Totally Over-the-Top Cake Wedding Cakes from Real Weddings

 Brides Magazine April 2016 - May 2016, Cakes, Wedding Cakes  Comments Off on Totally Over-the-Top Cake Wedding Cakes from Real Weddings
Apr 172016
 
Elaborate Wedding Cake Photos

Photo: Catherine Gratwicke

While we've been loving the single-tiered sweets and alternative confections (wedding pies, ice cream, donuts — oh my!) being served at modern matrimonies, one thing's for sure: Our wedding cake sweet tooth will never be satisfied! And that's why we're officially obsessed with showstopping sweets, over-the-top confections, and wedding cakes as big as the day itself. If you're looking for a wedding day sweet treat to make your guests' jaws drop (and stomachs rumble), you've definitely come to the right place...

These extravagant confections have got us ohh'ing and ahh'ing, and practically drooling. From towering tiers to a garden's worth of floral decorations, these wedding cakes are a princess bride's dream come true. Totally fit for royalty (even Kate Middleton would be jealous!), these big day sweets make for an unforgettable finish to luxe, lavish nuptials.

"A memorable cake can pull all the aesthetics of a wedding into a unifying focal point," says cake couturier Penny Stankiewicz of Brooklyn's Sugar Couture Cakes. "It's not only a cake — it's décor." And decadent décor at that!

Now, without further adieu, brace your bouquets for these crazy cake confections — all from real weddings!

White Wedding Cake with Butterflies

Photo: Aaron Delesie

For their California garden wedding, Sarah Rorrer and Brad Somberg paid homage to their alfresco locale with a realistic flurry of sugary butterflies, fluttering about their three-tiered cake.

Naked Wedding Cake with Flowers

Photo: Robert Fairer

It looks like Ashley Shaw Scott and David Adjaye picked the entire royal garden for the decadent dessert at their London wedding. We bet that the lush, overflowing cascade of roses down the otherwise-naked cake smells (and tastes!) just as sweet as it looks.

Wedding Cake with Feathers

Photo: Baker Evans Photography

Lacey and Aaron tied the knot at the castle were Downton Abbey was filmed, so of course they were in need of a cake just as luxe as their locale. The couple served a towering modern cake decorated with rice paper feathers.

White Wedding Cake with Sugar Flowers

Photo: Bamber Photography

Kelly Fitzgerald and Paul Chapman kept the color palette clean and classic with their all-white traditional wedding cake, and then glitzed out the look with hundreds of sugar flowers.

See More: 18 Lovely Lace Wedding Cakes

Nautical Wedding Cake

Photo: Christian Oth Studio

For their tropical seaside nuptials, Erin Kubicka and William Connelly got nautical by pairing black and cream colored stripes with lush, full hydrangeas.

Gold Metallic Wedding Cake

Photo: Damon Tucci Photography

A golden, glowy hue, towering tiers, and lavish edible décor that included butterflies, vines, and big blooms? Now, that's what we call a metallic masterpiece!

Pick up the BRIDES April/May 2016 issue, on newsstands now and available for download here. And subscribe now for the best wedding dresses, advice, and big-day inspiration.


Apr 142016
 
Wedding Gift Etiquette Questions

Photo: Getty Images

Can you really register for a mortgage? Send digital wedding invites? Say no to a bridal shower? Many of the old wedding rules have gone the way of the dowry. No longer is Emily Post dictating every step of your journey to the altar. In fact, engaged gals around the country are re-writing the rule book when it comes to nuptial protocol, so we're here to give you the low-down on the wedding world's new etiquette guide on every aspect of your big day. You'll be the new and approved soon-to-be Mrs. Manners in no time. Read, adjust accordingly, and if Grandma gives you grief, tell her BRIDES said so! Next on our list, we're tackling all your great gift Q's, from registry reservations to asking-for-cash conundrums...

Now that we can register pretty much everywhere, is there anything we shouldn't ask for?
No Manolos... Just items you can use as a couple to build your home or life. "Register at two or three places tops, and have a good range of options, from lower end to higher," says Tamra Sanford of NYC's Ever Swoon.

How many presents should we register for?
"Have more items on your registry than wedding guests," says Allison Jackson of Pineapple Productions in Washington, D.C. "If you're planning a wedding for 200 guests, have around 250 items, with at least a quarter of those being inexpensive, a couple big-ticket items, and the rest in between." Why so many? Some invitees will want to gift you for the shower and again for the wedding.

How do we spread the word about our various online registries?
Never include the info on or with your invite — that's still considered tacky. Instead, on your save-the-date, note your wedding website, and from there link to your registries. Guests who aren't web savvy will ask someone in your family or a bridesmaid for the info, and they'll be grateful for at least one site with brick-and-mortar locations.

If we don't want gifts, can we say so on the invitation?
You saints! But no. You can announce it on your wedding website or disseminate the info through word of mouth, but never mention gifts (even the lack thereof) on the invite.

Is it really OK to register for our honeymoon?
It is. Most guests will be just as happy to contribute to your amazing 10 days in Bali as they would be to buy you a pizza stone. Still, ask for some actual stuff too for traditionalists.

What's the best way to ask for cash?
First, don't feel weird about it. 91 percent of brides say they want cash as much or more than all the other things they registered for. Use a cash gift registry like Tendr, which sends a custom e-card with the amount, or a down-payment registry like Hatch My House, and explain what you'll put the money toward (a house, a car, the honeymoon). "Never ask for cash directly," says Jackson. "On your wedding website, say something like 'Rather than china or linens, we'd love for you to help us buy our dream home.'"

I have friends coming to the shower, bachelorette, and wedding. Should they bring gifts to all?
Yes to the shower and wedding, but gifts are not expected for the bachelorette, because they'll be covering your meals, drinks, and activities.

Does the one-year rule on gifts still apply?
When anyone can ship anything anywhere in two days, that one's void. The new rule is three months, say most of our go-to planners. If you haven't received a gift by 90 days after the wedding, you can assume the guest forgot about it and shrug it off. Because there's no tactful way to say, "You owe me a toaster."

See More: Everything You Need to Register For

I'm getting presents before the wedding. Is it weird to send thank-yous ahead of the big day?
Not at all. It's a time saver that's totes acceptable. Though you technically have six months after the wedding to send your thank-you's, it's ideal to get them out within two months. Note: If you're changing your name, never use the new one (or its monogram) until after the wedding.

Is it OK to return gifts we didn't register for?
Yes. Don't worry about hurt feelings. If a friend is close enough to you to try to guess your taste in espresso machines, she should also be close enough that you can tell her, in a nice way, that she guessed wrong.

Pick up the BRIDES April/May 2016 issue, on newsstands now and available for download here. And subscribe now for the best wedding dresses, advice, and big-day inspiration.

The Best Ways to Share and Save Guests’ Photos of Your Wedding

 Brides Magazine April 2016 - May 2016, Wedding Photography  Comments Off on The Best Ways to Share and Save Guests’ Photos of Your Wedding
Apr 122016
 
best ways gather and save guests photos

Photo: Getty Images

Thanks to cell phones and social media, every single one of your guests can play the role of wedding photographer. Unless you've banned technology at your event, your guests will be able to catch special moments you may have missed and, let's face it, your photographer can't be everywhere at once! But after your guests take and share pictures of your gorgeous wedding, you'll want ways to share and save all those fun iPhone shots. Our expert suggestion? Be proactive and use social media to your advantage.

Create a hashtag.
Get the word out early by adding the hashtag to your wedding website, save-the-dates, and captions in any pre-wedding posts. On the day of, include it on the program, cocktail napkins, or signs near the place-card table.

Set up a hub.
Ask guests to download a photo and video-sharing app like WedPics, Wedding Party, or Moments by Facebook so everyone can exchange images during and after the wedding weekend.

Share in real time.
Have your reception venue set up a projector to display tagged images. Or stream video on apps like Hang W/, Ustream, or Periscope so friends who can't attend can still watch you walk down the aisle.

See More: How to Use Technology to Plan Your Wedding in 2016

Make Your Photos Last
"In this digital age, it's so important to preserve your images," says Murray. "Think about how your grandparents' album has withstood the test of time, and make sure your photos go the distance too."

1. Frame then, Art.com's new Frame Your Art service provides quick and easy customization. Plywerk offers cool screen prints on bamboo or birch wood.

2. Bind them. Use upscale sites like Artifact Uprising, Mpix, or Adoramapix to DIY, or take a hands-off approach via Tweed Wolf, a company that selects, arranges, proofs, and prints an album in just a few weeks (from $270).

3. Store them. Back up the photos to an external hard drive and the cloud. (Try user-friendly Dropbox or Apple's iCloud.) Keep the hard drive in a separate location, like your parents' house. Every few years, transfer your photos to the latest storage technology.

Want more genius planning tips? For the best wedding dresses, advice, and big-day inspiration, pick up the BRIDES April/May 2016 issue, on newsstands now and available for download here!

BRIDES Beauty Awards 2016: The Best Body Products

 Brides Magazine April 2016 - May 2016, Hair & Beauty, Wedding Beauty  Comments Off on BRIDES Beauty Awards 2016: The Best Body Products
Apr 122016
 
beauty awards makeup edition 2016 body

Photo: Getty Images

Looking your very best on your wedding day has a lot to do with feeling your very best. Just like eating well and exercising is an essential pre-wedding regimen, so is treating your body (namely, your skin) well. We've already brought you our editor-approved picks for everything from skincare products and face makeup to eye and lip winners, and hair care essentials, but none of those products will do the trick without a great base to work from.

The editors at BRIDES tested hundreds of products to bring you the very best for all things beauty, and these 9 body necessities are our new go-tos for a beautiful body.

1. Teeth Whitener: Crest 3D White Whitestrips Luxe Supreme FlexFit, $65
Need to undo the dingy damage from your daily coffee before those engagement photos? Two weeks out, start sticking on these actually-pleasant-to-use strips. "They stay on your teeth, unlike others I've used," says one tester.

2. Body Scrub: Dermalogica Exfoliating Body Scrub, $36
One editor's scaliest patches were no match for this creamy exfoliator. "I felt as if I uncovered a new layer of skin every time I used it," says this tester, who also went nuts for the zingy citrus-lavender scent.

See More: Wedding Morning Bridal Beauty Tips

3. Body Lotion: Jergens Hydrating Coconut Lotion, $3.24
There's coconut oil in the formula for extra softening power — but no greasiness. "It made my skin so silky, and the light, tropical scent reminded me of our honeymoon," says one editor.

4. Body Cover-Up: Dermablend Leg & Body Cover, $31
Bruises, scars, and tattoos are no match for this heavy-duty formula that one colleague mistook for sheer pantyhose — in a good way! Out of all the ones we tried, this stayed put the best. (We wiped it with a white washcloth — zero transfer.)

5. Body Wash: Dove Deep Moisture Nourishing Body Wash, $5
Rich and almost lotion-like, this favorite among beauty editors renders skin crazy soft. And "the scent is heaven. It left me smelling clean, not perfumed," says our tester.

6. Self-Tanner: James Read Sleep Mask Tan Body, $60
Smooth this cult fave on before bed (it's packed with good-for-your-skin ingredients like hyaluronic acid and aloe vera) and wake up with smooth, subtly glowing skin. Said our tester, "I loved that it looks natural and has practically zero smell. And my boyfriend loved it because it didn't stain the sheets."

Want more genius planning tips? For the best wedding dresses, advice, and big-day inspiration, pick up the BRIDES April/May 2016 issue, on newsstands now and available for download here!

Apr 102016
 
Summer Wedding Tablescape Idea

Photo: Christopher Testani; Styling by Jocelyn Beaudoin

Ceremony décor? Check. An in-season bridal bouquet? Done. But your reception tabletop défor? Well, that could actually use a little work. Go beyond just the basic centerpiece with wedding reception tables that are perfectly in-sync with your "I do" season.

Whether you're planning a springtime soireeé or a fall fête, these just-too-pretty tabletops are guaranteed to be a blooming success. It doesn't matter if you're a summer bride or winter-loving lady, you're bound to get inspired by these sweet settings.

(Above): Summer
Mix and match patterns in classic hues to amp up the chic factor. Unexpected centerpieces like bundles of muscari blooms and bowls of lemons complete the look.
Flowers, magnolia leaves, lemons, and blue muscari, price upon request, Michael George; Pedestal bowls, $18 to $30, Jamali; "Blue Fluted Half Lace" dinner and dessert plates, $180 to $220 each, Royal Copenhagen available at Gracious Style; "Charlotte Street West" striped accent and tidbit plates, starting at $19, Kate Spade New York available at Macy's; "Bali" five-piece flatware set, $75 per five-piece place setting, Cutipol available at Horne; "Superleggero" riesling/zinfandel glasses, $139, Riedel; "Vintage Ombre" double-old-fashioned glasses, $49 for four, Marquis by Waterford; "Allee Royale" blue and green floral bread-and-butter plates, $82, Raynaud available at Gracious Style; "Rachael" blue floral tea saucers, $60, Herend; Pastry, starting at $28, François Payard; Cookies, $5 each, Eleni's New York; "Lemons Blue & White Ginger Jar" place cards, $4.50 for eight, Hattan Home; "Paloma" salt and pepper shakers, $80, Mary Jurek Design available at Table Art Online; "Labra Holds 5" candelabra, $25, CB2; "Festival" napkins, $58 for four, Sferra; Tablecloth, $145, Sferra

Fall Wedding Tablescape Idea

Photo: Christopher Testani; Styling by Jocelyn Beaudoin

Fall
Think black dahlias, spray roses, and chocolate cosmos aside pomegranates and russet leaves to create Insta-worthy autumnal arrangements. "For a super-elegant but cozy reception, pair your favorite jewel tones with rich gold accents and candles — the more the better!" suggests BRIDES' Senior Wedding Style Editor, Kate Donovan.
Flowers, dahlias, spray roses, and chocolate cosmos, starting at $325, Bourgeon by Amy Febinger; "Plumes" leaf-bordered dinner and bread-and-butter plates, $56 to $86, Haviland available at Gracious Style; "Avington" banded dinner and side plates, $162 to $244, William Yeoward Crystal; "Malmo" five-piece flatware set, $90, Kate Spade New York available at Macy's; "Fanny" goblets, $99, William Yeoward Crystal; "Rosy Cheeked" champagne flutes, $68 for two, BHLDN; "Kartio" tumblers, $22 for two, Iittala available at FinnStyle; "Flora" table numbers and place cards, $65 to $90, Hello Tenfold; Branch candleholder, $140, Janice Minor available at Horchow; Macarons, $30 for 12, François Payard; "Festival" napkins, $58 for four, Sferra; Tablecloth, $145, Sferra; "Andanza Copper" wallpaper, $140 per roll, Laundry Studio available at Hygge & West

Winter Wedding Tablescape Idea

Photo: Christopher Testani; Styling by Jocelyn Beaudoin

Winter
If silver is your sparkle of choice, opt for cool whites over anything with cream or beige undertones. "You can never go wrong with white on white," says Hannah Baker, Associate Wedding Style Editor here at BRIDES. "Add in metallics for a shining nighttime affair."
Flowers, white cyclamen, price upon request, Michael George; "Car??rara" marbled dinner and salad plates, $54 to $95, Dibbern available at Table Art Online; "Tac 02 Platinum Filet" platinum-edged dinner, salad, and bread-and-butter plates, $25 to $48, Rosenthal available at Gracious Style; "Clair de Lune Uni" bread-and-butter plate, $55, Haviland available at Gracious Style; "Ice" flatware, $1.90 to $3.90 per piece, Zara Home; "Olivia" wine and champagne glasses, $64 for two, B by Brandie; "Marta" double-old-fashioned glasses, $1.95, CB2; "Black & Vellum" menus, $1.34, Hartford Prints; Place card holders, $195 for six, L'objet; Table numbers, $10, Gauge NYC; "Selenite" votive holders, $25 to $35, Z Gallerie; "Axum" tea lights, $3.95, Z Gallerie; Pastry tray, $25, CB2; Candy cubes, starting at $7, Sugar??fina; "Frost" napkins, $78 for four, Sferra; "Festival" tablecloth, $145, Sferra

See More: 18 Long, Banquet-Style Wedding Tables

Spring Wedding Tablescape Idea

Photo: Christopher Testani; Styling by Jocelyn Beaudoin

Spring
For the season that's in full bloom, overflowing vases take center stage, while plates and menus with quiet floral patterns make a sophisticated supporting cast. "Gray and taupe neutrals make this pastel palette feel grown-up and gorgeous," points out our Wedding Style Assistant, Michela Hattabaugh.
Flowers, ranunculus, tulips, and calla lilies, starting at $325, Bourgeon by Amy Febinger; "Terrace" dinner and salad plates, $48 to $120, Vista Alegre available at Michael C. Fina; "Scandinavian Floral" dinner plates, $46, Twig New York; "Arc en Ceil" bread-and-butter plates, $85, Robert Haviland & C. Parlon available at Mottahedeh; "Malmo" five-piece flatware set, $90, Kate Spade New York available at Macy's; "Savoy" white wine glasses, $64 for two, LSA available at Jungle NY; "Rosy Cheeked" coupes, $68 for two, BHLDN; Die-cut floral menus, $740 for 100, Umama; Calligraphy Price upon request, Deanna Kamal; "Horn" salt cellars, $45 per set, Table Art Online; Candy, starting at $7, Sugarfina; "Festival" napkins, $58 for four, Sferra; Tablecloth, $145, Sferra; "Andanza Copper" wallpaper, $140 per roll, Laundry Studio available at Hygge & West

Pick up the BRIDES April/May 2016 issue, on newsstands now and available for download here. And subscribe now for the best wedding dresses, advice, and big-day inspiration.

Apr 082016
 
Iceland Bachelorette Party Wedding and Honeymoon

Photo: Getty Images

With some of the wildest scenery and nightlife on earth, Iceland is one cool place to celebrate. Grab your girls, your guests, or your guy, and head to this amazing getaway for all your wedding festivities.

The Bachelorette Party
To Stay: Icelandair Hotel Reykjavik Marina
From mid May to early August, the sun is up all night and you and your crew will be too. Stay at this hip airline-owned hotel, within stumbling distance of Reykjavik's coolest bars. Bonus: Its lounge serves the best tipples in town. (Doubles from $170, Icelandair Hotel)

To Eat: Fridrik V
At this locavore-centric eatery, each course comes with Icelandic beer and fun details about the provenance of the dish's ingredients. (You can thank Helga, the resident milking cow from the farm down the road, for that crème brûlée. Seriously.)

To Do: Super Jeep Tour
Swap heels for crampons and jump in a 4x4 to explore glaciers and volcanoes with Midgard Adventure. Do a day trip or spend the night in a hut slinging back Brennivin (the local liquor) with your super-buff guides.

See More: How to Have Your Bachelorette Party, Wedding, and Honeymoon in Los Cabos

The Wedding
To Stay: Hotel Egilsen
The most epic place to say "I do" is on the Snaefellsnes peninsula, home to a breathtaking dormant volcano. Have guests post up nearby at the 10-room Hotel Egilsen, a former merchant's manse that blends sea-shanty charm and a mod Scandinavian aesthetic. (Doubles from $232, Hotel Egilsen)

To Eat: Hotel Budir
Kick off your weekend with a rehearsal dinner at this countryside inn on the edge of a moonscape-like lava field. Along with insane local lamb and mussels, expect impeccable service and a rustic-chic ambiance.

To Do: Church Mountain
What better backdrop for your vows than Kirkjufell, a.k.a. Church Mountain? (Extra points if it's officiated by a Nordic chieftain.) Party afterward among columns of H20 collected from glaciers at the sleek Library of Water.

The Honeymoon
To Stay: Hotel Djupavik
After a few days in Reykjavik, escape to the remote Westfjords, known for its waterfalls, wildlife, and folklore. Check in to the region's most historic digs and eat homespun stews, visit its herring factory turned art installation, and take in the #nofilter fjord views.
(Doubles from $90; Hotel Djupavik)

To Eat: Malarhorn Guesthouse
Go to Grimsey Island to see the puffins, then stop in Drangsnes, a quaint waterfront village, for fresh seafood. Sign up for the hotel's fishing excursion and dine on your catch at the restaurant for dinner.

To Do: Krossneslaug Geothermal
Krossneslaug Geothermal pools are everywhere in Iceland. This one, flanking a black-sand beach with nary a neighbor in sight, is one of the sexiest spots to chill after a morning of Arctic-fox watching in the Hornstrandir Nature Reserve.

Want more genius planning tips? For the best wedding dresses, advice, and big-day inspiration, pick up the BRIDES April/May 2016 issue, on newsstands now and available for download here!

Apr 072016
 
beauty awards makeup edition 2016 hair

Photo: Courtesy of vendors; Illustration by Katie Buckleitner

One thing is for certain, every bride wants to look like the very best version of herself on her wedding day. Whether you're hiring a professional hair and makeup team, or going it alone, you need to know that the products you're using will deliver the results you want. To help you get those perfectly tousled, bouncy, and shiny wedding day locks, the editors at BRIDES tested hundreds of hair products to bring you the very best for all things beauty in 2016.

We've already shared our favorite skincare picks, face makeup, and eye and lip winners, so this week we're bringing you our editor-approved hair care products and tools.

1. Deep Conditioner: Kélrastase Nutritive Masquintense Thick, $63
Last year's winner smoothed away the competition yet again. "This cream makes your hair soft and manageable without adding buildup," says our tester. "It's the best ever!"

2. Defrizzer: Garnier Fructis Sleek & Shine Anti-Frizz Serum, $5.99
We applied this silicone serum on a steamy day, blew out our frizz-prone hair, went outside, and held our breath. Nary a wayward hair in sight. Sold.

3. Volumizer: John Frieda Luxurious Volume Fine to Full Blow-Out Spray, $9.99
Applied pre-blowdry, it delivers allover body minus the stiff helmet-head effect. Our finer-haired staffers are obsessed.

4. Shampoo and Conditioner: Oribe Signature Shampoo, $38, and Conditioner, $39
This duo leaves all hair types silky and well behaved. "I didn't need any extra products to prevent frizz," says one unruly-haired fan.

See More: See All the Winners of the BRIDES 2016 Beauty Awards

5. Hairspray: Fekkai Sheer Hold Hairspray, $20
Leave the rock-hard updos where they belong: in your prom photos. "The mist holds but lets your hair move," says our tester of this perennial fave.

6. Curl Cream: Bumble & Bumble Bb. Curl Defining Cream, $31
This rich formula moisturizes without deflating your curls. Translation: freaking awesome definition.

7. Texturizer: TRESemmé Perfectly Undone Sea Salt Spray, $6.99
Spritz on damp hair and blow-dry with a diffuser to look like you spent the day at the beach.

8. Curling Iron: Harry Josh Pro Tools 2-in-1 Ceramic Marcel Curling Iron, $175
Basic curling iron or wand? It's both! Use this double-duty
tool as a traditional iron to create defined curls, or remove the clamp for pretty beachy waves.

9. Dry Shampoo: Paul Mitchell Dry Wash Express Dry Waterless Shampoo, $22
On day two (or three) of a blowout, use this for a quick refresh. Says one editor, "It left no residue and made my hair look — and smell — fresh."

10. Blow Dryer: T3 Featherweight Luxe 2i, $250
Hairstylists go nuts for this baby, and we can see why. "I have long, thick hair, and the T3 made it sleeker than my old dryer in half the time," raves one convert. "It's worth the cost!"

Want more genius planning tips? For the best wedding dresses, advice, and big-day inspiration, pick up the BRIDES April/May 2016 issue, on newsstands now and available for download here!

The Shape of Things: Modern Structural Updates on Your Favorite Wedding Dress Silhouettes

 Brides Magazine April 2016 - May 2016, Wedding Dresses  Comments Off on The Shape of Things: Modern Structural Updates on Your Favorite Wedding Dress Silhouettes
Apr 072016
 
Wedding Dresses with Tiers

Photo: Jason Kim; Styling by Eric Nicholson

From a body-con dress that hugs your curves to bountiful ballgowns that are full and regal, the bridal runways are ripe with gorgeous geometrical masterpieces. Structural sheaths, too-cool necklines, and modern daring details are freshening up frocks for an update to some of our favorite mainstay trends. Looking for classic cuts made to fit the 2016 bride? Say no more. Here's how these structural silhouettes are shaping up.

Tiers (Above)
Kicky layers of tulle ensure everyone will indeed watch you Nae Nae. (Silk and lace gown, $3,795, Leanne Marshall; Hair crown, Twigs & Honey; Necklace, Ilana Ariel)

Wedding Dresses with Long Sleeves

Photo: Jason Kim; Styling by Eric Nicholson

Long Sleeves
Sheer details bring the sexy to these full-coverage looks. (From left: Dress with beaded chevron stripes, price upon request, Naeem Khan available at Bergdorf Goodman; Ring, David Yurman; Clutch, Jimmy Choo; Sneakers, Converse; Silk-crepe and lace dress, $4,995, Lela Rose; Ring, Jade Trau for Forevermark; Sneakers, Converse)

Wedding Dress with Deep V Neckline

Photo: Jason Kim; Styling by Eric Nicholson

Deep V
The new take on the classic ball gown has ballerina details like spaghetti straps, lace bodices, and necklines that go down to there. (Tulle and silk-chiffon gown, $3,200, Christos; Earrings, Yael Sonia; Ring, Jade Trau for Forevermark; Bracelet, Eddie Borgo; Clutch, Rauwolf available at Barneys)

Wedding Dresses with Cool Necklines

Photo: Jason Kim; Styling by Eric Nicholson

Cool Necklines
Whether you're an Audrey or a Stevie (that's Hepburn and Nicks), there's a gown for you in the romantic shape you dig. (From left: Gazar gown, $6,990, Naeem Khan available at L'elite Bridal; Veil, Jennifer Behr; Ring, David Yurman; Silk gown, price upon request, Kaviar Gauche; Veil, Eugenia Kim)

See More: 4 Wedding Dress Styles You Can Forget About in 2016

Modern Austin Scarlett Wedding Dress

Photo: Jason Kim; Styling by Eric Nicholson

Modern
Minimalist brides, take note: Designers offered columns with cutouts, barely there backs, and almost no embellishments, just for you. (From left: Silk-radzimir dress, price upon request, Austin Scarlett; Ear cuff, Fallon; Dress with illusion neckline and inverted pleats, $4,950, Angel Sanchez; Hairpin, Twigs & Honey; Clutch, Jimmy Choo)

Modern Body-Con Wedding Dresses

Photo: Jason Kim; Styling by Eric Nicholson

Body Con
Show off the results of those hours at SoulCycle with a snug but — thanks to all that coverage — still demure sheath. (Chantilly-lace dress, price upon request, Atelier Pronovias; Hairpiece, Twigs & Honey; Shoes, Jimmy Choo)

Pick up the BRIDES April/May 2016 issue, on newsstands now and available for download here. And subscribe now for the best wedding dresses, advice, and big-day inspiration.

Apr 072016
 
Southern Social Mood Board

Photo: Reese Allen; Spencer Higgins; Courtesy of Tiffany & Co.; Brandon Kidd Photography; Courtesy of Carolina Herrera; Gorman Studio; Courtesy of Ralph Lauren; Courtesy of Roxanne Floquet Cake Design

It's Kentucky Derby season, so put on your chicest sundress, mix up some mint juleps, and meet us on the veranda! You don't have to get married below the Mason-Dixon to pull off a wedding with ladylike southern flair. Just start with a clean, classic palette, then add preppy-chic details and a few nods to the racetrack. Choose blooms like magnolias, camellias, and dogwood and your wedding will have the look and feel (and scent!) of a true southern soirée. What are you waiting for? Your southern belle bridesmaids are already slipping on their pearls!

First and foremost, choose a venue where fresh air and the southern sunshine can set the mood. An elaborate wedding tent set up beneath leafy green oak trees is just the spot for your society social. As for invites, choose classic calligraphy, complemented by a big bloomed print that'll have your guests wedding ready the moment it arrives in the mail.

Incorporate more southern stylings in your big day ensemble. You'll be as pretty as magnolias in May wearing a botanic bridal gown. This Carolina Herrera floral frock, with a hand-painted silk-taffeta bodice is an oh-so-subtle nod to plantation gardens and down south blooms. Clutch a bouquet of creamy, classic anemones, wrapped with preppy, striped ribbon, and don't forget a horseshoe necklace — your own little good luck charm (so you don't trip down that aisle...) — to complete the luxe look.

See More: 9 Fancy Floral Dresses to Wear to Your Engagement Party

As your guests wine and dine, have tons of classic cocktails on hand, toting a few classic, southern flavors — think mint, bourbon, and spiked sweet tea. (Trust us, they'll be much obliged.) And don't forget the racetrack-inspired cocktail stirrers, y'all. A pretty and posh wedding cake — complete with a few classic, preppy details — is guaranteed to be the sweetest end to your southern soirée.

Looks like you just won the blue ribbon in excellent bridal style!

1. Bouquet, $325, Fleurs NYC; 2. Necklace, $1,150, Tiffany & Co.; 3. Wedding dress, $6,990, Carolina Herrera; 4. "Wentworth" cocktail picks, $150 for six, Ralph Lauren Home; 5. Magnolia invitations, starting at $400 for 100, Citrus Press Co.; 6. Wedding cake, price upon request, Roxanne Floquet Cake Design

Pick up the BRIDES April/May 2016 issue, on newsstands now and available for download here. And subscribe now for the best wedding dresses, advice, and big-day inspiration.

Apr 042016
 

Can you really register for a mortgage? Send digital wedding invites? Say no to a bridal shower? Many of the old wedding rules have gone the way of the dowry. No longer is Emily Post dictating every step of your journey to the altar. In fact, engaged gals around the country are re-writing the rule book when it comes to nuptial protocol, so we're here to give you the low-down on the wedding world's new etiquette guide on every aspect of your big day. You'll be the new and approved soon-to-be Mrs. Manners in no time. Read, adjust accordingly, and if Grandma gives you grief, tell her BRIDES said so! Next on our list, we're tackling all your invite inquiries, from guest list questions to deciding who gets a coveted plus-one...

Who absolutely, positively has to get a plus-one?
"Any guest who is in a long-term, committed relationship," which should be determined on a case-by-case basis, says Allison Jackson of Pineapple Productions in Washington, D.C. "And if a single friend is going through a tough time, like a divorce, and might feel better bringing a friend, be sensitive to that." Todd Fiscus's (of Todd Events in Dallas) rule? Anyone who is part of a couple, singles in your bridal party, and immediate family members get plus-ones; fraternity brothers, sorority sisters, and large groups of friends or coworkers don't, since they can hang out with one another.

Are digital invites ever okay?
Most experts say no on this one. "Your invitation sets the tone for your wedding style," says Jackson. "A formal affair calls for a formal invitation, which is a printed one." That said, under some circumstances — a short engagement, a very international guest list, or if you're techies — it's acceptable (not to mention ecofriendly, cost-effective, and convenient) to go digital. "It can be stressful to worry that everyone has received the invitation or RSVP'd," says Brooklyn-based planner Xochitl Gonzalez. "I just did digital invites for the first time, and honestly it made everything easier."

Should we send an invite to someone we know can't come?
Send it. "If you don't, it could lead to hurt feelings," says Jackson. "Call to say you understand they have a conflict but that you wanted to include them." Warning: Do this only for the people you'd actually want to attend, because they may move mountains to get there if they think it's important to you.

See More: Wedding Invitations with Gold Foil Details

How close to the wedding can someone bail, and what am I supposed to say if they do?
"Two weeks before is usually when you have to give your head count to caterers. After that, they'd better have an emergency," says Misty Damico of Portland's Luxe Event Productions. As for what to say, "You can express that you're disappointed, but make sure you follow it with 'But I understand and I'm grateful you told me,'" suggests Tamra Sanford of NYC's Ever Swoon. If they've already made up their minds, just be gracious and move on.

Pick up the BRIDES April/May 2016 issue, on newsstands now and available for download here. And subscribe now for the best wedding dresses, advice, and big-day inspiration.

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