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Say YES to the Honeymoon Photoshoot

honeymoon photoshoot in athens, greece

You said YES to the engagement, YES to the wedding, and YES to the honeymoon – now it’s time to say YES to the honeymoon photoshoot! 

honeymoon photoshoot in athens greece
We traveled to Greece and scheduled our photoshoot for our first full day which was in Athens. Photo Credit: Stefanos Symeonidis

Embarking on the journey of marriage is a magical experience, and what better way to immortalize those post-wedding bliss moments than with a honeymoon photoshoot? Saying “yes” to this enchanting opportunity can transform your once-in-a-lifetime trip into a visual love story that lasts forever. In this blog post, we’ll explore multiple reasons why a honeymoon photoshoot is a trend you won’t want to miss out on, as well as how you can find a photographer.

Reasons You Should Schedule a Honeymoon Photoshoot

 

  1. Preserve Precious Memories:

Your honeymoon is a unique chapter in your love story, filled with laughter, joy, and shared adventures. A professional photoshoot captures these precious moments, freezing them in time so you can relive the magic whenever you want. From romantic sunsets to stolen glances, each photo becomes a cherished memory. 

  1. Celebrate Connection:

A honeymoon photoshoot isn’t just about striking poses; it’s about celebrating the connection you share as a couple. Professional photographers specialize in capturing the genuine emotions and subtle nuances that make your relationship special. These photos become a tangible reminder of the love that brought you together.

Our photographer even went as far as photographing us holding up a picture of our cat – a true family photo!

  1. Destination Perfection:

Whether you’re exploring the bustling streets of a European city or relaxing on a tropical beach, your honeymoon destination provides a stunning backdrop for your photos. Documenting your love against these scenic vistas adds an extra layer of beauty to your images, creating a visual narrative that reflects both your relationship and the unique charm of your chosen location.

  1. Create Wall-Worthy Art:

Imagine adorning your home with breathtaking images of your honeymoon. A well-executed photoshoot not only captures your love but also transforms into wall-worthy art. Displaying these photos in your living space allows you to share your love story with friends and family, turning your home into a gallery of your most cherished moments. We have hung up two of these photos on our living room gallery wall, and more will be included in our annual holiday card.

  1. Reduced Stress Experience:

Planning a wedding is no small feat, and your honeymoon is a well-deserved break. A professional photoshoot takes the stress out of getting photos together, let alone capturing the perfect moments. With a skilled photographer guiding you, you can focus on enjoying each other’s company while they work their magic behind the lens. If you’re uncomfortable in front of a camera, they can help you relax and ensure you are posed well.

  1. Social Media Sensation:

In the age of Instagram and Facebook, sharing your honeymoon photos is a fantastic way to let your friends and family join in on the joy. Professionally shot images not only look stunning on your feed but also serve as a timeless testament to your love, garnering likes and comments for years to come.

Saying “yes” to a honeymoon photoshoot is an investment in memories that will last a lifetime. From preserving the magic of your honeymoon to creating beautiful art for your home, the benefits are endless. So, as you plan your post-wedding getaway, consider adding a professional photoshoot to your itinerary — because some moments are just too beautiful not to capture. 

All photos by Stefanos Symeonidis (Athens, Greece)

How Do I Find a Photographer in Another Country?

Great question! There are multiple different ways to finding a local photographer to document your honeymoon.

  1. AirBNB Experiences  – Go onto AirBNB.com and search under Experiences, just as you would for accommodation. You’ll find there are lots of locals offering unique experiences to do in their town – from cooking classes, unique tours, to photoshoots. Of course, options will vary on location. We actually found our photographer using this method. He was simply amazing. It was more than a photoshoot, it was a photo tour. He spent 4 hours with us, taking our photos in different locations around Athens and telling us all about the fascinating history of where we were. We even got to sit with him for a coffee and a bite to eat. Learning about other cultures first-hand has always brought me a lot of joy, so this was experience was perfect. 
  2. Flytographer – Local photographers register with Flytographer to show up in their database when you search for specific dates and locations. Pricing is set by Flytographer as a company and the photographers will get a portion of the fee. This is typically more expensive than finding someone on AirBNB.
  3. Search Engines – If you search for something like “Athens Photographer” (or whatever your honeymoon destination is) you should find personal websites for local photographers. When you find one whose style you like, you can inquire on their website and see what their hourly rate would be. 

Final Thoughts

Before picking a photographer, be sure to consider the amount of time they are giving to you, the number of photos they will provide, whether or not the photos will be edited, and how long it will take them to deliver the photos. Also, make sure you like their general style before committing! 

I enjoyed this experience so much it makes me want to hire a photographer for every big vacation, especially after we have kids. I just think it is a fantastic way to document your time in a new country and have awesome photographs for your wall/holiday cards. I do think we were lucky that it was a more affordable thing to do in Greece than it probably is in other countries, so I recognize it might not always be accessible for every vacation, but I can dream. 🙂

Planning a honeymoon? Be sure to check out our Honeymoon Planner to keep your trip organized!

Have any advice to share regarding honeymoon or vacation photoshoots? Share your thoughts in the comments below!

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Bridesmaid Dress Black Friday Sale!

mix and match bridesmaid dresses
This post may contain affiliate links. This means if you purchase through these links, we may earn a small commission, at no extra cost to you. This helps us continue to be able to produce new content and products.

Here at Gold Standard Weddings we are all about saving money on wedding expenses! It’s all about smart spending. While you may not be footing the bill for your bridal party dresses, you don’t want your bridesmaids to have to spend a fortune to look stunning by your side. That’s why we are excited to share this great deal with you!!

It’s Black Friday all month long at Kennedy Blue!

All Bridesmaid dresses are only $99.99 during the month of November! This includes maternity and junior bridesmaid dresses. 

Want to ensure you or your bridesmaids can snag a dress for this great discount? Make sure you register for the sale! 

Read on for more details!

 

Tell Me More

There are two parts to the sale:

November 1: ALL bridesmaid dresses will be $99.99, including styles normally costing up to $159. You’ll get FREE SHIPPING on all wedding accessories and there are more deals on accessories, suits and more.

November 2 – 30: Most bridesmaid dresses will still be $99.99! The only dresses excluded are the satin dresses, so if you want satin, get them on 11/1!! Even if you order during this second phase of the sale, you’ll still score deals on wedding accessories, suits, and more. 

I’m a huge fan of the mix-and-match bridesmaid dress style and Kennedy Blue offers a bunch of different styles that are sure to suit all different body types and tastes. Here are some of the highlights (and why I love them):

  1. They have 56 different color options
  2. They have 6 different fabric options: chiffon, beaded, satin, lace, sequin, velvet
  3. Available sizes run from 00-32
  4. You can try on at home before placing your order
  5.  Bridesmaids can pick the style that is flattering to them in the color you want
Get 3 FREE Color Swatches when you click this link (photo) and enter promo code 3FREECOLORS.

Hope this helps you find great bridesmaid dresses for a steal!! 

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Wedding Ceremonies and Customs

Wedding Ceremonies and Customs Blog Post
This post may contain affiliate links. This means if you purchase through these links, we may earn a small commission, at no extra cost to you. This helps us continue to be able to produce new content and products.

Your wedding day is a special moment that represents the union of two people and the start of a beautiful journey together. While traditional weddings are timeless and beautiful, many couples nowadays are choosing to infuse their ceremonies with unique and meaningful customs from various cultures and traditions. In this blog post, we’ll explore some captivating and unconventional ceremonies you can incorporate into your wedding, making it a day to remember for both you and your guests.

If you incorporate any of these ceremonies into your wedding, be sure your officiant is aware and has a script ready.

Ceremony List

Handfasting

Originating from ancient Celtic traditions, handfasting is a beautifully symbolic ritual that involves binding the couple’s hands together with ribbons or cords. Each ribbon represents different aspects of the couple’s life, such as love, trust, and unity. The couple’s hands are then tied together, symbolizing their commitment to each other. Incorporating handfasting into your wedding ceremony not only adds a unique visual element but also serves as a powerful symbol of your bond.

Preserve your handfasting ceremony by putting the knotted cords into a shadow box or special storage box with other wedding memories. Amazon offers many unique cords in a wide variety of colors from which to choose. 

handfasting ceremony
Image Source: https://www.ceotha.com/

Unity Candle Ceremony

The unity candle ceremony is a popular addition to modern weddings. It involves the lighting of two individual candles by the couple’s parents or by the couple themselves. The couple then uses their individual flames to light a single, larger candle, symbolizing their union as a married couple. This simple yet powerful ritual is a beautiful way to represent the joining of two families and the creation of a new one.

You can create your own set or buy a set adorned for wedding use

A bride and groom light the center unity candle during their wedding ceremony
Image Source: https://www.theknot.com/real-weddings/a-houstonian-hotel-wedding-in-houston-texas-album

Sand Ceremony

The sand ceremony is another symbolic ritual that signifies the blending of two lives into one. The couple pours different colored sands into a single container, often a glass vase, creating a layered effect. This artwork represents the unique qualities and individual histories of the couple, which, when combined, create something beautiful and inseparable. It’s a wonderful way to visually demonstrate the coming together of two people in marriage.

The resulting art can be displayed in the home as a constant memory of your joyous day. If you prefer something more custom, there are many sand vessels that double as picture frames, such as this one:

Image Source: https://www.koch.com.au/blog/wedding-sand-ceremony

Unity Glass Ceremony

Full disclosure – this is what we did, and we loved it!

The Unity Glass ceremony is a hybrid of the unity candle and the sand ceremonies. The parents and the two partners each have their own set of glass chips to pour into a vessel (minimum of 4 colors), symbolizing the blending of two families. After the wedding, you send the combination of glass chips to the glass blower and they create a beautiful piece of art to display in your home. Each piece of glass art is unique and the colors are a reflection of the couple. Choose colors that coordinate with your home decor or are meaningful to you.

We used Unity in Glass for this and they were wonderful to work with (this is not an affiliate link, just a positive experience I’m sharing). If you don’t want the piece of art, you can opt for a vase for an extra fee. They also offer parent gifts such as Christmas ornaments and paper weights, all out of the same mixture of glass from your wedding. We even have leftover glass that they sent back to us, so if we ever want something else created in the future, we can send it back to them.

unity glass artwork
Our unity glass artwork on display in our home!

Ring Warming Ceremony

Incorporating your guests into the ceremony can be a wonderful experience. In a ring warming ceremony, the couple’s wedding rings are passed from guest to guest, with each person briefly holding and bestowing good wishes upon them. By the time the rings make it back to the couple, they are infused with the love and blessings of their friends and family, making the exchange even more meaningful. Many couples tie the rings together with string or pass them in a small dish. 

Sometimes, the rings are taken in advance to close family members who may not be able to attend the actual wedding, ensuring that their best wishes are bestowed upon the ring.

Image Source: http://withtheseringshandmade.com/wtrblog/2017/8/8/ring-warming-ceremony

Tree Planting Ceremony

In this eco-friendly ceremony, the couple plants a tree together during the wedding. The act of nurturing the tree as it grows serves as a symbol of their love and the growth of their relationship. It’s a beautiful way to represent the longevity and deep roots of their commitment.

Choose a tree that has significance to you, whether it’s a favorite type or one with personal meaning. Consider the climate and location of the venue to ensure the tree can thrive in that environment. Prepare the tree in the days leading up to the wedding to ensure it’s properly potted or wrapped for easy planting. Make sure you have selected a spot ahead of time!

As a symbolic gesture, couples can exchange small containers of soil to represent their individual lives and histories. 

Care for the tree together and revisit it on your anniversary every year. You can water it, exchange notes or messages, and reflect on your journey as a couple.

An alternative is planting a tree inside a large container and taking the container home with you.

Image Source: https://shirleykennedy.ca/tree-planting-ceremony (LCG Photography)

Your wedding day should be a reflection of your unique love story, and including meaningful traditions and ceremonies is a beautiful way to achieve this. Whether you’re inspired by ancient rituals or want to create something entirely new, the ceremonies mentioned in this blog post can add depth and meaning to your wedding day. Remember that the most important thing is to make your wedding a representation of your love and commitment to each other, and these ceremonies can help you achieve that in a distinctive and memorable way. Embrace the beauty of tradition and the uniqueness of your own love story to create a wedding that will be cherished for a lifetime.

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Wedding Gown Preservation

woman holding her preserved bridal gown from Wedding Gown Preservation Co

After months or even years of meticulous planning, the day you’ve been eagerly anticipating has finally arrived – your wedding day! The moment you slip into your dream dress, the world seems to pause, and you transform into the radiant bride you’ve always envisioned. It’s a “one night only” special, where you are the star of the show, basking in the love and admiration of your friends and family. 

As the day unfolds, every step you take down the aisle, every dance, and every heartfelt embrace becomes woven into the fabric of your gown, forever leaving an indelible mark of joy and love. But, as the celebrations draw to a close, and reality sets in, you might wonder: “What do I do with my cherished wedding dress now?” Well, fret not! Bridal gown preservation is the answer to safeguarding the essence of your most treasured garment, preserving not just the dress itself but also the beautiful memories that accompany it. 

In this blog post, we will explore the reasons why you should consider preserving your bridal gown, expected costs, and where to find a preservationist.

Why Should I Preserve My Wedding Gown?

Read through the multiple reasons below to determine if preserving your wedding gown is the right decision for you.

  1. To Retain Its Beauty: Over time, fabrics and materials can degrade due to exposure to light, air, and environmental factors. Without proper preservation, your gown may yellow, stain, or become brittle. By preserving it professionally, you can retain its original beauty and keep it in pristine condition.
  2. To Use as a Future Heirloom: A wedding dress can become a cherished family heirloom, passing down through generations as a symbol of love and union. With proper preservation, your gown can be treasured by your future children, grandchildren, or even future generations who will feel a connection to your special day.
  3. To Repair Stains and Rips:  Professional gown preservationists don’t just put your dress in an air-tight box. First, they take the time to make any necessary repairs to your dress, be it wine stains or tears.
  4. To Save Space: You might have kept your dress hung up in its bag in your closet in the lead-up to the wedding day, but if you don’t have a lot of extra space at home, getting a nice box for your gown is a great way for it to take up as little space as possible. 
 
It’s also important to remember that sometimes you can’t see the damage on your dress before you send it in. According to Sally Conant, the executive director of the Association of Wedding Gown Specialists, “White wine and other things dry clear, and these latent stains contain sugar that caramelizes over time into dark brown stains that ordinary dry cleaning cannot remove. You may think your gown is fine, but in six months or more, the latent stain becomes pale yellow and then darkens as it ages. Heat accelerates the process.”
 

How Much Does Wedding Gown Preservation Cost?

Affordability is relative, of course, but after paying catering expenses, wedding gown preservation seemed very affordable. However, it’s still in the hundreds of dollars and should be included in your budget

Wedding gown preservation costs will vary based on how many items you want preserved in the box and the extent of necessary repairs. It is best to budget approximately $200 – $400 for this.

Where to Find a Wedding Gown Preservationist?

While we very much encourage DIY wedding planning here at Gold Standard Weddings, we do not recommend preserving your own dress. First, you’ll have to make sure it’s properly cleaned and there’s no hidden stains that will set. Time is of the essence and if you are going on your honeymoon right after your wedding, you won’t have the time to properly care for the gown.

Instead, we recommend finding a professional wedding gown preservationist. There are kits you can buy online where they ship you the box and instructions, you mail the dress to them, and they send it back to you. Alternatively, you can find a bridal shop or bridal alterations shop to take care of the packaging and shipping for you. 

In all my research, I found that a self-packing kit and working through the bridal shop were the same price. Ask your bridal shop if they work with anyone for gown preservation.

My bridal alterations shop works with Wedding Gown Preservation Co. which has been preserving the gowns of brides since 1913. At the time I was getting my dress preserved, brides couldn’t actually can’t work with them directly, I had to go through the shop. It was very easy for me to drop off my dress at the shop, pay them $250, and then pick it up a few weeks later when it came back. No folding, packing, cleaning, worrying, or upcharge. It does look like you can now order a kit from them online or on Amazon (see below).

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Designer Bridal on Amazon

This post may contain affiliate links. This means if you purchase through these links, we may earn a small commission, at no extra cost to you. This helps us continue to be able to produce new content and products.

I’ve never thought that “Designer Bridal” and “Amazon” belonged in the same sentence — until now! RODARTE, the LA fashion house founded in 2005 by sisters Kate and Laura Mulleavy, has recently launched a ready-to-wear bridal collection, and they are selling on Amazon

From their website:

After years of designing custom wedding looks, Rodarte is introducing its first official ready to wear bridal collection – consisting of 12 elegant silhouettes designed to meet the style preferences of today’s modern bride.” 

The collection is gorgeous, but be warned – it’s not inexpensive. Gowns start at $966 for a simple satin mid length slip dress, and go up to $2,850 for a floral tulle ruffle dress. While you won’t necessarily save money compared to going to local bridal shops, this does open doors for shopping convenience. While they are not technically “Prime,” they do seem to offer Amazon’s famous free returns, so you won’t be SOL if you don’t love it upon trying it on. 

Here’s some of my favorite looks, as well as other designer accessories you can get on Amazon. Click the photo to go to the Amazon page. All prices listed are as of publishing.

Rodarte White Floral Tulle High-Neck Ruffle Dress
Rodarte - White Floral Tulle High-Neck Ruffle Dress - $2,185
White Floral Tulle Tiered Ruffle Dress with Bow Belt
Rodarte - White Floral Tulle Tiered Ruffle Dress with Bow Belt - $2,850
Off-White Silk Satin Halter Gown with Silk Flower
Rodarte - Off-White Silk Satin Halter Gown with Silk Flower - $1,600
maygel coronel noor one piece
Maygel Coronel - Noor One Piece (Honeymoon chic!) - $360
Oscar de la Renta - Talita Earrings (also comes in silver) - $390
Larroude Blair Flat
Larroudé - Blair Flat (comes in other colors) - $315
La Perla Luminous Eau de Parfum
La Perla - Luminous Eau de Parfum - $138
MATEO New York Single Pearl Drop Earrings
MATEO New York - Single Pearl Drop Earrings - $595

Have fun indulging in a little bit of luxury!

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DIY – Make Unique Table Assignments and Wedding Favors out of Soap!

unique table assignments
This post may contain affiliate links. This means if you purchase through these links, we may earn a small commission, at no extra cost to you. This helps us continue to be able to produce new content and products.

Have you thought about your table assignment vision? Or what about wedding favors? Sure, the latter isn’t as common these days, but what if you can combine the two?

I wanted to do some different for our table assignments/favors – something that represented us as a couple and was something consumable (those are always the best favors, right?). For us, that was hand-poured soap! We even added loofah. This is something that even body wash people (like myself) can appreciate, because you can use it to exfoliate before you use your body wash. Ahhhh. 

This post walks you through the steps to make the soap, shrink wrap it, and label it. The video above will give you a great visual of the process and is less than 10 minutes long.

While this is geared toward making soap for wedding table assignments, you can switch up the labels if you want to do this project for a different event. A wedding shower favor is a good one.

Table of Contents

Part 1: Making the Soap

Materials Needed

  1. Clear, glycerin soap base (Note – a pound of soap generates approx. 4-5 pieces of finished soap product)
  2. Soap Cutter (optional – you can try a kitchen knife)
  3. Soap Mold
  4. Colorant
  5. Fragrance or Essential Oil
  6. Loofah (optional)
  7. Glass measuring cup (at least 2 cups, but I recommend 4 cups if you have a lot of guests. The process will go by much quicker that way!)
  8. Double Boiler (optional – you can melt in the microwave in your measuring cup if you prefer)
  9. Silicone spatula
  10. Gloves
  11. Infrared thermometer (optional – you can wait a few minutes for soap to cool without being exact)
  12. 99% isopropyl alcohol

Product Recommendations

2pcs Stainless Steel Wavy & Straight Soap Mold Loaf Cake Cutter Cutting Tools set
2pcs Stainless Steel Wavy & Straight Soap Mold Loaf Cake Cutter Cutting Tools set
Quantity - 2Pcs soap cutters.; Material - Stainless Steel; Style - Wavy/Straight.; Net Weight - Wavy: 140 gram; Straight+Wavy: 268 gram.
$8.89
Sale
ExcelSteel 3 Piece Boiler, 2.5 quart, Stainless Steel
ExcelSteel 3 Piece Boiler, 2.5 quart, Stainless Steel
Made of highly polished stainless steel; 2.5 Qt. piece is the ideal kitchen tool for melting your favorite chocolate or cheese
$32.00 $23.27
Sale
MedPride Powder-Free Nitrile Exam Gloves, Iris Blue, Medium, Box/100
MedPride Powder-Free Nitrile Exam Gloves, Iris Blue, Medium, Box/100
The ideal solution for individuals sensitive to natural rubber latex and donning powder.; Comfortable fit with textured fingertips for excellent tactile sensitivity.
$9.99 $9.50
Isopropyl Alcohol 99% Spray 2.30 oz
Isopropyl Alcohol 99% Spray 2.30 oz
Easy to use, all you have to do is to spray the desired area. For external use only.; Small Bottle that you can always take wherever you go
$8.99

Steps for Melt & Pour Soap

  1. Get your mold ready. If you are using loofahs, ensure they are cut and placed into the mold cavities. Make sure there is no dust or debris in the mold.
  2. Cut your soap base into 1-inch cubes. Wear gloves and use a cutting board.
  3. Measure out your soap. A two-cup measuring cup should have no more than 1 pound of soap.
  4. Melt your soap using a double boiler on the stove or in a glass measuring cup in the microwave.
    1. Double Boiler – Use about 1/4c or 1/2c of water in the lower pot, depending on how much soap you are melting.
    2. Microwave – heat in 15-20 second increments, don’t burn it!
  5. When melted, pour soap back into measuring cup if not heated in microwave.
  6. Let cool until it’s 140 degrees F or below (keep stirring so it doesn’t solidify). This is where you can use the infrared thermometer to check the temperature.
  7. Add your fragrance. Be sure to follow the fragrance’s guidelines on how much to put in. You don’t want to overpower it.
  8. Add your colorant. A little goes a long way. No more than 3 drops max.
  9. Stir together.
  10. Pour into molds.
  11. Spray isopropyl alcohol on top to release any surface bubbles.
  12. Let sit for at least 6 hours or overnight.

Part 2: Shrink Wrapping & Labeling the Soap

Materials Needed

  1. Shrink wrapping bags
  2. Heat gun or embossing gun
  3. Impulse sealer
  4. Labels 

Product Recommendations

Highly recommend an impulse sealer for this process because it will make shrink wrapping so much easier! There are other applications around the house for which you may use it, such as to seal leftover food, teas, candies, or sealing favors for different occasions.

vistaprint logo
If you don't have a die-cutting machine or don't want to fully DIY the labels, you can always design sticker labels on Vistaprint and have them sent to your house. It will cost more but it's less work.

Steps for Shrink Wrapping & Labeling

  1. Carefully de-mold soap once it is cured/hardened sufficiently. Place one soap in a shrink wrapping bag.
  2. Repeat until all soaps are bagged.
  3. Seal all bags with impulse sealer on two sides. Make sure the unsealed edges are removed. Keeping it just at the “red” temperature setting will allow you to easily rip off the excess when you tear it away.
    1. Use a scissor to cut a small hole in one of the corners of the bag if the air isn’t releasing.
  4. Design your labels and get them printed/cut.
    1. Use a die-cutting machine to DIY (print & cut) or use a website like Vistaprint.
    2. Note – You won’t be able to print your front labels until your table assignments are complete.
  5. Affix your labels and you’re ready to go!

And there you have it! Let me know if you have any questions in the comments below. If you did this project, I’d love to see how it turned out! Be sure to tag us on socials. 🙂

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Pressed Bridal Bouquet

bridal bouquet pressed in wooden frame
This post may contain affiliate links, which means we may receive a small commission if you purchase from our links, at no additional cost to you. This allows us to keep providing new products and content.

Table of Contents

The flowers used for your wedding have a short lifespan – but do they have to? Not if you decide to preserve them! There are many different options for bouquet preservation, including the following:

  1. Hang drying your bouquet
  2. Preserving them in resin – see our blog post about how to DIY this!
  3. Freeze drying
  4. Getting a painting made or photo printed (memory preservation)
  5. Getting your flowers pressed and framed

This blog post is about getting your flowers pressed and framed.

 

Professional Pressing

You only get one shot at preserving your bouquet, so some may feel more comfortable leaving it up to the professionals. Since I preserved my sample bouquet in resin by myself, I was happy to hand over the reins for my real bouquet. 

My bridal bouquet included garden roses, ranunculus, snapdragon, cherry blossoms, fern, and other beautiful flowers!

If you are going to get your bouquet pressed professionally, the biggest hurdle to overcome is physically getting your bouquet to the preservationist. Most preservationists require to receive your bouquet anywhere between 1 to 3 days post-wedding. 

When searching for options online, first see if there are any in your local area, but make sure you like their style and work. If you are unable to deliver the flowers, see if you have a trusted friend or family member who can drop them off for you. Alternatively, you could also use a courier service.

Some floral preservationists accept overnight delivery of flowers, which allows you to expand your search outside your local area. This will require you to package your bouquet appropriately and ensure it is promptly dropped off at UPS/FedEx/etc. Expect this to add over $100 to the expense depending on how far you are shipping it and the speed of delivery. 

Many professional floral pressers can only accept so many flowers in a weekend, so make sure you book with someone far enough in advance to ensure availability for your date! 

It may take a few months for your pressed bouquet to be finished depending on the shop’s volume. 

Also, some preservationists offer add-ons to your framed bouquet, or just alternatives. Some offer trays, coasters, and jewelry that include your wedding flowers. These can be gifted or kept for yourself. 

bridal bouquet pressed in wooden frame
My pressed bouquet from Wren & Olivia.

DIY Pressing

Where are all my DIY gals at? I LOVE a good DIY project, and this is something you could totally try on your own. To play it safe, you can always try with a random supermarket bouquet first and see how it turns out. Test your skills before it matters. 🙂

Steps to DIY your bouquet:

  1. Choose the Right Flowers
    First, you need to choose the right flowers for pressing. Not all flowers are created equal when it comes to preservation. Some flowers, like roses, daisies, and pansies, press well, while others, like lilies, do not. Talk to your florist about which flowers will be best for pressing.
  2. Pressing the Flowers
    The most common way to press flowers is by using a flower press. You can buy a flower press online, or you can make one yourself. To make a flower press, all you need is two pieces of cardboard, some newspaper, and a few heavy books. Sandwich the flowers between the cardboard, place them on a stack of newspapers, and then place a few heavy books on top. Leave the flowers to dry for several weeks until they are completely flat.
  3. Assemble Your Bouquet
    Once your flowers are pressed and dried, it’s time to assemble your bouquet. Lay out the flowers in the shape and arrangement you want for your bouquet, and then carefully glue them onto a piece of paper or cardstock, or directly to a frame. You can also add other embellishments, such as ribbon or lace, to complete the look.
  4. Frame Your Bouquet
    To truly preserve your bridal bouquet, you’ll want to frame it. Choose a shadow box frame that is deep enough to hold the thickness of your bouquet. You can also add other mementos from your wedding day, such as your wedding invitation or a photo, to create a truly unique and personalized display.

 

Some Links to Get You Started:

Sale
Krylon 11 oz Uv Floral Protectant Spray, Multicolor
Krylon 11 oz Uv Floral Protectant Spray, Multicolor
Floral Ultra Uv Protection Spray; Model Number: 7800; Country Of Origin: United States; Product Dimension: 7.8"L X 2.5"W X 2.5"H
$15.99 $14.76

I’d love to see what you come up with! Share your creations or any questions in the comments below!

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How to Manage Your Money After Marriage

how to manage your finances after marriage

My Your Our Money

Consider an Online Money Management Tool

Since you have decided to spend the rest of your life with someone, chances are you have a similar outlook on finances, or at least understand the other’s financial personality. 

Me? I’m a “Confident Money Manager.” I’ve been tracking  and reconciling my finances since college – literally every penny tracked in an Excel spreadsheet since I was in my early 20’s. That’s some awesome data! One of the things that stressed me out about combining finances upon marriage was how I was going to keep up my tracking with the addition of the joint accounts. My husband is more in-line with the “Laid-Back Balancer” personality, so I knew he wasn’t going to track every single item he purchases from our joint accounts, itemize receipt splits, or document credit card payments like I have been doing for years. I couldn’t ask him to do that, but I also couldn’t do it for him.

But this is marriage, right? The blending of two lives into one. So what did we do? We met in the middle.

Instead of manually tracking all my + our finances in an Excel spreadsheet, and instead of not tracking anything, we started using an online money management tool. After linking all our joint accounts, assets, investments, and debts, the tool gives us a real-time picture of our net worth and automatically categorizes our income & expenses and compares them to what’s budgeted. Sometimes it makes categorization mistakes, but it’s easy enough to correct and create rules for future transactions. For example, we have a rule that every transaction with the merchant name “Spotify” gets categorized into “Subscriptions/Memberships.” 

What first felt like taking a “step down” in terms of my tracking habits has actually turned out to be very liberating to me. I still have a clear understanding of our spending habits and financial situation, but I’m saving time and energy. As for my husband? He is able to quickly update the few transactions that ever need updating, and benefits from having a clearer understanding of where all his and our money goes. What’s more, is it has provided us the opportunity to have even more open communication about finances. It’s really been a win-win for both of us and our relationship.

There’s multiple online money management tools you can use to help simplify your joint tracking. Mint.com is a popular and free choice, but don’t discount the paid options! Couples who are very new to budgeting might really benefit from YNAB – You Need a Budget. Personally, we use Monarch Money. Monarch was created by people who used to work at Mint.com but is a more advanced version. It offers an improved UI, personalized advice, automatic recurring expense detection, and “household” capabilities. We are each able to have our own log-in for our shared household account.  I had always been against paying for a service like this since I’m really good at doing it on my own, but honestly, it’s worth it, if not for the time savings for me, then for the ease of managing the household finances together.

Try Monarch Money with an extended 30-day free trial using my referral link!

Conversations to Have With Your Spouse

Having the right tool at your disposal doesn’t mean the work is done. Far from it. There are still conversations to be had to make sure you are on the same page and ready for financial matrimony. Before creating your new joint accounts, make sure you run through the below list:

1. Decide How Your Accounts will be Structured:

Are you going to keep your money separate? Are you going to combine it all? Or are you going to take the hybrid approach and combine most, but still keep your individual accounts? If you’re doing hybrid, will you put the same percentage of each paycheck into the joint account and the rest in your individual accounts? Or, will you put the same dollar amount into your individual accounts and the balance into the joint (a more equitable option)? This decision is the first thing you need to decide so you can set-up your accounts and management tools accordingly.

2. Discuss Your Financial Goals:

What do you want to save for? An Emergency Fund (yes!)? Retirement? A house down payment? College education? A travel fund? Or do you want to focus on debt repayment? Write down all your goals so when you create your budget, you know to where income should be allocated. Ensure you open a high-yield savings account for any goal that needs to be liquid.

3. Work On Your Budget Together: 

Sit down with your spouse and create a budget that reflects your combined income, expenses, and financial goals. You can do this in your online money management tool, or take a back-of-the-envelope approach to start. Begin by subtracting your fixed expenses and “needs” from your income, then allocate some income to your savings goals (pay yourself first). Last, you can budget for your “wants.”

  1. Your Fixed Expenses/needs include the likes of housing, loan repayments, utilities, food, minimum credit card payments, and transportation expenses (basically all your necessary living expenses and financial obligations).
  2. Your “wants” include the likes of new clothes, dining out, spa treatments, travel, etc.

4. Be Transparent About Your Spending Habits:

In your discussions right now, it’s important to be honest and transparent about your spending habits. This will help you avoid any misunderstandings or money-related conflicts. Consider making rules where you consult your partner for any purchases over $X amount. You don’t want to lose your independence, but you need to be respectful of the fact your actions affect more than just you now.

5. Review Your Finances Together Regularly: 

Make it a habit to review your finances together at least monthly, and adjust your budget or financial goals accordingly. On the 1st of the month, you can review spending for the prior month and make adjustments to the current month’s budget. If one of you is more money-minded (hi, it’s me), you shouldn’t do all the work. If something were to happen to you, you want to ensure your partner is 100% knowledgeable on your situation and accounts. Including them in the process is for their benefit. 

Supplemental Readings

Sale
The Simple Path to Wealth: Your road map to financial independence and a rich, free life
The Simple Path to Wealth: Your road map to financial independence and a rich, free life
Collins, J L (Author); English (Publication Language)
$24.99 $22.49

“The Simple Path to Wealth” has a prominent spot on my bookshelf. I think I finished this one in about 3 days, but it continues to be impactful. Highly recommend!

Sale
Financially Ever After: The Couples' Guide to Managing Money
Financially Ever After: The Couples' Guide to Managing Money
Opdyke, Jeff D. (Author); English (Publication Language); 240 Pages - 03/31/2009 (Publication Date) - Harper Business (Publisher)
$17.99 $11.76
Budgeting for Couples 101: Improve Your Money Management and Communication Skills to Grow Wealth for You and Your Partner: A Joint Budgeting Plan to Getting out of Debt and Planning a Rich Retirement
Budgeting for Couples 101: Improve Your Money Management and Communication Skills to Grow Wealth for You and Your Partner: A Joint Budgeting Plan to Getting out of Debt and Planning a Rich Retirement
Graves, Nora (Author); English (Publication Language); 194 Pages - 08/14/2020 (Publication Date) - Independently published (Publisher)
Sale
Smart Couples Finish Rich, Revised and Updated: 9 Steps to Creating a Rich Future for You and Your Partner
Smart Couples Finish Rich, Revised and Updated: 9 Steps to Creating a Rich Future for You and Your Partner
Bach, David (Author); English (Publication Language); 368 Pages - 01/09/2018 (Publication Date) - Crown Currency (Publisher)
$20.00 $13.22

Have any joint money management tips or other book recommendations? Drop a comment below!

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These Shoes Saved My Feet During My Wedding

bride wearing sneakers while sitting next to her dress

Disclosure: This post may contain affiliate links, meaning I get a small commission if you decide to make a purchase through some of my links. This is at no cost to you and helps us be able to create more content.

bride wearing comfortable sneakers sitting next to dress

After changing from my slippers, I wore these memory-foam Skechers throughout all the photos before the ceremony. 

You Can Still Wear Heels, You Just Have to Supplement

The shoes you wear on your wedding day play an important role in how you will feel and function. Do you want to risk having very achey feet and needing to take rests, or do you want to dance and mingle all night long?

If you want to make sure your feet allow you to do whatever it is you want, your shoe selection is one of the most important things you’ll decide.

I knew I wanted to wear heels on my wedding day because of the way they make me feel – glamorous, put-together, sexy… I’m here to tell you that if you feel the same way, you don’t have to give up your heels! You just have to supplement. 

I made a last minute decision to purchase some sneakers 2 days before my wedding (thank you, 1-day Prime shipping!), and that was absolutely one of the best decisions I made.

Instead of walking around the venue in heels all afternoon during the pre-ceremony photos, I walked around in memory-foam Skechers. They were SO comfortable. Sure, my dress wasn’t tailored for sneakers, but I just had to kick it up a little when I walked. You can’t even tell I’m wearing them.

bride in wedding gown and groom in hunter green suit walk under cherry blossom trees

After all the photos and before the ceremony began, I changed into my wedding heels and wore them through dinner. Once the dance floor opened, I went to change into my party dress and put on a different pair of heels. For those second heels, I used Vivian Lou insoles to further ensure I wasn’t in pain. This was my second time using those insoles and so far they have worked great for me! 

If you’re keeping track, yes, I had 3 different pairs of shoes on my wedding day, 4 if you add-in the slippers, and 5 if you add-in my “just in case” rain boots. Those would have replaced the sneakers but I was ready for anything! 

Wedding Shoes

  • Slippers – for getting ready
  • Comfort Sneakers or Rain Boots – for taking photos pre-ceremony
  • Wedding Heels – for the ceremony through dinner
  • Party Heels – for your dress change, if applicable

I could have purchased one glorious pair of Bella Belle shoes, and they would have been gorgeous but hardly seen. Instead, I was able to purchase multiple pairs of shoes that were also attractive, just less intricate, and that were comfortable for all my needs. I was never once in foot pain.

If your dress is long and you care about your feet, I highly encourage you to get a pair of “comfort shoes” for yourself – seriously, you won’t regret it! I’ve put some in a table for you to check out below. The ones I got are the first ones in the table, and they had a tiny bit of shimmery sparkle to them which made them even more perfect for the big day. They were immediately comfortable (no break-in period) and I’m going to continue to wear them casually. 

Did you wear multiple pairs of shoes on your wedding day? Would you recommend them? Let other brides know in the comments below! 

May you party all night without aching feet!!!

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DIY – Preserve Your Bridal Bouquet in Resin!

Completed resin bookends

Disclosure: This post may contain affiliate links, meaning I get a small commission if you decide to make a purchase through some of my links. This is at no cost to you and helps us be able to create more content.

Table of Contents

picture of a fresh wedding bouquet next to a picture of completed resin bouquet bookends

Many brides preserve their wedding gowns after the event, but did you know you can preserve your bouquet, too? There are many different options for bouquet preservation that appeal to different aesthetics. 

Examples include:

  1. Hang drying your bouquet 
  2. Getting your flowers pressed
  3. Preserving them in resin
  4. Freeze drying
  5. Getting a painting or other piece of art depicting the flowers (memory preservation)

Some of these may be better left to the professionals so be sure to consider that for your budget. I’ve been crafting with resin for the last year or so and wanted to try my hand at bouquet bookends. Lucky for me, my florist gave me a sample of my bouquet a couple months before my wedding and that’s what I ended up using! This was good because I could learn from my mistakes, or choose a different preservation method for the real one (nothing wrong with having two sets!).

Tip: By the way, if you’re already married and wishing you had preserved your bouquet in some way, see if your florist is able to recreate it for you!  

Preserving Your Bridal Bouquet in Resin

I wanted to preserve my flowers in resin because it’s a great way to preserve color and dimension. Your flowers will lose their color with hang drying and I love the idea of seeing them in their full form. What’s more? With extra flowers you can create additional little trinkets, such as ring holders or bookends (if the latter wasn’t your main project).

Materials Needed

Click the photo to go to the product listing.

Silica Gel

 I recommend having at least 15 pounds on-hand. This is the brand I bought.

Plastic Bins 

These are used for drying the flowers. I bought this set of two.

Bookend Molds

These are what I used but you could use circular molds, as well.

Mixing Cups & Stir Sticks

These come in one package which makes it easy. I just started using these myself.

Respirator

Safety First!!! This is the respirator I have and highly recommend it.

Cartridge for Respirator

A respirator won’t do you any good without the cartridge!

Nitrile Gloves

To protect your skin, as well!

Casting Resin

Highly recommend the Counter Culture DIY casting resin. One gallon is more than enough for this project.

Artist Resin

Counter Culture DIY’s Artist Resin gives you a tough and hard top coat. The 8 oz set is more than enough.

Photo Summary of Steps

how to preserve your bridal bouquet in resin

Drying the Flowers

You can’t resin fresh flowers. I repeat: You cannot resin fresh flowers! Your bouquet must be dried before your submerge the flowers in resin. However, the flowers should be as fresh as possible when drying.

If you are immediately traveling on a honeymoon or generally unavailable the day or two after your wedding, see if you can get a friend to help with this step. 

The easiest way to dry flowers is with silica gel. You know those packets of tiny balls that come in your packages and clothes to keep things dry? That’s the same thing! Silica gel is non-toxic but it’s still best practice to wear nitrile gloves and a respirator when working with it since it comes in fine particles.

  1. Deconstruct your bouquet
  2. Cut off the stems 
  3. Pour a shallow layer of silica gel into your plastic tub
  4. Place your flower heads into the silica gel, keeping space between each one (don’t let them touch)
  5. Gently cover the flowers with additional silica gel until they are fully submerged
  6. Close the lid and set aside for 3 days
  7. After 3 days, give your flowers a check and remove any that are fully dry. These are going to be smaller flowers with low petal counts. Use a paint brush to gently wipe off excess silica gel. Store dried flowers in a cardboard box.
  8. Check again after a few more days to see if the bigger/high petal count flowers are dried and follow step 7
  9. When all flowers are dried, you are ready to begin the next step: Resin!

Putting your Flowers in Resin

This blog post assumes you are familiar with using resin. If you are interested in seeing a detailed post for resin beginners, drop me a comment below!

Now that our flowers are dry, it’s time to preserve them in resin! Depending on the mold you chose, this process could take 8+ days considering the cure time between layers. You want to make sure you have a casting resin for the bulk of your mold, and an artist resin for your top coat. I linked to the resins I used in the Materials section above. I am not an affiliate for Counter Culture DIY, I simply like their products.

  1. Mix your casting resin. I generally used 6 oz for every layer of my bookends.
  2. Pour a thin layer onto the bottom of both bookends/whatever mold you are using.
  3. Remove air bubbles via heat gun/torch/toothpick.
  4. Arrange your leaves (or flowers?) in the way you like. This is where you can really let your creativity shine. I wanted to start with a base layer of greenery but you don’t have to do that. 
  5. Let cure for 24 hours or however long your resin instructions indicate.
  6. Repeat steps 1 – 5, this time applying your second layer of flowers and greenery.
  7. Repeat steps 1 – 5, this time applying your third layer of flowers and greenery, if applicable.
  8. By now you may not have much more room for additional flowers, so repeat steps 1 – 3 daily until the mold is nearly full.
  9. Once there’s a tiny sliver of space left in the mold, mix your artist resin and pour the top coat. Remove air bubbles. Let cure.
  10. Demold your project and sand the edges as necessary. I used 1,000 grit sandpaper to take off the sharp edge.
  11. Wipe down your project with rubbing alcohol and be proud of your accomplishment!!

The Finished Product

I’m so thrilled with the results! I really look forward to seeing these on my bookshelf and being reminded of my gorgeous wedding bouquet.  If you take on this project, let me know how it goes! Best of luck!

Want to See More DIY Tutorials?

This blog post will show you how to make your own wedding table assignments out of hand-poured soap! Better yet, they double as wedding favors!

Pressed Bridal Bouquet

Considering preserving your bridal bouquet by having it pressed or pressing it yourself? Read on for more details!

Making your own DIY Bridesmaid Proposal Box doesn't have to be hard or expensive! Read on for tips on how to create your own without having to pay someone to do it for you!

Learn how to make your own gold compote vases to use as table centerpieces!