Wedding Family Portraits: 5 Ways to Make Them Amazing (And Painless)

Wedding family portraits…ugh.  I bet you're dreading them already, aren't you?  Not because you don't love your crazy (in a good way) family, but because this part of a wedding day can be STRESSFUL!  Trying to corral a dozen or so people and snap a million photos in 15 minutes flat when everyone is hugging you and your nephew is stepping on your train and your niece is screaming her head off and all you want to do is kiss your new spouse and celebrate with a glass of champagne…whew, even the calmest of brides is bound to start sweating a little bit.  But with a little planning before the wedding, the family portrait session doesn't have to be painful.  In fact, it can be totally amazing!  My friend (and one of my favorite wedding photographers) Christina Montemurro is sharing her five ways to do just that!

1.) Prior to the wedding, create a list of the group shots you want.
Those few moments right after your ceremony are so euphoric and joyful.  You don’t want to spend them deciding whether want your sister’s kind-of serious boyfriend in your family photo.  Should you do a photo with your grandparents and parents together, or separately?  These decisions should be made ahead of time.

Wedding Family Portraits: 5 Ways to Make Them Amazing (And Painless) from Christina Montemurro Photography and Burgh Brides

2.) Don't forget to tell everyone on the list that they’re on the list!
Otherwise, they are likely to leave.  Even if your ceremony and reception are in the same place, guests start to wander off toward food and drink.

Wedding Family Portraits: 5 Ways to Make Them Amazing (And Painless) from Christina Montemurro Photography and Burgh Brides

3.) Smaller groups > larger groups.
Larger groups take longer to organize.  It can be a little bit of a game of Tetris to make sure we can see everyone’s faces in a large group.  Four groups of 12 will likely take longer to arrange than 12 groups of four.

Wedding Family Portraits: 5 Ways to Make Them Amazing (And Painless) from Christina Montemurro Photography and Burgh Brides

4.) More people = smaller faces
The more people you squeeze into a photo, the smaller their faces are. It can be fun to have a “big family photo,” but keep in mind as you add people, their faces will take up less and less of the frame.  Unless you’re planning on an enlarged print, consider breaking those big family photos into smaller groups (also, see above!).

Wedding Family Portraits: 5 Ways to Make Them Amazing (And Painless) from Christina Montemurro Photography and Burgh Brides

5.) Know how much time you're working with.
Some churches, especially the busy churches in Oakland like St. Paul’s Cathedral and Heinz Memorial Chapel, have very tight time limitations.  Even without a time limit, think about how you want to spend the time on your wedding day.  If you also have a large bridal party, or if you really want to go to more than one destination for photos, try to limit the number of family groupings.

Wedding Family Portraits: 5 Ways to Make Them Amazing (And Painless) from Christina Montemurro Photography and Burgh Brides

BB here…

Your photographer can help with all of this!  He or she can look at your list and let you know if you have enough time for all that you have planned.  Plus, they'll help herd everyone into the shot, letting you just stand up straight and smile.  So fear family portrait time no longer, Burgh Brides!  While you won't often see this type of photo on a wedding blog, it's actually the very type that you're bound to cherish for years and even generations to come.  Some of my favorite images from our wedding are those that include my grandfather who is no longer with us.

Thanks so much for all of the great advice, Christina!  Be sure to check out more of her work in the Burgh Brides Vendor Guide!

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Win a Copy of Weddings in Color from Sandrachile!

One of the earliest wedding planning decisions you'll make is to choose a color palette.  (But don't forget to read the 5 things to consider when choosing wedding colors first!)  And if you're still finding yourself in need of a little inspiration, there is no better resource than the Weddings in Color book.  This rainbow-come-to-life guide presents all kinds of modern day wedding inspiration in the prettiest of palettes.  According to the online reviews, “Lusciously designed and bursting with vivid photography, Weddings in Color has everything brides need to design a stunningly colorful affair.”  Lucky for you, Pittsburgh's most colorful photographer – Sandrachile – is giving away a copy to one reader!  Keep on scrolling for full details and to submit your entries!

P.S. How cute is Sandra?

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Weddings in Color Book Giveaway Ts & Cs

  • Prize: One copy of Weddings in Color.  No cash value.
  • Giveaway Dates: 3/28/17 8:15 a.m. EST – 3/31/17 11:59 p.m. EST
  • Use the Rafflecopter widget above to enter.
  • One winner will be randomly drawn using Rafflecopter and announced on this page and via Burgh Brides social media channels on 4/1/17.  The winner will also be notified via email.
  • Winner has 72 hours to respond to winning email or a new winner will be selected.
  • No purchase necessary.
  • All readers and social media followers of Burgh Brides and Sandrachile are eligible to enter and win.

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Wedding Save the Dates: 7 Tips for Totally Nailing Yours

Sending wedding save the dates is one of the first things you’ll cross off your planning to do list.  But before you can do that, there are a few things you have to know!  You're probably asking yourself, “What is there to know?”  I mean, it seems easy enough, right?  Well, it is a bit more complicated than just selecting an engagement photo, picking a design, and slapping some stamps on them.  In order to avoid a total save the date faux pas, read these 7 tips from my favorite local stationery designers.

Wedding Save the Dates: 7 Tips for Totally Nailing Yours from Burgh Brides

Blush Paper Co.

 1.) Don't send them too early, but don't send them too late.
We recommend sending your save the dates out about six months before your wedding date, unless you're getting married abroad.  Then, you'll want to give your guests a generous 10 – 12 months time to prepare travel arrangements.

Wedding Save the Dates: 7 Tips for Totally Nailing Yours from Burgh Brides

2.) Choose the right photo.
It's important to choose the right photo for your announcements.  Not all photos work with every save the date layout!  You won't want to submit a vertical photo for a horizontal layout.  Your photographer will likely take photos of you with white space, allowing your designer room to place with text around you, and a trained designer will be able to make most photos work!

Wedding Save the Dates: 7 Tips for Totally Nailing Yours from Burgh Brides

Fresh Cut Prints

3.) Plan ahead.  
You don’t want to offend someone by sending a save the date, but then deciding later that you really don’t have room to invite them to the wedding.  You’ll need to plan your invite list well in advance to avoid this faux pas!  It’s also best to be clear as early as possible who you’re inviting to the wedding – think plus ones and kids.  Addressing the save the date correctly can reinforce exactly who is invited to your wedding, and will help avoid any sticky situations later.

Wedding Save the Dates: 7 Tips for Totally Nailing Yours from Burgh Brides

4.) Include the right information. 
What info should you include on your save the date?  The date, location (city and state), and a wedding website (if you have one).  You’ll also want to include a mention of “formal invitation to follow” somewhere on the save the date.  You do not need to include specific times and venues at this point; you can save that for the invitation.  Also, please do NOT include your registry information!  Instead, include extra details like this on your website.

Wedding Save the Dates: 7 Tips for Totally Nailing Yours from Burgh Brides

Purple Wagon Designs

5.) Be cohesive.
It's great to have an overlying theme for your wedding stationery – from the save the date to the invitation straight through to the “day of” items, like ceremony programs and place cards, and even all the way to the thank you notes.  They can have different levels of formality, but you should incorporate elements that tie them all together, such as the same fonts or colors.

Wedding Save the Dates: 7 Tips for Totally Nailing Yours from Burgh Brides

6.) Save the dates don't have to break the bank.
Postcard save the dates are a good way to keep your costs down.  You don't have the added cost of the envelope and you save on postage, too!

Wedding Save the Dates: 7 Tips for Totally Nailing Yours from Burgh Brides

And here is one final tip that ALL of the designers agree on…

7.) Make them personal!
Blush Paper Co. – Your save the date is the first glimpse your friends and family will have of your wedding.  You'll probably still be undecided on a color scheme, so don't stress too much about making sure they match your wedding stationery.  Pick a fun, memorable design that captures who you are as a couple.

Wedding Save the Dates: 7 Tips for Totally Nailing Yours from Burgh Brides

Fresh Cut Prints – Save the Dates are generally less formal than your wedding invitations.  It's a great place to incorporate some of your personality!  Use photos, fun illustrations, and more casual wording than on your invitations.

Wedding Save the Dates: 7 Tips for Totally Nailing Yours from Burgh Brides

Purple Wagon Designs – Let your personality shine!  Save-the-dates can be casual, fun, and should be infused with your personality.  Don’t feel like your save the dates need to be too matchy-matchy with your wedding suite.  Instead, let the invitation design be dictated by the style of the wedding, and let loose with the save the dates!  Anything goes – photos, text, or beautiful artwork are a great way to infuse some personality.

Wedding Save the Dates: 7 Tips for Totally Nailing Yours from Burgh Brides

Now go get your save the dating on!  But before you do that, be sure to check out more work from Blush Paper Co., Fresh Cut Prints, and Purple Wagon Designs in the Burgh Brides Vendor Guide!

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9 of the Best Wedding Planning Tech Tools for Brides

Who is still using a good old fashion three ring binder to keep their wedding planning organized?  Hey, there is nothing wrong with a modern day Trapper Keeper!  But in this day and age, technology makes it easier than ever for Type A personalities (like mine) to stay on top of tasks, especially when it comes to wedding planning.  If you prefer nerding out instead of traditional pen and paper, here is a list of the 9 best wedding planning tech tools for brides!

9 of the Best Wedding Planning Tech Tools for Brides from Burgh Brides

1.) Google Docs
Now you can keep track of RSVPs in Sheets, make sure your bridal party has the most up-to-date information with live Docs, and even embed a song request form on your wedding website thanks to geniuses at Google.  Sounds similar to Microsoft programs, right?  But can you access Word or Excel on your phone or iPad?   Google Docs let you manage your wedding planning documents from anywhere.  The best part is that you don’t ever have to worry about “saving” anything again; all of the docs are live and updated in real time.

2.) TripIt
Don’t forget about your honeymoon!  This free travel planning app lets you keep all of your flight numbers, reservations, confirmation numbers, and other travel details in one handy place.  It syncs with your calendar and email so you don’t need to spend extra time inputting information.  You can create itineraries to keep track of all those can’t miss-sites.  And because mom and dad will still worry about you even after you’re married, you can even share your trip information with loved ones back home.  You’ll never print out travel docs again.

3.) Flower Wheel
Head to your floral consultations and look like you know what you’re talking about even if you actually don’t.  For $2.99, Flower Wheel allows you to scroll through a library full of hundreds of floral options.  Search by color, by month, or just read the description attached to each image.  You can even save favorites to show to your florist later.  Make their job a little easier by sending yourself to bloom boot camp.  Plus, this app is just pretty to look at.

4.) Pocket Planner
This app, brought to you by Social Tables, helps with event calculations, including number of beverages, appetizers, waiters, even trash cans based on your total guest count.  Nothing is worse than not having enough of something at an event, be it beer, hors d’oeuvres, or dance floor space.  Running out shows poor planning and no one wants to look like they don’t know what they are doing.  Let this free tool help you with the right calculations from the start!

5.) Sunrise Sunset
Is there anything more beautiful than sunset photos?  Make sure yours are perfectly timed with Sunrise Sunset.  Linked to your GPS, this app gives you the exact sunrise and sunset times based on where you are down to the minute!  You can get some beautiful night time photos, or even catch that romantic sunrise you’ve been meaning to witness your whole life.

6.) Dark Sky
Another app that uses your GPS location, Dark Sky will predict the weather down to the very minute based on where you are. Worried about that rain cloud above your outdoor ceremony?  Use Dark Sky to determine exactly when that storm is going to hit.  You may have just enough time to sneak in vows or bridal portraits before those clouds open up!

7.) IFTTT
Known as If This Then That, this free app has a world of uses but can basically make your life a million times easier by connecting your favorite apps.  For example, you can sync up your Instagram with your Twitter so that a photo posted to IG automatically also gets tweeted.  I use several “recipes”, as they are called, just to keep the blog up and running each day.  How could this be useful to brides?  Using a wedding hashtag?  Create a recipe that saves all photos using your specific hashtag to a Dropbox folder.  Collect your friends’ and family’s snaps in one fell swoop.  You can then set those same photos to be shared on Facebook.  Want a reminder email two weeks before your wedding anniversary every year?  IFTTT can do all of this, plus more.  All automatic so you can set it and literally forget it!

8.) Spotify
Looking for the perfect father/daughter dance song?  How about something to get the party started as you and your bridal party are introduced into the reception?  Let Spotify help with this.  Search through literally millions of tracks to put together the perfect playlist for your big day.  You won’t be able to download and save music to any devices, but you’ll at least be able to hand off a kick butt list of tracks to your DJ.

9.) RoomScan
Measuring tapes are so last decade.  RoomScan is to go to tool for room dimensions.  Draw up a quick diagram by tapping your phone on each wall of the room.  It works much the same as a laser measuring tape and it draws up a quick diagram.  You can even add doors, pillars, and other obstacles to create the most accurate look at available floor space, which is crucial for determining just how many guests you can squeeze into your backyard or that old school venue that can’t provide a floor plan.

Any other brides opting for a little help from technology?  What apps or programs are you using?  Comment below and fill us in on some other helpful tech tools!

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10 Save the Dates from Minted That I’m Totally Obsessed With

Affiliate-LinkYou got the fiance, the venue, and the date.  Now you just need to announce all of that to your family and friends.  Minted will help you do that in style with their selection of artisan save the dates.  Beautifully designed, expertly printed, and customizable in all sorts of ways, Minted's save the dates will have your guests counting down the days until your wedding.  From floral to minimalist to traditional, here are 10 that I'm currently loving.

1.) Agate Inspired
Pressed with real foil and about as pretty as can be, this agate inspired save the date is 1000% YES!

10 Save the Dates from Minted that I'm Totally Obsessed With

2.) I'm Here For the Cake
I know Pittsburghers are all about those cookie tables, but this wedding cake save the date is the clear winner in my book.

10 Save the Dates from Minted that I'm Totally Obsessed With

3.) Black & White All Over
This chic, modern save the date is anything but boring.  I am loving the large numbers and the minimalist approach.

10 Save the Dates from Minted that I'm Totally Obsessed With

4.) Foil Flowers
Lush garden roses and real gold foil make this floral save the date perfect for a spring or summer wedding.  Plus, it's so pretty, I'd keep it hanging on my fridge long after the wedding day.

10 Save the Dates from Minted that I'm Totally Obsessed With

5.) Cue the Confetti
You know I love a little sparkle and this confetti save the date is a party in postcard form.  The real foil adds a little bit of extra pizzazz.

10 Save the Dates from Minted that I'm Totally Obsessed With

6.) Fancy Fonts
A little vintage-y and a little whimsical, this hand lettered save the date will help set the tone for one hell of a party.  It reminds me of an old school carnival billboard!

10 Save the Dates from Minted that I'm Totally Obsessed With

7.) Museum Worthy
As if Monet himself painted it, this brush stroke watercolor save the date is a work of art in and of itself.  Hey, I'd frame it.

10 Save the Dates from Minted that I'm Totally Obsessed With

8.) Fresh Floral
Bright colors and fun stripes make this floral save the date feminine and flirty.  It's Kate Spade meets garden chic.

10 Save the Dates from Minted that I'm Totally Obsessed With

9.) When You Can't Pick Just One
I love that this photo save the date allows you to choose not one, not two, not even three, but four of your favorite engagement pics.  Because let's be honest…you know you love them all.

10 Save the Dates from Minted that I'm Totally Obsessed With

10.) Rustic Charm
With the craft paper look, stamp-like fonts, and even the wheat stalks, this rustic save the date will set to tone for your farm wedding.

10 Save the Dates from Minted that I'm Totally Obsessed With

Which one is your favorite?  Comment below and then head over to Minted to see their endless save the date selection!  You're bound to find so many that you love that narrowing it down to just one might be kind of difficult.

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Ask Burgh Brides: A Cocktail Style Wedding Reception & Guest Seating

A cocktail style wedding reception can be comfortable, hip, and super fun.  But how do you handle seats for guests, particularly older ones?  Read on, my friend, read on.

Ask Burgh Brides: Do We Need to Provide Seating for Everyone at Our Cocktail Style Wedding Reception?

Bride A writes…

What's your advice for a non-sit down wedding?  I've attended two that had food stations for 2 – 3 hours and music the whole time, so it was a little less traditional.  I love the idea and my venue will work with me to design it.  The problem I'm dealing with is seating.  My fiancé and I only want tables for about 50-60% of the people and some extra high top tables to encourage people to stay up and dance.  We'd still have seats for older people.  But my mom insists on seats for 100% guest list. What are your thoughts?

Hey A!  First of all, kudos to you for thinking outside the box!  Cocktail style receptions are relaxed, modern, and memorable; I personally love the idea of one!  I would just set expectations and state that it is a cocktail style reception on your wedding invitation or website.  Think of any cocktail reception that you've been to – there certainly isn't enough seating for every single person.  The point of a reception in the true sense of the word is to mingle, mix, and work the room.  As long as you provide some seating for elderly guests or those who don't want to dance, you'll be golden.  I would definitely set up lots of high cocktail tables for leaning, setting drinks on, etc. too!  If you want more chairs without more tables, add some extra seating against the wall along the perimeter of the room or set up some amazing vignettes with rented vintage settees or modern lounge furniture.

Does anyone have any other ideas?  Have you been to a cocktail style wedding reception?  Was there seating for everyone?  Comment below and help a fellow Burgh Bride out!

Planning a wedding and need some help?  You’ve come to the right place!  Submit your question and you could see it answered right here on the blog.

 

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Bridesmaids Dresses: What’s HOT in 2017 from Bella Bridesmaids

What are the hottest trends when it comes to bridesmaids dresses?  Fresh off their trip to New York Bridal Fashion Week back in October, here are my pals at Bella Bridesmaids to dish on what to dress your ladies in this year.  I'll just be over here obsessing over all of these gorgeous looks!  Hey, if you're ever looking for an extra bridesmaid, I'm always available…(only half joking; please someone give me an excuse to buy one of these amazing gowns!)

From Bella…

Hello ladies!  Bella Bridesmaids here coming at ya on Burgh Brides with the latest and greatest in bridesmaids fashion.  We’re positively giddy over these new collections, so take a seat, grab a champagne, and feast your eyes on what you’ll find waiting for you in our Pittsburgh showroom.

Mauve?  Yes, Mauve.
A color that loved the 1980’s and also might be on your grandmother’s couch.  It’s back!  And it’s better.  With blush being so 2016 (and 2015, and 2014), brides are moving on to a little more color, but still pink.  Mauve is the light and airy version of all the sparkly rose golds we saw and are still seeing in bridesmaid collections.  LA-based Joanna August, known for her boho look, introduced several new colors and she nailed mauve with a shade called Bohemian Rhapsody.  Nouvelle Amsale also just introduced a color aptly named Mauve.  And Monique Lhuillier, whose palette of romantic, neutral shades has been spot on, can give you ombre mauve with shades like Shell, Blush, Rose, and Cerise.  Bonus points for mauve: it is lovely with Pantone’s Color of the Year, greenery.  Mauve bridesmaids dresses, greenery bouquets?  Now that’s a breath of fresh air.

Bridesmaids Dresses: What's HOT in 2017 from Bella Bridesmaids

Left: Jenny Yoo; Right: Amsale

Separates Style
Separates are a great way to make a fashion statement with your bridal party.  Nearly all of our designers opted to introduce separates this season, and we couldn’t be more excited about the options!  Jenny Yoo has added more florals as well as lace and sequin separates options in both her namesake lines and her JY Jenny Yoo for Dessy collection, perfect to mix and match in with just about anything.  For more sequin separates fun, look at these Theia beauties, tailor made for any bridesmaid who wants to stand out from the crowd.  For a dreamy look that still says romance, look no further than Watters sequin and chiffon separates.  And for all things bling, Adrianna Papell introduced sequin and tulle separates.  The best thing about separates?  After the wedding, style them with different pieces from your closet to wear them again and again.

Floral Romance
Nothing says romance quite like floral prints, and our designers really wowed us this season with new patterns and colors that can be worked into any bridal vision.  Amsale joined the party with print additions to her most popular Amsale tulle and Nouvelle Amsale chiffon styles, and their new sequined lace collection brings a little sparkle to the floral look, perfect for mixing and matching together.  Jenny Yoo, the queen of floral prints, added more styles and separates to her floral offering and added five (5!) new print options, all of which can be mixed and matched with her classic chiffon and tulle styles.  She also introduced the Julianna and the Claire, both made of embroidered tulle called Enchanted Floral Lace.  So don’t be afraid of the floral print – it’s a modern bride’s best friend.

Bling for Days
Sparkle is definitely here to stay, thanks to the mixed metallic trend that really wowed us last wedding season.  Our favorite part about bringing the bling is that you can really bring it with a fully beaded gown, or just hint at it with dresses that glimmer in the light but don’t overwhelm you with shine.  For a more subtle approach, look no further than Donna Morgan, Hayley Paige, and Monique Lhuillier.  Donna Morgan’s newest, Carla and Kyle, are glamorous takes on some of their best-selling styles.  Monique Lhuillier introduced metallic chiffon, and Hayley Paige, always fashion forward, added four styles in new Caviar Lace.  Yum!

If Academy Awards sparkle is what you’re looking for, we’ve got that too!  Adrianna Papell, who really started this whole sequin bridesmaid trend, added a new color way (champagne gold!) and a new bead pattern to the classic taupe/pink blouson style.  Theia, Watters and Jenny Yoo also introduced new styles to their sequin offering.  And as you can see, rose gold is still all the rage, but look for new colors like deep reds as well as softer hues this season.

Bridesmaids Dresses: What's HOT in 2017 from Bella Bridesmaids

Left: Watters; Right: Jenny Yoo

Work it, Bridesmaid!
So long, frumpy – say hello to sexy.  Long gone are the days where bridesmaids were buried under yards of fabric.  There are no rules anymore so if you dare to bare, we’ve got you covered – or actually, uncovered!  One of our most anticipated new collections is from designer Katie May, who builds her gowns to accentuate the female form, and that she does!  These sleek, sexy, and form fitting beauties are true showstoppers.  If it’s both sexy and sequin that you’re looking for, Theia offers both fitted sequin dresses and separates that leave little to the imagination.  So go on, girl – if fitted and fabulous is what you want, put your bridesmaids in these jaw-dropping stunners.

2017 is shaping up to be an unforgettable year for bridesmaids.  To see all of these beauties and more, visit our website to schedule your appointment.  See you soon!

xoxo,
The Bella Girls

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6 Wedding Dress Trends You’ll See A Lot of in 2017

October's New York Bridal Fashion Week presented to the world the hottest wedding dress trends for 2017.  Bridal fashion is where clothing design and art meet tradition, and it never ceases to amaze me.  From bows to sleeves, here are a few of my favorites looks that I think we'll be seeing everywhere this year!

Blush
Nope, it's not going anywhere anytime soon.  Blush is still hot, hot, hot.  Consider yourself a classic bride?  Maybe you don't see yourself in blush, and that's A-OK.  If you're the type of girl who doesn't mind being the center of attention, a non-white wedding dress just might be for you.  If you're somewhere in the middle, blush is a great compromise.  It's airy, romantic, and downright lovely.

6 Wedding Dress Trends You'll See A Lot of in 2017 from Burgh Brides

Monique Lhuillier via BuzzFeed Weddings

Bows
This just might be my favorite of all the hot new looks.  Bows bring a dose of femininity and a demure vibe to any wedding dress, no matter how modern.  Whether it's a huge, focal-point in the back or a dainty one at the waist, bows will be everywhere.  I'm not mad about it.

6 Wedding Dress Trends You'll See A Lot of in 2017 from Burgh Brides

Lihi Hod via Martha Stewart Weddings

6 Wedding Dress Trends You'll See A Lot of in 2017 from Burgh Brides

Oscar de la Renta via Martha Stewart Weddings

Capes
Really want to make a statement?  Wear a cape.  Channel your inner super hero and embrace this bridal trend that will certainly leave all of your guests talking.  Lace, satin, or even tulle, no matter the fabric, you'll definitely turn heads.

6 Wedding Dress Trends You'll See A Lot of in 2017 from Burgh Brides

Kaviar Gauche via Martha Stewart Weddings

6 Wedding Dress Trends You'll See A Lot of in 2017 from Burgh Brides

Rivini via Martha Stewart Weddings

Interesting Backs
Make a statement leaving a room with an interesting back.  This trend came on the scene a few years ago and I'm so happy that it has some staying power.  Lace ups, buttons galore, or even a giant bow (see above!), an interesting back will mean your wedding dress will leave a lasting impression.

6 Wedding Dress Trends You'll See A Lot of in 2017 from Burgh Brides

Liancarlo via Martha Stewart Weddings

6 Wedding Dress Trends You'll See A Lot of in 2017 from Burgh Brides

Marchesa via Martha Stewart Weddings

6 Wedding Dress Trends You'll See A Lot of in 2017 from Burgh Brides

Oscar de la Renta via Martha Stewart Weddings

One Shoulder Necklines
Party on the left, business on the right.  A one shoulder neckline screams glamour.  But depending on the style of the dress, it can work on a boho bride just as well as it can on a classic princess.  I dare you to give it a try.  You just might fall in love.

6 Wedding Dress Trends You'll See A Lot of in 2017 from Burgh Brides

JLM via Martha Strewart Weddings

6 Wedding Dress Trends You'll See A Lot of in 2017 from Burgh Brides

Elizabeth Fillmore via Martha Stewart Weddings

6 Wedding Dress Trends You'll See A Lot of in 2017 from Burgh Brides

Alon Livne via Martha Stewart Weddings

Sleeves
You can thank Kate Middleton for this one.  Ever since her wedding, sleeves are all over the place.  Cap, short, or even long, sleeves are classic and feminine.  The look of sleeves can even be created with a shrug or capelet.  A perfect alternative for fall and winter brides who want to party later!

6 Wedding Dress Trends You'll See A Lot of in 2017 from Burgh Brides

Maggie Sottero via Martha Stewart Weddings

6 Wedding Dress Trends You'll See A Lot of in 2017 from Burgh Brides

Monique Lhuillier via BuzzFeed Weddings

What trend do you love?  Any that you dislike?  Will you be wearing any of them on your wedding day?  Comment below!

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How to Plan a Wedding: The First 5 Things You Need to Do

The question has been asked, the engagement has been announced, and you’ve shown off that sparkly ring.  Now, you probably find yourself Googling “How to Plan a Wedding” because the reality of the situation has finally set it – YOU NEED TO PLAN A WEDDING AND YOU HAVE NO IDEA WHERE TO START.  Lucky for you, I’m here with the five things you need to do first!

How to Plan a Wedding: The First Five Things You Need to Do from Burgh Brides

1.) (and most importantly) Set a budget. Before you spend one dime, make one wedding decision, or basically do anything else, you need to determine a budget. This will impact almost every other aspect of the wedding, and you don’t want to start off in the hole.  Do some research on how much weddings cost.  They aren’t cheap.  As a matter of fact, the average wedding costs around $32k.  That doesn’t mean you have to have a $32k wedding, but you do need to be realistic about how much dough is needed to throw a huge party for 100ish of your friends and family.  So do your homework.  Then, have an honest conversation with your fiancé, and perhaps even with each of your parents (here are a few tips on how to do that!), and come up with a number that everyone is comfortable with.  Then, STICK TO IT.  A wedding is NOT worth a mountain of debt.

2.) Draft your guest list.  Start off by writing down every single person you’d want to invite to your wedding if money were no object.  But of course, money is an object and whatever your determined budget is will greatly impact how many invites you can dish out.  Have your fiancé write down his or her dream guest list as well, and then each of you consult your parents to make sure you didn’t forget anyone.  Then, start making cuts until you’re in a place where your guest count is realistic with how much money you plan on spending.

3.) Determine a style.  I think nailing down your wedding style early will save you time in the long run.  Have you always envisioned a princess dress and getting married in a big ballroom?  Is the grittiness of an old warehouse more your vibe?  Love the outdoors and want to dance all night under the stars?  The answers to these questions and others like them will help you determine your wedding style.  Sure, the vibe may change and adapt a bit as your wedding draws near.  But I think it’s super important to know what kind of wedding you’re dreaming of, especially before doing the next two steps.

4.) Set a date.  Whether it’s a date that is meaningful to you and your better half, one that works best with work/school schedules, or a day that is totally random, you need to decide WHEN you’ll be getting married.  At the very least, have a general time frame in mind if you’re flexible with dates.  This will allow you to hire vendors (see next step), choose colors, and a make a myriad of other decisions.

5.) Book priority vendors.  Securing a venue first!  It will be the backdrop to 75% of your wedding day and it should coincide with the style you’ve determined.  Find one that best suits your vibe, guest count, and wallet!  Booking a wedding planner (if you’re hiring one, and I highly recommend you do) and a photographer should be the next items crossed off your to-do list.  Other providers like a florist, caterer, DJ, and videographer should be considered after that.

There are a whole lot of other steps that follow, but these first five are a great start to the wedding planning adventure!  No matter what you do, remember to have fun!  This is supposed to be one of the happiest, most joyous times of your life…don’t let the stress of it all ruin that for you.

What were the first few steps you took in the wedding planning process?  Have you crossed any of these items off of your to do list yet?  Comment below!

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Local Gift Ideas for the Newly Engaged

Affiliate-LinkWith proposal season in full swing, I'm sure you know a person or two who just popped the question.  Congrats to them!  Kill two birds with one stone by shopping small and local AND celebrating their new relationship status.  Here are my favorite gift ideas for the newly engaged, all of them from small businesses based right here in Pittsburgh!

Fun Home Goods
From drink ware with catchy phrases to love-declaring throw pillows and everything in between, locally based Sweet Water Decor has loads of cute, chic products that can help any girl (or guy!) celebrate their newly engaged-dom.

Art Print
This watercolor love quote art print would be a sweet reminder on the wall of the home of an engaged couple.  It's all hand-lettered and hand-painted by Pittsburgh's own Fresh Cut Prints!  They also make incredibly gorgeous wedding day stationery.  Check them out in the Vendor Guide!

Custom Return Address Stamp
Speaking of home, my friends at Blush Paper Co. offer the cutest self-inking return address stamps.  The newlyweds will be sending lots of thank you notes so give them a hand by making the upper left hand corner of each envelope nice and easy.  You can find Blush Paper Co. in the Vendor Guide too!

More Bling
Hit up Chloe + Isabel from local consultant and Burgh Brides vendor Amy Hart for some seriously stunning accessories that will almost rival that new rock.  Give her a head start with her bridal look with one of these statement necklaces, both of which would look incredible paired with a wedding dress.

Monogrammed Robe
Girlfriend changing her last name?  Let her show off her new initials with a custom monogrammed robe from locally-owned Fox Blossom Co.  It'll also come in handy on her wedding day when she's gettin' gorgeous!

Pop the Champagne
Or just serve up a champagne flute candle instead.  These custom creations from Soyil Candles are poured right here in Pittsburgh.  Her winter collection also features a Rose Champagne scent!

Gift Ideas for the Newly Engaged from Burgh Brides

Custom Champagne Flute Candles

Or Pour the Wine Mead
Mead is honey wine and it's deeeeelicious.  Everyone brings a bottle of wine or champagne to an engagement party.  Do something a little different and gift a bottle of local KingView Mead instead.  They even offer small, customizable bottles that can be used as wedding favors!

Get Glowing
Give a head start towards that bridal glow with Rutz Naturals skincare products.  All naturally (and locally!) made, Rutz products range from eye creams to serums to scrubs.  They'll have her skin wedding-ready in no time!

Gift Ideas for the Newly Engaged from Burgh Brides Gift Ideas for the Newly Engaged from Burgh Brides

Arm Candy
Why should the ring finger have all the fun?  Dress up her wrist with a few of Trending Above's crystal bracelets.  If these won't suit her fancy, this Pittsburgh jewelry designer has an entire collection geared towards brides and bridesmaids!

Burgh Bride Gear
My course my personal favorite gift idea is anything from the Burgh Brides shop!  Tees, tanks, tumblers, mugs, and more, I've got everything to help you or your girl have so much fun on the road to becoming a Burgh Bride!  SAVE 20% WITH CODE ENGAGED!!!

What do you think?  How will you be celebrating the newly engaged folks in your life?  Will it be with any of these locally made or sourced gifts?  Comment below!

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