Top Five Places to Find Your New Year’s Eve Dress

We’re so heartbroken the holidays are all wrapped up! Our ornaments, lights, and trees are all packed up and put away. Our ugly sweaters are folded and tucked away for next year and our gingerbread houses are broken down into tupperware. As sad as it is to say goodbye to the holidays, we’re incredibly excited for New Year’s Eve! We’ve been so excited for the holidays that we almost forgot about New Year’s Eve (almost). If you’re going out for New Year’s Eve and need to put together an outfit, we can help you out with our favorite places to go get dolled up!

Ballin On a Budget

If you need a cute outfit and spent most of your money on your secret santa, we have a few favorite stores to hit up for cheap thrills. If you’re looking for something quick and cheap just for New Year’s Eve, hit up mall stores like Forever 21 or Charlotte Russe. Both stores have lines that are designed for a more mature audience that are flattering without screaming ‘spring break’. These outfits may not last for New Year’s Eves to come, but you’ll look great for the night and it won’t break the bank.

Go Old School

If you have an afternoon to kill today or tomorrow, go thrift store hopping (just be sure to drop it off at the cleaners really quick!). Thrift stores have a TON of fun outfits right now from people donating and cleaning out their houses while on break- it’s the perfect time to find some scores.

Sweat the Small Things

If you’re out near a big city or even a college town, you’re bound to have a small indie shopping district. In LA for example, you can shop tiny boutique shops up and down Melrose and get great outfits that are hard to find. This can be a great idea if you’re going out somewhere with a lot of people- you wouldn’t want to be seen in the same outfit as someone else! Since little fashion areas tend to be smaller designers and boutique shops, just be sure to try everything on. Sometimes pieces won’t fit the same measurements as mass produced pieces.

Second Changes

Are your bridesmaids dresses picked out? Surely you had a back up (or five!) that you were thinking about for your bridal party- why not give them a turn? Hit up the bridal shop and see if you can pick up one of your second choice dresses and dance around in it just for a night. Certain shops will let you borrow a dress for a night- and it can be cheap or free if you’ve already given or promised them enough business! It can be hard to pull off, but it’s not unheard of.

Swap with a Sister

Are you always jealous of your fashionista friend? Call her up and ask to borrow something you’ve been eyeing- just be prepared to trade her those shoes she’s been dying to borrow. You can play the bride card, say you’ve been too busy shopping for her Christmas present, or just that you needed an excuse to borrow it. Good girlfriends share everything- so be ready to offer up a temporary trade. And here’s a hint from us to you- get her some coffee or macaroons she’ll probably be more likely to trust you with her vintage pieces.


Top Five Holiday Items for your Wedding

Happy Holidays! We’re almost done with Hanukkah, Christmas is just a few days away, and the holiday season is in full effect- are you feeling the cheer yet? For many of our readers, friends, and family this is their favorite time of the year. If it’s yours too, we’ve got some fun stuff you can stash away for your wedding that will keep the holiday spirit going. If you wait until December 26th, you can probably score these all at a discount, so plan ahead!

Fairy Lights

Putting up lights is always an easy win- be sure to stock up or hang on to yours for your big day! We love the white lights with white cords for weddings and the holidays- try to steer away from the rainbow or color lights. The white lights are neutral and work for all color schemes for your wedding (and for any color scheme you go for with holiday decor!). You can use this to light scenery, light pathways for night weddings, in selfie spots for wedding pictures, all sorts of decor!


We love candles, and they’re a fantastic staple for the holidays.  They’re really easy to find around the holidays, so this is the time to keep an eye out for some that you can use for your wedding. Bonus points if you can score some candle holders that flow with your wedding decor.We love white pillar candles for weddings and the holidays alike! If you got some for your celebrations, save them for the big day celebration as well. These don’t typically go on sale at a big discount after the holidays are over, so just keep your eyes peeled for any sort of discount or deal you can get on them.

Ribbon & Bows

Are you a hard core wrapper (see what we did there?)? We love bows and pretty ribbon, and you can make that work for your wedding too! Keep an eye out for your favorite ribbons and bows and you can use them throughout your wedding as decor, or to jazz up certain not so fancy things. Use the ribbon to tie your silverware into a bundle so it looks pretty and isn’t just folded. Use the bows on the backs of chairs, on name places, or anywhere you can think of that you’d like a little more festive fun.

Fun Foil Paper

It can be hard to gauge how much wrapping paper you’ll need- most of us end up with weird little scraps that aren’t big enough to use on anything else. Don’t immediately toss that into the recycling- look for places where you can use it again! We love getting foiled patterned or plain color wrapping paper that isn’t holiday or season specific because it’s easy to reuse. You can use them as name places or for directional signage (cut letters, table numbers, etc. out of the wrapping paper and stick it on black or white to pop). Start a pile, stick them all in a bag, and get creative when it’s time for some fun wedding DIY projects.

Gift Bags

If you’re doing wedding favors, be sure to pick up as many small gift bags as you can! Gift bags are one of those expenses that can get overlooked, but still come out of your wedding budget. Since there is an opportunity to pick up a bunch at a discount after the holidays, be sure to swoop in on that. If you find some that are great but have some small seasonal images or say something like “Happy Holidays” across it, don’t let that discourage you! You can always cover that with little labels or stickers with the guest’s name on it or your last names and the date. It’s an easy fix and overall, an easy win!


Top Five Black Friday Tips for Brides

Happy Black Friday! Once you’re officially out of your food coma from Thanksgiving, you can take advantage of the best shopping day of the year. This is a great time for you to swoop up some fun stuff for your personal stash, but also for you to get great wedding items and gifts for your bridal party. If you’re waking up at the crack of dawn (or maybe even waiting until Cyber Monday), make sure you’ve got our tips for a great shopping day.

Do Your Homework

Before you head out to the mall, have a game plan. If you have a favorite store, go online and check out their deals. Some stores have deals that only last through certain hours and end at specific times, while some go all day. Figure out what stores you absolutely have to go to by a certain time, and which ones you can swing by later in the day. It can also help to park centrally between all your stores- it may be easy to park in front of one store, but if you need to run out to drop off bags, it’ll be smarter to make trips that are easy to get to from anywhere rather than park on one side of a mall and have to lug your bags through a department store crowd every time you need to drop stuff off.

Double Your Deal

While you’re out- look more for deals that will pay off later, rather than just one that has a flat discount. Keep your eye out for anything that will give you gift cards or some sort of credit for next time you go shopping. Rack up the credit for a future shopping trip will make last minute wedding buys that much easier for you.

Look Out for Your Friends

If you’re at the point in your wedding planning where you’re still looking for wedding party gifts, this is literally the best day of the year to pick fun stuff up. Keep an eye out for electronics deals- they’re great for both genders and are an easy and impressive gift. Fun things like tablets can be really affordable right now and are great for anyone. If you can’t afford to do something like a tablet for everyone in your wedding party, smaller fun things like waffle makers or LED showerheads are quirky fun for everyone you know.

Stock Up on Staples

If you have a vision for your wedding decor, keep an eye out for anything you can stock up on for fun DIYs. Black Friday isn’t just about high price ticket items- those are just usually the ones that get the best press! Find a local crafts store for fun stuff like vases, doilies, ribbon, DIY materials, anything you may need for wedding projects. You can take a DIY project and make it that much more affordable by stocking up now!

Stay Home and Dream Big

Not into the mall? Totally fine! Instead of waking up, putting on shoes, and running to the store do one type of shopping you have to do from home- travel shopping! Black Friday is effective in all realms nowadays, including travel. If you have a game plan for your honeymoon, go ahead and book something right now so you have another fun thing to look forward to! Aim for hotels since those are easier to cancel if anything (like your dates or location) changes. Flights may not even be that much cheaper than usual and are hard to cancel.


Top Five Practical Wedding Gifts

Are you sick of buying blenders? Sure the new Ninja model is fantastic, but what if you want to gift something that goes a little farther than that? We’ve got a few things on our wish list that would be pretty awesome alternative gifts for the newlyweds (other than what’s left on their registry, of course!). We do suggest that you always check the registry first (afterall- that’s EXACTLY what the couple wants!), but if everything’s gone or not in your price range (go figure the four figure silverware wasn’t claimed first) then we’ve got some good gift ideas.

Get Them Going

One handy tool for the new couple? An awesome GPS device. Sure, most people use their phones right now, but it’s much safer to have a mounted GPS rather than looking down at your phone every so often. Plus they’re much less likely to have that awful “re-routing” message when your data comes in or out. It’s easy to find GPS devices for under $100, with fancier models running just over that.

Take Care of Date Night

If you’re anywhere near Southern California, Orlando, or really any major area that has a theme park spring for season passes! They may not be able to register for it, but it’s something awesome lots of couples love to have. Season passes are usually the price of one to four (tops!) visits to the park, so if they go once a month everyone got their money’s worth! It’s a great place for default dates, holidays, and playing hookie from work. You’ll be able to give them a great experience and they may even bring you home a funnel cake!

Personal Touches

If you’re looking for something original that you can do for under $100, put their face on something! There are awesome websites that are able to do personalized wine bottles, beer bottles, flasks, trinkets, you name it! Often times, discount sites like Groupon or LivingSocial will do deals too, so you’d be able to really get a deal. Something sweet like a bottle of wine with their picture, wedding date, and names could be a really sweet heartfelt gift. It’s a great keepsake from their wedding that they weren’t expecting, and bonus points if it’s good wine!


Join the Club

This is especially thoughtful if they’re just moving in together- get them a membership to Costco or Sam’s Club! If they’re starting a home or family together, a membership to a wholesale store could come in handy. Particularly if the newlyweds will be hosting parties together or just in general getting used to living together.

Foot The Bill

Pick up the tab for  some fun bills, like a Netflix or Hulu subscription. Take care of an Amazon Prime membership or a year’s worth of Audible. Fun little extras like that can be hard to find wiggle room for sometimes, but they’re always great to have. A new couple that has to take care of a wedding may be pinching pennies right now- help out their budget by taking care of some fun extras here or there.


Five Tips for your Wedding Registry

The day you and your loved one register is going to be one of the most fun days in your life. You get to run around your favorite store with a scanning gun and scan anything you’d want to receive as a gift. It’s time to get really excited. It’s also time to plan ahead to keep from getting wrapped up in all the fun. Don’t worry, we’ll keep you from “accidentally” registering for skinny jeans and several ice cream makers.


1. Assess the Goods

This will be easier if you already live with your fiance. Take some time to walk through your house to see what you have, what needs an upgrade, and what you have been wanting or needing. If you don’t live with your fiance, each of you should go through what items you’ll be bringing with you. Have an idea of what rooms will need to be filled (got four knife sets and no towels? That’s a problem). If your beloved toaster is on its’ last legs, keep that in mind too.


2. Make Lists

Make two lists- needs and wants. Your needs list is going to include any appliances that you’ll need daily, any home goods that you will need, or anything you love now that is falling apart. These are the things you would have to buy for the home anyway. Your wants list will be things you can upgrade, but don’t have to, or anything fun that you could have fun with (margarita machine, anyone?). It’s important to know the difference between the two.


3. Shop the Stores

It’s okay to register at more than one place, but pick your stores wisely. Stores like Macy’s and Target are great places to register because they’re easily accessible and have price points that are affordable. If you only register at Neiman Marcus, not all of your guests may be able to afford or even get to that store. Check out the stores online first to make sure they do carry items on your lists. If you have a destination wedding, do a quick store check to make sure that there is one in the area, just in case some of your traveling guests are planning on picking up  your wedding gift once they’ve gotten into town.


4. Give Yourself Time

It can be easy to be eager to get all your registering done, but don’t feel rushed or pressured to finish it quickly. Set aside a weekend to start and give yourself lots of time. Stores can be overwhelming and stressful. Don’t add any additional pressure on yourself by only allocating a short amount of time to shop. It’s supposed to be a fun day, don’t rush it!


5. Teamwork

Bring your fiance, your mom, or your maid of honor, but be sure that at least you have one person with you for moral support. Ideally, this will be your fiance who also has a needs and wants list. Your mom may be able to advise on what you’ll need in your house and your maid of honor knows you well enough to be helpful in tie breakers (blue blender or red blender?). Make a day of it and grab lunch first (never go shopping on an empty stomach!) so it doesn’t feel like a chore. Keep each other focused and enjoy registering!


Five Holiday Shopping Tips

Hey there bridal beauties, tis the season of giving! The mall may be intimidating this time of year, so we have some survival tips for holiday shopping.

1.       Bring back up

Do you have that one friend that hates shopping or is short on time? Bring them. Have someone who can keep you focused on the task at hand. Remember- time wasted is time stuck in a crowded mall during the holiday season. It can get easy to get sucked in by all the holiday deals, so have someone who can keep you in check.

2.       Have a Plan

Take a note from the big guy in red and make a list (be sure to check it twice!). Have a clear goal in mind (all work presents, all family presents, etc.) before you hit the stores. If you know what someone likes, make a note next to their name (example: Andrea- chocolate) so if you see something fun, you can match it to the person. If you’re on a time crunch, make it a goal to complete as much shopping as possible. If you have certain stores you know you need to hit, park accordingly and work effectively. If you know you have to pick up some big things (like sheets or pillows- anything large you’d have to carry) park near that store first. You can either do that store and drop off things to your car, or do the rest of the mall and end in your big purchase store. If you have a set budget, keep that in mind by writing it on your list. Allotting yourself a set amount to spend on each person can help narrow down choices as well as keep you (financially) on track.

3.       Get it Done Early

You may have missed the window for Cyber Monday, but stores are still pushing deals. If you’re able to, go to a mall first thing on a weekday. Malls are going to be incredibly packed on Saturday and Sunday from weekend shoppers. Weekdays after about 5:30PM can get a little more crowded with the after-work shoppers. If you go shopping on say, a Tuesday at 11:30AM there shouldn’t be a crowd. Shopping is much less stressful when the lines are short and the aisles are easy to manage.

4.       Have a Plan B

If it’s getting towards the end of the day and you’re not seeing anything you love for that special someone, no worries. Grocery stores and general stores have gift cards for all sorts of vendors like movie theaters, online stores, and restaurants. Gift cards aren’t tacky, they’re practical. If you get frustrated with the mall, it’s okay. There are other options out there. Everyone can use a gas gift card or a target gift card, and will be able to use it. It may be handy to pick up a few as back up gifts for anyone who gets (accidentally) forgotten.

5.       BYOB

Don’t fall victim to the bag rip. Plastic bags that many stores have could rip and you know that will only happen at the most inopportune time. Some cities require retailers to charge for a plastic bag or takeaway bag for merchandise, and that’s money you shouldn’t have to spend. Keep a few reusable bags tucked away for your Christmas shopping and be free of the stress of shopping bags.

Top Five Wedding Registry Sites

With the holidays right around the corner, shopping is in full swing. We love the holiday season- the whimsical decor, the delicious foods, holiday cookies and treats, and of course all the shopping! Holiday shoppers are not the only ones looking for the most wanted gifts. Couples getting married are looking for amazing gifts for their wedding. So here are our top five places to register for your wedding:

  1. William Sonoma: If you are looking for exclusive top quality products, then you may want to choose to register with William Sonoma. They have everything for your home:-from kitchen, bath, and living room.  What’s really fun about registering with William Sonoma is that they offer a $10.00 discount on all cooking classes, so you can try out all your new tools! Sounds amazing right?
  2. Macy’s: From wedding day wardrobe to new home furniture, Macy’s has you covered. The perfect place to register for your gifts.  Not only do they have a wide range of your favorite brands, but you get a pretty sweet discount too. Yep, on many of their items, they offer discounts and also rewards on your Macy’s card. So if you are a Macy’s shopper, you may want to register here and get all the amazing benefits.
  3. Bloomingdales: If you love shopping at Bloomingdales and in love with their fabulous items, then you may want to consider registering for some great wedding gifts there. Bloomingdale’s registry is all about  exclusive invitations to VIP events, where you will have access to your own personal wedding consultant and be able to manage and update your registry online. As an added bonus, you’ll get a copy of The Little Registry Guide with loads of rich photos to give you some fantastic ideas for your home.
  4. Crate and Barrel: Tabletop to kitchen to furniture, Crate and Barrel offers everything you need for your home.Some great items for every occasion or function.  What is really cool and exclusive to Crate and Barrel is that they have partnered up with Paperless Post and offer free Save the Date announcements. So, one less thing you have to worry about during the wedding planning process. 
  5. Target: This is perfect for the couple who is a total Target lover. You can create a gift registry that truly reflects your style. Target has some pretty cute items for the home, bath, and kitchen. You can register for your favorite essentials with an added bonus of that style that you love so much from Target.

We have to mention that you do not have to be limited to one place to register for your wedding gifts.   Some couples opt to register at two places, as they have some of their favorite products at both. So do not worry about trying to choose just one place! Go ahead and choose more than one place, and have fun!

Happy Shopping!

Five Tips for a Successful Bridal Shopping Experience

Searching for your dream dress should be one of the most enjoyable times of your whole wedding experience. Sometimes though, the experience may seem to be a little overwhelming. These five tips will help to alleviate any stress you may encounter, and make the event more memorable and pleasurable for you and everyone else involved.

1. Research: It is always beneficial to do some research prior to going to your bridal appointment. Search on different designer websites or Pinterest in order to familiarize yourself with the different styles that are available. Then, narrow down your style choices to a select few and bring supporting pictures to your appointment. This gives your consultant a better idea as to what style you are looking for, and will enable them to suggest similar styles for you.

2. Time: Be sure to give yourself enough time to look for a wedding gown; and by time, I mean months! There are a few manufacturers that can accommodate quick weddings, but most designers need at least 3-6 months. If you do any custom or length changes, you can expect your gown to take even longer. You will also need to plan ahead for having alterations and steaming done on your gown – all which take a few weeks or more depending on the store. You want to be sure to get a dress that you love, so give yourself enough time to find the perfect dress for you.

3. Company: The more people you bring to an appointment, the more opinions you will have to deal with. As a consultant, I suggest that you bring 2-3 people at the most with you. Dress shopping is an exciting experience, but it can take a detour when you try to include everyone and have their approval. It isn’t possible to please every single person, so do not try to do so. It is best to surprise everyone on the day of your wedding. When you are walking down that aisle, people won’t be wondering what your other dress options were. Instead, they will be focused on you and how happy you look. They will see how your dress compliments you, your personality, and your theme. I’ve noticed that most brides are able to express their likes and dislikes better when they bring a few people to their appointment.

4. Shopping: Visiting a few different stores allows brides to see what types of gowns are available to them. With that being said, you want to stay balanced and not try to go to every store possible. Going to numerous dress stores in a short period of time will make you feel overwhelmed and confused. Designers are constantly coming out with new gowns and designs, so you could essentially look for a dress forever. Visit a few different stores to formulate what it is that you like and then narrow those choices down. It would be best to space out your appointments instead of visiting three different shops in one day. Doing so can overwhelm you as a bride and prevent you from wanting to make a decision.

5. Open-Minded: Even though I recommend doing some personal research, I highly recommend that you keep an open-mind at your appointment. I have found that the majority of brides leave our store with a gown that was the complete opposite of what they had originally envisioned. Bridal consultants know the dresses in their store and know what looks good on certain body types. Just be open to suggestions and be willing to try something on that you normally would not have picked yourself. If your consultant suggests a gown, at least try it on. You may be surprised! It is always a fun experience when the consultant ends up choosing the bride’s gown. You are still entitled to your opinion though, so it is fine if you do not like their pick. Your experience will flow a lot better as long as you are open to suggestions. Consultants love their job, and they want to ensure that you look your absolute best on the most important day of your life!

10 California Locales for your Wedding & Honeymoon

If you currently live in the Golden State, are originally from Cali, or have always wanted to visit, there is no better place to have your wedding or honeymoon than right here! These 10 California Bridal Hot Spots are sure to entice you to at least book a trip to do some wedding or honeymoon venue ‘research’!

1. South Bay Sizzle – Redondo Beach, Manhattan Beach, Hermosa Beach

Combined, these beach towns create the ultimate Southern California experience. With its ritzy shops, luxury hotels, and hot bods on the volleyball sand courts, Manhattan Beach doesn’t disappoint if you’re looking for an ‘as seen on TV’ beach scene! Check out Shade Hotel for a possible wedding venue. Hermosa Beach is a bit more organic, being the location of choice for local surfers. Redondo Beach, or more appropriately Redondo Pier, is our own little Coney Island featuring an arcade, paddle boats, ice cream treats, and an open seafood market with live creatures!

2. Victorian Romance in San Luis Obispo

Enjoy tea for two in the famous Madonna Inn, named after local pioneer, Alex Madonna. The Victorian architecture and turn of the century gardens & décor will inspire you to indulge in your harlequin fantasies! Oh, and did I mention they have themed hotel rooms? Go to brunch at The Apple Farm, an old time favorite spot with mouthwatering American cuisine. For a daytime excursion, head South to See Canyon to pick up fresh apples of multiple varieties! A wedding at the Madonna Inn and planned weekend here for your guests is sure to be unique.

3. Its Always Sunny in San Diego

Treat your honey to a Padres game at the gorgeous PetCo ballpark, just steps to the famed Gaslamp district. Its basically the Vegas strip of Southern California. Grab some drinks & dinner, then dance the night away! Save the Zoo and Sea World for the family trip.

4. Cozy little Cabin for 2 in Big Bear

Great for summer lovin’ or a wintertime romp in the snow, Big Bear is worth the gorgeous drive up the mountain. Cool Cabins of Big Bear offer themed cabins based on your tastes. You can go fishing, hiking, and boating in the summer, or hit the slopes in the winter! For a truly intimate or family only wedding, this would be a beautiful setting. You can rent a huge cabin with 7 or 8 rooms with a large yard area for the ceremony (if its snowing, in front of the fire hearth) or book a few cabins nearby each other.

5. Mission Style Fun in Santa Barbara

My friend got married at the Santa Barbara Courthouse in 2009 and to this day, it is still my favorite wedding location. The early California-Spanish architecture is truly inspiring, and the city charges only a minimal fee for use. Visit the Santa Barbara Mission, the Santa Barbara Courthouse, and boutique shopping on State Street.

6. Go Glamping (Glamorous + Camping) at El Capitan Resort

A 5 minute drive up the 101 North takes you to the hidden and best kept secret of Santa Barbara, El Capitan Resort! Rustic, spacious canvas tents set up with plush beds, lamps, and bedside tables adorn the campsite, complete with nearby communal bathrooms and a grocery/gift shop and café. Get married in Santa Barbara, then honeymoon at El Capitan. If your wedding party is the camping type, there is a huge Yurt that appears to be available to rent for large events. Be sure to book your yurt & tents well in advance!

7. Wine Tasting in Paso Robles

Treat your senses to the delights of the vine in the popular Paso Robles wine country. The weather is just perfect for tasting outdoors while overlooking generations of old vines. Wineries are always a lovely place to get married as well, since there’s tons of space, delicious food & wine pairings, and gorgeous views as far at the eye can see….

8. Leave Your Hearts in San Francisco

This cultural hub always is and always has been at the cutting edge of entertainment, arts, cuisine, shopping, and trends. Not to mention it is chock-full of significant historical sites. Golden Gate Bridge, Alcatraz, Haight-Ashbury, and Ghiradelli square….need I say more??

9. Sonoma Valley/ Dry Creek Vineyards

Head even further up the coast to Sonoma Valley and Dry Creek (take that chocolate with you) to sample some of the best wines in the world! Sit in world-class tasting rooms overlooking massive vineyard estates, making friends with tourists from around the world and sometimes on a lucky day, the owner of the estate drops by for a visit!

10. Peace Out – Venice Beach, Santa Monica, Marina Del Rey

These three areas have no shortage of fabulous hotels, exciting nightlife, and million dollar yachts! If your wedding party is the big-city type, this is the place for you. Between The Erwin hotel, Shutters, The Huntley, The Fairmont, and The Ritz Carlton Marina Del Rey, you’ll be sitting pretty on your big day and afterward! The nautically inclined can book a wedding on a yacht and cruise through the Marina during your ceremony and reception. Venice Beach and Santa Monica have tons of sightseeing and famous landmarks for you and your group to tour.

Let this humble list inspire you to begin researching and designing your big day & tomorrows in sunny, fantastic California!