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Now that the honeymoon is over and you’re settling into happily ever after, be sure to thank Aunt Margaret for the waffle iron and all the rest of your family and friends for their lovely gifts.

SHOP: Thank You Notes

As president of sales of the bridal division at Donna Morgan and special partner to the Wedding Suite over the years, Lauren makes us feel extra honored as she shares the story of her beautiful beach wedding to Edmund with us here on the blog.

Location: Wychmere Beach Club, Harwich Port, MA

Our Vision: Ed and I both love the water and the beach, so when we found Wychmere Beach Club we knew it was just perfect for our big celebration with all of our friends and family. Our vision was “traditional meets nautical”–with personal touches from us both.

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Looking for ideas and inspiration or just a few special touches for your wedding day décor? We’ve put together a few editor’s picks to help you do it up right.

1. Better than tin cans and soap crayons–this rear-window Just Married decal from kate spade new york.


2. Light up your love with a chalkboard marquee. Universal Ironworks Recycled Sign.


3. Voluspa petite scented jar candles: 8 different colors and scents perfect to coordinate with your color scheme and place around your venue–or use them as centerpieces and favors for guests.

4. Speaking of centerpieces–these personalized mason jars are perfect.

5. Poncho and Goldstein I’ll Love You Forever sign. Rustic and sweet.

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Erika recounts her wedding day and how she and Tom involved family and friends to celebrate the importance of everyone coming together.

Location: University Circle, Cleveland, Ohio

Our Vision: We decided on one of the most beautiful settings in Cleveland, Wade Oval. It’s surrounded by world-class museums, and we felt it was the perfect, relaxed setting for our ceremony and reception. Our families are so important to us, so we had our siblings, nieces, nephews, parents and extended family participate in our ceremony.

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Samantha shares the story of her October wedding in Ohio, where loved ones scattered across the country met in the middle at the church where she was raised.

The Ceremony: Church of St. Rita in Solon, Ohio
From the very beginning of our planning process, we knew we wanted our wedding day to be a fun gathering of family and friends. We focused on having great food and great music, knowing that our loved ones would be on the dance floor all evening.

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Now online and in selected stores: a new line of bridesmaid dresses from bridal designer Amsale Aberra. Created as a more affordable option to the original Amsale collection, nouvelle AMSALE bridesmaid dresses and wedding gowns are available at a lower price point–without sacrificing an ounce of beauty.

We love the muted tones and flowing lines of these pretty chiffon dresses. Check out our six dress styles in six different shades–perfect for flattering a variety of body types and color palettes. $190–$220.

Check back mid-April here on the Wedding Suite blog for more from Amsale!

SHOP: nouvelle AMSALE

A lot goes into planning a wedding, including finding the perfect gowns for your bridesmaids. Here, two unrelated brides—Krista and Danielle—share their inspiration and the paths that led them to choose bridesmaid dresses from Donna Morgan in beautiful shades of green.

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KRISTA

The Bridesmaid Dresses: Like most brides, I leaned on Pinterest for inspiration throughout the planning process. After we selected our venue, I knew I had to choose a color palette. Pastels were something I was really drawn to, since they are so soft and romantic, and that’s how we envisioned our wedding. Since we loved the pastel color palette, we thought that having mint green as the main color of the wedding would be unique. Once we had decided on that, it was easy to narrow down the bridesmaid dress color, since the Donna Morgan line has so many shades available.

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I knew I wanted to mix and match the colors, because we had decided to mix and match ties for the groomsmen as well. I really liked the idea that everything at our wedding would tie together but not necessarily match perfectly. I was also able to get color swatches of the dresses from a Nordstrom store, which was so helpful in making my final decision on the color, and I ended up with a mix and match of the colors Apple Tart and Spearmint.

I was very flexible with my bridesmaids. I told them the colors I liked and then let them choose whichever Donna Morgan neckline they preferred. There are so many necklines, which all look different on different body types. It was really important to me that my bridesmaids felt comfortable and pretty on our big day, so I wanted them to pick what they felt confident and pretty in!

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Your Wedding Suite Experience: I chose Nordstrom for a number of reasons. First, not all of my bridesmaids lived in the area, so coordinating a shopping trip was not going to happen for us. Choosing Nordstrom would let them all go and try on dresses and choose their style on their own, or receive free shipping if they didn’t live near a Nordstrom location. Also, I knew that if there were any issues with the sizing, they could return them without a hassle—or the girls could get them altered in store and they would be treated well.

Final Thoughts: Looking back at my pictures, I can tell that each of my bridesmaids felt as pretty as I did!

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DANIELLE

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Location: The Foundry by Herban Feast (Seattle, WA). My vision actually came together after I booked my venue. The Foundry is in the more industrial area of Seattle (SODO) and had that nice romantic, urban feel. It was the only place my fiancé and I could agree on (we loved it!). For me, it had the romance (wine barrels, soft lighting, etc.), and for him, it had the Northwest masculine feel (concrete floors, wooden chandeliers and a fireplace); it just matched our vision. I incorporated a lot of soft, romantic colors (coral, mint and gold), beach wood, air plants/succulents and soft metals—including a gold sequin runner at the head table. We also did a romantic Italian light wall and candles for the ceremony. It was heavenly. :)

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The Bridesmaid Dresses: I wanted a color to complement coral (my first color choice) and gold (my accent color). I started to see this color combo (mint + coral + gold) early in 2014 and LOVED how it looked!

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I liked the classic look of one color for bridesmaid dresses (mint), but I ended up doing shades of sage and mint for my flowers and design details of the wedding. I ended up doing shades of coral/peach/pink-orange for my flowers to add depth.

I knew what I wanted from the beginning—Donna Morgan was my designer of choice. She’s a great designer and the dresses are great quality. After that, I let my bridesmaids decide on style; I just requested that it be something long and have a “hint of mint,” because I loved how it looked in the sample I saw. The gals ironically all went with the same dresses and neckline because they just loved the style.

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Final Thoughts: Looking back at the photos, I love seeing how the bridesmaid dresses brought the whole picture together. The color (deeper than my white dress) gave a fresh, romantic look to our wedding. I can’t begin to rave how much I loved the color and overall look of my bridesmaid dresses.

And a note about Nordstrom. I knew I would get service, quality and style there. I have been a loyal Nordstrom shopper since I was born. :) My mom (since retired) worked for the company for 25 years. Nordstrom is still my go-to department store for basically everything I wear!

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Did you find your wedding gown at Nordstrom? We love a good wedding story! E-mail Nordstrom Wedding Stories for details on getting your wedding featured on our blog. And for more inspiration, make a complimentary appointment with a Wedding Stylist or browse our Wedding Suite.

To celebrate the arrival of the spring 2015 collection for BLISS Monique Lhuillier wedding dresses, we caught up with the designer behind the brand. We just couldn’t miss an opportunity to chat about her gorgeous bridal gowns (and bridesmaid dresses!), the risk she recommends brides take and her favorite thing about being in the bridal business.

Monique-Lhuillier

The Wedding Suite: Tell us three things we would be surprised to know about you.
Monique Lhuillier:
1. I started my bridal business after looking for my own wedding dress almost 20 years ago, because I felt there was a void in the marketplace for fashion-infused dresses.
2. I love the outdoors. I am from California, and I love hiking and spending time with my family in the sun.
3. I’m half French and half Filipino.

What’s the most important thing about designing a wedding dress?
For me, my bridal gowns must emanate romance and fantasy. I offer all different types of dresses that will make a bride feel glamorous and alluring on her wedding day. When designing, I focus on the gowns feeling very feminine, marked by exquisite workmanship and luxurious fabrications.

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BLISS Monique Lhuillier Wedding Dresses

What’s distinctive about your new BLISS collection; what sets it apart?
I subtly infused color into this collection. I wanted a beautiful pastel color palette including tones of pale blush and latte all mixed with soft silk layers, white tulle and lace. You’ll find exquisite design details: beautiful combinations of Chantilly lace with overlays of draped tulle and delicate embroidered lace appliqués in addition to cascading hemlines edged with horsehair trim.

How does BLISS differ from your namesake collection?
BLISS Monique Lhuillier is inspired by a feminine, elegant and youthful bride. This collection provides a curated collection of romantic dresses that are punctuated with fresh styles that embody my signature design aesthetic. I provide distinct silhouettes—from stunning trumpet-shaped gowns and ethereal sheaths to whimsical ballgowns—all at an accessible price point.

What is one bridal fashion risk you would recommend to brides?
Experiment with color on your wedding day. I love pale pink or blush for a touch of the unexpected; it can be quite enchanting for brides who are looking for something nontraditional.

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ML Monique Lhuillier Bridesmaid Dresses

What’s different about designing a bridesmaid dress versus a wedding dress?
The process is quite different, and I actually look to my ready-to-wear line for inspiration. Bridesmaids want to feel beautiful, comfortable and even a bit fashion appropriate when they are walking down the aisle. I try to provide dresses they could wear again for a special occasion and offer colors that will complement them.

What advice do you have for brides as they choose their bridal parties’ wardrobe?
The process of choosing your bridesmaids is hard, but finding a dress they will all agree on is sometimes even harder. As the bride, I think it is necessary to set the direction for what you want your bridesmaids to look like on your big day. The more guidance they have, the less likely they are to go astray. This means giving them hair and makeup direction, accessory parameters and, most of all, very specific information on what you want in their dresses. It’s important to select a bridesmaid dress that fits into your color scheme, but it’s most important for your bridesmaids to feel beautiful and at ease. Selecting one color is the easiest way to have a cohesive look; then allow the bridesmaids to select the style they are most comfortable with.

What’s your favorite thing about being in the bridal business?
The bridal business is rewarding because it all revolves around such a special day. To have the opportunity to make a bride feel beautiful, confident and glamorous on this momentous occasion is such an honor.

SHOP: Monique Lhuillier

Back in December, we gave you the scoop on why co-founders Lauren Conrad and Maura McManus created their gorgeous line of bridesmaid dresses, Paper Crown. And now, seven styles in a number of muted pastels and neutrals are ready to ship and outfit your equally gorgeous maids.

Paper Crown by Lauren Conrad Bridesmaid Dresses

Paper Crown by Lauren Conrad Bridesmaid Dresses

Paper Crown by Lauren Conrad Bridesmaid Dresses

Paper Crown by Lauren Conrad Bridesmaid Dresses

Paper Crown by Lauren Conrad Bridesmaid Dresses

Paper Crown by Lauren Conrad Bridesmaid Dresses

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Beautiful!

SHOP: Paper Crown Bridesmaid Dresses

Bridal designer, New York City dweller and self-described ‘procraftinator,’ Hayley Paige is engaged(!) and giving us the scoop on designing her own wedding gown, what celebs she’d love to dress and a sneak peek into her wedding plans.

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The Wedding Suite: Living in New York must be a constant source of creative fuel for designing your gorgeous dresses. Now that you’re engaged and making a dress for yourself, what will a Hayley Paige design look like for Hayley Paige herself?
Hayley Paige: As a bridal designer, it’s important to keep an open mind and find inspiration externally; you want to avoid just producing things you would want to wear. I like surrounding myself with a ton of visuals to help improve my aesthetic vocabulary. More is more for me! Living in New York is also ideal because the women here are so eclectic and magnetic. I love channeling their playful characteristics and assuming a “day in their shoes” to really understand what makes something beautiful.

However, being newly engaged puts a charming spin on all that I do. I’ve had a fun-yet-challenging time shifting that external fascination to a more personal dialogue. I’ve been relating my whole situation to what happens when the tooth fairy loses a tooth! For my own wedding, I want to do a little of everything that makes the Hayley Paige aesthetic so unique and versatile…but also push the envelope stylistically and individually. This will most likely result in multiple looks; I certainly don’t want a circus, but I could definitely give Cher a run for her money with the wardrobe changes I am dreaming up!

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A business to run. A wedding to plan. No doubt you’re a busy woman! What keeps you grounded?
My family has been the leading support system in my life…and they have met a fierce game-set-match with my fiancé in the past year! I’m very blessed to have people that keep me inspired and also grounded. When you have genuine people around you, you certainly don’t want to let them down! I am also grateful to have a CEO that took a chance on me at a young age. He has given me some great tools and fabulous coworkers to grow as a designer and businessperson.

Not that you probably have a lot of it, but what are some favorite things you do with your downtime?
I like tiny adventures and a good margarita! I am also a sucker for Pinterest and finding fun things to create/build/DIY around the house. I just learned the term “procraftinate” the other day—where you procrastinate by doing super-crafty organization projects. I could not think of a better word for me and what the wedding planning process is like! I find myself wanting to put a “unique chic twist” on just about everything. Hobbies aside, my absolute favorite thing is to have an engaging dinner conversation with my fiancé. He is a smart cookie and makes me laugh.

It’s been so exciting to see your dresses on the Red Carpet lately! Is there a particular celebrity that you dream of dressing?
I love any good trailblazer, fashion “it girl,” and/or athlete-turned-entrepreneur. I think Sophia Amoruso, Jamie Chung and Misty Copeland would be at the top of my list.

Lastly, we have to ask: can you tell us a little about your upcoming wedding? Sneak-peek time!
It’s going to have a “wild at heart” vibe to it. My goal is to mesh my over-the-top girliness with Danny’s humor and masculine charm. There will be sparkle, there will be some fancy dance moves, and there will be some memorable surprises.

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