Brideology: Our Bride-to-Be

As I’ve been lightly browsing (okay, let’s be honest: obsessively searching) through Pinterest, wedding blogs and magazines, one wedding trend that keeps grabbing my attention is “mix and match.” I love the look of multiple colors, textures and patterns paired together, in that perfectly imperfect way. Not only is it interesting and fun, it also seems easier to me than having to decide on just two colors or pick one type of pattern!

I especially love the mix-and-match trend for bridesmaids. I think it’s very important for my ’maids to feel comfortable and confident in what they’re wearing, so they should play up their personal styles! Hopefully, this means they’ll wear their dresses many times after being a bridesmaid, too. Here are a few real weddings I got inspiration from:

via 100 Layer Cake

via Amsale Bridesmaids

via 100 Layer Cake

Below are a few groups of styles I put together as potential combinations for my bridesmaids. (Hey, girls, what do you think?!) This coral palette is bright and summery, and I think it complements many other color combinations. The textures of each dress are so unique. I also like the idea of my maid of honor (my sister!) wearing a printed dress that has a little pizzazz, just to set her apart.

Donna Ricco | Suzi Chin for Maggy Boutique | BB Dakota | Donna Morgan | Kathy Hilton

This below set feels very of-the-moment, with lace and off-white being big trends right now. I don’t mind having my girls wearing white (I’m pretty sure people will know I’m the bride!), and even though the shades are different, it still feels cohesive. To bring it together more, each dress could have a narrow belt like two of them do here.

Alice + Olivia | Taylor Dresses | Eliza J | BCBGMAXAZRIA | Eliza J

As I’ve been thinking about how to combine different dresses, I’ve collected some ways to make the mismatching look intentional, not messy. Here are my tips:

1. Keep with a similar base color. For example, floral prints are everywhere right now, and while they can be mixed, I think it requires the same background color like white or cream. Same with other prints—using at least two or three shared colors works best.

2. Choose patterns of approximately the same size. Huge designs paired with tiny ones can look unbalanced and random. All small or all medium patterns work well for most body types, too.

3. Look for similarities in silhouettes. One reason the coral collection works is because all the dresses are fit-and-flare, and they share the same waistline and approximate length. Same with the lace dresses: they all have higher necklines and hit above the knee with a natural waist.

4. Think monochromatic. Especially if you’re nervous about mixing! Choosing 4–5 colors within the same palette is an easy way to start. You can represent all shades in an ombre effect or use just a few shades (for example, maroon with rose and red is gorgeous).

5. Keep the rest simple. Depending on how far you go with mixed dresses, you may want to match shoes, accessories and bouquets. Even matching just the same color of shoe (nude and gold are great) or bouquet help pull the look together.

And my last tip is just to have fun with it! Get your girls together, have a few mimosas, go shopping and make a fun day out of searching for the perfect dress for each girl. Then come back and comment with your story of what you found!

Until next time,
Cara

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We are always huge fans of the wedding color inspiration boards from Lover.ly, but this month, we’re especially thrilled to share a special little project! We’ll let Mandy—and the images—do the talking.

It’s finally March! While the frost has been busy melting, we’ve been looking ahead to warmer months! And the summer event we’re most excited for? Nordstrom’s Bridal Project Manager, Cara, is going to say, “I do!” We absolutely adore Cara’s style—think a little bit of boho-chic with an elegant touch. We’ve put together some wedding inspiration via Lover.ly to help her plan her upcoming wedding in the woods, and we are so excited to share it here today!

Following Cara and her bridal adventures on Brideology, we had a few key elements swirling around in our heads—fresh, local, eco-friendly, organic, wildflowers, earthy—and we think we’ve got just the perfect mix of green and chic wedding elements to inspire her for her day.

Want this look? Check out some of our favorite picks from the Wedding Suite at Nordstrom:

Anne Barge ‘Emmanuelle’ Wedding Gown | Ippolita ‘Rock Candy’ Earrings | I. Madeline Swing Dress | L.K. Bennett ‘Bondi’ Sandal | Halo & Co Headband | Alexis Bittar ‘Elements-Floral’ Necklace | Ted Baker ‘Treasured Orchid’ Dress | Nina Beaded Clutch | Donna Ricco Chiffon Dress

XO,
Mandy and the Lover.ly Team

Inspiration images via Lover.ly

Photo by: Nikol Ramsay Photography on Bridal Musings via Lover.ly | Photo by: Melissa Schollaert on Southern Weddings via Lover.ly | Photo by: Heather Hester Photography on Snippet & Ink via Lover.ly | Headband by Serenity Crystal on Lover.ly | Photo by: Ben Blood on Bridal Musings via Lover.ly |  Inspired by This via Lover.ly |  Oak Tree Invitations on Minted via Lover.ly | Photo by: Elisa B. Photography on Inspired by This via Lover.ly | Photo by: Cafe Fernando on Inspired by This via Lover.ly | Photo by:  Sarah Culver Photography on Inspired by This via Lover.ly | Photo by: Papered Heart Photography on Wedding Chicks via Lover.ly | Photo by: onelove Photography on Santa Barbara Chic via Lover.ly

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Bride-to-be Cara catches us up on her wedding planning, sharing details about her venue.

I’ve hit a couple of big milestones lately in wedding planning! First, we have a venue and date! Second, we are halfway through our engagement! I’m feeling a combination of excitement, nervousness, stress, giddiness, and fear—often all in one day (making me super-fun to be around, wink).

Choosing our venue was not easy; I was overwhelmed by choices. Although I did like the idea of a winter wedding at one point, we ultimately decided that we wanted to be outdoors—and warm! A summer wedding felt right. We did a ton of research online and made a couple of weekend visits to locations, looking at farms, wineries, beaches, hotels, parks, campgrounds… you name it. Finally, a friend suggested a bed and breakfast called Treehouse Point. As soon as we saw it, we couldn’t stop thinking about it!


Treehouse Point has—you guessed it—treehouses for us to stay in. So cool! The property is tucked away in the woods on a small river, with a grassy area for the ceremony and a lodge for dinner and dancing. Just imagine how green and lush it will be in the summer (when it’s not covered in fallen leaves and soaking wet from all our winter rain, that is)!


We really wanted to have our family and closest friends stay at the venue to spend extra time together, so we’re making a full weekend out of it. I’m hoping we’ll be able to decorate, arrange flowers, hang out by the river and relax the day before, in addition to having the rehearsal and dinner. Then we’ll just wake up and already be there for the big day!

I’m so excited to start planning the décor! But I’m forcing myself to tackle some of the bigger items first: save-the-dates, catering, photography, invitations—and of course, the dress—are all at the top of the to-do list. Stay tuned for more soon!

— UPDATE! Just saw that Treehouse Point is on Brides list of 50 Romantic Wedding Venues in the U.S.! So cool! Feeling really lucky this place is right in our backyard. Check out the article for some other amazing venue inspiration. —

—Cara

 P.S. Follow me on Instagram @Brideology for more pictures!

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In her sixth Brideology installment, Cara discovers 12 ways to put together an eco-friendly wedding design scheme.

The other night, while I was asking my fiancé if he preferred the color mauve over amethyst, it hit me that I needed to take… a… step… back. Meaning that I needed to get out of Ridiculous Minute Detail Land and think about the bigger picture of the wedding again. So I pulled out a couple of lists that we made right after we got engaged: the his and hers versions of what is most important on our wedding day.

Doing this little exercise in the beginning was really fun—our columns of “important” and “not important” were nearly identical. Some were bigger themes, like honoring our families, being outdoors and having a really comfortable, intimate feel. Some were more lighthearted, like dancing to Michael Jackson, having a campfire and serving mini-grilled cheese sandwiches (yep, that was mine). I think revisiting these lists throughout the planning process will help us stay true to our vision.

One main thing that our lists shared was “eco-friendly.” I will admit that my fiancé is better about this than I am—I can be a bit lazy and would probably choose style over green. (He would probably choose to have a wedding with no electricity; maybe I need to add “electricity” to my important list just to be safe!) But I’m going to make a really big effort here, because when throwing a party for a large group of people, it can be really easy to be wasteful.

Thankfully, there are a lot of great resources for eco-friendly wedding tips, and more and more eco-friendly real weddings and styled photo shoots are popping up. I was especially drawn to this shoot from Jasmine Star—it’s GORGEOUS. The tables feature super-sustainable cork used for vases, vintage furniture is utilized, and the wooden cutting boards under the plates could double as favors. I love how literally green it is too: the use of potted plants really warms up the space. (Also loving the dip-dye dress and the fishtail braid. If only my hair would do that!)

I started pulling together a list of EASY ways to be green with the wedding. A few may break from tradition, but I like knowing that I’m doing my part! An added bonus is that many of these are budget-friendly as well.

1. Email save-the-dates: it’s paperless, plus you get quicker responses if you need RSVPs right away!

Postcard Wedding Invite | Vintage Door

2. Send short, sweet, recycled-paper invitations: ditch the six envelopes for a postcard or simpler package and include extra info on your website. It can still look chic—see the proof above!

3. Write the program on a chalkboard or other sign instead of using printed programs. Same goes for the menu! (Extra creativity points to the couple who used this vintage door!)

4. Focus on local, organic food: try to find a caterer who uses sustainably farmed food that travels the shortest possible distance to your plate. It’s often the best tasting, and it’s fun to show off the local cuisine of your area! For us, salmon is a must.

Farmer’s Market Flowers | Apples

5. Think about what’s in season, not only for food but flowers too! Look to your local farmer’s market to see what’s fresh. I’m hoping to get flowers from the market and make my own bouquets.

6. Reuse drinking glasses: have guests write their names on tags instead of using multiple different glasses through the evening. Small things make a big difference! (Extra points again if the seating card is used as the tag!)

7. Use natural decorations! Flower petals, seeds, lavender and compostable papers can take the place of confetti, balloons, plastic or anything that’s bound for the landfill.

8. Place herbs and potted plants on tables rather than cut flower arrangements. They last so much longer, and you can give them as favors or use them in your home. I also love the terrarium idea!

Potted Herbs | Terrarium

9. Go vintage! This is such a huge trend in weddings right now, but you must make sure you get true vintage items and not just new stuff made to look old! Visit flea markets or ask your family and friends what they already have. My parents have some major gems in their garage!

10. Give consumable favors. Think jams, honey, bread, coffee beans or seeds in containers that can be reused. Or think about a favor that can be regifted beyond your wedding. Spread the love!

Homemade Jam

11. If you’re using disposable place settings, consider these eco-friendly plates made from palm leaves. Personally, I love this look! (Also note the vintage linens and potted plants—check and check!)

Place Setting

12. Promote reuse after the wedding by donating or selling your décor items on Etsy, Craigslist or eBay to help future green brides!

I’m sure there are so many more! If you have any tips or tricks, comment below!

Until next time,
Cara

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In her fifth Brideology post, Cara ponders a floral headpiece for her big day.

There is one accessory I know I want to be part of my wedding-day style–a floral wreath for a headpiece. I’m probably getting a-“head” of myself here (pun intended, of course). I don’t have a dress yet, but I just love the earthy, feminine look of a floral crown. Plus, my mom wore one, and it would be really nice to give that nod to my parents’ wedding. Hers mixed pink and white flowers and had ribbons down the back. She still has it today!

The boho bride in me has always loved this idea, but since seeing current versions on the runway at Claire Pettibone and on Kate Moss’s bevy of flower girls last year, I’m now obsessed.

Here are some of my favorite fresh flower looks:

These big blooms: WOW. “Statement headpieces” are just like a statement earring or necklace–they work well on their own to dress up an outfit.

Orange & Red | Green & White | Green & Purple

These daintier versions are lovely too, and could be paired with more jewelry or a busier dress without looking over-accessorized.

Multicolored | All White | Lavender & Blue

Keeping the overall wedding color palette in mind is important when picking out flowers for headpieces. I love matching the crown to the bouquets–either exactly the same flowers and colors or just similar elements. These images kind of make me giddy, they’re so beautiful.

Matching the bouquet to the crown makes your look instantly photo-shoot-ready!

Green & RedOrange & Green | Lavender & White

A traditional veil is also very special, and I wouldn’t want to miss out on my only chance to wear one! So now I’m thinking flower crown AND veil, like the images below. With a very light, simple veil and a crown that has some white or light colors, it totally works. I would probably wear it just for the ceremony.

Three options here: veil in the back, under or over the crown. It works every way!

Behind crown | Under crown | Over crown

One thing I worry about is that the flowers may not stay intact for the whole night, especially through the dancing! I also like headbands that are floral-inspired, or even a sash tied around as a headband. I would probably wear it more forward on my head. I tried it out a few ways below:

Anyone have experience with a floral crown? Or did you go with a headband? How did you wear it?

Until next time!
Cara

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This week, Cara, our Bridal Project Manager, ponders the allure of a winter wedding and throws together two thematic palettes: silver and cranberry.

While I was dreaming of a white Christmas (which I got, yay!), I also dreamed of a winter wedding. The season is so romantic and sparkly, couldn’t it be amazing? Imagine falling snow, twinkling lights, glitzy decorations, dancing the night away at the ball, you and your beloved in a horse-drawn sleigh arriving at your castle…

Oh, did I get a little carried away there? Maybe. But even without a castle, a winter wedding sounds magical. When we got engaged, I thought of a New Year’s Eve wedding almost immediately. (I even considered going for it this year, but that didn’t last long! Planning a wedding in two months didn’t seem possible, given that I can barely plan what to eat for dinner tonight.)

I’m still thinking a bit about doing a winter wedding next year. I keep seeing indoor settings that are just stunning, like a high-ceilinged lodge or loft space decked out with white candles, fresh green boughs and warm lighting. Or a quaint church with gold accents, crimson flowers and a lively band (Love Actually, anyone?). Of course I imagine all this with snow outside, and the chances of that in Seattle are slim. And trading my faux-fur stole for a North Face rain jacket just doesn’t complete the picture in the same way. 🙂

Roses by Reem Acra “Ivy” Gown | Table Décor | Jenny Yoo “Kiera” and Convertible Dresses
Eliza J Faux Fur Stole | Nina Comb | Nadri “Art Deco” Earrings | Glitter Pinecone | Eliza J Tulip Dress
Nina Beaded Clutch | Nina “Kylene” Necklace | Badgley Mischka “Salsa” Pump | Glitter Ornament
Wedding Cake | ML Monique Lhuillier Ruched Dress | Winter Bouquet

Christian Siriano Gown (at selected Nordstrom Wedding Suites) | Floral Table Runner | Xscape Satin Dress
Maggy London Bow Dress | Nina “Eiffel” Earrings | Majorica Bracelet | Tasha Hairpin | Flowers | Glint Clutch
Tree Party Favors | Stuart Weitzman “Stopstraffic” Sandal | Cocktails on Tray
Bouquet in Jar | Green Tablescape| ML Monique Lhuillier Chiffon Dress

I put together the collages above, inspired by the beautiful colors of the season and two gorgeous gowns. It’s interesting how different they feel–which do you like best?

Did you have a winter wedding? If so, I’d love to hear the details!

-Cara

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For the third installment of Brideology, Cara, our Bridal Project Manager, gathers up all the pretty pins on Pinterest, finding loads of wedding-day inspiration along the way.

How did anyone plan a wedding before Pinterest? From real wedding photos and style ideas, to DIY projects and the dresses (oh, the dresses)—it’s all at your fingertips.

I especially love the new private boards that Pinterest just released. Finally! There are certain things that should be kept secret until the wedding day, so it’s really nice to have that just-for-me option. Some of my teammates put together this really cute list of the reasons why private boards are great for wedding planning, and I love it!

I also found some great boards to follow. Check out the list I put together earlier this year. These are still tops on my list, but now I’ll add my new favorite five.

Southern Weddings Magazine—While there are plenty of truly Southern styles here, it all works for this Northwest girl too! Southern Sweets is making my mouth water right now. But my favorite board has to be Southern Traditions, with the New Orleans second line parades and lots of college mascots. People in Seattle might think we’re crazy if we do these, but how fun?!

Green Wedding Shoes—Jen Campbell’s extensive DIY board is full of wedding ideas, along with other great home and style projects; there’s no end to the inspiration. And Wedding Ceremony Ideas showcases some very cool backdrops, arches and altars. Many could work in different settings, like a DIY chapel in the middle of a field!

One Wed—My go-to here is Wedding Ideas We Love, a collection of the best of the best. From how to get your guests to take great pictures, to dressing your dog in a tux, there are tips and tricks galore. Plus unique ideas (like pop-up wedding invitations) that will make you ask, “Why didn’t I think of that?!”

nd + —I found this pinner when I first joined Pinterest and just love all her boards. Big + Day is a dreamy wedding board (over 900 pins!) that trends toward ethereal and vintage but also has full-on glamour. I love the high-low mix: Oscar de la Renta meets Etsy all in one place.

Design Love Fest—Bri Emery’s boards focus on design, interiors and fashion, but she also has some juicy boards that I use as wedding inspiration. Happy Flowers is just SO LOVELY. And It’s Love captures sweet, romantic photos of everyone from Marilyn Monroe and Arthur Miller to anonymous couples enjoying a fabulous wedding day.

What are your favorite boards? Do you use private boards for wedding planning or other projects? Don’t forget to check out Nordstrom Weddings Pinterest boards!

xo
Cara

And follow me on Instagram @Brideology for more pictures.

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In her second Brideology story, Cara, our Bridal Project Manager, muses on picking a wedding theme and style.

 

 

One of the first things I did after getting engaged was grab a stack of bridal magazines and glue myself to the couch for a Sunday afternoon. (Wait, that’s not true; the first thing I did was get a manicure. People actually told me I needed to get one now that I had some ring bling. So I went for grey, inspired by Michelle Obama!)

Tea, candy corn and a bridal magazine on a Sunday afternoon.

Looking at bridal magazines felt like a total indulgence—so much fun. I remember being really excited when my best friend got engaged, because I got to look at magazines with her. I had an excuse! Same goes with working the Nordstrom Weddings team…”Oh, I’m just pinning wedding gowns on Pinterest for work, not myself!” (Wink, wink.)

My favorite parts of the mags are always the trend stories with head-to-toe looks and the “what type of bride are you?” articles. (Coincidentally, these have also been my favorite projects at Nordstrom!) Are you classic, glam, princess or hipster? Beach bride, farm bride or resort bride? Gossip Girl or New Girl? Are you Kate Middleton or Kate Moss?

Are you Beyoncé, Adele or Florence? Well, I wish I was all of them.

What happens if I’m all of them? Do I fail the quiz? Can I retake it? I knew I should have studied more.

I thought that because I work in the retail and wedding industry, I’d know exactly what I wanted when it came time to plan my own wedding. But it’s the opposite; suddenly I like it all! So far I have identified myself as a vintage, fashion-forward, beach, woodsy and New Year’s Eve bride. Uh-oh.

So yes, now I totally feel like the handsome bride-to-be from the Wedding Channel video, ‘S*** Brides Say.’ (If you haven’t seen it, you must watch. It’s hilarious, and so true.) “Urban chic with like a rustic twist!”

“I want to be swallowed in ruffles.”

It’s interesting to think about your “wedding style” as a whole. It’s much more than the dress and accessories, right? Weddings can be quite a production—the wedding theme is in every detail. Especially now with so many resources available and endless inspiration!

I got a little carried away with the theme and started to feel like I was directing a movie: choosing the actors, costumes, script, set, music, lighting…“And the Academy Award for best wedding goes to…” It is strangely similar. I literally heard myself say, “Well, I like woodsy and whimsical, so I’m thinking the theme is Narnia. Or Fern Gully! You know, fairies and magic and stuff!” Whoa, girl.

“Are you a Fern Gully bride?”

The lesson I learned after several conflicting magazine quizzes and getting overwhelmed by themes is that it’s good to take a step back and remember that the true “theme” is love and commitment. It should be an expression of who you are as a couple, and that should play out naturally. It doesn’t have to be a full-on production, unless you want it to!

So maybe I haven’t found my bridal style yet, and we haven’t found our wedding theme yet, but that’s okay! We’ll keep exploring…

Until next time,
Cara

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Cara, our resident Bridal Project Manager is engaged. Congrats, Cara! We thought it was a perfect opportunity to have her share her journey–from just-betrothed to blushing bride–in our new feature: Brideology.

The ring shot. I am in love with it! Designed by Cathy Waterman.

THE BEGINNING
Hi everyone! I’m Cara, and I’m a new bride-to-be. I am so excited to be starting this series on the Wedding Suite Blog; I think it will be a great way to connect with other brides-to-be (whether that’s “to be” soon or “to be” sometime in the future!) It will also be good way to document all the planning, since I’m sure it will go so fast.

I hope to share the big, small, happy, frustrating, confusing, exciting stuff along the way…with plenty of pictures, of course!

My birthday and the day of our engagement! An incredible day filled with family, friends, food, cake and sun!

About me: I’ve been working on the Nordstrom Weddings team for a year now, which is a totally amazing, challenging, and fun experience. I’m surrounded by everything “wedding” all day long…pretty dreamy, right? And now I just got engaged–which means it suddenly all applies to me. I feel SO lucky to be surrounded by such wedding experts and great people…and to get to learn from other brides!

My weddings team getting in the spirit at a bridal event professing our love for our jobs!

As far as planning goes, my fiancé and I are really starting from square one. We hadn’t talked about wedding ideas before getting engaged, and I have to admit I was never the girl who started planning her “dream wedding” as a child.

Now I’m seeing there are so many different directions to go in! So many choices! I guess you could say it’s a bit overwhelming…but I think it’ll also be fun to explore it all and figure out what’s right for us.

Sunset on the day he proposed.

Can’t wait to share more in the coming weeks. Stay tuned!

P.S. I’m capturing pics of the process and things that inspire me on Instagram. Follow me @Brideology!

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