Wedding Colors 2011

Wedding colors are typically one of the first things that couples focus on nailing down during the wedding planning process.  A couple’s color palette usually serves as the inspiration for most of the big day details.  But with 2010 nearing a close, we can’t help but look forward to 2011 and some of its gorgeous color inspirations.  Here are three of our favorites!

Coffee: Brown tones have been popular in the past few seasons, but typically, brides have paired them with lighter tones, such as Tiffany blue, mint green, and carnation pink.  However, in 2011 brown is hottest when paired with rich, deep tones of purple, emerald green, and mustard.  These color combinations exude a vibe of luxury that seems almost effortless.  Chocolate colored linens provide a beautiful backdrop, but we also love some of the more unexpected touches of the color, using dark brown branches in floral arrangements and coffee beans for a sweet smelling statement and cost effective filler.  And for a punch of fun, we love the incorporation of hints of leopard print!

Gold: To keep dark tones from looking too heavy, the incorporation of a metallic is essential.  Though many brides opt for touches of silver using crystals and pearls, 2011 is shaping up to be the year of glittering gold.  This metallic can be a center point for an opulent affair, or an accent for a sheen that is understated and effortless.  We love gold with anything thing that holds a flame, as it naturally accents the flicker of an almost ordinary candle.  Votive holders, candelabras, and vases are great metallic accents that can translate well into almost any color scheme.

Mauve: Pink is no stranger to weddings, but this bridal favorite is getting a revamp.  Carnation pink and fuchsia are finding a new sister in the color game with the incorporation of this elegant, but unexpected color.  Mauve is perfect for the couple that wants classic with a twist.  It is also a great color for anyone who wants a wedding with a vintage feel.  Paired with brooches, baby’s breath, and glistening metallics, this color is sure to sing at any wedding.  One important planning tip, though.  The word “mauve” means different things to different people, so we suggest finding a swatch of mauve that you love and cutting squares for each of your wedding vendors.  This way your florist, dress designer, and caterer all known exactly what shade of pink you’re shooting for!

Set the Mood With Lighting

Lighting might not be the first thing that comes to mind when you start planning your wedding, but lighting can go a long way in creating a certain mood, atmosphere, or vibe at your wedding. Believe it or not, lighting can make or break the feel of your wedding and reception so be sure to give it some thought. If you have room in the wedding budget, you can actually hiring a lighting expert to design the lighting for the wedding and reception. Often, wedding planners or coordinators have a background in this so be sure to ask yours. Additionally, Music By Design offers multiple lighting options for your wedding.

If you opt to oversee the lighting arrangements yourselves, here are a few helpful tips to consider:

Candles: What’s more romantic and classic than candlelight? Whether used as centerpieces, in lanterns, or on candelabras strategically placed around the wedding site or reception hall, candles can create a cozy atmosphere and wonderful ambiance. Obviously, candles are tricky to deal with outdoors, especially if wind or bad weather may be a factor, so if you plan to have some portion of the ceremony or reception outdoors, make sure that candles are enclosed.

Twinkle Lights: A great way to create a magical atmosphere or fun-filled tone is to string up twinkle lights at your ceremony or reception site. Twinkle lights are also a very budget-friendly option, especially if you plan ahead and stock up during post-holiday sales. Use all-white lights to create a stunning, dreamy atmosphere or opt for colored strands to invoke a more playful, fun mood.

Paper Lanterns: Paper lanterns (or Chinese lanterns) are a great option for creating a lighting scheme for your wedding or reception. White paper lanterns can be found relatively inexpensively at home goods stores and offer a warm, diffused glow that’s stylish, chic, and fun. Colorful lanterns can add festiveness and excitement to a more eccentric or lively gathering.

Projectors: Displaying images or movement with a projector is a unique and clever way to spruce up your reception. Going for a winter wonderland? Create the effect of falling snow on the walls around the room. Hoping to add pizzazz? Project modern images or geometric shapes on the walls or dance floor.

Colored Lighting: By using color-tinted lanterns, candleholders, washes, or gels over spotlights, you can produce a moody atmosphere at your wedding or reception. Reds and ambers create a party mood among guests, while blues and purple hues suggest sophistication and class.

Accent Lighting: Lighting can be a great way to bring attention to certain parts of the room or décor, while hiding others. Dictate where your guests focus their interest by strategically placing lights. Shine lights up beautiful columns or down on the table’s centerpieces to draw attention, while leaving other, less attractive, areas of the room dim so that guests won’t pay them much notice.

Don’t be afraid to experiment with different types of lights and lighting styles throughout your wedding and reception. Create a softer, more romantic mood during dinner, but liven things up later in the night on the dance floor. Lighting can be cost-effective or bank-breaking so discuss your options with a professional ahead of time and do your research!

Smartphone Apps For Weddings

Gone are the days of relying on the primitive method of pens and papers to keep track of your wedding plans and inspiration. Nowadays you need to look no further than your Smartphone for a slew of helpful, wedding-related apps to make your planning go a lot more smoothly. Here is a list of Smartphone apps for your big day:

iWedding: Organize your entire wedding and reception with this comprehensive iPhone app. Keep a running To-Do list, track your budget, administrate your guest list and RSVPs, and collect wedding inspiration.

Wedding911: This iPhone app, provided by The Knot, helps brides-to-be overcome wedding-related emergencies. Users can instantly access hundreds of helpful Q & A’s and advice columns about wedding dilemmas and post their own urgent questions.

WeddingGuest: Keep your invite list organized with this helpful app that tracks and organizes your various guest lists (divided by ceremony and reception) to help you create a comprehensive list of invitees. Each list is also exportable to spreadsheets or plain text files.

BRIDES Wedding Genius: This user-friendly app from BRIDES magazine provides brides with detailed photos of bridal gowns, bridesmaids dresses, and his & her jewelry, complete with zoom and locate features. It also keeps you organized with to-do lists, reminders, inspiration ideas, expert advice, and customizable folders for various wedding-related files.

Wedding Day: If you’re eager to know the exact time, down to the second, until you say ‘I Do’, then this countdown is the app for you. After the wedding is over, the countdown changes directions, letting you see the exact amount of time you’ve been a happily married couple.

iBridalGown: This app is a shopper’s best friend, helping you keep track of potential wedding dresses after you’ve tried them on. The app stores all the pertinent info regarding each of your wedding gown hopefuls like style, designer, cost, location, and photos.

Wedding Vows: Browse through a diverse collection of wedding vows at any time with this app. Search by keyword or style and save your favorites to a customizable list. Tweak and edit the vows to create your own heartfelt oath for your wedding day.

SHAPE Bride: If you’re trying to slim down or tone up for your big day, this app is for you. Browse through workouts, diet tips, and recipes and record your progress in an interactive and shareable workout log.

iBouquet: Thinking about putting together your own flower arrangements for the wedding? Try a few samples with this interactive app. Choose flowers and colors and arrange them on your phone to view samples of what works and what doesn’t.

The Tuxedo Debate

The Tuxedo Debate

In recent years, weddings have become less traditional and more about couples’ personal tastes and styles.  Brides are wearing more color, venues are becoming more casual, and dance floors are turning into dance parties.  So it’s only fitting that guys’ go-to wedding uniform, the tuxedo, is now being called into question.  Are tuxedos a thing of the past?  Here’s our take on the issue.

A tuxedo is a classic, a gentleman’s uniform.  Grooms have been wearing them for decades, and looking quite handsome while doing so.  There is something about a man in a tuxedo that just says, “wedding.”  So for the traditional man who wants to wear a tux, we say, “go for it.”  You’ll look handsome and timeless, a combination that is sure to leave any bride speechless.  But for those of you who are considering something a little more “outside of the tux,” pardon the pun, we have three great options for you.

A tuxedo with a few personal twists. One of the biggest complaints we hear from grooms is that it is hard to rent a tux that truly fits.  For the most part, rentals won’t fit like a custom tuxedo, and some guys crave a more personalized fit for the big day.  What guys don’t always love is the price tag that comes with a custom tux.  So for these guys, we recommend renting the basic tux pieces (jacket and pants), and buying the rest.  For example, buy your own tuxedo shirt for a fit that is closer to your own.  An hour into the reception, you’re likely to have your jacket off anyway, so a nice fitting shirt is important.  Find a pair of black dress shoes you love and feel comfortable in.  You can re-wear the shoes with almost any suit or office look for years to come.  Also, consider purchasing your own tie for the exact color, style, and pattern that you want.  Look at some of your favorite upscale retailers for a special something that is perfect for your big day.  Also think about incorporating your own cuff links.  Maybe you already own a pair that you love; maybe you have a pair that has been in the family for years.  Or maybe, your bride surprises you with a pair to celebrate your special day together.  Whatever the case, consider having these pieces be your pieces.  You won’t be buying an entire tuxedo, but you’ll be buying enough pieces to make it your own without breaking the bank.

A custom made suit. Many guys think about having a custom tux made for their wedding day, but then think, how many times in the next ten years will I need a tux?  For most guys, we can answer that question for you…a few.  But how about this question: how many times in the next ten years will you wear a classic black suit?  If that number is higher than ten, a custom made suit may be a good choice for you.  After all, you can wear a classic black suit in a million different settings.  And you know what they say?  Nothing beats a man in a well tailored suit.  For proof, just look at James Bond.

A high end suit. Ok, so maybe a custom suit sounds a little bit more appropriate for you.  You think you’ll get your wear out of it, and you’re ok forgoing the traditional tuxedo for your wedding.  What you’re not ok with, however, is the price tag that comes with a custom made suit.  We completely understand, and offer up a different solution.  Look at purchasing a suit that is a little higher end than you’d typically see at the office or as a guest at a wedding.  Consider a suit from a retailer that makes you “ooh and ahh.”  The cut, fit, and details will still be impeccable, but not quite as pricey as having a suit specially made for you.  To keep the cost down, we recommend looking for these beauties at places like Nordstrom Rack, Neiman Marcus Last Call or Filene’s Basement.  It’s common to find Hugo Boss, Calvin Klein and Michael Kors hanging from the racks at these stores with a drastically reduced price tag attached.  A custom look without the custom price tag.

Wedding Veil Alternatives

Years and years ago, brides wore veils, long veils.  It’s just what they did.  They wore a white wedding dress and veil.  And if you were an early trendsetter who decided to forgo the veil, you probably got a stern look of disapproval from your grandmother.  Now days, things are changing.  Don’t get us wrong, brides still loves veils, veils are still in, and veils are still very gorgeous.  But brides are beginning to expand their bridal headwear options to include baubles, headbands, flowers, vintage hair pieces, and much, much more.  Check out a few of our favorites!

Birdcage veils. For the bride who loves vintage or dramatic glamour, this is a fabulous option for you.  These stunning beauties have a classic elegance to them, while maintaining a sense of no fuss fashion.  There are tons of great options throughout Etsy.  Just search “birdcage veils” and you’ll be met with hundreds of options, each with great pictures and descriptions.  Still not sure you’re sold on the birdcage veil for the wedding day?  Think about using one in your bridal portraits for a dramatic and different look.

Brooches. These sparkly baubles give you the freedom to incorporate as much or as little bling as you want, as brooches come in every possible shape and size.  You can also incorporate hints of your wedding colors into these accessories, without overwhelming your entire look.  Lots of brides also take advantage of brooches as their something old or something borrowed, incorporating brooches from family members or dear friends.  Don’t have any brooches in the family?  Look at antique stores, vintage shops, and estate sales for older finds or scour jewelry shows for newer bling.  Brooches can be incorporated into almost any hair style…up, down, long, short, you name it!

Floral. The idea of flowers in the bride’s hair used to be reserved for destination weddings, but not anymore.  Brides everywhere are looking to nature to add a festive flair to their look.  Simple blooms look best, and white blooms create a look that is both polished and pretty.  Talk with your florist about what blooms might look best as well as what will be in season.  It is important to make sure the stem is long enough to slip a few bobby pins through, and if you would prefer to have your florist wrap a barrette or hair clip with the bloom, most are happy to do that for you.  And for the whimsical bride planning a garden party, why not do a wreath of baby’s breath?  A look fit for a princess, without being draped in diamonds.

Headbands. Once a thing for schoolgirls, headbands have come back onto the fashion scene in a big way the past few years.  Headbands are a fun way, yet hassle free way to add some fun to your bridal look.  And since headbands are so popular, look beyond the typical bridal stores.  Some of your favorite retailers such as Ann Taylor, J.Crew, Nordstrom, and Forever 21, make great headbands.

Custom hairpieces. Can’t decide what you want?  Thinking you want a little bit of everything, or maybe something with feathers, or maybe something you haven’t even actually seen yet?  Having a hair piece specifically designed for you is a special way to make a personal stamp on your bridal look.  Lo Boheme is one of our favorite places for custom hairpieces, as well as other wedding day accessories.  If the price tag is a bit high for you, invest some time looking around Etsy.  There are some incredibly talented people out there, just waiting to make the perfect hairpiece, just for you!

And if you’re not quite ready to give up on the veil, no worries!  Have the best of both worlds by wearing a veil for your ceremony and switching into one of the options above for your reception.  That way you can dance the night away hands and worry free! Wedding Veil Alternatives

Party Favors – why not donate instead?

Why not Donate instead?

Practically 100 percent of the time, when I attend a wedding and at the end of the night I’m given a wedding favor, I end up doing one of two things with it:: eating it or trashing it. Plain and simple. We all know that’s what happens. Sure, the display of candy looks fabulous and tasted fabulous in my mouth. And yes, I may have used that book of matches with the couple’s name on it for a few weeks. Or I may even have listened to the cheesy cd of favorite love songs for about a week. But in the end, I most definitely threw out that wedding favor or ate it all in a matter of minutes.

Personally, I have come to believe that wedding favors can be a wasteful. That thought entered my mind after attending the wedding of a close friend. This was a few years before I was married or even engaged. So planning a wedding and wedding favors were definitely not on my mind. However, I will always remember this particular wedding. At the end of the night, instead of handing out useless party favors, I received a little note from the bride and groom. On this note, it stated that the bride and groom had decided that instead of giving everyone a party favor, they had made a donation to a charity with the money they would have used for the wedding favors. The charity’s cause was something that was very meaningful to them and their relationship. Instead of spending their money on something trivial, they decided to invest it in furthering a great cause.

If you’ve been racking your brain about what kind of wedding favor to give out at your reception, why not donate instead? Donate $1 or more per guest that attends your wedding to further a cause that means a lot to you and your future spouse. Tell your guests what that money will be used for and that it was donated in their name. Of course, there is a tricky part. You want to try not to offend people if at all possible. It might be a good idea to pick a cause that won’t start any negative political or religious discussions. Steer clear from donating money to a candidate’s political campaign, especially if you are telling your guests that the donation has been made in their name. Although, at the end of the day, it is your wedding, and it is your money!

Best Man’s Responsibilities

So you were chosen to be the best man at an upcoming wedding. Congratulations! You may be asking yourself what this means. What exactly does the best man do, besides deliver a totally awesome/moving/hilarious/embarrassing/riot-inducing speech at the reception? Here are twelve responsibilities of a faithful best man:

  • Your # 1 priority as the best man is to be there for the groom. It’s your job to be his right-hand man during the planning and wedding day. Make yourself available to help the groom out any way you can.
  • Assist the groom in selecting the tuxedos/suits for the wedding. Once a decision has been made, oversee and coordinate the purchase or rental of the other groomsmen’s attire to make sure everyone matches.
  • Two words: Bachelor. Party. You’re the man in charge of organizing the groom’s final celebration as a single man. This is a task that is typically organized by several of the groomsmen so don’t be afraid to ask for help. The cost for the night should be divided by everyone in attendance (except the groom).
  • Attend the rehearsal and rehearsal dinner.
  • Stand by your man (literally) up at the altar during the wedding ceremony. You’re also responsible for holding onto the bride’s wedding ring until the exchange. Make sure you keep the ring safe before the wedding and that you know where it is during the ceremony!
  • Oversee the other groomsmen to make sure they’re doing what they need to do on the day of the wedding.
  • Serve as an official witness of the wedding ceremony and sign the marriage license, along with the maid of honor.
  • Make sure the priest/pastor/lawyer/judge receives payment for officiating the ceremony.
  • Enter the reception, typically alongside the maid of honor, and participate in any dances specified for the wedding party.
  • Deliver the first toast of the reception. This is the biggest and most important duty of the best man so make it good!
  • Collect gifts and cards at the reception and transfer them to a predetermined location for the bride and groom to retrieve after the honeymoon.
  • Drive the bride and groom to their hotel/house/airport after the reception. You may also be called on to drive them to the airport the next morning, as well as return the groom’s rented tuxedo.

    Something Blue

    The wedding tradition “something old, something new, something borrowed, something blue” has been a part of weddings for ages.  However, in recent years, brides have embraced the tradition in new and more creative ways, adding a touch of fun and whimsy to their big day.  “Something blue” is a particular favorite of brides, so we’ve given you three creative ideas to add a touch of fun, tradition, and of course, color, to your big day.

    It’s all about the bling. Many brides use their wedding day as a chance to wear jewelry that they may not normally don.  Shine and sparkle are seen in tiaras, drop earrings, bracelets, brooches, and necklaces.  Consider branching out from the traditional pearl or diamond jewelry to incorporate some blue bling.  Sapphires and blue topazes are to popular choices, with the former jewel a popular option among fall and winter brides and the latter jewel finding love from spring and summer brides.  David Yurman makes some incredible pieces with blue stones if you want an extra something special for the big day.

    Remember, just a touch of blue is all you need, so don’t think you have to give up traditional diamonds and pearls all together.  Look for jewelry that has a single blue stone with clear or white jewels around it.  The blue bling doesn’t need to be a focal point, just a little touch to represent your “something blue.”  And if you can’t afford the real stone, no sweat, faux is a great way to go!  Still not sure?  Incorporate blue jewels in your bouquet in the form of a brooch.  Carefully pin it on the ribbon wrapping around your bouquet, and you’ve got your something blue, without making too drastic of a statement.

    Embroider it. Consider combining your something blue with something else special in your life using thread.  Think of a special date, person, or saying that has meaning to you and represent it by embroidering something to wear or carry on your big day.  Perhaps it’s the initials of a loved one that passed, the letters of your college sorority, or your new initials.  Whatever it is, make it meaningful.  Inside one of the layers of your wedding dress is a great option if you don’t want the embroidery to be visible.  Also consider embroidering a handkerchief with something special to wrap around your bouquet.  The embroidery doesn’t need to be big or even visible to anyone else, it is for you to know about and cherish.

    Two Blue Shoes. Elvis may have been onto something when he sang about blue suede shoes.  Ok, maybe not the suede part, but certainly the blue part!  Brides are beginning to get creative and venture outside of traditional bridal footwear, and what better way to do it than with blue!  This is another detail that may not be initially be visible to wedding guests, but when you step up stairs at the altar or bust a move on the dance floor, they will certainly notice the fun surprise.  This also opens up endless possibilities for footwear as you can look outside of the tradition bridal footwear.  Stuart Weitzman, Jimmy Choo, and Manolo Blanik all offer beautiful options.  (Think Carrie Bradshaw!)  If the price tag doesn’t appeal, consider browsing discount stores such as Nordstrom Rack and Filene’s Basement which often carry these designers for a fraction of the price.

    Wedding Trends 2010

    Homemade Wedding Favors

    Though favors are an expense that’s easy to eliminate, right now couples are especially grateful to guests who have incurred considerable expense to be a part of the celebration. The 2010 wedding trend is using homemade favors to express that thanks, and to send guests home with your love.

    Birdcage Veils

    These vintage-look veils combine a jeweled clip or feathered headpiece with netting that only covers the face. In the picture above, Drew Barrymore is wearing a birdcage veil to a recent movie premiere. Wearing one allows you to have some dramatic glamor and feel like a bride, but is a more fun look and less hassling than a long traditional veil.

    Mismatched Bridesmaid Dresses

    For several years, brides have been selecting a bridesmaid dress designer and a fabric, then letting their bridesmaids choose the style that works best for their bodies. But the 2010 wedding trend takes idea further. Choose only a color, then let your bridesmaids find an off-the-rack dress of any designer that they like. Not only does this take some pressure off of you, but it also ensures that women are choosing a dress they like and they’ll be likely to actually wear again. If you follow this trend, be sure to tell your bridesmaids how formal the dress should be – you don’t want one bridesmaid wearing a casual sundress while another has on a beaded evening gown.

    The End of the Standard Year-Long Engagement

    Though a year is a good amount of time for an engagement (and thus that’s what I use for my wedding planning checklist) it certainly isn’t obligatory. Some couples will be planning quick elopements, while others will opt for longer engagements. There are advantages to both – a quick engagement means that you don’t overwhelm yourself with trying to plan the perfect wedding, and often means that you spend less money on unnecessary things. A long engagement can help relieve the stress, spreading out the tasks and the expenses. You’ll have time to save money, and hopefully be able to feel more secure about your jobs before you sign unbreakable contracts.

    Strapless Wedding Dresses

    If you’re saying to yourself, “This isn’t a new 2010 wedding trend!” you’re right. Strapless dresses have been extremely popular for several years now. And though more brides are opting for sleeves, straps, and other ways of covering the shoulders, strapless is going to continue to be the dominant style for the near future.

    trash the dress

    Trash The Dress

    trash the dress
    Trash The Dress…Looking for a way to put your wedding stress and anxiety behind you now that the big day is over? Photographer John Michael Cooper has an unlikely remedy: trash your wedding dress. The modern photographer created a concept that’s become a nationwide trend and is stirring up a bit of controversy.

    John Michael Cooper’s ” trash the dress ” idea is exactly what it sounds like. Sometime after the wedding day is over, brides meet up with their photographer or videographer for an edgy, symbolic, or disturbing film session where they literally destroy their wedding gown. Many brides who participate in the new tradition say that the destruction of their dress signifies their freedom from the stress and anxiety of planning a wedding.

    Each woman’s “trash the dress” day is unique and different. Some women choose water as their source of destruction, having their photographer snap pictures as they climb into a city fountain, roll on a sandy beach, or even wade into a dirty swamp. Others choose to have their new husbands help in the destruction, opting to be cut out of the dress with scissors or a knife or, in some extreme cases, set the garment on fire. Still others have chosen to rely on nature to ruin the gown by rolling in mud, sitting in dirt, or even hiking a dusty trail.

    While it’s an unconventional method to overcome wedding-related stress, many brides find the “trash the dress” festivity to be cathartic and therapeutic. They also enjoy having a unique photo or video to remember their dress rather than preserving it in a box in their attics or closets. Not surprisingly, critics find the act offensive and irresponsible arguing that if brides no longer want their dress, they should donate them to charities or less-fortunate individuals. Here is a great place to donate your dress – White Chicago.