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a lovely + practical bridesmaid gift

(photo by Amy Carroll)

If you’re looking for a beautiful gift for your bridesmaids—not to mention a lovely accessory for pictures—consider getting your girls a pashmina wrap (also called a stole). This can also offer a great option to ‘maids who may not be comfortable remaining sleeveless all night, or who could use an extra layer in cool weather. Buy them in a shade to match your motif, and you’ve got a winning combo of beauty+usability!  Check out The Pashmina Store to pick your perfect shade!

finding inspiration

(photo by Jessica Claire)

When you’re flipping through the endless bridal magazines out there, it’s easy to get sucked into all of the glossy pics and think your wedding has to be a mirror image.  To make your wedding beatutiful and unique, keep a few things in mind when looking for ideas for your big day.

Use Elements
When you find a picture you like, decide what element makes it so appealing. If it’s a beautiful bouquet you’re gazing at, what makes that bouquet stand out? Is it the structure of the arrangement? The use of a single bloom? The combination of colors? The unique handle wrapping? Even if that bouquet isn’t your exact color scheme, look for the elements that make it attractive to you, and apply those to your own design. You  don’t want your wedding to look like someone else’s photo spread—instead, choose elements that you can make your own!

Be Flexible
You don’t have to carbon copy a design concept to make it your own. Take a picture of that stunning Martha Stewart bouquet into your florist—but be prepared for sticker shock if you’re on a tight budget! If you can’t swing $400 on that bouquet of your dreams, ask your florist to substitute some blooms.  Does that silk and orchid covered chuppa make your head spin with bridal delight? If it’s not within your budget to have one professionally made, seek out a friend or family member who could construct one, and substitute more reasonable fabric and floral accents.

Using inspiration will give you lots of elements to pull into your own design concept, while imitation will make you feel restricted and cookie cutter—so go out and be inspired! (and send us pictures—we’d love to see the results!)

remembering loved ones at your wedding

(photo by Scarlett Lillian)

Recently, I was contacted by a bride who wanted to honor her mother at her wedding. Her mother passed away when she was very young, and she was raised by her stepmother, so she wanted a way to honor her mother that would be meaningful but subtle. In the past, this has been done in a number of ways—a special note in the program, an altar arrangement dedicated to a loved relative, or using a special belonging of theirs, such as a handkerchief or piece of jewelry.

One of my favorite ways to honor a loved one at the wedding is pictured above. Lockets are filled with the pictures of loved ones and are tied into your bouquet handle.  It’s classy, subtle, and very personal. Have you seen any other creative ways to honor a loved one who has passed?

photo inspiration

I can’t even count all of the beautiful photography blogs I peruse each day. So, I thought I’d post a favorite each week, and tell a little bit about how it inspires me. I couldn’t decide today, so it’s a two-photo day! I say, the more the merrier!

We have some really beautiful venues in Southwest Michigan, nestled in the countryside. I live just around the corner from the beautiful Blue Dress Barn, and while I’m driving home I’m always observing the most beautiful rustic locations that inspire me for amazing wedding photos. I hope a few of my 2009 brides snap a few lovelies like these two, taken by the talented Trista Lerit.

Also, stay tuned for an update on my trip to Mill Creek Barns—a lovely new venue opening in 2009!

bridal gown bliss

(photo by LVL Photography)

I was reading through a blog over the weekend (yes, StillMotionagain!) and a shot of the brides’ dresses caught my eye. YES, I said dresses—not two, but THREE amazing gowns! I did a double take—and then thought, “the more, the merrier!”

Wedding after wedding I never fail to be amazed by the gorgeous, gorgeous dresses my brides have chosen! I’ve seen hand-beaded marvels, simple styles, stunning strapless gowns, and splashes of color—but I have yet to have a double-dress bride! Perhaps 2009 will be the year!

Are you a double-dress bride? A triple dress bride? Will you be sporting a formal gown for your ceremony and pictures, and then slipping into a sassy cocktail dress to dance the night away in?!

The “Almost” Meeting

Do you see each other before the wedding or not? It’s completely up to each couple, but more and more brides and grooms are opting to see each other beforehand, so they can get some of those millions of pictures out of the way and give themselves more time. If you’re not seeing each other (which many people still do!) I think this is just the gosh darn cutest thing I’ve seen in a long time! The “almost” meeting before the wedding…

This gorgeous picture was captured at a recent wedding by the very talented Jen of JK Photography. The couple didn’t see each other before the ceremony, but stood on each side of the door and held hands to snap this fabulous shot! I love it. Check out Jen’s blog for more amazing pictures from this wedding—it’s absolutely amazing!

On a quick side note, I have to apologize for my absence from blogging (for over a week!) but we have 2 big weddings coming up and lots of 2009 consultations, so life has been crazy! Not to mention our full-service 2009 weddings are getting into full swing! I promise to (try to) be better!

personal monograms for Your lake michigan wedding

A quick break from Photography Week for some fun details from an upcoming Stella wedding!I love details—it’s what really brings a wedding together and makes it feel personal!

First, let me say, I am no graphical wizard. Give me a piece of paper, flowers or candles and I’ll whip you up something beautiful—but if you put a mouse in my hand and ask me to design…well, we’re in trouble! So I turned to April from Blu Sky Designs for a monogram design for the September wedding of Kelly+Russ!

Here is a little of what I gave April to go on:

Kelly LOVES daisies, and we’re tying them in wherever we can! It’s a casual and intimate wedding on the beach, followed by a dinner reception at an upscale restaurant overlooking the lake! We’re tying in the colors of fall…red, yellow, orange and green, without having an overall fall theme!

Check out what April came up with! Which is your favorite?

Check out the Blu Sky blog for more fun monograms and amazing custom invites! (The secret’s out…We’re going with the first one!)

Stay tuned as Photography week continues tomorrow with our guest blogger Ben Pancoast, who will give you the tips on how to work with your photographer for the most fabulous pictures!

inspiration for fall brides


It’s mid July which means wedding season is in full swing, and it’s the summer brides’ time to shine! So, for all of you fall brides, here is a little fall inspiration while you wait for your big day– we haven’t forgotten about you!

LOVE these ribbons! What a beautiful accent for your bouquet! You could certainly use this fun idea in any season, but these colors just scream autumn!

summer party perfection:Pt 1:fabulous invites!

(photos-Etsytucci paper co.)

In the midst of wedding season, it’s easy to forget all the other great parties to plan! The weather is beautiful, grills are fired up, drinks are flowing…it’s the perfect time to throw a party (with or without a reason)! So, in honor of party season (for those of us in the midwest who don’t have this beautiful weather year-long), we’ll have a short mini-series dedicated to throwing a fabulous summer soiree!

First, you need the guests! Don’t just send out a cookie-cutter invite…we’ve all gotten the “You’re Invited” invite before…it serves it’s purpose, but it certainly doesn’t get me excited to “get the party started.” To start it off right and set the fun tone for your shin-dig, check out these cute invites from etsy seller tucci paper co.  I love the phrases on them like “see food party,” “let’s get jiggy,” and “party like a rockstar” (my personal favorite)! Check out the site for many more, plus some ultra-cute wedding and shower invites, too!

Next time:Part 2:Fabulous food!

chapel envy

I’ve got serious chapel envy over the amazing Leaf Chapel in Japan, designed by Klein Dytham. How people even dream up such amazing pieces of modern architecture astounds me!

The chapel is formed from 2 separate pieces, meant to look like leaves that have fallen from the sky and gently landed on the ground. Even the supports of the structure emulate the veins of a leaf, becoming thinner as they run away from the stem. The retractable cover of the chapel is perforated with over 4000 holes, to resemble the pattern of a brides veil! Each of these tiny holes has a lens attached, and light filters through to create a beautiful lace pattern. As the groom lifts the bride’s veil, the lacey top retracts, to reveal the beautiful pond and scenery outside! Just beautiful.