Five Cost-Cutting Tips for Brides on a Budget

Five Cost-Cutting Tips for Brides on a Budget

Weddings are a wonderful opportunity for brides to showcase their style

Weddings are a wonderful opportunity for brides to showcase their style, but not everyone has the budget to make their day match their dreams. Sacrifices sometimes have to be made, usually much to the dismay of the bride or the displeasure of her guests. However, there are several ways to whittle down costs without curtailing good taste. Below are some suggestions to help you think thrifty for your big day.

1. Avoid peak prices.

Every vendor knows that a Saturday afternoon in the middle of summer is the most popular time for a wedding, and thus, typically raise prices to reflect increased demand. Consider scheduling your wedding date on a Sunday, a weekday, or eve during a winter month to avoid these peak prices. This can often save you thousands, especially if you can take advantage of any off-peak or seasonal discounts. In many cases, being a June bride really is over-rated, at least when it comes to cost.

2. Edit out extras.

Ever heard of the expression “it is all in the details?” Well, when it comes to vendors, it is completely true. Details usually equal dollars, especially for things like white-glove service and top-shelf liquor. Edit out these extras in your contracts to reduce overall costs. Your guests will never notice that they are missing, and you can save the money that you would have spent for more important things, like your honeymoon.

3. Go green.

From vases to votive holders, purchasing everything new can be very expensive. To scale back a bit, try going green and buying “recycled” or second-hand items such as ring pillows and aisle runners. In most cases, these near-new accessories have barely been used, and are a great alternative for both the eco-friendly and the budget conscious couple. To find “recycled” items, try these resources:, and

4. Plan on double duty.

Decorative elements such as flowers can quickly become one of the biggest expenses for a wedding, particularly when the ceremony and reception are not held in the same room. To trim back your budget some, plan to make many of your arrangements do double-duty. Ceremony bouquets can easily be placed in plastic holders to adorn the cake table or DJ booth, and aisle and altar displays can be readily repurposed on the buffet. Have your maid of honor or wedding coordinator help you make the move, and cut down on finances, not on flowers.

5. Take time off.

Wedding days are a whirlwind of activity that can sometimes start very early and end very late. With a schedule that begins at breakfast and does not wrap until your last guest leaves the after-party, it is easy to hand over a huge amount. To save some additional cash, consider taking a little time off of your wedding day agenda.  Scale back the reception by an hour to reduce both you venue’s rental fees and your vendors’ service charges. Really, is a five-hour reception so much better than a four-hour one? The affordable answer is no.

Unique Alternatives to Unity Candles

Unique Alternatives to Unity Candles

New Ways to Make Your Wedding Ceremony Truly Meaningful

Your wedding ceremony is without question the most important element of your entire day. Without it, there would be no reason for the dress, the fancy reception, or the flowers. It is the magic moment that that you have been waiting for, but ironically, most wedding ceremonies are decidedly dull. A traditional ceremony typically includes the reciting of vows and the exchanging of rings, but not much else. By including a special ceremony in your wedding though, you can really make it a moment to remember, and even add an aspect of personal style that may otherwise be missing. The unity candle is, of course, the most popular special ceremony, but despite its timeless and touching message, it has been more than overdone. Below are five options for other special ceremonies that go beyond the usual standard, while still capturing your heart

Blessing Stone Ceremony

Incorporating blessing stones into a wedding is a wonderful way to involve everyone in the ceremony. Prior to the service, each guest is provided with a “blessing stone,” such as a glass bead, marble or river rock. During the ceremony, the officiant asks the congregation to hold their stones and think about their prayers for the continued happiness, heath and prosperity of the couple. Then, using a basket, vase or other decorative vessel, the blessing stones are collected and given to the bride and groom as a token of their wedding and the good wishes of their guests. Often during the collection, a traditional Indian, Irish or other cultural blessing is read, or a particular song is performed. Other variations of this special ceremony ask guests to write down their thoughts on note cards attached to the blessing stones, or use pennies and a wishing well instead of stones and a vase.

Coin Ceremony

A coin ceremony is a Latin cultural tradition that typically occurs at many Mexican or Spanish-style weddings. As part of this special ceremony, the groom presents his bride with thirteen coins to represent his vow to care for, support and sustain her. In the mainstream version though, the minister usually pours the coins into the cupped hands of both the bride and groom as a prayer for their prosperity is repeated. In this variation, the ring bearer is sometimes given the special task of taking the coins in during the processional, often in a decorative satin or velvet drawstring purse.

Hand Ceremony

A hand ceremony is a beautiful way to represent the emotional bonds of a wedding through a time-honored physical ritual. This observance, which usually occurs right after the exchange of rings, begins with the bride and groom facing one another and joining first their left palms, followed by their right. Thus causes the couple’s crossed arms to form an infinity sign, a symbol of their lasting love. A blessing is then offered by the officiant, and sometimes, the spouses’ wrists are even bound with a colorful ribbon or cord. With the hands linked and the eyes locked, this ceremony is a lovely sign of the new union, and of the joining of two hears and souls.

Rose Ceremony

The rose ceremony is a touching addition to any wedding, and is typically placed just before the final prayer and/or the marriage pronouncement. During this ceremony, the bride gives her groom a single, long-stemmed rose to symbolize her first gift to him as his wife. The groom then does the same, sometimes as a reading of Robert Burns’ “[My Love Is Like] A Red, Red Rose” is performed.  The officiant then reminds the couple of the rose’s significance as a token or true love, and encourages them to exchange the flowers again and again for every anniversary.

Wine Ceremony

There are several ways to perform wine ceremonies, each with their own special meaning. In one variation, a single glass of wine is blessed, and both the bride and groom sip from it like a Celtic loving cup. In a second, and somewhat tricky version, the bridal couple drinks from two glasses, but with their arms interlocked. A third possibility is to pour a glass of both red and white, and then combine them to create a new rosé wine for the bride and groom to share.

Reduce, Reuse and Recycle: Three Ways to Go Green for Your Wedding

Three Ways to Go Green for Your Wedding

Eco-Friendly Ideas that Can Also be Cost-Effective

The truth is – weddings, by nature, are not eco-friendly, nor are they economical. Excess pollution and waste are big by-products of these expensive celebrations, from the fuel burned by the limousine to the aluminum cans and glass containers for the liquor. Despite the recent trend to “go green,” there are still very few resources available for earth-conscious couples, especially those with limited funds. Typically, options like organic catering and recycled stationery come with a steep price, one that may just not be feasible for brides on a budget. However, there are a few ways that your wedding can be both eco-friendly and cost-effective. Read on for a few tips on how to reduce, reuse and recycle on your special day – without spending a fortune.


Reducing waste is a great way to both minimize your wedding’s carbon footprint and save some extra cash. Begin by eliminating the things that are most likely to get thrown away, such as invitations, trinket-type favors and disposable flatware. Consider these cost-saving alternatives instead:

China and Flatware: Instead of using disposables utensils for your reception, or even renting more expensive, but reusable, china and glassware, go completely with finger foods. Have a cocktail-style reception, and curb waste while cutting expenses.

Favors: Instead of one small gift for each guest, consider making a lump sum donation to charity in the name of everyone you have invited. Doing so will allow you to better control the overall amount that you spend, and will eliminate excess waste as well.

Invitations: Instead of sending out traditional invitations, try using an Internet-based service such as Despite the haughty disapproval of many etiquette experts, this has recently become an acceptable alternative among more earth-conscious crowds. And one big bonus – it is free!


Reusing items for your wedding is a wonderful means of saving money, and of eliminating excess too. Consider these three eco-friendly ways to re-purpose old décor, dresses, and flowers for your wedding, and see how cost-effective going green can truly be.

Décor: Instead of shelling out a bunch of cash to buy new decorations, look for creative ways to spruce up your venue with objects you already own. Go for eclectic elegance with mismatched vases and votive holders, or even simple strands of holiday lights. The savings can be substantial, and because you are likely to need the items again, there will be nothing to throw away.

Dresses: Instead of a brand new gown from a bridal salon, consider wearing your grandmother or mother’s old wedding dress. This was once a time-honored tradition, and has recently gained back some of its former greatness in response to the vintage trend. Alterations aside, your attire will be free, and the negative environmental impact will be next to none.

Flowers: Instead of accruing a huge expense for separate reception, rehearsal dinner and even shower arrangements, reuse your centerpieces for every celebration. This cost-cutting technique tends to increase the singular “feel” of your theme by stinging the floral elements together, while also decreasing the amount of flowers that inevitably end up in the dumpster.


Since there will likely be some things for your wedding that you will just have to buy, such as accessories, alcohol and printed products, the only way to lessen the ecological effects (and recoup costs) will be to recycle. When thinking about ways to reduce excess waste – and expenses – for your wedding, remember these tips:

Accessories: Wedding accessories like flower girl baskets, ring beater pillows, and bridal toasting flutes can cost a couple a small fortune, just to end up in storage or the trash. Save your accessories from a similar fate, and earn back a percentage of their expense, by advertising them on sites such as or

Alcohol: Stocking your bar with alcoholic beverages normally means that there will be a large number of leftover bottles and cans. Keep them out of the landfill and eve recoup a little of their cost by recycling the aluminum and glass. Ask your bartender and guests to assist you by not throwing their empties away.

Paper Products: A lot of paper can be wasted at a wedding, from the escort cards and menus to the place cards and programs. After the reception, recycle these items to reduce your wedding’s carbon footprint and help conserve the earth’s natural resources. There may not be a big monetary reward for your efforts, but the environment will certainly thank you.

Theme Weddings: Cool, or Just Corny?

Theme Weddings: Cool, or Just Corny?

Honest Answers from Attendants, Professionals and Guests

Almost every wedding has a theme, be it a classic color palette, an important cultural influence, or a particular season of inspiration. Some weddings though, take the topic to an extreme, with a concentrated concept that can range from the amazing to the appalling. Although these marriages are certainly memorable, are they really a wonderful reflection of the couple’s unique sense of style, or just a creative whim gone terribly wrong? Read on to hear the honest answer from real attendants, professionals and guests.

Wedding Themes Gone Wrong

The fact is, theme weddings can be a real trill – when they are done right, that is. A bit outside of the box, they offer a unique opportunity for the bridal couple to create a custom experience unlike any other wedding that guests may have attended. Even a clever concept though, can turn out painfully corny, particularly when there are errors in its execution. As Sandy Bearden of Columbia, Maryland stated recently, “I think for a theme wedding to be successful, it needs to be ‘the idea of’ or ‘representative of’ the idea or the theme, and not so much of the actual ‘idea.’ For example would a princess really have a cake shaped like a castle? Probably not, she would most likely have a very elegant cake with the pattern of the lace on her dress.”

What a great insight

What a great insight, Sandy, though unfortunately, it looks to have been lost on some brides and grooms. For example, Reverend Bruce Byers of Albuquerque, New Mexico explained, “I’ve done ‘cowboy/western’ weddings that were great, from the bouquet (wild flowers) down to the spurs worn by the groom. And I’ve done a few that seemed to be someone’s idea of 1950’s Roy Rogers mixed with Toy Story, [ones] that had everybody wondering what was up?”

Naturally, this is not the reaction that most couples are seeking, but tragically, it seems to be a trend. At another wedding near Venice, Florida, attendants were befuddled by a paper cutout of a goldfish that the groom wore as a boutonniere. A deteriorating dolphin theme appears to have resulted in a strange mix of striped and multicolored fish, one of which landed on the groom’s lapel. As Avis Shiveler Brangan, Professional Bridal Consultant quipped, “This was not a wedding, this was a six-year-old’s birthday party put together with scissors and construction paper.” Yikes.

Wedding Themes Done Well

All these horror stories aside though, it is possible to have a simply superb theme wedding. The key is to really research and understand the topic, be it the American Revolution, Mardi Gras or even murder mysteries. Then, think about ways to incorporate that detailed knowledge into different aspects of the wedding, from the invitations right down to the specialty drinks. For instance, one inventive couple near Wells, Maine recently rented a local movie theater to fashion their fifties themed nuptials. The bride appeared authentic with period hair, shoes and a short dress complete with petticoat. Their getaway car was a restored classic, and even the groom looked the role. “I thought that it was very nice,” said Frankie R. Keefe, who attended the service. “The work that they had put forth produced something individualized, had special meaning to them and will always be a great memory. That is what really counts for the big day!”

Let the wedding photographer make the memories

When it comes to themes

When it comes to themes, Reverend Bruce Byers thoroughly agrees. “The main thing about a themed wedding is it should be reflective of things that are important to the couple.” In no case was this more clear than in that of an Ohio couple who were recently featured on Chicago’s local news for their football-themed nuptials. Held at an ESPN Zone, the wedding showcased the marriage of a Bears fanatic (the bride) and a Stealers buff (the groom). All the wedding party members wore their favorite team jerseys, with the female attendants in pink. Officiant Michelle Oxman of Evanston, Illinois recalls, “The ceremony included some football references, about playing whatever position was needed, helping the team recover from fumbles, and my favorite: do you willingly give up your status as a free agent and make the welfare of this team your highest priority? Lots of fun.”

Wacky, festive, and even just plain funny, weddings like these prove that themes really can be cool. So, go on, dare to be different and don that Renaissance dress, rock that Hawaiian hula, or spin that roulette wheel. Make your wedding memorable, with a theme that is thoroughly you!

Second Marriages: Incorporating Children Into the Ceremony

Second Marriages: Incorporating Children Into the Ceremony

How to Make Children Feel Like They Are a Part of Your Marriage

With the rapid increase in the number of remarriages over the past few decades, the percentage of children who now belong to “blended” families has also risen. Each year, it seems that more and more children become witnesses to the birth of their own step families, an experience that can be fraught with worry and even dread.

Just watching the wedding happen around them can often serve to distance and divide children from their new stepparents, rather than helping to draw the two closer together. Including children in the celebration though, can cement the foundation upon which good future relationships may be built.

Many brides and grooms however, may be oblivious to their options when it comes to ways to incorporate their children into the wedding. Read on to find five touching recommendations that will truly make your children feel like they are a part of your marriage.

1. Ask them to be attendants.

One of the most charming ways to include children in your wedding is to ask them to be attendants. Making them members of the wedding party can afford them a pivotal role in the proceedings, and assign them a distinguished title too. Young daughters, aged four to seven, can be drafted as flower girls, while young sons are ready-made ring bearers. Older children may assume the roles of junior attendants, or even that of the maid of honor or best man.

2. Celebrate with a special ceremony.

Including a special ceremony in your wedding is also a wonderful avenue to incorporating children. Having them participate in the lighting of candles or the pouring of sand can help to solidify the concept of the new family formation, and gives children a good visual representation of their unique roles. Articles associated with the ceremony can later stand as happy symbols in the children’s home, ones that will remind them of the valuable and vital part they play in the marriage.

3. Encourage them to be escorts.

Another approach to including children in the wedding is to invite them to partner with the bride for the processional. Sadly, for many second marriages, the bride ends up walking down the aisle alone, or simply standing at the altar. A less lonely, and more lovely, option would be to have her children or future stepchildren escort her, and symbolically “giver her away” to the groom. The image is incredibly sweet, and one that will likely linger with both the bride and her escort forever.

4. Make family marriage vows.

The essence of any wedding is the exchanging of vows. To make children feel more important, incorporate them into the wedding by sharing special pledges with them as well. Promises to care for them and provide for their needs are completely appropriate, and may be mildly reassuring too. Naturally, there would never be any references to replacing a deceased or divorced parent, nor would any replies be required unless the children volunteer.

5. Present them with rings, medallions or other mementos.

The giving and receiving of rings is one of the most significant parts of a wedding, so why not present children with them as well? A simple, child-sized band can be a beautiful token, one that can be treasured for years to come. Similarly, a family medallion, inscribed with the child’s name and the wedding date, would be a special memento too. No matter what the gift actually is, the act of giving it will still be meaningful, both for you and for your children.

Bachelor Parties: Who Are They Really Planned For?

Bachelor Parties: Who Are They Really Planned For?

A Scapegoat Grooms Speaks Out

Ah, the bachelor party – a time for beers, boys, and presumably, breasts. For hundreds of years, this raucous ritual has been branded as the bridegroom’s last hurrah, his final night of freedom with his friends. Just as the majority of the wedding will be “for the bride,” this day marks the groom’s moment to be doted upon, to be plied with drinks and nearly seduced by strippers. Clearly, this sometimes-wild soiree is coordinated entirely to gratify the guest of honor. Or is it? Read on for one bachelor’s revealing opinion about who the bachelor party is really planned for – i.e., his “boys.”

Having been a best man twice himself, James was already somewhat familiar with the night’s normal format, and was thus looking forward to the debauchery that was doubtless in his future. A big fan of the 1940’s and 1950’s, James was captivated by the concept of the “Rat Pack” bachelor party that was being planned by his friends. The evening would begin with a scrumptious steak dinner prepared by one of his groomsmen, then progress to drinks at a local tavern. It was at this point in the evening though, that all of James’ jolly preconceptions about the event would change. Forced by his friends to remove his crooner-style suit jacket, James was then required to don a black bow tie and a ripped button-down. Clad now as a cheap imitation of a Chippendale dancer, his buddies demanded that he collect the signature of every single lady in the locale. For James, a relatively reserved guy who had long since abandoned his need for attention, the task was terribly awkward, and one that left him with the lingering question, “Whose party is this, anyway?”

For days after the deed was done, James continued to ponder this thought, and to evaluate his real role in the evening’s proceedings. He reflected on all of the bachelor parties he had both attended and thrown, and how he too had tormented the man of the hour. Soon, a revelation struck him. At each event, James noted, the bachelor had become the buffoon, made to perform mortifying feats such as downing a dozen consecutive shots or suffering through an agonizingly public lap dance. And to what end – his enjoyment? Possibly, but more probably, for the amusement of those attending. For them, this was just a good guys’ night out, complete with their own personal public spectacle. It was a viable excuse for them to be a little wild, to live vicariously for a couple of hours, and of course, to have a good chuckle at the groom’s expense. This epiphany led James to exclaim, “The bachelor party isn’t for the groom. It’s for the groom’s friends!”

So brides, take heart – your husband-to-be’s big night out may leave him feeling less like a single stud and more like a fool for your love. All bachelors though, beware! An embarrassing public experience is likely looming in your future too, and your best buddies are sure to be the culprits.

Affordable Venue Alternatives

Affordable Venue Alternatives

Six Suggestions for Ballrooms on a Budget

Hooray – you are engaged! Now, the search is seriously on. Besides setting the date, finding the venue will likely be your first big planning priority, and probably, the most stressful. Since every bride wants her wedding to be a perfect reflection of her personal style, be it classic, contemporary or romantic, it is important to find a room that just “fits.” However, venues that meet those requirements cost money – lots of it – and often, are just more than a couple can afford. Banquet halls and boutique hotels are seldom cheap, especially when they mandate the use of an expensive on site caterer. So, where is a girl to go? Read on for six venue suggestions that could very well lead to a ballroom on a budget.

Let the photographer make the memories

Wedding Photographers | Wedding Photographer | Wedding Photography DIY wedding


Many colleges and universities have both meeting space and student centers that can be reserved for a minimal cost. These rooms, though sometimes lacking a little in style, often have built-in electronic equipment, and even sound systems, perfect for your Ipod plug-in. Additionally, some facilities may also have a dedicated culinary department that that can offer inexpensive food options for your special day.

Community Centers

Almost every community in the country, be it a big city or a tiny town, has a center available for its seniors, students or the public at large. Many of these facilities, in addition to their indoor pools and aerobics programs, provide reservable meeting rooms complete with tables and chairs. Because of their reasonable rental fees, they can be great contenders for the couple on a budget, despite their distinct chlorine smell and of course, the sound of splashing.


Libraries can be lovely venues; just think of Sarah Jessica Parker and “Sex and the City.” Although seldom as spectacular as the one in New York, they can still be charming, historic, and most importantly, cheap. Just be careful though, to find out about any open flame, food or beverage restrictions that may be in place to protect the books. There will be no refund of your damage deposit if you ruin a first edition of War and Peace during your wedding.


The local Elks or Masonic lodge may just be the perfect place for your wedding. Most come   complete with a formal dining room and a full kitchen, and sometimes, even a stocked bar. The clubs’ actual meeting rooms also tend to be quite elaborate, with paintings, platforms and even rows of seats suitable for the ceremony. Rates for the rental can vary, but are usually less for members of the lodge and their immediate family and friends.


Any city, state or national park has the potential to be a nice wedding venue. Their great landscaping, lush greenery, and/or magnificent views make for marvelous ceremony backdrops, and their onsite pavilions, complete with picnic tables, can be cute reception tents. However, to secure your special spot for the day, it may be necessary to obtain a one-time park permit at a nominal fee. This will grant you and your guests exclusive access to the area, and prevent the casual public from crashing your wedding.


Is your favorite local bar or restaurant the right location for your wedding? With its neighborhood charm and cheerful décor (not to mention its china, flatware and free linens), it definitely could be. Many bars and restaurants have private rooms that can be booked for just this sort of event, and dedicated wairstaff that will work to ensure that everyone is happy. Best of all, these services are standard practice, so the price will likely be little more than the usual tab.

DIY wedding

DIY wedding

Your wedding is your day for everything to look as beautiful

Your wedding is your day for everything to look as beautiful as you want it . With all the special touches that makes it you. Most of us have been dreaming of this day our whole life and can already imagine what our special day will look like and all that it will entail. With Pinterest now being your main source to create your dream boards and find a ton of inspiration a lot of you feel as if you can make all of your decorations and things for your wedding and you can, it’s just what should you make and what should you purchase.

This is where the question comes in To DIY or Not to DIY

This is where the question comes in To DIY or Not to DIY. There are a lot of ways to save your budget and DIY things yourself but there are some things you should never cut from your budget and do yourself. Here are some DIY’s that you and your bridal party can execute months before your special day. Think of making your DIY’s into a day for you and your bridal party to bond and have fun.

I LOVE snacking! I love treats, sweets, chocolates, and anything with even a drop of sugar! I have always had a sweet-tooth. When I get married, I know my wedding will be loaded with sweets. That’s why when the Bright Occasions shared this wonderful DIY and party idea with me, I knew I had to share it all with you!

Who doesn’t like anything dipped in chocolate that looks so pretty?!

I’m now handing the blog over to Bright Occasions….

This styled shoot shows three distinct dessert tables for the modern wedding.  Many couples are choosing a variety of miniature desserts to serve for dessert at their wedding. A group of talented wedding professionals in the Annapolis, MD area teamed up to present beautiful ideas for easy dessert tables. Each table has its own unique look and feel, with different dessert items and lovely details.

DIY Chocolate Dessert Table

The first table is our DIY Chocolate Dessert Table.  It is an elegant whimsy styled table set against a stone house.  The rich fabric, gold and glass platters and gorgeous purple and deep pink flowers is a perfect juxtaposition with the stone backdrop.  The display and setting gives you the feeling of being in Europe or at a historic site.  The chocolates make for a wonderful dessert tables or as wedding favors.  It would also work nicely as part of a bridal shower, rehearsal dinner or engagement party.

For this table, all of the desserts were done “DIY” by Margo Fischer, wedding planner from Bright Occasions.  The beautiful birdcage and floral centerpiece by Flower Follies makes this table look much richer and grander.  The emerald green shutter and purple and gold “love” letters by Allison Barnhill Designs are the perfect accent.  Margo and pastry chef Mounia Valois of Paperwhite Events also teamed up to demonstrate how to make two of the DIY dessert: chocolate dipped pretzels and gold oreos.

****DIY Dessert Instructions Below.

Summer Sweets Table

The second table is our Summer Sweets Table.  Popcorn, cupcakes, cake pops and candy compose the desserts. We styled this table with bright colors and bold patterns, along with vintage milk glass accents. By setting the table on a bridge next to a blue Vespa, we were hoping to conjure up feelings of happiness, warmth and summer.  The gorgeous flowers by Flower Follies in whites, yellows, peaches and pops of hot pink add a feminine touch and bring all of the elements together.

Using popcorn as our theme, we had Allison Barnhill Designs create a lovely sign for the center of the table, reading “He Popped the Question”. She also made the individual popcorn cones using paper with a variety of yellow and white patterns.  The individual cupcakes made by Paperwhite Events have lovely little edible yellow gemstones to add to our engagement table.  This dessert table is perfect for late spring and summer and would work well for your wedding, engagement party or any special event.

Our third table is our Nautical Dessert Table.  The natural jute fabric was the perfect base for this table, styled with driftwood and combination of muted tones and pops of teal and red.  All of the nautical elements on this table work so well together and also stand on their own.  This dessert table is truly the perfect complement to your beachside wedding or event.

For this table, Paperwhite Events incorporated dessert favorites like cupcakes, macarons and meringues and also added white chocolate sand dollars, white chocolate starfish popsicles and blue rock candy. The paper favor bags made by Allison Barnhill Designs with starfish designs are the most adorable accessory and perfect for guests to take home some desserts from the table.  Allison Barnhill also created a beautiful invitation set. Flower Follies did an incredible job creating driftwood floral centerpieces to bring everything together.

DIY Chocolate Dessert Table


  • · Chocolate covered pretzels
  • · Chocolate hearts
  • · Chocolate love bars
  • · Edible gold oreos
  • · Chocolate marshmallows
  • · Chocolate truffles

Summer Sweets Table


  • · Buttered Popcorn
  • · Cinnamon Sugar Popcorn
  • · Tiny cupcake
  • · Cake pops
  • · Yellow Jelly Beans
  • · Orange Rock Candy
  • · Jordan Almonds

Nautical Dessert Table


  • · White Chocolate Sand dollars
  • · White Chocolate Starfish pops
  • · Teal Macarons
  • · Tiny Cupcakes
  • · Meringues
  • · Blue rock candy

Presented on:

  • · Ivory platters
  • · Glass Jars
  • Save the Date
  • Wedding Invitation
  • Favor Bags
  • Signs for dessert:
  • Ocean Blue Macarons
  • White Chocolate Sand Dollars’
  • Beachside Cupcakes

DIY Dessert Table Items:

Chocolate Dipped Pretzel Rods

Gold Oreos

These treats are both party favorites and they are super easy to make! Your guests will love the salty-sweet combination of the Chocolate Dipped Pretzels. These can be wonderful add-ons for a dessert or candy table. Gold Oreos are prettier versions of our favorite little cookies. You can use vanilla or chocolate Oreo cookies and a variety of edible color sprays. Both of these DIY ideas can also be used as party favors.


  • Double Boiler
  • 10 oz. bag of Pretzel Rods, yields approximately 2 dozen per bag (not including broken or unable rods)
  • 12 oz. bag of semi-sweet chocolate chips or melting chocolate, 1 bag will cover approximately 4 dozen pretzels
  •  4 oz. Edible Pearlized Gold Sugar Crystals
  • Baking Sheet
  • Chopsticks
  • Parchment Paper or Tin Foil

***Optional:  chopped nuts, flaked coconut, or sprinkles can be substituted for the gold sugar crystals to coordinate with your affair

1) Pour a couple tablespoons of water in the bottom of your double boiler and place over heat

2) Add chocolate chips in the top portion of the double boiler and place over the bottom layer

3) Next to the stove place parchment paper or tin foil on a baking sheet, have chopsticks nearby to rest the pretzels on

4) Pour edible pearlized gold sugar crystals in a bowl next to the baking sheet

When chocolate starts to melt stir and lower heat to medium

5) After chocolate is melted lower heat to low or off and use your hands to dip the pretzel rod into the chocolate approximately 1/3 to 1/2 way down.  Keep dipping the pretzel until the bottom portion is covered.

6) Tap the pretzel on the size of the double boiler to remove the excess chocolate.

7) Sprinkle the gold sugar crystals around the chocolate covered pretzel

8) Rest on the baking sheet –using the chopsticks to keep the chocolate portion off the sheet

9) Wait 1 hour or until chocolate is hard, then serve

***This can be made overnight and stored in Tupperware in your refrigerator.  Will stay good for up to 1 week in your refrigerator.


  • 1 lb bag of vanilla or classic Oreos *note the edible spray will show up much more visibly on the vanilla cookie
  • 1.5oz can of edible gold colored spray, such as Color Mist™ Food Color Spray at Michael’s
  • Baking Sheet
  • Paper Towels


1) Add a layer of paper towels on a baking sheet

2) Add individual Oreo cookies onto the paper towel; keep the cookies approximately 1 inch apart

3) Shake can of edible gold colored spray and follow directions to spray each cookie

4) Leave approximately 30 minutes in between coats to let dry, do 1 to 2 coats per side of cookie

***This can be made overnight and stored in Tupperware in your refrigerator.

Thank you SOOO much to Bright Occasions and all the wonderful wedding vendors who were part of this GORG shoot!

Photography: Ryan photography

Take Better Pics In A Flash With These Ideas!

When you are starting out with photography, you probably need to have a few basic tips in order to improve your skills. This article will help outline the correct path to take on your journey towards a better photo.

Take photographs quickly! If you wait too long, you risk losing your shot due to changing scenery. It is better if your camera takes pictures quickly.

Do not let your subject get away from you! If you take too long while setting up a shot, you may very well miss out on the opportunity to take the perfect picture. So therefore, the faster you are when you are taking your photos, the better off you will be.

Most people think that beautiful days filled with sunshine are ideal for taking photographs. But, in fact, filming in direct sunlight is a sure-fire way to ruin just about any photographic image. Downsides to direct sunlight shots include glaring, awkward shadows, uneven highlights and human subjects squinting if they face the camera. If you can, take outdoors pictures early in the day or toward the evening.

Skies that are overcast should be avoided in photographs. If you have too much gray sky in your photo it will make it look muted. A black and white photo might work best if you have to shoot an overcast sky. If the sky is blue, you should put it in your photo, but be careful of the light.

The position that you use when holding your camera can make a big difference on the quality of your pictures. To keep your grip steady, hold your upper arms and elbows close to your sides and brace your hands at the camera’s bottom and sides. This will minimize shaking and produce clearer shots. Make sure that you’re gripping the camera from underneath. What this does is steadies the camera better and also works to prevent any accidental drop.

Don’t be afraid to try new techniques, even if it means taking a risk. When you take photographs, you should be working to develop your own personal style. You want to show the photographed item through your point of view. Avoid the same pictures that have been done over a thousand times. Try out a creative style with your skills, and try unique angles.

This is a tip you can use in photography. Familiarize yourself with shutter speeds. The shutter speed settings you will find on your camera are: P,M,A & S. Using the “P” setting will put your camera into program mode. When you apply this setting it means you camera is fully automatic, so it sets things like shutter speed and aperture for you. For general use, the “P” setting is the right one to choose.

It’s best to use a blurred background when taking portrait shots. When you don’t blur the background, it becomes harder for a viewer to focus on the subject. It is important to keep your subject in the forefront while shooting your photograph.

It’s best to use a blurred background when taking portrait shots. If the background is too crisp or clear, viewers may get distracted by it or be unsure of which part of your photograph to pay the most attention to. The easiest way to do this is to increase the distance between subject and background.

People are an amazing subject to photograph! Of course, it is recommended to request permission first before snapping pictures. Shots of people will stand out and help you remember great traveling experiences. It’s a great idea to focus on the unique styles and expressions visible in each individual picture.

It’s possible to move the subject in your shots. They don’t need to be centralized. Find different, interesting angles to make the subject more interesting.

While you are traveling, photograph memorable souvenirs that you have purchased on-the-go. Photograph the souvenir on the shelf in the store, or get a shot of it with the sales clerk. This is a great way to capture memories and remember where you might have purchased a certain item from.

Practice selecting effective combinations of ISO, aperture, and shutter speed. These are the three features that drive the exposure of the photographs you take. Unless you are seeking a certain mood, try not to take under- or over-exposed photos. Try different things and find out which combination of these three features works best for you.

When you are photographing a particular subject, move around it. Experiment with taking a picture above and below your subject, as well as moving off to the side.

Play around with perspectives, expressions, and scale to assess their effect on your pictures. You can make any object look interesting by placing it in an unusual context. Get different takes on familiar objects by working on your compositions.

Look for the perfect subject for your shot. You could have wonderful equipment, excellent skill in composition and the technical end of photography, but without a good subject, you won’t have a good picture. Look for models or objects of inspiration for your photos.

To take more unique pictures, try using limitation. Choose a single concept to photograph, like “beauty” or “what is nature?” Restrict yourself to standing at one point or staying in one room for your next 100 photos. By placing limitations on yourself and your photography, you can sharpen your creative skills and work outside of the box.

Remain completely immobile when it’s time to click the shutter to get that ultimate photograph. Even the slightest movement can destroy a great shot. Catch yourself before you press the button: hold the camera still and wait to take a breath until after the shot is taken.

Avoid having your subjects where the color white to a photo session, as it can seriously affect the final images in a negative way. Many people use their cameras with the “auto” settings, and the camera tries to adjust the focus and exposure based on readings it takes from the subjects. If your subject has on white, it will contrast with the other shades in the image and wash out when processed.

Finding another photographer to mentor you or joining a club can improve your photography skills. While you may learn new techniques, make sure you keep your own signature style. Compare your pictures to the ones your friends took to see how one subject can be seen differently.

You need good equipment if you intend to really get into photography. Some photographers become brand loyalists for this reason. A lot of professional photographers swear to the quality of certain equipment makers, but many companies produce outstanding gear in their own little segments of the market.

Many times the subject looks directly into the camera. Try to capture different feelings, by having your subject focus on something other than the camera, off in the distance. You can also achieve a distinctive look by asking the subject to focus on a person or object within the frame.

Try keeping something interesting in the foreground of your landscape photos to add more appeal to the images. Including something simple, like a rock or a leaf, could add an additional view of the photo. It can not only draw attention to the subject but to the entire frame.

White is a terrible color to wear in a photograph, despite popular belief. If you are using the auto focus feature on your camera, it will record many varying colors and shading that it picks up through the lens. White clothing will almost always get “washed out” in these photographs.

To improve the quality and framing of your landscape shot, you should always use a tripod. If you have a place to put your camera that is steady, you can take much better quality photographs. It is important to getting a shot that is not shaky. This is very important when you are taking landscape shots.

Always give the camera’s manual a read before operating the device. The reason is because manuals are very thick and inconvenient to carry around. Most of the time they get thrown away or put away and forgotten. Open it up and read it instead of doing this. The manual can teach you how to take higher-quality pictures and avoid simple mistakes.

A photograph of a person can and should reflect more than simply their face. There are many beautiful parts of the human body that can be used as the subject in your photos.

Resist the temptation to maximize the number of available shots you can get on one digital card; instead choose settings that will allow a far greater quality for output printing. Only use the lowest image quality settings if you are completely sure that the images will only be viewed on a computer monitor.

If you’re standing in front of a small child, you’re going to be angling the camera down toward the top of his or her head. By squatting down until your eyes are level with the child’s eyes, you are going to end up with a much nicer photograph. This technique will assure you take much better photos of children than if you try to take a photo while looking down at them.

Photography magically captures moments that would otherwise be lost to the world forever. The tips in this article hopefully provided enough of a starting point for you to experiment with your camera and start capturing those memories that are important to you. When you absorb the knowledge given here, you are on your way to becoming an accomplished photographer, rather than a novice.

The key to a great picture is knowing what scenes and environments require flash or not. Don’t just turn the flash onto automatic and not reassess it ever again. A lot of light can sometimes ruin great photographs. Only use the flash in low light.

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Check Out This Article On Photography That Offers Many Great Tips

With some initial guidelines, beginning photographers can learn how to take better photos. Read these tips to get started, apply them, and practice.

When you are learning, camera settings should be simple. Focus on learning to use just one of the camera’s settings, such as shutter speed or aperture, before involving the others. This way, you can concentrate on taking the shot instead of fiddling about with camera settings while your subject walks away.

In order to take professional photographs, you need to have a professional camera. In order to take the best professional photographs, you should look into buying a dSLR camera. Many photographers use them, and you should use one as well if you would like better quality photos, too.

Take photos of people wherever you go. Do not take photographs of people without their consent. Pictures like these help you to find more vivid memories when you look back, even if at the time the people seemed unremarkable. Always try to get candid photos of your subjects for a natural feeling.

Try things that you think would be interesting and new; don’t be afraid to explore. The best pictures are the ones that show personality, style, and depth. Capture the world from your unique perspective. Try to stay away from taking pictures that are described as ‘classic’. Experiment with new angles, and be creative.

Take a lot of photos when you are trying to improve your skills, but buy a memory card with a large storage space. A 16 gigabyte memory card will store all of your photos without the necessity of changing memory cards during a photo shoot. A great part of larger memory space is that you can use the RAW format. This allows greater flexibility in editing.

Always keep charged batteries in your camera. Modern digital cameras use a lot more power than older cameras because of their LCD screens, so don’t get caught off-guard; charge your camera’s batteries often. You should also carry spare batteries so that you can avoid missing a photograph opportunity.

Most digital cameras have built-in flash components that automatically pop up when the light is dim. Built in flashes are great for your average photographs, but for a more professional look, you may want to consider an external flash. For this option to work, verify that your camera carries a “hot shoe” for accommodating the flash unit. A professional camera shop can help you find the right unit that will sync to your camera.

Take pictures of small details while traveling. These pictures will often bring back more memories than a picture of a landscape would. Street signs, bus tickets and the currency of the country that you visit can make for great photographs and memories.

You need to find a suitable subject to photograph. No matter how good your equipment is or how skillfully you can compose a picture, you always need a good subject to work with. You should carefully look for things that you find inspiring or ask a model to do some posing for you.

People are an amazing subject to photograph! However, it is important to always ask your subject’s permission before snapping shots. As you travel, these pictures will bring back your memories of your trip. Seek out spontaneous actions and everyday attire.

When you are taking a picture, experiment with perspective, expression and scale. You can make an object appear bigger or smaller depending on where you place it, or try using it in a funny situation to express a more artistic photograph. Get creative with the composition of your photographs to come up with some inventive representations of commonplace objects.

Figure out the best blend of aperture, ISO and shutter speed. These are the three features that drive the exposure of the photographs you take. Avoid overexposed pictures or underexposed ones unless you are looking for a particular atmosphere. The best way to learn more about these aspects is to experiment with them, this will help you learn how they interact together.

To take more unique pictures, try using limitation. For example, set a goal for the day to only shoot images that represent a single concept, such as “sweet.” You might try shooting 100 photos from a particular viewpoint or inside the same room. By restricting yourself this way, you can force more creativity from a limited source.

There are no secrets for being a better photographer. The more pictures you take, the more you will learn. It’s not necessary that you develop or keep every shot yourself, particularly with digital. Your photography skills will improve and as you later review them, you will see what you need to do to take even better pictures.

Most often, your subject looks directly into the camera lens. You can create a more interesting shot by directing your subject to focus on a point off-camera instead of directly at the lens. You could also try to have the people in the picture look at something in the frame.

You might be more creative if you use limits. As an example, have a specific goal where you only shoot on particular type of image, perhaps something called “sweet.” Restrict yourself to standing at one point or staying in one room for your next 100 photos. Having these limitations in place can make you be more creative and think outside of the box.

The belief is that white is always a great clothing choice when getting their photograph taken, but this is actually opposite from the truth. The majority of cameras use auto-focus, meaning that they will automatically make adjustments based on the various colors, shades and tones in an image. If you are wearing too much white, you can end up looking washed out in your photographs.

Lighting is one of the most important considerations when taking pictures. The ideal lighting for outside photos is provided by the sun when it is low on the horizon. If your subject is facing into the sun, it can distort the picture with shadows, and can also make it hard for your subject to keep a relaxed face. Use sunlight, candlelight and artificial light to see how each affects the subject of your photographs.

When taking a photo, shoot quickly. To capture good action shots, you need to have your shutter speed feature set to high. Don’t miss a golden opportunity before it leaves once more. Some special moments are only available to photograph for a few seconds and then they are lost forever. Adjust your settings as quickly as possible, and do your best to snap your picture while the scene still looks natural.

Frame every photograph you take. It doesn’t have to be just a metal or a wooden frame, you can use a more natural one as well. Use natural elements in your backdrop to frame the subject of your picture. You can use this as a way to practice photograph composition.

Frame all of your photographic shots. This refers not to a physical frame around a printed photo, but to a “natural” frame sought out in the camera’s field of view. Look really closely at the subject of your shot. Are there any elements around it that can be used to create a frame to enhance it? This can be a wonderful way to compose your shots.

Even the most unremarkable subject matter can create a striking photograph, but only if you play with the settings and features of your camera. You can also add visual interest by shooting from different angles or adjusting the lighting levels. Mess around with all these aspects and notice how you can change the look of each shot.

Toying with the focus can create a more interesting photograph. By lowering the f-stop number, you can heighten the focus on your subject while simultaneously blurring the background. This is a good photograph style to use for portrait images, as the subject is usually close to the lens. A higher f-stop number brings the whole view into focus. Larger f-stop numbers are ideal for landscape photography.

Try keeping something interesting in the foreground of your landscape photos to add more appeal to the images. A simple addition to any photo really adds an additional view sometimes. It will encourage viewers to look at the whole frame, and it will work to empathize your main subject.

You do not want to miss the perfect shot because you were playing with the settings on your camera. Conversely, avoid buying cameras that only offer automatic settings, because you will lose the chance to have some creative influence over your shots. Learn and explore your camera’s options and settings.

It is possible to use more than a face photo when photographing humans. The human body contains a lot of breathtaking parts that make great subjects for photographs.

You can adjust the settings on your camera before taking a picture, or try a unique angle. Mess around with all these aspects and notice how you can change the look of each shot.

Armed with this set of great tips, you can now go out in the world and take some fabulous photographs. These tips were specifically designed to enable you to fully optimize your photography skills and produce photographs that are a work of art.

Mobile phone cameras are way better than they were five years ago, but lighting remains a problem. There is no flash on most cellphone cameras, so you should always try to take shots where there is a good lighting source. One way to work around a low-light situation is to zoom in on your subject.

Emli photography
Danish wedding photography
Wedding Day
My photography