Hunter Green, Black, & Ivory Wedding Inspiration

What's bold, fresh, and modern all over?  This hunter green, black, & ivory wedding inspiration.  This color combo is fit for any contemporary couple looking to bring a sleek vibe to their big day.  Black and white is a forever classic, but choosing ivory instead of white is a subtle yet impactful twist.  The duo is given a punch of freshness by the darkened version of emerald green.  Together, the trio is sophisticated and chic.  To make this palette work, I love sticking with a minimalist look.  Think clean lines, stone or marble details, and lots of botanical inspiration.  All greenery bouquets against little black dresses on your bridesmaids and gents in black tuxedo pants with ivory jackets trimmed in black will bring the color scheme to your wedding fashion.  Meanwhile, accent your reception with a black and white checkered dance floor, black and white striped napkins, and a cake adorned with rich green magnolia leaves.  No matter the season, these wedding colors will look absolutely perfect all year round.  It's just one thing that makes hunter green, black, and ivory such a winning combination!

Hunter Green, Black, & Ivory Wedding Inspiration from Burgh Brides

Clockwise L to R: Pinterest; Kristin Sweeting via Southern Weddings; Hazelwood Photography via Green Wedding Shoes; Pinterest; Pinterest; De Alma e Coracao; David Jenkins Photography via Love My Dress

For even more hunter green, black, & ivory wedding ideas, visit my Pinterest board!  And then tell me what you think of this palette!  What do you like about it?  Are you using any of these colors in your wedding day?  How so?  Comment below!

Revisit some of my other favorite color schemes!

Getting Ready Attire for Brides & Bridesmaids!

The morning of the wedding just isn't complete without some cute getting ready attire for brides and bridesmaids.  Add some mimosas, party music, and a major pampering session courtesy of your hair and makeup artists, and you've got yourself a recipe for a few hours of fun with your gal pals.  Make sure you're all dressed the part with some festive getting ready wear fit for the occasion.  Whether it's a robe or pajama set, romper or  button up shirt, there are lots of ways you can be comfy and cute at the same time.  You can go twinsies or keep it mismatched, personalize it with a monogramed or sassy wedding saying.  Either way, you and your ladies will look good while getting wedding-ready!  For even more finds, check out more of my favorite getting ready attire from Etsy!

Favorite Getting Ready Attire for Brides & Bridesmaids from Burgh Brides

  1. Lace Wedding Robe $59.50
  2. Monogrammed Oversized Shirts $29.99
  3. Monogrammed Pajamas $36
  4. Floral Bride & Bridesmaids Robe $39.70
  5. Monogrammed Denim Shirt $28
  6. Floral Bride Romper $32.99
  7. Lace Bridal Robe $21.99
  8. Satin & Lace Bride Robe $20
  9. Off the Shoulder Bridal Romper $55
  10. Bridesmaid Romper $53

Tuscan Inspired Wedding Styled Shoot

If you can't get married in Italy, the next best thing is this Tuscan inspired wedding styled shoot.  An edgy color palette of berry tones and black combine romantically with details reminiscent of the Italian countryside.  Gold calligraphy and antique-inspired stationery invite guests to an al fresco courtyard set-up where red taper candles, matte black place settings and gold flatware from All Occasions Party Rentals adorned the tablescape.  Rich red napkins, teal velvet ribbon, and jewel tone floral arrangements popped against cool light gray linens.  Even the cake, which was created by Mediterra Bakehouse and featured naked chocolate layers, fresh figs, and berries, reminded me of the old world.  What really makes this shoot striking though is a untraditional black and taupe dress that was paired with locally-made mixed metallic jewelry, deep ruby satin heels, and smokey makeup and hair done by GLOW Blotique.  Combining a modern, avant garde vibe with classic Tuscan warmth and romance, this inspiring shoot was styled by A & L Events and captured by Wanderlust Images and Traveling Heart Productions.  That's amore.

Berry Velvet Ring Box: Tuscan Inspired Wedding Styled Shoot from A&L Events and Wanderlust Images featured on Burgh Brides Black Wedding Dress: Tuscan Inspired Wedding Styled Shoot from A&L Events and Wanderlust Images featured on Burgh Brides Hand Lettered Gold Calligraphy Vintage Inspired Wedding Invitations: Tuscan Inspired Wedding Styled Shoot from A&L Events and Wanderlust Images featured on Burgh Brides Moody Wedding Tablescape Design: Tuscan Inspired Wedding Styled Shoot from A&L Events and Wanderlust Images featured on Burgh Brides Fresh Fruit Atop A Naked Wedding Cake: Tuscan Inspired Wedding Styled Shoot from A&L Events and Wanderlust Images featured on Burgh Brides Red Velvet Wedding Shoes for Bride: Tuscan Inspired Wedding Styled Shoot from A&L Events and Wanderlust Images featured on Burgh Brides Hand Lettered Gold Calligraphy Vintage Inspired Wedding Escort Cards: Tuscan Inspired Wedding Styled Shoot from A&L Events and Wanderlust Images featured on Burgh Brides Tuscan Inspired Wedding Styled Shoot from A&L Events and Wanderlust Images featured on Burgh Brides Black Wedding Dress: Tuscan Inspired Wedding Styled Shoot from A&L Events and Wanderlust Images featured on Burgh Brides Ruby Gold Wedding Engagement Ring: Tuscan Inspired Wedding Styled Shoot from A&L Events and Wanderlust Images featured on Burgh Brides Berry Velvet Monogrammed Embroidered Ring Box: Tuscan Inspired Wedding Styled Shoot from A&L Events and Wanderlust Images featured on Burgh Brides Moody Wedding Tablescape Design with Matte Black China: Tuscan Inspired Wedding Styled Shoot from A&L Events and Wanderlust Images featured on Burgh Brides Purple and Red Wedding Flowers Bridal Bouquet: Tuscan Inspired Wedding Styled Shoot from A&L Events and Wanderlust Images featured on Burgh Brides Naked Wedding Cake With Fresh Fruit Cake Topper: Tuscan Inspired Wedding Styled Shoot from A&L Events and Wanderlust Images featured on Burgh Brides Fresh and Natural Wedding Day Makeup for Bride: Tuscan Inspired Wedding Styled Shoot from A&L Events and Wanderlust Images featured on Burgh Brides Red Satin Wedding Day Shoes for Bride: Tuscan Inspired Wedding Styled Shoot from A&L Events and Wanderlust Images featured on Burgh Brides Fresh and Natural Wedding Day Makeup for Bride: Tuscan Inspired Wedding Styled Shoot from A&L Events and Wanderlust Images featured on Burgh Brides Black Wedding Dress: Tuscan Inspired Wedding Styled Shoot from A&L Events and Wanderlust Images featured on Burgh Brides Moody Wedding Reception Tablescape with Red Taper Candles: Tuscan Inspired Wedding Styled Shoot from A&L Events and Wanderlust Images featured on Burgh Brides Tuscan Inspired Wedding Styled Shoot from A&L Events and Wanderlust Images featured on Burgh Brides Hand Lettered Gold Calligraphy Vintage Inspired Wedding Invitations: Tuscan Inspired Wedding Styled Shoot from A&L Events and Wanderlust Images featured on Burgh Brides Red and Purple Wedding Bouquet for Bride: Tuscan Inspired Wedding Styled Shoot from A&L Events and Wanderlust Images featured on Burgh Brides Moody Wedding Tablescape with Red and Purple Flowers: Tuscan Inspired Wedding Styled Shoot from A&L Events and Wanderlust Images featured on Burgh Brides Berry Velvet Monogrammed Embroidered Ring Box: Tuscan Inspired Wedding Styled Shoot from A&L Events and Wanderlust Images featured on Burgh Brides Black Wedding Dress: Tuscan Inspired Wedding Styled Shoot from A&L Events and Wanderlust Images featured on Burgh Brides Tuscan Inspired Wedding Styled Shoot from A&L Events and Wanderlust Images featured on Burgh Brides Red Satin Wedding Shoes for Bride: Tuscan Inspired Wedding Styled Shoot from A&L Events and Wanderlust Images featured on Burgh Brides Tuscan Inspired Wedding Styled Shoot from A&L Events and Wanderlust Images featured on Burgh Brides Tuscan Inspired Wedding Styled Shoot from A&L Events and Wanderlust Images featured on Burgh Brides Hand Lettered Gold Calligraphy Vintage Inspired Wedding Escort Cards: Tuscan Inspired Wedding Styled Shoot from A&L Events and Wanderlust Images featured on Burgh Brides Black Wedding Dress with Red and Purple Bridal Bouquet: Tuscan Inspired Wedding Styled Shoot from A&L Events and Wanderlust Images featured on Burgh Brides Fresh and Natural Wedding Day Makeup for Bride: Tuscan Inspired Wedding Styled Shoot from A&L Events and Wanderlust Images featured on Burgh Brides Tuscan Inspired Wedding Styled Shoot from A&L Events and Wanderlust Images featured on Burgh Brides Moody Wedding Tablescape with Red and Purple Flowers: Tuscan Inspired Wedding Styled Shoot from A&L Events and Wanderlust Images featured on Burgh Brides Moody Wedding Tablescape with Red and Purple Flowers: Tuscan Inspired Wedding Styled Shoot from A&L Events and Wanderlust Images featured on Burgh Brides Tuscan Inspired Wedding Styled Shoot from A&L Events and Wanderlust Images featured on Burgh Brides Tuscan Inspired Wedding Styled Shoot from A&L Events and Wanderlust Images featured on Burgh Brides

From the stylist…

Our Tuscan Twilight Styled Shoot draws inspiration from the rich autumnal hues, seasonal fruits, and a hint of unconventional edge, paired with the romance of Tuscany's charming countryside.  Our bride is found in an intimate Italian courtyard in Pennsylvania, flooded with the ambience of subtle, yet enticing, candlelight.  She sits stunningly in her untraditional black and taupe gown paired with unique mixed metal jewelry awaiting the marriage ceremony, while admiring the details of the enchanting evening.  As she awaits, she is serenaded by the strumming of acoustic guitar and twirls to the soft music.  Behind her, a decadent Mediterranean spread is flourishly displayed for when guests arrive to celebrate this one-of-a-kind love.  The vibrant and lush floral palette brings the bold tablescape to life, contrasting the clean elegance of the noir matte dinner plates and textured gold flatware against the cool gray linen and touch of greenery.  A colorful cake design comprised of striking old world elements and the modern composition of the watercolor stationery with foiled gold accents provide this styled shoot with dynamic elements sure to delight the eye.  This Tuscan Twilight Styled Shoot was created to provoke feelings of warmth, endearment, intimacy, and avant-garde glamour attracting the romantic yet untraditional bride.

Vendors

Photography: Wanderlust Images | Stylist: A & L Events | Shoot Location: Morning Glory Inn | Cake: Mediterra Bakehouse | Dress: Ashlee Brooks Collection | Food & Drink: Fish Hawk Acres | Flowers: Posies by Patti | Hair: GLOW Blotique | Jewelry & Accessories: Samantha Skelton Jewelry Design | Linens: All Occasions Party Rental | Live Musician: Jason Kendall Productions | Makeup: GLOW Blotique | Model: Lillian Theresa of Theiroff Agency | Rentals: All Occasions Party Rental | Ring Box: The Mrs. Box | Shoes: Nina | Stationery: Judith Browne Calligraphy | Videography: Traveling Heart Productions

Cake: Mediterra Bakehouse | Hair: GLOW Blotique | Linens: All Occasions Party Rental | Makeup: GLOW Blotique | Rentals: All Occasions Party Rental | Videography: Traveling Heart Productions

 

Wedding Photographers: 5 Steps to Finding the Best One for YOU!

There are dozens and dozens of wedding photographers in Pittsburgh.  Let's not even get into all of the ones around the world.  With that many to choose from, how do you go about finding the best one for you?  I went straight to the source and sought some advice from an expert in the industry!  Lauren Renee Designs is one of the best fine art wedding photographers in the city and her images are gorgeous and romantic.  More than that, she's super knowledgable and loves helping not just her clients but all couples plan the perfect wedding day.  That's why she's so excited to share her fives best tips for finding your perfect wedding photographer!

Wedding Photographers: 5 Steps for Finding the Perfect One for YOU from Lauren Renee Designs and Burgh Brides

From Lauren…

With engagement season at its peak, many couples are searching for all of the amazing vendors that will come together to bring their wedding day vision to life.  To make that process a little easier, I'd love to share some of my own tips on how to search for and choose the photographer that will best capture your special day.  In my humble opinion, I feel that photography is one of the biggest decisions you will make when planning your wedding, and it can also be a confusing and overwhelming process!  After the dancing is over, the cake is cut, and the guests are gone, all you are left with are the photos from your beautiful day!  Investing in photography is really something that you won't regret, and that is why my first tip is….⠀

1.) Think about the future and sharing your legacy when it comes to your wedding photos. ⠀

I describe my photography as timeless and classic with a romantic feel.  Of course, every couple has their own style and taste, but I truly try to create images that won't look dated 10, 20, or even 30 years from now.  I want you to look back at your wedding photos with your grandchildren and love them as much as you did the day you said “I do.”

Wedding Photographers: 5 Steps for Finding the Perfect One for YOU from Lauren Renee Designs and Burgh Brides

Now that you are thinking about your wedding photos as timeless memories, my next tip on your search for finding your wedding photographer is…

2.) Decide what style of photography you want.

In your endless searches on Instagram, Facebook, Google, and even Burgh Brides, you might be overwhelmed with all of the different options that are available to you.  There is no right or wrong answer, but it helps to narrow down your selections.  If you are following along with my work, you will notice that my photos are light, bright, and rich with color.  I am a fine art wedding photographer, using both film and digital mediums to tell your love story.  If this is something you fancy, then great; let's chat!  If that's not your jam, it's totally ok and I know you will find an awesome photographer with a look that may be “dark and moody,” “modern,” or “photojournalistic.”  These are all great styles as well!  You just need to decide what will be the best fit for you!  Do yourself a favor and focus on style first, before price points.

Wedding Photographers: 5 Steps for Finding the Perfect One for YOU from Lauren Renee Designs and Burgh Brides

Now that you have hopefully narrowed down your photography style, you can figure out what to budget for a good photographer, which brings me to tip number three…

3.) Photography should be a priority, but understand our prices are non-negotiable.

Statistically, the average wedding costs around $35,000, and 10 – 20% should be budgeted for photography, meaning you should expect to pay between $3,500 and 7,000.  To give you an idea of price points, my collections start at $3,800.  To reiterate what I said above – and I know I may sound biased – but at the end of the day, your wedding photographs are all you are left with.  Don't skimp out on what will be family heirlooms for generations to come!

Also, please realize that this is my livelihood, passion, and full-time job.  To keep everything running smoothly, I have both business and living expenses (including taxes…UGHH) that are all calculated into my packages.  I also only take on a certain number of weddings per year, as I can serve my clients best when I am able to focus more attention on them and the details of their day.  Most photographers are happy to chat with you about creating a custom package that may fit your budget by removing items or hours of coverage.  But please don't ask us to discount our prices right off the bat!

Wedding Photographers: 5 Steps for Finding the Perfect One for YOU from Lauren Renee Designs and Burgh Brides

Once you have decided on your photography style and budget and have narrowed it down to a few photographers, my next tip is…

4.) Contact the photographer to set up a phone consultation and ask to see a few full wedding gallery.

I always want to book couples who are as excited to work with me as I am to work with them!  It is really important that you connect with your photographer, as they are spending THE MOST amount of time with you, before, during, and after your wedding.  From the planning stages and engagement session up to the wedding, I put in a lot of time with my couples, getting to know them and making sure their special day runs as smoothly as possible.  After the wedding, our job is not done!  We edit all your photos, design albums, and help you with print orders.  If you don't like the person behind the camera, you are not going to have a good time, which is the opposite of what you want on such an important day!

Also, keep in mind that photographers only want to share their best work, which are the curated images you see on social media and in their portfolio.  Whether they are from real weddings or styled shoots, those images were chosen to show to you for a reason.  When looking at galleries, take note of how they shoot the ceremony and reception as well.  A good wedding photographer is flexible and able to capture any part of your wedding day, handle any lighting situation, and is also consistent in their editing across the board.

Wedding Photographers: 5 Steps for Finding the Perfect One for YOU from Lauren Renee Designs and Burgh Brides

Now that you have gotten to know your photographer, seen their galleries, and have made a decision, the next tip (or more of a request) is…

5.) Get that contract signed and deposit in ASAP!

Most photographers will not hold your date and instead work on a first come, first serve basis.  If you know you love a photographer and have connected with them and their work, don't hesitate to book them for your wedding!  On the other side of the coin, please let us know if you have decided to move on with another photographer.  When you inquire with us and take the time to set up a phone consult, we invest time with you and are already envisioning how your wedding day will unfold.  If you fall off the face of the earth and don't get back to us, it is more disappointing than getting a nice email saying you have chosen someone else.  We get these emails all the time, and we move on!  Just do the right thing and take the time to write a quick note to let them know what you have decided to do – whether it's a photographer, videographer, DJ, or florist.  We can then move on with no hard feelings and won't feel bad about giving away your date to other inquiries.

Wedding Photographers: 5 Steps for Finding the Perfect One for YOU from Lauren Renee Designs and Burgh Brides

I hope this has been helpful and insightful!  I was recently a bride and know what you are going through!  Finding your wedding vendors can be a daunting task and whether you choose to book me or another photographer, we all have one thing in common…we want what is best for our clients!  With that being said, do your research, choose your style, educate yourself on the costs of hiring good wedding vendors, and make an informed decision.  The saying “you get what you pay for” still rings true!  Just remember to enjoy the planning process and know that your search began because two wonderful people decided to spend the rest of their lives together, which is a beautiful thing <3

Go see more work from Lauren Renee Designs in the Burgh Brides Vendor Guide!

Bachelorette Party Must Haves: 8 Great Gifts from Cheeks

Whether it’s going to be wild and crazy at your favorite local watering hole or more subdued with spa services and lots of wine, there are some bachelorette party must haves you simply can’t forget about!  For fun gifts for the ladies’ night, pieces to use beyond the wedding, and everything in between, Cheeks is the go-to boutique!  The sister store to Glassworks Pittsburgh, this shop features the best in lingerie, sleepwear, and hosiery.  With brands like Natori, Hanky Panky, Chantelle, Spanx, and On Gossamer, you’ll find luxury and quality.  In addition to great every day pieces, Cheeks also has a ton of items perfect for any soon-to-be Mrs.!  Before her bachelorette party, stop in and pick up one of my favorite gift ideas for the bride to be!

Wrap Up by VP Romantique Long Robe

Getting wedding ready has never looked more gorgeous.  This long pink and white patterned robe is light weight and cozy yet chic.  Let the bride spend the morning of the wedding in style, while also making the hair and makeup artists’ lives easier!

Bachelorette Party Must Haves: 8 Great Gifts from Cheeks featured on Burgh Brides

Eberjey Colette Chemise

Tres chic, no?  The soft but sexy Eberjey Colette Chemise is perfect for the wedding, honeymoon, and beyond.  Unique enough for a special night but comfy enough for every day, this lovely lace number is versatile and sophisticated.

Bachelorette Party Must Haves: 8 Great Gifts from Cheeks featured on Burgh Brides

Bride Lace Cheeky Hipster

While the wedding dress is SUPER important, you can’t forget what goes underneath of it.  Let the bride celebrate the road to a new relationship status with these lace cheeky hipster bottoms from Hanky Panky that spell out Bride is baby blue rhinestones.

Bachelorette Party Must Haves: 8 Great Gifts from Cheeks featured on Burgh Brides

Mr. & Mrs. Ring Dish

Make sure the bride-to-be has a secure place to keep her ring whenever she takes it off.  This dainty, porcelain heart-shaped Mr. & Mrs. ring dish is perfect for safe-keeping.  It even comes in a cute box for easy gifting!

Bachelorette Party Must Haves: 8 Great Gifts from Cheeks featured on Burgh Brides

Hanky Panky Roslyn Garter

A teeny tiny bow on this Hanky Panky Roslyn Garter makes for the perfect something blue.  The pretty lace just might make her forgo the traditional garter toss.  Who wouldn’t want to keep this beauty forever?!

Bachelorette Party Must Haves: 8 Great Gifts from Cheeks featured on Burgh Brides

PJ Salvage Eye Mask

No girl wants to wake up to dark circles and bags under her eyes.  Give the gift of a good night’s sleep with a fun and flirty PJ Salvage Eye Mask.  Available in a variety of cheeky sayings, these satin masks with an elastic band really are a girl’s best friend.

Bachelorette Party Must Haves: 8 Great Gifts from Cheeks featured on Burgh Brides

Commando Matchsticks

Avoid a major wardrobe malfunction with these small but mighty adhesive strips.  Perfect for strappy dresses, low necklines, or even a fallen hem, there isn’t any fashion faux pas these babies can’t fix in a jif!

Bachelorette Party Must Haves: 8 Great Gifts from Cheeks featured on Burgh Brides

Bridesmaid Low Rise Thong

Hey, BFFs do A LOT for each other!  Show your girl gang a little gratitude with a fun thank you gift.  This cute Bridesmaid low rise thong from Hanky Panky can be worn during the bachelorette weekend or even on the wedding day!

Bachelorette Party Must Haves: 8 Great Gifts from Cheeks featured on Burgh Brides

Shop all of these finds on the Cheeks website, or stop in their Shadyside or Squirrel Hill locations for even more selection!

While this post was sponsored by Cheeks, all opinions, insight, and recommendations are my own.

A Wedding Website: 5 Reasons Why You Should Definitely Have One

On the fence about creating a wedding website?  Don't be.  People spend SO.MUCH. time online these days.  I’m actually embarrassed by the amount of time I spend a computer.  Whether it’s shopping, stalking, or pinning, most of the time my fingers are tapping away at a keyboard or on my phone.  The web is the first place I go to for any and all information.  And I’m sure you’re the same.  So it sort of only makes sense that your wedding guests should have a place on the web where they can find all of the details about your big day, right?  Creating a wedding website should definitely be on your to do list as a bride!  Not convinced?  Here are my top five reasons why you might want to reconsider!

A Wedding Website: 5 Reasons You Should Have One from Burgh Brides

1.) It keeps guests informed.

People like knowing what to expect.  A wedding website allows you to give all of the big day details to your guests in a convenient way.  It will limit the number of questions you receive and you can add more information as it becomes finalized.   

2.) You can include an infinite amount of information.

You have a limited amount of space to work with on your invitations.  You simply won’t be able to include every single detail that guests need to know.  That’s ok; throw it on your website!  Plus, there are some details that aren’t appropriate for your invitation, like your registries and the suggested attire.  A wedding website is the perfect place for those details.

3.) It’s easy and, in most cases, free.

You don’t need to be a programmer or know any fancy codes.  If you can use Word, you can create a wedding website.  It’s as easy as selecting a template and adding copy, a few hyperlinks, and some pics.  Most online wedding website vendors offer free styles, in addition to some fancier ones, plus upgrades, like a custom domain name or a hidden copyright.  It just all depends on what you want to spend and how fancy you want to make it! 

4.) It can reflect your wedding style.

From Riley & Grey and Wedding Window to Minted and My Wedding, there is a plethora of providers to choose from.  Each of them offer all sorts of designs so you’re bound to find one that fits the look of your big day.  Consider it one more piece of your wedding stationery; it should coordinate with the overall tone, style, and other paper pieces.   

5.) It’s actually kind of fun.

You can share the story of how you met, photos of your time together, and even funny stories about each other.  Celebrate your love and give your guests a peek at what being engaged and planning a wedding is really like.  If you’re really into it, you could even blog about the planning process, wedding details, and getting ready for your new life together.  Friends and family members like feeling involved and this is just another way to connect with them.   

Did I convince you?  Hope so!  Stay tuned for another post where I break down the anatomy of a wedding website that will help you to determine what to include and where!  In the meantime, I want to hear from you.  Do you have a wedding website?  If yes, why did you feel it was important to have one?  Has it been beneficial so far?  If no, why not?  Do you wish you would have created one?  Comment below!

Puerto Plata, Dominican Republic: 7 Reasons to Make This Your Honeymoon Destination

Looking for a tropical honeymoon destination?  Forget Cancun, Punta Cana, and the Bahamas.  Puerto Plata, Dominican Republic is the new Caribbean hot spot!  This small city on the island’s northeast coast is a unique combination of relaxation, adventure, and romance.  If you’re looking for the perfect spot to celebrate your newly married status, here are 7 reasons why you should choose Puerto Plata for your post-wedding vacation!

Puerto Plata, Dominican Republic: 7 Reasons to Make This Your Honeymoon Destination from Burgh Brides

Perfect beach conditions await.

White sands, blue skies, and warm waters.  It’s the beach trifecta and you’ll find it in Puerto Plata.  With an average high of 81 and a low of 73, the weather is surprisingly mild, while the mountains of the region mean they miss much of hurricane season.  Whether you’re the type that likes to lounge in a beach chair under a palm tree, or you’re into water sports, boogie boarding, or swimming, you’re bound to spend a lot of time in or near the water.

Puerto Plata, Dominican Republic: 7 Reasons to Make This Your Honeymoon Destination from Burgh Brides

Aerial of Playa Dorada

There’s now a direct flight!

Visiting Puerto Plata just got a lot easier thanks to Apple Vacations.  Operating through Allegiant Air, you can now fly non-stop to this Dominican destination, beginning on March 2 and running on Fridays through August 24.  This short, 3.5-hour flight will get to you into Puerto Plata in no time.  No one wants to start a honeymoon off with a long layover, and Apple’s Exclusive Vacation Flights just made getting to your final stop a whole lot easier.

All-inclusive resorts abound.

It’s easy to treat yourselves to some all-inclusive service in Puerto Plata.  The Playa Dorada section of the city is a private, secluded beach area that boasts 8 all-inclusive resorts, including Iberostar Costa Dorada, Emotions Playa Dorada, VH Grand Ventana, and Sunscape Puerto Plata.  Or travel a little further east along the coast and you’ll find the excellent Viva Wyndham Tangerine in the cool beach town of Cabarete.  At each, you’ll find great restaurants, luxe accommodations, fun entertainment, and adults-only amenities for those who want a kid-free honeymoon.

There’s so much to do!

Zip lining, snorkeling, hiking to waterfalls, sailing on catamarans, exploring museums and more can be found in Puerto Plata.  This isn’t one of those you-shouldn’t-really-leave-the-resort towns.  Here, it’s perfectly safe to step foot off the all-inclusive and discover what the area has to offer.  From natural landscapes to local history to rich culture, there’s something to entertain just about any taste.  My personal recommendations are the Outback Adventures Safari tour for a glimpse into how the locals really live and the Puerto Plata City Tour that includes a cable car ride to the top of Mount Isabel de Torres!

Puerto Plata, Dominican Republic: 7 Reasons to Make This Your Honeymoon Destination from Burgh Brides

Kite Surfing at Cabarete Beach

Puerto Plata, Dominican Republic: 7 Reasons to Make This Your Honeymoon Destination from Burgh Brides

Cable Car Ride to the Top of Mount Isabel

Puerto Plata, Dominican Republic: 7 Reasons to Make This Your Honeymoon Destination from Burgh Brides

Puerto Plata City Center

Puerto Plata, Dominican Republic: 7 Reasons to Make This Your Honeymoon Destination from Burgh Brides

Outback Safari Tour

The locals can’t wait to meet you.

Unlike other places to which I’ve traveled, Puerto Plata welcomed me with open arms.  From the resort staff to the tour guides to the people I met on the street, everyone greeted me with a smile and a friendly hello.  Because tourism is such an important part of the Dominican economy, those living there are always happy to see new faces and to show off their home.  Despite the DR having over 5 million arrivals and being the most popular tourist destination in the Caribbean, the city of Puerto Plata will still feel very much like a small town full of warm people.

Planning your trip is smooth sailing.

Going on a honeymoon is nice and easy.  Planning one?  Now that can be another story.  Lucky for you, Apple Vacations makes arranging your trip a total breeze.  Apple’s website is a one-stop vacation planning shop.  You can book everything from flights, accommodations, upgrades, and even excursions and tours managed by their sister company, Amstar.  At most resorts, a brand rep will even greet you once you’re on the ground and be available to answer any questions and help you get settled.  Try finding that level of service from another on-line booking site.

You’ll get an authentic experience.

While tourism is their number one source of revenue, don’t think for one second that Puerto Plata is overly commercialized.  Many Caribbean destinations can quickly become cheapened by touristy gimmicks and over-saturation of major chain brands.  However, Puerto Plata is full of real people living real lives who want to show you the real magic of the Dominican Republic.  Unlike preplanned, man-made destinations, such as Cancun, Puerto Plata provides an authentic experience in a beautifully natural setting.

Puerto Plata, Dominican Republic: 7 Reasons to Make This Your Honeymoon Destination from Burgh Brides

Visiting a Village Farm on the Outback Safari Tour

Puerto Plata, Dominican Republic: 7 Reasons to Make This Your Honeymoon Destination from Burgh Brides

Tasting Freshly Ground Cacao Beans

Puerto Plata, Dominican Republic: 7 Reasons to Make This Your Honeymoon Destination from Burgh Brides

Visiting a Village School on the Outback Safari Tour

Puerto Plata, Dominican Republic: 7 Reasons to Make This Your Honeymoon Destination from Burgh Brides

Watching Cigars Being Hand-Rolled

Well, have I totally sold you on a Puerto Plata honeymoon yet?  Comment below and tell me what you’ve love to see and do while there!

While this trip and post was sponsored by Apple Vacations, all opinions, insight, and recommendations are my own.

Oakwood Photo + Video: 6 Reasons You Should Hire Them to Capture Your Wedding

If you’re still on the hunt for a wedding photographer and/or videographer, take some time to get to know Oakwood Photo + Video.  Alexa and Wes are a wife/husband duo who take their craft seriously.  With a rustic, folk vibe and sweet as can be dispositions, they’re two of my favorite talents.  From the smallest details to the biggest belly laughs, they long to capture every element of your wedding day with photography AND videography.  There are lots of reasons you should put them in charge of your wedding day footage, but here are my top six!

They’re a photo and video TEAM.

You guys, this is SO important!  If your wedding photographer and videographer haven’t worked together before, they could have a difficult time.  They need to stay out of one another’s shots, someone needs to take the lead and pose you, not to mention that’s just a lot of feet in the way.  Alexa and Wes work together every.single.day.  That means they know how to move around one another seamlessly, so they aren’t tripping and you aren’t annoyed.  They can read each other’s body language easily and know what the other is thinking or where they’re headed.  This TEAM performs a gorgeous, silent dance around you as they capture your love.

Oakwood Photo + Video: 6 Reasons You Should Hire Them to Capture Your Wedding from Burgh Brides

Wes and Alexa hard at work!

Your wedding day coverage will have a cohesive look.

When you look back on your wedding photos and video, it’s a magical thing if they can both reflect the same style and vibe.  Alexa and Wes apply their photography editing style to their videos as well, creating a consistent look to all of the day’s coverage.  Similar lighting, perspective, and focus can mean you’ll be re-experiencing the day in the exact same way, no matter if you’re looking at still or moving images.  Check out what I mean with this photo and highlight from Alex and Chris's wedding!

Oakwood Photo + Video: 6 Reasons You Should Hire Them to Capture Your Wedding from Burgh Brides

You’ll feel relaxed around them.

It’s easy to feel nervous with a camera in your face.  But Alexa and Wes try really hard to make you forget they’re even there.  Well in advance of the wedding, they get to know their clients, whether over coffee, a few drinks, or even FaceTime.  They ask questions about your wedding, but also about you as a couple, what makes you tick, what makes your relationship unique.  By the time the wedding rolls around, they’re almost like old friends, making you feel more relaxed and comfortable while they’re your personal paparazzi.

Oakwood Photo + Video: 6 Reasons You Should Hire Them to Capture Your Wedding from Burgh Brides

Oakwood Photo + Video: 6 Reasons You Should Hire Them to Capture Your Wedding from Burgh Brides

They’re down to earth and fun to be around.

You’ll spend A LOT of time with your wedding photographer and videographer.  You better actually like being around them.  Alexa and Wes are kind, friendly, gracious, and humble.  Always smiling, their energy is practically contagious.  I can’t think of two people I’d rather have following me around for an entire day.

Oakwood Photo + Video: 6 Reasons You Should Hire Them to Capture Your Wedding from Burgh Brides

Oakwood Photo + Video: 6 Reasons You Should Hire Them to Capture Your Wedding from Burgh Brides

They love adventure and are up for trying anything.

Climbing mountains, standing under waterfalls, or laying in a pile of fallen leaves, Alexa and Wes love to push their limits, both physically and artistically.  Got a crazy idea for a cool photo?  I bet they can make it happen.  These two love trying new things and getting outside their comfort zone.  They even have a travel bucket-list and offer a nice discount to anyone getting married in one of their must-see locations!

Oakwood Photo + Video: 6 Reasons You Should Hire Them to Capture Your Wedding from Burgh Brides

Oakwood Photo + Video: 6 Reasons You Should Hire Them to Capture Your Wedding from Burgh Brides

They love to create long-lasting, woodsy boho magic.

If wearing a flower crown and a long, soft dress is your thing, go for it.  If you’ve always imagined going barefoot on your wedding day, Alexa and Wes will be there for it.  And if the folksy, woody thing is your jam, these are your people.  Their free-spirited style lends itself to their signature blend of nature-meets-wedding-day artistry.  While their work is whimsical and organic, it’s simultaneously timeless, meaning you’ll love it for years to come.

Oakwood Photo + Video: 6 Reasons You Should Hire Them to Capture Your Wedding from Burgh Brides

Oakwood Photo + Video: 6 Reasons You Should Hire Them to Capture Your Wedding from Burgh Brides

Still need some convincing?  See more photography and videography work from Oakwood in the Burgh Brides Vendor Guide!

6 Big Ticket Wedding Registry Items You Won’t Think to Add

You might hesitate to add a few big ticket wedding registry items to your wish list, but you shouldn't!  Believe it or not, some guests will want to really spoil you with an expensive present!  Others will go in on a large item with a few others and purchase a group gift.  So while you're adding those kitchen gadget, towels, and sheet sets to your wedding registry, don't forget to round up a few things with a little bit of a higher price tag!  Here are some of my favorite ideas!

6 Big Ticket Wedding Registry Items You Won't Think to Add from Burgh Brides

A High Quality Mattress

While a new mattress might seem like an expensive wedding registry item, it's the single home item that you and your new spouse will both use literally every day.  If that isn't reason enough to put it on your wish list, I don't know what is.  Add this every day must have to your wedding registry to ensure a lifetime of restful slumber.  If you're looking for just the most amazing bed you've ever laid your head on, read my recent review of Tomorrow Sleep's bed in a box!

Don't forget…use the code BURGH100 and get $100 off any $500 Tomorrow Sleep purchase through March, 31, 2018!

6 Big Ticket Wedding Registry Items You Won't Think to Add from Burgh Brides

A Grill

If you're anything like my husband and me, your diet basically consists of nothing but grilled food from April until October.  Chicken, fish, burgers, veggies, it doesn't matter; we use our grill almost every day as long as the weather cooperates (and sometimes even if it doesn't).  For the best in deck cooking, throw a Weber grill on your registry.  They're well made and they offer a ton of great recipes on their website.  The best part of grill cooking?  You don't have to clean the kitchen when you're done eating.

6 Big Ticket Wedding Registry Items You Won't Think to Add from Burgh Brides

An Espresso/Cappuccino Machine

For the caffeine obsessed, adding an espresso maker to your wedding registry seems like a no-brainer.  But this one from Nespresso takes things to a whole new level.  The espresso and cappuccino machine can brew a tazzo cup full of heaven AND it can froth milk so you can be your own at-home barista.  Save money by skipping the coffee house and ask for one of these babies instead!

6 Big Ticket Wedding Registry Items You Won't Think to Add from Burgh Brides

Deck Furniture

If your backyard is your favorite place to be, make it extra cozy with some swanky deck furniture.  A sofa, a few chairs, and a “coffee table” will make sure your patio is ready for summer.  Throw a wicker furniture set on your registry and your friends and family will consider it their unofficial invitation to all those barbecues you'll inevitably be hosting.

6 Big Ticket Wedding Registry Items You Won't Think to Add from Burgh Brides

A Home Security Camera System

It doesn't matter if you live in the nicest neighborhood in the world, a home security camera system is always a good idea.  Since I'm sure your parents will always be concerned with your safety (despite how old you are), adding this protective item to your wedding registry is a great idea.  This one is rechargeable, wire free, has night vision, and works with Amazon Alexa.  Any family member or friend who wants your first home together to be a safe one will definitely pick this up for you!

6 Big Ticket Wedding Registry Items You Won't Think to Add from Burgh Brides

A Smart Thermostat

Speaking of your home, make sure it's always a cool 68 degrees no matter where you are.  A Nest Learning Thermostat allows you to control the temperature of your house from anywhere with a WiFi connection.  These smart thermostats are the wave of the future and a great gift idea for any new married millennial couple!

6 Big Ticket Wedding Registry Items You Won't Think to Add from Burgh Brides

What pricier items are you adding to your wedding registry?  Any of these items?  Comment below!

While this post was sponsored by Tomorrow Sleep, all opinions, insight, and recommendations are my own.

Snowy Pastel Wedding Inspired Styled Shoot

The pale pinks and blues of a gorgeous winter sunset inspired this styled shoot that will make all pastel wedding lovers go gaga!  The light shades are a feminine contrast against the white snow of the season.  Taking place on Heaven Sent Farms, stylist Jessica Garda Events set up a sweetheart table dressed with airy fabrics, pink taper candles, and simple bud vases.  Two light blue high back vintage chairs save the place for the “bride and groom” – a real life couple who just got engaged!  My favorite feature though?  The V-neck icy blue dress with a lace bodice and tulle skirt worn by the model.  While a non-white wedding dress isn't for the faint of heart, this gorgeous spin on tradition will win the hearts of even the most classic bride.  The dress paired beautifully with the lush bouquet created by Allison Brooks Events, which incorporated color, texture, and whimsical vibes.  Soft hair by Glam to Go and natural makeup by Dominika Bronner completed the look.  Captured by Dawn Derbyshire Photography, this styled shoot is sweet, girly, and a winter dream come true!

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From the stylist…

The inspiration for this shoot came about on a Monday evening after a winter storm.  The sunset that night was a beautiful combination of pale blues and pinks that made me think of spring.  Typically with winter shoots, you see the use of bold colors to contrast the white snow.  But I thought the pairing of this pastel palette with the winter environment would make for a sweet and whimsical take on a winter wedding.

On Tuesday, with still just the start of an idea, I put out a message on Facebook to see who would want to do a spur-of-the-moment shoot that weekend.  The result was an amazing team of wedding professionals who came together (most of them meeting for the first time!) to make some magic.  We all had a blast collaborating on this project – each one of us throwing out ideas when inspiration struck.  Even our models – a real couple who were recently engaged – chimed in with ideas and helped with set-up!  This whole experience was a prime example of the spirit of “community over competition” that makes Pittsburgh's wedding industry so special!

Vendors

Photography: Dawn Derbyshire Photography | Stylist: Jessica Garda Events | Shoot Location: Heaven Sent Farms | Desserts: Bartram House Bakery | Dresses: ASOS | Flowers: Allison Brooks Events | Hair: Glam to Go | Makeup: Dominika Bronner | Models: Alexis Zmijowski and Ryan Lemerich | Rentals: Copper & Sage Event Design & Vintage Rentals

Photography: Dawn Derbyshire Photography | Stylist: Jessica Garda Events | Hair: Glam to Go