Last Weekend to Enter to Win a Rachael Ray Cookware + Dinnerware Set

Just a reminder . . . this will be the last weekend that you can enter to win a Rachael Ray Cookware + Dinnerware Set {giveaway ends Tuesday night}. One lucky reader of Brenda's Wedding Blog will win two of Rachael Ray's beautiful Cucina 16-Piece Dinnerware Sets in the color of their choice and one 12-Piece Rachael Ray Cucina Cookware Set in Agave Blue from Pots and Pans. {total prize is valued over $300}. Since Monday is a holiday {and I post on M/W/F} - I will be back here on Wednesday morning with a brand new post for you :) Hope you have a safe and fun holiday weekend.

To Enter to Win, simply Click Here
{or images shown above or below}
to see the original post with
the entry form and full details.
Good Luck.

Handmade Wedding Dresses under $1,000 {with big + small ruffles}

When I spied this ruffled wedding dress from Erin of The Peppermint Pretty, I fell in love with the layers of scalloped ruffles on the skirt and the ruching on the bodice. PS: It's priced at $895, an exclusive etsy price as it retails for $1,300. Each of these handmade wedding dresses shown today feature gorgeous ruffles {big and small} and are priced under $1,000 each.

Wedding Dress Sources:
2nd gown: Short Wedding Dress with Ruffles from The Little White Dress
3rd gown: Romantic Ruffled Wedding Dress from Aristoff
4th gown: Ruffled Bohemian Wedding Dress from Dreamers and Lovers

Hot Wedding Trend : Marquee Lights for Weddings + Parties

Marquee lights are simply amazing! And, you don't have to be a movie-obsessed couple to have them at your wedding. There are so many ways you can use marquee lights for your special day, in particular the reception. A bonus of incorporating marquee lights into your day, is that you have one of the most spectacular decor pieces for your home after your wedding. You can hold marquee letters that say "I Do" for a great bride and groom photo opportunity, you can have your new last name initial in lights, you can have the first initials of your name with the ampersand on display {maybe on the guest sign-in table}, and you can even have your name in a marquee {that lights up} as your cake topper.

The above Marquee Light Wedding Cake Toppers are from CrankBunny:
top left, top right, bottom left, bottom right

this post contains affiliate links

Celebrating the May Wedding Flower of the Month : Lily of the Valley

Happy Friday! I was thrilled to find out my Vintage Styled Lily of the Valley Wedding Invitation was featured in a Lily of the Valley treasury on etsy this month, created by Elizabeth of Tint Press. Did you know that the flower of the month for May is the Lily of the Valley? You can find the personalized print-at-home Lily of the Valley Wedding Invitation template in my etsy shop. You can also see the Vintage Inspired Lily of the Valley Photo Shoot here that features my {hand-glittered} invitation and gorgeous florals from EightTreeStreet.

Below are four of my handmade favorites from the Lily of the Valley Treasury from Elizabeth . . .

Giveaway : Win a Rachael Ray Cookware + Beautiful Dinnerware Set

Guess what today is? It's time for another giveaway to launch and it's another big one! And, you know what? If you're the lucky winner of this giveaway, you won't even need to register for dishes or cookware. I've got you completely covered for all of your dinner parties and/or date nights in. One lucky reader of Brenda's Wedding Blog will win two of Rachael Ray's beautiful Cucina 16-Piece Dinnerware Sets in the color of their choice and one 12-Piece Rachael Ray Cucina Cookware Set in Agave Blue from Pots and Pans. {total prize valued over $300}

Details on the prizes:
The Rachael Ray Cucina Dinnerware Collection is crafted from durable, solid stoneware with an earthy glazed finish. Each of the charming plates, bowls and mugs offer convenient modern functionality as well as unique character. Each piece is heat safe up to 250°F for 30 minutes, so you can keep your food warm in the oven until it's ready to be taken to the table. The stoneware is also microwave, dishwasher and freezer safe.

The Rachael Ray Cucina Hard Enamel Nonstick 12-Piece Cookware Set features saucepans, skillets, and more - making it easy to create delicious, memorable meals. The collection is crafted with sturdy hard enamel porcelain exteriors and durable aluminum construction that promotes fast, even heating. The PFOA-free nonstick interior releases foods effortlessly, complements the exteriors, and cleans up easily. Rubberized stainless steel handles on the pots and pans are dual riveted for added strength, and shatter-resistant glass lids seal in heat and moisture. The cookware is oven safe to 400°F and suitable for all stovetops, except induction.

ENTER TO WIN the Rachael Ray Giveaway +
Take Dinnerware + Cookware Off Your Registry

7 Hot Wedding Trends for 2015 - transcending "rustic" in favor of "chic"

Today I'm happy to welcome Laura Michonski of to my wedding blog with her Top 7 picks of the Hottest Wedding Trends for 2015. While she focused on the trends in the NYC area - I'm seeing these trends across the US so no worries if you are outside the NYC area. Please leave me a comment as I would love to know what your favorite wedding trend is.

>>> 1. The DIY Wedding <<<

The DIY wedding has become very popular in the past couple of years in NYC. By “DIY” I don’t mean that the bride and groom are doing absolutely everything themselves in terms of pulling together the wedding, but that they’re taking over or assigning to their friends elements that were traditionally reserved for specialists. For example, you see many couples these days creating their own playlists on iPods, going down to the flower district and doing their own flowers and giving out handmade gifts as favors (baked cookies for example). I attribute this trend to a couple of things: the first is that New York City is one of the most expensive places in the country to get married (you can expect costs here to be roughly triple what they would be anywhere else in the country), and tackling some of the most expensive elements (flowers) is a great way to cut down on costs. The “rustic” wedding trend has been going strong for several years now and this is a takeoff on that idea – it has become “cool” to DIY your wedding. It allows couples to tap into the “local” trend, too – by doing everything yourself, you’re keeping things local.

wedding cookie credits: Individually Boxed Wedding Favors from Whimsical Cake Company Diamond Engagement Ring Cookie Wedding Favors from Linda's Edible Art, Mason Jar Monogrammed Wedding Cookie Favors from Truly Scrumptious Cookies, Mini Heart Cookie Wedding Favors from Marinold Cakes

>>> 2. Return to Old-World Glamour <<<

The rustic chic trend has been going strong for several years now and in the past year or two the trend has started to transcend the “rustic” in favor of the “chic.” Instead of Edison lightbulbs, for example, brides are starting to incorporate chandeliers into their barn weddings. There is also a movement toward all-out glamour as a backlash to this movement. Brides are starting to be overwhelmed by the sheer number of burlap bag and mason jar weddings and are longing for something more classy and glamorous. Not that all brides aspire to be Kim Kardashian, but she certainly set a tone with her Versailles reception on May 24, 2014.

>>> 3. Green <<<

Moss Wedding Table Numbers from Pointless Pretty Etsy

Moss Wedding Table Numbers from Pointless Pretty Etsy

Rustic, glamorous, DIY or otherwise, one trend that seems to be consistent is the use of greenery in décor. Brides are opting to incorporate greenery in all of its form – tree branches, moss, plants –  to add flourish to their big day. I’ve even seen a couple go as far as trying to recreate Central Park in the Plaza Hotel with box hedges and trees!

>>> 4. One wedding, two parties <<<

The idea of getting married and throwing one huge reception is changing, especially as prices for that reception continue to rise (2014 saw the highest wedding costs yet, with the average wedding costing $31,213; in Manhattan, the average wedding costs $76,328). Some couples are opting to throw two or even three parties – one small, intimate party right after the ceremony for their closest friends and family and then a huge low-key bash for all of their friends – this bash can be as simple as a picnic in the park or a shindig thrown in their apartment. It’s a great way to ensure that costs don’t get in the way of celebrating with everyone that you love. I’ve seen the third party come in when the bride and groom are both from different, distant cities and want to celebrate with relatives and friends but can’t see everyone they care about making the trip. In that case, they’ll do the wedding and a small party and then two shindigs, one in each of their hometowns.

>>> 5. Multi-course dinners that guests can enjoy <<<

Chalkboard Wedding Sign from Lily & Val

Chalkboard Wedding Sign from Lily & Val

It used to be that the cocktail hour was the highlight of the wedding and few guests left the dance floor long enough to focus on the actual meal (in part because couples wanted to maximize the party, and in part because everyone was stuffed to the gills from the cocktail hour). Some couples have embraced this with cocktail-and-hors-d’oeuvres-only affairs but I’m hearing about more and more couples who are going the OPPOSITE way and opting for lighter cocktail hours in favor of a multi-course dinner that guests can actually sit down and enjoy – and then dancing. This also allows the couple to personalize the menu more with favorite childhood comfort foods, meals from first dates, etc.

>>> 6. Two (sometimes three) wedding dresses <<<

BHLDN Ceremony Wedding Dress: Adalynn Gown | Reception Wedding Dress: Barletta Dress

BHLDN Ceremony Wedding Dress: Adalynn Gown | Reception Wedding Dress: Barletta Dress

As more couples from different backgrounds wed, we see a desire to bring in elements from both cultures. This often results in brides changing from a traditional white wedding gown into a wedding gown that nods to her (or her groom’s) culture. But even brides from the same cultures as their grooms are choosing two wedding dresses – one that is more classic and geared toward the ceremony, and one that is shorter and trendier and designed for dancing.

>>> 7. A move away from traditional elements <<<

Gone are the days of the bouquet toss, the garter toss, and the family announcements. And fast upon their heels is the idea of selecting one gown for all bridesmaids (in fact, some couples are doing away with the bridal party altogether!). Some couples are even eschewing the ceremony in favor of focusing on the party. In part, this is due to the fact that more and more couples are delaying marriage until later in their careers and footing at least part of the bill themselves (on average, couples now pay for 43% of the wedding themselves). At this stage in the game, these couples know what they want and they don’t have the same pressure from their parents since they’re sharing the burden of the costs.

Laura Michonski is the Site Director of and a nationally recognized travel expert. Laura is often called upon to speak about trends in the travel and publishing industries and makes regular appearances in the media via outlets such as NBC, CNN, ABC News, NPR, Peter Greenberg radio, and the BBC.

this post contains affiliate links

Pretty In Blueberries Wedding Inspiration

With it getting closer and closer to the opening of Farmer's Markets around us - I thought it would be fun to bring back on of my favorite "fruit inspired inspiration boards". I've updated it a little bit but I love the idea of incorporating blueberries into your wedding or bridal shower. You could even serve your guests vanilla ice cream topped with blueberries drizzle of honey on top. You could even skip the traditional dinner if you want to do something totally unexpected and serve breakfast instead - think blueberry pancakes with homemade blueberry jam as wedding favors? Or, better yet, how about blueberry pancake cupcakes? And, maybe even blueberry bruschetta? There's so many great ideas to incorporate the blueberries into your event.

Image Credits and Shopping Resources:
blueberry invitation, blueberry syrup, blueberry pancake cupcakes, blueberry necklace {$24}. place setting {photo by Souder Photography}, blueberry boutonniere {$9}, blueberry place cards {photo by Andy Pigsley Photography}

This post contains affiliate links to shops that I'm happy to share -
all opinions and ideas are my own.