Friday, November 15, 2013

Fake it, baby!

Nope, I'm not talking about your wedding night (get your minds out of the gutters), but a few handy products that can definitely help you simplify and save on your wedding or special occasion beauty routine.

Broadway Nails Real Life
Did you ever play around with fake nails when you were in junior high or high school? My friends and I did on several occasions but we always bought the cheapest, most outrageous nails we could find.  However, if you do some searching, you can find very realistic, professional looking nails that are much cheaper than the cost of a salon manicure.  I really wish I had considered using false nails for my wedding instead of shelling out $30 for a manicure that wasn't all that impressive anyways. Over the summer I had boudoir pictures done as an anniversary present for my husband and decided to take a chance and wear false nails.  I was nervous that they wouldn't stay on, or that they would look obviously fake, but they look amazing in the pictures! A quick search on amazon turns up hundreds of results for fake nails that are a far cry from the fake and juvenile looking ones I was accustomed to seeing.  Particularly good brands that I have found are Fing'rs, Kiss, and Broadway, but there are others as well.  You can easily get a gorgeous manicure for $6-$10 by using false nails, instead of the $30+ that a salon manicure costs.
Kiss Custom Fit

Obviously, you want to purchase your false nails well ahead of time to do a trial wear so you can see how they look in person and how well they stay on.  The Fingr's false nails that I used came with glue stickers, but I constantly felt like they were coming loose and had to obsessively check to make sure they were still on. The nails themselves looked awesome, but I would recommend using liquid nail glue as opposed to stickers. Also, you can buy some pretty crazy nail designs, but I would definitely stick with a classic french manicure or solid, subtle color to avoid looking like a wannabe teenager prom-queen.

Now, to ensure that your false nails look as good as possible you want to follow a few basic steps:
Fing'rs Duo-tone

  1. Choose a false nail style that is a subtle color and a short to medium length.
  2.  Before applying glue, check to ensure that each false nail fits the width of your natural nail bed. Nails that are slightly larger than your nail bed may be painful to wear, but they will look okay. False nails that are smaller than your natural nails will look obviously fake. 
  3. Gently push back your cuticles with a clean orange (cuticle) stick.
  4. Swipe each of your natural nails with nail polish remover and let dry before applying nail glue. This will remove excess oils and ensure a good tight bond between your nail and the false nail.  
  5. Gently file any unnatural looking bits of plastic off the false nails.  
  6. Be sure to bring extra nail glue in your bridal emergency bag, just in case! 

Thursday, November 14, 2013

Seasonal Wedding Tips

Pre-decorated church
Christmas Tree Kiss
The holidays are approaching and now is a GREAT time of year to get married.  Not only do most religious venues and public spaces have holiday decorations up, but a there is a chance that many of your family members will have extra days off work so you could potentially save money by having your wedding on a less popular day of the week, such as a Wednesday, Thursday, or Friday.  The prominence of greenery and decorations in churches and public areas means that you won't have to spend money on ceremony decoration, and could quite possibly save on reception decor as well! Seriously, how amazingly romantic are pictures of newlyweds kissing in front of a softly lit pine tree!?

If you are lucky enough to live in an area that gets snow in December it is almost guaranteed that your pictures will have a magical winter background! Your accessories and bridal party colors will absolutely pop against the glistening, white background of snow. It might be a little bit cold during the pictures but I think the end results are totally worth it!
Snowy Wedding Backdrop

A few more ideas to consider when planning for a holiday wedding is that it does get dark earlier in November and December, so it may be a good idea to have an early afternoon wedding in order to have the best light for any outdoor photography.  With an earlier wedding you could also potentially save money by having a lighter reception with an array of hors d'oevres and drinks instead of  full sit down meal.  Of course you would want to provide enough food so that your guests aren't starving by the end, but serving several types of appetizers also keeps the mood of the reception light and festive.

Hopefully this inspired some of you seasonal brides-to-be and I hope you all have a wonderful holiday season, whatever you may celebrate!

Sunday, October 6, 2013

WW#6- Casual Beachy Style

Last week I took a reader poll to decide what theme to use next and it was a tie between a beach theme and a hot pink theme. I've been in a beachy mood since it still feels like summer in my part of the country, so I decided to use the beach theme with a casual twist.  I don't think a formal beach wedding is appropriate because my mental image of a beach is fun and casual, plus you have to worry about all the sand so a big formal wedding on the beach just seems silly.

Casual Chiffon Dress
I thought a light and flowing, shorter length dress with no train would be the best option for a beach bride so she doesn't have to worry about her dress dragging in the sand and can stay relatively cool if the weather is hot. I really like the look of this knee length dress* to fit the casual style I was going for, but a breezy chiffon dress with an asymmetrical/high-low hemline would be equally lovely.   I would keep the bride's accessories minimal and fun; maybe some chunky costume jewelry and a large flower clip for her hair.  For her hairstyle I would continue the casual look with either a messy low updo, or just keep her hair down and wavy.  Of course the bride's shoes would be white flip flops because trying to walk on the beach in high heels sounds dangerous, not to mention unfitting for the casual look of this wedding.  I want to keep the bouquet simple, so a medium sized cluster of purple and white flowers completes the bride's look.

Strappy Chiffon Bridesmaid
The color scheme for this wedding is inspired by the natural colors of the beach.  To add a bit of a unique touch, I chose the main color to be a light purple lilac or lavender color instead of the usual baby blue or coral.  The accent colors would be sandy neutrals and creams.  This breezy chiffon bridesmaid dress from David's Bridal is absolutely perfect and looks like it would be comfortable too! I would style the bridesmaids similarly to the bride with a casually messy hairstyle, simple jewelry, and non-heeled sandals, as well as small bouquets.

I want to keep the wedding decor clean and natural looking.  A gigantic, elaborate cake and centerpieces would not fit the style at all.  This clean white cake from Lisa's Cakes in Lebanon, OH is absolutely beautiful (and probably delicious, too! Lisa made my wedding cake and it was A-MAZ-ING).  Another good cake option would be a long and low rectangular tiered cake with a simple white buttercream frosting design.  To decorate the reception tables, I would just use small clusters of candles and then spread rose petals around that.  Recorded classical music would add just a touch of elegance while still maintaining a casual tone.

*This wedding dress is from another online store and is provided only as inspiration for the style I wanted to showcase. As always, I do not recommend buying a gown online, especially when it is made and shipped from overseas and you have no way to see it in person or try it on before purchase. Any links provided in the text of this post are also provided solely for your information and are not part of any affiliate program.

Monday, September 30, 2013

WW#5 Modest Autumn

Hello everyone! I am very excited about this weekly wedding theme! Why? Well, first of all, it celebrates autumn, which is truly my favorite season (and getting near my wedding anniversary!), and secondly, it was very much an invigorating challenge.  I chose a modest theme because I wanted to do something that was quite different for me and I was inspired by the number of conservative people I know who are recently engaged.  Now, modesty means different things to different people so I'm not claiming that this post is a definitive, catch-all style guide for modesty.  My ideas of modesty are rather general; covered from the shoulders to below the knees. To some people this may be more modest and to others it is definitely less modest. I know some people think modest dress means absolutely nothing form-fitting, and some people also believe that contrasting buttons or seams are immodest.  Hopefully this post fits a happy medium and will give you plenty of ideas that can be modified to your own tastes and views of modesty.

This is going to make the post a little bit longer than usual, but I want to start out with some tips on what NOT to look for in modest wedding apparel.  It is in no way my intention to offend anyone with this section; I just want to show that there are plenty of stylish, beautiful modest wedding dresses out there and that you don't have to settle for a plain, boring, short-sleeved satin A-line dress.  Some people may think that a very plain wedding dress is fine because it allows the bride's natural beauty to shine, but that clearly isn't always the case.  This type of dress is hardly flattering on anyone because of where the bodice and skirt meet.  Instead of framing the bride's face, the high, unadorned neckline actually detracts from her beauty, and the plain sleeves make it look no better than wearing a plain white Hanes tshirt with  matching white skirt.  Understandably, some religions find this style of dress to be the only appropriate wedding apparel for a bride, so I am not criticizing brides whose case that may be. However, if you have a choice and are not convicted by your religious beliefs to wear this type of old-order Mennonite looking dress, then you have a world of gorgeous and flattering modest options available! One last word here, if this is the type of dress you want, don't be afraid to dress it up a little bit. Add a decorative belt, sash, or pin! Also, lace looks beautiful on almost any style of dress so consider using it instead of satin, or as an overlay.

First of all, depending on how modest you want your dress to be, you can choose from several sleeve and neckline variations. One way to combine visual interest and modesty is to choose a dress with an embellished neckline. I personally like the illusion neckline trend, and it can be very modest if the illusion material has spaced lace or appliques. You can also look for dresses that have lace or scalloped edges; a scoop neck dress with lace edging is super stylish currently! Cap sleeves, flutter sleeves, and longer length sleeves are all good options to personalize your modest look according to your personal style.
Modest Neckline Options
Now, onto the fun stuff- a beautiful modest autumn wedding!
For this wedding, I chose to go with a lacy 1/2-3/4 sleeve dress.  As I stated before, there are plenty of modest sleeve options but I thought that a longer sleeved dress would be seasonally appropriate as the weather in September and October can be chilly (as I learned the hard way when I about froze doing pictures outside at my late October wedding).  As a side note, I completely sympathize with brides who are trying to find a modest dress that fits their comfort level.  It took me a very long time to find the right dress(es) for this post based on what look I wanted. I knew I wanted a dress with sleeves, but I also wanted to avoid the overdone Kate Middleton dress style. Additionally, it is apparently now popular to pair 3/4 sleeves with knee-length dresses now, and fit and flare dresses are also popular; neither look is something I would be comfortable wearing and neither of which I wanted to use in this wedding.  I eventually found two dresses to use; one is a fit and flare but I really like how it looks, and the other has a looser fit.  I chose to include a second dress option because some brides may feel that the form-fitting look of a fit and flare style is not modest. 
Modest Satin and Lace
Justin Alexander Signature

*A note about the second dress: This dress is sold on Etsy and I personally would be hesitant to buy this dress because you have absolutely no guarantee that it will be of acceptable quality. I am including it because I like how it looks, but this should not be taken as an endorsement of the dress itself or the seller of the dress. 

To keep the bride's overall look simple and elegant, and in order to not overshadow such a gorgeous dress, I chose to pair the dress with simple peep-toe low heels and a long veil with no other hair adornments. Delicate jewelry and  natural, radiant, dewy makeup completes the look.  The bride's bouquet would be shades of cream, orange, red, and yellow, to reflect the changing colors of the leaves on the trees.  These colors would also really pop against the background of the bridesmaids' green dresses.  

Finding a stylish and attractive bridesmaid dress was even more difficult than finding the bride's dress.  Part of this is my fault because I had a set style and color in mind (yes, this goes against my #1 wedding planning rule of flexibility, oops!)  I wanted the main colors to be green and gold to reflect the bounty of the harvest season, with accents of fall's reds and oranges.  I was looking for a mossy or olive green bridesmaid dress but could not find any to my satisfaction.  Finally, I found this simple yet sophisticated dark green dress listed as a mother-of-the-bride dress.  It wasn't exactly what I was looking for, but dressed up with a soft gold sash it would be perfect! Add nude or gold low pumps and the bridesmaids perfectly complement the bride. 

Wedding S'mores Bar

Finally, I imagine that the setting of the wedding itself would be someplace woodsy and charming.  If not performed in a church, perhaps the ceremony would take place outdoors in a woodland clearing in front of a small cabin.  The reception could be either in a lodge or covered pavilion, or just outdoors in the same clearing with tables set up underneath a large awning.  Live music is a must have to set the mood for both ceremony and reception.  Instead of a full dinner being served, there would be a wide array of hors d'oeuvres to encourage guests to mingle.  Along with the traditional wedding cake, dessert would be a s'mores bar offering many varieties of chocolate and specialty marshmallows. I know some people choose to have a firepit to roast marshmallows during an outdoor reception, but I prefer small sterno flames to avoid guests having to deal with their clothes smelling like wood smoke.  

Hopefully you all enjoyed this little foray into modest wedding planning as much as I did.  For more inspiration, please visit my Pinterest board Modest Autumn Wedding! Also, I'm running out of ideas for new themes so please leave a comment with what you want me to cover next. Happy wedding planning <3

Thursday, September 26, 2013

WW#4- Red and Black Romance

elegant wedding

Once again I find myself apologizing for a huge delay between posts. I'm having health issues again and to top that off my computer is not working quite properly :(

Anyways, my inspiration for this weekly wedding is the classic red and black theme that many brides seem to favor.  Honestly, it is not one of my favorite themes, but I think I can find a way to make it work. To really make this theme stand out and not look tired or overdone, the colors need to be crisp and clean.  No ivories or off-whites here please.  I think a crisp, bright white dress accented by vivid red or crimson is the way to go here.

I really like this dress from JC Penney with its bright satiny white fabric.  I'm not sure if this dress is in-stock anymore, but online it is still listed as costing less than $100! At that price, I would be slightly concerned about the fabric quality, but most of the reviews are generally positive and I myself have bought other formal and semi-formal dresses at JC Penney without problems.  To keep the look more formal the bridesmaids dresses have a bit of a ruffled collar and would be paired with black shoes.  Of course, the bride gets to have a little bit of fun so red shoes perfect! These ones listed cost $50 from DSW.  The bouquets should be elegant but simple; red roses from Globalrose or 50flowers, maybe accented with lilly of the valley or baby's breath and some green ferns.

Black and White Romance AccessoriesIn keeping with an elegant look, the bride would wear a mid-length or longer veil, dramatic makeup and statement jewelry.  I also think the bride should wear her hair down or in a low updo to balance out the rest of her ensemble and prevent it from looking too stiff and ultra-formal.

The decorations of the ceremony and reception could be any myriad of styles, depending on what style the couple wants.  Personally, I would use a lot of candles and soft lighting, with sleek and tall centerpieces. Good music for this style would be classic strings, either live or recorded.  Perhaps some Tchaikovsky or Mozart.

That's all for this post and I apologize if it's not quite up to my usual quality. For more black and red inspiration, check out my Pinterest, and please leave me any comments or questions you may have, as well as suggestions for future themes!  

Disclaimer: As always, I only provide links for your benefit and they are not monetarily beneficial to me.  I am not affiliated in any way with any of the companies mentioned and provide these posts solely for your information and entertainment.

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

A Few Things

Re-reading my old posts, I realized that I forgot some key information.  I gave you tips on how to find a good photographer on a budget, but I never mentioned what to do with the pictures!  Most independent photographers can offer prints through their preferred lab, which is usually a 3rd party and not actually done by the photographer.  I recommend getting at least a few pictures professionally developed through a photo lab because the quality is MUCH better than from "discount" photo printing sites such as Shutterfly or Snapfish.  I just used Shutterfly to get my prints because I didn't want to spend any extra money and was a bit disappointed with the quality.

However, I definitely recommend using a cheaper service to do any small 4x6 prints you might want because at that size the quality difference will be negligible and having the best quality prints isn't quite as important for pictures that are just going in an album.  Another great thing about Shutterfly is that they partner with a lot of bridal companies, such as David's Bridal and, to offer you special deals after your wedding.  I managed to get two free Shutterfly photobooks because I was registered on The Knot website and filled out some evaluations of my wedding vendors, and because I bought my dress from David's Bridal.  These books made great presents for my parents and my in-laws and didn't cost me a thing!

Monday, July 22, 2013

Weekly Wedding #3- Burlap and Pink

Hello again! For the third installation of my weekly wedding series, I decided to go with a country princess theme.  Now, this theme is inspired by my best friend in the world, so I tried to keep in mind my friend's preferences and modest budget.  I love the soft, feminine style of the bride's dress and the hint of pink really makes it stand out. The style of this wedding is right on the border of casual and chic, so complementary bridesmaid dresses really work well here.  I think a convertible wrap dress is perfect for this early summer wedding.  There are a ton of different convertible dresses out there and they pretty much all can be worn in one of at least 5 different ways.  I really like the style pictured here, but instructions for wearing the dress in a different style can be found at

Besides the short convertible dress I chose to use here, there are several other lengths to choose from.  All of these styles would look great for a country chic wedding, and the sea pink color perfectly complements the whisper of pink in the bride's dress! An added bonus is that these dresses are made of soft jersey material, which looks incredibly comfortable and doesn't wrinkly as easily as other fabrics! The only drawback that I can foresee with these dresses is that many of the styles have an open back, necessitating the use of an uncomfortable backless bra, or buying the company's matching bandeau ($30) to wear under the dress.  Cowboy boots set off the country theme, with the bridesmaids wearing brown high heeled boots and the bride wearing pink and brown boots. Light colored eyeshadow really makes the bride's blue eyes pop. To enhance the princess part of the theme, the bride would wear a simple crystal flower tiara from Icing paired with an elbow length veil.
The bridal bouquet would be made up of soft pink peonies, cream roses, baby's breath and ferns as greenery.  The bridal party would carry smaller versions of the same bouquet, minus the roses. Each bouquet would be wrapped in a soft tan burlap, with the bride's bouquet pinned by an antique brooch. In keeping with the country theme, the music would be a recorded selection of country love songs and classical wedding music played on acoustic guitar.  To add variety and keep costs down, instead of one large wedding cake there would be a dessert bar consisting of various fruit pies and buttercream cupcakes.  

For more burlap and pink inspiration, check out my weekly wedding #3 board on Pinterest at


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