5 Brides Describe The Moment They Found The One—And We Don’t Mean The Groom

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Few moments in life are as special as when a bride finally finds The One. And no, we’re not talking about the groom—although that’s pretty great, too! Surrounded by family, champagne ready to be popped, these brides prove that finding The Onethe dress—is one of the happiest moments of all time.

Alexandra Wilson

“My mom suggested going to try on dresses to get a better idea of what I loved and wanted in a dress, rather than what I didn’t want. We picked out a total of seven dresses to try on during our first shopping trip, and with each dress, I had a better idea of what I was looking for: something with lace, a little sparkle, and a beautiful back. I remember trying on the sixth dress, and the moment I saw it on, I knew it was “the one.” We were so excited, but also couldn’t believe the first day of dress shopping we found it!”

Kerri Polanski

“The dress was not at all what I had in mind for my wedding day. I had been letting stylists, my mom, and my sister pick everything out for me, but I went for one last look myself. This one caught my eye because of the red grosgrain ribbon detail on the inside of the dress. Since I was getting married February 13th, I thought it was such a special piece of Valentine’s Day, and our love story, that no one would see but us.”

Elizabeth Black DuCharme

“I went dress shopping with my family at a boutique near Baltimore, Maryland, where my husband and I met and still live. It was my first time trying on gowns, and my sister picked out a particular one that she thought I would love. It was only the second dress I tried on, and I just knew it was the one. I tried on a few dresses after to be safe, but nothing compared. I was in love with it and the blush-colored belt we picked out to complete the look.”

Alexandra Dalton

“I found my dress on a trip to New York City. At the time I was living in Washington State, and I flew in so that I could look for the perfect dress with the people I love. When I arrived at Saks, my maid of honor surprised me—I had no idea she would be there, and I knew it was going to be the day I would find my dress. As soon as I put it on, I could picture myself walking down the aisle with my Dad, and I knew I had found the one.”

Ashley Pepe

“I had been in love with Sareh Nouri’s designs from the moment I got engaged, and I found out she was hosting a trunk show at a boutique that was somewhat local. When I saw the date was the one-year anniversary of my dad’s passing, I knew it was fate. I went with my entire family—there were 11 of us. “The dress” was the first dress I tried on. I knew it was the one, and once the veil was on my head, it was immediate tears and champagne!”

Style Me Pretty Contributor – Briana Charlotte is a freelance writer residing in Brooklyn, New York. When she isn’t writing about all things bridal, she can be found on the dance floor at a wedding or bachelorette party.

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3 Simple Ways to Make Sure Your Wedding Reflects the Real You

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From Jill Kelly of Jillian Joseph Photography… If you’ve been to more than a handful of weddings, either as a guest or as part of the wedding party, you can most likely predict what the wedding day timeline will be and what key events will take place and in exact order. As a wedding photographer, I can tell you that many weddings, although beautiful, could be made even better if the couple infused more personality into the one day that is designed to celebrate them as a couple. My goal is to help you discover simple ways to personalize your wedding day so it reflects the real you rather than Pinterest trends.

DESIGN YOUR WEDDING WITH YOUR 5 SENSES

SCENT – Think about what scents you’d like you and your guests to experience. Maybe it’s a particular flower that is popular during the season you had your first date, or fresh eucalyptus because it’s soothing. Scent doesn’t have to be restricted to your florals either. Don’t forget about the aroma of great entrees, a warm cappuccino bar, or the scent of cigars. What will your guests smell during your wedding celebration? Sweet Jasmine? Fresh Eucalyptus? Spicy Thai food? Is there a scent that is a trigger for a great memory you’ve shared together? Be creative.

TOUCH – You may be wondering how you could possibly incorporate a sense of touch into your wedding day, but it’s really quite easy and part of a full experience. You can add texture with bamboo chairs, wood tables, linens, a handmade cotton paper invitation suite, and even your attire.

SOUND – What is more reflective of you as a couple? An acoustic guitarist who plays while everyone mingles, a live jazz band, or maybe a rock band? Or maybe you both love the sounds of an acoustic guitar.

TASTE – It’s okay to incorporate dishes and appetizers that go beyond fish, chicken, or beef. It’s fun to include food that’s reflective of your respective cultures, or representative of the places you’ve traveled. Give your guests a great culinary experience that not only tastes amazing but also reflects some part of your relationship.

SIGHT – Where will your wedding celebration take place? For years, it was common to have your wedding in a church and a reception in a ballroom. And, yes, that’s still done and I have seen some ballrooms transformed into spaces that will leave you speechless. But I encourage you to sit down together and make a list of different locations you both feel at home in. Will you choose a venue with the view of the city, or vineyard in California, or the mountains in Colorado, or maybe in your parent’s backyard? Location definitely sets the tone for your wedding day, so don’t be afraid to consult with your planner to see if a not-so-commonly used space can be chosen for your wedding.

LOOK AT YOUR HOME DECOR

Home is where we spend much of our time. It’s often a sacred space we retreat to after a long day to relax, unwind, and entertain our friends and family in. It’s one place we can just be ourselves. Take a look around your home, or your ideal home, and observe the layout. Is it minimalistic in design with lot of open space or is it cozy with several layers and textures? What types of surfaces are in your home? Sleek chrome and tile floors or distressed wooden floors and marble counters? Your home décor is typically a good reflection of your aesthetic likes and dislikes, which makes it the perfect source for your wedding day inspiration. Consult an experienced wedding designer to help you infuse these aspects into your wedding design.

THINK ABOUT HOW YOU SPEND YOUR FREE TIME

How you spend your free time is an important indicator of the overall feeling you should replicate at your wedding celebration. Who says you have to have a DJ or a 7-piece band with a four-hour reception? If you and your fiancée are a bit more reserved, maybe consider having a small and intimate wedding that spans the course of a weekend where you and your guests can indulge in some of the regional attractions. For example, spend a day wine tasting and apple picking or horseback riding in the mountains. Remember that your relationship is unique and your wedding celebration should be, too. Wedding planning doesn’t have to be stressful. In fact, it should be enjoyable. Don’t underestimate the value that an experienced wedding planner and designer can contribute to your overall experience. However, you chose to celebrate your marriage vows, remember to celebrate each other each and every day.

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Our Favorite Way To Rock “Something Blue” On Your Wedding Day

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We’ve all heard the old English rhyme, “something old, something new, something borrowed, something blue.” It’s one of my absolute favorite wedding traditions because it’s the perfect way for brides to incorporate a sentimental and personal touch to your wedding day attire. One of the ways to incorporate your “something blue” is to make a big statement — with a pair of gorgeous shoes, of course! These brides added their pop of color with amazing shoes that undoubtedly stole the show! Take a peek at our favorite way to rock your “something blue!”

Something Blue Wedding Shoes

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Something Blue Wedding Shoes

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The Most Romantic Pre-Wedding Ceremony We’ve Ever Seen

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If you caught a glimpse of their sand dunes engagement session, you probably already have a soft spot in your heart for Nikisa and Eric. These high-school sweethearts planned a meaningful wedding day with the help of Joy Proctor, including cultural details to honor Nikisa’s Persian heritage. Beginning with an intimate, family-only ceremony, they exchanged vows in a circle of candlelight followed by a formal outdoor ceremony and reception, all beautifully photographed in the way only Jose Villa can. Dive right in for a wedding day experience you won’t soon forget.

From the wedding planner, Joy Proctor It was an incredible honor to help Nikisa & Eric plan their celebration of love. As editor of The Fullest Magazine, bride Nikisa was passionate about inviting her guests to experience wellness and celebration through food and community at her wedding to high-school sweetheart, Eric. From the moment they began planning, Eric and Nikisa knew that food would be important to them and were passionate about every ingredient used in the dishes they served their guests.

Following the guidance of a mentor, Nikisa and Eric chose to exchange vows at 2:00 pm in front of their parents and siblings before holding a larger ceremony with all their guests at 5:00. Surrounded by a circle of candlelight, they stood under a chandelier dripping with strung hyacinth and exchanged vows. After a storm rolled in, the couple chose to keep their ceremony with guests outside and handed umbrellas out to guests upon arrival, welcoming the blessing from the skies.

To honor her beautiful Persian heritage, Mooncanyon created an organic, deconstructed sofreh for the ceremony. Spices, eggs, sugar and other meaningful items were placed amongst organic and wild greenery in a beautiful semicircle in which the ceremony for guests took place. As a nod to her grandfather, Nikisa chose a kumquat spritzer handed to guests upon arrival. Ring bearers carried meaningful crystals up the aisle in wooden dough bowls, placing the crystals in the sofreh to bless the space.

Escorted down the aisle by their dog Cessna, groom Eric wore a soft grey suit and natural leather shoes. Bride Nikisa entered the ceremony in a stunning custom Inbal Dror gown with her best friend – her Father Mohammad. As she carried a beautiful gathered bouquet of flowers, incense were burned, creating a beautiful and cleansed space for her arrival.

A beautiful wooden u-shaped structure draped in creme chiffon sat above guests dinner tables. Natural wood tables and chairs with linen runners sat under organic floral arrangements in wooden dough bowls. Collections of crystals and candles sat between floral arrangements. Chandeliers dripping with organic greenery hung above the guest tables. The color palette of creme, green and taupe was accented with gold and natural wood tones.

Lazaro Press created beautiful paper goods highlighting the couples love for organic papers and clean design. A custom monogram featuring four triangles inside a larger triangle with their initials graced the Save the Date, invites, menus, cocktail napkins and drink stirrers. Save the dates were printed in gold foil on octagonal creme paper. Invitations were sent in beautiful creme boxes with natural linen folios containing invites, info cards and RSVPS, all printed in gold foil on creme paper.

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Photography: Jose Villa Photography | Cinematography: Artisan Production | Wedding Coordination: Joy Proctor Design | Floral Design: Moon Canyon | Cake : Sweet Laurel Bakery | Catering: RoomForty | Hair & Makeup: The Halcyon Agency | DJ: THE FLASHDANCE | Officiant: Terces | Ceremony Music : Tom Solis | Transportation: Gold Coast Limos | Venue: Sunstone Villa | Linens: La Tavola Fine Linen Rental | Photo Booth: The Awesome Booth | Rentals: The Tent Merchant | Restrooms: CCI Industries | Security : D.A.D Protective Services | Stationery + Paper Goods: Lazaro Press & Design | Tabletop: The Ark Event Rentals

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This Gown Collection Will Leave All of Your Guests Talking

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We all want to look absolutely fabulous on our wedding day, but looking fabulous, sophisticated and sexy? That’s where Grace Loves Lace’s new collection of glam-filled designs, Elixir, comes in to play. Think uniquely gorgeous gowns boasting the most luxurious and unique European laces, beyond flattering silhouettes and details that will totally make a statement. It’s the dream, y’all. Scroll to soak in all of the pretty.

Effortlessly glamorous and full of soul, the newest Grace Loves Lace collection, Elixir, is basically everything you’ve ever wanted… and so much more. From the bold pairing of luxury fabrics and modern details to the artistic patterned laces, these gowns are bringing the WOW factor with a unique 3D textured effect that will most definitely leave your guests (and your honey) talking. We’re talking a collection that will make even the most traditional of brides stand up and take notice with designs that will have you dancing down the aisle. It’s that awesome.

Featuring 12 new gowns, three capes, three veils and nine pieces of jewelry, Megan Ziems (Founder of Grace Loves Lace) has really outdone herself with a collection that she describes as “wearable art”. (We sooo agree, Megan.) Think one beautiful gown after another that all of you style lovers will totally fall for. Ready to find that sexy + sophisticated dress of your dreams? Check out every image shot by the talented Jennifer Stenglein, then mark your calendar for May 3rd, when the newest Grace Loves Lace collection will be available exclusively on their website and in showroom destinations.  We are sooo excited, you guys.

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3 Common Wedding Fears and How to Beat Them

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From Desiree Hartsock… Love is big. It’s a deep, bottomless feeling that keeps on expanding. It starts with just the two of you and before you know it, it’s grown to include a dog, a home, a life. Then, you add in the sweet elation of an engagement and a wedding date and you open yourself up to a whole caboodle of emotions. Yes, most of them are amazing — you feel giddy one moment and then just so deeply grateful the next. But you might also feel a little overwhelmed or stressed. And I totally understand. As my love story played out on a national stage, I felt pressure to design the perfect wedding. Today I’m sharing some insight on how I maintained my perspective and kept those wedding fears at bay.

Fear #1: You’re afraid you won’t have the most stylish wedding.

We live in a digital age of perfection, where the prettiest weddings (hello, beautiful sites like Style Me Pretty!) are viewable with just a few clicks on our computers or phones. It’s easy to feel like you and your wedding won’t measure up. But here’s a secret: I’ve worked with plenty of brides who seemed to “have it all”: a gorgeous figure, a huge wedding budget, a supportive fiancé, yet every one of them had insecurities about their wedding.

The truth is, there is no “perfect” wedding because the world isn’t perfect. That’s where grace comes in to say, “you don’t need to be perfect, dear bride.” So try to set those fears of inferiority aside. Focus on what you do have and how you can create a special event that celebrates love.

Fear 2: You’re afraid something will go majorly wrong at your wedding.

Oh, wedding stress dreams! Have you had them? Suddenly your eight hours of blissful dark are interrupted by nightmares that you’ve lost your wedding gown or you’re at the alter and can’t say your vows no matter how hard you try. Since you’ve probably never planned something as big or as personal as a wedding, it’s easy to fixate on the disaster possibilities.

Here’s the thing – it IS possible that something will go wrong, but it’s unlikely that everything will go wrong. And the good news? You’ll be surrounded by amazing professionals who are fairy godmothers when it comes to fixing wedding mishaps. In fact, they’ve probably seen and experienced most common bridal day issues firsthand and know how to fix them.

Leave the fixing to them, sip a mimosa in the bridal suite, and focus on all the beautiful things that are going right – like your exquisite bouquet or the weather being unexpectedly lovely. And, even if something goes disastrously wrong, try to embrace it. Later on, it’ll be woven into the fabric of your wedding day story and will bring laughter for years to come.

Fear #3: You’re afraid your relationship will change after the wedding.

Your relationship will change once you’re pronounced Mr. & Mrs. But it will grow deeper, sweeter, and infinitely more powerful. Sure, you may need some time to adjust to the change – especially if you are moving in for the first time or transitioning to a new home. All change takes time but know that the happily ever you always wanted is waiting on the other side. And trust that the one you said ‘yes’ to will be worthy of all your yeses, from now to the side-by-side porch rockers in 70 years.

At the end of the day, weddings are stressful. If you have a bridezilla moment or let yourself get overwhelmed, it’s okay! Just take some deep breaths and refocus on the love and support you have in your life. Time flies by so quickly so try to enjoy this chapter of life in all its highs and lows—and let it set the framework for all the wondrous, messy, painful and painfully beautiful chapters that are yet to come. Happy wedding planning!

xoxo, Desiree

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A Spring Wedding That Brings the Outdoors In

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Despite popular belief, you don’t have to have an outdoor wedding for a true garden-style affair. Just take it from Ansley and Brandon who let fresh greens and glowing lanterns line their ceremony aisle. With the use of lush florals and styled greenery, they celebrated with an indoor garden oasis and we have Anna Shackleford + Daniel Shackleford to thank documenting as the day unfolded.

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When Ansley and Brandon met through a mutual friend while she was working at Chick-fil-A they knew it was something special. Fast forward to years later, and on December 31, 2016 Ansley and Brandon gathered with their friends and family at Ansley’s parents’ house to ring in the new year. Little did she know Brandon had his own idea of “ringing” in the new year. At the strike of midnight as she leaned in for her midnight kiss. he was getting down on one knee holding a box with the most beautiful ring inside and asking her to marry him. She dropped her horn and took a step back in disbelief and excitement. She was shocked and overjoyed, to say the least. New Year’s 2011 as the clock hit 12 Brandon asked her to be his girlfriend. Five amazing years later she became his fiance.

Ansley knew that she wanted and whimsical and enchanted theme throughout her wedding day. She chose Ashton Gardens for its large windows and magical feel. It was the perfect space for their celebration. Donuts and bacon surrounded the stunning cake by Kelly Keith and they danced the night away to music provided by Nice Entertainment.

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Photography: Anna Shackleford | Videography: Daniel Shackleford | Event Coordination: Ashton Gardens | Floral Design: Brides And Blooms | Gown: Bridals By Lori | Wedding Dress: Watters from Adore Bridal | Invitations: Shine Wedding Invitations | Bridesmaids Dresses: Jenny Yoo | Caterer: Ashton Gardens | Makeup : Ruth Lam | Hair : Morgan Rush | DJ: Nice Guys DJ | Groomsmen’s Attire: Men’s Wearhouse | Officiant: Jim Killman | Venue: Ashton Gardens | Bridesmaids Shop: Bella Bridesmaid | Cake Artist: Kelly Keith | Cocktail Napkins: Sip Hip Hooray | Design + Rentals: Crush Event Rentals | Lab: Richard Photo Lab | Stamps: Minted

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Style Alert: Our Fave Dress Trends for Spring 2017

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It doesn’t take much to convince us that JLM Couture knows everything there is to know about stunning bridal + bridesmaid gowns, but their latest Spring 2017 Collections? Sooo on point. Think soft, romantic fabrics, feminine silhouettes and a modern elegance that is basically everything you’ve ever wanted. Pop that bubbly and celebrate the new season with some of our fave trends below.

ROMANTIC FABRICS + DETAILS

Spring? It’s all about the romance. And the new styles from the JLM Couture Spring 2017 Collections do NOT disappoint. Think an entire world of soft, lightweight fabrics and intricate details that will literally WOW your guests and you are sooo on the right track. From the hand-appliquéd lace + sheer fabric of the Hayley Paige collection to the luxurious shimmer of Lazaro to the lace-filled goodness of Tara Keely, they’ve got you completely covered.

FEMININE SILHOUETTES

We all want to look stunning on THE big day, so when searching for that perfect gown, finding one that shows off your beautiful figure is key. With the JLM Couture Spring 2017 Collections, there’s an entire world of jaw-droppingly gorgeous gowns that will make you feel (and look) beyond amazing. We’re talking the classic meets modern styles of Alvina Valenta, the uber-romantic looks of Blush by Hayley Paige and the traditional (with a twist) designs of Jim Hjelm. Looking fab has never been easier… or more breathtaking.

EFFORTLESS ELEGANCE

The key to a gorgeous wedding day? Finding a gown that lets you shine. And that’s where JLM Couture and their new Spring 2017 Collections come in to play. Whether you’re a boho bride looking for a touch of vintage elegance (hello, Ti Adora) or a classic lady who loves a pretty twist (two words: Tara Keely), each amazing gown in the JLM Couture lineup has effortless elegance down to an absolute science.

Ready to celebrate the new season by finding that gown of your dreams? Head to JLM Couture today to check out all of the breathtaking styles from Hayley PaigeLazaroAlvina Valenta, Jim HjelmTara KeelyBlush by Hayley Paige and Ti Adora. And don’t forget to soak in all of the lovely party + bridesmaid dress options from Hayley Paige Occasions. Your dream gown is sooo waiting.

Bridal Gowns: JLM Couture

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A Shoe for Every Event on Your Wedding Lineup

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We all know that every stunning wedding ensemble deserves a fabulous shoe to match, but if you’re stopping at just one pair for your Big Day, you’re missing out on an entire world of wedding shoe bliss. So today we’re teaming up with Stuart Weitzman to help you choose the perfect shoe for every event on your wedding lineup. From beautiful flats to strappy sandals, we’ve got that bridal shower, honeymoon and more totally covered. Scroll for total shoe happiness.

THE BRIDAL SHOWER

It all starts with the bridal shower, which means getting your shoe game on point early. We happen to be head over heels (pun intended) for Stuart Weitzman’s totally chic + casual looks, like The CHAINGANG Sandal and The SUNDRY Wedge. Or keep it sweet with The CHICFLAT or The PEEKABOW Pump, two gorgeous shoes that really make a statement.

THE BACHELORETTE PARTY

Bachelorette parties are for throwing on those party shoes and dancing the night away with your besties. So finding the perfect heels to really make your outfit POP? Priority number one. Enter Stuart Weitzman and an entire world of beautiful possibilities, from the totally stunning PRANKS Sandal to the hot pink NUDIST to the NEARLY NUDE Sandal with its glittery stacked heels. Want to show off your blingy side? The glittery MEMOIR is the perfect choice.

THE REHEARSAL DINNER

We’re true believers that the night before your wedding day deserves just as much style as the BIG event itself.  So our advice? Choose a shoe that will really make your outfit stand out. Think Stuart Weitzman masterpieces like the suede GETONUP Sandal (a fab stiletto), the The NEARLY NUDE in Noir Argento Silver (yes, we love this shoe) and The NUDISTSONG Sandal in glass beige. And, of course, we can’t have this list without The PEEKABOW Pump in Noir Platinum.

THE WEDDING DAY

Ah, the wedding day. This is the moment when you slip on those Stuart Weitzman masterpieces and really, really wow your guests. And with Stuart Weitzman’s new 2017 Bridal Collection premiering on Monday, April 17th (online and in select stores), your fabulous options are basically endless. From our fave NEARLY NUDE (hello, pearls) to The NUDIST, you’ll be looking absolutely divine… we promise.

THE RECEPTION / AFTER PARTY

Long gone are the days of rockin’ the same wedding ensemble for the entire night of your celebration… now we mix things up with a glamorous change for the reception and after party. Which means another amazing pair of shoes from Stuart Weitzman to make you feel all sorts of sophisticated. Think seriously chic + comfy options (a girl’s gotta dance) like The BALLSOFFIRE Sandal, The DECOR Sneaker and The DECOR Slide in suede. Or go for The SIMPLE Sandal with a stacked heel that’s perfect for taking that dance floor by storm.

THE HONEYMOON

When all of the official celebrations are over, it’s time to kick back and relax with your newly betrothed. But just because you’re not in “official” wedding mode doesn’t mean the style has to end. With Stuart Weitzman, you can rock that honeymoon with chic looks like The CORBATA Sandal (hello, jean blue suede), The EDGEWAY Sandal and the colorful JABOW.  And don’t forget the flowery FRAYED for those nights out on the town.

With locations on Michigan Avenue (Chicago), Madison Avenue (New York), Greenwich Avenue (Connecticut), Rodeo Drive and South Coast Plaza (California), NorthPark Center (Dallas), and Lenox Square (Atlanta) and a website that will make you swoon (seriously), Stuart Weitzman’s elegant designs + fabrics will have you walking down the aisle in total style. Not to mention that they’ll personalize all bridal styles with your name and wedding date on the sole of the heel. Check out their gorgeous new Spring 2017 Bridal Collection and then peruse all of their other options for every party on your itinerary. You’re going to look fabulous, you guys.

Photography (Bachelorette Party): Ava Moore Photography | Photography (Bridal Shower): Ashley McCormick Photography | Photography (Honeymoon): Marta Locklear | Photography (Reception): Emilie Ann Photography | Photography (Rehearsal Dinner): Jose Villa Photography | Photography (Wedding): Jose Villa Photography

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How to Infuse Your Wedding Day with All Out Romance

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If you’re on the hunt for ideas that will take your wedding day to next level romance, then this photo shoot has your number. Designed by Sara Weir Photography with soft pastel blooms at every turn by Lucca Floral Co. and the loveliest calligraphy stationery by Alley and Co., see what goes into the makings of a wedding day style as gorgeous as they come. It all starts with that floral appliqué dress and just gets better and better.

This shoot stemmed from a wish to create something absolutely romantic. From the soft drape of silk napkins, the full floral bouquet, to the delicate floral appliqué of her gown, I wanted every detail to be soft and communicate romance. I loved contrasting that softness with the wild of her natural surroundings and textured hair. It created a such a beautiful balance!

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Florals: Claire Zee | Gown: Gossamer | Hair and Makeup: Nicol Artistry | Calligraphy: Alley and Co. Calligraphy | Ceramics: Notary Ceramics | Linens: La Tavola Fine Linen Rental | Photography and Styling: Sara Weir Photography | Silk Napkins and Ribbons: Poetry of Silk

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