These two are always giving us #MarriageGoals—whether it’s gushing over each other on Twitter or sharing sweet romantic moments in the White House (fist bumps, flirting, and dancing galore!). And while we love ogling the former first lady’s every fashion choice, now it’s time to look back on Barack and Michelle Obama’s gorgeous Chicago wedding day in October of 1992.
How They Met
Barack and Michelle met in 1989, while the politician was a summer associate at a Chicago law firm. Michelle, then Michelle Robinson, was his advisor. At first, Michelle refused to accept the offer of a date from Barack, but fate took over. Their first-date itinerary? A picnic, long walk, tour of the Art Institute, Baskin-Robbins ice cream, and a movie—Spike Lee’s Do the Right Thing.
“We clicked right away…by the end of the date, it was over…I was sold,” Michelle has said about their first date.
The couple dated for two years before Barack proposed at Gordon’s restaurant in Chicago, where they were celebrating finishing the bar exam. “And he got me into one of these discussions again, where, you know, he sort of just led me down there and got fired up and it’s like you’ve got blah blah blah blah, and then dessert comes out, the tray comes out, and there’s a ring!” Michelle told The New Yorker.
On October 3, 1992, Michelle and Barack said “I do” at Trinity United Church of Christ in Chicago. The bride’s brother walked her down the aisle, while the groom’s brother served as best man. After the vows, a reception was held at the South Shore Cultural Center. Of course, self-professed Stevie Wonder superfan Michelle chose the singer’s “You and I” for their first dance as husband and wife. After the wedding, the couple took off for a California-coast honeymoon. Luckily, the iconic couple have shared a few of their wedding photos to social media over the years.
Way before she wowed us with her spot-on fashion sense (Jason Wu, Narciso Rodriguez, Christian Siriano!), the former first lady was a picture-perfect ’90s bride. Wearing one of our favorite resurrected ’90s trends, Michelle was lovely in an off-the-shoulder long-sleeved gown, pouffy veil, and statement drop-pearl earrings. She has since posted a pic of the dress to Instagram so we can fawn over the frock for years to come.
These colors, cuts and styles are about to be huge.
Searching for the perfect weddng hairstyle? While Instagram and Pinterest are useful tools for gathering bridal beauty inspiration, to-be-weds can also turn to wedding hair trends to see what might work best. Whether you’re a fashion-forward bride-to-be or you just want fresh fringe ideas, we went ahead and tapped professional stylists to get their thoughts on the biggest hairstyle concepts for 2020. Plus, we cross-referenced popular runway styles from Bridal Fashion Week too. See seven wedding hair trends that’ll pop this year, according to the experts. Once you find the perfect style, work with a professional hair stylist to get your desired bridal look.
What’s old is new again—at least when it comes to wedding hair trends. This old-school style was the most popular celebrity wedding hairstyle in 2019—which is why we predict it’ll continue surging in 2020. Stars like Hailey Bieber, Lea Michele and Sadie Robertston all rocked this clean, classic look.
“A chignon is a hairstyle that is placed in the desired location at the back of the head. It can either be a knot or a coil of the entire ponytail,” says Paul Mitchell educator and Salon Tres owner Emma Fitzgerald. Looking to steal the style? Check out her detailed instructions on how to achieve a chignon.
Meet Twilighting, a more subtle spin on the ever-popular balayage trend. “Balayage on the hair is usually over-lightened and can fade into a brassy mess, resulting in a lot of upkeep,” says Kate Reid, COLOR.ME director at KEVIN.MURPHY. The Twilight trend is low-maintenance and easily-achieved with a subtle variation of shades that are just two to three shades lighter than the hair. As there’s no bleach or lightener used, those who want to rock the latest color trend won’t have to worry about any brassy fading.
Turmeric latte shades (think: golds and apricots) are becoming a massive hair trend for 2020. “By adding warmth to the hair, it gives an instant glow and healthy appearance to our skin,” Reid says. “This helps enhance our features, makes us look well-rested, and adds color to our cheeks.” Beloved by the likes of Margot Robbie and Blake Lively, this trend especially suits warm to neutral skin tones.
Thinking of rocking a bold hair color for your wedding day? You’re right on-trend, according to Reid. “The biggest incoming shades for 2020 are tangerine, mandarin, burnt peach and golden red tones,” she says. Reid predicts these bright, fun colors will be a massive hair trend for 2020—perfect for nearlyweds with a unique sense of style. Consult a professional about your chosen color and the required upkeep. “I can’t stress enough that you need some time to ease into any changes before your wedding.”
Sleek Middle Part
So you want your wedding hair style to look on-trend, but you don’t want to do anything too drastic. Rock a sleek and dramatic middle part for your nuptials. According to Brittany King, stylist at Mare Salon in Los Angeles, this celeb-approved style (check out Hailey Bieber’s middle-parted bun) is going to be popular among brides in 2020. An added bonus of the style: it can give the illusion of length and symmetry. Plus it will draw attention to the center of your face—perfect for showing off your wedding day makeup.
Lots of Length
If you’re envisioning an ultra-romantic wedding day style, this bridal hair trend is perfect for you. King says long locks for your nuptials will certainly be one hair trend this year. Work with your stylist to come up with a maintenance plan so that your hair looks gorgeously healthy on your wedding day. If you don’t have the length you’d like, King suggests using extensions. “They add length and volume without any damage.” Be sure to bring your extensions to your hair and makeup trial so you can see if you like the way they look.
Short, Textured Cuts
While long hair has remained a wedding day staple, King predicts we’ll see plenty of short, textured styles in 2020. This hair trend was all over the runways at New York Bridal Fashion Week, confirming that short hairstyles are having a major moment in weddings right now. We love these cuts because they allow you to fully show off your gorgeous wedding day outfit too.
Not every bride has the budget for a second wedding dress, but that doesn’t mean you can’t switch up your look at your wedding reception!
After your “I dos” have been said and the party is about to begin, it’s understandable if you want to differentiate your reception look from the wedding dress you were at your ceremony—especially with all the wedding photos your photographer will be snapping! Luckily, you don’t have to go over budget to switch up your style. From adding a new hair accessory to simply changing your lip color, there are several ways to enhance your wedding-day ensemble after you walk down the aisle.
If you want to surprise your guests with a reception look that’s perfectly party-ready, check out the ideas below. No second wedding dress required!
1. Add a Headpiece
“Most brides like to wear a long cathedral or ceremonial veil during the ceremony, so once you take that off for the reception, you can add a headpiece which will completely change your look,” says Selina Howard, bridal stylist of Vainglorious Brides.
Brides can swap their veil for a chic hairpiece, a flower crown, hair combs, or any other hair accessory they love to glamorize and modernize their
2. Switch Out Your Earrings
Brides wanting a more formal look for their ceremony might choose understated jewelry pieces to complete their ensemble. Simple studs or a something-borrowed piece of heirloom jewelry are perfect for a walk down the aisle, but Howard recommends changing into a statement earring for the reception to shake up your look. From chic hoops to floral-inspired pieces to trendy ear crawlers, there are endless options for a funky second-earring
3. Opt for a Two-Piece Wedding Dress
A two-in-one wedding dress guarantees brides get a second reception look without spending extra. Wedding dresses with overskirts that easily remove to reveal a form-fitting gown, miniskirt, or even pants will have all your guests wowed. Howard has even seen brides wearing removable sleeves! Keeping it conservative for the ceremony, brides will wear their long sleeves or a bolero and then shed them for a more party-ready reception
4. Swap Out the Shoes
This one is less of a style decision and more of a practical move, but a smart one nonetheless. “My brides go for the most extravagant, over-the-top shoes that kill your feet, so after about three hours they’re like ,‘I can’t do this anymore,’” Howard
Going for a statement shoe for the ceremony might seem like a good idea, but keeping them on for the reception definitely isn’t. Howard recommends changing into a “dummy shoe,” which is the bride’s most comfortable pair of heels that is the same height as their wedding shoe. If your wedding dress has a higher bustle, making the height of your shoe less important, you can even exchange your heels for a chic pair of flats or fun sneakers.
5. Glam Up Your Makeup
If you went soft and subtle for your ceremony, consider having your makeup artist stick around to take your face from sweet to va va voom when the reception arrives. Chances are, you had a tough time choosing between a couple of different makeup looks, so this gives you the perfect opportunity to let both your elegant and edgy sides shine on your big day. Howard says that even the simple change of adding a pop-of-color lipstick is enough to do the trick. We guarantee your new spouse will appreciate the sultry transformation.
6. Let Your Hair Down (Or Put It Up!)
No need to have the same ‘do for the ceremony and the reception. If you can’t make up your mind about whether to wear your hair up or down, come to a compromise and try both styles. You can put your locks up in a chic chignon for the ceremony, and then simply take the bobby pins out and let it all fall down for the reception. Alternatively, brides can wear their hair down for the ceremony and then later throw it up into sleek ponytail for the reception. It’s the best option for brides planning to tear it up on the dance floor!
In 2018, the Mahler Ballroom was acquired by Karen Halper, founder of Mary Ann’s Tea Room and Enchanting Embellishments. Restored to its Victorian elegance, St Louis’ historic Mahler Ballroom currently hosts events to remember including, wedding ceremonies, receptions, birthday parties, anniversary parties, corporate events, church services, fashion shows, proms, charity benefits and much more. The Mahler Ballroom has been revivified to showcase this architectural landmark. Karen and her team have stayed true to the chic style of the historic Victorian ballroom, while incorporating contemporary amenities, fashioning a premier destination venue and event space.
Featuring modern furnishings, artwork by artists such as Christopher Guy, chandeliers from celebrity-designer Michael Amini and a bar with a cascading waterfall feature. The 3500 sq. ft. ballroom boasts 24 ft. high ceilings and an overlooking wrap around balcony with rococo style moldings.
The Mahler Ballroom is the perfect setting for a bride’s dream wedding to be made a reality.
For information about renting the Mahler Ballroom, please visit our Pricing page.
The Mahler Ballroom is the perfect venue for all of your corporate meeting needs. The Mahler has played host to trainings, retreats, and parties for clients that include:
Washington Univeristy, Barnes Hospital, William Tao Engineering, Saint Louis University, SLU High School, Mary Institute Country Day School, Christian Academy, Kindred Hospital, Webster University, Landmarks Association, and New City School.
Power Point Presentation Ready
Table, Chair and Linen Rental Available
Bar Service with Multi-Tiered Packages
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Our experts will oversee all details to ensure your reunion, birthday, anniversary, retirement, bar mitzvah, debutante or holiday party is both memorable and a true celebration.
By Michelle DarrisawALBERTO E. RODRIGUEZGETTY IMAGES
Now this is a story all about how…Will Smith and Jada Pinkett Smith fell in love.
As one of Hollywood’s most iconic power couples, the Smiths have celebrated multiple award wins, raised three kids, and jumped out of a plane—together. Smith and his wife walked down the aisle in 1997, and have been going strong ever since.
Though the two have never shied away from discussing the ups and downs of their relationship, their 23-year marriage is a testament to how they’ve managed to weather every storm, despite being in the public eye. In addition to charming us both on- and off-screen, the Smiths are also incredible parents to their two kids, Jaden and Willow Smith, as well as Smith’s oldest son, Trey, from his first marriage to Sheree Zampino Fletcher.
There’s a lot to admire about the pair, so let’s start from the beginning with how the Smiths romance unfolded and their most defining moments as husband and wife.
1994: Jada met Will on the set of The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air.
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Though Smith, 51, and Pinkett Smith’s relationship sounds like a story ripped straight from the plot of a romantic comedy, their meet-cute didn’t have a traditional happy ending. They briefly met in 1997 when Jada, now 48, auditioned for a role as Smith’s character’s girlfriend on the ’90s sitcom, The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air. Unfortunately, the five-foot actress didn’t get the part because she was too short. Instead, the role went to Nia Long.
Still, despite their drastic height difference, Pinkett Smith would soon become Smith’s leading lady off-screen a few years later. To this date, the pair have never appeared in a movie or on a TV show together. However, they do produce films through their joint production company, Overbrook Entertainment.
1995: The Smiths started dating.
During a 2018 Red Table Talk appearance, Smith expressed that he was attracted to Pinkett Smith when he later saw her on the college-themed TV series, A Different World.
“I knew there was something in our energy that would be magic,” he said.This content is imported from Facebook.
Unfortunately, Smith was married at the time to Fletcher and decided not to act on his attraction to Pinkett Smith. Smith later revealed on Red Table Talk that he knew Pinkett Smith was the one. An aha moment he had in a restaurant bathroom while he was on a dinner date with Fletcher.
“I had a realization I wasn’t with the person I was supposed to be with,” Smith said. “I was sitting in a stall and I was crying and laughing uncontrollably, and I knew [Jada] was the woman I was supposed to be with, but I was never getting divorced…I went back out, sat down with Sheree and started going back on with my life.”
It wasn’t until Fletcher ended things with Smith that he tried to woo the actress. He asked Pinkett Smith if she was “seeing anyone,” and her response was “no.”
“Cool, you’re seeing me now,” Smith smoothly told her. From there, Pinkett Smith moved from Baltimore to California, and the two began dating. Smith and his ex-wife officially divorced in late 1995.
December 1997: Jada and Will got married.
Smith officially asked for his wife’s hand in marriage in November 1997.
“One day we got engaged, and the next day we found out we were pregnant,” Pinkett Smith told People. That’s right, when Pinkett Smith walked down the aisle in a velvet, champagne-colored gown on December 31, 1997, she was three months pregnant with her first child.
The only safety life offers is the opportunity to gain the wisdom and strength to overcome ANYTHING.
The two married in a private ceremony at a hotel in Pinkett Smith’s native city of Baltimore. There were no invitations sent, according to People, because the couple wanted to avoid any potential leaks to the media. Which explains why there are very few photos of their big day floating around the Interwebs, but Pinkett Smith posted the above Polaroid snap on Twitter of the pair sharing a New Year’s Eve kiss shortly after saying their “I do’s.”
On Red Table Talk, Pinkett Smith finally opened up about her wedding day, but it wasn’t the fairy tale we all might’ve imagined.
“I was so upset that I had to have a wedding,” she remembered. “I was so pissed. I went crying down the freakin’ aisle getting married.”This content is imported from Facebook.
July 1998: Pinkett Smith gave birth to their son, Jaden Smith.
First, came love. Then came marriage, and, well, you know the rest. Pinkett Smith welcomed her first son, Jaden Christopher Syre Smith, on July 8, 1998 in a speedy delivery.
“The doctor said it would take an hour-and-a-half to deliver him,” she told Fit Pregnancy. “I said, ‘Oh it’s not going to take that long. I’m too anxious to meet this baby.’ It took me 20 minutes to push him out. My mother’s a nurse and she was in there with me and she was amazed!”
Jaden quickly followed in his parents’ superstar footsteps, catching the acting bug and inheriting the music gene from his rockstar mother and rapper/actor father. Unlike Pinkett Smith, their son has starred in two movies with his dad: After Earth (2013) and The Pursuit of Happyness (2003). He also released his debut studio album in 2017, Syre, which is taken from his middle name. Smith even remixed his son’s hit song, “Icon” in a tribute video in May 2018.
October 2000: Their second child, Willow Smith, was born.
Nearly two years later, the Smiths welcomed their daughter, Willow Camille Reign Smith, on October 31, 2000. Smith confirmed his daughter’s conception happened on a drunken trip in Mexico on VH1’s “Dear Mama” special.
“I’m not gonna be silly,” Smith said during his opening monologue. “I’m here to honor you. Just watching the piece with the kids it takes me back to when we made them. Can’t help but think about that. It’s just amazing. It’s like you take Jada Pinkett Smith and an obscure town in Mexico and some tequila and you end up with great kids!”
Like her big brother, Willow also became a fixture on the entertainment scene, appearing in the movie, I Am Legend, alongside her father. Her first song, “Whip My Hair” was released in 2010 and thrust her in the spotlight. Although these days she spends her time modeling and co-hosting the Red Table Talk series with her mother and grandmother, Adrienne Banfield-Jones, Willow still sings and performs at major music festivals.
April 2013: Pinkett Smith denied being in an open relationship.
After an interview with HuffPost Live on April 3, 2013, Pinkett Smith’s comments about her marriage raised a few eyebrows.
“I’ve always told Will, ‘You can do whatever you want as long as you can look at yourself in the mirror and be okay,'” she said. “Because at the end of the day, Will is his own man. I’m here as his partner, but he is his own man. He has to decide who he wants to be and that’s not for me to do for him. Or vice versa.”
This caused many people to believe she was admitting to being in an open relationship with Smith. Pinkett Smith would later clarify her statement on her personal Facebook account, opening up her intimate post with the question: Open marriage?
“The statement I made in regard to, ‘Will can do whatever he wants,’ has illuminated the need to discuss the relationship between trust and love and how they co-exist,” she wrote.
August 2015: The Smiths confirmed their marriage is rock solid (again).
In 2006, Smith made it plain to MTV News, as reported by Billboard, that “divorce can’t be an option.”
“With Jada, I stood up in front of God and said, ‘Til death do us part,’ Smith said. “So there are two possible outcomes. One, we are going to be together till death, or two, I am dead.”
But that didn’t stop rumors from swirling that the couple were headed for splitsville. Because in 2015, Smith was forced to state the obvious again on Facebook: “In the interest of redundant, repetitious, over & over-again-ness…Jada and I are…NOT GETTING A DIVORCE!!!!!!!!!!!!!”
Pinkett Smith echoed her husband’s frustrated sentiments during a June 2018 interview on Sway in the Morning.This content is imported from YouTube.
“Here’s the thing about Will and I, it’s like, we are family, that’s never going down,” she said. “It doesn’t matter, all that relationship and what people think, ideas of a husband and a partner and all that, man, whatever, at the end of the day, that’s a man that can rely on me for the rest of his life, period.”
May 2018: Pinkett Smith invited Smith’s ex-wife to Red Table Talk.
On the May 2018 premiere episode, “Motherhood,” of Red Table Talk, Pinkett Smith extended an invitation to an unexpected guest: Smith’s ex-wife, Fletcher. The two women were completely respectful towards each other during their frank discussion, speaking candidly about their rocky past, and how Fletcher’s son with Smith, Trey, led to them becoming friends and a blended family.
July 2018: Smith referred to Pinkett Smith as his “life partner,” not wife.
Now, having been together for more than two decades, the Smiths revealed that they’re well beyond relationship labels and traditional unions, as proven by a recent conversation Smith had on TIDAL’s Rap Radar podcast in 2018.
“We don’t even say we’re married anymore,” Smith explained on the music streaming service. “We refer to ourselves as ‘life partners,’ where you get into that space where you realize you are literally with somebody for the rest of your life. There’s no deal breakers. There’s nothing she could do—ever—nothing that would break our relationship. She has my support til death, and it feels so good to get to that space.”
It IS the most important bridal accessory, after all…
by Jenn Sinrich
On the long list of bridal accessories to shop for to complete your wedding day ensemble, determining the best type of bridal shoe to go with your gorgeous gown—and finding the perfect pair—is a top priority. For some brides, it’s the ultimate fashion quest—almost perhaps even rivaling that of the search for the dress—while for other brides, scoring a solid wedding shoe is as simple as considering comfort (which is key no matter how much you value style).
Whatever your priorities might be, at the end of the day, your wedding-day shoes have a major role to fulfill. You have to like them, yes, but you also have to want to wear them—often for long periods of time over a solid, 15-plus hour day (think about that for a moment). So how do you figure out what type of bridal shoe is best for you?
Do: Find your dress first…
Even if you’ve stumbled upon the wedding shoes of your dreams, hold off from purchasing them if you haven’t yet found the wedding dress to match. (Although, if you really love them, you could buy them “just in case.”) You want your bridal footwear to complement your dress in every aspect—style, color, down to every last detail and embellishment—and the length of your dress matters, too. If you’re going with a shorter dress, your shoes can be a major statement accessory, adding color, glitz, glam, whimsy, romance—or simply a dose of modern elegance—to your ensemble. Whereas, if your dress is a full-length gown, they’re not going to be nearly as visible.
…But don’t wait until the last minute to buy your shoes
While it’s best to find your dress before deciding on your bridal shoe, you should be shopping for them and honing in on a few key styles around the same time—not just because you need to figure out how to match your shoes to your dress, but because you will need to purchase them in advance of your dress fittings and alterations. “Your dressmaker or tailor needs the exact height of your wedding shoes [before they can get started],” says Devoreaux Walton, style expert and founder of The Modern Lady.“That way they can adjust the length of your dress based on your wedding shoe height for the perfectly polished look!”
Do: Start researching bridal shoe options…
While wedding dress shopping is the priority, there’s no reason why you can’t start researching wedding shoe styles, and the websites of large-scale retailers—such as Bloomingdale’s, Macy’s and Nordstrom—are a great place to start. “Many stores carry far more inventory online compared to in-store, so browsing online gives you access to a wider range of shoes, which helps you to figure out what details you like and dislike,” Walton says. Once you’ve narrowed your search, it will be a whole lot easier to actually start shopping for your wedding-day shoes after you’ve found the dress.
…But don’t commit without first trying them on
While retail websites are a great way to explore styles and get a feel for what you like, some experts warn against purchasing your actual pair of wedding shoes online. “This is a pair of shoes that you’ll be standing in for hours, so it’s imperative to try out the shoes first and feel how comfortable they are to stand and walk around in before you swipe your card,” says Jessica Chen, wedding expert at WeddingDresses.com. (Although, if an online retailer has a particularly customer-friendly return policy, there’s no harm in trying out a few pairs at home and returning the ones don’t make the cut.)
As long as your shoes are returnable, try them on at home (preferably indoors on a clean, carpeted surface) for at least an hour while standing, says Burju Perez of Burju Shoes. “If you are not able to stand on your feet with them on for at least an hour, they are probably not the right option for you,” she says.
Do: Define your bridal style…
Since it’s unlikely that you’re buying your wedding shoes and gown at the same shop, having a firm grasp on your overall bridal style is key to ensuring consistency, notes Chen. “If you’re going for a more vintage or retro look, make sure to match the style of your shoes to the same era,” she says.
Pay attention to any detailing or embellishments in your gown that could be echoed in your bridal footwear, as well as specific materials (lace, satin, tulle, etc.) that could be matched.
…But don’t be afraid of a little (or a lot) of color
Like every other style decision you make for your big day, what color of shoes you’ll ultimately wear will depend on what kind of bride you are. Classic and traditional brides will likely be drawn to clean white, champagne, ivory and nude tones, but if a little footwear flair intrigues you, don’t be afraid go outside the box in the color department, says Perez. If you want to step it up, she suggests considering metallics, which “add a little more glitter and shine to catch the eye.” A playful twist on tradition, “something blue” bridal shoes range in shades from pale blue to deep royal hues.30 “Something Blue” Wedding Shoes
For brides who want to make a bold color statement, there are a number of ways Perez suggests tying it in so it all makes sense. Match your shoes to a color from your bridal bouquet or pull a color(s) from your significant other’s wedding day style. “If he has a certain color in his suit, tux, vest or tie, you can work that into your shoes as a way to match your spouse to be,”
Do: Consider your venue…
Just as you check the weather to make sure you’re wearing the appropriate footwear before venturing outside each day, Chen urges brides not to forget to consider their venue when selecting their day-of shoes—especially if you’re having an outdoor ceremony, on a grass lawn or on the beach. “Your wedding venue will influence how much heel you should wear. Trying to look graceful walking through sand on a beach is much more difficult in heels than strolling down an aisle in a church!”
…And don’t forget to prioritize comfort
“We always focus on style, but if your feet are in so much pain that you need to take your shoes off in order to enjoy yourself… well, what’s the point of having them?” says Perez. Your first consideration should be heel height: The higher the heel, the more pressure on the ball of your foot. A low-to-mid-height heel and even a chunkier heel will keep you standing and dancing comfortably that much longer, and there are plenty of gorgeous bridal flats out there, too. Also, consider width—especially if you have narrow or wide feet, Perez adds, noting that “shoes that have laces or buckles offer adjustability in width, which allows a perfect fit for anyone.”
The bottom line: On a day and night when you’ll likely be on your feet twice as long as you normally would be—if not three or four times—you need comfortable shoes.
Having trouble choosing your blooms with so many options? Start with these tried-and-true favorites.
ERIN WILSON PHOTOGRAPHY AND CINEMATOGRAPHY
Picture yourself walking through a glorious garden with every flower at its peak. Which flowers would you go with for your wedding: something classic or trendy? Colorful or neutral? Large or minimal? If you’re answer is something along the lines of, “I don’t even know where to start,” we’ll help you narrow down your flower options before you meet with your florist. Begin with the basics, aka the top 10 most beautiful, timeless and popular wedding flowers.
Long considered a symbol of beauty and love, roses figure into many myths and fairy tales. Romantic writers and poets have used the flower as a metaphor for emotion, beauty, passion and true love. An all-star in the world of weddings, the rose is far from boring, particularly when it comes to color—roses are available in solid hues and bicolor varieties—there are even striped and tipped roses as well. More than 3,000 varieties of roses are grown commercially, and many are available year-round and are surprisingly affordable. And though roses are associated with luxurious fragrance, not every rose is scented. Three main types of roses are most popular for wedding flowers: hybrid tea roses (the classic, uniformly shaped commercial roses generally seen at your local florist), spray roses (a rose with five to ten small heads on each stem and a “natural, garden-grown” look) and garden roses (expensive, old-fashioned varieties with bushy, open heads and delicious scents).
Although tulips are most often associated with the Netherlands, this flower is actually a native of Persia. Representing “consuming love” and “happy years,” the tulip can be a meaningful wedding choice. This flower is grown in a wide range of hues, including white and cream, pastels (pink, yellow and peach) and vibrant shades (magenta, red, orange and purple). Available during much of the year, the most common tulips are very affordable, though rare varieties can be expensive. The versatile tulip can enhance both elegant wedding settings and more casual venues, and work well in almost any detail at a wedding—from bouquets and boutonnieres to table arrangements. Three main varieties are commonly used: Dutch tulips (typically seen at neighborhood florist shops and in gardens), French tulips (expensive and elegant, with extra-long stems and large tapered blooms) and parrot tulips (noted for their ruffled, striped petals in intense colors).
3. Calla Lilies
Also known as the arum lily, this elegant, trumpet-shaped blossom originated in Africa and symbolizes “magnificent beauty” in the language of flowers. The calla lily’s distinctive form has been depicted in art nouveau and art deco works, in addition to 20th-century photography. Two types are commonly available: a large-headed variety with a long, smooth stem suitable for tall arrangements or presentation-style bouquets, and a miniature version ideal for small arrangments and boutonnieres. Creamy ivory is the most popular color, but calla lilies also come in yellow, orange, mauve pink and dark purple (a stunning choice for a slightly edgier or cold-weather wedding bouquet).
4. Lily of the Valley
With tiny bell-shape florets dangling from a thin stem, the lily of the valley is sometimes called “the ladder to heaven.” The fresh, perfumed scent from its petite flowers is unmistakable. In Norse mythology, the flower is linked to Ostara, the goddess of springtime—but you likely remember it from Kate Middleton’s royal wedding bouquet in 2011. And while most plentiful during the spring, it remains available—though quite pricey—most of the year. So while a fistful of lily of the valley might be your dream, a more affordable alternative may be to use just a few stems to infuse a bouquet or centerpiece with its wonderful fragrance and delicate texture. Most people know of the white variety, but lily of the valley also comes in a very rare rosy-pink.
With its full bushy head and intense shades of pink, blue, burgundy and purple, it’s no wonder the hydrangea represented “vanity” in the Victorian language of flowers (but don’t worry, you’re not vain if you love hydrangeas). One of the most popular hydrangea varieties changes in color from bubble-gum pink to sky blue as it grows, depending on the acid level of the soil. A stem or two of this moderately priced, scentless shrub flower fills out arrangements and bouquets, and a few sprigs make a charming boutonniere. You’ll find the hydrangea in white and shades of green, pink, burgundy and blue.
Prized for its delicacy and impressive beauty, the peony has a voluminous strong perfume and bright color. But despite its outward showiness, the flower acquired the Victorian meaning of “bashfulness.” Cultivated in Asia for more than a thousand years and developed further by the French, the peony is available in two main types, the herbaceous and the tree peony (the latter’s flowers don’t last as long when cut). A bouquet made solely of peonies can be gorgeous; the flower can also be used to create beautiful centerpieces and arrangements. Grown in single- and double-flower styles, this expensive bloom is seasonally available from late spring to early summer but can be imported in the fall.
Looking for a cost-effective alternative to roses or peonies? Try the lush, multi-petaled ranunculus, a wedding-ready relative of the buttercup. First seen by Westerners in the Far East around the 13th century, this mild-scented flower features several blossoms on a stem with fernlike foliage. To carry ranunculus is to tell your partner, in the Victorian language of flowers, “I am dazzled by your charms”—not bad, huh? A natural for bride or bridesmaid bouquets, the ranunculus also makes a whimsical boutonniere and is available in many colors including white, yellow, orange and pink.
The Victorian meaning for this flower is “marital happiness,” making the dainty white Stephanotis an obvious choice for weddings. The star-shape, waxy florets actually grow on a flowering vine—each vine must be individually wired or placed onto a special holder before it can be arranged. A bouquet of stephanotis blossoms is one of the most traditional a bride can carry, and a stephanotis boutonniere is a classic choice for a formal wedding. It’s mildly scented, available year-round and moderately priced (but you’ll pay for labor if your florist is assembling a bouquet).
9. Sweet Peas
The sweet pea, which signifies “lasting pleasure,” was first brought to England from Sicily in 1699, and the English have had a love affair with this delicate flower ever since. Its candy-like scent and ruffled blossoms make this an old-fashioned favorite in bouquets for the bride and her bridesmaids. The sweet pea’s many colors range from white to intense pinks and purples, and its scent can be strong and sweet.
Surrounded by dark green, waxy leaves, the exquisite gardenia exudes a strong, sultry scent. It was this intoxicating fragrance that captivated an English sea captain traveling through South Africa in 1754, prompting him to bring home one of the native plants as a souvenir. Gardenias are lovely tucked into a bouquet or floating in a low bowl as a centerpiece, and a single gardenia makes a wonderful scented corsage, boutonniere or hair accessory. But be gentle: the delicate ivory petals of this expensive flower can bruise easily. Large three- to four-inch blossoms, as well as a miniature variety, are available too.
Practice makes perfect, then you eat. Here’s everything you need to know about the wedding rehearsal.
The wedding rehearsal gives you, your bridal party, and the officiant a chance to iron out any kinks in your upcoming ceremony. Here’s what you need to know about it and how to celebrate afterward.
Figure Out a Date
The rehearsal is usually held a day or two before the wedding, immediately followed by dinner (or lunch). The reasoning is that all the out-of-towners taking part in the ceremony will have already arrived at the wedding destination for the main event.
Decide Who Will Host the Dinner
Traditionally, the groom’s parents pick up the check, but today, the almost-married couple or another family member might do it. The bride’s parents don’t usually get involved, especially if they’re paying for all or most of the wedding. No matter who hosts, the bride and groom should have a say in the menu, décor, and timing.
Pick a Dinner Style and Place
It all depends on the budget and the hosts’ wishes, but the meal could be a formal seated affair, a backyard picnic, and anything in between. Just make sure it’s different enough from the reception so it doesn’t come across as a preview of the next day. Once you’ve got the formality down, scout locations, such as a restaurant known for showcasing the local cuisine, a private home, even a public park, and make a reservation. Plan on it being an early night-everyone, especially you and the groom, need a good night’s sleep!
Plan the Guest List
Anyone who has a role in the wedding ceremony and attends the run-through should be invited to the dinner. Besides the officiant, this includes the wedding party (even the flower girl and ring bearer), readers, and parents of the bride and groom. It’s a polite gesture to let each guest bring a plus one, whether it’s a spouse or date, to the dinner. Some couples also ask their grandparents, close friends, and all out-of-town guests.
Send Out Invitations
They can be written out on packaged cards-no need for formal printed invites. Mail them right after you send the wedding invitations.
Draw Up a Seating Chart
You don’t need one if the group is small, but it helps if you’ve got a crowd. If some members of your family and his will be meeting for the first time, consider seating them together if you think they’ll get along.
Run Through the Entire Ceremony
At the rehearsal, your officiant should lead all the participants through the ceremony so everyone knows their part and the logistics of performing it. Practice going down the aisle (wear your wedding shoes), walk through the ceremony in the order it happens, and practice saying your vows.
Bring All of the Next Day’s Props
That would include the unity candle and program. This way, you’ll have everything you need already on site.
Make Time at Dinner for the Toasts and Gifts
At the rehearsal dinner, since the guest list is limited, speeches aren’t planned like they are at the wedding-the floor is opened to anyone who wants to share a special memory of the bride and/or groom. This is the perfect time to dole out bridal party gifts too.
Normally couples decide together the bridal entrance song together. There’s a couple of key things to think about.
Firstly, the pace: you don’t want something really fast as you want to walk at a slightly slower than normal pace. If your chosen song is a little too up-tempo, see if there’s a slowed-down acoustic version available. Secondly, decide whether you want a piece of classical music, a song with lyrics or an instrumental version of a song. You’ll need to work out when you want the music to fade (if it’s not a live band) so time your walk to avoid arriving at the front mid-verse or crescendo.
If you’d rather have the song you walk down to be a surprise, that can be a great idea. We know one bride who chose an instrumental version of the Jurassic Park theme tune as it was her husband’s favourite film! Your guests will love to see your partner’s reaction, and it’ll be a great shot for your photographer to capture.
20 amazing Songs to Walk Down the Aisle To
We’ve got 20 ideas for songs to walk down the aisle to. Lots of these bridal entrance songs you know, but some will be new to you.
At Last – Etta James
Over The Rainbow/What A Wonderful World – Israel Kamakawiwo’ole
Songbird – Fleetwood Mac
Here Comes The Sun – The Beatles
Thinking Out Loud – Ed Sheeran
Lucky – Jason Mraz ft. Colbie Caillat
A Thousand Years – Christina Perri
Canon in D Major (Pachelbel’s Canon) – J.S. Bach Orchestra
Your Song – Ellie Goulding
I’m Kissing You – Des’ree
Everybody’s Free (To Feel Good) – Quindon Tarver
Butterfly Waltz – Brian Crain
From This Moment On – Shania Twain & Bryan White
What A Wonderful World – Louis Armstrong
Bella’s Lullaby – Carter Burwell, Dan Redfeld and Elizabeth Hedman
The Secret Wedding (From “Braveheart”) – David Arkenstone featuring Kathleen Fisher
Marry You – Bruno Mars
Make You Feel My Love – Adele
Just the Way You Are – Bruno Mars
The Prince of Denmark’s March (Trumpet Voluntary In D Major) – Royal Philharmonic Orchestra & Christian Rainer