Can I Really Choose ANY Bridesmaids Dresses?

Sometimes the utterly overwhelming range of options can put brides-to-be into a tailspin. Not only are their potentially hundreds of ceremony and reception venues to choose from, thousands of styles of crystal and pearl wedding jewelry, millions of wedding gowns, and an infinite number of cake flavor combinations, there are also the things brides need to pick for others. Even your wedding colors will impact your wedding VIPs!

One of the biggest for others picks a bride-to-be will make is the bridesmaids’ dresses because the bride is choosing clothing for other people – and clothing can be a pretty personal thing. The bridesmaid who feels less than body confident may prefer a very different dress than the bridesmaid who is a fitness instructor, for instance. The color that looks smashing on one washes another out. One finds strapless bridesmaids’ dresses flattering. Another thinks they’re immodest.

Film Title: Bridesmaids

And so on and so forth.

Of course, the bride-to-be has final say over what the bridesmaids will wear just like she has final say over almost everything else. That doesn’t mean that she can’t do the kind thing and take her bridesmaids’ sizes, preferences, and personalities into account when choosing bridesmaids dresses. There is something to be said for good manners and there’s almost nothing more mannerly than making sure that the people who will celebrate your big day with you will be comfortable and happy and look their best.

alfred sung bridesmaids dresses

If your bridesmaids are all very different people, this gets more difficult. Your options include simply making a final choice after taking everyone’s opinions and preferences into account, letting bridesmaids choose their own dresses in one color or color family, or choosing a designer and letting bridesmaids pick frocks from a particular collection in one specific color.

You may be surprised at how grateful your bridesmaids are that you’ve either given them even the chance to offer up some input or the full freedom to choose their own dresses. Never forget that letting someone else dress you can be a pretty scary thing.

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12 Tips for Having Children in Weddings

Inviting children to take part in your wedding ceremony can make it even more special – especially if you yourself have kids or your spouse to be is a dad or mom. However, the last thing you want to worry about is your flower girl or ring bearer becoming impatient, restless, fidgety, or tantrum-y on the day of the wedding.

children in weddings

Remember, weddings can get pretty boring for kids and worse, it can seem like it takes forever to get to the one thing most kids care about: cake. Here are some helpful tips to ensure that the day goes smoothly when you’re including children in weddings:

As a general rule, when choosing children to take part in your wedding as a flower girl or ring bearer, it is usually best (or at least more predictable) to pick children ages four and above. Now of course each child is different and you’ll want to consider their personality (very shy vs. outgoing) and maturity level as well. Keep in mind that very young children will be more unpredictable than older kids.

In the weeks before the wedding day, talk to your flower girl and ring bearer (or have their parents talk to them) about the events that will take place before and throughout the wedding day so they know what to expect. Some little ones get nervous about being in weddings because they don’t know what’s going to happen on the big day.

Explain what they will wear, where they will go and what they will have to do. The better young attendants can visualize their role in the wedding, the better prepared they will be to cooperate and participate as you would like them to.

flower girl jewelry - children in weddings

Choose outfits for the flower girl and ring bearer that are comfortable. Choose comfortable fabrics, ones that don’t scratch or irritate the skin. Be sure the children wear comfortable shoes, and if the shoes are new, that they have a chance to “break them in” prior to the wedding day. For little girls, a special flower girl jewelry set can go a long way toward making her job seem special.

Purchase some books! There are some wonderful books that not only inform flower girls and ring bearers of their role in the wedding, but also welcome and celebrate them as a very special part of the bridal party.

Invite all of your young attendants and their parents to the rehearsal. Let the children practice walking down the aisle several times so that they will feel more comfortable of their role on the “big day”.

Make sure that the children know exactly where their parents will be seated during the ceremony. Depending on the length and style of the ceremony, you may want the children to go and sit with their parents during the ceremony. For littler kids, place parents in the front row so they can walk down the aisle and right to their moms and dads.

The parents of the flower girl and ring bearer should be invited to the rehearsal dinner. However, many rehearsal dinners can go as late as 10:00 or even later – if you’ll be having fun late into the night talk with the parents to see if a babysitter can be arranged ahead of time.

Ask the parents of your flower girl and ring bearer to make sure their children are well rested before the wedding (without implying that they won’t be, of course). A good night’s sleep the night before, or even a nap the day of, can help little ones get through the day with smiles on their faces instead of frowns.

flower girls and ring bearers

Assign a bridesmaid to each child in the bridal party. Have each of your secret helpers keep a goody bag handy. Fill it with nutritious treats (dry cereal, crackers, carrot sticks), crayons and paper, a bottle of water and small travel games. These kid supplies will come in handy while traveling from the church to the reception, while waiting for photographs to be taken, and during the reception.

Take pictures with the flower girl and ring bearer as early in the day as possible, preferably before the ceremony. Then there is less chance that their outfits could get dirty, torn, wrinkled; you know how kids are!

Be sure to express your heartfelt appreciation to the children in your bridal party. Photographs make a cherished gift for parents of flower girls and ring bearers of all ages. For your littlest attendants themselves, opt instead for toys and other things children will appreciate.

Kids are unpredictable! All the practice and preparation in the world does not mean that they will perform their role flawlessly. Don’t expect perfection and laugh at the hiccups. Remember, if it doesn’t go just as planned, it will make for entertaining clips in your wedding video!

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The 10 Most Asked Questions by Brides-to-Be

Etiquette-schmetiquette, until you’re planning a wedding. Then it’s all wedding etiquette, all the time, because you know how easily offended some people are and there is no leaving those folks off your guest list. Here are 10 questions brides-to-be ask us and our answers because there’s a good chance you’ve been wondering, too.

1. How can I let people know where I am registered?

Word of mouth is really only the “proper” way to inform people where you are registered. You really must wait until they ask you or other family members. The one exception: all close family members and your attendants should be told where you are registered so they can inform others when they’re asked. And they will be asked. Okay, there is one more exception – but one that is still considered unmannerly by many. Most couples these days are putting their wedding registry information on their wedding websites.

2. How can I ask for money instead of a gift?

Hold up. There is literally no way to politely ask for money as wedding gifts in lieu of something else without being totally, utterly tacky. I’m afraid this is a cardinal rule of etiquette that must be taken seriously. You can plant the seeds with close family and attendants but even then, it’s still kind of tacky. That said, here’s a trick that could just get you cold hard cash: don’t register. Anywhere. People are much more likely to give you a check when you haven’t registered anywhere. But when guests do come bearing gifts that don’t fit into an envelope, accept them graciously.

formal wedding - adults only wedding receptions

3. How can I let people know that I don’t want children at the wedding?

The only thing you can do is not include the children’s names on the invitations. However, you’ll find that some people will still want to bring their children. Hopefully they will ask if that’s okay at which time you absolutely can say that your ceremony and reception will be adults only – just make sure you say it kindly. Should you find yourself in a situation where children are coming, be prepared with a “kids table” that includes crayons, coloring books, and candy. Don’t print Adults Only on your invitation.

4. Who pays for what?

A growing trend today is for wedding expenses to be shared among the bride and groom, as well as each of their families. Don’t rely on traditional ‘who pays for what’ lists without actually consulting your families and one another. You may be expecting your parents to pay for most of the event when it’s not in their budget. Or your future in-laws may have some ideas about what they would like to pay for. It never hurts to ask – just be mannerly about it.

5. How many invited guests should I expect will actually attend my wedding?

The general rule of thumb is if you’re inviting over 200 guests, then you can estimate that about 25-28% of your guests will be unable to attend. If you are inviting fewer than 200 guests, then the percentage usually decreases to about 15-20% or less. Other factors include how many guests you invite that live out-of-town and the travel distance required to attend the wedding. Ultimately, there is no way to predict with certainty how many people with RSVP yes. Remember, every family and guest list is different, so always be prepared in case everyone is able to come! And please, no A lists and B lists because that sort of thing has a way of getting out.

maid of honor responsibilities

6. What are the Maid of Honor’s responsibilities?

The main role of the Maid of Honor is to help the bride with the wedding planning. This can include shopping for dresses, addressing invitations, putting together favors and just being there when the bride needs some extra help, support or someone to talk to. However, don’t choose your MOH based on who you think can give you the most help. If your favorite person in the whole world lives miles and miles away, pick them anyway. And don’t forget to buy her some stunning bridesmaids jewelry to make her feel beautiful on your big day as a thank you in either case.


7. What is appropriate to wear for a second wedding?

No matter whether it is your first, second or third wedding… the focal point is still the wedding dress. Many second-time brides choose a simpler, more elegant or sophisticated wedding dress. Many choose a floor length or cocktail length dress in white, off-white or a pretty pastel. Many “etiquette experts” advise second-time brides to not wear a veil or a long train for their second wedding. Don’t listen to them! This is your day, wear what you want to wear! Maybe you had a very small first wedding and now you want to go all out! Wear what makes you feel beautiful!

personalize your wedding - custom wedding details

8. How Do I Personalize my Wedding?

There are plenty of tips and ideas to make your wedding unique and personal. But, which ideas are right for you. Only you can decide. Think about what is important to you and your fiancé. Think about special interests or hobbies that you share together. Or, maybe there is a special place, the beach or some quaint little Inn you went to when he proposed. Incorporate these elements and these “feelings” into your wedding and it will be truly unique and personal. Theme weddings are okay but expect some opinions!

9. Should I tip my wedding vendors?

Your caterer or reception site serving the food will most likely include their gratuities with your bill. So, a tip is not necessarily expected. As for your other vendors (wedding consultant, band or DJ, limo driver, photographer), again a tip is not required if they are business owners. Employees of a business should always be tipped. It never hurts to ask a particular vendor if they are expecting a tip.

10. What fee should I pay my clergy or wedding ceremony officiant?
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2014 Bridal Veil Trends

Bridal veils are THE classic wedding accessory but that doesn’t mean you can’t wear one and still be fashion forward. Veils have their trends like everything else related to wedding fashion – in 2014 the diversity of the bridal veil trends you need to know about mean that veils are in for every kind of bride. Here are our picks for the bridal veil trends for the 2014/2015 wedding season:

It’s All About the Drama

Long and flowing, Cathedral length or short and sweet birdcage veils – however you wear yours, take things to the extreme. Expect to see modern shapes with traditional embellishments or statement veils. Yes, we said statement veils.

cage veil - bridal veil trends 1

More Is More

Veils are bigger than ever with more volume in a nod to 80s fashion. Think billows and airiness and pouf! There is so much opportunity for expressing your personality with your veil – go big, or even bigger!

Bright Whites are Back

Forget ivory and cream, because starks and diamonds are where it’s at. This veil trend is probably the result of brides embracing pops of color yet again. Nothing highlights an accent color like bright white.

Lots of Lace

Lace is everywhere at weddings this year, including on the bride’s head. Lace edge veils are perfect for the bride who wants an ultra feminine, elegant wedding day look.

formal bridal veils - bridal veil trends weddingsUltra Formal

Casual weddings are a lot of fun, but more and more brides are planning sophisticated events with all the trimmings – and that includes ultra formal (and ultra romantic) bridal accessories like formal bridal veils.

extra long bridal veil - bridal veil trends 2

Loving Length

As majestic as it can be difficult to wear, the cathedral length veil does not actually require a cathedral to make an appearance at your nuptials. If you want to make a serious statement, feel free to go long, longer, or longest when it comes to your veil.

Or Go Boho

Romantic and fresh, the boho look is still hot – albeit in a modified, more sophisticated form. Embrace this look without looking like a hippie by choosing upscale embellishments and luxe fabrics.

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Amazing Wedding Guest Book Alternatives

Wedding guest books? Love ’em. But you have to admit that the whole big book of signatures thing has gotten kind of stale – especially when you consider that some wedding guest books are so long that even if you have 200 guests and each leaves at least a sig you’re still going to have oodles of blank pages. Wedding guest book alternatives are now appearing on more reception tables and there are some amazing trends we want to report for brides-to-be who are looking for a wedding guest book alternative that will wow their family and friends. Here are just some of our favorites:

Love from around the world: Get a globe that has only the outlines of countries and continents but not too many other details and invite guests to write their best marriage tips and well wishes in Sharpie near their home locale. It’ll make a wonderful display piece so you actually, you know, enjoy your guests’ congratulations.

The advice tree: Pretty gift tags with strings hung on painted (or plain) branches set in a vase look beautiful at your wedding reception. Ask guests to share their best marriage advice or well wishes and hang them on the “tree”.


Wedding guest book as art: Have your relatives and friends sign pre-painted watercolor circles on specialty paper – or use acrylics on canvas. This can be a fun pre-wedding DIY project for you and your bridesmaids. Or just go the easy route and have something special painted.


A dictionary or copy of your favorite book: While it might seem a bit weird to let guests write on the pages of an already wordy tome, this is one guest book alternative that you’ll actually flip through more than a few times. Plus, no blank pages. Imagine looking up a word and finding a special note from your favorite cousin or best friend – sweet, right?

The origami paper vase: Have guests choose sheets from a selection of pretty, coordinating origami (or craft) paper and write their notes on the white side. Ask guests to fold their notes into squares and place them in a clear glass vase that can be used to display white painted branches or just put somewhere special as is.

wedding guest book alternatives - heart art guestbook

3D wedding hearts: This is easy on your wedding day and a post-wedding craft you and your sweetie can do together once you’re home from the honeymoon. Glue gently creased paper hearts with advice and well wishes from your loved ones onto a piece of matting paper and then have it framed in a shadow box frame.

silhouette-balloon-fingerprint- wedding guest book alternatives

A canvas of fingerprint balloons: Have guests leave their fingerprints using colored ink at the end of pre-drawn strings – you can ask them to write their names on their fingerprints for even more personalization. It will look beautiful framed and hung somewhere in your home.

Why use one of these guest book alternatives? We say if you’re looking for the perfect gown, unique wedding jewelry, a to-die-for venue, and want everything else to be just right, it just makes sense that you’d want your guests to leave their congrats in something original.

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Easy Edible Wedding Favors from Real Brides

Looking for easy wedding favor ideas? Edible wedding favors tend to be inexpensive, easy to DIY (for those brides who want to), and  beloved by wedding guests who are happy they don’t have to find a spot for another little knick-knack. Here are some amazing edible wedding favor ideas from real brides who wanted to give their guests something special on the big day.

Fortune Cookies
Rebecca, Deming, WA

We are ordering fortune cookies with personalized fortunes as our favors. They are very inexpensive.

hot chocolate wedding favors

Personalized Hot Chocolate
Kathy, Erie, Pennsylvania

Since we’re getting married during the winter and it gets cold in our area, we decided to give everyone a personalized packet of hot chocolate with our picture, a thank you message, and our wedding date printed on them.

My fiancé used a computer program to place our photo on top of a background of snow-covered mountains. We’re wearing winter hats and coats, but we really had the picture taken on a rather warm day. It usually takes me about an hour to glue 20 labels onto each packet. I do it while I’m watching TV so it’s no bother. We look really funny and it suits our personality. Everyone will get a good laugh. The hot chocolate costs 11 cents per packet. We’re having 100 guests.

Homemade Jam
Leah, Edmonton, Alberta

We, with the help of our mothers, will be making homemade jams for everyone. We bought 200 of those tiny jam jars for a total price of $15.00 at a discount store and the rest is free since we picked all the berries ourselves this past summer. We plan to make personalized labels for each jar with our names and the date of the wedding.

muffin mix wedding favors

Muffin Wedding Favors
Jeanette, Milwaukee, WI

Our wedding color is cranberry. My fiancé works in a restaurant and they are going to make cranberry muffins and we’ll add a cranberry tea bag and a little poem.

Heart Cookie Cutters for Heart Cookies
Kami, Woodland, CA

I baked 4×4 inch heart sugar cookies and dipped half of the heart in white chocolate and put my soon-to-be first initial (of my last name) in the middle of the cookie. Then I wrapped the cookie in a clear bag and tied it with a silver ribbon. All this for about $1.00!!!

apple wedding favors

Apple Themed Wedding Favors
Jennifer, New Milford, CT

We are getting married in the fall at an old inn…. our centerpieces are baskets filled with apples and small apple blossom flowers. Our gifts… a metal apple corer with cinnamon sticks tied on top and a recipe card (folded over) of a recipe calling for cored apples. The front of this card is embossed with a seal that reads “From the Kitchen of Jennifer & Scott 10-10-98”. We are giving the men “shooter”, of a variety of Apple Liquors.

Homemade Jam
Doreen, Philadelphia, PA

My fiancé and I took an evening to make strawberry/banana jam. We then put them in cute, 4 oz. jars, one per family. They’ll be placed at the entrance to the reception with a label on the top designating the family and what table at which they’ll be sitting. We think it’ll be a personal, unique, and scrumptious reminder of the special day we all shared together.

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Cheap & Chic Wedding Reception Centerpieces

Looking for amazing, DIY-friendly reception table centerpieces for your wedding? We’re here to help! Here are just a few ideas for prettying up your tables without spending a lot:


Mother Nature’s Own Fresh Tulips

Use tall glasses and cut fresh tulips and greenery. You can find the glasses at the dollar store. Paint them for more impact.

Framed Family Photos

Have your parents, family and friends make copies of their wedding photos and put them in nice frames to use as centerpieces. Your guests can enjoy the look of weddings past – especially with parents and grandparents’ wedding photos.

sugared fruit reception centerpieces

So Sweet Sugared Fruit

Make your own centerpieces out of real fruit covered with sugar – so easy. It makes a beautiful centerpiece and you can eat the fruit later, so no waste at all.

Chocolate Covered Strawberries

These do double duty – dessert and decor! Display them in piles or pyramids, as many as you need to make a big statement.

The Story of How We Met

Write out the story of how you met, print it on nice paper, and place the story in silver frames. After adding a little ribbon & silk flowers, you’re done!

candle centerpieces for weddings

Gently Scented Candles

With these, you wouldn’t need flowers and you wouldn’t need a mirror or a dish. Just simply light the candle and set it on the table, and add great scents to your reception. Just make sure they smell fresh and not overbearingly perfume-y.

silver candelabra wedding reception centerpieces

Classic Silver Candelabras

Simply rent silver candelabras for each table. Each candelabra holds 5 white candles. Display them as is or place each on a square piece of mirror and put real ivy and small white flowers around it.

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Choosing the Perfect Bridal Headpiece

Here is the best advice we can offer when it comes to choosing a bridal headpiece or hair accessory!

1. Pick out your wedding gown first
2. Decide on your hairstyle second
3. Choose the headpiece and veil third

bridal tiara usabride crystal wedding accessories

In my career as a bridal style adviser I have actually tore apart a headpiece on the bride’s wedding day and redesigned it because it did not go with the hairstyle she wanted. The best way of course is to have a couple of trial run appointments at the hair salon prior to the big day. This way an exchange can be made for a different style headpiece if that is what is necessary to create the look a bride wants.

Don’t feel pressured into purchasing a bridal headpiece because it “matches your dress”. Instead look for a detail from the gown you would like to enhance and find a headpiece that complements. It may be pearls, a flower detail, or the trim. Or maybe you want a hair accessory that will match the flowers in your bouquet.

bridal comb usabride pearl wedding accessories

Petite? If you are finding that the headpieces seem to big, look at what is offered for first communion headpieces and ask the bridal salon to add a longer veil.

Second marriage? Having a veil is fine if you want one, but you may want to skip the blusher. A beautiful tiara is perfect or ornament your hairstyle. Try a hat, they are coming back!

And here’s a new trend you can be a part of: ornament your hairstyle! There are also many beautiful decorative bridal hair pins, barrettes and bobby pins to add to your hairstyle! Simply attach a comb with netting to cascade down the back of the hairstyle – best part is you can remove it easily at the reception!

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Tips for Getting Married for the Second Time

second wedding advice 2

Getting married for the second time? Or maybe you’re marrying someone who has been married before? Here are a few tips:

Don’t ask about the details of his first wedding, and if you were married before, don’t bring up what you did at your first wedding. Just concentrate on planning the wedding you want.

If he’s been married before and you want a large, traditional wedding and he wants something much smaller and informal or vice versa the only answer is compromise.

If your groom-to-be has been married before, then he should allow you the opportunity to have the wedding that you’ve always dreamed of. But you need to compromise too. If your fiancé agrees to the church ceremony for 200 guests, then, you should let him choose the reception location.

No matter whether it is your first, second or third wedding… the focal point is still the wedding dress. Many second-time brides choose a simpler, more elegant or sophisticated wedding dress. Be as flashy as you want with your bridal jewelry and accessories.

second wedding advice

Many “etiquette experts” advise second-time brides to not wear a bridal veil or a long train for their second wedding. Don’t listen to them! This is your day, wear the bridal accessories you want to wear! Wear what makes you feel beautiful!

When it comes to bridesmaids, many second time brides choose to have a smaller wedding party with simpler bridesmaids dresses.

If you or your fiancé have children from previous marriages, include them as much as possible in your wedding plans. Invite them to be bridesmaids and groomsmen or junior attendants and let them participate in family ceremony rituals.

Children in a second weddings can do special readings, sing a song or play an instrument to be part of the ceremony. Wedding vows can also be written to include children.

You may feel uncomfortable registering for wedding gifts because friends and family gave you gifts at your previous wedding. There is no getting around that! People will want to give you a gift for your wedding. By registering, you help yourself by getting gifts that you want and you also help your guests in choosing gifts for you too.

When selecting items for your registry, you may already have all the china and kitchen items that you need, so try registering for other items such as sporting equipment, camping gear, electronics, or honeymoon excursions.


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10 Reasons to Build a Wedding Web site

Building a wedding website to keep guests informed and share some of you and your fiance’s backstory does add yet another thing to your wedding planning to-do list but we think it’s worth the time (and sometimes the trouble).

wedding website

Here’s why:

1. When you’re either planning a wedding at the last minute or years in advance, it’s an easy way to either keep guests informed or store important information for later. It’s also a fun way for your loved ones to keep tabs on your during your engagement, especially if you’re blogging. And a wedding web site can provide late-breaking details to keep your guests up to date about all the most recent changes in your plans.

2. The wedding invitations, reply cards and envelopes, and reception cards barely fit into their envelopes. There’s no way you can stuff in directions and special requests, but that’s okay because that is exactly what your wedding website is for. Include the address of your wedding website in your invitation. Then your guests can log on to find out additional information: where to bring gifts, if you prefer donations to a certain charity, whether you want children at your wedding and if childcare will be provided, and any other special requests. You can also scan in a copy of your actual wedding invitation and post it on your site.

3. Your family and friends are going to lose the paper invitation, anyway. On your web site, you can include information that is either troublesome or just plain impossible to add to your invitations. One of the most helpful tips: list where you are registered and include a link to their site if they have one because while it’s considered rude to put your wedding registry info in invites, it’s fine to share it on your website. Include a link to local hotels, restaurants, the local weather forecast so your guests will have an idea of what to expect climatically.

4. Half of the people in your wedding don’t know each other. Introduce your families and your wedding party to each other before they meet in person by posting pictures and short profiles. When they finally meet in person at the wedding they’ll already know something about each other. And it’s fun for guests to learn something about your attendants, too!

5. Information on paper has a way of disappearing. Why not put a newsletter online for your wedding party where you remind them of special duties or give tips on attire. How about those other people that will be helping with the wedding that may not know what they are supposed to do? They can log on to your web site site to find out when they’re needed. You will take a huge amount of stress off yourself and your wedding party.

6. You and your fiancé come from different cultural backgrounds (or it just feels like you do). Use this opportunity to explain wedding traditions you will be incorporating that your guests may not be familiar with before the big event. Then your wedding day can be more meaningful for your friends and family and all your guests will feel involved.

7. Most of your family members live out-of-state, cross-country, or internationally. After the wedding, use the same site to recreate the event for your family and friends. This is especially nice for those who couldn’t attend the wedding. Wouldn’t it be nice to put it online for those who sent gifts, but couldn’t make it? A walk-through of your wedding is a great way of saying thanks and it brings all your long-distance family and friends closer to your special day!

8. Everyone wants to join you on your honeymoon. Don’t stop with a play-by-play of your wedding day. Process those great honeymoon photos and put them online for the world to see. No one else gets to go with you, so bring them the next best thing—pictures that will make them drool!

9. Because it’s fun! Your wedding is the most spectacular day of your life and you want everyone else to know. So let them in all the details. Have you always wanted to blog? Here’s your chance to share your wedding planning triumphs and stresses with the world!

10. Finally, it gets the groom involved. One of the best ways to get your groom involved with the wedding planning is to build a wedding web site together. It’s a fun way to spend time together… (writing the text for the pages and scanning pictures) and if your groom is not “intimately” involved with the wedding plans – at least he can stay up-to-date by reading the web site!

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