Aug 302013
 

From a wedding held in an iconic baseball arena to a variety of ways to keep your wedding guests cool during the summer, we round up some of our favorite blog posts from all over the web.

The groom's colorful, floral-printed tie and the bride's job as a botanist inspired their thoughtful, foliage-filled wedding day. —Brooklyn Bride

Guest blogger Ilana Stern, CEO of Weddington Way, lets us in on a little secret in her latest post: An engagement photo shoot is a very, very good idea. Find out why! —Brides.com

Keep wedding guests cool at your summertime wedding with festive ideas from sun hats to a DIY ice cream sundae bars. —POPSUGAR

Sports fanatics, take note! A ballpark makes for an exciting and unusual wedding venue—just ask this adorable couple who tied the knot at the Nationals Park in Washington, D.C. —Brides.com

You're going to want to skip the traditional photo booth once you see this! A "slow-motion photo booth" captures your nearest and dearest on video as they dance, blow bubbles, toss confetti, and more, and then slows it way down for hilarious results. —The Broke Ass Bride

Looking for a luxurious color palette for your upcoming autumn wedding? Rich burgundy and gold make a perfect pair. See gorgeous wedding details for the color scheme, here. —Brides.com

This boho meets Morocco meets glamorous wedding in Ojai, California totally takes the cake for nailing every last pretty detail. From the lantern centerpieces to the DIY geode placecards, we can't get enough. —100 Layer Cake

Everyone has a friend or family member that they just don't quite get along with, but things get tricky when they're your future in-laws. Are you obligated to invite your groom's mother and sisters to your bridal shower? Our wedding etiquette experts weigh in. —Brides.com

Matching your bridesmaids' dresses to their bouquets pulls the look of your entire wedding party together. Get inspired by these dynamic duos! —Green Wedding Shoes

Blushing bride, indeed! Check out these eight easy tips for getting gorgeous wedding skin. —Brides.com

—Donna Kim

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For Once and For All, How Much Should An Engagement Ring Cost?

 Engagement Rings, Wedding Etiquette  Comments Off on For Once and For All, How Much Should An Engagement Ring Cost?
Aug 302013
 
engagement ring etiquette 04

Photo: Caroline Tran

Diamonds are a girl's best friend, so what does that make an
engagement ring? While you ponder that, we'll give you the answer to a tricky quesion—how much should an engagement ring cost? We tossed that question the way of our wedding etiquette experts, who helped nail down a figure in our daily post.

How much is too much to spend on engagement ring?

The answer depends entirely on your fiancé-to-be's financial situation. On average, a guy will spend about $5,229 on the engagement ring, but some guys spend a lot less and some spend a whole lot more. (Justin Theroux, for example, forked over about half a mil on Jennifer Aniston's rock—hello!) As a rule of thumb, most jewelers suggest that men shell out about three months of their salary. But if he's heavily in debt or concerned about his job security, he may want to scale back. Worried your boyfriend will be tempted to go overboard? Slip your opinion into a casual conversation. Try something like "You know, Jen was just telling me the other day that she really wishes her husband had spent less on the engagement ring so they could have had a bigger wedding budget to play with. I think some guys are going a little crazy these days. If a woman really loves you, she's also going to love the ring, no matter how much it costs. Honestly, I don't think anyone should spend more than $[fill in the max you want him to spend here], don't you?"

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An Eight-Step Guide to Gorgeous Wedding Skin

 Beauty, Wedding Beauty  Comments Off on An Eight-Step Guide to Gorgeous Wedding Skin
Aug 292013
 
how to improve your skin for your wedding

Photo: Yasu + Junko

It's a month before the wedding, and your skin's not exactly aglow? Don't fret. This speed guide will get you there fast

1. Don't Starve
"Skimping on nutrients leads to tired-looking skin," warns trainer and nutritionist David Kirsch. "Eat lots of protein, avocados, almonds, and olive oil."

2. Pill Pop

Nature's Life Marine Collagen supplements ($17) contain vitamin C, key for healthy collagen, explains hormonal specialist Rebecca Booth, M.D. Kiehl's Clearly Corrective Dark Spot Solution ($50) clarifies skin sans meds.

3. Hydrate
"Water can smooth out wrinkles; alcohol does the exact opposite," warns Carla Watts, lead aesthetician at Hotel Bel-Air Spa by La Prairie. Clinique Moisture Surge Intense Skin Fortifying Hydrator ($36) works well as a topical catalyst.

4. Sleep
"It's vital for keeping a vibrant color," says skin-care expert Nerida Joy. Over-the-counter diphenhydramine—Help I Can't Sleep caplets ($4)—safely puts insomniacs to bed.

5. Perspire
"Increased circulation boosts detoxification and cell renewal," explains Watts. Skyn Iceland Glacial cleansing cloths ($15) keep pores oil-free.

6. Ditch Coffee
Holistic physician Michael Finkelstein recommends Teatulia "Neem Nectar" tea ($5 for six bags) to reduce redness, fade acne scars, and restore balance to the skin.

7. Scrub
"Exfoliate twice weekly to shed millions of dead skin cells. Otherwise they'll plug pores, and bacteria in follicles will erupt," says dermatologist Katie Rodan. Try Peter Thomas Roth Laser-Free Retexturizer ($38).

8. Depuff
Aesthetician Renée Rouleau suggests applying his vitamin C eye serum ($43), chilled, the night before the wedding—especially after all those teary rehearsal-dinner toasts.

—Aja Mangum

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Do I Have to Invite My Future In-Laws to My Wedding Shower? We Don’t Get Along At All

 Etiquette, Showers and Parties, Wedding Etiquette  Comments Off on Do I Have to Invite My Future In-Laws to My Wedding Shower? We Don’t Get Along At All
Aug 292013
 

A wedding shower is a fun-filled day of girly bonding, whether it's at a relaxing spa or outdoors at a winery. Some brides-to-be don't feel comfortable inviting future in-laws—but is it a faux pas to leave them off of the guest list? Our wedding etiquette experts are here to answer your bridal shower questions in our daily post.

Is it necessary to invite the groom's sisters and mother to my shower? Our families don't get along at all.

Like it or not, it's customary for mothers and sisters of the bride and groom to be invited to all showers. (They don't have to buy presents for each one.)

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Do I Have to Invite My Future In-Laws to My Wedding Shower? We Don’t Get Along At All

 Etiquette, Showers and Parties, Wedding Etiquette  Comments Off on Do I Have to Invite My Future In-Laws to My Wedding Shower? We Don’t Get Along At All
Aug 292013
 

A wedding shower is a fun-filled day of girly bonding, whether it's at a relaxing spa or outdoors at a winery. Some brides-to-be don't feel comfortable inviting future in-laws—but is it a faux pas to leave them off of the guest list? Our wedding etiquette experts are here to answer your bridal shower questions in our daily post.

Is it necessary to invite the groom's sisters and mother to my shower? Our families don't get along at all.

Like it or not, it's customary for mothers and sisters of the bride and groom to be invited to all showers. (They don't have to buy presents for each one.)

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Aug 282013
 

Kim and Emil's love of sports shown almost as brightly as their love for each other when they wed on June 29, exchanging heartfelt vows then partying with 240 guests inside Washington Nationals Ballpark in Washington, D.C. "We are avid sports fans and love to celebrate life," says Kim. "We wanted our guests to have a completely unique experience and feel what it would be like to be in a Major League dugout and batting cage."

But the couple is quick to stress that baseball was merely the backdrop to their big day. "While we wanted to tie in the baseball theme, we did not want it to overwhelm our wedding," Kim says. Incorporating a rich color palette of eggplant and pewter lent formality to the event, while the couple's event planner struck the perfect balance between traditional decor and "baseball design elements," Kim says.

Kim and Emil also had "an overarching, guiding principle that truly directed our planning process," Kim says. "We said we were going to do two things that day: marry each other and have a big, fun party."

Kim knew exactly the kind of dress she wanted—until she fell for a Watters gown that was the complete opposite of everything she had envisioned. "There is something about the dress that is so me," she says. "While it has a lot of intricate detail in terms of the stitching, the detail and pearls, it's very understated. It's not flashy, yet it's tremendously elegant."

Kim's six bridesmaids helped her narrow down their attire to two options: A lavender gown with a purple sash, and an eggplant dress with pockets. In the end, the eggplant-hued Alfred Angelo prevailed. "We think it was the pockets!" Kim jokes.

Kim's hand-tied round bouquet was arranged with lavender roses, violet stock, and mini calla lilies and agapanthus in shades of purple. Dusty miller accented the vibrant blooms.

"The ceremony was absolutely special, beautiful and sacred," Kim says of the couple's traditional service at historic Asbury United Methodist Church, where the bride attended services as a child. A florist accented the church's altar area with two towering arrangements of purple-hued agapanthus, roses, stock and larkspur.

Though Kim's mother passed away years ago, "it was very important for her to be included throughout the wedding," the bride says. "In the lighting of the unity candle, I had three special participants: My mother's best friends come down the aisle together and lit the candle in my mother's honor."

Kim and Emil asked bridesmaids and groomsmen to recite readings at the ceremony, including Wilfred Arlan Peterson's The Art of Marriage and an anonymous version of The Blessing of the Hands.

"Emil literally swept me off my feet when the pastor pronounced 'you may now kiss your bride,'" Kim recalls. "He picked me up about two feet off the ground and kissed me."

Held in the field, where guests could explore the dugout and batting cages, the couple's cocktail hour featured "typical all-American baseball classic favorites presented in a modern way," Kim says. Guests nibbled on popcorn sprinkled with rosemary and Parmesan, ballpark peanuts and warm, soft pretzels at cabaret tables draped in eggplant-colored satin linens.

Minor League players pitched to guests and the bride and groom in between bites at the cocktail hour. "Guests had a blast and got in a workout!" Kim says.

Dinner was served inside the ballpark's PNC Diamond Club, "a hotel-like banquet hall with one glass wall that overlooks the field," Kim describes. Here, guests could nosh on chef-carved grilled sirloin, pan-seared wild salmon and white truffle and Parmesan risotto at tables topped with deep purple linens and pewter-colored napkins. "Selecting the food was very important to us," Kim says.

Submerged dendrobium orchids and calla lilies filled cylindrical vases topped with white floating candles that dotted the round tables at the reception. A custom-designed pennant, bearing the table's name, adorned each tabletop. Table names included Pitcher, Catcher, and Home Run. And favors? "Each guest received a miniature baseball gumball machine that said, 'We hit it off.'" Kim says.

The couple's square, ivory wedding cake was accented with purple-swirled piping. Its layers of almond and red velvet cake and cream cheese filling were "delicious," the bride says.

A DJ "had all 240 guests up and dancing all night," Kim says. "At the end of the wedding, our planner said, "Wow, I've never seen an entire wedding dance all night," Kim says. "This totally fulfilled our goals—we got married and had a big, fun party!"

Kim and Emil walked onto the dance floor to Phil Collins' In The Air Tonight, "right at the point where there's the big breakdown," Kim explains. "So we walked out calmly and then broke out into drumming motions."

When it was time to slow things down, the couple swayed to Let's Stay Together by Al Green.

The DJ also spun tunes "from Washington, DC's native go-go music, to line dances like the Cupid Shuffle," Kim says. "The guests were up and having fun."

"Throughout the evening, we would find some guests outside on the balcony looking into the ballpark," Kim says. "When we asked why they were outside, they would say they were taking it all in and enjoying having a major league baseball stadium all to themselves."

In the weeks since their wedding, Kim and Emil are "still both on Cloud 9," Kim says. "On some days, we will just look at each other and say, 'hi husband,' and 'hi wife.' Other times, we have the weird realization that we're actually married, the wedding has happened and now we're in the next phase of our journey. All in all it's just a wonderful time."

—Jillian Kramer

Wedding Planner: Sparkling Events & Designs || Ceremony Venue: Asbury United Methodist Church || Reception Venue: Washington Nationals Park || Bride's Wedding Dress: Watters || Bride's Veil: Love Couture Bridal || Bride's Shoes: David's Bridal || Groom's Tux: Black by Vera Wang || Bridesmaids' Dresses: Alfred Angelo || Florist: Maryam Flowers || Caterer: Levy Restaurants || Cake Baker: Fluffy Thoughts Cakes || Favors: Wedding Star || Entertainment: DJ Oz || Photography: Connor Studios

How To Weatherproof Your Wedding-Day Makeup

 Beauty, Wedding Beauty, Wedding Makeup  Comments Off on How To Weatherproof Your Wedding-Day Makeup
Aug 282013
 
summer-proof wedding makeup

Photo: Yasu + Junko

You should feel cool, calm, and collected on your wedding day—not smudgy and smeared. With heat-tested beautifiers (and these expert tips) your look will last well past the bouquet toss.

Counterintuitively, you should moisturize. Cosmetics guru Sonia Kashuk knows from slippery, slide-y bridal makeup: She did the honors at her pal Cindy Crawford's 1988 wedding in the Bahamas—in late May. Still, she always recommends moisturizer. "You can go lighter," she says, "but don't forgo it altogether."

Primer is a really good idea. Consider this a magnet (a breathable, comfy magnet) for everything else. It's the layer between moisturizer and makeup, but if you're concerned about oiliness, you can also add a mattifier to the lineup. One to try: Peter Thomas Roth Max Anti-Shine Mattifying gel ($35).

Liquid is the newest take on mineral foundation. Though Kashuk feels base is optional—provided you've got great skin—makeup artist Ramy Gafni disagrees, citing the formality of the occasion. And he prefers longer-wearing liquids over lose-powder mineral foundations, which have a well-deserved rep for being light and airy. The best of both worlds? Liquid mineral foundation.

Gels and stains go the distance. Whether or not you're a crier, liner and eye shadow can smear and head south in the heat. To the rescue: gel and waterproof formulas (like the ones pictured above). For cheeks and lips, stains provide a similar stay-put insurance policy. Plus they're kinda great. "Gels and stains deliver a pretty, natural finish," says Kashuk. "They become one with the skin."

Melt-proof beauty products pictured above:

Hourglass Veil Mineral Primer SPF 15, $52

Tarte cheek stain in Dollface, $30

Smashbox Limitless lipstain & Color Seal balm in Berry, $23

Jane Iredale Liquid Minerals foundation, $48

Sonia Kashuk Dramatically Defying Long-wear gel liner in Ebony, $8.99

L'Oréal Paris Infallible eye shadow in Eternal Sunshine, $7.95

Browse wedding hairstyles to finish your look.

—Dana Wood

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Can My Mom Be My Maid of Honor?

 Bridesmaids, Etiquette, Wedding Etiquette  Comments Off on Can My Mom Be My Maid of Honor?
Aug 282013
 

There's nothing better than a tight relationship between a bride-to-be and her mother. But is it appropriate for the mother-of-the-bride to double as maid of honor? Our wedding etiquette experts answer your bridal party questions in today's post.

Can my mom be my maid of honor?

Of course she can. Just be aware that as the official hostess of your wedding, Mom may be too busy to handle all of the maid of honor duties. Appoint a bridesmaid to take charge of some of the traditional tasks, like organizing the bachelorette party—a job that your mother probably wouldn't mind delegating anyway.


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Why An Engagement Photo Session Is a Very, Very Good Idea

 Ilana Stern, Real Brides, Real Weddings  Comments Off on Why An Engagement Photo Session Is a Very, Very Good Idea
Aug 272013
 
Engagement Photo session by Erick McVey

Photos: Erich McVey

What do real brides have to say about the wedding planning experience? Well, it's not all happy tears at the bridal boutique and indulgent cake tastings. Over the next two months, guest blogger and Weddington Way founder and CEO Ilana Stern will share the ins and outs of planning a California wedding, running a business, picking the perfect wedding planner, and customizing your dress.

While some couples skip the engagement photo session, I would highly recommend it to all engaged couples. Let me explain why.

If you think about it, you're going to spend more time with your wedding photographer than anyone else on your big day. When we chose the wonderful Erich McVey to shoot our wedding, we decided that taking engagement photos would be a great way for Jeff and I to get to know him and his shooting style instead of having to worry about it the day of our wedding.

Guest Blogger Ilana Stern's Engagement Shoot

Photo: Erich McVey

We wanted our engagement photos to not only reflect who we are as a couple, but also appear natural. But let's face it, not all of us are models and no matter how talented, no photographer can make a couple look at ease if they aren't. So the engagement shoot gave us the opportunity to feel comfortable with Erich and to learn to relax and be ourselves together in front of the camera.

Guest Blogger Ilana Stern Engagement Shoot Laughing

Photo: Erich McVey

I'm so glad we did it because the photographs came out absolutely beautiful! When we saw them, I immediately knew they would be a great way to personalize our Minted save-the-dates, invitations (below), and thank you cards. I have to admit, we didn't stop there, because let me tell you, engagement photos make perfect gifts. Since the shoot, all of our Father's Day and Mother's Day gifts have been framed photos. It may sound cheesy, but we have a lot of very happy parents, grandparents, aunts, and uncles!

Guest Blogger Ilana Stern's Wedding Invitation

If you're still on the fence about doing an engagement photo shoot, consider it a fun excuse to take a one-night trip with your fiancé! We decided to do our engagement shoot with Erich in the wine country, which is a little more than an hour drive from San Francisco where we live—the perfect little romantic getaway! On our drive up to Sonoma to meet Erich, Jeff and I hopped on Hotel Tonight (an awesome app for booking last minute hotel rooms) and found a great rate at a cute B&B. So we were not only able to have a blast with Erich, but also treated ourselves to some much needed R&R.

—Ilana Stern

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Aug 272013
 
How to split wedding invitations and guest list

Photo: Noa Griffel

Before you and your fiancé send out your save-the-date cards, you've got to sit down and figure out your guest list. How do you tackle such a nitty gritty task? Our wedding etiquette experts are here to answer your guest list questions in our daily post.

How can I divvy up the guest list?

Here are some guidelines for dealing with the guest list: If parents are paying for the wedding, they traditionally have dibs on a little more that half the wedding invitation-slots. It's also common for the guest list to be divided in thirds—one for the bride's parents, one for the groom's, and one for you and your guy. All relatives—even your favorite aunt—go on your parents' list. If you and your fiancé are paying for the wedding, the two of you get most of the invites. The groom's family sometimes chips in so that they can invite people who might not otherwise fit on the list. You and your groom are the ones to decide whether or not to invite children or Sally Smith and "Guest," meaning Sally and her date. When in doubt, don't leave anybody out. If you are asking yourself whether to include someone, send the invitation. A common regret later on is that someone was excluded. As for stepparents, ex's and any other guest who might feel uncomfortable in another's presence, arrange seating so that they can keep their distance, and, if asked, say you are doing so. It is up to your invitees to decide whether or not they will attend.

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