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Boho Chic Wedding on the Beaches of Anguilla

If you’ve ever dreamed of a wedding on the beaches of the Caribbean, glistening ocean as the backdrop with sand squished between your toes – take note from this Anguilla “I do.” Destination wedding extraordinaire, Michelle Rago brought her expertise to the table with paper pretties by Cheree Berry Paper, and it all made for an epic day captured by Braedon Photography. This way to sunny skies and so much more.

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Seasons
Summer

From Michelle Rago Destinations… The bride’s father has a gorgeous home on Anguilla where we were able to host both the ceremony and cocktails, which created such a sense of intimacy and family. Eliza was able to get ready in her bedroom and walk straight out past the pool and face the sea for their ceremony.

The inspiration was Bohemian Chic for ceremony. We created a chuppah out of driftwood collected throughout the year and adorned with orchids and hydrangea. We also accentuated the aisle with manzanita and orchids.

The reception dinner and late night fun took place at the Malliouhana Hotel, where Eliza and Chris got engaged. We transformed the restaurant which sits on a cliff overlooking the ocean.

The ceiling was strung with orchids and hanging candles which twinkled and swayed in the breeze. The centerpieces were all white, lush and low. The flowers were white hydrangea and dendrobium and phalaenopsis orchids. We created a lounge for dancing under the stars after dinner and then moved guests up to the pool for late night dance party with fun lighting!

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Photography: Braedon Photography | Cinematography: Hart Pictures | Wedding Planning: Michelle Rago Destinations | Wedding Dress: Naeem Khan | Ceremony Venue: Private Residence | Reception Venue: The Restaurant at Malliouhana | Makeup: Deanna Imerti | Hair: Nikki Avanzino | Music: Asher and Vanessa | Paperie: Cheree Berry Paper | Rehearsal Dinner Venue: The Dune Preserve | Wedding Design: Couture Concepts

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{ The latest from our most exclusive, hand-picked list of vendors }
Santorini Set the Stage for a Modern, Minimalist Wedding We Adore

Ever since I first saw The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants, Santorini has held the #1 spot on my travel bucket list. I mean, with scenery like this can you even blame me? It’s a slice of heaven on earth and Nikki and Vinod felt the very same. They exchanged vows in this incredible locale, with vendors like Santorini Glam WeddingsBetty Flowers Santorini and Ben Yew by their side. The result? Utter perfection.

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From Santorini Glam WeddingsIf we had to describe Santorini in two words then it would definitely be “white” and “unique view”. Nikki and Vinod’s wedding took place at Rocabella Hotel, a venue which combines these two words and provides the perfect white canvas for us to work on!

Of course, such a special place needs discreet and delicate decoration in order to complete the unique landscape and not overshadow it. We started the planning process only a few months prior to the wedding, and I have to admit that when our journey reached this spectacular day, all I wanted was for this day to last as long as possible.

Nikki had a very clear idea of what she likes, and I just loved the way she wanted to incorporate Greek elements into the decoration and styling of the wedding. I still remember those late evening (early morning for her) Skype calls brainstorming all possible ideas until we found the perfect elements for her dream wedding!

What made this wedding so special, apart from the couple of course, was the amazing team of people working behind it. We always advise and guide our couples to pick their vendors carefully. When you work with people you trust and who share the same vision as you, the result is unbelievable.

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Photography: Ben Yew Photography + Film | Cinematography: AnkerProd | Event Design: Santorini Glam Weddings | Event Planning: Santorini Glam Weddings | Floral Design: Betty Flowers Santorini | Ceremony Venue: Rocabella | Reception Venue: Rocabella | Calligraphy: Santorini Glam Weddings | DJ: Multimedia Events | Furniture Rentals: Spicy Bites | Guitar Player: Michalis Karamolegos | Scooter: Donkey Scooters

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Three of Our Favorite Ways to Thank Your Wedding Party + Guests

Weddings are all about celebrating you and yours, but take it from us… thanking those closest to you for joining you along that journey to happily ever after is just as important. That’s why we absolutely adore Shutterfly, our go-to source for customizable wedding products that take gift giving to an entirely new level. They offer totally unique + meaningful gifts (hello, personalized wine glass!) at a price point that will make your hearts (and wedding budget) happy. See three of our faves below.

Shown below: Perfect Pair Heart Stemless Wine Glass

The Perfect Wine Glass

If there’s one thing my friends and I love to do, it’s kick back with a tasty glass of red and chat for hours on end. Which is why stemless wine glasses from Shutterfly might be my most favorite guest gift yet. The perfect favor or “thank you” for those that helped you navigate through wedding planning (and life!), it’s a little something that everyone can use and the personalized touches really, really steal the spotlight.

Shown below: Perfect Pair Heart Canvas Tote Bag and Flamingo Canvas Pouch 

A Bag That Makes a Statement

So we all know prepping for the Big Day takes every tool in your beauty arsenal, but when you’re a bridesmaid, lugging it all around isn’t exactly the easiest. I’ve been there, done that a time or two… or three. So, this sweet canvas tote and pouch from Shutterfly? The most practical and awesome gift ever for your besties. I mean, you can fill it with everything they’ll ever need for THE day (hello, slippers, chapstick and cute bridesmaid t-shirt), plus use it again and again once the celebrations are over. It’s a total win-win.

Shown below: Classic Monogram Growler and Circle Monogram Pilsner Glass 

The Coolest Growler Ever

The men in your bridal party need love, too, and if you’re searching for something they’ll remember the day by (and use long after), this growler from Shutterfly is most definitely a winner. And, hey, let’s be honest… your ladies will love it, too. It’s the perfect way to have your special brew on hand (for all of those amazing toasts), all while toting something that is sooo unique to you and your special someone. We love how cool this is. And bonus points for the personalized pilsner glass.

So there you have it. Three of our fave ways to tell the ones you love just how thankful you are. Need even more ideas for crazy cool gifts that are thoughtful, personal AND unique? Take our advice and head to Shutterfly today to browse their entire selection of awesome gifts and fall in love with their high-quality products and fabulous price points. With Shutterfly, that meaningful gift could not be easier (just like their ordering process)… we honestly couldn’t ask for more.

How to Please Your Bridesmaids When Everyone’s Got an Opinion

Deciding on my bridesmaids was very special. In a way, it was like a walk down memory lane. Together, my eight bridesmaids represented the different parts of my life, from my school years to my stint on The Bachelor. Of course, the thought of juggling eight different opinions, styles, and personalities was intimidating – but that was all part of the fun. Here’s how I made sure everyone felt included while maintaining my sanity!

Take Their Opinions Into Account

We’ve all been in that wedding where we were forced to wear that dress. You know, the $300 satin monstrosity that hasn’t seen the light of day since you stuffed into the back of your closet after the wedding. I didn’t want that to happen with my bridesmaids so I invited them into the decision-making process. Now, you want to be careful with this because you don’t want to be overwhelmed with opinions. But it’s always fun to go on a shopping day with your girls. You can pop some bubbly and sit back while they model for you. At the same time, you already have a sense for what they like and absolutely hate. No matter what you decide, they’ll appreciate you taking the time to hear their fashion thoughts and opinions.

Be Budget Conscious

Ugh, nobody likes thinking about money! I used to work in a bridal salon as a consultant and I witnessed countless brides struggling to balance their budgets against their dreams. When it came to my bridesmaids, I was aware that they would be sacrificing their time and money to be in my wedding. As such, I did everything I could to show them my appreciation. For your maids, be sensitive to their unique situations. Maybe one is in school right now and can’t swing a super expensive bridesmaid dress. Overall, the most important thing is that these women are in your life – not whether they’re wearing a designer gown.

Find compromises, like renting your bridesmaid dresses. Your friendship is the most important thing and should come first- always!

Go For Different Necklines

As a bridal designer, I had a vision for my wedding. I knew I wanted my girls in long, flowing dresses in a particular shade of pinkish red that would feel fashion-forward yet romantic. However, my bridesmaids had different body types. When I used to be a consultant, I loved helping women discover their best styles for themselves. Naturally, I wanted to do the same for my bridesmaids! Even though the dresses were all the same color and similar in style, I picked a unique neckline tailored to each girl’s frame. At the end of the day, the most important thing was that they could dance all night long next to me without worrying about wardrobe malfunctions.

If you want a unified look, you can still get one by doing the same thing. Nowadays, there are tons of bridesmaid designers that offer dresses with different necklines. This way, you can highlight each girl’s features while giving them any support they may need. For example, if you have a busty bridesmaid, you can put her in a style with straps – she’ll get lift and will still be able to wear a bra.

Just Set Perimeters

Another bridesmaid fashion approach is to take the non-approach! Trust your girls? Want a mix and match look? Let your ladies pick their own frocks. Of course, you’ll want to set some perimeters (the last thing you want is to have one girl in light blue chiffon while another one is in navy charmeuse). Send them inspirational photos and a few guiding principles, like hue and length. And, just so you don’t induce any night terrors relating to bridesmaid dress disasters, ask to approve the gowns ahead of time and reserve your veto power! But don’t worry – your girls have great taste and, most of all, they want to make you happy.

At The End Of The (Wedding) Day

Looking back on my wedding planning, I don’t remember the stresses or the little things that went wrong. I remember my closest girlfriends holding my hands on the dance floor and raising a glass to Chris and I. So guess what? No matter how tricky it might get to navigate the various dynamics with your bridesmaids, when it’s over, all you’ll think about are those happy blurs of dancing, hugging, and celebrating.

Peek Back at Desiree’s Wedding!

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Desiree Hartsock

The Bachlerotte,Bridal Designer,Author