Five Tips for Perfect Engagement Photos

Did you get swept up in engagement season? Never fear, BHL is here! We know you have a lot to do, and we’re here to help. Now that the question’s been popped, it’s time to show off. Before you run off to take your official engagement photos, check out our top five tips.


1. Manage your Mani

Get yourself a quality manicure. We’re talking booking that nail artist you read about in Allure. Your hands will be photographed more heavily now than they ever have been, and you want to make sure they look good. Get your nails done as close to your photoshoot date as possible so you don’t have time to nick them or mess them up beforehand. If you’re still worried about making the mani last, opt for a gel manicure over acrylic. You don’t want to risk breaking off a nail, plus gel manicures will look more natural since they are on your natural nails. We suggest doing a classic french manicure to keep all attention on your ring.


2. Shine Bright

Get your teeth whitened! If you don’t have time to try out white strips, head over to your dentist for a quick cleaning or whitening. Even if you’re not insured, many dentists are offering whitening treatments that are affordable and relatively quick. If you have the time and the means, a deep cleaning can work wonders for your smile. You know you’ll be flashing those pearly whites, and you want them to be remembered as white.


3. Check the Weather

Dreaming of lovey-dovey photos outside? Do those dreams involve high winds or rain? Check the weather before you head out for pictures. It’ll be hard to make that ring sparkle if it’s gloomy and grey outside. If you scheduled a photographer, you may want to have a backup location just in case it starts to rain. If you’re out here in Southern California with the rest of the BHL team, you know it’s usually beautiful but that can change very quickly. Elsewhere in the country, the weather can be even more fickle.


4. Plan With your Partner

Yay- you’re engaged! But just remember, your fiance is too. Go over your plans and visions for the photos so you both know what you’re going into. You may need to have a serious sit down if your vision involves matching/coordinating outfits or any extra special looks. You don’t want to spring any surprises that will leave them feeling silly. Your engagement shoot is a time to celebrate the next step of your relationship- and that means coming to agreements.


5. Be your Classic Self

Now is not the time to try highlights or finally get a spray tan. Show off your well-known loveable self looking like no one else but you. These photos are going to last a lifetime, and you want to be able to recognize yourself! If you are a mascara and chapstick kind of girl, stick to it and leave the false lashes for another time. Showcase your favorite features and be comfortable in your skin.

Three Romantic Places to Propose in Orange County, California

The holidays not only bring holiday cheer, but a whole lot of love and romance as well. Looking for a romantic place to pop the question to the one you love?  You know, the one that is your main squeeze, your everything, the love of your life?  Then check our fabulous list of places in Orange County, California.

Disneyland: If you are a total Disney fan, and enjoy Disneyland with your loved one, this is the perfect place to propose. There are so many fantastic spots in the Disneyland Resort to choose from. In front of the magic castle, on main street, or maybe choose a ride that is favorite for you both. However, my favorite is at the Blue Bayou, the intimate restaurant inside the Pirates of the Caribbean ride. Yes, proposals at restaurants may be very traditional, however this is not your ordinary restaurant. Its inside a ride! A classic Disneyland ride which is a total Disneyland favorite. The Blue Bayou is super romantic and makes for an amazing ambience of nightfall, hanging lanterns, and lovely sounds. Make it a magical time!

Beach:  Southern Orange County is home to some of the most gorgeous beaches. Laguna Beach, San Clemente, Salt Creek Beach, or Newport Beach are all fabulous beach towns with breathtaking views of the Pacific Ocean.  You can not go wrong with any of these lovely beaches. Plan out a date night, go to a restaurant for dinner, and then take a romantic stroll on the beach. Once it is sunset, stop off one of the lifeguard towers and pop the question.

1382889_10151964301423210_91105531_nHiking Trail: If you are a nature person, and you share this with your loved one, a hiking trail is a pretty nice place to express your love. Laguna Beach’s Top of the World Laguna Beach’s Top of the World is a beautiful spot with stunning ocean views. Enjoy a hike surrounded by nature’s best, and end with a gorgeous view of the ocean. Get down on one knee and ask the love of your life to marry you!


Please share with us your proposal stories, we love to hear them!


Five Budget Friendly Groom Gifts

Hello Bridal Hot List beauties! We love grooms here at BHL, and it’s our duty to help you show your appreciation for them too. The groom gift is an important way to show not only your appreciation for your man, but also create a statement based on who you are as a couple.  Flasks and personalized cufflinks are a classic for a reason and won’t go out of style, but these fun gifts will definitely score you some points for creativity. Plus, they’re all wallet-friendly (because you don’t need to be stressing over another wedding expense right now).

First Date in a Basket

If you’ve been together for a long time, it can be good to take a look back at how far you’ve come. Did you go out for a movie on your first date? Pick that movie up on blu-ray. Did you go to a concert? Pick up a live album or a greatest hits compilation. If you headed out to a bar, go see if that bar has shirts for sale. Recreate your first date in a gift bag that will make him remember falling in love with you. These can be done fairly inexpensively (around $50-$75, depending on how much you can add to your basket) and you can probably get everything you need at target or at least on


If your groom is more of a critical thinker, get a puzzle made of either a collage of the two of you or your engagement photos. Give him all the pieces jumbled up in a keepsake box and give him something to work on for a while. For bonus points, write him little notes or inside jokes on the back of the pieces. Shutterfly, or even Walgreens can turn your pictures into a puzzle for under $30.

Personalized Wine/Beer

If he’s a wine snob or a beer aficionado, celebrate that! Pick up a case of his favorite brew or a bottle he loves and get a special label made for him. It’s a sweet gift that he’s more than likely to share with you. You can get labels made online on sites like for around $10-$15. If you throw a few extra bucks at it, you can add pictures and make it super sentimental and sweet.


Do you remember those choose your own adventure books from elementary school? Yeah, they’re still pretty awesome, and they’re surprisingly easy to write. Instead of creating a photo album, write a choose your own adventure book with photos of you both. Tell the story of how you met or how he proposed, doing a page for each milestone you overcame. Write it in second person, so the narrative is making decisions that affect where the story goes. At the end of each page, get the reader to go to one page to progress your story (turn to page four to go in for the first kiss, etc) and another page to go to (to blow her off, go to page twenty). Have one page set aside as a gag page and the rest as a linear story (just numbered and out of order like a true choose your own adventure book!). These can be done for under $50 on websites like Shutterfly or Picaboo, and you can use photos from facebook and flickr. You’ll score serious creativity points without breaking the bank, plus you’ll have a cool way to look back on pictures of you two over time.

The Ultimate 3-1-1 Travel Bag

Heading out of town for your honeymoon? If you’re flying, you’ll score some serious wife points by creating an awesome 3-1-1 travel bag. Remember, if you’re going to bring liquids on a plane one person gets one quart transparent bag and each liquid has to be in a three ounce container (it’s actually 3.4 ounces, or 100 ml but 3.4-1-1 doesn’t have the same ring to it).  Pick up tiny bottles of his favorite spirits to kickstart the honeymoon. Pick up some rum and ask for orange juice on the plane for a make-shift mai tai, or grab tiny tequila bottles to relax him before a long flight. Just make sure you get behind the wheel of the rental car when you land!


Timeless Rustic Styled Shoot from Colorful Snapshots

Let’s be honest. It is pretty tough to come back from a nice, long weekend, and get back to the grind. Kind of a bummer right? Well, before you start pouting and getting all worried for today’s tasks, let’s see if we can cheer you up with this charming, vintage rustic styled shoot. It is the oh-so-lovely details of this shoot with a side of serious design and style that has us stopping in our tracks. You probably want to set some time aside and breath in the sweetness of this dream of a shoot.  Courtesy of Colorful Snapshots and Jake Duke Studios, together with an amazingly talented team of vendors, this shoot is sure to knock your pretty socks off.  We are drooling over all the drop-dead gorgeous details. We will go as far and say that we are crazy in love with this shoot. See it all from the stunning images captured by Colorful Snapshots.


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From Steve of Colorful Snapshots

Take Time to stop and smell the roses on your wedding day. This ‘Timeless’ Style Wedding shoot was inspired by the idea to remind every bride & groom to take TIME to stop and enjoy the moment. Freeze time and take in your beautiful day; after what seems as thousands of hours of planning and making sure every detail is picture perfect, when the big day finally comes, it seems to be over with a blink of an eye. Our inspiration shoot was located in San Juan Capistrano at the Hamilton Oak Winery, with the lovely orange groves as the back drop and the blue skies above us. Color palette was easily selected based on natural elements of earth tones of brown and cream with pops of rose, teal and blue. Aleah from A la Carte flowers created a romantic bouquet for the gorgeous bride whom looked as if she was painted into the setting. The colorful florals blended in beautifully with the whimsical table setting created by Jake Duke Studios. Large vintage clocks and chandeliers were hung and styled the lounge area under the giant oak tree that created a relaxing atmosphere. The charming dessert bar was brought to life by the very talented Melissa of Sweet Missy’s Cookies and Lisa of Cupcakes by Lisa, they not only looked incredible but they were delicious too! Colorful Snapshot Photography captured each scene of the day beautifully freezing each detail to be remembered as ‘time passes’ ever so quickly.

Venue: Hamilton Oaks Winery

Event Styling and Design: Jake Duke Studios

Photography: Colorful Snapshots

Hair & Make-up: Katelyn Alford Make-Up Artistry

Flowers: A La Carte Flowers

Dessert Bar: Sweet Missy’s Custom Cookies

Rentals: Jake Duke Studios

Invitations/Paper Goods: Sojoji

Bridal Gown: Mary Me Bridal

Bridal Stylist: Hope Stanley from Mary Me Bridal

Models: Dani Mcelwee &  Josh McCuistion

 All images submitted by Colorful Snapshots.  Other photographers who participated in the styled shoot are Meghan Wiesman Photography & By Alexis Alana Photography

Southern California Engagement Session from Brittany Carr Seely Photography

From the moment I saw this sweet couple’s oh-so-cute-and fun-engagement session, I could not wait to get my hands on their wedding. By the looks of this e-session, I  just knew their big day would be a pretty amazing one. Oh, and I am even more excited because I have the honor of being the wedding planner of this amazing couple. Yep, Perfectly Made Weddings will be on hand to help plan, and create a beautiful wedding day. There are so many, many reasons why I adore this engagement session, but there is one that stands high above the rest: love. The kind of love that is so grand, that it is just spilling out from each and every image. Not just any love, but pure, fun, and quirky love.  And Brittany Carr Seely Photography was there to follow this lovely couple every step of the way to capture every single amazing shot. This darling couple  is the kind of couple  you want to be around pretty much all the time. I can not wait for their wedding day! If their love looks this good now, I can only imagine how their love will look like on their special day. Enjoy Monday with a fun-filled e-session!

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From the bride-to-be…

We chose to do a mountain scene and a beach scene because we feel like it was a good way to show what makes Los Angeles such a great place. We have the ability to see mountains and beach all in a matter of a day. We brought some of our personality into the pictures through the outfits. Justin loves to wear cat shirts and I just recently purchased my first cat shirt to go along with his obsession. I knew when I bought my shirt that we would have to wear them in our photos. We also love football. I am a from Minnesota and absolutely love the Vikings. He is a die-hard Notre Dame fan so we wore our respective team jerseys. Luckily one team is college and the other is NFL so we can root for each others teams. :) We really had a great time with our photographer.

Rustic Chic Picnic Photo Shoot by Expressionary Events

The best way to add a bit more inspiration to the week? It is all about the California outdoors infused with rustic details and a touch of elegance. Sounds pretty amazing to me.  I have to admit I am kind of obsessed with picnics. They are so romantic and intimate, and it makes for such a lovely setting.  Throw in a couple of love birds into the mix, and it is all over. I am just head over heels in love.  This stunning rustic chic styled photo shoot most certainly delivers the most beautiful, and lovely of details. All gorgeously delivered by the ever so talented Carmen at Expressionary Events.  The images? Can you say swoon? Total swoon moment for me. This breathtaking photo shoot, captured entirely by the fabulous Jaime Davis Photography.There are so many pretty details that are competing for my love. I mean, the gorgeous blooms, the fabulous cake, the orange trees, and the sweet couple adorned with the loveliest of details. I can go on and on about this shoot, but I think it is time for you to take a peek and see what I am so obsessed about.

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From Carmen of Expressionary Events

The idea and inspiration came from the designers’ love for the outdoors and romantic picnics. There is a certain allure and serenity of being in the outdoors among the trees and nature. We choose Rancho Las Lomas, a beautiful garden venue that is surrounded by citrus trees, stunning architecture, and exotic wildlife. This venue provides couples with plenty of opportunities to incorporate a rustic chic feel at every corner of the property. The concept was to create a whimsical yet rustic style wedding for brides that want to have a more causal and intimate wedding but may not know how to accomplish the look or feel.

Elements included in the shoot: 

  • Different floral patterns as well as wood elements were chosen to complement the outdoor elements in the shoot.
  • Color palette: The main color palette for the shoot consisted of jewel tones such as pink, purples and ivory
  • Bride fashion & jewelry: For the bride, we chose a dress that really tied in the theme all together. The sweetheart neckline and tulle gown made the look very whimsical. Small lace and beaded embellishments creating a romantic feel.
  • Bride  Jewelry:  We kept the look simple with a tear drop necklace, and matching bracelets. The statement piece was the gorgeous Grecian inspired headpiece by AlwaysAri.
  • Grooms Fashion: We kept the Groom very casual in khaki pants,a plaid dress shirt, and suspenders with a faux leather bow tie made by AlwaysAri to complement the ‘Rustic Picnic Theme. Keeping the tie into the romantic elements 
  • Bride hair & make-up: The Bride’s makeup was done really soft with pinks and pastels to create a very natural yet whimsical feel. Her hair was half up half down with multiple braids to create the very outdoor and natural look with relaxed curls. Her hair was finished off with a Grecian headpiece fit for any bride looking to make a statement on her wedding day.
  • Flowers & event décor: For the table scape gray and white toned linen was used to blend nicely with the trunk like vase that held jewel toned flowers of pinks and purples. Bamboo place mats were placed underneath a ivory plate and special silverware with garden engraved pictures finished off the table décor. Wine and berries were incorporated to bring in elements of a rustic picnic wedding. 
  • Cake: The cake was decorated with rosettes and floral to complement the theme. The cake sat on a special designed cake stand made out of wood and milk glass.  The table was adorned with a knife and server decorated with the same designs as the silverware on the table.

We want couples to get concepts from this shoot and be able to create it for their wedding day. Simply by choosing key statement pieces such as a headpiece or bamboo place mats can really make a difference in make something come to life at your event. Picnics are simple but with the right decor you can always bring elegance to anything.

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Venue: Rancho Las Lomas

Event Styling and Design: Expressionary Events

Photography: Jaime Davis Photography

Wardrobe Styling: Styled by Connie

Hair & Make-up: Rock Me Up

Bride’s Gown:  Bridal Elegance

Flowers: Flower Fusion

Cake: Love Me Sweets

Linens: La Tavola

Jewelry and Headpiece: Always Ari

Invitation: Expressionary Events

Models: Laurie Young Romeo & Ryan Romeo





Tips for a Perfect Wedding Day

Planning a wedding can be intricate and overwhelming, whether it be for a loved one, or for you. The selected tips in this article can help you shed new light on options you may have not thought of, and help you to organize the perfect wedding.
Understand that religious faith will influence both what your wedding looks like and your relationship going forward. It may help to discuss this with your families so that they understand how you plan on handling dual faiths in your marriage.
When wedding planning, think about what alcohol you want to serve, how you want to serve it, and try to be cost efficient. Just letting people drink all they want can really add up, especially if the reception lasts a long time. The venue representative will be able to advise you of the various alcohol service options available.
When you decide who you want to give the speeches during the reception, ask them to read them to you so you know they are appropriate. If there are going to be different generations there, you don’t want to offend anyone.
The photos taken during your wedding are important as you’ll look at these a lot of times during your lifetime. It pays to spend the extra cash to hire a wedding photographer in order to reduce the chance of some amateur screwing up your wedding photos.
The most important part of marriage is the person you plan on marrying. Do not make a hasty decision. See your partner as she really is–the good and the bad. Think not only about the reasons you love her, but all her bad habits and quirks that might irritate you after months or years together.
Your vows are very important for a very momentous occasion so make sure you take time to write them to perfection. It’s important to understand that a marriage is a strong commitment that takes both of you making sacrifices. Of course, the most important thing for vows to convey is your love for your partner.
For any stylish and fashion forward bride, there is always the option to add some flare to a bouquet with a splash of diamonds, rhinestones or Swarovski crystals. This is easy to do at home; you can just use some heat-fixed crystals or adhesives, some costume jewelry or even attach a heirloom piece. To ensure that it coordinates with the rest of your ensemble, be consistent in terms of sparkling colors, cut, and size of the stones.
Midday is your best bet for planning a wedding reception. People drink less during this time and you will not spend as much on alcohol. By having a lunch reception, the costs for food will also normally be less expensive. This could allow you to put the money saved towards other services required for your wedding.
Now that you know the fundamentals of wedding planning, you can apply the ideas presented here to manifest a personalized experience. Applying these tips can make your wedding planning hassle free, and give your guests, and yourself, an experience you will treasure forever.

Three Ways to Ask For Forever

When it comes time to propose ladies rest assured that your man is feeling the pressure.  You are the love of his life and he wants to do something special to show you just how much he cares about you.  Whether you are the quiet and intimate or over-the-top type couple , your boyfriend will plan and plot to make it a moment you will remember for the rest of your lives together.  But just in case he needs a little inspiration, here are a few proposal stories that are unique, well thought out and personalized to please the bride-to-be.

A Family Affair

I know for me, there is nothing I love more than to share those special moments in life with the ones I love.  That is why when I heard of this family style proposal it jumped to the top of my favorite list.

The unsuspecting bride-to-be joins her boyfriend for a day at the Huntington Library Botanical Gardens is Pasadena.  Upon entering the grounds, her boyfriend leaves her to “use the restroom.”  Here the plan is set into motion.  Soon after his departure the bride is joined by a friend who gives her a piece of paper.  This is her first clue in a series of clues that lead her around the grounds of the Huntington Library.  The best part… at the end of each clue is a family member to give her the next slip of paper.  By the end of the scavenger hunt she has gathered about 25 of her closest family and friends.  The very last clue leads them to her boyfriend who drops to his knee and asks her to be his wife.

The Scenic Route

We all know (and secretly wish we could be) that couple who is always active.  They love to be outside playing sports, exercising, hiking, you name it.  This next proposal is perfect if you happen to be the “out-doorsy” type.

A boyfriend decides to take his girlfriend on a hike to their favorite spot, just the two of them.  This spot happens to be on a mountain over looking the beautiful Washington landscape.  After an intermediate hike they finally reach the top and the view is absolutely gorgeous.  The girlfriend is stunned when her boyfriend kneels to ask if she will become his wife.  Luckily, a couple hiking near by sees the proposal and snaps some awesome photos.  As a result this couple now has one of the coolest proposal photos I have ever seen.  If this type of proposal suits you, make sure you enlist some help to capture that perfect moment.

A Public Display of Affection

When we find the one we love,  we are so happy that we want to shout it from the rooftops just to make sure everyone knows we have found the one.   Let’s be honest now, some of us secretly want that proposal in front of a crowd or in a public place where hundreds of random people can be witness to your partner’s declaration of love.  Here is a unique take on making a public proposal intimate and romantic.

The bride-to-be meets a colleague in a crowded restaurant for a “business” meeting.  Unbeknownst to her,  the meeting was actually set up by her boyfriend to ensure she was at this specific restaurant.  A little while into the meeting she spots her boyfriend walking up to her table.  “What are you doing here” she asks him.  He looks at her and there (in the middle of the restaurant) he lifts his hand and snaps his fingers.  Immediately the entire restaurant freezes mid meal, laugh and conversation.  It is now just the two of them, alone in a crowded restaurant.  He is able to tell her exactly what she means to him, kneel and propose.  She accepts and with another snap of his fingers the restaurant explodes in applause.

No matter the type of proposal your fiance has in store for you, it is ultimately about celebrating and cementing the fact that you have found in each other the piece you did not know was missing.  On top of a mountain, in a crowd or amongst family and friends, the proposal marks the beginning of the new life you will share together.

Palm Springs Wedding from Perfectly Made Weddings

Palm Springs will forever be a favorite destination of mine. Being as I am a total Cali girl, growing up with the beach, the mountains, the dessert, and all the fabulous weather all year round, this wedding is a total love. It’s that magical combo of sunshine and glamour which really brings me to this fabulous destination. That is why today I am overjoyed with this gorgeous Palm Springs wedding.  It has all the details that has my heart in total overdrive.  I say all of this because their heartfelt, desert nuptials have me trying to dig up adjectives worthy of their sweet ceremony and cozy reception – but I keep falling short of words that will really do it all justice. Thankfully, the images from Jennifer Yount Photography can express it all.

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This couple has seriously stolen my heart. I’m in love with them for so many different reasons, but mainly because they seem to be the type of people you want to be around all the time. I have been part of the planning of weddings for many couples, but I have to admit, I have never seen a kind of love like this one. Not just love between the two love birds, (oh THAT is just a bucket full of unconditional love), but the love that is between the couple and their guests. That love is out of this world.  I have never seen such love and joy shared with all that were present. I myself felt like I was part of the family as everyone was so open with their love. It was wonderful! I had the pleasure to help plan and coordinate this lovely wedding.  Perfectly Made Weddings, together with the sweet and fun loving couple, created a unforgettable day. Working with some incredible vendors, this gorgeous wedding had it all. Set at the beautiful Le Vallauris Restaurant  located in the heart of downtown Palm Springs, California, this wedding brought together traditions with a touch of  simple chic.  The couple really wanted to incorporate Jewish traditions into their wedding.  From the Tisch, to the challah blessing, the traditions were done so beautifully. The bride wanted something simple yet elegant for her wedding day. A  beautiful chuppah with stunning drapery and white florals was the center of it all at their ceremony. White flowers, candles, and twinkle lights decorated the reception.   Besides all the amazing ambiance set for this lovely couple and their wedding, the whole day was full of energy. From the moment the guests arrived, to the last guest leaving, there was constant joy, laughter, and energy. My favorite part? In all honesty, I really enjoyed each and every moment of this wedding. Each element brought it’s own unique and special detail, which was simply amazing. I have to say that this has been one of the best weddings I have been part of. Judy and Rob together with their guests really made it effortless. The location, the food, the decor, and all the gorgeous details were just made for these two.
Congratulations to Judy and Rob!
Vendor Information:
Wedding Planner and Designer:  Perfectly Made Weddings
Ceremony & Reception Venue: Le Vallauris Restaurant 
Entertainment:  NeFesh Music

Z Gallerie Inspired Photo Shoot

This particular photo shoot includes a number of things I adore: a love story, a darling couple, stylish home decor, and inspiration.  It is the kind of shoot that has me drooling over all the fabulous details. I have to admit that I am in love with Z Gallerie. It is the reason why I am so head over heels with this fantastic shoot.  I am kind of obsessed with Z Gallerie and all its amazing decor items. My personal home design inspiration comes from Z Gallerie. Actually, most of the decor that I adore the most in my home are items from Z Gallerie. Yep, in love with the modern, stylish, and chic details Z Gallerie offers. It is luxurious and oh so affordable. That is the best part! I can go on and on about Z Gallerie but I really want to get to this fabulous photo shoot. I am not the only one who has a passion for Z Gallerie. The lovely gals at  Classic Touch Events are also obsessed with Z Gallerie and have put together a gorgeous and inspiring shoot. I think I can look at these photos all day. All day.
















Photography: Bridget Photo

A little bit about the photo shoot from   Classic Touch Events

Well needless to say the ladies of Classic Touch Events are in love with Z Gallerie and all of their fantastic merchandise they have to offer to newlyweds for their new homes! We will be doing a series of stylized shoots using some of our favorite Z Gallerie items. To kick things off we are introducing our sweet couple that are in the beginning stages of their relationship.

Jordyn and Jonathan, falling in love…..

She met in him college, right before COMM 301, in-between classes at the campus coffee house. He opened the door for her as she rushed in to grab a cup of coffee prior to class. She glanced up and their eyes met. He was tall, handsome and something about him took her breath away.  He smiled and said hello to her in the line for coffee and that is where it all began. She was immediately drawn to him in a way she had never felt. It was as if they were connected from lifetimes before and here in this coffee house they finally crossed paths.

They began dating and have become inseparable. Jonathan knew he was falling in love.  After a few weeks of spending most of their time together he asked her on a special date.  It was her birthday so he took her on a picnic to one of his favorite spots under an oak tree. Later he planned an intimate dessert at his home to celebrate her special day.  Although their relationship is new, Jonathan knows there is something about Jordyn that makes him want to spend the rest of his life with her.


Stay tuned for more from this adorable couple.