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Can't decide on your cake style? Then mini cakes may be the perfect solution for you.
Let's start with a true mini! We love this individual cake, one for each and every guest. This is preferable if you are having a smaller wedding, naturally!
White fondant and yellow frosting complete this simple yet sophisticated look.
For the love of polka dots! Why not place a cake on each table as a centerpiece?!
Sticking with a simple color palette, like yellow and white used here, keeps your dessert table looking clean and fresh. Opt for simple flowers, like these yellow rosebuds, as your cake topper.
The grand master of the mini cake display!
Another wonderful thing about a variety of cakes - all of the different flavors you can choose!
Photos by: i am baker
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.
Not sure which wedding style you want? If you’re searching for a venue filled with charm — garden , vineyard, library, or historic home — our Style Editor’s ultimate romantic wedding guide is just for you:
From the Stationery Editor – Choose a modern invitation suite with fun graphics (like Andie and Andrew’s orJennifer and Jamie’s).
Photo: Jeff Loves Jessica
From the Fashion Editor - Flutter sleeves and delicate beading are just two of the dress details we love for romantic brides. Check out our top 10 romantic wedding dresses from Spring 2014 list!
Photos (from left to right): Jenny Packham and Sarah Janks
From the Beauty Editor - Equal parts ethereal and whimsical, a floral wreath is a must-have accessory for a romantic garden ceremony.
Photos (from left to right): Jen Huang Photography and Ryan Ray Photography
From the Jewelry Editor - Does it get any more lovely than this heart-shaped engagement ring?
Photo: The Bird and The Bear
From the Favors Editor - Boxed up or on a platter, pink macarons are a sweet send-off for guests.
Photo: Meg Perotti Photography
From the Flowers Editor - Go for loose arrangements of fluffy pastel blooms and cascading greens in your bouquets and centerpieces.
Photos (from left to right): Caroline Joy and Jessica Burke
From the Decor Editor - A delicate bloom tied with a pretty bow makes a perfect place setting accent. And, of course, there’s nothing more romantic than soft candlelight.
Photos (from left to right): Caroline Joy and Absolutely Events
From the Cakes Editor – Adorn your buttercream wedding cake with florals: garden roses, peonies, or dusty millers. See more floral wedding cakes here.
Photos (from left to right): Sweet and Saucy Shop
After you've found your cake baker, it's time to get down to business with deciding on a shape. Don't know how to choose? That's okay, here's a list of the most common:
Photo: Shelly Kroeger Photography
Round - Some may think that it's too traditional for their liking, but it's actually the perfect (plain) shape for adding textured, swirled, or sculpted frosting.
Photo: Sweet & Saucy Shop
Square - This is the modern alternative to a round shape because it's different yet still not over-the-top. Tip: Add a geometric or chevron pattern.
Photo: Dewey's Bakery
Octagon - An eight-sided wonder that will draw attention to your dessert display even without decorations.
Photo: Three Little Blackbirds
Petal - Referred to as the "scalloped" option because of it's resemblence of a flower, this is a must-have for garden wedding.
Photo: Vanilla Bake Shop
Multi-Shape - A combination of round, square, and octagon. It can even be topsy turvy too!
Celebrating your wedding day without a family member or friend who has passed on can feel bittersweet, but there are several ways to make sure his or her presence is felt throughout the day. Here are a few ideas.
Include His or Her Photo in Your Bouquet
A locket or pendant featuring a photo of a loved one can make a unique and lovely addition to your floral arrangement.
Photo by Clary Pfeiffer Photography
Carry an Heirloom
Whether it’s a handkerchief or a religious element like a rosary or Bible, you can carry a special possession that belonged to your late family member or friend as you walk down the aisle.
Photos by Erin Leigh and onelove photography
Heirloom rings provide a memory that you’ll wear every day.
Photo by Emily Alt Photography
Wear Jewelry and Accessories
From necklaces to brooches, veils to hair combs, there are lots of ways to incorporate heirloom accessories into your wedding-day look.
Photo by J. Masciana Photography
Add a Note to the Programs
Honor loved ones by including their names and a special message in your ceremony programs.
Photo by Crystal Satriano Photography
Save a Seat
Reserve a seat at the ceremony and place your family member or friend’s favorite flower on the chair as you walk down the aisle.
Photo by Caroline + Ben Photography
Play Special Music
Whether it’s walking down the aisle to his or her favorite song or playing a beloved tune during the reception, appropriate music can be a subtle but poignant reminder of your family member or friend.
Photo by The Nichols
Share photos of your loved ones (perhaps alongside candles) during the reception.
Photo by Arte de Vie
Make a Donation
In lieu of or in addition to favors, you may wish to make a donation to a cause that was meaningful to your family member or friend.
Photo by Kate Harrison Photography
Add Vintage Décor
If appropriate, you can utilize your loved ones’ favorite items in your wedding reception décor. We love how this bride used her grandfather’s film projector, among other items.
Photo by Marie Skerl Photography
Share a Favorite Hobby or Activity
If you and your grandmother loved to bake cookies together, why not serve her famous recipe as favors? Another idea from a real wedding: This bride shared her late father’s favorite cigars with her guests.
Photo by Michael Moss
Looking for more sentimental touches to add to your wedding day? Check out this inspiration board full of great ideas!
A few simple steps to do it up right (expert advice)
photo by Purple Peony Couture
By Lisa Butterworth for our sponsor, Etsy Weddings
What do you do when one of your best friends gets engaged? If you’re like me, beyond the excited squeals and enthusiastic hugging — you have no idea.
I met my friend Jeanette when we were five years old. Five! And when one of your best friends gets engaged — as Jeanette recently did — it's time to celebrate her. Here’s a helpful breakdown of the party-planning process — so when it comes time to throw your best girl a bridal shower, you can honor her in style.
Photo & Invite Design by Erin Mowry
1. Pick Invites
We’re going the simple, eco-friendly route and sending email invites through PaperlessPost.com, but there are a ton of adorable, tangible shower invite designs on Etsy, as well as download-and-print options.
Clockwise from top left: Light shower invitation by Youngwanderlust; Hydrangea invitation by Digibuddhapaperie; Whimsy invitation by Yellowbrickgraphics; Love is sweet invitation by Pinkcreativeinvites; Coed shower invitations by Cadencepaige; I Do couples shower invitations by Minkcards. See more shower invites...
This is where a theme comes in handy. If you have a specific vibe, you can decorate accordingly. If your party doesn’t have a theme, pick a color scheme to bring it all together. A few areas you’ll want to decorate: serving buffet, bar area, gift table, activities area, table for favors. Don't forget about centerpieces, string lights, hanging decorations, banners, and food markers for added flair.
Clockwise from top left: Poppy hanging flowers by Whimsypie; Engagement ring cookies by Peapodsnyc; Bride-to-be banner by Fancyflamingo; Mossy pot place cards by Fairyfolk; Corset cookies by Pastrytartbakery; Mr. and Mrs. chair banner by Purplepeonycouture; Candy heart tree by Astylishdesign; Something blue wedding cake cookies by Lindasedibleart. Browse more décor...
3. Plan a Menu
Plan your menu according to the theme of your party or the time of day. If you’re intimidated by all that kitchen prep, make the shower a potluck and have everyone bring copies of their dish’s recipe (here are a couple of adorable, (1) free downloadable (2) recipe cards for such an occasion).
Photo by Erin Mowry
4. Snag Fun Favors
It’s the hostess’s job to send all the party-goers home with a little favor. To go with our beachy, West Coast theme, we’re making friendship bracelets for all of the ladies. Make sure your favor is small but meaningful and tie it in with the theme of your party as best you can.
Clockwise from top left: Personalized seed bomb favors by Visualingual; Pinwheels by Pickledparlor; Personalized honey jar labels by Elsiej; Succulent favors by Tobieanne; Personalized photo sleeve by Myonesweetdaydotcom; Unicorn farts lip balm by Longwintersoapco; Gin and tonic soap by Aromaholic. Shop for favors on etsy...
5. Shower Her with Gifts
The bride-to-be is almost certainly registered with at least one department store, but often it’s more fun to shop off-list, especially for a shower present. Kitchenware and home décor are excellent go-to gift genres, but a sassy piece of lingerie will always be welcome, too.
Clockwise from top left: Bride panties from Bridalbooties; Chill pill soap by Kcsoapsnmore; Vintage clock from Ethanollie; A Guineafowl Gathering painting by Unitedthread; Ceramic salad bowls by Blueskypotteryco; Dry rub spice trio from Craigsmarket; Customized rubber stamp by Housethatlarsbuilt; Personalized wood initials ring by Braggingbags; Vintage ceramic teapot from Hindsvik; Wood ampersand by Hindsvik. See more gift ideas for the bride-to-be...
Whew! That’s a lot of steps. The most important thing to keep in mind is to create an environment that will allow your guests to have fun, even if the cupcake frosting isn’t perfect or the décor doesn’t totally come together. As long as it’s memorable, and the guest of honor feels loved, you’ve done an amazing job.
Lisa Butterworth is a writer and editor soaking up the eternal sunshine in Los Angeles. When she's not on the hunt for the latest and greatest in girl culture as the West Coast editor of BUST magazine, she's flea marketing, taco trucking, and generally raising a ruckus.
Photos (clockwise from top left): Shaun & Skyla Walton, Taylor Lord Photography, Danyelle Matthews, Katelyn James Photography, Sweet & Saucy Shop, Katelyn James Photography, and Alixann Loosle
Need inspiration for a spring wedding? A few of our editors share their favorites below:
From the Stationery Editor – Ask each guest to leave their fingerprint on a framed drawing of a family tree. Check out more guestbooks here.
From the Fashion Editor – Accessorize your lace wedding gown with a statement necklace and pair of romantic, petal peep-toe platform sandals. Ask each bridesmaid to wear a different shade of pastel: blush, sage, lavender, or creamsicle.
From the Flowers Editor – Bouquets of peonies, ranunculuses, sweat peas, delphiniums, orchids, and tulips are a must-have. Check out these spring centerpieces we love.
From the Cakes Editor – Place a garden-inspired cake topper on top of your wedding cake. Examples: birds, bird’s nest, robin’s eggs, birdcage, etc. Check out more cake toppers here.
From the Favors Editor – Send each guest home with a bag of seeds to plant and watch love grow or follow these DIY steps to make your own seed bomb favors.
Photo: White Loft Studio
1. Place the cake in a central location. Make sure guests have a front row. They don't want to miss the action in case your significant other decides to smush it in your face.
2. Have your DJ announce it. If you're having a buffet or plated dinner, cutting the cake follows shortly after. Don't forget to pick a song! Then, the toasting begins.
3. Cut the cake together. The groom's right hand gently holds the bride's right hand as you cut into the bottom layer.
4. Designate someone on the catering staff to serve slices to guests. This should be covered in your catering costs.
5. But your parents come first. Traditionally, the bride serves the groom's parents, and the groom serves the bride's parents.
6. Personalize cake utensils. The slice you cut together should be eaten in style with "I do" and "Me too" or "Bride" and "Groom" forks.
Sharing information and requests with your guests with some pretty signage has become commonplace at weddings these days. But we love when couples take a whimsical and sometimes cheeky twist by using some poetry skills. Rhyming phases are not only cute, but they also stick in guests’ memories! Here are a few favorite examples:
At the Ceremony
Encourage your guests to sit wherever they like with a sign that reads: “Family and friends of the bride and groom, sit together, there’s plenty of room!”
Photo by Kim Schepperley Photography
On the Guest Book Table
A sweet and creative poem will delight your guests as they sign your guest book, and give them a little something to read if there’s a wait.
Photo by Arte de Vie
At the Bar
If you’re giving your guests glasses to keep with them for the entire night, let them know with a rhyming sign!
Photo by Kim Schepperley Photography
On the Escort Card Table
A little rhyme to make your guests smile as they look for their escort cards and table assignments
Photo by Jason Burns Photography
On Your Favors
Your wedding favor packaging is a great opportunity to include a little rhyme – and its even better when you can use your names for an added personal touch.
Photo by Danny K Photography
Check out this board for even more wedding sign ideas »
They brought you into the world, now show them you care with these creative ways to say thank you! (expert advice)
photo by: Gifts for the Good Life
Your parents have played a very big role in making your wedding spectacular. Not only did they raise you into the beautiful bride-to-be that you are, they've stood beside you through all your planning stress, offered their suggestions, and they may be funding the affair. Your parents, and your fiancé's, definitely deserve a huge thank you. Set a Budget I don't have to tell you that weddings are expensive - I'm sure you're learning that! It's important to include gift giving in your original wedding budget. There are no rules specifying an amount you should spend on gifts for your parents, but it's best to spend the same amount on both sets and to choose gifts that are somewhat similar. Some couples decide to give their parents a gift for the two of them while others select 2 separate gifts for mom and dad. Thank You Gifts for Two Giving your parents a thank you gift to enjoy together can be very meaningful and can also allow you to spend a little more on each gift. Depending on your budget, consider: Travel. Cruise tickets, hotel reservations for the weekend, or a romantic retreat to a local resort are all possible gift ideas. An evening out. Whether it's a gift card for a favorite restaurant, tickets to a show or a complete night of pampering including the limo, your parents deserve a night out to unwind after the wedding. Gift baskets. Wine baskets, gourmet food collections, or personalized his and her gift sets are terrific ways to say thank you and can fit into most any budget. Something personal. Creative gifts often hold the most meaning. Consider making a personalized video or slideshow for each set of parents, presenting them with a family photo calendar, or framing your favorite wedding pictures for a sentimental touch. Digital photo frames with a personal message are big hits with parents. For Him, For Her You may decide to honor your mom and dad with individual gifts rather than a joint thank you. If you've set a large budget, you could even do both! Ideas for dads: Personalized cufflinks to wear on the wedding day. Gift certificate to a favorite store. Wine and cheese assortment. Personalized golf accessories. Pens, intriguing paperweights, monogrammed money clips or key chains. Mothers may enjoy: Spa certificates. Earrings or a necklace for the wedding day. Bath soaps, candles, and fragrances in an elegant gift basket. Personalized photo albums, frames, or a jewelry box. Charm bracelet or necklace with a family theme. Consider your parents' interests and you'll be sure to choose thank you gifts that your parents appreciate and remember for years to come - whatever your budget.