Tuesday Tips { New Year’s Eve }

Happy New Year’s Eve! Our team is so excited for 2014 and all the {fabulous} things we have planned! For all the couples our there {married, engaged, or still dating} here are some of our favorite ideas for a fun date night on New Year’s:

  • Host a cocktail party – this is a great opportunity to bring together her friend + his friends and enjoy the company!
  • Spend a romantic evening in – if you’re like me and don’t really like parties, then this idea is perfect for you =) Pop some bubbly and spending a quiet evening enjoying dinner at home.
  • Be spontaneous – New Year’s eve is supposed to be fun and fancy free, so be spontaneous with your plans. Maybe plan to go to dinner and then leave the rest of the evening open. If you live in an attractions area {like Orlando} there are always fun things to do {like go-carting, putt-putt, etc.}.

Tidbits & Tips {Let the Planning Begin}

We want to wish a very happy “congratulations” to all the couples that got engaged over the Christmas holiday! Our team is so excited for each of you and we hope you’ll find our daily tips + inspiration helpful in planning your dream wedding! To get planning underway, check out these quick tips:

  • Start early – planning a wedding can be a full time job, so give yourself plenty of time to plan {at least 9 months}.
  • Make a guest list first – get together with your parents + your fiances parents and create a guest list. This will help you determine your budget + where you can actually hold the event.
  • Select the bridal party – once you’ve picked the bridesmaids + groomsmen you can pick a wedding date {that way you can make sure everyone is available that day}.
  • Find your vendors – start inquiring with vendors to ensure you’ll get your favs before they’re booked on your date.

Tuesday Tips {Warm & Cozy}

There’s nothing better than a cup of hot cocoa on a chilly winter evening. Except maybe these {deliciously} brewed drinks =) Check out a few recipes below for some tasty drinks that are sure to keep your guests warm:

Apple Pie Spiced Cider

Apple Pie Spiced Cider

Ingredients

  • 1 1/4 quarts apple cider
  • 3 tablespoons firmly packed light-brown sugar
  • 7 whole cinnamon sticks, (6 sticks for garnish)
  • 1 teaspoon ground allspice
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
  • Ground cloves
  • Freshly grated nutmeg
  • Salt
  • 1/2 cup Calvados, or other brandy (optional)
  • Directions

    • In a medium saucepan, whisk together cider, sugar, spices, and salt. Bring to a simmer over medium-low heat. Remove from heat; pour in brandy, if desired. Strain into a pitcher; discard solids. Serve in mugs, garnished with cinnamon sticks.

    Warm Vanilla Cider

    Warm Vanilla Cider

    Ingredients

    • 6 cups fresh apple cider
    • 2 tablespoons packed dark-brown sugar
    • 2 whole nutmeg seeds
    • 1 vanilla bean (split and scraped)
    • 6 ounces (3/4 cup) bourbon, if desired
    • Whipped cream
    • Honeyed Walnuts

    Directions

    • Combine apple cider, dark-brown sugar, nutmeg seeds, and vanilla bean in a medium saucepan. Gently simmer over medium-low heat for 15 minutes. Remove from heat, and add bourbon if desired. Remove and discard solids. Divide among 6 mugs or heatproof glasses, and top each with a dollop of whipped cream and a few honeyed walnuts.

    Peppermint Hot Chocolate

    Peppermint Hot Chocolate

    Ingredients

    • 1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
    • 1 quart milk
    • 1/2 cup semisweet chocolate chips (3 ounces)
    • 7 peppermint sticks; 3 crushed (1/4 cup), 4 left whole
    • pinch of salt

    Directions

    • Place cocoa in a medium saucepan. Gradually whisk in milk until cocoa has dissolved. Add chocolate chips and crushed peppermint; simmer over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until chocolate and peppermint have melted, 8 to 10 minutes.
    • Bring to a boil and immediately remove from heat. Add salt. Ladle into mugs; serve each with a peppermint stick.

    Tidbits & Tips {Holiday Weddings}

    I just love the holiday season! The decorations, sweets, and family gatherings are the best =) Even though it’s a busy time of year, it can make for wonderful wedding memories. Here’s are a few quick tips for making the most out of your holiday wedding:

    • Plan further in advance – lots of people have long standing traditions with extended family, so send out your save-the-dates, and invites a month or so before you’d normally send them out. That gives your guests plenty of time to make arrangements for the holidays.
    • Don’t be discourage by “no” RSVP’s – the chances of getting “no” RSVP cards are going to be a lot higher around this time of year. For those that do have long-standing family traditions {plus airfare is much more expensive}, they may not be able to attend your wedding. Try not to take it personally, and keep this in mind when creating your guest list. Make a “B-list” so you can send out additional invites when someone else says they can’t attend.
    • Expand your color palette – winter weddings don’t have to be “Christmas-y.” Try using pale blues, minty greens, silver, or even pink + gold!
    • Embrace the season – have pretty pashminas or blankets available for guests {if your event is outdoors} or even a fun hot cocoa bar with yummy mix-ins!

    Tuesday Tips {Styling the Maids}

    Today’s post is all about styling the gals that will stand by you on wedding day =) Here are a few of my favorite ideas that will make your maids sparkle:

    Marbelized watercolor – this is totally perfect for a whimsical wedding! It’s fun and colorful, and looks amazing with a pretty hand-tied bouquet.

    Apryl Ann Photography

    Tropical – the vibrant colors featured in this dress + bouquet are perfect for a destination wedding!

    Apryl Ann Photography

    Modern – any dress with a simple design and clean lines would work for a modern wedding. Pair it with simple bouquet in a neutral color to complete the look.

    Apryl Ann Photography

    Quirky – if you’re more of an eclectic bride, dress your maids in something with a unique pattern {but not too busy}.

    Apryl Ann Photography

    Photos: Apryl Ann Photography

    Tidbits & Tips {Sitting in a Tree}

    Sitting in a Tree is one of my new favorite places for couples to host their wedding website – it’s not free like The Knot, but they offer so many pretty and simplistic designs! I tend to be more of a minimalist, and they offer designs that are clean and crisp =)

    Sitting in a Tree

    Tuesday Tips {Cutting the Cake}

    Cake is one of my favorite desserts. It’s moist and creamy, and oh so delicious! Since I love cake so much, it only makes sense that the cake cutting is one of my favorite parts of the wedding day. Something I don’t like is when that moment isn’t captured on film. So here are a few quick tips to make sure this once in a lifetime moment doesn’t go unnoticed:

    • Guests want to watch – most of the time the cake is placed on a pretty table against a wall. That’s fine, but make sure you’re not hiding behind the cake when it comes time to taste it!
    • Tell the photographer – please make sure the photographer knows when you’re cutting the cake. Your wedding coordinator should have a timeline of the day that may be given to the photographer well in advance =)
    • Make sure the DJ can see you – no one likes having an awkward pause just after the cake’s been cut. The DJ will be able to make a smooth transition from the cake cutting back to the dance floor and other festivities.

    Tidbits & Tips {Dress Shopping}

    Browsing through dress shops is one of my favorite things to do – I just love swooning over all the pretty embellishments and frills! Now, I’ve never shopped for my own wedding gown but I’ve got some great tips from past brides to help you find yours:

    • Make an appointment – having an appointment will guarantee that you get to meet with a trained bridal consultant. They’ll know what dresses they have in stock and which style will best suit your body type =)
    • Eat breakfast – you don’t have to go crazy, but make sure you eat something before dress shopping {maybe a parfait or omelet}. It’s no fun shopping while your stomach is growling!
    • Be open to possibilities – it’s always good to have an idea of what you’re looking for, but try to be open to the consultants suggestions. You may discover that a different style or texture fits your personality better.
    • Bring trusted companions {and limit them} – personally, I’d probably only bring my mom and best friend to go dress shopping. They’re both people I trust and I know they’d help me find the perfect gown. Ask your bridal consultant if they can take photos of your favorites {some boutique don’t allow photos} in case you aren’t quite ready to purchase a gown that day.
    • Dress properly – make sure you wear proper under garments when searching for a dress. Oh, and if you’ve already purchased the shoes you’ll wear on wedding day, bring them too =)

    Trendy Thursday {Food Displays}

    These roasted veggies looks extra delicious when they’re displayed on such a unique serving plate! If you’ve already booked your caterer, make sure you talk to them about creating unique and interactive food displays like this one {believe me, your guests will rave about it}!

    Passed Hors d'oeuvres

    Via Best Friends for Frosting