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Inspiration & How-To

Naturally we’re loving the combo of fiery red and clean white on Valentine’s Day, but luckily, both of these colors are great ways to celebrate and spark romance 365 days of the year. Check out these and more stylish and fun looks for heating things up, both today and on that very special day.

I ♥ This: Only Hearts Silk Charmeuse Mini Slip & Josie ‘Spicy Essentials’ Low-Rise Lace Boyshorts

Do I Ever: Hanky Panky ‘I Do’ Regular Rise Thong & Betsey Johnson Terry Honeymoon Robe

Find more sizzling Bridal Lingerie.

February 12, 2014

Real Wedding: Ariel & David

Rustic meets romantic: Ariel and David’s outdoor wedding in California was beautiful, intimate and unique. Ariel gives us all the details below.

The Scene: September 7th, 2013 in Santa Cruz, CA

Both David and I love being outside, so our vision for our wedding was to create a rustic and elegant garden celebration. My parents’ garden in Santa Cruz had been the site of three weddings before ours, and I had always hoped to get married there.

The land is surrounded by vineyards, and in early September, the flowers were in full bloom. We were gifted with a warm, breezy day. The day unfolded like a dream.

We had many personal elements incorporated into the wedding. For example, my brother Toby came up with a clever idea to hang a huge piece of cream fabric over a branch of an oak tree, creating a natural altar. David proposed to me under an oak tree in Big Sur, so it was a nice reminder of that day.

We found a beautiful heart made of driftwood in an art store and hung it from the center of the branch. Now the heart hangs on the wall in our dining room!

Our “seating chart” also had a story behind it. Early in our relationship, David and I were taking a walk on the beach when I spotted an ocean-polished stone and picked it up. This stone soon became a symbol of comfort for us as our relationship grew; we would pass it back and forth and carry it in our pockets when we weren’t together.

For table assignments at the wedding, we thought it only appropriate to write each guest’s name on a river stone. I’ve had many guests tell me they still have their stones and that they’ve placed them somewhere special in their own homes.

There are so many people who contributed their time, love and energy to making our wedding day bloom in the way that it did. I will be forever grateful especially to my mom, Linda, whose thoughtfulness and thorough planning made the day feel like a seamless dream.

My Look: I wore a lace wedding dress called ‘Cricket’ by Hayley Paige. I vividly remember when I tried on the dress; I instantly knew it was the one for me. It was the way I felt in it. I didn’t want to take it off!

To accent the dress, I wore pearl stud earrings and a pearl-and-diamond pendant by Mikimoto, a long veil and a beautiful bracelet by Lagos.

My bridesmaids wore long chiffon gowns by Amsale in a shade of red that was a pretty contrast against my white dress and the bright bouquets. The groomsmen wore matching bow ties.

My Wedding Stylist: Danielle Oxford, Nordstrom Valley Fair in San Jose, CA

From the moment we found the dress together through the months that followed, as we sized and styled the bridesmaids, found the perfect shoes, earrings, necklace, etc, I felt I could always turn to Danielle for expert advice and compassionate words of wisdom.

Danielle was intuitive, knowing exactly what I needed to go with the dress before I did. In one appointment, she somehow managed to run downstairs to the shoe department and find my wedding shoes before I even knew she had left! This is how Danielle was with everything. She went above and beyond for me. Her thoughtfulness, creativity and talent helped to make my experience as a bride both magical and fun!

Our Favorite Moments: There are more memorable moments than I could ever list here! But a few that come to mind are…

Seeing David for the first time and laughing together, overwhelmed by the joy of the day. My mouth hurt from smiling after five minutes with him.

Walking down the aisle in between my father, Eric, and my stepfather, Ned. I loved seeing the glowing faces of my community, their huge smiles surrounding me with love and support.

David’s nephew, Connor, carrying a sign down the aisle that read, “Here Comes Your Bride, Uncle David.” He was so adorable, surprising David with this.

My 88-year-old grandmother Pat offering advice from her 50-year marriage. “When you have a fight, just take your clothes off!” She made all our guests roar with laughter.

My younger brothers, Toby and Kyle, in their crazy tailored tiger and zebra suits, adding creative, wild spice to the wedding in their own way.

And I’ll never forget singing with my two best friends, Jemila and Natalie. I had written a surprise song for David, which we performed for him and all the guests, and then we had our first dance together.

I’m so grateful to have found David, the love of my life. I can think of no greater gift than that of loving and being loved for who we truly are. Love gives us purpose and makes life worth living.

Photography by Terry Way

Did you find your wedding gown at Nordstrom? We love a good wedding story! Email 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.

Mixing tradition with whimsy, Carolyn and David had a modern museum wedding that was uniquely them. See the gorgeous color palette, dinosaur bones (really!) and get more details from Carolyn below.

The Background: David and I met in 2007, but our connection goes back much further. Our first week of college at the University of Kansas, David was sitting at a table with some mutual friends, and I noticed his T-shirt featuring a summer camp—the same camp I had once attended! I walked right up to him to introduce myself. After a year of close friendship, we started dating, and we held our wedding on the weekend of our five-year anniversary.

The Scene: October 6, 2013, at the Perot Museum of Nature and Science in Dallas, Texas

I grew up in Dallas and wanted to hold our wedding there. We visited many venues looking for something modern and unique, and once we stepped inside the Perot Museum, we knew we had found the place for us.

Our color scheme was navy, grey and lilac. (At first, I only wanted navy and grey; that is, until I realized my wedding would be a Dallas Cowboys party!) I loved that the colors were neutral but alluded to the fall season, despite temperatures in the 70s on our wedding day.

My bridesmaids wore long dresses by Donna Morgan called ‘Laura’ in the color ‘Midnight’, accented by rose and hydrangea bouquets in shades of lilac.

We chose to hold the ceremony in the museum’s romantic Gems and Minerals Hall, which boasts an 8-foot purple geode as the centerpiece. Lilac flowers and soft, romantic drapery set the mood.

After the ceremony, our guests moved into what I called “the Dinosaurs Hall” to enjoy cocktails and hors d’oeuvres surrounded by massive dinosaur fossils.

For our reception, guests went down to the lobby of the museum and were greeted by the Dallas skyline, dancing water molecules suspended from the ceiling and, of course, more dinosaurs. Delicious meals were served from Wolfgang Puck Catering, starting with a haricots vert salad with confit tomatoes, followed by a sweet pea agnolotti. Guests chose from slow-braised short ribs, organic chicken breast and almond-crusted salmon.

My Look: I wore a Nouvelle Amsale tulle ballgown. I wanted to look traditional with a fun twist. I also wanted a gown that was actually comfortable and something I could dance in! I loved the comfortable shape and the fabric, and that the beaded belt was built in.

I wore my grandmother’s earrings for my something old and my now sister-in-law’s beaded comb for my something borrowed! Since navy was part of my color scheme, it was a perfect chance to snag the kate spade new york ‘charm’ shoes in navy glitter for my something blue.

My Wedding Stylist: Sarah at the Dallas NorthPark Center Wedding Suite

For my first appointment with Sarah, I brought a few pictures of dresses I liked, but before I even pulled them out, my gown was hanging there waiting for me! There were so many beautiful dresses to try, but this one fit the whimsical feel of my venue and I just felt right in it.

Sarah made my experience painless from purchase through fittings and alterations up to the week of the wedding. By the end, the team at Nordstrom had met almost my entire family! Everyone was so helpful and kind.

Our Special Moments: After a festive hora, we danced the night away with our guests to the music of the Motion Band. We finished the night off with vanilla cake with whipped cream and strawberry filling and, of course, a to-go candy bar on the way out.

The wedding was a whirlwind and we had a ridiculously good time!

Photos by Perez Photography

Did you find your wedding gown at Nordstrom? We love a good wedding story! Email 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.

Guest contributor (and celeb hair stylist) Sarah Potempa is back with another bridal hair how-to, this time in a vintage glam theme.

INSTRUCTIONS:
Step 1. Create your clean, deep side part, while smoothing out any fine hairs that may pop up, with your comb. TIP: For more volume, apply smoothing gel directly to brush. Using a blow dryer and a brush, pull hair through brush in upward motion. 

Step 2. Take the Beachwaver Styling Iron and begin to curl in a roller-set style. Set each curl with a clip.

Step 3. After the sections are complete and cooled, take hair down.

Step 4. Spray a light movable hairspray directly onto brush. Begin to brush out curls using a smooth, downward motion. For lasting results, pin hair with a large silver clip in each crease of the wave. Remove all clips and spray one final time.

For the reception, you can change it up by teasing the hair from mid-strand to ends to create fullness and volume. For an extra-glam step, gather hair to one side and create a thick braid. Add a fun, vintage hair accessory—even a necklace will work.

Check out the must-have hair tools that created this look, and then try it at home for yourself!

We’re a bit obsessed with the sweet, unique Southern wedding of Hillary and Jordan–and impressed with their quick planning and easy-going style! Read on for the story from Hillary.

The Proposal: Jordan and I have always been a bit nontraditional. We started dating after college and 6 months later decided to pick up and move across the country together from our hometown of Mobile, Alabama to Seattle. Two years later, Jordan proposed to me on a perfect fall Seattle morning at our home, and then we escaped to the San Juan Islands for the weekend and didn’t tell a soul what just happened! We loved basking in the secret of it all.

When we started to plan the wedding, we quickly became overwhelmed with all the choices. Should we get married in Seattle or back home? Should it be a big wedding or an intimate gathering? Should we elope?

One afternoon, both of us feeling stressed out, we went on a bike ride and the funniest thing happened. Jordan half-joked that we should just get married in a few weeks, when we we’re going to be at home for Thanksgiving. That sounded tempting. Totally “us”: spontaneous, casual and a little offbeat. So that’s exactly what we did! We planned a wedding in three weeks, from across the country. And it was perfect.

The Scene:  November 23, 2013, Washington Square in Mobile, Alabama

Because of the short timeline, we didn’t really have a “theme” or “look” for the wedding. Jordan and I just tried to be true to what we really wanted and trusted that it would look amazing.

The ceremony was held in Washington Square, a historic park in our old neighborhood. It’s centered around an old fountain and surrounded by giant, twisted live oaks. It is the epitome of Southern romance.

The wedding itself was very intimate, just close family and friends and therefore we skipped having a wedding party. I walked down aisle with my Dad to a live bluegrass band and a very close friend of ours officiated (on extremely short notice too!)

Jordan and I wrote the ceremony together, incorporating humor, heartfelt honesty and love.

The reception was held at a cute little house we rented a few blocks away from the park. We ate ourselves sick with delicious Alabama barbeque, Southern pies and desserts, and then danced to bluegrass music until late in the night.

My Look: I wore a short, fit & flare dress from Ted Baker London. My shoes were the Halogen Katrina Bootie in teal. And at the end of the night, once it got a little chilly, I topped it off with a Trouvé leather jacket in navy blue.

My Wedding Stylist: Sarah Walton, Downtown Seattle Wedding Suite

With my wedding now only a few weeks away, my girlfriend made me an emergency appointment at the Nordstrom Wedding Suite to look for dresses. To be honest, I wasn’t expecting to find my dress there, with my crazy short timeline and all. However, Sarah was incredible and gave me confidence right away. She listened to the whole story of how the wedding came to be, asked me my likes and dislikes and then assured me that we could find something I would love.

She had pulled a few dresses before I arrived, and the first dress on the rack was the Ted Baker. I thought, “This isn’t what I had in mind.” But once I was zipped in and buttoned up, I couldn’t believe it. It was THE dress. I loved that it was short and I could move around in it. The feather detail is as delicate as lace, but more unexpected, and it felt vaguely Southern.

Now that I had the dress, I needed shoes, and I started to have a little vision of what I wanted. I needed a seriously cool shoe to contrast the sweetness of the dress. When Sarah found the teal booties, it was love at first sight.

As the final ‘pièce de résistance’, I told Sarah that I wanted a little jacket to throw over my dress at the end of the night. I’d had my eye on a Trouve jacket for a while, and I thought, when is a better time to splurge and buy a navy blue leather jacket? Even with a last minute order and alterations, Sarah made it happen again.

I felt so amazing in my outfit and love that I have both the jacket and shoes that I can wear again!

Our Favorite Moments: Our day turned out to be everything we wanted in a wedding: close friends and family, good music, tasty food and lots of laughter. We could not have pulled off that crazy idea without the support of our family and friends. It was so touching that everyone immediately got on board with our plan and found ways to help make it happen.

Photography by Mikey Zeff

Did you find your wedding gown at Nordstrom? We love a good wedding story! Email 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.

Celebrity hairstylist Sarah Potempa is always coming up with new creations for her clients to rock on the red carpet. (Fun job, right?!) Here, she shares a how-to for one of her favorite glamorous styles—with a bridal twist.

INSTRUCTIONS:
Step 1. Create a 2-inch middle part and section out hair at the crown. Tease at the root.

Step 2. Brush the top section of hair into a half up and secure with a ponytail holder.

Step 3. Take The Wrap Up, pull hair through, pinch closed and roll to one side (think of a French twist). Bend the bottom end up and the top end down. Secure with bobby pins at the crease.

Step 4. Using the Beachwaver Styling Iron, take large sections of hair and curl toward the end of the piece.

Step 5. Gather the remaining bottom portion of hair into a ponytail. Tease a little from middle to end. Secure with a small, plastic elastic at the tip.

For the reception, take down the ponytail portion of the style and let bottom half loose. Or you can create a second bun by gathering hair to one side and rolling into another Wrap Up.

Check out the must-have hair tools that created this look and then try it at home for yourself!

Hero

When it comes to choosing flowers, brides often think about the wedding theme, season and colors (and of course, the bouquet inspiration they’ve been gathering on Pinterest). But did you know you can also pick flowers based on their meanings?

From “floriography”–the communication of language and meaning through flowers–to floral astrology based on birth months, similar to birthstones (for example, June’s ‘birth flower’ is the rose), the symbolism of different blooms is rooted in history and still followed today.

Consider the background of floriography: In 19th century England, specific floral arrangements were used to send coded messages. A sender would pick symbolic flowers to express feelings to the recipient, which could not be spoken aloud in Victorian society. Sounds romantic, right? Following tradition, the flowers used in Duchess Kate’s wedding bouquet were each chosen based on their meanings related to happiness, love and friendship.

Even legendary designer and wedding guru Vera Wang says that the symbolism of flowers can create a very personal and meaningful experience for a bride; she listed the meanings of some well-known and popular flowers in her book, Vera Wang on Weddings:

Anemone: expectation; Baby’s breath: innocence, pure heart; Blue violet: faithfulness; Calla lily: beauty;
Camellia: gratitude; Daffodil: joy; Daisy: gentleness; Freesia: innocence; Gardenia: purity;
Heather: future fortune; Heliotrope: devotion, faithfulness; Iris: warmth of affection;
Lily: majesty; Lily of the valley: happiness; Orange blossom: purity, virginity; Orchid: rare beauty;
Rose (red): love; Rose (yellow); friendship; Rose (coral): desire; Rose (peach): modesty;
Rose (dark pink): thankfulness; Rose (pale pink): grace; Rose (orange): fascination;
Rose (white): innocence; Tulip: passion, love; Violet: modesty, faithfulness; Zinnia: affection

So what story will you tell with your wedding day bouquet? Tell us your ideas!

January 24, 2014

Wedding Favor: Love Song CD

Today, we bring you another awesome favor idea, one that our marketing manager actually received at a wedding this summer: a CD of love songs, carefully selected by the happy couple. We love this unique and personal idea!

Hero

Sara and Kambiz created a mix of both romantic love songs and all-around happy songs, including those they played for their walks down the aisle and their first dance. They also designed the CD face and cover (so cute!) and printed guests’ names and table numbers on one side, so it doubled as a seating chart. Brilliant, right?

Below is a selection of songs from their CD to inspire your wedding music, your version of the CD favor or even just some afternoon listening! Enjoy!

“Best Days” – Eric Hutchinson

“Lovely Day” – Maroon 5 ft. Bill Withers

“You Are the Best Thing” – Ray LaMontagne

“On Top of the World” – Imagine Dragons

“The One I Love” – David Gray

“Sweet Pea” – Amos Lee

“I Won’t Let You Go” – James Morrison

“Turning Page” – Sleeping at Last

January 23, 2014

Beauty How-To: Dark Cat Eye

A dramatic cat eye is a sure way to add a little va-va-voom to your look—and yes, it can even work on your wedding day. The key is keeping it clean and classy, making smooth lines and wearing a minimal amount of makeup otherwise. Follow these steps below!

Remember to do a test before your big day to make sure you (or your makeup artist) feel confident in how to get the look you want. And test products too! For this look, we recommend Guerlain ‘Cils d’Enfer’ Maxi Lash Mascara and Guerlain Gel Eye Pencil.

Prefer light eyes but bright lips? Check out our Red Lip How-To, plus more ideas on the Beauty Blog.

HeroChampagne and celebrations go hand in hand, so it’s no surprise that bubbly is hugely popular at weddings. Though champagne is plenty fancy already, adding a bit of pear and ginger is a tangy twist worth trying!

INGREDIENTS
2 oz. pear juice
1/2-1 oz. ginger simple syrup (recipe follows)
Brut champagne (you’ll want a drier champagne to offset the sweetness of the juice and syrup)
Candied ginger slices or fresh pear slices for garnish

Ginger Simple Syrup:
1 cup water
1 cup sugar
8 pieces of ginger, peeled and sliced into 1/4 inch rounds (for a stronger ginger flavor, you can grate it instead)

STEPS
1. In a small pot, combine all ingredients for the ginger simple syrup and bring to a boil. Stir until sugar is completely dissolved.

2. Reduce heat, simmering gently for 10 minutes or until the sugar syrup thickens. Remove from heat and allow to cool completely.

3. Strain through a mesh strainer into a bottle. Once cooled, combine the pear juice and syrup in a champagne flute.

4. Fill the rest with champagne, garnish and serve—at your wedding, bachelorette party or even a wedding planning session with your girlfriends.

Cheers!

Original recipe from Sweet Peas and Saffron