all things vintage or jewelry that looks like it was created by your bestie who took that class that time, it’s all about that personalized, handmade look. Be original!

Chandelier Earrings: Big bridal earrings can give you that wow factor when you’re wearing a relatively plain wedding gown like a sheath. Just remember that these will always coordinate better with an updo than a half-and-half or long, flowing style.

What 2013 wedding jewelry trends are you excited about??


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A Little Sparkle to Ring in the New Year

Your wedding accessories don’t have to be the only thing that sparkles at your reception. As brilliantly as crystal wedding jewelry can catch candlelight, there’s nothing quite like letting guests fire up specialty sparklers at your after-dark affair.

And there’s more than one way to have fun with wedding sparklers.

Forget rice or birdseed… give guests sparklers tied up with ribbons or monogrammed paper packaging and let them see you off in striking style. Your exit photos will be amazing! Or skip the usual wedding cake topper in favor of sparklers surrounding something like this. Your cake cutting ceremony will be an unforgettable event all its own. Or plan ahead with your wedding photographer to use wedding sparklers to create a brilliant message in one or more of your pics.

Of course, you could just give out packets of signature sparklers as your wedding favor and let guests do what they will. Especially if you’re having your reception outdoors and there will be lots of older kids in attendance.

But no matter what you do with your wedding sparklers play it safe! Before you commit to wedding sparklers, make sure your venue allows them and doesn’t require any extra prep on your part. And only use sparklers in spaces where stray sparks won’t ignite anything flammable. Finally, designate someone like a bridesmaid or groomsmen to keep an eye on who is using sparklers and how they’re using them. We’ll go ahead and assume that everyone at your wedding will act responsibly, but you never know.

Happy New Year from all of us at USABride!


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Thinking Outside the Bridal Box

Planning a wedding shouldn’t be about following a script, though there are certainly plenty of scripts out there to follow. The traditionalist’s script, with pearl wedding jewelry and a sit-down reception banquet in a hall. The quirky script, with flip flops for guests and cake balls instead of something tiered. The destination wedding script, with sand, sand, and more sand. Go off script, and it’s easy to feel like you’re breaking the rules.

Simple things like choosing tarts over cake, or a bridal brooch over a sash, or getting married in your own backyard can stress out brides-to-be who worry that guests will criticize or even refuse to attend.

We’re not suggesting that kind of thing never happens. Some people are just grumpy and always looking for something to criticize. No bride can please everyone – especially not when you’re trying to bring two families with very different ideas and traditions together. And that’s if there aren’t also differences in culture or religion to contend with! Being that such is the case, why even try to please everyone?

If you’re the kind of bride-to-be who wants to think outside the bridal box when planning a wedding, do it. Get crazy. Take your guests camping. Jump in the deck pool in your wedding gown. Serve virgin mudslides instead of champagne. BBQ. Wear a mini dress or your grandmother’s dress or a biniki or a pants suit or jeans. Have your reception at Taco Bell. Make your parrot your flower girl. Whatever.

As for the stress that comes with thinking outside the bridal box, we say “Why worry?” After all, as much as we’re sure you want to please your guests, your wedding is your party. Make it a good one, whatever that means to you!


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Wedding Dresses: Embracing the Details

Have you ever wondered what makes a wedding dress feminine? A lot of guides will try to tell you what feminine wedding dresses are without really talking about the essence of the gowns they’re featuring. What makes a wedding dress fun… or romantic… or quirky… or feminine? We asked our staff stylists for input into that very question and they answered that it’s all about the details. Take the following wedding dresses, for instance. They are decidedly feminine – even if all we’ve seen is a little bit of the back.

But that’s not all there is to it. The few details we can see tell us that we’re looking at two gowns that would be just perfect for the feminine bride who wants to feel romantic, but also a little bit sexy. Again, it’s all about the details. Maybe a well-placed bridal brooch on your beach wedding dress, giving it just enough elegance to give sand some sophistication. Or a pretty bow at the waist of your otherwise sleek gown. It could be a sash or a keyhole cutout or lace at the decolletage. A plunging neckline. And even deeper plunge at the back. Seed pearls. You name it – but whatever it is, know that it is saying something about your bridal style.

You can capitalize on that simple fact by thinking in terms of the details when you’re shopping for wedding dresses, be the frocks that melt your heart tend to be feminine or beachy or sexy or sophisticated or some combination of all four. Sure, you could focus entirely on the big picture and end up with a perfectly passable dress. But never forget, it’s the details that will truly make your wedding dress stand out from the crowd.


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To the Lady Who Caught My Bouquet

Plain bridal bouquets? Way five minutes ago. Kidding, kidding – we love simple bridal bouquets as much as we love fancy-pants bridal bouquets glammed up with bouquet jewelry, picture charms, and other embellishments. You could say we’re equal opportunity bouquet lovers. So when we were poking around Pinterest and found this picture of a differently decorated bouquet, we swooned.

If you can’t read the pretty note tied to the bouquet in the picture, it says:

To the lady who caught my bouquet, I wish you extraordinary happiness when your day comes to shine as a bride. May all your hopes and dreams become reality, just as mine have today. If there are any words of wisdom to give to you, it would be to “always love more”. Be patient, for your day will come – however long it takes, it’s worth waiting for. Thank you for being a part of my very dream come true.

We know that the bridal bouquet toss is a contentious issue among modern brides. No one wants to single out their single friends, but at the same time, the toss itself can be so much fun. One modification of the bouquet toss that we’ve seen at a few weddings invites all of the women at the wedding to play catch – with the catcher winning not the privilege of being the next in line to say “I do,” but rather good luck, happiness, and good wishes.

If you weren’t planning on having a bouquet toss at your reception because you’re worried about embarrassing the singletons or making their dates feel awkward (but you really want to throw that mutha), do a modified toss and edit the note in the photo above accordingly! Just be sure you take your bridal bouquet jewelry out first so your floral missile doesn’t take out any eyes.


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7 Wedding Traditions You Can Safely Skip

When you’re planning a wedding, it becomes all too obvious that the vast number of so-called wedding traditions can easily bankrupt the budget bride and groom. Every new tradition seems to come with a price tag! Many couples are fighting back against the culture of excess surrounding weddings by scaling back and simplifying, but it’s not always easy. Too many wedding planning guides are quick to say that traditions must be upheld, lest brides and grooms find themselves on the wrong side of etiquette. That’s why we want to be just as quick to counter by saying that most of what we think of as tradition is relatively new in its current form… and entirely optional.

Here are seven wedding traditions you can safely skip without offending Miss Manners or Emily Post – though you may have a few not-in-the-know wedding guests who see your omissions as inflammatory:

1. The flower girl – and by extension, the flower girl dress. While a little girl in a miniature gown can certainly enhance the look of a wedding party, whether to invite children to participate in the wedding ceremony is wholly up to the bride and groom.

2. Carrying a bridal bouquet. We love flowers as much as the next bridal accessory experts, but the fact is that a bride can walk down the aisle carrying whatever she wants or even nothing at all. Common floral alternatives include prayer books, candles, lanterns, and fans, but don’t feel like you have to carry anything.

3. Wedding favors. Surprised? While there is indeed a long history of giving wedding guests a little something to take home, there’s an equally long tradition of wedding guests tossing wedding favors right into the trash bin as soon as they get home.

4. Having a bride’s side and a groom’s side at the ceremony. Sometimes it happens that one half a couple has a whole lot of family while the other half has hardly any, or a bride and groom may share all their friends. Ushers can seat guests on either side of the aisle – or guests can simply seat themselves as they see fit, without having to take sides.

5. The garter toss. Wedding garters are so lovely these days that we personally love it when the bride decides to keep hers on her leg where it belongs. Have a toss if you really want to, but could we at least ask that your new spouse not use teeth to remove it beforehand?

6. Matchy-matchy bridesmaids dresses. Besides the fact that it’s unlikely that ALL of your ‘maids will look great in grey or green strapless sheaths, giving bridesmaids a little leeway to choose their own dresses (maybe in one color family) results in more interesting wedding pictures and a more authentic look.

7. Something old, something new, something borrowed, and something blue. Though a wedding guest or two may ask you to share your ‘somethings,’ most won’t, so unless you’re very sentimental yourself and truly want to take the time to choose from among the old, new, borrowed, and blue, feel free to just wear the dress and wedding jewelry you really want to wear.

What other wedding traditions do you think brides should consider tossing out?


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Get Ready (in Advance) for the 2014 Wedding Dress Trends!

Can you believe that there are only a few months left of 2012? That means that a lot of brides-to-be are getting set to say their vows in 2013 – and some early wedding planners are even looking forward to 2014 ceremonies and receptions! Time really flies when you’re having fun, so even though 2014 may seem like it’s ages away, it’ll be here before you know it. So we thought it would be fun to take a look at what’s trending among 2014 brides when it comes to wedding dresses.

Are you excited? Because we’re really excited! Read on for what’s on track to be hot on brides at weddings in 2014:

Vintage wedding dresses will continue to be popular among brides, but the next wave of gowns is going to be less 1940s/1950s and more Flapper chic. Expect to see 1920s style wedding dresses (and accessories) continue to trend up. That said, don’t be surprised if you see a little bit of the 1980s in the ensembles planned by very fashion forward brides.

Futuristic fabrics, cuts, and embellishments will be all over – even on otherwise traditional wedding dresses. Metallic fabrics, specialty high-tech lace, and other unique details will prove that more brides want a runway moment rather than a day spent as Cinderella. In other words, wedding dresses are growing up.

A bride shopping for classic wedding gowns will still find them, but tiny touches will ensure that everyone knows that she’s not wearing her mother’s wedding dress. Think angular bows, dramatic cut-outs, ethnic embellishments, and even masculine touches that will add major interest to traditional silhouettes.

Gold will find its way into white wedding dresses in the form of not only rich bordering but also sequins, flecks, and other surprising details that go way beyond embroidery.

Look for layers! Sheer paneling is no longer showcasing skin, but rather satin and silk.

And finally, we’ll be seeing more colored wedding dresses on the runways, but that may or may not be the case when it comes to what brides are actually buying. Our feeling is that roughly the same number of brides will choose colored wedding gowns, but that the colors available in 2014 will be more vivid, more varied, and more beautiful than ever before. The same will hold true for prints.

What emerging wedding dress trends are you most looking forward to?


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Everything Old Is New Again!

One trend we’re totally loving? Vintage look wedding jewelry! I mean, all things vintage are hot right now… right down to vintage typewriter wedding guestbooks and sepia toned photographs in wedding albums, but you can understand how we’d gravitate toward the wedding jewelry end of the planning spectrum. We especially lust after all things Swarovski crystal, which has an old school glamor that you just can’t find in other gems – and why not? Specialty Swarovski crystals have been around – and probably dazzling brides – since 1895! Here are some of our favorite vintage look pieces that might just become your new favorites, on the big day and beyond:

Our Eve Swarovski crystal bridal earrings are as delicate as they are bold. It’s hard to describe how something can be both femme and fatale at the same time, but that’s what you get. Along with, we should add, a big hit of sparkle and vibrancy that may just compete with your dress when it comes time to pick the star of the show.

Freshwater pearls offer up an eye-catching counterpoint to all that sparkle in our Isadora Swarovski crystal bridal necklace, which is every bit as bold as the bride who wears it. As striking as this piece looks in photographs, it is even more dramatic in person. We recommend pairing it with a simple sheath for the most impact since this is a necklace that can’t help but steal the show.

And finally, there are our Simone freshwater pearl and crystal bridal earrings, which also feature genuine Swarovski crystals. Stunning is one way to describe them – unique is another. We love the delicate metal work under the crystals, but we’ve had brides tell us that their favorite thing about these earrings is the size. Not too big, not too small, and just right for pairing with a sophisticated wedding updo.

Are you wearing any of these pieces on your big day? It’s just a great time to be a retro bride, especially if your idea of retro is more 1930s than 1960s!


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Wedding Dresses Dresses with Pockets… All You Need?

That ongoing trend of adding pockets – actual pockets! – to wedding dresses and bridesmaids dresses? We love it. Like really love it. Suddenly the bride has a place to stash a few hair pins or her lipstick for touch ups or even her frosty fingers if she happens to be a wintertime bride.

We still recommend picking up a bridal purse or bridal clutch so you have ALL of the essential emergency kit items at the ready because you’re not going to fit everything you need into those pretty pockets. But having a pair of pockets can really make being a bride a lot less stressful.

You can thank us later!


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