That quiet mutual gaze of a trusting husband and wife is like the first moment of rest or refuge from a great weariness or a great danger.
George Eliot
By the Light of the Silvery Moon…

…and some well-placed candles. Yes, yes, yes, I know the whole moon line is from a nursery rhyme, but hey, inspiration where you can find it, yes? And I happen to think that nothing is more romantic than an evening wedding with lots of candles (I might or might not have bought 500, give or take a few, for my own wedding). Flowers are lovely when done right, but give me hundreds of candles outside on a balmy evening…ah, now that’s pure loveliness. As spring begins to beckon with thoughts of those lovely starry evenings, I thought I would share some gorgeous candle inspiration to get your imaginations all atwitter…


Image via The Knot


Image by Terry deRoy Gruber


Image by Bellafotografica


Image by Vitalic Photo


Image by Nicholas Critelli Photography


Image by Pink Sugar Photography via Elizabeth Anne Designs

Candlelight just makes everything lovelier. Aren’t these mini-cakes beautiful?


{Photo by Julie Mikos}

And finally, two of my favorites, also by Julie Mikos:

On Being Dapper

You’ve picked out your stunning, modest gown (the one that will make his jaw drop and knees weak). It’s SO perfectly you. Your bridesmaids are each fitted out with an amazing dress that suits each beautiful woman. And all of you have probably gone through hours of being jabbed with pins while a seamstress makes the fit just perfect.

And then, into this lovely vision of customization enter…all of the guys, shoehorned into a rented tux and shoes. Yikes. Feels like we’re back on Sesame Street, right? “Which one of these is not like the other?”

Luckily, while rented formal wear for men still predominates (sigh), there are so many great options out there for your guys to be just as nattily attired as your ladies that it’s almost a crime not to explore letting your guys have a look that’s all their own. And being dapper is just something that all men should have more than a passing familiarity with.

For a basic primer on men’s attire, there are so many great options out there, including Martha, of course, and a favorite of mine for comprehensive information on formal options, The Black Tie Guide (which even includes historical notes). And if you’re looking for lots of lovely photos of men’s attire options on real men, check out this post on Southern Weddings, because let’s face it, if there’s anyone who knows dapper, it’s Southerners (although a few of us further up the East Coast have a pretty good handle on it too, if I do say so myself)

Jos. A. Bank has a wonderful article on tuxes, with practical advice for modern men who may not have much experience in wearing formal dress. And, they address my own personal pet peeve of long ties with tuxes. Just…don’t. Really. Your children and your older self will thank me when they look at the photos in twenty years. Remember powder blue suits with ruffled shirts? They were “cool” too at one time. Repeat after me: Classic. Is. Always. Appropriate. *stepping off soapbox*

If your guys want to buy their tuxes (that’s what ours did), prices range from about the same as a tux rental (although you’re going to be sacrificing some quality, that may be okay if the guys don’t plan to wear them that often) to please-hold-this-while-I-pass-out expensive (we’re talking custom-made, highest quality out there). Unless you regularly hobnob with society’s leading lights, you can probably skip the last option.

So once the guys have their own, custom-fitted tuxes or suits, you can’t just put any old thing under them, right?

First, let’s talk about shirts. You could, of course, do the shirt-in-a-box routine, but how much more fun would it be to have custom shirts to go with those snazzy new suits or tuxes?

J. Hilburn is a Dallas clothing store that caters to men who don’t like to go shopping (sound familiar?). Luckily for guys in the rest of the country, they’ve just launched an online store where men can buy custom shirts (hello imported Italian fabrics) for reasonable prices.

How great is that?

But with a great shirt, you must, of course, have a great cufflink. You can find cufflinks in any style, at any price range. One fun new option is the cool ceramic cufflinks from Paloma’s Nest.

Finally, ties. Bow ties, of course, if you’re going the classic route (see rant above); there’s nothing better than a basic black bow tie. Just please don’t make it the cheap “satin” kind — this is worth finding a bow tie your man will be proud to wear again (bonus points if it’s of the self-tie variety).

If your guys are wearing suits, I still vote for a bow tie. Again, it’s all about the dapper. Vineyard Vines has some lovely fun options, and they’ll even create a custom tie just for your wedding!

Wouldn’t this be a fun tie for a summer wedding? Subtle enough to look like a shaded blue paisley or some such from a distance, but when you get up close…hello fishies!!

So what about you? What are your dapper guys going to be sporting on your wedding day?

The Ring’s the Thing

With apologies to Shakespeare, when it comes to engagements, it’s (usually) all about the ring. Now, I know plenty of people who chose not to go the ring route, but most women I know started dreaming about a ring on that all-important finger shortly after they were old enough to spell engagement! So if you were like me, the ring shopping started way before you even met your husband. Maybe in high school or college, taking a quick peek “just to get ideas” on a jeweler’s site that let you design your own ring? (Yeah, me too)

Here’s the thing about those oh-so-addictive jewelry sites: they only gave you a few options. Solitaire or with side stones? Shape of center and side stones, as applicable? Size and metal? And that’s about it. Sure, you got to choose the size of the diamond, etc. But it you wanted to go waaaay out on a limb and choose, say, a colored center stone (unimaginable, I know), then you were out of luck, at least at first.

Happily, things have changed a little. Diamonds may be a girl’s best friend (although I think my husband would have a thing or two to say about that), but ladies, Gemvara is giving them a run for their money. I just discovered this lovely little website, and my college self would have been in hog heaven with all these options!!

The concept is the same, but you get way more options (5,264 at last count). You select a ring, and then can either leave it as is (and there are so many lovely options):

Or adjust each part of the ring to suit your tastes and make it your own.

This ring was originally white gold with a topaz, but I thought it would be lovely in rose gold with diamond center and accent stones.

The ring below originally had a black diamond center stone, and I’ve created two versions one with just diamonds and one with water sapphire, black diamonds, and white diamonds.

I should, though, add this warning before you visit the site: with so many rings, from traditional to modern to antique, and so many options for each ring…Gemvara is WAY more addictive than other ring design sites. Pop some popcorn, grab a drink, and prepare to settle in for a while!!

If you haven’t seen this GORGEOUS wedding on 100 Layer Cake yet, rush right over now and check it out!! If you have, just thought I’d share one of the favorites I would never get tired of looking at. Didn’t photographer Amelia Lyon capture the California light and atmosphere perfectly? And the dress, oh the dress. By Melissa Blackburn, of course. Loveliness!

If you haven’t seen this GORGEOUS wedding on 100 Layer Cake yet, rush right over now and check it out!! If you have, just thought I’d share one of the favorites I would never get tired of looking at. Didn’t photographer Amelia Lyon capture the California light and atmosphere perfectly? And the dress, oh the dress. By Melissa Blackburn, of course. Loveliness!

Cover to Cover: Good Stock

I am dangerous in a bookstore. Really, really dangerous. I just LOVE books: the smell of leather, the heft of a properly bound book, and the joy of discovering something lovely in the stacks of an old bookstore.

Growing up, I loved to read biographies, and one of my favorite parts were the photographs and their attendant captions. Oh, the captions. It’s fascinating to me to see what the author or photographer chose to say about that image in just a few words. It’s like Twitter for books!

So traditional wedding albums, while lovely, always make me want to know more. I want to hear the story behind the images! Imagine my delight, then, to discover Good Stock. This lovely little company takes your story and turns it into a custom, handcrafted, keepsake book. Wedding story, family story, baby story…whatever your story is.

I’m especially smitten with their wedding and engagement story books. From the traditional…

(Aren’t you just in love with those sepia tones and hand-deckled edges?)

(Ah, captions. In this case, they included their wedding vows. How lovely is that?)

…to the unique…

(Moleskine-style binding to give the book a more journal-like feel. I love rounded edges!)

(dark blue trimmed leather = gorgeousness)

…to just pure fun!…

…Good Stock seems to be able to do it all. I think I might have just found an anniversary project!!

Which style is your favorite? What special words, memories, and keepsakes would you include?

Demure Design: Jasmine Bridal

Hello all! I apologize for the radio silence last week; a trip out of town combined with a series of technical difficulties (including someone deciding that my new cell phone would have a better home with them…) conspired to derail my posting plans. But I’m back this week, and have a lot of great things to share with you!

Does anyone remember the Barbie Fashion Plates toy from the 70s and 80s (an example)? I had one, and LOVED making different outfits…especially wedding dresses! Well, Jasmine Bridal has the grown-up version. You can pick any one of their top selling dresses, and change the neckline, sleeves and back of the dress to suit your wedding!!

Here’s one of their examples:

And one that I created using their design tool:


Style T842, no alterations (spaghetti straps, low scoop neckline, low v-shaped back)


Style T482 with a square neckline and long sleeves


Style T482 with a boat neck and flared sleeves

Isn’t that fun? They also do custom alterations on other dresses, but it’s nice to be able to see some of the changes you are making and how they would affect the look of the gown, before you get into the “serious design discussion” phase with one of their designers. What dress is your favorite?

Real Modest: Sheena’s Bridals

Today’s “Real Modest” feature comes to us courtesy of Amber Weimer, who you may remember from her work with Jackie and Jang. Sheena is a bride after my own heart: her bridesmaids wore gray!

 

How did you meet?
Trent and I met at school. We were both studying photography at UVU and he was the TA during my class time, so I had to check out equipment through him. (He likes to add that I checked him out in the process.)  
Tell us about the proposal…
He took me to dinner at the Roof in Salt Lake. Then we went to the capital building to take some pictures with his large format camera, like we did on our first date. He had me set up the camera, “for practice.” I flipped open one part and inside is a ring box. I immediately turned around to face Trent, feeling like a kid who got caught peeking at Christmas presents. He simply smiles and says “open it.” I do and the ring box is empty. When I turn around again, Trent is down on a knee with another ring box in hand, this time with the perfect ring inside and he asks me to marry him. 

Did you buy your dress or have it made?
I bought it at Alyssa’s Bridal.
What did your bridesmaids wear?
They wore light gray dresses from DownEast Outfitters.


What was your favorite part of the wedding?
Knowing that I’d be with Trent forever. He’s my best friend and we have so much fun together. And I loved the end of our reception, when we got to dance. We had a playlist of some of our favorite songs and just danced our hearts out with our friends and family. The perfect end of a perfect day.

Thank you, Sheena, for giving us a peek at your bridals. Best wishes to you and Trent in your marriage!

{All photos above used with permission of Amber Weimer Photography.}

One of the hardest things to do when you’re planning a wedding can be to let the wedding busy-ness go for a moment, and find time do something to uplift yourself and others. So here’s my challenge to you today. First, read the amazing post below from one of my favorite people…
mth2011:

Today.
Be the kind of person you want to be around.
Protect the names of others in the same way you would hope that they would protect your own.
Choose only to participate in conversation that uplifts, edifies and makes the world a better place.
Consciously turn down the volume on negative influences in your life. STOP WILLINGLY GIVING THEM POWER OVER YOU.
Focus on ways you can contribute to the wold in lasting and meaningful ways.
Concentrate on your unique gifts and talents and how you can use them to make real waves for good.
Forgive with your whole heart, even as you would seek forgiveness for your own mistakes. You need never be poisoned by the feelings of hate and revenge that come from an unforgiving heart and mind.
Love. Love yourself. Love others. Completely and without ulterior motive, fear or judgment.
Today.
Natalie Norton
Above design by Jane Riley.

Then, take a wedding planning pause, at least for a little while, and go do the following:
Spend some time in a peaceful place. Take just 10 minutes to pray, meditate, read something inspiring, soak up the sun, all of the above…whatever you want to do to be in a place of peace and calm.
Say something nice to someone. If you’ve ever gotten a random compliment from an unexpected source, you know how much this makes your day. Give that gift to someone today.
Do something nice for someone. Side benefit: brightening someone else’s day makes your day too!
Say something nice to yourself. We often spend too much time on negative self-talk. Today, say something nice to the person you spend the most time with: you!
Do something nice for yourself. If you’re like many people, you’re happy to find time to do something for someone else, but feel guilty taking time to do something just for you. Don’t. You are SO WORTH IT!!! Take even a few minutes to do something that just makes you smile. Out of ideas? Some of my guaranteed smile-inducers including skipping, blowing bubbles (gum or bubble solution, your choice), and singing any of the following songs: Zippity Do Da; Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious; Heigh-Ho; or You Are My Sunshine. You can’t do it with a straight face, I promise!
You’ll be able to get back to the wedding to-do list with a lighter heart and more energy. Now, go out and have some fun!
P.S. This post is dedicated to Jaccie and Callie, two of my favorite modest brides who are getting married next month. In the midst of the final rush of planning, ladies, find time to enjoy the last few weeks of your journey to the altar! I can’t wait to celebrate with you both!!

One of the hardest things to do when you’re planning a wedding can be to let the wedding busy-ness go for a moment, and find time do something to uplift yourself and others. So here’s my challenge to you today. First, read the amazing post below from one of my favorite people…

mth2011:

Today.

Be the kind of person you want to be around.

Protect the names of others in the same way you would hope that they would protect your own.

Choose only to participate in conversation that uplifts, edifies and makes the world a better place.

Consciously turn down the volume on negative influences in your life. STOP WILLINGLY GIVING THEM POWER OVER YOU.

Focus on ways you can contribute to the wold in lasting and meaningful ways.

Concentrate on your unique gifts and talents and how you can use them to make real waves for good.

Forgive with your whole heart, even as you would seek forgiveness for your own mistakes. You need never be poisoned by the feelings of hate and revenge that come from an unforgiving heart and mind.

Love. Love yourself. Love others. Completely and without ulterior motive, fear or judgment.

Today.

Natalie Norton

Above design by Jane Riley.

Then, take a wedding planning pause, at least for a little while, and go do the following:

  1. Spend some time in a peaceful place. Take just 10 minutes to pray, meditate, read something inspiring, soak up the sun, all of the above…whatever you want to do to be in a place of peace and calm.
  2. Say something nice to someone. If you’ve ever gotten a random compliment from an unexpected source, you know how much this makes your day. Give that gift to someone today.
  3. Do something nice for someone. Side benefit: brightening someone else’s day makes your day too!
  4. Say something nice to yourself. We often spend too much time on negative self-talk. Today, say something nice to the person you spend the most time with: you!
  5. Do something nice for yourself. If you’re like many people, you’re happy to find time to do something for someone else, but feel guilty taking time to do something just for you. Don’t. You are SO WORTH IT!!! Take even a few minutes to do something that just makes you smile. Out of ideas? Some of my guaranteed smile-inducers including skipping, blowing bubbles (gum or bubble solution, your choice), and singing any of the following songs: Zippity Do Da; Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious; Heigh-Ho; or You Are My Sunshine. You can’t do it with a straight face, I promise!

You’ll be able to get back to the wedding to-do list with a lighter heart and more energy. Now, go out and have some fun!

P.S. This post is dedicated to Jaccie and Callie, two of my favorite modest brides who are getting married next month. In the midst of the final rush of planning, ladies, find time to enjoy the last few weeks of your journey to the altar! I can’t wait to celebrate with you both!!

So, one of modesty’s paradoxes, then, is that it is usually a reflection of self-worth, of having such a high opinion of yourself that you don’t need to boast or put your body on display for all to see.
Wendy Shalit in A Return to Modesty (via jlgerhardt)