Wedding Wednesday: The Icing on the Cake!

Happy Wedding Wednesday!

I was just thinking about how I’d love to be sitting outside a bakery right now, on this rainy fall day, sipping a latte and eating something delicious.  Then I remembered it’s Wednesday and was inspired to nose around Pinterest to find some beautiful wedding cake ideas to share.

There are INFINITE ways to decorate a wedding cake.  Not only are they a perfect way to express your wedding’s theme, but they’re also the backdrop for some important wedding moments – think cake smash!! While I’m all for beautiful things, it’s also important to remember that your cake should be equally pretty and delicious!  Afterall – cakes aren’t cheap, and you definitely want to get the best bang for your buck!

Here are some of my favorite looks:

Not only am I a big fan of square cakes, but I can’t get enough of the purple damask pattern, metallic gold, and sparse cascading flowers.  It’s romantic, vintage, and has just enough going on.  Not to mention – despite all the gorgeous decor – it still looks yummy!

I can’t believe this is actually cake!  This rustic beauty is a true work of art!  I love the way the feminine flowers are peeking out of the masculine “wood.”  It would be a perfect centerpiece for a rustic/romantic wedding.  I can’t help but picture a setting like the cottage’s forest in Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs!

I’m a sucker for all white weddings, and especially all white wedding cakes.  The one pictured is one of the most ornate cakes I’ve seen, and there’s something refreshingly beautiful about the monotone color palette and intricate details.

I featured this cake on last year’s Wedding Wednesday: Autumn Chic inspiration board.  I had to include it in this post, as it is one of my all-time favorite looks.  I first saw the un-iced cake concept when Hilary Duff married former NHL hockey player Mike Comrie in 2010. She liked the look because it was “vintage” and added to her wedding’s cozy theme. She also said she isn’t a huge fan of sweets, so nixing the icing personalized the cake to her liking – something to keep in mind if you don’t have much of a sweet tooth!  The look is not only vintage, but rustic, and screams of “down to earth” and “home.”  This Spiced version is the perfect centerpiece for an Autumn wedding.

Actress Hilary Duff and husband Mike Comrie cut their wedding cake.

Whoever designed this His and Her’s cake is genius!  The bride and groom are both represented in this beauty, and combines the growing trend of having a groom’s cake, without the extra cost.  In a world where weddings can be all about the bride, this is a great way to give your groom some attention too.

Who says a wedding cake has to be made of perfect tiers and flawless fondant?  Not me!  This Sandcastle cake is the perfect example of making your wedding cake truly your own.  Why stop with a castle? I also found this little gem:

Here are a few more looks I love:

I also came across a very helpful article from The Knot today – “Wedding Cakes – Our Top Tips.”   It has some seriously great advice, so be sure to check it out!

What is your favorite wedding cake design?  What did your wedding cake look like?

XO- Stephanie

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Wedding Wednesday: Recycle Your Wedding

Happy Wedding Wednesday Peeps!

I don’t have much time to chat today, but wanted to show you something pretty cool that I discovered in my Pinterest travels.  There is a blog called Ruffled, and it has a section that allows you to Recycle Your Wedding by selling your wedding items.  It’s a must-have bit of info. for every bride and groom out there!

On the site, you can sell (and buy!) everything from votive candles to wedding gowns!  What else are you going to do with 15 custom-made tablecloths, huh?  You might as well get some money out of it!  Put it towards your honeymoon 😉

Check out the rest of the Ruffled Blog while you’re there.  There are great Real Weddings, DIYs, and a shop where you can order custom gowns.

Enjoy!

XO- Stephanie

P.S.  If you don’t have a Pinterest account, you should probably get one.  It’s too fun!  Send me an email at thetwentysomethingblog@yahoo.com, and I’ll send you an invite 🙂

Wedding Wednesday: Bridal Survival Kit

Happy Wedding Wednesday!  I can’t believe it’s that time again already!  Today I’m here not only as your friend and blogger, but as your concerned wedding planner, with some words of wisdom for your wedding day: MAKE SURE YOU HAVE A BRIDE SURVIVAL KIT!

Avoid THIS with a Bridal Survival Kit!

This handy-dandy box full of disaster-averters will keep you prepared for anything, and help you avoid unnecessary stress on your big day.  I take a stocked survival kit with me when doing events, but incase I’m not there to supply you, here’s what you’ll need to include when making your own:

  • Extra Make up – LIPSTICK
  • Waterproof Mascara
  • Eye-makeup remover – in case of tears!
  • Q-tips
  • Hand mirror
  • Hairspray
  • Bobby Pins
  • Hair Brush
  • Tweezers
  • Toothbrush
  • Toothpaste
  • Mouthwash
  • Floss
  • Breath mints
  • Lotion
  • Hand sanitizer
  • Pain Reliever
  • Antacids – Pepto Bismol is my Go-to!
  • Static Guard
  • Band-aids and/or Liquid Bandage
  • Lint Remover
  • Tide-To-Go Pen or White Chalk
  • Baby Wipes
  • Deodorant
  • Clear Nail Polish
  • Nail Polish Remover
  • Emery Board
  • Super glue
  • Extra nylons if wearing
  • Razor
  • Tampons
  • Sewing Kit
  • Scissors
  • Safety pins
  • Double-sided tape
  • Tissues
  • Bottle of Water
  • Drinking Straw

You may also want to include:

  • Curling iron
  • Straighter
  • Steamer
  • Slippers and/or Dancing Shoes
  • Extra batteries if someone is snapping pics on your personal camera
  • Your perfume
  • Champagne to celebrate with your bridesmaids…. aaand take the edge off!

I’d suggest getting the travel bottles of these items, so don’t have to lug a Walgreens around the entire day.  You may also want to consider purchasing a kit online.  Ms. and Mrs. sells kits for Brides that include almost everything I’ve listed above for just $49.00.  They also have bridal mini-kits, and kits for Grooms, Bridesmaids, Groomsmen and Moms.  They come with a sample-size of each item, probably enough to get you through, and are neatly packed in cute cases:

Wedding Day Survival Kit by Ms. & Mrs.

Ms. and Mrs. Wedding Day Survival Kit for Bride

Whether you’re making your own, buying one online, or borrowing mine, being prepared with a Bridal Survival Kit will be a God-send on your big, busy day!

Did I miss anything YOU would include in yours?  Please tell!

XO-Stephanie

Wedding Wednesday: DIY Personalized Wedding Gift

Buying a nice wedding gift can sometimes be difficult, especially if you’re on a budget. I went through this recently when shopping for a coworker’s wedding.  He’s a special guy who’d do anything for anyone, and he’s been a great friend to me since we started working together.  His new wife is equally wonderful, and my fantastic hair dresser, so I wanted to give them something as special as they are.  I took to Pinterest to find something speical I could add to the items I purchased from their registry.  I was specifically looking for something I could make mysef that wouldn’t break my bank.

I hit the jackpot with this Wedding Invitation Ornament by From Glitter to Gumdrops

                    Picture from From Glitter to Gumdrops

 It was SO easy to make and cost me (shh!) roughly $7 to make!

All you need is:

  • Scissors
  • Pen
  • Clear glass ornament
  • Wedding Invitation
  • A little hot glue

Directions:

1) Cut the wording lines of the invitation into strips, approximately 1/4 inch high.  Mine were a little bigger – just eyeball the size of the ornament’s opening to see what will fit.  You can also continue cutting the blank places for added color and/or filling.

2) Curl the strips around a pen. Easy as pie. They should look like this:

                                              Image from From Glitter to Gumdrops

3) Fill the ornament with the strips.  You don’t have to do this in any particular way, because you can shake the bulb when it’s completely filled to move the strips around for better viewing.

4) Put a little hot glue on the inside of the ornament’s cap to secure.

5) Tie a loop and bow around the hook holder.

Done and done! Follow the link above to see the great step by step pictures and the full post by From Glitter to Gumdrops, as well as other great recipes and projects!

Here’s how mine turned out!  (I’m sorry for the picture quality, my iPhone can only do so much.)

Image from Steph's Old iPhone 😉

As you can see, packaged mine in a white cardboard gift box I picked up at the craft store.  I embellished it with my leftover ribbon, and placed the ornament in a bed of leftover tissue paper from their gift bag.

It was so simple and pretty, and a big hit with the Bride and Groom!  They sent me an excited “thank you” text right after they opened it, and I was so happy they loved it. 🙂

Do you have any great DIY wedding gift ideas?  If so, please share them with me in the comments below.  If you’re feeling really ambitious, write up the DIY in a blog post format and email it to me at TheTwentySomethingBlog@yahoo.com. You can be our next guest blogger!

XO Stephanie

Wedding Wednesday: Top 5 Things to Know About Engagement Rings

Hey Gals!  Are you hoping to get engaged soon?  And/or do you want to know everything there is to know about some diamond ring bling? Then our first guest blogger, Elyse has a post just for you today!

I was priviledged to meet Elyse in college, as we both worked toward our PR degrees.  She was also the producer for a local cable show myself and two other comm girls “starred” in. (It was Ladies Corner, we BSed about life, it was hilarious and aired at really random hours of the night.)  These days, Elyse lives in Colorado and is currently training for a half-marathon. (GET IT GURL!)  She loves Disney, social media and musical theater.  Today, she’s got some must-know tips to share with us, and I’m hoping she’ll write more great stuff for us in the near future!! Give it up for Elyse! (I hope you’re applauding at your screen with me).

Thousands of couples recently tied the knot on 11/11/11, and according to ABC News, “November and December account for 26 percent of marriage proposals.”  The holidays are right around the corner, and it’s hard not to notice the increase of commercials promoting sparkling pieces of jewelry.  So if you’ve been thinking about a walk down the aisle in the near future, there are some things you should know.  Heck, even if you’re single and not thinking about proposing or getting engaged soon, you should still check out these tips!

Now, for full disclosure I’m not an expert on the subject, but I do work at a jewelry store where I see couples every day in search of the perfect ring.  Since I starting working at a jewelry store, my knowledge on diamonds and engagement rings have grown, so I wanted to take a moment and share my newfound knowledge with you!

1. Get offline and into the store

It’s ok to search online for ideas of what rings you or your significant other may like, but it’s better to see it in person. Whether you go by yourself or as a couple, do not be afraid to step into a store!   Rings can look different online, or in a magazine, than they do in real life.  Some rings that you may love in pictures may not fit right on your finger.  Some rings that you didn’t think you would like, once you try them on, you fall in love with. This does not just apply to the ring settings, but the diamonds itself. It’s always better to see it in person, up close, then risk ordering a ring online to only find out you don’t like it when it comes in the mail.

2. Know your 4 C’s

A good sales associate will tell you all about the 4 C’s of diamonds, but I suggest you start by doing your research.

  • Carat: This does not reflect a diamond’s size, but the actual weight of the diamond. Take into consideration the size of the finger that this ring is going on. A 1.00 carat diamond is going to look larger on a size 4 finger than on a size 9. Sometimes customers can get caught up in the carat weight of the diamond, they forget about the other characteristics that impact the quality (and price) of a diamond. Just remember that bigger isn’t always better!
  • Color: Diamonds have a scale of colors, ranging from colorless (D, E and F grades) all the way to fancy yellows.  Colorless diamonds are rare and will be expensive. Unless you specifically love the look of a yellow diamond, try to stay away from anything with a yellow tint to it, even if it means spending a little extra.  A high near colorless grading (specifically G and H) are going to be your best bet of getting a good color diamond for a good price. Unless you are comparing a colorless next to a near colorless diamond, my bet is many people won’t even notice the difference.

  • Clarity: Just as diamonds have a scale of colors, they also have a range of inclusions.  Inclusions are internal, and are kind of like birthmarks on a diamond  – they make each diamond unique.  They can be tiny light or dark crystals and minerals that are imbedded in the diamond, laser lines, small cracks (also called feathers) or large cracks.  The worst kind of inclusions, and the ones you need to watch out for, are carbon spots or black spots, inside a diamond. Even if the spot is small, the carbon can grow overtime expanding the black spot in the future.

A flawless diamond will have no inclusions and is rare and expensive.  Unless this is really important to you, save your money and get a lower clarity grade diamond, because depending on the clarity, truthfully no one may even notice the difference.  Very very slightly included (VVS1-VVS2) and very slightly included (VS1-VS2) diamonds will have some inclusions but they will not be visible to the naked eye. Slightly included (SI1-SI2) diamonds may or may not have inclusions that are visible with the naked eye and will vary with each individual diamonds based on the type of inclusions.  Usually anything in the included range (I1-I3) will have inclusions visible to the naked eye, some more visible than others.

The Overall, be sure to examine the diamond thoroughly under a gem scope before purchasing and make sure the inclusions do not detract from the look of the diamond.

  • Cut: Sometimes people can confuse cut with shape.  Diamonds do come in many shapes, but the cut of a diamond reflects the symmetry and polish of a diamond, which affects the diamond’s light performance.  This is the most overlook of the 4 C’s.  Cut grading can be ideal or excellent, very good, good, or fair/poor.  When a diamond is well cut, light enters the diamond and reflects off the facets and through the table and gives off that sparkle and fire. However, if a diamond is cut poorly (too shallow or too deep), the light can leak out leaving the diamond looking flat. This should be avoided. The most cost effective cut with the most brilliance would be a very good cut.  However, after comparing a very good cut with an ideal cut, my person opinion is to splurge a little on the ideal cut because it sparkles more. (Who doesn’t love a great sparkly diamond!)

3. Be realistic about the price

Just as you should do your research about the 4 C’s before heading into the jewelry  store, please take a moment to note the prices of the rings and diamonds.  Sales Associates will work with you to find a great ring in your price range, but they are not miracle workers!  Please do not expect to get a flawless, colorless, 1-carat diamond ring for $1,000.  It is just not possible.  Determine what you are willing to sacrifice (e.g.: smaller carat weight diamond for one with better clarity).

It’s ok to ask the Sales Associate if they’re giving you the best price possible.  Some jewelry stores list the retail price but can give you a certain percentage off.  Not all jewelry stores up-price their products, but sometimes there are additional discounts that are available.  Don’t be afraid to ask for a better deal, but that $10,000 diamond ring still won’t be $1,000.  Know what you want to spend and be realistic about what it will get you.

4. Check out the American Gem Society

Founded in 1934, the American Gem Society is a not-for-profit trade association dedicated to ethical business practices, development and maintenance of superior gemological skills and knowledge, and protecting the consumer (that’s you).  Only 5% of jewelers are members that meet the requirements, which mean that only 5% of jewelers have pledged to be an advocate for the consumer, fair pricing and honest value on their merchandise, and follow the AGS code of ethics, which include: providing full disclosure of all facts pertaining to the products they sell and not selling conflict diamonds by complying with the Kimberley Process Certification.

Visit the Society’s website at www.americangemsociety.org to find a jeweler near you that you know you can trust!

5. Warranties and Insurance.

At the jewelry store where I work, we have a lifetime care plan that covers all maintenance.  Nothing makes me sadder than seeing a couple come into the store to get ring repairs that end up costing them more than the value of the ring.  Repairs can be expensive, and had they purchased the care plan, all those repairs would be included with no extra charge to them.

Purchasing a ring is a big investment, so don’t get cheap on the warranties and insurance!  Some jewelers’ warranty or care plans will take care of all maintenance for the ring for life, others only cover the diamond.  Be sure to ask about the type of warranties or care plans that are available to you.  Then once you purchase the diamond ring, be sure to make copies of any grading reports, take pictures of the ring and get it insurance with your homeowners or renters insurance incase it is ever stolen.

I hope these tips are helpful in your search for the perfect ring.  If you have any questions, please leave a comment below!

_ _ _ _ _ _

Thank you Elyse! We hope to hear from you again soon!

So, there you go! The top 5 things you must know before shopping for engagement rings.  Be sure to pass around your new-found knowledge with your lucky second half!

XO Stephanie

Wedding Wednesday: Bridesmaids 101

Hello All!

Have I told you that my sister is getting married in September 2012?  Well, she is! And this weekend, I had the pleasure of hanging out with her awesome bridesmaids as we purchased our oh-so-glam bridesmaid gowns.  Sister’s friends are wonderful, so choosing bridesmaids was a pretty easy decision for her. She was lucky! If choosing your wedding party is causing you stress, don’t fret! I’m here to teach you all the things you need to know with Choosing Bridesmaids 101

The basic definition of a bridesmaid is: a woman who is an attendant of a bride.  An attendant.  Keep that in mind for later…. Even without the definition, we all know who the bridesmaid is. She stands next to  the bride at the altar and helps her through her exciting big day – and hopefully not in an ugly gown!

The Tradition

Traditionally, bridesmaids would dress in very similar gowns as the bride to ward off evil spirits. It was superstition if the women acted as decoys and followed the bride everywhere the she went on her special day, the evil entities would get confused and therefore could do no harm to the bride.

Today we have our bridesmaids to spread word about the bridal shower, throw
the bachelorette party, help address invitations and thank yous, assist
decorating the reception hall, keep us calm before the ceremony and basically
do anything we need them to do to keep the wedding running smoothly! For these
reasons, it’s important to choose a solid lineup of women to be your support
group during your special time. No one wants a cranky bridesmaid who complains
about everything, or one who is unwilling to find run and grab your lipstick
before picture time!

2, 4, 6, 8?

When it comes to how many bridesmaids you should have, the possibilities are endless. A general guideline however is to have one bridesmaid, accompanied by one groomsman, for every 50 guests. Therefore, if you will have 250 guests at your wedding, you should have five bridesmaids. Having five maids at an intimate wedding with 80 guests might look a little unbalanced. It’s your day though, so anything goes

Sister Act

Though a nice sentiment, and thought to be tradition, it is not necessary to have sisters as your bridesmaids, whether yours or your fiances.  If these ladies aren’t cut out for the job of making sure you’re wedding day what you’ve been dreaming of, then don’t feel obligated to make them part of your wedding party. It can be hard to make this decision, especially if you want to avoid family conflicts, but if your future sister-in-law will only
cause you grief on your wedding day, try including her in another way. She can always be a reader during the ceremony or perform a song if she’s musically inclined. This goes for your sisters as well. You should be at ease during your wedding, with a troop of maids who would do anything to keep you smiling!

Ladies Only? No Way!

Who says the people standing next to you has to be all women? In today’s world, anything goes! If you have a best friend who is a man, or a very close bond with your brother, you can always have him as an attendant. He can also be your maid of honor. In this case, the proper title (for all those programs you spend hours designing) would be Honor Attendant. Spread the word to your future hubby – he doesn’t need a male only policy in his bridal party either!

Friendly Obligation

You should never feel obligated to have a friend in your wedding party just because you were in hers. The same sisters rule of thumb applies here – if she (or he) will not be the best person to be your Attendant, they should not be in your wedding party. If they are truly your friend, this will not offend them.  You should do what feels right to you!

So brides, just remember when you’re picking your bridal party, bridesmaids should be the people who you love and who love you, who will be beaming at you while you beam at your groom and who will make your wedding day all the more special by standing by your side!

Do you have any bridesmaid horror stories? Either as a bride or an attendant? Please share!

XO Stephanie

Wedding Wednesday: Make Way for Ombre! Part II

Happy Wedding Wednesday!  It’s time for the second of our three-parter tribute to Ombre!  Are you as excited as me? I hope so!  The ombre look is the perfect addition to the wedding industry’s trends.  It adds a delicate, feminine, almost dreamy, touch to wedding decor, and has been used on everything from centerpieces, to wedding gowns!
There are infinite possibilities of Ombre-ing (I like to make everything verbs) up your wedding day.   You can use a little, or a whole lot, but as always, you should avoid too much of a good thing.  I highly suggest using accents of solid colors to anchor the look and emphasize the trend you’re hoping to show off.
So how exactly can you incorporate this trend?  Well, let’s start with an obvious take…
 
Wedding-Day Attire
I’m definitely a traditionalist when it comes to bride’s gowns – the standard white or ivory is my favorite – but as the photos below prove, there sure is a wow factor when a little ombre is thrown in!
ombre gowns
The blue chiffon dress is designed by Jason Grechwite and the neutral dress is from Lela Rose.  Per usual, Gwen Stefani was trendy before her time during her 2002 nuptials to rocker Gavin Rossdale when she weas pretty in pink in this ombre gown from Dior by John Galliano. What do you think about ombre wedding gowns?  Would you wear one?
If donning ombre yourself is unappealing, maybe you’ll like it better on your groom. Ties like this one are popping up in a lot of tuxedo shops, and come in a variety of colors. This picture on the left is from Top Hat Tuxedo located in Fox Chapel – for all my fellow Pittsburghers. (PS, I’ve worked with them before and their staff was extremely helpful and friendly!)
You can also have your bridesmaids wear ombre dresses, like this pretty purple one below from David’s Bridal, or have the girls wear different shades of the same dress and line them up in an ombre pattern like these pink examples.
The ombre order should be easy to pull off, as most bridesmaid dresses come in a variety of colors in similar shades.  You don’t have to just go from light to dark in one long line.  Mix it up a little by going back and forth in the fade, so maybe dark in the middle and light on the ends.
Whatever your vision may be, for ombre-inspired threads on your big day, you can definitely make it happen!
Flowers
Ombre is found in nature all over the place, so adding the trend into your bouquet and centerpieces is easy as pie!  These are my favorite finds – especially the flowers laid in the middle of the table.  It’s so simple, but really makes a statement, right?
Cakes
Check out these YUMTASTIC looking cakes. There are so many different ways your baker can incorporate the fading into the icing whether it be fondant ruffles, a special design or different colored layers.
 
As you can see, there are so many ways you can incorporate ombre into your special day.  Just remember – less is more!
What are you favorite ombre wedding looks?
XO Stephanie

Wedding Wednesday: Spooktacular Soiree!

Have you ever considered having a Halloween wedding?  I’m so inspired by the dark mystery of this holiday, and would love to turn someone’s wedding reception into a Spooktacular Soiree! I’m not talking cheesy decorations and masks of former presidents.  I’m thinking mysterious, black and white, high-fashion, a little goth and all around sexy glamour!!

It takes a special couple to pull off such a specific theme, and it’s important to incorporate the chosen theme into all the details.  However, it’s pivotal to remember that it is still a wedding, and the bride and groom should be the main focus.

Here are some of my favorite Halloween wedding ideas:

I’m completely obsessed with that black laced mermaid gown with the orange lace shoes. Gorgeous!!

Here are a few more ideas I couldn’t find pictures for:

  • Hang long vertical twinkle lights entwined with “cob webs” from the ceiling
  • Couples favorite signature drinks renamed something like “Witches Brew” or “Vampire Blood”
  • Caramel apples, AKA “Poisoned Apples” used as place card holders (just attach the card to apple’s stick with clear tape or Zots)
  • Creepy food names like Eyeball Salad – green salad with radishes stuffed with olives, Leg O’Man – Smoked Pork Roast, or Human Ribs – Smoked Beef Ribs. Be careful not to gross-out guests!
  • Ask guests to wear masquerade masks or certain costumes or have black, white and orange dress code
  • “Trick or Treat” bags with a candy bar
  • Halloween song-list: Thriller, Monster Mash, Time Warp, and creepy organ music through dinner
  • Horse drawn carriage for bride and groom with black horses
  • Photobooth for guests with costume wigs, glasses, masks, etc. and/or set to look like an electric chair
  • Hang antique looking photos that change to look like ghosts – found at most stores carrying Halloween decorations
  • Antique furniture or mirrors hung around the room
  • Orange and black lights to give the room a great glow

There are so many things that can be donw with this particular theme – I could go on and on! If you’re daring enough to throw a Spooktacular Soiree Wedding, just remember to have FUN and incorporate all the things you and your groom love about Halloween!

What are some of your ideas?

XO Stephanie