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Brides Magazine December 2016-January 2017 Archives - New Orleans Weddings - Reception, Venue & Planning

4 Wedding Dresses That Are Perfect for Beach Brides

 Brides Magazine December 2016-January 2017, Wedding Dresses  Comments Off on 4 Wedding Dresses That Are Perfect for Beach Brides
Nov 132016

If you're planning a destination wedding in a warm climate, finding your dress just got a little bit easier. Go for a gown that's lightweight: not only will it keep you cool, but it will also be easy to pack in your luggage. Think chiffon and lace fabrics with airy details like illusion designs, pleats, and draping, and pair it with delicate accessories, like gold earrings, thin bracelets, and sandals.

As for your hair and makeup? A natural, low-maintenance look will fit right in at the beach (and last longer, too). After all, if you opt for tinted moisturizer and bronzer instead of heavy foundation, you won't have to worry about makeup melting off your face, and if you wear loose waves, you won't have to worry about an up do falling down — all the better to concentrate on enjoying the moment. Here, four dresses we're loving now.

Casablanca Beach Wedding Dress

Photo: Tom Gorman; Styling by Paul Petzy, Cathy Crawford, and Chanel Kennebrew

1. If you've always loved the classic look, try this two-piece: it has the makings of a traditional dress (lace, a fit-and-flare silhouette) but the separates make it feel fresh and relaxed enough to wear on the beach. (Two-piece floral lace dress, $1,000, Casablanca Bridal)

Reformation Beach Wedding Dress

Photo: Tom Gorman; Styling by Paul Petzy, Cathy Crawford, and Chanel Kennebrew

2. This one's for all of you who are regulars at Reformation — you'll love this dress in one of their signature styles, complete with an empire waist and flutter sleeves. We also love the versatility of it: after the wedding, you can wear it again in the summer (or even on your honeymoon!) with a jean jacket and sandals — the perfect brunch ensemble. ("Georgette" dress, $388, Reformation)

J Mendel Wedding Dress

Photo: Tom Gorman; Styling by Paul Petzy, Cathy Crawford, and Chanel Kennebrew

3. A gown doesn't have to be big and sparkly to be luxe. This stunning number, made of silk chiffon and pleated by hand, is a lesson in subtlety. Plus — that open back? So chic. (Hand-pleated dress with silk-crepe band and silk-chiffon ruffle skirt, price upon request, J. Mendel)

See More: Beach Wedding Ideas That Are Anything But Cheesy

Rembo Styling Beach Wedding Dress

Photo: Tom Gorman; Styling by Paul Petzy, Cathy Crawford, and Chanel Kennebrew

4. We're obsessed with the illusion lace details on this dress, from the sleeves to the empire-waist bodice and even the back (check out a cool picture of it here on the website). Also a bonus? The fact that this gown is a touch more structured than the rest make it perfect to wear if you're transitioning from a more formal church ceremony to a laid back beach reception. (Lace dress with keyhole open-back detail, $2,300, Rembo Styling)

Nov 132016

The romantic and hauntingly beautiful canals of Venice serve as the perfect backdrop and inspiration for the perfect wedding color palette. Take a nod from the storied architecture and art that fill this romantic Italian city and add details to your day that feel old-world with a modern twist. This wedding palette and vibe seems to work best for weddings that are more on the formal side (think: men in tuxes or dark suits, lots of candlelight, martinis), but can also work with less formal weddings with the right commitment to details!

To start, choose a cake that is crisp and clean but with one delicate detail that feels baroque-esque without going too over the top. This white and gold cake from Erica O'Brien works perfectly, as the intricate thin bands at the base of each tier echo molding you might find in one of Venice's beautiful and historic hotels.

Venice Wedding Color Palette

Photo: Getty Images; Courtesy of Designers; Colleen Dyad; Emily Wren Photography

A wedding inspired by Venice also calls for moodier, deeper colors — think burgundy, deep teal, inky midnight. Rich fabrics and textiles also up the Italian vibe — think luxe velvets like this Velvet Raptor guest book (and psst: the monogram on the front is key — it adds to the old-world feel!), silks, and gilded details. Register or buy a special cake server that can remind you of your special day for years to come, and this pair from BHLDN perfectly harkens an almost Shakespearean style in an of-the-moment fashion.

For fashion, try for something a little unconventional (à la this gold, beaded Monique Lhuillier beauty) with a classic kitten heel in velvet to keep up the chic La Dolce Vita-ness. Beaded gold earrings on your bridesmaids will complement your dress in a subtle way, plus you'll be giving them an accessory they'll actually want to wear again (bonus points for you!).

See More: Winter Brides Will Love This Icy-Chic Wedding Color Palette Inspired by Aspen, Colorado

Carry a bouquet that feels lush and fresh, mixed with deep red and white dahlias and ranunculus, and plenty of greenery — maybe even some olive leaves. Have your florist tie it together with a thick silk ribbon with loose, long, ends to add to the romanticism. Finally, for your escort cards, silk tassels with classically intricate calligraphy can double as your favor — guests can take the tassel home and use it on a keychain or looped on a purse strap. Allora! All the ingredients you need for a moody and romantic, jewel-toned wedding.

Subscribe to BRIDES now for the best wedding dresses, advice, and big-day inspiration.

1. "Sabine" tassels, price upon request, Samuel & Sons; 2. Earrings, $250, Sachin & Babi; 3. Dress, price upon request, Monique Lhuillier; 4. Custom journal, $140, Velvet Raptor; 5. Shoes, $195, Via Spiga available at Nordstrom; 6. Serving set, $68, BHLDN 7. Cake, $12 per slice, Erica O'Brien Cake Design; Dahlia, garden, rose, and anemone bouquet, $300, Fall Flowers

Nov 102016
Caribbean Honeymoon Deals

Photo: Getty Images

Looking for an affordable honeymoon idea? BRIDES teamed up with some of our favorite Caribbean island resorts to help you and your man (or girlfriends!) escape winter in search of sun, sand, and relaxation. These exclusive honeymoon hotels and bachelorette party ideas all come with amazing extras and a 20% discount off regular room rates! So whether you're looking to chill out on a stunning swath of deserted sand in the Dominican Republic, eat your way through Anguilla's hottest food scene, get fit in the Cayman Islands, or cruise off into the sunset near Curaçao, there's a honeymoon travel deal here for you.

But don't wait around forever! Each of these exclusive offers is valid for a full year of travel (from November 1, 2016, to November 30, 2017*), but only if you book by January 31, 2017. To do so, just head to the hotel's website and use the exclusive online booking code at checkout. No go get a tan!

Malliouhana, an Auberge Resort
WHERE: Anguilla
GO FOR: Meads Bay, the setting for this whitewashed resort, one of the best beaches in the Caribbean
- Evening cocktails and canapés for two at the picturesque Sunset Bar
- One couples massage at Auberge Spa at Malliouhana
- Daily continental breakfast
BRIDES SPECIAL: $765 per night in an Ocean View Premium room (four-night minimum)

Zemi Beach House
WHERE: Anguilla
GO FOR: Two stunning infinity pools and complimentary beachside breakfast each day
- Couples massage in a private spa villa
- Three-course dinner on the beach with wine pairings
- Horseback riding on the beach
- Daily Zemi Buffet breakfast
- Complimentary amenity bag with organic skin care products from St Maarten and access to the Hammam at the Zemi Thai House Spa
BRIDES SPECIAL: From $523 per night in a Superior Ocean View room (three-night minimum)
BOOKING CODE: BRIDES (contact the resort directly at reservations@zemibeach.com or 1-264-584-0110)

Le Soleil d'Or
WHERE: Cayman Brac, Cayman Islands
GO FOR A: secluded vibe and insanely fresh food at the farm-to-table restaurant
- Sunset champagne beach dinner with a private chef
- One 60-minute body treatment per person at the organic spa
- Private farm-to-table cooking class and tour of the resort's 20-acre organic garden
- Private nature tour of the island
- All-inclusive daily meal plan (excluding alcoholic beverages)
- Airport transfers and shuttle service on-property
- Access to tennis courts and basketball court
BRIDES SPECIAL: From $960 per night in a Beach Studio (five-night minimum)

Santa Barbara Beach and Golf Resort
WHERE: Curaçao
GO FOR A: perfect his-hers combo of golf and spa
- Private helicopter arrival (from Hato International Airport to the resort)
- Two-hour romantic sunset cruise
- $250 spa credit (try the lemongrass-bamboo body scrub)
- All-inclusive daily meal plan, plus one dinner at Shore, the resort's fine-dining restaurant
BRIDES SPECIAL: From $698 per night in a Resort View King (five-night minimum)

AlSol Hotels & Resorts
WHERE: Dominican Republic
GO FOR: AlSol's four all-inclusive resorts (one adults-only, called Sanctuary Cap Cana), on Punta Cana's pristine beaches
- A romantic breakfast in bed, complete with blueberry pancakes and mimosa mixers (plus guava and cranberry juices, depending on your preference)
- 10 percent off all spa treatments (we recommend the hydrotherapy circuit)
- Bottle of sparkling wine in your room on arrival
BRIDES SPECIAL: From $131 per person per night (two-night minimum)

Laluna Resort
WHERE: Grenada
GO FOR: The private-island feeling at this 16-villa gem
- Guided hike through the rain forest to a waterfall
- One Balinese massage per person
- Daily American-style breakfast and à la carte dinner. (There's an entire menu devoted to pasta!)
- Daily yoga classes
- Special Laluna gift
- Round-trip airport transfers
BRIDES SPECIAL: $668 per night in a Cottage Suite, with a private terrace and plunge pool (three-night minimum)

Meliá Braco Village
WHERE: Jamaica
GO FOR: Six restaurants and colonial-style villas at this brand-new luxury all-inclusive
- A romantic candlelit dinner on the beach or your balcony, with the option to serve a specially designed menu
- Sparkling wine and a mini cake or marshmallow pops in your room on arrival
- Special turndown service with Meliá chocolates each night of your stay
BRIDES SPECIAL: From $125 per person per night (two-night minimum)

See More: Can We Set Up a Honeymoon Fund Instead of a Traditional Registry?

Paradise Beach Resort
WHERE: Nevis
GO FOR A: YOLO girls' getaway (think multibedroom villas and butler service)
- Round of cocktails at the adorable tiki-inspired beach bar
- Bottle of prosecco
BRIDES SPECIAL: From $1,080 per night in a three- or four-bedroom Garden or Beach Villa (three-night minimum)

Sugar Beach, A Viceroy Resort
WHERE: St. Lucia
GO FOR: Your private villa fantasy come true, complete with a private terrace, plunge pool, and gorgeous four-poster bed
- Complimentary bottle of champagne on arrival
- Gift of gourmet chocolates and macaroons made by the in-house pastry chef
BRIDES SPECIAL: From $704 per night in a Superior Luxury Cottage (four-night minimum)

Oil Nut Bay
WHERE: Virgin Gorda, B.V.I.
GO FOR: Cliffside suites with private plunge pools
- Two-hour snorkeling excursion
- Bottle of sparkling wine
BRIDES SPECIAL: From $600 per night in a Cliff Suite or Penthouse Suite (three-night minimum)
BOOKING CODE: ONB20BRIDES (to book, contact Oil Nut Bay's Reservations Department at 1-800-761-0377 or email Reservations@oilnutbay.com)

*Blackout dates apply.

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The Wedding Beauty Secrets These Health Experts Swear By

 Brides Magazine December 2016-January 2017, Wedding Beauty, Wellness  Comments Off on The Wedding Beauty Secrets These Health Experts Swear By
Nov 092016


Photo: Courtesy of Sakara Life

It's true that your wedding day beauty starts from the inside out. Eating, and drinking, right is the first step in achieving that coveted bridal glow. And that's where Sakara Life — the plant-based meal delivery service with a cult like following — comes in.

If anyone can convince you to drink Sakara Beauty Water (aptly named; it tastes like roses), it's the preternaturally radiant creators themselves, Whitney Tingle and Danielle DuBoise. The friends started the meal delivery service in 2012 after stressful hours on Wall Street (Tingle) and a slew of unsuccessful fad diets (DuBoise) left them dull and lackluster. Fast forward five years, and not only have they gained a celeb following that includes heavy hitters like Oprah and Gwyneth Paltrow, but they've also gotten engaged in the process. On the heels of DuBoise's wedding, and in the throws of Tingle planning her own, the girls share their bridal beauty secrets.

1. First and foremost, do you. "I wore a custom Wendy Nichol slip dress, duster, and choker—very me," says DuBoise, who had an intimate dinner to celebrate her City Hall wedding. She let her hair air dry with macadamia oil on the ends to prevent frizz, and stuck to her favorite tried-and-true makeup: Bobbi Brown Art Stick in Cassis ($28), W3LL People Expressionist Mascara ($22), and Universalist Multi-Stick Luminous ($24), a brand she loves for its clean, organic ingredients.

2. A healthy body can be your best accessory. "I always told myself I'd be in the best shape of my life for my wedding," Tingle says. "I'm using a new company in New York City, wellns.com, that lets you select a personal trainer who resonates with your workout style. Mine has a background in Pilates and Physique 57 and comes to my house before work. I'd rather spend the money on getting fit than on an expensive dress, because when you feel sexy in your body, anything looks good on you."

See more: 25 Boutique Fitness Studios to Kick Off Your Wedding Workout

The beauty gurus gave us a couple of their favorite recipes. Read on for some of Sakara Life's top rated.


Photo: Courtesy of Sakara Life

Spicy Citrus Detox Salad: Key Ingredients Grapefruit: Contains Vit C to support the production of collagen for bright, even, youthful skin. Also boosts immunity. Dandelion Greens, Arugula + Raddicchio: Bitter greens are extremely functional and nutrient dense. They cleanse the liver and stimulate the production of enzymes that facilitate digestion. Turmeric + Cayenne: These cleansing spices reduce inflammation in the body and rev the metabolism. Beets: Contain antioxidant betalain pigments to protect cells against free-radical damage and fend off signs of aging.


Photo: Courtesy of Sakara Life

Cleansing Watermelon + Cucumber Gazpacho (Serves 4)

2 1/2 pounds tomatoes, quartered
5 Tbsp olive oil, divided
1/2 English cucumber, chopped
2 cups cubed watermelon
1 Serrano chili, seeded
1 clove garlic, peeled
1 to 2 Tbsp sherry vinegar
1/2 cup hemp seeds
Pepper and Himalayan salt
Handful basil leaves

1. In a blender, puree tomatoes, watermelon and oil until smooth.
2. Add cucumber, chili, garlic and vinegar to taste; blend until smooth.
3. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Transfer to an airtight container and refrigerate at least 4 hours (or up to 2 days).
4. Divide soup among four bowls, top with remaining watermelon slices, sprinkle with hemp seeds and drizzle with remaining oil. Finish off with basil leaves. Enjoy!

Nov 062016
Aspen, Colorado destination wedding

Photo: Kate Holstein Photography

Your guests will think they've stepped into a winter wedding wonderland (say that three times fast) with this Aspen-inspired wedding color palette. Create a cozy chalet-esque ambiance by layering knits and sheepskins in shades of cream around lounge areas during your cocktail hour and reception, draping them over chair-backs and couch arms. Picking a venue that has a ski-lodge vibe is also key, so look for one with lots of light-colored wood and maybe even a stone fireplace or two (especially if it's actually wintertime!).

Make sure you keep your palette ultra-monochrome (think cool grays, whites, creams, tans) to keep true to that wintery feeling, and to help add interest mix in subtle patterns and pops of copper. Choose a wedding dress full of subtle and textural details, perhaps 3D flowers layered with a delicate lace in the coldest shade of white, and throw on a super thin metallic belt to round out your look. Get fun with your accessories and have your 'maids wear heels with a touch of fur like this Aquazzura pair, or try a hat in a sophisticated neutral like this one from Eugenia Kim.

Aspen Wedding Color Palette

Photo: Pieter Estersohn; Colleen Dyad; Courtesy of Designers; Al Gawlik

Instead of the expected lush white centerpieces of a winter wedding, add to the modern vibe with tall arrangements of blossoming branches, like dogwood or cherry blossoms (hint: ask your florist or event planner if they can rent any faux-branches if these are out of season, there are tons of good-looking fakes out there!). In lieu of a traditional bouquet, buy a bundle of these magnificent 3D printed flowers in all white (we think the poppies are perfect, but the Etsy vendor has lots of options!), and you'll have a beautiful and unique reminder of your wedding forever!

See More: 26 Whimsical Winter Wedding Details

Forget classic white, this marbled cake with copper edges will fit perfectly in your wedding color palette, and same goes for this gorgeous invite from Bliss and Bone — modern and refined — perfect for your Aspen-inspired soiree. At the reception, mix in lots of tapered gray and white candles in varying heights and shades with your branchy arrangements, and have your place cards propped on hexagonal matte holders that fit in perfectly to your monochrome tablescape. Try a signature cocktail of white hot chocolate and peppermint liquor in calligraphed mugs — the mugs will double as favors and your guests will love a cocktail that keeps them warm!

1. Hat, $440, Eugenia Kim; 2. Bracelet, $300, Eddie Borgo; 3. "Montague" invitation, $2,350 for 100 suites, Bliss & Bone 4. Wedding dress, Marchesa; 5. Icelandic poppy 3D-printed flower, $125 for five, Collected Edition; 6. "Pinch" candleholders, $15 each, CB2; 7. Wedding cake, $7 per slice, LoveBirds Sweets; 8. Place-card holders, $24 for six, Esselle available at Food52; Calligraphy, price upon request, Everbe; 9. Shoes, $895, Aquazzura

Subscribe to BRIDES now for the best wedding dresses, advice, and big-day inspiration.

The Truth On Why Women Don’t Propose

 Brides Magazine December 2016-January 2017, Proposals  Comments Off on The Truth On Why Women Don’t Propose
Nov 042016
Tips to Help You Propose to Your Boyfriend

Photo: Getty Images

In 2016, we have Hillary Clinton shattering glass ceilings, Sheryl Sandberg telling us to "lean in," and Beyoncé singing anthems about how girls run the world. But when it comes to the marriage proposal, women are somehow fine taking a backseat. Why is it still so hard for women to ask, "Will you marry me?" To find out, we put seasoned writer Sarah Z. Wexler on the case. As a recently engaged (now married) bride, Wexler was in-tune with the inner-struggle many brides face upon getting engaged: They live with their partner, they've discussed marriage countless times, they may have even picked out a diamond engagement ring — and yet, they have no plans to propose to their man. Many, in fact, would never dream of popping the question.

The reasons for this — as Wexler discovered through interviews with historians, sociologists, and relationship experts — are many, and they're caused by the permanence of deeply entrenched cultural traditions. (Think: years of male-dominated relationships and economic inequality.) But, in speaking to real brides who got engaged via female proposal, Wexler found that by upending the norm, you're really just advocating for yourself and your relationship — and the benefits of doing so vastly outweigh any awkwardness or societal judgment when it comes to taking on a nontraditional role and asking a man those four little words.

In the weeks after Tony and I talked about getting engaged and picked out the ring, I spent all of my idle time brainstorming adorable ways he could propose to me. He could write "Will you marry me?" on a wall of our new house, which we spent every night painting; he could place the ring in a dresser drawer at one of the vintage furniture stores we visited on weekends; he could attach it to the leash of one of our dogs, Ginsberg and Sunny, and ask if I felt like going for a walk. When I rattled off my list to a friend, she said, "If you have so many great ideas, why don't you just propose?"

Until that point, the thought had never crossed my mind. True, I was an empowered woman who wasn't afraid to make the first move: After we had chatted online for only a few days, I was the one who asked Tony to meet. After he hadn't spent a night at his own place for months, I was the one who suggested that we move in together. By the time we cosigned on a 30-year mortgage for a home in Portland, Oregon, I knew I was ready to marry Tony. But I worried that if I proposed, I might never know for sure if we'd gotten engaged before he was ready. Although I knew he would say yes if I asked, I didn't want to make him feel rushed or pressured. There was something that made me want to be 100 percent sure that go-with-the-flow, people-pleasing Tony wouldn't just be agreeing to something he was only 95 percent sure he wanted. (It's more than coincidence that his name backward spells "y not.")

I also worried what some of our friends and family might think. I could practically hear what people might whisper if I proposed — that at 34, maybe I was rushing into it because my fertility window was closing. I felt conflicted: I'm a feminist, I don't live my life based on what other people think, and I knew he would say yes — yet still something was holding me back.

I'm pretty sure I'm not the only progressive woman who is hesitant to propose. How many engagement ring selfies have you seen of a beaming woman holding up her blinged-out hand with the caption "I said yes!"? I've come across dozens in my Facebook feed from friends and maybe 50 not-really-friends from high school, but I've yet to encounter a "He said yes!" post. This social-media rite of passage (or bragging right, depending on how you look at it) has only reinforced our collective norms surrounding proposals.

In a 2014 Associated Press survey of married heterosexual couples, only 5 percent got hitched after the woman proposed. Even more surprising is that 23 percent of women still think it's "unacceptable" to do so. "I've seen no evidence that the pattern of the man asking the woman has become less common," says W. Bradford Wilcox, the director of the National Marriage Project, a nonpartisan, nonsectarian initiative at the University of Virginia that researches and analyzes marriage in America.

Why are we stuck in our ways? Maybe it's because we've had centuries of men calling the relationship shots. Consider the origins of the proposal: The man would ask the bride's father for permission to marry her because, historically, marriages were arranged without the woman's consent and essentially transferred ownership and control of the woman from her father to her husband. "In Europe and early America, women were forced into marriages as a way to secure military alliances and business deals or to raise social status," says Stephanie Coontz, a professor of history and family studies at the Evergreen State College, in Olympia, Washington, and the author of Marriage, a History: How Love Conquered Marriage. Marrying for love first came about in the late 18th century but was still based in inequality because, as Coontz points out, "the woman was dependent on her husband, and all the rituals of marriage and engagement underlined that. Of course, she couldn't ask someone to take care of her and support her financially for the rest of her life, so she had to wait to be asked."

See More: What He's Really Thinking Before He Asks You to Marry Him

But we now live in a world where 70 percent of women with children under age 18 work and more than 37 percent of women earn a higher income than their husbands, according to 2014 Bureau of Labor statistics. So why are we still waiting for economic equality to have some sway in creating proposal equality?

The modern women I spoke with who proposed to their now-husbands didn't do so because they needed his paycheck or were worried about his commitment. "I hate when people assume I proposed because I was nervous that David wouldn't do it or that I was sick of waiting," says Maya Horowitz, 28, an editor at a tech startup in Palo Alto, California, who proposed to her evolutionary-biologist boyfriend, 34, this past Valentine's Day. "We had discussed our relationship in depth and agreed we wanted to get engaged. I wanted to be the one to ask because I wanted to do something nice for David." Horowitz surprised him by taking out an ad in the local newspaper that said, "You are the love of my life and my best friend. I can't imagine my future without you. Will you marry me?" He said yes.

When Horowitz asked her new fiancé if he thought it was somehow emasculating if a woman proposed, "he said that men who get proposed to should feel even more secure in their masculinity that someone loves them enough to do that."

Even so, traditional ideas about what is appropriately masculine and feminine remain predominant in our culture, explains Jack Drescher, a psychiatrist and psychoanalyst in New York City who's studied gender within the LGBT community. "And despite women's many strides in achieving equality, most people are comfortable accepting certain stereotypes," he says.

Some argue that women themselves don't challenge the stereotypes because — whether they admit it or not — many of them still hope to be swept off their feet. "Although women have evolved in so many ways and don't 'need' to get married, there still exists this deep-rooted cultural desire to have the white-knight dream-fulfilling proposal," says Sherry Amatenstein, a licensed clinical social worker in New York and the author of The Complete Marriage Counselor. We've seen this play out in pop culture on a dozen seasons of The Bachelorette. Even though the woman holds the power in each episode, narrowing down her suitors, in the finale she chooses her guy and then waits for him to propose to make it official.

There is one group of women that bucks the status quo: Thanks to the 2015 Supreme Court marriage-equality decision, we see more women proposing — albeit to other women. Will hetero women follow their lead? "Gay marriage has upended certain norms, but I'm not sure it will ever have a major ripple effect on straight marriage proposals," argues Drescher. "But it took a long time for us to have a female presidential nominee, so as more and more women take on 'non-traditional' gender roles, it may speed up social acceptance for women proposing."

In the meantime, however, there are women like Horowitz who didn't wait for society to catch up and are happier for it. In 1974, at age 23, Jean Oglethorpe of Fort Myers, Florida, proposed to Jim, now her husband of 42 years. "After living together for several years, I was rather matter-of-fact. I didn't ask him to marry me per se, I just told him that it was time to get married and that he would need a suit for the occasion," she says. You might think that a woman setting her wedding day in motion so directly would've made waves back then, but Oglethorpe thinks we're actually more rigid with proposals now. In the free-love '70s, "no one seemed to care very much about the traditional aspects of courtship and marriage," she says. "I can't remember any of my friends having a formal proposal like the ones you see today."

For Carlyn Butcher, 31, of Alexandria, Virginia, it was more about spontaneity than formality. At 25, she popped the question out of the blue on a subway platform to Steve, then 26, less than two years into their relationship. Butcher saw her proposal as an act of love and a way for her voice to be equal to Steve's in expressing what she wanted.

"I think it's sad if a woman wants to get married but doesn't propose because she feels like societal conventions are telling her that's not okay, that she'll emasculate her partner. Screw societal conventions!" says Butcher. "Now that Steve and I have a daughter, I'm even happier that I proposed because it will show her that she shouldn't be afraid to advocate for what she wants."

While many women fear that they'll seem aggressive or overbearing by proposing, taking this approach may set the tone for a more progressive relationship. As Butcher puts it: "My proposal was just the first sign that we wouldn't hold ourselves to old-fashioned roles. Steve is an incredibly involved, helpful partner and father. He does the dishes, makes dinner."

The same goes for Ellie Casson, 31, of Oakland, California, who proposed to her husband, Jamie, on the beach in Mexico in 2012; she's now the couple's primary breadwinner, while Jamie does more of the child care. "Ellie is so strong and confident, I don't think anyone was surprised that she proposed to me — except me!" Jamie says. "I was totally caught off-guard; I had to have her ask me twice. I'm not at all disappointed that I didn't get to propose. I'm just glad I got to marry Ellie."

In the end, I decided to go the traditional route and wait for Tony to get down on one knee — which he did, the month after we moved into our new house. While I wouldn't change the way I chose to begin my marriage to Tony, I can't help but hope that my future daughter — or my daughter's daughter — if she's so inclined, won't hesitate to ask the man of her dreams for his hand in marriage.

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Behind-the-scenes at Our December/January Cover Shoot With Max Montgomery

 Brides Behind the Scenes, Brides Magazine December 2016-January 2017  Comments Off on Behind-the-scenes at Our December/January Cover Shoot With Max Montgomery
Nov 012016

This month, BRIDES chose fashion photographer Max Montgomery out of thousands who entered a competition to shoot the magazine's cover.

For this issue, BRIDES teamed up with Wix.com to give one photographer the opportunity of a lifetime — the chance to shoot the cover of BRIDES magazine. Wix.com is a leading online platform that makes it easy for everyone to create a beautiful, professional Web presence, with special tools and advanced features for photographers.

Thousands submitted their online Wix port folios for the chance to win, and after poring over a wide range of submissions, creative director Jenifer Walter and her team chose Max Montgomery (maxmontgomeryphoto.com), a 27-year-old British lensman based in New York and L.A., as the winner.

See more:
Everything From Our December/January Issue

Montgomery's father was a photographer who bought him his first camera when he was 13. "At 18, I started working as an intern for Mario Testino," says Montgomery, whose time with the legendary fashion photographer changed his life: "That's when I knew this is what I wanted to do," he says. A background in fashion photography is something Brides looks for when choosing who to work with, so Montgomery's experience is part of what made him a good fit. Also, working on a shoot that involves a big crew is ideal for Montgomery. Asked about the most important consideration when taking photos, he replied, "The team you work with. You are only as good as your team."

Oct 262016
Best Honeymoon Cruises 2017

Photo: Courtesy of Scenic Cruises

You've said your "I dos," you have your first mate, so now it's time to sail off into newlywed bliss aboard a luxury honeymoon cruise. But cruising is for cheesy Hawaiian-shirt-clad retirees, right? Think again. Each of these stunning ships is packed with once-in-a-lifetime amenities, like ultra-romantic rooms (many with private balconies), Instagram-worthy cuisine, full-service spas, and to-die-for destinations.

We hand-picked these bespoke cruises for their unrivaled access to undiscovered cities, and deserted beaches, a diverse range of romance-packed excursions, and opulent onboard set-ups that will make you feel like a bonafide celebrity. Best of all, with minimal planning necessary — the logistics of destinations, activities, and excursions are already mapped out for you!) — cruising is the ultimate stress-free honeymoon. (And seriously, after all those guest list battles with your in-laws, who needs more stress?)

If you've never set sail before, here's what you need to know: Cruise experiences can differ greatly on a small ship (fewer than 500 passengers), a midsize one (500 to 2,000), and a large one (more than 2,000). If you and your hubby crave energy, people, and nightlife, choose a large vessel, which will have multiple bars and restaurants, plus often a casino and theater for movies and live shows. If you prefer a sense of community and intimacy, stick to smaller boats, where you get to know your fellow cruisers (but also have less privacy, so plan alone time when you're in port).

Also, watch out for add-ons. Food and drinks (even alcohol) are often included on luxury ships, making a cruise a superb choice if you're looking for some all-inclusive honeymoon ideas. Shore excursions, gratuities, WiFi, ground transfers, precruise hotels, and airfare may also be built in. As you move down the price scale, however, you'll find these tacked on as extras — and they add up quickly. And be sure to come prepared! Map out which sites you plan to visit before you leave the U.S. because WiFi can be slow and expensive on board, and book specialty restaurants, shore excursions, and spa treatments as soon as reservations become available so you get first pick. And use your days at sea to sleep in and relax because once you arrive at each port, you'll be busy seeing the sights.

So what are you waiting for? Whether you dream of island-hopping, taking in major cultural sites, or chilling on a stunning swath of sand, we've found the perfect honeymoon cruise for you. Time to set sail!

Luxury Cruises for Honeymoons

Photo: Courtesy of Ian Svhemper / Crystal Cruises

For the couple who wants exotic sites...
Destination: Myanmar
Ship: Scenic Cruises' Scenic Aura
Capacity: 44 Passengers
If you're looking to go where no one you know has ever been, consider this Asian nation that only started allowing foreign travelers in 2012 and remains blissfully free of crowds and tourist traps. As you head north from Yangon on the 1,300-mile Irrawaddy River, you'll pass centuries-old golden Buddhist temples, bustling markets, and monks draped in long red robes. While most ships plying the river have an antique feel, this one, which launched in September, is clean and modern, with private balconies and floor-to-ceiling windows that bring the lush green landscapes inside. Don't miss a sunrise hot-air-balloon ride over nearly 2,000 gilded pagodas in the ancient city of Bagan. It's not included, but it's worth arranging — and waking up for at 5 a.m. Ten nights from $5,740 per person, all-inclusive.

For the couple who wants to island-hop...
Destination: Caribbean
Ship: Crystal Cruises' Crystal Serenity
Capacity: 1,070
To hit a handful of beaches on your bucket list (and find your favorite one for the anniversary trip), book an itinerary with stops on St. Kitts, St. Thomas, Grand Cayman, Martinique, and St. Barth, where the ship stays in port until 10 p.m. (instead of the usual 6) so you can celeb-watch at Le Ti. (Kate Moss and Jessica Alba have been.) Back on board, cocktails and wine are included, so make sundowners a nightly ritual; ask your butler to bring hors d'oeuvres to your cabin and sip bubbly and munch on fruit and cheese while you shower off the sand. Then slip into a sundress for dinner and a mind-blowing magic show from the folks behind L.A.'s Magic Castle (a fave of funnyman Jason Segel). Don't miss local-catch-of-the-day sashimi at the ship's Nobu-helmed sushi bar. If you're staying in a top-tier suite, you get the best seat in the house: your own private terrace. Fourteen nights from $6,810 per person, all-inclusive.

For the couple who wants serious culture...
Destination: Mediterranea
Ship: Regent's Seven Seas Explorer
Capacity: 750
This newly christened, over-the-top ship is the ideal base camp for a Euro trip filled with edifying must-dos — Rome's Colosseum, Florence's Uffizi Gallery, Athens's Parthenon — and sexy islands like Capri and Mykonos. Every cabin is a suite (with its own balcony) that's so spacious, you may never want to leave. In fact, so many passengers do hide away that the crew hosts an upscale "block party" in the halls so you can meet other couples over a glass of Chianti. The best upgrade? The Regent Suite — the world's largest floating penthouse, at 4,500 square feet — which comes with the most insane perk ever: unlimited treatments in the in-room Canyon Ranch spa, equipped with a sauna and heated marble lounge chairs. Eight nights from $6,799 per couple, all-inclusive, including round-trip airfare for two.

For the couple who wants a mobile safari...
Destination: Botswana
Ship: ZQ Collection's Zambezi Queen
Capacity: 28
With floor-to-ceiling windows, fluffy white duvets, and stunning wildlife photography on the walls, the Zambezi Queen is more floating luxury B&B than cruise ship. And it'll feel just as intimate when you glide along the remote waters of the Chobe River between Namibia and Botswana. It's the perfect way to extend a classic safari; whether you're riding in a small boat (called a tender) or perched on your private balcony, being on the water lets the elephants, hippos, antelope, and water buffalo come to you. The best activity aboard? Take a tender out and cast a line for bream; the chef will cook up your catch for dinner. Three nights from $1,485 per person, all-inclusive.

For the couple who wants deserted beaches...
Destination: The Seychelles
Ship: Crystal Cruises' Crystal Esprit
Capacity: 62
This new ship from Crystal Cruises feels like a megayacht that Jay Z and Beyoncé might charter, with luxe furniture, metallic accents, and herringbone wood floors. While cruising the clear blue Indian Ocean, you'll raft to uninhabited islands, hike to remote waterfalls, and play volleyball on the beach. On board, expect top-notch service — the ship has a staff of 91 for 31 couples — so don't be surprised if, after you mention at dinner that you love the peanut-butter-parfait dessert, warm peanut-butter cookies arrive in your cabin the next day. A 30-minute tour in the two-passenger submarine ($599) is definitely worth the splurge. You'll spot turtles, schools of silvery jack fish, and maybe even a reef shark on your journey to the sea floor. Five nights from $3,240 per person, all-inclusive.

See More: Can We Set Up a Honeymoon Fund Instead of a Traditional Registry?

For the couple who wants ancient history...
Destination: Egypt
Ship: Nour El Nil's Meroe
Capacity: 20
Shallow-bottomed sailboats, like this traditional Egyptian dahabiya, can ply parts of the Nile River larger ships can't, so you'll rarely see other tourists on your trip from Luxor to the ancient port city of Aswan. The onboard local guide will help you remember everything you ever learned (and promptly forgot) about pyramids and hieroglyphs as you take in 5,000 year-old temples and tombs carved into mountains. And after a few days in your airy room, with its chandeliers and colorful Egyptian cottons, you'll feel like a pharaoh yourself. Be sure to take a walk on a riverbank and swim in the clear Nile waters — because who can say they did that on their honeymoon? Five nights from $1,909 per person, all-inclusive.

For the couple who wants to be one with nature...
Destination: Galapagos Islands
Ship: Ecoventura's MV Origin
Capacity: 20
Few landscapes are as untouched as this highly protected Eden 620 miles off the coast of Ecuador. Only 10 couples get to sail on the region's new luxury vessel, though it has all the comforts of a big ship (gym, library, dining room, bar). Expect an active itinerary: Starting at 7 a.m., you'll board a Zodiac and be whisked to uninhabited islands with naturalist guides who spot animals like the famous blue-footed booby. After lunch, you can sea kayak or snorkel along the shore with turtles and penguins. Cap the day on a top-deck hammock with millions of stars overhead. remember to pack A durable waterproof camera (we like GoPro HERO4, $400), so you can film sea lions twirling underwater and snap selfies with giant tortoises on Santa Cruz Island. Seven nights from $6,500 per person, all-inclusive.

For the couple who wants insane cities and scenery...
Destination: South America
Ship: Silversea's Silver Spirit
Capacity: 540
For an epic Southern Hemisphere journey, book a voyage on this all-suite ship with a Relais & Chateaux-designated restaurant and full-service spa (with everything from massages to teeth whitening). Embark from Buenos Aires for an authentic Argentine steak dinner followed by (what else?) a tango performance. A few days later, you'll overnight in Rio de Janeiro, giving you time to snap a photo in front of Christ the Redeemer and people-watch on Ipanema Beach. Or pick a more remote itinerary that starts in Valparíso, Chile, rounds Cape Horn, passes the fjords of Chilean Patagonia, and stops in jet-set beach towns like Punta del Este. Our favorite perk? Unlimited bubbly. Like your champs in a mimosa? Your butler will place a pitcher of orange juice in your fridge each morning so you can mix one up whenever the mood strikes. Seventeen nights from $7,065 per person, all-inclusive.

Sherri Eisenberg is the Editor-in-Chief of ShermansCruise.com, a new deals, reviews, and advice site just for cruisers.

The BRIDES December 2016/January 2017 Issue Has Arrived — and It’s EVERYTHING

 Brides Behind the Scenes, Brides Magazine December 2016-January 2017, News  Comments Off on The BRIDES December 2016/January 2017 Issue Has Arrived — and It’s EVERYTHING
Oct 252016
Brides Magazine December 2016 January 2017

Photo: Max Montgomery; Styling by Eleanor Strauss; Wedding dress by Hayley Paige

We're calling lights, camera, action on your best year EVER — and it all starts right now! Our December 2016/January 2017 issue is hitting newsstands and along with your sparkling engagement ring, it's your golden ticket to the best year of your life. (Pre-"I do," of course!)

We're ringing in the New Year with dozens of dream wedding dresses — including yours! From soft and romantic frocks that we shot on the elegant, easy breezy beaches of St. Lucia (seriously, these gowns are gorg) to the modern striped Hayley Paige organza ball gown that our cover model is rocking, wedding dresses of all styles are taking over the pages of our latest issue, so get those Post-Its ready for all the bookmarking you're bound to be doing!

What else is going on in our December 2016/January 2017 issue? Well, we're showing you how to cut down on your catering costs, because whoever said that less money meant less fabulous flavor? Trust us, no guest will go hungry with these budget-saving tips. In fact, they'll be begging for seconds and you'll totally be able to oblige! And with all that cold hard cash you'll be saving, you can splurge on that luxe honeymoon getaway we know you and your hubby-to-be have been dreaming about. And we have all the exclusive honeymoon deals, upgrades, discounts, and perks to make it a total reality!

Need another reason to go out and get your hands on this mag? You'll find all the wedding style inspo you've been craving right here. And spoiler alert: Pastels are back — with an icy, wintery twist that's pretty enough to melt even your future mother-in-law's frosty heart. (Kidding!)

See More: 36 Rustic Wedding Cakes We Love

And finally, what's your best year ever without your love by your side? Take note, brides, because we've got the ultimate guide to getting your groom involved in wedding planning. May we suggest starting off with setting-up your wedding registry together? It'll be no sweat with our Registry Awards, featuring the 50 best finds of 2016. Your best year ever will turn into the best years ever with these gorgeous goodies that'll make newlywed life a breeze.

So what are you waiting for? Time to check finish wedding planning off that list of New Year resolutions!

Subscribe to BRIDES now for the best wedding dresses, advice, and big-day inspiration.

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