Blushing Belle: Wedding Themes

Weddings are extravagant displays that can be incredibly overwhelming and expensive--but most of the time, a lot of the details that people spend an irrational amount of time and money on are often forgotten. Selecting a theme for your wedding that tailors to you and your future spouse's life, personalities, interests, etc will make your wedding feel that much more personal, special, and memorable for everyone. It's also a way to flex your expertise, and revel in what you love with who you love! Consider some of these fun wedding themes that go beyond simple Pinterest boards and current trends

1. Movie Wedding

My fiancé and I are both aspiring screenwriters. We love movies and television so much that we spent a large chunk of change earning degrees in them. We spend almost every day with a script in our hands, or something on the TV. So we thought, why not make our wedding a movie? The Save the Dates are a script, the invitations are a movie poster, and the RSVP is a movie ticket. At the ceremony we will have a red carpet for the "premiere" as well as a step and repeat back drop for people to take pictures in front of to feel like they are a part of a real red carpet event. The wedding gifts are popcorn buckets with a "best wedding guest" Oscar inside, along with popcorn and movie candy. Each table is labeled by SCENE # and the place holders are casted with the guest name, and the accompanying actor that would play them in the movie that is our wedding. It was fun for the both of us to put details of our passion in our wedding because it's something that we will enjoy beyond the fact that it's our special day. Now we have made it ours by making it personal.




2. Holiday Wedding

Halloween, Christmas, New Years Eve, Valentine's Day,  or 4th of July have the obvious, and fun themes with endless potential. People are passionate about the most wonderful times of the year (I would have Christmas every day if it were socially acceptable). 
(pinterest)
(womangettingmarried)
(bridalguide)
(pinterest)
(pinterest)
(weddingthingz)
(pinterest)
(100layercake)
(insidewedding)
(pinterest)
(burnettsboards)

3. Masquerade Ball Wedding

If you have a flare for the extravagant, then this is a theme for you. Yes, it's pretty common amongst large parties and fundraisers, but you have the opportunity to make the night unforgettable. Designing masks for you, your spouse, the bridal and grooms parties, etc, it's all part of this vintage grand design that has a regal air to it. 
(newenglandfineliving)
(intimateweddings)

4. Pajama Party Wedding

Not that wedding dresses aren't beautiful, but sometimes people just would rather be in their PJs! If you find yourself among those that appreciate good snacks, gossip, slippers, and comfy attire, then a PJ party wedding theme is for you.
(brideboxweddingalbum)
(nataliefrank)

5. Literary Wedding

Words are important. If you and your spouse found love through books and the written word, then share that with your guests! Revel in the greatest romances, loving characters, in order to start this new chapter in your lives off write
(whitelovepetals)
(benessamy)
(deerpearlflowers)
(desibayatanphotography)
(etsy)
(tumblr)

6. Fairytale Wedding

Oh boy does this idea have plenty of variety to it. Whether you want to go classic fairytale with a big dress, fairy lights, and the glamorous ball theme or you want to go Disney Princess with it, the fairytale wedding is a classic, but forever personal theme.
(wedding-retouching) 
(pinterest)
(bodasywedding)
(neatorama)

7. Murder Mystery Wedding

Okay, I know how GAME OF THRONES-y that sounds, but hear me out. Everyone knows how weddings and receptions go down, why not throw a little game and mystery into it? At the reception, something goes terribly wrong and someone is murdered! The reception is a game of whodunnit and suspicion that will make the evening fun and memorable.
(nightofmystery)
(burnettsboards)
(thefaintinggoatpress)

8. Throwback Wedding

Whether you're throwing it back to the 20's, 50's, 60's, 70's, 80's or 90's a throwback themed wedding is a fun nostalgic way to celebrate the future. Not only can you incorporate fashion and pop culture from the selected time period, but also including personal items, photos and motifs from the time period that you and your family have.
(pinterest) 
(cakecentral)
(pinterest)
(womangettingmarried)

9. Around the World Wedding

Send out invitations that look like passports. When your guests arrive they will find that the tables are themed from places and cities all around the world. The food, music and decor is diverse and culturally deep from the places you have been or want to go. This is a perfect theme for a couple with a deep wanderlust.
(pinterest) 
(atrendywedding)
(dreamweddingandeventplanners)

10. Literally DIY Wedding

Okay, yes, you may include burlap and mason jars and paper flowers in this one, but the appeal in DIY is that you get to revel in your own success right? Why not allow your guests to feel the same way. Offer DIY opportunities at the tables, or at the reception. Like a build your own wedding favor, decoration, or little wedding gift for the couple. It's a fun activity to share with everyone, and it's a way to make your wedding personalized on a massive scale.
(elli)

HAPPY WEDDING SEASON!

Blushing Belle: The Wedding Web

So, you're getting married and you're probably super stoked but at the same time a bit confused, which is entirely understandable. I myself have never been married before, but I have known people that have gotten married, seen quite a few on TV shows and movies, and plenty of terrible Reality Television, can't forget those magazines that haven't been updated since 2007 at the hair salon!...but I still wouldn't honestly know the first thing to do about a wedding--not because I'm clueless, but because there is SO MUCH that goes into this special day. So...here's a few awesome websites to help you make your dream wedding a reality!

Say Yes to That Dress:
(inspirationluv.com)
Shop for traditional and designer wedding dresses here, here, here, here and here

Shop for "kitschy" or "niche" or custom wedding dresses here, here, here, here, here, and here.

Gown Shopping Tips
The Knot
Real Simple
Bridal Guide
Buzzfeed (actually not entirely awful)
Martha Stewart

Planning:

Keep organized with this checklist from Real Simple. 

Check out aggregators like The Knot or Appy Couple.

Want some honest wedding planning advice? Go here, here, here, here, here, or here.

The Gifts:

Need some help figuring out where to register? Here are a few suggestions!
HoneyFund.com (a kickstarter for your honeymoon!)
Target
Pier 1 Imports
Amazon
Bed, Bath & Beyond
Best Buy
Kohl's
JC Penny
Pottery Barn
Sears
Zola.com (a registry aggregator)

Registry Advice? Go here, here, here, here, here, and here!

 

 

Blushing Belle: Honeymoon Help

Now that you're hitched, it's time to escape and go off on your first adventure as a married couple together! Whether you want to go somewhere rustic, get down and dirty, head to a tradition spot or enjoy a stay-cation, this list will hopefully inspire you for where you'd like to spend your honeymoon, how you'd like to spend it, and your options for the actual spending part of spending time.

Planning the Adventure

(travelbyemily)

Things To Consider & Remember

Where are you gonna go? What's your budget? What do you want to do? How long do you want the honeymoon to be? When do you want to go on the honeymoon? There are a ton of things to consider when it comes to your honeymoon. Make sure you consider...

-Do you both actually want a honeymoon? (Do you need a vacation together now? Do you want to vacation so quickly? This is a tradition that you are in no way required to partake in.)

-Date of honeymoon (Do you want to go the day after your wedding? Do you want a seasonal honeymoon? Do you want to wait for a different special occasion? Is a honeymoon in the budget for now or in six months?)

-Length of honeymoon (Is this going to be a month long excursion or a fun weekend getaway? Can you afford to take a long period of time off?) 

-Honeymoon Budget (How much do you want/can you spend on a honeymoon? What will you spend on hotel/activities/travel/etc?)

-The details (Where do you both want to go? Where will you stay? How will you get there? What will you do there?)

-The prep work (Planning the honeymoon, booking travel, taking time off of work, house sitter, etc.)
(pinterest)

-Don't procrastinate (Booking items in advance will allow for plenty of planning, as well as affordability)

-Plan the honeymoon together (You may have been planning your fairy tale getaway honeymoon to Paris for years, but if your spouse hates the idea of flying, you might have a problem. Plan the adventure together, this is the first big thing you do as a married couple more often than not.)
(perfectblendentertainment)

-Be specific with what you want. (This is a special adventure that is probably going to cost a considerable amount of money. Make sure you make the best of it, and if you want to do something--do it!)

-Do your research. (What's a bit more time on the internet or Pinterest gonna hurt?)

Helpful Apps and Websites for Planning

There's an App for That! 9 Apps and Websites to Help You Plan the Perfect Honeymoon

The Knot

How (And When) to Plan Your Honeymoon

Honeyfund

Honeymoon Planning Checklist

Honeymoons.com

Lunamoons.com

10 Amazing Apps to Make Your Honeymoon Travels a Breeze

Location, Location, Location

Traditional Honeymoon Destinations

Hawaii
(brides)

The Caribbean, Cancun, Cayman Islands, Aruba, Rio
(edgertonstravel)
You can't really go wrong on a tropical island. There's always spending long hours on the beach, staring at crystal blue ocean, enjoying fruity cocktails and booming night life.

Europe
(heyprettything)
Explore Europe's cities of romance and culture!

Southern Inspired Honeymoon Destinations

Savannah, Georgia
(hamilton-turnerinn)

New Orleans, Louisiana
(travelersjoy)

Wrightsville Beach, NC
(southerngirltravel)

Red River Gorge, KY
(kylandsales)

Charleston, SC
(theknot)

Fredericksburg, TX
(baronscreekside)

Virginia Beach, VA
(breakersresort)

Wilmington, NC
(resortsandlodges)

Fairhope, AL
(vacationidea)

Gatlinburg, TN
(pinterest)

Asheville, NC
(thefarmcabins)

Nashville, TN
(studioweb)

Louisville, KY
(jaclynjourney)

"Outside of the Box" Honeymoon Destinations/Ideas

The Comfort of Your Own New Home
(axka)
Spend your honeymoon decorating, consummating and enjoying your new living space together! Make the house a home. 

A Treehouse
(treehousepoint)

Camping
(travelersjoy)

Staycation
(perfectweddingguide)

Cross Country Road Trip
(tahoeunveiled)

Helpful Links for Your Honeymoon Location:

50 Best Places to Honeymoon in 2015
5 Unconventional Honeymoon Ideas
24 Honeymoon Destinations You've Never Thought Of
15 Best Honeymoon Destinations in the USA
25 Best Small Town Honeymoon Destinations in the US
Find Your Perfect Honeymoon Destination from Southern Living
55 Honeymoon Destinations You'll Remember for a Lifetime
The Honey List
5 Southern US Honeymoon Destinations

Budgeting

Let's talk $$$. When it comes to your honeymoon there are plenty of things you can spend money on:
-Hotel
-Airfare/Train tickets/Rental car
-Activities and tourist stuff
-Food
-Souvenirs
And so on.

ACTUALLY BUDGET AHEAD OF TIME.

Planning is important to staying on budget. Figure out what you can spend on each item, and then find the options that fit within your budget.

Utilize help.

Research online and in real life. Seek professional help as well. Use apps such as honeyfund to get assistance for your honeymoon budget.

Register for your honeymoon.

Honeyfund isn't the only honeymoon registry out there, but it's probably the best because you aren't confined to a specific destination or timeframe. However, most honeymoon locations allows for a registry, like Disney World.

(honeyfund)

Make a spreadsheet.

After all of your wedding planning, you probably don't want to see an Excel document for another 5 years, but seriously this will help. Check out The Plunge's Honeymoon Budget Spreadsheet for reference.

25 Ways to Honeymoon for Less
19 Ways Ideas to Save Money When Planning Your Honeymoon on a Budget
Tips for Taking Your Dream Honeymoon on a Budget 

Extra Advice

-Take lots of photos

-Don't forget that it's a vacation.

-Enjoy yourselves.
(theknot)

-Keep on budget.

-Don't feel obligated to do things because people suggest them, or they are the tourist things to do.

-Make memories.

-Have fun.
(romantictravelbelize)

 

Blushing Belle: Southern Wedding Traditions

Have you checked out Redneck Couture's wedding line, Wedneck Couture, of Boot Bling? It's handmade, crafted in the US, and ships for free! The Boot Bling can be customized to match bridesmaid gowns as well! Well, while we're talking about weddings and such--here are some southern inspired wedding traditions!

(dorhoro.com)

Weddings in the south have some absolutely amazing and lovely traditions and trends. Here are a few!

Parasols
(culturalintrigue.blogspot.com)

Sweet Tea
(botanicadesignstudio.blogspot.com)

Brooches
(nataliebradley.com)

Monogrammed Everything

(southernliving.com)                                      (southern weddings.com)

Lockets
(southernweddings.com)

Burlap, Burlap and More Burlap

(indulgy.com)                                                  (dorhoro.com)

Bridal Portraits
(stacyreeves.com)

Mason Jars

(southernweddings.com)                             (rusticfolkweddings.com)

Pearls

(southernliving.com)                         (pinterest.com)

Silhouette Portraits
(southernweddings.com)

Bells
(southernweddings.com)

Ducks
(borrowedandblue.com)

Carnations
(southernliving.com)

Daisies
(southernweddings.com)

Iris
(elizabethehannedesigns.com)

Lavender
(bellejheanell.com)

"Bury the Bourbon"
     This is a fun tradition done to insure that there is no rain on the blushing bride's special day. In the south, many weddings are held outside. So, exactly one month before the wedding, the bride buries a bottle of bourbon in the yard neck down. Then during the reception, they dig it up and drink it!
(bourbonandboots.com) 

"Groom's Cakes"
     A Groom's Cake is a special creation by the bride. The Groom's Cake will express the groom's likes, hobbies or self in some way. Many of these cakes are very extensive and creative. 

(cakecentral.com)                                          (pinterest.com)

 

Blushing Belle: 10 Fun, Inexpensive, and Memorable Wedding Favor Ideas

Wedding season is upon us! So whether or not you're doing some last minute planning, or just getting started (or perhaps you just like reading wedding articles, because #same) here is a guide to make your wedding favors a wedding favorite.

What's with wedding favors?

Okay, so do remember way back in the day when your parents would throw you birthday parties when you were in like kindergarten; and they would hang out like little party gift bags at the end with some Dollar Tree pencils, balloons and candy in them? It's kind of like that. You're rewarding people for showing up to your wedding and giving you stuff. At the end of the day, that's what's going on. However, you don't have to look at it that way. Wedding favors are fun, and it's one of the many things that people can look back on as a memento from your awesome wedding!

Who gets a wedding favor?

Well, everyone gets a wedding favor that comes to the wedding. You also have to get gifts for your new spouse, the groomsmen, the bridesmaids, the in-laws, your parents, and why not treat yourself to something while you're at it? Yeah. There's a ton of gift giving when it comes to this whole wedding thing. However, the wedding favors you have more control over when it comes to spending, and what everyone gets.

What should I be spending on a wedding favor?

That depends on you and your budget. Some weddings have ditched the wedding favor entirely considering that most people consider it a bit of a waste, while other people would classify wedding favors as a staple for any good wedding. At the end of the day, the wedding favors are up to YOU.

1. Scratch-Off Cards

Whether you want to spend $1.00 or $5.00 or $15.00 on your wedding favors, scratch-off lottery tickets can be an incredibly fun wedding favor. It's simple, easy, cheap, and something that everyone can get a kick out of. 

2. Something "Punny"

There are a ton of wedding favors that exist solely for the pun that they create. Such as these super fun, cute, easy and cheap ones:
(somethingturquoise)
(evermine)
(evermine)
(dotandbowpaperie)
(somethingturquoise)

3. Gift Cards

This wedding favor might seem a bit silly and outlandish, but it's actually pretty thoughtful. Wrap it up in a cute little "thank you" card, and give it away. You get to control how much you spend on your wedding favors, and people feel like you really want to celebrate their being there. Whether you hook everyone up with a $5 gift card to the local hotspot (like Wawa), or even a Starbucks card--your guests will get a kick out of it!

4. Something Crafty

Heard of this lil' new thing called Pinterest? Okay, in all honesty, seriously, Pinterest is an amazing place and if you're planning a wedding, I understand you probably have already been there and pinned that. Creating your own wedding favors is a fun idea that makes your favors personal. You get to determine your own budget for the wedding favors, and ultimately make something special to you and your occasion.
(livingwellspendingless)
(weddingbee)
(welcomebagshoppeetsy)
(seriouslysabrinaphotography)

5. Personalized Items

There are a ton of websites that will customize wedding favors for you--or you can easily DIY these projects. Whether you want to give away mugs, coasters, or handkerchiefs, personalize it with your new initials, your names, or whatever you want to make it personal for this lovely occasion so that everyone can remember it for the years to come.
(somethingturquoise)
(beau-coup)
(beau-coup)
(woodlandhillsphotography)

6. Something Sweet

More often than not, most wedding favors can be broken, lost or forgotten depending on what it may be--so why not give out something that can be consumed? Who doesn't like free snacks? Cute little desserts, or bags of candy are a lovely way to give your guests parting gifts. It's something nice they can enjoy at the hotel, on the plane home, or simply the next day to keep the party going.
(somethingturquoise)
(somethingturquoise)
(themelideos)
(cuteweddingideas)
(hercampus)

7. Favors that Double as Place Cards

Favors that double as place cards are cost effective, cute and simple!
(bottle openers! maureencottonphotography)
(camillestyles)
(jeramieluphotography)
(thefullboquetblog)

8. Something Seasonal

Depending on the theme of your wedding, you could choose to make your wedding favors seasonal. For the fall you can consider giving out little mini pumpkins, winter could be candy canes, spring could be little eggs with candy inside of them, and then summer could be flip-flops. Whenever you're having your wedding, think about what makes that season special to you and your soon to be spouse, and then give it back to your guests.
(jenniferweemsphotography)
(liveviewstudios)
(jennyebert)
(rachelrobertsonphotography)

9. Mixtapes

This might seem a bit dated, because who listens to dang fangled CDs anymore? But at the end of the day, people will find a way to listen to your wedding jams. Put a playlist together of songs that represent you and your special someone, your wedding, or just genuinely great jams that come from both of your hearts. Wrap it in some cute paper, and there you go. Love jams. 

10. "Build Your Own" Wedding Favor

Make your guests work for it a little! Also, this sense of personalization and "control" makes the gift that much more unique. These "Build Your Own" wedding favors can range from candy to little knick knacks to mini build-a-bear stations. You can do whatever you want and it becomes a little activity for people to engage in during the reception. So have your guests fill up a cute little gift bag or box with sweets, toys, bubbles, or whatever you wish to fit your own style.
(jophoto)
(salvatores-chicago)

At the end of the day, the most important part of your wedding is that you and your special someone remember it forever. Pinterest is an amazing place teeming with even more ideas. Good luck. Happy wedding season!

 

Blushing Belle: Engagement & Wedding Planning Survival Guide

(opusproductions)

CONGRATULATIONS! You found the one. You found the fanciest redneck, the sexiest southern bell, the classiest southern gentleman, a courageous cowboy or a cute cowgirl, no matter who you found, you found the one and that is spectacular that you two want to spend the rest of your lives together. Are you ready for the massive amount of questions, responsibility, crushing long hours, and ton of planning? WELL READY OR NOT, HERE IT ALL COMES! Being engaged is such an odd combination of bliss and indigestion. There are so many things that go into wedding planning. The internet and your family can prepare you the best they can, however, most of the time a wedding's details depend solely on the people planning it. Here are some tips, tricks and notes to survive the engagement and wedding planning.

Questions

You will be asked the same set of questions at least 36 times--and that's just within your first week of getting engaged. Here are some possible questions you may be asked:
-How did he propose?
-When's the wedding?
-Are you sure you're ready?
-Who's paying for the wedding?
-Who's your maid of honor?
-Who's the best man?
-When's the wedding?
-How many bridesmaids will you have?
-How many groomsmen will you have?
-Where are you going to go on your honeymoon? 
-Hold on, you're waiting how long to get married?
-When's the wedding?
-Are you pregnant?
-How long have you guys been together?
-Do you know what kind of dress you're going to want?
-What are your colors?
-How many people are you going to invite?
-SERIOUSLY, WHEN IS THE WEDDING?
I'm sure there are few really golden ones that I missed, but these are basically the questions everyone wants answers to immediately if not sooner.

(wimmersdiamonds)

1. Don't Panic.

If seeing that list of questions overwhelmed you, oh honeybunchesofoats are you in for a ride. Don't panic. At the end of the day your wedding is exactly that---YOUR WEDDING. This is a special day about you and your special someone. You'll be able to figure it out. You have a ton of people willing to help you--family members, friends, a wedding planner, or even simply the internet. You have time. You have options. Take a breath.

2. It's Okay To Dream.

A lot of people have a "dream wedding" in mind whether it's this big fairy tale event that they have had a Pinterest board for since they were eight years old, or even simply just a couple of details that they have forever had their hearts set on. It is totally okay to have these dreams and goals and ideas. It is up to you to make them a reality. Sometimes, dreams don't work out--but that's okay! You do whatever you can to keep this wedding a dream of yours. Make compromises when you can, and fight for whatever it is that you need.

3. Making Sacrifices Is Part Of The Experience.

Remember how I just went over how you should fight for what you need? Well, you should also kind of know when to pick your battles. More often than not, you're going to have a final say in what happens at your wedding--especially if you are financing the whole shindig. However, there are those instances where some people that are contributing to the wedding, or are important to you, or are actual professionals with experience with this kind of thing, that will trample all over your dreams, ask for something that you think is ridiculous at the time, or will spend every waking moment of their lives making sure that something happens or doesn't happen at your wedding simply because it's something they want. Whether it's a mother-in-law that absolutely has to have lobster there, the maid of honor that hasn't looked good in purple since freshman year and refuses to wear that color dress, or even the wedding planner looks you dead in the eye and tells you, "You absolutely cannot have a breadstick fountain...how...how would that even work?" It happens. Everyone is going to want their own piece of this wedding cake (haha see what I did there?) and sometimes you're going to have to make compromises and sacrifices that you may not like. For example, if the parents' are paying for the wedding and they want to invite Aunt Helen and her smelly brat children, you might have to suck it up and let the kids and their weird stench come to the wedding. When you do make these "sacrifices" you have to remember something: this is your night that you get to share with people that you hold the closest to you. And at the end of the day...

4. Wedding Guests Only Remember The Food, The Booze, And The Music

Seriously, no one is going to remember the wedding favors, what kind of flowers were at every table, or the giant flower wall that took you three months to make because you saw it on a Buzzfeed list and absolutely had to make it because you wanted a DIY wedding. Details like these should absolutely be important to you, but don't sweat the small stuff if you don't have to.
(weddingshoppeinc)

5. Write Everything Down.

Whether you are a note taker that needs a spiral bound notebook, an Excel sheet or a word document, figure out a system that works for you that allows you to keep track of all of your wedding planning. This will actually make your life much easier, believe it or not. If you have a detailed record of your planning, it will save you a lot of time in hassle in the long run. Keep track of it all so that you can refer back to it. Need to contact the venue because you have a guest list change? Boom you have the person's contact information on your Excel sheet. Wondering where in the world your bridesmaids' dresses are that you ordered? Check the tracking number you had saved in your word document. Keep track. Keep every single receipt. It's better to have it all then have nothing.

6. Make A Timeline.

No matter if you are getting married six months, a year or two years from the engagement, you should make and keep track of a timeline for your wedding planning. This way you can see when you need to have tasks done.
(energyphotographic)

6. There's An Infographic For It.

I love the internet. It's a beautiful (and sometimes horrible) place that is full of wedding help. It's a lot to slog through bridal magazines and wedding blogs--so sometimes browsing Pinterest and finding infographics with tons of really great information is a lot easier. They are also super helpful when you are showing it to a person that is involved in the wedding planning, but isn't very detail oriented. Look, sometimes grooms aren't exactly gun-ho about wedding planning--but looking at a fun picture can be informative and easy to look at!
(buzzfeed)
(bridestory)
(berries)

7. Budget!

Weddings cost a crap ton of money. There are so many things at play when it comes to having a wedding. Did you know that 23% of wedding budgets go to just flowers? Well that's a made up statistic, but it sounds pretty accurate right? That's because people blow a ton of real, factual money on flowers that will be dead halfway through the reception. Come up with 3 budgets:
1. The Dream Budget--which isn't a budget at all. Come up with all of the things, number of people, and details that you want your dream wedding to have.
2. The Scale Down--this is your first budget. Now that you have a reality to face of what money you actually have to work with, see how you want to cut your budget up. Are flowers absolutely not important to you, but you still think you might want your bridesmaids to hold something (although I am definitely a supporter in bridesmaids holding puppies instead of flowers)? Contribute 2% of your budget to flowers, while you know that the food will be super important to you and your family and will get 45% of the budget.
(bridalmusings)

8. Your Gift Registry Shouldn't Be Treated Like A Christmas List.

That sounded much harsher than I wanted it to, but I hope you get what I'm trying to get at. The idea of people getting you tons of super cool stuff is an amazing one, however you really have to be realistic about what you need and what you want. A lot of power will rush to your head when you're at Target or Nordstrom and you're holding that price gun to scan all of the super cool things in the store to go on your registry! Both of you should sit down and figure out what you want, what you need, and what people can afford to get you. Also, register somewhere that you actually shop or can benefit from! Amazon is great because the registry comes with deals (for example, if you put a Keurig coffee maker on there and someone buys it, Amazon will throw in a month's worth of coffee for the Keurig). For those reading this that know someone with a registry that may be out of your "price range," check to see if you can get the same product somewhere else. (Have those obnoxious Bed, Bath & Beyond coupons? Utilize those!).
(popsugar)

9. You Have A Million And Eight Food Options--Be Realistic.

Your venue may have catering options for you (example: the venue can charge you $94.00 per person, but that will include a full buffet of food, appetizers, cake, bar, etc.), your friends may know a guy, you can also take on the giant task of making your own food. Whatever you choose make sure that the food is good, in budget, and that you can handle it.

10. Relationship First. Wedding Second.

If people put a fraction of the time, effort, Pinterest boarding, agony, blood, sweat and tears that they do into the relationship as they do wedding planning then most marriages nowadays probably wouldn't end in divorce. Getting married and having a wedding is so splendid, fun, crazy and spectacular. The details that go into it are so important, and the day itself will be in your hearts for forever--but make sure that after that fairy tale day is over, that prince and princess charming can continue to live happily ever after. Take silly relationship quizzes and learn your love languages, try to find out something new about one another every day up until the wedding. Pick a new hobby to learn together--start a new TV show every few months. Keep the relationship strong.

Blushing Belle: Engagement Party Themes

Engagement Parties are a fairly new tradition in the getting married game. Since the dating game has changed so exponentially, Engagement Parties were created in order to bring the families of the bride and groom together under the same roof to meet and mingle. We are a generation of celebration. Any kind of accomplishment is a reason to party, so an accomplishment in finding a soul mate is DEFINITELY a reason to party.

There are a lot of gray areas surrounding Engagement Parties because none of them are the same. Some common questions are:

When should the engagement party be?

Give yourselves a minute to revel in your newly engaged bliss. However, it's absolutely up to you. Some couples have their engagement party two weeks after they get engaged, while others wait up to three months after the engagement. It all depends on what kind of details you wish to share at the engagement party. You'll get asked a ton of questions that you might not be able to answer two weeks in.

Do people bring gifts to an engagement party?

They most definitely can! Again, it's all about how long you wait. Some couples have the engagement party and are already registered. Some party guests can use your registry as a reference to see what they can get you. However, some other parties have more congratulatory gifts (gift cards, bottles of wine, etc) or just cards. 

Who should be invited to the engagement party?

If they are invited to the wedding, they should be invited to the engagement party. If they are not going to be invited to the wedding, it may be awkward to have them at the party. However, if you want all of your friends and family to be there, but you know you're only going to have a small wedding, inform the guests of that. "Hey, we want a very small wedding of only twenty people, but we still wanted to share this special time with all of you. I hope that's okay." People will understand, and they will appreciate feeling included.

Where should the engagement party be?

Depends on what kind of party you are thinking to have, who is throwing the party, how many people are going, what time of year, etc. More often than not, the parents of the bride or groom host the party. That way it's a literal welcoming the other family into their home. However, couples can host their own parties, or even rent a venue.

What actually happens at an engagement party?

Have you tracked a theme here yet? EVERYTHING DEPENDS ON THE COUPLE. So, here are a few Engagement Party themes and ideas to make your celebration FANCY.

Classic Engagement Party

You can't go wrong with a classic. This includes the bride's parents hosting the party--which luckily takes a lot of pressure off of the bride and groom to plan party details. 

The party will be a nice dinner at the brides' parents' house, at a restaurant or perhaps even at a venue to fit the amount of people on the guest list (which the groom and bride should consult on). Be prepared for a lot of questions during this event. Announce your bridal and grooms parties at a designated time in the evening for a personal touch.

Holiday Engagement Party

I am obsessed with Christmas. What some people call a problem, I call holiday spirit. So it made sense that I wanted to have a Christmas themed engagement party. Luckily, my fiancé and I got engaged in October, so it was perfect timing to wait until December to host the party. The party is a mash up of engagement and Christmas themes.

The music and decor are a combination of congratulations, wedding and Christmas.

The Bridesmaid Proposals

I bought these giant ornaments at Dollar Tree, along with the stockings. My bridesmaids will be wearing custom Boot Bling to match their dresses, so I wrapped the Bling around the stocking to present it to them. This way, the proposal is personal for me, and it's something they can keep forever--both the ornament and the Boot Bling.

You aren't just limited to a Christmas engagement party though. You can do a theme for any holiday (Halloween, Thanksgiving, St. Patrick's Day, Valentine's Day, Fourth of July, etc). Doing a holiday themed party allows you to kill two birds with one stone: you can celebrate the holiday with your friends, as well as this special time. It also makes shopping for decorations, food, drink, and games much easier!

Murder Mystery Engagement Party

Please don't actually murder someone for this party theme. However, there are a ton of fun ways to play a murder mystery game with your guests. Come up with a super fun narrative, or download a game and template online! This is a fun and classic way to engage your guests, and get to know the people in each family.

Throwback Engagement Party

Remember the 90s? How about the 80s? 70s? You've probably been to a retro party where everyone dresses up in mullets and tie-dye, but this party is actually about nostalgia for an era that you participated in beyond pooping your pants for the last few years of that decade. This allows for you guys to relive your childhoods or teen years together, but this time as a soon to be Mr. & Mrs. 
(groomedhome)

90s, 80s, high school, elementary school, summer camp, college, etc. Have everyone dress up from that nostalgia period and bring things to really set the mood: photo albums, other clothes, vintage items, music, yearbooks, toys, etc. Bring it all together and go back in time for a night. Include mementos from your pasts specifically so that you and your future spouse and reminisce (or cringe) at your previous selves. You're about to reinvent yourselves for a future together, take one last look back before you do.

The actual theme, decorations, food and drink of your party entirely depends on which nostalgic time you select. For a 90s party you might want to go with grunge, movie posters from that time period, run some old Nicktoons in the background, etc. If you go high school, bring back your school colors, mascot, and leave the cliques at the door.

Fairy Tale Engagement Party

Let everyone become the prince and princess they were always meant to be. You can go Disney themed, to straight up classical fairy tale with knights and shit. Give out little plastic tiaras to the women of the party, and the men can get foam swords. This is your happily ever after.

Luau of Love Engagement Party

This theme depends on where you're hosting the party and when you are hosting the party. If you are having a summertime engagement, then this is perfect! Get your beach bunnies together for a luau of love! Celebrate your love "by the beach" with these fun luau ideas.

Flip Flops made from frosting and Nutter Butter cookies on some graham cracker sand.

Buy some new sand buckets to use as serving dishes. Twizzlers make for cute pool noodles!

Make a sandy beach cake with graham cracker sand, and blue frosting sand. Carve the initials of you and your fiancé right on the "beach."

Everyone can get "lei"ed at this party.

Give out treat bags as party favors, or even utilize this super simple DIY design for your bridesmaid proposals.

Game Night Engagement Party

Gather for board games, video games, hide and seek, and more! Get together for a night of friendly competition. Get your friends and family members to bring their favorite games to the party, surf online for fun engagement party games (like the ones here, here, here and here) or take a game that you know and love and make it into an Engagement Party game!

A Bar Engagement Party

Yes, you could all just go out for drinks at your favorite watering hole, but this is not the kind of bar I'm talking about. This party theme is set up around bars:

Dessert Bar
(coloradopartyrentals)

Cocktail Bar
(lark+lace)

Candy Bar
(athomewithnatalie)

Sandwich Bar
(pinterest)

Popcorn Bar
(pinterest)

Ice Cream Sundae Bar
(pinterest)

Keep the options open to a variety of people and flavors, and let your guests serve themselves.

A Night At The Movies Engagement Party

Do you and your spouse love Netflix? Binge watching? Going to the movies? Then have a movie themed Engagement Party! Feature popcorn and boxed candy as the main snacks for the party, give everyone name tags that correspond with a famous movie or TV character, make fun banners featuring the best, romantic movie lines, and more. Transport the party to the silver screen for the night, and feature your Oscar winning romance story.

Remember:
Your Engagement Party is about you and your soon to be spouse. No matter what kind of party you choose to throw, who is going to be there and so on and so forth, the most important part of the event is that you two get the opportunity to celebrate your love with the people you both care about the most. Have fun!

 

Extraordinary Affairs: How To Plan a Luxury Wedding Without the Celebrity Price Tag

This article comes from Extraordinary Affairs at 5280, a spectacularly lovely wedding planning site that will make planning your fairytale wedding a beautiful reality. They are incredibly talented wedding planners located in Denver, Colorado, but their site is jam packed with insightful advice, tips, tricks and inspirations for a wedding anywhere. Please check them out. Give the original article by Angela Alizadeh a read here!

HOW TO PLAN A LUXURY WEDDING WITHOUT THE CELEBRITY PRICE TAG

 

Yes, a celebrity caliber wedding can be within reach; even if you don’t have a 7-figure wedding budget.

In this article, I’d like to show you how.

plan a luxury wedding

First, let’s establish one thing: luxury weddings aren’t reserved exclusively for celebrities and heiresses.

As a DENVER WEDDING PLANNER who oversees a wide variety of upscale events both small and large, I can confirm that, these days, couples across the country of all backgrounds, religions, nationalities and personal preferences plan luxury weddings every day. 

Although the typical 6-figure luxury wedding budget is significantly higher than the $32,641 national average in the U.S., having a higher end affair is still within reach to a wide variety of professionals and everyday couples who may not even consider themselves in the luxury category. (Ref: 1)

Luxury wedding budget

Some couples may have been born into a higher tax bracket or come into an inheritance early, while others have simply entered into high society by means of their own personal life journey and career choices.

Regardless of the type of couple planning a luxury wedding, many are financing it themselves.

According to Splendid Insights, 40% of couples with luxury wedding budgets ($96,000 or greater) pay for part or all of their wedding themselves, making them not all that different from average budget weddings. (Ref: 2)

Who pays for the luxury wedding?

Which is why more and more couples, possibly like you, are investigating in creative ways to re-create celebrity trends and mainstays on a more accessible budget.

When PLANNING WEDDINGS IN DENVER for my clients, I try to innovate ways to create celebrity-worthy event elements even if we aren’t working with a celebrity budget.

I can help, Let’s dive in.

Set the Tone with Memorable Invitations

upscale wedding invitations

Photo credit: FROZEN EXPOSURE & PLATYPUS PAPERS

Today, luxury weddings are all about creating an experience. It’s a defining shift in the mindset of modern couples and the true mark of a luxury affair. 

The Knot reported that, in 2015, the trend toward making the guest experience a priority continued with per-guest spending increasing while guest count decreased. (Ref: 3)

Your wedding invitations should be a preview of this coming attraction. 

They are your guests’ first impression of the kind of experience they are about to have at your upcoming nuptials.

Some events are elegant and sophisticated, some are quirky and unique while others are fun and lighthearted. Whatever mood your event will set, your invitations can become part of the affair.

With an investment of between $4-$20 per invitation, creating a surprising and impressive preview to your wedding can be well within reach. 

high end wedding invites

Photo credit: KRISTIE WITH A MAGICAL AFFAIR & PLATYPUS PAPERS

When Michael Douglas and Catherine Zeta-Jones got married, they created highly specialized wedding invitations embossed with custom holograms. Not only did this special effect make their invites stand out, they served a purpose too. The hologram allowed security to keep crashers from entering the event with fake invitation replicas. (Ref: 16)

It’s not necessary to throw a 1.5 million dollar affair, as these actors did, in order to create a fantastic preview of your event with your invites; it only takes a touch of creativity or resourcefulness. (Ref: 4)

Michael Douglas and Catherine Zeta-Jones created a sense of exclusivity with their invitations, what kind of experience do you want to make with yours?

Luxury Wizard of Oz wedding invitations

Photo credit: PLATYPUS PAPERS

The Interactive Save-the-Date

Want to create a wedding experience that makes your guests feel involved in the fun? 

If so, you don’t have to wait until the big day to get started. With playful invitations like edible board game save-the-dates and Mad Lib inspired response cards, your guests will be active participants from day 1. (Ref: 5 & 6)

The Element of Surprise Invite

Whether it’s invisible ink, 3D reveals or scratch-off lottery style invitations, you can let your guests unveil the details of your upcoming event with a bit of playful amusement. (Ref: 7 – 11)

The Anticipation Builder

Luxury wedding invitations

Photo credit: HTTP://UNTILSUNDAY.IT/

Luxury weddings are a tremendous investment of time and resources so, naturally, you’ll want your guests to be as excited about your coming affair as you are. What better way to build anticipation than with a countdown chart? (Ref: 12) 

The Story Teller

A few years back the infographic storytelling invitation became a popular trend. Today, you can build on that concept with even more creative ways to share your story as a couple or how you met. 

One couple incorporated their love of making music into an originally recorded song invitation that recipients could play using the invitation itself. (Ref: 13)

PAPER RECORD PLAYER from KELLIANDERSON on VIMEO.

Less Is More

Luxury affairs are instantly recognized by their superior guest experience. From the instant ambiance and over-the-top décor to the delectable food and savory wine, upscale events have a way of whisking guests away to a fantastical place, if only for a day.

But this extraordinary experience comes at a cost, which typically gets broken down by “head” or individual.

 

Thus, for those trying to keep their luxury event within, or even under, a $100,000 budget, the key is to manage the number of guests invited. 

The larger a crowd, the more stretched a budget becomes; even a high-end budget. 

Which is why being selective about whom to invite to your wedding can help you reach your goal of creating a premium event experience for everyone in attendance, including yourself.

Guest list management for luxury wedding

Photo credit: TREVOR BROWN PHOTOGRAPHY

Many married couples would confess that they no longer keep in touch with a decent portion of their guest list, and possibly even a few bridal party members. 

While this may seem completely improbable for you, it is actually quite common. For this reason, it might be worth taking the time to seriously consider the strength and closeness of your relationship to each and every guest prior to inviting everyone you know. Your current budget and future self will thank you.

Here are 7 tips for helping you narrow down your list:

  1. First, respectfully ask parents, and possibly other close friends and family, not to discuss your wedding date with others or verbally invite anyone until you’ve formally created your guest list, to avoid embarrassment. It would be humiliating for both you and the uninvited guest if they had the impression they’d be invited to your wedding and were not. Likewise, it would be frustrating for you to feel obligated to invite someone you’d never intended to invite, due to an avoidable misunderstanding.
  2. Decide in advance the percentage of your final guest count that will be allocated to each set of parents. Many couples honor their parents with a reasonable percentage of guest list choices, especially when they are contributing financially.
  3. Create 3 categories of prospective guests: 1) Essential family members and wedding attendants you wouldn’t dream of excluding (grandparents, siblings, aunts, uncles, first cousins, the wedding party and ushers), 2) close friends and extended family (second cousins), 3) Colleagues and other friends. As you firm up your per-person investment and confirm how many guests your overall budget can (support), you can begin trimming down the list from the bottom up, starting with category #3. Remember to account for the guests on your parents’ lists.
  4. Ask yourself, ‘how close are we really?’ If you’re considering someone whom you haven’t spoken with or spent in-person time with for a year or more, they may belong in Category 3 and could be one of the first to exclude when you begin to narrow your list. This should include any person you’re inviting mainly because they are close friends with one of your close friends, even though you personally are not as close with them.
  5. While it may feel like your colleagues play an important role in your life today, because you see them on a daily basis, frequent interactions can be deceiving. Ask yourself whether or not you would truly stay in touch with that person if you were to transition to another company or job. If a co-worker is genuinely a close friend outside of the office with whom you spend a good deal of non-work time, then they are probably a good invite choice. If not, some extra consideration may be in order.
  6. If you strongly believe that a plus-one will significantly enhance the enjoyment of your wedding for all of your single guests, then certainly provide this option. However, don’t assume that you’re obligated to allow for an additional guest for your single invitees. This is a personal decision that is entirely the prerogative of you as a couple.
  7. Don’t forget about vendors. Some wedding vendors, such as musicians or photographers who are present throughout the entire day, may require that you supply them with a meal as part of your contract.

When Matters

The day and season of your wedding can have a tremendous impact on the overall investment, along with a few other perks.

The more flexible you are with your wedding date, the more financial freedom you’ll have to fashion a spectacular wedding experience from top to bottom.

Weekday Weddings

Cameron Diaz and Benji Madden shocked the media when they chose to get married on a Monday; which some believe was motivated by a desire for privacy by catching the paparazzi off guard. (Ref: 14)

Luxury weekday wedding savings and privacy

Photo credit: NICOLE NICHOLS PHOTOGRAPHY

Privacy isn’t the only advantage to getting married on a weekday. Weekday weddings can also mean:

  • Better availability of the most prestigious, talented wedding suppliers and venues in the area
  • More attractive rates with the finest venues and wedding resources
  • Fewer crowds in prime public spaces for desired photo shoots
  • Only the closest, most excited guests (not everyone may be willing to take time off of work for your wedding)

Whether you choose to wed on a weekday or weekend, you can also get access to in-demand vendors and enjoy more attractive rates at desirable venues by choosing a date in the off-season. 

Non-Peak Seasons

Non peak wedding season savings

Photo credit: REBECCA MARIE PHOTOGRAPHY & MILE HIGH CELEBRATIONS

Weddings tend to have a peak season and a slower season. If you choose to plan your event during one of the less popular months of the year and not during a holiday, you may enjoy the same benefits that weekday weddings offer. 

In 2015, The Knot Real Weddings Study reported that Fall is on its way to becoming more popular than Summer for weddings; only 33% of couples wed in the Summer while 39% of couples held nuptials between September and November. (Ref: 3)

Imagine how much more you’ll be able to splurge on your highest priority wedding items when your venue and supplier costs fall by 15-30% simply by selecting a less competitive wedding date.

Land a Designer Gown or Suit for Less

Celebrities are known for investing substantially in their bridal gowns. According to Business Insider, Madonna wore an $80,000 Stella McCartney gown when she married Guy Ritchie in 2000 while Victoria Adams tied the knot to David Beckham in a $100,000 Vera Wang dress. (Ref: 15)

Designer bridal gown for luxury wedding

When you’re hosting an extravagant event, it’s only natural to want to feel luxurious yourself. Celebrities have long known that part of the whole experience is acquiring the finest, designer attire you have access to.

Fortunately, there are a few clever ways to source some of the most exclusive dresses and designer gowns without investing more than you’ve set aside.

1. Commission a Custom Piece

If originality and exclusivity is more valuable to you than designer name, then you might consider sourcing a local custom designer or tailor to fashion a one-of-a-kind gown or suit for you as a couple.

Going local will drastically reduce the investment without compromising on quality. Custom designers and tailors are often very selective with their choice of fine fabrics and will pay close attention to every detail.

You won’t have to worry about another bride or groom wearing something similar when the garment is crafted by hand just for you.

2. Premium Pre-Loved Attire

The life of a wedding dress is short lived. Enjoyed for only a day or two, then preserved for a lifetime, most gowns never receive the use they deserve.

That’s why it’s so refreshing to see a few discerning bridal boutiques make consignment available to their community.

Local shops like THE ALTAR BRIDAL CONSIGNMENT and THE GREEN BRIDEhere in Denver carry a wide variety of lightly pre-loved gowns in all shapes and sizes that are often no older than 3 years. If you have a particular designer in mind, you can work with them to procure the exact type of dress you’re pining for and save thousands. 

3. Designer on Discount

Your perfect designer gown or suit doesn’t necessarily have to be new this season or on special order, if you’re not too particular.

With sample sales and last-season blowouts, many exclusive higher end bridal boutiques offer an opportunity to acquire top of the line attire for far less than original retail price.

If you are able to snatch up an in-demand designer piece on discount, no one has to know your secret.

By following any of these three tips, you’ll not only be able to flaunt a fabulous, coveted gown or suit on your wedding day, you’ll also have more funds to allocate to other high impact aspects of your event.

Borrow, Don’t Buy, the Accessories

Real diamond bridal jewelry for wedding

Photo credit: TREVOR BROWN PHOTOGRAPHY

Your gown and tux aren’t the only wedding attire available for less when you know what your resources are.

For decades celebrities have held a coveted secret to their red carpet look: rental. 

The reason so many celebrities are able to create a completely unique and stunning look for every red carpet event is that they borrow their outfit rather than buy it outright; including the jewels.

With resources like ADORN BRIDAL, you can actually rent your own diamond and real, precious gemstone bridal jewelry without investing five or six figures to get it.

With necklace rentals starting as low as $75, the most lavish accessories become well within reach.

For a svelt tux that requires zero in-store visits, check out Manguin, a more modern way to rent a fashionable suit.

Or you can order custom Boot Bling from Redneck Couture's Wedneck Couture Bridal Line--provide your Bridesmaids with their gifts at a reasonable price, allow them to have a beautiful piece of hand crafted jewelry that is splendid for any occasion, and the shipping is FREE!

Choose an Unconventional Venue

A sure-fire way to have guests rave about your wedding for years to come is to choose an unconventional and memorable venue. While not everyone has their own private island to host their nuptials at, as Johnny Depp and Amber Heard did, you can find unique and beautiful venues to create gorgeous ambiance and a luxury backdrop for your evening. (Ref: 31)

Have it at Home

Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie, Drew Barrymore and Will Kopelman, Ellen DeGeneres and Portia De Rossi; these famous couples have one thing in common - at home weddings! (Ref: 17) Celebrities often choose to be married at home. They already have a beautiful estate, and using your own place means extra privacy.

If you don’t have your own gorgeous gardens or mansion to hold the wedding in, consider reaching out to relatives. Perhaps you have always loved your Grandmother’s garden, or your close friend’s beach house. By borrowing their space you can create an intimate and meaningful ceremony, with the luxury of privacy and discretion.

Castles

If destination is more your style - you can always follow Tom Cruise and Katie Holmes’ suit and tie the knot in a castle! Tom and Katie chose the Odescalchi Castle in Bracciano, Italy. (Ref: 18)

There are many castles in Europe and the United States to consider, such as Denver’s Castle Marne here in the Colorado area.

If an actual castle seems out of reach, consider a Cathedral. Many old-age cathedrals resemble the gothic-style design of castles, and create an ornate and formal feel for your ceremony. Most famously, Prince William and Kate Middleton were married in Westminster Abbey, known for its high ceilings, two towers, stain glass, and marble. (Ref: 19)

The Cathedral Basilica of the Immaculate Conception is a gorgeous Cathedral here in Denver, as beautifully photographed by our friends at ELEVATE PHOTOGRAPHY.

Cathedral Basilica of the Immaculate Conception, Denver CO

The Field Trip

Think museums, planetariums, zoos and aquariums are just places for school children? Think again! 

Hilary Rhoda and pro hockey player Sean Avery were married at Long Island’s East End Parrish Art Museum. Desiree Hartsock and Chris Siegfried, a match made in Bachelorette heaven, hosted their reception dinner at the Redondo Beach Historic Library.(Ref: 20)

Add a touch of sophistication at your local art museum, or host a playful revisit to childhood at a Zoo. Many educational establishments also host high-end affairs and have their own ballroom and event staff. What better way to dance the night away then under an entire planetarium of stars?

Town Car Vs. Limo

Celebrities often opt out of the traditional wedding party limo, and instead ride up to their weddings in style. Rolls Royce, Aston Martin, and Mercedes are just a few of the luxury rides available. 

Rent for the Day 

luxury wedding vehicle and classic car

Prince William arrived at Westminster Abbey on the day of his wedding in the Queen’s own Bentley, the “Bentley State Limousine.” (Ref: 21) While you might not be so keen on purchasing a luxury car of your own, many are available for daily or hourly rent. 

Horse Drawn Carriage

If you prefer to make an even bigger statement, and be a true princess for a day, you might consider a horse drawn carriage as Princess Diana did when marrying Prince Charles. (Ref: 210). Carriages can also be rented on an hourly basis and create a memory like none other.

Beverage Welcome

To add to your guest’s luxury experience, consider having beverages served upon arrival at the ceremony, rather than later during the cocktail hour. This is an unexpected extravagance that many celebrities have added to their higher-end affairs to keep guests excited and having a good time.

wedding welcome beverage

Opt for Non-Alcoholic

To keep this addition less costly have non-alcoholic beverages served instead. Lemonades, strawberry infused water, virgin-spritzers, and Arnold Palmers will keep your guests refreshed while they wait for the festivities to begin.

A Signature Drink

Add personalization by creating a custom drink named after the happy couple. Choose ingredients that symbolize each person’s personality to create a one of a kind beverage. 

Entry Statement

As your guests enter your venue they should be greeted by a setting that sets the tone for the entire evening. 

Alex Jones and Charlie Thomson are from the Welsh mountains and New Zealand respectively, and wanted their guests to arrive amid greenery and atmosphere that represented their very different yet equally beautiful homelands. Through the entry way were placed winter trees and twinkling lights, which led way to a corridor adorned with rainforest sound effects and thick vibrant greens. Guests were transported into a dream like world where seasons changed rapidly. (Ref: 22)

Pick Your Vibe

Choose an entry treatment that lets your guests know what sort of an evening it will be. 

modern wedding lounge for luxury event

A trendy yet casual lounge sets the scene for a relaxed and fun night; Billowing curtains and decadent floral arches promise a romantic evening. The first impression is so important - don’t forget to invest wisely in this crucial space!

Signature Focal Points

Designating separate spaces for guests to explore at your reception can add to the extravagance of the party. Using special lighting and luxurious furniture to turn your venue into an inviting atmosphere.

The Private Lounge

Celebrities are often seen in VIP lounge booths at clubs and parties. These coveted “above the crowd” spots create a sense of mystery and intimacy at events.

Having lounges throughout your ceremony may seem out of reach, but coordinated furniture can be rented starting at just 300 dollars. You don’t need enough of this seating for every guest, but just enough to create small getaways from the party where guests can go to steal a private moment with one another. (Ref: 23)

Unique Food And Beverage Presentation

A sure way to elevate the status of your event is to create unique food and beverage presentations. Take your dinner from drab to fab by making an experience out of the meal.

Edible Arrangements

food as wedding decor

Photo credit: THE WILLINGHAMS

Many couples are choosing to add food to their décor. Lisa Karvellas of Cedar Lake’s Estate says, “We have seen everything from apple branches (with apples still attached!) as floating centerpieces, to ruby red beets and purple artichokes in bridal bouquets..” (Ref: 24)

Specialty Bars

Many couples are choosing to have themed bars at their weddings to show off their particular tastes. Choosing from specialty cocktail bars, whiskey bars, or even dessert bars can allow your guests to taste something unique and unexpected. (Ref: 24)

Bacon bar at wedding

Surprise Guests With The Human Element

Many celebrities have live entertainment at their weddings that reaches far past the typical band or DJ. Circus performers, celebrity artists, servers, and performance artists can add the “human element” of live entertainment to your guest’s experience.

For their first dance, Kanye West and Kim Kardashian were serenaded by none other than John Legend. (Ref: 32)

Local Talent

Hire local talent to come in and enhance your big day. Station a local painter to come and paint the first dance live as guests look on, or hire a young singer to serenade guests outside the reception hall as they enter. 

Aerialists

Aerialist for wedding

Recently two celebrity circus performers for Ringling and Brothers made the news by being married on top of a high wire. (Ref: 33) 

While you yourself may not want to participate in such a daring endeavor, you can easily find aerialists to perform and stun your guests. Contortionists, dancers, and acrobats enliven the atmosphere and add a shock-factor to your reception.

Food and Drink Experts

Add the human element to your refreshments with bartenders trained to entertain, or rotate chefs to each table with flambeau dessert stations. You can also have personal waiters and waitresses for each table, eliminating the guests need to retrieve their own drinks from the bar. 

Food presentation for luxury wedding

Photo credit: STUDIO JKPHOTOGRAPHY

Creative Use Of Lighting And Video

When Kanye West proposed to Kim Kardashian he had the entire AT&T baseball stadium in San Francisco in darkness as guests entered for his surprise. Then slowly the lights lifted as a fifty piece orchestra serenaded Kim with her favorite song. (Ref: 25) 

You can recreate this use of lighting to create a mysterious and romantic atmosphere at your own wedding.

Color Wash

Color wash lighting effect for weddings

Photo credit: TREVOR BROWN PHOTOGRAPHY

Color wash lighting refers to engulfing the entire room in a certain color. Use blush pink or pale blue to create an atmosphere or decadence. (Ref: 26)

Pin Spot

Pin spot lighting effect for wedding

Pin spotting uses mini spot lights to amplify special parts or attributes to the room. You can hang pin spots over special stations, such as the wedding cake, the guest book, or the center pieces. (Ref: 26)

Privacy

Perhaps a celebrity’s most sought after element on their wedding day, privacy, can add an element of exclusivity to your event. 

Don’t Share

Ensure privacy on your big day by selecting venues that only allow one wedding at a time, or picking a date when no other weddings will be held. 

Tiger Woods and Elin Nordegren rented the entire Sandy Lane Resort in Barbados and the island’s only helicopter company to ensure paparazzi would be unable to snap their ceremony. (Ref: 18)

No Posts, Please

Kindly ask guests to keep their phones away during your ceremony, and instead invite them to use a wedding themed photo-booth. This can also act as a guest book that you can look through after, and encourages guests to stay in the moment instead of online during your festivities.

Be Wise With Food

Exotic or gourmet foods can come with a hefty price tag. Choose wisely what and how you serve your guests.

Meal Alternatives

Instead of surf & turf for the main dish add seafood options as passed hors d'oeuvres during the cocktail hour. Guests will still enjoy the luxury of fresh seafood, but you’ll be able to manage the investment better.

Another Human Element

Having wait staff serve your premium nibbles instead of displaying them on a self-serve table will also minimize costs without detracting from the luxury experience. If anything the wait staff service adds a greater touch of elegance to the event, while monitoring the amount of food circulating at any given time.

Seasonal Flower Choices

Blake Lively’s bouquet when marrying Ryan Reynolds was filled with seasonal flowers including, pink jasmine, andromeda, dusty miller, and blushing bride hydrangea. (Ref: 28) 

Choosing season flowers can allow you to splurge on volume and variety while remaining in budget. 

Winter

Carnations, Gerbera Daisies, and Evergreens are all in season in Winter. (Ref: 29)

Gisele carried a bouquet of white orchids when walking down the aisle to marry Tom Brady at their winter wedding in Costa Rica. (Ref: 30)

While orchids may not seem like a winter flower, they are in Costa Rica, which naturally grows over 1400 varieties of orchids. (Ref: 34)

Autumn

Anemone, Baby's Breath, Bittersweet, Carnation, China berry and Chrysanthemum are all Autumn flowers. (Ref: 29)

Spring

Apple blossom, Bird of Paradise, Brodea, Calla lily, Cherry Blossom, Corn flower, Cosmose, Dahlia, Delphinium, Delwood, Forsythia, and Freesia are in abundance in Spring time. (Ref: 29)

Summer

Summer flowers include Hypericum, Iris, Kangaroo paw, Liatrus, Lilac, Casa Blanca Lily, Gloriosa Lily, Star Gazer, and Lisianthus. (Ref: 29)

Start Planning Your Celebrity-Inspired Wedding

As you can see, a celebrity-inspired luxury wedding can absolutely be within your reach. All it takes is a little ingenuity and resourcefulness and you’ll be planning an upscale event guests will be blown away by.

Love this article or have your own tip to add? I’d love to get your input in the comments below.

Planning a downtown Denver wedding? And if you’re local to the Denver area, I would be thrilled to chat with you about how we can bring more celebrity-inspired luxury into your event. Explore my DENVER WEDDING PLANNING AND DESIGNservices to get started.


REFERENCES

1. https://www.theknot.com/content/average-wedding-cost-2015 
2. http://www.thinksplendid.com/2014/01/luxury-wedding-statistics-whos-paying.html
3: http://ir.xogroupinc.com/investor-relations/press-releases/press-release-details/2016/Wedding-Spend-Reaches-All-Time-High-As-Couples-Look-To-Make-The-Ultimate-Personal-Statement-According-To-The-Knot-2015-Real-Weddings-Study/default.aspx
4: http://www.cbsnews.com/pictures/most-expensive-weddings-of-all-time/4/
5: http://www.layeredbakeshop.com/game-of-love-fun-save-the-date-cookies/
6: http://sparkvites.com/holographic-foil-geometric-wedding-invitation/
7: http://www.polkadotbride.com/2013/03/amy-and-johns-backyard-surprise-wedding/
8: https://www.etsy.com/listing/92796375/scratch-off-lottery-ticket-save-the-date
9: http://www.ohsolovelyblog.com/fun-unique-save-date-idea/
10: http://www.hongkiat.com/blog/most-creative-wedding-invitations/
11: https://www.image3d.com/retroviewer/price-list
12: https://www.behance.net/gallery/Counting-The-Days/3126457
13: http://kellianderson.com/blog/2011/04/a-paper-record-player/
14: http://www.nydailynews.com/life-style/experts-weigh-cameron-diaz-weekday-wedding-article-1.2067939
15: http://www.businessinsider.in/The-8-most-expensive-wedding-dresses-in-Britain
16: http://www.forbes.com/2007/07/12/celebrity-media-weddings-biz-media-cz_lg_ts_0712celebweddings.html 
17: http://www.elledecor.com/celebrity-style/celebrity-homes/news/g1042/celebrity-home-weddings/?slide=3 
18: http://www.today.com/id/19735933/ns/today-today_entertainment/t/money-no-object-when-celebrities-say-i-do/#.V5qmgI-cGM- 
19: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Westminster_Abbey 
20: http://www.popsugar.com/home/Celebrity-Wedding-Venues-40943179 
21: http://mommiesmagazine.com/15392/top-celebrity-wedding-cars/ 
22: http://www.thewildebunchblog.com/alex-jones-wedding-flowers/ 
23. http://www.bellaweddingrentals.com/rentals/lounge_furniture.html 
24. http://www.marthastewartweddings.com/390657/wedding-food-and-cocktail-trends-2015
25: http://www.mtv.com/news/1722426/kanye-kim-proposal-keeping-up/ 
26: http://www.brides.com/blogs/aisle-say/2014/12/wedding-lighting-terms.html 
27: http://www.elle.com/culture/news/a36391/kardashians-photo-booth-mir-mir/ 
28: http://celebritybrideguide.com/celebrity-wedding-flowers/nggallery/image/blake-lively/
29: http://www.theflowerexpert.com/content/growingflowers/flowers-and-seasons 
30: http://www.brides.com/blogs/aisle-say/2016/02/gisele-bundchen-tom-brady-wedding-photos.html 
31:http://www.etonline.com/news/159438_amber_heard_johnny_depp_wed_on_private_island/ 
32: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/video/tvshowbiz/video-1186948/Kim-Kardashian-Kanye-Wests-dance-wedding-day.html 
33: http://www.theknotnews.com/circus-high-wire-wedding-video-11286 
34: http://www.montezumabeach.com/costa-rica-orchids/

Blushing Belle: Wedding Alternatives

"Wedding Season" is coming to a close and now the holidays are upon us. There are a ton of really awesome wedding traditions, but the times are changing, budgets are smaller, and dynamics are different. Here are some really rad wedding alternatives and twists on traditions:

Flowers:

Faux or No Flowers

Most wedding budgets devote 15%-20% to flowers--centerpieces, bouquets, etc. If you want to ex on the flowers all together, you'll save a giant chunk of change and probably some aggravation as well. There are alternatives to flowers to have as centerpieces and even something to have in your hands as a bride or bridesmaid. You can also make your own bouquets with fake flowers (Dollar Tree and Michael's Craft Store have a beautiful arrangement of flowers you can choose from without breaking the bank.) to create the ideal bouquet without having to worry about season, what's available, budget, or care. Plus, you can keep your bouquet from your special day forever.

(weddingchicks)
(weddingchicks)

Burlap Bouquet

Simple and rustic!

(etsy)

(destinationdecoration)

Homemade Paper Flowers

Create simple paper flowers! The possibilities are endless with this one. You can make paper flowers out of construction paper, cardstock, glitter paper, or even out of the sheet music, or the pages of a book that means a lot to the both of you. Paper flowers are fun to make, and there are countless tutorials all over the internet as to how to make them--for cheap!

(100layercake)

(studiocasterillo/buzzfeed)

Felt Flowers

Cute, Quirky, and durable.

(somethingturquoise)

Origami Fabric Flowers

Create simple fabric flowers out of your favorite designs. We dare you to try denim!

(darylndax)

Fans and Parasols

If you're having a spring or summer wedding, fans and parasols are perfect alternatives for bouquets. Your guests may also appreciate fans at their tables.

(britten)

(marthastewart)

21 Stunning Non-Traditional Wedding Bouquets
7 Great Ideas For Wedding Flower Alternatives (Plus One Really Terrible One)
33 Alternative Bouquet Ideas for Non-Traditional Brides
10 Beautiful & Creative Alternatives To Traditional Bridesmaids Bouquets 
27 Breathtaking Alternatives To a Traditional Wedding Bouquet

Gifts:

When it comes to gifts, things can get complicated--when it should be pretty simple. Some couples now are getting married after having lived with each other for a while--most individuals already have a whole bunch of plates, bowls, and even a blender--please do not get a couple two more blenders and three and a half toasters. If the item isn't on the registry, don't get it. However, some couples are afraid to ask for obvious gifts like CASH MONEY, etc. Here are some cool gift alternatives.

CASH MONEY and Gift cards

There are a lot of fun and creative ways to collect money and gift cards at weddings. Cash and gift cards allow the couple to use your gift in a way that will be personally helpful to them. It allows them to choose that third toaster for themselves, or perhaps help them with costs in the future. Gift cards are a bit more personal than just a straight up $100 bill or $2,000 check. Couples, if you are willing to receive these gifts, make sure your guests know! You can mention on your wedding website, or even on the invite itself that you are looking to shop at certain places, or if you would prefer cash. You can even put gift cards on some registries like Amazon.

(apbentertainment)

Honeymoon Help

So, you just dropped $10,000 on a wedding, now it's time to drop another $5,000 on your honeymoon, yay! Not so much. Find out how guests can help lighten the cost of your honeymoon. You can have guests donate to a Honeyfund or even offer to cover certain expenses like the rental car, hotel room, or airfare.

(honeyfund) 

(honeyfund)

Wedding Expenses

Sometimes you just want a nice wedding and the toaster is just a cherry on top. See if you can find guests to help cover some wedding costs or that will chip in some money to pull the whole thing off in lieu of a gift. 

The Food:

The thing that wedding guests will remember from your wedding will probably be three things: the venue, the music and most importantly THE FOOD. Food is an important component in any gathering and get together. Here are some food alternatives or options to consider to help keep you on budget, or put a personal touch on your wedding.

Big Buffet

Buffets seem a bit informal, but oh my goodness does it save you a ton of money and people actually appreciate having options not only when it comes to what they can eat, but how much they can and when they can. Your options for choosing a menu are pretty endless too. You can serve foods that mean something to you as a couple, or just go big in the best party foods.

(oliveinlove)

Pot Luck

Now, this one is a real big "alternative" but some folks are actually partaking in the pot luck wedding now. Some individuals with massive and local families find it easier, as well as much more satisfying, to host a pot luck where the food is provided for the guests by the guests. That way Grandma can make her famous mashed potatoes, and Uncle Herman can bring his beloved candied yams. And you just have to provide a cheese and cracker tray.

(bloominwedding)

Breakfast, But For Dinner

Choose an alternative food for dinner. Yeah, you could totally shell out $75 a plate for some fancy salmon and chicken, but who would turn down some scrambled eggs and pancakes?

(elizabethannedesigns)

_____________ Bar

This is kind of the same idea as a buffet, in the respect that it is stylistically buffet, but it is a "create your own." You can have a breakfast bar, sandwich bar, Italian bar, taco bar, etc. There are sweet bars as well (almost pun intended), but I'll get to those soon. This bar idea allows people to create their own dining experience and it fills them up quickly with plenty of personalized options.

(rootedinloveweddings)

(brendasweddingblog)

 

Dessert:

People are ditching the wedding cake nowadays. Now this is a big traditional item that plenty of people won't ditch, but if it's not for you or your budget, it's good that you have plenty of other options.

Cupcake Tiers

Cupcakes are tiny, cute, and they're still cake. These are also a cheaper, and easier to proportion for guests than cake.

(stylemepretty)

________________ Bar

Ice cream bar, candy bar, sweet treats bar, etc. This allows your guests to satisfy their sweet teeth on their own terms, as well as gives them an opportunity to take something sweet home with them.

(sweetesbakeshop)

(weddingpaperdivas)

Pie!

Yeah. Rejoice. There is such a thing as a wedding pie.

(somethingturquoise)

Fondue

Yeah, this one may be a disaster, but if you have a small wedding, you can afford to get a few tables a melting pot and melt together. 

(pinterest)

Donuts

Put a frosted ring on it.

(emmalinebride) 

21 Beautiful Wedding Desserts That Are Better Than Traditional Cake
Nontraditional Wedding Cake Ideas
Delicious Wedding Desserts That Aren't Cake
10 Alternatives to Wedding Cake

Fashion: 

It doesn't occur to a lot of people that there are a lot of traditional "costume" rules to this whole shindig. From the bridesmaids' dresses, to the boutonnieres here are some excellent alternatives to wedding fashion.

Cinderella Had a Glass Slipper, But This Is Your Fairy Tale

When it comes to shoes, wear something that is comfortable. If you want to buy a pair of heels and spend two weeks breaking them in so that you can dance and hang out in them for hours on your special day, you absolutely go and do that. However, if you want to wear flats, sneakers, cowgirl boots, or even flip flops. Wear the shoe that fits you literally and figuratively. Plenty of rustic brides wear boots with their gowns, keeping them in their country roots.

(redneckcouture)

(pinterest)

Bridesmaid Dresses: Pick a color, not a dress

Bridesmaids' dresses are expensive. You don't want to have to pay for them, and you don't want your girls to have to pay for them. Instead, consider choose a color scheme and relative design that you like. This allows your bridal party the ability to choose their own dress that they feel comfortable in, and everyone will still match.

(brides) 

Matching Jewelry

Let's say that you do go with the different dresses, same color idea. Sometimes it's nice to have some more uniformity to that. Think of matching jewelry for you and your bridesmaids. You can get necklaces, bracelets, or Boot Bling!

The Dress

Traditional wedding dresses are fairy tale, ball gowns that are gorgeous, but something you'll definitely wear once. When you are looking for your dress, find the dress that fits you the best. Find a dress you can celebrate in, and something you wouldn't mind hanging in your closet for decades, dusty--or alternatively, a dress you can wear again if need be. Check out here, here and here for some ideas!

(cupofjo)

(pinterest)(weddingpartyapp)

(alanaallanwedding)

Buttons over Boutonnieres

Create cute buttons for the groomsmen to wear in lieu of boutonnieres.

Etc:

There are some wedding details that are become traditions, or are fun little tweaks on the idea.

Activities for guests In lieu of centerpieces

Weddings are full of strangers. Most people that you seat together are split in the middle with knowing one another. So, sometimes having a giant mums centerpieces between them can be a good thing because half of the table is disconnected from itself. However, weddings are social gatherings. May as well have some fun while stuffing faces! 

(lovelyindeed)

Incorporating animals into your wedding party

Man's best friend can also make for excellent members for the groom's and bridal parties. Some people even have their dogs take the ring down the aisle.

Have a photo booth

Your photographer is going to be incredibly busy, so have an area that's fun and decorated so your guests can take fun photos on their own and have them share the memories forever with you. You can even come up with a hashtag for your wedding to keep track of photos on social media. 

Check out these other links for some more alternative ideas!

12 Creative Wedding Alternatives
23 Unconventional But Awesome Wedding Ideas
31 Impossibly Fun Wedding Ideas
Ideas About Alternative Weddings

Blushing Belle: The Wedding Photos

Your wedding is a special day that you'll hopefully want to remember forever. Make sure to capture it anyway you can!

Step One:

Do you want photos? Photos and video? Just video? Staged photos? Candids? 
(bridalicious)

Don't be overwhelmed! It's actually better to have too many options than no options at all. When it comes to figuring out what kind of photo package you want with your wedding here are the following items to consider:

-Budget
-Date (figure in weather, sunlight, etc.)
-Wedding party (how many bridesmaids and groomsman are there? are there many kids involved?)
-Photographer/videographer
-Time (how much time do you have for photos on the wedding day? how long do you want the photo shoot to be? do you want a photo shoot a few days before the wedding?)
-Complexity (how involved do you want these photos to be? poses? props? locations? photoshop?) 

When you step back and consider these options, it'll help you hone what you want to do.

Options:
Just Straight Up Photos
This is just photos. Gather the wedding party an hour, hour and a half before the wedding ceremony to take photos outside of the location, at home, the hotel or wherever you choose. Then have the photographer grab candids during the reception--such as the first dance, daddy daughter dance, mother son dance, cutting the cake, tossing the bouquet, the garter game, people sitting and eating together, etc. Sometimes just photos are better because have you ever really watched a wedding video after the fact?

Photos and Video
There are plenty of really fun ways to capture a wedding in both photo and video. Hire both a photographer and videographer to capture the events of the day.

Documentary Experience
You could document the whole wedding from development to reception by taking photos and video of the planning, prepping and finally the wedding itself. Then throw it all together for a documentary of your lovely journey!

Step Two:

You've narrowed down what you want, now it's time to find a photographer or videographer.
Redneck Couture recently did an amazing Wedneck photo shoot to show off our new Wedneck Couture Boot Bling. Tom and Holly Fuller of Fuller Photography did an amazing job. We didn't just pick them out of a hat though, we did our homework first.

When choosing a photographer you want to consider similar factors as you did above--mainly budget. However, you also may want to consider equipment that is needed, where you want to shoot, etc. Find a photographer that you like too. You not only trust their ability, but you're comfortable with him/her taking photos of you and your family.

Look at a photographer's previous work to really get an idea of their style and ability--not only when it comes to the photographs, but the post work on the photographs as well.

Research photographers in your area online. Many photographers have their own websites, Tumblrs or you can even find them on Pintrest. Ask your friends that have had wedding photographers if they have any recommendations as well.

Step Three:

Time to plan the actual photo shoot. Now, more often than not you can meet with the photographer you have selected and the two of you can bang all of this out together and allow him/her to express their artistic vision, but then again...it's your special day. Where do you want the shoot to be done? When do you want it done? How long do you want it to take? How many people are going to be involved? What else will be involved? Make a checklist, sketch out a storyboard, or look at other photos online to get inspiration. Any way that helps you organize your thoughts and helps you figure out how you want to best capture your day is a good way.

Locations-

You can do wedding photos in plenty of places. Some people choose to do the photos at the venue itself, more often than not there are venues that have specified outdoor and indoor areas for such events. Others take photos at home in the backyard or in the house itself. People go to studios, local parks, and all over! Keep your options open based off of preference, convenience and budget.

Local Parks
First off, make sure you can legally take photos in the park. Sometimes you have to get a permit issued, but costs little to nothing and isn't a painful process. However, other places sometimes are so large and public that you can shoot wherever and whenever. Don't forget to pick a semi isolated area so that you don't get many photo bombers. Choose a park that is pretty, nice, has variety or perhaps even sentimental value.

At the Venue
Doing photographs outside before the venue is a great option considering the lighting. Photographers love natural lighting because it can make life very easy. Scout out locations at your venue, or in the surrounding areas. That way you can take photos before the wedding and then get the show on the road!

Unique Spots
Perhaps you and your bridal party want to do a unique and fun photo shoot based on your personality. For example, if you're a fancy redneck you might want to do a wedding shoot at an Arboretum among all of the nature, trees and dirt. Or find a local farm that will let you take photos in and around the barn and animals. Choose a location that reflects the life that you plan on spending with your significant other for forever.  

(bridalmusings)
(carriedarlingsevents)

(bellapictures)

(theknot)

Theme-

You could add a theme to your wedding photos if you'd like. Fancy Redneck, Alice in Wonderland, Retro, Fairy Tale, Disney, Cute Baby Animals, etc.

(tgkdesigns)

(bridalguide)

(weddingelation)

(dailymail)

(theguardian)

Fuller Photography

Props-

Depending on if you want to give your photos a theme or not, and even if you don't want a theme you could still make it fun! Gather props for your shoot to add to the dynamic. Also, props might be fun for the kids in your bridal party. If they have something to interact with or play with, it might make them more cooperative in front of the camera. 

Flowers
Find out which flowers are in season, pick your favorite, gets flowers that match your dress, etc. Flowers are fun and versatile in any photo shoot. PRO TIP: Go to Michael's crafts or Walmart and create a bouquet of faux flowers that way you can keep it forever, but it'll also withstand the test of the whole event. Check out our Blushing Belle: Flower Guide for more tips!
Fuller Photography

(greenweddingshoes)

Stuff
Different and fun props like cut outs, signs, and objects!

(peterson-design-photo)

(wedpics)

(ivy-weddings)

(123cheese)

(branhamperceptionsphotography)

(yeahmag)

Poses-

Fun wedding poses make the memories even brighter. Check out this fun list of awesome wedding poses!
(volkankovancisoy)
(jeremybeasley)
(eminphotography)
(chrisjoriann)
(wedinator)

Most importantly though, have an absolutely wonderful day. Congratulations!

Other Helpful Wedding Photo Links:
Shooting Weddings...When You're Not a Wedding Shooter 
68 Essential Wedding Photography Tips 
10 Wedding Photo Mistakes Every Beginner Will Make 
The Do's and Don'ts of Wedding Photography 

Don't forget to check out our Wedneck Couture line to add that Fancy Redneck touch to your special day. Take plenty of photos and tag us! We would love to feature your beautiful day on our social media!