A Fail-Free Guide to the Perfect Maid of Honor Speech

You’re the maid of honor; therefore, you’re responsible for standing in front of all those guests to give a speech. Terrifying, right? I know what you mean. As the maid of honor in my best friend’s wedding, I was given the terrifying honor of well-wishing too. No pressure, right? Well, here are just a few tips for you ladies in the same boat as me to help the process go smoothly and easily!

Maid of Honor Speech by Ashley

Maid of Honor Speech by Ashley

Tips: Ok, let’s be honest here for just a moment – this is not the time to spill the beans on any private stories, get happy-drunk, or write a mini-book. This is a great opportunity to be short, sweet, and to the point. Here are a few easy tips to follow to keep it memorable!

  • Plan Ahead: There aren’t many of us who can have a fabulous fly-by-the-seat-of-your-pants speech. If you want it to go smoothly, have meaning, and be memorable in a good way, write your speech out ahead of time. And practice. Honestly, the saying “practice makes perfect” is true in this case. So – write it ahead of time and practice, practice, practice!
  • Be Careful & Considerate: Like I said, this is not the time to mention the bride’s ex-boyfriends, or need-to-be-forgotten mishaps. This is a time to glorify the bride and her relationship with her new hubby. Don’t make an enemy because of your speech. Also, avoid crude humor; this isn’t the occasion for that.
  • Make it Funny: You’re both going to be crying (I know I will be), so lighten the mood with clean humor. Tell a short, funny story that’s appropriate and light. Everyone enjoys a good laugh!
  • Time It: Like I said previously, this is not the time to have a two hour speech going on and on… people are hungry and ready for a good time filled with dancing, chatting, and eating! You can say a lot in 5 minutes or less – trust me.
  • Use Props: This is an adorable way to make your speech memorable. Use little props to make your points hit home. For example, if your bride is routinely late to places, have a clock or watch with you. Once your speech is over, give the props to the groom. He’ll appreciate it, and it’ll make your speech go smoother.

Remember, this isn’t a time to drag on about inappropriate shenanigans or make a speech that you didn’t prepare for. Make it light, short, sweet, and to the point!

Tamed and Fabulous: Bachelorette Party Ideas for the Maid of Honor

For you Maid of Honor’s who are responsible for hosting an unforgettable bachelorette party, there’s no need to panic! Coming up with the perfect “to-do” list can seem intimidating, but don’t worry! Here are a few (tame!) bachelorette party ideas that will keep the night rolling!

Going Out: There are a ton of different things for you to do if you choose to have a fun night or weekend out with the girls. Here just a couple ideas for you to consider!

  • Scavenger Hunt: Go to a large, big-hit area (like Disney world if you live in Florida or New York Times Square if you’re in The Big Apple) and make a list of things to do or find. Split up in groups of 3 to 4 (depending on the size of your party) and let the hunting begin!
  • Hotel Rendezvous: If you’re looking to relax by the pool with a delicious drink and fabulous company, staying in a posh hotel for one or two nights is a great way to go!
Fun in the Sun by Visit Florida Editor

Fun in the Sun by Visit Florida Editor

Staying In: For those looking to keep it close to home, here are a few fun activities, games, and things to keep you girls occupied!

  • Movie Night: This one’s a classic! Choose one or two wedding-themed movies like Runaway Bride, Revenge of the Bridesmaids, or Made of Honor. Get in your PJ’s, grab your drinks, and have fun!
  • Name That Lingerie: A bride’s gotta have lingerie for her honeymoon! What better way than to have all the girls buy her lingerie and then have the bride name who the buyer was. It’s fun, sexy, and the bride will have a blushing-good time!
  • Card Games: There’s no such thing as a party without cards! Some ideas include:
    • Beeramid
    • Fire Square
    • Ring of Fire
    • Queens

Food and Beverages: You’ve gotta have food, and you’ve gotta have drinks! Here’s a list of food and drink must haves!

  • Foods: Sweets and finger foods are the perfect option, such as:
    • Cheesecake brownie bites
    • Cheese & chocolate fondue
    • Cheesy Buffalo Chicken Dip
    • Pizza (have the ladies bring their own favorite toppings)
    • Chips and dip
  • Drinks: A few girly drinks to have at the bachelorette party include:
    • Pear Batida: Ingredients: Rum, pear juice, lemon juice, and champagne
    • Cherry Punch: Ingredients: Vodka, triple sec, grenadine, and cranberry juice
    • Pink Margarita: Ingredients: Tequila, campari, lemon juice, honey

Between drinks, delicious food, and a fun weekend with the girls, everyone’s guaranteed to have the time of their lives! Pick and choose your favorites and make it a night (or weekend) to remember!

Too Cute for Baskets and Pillows!

It’s probably the cutest part of the whole wedding – the little ring bearer shuffling his feet down the aisle and the flower girl dropping handfuls of crushed flower petals at the bride’s feet, smiling her big-toothed grin. Everyone giggles as the little ring bearer scurries back to mom in a rush of embarrassment.

If you’re having a little tyke ring bearer and flower girl in your wedding, there are some fabulous alternatives to the original pillow and basket. Here’s a list of just a few!

Ring Bearer and Flower Girl by Jamey M. Photography

Ring Bearer and Flower Girl by Jamey M. Photography

Ring Bearer Alternatives: There are tons of cute ideas, so many so, that I could only fit a handful on here. So, here’s the shortened version!

  • For the Book Lover: If you have an old book that you’re OK with repurposing, try cutting out a large heart through several pages. Stick the rings in the cut out and you’ll have a fabulous piece of memorabilia for all eternity,
  • Wooden Box: I love this idea. Have a tiny wooden box with a Mr. and Mrs. side for the rings. Super cute for the rustic, outdoor wedding.
  • Antique: For the vintage, garden party, chic wedding, try shopping for an antique metal box to place the rings in. So romantic!
  • Pumpkins Please! Oh my goodness, this is absolutely perfect for a fall wedding! Paint a little pumpkin white and have the stem or top half dipped in glitter for extra glitz.
  • Grandpa’s Pocket Pill Case: If you can find someone with an antique pocket pill case, that would be a great option for a vintage styled wedding.

Flower Girl Alternatives: From balloons to bubbles, you can really add a sweet innocence to her trek down the aisle!

  • Banner Babies: If you have two (or more) flower girls in your wedding, have them hold a banner that says something like:
    • Here comes the love of your life!
    • Here She Comes, __________! (grooms name)
  • Balloon Bliss: Have the little princess hold a few balloons down the aisle, and once the “You May Kiss the Bride!” is announced, have her let the balloon arrangement go! Perfect for an outdoor wedding.
  • Puppy Love: If you and your fiancé have a dog together, have your flower girl walk down the aisle with him/her. The dog could have a tiny sign around its neck with a cute saying.
  • Signs n Such: A homemade wooden sign wrapped in burlap with the saying:
    • _________ (grooms name), Here comes your girl!
  • Tinkling Bells: Super cute, different, and vintage! The perfect arrival announcement if you ask me!

There are tons of different alternatives to the original pillow and flower basket. Choose your favorite and really make it adorable!

Boo-tified and Classy – A Halloween Wedding!

Eleven short days until ghosts, pumpkins, and vampires grace our door steps and make the customary “trick or treat!” calls. For the ever-so-brave bride who’s opting for a Halloween wedding with a classy twist, I applaud you. I know it’s coming up soon, so the jitters and last minute preparation musts are setting in! Don’t worry though; here are just a few decoration, food, and drink tips for you to throw in for the perfect, classy Halloween wedding! 

Colors: For a Halloween wedding, you’ll want to opt for darker colors to really set off the mood. Some color options include:

  • Black
  • White- (This could be your main color, and use the other colors as your accents).
  • Red
  • Lavender purple
  • Orange

Decorations: For a classier Halloween wedding, don’t go for blood dripping fangs, spooky witches, and dead stuff. Instead, opt for things like:

  • Candles: Cozy, yet spooky! Especially if they’re in a black candelabra.
  • Lanterns: Lanterns will add the perfect rustic, classy, Halloween touch.
  • Centerpieces: Twigs are great! If you want to incorporate “Halloween death” without seeming ghoulish, try for twigs and sticks placed in black or red vases. Classy, yet Halloween-ish.
  • PUMPKINS! I love pumpkins – pumpkin everything, actually. If you want to really make your Halloween themed wedding classy, try painting your pumpkins white and then dipping the tops in glitter. Gorgeous!
  • Black Lace: On your table cards, seating charts, or napkin holders, you could incorporate black lace (instead of spider webs) to give off that Halloween, classy feel.

The Tables:

  • Table Settings: For place settings and seating arrangements, go Halloween-themed. Instead of each table being a city or country, try having each table Halloween-themed, such as The Vampires, The Witches, etc…
  • Table Cloths: Black table cloths are perfect. Make sure your centerpieces have lots of color though in order to soften the harshness.

Food: Of course, for fun food, try:

  • Candy Bar: Have a Halloween-candy bar as your appetizer section. Your guests will love you for it!
  • Pumpkin Everything: Oh my goodness, pumpkin is in the air! Try having a lot of pumpkin-y foods, such as pumpkin soup, pumpkin pie, pumpkin bread, pumpkin cake, and anything else pumpkin you can think of.

Drinks: For alcoholic beverages, have fun with your Halloween theme! Some alcoholic beverage ideas include (but are definitely not limited to!):

  • Bloody Mary’s
  • Spiced Rum Apple Cider
  • Pumpkin Martini’s (it’s pumpkin, therefore, my favorite!)
Pumpkin Martini by Ally Mauro

Pumpkin Martini by Ally Mauro

Remember, for your Halloween-themed wedding, have fun with the decorations and the color scheme! If you’re opting for a classier wedding, than go for fun, not bloody! And please, no “till death do us part” coffin wedding ring holders…

Bridal Accessories from Head to Toe!

Your dress is gorgeous (to say the least) but every girl has to have accessories! From tiaras to gorgeous peep-toe heels, you’ll be able to top off the perfect look with ease! There’s a lot to consider when shopping for accessories, so make sure you know exactly what you want before the shopping ensues!

Headed to Perfection: Whether you’re going for all-out princess attire or looking for a simple flower piece to complete the look, you’re guaranteed to look ravishing!

Hair Piece by Lianne Nichols

Hair Piece by Lianne Nichols

  • Head Pieces: There are lots of different head pieces out there that are great for just about any wedding theme. A few ideas include:
    • Tiara: Perfect for the Princess-bride! From ornate and elegant to simple and sweet, there are tons of different styles to choose from.
    • Hair Accessories: From large pearl and diamond appliques to a small brooch-like piece, you can really add pizazz to your gorgeous hairstyle.
    • Head Bands: Another great choice to add that little touch of beauty.
    • Pearls: Strategically placed throughout your billowing locks, this will really add a touch of class.
    • Flowers: Something simple and elegant – perfect for the outdoor, vintage wedding!
  • Veils: There are many different veil types, so make sure to choose one that goes well with your dress and wedding style. Some styles include:
    • Cathedral
    • Fingertip length
    • Elbow length
    • Shoulder length
    • Birdcage (my personal favorite!) 

Body: Spruce up your wedding dress with a gorgeous accent belt or sash! Also, you can’t forget about a necklace (if your wedding dress needs one) to really spruce up the look. There are tons of belts and necklaces to choose from such as:

  • Sash: Some styles include:
    • Sash with applique (pearls and diamonds galore!)
    • Thick/thin rhinestone belt
    • Floral and rhinestone sash
  • Necklaces: If you’re going to have a necklace, opt for something simple and elegant like a pearl or diamond piece. You want to accentuate without being overdone – this isn’t the time for a huge statement necklace (unless, of course, your simple dress would go well with one!). 

Tootsies: Ah, the best part! Some shoe types include:

  • Stilettos (make sure to have flip flops or ballet flats handy – your feet will probably be blistering sore by the end of the night.)
  • Heels
  • Peep-toe pumps
  • Ballet Flats
  • Boots (my favorite! I did this and LOVED it!)

Remember, accessorize to accentuate! Have fun, find the best accessories that go the greatest with your wedding dress, and spruce it up!

A Much-Deserved Spa Day: Manicure Style!

This last season has been full of crazy days, dress shopping, food tasting, and invitation making. You’re exhausted! Just looking back on my 7 month wedding planning rendezvous makes me want to take a nap. Every bride deserves a little pampering in between stamp –licking and dress fittings, so make sure to treat yourself a day or two before your wedding! Get your fingers primped and beautified – they’re going to be the focus of a lot of pictures!

Spa Day by Foundry ParkInn

Spa Day by Foundry ParkInn

Non-French Manicure: For those of you who want to do something a little different, here are a few non-French manicure ideas!

  • Lace: My personal favorite! Lace your fingers with a soft white (or colored!) lace design that really gives your fingertips a feminine appeal!
  • Polka Dots: For the fun, playful, and retro bride, polka-dots are great!
  • Half & Half: Try going two-toned. Have it in a diagonal pattern, one side white and the other side your wedding color. It’s great for a popping look that really adds pizazz.
  • Accent Nail: This seems to be the biggest hit these days. Choose one nail on both hands and have it look a little different. Some options include:
    • Glitter
    • Beads
    • Whole finger nail one color
  • Blue: If you’re still trying to figure out what to do for your something blue, paint your nails a soft, pretty aqua or Tiffany blue!

French and Fabulous: There are several French-tipped manicures. Look for a style that best fits your personality!

  • Original: I’ve always loved the original French manicure- it’s super classy, chic, and elegant.
  • Lined: Have each finger (or an accent finger) lined with “diamonds”. Or, you could even line the white with a super thin black line. Super posh!
  • Accent: Again, accent nails are the biggest hit! Try having one of your French-styled nails topped off with a bow for a cute touch!
  • V-Shaped: My mom is a huge fan of the v-shaped French manicure. It’s just a little different than your original manicure, giving it a sexy pop of style!
  • Colored French Tip: Instead of the original white, try having your nails tipped in one of your wedding’s accent colors.

Nail Tip Styles: There is more than one way to file your nails. Here are a couple ideas:

  • Stiletto: Super sexy, new, and definitely edgy!
  • Rounded
  • Square
  • Oval
  • Squoval: As the name suggests, it’s a hybrid between square and oval. My personal favorite!

Remember, this is your day to relax and take a breath before the big I-Do’s! Enjoy your time, sit back, relax, and (if the salon offers) have a glass of wine!

Glamorize Your Tresses on Your Wedding Day!

Whether you have gloriously long, luscious locks or Pixie-sweet short tresses, there are tons of different hairstyles out there that will add the perfect touch to your wedding look! Here’s a short list of some hairstyle suggestions!

Tips: Go for something that makes you feel your best. Remember, you’re the Belle of the Ball, so spruce up your mane and show it off! Some things to consider:

  • Is it going to be hot or cold?
  • Is it humid the month of your wedding?
  • Is it indoors, outdoors, or a bit of both?
  • Is your wedding super chic and classy, or laid back and relaxed?

Take these factors into consideration, and then start looking at styles! Have fun, go bold, and look elegant!

Short Up-Do’s: For the short-haired ladies, here are a few suggestions:

  • Fan Bun: Go low, fan out your bun, and top it off with a side fishtail braid. Add in some accessories or leave it just as it is! Either way, this slicked-back style is perfect for the Posh Princess.
  • Headband Braid: If your hair is long enough, try a “halo braid” – where you have just a top braid. Put the bottom locks in a bun and you have the perfect style for a relaxed wedding!

Long Up-Do’s: Here are some ideas for those of you have lusciously long locks:

  • Bun with a Braid: Have a loose bun with tendrils of hair cascading in a downward spiral, than finish the look with a gorgeous French or fishtail braid on top.
  • Fishtail: For a single side braid, the fishtail will add detail and relaxed sophistication. It’s perfect for the outdoor bride who’s looking to relax and enjoy her special day!

Short Down-Do’s: If you want to keep it down, here are a few short hairstyle ideas for you!

  • Curl: Spiral curls add a whimsical, fairytale-like innocence and elegance to your style. Accent with gorgeous hair pieces to top it off!
  • Wave: Beachy waves – my favorite! This is perfect for a relaxed wedding. Add a headband for a retro-relaxed look!

Long Down-Do’s: For those of you who have long hair, play it up with some of these fabulous long hairstyles!

  • Straight: Stick straight, elegant, and sophisticated. Top it off with a tiara (be bold, remember!) and call it perfect!
  • Curls or Waves: Like the short hairstyles, waves or curls are perfect for accentuating your blushing-bride beauty. Accent with gorgeous hair pieces, and you have a flawless look!
Bridal Hair by David Jones, CPP

Bridal Hair by David Jones, CPP

For that perfect look, find a style that best accentuates your wedding’s style. Go bold, go elegant, and have fun!

Makeup Tips for the Blushing Bride

You want to look your absolute best by enhancing your natural beauty and showing off your wedding-day glow. Whether you plan on doing your makeup yourself or having a qualified makeup artist do it for you, there are a few things to consider. Here’s a short list of tips and tricks to keep in mind!

Getting Ready by Kris Kesiak

Getting Ready by Kris Kesiak

For the Do-It-Yourself Bride: For all you ladies who are doing your own makeup, I admire you since I wasn’t brave enough! Go for it, but make sure to follow these few simple ideas and tips to ensure flawless makeup for the whole day!

  • Go Heavy: As a general rule, pictures wash you out. So when applying your makeup, apply it a little heavier than usual. It may feel like too much, but trust me, it’s not!
  • Prime It Up: Make sure to apply primer before your foundation as this helps to ensure a long lasting wear. Also, eye primer is imperative since this also helps to keep your eye shadow on for the whole day.
  • Cream Blush: For that blushing bride look, opt for a cream blush. This adds a sheer appearance to your cheeks, making you fairly glow!
  • Enhance Your Eyes: Opt for eye shadows that enhance your eye color. For example:
    • Blue Eyes: Light purples are a great color!
    • Green Eyes: Again, every shade of purple will enhance green eyes.
    • Brown Eyes: For us lucky brown-eyed beauties, just about any color looks fabulous! Therefore, find colors that enhance your skin and hair color.
    • Luscious Lashes: Fake eye lashes are the greatest thing since sliced bread. Your eyes will pop and look absolutely fantastic!
    • Waterproof: Waterproof mascara and eye liner is vital! Use waterproof and waterproof only!

Make-Up Artists: For those, like me, who aren’t quite as confident in their makeup applying abilities, go to a makeup artist. They’re fabulously amazing!

  • Trial: Make sure to schedule a trial long before your wedding day. You want to make sure you know exactly what you want done and by who.
  • Compare: Get referrals and then compare prices. In the end, choose who you are most comfortable with.
  • Natural Beauty: Make sure to tell your makeup artist that you want it as natural looking as possible. Enhance your beauty, don’t cover it up.

You want to look your absolute best, so go with a look that you would normally wear, just a little heavier. Whether you’re the independent, brave beauty or the dependent makeup lady like me, go for a natural, blushing bride look!

Who Flips What Bill?

As we’ve established, weddings can be and are expensive. When it comes to who flips what bill, lines can get a little smudged, and that’s ok. Traditionally speaking, I will give you a list of who pays what, but this list, by no means, is set in stone! Make sure your side of the family and your fiancé’s side of the family discuss wedding finances. Everyone does things a little differently, and that’s ok! This traditional payment list is a guide to help you decide on who flips what bill.

To-Do List by Tony

To-Do List by Tony

Bride: Traditionally, the bride’s family pays for most of the wedding expenses. Girls come with the territory (think dowries…) of wedding bills. Here’s a list of traditional payments made by the bride’s family:

  • Ceremony: The bride’s family pays for renting expenses, the officiant, and anything that has to do with the ceremony.
  • Bride’s Attire: The bride’s family traditionally pays for her wedding gown and everything that goes with it.
  • Flower Arrangements: This includes all the decorative flowers, and the flower girl and bridesmaids bouquets.
    • NOTE: Here’s where my family did it a little differently – we paid for all the flower expenses, including my bouquet, the boutonnieres, and corsages.
  • Photography/Videography: Anything photographed or videoed is paid for by the bride’s family.
  • Reception: This is all-inclusive, meaning, the bride’s family pays for the food, renting of the building/space, and decorations.
  • Invitations: Anything paperie is flipped by the bride’s family.
  • Transportation: If you have a limousine (or a horse-drawn carriage like I did) the bride’s family pays for it.

Groom: Traditionally speaking (again), the groom’s family pays for less than the bride’s family (I was always told boys were cheaper… I guess they were right…). Here’s what the groom’s side pays for:

  • Grooms Outfit: His tux/suit, shoes, etc…
  • Flowers: This includes the bride’s bouquet, the boutonnieres, and the mother/grandmother corsages.
  • Honeymoon: Traditionally, the groom’s family pays for the honeymoon.
    • NOTE: This is where we differed from traditional payments – my husband paid for the honeymoon expenses, as this was something he wanted to do.
  • Rehearsal Dinner: The groom’s family hosts the rehearsal dinner. As the host, they have free reign to choose.
  • Marriage License: Again, my husband and I veered from tradition with this one, and we flipped the bill. But traditionally speaking, the groom’s family usually does.

Remember, this list is a traditional idea – it’s not set in stone and a must-follow. Everyone differs, and that’s ok! Choose what best fits in each side of the family’s budget, and go from there. Remember, this is a special occasion, so don’t cause WWIII by trifle financial arguments! Smile, breathe, and enjoy!

Wedding on a Budget: Favorite Favors

Honestly, we all take a look at the favors placed on the tables at our friend’s wedding and wonder, what in the world am I going to do with a bookmark, antique wooden key, or jars of bubble gum? Yep, we’ve all been there. Not to mention, favors can be expensive. If you’re trying to save a few dollars, a great place to start is with your favors. Here are a few simple tips for you to consider when shopping for favors.

Tips: Like I said, favors can be expensive, especially when you’re buying for 150 guests. Here are just a few ideas for you to take a gander at!

  • Shop Online: This is usually what people do when shopping for favors, but try avoiding the overpriced, marked up wedding websites. Usually, you can find the same or similar favors at popular online websites like eBay and Amazon.
  • Craft Day: For all you crafty folks out there, this should tickle your crafting fingers. Have a craft date with your girlfriends and make it an enjoyable time! Here are a few DIY wedding favors you and your friends can whip together in no time:
    • Granola Mix: Throw together 3 different types of granola mixes for a variety, and put them in cute little Mason jars. Wrap the jar with ribbon, put a label on it, and call it a day! It’s cute, delicious, and usable!
    • Hot Cocoa/S’mores Mix: For winter weddings, this is perfect. Your guests are guaranteed to LOVE this wedding favor. Place these in little Mason jars for an added chic touch.
Jars of Cocoa Mix by Jamieanne

Jars of Cocoa Mix by Jamieanne

  • Jars of Honey/Jam: If you want to be super nifty, try getting small jars of local honey. Or, for a cheaper route, see if you can get large contains of regular honey and put it in several mini Mason jars. Same goes for the jam.
  • Be Practical: Like I said, favors are expensive, so make sure you put your money to good use. For example, if you don’t want to do favors per se, you can:
    • Donate: Donate to your favorite charity in your guest’s name. This will be practical, useful, and helpful for others. There’s no money wasted, and a good cause is supported.

By forgoing the traditional favors, you’d be surprised at how much money you can save. Jars of cocoa mix or meaningful donations are perfect solutions for wasted favors and money.


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