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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Wedding Gowns: Is Too Much Ever Just Right?

Some brides accentuate their wedding gowns with a little touch of color here and there. Think bright bridal shoes or colored wedding jewelry. Maybe a jewel tone sash. A striking red flower in her hair. We think that most brides-to-be, whether intentionally or unintentionally, think in terms of color orbiting a white dress – though some gravitate toward colored wedding dresses. And for that select few, you see designers like Vera Wang creating entire lines of colored gowns. Pink and red wedding dresses are practically mainstream. If you really, really want a blue or green or purple wedding dress, you will find one. While we might not have worn them ourselves, all of us here love colored gowns.

Of course, there is this sort of thing, in this case from Sugar Kei:

Now, you’ll never hear us say anything other than ‘to each her own’ when it comes to what a bride is wearing, but our first impression when looking at these is bride-wearing-a-couch. An old couch that someone is desperately trying to give away on Craigslist. Or the old couch our grandparents keep trying to give us even though it really ought to have been tossed out years ago once the cats started to use it as a scratching post. But maybe we’re being too judgy and these wedding dresses are just too awesome for us traditionalists to appreciate.

What do you think? Is too much ever just right?


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Do You Want to Be Princess for the Day?

The crystal wedding tiara remains one of the most popular bridal accessories, even if wedding headbands and other trends are gaining ground. Our quickie theory is that brides still want to capture that princess for a day feeling at their ceremonies and receptions, and there are few bridal accessories as regal as the traditional tiara.

We think there are two camps when it comes to the princess for a day attitude. First, there are the brides-to-be who want to embrace the whole mythology of weddings, complete with ball gown and long train and wedding tiara and a carriage ride to the reception. Then there are brides-to-be who want to distance themselves from it because they feel it’s an outdated way to look at love and marriage. And there are even – we’re not pointing any fingers, though – the brides-to-be who think being a princess for a day means their will is law, yikes!

Needless to say, we think dressing like a princess on your wedding day, complete with wedding tiara, is a fabulous idea. But we’d like to caution our bridal princesses to look at real princesses for their inspiration. True royalty is defined by graciousness, gentility, and a kindness that is absolutely incompatible with today’s cartoonish bridezillas – so we think being a princess for a day, in dress, certainly, but more importantly in demeanor, is a lovely idea.

Do you want to be a princess for the day?


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Do I Really Need a Wedding Theme?

Theme weddings are a big deal these days, if the wedding planning guides are any indication. Beach theme weddings for the summertime bride – sand not necessary – compete with wonderland themes for the winter weddings. There are steampunk weddings and classic gangster weddings and renaissance weddings and even zombie weddings. Practically anything can become a wedding theme, so we get that there’s an element of fun inherent in theme weddings. But the fact that there are so many theme weddings (and wedding themes) out there is starting to make some brides-to-be wonder if they need a theme to have a wedding.

What’s involved in having a theme wedding? Your wedding theme might dictate everything from your choice of venue to the design of your cake to your wedding jewelry. Almost every wedding planning decision you make will be driven by your theme. This can mean that all of those planning to-dos take twice as long to cross off because you’re searching for, say, bridal accessories and linens that are appropriate for a 1920s flapper wedding. In short, having a theme wedding isn’t always easy, and a theme wedding can actually be a lot more expensive than a traditional wedding.

So as to whether you really need a theme, we think that ‘wedding’ is a perfectly acceptable theme for a ceremony and reception. What does it matter if your guests know that you were inspired by Old Hollywood Glamor as you sketched out your wedding day look? Or if they understand that the table names are all related to library science? You’ll know, and your wedding will be beautiful even if no one gets what you were going for. If you were going for anything at all other than just… wedding!


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