4 Questions Your Future Mother-in-Law May Ask You Right Now — and How to Respond

 Brides Magazine February 2016 - March 2016, Etiquette, Moms, Mother in Law  Comments Off on 4 Questions Your Future Mother-in-Law May Ask You Right Now — and How to Respond
Feb 142016
 
questions mother in law may ask

Photo: Getty Images

Wedding planning can be stressful for any bride. Aside from trying to please all your guests and your family you'll have opinions coming in from your groom's side too. Your relationship with your future mother-in-law during wedding planning can range from practically strangers, to besties, to enemies (well, hopefully not total enemies).

If you and your future mother-in-law aren't super close it can be easy to snap into bridezilla mode when she asks you about the wedding. However, if her questions come off as pushy instead of helpful it may be hard to keep your cool. We talked to psychotherapist and author Deanna Brann about the best way to answer your mother-in-law's questions without starting a family feud.

If she says: "Just let me know if you want me to go dress shopping with you..."
You say: "My bridesmaids and I are going, but I'll let you know if that changes," says Brann. If you let her know you already have plans in place she won't feel like you've been stringing her along.

If she says: "You really can't swing more invites for us?"
You say: "[Her son's name] and I have thought very carefully about the guest list, and we are comfortable with the head count," suggests Brann. Ideally include your fiancé in the conversation — or at the very least, drop his name. This one is a little trickier but it's important to stand your ground. If she still won't back down it may be time to have your fiancé step in and talk to her separately.

See More: 33 Must Take Photos of Kids at Your Wedding

If she says: "Have you considered a church ceremony?"
You say: "[Her son's name] and I have really thought about where we want to be married, and this is the venue that has the most meaning to us," says Brann. If your future mother-in-law is still weary of your ceremony location consider showing her some pictures of the space! Talk her through what you plan to do with the space to help ease her concerns.

If she says: "How much money did my friends give you as gifts?"
You say: "Oh, my goodness, we've been getting so many gifts that I'm not sure at this point," says Brann. When in doubt, she says, "Deflect, deflect, deflect!" Seriously, don't even think about naming a number.

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

Feb 102016
 

It's really no wonder why the deep blue Caribbean sea is such a hotspot for honeymooners. There's sugar-white sand, warm turquoise waters, blazing sunshine... Need we go on? There are over 7,000 islands in the Caribbean, each with its own distinct personality and style. And why shouldn't your honeymoon wardrobe match?

If you're planning an island getaway with your first mate, you need look no further for a haute honeymoon packing guide. These easy, breezy ensembles will suit the following four Caribbean honeymoon hotspots to a tee. After all, don't you want to look flawless in all of those Instagram honeymoon pics? So grab your new hubby, pick a sun-soaked isle, and get packing! (We won't blame you if you can't wait until the "I dos!")

Cuba Honeymoon Outfit

Photo: Courtesy of Retailers and Gorman Studio; Styling by Renee Yan

Cuba
A sultry night of dancing calls for a flirty and flouncy lightweight frock and sexy heels in a red-hot hue. (Dress, $1,350, Zimmermann; Earrings, $425, Oscar de la Renta; Shoes, $595, Alexandre Birman available at Saks Fifth Avenue)

St Barts Honeymoon Outfit

Photo: Courtesy of Retailers; Styling by Renee Yan

St. Barts
This stylish isle of the rich and famous is host to the capital city of Gustavia, a duty-free fashion mecca. Consider this your ensemble for the shopping excursion of a lifetime. (Dress, $1,850, Vita Kin available at Net-a-Porter; Hat, similar styles available at Sensi Studio Necklace, $48, Bauble Bar; Shoes, $295, Isa Tapia)

See More: 4 Celebrity Honeymoon Trips You Can Recreate

Dominica Honeymoon Outfit

Photo: Courtesy of Retailers and Gorman Studio; Styling by Renee Yan

Dominica
After getting lost with your love in the rainforest, exchange the hiking boots for a casually-flirty blouse and dress up your denim with an arm full of bangles. (Top, $275, Milly; Skirt, $50, Zara; Earrings, $60, Gorjana; Bag, $595, Mansur Gavriel available at Moda Operandi; Bracelets, $75 and $155 each, Kenneth Jay Lane)

British Virgin Islands Honeymoon Outfit

Photo: Courtesy of Retailers and Gorman Studio; Styling by Renee Yan

British Virgin Islands
For a chic sunset sail, board in a nautical, post-nuptial look. Be sure to stash away a striped swimsuit for dips and dives. (Top, $250, Veronica Beard; Shorts, $395, Elizabeth and James; Swimsuit, $250, Lenny Niemeyer; Sandals, $425, Tory Burch)

Get the biggest issue of the year! Subscribe now for the best wedding dresses, advice, and big-day inspiration. Or pick up the BRIDES February/March 2016 issue, on newsstands now and available for download here.

Feb 092016
 

This glam seaside strip between Mexico's Cabo San Lucas and San Jose del Cabo attracts everyone from BFFs to newlyweds. Here's three ways to enjoy Los Cabos, from your bachelorette party to wedding and honeymon.

The Bachelorette Party
Where To stay
The Cape, A Thompson Hotel
Not only is it close to Cabo San Lucas's party scene, its rooftop has two bars, ensuring your margarita glasses stay full. Every room has views of "El Arco," Los Cabos' iconic stone arch, and a free tequila bottle made exclusively for the hotel. (Doubles from $599, Thompson Hotels)

Where to Eat
The Office on The Beach
At this Crayola-colored restaurant, all tables sit seaside, so you can do tequila shots with your toes in the sand. Come for the killer ceviche and sea-bass tacos; stay for the mariachi music and group #SunsetSelfies.

What to Do
Luna y Mar spa at The Resort at Pedregal
Gather your girls for a day of massages and mud wraps inspired by the sea, moon, and Mexican folk healing. After your treatments, bliss out in the spa's sauna, steam room, or ice cave or just take a dip in the saltwater pool.

The Wedding
Where to stay
Hotel El Ganzo
Perks include a rooftop infinity pool, a glass Jacuzzi, and an underground recording
studio. Even your hipster cousin will be into the live rock music and primo location— within walking distance of San Jose del Cabo. Hey, if it's good enough for Adam Levine and Behati Prinsloo's wedding guests... (Doubles from $285, Hotel El Ganzo)

Where to eat
Flora Farm
Throw a rehearsal dinner under the stars at this 10-acre working farm with views of the Sierra de la Laguna mountains. Almost every ingredient in that pork-belly confit and wood-fired pizza is grown on site— as is the fruit in those watermelon juleps.

What to do
Casa La Laguna
At this 10,000-square-foot, six-bedroom villa, you can throw a beachfront ceremony for 150, then party all night by the pool. Plus, the hacienda has a spa, perfect for a pre-wedding massage or mani-pedis with your girls. (Villa rental from $3,600, Casa La Laguna)

See More: Bride's Best Romantic Honeymoon Cities!

The Honeymoon
Where to stay
One & Only Palmilla
Hit by Hurricane Odile in 2014, this haute retreat got a chic makeover before reopening last spring. The Jean-Georges steak house is new, but the next-level amenities, yacht, butler service are the same ones couples have been swooning over for a decade. (Doubles from $950, One & Only Palmilla)

Where to eat
Cocina del Mar at Esperanza, an Auberge Resort
This crazy-romantic al fresco eatery comes with crashing cliffside waves and sick sunset views. Nearly as spectacular? The inventive four-course tasting menu— try the kale-and-poblano cannelloni and tuna with avocado-sake puree.

What to do
San Jose del Cabo Art Walk
Every Thursday evening between November and June, the Art District opens its doors and serves up live music, wine, and small bites. Start practicing those haggling skills; the silver bangles, fire opals, and hand-painted pottery are to die for.

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

Petal Pushers: Fresh Floral Wedding Dresses, Blooming with New Details

 Brides Magazine February 2016 - March 2016, Wedding Dresses  Comments Off on Petal Pushers: Fresh Floral Wedding Dresses, Blooming with New Details
Feb 092016
 
3D Floral Wedding Dresses Monique Lhuillier

Photo: Coliena Rentmeester; Styling by Eleanor Strauss

Stop and smell the roses! The coming of spring means tons of flowers popping up through the snow — and on the bridal runways. The couture wedding dresses of the most recent bridal fashion week were blooming with the prettiest of petals and floral details.

Before you do your best Meryl Streep impression ("Florals for spring? Groundbreaking..."), know that these garden-inspired gowns have gotten a seriously modern makeover. With 3-D texture, colorful embroidery, and plenty of sheer details, these floral frocks are anything but wilted.

3D floral appliqués and intricate embroidery popping off the runway looks of Monique Lhuillier, Atelier Pronovias, and Angel Sanchez caught our eye and got us dreaming of warmer days — and summer weddings! — ahead. Laser-cut into dainty organza, silks, and tulle, these three-dimensional blooms are whimsical, feminine, and oh-so-modern. Say hello to the summer wedding staple of 2016.

Monique Lhuillier (Above)
The sheer trend strikes again, this time making a giant ball skirt feel anything but fussy. (Silk and tulle gown with Chantilly-lace appliqués, $4,990, Monique Lhuillier; Earrings, Arik Kastan; Ring, Tiffany & Co.)

3D Floral Wedding Dresses Watters

Photo: Coliena Rentmeester; Styling by Eleanor Strauss

Vionnet
To rock flowers the fashion-girl way, mix up textures and work your hand-on-hip pose. (Mesh top with floral embellishments, $4,000, Vionnet; Tiered soft-net skirt, price upon request, Watters; Ring, Munnu the Gem Palace)

3D Floral Wedding Dresses Atelier Pronovias

Photo: Coliena Rentmeester; Styling by Eleanor Strauss

Atelier Pronovias
Loose waves and a flower crown make a glam fitted gown look relaxed and garden ready. (Chantilly-lace and tulle dress with lace appliqués, price upon request, Atelier Pronovias)

See More: The Best High-Low Wedding Dresses from the 2016 Runways

3D Floral Wedding Dresses Kaviar Gauche

Photo: Coliena Rentmeester; Styling by Eleanor Strauss

Kaviar Gauche
A bit of illusion is practically required this season — but the cheekily placed appliqués are very much optional! (Silk and cotton gown, $4,443, Kaviar Gauche; Earrings and rings, Munnu the Gem Palace; Shoes, Bionda Castana)

3D Floral Wedding Dresses Caroline Herrera

Photo: Coliena Rentmeester; Styling by Eleanor Strauss

Carolina Herrera
A deep-red lip adds richness to a super-sweet gown. ("La Bouleversante" intense long-wear lip colour, $37, Chanel available at Neiman Marcus; Silk embroidered gown, $3,490, Carolina Herrera; Earrings, Larkspur & Hawk; Necklace, Jade Trau)

3D Floral Wedding Dresses Angel Sanchez

Photo: Coliena Rentmeester; Styling by Eleanor Strauss

Angel Sanchez
The easiest wedding DIY you'll do: Slide your gown's straps off the shoulders for a modern-romantic vibe. (Lace ball gown with re-appliquéd flowers, $6,490, Angel Sanchez available at Jinwang Bride; Ring, Nirav Modi)

Get the biggest issue of the year! Subscribe now for the best wedding dresses, advice, and big-day inspiration. Or pick up the BRIDES February/March 2016 issue, on newsstands now and available for download here.


Feb 072016
 

Plenty of women absolutely adore their mother-in-law. They talk about feeling like a part of the family even before the wedding — being offered heirloom jewelry as their something blue, receiving a loving toast at the rehearsal dinner. That said, most wives confess some tension with the "other woman" in their husband's life, and the feeling is mutual, says Deanna Brann, a licensed clinical psychotherapist and the author of Reluctantly Related: Secrets to Getting Along with Your Mother-in-Law or Daughter-in-Law.

In a survey of 1,000 relationships, she says, 75 percent of both MILs and DILs reported less-than-fuzzy feelings, ranging from "I wish it were better" to "I can't be around her." Pop culture hasn't done moms-in-law any favors: From Jane Fonda's aptly named Monster-in-Law to the murderous Victoria Grayson on Revenge to that pinnacle of overbearingness, Marie from Everybody Loves Raymond, on-screen MILs are almost universally insufferable, interfering, passive-aggressive guilt-trip machines.

The fact is, your MIL is only human, and so are you, both reacting to a seismic shift in your relationships with her son and each other. Any time you're assuming a position long held by another (in this case, the most important woman in your fiancé's life), the transfer of power will be fraught, and even the most outwardly sunny relationship can harbor an undercurrent of tension, whether it's mild irritation or full-blown discord.

For Lauren Moore, a dietitian in Denver, it was the first. She'd fallen in love with her husband's short, feisty, bleached-blond mother the minute they met. "Remember in high school, there was one house everyone gravitated toward because of the mom?" says Moore, 28. "That's her. I can picture her serving pizza rolls all night to make sure the kids and their friends were fed and happy." Then came the Cookie Jar Incident: "She visited us and saw an empty cookie jar in our kitchen," she says. "She told Mike that if I didn't want to bake, she could send homemade cookies from Arizona to keep our jar full. I thought, 'Oh, shit, this woman is going to be overbearing.'"

Whether the trouble comes from cookies or controlling behavior, it's important for your mental and marital health to establish a cordial relationship with his mother, says Brann: "You don't have to be best friends, but at the very least you need to get to a point where you can be around each other without stress, tension, or drama." Here's how.

1. Think about how your big news affected her life.
"When you're a mom, you're in the driver's seat," says Brann. "Then you're in the passenger seat because he's growing up and can drive the car. Once he gets married, you're in the back and his wife is with him in the front." When you consider that kind of demotion, it's no surprise that issues arise; even the loveliest woman will feel a sting from being knocked a few rungs down the ladder. And often it's not just herself she's worried about: A University of Wisconsin study found that after their sons get engaged or married, mothers worry about their boys' well-being and wonder whether they'll be changed by their wife. Yes, these fears may be retro and irrational, but cut mama bear a little slack. "This is her child who's getting married," says Brann. You have a wedding to plan, but she has a son to surrender, and it takes time for most of us to adapt to a major life change.

2. Get to actually know her.
You probably have a sense of what kind of mother your MIL is— sweet or needy, bossy or nurturing. But if you want peace in the valley, lose the labels and find ways to see her as a real person and engage with her as such. This doesn't mean a standing Sunday brunch date, but hanging out separately with her during visits— maybe in the kitchen, where you might discover you're obsessed with the same Food Network show— can work wonders. "You want to express genuine interest and kindness and to find common ground, whether it's reading, traveling, or whatever," says Lesli Doares, marriage therapist and author of Blueprint for a Lasting Marriage: How to Create Your Happily Ever After with More Intention, Less Work. "Building that positive foundation early will help down the road."

And the best time to start is before the wedding, says Brann. "Try to involve her in some way so she feels she's a part of things and not just another guest," she explains. This is what one of Sandy Petrovic's daughters-in-law did before marrying her son in 2013. "It was huge for me when she invited me with her mother and maid of honor to pick out her dress and then to do hair and makeup with the bridal party," she says. "Although I didn't have much of a say in the planning, it was so meaningful that I was included, and I felt like I was a part of it."

If you're not prepared to go that far, even small gestures, like occasionally updating your MIL on how the planning is going, will reassure her that she'll have a role in her son's new life with you. That's what Kelly, an Army wife near Seattle, did. "My mother-in-law is a very blunt person, so I would tell her about things only once we confirmed them," she says. "I kept her in the loop on everything but didn't ask her opinion." That's a great way to manage an in-your-face MIL, says Jen Glantz, professional bridesmaid and founder of Bridesmaid for Hire. "Give her a call to let her know whenever something big happens," she says. You can also send snaps of your flower arrangements or from the venue visit to make her feel like she's part of the process.

And if it seems that your MIL couldn't care less about the planning? Update her anyway. Caitlin's mother-in-law had kept her distance throughout a seven-year courtship with her son, so Caitlin, who's 28 and lives in Indianapolis, didn't even think to include her in the wedding planning. "It felt like it would have been weird," she says. "Now, three years after the wedding, family members say she still has bad feelings about not being asked to participate in decisions that I had no idea she even cared about."

See More: 30 Emotional Mother of the Bride Moments

3. Enlist your husband's help in setting boundaries.
Lisa, 40, a New York marketing exec, wishes she and her husband had come up with a solid game plan to deal with her "narcissistic" MIL before matters came to a head. "My mother-in-law pushed my buttons in strange ways on multiple occasions," says Lisa. "It drove me crazy when every time we visited for the weekend, she'd say I looked tired and why didn't I go upstairs and take a nap. I'd already told her I wasn't a napper, so I felt like she was being passive-aggressive, but I continued to answer politely that I wasn't tired."

Finally, after Lisa had heard it one time too many, she barked at her to never, ever suggest it again. Her mother-in-law burst into tears, her fiancé fled the room, and the incident sparked six months of silent treatment. "I should have been more respectful, but my husband should not have left the room," says Lisa. "Since then, he and I have become a team. And when his parents come to town, they stay in a hotel."

When you have a MIL who just doesn't get it, showing a united front and setting clear parameters of where she fits into your new family unit is key to keeping your marriage happy. If something's getting under your skin, talk to your husband, and if he isn't feeling your pain (most sons are inured to their mom's shortcomings), don't resort to name-calling and labeling, says Doares. "He'll be too busy defending her to address the specific behavior," she says. So instead of whisper-shouting in the kitchen, "Your mom's doing that thing again!" wait until it's just the two of you and say, "Can you tell your mom that she should call before she comes over? Imagine if she rang the bell when we were naked!"

If he talks to her and she still doesn't make adjustments, you and your husband need to agree on consequences. (Yep, just like with a two-year-old.) When she tries to barge in on Sunday mornings, answer the door and tell her you're busy. "Stand your ground, and eventually she will respect your wishes," says Brann. And keep in mind that she's not the only guilty party here. "Mothers can't dominate their adult sons unless they allow them to," says Karin Anderson Abrell, a psychologist in Chicago. Of course, you won't call your guy out on that; just cite specific times when you feel hurt and need him to stand up to his mom so that you can be a strong husband-wife team— without her sitting in the middle.

4. Be the change you want to see.
Whether your mother-in-law missteps because she's having a hard time letting go or she deliberately tries to undermine you at every turn, take the high road whenever you can. "Remember, this is your husband's mother," says Susan Shapiro Barash, author of Mothers-in-Law and Daughters-in-Law. "For that reason alone, you have to make allowances." Emily, 35, from Tampa, wanted to cry every time she visited her domineering, matriarchal mother-in-law in Spain. "For the first four years, she refused to say my name and would only call me 'the American,'" says Emily. "When I tried to speak Spanish, she shook her hand and said, 'Stop talking! Your Spanish hurts my ears!' She criticized the way I held my fork and knife, the way I dressed, even my weight." Because Emily knew her husband's family was important to him, she decided to make a real effort. She combed the Internet to find a worthy addition to her MIL's collection of ceramic ducks and brought updated family photos on every visit.

It transformed their relationship. "Now my mother-in-law hugs me and has even started to say 'I love you,'" she says. "I wish my younger self had had the confidence to do this sooner." Lauren Moore also adjusted her mindset after the Cookie Jar Incident. "I came to realize that the full jar was a symbol to my mother-in-law of hospitality, of welcoming people into your home— the things I love about her," she says.

5. And if all else fails, remind yourself that she did raise an awesome guy.
Don't worry if things get off to a rocky start; you've got years to work on this. Be patient and keep perspective. "Assuming your husband's values remain aligned with his parents', you likely have similar core values, ethics, and morals," says Anderson Abrell. Even if it's hard to find common ground, you share at least one crucial thing with your MIL: love for her son. Says Kelly, whose mother-in-law is prone to very abrasive backseat driving: "At the end of the day, she brought up an amazing man, and for that, I love her." Besides, if you plan to have kids, there's a good chance you'll be her one day.

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

Feb 062016
 

When she's not throwing celeb-studded Oscar after-parties, NYC-based Annie Lee, founder of Daughter of Design, is working on her first love: weddings. She sat down with us to discuss wedding planning, planners and bending those wedding rules. Here, she preps you for your day by sharing her tips!

Are you hiring a wedding planner?
Book her first. You want her on board as early as possible to help you with big decisions — like the venue. A lot of brides come to us later in the process, and I think, "Oh, gosh, why did they pick that place and hire that person?"

When interviewing planners, make sure to ask...
"Have you worked at my venue before? How many staff will be working on the day of? How do you prefer to communicate, and how often will we talk?" And finally, "What duties are included in your fee?"

Limit the social-media reveals.
If you're going to your florist, post a teaser photo of the storefront, not the mock-up of your wedding table. And make your Pinterest page private or you may get feedback you're not looking for.

Feel free to break some rules.
I love bridesmaids in white dresses, like Pippa Middleton in her Alexander McQueen. And it's really OK to do the first look before the actual wedding. It will help calm your nerves, and you'll have more time for photos.

One of my biggest pet peeves?
People who take photos with iPads at weddings. It's intrusive, and it blocks other guests and the photographer. It's even worse if they use it at dinner. I don't care what game is on!

Also, guests who switch tables.
It can cause crowding at some tables and leave others looking empty. Plus, the caterer will have to change her service plans. Sit at the one you're assigned to, please.

Avoid the reception-as-banquet thing.
Try creating a restaurant vibe with tables in different shapes and sizes and a handful of banquettes. At a recent wedding, I added a raised space along the back, so even though those tables were farthest from the dance floor, they almost felt more VIP.

Don't hang out with your friends all night.
Make a point of greeting your parents' friends too, as well as all the other guests who've taken time out of their lives to come to your party.

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

Want to see more New York City wedding planners? Check out our New York City planners page to find your perfect planning partner!

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Feb 052016
 

Sometimes in the great search for the perfect wedding venue, you don't even know where to begin. The answer? Browsing the top-notch spots to get married. Ever. In our new February/March 2016 issue (on newsstands now!) we call out the best venues— indoor and outdoor, big and small, luxury and budget-friendly— across America. How did we go about creating such a list? We asked more than 1,500 real brides and grooms nationwide to weigh in on the best spots to say "I do" by rating their own wedding location on everything from the service to the food to the view. From great plantations and rustic farms in the South to elegant libraries and grand hotels in the Northeast to romantic, swoon-worthy wineries on the West Coast, we found them all. So take note, brides-to-be! These are our readers' favorite bridal boutiques in the Midwest.

Wide-open spaces are your backdrop at these luxe ranches, wineries, and mountain Resorts

The Little Nell, Aspen, Colorado (Above)
A few reasons to get married at this perennial favorite's 11,212-foot-high wedding deck: the awesome Rocky Mountain backdrop, the giant vaulted restaurant, and the chance to use a gondola as your getaway ride.

El Chorro, Paradise Valley, Arizona
After a ceremony with epic views of Camelback Mountain, lead your guests to the adobe-style hotel's great room or light-strung lawn for seasonal southwestern cuisine.

Tanque Verde Ranch, Tucson, Arizona
Saddle up for a pre-wedding horseback ride with your girls, then kick off your boots and celebrate with vows among cacti that are at least twice your height.

Four Seasons Resort the Biltmore Santa Barbara, Santa Barbara, California
This posh Mediterranean-style resort features a gorge garden, colorful tiled patios, and an airy ballroom overlooking the sea. fourseasons.com.

Bear Flag Farm, Winters, California
Come for the private estate's sprawling vineyards, fragrant fields of lavender, and on-site event design and coordination; stay for the Ferris-wheel photo ops. (Seriously!)

St. Regis Aspen, Aspen, Colorado
The sunken courtyard is the quintessential winter ceremony spot, filled with Aspen trees, fire pits, and sights of the nearby peaks.

See More: Say Yes to The Dress at One of These Bridal Salons in the West!

Dunton Hot Springs, Dolores, Colorado
Wild West wedding alert! If you'd like, you can have this entire ghost town turned five-star resort for the weekend, including an open-air chapel, 13 log cabins, and a saloon that once served Butch Cassidy.

Kukahiko Estate, Maui, Hawaii
This tropical oasis is set on some of the island's most beautiful coastline. Have your ceremony on a lawn overlooking the Pacific, then watch for whales as you dine by the lava-rock beach.

Sun Valley Resort, Sun Valley, Idaho
Breathtaking Bald Mountain will play a starring role in your photos all night, whether you're exchanging vows on Trail Creek Cabin's lawn or partying in the window-filled ballroom at River Run Lodge.

Mandarin Oriental Las Vegas, Las Vegas
Three floors up, the neutral-hued ballroom offers a sleek, chic space for your bash, plus floor-to-ceiling windows that showcase the city's famous Strip.

Maysara Winery, McMinville, Oregon
After exchanging vows among 250 acres of vines, move to this massive stone-and-wood space in the Willamette Valley for a night of local pinot noir and dancing.

Montage Deer Valley, Deer Valley, Utah
In the hills above Park City, this modern resort woos mountain-loving brides with its in-the-forest ceremony site, artisanal menus, and cozy, elegant great room.

Sodo Park, Seattle
Just south of downtown, this 100-year-old restored factory features soaring ceilings, exposed beams, and a kick-ass catering team.

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

Want to see more venues in the West? Check out our West Venues page to find your dream location!

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The Sweetest Botanicals: Sugar Flower Wedding Cakes

 Brides Magazine February 2016 - March 2016, Cakes, Wedding Cakes  Comments Off on The Sweetest Botanicals: Sugar Flower Wedding Cakes
Feb 042016
 
Erica O'Brien Sugar Flower Wedding Cake

Photo: Christopher Testani

Your wedding guests might not remember the petals in your bridal bouquet, but they'll most certainly recall the ones that melted in their mouth. The sweetest of botanicals are those of the edible variety, of course! Feast your eyes on these beautifully blooming wedding cakes of floral and fauna. Crafted out of sugar, sweets, and frostings, these edible flowers elevate big day desserts into plated works of art.

Sugar paste peonies, buttercream buttercups, icing irises — oh my! From just-picked fondant blooms you'll swear are straight from the garden to food- dye-painted floral designs, Connecticut baker Erica O'Brien spins sugar flowers into artwork, turning wedding cakes into masterpieces. Her top tiered confections? Well, they're almost too pretty to eat. (Almost!)

Still Life (Above)
Edible sugar blossoms and berries on this artful cake evoke the Dutch Masters paintings of the 17th century. "The dark chocolate fondant adds to the drama," says O'Brien. Save a frame for this beauty when those wedding photos come in! ($22 per slice)

Erica O'Brien Rustic Flower Wedding Cake

Photo: Christopher Testani

Into the Woods
The forest-inspired design stays on the refined end of rustic, thanks to a soft palette and understated embellishments made from edible wafer paper and a special pliable confectionery icing. "The subtle leaves look and feel organic, perfect for a bride who is boho, creative, and romantic," O'Brien explains. ($19 per slice)

Erica O'Brien Watercolor Flower Wedding Cake

Photo: Christopher Testani

Spring Awakening
Put the enchanting in enchanted garden. Designed for a garden party, these hexagonal tiers are covered in edible paper printed with a chinoiserie pattern. O'Brien added sugar-paste magnolias for a final flourish. ($18 per slice)

See More: 18 Lovely Lace Wedding Cakes

Erica O'Brien Vintage Flower Wedding Cake

Photo: Christopher Testani

Very Vintage
O'Brien went folksy-elegant for this look, piping on royal icing to look like needlework. "Use color sparingly for a sophisticated result," she says. ($14 per slice)

Erica O'Brien Leafy Flower Wedding Cake

Photo: Christopher Testani

Tropical Chic
"I wanted a retro vibe with a modern feel here," explains O'Briend, who nailed it with a scaled down monstera-leaf pattern and a peach fondant background that makes us instantly crave a mai tai. ($18 per slice)

Get the biggest issue of the year! Subscribe now for the best wedding dresses, advice, and big-day inspiration. Or pick up the BRIDES February/March 2016 issue, on newsstands now and available for download here.


Feb 042016
 

Sometimes in the great search for the perfect wedding venue, you don't even know where to begin. The answer? Browsing the top-notch spots to get married. Ever. In our new February/March 2016 issue (on newsstands now!) we call out the best venues— indoor and outdoor, big and small, luxury and budget-friendly— across America. How did we go about creating such a list? We asked more than 1,500 real brides and grooms nationwide to weigh in on the best spots to say "I do" by rating their own wedding location on everything from the service to the food to the view. From great plantations and rustic farms in the South to elegant libraries and grand hotels in the Northeast to romantic, swoon-worthy wineries on the West Coast, we found them all. So take note, brides-to-be! These are our readers' favorite bridal boutiques in the Midwest.

Museums, music halls, and chic barns rule the Heartland

Zingerman's Cornman Farms, Dexter, Michigan (Above)
The farmhouse and restored barn on 42 acres of pastures are the stuff of country-wedding fantasies. Bonus: Choose between the famous Zingerman's Deli or Roadhouse, an upscale barbecue palace, for your catering.

Adler Planetarium, Chicago
This venue lets you marry right on Lake Michigan, so get hitched on the terrace before heading over to the reception space for sights of the Chicago skyline.

Symphony Center, Chicago
Even if you're not into doing an elevated ceremony on Armour Stage, you'll love the Grainger Ballroom's embellished ceilings and grand arched windows overlooking Michigan Avenue.

Downtown Market Grand Rapids, Grand Rapids, Michigan
Set above a farmer's market, the modern greenhouse and rooftop terrace offer an urban oasis for a ceremony one floor away from the city streets.

See More: Treat Your Guests to a Sweet Treat From One of These Midwestern Bakeries!

Grand Hotel, Mackinac Island, Michigan
This resort is known for its geranium-dotted 660-foot veranda (perfect for ceremonies) and its fantastic planner, who will put out any last-minute fires, like when a groomsman forgets his pants (true story).

A'bulae, St. Paul, Minnesota
This loftlike space has a roof for your I do's, floor-to-ceiling windows in the ballroom, and a luxe dressing room. (You and your 'maids will each have your own hair and makeup station. Fancy!)

Peabody Opera House, St. Louis
Exchange vows on the red-curtained stage in the theater, then head back to the marbled lobby, which doubles as the two-story ballroom of your dreams.

The Club at Hillbrook, Chagrin Falls, Ohio
A Tudor mansion in the woods, this venue gives off major fairy-tale vibes. Plus the wedding team goes above and beyond, even finishing that final DIY project for you.

Cleveland Museum of Art, Cleveland
A three-story glass atrium filled with trees adds a contemporary edge to the museum's original 1916 architecture, perfect for a traditional-meets-modern affair.

Franklin Park Conservatory, Columbus, Ohio
Want a lush space for your in-town nuptials? This greenhouse is stuffed with palm trees, and its exterior sports a super-cool light installation by artist James Turrell.

Milwaukee Art Museum, Milwaukee
Guests can tour the galleries to see the works of Picasso while you slip outside for photos in front of Quadracci Pavilion, a Calatrava-designed masterpiece meant to look like a ship's bow.

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

Want to see more Midwestern venues? Check out our Midwest Venues page to find your perfect location!

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Feb 022016
 

Every new year comes with new trends and for brides that love to know about all the hottest spots before everyone else — look no further! We teamed up with The Venue Report, which curates the world's coolest event Spaces, to pick the country's 10 Buzziest New Wedding Spots for 2016. These gorgeous venues will definitely have all your guests asking "how did you find this place?!" Trust us — they'll be completely wowed by every single spot on this list.

The Cedar Room, Charleston, South Carolina (Above)
Ideal for a chic vintage-inspired fete, this renovated 1800s cigar factory features an outdoor courtyard, authentic Low Country fare, and views of the Cooper River and iconic Arthur Ravenel Jr. Bridge.

The Inn at Newport Ranch, Fort Bragg, California
If you're into dramatic cliffs, awe-inspiring redwoods, and farm-to-table cuisine, check out this 2,000-acre cattle ranch on the Mendocino coast. Our favorite ceremony site? Celebration Point, a rock promontory with crashing Pacific waves on two sides.

Millwick, Los Angeles
Brides are flocking to this indoor-outdoor space in the downtown Arts District. The draw? A 2 a.m. curfew, the palm-lined garden patio, and 4,500 square feet of loft-like interiors.

The Chicago Athletic Association Hotel, Chicago
Built in the 19th century, this former men's club was closed to the public until last year, when it opened as a meticulously restored hotel. The White City Ballroom still has its original marble floors, ornate fireplaces, and stained-glass windowpanes.

Il Mercato, New Orleans
Get hitched next to citrus trees at this food market turned events space, then move the party inside to the mod great room. The library bar is perfect for a wild after-party.

See More: Caribbean Honeymoon Destinations for Every Couple

Granite Ridge Estate & Barn, Norway, Maine
Take over this 128-acre private mountain for the weekend and get married al fresco in the forest or in a wooden barn overlooking the countryside below.

26 Bridge, Brooklyn
Once a steel factory, this colossal space in arty Dumbo plays up its industrial past with steel-vaulted ceilings, original brick walls, and a skylight that runs the length of the room.

Parrish Art Museum, Water Mill, New York
Long Island's famous museum opened its Water Mill location in 2012 and is now (finally!) booking weddings. Take advantage with vows in a gallery, flanked by Jackson Pollock paintings, or in an open pavilion that seems to go on forever.

Prospect House, Dripping Springs, Texas
Say your vows in a field of Hill Country wildflowers, then move inside to a sleek 220-foot-long aluminum space that will appeal to your inner minimalist.

The White Sparrow, Quinlan, Texas
Thanks to its whitewashed interior, high ceiling, and six vintage brass chandeliers, this massive barn 43 miles outside Dallas is more elegant than rustic. FYI, the owner
is a wedding photographer, so the place was made for gorgeous wedding photos.

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

Want to see more up and coming venues? Check out our Venues page to find your perfect wedding location!

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