First-Dance Jitters? How One Bride and Groom Got in Sync on the Dance Floor

 Jamie Shupak, Real Brides, Real Weddings  Comments Off on First-Dance Jitters? How One Bride and Groom Got in Sync on the Dance Floor
Feb 212014
 
Wedding first dance classes

Photo: Getty Images

What do real brides have to say about the wedding planning experience? Well, it's not all happy tears at the bridal boutique and indulgent cake tastings. Guest blogger Jamie Shupak, TV host, food blogger, and NY1's traffic reporter, will share how she's modernizing her mother's wedding dress, planning an interfaith wedding, picking the perfect flower crown, and so much more.

I love Brian for so many reasons: He's smart, warm, patient, understanding, generous, romantic—the list goes on. One thing he's not? Coordinated. Athletic.

Okay, that was two. So it didn't surprise me when he expressed a bit of nervousness about our first dance. He has one signature dance move—which is actually kind of cute—though it's the same regardless of the tempo of the song. He'll just speed it up for a faster song and slow it down for others. I don't quite know how to describe it, but it's pretty impressive.

Anyway when a friend suggested taking a dance class I sort of scoffed at the idea. What could they possibly teach us in one hour? Aren't those classes for hyper-obsessed Bridezilla types who want to make sure their groom is in line? I, for one, thought it would be cute for us to get out there and just sort of wing it.

I was wrong. Wrong, wrong, and wrong again. This dance class was everything.

Not only did it fulfill a lifelong dream I didn't know I even had—to feel like I was Baby, being taught by Patrick Swayze: "This is your dance space. This is my dance space"—but it turned Brian into a step-tapping machine—one with rhythm, coordination and dare I say athleticism. The teacher was so kind, so patient, and not the least bit judgmental. (Earmuffs, Brian: He also had an admirably strong upper body.) He started by showing us the basic step-tap move, which would be the basis for the four other moves we would learn. Yes, four! Without music and without touching, we faced each other and step-tapped back and forth until we were completely in sync. Then, (cue "Hungry Eyes,") he put us together, showing us how to hold our arms and hands. "No interlocking fingers—too much commitment!" Noted.

Jamie Shupak dance class

Photo: Courtesy of Jamie Shupak

Over the course of the next 50 minutes we stepped on each other's toes, we laughed, we rotated, we passed, we cuddled, we twirled and then, finally, we dipped. When we tried it all to music, we had transformed into a different couple than the one we were when we first walked in the room. Now, confident in our dance moves, we're even more excited about our wedding day.

Planning an Interfaith Wedding Ceremony: How One Bride Did It

 Jamie Shupak, Pennsylvania, Real Brides, Real Weddings  Comments Off on Planning an Interfaith Wedding Ceremony: How One Bride Did It
Feb 192014
 
Interfaith wedding ceremony

Photo: Getty Images

What do real brides have to say about the wedding planning experience? Well, it's not all happy tears at the bridal boutique and indulgent cake tastings. Guest blogger Jamie Shupak, TV host, food blogger, and NY1's traffic reporter, will share how she's modernizing her mother's wedding dress, planning an interfaith wedding, picking the perfect flower crown, and so much more.

The cantor has chosen her music. The ketubah's been ordered. The kiddish cup's been dusted off. The band leader has decided when to play the hora. We are ready for our Jewish wedding...me and my non-Jewish fiancé.

Planning an interfaith wedding could be tricky, I'm sure. But I happen to be very lucky that my husband-to-be is the most open-minded, easy-going person I have ever met. Also, while he was raised in the United Methodist Church, went to Sunday school, and was confirmed, he doesn't describe himself as religious, and he didn't bring any religious traditions (except a Christmas tree!) with him into our home and family.

Had he, our wedding and life together would be much different.

Since I'm the one with strong religious ties, with parents who are very involved in our synagogue, traditions that go with every holiday, and the desire to raise our children Jewish...we are going to have a (more or less) traditional Jewish wedding.

I believe the wedding sets the tone for the marriage in many ways, so my main concern has been making sure that Brian and his family are comfortable with every step of the ceremony. To ensure that's the case, we discussed each detail with the Cantor who will be officiating. We decided that any time she reads something in Hebrew, she will also translate it in English. We will be standing under a chuppah, drinking from a kiddish cup, and Brian will break a glass at the end of the ceremony—all traditionally Jewish—so she will explain their significance to our guests. Inclusion is key and I'm hoping we do a good job of it.

The party will also have some traditional Jewish elements—the hora, the chair hoisting, and the blessings over wine and bread—but again, I'm lucky enough that Brian and his family recognize all of these as celebratory.

My best advice in planning your interfaith ceremony is communication. Make sure everyone understands what the other family wants and why—and be willing to compromise. Remember though, this is supposed to be fun! So raise your glass to a peaceful, beautiful interfaith ceremony. L'chaim!

Feb 142014
 

From a heart-themed wedding to a playlist of love songs perfect for Valentine's Day, we round up some of our favorite blog posts from all over the web.

A heart-themed wedding could be cheesy—or it could be ethereal and gorgeous, like this adorable couple's "winter wonderland-meets-Valentine's-Day" themed affair. Filled with a feminine color scheme (gold, blush pink) and romantic decor (shimmering heart-shaped flag bunting; heart-shaped gold fabric boutonnieres), we're in love with every amazing element! —Green Wedding Shoes

What wedding-planning detail is on the mind of our newest guest blogger, broadcast TV star Jamie Shupak? Flower crowns! In her latest blog post, she talks about her quest to create the perfect flower crown—and why she's always wanted to wear one. —Brides.com

From playful heart-shaped cut-out dresses (hello, gorgeous!) to a metallic heart-shaped piata, check out these eight cool ways to add the look of love to your wedding. —Brooklyn Bride

Remember the moment you fell in love with your husband? According to a new study, falling in love causes your body to release "feel good" chemicals that trigger specific reactions. Find out more information on how your brain reacts when you're in love... —Brides.com

Planning a destination wedding? This travel-inspired save-the-date is totally adorbs—and easy to DIY! —Oh So Beautiful Paper

If you're thinking about getting highlights before your wedding day, don't book an appointment until you read celebrity hair stylist Rita Hazan's exclusive tips for brides-to-be! —Brides.com

Would you trust relationship advice from a single guy? Nate Bagley quit his job and spent a year interviewing people in love—and shares the insights and relationship advice he gleaned from those happy, committed couples. —Business Insider

Distance really does make the heart grow fonder! Here's why acting like a long-distance couple can actually help your relationship. —Brides.com

Get into the Valentine's Day groove with an upbeat playlist filled with romantic tunes. You're welcome, love! —POPSUGAR

Still trying to find the perfect lingerie for tonight? Check out our favorite sexy pieces. —Brides.com

Wedding Hair: One Bride’s Quest to Find the Perfect Flower Crown

 Jamie Shupak, Pennsylvania, Real Brides, Real Weddings  Comments Off on Wedding Hair: One Bride’s Quest to Find the Perfect Flower Crown
Feb 132014
 

What do real brides have to say about the wedding planning experience? Well, it's not all happy tears at the bridal boutique and indulgent cake tastings. Guest blogger Jamie Shupak, TV host, food blogger, and NY1's traffic reporter, will share how she's modernizing her mother's wedding dress, planning an interfaith wedding, picking the perfect flower crown, and so much more.

I was never the girl that dreamt of her wedding day. I didn't have visions of a dress or Pinterest boards full of bouquets and tablescapes. I did know one thing about my wedding day though, long before I was ever engaged: That no matter what, I'd be wearing a flower crown.

There is something so romantic about a flower crown. Something so ethereal, and I wanted mine to channel the most carefree, lounging-on-a-beach, Kate Hudson moment. I love the flower child vibe of the 60's and 70's. The truth is, if it was socially acceptable, I'd wear a flower crown everywhere—around the neighborhood, and even on the news! Well, maybe not. But there's something special about one that always made me want to save it for a special day.

Jamie Shupak flowers

Photo: Courtesy of Jamie Shupak

As soon as I got engaged I got to work—i.e. starting that aforementioned Pinterest board. But instead of bouquets and tablescapes (okay fine, there may be a few of those, too) I began bookmarking flower crowns in search of the perfect inspiration. I told all of my friends about my quest as well—always good to enlist an army of ladies—and they began sending me pictures and, even better, telling me about Instagram accounts I should follow that post flower crown photos. (FYI: Stone Fox Bride is the best; they're Queens of the Flower Crown.)

I actually planned to go to SFB's store in Soho, but after talking to the florist who was doing my wedding, she (maybe not surprisingly) said it would be best for them to make the crown because not only would it compliment my bouquet and the rest of the day's flowers, but also because they would be on site on the big day. That meant all fresh flowers and adjustments up until moments before walking down the aisle.

When I went to Philadelphia for our floral consultation, we played with a bunch of flowers and made a mock flower crown—champagne and blushy tones with of course some mini white roses, too—and I have to admit it was the happiest selfie I've ever taken.

As for the one I'll actually wear on my wedding day...you'll have to stay tuned.

Feb 072014
 

From a timeless winter wedding inspiration shoot to nail polish trends that will show off your engagement ring, we round up some of our favorite blog posts from all over the web.

Who knew that a soft blanket of snow could make such a stunning backdrop for a romantic winter woodland-inspired wedding shoot? And it's not just the white stuff that's wowing us: From escort cards attached to an antique toboggan to the pine boughs in the bouquet to the elegant touches of silver throughout, these photos have us totally rethinking the appeal of being a June bride. —Green Wedding Shoes

Got a sparkly new engagement ring to show off? Skip your usual ho-hum shade of nail polish and elevate your mani with one of these cool new hues. —Brides.com

From dainty hoop earrings to a spare, mod gold pendant, heart-shaped jewelry has never looked more chic. No need to wait for Valentine's Day to wear these beauties. —Brooklyn Bride

Lace wedding dresses are undeniably romantic, and we've got 82 stunning examples that you'll want to wear on your big day. Your only issue? Narrowing down the options. —Brides.com

Sure, you've got a romantic evening with your hubby planned for Valentine's Day, but don't forget about your girlfriends! We heart the idea of throwing a chic "Galentine's" Day party with your bridesmaids or BFFs. Share the love (and pass the champagne!). —Popsugar

If you're pouring all of your romantic energy into your wedding, why not make Valentine's Day a low-key affair this year? Check out these four sweet, easy, no-reservations-needed ways to celebrate. —Brides.com

Jenny Packham gown, Jimmy Choo heels, gorgeous gray Amsale bridesmaids dresses... This is what it looks like when you nail wedding fashion. Hello, gorgeous! —Elizabeth Anne Designs

Yet another reason to get your man to the altar asap: It's good for his health! Read all about the surprising health benefits of marriage for men. —Brides.com

Outdoor weddings are always gorgeous, but we're especially inspired by the breathtaking Mammoth Lakes, California scenery in this couple's wedding photos. —Brides.com

Feb 072014
 

From a timeless winter wedding inspiration shoot to nail polish trends that will show off your engagement ring, we round up some of our favorite blog posts from all over the web.

Who knew that a soft blanket of snow could make such a stunning backdrop for a romantic winter woodland-inspired wedding shoot? And it's not just the white stuff that's wowing us: From escort cards attached to an antique toboggan to the pine boughs in the bouquet to the elegant touches of silver throughout, these photos have us totally rethinking the appeal of being a June bride. —Green Wedding Shoes

Got a sparkly new engagement ring to show off? Skip your usual ho-hum shade of nail polish and elevate your mani with one of these cool new hues. —Brides.com

From dainty hoop earrings to a spare, mod gold pendant, heart-shaped jewelry has never looked more chic. No need to wait for Valentine's Day to wear these beauties. —Brooklyn Bride

Lace wedding dresses are undeniably romantic, and we've got 82 stunning examples that you'll want to wear on your big day. Your only issue? Narrowing down the options. —Brides.com

Sure, you've got a romantic evening with your hubby planned for Valentine's Day, but don't forget about your girlfriends! We heart the idea of throwing a chic "Galentine's" Day party with your bridesmaids or BFFs. Share the love (and pass the champagne!). —Popsugar

If you're pouring all of your romantic energy into your wedding, why not make Valentine's Day a low-key affair this year? Check out these four sweet, easy, no-reservations-needed ways to celebrate. —Brides.com

Jenny Packham gown, Jimmy Choo heels, gorgeous gray Amsale bridesmaids dresses... This is what it looks like when you nail wedding fashion. Hello, gorgeous! —Elizabeth Anne Designs

Yet another reason to get your man to the altar asap: It's good for his health! Read all about the surprising health benefits of marriage for men. —Brides.com

Outdoor weddings are always gorgeous, but we're especially inspired by the breathtaking Mammoth Lakes, California scenery in this couple's wedding photos. —Brides.com

Introducing Our Newest Guest Blogger: Broadcast TV Star Jamie Shupak

 Jamie Shupak, Pennsylvania, Real Brides, Real Weddings  Comments Off on Introducing Our Newest Guest Blogger: Broadcast TV Star Jamie Shupak
Feb 062014
 
Jamie Shupak Brian Stelter engagement photo

Photo: Courtesy of Jamie Shupak

What do real brides have to say about the wedding planning experience? Well, it's not all happy tears at the bridal boutique and indulgent cake tastings. Guest blogger Jamie Shupak, TV host, food blogger, and NY1's traffic reporter, will share how she's modernizing her mother's wedding dress, planning an interfaith wedding, picking the perfect flower crown, and so much more.

I love vintage clothes. I've never met a flea market or vintage clothing store that I haven't needed/wanted to explore completely. So it should come as no surprise that I'm wearing my mom's wedding dress to my wedding. It is so special and I am so excited about it, and honestly, it was so much easier than I expected to make it my own. All you need is a bit of optimism...and a few thousand dollars.

My parents (Neil and Helen) were married on May 17, 1975—almost 39 years ago. After I got engaged in October I came home to Philadelphia, and my mom and I dug out the box with the dress inside. When we pulled it out for examination, it was a wrinkly yellow mess. The former, of course, is easily remedied with an iron or steamer, but the latter? The yellow? Not to mention the purply-brown wine stains on one of the sleeves and torso? It was time to call in the big guns.

Luckily my best friend Jess works in fashion and is intimately familiar with the proper care and cleaning of couture. She recommended I take the dress to Madame Paulette, "the only people we trust at work with our gowns." I immediately called and made an appointment. There, the woman told me that it would go through a month-long cleaning and whitening process. She couldn't promise me anything except that "it will definitely be whiter than it is now." She also told me that since the fabric is a strong one, it would most likely hold up well during the process. There was hope!

jamie-shupak-wedding-dress-2.jpg

Photos: Courtesy of Jamie Shupak

Still, I was a bit nervous that it would only become ivory when I wanted white. If I hated it, I'd be out $750 and I wouldn't have much time—only three months—to find a wedding dress. (Did I mention we were planning a wedding in four months?)

When I returned in December, I was ecstatic: The dress was sparkling white, the wine residue was gone, and in its place were tears of joy.

But our work wasn't done yet; the dress still needed to be altered. Enter Jess, once again, who recommended I take it to tailor Lars Nord. Lars is the sweetest, most unassuming guy who works out of the most humble of workspaces in Chelsea; a visitor would never guess that he works with A-list celebrities every day. His work ain't cheap, but damn if it isn't the best. He told me we could do whatever I wanted to make it my own—but suggested slicing off the arms and instead adding tiny lace cap sleeves to make it more modern. He'd pull in the bodice to make it slimmer all the way down and add a small train in the back for drama.

I went back a few weeks later with my mom and Jess and it was exactly as we envisioned. One more fitting after that, and the dress had transformed from 1975 beauty to 2014 perfection. The only question now: will my dad recognize it as the same one his bride wore?

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