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Brides Magazine October-November 2015 Archives - New Orleans Weddings - Reception, Venue & Planning

BRIDES New York: NYC Cake Designer Ron Ben-Israel Shares His Tastiest Wedding Dessert Tips

 Brides Magazine October-November 2015, Cakes, Local, New York, New York City, NY, NJ and CT, Wedding Cakes  Comments Off on BRIDES New York: NYC Cake Designer Ron Ben-Israel Shares His Tastiest Wedding Dessert Tips
Oct 222015
NYC Wedding Cake Designer Ron Ben-Israel Shares Tips

Photo: Courtesy of Ron Ben-Israel

New York City dessert guru, Ron Ben-Israel certainly knows his way around a wedding cake. Beloved by Britney and Oprah, this famed cake designer is the go-to for celeb-adored sweet treats and the most regal of wedding desserts in his New York City stomping ground. Don't know your buttercream from your fondant? Ben-Israel is here to help with some tasty tips! Here, the NYC dessert guru talks tiers, tastings, and why he's just not that into cupcakes.

How Do You Know You've Found "The One?"
"Just because a baker has a gorgeous Facebook page doesn't mean he can make a good cake," says Ben-Israel. "Vet him through reputable magazines and websites, then go to a tasting and check out his kitchen. Make sure it's clean! You should also ask plenty of questions." A few to put on your list that Ben-Israel suggests: Will the cake be refrigerated? How will it be transported? And is he licensed, insured, and bonded? "You don't want to be liable for damages his team causes," he warns.

Tasting Tips
"Don't bring too many people to the tasting. You're going to get overwhelmed by all the opinions. When the group is too big, I pull the bride aside and ask her to make another appointment alone or with just the groom."

Get Inspired!
You can find design inspiration almost anywhere," insists Ben-Israel. "Think about your stationery, your menu, your venue, your story as a couple. One of my grooms tried to propose twice, and each time he was stung by a bee — and he's allergic! He managed to get the question out the second time, before he was rushed to the hospital, so they had bees on the cake to commemorate their engagement!" he shares. "You and your groom can both get what you want. Each tier can be unique, with its own cake and filling. You can even alternate designs."

And Get Fancy
"I love exotic flavors," the cake designer shares. "My favorite of the moment is coconut cake with candied-lime-and-ginger buttercream. And you don't have to choose between fondant and buttercream. Buttercream tends to look oily after a few hours, so to prevent a cake from shining, I put the thinnest layer of fondant over it and it looks perfect — and tastes great — all night."

See More: Find Dozens of Delicious Wedding Cake Bakeries on Our New York Cakes Page!

His Major Dessert Don't
"I'm not a fan of cupcakes," Ben-Israel admits. "You bite into a mound of frosting and you only get to the cake on the bottom, plus you have to deal with paper. I'd much rather see a wedding cake served with extras like chocolate truffles and crunchy cookies."

Savor the Flavor
"The cake cutting is a highlight of the wedding. It's the last ceremonial part of the night, and you've got everyone's attention. Take your time with it so everyone can get photos. That said, I absolutely abhor the practice of smashing cake in someone's face. It's vulgar. And it can ruin a dress."

Details, Details, Details
"For the favor, [get] something sweet and edible, like chocolate bonbons, macarons, or miniature cookies, preferably packed with a custom ribbon or seal." As for an after-party midnight snack. Ron suggests an old favorite — pigs in a blanket! "There's saltiness, flakiness, butter, meat — they have everything." And his take on the always classic floral cake décor? "I love, love tulips, both fresh ones and ones made out of sugar. Making sugar flowers is very meditative," the cake designer shares. Don't believe him? New York City brides can try their hand at wedding cake decorating, too! He offers classes out of his NYC location.

For even more of the best wedding dresses, advice, and big-day inspiration, pick up the BRIDES October/November 2015 issue on newsstands now and available for download.

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Oct 202015
Fruits Vegetables Wedding Flower Arrangements and Bouquets

Photo: David Prince

On the hunt for wedding florals with a rich, just-picked aesthetic? Tantalize all the senses with texturized, tasteful floral arrangements gussied up with charming — and deliciously unexpected — produce accents. The stunning natural backdrop of these heirloom fruits and vegetables give these arrangements gorgeous texture and a lush, fresh-from-the-garden feel. Equal parts whimsical and unmistakably refined, this luxe mix of bountiful blooms and pretty produce result in a look as lovely as a still-life painting.

Need another reason to love your fruits and veggies? Adding produce takes a simple centerpiece to the next level but won't blow your flower budget. A large bunch of grapes, for example, costs about a dollar — around a quarter of the price of a peony. Pro florist Michael Putnam of Putnam & Putnam and cake designer Lauren Bohl White gave us a peek at some jewel-hued fruits and veggies and loose bundles of blossoms, plus tons of fruitful ideas on how to incorporate this original, organic, and opulent look into your wedding!

Kumquats and Pears (above): "We played off the blush and red in the pears and the bright orange of the kumquats," says Putnam, using ranunculus, spray roses, and peonies.

Figs, Kumquats, and Berries Cake: One way to dress a simple white buttercream-frosted cake? Cluster fruits in a variety of shapes and sizes together for an informal, natural look, suggests Lauren Bohl White. Bonus: It's cheaper than sugar flowers!

Fruit Vegetables Wedding Flower Arrangements and Bouquets with Grapes

Photo: David Prince

Muscat Grapes: Yellow and pink grape bunches fill out this blush and gold-toned bouquet's abundant layers of garden roses, ranunculus, and sweet peas.

Fruits Vegetables Wedding Flower Arrangements Bouquets with Black Grapes and Kale

Photo: David Prince

Kale and Black Grapes: "I love the rich contrast between the dark grapes and pale cream and mauve roses," says Putnam. Kale, figs, and variegated foliage add more unexpected dimension.

See More: 25 Organic Wedding Bouquets

Fruits Vegetables Wedding Flower Arrangements Bouquets with Eggplant and Artichokes

Photo: David Prince

Baby Eggplant and Artichokes: "I love a romantic palette of deep reds, burgundy, violet, and black," Putnam shares. Purple artichokes, baby eggplant, kale, and blackberries are peppered among the jewel-toned peonies, sweet peas, and ranunculus.

Fruits Vegetables Wedding Flower Arrangements Bouquets with Pomegranates and Branches

Photo: David Prince

Pomegranates and Almond Branches: "Don't be afraid to be loose with your arrangements," advises Putnam. Here, trailing amaranth, coral sweet peas, and
paper-thin peony blossoms hang with pomegranates, almond branches, and persimmons in an asymmetrical design.

For even more of the best wedding dresses, advice, and big-day inspiration, pick up the BRIDES October/November 2015 issue on newsstands now and available for download.

Oct 172015
Reasons to Honeymoon in Lana'i Hawaii

Photo: Getty Images

It's no secret that Hawaii is one of the absolute best places to honeymoon. The shimmering water, pristine beaches and interesting volcanic landscape coupled with luxe resorts and pampering spas make it a no brainer for couples looking for a beachy newlywed escape. But take note, brides- and grooms-to-be, some of the most jaw-dropping locales won't show up in every single tour book or traveler review.

In the Aloha State, iconic beaches abound, and while white and golden stretches like Waikiki on Oahu, Kapalua on Maui, and Hapuna on Hawaii Island get most of the press, there's a kaleidoscope of other options to recline on as well.

See More: 10 Bucket List-Worthy Beach Honeymoon Locations

Thanks to the isles' many volcanoes, black sand can be found all over; two of the prettiest examples are Honokalani on Maui and Kauai's Waimea Beach, a sweet spot to watch the sunset. Olivine, a crystal formed by volcanic eruptions, lends Papakolea Beach on Hawaii Island its green hue, while iron from an eroding volcanic slope gives Maui's Kaihalulu Red Sand Beach, in Hana, its amber color. (Experienced hikers only: The trail to this remote area is tough for amateurs to handle.)

For a rainbow of shades, check out Kauai's Glass Beach, which gets its name from the smooth, wave-sculpted sea glass that carpets the coastline. (The blue, green, and brown pebbles were once soda bottles and car windshields dumped upshore decades ago.) Many of the larger pieces have been scooped up by beachcombers, but the glittering sand is still worth a photo.

Want more genius planning tips? For the best wedding dresses, advice, and big-day inspiration, pick up the BRIDES October/November 2015 issue, on newsstands now and available for download here!

Oct 162015

New beauty apps (think Uber for hair and makeup) are making it simple to find and book talented pros for the big day — or any wedding event. "From the engagement party to the bachelorette and shower, we're involved in the entire life cycle of a bride," says Alexandra Wilkis Wilson, CEO of Glamsquad. "We've even been involved in the engagement itself. A guy once called us to help his girlfriend get done up before he proposed!" Here, the apps to check out — and download — now.

Services: Hair, makeup, nails, spray tans, waxing, and more
Where: About 15,000 cities nationwide
How it works: Browse city-specific directories of stylist profiles to see photos of their work, prices, and recs. Then book!
Price: From $75 for hair or makeup (varies by stylist and location)

Services: Hair, makeup, and lash extensions
Where: Chicago, Los Angeles, New York, and D.C.
How it works: Filter by availability, price, or reviews to schedule an appointment with a vetted freelance artist in your area.
Price Varies, starting around $40 for hair and $60 for makeup

Services: Hair, makeup, and nails
Where: New York, Los Angeles, and Miami
How it works: Choose from a variety of looks, say when, and the stylists report for duty at your doorstep.
Price: From $50 for hair, $75 for makeup, and $125 for each bridal trial or day-of service

See More: How to Plan Your Wedding with an Apple Watch

The Glam App
Services: Hair, makeup, and nails
Where: New York; Los Angeles; Orange County, California; Las Vegas; San Francisco; Phoenix; and Dallas
How it works: Choose the experience level you want (newbies cost less), name your date and time, and the prescreened freelance stylist who responds first gets the gig.
Price: $40 to $100 per service; custom bridal packages vary

Drybar on the Fly
Services: Blowouts, updos, and braids
Where: New York (more cities coming soon)
How it works: You can reserve ahead by stylist or date or grab a spot right freaking now for those inevitable beauty emergencies.
Price: $75

Services: Hair and makeup
Where: New York City; the Hamptons, New York; Los Angeles; San Francisco; Silicon Valley, California; and Miami
How it works: Browse through curated images of hair and makeup inspiration, then book one of the in-house pros (many of whom have worked on celebs and magazine shoots).
Price: $100 for hair and $150 for makeup; bridal packages start at $750 and include trials, day-of services, even touch-ups

Before you click..
Aim to reserve at least two months out to make sure you get the stylist you want (although most services will do their best to accommodate last-minute brides).

Always check to see whether gratuities are included. Some apps even let you add them when you schedule the appointment. (Just like with normal salons, a 15 to 20 percent tip is recommended.)

Getting married just outside one of the areas serviced? Many of these companies will push the borders for your special day especially if you're booking for your entire bridal party.

Want more genius planning tips? For the best wedding dresses, advice, and big-day inspiration, pick up the BRIDES October/November 2015 issue, on newsstands now and available for download here!

Glowing Wedding-Day Skin: Quick and Easy Fixes for Every Complexion Woe

 Brides Magazine October-November 2015, Hair & Beauty, Wedding Beauty  Comments Off on Glowing Wedding-Day Skin: Quick and Easy Fixes for Every Complexion Woe
Oct 152015
get better skin by your wedding

Photo: Getty Images

Every bride should feel beautiful on her wedding day, but sometimes complexion issues like acne or redness can get in the way of making us feel our most stunning selves. Luckily, we've got the dermatologist-approved remedies for even your most distressing skin issues so you can stop worrying and start focusing on that walk down the aisle. Whether you have six months or just a week, here's the fix for every complexion woe.

Long-term: Starting at least two months out, use a benzoyl-peroxide cleanser to zap bacteria and a treatment with salicylic acid to exfoliate, says New York City dermatologist Amy Wechsler. Try Neutrogena Rapid Clear Stubborn Acne Cleanser ($9, Neutrogena) and Olay Fresh Effects Clear Skin Spot Zinger ($7, Olay).

Quick Fix: A cortisone shot will make a zit disappear in a day or two. Can't get to the derm? Rub an ice cube over your trouble spot to reduce swelling, then dab on eye drops, like Visine ($7.19, available at Walgreens), to take down the redness. Finish with concealer.

Long-term:Every morning and night, smooth on a moisturizer with glycerin or hyaluronic acid, like Clinique Dramatically Different Moisturizing Cream ($26, Clinique). Then, once a week, use a gentle scrub. (Try Fresh Sugar Face Polish, $62) Just don't go crazy: "If your face is squeaky clean after rinsing it, you've removed the good oils along with the bad," says Wechsler.

Quick Fix: In-office microdermabrasion a week before the big day leaves skin soft; salicylic-acid peels, like M-61 Power Glow Peel ($28, M-61), deflake at home.

See More: How to Get an Extra Stunning Smile for Your Wedding!

Dark Spots
Long-term: Three months out, battle sun spots with a melanin inhibitor. Wechsler swears by Chanel Le Blanc Brightening Concentrate Double Action TXC ($195, Chanel). You'll also need a daily broad-spectrum sunscreen with an SPF of 30 or higher; the sun makes spots more prominent and can undo any progress you've achieved. Derms love Elta MD UV Clear Broad-Spectrum SPF 46 ($32, Elta MD).

Quick Fix: Spots can take months to fade, but vitamin-C masks brighten skin overall. Try Ren Flash Rinse 1 Minute Facial ($48, available at Sephora).

Large Pores
Long-term: Although you can't actually shrink pores, exfoliating weekly with a scrub makes them look smaller, says Wechsler. Try Dr. Brandt PoreDermabrasion Pore Perfecting Exfoliator ($58, available at Sephora). Then, at least three months before your wedding, start applying a product containing retinol every night before bed. We like Dermalogica Overnight Retinol Repair ($85, Dermalogica).

Quick Fix: Slather on a charcoal mask! It acts like a vacuum to scoop up dirt and oil from pores. Try Yes to Tomatoes Detoxifying Charcoal Mud Mask ($16, Yes To).

Long-term: Make sure all of your products are fragrance free and hypoallergenic. We like the uber-gentle Simple Micellar Cleansing Water ($7, available at Ulta). "External factors like sun, smoke, and pollution can sensitize skin too," Wechsler says. But you can't live in a bubble, so apply an antioxidant serum to help protect against these aggressors. We love SkinCeuticals C E Ferulic ($162, SkinCeuticals).

Quick Fix: Calm your skin with a soothing mask containing cucumber, aloe vera, or chamomile, like Peter Thomas Roth Cucumber Gel Mask ($45, Peter Thomas Roth).

Want more genius planning tips? For the best wedding dresses, advice, and big-day inspiration, pick up the BRIDES October/November 2015 issue, on newsstands now and available for download here!

Oct 132015
Winter Bridal Statement Earrings

Photo: Kevin Cremens

With snowy showers and glam winter weddings fast approaching, cold-weather brides are busy dreaming about gorgeous gowns fit for a sugarplum fairy or regal venues, dripping with scene-setting icicles. With a cozy fur stole draped around your shoulders and a berry-hued red lip, you might think you have all the winter wedding accessories a girl would need. But how about a pair of icy cool statement earrings to match all that frozen crystal outside? As the new glam accessory for winter weddings, with their snow white clusters of gems and dewy drops of diamonds, these daring danglers are fit for an ice princess.

Clockwise: Lulu Frost Drop Earrings. With a spray of ornamental foliage, dusted with a snow white frost, these Victorian-inspired trinkets are somehow both bold and darlingly delicate, for a bridal look that's romantic, elegant, and antiquated — and not to mention, totally cool. ($250, Lulu Frost)

Dannijo Faith Earrings. Dozens of glittering, glacial Swarovski crystals are a throwback to old-school glamour, but with a fresh, geometric design, these sculpted baubles are unmistakably bold and modern. ($445, Dannijo)

Erickson Beamon Pearl Drop Earring. No bride should be without her pearls, but these babies put a frosty twist on the traditional. Rhinestone accents and a bridal white bow makes this pretty pair as refreshing as a crisp winter night. ($303, Erickson Beamon)

See More: 35 Statement-Making Bridal Baubles Under $50

CH Carolina Herrera Falling Jasmine Earrings. In the hue of chilled champagne, these wintery petals are sweet, feminine, and — best of all — unexpected. ($145 each, CH Carolina Herrera New York, 212-744-20176)

Juliet & Co. Cerise Earrings. With a trendy wing shape and ombré look, this arrangement of blue-hued gems are as crisp as the weather outside. ($44, ShopBop)

BCBG Max Azria Multi-Stone Drop Earrings. Crystal clear stones are classically ladylike, while a bold, danglingly cut adds a dose of drama. ($68, BCBG Maz Azria)

For even more of the best wedding dresses, advice, and big-day inspiration, pick up the BRIDES October/November 2015 issue on newsstands now and available for download.

Rock-That-Dress Workout Moves that Don’t Require Hitting the Gym

 Brides Magazine October-November 2015, Fitness and Health, Wellness  Comments Off on Rock-That-Dress Workout Moves that Don’t Require Hitting the Gym
Oct 132015
Expert Wedding Exercise Tips

Photo: Getty Images

You've got the gown — and we have the workout tailored to it! Celebrity trainer Harley Pasternak shares the targeted, no-gym-needed moves to get you aisle ready, whether your dress is a strapless gown or a body-hugging mermaid silhouette. Do three sets of 20 reps for each exercise, two to three times a week, starting now!

Target Zone: Arms
Close-Grip Press-Up
1. Lie on your stomach with your palms flat on the ground, directly under your shoulders, elbows bent.
2. Press your chest upward in a cobra-like position, keeping your elbows close to your ribs and your lower body on the ground.
3. Lower your body three quarters of the way down, then press back up.

Revealing Lower Back
Target Zone: Back
Single-Arm Row
1. Get into a lunge position with your left leg forward, your right leg extended back, and your left forearm resting on your left thigh.
2. With your right arm perpendicular to the ground and holding a two- to three-pound weight, gradually draw your hand and elbow up along your side (like you're starting a lawn mower).
3. Return to starting position and repeat.
4. Switch legs and work the other side.

See More: These Beauty Products are Perfect For Pre-Wedding Relaxation

Tight & Slinky
Target Zone:
Spider Plank
1. Begin in plank position with hands on the ground.
2. Move your right knee toward your right triceps.
3. Return the right leg to start position.
4. Alternate with the left.

Target Zone:
Hip Thrust
1. Lie with your head and back flat on the ground and your knees bent and shoulder-width apart.
2. Push your hips up as high as you can, driving through your heels.
3. Hold for one beat, squeeze your butt, and lower back down.

Target Zone:
Walking Lunge
1. Begin by standing with your feet together.
2. Lunge forward with your right leg, lowering your body and bending both knees to an almost 90 degree angle. (Don't let the back knee touch the ground.)
3. As you rise, bring the back leg past your front leg in an exaggerated walk.

The home stretch
To really get those toned muscles in show-off shape during that last week, drink tons of water, cut out sodium, eat lean protein at every meal, and bump up the cardio to one hour of high-intensity interval training every day, says nutritionist and fitness expert Robert Ferguson.

For even more of the best wedding dresses, advice, and big-day inspiration, pick up the BRIDES October/November 2015 issue on newsstands now and available for download.

Oct 112015
Benefit Brow Bridal Beauty Bars

Photo: Courtesy of Benefit Brow Bar

Busy brides don't have time to be sitting in a salon chair for endless hours! There's seating charts to make, final fittings to go to, RSVPs to collect... When it comes to bridal beauty, you need it done fast, but more importantly, you need it done well. That's the genius behind the country's newest craze, "beauty bars" — expert salons that offer a single service to get you in-and-out and looking fabulous for the big day and every bridal bash before! From blowouts to flawless brows, these are the new places you'll want to take your 'maids bar hopping!

The stylists at chains like DreamDry, Drybar, and Blo Blow Dry Bar can create anything from sleek, smooth strands to bouncy, voluminous curls that won't go flat. Starting at $40.

Want an intricate Khaleesi-inspired 'do? Call the master weavers at John Barrett Braid Bar in New York City, Nine Zero One Salon in L.A., or AMS Braid Bar in Philadelphia. Starting at $20—$50.

Hair Extensions
At L.A.'s Just Extensions and New York's RPZL, you can walk in with a lob and walk out with cascading Gisele-like locks. From $80.

See More: Ask Drew: Drew Barrymore Answers Your Bridal Beauty Questions

At Blushington's locations in California, Dallas, and New York City, skilled makeup artists can give you a glowing, natural look or one that's full-on glam. There are even classes if you prefer to do your own day-of makeup. $20—$55 for makeup and $100 and up for classes.

Skin Care
Have a laser treatment at Skin Laundry in New York City, Scottsdale, Arizona, or one of California's four locations. For a relaxing facial, try New York City's Heyday. From $60.

Get a tint, touch-up, or full-fledged reshaping at Benefit Brow Bars nationwide. From $12.

For even more of the best wedding dresses, advice, and big-day inspiration, pick up the BRIDES October/November 2015 issue on newsstands now and available for download.

5 Boho-Chic Bridal Looks Perfect for an Outdoor Fall Wedding

 Brides Magazine October-November 2015, Wedding Dresses  Comments Off on 5 Boho-Chic Bridal Looks Perfect for an Outdoor Fall Wedding
Oct 102015
Boho Zimmermann Wedding Dress

Photo: Gilles Bensimon

Yards of lace and fussy tulle too much for a boho bride like you? Saying your "I do's" in the great outdoors and need a causally cool wedding look to go with all that gorgeous tall grass and autumn sunshine? Well then these fresh, flower child dresses are after your free-spirited heart! Feminine and effortless, these bridal looks are ready for a picnic reception or an impromptu post-nuptials stroll with your new hubby — and are anything but stiff and stuffy. Thought outdoor weddings are only for summer? Leaf-strewn forests bathed in autumn hues, apple orchards, rustic vineyards, and lush sunflower fields will make a convert out of you! So, go au naturale in an easy-breezy wedding dress, just as pretty as your organic surroundings!

Layers of gorgeous, gauzy fabric and simple silhouettes aren't afraid to get a little dirty, but still manage to be bridal-level beautiful. Toss a wide-brimmed, wool hat into the mix and you've got a low-key look for your "I do's" that's next-level cool and seasonally appropriate. So, shake out that bridal updo into loose waves, scoop up a bouquet of wildflowers, and dive into a carefree wedding look that's unmistakably you.

Above: Cover up and show some skin in a flowy long-sleeved number with chic side slits. Dress, $2,850, Zimmermann; Veil, Tia Mazza; Necklaces, Carmen Diaz Jewelry; Rings, Hirotaka, available at OTTE

Boho Short Valentino Wedding Dress

Photo: Gilles Bensimon

Tiered tulle isn't just for skirts. Statement sleeves show everyone who's the bride — even when she's wearing the pants. Minidress, $5,290, Valentino; Jeans, Frame Denim, available at Intermix; Top bracelet and ring on ring finger, Jennie Kwon; Bottom bracelet, Carmen Diaz Jewelry; Ring on first finger, Forevermark by Jade Trau

Boho Legends Romona Keveza Wedding Dress

Photo: Gilles Bensimon

Muted berry lips give a subtle you-but-better effect that plays nicely with an outdoorsy vibe. Tulle gown with lace bodice, $3,375, Legends Romona Keveza; Hat, Clyde; Headband, Jennifer Behr; Earrings, De Beers; Lips, Dior Rouge Dior Nude Lip Blush in Charnelle, $35, Dior

See More: Must-Know Wedding Dress Shopping Tips From NYC Bridal Salon Owner Gabriella Risatti

Boho Silk Sheath Charlie Brear Wedding Dress

Photo: Gilles Bensimon

Thank Carolyn Bessette Kennedy for making the silk sheath a bridal classic. Dress, $2,238, Charlie Brear; Hat, Clyde; Necklace, Carmen Diaz Jewelry; Top bracelet, Jennie Kwon, available at Barneys; Bottom bracelet, Phyne by Paige Novick; Ring, De Beers

Boho Delphine Manivet Wedding Dress

Photo: Gilles Bensimon

A breezy, loose silhouette loves the contrast of a tight topknot. Flowers are optional but highly recommended. Tulle overdress, $1,700, Delphine Manivet; Coat, Mara Hoffman; Earrings, the Woods Fine Jewelry, available at Goldyn Rings, Jennie Kwon, available at Twist

For even more of the best wedding dresses, advice, and big-day inspiration, pick up the BRIDES October/November 2015 issue on newsstands now and available for download.

Must-Know Tips for Writing Your Own Wedding Vows

 Brides Magazine October-November 2015, Ceremony & Vows, Wedding Vows  Comments Off on Must-Know Tips for Writing Your Own Wedding Vows
Oct 082015

If you and your husband-to-be are set on writing your own wedding vows, there are a few must-know pieces of advice to follow. First? Stick to 400 words or fewer. Then, follow celeb planner Mindy Weiss' easy tips for a sweet, heartfelt moment that won't leave a single guest dry-eyed.

Start with how you met
"What made him stand out to you? Any first impressions that evolved over time?" Weiss says.

Tell him how you knew he was the one you wanted to marry.
Did he change your expectations? What have you learned about him since you met, and what have you learned about yourself? "Don't be afraid to get mushy if that's your thing," Weiss says. "And if it's not, you can express yourself in a letter to give him privately."

Discuss your life together.
What are your hopes and plans for the future? How does he fit into them? Do you want to travel the world together? Have kids? Or start by finally getting through the rest of Mad Men on Netflix? Share it all.

Close with how you're feeling at that moment.
"Feel free to improvise!" says Weiss. "Just be sure to remind him how much you love him."

See More: 55 Amazing Ceremony Structures

Looking for a unique reading to complement your original vows?
Consider lines from a book, song, or film you both love, or have a few guests stand up one by one and read short quotes that speak to you. Can't find something you love? Search quotation sites for passages with a key word that describes your relationship, like laughter or trust.

Want more genius planning tips? For the best wedding dresses, advice, and big-day inspiration, pick up the BRIDES October/November 2015 issue, on newsstands now and available for download here!

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