Dapper Dan, Handsome Harry and Funky Fred: Ideas for Dressing Your Groom and Groomsmen

While picking out your wedding dress might be one of the most difficult decisions for your wedding day, outfitting your husband-to-be and his gaggle of friends can be just as trying.

Whether he is the type that can hardly tie his shoes or has shoe trees in all of his footwear, you want your fiance to look even better than he normally does. Luckily the times have changed and have brought with them an evolution in options for groomsmen. Depending on the theme of your wedding, you can outfit your better half in a classic tuxedo, a khaki suit, suspenders and boat shoes, or a superhero cape. Alright, so maybe not the cape – although I am not saying it doesn’t have its place – but you get the idea. There is no reason to send your fiance out for a boring old black suit when he can match you, the bridesmaids and even the table settings.  Need some ideas to get started? Here are some of my favorite groom/groomsmen outfits I have seen lately:



Tips for Budget Brides

Thrifty is my middle name.

I live for trips to Dollar Tree (let’s be honest, Family Dollar just isn’t worth my time), love seeing sale tags and I can’t get enough of DIY Pinterest boards. If there is a way to get something I like more cheaply, I will do so with a bounce in my step. That is why I love all of the ideas you can find online to make your wedding fit into your budget while still getting nearly all of the things that you want for your big day. There is no reason why you need to spend thousands of dollars on the right accents when there are usually cheaper yet still cute options.

So how do you get everything you want and stay within your budget?

1. Create a budget and a list of your top 10 must-haves: This is probably the hardest part of planning. You know that you have a certain amount of money to spend but when you start researching all of the puzzle pieces that make up a wedding day, you might feel like sitting down and crying. Instead, create a list of the 10 things that are most important for your wedding day. While some brides dream about the perfect dress, others are more concerned with the table settings. No matter what your priorities are, it is important to budget for those things. With the remaining amount, you can get creative and find cheaper alternatives so that you can stay within, or just a smidge over, your budget.

2. Start researching!: The internet is a wealth of free information thanks to helpful brides and grooms who have shared their experiences and tips with the world. You can find tips for just about any budget bride question you may have. Want to incorporate mason jars into your wedding but need some ideas? You will find about 100 sites or more with pictures and advice.

3. Ask friends and family for help: While you may not want to ask them for financial help, you can certainly ask your best friend the baker to whip you up a gorgeous cake – after you offer to pay for the materials, of course. When you explain that you are on a budget, you will find that your friends and family are more than happy to help you wrap mason jars in lace, create handwritten placards or make a beautiful ring bearer’s pillow.

4. Look for used options: Yes, there are tons of items that you can buy used or rent for your big day. Visit wedding websites like theknot.com to find tons of awesome used pieces that would look amazing on your wedding day. Nobody will know the difference!

So where would I go for budget friendly wedding ideas? To start, you can visit my Pinterest page which I am constantly updating. Here are a few more pages that I think are totally awesome for DIY budget brides:

A Practical Wedding: This website is so stinkin’ cool. If you feel like you are losing your mind in all of the wedding planning mayhem, visit this site to get actual practical ideas and tips from brides who have been through it all. I love their recent post on how to turn grocery store cakes into amazing custom wedding cakes. Seriously, you won’t believe the transformation.

Dollar Tree: Yes, my favorite cheapie store has its own site for budget brides. How cool is that? There are tons of ideas for saving a serious amount of money on your wedding decorations. Again, NOBODY will know the difference. Only you will feel all of that extra cash in  your pocket going towards…an amazing honeymoon?

Bride Craft: Love DIY projects? This website is chock full of do-it-yourself wedding ideas from veils and jewelry to table accents. You could lose hours of your day exploring Bride Craft.

Craigslist: So there is this tiny website called Craigslist, have you heard of it? Well, you can find a ton of amazing things on CL for your budget wedding. For example, this chick in Antioch, IL rents adorable accents for weddings that I want to get married RIGHTNOW just so I can use some of her stuff. You will be amazed at the things you can find on Craigslist for new or nearly new.

Family Portraits: Never Perfect, But Always Treasured

Every year I travel to New Jersey to visit one side of my family for Father’s Day. For a few precious days my nieces and nephew run circles around me and I try to keep up. I usually pass out every night into a deep sleep because their boundless energy is better than any cup of sleepytime tea. This year I was lucky enough to see two of my cousins and some of their children, as well as my aunt and uncle. When you live so far away from everyone, just a few hours spent chatting and catching up can fill the void for months, even years, spent apart.

This year I brought my tripod and a wireless remote trigger to capture the Park clan. After running back and forth several times like a fool, which helped to entertain everyone, I captured a few shots that I will treasure forever. I highly recommend buying a wireless remote for your camera if possible, or learning how to use the self-timer function. Even basic point-and-shoot cameras offer this handy function which is perfect for capturing group shots with yourself in them.


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Wedding Dresses With Sleeves: Classy, Gorgeous and Flattering

We all have something about ourselves that we wish we could tweak just a little.

Even though I work out regularly, I can never quite get my arms to the point of, oh, looking like Michelle Obama’s amazing arms. And I probably never will. That is why I am so excited to see more and more brides and vendors wearing and offering dresses with cap sleeves, mid-length sleeves and even long sleeves. Who says covering your arms can’t be sexy? Of course, I will definitely be hitting the gym a little harder when I do get engaged, but I am still going to consider my sleeved options at bridal boutiques when the time comes. With so many options to choose from these days, there is no reason why all women shouldn’t feel like the most beautiful version of themselves on their big days.







Saying “I Do” With Your Favorite Four-Legged Friend

Anyone who knows me knows that I am a sucker for animals.

I love pretty much any animal – well, the ones that don’t have a hankering to eat me – but I especially love the furry and adorable four-legged varieties. While I am a cat owner, I have a wish list for my future dog. Even though I am barely 5’2″, I want a very large dog like an English Mastiff or a Great Dane. Something that will walk me and then carry me home when I am tired sounds perfect.

If I am lucky enough to be a dog owner when I get hitched, I am definitely going to incorporate him or her (or them – c’mon, why not get two?) into my special day. Nothing says adorable like doggy ring bearers and pups with bow ties. Want to bring your puppies along for your wedding day? It is important to keep a few things in mind. First, make sure that your venue is pet friendly. Secondly, it is advisable to bring your pups along for a portion of the day and have a way to bring them them back home when they are all tuckered out. And finally, just go for it. If you are serious dog people, you will not regret having invited your four-legged friends to one of the biggest events in your lives.

Need some inspiration for a pet-friendly wedding? Take a look at these adorable dog wedding images:






Hippie Weddings Are Making Me Swoon

I love weddings of all shapes and sizes.

However, I have been seeing a ton of weddings on my fave wedding blog sites that are making me want to put on a long sheer dress, wear a flowery headpiece and do a moon dance in a field of sunflowers. Maybe it’s because my mom is a refined hippie, but I cannot get enough of earthy, feel-good weddings lately. Want to share the warm fuzzy feelings with me? Check out these incredible weddings and inspiration shoots.

Backyard Connecticut Wedding: I sent this to my boyfriend’s sister who is as close to a real hippie as anyone I know. Although I could easily replace her with the girl in the pictures, she said it was too hipsterish. Then I said that I want to be a hipster but am too old. She responded by saying the coolest hipsters are in their thirties. That means that I can have an equally cool hipsterish, hippie-ish wedding in the future. Cool.

Retro Meets Rustic: This shoot, featured on Green Wedding Shoes today, put me over the edge. Can someone please replicate this and use it for their own wedding? Oh yeah, and book me to shoot it! Wonderful.

Wedding Yurts: I really love how the word “yurt” sounds. To plan a wedding in one would be super extra awesome, like the one styled for this inspiration shoot. Plus, it had tons of birds in the. Put a bird on it!

Nashville Hippie Wedding: Okay, so this is a bit over-the-top with crazy hippie vibes, but I love it anyway. Look at their cherubic faces? Oh my gosh, peace and love for everyone, y’all. By the way, I am allowed to say y’all because I lived in South Carolina for 7 years. Check out those creds.

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Natalya and Nick: Long Grove, IL Engagement Session

Like many of my recent engagement shoots these past few months, the weather has not been cooperative. Even though it was starting to drizzle on my way to the shoot in Long Grove, Natalya and I chatted on the phone and decided to give it a go. This adorable couple were pretty nervous when we started shooting, but after a few moments started to get into the groove and gave me tons of smiles, kisses and laughs. Natalya and Nick are getting hitched in the Dominican Republic this year, where the weather is certain to be more cooperative than in the Midwest.

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