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Splurge + Save With These Wedding Registry Essentials

In a perfect world, we’d register for everything under the sun and it would all be topnotch, the best of the best. But let’s get real here people, that’s not feasible or fair. So how to choose which kitchen appliances to go big with, and which ones to keep a bit more reasonable? We rounded up registry essentials, sharing both sides of the spectrum, so you can choose the one that best fits your future!

Registry Save vs. Splurge
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Registry Save vs. Splurge
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The Smart Bride + Groom’s Guide to Wedding Registries

SMP’s Wedding Registry ABCs | Unique Wedding Registry Ideas | 10 Must-Have Registry Items

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Engagement Sesh at Shake Shack? Total #RelationshipGoals

Is it too much to call these two our heroes? Maybe. But any couple that includes a stop at Shake Shack in their engagement session is worthy of all the heart eye emojis in the world. Tommy and Amber planned an entire evening in Chicago with Shannon Duggan along to capture their city adventures, including sweeping skylines, romantic strolls, and delicious burgers – of course.

From Shannon Duggan PhotographyAmber and Tommy moved to Chicago immediately following college graduation. Wanting to make the life that most young couples dream of. They chose this gorgeous city after living in Chicago one summer during college, sharing a shoe box sized apartment, and falling even more in love with the city, and of course, each other.

The night of Tommy’s proposal Amber was completely clueless. These two are major foodies, so naturally Amber made a dinner reservation during Chicago’s restaurant week.

“We got all cute and took the train downtown and had the best jerk chicken of our lives. And after he suggested that we go for a walk on the river walk and look at all the ice and snow on the river (I love walking after a big meal) and as we walked he stopped me and said “I didn’t bring you here just for a walk and I didn’t bring them here for that either” and when I looked over I saw my family and his a few of our close friends (in person and on FaceTime!) and began crying uncontrollably as he said the most amazing things and asked me to be his wife.”

I wanted to capture the adventure these two have shared in this incredible city, and I truly feel this engagement session does exactly that. We ran around the city all evening, from Three Arts Cafe in the gorgeous Restoration Hardware, to Shake Shack, and of course the incredible North Avenue Beach. Chicago is truly a city I can’t get enough of, and I loved photographing the love and adventure these two have shared in it.

Photography: Shannon Duggan Photography | Location: Restoration Hardware | Location: Shake Shack

P.S. Unique Locations for Your Engagement Session

Engagement Session Ideas
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Engagement Session Ideas
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#SMPWedding101 – Unique Wedding Heirlooms

I’m a sentimental person and that affection extended into my own wedding. I strived to create unique keepsakes from my big day that I’ll continue to treasure for years to come and I love whenever SMP discovers new ideas – and we got a whole bunch of them for you ladies today! The Garter Girl is here to share her favorite ways to keep those memories alive; which ones do you plan on recreating?!


You have your mother’s (or grandmother’s) wedding dress, but you don’t want to wear it for your wedding. There are many unique ways to use this family heirloom at your wedding, such as turning the sleeve into a cover for your bouquet stems. Try cutting off the sleeve of the dress and using it as a wrap for your bridal bouquet. Many vintage wedding dresses actually had sleeves that were decorative with lace, beads and other trims. As a bouquet wraps, you’ll be able to carry a beautiful family heirloom with you on your wedding.


There is no wedding heirloom sweeter than a family photo. But instead of the traditional family group picture of everyone all lined up, what about recreating a photograph from your parent’s or grandparent’s wedding album? Is there a iconic photo of your parents on their wedding day? Try using the same pose or the same expression on your wedding day. You can contribute to a family memory and create a new tradition by recreating a wedding photograph and then putting it in a frame along with the old family photograph.


Once a scary thing that sent every unmarried wedding guest running for the bar or to hide in the restroom, the wedding garter is having a come back in a major way. But these bridal garters aren’t for tossing. Today’s wedding garters are pretty and elegant, designed to be modern heirlooms for saving as something special from a wedding day. Even better, the new wedding garter designs are meant to be passed onto future generations to come in your family.


Guest books of the past were just that, books that wedding guests signed upon entering the wedding. But who wants a book full of signatures? Modern guest books are creative and thoughtful. Today’s wedding guest books have taken a turn for the practical, into something that brides and grooms would actually use and enjoy well after the wedding is over. Think thumbprints on a canvas, a signed piece of furniture (or a canoe!), a jar filled with well wishes, or marriage advice to be opened up on anniversaries.


Sure, we’ve all heard of the first look where your photographer captures your expressions before you walk down the aisle to the ceremony. But what about a wedding day family first look! Your parents and siblings will be just as excited and full of emotion to see you on your wedding. After the first look with your fiance, ask your photographer about a first look for your family too. A family first look can create into those priceless wedding heirlooms you’ll cherish forever.


As your wedding ceremony unfolds or maybe during the cocktail hour of your wedding receptions, couples are opting for a live painter to come to their wedding to hand paint the event as it takes place. Not only is this an interactive and fun thing for your wedding guests, but the end result is a beautiful and very meaningful piece of artwork. This live painting is a unique wedding heirloom that you’ll be able to hang in your home forever.


Writing your own wedding vows is coming back in wedding ceremony vogue. More and more couples are investing wedding planning attention into every little thought and detail of how their wedding ceremony will unfold right down to the music, the guest seating and taking the time to write their own wedding vows. A hand calligraphed hardcover wedding vow book is a beautiful way to preserve your vows so that you can and look back and reread your vows and so can your children.

Not Your Average Bridal Accessories
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Not Your Average Bridal Accessories
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Plum Pretty Sugar
Barn & Willow

We’re excited to share that Shine invitations is currently offering FREE SHIPPING on orders over $500 (US orders only) as well as a free sample kit featuring the invitation of your choice, color charts, paper samples, and an example Save the Date! Don’t miss out!


For our California Brides… Discounts from The Ranch at Laguna Beach and Weddings by Susan Dunne!

For our Destination Brides… Discount from Hitch’d Weddings & Events

For our Tri-state Brides… Discount from Femina Photo + Design and giveaway from OLLI STUDIO!

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Style Advice: The Garter Girl

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Why We Can’t Get Enough of This Bride’s Bouquet

There’s nothing like kicking off the weekend with a bang, and these bright, coral peonies have certainly done the trick. But they’re only the beginning of a stunning waterside affair, with so many heirloom moments woven in along the way. Kristin La Voie captured every bit waiting for you in The Vault!

Al Fresco

From Kristin La Voie PhotographyOur sweet couple Kensington and Michael have known each other forever (since Kensington was 15!) and they shared a very intimate wedding with their closest family and friends (about 25 in attendance) at the Lodge at Pebble Beach, followed by an intimate dinner in a library room at the Inn at Spanish Bay. Tons of family heirlooms were incorporated into the wedding, including a 1913 pin passed down for generations that women in Kensington’s family wore on their wedding day (which can be seen pinned onto her dress), table runners made by her Great Great Grandmother, her Grandparent’s cake topper, her Great Great Grandmother’s ring pillow, and more, which start back in the 1800s!

The entire day was absolutely breathtaking from beginning to end. Their ceremony took place on the green at the Lodge overlooking the most beautiful blue water and the famous Pebble beach golf course. It was like a dream! Their cocktail hour continued over at the Inn at Spanish Bay with it’s picturesque rolling hills (with it’s own bagpiper!) and crashing waves. All of their guests sat at one long table for dinner, inside a library private room. The bride and her friends even surprised their guests (and groom!) with an ode to Beetlejuice with the “Day-o” song and dance!

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Photography: Kristin La Voie Photography | Floral Design: Fleurish Floral Designs | Wedding Dress: Allure Bridal | Invitations: Wedding Paper Divas | Ceremony Venue: Pebble Beach Resorts | Reception Venue: Pebble Beach Resorts | Bride's Shoes: Badgley Mischka

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