Princess Madeleine & Chris O'Neill Wedding

Princess Madeleine and Chris O’Neill marriage ceremony in Stockholm, Sweden (June, 2013).

We love it when royalty gets married!

As Prince William and Kate Middleton welcome the arrival of their new baby and round the corner on their second anniversary, we’ve all been lamenting the lull in news of royalty. Thankfully Princess Madeleine of Sweden has promised to deliver the goods! In a ceremony attended by nearly five hundred guests the princess of Sweden married modern royalty, New York banker Chris O’Neill. The wedding took place in the domain of the royal princess, and in the capital of Sweden – Stockholm. Thousands of Swedish onlookers crowded around the reception site, patriotically waving flags and smiling as the couple exited the venue all smiles and happily married bliss. The wedding was not one to be missed and luckily as the press photos begin to leak out, it almost feels as if we were there!

Royal weddings are always grand affairs but true to Swedish traditions this wedding was also modest and sweet as well and culturally appropriate and sumptuous. While widely covered by press and attended by many important celebrities and dignitaries this royal wedding somehow still retained the charm of seeming like an intimate affair as the world watched while the groom tried to hold back tears upon seeing his majestic bride for the first time coming towards him down the aisle. Of course if we saw this elegant and dainty princess heading our way in Valentino Haute Couture we might have shed tears as well. Sometimes royal weddings place a lot of limitations on fashion and while we loved counting the various modest fascinators at the royal wedding we appreciated how well princess Madeleine worked within her constraints. Nothing too over the top even though she stuck to the ball gown trend, this princess managed to find something that was still modest and sexy. Form fitted with a bateau neckline it was high enough to keep up the allusion of illusion but her slender shoulders and gentle clavicles created a very sexy silhouette indeed. With a low back she wore the lacey chantilly lace sleeves low on her shoulders so when she lifted her arms to wave or pose for a picture or to embrace her new husband it became an intimate and welcoming gesture through the movements of the gown. The royal look was complete of course with an enormous train on the dress that was complemented by an equally long and delicate lace veil.

A royal wedding is always a feast for the eyes!

In this bridal etiquette lesson we explore the idea of preferring cash over wedding gifts.

Cash Wedding Gift in Envelope

Cash is the perfect wedding gift for some, so consider asking your guests for a cash gift.

Taking the time to start a registry can be time ill-spent for the busy bride. Also, in this day and age many brides have been cohabiting with their future spouses prior to the marriage so the traditional idea that wedding presents are to help you begin your future home and life together might not always be what is most needed or wanted. Many brides have a secret desire to receive money from their guests. While that sentence makes our skin crawl and seems to fly in the face of good etiquette and manners around the world, it’s probably time to acknowledge that people want to give wedding presents and some people prefer a certain kind of present. With that justification out of the way, there is a way to ask for cash but it must be done with tact and charm and it requires follow-up action.

In a lot of ways, we all prefer cash. It’s easy to deal with, the possibilities are endless and it is just the gift that keeps on giving. Couples might use this money to help them cover the cost of the wedding, to save up for a downpayment on a house or maybe just to pay bills and live their day to day life. It can be really helpful, or it can seem really extravagant and frivolous. Because of this duality of this request, asking for cash should be handled very carefully. For starters do not by any means make a formal request. Never let this request be in writing and for the love of all that is good in this world do not include it on your invitation. It is not for you to assume that anyone is bringing gifts and it is not for you to further try to dictate what kind of gift they should bring. A good way to handle requesting cash over presents is through skillful dissemination of information. Your parents, your in-laws, your wedding party and your closest friends are good people to trust with this information. If you aren’t registered anywhere then most guests will look for insider information and will probably contact one of these people asking if you have any gift preferences. Let the word get out slowly and naturally so that it seems appropriate and acceptable for your demands to have a voice.

The key is still in the gratitude. Even for cash gifts, a thank you card is necessary and should be speedily dispatched post wedding!

If you have a vintage inspired wedding does that mean you still can’t go glam?

Bride Wearing Vintage Wedding Gown

Whether you go vintage or modern with your wedding theme, there are numerous ideas just waiting for you to take advantage of!

There is somehow this awful notion that when you have a vintage inspired wedding you must disallow sparkle of any kind. A vintage inspired wedding is a simple and sweet wedding where everything has been thrifted and covered in lace doilies. While antique trunks overflowing with slightly rumpled silk flowers might be your thing it isn’t necessarily for everyone. We’ve often found that while many brides like the vintage sensibility and price point they shy away from having a vintage inspired or vintage themed wedding because they still have a modern and glamorous taste. Well vintage isn’t all about delicate china patterns and faded brass furniture! There is a glamorous side to every era and we’re going to help the vintage inspired bride find a way to shine.

Let’s remember where the term vintage even comes from. It’s just describing furniture or clothes or accessories from a long time ago and so while popular eras for finding vintage clothing or decoration might be the 1950s or the 1960s that doesn’t mean you have to put your bridesmaids in hoop skirts or watch all of Mad Men for inspiration. For starters, don’t limit your search to just the American past, try other cultures such as Spanish or Indian as they tend to have more glamorous tastes and personality during those eras. For a truly vintage glam wedding look for an open venue. Indoors will do better for allowing you more room and space to decorate and outdoor weddings can often veer too sweet and again into that oft-trampled vintage territory of simple and rustic. If you insist on having an outdoor wedding though there is still a way to have a vintage glam wedding. Try to aim for a late evening or night time soiree, if not ceremony. That way you can use a lighted tent and marquee lights, strings of fairy lights or even candles in mason jars will act like their own little sparkling jewels to give you a glam effect. An indoor wedding would be best in a venue that is a large open space. Try for exposed beams, woodwork or brick to give it that vintage quality but veer towards the side of the industrial as opposed to shabby chic. Industry always connotes something of a futuristic twist to America’s past.

As always, when trying to make themes your own it’s all about the accessories. Mix old pieces of cloth and furniture with bedazzled embellishments to create a vintage inspired wedding that is still perfectly glam!

Peekaboo! Reem Acra’s Spring Bridal line is all about show, not tell.

Reem Acra 2014 Bridal Gown

One of more than twenty bridal gowns designed by Reem Acra for her 2014 collection.

As models came down the runway with lustrous hair and flushed cheeks, it was hard not to get your blood racing about Reem Acra’s Spring 2014 bridalwear. Reem Acra is usually a designer known to bring a lot more of a lusty attitude to bridal wear but this year she takes a little bit more a subtle and coy approach, that we have to say is just as hot! Weddings are always innocent and sweet and bridal dresses are frequently chaste and elegant but Reem Acra wants to dress the twenty-first century woman. Women are no longer bound to the same constraining fashion rules and if you want a dress that reflects your usual style, Reem Acra is the way to go. She has received some criticism for designing gowns that are “too sexy” but if you are a modern bride looking to feel glamorous on your wedding day, these complaints will fall on deaf ears. Also, if you have always cherished the Reem Acra style but felt it would be inappropriate for your venue or guests, then this collection is the one for you.

In interviews for this show, Reem Acra was quoted saying that this collection was about celebrating the sensuality of the female body. All translations of this phrase make it seem as though this will be her sexiest collection yet but she surprised all by presenting a new kind of sensuality. Reem Acra definitely celebrates the female form but in a way that nobody expected. Reem Acra decoded the secret to sexuality which is to be coy, and to highlight your best assets! Gowns had illusion necklines, peekaboo cutouts and romantic lace which drew attention to all the best parts but in a sweet and unexpected way. Total knockouts there was a lot of tulle and sequins to keep it fun but also flirty. Definitely a new direction for the designer but one you don’t want to miss.

As usual though there was an element of whimsy to the show. One of the coolest features were the umbrella veils. Delicate parasols were draped in yards of cascading and embellished tulle which encased the skilled models as they paraded down the runway. It added that little element of the fantastic which the designer is certainly known for.

As for the hair and makeup, it’s definitely a look you want to steal. To mimic the same untamed and yet unknown sexuality of the dresses hair was left wild and loose. Center parted to keep things in the realm of the cute, but the curls are undone reminding you of something else. The models are at once confident and coy which could be due to their flushed cheeks but understated lips. Definitely a showstopper!

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With greenery all around, pick a color that will stand out.

Summer Wedding Bride & Groom

If having a summer wedding, consider you colors, like seafoam!

Summer is a big season for weddings. Everyone is happy, there is a greater possibility for an outdoor wedding and people are more likely to be able to take time off. There are also major holidays such as Memorial Day and the Fourth of July to plan your wedding around and there are so many fun outdoor activities that can be incorporated into your wedding such as swimming and hiking. Many summer brides tend to choose vibrant colors such as green or yellow as the primary colors for the wedding to mimic the festive mood of the season, so how do you still use that idea but stand out in a sea of green? Seafoam is a wonderful and often overlooked color that is perfect for a summer wedding!

A bit lighter and less bright than it’s Springtime cousin, mint, seafoam is a really unassuming and easily romanticized color. Seafoam is after all the mythical origin for the goddess of Love in Greek mythology so in a lot of ways it is perfect for a wedding: summer or otherwise. Seafoam is a refreshing color that pairs wonderfully with white and silver so it’s easy to keep your wedding classic and romantic but adding just a touch of whimsy and fun. Seafoam is a great color for the summer because it is reminiscent of surf and sand. It’s a really refreshing color, just seeing pops of this color is a breath of fresh air on a hot summer day. As well as pairing well with white and silver, traditional colors for a wedding, seafoam green also pairs well with other soft colors such as blush and lavender so it’s an easily adaptable color for a more funky and colorful wedding as well. Seafoam is a great color to bring to a destination wedding because it’s a color found in most tropical locations and using it as a primary color in other weddings will give you the feel of a destination wedding without the price tag. Use seafoam green on the seaside or to invoke the seaside wherever your wedding might take place — even indoors in the wintertime! Best of all, mint has been wildly popular and trending all over magazine spreads and runways but it’s more subtle and sophisticated cousin, seafoam green, is still fresh and new. You could be a real trendsetter!

Blue & Yellow Wedding Decor

There are many different shades of both blues and yellows to be used for your wedding. Try mixing it up!

For a hip and modern wedding try unlikely and fresh color combinations like blue and yellow.

Think about it. Almost everyone you know has had or will most likely have a wedding. How are you supposed to come up with something new, fresh and modern when you have already attended or just seen the pictures of so many other weddings? It can be a difficult task and many people are not even up for the challenge but if you want to have a modern wedding one of the best ways to achieve that is through unlikely color combinations. The reasons why these combinations are unlikely is because they might not occur to you, or you might not see them paired together as regularly in fashion or in design. This might sound like a cause for concern but instead, take it as a reason to celebrate! With so many different hues and shades even the most unlikely of colors can find the perfect way to be together. Blue and yellow is an excellent example. It’s a combination you don’t often hear about or see in weddings but as soon as you think about it you can immediately imagine those colors going well together. Blue and yellow when done right makes a lasting impression and you rarely see it done wrong.

A softer blue with purple undertones is the way to go when pairing blue and yellow. Purple and yellow are a more common color combination so draw out the purple and pink undertones in a cooler, softer blue such as cobalt or royal blue pair very well with yellow but if you are more partial to a lighter blue with more green undertones then you have to adjust your yellow hues and expectations. When it comes to pairing colors the general rule of thumb is to pair contrasting shades or to see what brings out what in colors. This might not be something that you have to sit down and think about. Grab a palette of paint or look at test strips and try to match them and see what works and what doesn’t. While there is an exact science out there, your eyes might be just good enough. For a summer wedding you can channel nautical themes by using navy blue which pairs very well with light or dark kinds of yellow. Navy blue with lemon or light yellow accents is an amazing combination because the dark contrast of the navy blue makes the light yellow really pop or if you use a richer yellow like gold or marigold they meld to create a very stable and serene environment.

Play around with different shades and palettes and you’re bound to find something new and exciting!

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Display your favorite hobbies in your engagement photos, even if it’s something like antiquing!

Engagement Photography Advice

Engagement photos are just as memorable as the official wedding shoot, so make sure you find a great location and look your best!

Engagement photo shoots aren’t something that every couple feels like they should engage in because they might feel unnecessary or indulgent but in fact they can be some of your most treasured memories! What is so fun about an engagement photo shoot is that unlike your wedding photos, it is a far less serious and formal task (for most, at least). Wedding photos are iconic and treasured forever but engagement photos are fun and can be useful in other ways such as serving as favors or as save-the-date cards. Think of it this way: it’s rare to book a photographer or have professional photos done in your lifetime yet they become a part of your legacy. These are photos that will stand the test of time and be seen be generations to come so why not indulge? You are at your happiest after your engagement and though you might be a little stressed an engagement photo shoot can be very lowkey.

Especially if it involves you doing your favorite things! Sometimes engagement photos can tell more about a couple than wedding photos can. Wedding photos are often formal and stiff or staged because it is a monumental event and you do want to get it right but engagement photos are little bit more low-pressure. When couples have fun with them and choose an interesting location or activity for their engagement shoot it often results in the best pictures. Many couples have come together over a common shared activity and recently that activity seems to be thrift shopping or antiquing! Entire television series have been developed over the love that people have for this activity and it’s such a fun one to do together. Thrift shopping or antiquing is often described as different from regular shopping because there is some aspect of sport or competition. It’s about finding the best deals or about scoring rare items that are perhaps part of a growing collection. If this a hobby you share with your soon to be partner consider finding a well curated thrift shop as the location for your engagement shoot. Locally owned or independently operated stores are often accommodating (especially if you find that you will be shopping there or even just giving them some good press) as long as you don’t take up their entire day. Definitely clear it with them and your photographer first.

Take a day to shop around, not just for precious antiques but also for a location for your engagement shoot!

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The ultimate springtime accessory done in all the right ways.

Crown of Flowers on Bride

Springtime is nearly everyone’s favorite time of year, so why not take advantage of the florals that are produced during this season?

A springtime wedding is all about the florals but that doesn’t mean that the flowers are just for decoration. Sure you should have aisles draped in vines and centerpieces overflowing with blossoms but what about your dress and your hair? They shouldn’t be left out! While a dress made entirely of tiny jasmine is probably out of the question, fresh florals in your hair will make you smell heavenly and you will look like an angel to match.

A crown of flowers can be complicated or overwhelming but a single rosebud is very simple and easy to pull off. Tuck a spray of baby’s breath into a chic chignon to soften the look or add a hibiscus flower just behind your ear with long, loose curls to look like a romantic beach goddess. Tiny flowers such as marigolds can adorn a long and sensual braid easily. Very medieval in style you will look like the original virginal brides especially when paired with a flowing chiffon sheath dress such as this Matthew Christopher creation. If you have enough hair or would like to spring for extensions then a long, thick braid with flowers in every plait is wonderful and harkens back to simpler time. If you want to be more bohemian with your braids you can braid a crown across your forehead that is punctuated with chrysanthemums or ends in a large dahlia. Multiple small braids throughout flowing locks can each be tied with windflowers at the end like chimes or they can all be braided together for a multidimensional plait. Flowers and braids have endless possibilities but for the bold of heart and free of spirit emulate fairytales with dandelion flower crowns or a more grown up professional made wreath of azaleas.

Flowers in your hair adds so many dimensions of beauty and will make you the queen of springtime.

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Spring blooms aren’t strictly for tulips and daisies, don’t forget the beauty before the fruit.

Cherry Blossom Wedding Flowers

A fun wedding idea is to serve fruits and to use their flowers for decor, rather than unrelated florals.

One of the most loved spring flowers are cherry blossoms. Vivid in color and with divine aromas people come from all over the world to celebrate their blooming and they are of course perfect for weddings in that way as well. Cherries aren’t the only fruit worth picking though, in fact, leave all the fruit behind. If you are planning a spring wedding overlook daisies and buttercups–that’s what everyone else is doing. Instead get a hankering for nature’s candy and use blossoms, or the flowers of fruit instead.

Blossoms are so sweet by nature. They are usually the fruits associated with summertime such as peaches and plums but in springtime they are in another beautiful and useful part of their lifestyle. If you are located in the northeast like us, apple blossoms are beautiful this time of year. Did you know that apples are actually in the same botanical family as the rose? You’ll be getting your money’s worth to use apple blossoms in your wedding because in a lot of ways they are as elegant and romantic as a rose but they are also more abundant and affordable as well. Don’t think you’re compromising to use apple blossoms. These flowers are just as sweet and smell even better than roses. Blossoms need to be pollinated in order to bear fruit so they tend to have delicious aromas that are not only irresistible to honey bees! For a fragrant and affordable wedding blossoms are a great way to go. Look for locally grown fruit to know what kind of blossoms are going to be the easiest and most budget-friendly for you. If you live in the northeast then apple blossoms are everywhere making them easier for florists to source and more price-effective for you. With room in your budget for quality you can go for quantity! You can get twice as many blossoms as you could have gotten roses and so make the best use of them!

Use entire branches of blossoms for an unexpected and rustic look or use just the sweet flowers to make your entire venue feel heavenly perfumed. Blossoms are the perfect spring flower for your wedding!

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Think red roses are overdone? We hear that. But even for the nontraditional bride, there are a million ways to use these traditional flowers.

Red Rosses for Wedding Flowers

Not only are red roses simply beautiful, they are also very symbolic, known to represent love and perfection.

There is a reason why red roses are still the flower of choice for those in love. Roses are regal and elegant. Long stemmed and devoid of thorns, a perfectly groomed red rose is the picture of perfection. Unfortunately, it can seem totally overdone. Roses are everywhere and they are expensive so they can seem uncreative and a pain instead of classic and timeless. Deep in your heart though, if you love red roses, there are still ways to bypass their image. Here are some creative ways to work red roses into your wedding.

Firstly, try an attitude adjustment on yourself. Remember the symbolism behind a long-stemmed red rose. It is ethereal and singular and it symbolizes a long standing commitment as well as deep seated passion. That’s what marriage is about so in a lot of ways, red roses are so overplayed because they are so perfect. If you want to cover a venue in red roses with your newfound revelation though, it still doesn’t change the fact that they cost a fortune. Instead, try to concentrate a large amount of red roses in one place so that they act like a centerpiece. Fill one entire table with roses in different colored vases and place that table near the cake or in the middle of the room. Use roses to create a photo backdrop or twine them around an altar so you can get married under them. Because red roses are so expensive it’s hard to use them on every table or in every decoration but they are also so beautiful that they are easy to turn into a standalone kind of decorative piece. Use your imagination, hang roses from modern glassware atop the bar or get wild with your bridal bouquet.

Whether you wear them in your hair or use them to serve as punch ladles, roses can definitely be a part of your wedding without being too overdone.

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