A guide to engagement rings

While engagement rings have traditionally been given as a love token and to signify the upcoming marriage, diamonds have only become the industry standard within the last century. Thanks to a very successful marketing campaign by the De Beers company, diamonds overtook other gemstones as the symbol of everlasting love. However, more and more couples are breaking from this and choosing more unique and personal rings. planyourownwedding.org-rings

Sapphires

Sapphires have been experiencing a surge in popularity, thanks in part to Kate Middleton’s, which once belonged to Princess Diana, engagement ring of sapphire and diamonds. However, they have been a favorite since the time of ancient Persia, who believed the blue colour was due to it reflecting the sky. Thought to symbolize wisdom, good fortune, faithfulness, and sincerity, sapphires appeal to more grounded romantic couples. Plus, as one of the harder stones available, they don’t scratch easily, meaning they don’t need to be replaced often and will appeal to couples who like the idea of a stone as long lasting as their love. 

Rubies

For couples who are even bolder, rubies may be just what they are looking for. The rich red of the stone is eye catching and a definite conversation piece. However, more than that, the stone itself is thought to represent eternity and strength, making it a perfect choice as a physical symbol of the promise they are making to each other, especially when paired with smaller diamonds which, of course, have come to embody love. 

Customize

As weddings become more personalized and unique, so do engagement rings. As a promise of the journey to come, more couples want rings which represent their individual love and the qualities their story embody. For some inspirations – why not check out our Pinterest board on unusual wedding and engagement rings?

 

Winter weddings: how to keep your guests warm

When planning a winter wedding, it isn’t enough to just think about what will keep you warm or to have a heartier menu. Making sure your guests have all they need to fight off a chill lets people know how happy you are they have chosen to join you on one of the most important days of your life. Here are some great and thoughtful ways to keep your dearest family and friends warm at your winter wedding. 

Welcome Drinks: 

One way to help people warm up, relax, and get ready to celebrate is to have warming welcoming drinks ready for everyone as they enter the venue. Having a selection of hot chocolate, spiced cider, and mulled wine is a great way to make sure there is something for everyone. If you want to make the drink extra special, why not have commemorative cups made for guests to take home with them as a party favour? 

Portable Heaters: 

If the venue is chilly, make sure there are heaters under each table. Warming the feet up is a great way to make sure the rest of the body is toasty too. You can also have larger space heaters in the corners. This will make sure your guests stay warm, while giving people enough room to mingle, dance, and have a good time. 

Fuzzy Throw Blankets: 

There is just something so snuggly and warming about wrapping up in a flannel throw. Place some blankets behind each chair for guests to use if they get cold. Just like the cups from the welcome drinks, you can monogram the blankets as a special keepsake from your wedding.  

Signature Cocktail: 

Last but not least, why not come up with a warm cocktail to serve your guests planyourownwedding.org-cocktailin the commemorative cups from the welcome drink? This can be a lovely way to put a special twist on an old favourite, while helping to warm up guests from the inside. For an extra treat, give them the recipe so they can recreate the drink at home for winter gatherings of theirs. It is a lovely way to share your love with the world. 

Winter weddings: The Menu

Winter weddings offer the chance to get a little bolder a little more daring in your menu choices. Colder weather means you can offer guests hearty meals with some spice and kick to them. It allows you to show off your inner foodie while warming people up from the inside out. So, let’s take a look at some great winter wedding food choices to help keep people toasty when it’s cold outside and knock their sock off with flavour. 

Soups Instead of Salads: 

Sure, salads may be what pops into most people’s minds when they thinkwww.planyourownwedding.org - winter menus about the first course at a wedding reception. However, soups can be a great way to start a meal and add a little extra warmth. While chicken noodle maybe the ultimate comfort food, why not wake up people’s appetite with something like pumpkin and ginger soup or a spicy fish soup?  However, if comfort food is the way you want to go, why not go super old school and try a classic tomato and basil soup with grilled cheese sliders? You can even add a little extra by using pepper jack cheese or something a little fancier like brie to really wow your guests and make it really your own. 

Classic Mains With A Twist: 

Instead of just the typical chicken or fish option, why not offer up something a little fancier like pheasant or venison? These gamey meats are slightly
heartier than your typical fare and can be spruced up with herbs like turmeric or cumin, which are known for their warming properties. For vegetarians, cheese stuffed ravioli is always a popular choice, or you could go really exotic and offer a vegetable curry or a mushroom risotto, which is oh so ala mode right now. Also, don’t be afraid to play with your sides too. Roasted root vegetables or mashed cauliflower can be fun options instead of steamed broccoli or spinach. 

 

Sometimes Smaller Is Better:  

As we have said before, sometimes small bites are a better and more cost-effective way to go than large sit-down meals. Plus, it gives you a chance to play with more flavours and have a wider variety of options for your non-meat-eating guests. Think Spanish style tapas, so your guests can pick and choose what they want to eat. You can even offer foods from around the globe, a little Mexican here, Asian fusion there, French finger foods over there. It is a wonderful way to show off your passion for international cuisine. 

Just like weddings in warmer months, besides making sure no guest leaves hungry, the point of choosing your menu is to have fun and create a memorable experience for your guests. Happy tastings!

Winter Weddings: What to Wear!

When thinking about winter fashion choices, people tend to think of heavy layers, lots of fake fur, velvets, and wool. However, that doesn’t have to be the case, especially when it comes to dressing wedding. Here are some helpful hints on how to keep warm while still having your dream dress. 

Bring out your inner princess with brocade:

A rather heavy and luxurious looking fabric, brocade can be lovely way to keep warm during a winter wedding. Consisting of patterns stitched into the fabric itself, it creates a visually interesting aesthetic and adds a little glamour to your dress. Since most people associate brocade with the renaissance and nobility, it can help bring a little sumptuousness to your look and make you feel like a princess. 

Go For High Glam In Silk Mikado:

Don’t let the name fool you, silk Mikado is another great choice for getting www.planyourownwedding.or-winterclothesmarried in winter. While typically silk is thought of as a light airy fabric, silk Mikado is heavier and far more structured, so it creates a little bit of weight and insulation against the cold. Plus, the sheen of the dress creates a definite old Hollywood feel, and ups the glam factor to any wedding. 

Think About Wraps and Shrugs: 

Just because temperatures are lower, doesn’t mean you have to give up your dream of a sleeveless or backless dress. Why not consider a lovely long-sleeved shrug during the ceremony and then go bared shouldered during the reception, where you have a little more say over how warm the room will be? Wraps can also be a classy way to keep bare skin warm, while not sacrificing your sense of style. 

Don’t Forget Your Bridesmaids: 

Remember, your dress is going to have way more fabric than the ladies you have chosen to stand up with you. So, make sure you keep them warm and toasty, so they aren’t shivering their way through the ceremony and reception. Their dresses should be made of heavier material too, have wraps and shrugs ready, and, if it matches your aesthetic, gloves, just incase their hands get cold.  

Wedding hairstyles: Dos and Don’ts for your dream hair:


Last week we talked about makeup. This week we are looking at how to get the perfect hairstyle for your special day. While the same sort guidelines apply to both hair and makeup, there are some extra little dos and don’ts when it comes to getting your dream hairstyle.

Dress first, then hairstyle:

Maybe you have always dreamed about a classic chignon for your wedding day or longed for long gorgeous mermaid waves. However, don’t wear your hair a certain way just because that is how you always planned to. Necklines, silhouettes, and formality of your dress can sometimes be a complete opposite of your dream hairstyle. Long, flowy, strapless gowns are going to look odd with a fancy updo just like relaxed beach waves are going to seem out of place with a formal ball gown. 

Don’t forget the trial run

Just like your makeup, flying blind the day of your wedding isn’t ideal. You are www.planyourownwedding.org-weddinghairgoing to be nervous and excited, so making sure you know what hairstyle you are going with is one way to cut down on the anxiety all brides feel. Also, make sure you take photos of the style the day of the trial. This way you will know how it looks in photos and can make comments and ask for changes you want.  

Listen to the stylist: 

They are the professional and understand what your hair can and cannot do. They will know what styling products to use, how to incorporate the accessories you have chosen, and how to make sure your hair is picture perfect all day long. That said, don’t let them talk you into a style you aren’t comfortable with. Communication is key to getting a hairstyle which will work for you, but that you love and will be timeless. 

When to go bold: 

Most wedding advice sites will tell you to stick to simple or classic dos for your wedding and not make any drastic changes to the colour or basic style of your hair right before your wedding. While this is good advice, it doesn’t mean you can’t have a highly stylized look on your wedding day. Sometimes bold statement hair is the way to go. If you are a fashion forward bride, who isn’t afraid to make a bold statement, go ahead and have a style which is as fabulous and daring as you are. This is especially true if you are having a super formal or themed wedding, which can sometimes call for hair which is a little more standout than usual. Don’t be afraid to embrace your inner fashionista if that is who you are. 

Wedding Makeup dos and don’ts, plus a few other tips:

Some of the best wedding makeup advice we have ever heard is: remember, it’s a marathon not a sprint. And even though when you look back it may feel like your day was over in a flash, it actually lasted for hours, busy and jam-packed hours. So here are some great tips to make sure your makeup stays photo ready all day long. 

Don’t Forget To Plan:

There are few things you are going to want to take into account as you are planning your wedding look: what season you are getting married in, the time of day, and how long the festivities are going to last. Just like for your everyday look, the makeup you choose is going to be different if you are getting married in May than if you have planned a November wedding. Same thing goes for if it is a daytime event or a nighttime one or if it goes from day to night. Also, make sure the look you have planned is really similar to what you would normally wear. Now isn’t the time to experiment or go full glam if that isn’t your thing. Natural looks are a far better option, as they will look timeless and classic in photos. 

It’s All About The Prep: 

Think of your skin like a canvass. You are going to want to make sure you have www.planyourownwedding.org-makeupthe best there is. Ideally, getting regular facials leading up to the wedding is the best way to prep your skin, but that often isn’t an option. However, by drinking lots of water and following a good skin care regiment or gently cleansers, moisturizes for your skin type, and plenty of SPF, your skin should be in great shape. 

The Trial Run: 

A few weeks before the big day, you should do a trial run, or two, of your makeup. This is to make sure you have the look you want nailed down and that any products you use don’t cause irritation while you are wearing them. This will also give you a good idea how the makeup will last through the day.

A Couple More Dos: 

You are bound to cry at some point during the day, so make sure you eye makeup, especially your mascara, is waterproof. Also, don’t forget the setting spray.
Keep a small bag with the foundation and lip product you are wearing easily accessible for quick touchups throughout the day.
Be sure you choose a lipstick which is long lasting and comfortable on your lips. 

One Last Thing: 

We normally don’t do product promotion on our page. We are making an exception this time to talk a little about cruelty free products and give some great suggestions at every price point, but especially focusing on budget friendly options. We believe that ethical beauty doesn’t have to be pricey. 

Budget Friendly Options:
Wet n Wild: For bolder brides on a budget, includes vegan options.
Nyx: One of our favourites. Great long-lasting products, includes vegan options.
ELF: Another great option, unfortunately no vegan options.
Pixie: Verging on midrange includes vegan options.
Milani: Great pigments and selection of shades
Essence: Available all-over North America and Europe. 

Midrange options:
Too Faced: Their Born This Way collection has an amazing shade range and includes vegan options
Tarte: Great natural ingredients and includes vegan options
Urban Decay: Their Up All Night Setting spray may be the best on the market.
Smashbox: Their primers are an industry standard.
Cover FX: 100% vegan!

High End:
Charlotte Tilbury: On the lower end of the high end list, the makeup artist with this brand will help you create a one of a kind look to match your personality. Includes vegan options
Marc Jacobs: One thing to remember with this brand is while their makeup is cruelty free, their perfume isn’t.

It’s not all about hen and stag do’s: try this!

If Hollywood movies were to be believed, weddings celebrations would be nothing more than a few showers, hen and stag dos, a rehearsal dinner, and culminating with the ceremony. However, in most cultures that simply isn’t the case. There are tons of amazing and beautiful traditions from around the world which take place during the week leading up to the wedding and during the ceremony. Here is a list of our favorites. 

Breaking Dishes In Germany:

While wedding ceremonies in Germany tend to be just close friends and family, Polterabend is when the couple invites colleagues and their wider circle of friends to laugh, eat, drink, and then break old dishes that the guest brought with them and which the couple then has to sweep up together. This joint clean up of all the broken pottery represents the couple dealing with all of life’s trials and tribulations as a team and working together to overcome any obstacle. 

The Mehndi Ceremony: 

Indian weddings tend to be week long events filled with dance, song, eating, planyourownwedding.org-mehndiand finally the wedding itself. One of the most famous parts of this week is the Mehndi ceremony, where the bride and other women’s hands and feet are decorated with traditional and intricate designs. Traditionally used as a way to calm and ground the bride before the wedding, now it is a lovely way to add a little good luck to the bride and groom, who is now often part of the ceremony too. 

Let’s Get Ready To Shop:

In Nigeria, the Igbo Tribe presents the groom to be with a dowry list to find and give to the family before the couple is allowed to be married. There can items ranging from food and clothing to harder to find objects like alligator teeth, just to add a little challenge for the future groom. If the bride is highly educated, the dowry can get bigger, providing a bigger challenge. 

13 Coins:

In Mexico, grooms present brides with 13 gold coins, called arras. The gifting of these coins symbolizes the trust the groom has for the bride with his finances. She accepts them with the promise to handle them with care and responsibility. The coins, which represent Christ and the apostles, are given in an ornate box on a silver tray, to bring good luck and prosperity to the marriage. 

Ceremonial Tea: 

In China, the newly wedded couple, come together and serve tea to both sets of parents. This is to honor all the love and support parents have given to the bride and groom. It is also a way the couple signifies their new relationships with their in-laws, by referring to everyone by their new names as the young couple serves tea to everyone.

War Dance At A Wedding:

While traditionally, the Haka is a war dance used mainly as an intimidation tactic to scare the opposing side, it is now being performed at Maori weddings. The bride’s family uses the Haka as a way to test the groom’s bravery and dedication to the bride. The men of the bride’s family and bridesmaids stand in front of the couple and call out the groom, who then responds by performing a haka back at them to prove his love for the bride. 

Tips on How to Give a Great Wedding Speech:

Writing and delivering a speech can be difficult under the best of circumstances. However, making sure you create a moving tribute to the love at a loved one’s wedding can make the task seem almost impossible. We have come up some helpful hints to make sure you give an impactful and memorable speech. 

Have a Plan:

While you may think you can just get up and talk, it is actually almost impossible to do that without it coming across as rambling. You don’t have to write the whole thing out (although we do suggest this), you should have at least some notes on what you want to say and maybe a famous quote or two about the power of love. Not only does it help you focus in on the aspects of what makes the couple’s love special, it also lets them know you love them enough to prepare a little. 

Know Your Audience:

Odds are more than likely you have helped with the wedding preparations in some way. Maybe you helped address envelopes or were at some pre-wedding function. So, you should have a good idea of the guest list and if you need to keep it kid (and grandparent) friendly or if some slightly more adult humor is ok. In general, however, try to keep the raunchier jokes and stories for the hen and stag parties. There are just some stories Aunt Jeanie doesn’t need to hear. 

Keep It Short:

Most wedding speeches come between courses at the reception. So, while a 30 second speech is too short, 5 minutes or less is the perfect amount of time. This gives you time to tell some sweet story you have about when you knew the couple was meant to be, talk about how much you love them both and the power of their love, without keeping the catering staff (and other guests) waiting for the next course to be served. Plus, it will keep the background chatter down if you don’t go on for 20 minutes. 

planyourownwedding.org_weddingspeech

Remember, as much as you may want to share personal stories about how you met the bride in high school in detention or the time you and the groom went to Cabo on spring break and got hammered, don’t. This speech isn’t about you and your relationship with either the bride or groom. It is about them. It is about celebrating their love. So, by all means, mention how you have known whomever you are standing up with forever and how much you love that person, just make sure the toast is about the love the couple has for each other and how you wish them a long and happy life together.  Also, be sure to speak from the heart and don’t try to get too funny or sentimental.  Sincerity is way better than sentimentality. 

An Autumn Wedding

While summer may be the most popular season to get married in, we personally think Autumn is the unsung hero when if comes to wedding seasons. Between the countless themes, amazing colour choices, better chances you will get the venue you want, plus, and let’s be honest here, much more tolerable weather, autumn can be a way better choice for everyone involved. So, let’s dive in and take a look at all the ways Autumn weddings are the best!

The Weather:

As the temperature drops a little during September and beyond, it opens up a whole realm of possibilities when it comes clothing options. Sure, there is a little higher chance of rain. However, there is also far less of a chance of heat stroke too. This means strapless dresses with fun shrugs for the wedding party are totally acceptable and you don’t have to worry about your favourite ladies overheating. And let’s not forget about what it means for choosing your dress. You can still go with lovely airy summery fabrics or start moving into lush gorgeous satins. It is really the best of everything without having to sacrifice comfort. Your guests will thank you too. If it is an outdoor wedding, they won’t be wilting in the summer heat. 

Themes Beyond Halloween:

Naturally, Halloween themed weddings pop into everyone’s mind when you mention you are getting married in Oct. And as much fun as those can be, there are so many other themes to choose from and make your wedding a one of a kind event. Why not embrace the nostalgia of years past and create a harvest themed wedding? You can use local produce and staples from around the world for your center pieces. Cornucopias filled with bright pumpkins, changing leaves, and tons of other typically autumn produce can create a truly unique esthetic for your wedding décor. 

All The Pretty Colours:

Don’t get us wrong, pastels can be beautiful. However, there is something planyourownwedding.org_autumnweddingabout the lush and majestic hues of autumn which adds a certain elegance to any wedding. Whether it is chocolate brown, eggplant, or burgundy, the autumn’s colour palette just seems to a little more sophisticated. Maybe it has to do with their association with nobility throughout history? Maybe it is just because they tend to be complimentary to almost any skin tone? You really can’t go wrong when picking wedding colours from the autumn spectrum. 

The Little Odds and Ends:

Some of the other perks to waiting a season to get married is all of the small things. You aren’t having to compete with tons of other couples. Wedding venues tend to be more available, their prices a little less, and more willing to work with couples to make it happen. There is also an entire flavor palette available of hearty foods, spicier dishes, and tastier cocktails to add that little extra thing to your special day. What’s not to love about autumn weddings?

Our blog this week: How To Dress Your Bridal Party!

With so many jokes about ugly bridesmaids’ dresses out there, it is amazing anyone agrees to be a part of the bridal party. While these jokes are based more on a select few choices from over the years, they seem to be one of the most enduring myths of being a part of being a bridesmaid. To combat this, we have been paying attention to the various fashion weeks offer suggestions on how to pick dresses which are bound to be flattering for every shape and size, while hopefully stilling being fashionable enough to wear again. So, lets dive in.

Bright Bold Colours:

It seems the colours for this up coming season are bright and bold, with www.planyourownwedding.org-bridesmaidsdressesvibrant reds, lush greens, deep blues, and strangely, electric neons taking center stage at many of the runway shows at the last few fashion weeks. This mean, with the exception of the neon, if you stick with the jewel tone versions of the other colours each member of your party is going to look great in them. Part of the reason why these hues are such staples of so many seasons and collections is that they tend to look good on nearly everyone. So, dare to pick deep a garnet red and pair with a lush sapphire blue. Not only will the combination be striking for decorations, each of your bridesmaids are bound to look stunning in your choice. 

Vintage Elegance: 

This season’s silhouette is more than a mod to the elegance of the 1950s and 1960s. Just like the brighter and bolder colour palette, working with the lines and shapes of these dresses are extremely flattering for most body shapes, especially if you chose a cinched waist with an a-line skirt. Part of why this works on so many body types is that if gives the illusion of that oh so desired hour glass figure. It also helps balance the body out, making the entire body look more proportional. A-line skirts also do the same thing. Since they skim and float away from the body, they cover “problem” areas and create the illusion of a balanced frame. 

Letting Them Choose: 

However, the best way to make sure everyone in your bridal party gets a dress they feel amazing in, is to simply tell them your colour and theme choices and let them choose their own dress. This is actually becoming increasingly popular. People know what works on their bodies and letting your bridesmaids pick out their own dress means they will be more comfortable, which will make everyone happier. Because lets face it, no one has the exact same body shape, so why not let the women you love the most pick something they will feel stunning in?