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Planning Wedding Ideas

  • Photo: Rachel Thurston Photography

    Need inspiration for a fall wedding? A few of our editors share their favorites below:

    Photo: Rachel Thurston Photography

    From the Fashion Editor – Choose a bridesmaid dress color that complements the season’s changing colors: red, orange, yellow, purple, or brown. (Just like Jessica and Michael, Cami and Erik, and Bonnie and Drew did.)

    Photos (from left to right): Cluney Photo and Meg Ruth Photo

    From the Flowers Editor – Bouquets of black-eyed susans, dahlias, chrysanthemums, calla lilies, roses, orchids and gerberas are a must-have. Maybe add some texture with feathers, fern curls, curly willows, scabiosa pods, or wheat too? Check out more fall bouquets here.

    Photo: Meg Ruth Photo

    From the Decor Editor – Spice up your decor with pumpkins, pine cones, leaves, figs, acorns, and more. 

    Photos (from left to right): Keepsake Memories Photography and jHenderson Studios

    From the Favors & Cakes Editor – Place your three-tiered buttercream wedding cake on top of tree bark for an added rustic touch. Check out more fall wedding cakes here. Nothing tastes better than a caramel apple, pumpkin pie, and hot cocoa on a crisp evening. Let guests unwrap cozy blankets to keep warm.

    4
  • 9 cute and creative ways to serve your cocktails -- Cheers! 

     

    Photo by: Michelle Warren

    Water infused with mint, cucumber, and lemon -- sounds delish! 

    Photo by: Love Life Images

    Rosemary lemonade and peach iced tea displayed in an antique white cabinet -- does an outdoor reception get any more chic than this?

    Photo by: M. Norwood Photogrpahy

    Does it get more refreshing than classic lemonade in the summer?

    Photo by: Anjuli

    Going for more of an indie, DIY vibe? Store your spirits in vintage crates.

    Photo by: Hudson Nichols Photography

    We love how Jessica and Matt repurposed an old cabinet to hold their beverage supplies.

    Photo by: Karen Wise 

    Serve big batch punches in wide mouth jars. Don't forget the ladles! 

    Photo by: Neuschafer Photography

    Don't think we'll ever get tired of mason jar mugs and striped straws.

    Photo by: Jordan Ferney 

    A rainbow display of old fashioned sodas instantly doubles as reception favors. 

    Photo by: Katelyn James Photography

    Mini chalkboards and log displays are the perfect finishing touches for a rustic beverage station. 

     

     

    19
  • Yes, we love candy, koozies, and potted succulents as much as the next wedding fanatic, but sometimes you just need to think outside of the box. Here are a few wedding favor ideas that truly break the mold.

    Condiments and Spices

    Olive oil is a popular wedding favor these days, but if there’s a condiment that you and your spouse love, share it with your guests! We’ve seen ketchup, mustard, Tabasco, as well as various seasonings (Old Bay, BBQ rubs, etc.).

    Photo by Anjuli

     

    Temporary Tattoos

    Yeah, it’s a little offbeat, but it’s certainly hip and will get your guests talking. Offer up an array of temporary tats for your guests to enjoy. Who knows, maybe your Grandma will partake (can you imagine that photo?).

    Photos by (from left): Liz Chrisman Photography, Emily Alt Photography

     

    Books

    This might be a little labor-intensive, but we love the idea of picking out a book for each guest (or couple) to take home. Handwriting a personalized note inside is a great touch. What an amazing keepsake for your nearest and dearest!

    Photo by Diana M. Lott

     

    Buttons

    These are pretty quirky, but adorable, too! Offer your guests a selection of pins to affix to their attire and take home.

    Photos by (from left): Katelyn James Photography, Shelly Kroeger Photography

     

    Pottery or Handmade Crafts

    We love how this bride used her pottery-making skills to create ceramic bowls for all of her guests. If you have crafting or cooking skills, use them to create gifts for your guests (but don’t overwhelm yourself by taking on a too-huge task!).

    Photo by Maggie Fortson Photography

     

    Cotton Candy in a Box
    Fact: Guests love sweet treats. But instead of cookies or candy, try something a bit more whimsical with cotton candy stored in a takeout box. What a fun treat for guests of all ages!

    Photo by Jenny DeMarco Photography

    Fresh Fruit

    Give your favors a healthful touch by providing your guests with fresh fruit. From berries to pineapples, peaches to apples, think seasonal and local when it comes to picking your produce.

    Photo by Dear Darling Photography

    Want more great favor ideas? Follow our Favors Editor to see lots more wedding favor photos »

    0
  • Cookouts are the best part of summer, especially on the 4th of July with family and friends. Who doesn't love hot dogs, hamburgers, and fireworks? Bring that laid-back vibe to your rehearsal dinner. Here's how to do it: 

    1. Big-Batch Chilled Beverages

    Photo by Katelyn James Photography

    Mix up big batchees of flavored water, lemonade, or sweet tea and let guests serve themselves! Use mason jars as glasses for an extra picnic-y feel. 

    2. Gingham & Sunflower Decor

    Photo by (from left to right) Chelsea Fuss and Nami Dadlani Photography

    Set your wooden banquet tables with checkered linens or napkins and use bright yellow sunflowers in your centerpieces. Here's our step-by-step guide to styling a summer table.

    3. Finger Foods

    Photo by Jose Villa

    Pass around bite-size burgers, BBQ sliders, pigs in a blanket, french fry shooters, and corn on the cob halves as appetizers. 

    4. Strawberry Shortcake

    Photo by Chelsea Fuss 

    We all scream for ice cream! As much as it would coof off guests, it would also quickly melt in the heat. Instead, try a strawberry shortcake. Light and sweet, it will leave guests feeling satisfied but not heavy. Here's a complete step-by-step receipe for creating the one pictured above. 

    5. Lawn Games

    Photo by Orange in Bloom

    Entertain your guests with lawn games such as cornhole, croquet, hula hoops, bocce ball, and badminton. 

    6. Outdoor Lounge

    Photo by Katelyn James Photography

    Countrify your backyard with an outdoor lounge of hay bales, quilts, and wooden barrels. 

    7. Bonfire Desserts

    Photo by MaryBeth Clouser Photography

    S'mores kits are an edible favor that your guests can enjoy while keeping warm by the fire. 

     

    10
  • 1. A Pair of Mums

    A cute pair of flowers is simply perfect for celebrating the pair of you! Oh, and mums the word on how cheap these invites are.

     

    2. Pastel Patterns

    A trend you can’t resist — mixed patterns! This distinctly patterned invite will also reflect your savvy style for a price that fits your budget. Find them here.

    3. Flair for Style

    Show your flair for style and your knack for scoring a good deal with these flourish wedding invitations featuring a bold element of design.

    4. Flowers and Flourishes

    A colorful floral sketch accented by faint flourishes creates a touch of whimsical charm on these inexpensive wedding invites.

    5. Love Springs

    You won’t have to spring much for these! An array of colorful flowers below two lovebirds becomes a trendy display of modern day romance. Find them here.

    6. Sultry Blooms

    Sultry blooms in rich colors bring an artistic quality of romance to these watercolor wedding invitations

    7. Typography on White

    Trendy typography looks amazing on this bright white wedding invitation- they’ll never know you paid so little for something so stylish!

    8. Simply Modern

    A unique look and vibrant colors all for an affordable price. 

     

    Shop for more invitations under $100 here

     

     

    5
  • Find out what's hot in wedding cakes this year; we've asked a few of our favorite cake designers to weigh in!    Geometric Patterns Cake by Erica OBrien    "Feminine geometrics, such as chevron, are still very popular," says Connecticut-based Erica OBrien. "I'm expecting to see a lot of arrows and hexagons this season."  Photo by Brooke Allison Photography       Metallics Cake by City Sweets & Confections    The gilded look is a favorite for both Deborah Lauren of City Sweets & Confections and Erica OBrien this year. "Gold is back, and stronger then ever," says OBrien.  Photo by CLY Creation       Hand-Painted Cake by Sweet & Saucy Shop    "Hand-painting is definitely a new trend right now," says Sweet & Saucy Shop's head pastry chef Melody Brandon. "It's a personal and a one-of-a-kind style that brides are falling in love with."  Photo by Melody Brandon       Staying True to Your Style Cake by Maggie Austin Cakes    Virginia baker Maggie Austin recently created this lovely confection for a friend's casual backyard wedding, and she loves that it perfectly reflects the couple's "understated and sophisticated style." Matching a cake to the personalities and priorities of her clients will be a big focus this year.  Photo by Maggie Austin     Multiple Cakes Cake by Layered Bake Shop    Brides booking cakes with Layered Bake Shop's Shannon Star have been moving away from the traditional single large wedding cake. Instead, they're opting for multiple smaller confections in a similar decor suite. "It allows for more creativity and personality," says Star.  Photo by N. Barrett Photography   Showpiece Cakes Cake by The Pastry Studio    According to owner Sherri Meyers, cakes have become a core component of reception decor. They are increasingly created to be equal parts delicious dessert and visual show-stopper. Designs are getting bigger and grander, and sometimes even include a fake tier or two to accommodate for ceiling height!  Photo by Sherri Meyers     Going Natural Cake by Enjoy Cupcakes    Honor a cake that's free of artificial dyes by allowing the natural state of its flavor to become the main decorative element. This year, Amber of Enjoy Cupcakes is all about making fluffy chocolate cakes look fluffy, drenching caramel desserts in drips of caramel, and providing texture to peanut butter cakes with chopped up peanuts.  Photo by Alex Creswell     Ombré Cake by Erica OBrien    Almost every baker we asked agreed— ombré is still at the forefront for 2013. "The shading lends itself so naturally to romantic designs," says OBrien of the style.  Photo by Devon Jarvis     Embossed Cake by City Sweets & Confections      City Sweets & Confections owner Deborah Lauren recently etched an intricate floral pattern on a wedding cake for a friend. "It was modern, and different from any cake I've ever done or seen."  Photo by Turnquist Photography     Classic White Elegance Cake by Mark Joseph Cakes    A white wedding cake never goes out of style, says Mark of Mark Joseph cakes. Couples turn to him for a modern, sophisticated take on the timeless aesthetic.  Photo by Mark Joseph     Textured Icing Cake by Betty Bakery    Cheryl Kleinman agrees with Mark Joseph—white will always be popular, especially for formal weddings. At her Betty Bakery, she and partner Ellen of Bijoux Deux Specialty Cakes keep the look from becoming boring by texturizing the outer layer of icing. Pleats (seen here) and confetti are two favorite styles.
    2
  •  

    DIY Project

    In this project, Mary Swenson extended the life of a pre-packaged paper flower centerpiece kit by turning the blooms into favors and centerpieces as well. Love it!
    View the Full Tutorial


     

    Ready-Made Bouquet

    Available at The Green Vase

    10 DIY and ready-made ways to bring paper flowers in to your wedding. 

    Want your wedding bouquet to last longer than a season? Consider investing in a beautiful paper alternative from The Green Vase ($325). This multi-talented NY-based floral design shop also offers single paper blooms, cake toppers, and cake decorating kits.

     

    Etsy Shop

    Available at Frances & Francis 



    We love the idea of topping a reception table with a single romantic stem in a vintage glass bottle—and then repurposing the centerpiece as bookshelf decor in your new home! These romantic blooms from Frances & Francis ($14 to $60) are perfect for that.

     

    West Elm

    West Elm Paper Flower Shop 



    Several national chains are hopping on the paper flower trend. For example: Furniture store West Elm, which offers several pretty pre-made sets ($7.99 to $36).

     

    Etsy Shop

    Available at House That Lars Built 



    Handcrafted in Copenhagen, these gold-stemmed paper roses ($14 each) will look beautiful gathered in a vase or laid upon individual place settings. Designer Brittany Watson Jespen also creates jumbo-sized versions of these blooms, as well as paper flower hats—email her for custom projects!

     

    DIY Project

    Crepe Paper Flower Bouquet DIY 



    You won't believe how easy (and inexpensive!) it is to whip up these colorful crepe flowers—it takes just three simple steps.

     

    DIY Kit

    Available at Paper Source 



    Looking for a little guidance while you construct your paper blooms? Consider a pre-packaged kits from The Paper Source your new best friend ($10.95 - $19.95).

     

    The Crafting Book

    Paper to Petal, Available at Barnes & Noble 



    Husband and wife duo Rebecca Thuss and Patrick Farrell are very good at what they do (which includes photography, design, and, yes, plenty of paper crafts). Releasing late this August, their new book ($16.29) will show you how to make 75 paper blooms yourself. With a forward authored by Martha Stewart herself, it's clear the couple knows what they're doing.

     

    The Perfect Prop

    Large Paper Rose, Available at BHLDN 



    This extra-large paper rose ($68) is almost five feet tall! At that size, it's the perfect addition to any wedding photo booth. It's also, as the website suggests, a whimsical alternative to a basket of petals for the flower girl.

     

    DIY Project

    Paper Posy Escort Cards 



    Easy-to-make crepe flowers will add a joyful touch of color to any spring wedding! This tutorial offers step-by-step instructions for making these cheerful escort cards out of streamer ribbon. It's a great way to save money on a fun but lower priority item on your decor list.

     

    More Inspiration

    See the Full Wedding 



    If you're still on the fence about paper flower decor, you have to check out Liz and Josh's color-infused Minnesota wedding. They created some of the most unique centerpieces we've ever seen!

     

    Idea By: Sarah Zlotnick

    7
  • This inexpensive material is more versatile than you think. 

    By: Sarah Zlotnick 

    1. Ring Pillow

    A simple, rustic way for the ring bearer to present the rings. View this rustic country wedding. 

    2. Centerpiece Cover 

    Save on renting vases and other flower vessels by using old tins and covering them in burlap instead. View this yellow garden wedding. 

    3. Silverware Holder 

    A simple burlap packet holds the silverware for Heather and David's charming Annapolis nuptials.

    4.  Bouquet Wrap 

    A strip of sturdy burlap will hold all your flowers in place—and look sweet while doing it! View this rustic whimsical California wedding. 

    5. Favor Bags 

    You could hide any kind of sweet treat in one of these adorable burlap sacks. View this fun fall wedding. 

    6. Bunting 

    We love this simple wedding sign. View this Texas ranch wedding. 

    7. Candle Accent 

    A mossy green candle collection gets a little texture from a simple burlap wrap. View this country chic wedding. 

    8. Table Number 

    Such a sweetly country table marker. Burlap wine bag table numbers, $150 for 10 at Lil Missi Etsy Shop. 

    9. Table Runner 

    Thinking about using a burlap table runner? Be sure to strech and distress the fabric a bit before you lay it down. This creates dimension by allowing some of your tablecloth color to peek through. It also gives the fabric a little more grip. 

    You Might Also Like: 9 Wine Wedding Decor Ideas

    17
  • Photo by Sandals

    When you have guests flying in from coast to coast for your destination wedding weekend, it's important to keep them occupied during their stay. Get the most out of your location by gathering guests together for some of these fun -- but optimal -- activities: 

    Zip lining Parasailing  Snorkeling/scuba diving  Boating  Visiting a museum, historic site, botanical garden or local tourist attraction Golfing Spa treatments Safari ride  Surfing  Biking 

     

    0
  • Photo: Troy Grover Photographers

    Of course, you want your wedding cake to not only taste delicious but also look delicious without breaking the bank. Am I right? Before you order, consider these myths to make your experience just as sweet: 

    1. Buttercream is less expensive than fondant. This statement may be true, but most cake bakers prefer to decorate with fondant instead of buttercream. Therefore, there might be an extra fee for that rich, buttery flavor. 

    2. Order fake tiers in order to serve sheet cakes. A fake tier would be a decorated piece of styrofoam or rice krispies treats. Sheet cakes would then supplement the fake tiers. In reality, the cake baker is actually doing the same (or more) amount of work it would take to make a real tier. 

    3. Decorate with fresh florals not sugar flowers. Fresh florals can make your guests sick. Why? Because, unless organically grown, florals are often times sprayed with pesticides and not properly sanitized. 

    4. Make your own wedding cake. They're expensive to buy and make. Consider all the ingredients, tools, equipment, and time! It's too labor-extensive. 

    5. Choose a flavor that your guests will like. Choose a flavor that YOU want for one tier (like lemon) and then choose a mainstream flavor (like vanilla, chocolate, or red velvet) for the remaining two tiers. 

    6. Save the top of your wedding cake for your first anniversary. Tradition is out, so you think. You can still save the cake, but often times cake bakers also give a free mini cake. 

     
    0
  • Photo: Rachel Thurston Photography

    Need inspiration for a fall wedding? A few of our editors share their favorites below:

    Photo: Rachel Thurston Photography

    From the Fashion Editor – Choose a bridesmaid dress color that complements the season’s changing colors: red, orange, yellow, purple, or brown. (Just like Jessica and Michael, Cami and Erik, and Bonnie and Drew did.)

    Photos (from left to right): Cluney Photo and Meg Ruth Photo

    From the Flowers Editor – Bouquets of black-eyed susans, dahlias, chrysanthemums, calla lilies, roses, orchids and gerberas are a must-have. Maybe add some texture with feathers, fern curls, curly willows, scabiosa pods, or wheat too? Check out more fall bouquets here.

    Photo: Meg Ruth Photo

    From the Decor Editor – Spice up your decor with pumpkins, pine cones, leaves, figs, acorns, and more. 

    Photos (from left to right): Keepsake Memories Photography and jHenderson Studios

    From the Favors & Cakes Editor – Place your three-tiered buttercream wedding cake on top of tree bark for an added rustic touch. Check out more fall wedding cakes here. Nothing tastes better than a caramel apple, pumpkin pie, and hot cocoa on a crisp evening. Let guests unwrap cozy blankets to keep warm.

    4
  • 9 cute and creative ways to serve your cocktails -- Cheers! 

     

    Photo by: Michelle Warren

    Water infused with mint, cucumber, and lemon -- sounds delish! 

    Photo by: Love Life Images

    Rosemary lemonade and peach iced tea displayed in an antique white cabinet -- does an outdoor reception get any more chic than this?

    Photo by: M. Norwood Photogrpahy

    Does it get more refreshing than classic lemonade in the summer?

    Photo by: Anjuli

    Going for more of an indie, DIY vibe? Store your spirits in vintage crates.

    Photo by: Hudson Nichols Photography

    We love how Jessica and Matt repurposed an old cabinet to hold their beverage supplies.

    Photo by: Karen Wise 

    Serve big batch punches in wide mouth jars. Don't forget the ladles! 

    Photo by: Neuschafer Photography

    Don't think we'll ever get tired of mason jar mugs and striped straws.

    Photo by: Jordan Ferney 

    A rainbow display of old fashioned sodas instantly doubles as reception favors. 

    Photo by: Katelyn James Photography

    Mini chalkboards and log displays are the perfect finishing touches for a rustic beverage station. 

     

     

    19
  • Yes, we love candy, koozies, and potted succulents as much as the next wedding fanatic, but sometimes you just need to think outside of the box. Here are a few wedding favor ideas that truly break the mold.

    Condiments and Spices

    Olive oil is a popular wedding favor these days, but if there’s a condiment that you and your spouse love, share it with your guests! We’ve seen ketchup, mustard, Tabasco, as well as various seasonings (Old Bay, BBQ rubs, etc.).

    Photo by Anjuli

     

    Temporary Tattoos

    Yeah, it’s a little offbeat, but it’s certainly hip and will get your guests talking. Offer up an array of temporary tats for your guests to enjoy. Who knows, maybe your Grandma will partake (can you imagine that photo?).

    Photos by (from left): Liz Chrisman Photography, Emily Alt Photography

     

    Books

    This might be a little labor-intensive, but we love the idea of picking out a book for each guest (or couple) to take home. Handwriting a personalized note inside is a great touch. What an amazing keepsake for your nearest and dearest!

    Photo by Diana M. Lott

     

    Buttons

    These are pretty quirky, but adorable, too! Offer your guests a selection of pins to affix to their attire and take home.

    Photos by (from left): Katelyn James Photography, Shelly Kroeger Photography

     

    Pottery or Handmade Crafts

    We love how this bride used her pottery-making skills to create ceramic bowls for all of her guests. If you have crafting or cooking skills, use them to create gifts for your guests (but don’t overwhelm yourself by taking on a too-huge task!).

    Photo by Maggie Fortson Photography

     

    Cotton Candy in a Box
    Fact: Guests love sweet treats. But instead of cookies or candy, try something a bit more whimsical with cotton candy stored in a takeout box. What a fun treat for guests of all ages!

    Photo by Jenny DeMarco Photography

    Fresh Fruit

    Give your favors a healthful touch by providing your guests with fresh fruit. From berries to pineapples, peaches to apples, think seasonal and local when it comes to picking your produce.

    Photo by Dear Darling Photography

    Want more great favor ideas? Follow our Favors Editor to see lots more wedding favor photos »

    0
  • Cookouts are the best part of summer, especially on the 4th of July with family and friends. Who doesn't love hot dogs, hamburgers, and fireworks? Bring that laid-back vibe to your rehearsal dinner. Here's how to do it: 

    1. Big-Batch Chilled Beverages

    Photo by Katelyn James Photography

    Mix up big batchees of flavored water, lemonade, or sweet tea and let guests serve themselves! Use mason jars as glasses for an extra picnic-y feel. 

    2. Gingham & Sunflower Decor

    Photo by (from left to right) Chelsea Fuss and Nami Dadlani Photography

    Set your wooden banquet tables with checkered linens or napkins and use bright yellow sunflowers in your centerpieces. Here's our step-by-step guide to styling a summer table.

    3. Finger Foods

    Photo by Jose Villa

    Pass around bite-size burgers, BBQ sliders, pigs in a blanket, french fry shooters, and corn on the cob halves as appetizers. 

    4. Strawberry Shortcake

    Photo by Chelsea Fuss 

    We all scream for ice cream! As much as it would coof off guests, it would also quickly melt in the heat. Instead, try a strawberry shortcake. Light and sweet, it will leave guests feeling satisfied but not heavy. Here's a complete step-by-step receipe for creating the one pictured above. 

    5. Lawn Games

    Photo by Orange in Bloom

    Entertain your guests with lawn games such as cornhole, croquet, hula hoops, bocce ball, and badminton. 

    6. Outdoor Lounge

    Photo by Katelyn James Photography

    Countrify your backyard with an outdoor lounge of hay bales, quilts, and wooden barrels. 

    7. Bonfire Desserts

    Photo by MaryBeth Clouser Photography

    S'mores kits are an edible favor that your guests can enjoy while keeping warm by the fire. 

     

    10
  • 1. A Pair of Mums

    A cute pair of flowers is simply perfect for celebrating the pair of you! Oh, and mums the word on how cheap these invites are.

     

    2. Pastel Patterns

    A trend you can’t resist — mixed patterns! This distinctly patterned invite will also reflect your savvy style for a price that fits your budget. Find them here.

    3. Flair for Style

    Show your flair for style and your knack for scoring a good deal with these flourish wedding invitations featuring a bold element of design.

    4. Flowers and Flourishes

    A colorful floral sketch accented by faint flourishes creates a touch of whimsical charm on these inexpensive wedding invites.

    5. Love Springs

    You won’t have to spring much for these! An array of colorful flowers below two lovebirds becomes a trendy display of modern day romance. Find them here.

    6. Sultry Blooms

    Sultry blooms in rich colors bring an artistic quality of romance to these watercolor wedding invitations

    7. Typography on White

    Trendy typography looks amazing on this bright white wedding invitation- they’ll never know you paid so little for something so stylish!

    8. Simply Modern

    A unique look and vibrant colors all for an affordable price. 

     

    Shop for more invitations under $100 here

     

     

    5
  • Find out what's hot in wedding cakes this year; we've asked a few of our favorite cake designers to weigh in!    Geometric Patterns Cake by Erica OBrien    "Feminine geometrics, such as chevron, are still very popular," says Connecticut-based Erica OBrien. "I'm expecting to see a lot of arrows and hexagons this season."  Photo by Brooke Allison Photography       Metallics Cake by City Sweets & Confections    The gilded look is a favorite for both Deborah Lauren of City Sweets & Confections and Erica OBrien this year. "Gold is back, and stronger then ever," says OBrien.  Photo by CLY Creation       Hand-Painted Cake by Sweet & Saucy Shop    "Hand-painting is definitely a new trend right now," says Sweet & Saucy Shop's head pastry chef Melody Brandon. "It's a personal and a one-of-a-kind style that brides are falling in love with."  Photo by Melody Brandon       Staying True to Your Style Cake by Maggie Austin Cakes    Virginia baker Maggie Austin recently created this lovely confection for a friend's casual backyard wedding, and she loves that it perfectly reflects the couple's "understated and sophisticated style." Matching a cake to the personalities and priorities of her clients will be a big focus this year.  Photo by Maggie Austin     Multiple Cakes Cake by Layered Bake Shop    Brides booking cakes with Layered Bake Shop's Shannon Star have been moving away from the traditional single large wedding cake. Instead, they're opting for multiple smaller confections in a similar decor suite. "It allows for more creativity and personality," says Star.  Photo by N. Barrett Photography   Showpiece Cakes Cake by The Pastry Studio    According to owner Sherri Meyers, cakes have become a core component of reception decor. They are increasingly created to be equal parts delicious dessert and visual show-stopper. Designs are getting bigger and grander, and sometimes even include a fake tier or two to accommodate for ceiling height!  Photo by Sherri Meyers     Going Natural Cake by Enjoy Cupcakes    Honor a cake that's free of artificial dyes by allowing the natural state of its flavor to become the main decorative element. This year, Amber of Enjoy Cupcakes is all about making fluffy chocolate cakes look fluffy, drenching caramel desserts in drips of caramel, and providing texture to peanut butter cakes with chopped up peanuts.  Photo by Alex Creswell     Ombré Cake by Erica OBrien    Almost every baker we asked agreed— ombré is still at the forefront for 2013. "The shading lends itself so naturally to romantic designs," says OBrien of the style.  Photo by Devon Jarvis     Embossed Cake by City Sweets & Confections      City Sweets & Confections owner Deborah Lauren recently etched an intricate floral pattern on a wedding cake for a friend. "It was modern, and different from any cake I've ever done or seen."  Photo by Turnquist Photography     Classic White Elegance Cake by Mark Joseph Cakes    A white wedding cake never goes out of style, says Mark of Mark Joseph cakes. Couples turn to him for a modern, sophisticated take on the timeless aesthetic.  Photo by Mark Joseph     Textured Icing Cake by Betty Bakery    Cheryl Kleinman agrees with Mark Joseph—white will always be popular, especially for formal weddings. At her Betty Bakery, she and partner Ellen of Bijoux Deux Specialty Cakes keep the look from becoming boring by texturizing the outer layer of icing. Pleats (seen here) and confetti are two favorite styles.
    2
  •  

    DIY Project

    In this project, Mary Swenson extended the life of a pre-packaged paper flower centerpiece kit by turning the blooms into favors and centerpieces as well. Love it!
    View the Full Tutorial


     

    Ready-Made Bouquet

    Available at The Green Vase

    10 DIY and ready-made ways to bring paper flowers in to your wedding. 

    Want your wedding bouquet to last longer than a season? Consider investing in a beautiful paper alternative from The Green Vase ($325). This multi-talented NY-based floral design shop also offers single paper blooms, cake toppers, and cake decorating kits.

     

    Etsy Shop

    Available at Frances & Francis 



    We love the idea of topping a reception table with a single romantic stem in a vintage glass bottle—and then repurposing the centerpiece as bookshelf decor in your new home! These romantic blooms from Frances & Francis ($14 to $60) are perfect for that.

     

    West Elm

    West Elm Paper Flower Shop 



    Several national chains are hopping on the paper flower trend. For example: Furniture store West Elm, which offers several pretty pre-made sets ($7.99 to $36).

     

    Etsy Shop

    Available at House That Lars Built 



    Handcrafted in Copenhagen, these gold-stemmed paper roses ($14 each) will look beautiful gathered in a vase or laid upon individual place settings. Designer Brittany Watson Jespen also creates jumbo-sized versions of these blooms, as well as paper flower hats—email her for custom projects!

     

    DIY Project

    Crepe Paper Flower Bouquet DIY 



    You won't believe how easy (and inexpensive!) it is to whip up these colorful crepe flowers—it takes just three simple steps.

     

    DIY Kit

    Available at Paper Source 



    Looking for a little guidance while you construct your paper blooms? Consider a pre-packaged kits from The Paper Source your new best friend ($10.95 - $19.95).

     

    The Crafting Book

    Paper to Petal, Available at Barnes & Noble 



    Husband and wife duo Rebecca Thuss and Patrick Farrell are very good at what they do (which includes photography, design, and, yes, plenty of paper crafts). Releasing late this August, their new book ($16.29) will show you how to make 75 paper blooms yourself. With a forward authored by Martha Stewart herself, it's clear the couple knows what they're doing.

     

    The Perfect Prop

    Large Paper Rose, Available at BHLDN 



    This extra-large paper rose ($68) is almost five feet tall! At that size, it's the perfect addition to any wedding photo booth. It's also, as the website suggests, a whimsical alternative to a basket of petals for the flower girl.

     

    DIY Project

    Paper Posy Escort Cards 



    Easy-to-make crepe flowers will add a joyful touch of color to any spring wedding! This tutorial offers step-by-step instructions for making these cheerful escort cards out of streamer ribbon. It's a great way to save money on a fun but lower priority item on your decor list.

     

    More Inspiration

    See the Full Wedding 



    If you're still on the fence about paper flower decor, you have to check out Liz and Josh's color-infused Minnesota wedding. They created some of the most unique centerpieces we've ever seen!

     

    Idea By: Sarah Zlotnick

    7
  • This inexpensive material is more versatile than you think. 

    By: Sarah Zlotnick 

    1. Ring Pillow

    A simple, rustic way for the ring bearer to present the rings. View this rustic country wedding. 

    2. Centerpiece Cover 

    Save on renting vases and other flower vessels by using old tins and covering them in burlap instead. View this yellow garden wedding. 

    3. Silverware Holder 

    A simple burlap packet holds the silverware for Heather and David's charming Annapolis nuptials.

    4.  Bouquet Wrap 

    A strip of sturdy burlap will hold all your flowers in place—and look sweet while doing it! View this rustic whimsical California wedding. 

    5. Favor Bags 

    You could hide any kind of sweet treat in one of these adorable burlap sacks. View this fun fall wedding. 

    6. Bunting 

    We love this simple wedding sign. View this Texas ranch wedding. 

    7. Candle Accent 

    A mossy green candle collection gets a little texture from a simple burlap wrap. View this country chic wedding. 

    8. Table Number 

    Such a sweetly country table marker. Burlap wine bag table numbers, $150 for 10 at Lil Missi Etsy Shop. 

    9. Table Runner 

    Thinking about using a burlap table runner? Be sure to strech and distress the fabric a bit before you lay it down. This creates dimension by allowing some of your tablecloth color to peek through. It also gives the fabric a little more grip. 

    You Might Also Like: 9 Wine Wedding Decor Ideas

    17
  • Photo by Sandals

    When you have guests flying in from coast to coast for your destination wedding weekend, it's important to keep them occupied during their stay. Get the most out of your location by gathering guests together for some of these fun -- but optimal -- activities: 

    Zip lining Parasailing  Snorkeling/scuba diving  Boating  Visiting a museum, historic site, botanical garden or local tourist attraction Golfing Spa treatments Safari ride  Surfing  Biking 

     

    0
  • Photo: Troy Grover Photographers

    Of course, you want your wedding cake to not only taste delicious but also look delicious without breaking the bank. Am I right? Before you order, consider these myths to make your experience just as sweet: 

    1. Buttercream is less expensive than fondant. This statement may be true, but most cake bakers prefer to decorate with fondant instead of buttercream. Therefore, there might be an extra fee for that rich, buttery flavor. 

    2. Order fake tiers in order to serve sheet cakes. A fake tier would be a decorated piece of styrofoam or rice krispies treats. Sheet cakes would then supplement the fake tiers. In reality, the cake baker is actually doing the same (or more) amount of work it would take to make a real tier. 

    3. Decorate with fresh florals not sugar flowers. Fresh florals can make your guests sick. Why? Because, unless organically grown, florals are often times sprayed with pesticides and not properly sanitized. 

    4. Make your own wedding cake. They're expensive to buy and make. Consider all the ingredients, tools, equipment, and time! It's too labor-extensive. 

    5. Choose a flavor that your guests will like. Choose a flavor that YOU want for one tier (like lemon) and then choose a mainstream flavor (like vanilla, chocolate, or red velvet) for the remaining two tiers. 

    6. Save the top of your wedding cake for your first anniversary. Tradition is out, so you think. You can still save the cake, but often times cake bakers also give a free mini cake. 

     
    0

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