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December 2014 - New Orleans Weddings - Reception, Venue & Planning

The Real Deal About Giving Plus-Ones

 Etiquette, Wedding Etiquette, Wedding Guests  Comments Off on The Real Deal About Giving Plus-Ones
Dec 312014
Inviting Plus One Etiquette

Photo: Getty Images

When it comes to your wedding you and your fiancé call the shots. But if your friend is in the midst of planning her wedding, too, you have to follow her wishes when it comes to her big day. That means, you may not agree with every wedding-planning decision she makes, but you shouldn't start going tit for tat. Case in point: What if you give her a plus-one, but she doesn't offer you one for your fiancé? Our etiquette experts weigh in below.

Traditionally, you're supposed to extend plus-ones to someone who is engaged, but sometimes a bride and groom choose not to. There are countless reasons why your friend might not have given you a plus-one to her wedding, but whatever the reason, you have to abide by her rules. It is their day, after all. Whatever you do, don't be too hard on your friend. More than likely your friend had a strict wedding budget.

See more: Who You Do and Don't Have to Invite To Your Wedding

If you have enough room on your guest list (and the money) for her to bring a plus-one to your big day, give her one. Just because she couldn't give you a plus-one to her wedding, it doesn't mean you should do the same out of spite.

Farm Tables and Lush Flowers Put a Spin on This Classic Black-Tie Wedding

 Real Weddings  Comments Off on Farm Tables and Lush Flowers Put a Spin on This Classic Black-Tie Wedding
Dec 312014

After 10 years together, high school sweethearts Mariel Daniele and John (Jack) Macfarlane promised to spend the rest of their lives together when Jack dropped to one knee in their Washington, D.C. living room. "I was completely taken by surprise and so delighted that it was an intimate proposal with only our dog, Scout, at our sides," recalls Mariel.

One year later, on December 28th, 2013, Mariel and Jack infused a classically romantic black tie wedding with a touch of rustic elegance and invited 140 guests to New York City. "It was really important to us that it was an epic night for our guests," recalls Mariel, "so we made sure that everything — from the food to the after party — unveiled fun surprises for all their senses."

With the help of wedding planner Annie Lee of Daughter of Design and photographer Alicia Swedenborg to create and capture all the details, Mariel and Jack did just that.

The couple chose a black-and-gold color scheme that carried through from their invitations to the bride's glittering Jimmy Choo shoes.

While Mariel's Lazaroball gown featured flowing tulle and champagne accents, Jack stuck to a classic black and white tuxedo for his wedding day attire. He even had his initials embroidered on his suspenders!

"Cedar Lake was my dream choice," Mariel says of the couple's reception venue. They almost didn't get it, thanks to Hurricane Sandy, but a last-minute change meant the couple could host their wedding exactly where they wanted it. "The space was one-of-a-kind and absolutely breathtaking, from the exposed brick to the giant carriage house windows," Mariel says. "The setting really helped my vision come to life."

At the reception, farm tables were topped with rustic centerpieces of ivory-and-blush peonies, green hydrangeas, garden roses, ranunculus and dusty miller held in antique silver bowls. Table numbers in scrolling calligraphy told guests where to sit.

The couple meticulously chose their menu, from comfort food hors d'oeuvres like hoisin duck tacos and macaroni and cheese croquettes to pan-seared Chilean sea bass and Colorado lamb chop for the main course.

Why settle for one cake when you can have five? The couple decided to have a two-tiered vanilla cake with champagne icing that they would cut, and several smaller cakes (including red velvet and carrot cake) topped with peonies and cream cheese frosting for guests to enjoy.

And some of those surprises Mariel was hoping for? Guests were treated to passed pink cotton candy and late-night cheeseburger sliders and corn dogs!

After relaxing post-wedding in the Maldives, Mariel has this advice for future brides-to-be: " Despite all the stress, drama, other people's unwarranted advice or opinions, it will absolutely be worth it in the end," she says. "Just remember to take some time on your actual day to stop and take a moment to hold onto it. It will fly by, but your memories and photos will last forever."

Ceremony Venue: St. James Church || Reception Venue: Cedar Lake || Wedding Planner: Daughter of Design || Bride's Wedding Dress: Lazaro || Shoes: Jimmy Choo || Hair: Liam Carey || Makeup: Nam Vo || Bridesmaids' Dresses: Aidan Mattox || Mother of the Bride's Dress: Carmen Marc Valvo || Floral Design: Fleurs Floral & Event Design || Invitations & Paper Goods: Just Paper & Tea || Music: reception - Rhythm Collective, after-party - DJ Jason Blends || Catering: Cobblestone Catering || Cakes: Baked || Rentals: Luxe Event Rentals, La Tavola Fine Linen Rental, Broadway Party Rentals || Lighting: Bentley Meeker || Photography: Alicia Swedenborg

Prince William Is Breaking Tradition for His In-Laws

 Celebrity Wedding, Kate Middleton, News, Royal Wedding  Comments Off on Prince William Is Breaking Tradition for His In-Laws
Dec 312014
Prince William and Kate Middleton Christmas

Photo: Getty Images

Further confirmation that Prince William is the best husband ever: He breaks royal tradition to include his in-laws.

While the royal couple would traditionally spend Christmas with the Queen at her estate in Sandringham — what's customarily known as a royals-only event — Prince William insisted that his in-laws, Kate's parents, Carole and Mike, and her siblings, Pippa and James, were included.

And that they were! The Middleton clan were invited to join the royal family at church on Christmas morning, which, before this year, was completely unprecedented.

"This request would have come from William," Ingrid Seward, editor-in-chief of Majesty magazine told People. "William is making his own rules — he's not sticking to tradition but the Queen has to move with the times and she's good like that."

See more: A Slice of the Royal Wedding Cake Sold for How Much?!

For the holiday, the Prince, Duchess of Cambridge, and the Middletons all stayed at Will and Kate's new country home, Anmer Hall. This was the first Christmas Kate's family got to fully spend with little Prince George: Her brother James played soccer with Prince Harry at the Sandringham estate's yearly charity game on Christmas Eve, and sources also believe that the entire family was included in the royal's traditional Boxing Day shoot.

This was also, reportedly, the first Christmas Duchess Catherine hosted at her new country home.

"She would have done a very traditional Christmas and the table would have looked beautiful," Seward noted. "I'm sure they had party games as there were enough of them and they are a fun group."

The future is looking very bright for these two families. "They will definitely be at Anmer Hall every Christmas now. It's only two miles from the main house so it suits everyone," Seward added.

Prince William definitely wins son-in-law of the year for this act of kindness!

Glam Nail Polishes for a New Year’s Eve Wedding

 Hair & Beauty, Wedding Beauty  Comments Off on Glam Nail Polishes for a New Year’s Eve Wedding
Dec 312014
Nail Polishes New Year's Eve Wedding

Photo: Courtesy of vendors; Illustration by Christina Park

One reason we'll always love nail polish? It's an easy (and inexpensive!) way to add a little extra something to your look — especially when that look consists of a white wedding dress. We've rounded up a few subtly festive shades that are perfect for a New Year's Eve wedding, whether you're the bride, bridesmaid, or guest.

1. Dior Diorific Vernis in Mirror: This sheer, pearlescent polish is the definition of sophistication. It's a bit shimmery, but is sheer enough that it just gives your nails a healthy, shiny glow. We'd wear this one on our wedding day even if it weren't New Year's Eve. $27, available at Dior.

See more: Celebrity Manicurist Jin Soon Choi Shares Cool (and Easy to DIY) Bridal Nail Art.

2. Nicole by OPI Nail Polish in Carrie'd Away If you love all things ethereal (read: you swoon over Marchesa), you'll love this delicate gold glitter polish. One coat of this super pretty, not-too-showy polish catches the light just so. $5.99, available at Target

3. Revlon Nail Enamel in Diamond Texture: Most of the particles in this silver glitter shade are really fine, which makes it easy to brush on a seamless, even coat. There are a few slightly larger pieces mixed in, though, which creates an interesting texture when you look up close. So chic. $3.99, available at drugstore.com

4. Essie Nail Polish in Cocktail Bling: You don't have to wear sparkle to be New Year's Eve ready. This soft, greyish blue shade alludes to bling — without actually being glitzy itself. $8.50, available at Essie

See more: Manicure Trends: Deborah Lippmann Talks Wedding Nails!

5. Chanel Le Vernis Nail Colour in Paradisio: Leave it to Chanel to make a metallic, mint green nail polish that's not only pretty, but also wedding appropriate. Two coats of this shade create a pastel hue that looks so pretty against a white wedding dress. $27, available at Macy's

5 New Year’s Resolutions for Your Relationship

 Married Life, Relationships  Comments Off on 5 New Year’s Resolutions for Your Relationship
Dec 312014
New Years Resolutions to Make as a Couple

Photo: Getty Images

Who says your New Year's resolutions have to be all about you? In 2015, vow to strengthen the bond between you and your partner and make your marriage that much better by committing to any one or all of these five selfless relationship goals. Happily ever after is, indeed, possible!

Do the one thing you've been saying no to the most
If he's been wanting you to try rock climbing or ballroom dancing lessons all year, and you'd normally rather stick a fork in your eye than accompany him, just suck it up and do it, advises relationship expert and author April Masini. "The fact that he knows you've been saying no repeatedly and you're now doing this solely for him makes it that much better a resolution." After all, the more you're willing to give, the more you'll get in return.

Stop talking smack
Constantly rolling your eyes at the mere mention of getting together with his mom? It may not be full-on trash talk, but trust us, it definitely doesn't go unnoticed, notes Masini. "Whether it's his mother, boss, best friend or kids, resolve to be conscious and disciplined in stopping the negative behavior that you think is subtle and he hears and sees loudly and clearly."

Unleash your playful side
Feel like you've turned into a total nag as of late? Then it's time to get in touch with your playful side in 2015! "Laughter is not only fuel for your relationship, but it creates a special kind of intimacy and lightens the load of a heavy day," explains licensed psychologist Dr. Shannon Kolakowski, PsyD, author of When Depression Hurts Your Relationship. "Maybe it's watching a silly movie together, giggling over inside jokes or simply building a snowman in the backyard." Life is stressful enough as it is, so resolve to really let go next year and just have fun with your significant other.

See More: 8 Things Married Couples Are Doing Wrong in Bed

Shower him with compliments
When you've been with someone for years on end, you tend to focus on all the negatives as opposed to praising the positives. In 2015, try switching it up for a change. If you think he looks hot or you appreciate him helping you out with something, let him know, urges Dr. Kolakowski. "He can never hear it too often."

Become a better listener
Communication is the key to relationship success, and if there's one thing we could all work on in the New Year it's our listening skills. "Make a point to wait and hear your partner, then reflect back to them what you heard and ask them if that's what they really meant to convey so that you can get it right," recommends Dr. Gail Satlz, associate professor of psychiatry at The New York Presbyterian Hospital Weill-Cornel School of Medicine and author of The Ripple Effect: How Better Sex Can Lead To a Better Life. "When a partner feels listened to and understood by you they will likely reciprocate and then you will both feel a whole lot closer."

What's your New Year's resolution? Tweet us @BRIDES!

Once Upon A Time Star Rebecca Mader Is Engaged!

 Celebrity, Celebrity Wedding, News  Comments Off on Once Upon A Time Star Rebecca Mader Is Engaged!
Dec 312014

I'm engaged! ????????????????????????????

A photo posted by @bexmader on

Rebecca Mader's fairy tale has come true! Though she plays the Wicked Witch of the West on hit TV show Once Upon A Time, there is nothing wicked about the week she's been having. The British beauty announced that she and boyfriend Marc Kayne are engaged on Instagram while sporting a festive Santa hat.

Her caption for the photo was simple and to the point reading: "I'm Engaged." She went into a bit more depth on Twitter thanking her fans with a heartfelt, "Thank you for all your lovely messages of congratulations. Means a lot to me!"

From Mader's photo it's clear to see that Kayne has great taste: The radiant-cut stunner with a pavé diamond band and halo is surely enough to turn more than a few heads.

It wasn't long before the auburn-haired actress gave us yet another shot of the bling on Twitter with the caption "This is Ireland," a hearty beer in the frame and her ring-laden hand placed gently over her clutch.


Une photo publi??e par @bexmader le

The lovestruck bride-to-be also added another photo to her Instagram of a congratulatory slice of cake to mark the momentous occasion.

Mader's Once Upon A Time co-star Emilie Ravin wished the happy couple congratulations with a tweet that stated, "@marcuskayne Congrats!!!!!!! You and miss @bexmader and frigging cool peoples. Love YA both xoxoxoxo." How sweet! Love is clearly in the air for the cast — Mader and Kayne just attended the wedding of another one of Mader's co-stars, Sean Maguire, who remarried Tanya Flynn, his wife of two years.

See More: 5 Things Not to Do Right After You Get Engaged

Though Once Upon A Time is her most notable role, Mader has also appeared in hit film The Devil Wears Prada, and TV series Blue Bloods, Drop Dead Diva, and Work It. Kayne also works in the TV industry as a producer for reality show Do Or Die and The Big Bang Theory.

Congrats to the happy couple!

The Ultimate Guide to the Budget: How to Allocate Your Funds and Tricks to Stay on Track

 Brides Magazine February-March 2015, Budget, Wedding Budgets  Comments Off on The Ultimate Guide to the Budget: How to Allocate Your Funds and Tricks to Stay on Track
Dec 312014
Wedding Budget Saving Tips

Photo: Getty Images

Breaking down your wedding budget is one of the trickiest (yet most important) wedding planning tasks. Since creating this figure influences all of your other decisions — like how many guests you can invite, which meal options to select, and if you can spring for that pricey DJ — it's essential you select this figure correctly. Last week, we explained how to decide your on budget, so this week we're breaking down how much money to allocate to each particular part of your wedding and how to stay in the black throughout your planning process.

The average wedding costs around $30,000 and has about 150 guests. Use the handy guide below as a rough outline for spending breakdowns and adjust according to your priorities. Hiring a wedding planner? A day-of coordinator can charge $1,500 and up, while an event designer will cost around 10 percent of your budget.

— Venue and catering: 45% of your budget
— Photography and videography: 12% of your budget
— Wedding attire and beauty: 9% of your budget
— Music: 6% of your budget
— Rings: 6% of your budget
— Flowers: 5% of your budget
— Favors and gifts: 5% of your budget
— Transportation: 3% of your budget
— Stationery: 3% of your budget
— Cake: 2% of your budget
— Décor: 2% of your budget
— Miscellaneous: 2% of your budget

And keep these questions in mind: Is your dream venue (or that dress, or imported peonies, or whatever is currently weighing on your mind) nonnegotiable for you? If it will put you over budget, just cut down in another area that matters less to you. And if it isn't a deal breaker, then find another pick that you're sure to love just as much.

See More: The Money Talk: How to Merge Bank Accounts

To track your spending every step of the way, do what wedding planners do and create an Excel workbook or Google Doc. Here are the important elements to include.

Down the side of your document, break each category into its component's costs. For example, under "Bride's attire," make line items for the dress, accessories, and alterations.

Fill in columns with essential information. Every spreadsheet should include vendor contract information, estimated cost, actual cost, additional service fees, and tips, transportation and parking costs for off-site vendors, and taxes. Create a line for your grand total, and use the auto-sum function to add things up as you go.

Still stumped on how to stay above the bottom line? Plug your overall budget into the Brides budget tool and you'll get a personalized breakdown of how much you should spend on every part of the wedding. Plus, you can keep track of bill as they add up!

Don't forget to pick up Brides February/March 2015 issue, available on newsstands now or available for download here, for more great budget advice!

5 Things Not to Do When You’re Expecting an Engagement Ring

 Engagement, Engagement Rings, Proposals, Wedding Proposals  Comments Off on 5 Things Not to Do When You’re Expecting an Engagement Ring
Dec 312014

You know the time is coming. Maybe you and your boyfriend went ring shopping together a few months before, or you guy has been dropping hints. Whatever the case, you know the marriage proposal is imminent — and you plan to say yes! People always joke about what to do when you're expecting a baby, but for a soon-to-be bride's sanity, there are some tips that she might keep in mind for what to do when you're expecting an engagement ring.

1. Don't skip your regular manis.
Keep your hands and nails looking good just in case your future fiancé pops the question when you least expect it. Just because you knew it was coming doesn't mean you were prepared for him to get on bended knee during a random walk during the first snowfall. But, if he does pop the question, everyone under the sun is going to be looking at your hands in the immediate future. If you're a nail biter, stop now. If you should be using hand lotion daily in the cold weather, do it. Don't you want your hand to provide a beautiful background for that lovely ring?

2. Don't talk about it with too many people.
Choose one girlfriend to confide in. Only share with your mom or sisters if they can behave themselves over the holidays when they're likely to see him but he may not yet have done the deed. The last thing you need is a well-meaning sibling to say something and ruin the moment so that he ends up postponing rather than proposing. You'll want to share your anxiety with somebody, but try to choose the most discreet person in your life who will understand and keep it zipped.

See more: What Your Engagement Ring Says About You

3. Don't start buying bridal magazines or get caught cruising Pinterest for save the dates.
The fastest way to discourage the proposal is by making him feel pushed into it. You know it's coming — consider the wedding planning a fun privilege you get to begin after you get the bling.

4. Don't hunt for the ring
Your excitement will be dimmed a bit when you finally get the real thing because you've already seen it. Plus, you'll stress yourself out waiting for him to finally pop the question. Let him surprise you.

5. Don't expect fireworks, a string quartet, and a public declaration of love along with the proposal.
Many men choose a more private and sedate environment for such a serious question. Manage your own expectations and if you're not expecting something over the top, you cannot be disappointed.

Owner of Weddings in Vieques, a destination-wedding planning company off the coast of Puerto Rico, Sandy Malone has helped countless couples plan their big day since 2007.

Exclusive: Lauren Scruggs Shares How She Found Her Two Gorgeous Wedding Dresses

 Celebrity, Celebrity Weddings, Lauren Scruggs, Real Brides, Wedding Dresses, Wedding Planning  Comments Off on Exclusive: Lauren Scruggs Shares How She Found Her Two Gorgeous Wedding Dresses
Dec 312014
Lauren Scruggs Wedding Dress Fitting

Photo: Courtesy of Lauren Scruggs

Meet our latest real bride blogger, Lauren Scruggs, a former model and the founder and editor of LOLO Magazine, who overcame her own personal struggles after a plane accident. Lauren is giving us the inside scoop on how she planned her winter wedding to E! News host Jason Kennedy! From finding her dream dress and managing her guest list to balancing work, her relationship and moving into a new home, Lauren documented every step of the big-day process for BRIDES.

Before I went wedding dress shopping, I created a Pinterest board, browsed designer galleries online, and pinned options that I loved.

I had a pretty clear idea of my dream dress: I knew that I wanted a mermaid style dress. It was important that it fit my body well, but I also wanted it to look like a wedding dress. It's a special day, so I wanted to take that moment to find something that felt so much more spectacular than just a normal dress.

My mom, my twin sister Brittany, and my best friend, Shannon, went to Stanley Korshak — which is a family-owned department store in Dallas — to try on dresses the first week after I got engaged. They carry every designer and showcase such beautiful gowns. That first day I tried on eight dresses, and I was really torn between two. One was just so pretty, but I didn't quite feel like me in it. As were about to leave, I asked if I could try on the other dress I was considering just one more time.

Lauren Scruggs Wedding Dress Back

Photo: Courtesy of Lauren Scruggs

I put it on and I couldn't stop crying. I'm not a very emotional person. But it was this cry I couldn't hold in — I just loved it so much. I think that's how I knew it was the one. It's a beautiful, fitted mermaid wedding dress from Romona Keveza and it has layers of ivory and white, so it feels warm, romantic and very feminine.

An amazing designer from Dallas named Nardos Imam contacted me and asked if she could design a dress for me, but at that point I had already chosen my gown. So instead she made me a second dress to wear to my reception, and it was such a lovely experience. She created a light blush pink dress for me with a low back and beautiful big bow — it's so beautiful.

Finding my dress went pretty smoothly, but it's been a little more of a challenge with my bridal party. My twin sister is my maid of honor, and I'll have seven ladies total in my party. (Jason has 11 groomsmen, which we actually narrowed down from his original pick of 20!)

Picking a bridesmaid dress was actually harder than finding my own gown. We worked with Watters and we settled on a pretty sandy grey color.

Best day of my life! Can't wait to share our crazy journey with all of you next Monday night at 8/7c on E!

A photo posted by Jason Kennedy (@thejasonkennedy) on

Initially, we picked a purple dress in a different silhouette. I emailed one of my bridesmaids a photo of the new dress, and she told me she was unsure about it. I really wanted all of my girls to love what they're wearing, so I asked her to come see it in person before I made any final decisions. Luckily, she loved it!

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