How To Achieve Evening Elegance Without Dressing Your Bridesmaids in Black

Evening Elegance Bridesmaid Dresses

So here's the thing. You're having an evening 'do' and you want your bridesmaids to look chic and elegant.

But you don't want them to wear black. (The bride above chose midnight blue for her girls and don't they look classy.)

Spring Midnight Blue Bridesmaid Dress

Magic in midnight. Dessy Bridesmaid Dress 6767

Mix N Match Midnight Blue Bridesmaid Dresses

Above: Studio Design Bridesmaids Collection 4503 and 4514

You want them to look classy, sophisticated and stylish during evening dinner and for the dancing.

But black bridesmaid dresses? Maybe you're a little superstitious about the color. Maybe you find it a little draining on some skin tones. Maybe ... you just don't want to.

Well, there are other colors than black which offer evening elegance and style. 

 

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Dessy style 8183

Think about some different shades of drama

If you want to go for the drama of dark shades then are plenty of hues to consider. Midnight blue - the new black. A deep aubergine. Burgundy. The darkest of dark green. Perhaps an eye-catching dark ruby red.

You could also opt for sequins, which would work dazzlingly from day through to night. Your maids would just love wearing one of these bridesmaids dresses to channel their inner diva!

Formal, Elegant Wedding Colors

Left: After Six Bridesmaid Dress 6786, Right: After Six Bridesmaids Style 6784

A dress your maids will want to wear again and again.

One of the advantages of choosing a long bridesmaid dress in a dark color that's suitable for an evening wedding is that your maids will probably want to wear it again to another smart event because it doesn't scream 'bridesmaid'. Like a school prom if they're teenagers.

These dresses aren't going to linger in the closet unworn. They're much too glamorous.

Formal, Elegant Wedding Colors

Left: After Six Bridesmaid Dress 6794, Right: Jenny Packham Bridesmaid Dress JP1011

Formal, Elegant Wedding Colors

Left: Studio Design Collection Style 4538, Right: Jenny Packham Bridesmaid Style JP1005

Neutrals and earth tones ... naturally beautiful wedding colors

neutrals and earth tones wedding themes

Think about the shades and colors that are found in the natural world and you'll realize that Nature doesn't get it wrong when it comes to blending hues.

To illustrate the point, we picked out two weddings featuring deep earth tones combined with neutrals - and we think you'll agree the color combo is perfection. Because there are so many shades of both, you can create a fabulous palette that will suit everyone's style and complexion.

Coffee and cream wedding colors

Coffee & Cream Wedding

The bride at the wedding directly above, photographed by the wonderful Tucker Images, chose a variety of earth tones and neutrals for her bridesmaids and just see how great they all look. She's chosen strapless gowns for all her girls - but you could mix and match the necklines as you wish. However, it's usually best to keep to one skirt length, whether you go for cocktail style or ground sweeping.

Beach Wedding

At this gorgeous beach wedding shown above, the groom and groomsmen are in cream and the bridesmaids in a rich brown - and set against that beautiful blue sky with the greenery waving in the summer breeze, the photograph taken by the talented Gia Canali makes you almost taste the salt in the air and feel the sand between your toes. Even the celebrants are working the colors.

The groom and the groomsmen are perfectly dressed for the beach in their neutral suits, color merging the two sides. (Check Dessy's similar men's classic summer suits.)

If you're having a beach wedding, remember to choose dresses for your girls that won't float up too much (because you don't really want any of your girls having a Marilyn Monroe moment at your wedding ceremony, do you).

All the ones we've picked out here by Dessy are suitably airy - but won't fly up in the breeze! You're looking for a breezy, fluttery effect but with some structure.

neutral colored bridesmaid dresses

Left Alfred Sung Style D538, right After Six Bridesmaid style 1505

bridesmaid dresses in neutrals

Left After Six Bridesmaid Dress 6786, right After Six Bridesmaid Dress 1515

20 wedding songs that are surefire dance floor fillers

wedding reception music list

(Image credit David Pascolla)

Want to make sure only crowd favorites are played at your wedding reception? Of course you do. Who wants songs playing that no one wants to hear?!

Who wants songs that make people leave the dance floor en masse? Thought not.

We've picked out 20 tried and tested pieces of music that will get the party started ... and going on until the small hours.

Music plays a huge role in any party - it's a real atmosphere and mood builder.

This list below by no means includes all of the best wedding reception songs, but it certainly will help to get you started. It includes hits for all generations too. (We've ideas for great music to walk down the aisle to here.)

1. Macarena - Los Del Rio. Who can resist?

2. Vogue - Madonna

3. Blurred Lines - Robin Thicke & Pharrell Williams 

4. Senorita - Justin Timberlake

5. Word Up - Cameo 

6. Uptown Funk - Mark Ronson with Bruno Mars

7. Shake It Off - Taylor Swift

8. Crazy in Love - Beyonce

9. Push it - Salt 'n' Pepa

10. I Feel Love - Donna Summer 

11. Hey Ya! - OutKast

12. Funkytown - Lipps Inc.

13. Stayin' Alive - The Bee Gees

14. September - Earth, Wind & Fire 

15. Blame it on the Boogie - Jacksons 

16. Brown Sugar - Rolling Stones

17. Think - Arethra Franklin

18. Happy - Pharrell Williams 

19. Estelle - American Boy 

20. My Sharona - The Knack

4 ways to get your bridal party better acquainted BEFORE the big day

Dessy Real Wedding in Sapphire

(All bridesmaid dresses by Dessy)

 

Remember in the film 'Bridesmaids' when a group of girls meet together for the first time? All they have in common is knowing the bride - and the fact that they are all going to be her bridesmaids. Which makes for a little awkwardness.

Unless your wedding day party is drawn entirely from friends you and your other half knew since kindergarten (and have kept up with regularly ever since), it's likely that you're going to be bringing new faces together. And of course you want them to have fun on your big day. You want to break the ice beforehand.

To help you along we've thought of a few ways to make those all-important introductions.

1. A field day

Host a field day (you know like the ones you used to have in elementary school). Have your bridal party take part in tug-of-war, a game of cornhole, three-legged races and pie eating contests. This is a great way to get creative and really allow your important friends a chance to get to know one another.

2. A meal

Breakfast, lunch, brunch or dinner – if a simple meal is all you really have time for, that's fine. Co-ordinate a few hours with your entire bridal party at your favorite restaurant or in your own home that will give them an opportunity to get acquainted.

Black Twist Wrap Bridesmaid Dresses

Pictures like this (with the girls in Dessy's Twist Wrap Dress) are the more memorable when the bridal party has gotten better acquainted! Everybody will be more relaxed (which makes for better images).

3. A sporting event

A great idea for both the men of your bridal party and the women. Co-ordinate a day to see a sporting event like baseball or football or basketball. Sporting events in general bring the unlikeliest of people together in the spirit of the game, so this could be a great way for your bridal party to get to know each other.

 

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4. A cooking class

If there are no games on nearby, or the weather is unseasonal or you just want to do something different, then how about asking a professional chef to put on a cookery class for you all. This could be to make a signature dish - maybe homemade pasta - and a dessert. Don't be too ambitious with what is cooked - it's not competitive! You could host the event in your own home if you have room or ask a nearby friendly restaurant if they could help. Then finish off by eating what you've cooked (or have a restaurant meal.)

 

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Other ideas are booking a bar and having a cocktail making class. Don't forget to ask along the groom's party too, if appropriate.

Whatever you decide, having an event to break the ice before the wedding day is almost always a good idea. People can swap numbers, work out their skill sets and get well acquainted before the wedding day itself. Who knows what new friendships will blossom as a result?

When you should (and shouldn't) have an outdoor wedding

outdoor wedding

Having an outdoor wedding is beautiful, I've been to plenty where they are just breathtaking.

  • You get wonderful outdoor light
  • You can make the most of the scenery
  • You can create different atmospheres - in the woods, by the beach, in an orchard

But I've gone to these weddings typically in the summer months when the weather is warm and being outside just makes more sense.

When it comes to having a wedding outdoors, I think it is still acceptable in September. You can even stretch it to October, (well, early October, depending on where you are marrying). Get married later on and you may have to consider a completely indoor wedding, if you live in an area where the seasons change drastically between the months.

Have a fall wedding in October and be aware that you may get the perfect day for an outdoor wedding or you may have to consider some practical alternatives.

Outdoor Wedding

Plan an outdoor wedding where guests will just fall in love with the memories you share on your wedding day. Photo by Studio Eleven Photography

Same goes for early spring. April and early May could still be iffy when it comes to an outdoor wedding. The winter season may still be rearing its head and the last thing you want your guests to remember about the wedding is how cold they were.

I don't recommend a beach wedding in April, because in some areas of the country, it is still very cold. But, if you have your heart set on a certain month and certain kind of wedding there are ways to get what you want.

Making an outdoor wedding possible (when it's a little chilly)

You can rent outdoor heaters where you know your guests will congregate for most of the wedding.

You can also offer the women pashminas and wraps they can take home with them. These are stylish and perfect for the cooler earlier months of spring and fall. This even works for weddings where the climates don't see a drastic change.

Outdoor Wedding

Guests are enjoying this lovely wedding outdoors. Photo by Pasha Belman Photography

I also recommend having the wedding ceremony outdoors and have the reception indoors. That way you get what you want and your guests are happy too.

If your heart is set on an outdoor wedding, take the time of the year into serious consideration.

Heated tents outdoors will make it easier to have an outdoor wedding as well. Just to flip the thought for a bit, you may also want to consider an indoor wedding when it is just too hot as well. The last thing you want is to have your guests suffer heat stroke.

outdoor wedding

What a beautiful fall (not cold hopefully) wedding looks like. Photo by Jessica Fike Photography

Ideas For An Apple Green Wedding Theme

apple green wedding theme

Nowadays many brides choose to 'theme' their wedding days in a different ways. They might go for a rustic theme, a bohemian mood or even a Marvel-themed day.

But really one of the simplest ways of styling your wedding day is by color.

Easy

It certainly makes your choices easier. Choose a color you love and the rest will practically fall into place.

Here we've picked out some ideas for an apple green wedding theme. It's fresh, simple, classic and perfect for a spring or summer wedding day. There's also plenty of potential out there (you're not going to have trouble finding foliage for a start!)

apple green wedding theme

Love this green apple-themed table centerpiece featured on Martha Stewart weddings.

apple green wedding theme

Serve color co-ordinated cocktails to your guests on arrival. (Image via Martha Stewart weddings). Find some cocktail recipes for Garden Daiquiris and Rosemary Fizz here .

Use the same shade as much or as subtly as you want. For your invitations, bridesmaid dresses, wedding shoes, wedding cake... Buy ribbons to pretty up chair backs, make DIY wedding invitations and decorate your reception tables with bowls of green apples and pears yourself.

apple green bridesmaid dresses

Bridesmaids' dresses in Apple Slice by Dessy. Shown on the left Style Social Bridesmaids Style 8159, on the right After Six Bridesmaid Dress 1512

apple green bridesmaid dresses

Wedding cake via Pinterest

Your wedding cake is going to be an attention grabber at the reception - so make sure the color blends in beautifully with your scheme. You don't have to go for a cake in a block color - just some subtle detailing or maybe ombre will get the idea across.


bridesmaid dress with long sleeves

Bridesmaids dresses by Dessy. On the left style Dessy Collection Bridesmaid Dress 3027, Flower Girl Dress FL4058

Dessy offers beautiful bridesmaid dresses in apple green in a variety of styles, so your bridesmaids can choose a neckline, length and design that really suits them.

Apple Green Wedding Color - PANTONE Apple Slice

When you're talking to caterers and suppliers about your chosen color, you'll find the Dessy Pantone tool really useful (basically it gives you a color reference number to share with wedding vendors). You can also ask for a free fabric swatch of a color and fabric you're interested in.

How to have the bachelorette party YOU have always dreamed of

bachelorette party tips

(Photo via @mauimakaphotography)

Bachelorette party. Do those two words fill you with anticipation and excitement. Or dread?

Excited and happy because you're going to get together with your squad and have a fabulous time you'll remember forever for all the right reasons?

Or dread because you really can't face spending a load of money on something you don't want to do anyway, being holed up on a spa break when they're not your thing ....

It's your party and YOUR call

Think back to that classic film Bridesmaids where the maid of honor organizes everything just how she thinks it should be ... without really consulting the bride.

And that's the whole point really. It's all about communication.

While surprises are fabulous, you really need to get over to your maid of honor exactly how you want your party to go. And that brings me onto another point. If your maid of honor has a tendency to be a bit controlling, then should she really be your chief bridesmaid anyway? (Read here on why your best friend doesn't necessarily make your best bridesmaid.)

bachelorette weekend ideas


Anyway ... moving on. You need to bring up the subject of your bachelorette event early on before anything has been planned and booked. Here's a few things to think about and discuss.

Finances:

  • Some girls will be on good salaries. Others not so much. (Again think back to the film bridesmaids where one of the girls has to fly off on a weekend she really cannot afford.) A luxury spa weekend or a trip to St Barts might not work for some girls. Remember that what you really want is to have all your besties around you. So chat with your maid of honor about making your events affordable.
  • Look at some bachelorette packages to get ideas of prices for different options. Before you decide on anything, run a poll with your girls, asking what they'd like to do and what they feel they could spend. Ring each girl up and chat it through.

Time Away:

  • Taking time off work could be an issue for some of your girls, particularly if they're freelance or work on the weekends.
  • A multi-day affair could also be an issue, if your girls have young children.

Ideas + Tips:

  • You could adapt a sort of 'pick and mix' approach so that girls can join in all, some or one of the events. You could host a fun dinner, with specialty cocktails, at your place on a Friday. Then maybe some of you could go off for the rest of the weekend to a spa or trip further afield.
  • If you're going to have a spa weekend, you could organize something that doesn't require an overnight stay to keep the price down.
  • Talk to your maid of honor about how you see your bachelorette party going. If you're a creative type then you could all attend a group cooking class and learn to make something a little unusual like sushi.
  • Maybe get an AirBnB for a few days? Check that your girls have passports that are up to date if you're planning on going abroad.

bachelorette party cocktails

10 Stunningly Creative Ways to Use Mason Jars at Your Wedding


wedding mason jar ideas

Images by Things in Mason Jars

Mason jars have become a staple at creative weddings in the past few years.

It's not really surprising when you think about it. These simple glass pots are really versatile and lend themselves perfectly to a bit of DIY creative wedding crafting.

10 Mason Jar ideas you'll love to try

  • Fill with tealights, tie string around the neck and suspend from the branches of trees for instant lanterns (image via Architecture Art Designs on Pinterest.)

    tea light mason jars

  • Use for informal arrangements of flowers. Gerbera daisies, dahlias and peonies look amazing in Mason jars.
  • Make mini homemade cookies, and fill small Mason jars with them for wedding favors. Tie each guest's name on the jar with a label (which doubles up as a place setting of course).
  • Place Mason jars in rows on a bar and fill with cocktails or lemonade. Add stripy straws (all facing in the same direction) to complete the effect.
  • If you're having an informal barn wedding with a buffet, put a set of cutlery and napkin in a Mason jar, labelled with each guest's name. (Image via Indulgy.com on Pinterest.)

    cutlery mason jars

  • Make up separate jars with S'Mores kits as favors or put on the candy table.
  • Make up some bubble blowing solution with detergent, pour into Mason jars and attach a bubble blowing hoop alongside. Place by the children's table for instant entertainment (actually this is best done outside). Label each jar with the child's name so everybody gets their own bubble kit.
  • Create a kids' crafting table at the wedding and put beads, safety scissors, coloring pencils and crayons in different jars.

    kids table mason jars
    Organize the children's table. Image via housetohome.co.uk on Pinterest

  • Add some sparkle and light by creating illuminated Mason jars. Put a small string of battery powered fairy lights in each jar, switch on and shut the lid. Put on your guest tables just before they enter the reception. (Image via Ever After Guide via Pinterest.)

    fairy lights in mason jars

  • Fill a Mason jar with potting compost and then plant a small fragrant herb (we're thinking mint, rosemary, thyme). Then put on tables and ask guests to help themselves.

herbs in mason jars

Herb wedding favors? Image via DIY Inspired on Pinterest

How to choose bridesmaid dresses for a late summer, early fall wedding day

It's a fabulous time of year to get married ...

  • You get the sunshine
  • You get beautiful colors on the trees
  • You get everybody back from their holidays
  • You get long, light evenings ... 

September and October weddings fall into the "in-between" category: the end of sweet summertime and the beginning of our creep into winter (eek!). So, what would be the best bridesmaid dress choices for this time of year -  late summer and early fall? We'll help you make the right choices. 


There are four main factors that contribute to the bridesmaids' overall look.

  • Fabric
  • Cut 
  • Color
  • Accessories 

 

Let's talk fabrics 


Early-fall and late-summer weddings can be tricky when it comes to fabric selection. Depending on the climate, it's best to steer clear of satin and charmeuse in light shades - they can show perspiration - and dark shades of dupioni, as it can appear too heavy for a fair weather affair.

How about the cut?


Pick a silhouette (or silhouettes) with a bit more coverage - think one-shoulder, cap-sleeve or a sleeveless v-neck

Colors


For weddings that fall between the seasons it's best to not trend too far in one direction... Nothing too summery or too wintery. Navy, gold, purple, blue, green and silver are great options!

Accessories and styling 

 

Keep bridesmaid accessories clean and minimal. If you've chosen a strapless silhouette, consider getting your bridesmaid coordinating or matching shawls.

And remember the other golden rules

 

  • Your bridesmaids dresses don't have to match in style - let each girl pick a gown that flatters them
  • Necklines can be different, again to make the best of every girl's features
  • However, it's best to keep lengths the same, whether you choose long or short
  • You don't have to have one color. Choose contrasting colors (in this case autumn shades might be stunning) or a blend of neutrals (like soft blues, blush, greys ...)

Photo credits: All bridesmaid dresses shown above available from Dessy. Thanks to @AmyFanton, @wearethemitchells 

How will YOU show your wedding guests to their tables? You're going to LOVE these ideas - and so will they

wedding table ideas

It wasn't so long ago that weddings followed a cookie cutter template.

  • You got married in a cream, ivory or white dress that was long, with a veil.
  • You wore shoes to match.
  • Your bridesmaids wore matching dresses.
  • All the bouquets matched (although the bride's would be a bit different).
  • Invitations were always black and white script on card.
  • The wedding cake was always three tier (or more). 

And so on ...

wedding table ideas

Image credits: Disney Weddings, Hester Lear on Pinterest

But thank goodness those days are gone and couples getting married now can express their personalities, rather than following a formula. 

It's got nothing to do with budget either. If you're prepared to spend a bit of time and effort finding good ideas on wedding websites and Pinterest, you'll find plenty of inspiration and there's masses of wedding stuff you can do yourself.

wedding table ideas

Image credit: Brides Up North 

So what's this got to do with your guests and seating plan? 

Well, what we're saying is that you can also have a bit of fun with this most important part of your reception and make it real personal. 

wedding table ideas

Image credit: Bodas.net

You could just hand it over to your caterers and have a standard board at the entrance to the reception ... but you might want to dress things up a little. 

  • Instead of calling tables 1, 2 and 3 - think of some creatively themed table names. They could be the names of your favorite authors, athletes, artists, makes of car or places. So if you and your other partner have done a lot of travelling, the tables could be named after places you've visited: France, Italy, Greece, Bahamas ... you get the idea.
  • You could call them after your favorite Disney characters or favorite films ... 

wedding table ideas

Image credit: June Bug Weddings on Pinterest

Here's a few ideas we've found on Pinterest to inspire you: 

  • Find some old keys in a yard store or flea market and handwrite the table number and guest name
  • Find an old mirror and write up your seating plan in silver or gold pen (or ask a friend who's studied calligraphy to do it)
  • Get old photographs of your friends and put them alongside the table numbers. That will make everyone laugh when they see the board, that's for sure. Maybe some photos from your High School Yearbook? 
  • Get some empty wine bottles, print up sticky labels with the guest names and paste them on the bottles. Fill with flowers. Voila and an instant table centerpiece too .. 

wedding table ideas

Image credit: Want That Wedding on Pinterest