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Michelin-Star Chefs Give Their Food Predictions for the 2018 Wedding Season

For couples planning their wedding, one of the most important (and fun!) components is the curation of the dinner menu. There might be preconceived notions about what might be served, but whether or not you’re a foodie or a less adventurous eater, it’s worth hearing from the world’s best chefs on what’s trending up.

If you’re looking for a guide (or even validation) on what cuisine to offer up on your wedding day, look no further.

Beautiful food + drink
Tiffany Pascua, executive pastry chef at Hotel Bel-Air, says the painted cake trend is still going strong and Hugo Bolanos, executive chef at the same property, expect to see curated beverage lists where presentation is part of the allure

Meatless options get beefed up
A common sight in Michelin starred restaurants is an uptick in Mother Nature’s harvest. “There is an increase in interest around plant and vegetable-based dishes, says Adam Smith, executive chef at Coworth Park, who makes it a point to source local produce for his dishes.

Alessandro Buffolino, head chef at Acanto, echoes this sentiment. “I expect to see more offering options like vegan cheese, meatless entrees or vegan frozen desserts.” But bland, dairy-free flavors are a thing of the past. Buffolino predicts chefs will surprise their customers with sweet and spice flavors, and “flavor injectors will boost the taste.

Spice up your life
“The focus on wellness shows no signs of abating,” says Henry Brosi, executive chef of The Dorchester. “We’re seeing a greater understanding from our guests [to the health benefits of] natural powders such as matcha, maca root, cacao and ground turmeric for their drinks and meals.” Expect to see a few tried and true favorite on the menu but be prepared for lesser-known ingredients says Henry.

For 2018, there will be a greater use of fungi in beverages such as coffee and tea like reishi and chaga. Chaga is known for its impressive anti-oxidant and anti-retroviral properties, and reishi for its anti-viral and anti-oxidant properties. We may also see a growing trend for algae and seaweed and gut-friendly food – Probiotic, prebiotic and anti-inflammatory ingredients.”

Doing it for the ‘Gram
Social media continues to play a strong role during wedding celebrations, but not all cameras will be glued on the couple. Guillaume Katola, executive chef at The Grill, says chefs will continue to create novel dishes that appeal to an online audience. For example, the gin and tonic souffle offered on The Grill’s menu during the summer. Overall, he believes dining will continue to put an emphasis on experiential with theatrical items such as tableside service for meat, fish and cocktails.

Japanese dining on the rise
In keeping with the health trend, Asian cooking techniques are trending up. Rather than using salt, chefs like Adam are opting for fermentation, picking and the use of soy to enhance flavors. This method of cooking is more sustainable than what we see in the West. Adam hopes this leads to the minimization of food waste and a trend in the use of overlooked ingredients such as offal.

Style Me Pretty Contributor – Ximena N. Larkin is a writer and publicist. She lives in Chicago with her husband and dog.

Saturday Morning Movie: An Elegant + Traditional Indian Wedding

An elegant wedding is always a winner but add in the infusion of the Bride and Groom’s Indian culture and this piece by Light Cannon Films becomes extra special. From the vibrant colors of the florals and the attire to the never-ending smiles, love and dancing, it’s a whirlwind wedding that we are more than eager to get swept up into. Sit back and enjoy these five minutes of pure joy!

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From Light Cannon Films… Awanti and Alok are the whole package. They are gorgeous, obviously. They are smart – Awanti is a lawyer and Alok is a dentist. They have a huge circle of supportive friends, they cherish their family. They’re fun, they’re performers, they sparkled in the spotlight of their wedding weekend. And they are the best of friends. For their 3-day event, family came from across the globe to witness their union. Awanti did much of the planning herself, which is a feat that we cannot imagine accomplishing. It was a beautiful, colorful blend of Indian and American traditions, making it truly their own.

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Photography: Vesic Photography | Videography: Light Cannon Films | Event Design: Katen Shah | Cake: Once In A Blue Moon Bakery | Catering: Navel Sethi | Hair + Makeup: Belladev Studio | DJ: DJ Rang | Dholi: Jeetu with Rang

5 Best Wedding Shows to Binge Watch This Weekend

When you’re planning a wedding, your brain is all wedding, all the time, so it makes sense that when you sit down to watch a TV show or movie, you gravitate towards wedding-related options.

Lucky for brides to be, there are a ton of shows out there to please this craving—and some of the best are streamed, so they are ideal for a night of binge watching. Here are a few of our favorites!


SAY YES TO THE DRESS
Where to watch: Netflix
Say Yes to the Dress is the classic wedding show. Getting a glimpse into the exciting moment of choosing your dress is not only interesting, but fascinating. If you haven’t picked your dress yet, it may give you some inspiration, and if you have, it’s still just as addicting. Just be careful: one episode in, and you may not be able to stop!


MARRIED AT FIRST SIGHT
Where to watch: DirectTV or Xfinity Stream
My husband and I have been watching this show since the first season, so I was excited when it came on streaming services so I could share the love with my newly engaged friends. It follows three couples who do just as the title says: they get married at first sight! The premise seems a little crazy, but the show feels very real (spoiler: a lot of the couples are still together today!) and it may even help you and your spouse get over some tension you may have.


FOUR WEDDINGS
Where to watch: TLC
Four brides attending each other’s weddings and judging those weddings on everything from the dress to the food can get pretty catty—and that’s why it’s so addicting. Plus, the show is set in all different states around the country, so you may even spot your own wedding venue on the show.


CUPCAKE WARS
Where to watch: Hulu
This may not be specifically about weddings, but something about this cupcake competition show always gets me in the mood for some wedding cake. Just try to avoid this one if you’re on a strict diet—the cupcakes look so good, you may be running out to get one after your show binge!


MARRIAGE BOOT CAMP
Where to watch: WEtv
Do you love The Real Housewives and similar reality TV shows? Marriage Boot Camp is for you. It follows couples, both married and dating, as they do different tasks to help repair their relationship. It’s funny, sometimes crazy, and totally addicting. You’ve been warned.

Style Me Pretty Contributor – Jessica Tzikas is a freelance writer, editor, and content manager from South Florida, who recently moved back to the sunshine state after living in Philadelphia for the past few years. When she isn’t writing, you can find her reading by the beach, spoiling her black lab, and exploring nearby towns with her new husband.

Wander Often, Wonder Always: 5 Lessons Learned From Camp Wed

As an educator for wedding industry professionals, I rack up my share of miles traveling to and from conferences, but none have cast a spell on me quite like Camp Wed. Tucked alongside Wandawega Lake at the eponymous Camp Wandawega, Camp Wed — the brainchild of Sarah Sarbacker and Andrea VandeBerg of Cherry Blossom Events — is a 3-day retreat for creative business owners that’s been going strong since 2015. But the workshop’s location itself? It’s a bit older. Camp Wandawega’s been in the all-American business of no-frills camp life since 1925 and has the storied, bewitching (ahem, haunted, as some would say) past to prove it, something Sarah and Andrea capitalized on. Sarah and Andrea said, “We chose this location because of its simple nature yet inspiring design and aesthetic – it’s the perfect place to reignite your creative spirit and rejuvenate as you enjoy every detail nature and camp has to offer.”

Wedding planners, designers, photographers, videographers, and the like descended on the alluring, vintage campgrounds of Wandawega, and I noticed Camp Wed dripped in hospitality from the moment I scooted my Away luggage across the gravel lot to the entrance. Read on for five things I learned from Camp Wed this fall.

1. Creativity stems from a few days off the grid.

Sunday evening, 9:25 p.m., Atlanta, Georgia:

Sitting in my desk chair in front of a Macbook Pro, iMac home office littered in art, essential oil bottles, and copious stacks of client notes. iPhone buzzing. Ready for a getaway.

Monday evening, 10:25 p.m., Elkhorn, Wisconsin:

Sitting criss-cross-apple-sauce on a twin bed taking off my eye-makeup, still grinning from the bonfire conversations I shared with other wedding pros (among whiskey sips), wrapped in a scratchy wool blanket. My hair smells like smoke, but it’s okay because I can still breathe thanks to the cracked window and crisp, night air wafting in. Waking up early for tomorrow’s workshops won’t be a problem; my alarm clock is the sound of canoes lapping against the shoreline and glinted sunlight will stream into the room.

Camp Wed woke me up from a professional reverie, pushing me to get off the grid and plant my feet somewhere unexpected. As it turns out, living inside what feels like the set of Dirty Dancing is good for your creative juices. I scribbled rough, unformed ideas in my Field Notes notebook – a gift tucked in my welcome bag – throughout the week, held a watercolor brush during a lettering workshop with Saffron Avenue’s Angela Scheffer, and wove macramé strands together during yet another workshop. Even as a speaker, I was amazed at what a retreat this was shaping up to be!

2. Define what enough looks like for you.

Under a white tent, one of six event speakers, Shanna Skidmore, dropped some insight during her talk about how we can build financially sustainable wedding industry businesses. “Have you defined what enough looks like for you?” she asked. “Decide what enough money looks like to make as a business owner, build a plan, and just work the plan.”

It’s so easy to look right and left on the Instagram scroll in our visual-driven industry, but Sarah and Andrea brought in speakers like Shanna to help us sort through what matters as business owners – being able to make money doing what we love, support our families, and still have enough time left over to live our lives well.

3. “Earthing” works.

I feel like a flaxen-haired GOOP writer, but as it turns out, Gwyneth Paltrow is right – there really is benefit in planting your bare feet into blades of grass and connecting with the earth. Hosts Sarah and Andrea seemed to innately know that a crew of 20+ women needed that and arranged for a yoga class on the green lawn of Camp Wandewega. We dismissed grinding mental wheels of client timelines, Instagram marketing strategies, and full inboxes to down-dog among the Oaks in morning sunlight following Heather Last’s lead. I was still buzzing from the Roast Coffee Catering Apple Chaider I’d just downed — Sarah and Andrea naturally arranged for a boutique coffee shop barista to drive over his espresso machines for a little morning treat — but sank into the grass feeling refreshed.

4. Sustainable marketing can help you work from a place of rest — lessening that 24/7 hustle.

Jenna Kutcher and I brought up the hard-core marketing workshops, both of us with a fire and bent towards teaching marketing that’s authentic, intentional, and most importantly, sustainable. “In the wedding industry, we’re all small fish in giant ponds,” Jenna said. “How much of us rely on social media to get booked? Can we instead focus on long-term marketing with email lists and blogs that are essentially a resource library for our brides?”Camp Wed content melded tough-love business strategy with a heart for service-driven practice, and I loved that.

5. Create a life more beautiful than your brand.

My precious friend, Katie Selvidge of Cottage Hill Magazine, created a curriculum that’s breathed life into my business more than once, and her Assured + Well workshop was on the Camp Wed lineup for everyone to enjoy. Between dappled light and spread out on woolen blankets with pens in hand, Katie leads participants through a series of pointed questions. How would you feel if you woke up and your business was gone? What would have been worth it all? What wouldn’t have been worth it? What do you really want to do with this one life you’ve been given? Psychology and emotions and business acumen collide in her workshop, and I’m so grateful Sarah and Andrea brought it to Camp Wed!

Evenings under velvet skies with jewel-toned tablescapes, chef-driven menus, local wines, and flickering candles followed days perfectly balanced between no-frills business content and curated artistic breaks. We laughed, clinked glasses, and silent disco’d into the nights, which consisted of ghost stories from Ranger Joe — an expert in the camp’s dicey, near-century of history, which turned into bacon-scented camp breakfasts with mismatched ceramic mugs straight from the kitchen cupboards.

I’m a low-key outdoorsy girl. Sure, I grew up sitting in deer stands with my dad for father-daughter time, but I’m the type to opt for the cabin over the lean-to. Good news for me and my more outdoorsy counterparts, Camp Wed and Wandawega offer both. My soul needs rest and creative shake-ups as a business owner. Camp Wed steadied my year as one of the anchor memories. Thank goodness for the vintage, felt pennant flag hanging in my office — a Camp Wed gift — reminding me to “wander often, wonder always.”

In a nutshell, if you’re a wedding professional, do me a favor, pin one of these images to your secret Pinterest vision board, and decide to make it happen one day – there are so many educational opportunities out there, but there’s nothing like this enchanting wedding workshop among the Wisconsin pines.

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Ashlyn Carter is a conversion copywriter for creatives and a calligrapher. She’s crazy about serving you as a storyteller, so you can make time for what matters — things like margin and white space, good books, and naps. You can find her at Ashlyn Writes.


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Photography: Lexia Frank Photography | Event Design: Cherry Blossom Events | Floral Design: Pollen House | Floral Design: Flora By Jamae | Catering: Black Sheep Whitewater | Catering: Lombardino's | Catering: Bloom Bake Shop | Catering: Johnny Delmonico's Steakhouse | Catering: Upstairs Downstairs Catering | Venue: Camp Wandawega | Tent: McVey Tents | Bar: The Borrowed Bar | Coffee Bar: Roast Coffee Company | Craft Bar: Revel | DJ and Lighting: Sound by Design | Dessert: To Di For Baking | Event Production: Cherry Blossom Events | Event Production: One Fine Day Productions | Linens: BBJ Linen | Rentals: Event Essentials | Rentals : A La Crate Vintage Rentals | Silent Disco: Degy Entertainment | Speaker: Jenna Kutcher | Speaker: Saffron Avenue | Speaker: Katie Selvidge | Speaker: Shanna Skidmore | Speaker: Ashlyn Carter | Sponsor: Spoonflower | Sponsor : Platinum Events | Swag Contributor: Big White Yeti | Swag Contributor: Boxed Water Is Better | Swag Contributor: Cookies by kate | Swag Contributor: Three Potato Four | Swag Contributor: Indulgence Chocolates | Swag Contributor: Fern and Nettle | Swag Contributor: Quince and Apple | Swag Contributor : Field Notes | Swag Contributor : JD Wolfe Pottery | Swag Contributor : tactile craftwork | Wine Sponsor: Botham Vineyards

This Two Piece Wedding Dress is Boho Bridal Goals

Going for an elegant approach to rustic, this couple infused Holman Ranch with jewel tones, and open air tablescapes crafted at the hands of Be Hitched and Willi Wild Flower. From bridesmaids in black to a two piece bridal gown by Bo and Luca, the fashion only adds to the elegance of this day. Take a peek at the full celebration photographed by Carlie Statsky along with a film by Gold and Gumption.

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When planning our wedding we decided early on that we weren’t going to do anything that day just because it was “traditional” or there was an expectation it would happen. We planned everything around what we love and the people we love- the result was magical. The theme throughout the day was “rustic elegant.” Our beautiful bridesmaids wore black dresses and our flowers had a fresh picked wild flower look. Our favorite moments of the day were taking photos/videos with our insanely talented photographers & videographers, who also happened to have hearts of gold along with their talent. As well as dancing to our favorite music by a DJ who was everything but a “traditional wedding DJ.” Photographs and videos are important to us so we made sure to have not only photographers & videographers but also a simple high quality black and white photo booth, and polaroid cameras for guests. We had lots of kids in attendance so I made special name cards with handmade coloring books as well as a full s’more bar and fire pits. We knew we needed to find caterers that would leave our guests full and satisfied so when we met Paradise caterers we knew they had to be ours! Our family style meal with a huge hit with all our guests and nobody left our wedding hungry! Looking back on the day we still can’t believe that we get to call it “our wedding.” It was simply the most fun, elegant, light, laughter filled weekend that we wish could have lasted forever! Luckily we have the photos, videos, and memories to last a lifetime.

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Photography: Carlie Statsky | videographer: Gold & Gumption | Floral design: Willi Wildflower | Wedding Dress: Bo & Luca | cake: The Buttery | Invitations: Minted | Bride's Shoes: Steve Madden | Bridesmaid dresses: Show Me Your Mumu | catering: Paradise Catering | Hair & makeup: Caysi Jean | groom's suit: Ermenegildo Zegna | transportation : Pacific Monarch Ltd | Ceremony & reception: Holman Ranch | Dress boutique: LOHO Bride | Groom's shoes: Santoni | Music: Jeremy Black | Photo Booth: Kande Photo Booths | Planning & design : Be Hitched | Rentals: Chic Event Rentals | hair chain: LITTER SF

3 Common Fears Women Have + How To Overcome Them

If ever there were a time for women to stand up against their fears and crush them, now would be it. We all have fears (even you, guys!) but today, we’re talking with life coach, Yana German about those that affect women a bit more directly—and more importantly, how to conquer and overcome them.

1. Am I good enough?

This is one of the most common questions that I discuss with my clients. A lot of women feel they need to be perfect in every aspect of their lives: parenthood, marriage, work, and home—just to name a few. This results in a lot of self-doubt, feeling like a failure and even depression.

How To Overcome

Allow yourself to acknowledge that you are not in charge and that you are simply a student in life trying to learn and take life as it comes. Try to remember the things you are grateful for. When you wake up in the morning write it down and read it out loud 3 times to train your mind to be more kind towards yourself.

Whenever you start questioning yourself or start describing yourself with shameful words, write them down on a piece of paper until you can’t think if anything else. Once you’re done tear it apart. This will help you let go of any negative thoughts or unrealistics expectations.

2. Speaking to be a big audience.

Women often express fear of speaking to bigger audiences. Whether it’s speaking in a male dominated workplace, or simply giving a toast at a wedding, here are some tips on how to conquer this fear.

How To Overcome

Take Up More Room – When we are feeling self-conscious, we naturally tend to become “smaller.” We want to shrink away into the room so that nobody notices us. This means we may hunch over, hide in a corner and cross our arms and legs until we almost disappear. If you are standing, take a wider stance than usual, put your arms on your hips. If you are sitting with a desk in front of you, use your arms to take up space. This will make you feel more powerful and instantly give you more confidence during your speech.
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Stand Up Straight – Curving your back with fallen shoulders shows that you are either feeling down or unsure of yourself. By standing straight with your shoulders back you not only start to feel better about yourself, but it is the best pose for your back. Having good posture is relaxing because it feels good and it helps you fill your lungs with air so that you are able to speak easier.

Make Eye Contact – Nothing gives away your fear more than not looking at the person/people you are speaking to. Whether you are speaking to 2 people are 2,000 people, look at the audience and try and make eye contact with them. Not only does this make you seem more confident, but you begin to realize that they are just people like you and there is nothing to be afraid of.

3. Body Image.

This is one fear that unites all women. We might have different levels of confidence but we all sometimes feel insecure about our bodies.

How To Overcome

Walk with confidence. Try to build your confidence instead of trying to follow crazy diet plans. The first thing we notice about a person without even realizing it is their walk. Walk as if you know exactly where you’re going. Shy and insecure people tend to look around a lot and follow someone closely from behind. Try adding a slight swing to your hips as you walk crossing one leg over the other. Not only does it boost your confidence it also contrasts your abdomen muscles which is extra bonus.

Life Coach: Yana German

Meet the Collection of Gowns That is Seriously Princess-Worthy

Royal wedding fever? We’ve got it. Which means days spent dreaming of castle receptions, Prince Charming and, of course, a gown that will leave the world talking. But good news – you don’t actually have to be a real-life (or soon-to-be) princess to walk down the aisle in a show-stopping number. Lazaro’s Spring 2018 Collection is more than camera ready with some of the most breathtaking designs we’ve ever laid our eyes upon… truly. Scroll for a look.

We don’t know what Meghan Markle or Princess Eugenie have planned for their walks down the aisle, but we’re throwing out a friendly suggestion to check out Lazaro’s Spring 2018 Collection. Because this stunning lineup of ethereal beauties? It’s the epitome of romance with just the right touch of glam. Think dreamy silhouettes (that will show off your every curve), gorgeous pastels, sheer nudes and endless layers of soft fabrics (hey there, luxe satin). It’s the perfect way to show off your Cinderella side with your inner diva. Plus, the sparkly details are enough to make any bride fall in love, because no bridal gown is complete without just a little touch of shimmer, you guys.

From modern florals with botanical motifs to metallic gowns that really make a statement, Lazaro really knows how to create masterpieces that will truly stand the test of time. He’s a genius – and whether you plan on tying the knot in a small garden soiree or something a little larger (ahem, royal wedding), his gowns will make you look like the princess (or glam fashionista) you know you are. Head to Lazaro today to peruse all of the gorgeous creations and then find a retailer near you asap.

 

Dress Shopping on a Short Timeline With Blogger Bride Ashley

The big day is almost here and I have to say the best part of planning so far has definitely been dress shopping! There are a few challenges that come with a 4. 5-month engagement and the dress timeline (most places want 8 months prep time), so I thought I’d share some pointers if you’re on a time crunch or just want to be efficient with your shopping time! I ended up finding something perfect at Lovely Bride in Los Angeles and it arrives in two week—eek, can’t wait!

THE PREP

1. Do your research: like most brides you probably already have a Pinterest board of styles you like. This is the perfect place to start!

2. Know your budget: you can save a lot of time and hassle by limiting your dress shopping experience to places that work with your budget. I had a few friends that wanted me to go try on some incredible designer dresses in Beverly Hills but I knew they weren’t in my budget, so really why would I go get my hopes up?

3. Pick your boutiques and make sure they are very aware of your timeline before your first experience. If you are on a tight timeline I would suggest picking at least two spots that are somewhat different to really get a feel for everything that’s out there. I went with a very boho boutique with Lovely Bride then cast a wide net with a more “say yes to the dress” type place in Orange County. After visiting the two I realized that I loved the more boutique, intimate experience that had a curated selection of dresses vs. a place that had every dress under the sun. I also think limiting yourself to 2 -3 boutiques is very helpful or else you could find yourself with too many options.

THE DAY OF

1. Don’t discriminate! I walked into Lovely Bride and the first thing I said to my girl was “I definitely don’t want strapless.” Surprise surprise, the dress I almost said yes to was strapless – see it over on Everyday Pursuits. This is your moment and you can try on as many dresses as you want, so why not try them all? After a few dresses it was very apparent to me and my gals where we were headed with finding the one.

2. Take pictures – ALL the pictures. And don’t have just one person be the picture taker because you need options. A dress may look one way in person and entirely different on camera. True story: the dress I ended up picking was not even in my top 3 when I left Lovely Bride. It wasn’t until I came home and looked at all the photos that I realized it was me! We also took a lot of walking videos to see how the dress moved.

3. Ask questions, especially as it’s related to alterations. It’s important to understand how things can and cannot be altered. Many things can be done but there’s specific parts of a design that can’t be changed. There was one dress I loved so much but it became very clear we couldn’t alter the bodice without disrupting the lace design that ran through the whole dress Such a bummer, but good to know before getting too excited.

POST DRESS SHOPPING

1. Review photos + videos. Take time to review all the different photos and videos to get a feel for what you liked and don’t like. It’s okay if you review them 100s of times; it’s a big decision.

2. If you’re in a time crunch, unfortunately, you can’t marinate for too long. I scheduled my two shopping experiences on back to back weekends and gave myself about two days after that last appointment to decide. To be honest, I don’t know how people do multiple dress shops in one day – it’s a little overwhelming.

3. Ask for opinions (if you want!) I found it super helpful to get opinions of girlfriends that weren’t going to be at my wedding. Many of whom said, “Yes, this is exactly what I pictured you in.” It helps to have a little affirmation from someone a bit removed before making such an expensive decision. I felt such a huge relief once I decided and made that initial deposit! It’s similar to the feeling you have once you decide on your venue and wedding date… all the things start falling into place.

It’s almost game time and today I’m feeling REALLY good about everything although that changes on a daily basis. Make sure to head over to my blog to see more shots from our Lovely Bride experience as well as what bridesmaid dresses we decided to go with! Stay tuned, I’ll be back with tips for planning a themed Bachelorette Party for 15+ people. Get a sneak peak on IG: #bdaybASHlorette.

Ashley Torres

Relaxed + Elegant + Oh So Beautiful – This Beachside Wedding Is Pure Magic

These beach portraits might just be my favorite ones yet. Are they super fancy? No, not really. Are they romantic? Yes, but that’s not really why. Instead, it’s this feeling of relaxed love and lots of laughter that shines through, and it’s clear from every one of Carmen Santorelli’s pics that these two cuties are madly in love. This magic continues with their whole wedding celebration, planned and designed by TRUE Event and with NST Pictures’ film, our day is made. Fall in love with it all, right this way!

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From the Bride… Tommy and I met almost ten years ago at Villanova University when we were both sophomores living in the Quad. We insisted that we were just friends until Tommy’s generous and perceptive sister gifted him a trip to visit me when I was abroad in Barcelona. That was pretty much the end of that charade. Because we’ve been together so long we were excited for all our friends and families to unite under one tent and celebrate like crazy. It was important to us that everyone was comfortable and let loose – the more packed the dance floor the better.

When we were looking at venues and visited the Weekapaug Inn, we just knew that was the perfect place to communicate that laidback, fun and effortlessly beautiful vibe that we were aiming for. We strove to embrace the gorgeous New England coastline with natural linens, misty grey-blues and tons of greenery but also maintaining an elegance with classic tuxedos and tons of candlelight. Our vendors conveyed our aesthetic beautifully from Stoneblossom and Ryan Design’s whimsical chandeliers dripping with tiny white flowers to the romantic and relaxed photography from Carmen Santorelli. We also added small touches as a nod to us as a couple – an ice cream bike came in for late night treats, stones collected on a family vacation served as weights on the escort table, a champagne shower with our bridal party and we chose to write our own vows. Even my parents got involved with the details – unbeknownst to me my Dad snuck in a tomato stake from our family garden into one of the centerpieces.

We are so grateful to everyone who drove up from Maryland, flew in from Nashville, trained up from NYC and beyond to make the journey to Westerly, Rhode Island to celebrate our love in our way. Thank you!

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Photography: Carmen Santorelli Photography | Videography: NST Pictures | Event Planning + Design: TRUE Event | Floral Design: Stoneblossom Floral and Wedding Design | Wedding Dress: Amsale | Ceremony Venue: St Pius | Reception Venue: Weekapaug Inn | Hair + Makeup: Jennie Fresa Brow & Beauty Bar | Hair + Makeup: Hair by Renee Russo | Lighting: Ryan Designs, LLC | Transportation: Rockstar Limo | Linens : La Tavola Fine Linen Rental | Music: Sultans Of Swing

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Mastering the Art of Bold, Bright and Beautiful

In terms of going bold and bright, Olivia Wetterau has zero qualms. Her Venice Beach townhouse is the living proof that neon lights, leopard print and rainbow bookshelves can live in beautiful harmony. Teaming up with virtual decorating app Hutch, she infused this beachside space with a whole lot of cool. Take the full tour right here!

When Olivia, Architecture & Interior Design grad student at UCLA, was looking to design her Venice townhouse, she was looking to incorporate all of the different elements that make up her style, which she defines as: “Eclectic. A touch of glam, a hint of mid-century modern, a bit of maximalism, and some California casual.”

When it came to her bedroom, Olivia explains: “I never saw myself having a lot of pink elements and when I began finding things I liked, it started naturally turning into this fun and feminine space, which I initially didn’t expect.” We have to say, after seeing the space, we absolutely support these pops of pink moments.

She notes that there wasn’t a specific part that was easy; however, she was excited to work with the large built-in bookshelves in her bedroom. 

“My mom and I shopped around at various thrift and consignment stores collecting all of the books for a few months to fill everything in. If you look closely, there are a few hilarious gems including a lot of romance novels and books on cats.”

Olivia’s biggest challenge was the layout as she wanted to create the feeling of a separate living area from the kitchen while working with an open floor plan. 

When it came to her living room, the space where she spends the most time, she looked to Hutch to help finalize her design and bring everything together.

Olivia was looking to create a space that was very inviting but that also encompassed a calming vibe, which she achieved through her overall cool color scheme. 

Her favorite Hutch find? The black and white rug, which serves as the perfect backdrop that brings all of the natural, neutral and feminine elements together for a chic, cohesive look.

Photography: Hutch | Design: Hutch | Client: Olivia Wetterau | E-Commerce: Hutch | Furniture/Decor: Hutch | Furniture/Decor: Hutch | Furniture/Decor: Hutch | Furniture/Decor: Hutch | Furniture/Decor: Hutch | Furniture/Decor: Hutch

We Love That This Editorial Dances Between Edgy + Romantic

Joy Proctor Design can do no wrong, my friends. And we’re heading into the weekend with one of my absolute favorite editorials she’s ever styled – this edgy yet romantic, French inspired bridal session captured by Lance Nicoll. All I’ll say before letting you dive right in is that those peep toe Bella Belle booties and the skirt on that Musat gown are a match made in wedding heaven…

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From Lance NicollThis styled shoot designed by Joy Proctor took place at Longue Vue House and Gardens in New Orleans, Louisiana. New Orleans is a city engulfed in French heritage, and so the blend of French culture and New Orleans history come together in this soft blush palette. The blush lace of the Musat gown was the perfect complement to the pops of pastels tied in throughout the shoot.


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Photography: Lance Nicoll Wedding Photography | Cinematography: Lonely Eskimo Productions | Floral Design: CeCe Designs | Wedding Dress: Musat Bridal | Shoes: Bella Belle | Makeup: May Mananya | Hair: allison lacour | Venue: Longvue House And Gardens | Event Design + Creative Direction: Joy Proctor Design | Model: Alyssa Smith | Paper Goods: The Idea Emporium

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How to Relax When He Hasn’t Popped The Question Yet

When you’ve been in a long-term relationship, and you know you’re both ready to take the next step together towards marriage, it’s hard not to get anxious and freak out waiting for the proposal to happen! However, stressing out about the situation can be very damaging to both you and your partner, and you don’t want to be so consumed with stress that you risk not enjoying one of the most exciting of times your life!

We spoke with relationship expert and Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist, Mary Kay Cocharo for tips on how to relax and enjoy this period leading up to your engagement:

“For many women, the proposal fantasy can be all-consuming leading her to feel nervous and out of sorts. What should I be wearing? How should I react? What will I say or do? And of course, the most dreaded question, How will I hide my disappointment if the proposal doesn’t live up to my fantasy or worse yet, if he doesn’t even do it!? What a lot of pressure. Here are some tips if you find yourself hopelessly spinning in this loop.

Relax
This is not your event to orchestrate. If you’re the one proposing, do it your way. If you’re waiting to be proposed to, let him do it his way! There’s absolutely nothing motivating or sexy about you having to micro-manage everything. Recently, I worked with a couple where the bride to be couldn’t let go of her disappointment that he had proposed in the wrong way. Despite some good therapy work, they broke up. I believe that he felt he would never live up to her demands for perfection and couldn’t imagine a life of that.

Focus on the big picture
The proposal is a step in the long journey of your intimate relationship. You’ve most likely already had a lot of meaningful events in your lives together and you’ll have many more. Try to put this time in perspective. Don’t rush through your life, but rather savor each stage and be mindfully present. You will not be pre-engaged again. Enjoy it! There’s still time to be engaged (and married, and waiting for a child, and a parent…you get the idea!)

Play it cool
Resist the urge to turn excitement into anxiety. Check your nervous talk at the door when with friends or family. It’s okay to be excited, but often we make ourselves more anxious by constantly rehearsing the what ifs. A good answer to those questions about when you’re getting married might be, Soon. We’re taking our time and paying attention to our needs as a couple.

Prioritize your relationship
Look into your partner’s eyes and pay attention to the love and bond between you. The proposal and the wedding will be exactly what the two of you need if you are careful. Ultimately, the fanfare of the proposal, the size of the ring, the grandeur of the wedding—none of that determines the strength and health of your relationship.”

Style Me Pretty Contributor – Julia Hurwitz is a freelance writer and Marketing Manager based in New York City. Her interests include travel, global craft, healthy baking, entertaining and exploring the outdoors.

From Summer Camp to Super Sweet + Stylish “I Do’s”!

When you meet at summer camp, it’s only natural that you’ll want to continue your love story with some special “I do’s” outside. But this is far from your rustic wedding in the woods – it’s refined and elegant and oh so pretty. Kayla Yestal captured every beautiful bit at this winery wedding and we can’t stop staring at these pics, making our day so much shiner! See it all right this way!

From the Bride… Brad and I met at summer camp when we were both teenagers, so having our wedding take place somewhere that really reflected our love for the outdoors with a relaxed and intimate feeling was incredibly important to us! Finding Honsberger Estate Winery brought this dream to life and allowed us to have an outdoor ceremony that was the perfect mix of elegance and rustic!

Having been to so many weddings together over nine years of dating, it was also really important to us to have personal touches everywhere so the day really felt like us. Brad, who is a full-time artist, made these amazing ceramic elements throughout our decor including shot glasses as favors for all the guests, and personally sketched and designed the save the dates! I took on the task of going to calligraphy classes while we were planning and preparing, so I was able to practice my skills by writing all the name cards, table numbers, and signs, and created a doughnut table in memory of the doughnut shop that my Poppa owned! It feels so nice to look back at the photos and see all our hard work captured so beautifully!

Looking back, I can’t imagine changing a single thing about our day other than actually grabbing a slice of our late night pizza that we spent so much time picking out! (Our band, The St. Royals, was so amazing that we got a little too distracted on the dance floor!) From the poem my sister-in-law read at our ceremony that was so meaningful to us, to our couples photos at dusk that swept us away from our reception for some relaxing and calming alone time, everything added up to the best day we could have possibly imagined!

We learned so much throughout planning our wedding that we really had no idea about beforehand! One of those things being that the DIY details you’re dreaming about always take longer than you think they will. It is so helpful to finish those details as soon as possible so that you can actually enjoy the days (or weeks) leading up to the wedding. Also, I owe so much to my girlfriend and bridesmaid Michelle who got married two months before us. It was amazing to have someone to bounce ideas off of and help keep me on track!

If I could share one piece of advice with future brides, it would have to be that it is so important to choose vendors who you trust fully to make the day run smoothly. I was so confident that everyone was going to kill it which kept us calm throughout the planning process. This was by far one of the biggest reasons that our day was such a success, and definitely the reason why we were able to relax and just enjoy our day together without stress!

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Photography: Kayla Yestal | Floral Design: Bloom & Company | Wedding Dress: Theia | Shoes: Bella Belle | Bridesmaids' Dresses: Hayley Paige | Bridesmaids' Dresses: BHLDN | Catering: Honsberger Estate | Makeup: Pretty Me Makeup | Hair: Glow Hair & Beauty | Band: St. Royal Entertainment | Suits: Indochino | Officiant: Deborah Coleman | Venue: Honsberger Estate | Bridal Boutique: Sash And Bustle | Decor Rentals: Simply Beautiful Decor | Donuts: Donut Monster | Earrings + Belt: Haute Bride | Hanger: BHLDN | Ring Box: The Mrs Box | Robes: Pretty Plum Sugar | Veil + Accessories: Sash And Bustle

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This Ceremony Tree Was Adorned With Hundreds of Blooms

Why bring in an alter when you can simply embellish a larger than life tree with a gorgeous array of blooms? That is just where we start this vineyard wedding overlooking the sea. It is layered with a stunning fall color palette and striking details crafted by Birds of a Feather Events, with florals by The Southern Table and imagery shot by Charla Storey. See the full celebration including one very cute pup in a tutu right here.

Amanda and Daryl were married at Catalina View Gardens overlooking a vineyard and the ocean with beautiful views of Catalina Island in front of 50 of their closest friends and family. The ceremony space has a gorgeous tree and rather than bringing in an alter, we elected to utilize the tree instead and adorned it with hundreds of flowers in shades of pink, plum, and red.

After leaving the ceremony, guests headed to cocktail hour on the pavilion and grabbed a calligraphed Lucite escort card hanging by black silk ribbon from a tree at the entrance to the space. Guests enjoyed small bites in front of the floral adorned fireplace while the couple finished up photos with their families and their puppy. Shortly after, guests found their seats under the cafe lights and stars and enjoyed a dinner of street tacos and partook in made to order guacamole from a roving cart.

Reception tables were set with low and lush centerpieces of garden roses, ranunculus, dahlias, and peonies and were accented by fruit arrangements and silk table runners. Place settings consisted of matte black plates, gold flatware, vintage carnival glass, and a menu. Our palette was a mix of bright colors with some pops of black and purple to compliment the season. Guests danced into the evening and headed out with a Texas sized donut from LA staple, Randy’s Donuts at the end of the evening – a must stop for Amanda and Daryl as they leave LAX whenever they come to town.

Photographer: Charla Storey Photography | Wedding Planner: Birds Of A Feather Events | Florist: Max Owens Design | Cake: Sweet & Saucy Shop | Stationery: Bella Figura | Catering: Made By Meg | Hair and Makeup: Design Visage | Calligraphy: Harts And Quills | Entertainment: Vox DJs | Wedding Favors: Randy's Donuts | Ceremony and Reception: Catalina View Gardens | Linens: La Tavola Fine Linen Rental | Lounge and Bar Rentals: Found Rentals | Rentals: Classic Party Rents; | Wedding Designer: Birds Of A Feather Events

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6 Practically Free Dates to Try This Month

Keep the Valentine’s spirit going long after the holiday! Whether you’ve been married for years or just made things official last week, forget that expensive, tried-and-true dinner date night and focus on learning more about your significant other instead.



If you haven’t already, take Gary Chapman’s 5 Love Languages quiz with your significant other to discover your emotional communication preferences. Then, plan a date around your partner’s results. Do they value quality time? Send the kids to your parents’ house for a couple nights and plan a weekend getaway. Do they find acts of service more romantic? Clean and decorate the house for a staycation instead.



Take a stroll through a home furniture store such as Ikea or Crate & Barrel and talk about the kind of décor you like, for everything from silverware to coffee tables. If you already live together, take a trip to Home Depot or Lowe’s and brainstorm your next home project.



Shut off the TV and stow away your cell phones to spend an evening playing a two-person appropriate game—such as Scrabble, Yahtzee, or chess—with your partner. Worried that the competition will be too fierce to make it enjoyable? Try working together on a jigsaw puzzle instead!



Create a fort of pillows and blankets in your living room and have a classic movie marathon. Whether that means Casablanca and Breakfast at Tiffany’s or The Princess Bride and The Breakfast Club is up for interpretation, but don’t forget the popcorn and movie theater candy!



Take the morning to go on a hike or a walk around the neighborhood together. There’s always room for a little more gratitude in every relationship, and being active outside will surely make you appreciate the life you have together.



Put on some Michael Bublé, pop open a bottle of champagne, and attempt a new, fancy recipe together. Even if it goes terribly wrong, you’ll create incredible memories and have a story to share about the time you epically failed at cooking beef Wellington and ended up ordering Chinese takeout.

Style Me Pretty Contributor – Morgan Chamberlain is a freelance writer and social media consultant for wedding vendors in New England. She believes weddings are all about sentimental details, cohesive décor, and a well-chosen playlist to keep the party going!

Two Reasons Why a Destination Wedding is Always a YES

These two weddings are proving that destination celebrations are a definite must if you love soaking in the sun, playing on the beach and tossing back a cocktail or two. Because if you love vacationing with your closest friends and family, plus a breathtaking seaside backdrop, they are most definitely the “nudge” you need if you’re waffling on whether to take your “I do’s” to paradise.

Sarah and Matthew jetted off to Secrets Cap Cana Resort & Spa to celebrate their nuptials with 65 of their nearest and dearest and the results were, well… awesome. That’s because this adults-only resort is one of the coolest you’ll ever have the privilege to visit, complete with infinity pools, water sports, deep sea fishing, VIP Butler service for Preferred guests and daily BBQs on the beach… just to name a few. Sarah and Matthew’s guests danced the night away after a beautiful seaside ceremony, and we’re guessing they loved their cozy rooms, relaxing spa services and all of the gourmet dining options. Because you can’t vacay in paradise without some amazing food.

Sheryl and Hakim have a storybook love story (they met and knew they were meant to be within a day), so it was only fitting that they made their way to paradise to tie the knot. Their resort of choice? Dreams Huatulco Resort & Spa, a fairytale-esque hotel that sits smack-dab in the middle of a lush jungle. A jungle, you guys… not to mention the breathtaking mountains and picturesque coral reefs that make for one seriously gorgeous stay. We love the long list of activities, six swimming pools and amazing rooms that are perfect for families. (Yes, Dreams Huatulco is kid-friendly.) And we’re just a bit obsessed with the proximity to waterfalls and lagoons. Sheryl and Hakim’s friends + family had it made.

Ready to take the destination plunge and head to paradise to make it all official? Contact Dreams Resorts & Spas and Secrets Resorts & Spas to get planning. We guarantee you’ll love the experience, and you can’t top their awesome locations across the globe for both Dreams and Secrets, talented wedding pros that make everything so, so easy and luxury experience with 24-hour room + concierge service. And be sure to check out more of these gorgeous days here and here to get inspired for your own nuptials. We are sure they will be awesome.

Amy Schumer Gets Married in Surprise Valentine’s Week Ceremony!

America’s favorite funny gal, Amy Schumer, married chef Chris Fischer in a surprise ceremony Tuesday, February 13 in Malibu. The comedienne announced the marriage with a handful of happy photos on Instagram. Hover over and scroll right to see all the happy snaps below!

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Amy and Chris literally just confirmed they were dating a few days ago so the wedding comes as a complete surprise to her many fans! The sunset ceremony took place in Malibu during the most romantic week of the year. The Trainwreck star donned the stunning Monique Lhuillier Severine Chantilly lace and tulle ballgown that retails for $5,490, while her groom looked dashing in a simple, black suit.

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Is that Jennifer Lawrence we spot as a bridesmaid?!

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Congratulations to the talented, happy couple!

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Follow These Tips If Your Bridesmaids Aren’t Getting Along

You’ve probably envisioned it: the love of your life proposing in the most perfect way that reflects your relationship, and then the warming thought of your wedding and of all of your closest friends surrounding and supporting you on your big day. But what if you have a few besties who aren’t besties with each other?

With your wedding being such an important event in your life, most of your friends will recognize that and will be of assistance in the planning process. For those bridesmaids who are little harder to please, follow these steps for approaching a potentially wrecking situation.

Host A Meet and Greet or a Bridesmaid Brunch
If possible, host a pre-planning festivity meet and greet for your bridesmaids to mingle and get to know each other. Even if your bridesmaids already know each other, it is still a fun way to get everyone warmed up to each other before the planning starts!



Empower Each Bridesmaid to Plan an Activity

Most activities during the wedding week/weekend are fun-filled events and can really benefit your maids in the bonding process. By empowering your maids to plan an event of their own, you are making them feel fully part of the process as well as allowing them to plan an activity that reflects your friendship. It is really fun to see what each person comes up with and this will keep any feelings from getting hurt from feeling left out of the process.

Assign a Friend or Family Member to Peacemaker Duties
Keep in mind this doesn’t have to necessarily be your maid of honor, or even any or your bridesmaids.
If your maids are just not getting along with each other, it is okay to ask for help from a friend or a family member to diffuse the situation. This outside perspective may help tremendously in bringing everyone together to happily support you in the days leading up to your wedding day!

If an outside source can’t diffuse the situation, have a sit down with your friend who is upset. Chances are, there is a deeper issue at play and getting to the bottom of that issue may remedy the overall disruptions. Remember, you chose your bridesmaids for a specific reason and have different relationships with each of them. Take this moment to be a good listener to understand the issue, fix it, and get back to the fun of your week.

Style Me Pretty Contributor – Erica Chambers is a freelance writer and blogger at Styles by the C. After living in New York City, she has made her permanent residence along the white sandy beaches of Santa Rosa Beach, Florida with her new husband and fur child, Maxwell. When she isn’t working, you’ll find her exploring local brunch spots or designing a nursery for her and her husband’s first child, Leo.

Why Finding the Perfect Wedding Vendors has Never Been This Easy

We all know that you can’t have an amazing wedding without an amazing team of vendors, but we also know that finding that oh-so-awesome dream team takes a lot of work and research. Unless, you make plans to attend the Outer Banks Meet + Greet at Sanderling Resort on Sunday, March 10th from 5 – 9 pm. It’s your chance to mix and mingle with the best in the biz, plus find those wedding pros that will turn your destination wedding on the Outer Banks into the celebration you’ve always wanted.

Duck, North Carolina is one of those vacay spots you never want to leave and Sanderling Resort sits right smack-dab in the center of all of the action. With gorgeous views, luxe accommodations and a talented staff that knows a thing or two about dream weddings, you can count on that celebration of the century to happen. Now add in a meet + greet with talented OBX Wedding Professionals, hors d’oeuvres, wine tastings, a reception style dinner and dessert samplings and it’s not just an evening planning your big day… it’s a lot of fun, too. You can even dabble in Sassy S’mores at the Firepits at the Event House. (Yum.)

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Trust us on this one, you guys – the Outer Banks Meet + Greet at Sanderling Resort is one of those events you seriously can’t miss. Mark those calendars for March 10th from 5-9 pm, then visit Sanderling Resort to purchase tickets, book rooms and learn more about getting those engagement pictures taken. You’re going to have a blast.

Read How a Mountaintop Date Turned Into Adventurous I Dos

Stu and Emily’s love story is giving us ALL the feels today. A super-random camping trip (where the mutual friends who were supposed to go with them bailed) led to the mountaintop I dos we get to witness on screen today, at the same mountain, no less. Thankfully that mountain was Northstar California and the gorgeous Zephyr Lodge serving as their reception space—the perfect spot for this adventurous duo. Like we said, all the feels! Can you even with this view?

First and foremost, Stu and Emily wanted their families and friends to experience the place they both loved so much, and for good reason. With a relaxed and natural vibe in mind, Zephyr Lodge is a winning combo of rustic elegance and casual romance, overlooking an outdoor setting with to-die-for views. Can we also talk about the fields of wildflowers and how sweet those portraits turned out? Sooo dreamy!

These sweeties made sure to layer on the personal touches, too. One of our favorite details? They were married by their friend Eric who introduced them, and was one of the friends who bailed on their first trip up to Truckee together. Guess he was forgiven (or thanked?)!

Favorite highlights from that day were Stu’s green suit, double rainbows, and Ikeda’s pies in lieu of wedding cake! Northstar’s iconic Zephyr Lodge (with floor-to-ceiling views of the Sierra Nevada range) provided a gorgeous backdrop for all of the festivities.

Emily and Stu didn’t stop there. This adventuresome couple did a 16-day backpacking trip from Donner Pass to Yosemite Valley for their honeymoon (and only got hailed on once). 

Ready to plan your own dream mountaintop wedding? Get in touch with the Zephyr Lodge today to begin your own adventure. From intimate and cozy to gorgeously grand, your guests will be in awe of the breathtaking scenery, making your fete one to remember for years to come!

Photography: The Goodness | Floral Design : Love and Lupines | Venue: Northstar California, Zephyr Lodge | Wedding Venue: Northstar Zephyr Lodge | Day of Coordination: Weddings by Shannon | Dessert: Ikeda's Pies | Music: Music in Tahoe