Dare to Bare: Galia Lahav Collections 2015 Wedding Dresses

Can you say gorgeous? I know you can! Galia Lahav’s 2015 bridal collection combines just about everything I like – and even some things I don’t like but we know some of our brides like (so everyone wins). There’s drama, grace, and a whole lot of well-placed lace, which is the upcoming season’s darling detail.

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Called La Dolce Vita, the 2015 collection was inspired by the open sky, sea, and sand but don’t expect to see these wedding dresses at the next beach wedding you attend. Galia Lahav gowns are evening ready and very, very grown up. See what I mean?

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For those brides-to-be wondering what you wear with one of these gorgeous Galia Lahav gowns, my answer would be not much! Keep your bridal accessories ultra simple and let your wedding dress take the spotlight. Think plain but luxe earrings like our Allure cz wedding earrings or a Swarovski crystal headband.


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Wedding Trend Alert: LACE!

When it comes to bridal accessories one of the easiest mantras to remember is ‘pair like with like.’ And since strapless gowns are giving way to Grace Kelly inspired wedding dresses constructed with lace, lace, and more lace (ed. note: it’s about time) you had better believe that accessory designers are following suit. Lace and delicate bead and crystal patterns that mimic lace can be found on more than just veils – everything from bridal headbands to wedding invitation sets to wedding cake can now justly be described as lacey. Curious? Here are just some of the ways brides are wearing and using lace:
Think rustic means no lace? No way! Check out these amazing burlap and lace pew bows sold by Etsy seller PinkSlipInspiration:

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The same goes for wedding invitations, like this one that pairs plain unbleached cardstock and pretty lace from Etsy seller TheWeddingInvitation:

lace wedding invitation

Lace or the look of it can also be found in bridal headpieces like our very own Lacey Couture Pearl Headband:

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Don’t forget – there are different kinds of lace! Our Angelic Lace Veil features gorgeous Venice lace:

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It’s a heavy damask lace that usually features floral and leaf patterns – don’t you just love it?

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Would you believe you can even find lace on brides’ feet? These are some of the most beautiful bridal shoes we’ve ever seen:

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Not more gorgeous than this lace and jewel encrusted wedding gown, though:

lace wedding dresses

Now about those wedding cakes we mentioned! Lace made out of icing? Yes, please:

lace wedding cake

Of course, you’ll need to find an amazing baker to make a lace wedding cake like this:

lace wedding inspiration

This lace bunting from Etsy seller The GlitteredBarn is simple and lovely and the kind of decor that makes a wonderful keepsake:

lace wedding bunting

The same goes for this lace backdrop for your ceremony and pics:

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Finally, check out this UH-mazing lace bridal bouquet wrap:

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Tell us how you’re using lace in your wedding here!


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Quick Tips for Bringing Your Stylist to Your Destination Wedding

If you’re getting married close to home, you may already have a stylist you’re addicted to – in which case you’re all set. But if you’re having a destination wedding, getting married somewhere you know no one and no one knows your particular beauty peccadilloes. Your choices are this: you can find a wedding stylist near your ceremony locale using online reviews or recommendations from your venue, or you can take your own stylist with you. Shocked at the idea? It might be less expensive than you think if the extra airfare and a hotel stay are in your budget. Maybe a per diem, too.

Let’s say that sounds great! No worrying about working with a stylist who doesn’t know you and your colors. No worrying that a stylist you’ve never met is going to leave you hanging high and dry. Overall, very little worrying. But not NO worrying whatsoever. Here’s what you DO need to worry about when you’re bringing your favorite stylist to your destination wedding:

1. Make sure your venue will have a place set up for your stylist to work. You don’t need grand accommodations – a table and chair in a well-lit area will do just fine.

2. Don’t assume the stylist can do extra people last minute – or at all. Make sure that your stylist knows whether s/he will be doing just your hair and makeup or the hair and makeup of your entire bridal party plus moms, too.

3. Do talk to your stylist before you fly to your destination so they have what they need on hand. All of the pre-wedding stuff you usually do with a stylist should still be on your wedding planning to-do list. First meeting to discuss options. The trial run. Etc.

4. That means you need to have your wedding hair accessories before that trial run. Your wedding planning timeline may be a bit different than most but it’s still up to you to be prepared.

5. Be sweet and invite your stylist to the wedding – I mean give him or her full wedding guest status instead of treating them like a vendor. They’re traveling for you and possibly also changing their schedule for you. Make sure your stylist is comfortable from start to finish.

6. Last but not least, make sure that you have a backup plan. Travel can be unpredictable. What if your stylist’s flight gets canceled or s/he has a family emergency? Call around at your destination to see how you can beautify if the worst happens.

Are you bringing your own stylist to your destination wedding?

Images via: leahandmark.com; wedding-populars.com


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Planning a Wedding You Want (Not a Trendy One)

You love the bridal magazines. You are addicted to Pinterest. You’re practically a wedding planning expert at this point. The only problem. You hate – I mean cannot stand – the latest wedding colors. Next year’s gowns make you yawn. The fun little touches that brides and grooms are just dying over leave you cold. And it’s killing you.

You want to like these things like everyone else planning a wedding in your age group or income bracket or city. But you can’t. What you can do, of course, is push your feelings down and plan what looks like a gorgeous wedding.

But you shouldn’t.

Do that and it won’t be YOUR wedding. 20 or 50 years from now you’re going to look back on your wedding photos and you will fall in love all over again if what you see in those images is you enjoying the things you like. Plan a trendy wedding that makes other people ooh and ahh doing everything right according to the wedding experts and you’re going to be looking at an event that looks like someone else planned it.

If you’re a quirky couple, then be quirky. You may get some flack for dressing up like characters from your favorite anime or saying your vows on horseback dressed like rodeo clowns, but so what? Own it – that’s who you are.

Brides, be yourself – even when you’re planning your wedding. Someday, you’re going to want to remember who you really were!

Images via: The Little Things We Do; tux & tales photography; Tulle & Chantilly Custom Wedding Gowns


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How to Prepare for an Engagement Session

Your engagement session may just be the first time you really feel like a bride. It might not be your wedding day, but it can still be a pretty romantic one! Relaxation is key because if you’re relaxed at your engagement session you can have fun, and if you’re having fun your photos are going to be amazing. Here are more tips for making your engagement session perfect.

Plan ahead: Don’t get a sunburn if it’s summertime. You should be wearing sunscreen every day anyway but if you haven’t been now is the time to start. Do a hair and makeup trial run, and then make sure you’ll have enough time to get ready before your engagement session. Don’t do anything drastic to change your appearance in the month before your session, either. You want to look like your best you.

Pick outfits that make you feel comfortable: Your photographer will be able to offer wardrobe tips based on the season and on the backdrop for your session, but no matter what wear something you can move in. Make sure you have a wardrobe backup plan in case your first choice doesn’t end up looking as nice as you thought it would.

Do something special with your accessories: This is a great time to wear your mother’s or your grandmother’s wedding jewelry if you’re not going to wear it on your wedding day. Or to see how your own wedding jewelry set will look in photos – wearing it now will give you a sneak peek at bride-hood.

Don’t be matchy-matchy: You and your sweetie should coordinate but not wear matching cat sweaters or anything else silly. Think harmony. Unless, that is, you are silly people and cat sweaters are your passion. In that case have fun with it!

Tell your photographer what you have in mind: Go to Pinterest, pin a ton of engagement session photography, and find your style. What do you like… the outdoors? Racing cars? Eating pizza? Make it part of your engagement session.

Bring props: Flowers are good. Balloons are fun and cute, too. Food, for the foodies. Lollipops and ice cream are both (pun intended) sweet. A basketball or hockey sticks for the sports enthusiasts. You get the idea.

Engagement photo sessions are kind of a trendy thing right now for brides and grooms but we think this is a trend that’s going to stick around for a long time. What could be better than a folder full of gorgeous photos of you and your sweetie before you became husband and wife (or wife and wife or husband and husband)?

Images via: Heather Kincaid Photography; Elevate Pictures; Hudson River Photographer; Kristeen Marie Photography


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What You Need to Know About Getting Married in a National Park

Love nature? Then chances are you’ve at the very least considered having your wedding in a national park. What could be easier than having Mother Nature herself taking care of almost everything? National Parks are gorgeous, great to support, and part of our country’s heritage. But getting married in a national park isn’t as simple as driving in and doing the deed. Here are some of the things you need to consider before planning a wedding in a national park:

Not every national park allows weddings. Nearly every national park website will have info about special events – how to get permits and permissions, how many guests can attend, and other rules about who can get married, where and when.

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You may need to apply. The protocol for requesting permission for your national park wedding may involve writing a letter of request that promises that you won’t make a big mess or otherwise cause a distraction.

You’ll need to get your marriage license in the state where you’ll be saying your vows, not your home state. Seems obvious but it’s not something every couple thinks about.

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Your guest list will be limited. Very limited compared to your average wedding. If you have your heart set on getting married in a national park plan on having an intimate ceremony.

That may be okay considering most people don’t live all that near the big national parks. You might very well be planning a destination wedding if you choose one of the big national parks as your ceremony venue.

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Walking may be required. The parking facilities at your favorite national park may not be right next to the most beautiful ceremony location, which means you’ll need to be sure your guests (and you) can make the trek.

Like we said, Mother Nature will be your decorator. Unless you’re that billionaire who decked out the redwoods to the nines, don’t expect to bring many decorations. This not only shortens prep and clean-up time, but also ensures you won’t leave anything behind accidentally.

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You can’t count on cans. Trash cans, that is. Plan to take out *everything* you bring in. You also can’t count on facilities. Plan to be dressed and ready – from your bridal shoes to your wedding jewelry – when you arrive.

Have a backup plan. No matter where you’re saying your vows, weather can be unpredictable – take your ceremony to a mountaintop and expect the unexpected. Some parks have things like shelter areas and electrical hookups, some don’t.

Finally, remember that you’ll be using a space that every other American has access to so if there are other folks around you may have some gawkers following along with your vows.

Images via: Cherry Tree Occasions; the National Park Service; All Rocky Mountain


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How to Enjoy Your Wedding as a Pregnant Bride

A bun in the oven doesn’t stop some brides from walking down the aisle, white gown and all. Sometimes a bride is so very surprisingly pregnant that pregnant wedding guests sitting in the pews are wondering how she’s staying on her feet! Our take on mixing up the order of operations of adulthood is this: own it! A bump on the bride just means her entire family gets to attend and that’s cool. This post is for all the brides with buns out there who may be wondering if they’ll actually enjoy the wedding. Well, good news. You can and you will, if you take these tips to heart:

1. Expect some challenges when dress shopping – though not as many as you might have encountered once upon a time. Maternity wedding dress options abound, and if you can’t find the perfect maternity wedding dress there are scores of maternity bridesmaids’ dresses that are available in gorgeous shining white. In either case, don’t feel like you need to camouflage your bump.

2. Consider flats. Even if just for the reception. We know plenty of pregnant fashionistas who never gave up their sky high heels for a second but you never know. If you’re set on heels pack some pretty flats just in case. Because really, you never know. Should you find you feel faint, flats will be a lifesaver.

3. Have a mock ring made or buy something inexpensive from a costume jewelry shop. You should be able to wear your wedding ring forever so don’t size it to fit your pregnant fingers. Not every pregnant woman has swollen digits but just in case you go up a ring size or three, plan to wear a temp. If you’re wearing a bridal choker or any other rings, the same tip applies.

4. Get down with the teetotalers. We’re not going to stop a bride from having a few sips of champagne on her wedding day but many pregnant brides will choose not to indulge. Have an alternative for toasts – like sparkling cider or gourmet soda – and consider having enough to share. You would be surprised by how many people don’t actually care for champagne.

5. Remember, you can’t please everyone. In the US pregnant brides are still a relatively rare sight so don’t be surprised if you get some stares while shopping for your wedding dress or bridal accessories. Just ignore the haters, should you encounter any. Our hope is that judgmental people will keep their yaps shut but you never can tell. Don’t let any old fashioned busybodies – even if they’re related to you – get you down.

And if nothing else, if you’re still feeling nervous about being a pregnant bride, you’re in amazing company. After all, how many famous brides have walked down the aisle in “a delicate condition”!

Images via: The Oslo Times; The Noviamor Blog; Lovemydress.net


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5 Reasons Planning a Backyard Wedding Won’t Be as Simple as You Think

An at home wedding can sound like a dream come true for the bride-to-be who doesn’t want to deal with the hassle of planning a big, fancy ceremony and reception. But sacrificing some of the glitz and glamour that a gorgeous venue can bring to a wedding doesn’t necessarily mean that wedding planning will get any simpler. Sometimes planning a backyard wedding can be more complicated – and even more expensive – than putting together a traditional wedding at an event venue. Here’s why:

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The necessary extras:  The nice thing about many wedding venues is that everything is included. The linens. The bridal chamber. The staff. Someone else is handling all the different rentals and professionals. Compare that to a backyard wedding which has to be planned from the ground up – it’s the bride-to-be’s responsibility to find servers, linens, trash receptacles, and more. If you’ve never planned a party for 100+ people you may be surprised at all the things you need to buy and rent.

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Bathrooms: If the backyard where you’re thinking of saying your vows and partying down is attached to a house with 4+ bathrooms then disregard this item. But while 75 guests and two bathrooms could work – and probably would work – do you want to take risks? Residential plumbing can get overwhelmed pretty easily, which means that to stay on the safe side you’re going to need to pay for extra accommodations. And then find some place out of the way to park them.

Rain or shine: Weather is unpredictable – you may live somewhere where it hardly ever rains and the random storm picks your wedding day to show up. It may be unseasonably sunny and warm or cold. Will all of your wedding guests fit in your home? Would you want them in there? Renting a tent, even a small one, and getting it set up can be pricey and complicated (depending on what your yard is like) but it’s a must.

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Refreshments: Getting food and drink (and the cake) to your backyard wedding isn’t the issue. Prep is. Will there be enough space for the caterers, etc., to prep your food? Somewhere safe to store the cake? Somewhere to put the drinks? Be realistic about how much space you have for prep and adjust your choices and expectations accordingly.

The cleanup: This is a big one! At a hired venue, you don’t have to worry about any of the cleanup – your job is to have fun and leave before the last dance. At a backyard wedding, particularly when it’s in your own backyard, you (or your loved ones) will have to decide ahead of time who will do the cleaning up and with what – rented trash barrels? – and when.

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None of this means, of course, that you should stop planning a backyard wedding in favor of renting a venue. Brides and grooms just need to be aware that there’s more to planning a backyard wedding than deciding to host at home. There’s a lot to think about and a lot of things that will be on your plate so while we’d love it if we could say that it’s as simple and as easy as buying wedding jewelry we can’t. It can be pretty hard but for a lot of couples, also totally worth the extra trouble.

Images: Sarah Kate, Photographer; The Sweetest Occasion; http://weddingplannerncdotcom.wordpress.com; Mywedding.com


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Choosing Jewelry for Your Bridesmaids

SO you’ve found a dress – or batch of bridesmaids’ dresses – that looks amazing on everyone from your best bestie to your big sister. Your ‘maids LOVE it. But if you think your work is done, think again. (Sorry, ladies.) Now it’s time to accessorize that perfect gown with some bridesmaid jewelry. Here are some tips to help you do just that:

Let the Dress Be Your Guide

You likely already know that necklaces should not hang down past necklines and bracelets seldom harmonize well with long sleeves, but the overall fanciness and style of your bridesmaids’ dresses can also help you choose jewelry and accessories. Very formal bridesmaids dresses demand bigger, bolder baubles.

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Think of the Photos

Very ornate bridesmaid jewelry may not photograph particularly well when worn by a flock of identically dressed ‘maids. Some jewelry will look better in low light or candlelight while other pieces shine brightest in natural daylight.

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Give Them a Little Freedom

Even if you don’t want to choose bridesmaid jewelry, you still have the final say when it comes to what your ladies will be wearing on your big day. You can dictate parameters. Crystal bridesmaid jewelry. A pearl wedding jewelry set. Colored bridesmaid jewelry. It’s your call, and having a few boundaries may actually make it easier for your bridesmaids to shop for their own accessories.

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Keep It Simple 

If you want to, that is. Bright dresses with something simple like a pair of understated stud earrings and a simple drop pendant necklace can make the bride, with her more ornate accessories, pop. Especially in the pictures. Bridesmaid jewelry can be barely there and still be impactful.

Or Go Big

Sometimes more is more, and your wedding day is not the day to stay small because you’re afraid of being too flashy. Flash away and let your bridesmaids do the same with big CZ sets or striking vintage look pieces that really stand out.

Make It a Gift

Your bridesmaids’ jewelry can be the gifts you give them to thank them for being a part of your big day, but in that case do your ladies a solid and choose something they can wear again (even if only for big events). They’ll appreciate not having yet another bridesmaids expense and you don’t have to worry about their jewelry. It’s win-win!

Are you letting your bridesmaids choose their own accessories or are you choosing for them?


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Tips for Setting Your Wedding Reception Schedule

The wedding ceremony is relatively structured when compared to the reception, but that doesn’t mean that there doesn’t need to be set wedding reception timeline.

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How hard can it be, you’re thinking… a little dinner, some cake, a first dance and so on. But really, no matter how formal or informal you want your reception to be, it is actually pretty important that you plan ahead and establish a sequence of events for your reception. Your wedding guests will be expecting certain events to happen at certain times, they’re expecting to be entertained, and they’re expecting to be fed. Spending time and a little effort before the wedding to make sure your wedding reception will run smoothly can save you from a lot of confusion and unnecessary distractions on your wedding day.

Here are some reception planning hints that can make your wedding reception memorable and fun:

  • Sit down with your spouse-to-be and decide what you want to do and what you want other people to be doing at the reception. Are you going to do a bouquet toss or a series of special dances like a father-daughter dance and mother-son dance? Will there be a sit down dinner? Will there be kids?
  • Be as detailed as possible when preparing your reception timeline. Include names, times, specific locations and song titles of special dances. This will help you explain to vendors what your expectations are.
  • Put your schedule in writing and give it to all of your wedding vendors. Also, give this schedule to your wedding attendants and immediate family members so they know where they are suppose to be and when (i.e. for picture taking, formal announcements, or special dances).
  • Don’t get too hung up on the exact times when creating your reception timeline. The clock times on your schedule should act only as a guide to keep things moving in the right direction and so you can be sure that everything gets done!
  • Use the items in your itinerary as a checklist so that you don’t forget anything and as a guide to help you plan your reception just the way you want it. But on the day of your wedding, hand off this checklist to your maid of honor or your mom.
  • The order of events is up to you, but should be firmly established ahead of time. For example, some brides prefer to do their first dance with their husband very early into the reception, before dinner is served. Other brides prefer to do it after dinner, when the “real dancing begins”.
  • Traditional etiquette states that wedding guests are not suppose to begin dancing until after the bride and groom have had their first dance. So, if you want people to start dancing early in the reception, schedule your first dance right away!
  • Of course, the length of your wedding reception will determine the agenda. A two-hour cocktail reception is going to play out very differently than a five-hour sit-down dinner.
  • Remember to work in time for toasts – these can go longer than expected depending on who is doing the toasting and how many people want to toast. Consider chatting with potential toasters to let them know how long they’ll have at the podium.

 


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