5 Holiday Gift Budgeting Tips for Engaged Couples

 Budget, Holidays, Wedding Budgets  Comments Off on 5 Holiday Gift Budgeting Tips for Engaged Couples
Nov 142016
 
Holiday Gift Budget Tips

Photo: Getty Images

If you're planning to get married in the first half of 2017, now is the time to start budgeting properly. Why now? Because it's the engaged couple's last chance to get their financial ducks in a row, ahead of the holiday season.

Between holiday travel expenses and gifts for family, friends, and colleagues, many couples find themselves financially tapped out in January and February. That's not going to work for you this year if all of your final wedding expenses are going to be due in the first half of the New Year.

While you cannot use your upcoming wedding as an excuse to skip the holiday gift-giving entirely, you can make smarter decisions ahead of time, so that you don't find yourself paying ridiculous shipping, and higher prices, at the last minute to give gifts that you really cannot afford.

Consider the following five tips to help you avoid blowing your whole wad, and causing wedding budget problems down the road.

1. Make a list of everybody you MUST shop for and evaluate it with your spouse.
If you've previously given individual gifts to couple friends, consider giving just one gift to them together. Let them know that's your plan so they can feel free to reciprocate in kind.

2. Set hard budgets for gifts for friends, and stick to those numbers.
If you tend to overspend on the ones you love, get the gifts early. Wrap them and cross those people off of your list. Not another thought towards picking up little extra goodies or you'll undermine your budget plan.

3. Plan an interactive gift night with close friends, instead of exchanging gifts in the traditional manner.
Make reservations for a special restaurant with another couple, planning to split the tab, as your gift to each other. You'd probably have gone out to dinner together anyway — goose it up a bit and make it an extra special night with appetizers at a trendy martini bar before, and a visit to a champagne or hookah bar after.

See More: Holiday Gift Ideas for Your In-Laws

4. Homemade gifts are wonderful, as long as you don't end up spending more to make them than it would have cost you to buy something similar.
Fall is a great time to make jams and jellies to wrap as pretty gifts, if you're feeling adventurous. All of your DIY gift ideas are sure to be thoughtful, but you have to plan ahead. Otherwise, you'll run out of time, and end up spending money at the last minute to buy gifts when you already have the ingredients and parts and pieces from the craft store at home.

5. Your own families know that you're paying for an upcoming wedding, so nobody will be surprised if you've spent less this Christmas than last.
If you usually get individual gifts for your siblings, their spouses, and each of their children, consider getting a larger "family" gift instead. As long as it's something that everyone will enjoy, the gift will be greatly appreciated.

Sandy Malone is the owner of Sandy Malone Weddings & Events and author of How to Plan Your Own Destination Wedding: Do-It-Yourself Tips from an Experienced Professional. Sandy is the star of TLC's reality show Wedding Island, about her destination wedding planning company, Weddings in Vieques.

4 Things to Keep in Mind If You’re Planning a Holiday Wedding

 Etiquette, Holidays, Planning Tips, Wedding Etiquette  Comments Off on 4 Things to Keep in Mind If You’re Planning a Holiday Wedding
Nov 112016
 

Chestnuts roasting by an open fire, steaming mugs of cider...and a bride heading down the aisle! With indulgent meals and lots of time with family and friends in mind, a wedding during the holidays seems like a perfect fit! It does, however, come with its own set of challenges. Thankfully, we've asked our experts to break down the big things you should keep in mind if you're hoping to get married during the holidays, so the only thing that surprises you is that sprig of mistletoe overhead for your first kiss.

Consider a Smaller Guest List
Even if you plan your wedding a year or more in advance, there's a chance that choosing a date during the holidays will discourage some guests from coming, whether it's because they have their own family celebrations to attend or due to the high cost of travel at this time. If you're worried that you'll have a lot fewer guests in attendance, consider making your wedding a more intimate, family-focused event, then plan a second reception later.

Family Comes First
If you're planning on inviting guests beyond your own families and close friends, you should consider turning your wedding into a family-friendly affair and adding kiddos to the guest list. That will greatly increase the chance of your guests RSVPing "yes," as they won't have to choose between your love and spending the holidays with their children. Look into hiring a few babysitters to entertain the smaller ones once the party gets started, as well as kid-friendly activities (like a 10 p.m. "Ball Drop") to make the evening special for them, too.

See More: Seasonal Ideas to Steal From Our Favorite Winter Weddings

Be Prepared for Higher Prices
Sure, there may be fewer weddings happening during that time of year, but between holiday parties, vacations, and vendors wanting to spend time with their own families, the price of your dream venue or favorite photographer may be higher than it would be during a different season. Be prepared to pay more for a wedding on an actual holiday (Thanksgiving, Christmas Eve or Christmas Day, or New Year's Eve) no matter the day of the week. This also applies to things like flights and hotel rooms, especially if you're having your wedding at a winter destination. Hotels book up months in advance, and airline prices skyrocket this time of year, so the financial impact could affect your guests, too.

Start Booking Early
You're not just competing against other brides and grooms, but also vying for a space or vendor that's equally tempting to a corporate holiday party or a blowout New Year's Eve Gala. Start contacting and booking vendors as soon as possible: This will give you a larger number of options to consider, as well as time to find a back-up, should that cozy lodge you love already be full of holiday travelers or reserved for a corporate shindig.

The Pros and Cons of Having Your Wedding on Thanksgiving

 Holidays, Planning Tips, Wedding Planning  Comments Off on The Pros and Cons of Having Your Wedding on Thanksgiving
Nov 022016
 
Pros and Cons of Thanksgiving Weddings

Photo: Analisa Joy

Have you ever been to a wedding on Thanksgiving weekend? Opinions are mixed as to whether having your wedding on the second biggest holiday weekend of the year is a good idea.

Traditionally, Thanksgiving and Christmas are times reserved for family. And once you get married, your family grows. With that growth, your obligations expand. Many couples rotate whose family they spend the special holidays with each year. If they suddenly receive a wedding invitation a few months ahead of Thanksgiving, it can throw the balance of everything into a tailspin.

The Pros of a Thanksgiving Wedding...

1. If you're having a destination wedding, and your guests are mostly family, you'll be able to capitalize on the time spent together someplace awesome, and get married at the same time. You can stretch your wedding weekend into a four-day adventure with your favorite people.

2. The size of an out-of-control guest list can be seriously reduced by inviting your friends to spend an important holiday away from their families. Some of your friends won't even consider it. If you can't afford a big wedding but don't want to leave people off the guest list, a Thanksgiving weekend wedding is a great way to get a lot more people to decline the invite.

3. Thanksgiving can be a fun theme to play with at your wedding! We had clients from Chicago who had a "Pie-Stravaganza" in lieu of a wedding cake at their Thanksgiving wedding. Yes, there was fabulous pumpkin pie on the menu, but there were also seven other flavors to choose from. And who doesn't love pie?

See More: 42 Fall Inspired Wedding Cakes

The Cons of a Thanksgiving Wedding...

1. Airfares are outrageous for Thanksgiving week. Easily as bad, if not worse, than Christmas and Spring Break. If a lot of your guests will have to travel to your wedding, you have to take that into consideration. Everybody knows Thanksgiving is one of the most heavily-travelled days of the year.

2. Some guests you'd really like to have at your wedding will not be able to join you. They'll already be committed with family, and unwilling to break their traditions. If it's somebody coming from out-of-town, you're virtually handing them an excuse to skip the expense of your wedding. Some must-attend invitees may think you're being a bit selfish by taking away their Thanksgiving weekend. It's a football lover's nightmare.

3. Wedding vendors have families too, so don't look for big discounts even if you're getting married someplace that is supposed to be in "off-season." I've had to resort to out-and-out bribery to staff large weddings on Thanksgiving. Professionals will hide their personal displeasure, and provide the very best vendor services for your big day. But you'll pay to have them servicing your wedding while their entire family is sitting at home enjoying turkey together.

Sandy Malone is the owner of Sandy Malone Weddings & Events and author of How to Plan Your Own Destination Wedding: Do-It-Yourself Tips from an Experienced Professional. Sandy is the star of TLC's reality show Wedding Island, about her destination wedding planning company, Weddings in Vieques.

Here’s the One Conversation You Should Avoid This Holiday Season

 Holidays, Relationships  Comments Off on Here’s the One Conversation You Should Avoid This Holiday Season
Nov 012016
 
conversation to avoid during holidays

Photo: Getty Images

Let's be honest: Holiday gatherings can sometimes be more stressful than fun. And that's if your family gets along. But a recent survey shows there's something you should worry about beyond whether your mother will pass the gravy to the sister she hasn't spoken to in years, and that's political talk.

Propeller Insights polled 1,000 U.S. adults and found that 49 percent of millennials believe Thanksgiving is the tensest social event of the year, while 54 percent rank Hanukah and Christmas as the gatherings most-likely to cause serious stress. But no matter what holiday millennials think will be the worst, they all had one thing in common: They've got the potential to be bad, millennials said, because of political differences.

Why do political differences divide us? "Political discussions are the gateway talks for more sensitive issues like money, abortion and lifestyle values," explains April Masini, relationship and etiquette expert. "It's not that politics are all that sensitive, but it's the underlying conversations that hit home. The way policies and politicians control and govern our lives hits our pocketbooks, our military, our safety and our education. And these are all areas where people tend to agree, and disagree."

When people disagree, "they tend to either politely do so, back off and change the subject, or come out swinging and not let go," Masini says. "The latter is what creates family fights at holidays." And to avoid that outcome, it can be best to avoid the discussion all together. Here's how.

1. Prepare other topics of conversation.
Long before you sit down at the dinner table, have a list of things you'd actually like to talk about prepared in your head, plus tactics to diffuse any conversation that could divide your family. "Preparation and discussion prior to a family event can be a great solution to avoiding fighting," says Masini. Seek other's advice, too. "You can discuss these issues with a partner, your family, or friends," she says.

See More: 3 Tips for a Healthy Pre-Wedding Holiday

2. Bring a plus-one (or two).
"If your family has better manners with company than it does without, [ask if you can] bring friends," Masini suggests. "Some people behave better when they're with new people than because old patterns that they tend to fall into are broken and avoided." Plus, welcoming friends who don't have their own celebrations to attend into your family gathering is always a good move, regardless of politics.

3. Be clear and move on.
When your uncle brings up the election results, say, "Listen, we're here to celebrate, give thanks, and be together with family," suggests Jane Greer, Ph.D., relationship expert and author of What About Me? Stop Selfishness From Ruining Your Relationship. Then, she says, add, "let's put the politics on the shelf for this occasion. We all have varying and differing points of view. We want to enjoy the day and not end up in potential conflict with each other."

4. Be persistent.
Of course, you can't always convince a stubborn relative to move on. So if your uncle persists in bashing Hillary Clinton, "say you respect his opinion but would rather discuss this topic at a different time," Greer suggests. "Acknowledge his strong feelings, but explain you're not comfortable discussing politics in this setting."

6 Couples Halloween Costumes That Are Too Perfect for 2016

 Halloween, Holidays, Relationships  Comments Off on 6 Couples Halloween Costumes That Are Too Perfect for 2016
Oct 242016
 
Rob and Chyna

Photo: Courtesy of E!

It's everyone's favorite time of year: Halloween, which means you and your fiancé get to dress up as your alter egos. And let's face it, 2016 has been a pretty exciting year for inspiration between movies, political events, celebrity couples, and yes, even mobile apps. So grab your partner and get working on one of these totally-timely Halloween costume ideas for couples.

Rob and Chyna (Above)
It seems every years is all about the Kardashian sisters, but 2016 belonged to their brother Rob and his fiancé Blac Chyna. And we know you've been watching their ups and downs play out on both their new TV show and social media. Give a nod to the expecting couple by dressing as them this Halloween.

For Rob: He's got it easy with this one. Wear fake tattoo sleeves, black pants, a black t-shirt, and Rob's signature ball cap.
For Chyna: Choose a tight dress and stuff it with a pillow to emulate Chyna's baby bump. Or, if you want to fashion yourself after one of the couple's more well-known photo shoots (pictured above), create a baby bump with the fake tattoo "Baby On Board," peeking through a black tank and black pants.

Stranger Things

Photo: Courtesy of Shrimp Salad Circus

Stranger Thing's Eleven and Mike
Admit it: You and your fiancé binged Netflix's Stranger Things within 48 hours. And you couldn't help but fall in love with badass Eleven and her beau Mike. While we can't promise you an adventure into the Upside Down — or Eleven's superpowers for that matter — we can promise a lot of thumbs up for this costume.

For Eleven: Find a shortly cropped wig, or cut a brunette wig to a buzz cut. Put on a pink, '80s style dress with a white color, then top it off with a blue jacket. Add a little fake blood "nosebleed" for full effect.
For Mike: A striped polo shirt with white collar, topped with a khaki jacket. Add khaki pants or '80s-style jeans and sneakers. For the full effect, push a bike around with you.
Get more DIY instructions here.

bad hombre nasty woman

Photo: Courtesy of Etsy

Bad Hombre and Nasty Woman
As a nod to the oh-so controversial 2016 election, without going as straight up Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump, we love the idea of dressing up as two of the most memorable memes to come out of the third and final presidential debate. Whichever candidate you're voting for, you have to admit these t-shirts from EpicTees4You's Etsy shop make a super topical AND ultra-easy Halloween costume for you and your future spouse. Pair them with the accessories of your choosing and you're good to go for an epic and memorable Halloween costume.

See More: 8 Awesome Halloween Costumes for Every Type of Couple

Pokemon Go

Photo: Courtesy of Jet.com

PokemonGo
Did you and your fiancé fall hard for the PokemonGo app this year? Celebrate your love of capturing Jigglypuffs by dressing up as team trainer Ash and everyone's favorite Pikachu.

For Ash: Jeans, a black t-shirt, a blue jacket with white sleeves, and a red and white cap. Or buy the full outfit here.
For Pikachu: A yellow dress, yellow hat with homemade yellow ears, and a yellow tail. Or buy the costume here.

Brexit

Photo: Courtesy of Reuters

The Brexit
Before the United States' tumultuous election, there was the Brexit. The division that sent the world reeling may be just what brings you and your intended together this Halloween. One of you will represent the EU, the other Britain. Just remember: Your relationship doesn't have to end like theirs!

For the EU: Wear a blue suit or dress with the flag of Europe's circle of stars sewn or taped on top — include as many circles as you want!
For Britain: Go all out in a Union Jack flag pantsuit or dress.

Suicide Squad

Photo: Courtesy of Brit.co

Suicide Squad's Joker and Harley Quinn
Halloweens past have always belonged to the superheroes, but thanks to The Suicide Squad, this year belongs to the super villains. And who better to dress as than Harley Quinn and the Joker, two of the movie audience's favorites.

For Harley Quinn: Add pink hair coloring to one half of your head, and blue to the other. Throw you hair up in pig tails. Dress in fishnet stockings, high-top converses, and spandex blue and red shorts. Find a white and red baseball tee and add holes to it as your top.
For the Joker: Color your hair bright, neon green then add white face paint and dark red lips to the look. Wear black pants and an open red button up short-sleeve shirt. Add as many fake tattoos as you wish!

Valentine’s Day Ideas: Gifts for Him

 Favors & Gifts, Holidays, Valentine's Day  Comments Off on Valentine’s Day Ideas: Gifts for Him
Feb 022016
 
Valentine's Ideas Gifts for Him

Photo: Getty Images

We'll admit it. Shopping for your man on Valentine's Day can be tough— it's hard to find a gift that perfectly captures your love for him, without getting too cheesy. Don't worry, we have you covered. With these gifts— from the sentimental to the techy— your husband-to-be may just call Valentine's Day his new favorite holiday.

valentines-day-gifts-for-him-samsung.jpg

Photo: Courtesy of Samsung

Some guys just never grow out of their video game phase. Bring his gaming into the future with a Samsung Gear VR. Wearing this Android-compatible headset will send him diving into the virtual reality world of games, 3D movies, and more. ($99, Samsung)

valentines-day-gifts-for-him-love-book-online.jpg

Photo: Courtesy of Love Book Online

If he's the bookish type, give him a love story for the ages— your love story to be exact. In this custom Love Book, cartoon stick figures of the two of you take an adorable walk down memory lane. Trust us, this one's a real page turner. ($34, Love Book Online)

valentines-day-gifts-for-him-me-undies.jpg

Photo: Courtesy of Me Undies

Heat things up, and keep his underwear drawer stocked, with a Boxer Brief Pack. These undies are a gift for him— they're designed to be extremely comfy—and eye candy for you. ($160 for 10, Me Undies)

valentines day gifts for him urban outfitters

Photo: Getty Images

Skip the card this year and give him a custom message on a You Complete Me Jigsaw Puzzle. With only 10 pieces, it will take him no time to piece together this heart and uncover your love note on the back. ($17.95, Urban Outfitters)

valentines day gifts for him restoration hardware

Photo: Courtesy of Restoration Hardware

Help him keep his tech safe, and looking sharp, with an Italian Leather iPad Cover and Bluetooth Enabled Keyboard. With this handsome yet rugged case, he'll be able to take his iPad wherever he goes—and have a little reminder of you with him. ($139, Restoration Hardware)

valentines day gifts for him liddabit sweets

Photo: Courtesy of Liddabit Sweets

Why should girls be the only ones to get a box of candy on Valentine's Day? If he's got a sweet tooth, he'll absolutely love this box of sweet and salty Beer & Pretzel Caramels, made with crunchy chunks of Martin's pretzels and Brooklyn Brewery's Brown Ale and East IPA. ($9 for a box of 6, Liddabit Sweets)

valentines-day-gifts-for-him-man-crates.jpg

Photo: Courtesy of Man Crates

A Personalized Whiskey Man Crate is the ultimate gift for your booze-loving manly-man. Not only does he have to open this gift with a crowbar, it comes stocked with a ton of bar accessories, including two personalized rocks glasses, ice sphere molds, and spiced peppercorn peanuts. ($99, Man Crates)

valentines-day-gifts-for-him-freaker-usa.jpg

Photo: Getty Images

He'll be head over heals for a pair of NFL Freaker socks featuring his favorite player and their signature. With more than 10 players to choose from, including Marshawn Lynch, Andrew Luck, and Calvin Johnson, you can stock his sock drawer with his whole fantasy lineup. ($19.99 a pair, Freaker USA)

valentines-day-gifts-for-him-jack-black.jpg

Photo: Courtesy of Jack Black

Keep his pre-wedding grooming in check with an About Face Set from Jack Black. Inside the tote he'll find moisturizer, Beard Lube for a conditioning shave, and an energizing Face Buff— all meant to make those good looks of his last. ($75, Jack Black)

valentines-day-gifts-for-him-mvnt.jpg

Photo: Getty Images

He'll never have an excuse for being late to date night again once you give him this MVMT Chrono Gun Metal and Sandstone Leather Watch. Its sleek look is meant for every day wear, but is classy enough for a night out. ($135, MVMT)

valentines-day-gifts-for-him-etsy.jpg

Photo: Getty Images

If he's a music lover, you've got to get him a Jazzin Pocket Boombox. The smartphone-friendly speaker is built into a custom-designed mint tin, so it can easily be tucked away in his pocket until it's dance party time. ($75, Etsy)

valentines day gifts for him uncommon goods

Photo: Courtesy of Uncommon Goods

This six pack of beer soap is made with real beer, like chocolate stout and pumpkin ale, which he'll love. But the soaps are also blended with botanical fragrances, shea and cocoa butter and coconut and palm oil to keep his skin smelling good and soft to the touch for you. ($42, Uncommon Goods)

valentine's day gifts for him bacon spread

Photo: Courtesy of Sur La Table

They say the surest way to a man's heart is through his stomach. If that's true, than this Skillet Bacon Spread will have him falling in love with you all over again. The jam-like spread— made with bacon, spices, and balsamic vinegar— is the perfect addition to his favorite sandwich or a burger. ($9.95, Sur La Table)

DIY Valentine’s Day Craft: Love-Note Pillowcase Project

 Favors & Gifts, Holidays  Comments Off on DIY Valentine’s Day Craft: Love-Note Pillowcase Project
Feb 012016
 

Valentine's Day is all about love and appreciation, and this DIY will remind you of it every time you get into bed! Michelle, the blogger behind Girl on the Hudson, brings us a fun and festive V-Day project that is perfect for sharing your love for your partner...every night. Read on to learn how to decorate a pillowcase with your favorite love notes as a thoughtful surprise for Valentine.

What you'll need:
2 plain white pillowcases (standard or king)
2-3 black Sharpie fabric markers
1 ruler or tape measure
1 pencil
Masking tape

Instructions:
Begin first by ironing each pillowcase so that they're wrinkle-free. Once ironed, select one of the pillowcases and tape down the corners onto a flat surface (either a table or the floor). You'll want to make sure that the corners are firmly secured so that the fabric is pulled taught.

diy valentines day pillow case markings

Photo: Girl on the Hudson

After the fabric is set in place, you will begin marking straight lines across the length of your pillowcase using a pencil and ruler. Measure one inch below the top of the pillowcase and mark it lightly in pencil across the full length of the pillowcase. Next, measure another inch below the line that you just marked and mark a second line all the way across. Continue marking lightly in pencil until your entire pillowcase resembles a pad of lined paper.

See More: Valentine's Day Nail Art Design Ideas

Once the pillowcase is marked, you're ready to begin writing! It's important to have a few fabric markers on hand just in case you run out of ink (Sharpie's stained-brush tip fabric markers are best because they don't bleed on the fabric).

Decide what you'd like to write and then begin slowly writing across the top line of the pillowcase, using the pencil markings as a guide so that your writing is straight and even. You'll want to pause after every few words to make sure that you're happy with the spacing.

diy valentines day pillow case writing

Photo: Girl on the Hudson

For this one, "I love you to the moon and back" was written in repetition, but you can choose any meaningful words or phrases such as his and hers vows, lyrics from a favorite song or poem, or a simple "I love you."

Continue writing across the pillowcase until the entire surface is covered with your love notes. It's fun to have the lyrics repeat — so you don't have to think too much about it once you've come up with a few meaningful words.

Once complete, toss the pillowcase into the washing machine and dryer to remove your pencil markings. Make sure to wash and dry on delicate.

After removing from the dryer, pop your pillow into the case, throw it on the bed, and don't forget to serve a little champagne to spice up the Valentine's Day situation. Your partner will have extra-special dreams and feel totally loved with this fun project!

Adorable Valentine’s Day Ideas: Gifts for Her

 Favors & Gifts, Holidays, Valentine's Day  Comments Off on Adorable Valentine’s Day Ideas: Gifts for Her
Feb 012016
 
Valentine's Day Gift Ideas

Photo: Getty Images

Valentine's Day might not one-up your proposal, but it is the perfect day to get a little romantic with your new bride. After all, she's wrapped up in all of the wedding planning details and might need a little reminder of just how much you care. Show her your love— and how excited you are to call her your wife— with these sweet and sentimental gifts.

valentines-day-presents-sugarfina.jpg

Photo: Courtesy of Sugarfina

Skip the candy hearts you grew up with and opt for gourmet candy instead. Each Conversation Box comes wrapped in an adorable message, and filled with sweet treats like Peach Bellini Hearts, Royal Rose gummies, and Champagne Gummy Bears. ($8 per box, Sugarfina)

valentines-day-presents-target-vase.jpg

Photo: Courtesy of Target

Roses are always a nice Valentine's gift, but they'll look even better handed over in a Threshold Pink Vase. Plus, it's the gift that keeps on giving— after the flowers are gone, this vase can be used as a decorative piece until the next bouquet comes (hint, hint). ($12.99, Target)

valentines-day-presents-yurman.jpg

Photo: Courtesy of David Yurman

Let her wear your heart on her sleeve, or in this case her wrist, with a gorgeous David Yurman Heart Station Bracelet with Pink Sapphires. The elegant and simple silver bracelet is a stunning, every day reminder of just how much she means to you. ($495, David Yurman)

godiva-valentines-day.jpg Photo: Courtesy of Godiva

There's a reason a box of chocolates is a classic Valentine's Day gift. And who knows chocolate like Godiva? The company's new limited edition box, designed by Charlotte Gastaut, takes it up a notch on the cuteness level. It's also filled with "coupes d'amour" — little cups of love (chocolate, of course). ($28, Godiva)

valentines-day-presents-anniversary-wine-box.jpg

Photo: Courtesy of Uncommon Goods

This is a gift that will keep giving for years to come. Engrave a custom Anniversary Wine Box with your initials and the date of your upcoming wedding, then open each bottle of wine on your first, third, and fifth anniversary. ($150-$190, UncommonGoods)

See More: Sweet and Sexy Lingerie for Valentine's Day

valentines-day-presents-date-bracelet.jpg

Photo: Courtesy of Etsy

It's unlikely she needs a reminder of the wedding date, but this Date Bangle Bracelet is the perfect way to show her you're equally excited to tie the knot. ($23, Etsy)

valentines-day-presents-huckberry.jpg

Photo: Courtesy of Huckberry

There are never too many ways to tell her you love her. This Morris Code "Love" Necklace as a new one and keeps your love for her close to her heart every time she wears it. ($39.98, Huckberry)

valentine's day gifts alexander mcqueen

Photo: Courtesy of Alexander McQueen

A little bit edgy, a little bit sweet, just like her. Alexander McQueen's "Be My Valentine" scarf could possibly be the most perfect Valentine's Day gift ever made. ($345, Alexander McQueen)

valentines-day-presents-rifle-paper-co-custom-print.jpg

Photo: Courtesy of Alexander McQueen

Valentine's Day is a time to be sentimental. She'll fall in love with this Custom Floral Love Art Print, made with personalized portraits— there's a bride and groom option— and decorated with your names, it's the perfect gift to show off to houseguests. ($350, Rifle Paper Co.)

valentines-day-presents-monogram-trinket-dish.jpg

Photo: Courtesy of Anthropologie

Help her keep track of that gorgeous ring — and any extra Valentine's Day jewelry — with a stylish, floral Monogram Trinket Dish. ($12, Anthropologie)

valentines-day-presents-ussies-book.jpg

Photo: Courtesy of Knock Knock Stuff

If your fiancé is constantly stopping for a selfie, this Ussies Photo Album is just the right thing to get in on the camera fun. Each page gives you a prompt to capture your couple-hood, and save the memories forever. ($12, Knock Knock Stuff)

valentines-day-presents-heart-of-gold-mug.jpg

Photo: Courtesy of Brit.Co

Get her a.m. off to a good start with a Heart of Gold Mug— it's the perfect compliment to a cup of coffee, and a beautiful reminder of what you treasure about her. ($14, Brit.Co)

Valentine's Gift ideas

Photo: Courtesy of Veuve Clicquot

Celebrate the night with a bottle of Veuve Clicquot. But before you pop that cork, gift her the decadent bubbly in a Message in a Bottle box, outfitted in your own recorded love letter. ($55- $335, available at Reserve Bar)

kelly wearstler valentines gift

Photo: Courtesy of Kelly Wearstler

Kelly Wearstler's signature kiss print makes for a perfectly pouty way to give your girl a sweet kiss. It's a bronzed reminder of the big kiss to come! ($125, Kelly Wearstler)

Lulu Frost Valentine's Day

Photo: Courtesy of Lulu Frost

Nothing like sparkly vintage-feeling baubles to get the romance going. Lulu Frost's latest star-inspired collection gives just the right amount of Downton Abbey vibes, and every girl loves some new earrings — especially ones appropriately named Everlasting Love. ($125, Lulu Frost)

Meet the First Couple of 2016! Here’s the Scoop Behind This New Year’s Eve Wedding in Times Square

 Celebrity, Holidays, News  Comments Off on Meet the First Couple of 2016! Here’s the Scoop Behind This New Year’s Eve Wedding in Times Square
Jan 012016
 

3... 2... 1... "I do!" Millions of couples welcomed the New Year last night with a midnight kiss. But it meant something extra special for two sweethearts, when that 12 a.m. smooch officially made them the first married couple of 2016! Miami's Monica and Alfredo earned themselves that title, thanks to a national contest held by Generation Tux that led them to tying the knot in the middle of Times Square on New Year's Eve. How's that for an ultra-unique wedding venue? Wonder what the Wedding Wire reviews have to say about that...

The Generation Tux contest invited all of America to vote on which to-be-wed pair should earn the title and an out-of-this-world Times Square wedding. It all came down to the smittin' Alfredo and Monica from Florida and longtime loves Alexander and Michael of Atlanta, Georgia. The winner would receive a wedding with all the trimmings, officiated by Generation Tux CEO and founder George Zimmer, and a dream honeymoon to Cancun.

Wedding Photo of First Couple of 2016

Photo: Sarah Zimmer Photography

Both pairs of sweethearts were whisked away to New York City where the winner was announced as Monica and Alfredo, who tied the knot as the clock struck 12 and the Time Square ball dropped. So how does one end up saying their "I do's" amongst falling confetti and millions of New Year revelers? Alfredo, who is no stranger to grand gestures, told BRIDES that he entered the Generation Tux contest in secret, pulling off a pretty epic surprise for his bride-to-be! "The way I told her we won the contest was the same way I proposed to Monica," the groom shared. "At a big showcase in front of about 100 people, I told her 'Babe, we're getting married in New York,'" as Frank Sinatra's New York, New York played to set the mood, of course!

First Couple of 2016 Wedding

Photo: Sarah Zimmer Photography

Now without any need to search for a venue, caterer, or panic over a thousand little details, the couple was thrilled to just sit back and relax, as Generation Tux handled all the nitty-gritty of planning. (Oh, if only, thought all brides everywhere...). But while you thought you were nervous saying your vows in front of your friends and family, these two had to say their "I do's" in front of the entire world, exchanging that walk down the aisle for the streets of New York City. "I never had so many congratulations before!" said the groom. "I proposed in front of over 100 people, so getting married in front of 1.2 million people was amazing." And you thought your guest list was out of hand!

First Couple of 2016 Jumbo Tron

Photo: Sarah Zimmer Photography

But Monica and Alfredo weren't the only ones who made history last night! The runner-up couple, Alexander and Michael, also tied the knot, making them the first gay couple to wed on the iconic Times Square stage. "It was on his bucket list to be in Times Square on New Year's Eve," said Michael of his brand new hubby. "And to be married here? It's amazing."

First Couple of 2016 Alexander and Michael

Photo: Sarah Zimmer Photography

And after such a momentous year for the LGBT community with the SCOTUS gay marriage ruling, there's no getting around that Alexander and Michael's Times Square nuptials were nothing short of historical. "We had to represent so much more than just us," explained Alexander, referencing those of the community who fought for so long to help make this possible. "Without them, we wouldn't be here."

See More: #TBT: Will Smith and Jada Pinkett-Smith's Secretive 1997 New Year's Eve Wedding

"It's not about us," Michael remembers. "But we're so glad to be representing the gay community. We deserve all the rights everyone else does too, because this is real," he said, sharing a quick kiss with his groom. "You can't get more real than this."

Looks like 2016 is starting out with quite a bang for both pairs of newlyweds! "It took 10 years for us to get here," Alexander shared. "We always said we would wait until it was legal. But thank God we waited because this was unbelievable!" A Times Square wedding on New Year's Eve? Yup, we'd say that's a pretty good way to sum it up!

BRIDES Southern California: How to Throw an Unforgettable New Year’s Eve Wedding in L.A.

 California, Holidays, Local, Los Angeles-Orange County, Planning Tips, Wedding Planning  Comments Off on BRIDES Southern California: How to Throw an Unforgettable New Year’s Eve Wedding in L.A.
Dec 312015
 
How to Plan a New Year's Eve Wedding in Los Angeles

Photo: Getty Images

A New Year's Eve bride is a special type — one that loves excitement, celebration, and of course, champagne! So, what better way to ring in the New Year than with a New Year's Eve wedding in the exciting city of Los Angeles? It can be the perfect way to end the year and start your life together in newlywed bliss. However, if you're going to commit to the 31st as your wedding date, you need to make sure you set the celebratory tone of the wedding event at the beginning. Here are some tips from LA wedding expert and event planner, Cristina Burns, for throwing an unforgettable New Year's Eve wedding in Los Angeles!

Save the Dates
The save the dates for a New Year's Eve wedding should embrace the holiday aspect of the wedding. Get your guests excited! You don't want them to think, "Ugh, I have to go to a wedding on New Year's Eve." Instead, they need to say, ''Let's Celebrate!'' after they receive them. Save the dates for an NYE wedding can be elegant, but a great option is to incorporate metallics and champagne for the colors and design. Send them out as soon as you have your date secured; it doesn't matter if the wedding is a year away, guests will need to plan accordingly and make travel arrangements.
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Timing
Because of the midnight celebration, your wedding will need to start later than a traditional start time, so consider having your ceremony begin later in the evening at around 7pm. A later dinner ceremony and reception is crucial on NYE because it gives your guests a good amount of time to battle Los Angeles traffic (and still get to the wedding on time!). If your venue allows it, end your reception at least an hour past the midnight toast. Most LA wedding venues and hotels will be okay with the later end time because of the holiday, but make sure to double check before booking. Find L.A. Venues to Host Your New Year's Eve Bash Here!

Hotels
Be sure to secure a room block right away for your guests. 75 percent of your guests will stay the night and because it is LA, hotel rooms will book fast! You can be sure that many hotels will have other NYE-celebrators making reservations, so it's important to make this a top priority on your to-do list.

See More: Haven't Found the Dress of Your Dreams Yet? Browse These Los Angeles Bridal Boutiques!

Transportation
If you choose a venue that is not at the hotel where the room block is located, it is essential to arrange transportation for your guests from the wedding site to the hotel. A New Year's Eve wedding should be a fun night for everyone involved (with lots of champagne), and there is no reason to end the evening with unsafe driving. Encourage your guests to use the transportation so all are safe and sound at the end of the night! Find Los Angeles Wedding Transportation Options Here!

Ambiance
You've already set the tone with your save the dates, so be sure to carry that theme throughout the planning process with wedding invitations, stationery, flowers, and linens. Since it's a celebratory night, it's perfectly acceptable to embrace flashy accents in an elegant, formal, and fun (non-tacky!) way. While going all-out metallic may be a bit too extreme, incorporating silvers, golds, and other eye-catching color palette accents are fun ways to add to the party vibe. Charger plates, centerpieces, and a metallic balloon and confetti drop at midnight are great options to spice things up a bit. Find Fantastic L.A. Favor Vendors Here!

Midnight Toast
Every New Year's Eve wedding needs to have a midnight celebration! Coordinate a countdown with your band or DJ prior to your wedding, since the MC will play an important role in pumping up your guests and getting everyone excited for the countdown. In addition to a countdown, plan something special that will surprise your guests. Balloon drops are fun, sparklers are always exciting, and who can say no to New Year's hats and glasses!

Click here to find hundreds of other L.A. vendors — from fabulous florists to scrumptious caterers — to bring Your New Year's Eve wedding life!

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