4th of July Wedding Ideas That Are Anything But Cheesy

 Wedding Ideas, Wedding Style, Wedding Style & Decor  Comments Off on 4th of July Wedding Ideas That Are Anything But Cheesy
Jun 302016
 

In honor of the 4th of July, we put together a roundup of some of our favorite red, white, and blue wedding ideas to show you just how fun and festive it is to put a patriotic spin on your wedding day. Happy Independence Day!

Red, White, and Blue Bridal Bouquet (above): This fresh and whimsical bouquet features blooms like hydrangeas, ranunculuses, and anemones in an Americana-themed color palette.

Patriotic Socks: For a subtle nod to the occasion, have your groom and his groomsmen don socks in red, white, and blue.

Fourth of July wedding ideas

Photo: Ruth Eileen

Confetti Poppers: Instead of rice, have guests shower you with confetti in bright shades of red, white, and blue.

Ceremony Exit: Depart from the ceremony amid a sea of waving American flags.

Fourth of July wedding ideas

Photo: Kima Thomas

Drink Stirrers: Garnish your wedding cocktails with these fun watercolor-flag drink stirrers. Get the DIY tutorial here.

Cornhole: During cocktail hour, invite guests to play a few rounds of cornhole (painted with stars and stripes, natch!).

Fourth of July wedding ideas

Photo: Virgil Bunao

Streamers: If you're hosting an alfresco reception, create a pretty overhead canopy using strands of globe lights and red, white, and blue streamers.

How to Indulge in a Coastal Maine Road Trip Honeymoon

 Honeymoons, Honeymoons & Destination Weddings  Comments Off on How to Indulge in a Coastal Maine Road Trip Honeymoon
Jun 302016
 
Berry Manor Inn

Photo: Courtesy of Jumping Rocks Photography

For a honeymoon that's equal parts scenic cruising, New England charm, and delicious eats, look no further than Maine, whose rugged coasts and maritime ports of call are home to more than 60 lighthouses — the most of any New England state — and where the fresh catch of the day always includes local Maine lobster.

The best way to divvy up a week-long honeymoon so that you and your new hubby have time to see the sights (without needing to be on the move every day) is to spend two nights in three different locales along the coast, plus one or more nights in downtown Portland, an eclectic mix of Maine past and present.

Owls Head Lighthouse

Photo: Courtesy of PJ Walter Photo

The road trip follows Maine's picturesque Route 1, beginning with two nights along the state's southern coast in the historic Kennebunkport area, which is home to some of the state's best beaches and numerous lighthouses. Two must-see sights: The Nubble Lighthouse in York and the Portland Head Lighthouse, the state's oldest lighthouse (built 1787-1790), which stands at the entrance to Portland Harbor.

From here, head north towards the Rockland-Camden area, two quintessentially Maine towns. Home to the Maine Lighthouse Museum and the new Center for Maine Contemporary Art, Rockland is the Maine coast's cultural and creative hub, while Camden is known for its boutique shopping, luxe lodging, and world-class dining. Note that to see the Rockland Breakwater Lighthouse, time your visit accordingly — the mile-long breakwater path is only accessible during low tide.

Rockland Breakwater

Photo: Courtesy of MM Photo

No Maine road trip would be complete without a stop in Bar Harbor, the picturesque gateway to Maine's Acadia National Park, which happens to be celebrating its centennial this year. One of the nation's oldest national parks, Acadia embodies Maine's rugged, natural beauty in all its splendor: rocky bluffs, untamed wilderness, and the smell of fresh sea air. After driving the park's 27-mile Loop Road, get out and explore by foot; the park features more than 130 miles of hiking trails.

Where to stay? From historic inns, to B&Bs, to boutique hotels, Maine's coastal towns offer an array of lodging options. The New England Inns & Resorts Association has an easy-to-use search feature that's integrated with Google Maps, and Maine's official visitor website, VisitMaine.com, is another a great resource. Recent openings include boutique hotel 16 Bayview in downtown Camden and the Press Hotel in downtown Portland; the Cliff House, a Destination Hotel, is a luxe new property slated to open this summer along Maine's southern coast.

Saltair Waterfront Inn

Photo: Courtesy of PJ Walter Photography

Don't have time to plan a honeymoon on top of all the wedding planning? Inns Along the Coast, a collection of eight historic inns, offers a 6-night package where the only decision that you'll have to make is at which property to stay. The site also has a "Plan Your Trip" section with itineraries geared towards adventure, the arts and culinary interests — a helpful resource for any bride thinking about a Maine honeymoon. Add the Lobsters, Lighthouses & Luxury Along the Coast package to part or all of your honeymoon for a truly memorable experience, and why not? It is your honeymoon, after all!

See More: The 10 Most Unexpectedly Romantic Cities

Jillian Michaels’ 7 Commandments For Lasting Weight Loss

 Celebrity, Fitness and Health, Wellness  Comments Off on Jillian Michaels’ 7 Commandments For Lasting Weight Loss
Jun 302016
 
jillian michaels weight loss advice

Photo: Getty Images

If there's one woman who isn't afraid to get real about weight loss, it's Jillian Michaels. She's known for her badass, no-holds-barred approach to transforming lives on TV shows like The Biggest Loser and Sweat Inc., and she's made a name for herself as America's toughest trainer — with good reason. There's no doubt about it: The woman gets results.

I chatted with Michaels at an event for KRAVE Jerky, and, to be honest, I was a little nervous going in. Was she going to make me do 10 burpees on the spot? Would she grill me about what I ate for lunch? Neither of those things happened, but let's be clear, there's no on-screen persona to speak of: She's just as authentic, unapologetic, and passionate IRL, but in the loveliest way. I couldn't decide if I wanted her to be my trainer or my best friend.

Either way, though, Michaels has seen it all when it comes to weight loss: What works, what doesn't, and everything in between. And even if weight loss isn't your goal, these are the seven rules Michaels swears by:

1. Don't overeat (that means healthy foods, too).
"Weight maintenance and weight loss are about how much you're taking in," says Michaels. "I don't care how healthy the food is. Don't overeat!" she stresses. Granted, healthier foods will do a better job of fueling your body, but at the end of the day, a calorie is a calorie. If you are looking to lose weight, here's how to determine how many calories you should be eating each day.

2. Count your calories — but not forever.
While counting calories has a bad rap in some nutritional circles, Michaels considers it to be absolutely essential if you're trying to lose weight — and she doesn't budge on that opinion. "You must know the calories," says Michaels. "I can't tell you how many times people come to me and they're like, 'I can't lose weight.' Or 'I've plateaued.' And then I look at the simple math and I'm like, dude!" While calorie requirements for weight loss are different for every person, Michaels urges people to get an app to do the work for you — and once you get the hang of it, you can be conscious of the calories in your food without the technology.

"I know it by heart now. For example, I tend to eat the same 20 things, and I'm betting most other people do, too. The same three to five breakfasts, the same three to five lunches, the same three to five snacks — Look them up! You'll know every meal. For example, if I have two eggs for breakfast, and each egg is 80 calories, plus a piece of whole grain toast, which is about 80 calories, the whole breakfast is 240 calories, and now I know. Eventually, you can eyeball things. Two weeks of work and you'll know it forever."

3. Read labels and make eating quality, nutritious food your number one priority.
Even though calories are an important factor in weight loss, it's about quality, too. "Forget the special diets, like, 'I'm paleo!' 'I'm vegan!' The bottom line is, it's about the quality of your food. Get rid of the chemicals," she says. "Read the label. You have to be proactive about your own health in every possible way. And if you don't know what the hell it is, you probably shouldn't be eating it."

That doesn't mean all packaged foods are off-limits: For example, Michaels likes to snack on Sunbiotics almonds and KRAVE Jerky (who she's a spokesperson for). "I found KRAVE — they didn't come to me. I invested in the company," she adds. "No corn syrup, no MSG, no nitrates, it tastes great, it's protein, and it's low in calories." (She even read me the ingredients label to me to prove it.)

When it comes to eating for weight loss, she swears it's more simple than you think: "If you don't overeat and you're removing chemicals as often as you possibly can, that's all you need to worry about when it comes to your food."

See More: How Many Calories Women Should Eat For Weight Loss

4. Be consistent with exercise.
Eating right is only part of the equation when it comes to losing weight. That's where fitness comes in. Her number one rule for exercise is to be consistent. "Try to go at least four times a week, and try to get in at least four half-hour routines," she says. "Consistency is critical." So, no, you don't have to bust your butt in the gym five times a week for an hour each session to see results, according to Michaels. Ultimately you want to set up a regular and consistent habit that you can turn into a lifelong routine.

Who is ready for June?! Summertime is coming! ?????????? #June #Summer

A photo posted by Jillian Michaels (@jillianmichaels) on

5. Do a variety of workouts you actually like.
At the end of the day, it doesn't really matter what the "best" workout for weight loss is, says Michaels. "I could tell you exactly what to do, but if you don't like it, you're not going to do it," she says. "Find a few things that you enjoy, and then mix it up." Variety is key, Michaels explains. Keeping your workout routine varied (and constantly progressing), will help prevent injuries, boredom, and plateaus.

See More: Ab Exercises That You Can Do Anywhere

6. Up your workout intensity every two weeks.
"Make sure that you're constantly upping the ante. If it's a push-up you've been doing on your knees, go to your hands and feet. If you've been doing 10 reps, do 12. If you've been lifting 20 pounds, lift 25. Every two weeks, up the intensity a little bit." You can do that by picking up the pace, resting less between reps, increasing the weight, or trying more challenging modifications of your go-to exercises, she explains.

Aim for the sky, and then reach higher! What motivates you to achieve your goals? #dailyIMPACT

A photo posted by Jillian Michaels (@jillianmichaels) on

7. Most importantly, identify your "why" and write it down.
Your habits in the kitchen and in the gym are important, but your mindset is a major key to losing weight — and keeping it off. "Identify your why, and really go into detail," says Michaels. "Not like, I want better health. I don't know what that means. Maybe it's, I want to keep up with my two toddlers. I want to run the New York City Marathon. Those kinds of things. Post it everywhere, and emotionally connect to it. Because let's be honest: Pizza is going to taste better than chicken any day of the week. However, whatever it is that matters to you, if you give a shit about it, it's going to matter more than pizza."

The bottom line is that you don't have to follow a super-strict, no-pizza-ever plan. But you do have to make healthy choices on a regular basis. It's all about finding what works best for you.

See More: 10-Minute Fat-Burning Cardio Workout

You’ll Swoon Over This Romantic Celebration at a Stunning Historic Venue in Saratoga, New York

 New York, Real Weddings  Comments Off on You’ll Swoon Over This Romantic Celebration at a Stunning Historic Venue in Saratoga, New York
Jun 302016
 

Surprising Taraneh is no easy feat, but in August of 2014, Chris pulled it off. "Unbeknownst to me, when I was driving to Westchester for a work trip, Chris was in the car an hour behind me. I had checked into the hotel and heard a knock on the door. When I opened it, Chris was down on one knee with a ring in his hand!" Taraneh remembers.

The New York couple kept their wedding close to home, choosing the Hall of Springs in Saratoga for its historic charm and beauty. They invited 225 guests to join them there on October 9, 2015, making the most of the gorgeous location and the stunning changing leaves. The detail-oriented bride took on the planning herself, using blush, gold, and ivory to create a romantic and elegant celebration that was personal, cozy, and a whole lot of fun! Check out the stunning details, photographed by Twah Dougherty, below!

The blush theme was carried throughout the celebration, starting with Taraneh's pale pink Badgley Mischka pumps. She matched the crystal-capped shoes with a pair of dangling earrings and a beaded garter. Even her bouquet was in keeping with the romantic color palette, with blush and ivory Sahara roses interspersed with seeded eucalyptus and succulents.

The pair's classic invitation suite combined gold calligraphy with sweet drawings of the Saratoga area.

Guests were welcomed to town with baskets of Saratoga Springs water, custom cookies, popcorn, and hand-written cards from the bride and groom.

Taraneh went with the classic combination of lace and tulle for her soft, romantic Tara Keely wedding dress.

Complete with a drop-waist, the elegant silhouette featured layers of tulle and horsehair trim beneath a lace corset bodice. The groom donned a classic black tux to complement his Taraneh's ensemble.

"I've always known my bridesmaids would wear blush," says the bride. The girls donned Jenny Yoo gowns, with the maid of honor in a drop-waist silhouette. Their bouquets combined Sahara roses and eucalyptus leaves to match the bride. The groomsmen's tuxedos helped complete the formal look.

The ceremony took place beneath the venue's brick portico, with rows of gold Chivari chairs flanking the walkway. Arrangements of hydrangeas and greenery were set behind the chairs, with the ceremony taking place right in the middle of it all.

Where the two aisles met, roses and greenery were surrounded by floating candles for the couple's ceremony. "We were literally surrounded by our family and friends," says the bride.

The couple wrote a set of vows to exchange with one another during the ceremony, and further personalized this portion of the day by asking the bride's sister to read a love poem.

Beneath the venue's chandelier and surrounded by columns, round tables were set for the reception. The towering centerpieces combined ferns, hydrangeas, and roses in blush and peach tones, surrounded by floating candles. Those bottles of wine? Wedding favors!

For dinner, guests dined on beef tenderloin, potato-crusted salmon, chicken scallopini, and grilled vegetable napoleons.

Chris and Taraneh sat at a sweetheart table draped with a garland of greenery and roses. Floating candles cast a glow over the table, arranged on the floor and nearby cocktail tables to enhance the romantic feel.

The bride and groom's private table, bathed in candlelight, featured a lighter version of the reception's place settings, accented in gold.

Guests sipped Wedding Cake Martinis as they chose between three flavors of real slices: almond cake with strawberry filling, chocolate cake with raspberry filling, or vanilla cake with white chocolate mousse — all decorated with soft textured buttercream and cascades of blush Sahara roses.

When they weren't on the dance floor, the couple's guests could be found having their portrait drawn by caricature artists or smoking cigars on the patio.

"Being married surrounded by our guests gave the ceremony a feeling of intimacy," says Taraneh. She and Chris took an extended honeymoon, visiting San Francisco, Hawaii, and Las Vegas. "Wedding planning can be stressful at times," says the bride, "but working out the details will bring you closer to your family and friends than you could ever imagine!"

Ceremony & Reception Venue: Hall of Springs || Bride's Wedding Dress: Tara Keely || Shoes: Badgley Mischka || Jewelry: BHLDN || Hair: Julie Potter Master Stylist || Makeup: Kyle Anne Garcia || Bridesmaids' Dresses: Jenny Yoo || Groom & Groomsmen's Attire: Tuxego || Engagement Ring & Wedding Bands: Tacori; Hannoush Jewelers || Florist: Felthousen's Florist || Invitations & Paper Goods: Paper Dolls of Saratoga || Calligraphy: eDanae Studio || Music: The Accents Band || Catering: Mazzone Hospitality || Cake: Coccadotts Cake Shop || Rentals: Total Events LLC || Caricatures: Phil Singer; Rich Conley || Videographer: Clark + Walker Studio || Photographer: Twah Dougherty

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Want to see more parties just like this? Then check out another stunning New York wedding in the video below.

Foolproof Ways to Make Sure No One is Late to Your Wedding

 Etiquette, Planning Tips, Wedding Etiquette, Wedding Guests  Comments Off on Foolproof Ways to Make Sure No One is Late to Your Wedding
Jun 302016
 
late wedding guest

Photo: Getty Images

Wedding-day timelines are an absolute necessity. Knowing when vendors will arrive, what time your first look is scheduled, and when the band should be ready to play your first dance song keeps everyone on-track — if only you could distribute that pages-long, minute-by-minute timeline to your guests to make sure they're where you need them to be! The biggest timing detail guests need to keep in mind is the start time of your ceremony, so how can you make sure everyone shows up with time to spare? Here are a few tips to make sure no one is late to your wedding.

While you might be tempted to print an earlier time on your wedding invitations, resist the urge. Most guests know that a wedding ceremony will begin promptly at the time stated on the invitation, so they'll plan to arrive at least 20 minutes in advance to park and find a seat before you come down the aisle. If you tell guests the ceremony is at 5 p.m. instead of 5:30, they'll arrive at 4:45, which means they'll be waiting a full 45 minutes for you to make your appearance — not the way you want to start your celebration!

Instead, make sure the start time is clearly communicated, from your invitation and wedding website to the notes in guests' welcome bags. Worried about traffic? Include that, too! Advise guests to leave a little extra time for travel, whether it's due to a long-term construction project or a venue in a high-traffic area where parking can be tough.

A foolproof way to make sure guests arrive right on time is to eliminate the potential for human error and provide a shuttle service, instead. Distribute the shuttle schedule in your welcome bags, and have your shuttles leave with plenty of time to get to your venue. This will have everyone arriving exactly when you want them to, so no one will be late!

See more: 6 Things to Make Sure You Add on Your Day-Of Wedding Timeline

This Man Actually MARRIED His iPhone

 Celebrity, Celebrity Weddings, News  Comments Off on This Man Actually MARRIED His iPhone
Jun 302016
 

"I now pronounce you man — and smartphone..." Now those are wedding words you don't hear every day, that's for sure. While most people run off to Vegas and get married to another human (or go crazy at the clubs for their last hurrah in singeldom) — there's always the exception to the rule in Sin City. And just when you thought you'd seen it all...a man named Aaron Chervenak went to Las Vegas and married his iPhone.

Yes, you heard correctly. According to Yahoo, Chervenak, a Los Angeles resident, traveled to Las Vegas to marry his iPhone in a wedding ceremony at the Little Vegas Chapel. (Non-believers, we have the video to prove it below.)

"By the power given to me here in the state of Nevada, it is now my honor and privilege to announce you husband and smartphone," the officiant said. The groom even had a custom smartphone case made in which he could slide his ring finger into, resembling an actual real-life wedding ring (lolz). Before you get your panties in a twist and seriously worry that he is actually legally married to his iPhone — we have to mention that it appears to be a publicity stunt. The marriage is only recognized at the chapel, but the groom wanted to make a point to show how dependent people are on their phones by marrying his. And here with thought it was just because he thought the rose gold-colored iPhone was thaaat pretty.

"People are so connected to their phones," Michael Kelly of the Little Vegas Chapel shared in an interview with KCAL9 News. "They're with them 24 hours a day. They go to sleep with their cellphones. They wake up with their cellphones. Sometimes, it's the first thing that they check."

Even though the marriage won't be recognized outside of the chapel, this little publicity stunt definitely gets us thinking about how Vegas is useful for things other than bachelor and bachelorette parties.

Of course, we're assuming Chervenak will be committed to his current phone for the duration, but you never know — when that iPhone 7 comes out he may leave it for a younger, sleeker model. Hopefully that isn't the case, since marriage is meant to last forever — even if your spouse starts looking old! And as far as the honeymoon is concerned, one can only assume that a trip to the Apple headquarters may be on the horizon for their post-wedding vacay. That's one marriage that is definitely Steve Jobs-approved.

See More: Man Donates Kidney to Woman He Dated for Two Weeks — and Now They're Married

Does Kylie Jenner’s Snapchat Prove She’s Getting Married to Tyga?

 Celebrity, Celebrity Weddings, News  Comments Off on Does Kylie Jenner’s Snapchat Prove She’s Getting Married to Tyga?
Jun 302016
 
kylie-jenner-says-tyga-is-husband-main.jpg

Photos: Getty Images

Is Kylie Jenner the next one from the Keeping Up With The Kardashians clan to tie the knot? Well, after a shockingly revealing Snapchat she sent out last night, she just may be! The "Kylie Lip Kit" creator recently got back with her ex-boyfriend Tyga, and from the looks of it, the pair has nothing but smooth sails ahead (at least for now, that is).

In a short Snapchat clip posted to Kylie's account, the reality TV star is seen browsing a collection of fake nails, with patterns ranging from ying and yang signs to what appears to be an interesting rendition of Mickey Mouse — unless we're totally blind and crazy, which could totes be the case. But what really piques our interest is the Egyptian mummy nail art that Kylie zooms in on before she says, "This reminds me of my husband."

Repeat again?!

Apparently, according to People, Tyga has an Egyptian obsession which was made well-known when he dropped a cool $20,000 on an ACTUAL Egyptian tomb for his clothing store Last Kings. Even his 3-year-old son has ties to the rapper's admiration of Egypt, as he was (obvi) named King Cairo.

The question though remains — have the duo patched up their differences and decided to take the plunge? Or is the lip-tastic star into calling her boyfriend pet names like "husband?" For now, we won't know for sure. But that doesn't mean we can't dream of another over-the-top Kardashian wedding! Just imagine all of the wedding décor or dress trends the little sis would start. After all, we owe Kim Kardashian major thanks for starting the flower wall trend seen at so many wedding ceremonies today. And let us not forget Rob and Blac Chyna's upcoming nuptials, which is suuure to spark some major discussions throughout the social media accounts all over the world.

Let's be real though, we'd be totally excited to see the Kardashian family grow! What else would we do on Sunday afternoons than guiltlessly follow our fave reality TV fam?

See More: These Joyous Photos Prove Blac Chyna Is Being Welcomed Into The Kardashian Family

8 Celebrity Wedding Hairstyles for Brides with Long Hair

 Celebrity, Celebrity Style, Hair & Beauty, Wedding Hair  Comments Off on 8 Celebrity Wedding Hairstyles for Brides with Long Hair
Jun 302016
 
celebrity-wedding-hair-model-waves.jpg

Photos: Courtesy of Cindy Crawford via Instagram, Getty Images, Courtesy of Gisele Bündchen via Instagram, Courtesy of Style.com via Twitter

Celebs, they're just like us, right? If you mean they all have to plan their wedding hairstyles down to the last detail, just like you, that statement would be correct. From simple and shiny blowouts, to the perfect beach waves, and ornate braids, celebrities have to make wedding hair decisions just like you.

From Kate Middleton, to Whitney Port, and Cindy Crawford, we rounded up some of our favorite celebrity brides to absolutely nail the wedding hair game as they walked down the aisle.

Model Waves

No one does beach waves quite like those super models. Take a cue from the ultimate bohemian beach brides, Cindy Crawford and Gisele Bündchen, and let your natural texture shine through with just a little help from salty sea water — or sea salt spray if your not directly sea-de. Lily Aldridge and Kate Moss also perfected the look.

celebrity-wedding-hair-kate-middleton-kim-kardashian02.jpg

Photo: Getty Images and Courtesy of Kim Kardashian via Instagram

Sleek, Shiny, and Simple

We never thought we'd put these two in the same club, but if you want to keep things sleek and simple for your nuptials, look to these icons: Catherine, the Duchess of Cambridge, and Kim Kardashian both chose shiny blowouts for their big walks down the aisle. Kate's trademark tresses were lightly waved, and topped off with an exquisite accessory — a tiara from the Queen. Kim also kept her hair shiny and classic for her ceremony, but a bit more slick and modern. According to hair stylist Chris McMillan, a center part channeled visions of Ali MacGraw in Love Story, and the hair tucked behind her years in just the right places — with no doubt just the right amount of hair extensions. Everything to keep the focus on the out-of-this-world dress.

celebrity wedding hair carolyn bessette kennedy whitney port

Photo: Getty Images, Courtesy of Kylee Heath via Instagram

Cool Girl Hair

Listen up fashionistas out there rocking the resurgence of the 90s trends (chokers, bodysuits, high-waisted jeans, doc martens...), it's time to take inspiration from the OG style queen of that decade — Carolyn Bessette-Kennedy. With a sleek form-fitting Narciso Rodriguez dress, and even sleeker low chignon, Mrs. Kennedy was the picture of ultimate 90s minimalism. Looking for a millennial update? Take a cue from fellow-blonde beauty Whitney Port, who told BRIDES she took Bessette-Kennedy's trademark look as inspiration for her own nuptials. "Celebrity wise, I love Carolyn Bessette Kennedy, Audrey Hepburn, Bianca Jagger, and Lara Stone," Port said. The Hills star made the slicked back chignon modern with a low ponytail with a wrap around the base, leaving out the ends for an ultra cool alternative. Accessories are key to the update, and Port topped her 'do off with a single green fern.

Man Donates Kidney to Woman He Dated for Two Weeks — and Now They’re Married

 Celebrity, News, Real Brides  Comments Off on Man Donates Kidney to Woman He Dated for Two Weeks — and Now They’re Married
Jun 302016
 
kidney match marriage love story

Photo: Courtesy Match via Instagram

Think about the amount of time it takes to meet someone, date them, fall in love, and get married. Probably a few months at least — maybe even a few years. Now, imagine that you meet someone, go on a few casual dates, and then he or she needs something more than just your Friday night dinner accompaniment: one of your kidneys! That's exactly what happened to Natalie Russo and Mike Frias, a couple living in Santa Barbara.

Natalie Russo, a fitness instructor, and Mike Frias, an analyst, both 34, met on the dating website Match in 2014. According to People, after a few dates over the course of two weeks, Russo, a Michigan native, had to be rushed to the hospital for the unthinkable — kidney failure. But little did she know that this new man in her life would be THE ticket to her health (and happiness).

Thinking her new beau (of only four in-person dates) wouldn't hang around while she was in the hospital, Russo prepared for the worst. Her doubts about this new guy in her life, however, were completely wrong, as Frias not only helped her search for a donor, but also turned out to be the perfect kidney match for his new girlfriend. So, he made the ultimate sacrifice: decided to donate his kidney to the woman he had just met.

"I went to the doctor for a routine checkup and they did a blood test to see how my kidneys were doing. They called me the same night saying I needed to go to the ER because my blood work came back toxic," she shared exclusively with People, noting that after only a few dates, she had doubts that Frias would still be interested in her, considering her serious diagnosis. "I didn't know if [Mike] was going to stick around, we were really just starting to get to know each other. He was the only guy I was seeing at the time, so I called him and said, 'I'm in the hospital, I'm going to start dialysis and I need a transplant.'"

And just like that, her reservations about his intentions were lifted. Frias hurried to the hospital to be with his new girlfriend. "My initial reaction was that I needed to make arrangements for my dog so that I could be in the hospital with her," he lovingly noted.

The next few months consisted of Frias sitting bedside with his girlfriend, helping her find a donor. He worked his analyst job out of the hospital and even slept there, as he wanted to be by Russo's side 24/7. "Those days we talked morning and night and we shared ourselves," he said.

Talks grew into "I love yous" and after one of her surgeries, Russo realized that Frias was absolutely the man of her dreams — and that she wanted it to be forever. "When I came out [of surgery] I had this intense feeling to ask this amazing person that is staying by my side (that didn't run for the hills and not only gives me the purest love I have ever known but also makes me feel that same love for him) to marry me," she shared on their wedding website. "When I got back to the my room, Mike was doing some abs on the floor lol. I told him I had something to ask... He jumped up and I said nervously "will you marry me?" Without hesitation he said "yes" and gave me a sweaty kiss:-). " Just a short few days later, Frias came back with a ring and made it official — with one of the hospital nurses taping the whole event.

See More: The Most Adorable Real-Life Proposals

After months of searching, the couple couldn't find a kidney match for Russo, and so her husband-to-be decided to see if he was a match. "I would have done anything for her," Frias said about his choice to test his kidney. "We met at the right time, and that's just a testament that it was meant to be." And as fate would have it — he was a match! On March 21, 2016, the couple went under the knife and Frias successfully gave his kidney to Russo — only a few short months before their wedding. Now if that isn't a testament to the fact that everything happens for a reason, we're not sure what is.

"We wouldn't have gone on this journey together if we both weren't worth it to each other," Russo explained. "We really came together during this difficult time, our relationship bloomed and I now know we can get through anything together."

The two tied the knot on June 26, 2016 in an outdoor ceremony in Santa Barbara. Due to medical bills, they weren't able to go on a honeymoon right away, however, the dating website that linked them together, Match, generously helped fix that issue and fully funded a honeymoon trip to Fiji! Much deserved; congrats newlyweds — your story is truly a heartwarming test of "in sickness and in health."

Happy Friday to all.. For #Christmas #2015 I made the decision to give my fiance @danceintomydream a gift that would show her how much she means to me...and that is #LIFE!...because she is my life! I love this woman! Today 01/15...is #goodfriday because today I have been informed after my preliminary blood test from #MichiganStateLabs that I am A MATCH to be Natalie's kidney donor!!!!?????????????? We are so happy to recieve this news today to start our weekend. This news brings us a step closer in starting a family..we are looking forward to have our #minimis terrorizing our #pitbull #boxer #weimaraner and everything else in our life..lol God willin' we are hopeful and w/out any delays we will have our sugery by the of next month. I wanted to share this GREAT news with everyone, to all our friends and family from cali to #michigan. Please do continue to pray for us to no complications or delays in our process. This is perfect timing also because our #anniversary is around the corner.. I wonder if this counts as an anniversary gift too @danceintomydream ?????...I want to thank everyone in our efforts to campaign for a kidney... I encourage everyone to still get tested..its the most priceless and selfless gift you can give to someone..the gift of life! Have a great weekend everyone ????..to all my MI peeps be careful driving in the snow..to my cali peeps try to stay dry.. #F2HN #wearetrulymeant2be #shellalwayshaveapartofme #literally #mylove #myfamily #cali2michigan #puremichigan #puremittigan @michiganders #donatelife @kidneydiseaseawareness #hudsonville #grandrapids #grandrapidsmi #anniversarygift

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The 7 Telltale Signs Your Man Is Ready for Marriage

 Relationships  Comments Off on The 7 Telltale Signs Your Man Is Ready for Marriage
Jun 302016
 
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Photo: Getty Images

If you're emotionally and mentally ready to tie the knot, you might simply assume your partner is too. "Most people really don't think about being ready," warns Lesli Doares, marriage coach and author of Blueprint For a Lasting Marriage. And that means, she says, that your partner could just be going through the motions with you. So before you take that next step, our expert says, here's how to see for yourself if your partner is as ready as you are.

1. He is available to you.
If your partner is ready for marriage, he will be there for you consistently, Doares says. What does that look like? "He will answer your calls and texts without undue delay," Doares describes. "He will offer to include you in most of his hobbies and activities. And he may still keep some things for himself, like the guys' annual golf trip, but to the world, you are an established couple."

2. He's got no doubts.
A man who's ready for marriage hasn't shown any doubts when it comes to you, says Toni Coleman. "During the course of a relationship, one or both partners may pull back, express doubts, or send messages that they feel things are moving too fast for them," says Coleman. "If he has done this, especially more than once, that is a red flag." A man who is ready, on the other hand, "has shown no hesitation that you are the one for him," she says.

3. He's got plans, and he isn't afraid to share them.
Doares says that a man who makes plans with you for the future and wants to share those plans with his family and friends is likely ready for marriage. "Being identified as his future partner is stating your role in his life to others who are important to him," she explains. "And making his intentions public is a declaration of his commitment to you." On the flip side, "if his life plans don't actively include you, he isn't thinking of marriage," Doares warns. "If he wants to be married to you, then he will talk about it openly and without hesitation."

See More: 8 Signs Your Relationship Is Headed For Marriage

4. He's been consistent in his commitment.
A man who's ready for marriage isn't wishy-washy in his commitment to you, says Coleman. She describes a scenario in which a man professes his love for his you only to later raise concerns about marriage itself. "If eventually you wear him down and say you need the commitment in order to stay together, he may be agreeing just to keep you in his life," she warns. "This is a guy who is not ready for marriage due to unresolved issues he should address first."

5. He's an open and honest communicator.
You want the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth from a man who's ready to tie the knot, says Doares. "While it is okay to keep some thoughts private, the important stuff is on the table," she describes. "You know what is important to him and how he is feeling about you and the relationship at any given time. No topic is off limits and you know that your input is valued and desired."

6. He treats you with respect.
Whether you're home alone or out with friends, a man who's ready for marriage shows he loves and respects you. "His affection is always evident and he makes you a priority, even when out you're out with friends, family, or coworkers," says Coleman. "Men who behave one way when you are alone together and another when others are present are not ready for long-term commitment and marriage."

7. He makes you feel safe, supported and loved.
With a man who's ready to tie the knot, "you can be yourself at all times," says Doares. "There is respect and kindness in his words and actions. You don't feel belittled or less than even if he isn't happy with you. He stands with you and has your back when you are struggling. Your priorities become important to him."

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