Bridal Buds WeddingWire Blog

Las Vegas: A Dazzling Honeymoon Choice

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Once an oasis for desert travelers, Las Vegas has since boomed into one of America’s preeminent destinations for entertainment. Now, synonymous with neon lights, luxurious casinos, upscale shopping, fine dining, and larger-than-life shows, it’s easy to see why this vibrant city sits right at the top of honeymoon wish lists.

Immaculate Accommodations 

Drop your bags at Encore Las Vegas, truly a fantastic property across the board and the perfect hotel for a honeymoon getaway. Starting at 745 square feet, rooms are spacious and well-appointed. Service is attentive without being obtrusive. All the while, between the acclaimed 18-hole golf course and heated pools surrounded by gorgeous gardens, the facilities are terrific.

For classic Las Vegas accommodations, newlyweds should consider The Mirage Hotel & Casino. Opened in 1989, The Mirage quickly became the gold standard for Las Vegas resorts with its service, size, amenities, grand marquee, and ambiance. Since then, a variety of new upscale properties have emerged, but the property has still managed to retain its overall excellence. The resort’s top attractions include Love, the Cirque du Soleil show using Beatles songs, the comedy series “Aces of Comedy”, plus the iconic volcano that comes to life each evening.

Dining Experiences With a View 

Start your getaway off right with a romantic dinner at Picasso. With views of the Bellagio fountains, indulge in extraordinary New French cuisine while being surrounded by original Picassos. Cap the night off with drinks at Mandarin Bar at the Mandarin Oriental Hotel. Floor-to-ceiling windows, elegant decor, expertly crafted cocktails, and stunning views of the Strip make this venue a honeymoon must.

Looking for that ultimate splurge meal? Look no further than Joel Robuchon, which serves out of this world New French cuisine at the MGM Grand. The 16-course degustation menu may run $425 per person, but it will most certainly be a dining experience you’ll remember for the rest of your life.

Extraordinary Las Vegas Shows

Whether it’s a concert, magic show, comedy set, or large production number, don’t leave Las Vegas without experiencing at least one of the city’s world-renowned performances. When in doubt, there’s always Cirque du Soleil. The immersive production has become so popular that eight different shows can now be found on the Strip.

Meanwhile, the Fremont Street Experience is another dazzling spectacle to add to your list. With an enormous canopy displaying mesmerizing light and sound shows, FSE leaves spectators speechless night after night. This can’t-miss attraction is located in downtown Las Vegas, now a revitalized area loaded with fine arts and cultural activities.

Images courtesy of Mandarin Oriental and Cirque du Soleil

How To Hire A DJ That’s Right For You

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Guest Post by: Marc Sense, Integral DJs

Photo Courtesy of: Tonhya Kae Photography

Out of all the wedding vendors couples book, the most challenging and arguably most important one is the DJ. You can judge a venue by its visual aesthetics or a photographer by their images, but what criteria can you use to find the best DJ for you? Here’s how to qualify a DJ, who fits both your needs and has the ability to execute your vision:

1. Mixing – Blending songs consistently and tastefully together while transitioning between different eras and genres of music. It requires technical skill, deep-music knowledge, and the intangible ability to read a crowd.

  • Why – This is the most important factor for keeping your family and friends on the dance floor all night long. It will be the difference between guests forgetting your wedding or having lifelong memories they’ll talk about forever.
  • How – Does the DJ have a mix that you can listen to? Can you see them perform live at an event? If yes, your ear will be able to distinguish their skill level and tell you if they’re the right fit. If the answer is no, take them off of the list.

2. Service/Organization – Ensuring that every need of a couple is met in a timely fashion and accounting for every detail ahead of time.

  • Why – The level of service is a barometer of how invested a DJ is to your event and should make that planning process as easy as possible. Organization ultimately leads to either a botched or well-executed event.
  • How – What is your online interaction like? Does the DJ understand your vision and communicate swiftly or is it like pulling teeth? An in-person meeting will give you a a chance to assess this and ask the DJ how they prepare for an event.

3. Hosting/MCing – Guiding an audience through an event with down-to-earth announcements. Creating a natural flow keeps things moving so people are always engaged.

  • Why – Family and friends invested their time and money to experience and witness every aspect of your wedding. The last thing you want is some guy blabbing on the mic and annoying everyone.
  • How – Again, an in-person meeting immediately reveals their verbal communication and listening skills. Or you can always see them perform live at an event.

4. Equipment – Having professional microphones, sound system, lighting, and gear.

  • Why – The most common problem is microphone feedback, which can ruin a ceremony or heartfelt speech. It doesn’t matter how incredible a mix is if it’s distorted or hits a volume ceiling.
  • How – Simply ask for a list of equipment then cross reference it online. The cost of the equipment typically correlates with its reliability and performance – the higher the better. If a DJ uses Technics 1200 turntables or Pioneer CDJ 1000s, that’s a sign they are serious about their mixing. If lighting is a priority then find out what options they have available.

5. Experience – The repetition of doing a variety of events.

  • Why – A DJ who is well versed in both the pressure of party rocking at a club and the detail required for weddings should be well equipped to make sure you have the time of your life.
  • How – Find out their gig history and actually verify its accuracy.

After you have done the research and interviews, take a step back and consider what’s most important to you. Set aside any preconceived ideas about price because investing in the DJ will ensure that all of the hard-earned money you’re spending in other departments doesn’t go to waste. A wedding only happens once and you should hire the right person that can create the unforgettable experience you’ve always dreamed of.

Marc Sense | Founder, Integral DJs

Marc Sense is the founder of Integral DJs based in Seattle, WA and Washington, DC. He has over 10+ years of experience performing at clubs across the country and concerts featuring the likes of Snoop Dogg, The Roots, and Macklemore. His team recently won WeddingWire’s Couples’ Choice Award 2014.

What You Should Know About Wedding Cake Toppers

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Animal Wedding Cake Topper

Dealing with wedding cake toppers on a daily basis as a business means we get a lot of questions about all the nooks and crannies that have to do with what cake toppers are made of and how to tell if what you are getting is well, good. We have answered these questions on an individual basis — be it over the phone or through email — and have begun trying to reach a wider group of our shoppers with answers on our blog, but I feel like this is information that not only our brides would ask, but any bride with her heart set on a cake topper would want to and should know.

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How to Choose the Perfect Wedding Cake Topper

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How to Choose Between Contemporary, Novelty, and Traditional Wedding Cake Toppers

When choosing your wedding cake design, you are going to have to take into consideration that wedding cake topper. Of course, you will be designing a wedding cake that will fit in or coordinate with your wedding colors and theme, and with so many different options, you really have to do the same with your wedding cake topper. That may seem like a “duh” moment, but if you have had your heart set on using the most darling little surfer dude and chick salt and pepper shaker that you think is just too cute and totally you to not pass up, but then you have a very traditional black-tie, red roses wedding, the cake topper will look out of place. The same will go in reverse. It is important that your wedding cake topper is unique to you, but in order to create a cohesive wedding look, you need to make sure that uniquely yours wedding cake topper coordinates with the vintage lantern and daisy centerpieces. Let’s take a look at some criteria that will help you navigate and decide what type of cake topper will fit into your wedding theme.

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Registering to Start a Family

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These days people are getting so creative with their approach to registering. They’ve realized that it’s an amazing opportunity to truly share their story with friends and family and let them be part of making a dream come true. For many, this dream is about starting a family. To them, the best gift would be helping them with their goal in becoming parents, so that is what they register for!

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Because the costs of IVF, adoption or other methods are very high, a great idea to raise funds in order to start a family is through a registry. When you’re making your registry, think of all the necessities you will need to pay for in the process of becoming a parent, such as medical or donor services.  Also, an in depth “About Us” page detailing what your plans are can help your friends and family know what you are trying to achieve.

Your family and friends can make gifts to cover some (or all) of these costs and help make your family expansion a reality. An invaluable way to keep those people close to you connected with your journey in life can be to thank them by sending updates on the progress to becoming parents and then showing them your child’s growth once they are in your life.

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To get an idea of how it can be done, take a look at Jonas and Suzy’s registry or Lesley and Michelle’s registry for some great setup ideas. For example, both registries make good use of their “Welcome” and “About us” pages, writing a few paragraphs about themselves.  Within both registry pages, the more expensive gifts are separated into less expensive parts so that more people can help chip in.  Be sure to explain each item requested in the description box in order for people to know how that gift will be used — sometimes the IVF or adoption process can be confusing. This is a great way to help people understand all that the process requires.  The “Guest Book” page is a nice way of letting your friends and family leave messages of support to you.

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Congrats on your wedding and good luck on your journey to parenthood!

 

11 Things NOT To Do When Wearing Your Engagement Ring

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People ask us all the time, “How can I make sure my diamond doesn’t get damaged?”  Proper care and treatment of your engagement ring or wedding band will allow your ring to sparkle for decades to come.  Have other questions about how to care for your engagement ring?  Speak to one of our diamond experts today!

  • Put On Lotion, Makeup and Hair Products:

Build up of makeup, lotion, hair products and creams can mask the brilliance of the diamonds in your ring.  Hairspray and some hair chemicals can eat away at gold and also dull the surface of diamonds and gemstones.

  •  Swim:

There are many dangers when it comes to swimming with a ring — chlorine in some swimming pools can also cause damage to your ring, especially if its prolonged.  It may cause the metal to deteriorate.  Another potential problem is swimming in cold water may cause your ring to come loose and fall off – in a pool, it can be rescued- but if you lose your ring in the ocean or a lake, good luck getting it back.

  • Clean The House:

This is similar to lotions and hair products. Bleach and other chemicals used to clean your house can damage the setting of your ring.  Some cleaners can even change the color of the setting or diamond itself.

  • Do The Dishes:

Harsh chemicals and dish soaps can discolor, dissolve, or otherwise damage the stone or metal bands.

  • Operate Heavy Machinery:

If you have a job that involves manual labor, like construction work, keep your ring at home in a safe place. This will help avoid breaks, splits, cracks, and looseness that are caused by bang-ups.

  • Play tennis or golf:

If you have a tight grip, are left-handed and have diamonds all around your band, remove your ring before playing.  You could knock out stones and cause excessive wear and tear to your ring.

  •  Gardening:

The hidden rocks in dirt can chip the diamond or knock the setting loose–on top of getting your stone super dirty!

  • Sleep:

Depending on the shape and size of your ring, wear it to sleep at night can be a bad idea. If you have an over-sized stone with lots of edges, remove it before going to bed and avoid scratching you or your bed partner’s face in the night.

  •  Lifting Weights/Crossfit/Yoga: 

While wearing your ring is probably okay for most cardio, lifting weights and using weight machines creates a risk for dings and cracks in the stone. It can also scratch up the band.  With crossfit, pull ups and burpees and rope climbs are NOT things you should be doing with an engagement ring on.

  • Clean The Oven:

Oven cleaner “Easy Off” is a notoriously harsh product (it burns skin to the touch!) and the damage on wedding rings can be catastrophic. Don’t risk it with gloves. Remove your ring completely.

  •  Cooking/Baking:

You actually CAN wear your ring for most cooking and baking projects-but if you are using your hands with something sticky or gooey, like dough, remove your ring.  It’ll make a mess out of your ring and be a pain to clean.

 

A Back to “Real Life” Post-Wedding Checklist

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Whimsical Pittsburgh Opera Wedding

Wedding bells. Flower petals. Dancing lights. Stars. Romance. All in one day is a whirl wind of fun, affection, and sharply focused enthusiasm. After that day, and even after the honeymoon, you will be settling into life again, but this time with a partner in crime! So, because wedding planning doesn’t seem to stop at “I do”, here is a quick checklist to help new couples gain there footing in post-wedding chaos and changes.

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Wedding Trend: Emerald

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When Pantone announced the 2013 color of the year, it was only a short amount of time before emeralds became the most sought-after gem of the year. The emerald, also May’s birthstone, is a vibrant play on a traditional engagement ring and quickly becoming the hottest trend around.

Celebs like Halle Berry, Zoe Saldana and Olivia Wilde all feature emeralds on their engagement rings or wedding bands, and it is no wonderful this trend is catching on.

The emerald holds more romantic connotations than the diamond. Revered for its connection with ancient Roman goddess of love and beauty Venus, the emerald is thought to preserve love and is a symbol of hope. In Eastern traditions, emerald green is the hue associated with the heart chakra.

We love the vibrant green color. Do you?  Check out some of our amazing emerald engagement rings and jewelry.

 

A Bright Pink and Orange Florida Keys Wedding

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Florida keys wedding

Kim and Matt had a fantastic destination wedding in Key Largo. Their ceremony was at the San Pedro Catholic Church and their reception at the Marriott Resort, right on the water. The weather was typical Florida Keys perfect, the bride radiant as a Florida sunset. See below for more photos from this event.

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Creating a Green Wedding Registry

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If you care deeply for the environment and want to keep things eco-friendly, there are plenty of ways you can make your registry green as grass:

Eco-Honeymoon

Believe it or not, you can still indulge in a romantic, all-expenses-paid trip halfway across the world without damaging the earth. As many couples are beginning to find out, eco-tourism is an easy way to achieve just that! With the help of organizations such as Elevate Destinations, you can choose from many resort locations with sustainable practices in place. You can also bypass the hotels completely and instead volunteer with local communities while learning how to live sustainably.

eco-honeymoon

Turn Your House into a Green House

Sometimes you don’t need to look any further than home. You can register for all the materials you need to begin an organic garden, as Jacob and Alisha did in their registry. If you still need help furnishing the rooms in your house, you can request various sustainable products such as compostable trash bags, or a rug made from all-natural fibers.

organic gardening

Give Back to the Environment

Who said your loved ones have to give you housewarming gifts that you might not necessarily need? Instead they can contribute to a green cause of your choice. Tim and Freya, for instance, gave loved ones the choice of donating to CSA (Community Supported Agriculture). Planting trees on your behalf is also a great way to add that much more oxygen to the atmosphere.

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There are so many ways in which protecting the environment can make your wedding day that much more special. And frankly, just creating an online registry is an act of being green it is completely virtual: no shipping, no gift wrap, no need for returns!

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