Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Tips for Choosing Wedding Jewelry

Photo courtesy of Heather M and
We've already talked a lot about weddings -- from picking the right bouquet to selecting the right destination, but there's so much more that goes into wedding planning.

What the bride will wear is a huge consideration. The dress has to be perfect and fit the bride's budget after all. But sometimes it's the small details that truly make the bride radiant. That's why today we're talking wedding jewelry. Here are a few tips to help you pick the best pieces.

Take Heirloom Pieces With You

If you're going with traditional wedding jewelry and heirloom pieces, select them and bring them with you as you plan the rest of your wardrobe around them. Not all dresses and necklaces will work together, so if you want to wear your grandmother's teardrop necklace with your gown, you have to make sure the neckline of your gown accommodates your choices.

Don't Be Afraid of Costume Pieces

Costume jewelry works well for many brides, if you know what to look for. It can also save you a fortune -- particularly if you are looking for bold, chunky necklaces or earrings that really stand out. Just remember that synthetic gemstones are a lot more forgiving than cheap or poorly plated metals. The last thing a bride needs is a necklace that turns her neck green!

Keep it Simple

Sometimes it's tempting to overdo it with the jewelry. Remember that accessories still take a back seat to your overall appearance. Look for items that compliment your style without making you look overdecorated and gaudy. Gowns with intricate designs and lots of lace typically call for less ornate jewelry.

Don't Forget the Bridesmaids

If you want a coordinated look, work with your bridesmaids to select pieces that flatter everyone and coordinate well with the bridesmaids' dresses. This doesn't necessarily mean that every woman should wear the same earring and the same necklace. Consistent style doesn't have to mean everyone has to be dressed exactly alike. Individuality is important too.

Thursday, August 23, 2012

The Origin of Wedding Traditions

Photos courtesy of Krystal G. and
Have you ever wondered just how our wedding traditions got started? Why do women wear white dresses. Why do guests throw rice? And why do couples save wedding cake for their one year anniversary? Read on to learn about the origins of some of our most popular wedding traditions in America.

The White Wedding Gown

In "The Bizarre Origins of 8 Wedding Traditions"Jenn Grabenstetter explains that women used to simply wear their best outfit to their wedding just to convince her future husband that her family was wealthy. It wasn't until Queen Victoria came along wearing a pale wedding dress that white caught on. Apparently every girl dreamed of looking like a queen on her wedding day.

Old, New, Borrowed, Blue

Hollee Actman Becker explains the tradition of the bride wearing something old, new, borrowed and blue in her piece for The Knot titled, "Wedding Customs: Tracking Tradition." These items are supposed to by symbolic:

  • Old = Continuity
  • New = Optimism
  • Borrowed = Happiness
  • Blue = Love and Fidelity.

Keep the Bride and Groom Separate Before the Ceremony

In that same article, Becker explains why some brides insist that the groom not see them before the ceremony. Apparently this tradition originated from the superstition that it if the groom saw the bride before the wedding she would not be "pure and new" and it would mean bad luck for the couple.

The Wedding Bouquet

If you've ever wondered why the bride carries a bouquet, Rebecca Fairley Raney has the answer over at How Stuff Works in her article, "10 Wedding Traditions with Surprising Origins." Raney explains that this tradition likely got started around the time of the Plauge when people believed herbs would help them survive.

What is your favorite wedding tradition? Do you know how it got started?

Brides: Learn how you can save 10% on wedding items from!

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Bow Tie or Bow?

Although I haven't officially announced it on this blog, my hubby and I are expecting our 2nd little one in mid-December.  Our first, Gabriel - Gabe for short, was born in April of 2010 so he's just a little over 2.  For Gabe, we didn't learn his gender ahead of his birth.  We {okay mostly myself - my hubby really sort of wanted to know} wanted it to be a total surprise when he/she arrived.  This go around, I decided to be nice and let the hubby get his way, but only if I could make it special by hosting a gender reveal party for our families - and ourselves - we didn't even want to know until the day of the party - which happened to be 2 weeks after the ultrasound (the torture!). Roger isn't from Indiana so all of his family is out of town, so we decided to mail his close family gender reveal cookies - they would bite into the center of the cookie and the color would reveal the gender.  His parents also planned on joining us on PlayStation video chat the day of the party - they were to bite into their cookies at the same time we bit into our cupcakes.
So, to have everything come together so that neither Roger/I found out the gender ahead of the party, we hired a local baker to bake both the cookies and the cupcakes. She got to take a peek at the gender card (which the ultrasound tech slid into a sealed envelope) before we knew. But, to make a long story short there was a snafu with the cookies. The baker baked them too thin and when I went to package them to ship, I accidentally saw the color and thus learned the sex.  Huge disappointment - was in a minor depression all day while I awaited hubby getting home from work. Although he really wanted to wait until the day of the party, I told him that there was no way that I could hold onto the secret from him for 5 days.  So, he and Gabe split one of my freshly baked replacement cookies (which were oatmeal and super thick so no one would find out the gender on accident).

The theme of the party was - Bow Tie or Bow? Soon we will Know! On the day of the party, we requested that everyone wear blue if they thought it was a boy and red if they thought it was a girl. (A few were perplexed as to why I didn't select baby blue and baby pink for the colors - to put it simply - I'm just tired of those traditional colors for babies so I wanted a more fun and unique color combination.)
When guests arrived, we had them vote on the gender by putting a hash mark on the huge chalkboard that sits above our buffet.

The baker did an awesome job on the bow and bow tie cupcakes.  Although I hate complaining to vendors, I did let her know about the cookie snafu, so I think she went out of her way to make sure the cupcakes were perfect.  Cupcakes were red velvet with cream cheese icing (our favorite). Nom.

Upon arriving, guests were also able to pin on a bow tie if they thought it was a boy ...

or, they could pin or clip on a bow if they guessed it was a girl. Many wore both including my parents - they didn't want to play favorites.

We decorated the food area with red and blue decor accents including pennants.

For the food, I kept it simple. I originally wanted everything to either be bow/bow tie themed or aqua blue or red, but the foods just became too limiting (there aren't many aqua colored foods!). So, since it was a lunch time reveal we served simple sandwiches (chicken salad, shrimp salad and turkey and Swiss roll-ups), bow tie Italian Pasta Salad, Fruit Salad with Granola, and an assortment of chips. Instead of eating off traditional paper plates, guests ate off of red deli baskets (the kind you get at diners, drive-ins, and cute hamburger joints). For drinks, I did a build your own flavored lemonade buffet where guests could add fresh strawberries, blueberries or raspberries to their lemonade.

After lunch and mingling, we did the gender reveal.  Above is my son with his cupcake. The photo makes it looks as if he's behaving with his cupcake.  So, not true - by this point he'd already torn off the fondant topper (I quickly put it back on for a quick photo) and within about 30 seconds of this photo he was covered in cupcake icing and crumbs. Now for reveal time ...

It's a boy!

So, the majority of our guests/family got the gender correct. :)
Gabe is so going to love having a little brother. I'm sure they'll grow up being best buddies!
To view many more photos of the party, including the gender reveal cookies, just click here.
Products {I created most of the items to keep it on a budget}.
Gender Reveal Invites: Pinwhirls
Gender Reveal Cookie Cards: Pinwhirls
Cupcake Wrappers: Pinwhirls
Pennants: Pinwhirls
Mini Pennants: Pinwhirls
Food Label Tents: Pinwhirls
Bow Ties: I made these as well using this blog as a guide. Although I glued all of mine and did not sew. I also glued onto simple pin backs.
Bows: I made these too. Just tied a simple bow and glued half of them onto pin backs and half onto hair clips.
Ribbon for Bow Ties and Bows: Jo Ann Fabrics
Red Deli Baskets with Deli Paper: I originally bought some at Jo Anns, but they did not have enough. I found them at Gordon Food Service for much cheaper.
Red Polka Dot Napkins: Wal Mart
Aqua Blue Polka Dot Napkins: Target
Shrimp Salad, Chicken Salad, and Chicken Rollers, Croissants, and Pretzel Rolls: Costco
Fruit Salad: Recipe - I added a ton more fruit than noted in recipe including raspberries, blueberries, fresh peaches, grapes. All from Costco.
Homemade Granola: Recipe
Italian Bow Tie Pasta Salad: Recipe

Monday, August 20, 2012

Tips for Planning a Destination Wedding

Photo Courtesy
Pinwhirls Courtesy
Destination weddings are fun, memorable, and come with a built-in honeymoon. But they require a little extra planning, especially if you want the wedding to be accessible to family members and other guests. Here are some tips to planning the perfect destination wedding:

Plan Ahead 

Make sure you send out save the date cards well in advance of the wedding. Your guests will need time to make arrangements for a wedding that is held outside of the U.S. In some cases, your guests may need time to get passports, schedule vacation time from work, and buy airfare and lodging. Most importantly, give advanced notice of your big day gives you and your guests the opportunity to budget for trip.

Look for Discounts

This goes back to planning ahead. In order to get the best rates on accommodations and services, you need to allow yourself enough time to shop around. Search for discounts, and get the skinny of wedding packages. Some resorts offer weddings free of charge as long as you book your honeymoon for a minimum number of nights.

Consider a Wedding Planner

Destination wedding planners specialize in planning weddings where legalities, communications, and cultural issues might present a problem. They take care of the details, and the extra money you spend on the wedding planner could save you thousands in headaches. Look for a wedding planner that is an expert in your preferred wedding location.

Chill Out

The whole point of a destination wedding is to enjoy the exotic beauty of foreign place. Don't let your desire to control the event rob you of the joy of your event. As others have pointed out before, many destination weddings run on "island time," and you have to be ready to go with the flow.

Did you have a destination wedding? Where did you go and would you recommend it to others?

Brides: Learn how you can save 10% on wedding items from!

Monday, August 13, 2012

5 Places to Get Wedding Theme Help

Photo Courtesy of Kristen W.
If you're trying to plan a wedding and can't even settle on theme theme, relax and take a deep breath. We've compiled a list of resources that can give you a little help and inspiration and coordinate everything from invitations to place cards. Check out these great sites for planning a wedding:

10 Great Wedding Themes from TLC. From fairy tale weddings to the a swanky urban wedding, TLC has some unique ideas that can help you plan a wedding that's traditional or trendy or anything in between.

Wedding Style from the Knot. The Knot is a fantastic site, and this link takes you directly to some breathtaking photos of some gorgeous weddings. They've got something for everyone: offbeat weddings, rustic wedding, beach weddings and more.

Unique Wedding Ideas and Inspirations from Beau Coup. The inspirational ideas on beau coup site are great too. Check out the "Themes & Style" section if you are particularly interested in outdoor, beach or destination wedding themes.

Rustic Country Wedding Ideas from Martha Stewart. Martha's wedding ideas are always timelessly elegant. If a rustic wedding theme is what you're after, don't miss this photo album on her rustic wedding ideas page.

Fall Weddings from Fall us upon is, and it's a gorgeous time to get married. From pumpkin themes to avoiding the pitfalls of fall planning, this site is another must see packed with helpful articles and gorgeous photo galleries.

There are plenty of resources to help you find the perfect theme for your wedding. Don't forget that Pinterest is a great resource, and you can also check out the Pinwhirls photo gallery on Flickr to see beautiful photos submitted by our customers.

Have you already chosen a wedding theme? What ideas or websites have inspired you?