Friday, December 31, 2010

Top 100 Wedding Blogs

Welcome to the Top 100 Wedding Blogs of 2010.

We would like to thank all of our past contributors. If you would like to become a featured blog contributor, or would like to submit an article or video, please visit our FAQ's page.

NOTE: These posts have been uploaded from our older blog.

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

The Wedding Seating Chart

Do I need a Seating Chart?

If you have a small, informal reception, you may not feel you need a plan. However for larger numbers, or a sit down meal, both you and your guests may benefit from a seating chart. Guests are saved from a mad panic of trying to find a seat on a table with their friends/family and you can place people where they’ll be happiest! The wedding meal may last for 2-3 hours and is a significant part of the day. If your guests are sitting with people they get along with, it will make a big difference to their overall enjoyment of the day.

There are a number of options for the seating plan:

· No plan at all – best for stand up buffets or small and informal events.
· Assign guests to tables – you allocate guests to tables but the choice of seat is theirs.
· Assign guests to seats – you specify the seats at which each guest will sit.

If you remember only one thing… Do what you think would make you and your guests most comfortable.

The Head Table Dilemma

While the traditional head table (Bride and Groom seated at a long table flanked by the wedding party) is still favored by most, alternatives are often being used. The traditional layout is as follows:

There are alternative arrangements – such as including parents/godparents or clergy on the table. Or you might want to include partners of the bridal party. Alternatively, you may want to avoid the top table altogether and have a romantic table for two.

Top Tips for Other Tables

1. Seating tables with just one family group will let them relax, but won’t do much to encourage mingling. However, a table where no one knows anyone else might be a bit daunting for most people! Try and arrange a mix on each table – so everyone knows a few people. By thinking about guests’ ages and interests you can make sure that each table is likely to get on and have fun!

2. Where to sit singles can also create a dilemma. On one hand you might want to try out a little matchmaking, but on the other, this could be rather uncomfortable and awkward for your guests (it might be very obvious too!). Certainly avoid a ‘singles’ table but generally do whatever you feel is best for your guests.

3. If you are using round tables, the general etiquette is to seat males and females alternately around the table. If you are using long tables, seat couples opposite one another and then alternate male/females along the table.

4. The tables closest to the Bride and Groom should be reserved for the closest friends and family.

5. Give each table a name or number. Table names could be themed - for example people, objects or places that are relevant to you as a couple. Names also remove the perceived hierarchy of tables. You should create a name card for each table (your venue may do this for you) so that guests can easily find their table.

6. If you are assigning guests to specific seats you should create name place cards. These could also show menu choices (if you are offering them) or indicate vegetarians. The waiting staff will really appreciate this and it will allow them to give a more seamless service. You should also give a paper copy of your plan to the venue so that they can see where people are seated.

Creating the Chart

Start arranging your seating plan early. You can start doing this before all your RSVPs have come in as most of your close friends and family will probably be definitely attending, even if they haven’t formally replied yet.

To begin creating your arrangement, get a general idea from your venue how tables will be arranged in the room, determine whether you’ll be using round or long tables or a mixture of both, and work out how many people you can sit at each table.

Arranging the chart can take a long time and might involve numerous revisions. Many people cut up pieces of paper for each guest and table and use these to try out different layouts. Thankfully, over the last few years software (web-based, for download or even Excel spreadsheets) has become available to make the task simpler. It can save you not only hours of your time but also reduce the stress in the lead up to the big day by simplifying last minute changes.

Submitted by Adam Leyton,, Leeds, UK

If Money Matters

True enough, a wedding is the most difficult event to plan and prepare for. And it gets even more challenging if the budget is tight. But don't fret, we have come up with some tips to help you stay on track money-wise.

1. Limit your invites to the most important people in your life. Less guests less expenses.

2. The venue eats up a huge percentage of the budget so be wise and practical when selecting your venue. If possible, have both the ceremony and the reception in one place to minimize your cost.

3. Resist the urge to pick foods that are costly i.e. lobsters, steaks. You can still impress your guests with less expensive food.

4. Keep your invitation simple. If you have the time or extra helping hands, you may even want to consider making the invitation yourself. You can get wedding invitation kits from wedding supply stores or even your local craft store.

5. When decorating the venue, keep the use of flowers to a minimum. They are costly. Use candles (they go a long way when it comes to giving life to a venue), tulles and ribbons as substitutes.

6. While it is nice to be entertained by a live band, recorded music will do just fine.

7. Forget about hiring an emcee. Ask a family member or a friend to emcee instead.

8. Ask yourself if you really want your wedding on a film. Will you spend some time after the wedding to watch it? Or will the video end up in your grandmother's chest in the attic?

9. Opt for a less extravagant cake. Get a 2-tiered cake instead of a 4- or 3-tiered cake. Another option is mini cakes arranged in a layered cake rack.

10. Limit the champagne to the toast. Instead of wine, serve less expensive drinks.

11. Forget about hiring a wedding planner. You can still get the job done with the help of family members and friends.

12. Instead of hiring a limousine, look for alternative means of transport i.e. a friend's Bentley, your fathers Mercedes.

13. Always haggle for a lower price with the vendors. Since they expect some negotiations to happen, they would most often give a quote that is higher than what they are willing to accept.

Johanna Docena is the owner of Docena Bridal, an online wedding store that sells bridal jewelries and personalized attendant gifts.

Submitted by Johanna Docena,

Bali A Tropical Paradise

Bali is to Asia as the Hawaii islands are to the United States: a gorgeous tropical destination whose economy exists almost solely to serve the needs and dreams of tourists. In the 1920s the former Dutch colony began to gain a reputation as a destination for cruise ships, and word of its beauty spread.

Bali's culture is an interesting contrast to the main island of Java. The ethnic Balinese people are for the most part Hindu. The wave of Islam that swept through much of Indonesia bypassed Bali. While the Hinduism they practice is fundamentally the same as in India, the customs and daily practices are unique.

On the island of Bali the cultural differences with respect to Indian Hinduism can be found in their temple styles, ceremonial offerings, rites and rituals. Balinese cultural rites are based on the belief in reincarnation.

The society in Bali is organized strictly according to Hindu caste system. Peoples name grants a special place to them in the society. The Hinduism practiced in Bali is a mixture of Hindu, Buddhist and their own indigenous customs. These Hindu and Buddhist customs would have reached the island centuries ago. Though in the present day the Buddhist population is very less.

Bali was a Dutch colony until World War II, when the Japanese overtook the island. Indonesia gained independence in 1949. Prior to Dutch control, Bali was ruled by its own leaders as well as by Java. People lived on Bali during prehistoric times, so the Balinese people today are descendants of millennia of customs and traditions.

After independence, the communist took charge of the affairs of the islands and progress was little or slow. It was in 1965 that General Suharto came to power and placed the islands on the path to progress. He initiated a long movement against the communists that resulted in the killing of about 50,000 people. It was during his rule that the country progressed and the tourisms industry really grew. The economy of Bali revolves around
agriculture and tourism.

Still, after these cultural interruptions, Balinese culture remains unique and is kind of an oasis in Indonesia. Although neighboring Java has great influence and the Suharto regime uprooted many traditional communities, Bali is still a place of ancient tradition and Hindu culture rooted in agriculture and tourism. However, the Balinese do not take this steadfastness of their culture for granted. They honor it every day, and organizations exist to "conserve" Balinese culture and historical treasures for the future.

Tania Montmon is the operator and webmaster of Bali Inc., which is the premier resource for Bali information.

Submitted by Tania Montmon,

The Valuable Stone

Diamonds are forever - so was stated by James Bond and accepted as truth by all women the world over. Mining for diamonds traces its roots to 800 B.C. in India. Smart mine owners of yesterday spread a myth that diamonds are poisonous; this prevented theft by miners through swallowing diamonds and taking them out of the mine. Initially, diamonds were seen as a talisman to ward off evil and also as a good luck charm.

The formation of a diamond, a transparent form of pure carbon, takes billions of years and takes place under great heat and pressure well below sea level. In fact, each diamond is around three billion years old. Because diamonds crystallize at such high pressures, they are created deep within the earth, up to 200 kilometers.

They come to the surface of the earth along with the hot magna shot out by volcanoes. The oldest part of the continent is the place where they are generally found. Diamonds may as well be found in areas where Red Garnets are found. This is because the Garnet also goes through a similar process to be formed.

Diamonds originate from other places too. Plate tectonics cause collisions between continents that bring pieces of earth's crust up to the surface and, as a result, diamonds. Also, meteor impacts create great pressure and diamonds. Diamonds are strong and unbreakable, the hardest mineral around, hence their name which derives from the Greek: "unconquerable".

A beautiful one-carat diamond comes from 250 tons of ore that has been mined and processed. Today, around 25 countries supply the world with diamonds, with the majority coming from Africa, Russia, Australia, and Canada. South Africa is a great source of luxury diamonds.

Mining for Diamonds

Diamonds may be found in different places and different forms. Some of the likely places where diamonds may be found are:

- Along traces of dried ancient waterways and present rivers (dry diggings)
- In sand and gravel (wet digging)
- Beach and marine deposits
- Open pit mining

Diamonds are extensively used in all walks of life and industry. While about 20 percent of mined diamonds are used in jewelry, the rest are used in the industry. Some industrial uses are as drill bits and cutting tools, in machinery, mineral services, stone and ceramic products, abrasives, construction, and transportation equipment. The diamond is truly a possession that lasts forever.

Submitted by Mandes Dosdia,

Romancing The Green

Unite Exotic Adventure and Eco Friendly with a Green Honeymoon.

Golfo Dulce – Osa Peninsula, Costa Rica

Costa Rica’s Pacific coast has been described by National Geographic Magazine as ‘the most biologically intense place on earth.’ This Eden-like setting is an idyllic, remote location for a romantic and adventurous honeymoon and a perfect spot to make it a Green one where you can not only unite two hearts into one, but also show your desire for working together towards a more sustainable planet.

Imagine hiking with your new partner to a secluded swimming hole with a cascading waterfall in the rainforest? Or peacefully kayaking in one of only four tropical fjords in the world? The Golfo Dulce, or the Sweet Gulf, off the Osa Peninsula in Costa Rica offers a unique opportunity for both a beach and a rainforest honeymoon in one location. The gulf is surrounded by protected rainforest preserves, national parks, biological corridors and sanctuaries with hiking trails and a myriad of wildlife easily viewed wildlife.

A Dream Honeymoon

Though teeming with natural beauty, the Osa Peninsula is still far enough off the beaten track so you’ll not be surrounded by hordes of other travelers. Most resorts are accessible only by boat. One such resort, Playa Nicuesa Rainforest Lodge, has the tranquil waters and unspoiled beaches of the gulf at its front door, and its 165-acre rainforest preserve and the lush Piedras Blancas National Park out back. If you’re looking for a private escape for your adventurous honeymoon, this may be the place for you.

The small size of Playa Nicuesa allows for an intimate experience with nature. Its cabins, guestrooms and the main lodge are uniquely designed to create a seamless and enjoyable transition between the indoors and outdoors. The lodge’s five cabins are all very private and great for couples seeking unique accommodation, including a special garden open air shower surrounded by nature.

Playa Nicuesa’s honeymoon package offers intimate rainforest cabins, aromatherapy massages, and candlelit dinners on the lodge’s rainforest terrace, and a selection of adventure activities, such as a private hike with a naturalist guide to a hidden waterfall, kayaking, mangrove river tours, snorkeling, fishing and bird watching. The package includes meals with an emphasis on local cuisine and fresh fish, tropical fruits and vegetables. If you want a little more room, a Cabin Suite is yours for the asking.

Playa Nicuesa’s green philosophy stands out. They understand the fragility and value of the beauty and nature that surrounds them, and have adopted strong environmental practices and policies. They practice sustainable, low-emission living and have adopted carbon neutrality as a way of life.

Their conservation program protects 95 per cent of its 65 hectare (165 acres) rainforest property in an undeveloped and natural condition. They also use clean energy powered by solar panels to run the majority of the lodge’s electrical service, and candles are used throughout the lodge to maintain the natural experience.

Playa Nicuesa Lodge has also earned a FONAFIFO (Costa Rica’s official carbon credits foundation) certification for offsetting their use of fossil fuel by purchasing carbon credits and has begun the official process to be certified a Carbon Neutral Business. Guests can offset the carbon footprints from their flights to Costa Rica by purchasing carbon credits with FONAFIFO that will be used to reforest and preserve the Golfo Dulce/Osa Peninsula.

Honeymoon couples can also plant their own hardwood tree to symbolize their start of their own marriage and contribute to the lodges Osa Peninsula conservation program that donated $10,000 to the Nature Conservancy last year. A perfect combination for romancing the green.

Playa Nicuesa also offers special rates to rent the entire lodge, if you are looking for a wedding venue. This option includes a nature guides, chef, boat captain and housekeeping, as well as unlimited use of preserve trails, kayaks, windsurfers, snorkeling equipment and fishing gear. The lodge can accommodate 22 guests.

If you want to go off on our own adventure the lodge will set you up with a delicious packed lunch, a bottle of wine and some snorkeling equipment to put in your kayak and go off for a day of exploring private beaches and snorkeling spots.

The Golfo Dulce

Corcovado National Park, Piedras Blancas National Park, and private reserves create a protected biological corridor around the gulf, and an extraordinary large trail system for hiking and exploring the incredibly bio-diverse rainforest. The region is only accessible by boat, so you know you’ll be able to experience nature intact complete with howler monkeys, over 250 types of birds including toucans and parrots, butterflies, coati, iguanas, lizards, tree frogs and much more.

Golfo Dulce, protected from the open Pacific by the Osa Peninsula, is home to groups of whales and at least three types of dolphins, as well as sea turtles, sea birds and other marine life. The gulf, the tenth deepest in the world, is a great place for kayaking, snorkeling, fishing, windsurfing, sailing or surfing. Its tranquil waters are pleasant for sailing and windsurfing, and excellent for snorkeling and fishing. The lodge has its own boats and local guides to take you out for a variety of tours including a private sunset boat tour of the Gulf or a variety of fishing trips.

The Golfo Dulce and Playa Nicuesa Lodge are a perfect combination for romancing the green.

Submitted by Margo Malcolm,

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Wedding Fitness Tips

Toning up and slimming down for your wedding

Ah, a topic of interest (and possibly trepidation) for many brides … and grooms, too. I know my fiancee has a dress she bought 20 years ago that she wants to fit into by our wedding day. And although I don’t have a certain outfit I need to squeeze into, like most guys, I have an unspoken vanity about my body and weight and would love to be able to take off my shirt without sucking in my stomach.

My fiancée and I are getting married in November, and we both are trying to tone up for the wedding. A few years ago, we both decided that we were getting a bit too lumpy (we both work 10-hour days and are almost obsessively busy) and decided we needed to make a lifestyle change or we were going to end up like some of the contestants on The Biggest Loser (which, incidentally, is a fantastic and inspiring TV show). So we signed on with a personal trainer friend of mine.

Within a few months, we both were in the best shape of our lives, but not without some sacrifice and fatigue. Over the last year, we have stuck with the program pretty well, but have fallen off a bit recently. But the great thing is that we have the tools and knowledge be learned from our trainer and are putting them to use to start toning ourselves for our wedding.

So what did we learn from our training regimen? If I was doing it all over again, here’s what I would do:

1. If you can afford it, hire a trainer to set up a program for you and then have them work you out for a month or two - After a couple months, you pretty much know the routine and can do it yourself once you start to see results (a motivating factor).

2. If you can’t afford to hire a trainer, consult books written by trainers and create your own routine – Often people go to the gym with the grand intention of putting in a long, sweaty workout but instead walk on the treadmill for half an hour. This won’t get it done, so make sure you have a strenuous routine mapped out before you hit the gym, and vary it up (see Step 3). You need to at least have 20-30 minutes of high-intensity cardio and another 20-30 minutes of weight/resistance training to start to see results … and don’t let anyone tell you any different.

3. Don’t starve yourself while working out - There’s lots of places online where you can find healthy meal plans. Just make sure you get enough to eat, because your body won’t burn off as many calories if it’s in starvation/conservation mode. And take it from us … not eating enough while you are working out strenuously makes you very, very grumpy (also bad for a relationship). We found smaller mealtime meals and lots of protein-heavy snacks helped keep us happier.

4. Mix it up - We found that doing the same exercises every time you work out makes the gym seem like a task. So mix up your exercises … take an aerobic or boot camp class, ride your bike, take a jog, swim, play basketball, whatever.

5. Incorporate lifting into your routine - I know I’m a guy, and guys are supposed to like lifting weights, but I’ve always hated it (and I never had an aspiration to be one of those muscle-bound steakheads you see at the gym lifting like 500 lbs over their heads). But I started lifting lower weights at higher reps, and it makes lifting more of an aerobic activity. And lifting weights is proven to help drop fat and increase muscle mass.

6. Do it together - I think this was the main reason why we have stuck with our program. We started exercising together, learned all the routines from our trainer, ate the same healthy kinds of food, and generally were there to kick each other’s butt when somebody said “Screw this. I’m sore, so I’m going to skip today.”

Jeff Kear is co-owner of My Wedding Workbook, the next-generation free online wedding planner and organizer that’s comprehensive, easy-to-use and helps brides-to-be easily organize and manage all their wedding details, including budgets, guest lists, calendars, RSVPs, gifts and more.

Submitted by Jeff Kear,

Planning A Green Wedding

6 steps to planning an earth-friendly wedding

Global warming. Holes in the ozone layer. Extinction of species. Climate shifts. The side effects of our use of fossil fuels and a century of conspicuous consumption are readily apparent, and only by changing our ways can we begin to reverse the process that brought us to where we are today.

Many people are already doing what they can to preserve the environment by recycling, composting, using green or recycled products, buying natural or organic foods (or even growing their own) and cutting energy consumption through a number of means. If you’re a green-leaning bride or groom and want to extend your conservation efforts to your wedding, here are a few things you can do to ensure the only mark your wedding leaves is on the minds of your guests. Call it wedding planning with a decidedly green perspective.

1. Reduce your paper usage
Elaborate printed wedding invitations and save-the-dates are a time-honored tradition in announcing weddings, but they are also resource intensive. Now there are many e-mail programs and services available that allow you to send creative e-invitations from your computer, saving paper as well as the fuel required to deliver all those printed missives.

In addition, there are many paper products used at weddings and receptions (programs, napkins, table coverings, etc.). Find out if there are viable alternatives to these products or if you can use recycled versions.

2. Minimize and streamline guest travel
Take a moment to think of all the guests attending your wedding and the distances they will have to cover in getting there. That’s probably quite a bit of fuel. In fact, airline travel is one of the most fuel-intensive methods of travel period, and if your guests are travelling one or two people to a car, that isn’t exactly efficient, either.

One way you can cut down on the energy consumed through guest travel is to arrange carpools for your guests travelling from the same areas. In addition, you can contract vans or shuttles to haul groups of guests from your hotel, ceremony and reception locations to mitigate having everyone driving separate cars to each destination.

3. Use recycled or re-useable items whenever possible
Instead of buying decorations that will be thrown away after one use, rent your decorations from a local rental vendor so that they can be reused. Or instead of wasting rice or releasing helium balloons when you leave the church, use biodegradable confetti that will quickly turn to compost. Whatever wedding product you need, there’s probably a green alternative now being offered.

4. Take a green approach to wedding gifts
Unfortunately, many of the gifts on the typical wedding registry come enclosed by lots of earth-unfriendly packaging, and sometimes the gifts themselves may not have been made with eco-friendly processes. When filling our your registry, take the extra time to make sure your desired gifts are as kind to the environment as you are. In addition, forego all the fancy wrapping paper and instruct your guests to either leave your gift unwrapped or to wrap it in newsprint.

5. Select green vendors
Many green vendors often have earth-friendly practices that will make a big difference when it comes to conserving the environment. For example, photographers can shoot with digital equipment instead of using film, and they can also preview your shots electronically instead of printing them all out for your initial review. And caterers can use organic or naturally grown produce and range-fed meats.

6. Offset your carbon footprint with carbon credits
No wedding is going to be completely off the grid, and it’s virtually impossible in your wedding planning to eliminate all consumption. So for the amount of carbon that you will use, you can purchase what are called carbon credits to offset your wedding’s carbon footprint. Carbon credits can be purchased from organizations that invest in carbon reduction products, so every credit you purchase goes to counterbalancing the carbon you have used or will use. TerraPass is such a company and has a calculator for determining the carbon usage of a wedding at

Jeff Kear is co-owner of My Wedding Workbook, the next-generation online wedding planning software that’s free, easy-to-use and helps engaged couples manage every wedding detail, from your engagement to your honeymoon and everything in between.

Submitted by Jeff Kear,

Wedding Magician

Weddings are magical occasions for all involved but to bring that extra spark of enchantment, you should look into hiring a magician" to perform at your wedding reception. Here are 5 great reasons to hire a magician.

Wedding Entertainment Ideas: Why have a magician at your wedding?

When it comes to organising your wedding party, you have a wide range of options. You could have a simple event or a themed party, perhaps featuring 60s, beach, Bond, or medieval themes. Or you could have a casino or celebrity look a like. As for decor you could feature an ice sculpture or chocolate fountain.

You'll need music of course and you have the choice of a live band, jazz band or a DJ laying down disco beats. Or your might prefer a string quartet, harpist, singer, piper or pianist.

You could employ a toastmaster to be the master of ceremonies and keeps the event moving along. And on the all-important entertainment front, you could hire a caricaturist or silhouette artist. But for a wedding party that really goes with a bang, you can't beat a magician.

When we say magician, we're not talking about a man on a stage pulling a white rabbit out of a hat. We're talking about a modern interactive close-up magician. This magician moves among the tables or groups of people and entertains them with a sophisticated magic routine. Here are 5 great reasons why having a magician at your wedding reception will make it a rousing success.

Firstly, nothing gets a wedding party swinging quite like a magic routine. It provides an immediate spark to the atmosphere, creating a genuine buzz of excitement. Along with tucking into the food, swilling down the champagne and dancing to the band, your guests will be be delighted to find you've arranged something special. Imagine their cries of surprised joy when the magician begins to weave his way through the tables and groups of guests bringing that special touch to the occasion. By personalising his act for each group, the magician is perfect for building and maintaining the relaxed atmosphere that makes every wedding party a success.

This means that magic acts are great for breaking the ice and bringing people together. Many of the magician's tricks require audience participation which further delights the guests. It often creates an ambiance of friendly competition and results in copious laughter and a flow of playful banter. Enjoying and participating in magic tricks forges a sense of community and shared experience that is possible in few other ways. And it also draws people out of themselves so that even the shyer guests start participating and enjoying themselves more.

On a purely practical level, your magician can fill in if things get off schedule. Wedding parties are complex affairs and many things can go wrong. Perhaps the guest of honour is delayed in the traffic. Or if the best man is late for his speech for example, the magician can keep the guests enthralled while waiting. Or if the food's delayed, what better way to keep your guests happy than with a magic routine? In this way he can take a lot of the stress off the host and hostess by keeping the guests entertained as needed.

But ultimately, the real magic of the magician is to create that unique ambiance and the feeling that anything is possible. And on your wedding day, that's exactly the mood you need to make it perfect.

So make sure you get a magician for your wedding and you'll be sure of the event of a lifetime. Everyone loves a magic act. Your magician will appeal to guests of all ages and both genders. Getting a magician for your wedding reception is surprisingly affordable and in addition to the benefits above, will make your wedding party the talk of the town.

Submitted by David Willmott,

Wedding Dress Trends – Top Styles For The Modern Bride

Reflecting the overall trend of breaking away from tradition and steadfast rules, modern brides are choosing wedding gowns that reflect their personality and vision, not necessarily their grandmother's. The only rule for wedding dress style these days is to choose one that suits you. Whether that means wearing a gold wedding dress, trouser suit or sundress, go with it! And even if you are more traditional and have always envisioned yourself as the fairy princess in the white satin ball gown, you needn't worry about being perceived as old fashioned or "not with the times." The modern "rule" for wedding dress style is to choose something that makes you feel comfortable and beautiful on your day.

That said, although certain traditional dress styles are always popular, bridal fashion does follow mainstream fashion to some extent. If you are looking for something a little more contemporary or "now," consider turning to the catwalks for inspiration.

The currently popular 20s-and floral-style dresses can be easily incorporated into a wedding dress. Accessories, such as chandelier earrings, can also transfer from the catwalks to comprise your wedding look. Try to avoid fashion that will date quickly, however, as you will want to display your wedding photographs for a long time. As a general rule, keep your wedding ensemble fashionably forward, not overly trendy.

Today's Hot Wedding Dress Trends

Add Some Color

Using a wedding dress to bring out a colorful personality, modern brides are not afraid to add a splash of color to the traditional white gown. Whether that means adding a colored ribbon or piece of jewelry or foregoing the white wedding dress all together, today's brides find inventive ways to incorporate color into their wedding attire. Particularly popular shades are blue, pink, cappuccino and champagne.

Lace Up

Lace has made a recent comeback, exuding a look vintage romance that is feminine, yet not overdone. Many brides are enchanted by lace, envisioning a majestic day in a lush green garden.

Magnificent Embroidery

For an ultra elegant, opulent feel, glamour girls savor wedding gowns adorned with intricate hand-embroidered details. This look warrants grand chandeliers, candlelight and an isle of red roses.


As seen on the runway, feminine details are making a big impact. Ribbons, ruffles, flowers and bows are finding their way back onto wedding dresses and taking femininity to a new level. Brides who envision themselves floating along the cobblestones of a historic mansion will love this look.

For more advice on planning your wedding day look, visit the complete wedding dress, attire and accessories guide at - Elegant Galas Made Simple.

Gala Weddings Magazine
Cori Russell, Editor
500 Carol Way NW, Atlanta, GA 30327
P 678.705.9407; F 603.610.0532
Offices in Portsmouth, NH and San Francisco, CA

Gala Weddings Magazine guides brides through the first months of engagement with a regional directory of the best venues and vendors in New England, along with planning articles and tools to help brides get started.

Submitted by Cori Russell,

Slashing Wedding Food Costs

The cost for food and drinks for your wedding can easily climb to several thousand dollars, but it doesn't have to. Here are several tips that will save you money and still provide you with the classy wedding you've dreamed of:

1. The biggest cost saver, whether you are using a caterer or planning the food yourself, is to schedule the wedding and reception at a time of day when a full sit-down meal won't be expected by guests. An afternoon/evening cocktail or dessert reception can save you thousands of dollars when compared with an elaborate dinner.

2. Next, be smart when planning beverages for your reception. An open bar can break the bank. Consider a classy champagne punch or a wine instead (or even an alcohol-free punch). And remember that it is always less expensive to purchase and serve the drinks yourself than to pay a caterer or bartender to do so.

3. Second to alcohol, the biggest food and beverage expense is usually meat for the wedding reception or dinner. Keeping meat to a minimum is another easy way to trim your wedding food costs. Choosing a vegetarian entree, a dish whose main ingredient is not meat, or a less expensive cut of meat are all wise decisions that will positively impact your food budget.

4. Another easy place to save money is on the wedding cake. Bakers and caterers often charge anywhere from $2-6 per slice to make and/or serve the wedding cake. For about $1 per slice, you can purchase a nice cake at a bakery and have a friend cut and serve it at the reception.

5. If you are well-organized and have a good support system of friends and family willing to help, you may wish to consider planning and making your own food for your reception. You can save several thousand dollars by doing so. And it's not as difficult as you may think. Food for a dessert reception, for example, can be made ahead and served cold the day of the wedding with little effort on anyone's part. For many brides, the extra work is worth the savings if it means more money to spend on the honeymoon or being able to afford a designer wedding gown.

The food for your wedding is one of the easiest expenses to slash, while still allowing the smart bride and groom to host a very nice affair. Be creative, ask questions, don't be afraid to ask for cheaper menu items, and do as much yourselves as you can handle, and you will be able to trim hundreds (if not thousands) from your wedding food costs.

Submitted by Kelly Howell,

Monday, December 27, 2010

8 Tips For Finding Cheap Wedding Jewelry

If you are like most brides you have unplanned wedding expenses and must somehow reduce the budget. Fortunately, you can find a variety of wedding jewelry for less than you thought possible. Here are eight tips for doing so:

1. Buy replicas. From a distance and to the undiscerning eye, cubic zirconia and crystal are indistinguishable from real stones. If you have fallen in love with a piece of fine jewelry you cannot afford, a similar piece made with these less expensive materials can look exquisite.

2. Opt for silver or gold-plated jewelry instead of solid gold or platinum. To a casual observer, the difference in quality is not obvious.

3. Consider inexpensive pearls (freshwater cultured pearls are generally cheaper than other types). Or, buy pearl-shaped crystals.

4. Ask for a discount if you plan to buy several pieces. Also, it cannot hurt to make an offer on a piece. Designers, online stores, and other independents have some latitude when pricing their goods.

5. Buy on eBay. There is always a wide variety of inexpensive pieces available through auction or eBay stores. Inventory changes constantly, so return often if you do not find the right piece on your first visit.

6. Rent jewelry for your wedding. If you must have fine jewelry but cannot afford it, rent pieces for the ceremony and reception.

7. Make your own jewelry. You will enjoy the added benefit of complete customization. Craft stores like Ben Franklin and Hobby Lobby have aisles dedicated to jewelry-making supplies. You can also purchase supplies on eBay.

8. Consider borrowing. Wearing a piece from Mom, Aunt Ellen, or a special friend can add sentimental value to the wedding while doing wonders for a strained budget.

There you have it! Eight ways to ease budget strain and still wear the perfect jewelry ensemble on your big day.

Bobette Kyle-Wagner is publisher at, a Website helping engaged couples get the most use from Internet wedding resources. The site includes online wedding tips, original articles, and tutorials. Read more about wedding jewelry (shopping tips, tradition, lengths, stones, etc.) at

Submitted by Bobette Kyle-Wagner,

Choosing Wedding Jewelry That's Right For You

Whether you are going for subdued glamour or sparkly pizzazz, the right jewelry can add magic to your wedding day. Here are several ideas for choosing an ensemble that will enhance your wedding day look.


If you are proud of your cultural heritage, family history, or religion, then show it. Whether it's a simple cross, Star of David, your grandmother's locket, or other special piece of jewelry, it will symbolize what's important to you and help make a wedding uniquely your own.

Jewel size and shape

The shape and size of stones can drastically change the look of a piece. Large, faceted stones create a formal look when set in silver or gold. If you are going for a sparkly, fairy tale wedding consider smaller stones, which reflect more light. For a traditional look, you can rarely go wrong with white, ivory, or pastel pearls.


Color scheme is another consideration. Pearls, precious or semi-precious stones, Swarovski crystal, and cubic zirconia (CZ) are all available in a variety of colors.

* Most of us are aware of white, ivory, and pale pink pearls. Did you know you can also find pearls in lavender, coffee, black, gray, apricot, and other colors? Prices range from very inexpensive to exorbitant, depending on type, grade, and other factors.

* An elegant, formal wedding calls for diamonds, emeralds, rubies, sapphires or other precious stones.

* Semi-precious stones are also appropriate. Peridot, turquoise, moonstone, topaz, aquamarine, opal, azurite, agate, amethyst, bloodstone, coral, jade, garnet, and others are options.

* Swarovski crystals are another alternative to precious stones. The faceted crystals are available in 80+ colors. Swarovski also makes round pearls in several hues.

* CZ can add sparkle to a wedding and are very economical for those on a less generous budget. If you haven't considered cubic zirconia, look at some pieces. You may be pleasantly surprised. Quality has improved in recent years, and you can find most any color online.

You can also show off your personality by mixing colors. Pearls combined with other jewelry are gaining popularity. Try twisting a gold or silver chain with a pearl strand. Or, create a pennant for your pearls by attaching a cameo, pin, or even a clip-on earring. The possibilities are limited only by your imagination.


Platinum, white gold, silver, and yellow gold are all options. Platinum and white gold are nice, but if they are beyond your budget, silver is a wonderful alternative. Similarly, 10 karat or gold-plated jewelry looks very nice on a less-than-14-karat budget.

With so many options to choose from, you are sure to find exactly the right combination to make your dream wedding even dreamier!

Bobette Kyle-Wagner is publisher at, a Website helping engaged couples get the most use from Internet wedding resources. The site includes online wedding tips, original articles, and tutorials. Read more about wedding jewelry (shopping tips, tradition, lengths, stones, etc.) at

Submitted by Bobette Kyle-Wagner,

Your Dream Dress… Affordably

For many brides, the entire bridal experience boils down to one thing: The bridal gown. People may forget about the food poisoning at the reception, the candles that almost set the church on fire and even Aunt Gertrude’s adventures at the open bar, but everyone remembers how a bride looked when she walked down the aisle. It’s a classic first impression. Unfortunately, in today’s economy, it’s an impression that’s becoming harder to make.

One affordable option is wedding dress rental. Granted, it’s an unconventional idea that may seem a bit shocking at first, but in reality wedding gown rental is the ideal way to achieve a million dollar look for a fraction of the cost. Think of it as the bride’s version of a tux rental. Wedding gown rental shops are specialty stores that make their money by offering repetitive high quality. Therefore, when you rent, you are only paying a small portion of the cost of the items. So that $3,000 gown that you had your eye on may only cost a few hundred dollars to rent.

Most bridal rental stores are very accommodating. Many don’t mind ordering a brand new dress for a client because the owners know that they will recoup the purchase price on future rentals. Also, if, after you wear the gown, you find that you can’t bear to give it back, most stores will put your rental payment towards the purchase price.

If you do consider renting, be wary of the less than reputable shops. These stores aren’t as concerned about the cleanliness of their products and they may try to force brides into purchasing a dress simply because alterations were required. Respectable rental shops know how to clean their gowns so that each one looks brand new regardless of how many times it has been rented. These businesses will also contract with a seamstress who is skilled at making temporary but flawless alterations that can be reversed for future clients. Additionally, most rental retailers are full-service shops. Many offer petticoats, tiaras, veils and all manner of accessories to complete your wedding ensemble.

Remember, it’s a wedding dress not a financial funeral dress. With a little unconventional ingenuity you can make a beautiful first impression the right way!

Submitted by D. Middlebrooks-Bernal, Budget and the Bride,

Which Wedding Jewelry Pieces Should You Wear?

As a bride, you want the elements of your wedding ensemble to complement and enhance your natural beauty, not compete for attention. That is why most experts recommend wearing simple wedding jewelry sets. What should your jewelry ensemble consist of? That depends on your hair and dress. Here are some tips to help you pull it all together.


Keep your dress and hairstyle in mind when you choose earrings. Chandelier or dangly earrings can look wonderful with an up do, but can become tangled if you wear your hair down. If your dress is elaborate, keep the earrings simple. Popular choices for a formal wedding include pearl studs, diamonds, and crystal solitaire earrings.

Hair Jewelry

Tiaras, hairpins, combs, and decorated headbands can all add interest and glamour to your wedding hair. If you choose an eye-catching piece, such as a crown-like tiara, let this be the central element in your jewelry ensemble. A subtle piece, like a pearl comb, can complement more elaborate jewelry.

Back jewelry

You can enhance the look of a backless or low-cut gown by wearing a back drop, backwards strands of opera-length pearls, or lariat. This also adds more interest for the guests during the ceremony.

Necklace or pearls

The necklace can be bold (to complement a simple wedding dress) or delicate (to balance the look of an elaborate gown). If your gown has an interesting neckline, you may want to go without. Keep in mind that different lengths work best with different necklines. Generally, leave a gap between the neckline and necklace. Alternately, you can wear long pearls or a necklace below the neckline if your dress is unadorned.

Wrist wear

Unless your dress is strapless, the general rule is to keep hands and wrists unadorned (except for the wedding ring set, of course). Or, wear a delicate bracelet as an accent piece. Too much "going on" around your wrists or hands will distract attention away from you and the gown, and fragment the look. The strapless gown is the exception. A cuff or other substantial bracelet can enhance bared shoulders and arms.

Earrings, necklace, hair jewelry, back jewelry, and bracelet. Wear all, some, or none. But keep in mind that together they should create a balanced look. Most importantly, the jewelry ensemble should reflect you and your personal style.

Bobette Kyle-Wagner is publisher at, a Website helping engaged couples get the most use from Internet wedding resources. The site includes online wedding tips, original articles, and tutorials. Read more about wedding jewelry (shopping tips, tradition, lengths, stones, etc.) at

Submitted by Bobette Kyle-Wagner,

NJ Wedding Industry Event December, 2010

The festivities at New Jersey's wedding industry networking event for the 2010 holiday season at L'Affaire Fine Catering in Mountainside, NJ were fabulous. Next event is May 25, 2011 at The Westminster Hotel, Livingston, NJ. Video by Celeste Studios.

Saturday, December 25, 2010

Merry Christmas

Managed to find the original image we used on our site for our first holiday season back in 1997. We hope everyone had a great Christmas... wishing all a very happy and prosperous New Year!

Congratulations to all the newly engaged holiday brides-to-be!

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Couture Bridal Look On A Budget

The rumors are true… you don’t have to spend a fortune on a wedding gown to look like you did!

The details that make couture style so expensive can be recreated on a simple, inexpensive gown. For instance, some of the trends right now are draped fabric, ruching, sashes, broaches, and unique accessories.

You can start with a simple, strapless satin dress with little or no embellishment. (Search online for “simple wedding gown” or “informal wedding dress.”) Add a wide satin sash in a fabulous color, tied either in a bow or square knot, and place a broach in the middle of it. Why not dye your favorite heels to match the sash color? Top it off with a matching satin bolero jacket for a little coverage in case the air is chilly at your reception.

If your wedding is going to be held in an informal location such as a beach or garden, consider a dress in a lightweight, flowy fabric such as chiffon. Complete your look with a satin ribbon around the waist in a beachy color like turquoise or coral, and adorn your feet with footless sandals (or foot jewelry) made with pearls or crystal beads. A long veil is always beautiful blowing in the sea breeze. Imagine those gorgeous pictures!

Another idea for an unembellished dress is to keep the focus on your accessories. A sassy birdcage veil (think Reece Witherspoon in Sweet Home Alabama!) and vintage chandelier earrings give a sophisticated, elegant look to any simple gown.

Remember, your wedding is all about your individual style. So get creative, look for accessories that show off who you are, and make it your own!

Submitted by Shanell Bledsoe,

Wedding Dress Savings – How to Dress to Impress, For Less

Your wedding gown - arguably the most important garment purchase in your lifetime. No other dress comes with more anticipation – and will be more photographed - than this one. But that doesn’t mean you have to spend like royalty to look like a princess on your wedding day. With these smart strategies, you can still walk down the aisle feeling like a million bucks (without having to spend just that).

Something Borrowed

Today, anything retro screams chic. So consider donning your mother’s wedding gown. You’ll not only honor a family legacy, you’ll save a pretty penny too! With vintage lace overlays and crystal embellishments making a comeback, you won’t have to worry about looking dated. With a few simple (and inexpensive) alterations, you can make it your own.

Avoid Added Adornments

Beading, pleating, stitching, embroidering…all of these trimmings add up and are going to cost you extra. Consider a dress that is simply embellished, yet still elegant.

Shop Savvy

Be on the lookout for sample sales, trunk shows, and outlet bargains. Bridal shops are trying to rid their racks of the previous season’s styles to make room for new ones in the late-summer/winter months. Get ready to brave the crowds for super savings.

Don't Name Drop

Sure, designer duds are nice – but if you’re on a budget – you may want to skip the sought-after label. The good news is that you won’t have to sacrifice on style. If you find a look you like from a high-end dress designer, you can almost always find something similar by another name in your price range.

Be Honest

Just because your wedding dress budget doesn’t match your elaborate vision doesn’t mean you have to sacrifice the look you want. Approach this shopping decision with an open mind. When stepping into a bridal boutique, tell them exactly what you can realistically spend, and let them take care of the rest. They are the experts, and you might be surprised to see what they can come up with—the perfect wedding gown exists at every price point.

Think Outside Traditional Tulle and Lace

There’s no written rule that says your wedding day attire has to be an official bridal gown. The look you are going for is often available through another avenue. For instance, many bridesmaids’ dresses come in white or ivory, offering a less expensive, less fussy alternative to the traditional wedding dress.

Get started finding the perfect wedding dress

Now that you’re prepped with some money saving tips, it’s time to start browsing. Look no further than our interactive Wedding Dress search. Here you can search thousands of wedding gowns by price, designer, fabric, silhouette, hemline, sleeve style - you name it.

Cori Russell is Editorial Director for and Wedding Advice from Industry Insiders blog and Editor for Gala Weddings Magazine. Elegala is a new wedding planning resource offering a comprehensive national directory of superior wedding reception sites and wedding services, along with planning articles, photo galleries, expert advice and checklists to keep brides current on today's wedding trends and styles.

Submitted by Cori Russell,

Ten Wedding Blunders To Avoid

On Bended Knee Wedding Coordination out of Los Angeles wants to help you avoid these common wedding pitfalls.

10. Don’t Rock the Cash Bar

When it comes to alcohol at your reception, what you serve is entirely up to you. Whether you choose to serve a full bar, limited cocktails, Beer and Wine, or no alcohol at all will be based on various factors including budget. The one option that is not recommended is a Cash Bar. Your guests should be gracious enough to accept what is being offered to them. If however a guest feels the need for a drink selection that is not offered, chances are that he or she will be resourceful enough to find it.

Also, request that bartenders not put out tip jars. If you are hosting the bar, tell your catering contact that you are happy to pay gratuity to the bartender(s) but that you do not want your guests to feel obligated to tip.

9. Go flat!

A huge number of brides give feedback that they wish they had worn flats, having kicked off their heels during the reception. As a bride you can expect to be standing for 8-12 hours on your wedding day. Be sure to break in your shoes well in advance. Even when wearing flats, unexpected blisters can form after a few hours on your feet.

8. Have a little faith

D.J.’s are perhaps the wedding vendor most micromanaged by couples. Too many song requests may actually impede the flow of your party. You hire your D.J. to judge when to play what music. You wouldn’t instruct your Caterer step by step on how to prepare food, or your Photographer on what angles and lenses to use. Limit your D.J. request list to a few favorites and a do-not-play list of only the songs you cannot stand. Do not get carried away and have some trust.

7. Prioritize, prioritize, prioritize

What really matters most to you, the photographer, the music and dancing, the food and wine, the decorations, or being able to accommodate a large guest list? Put your money towards what you care about. You will have regrets if you skimp on what really counts. When you, the Bride and Groom are not footing the bill yourselves however, you may have to forfeit some financial decision-making. If this is the case you will need to compromise on certain priorities or if you really want that pricey photographer offer to pay for one yourself.

6. Bibbity Bobbity Boo

Wedding Dress shops are notorious for having your dress shipped in at the last minute. Think about it, if you owned a Wedding Dress Boutique you wouldn’t want every brides dress held at your shop for nine+ months before their weddings. Schedule your first fitting well before your wedding. Your final dress fitting should be no less than 1 week prior to your wedding so that alterations can still be made.

Tuxedo rentals for all attendants must be tried on, that includes Dad. Whether the Tailor seemed to take precise measurements or not, too many men still show up at weddings with high waters or baggy tuxes.

5. Don’t hit the road, Jack

Your wedding day is one of the biggest, most important days of your life. You will be exhausted and a bit disorderly the following day. Going away is the last thing you will want to worry about. Wait at least a couple of days before venturing on your honeymoon. Your wits will thank you.

4. Last night of single life

DO NOT hold your Bachelor or Bachelorette party the night before your wedding! This may seem like a no-brainer but many brides and grooms still practice the archaic ritual of drinking all night on that fatal evening. It is simply not worth it, as the Bride/Groom and your attendants will no doubt feel tired, look tired, have a hangover, or worse be sick walking down the aisle. If necessary, request that any out of town attendants arrive a day earlier to help you to prepare and celebrate a different night.

3. No Guidance

With no Director there are too many details left to too many people at your ceremony. Having a Wedding Coordinator allows for one person to coordinate your wedding party processional, music, minister, seating guests and to resolve any unexpected last minute complications. A Coordinator will ease the stress level of everyone, including you, tremendously on your wedding day. So if your location does not include a Wedding Day Coordinator who also directs your rehearsal, hire your own. A Wedding Coordinator may be much more affordable than you think.

2. Stretching yourself too thin

As the bride you will make everyone around you crazy by waiting until the last minute in planning and finalizing details. If you have a hard time planning and prioritizing on your own then get help. You don’t want to be remembered as “one of those brides” that put everything off and then expected her friends and family to pick up the pieces, do you?

Do not commit yourself to social events the day before your wedding. This day is meant for you to wrap up loose ends, beautify yourself, attend your rehearsal and rehearsal dinner in many cases, and most importantly get some amount of rest for the day ahead. You are going to need it!

1. High demands

Try to keep in mind that although your Bridesmaids and Groomsmen may offer you extra help, these friends can become taken advantage of. The only "official obligations" of wedding party members are emotional support, the financial expense of wedding attire and travel, participation in the rehearsal and the obvious role on your wedding day. In the case of the MOH or BM, reception toasts are traditional as well. Other help that these individuals may offer should not be viewed as duties, but rather as acts of kindness including: setting up/tearing down, transporting ceremony goods, throwing a bridal shower or other party, distributing gratuities, and any other help that is offered.

Remember to be thoughtful towards your attendants. Bridesmaids may not be comfortable in 4 inch heels, purchasing new jewelry or paying to have their hair or makeup professionally styled. Do not forget to personally thank any bridal party members for taking part in your wedding, as well as family members who gave you assistance. A small thank you gift is always appreciated.

Submitted by Jackie Baird, On Bended Knee Wedding Coordination,

Wedding Planning With Less Stress

Beginning to plan a Wedding can be overwhelming! With a little help it can be less stressful than you think and you can actually have fun during the process. At AFavor4U, we help plan weddings everyday and we'd like to share a few key planning elements with you.

It is crucial to keep the right attitude.

Don't let the importance of the day overwhelm you. Yes, it may be the most important day of your life, but something will inevitably go wrong and if you keep your sense of humor everything will be beautiful! It can only be the perfect day if you relax and let it be.

It helps to start your planning as early as possible.

Nothing will stress you out more than having too many last minute details to deal with. Having all of the little details planned well in advance will give you luxury of time to pamper yourself on the day of the wedding.

Set a budget and stick to it.

Wondering how you are going to pay for everything will suck the joy out of your wedding and WORSE your honeymoon!

Decide on a tone and style.

Do you want a traditional or contemporary wedding? Formal? Casual? Deciding on these issues early will help with Gown selection, color selection, reception location, flower choice... well everything! Important Tip: Don't be afraid to include contemporary, traditional, formal or casual elements to suite your personalities and style. It's your wedding, it should be about YOU not a rigid set of rules.

Share some tasks with trusted friends and relatives.

Lighten the load a little, you don't have to do everything.

Find good service providers and suppliers.

Look for quality as well as price. Also, look for good service and the willingness to work with you. Check references, better business listings, get recommendations from friends. Quality dependable providers will reduce your stress tremendously.

Finally, remember to include exercise in your daily routine. After a day filled with tasks and decisions you deserve a little time to yourself. Set aside at least half an hour to do an activity that best suits you. This can involve going to the local gym, swimming, sports, yoga or even walking around your neighborhood. This will help relieve much stress and help you feeling fit, trim, and beautiful.

We hope these suggestions help to reduce the stress and set you on your way to happy planning. Please feel free to visit, call 1-877-346-7439 or email if there is anything else we can help you with.

Submitted by

Saying iDo: Weddings, The iPod, And You

Like you, I knew long ago that iPhones and iPods were becoming popular. But after I recently became engaged and started to plan my wedding, I was shocked to find that the iPod has become one of the hottest wedding accessories today - iPhones and iPods are now being used at every stage from initial planning to your eventual honeymoon on a beach.

Preparing for your wedding can be overwhelming: in the past, a busy bride-to-be had to set aside different times for reading wedding books and magazines, planning, and keeping herself in shape for the big day. Today, she can work herself into shape and listen to a wedding podcast at the same time. Sharon Naylor, a wedding expert and author of 30 wedding books, including 1000 Best Wedding Bargains, told iLounge just how popular the iPod has become as a wedding tool. “It’s given brides and grooms a whole new world of information, accessible at times they didn’t have before,” explained Naylor, “during commutes, while working out, while doing housework. They can tune in at any time, which is a big change from the days when brides and grooms sought information on their work computers, or when they come home exhausted from work.”

What options are available for iPhone and iPod-toting brides? Here are just some of the great things we’ve come across:

Wedding Planning Podcasts

Thanks to the iTunes Store, you can bypass the bookstore entirely with a few quick clicks of your mouse: a quick search for “Wedding” yields a massive variety of books, suggested music and Podcasts, covering wedding planning, reception ideas and honeymoon guides. Podcasts are the best free options, with over 30 downloadable options out there: New York’s Wedding Planning Talk Radio has eight free episodes, Queer Eye has a nine-episode wedding series, and Brides Magazine even has a four-episode podcast. Not surprisingly, many of the other options are little more than promotions - there’s a video podcast from BrideAccess, “brought to you by some of the most respected vendors in the wedding industry,” and lots of podcasts from local wedding photographers.

Wedding-Themed Audiobooks and Videos

If you’re willing to spend some money, the iTunes Store offers lots of other options. Besides individual wedding-themed episodes of your favorite TV shows, you can download an entire season of the reality TV show Whose Wedding is it Anyway?, with season 4 and season 5 now available for $18 each. There are also many fictional wedding-themed audiobooks, ranging from $2 to $26, including everything from a children’s book to a Danielle Steel novel. We wish there were better non-fiction options.

Wedding Music

You can use the iTunes Music Store to find several wedding music compilations or use your iPhone to search for the perfect wedding song.


Music’s not just important to the bride and groom; members of the wedding party most likely love it, too. That’s why newlyweds are gifting iPods and iTunes gift certificates to their wedding attendants, which means that volunteering to be a groomsman in your buddy’s wedding could score you a new shuffle or nano. “iPods themselves may be the gifts,” noted Sharon Naylor. “From carrying cases to iTunes cards, sound systems, and other accessories, these are becoming the hot gift for bridal parties.” Just being related to an iPod-loving couple can help, too: “Many couples are giving these to their parents, to keep them up to speed if they don’t already have their own.”

The couple may be hoping for a little Apple love, themselves. Major retailers’ bridal registries today are not only filled with requests for flatware and china, but also shuffles, nanos and full-sized iPods. According to Naylor, “We’re seeing more couples registering for iPods and other technology, since they might already live together, or they each own their own homes and have all the linens and blenders they could ever need. Couples love registering for ‘toys,’ but the truth is that they’ll use their iPods every day. Not the blender or the fondue maker. So it’s a smart add-on to any registry, as are the accessories.”

Wedding Photography

For those without iPods in their wedding registries, there’s another option. Photographers like Jeff LaPlante are offering clients iPod-ready photography packages. LaPlante sells the “I Do iPod” package, which for $1000 includes brand new his-and-her 30GB fifth-generation video iPods, loaded with complete wedding and reception proofs.

LaPlante’s Seattle-based photo business is surprisingly progressive in an industry that thrives on four- to six-week delivery times for wedding photos. He not only creates a slideshow of the couple’s wedding images that can play during the reception, but he also has the images ready for the couple to take home with them at the end of the evening.

Using both his Nikon D2x and D200 cameras, LaPlante shoots both RAW (minimally processed data) and JPG files. “The RAW files are used for final printing of albums and portraits, while the small JPGs are used to create the reception slideshows, website slideshows, iPod proofs and other low resolution uses,” he explained. “I’m able to download all of the small JPGs onto an external FireWire disk very quickly the night of the wedding…A few more actions and a batch process later and I have an entire set of proofs ready to load onto the iPods.” The result is instant gratification for the newly married couple. “I can have the couple’s slideshow ready on their wedding night so they can take them with them on their honeymoon.”

LaPlante believes that iPods will evolve into a larger role in wedding photography. “Another application I’m developing is PodProofer,” he said. “It’s currently in beta and allows customers who already own their iPods to download a small Java application to their iPod. This application will automatically connect to my website and download their proofs to their hard drive. This alleviates me from having to do it the night of the wedding.”

While some photographers are promoting iPods as part of their services, other photographers are using iPods as a tool for promoting their work. “Of course, the iPod becomes the perfect promotional tool,” said Lamar Smith, a wedding photographer in Louisiana. “I carry wedding samples on my iPod, to show prospective clients. The uniqueness of the iPod wedding album presentation (is that it) grabs their attention and gives me an ‘instant in’ to presenting more about my wedding photography services.”

Wedding Videography

Still photographs are the “classic” way weddings are captured, but wedding videos have become increasingly popular over the last 15 years. So it’s no surprise that professional videographers are also using the iPod to sell their services. “Podcasts, or iPod videos, are becoming more & more popular,” noted Darcie King of E Video Productions. “We are also starting to sell an option to wedding clients where they can have their recap online as a downloadable iPod video.”

Wedding Cakes

iPod wedding cakes? Seriously? Yes. Some brides and grooms go beyond just having an iPod involved in every facet of their weddings - they want to eat it, too! A talented baker can create a memorable wedding cake, such as the one shown here, or delicious cookies in the shape of your favorite shuffle, nano or iPod. With an unlimited imagination (and budget) the possibilities are endless. Numerous images of iPod-themed cakes can be found on Flickr, including this one of a mini-wedding cake based on the iPod silhouette theme.

As a bride-to-be, I went into my planning thinking that the worlds of weddings and the iPod would rarely intersect, but the array of options is staggering. With Apple having sold over 90 million iPods worldwide, not counting the now more popular than ever iPhone, perhaps it’s not totally surprising that the Apple is infiltrating the wedding industry, and if the examples above are any indication, it’s only going to become more important over time. Have you seen the iPod or iPhone used at weddings in a new and interesting way? We look forward to reading about your experiences below.

Submitted by Christina Easton, Contributing Editor,

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Choosing Your Invitations

What Will Your Wedding Invitations Say About You?

Everything about your wedding, starting with your wedding invitations, should reflect your own personal style. Now, more than ever, couples are doing everything they can to make their wedding day uniquely personalized.

You and your fiancé chose the location, theme and colors of your wedding based on your personal preferences. Since your wedding invitations are an introduction to your wedding, they should reflect your choices and ultimately your personalities and styles.

It used to be that wedding invitations were always very traditional in their color and appearance. Today, wedding invitations come in a vast array of exciting colors, styles, sizes and themes to reflect the creativity of modern wedding couples.

Not to say traditional is out of date, but today your options are truly unlimited. There are choices based on seasons, hobbies, color combinations, themes, ceremony locations, ethnic backgrounds, flowers, etc. Your wedding invitations can have a modern contemporary look or they might feature photos of youngsters sharing tender moments.

Your choices don’t end with the wedding invitation itself. There’s the font style and ink color. Again, there is an impressive selection of font styles to fit any type of wedding design. Just keep in mind you want to choose a style that your guests will find easy to read. The more script the style, the more difficult it usually is to read. Colored ink choices are not quite as abundant as font styles, but there are still plenty to accommodate your chosen wedding colors.

Here are some questions for you to consider when choosing your wedding invitation style:
  • In what type of setting are you getting married – church, formal, casual, outdoor, destination?
  • What is the color scheme of your wedding?
  • Is there an overall theme to your wedding?
  • Do you want to incorporate a specific ethnic or religious theme?
  • In what season will your wedding take place?
  • What type of flowers are you having in your wedding?
  • Do you want to include your photo on your wedding invitations?
  • What is your wedding invitation budget?

Another great idea for personalizing your wedding invitations is to include a favorite line of poetry, a beloved quotation, a particular Bible verse, or words from a special song. Many times the company who prints your invitations will also have a large selection of small verses to choose from. Just be sure your chosen wedding invitation style will have enough room for these extra lines of printing.

Your wedding invitations should be both beautiful and uniquely personal, just like your wedding ceremony. With all of today’s gorgeous choices, you’re sure to find exactly what you desire.

Sara Haese owns where you'll find a huge selection of casual and elegant wedding invitations as well as save the dates and wedding accessories. Visitors can also sign up to receive her FREE Wedding Invitation Guide.

Submitted by by Sara Haese,

Professionally Printed Wedding Invitations

Should Your Wedding Invitations be Professionally Printed?

Today’s brides seem more and more interested in printing their own wedding invitations using home computers to save on costs. Even though you’ll be pleasantly surprised at how inexpensive some styles of professionally printed invitations really are, there’s so much more to the process than just the monetary cost.

Your wedding is one of the most important days of your life, so be sure your wedding invitations match the beauty of your special day! Your invitations will be giving your guests their first impression of your wedding.

The whole wedding invitation process starts with choosing your style. Professional printers are able to provide a great selection of different designs including quality papers, unique colors and trendy sizes. They commonly have a style to fit any theme, budget or colors you have in mind.

Professionally printed wedding invitations are typically created by using a process called thermography. This produces the beautiful raised lettering that makes wedding invitations look so elegant.

When it comes to choosing your font style and ink color, you will appreciate all the choices a professional printer has to offer. They can also print your return address on your outer envelopes and provide a color lining for your inner envelopes if you so choose.

Additional matching items such as response cards, maps, direction cards, reception cards, thank you notes and wedding programs can be easily printed at the same time you order your professionally printed wedding invitations.

There is no doubt that your time is at a premium as you are planning your wedding, and printing your own wedding invitations can be a tedious task. So consider saving precious time and possible frustration by letting the professionals handle your wedding invitation printing. Let them do what they do best…provide superior quality resulting in gorgeous wedding invitations.

Sara Haese owns where you'll find a great selection of both elegant and inexpensive wedding invitations as well as save the dates. Visitors can also sign up to receive her FREE Wedding Invitation Guide.

Submitted by Sara Haese,

How To Choose A Florist

No wedding is complete without flowers. But finding a florist is not a morning stroll in the park. It takes some doing to choose a good florist. You have to consider several things so that you can make the right choice. It is better if you start the process of choosing well ahead of the wedding. Any florist of some repute will be busy, so you have to make your booking quite early. In order to choose the florist, your first job will be to ask the banquet hall you are having the reception at for the florists they recommend. There are a few reception venues that only allow certain florists in their facilities. Better check out for that. Otherwise, ask your friends and relatives to recommend a few florists to choose from. Ask your married friends who were the florists in their weddings. Do not forget to inquire if they were comfortable working with the florists because you won’t certainly like much fuss on your wedding day. It makes sense to look for a florist with some professional affiliation because of their commitment to the craft and also prompt services. A florist that can offer convenient hours at an easily accessible location with a satisfaction guarantee will be a godsend to you.

After you have collected the names of a few florists, contact them to get price estimates and see their work. It is unlikely that any reputed florist will agree to give an estimate over telephone. When you meet them personally, you should bring some fabric from your bridesmaid’s gowns, so that the florist can help you select colors and types of flowers to use. It is better to look for a florist who is familiar with the venue of your wedding. The florist will know what is suitable and what is not if he knows the place well.

Do not hesitate to tell the florist what you exactly need. And never feel bad about negotiating the price; keep it in mind that you have every right to bargain. Inquire about the cost of the flowers you will need, and also if the delivery and setup is included in the price. Finally, get a contract of what exactly will be provided for your wedding. Wedding planning is no easy thing involving a lot of stress and the process of choosing a florist is no exception. But once you make the choice, say it with flowers.

Jen Carter is owner of My Wedding Blog, and offers tips and advice for people planning their wedding.

Submitted by Jen Carter,

Photography And Video Tips

How To Choose A Photographer

Choosing a photographer is not like going to a store and selecting some bridal dresses. It is different because you can’t see the photographs before you buy them. You can know how good a photographer is only after he has been chosen and you have received the photos from him. It is therefore evident that your decision will largely be a matter of faith. Those who think price is the sole determining factor are on the wrong track; they should remember that price is important, but you don’t know the quality of the product you are paying for. So it is better if you follow a few general guidelines before choosing a photographer.

In most cases, recommendations of friends and relatives are of great help. After you prepare a list of photographers following their recommendations, you should meet each of them and have a look at their portfolios. You can collect the names of good photographers from other sources also. If you can’t meet all of them personally, visit their websites and review their portfolios. Concentrate on the photographs only, don’t get carried away by the design of the website. After a thorough review, shortlist them and talk to them personally, on phone or through e-mail. Find out whether he will be available on that particular day, which areas are his specialties (candid, traditional, photojournalism, combination, film or digital etc.) and how much he will charge you for the job. In return, be sure what you are going to get from them. While judging the samples, trust your own instincts. It is only you who will know what you like. When you see a picture, you only can say, “Yeah! This is exactly what I am looking for.”

From this interaction, you will have a fair idea of the photographer’s personality. Remember he is going to be with you all day; you will definitely not choose someone who you won’t feel comfortable with. No matter how good his photographs are, a photographer with a bad personality can ruin your day. So select someone you feel good about.

Once you have found a photographer who meets all these requirements, start working the budget back into the equation. Try not to cross your budget. Bargain in those areas where bargaining is possible. Try to stick to your budget without compromising on quality. If you keep your mind open to the wide range of possibilities, you will certainly find the photographer of your dreams.

How To Choose A Videographer

It is not that still photographers have all taken to different professions by now, but today’s couples are more and more going for videography so that even their great grandchildren can have a feel of the moments of their wedding ceremony. Like you did for your wedding photographer, you should take a number of factors into consideration while choosing your videographer too.

To begin with, ask for samples of their recent wedding videos. Watch a number of them so that you can make a fair assessment of their qualities. They will try to show you only their best work, you must insist they show more of them. Check if the images are clear and smooth, the sound good enough or not. If they show samples on their websites, ask for samples off a DVD as well to get a better idea of their work. Inquire whether they are acquainted with the latest trends in videography. It is essential for better picture and sound quality. You should also know if they have good equipment with them. Check if they have professional grade, 3-chip digital cameras which produce great pictures. You should also ensure that your videographer does have good editing equipment like Adobe, Avid or Newtek.

Apart from the technical and aesthetic details, you should ask when you will hear from them again before the wedding day. Find out how they handle communication after you give them your deposit. Your objective should be to ensure that such an important occasion of your life is given the attention it deserves. Try to know how they are going to cover the ceremony and reception. Will visit to the location beforehand if they have never worked there before? Are they ready to give you an emergency or cell phone number in case you need to contact them for any last-minute changes?

Get to know about all the packages and options they can offer and at what prices. Evaluate them and find out if you are getting something that you will want to show your children and grandchildren years from now. Ask them how quickly they can deliver the final product. Never forget to read the contract before signing and inquire about the payment policy. It is likely that most of them will seek a deposit while some will want to be paid fully in advance. Weigh all these things carefully and then only make the final choice.

Jen Carter is owner of My Wedding Blog, and offers tips and advice for people planning their wedding.

Submitted by Jen Carter,

How To Wear A Bridal Tiara

As you begin choosing a favorite wedding gown style, you will notice a selection of tiaras in most bridal shops. They sparkle, shine, and practically cry out to be modeled. Most brides-to-be cannot resist trying on at least a few of them. Before you make a final choice, however, first understand a few things about the best way to wear a wedding-day tiara.

Tiaras Come in Different Styles

Say the word "tiara" and most of us think of the stereotypical princess tiara -- rhinestones or crystals set in silver or white gold, gaily twinkling to a filigreed, front-and-center point. In reality, there are many variations. Pearl tiaras, with many designs of mixed pearls and crystals, are available. And they are not all set in silver. You can buy yellow gold or gold-plated tiaras, too.

The tiara's shape can vary as well. You can choose a headband style to hug your hair -- with one, two, or three bands -- or an inverted v-band to sit on your forehead. There are also crown-like designs that are a more uniform width than the classical princess styles (and may require a wider hairstyle than peaked versions).

Combs and Bands

Tiara construction can also vary. These different constructions dictate how you secure the tiara to your head. Some tiaras have small combs attached on each side, near the end of the bands, to more easily secure the tiara from the sides. Others -- called comb tiaras -- are mounted on a larger, single comb, so you can slip the comb backward into your hair from the front. Still others are made with loops at the end, or plain bands so you can use your hair or hairpins to hold the tiara in place. Take into account your hairstyle and which type of design will be easier to hold in place when choosing your tiara.

A Princess, Beauty Queen, or Bride? It's About Emphasis.

Princesses and beauty queens wear their tiaras on display, predominantly as a status symbol. It is all about what (not who) they are. A wedding, on the other hand, is about the bride herself, not the status of being a Missus. For that reason, a bride's tiara is given a different emphasis than that of a princess or beauty queens. A bridal tiara accents the bride's ensemble. If you compare Princess Diana of Wales' wedding photos to official photos of her wearing the Spencer Family Tiara, for example, you can see the difference between Princess Diana and bride Diana (for photos, go to and type in Diana Spencer Tiara). On her wedding day, the tiara was worn as an accessory, surrounded by the tremendous veil. When worn in an official capacity as a symbol of her status, the tiara was much more obvious.

Aside from surrounding a tiara with a veil, the way you wear the headpiece can also make the difference between accent piece and centerpiece. Balanced atop one's head, the tiara is a showpiece, drawing attention to itself. Integrated into the hairdo, it becomes part of the ensemble. You can wrap the tiara around your bun or a mass of curls. Or, tilt it backwards at an angle -- so it does not sit straight up -- and hide the ends beneath your hair. Puff your veil or hair behind a large tiara to de-emphasize it.

Your Hairstyle Matters

Which size and type of tiara works best for you partially depends on your hairstyle. Large hair can carry a large tiara. Small hair means a smaller scale tiara. Consider the front profile. If you wear your hair in a bun, for example, your tiara may be more conspicuous set against the bun or wrapped around it, but your hair will be more conspicuous as well, balancing out the effect. The same tiara that works with the bun may be too tall for a smaller profile hairstyle. If you plan to choose an inexpensive tiara, consider buying two or more and experiment until you find the best look.

However you choose to wear your bridal tiara, consult others throughout the process. Ask your hair stylist and those who know you, but will be honest with you about their opinions. Do this and you will find a tiara the looks fabulous and reflects your personality.

Bobette Kyle-Wagner is publisher at -- a Website helping engaged couples get the most use from Internet wedding resources. The site includes online wedding tips, original articles, tutorials, and shopping sections. Read more about wedding tiaras at

Submitted by Bobette Kyle-Wagner,

Friday, December 17, 2010

How To Make A Birdcage Veil

Birdcage veils -- sometimes called net or face veils -- have recently become more popular, partially due to movie and celebrity brides wearing them. Most recently, in 2007, Katherine Heigl wore one in her real-life wedding and Jessica Alba's character wore a birdcage veil in the movie Fantastic Four 2: Rise of the Silver Surfer. While it's possible to buy birdcage veils, brides on a budget may prefer to make their own.

This veil is very short -- usually just long enough to frame the face but can also be eye-length -- and typically worn alone, without additional tiers or a separate blusher. You may choose to attach a traditional veil in the back, to a bun or mass of curls. The birdcage is made of coarse-weave French or Russian-style netting rather than typical fine-mesh veil fabrics. Historically, the veil was attached to a hat. The modern bride, however, often prefers to wear her birdcage veil without a hat. Today, most brides attach this short, circular veil directly to their hair with a pin or comb, so that it hangs down around the head. The front serves as a blusher over her face.

Making a Birdcage Veil

Because of the short length and because netting is stiffer than tulle, creating the effect you want when making a birdcage veil can be trickier than when making a regular veil. For this reason, purchase extra netting and plan to make one or two trial runs before the veil is perfect. Also note that the width of the netting will be the length of your veil (from the point where you attach it to your head to the where the veil falls in front of your face).

Materials You Will Need:

- Up to three yards of Russian or French netting.
- Two or more hair clips (the kind used to secure hair extensions to short hair are most stable).
- Sturdy thread the color of the netting (button thread works well).
- Scissors

Step 1: Cut 36" of 9" French / Russian netting

You can make a relatively full birdcage veil, with many gathers, from a yard of netting. These instructions are for making a relatively full, gathered veil similar to Jessica Alba's in Rise of the Silver Surfer. Cut the netting shorter for a veil that lays closer to your head, with fewer gathers. If in doubt, cut the piece long at first. Then shorten it if you find that the veil is too full.

The short, cut ends will be the sides of your veil and the long, finished edges will be the front and back. These instructions explain how to gather the sides and attach them to clips as well as gather the back more loosely than the sides.

Step 2. Sew on two clips, one at each end of the long (finished) edge of veiling.

The clips will go at the front corners of the veil, with the teeth facing the finished edge. The outside, short side of each clip should be parallel to a raw, cut edge. Position them so that, when worn, the clips' metal bars will face outward, but remain under the veiling. The clips should curve against your head when closed.

Step 3. Gather the cut sides of the veil and sew them to the clips.

Using a slipknot, attach thread at the corner of a cut edge opposite a clip. Weave the thread in and out of the diamond patterns along the cut edge between the attached end and the clip then thread it through the hole in the clip.

Pull the thread tight so the entire cut edge is gathered against the clip. Secure to the underside of the clip (the non-bar side, which will be against your head) so the thread will be hidden when you are wearing the veil. You may want to tidy up by clipping off the frayed pieces of netting. One entire side should now be gathered and sewn to a clip.

Repeat on the second side, gathering and sewing the raw edge against the clip.

Step 4. Make the back gathers.

Attach doubled or heavy button thread to the inside edge of a clip. Weave the thread in and out between the diamonds or holes in the netting. Do not secure the thread to the second clip yet. The length of the thread determines how full the gathers and how closely the veil hugs your head. You will want to adjust the length of the thread so the veil looks perfect on you.

Step 5. Experiment with different veil widths.

Looking in a mirror, adjust the thread length between clips. When you are happy with your veil's width and fullness of the gathers, secure the thread by looping it through the inside holes of the second clip and tying it off. With 8" - 9" netting, you will need to attach the veil near the top of your head for it to hit just below the nose. Attach it farther back for a shorter look.

Leave time to practice attaching the veil exactly as you want it, and you will look like a star on your wedding day!

Bobette Kyle-Wagner is publisher at, a Website helping engaged couples get the most use from Internet wedding resources. The site includes online wedding tips, original articles, tutorials, and shopping sections. For instructions, with pictures, on how to make a birdcage veil visit the website at

Submitted by Bobette Kyle-Wagner,