Create inspiration boards, share ideas with your friends and wedding vendors, get feedback from brides like you, and lots more!
Photos (clockwise from top left): Jessica Lorren Organic Photography, Jennifer Kloss Photography, White Loft Studio, Katie Osgood Photography, The Nichols, Sarah Hasstedt Photography
Need inspiration for a winter wedding? A few of our editors share their favorites below:
From the Fashion Editor – Accessorize your wedding gown with a fur bolero jacket and your bridesmaids’ dresses with pashmina shawls. Don’t forget a pair of red stiletto pumps.
From the Flowers Editor – Bouquets of evergreens, poinsettias, roses, amaryllis, and stephanotis are a must-have. Maybe hang some mistletoe too? Check out more winter bouquets here.
From the Decor Editor – Fill your centerpiece vases with holly berries and surround with candles to create ambiance.
From the Favors Editor – Warm chocolate chip cookies and a cold glass of milk, gingerbread cookies, sugar cookies, gumdrops, miniature pine trees, you’ll be making your guests spirits merry and bright.0
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.4
The engagement party is just the first of many more celebrations to come. Here are some unique ideas for your engagement party. (expert advice)
You've said 'yes' to that special man in your life and now it's time to celebrate your upcoming wedding with family and friends. This means you better start planning some sort of get-together or engagement party in order to spread the joyful news. Where do you start? First, you should come up with a suitable and available engagement party location, and possibly toss around a few ideas for an engagement party theme, which is perfect for couples who don’t want to trade traditional nuptials for a theme wedding.
Before You Get Started
Before you start brainstorming for the perfect location for your engagement party, you first need to iron out a few details, including:
• Budget: Your available budget will certainly dictate the location and other aspects of planning your engagement party. Remember – this is a party meant to announce your engagement and should in no way exceed the amount of money spent on your wedding ceremony or reception. Pinch pennies now so that you have more money to spend later.
• Guest List: The number of guests will also affect your engagement party plans, as you must find a space large enough to accommodate the people you invite.
• Party Theme: If you are centering this celebration on a particular theme, it's best to come to a final decision before browsing potential locations.
Unique Engagement Party Locations
When planning an engagement party, keep in mind that you don’t have to fall victim to the space restrictions and rules that apply to wedding locations. This means you can select sites that you'd love to have your wedding at, but just can't pull off in time or with your budget. So, this is the time to explore partying at a sports park, old movie theater, amusement park, or historic garden. Those who wish to splurge on their engagement party location may select sites that are typically reserved for weddings, which include country clubs, reception halls, and wineries. Other engagement party locations to consider, includes:
• Your favorite restaurant
• Parent's home
Unique Engagement Party Themes
Looking to celebrate your engagement in style, with a touch of humor, or absolutely off-the-wall? Consider planning an engagement party centered on a particular theme. Food, decorations, and fun activities usually mimic the theme of the evening, which may include:
• A hula bash with grass skirts and Pina Coladas by the beach
• A romantic affair with dreams of the Eiffel Tower
• Recreating important milestones in your life with your fiancé
• Ball and chain humor
• Costume ball focused on famous lovers
Photos by Perez Photography2
A Short Wedding Dress
Show off those legs! Bonnie stayed cool in a custom knee-length frock by Nina Dinh of Susan European Dressmaker for her Los Angeles wedding.
Related: 16 Short Wedding Dresses
Bright Bridesmaid Dresses
Sun-kissed skin looks best against bold colors, so let your girls stand out in saccharine shades. We love the bright orange and coral looks from Katie and Jacob's Menlo Park wedding.
Katie & Jacob's Colorful Summer Wedding
Mint Honey Favors
Place a vial of mint-infused honey at each place setting—the easy-to-make favor tastes yummy when drizzled on all sorts of desserts.
Mint Honey Favor DIY
Nothing brings us back to childhood summers quite like freezy pops. This nostalgia-inducing treat will be a big hit at any hot weather reception, guaranteed.
Tara & Harris's Crafty Summer Wedding
One of our favorite summer wedding hacks is also one of the easiest to create. Amy and Kenn attached popsicle sticks to their card stock ceremony programs, and voila! Instant fan for each guest, which was absolutely necessary for their hot Virgin Islands nuptials.
Amy & Kenn's Tropical Wedding
Picnic Rehearsal Dinner
Daisies and gingham are always appropriate additions to a picnic bench meal. See more tips for decorating a rehearsal dinner in the park in our full tutorial.
Summertime Picnic Decor Tutorial
Infused Water Table Numbers
Indoors or out, warm-weather weddings call for plenty of liquids for your guests. Keep everyone hydrated by placing bottles of flavor-infused water (we like mint, strawberry, and cucumber) at each table. They can also double as your table numbers!
View the Complete DIY
Floating floral arrangements are a great way to extend a decor theme into the parts of your reception venue that may be otherwise untouchable. We love the arrangements Petal Flower Design created for Lindsay and Luke's private residence wedding in Massachusetts.
Lindsay & Luke's Backyard Wedding
Miniature versions of this griller's favorite make the perfect passed appetizer for a summertime cocktail reception.
Zoe & John's Preppy Summer Wedding
A Drink Stand
Who doesn't love lemonade and sweet tea on a hot summer day? Set up a table exclusively dedicated to cold drinks, and designate someone to make sure the containers are always full. Everyone working up a sweat on the dance floor will be grateful!
More Drink Photos
Idea By: Sarah Zlotnick5
Start saving those bottles!
By: Sarah Zlotnick
1. As a table number
This DIY table marker from Tara and Harris's Virginia Winery wedding is super easy to make—simply print out colorful numbers and glue them on! Photo by Aaron Watson Photography.
2. As a table number holder
We'd recreate this sweet idea from Christie and David's winery wedding by cutting table numbers out of foam board and painting them. From there you could use chicken wire or glue to attach them to the wine bottle. Photo by Michelle Warren.
3. Use corks as escort card holders
Stole this idea from Paige and Zach's Austin wedding—Cut a slit down the long side of a cork, slice a section off the bottom, and voila! The perfect escort card holder for a vineyard wedding costs almsot nothing to make. Photo by Q Weddings.
4. Let it be the backdrop
Who needs to build a fancy photo backdrop when your reception is at a winery? We love the way Jen and Loreal threaded a string light through wine barrels—the effect is simple yet stunning. Photo by Andrew Pielage Photography.
5. As whimsical centerpieces
All it takes is some paint and a sponge to create these whimsical flower vases. Photos by Danyelle Matthews.
6. Create a cork monogram!
In her DIY winery wedding, Tara's uncle used hudreds of corks gathered from friends, family, local wine bars, and even Whole Foods to create a commemorative "M", which stands for the couple's shared last name and now sits in their new home. Talk about wedding decor that will last a lifetime—we love it! Photo by Aaron Watson Photography.
7. As unique window decor
We love the way Rachel and Craig covered each of these empty wine bottles in a special design. The collection looks especially charming with the hot Texas sun streaming through. Photo by Taylor Lord Photography.
8. As the wedding favor
Print custom wine labels that match your wedding decor and hand out the bottles as favors at the end of the night. Guests will remember the good times they had when they're drinking from them later on!
9. As Lighting
Fill empty wine bottles with bunched up string lights for a romantic effect. This Wit + Whistle DIY project teaches you how to do it safely. Photos by Amanda Wright.3
Photo by Jose Villa Photography
Including your pet in your wedding party has become a popular trend these days. Who doesn’t “ooh” and “aah” at the sight of a furry friend wagging its tail down the aisle? But before you decide to have man's (or woman's) best friend by your side, here are some thoughts to consider:
1. Is your pet well-behaved?
2. Does your venue allow pets?
3. Which part of the wedding day will your pet attend?
4. Are any of your guests allergic?
5. Who will be the handler?
6. What will your pet wear?0
Do you want your wedding exit to be as dramatic as your entrance? Don't bore your guests with the traditional throwing of the petals, instead try one of these stylish ideas:
Photo by Anabella Charles Photography
2. Getaway Car
Photo by Katelyn James Photography
Photo by 22 Photography
Photo by Tim Harman Photography
Photo by K & S Photo0
Once you have finally booked your venue, its time to pick your color scheme! You may think the colors are completely up to you; however, you should take into account the setting of your venue, the time of year your wedding is taking place and how formal or informal your ceremony and reception will be. Remember, not only do you want your color scheme to set the vibe for your wedding but also complement the venue. Here are our favorite color scheme combinations to inspire you:
Historic Home = Yellow + Gray
Photo by Onelove Photography
Garden = Mint + Blush
Photo by Stacey Windsor Photography
Ballroom = Ivory + White
Photo by Lane Dittoe
Beach = Navy Blue + Emerald
Photo by Katie Stoops Photography
Barn = Purple + Orange
Photo by Dave Richards Photography
Which color scheme did you choose? Let us know in the comments below! For more color scheme inspiration, browse our real wedding boards.3
Photo by Jackie Cooper Photography
Lots of questions swirl around what's OK and what's not when it comes to documenting a wedding via Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. While experts will disagree up and down the line about what's appropriate for guests, at the end of the day it's ultimately up to the bride and groom. If you're in favor of live documentation, here's a few helpful tips for making the most of it.
1. Pick a #hashtag.
Twitter, Instagram, and now Facebook all use phrases proceeded by the "#" sign to group designated thoughts together in a consecutive stream. Pick something easy to remember, such as #DZWedding or #SmithPartyof2, and stick with the same one for all events surrounding your wedding.
2. Share that hashtag with your guests—just don't do it too early.
Sending out Save-the-Dates and then actual invitations is very exciting, but these are not the places to share your wedding hashtag (leave those for the most pertinent information). It is fine, however, to share your hashtag on your wedding website as it gets closer to your actual ceremony. Guests will be logging on for last-minute gift registry, directions, and other information, and this will get them excited to share snaps and thoughts from the day when it actually arrives.
3. Consider your platforms.
Users generally have a larger following on Twitter, but those followers are more likely to be professional, personal interest, or internet-only connections. Facebook circles are generally smaller, but your photos will more likely be seen by people who may be hurt they were not invited to the wedding. Instagram is the most private of the platforms, with people mostly following real life friends. If you're concerned about privacy, you may want to (politely) request that guests refrain from posting on a particular platform.
4. Wedding weekend has arrived! Now's the time to remind everyone of your hashtag.
Have a bunch of guests staying at one hotel? Include your hashtag on any welcome notes you leave in their rooms. When it comes time for the actual wedding, instruct greeters and members of the wedding party to spread the word as guests arrive. You can also put include it at the top of your ceremony program.
5. But wait—do you really want phones out at the ceremony?
Think carefully about encouraging social media at your actual ceremony. Sure, it will be wonderful to see photos from the very moment you say 'I Do', but you also run the risk of amateur photographers accidentally blocking the shots of your professional ones. Having a night ceremony? There may be multiple flashes going off while you say your vows, which could be distracting. Guests are also more inclined to get sucked into their apps and/or accidentally leave alerts on, which could detract from what's happening between you and your spouse. At the end of the day, social media at your ceremony is entirely up to you, but this is one facet of the wedding that might work best when it's phone-free.
6. Your guests want to know what's allowed and what's not--and it's more than OK to tell them.
If you decide to allow social media at your ceremony, include any special rules or requests in a prominent place on your ceremony program, and ask greeters and family members to reiterate those rules as they say hello to guests. Don't worry about offending anyone too much--guests are more worried about doing something that may accidentally upset you! They'll be grateful for the clear guidelines.
7. Put up signs at the reception.
Create signs indicating your wedding hashtag and the platforms you're encouraging guests to use it on. Place those throughout the party space, perhaps with a few photobooth props by their sides (large sunglasses, mustache sticks, etc). This will encourage guests to take fun, memorable pictures of the night.
8. Collect the Memories!
Use storify to curate tweets and photos from the wedding in one place (you can also ask a friend or relative to do this). Printstagram takes Instagrams of the day out of phones and onto glossy hard stock, which will be perfect for displaying in your new home. Fleeting as it may be, social media can absolutely provide a more permanent reminder of this important occasion if you know how to work it.6
Photo by Anni Cee Photography
The “first look” – a pre-ceremony peek between the bride and groom, accompanied by a photo session – is a rapidly growing trend on the wedding scene. Whether to go with this option is a personal decision for each couple, with factors like superstition, tradition and logistics weighing on either side. While it’s not for everyone, most couples who went for it say they don’t regret it. For those on the fence, there are a few major benefits to consider. Here are our three top reasons to do a first look:
1. It’s an intimate moment
The first time a bride and groom see one another on their wedding day is a special moment many look forward to and cherish forever afterward. Seeing each other before the ceremony provides a unique opportunity for a couple to share the romantic, exciting and often emotional experience privately. And with a jam-packed itinerary ahead and the hundreds of friends, family members and strangers soon to gather around them, it’s likely to be the only alone time they’ll get on their big day. When the whirlwind is over, most couples say they’re glad they took the chance to enjoy a special, intimate moment with just the two of them.
2. It makes sense from a scheduling perspective
One of the biggest benefits of opting for a first look is there’s no need to squeeze a rushed photo shoot between the ceremony and reception. Capturing nice images of the bride and groom and their family members, bridesmaids and groomsmen in various combinations takes time, and cramming the process into a 15 minute time slot could mean a lesser quality result. Taking these photos beforehand gives the photographer ample time to get plenty of beautiful, creative shots. Everyone will be more relaxed (key to looking great in photos!), the ladies’ hair and makeup will be fresh, and the couple will be left with a much wider selection of portraits to choose from in the end. Plus, guests won’t be stuck in that awkward post-ceremony lull waiting around for the party to begin! Win, win.
3. It calms pre-ceremony nerves
Needless to say, experiencing any major life-changing moment before hundreds of eyes can be nerve-wracking. An overwhelming majority of couples who opted for a first look say that seeing their spouse-to-be before the ceremony had a dramatic calming effect. Going into the ceremony at ease and collected allows the bride and groom to be completely present in the moment and enjoy every second of it. After all, a wedding is meant to be enjoyed by everyone, especially the guests of honor!1