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February 2014 - New Orleans Weddings - Reception, Venue & Planning
Feb 282014

From a beautiful Australian beach wedding to a fun DIY origami diamond ring napkin ring, we round up some of our favorite blog posts from all over the web.

For a beach wedding like you've never seen before, check out Catherine and Michael's Australian affair. From the bride's sequined blush lace wedding dress to the art studio venue to the spare, romantic photos on the Byron Bay beach, we can't get enough of this wedding! 100 Layer Cake

Did you know that language can predict what people want in a partner better than they can themselves? According to new research, speech patterns that you and your partner share can help predict the future of your love. Brides.com

Planning a bohemian-glam wedding? Then take notes from this gorgeous wedding inspiration shoot, photographed on a teepee farm of all places! The glamorous decor—not to mention the bride's beaded dress, sparkly head piece and marabou wrap—looked fantastic against the rustic background. —Green Wedding Shoes

If you don't know the difference between a reception card and a response card, never fear: We've got the details on exactly what goes into your wedding invitation suite! —Brides.com

Forget folding paper into cranes—these origami diamond ring napkin rings are so much more fun for your table! Check out the super-easy tutorial and give your linens some DIY love. —Brooklyn Bride Online

You finally decided on your wedding dress (squeee!); now it's time to accessorize! From shoes to clutches to jewelry, check out our gorgeous gallery of sparkly accessories to complete your wedding look. —Brides.com

Cascading bouquets and yummy fondue for your wedding reception are just two of the retro wedding trends that are coming back in style this year. (No, really!) —POPSUGAR

From cutting out alcohol (just for a month!) to making peace with someone in your past, these small, healthy changes can help you get ready for your wedding day. —Brides.com

Looking for easy ways to trim your wedding budget? Make your own wedding ceremony programs! It's easy (we swear) with this super-gorgeous and fun step-by-step DIY. —Oh So Beautiful Paper

No matter how much you love planning your wedding day, there are times when the to-do list will stress you out. To the rescue: These six things we think every bride needs to stay sane! —Brides.com

Mary-Kate Olsen Is Reportedly Engaged to French Banker Olivier Sarkozy!

 Celebrity, Mary-Kate Olsen  Comments Off on Mary-Kate Olsen Is Reportedly Engaged to French Banker Olivier Sarkozy!
Feb 282014

Photo: Getty Images

Double diamonds! Hot on the heels of news that Mila Kunis and Ashton Kutcher are headed to the altar, Us Weekly reports today that another couple on our engagement radar, Mary-Kate Olsen and French banker Olivier Sarkozy, put a ring on it. They're the second couple of the four we picked to get engaged in 2014 who have made it official! (What a day!).

Like Kunis and Kutcher, we're not completely surprised at this news. In December Mary-Kate was spotted shopping for an engagement ring at Neil Lane's Los Angeles boutique—she even made multiple visits to the store! At the time, a source at Page Six said of the engagement rings Mary-Kate was browsing: "She really likes cushion-cut diamonds, and all of the rings she has looked at are over five carats. She has narrowed it down, but still hasn't made a final decision." We can't wait to see her final choice!

Of the engagement, an insider dished to Us Weekly that "Mary-Kate's family thinks Olivier is the best thing to happen to her," and that "They love him."

Speaking of family, we're wondering if this means that Mary-Kate's twin sister, co-designer, and former acting partner-in-crime Ashley Olsen will serve as maid-of-honor? We hope so! One thing's for sure, with their successful fashion lines Elizabeth and James and critically-acclaimed The Row, Mary-Kate's wedding dress (and bridesmaid dresses) will be ones to watch. We're guessing she'll take a page from the strikingly minimal dresses we've seen walk the recent runways—sleek lines with a minor geometric detail will fit her modern-meets-boho-chic vibe perfectly. As for her bridesmaids? We're putting our predictions out there now that Mary-Kate will dress her 'maids either in white, a la Pippa Middleton, or a slate gray.

The 5-Step Plan for Softer, Prettier, Ring-Worthy Hands

 Beauty, Hair & Beauty  Comments Off on The 5-Step Plan for Softer, Prettier, Ring-Worthy Hands
Feb 282014
Tips for Softer Prettier Hands

Photo: Getty Images

Lucky you—you've landed the partner of your dreams, and now there's a gorge engagement ring adorning your left hand. But about those hands... Courtesy of that dazzling diamond, they're in the spotlight 24/7. Time to take them to the next level with these expert tips and tricks. Think soft, smooth, and utterly rock-worthy.

1. Step away from the hand sanitizer (and get some rubber gloves!)
Certain lifestyle habits—like digging around in your purse for that teensy bottle of sanitizer 90 times a day—can wreak havoc on your hands. Sure, you're a germ-a-phobe, but that's no excuse for dousing your poor digits with high-test alcohol. "Too much sanitizer, not wearing gloves to clean dishes, and skipping sunscreen and hand cream can all contribute to rough skin," says Tracylee, Sally Hansen Nail Ambassador. Stick to gentle soaps, preferably sulfate-free.

2. Whip up a sweet scrub
Though YouTube is chockablock with videos for DIY sea-salt hand scrubs, Tracylee isn't a fan. "Salt is too rough—it actually pierces the skin," the celebrity nail guru says. "I much prefer a sugar scrub, which is gentler." Her recipe: Mix 1/2 cup refined sugar, 1/2 cup oil (coconut or vitamin E), and 1/2 fresh lemon. Apply, rub into hands to exfoliate flaky skin, rinse and pat dry. "I see a lot of clients rubbing their hands roughly on a towel to dry them," she notes. "Hands should be patted, not rubbed."

See more: Our Favorite Celebrity Engagement Rings

3. Fade those pesky freckles
A smattering of freckles across your flower girl's sweet little nose? Adorable. Brown blotches on your grown-up, ring-bedecked hands? Not so much. To fade them, Debra Jaliman, author of Skin Rules: Trade Secrets from a Top New York Dermatologist, recommends a daily application of a cream containing the bleaching ingredient hydroquinone—and patience. "It takes about six to eight weeks to see results," Jaliman says.

4. Slather on serious protection
Now that you've lightened up, don't risk any new freckles and spots. "Use SPF 30 on your hands every day," insists Dr. Jaliman. Yes, every day; even when you're trapped inside, chained to your computer with your wedding Excel spreadsheets—UV light can penetrate glass.

5. Embrace DIY mani-maintenance
It's no secret that a salon manicure makes your hands look instantly, infinitely better. But the key to lasting softness, says Tracylee, is diligent upkeep at home. In addition to a high-powered skin-soother (we like Sally Hansen Smooth & Perfect Hand Creme), be sure to stock your home stash with a vitamin E-laced cuticle oil and nail strengthener to prevent chipping and splitting. A wardrobe of pretty, ring-flattering polishes (nudes, pinks, a few bold brights) will inspire you to hit the bottle on a regular basis.

Bridal Book Club, Anyone? How Reading a Novel Can Boost Your Mood

 Happy Bride, Sarah Jio, Wellness  Comments Off on Bridal Book Club, Anyone? How Reading a Novel Can Boost Your Mood
Feb 282014
Reading Novels Zaps Stress

Photo: Getty Images

Brides, if you're having one of those days, try this lesser-known anxiety-reliever for a little pick-me-up: Grab a novel and disappear into a few chapters. Call it bibliotherapy, but as it turns out, there's something to the idea of books helping to zap stress.

See more: He Said, She Said: What Your Language Says About Your Love

In fact, it's the hypothesis of a new study, published by psychologists at Emory University, who found that not only does reading novels improve brain function, but it also may help reduce your anxiety. "The neural changes that we found associated with physical sensation and movement systems suggest that reading a novel can transport you into the body of the protagonist," writes the study's lead author Gregory Bern. In other words: Reading can transport you from your stressed out reality to another world, and give you a shot of courage in the process. Bonus: The good-for-your-mind effects of reading last for hours, even days after finishing a great novel, say the researchers.

So why not put reading on your weekly to-do list? (Full disclosure: I'm a novelist so I'm a bit biased in favor of the idea!) Pack a great book along with you for your commute on the train home instead of zoning out with your music and text messages. Or, rather than turn on The Bachelor on Monday nights, pick up a classic novel and actually read about a romantic hero instead!

See More: 3 Healthy Changes to Make Before Your Wedding

The late American novelist James Baldwin said it best: "You think your pain and your heartbreak are unprecedented in the history of the world, but then you read. It was books that taught me that the things that tormented me most were the very things that connected me with all the people who were alive, or who had ever been alive."

Now that's stress relief.

A Brilliant Way to Get Wedding To-Do’s DONE (Try It!)

 Happy Bride, Sarah Jio, Wellness  Comments Off on A Brilliant Way to Get Wedding To-Do’s DONE (Try It!)
Feb 282014
How to Manage Wedding To-Do List

Photo: Getty Images

Oh, the dreaded to-do list. You have to call the florist, get bids from DJs, apply for the marriage license (and let's be honest, who really wants to make a trip down to City Hall and stand in a long line?) ... and falling behind on any number of tasks could spell trouble for your wedding day. But there's a better way to deal with the list than to fall into the vicious cycle of stare at it, stress, repeat.

See more: 3 Reasons Why You Should Brag About Your Awesome Hubby

Happiness expert Gretchen Rubin has an effective trick that really works—whether you're tackling wedding planning tasks or just getting day-to-day stuff done once you're married. In fact, she puts it into practice once a week for the little, non-urgent tasks that always nagged at her. "They weighed on my mind and sapped my energy," she writes of her to-do list. "As I walked through my apartment, or sat at my desk, the accumulation of these little chores made me feel overwhelmed." (Sound familiar?)

Her solution: "Once a week, for one hour, I'd steadily work on these chores," she writes. "An hour didn't sound like much time, but it was manageable."

See more: 3 Healthy Changes to Make Before Your Wedding

Rubin calls this one-hour of her week "Power Hour" (apparently, there's a theory in psychology that if you call something an easy-to-remember name, you're more likely to remember and stick to it).

Now, clearly, wedding planning tasks are going to suck more of your time than one single hour, but by using this expert strategy, you might try allotting an hour to the most annoying, dreaded wedding planning tasks (think: noon on Mondays) and just knock them off, one at a time.

The net result? A less stressed-out you.

Lauren Conrad’s Advice for Creating a Wedding Guest List

 Celebrity, Celebrity Weddings, Lauren Conrad  Comments Off on Lauren Conrad’s Advice for Creating a Wedding Guest List
Feb 282014

Photo: Getty Images

Here at Brides, we can talk wedding etiquette until our faces turn blue. Turns out, bride-to-be Lauren Conrad is preoccupied with wedding etiquette do's and don'ts, too! She talked to E! News recently about pointers for assembling a guest list and more—and her personal guidelines actually sound a lot like ours! So, what are her two big tips for inviting family and guests?

1. LC says: Be choosy. "I had one hard and fast rule: If we haven't sat down and had a meal together in the past two years, you're probably not going to be invited," she said. "Since all of my closest friends and I dine together regularly, this helps separate people I'm still close with from the friends that I've lost touch with over the years. I think it's a pretty fair rule."

Brides says: Consider the circumstances!. Conrad's probably having a reality TV-worthy blowout wedding worthy of the former MTV star. For her, it's about pruning down the guest list down to genuine friends and family, and not just hangers-on. But for most couples, especially ones planning smaller weddings, space and budget take precedence. We love her dinner rule, but some couples have to leave close relatives off of the guest list. We simply say to keep a transparent policy throughout to eliminate any hurt feelings or confusion.

2. LC says: Plus-ones have their limits. "I also had to come up with some guidelines to determining who gets a plus-one," she shared. "A plus-one is a must for anyone who is married, engaged, or in a long-term relationship. No exceptions there! A plus-one is also thoughtful for anyone who is single, but won't have any other friends attending. But if someone is single and will be amongst friends or family, giving them a plus-one is not necessary. Who knows, they might meet someone special..."

Brides says: We agree! We think bridesmaids and groomsmen should automatically get a plus-one, regardless of their relationship status. Aside from that, her guideline is thoughtful and smart, especially for brides and grooms planning big weddings. Again, smaller weddings might require a stricter limit on extra guests, but we love how her advice puts guests' comfort first.

With all that out there, Conrad admitted that her personal rules are certainly not hard-and-fast. "Deciding who will and won't be there to witness your marriage can be very stressful, but everyone is different and will have their own way of deciding," she said. We agree!

Monograms are Back! Everything You Need to Know About Personalizing Your Wedding Registry

 Home & Registry, Wedding Style  Comments Off on Monograms are Back! Everything You Need to Know About Personalizing Your Wedding Registry
Feb 282014
Monogram Wedding Registry Tips

Photo: Dyad Photography

Monograms make everyday items feel personal—even bespoke. Who doesn't want more of that for their wedding registry? Historically, the bride's monogram went on linens, while the groom's was placed on crystal, silver, and barware. But now that no one cares who makes the bed or mixes the cocktails, anything goes!

Which monogram is right for you?
The pros at Haute Papier play out four scenarios for newlywed couple Mackenzie Perrin and James Shepard.

Monogram Guide

Photo: Courtesy of Haute Papier

1. Classic: Mackenzie is making her maiden name, Perrin, her new middle name and Shepard her new surname.
2. New traditional: She's taking her husband's name and wants to include his first initial, making this design ideal for home items.
3. Preppy: She's dropping her name and taking his. This monogram's interwoven letter style is called a cipher.
4. Contemporary: Mackenzie and James are hyphenating their last names. Sharing is caring!

Get it in writing
The Art of the Monogram's Cynthia Brumback answers our burning questions about how your letters should look:

OMG! What if our married monogram is OMG?
Unfortunate monograms happen more often than you think! An easy way to handle this situation is to reverse the order of the initials so your groom's is on the left and yours is on the right. (That's pretty common in Europe, by the way.) You can also use an interlocking script or layered style that combines letters so they're less discernible and more conceptual—like a married-couple logo!

I love monograms but fear overkill. How do I rein myself in?
My rule of thumb is to have one monogrammed element in any room except the dining room, where it's cool to use different but complementary styles on napkins, glassware, china, and flatware.

What's the most surprising way you've seen a monogram used?
A bride I know embroidered her husband's initials onto her honeymoon lingerie. Rawr!

Clockwise from top left: Tray, $150, Iomoi; Tassel, $40, Clare V.; Coaster, $58 for 50, Haute Papier; Glass dish, $12, C. Wonder; iPhone case, $36, Heisel; Monogram Stamp, $350, Allison R. Banks Designs; Engraved note card, $182 for 25, Crane & Co.; Enclosure card, $145 for 50, Haute Papier; Leather card case, $50, Sakao available at Etsy; Calligraphed envelopes, from $4 each, Fleur de Letters; Stamp, $21 for 20, Zazzle; Lucite letter, $68, C. Wonder; Letterpressed couple's stationery, $150 for 50, Haute Papier; Letter opener, $49, Mark & Graham

It Finally Happened! Ashton Kutcher and Mila Kunis are Engaged

 Ashton Kutcher, Celebrity, Celebrity Weddings, Engagement, Mila Kunis  Comments Off on It Finally Happened! Ashton Kutcher and Mila Kunis are Engaged
Feb 282014
Mila Kunis Ashton Kutcher

Photo: Getty Images

It's about time! Ashton Kutcher and Mila Kunis are finally engaged, E! News exclusively reported last night, after Kunis was spotted rocking a rather large diamond on a very specific finger during a shopping trip earlier in the day. A source confirmed that Jackie and Kelso are indeed planning to tie the knot. While the shot of the ring is unclear, it does look like a large round-cut solitaire. Such a classic choice, Kutcher!

Kunis confirmed the engagement herself on Instagram this morning. Posting an adorable snap of her and her brand-new fiancé from their That 70s Show days, she accompanied the heart-warming picture (below) with the caption "happily ever after."

Just two days before, Kunis posted an equally melt-worthy shot to her Instagram, below, of her and her man with the caption "I love you @kutcher78."

We've been eagerly anticipating this engagement for a few months now, after the pair attended Mila's brother's wedding in December and then Ashton's brother's wedding in February. (At both events, guests reported that they looked extremely lovey-dovey). The former That 70s Show costars have been dating for two years, and, in our opinion, are an absolutely adorable couple.

We're so excited for them, and can't wait to hear more wedding details! Needless to say, we're already dreaming of wedding dress options for Mila—while she kept it simple and sweet with a knee-length blush dress as a bridesmaid at her brother's wedding, she's been known to go for a daring detail or two on the red carpet. Marchesa or Vera Wang might just fit the bill!

P.S. It's only February, and one of the four couples we predicted would get engaged in 2014 has! While Katy Perry and John Mayer won't happen, we can't help but wonder who is next. Harry and Cressida? We hope so!

What are Some Creative Ways to Incorporate My Mother’s Wedding Dress Into My Wedding?

 Etiquette, Wedding Dresses, Wedding Etiquette  Comments Off on What are Some Creative Ways to Incorporate My Mother’s Wedding Dress Into My Wedding?
Feb 282014
how to incorporate your mother's wedding dress

Photo: Jenny Evelyn

If you've decided to incorporate your mother's wedding dress into your own wedding day, we think that's such a wonderful idea. Need some creative ideas on how to do just that? Our wedding etiquette experts are here to answer your questions in our daily post.

What are some creative ways to incorporate my mother's wedding dress into my wedding?

Wanting to honor your mother by incorporating her gown into your wedding is such a lovely gesture. But not every dress will stand the test of time—fabrics yellow, styles change, and just because you're related doesn't necessarily mean you have the same body type or are the same size. So if you're not able to wear her gown at your wedding, here are some other ways to incorporate the dress into your nuptials.

• Repurpose it into a rehearsal dinner or reception dress. Depending on the condition or the fit of the dress, this can be as simple as shortening the length. If it requires more work, a skilled seamstress will be able to transform the gown into the perfect party dress.
• Repurpose it into the flower girl dress—so adorable and unexpected.
• Wrap swatches of lace or fabric from your mother's dress around the handle of your bridal bouquet and the bridesmaids' bouquets.
• Incorporate it into your veil, especially if your mother's dress features lace.
• Turn the dress fabric into a chuppah or ceremony backdrop.
• Find a designer (check Etsy) who can turn the fabric into a pretty clutch.
• Turn swatches of fabric into textile rosettes, which you can incorporate into your wedding-day look (i.e., glue them to a hair comb to wear in your up-do; affix a few rosettes to a length of silk ribbon to wear as a sash).
• Use some of the lace to make handkerchiefs for you and your mother.

Awesome Appetizers

 Uncategorized  Comments Off on Awesome Appetizers
Feb 282014
If you want to save money on your reception costs, consider having an "appetizers only" reception. You can serve a mix of hot and cold hors d'oeuvres. Be careful how many you choose, too many appetizers can get expensive. Also make sure it is clear on the invitation the type of reception you are having. You don't want your guest expecting a full meal.

For more Wedding tips, visit http://Wedding.lifetips.com
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