Sunday, September 30, 2012

Bridal Shower Alternatives

As more and more couples cohabitate prior to marriage, a traditional bridal shower may slightly redundant. Personally, I politely requested that I was not thrown a bridal shower when quizzed about potential dates and the guest list. I was not ungrateful that my family and friends wanted to throw the celebration in my honour, however, I simply did not need anything. I had been living with my then-fianc√© for a couple of years and we had everything that we needed. Aside from that, I also didn't feel comfortable with my family, friends, and bridesmaids spending any more money because of our wedding.

In lieu of a bridal shower, my wedding party, mom, and mother-in-law, threw me a party that I will never forget. It was simple and casual, with some extremely thoughtful, personal touches. When inviting guests, they said it was a low-key celebration and mentioned that it was best-wishes only. I did receive a few gifts, all of which I loved and appreciated.

So, what can you do if you don’t want a bridal shower, or you are a friend or family member of a bride who has asked that she not be thrown one? Here are some alternatives:

Showers with gift-giving options

Lingerie shower
A lingerie shower is great for a bride-to-be who already lives with her future spouse. A girl can certainly have too many hand towels, but she can never have enough lingerie.

How to do it:
Send invitations that specify what the shower is and make sure to include the bride’s bra and panty sizes. Including her favourite shops might be helpful, too, for a guest that would prefer to give a gift card.

Honeymoon shower
A honeymoon shower will likely include gifts of lingerie from some guests, but it can also be expanded to include items that would be helpful for the honeymoon. For example: bathing suits, luggage, and reading materials for the beach.

How to do it:
Send invitations that specify what the shower is and make sure to include the bride’s sizes.



Stock the Bar
A stock the bar shower is popular for both women and men. You could opt to include the groom, and his friends and family, in a stock the bar shower. The purpose of this shower is, as suggested, to stock the newlywed’s bar.

How to do it:
Send invitations instructing guests to bring with them a recipe for their favourite drink, and everything needed for the couple to make in the future. 

Shower ideas that do not include gift-giving

Recipe shower
A recipe shower is a nice way to get friends and family together for a shower atmosphere (food and maybe some games). You could choose to purchase a cookbook or recipe box and put all of the guests recipe cards inside to give to the bride.

How to do it:
Send invitations asking guests to bring along their favourite recipe, and not to forget a recipe card with the ingredients and directions.
 
Spa party
A spa party is a nice alternative for a get-together with the bridal party, and perhaps a few close family members and friends.

How to do it:
Gather girly necessities such as face masks, wax, and makeup and nail polish and slip into something cozy such as pyjamas or robes. Serve quality cheeses, chocolate, and wine.

  • What are your thoughts on bridal showers?
  • Do you have any ideas for alternatives to a bridal shower?

Friday, September 28, 2012

Wedding Trend: Mismatched Bridesmaids

In the world of weddings, it is difficult not to follow at least some trends. One that I cannot get enough of is mismatched bridesmaids dresses. I chose to have my bridesmaids in different dresses and when I told people this, I usually got, "Ohhhh... okay... yes..." No one understood!

I liked the idea of mismatched dresses for many reasons. With three different body types, I knew that narrowing down one specific dress would be next to impossible, or at the very least, a frustrating experience for all of them. I wanted them to feel comfortable in what they were wearing. And, if they could wear the dresses again - bonus! All I asked for was a certain colour scheme and that it paired well with cowboy boots. The girls shopped on their own time and sent me pictures as they found potential winners. In addition to that, our wedding was not too "fancy"; we were married at a winery in a barn-style venue. The groomsmen wore ties and vests, but no jackets. To me, mismatched dresses fit well with our "theme."

Of course, there are different ways to go about it. You could choose to have bridesmaids in relatively the same dress; just choosing different styles that might flatter their body type (ie: one in halter style, one in strapless, etc). Alternatively, you could give your girls some direction, such as colour scheme, and let them go nuts.

A couple of ways to go with mismatched bridesmaids and still achieve a pulled together look?
Choose the same bouquet for all of the bridesmaids
Choose to have the groomsmen all match (but still coordinating well with the bridesmaids)

Here are some of my favourites:







  

  • Did you or would you do mismatched bridesmaids dresses?



Thursday, September 27, 2012

For a Smile!

Today is one of "those days" for me, and maybe it is for you, too. It also feels like Friday, although it's only Thursday, and that is never fun! So, to lighten the mood, how about a few of my favourite hilarious, adorable, feel-good wedding clips from the web! Enjoy.

Groom surprises his bride with a choreographed Justin Beiber dance

This is incredibly cute!

Couple surprises guests with a funny first dance

I am a fun of the surprise dance, however, they are often not practiced enough or the couple isn't comfortable enough to be silly in front of hundreds of people. This couple pulled it off well and it just fun to watch!

Choreographed park proposal

I cannot get enough of this video - I literally squealed at the end! Adorable!

Best man can't find ring during the ceremony

This is hilarious. I love that the bride wasn't in on it and that she laughed along.

I hope that one of these videos brightened your day!

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

For the Bride

There are many duties associated with being a bridesmaid or a maid of honor, such as hosting a bridal shower and purchasing a dress and shoes. Though not necessary, it is a nice gesture to let the bride know that she is special and these times are "all about her." A great way to do this is to give her something that lets everyone know exactly who she is and why you're celebrating. There are many options on the web whether it be clothing, accessories, or small gifts. Here are some of my favourites:

This tank and ones like it can be found on Etsy - for example Pantora Bridal Shop

Off the Market tee is from Kleinfeld's Gift Shop

"Bride" robe is from Victoria's Secret

This "just married" bikini is perfect for the honeymoon and can be found at David's Bridal online


Alternatively, you can get creative and make your own. This way, you can choose something in stores or online that you know the bride likes; perhaps a hoodie from a trusted brand. Many Etsy shops (such as Crystal Factory) will do custom rhinestone iron-on transfers. How about: Future Mrs. Last Name? Or "Just married" for the honeymoon?

Maybe clothing adorned in sequins isn't her thing. Something I have always loved is the idea of a custom hanger, which is such a cute addition for morning-of wedding photos:

This is from Etsy shop BridalWeddingHangers, but they can be found in many shops on Etsy. They can be customised with a name, like the one above, or simply "Bride." I love the addition of the flowers (or other accessories to match her wedding theme/colours).
  • Did you receive anything like this that remains memorable?

Put a Ring on it

Prior to being engaged, I didn't know too much about diamonds. I knew I wanted a princess cut solitaire (I despised round diamonds at the time) and I knew that colour, cut, and clarity were more important to me than carat size was. I now know about the wide variety of diamond cuts outside of round and princess. I still love my princess cut and I wouldn't change it for anything. However, maybe you are not yet engaged and could benefit from seeing what's out there.

Round



Oval



Princess



Emerald



Heart



Asscher



Cushion



Pear



Marquise



All photos and rings can be found here.

All of the above diamonds have been shown in solitaire form (meaning one, single diamond). Of course there are multiple settings that you can choose from (diamond bands, multi-stone, etc).

What about the 4 "Cs"?
What are they?

Cut
The "brilliance" of a diamond depends on it's cut.
Diamonds may receive a cut, from most to least desirable:
- Ideal
- Premium
- Very good
- Good
- Fair
- Poor

Clarity
Clarity refers to the size, number, and visibility of inclusions, or flaws, that a diamond has. Clarity is explained through a system F (flawless) through I (included).

F - Flawless
No internal or external flaws; these diamonds are rare and expensive.

IF - Internally flawless
No internal flaws, but some external flaws; still rare.

VVS1-VVS2 - Very, very slightly included (two grades)
Extremely minor inclusions that are still very difficult to detect, even when magnified under 10x.

VS1-VS2 - Very slightly included (two grades)
Minor inclusions, still difficult to detect, even when magnified under 10x.

SI1-SI2 - Slightly included (two grades)
Minor inclusions detected easier when magnified under 10x; still cannot detect with the naked eye.

I1-I2-I3 - Included (three grades)
Inclusions easily detected when magnified under 10x and to the naked eye. Diamonds of this quality are not recommended.

Colour
Lighter diamonds allow for more light to hit the diamond, and thus, they create a better sparkle. Colour is grades using the letters D through Z.

D, E, F
Colourless

G, H, I
Near colourless

J, K, L, M
Faint yellow
After this, they become "very light yellow" to "yellow" and even "brownish." While D, E, F are most desirable, it is notable that G, H, I grade diamonds also appear virtually colourless to an untrained eye.

Carat weight
Diamonds are measured by a unit of weight: carats. The higher the carat, the larger the diamond. Larger diamonds are more rare to find in nature than small diamonds, thus, they are more expensive.

  • What was or will be more important to you of the 4 C's? What is your favourite diamond shape?

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Halloween Wedding?

With Halloween about a month away, I feel inspired to show some spooky, yet stunning ideas. While the idea of a Halloween theme might scream (pun-intended) "tacky" to some people, I think that, done properly, you can still have a gorgeous wedding.

You could do an outright halloween theme, with cobwebs, spiders, and typical halloween colours (black, deep purples):
 

Or you could choose to follow more of an autumn theme, with certain "Halloween" accents (ie: a candy buffet). If you're after a more traditional approach to your wedding, this option is certainly your best bet.

Speaking of a candy buffet - no Halloween themed wedding is complete without one! The majority of candy buffets at weddings feature typical treats like licorice and jordan almonds. For a Halloween themed wedding, I would go all out with clich√© candy such as:
- miniature chocolate bars
- miniature bags of chips (reminiscent of trick-or-treating days without the disappointment of a crushed package)
- candy corn

The candy buffet can also double as a favour station - just leave some cute bags or boxes with a sign, and you instantly have favours for guests to take home.

Other ways to add halloween flare without an all out halloween bash?

Cake and cake alternatives

Cake pops, cupcakes, and traditional cake can all be transformed into something spooky, yet tasteful (and tasty!)



Photo Booth
In lieu of asking guests to come dressed in costume, you could provide opportunity to dress up briefly at the wedding! Replace traditional photo booth props with more halloween inspired props (ie: scarier masks, wigs, and costumes).

Signature drinks
How about a couple of signature bride and groom drinks on the menu?

Apple cider martini


Recipe very slightly adapted from Martha Stewart
Yields 1 Martini

IngredientsBlack decorating sugar, for rim
1 apple, chopped
1/2 lime, cut into wedges
1/2 lime juice, for rim
1 ounce maple syrup
1 ounce apple cider
2 ounces vodka (plain or apple flavoured)
Ice
Club soda
Directions
1. Have decorating sugar on a plate, ready to use. Moisten the rim of a martini glass with lime juice and dip the rim of the glass in the sugar.
2.In a cocktail shaker, muddle apple cubes and lime wedges. Add syrup, cider, and vodka; fill with ice. Cover and shake. Strain into prepared martini glass; top with club soda.

For those who prefer beer over liquor, fall is when seasonal pumpkin beer makes its debut. You may have to ask your venue (and perhaps pay a fee) to stock a specialty for you.

Pumpkin Ale

I am all for weddings reflecting couples. If a wedding that makes a haunted house look innocent is what you're after, I say go for it! However, if you're looking for a way to incorporate some fun, halloween inspiration into your wedding, it is possible to do without sacrificing the "dream wedding" that you imagine.

  • Have you ever been to a Halloween wedding? Would you do it yourself?

For the Groom

Let me preface this post by saying that I don't think this is the case for all couples. However, most wedding-related decisions are made by one person, and it is usually the bride. So, I thought I would mention some of my favourite ways to add some personalization to your wedding, in favour of the groom.

Groom's Cake
The groom's cake is said to have been started, originally, as a plain fruit cake that was often given to guests at the wedding. This tradition has lost it's popularity, however. Now, the groom's cake is usually provided by the bride or family and is often a symbol of the groom's interests or personality.



Garter
Many brides are after a stunning, delicate garter. No doubt, knowing that something lacy is hiding under your dress only adds to how beautiful you feel that day. However, if you are playing along with the now-customary "garter toss" then your groom will likely be removing it, and the first person who will see it. Why not surprise him with something that is reflective of him? Favourite sports team, hobbies (ie: a camo garter for a man who hunts).


Etsy is a great website for custom-made garters that are inexpensive and great quality. I was able to find someone to custom make a race car themed garter for me for $20.00 including shipping. I received two garters - one to toss, and one for my husband to keep.

Music
Likely, whether you have a D.J. or a live band, music options will be dicussed together. However, why not send a list of your groom's top five favourite songs and request that they be played throughout the night? This is especially thoughtful if his favourite genre isn't generally included in Top 40 hits, as that is what is usually played at a wedding to keep people on the dance floor.

Favours
Think of what he would love to receive as a small gift, and work with this for your wedding favours. Is he a green thumb? Give out packages of seeds for planting. Does he have a major sweet tooth? Consider chocolate bars with custom wraps (check out Whimsy Wraps for some great custom options). You can find ways to customize almost anything on the web.

When you are a bride with full reign over the details of your wedding, it is often easy to focus on what you want exclusively. Speaking from personal experience, I had a groom who cared, but also didn't care. Of course he cared about the wedding, but the details were lost on him. Colours, flowers, decor - none of this was important. Couple this with my control-freak personality, and decision making was certainly easy. However, I didn't forget to include some small details that let him know that it was his wedding, too.

  •  Did you or are you including any personal "groom" details?