Find Unique Gifts for Your Bridesmaids with These Sites!

Finding the perfect gift for anyone can be a challenging task, let alone finding gifts for the first loves of your life!  Your bridesmaids are your best friends.  They are the women who love you unconditionally and have supported you in becoming the beautiful women that your groom fell in love with.

Bridesmaid’s gifts are a great way to show the amazing women in your life just how much you are thankful for knowing them.  I like to think of gifts as a reflection of what that person means to you.  Monetary value means absolutely nothing; it’s all about the meaning behind the gift.

With all of the fun little details that come with planning a wedding, it can seem like there’s always one more thing to have to worry about.  Worry not!  Here is a list of websites where you can quickly find beautiful, unique, and truly meaningful bridesmaids gifts.

Etsy.com is an amazing website that is almost like an electronic store.  All of the products are vintage or handmade and are sold by private vendors through the site.  I have ordered from Etsy.com many times and have always been happy with my purchases!  There is a way to contact the private vendors as well, so you can customize your order and make special requests.  Shipping is relatively inexpensive as well, which is a major plus!  There is even an entire Wedding section too!

Pinterest.com … I absolutely love it!  Browse the Wedding section on Pinterest to find gift ideas from all over the web.  Then, organize the possibilities on a private board so you can look at them later.  Read this article for a tutorial on how to use Pinterest.

 Exclusively Weddings has a ton of monogrammed options from necklaces to beach bags!

Here is an amazing slide show from Brides.com that gives some great, affordable ideas.  If you have time, consider making gifts for your girls.  Here is a blog article that has some cute ideas!  You can also find tons of diy ideas on Pinterest.  Consider giving the girls a gift you can all use, like a trip somewhere or concert tickets.  Great memories are some of the best gifts to give!

Do you know of any other great websites or ideas?  Please feel free to comment below!

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5 Things to Consider When Choosing an Outdoor Venue

Location is everything when it comes to an outdoor wedding… well, almost everything!  When choosing a venue for your wedding, there are many factors to keep in mind.  Being from New Jersey, I know that weather is always a factor when planning to do anything outside!  Some of the most popular of outdoor venues include the beach, a field, a barn, park, or lakeside.  When choosing the right venue for you, consider the elements that come with each venue.

 What I love most about outdoor locations is the flexibility these spaces give you.  With a few decorative touches, you can make your venue unique to you.  However, you can plan everything down to the finest detail, and still find yourself dealing with uncontrollable elements the day of.  Here are some things to consider when choosing your venue.

1. Always visit the location.  Never trust photos.  Website designers will upload the most flattering photos of their venue, so it’s always best to go there in person and get your own first impression

2. Consider your guests.  Will a summer beach wedding be too hot or too humid?  Would an autumn field wedding be too cold?  It’s important that your guests are comfortable and able to enjoy the event, just as much as you will!

3. Weather is a huge factor.  It’s impossible to predict the weather a year in advance, but no matter where you are, bad weather is a potential threat to your outdoor event.  Choosing a venue with optional indoor space for the day of is a great way to create some reassurance.

4. Choose a season.  The best way to choose a venue is to first choose a season.  Having a vision of what you want your setting to look like will be helpful in choosing your venue.  Also, choosing a season will help determine which pests to prepare for.  Summer weddings are prone to issues with bugs like mosquitoes and birds.  Make sure that your venue takes precautionary measures.

5. Consider extra facilities.  You will want to make sure there is proper lighting for an evening event and restrooms for guests to use.  If there aren’t any on the premises, you will need to find outside vendors.

Finding Your Perfect Dress with Nearly Newlywed

I’ve heard time and time again that it’s so hard to find the one… the right wedding dress that is!  Do I make a statement in something fun or play it safe in something classic?  White or ivory?  Long or short?  All of these thoughts and more pop into your mind at some point.

Brides.com published an article about Jacqueline Courtney, wedding dress consultant who started Nearly Newlywed.  Nearly Newlywed is an online wedding dress boutique, designed to help a bride find her perfect gown.  The dresses are all “nearly new” and the boutique offers many designer labels.

Valuing quality and style, Courtney says that her company offers “the best designs to girls all over the country, big city and small town girls brides alike, at incredible values.”

In the interview, Courtney reveals her favorite trends and popular silhouettes.  My favorite piece of advice that she gives when it comes to rules of wedding dress shopping is; “the only rule is that you need to be true to yourself and to have fun.”

Nearly Newlywed’s website is simple, organized, and easy to use.  You can shop by designer and style and even find accessories.  You can even customize a personal shopping experience using your Pinterest Bridal Inspiration Board!  Based on your board, Nearly Newlywed will select dresses to personally suit you!  There is also an option for you to sell your dress back.  Nearly Newlywed has so much to offer and I think it’s a great tool for brides to be!

Jacqueline Courtney is also an expert blogger for Brides.com and has an exclusive partnership with Kleinfeld!

Interview with Owner and Creative Director of Rustic Charm!

Photo Credit: Amie Schroeder Photography

This week I was fortunate enough to interview owner and creative director of Rustic Charm-Vintage Styled Events & Rentals, Erica!  Rustic Charm is located in New Jersey but is willing to work just about anywhere!  Erica and her mother work together, searching high and low for beautifully unique pieces to add an element of surprise to your special event.  Yup, her job sounds like a dream!  Rustic Charm has even decorated for outdoor weddings!  Read this interview and check out their website for more inspiration!

1. What is the best way to personalize an outdoor space?

Our goal at Rustic Charm – Vintage Styled Event and Rentals is to make every event of photo shoot a one-and-only. When our clients come to us to rent our props and furniture it’s up to their creative discretion to make the effects and outcome what they dream up. On the other hand, when we are selected as a prop and styling resource for events, we have honed our approach to take a styled event to the next level – especially where it concerns an outdoor space. For our team, we start with two approaches. First, it’s important to do a walk-through of a space, whether indoor or out, to get an idea of how many pieces you’ll need to achieve all the elements that go into a styled event. Secondly, when possible we like to do at least one sit down meeting with our clients to develop an understanding of their personalities – this aids us in making an event more personalized and unique. It really comes down to what the event is about and who or what is being celebrated. From there, it goes beyond the furniture and props, to even the smallest of details. For example, if we know that a couple is celebrating their anniversary, we make sure to incorporate components of their life together in what we display. There are so many moving parts to this, but the best way to personalize a space is to make it truly inventive and unique to the individuals. On the other hand, if we are doing a commercial photo shoot and the sky is the limit for décor, then we try to garner inspiration from something personal to us, for example, a “Father of the Bride” at home soiree, or woodland themed tea party inspired by Alice in Wonderland. The options are limitless!

2. How can you make an outdoor space cozy while taking advantage of the openness of the outdoors?

One of my favorite spaces to decorate is an outdoor space. To make an outdoor space cozy in combination with the elements and openness of the outdoors, it’s important to keep in mind the logistics and the amount of literal ground you have to cover with furniture and décor. For example, a very large open outdoor space is going to require the incorporation of bigger pieces to pull everything together, such as a larger sized dresser, or at the very least a variety of smaller props that will bring everything together in harmony. The trick isn’t to overcompensate; as you don’t want the props competing with the natural elements of what’s outdoors, the purpose is to compliment what is already there. At Rustic Charm, our preference is to style with repurposed, more natural pieces. A great way to take advantage of an outdoor canvas is to combine it with the comforts of what one might find inside of a home – this establishes a balanced, relaxed look and feel, and often times is exactly what our clients hope to achieve.

3. What is the shopping process like?

Our goal is to present unique and timeless pieces to our clients. When sourcing props for Rustic Charm – nowhere is off limits. We simply love the hunt!  Often times when searching for our vintage props and accessories, we find hidden gems in the most unexpected places. At times we venture across borders, out of state doing style searches – scavenging small and large flea markets, auctions, estate sales, and small antique shops off the beaten path. It’s often the overlooked places where we scoop up the best deals and rarest pieces. For our team, it comes down to making a real connection with people, sellers and dealers – the majority of those we share our business story with are more than happy to share insider secrets and tips with us, and also the places they love to hunt for a great find. It all comes down to staying informed, a lot of research, countless road trips, and hours and hours of scouring high and low places for that one, amazing piece. As we continue to build our collection, it’s been important to keep track of everything and then deliver it in a way that clients can easily browse our offerings – therefore, we are currently in the process of updating our site so that each piece in our inventory has its own name and a catalog code for clients to easily select from.

4. What is one of your favorite pieces you have collected?

One of my favorite pieces, which also happens to be one of the first pieces I bought for Rustic Charm, is a vintage black typewriter. I discovered it one afternoon at an antique shop; it was hidden underneath an old cupboard – a writer by trade I was immediately intrigued by this piece and thoughts of who once used it. How many hours were spent bent over it – did someone use it to write letters? To pen love notes to someone? Was it used just for business memos? These questions piqued my attention further – and I had to make it offer on it. I was thrilled that day to add it to our ever-budding collection. There are so many other props that I love and I will admit that one of the most difficult parts is not adding our business finds to our own homes – it can be very tempting at times, but we try to reserve ‘decorating to our heart’s content’ for our clients.

5. Where do you get most of your creative inspiration?

There are so many inspired possibilities for making special events truly distinctive. Honestly, my partner and I have always had a knack for decorating and styling spaces with unexpected pieces. We both strive to place hints of surprise in everything we stage – whether for a photo shoot or a more intimate gathering. It’s been so refreshing to see many people, including brides and photographers, turn away from the one-size-fits-all venue. Our inspirations come in many forms. For me, I often find myself flipping through a home catalog or design publication and a light bulb goes off with something creative I have to try – I’ll rip out one page out of an entire magazine because I get that a-ha moment. Another great tool of inspiration is simply being out and about scavenging for furniture and props – often times it’s when we are on a shopping excursion for new pieces that we’ll stumble upon something and think about how we could use it differently. A good example of this, we’ve taken old wooden ladders and between its slats laid a flat panel of wood to create a standing display table. Another tool of inspiration has been Pinterest; this creative resource is helpful for us to see what is “of the moment.” This gives us a heads up in terms of what is inundating the market or style pages, if you will, and then we’re able to head in the opposite direction. We like to march to our own stylistic beat and give our clients true, one-of-a-kind staging.

6. What is one of your favorite events you designed and decorated?

One of my favorite events that we designed and styled was a recent wedding in Chestnut Hill – near Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Actually, I should start by saying this was one of my favorites because it was one of the most challenging events I’ve done to date. The venue that this particular bride and groom chose had a very limited amount of space to work off of in terms of decorating. And while I was able to visit the venue prior to the day-of the event, there was a wedding taking place at the time so I was unable to do my usual measuring and planning tactics during my initial on-site review. The day of the event, I brought with us everything and anything I thought we could possibly need to pull off every wish of this client, whose bohemian-inspired style requested a whimsical outdoor ceremony and reception. Taking into consideration her own personal style, we incorporated the natural outdoors with artistic emphasis on the ceremony. After countless hours of prepping, I’ve never been so satisfied with an event. As much as you prepare, there are always other factors, such as other vendor’s decisions, that can take you by surprise right when you’re down to the wire. In the end, we triumphed and the bride was overjoyed with the result. Sometimes  the most challenging events, turn out to be the most rewarding.

7. What was your favorite decorative detail at your own wedding?

Wow, that’s a tough question as there were SO many elements of our wedding that I absolutely loved. If I had to choose one prop that meant a lot to me – it’d have to be the bible my mom (and co-founder of Rustic Charm) uncovered for our big day. This tattered bible from the 1500s made for a sentimental and perfect piece for our ring bearer, my nephew, to carry down the aisle. We wrapped it in twine as the binding had come loose over time and added a few pieces of grain — while it held a stylistic element, it also held so much meaning to both my husband and me as we exchanged our vows. Additionally, another favorite detail was this old shabby chic door that I had uncovered soon after we got engaged – we added a piece of vintage lace over the top of it and used it as a standalone prop in the reception area. This was one of many unique backdrops that we repurposed for our guests to enjoy while they mingled about and celebrated with us.

About Us: Rustic Charm – Vintage Styled Events & Rentals has created a stir by capturing the timeless simplicity and warmth of yesteryear. Every wedding, event and professional photo shoot is as unique as the clients who come to us. For those seeking event décor and prop resources through our array of inventory of casual chic furniture, vintage props and accessories, we supply rare and quality vintage pieces to those hoping to achieve a one-of-a-kind casual-chic setting. Through our ever-growing collection, we put an original and inviting atmosphere on display.

Designer Profile: Delphine Manivet

“Simplicity well-carried out” is how wedding dress designer Delphine Manivet describes her personal style and her designs in an interview with bhldn.com.

Manivet chose to end her studies of economics to pursue her true dream of becoming a fashion designer.  Manivet moved to Paris and started working for a design house until one day it was time for her to find a dress for her own wedding.  Unable to find anything that felt truly her, Manivet designed her own dress.  She channeled her creative energy into wedding dress design and now has her own design house in Paris.

Manivet’s ideas are inspired by eighteenth century portraits, the symbolism of the wedding gown, and the individual femininity of every girl.  Her goal and biggest challenge is to create timeless looks.

Her dresses are all about the mix of modern and vintage and dream and simplicity.  Manivet looks to every day as an opportunity to gather inspiration for her next design.  The designer loves looking for vintage inspiration at flea markets and charity sales.

Manivet names the dresses in her collections after men’s names.  “For me, it’s a way to pay tribute to the man who is never included in the process of choosing or making the dress, but counts in the choice for sure”, she says.

Manivet’s looks are absolutely beautiful and worth taking a look at.  I love the simplistic femininity of her gowns and her classic use of white!  Please read this article on Manivet for more about her.  Here is her website.  Browse through her collections; they are stunning.

Pinterest as a Tool for Wedding Planning

Planning a wedding, or any event for that matter is so visual.  I love tools like Pinterest because we can use them to organize our ideas on a virtual pin board.  The bulletin board above my desk at home is covered with post-it notes, magazine cutouts, and photos that inspire me.  But only I can see those.  One of the other things that I love so much about Pinterest is the ability it gives us to share our inspirations with our friends.

For anyone planning a wedding, I would highly recommend using Pinterest as a tool to visually organize your ideas.  Sometimes, it’s hard to explain exactly what we want.  So many times have I gone to a salon to have my hair styled and walked out with something totally different, not what I wanted!  Using Pinterest, you can show your wedding planner, your florist, and your hair stylist exactly what you want.

If you are in the early stages of planning your wedding, Pinterest is a great tool for inspirational research.  Keep up on all of the latest trends in bridal fashion, centerpiece ideas, and venue suggestions.  Pinterest has something for every facet of your wedding.

If you don’t want to share the ideas you have pinned with anyone, you can use Pinterest’s new Secret Board feature.  This will keep all of the images you have pinned on this board private, so only you can see them.

How Pinterest works: Create an account on Pinterest.com.  Then, click on your username located on the upper right-hand corner of the screen.  Click on “Boards” from the dropdown menu and click on the “Create Board” button.  Fill out the menu by choosing a name and a category for your board.  Here, you can also decide whether or not you want the board to be secret by turning the “Secret” option on or off.  Then, click on the red Pinterest logo on the top center of your screen.  This brings you back to the Pinterest home page.  Now you can begin searching for images!  Use the search bar in the upper left hand corner of the screen or select a category from the “Category” drop-down menu located beneath the Pinterest logo on the top of the screen.  “Weddings” is a category!  (So perfect!)

Once you find an image you like, pin it by dragging your cursor over the image and selecting “Re-pin.”  Select which board you want to put the image on write a comment about it if you wish.  (This is great for making notes about where you want to use the idea in your wedding!)  Then, click on the red “Pin It” button, and you’re done!  Happy planning!

9 Ways to Decorate with Mason Jars

I love the look of a classic mason jar.  Lately, it seems like they are popping up everywhere!  They are really inexpensive and because the jar has such a simple design, there is really so much you can do with them.  Here are nine ways you can use a mason jar at your wedding; whatever the season!

1. Fill them with Christmas lights.  Take a mason jar and drill a whole in the bottom center.  Then, fill with lights and string them through the bottom to plug into an outlet.  It is a great way to add some soft lighting and interest to your décor. (You can try this with empty wine bottles too!)

2. Pour water inside of the jar and place flowers or candles on top of the water.  Cut flower heads and place them on top of the water.  Instead of flowers, you can also use tealight candles. They will float on top and create an ethereal effect.

3. Fill them with an arrangement.  They make great centerpieces!

4. Fill the jar halfway with sand.  Then, put a small candle in the sand and wrap a piece of twine or ribbon around the top of the jar.

5. I found this idea on Oh Lovely Day!  Place old family wedding photos and your engagement photos in the jars and place them around centerpieces.

6. Put a small colored glass votive inside of the mason jar.  A simple and creative way to add some color!

7. Use the jars as cups for drinks!  This is a really cute idea for summer weddings.

8. One of the newest trends for centerpieces I keep seeing is a plant submerged in water.  Here is a really beautiful idea I found on Better Homes and Gardens using cranberries, candles, and greenery.

9. Fill a mason jar with sand and place the head of a flower on top.  Pale pink roses look beautiful against the color of the sand.

Love; Isn’t That What It’s Really About?

Now more than ever, price is a major factor when it comes to planning parties.  But your wedding is probably one of the biggest and most meaningful parties you will ever plan.  One of the biggest issues for couples when it comes to planning a wedding is cost.  At some point or another, every couple must ask themselves, is the high cost really worth it?  After all, isn’t this love we are celebrating here?

I love outdoor weddings so much because you can do a lot of the work on your own. Having an outdoor wedding means that you have the creative freedom to plan an event that is both beautiful and cost efficient.  This means, keeping the focus on you and your love, because that’s what the day is really about!  Flowers, decorations, food, entertainment, and venue should all be a reflection of that love.  Here are some things to consider while planning your wedding to make sure that you are staying true to you and your budget.

Where is your wedding going to be?  Finding the perfect venue is the first step before everything else falls into place.  Generally, an outdoor venue is going to be less expensive than a wedding reception held in a hotel or a ballroom.  While outdoor venues are less costly, they do take a lot of planning.  Everything from food to decor is up to you to coordinate.

Who will be attending?  There is a big difference between one hundred guests and one hundred and fifty guests.  Of course, there are always those people you have to invite.  Consult with your families to make sure you haven’t left anyone out.  Even though it’s hard to narrow down the guest list, try to think, will I regret not having invited this guest?

What is your creative direction?  Do you want a more relaxed and casual feel or are you all about formal and elegant?  Keeping this in mind, decide whether you want a daytime event, or evening event.  Evening weddings are more costly.

Most importantly, never let other people influence your decisions.  Planning the wedding, you will come into contact with so many different people, all with their own opinions and ideas of what you want.  From wedding planners to family members, never let anyone sway your decisions and pick what you want, for you.  Before you contact anyone, take the time to read bridal magazines, research wedding blogs, and develop a clear vision.  Pinterest is the perfect tool for this!  You can create a virtual pin board to organize all of your wedding inspiration.

For more information on budgeting and cost considerations, read this helpful article from The Knot!