The Ultimate Bridesmaid Checklist: 3 Things The Bride Will Forget To Ask But Definitely Will Need

By Guest Blogger

Being asked to be a bridesmaid is a huge honor, regardless of whether you’re a friend, family member, old classmate, sorority sister, or co-worker of the bride-to-be. My sister recently became engaged, and while that news alone made it a great day when she told me, it became even more special when she asked me to be her maid of honor. So many emotions filled my mind, but love and joy were the two that rang the loudest. I wanted to do everything I could to help make my sister’s big day as special as possible, which is exactly what every MOH and bridesmaid should do. I’m not in it alone!

 

Plan with Boundaries

 

We all know that weddings, as beautiful as they can be, are a very hectic occasion to plan.There are so many tasks; choosing a coordinator, finding the perfect venue, deciding on the menu and entertainment for guests, the list goes on and on. As a bridesmaid, you’ll need to take as many of the menial tasks as possible off the shoulders of the bride, all while making sure to not intrude on the planning process. Remember that this is the day of the happy couple, not you.

Give the bride-to-be your thoughts, but make sure you cater them to her, not you. For instance, if she loves a specific film or color pattern, suggest that she incorporate that into her wedding theme. If she decides to pass on an idea, don’t take it personally. This is a memory that your loved one will have for the rest or her life–she wants it to be her way, and that’s okay. In fact, you should always reiterate that the day is hers, and she should do whatever she likes.

When choosing a gift for the bride-to-be, make sure that it’s personal, memorable, and thoughtful. As I was shopping around for the perfect gift for my sister, I landed on this RedEnvelope page with gift ideas that completely fit her personality. Websites like this allow you the option for personalization, which can go a long way toward making a gift memorable. At the same time, they can be used purely to generate ideas and as inspiration.

Make the Time

 

Everyone has a life and schedules that they follow. Even so, you need to make time to be at as many pre-nuptial events as you can. If the bride-to-be wants you to attend a wine or cake tasting, do it. She’s asking you to be there for these special moments, and you should make the time to do so. You can let her know your schedule, and ask that she plan around it, but let her know that you definitely want to be there for her. As the MOH, I wanted to be everywhere, all the time. That was impossible, but I attended as many pre-nuptial outings as I could. This alleviated some of the stress from my sister. She didn’t have to worry about looking at flowers, or finding the perfect dress alone; she knew that I would be there for her.

As a bridesmaid, you should always make time. You don’t have to put your life on hold, but make sure you clear some time for the bride-to-be.

 

 

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The Traditional Breakdown of Whose Family Pays for What

11Timeless-Mountain-Wedding-Larkspur-CO-Jessica-Christie-Photography-ceremony-bubbles

 

By Lauren Frankfort

 The line of who pays for what for weddings these days is definitely blurred. But, if you or your parents want to stick to tradition (or just want to know the way it used to go for reference) there are very strict delineations for who should pay for what. Here, our etiquette experts outline exactly who should front what bill, according to age-old customs. Please keep in mind, though, that this all depends on your particular financial and family situation.

Traditionally, the bride’s family foots majority of the bill. Of course, this rarely applies these days, but it’s interesting to note all of the costs that the bride and her family were once held responsible for. They include obvious things like the wedding dress and accessories and the bride’s gifts to her bridesmaid and groom. A lot of big-ticket items fall on that list too like the wedding planner or coordinator, invitations and all its corresponding stationery, majority of the flowers, total reception costs, all photography and videography expenses, the groom’s wedding ring, music for the church and the reception, any rentals, the bridesmaid’s luncheon, accommodation for all bridesmaids, and, lastly, all transportation needed for the big day. 

As for the groom and his family’s traditional expenses, they’re a bit less of a burden. Costs include the bride’s engagement ring and wedding rings, the groom’s attire, the groom’s gift to his groomsmen and if wants their attire too, his gift to the bride, all of the boutonnieres and corsage for appropriate wedding party and family members, the officiant’s fee plus accommodation and transportation if they need to travel to the wedding, the marriage license, rehearsal dinner costs, lodging for the groomsmen, and transportation and lodging for the groom’s family and groomsmen.

12 DIY Thanksgiving Centerpieces

mini pumpkin jar
Photo Credit: Midwest Living

Thanksgiving is right around the corner. After the turkey is picked out and the menu planned, the next step is often creating the perfect table settings.

A lot of time is spent eating, drinking and talking at the dinner table, so the experience should be enjoyable and aesthetically pleasing. Aside from the food, what makes a great Thanksgiving table is a beautiful, seasonally appropriate centerpiece. Here are a few ideas for DIY Thanksgiving centerpieces that create a cozy atmosphere for your guests.

1. Mini Pumpkin Bell Jar

For a quick and easy centerpiece in a pinch, grab a glass bell jar and a plate. Pile miniature pumpkins, gourds or pine cones on top of the plate and cover with the bell jar. Add some glitz by painting the pumpkins with metallic paint or dipping the pinecones in glitter.

Find the tutorial here.

 

harvestpiece

Photo Credit: Martha Stewart

2. Harvest Centerpiece

Thanksgiving is all about being thankful for what you have and sharing in a great meal or harvest.

Bring some of the traditional meaning of the harvest back to the table with this wheat centerpiece. Combine stalks of wheat and dried grasses with some floral tape and tie a lovely satin or jute ribbon around the bunch.

Find the tutorial here

 

burlapandtwine

Photo Credit: Love of Family and Home

3. Rustic Burlap and Twine Centerpiece

This centerpiece combines a lot of elements, but most of the items are cheap, free or recycled.

Create a tiered look by using glass jars of differing heights. Wrap with burlap and jute string.

You can stencil a monogram on the jute or attach a paper rose or leaf, which there are tutorials for. Just add some acorns and a mini pumpkin to complete the whole look.

Find the tutorial here.

 

logtealight

Photo Credit: Jenna Burger

4. Log Tealight Centerpiece

To create a high-end centerpiece for less, it’s always a good idea to scour your neighborhood for natural finds.

For this tea light holder, a cut log was rescued from curb pickup and holes were drilled with a 1.5” bit. Depending on the season, other natural elements can be added for more of a dressed up look.

Find the tutorial here.

 

winecorkpumpkin

Photo Credit: My Gourmet Connection

5. Wine Cork Pumpkin

All you wine drinkers out there will love this pumpkin centerpiece made from old corks.

Paint both ends of the corks orange and hot glue together in rows of varying lengths to create the shape of the pumpkin. Create leaves from felt and tie jute string or raffia ribbon for an on-the-vine appearance.

Find the tutorial here.

 

sugaredfruit

Photo Credit: Cake Events

6. Sugared Fruit Centerpiece

A classic still-life centerpiece straight from a master painting, sugared fruit is both beautiful and edible.

Assorted fruit, both cut and whole, are brushed with dissolved gelatin and sprinkled with superfine sugar. After standing at room temperature for 24 hours, the fruit is then arranged on a plate, cake stand, or other food display piece, adding edible or silk leaves if desired.

Find the tutorial here.

paintedacorntree

Photo Credit: Better Home and Garden

7. Painted Acorn Tree

Create some quick table art from the trees where you live.

Paint acorns in warm tones and attach yarn or string. Hang them from a jagged branch placed in a vase of a contrasting color. You could also ask your guests to write something they’re thankful for and hang their responses from the branch.

Find the tutorial here.

 

copperleafgourds

Photo Credit: Martha Stewart

8. Copper Leaf Gourds

Metallics are in this season and copper is a great choice for a country inspired setup.

Seasonal gourds are brushed with water-based glue to create a smooth surface. Then, copper leaf is draped around the gourd and smoothed over gently. Wear cotton gloves to avoid smudges on the copper surface.

Find the tutorial here.

fall floral vase

Photo Credit: Woman’s Day

9. Fall Floral Vases

Flowers are always a nice touch during a dinner party.

These vases are made from recycled tin and plastic cans, which are then covered with corn husks and decorative ribbons. Grab a bunch of seasonal blooms in warm fall tones and arrange within the cans. Arrange them along the table or cluster vases of different heights for a charming centerpiece.

Find the tutorial here.

 

cheeseandcharcuterie

Photo Credit: Food & Wine

10. Cheese and Charcuterie Board

Another edible centerpiece idea is a meticulously arranged cheese and charcuterie board.

Use garnishes and seasonal additions like dark leafy greens and roots, olives, pumpkin or pomegranate seeds and cranberries. Cheeses and meats of differing sizes, textures, and flavors are best used for palate variety and aesthetics. Display on wooden boards, bowls or baskets with crackers and crispy bread.

Find the tutorial here.

 

legumehurricanevase

Photo Credit: Hy Heart’s Desire

11. Layered Legume Hurricane

For a quick centerpiece using candles, try this layered legume hurricane idea.

Place a pillar candle (preferably apple pie or pumpkin scented) in a glass hurricane. Pour a layer of red or green dried lentils at the bottom.
Repeat with dried beans of varying colors or un-popped corn kernels. Tie a pretty ribbon around the hurricane for an extra bit of decoration or leave as is.

Find the tutorial here.

paintedpinecones

Photo Credit: Oh How Posh

12. Painted Pine Cones

Pine cones are classic holiday decorations that are free and easy to find.

For this centerpiece, grab a bunch of pine cones varying in size and dip them in paint. Jewel tones, whites, and metallics are all festive color ideas that will really pop on a Thanksgiving tabletop. Sit the pine cones on a wooden tray, in a bowl or in a glass hurricane for display.

Find the tutorial here

 

 

 

6 Party Chandelier Ideas

finals

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One of the easiest ways to make a memorable impact on an empty space is to fill the ceiling. A chandelier is the perfect solution to filling this space. For a wedding, surprise your guests with something large and in charge. Here are some ideas:

  1. Floral chandelier
  2. Pom pom chandelier
  3. Ribbon chandelier
  4. Paper tube chandelier
  5. Lace hoop chandelier
  6. Paper lantern chandelier

by Brittany Jepsen of The House that Lars Built

 

Christmas Wedding Ideas

Above all, the holiday spirit of togetherness magnifies what’s already supposed to be one of the happiest days of your life.

These amazing photos from real weddings submissions really speak for themselves. Enjoy—consider them a gift from us to you. Good luck to all of our holiday brides!

 

Photo Credit: Hoffer Photography

Bridal Looks

Dramatic lashes, scarlet lips, and a high neckline with just the right amount of skin (keyhole backs are on-trend): This bride pulls it all off effortlessly.

Photo Credit: Bethany Ann Photography

Float down the aisle in a gown with textured tiers that are light as snow.

Photo Credit: Jessica Svoboda Photography

A gilded gown with intricate embroidery is a regal choice for Christmastime brides.

Photo Credit: Sarah Crowder Photography

It’s hard to say what caught our attention first—the ruched bodice-embellished skirt combo or those unexpected pine cones! I call a tie.

Photo Credits (from left to right): Jason Kaczorowski Photography and Rachel Pearlman Photography

Put the finishing touch on your gown with a ribbon belt featuring clusters of crystals.

Photo Credit: Ashfall Mixed Media

Or, if you prefer a more understated look, consider this chic floral sash. The silver beads give it extra flair.

Photo Credit: Maria Angela Photography

Darling bows add a girlie touch to these red-hot heels. Display your accessories on a gold object to make them really pop in photos.

Photo Credits: Rachel Pearlman Photography

According to ancient folklore, the Druids regarded holly as a sacred plant and believed it had magical powers of protection. What better plant to include in your groom’s boutonniere?

Photo Credit: Bethany Ann Photography

Does your groom have a quirky sense of style? A patterned vest or tie helps him stand out from the groomsmen.

Photo Credits (from left to right): Bethany Ann Photography and Robin Nathan Photography

Personally, I’ve always thought that red bridesmaids dresses would be tough to pull off, but this photo converted me. The cherry shade looks ultra-flattering on all of the ‘maids skin tones.

Photo Credit: Bethany Ann Photography

Live in a warm climate all-year round? Consider a light, breathable fabric for all of your bridal party attire. The tucked-in hair flower is a carefree touch.

Photo Credit: Life’s Highlights

I can envision my feisty flower girl, Viviana, refusing to take off this dress (pictured at right) at the end of the night. Adorn the most adorable member of your bridal party with a floral sash or back-tied bow. A faux-fur bolero keeps them warm and toasty!

Photo Credits (from left to right): Hoffer Photography and Katie Stoops Photography

These little guys stole the show with their knee-high socks, suspenders, and a hat Grandpa would wear.

Photo Credit: Jason Kaczorowski Photography

If you prefer a darker color palette, add some holiday cheer with matching red pumps.

Photo Credit: Corlis Gray Photography

Cocktail-length bridesmaids dresses for Christmas? The glittering cuff and bold bouquets make it work.

Photo Credit: Rachel Pearlman Photography

If you’re blessed with a White Christmas where you live, blow some snow into the camera for a memorable photo, like this one! (Save the hijinks until after the ceremony, so that you don’t get any wet spots on your dress).

Photo Credit: Hoffer Photography

Midnight blue tuxes are made all the more dapper with plush scarves. We’re loving how easy it is to spot the groom.

Photo Credit: Hoffer Photography

Ceremony

One of the biggest perks of being a Christmas bride is that if you’re getting married in a church, it will already be decked out in all its splendor, so you don’t have to order as many flowers and other décor.

Photo Credit: Hoffer Photography

Photo Credit: Shoreshotz

Light up your walk down the aisle with festive pew decorations (alternate them on different rows to cut costs).

Photo Credit: VP Studios Photography

At this evening wedding, each bridal party attendant carried a pillar candle as they made their way towards the altar.

Photo Credit: Hoffer Photography

Buy hurricane candle holders in bulk and fill them with sparkling votives and crystals.

Photo Credit: Shoreshotz

Recreate this stunning backdrop with massive candles in different shapes and sizes.

Photo Credit: Bethany Ann Photography

Reception

This intricate and budget-friendly centerpiece is proof that you don’t need to go overboard with flowers to transform your reception space into a Christmas wonderland.

Photo Credits: Rachel Pearlman Photography

The garland-wrapped staircase makes a picturesque room even more breathtaking.

Photo Credit: Corlis Gray Photography

Display your invitation on a mantel, surrounded by thick garlands and ornaments. Next Christmas, you can display the photo of your invitation on that very same mantel, as a fun reminder of your wedding day.

Photo Credit: VP Studios Photography

Whether your Christmas style is more subtle (patterned snowflakes) or bold (green calligraphy and wax seals), there’s invitation options for everyone.

Photo Credits (from left to right): Shoreshotz and Sarah Crowder Photography

Rhinestone-encrusted roses and evergreen make this low-lying centerpiece a standout.

Photo Credit: Rachel Pearlman Photography

Give rustic pillars an upgrade by wrapping them in twinkling lights (ask your venue for permission first). A fleet of reindeer is a fun addition to any party. The ones shown below are whimsical without being too literal or over-the-top.

Photo Credits: Rachel Pearlman Photography

Make a dazzling first impression on your guests when they walk into your reception space. Stack gift-wrapped favors underneath a towering Christmas tree. Or, if you’re not planning on giving out favors, you can gift-wrap empty boxes to create the same scene.

Photo Credit: Corlis Gray Photography

Miniature snowflake frames guided guests to their tables.

Photo Credits: Rachel Pearlman Photography

Fun Details

Include your favorite holiday tunes in the music playlist for a rollicking good time. One New Year’s Eve bride we interviewed recently had her first dance to “Baby, It’s Cold Outside” by Zooey Deschanel and Leon Redbone.

Photo Credit: Corlis Gray Photography

Pinpoints of light make for an extra-memorable first dance.

Photo Credit: A Magic Moment

A snowflake placemat enhances the shine of your new wedding ring.

Photo Credit: Shoreshotz

If only rings grew from pine cones and trees…

Photo Credits (from left to right): Rachel Pearlman Photography and Kristen Hornberger Photography

Even the most reserved elderly relative won’t be able to resist cracking a smile in these holiday-themed getups. Rudolph ears, anyone?

Photo Credit: Hoffer Photography

Dash away, dash away, dash away all. If we can’t have Santa’s sleigh, then we’ll settle for a colorful trolley or bus to transport guests, instead.

Photo Credit: Corlis Gray Photography

Holiday Treats

When an all-white cake is illuminated with light, it’s easier to spot patterns and delicate details that might be missed in a darker setting.

Photo Credits: Shoreshotz

A five-tiered dessert masterpiece with its own VIP area isn’t in my budget. However, anyone can steal this trick and enhance their cake with a lush tablecloth—no six-figure digits required.

Photo Credit: Jaxon Photography

Make a basic cake look more ornate by placing it on a decorated crystal stand. You can rent the cake stands from a wedding rental shop, bakery, wedding coordinator, or website (check out RaisetheCake.com). Or, make it a fun DIY project and create your own with craft supplies and rhinestones.

Photo Credit: Corlis Gray Photography

Learn how to recreate a similar optical illusion here!

Photo Credit: Hoffer Photography

Photo Credit: Rachel Pearlman Photography

Which photo is your favorite? How are you celebrating Christmas with your loved ones this year?

10 Suprising Facts About Weddings

surprising-wedding-traditions

                                                                                                                Photo: Getty Images

By Jessica Hagy

The bouquet; the garter toss; that something blue pinned to your dress: Have you ever taken a second to consider the purpose of all of these deeply instilled wedding traditions? Probably not because you’re busy planning a wedding. But since we’re wedding fanatics that fall asleep dreaming of napkin rings and invite fonts, we took the liberty to dig around and find 10 fascinating facts about the wedding traditions we’ve all come to know.

1. Turns out it’s your “ring finger” for a reason. Engagement and wedding rings are worn on the fourth finger of the left hand because it was once thought that a vein in that finger led directly to the heart.

2. Queen Victoria is credited with starting the Western world’s white wedding dress trend in 1840 — before then, brides simply wore their best dress.

3. If your bridesmaids are less than thrilled about matching dresses, tell them they’re good luck! The tradition of matching maids dates back to Roman times, when people believed evil spirits would attend the wedding in attempt to curse the bride and groom (how rude). Bridesmaids were required to dress exactly like the bride in order to confuse the spirits and bring luck to the marriage.

4. On a similar note, brides traditionally wear veils because ancient Greeks and Romans believed they protected her from evil spirits.

5. The tradition of a bride wearing “something old, something new, something borrowed, something blue,” comes from an Old English rhyme. Something old represents continuity; something new offers optimism for the future; something borrowed symbolizes borrowed happiness; something blue stands for purity, love, and fidelity.

6. The tradition of a wedding cake comes from ancient Rome, where guests broke a loaf of bread over the bride’s head for fertility’s sake.

7. Ever wondered where the phrase “tying the knot” came from? In many cultures around the world — including Celtic, Hindu and Egyptian weddings — the hands of the bride and groom are literally tied together to demonstrate the couple’s commitment to each other and their new bond.

8. If you thought we were over the spirit thing, think again. According to tradition, the groom carries the bride across the threshold to valiantly protect her from evil spirits lurking below.

9. June weddings are not a new thing. The Roman goddess Juno rules over marriage and childbirth, hence the popularity of June weddings.

10. Honeymoons weren’t always so luxurious. Ancient Norse bridal couples went into hiding after the wedding, and a family member would bring them a cup of honey wine for 30 days — or one moon — which is how the term “honeymoon” originated.

How to make white pumpkin centerpieces

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An autumn wedding does not need to be associated only with orange, red, and brown. I found some lovely white pumpkins that can create the perfect vase for an all-white wedding. They are so easy to make that you’ll want to use them all year round.

Materials: white flowers of your choice, white pumpkins, knife, flower clippers

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Step 1: Like normal jack-o-lantern, cut a circle into the pumpkin. Don’t make it too small or too wide. Too small might look a bit funny with flowers in it, and too wide might make them fall out.

Step 2: I left all the seeds inside so it would be easier to stick the flowers in.

Step 3: Put some water into the pumpkin for the flowers.

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Step 4: Criss-cross the flowers so they hold their shape like above.

Step 5: Keep on criss-crossing until the pumpkin has a nice shape of flowers.

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Done! Aren’t they just the cutest?

Project and photography by Brittany Watson Jepsen of The House That Lars Built

Invitation Questions Answered

By Linda Boatman
Silver Shimmer Tiffany - Invitation

1.     Is a website a good place to post details about our wedding online?

  • Yes.  A wedding website is an excellent choice instead of e-mailing or mailing directions, time and locations for guests and it’s an accessible place to retrieve information without searching through mail.  There are wedding websites with great features, R.S.V.P. page, checklists, and gift trackers, to help you stay up to date.   

 2.   How far in advance should I request R.S.V.P.’s?

  • Three weeks before the wedding will allow you a larger window to review guests who have not responded and to get them to reply.  Remember, you need to get the final guest count to your caterer.  If you prefer to send invitees to your wedding website R.S.V.P. page this may produce fast replies.    

  3.   What’s the best way to get guests’ addresses?

  • The best way to collect addresses and telephone numbers is e-mail and it’s efficient.  Your wedding website can send an e-mail to friends requesting their home addresses.  Make sure you have the correct spelling of your guest’s full name for when you address the invitations.   

4.     Should I invite distant relatives?

  • If you have an elderly relative who provided you with a gift as a child every year, send them an invitation.  If you haven’t heard from cousins for many years, it’s very likely she won’t mind not receiving an invitation.  

5.     Should I invites significant others of single guests?

  • No is the legitimate answer.   However, someone who has a partner who means a great deal to your guest could end up with hurt feelings if they were not invited.  If it’s just a few friends with significant others, then including them would be thoughtful.  Especially if they are traveling to your wedding from out-of-town or you really like the girlfriend or boyfriend.   

6.      What is the proper etiquette for a formal invitation?

  • The parents of a bride getting married in a house of worship selects a 10 to 12 line traditional wedding invitation that reads:
    • Mr. and Mrs. James Steven Smith /request the honor of your presence/ at the marriage of their daughter/ Joyce Maria /to Mr. Robert  David O’Neal /Saturday, the Twenty –third of August, Two Thousand Fourteen/at Six o’clock/ St. George Church/11456 Middleline Avenue/Farmington Hills, Michigan
  • If you need additional etiquette advice for divorced or deceased parents, then rely on what your wedding planner or stationer use for guidance in Crane’s Wedding Blue Book. 

7.      How do I let guest know to leave their children at home?

  • The rule in wedding etiquette is if the names of children are not included on the invitation, then they’re not invited.  If you believe a family member or friend will bring their child with them, then kindly call them and let them know as much as you would love to include them, you can’t.

8.    How can I use my secondary B-list of guests?

  • Make sure all of your A-list guest are organized to review when your get the R.S.V.P.’s.  Mail out the A-list at least eight weeks before the wedding.  After two weeks have passed, add up the noes you’ve received and add 20 percent.  Using that number is how many B-list invitations you can send.  Mail out the B-list six weeks before the wedding date to ensure the time frame is met you will have less chance of offending B-listers.

 

 Invites tips

  •  Make sure you have the correct spelling for the ceremony, names, address, date and time are correct.
  • Hire a calligrapher to hand address your invites or someone with beautiful handwriting.  Don’t use stick on labels for your addresses.
  • Place gift registry or charitable-giving information on your website.  Also, family members can help spread the word.

Select from a complete line of

elegant wedding invitations,

shower, save the date and accessories

for your special day.

http://grandeleganceevents.carlsoncraft.com/index.jsp

 

wedding invitations photos by Carlson Craft