The Top 10 U.S. Towns for a Destination Wedding

The Top 10 U.S. Towns for a Destination Wedding

So you've decided you want your wedding to be an adventure away from home, but which destination will suite all your fantasies for the special day? It's amazing to know that you don't always have to take a 10 hour flight to escape to an island oasis or desert retreat. Your dream destination may just be a few states away! From charming ski towns to coastal coves, these are our top ten wedding destinations located right here in the good ol' US of A:


10. Bar Harbor, Maine

There is something rugged and peaceful about the coastal stretches of natural beauty that are hidden in the east coast's most northern state. Venture to the charming town of Bar Harbor for the rustic-chic wedding of your dreams. The town is conveniently nestled right next to Acadia National Park for wildlife sightings and wilderness activities. Summer and early fall are the most popular time for ceremonies because of the cool breezy days and gorgeous waterfront views.


9. Scottsdale, Arizona

Think red hues, sky-scraping cacti, and a prevalent Native American culture on a retreat to the southwest. Arizona's desert landscape is unique to say the least. Scottsdale is a western-style little town with a lively nightlife scene and a number of quaint boutique hotels. Plus, no one will be able to complain about the weather. The days are always mildly warm and the evenings presents the most brilliant sunsets.


8. Outer Banks, North Carolina

The Outer Banks is comprised of miles and miles of long sandy shores and a number of family-oriented beach towns. Your wedding invitations should promise lighthouse tours, a good surf, and lots of sunshine. The most unique sighting of this tranquil destination will definitely be the wild horses. They still roam near the northern beaches which is the one of the only places left in the country where they can be seen regularly.


7. Nashville, Tennessee

Even if you're not a country music fan, you'll be sure to fall in love with this entertainment capital. Allow your guest to enjoy all kinds of music and shopping experiences. Besides its sheer southern meets urban appeal, it is considered one of the most affordable and accessible wedding destinations in the country.


6. Newport, Rhode Island

Who knew that the country's smallest state could boast a town with all of your wedding necessities and more. Newport is a quaint town located just 30 minutes from Providence that features historic architecture and an enormous amount of culture. The New England Colonial style mansions scattered along the famous cliff walk create an elegant setting for ceremonies, receptions, or photos.


5. Charlottesville, Virginia

Virginia is for Lovers, and that's exactly how you'll feel once you visit the college town meets art hub of Charlottesville. With the perfect amount of southern charm and romance, this town has a very wide range of venues to choose from. From Chapels, to wineries, to horse farms, its a rural location with a bustling downtown spot for a party to remember.


4. Sonoma, California

If you and your fiancé consider yourself food and wine connoisseurs, then Sonoma Valley will take the term foodie to the next level. Vast vineyards set atop rolling hills will be the perfect pairing to your chef-prepared gourmet cuisine. Remind your guests to bring a little extra cash, because they'll be sure to bring a few cases of wine home with them.


3. Key West, Florida

The Keys promote a laid back island vibe with crystal clear water and white sandy beaches comparable to those of the Caribbean. The major perk of staying domestic is that it will likely be cheaper and easier to get to for your guests. From snorkeling, to fishing, or even just relaxing on the beach, everyone will feel as if they are honeymooning.

james christianson

2.Aspen, Colorado

Mixing mountain town charm with first class luxury places Aspen at the top of most couples' lists for scenic weddings. Each season presents a completely different atmosphere for your ceremony. Whether you envision a winter wonderland or autumn oasis there is so much to see and experience within the breathtaking Rockies.

holladayweddings 2

1. Kauai, Hawaii

America's 50th state is sometimes hard to imagine as part of our country. Kauai, nicknamed "the garden island" is the oldest and least commercially developed of the archipelago. The gorgeous terrain offers dramatic waterfalls, lush rainforests, and famous black sand beaches. Couples getting married in this sunshine mecca, don't like to miss out on incorporating a bit of Hawaiian culture into their ceremonies. Fresh orchids leis and traditional luaus are a must when making the trek to this tropical paradise.

Shop our twist dress! So versatile, it can transform to accommodate any destination of your choice.

Photos by Emily Delamater, Kristi Midgette, Rachel Moore, W. Scott Chester Photography, Cody Hunter Photography, Giving Tree Photography, Filda Konec Photography, James Christianson, and Holladay Weddings.

How to look the radiant bride

I wrote before about getting yourself in perfect shape for your wedding with a 20-minute a day workout but if you really want to know how to look the radiant bride on your wedding day, there's a lot more to it than just planking!

how to look the radiant bride

Here, ILU Ambassador, Julia Hubbard, reveals her holistic approach to help you look your absolute best on the day.

What does she mean by holistic? As Julia says, there are three components to successful holistic health - physical, nutritional and psychological.

How to look the radiant bride


If you have the time, money and inclination Julia advises you to seek help from a qualified, experienced Personal Trainer who can set out a sensible timetable which they will guide you through until the Big Day, offering support and motivation along the way.

Show your Trainer a picture of your dress so that they can tailor the programme to work on the parts of your body that will be in the spotlight, as it were!

If you haven't the time for a trainer, just start walking! It sounds a little underwhelming but 30 minutes of brisk walking (just fast enough so that you can still talk but can't sing!) is brilliant for your fitness AND for your mental health - just what you need when you've got the stresses of a wedding on your mind! Equally, swimming, team sports, dance classes - any activity that you enjoy, makes you smile and gets those endorphins going is going to help. Drag your partner or bridesmaids along and make it social as well as functional, aiming for 30-60 minutes three times a week.

Track your progress and set reasonable goals.


Start your day with lemon and hot water or green tea with lemon; it will help kickstart the detox process, is great for your skin and digestive system, and what's more, is delicious!

DON"T SKIP BREAKFAST - just make sure that you have wholegrain or wholemeal toast, eggs or porridge and avoid sugary cereals like the plague!

For lunch and dinner, just watch your portions - your plate should contain a third protein (meat, poultry, fish, eggs, vegetarian protein), a third carbs (rice, sweet potato, pasta, quinoa, couscous, potato) and a third vegetables (raw or cooked).

CUT OUT PROCESSED FOODS - take your own lunch to work so you know exactly what you're eating. I find that cooking a little more the night before provides me with a fab, wonderfully balanced packed lunch ready to go the next day.

Feel free to snack, but make it delicious nuts, seeds and fruit rather than sweets, chocolate or crips.

STEER CLEAR OF 'DIET' OR 'FAT FREE' FOODS - often these are loaded with sugar or artificial sweeteners which don't help you at all. Far better to eat a smaller amount of full fat, natural foodstuffs that fill you up and provide you with the nutrients you need rather than loads of 'diet' produce that makes you feel (a) deprived and (b) hungry!

how to look the radiant bride

If your digestive system is playing you up, you won't absorb all the required nutrients and you might experience bloating and water retention. If this is the case, discuss  taking probiotics and digestive enzymes with your doctor to get your gut in working order.

Whatever you do, DON'T EMBARK ON A QUICK FIX DIET - your skin, hair and energy levels will suffer and you are likely to replace the lost weight plus more once the diet is over.


As Julia reminded me, your mind is extremely powerful so it's critical not to neglect what's going on in your head. If you struggle with over-eating, it's important to address what is triggering your eating habits if it's not hunger.

Stress can be a major factor in weight gain as many women turn to comfort eating when their cortisol levels rise and, as Julia points out, few things are more stressful than organising a wedding. So take a look at what's getting you stressed and deal with the reasons. Have back-up plans in place to avoid last minute stress over things you can't control - like the weather!

Stress can affect other hormones too making it even more difficult to lose those pounds so find ways to relax - take time out to have a long soak in the bath; find time to sit in a comfy chair and read for half an hour or so; join a yoga, Thai Chi or meditation class. The key is to address any underlying issues that are causing you to overeat or get worked up.

When you do your exercise, whether it's a brisk walk, calming yoga or manic dance class, make sure that you're wearing clothing that is comfortable, feels good and lifts your spirits. Julia recommends ILU Fitwear as its seamless technology smoothes the lumps and bumps whilst the pops of colour provide you with the psychological energy and zest to get you going.

Here's Julia herself wearing some of the Active Range kit ready to face the world!

 How to look the radiant brideAnd Julia's last piece of advice? Make sure you arrange a last minute fitting so that your dress will look as perfect as you on the day.

If you want to know any more about how to get yourself looking the radiant bride, why not contact Julia directly via , Facebook: Julia Hubbard - Athlete, Figure Competitor, Coach or Twitter: @jules_athlete

With thanks to Pinterest for all of the fab images of Dessy Real Weddings and to Julia Hubbard for her brilliant advice and photos.

Belted Wedding Dresses

I have to confess that when I first encountered sparkly-belted wedding dresses I wasn't overly keen - I wasn't sure whether or not I found them too 'bling'.

But, oh, how times change - I am now SO in love with belted gowns that I can quite understand why this bride was jumping with joy surrounded by her bridal party (and all those bridesmaids wearing their beautiful Dessy dresses in Taupe).

Belted wedding dresses

Now I'm a convert, I'd thought I'd showcase some of my favourite, starting with this divine lace gown by Pronovias.

belted wedding dresses


At Dessy, there are a couple of lovely wedding gowns that have the prettiest detail around the waist, like Style 1053 (below left) and 1052 (below right).

belted wedding dresses

Not all dresses come with the bejewelled middle that you might want, so take a look at where you can purchase a beautiful belt to go with the gown of your choice. Clockwise from the top we have:

'Jackie' - a central, opulent design of crystals and sequins on an ivory satin sash. The feature is approximately 6 cm high in the middle and 16 cm in length;

'Tiffany' - as befits the name, a glamorous, beaded bridal belt with delicate, scallop edging with an Art Deco feel about it. About 50 cm long on an ivory grosgrain ribbon;

'Bridget' - a 60 cm flower spray of sparkles around your waist will enhance any gown.

Belted wedding dresses

 Happy hunting!


How to Find the Perfect Song for Your First Dance

How to Find the Perfect Song for Your First Dance

Oh the first dance as newlyweds- probably most grooms' worst nightmare and every wedding guests' favorite tradition.  The pressure to look confident and graceful pushes many couples to start preparing for the serenade far in advance. However, what will really make you and your beloved waltz across the dance floor with ease, is by picking the perfect song. Whether you hire a DJ or a band, it's up to you to request your rendition of your ultimate love song. In lieu of searching for that catchy melody to express your love for each other, we've gathered some tips to make the hunt a bit easier on you:


Make it meaningful

Before you even start searching the web or looking through lists, take a moment to think about what tune you really want to spotlight in front of all your guests. Is there a song that strikes a sentimental memory for both of you? Maybe there's a song, artist, or even genre that reminds you of each other? It doesn't matter if it's not a popular song, as long as the two of you will be taken back to moment in time as you’re dancing to it. The most important notion is that you feel the lyrics and meaning behind the song ring true to your relationship.


Let's Dance

There are endless possibilities as far as different tempos for wedding songs. When picking a track, think about how you want to dance. If you are like to keep it traditional, then something down tempo and a bit jazzy with suite your style. If you want the atmosphere to be fun and playful then try something more poppy and upbeat. Remember that it has to be something that is easy to dance to. If you  find you can't break out some improv moves in your living room to it, then it's probably not going to work.


Timelessness is key

It's very common to want to pick a song that's current and popular to enliven the guests.  Many top wedding planners, wedding bands, and DJs agree that timeless is the key word in choosing the right song. Try staying away from something that's somewhat of a fad and going to be considered a throwback in three years. Remember this song is going to in your wedding video for the rest of your life, so opt for those songs that are more classic and don't feel so dated.

Still feeling stumped? Give a few of our all-time favorite wedding songs a listen! 

  • "You Are the Best Thing" by Ray Lamontagne

  • "By Your Side" by Sade

  • "At Last" by Etta James

  • "Lovesong" by Adele

  • "To Be Loved" by Michael Bublé

  • "Can't Help Falling in Love" by Ingrid Michaelson

Shop our collection of the perfect shoes for your first dance!

Photos by Black & Hue Photography, Riverland Studios, Anna Wu Photography, and Abby Jiu.

Pantone colours 2016

The colours that Pantone have chosen for 2016 just couldn't be dreamier - they are reminiscent of a perfect, summer's sunset - softest pink in harmony with the prettiest blue - sigh.

For the first time ever, Pantone have joined two colours together, Rose Quartz and Serenity, creating heart-warming colours that provide reassurance and security, much as your marriage will.Pantone colours 2016

Leatrice Eiseman, Executive Director of the Pantone Colour Institute says that the harmony of Rose Quartz and Serenity "demonstrate an inherent balance between a warmer embracing rose tone and the cooler tranquil blue, reflecting connection and wellness as well as a soothing sense of order and peace." I couldn't agree more.

One of the greatest joys of the Pantone colours 2016 is that they work so well with a host of other colours, something I will explore over the coming months. But for now, just imagine choosing your bridesmaids dresses in the same style but utilising just these two colours. Personally, I think that the combination of the two colours is SO romantic that I would definitely go for fuller rather than straighter skirts and chiffons or georgettes rather than satins. But that's just me!

So here are a few ideas I had...

First is this super-pretty Social Bridesmaid 8159 in Rose (left) and Periwinkle (right) - its sweetheart neckline and draped bodice is particularly flattering  and the shirred skirt has slits at princess seams which give a slight boho feel.

Pantone colours 2016

Or this nymph-like nu-georgette dress, Social Bridesmaid 8130, with draped bodice,  asymmetrical waistline and hi-low hem.

Pantone colours 2016

If you fancied a more 50s style, (such a glamorous decade) the Social Bridesmaid 8126 in chiffon is a lovely cocktail length with a modified circle skirt and pretty halter neck, which works well for girls who are slightly broad-shouldered.

Pantone colours 2016

Dessy have a multitude of dresses to choose from so click here and play around with the Patone colours 2016 combinations to get the perfect bridesmaids gowns for your 2016 wedding.

Great Wedding Photos

Creative shot by Cheshire Wedding Photographers The CrawleysWe all love the serene, beautiful images that the wedding photographers are so great at taking, but what about the hilarious ones that will crack you up every time you look at them, reminding you of what fun you had on the big day? Like the two above by Cheshire Wedding Photographers the Crawleys.

Or this one from Funny & Interesting Things on Facebook... Are those Dessy bridesmaid dresses the girls are wearing?

Great Wedding Photos

The next one (from the talented Leah Bullard Photography) combines the adorable with the humorous:

Great Wedding photos

I love this one from Tucker Images - but I wonder who started the cake fight? And who won it?!

creative wedding photos

I don't think the  bride was expecting this level of attention at her reception, but Lisa Robinson Photography captured the hilarity of the moment perfectly!

Great Wedding photos

But my favourite of all the great wedding photos has got to be this sweetest page boy by Lisa Robinson Photography - the look on his face has me lolling every time I see it - bless him, that image is going to be pulled out at his own wedding, no doubt about it!

Great Wedding Photos

Dresses with beautiful backs

As a bride or bridesmaid, we all know how important it is to look fabulous when you're having your picture taken from the front, but what about during the ceremony? The congregation will spend a fair amount of time staring at your back - so make sure you give them something lovely to look at!

beautiful backs of dresses

This lovely bride got it right not just with her own gown, but for her lovely bridesmaids too (with many thanks to shopjoielle for the lovely photo). The girls shown above are wearing After Six Style 6611 in Midnight and that one-shouldered ruffle is as pretty from the back as it is from the front:

Dresses with beautiful backs


And of course if you choose Twist Dresses for your bridesmaids, the world is their oyster when it comes to creating dresses with beautiful backs - they just can't go wrong!

dresses with beautiful backs

Two other dresses from Dessy that have, to my mind, stunning backs are here, although I know that this is just a small selection of the options available! First up is the gorgeous - and there is no other word for it - Dessy Collection Style 2832 in Punch matt satin - its deep cowl back works so well with the weight and lustre of the material.

Dresses with beautiful backs

And secondly is the Dessy Collection 2933 whose demure shirred jewel neckline at the front belies its plunging V at the back; the chiffon yoke adds to its drama and the shape is balanced beautifully by the trumpet skirt.Dresses with beautiful backs

So don't forget, there's more to a wonderful dress than the front; make sure you investigate all of these lovely dresses with beautiful backs before you decide on which one to get. Happy shopping!








Advent Wedding

Advent weddings

Of course you don't have to dress your bridesmaids in purple if you're having an Advent wedding, nor are you prohibited from wearing purple at any other time of the year; but there is something rather joyous about the tradition of Advent purple that makes it worthwhile considering if you are getting married in the first three and a half weeks of December.

Dark purple is such a rich, lush colour and it brings a certain splendour to the whole proceedings - no wonder the Church likes it so much! And combining the stately colour with the idea of Advent services just summons up memories of thick incense in the air and ivory candles burning in the dark recesses of the nave - SO atmospheric!

And, unless you're a complete ecclesiastical stickler, there are plenty of purples to choose from: Dessy has 21 shades in its lux chiffon alone!

So I've picked out a few real wedding images where the bridesmaids are wearing gorgeous shades of purple to inspire you; let me know what you think.

Advent Wedding

Advent wedding

Advent weddings

The girls above in the deepest of purples above are wearing Tulle and Chantilly gowns, beautifully teamed with pale violet and wine flower posies. To shop the look from, check out this dress from Jenny Yoo JY505, shown below in Majestic.

Advent wedding

The bridal party shown below certainly knows how to make an impact! I love the pretty dresses the bridesmaids are wearing (Dessy Collection 6644) and even from a distance you can see the sheen of the matt satin, showed here in Dahlia. I have also depicted it in African Violet (underneath) which I think is another lovely hue.

Advent weddings

Advent Wedding

Advent Wedding

Whichever shade you choose, enjoy!





5 Beauty Looks To Match Your Personal Bridal Style

5 Beauty Looks To Match Your Personal Bridal Style

Throughout the years, every woman will manage to establish her own unique sense of style. She'll realize that she looks good in blue, but not red, that she likes her hair best in soft tousled waves, or that her favorite shade of lipstick is a golden cocoa hue. This repertoire of details is important, because together it establishes a personal aesthetic that allows her feel confident and radiant in her own skin. On her wedding day, a bride should feel nothing short of confident and radiant. For one day, all eyes turn to her and she becomes the sparkling gem of the party. One of the most important factors in making her feel like the most beautiful woman in the world is to allow her personal style to shine through in her wedding day ensemble.

For decades now, the bride consumes herself with the importance of the dress. While yes, the dress certainly is the statement of the look,  the combination of the dress with an impeccable hair and makeup style is what allows the bride to feel her absolute best. A bridal beauty look needs to be cohesive with the dress and reflect not only the cut of the gown but also match the setting, season, and overall styling of the entire of the ceremony. We've matched up these five gorgeous beauty looks with bridal styles that are always in style to inspire your hair and makeup plans for the special day:


Feminine Elegance

If you've envisioned a traditional wedding for you and your beloved against a picturesque backdrop, then you'll want a look that reads timeless and graceful. The details should be kept soft and refined.  Try a fresh face, bold lash and dusty rose lip. Let your skin be a statement on its own by taking all the necessary steps in your skincare routine to allow it to really glow. For a romantic hairstyle try a relaxed low ponytail or chignon. You'll want your locks to look as if they were perfectly swept from your face for an effortless appeal.

 Shop this Feminine Style Dress

Pasha Belman Photography

Modern Bohemian

A growing trend within recent years has definitely become the bohemian bride. A whimsical dress and rustic ceremony are almost synonymous with a natural, down-to-earth beauty approach. Skip the veil and opt for a fresh floral crown placed atop loose cascading curls.  A matching makeup routine will include a dewy sun-kissed complexion, golden tones on the eyes, and a shimmery lip to create an ethereal flair.

Shop this Bohemian Style Dress



If you find frills and lavish glamour aren't your style, then stick with a wedding look that's sleek, modern, and streamline. Sometimes less is more when your whole ensemble works together to make a minimal statement. Try a makeup look that highlights your eyes with a liner and lets the rest of your face remain very natural. A classic blowout will leave your hair feeling refreshed and perfectly aligned with the understated qualities in your dress.

Shop this Minimalistic Style Dress


Vintage Glamour

For the bride with a clear nostalgic vision and love of glamour, you'll want a look that's definitely bold. This look reminisces on the opulent flapper style of the 1920s. To get the look, style your hair into finger waves or a curly faux bob. Placing a hair accessory in your curls always works very well to add an extra touch of glitz. Apply smoky shades to your lids for an intense eye, and contour the cheeks to create perceived definition. A red rouge lip can add even more of a daring statement in a vintage style look.

Shop this Vintage Glamour Style Dress


Preppy Chic

A preppy style is first and foremost an equal mixture of sophisticated and playful. If you think in bright colors, classic lines and versatile fashion, a beautiful way for this modern prep style to come through in your wedding is to include hints of 1960s mod. The first thing to know about your make-up is: don't overdo it. A nice lip gloss is good, with some mascara and a thin winged eyeliner. A pink blush will also brighten up your face and highlight your smile.  Keep your hair high and slicked back in a top bun to show off the beautiful neckline, bows, pearls, or other details in your dress.

Shop this Preppy Chic Style Dress

Photos by Photography by Amanda, Pasha Belman Photography, RMDigital Photography, Emma Cleary Photography, and Jeramie Lu Photography

City Winter Wedding

When I saw this fab style board (below) by Nicole on the website the other day, with its sumptuous dark red and old gold colours, I almost went weak at the knees!

City Winter wedding

The depth and warmth of those colours with the soft ivory theme running through it are just perfect for a City Winter Wedding when the weather has all the potential for being either cold, wet, windy or a disastrous combination of all three. And I've found the perfect selection of  bridesmaids dresses that will provide a little bit of extra cover for your maids whilst still allowing them to look super-sophisticated.

City Winter Wedding

The top dress is Dessy Collection 6714 in Burgundy. Its sheer neckline at the back and front gives an insulating layer without looking too heavy, whilst the dress below, Dessy Collection 2874 in Venetian Gold covers the shoulders with pretty loose ruffles for added warmth.

The chic 57 Grand Style 5701 in Burgundy (below) has capped sleeves and a full covered back to keep the bridesmaids from getting too cold, as does the Lovelie Plus 9008 in Venetian Gold.

City Winter Wedding

And of course, you can always get the girls a Dessy pashmina to stave off the worst of the British Winter! Good luck!