Personalized Memorial Wedding Ideas

A wedding is so much more than just the union of two people; it's about joining families together. More wedding couples are incorporating some type of memorial for close friends and family members who have passed away or cannot attend the wedding.

If either of you have recently lost a close friend or family member, you can display a nice framed picture along with a short paragraph, poem or verse as guests walk in to sign your guest book. Display a personalized memorial vase or candle holder and have your officiate say a few words during your ceremony. Another option is to decorate a table at your reception with a memory board where guests can view at any time. There are an abundant of wedding memorial ideas and options for those who cannot attend your wedding and still be a significant part of your day in spirit and in remembrance.

Warmest Wishes,


Breaking Away From Traditional Bridesmaid Dresses

More and more brides today are breaking away from traditional taffeta bridesmaids gowns and opting for more modern, wear-again dresses.  Long gone are the days of puffy sleeves and matchy-matchy attire.  Brides want their bridesmaids to feel just as beautiful as they do on their wedding day.  With that in mind, traditional bridal stores are no longer the shops of choice to find dresses.  Brides are breaking barriers and finding their inspiration in all venues, from small boutiques to large corporation chains.
Silk Georgette Dresses by Kostas Murkudis
These beautiful sheer silk georgette dresses are designed by Kostas Murkudis and available at  Talk about a horse of a different color.  These stunning dresses come in 143 colors with a possible 21,000 color combinations when you layer one on top of the other.  The possibilities are endless.  Such a fabulous way to give your bridesmaids wearable fashion while still meeting your wedding day vision.  Check out all the other color options over at style bubble.

J Crew Bridesmaids via Goode Green Photography
Other increasingly popular spots for finding bridesmaids dresses are chain stores like anthropologie and jcrew.  Choosing a corporate store is a great way to keep all your bridesmaids in the same dresses but still give them a dress they will love.  Because, many stores will be able to inventory a larger number of the same dress style.  Another great idea is to choose a different style for each girl but the same color.  Many larger corporations will carry multiple dress styles and will be able to provide many of them in the same color.  Give your girls the color you want, the store, and tell them to go shopping. (Above photo credit - J Crew bridesmaids dresses courtesy of goode green photography)

More adventurous brides have opted to mix-and-match their gown styles by hitting local thrift shops and vintage stores.  The upside of going this route is that your dresses are likely to be very inexpensive and one-of-a-kind. may have to set aside a lot of time and dedication to finding dresses in the right sizes and ones that match your color scheme.

Happy Planning!


Savoring Summer with these Outdoor Wedding Favors

While walking through the stores this weekend I noticed back to school supplies are out and fall and Halloween decorations are sneaking their way on to the shelves. It makes part of me long for the crisp air and crunch of leaves that autumn brings, but another part of me refuses to give up summer without a fight! We have a good month and a half of summer weather left here in the Midwest! In honor of that, here are some ideas for those who love the sunny outdoors! 

Enjoy and help preserve the outdoors with ecofriendly favors such as plantable seed packets, polished rock place card holders, and adorable notepads that definitely remind me of climbing trees as a kid. You can also find other nature inspired decor,  like natural wood plaques, at most craft stores. These would look adorable with initials or table numbers carved into them.
Photo Credit: Martha Stewart Living
You can also give guests a little bit of nature to take home with them. Small bouquets wrapped in a cone of pretty paper can be hung with ribbon along chairs or placed in an arrangement for guests. A sign reading "take your pick!" can be placed near the flowers to be sure guests know that they are not merely part of the decorations.  Another way to incorporate fresh flowers in your favors is by giving hair clips, corsages, and boutonneires made by you or your florist. These can be pinned to a linen covered peg board for guests to choose from. If flowers are too fussy for you, potted plants and herbs are a great way to go!
Photo Credit: Martha Stewart Living
If you will have your event outdoors, be sure to provide plenty of water and shade for guests. If no trees or tents are available, you can always provide paper parasols and hand fans. Fans can serve a double purpose if you have your wedding programs printed on them. It is also considerate to provide sunscreen and bug repellant wipes, or have citronella candles lit to keep away uninvited guests.

Today's summer wedding favors are available in a wide range of themes and styles to accomodate any outdoor wedding reception or party.

Remember, it is sunny days with friends and family that will keep you warm through the winter months!


Back To School Lunch Bags

Personalized 6 x 3 x 11 Paper Lunch Bags in Assorted ColorsMore and more Moms today are packing bagged lunches for their children. Whether you are trying to save money, eating organic or just trying to provide a nutritional meal for your child, lunch bags are a necessity. Your child will love picking out his or her own bag color and adding his or her name and design to their very own lunch bags. This is also a great way to keep your child’s lunch from getting mixed in with the other bagged lunches at school.

Personalized lunch bags can also be used as snack bags for sporting events or field trips. Add your school logo onto a lunch bag and have them printed in your school colors to add some fun and personalization to your next school event.


Deliciously Rustic Fall Wedding Inspiration Board

Salt and Pepper Shake Lamps by Surthrival of Etsy
While browsing over on Etsy, I came across these amazing salt shaker lights which immediately got my wheels turning. Wouldn't they make an absolutely adorable idea for wedding reception table lighting?  So unique and since many venues are putting their foot down about open flames, they are a great alternative.  You could even string them up outside to light the way for guests.  But why stop there when you could do a whole theme on a kitchen inspired motif?  (Even more perfect if you and your fiance are chefs.  But still just as cute even if your not).  In celebration of all the gourmet chefs at heart, here's a little rustic fall inspiration board inspired by all things kitchen.

Deliciously Rustic Fall Wedding Inspiration Board
Deliciously Rustic Fall Wedding Inspiration Board
Deliciously Rustic Fall Wedding Inspiration Board
Top: Place card escort chalkboard created by Unscene, mismatched vintage plates courtesy of Onada Photography, cheese plate photo by Matt Armendariz.
Middle: Salt and pepper shaker lights by surthrival of, menu chalkboard courtesy of Beth Helmstetter Events, potted herb favors via In The Now Weddings and Events.
Bottom: Cocktails, homemade jam, and apples all courtesy of Matt Armendariz, vintage wedding dress and mirror photograph by Marlin Munoz.

Happy Planning,


Ice Cream Wedding Buffet Ideas

Photo credit - http://www.bridefly.comI absolutely love the idea of having an ice cream buffet instead of a candy buffet for your wedding. We have been withering away in the heat this summer and what a great way to cool off your guest but with a nice scoop of ice cream. Having an ice cream buffet at your wedding reception also adds an element of summer time fun to your event. Guests will love customizing their own sundaes with a variety of toppings.

Here are some ideas for creating your own ice cream buffet.


Fill a metal or plastic tub with ice to keep your ice cream cold. If possible I would have a friend, family member or caterer serve the ice cream to avoid messy situations. There are also many companies on the internet that will rent soft serve ice cream machines.


This is when the fun begins. Add all of your favorite toppings to the buffet table. You can use large glass jars or bowls and fill them with shaved coconut, rainbow sprinkles, chocolate sprinkles or even fresh fruit. Of course you will want to include hot fudge and caramel. Be creative and add lots of color to your buffet table with different toppings.


Find some cute ice cream sudae dishes. The dishes can also be a favor to your guest if you send them home with the dishes. Another idea for dishes would be to use personalized plastic cups. You can have the cups personalized for your wedding and have your guest make their yummy sundaes in the cups.

Now you have all you need to create a beautiful ice cream buffet for your wedding. Go all out; ice cream brings out the child in us all. Happy Shopping!!


Photo Credit : Ice Cream/Float bar @

Hassle-Free Delivery of your Wedding Accessories, Gifts and Favors

Planning a wedding has so many details to include from ordering your dress to ordering favors for your guests. When placing on-line orders for your wedding accessories, gifts or favors it’s a good idea to verify production time for personalized and non-personalized items. In most cases, production and processing of your order does not include delivery time.

UPS, FedEx and USPS are some of the most popular companies that on-lines stores use as a method of shipping orders. Your order is assigned a tracking or receipt number when it ships from the production facility and makes it easy for you to view the scheduled delivery date.

When you track your order, you will know the exact date to expect delivery. If you are not going to be available to sign for the package, leave a note at your door instructing the driver to leave your package in a designated location. Another option is to have your packages ship to a neighbor, family member or friend who is available to sign for your package. A required signature, in most cases and unless you specify, is left to the discretion of the delivery driver as he or she may feel comfortable in leaving your package at the front door.

One thing to remember when placing on-line orders, UPS and FedEx will not deliver a package to a PO Box. Always enter your house number, physical street address that includes Street, Avenue, Road, Circle, Court, Terrace, Boulevard, ect. If you live in an apartment, enter your apartment number, Suite and/or Building number. This information is critical and if not provided, will delay delivery to you or in some cases, the package is returned to the shipper and you may be charged to have the package resent after the correct address is obtained.

Add the following links to your ‘Favorites’ to easily track your packages and ensure delivery to you before your wedding day.


It's National Ice Cream Month!

Yes, it's National Ice Cream Month.  For all you fellow ice cream lovers out there, we actually have an entire month dedicated to this savory, o-so-delicious dessert.  And if that wasn't enough to have you jumping out of your seats, this Sunday is National Ice Cream Day.  For those who didn't know, here's a short back-story to get you caught up on your history...

In 1984, Ronald Reagan designated the month of July as National Ice Cream Month and also appointed the third Sunday in July as National Ice Cream Day.  He realized that nearly 90% of the nation consumed ice cream and felt it necessary to recognize the growing popularity stating that these two events should be observed and celebrated with ceremony and activity.

So in the spirit of Reagan, go on and indulge ( is a national holiday).  If you're super ambitious, why not try and create your own homemade ice cream?  A great reason to have a cookout, invite your friends, family, and the kiddies over to compliment you on your amazing skills.  To get you started, here's a super delicious old-fashioned strawberry ice cream recipe courtesy of Allen from  Get the full scoop here.  (Shown here served up in ceramic ice cream bowls inspired by old-fashioned sundae bowls.)

Homemade Strawberry Ice Cream in Ceramic Ice Cream Bowls

Homemade Fresh Strawberry Ice Cream

Prep-time: 1 hour
Cook Time: Approximately 40 minutes

What you'll need:
For the sweet cream base:
2 large eggs
3/4 cup sugar
2 cups heavy cream (or whipping cream)
1 cup milk

1 pint strawberries, hulled and sliced
1/3 cup sugar
juice from 1/2 lemon
zest from 1 lemon (optional)

Ice-cream maker

Combine strawberries, lemon juice/zest, and 1/3 cup sugar.  Cover and refrigerate for 1 hour.

Once strawberries have refrigerated, prepare the sweet cream base.  Whisk eggs in a bowl until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes.  Slowly whisk in the sugar and continue whisking for a minute longer.  Add the cream and milk, stir until fully combined.

Combine the strawberry mixture into the sweet cream base.  Pour into an ice-cream mixer and mix according to mixer instructions.  After your mixture reaches a soft-serve consistency, place into freezer to finish firming up and enjoy! ~ Allie

Mini Cakes Inspire Big Smiles!

Bigger is not always better. Especially when considering the growing cupcake and mini cake trend for weddings and parties. These adorable little cakes make it easy to give each person their own personal cake. This is a great way to make guests feel like your event has been centered around making them happy. Often cupcakes and mini cakes are displayed in tiers to create the silhouette of a traditional wedding cake. There are many other ways to use them, however.

One cute idea, is setting a mini cake or cupcake at each place setting. For cupcakes, a pick can be inserted that holds place cards or has a pennant attached for each guest's names. The mini cakes themselves can have the guest's names iced on them or on a cute little tag like the gift box shaped cakes above. If this idea doesn't appeal to you, they can be also arranged in smaller tiers to serve as the table centerpiece with a table number topping it off.  These would make a beautiful, unique, and delicious way to show your guests their place in the seating arrangement. Personalized cupcake boxes with clear windows will display and protect your treats until guests wish to enjoy them. You can either place the cupcakes in them before guests arrive, or just have some on hand for guests to transport the goodies home.
If you like little, then you will love the idea of Cake Pops, which takes cake down from individual portions to individual mouthfuls. These adorable Cake Pops are made of crumbled cake, frosting, and a melted candy coating all on top of a lollipop stick. They can be arranged by inserting sticks into a foam ball, cone, or block. They can also be covered with a cellophane wrapper and tied with a bow and tag to give as edible favors.

The instructions for how to make these and other styles of Cake Pops can be found on Bakerella.
My favorite part about the mini trend is all the room for creative license. It is also a great idea for those of us who like to "DIY", but may not have enough baking experience to make a traditional wedding cake. The most difficult part would be saving some for the party!

~ Jenna

(Photo Credit: Mini Cakes from The Sugar Syndicate. Wedding Cake Pops from Bakerella)

Plan for a Flawless Face in Wedding Photos

In the weeks and months leading up to the wedding…
Plan your procedures ahead- it’s easy to get caught up in the craziness of tastings, fittings and appointments and forget to schedule facial treatments until the last minute. Don’t be tempted to get microdermabrasion or chemical peels within at least a month of the event, depending on the exact type of laser or peel. Laser resurfacing "heals within days and normal color returns within a few weeks- if that long" according to Dr. Edward Lack (Chicago Liposuction). Even a simple facial shouldn't be considered in the last few days leading up. Call well ahead of time and discuss this with the technician.

Practice good skin health- stay hydrated and eat healthfully leading up to the event. Don’t try new skincare products, or anything that may irritate your skin. Anticipate your skin’s history, and treat it accordingly depending on changes your skin may experience in the climate or weather that’s expected at the venue.

For the big day…
Start with a good base- be sure that your foundation is the right color and formulation for your skin. You may feel like you should use a heavy cream or stick foundation since you’re being photographed, but heavier formulas will look caked on and are more likely leave a line of demarcation around the neck and hairline that’s tougher to blend away. Just stick with the liquid or powder that works for you, and be sure it’s properly matched to your color. No one wants to look washed out, but it can also age you a bit if your base is too dark for you. Color correcting concealers, like green or yellow for redness, and peach or yellow for undereye circles are a much better choice than simply layering on more makeup. Remember that redness will be easily picked up in photographs so take care to balance that out, and stay away from more pink based foundations.

Avoid the shiny look- glitter will reflect too much on camera, and shouldn’t be worn to a nice event like a wedding anyway. Radiance-enhancing or shimmery foundations make faces look too slick and shiny for photos, so if you must, only keep the sheen on cheekbones and the cupid’s bow for highlighting purposes. Always finish the t-zone with powder, which is especially important to balance any highlighting applied. If you know you’re more oily, pop pressed powder in your bag so that you stay shine free.

The eyes have it- keep in mind that darker eyeshadows and heavy liner make eyes look smaller. A matte or pearl shadow formula will be universally flattering and especially in warm, earthy tones. To keep eyes looking big and bright, highlight the inner corners and brow bone with an off-white, light pink or pale gold shadow or crayon. The older you are, the more important it is to stay fast to the no shimmer rule, as it tends to bring attention to fine lines. Black eyeliner can also look too harsh for older women (same goes for liquid liner) and fair blondes are more suited for eyeliner and mascara in the brown tones. Don’t forget to make sure brows are properly framing the face- everyone looks better and younger with defined brows. Fill the arches with powder or if using a pencil, blend with a brush. Brow color and size are important considerations here, so don’t forget to use a light hand and blend.

Consider your venue and lighting- do take the time to stop and think about if the event/ photos will be taking place indoors or out, and at what time of day. Indoor photos will be taken with flash, so it’s important to use powder to combat shine and to also be sure foundation is matched well. If outdoors, soften makeup a bit as it can easily look too heavy or harsh. Also adjust your makeup look for more formal locations, and later times in the evening. When considering these factors, you will want to use more color and definition over simply adding more makeup. Keeping these ideas in mind, remember its always most important to look like yourself and feel comfortable on your wedding day. These techniques will help ensure you look flawless both in person and in photographs for years to come. Content provided by Sarah Logan on behalf of ASI (esthetics school, NY). It offers specialized coursework in cosmetic laser training, as well as microdermabrasion training.

Wedding Cake Toppers: Then and Now

What is it about a wedding cake that makes brides giddy with excitement?  Is it the towering size, the tasty dessert itself, or the ability to make something downright gorgeous out of just sugar and flour?  While the tradition of the wedding cake dates back centuries, those cute little figurines and monumental sculptures we see decorating the top of our masterpieces really didn't start picking up steam until the 1950's.  So why the extra need to have matching doll-like figures of the bride and groom, you ask?  Well, it's all about the bride and groom of course!

Wedding cake toppers were originally seen in the form of miniature figurines of the bride and groom.  While the statues could be found in many different poses, most all were seen as mini likenesses of the newlyweds to represent the togetherness of the couple.  The cake toppers were then removed and taken home as cherished keepsakes.  Many were accented with lace, bells, and elaborate trimmings as the years went on.  Cake toppers that were commonly seen were very similar or variations of these:

Vintage Wedding Cake Toppers via Flickr and Elizabeth Anne Designs

The wedding cake topper tradition still thrives today and has been carried over into most modern wedding receptions.  Now, however, the modern couple has taken it a step further, opting for cake toppers in different shapes and forms.

While it's common to still see figurines used, more and more weddings have embraced the hobbies of the bride and groom.  Representing their interests through funny and humorous cake figurines (see image below).  More modern weddings will even display abstract pieces found in the shapes of hearts and doves or sculpted monogram initials.  Some couples have aspired to showcase the vintage look by displaying their grandparent's cake topper or other heirloom pieces that have a close sentimental value.

Funny Wedding Cake Toppers of the 21st Century

Whatever your style or theme, as we continue into the 21st century, wedding cake toppers keep evolving along with the  bride and groom they represent.  Keep the tradition alive and go modern with a monogram initial or dust off your grandmother's 'ole vintage topper to give your cake an heirloom quality feel.

Happy Planning!


How To Wedding Shop Safely Online

Online shopping is one of the hottest trends for brides today. Online shopping saves brides both money and time. It’s so much easier to go online and order all of your wedding favors or accessories without standing in line at the store or running all over town on your lunch break or day off. Here are a few tips on how to make sure you are shopping online safely:

• Look for third-party seals of approval. Companies can put these seals on their sites only if they abide by a set of rigorous standards, such as how personal information can be used. Two seals to look for are from Better Business Bureau Online and McAfee Secure, which means the site is tested for safety daily. If you see the seals, always click them to make sure they link to the organization that created them. Unscrupulous merchants have been know to put these logos on their Web sites without permission.

• Look for signs that the Web site protects your data. On the Web page where you enter your credit card or other personal information, look for an s after http (https://) in the Web address of that page. Encryption is a security measure that scrambles data on its journey through the Internet.

• Make sure there is a small, closed padlock. Usually it’s in the address bar or on the lower right corner of the window, though sometimes the padlock may be somewhere else on the page.

So get your fingers to work and shop, shop till you drop. Online shopping is the fun, fast and now the safe way to shop because you know what to look for. Good luck and happy shopping!


Elegant Crystal Gifts and Wedding Reception Favors

Crystal goes with just about anything and can be found in many shapes and sizes that will compliment any wedding reception theme or special event in which you want to add an elegant touch.

Crystal diamond candle holders when lit on your event tables will create a mesmerizing and romantic setting for your special day and will match any color decor imaginable.

If you are planning a beach wedding the shell designed keychains are sure to be a welcome surprise and long lasting treasure for each guest to take home.

For a Vegas theme event the crystal die wine bottle stoppers will look amazing when displayed at the top of any bottle of wine and sure to be a great conversation starter.

Choosing elegant and practical crystal keepsake favors is a great way for your family and friends to display the memento in their home or use over and over again and sure to bring happy memories of your special day each time they are used. 

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