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Exotic Wedding Reception Ideas for Adventure Lovers

Jan19

Who says your wedding reception has to take place indoors? Traditional wedding receptions typically consist of a series of events beginning with a cocktail hour, proceeded by dinner, a series of speeches, and a long night of dancing. If you and your fiancé are non-traditionalist with a strong love for the outdoors, explore what destination wedding receptions have to offer. Why not incorporate your hobbies into ideas for outdoor wedding receptions?

Some suggestions to get you started include parachute jumping, motorcycle riding, hiking, fishing, and surfing. This will give you an opportunity to put your own unique stamp on your wedding reception while sharing your favorite hobby with your nearest and dearest. Whether you’re an extreme sports enthusiast or just enjoy being outside, then having an outdoor reception might be the right fit for you.

If you’re planning a beach wedding reception, why not welcome your guests to join you in the water? Invite your guests to come equipped with their favorite swimwear, water toys, and sunscreen. This is a fantastic idea for couples that participate in triathlons or water sports.

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The Most Romantic Outdoor Wedding Reception Locations

Dec10

Your wedding day is the most romantic day of your life, so make sure you pick a location that looks and feels like romance. It’s easier to find romantic outdoor wedding reception locations than indoor because of nature’s inherent beauty. For example it’s easy to string white lights on the ceiling to emulate stars, but nothing could ever replace the real thing.

Ocean View
Imagine having your wedding reception on the beach overlooking the ocean. With the stars above and the sounds of your wedding music mingling with the waves crashing, how could you not feel the love in the air? Invite your guests to kick off their shoes, let their hair down, have a glass of champagne and enjoy the view. Outdoor wedding tents can offer protection from the winds that tend to accompany the coast.

Vineyard
There is something so magical about wine country. Every time I visit Napa Valley I feel as though I’m a princess in a fairytale traveling through one of the most breathtakingly beautiful areas of California, let alone the United States. Let the rolling hills welcome you and your wedding party and leave your guests awestruck at the beauty of wine country.

Italian Villa
Grab your closest friends and family—oh and that ravishing fiancé of yours—and run off to the rolling hills of the Tuscan countryside. There are countless Italian villas for rent year round with beautiful views of the Amalfi Coast, or Italian farmland. This will give you and your fiancé an excuse to learn Italian if you don’t know it already, which in itself is as romantic as it gets. If you need some inspiration, rent Under the Tuscan Sun and you find yourself rushing to make sure your passport hasn’t expired.

Your Very Own Backyard
A homemade wedding that takes place close to home is personal and lovely. Not only are you welcoming your family and friends to one of the most important events of your life, but you’re also inviting them into your home. Make use of outdoor wedding decorations to make your backyard more festive and wedding appropriate. String white lights and lanterns throughout your backyard to give it that extra special touch. There truly isn’t anything more romantic than sharing a piece of yourself with those you love.

Set Sail
Nothing says romance like salt-filled fresh ocean air. There’s something so dreamy about floating on water with those who mean the most to you. With the horizon in clear view as the sun sets, you’ll find yourself wondering how to hold onto those moments forever. Also, a sailboat will force you to limit your guest list to those few people who mean the most to you.

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Unique Outdoor Wedding Venue Ideas

Dec09

Outdoor wedding photos have an advantage over indoor wedding photos—the natural backdrop they provide. Even though outdoor weddings tend to require more planning than indoor, the gifts from mother nature make it worth the extra effort. With foliage, blue skies, and green grass galore you’re bound to find outdoor wedding venues that knock your socks off.

Farm
Active or not, a real farm provides you and your wedding party with a rustic location that will not be forgotten. You could hold the ceremony and/or reception inside the barn and the surrounding area depending on what is available.

Desert
There are some gorgeous desert wedding destinations in the Southwestern U.S. and California, for example Palm Springs. Find a resort or backyard in the desert for your wedding; and the mountain backdrop won’t be anything less than jaw-dropping. Like the ocean and the sea, there is something inexplicably magical about the energy in the desert.

Garden
Get married and dance with your friends amongst gorgeous, colorful and sweet-smelling flowers. You can find gardens at public parks, friends' backyards and at various wedding venues. There are also countless Botanical Gardens throughout the United States. The Brooklyn Botanic Garden is a breathtaking oasis of flowers and trees, and is an ideal setting for a romantic wedding.

Greenhouse
This is one of the outdoor wedding locations that’s not completely outdoors, but still completely fabulous. This option would be ideal for those who are nervous about potential weather problems on the big day. A greenhouse is great for those who love the outdoors and all the sweet smelling little gifts that gardens give us. Allow your guests to fog up the windows inside a romantic greenhouse, and convert it into the reception after the ceremony.

Cabin Fever
Turn to the mountains for outdoor wedding ideas. Find a fabulous cabin and hold your wedding in the backyard close to a river or creek for calming sound effects compliments of Mother Nature herself. Lake Tahoe is an ideal place for this, and offers countless cabins for rent of all shapes and sizes. Or better yet find a cabin with a view of the lake. Keep in mind that large decks are prevalent at cabins in Lake Tahoe, which, if the size of your wedding permits is another fantastic option that is worth exploring. You and your hubby can soak up those Tahoe rays and remain there for your honeymoon.

Inside/Outside a Cave
Yes, you read that correctly—get married in a cave! More and more couples are choosing to have “off beat” weddings in actual caves. One such place is Ash Cave, located in Hocking Hills, OH, where the “aisle” is a quarter mile trail through the woods. If you have your wedding in the morning you see the sun rise through the trees that are so tall it’s difficult to see where they end and the sky begins.

Go against the grain and choose an outdoor wedding location that reflects your personality and all of its unique qualities. If you want to create a wedding that you and your guests will never forget, then begin with choosing the venue that stands out from the rest.

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Make Your Outdoor Wedding Reception Unforgettable

Nov19

Weddings happen every day, but no one wants to have a wedding that feels formulaic. Make your outdoor wedding reception stand out and throw a party your friends and family will never forget. Décor, comfort and personal touches are the main pieces to keep in mind when planning your outdoor wedding reception.

Find the Perfect Location
Finding the location for your outdoor wedding reception is the first and most important step you’ll take in the planning process. Pick a place that you love. If you and your fiancé are wine lovers, consider holding your reception at a vineyard. The beach, parks, forests, lakes, boats, estates, backyards and mountains are all fantastic outdoor reception locations. Just make sure to choose a venue that is clean, quiet and offers a bathroom, or at least has enough room for a rented portable restroom.

Outdoor Decorations
The décor can make or break your reception. A great way to beautify your reception is with light. If you’re having a nighttime wedding, consider using the following lighting ideas:

  • Place tiki torches around the boundaries of your reception.
  • Light your tables with candles. Use real or battery-operated candles and place them in large vases full of water. Invigorate your guest’s senses with scented candles. You can also hang candles from tree branches as part of the centerpiece.
  • String white holiday lights around surrounding trees, dinner reception chairs and reception table centerpieces.
  • Use white or colored lanterns as decorative centerpieces.
  • Spotlights are a great way to light up the bride and groom table, as well as the entire wedding party.
  • Old-fashioned outdoor street lamps are not only unique but would lend a vintage feel to your reception.

Create Another World
Make your reception even more memorable by renting outdoor wedding tents and creating a world of your own inside. If you’re having a winter wedding, consider creating a winter wonderland with fake snow, snowflakes, ice sculptures and decorated Christmas trees. If you are having an outdoor themed wedding inside a tent, bring your outdoor wedding decorations inside the tent. A creative wedding theme is 'new beginnings,' where the entire reception venue is decorated with trees that symbolize life. For this theme, situate the tent either around a real large tree or have potted trees delivered.

Special Touches
Add something extra special to your outdoor reception with the following ideas:

  • Hot cocoa and latte station. When the weather is chilly, this is the perfect treat for your guests to warm up and boost their energy for a late night of dancing.
  • Specialty cocktail station. Perfect for an outdoor wedding reception during the summer when you want to give your guests fun cocktails to choose from.
  • Buckets of fun. Tasteful buckets on each reception table stocked with sun block, sunglasses, and sun hats will ensure your guests are protected from blazing rays in the summer months.

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Backyard Wedding Ideas For Decorating

Nov12

Whether you're having a casual backyard wedding or a formal affair with a backdrop of natural beauty, these backyard wedding ideas will help you transform your favorite spot for family barbecues into a beautiful wedding venue.

Transforming the Backyard for a Wedding
Before you begin planning decorations, decide where each part of your wedding will take place. Look for a spot that provides a beautiful backdrop for pictures and room for seating for your ceremony. An archway is commonly used to designate the area where you'll exchange vows, but it's not necessary. You might choose to hold your ceremony in a gazebo, near a water feature, or just standing beside your favorite flowers.

For backyard wedding receptions, you may want to look for the largest expanse of flat ground that can easily support tables or tents. While tents aren't a requirement, you still want to consider how you'll handle unexpected weather.

Decorations for Backyard Weddings

  • Plant large planters with flowers that coordinate with the wedding colors
  • Use garden hooks to hang additional flower baskets or votive candles
  • Use tulle and flowers to decorate an arch purchased from a garden center. The arch can be reused in your yard after the ceremony and serve as a reminder of your special day.
  • A standard runner, flower petals or fall leaves can decorate the aisle for a backyard wedding.
  • If your backyard wedding reception will last into the evening, consider torches, votive candles or white lights to provide lighting and ambiance.
  • Take advantage of the yard's existing decorations. Play up water features, flower beds, decks and other areas.

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Preparing for Outdoor Wedding Locations

Nov05

Outdoor weddings are fabulous in so many ways: sunshine, nature, scenery, and fresh air are a few perks that come to mind. But outdoor wedding locations require some caution thanks to Mother Nature's ever-changing and unpredictable elements. The most important thing is to hope for the best but be prepared for the worst.

Comfort Comes First
If your outdoor wedding is taking place in summer, make sure your guests aren’t left out in the sun to melt. The two best ways to remedy the heat issue are setting up a shady tent and tray-passing cold beverages as guests arrive. Iced-tea, lemonade, or champagne are fantastic choices that will whet your guests' whistles and keep them cool. Hand out simple yet stylish fans that both make a statement and offer respite from the heat.

If a chilly climate is your concern, rent or purchase lap blankets, offer hot tea or cocoa, and set up heat lamps or portable heaters depending on how many guests you have. If your ceremony and/or reception will take place inside tents, which can be chilly, let your guests know in advance so that they dress properly with warm layers.

Expect the Worst
The key to successful outdoor wedding planning is to expect the worst. For example, expect that it will rain during your summer backyard wedding. You should have an indoor space available close by and a tent on hand, just in case. This will cost you some extra dough, but just remember that peace of mind is priceless.

When Wind Ruins What You’re Wearing
If you’re having a beach wedding on a cliff or in an area with the chance of high winds, choose a wedding dress and bridesmaids dresses that won’t blow up over your heads. While most beach wedding dresses are made of lightweight materials, you'll want a fabric that's more sturdy than silk or linen so that it has some chance against high wind gusts. Keep the wind factor in mind when choosing your hairstyle as well, or you could get caught with an unattractive case of “hair stuck in the lip gloss.”

Did You Know...?
Beach weddings can be dreamy but also loud. The calming sounds of the waves crashing and seagulls squawking are all a part of the overall ambiance, just make sure they don’t steal your thunder and drown out your wedding vows. Situate your wedding guests in a way that places them as close to you and your hubby-to-be as possible, or consider renting a P.A. system and either use body microphones or one regular sized microphone on a stand.

Don’t let the outdoor elements put a damper on your outdoor wedding ideas; instead, welcome and be prepared for them.

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Outdoor Wedding Dresses For Every Season

Oct27

Backyards, parks and beaches are all beautiful locations for a wedding. With the backdrop of crashing waves, a gorgeous sunset or a landscape of fall-colored leaves, how could you resist? While it can be wonderful to get married outdoors, you have to consider how the weather could affect your big day and your choice of wedding attire. When planning your outdoor wedding, be sure you are looking at comfortable and weather-appropriate outdoor wedding dresses.

Summer
Summer beach wedding dresses should be made of light, breathable materials. Go with light fabrics such as a thin silk or chiffon—they are airy and fit perfectly with the beach atmosphere. These fabrics are easier to move in, which will come in handy when you’re walking down the sandy aisle. Also consider wearing a strapless or one-shouldered gown—these are cooler and allow you to show off your neckline. Let your guests know ahead of time that they should wear beach wedding attire. Linen is a great choice. You want your guests to be comfortable, happy and focused on the ceremony, not worried about wiping their brows.

Fall
Heavier fabrics like satin or velvet are appropriate for fall weddings. Satin is great for fall because it’s solid and dense, but won’t weigh you down. You are welcome to go with a strapless, one-shouldered or even a halter style—just make sure your dress is floor length. Putting a deep red rose in your hair would complement your fall theme. You can even wear a chocolate brown or burgundy sash or satin draping belt.

Winter
Winter wedding dresses tend to be more formal and made of thick, warm materials. Velvet is a popular Winter wedding fabric because of its warm and luxurious qualities. An all-white long wedding gown, long white gloves, and a clean up-do will add to the formal theme and make you feel like you're in a winter wonderland. Because of the cold weather, you have the green light to wear a faux fur, silk or satin shawl that you can take off depending on your mood or temperature.

Spring
Spring weddings offer a world of opportunities for wedding attire. Dupioni, a lightweight silk fabric that is somewhat coarse with a subtle sheen, is an appropriate fabric for spring. Tea-length wedding dresses are a perfect choice for spring weddings because they are fun and flirty—just like the season. Add some bright spring accents to your ensemble such as pink, blue, or yellow sapphire gemstone jewelry. Since spring can still get chilly, be prepared with a light shawl or silk wrap if you need to get rid of goose bumps.

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Top 4 Beach Wedding Locations in California

Oct22

Second to Alaska, California has a whopping 840 miles of coastline, giving you plenty of options when searching for the best beach wedding locations. The best part about choosing a California beach for your wedding is that you get the picturesque backdrop of the Pacific Ocean without having to travel to an exotic destination or worry about oversees paperwork, passports, and long flights.

If you’re not confined to a specific part of California, explore the following top beaches for your beach theme wedding:

Santa Barbara Beach
This is one of the most beautiful beach towns in California. The beaches in Santa Barbara are situated close enough to the mountains that it will give you the most breathtaking panoramic view. It's also within close proximity to a variety of hotels, restaurants, and bars.

Crystal Cove State Beach
Crystal Cove is located in Newport Beach amid a rustic setting of new homes, the greens of Pelican Hills Golf Club, and above Reef Point, which gives you access to two coves.

Paradise Cove
Perfect for those who love the beach and movies. Countless films and TV shows have filmed there including The OC, Baywatch, Charlie’s Angels, and Gidget to name a few.

San Francisco Bay Beaches
Also a great spot for beach destination weddings for those who love the vibe of the city mixed with the serenity of the bay.

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Backyard Weddings: Planning Your Outdoor Ceremony

Jul08

As long as there are backyards, there will be backyard weddings. A wedding at home, outside, is both a homey and charming way to celebrate your marriage. Some couples opt to marry at a friend or loved one’s home too. Regardless, planning a backyard wedding is exciting and fun. Read on for breezy tips.

All the typical wedding vendors still apply to a backyard wedding—florist, caterer, cake baker, even DJ or band. The main difference in vendors is that they won’t know the site ahead of time, and will need at least a couple of trips to your site to make sure everything’s perfect. Caterers need to check kitchen facilities, the band will need a place to play, and the florists will need to check what natural foliage he’ll be competing with.

When interviewing all vendors, tell them immediately it’s a backyard wedding, and find out how much experience they have in that field. Expect a lot of the unexpected—like the photographer telling you there’s no spot to shoot the wedding photos, or the DJ saying he needs a backup generator. Book all vendors as early as possible so conflicts can be resolved.

Backyard weddings tend to be less formal than indoor affairs; a Princess-line dress might work better than a ball gown. While fashion is your choice, keep in mind the weather, and to wear something that works will in heat and wind. The same goes for your hair. While that fancy updo you’ve been practicing for months might look great, will it hold up in the wind? At the same time, if you want to wear your hair long and down, make sure you’ve got berets so it doesn’t fly in front of your face as you’re reciting vows.

Should you want to add more elegance to a backyard affair, tell your vendors. Lights can dot the trees, you can add a champagne fountain, and nothing says class more than a canvas tent. Make sure the invitations stress the formality of the affair—black tie, cocktail attire—as guests will need more guidance for the dress code in a backyard than they would in a house of worship.

No matter where you live, a backyard wedding requires a rain plan. If you can’t have your Plan-B inside the house, you’ll need to book a close-by hall. All optional layouts—the band’s site, dance floor—will need to be figured out. Also, bathrooms are a necessity. If you can’t have people roaming around indoors, you’ll need to rent port-a-potties (relax; they look a bit more spiffy these days). Also, it’s a good idea to tell all of your neighbors ahead of time—inviting them is even better—to avoid complaints. Check with the local police about parking requirements and any other specifics that need to be taken care of ahead of time


A Short Wedding Dress Done Right!

May17

One of our favorite blogs, A Cup Of Jo, just posted a few lovely images of an adorably short wedding dress in action!

Of course, there are plenty of different styles and ways to accessorize a short-skirted wedding gown.  The goal is not to copy this beautiful bride's dress, but to be inspired by it!

We've been telling you about the rise in popularity of shorter wedding gowns for a while (like here and here, for example!), and these images show exactly why they're great for a casual, outdoor or beach wedding.

So charming!

Check out the rest of the images here.


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