The best website out there in my opinion is Etsy! It is basically a collection of stores that sell any handmade good you can think of. They have a wedding section, which is amazing, but there are also sections for just about anything you are in the market for. If you register for a free account you can save your favorite items and sellers for future reference.
Need a great gift for a friend who is from or lives in Chicago?
It is truly a sickness how much I love J.Crew. I still remember going to my mailbox in my dorm my freshman year at Miami of Ohio and getting my first J.Crew catalog (everyone got them…they call Miami J.Crew U for a reason!) Growing up in a small town nowhere near a J.Crew store, I had never really been exposed to J.Crew before. It was there that my sickness began. I would order sweaters in the winter from my J.Crew catalog and get so excited when they would arrive in the mail, like a package from home! While J.Crew did go through a dull period, it has been revamped in recent years and now has so many beautifully chic and feminine pieces that it is hard to buy just a couple of things. And now that the first lady has made J.Crew a staple of her wardrobe, things often sell out quickly! Here are a few of my current favorites:
Luxe très bow bandeau top and bikini $44.00 item 21556
They also have an amazing wedding collection! From bridal gowns to bridesmaid dresses, shoes and accessories…you could literally find your entire bridal party wardrobe at J.Crew. I got my bridal shoes and clutch from J.Crew, each on sale for under $100.
When you are first beginning to plan the design of your wedding, it can be very overwhelming. The day I got engaged, my maid of honor sent me a list of wedding blogs, and I was hooked instantly. Some of those blogs (Style Me Pretty, Snippet & Ink, Once Wed, Southern Weddings, etc.) are ones I still follow today and provided me with tons of wedding design inspiration. A tool that I saw on some of them was a collage of photos, sometimes called an inspiration board, that is used as the basis for the design of your wedding. I believe this is a great place to start your design inspiration.
Basically I just saved photos that I loved or pictures of elements I thought were inspiring. I had folders on my computer for florals, cakes, paper, dresses, hairstyles, wedding party attire, accessories, decor, and personal touches. Anytime I found things I loved I would save the photo in one of those folders. After a couple of months, I looked at these images, deleted ones I no longer loved or that didn’t speak to me as much as the others, and then I designed my inspiration board.
Your inspiration board will probably change somewhat along the way, because your design will probably change as you begin to make your inspiration a reality. But the board provides you with something that you can always come back to and helps you keep your design cohesive.
I designed my own inspiration board using Picasa, because it is the only tool I had at the time. Any software that you have should let you make a collage. Another great new tool is Style Me Pretty’s Style Circle, where you can make inspiration boards, blog, chat, save favorites, and lots of other great things. Head over there and sign up: https://circle.stylemepretty.com/
Here is an example of an inspiration board I made for a contest on Style Me Pretty’s site which would be a great inspiration board for an outdoor spring or summer wedding. I love the effortlessly chic style:
For better or for worse, almost every little girl fantasizes about her wedding. I was no exception. I dreamed of my wedding most of my life, and even more so after I fell in love with my now husband (at age 16). We had a fourteen year on-and-off (and on-and-off…and on) courtship, where I had lots of time to think about my wedding. The wedding I would have planned for myself at age 22 or 26 or even 28 would have been completely different than the one I planned for myself at 30. Instead of princess ball gowns and a big traditional wedding, I longed for a vintage inspired gown and a beautiful outdoor ceremony. During my planning, I fell even more in love with weddings, and became inspired by all of the creative ways you can make your wedding your own. My wedding turned out to be everything I ever wanted, which was obviously important, but even more important was how much our guests said they loved it. Most of our guests had to travel to be at our wedding, so I felt it was very essential to show them that we wanted them to be comfortable, to feel taken care of, and to have fun. And we wanted our wedding to be symbolic of who we are as a couple…to be “us” and to be a lovely day for all. So I designed our wedding from the ground up, became addicted to wedding blogs, and we created a wonderful wedding celebration. Many of the elements I incorporated were do-it-yourself, collected by me or friends or family, or made by my maid of honor.
Now that the wedding is over and the honeymoon has passed, we are settling in to married life and I am expanding my blog addiction from wedding blogs to include those featuring great recipes, entertaining ideas, home design, and…well, weddings. You can turn a single girl into a married girl, but you can’t take the bride out of her! So in an effort to satisfy the bride still in me, and to possibly help one other bride out there, I present “Oh Lovely Day”…