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wedding receptionsPictures of pumpkin-spiced lattes, scarves, and apple-picking are taking over Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter. Fall is here, and all of the pictures make it clear — people are really excited about it. Brides and grooms-to-be don’t have to be an exception to that rule. In fact, autumn may be one of the best seasons to exchanged vows and celebrate with friends and family. Here’s why:

Fall Flavors Are To Die For
Salted caramel… those two words pretty much say it all. Spice up wedding receptions with fall-themed food and drink selections. There are all kinds of things you can do. Consider setting up a chili mini-bar prior to the main course, for example. Serve pumpkin rolls, cinnamon pumpkin rolls (yes, they exist and they’re delicious!), apple cinnamon cupcakes, or even mini pies for dessert. Keep the fall flavor profile going — even when it comes to drinks. Whip up pomegranate and cranberry-flavored cocktails with orange rinds for the bar. Hot chocolate and apple cider, on the other hand, are great non-alcoholic options.

You Don’t Have To Fight It (Use Those Fall Colors!)
Outdoor wedding venues are still a popular choice for fall weddings. (Year-round, 15% of U.S. couples host weddings outside.) It can be difficult to settle on a color palette, and it can be especially difficult to choose one that stands out. Purple, for example, is one of the most widely used colors, with one in five brides working it into ceremonies and wedding receptions. Fall makes it simple. Whether you choose a banquet hall or one of the more unique wedding places, fall promises striking colors — colors like red, orange, yellow, gold, and bronze.

Wedding Favors Are A No-Brainer
A quarter of brides choose themed wedding receptions, and you can, too! Keep everything fall-oriented by selecting favors that evoke the season. For example, decorate small mason jars with ribbon and fill them with jam or honey.

Don’t miss the opportunity to make your fall wedding something special — and give your fall-addicted friends even more to post about.

wedding plans Apparently, getting married is the thing to do — even Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie recently cast aside their well-known reluctance to marry by hosting an intimate ceremony at a vineyard castle (sounds nice!) in France. What is not necessarily a given, however, are the specifics of the wedding. Today’s brides and grooms are getting increasingly creative and doing things their way, not the way they’re expected to, or ways that may have been established decades ago. What are some true-life examples of couples doing their own thing on their wedding day?

A One-Of-A-Kind Getaway
Ten percent of brides are saying goodbye to tradition, and choosing wedding dresses colors other than ivory and white. Similarly, modern wedding plans may also include a unique getaway car or vehicle, something that will easily depart from the expected limousine or vintage car models. One Virginia couple, for example, met while volunteering as EMTs. As such, they appropriately rented a Cadillac ambulance for their wedding day.

Are Mountain Bikes And Beer The Ingredients To A Perfect Wedding?
Truly unique, nice wedding places do not necessarily have to be overly complicated or over-the-top. Special places to have a wedding can, instead, be much more personal and meaningful — and may be inspired by where the couple met or by milestones in their relationship. A North Carolina couple, who took up mountain biking together, hosted their ceremony and reception in a meadow alongside one of their favorite biking paths. They also incorporated their love for unique, craft beers — mixing together a vanilla porter and a strawberry wheat beer for a “strawberry shortcake” concoction.

“That Old Time Rock N’ Roll”
Finally, wedding receptions can simply celebrate a couple’s love for the arts or music — or, in this particular case, rock n’ roll. A Florida couple exchanged vows on a beach in Key West, playing songs by Led Zeppelin and The Eagles at their ceremony, and at their reception, held in the local Hard Rock Cafe.

It takes just about seven to 12 months to plan a wedding on average, and a quarter of couples will chose a specific theme for their wedding plans. No matter how long you take and what you plan to do, remember: times are changing, and the day is yours to do exactly what you want with it.

Baby Shower Fun

Sure, those diaper cakes are cute and so is that little outfit you found on clearance the other day. But are these really the best gifts to take to a baby shower? If you really want your present to be a success, put yourself in the place of the parents, and ask yourself these three questions.

Will it get used?

You already know that babies need a lot of stuff. But there is also a huge percentage of baby items that are strictly luxury items (wipes warmer, anyone?). If you really want to score the best baby gift award, make sure you are always keeping practicality at the forefront. Wipes and diapers aren’t exactly showstoppers at the baby shower, but they will get used. But please, don’t put the diapers in a cake form — no new parent wants to spend hours deconstructing the thing only to end up with damaged diapers to put on her newborn.

Is it appeasing your tastes or the parents’ tastes?

When it comes to items that come in multiples styles, like playpens, blankets, and clothing, it’s best to stick to the baby registry. While you might think the frilly dress is the cutest thing in the world, the mother of the baby might be more into sleek styles for her little one. If you choose something based on your tastes, there’s a good chance it will just end up sitting in the dresser and never getting worn.

Can the parents return it?

If you can help it, try to avoid buying anything that can’t be returned. Many parents are very particular about what they use with their baby — or they receive multiples — so a gift receipt will be a welcome addition to any present. After all, it’s always better if the money actually goes to something that will be used.

Quinceanera partyWhen a Latina girl turns 15, she needs more than a regular birthday celebration. She needs a quinceanera party!. It’s a grand celebration that ushers a girl into womanhood. Learn more about what a quinceanera looks like as you plan your own or a loved one’s special birthday party.

Rent a Ballroom

A backyard barbecue isn’t good enough for a quinceanera. This party needs a ballroom with plenty of space for guests to celebrate, eat and dance the night away.

Dress the Part

The white, formal dress a girl wears to the quinceanera’s religious ceremony serves as the party dress, too. Once at the party, the birthday girl receives a tiara, and her father will replace her youthful shoes with an adult version after the father-daughter dance kicks off the party.

Invite Family and Friends

In addition to the 15 attendant friends who stand at the guest of honor’s side during the religious ceremony, family and friends join the after-party. They welcome the chance to celebrate the special day.

Dance the Night Away

Music and dancing have to be part of a quinceanera. The family should hire a quality DJ who knows how to keep the party going and plays the songs the guests will enjoy dancing to.

Eat Yummy Food

Every party includes yummy food, and a quinceanera is no exception. It typically features a complete meal and cake. If the birthday girl wants a toast, ensure plenty of beverages are on hand for all the guests.

A quinceanera celebrates a girl’s 15th birthday. Party in style when you incorporate all the essentials of this special party.

unique wedding placesOutdoor wedding venues and unique wedding places are rapidly gaining popularity — and with good reason. Getting a little creative with your wedding plans (including the ceremony and party venues!) will help make your big day unforgettable, and you are much more likely to capture some breathtaking and/or one-of-a-kind wedding photos, too. What are some of the most bizarre places to wed?

Nothing Says Romance Like Turkey
Some of the best wedding places may also be the most unlikely — or, in this case, the most personal. One Minnesota couple literally spent one of the biggest days of their lives exchanging their marriage vows in front of a giant turkey. Why would anyone do that? As crazy as it might seem, the couple met, and fell in love, in front of the world’s largest turkey statue.

When Destination Weddings Get Extreme
Destination weddings do not necessarily have to take place on the beach. Research shows 15% of all weddings take place outside, and another 25% of newlyweds choose themes for their wedding receptions, whether they are indoors or outdoors. Some couples are taking even one step further, tying the knot in an hot air balloon, on top of a mountain peak or a ski slope, or — in one memorable case — even underwater.

If All Else Fails, Fake It Until You Make It
Actor Jeff Goldblum is making internet history with a viral wedding photo. What is so special about it? TheJurassic Park actor posed with his bride — and the entire bridal party — running away from one of the film’s dinosaurs. Of course, he had a little help from Photoshop. If you want to make outdoor venues slightly more exciting or bizarre, or you can’t quite make it to some of the most unique wedding places, you can always edit in the details later.

Are you inspired by Goldblum’s viral photo? Do you want get married under the sea? The options are endless, and — with U.S. weddings bringing in $72 billion per year — chances are, you’re willing to splurge a little for the perfect wedding and the perfect location, too.

 

Sweet SixteenYour daughter’s sixteenth birthday is right around the corner and she is starting to pester you about her Sweet 16 party. Okay, so you know Sweet 16 parties are a big deal, but does she really need one? Won’t she be fine with a small sleepover or a girl’s day at the spa? Well, she’s your daughter, and of course you have the final say, but here are three very worthy reasons why she deserves the Sweet 16 party of her dreams.

It’s Her Time to Shine

Sixteen is the perfect age. She’s old enough that she is through the awkward pre-teen stage that everybody goes through, but she’s still young enough to enjoy dressing up and playing princess. Her Sweet 16 party will be her gateway into adulthood, and her time to really shine. Let her.

She’ll Never Forget It

Something else very valuable about a Sweet 16 party is that your daughter will always remember it (unlike that first birthday you spent a small fortune on). In fact, it may even become one of her favorite teenage memories, and wouldn’t you love to be the person behind it?

Her Friends Will Be Jealous

Do you remember when you were in high school? Wouldn’t you have done anything to make your arch-enemy seethe with jealousy? Well, a sensational Sweet 16 party is a very worthy contender to help your daughter get this satisfaction.

Your daughter only turns 16 once. Before long, she will be out on her own, and you will be lucky if you even get a weekly phone call. So spoil her. She deserves it. And when you see the smile on her face, you definitely won’t regret it.

 

WeddingWeddings are full of traditions, and some of them are great — like wearing something old, new, borrowed, and blue — but others, well, it’s about time they be ignored. Sure, they used to have their place, but now it’s time for practicality to take center stage. Here are three commonly followed wedding rules that you definitely don’t need to obey.

DO NOT SEE EACH OTHER BEFORE THE WEDDING

Superstition, tradition, whatever you want to call it, many brides and grooms avoid each other for the entire day before their ceremony just because they think that’s what they are supposed to do. But guess when the best time for wedding pictures is? Before the wedding. It’s when your hair and makeup look their best, and you don’t have to leave your guests waiting for hours on end for the photo session to be finished so the reception can start.

HAVE THE SAME NUMBER OF PEOPLE ON EACH SIDE OF THE WEDDING PARTY

Okay, it’s true that your ceremony and pictures will look more symmetrical if you can have the same amount of bridesmaids and groomsmen, but that doesn’t mean you should cut out a dear friend or include someone you aren’t particularly close with just to make it even. Just get creative with the processional, and consider groups of three or parties of one.

EAT A FROZEN LAYER OF WEDDING CAKE ON YOUR ANNIVERSARY

It might seem like a romantic gesture to enjoy some of your actual wedding cake to celebrate your first year as husband and wife, but the experience is anything but memorable. The freezer-burnt cake is sure to put a damper on any anniversary celebration. A better option is to order a cake from the same bakery that made your wedding cake. Or, skip the cake altogether and go out for fondue.

 

For the mother-to-be, the baby shower is the best day of her pregnancy (well, besides the day of the birth, of course). It is her day to be spoiled and she surely deserves it. If you are the one in charge of planning this important occasion, you don’t want to screw up. So what can you do to make it memorable? You can create baby shower games like these that will leave the guests talking for months:

Name the Number Two

If there’s one thing every new mom is dreading it is changing poopy diapers. Nobody enjoys it, so why not capitalize on this hatred with an entertaining game? Choose a selection of miniature candy bars and place them inside some clean baby diapers. Microwave them just enough for the chocolate to melt (about 10 seconds), and squish them together to make them really look like baby poo (it’s cute if it’s from a baby, right?). For the game, have the guests sniff each diaper and try to figure out what the secret candy bar is inside.

Pass the Puree

Baby food is another new-mom staple that is a prime target for a baby shower game. For this one, gather up ten different baby food jars (the more obscure the better) and have each guest taste them. Whoever can guess the most correctly wins. And if you give them little baby spoons to sample the concoctions, you will be serving up even more laughs.

Decorate the Dress

It’s no secret that babies go through a lot of clothes, so why not provide the mom-to-be with a decorative wardrobe laden with memories? Stock up on some plain bodysuits, dresses, or t-shirts in several different sizes and then provide the guests with fabric paints and iron-ons galore. Let each attendee create her own custom outfit for the baby of the hour.

banquet hallAmerican spend $72 billion on their weddings annually. It should not come as a surprise that more couples are willing to depart from tradition — and truly make their ceremonies and receptions their own. One way that they are doing that is by choosing increasingly creative places to say their vows and/or to celebrate with friends and family. What are some of the most surprising and often best wedding places?

When A Gas Station Spells Romance
It may not sound romantic to get married in a gas station, but just you wait. One Greek couple was so determined to get married and to share their love with friends and family, they tied the knot in a gas station. The gas station was owned by the duo, and — in spite of their humble surroundings — everyone danced, drank, and partied the night away. A family member adds that financial troubles could not get in the way of their love, according to Bridal Guide.

Who Wants To Get Married In An Abandoned Insane Asylum?
After 25 years of marriage, one couple famously skipped renewing their vows in a traditional venue, such as a church or banquet hall. Where did they renew their vows instead? The couple chose one of the most unusual wedding venues yet: an abandoned mental hospital. “They told us 25 years ago that we were crazy, and here we are,” Alesia Conover explains.

Ain’t No Mountain High Enough
Most rock climbers are pretty passionate about the sport, and some brides and grooms even incorporate their love of climbing into their wedding plans. That’s exactly what happened 900 foot in the air, at the summit on South Peak of Seneca Rocks in West Virginia. The couple tied the knot on the top of the peak (instead of in a banquet hall), and the groom proposed in the very same location as well.

Banquet halls afford couples privacy, convenience, and a guaranteed time slot, which can be an advantage for many brides and grooms. Nevertheless, more couples are choosing to mark the end of their engagement (the average engagement lasts 16 months) with a reception in a truly spectacular — and unique — venues.

best wedding placesSome wedding traditions never change. Nearly 20% of couples still ask guests to adhere to conventionally formal (or black tie) attire, and 70% of American brides still take their husband’s names following the wedding ceremony. Today’s brides and grooms-to-be, however, are mixing it up — and in some surprising ways. Newlyweds are more likely to celebrate in unusual wedding venues. What are some of the craziest wedding venues yet?

True Story — One Couple Tied The Knot In a Gas Station
The best wedding places is a pretty loose term — and can mean very different things to different people. One couple in Greece, for example, celebrated their big day in a gas station, according to Bridal Guide. “To cut costs, Anna and Christos Karalis held their reception at the station owned by the groom, where they danced the night away with their friends and family,” Bridal Guide writes. One family member explains that financial troubles did not get in the way of love, dancing, and festivities.

Make It Memorable: Climb a 900 Foot Summit For Your Wedding
One of the most unique wedding places was on top of a 900 foot summit. One memorable couple said their vows on the South Peak of Seneca Rocks in West Virginia. “Seneca Rocks is our absolute favorite place in the whole world,” the groom says. “It’s the perfect place to spend the weekend: breathtaking views, good-hearted people, fantastic climbing, and no cell phone reception.” The groom proposed on the mountain as well.

Where The Truly Crazy Go To Marry
Americans are getting increasingly creative with wedding plans and receptions. In fact, Alesia and Rob Conover renewed their marriage vows after 25 years — in an abandoned mental hospital. Why an abandoned insane asylum? “They told us 25 years ago that we were crazy, and here we are,” Alesia comments.

At least 25% of brides and grooms opt to throw themed weddings, and some take creativity to even greater extremes. The best wedding places can be traditional or decidedly unusual; it’s up to the couple on their special day.

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