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Planning Wedding Ideas

  • By: Sarah Zlotnick 

    From early love lessons to SAT prep, moms teach us a lot. They're by our sides through thick and thin, and, with any luck, have been the major helping hand in many of life's biggest moments. Sometimes it seems near impossible to pay Mom back for all her love and support, but hey—she is your mom. And because she's your mom, we guarantee she'll go all misty-eyed from even the smallest of gestures. Which is precisely why we're using this Mother's Day to brainstorm thoughtful ways to show some appreciation for the lady at your wedding. Our favorite ideas (besides wearing her wedding dress, of course) follow below—let us know what you'll be doing in the comments!  

    1. Have her walk you down the aisle!
    Don't think you need to find a male replacement for that moment if Dad's no longer in your life. In one of our favorite features on our blog One Lovely Day, Silka was escorted by her mother, and we have never seen a woman look more proud. Another idea: give one arm to Dad, one arm to Mom, and have both parents walk you down the aisle. |
    2. Give her a flower before the altar. Dad still doing the giving away? Take a moment before you step onto the altar to give your mother a flower from your bouquet. Purposefully singling her out right before you say your vows will show her (and everyone in attendance) how crucial her support has been in getting you there. The gesture will become even more special if you tuck one of her favorite blooms into your bouquet and present her with that.   3. Set aside a space dedicated to her memory. This beautiful idea comes from one of our Twitter followers (@MsMakeItRain29): If your mother has since passed, place a framed photo of her and her favorite flowers on the chair where she would have sat.   4. Include Mom in the getting ready fun. Book her a seat next to yours while you and your bridesmaids are getting your hair and makeup done. Involving her in this girls-only tradition will let her know know that you see her as a friend and confidant, which is the ultimate compliment.   5. Incorporate her wedding wear into your ceremony. In her New Jersey wedding, Marisa draped a dear late aunt's veil over her chuppah. We think this is an excellent compromise if you'd prefer to keep your bridal ensemble to yourself, but still want to show mom some respect for her marital history.   6. Recreate a moment from her wedding day. Sort through Mom's wedding pics and select a photo you find particularly striking (bonus points if it includes her parents). Suprise her by bringing the shot to your wedding and recreating the pose with your photographer—we guarantee she'll be touched by the gesture.     Photo by Briana Marie Photography
     
    12
  • 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

     

    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
  • 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

    2
  • 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! 

     

    2
  • 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

    Special Rings
    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

    Display Photos
    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!

    0
  • 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... 

     

    2. Decorate

    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.

     

    3
  • 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.

    5
  • 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. 

     

    1
  • Inspiration from your wedding can come from anywhere – even from your favorite film! If there’s a movie that you and your future spouse watch all the time, think of ways that you can incorporate it into your wedding day. Even the most unexpected touches can be lots of fun. Check out these ideas from Project Wedding real weddings:

    Ceremony Music

    Ashley walked down the aisle to “Young and Beautiful” by Lana Del Ray, the theme song to the 2013 The Great Gatsby movie. See more of Ashley and Devin’s California wedding here »


    Photo by Rebecca Yale Portraits

    Bridesmaid Style

    "Ever since I saw the Sex & the City movie, I knew that I wanted black bridesmaid dresses with bright fuschia flowers," says bride Lauren. See more of Lauren and Mike’s Michigan wedding here »


    Photo by Calynn Berry

     

    Cake Topper
    Juliet and Stuart love the movie Fantastic Mr. Fox, so Stuart created a fox cake topper! See more of Juliet and Stuart’s Utah wedding here »


    Photo by Meg Ruth Photo

     

    Signage

    Use cute signs to display your favorite movie quotes throughout your ceremony. Clare and Bryce featured a quote from The Princess Bride, while Courtney and Cory showcased their favorite quotes from Doctor Who.  


    Photos (left to right) by Dan and Melissa Photography and Catie Bartlett Photography  

     

    Screening
    Jen and James projected Jen’s favorite Fred Astaire film, Top Hat, on a screen during their reception. See more of Jen and James’s New York wedding here »


    Photo by Robert Sukrachand Photography

    Be sure to follow our Décor Editor for even more creative wedding ideas »

    0
  • By: Sarah Zlotnick 

    From early love lessons to SAT prep, moms teach us a lot. They're by our sides through thick and thin, and, with any luck, have been the major helping hand in many of life's biggest moments. Sometimes it seems near impossible to pay Mom back for all her love and support, but hey—she is your mom. And because she's your mom, we guarantee she'll go all misty-eyed from even the smallest of gestures. Which is precisely why we're using this Mother's Day to brainstorm thoughtful ways to show some appreciation for the lady at your wedding. Our favorite ideas (besides wearing her wedding dress, of course) follow below—let us know what you'll be doing in the comments!  

    1. Have her walk you down the aisle!
    Don't think you need to find a male replacement for that moment if Dad's no longer in your life. In one of our favorite features on our blog One Lovely Day, Silka was escorted by her mother, and we have never seen a woman look more proud. Another idea: give one arm to Dad, one arm to Mom, and have both parents walk you down the aisle. |
    2. Give her a flower before the altar. Dad still doing the giving away? Take a moment before you step onto the altar to give your mother a flower from your bouquet. Purposefully singling her out right before you say your vows will show her (and everyone in attendance) how crucial her support has been in getting you there. The gesture will become even more special if you tuck one of her favorite blooms into your bouquet and present her with that.   3. Set aside a space dedicated to her memory. This beautiful idea comes from one of our Twitter followers (@MsMakeItRain29): If your mother has since passed, place a framed photo of her and her favorite flowers on the chair where she would have sat.   4. Include Mom in the getting ready fun. Book her a seat next to yours while you and your bridesmaids are getting your hair and makeup done. Involving her in this girls-only tradition will let her know know that you see her as a friend and confidant, which is the ultimate compliment.   5. Incorporate her wedding wear into your ceremony. In her New Jersey wedding, Marisa draped a dear late aunt's veil over her chuppah. We think this is an excellent compromise if you'd prefer to keep your bridal ensemble to yourself, but still want to show mom some respect for her marital history.   6. Recreate a moment from her wedding day. Sort through Mom's wedding pics and select a photo you find particularly striking (bonus points if it includes her parents). Suprise her by bringing the shot to your wedding and recreating the pose with your photographer—we guarantee she'll be touched by the gesture.     Photo by Briana Marie Photography
     
    12
  • 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

     

    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
  • 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

    2
  • 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! 

     

    2
  • 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

    Special Rings
    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

    Display Photos
    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!

    0
  • 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... 

     

    2. Decorate

    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.

     

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  • 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.

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  • 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. 

     

    1
  • Inspiration from your wedding can come from anywhere – even from your favorite film! If there’s a movie that you and your future spouse watch all the time, think of ways that you can incorporate it into your wedding day. Even the most unexpected touches can be lots of fun. Check out these ideas from Project Wedding real weddings:

    Ceremony Music

    Ashley walked down the aisle to “Young and Beautiful” by Lana Del Ray, the theme song to the 2013 The Great Gatsby movie. See more of Ashley and Devin’s California wedding here »


    Photo by Rebecca Yale Portraits

    Bridesmaid Style

    "Ever since I saw the Sex & the City movie, I knew that I wanted black bridesmaid dresses with bright fuschia flowers," says bride Lauren. See more of Lauren and Mike’s Michigan wedding here »


    Photo by Calynn Berry

     

    Cake Topper
    Juliet and Stuart love the movie Fantastic Mr. Fox, so Stuart created a fox cake topper! See more of Juliet and Stuart’s Utah wedding here »


    Photo by Meg Ruth Photo

     

    Signage

    Use cute signs to display your favorite movie quotes throughout your ceremony. Clare and Bryce featured a quote from The Princess Bride, while Courtney and Cory showcased their favorite quotes from Doctor Who.  


    Photos (left to right) by Dan and Melissa Photography and Catie Bartlett Photography  

     

    Screening
    Jen and James projected Jen’s favorite Fred Astaire film, Top Hat, on a screen during their reception. See more of Jen and James’s New York wedding here »


    Photo by Robert Sukrachand Photography

    Be sure to follow our Décor Editor for even more creative wedding ideas »

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