An Elegant Barn Wedding On a Gorgeous Day

Since we all have summer on the brain over here I was so jazzed when photographer Kayce Howard of Purple Opal Photography contacted me to share some photos of an outdoor barn wedding she shot recently. It was a simple affair – casual, even – but still sophisticated. Some things stood right out. The couple? Looked comfortable in their clothes. We can get behind wedding fashion for brides and grooms that feels as good as it looks! And the setting? Was to die for. Check it out:



Is that look not adorable? Check out this bride’s natural curly ‘do below. It’s super inspiring for all the curly-haired brides-to-be dreaming of keeping things au naturel. You can do it, ladies!


How about these colors? These are bridesmaids dresses you could really and truly actually wear again. My guess is that the bridesmaids themselves had a hand in picking them.



They are too cute.



How can you not love a bride and groom who look like they’re having an amazing time?




This natural wedding arch is the kind of wedding decor you can’t replicate. It has to be Mother Nature or nothing.




Like I said, it was simple. Simply beautiful, when it comes down to it. Wedding tables don’t need to be fussy to make guests happen. Very few people will remember your centerpieces or the color of your linens, anyway.



Every couple needs a shot like this.




Are you a wedding photographer who’d like to share your work on our blog? If you have a set of wedding photos you love, email christa d terry at gmail (no spaces) to find out how to have them featured. Brides, we’d love to feature your favorite wedding photos, too!
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Summer’s Here! And So are Our Favorite Beachy Must-Haves and Wedding Accessories!

Summer is finally here at USABride headquarters – finally! And we are looking forward to three months of amazing beach weddings that’ll have us gushing over bridal accessories, dresses, and everything else at ceremonies and receptions on the shore. Naturally I have my own pretty strong opinions about what is hot or not for beach weddings but I thought let’s keep it simple. Your tastes are yours, mine are mine, but there’s definitely going to be things we agree on. Like these beach wedding must-haves:

1. a gorgeous beach wedding hairstyle:

beach wedding hairstyles

2. and a beautiful bridal hair flower to put in it:


3. a wedding dress that’s light, airy, and easy to wear in the sand:

beach wedding dress - destination wedding gown

4. something like this because heels are a no no:

beach wedding shoes - sandals

5. bridal flip-flops – make them fun:

beach wedding flip flops

6. comfy semi-formalwear for the groom:

beach wedding groom

7. and maybe some beach wedding accessories just for the guys:

beach wedding groom boutenniere

8. something fun for bridesmaids:


9. what you need to beat the heat:

bridal parasol - wedding umbrellas

10. an antidote to the sun’s glare:



11. a beachy bridal bouquet (should be loose and light, not heavy):

beach wedding bouquet

12. keepsakes to help guests keep cool:

wedding fans - beach wedding fans

13. And something pretty for your favorite ladies, of course:

starfish earrings - destination wedding - beach brideAre you getting married on the sand? Share your pics here!

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Groomsmen Duties: Everything Your Men Need To Know

groomsmen duties - what groomsmen need to do

Hey ladies? This one is for the guys, so feel free to zoom right past it and browse our pearl wedding jewelry new arrivals instead or to pass it on to your groom-to-be so he can share it with his buddies. Guys, regardless of how you got to this post, read on!

So you’ve been recruited into the wedding party by your brother, your college roommate, or your best friend. Whether you’re psyched for the chance to support him or totally nervous because you’re worried about screwing something up, you said yes to being a groomsman and now you’ve got to deliver. The question you may be asking yourself is – beyond planning the bachelor party – what exactly do the groomsmen do? It’s a good question, and one that most guys can answer without a little googling. Luckily, we’ve created a guy-friendly game plan to help you make your buddy’s engagement and wedding super memorable.

As groomsman, your main mission, should you choose to accept it, is to facilitate a smooth, stress-free wedding experience. Lucky for you, you’re not on the hook for the kind of crafty stuff and shopping trips that the bridesmaids have agreed to take part in. But that doesn’t mean you don’t have anything on your plate. You are responsible for:

  • Giving the groom plenty of moral support before and during the wedding
  • Buying or renting the required wedding day attire
  • Helping plan whatever pre-wedding parties the groom wants
  • Ushering the guests and answering their questions before and during the ceremony
  • Escorting the bridesmaid assigned to you down the aisle

That’s it? That’s it. If you’re curious as to why bridesmaids might feel a little resentful, look up a list of bridesmaids duties some time. You also have a lot less to pay for. You’ll be paying for:

  • The rental or purchase of a tux or suit
  • Travel expenses (if the wedding is out of town)
  • A wedding gift for the couple
  • Your part of the bachelor party

Sounds doable, but keep in mind that some bachelor parties involve air travel, luxe accommodations, and three-day weekends away – the groomsmen will often foot the bill for the groom’s food and drink. Being a groomsman can get expensive, depending on what kind of wedding the couple is planning.

Still not sure how this is all going to go down? Here are some tips to help you be a great groomsman:

On the actual wedding day, arrive at the site an hour early.

As an usher you should have a list or have gone over the seating plan with the bride and groom prior to the wedding. This way you will be able to smoothly escort all the guests to their seats.

Sometimes the groomsmen escort the bridesmaids down the aisle and other times the groomsmen will enter the church (or other ceremony location) with the best man and groom. Ask what you’ll be doing.

Whether you escort the bridesmaids to the alter or not, the groomsmen usually escort the bridesmaids down the aisle following the exit of the bride and groom.

Formal pictures of the bridal party are usually taken between the wedding and the reception. Some couples will do photos before the ceremony to make day run more smoothly. Groomsmen must be present for these but all you need to do is smile!

At the wedding reception, your groomsmen’s duties are basically over. You may still be the go-to guy for guests’ questions, though.

Usually there is a dance for the wedding party and groomsmen are expected to dance with the bridesmaids. You should also probably get one dance with the bride (it’s good luck!).

If the groom is going to toss the bridal garter and you’re single, be a good sport and try to catch it. No pressure 🙂

The rest of the night is your own to enjoy and to celebrate! Have fun!

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All About Boutonnieres

Boutonnieres are the corsage of the wedding menswear world. More than just a lapel decoration for the groom and his groomsmen, they’re actually useful. They let your wedding guests see who the ushers, best man and special family members are at a glance. Typically, the father and grandfather of both the bride and the groom wear boutonnieres, though who exactly gets the honor of a boutonniere is up to the couple.

easy wedding DIY - book themed wedding

I pity the poor boutonniere, actually, because it’s often an afterthought – chosen not for its own merits but crafted simply as the bridesmaids’ bouquets in miniature. Is it because it’s a wedding accessory for men? Since I’m not one to dabble in the battle of the sexes, I’m not going to go there. But suffice it to say that it is the rare bride-to-be indeed who puts hours of effort into finding the ultimate boutonniere design for her intended and his attendants.


Want to be that rare bride who ensures that her groom’s wedding accessories are as stunning as her own? Then read on for things to keep in mind when researching and choosing boutonnieres:

1. Boutonnieres can range in price anywhere from $3.00 – $15.00 each – or sometimes even more – depending on the type of flowers and the intricacy of the design. If you are on a budget, stick with a simple style. Or DIY!

2. But wait, boutonnieres don’t have to involve flowers at all. See the bookish boutonniere above, for instance. I’ve seen boutonnieres made from yarn, super hero action figures, fruit and vegetables (no kidding), dice, and more. The sky is the limit here – if it fits, it’ll work.

3. Be sure the groom stands out from the crowd by making his boutonniere different from the rest, in style, color, type of flower or design.

4. The most popular flower used for boutonnieres is roses. Shocking, I know. But think beyond the rose if your bridal bouquet won’t feature this flower prominently. Other flowers that can be used include small orchids, stephanotis, freesia, or yes, carnations.

5. Boutonnieres aren’t worn in the buttonhole but rather over it. Traditionally, boutonnieres are worn on the left lapel but I’m not here to tell you how to live your life. Using a pearl head pin? Usually the boutonniere itself should conceal the pearl.

6. The rules most brides follow re: bouquets may apply. A big, burly groom can pull off a wider, more dramatic boutonniere while the tall, thin groom might choose a boutonniere to match.


7. Think you can’t have big style in a small package? Think again! This is a wonderful area to get creative because the groom and groomsmen’s lapels are such a neutral backdrop that even minor details will pop. If you love the look of the classic floral boutonniere, consider embellishments like burlap (for the rustic wedding), ribbon, tartan, etc.

What kind of boutonniere will YOUR groom be wearing?
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10 Things Your Wedding Ushers Should Know

wedding ushers - wedding planning advice

It’s so easy to focus on your bridesmaids’ accessories and duties for the big day and totally overlook another set of wedding VIPs: the groomsmen. These guys may not do as much to plan a wedding as the ladies in your life, but they have an important duty to perform on the big day! They’ll act as your ushers, aka the guys who welcome guests, seat them, and answer any questions they may have in advance of the ceremony. Some grooms-to-be will have groomsmen AND wedding ushers, but you don’t usually need to have both unless the groomsmen will be helping with something else before the main event begins.

Here’s everything your wedding ushers need to know for the big day, from their job description to guest-seating etiquette. You might just want to print this out and give a copy to each of your ushers.

  • All ushers should be at the wedding ceremony location about 45-60 minutes before the ceremony will begin. Upon their arrival, they should put on their boutonnieres if they haven’t already. Note: Boutonnieres can be tricky to put on (especially for nervous fingers) so, it’s a good idea to have someone there to help them.
  • Ushers should smile, be friendly, and greet the guests as they escort them to their seats. If you expect they’ll be answering questions about the ceremony or the reception, give them the relevant info in advance.
  • Traditionally, the usher offers his right arm to the woman (the oldest woman if a group or family is being escorted) but this is a bit old fashioned. Another option: the ushers can walk the guests to their seats rather than offering their arm.
  • Family and friends of the bride are usually seated on the left side of the aisle (facing the altar) and the groom’s family and friends on the right. If one side of the church becomes more full than the other, the ushers should begin seating guests on the other side. Now some couples are asking guests to “choose a seat, not a side” so open seating is okay.
  • Based on the guest list, you should have a good idea of how many to expect on both sides. If you know one side of the family will have more guests, then instruct your ushers ahead of time to “fill in” the more empty side.
  • After all the guests are seated, the parents of the groom are seated. Sometimes the groom’s mother is escorted by the groom. Next the mother of the bride is escorted in, sometimes by the best man or the head usher.
  • The first pews are reserved for immediate family of the bride and groom, and the parents sit in the front pew. Be sure to instruct the family and the ushers ahead of time on who should be sitting where, especially when it comes to divorced parents. If the parents are divorced, the father is seated in the row behind, or if the parents get along well they can be seated in the same pew.
  • Once the groom and best man are in place at the altar the ceremony is ready to begin.
  • After the ceremony is completed and the wedding party has recessed, two ushers will escort the mothers back down the aisle. Some mothers prefer to walk back with their husband – in this case, the usher will simply lead the couple out.
  • Then, the ushers will help escort or direct the rest of the guests out of the church beginning with the front pews and working their way back.

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