When I first saw this photograph, I felt like she could have been me. A woman walking through the desert, no clear path or direction, but definitely going somewhere. That's exactly how I've felt over the past few months. On a fucking mission, without a totally clear path or straight-forward direction, but definitely going somewhere. I've taken a break from showcasing weddings + styled shoots because I have been mission-bound (oh, you'll see!!), but without the clarity I'm used to, until now. Things are coming into focus, and it's a huge relief. Actually, it's a gigantic relief. Ever felt that way, bridey? Perhaps with your wedding planning? Where something just clicks, and boom... You're through the hard part and you know it can only get easier from this point forward?
All of that said, I thought I'd start sharing weddings + shoots again with a motherfucking BANG!!! I am OB SES SED with Hilary Cam Photography. He knows it, I know it, we both know it. I absolutely LOVE his take on beauty and aesthetics. I love how he takes something simple and beautiful, and turns it into a complete eye orgasm (yeah... I just said that!). Hilary said that he was, "inspired by the idea of the modern bride who bucks tradition, who’s not afraid of colour and loves the festival scene." Bridey, I urge you to take TONS of inspiration from this gorgeous shoot.I used the word orgasm, so obviously I mean fucking business! Enjoy every.single. aspect of this shoot! I 100% did!
See what I mean about the eye orgasm? Simple, but not really. Right? A Moroccan inspired feast with dried fruit + nuts, and a delicious cake dripping in orange blossom and rose water syrups, topped with petals.
AMAZING!! Her hair is crowned in dried hydrangea... OMFG.
First of all, her eyes. WHOA. And the jewels? Damn. Love the turquoise and silver are phenomenal.
LOVE this bouquet! I love the pastel earthy tones, flannel flowers, dried grass and roses. Notice the costume change?
Everything about this shoot makes me feel complete and happy! Thank you for sharing with Bitchless Bride!!
Photographer: Hilary Cam Photography
Dress Store: Asos
Bridesmaid Dresses: Boohoo
Makeup Artist: White Hair and Makeup Artistry
Dress Designer: Lenka Couture
Other: Breathe Bell Tents
Floral Designer: Visually Creative
What if you were brave enough or crazy enough or loony enough or coo coo enough to take your wedding and your wedding planning offline? Like no online anything... No online planning. No finding your wedding vendors online, no Pinterest (yikes!), no free advice (including mine, and I’d fucking miss you, but sometimes you have to let go of the people you love), nothing. I mean holy shit, how would that even work? How would you manage to plan your wedding without these tools, these helpful tips, these “things” we’ve become so dependent on? Seriously, how the fuck did our parents do it? And well? Right? But, something tells me you’d find a way, and maybe, just maybe you’d even like it.
Bridey, I realize what I am asking you to do. And, frankly, I don’t know how possible it is because we’ve all become so accustom to finding anything, and pretty much everything we need, want and don’t want with a swipe of a finger. Myself included!! So, why am I asking you to make it harder on yourself? How could I possibly ask such a HUGE “ask” of you during such a stressful time in your life? I mean, planning a wedding is hard enough, right? So much to do, so many details, so many things…
Well, I’m 100% convinced that taking your wedding offline will bring the humanity back into planning. You will have the opportunity to really connect with your vendors, your family, your friends and even your sig other. We have become so disconnected because of the ease of gathering information, that even a friendly phone call to inquire about flowers or catering or wedding cake can make you feel good about your choices; good about people in general. You’ll get a feeling that you won’t get by filling out a questionnaire online. You’ll get to FEEL. And, hopefully that feeling will be one of excitement and joy. It’s amazing what a good conversation can do for your soul.
My birthday was a few weeks ago, and it was a fabulous day! I felt like a queen on FaceBook, my phone was blowing up with texts, I got some amazing presents, but my favorite part? My oldest friend, who lives across the country, called to wish me, “happy birthday”, and we chatted for over an hour. I have known her since I was six years old, and although we don’t talk often, she is somebody who will be in my life forever no matter how much time goes by… And, outside of it being a great day because it was my birthday, that phone call made me so happy. She absolutely could have texted me with birthday wishes, but actually talking? Amazing. Do I expect you to feel this kind of joy after you talk with a potential wedding venue? No, but it’s more likely that the person on the other end of the call will make you feel happy and excited about your wedding in a way that a questionnaire can’t. It’s more likely that you will make a connection on the phone instead of online. It’s more likely that you will feel joy from actually speaking with somebody about a pretty important day in your life as opposed to typing about it…
So, where do we go from here? How do we do this? Honestly? I have no fucking clue! Ask your mom! Somehow she managed to plan a wedding without Pinterest. Although, I think a great place to start is by picking up the phone and calling instead of picking up the phone and swiping, even if it’s only to one of your vendors. Or, call your friend and ask who did her gorgeous flowers instead of texting her. Allow yourself to get lost in great conversation.
Bridey, is this whole offline wedding challenge logical? Doable? Manageable? I don’t know, but what I DO know is that taking a break from the continuous, endless web of choices might help connect you to your vendors, your family and your planning. Please, take this offline wedding challenge, and call it an opportunity to really connect instead of submit.
Has anybody taken this “old school” approach? How’d it go? Who’s willing to give it a try??
SO SO SO excited to share another video with you, bridey! If you want to see me preach, I mean, talk about how to save a ton of moola on your wedding, then take a minute to watch this video posted on Yahoo! Finance. Enjoy!!!
Wish I thought of this hashtag! #RedWhiteAndYou! Right? Totally perfect for a 4th of July wedding! And, where better to host a 4th of July wedding than the 200 year-old Publik House Historic Inn in Sturbridge, Massachusetts? Talk about patriotic! Seriously, Marisa and Evan really tied every single detail together while planning their holiday wedding. I mean, the venue, the clothing, the food and the vibe... Completely SPOT ON! Just wait until you see the FAB U LOUS food they served! OMG!
Bridey, if you're planning a 4th of July wedding, then look no further than Marisa and Evan's photographs for inspiration. They did an amazing job without getting sucked into the potential tackiness that can present itself when planning a holiday wedding. So, enjoy! And... Happy 4th of July!!
Burberry and bling? Sign me up!
I adore Marisa's wildflower bouquet! So vibrant and beautiful! Speaking of vibrant and beautiful, look down. Hi Evan. You're quite dapper!
Lovin' the red, white and blue!!
That'll totally take the edge off before walking down the aisle.
These are some seriously fabulous escort cards! LOVE THEM!!
Let's be honest... I love me some delicious fancy food, but all American food like sliders, pigs and scallops wrapped in bacon are pretty fucking awesome too!
Those centerpieces are so cool! Plus, they have candy, and candy is good!
Um, Marisa's mother made all the favors. I know, right?! She used local produce to make salsa, sauces, pickles, etc.
Fresh popcorn and cotton candy? Best.Wedding.Ever.
My mom and one of my close friends work for a company that provides pretty amazing training and seminars for their teams around the country. And their BIG thing? The “thing” they ask to get juices flowing and bodies moving? It’s a very simple question meant to brew up some pretty big answers. The question is, “What’s your why?” What’s your dream? The thing(s) in your belly that gives you butterflies when you think about achieving it or conquering it, the thing(s) that get you excited or terrified or both, the thing(s) that keep you going... What is your motherfucking why? Well, I clearly added that last part in, but the question remains the same. And, after a few strong cocktails and fancy food, my friend asked me what my “why” was; what got my juices flowing? What scared me? What excited me?
I thought it was pretty obvious, but I told him that my “why” was to give every part of my life everything I had. Right? Or else there is no “why”! In clearer terms, my “why” is to be a fucking rockstar mother (who accidentally swears in front of her kids), a trophy wife (not the fake bullshit, but a wife who supports her hus, and at the same time makes him proud to be married to her), to bring Bitchless Bride off “paper” and onto TV (stay tuned for more on that), to bring perspective into weddings and wedding planning, and most of all, my “why” HAS GOT TO BE to enjoy my life as it’s happening. And, bridey, that was not the sauce talking, (although maaaaybe it helped me to vocalize my “why” more definitively), it was the juice mixed with some butterflies.
So, allow me to ask you the same question, but in regards to your wedding... “What’s your ‘why’ behind wedding planning?” What gets you motivated to make it all happen? To celebrate the shit out of your nuptials? What get you excited or nauseous? Why do this? Why go through the process, the planning, the pain? Because we all know it ain’t easy... So, what’s your “why”?
A few ideas about your “why” that come to my mind based upon my years of wedding planning, coaching, writing, and, ahem… preaching?
1. I think the most obvious answer is because of your intense love for your sig other. Right? And, if it’s not, then it should be! But, seriously, all of this work shouldn’t be in vain. If your sig other isn’t the driving force behind your “why” of wedding planning and oh, I don’t know, getting married, then stop what you’re doing and reevaluate. It’s better to realize this now, instead of 1.5 kids later… Truly loving your sig other will make the wedding planning SO much more bearable! IF this is your number one “why”, then congratulations, bridey, you’re in it for the right reasons!!
2. You’ve “earned” it. You love your sig other, and you’ve been to SEVERAL weddings together over the last few years, and now it’s your turn to create an event that is about you and your love. Share who you are together through your wedding. Make it memorable and awesome!
3. You’re smart. You’re smart together. You’re a smart couple who are budget savvy. You’re not going to fuck it up with overspending, drama and unrealistic expectations. Just celebrating.
4. “If I get married, I want to be very married.” Audrey Hepburn said that. Be very married, bridey. Be in it. Be content. Be courteous. Be conscientious. But, more than anything else, and as I just mentioned, enjoy your life as it’s happening… TOGETHER.
Bridey, your “why” is your truth behind wedding planning. While I’ve shared the most “popular” “why’s”, I can’t completely answer this question for you. However, I’d make pretty damn sure that I was doing it for the right reasons, and that your “why” equals that of your sig other. Got it??
I am so beyond THRILLED to have had the opportunity to be featured on Yahoo! Finance! Bridey, check out the video, read the article, and BE SMART WITH YOUR MONEY!
I never had a bachelorette party. Perhaps it’s because I eloped and the party was a casualty of that decision, or maybe it’s because I didn’t want one. Either way, I’m on my back from Nashville, fifteen years after our engagement, fourteen years after we tied the knot, and about eight years after having our first child. Totally left my husband and kids to fend for themselves... Good thing my hus is perfectly capable of parenting without me. But, this wasn’t my bachelorette party, it was a weekend away with a few close friends; all of whom needed a fucking break from their current reality. All of whom have been married over ten years, lived a whole lot of life and wanted some time to play and rejuvenate.
According to the Cambridge English Dictionary, a bachelorette party is “a party for a woman who is going to get married, to which only her female friends are invited.” Honestly? That’s bullshit. Because, these parties should be for any and all who have dared to live and love even a little bit, married, engaged or single. You don’t have to be getting married to celebrate friendship and have some much needed time with your close girlfriends (and guy-friends too). Because with living and loving, there comes a price; a tax; a toll simply for having the balls to show up and participate, IF you actually dare to give your life everything you've got, and more. And for that kind of hustle, we should celebrate! Right? Fuck yeah! But, this trip? What I think we were really celebrating? Our friendship. Our foundation. Our fearlessness. Because when you allow somebody into your fucked up little world, and they don’t run away screaming, that’s totally grounds for celebration.
We’re celebrating the girls that get us through the day; the girls who understand our ups and downs. These are the girls who get us without strings attached and without judgement, even on our worst day (and trust me, once you get through your wedding and onto the next stage of your relationship with your sig other, you definitely don’t want anybody in your life who judges you!!). Now, ask yourself, bridey, as you prepare for your bachelorette, wedding, etc.… Are these your friends? Are these the girls (guys) you have in your life right now? Because if not, call bullshit and get rid of them. Because they will not enhance your life or your party, instead, they will suck the life out of you and your party.
I’ve touched on this previously, but it's worth mentioning again... These friends are the girls (or guys) standing with you on your wedding day. These are the girls (or guys) who have probably held your hair when you've had too much to drink. These are the girls who are wholeheartedly happy for you, and want the true you. They are happy when you are happy. They are sad when you’re sad. But, no matter what, they are there for you, and that alone is the real treat. Your wedding is only the beginning. It’s not just about you and hus, it’s about shoring up the foundations of the people who support you so that you can love in sickness and health, for better or worse... Celebrate your foundation. Don’t take it for granted and don’t stop celebrating.
Bridey, if your marriage falls apart, your foundation will be there for you. Don’t lose it, nurture it as hard as you nurture you marriage. Got it? Good! Now, where’s that penis straw?
Image via the woman sitting in front of us at the CMA's!!
May 22nd would have been my 14th wedding anniversary… If only we had gotten married. The plans were coming along beautifully. We put a deposit down at the venue (for you Bostonians, it was our very favorite restaurant, Michael Schlow’s, Radius), I went dress shopping with my mom, and we started to solidify our wedding vendors. So, why didn’t we get married on May 22nd? Well, my bridey drama queens, it’s definitely not what you’re thinking. There was no crazy controversy. There was no scandal or deranged lover or pregnancy, or whatever. I love the shit out of my husband; the one I was supposed to marry on May 22nd. But, I didn’t love the idea of planning my wedding. I know, I know, the wedding planner who didn’t want to plan her own wedding! Could I have “hired” one of my fellow wedding planner friends? Sure. But, that wasn’t the problem. Well, that wasn’t the only problem.
In 2012, I wrote an article for Huffington Post called, 5 Reasons Why I Eloped. And six years later, it all still holds true. Go read it, it’s quite good (if I do say so). But, the two major points of contention (which I still think about almost daily)? Family dynamics + budget. These two points are the biggies… Like, ruinyourfuckingwedding biggies. The power of family dynamics combined with the whole money thing can be brutal. So, to avoid dealing with the inevitable, we proactively took ourselves out of the epicenter, and ran like idiots to Vegas. I know it’s not for everyone, and I know it’s not something everyone can do without some serious repercussions. But, in the spirit of staying true to ourselves, eloping felt like our only option.
I’m not gonna lie, there were some pissed off people upon our return and celebratory announcement. But, looking back, I still feel like we dodged a bullet. I still feel like we “won” somehow. We have a day that was truly for us, and only us. But, the most important lesson here, bridey? Do what’s best for you. That’s been my motto lately; as a wedding planner/writer and personally. Your best interests lie within you. Listen to them. Does that give you license so be a selfish asshole? No, but it does give you permission to stay true to yourself and your sig other. Filter out the noise, and listen to your inner voice of reason. You get one fucking day, bridey. ONE. Use it wisely… Which leads me to my other major point. Budget.
Oh the budget…. The fucking budget. The collapse of all things based in reality. I could go on and on, and I have. But, here’s the thing, and the “thing” is pretty basic. If you can’t afford it, don’t buy it. And, even if you can, think about your financial goals after your wedding. It seems far away now, but I can afford my life now because I didn’t fuck it up then and spend all of my/our money on a wedding. Even if it’s not your money, have some respect for whomever’s money it is. Don’t buy just to buy. Prioritize your needs and wants and go from there. You definitely don’t want your benefactor(s) (ahem... usually your parents) to harbor any resentment because you took advantage of their generosity.
May 22nd will always have a special place in my heart as my kinda, sorta, almost weddingiversary. But, it also reminds me of how I (we) stayed true to what we wanted, and didn’t go for broke in the process. You should try it, bridey!
Photo by Tom The Photographer
Bridey, when I tell you that David's first look reaction is amongst the most incredible, emotional and straight out gut-wrenching reaction I've EVER seen in person and on Bitchless Bride, believe me. When I tell you that Holly + David are madly in love, and created a wedding entirely representative of that love, believe me. When I tell you that YOU too can create a wedding that is entirely about you and your sig other, believe me. Whatever you are doing that doesn't feel like it is about the two of you, stop. Remember that you can and deserve to have a wedding which represents who you are together. Just scroll down for proof of that sentiment.
Bridey, this wedding will absolutely blow your mind. I'm OB SES SED with this backyard throw down party filled with raw emotion, tons of delicious treats, WAFFLES and a l'il debauchery. H+D definitely know how to throw a party! But, beyond the party, it's apparent that these two belong with each other and put together a celebration symbolic of their love. You should try it.... I give you permission to have the wedding you want and to be has happy as Holly + David. Enjoy!
I needed you to have a close u of this STUN NING dress. OMFG.
You're gonna love her by the end of this post...
Damn girl, you are beautiful!
Are you ready for this? David is already wiping away tears and he hasn't even seen Holly yet!
Right? Are you crying right now? Go get a tissue...
Like... THE SWEETEST!!
Holly, that dress fits you like a glove! Your bod is smokin' hot!
Can you hear it? It seriously came to life for me when I saw this pic!
I want to be sandwiched in-between these two pictures! Candy, cupcakes and cake, oh my!!
Look how warm and inviting H+D's wedding is!
Fucking WAFFLES people!!!
He looks like somebody I'd like to have some whiskey with, right??
Right? Don't you LOVE her? And them together!! I wonder...
Thank you for sharing your incredibly emotional and fabulous day with Bitchless Bride!
Photographer: Wilde Company
It's really easy to lose yourself and your self control while planning your wedding. Actually, it's really easy to lose yourself in any large and somewhat daunting project. Right? I mean it starts innocently enough, but then it all seems to add up and up and up, and usually all at the same time. The big picture begins to feel really fucking big and unsurmountable. And wedding planning? On top of all of the other shit you have going on? Feels brutal and unforgiving. The endless details, the myriad of friends and family members offering their advice and suggestions, the constant changes and moving parts! OH MY!!! There seriously isn't enough Xanax in the world to calm your ass down! But, don't worry! That's why I have created a list of ways for you to climb back up the downward spiral of despair and kick some wedding ass! Ready?
1. Quit making it so big! Break your wedding planning down into small, manageable pieces. You don't have to have all of the answers now. Just know that you have to get them... eventually. Bridey, it’s been said that all great things take time to build. Same is true for weddings. So stop pressuring yourself to get it all done so fast. I mean... Don't be a slacker, but at the same time, don't push too hard too fast either. This is a giant undertaking; one that's expensive and emotional, and you have to break it down to be successful. Sometimes looking at the big picture can make it feel completely impossible. But, looking at it piece by piece? Totally obtainable!
2. Be fucking nice. Be fucking nice to everyone whether they’re involved in your wedding planning or not. If what you put out is what you get back (the law of cause and effect), don’t be a nasty bitch. Seriously, I’ve been preaching this shit for years! Be nice! This is probably the easiest “fix” on the list because it’s so simple. Think about it… If you’re a nasty bitch, then inevitably you can expect to be greeted with nasty bitches in return. Right? So don’t be a bitch! You get more bees with honey, so be sweet, and delicious and golden. You’ll be amazed at how your wedding planning experience changes, and quite possibly your life too.
3. Ask for help. If I had to guess, I’d imagine that since you’ve been sporting that rock on your hand, you have had several people offer to help you… Right? So, take them up on it! Get some help! Bridey, there is no shame in asking for help and delegating tasks. Just be sure that you trust the delegates.
4. Stop! You can totally drop and roll if you want, but I just want you to stop. Stop beating yourself up. Stop thinking about what you should be doing, could be doing, or what you didn’t do. Just stop, bridey. Stop the negativity. Because one thing leads to another and next thing you know you’re in a full blown panic over something stupid, something negative, and something completely ridiculous, and it can catapult into this monstrous snowball of negativity super fast. But, it can only have power if you give it power. So just STOP. Think about what you’ve accomplished thus far, and be proud.
5. Be patient. Be patient with yourself, the people trying to help you, and your fiancé. When shit feels unbearable, be patient; take a step back. Find a distraction (that isn’t wedding related) that makes you happy and delirious. What do I do? I bake and then lick the bowl (and eat the cookies, but enough about me!). Just remove yourself from the situation, and be patient.
Bridey, I know what it feels like to be out of control, and feel helpless as you tumble. But, I know you can get through it! The crazy thing? These five steps? 100% applicable to your wedding planning AND your marriage.
It’s no secret that people say stupid shit, right? I mean, sometimes I am absolutely dumfounded at the pure stupidity uttered from people who generally mean well, but can’t seem to find the right sequence of words to string together to make what they are TRYING to say purposeful and/or helpful. And, oftentimes, the “offender” will recognize their error in judgement almost immediately (probably after seeing you cringe), put their foot in their mouth and apologize, but those other times… Oh my Gaaawwwd! UGH! The “offender” is completely clueless, continuing on with their judgy diatribe of words, leaving you to pick up the pieces of your pride and self worth. Am I right? Did you just picture a few “offenders”? So, how can you, bridey, get past the stupid shit people are inevitably going to say to you about your wedding plans (and you personally) at a time when you are at your most vulnerable?
Here's some of the stupidest shit people say — and the solutions:
The Complimenter: This is by FAR my favorite insultingly awesome “compliment” I hear my clients grieve over (usually for weeks).
Offender: “Oh my goodness! You look great! You’ve definitely lost A LOT of weight.” You see, this seems and feels like a compliment, however the implication is that you had A LOT of weight to lose, and that you were a giant fat ass prior to losing all of this weight for the wedding.
The solution?: Reinterpret the statement as, “Oh my goodness! You look great! You’ve clearly been working hard.” Because, in my heart of hearts, bridey, I know that this is what the “offender” meant to say. It’s just that they didn’t say it tactfully, which means you have to change how you hear it.
The Comparer: When the “offender” is trying to stir the shit… This bitch knows exactly what she is doing, and is purposefully trying to get you riled up.
Offender: “Wow. When I planned my wedding, I had all of my vendors lined up within weeks of choosing the date.” OR “I already had all of that stuff done at this point in the planning.” The implication here is that you are way behind the eight ball, and you’re fucked; your wedding is fucked, and she’s better than you.
The solution?: Rise above, bridey, rise above! Walk away from this conversation, and rid yourself of the bullshit comparison. Even if you ARE feeling behind in your wedding planning, you don’t want to engage with somebody who isn’t there to help you, but would rather compete with you. So, don’t compete. And, the good news for you slackers (kidding), is that being behind in your wedding planning doesn’t mean you won’t catch up. And fast. A lot of the time, all it takes is an hour or two to sit down, get yourself organized, and then knock things off of that “to-do” list.
The Inquisitor: We all have these people in our lives. They are super inquisitive, super annoying, and super nosy. Quite simply, they ask too many questions and don’t know when to quit.
Offender: “Your ring is huge! I can only imagine what your wedding budget looks like…” OR “How much is this whole ‘wedding thing’ setting you back?” OR “How does it feel to be the last of you friends getting married?” See what I mean? Too many fucking questions! Rude ones! Insensitive ones!
The solution?: Other than saying nothing and walking away? Or being an asshole (I give you permission, but…)? Don’t use seven words when four will do (totally stole this line from Brad Pitt in Ocean's Eleven)… Be short and concise as you gently tell the “offender” to mind their own business. You don’t have to answer these questions, bridey. In fact, please don’t. Shut it down, and move on.
The Diminisher: This one KILLS me. Like scrape me off of a busy road, kind of kills me… The diminisher has a tendency to make you feel small for caring as much as you do about your wedding (and the planning).
Offender: “I don’t know what the big deal is… It’s just one day.” Holy shit! Hold me back! Buuuuuut, the thing is, I actually agree with the “offender” because it IS just one day, and your marriage is about so.much.more than the day itself. However, it is a stressful, expensive and emotional day, and to downplay the enormity of it gives me rage.
The solution?: Don’t give in. Don’t let the “offender” get away with that bullshit, while at the same time don’t sink down to their level. There is no need to justify this statement. Simply say that it’s important to you, and they don’t have to understand.
The “Ought-er”: The ought-er is somebody who generally means well, but has a strong opinion about what you should be doing.
Offender: “You ought-a look into getting your haircut before the wedding.” OR “You ought-a make sure you have the budget for the extra flowers.” OR “You ought-a BLAH BLAH BLAH!!!” We get it, and perhaps you’re right, but whenever anybody starts a sentence with “you ought-a”, I immediately tune out because I am annoyed.
The solution?: Tune it out like I do. The ought-er is usually a nice person who has your best interests in mind, but doesn’t express it well. So be polite and take the “ought-er” with a grain of salt.
Bridey, you are doing great! It’s super important for you to ignore the stupid shit people say as you plan your wedding. 99% of the time, it’s them, not you!!! So, keep your wits about you, and continue to slay the cray!!!
Photo by Sweet Ice Cream Photography