THE BRIDAL EXTRAVAGANZA

COME OUT AND SEE LOTUS RANCH THIS SUNDAY AT THE BRIDAL EXTRAVAGANZA!!!

Location: Palmer Events Center in Austin, TX

Time: 12pm-5pm

WHY: Free Giveaways? Tons of vendors all in one place! Discounts with vendors and various products!!

More Information: http://www.austinweddings.com/

Sign up and Buy your ticket today!! Don’t miss this opportunity!

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Wedding Dress Trends 2014

Every year wedding dresses get tweaked and are perfected from the previous year.  You may think they all look the same, but until you begin your wedding gown search you don’t realize the detail each wedding dress possesses and it’s own unique beauty.  There is a wedding gown for everyone out there, even the gowns that you would never imagine yourself in can look absolutely breathtaking.

What trends are happening for wedding gowns in 2014?  If you are in the market for a wedding gown, you will be pleased with what designers have to offer.  Designers this year offer an elegant yet effortless look for brides to be.  You will find several gowns that have open backs, which is perfect for Texas weather.  Gowns with an open back are sexy without giving away too much, it leaves room for the imagination. Let the images speak for themselves.

Photo Credit:  Brides.com
Photo Credit: Brides.com
Photo Credit: Blush
Photo Credit: Blush
wedding dresses cheap store in gudeer
Photo Credit: Nordstrom.com

The simple elegance continues into the 2014 fall trends.  We also continue to see short wedding dresses that follow the same pattern as the long wedding gowns.  While looking for your perfect gown you will see several cap sleeves on wedding dresses.  You will also see more dresses with some sort of a strap or sleeve instead of strapless.

Photo Credit:  Marchesa
Photo Credit: Marchesa
Photo Credit:  Carolina Herrera
Photo Credit: Carolina Herrera

Dresses this year have decorative details.  The eye-catching detail bring “all eyes on the bride” to a whole new level.  You might be thinking bling, but it isn’t all bling.  The details range from pearls to lace appliqué and even some bits of sparkle.

Phot Credit: Kenneth Pool
Phot0 Credit: Kenneth Pool

These simple trends make for gorgeous wedding gowns.

 

*Betsy Villanueva

 

 

 

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Bridal Shower Games

Photo Credit: Lipstickandleopardprint.com
Photo Credit: Lipstickandleopardprint.com

We talked about bachelorette party games, now let’s discuss bridal shower games.  There are plenty of games for the bride to be’s shower.  Most of the games are geared towards the guests, but the bride gets to enjoy watching her closest friends and family compete.  Usually, guests that win the game get a prize.

Famous Couples game is a list of famous people and next to it is a blank where you fill in who their significant other is.  The person to have the most correct answers wins the game.  A more interactive game is based on creating a dress made out of toilet paper that you think resembles the dress the bride picked for her wedding.  Usually there are teams of two, one person stands there as a model and the rest of the team wraps toilet paper around the model to create a dress before time runs out.  The bride then picks a winner based on the dress that most closely resembles her wedding gown.

Photo Credit: Pinterest.com
Photo Credit: Pinterest.com

A game played at my own bridal shower that I enjoyed was about me answering questions.  The groom receives a list of questions he has to answer and at the shower a host calls out the same questions that the groom was asked and the bride has to answer as she thinks he answered the questions.  The girls enjoyed watching this game because my groom wanted to make it more personal and he actually made a video for me instead of having a host read everything off to me.  It was emotional to watch, but very sweet and guests enjoy the game as well.

He Said She Said is a game that closely resembles the previous game, but this is for guests to play.  A list is created of things that are said by the groom and bride and the guests have to circle the bride or groom based on who they think said the sentence.  Those that are around you and your groom the most have a slight advantage in this game.  Another matching game is How Sweet It Is.  You have probably heard of this game being played at both bridal showers and baby showers.  The host gives out a sheet of paper with the name of a candy bar on one side of the column and a phrase on the second column.  The guests then match up the phrase that best fits the name of the candy bar and the person with the most correct answers wins.

Photo Credit:  Happyspeedy.com
Photo Credit: Happyspeedy.com

The next game is a guessing game and those that know you best will thrive.  What’s in the bride’s purse?  You have probably seen something similar to this in Us Weekly as “What’s In My Bag”, which is done by celebrities.  In this game a list is created of several items with categories that range from 1-25 points each.  Guests will check off the items they think is in the bride’s purse.  When everyone is done the items in the purse are emptied out one by one then the guests tally up their total correct answers and the person with the highest score wins.

How Well Do You Know The Bride?  This is a popular game that gives everyone a chance to show the bride and everyone else how well they know the future Mrs.  This is made up of list of questions with a blank line to leave your response.  The questions can vary from “what is the bride’s favorite color?” to more personal questions, like “what is her fondest memory of the groom?”.

This last one is not a game; it is an activity.  Leave a piece of advice for the bride.  This is the guest’s time to impart some wisdom on the bride.   The bride can take home the stack of advice cards and read them in her private time or they can be read one by one , by a friend, at the shower in-between each gift that is opened at the shower.  This is something the bride will appreciate and she will also be able to keep to look back on.

These games are fun and interactive.  It can also help break the ice with a large group of girls that may not know one another.  If you are planning a bridal shower these games would be a hit, so keep them in mind.  If you are a bride and would like to play any of these games, drop some subtle hints to get the ball rolling.

 

*Betsy Villanueva

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Bridal Portraits

It’s your time to shine!  Bridal portraits are all about you and that beautiful dress you picked to wear on your wedding day.  Most people take their bridal pictures before the wedding so that they can use a picture at their wedding.  If you don’t have time to do it before your wedding, then don’t rush it.  Plan some time after your wedding to get the bridal session done.  You don’t want to miss out on these pictures that will last a lifetime.

What do you need to plan for your bridal picture session?  Try to book your hair and makeup trial the same day as your pictures.  You are already spending the money on trials, so why not look fabulous for a reason and take advantage of being all dolled up.  Where should your bridal pictures be taken?  You can take them anywhere that is special to you or, if it’s allowed, do your bridal portraits at your venue.

There aren’t many items that you need to take to your bridal picture session.  You should take any props that you would like in your pictures.  For example, if you have a sign that you want to use in a picture or if you want a picture with your dog, then take him/her along too.  Take any props to enhance the look you are going for in your bridal portrait session, but don’t go overboard.  You are the main focus and that is what should be captured in your bridal portraits.

It is a nice touch to wear the jewelry, veil, or accessories that you will be wearing on your wedding day in your portraits.  This can also include a bouquet similar to the one that you will be using to walk down the aisle.  Don’t forget the essentials that go with your dress; whether that be a petticoat, a corset, a certain kind of bra, a belt, etc.  You want to look just as perfect as you would on your wedding day.

The week before your bridal session, try to find some images of what kind of pictures you want captured.  Sending these to your photographer will ensure that you get those images you have always wanted of yourself.  Make sure to add some close ups of yourself (even if you don’t like close ups) and some pictures that show off your dress.  You have waited so long to put the wedding gown on, make sure you have some pictures that show it off.

Consider having a friend go with you to help carry the end of your dress and help with other dress related tasks, like getting the gown on.  Some materials that make up the wedding gown are stronger than others; an example would be tulle.  If your dress is made out of tulle be very careful with letting it drag outside, given that tulle is very delicate and can tear easily.  You don’t want to ruin any part of your dress before your big day.  Last, but not least, get your dress cleaned and ready for your big day after your portrait session.  Enjoy your bridal portrait session.  This is the only other time you get to wear your wedding gown.

 

 

*Betsy Villanueva

 

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Tips For a Healthy Bride

Spring is in the air, the sun is shining, nature is beautiful and……full of pollen and cedar. There’s nothing like being sick on your wedding day to bring down your mood! That’s why it’s important to start allergy prevention and take care of yourself well before your wedding day gets here. Of course, you can always take a prescription or over the counter allergy medication once you start feeling under the weather, but I think healthy and organic prevention is the best way to go! After all, you want to build a strong immune system, not weaken it with chemicals. The Texas hill country is full of allergens; we’ve got cedar, oak, ragweed, junipers, ash, elm,  and many more.

3lbJarHoney_pinkPhoto Credit: Fains Honey

Go to your local farmer’s market or grocery store and pick up some locally made honey — meaning within 50 miles of your location. If you take a spoonful each day, it will help acclimate your body to the pollen in the area and will hopefully lessen its effect on you. It’s very important that it be local honey, the closer the better, or it won’t help much at all.

noni_fruitPhoto Credit: Noni.org

I recently discovered the amazing properties of a Hawaiian fruit, Noni. It’s a tropical fruit that’s been used for years to help the body resist infections and enviro-toxins. Noni can be taken as a juice, pill capsule or in its natural form, eaten as a fruit. Warning! Noni has an unpleasant smell that some people find unbearable. I’ve found that the pill capsules don’t have the weird flavor that you’ll get when drinking the juice or eating the fruit.

neti_pot_sinucleansePhoto Credit: SinuCleanse

Neti pots are not my favorite items to combat allergies with (I hate the feeling of having liquid in my nose — like a really big wave at the beach!), but everyone I know who uses one says it works wonders for them. It looks like a tea kettle or magic lamp, and works like nasal spray by using salt water to flush your sinuses and keep them clear. Recommended use is two times a day, especially after spending a lot of time outdoors (like floating the river).

omega-3-fatty-acidPhoto Credit: Psych Central

Omega-3 fatty acids are your best friend for a lot of reasons, one of which is allergy symptom relief. Omega-3s can be found in cold-water fish, walnuts, flaxseed oil, and grass-fed meat and eggs. Some added benefits are lower blood pressure, a healthier heart, therapeutic for children with ADHD and autism, prevents and reverses insulin resistance, and is absolutely wonderful for your skin. You can find them in capsules at the grocery store and health food stores if you don’t eat enough of it in its natural form.

crib_mattressPhoto Credit: Greenopedia

Believe it or not, your mattress could have something to do with your bad allergies! The best thing to do is find a high-quality, allergy-free cover or mattress. Wash all of your bedding with hot water at least once a week during allergy season to keep it fresh and irritant free. Check the tags of your mattresses; unless stated otherwise, most mattresses and sheets are sprayed with pesticides.

product_oil_of_oreganoPhoto Credit: Home Remedies Web

Oil of Oregano can be found in capsule form and is good for respiratory issues such as cough, asthma or allergies. It comes from the leaf of a plant called Oregano; the oil is also good for menstrual cramps, UTIs, headaches, and heart conditions. You can relieve stuffiness by putting a few drops of oregano oil to a diffuser or vapourizer. To relieve a sore throat, drink a few drops of the oil with some water or juice.

-Nikki

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My Life as a Bride

I am two months and sixteen days away from walking down the aisle.  Just when I think I am done with most of the planning I remember all of the small things that are left to do.  I have officially booked my location and all of my vendors (you think that would be it, right?).  I am very grateful to have a great team of vendors and venue that are amazing at what they do.  I am unbelievably blessed to have parents and a fiancé that are making my wedding dreams come true.  It’s hard not to get caught up in everything going on in your life, but don’t forget the people that support you the most and help you throughout your wedding process.  Thanks Mom and Dad!

I have been trying to think of things to decorate the venue with, but it’s difficult to make decisions when there are so many cute ideas out there (Pinterest anyone?).  I think I have had a bit of trouble matching things to my theme, only because I like it all.  Seriously, why can’t there be more life events that involve a huge glamorous party?

I have yet to find a bilingual officiant for my wedding.  I know, I know, I am missing a key ingredient to the most important part of the whole wedding day, the ceremony.  Where does one find a bilingual officiant around the Hill Country?

I have a bridal shower, a couples shower, and my bachelorette party coming up and I could not be more excited.  Adam and I had a long engagement and I feel like it was one of the best decisions we made.  I had plenty of time to enjoy my engagement, plan the wedding, and now I can enjoy the fun parties being thrown in our honor.

I am going to be a wife soon!  I know I have been working up to this for a little over a year now, but it feels so real now.  How will things change?  How will it remain the same?  I will have new responsibilities and so many changes will take place.  I know the advice to the bride and groom are a bit cheesy, but I really like the idea of it, especially with all the changes taking place in our lives.  Thus, we will be having advice cards at our wedding.  We are currently searching for a house in the city, which is very exciting.  As soon as I am done with the wedding details I will begin to work on house details.  Planning never stops, huh?

 

*Betsy Villanueva

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My Life As A Bride

I recently went to an appointment with a florist and we picked Whim Florals to create our vision for the wedding.  Whim is known for their rentals and they have recently added florals to their services.  They don’t have many pictures of events through Whim yet, but the head florist has many years of experience and does amazing work.  She took her time going through everything with me and took me around the site to show me all the vases I could pick to use.  Kari has been very prompt and helpful and I am excited to work with her.  She sent me my contract with a powerpoint that she made up with the flowers we decided on and an excel sheet to break everything down for me.  I found this to be very helpful especially so I could explain things to my mom and fiancé.  The flowers that I picked are very bright and spring colors.  I couldn’t decide on more white or neutral colors or spring colors so I picked all of the above.  Don’t be scared to mix things up.  My ceremony will be very classic with neutral colors, then the cocktail hour will spice things up a bit by adding more color. The reception area will have plenty of spring colors and less whites.  The ranch where I am getting married has three sections that we will be using so each section will have a different vibe to it.  I am very excited to see it all come together.

Bouquet (no Mason Jar)

Last week I went to a meeting for my rentals and found the perfect table settings.  I had been searching for a while for the perfect gold plates, but had very little luck.  I finally decided to scratch the chargers because gold plates on the gold charger made the plates look cheap and tool the beauty of the plates away.  I didn’t realize how many linens were going to be needed for the wedding.  Linens will ultimately take half, if not more, of my rentals budget.  I picked a satin linen for the tables.  I have seen bits and pieces of everything and I am ready to see it all together.  My wedding planner calls the theme of my wedding a modern Marie Antoinette.  My original vision was completely different, but it changed along the way and I am much happier with the classic feel that I picked over the vintage image I was going for.  Don’t be afraid to evolve with your wedding.  I know some brides have a very specific look and feel of what they want for their wedding, but sometimes it is nice to see where the process takes you.

I have officially picked out all of my big things that I need for my wedding.  All I have left are invitations and details.  Where do I even begin with invitations?  I decided that since several of my family members from Mexico City will be attending I want to make them feel special so I will be picking out invitations and making theirs in Spanish and send it to them in advance since they are traveling from another country.  I have several other little ideas in my head for the wedding I just need to see how they will play in to our wedding.  We are ordering wedding favors from Mexico and also making some favors.  I am excited about both of them (you can tell I am excited about pretty much anything wedding related)! I have about 4 months left until I get married.  Adam and I could not be happier with how things have come together so smoothly.  A huge thank you to Kayleigh, our venue, and all the vendors that have been wonderful to us throughout the process.

*Betsy Villanueva

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My Life As A Bride

Trying on wedding dressesTwo months and a few weeks later I found my gown! It was a long process, but totally worth it.  I didn’t have that WOW moment that most brides get.  I felt that the dress was different than any dress I had seen, so I picked it.  Others loved the dress when they saw me in the dress or the dress itself so I am pleased about that.  I can’t give details about the dress, but it is different than what I expected to end up with and I hear that happens quite often.  I will post a few pictures of what I tried on throughout my 7 store visits.

 

Now that I have picked my dress I am five months away from getting married and I have quite a bit left to do.  Maybe this is when stress sets in for brides.  I have to finalize flowers, dinner, rentals, rehearsal dinner, cocktail hour music, pick invitations, and find a bilingual officiant.  The rest is details, details, and more details.  I have no idea how I will personalize our wedding to be more “Us” yet, but I think that is done after all the main things have been picked out.  I have so many ideas, I just need to find a way to make them fit our theme.  I don’t even know what to call my theme, I should probably ask my wedding planner this question.

We have been so busy with the actual wedding that we haven’t done much research on the honeymoon.  I have heard great things about St. Lucia and Costa Rica, but who knows where we will end up going.

I am excited to meet with the florist to finalize those details.  If it was up to me the wedding would be a flower wonderland, but I don’t think Adam would appreciate that many flowers.  I am still trying to figure out what color of flowers to go with for the wedding.

The latest task completed, besides picking my dress, has been to order save the dates.  I have a round about number of guests to send save the dates to and I ordered some extras, just in case.  What I really need to do is make a final guest list.  I think this has been hardest for me because I feel bad when I cut people, but it needs to be done.

We have also set up our first registry.  We will be registering at three different locations so that our guests have a variety to pick from.  Adam and I worked so well together when we picked items for our registry.  I have heard of couples getting into fights or arguments when it comes to doing the registry, but that wasn’t the case at all.  Our goal when we went into doing the registry was to think long term.  What kind of things do we want to see around the house 5 years from now or even longer.  Adam let me deal with the china and the things it takes to make a house more homey and I let him pick the most of the kitchen items.  Let’s be honest, Adam does most of the cooking so he knows more about what is best for the kitchen.  We didn’t finish the first registry, but I feel like we accomplished quite a bit.

 

*Betsy Villanueva

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My Life As A Bride- Wedding Gown Edition

What can be more important to the bride than the cake, vendor choices, and venue?  Her wedding dress, of course!  It is the last dress she will be wearing as a single woman and the first dress she will be wearing as a newlywed.  Not to mention, all eyes are on the bride as she walks down the aisle to happily ever after.  People will talk about the dress during the wedding and after the wedding.  Guests will discuss how they feel about the dress, how it fit the bride, was the style pretty or ugly, etc.  What is most important is how you, as the bride, feel in the wedding gown.  What do you want to look like on your wedding day? A princess? A sexy bride? Traditional bride?  Some brides want the dress to fit in with their wedding theme.  I have yet to decide what I want to look like on my wedding day.  A consultant asked me an interesting question when i was shopping for a wedding dress; “What do you want to see when you look back at your pictures?  What do you want your kids to see when they look at your pictures?”  I guess I had never through of that.  It did not help me narrow my choices, but it could help you narrow yours.

I went in to my appointments with an open mind.  Dresses that you would normally rule out can actually be the best dress for you.  It all depends on how it looks on you, not on the hanger.  You never know, you might be pleasantly surprised.  I know I was with certain dresses that I would not have picked when it was hanging.  I have visited 7 bridal shops throughout Austin and Houston.  I have yet to find my dress (I will get into that later).  Most of the bridal consultants were very nice and pleasant to work with.  None of them gave much of an input, which can be good and bad.  When I would ask them for opinions they would say I like them all or they all look great.  This just makes it more difficult to decide.  I have been going to the appointments with my mother.  I feel like this is one of those moments you need to have with your mom.  It can be emotional and even difficult to try to find the perfect dress for your wedding day, but the person that will never fail to get you through the tough moments is your mother.  She will be honest with you.  I know some people may take large groups of friends or family members to dress shop, but I think that it would confuse me even more to hear so many opinions.

2013-wedding-dress-pronovias-glamour-collection-bridal-gowns-durban__full

Wedding dresses are beautiful to begin with, so the issue I am having is trying to find the dress that I can’t stop thinking about.  The dress that makes me glow and excited.  I haven’t been wowed by any dresses so far.  Maybe there really isn’t a big moment for everyone when they pick a wedding dress.  I am not looking for the big moment, I am looking for the big dress, the one that impresses me.  I know, I know, 7 wedding dress shops is a bit much, but I am not willing to settle on a dress.  I am in it for the long hall so I only plan on wearing a white extravagant gown once in my lifetime.  Am I putting too much emphasis on the wedding gown?  That is a possibility.  Hopefully I find my wedding gown soon.  I am on a time crunch.  Ladies, keep in mind that dresses take about 4-6 months to be made and it can take even longer than that.  Allow yourselves enough time for the dress to come in and to make alterations.  I will already be paying rush fees because I am 6 months away from my wedding date.  I suggest you find a dress 8 months before your wedding date, just to be on the safe side.  Also, pick a dress that fits your body type.  Not having a wedding gown this late in the game is a bit of a hiccup, but I am determined to find one soon.

 

*Betsy Villanueva

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My Life as a Bride

Bridal Extravaganza

 

Once my venue and date was set it was time time to ask my friends to be a part of my big day.  Pick your bridal party wisely.  You don’t want to have so many people that it becomes overwhelming for you throughout the entire wedding planning.  Pick the women/men that are most important to you but that will also be there for you the whole way.  You need to be able to count on them for anything that may come up.  I haven’t had much for my bridesmaids to do yet, but I know that if I need anything they will help as much as possible.  I asked my bridal party to be in my wedding by giving them cute gifts, like the one below.  Do you add your fiancés siblings in the wedding party?  Some people may feel obligated to but if you aren’t close to them don’t feel pressured to add them.  It is a nice sentiment to want to add them but ultimately it’s your wedding and you get to pick who stands by your side.

If you feel like you need help planning your wedding or just day of coordinating look around for a wedding planner.  Many wedding planners are expensive, but they do offer different packages.  For example, you can have a wedding planner throughout the entire process, use them for three consultations and day of coordinating, or just the day of coordinating.  I would highly recommend day of coordination because this frees you up to enjoy your wedding day without any stress.  I have a wedding planner that is there throughout the whole wedding process, but I try to use her the least amount possible because I enjoy wedding planning.  It is great to have a professional to get recommendations from about vendors and to bounce ideas off of for your wedding.  Also, your wedding planner can hammer out details with vendors, review contracts and ultimately save you money in areas you had not even considered.  Your wedding planner has contacts, use them.  He/she knows the best vendors that fit your budget.  My wedding planner is a good friend of mine, but the reasons I picked her are because she is great at what she does, she is dependable, she is a delight to work with, and she gets things done.  Seriously, if you need any help planning your wedding contact Kayleigh Ziegenbein, she is the best!

What could be next on my to do list for the wedding?  Well, my wedding planner gives me a verbal timeline of what things should be done and by when.  You can find a wedding check list on theknot.com or weddingwire.com.  I went by the timeline she gave me but also what was most important to me for my wedding day.  I booked the photographer and videographer then the ceremony musicians and the dj.  I have yet to book the cocktail musicians because unfortunately they don’t take bookings for the spring yet.  To me, the photographer and videographer are very important.  They  are the ones that capture the big day from beginning to end so that you can look back at those moments as often as you like.  If you are a bride on a budget keep in mind the areas that are most important to you so that you can spend more on those areas and less on other areas.  Also, keep in mind that certain aspects of a wedding book quicker than others.  An example would be venues, that is what most people book first so they are what gets taken off the market first.  Caterers can do several weddings on any given day if they are a big company with several employees but if you are looking to book a smaller company then they may just do one wedding a day.  This goes for any vendors in the wedding market.  They know how many weddings a day they can handle.

Wedding Check List
Wedding Check List Cont.

Have a great weekend!

*Betsy Villanueva

 

 

 

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