Currently Loving

Happy Wedding Wednesday! There are so many beautiful and inspirational images out there in the bridal world, and starting today I will be compiling a list of my current favorites for your viewing pleasure. Hopefully these pretties are a welcome distraction to get you through the midweek doldrums.

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(Clockwise from top left…)

1. BHLDN carries some of my favorite bridal gowns and bridesmaid dresses. I adore this lace panel back dress. It such a lovely detail that will look so special in your photos…much better than a zipper, don’t you think?

2. Corn hole is one of my favorite activities at outdoor gatherings. The game is a fun and easy way for your guests to interact and pass the time that you and your wedding party need to slip away for photos. And a custom set with the couple’s initials is a fun and unexpected twist. It would also make for a fantastic gift that the couple can enjoy for years to come!

3. Beautiful and wild looking flowers in a similar color palette can enhance a lounge area for guests.

4. Taller ladies like myself (or shorter grooms, for that matter) appreciate a pair of flats that are just as stunningly gorgeous and jeweled as all of those spectacular bridal heels out there. These are the best I’ve seen so far! Aren’t the jaw-droppingly beautiful! I’ve saved this image everywhere…I can’t get enough of them!

5. A simple and seasonally appropriate invitation to celebrate with the couple as they “tie the knot” at a summer wedding!

6. I put this bouquet together for a darling bride this past weekend. Grocery store flowers for a bride on a budget can look just as polished and special as an expensive bouquet from a florist. And when created by a friend, your bouquet is hand-tied with love!

7. A 4th of July rehearsal dinner is a chic, simple, and perfect way to celebrate the holiday and nuptials with all of your favorite people!

Be sure to check out these and other images on our Pinterest page!

Thanks for reading!

***Ciao Cheri***

HOW TO…Make Your Own Bridal Bouquet

One of my mom’s dear friends is getting married next weekend in a small ceremony at one of my favorite venues in the Bay Area, Kohl Mansion, in Burlingame, CA.  It also happens to be the school where the bride, the groom, and my mom have all worked.  My mom, knowing that they were two of the sweetest people she had ever met, decided that they would do well as a couple and set them up.  Boy was she was right!  They were a perfect match and make a beautiful couple.  They are keeping the festivities low key, and are putting together the wedding party’s flowers themselves.  I shared with the bride a couple of sites I always reference when putting bouquets together…a skill a I am still trying to hone.

If you don’t yet have an idea of what flowers you would like to use, or even what style of bouquet you would like, pop on over to Burnett’s Boards for a beautifully illustrated guide to several classic styles of bouquets.  Since I stumbled across this post I’ve been obsessed with Sarah Park Designs, and can’t wait to order some of her designs for my inspiration and color in my work space.

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Aren’t they gorgeous?  And they look exactly like very current, on trend bridal bouquets.  Have a look at this tremendously helpful guide here.

Once you know what style you like or what flowers are available to use, I suggest A Practical Wedding‘s helpful “How-To’s “.  They have compiled easy- no, seriously, easy- step by step instructions to put together oversized wedding bouquets, simple wedding bouquetsfloral crowns for you, your bridesmaids, or flower girls, centerpieces, and tablescapes.  They have dozens of other how-to guides to help you put together the wedding of your dreams without hiring big ticket vendors.

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The Knot also has a quick tutorial on how to create a simple boutonniere.

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I am a firm believer that the simplest bouquets can be the most beautiful.  I suggest grabbing some inexpensive flowers from the grocery store and practicing in the weeks leading up to wedding- no need to break a sweat stressing over floral wire the morning of your big day!

Don’t forget to stop and smell those roses!!!  Thanks for reading!

***CIAO CHERI***

Nifty Gifty

Wedding season is in full swing, and lots of you will be attending multiple celebrations in the next few months.  Finding unique and meaningful gifts for so many lovely newlyweds is quite a daunting task.  When you find yourself asking, “But what do I give them…?”, remember, you can never go wrong with something off of their registry.  The couple has (hopefully) taken the time and care to register for the things that they truly need and will use to build a life together.  But what if nothing on the list seems personal or exciting enough?  Or what if you are attending multiple events for the same couple or really want to get them a little something extra?  While a fantastic serving dish or candle holders personally sends me over the moon, something more sentimental never goes unappreciated.

My FAVORITE gift to give a newlywed couple is a complete set of “Bride’s Tree Ornaments”.  It is an old German tradition to give a newlywed couple a set of twelve very specific ornaments to bring them health and happiness in their new lives together.  These ornaments are the perfect way to show your love and best wishes for the couple, and will make them think of you when they unwrap them every year.  Giving a gift that starts a tradition in a new family is such a sweet sentiment, and you won’t have to worry if another guest already got it for them- bonus!

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The set includes the following ornaments:

Angel – God’s Guidance in the Home

Rose – Beauty and Affection

Rabbit – Hope and Faith

Teapot – Hospitality

Pine Cone – Motherhood and Fruitfulness

Santa Claus – Unselfishness and Goodwill

House – Shelter and Protection

Fruit Basket – Generosity

Bird – Happiness and Joy

Flower Basket – Good Wishes

Heart – True Love

Fish – Christ’s Blessing

***Modern ornament sets will often include:

Star–  a traditional symbol of guidance and usually replaces the angel or the church ornament, especially when a non-religious set is desired.

Boat – the ability to sail through the waters of life. It wishes that the couple will be able to weather both the rough times and the smooth.

Bell – blessing of joy and merriment on the couple.

Carrot – realizing good food nurtures not only the body, but the soul as well, this ornament wishes the couple good luck in the kitchen.

Group of Colored Balls – this is not a series of separate balls, but one ornament made up of separate balls bound together. This ornament represents the diversity of the world and wishes the couple not only receives but also shows tolerance.

A Bunch of Grapes – this gift symbolizes friendship and wishes the couple many close friends and acquaintances.

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teapotornament     santaornatment

Companies like Inge-glas sell the sets together in nice boxes for storage, but I love the process of collecting the pieces individually.  Glass, wood, and needle-point versions of the ornaments are all able to be purchased or made by hand if you’re feeling crafty. Personally, I love the look of mixing all types for a set.  Any way that you put it together, the couple will surely appreciate the time and thought that you put into the gift. Be sure to include a nicely typed list of each ornament’s meaning for them to reference each holiday season.

Like the idea of an ornament but not the whole sentimental set?  Opt for an ornament with the couples’ new monogram or their wedding date!

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Happy gift giving! Thanks for reading!

***Ciao Cheri***

But what to wear…in your hair?

I love the simple, clean, and chic look of headbands.  They can help you look pulled together on a bad hair/no shower/running late kind of morning, and perfectly coiffed when styled for a formal look.  Here are some bridal headbands that I’ve been loving by some seriously talented designers.  Click on the photos to shop the looks!

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Pearls, pearls, pearls!!!   I can’t get enough of them- in fact I wear them just about every day.  The UK designers that make these beauties have elevated them from everyday wear to perfect special occasion pieces, highlighting their beauty with lace, crystals. and silver accents.  As pearls now come in just about every color and shade, you can match your pearl adorned headband to your dress and other jewelry.

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This piece would look lovely with a blush dress or accessories.  It is such a warm and feminine look, and is so delicate it almost looks crocheted.

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This headband from Natasha Jane is one of my favorites.  It is thicker and flat like a traditional headband, but has so much detail and picks up the light without looking “blingy”.  It almost reminds me of a crisp white shirt collar, a la Carolina Herrera, another look I love and could wear every day.

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Both of these looks are stunning.  One is cool, the other warm and rosy, but both simply glow.  Each is subtle, refined and graceful, with art deco inspired shapes.  Simply perfect.

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Haute Bride, one of my favorite bridal salons located in the Bay Area, CA, makes beautiful couture accessories, including this rhinestone headband on a thin ribbon with jeweled ends.  Ribbon headbands can be discretely tucked into and underneath hairstyles, making them a smart purchase when you know it matches your dress, but aren’t yet sure how you will style your hair.  I would love this look with a champagne dress or accessories.

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For those of you who haven’t heard, Nordstrom Wedding Suite is teaming up with Etsy designers to offer unique and vintage inspired veils and bridal accessories.  This sweet halo of baby’s breath comes from Whichgoose, and would be the perfect complement to a natural, ethereal bridal look.

For more looks, be sure to check out our Pinterest boards.

Thanks for reading!

***Ciao Cheri***

Inspiration: Croquembouche

I love a good donut.  Not all donuts, mind you.  Chocolate glazed and a few others, from a donut shop, not from a grocery store.  I try not to let myself have them too often, but while indulging in one this morning, I got to thinking about what a fun addition they would make to a dessert table!  Large and intricate wedding cakes can be insanely expensive, and the left overs go to waste.  Why not instead present your guests with the option of several types of donuts, or even better, the ever chic and tasty CROQUEMBOUCHE!

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The croquembouche is the traditional French wedding cake and is made of stacked creme puffs (or donut holes if that’s your fancy).  The magic that holds it all together?  Caramel.  YUM.  They can be topped off with chocolate, powdered sugar, or ideally with spun sugar, which cascades down and around it for a delicate, almost ethereal look.  I am always mesmerized by French chefs on television spinning sugar and draping it over the top of these towering beauties.

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You can add flowers (real or edible), ribbon, frosting, almost anything to match your color scheme.  When it comes time to “cut the cake”, the bride and groom can simply pull out a piece to feed each other…easy!

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I dream of a croquembouche made of puff pastries from Pacific Puffs in San Francisco.  Seriously, they are TOO good.  And, YES, they do weddings!

Think you can’t doll up a donut?  The truly inspired team over at Oh Happy Day (one of my daily must-reads) put together a “Fancy Donut Party”, and show exactly how to best showcase the sweet treat on your dessert table.  Click over to their blog to see how easy it is!

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Considering a late night snack for your guests who stay to dance the night away?  Donuts and coffee are a perfect pick me up for the drive home!  Bonus:  You don’t need to supply an additional set of dessert dishes!  Isn’t finger food the best?!

Thanks for reading and bon appetit!     photo (5)

***Ciao Cheri***

J. Crew Summer Sale

You may have heard that J. Crew is having their summer sale, but did you know that it applies to their wedding fashion as well? I was pleasantly surprised when I was able to apply the promo code “SUMMER” to one of my favorite bridal gowns, and even after tax, it was still under $500! You can outfit yourself, your lovely ladies, and your flower girls for a fraction of the cost! Wedding miracles do exist! But hurry, the sale ends tomorrow.

*This is not a sponsored post, I just love a good sale!

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Inspiration: Lavender

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This week I’ve been inspired by and drawn toward all things lavender.  Flipping through photos of a harvest party I attended last year, I noticed how a similar set up with well curated decor would make for a beautiful wedding celebration site.  I opted for a lavender, green, grey and natural tones color palette to inspire the looks I chose.  Please check out the Pinterest board I created for more inspiration!

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This is the beautiful lavender field on the property.  Imagine the heavenly morning or sunset photos taken among the tall, wild looking flowers.

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Stunning, right?!  I adore the polished and timeless look of purple and grey together for wedding parties.

lavenderandgreybridalparty     lavendergroom     lavenderbridalparty

It’s such a smart and crisp style, and compliments the natural greenery of any outdoor venue.

The lovely ladies who host the garden party decorated with wood barrels, a look I love.  By adding candles, twinkly lights and sugary sweet confections, the look is transformed into the perfect wedding dessert table.  Switching out the treats for glass jugs of homemade beverages, festive straws and mason jars creates a drink table perfect for any occasion!

winebarreltables     weddingbarreltable     weddingwinebarreldrinktable

A cheese and charcuterie table is an easy way to keep guests fed and happy before your meal together, and is more budget friendly than passed appetizers.  Simple bowls and plates spotlight the food, while natural elements match the surroundings and keep things from looking stuffy.

apptable     weddingcharplate

If your venue can boast having a lavender field, make sure you can cut a few stems for an inexpensive yet gorgeous way to create a cohesive look.  Bringing in competing decorations can look too busy.  ***You should view your decorations the way you would your hair and makeup at your wedding: they should enhance the existing natural beauty, not cover it up.***

weddinglavedercaketable     lavenderbridalbouquet     artichokebouquet

(*Side note- decorate with artichokes!  They pick up shades of green, blue, purple, and silver, and they are such a fun, natural element to add to bouquets.  Not to mention one of my favorite things to eat!)

And now for my favorite part of any celebration…CAKE!  You can doll up simple, classic cakes with the same flowers you have on hand or have ordered for the day.  Yes, you!  Or see if your cake maker is open to arranging the flowers for you when they deliver the cake to the venue.

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Simple bouquets and boutonnieres can be assembled the day of.  These finishing details help pull the whole look together, and don’t distract the eye from your happy faces in wedding photos.

lavendarbouquetseersuckerribbon     lavenderbouten

Put everyone at long tables, with or without place cards.  This set up gives people, that perhaps haven’t yet met, the chance to chat and bond over their shared love for the special couple!

gardentoast     weddinglongtablescape

For even more lovely lavender looks, please visit my Pinterest board!  I get giddy whenever I peruse it, and know you will love it too!

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(Yeah, they have peacocks, too.  Doesn’t get much cooler.  Talk about commitment to a color scheme!)

Thanks for reading!

***Ciao Cheri***

*Photos of the harvest party are courtesy of Marcie Childers Dole- a talented photographer in the Portland, OR/ Vancouver, WA area.  Please check out her website http://www.marciedole.com/ to see her fantastic photos.  She is incredibly professional and a blast to work with!  More to come from her soon!

Sneak Peak…

Here is a sneak peak of the image that inspired tomorrow’s post.

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The annual harvest party that I attend in Vancouver, WA!  The amazing women that plant and harvest all of the delicious and organic fruits, vegetables, flowers, and honey on their property also throw a party at the end of every summer for their family and friends to share in the bounty.  I just booked my flight to this year’s party, and it made me start imagining how a few little tweaks would turn this little farm into my dream engagement party venue.  Come back tomorrow and see the Pinterest board I’ve put together, as well as more photos of the stunning backdrop of one of my favorite events of the year!

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That’s right, they have their own lavender fields, and a rustic old train track in the background.  It’s just begging for engagement photos to be taken here, don’t you think?

Don’t forget to come back for tomorrow’s Pinterest Board inspired by this beautiful farm!

Thanks for reading!

***Ciao Cheri***

Love is Like Linen…

As the weather warms, I already find myself opting for the lightest weight clothing in my closet.  I love the casual elegance of a nice pair of linen trousers, and adore the way the fabric looks in table settings and around the house.  Linen has been a staple in homes around the world throughout history.  For such a traditional fabric, you seem to see it used mostly in “boho-chic” clothing styles these days, but I’ve set out to find more classic looks in the bridal world.  It baffles me that there aren’t more styles out there for brides.  It could be due to the fear of the fabric wrinkling, but there are so many weaves available now that eliminate that issue.  ***Click on the images below to shop the looks.***

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This is one of my absolute favorite wedding gowns.  The bride found the antique french linen and took it to Sarah Treble to create her dream dress. A custom, timeless silhouette in an antique, cool, breathable fabric?  That’s a bridal grand slam.

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The gown on the left is contemporary, has a bit of shimmer and shine in the beaded top, and has straps and a full skirt which make it easy and comfortable to wear.

The stunning little white dress on the right, with its intricate linen lace and beautiful stitching, would be perfect option for your reception, rehearsal dinner or bridal shower.

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This simple linen dress would be darling for a backyard, beach or brunch reception, complemented by a beautiful linen sash tied into a sweet bow.

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For the lovely ladies standing by your side on the big day, opt for linen dresses to keep them cool and unrestricted, so they can run around handling those last minute details and show off their famous moves on the dance floor.

You can also find gifts for your wedding party or a gift for the bride in this durable fabric, monogrammed for a personal touch.

linenlingeriebag      linenmonogrammedbag      linenbridesmaidbags

Shakespeare once wrote “Love is like linen; often changed, the sweeter.”  While I don’t quite agree with the later sentiment, I do believe that linen is a lot like love…it is beautiful, comes in lots of different forms, and gets even more comfortable with time.

Thanks for reading!

***Ciao Cheri***

But what to wear…?

I adore three day weekends.  This past Memorial Day weekend, with friends, family, barbecues, hiking and laying out on the beach, was really one for the books.  The part that I always manage to forget, after blissfully sauntering back into my work week, is that I have five days worth of work to finish in just four!  Any sense of calm or relaxation that I managed to achieve over the weekend goes right out the window.  This week was no exception.  I’m putting my nose to the grindstone today, and need a COMFORTABLE and rather conservative outfit to get me through my work day and into my long awaited evening at Unveiled San Francisco.  This outfit should carry me through from day to evening, simply by switching out my shoes and jewelry.

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jcrewflat         5.  jcrewbeigeheel6.

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*A little tip for those of you making the rounds at wedding shows- whenever I attend a bridal event, I try to dress as though I’m attending a wedding at the venue where it’s being hosted.

Next week, we will unveil a Pinterest board of wedding guest attire.  Tomorrow, we will recap a bit of tonight’s event.  Stay tuned!

***Ciao Cheri***