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Sweet Whistle

There’s gift giving, and then there is gift giving with Sweet Whistle, an online boutique that takes wedding gifting to an entirely new level of awesome.  Imagine a modern + fresh take on telling your nearest and dearest thank you (or asking your bestie to be your bridesmaid) with carefully curated boxes that are as fun and festive as they are pretty.  Sweet Whistle “wraps an experience”… and it shows.

With Sweet Whistle, meaningful gifts just got a whole lot easier with custom packaging, fabulous customer service and a made for the occasion approach.  Think a plethora of gift pairing options to choose from, amazing personalization, direct shipping to you OR your event space and a Sweet Whistle gifting guru overseeing the entire process, guaranteeing your style and price point.  Not to mention that each curated gift from Sweet Whistle is sourced primarily from artisans in the Unites States that are known for their fabulous food or wares.  Which means those whimsically packaged boxes so meticulously put together are more than perfect for welcome boxes, turndown gifts, event favors, bridal party gifts and thank you’s.

Visit Sweet Whistle today to start your amazing journey into gifting the right way.  And don’t forget to ask them about their custom options!

the-giveaway

What: Sweet Whistle is giving away one “The Sweetest Thing” gift box, sent with their signature “XOXO” packaging! (Value $75)

How: To enter, head on over to Sweet Whistle and leave a comment below telling us which gift package you can’t wait to order for your big day!

Who: One lucky winner, chosen completely at random, will be announced right here on SMP on May 1, 2015!  For terms and conditions, click here. Good luck, lovelies!

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Modern Brooklyn Wedding at 501 Union

501 Union is quickly becoming one of my favorite standout sites. Chic and versatile, it can take on the vibe of any sort of celebration and for this spring soiree it embraced modernity with Bella Figura’s gorgeous stationery suite and pretty pastels with these beautiful blooms by Bourgeon. Brklyn View Photography captured every perfect petal and sweet embrace; see all these stylish snaps right this way.

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From Brklyn View PhotographyAshley’s stunning wedding dress from Nicole Miller was accented with her Lulu Frost jewelry, gold heels and bright red lipstick. Ashley’s three sisters, along with their mother, wore shades of blush bridesmaid dresses from BHLDN and carried stunning bouquets from Bourgen. The brides drop-dead gorgeous bouquet literally took my breath away!

Jonathon shared a round of drinks with his best men at the nearby Lavender Lake before sharing his first look with Ashley outside of 501 Union. The weather called for rain throughout the day but we were lucky enough to be outside for their portraits around the venue and along the Gowanus canal.

The couple met in New York but their wedding was full of guests who traveled from all over the globe. Their intimate ceremony was officiated by Jonathon’s best friend, who after a brief incident with the microphone, happily pronounced them husband and wife. There was not a dry eye in the crowd! It’s customary British tradition for the best man’s speech to embarrass the groom, which of course had everyone laughing in their seats! The couple opted to share Dough Doughnuts instead of a traditional wedding cake and danced the night away with sounds from Scratch Weddings.

Ashley and Jonathon are one of the nicest, sweetest and most thoughtful couples I’ve had the privilege of photographing on their wedding day. I’m so honored I could be their with them to capture their happiness and document their amazing wedding! Congratulations Ashley and Jonathon!

Bridesmaids' Dresses: BHLDN | Calligraphy: Everly Calligraphy | Catering: Ryan Brown Catering | DJ: Scratch Weddings | Day Of Coordinator: Jove Meyer | Dessert: Dough Brooklyn | Floral Design: Bourgeon | Hair: Styles On B | Jewelry: Lulu Frost | Makeup Artist: Laramie Glen | Photobooth: Magnolia Photo Booth Co. | Photography: Brklyn View Photography | Shoes: J. Crew | Stationery: Bella Figura | Veil: Lovely Bride | Wedding Dress: Nicole Miller | Wedding Venue: 501 Union

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Surprise Wedding at Blue Hill Farm

With all the details that go into planning a wedding, we can’t imagine pulling together a day this beautiful in just 4 months. But that’s not the only remarkable thing this couple did, they also managed to keep it a secret! These guests were in for quite a treat when they arrived at New York’s Blue Hill Farm. With stunning florals from Rountree Flowers and Erik Ekroth capturing every lovely detail, we are in love with this surprise affair!

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From the Bride … Surprise! When our small group of friends and family arrived in the silo area of Blue Hill at Stone Barns on September 26, 2014 to celebrate our engagement over an intimate dinner (and wine, lots of wine), however, they had no idea that in less than 30 minutes, they would bear witness to the most memorable moment of our lives: the moment we said “I do!” Our experience shows that you really can plan a dream wedding in 3 months … while moving across the country, starting a new full time job, and keeping it all a big secret!

Ever since Dave planned our first “mystery date” we have taken every opportunity to surprise each other with fun dates ranging from special dinners, to baseball games, to road trips out to the lavender fields in Long Island. We’ve had so much fun surprising each other (and getting surprised!), that it was only fitting to turn the tables and work together to surprise our friends and family. Further, by keeping it a surprise, Dave and I could make our special day entirely our own, not worrying about the well-meaning friends and family members who many times want to insert their own opinions into the planning process.

Only my mother and father knew! They both did a great job of keeping mum and, to be honest, I never could have pulled off such a magical wedding without everything my mom did to help. She even had a few surprises for us up her sleeve in terms of décor, but stayed very true to keeping everything in line with what we had envisioned. The wedding was a surprise to everyone else, even my brother, my closest girlfriends, and Dave’s family and friends.

While Dave and my father welcomed our guests, I “hid” upstairs in the HayLoft bridal suite, which had a little window from which to see everyone getting off the shuttle. Somehow Dave managed to play it cool (it was my exceptionally emotional father about whom we worried the most!), saying hellos and making introductions before leading everyone outside. A surprise to us, my mom worked with a calligrapher in North Carolina to design a special font for our big day, using that design to create chalkboards welcoming our guests and letting them know what was about to take place! Looking back, they really made the wedding. Beyond letting guests know what was coming, the font and style set the mood for the evening – rustic and laidback, but at the same time adding a level of detail that demonstrated that, despite being a surprise and taking place only 4 months after getting engaged, our wedding was by no means thrown together as an afterthought.

Boots: Frye Boots | Ceremony Venue: Blue Hill At Stone Barns | Floral Design: Rountree Flowers | Hair / Makeup: Margie Bresciani | Music: Venus Ensembles | Photography: Erik Ekroth | Programs: Paper Source | Reception Venue: Blue Hill At Stone Barns | Shoes: Jimmy Choo | Wedding Dress: Olia Zavozina | Wooden "Surprise" Signs: Sawmill Creations

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Elegant New York City Summer Wedding

Whenever I visit New York City, no matter the season, Bryant Park is one of my do-not-miss spots, but in the summer it truly blossoms. Saying your “I do’s” here, among all the big city beauty, is one for the books and Lane Dittoe captured this elegant summer celebration in all its glory. This gallery has me not only aching for the sweetness of summer but for a Big Apple adventure as well.

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From the Bride… Our wedding from start to finish was a dream come true. Richard Chiu and I (Diana Her) met in a college class in New York City but didn’t start dating until many years later with a chance meeting on a cold winters day in a coffee shop.

After dating a little under a year we knew we wanted to be together forever. It was a match neither of us could thought would ever happen. Richard is Taiwanese American and I am Brazilian-Taiwanese, and we both grew up away from our parents, so we matched together on many levels.

On Valentine’s Day 2013, us forever became a reality. I really had no idea it was coming and I’m usually keen on picking up surprises. Richard cleverly botched dinner reservations to a restaurant I wanted to try to fluster me, which worked perfectly, because I was quite annoyed. We had to scramble and find any place to eat given many restaurants were booked for Valentine’s Day. He surprised me towards the end of dinner with Broadway tickets. As the show concluded, I thought that was the end of the evening as we walked towards the subway station to head home, until he wanted me to close my eyes in front of the subway station. With my eyes closed and not knowing at all what was happening, he guided me towards a path and I felt us riding an elevator going up. When I finally could open my eyes I was staring at Richard on his knees on top of Times Square with a bed of roses spelling out “Will You Marry Me?” I pretty much obliged and said “Yes!” with tears in my eyes. And little did I know he had already asked my parents for their permission to marry me. That was the sweetest thing.

The very next day I immediately started to plan the wedding I always wanted. We explored venues throughout New York City and Long Island, but nowhere seemed quite right until we went back to Bryant Park the second time, with the thought of having a wedding there. Bryant Park was perfect – summer in New York City to me is always majestic and grand. There is just something about towering skyscrapers surrounding a lush green lawn and landscape. As I stood on the grass and took in the view of the park, there was a sense of peace and beauty among the dense crowd of people and the bustling sounds of the Big Apple. This was it! This is where I wanted to marry the love of my life.

We were thrilled with Lane Dittoe’s photography as we met him for the first time in San Francisco and Napa Valley for our engagement photo shoot at Castello di Amorosa. It was like having a bit of Italy here in the US, we felt like we were in a movie.

Richard and I had the time of our lives, and I’ll never forget the joy and love on the faces of all of our friends and family gathered around us in this special day.

Bride's Shoes: Christian Louboutin | Bridesmaids' Dresses: Jenny Yoo | Floral Design: Occasion 9 | Groom's Tux: Calvin Klein | Hair And Makeup: Vicky C5 | Photo Site: Times Square | Photo Site: New York Public Library | Photo Site: Bryant Park Hotel | Photography: Lane Dittoe | Reception Venue: Bryant Park Grill | Shoes: Jimmy Choo | Stationery: Wedding Paper Diva | Veil: Vera Wang | Wedding Bands And Engagement Rings: Cartier | Wedding Cake: Sugar Flower Cake Shop | Wedding Dress: Vera Wang

These Vendors are members of our Little Black Book.
For membership information, click here
These Featured Designers are members of our Look Book.
For membership information, click here
Bridal Fitness Inspiration For Your Wedding Day

Raise your hand if one of your big wedding goals is to get ‘in shape’. I’m betting lots of digits are up in the air! There’s no denying a wedding is a serious motivator to get fit and healthy. So today, we’re diving into the topic with this fresh inspiration from Rebecca Yale paired with tips from five SoulCycle instructors, where loving your body and strengths takes center stage, because strong is the new sexy.

WHAT TIPS DO YOU HAVE FOR BRIDES-TO-BE FOR GETTING FIT AND HEALTHY FOR THEIR WEDDING?

Erin T: Come up with a regimen that you actually see yourself continuing post wedding. You will invest more in this new lifestyle and instead of it feeling like “crunch time” (no pun intended!) it will feel like a new and exciting chapter in your life…just like your marriage should feel! Plus, there are tons of celebratory events leading up to the wedding that can lead to unhealthy choices. These are some of the few times in your life where all of your loved ones are coming together from afar to celebrate you! You only live once, so make sure you don’t let fear and stress hold you back from fully enjoying these events, just make it a goal not to over indulge.

Becca: It’s all about what makes you feel good!! Focus on gradual lifestyle changes rather than abrupt dietary restrictions and strenuous workouts. Choose foods that won’t weigh you down and focus on an exercise that will make you feel successful. Your wedding should be all about you, so you want to set yourself up with confidence and strength rather than a stressful crash diet and overwhelming workouts.

WAS THERE A CERTAIN PART OF YOUR BODY YOU CHOSE TO ACCENTUATE FOR YOUR WEDDING? WHAT EXERCISE DID YOU DO TO FOCUS ON IT?

Madison: Definitely my upper body. I have a bigger chest and decided to wear strapless. I started watching a lot of YouTube videos for toned arms! Loved it. There is also a tough arms section in all SoulCycle classes – when you teach multiple classes a week, that really adds up!

Karyn: Most wedding dresses are sleeveless which means you’ll be showing off your arms. In preparation for putting those naked limbs on display I would do the following: Bicep Curls using 10-15 lb hand weights, Pushups (great overall body exercise, but big focus on chest, shoulders and back), Tricep Presses overhead with one 15-20 lb weight, Tricep Dips, Shoulder Presses overhead with 15-20 lb weight.

WHAT IS YOUR TOP AT-HOME WORKOUT TIP FOR PEOPLE THAT DON’T HAVE SOULCYCLE IN THEIR AREA?

Sunny: I’m always game for a good run. Throw on your favorite songs, put on your sneakers, go out for a quick run and break a sweat!! So good for you. And if you can’t go outdoors, a quick plank while you hum through one round of your favorite song will get your body feeling a little tighter!

Erin T: Be flexible and don’t have crazy expectations! If you are too busy to get to the gym, the day is not lost, fit in some kind of workout even if it is at home during the commercial breaks of your favorite show. It is usually not the missed workout, but how much we beat ourselves up about it, that significantly slows down our progress. Also if the weather is nice, try and get outside!

Karyn: Bodyweight exercises! Squats, lunges, planks, pushups, tricep dips. They’re incredibly effective and versatile (you can add variations, target different body parts based on hand/foot positioning). Mix cardio in (jumping jacks, jump squats, burpees, mountain climbers, etc.) to really up the calorie burn.

HOW DID YOU APPROACH FITNESS AND NUTRITION WHEN PREPPING FOR YOU WEDDING?

Madison: Since I work in the fitness industry working out wasn’t an issue but I knew my eating habits would have to change. I ate a lot more at home and shopping at the farmers market for the freshest ingredients. After a few months I realized I liked cooking so much that I stuck with it even after the wedding.

Karyn: Listening to my body. Eating clean (whole foods, nothing processed) makes me feel good physically and mentally. The same thing goes for working out. Exercise increases your overall health and your sense of well-being, making you feel more confident. Just get moving. Personally, I’ve never regretted working out. Just something to think about!

WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE SNACK TO KEEP YOU ENERGIZED DURING THOSE STRESSFUL PRE-WEDDING MONTHS?

Sunny: A mixed baby greens salad with plain or candied walnuts (plain is healthier choice), grapefruit, beets already prepped (Trader Joe’s and Whole Foods sells them this way), goat cheese crumbles and a drizzle of balsamic vinegar.

Madison: A DIY Green Juice, the perfect post-spin drink. Ingredients: Kale, Spinach, Celery, Ginger, Pear, Lemon.

Erin: Avocado toast with olive oil and chili pepper flakes.

Karyn: A protein smoothie. Ingredients: A couple ice cubes, a handful of spinach, blueberries (frozen or fresh), half a banana, a spoonful of almond butter, 1/2 cup to 1 cup of almond milk, 1 scoop of protein powder (I use BiPro whey protein).

Becca: DIY Tzatziki Yogurt. Ingredients: Chopped cucumber added to a plain Chobani yogurt with olive oil, salt and pepper.

WEDDING DRESS SHOPPING TIPS FROM Kleinfeld Bridal, Fashion Director, Terry Hall…

1. Strapless is a great way to show off your shoulders and clavicle, which is very subtly sexy. A deep V like the Dennis Basso that Karyn wore is a great way for a bride to show off her toned arms and chest because the eye is drawn downwards to the V and toned arms frame that V. 

2. For a bride who is proud of her legs, high-low illusion dresses have become very popular as can be seen in both Erin’s Zuhair Murad and Pnina Tornai dresses. The overall effect of the floor length illusion dress still elongates the body for an elegant look making the bride appear taller, yet still leaves room for the fun element of showing off those legs. 

3. Brides should look at their gowns as a piece of art regardless of price point—the focus of the dress can draw the eye to a certain point and accentuate what you love, while also drawing attention away from other areas. Madison’s striped mermaid Hayley Paige dress elongates the body starting at the sweetheart neckline and showing off some subtle cleavage without being too on display. 

4. You can always make a dress smaller, but it can be very difficult to have a dress made larger so buy the dress at your current size and then tailor it. Alterations are a vital part of how the dress will look and you don’t want to cut corners.

From Rebecca Yale PhotographyAs a wedding photographer I get to meet brides early in their wedding planning process. Over the next year of planning those brides will be constantly inundated with marketing and media telling them to lose weight for their wedding. Every bride wants to look her best on her wedding day and there’s nothing wrong with that, it’s a wonderful goal to get healthy and fit and feel great both inside and out before and after your wedding. As someone who’s never been very athletic, discovering SoulCycle was a game changer before my sister’s wedding. The idea is to focus on health and fitness not inches and dress sizes and pretty quickly you end up feeling great and that confidence shines from the inside out on your big day. We asked five Soul Cycle instructors to model wedding dresses that show off their favorite body part and asked Kleinfeld’s bridal expert, Terry Hall, for some tips on how every bride can show of their favorite feature!

From SoulCycleFor many brides, wedding planning comes hand in hand with strict diets and endless trips to the gym. There is an undeniable pressure to lose weight for the big day and many turn to unhealthy extremes. Though, in the wake of recent “strong is the new skinny” messaging, we are seeing a new wave of women focused more on being and feeling healthy and fit instead of obsessing over their dress size. SoulCycle is a fitness community aligned with these same values. Brides ride at SoulCycle to prep for their weddings and get encouragement and motivation from the community. Aside from getting fit, SoulCycle is a place where brides-to-be come to de-stress from all the planning! The 45-minutes during class allow riders to forget about everything else, set an intention, and focus on themselves. We also host fun events for weddings parties, bachelorette parties—you name it! It’s always such a fun experience.

From Cheeky DetailsWe kept this shoot simple and fresh while letting the SoulCycle message shine through: “Take your journey, change your body, find your SOUL.” We incorporated a floral palette that consisted primarily of yellows (Soul’s color) and whites. We constructed a hanging floral backdrop,hung from the ceiling for the ladies to strike a pose in front of and loved how the yellow flowing pops added a touch of whimsy to this otherwise modern space. The second set was our favorite and was completely inspired by the black and white photo collage backdrops that Soul uses to surround their logo in their studios. As luck would have it, the shoot venue had large panel doors that were gridded—we decided that it would be the perfect way to incorporate a subtle nod to something so inspiring. We adhered 72 stems of all different types of yellow flowers to each panel to create a floral wall backdrop for the group shots—simple, yet absolutely stunning.

Accessories: Hushed Commotion | Both Wedding Dresses (Karyn): Dennis Basso | China: Vera Wang | Floral Design: Cheeky Details | Hair and Makeup: FaceTime Beauty Concierge | Models: SoulCycle | Photography: Rebecca Yale Photography | Photography - Assistance: Rachel Watkinson | Shoes: Valentino | Shoes: Kate Spade | Shoes: Jimmy Choo | Shoes: Stuart Weitzman | Venue: Studio 404 | Wedding Dress: Kleinfeld Bridal | Wedding Dress (Becca): Mark Zunino | Wedding Dress (Erin): Zuhair Murad | Wedding Dress (Madison): Hayley Paige | Wedding Dress (Sunny): Mark Zunino | Wedding Dress Group Shot (Becca): Bliss by Monique Lhullier | Wedding Dress Group Shot (Erin): Pnina Tornai | Wedding Dress Group Shot (Madison): Mark Zunino | Wedding Dress Group Shot (Sunny): Marisa

These Vendors are members of our Little Black Book.
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These Featured Designers are members of our Look Book.
For membership information, click here
Colorful Americana Wedding in Brooklyn

For their July nuptials at 501 Union, this perfect pair wanted to celebrate America’s birthday in a fresh new way. Events By Melissa McNeeley utilized coral and navy accents and seasonal staples to set the scene. From quintessential summer foods a la Betty Brooklyn to 74 Events kicking off the festivities with party crackers, every detail Lindsay Hite snapped was elegant yet celebratory and it’s all here!

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From the beautiful Bride… For our July 3rd wedding, we wanted to evoke the feeling of the 4th of July without American Flags and presidential portraits. We chose our colors, navy, coral and ivory as a play on red, white and blue. We also wanted to focus on the idea of celebrating Americana and summer, so we incorporated little details like baseball and backyard games as well as quintessential summer foods like watermelon, lemonade and pie (who doesn’t love pie?).

For favors, we did sparklers and matchbooks which both hit the 4th of July theme, as well as a traditional wedding favor with the matchbooks, something that has been a family tradition. The key was to use all these details in a way that still felt elegant and celebratory, which we accomplished with the help of our awesome vendors. Some of our favorite elements were the party crackers to kick the night off, ombre centerpieces and table numbers made to look like baseball pennants.

Bridal Boutique: Mark Ingram Atelier | Catering: Betty Brooklyn | Ceremony And Reception: 501 Union | DJ: 74 Events | Design Consultant, Graphic Design & Signage: Sharpshooter Signs | Event Planning: Events By Melissa McNeeley | Floral Design: Mimosa Floral Design Studio | Hair And Makeup: Sharon Becker | Photography: Lindsay Hite / READYLUCK | Wedding Dress: Anne Barge

These Vendors are members of our Little Black Book.
For membership information, click here
These Featured Designers are members of our Look Book.
For membership information, click here