Find of the Day: Beads In the Belfry

Don't you just love one-of-a-kind items? We've spotted some gorgeous handmade baubles that would be lovely for brides interested in clean, modern styles at Beads In The Belfry on Etsy.

See more from Beads In The Belfry in her shop on Etsy.

Wordless Wednesday: Michelle & Jamaal

Breaking the rules: A few words about today's Wordless Wednesday. Our Wordless Wednesday series usually focuses on weddings. But today we're showcasing an engagement. La Dolce Vita Studio in Florida did a fabulous job of capturing the emotion and hopefulness of this young couple. Enjoy.

See more wonderful wedding photographs at La Dolce Vita Studio!

A Wedding for $5,000? Yes, Indeed!

-by Lisa R. Nelson

I happen to love working with super small budgets because I see it as an opportunity to become really creative. I love designing events that are different and unique – not the same ol’ thing. Yes, it’s much easier to make a traditional magazine-worthy affair when a couple has the money to make everything fabulous because there are fewer restrictions. But, a great wedding on small budget? Now that’s a thing of beauty. It’s very rare that I come across a couple with the vision – who can see the possibilities and embrace the fact that they are going to have an event that’s a bit different. I love couples who are able not to focus on what they don’t have, but are able to open their minds, think outside the box, and realize great things.

So, this is going to be my focus this week – couples who have $100.00/person or less to plan the entire wedding. First, it is possible, even in metropolitan areas! With that said, you have to make the right choices from the beginning.

Putting guests at 10 foot rounds, with centerpieces, to enjoy a sit down or buffet dinner is not really realistic. Let’s start from the beginning. Say, you want to host 100 guests for $5,000.00 – which ends up being $50.00 for the entire wedding, what choices can you make in the beginning that will save you dough and headaches down the road.

1. Get rid of the wedding party. It’s amazing how much a wedding party can add to a budget. If anything, have a maid of honor and best man and leave it at that. The 20 person wedding party is “out” when you are on any type of budget. If you have 20 good friends that you want to participate in your day – invite them. Just being invited is an honor in itself. You can also choose people to participate in the ceremony/reception – hostesses, readers, guest book attendants, etc. In the end, I think you will be presently surprised that your guests would rather enjoy the wedding than work at it.

2. Hire a planner with professional friends in the industry. Yes, its extra money in the outset, but a creative planner will be worth their weight in gold. He/she will help you develop your theme and direct you to the best possible people. Planners know who to go to, and often times will have friends willing to help you out! What’s better than that?

3. Think of different elegant themes like… Parisian café, Italian bistro, or an evening at the theatre with hors d’oeuvres. These types of themes can be fun to plan around, allow you to stay within budget and make for some interesting food and décor. Plus, you guests will talk about it forever because it’s not the same ole’.

Now, let’s talk about a few pitfalls that plague couples with low budgets.

1. Hiring friends. Family and great friends are wonderful. It’s wonderful to have people who love you and want the best for you. But my opinion is that weddings are very special events that require professionals who know the procedures to make the event successful. Couples who opt to have friends end up having to rent and bring DJ equipment, bring cake plates for the cake, worry about how they will store the cake during the week, worry about transportation, and the like. It ends up being much more work and stress.

2. Trying to stretch a budget to create an event like some other person on the knot or Lisa shakes her head. Not being open and able to change the “mindset” is disastrous. David’s bridal and Mens Warehouse definitely have their place…but there is more than one way to skin a cat. There s nothing more beautiful than an ivory/white silk flowing gown and a dark or light linen suit that sets the tone for the wedding.

So…here we are-back where we started. Just remember that you are lucky to be planning such a wonderful wedding. This is an exciting time in your life. Have fun!

Woo! Ahem...

Pardon us. What we mean to say is that the American President appears on the cover of the March 2009 issue of Men's Journal .

Wedding Dress of the Day

Style #1373

We love the lace covering this sheath-style bridal gown, as well as the jewelled empire bodice and satin trim. Find out more about this dress and others like it at House of Brides

Happy Valentine's Day!!!!

The Bride Wore Cuffs

(Cross-posted from our Luxe blog)
You've probably noticed that cuffs and wide bangle bracelets are back in a major way. Luckily there are some truly stunning wedding day options for brides-to-be. It's easier than ever to make a statement with sparkling wrist jewelry.

Sterling Silver Diamond Swirl Cuff Bracelet (1 ct. t.w.)

Eliot Danori Crystal Floral Cuff Bracelet

Betsy Johnson's Women's Cuff Watch

18k Gold over Sterling Silver CZ Swirl Cuff Bangle

Heidi Klum Silver Concentric Clover Cuff

Floral Star Pearl and Crystal Bracelet

First Lady Michelle Obama: In Vogue

Our amazingly versatile First Lady graces the cover of the current edition of Vogue magazine. While she exudes her trademark elegance, what we especially enjoy is seeing her so very at home in the White House.

The Economy of Cutting Back

-by Lisa B. Nelson
Elegant Event Design

I received an email question a few weeks ago that I would like to share with everyone. It was a great question that I think everyone would benefit from. Here is the question…

“Have you encountered brides that needed to reduce their guest list after invitations have been sent out and RSVP’s has been received? If so how do you suggest they handle that? Especially with the current economy status”.

I think everyone knows how bad the economy is – people are losing their jobs every day. If you, your fiancé, or one of your parents looses their jobs, it’s absolutely devastating on the budget. This also holds true in other situations. In my personal experience, I have seen my couples’ budgets impacted by a variety of crises such as; car and home repair bills.

Unfortunately – sometimes- life does happen – it’s inevitable – and also, in many cases, something that you cannot control. What you can control are your reactions once it happens.

So…you lose your job or your car breaks down and now you do not have enough money for the wedding in your budget, but you still want to have a wedding. It’s perfectly okay to trim the guest list, assuming that you have not already sent out Save the Dates. You can trim and add to the guest list all you want. Once you invite someone to your wedding, you can never rescind an invitation.

What are the solutions? Since the reception site is typically the largest portion, I would start there. Work with the site (or your caterer) to design a menu which will fit into your new budget. This might involve choosing different types of foods (crab cakes are more expensive than salmon), or choosing an alternative food service. If this doesn’t get you where you want to be, start thinking about your priorities. Maybe flowers are not as important, and you can change the type of flowers used, or cut down on the number of arrangements (as long as you are making these changes more than 2-3 weeks prior to the wedding). Maybe you want a videographer for only the ceremony. Go back to your contracts and review the policies on making changes and cancellations.

Weekend Cocktail Series: Pink Panties

With Valentine's Day right around the corner, we salute the girly drinks that are as lovely to look at as they are to drink. We recently received this drink from a reader who thought it would be purrrrrfect for Valentine's Day or a bridal shower. We think it's also a great way to welcome Springtime.

Pink Panties
1¾ cup of Tanqueray Gin
1½ scoops of vanilla ice cream
½ frozen can Minute Maid Pink Lemonade concentrate (M.M. Berry punch is good also)
¼ cup frozen strawberries
1 cup of ice
1 tea spoon of whipped cream

In a blender, combine pink lemonade, gin, ice cream, strawberries and ice. Blend until smooth. Pour into glasses add the whipped cream and serve. Serves 4.

Picture and recipe courtesy of the

Wordless Wednesday: Getting Ready

Courtesy of Janella Proctor

Bridal Shoes from Chinese Laundry? Yes!

You never know which clothing/shoe companies are going to begin courting brides-to-be next. But it's usually good news, because it gives women more options. We especially love it when our readers find great bridal products in unexpected places. We recently heard from some of our brides-to-be that the trendy shoe company Chinese Laundry had some affordable and comfortable options for weddings. So, of course we had to check it out. Below are some of our picks and not one is over 70 bucks.

Chinese Laundry - Paloma

Chinese Laundry - Colette
Chinese Laundry - Colette

Chinese Laundry - Friday

Chinese Laundry - Shameless

Chinese Laundry - Willy

Chinese Laundry - Wasabi

Chinese Laundry - Dagger

Vintage Laundry - Mimosa

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