4 Tips for Scoring a Perfect Wedding Cake

4 Tips for Scoring a Perfect Wedding Cake

Wedding magazines are full of them. Pinterest has more than we could ever fathom. And everyone has an opinion. So yeah, selecting a wedding cake design and style that’s right for your wedding day is a bit of a difficult task. The pretty options are endless, and if you’re like most brides, your budget can only handle one wedding cake, despite the fact that you’re head over heels for at least 8 different looks. As wedding planners, we know the conundrum as well as any — and have seen many of our brides vacillate over this detail throughout the last 5 years.

In fact, a bride-to-be recently reached out to us with a similar dilemma: “Should I go with one big cake, many small cakes, or cupcakes? Do I ever need a cake at all? Is it fine to have a dessert station instead?” she asked. Her question is a common one, and it often leaves brides feeling frustrated about what should be a fun part of planning (you do get to taste cake, after all!). So with her story and our past brides in mind, we decided it was time to put together our top 4 tips for scoring the perfect wedding cake for your day. Don’t get us wrong, there are many great tips out there, but our picks really get to the heart of solving this big wedding planning puzzle, so keep them in mind as you set out to select yummy treats — whether you go for that dessert station, an assorted cakes display, or one big beautiful wedding cake — for your upcoming celebration!

Tip 1: Hire a reputable baker/bakery.

Having a wedding cake that you love all starts with the baker. The better their reputation and their quality of work, the more likely you are to have a great experience and adore the final product. To begin your search, we suggest asking for suggestions from friends, talking with your wedding planner, and doing some searching online (be sure to read all the reviews you can). Once you find a few who have great ratings and work that makes you’re heart go pitter-patter, reach out to set up appointments. When everything is said and done, choose the baker/bakery who really clicks with your personality, fits your budget, and gets your vision!

Tip 2: Don’t forget that your cake is part of the decor.

It’s definitely okay for your cake to stand out a little among the wedding decor. But, problems usually come up when you go too far off in left field with your cake design. If you’re having a rustic wedding, a cake covered in pearls is probably not the design that’s right for you or a look that’ll you be happy with in the long run. So at the beginning of your search for a design you love, limit your search to options you know your budget can handle (however, it is perfectly okay to choose something extravagant and talk with your cake maker about how to make it work with your budget) and that really fit in with the theme or look of your day. You’ll be much happier with the end result and your cake won’t stick out for being out of place among the decor you’ve selected.

Tip 3: Consider the size of your wedding & portions.

When selecting a wedding cake that’s going to be great for your big day, it’s essential to keep the size of your wedding and portions in mind. If you’re having 250 guests, you may not want to go with cupcakes or a dessert bar (that’s a lot of cupcakes and various desserts to pay for). If you’re having a small wedding, having 3 different cakes or a big wedding cake is probably not right for you…unless you want to be eating cake for months. So before you start making plans and picking out designs, consult with your vendor and/or your wedding planner for ideas about what will work best for your guest count and the portion size you’re looking to have at your wedding.

Liji Jinaraj and Ladybug Cakes & Catering via Flickr (CC BY-SA 2.0)

Tip 4: Don’t wait until the last minute.

Of all the mistakes we’ve seen brides make when picking out a wedding cake, this one if the more disastrous of them all. And it’s also the most crucial element for insuring that you’re really, really enchanted with your wedding cake. Why’s that? Well, if you don’t start early, it’s likely that you won’t be able to book the baker that you have your heart set on. From there, you’re rushed when it comes to design selection and available ingredients (it often takes time for special fillings and favors to be delivered to your cake maker). Then, on top of it all, you really won’t have time to establish a backup plan if what you really want for your day doesn’t work with your budget. So as you can see, the waiting until the last minute to hire a baker and make decision is a BIG no no if you want to love your wedding cake.

 

Got a wedding cake dilemma on your hands? Contact us for advice!

 

~Blog contributed by Audra Jones

 

 

 

Our Top Picks for “Something Blue” Accessories

Our Top Picks for “Something Blue” Accessories

“Something old, something new, something borrowed, and something blue” — never has a rhyme so impacted the wedding world. Originally derived from the idea that each and every one of these items would bring a bring special luck and fortune in her marriage, this is a wedding tradition that still holds special significance for many modern brides. But, when it comes to the last part of the saying — the “something blue” — brides often get to really have some fun.

Throughout our past five years of planning weddings for Connecticut brides (and many from outside our New England state), we’ve seen several brides-to-be come up with creative ways to don a little blue token of luck on their big day. Yep, from blue knickers to blue shoes, you could say we’ve pretty much seen it all. So when a recent bride asked us to help her choose some fun “something blue” accessories for her upcoming celebration, we were eager to throw out some of our favorite ideas. Several brainstorming and swoon sessions later, we put together a fun “something blue” accessories board to give our sweet bride a few ideas!

But, you know us, we love sharing our inspirational wedding goodies with all brides out there, so we decided to post the the final “something blue” accessories board here on our blog, too! Check it out below for ideas we love…

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1. Essie Polish in “Strut Your Stuff” ($8.50); 2. Milly Clutch ($229); 3. Bisou Bisou Gooseberry Bra ($95); 4. Advantage Bridal Tiffany Blue Garter ($25); 5. Elizaveta’s Blue and Mint Statement Necklace ($48); 6. Turquoise Stone Tribal Ring ($6); 7. Koo Koo Craft Blue Fabric Button Earrings ($10); 8. Christian Louboutin Lady Peep Strass Shoes ($4,395)

So darling bride-to-be, what will your “something blue” accessories be? Share in the comment section below or connect with us for additional ways to give this wedding tradition your own personal spin!

~Blog contributed by Audra Jones

Bridal Style Picks: 12 Gorgeous Bridal Clutches

Bridal Style Picks: 12 Gorgeous Bridal Clutches

Last week, we were head over heels for top-notch bridal beauty products. This week, we’ve found ourselves still fawning over fashion and beauty products, but with a different focus. As the title gives this week’s secret obsession away, we’ll just go right ahead and confess that we’ve got a serious soft spot for gorgeous bridal clutches, whether they’re vintage-inspired, mod and edgy, or classic.

So we figured: “Why not share our favorite bridal clutches with our lovely bride-to-be readers?” As you’ll see, we couldn’t come up with any good reasons why we shouldn’t include you in on today’s bridal style inspirations, so below you’ll find 12 totally stunning bridal clutches that we think are perfect for brides of all different tastes…and budgets, too. That’s right, from a statement Kate Spade pick all the way to some darling Etsy finds, we’d say that you’re in for some serious eye candy!

But, before you dive right into all the pretty, give us a moment to explain just why we think bridal clutches are so great. First of all, there will definitely be items throughout your wedding day that you’ll want close by — lipstick for a quick touchup, tissues for when the emotions kick in, safety pins just in case of an emergency, etc., etc. (and you don’t want to carry around your regular purse all wedding day long). Secondly, they’re a great way to add a bit of pizazz to your wedding day look, even some of our brides have used them in lieu of a bridal bouquet. Thirdly, bridal clutches fit into the small category of wedding purchases that can be used again and again. Long after your wedding, you can still incorporate your bridal clutch into your wardrobe, which is definitely a sweet and fun way to occasionally remind yourself of the awesome memories you created on your big day.

Okay, enough from us…go ahead and start swooning right along with us!

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1. Black Union Jack Clutch ($69); 2. J. Furmani Glitter Beaded Square Hardcase Clutch ($75); 3. Monogrammed Clutch ($24); 4. Stella & Dot Citrine Perf Double Clutch ($89); 5. Wedding Belles License Plate Clutch ($398); 6. BCBGeneration Love Glitter Clutch ($35); 7. Nine West Cassie Straw Clutch ($30); 8. Pink and White Lace Bridal Clutch ($60); 9. Metal Bridal Clutch ($85); 10. Inge Christopher Palermo Clutch ($115); 11. Colorblock Abbey Clutch ($44); 12. Lily Pulitzer Double Take Wristlet Bag ($48)

Dying for more ideas about how to amp your bridal look? Shoot us an email for extra tips and expert advice!

~Blog contributed by Audra Jones

10 Must-Have Beauty Products for Brides-to-Be!

10 Must-Have Beauty Products for Brides-to-Be!

Between showing off your brand new sparkler, engagement photos, and the wedding, there will be lots of days coming up where you’ll need to look your best. Achieving this goal of looking drop-dead-gorgeous on every one of these important dates can be a challenge, especially when you’re dealing with a stress-induced breakout or when you’re dealing with less than ideal weather conditions on the day of your outdoor e-sesh. However, with the right beauty products, almost anything is possible. With that idea in mind, we had a little pow-wow here in the office and compiled our favorite must-have beauty products for brides-to-be. From skin-clearing miracles to long-lasting lip stain to the perfect “something blue” nail polish, we’ve got a pick that goes hand-in-hand with the beauty needs of brides like you.

It was difficult to narrow down our choices (we could easily take up your whole day listing our most-loved bridal beauty products), but we were finally able to cut our selections to just 10 picks that need to find their way into your beauty bag ASAP. To make things fun and to show off just how cute these products are in addition to their life-changing capabilities, we created a inspiration board just for you. So, go on, check them out and snag the ones you love today! To purchase, look for links to buy below!

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1. Clinique Acne Solutions Clinical Clearing Gel ($25); 2. RMS Beauty Lip2Cheek ($36); 3. Smashbox Camera Ready Full Coverage Concealer ($20); Smashbox Iconic Photo Finish Foundation Primer ($36); 5. Benefit Cosmetics They’re Real Push-Up Liner ($24); 6. Julep Bess Nail Polish ($14); 7. Pixi Lip Blush in Youth ($18); 8. Mary Kay Oil-Free Eye Makeup Remover ($15); 9. Urban Decay Naked3 ($54); 10. Rimmel London Scandaleyes Retro Glam Waterproof Mascara ($6)

Have a bridal beauty question you’re just dying to ask? Need advice about how to make your makeup last all day long? Not sure where to start looking for a fabulous makeup and hair artist for your big day? Contact us!

~Blog contributed by Audra Jones

5 Smart Ways To Save Money On Your Wedding

5 Smart Ways To Save Money On Your Wedding

There’s no ifs, ands or buts about it — planning a wedding these days can be a wallet-squeezing feat. Trust us, we have first hand experience with all the costs that go into turning your wedding daydreams into your wedding day reality. It’s a frustrating truth, but every little thing does add up over time and, for some couples, going over budget happens in the blink of an eye. However, this doesn’t mean that you are destined to fall into the same spending traps that brides before you have — there are several smart ways that you can save money on your wedding day. To help you avoid the budget-overdraft woes we’ve encountered far too many times in the past, we’ve pulled together 5 of our go-to insider tricks for conserving a little “I do” cash.

Yep, consider yourself lucky…we don’t just share these with anyone!

Photography by: Katsu Nojiri (CC BY 2.0)

1. Skip The Programs: If you’re a regular reader here of the Down The Aisle blog, then you know that we are adamant believers that you there are many reasons why you don’t need to have programs at your wedding day. For starters, they’re expensive, most guests leave them behind after the ceremony, and pretty much everyone knows what’s going to happen during your vow exchange. Unless your ceremony is long, complicated and difficult to follow, skip them and save money on your wedding.

Photography by: Alber Palmer Photography (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)

2. Use Fewer Flowers: Florals are undeniably one of the most expensive parts of your wedding decor, especially if you opt for out-of-season and non-local blooms. A great way to save money on your wedding day is to use flowers sparingly and instead get really creative with your decorations. For a few fabulous ideas, check out this blog from Down The Aisle’s Lead Planner!

6159974903_b7ba09e73b_bPhotography by: Gabriel Li (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)

3. Get Married Friday or Sunday: Because of the high demand, most wedding venues and vendors are going to charge you more if you select a wedding date that falls on a Saturday. A super budget-savvy way to save money and leave your guests feeling less inconvenienced? Get married late on a Friday or early on a Sunday! When you start making vendor inquiries, ask them to include comparison quotes should opt have your wedding on one of these days — we promised you’ll be amazed at the price difference!

10553812076_3fe9a81906_bPhotography by: Alber Palmer Photography (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)

4. Double Your Favors As Escort Cards: Giving out small succulent plants as favors? How about cookie cutters? Whatever you choose, you can easily allow your wedding favors do double duty as escort cards. This will cut down on extraneous spending and will make your life so much easier!

4523702955_309a606556_oPhotography by: Tyler Ingram (CC BY_NC 2.0)

5. Serve Signature Cocktails: Hosting an open bar on your wedding day is a major budget drain, but you can still have a fun bar without providing 20 different alcohol selections. How might that be possible? By serving his and hers signature wedding cocktails! They are personal, way more affordable and your guests will definitely love trying out your cocktail creation!

See? We told you these are super smart ideas! For more insider tips on how to save on your wedding day, contact Down The Aisle today!

~Blog contributed by Audra Jones

The Top 7 Mistakes That DIY Brides Make And How To Avoid Them

The Top 7 Mistakes That DIY Brides Make And How To Avoid Them

There’s not doubt that DIY weddings are at the top of the list when it comes to wedding trends. But is being a DIY bride all it’s cracked up to be? Is it always fun? Is it always cheaper? Do DIY weddings always look gorgeous? The honest answer is no.

Not all experiences are the same and not all DIY weddings are created equal. Don’t get us wrong, just because we are a wedding planning company doesn’t mean that we don’t love a fabulous, hand-made affair. In fact, crafty projects are one of our favorite things, so we can easily see why so many brides are jumping at the chance to create one-of-a-kind and personal items for their day. There’s just something about being surrounded by your own work on your wedding day that’s special and fun.

However, as we mentioned, it isn’t always rainbows and blue skies when you choose to become a DIY bride. As the people who get the call when cool ideas don’t go as planned, we’ve seen clear patterns emerge when it comes to the most common mistakes that DIY brides make. Actually, 7 big uh-ohs have presented themselves over and over again in our history of working with DIY gone wrong. If you are opting to go this route with your upcoming wedding day, here’s the breakdown of those no-nos.

Mistake #1: Not testing out the finished product before the wedding. 

We cannot even begin to tell you how many times we’ve seen our DIY brides snag an adorable idea off Pinterest only to have the final product be a total mess on the day of the wedding. Therefore, it’s essential that you make sure that your DIY projects actually work before the big day arrives. Nobody wants to spend hours making cute lanterns, mason jar cheese cake favors, etc. and realize a few hours before the wedding that they were a waste of time and must be thrown out. So taste test, do a trial run, and make sure your creative ventures actually turn out right!

Candace Jeffery Photography

Candace Jeffery Photography

Mistake #2: Overestimating how much time you’ll have.

Planning a wedding is a HUGE time commitment, but brides often assume that it won’t be that difficult and that their months-long engagement is plenty enough time. This thinking immediately leads to problems, especially when it’s taken for granted that you’ll have all the time in the world to fold 1,000 paper cranes, paint 500 candle sticks, and bake 22 mini pies. The truth is that being a DIY bride requires more of your free time than you could ever imagine. A sure way to help avoid this mistake is by being realistic about what you can accomplish on your own and hiring vendors when you need help.

Mistake #3: Not thinking of bad weather backup plans. 

As planners, we are always thinking of what could go wrong on the day of the wedding and how to fix it as quickly as possible. When you haven’t planned countless weddings before your own big day arrives, it’s easy to forget about the “what if” details. One of the most catastrophic oversights that DIY brides make is to forego bad weather backup plans, especially when it will cost more money. Trust us, go ahead and spend a little extra for that tent or backup indoor venue now before rain wrecks your dream day.

Candace Jeffery Photography

Candace Jeffery Photography

Mistake #4: Forgetting important details.

As we mentioned above, first time brides tend to forget about minuscule details. And it makes sense. Your agenda is full of meetings, your to-do list is overflowing with wedding plans, and you also have a life outside of your wedding, so, of course, it’s going to be easy to miss something. Our advice is to as least hire a day-of coordinator to help you on the day of your wedding. This way you can relax and enjoy your wedding and he or she can help you uncover any important factors you might have looked over during your pre-wedding prep (like, how are the items getting back home, and who they are going back with).

 

Mistake #5: Assuming that DIY is always cheaper. 

Let’s us debunk this idea now: DIY isn’t always cheaper than hiring a wedding vendor. All the little materials can add up over time and, many times, it would have just been less expensive to hire someone to print those invitations rather than you shelling out hundreds of dollars to do them yourself. If you are set on making something yourself, do a quick price comparison first before you opt out of hiring a pro. Another factor to consider is that your vendors will know how to work with your budget and stretch it as far as it will go; this is because they have inside connections and info that you may not, also the materials are usually of better quality preventing you from making errors. Sometimes, hiring a vendor is just better in the long run. Sometimes, it isn’t. It’s up to you to make sure you are getting the most for your money.

Candace Jeffery Photography

Candace Jeffery Photography

Mistake #6: Not reading the fine print on contracts.

Our brides inevitably have a lot of questions when it comes to the details on the vendor contracts. Thankfully, we’ve been down that road a time or two and know exactly what to look for and negotiate out before our brides sign. As a DIY bride, you will not have that luxury, so it’s up to you to make sure you comb over every sentence of these important documents before you commit yourself. You’d be amazed how many hidden fees and pesky rules are tucked away in the small print.

Mistake #7: Using friends or family members instead of hiring vendors.

Just because your friends and family love you doesn’t mean that they want to be your busy little wedding workers. In fact, it really takes a lot of fun out of the wedding for them because instead of soaking up your day and spending time with you, they are busy putting together bouquets, serving food, etc. Additionally, even if a friend or family member volunteers to help, it could lead to some serious problems, such as fights, unmet expectations, and amateur work. Unless the person is an experienced professional, you are better off passing on the offer and hiring an expert.

Candace Jeffery Photography

Candace Jeffery Photography

Don’t make one of these tragic mistakes, so plan carefully, give yourself plenty of time, and know when to hire and when to DIY. In the end, you’ll be a happier bride because of it.

Have a question about one of the mistake that DIY brides make? Not sure if you should hire or DIY? Contact us for advice!

~Blog contributed by Audra Jones

Creative Cufflinks For The Groom: Gift Idea From The Bride

Creative Cufflinks For The Groom: Gift Idea From The Bride

It’s often thought that because a groom is usually confined to a suit or tux and a particular color scheme that he can’t have his own signature style. Well, think again!

One of the easiest ways for a groom to add a bit of flair to his wedding day look is to get really creative with the cufflinks. The options are truly endless as far as design and styles go. Just type your heart’s desire into any search bar and you are bound to find one set of creative cufflinks after another and many site offer custom designs especially for you and your wedding day. A creative pair of cufflinks really allow you to show off your style and personality without throwing off a pre-determined color scheme or a wedding theme, so why not get creative with your look?

Creative cufflinks for the groom makes a great gift idea from the bride. Sometimes formal, but sometimes fun, too!

Ready to get creative with your cufflinks? If so, tell us your idea and we can help you find what you’re looking for!

~Blog contributed by Audra Jones

Bridal Accessories That Pop: Succulent Jewelry From Passionflower!

Bridal Accessories That Pop: Succulent Jewelry From Passionflower!

A few weeks ago, we were casually scrolling through our Down The Aisle Facebook page and checking out the latest and greatest wedding inspiration to delight our newsfeed. Moseying along, we mused over the usual fabulous wedding decor ideas, the wedding dresses that made us swoon, and the newest wedding color palette trends, but it was something else that completely and totally captivated our imaginations! That special something? Succulent jewelry from Passionflower! Yes, you read that correctly…real life succulents made into some of the most stunning bridal accessories you’ve ever laid eyes on in your life. Instantly, we knew that this was an idea we had to share with our brides. Seriously, what could be more fabulous than rocking statement jewelry like this on your big day? It’s bold, it’s fresh, and it’s an idea we are over the moon to be able to start suggesting these unique bridal accessories to our clients looking for a fun and modern way to dress up their bridal look.

If we couldn’t fall any more head over heels for these unique designs, we then discovered that these creative gems are also amazingly affordable for brides of every budget! In our line of work, that’s always an important aspect to consider, so we were beyond delighted to find that these one-of-a-kind bridal accessories are available in options that range from thrifty to luxe.

Okay, enough from us, get ready to be smitten!

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What do you think? Are these pretty floral just the touch you were looking to add to your wedding day look?

For more ideas like this or tips on how to make your bridal look fit your style, contact us here!

~Blog contributed by Audra Jones

All photos courtesy of Passionflower! 
Colorful Wedding Inspiration Board: Aqua + Grey Wedding

Colorful Wedding Inspiration Board: Aqua + Grey Wedding

Wedding season has kicked into full gear and we are busy bees here at Down The Aisle! From pouring over wedding reception layouts to brainstorming fun and creative wedding ideas, we can easily say that we have weddings on the brain pretty much 24/7. As wedding lovers, we, of course, wouldn’t have it any other way. Today we found ourselves ohhing and ahhing over wedding color palettes for the upcoming summer months and we instantly started swooning over lights greys and vibrant aquas, so we decided nothing would make our day more than putting together a super fabulous wedding inspiration board for brides like you!

We love the pairing of these two shades because the gray is light, fresh, and subdued whereas the aqua hue is attention-grabbing and bright. Easily, these two colors complement each other and give you a fun neutral backdrop that shies away from being dull thanks to some fabulous pops of color.

Our wedding inspiration board hopes to show the gorgeousness of this color combo and the many lovely ways that you can utilize them in your wedding day! It can be easily to go overboard with the aqua in this palette, but a great away to avoid this problem is to think of the brighter hue as an accent color rather than one of your main colors. Utilize the grey where possible and incorporate the aqua in creative and eye-catching ways rather than dosing ever inch of the room in this blue-green color (we’re a little biased, as our logo is a lovely aqua shade). As our wedding inspiration board example shows, the aqua tone works best in sparse amounts!

We hope you enjoy! And, as always, if you have any questions or ideas to share, contact us anytime!

aqua and gray

~Blog contributed by Audra Jones