What Style of Bridal Headpiece is Best for Me?

When you’re trying to choose the bridal headpiece that will top off your entire wedding day look, sometimes getting started is the hardest part. But it doesn’t have to be! When selecting a tiara, bridal comb, headband, or hair pins, just make sure:

1. You’ve picked out and really settled on a wedding dress
2. You have a general idea of how you want to wear your hair on the big day

From there, you’re ready to really do the work of choosing between the numerous bridal headpieces out there!

bridal headpieces - wedding headbands

There are so many styles of bridal headpiece – the trick is to identify your bridal style and use that as your guide! Here we’ve put together a little bit about each kind of headpiece and what makes them special to help you pick the perfect one:

Wedding Tiaras

Tiaras offer the most dramatic look. They are a gorgeous accent to any style gown, from simple and contemporary to ball gown traditional. Tiaras can be worn with or without a veil and are usually accented with Austrian crystals, rhinestones, Swarovski crystals, AB crystals, fresh ater pearls, and faux pearls. Tiaras compliment up-dos and pretty much any other bridal hairstyle.

Bridal Headband

Headbands are now one of the most popular wedding day looks. For brides who want to wear their hair down, a headband can be used to keep  hair away from the face. They also can be worn to accent upswept hairstyles and looks fantastic with shorter hairstyles. In fact, this is one of the best bridal hair accessories for the short haired bride!

Bridal Comb

A comb is a simple piece that can be worn in almost any hairstyle. Brooch style combs offer the striking look of a headband or tiara, but smaller. Depending on the style, a bridal comb can sometimes provide a less formal look, and the best part is they can be worn on different parts of the head. Crystal bridal combs are still the most popular options, but flower combs and feather combs are tres trendy.

Hair Pins

Wedding hair pins are also very versatile. They are a great option for any hairstyle, whether formal or tussled, but especially up-dos with body or layers. They have become very popular for the beach bride because they’re less formal than a tiara or headband but have just as much sparkle.

Happy shopping!

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Wedding Ceremony Rehearsal Basics

Wedding Ceremony Rehearsal Basics

A wedding ceremony should seem to unfold effortlessly and smoothly, but those of us in the know are aware that this is only the case because all of the key players have practiced their entrances and exists, their lines, and the choreography. Also known as the wedding ceremony rehearsal, this walk through of the main event is pretty important for any couple having anything more than the simplest of ceremonies. It doesn’t have to be complicated. Or take longer than 20 minutes to an hour. No one needs to dress up. The bride doesn’t need to don her wedding jewelry or have her hair did. The rehearsal just needs to be thorough enough and long enough to make everyone comfortable with their roles.

As for who ‘everyone’ is, the usual roster of participants at ceremony rehearsals will include:

  • The bride and groom
  • All members of the wedding party (including ring bearer and flower girl)
  • All those individuals with special roles during the ceremony (readers, lighting candles, etc.)
  • Musicians or soloists
  • Officiant(s)
  • Parents of the bride and groom
  • Wedding coordinator

The wedding rehearsal is usually held at the ceremony location the night before the wedding. However, if the ceremony location is unavailable, the rehearsal can be held at an alternate location.

Here are some more tips to make your rehearsal (and thus your ceremony) amazing:

* Make sure that everyone that should attend knows the time and location of the rehearsal. Some brides send out invitations for the rehearsal and rehearsal dinner along with directions for those that may be unfamiliar with the location. The goal is to get everyone there on time!

* Let your Officiant run the rehearsal. He or she should give directions to everyone in terms of the flow, order of events, where and when to enter and where to stand at the altar.

* Don’t try to add anything new to the ceremony that wasn’t already talked about and agreed upon with your Officiant. It will only add confusion to the ceremony and the rehearsal.

* All those with special roles should rehearse their part. Readers may only want to practice a few lines – or they may wish to rehearse their entire passage. Be aware and make sure at the end of the rehearsal that everyone is comfortable with his or her role.

* Instruct the readers on how to adjust the microphone, if necessary. Make it clear where the reading (the actual piece of paper) will be located. Will the notes be at the podium? Or will the reader need to carry them up to the podium? For an evening or candlelight service, make sure there will be sufficient light to be able to read.

* The Bride and female attendants should practice walking down the aisle to make sure that everyone follows the same pace. Children (flower girls and ring bearers) may need extra practice time to make them feel comfortable walking down the aisle.

* The Bride and her attendants should also discuss how their bouquets should be held (i.e. up high, in the middle, or down low). You want a consistent look for the pictures and video.

* The Officiant should also instruct the ushers on how to seat mothers, grandmothers and wedding guests. They should also receive instructions on rolling out the aisle runner if one is being used

Happy practicing!

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10 Ways to Honor Your Parents at Your Wedding

Your parents will already play a special role in your wedding just by being there – and possibly by paying for it, but that’s no longer guaranteed these days. But if you’re like many brides, you may feel driven to honor your mom and/or dad in your wedding ceremony beyond asking for their blessing or including them in the recessional. We’ve thought up 10 awesome ways you can do just that!

parents in weddings

1. Walk down the aisle (the recessional) to the same song as your mother did. This is a nice tribute to your parents.

2. Give a rose to your mother and groom’s mother as you walk down the aisle. Talk to your florist and have them place the two roses in your bouquet (unfastened) and then pull them out when you reach the front of the church.

3. Prior to the ceremony, place a personalized handkerchief and a rose at both mothers’ seats. The handkerchief will be a wonderful keepsake and remembrance. Or, you could include a special personal note of thanks with the rose or handkerchief.

4. Have your mother’s bridal bouquet duplicated. Find some pictures of her wedding and give them to your florist. Alternately, use a mini photo frame with a snap of your parents’ wedding as a bouquet charm.

5. Instead of doing a “bouquet toss,” dedicate your bouquet to your mother. I saw this at one wedding where the bride got up and gave a little speech about someone very special in her life (without mentioning who it was) and at the end she told who it was and dedicated her bouquet to her mother.

It was a total surprise to everyone, especially her mother. Needless to say there was not a dry eye in the house!

6. At the cake table, include framed pictures of your parent’s wedding and even your grandparents’ wedding, too.


7. Incorporate a family heirloom into your ceremony. This could include a piece of wedding jewelry, clothing or a family bible. Some brides like to copy the entire wedding gowns their mother or grandmother wore.

8. Copy the decorations or cake top used by your parents or grandparents at their wedding.

9. As part of your wedding program, you can include a special poem about family. Here’s an example of a special dedication to a bride and groom’s parents:

“We would like to dedicate this ceremony to our parents. They have taught us our values, and shown us how to laugh, love and appreciate all that life has to offer. Their generosity, support, and love is unending.”

10. Ask your Officiant to include the names of your parents or family in a special prayer. Many times family members that have recently passed away may be mentioned in a prayer, but it can also be used for anyone you want mentioned in a special way.

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Don’t Let Facebook Ruin Your Big Day

You’ll never hear us say you’re obligated to invite any one person to your wedding, but it’s just a fact that not being an invitee can hurt certain people’s feelings. Once upon a time, that was less than a big deal. You might hear about it at a few social events or around the office but the wedding you weren’t invited to was not in your face the way it can be today in the age of social media. You log onto Facebook and you’re seeing pics of bridesmaids dresses, pre-wedding parties, and getting a real time play by play of who has RSVP’ed in the positive. It’s enough to give even the hardest-hearted non-invitee a glum moment or two.

facebook wedding

And as I’m sure you know by now, if you hurt people’s feelings you’re gonna have a bad time. So post responsibly! Be a grownup even if you don’t feel like one and consider how your endless wedding posts affect the people around you who won’t be receiving or didn’t receive your gorgeous letterpress invite in the mail.

Here are our tips for keeping social media from souring your big day:

1. Tell your close friends and family they’re invited before you go sharing your wedding deets on Facebook and elsewhere. Ditto for your engagement if that ship hasn’t already sailed. It would be so sad if your favorite aunt assumed she hasn’t been invited because she’s seeing your Pinterest pins feeding into your Facebook feed and you haven’t even called.

2. Once your upcoming nuptials are pretty much common knowledge, don’t overwhelm your friends’ feeds with wedding wedding wedding all things wedding all the time. First off, unless you’re inviting everyone on your friend list you could be inadvertently causing hurt feelings even though you’re just sharing because you’re excited. And second, some people just don’t care that much about centerpiece styles and seasonal flowers.

3.  If you want to use Facebook as your venue for sharing all the details your guests will need, create a group and add all your invitees. They’ll be able to get the skinny on your ceremony and reception plans along with anything else they’ll need to know without bugging the non-invitees. The other benefit is that confirmed guests can talk to each other about travel plans.

4. Don’t complain. So your spouse to be isn’t picking up the slack where wedding planning is concerned? Twitter is not the place to address that. Vent about your wedding woes in public and you’ll earn your bridezilla badge so fast your veil’s gonna fly off. Seriously, people don’t take kindly to first world problems.

5. Finally, remember that your big day is not the most important thing going on in anyone’s life but your own. If you ever find yourself feeling offended because so-and-so didn’t ‘like’ your post or retweet your tweet, breath and back off. That is not a good reason to accuse anyone of not supporting you – most likely, they were just too busy living life to follow along with all your wedding planning revelations.

And that’s as it should be. Balance is the key to using social media in a mannerly way when you’re engaged!

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Can a Friend Perform My Wedding?

Finding a wedding officiant can be weird for couples not affiliated with a specific religious institution. There are freelance priests and rabbis, but maybe you want someone with a humanist bent officiating your wedding. A justice of the peace or non-denominational officiant is your next best option, but in both cases it’s going to be someone you’ve met only once or twice marrying you. That can feel weird.

Having a friend perform your wedding is another option. Less well known and sometimes much more difficult to pull off, but also a money-saver and a way to give your bestie a role in your wedding beyond ‘attendant’. The question is whether the friend you had in mind is cool with DIYing everything that a professional officiant typically does. Here are the deets so you and your friend can figure out how to pull this one off:

When you ask whether a friend can perform your wedding, the answer is usually yes insofar as your friend can stand up in front of your guests, give a bit of a speech, and help you say your vows. BUT either they or you will be responsible for crafting the wedding ceremony – as in, deciding what rituals you’ll include, what the theme of the ceremony will be, and who will participate.

having a friend officiate wedding

Does your friend have the right personality in just the right amounts? Professional officiants are usually comfortable with public speaking but not prone to hogging the spotlight. Your officiant will need to be able to engage your guests, to keep them emotionally invested in the ceremony they’re witnessing.

Can your friend write? She or he will need to come up with the wording of your wedding ceremony unless you’re planning to do it yourself (which is okay, too). If you’ve been writing your own vows, you know that it’s not always easy to compose a beautiful script for an event as important as a wedding!

Now I hate to have to ask it, but is your friend reliable. Not just ‘they’ll show up’ reliable, but ‘above and beyond’ reliable. One of the things professional officiants sometimes have to do is damage control. Like when the best man forgets the ring. Or the mother of the bride is hiding in the ladies room and refusing to come out. Will they be able to handle it when things go just a little wrong?

You also need to be 100% sure that it’s legal for your friend to perform your wedding ceremony if you want to be legally wed. In some states, that just means getting ordained through a non-denominational organization – sometimes it’s as easy as filling out a form online. Other states have stricter guidelines about what constitutes ordination. There are also some states where a person can apply for a one-day pass to legally marry a couple. Check with the County Clerk’s office where you’ll be saying your vows to find out who can officiate.

Finally, make sure your friend knows what she or he has to do AFTER the ceremony to make sure that your wedding is binding. Usually this entails making sure the marriage license has been filled out correctly and then filing it as per the state’s requirements.

If you feel totally confident that your chosen friend can do all that and maybe even more, then by all means ask him or her to lead your ceremony! It’s an extra special way for a special person in your life to participate in your happy day!

Photo credit: Annie McElwain

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How NOT to Go Broke as a Bridesmaid

white bridesmaids dresses II

So last week we talked about the cost of being a bridesmaid and for those who haven’t read the post I’ll just sum up by saying cha-ching! Standing with the bride while she says her “I dos” can get pretty pricey. The good news is that you don’t have to go broke without a fight – and by fight I mean a little creative thinking and maybe a heart to heart with the bride-to-be. Here’s how to (maybe) save money while being a bridesmaid:

1. Know the deal. When you’re hanging with your bestie and she pops the question, don’t beat around the bush when it comes to finding out what you’re in for. Is the bride expecting a Vegas weekend bachelorette bash? Does she have a dress in mind – or is she considering letting the maids choose? How many pre-wedding soirees will there be? Will you be expected to be at them all?

2. Tell it like it is. If you’re concerned about the cost of being a bridesmaid, know that the bride-to-be is probably more interested in your support than in having you spend a gajilliondollars. Probably. As we all know from reality TV there are plenty of so-not-cool brides out there. Let your friend know you’ll be working with a budget so she can help you save money.

lela rose bridesmaid dresses

3. Suggest mismatched maids. Besides being cool, mixed up bridesmaids dresses are also economical – especially when bridesmaids can pick their own frocks. If the bride-to-be is just not into that, then do her a solid and help her shop so you can steer her toward lower priced options.

4. Suggest combining pre-wedding parties. Co-ed bashes are pretty awesome and most brides I know have plenty of guy friends anyway, so why not combine the engagement party and shower? Or have a joint shower and bachelorette party if you think the bride’s family can handle things getting a little crazy.

5. Don’t complain; get creative. If you accept the position of bridesmaid, you kind of do have to go with what the bride wants when it comes to your dress and bridesmaid accessories. Act negative about it all and you may just get fired. Better: speak up when it comes to your budget and availability, suggest less expensive alternatives, and consider that you might not be the only bridesmaid freaking out about the big bill.

6. It’s okay to say no. When you’re really, really, really concerned about the cost of being a bridesmaid – as in, it’s the wedding or tuition – do the right thing and tell your bestie that you’d love to but you just can swing it right now. She’ll either pony up on your behalf if she’s in a position to do so or you two can commiserate together over margarita shooters. Win win for honesty!

Have you ever had to say no when a bride-to-be asked you to be her maid? Or are you a bride who’s worried about how much your wedding is going to cost your friends?

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Halloween Wedding Inspiration

Happy Halloween! If you’re not off partying or gorging yourself with candy (or both) today you might just be planning a wedding. Halloween weddings are NOT the norm around here or really anywhere but some enthusiasts of the day do choose to get spooky when it comes to saying their vows. And why not? It’s not the wedding I’d pick but it’s not up to me to pick the themes for other people’s weddings – thank goodness! Variety is the spice of life and I, for one, am glad it is. If you’re having a Halloween wedding, kudos to you, enjoy, and invite me because I love candy.

Fact: Nothing about your wedding has to scream Halloween.

gay halloween wedding

This wedding has a fright night feel but there’s nary a pumpkin, at least at the beachy ceremony.

Fact: Your wardrobe and wedding accessories options are WAY open.

halloween wedding gown

Though we don’t recommend a Native American headpiece for reasons of sensitivity and also comfort. A birdcage veil is much comfier.

Fact: Orange and black are not the only colors open to you.


Though black will probably almost definitely be a part of your color scheme.

Fact: A Halloween wedding doesn’t have to be kitschy.


Unless, of course, you want it to and then by all means have at it!

Would you ever have a Halloween wedding – or did you have one? Tell us about it!


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How to Get a Marriage License 101

marriage license facts - gay marriage
You’ve got the perfect dress and an amazing pair of bridal shoes and one-of-a-kind wedding jewelry for your big day. The venue is booked and your photog is saving the date. You’ve even chosen cake flavors. Your big day is approaching fast and you feel ready. But are you? Could you be forgetting something like, I don’t know, the legal stuff?

Putting a ring on it is all well and good but if your goal is to make legal you need to do the legwork. The requirements vary somewhat by state and the easiest way to find out what you need to do to take getting married all the way is by calling city hall. Since I’m not covering all 50 states’ rules, I can only give you the basics as outlined here. When you need to know more CALL CITY HALL. Seriously, they will give you the on the ground local skinny.

The General Requirements

You need to bring ID. In most states, that means an up-to-date driver’s license. Or your passport. You’ll probably also need to know your social security number but won’t be required to show your card.

Locals Only?

You won’t run up against residency requirements when you’re applying for a marriage license anywhere in the US. Except… In some counties or states, non-residents cannot obtain a marriage license if the marriage would be void in their home state. If you’re one half of a gay couple, keep this in mind.

No Blood Tests

While the pre-marital blood test still shows up in some movies, very few states actually require couples planning to get hitched to also get pricked. No US state requires a physical.

The Waiting Game

Don’t wait too long to go to city hall and grab a license if you’re getting married anywhere that’s not close to home! In some states, there is a waiting period so you’ll have to apply this or that many days before the ceremony.

Your Vows

There are a handful of states that require couples to include specific wording in their wedding vows. But don’t worry, none of them include “…and obey.”

Pre-Marital Prepwork

There are some states where you can get around the waiting period or get a discount on the cost of the license by having taken a pre-marital counseling course. This usually applies only to local couples, though.

‘I do’ and Done

Your officiant, not you, will be responsible for submitting the completed marriage license to the county where you applied. A copy of your marriage certificate may be sent to you or you may have to order it once it has been processed.

Don’t Dilly-Dally

Most marriage licenses are only valid for 30-60 days after you file your application. Wait to long and it could turn out that your vows aren’t actually binding, yikes!

Your Age, Please

Every state has its own rules about how old you need to be to get hitched. In many the minimum age is probably a lot younger than you’d think, so I doubt you’ll have any issues here. Your license or passport will serve as proof of age.


You’ll need to prove it when you apply. Forget this vital step and your marriage could be null and void!

And Bring Your Checkbook

The fee to file a marriage license application will vary considerably from place to place. Many county registrar offices do not accept credit cards so to be safe, bring your checkbook or cash.

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How Not to Tick Anyone Off When You Register for Your Wedding

Wedding gifts are great and wedding gifts are complicated. People will look at you like you’re a weirdo if you don’t register anywhere. People will talk about you behind your back if you register for anything they think is too expensive or not strictly wedding-y. People will go off-registry to buy wedding gifts, which is okay, and buy you all kinds of wacky stuff you’re going to immediately donate to charity, which is also okay.

Me, I like to give couples a check because it’s easy, portable, and almost always appreciated. But lots of other folks will give you diddly if you don’t show up at Target or Nordstrom or wherever to zap everything you never knew you wanted for your home. Look, if you didn’t already know here is the deal: Word of mouth is really only the “proper” way to inform people where you and your honey are registered. Hopefully, people will make the effort to ask you where y’all are registered if it’s not common knowledge.

If you want to ensure that no one buys you anything, feel free to put your registry information right on your wedding invitation. Ha ha, only kidding. If you do that, you’re also ensuring no RSVPs, no guests, and no big bash reception due to low attendance. HOWEVER, there is an easy workaround. You get yourself a wedding website – and there are like nine-hundred ways to do that, many for free – and put your wedding registry info, including links, right on your site. Since you’re using new-fangled tech, at least insofar as weddings are concerned since the pace of innovation moves like cold molasses in this sphere, you’re not technically* breaking any etiquette rules.

And now, in case you need reminding…

Things not to put on your registry:

  • Your wedding dress and bridal jewelry.
  • Your wedding night undies.
  • A Bugatti Veyron EB 16.4 (sorry guys!)
  • A standalone electric pizza cooker – I swear to Miss Manners you will never use this
  • Personal lubricants
  • Exotic animals
  • Mail-order sister wives

All right, I’m being a little over the top – but I’d love to hear what you think should never, ever be on a wedding registry!

*See what I did there?

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8 Things NOT to Do Before Your Wedding

Wedding planning guides like mine spend a lot of time telling brides-to-be what they SHOULD be doing. I thought it might be fun to share some wedding planning DON’Ts for once! Here are :

1. It’s your day, yes, but please do not justify being a brat by telling everyone that it’s your day. It’s also your SO’s day and your family’s day and even to some extent your guests’ day since after getting hitched the secondary objective of a wedding should be showing people a good time.

2. Do not leave buying bridal accessories until the very last minute. Once you have your wedding gown, give yourself some time to try out different wedding jewelry, shoes, and headpieces. Many stores have amazing return policies – but it only works if you have enough time to place an order, wait for shipping, try it on, and send it back before doing it all again if necessary.

3. Do not tan. By now you surely know how unhealthy tanning can be, and fake tans are getting better and better anyway. Especially do not go tanning, outside or at a salon, a few days before or the day before your wedding. There is always the chance you’ll bake just a touch too long and end up resembling a cooked lobster. Not a good bridal look!

4. Do not go on a bender – intentional or not – the night before your wedding. A few glasses of wine with dinner is totally okay, but too many brides have a little too much after eating far too little because of nerves or a last ditch diet. Trust me when I say you do not want to be even a little hungover when you say your vows. And there’s this, too:


5. Speaking of bridal diets, do not diet yourself into exhaustion in the weeks leading up to your wedding. Your gown will be a certain size and then altered to fit your body perfectly. Lose too much weight and you’ll be swimming in what would have been an amazing dress tailored just for you.

6. Do not, if at all possible, hold the rehearsal dinner the night before the wedding. Typically these turn into family and friend reunions, and so can go late and get crazy. Ideally you want to get a good night’s sleep the evening before your wedding day and having a party the night before is not the way to do that.


7. Do not assume you have all the time in the world to make reservations or confirm with vendors. Wedding planning timelines exist for a good reason: planning what is essentially a giant party complete with themed décor and multiple courses of refreshments and (sometimes) a full bar isn’t easy. That’s why for some it really is a full-time job.

8. Do not lose sight of what really matters. It’s easy to get so completely wrapped up in planning a wedding that you forget to spend time with your SO. Sometimes one half of a couple is excited about the prep – and sometimes it falls on just one person’s shoulders. Either way, be sure to make time for each other… time that does not include looking at fabric swatches and asking vendors for estimates.

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