USABride Blog - Page 2 of 58 - Wedding Advice & Inspiration

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Popular Wedding Hairstyles

Posted by: Margaret Alevizos

Not sure how to wear your hair on the big day?  Many brides and bridesmaids strive to find a balance between a timeless and unique wedding hairstyle.  Selecting the right hairstyle can be a challenge.  The most important rule when choosing a hairstyle is to be true to yourself and find what will make you happy.  We have compiled some of the most inspiring hairstyles from Pinterest to help you find the perfect look.  Get started by selecting a basic category below!

Chic Chignon:  Try a low bun or chignon.  BTW, what does chignon mean anyway?  It comes from the French phrase “chignon du cou,” which means nape of the neck.  Chignons are styled by pinning the hair into a knot at the back of the head.  There are so many different and beautiful variations of this style.  They are usually secured with accessories such as combs or hairpins.

Ballerina Bun:  The sophisticated ballerina bun is all you need for the big day.  They are so comfortable you will never want to take it out!  You can even sleep in this bun and then when you take your hair out the next morning… BOOM gorgeous waves!  You gotta try this hairstyle; it is perfect for any age and so simple you can DIY (do it yourself).  The ballerina bun is awesome to accessorize with a pair of dangly and sparkly earrings.

Vintage Waves: Speaking of waves, here is another perfect hairstyle whether you are the bride or the bridesmaid.   Simple soft curls are a great hairstyle for any wedding.  Vintage waves are so glamourous and works best with mid length to long hair.  Shorter hair works best with Marcel waves which lie flat to the head.  There are so many variations and techniques to compliment this look, such as adding a tiara or veil.

We hope these looks inspire you!  #therealusabride to show us your wedding hairsyle!
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New Bari Jay Bridesmaid Dresses – Lots of Sparkle!

Posted by: Dareth Colburn

Bari Jay Dresses Sneak Peak! Just got our sample shipment in from Bari Jay today.  WOW! These dresses are beautiful with lots of sparkle!  Head to toe sequins that are fun and easy to mix and match.  We say… bring on the glitz!  These sparkle and sequin dresses are available now in store.  Order now for your upcoming wedding.

Bari Jay Bridesmaid Dresses

Bari Jay Bridesmaid Dresses

Are you near Beverly, MA?  Come visit our new retail location.

Photography by JJ Ignotz Photography.
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Hanging Sweet: Bridal Necklace Basics

Posted by: USABride

Most brides choose their bridal jewelry after picking out and putting a deposit down on a wedding gown, but if you’ve fallen in love with a certain style of necklace, there’s no reason you can’t create your wedding day look around your jewelry. While almost anything goes, there are some bridal necklace basics that every bride-to-be should know:

Short Looks
Neck hugging necklaces are lovely when paired with strapless bodices (and long-necked brides), though don’t discount chokers if your wedding gown ends just below your collarbone. A substantial choker will look smashing sitting just above a boat or jewel neckline. Love it? Try this set!

simple bridal necklace - wedding jewelry

Insubstantial Looks
Simple, minimalist strands worn close to the throat (think y-drop or princess style necklaces) complement bateau and scoop necklines beautifully. Thin necklaces are a practical choice for brides who don’t want their jewelry to outshine their wedding dresses and/or want to wear their bridal necklace again. Looking for subtle choices? Try this set.

minimalist bridal necklace - wedding jewelry

Layered Looks
Necklaces can be heaped one upon the other or made to look that way, but almost all layered looks will pair best with simple, unadorned, low necklines. Layers of thicker necklaces can lessen the jarring impact of a plain strapless neckline, while thinner layers can add softness to a square neckline. Love it? Layer this, this, and this!

layered bridal necklaces - wedding jewelry

Long Looks
Necklaces with enough length to hang loose on both sides of the bride are best worn with wedding gowns that plunge in the back as well as the front… so the necklace itself can take center stage. This look is even more dramatic when the necklace is augmented with a jeweled brooch.

Personally, I opted for a loose but rather thick one-strand choker paired with an off-the-shoulder neckline. Now I’d love to know what you chose to wear or are planning to wear around your neck on your wedding day.
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Wedding Planning 101: Keep the YOU in Your Wedding

Posted by: USABride

How many times has the average wedding planner heard brides-to-be say things like “I’d do X if it weren’t for Y.” Usually, the X is something like “wear a wedding dress that shows off my killer tattoos” or “serve a gluten-free vegan reception dinner” or “hire a bouncy castle for my adults-only wedding.” The Y is often “my family,” though it is occasionally “society’s expectations” or “tradition”.

Every bride-to-be and groom-to-be… okay, almost every bride and groom… pays tribute to the conventions laid out by culture and religion and familial wedding traditions, even if they don’t realize it. Social expectations are like advertising — we’re exposed to them our entire lives, in the conversations we hear and the media we see and the stories we’re told. Unless someone lives the extremely examined life, it can be difficult to know where societal conventions end and where one’s own wants begin.

alternative wedding - wedding planning

There are two ways to get around this. The first is to ask yourself why you want what you want. Here’s the disclaimer: there’s nothing wrong with wanting the big white princess dress for your wedding ceremony any more than there’s anything wrong with wanting to wear a neon green sailor suit. But whether you want to wear the gown or the suit, consider your motivations. Maybe you’re leaning toward the gown because you’ve been told your whole life that brides wear wedding gowns. Maybe you’re leaning toward the suit because you want to prove to everyone how really anti-establishment you are. White dresses or sailor suits might turn out to be your thing or you may discover that your true tastes lie somewhere in between. Lime green wedding gown, anyone?

The second way to get around the influence of convention is to seriously consider the random ideas that pop into your head when planning your wedding. Let’s say your brain says “How about a groom’s ‘cake’ made of your fiancé’s favorite candy bars!” Before you write that idea off as silly, consider whether it might be a fun addition to your dessert bar. Maybe your brain says something like “I want to do the hokey-pokey as my first dance!” Think about it — do you really? If you do, stop worrying that your wedding guests will think it’s weird. First dances can be pretty boring, honestly, and I’d love it if the bride and groom started shaking it all about on the dance floor.

We’ve seen a Halo-themed wedding, an all-black pagan wedding, and musical underwear for brides-to-be shipped all the way from Syria. There have been sushi wedding cakes and cheese wedding cakes (not cheesecake). There are blue-haired brides, seriously tattooed brides, and brides on bikes (motor and otherwise). All brides and grooms face at least some opposition to their choices, whether in the form of outright disapproval or headshakes from well-meaning relatives thinking “But she’s so pretty, if only she would…”

But if she (i.e., the bride-to-be) is so pretty anyway, she’s still going to be pretty whether she decides to drive a tractor to the ceremony or dye her hair to match her shockingly pink bridesmaids’ dresses. Keep that in mind if you’re planning your wedding and you’ve found yourself thinking “I’d do X if it weren’t for Y.” Heck, keep it in mind for the rest of your life! Sometimes doing X just isn’t feasible, but sometimes the only thing keeping you from doing X is that pesky Y.

Want to keep more YOU in YOUR wedding? Remember that when it comes to choosing a wedding dress or ceremony accessories or vows or reception venue or transportation or most of the other stuff associated with weddings, it’s more often than not perfectly reasonable to say “I respect your opinion Y, but I’m still going to X.”

Christa Terry is a wedding expert
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What to Do About a Reluctant Ring Bearer

Posted by: USABride

Aren’t kids in weddings just too cute? We can all agree on that. Ring bearers and flower girls – the more the merrier! They’re especially cute when they aren’t pitching a fit at the foot of the aisle because they’ve suddenly found themselves staring out into a sea of grown up strangers. How often does that really happen? Often enough to make being prepared a smart move. Here’s how you can help a reluctant ring bearer (or flower girl) have a great day:

1. Avoid reluctant ring bearers altogether by choosing one that is outgoing and polite, and old enough to understand what he’s being asked to do. Books like 10 Cool Things About Being a Ring Bearer and The Best Ever Ring Bearer can help you give your future ring bearer a taste of the role. Does he seem interested? Enthusiastic? Unsure? Make sure he knows (and his parents know) he can opt out.

2. Don’t expect the moon from any ring bearer – especially if you’ve chosen a really young ring bearer or one who can sometimes be a little shy. Walking down an aisle with lots of strangers on either side? Easy for most adults. Utterly terrifying for some children. If your reluctant ring bearer makes it from point A to point B without bawling, flopping down on the aisle runner, or making a break for the door, consider it a job well done.

ring bearer inspiration

3. Practice makes perfect. One rehearsal is enough for most adults, but if at all possible, have your ring bearer’s parents bring him to your ceremony venue and show him where he’ll be and what he’ll be doing during the wedding. A reluctant ring bearer may simply not understand what’s expected of him. Kids don’t have the experience to think, oh yes, a wedding with chairs and an aisle and a ceremony then cake. The wedding itself may be this mysterious thing in your little man’s mind, and nothing is as scary as the unknown.

4. Assign a ring bearer shepherd, preferably one who is well known to the child. Walking down an aisle flanked by tall grownups becomes a lot less frightening when you have your tiny hand firmly settled in papa’s big one. If this feels too much like you’re asking the parent to participate in your wedding – which you kind of are no matter what since they have to buy junior’s babytux – you can give your reluctant ring bearer the confidence to go it alone by having him escorted to the foot of the aisle by mama, who sets him on his path, and caught by papa, waiting for him by the couple in the first row.

5. Finally, say “It’s okay, you don’t have to be in the wedding if you don’t want to or are afraid.” Some adults are easily offended by children’s whims, but in so many cases, a child’s choices don’t have malicious intent behind them. Maybe your chosen ring bearer started out enthusiastic and has grown increasingly reluctant as the wedding draws nearer. If he says he’d rather not participate, don’t force it. His fears or impulses aren’t anything like logical, but children aren’t logical creatures. Better to go ring bearer-less than to have a sulking little boy in all your wedding photos.

Christa Terry is a wedding expert
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Wedding Planning 101: When Opting Out Is A-OK

Posted by: USABride

Every now and then, a planner working with an offbeat couple will suggest some alternative bridal accessory or wedding venue, and one or two (or more) well-meaning people will chime in to express the opinion that tradition ought to be kept in the traditional wedding for tradition’s sake. Or to ensure that no one is offended or confused. Or because that is simply how things are done.

When it comes to tradition for tradition’s sake, I would no more argue that there’s anything wrong with wanting a traditional wedding than I can argue that there’s anything wrong with untraditional weddings. And when it comes to “how things are done,” I can’t argue that, either.

alternative wedding ideas

What I can dispute is that straying from the traditional wedding format or wearing alternative bridal garb or serving a macrobiotic reception dinner a la Gwen P. is less than etiquette friendly because it will potentially offend or confuse someone, somewhere.

There’s a difference between what is truly offensive and what will simply offend certain people who are probably easily offended. Add to that the fact that what is offensive to some people/cultures/societies — e.g., anything from religious iconography to phallic statuary — will not always be offensive to all people/cultures/societies… and what you get is a lot of confused brides-to-be.

The good news is that the majority of the confusion I see (here, on forums, and in real life) involves relatively benign issues that at worst will cause temporary hurt feelings and at best won’t offend anyone at all. In fact, the answer to the question “What if I don’t follow this particular tradition/hire this type of vendor/wear this piece of clothing?” is often “Nothing at all!”

The most common opt-outs I see on wedding message boards are, in no particular order:

  • Not exchanging (or wearing) wedding rings
  • Saying no to being given away
  • Not having the parent-child dances
  • Not serving cake/alcohol/meat/etc. at the reception
  • Wearing anything other than a white or cream wedding gown
  • Choosing a non-religious ceremony
  • Spending less than the average for the locale
  • Forgoing best men, maids-of-honor, bridesmaids, and groomsmen
  • Not hiring a wedding band or wedding DJ
  • DIYing everything from arch to cake

What it comes down to is this: If your choices aren’t hurting anyone, aren’t in some way discourteous or overtly offensive, aren’t designed to purposefully exclude people, and aren’t dangerous or illegal, you’re probably okay. Furthermore, that which shocks is not automatically offensive (though that won’t excuse you from sideward glances) and confusion isn’t grounds for deeming something bad etiquette. Finally, context counts. A nude wedding at Burning Man? I’m going to guess pretty unoffensive. A nude wedding at grandma’s house? You risk putting the OH(NOSHEDIDN’T) in OHffensive.

In the end, be your own bride and your wedding will be beautiful.

Christa Terry is a wedding expert
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Wedding Cake Alternatives

Posted by: USABride

For many years, cakes have ruled wedding receptions. One of the first questions people ask about weddings is what the cake either looked or tasted like.

wedding cake alternatives - cake pops

Over the course of the past few years, though, the cake has started losing its place at the party. Oh, it’s not like wedding cakes are going away anytime soon. I expect them to continue to be the most popular dessert at weddings for a very long time to come. It’s just that now more people are more open to variations on the theme.

One popular variation that’s sprung up is the wedding dessert bar. With this option, the couple may or may not have a traditional wedding cake, but they will offer multiple options in sweet ways to end a meal.

wedding cake alternatives - pie

I have to say this is one of my favorite trends in weddings today. As much as I love cake, the fact is they are often extremely expensive or else not terribly inspired. Sometimes, they are both. And while you can make each tier a different flavor, that means most of us are talking about two to three flavors. It’s helpful, but then you get a large crowd of people with dozens of different food issues and preferences. Someone is going to go home disappointed. The dessert bar is a great opportunity to offer more options so as to satisfy more guests.

wedding cake alternatives - crepes

It’s also a great way to save a little cash, because this is a great DIY project. Break out your best recipes, ask friends and family for their help, fill in blanks with commercially made sweets, and either use coordinated serving pieces or a cheerful cacophony of china you, your friends, and your family can provide.

What should be included? Anything you like that will hold up sitting unattended on a table for a while. Cupcakes, cookies, tarts, pies, sweet muffins, chocolates, fudge, Rice Crispies treats, Peeps, canolli, dried fruit, nuts, petit fours…really, almost anything you like.

wedding cake alternatives - waffles

Vary the height a bit, add a little floral or some pretty linens, and away you go!

So if you’re looking for a little more than wedding cake, consider the dessert bar. It’s fun, it’s practical, and it’s oh so chic!

Christa Terry is a wedding expert
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Decorating Your Wedding with Balloons

Posted by: USABride


I read something recently that said that anything – and I mean anything – can be an upscale-looking wedding decoration when used in quantity. In fact, quantity was the key. DIY mason jar bouquets, rounds freshly cut from trees, simple paper confetti… doesn’t matter. It’s not about the what, it’s about the how much. That’s definitely true when you’re using balloons to decorate at a wedding because used just here and there, balloons look cheesy. Obviously. The theme of your wedding reception decor should not be ‘kids party’.

The easiest way to avoid that look is buy using LOTS of balloons, oversize balloons, or – even better – both in your reception decor. Here are some examples of how you can decorate with balloons at your wedding without sacrificing sophistication:

balloons at weddings balloons decorations wedding

balloon-wedding-exit  giantballoon_reception_decor

wedding balloons reception


wedding heart balloons

There are lots of great ways to use balloons in your wedding decor, from centerpieces that include balloons to a sparkling ‘sky’ of balloons over the dance floor to a balloon backdrop for a photo booth or the sweetheart table. Just stay away from the now dated balloon arch and balloon pillars – two ideas guaranteed to make your reception look more like junior prom. On trend right now are giant perfectly round balloons and giant gold and silver letter balloons (both shown above).

In quantity and at scale, balloons are a whimsical addition to almost any reception, from formal to casual! xoxo

Christa Terry is a wedding expert

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Wedding ‘Disasters’ and How to Overcome Them Gracefully

Posted by: USABride

When it comes to weddings, something will always go wrong. And I mean always. You can prepare for every possible contingency but there will be some detail, hopefully a tiny one, that doesn’t unfold as planned. We’re quick to call a lot of things wedding disasters that are more like inconveniences. Rain on your wedding day. Ungracious guests. Catering mix ups. Or as in the case of the wedding that went viral a while back, an entire wedding party falling into a lake.


The biggest wedding disaster of all is the one that prevents you and your intended from saying “I do,” but that doesn’t mean that smaller issues can’t feel like the end of the world. One bride I know had so many things go wrong that I was shocked she didn’t go crazy. The jeweler lost her custom wedding rings a month before the wedding. Her bridal veil never showed. The caterer cancelled. The area’s one nice hotel was overbooked that weekend. The original reception venue closed without warning and she had to fight to her her deposit back. Her MIL-to-be refused to come. And the best man lost all of his luggage, including his tux.

The whole wedding planning process was, in short, a disaster. And yet this friend of mine somehow managed to smile through it all because she knew that none of it would mean that her and her husband-to-be would be any less married. Her family and friends help her put together an outdoor reception at a local part that was nothing short of amazing. Relatives cooked up a massive spread – for free. She looked as beautiful without her veil as she would have looked with one and the local tux rental place managed to hook up the best man on very short notice. In the end, everything worked out for the better if not the best.

It was, as she puts it, the most wonderful day of her life even though the weeks and months leading up to it were disastrous. Maybe it’s because she kept her eyes on what was really important: their families were there, their closest friends and family were standing by our sides as they made their sacred vows together, and everyone was happy. She told me later that hardly anyone realized that things had gone wrong – everything seemed perfect just the way it was.


And that’s something else to remember… sometimes wedding disasters make for funny stories and amazing photo opps. Look for the beauty and you will probably find it!


Christa Terry is a wedding expert
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Wedding Planning and Those Pesky Last Minute Details

Posted by: USABride

Getting to “I do” can be a pretty big pain, and getting to the end of your wedding planning checklist is no guarantee that you’re in the clear. After you’ve checked nearly everything off your list and finally feel free to relax there may still be a whole bunch of last-minute details to tackle. If you’re lucky, your spouse-to-be is splitting the list with you or you have some seriously engaged bridesmaids who have your back so you can relax a little bit before the big day. But if you’re like a lot of brides, last-minute wedding planning to-dos like these will fall on your plate:

  • Put everything you need for the ceremony and reception in one place, and designating someone to take them to your venue and set them up. A few days before, get all your decorations and reception accessories to that person.
  • Figure out who is doing what – have you decided who will be in charge of the programs? Who is helping seat guests? Who will hand out the tip envelopes at the end of the reception?
  • Give a final head count to whichever wedding vendors need a head count. Don’t forget to include meals for your other vendors.
  • Create or buy a wedding day emergency kit. You never know what you and your bridesmaids might need on the big day, from mints to clear nail polish to band-aids.
  • Pick up your wedding dress and remind the groom to have his side pick up their wedding day apparel. Put your wedding day undies and your bridal jewelry with your gown so everything you need is in one place.
  • Take a walk in your wedding shoes to break them in. Pro tip: Put a pair of men’s socks over them after putting them on your feet and wear your bridal shoes around the house for a few days. They stay clean but get more comfortable.
  • Pick up your wedding rings (and your engagement ring if you had it cleaned).
  • Finalize the seating chart and put your seating place cards in alphabetical order in an envelope so they’re ready to go.
  • Review the guest list with your fiance. This helps big time when you’re in the receiving line!
  • Pick up your marriage license. Confirm the details of the rehearsal (and the rehearsal dinner if your future MIL hasn’t already done so). Create a loose wedding day itinerary and go over it with your wedding day VIPs. Make sure everyone knows where to be and what to do.
  • Confirm EVERY detail with EVERY vendor. Confirm your order, the drop off time and place, and any special details.
  • Pack for the honeymoon – if you’re leaving ASAP after the wedding – and confirm your travel reservations.

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NOW you can relax. If you can relax, that is. I know from experience that it’s really hard to just kick back when your wedding day is a week away but it’s definitely worth a shot. You’ll feel happier on the big day if you are well-rested and not super stressed out!

Christa Terry is a wedding expert

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