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Bridal Party

How To Choose Your Bridal Party

How To Choose Your Bridal Party

Congratulations on your engagement! When you plan your wedding everything from wedding colors to guest count is dependent on your bridesmaids and/or groomsmen. There are a few factors you should keep in mind when you think about how to choose your bridal party. Here are some ideas to help you choose.

Unequal Numbers

Let’s begin with saying, there are no rules. If your fiance has 5 groomsmen and you have 2 or vice-versa it is not the end of the world. That being said, having equal numbers in a bridal party is important to some couples. If you do have an uneven number, do not panic. You can have the bridal party walk down the aisle without partners. You could also have the bridal party ready at the altar at the beginning of the ceremony. Another idea is you could double up and have groups of 3 walk down the aisle. Either way, it is okay to have equal or unequal numbers for your bridal party.

Gender Of Bridal Party

Do you have a gender diverse friend group? It is no problem! In fact, it is something to celebrate. As long as you know your wedding colors it is easy to color coordinate any group of people. When you plan your bridal party, do not worry about separating genders. The gender makeup of your bridal party will not matter as long as you and you fiance choose your long term closest friends and family.

Long Term, Thick And Thin, Friends & Family

Some of us have a makeup of friends as our family; and that is a beautiful bridal party to have. Others have so many cousins they are close to, so there is not much room for having friends in the bridal party. The most important factor is not the relation to you, but the long term quality of their relationship with you. There is nothing worse than adding someone into your wedding to not be in contact with them a year later. Think long term. There are many ways to involve people who you’d like to be a participant without having them in a bridal party. Some people make amazing wedding guests, but not bridal party participants.

Personalities

And last, but not least, one of the trickiest factors when choosing your bridal party. Of course you want all your closest people in your bridal party. However; those few friends who are on again/off again with how they treat you will not make good bridal party participants. It is important to remember wedding planning is stressful. You want only those who will be supportive of you in your bridal party. You do not have to have anyone in your wedding unless you truly want to.

Always remember your wedding day is one day in your life. The wedding planning process goes on for months. Keep the people who care about you the most close to you. Those who will be lifelong friends make amazing bridal party participants; no matter the numbers or genders that make up your bridal party.



We hope this helps give you some ideas for how to choose your bridal party. For more wedding planning inspiration check out the blog posts below. To submit your wedding to be a featured wedding please e-mail hello@chicagoweddingblog.com Happy Planning!

Wedding Decor Colors

How To: Choose Your Wedding Color Scheme

How To: Choose Your Wedding Color Scheme

Often couples choose a trending color for their wedding color scheme. When wedding planning, there are no wrong choices. However, we do have some suggestions to choose your wedding colors in a different way. Trending colors come and go, but if you choose a color scheme that is so ‘you’, it’ll be timeless & unique. Here are five steps to choose a color scheme that is ‘you’!

First, Narrow Down Your Top Colors And Use A Layout App To Put Colors Together.

Start looking at color options. Then narrow down some of your favorites. Afterward, ensure all colors and textures knit together cohesively by using a layout app. You want to ensure the flowers, ties, suits, dresses, & shoes coordinate.

Second, Instead Of A Trending Color, Think Of Colors That Are ‘You’.

Next, from all those options think about which options are very ‘you’ and nix the excess options. We all can easily tell the year most weddings were by the color of wedding they chose. Navy, blush, burgundy, & gray/blue are all beautiful trending colors that have been widely used. That being said, if you love to wear black every day, black can be a great color for your bridesmaids. You do not have to choose a trending color. If you have a favorite color, say green, that is a color choice you know you’ll love for years to come. Choose colors that can complement each other and reflect your personal style.

Third, Check With Bridesmaids & Groomsmen Attire Designers To Ensure Your Colors Are Possible.

This is often a step brides/grooms forget. Not every designer has fabric in every shade of color you can imagine. Some colors are rotated in and out by year. So before you announce your color scheme; ensure it’s easily accessible to your bridal party. It’s not worth going on a wild goose chase for a color that doesn’t exist. That being said, there are hundreds of color options. You are sure to find at least one of your favorites from step two that you love.

Fourth, Gather Your Decor Ideas.

Now that you’ve narrowed down your colors, choosing coordinating decor is your next job.  When choosing decor you can use one of the coordinating colors you may have eliminated to be a pop of color, contrasting with your bridal party color. Looking at your wedding decor options will also help you solidify your overall color scheme as you keep in mind your venue and wedding flowers.

Fifth, Put It All Together.

You’ve chosen your ‘you’ color, found your bridal party’s attire, and put together your decor ideas and pops of color! Now it’s time to put it all together. At this point, it helps to print everything out so you can see it on paper. You can cut out pictures from magazines, or just print out the final version of the layout we discussed. Then you can present your scheme to your vendors so they can help you bring your ‘you’ wedding color scheme vision to life!



For more wedding planning tips and inspiration, check out more Chicago Wedding Blog posts below! Happy Planning!

Bridal Party Proposal

Four Unique Ways To Propose To Your Bridal Party

Four Unique Ways To Propose To Your Bridal Party

Pinterest has become a hub of DIY and wedding planning. Because of this, ways to propose to your bridal party have become more creative. If you want some unique ways to ask your bridesmaids & groomsmen without breaking the bank, we’ve got you covered! Here are four unique ways to ask your bridal party to be in your wedding.

Option #1- A handwritten note on the back of a meaningful photo of you together.

It’s always nice to receive handwritten notes. Friends love reminiscing on memories by looking at old photos. When you combine those two ideas together it makes for a special keepsake. If you want to go the extra mile, purchase a clear plastic or glass frame so your friend can always see the front and back of the photo and note.

Option #2- A custom sticker put on a mini bottle of champagne or the bridal party’s drink of choice.

This is a yummy and easy option. Purchase printable stickers from any office supply store. You can design on your computer using the brand of choice app, and TADA, you have a fancy & fun bridal party proposal! If your bridal party isn’t the alcohol type, that’s fine! How about a specialty coffee drink?! Decide which drink is your bridal party’s favorite and choose that option.

Option #3- A T-Shirt Or Custom Apparel

When you are getting married there are many fun outings with your bridal party. Who doesn’t love cute or comical bridal party coordinated apparel? You could go simple with bridesmaids bride tribe shirts such as these cute ones from Liz & Kate boutique in Geneva, IL. Or some fun ones for the guys like these groom squad shirts. If you wanted to go a bit simpler, bridesmaid and groomsmen hats are easy to find at many local brick & mortar shops.

Option #4- Give them a box of their favorite sweet treat with a note on the inside of the box asking them to be in your bridal party.

This one is an easy DIY if you like baking. If not, there are many local bakeries or candy shops that make it easy to fill up a box with their favorite things. Who doesn’t like getting candy and cookies?! You can find bakery boxes at any local craft store. Check out some of your local bakeries may even help you out and box it for you.

Three Wedding Planning Conflicts And How To Handle Them

Three Wedding Planning Conflicts And How To Handle Them

You went from dating to engaged, excitement ensued. Now the engagement bliss is fading. This means it is time to get wedding planning. Let us prepare you: while wedding planning is fun, there are many emotions, traditions, and people’s opinions involved. These things can complicate not only your wedding planning, but also your relationship. Here are three examples of wedding planning conflicts and how to handle them with a problem solving guide.

1. Your parents or in-laws have a different wedding vision than you do.

Most of the time, your loved ones mean well. Let’s assume that for the purpose of this section.

  • First things first: handle your own family, let your fiance handle theirs. If your parents want a large wedding and you don’t, explain to them you appreciate all they want to give you, however you and your fiance are only comfortable with a smaller wedding. If your in-laws have the differing opinion, your fiance should explain on behalf of both of you how you feel, what you are going to do, and why. This will set a healthy boundary between in-laws and your relationship. Here is more advice on family communication .
  • Second things second: Give your family space and/or time for them to understand your vision. They probably envisioned the kind of wedding they’ve wanted to give you your entire life. They have seen your grow up. This is a sentimental time for them. Maybe they still can’t believe you don’t want a glamorous fairytale wedding as you loved in your storybooks. They will need some time to slow down and refocus on what you actually want. Here is more advice on narrowing down the size of your wedding .

2. Drama over who, or who is not, in your bridal party.

Here we go, from movies on TV to fiction books there are numerous stories based around these wedding planning conflicts alone. There are so many emotions built into a wedding day. Your loved ones want to be there for you, but maybe you envisioned a small or no bridal party. Maybe your family wants you to include your sixth cousin, twice removed. Let’s talk out some scenarios.

  • First things first: Think of those people who have always been there for you and always will. Sometimes friends fall away, but family never will. Unfortunately sometimes it’s the opposite. Either scenario, think long and hard about those permanent, loving people in your life and include them. That being said, “loose lips sink ships.” Before you are absolutely sure who is going to be in your wedding do not talk about it to avoid unnecessary hurt feelings.
  • Second things second: Think long term. A wedding is one day in your life. The situations and their effect on your relationships, both good and bad, will continue long after your wedding. When considering who or whom not to have in your wedding think about the long term effects that choice could have on your relationships. Is it a good idea to include one friends instead of a pair of two because you have a large family? Or would it be better to only have family in your wedding to not hurt that one friend’s feelings? Every situation is different, but remember this is one day. Make the choice that will have the best results to continue happy, healthy relationships moving forward. Here is more advice if you want a small wedding party.
  • Third things third: (Because this is a big topic) Every situation is different. These ideas are simply prompts to help you think through your options. Some couples are in the middle of a very difficult family dynamic. Because this is unfortunately common, let us let you off the hook, trust your gut! This should be the happiest day of your life. Do not allow people who want to manipulate or harm you, or your relationship, into your wedding or life simply because it’s easier to placate them.

3. Friends or family don’t like my (fill in the blank).

Everyone has opinions. That does not mean you need to change yours because of them. If you want to wear an orange dress on your wedding day, you rock that like the queen or king you are! Everyone can choose to wear what they want when it is their turn to plan their wedding. The same rule applies for if they don’t like your: food choices, hair style, fiance, church vs. outdoor ceremony, and even riding in on an elephant instead of a horse. All jokes aside, if no one is put in danger by your choices, it’s your day! Wear, do, eat what you want, and enjoy!

  • First things first: Remember often people’s opinions are said to you with good intentions. Maybe they wish they would’ve worn a more traditional wedding dress and don’t want you to have the same regrets.  It is possible to acknowledge their good intentions while also staying true to yours. Many wedding planning conflicts can be solved with saying, “Thank you for looking out for me, but I prefer a different direction.”
  • Second things second: Don’t ask for opinions if you don’t want them! Too many opinions will lead to definite confusion. If you want someone’s opinion on your dress, wedding colors, or kind of animal you ride into the sunset on; choose them wisely. Not everyone has the same taste. Ask someone whose tastes are similar to yours so you can be confident your wedding day stays true to your vision.



We hope this wedding planning conflicts problem solving guide helps you have a seamless wedding planning process. For more expert wedding planning advice, check out the other blog posts on The Chicago Wedding Blog. 

Small Wedding Party

As a new bride it’s tempting to rush out and tell everyone and invite all your friends to the big day but we’re giving away tips on how a smaller wedding party can make your life easier! Just because some friends are not IN the wedding doesn’t mean they can’t have a good time or enjoy the celebration with you.

We aren’t just talking about bridesmaids and groomsmen either. Having a small wedding party in terms of guests will help cut down costs. The average cost per guest for a wedding is $100 so multiply that by 100 guests and it adds up. Keeping your guest list limited is the first way to cut costs.

However, let’s address the small wedding party itself. Keeping your bridesmaids to three or four close friends will save you a lot of headache. For one, it’ll make things easier to stay organized. It’s hard enough to plan an entire wedding so be sure your bridal party makes things easy for you.

It’s easier to take photos after the wedding ceremony as well with a smaller wedding party. You can fit everyone in the same frame and have time to try fun pictures like goofy shots or even use props. Along with photo taking a smaller wedding party allows you to let your bridesmaids have more flexibility with their choice of dresses. If you are comfortable letting your girls pick their own styles the less people makes the “mix and match” look classy instead of messy. You could also give them the option to rent a dress instead of buy. Happy bridesmaids make for great photos!

A small wedding party will both cut costs and allow you more control over your big day!

 

Bridesmaid dresses

You’ve asked all your best friends or sisters to be in your wedding but now what? The dreaded bridesmaid dresses! Some people are reluctant bridesmaids because they’re obligated or spoil sports. As the bride you can help alleviate some of that stress by what you decide they should all wear.

Bridesmaid dresses can range from ball gown to boots and jeans. We’re sure all your bridesmaids are models and would look exactly like the pictures in the catalogs…Or they’re people with bodies that work hard for them and are of all shapes and sizes! As the bride you should definitely be aware of who’s in your party and what their body types are. Maybe give them a color or style of dress but leave the details to them like straps, no straps, belt or no belt. Some women are larger up top than others and will not feel comfortable in strapless gowns.

It may be easier to ask your bridesmaids what they do not feel comfortable with rather than what everyone wants. Bridesmaid dresses come in all sizes so that shouldn’t be a problem. But some maids may feel shorter is something they’d rather not wear. To make things less complicated and to keep you from pulling your hair out try selecting a designer and color you like. Then, let the bridesmaids pick among the style choices in that range. It can keep everyone on track and also feel their comfort levels are being taken into consideration.

Bridesmaid dresses can also be easier if you try Brideside, a site that lets you choose 3 styles you like, are shipped to your house and you get to try them on! They have consultants who can organize your bridal party as well and thus alleviate some stress off of you. They understand your girls have actual body parts that sometimes don’t cooperate or look good in certain styles. We recommend you tell your girls to give those dresses a good shake and jump too! You never know how the dress will hold up dancing versus just standing or walking. You and your bridesmaids can have a lot of fun picking dresses that will compliment them and make you the center of attention on the big day!

Bang for your Buck

Bang for your Buck

Bang for your Buck: Bridesmaids Dresses

No matter what any bride says there is a universal truth about bridesmaid’s dresses: you’ll only wear the dress once. “You’ll wear it again, right?” the bride asks, perhaps to make they feel better about asking you to shell out hundreds of dollars for it. Nope, you won’t. You’ll never wear that floor length, one-shouldered aubergine satin dress with the weird unflattering ruffles ever again.Bang for your Buck

It seemed like a lost cause, just part of the deal of being a bridesmaid–suck it up and buy the ugly dress, right? Wrong. Enter Rent the Runway and Little Borrowed Dress, maids can opt to rent a dress for the big day versus getting stuck with a frock they truly are not in love with.

Rent the Runway Weddings, an expansion of Rent the Runway, and a beacon of hope for future bridesmaids everywhere. Rent the Runway Weddings launched in 2011. It focuses on bridesmaids dresses. Badgley Mischka, Robert Rodriguez and Nicole Miller have designed bridesmaid collections that come in up to four styles in up to four seasonal colors exclusively for the site. Whereas Rent the Runway only allows users to rent dresses for a few days at a time, Rent the Runway Weddings offers 8-day rental periods. But the best part? The price. A Badgley Mischka bridesmaid dress averages at over $300. At Rent the Runway Weddings it’s $65.

Little Borrowed Dress does not have the big names like RTR does, but has very cute and simple options for your girls. With LBD, every style we carry was specifically designed to fit and flatter a variety of shapes and sizes. They are determined to design the ultimate bridesmaid dresses, so we use multiple fit models with varied body types to ensure the dresses will fit with no alterations required! Lastly, if you would like to try on before committing to the rental, that’s OK too. Why have an ill-fitting dress the day of the big day and a bridesmaid breakdown.

Another nice feature about LBD is that the process is simple, you can order color swatches beforehand, and if you’re girls DO want the option to buy a new dress…they can!Bang for your Buck

Pink Redux

We all remember the now infamous line from “Steel Magnolias” when the bride, Shelby is asked what her wedding colors are.  Her mother, played by the amazing Sally Field quips,” Her colors of pink and pink” but the bride insists that they are really, “Blush and Bashful.”  And while at the time, pink for weddings really did echo a certain Pepto Bismol sentiment, today the hue has been reinterpreted to an actual blush, varying in tone to seem softer and more accessible. We even see the grooms embracing the romantic color scheme as a trend in 2013, knowing full well that having a pink wedding is nothing like it used to be.

Blush and Bashful

So here are our thoughts on pink weddings: We love them! And when we say pink, we mean start with the color and then work your way to various shades and tones until you have the perfect balance of romance and elegance.  Or you can take pink to newer and more modern extremes. Hot pink fuchsia orchids or peonies wrapped in Kelly green foliage for a pop of color can make for a preppy and fresh statement.  We love to see brides embrace a very “Kate Spade” look when approaching their themes. Crisp colorful linens, with perfectly tailored accents like contemporary menu cards and modern vases, can take a shocking pink to uber chic levels.

pink collage

But we still say there is nothing more romantic than the beauty of blush.  Recently, the ombre effect has taken hold of wedding all over and we don’t see this trend slowing down one bit. For those of you confused by ombre, it’s simply the effect of using one color and having the hue fade from darker to lighter or lighter to darker. It’s the perfect way to show off the versatile use of one shade.  And for pinks, the ombre route is the way to go.  We have seen it with wedding cakes, linens, and bridesmaid dresses that vary in style and color while all remaining in the same family.  We even love the idea of Bridesmaids wearing metallic versions of blush tones- we simply cannot get enough and hope to see more metallics as Bridesmaid looks continue to branch out.

pink ombreombre cake

And let’s not forget that virtually no other color scheme is more complimented by candlelight than blushes. The tones tend to give off both silver and gold light and can even push you towards using mixed metals for things like flatware, chargers, and plates. Mixing and matching has never been more appropriate!   Timeless and trendy have struck the perfect balance!

Pajama Party for the Bachelorette!

Could this quite possibly be the most adorable idea for a Bachelorette party ever? Long have we associated the infamous “ last night out” as an event filled with debauchery, alcohol, and crazy hangovers.  But it seems for more and more brides, and their girlfriends, when it comes to celebrating the bride in her all-girls glory, the tide seems to have turned to a new, more civilized celebration. We are still seeing Vegas getaways and crazy nights out, but it’s nice to know there’s a more subdued alternative like spa days, wine tastings, and luxe sleepovers. This girls-only fete is the ultimate in sleepover chic and we just had to share.

Pj party

Cassandra, the host of this soiree, is the editor of the fabulous blog, cocokelley.com.  She brings lovely interiors, housewares, and fashions to her readers daily and some days you can find some super inspiring wedding details that can translate to all kinds of events. Like everything she does, this ladies night was full of whimsy, fun and thoughtful details that are perfect for honoring the bride-to- be! Take a look at our favorite elements and take notes for your next girl’s night in!

custom pj

Customized pajamas? Yes, please! These girls were surprised with custom monogram pajama sets from the ultra chic line, Eberjey.  You can find similar ones at Target and can easily find a screen printing company locally to add a monogram. Nothing says special like a personalized gift or favor that lets your guests know you thought enough of them to create something just for them that they will be able to take home with them!  We couldn’t be more in love with this idea and think it’s perfect for all kind of occasion and gifts.

masks

The sleep theme gets a major makeover with an interactive sleep mask decorating station. Complete with sequins, glue, paint, markers and other adorable sew-ons, each girl can goof around or make something truly gorgeous to wear for the night. It gives your guests something fun to do without taking any one activity too seriously. Remember, this is a grown- ups night but that doesn’t mean you can’t go old-school with crafts when it comes to your theme!

food

No sleepover would be complete without the plethora of junk food and beverages. In this case, the quintessential popcorn and candy is abundant in chic bowls, but this time the drink of choice is champagne.  Feel free to think beyond these staples to fun and female friendly trays of sushi, fancy cheeses, and gourmet pizzas to pair with your bubbly! Also consider a mini chocolate bar or tiny desserts you can pick up and nibble on throughout the night! Bachelorette party of not, it sounds like a great way to spend time with your girls and enjoy the joys of just being a girl!

Photos by Sunshine Charlie

Fall Wedding Trends

It’s that time of year again; the air is turning extra crisp and the days are getting shorter. That’s no reason not to celebrate however, because Fall is one of our favorite seasons and paired with the changing hue of the leaves and charmingly rich tones we get to enjoy, we don’t see why Fall can’t be the perfect time for a wedding.  Since we are merely weeks away for the big holiday kickoff, the time is ripe for more intimate affairs and for the unexpected send- off to wedding season. In years past, summer weddings in May, June and July dominated in popularity when it came to planning your nuptials. Not that those months have taken too much of a hit but just last year it was revealed (in Chicago anyway) that September, the unequivocal welcome mat of Fall took the top prize for most popular month. And October and November aren’t falling that far behind.

So let’s dig in to our favorite fall trends.  There’s something quite magical and full of whimsy when it comes tot his time of year and these ideas are sure to echo that sentiment.

GOLD! We’ve seen the latest craze in Gold foiling and metallic spray painting pumpkins ( which could easily be used in a rustic, cornucopia style wedding) and now we are seeing other fall staples such as leaves, apples, pears, and even acorns used as décor.  The idea of walking into a wedding and finding your name wistfully scrolled onto a card attached to a perfectly gold polished apple is about as gorgeous as it gets. And so easy!  It’s organic, budget friendly, and something to really set-off the tone of Fall.  Follow it up with many other small gilded gourds or foliage around vases of seasonal flowers for your tables and you are golden!

Burgundy: If you think you are experiencing fashion déjà vu, you are not alone. Burgundy is without a doubt, the HOTTEST color for Fall and we have been seeing it on everyone!  Some call it Merlot, wine, jeweled maroon, but any way you put it, one thing cannot be denied: It’s HOT! The rich color is always a showstopper for bridesmaids as it really compliments most skin tones, and mixed with this season’s ever –so- hot hint of lace, it is a true fashion statement. We are even seeing brides with bright burgundy sashes on dresses and oversized bows for their bouquets. Either way you incorporate it, this color of the moment is sure to please even the most fashion- forward guest.

Natural Elements: Some of the most elegant Fall weddings we’ve seen actually took place in barns. With natural bead lights, and rustic table settings, the choices are anything but ordinary. Using the natural beauty of nature is key when it comes to an Autumn affair.  We love the use of seasonal fruits in large bowls; the dark grapes, the perfectly rouge Anjou pears, varieties of seasonal squashes mixed with natural raffia twine and seasonal flowers.  Take advantage of what’s all around you and you may be surprised by the inordinate and breathtaking choices you have available. Skip the peonies and lilies for something that makes sense. Practicality has never been so chic!