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The Perfect Castle Wedding Gowns

Imagine the day you’ve been dreaming of since you were a little girl: your wedding day. You’ve been dreaming of your fairytale wedding for as long as you can remember. You’ve always wanted to be a princess, and where does every princess get married? A castle, of course. There are so many elegant castles to choose from around the world for your wedding day to make you feel like a true princess. There are even many in the U.S., which means you don’t have to travel across the pond!

Here are some amazing castle venues in the U.S. from Martha Stewart Weddings . If none of these are for you, check out Hitched.co.uk for some venues in the UK.

A castle wedding venue means there are so many different options for your dress. Any silhouette and fabric that works for you can be yours. Unless you choose to get married with the castle as your backdrop, you won’t need to worry about sand, dirt, or water getting on your dress, because you’ll be indoors. So, if you really want to feel like the princess of the castle, here are some suggestions to get you started:

A silk or satin ball gown is the perfect statement for your fairytale wedding. Satin gowns are elegant and regal to make you look and feel like a true princess.

Enchanting by Mon Cheri

Sottero and Midgley

Jasmine Bridal

If satin really isn’t your style and you’re looking for something a little more lightweight, look for something with tulle or organza. You can still get that princess look without all of the added weight.

Pronovias

Pronovias

Jasmine Bridal

These styles are perfect if you want to channel Princess Kate on your fairytale wedding day. The sleeves are a bit more conservative, but add a touch of elegance you might not find in a sleeveless gown.

Enchanting by Mon Cheri

Pronovias

Pronovias

If a ball gown really isn’t your style, there are plenty of other styles that will still bring out your inner princess. From A-line to fit and flare to two-in-ones, the options are endless.

Jasmine Bridal

David Tutera for Mon Cheri

Rebecca Ingram

These styles, and so much more, are available at Aleana’s Bridal!

Chocoholic Wedding

Are you both total chocoholics?  Then why are you looking at vanilla cakes?  Just because white cakes are the most traditional wedding cake doesn’t mean you need to serve them at your wedding.

Here are a few ways to incorporate chocolate in your wedding.

1. Chocolate candy table –

It might not be a good idea for a venue that gets some serious sunshine, but a hint of chocolate in your decorations might mean a few more or your guests stop to smell the roses. Think about having a candy bar filled with a variety of treats that can be made from chocolate. Think sweet starfish and seashells for a beach-side celebration (just be sure not to set a display of chocolate favors out in the sun), or a chic mix of white-and-dark chocolate treats for an indoor wedding. There are uncountable things to add to your chocolate table such as milk chocolate covered malt balls, chocolate dipped pretzels, chocolate covered almond toffee bites and milk chocolate covered caramel popcorn’s just to name a few. These could be put in cute little candy jars next to scrumptious hot chocolate drinks for the younger ones to relish – best for winter weddings. For the adults, these chocolate drinks can come with a twist. Such as combining chocolate ice cream with alcohol and turning it into a shake.

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 Picture from – Snippet & Ink

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                                                                              Picture by – Marla (PnPFlowersInc)

2. Chocolate cupcakes –

A big wedding cake isn’t a must. Find a baker that specializes in creating awesome cupcake inspired displays for your wedding. Chocolate wedding cupcakes can be just as chic and glamorous. Whip up a batch of chocolate infused offerings and have them as your centerpiece. You could also go for ooey gooey creations; with center filled caramel or peanut butter. These chocolate confections are going to be so rich and decadent.

Chocolate-Cupcake-Wedding-Tower

Picture from – The Chocolate Connoisseur 

3. Chocolate fountain –

If your wedding reception is just for a small group only, you should have the personal chocolate fountain. It isn’t much, but it would still be an additional fun for the wedding reception. For any cocoa-crazy bride this is an absolute necessity, and is sure to get your friends and family talking. You can skewer dried and fresh fruits to give it a surprising appearance and a more exciting effect. Strawberries with prunes and grapes are also often used too.

Sliced cakes or crackers would also a fine addition. If you mixed the colors well then they will add more to the decoration and create and all-round colorful effect. Marshmallows are a plus. It is the next best thing paired to chocolates. Other dipping’s may include pretzels, cookies and bread pieces.

There are several flavors for chocolate fountains to choose from, in case you want to add extra taste to your chocolates. If you expect that most of your guests are diet conscious, you can also request to have an additive to maintain the sweetness but lower the calories or sugar content. This way, your guests can still enjoy the chocolate fountain in a healthy way.

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Photo by – The Dating Divas

This article brought to you by Aleanas Bridal, Paramus New Jersey.

Wedding Photo Booth

Wedding Photo Booth – Make this the main focal point of your wedding reception.

There are so many ways for you to capture amazing memories of your wedding day. Putting up a photo booth does not only capture great shots but also keeps your guests entertained. This photo booth is going to capture moments that may not be captured otherwise. People are also very relaxed in the privacy of a photo booth and you are sure to get some really hilarious images of people acting in ways that they might otherwise not. And since they provide photos instantly, these are going to be the very first photos that the bride and groom see after their wedding.

You could hire an attendant that will make sure everything runs smoothly and will explain what to do to your guests. But on the other hand if you do not want to hire one, you could just put up a large sign with instructions for your guests.

Boston_Photobooth_Portrait_Lounge01

Picture by: Boston Photo Booth

Make it fun! Decorate the photo booth according to the theme of your wedding. Encourage group shots! The more the merrier! This is not only a great way to get memorable wedding day photos, but also fun, casual and impromptu photographs! To make the photo booth even more fun and all its pictures even more memorable, place a bunch of cool accessories and props by the photo booth and let the guests go crazy! Anything and everything is allowed – glasses, wigs, hats, feathers, shawls, clown noses, play swords, butterfly wings, signs with funny sayings, bow-ties and more.

Hire the booth for the whole day so that you can capture all of the action. The best time to capture great photos is after dinner, when your guests are most relaxed and have got to know one another better. Make sure to get a photo booth that prints both black and white and glossy style color prints as different guests would prefer different styles.

You can save these in a DVD or even create a photo album.

This article brought to you by Aleana’s Bridal, Paramus, New Jersey

How to have a Winter Wedding (Part 2)

This article brought to you by Aleana’s Bridal shop, Ridgewood, NJ.

Read Part 1 first

Whether it be a crimson red nutcracker or a deep, blue wintery night sky…. It’s all about what winter means to YOU

Choose an indoor venue that gives off that winter vibe with a natural landscape: lakefront venues with a beautiful view, a romantic inn with a cozy fireplace, venues in the mountains like a ski lodge, historic mansion, or a banquet hall with big windows.

TIP! : Windows showcasing a snowy landscape is an effortless visual that will complement your photos making them pop against the white, bold backdrop of the glistening snow, reflecting an added natural glitter to your space.  Bold colors look even better when surrounded by a white backdrop…so keep this in mind when choosing color schemes throughout the venue, bridesmaid dresses, and maybe even adding a bold colored, sassy sash to really make your white wedding gown pop with a dash of color.

Color the chill

Infuse the atmosphere with warmth by incorporating your favorite tones to be complimented by the proper lighting.  Christmas reds & greens, reds & gold for a more elegant look, gold and apple greens for a bright, crisp color theme, traditional bright white with silver accents, frosted light blue hues and whites, shades of bluish greens accented by white or silver, and even metallic mixes of gold and silver…all of which can be color options for winter.

 

TIP! : Want to add some extra sparkle…and warmth?  Using a subtle touch of blue light will add shimmer to the room.  Glassware and linens will reflect the light in a way that will add a simple sparkle, rather than an overwhelming accent of color.

 

Daylight Savings, Strategic Lighting: Keep in mind that the winter season has shorter days, as it gets darker in these months, so you will want to plan your lighting practically.  Arrange for your ceremony to conclude by an earlier time in the afternoon so that the day still offers you enough light to explore the option of capturing photos outdoors if you wish.

 

Considering that it gets darker earlier, the use of candles and lights at the reception can really amp up the intimacy & warmth into creating a comfortable & cozy atmosphere for you & all your guests.

 

Dancing wicks & wax & flames: Warm up the winter setting by including accents of the element of fire…as in candles…and even a fierce fireplace if your venue offers you the option.  For a glam candlelight look, go for white or silver candles.  Feeling more rustic?  Use candles with birch holders.  Feeling magical? Suspend candles above the tables using invisible wires to make them appear to be dreamily floating in mid-air.

Read Part 3 and Part 4 next

How to have a Winter Wedding (Part 3)

This article brought to you by Aleana’s Bridal shop, Ridgewood, NJ.

Read Part 1 and Part 2 first

Candles create a natural glow, but sometimes this isn’t always enough to keeping the ambiance well lit.  Consequently, you should consider lamps or spotlights decoratively & tastefully placed at each table.  You won’t want anyone tripping over them selves, unable to see the guestbook to sign it…and most importantly, you’ll want your photos to look their best…and this won’t be done in the dark!

 

 Winter warm…& Fuzzies

Make wedding guests feel comfortable indoors and out…from before they even arrive until long into the night.  Offer warm transportation for them from the airport or hotel to your venue.  Make sure your venue location is accessible even if the weather turns bad and has good ventilation to keep the room warm (not stuffy!).  That intimacy and warmth you create in your space should extend to the outdoors, as well.  Provide portable heaters to go outside for those who want to escape for a breath of fresh air, check out the landscape, and/or for smokers.  You can even take it generously further by providing blankets by the doors to take for those who are heading outside.

 

Cappuccino or Hot Chocolate Bar:  Create a bar with a warm, cute touch…including delicious cookies, hot cocoa, cappuccino, & other hot drinks for either the whole night, or just as a late-night station.  This is a great alternative (and money saver) as it alleviates stress on the actual liquor bar!  If you did your job making guests feel warm enough, they won’t be inclined to become dependent on the booze buzz for the rush of warmth they get on a cold, tavern night at the bar back home.

Heated Menu Not literally…but consider cold-weather friendly foods and comforting dishes to serve on your wedding menu: meats or fish like a baked tilapia, minestrone or fennel potato leek soup, sweet potatoes, and pureed parsnips.

 

Winter-wonderland Wardrobe

You might want to consider having a wedding dress that will keep you warm with silk satin or a just heavier fabric in general, one with thick-laced sleeves, or a high collar.  You can always ditch the white dress for a stand-out color: blush pink, bold red, icy blue, or slick silver, which will look lusciously lovely against a white, snowy backdrop.

Winter Glam Glow: The bright lighting of winter accentuates dark circles and puffy eyes, while the weather dries out skin.  Keep your skin especially moisturized in the days leading up to the wedding.  For makeup, use warm and glowing hues, an under-eye concealer & highlighter, a highlighter for your cheekbones and under eyebrow arches, and use a hint of shimmer in your eye makeup.

Read Part 4 next

Photo credits to Steve.20 on Flickr

 

How to shop for a wedding dress (Part 4)

This article brought to you by Aleana’s Bridal shop NJ

Read Part 1, Part 2, and Part 3 first

 

 

*Alternate options for you non-shoppers: If you really dread the idea of dress shopping from store to store, you can forgo it all together and either just work with a solo dressmaker or shop online.

 

–       Matchmaker”: Working one-on-one with a dressmaker can be a very intimate, fulfilling experience if you two connect very well and her creations magically match your wishes.

 

        Virtual dress realms:  If you do order online, make sure you do so in plenty of time in case it doesn’t look, or fit, as you expected it would when it arrives.  Also, be aware that if you are ordering from overseas you’ll often have to pay custom charges.

*Communication is keyask questions and keep the flow of honest feelings into conversations going! To avoid any misunderstandings through lack of communication between you and the bridal shop you will be a client to, educate yourself beforehand as to what you’re allowed to do/bring, and be honest and just be yourself once you go to fittings to be as stress-free as possible.

I hope some of you brides-to-be find these tips valuable, and I hope it triggers even more thoughts to be conjured in your own mind as to what you can do as an addition to stress-free and smart, strategic planning.

 

CROWN YOUR GOWN

Remember to approach dress shopping as an absolute experience…not a result/destination.  By doing this, (ironically but beneficially), you will achieve the result you most desire, escaping the daunting and mundane experience of trying on gowns.

 

Most importantly, listen to your own head and heart…because nobody knows you better than you know yourself.  Wear your wisdom as the crown on top of your head…(and later, a veil).  You know the man you’re marrying is “The One,” and that same intuition and wisdom will guide you for when choosing the right dress.

This is how you will come out alive…and your real “crown” will be your most perfect gown.

How to enjoy bridal gown shopping (Part 2)

Read Part 1 first

STYLE YOUR SELF : Signature Style

Let’s face it, there are an overwhelming variety of styles to choose from, and when is the last time you ever worn anything even similar to a bridal gown in your life?  It’s not like you dress up like Cinderella in a white ball gown every Saturday night!  And the stress of purchasing the most expensive item of clothing you ever worn before adds to the all-around confusion.  That’s why I suggest simply starting with the vision board to use as your guide and for inspiration.

Princess styles, sleek silhouettes, mermaid fishtail gowns, lace and layers of tulle and taffeta reminiscent of a true fairytale gown, and vintage styles that channel a modern simplicity are all themes of styles you will find in a multitude of creations to choose from in your pile of tear-outs to add to your vision board.  You will start to see some stand out and tell tale signs of similarities that delineate your authentic style.

 

DESIGNER diva

Designers often have a trademark style that distinguishes them apart from others.  So once you have your epiphany of a certain style, you might also be able to see that one or few particular designers have stood out in your gown choices.  Identify your most favorite ones to keep an overwhelming confusion to a minimum level.  Even if you find that their creations are out of your budget, don’t despair…any bridal shop should be able to point you in the direction of similar styles that they carry themselves.

Boutiques & BUDGETS

Next up, where to shop?  

Finding a boutique can be tricky, but go with your gut feeling and the place that resonates with your overall energy.  No second stops at any place with pushy sales assistants, snooty staff or rushed appointments!  You can find better…and deserve to.

Read Part 3 next

 

How to enjoy bridal gown shopping (Part 3)

Read Part 1 and Part 2 first

Make an appointment at a store that catches your eye and heart when you’re ready to try gowns on.  While there’s nothing wrong with popping into a bridal shop, you will have a better opportunity (and experience!) for trying anything on when people are available to assist you through an appointment time.  Bridal shops can get extremely busy on weekends, so if you are able to visit or make an appointment for a weekday then you may well be given more time and better service.

And the drumroll for the dreaded word….da da da….BUDGET.  Your budget is your budget and it’s entirely up to you on where you draw the boundary line for going over or under…but do come up with an estimated amount and make sure your consultant/assistant is aware of your range before she shows you options…and before you fall head over heels for your dream dress to later find out its’ triple than the price you plan on paying!  Some bridal stores will offer the option of installment paying.  So do remember to ask if they offer this service.

Also, keep alternation costs in mind.  The standard size you order will be bigger than you expect…and then altered to fit you perfectly.

Adapt the perspective that this is the one single day in your life that is worth spending for, whether you choose to spend a fortune on your gown or not.  Spending a considerable amount on a dress that you fall in love with is fine…don’t compromise your dreams and wishes… and do this while maintaining a healthy balance between budget ranges in mind.

 

MONITOR your Mood

To best do this, make sure you are healthy in your mind, body, and spirit.  The quickest way to balance and/or boost your mood, is through nutrition…the foods you eat.  This is so significant…and is definitely not the time to be starving your self on a way-too-strict diet.

And don’t skip meals on the days you go to fittings because you think that will make it easier for you to squeeze into that teeny tiny sample size.  You need to try dresses on at the size you actually are

This is not the time for fainting from malnutrition or dehydration, so bring some snacks and water along with you while you shop.  You will be on your feet for long periods of time in sometimes hot and stuffy environments…so you will need your energy, patience, and cooperation.  Dress shopping can be exhausting…and you don’t want to get grumpy from being hungry or fatigued from not being properly hydrated– this is not the best mood to be in when you’re searching for your dream dress.

See the next article “How to shop for dress” on what, and who, to bring along with you while you shop to enrich your experience even further. 

Photo credit to sabrina campagna on Flickr.

 

How to maintain your manners: Proper wedding etiquette (Part 3)

 

Read Part 1 and Part 2 first

 

* Wedding Day Wardrobe: Dress as the style of the invitation suggests.  Casual or formal?  Well, if it’s an invite with flip flops and sea shells, it’s most likely a casual affair and it’s most likely not expected of you to wear a long silk dress.  On the flipside, if the invite is scripted and gives off a formal vibe, it’s probably not a smart idea to sport your casual cotton sundress.  Ask around to be sure of the dress code, perhaps a member of the bride’s family.  The bride herself is the last resort for this kind of questioning.  She has her own dress to worry about.

 

Never wear white Only a bride wears white on this special day.  So don’t compete with her or anybody else.  If you’re the type who is dying to show off your better-than-ever bod, save it.  A wedding is just not the time.  If you tend to have a more revealing or risqué personal style, tone it down a bit…especially for ceremonies held inside a conservative church.

 

 * Freeze your Frame.  Put a hold on the uploading of photos, especially to social media sites.  Brides can be very sensitive about their image and may wish to first look through photos first before anything is publicly shared online.

 

Taking pictures at the wedding reception is fine and encouraged…the more the merrier…but do less of the snapping during the ceremony.  The photographer is hard at work during this crucial hour, and you don’t want to get in their way and risk them taking faulty pictures when trying to capture these sentimental moments.

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

So what makes the best manners?  MINDFULNESS.  The best manners come from the mindful person who is very aware of themselves and their surroundings, other people and the environment.

 

Etiquette stems from common courtesy, sense, and social graces, such as: When entering or leaving the room, going into or out of bathrooms, etc., hold the door open for the next person.  Be conscious of staying silent during speeches and announcements and be aware of the alcohol you are consuming and always practice sophisticated self-control.

 

The most important rule of etiquette in attending a wedding event is to enjoy the day in a classy manner and bringing your most lofty, positive energy.  The bride and groom planned this special day in celebration of a jovial affair and took their guests’ comfort and entertainment into heavy consideration.  Be respectful, be polite and be on your way to being a stellar guest…one who contributes to the memories being made, and to the pages in the storybook that makes the bride’s dreams complete.

And don’t forget to bring the most important thing along with you, wrapped up in your own aura and expanded into those of others around you

L O V E.

Photo credit to CLEE on Flickr

 

How to maintain your manners: Proper wedding etiquette (Part 2)

This article brought to you by Aleana’s Bridal Shop, Bergen County NJ

Read Part 1 first

 

* If you choose to bring a guest along, make sure it is an appropriate choice.  Leave the wallflower and sulky date at home who will hinder your spirit as you shine on the dance floor…or the guy with an unpredictable behavioral pattern who tends to have a flared temper after too many shots of whiskey.  Leave him at home.  Better yet, what are you doing even being involved with these types of people to begin with?!?  Go alone and be free of the burden of entertaining a date all night.  You will have a much better time and be able to engage the people you truly care about as well as having a better opportunity for catching up with the ones you have been looking forward to seeing.

And if you weren’t invited with a guest, do NOT show up with one nor ask the bride or groom to make an exception just for you to bring somebody along. This puts them in an awkward position.  Once again, their day, not yours!

No bringing uninvited guests” rule can imply children.  Respect an adult-only wedding if that’s what the married couple wishes.  And if children are invited, please take responsibility that they remain on their best behavior.  Example: crying during vows.  Solution: Remove yourself and bring them away from the scene…FAR AWAY…!!!

* Send a gift when you are unable to attend the wedding, (and be sure to RSVP by the correct date so the bride and groom are aware!).  Proper etiquette dictates that if you were invited, you owe the couple a gift, despite your actual presence at the wedding or not.

 

Let the registry be your first shopping source to purchase a gift from.  If not, make sure your gift is thoughtful and personable specifically for the couple.

* Don’t just show up for the reception and skip out on the ceremony.  The ceremony is the most significant part of all.   It’s in poor taste to be seen downing drinks at the open bar without first making all efforts to attend the main event.

 

* Don’t be late!  Allow yourself plenty of time to arrive at the ceremony on time.

 

Traffic jam…when you’re already late?  Then watch from afar.  Stand in the back or slip quietly in a back row if the ceremony has already begun by the time you arrive.

 

Continue with Part 3

Photo credit to Steve 2.0 on Flickr