Wedding Wisdom Wednesday :: Registry Do's and Don'ts for the Engaged Couple

:: Registry Do’s and Don’ts for the Engaged Couple ::

Many couples feel like it’s a selfish act to sign up on a gift registry. But the fact is, that most if not all of your guests will want to get a gift for the two of you. So really, you’re helping your guests, and eliminating confusion by signing up at at least one store and indicating the items you’d like to have. This process also helps immensely in curbing duplicate gifts.

Wedding Registry

Gifts” by Selbe Lynn is licensed under CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

:: Do give some thought to the store or stores in which you register. A nationally located department store is a good choice, especially if guests are traveling in from other states. We recommend registering at more than one store in order to increase choices for your guests. These days of course, mega online stores are an excellent option.

:: Do register as soon as possible after your engagement. This way, people can utilize the registry for shower gifts as well.

:: Do include a range of purchase prices with a number of gifts under $50, some in the $50- $100 range, and a few over $150. Typically, these ranges should cover the buying power of the majority of your guests.

:: Do feel free to include some speciality items like camping gear, for instance, or any items that hold special interest for you and your partner. Since many about-to-be married couples are already sharing living quarters, you probably don’t have a need for typical household items like toasters or blenders.

:: Don’t list highly expensive items on the registry. If you have a need for an expensive item and have a rich aunt, grandparent or parent who would be inclined and have the resources to fulfill a large gift request, ask them directly, or leave hints, or enlist a friend to help share the need. An alternative would be to get a friend to take up a collection among your friends for a large ticket item.

:: Don’t list personal items like clothing or toiletries. However, it is acceptable to register for a couple of gift cards in addition to tangible items. In that way, you can have a little extra buying power to pick up some personal items.

:: Don’t procrastinate about sending out thank you notes. Keep a record of who sent what and send out handwritten notes that mention the specific gift no later than 3 months after the wedding. For wedding shower gifts, thank yous should be sent within 2-3 weeks of receipt. It’s a lovely thing to receive a gracious, heartfelt and sincerely written thank you note, so consider your words carefully. Your guests will be pleased.

Happy gift getting and thank you-ing!

Wedding Wisdom Wednesday :: Who Pays For What In The Modern Wedding?

:: Who Pays For What In The Modern Wedding? ::

In times long gone, brides were considered chattel, like a piece of furniture. The bride’s family was expected to pay a dowry to take the girl off the family’s hands. This is where the custom of the bride’s family traditionally paying for the wedding came from! Can you believe it?

We asked Julie Hurt of {MRSter Approved} Simply Elegant Event and Wedding Design a few questions on the topic of who pays for what in the modern wedding.

MRSter :: Traditionally it has been the responsibility of the bride’s family to be entirely responsible for the cost of the wedding. Is this still the case?

Julie :: Gone are the days of the bride’s family paying for everything! In my 10+ years in the wedding industry I have come across several different scenarios on this subject. More and more couples are now opting to pay for their event themselves, and sometimes, will have each of their families contribute if needed. This results from the average age of couples now being a little older, and couples waiting longer to get married. If this is either clients second time around the marriage pole they will always pay for everything themselves.

MRSter :: Does wedding etiquette dictate any hard and fast rules for who pays for what at a wedding, even if the responsibility is divided between families?

Julie :: If we follow the traditional route of who pays for what, “wedding etiquette” would be followed in the traditional sense that the Bride’s family is paying for everything. Therefore they have final say in things such as guest count, style of the wedding, etc. With couples who pay for everything themselves, or families that are sharing the costs, they each have a say in the planning process. There are other expenses that each family can contribute to also, for example, one family may host the entire rehearsal dinner and wedding night accommodations. The other family may opt for the services of the wedding planner and that’s where we come in!

MRSter adds that for the modern union, many old fashioned notions have thankfully flown the coop. For LGBT couples, oftentimes they don’t have the support of parents in the first place, sad to say. Also, many couples have already established a bank account and like Julie says, “are opting to pay for the wedding themselves”. So, the bottom line is that for the modern wedding, there are no hard and fast rules. It really depends on the financial climate of the families involved, the support that is willingly and realistically offered, and setting a reasonable budget based on the dollars that are available. Let individual circumstance and common sense prevail.

What are your thoughts on the subject? We would love to hear!

Top Five Friday :: Toasting Tips for the Wedding Party

Top Five Friday :: Toasting Tips for the Wedding Party

Not to scare you, but wedding toasts can be beautiful moments or horrible disasters. They can make or break the atmosphere at a wedding. Making a wedding toast is both an honor and a responsibility. If you have been chosen to make a toast, read up on our top five toasting tips to help you get started…

1 :: Relax :: Be yourself. No one is expecting you to metamorphosize into Shakespeare or an academy award winner. You were chosen to make a toast because you are a special person to one, or both, of the happy couple. Let the idea of the toast mull around in your head for a few days (but don’t procrastinate) and then sit down to…

2 :: Write :: Think of why you were asked to say a toast. What is your relationship to the couple? What makes that relationship special? Why are you happy for them? Make it personal and sincere. Research and find beautiful quotes on love and marriage, find a story you think would be great to share, to use in your toast, or simply just to inspire you to write your own words. Get it all down on paper and then edit, edit, edit. Ask a friend (not the couple who are getting married, of course) to look over your toast and offer some constructive criticism.

3 :: Rehearse :: A lot. Read your toast over and over again until it’s practically, if not actually, memorized. Let it flow from your heart.

4 :: Keep it short :: Wrap it up in 5 minutes or less, otherwise you risk boredom. Conclude with the raising of the glass and don’t forget to have a glass of your own to raise as your are toasting; a detail that is forgotten way too often!

5 :: Stay sober :: Don’t have a lot to drink before your toast or you could wind up embarrassing yourself and the wedding party. I’ve seen this happen too many times to not offer this bit of caution here. You can party hardy after your toast!

Photography ::

Photography :: Lemon Three Photo

Do you have any toasting tips of your own to share with our readers? Let us know in the comments below!

A successful marriage requires falling in love many times, always with the same person.

Mignon McLaughlin

Wedding Wisdom Wednesday :: What Is The Difference Between A Bridal Party And A Wedding Party?

:: What Is The Difference Between A Bridal Party And A Wedding Party? ::

If you’re confused by the meaning of the bridal party as opposed to the wedding party, you are not alone…

Traditionally, the bridal party means the bride, maid/matron of honor, bridesmaids, junior bridesmaids and flower girl in any combination. In other words, all the females. But, what if the wedding consists of two brides, as can happen in the modern union? Likewise, traditionally the wedding party consists of everyone: the bride, maid/matron of honor, bridesmaids, junior bridesmaids and flower girl, groom, best man, groomsmen, junior groomsmen, and the ring bearer. Here again in the modern union, there may be two grooms.

And how come a bride can have a bridal party, but a groom doesn’t get a groomal party?

To make matters more confusing, what if you asked a special friend or friends to do a reading or readings. And what about the mom and dad? What are they? Chopped liver? (As the saying goes.)  Or what if you’ve arranged some sort of special happening during the ceremony, like a dance done by your college roommate, or some other person doing something awesome. Aren’t they a part of it all? And what if the groom has a best woman instead of a best man? Is your head spinning yet?

Well, to simplify it all, MRSter suggests that you simply refer to everyone involved in the ceremony as the Wedding Party, and all other attendees as the Guests. This mindset will honor those special people who you’ve asked to participate a smidgen higher than your honored guests (who you wouldn’t have asked to your wedding if they were not dear to your heart – hopefully).

There. Now everyone is happy and everyone is special. What could be better?

San Antonio, TEXAS :: Rachel & Nelson :: One Beautiful Summer Day // Real Wedding

:: One Beautiful Summer Day ::

Photographed by :: Parker of The PK Photographs

I was so excited when I pulled up to The Lodge at Country Inn Cottages. Picture hay bales and open fields, surrounding a beautiful stone and wood lodge set near a hillside. The cottages up the hill are where Nelson and his groomsmen were getting ready, while Rachel and her bridesmaids were in the Bridal Suite at the Lodge.  The sky was the brightest of blues, with a few perfectly shaped white clouds, and the wind did a great job of overcoming the heat of an outdoor summer wedding in Texas.

The ceremony was short, sweet, and beautiful. There were a few tears, a few laughs, and Rachel and Nelson couldn’t stop smiling at each other. A few cows even wandered into the field beside their ceremony to watch this beautiful couple tie the knot! After their ceremony, there was a reception with heart-warming toasts and beautiful dances. Such a beautiful event with beautiful, kind families and friends of this beautiful bride and groom, ending with the bride and groom dancing the night away with friends on the dance floor.


Beautiful. Nature. Let’s Dance.


Photography :: The PK Photographs
Venue :: The Lodge Event Center
Live Band :: The Kopy Kats


San Antonio, Texas.



Gallatin, TENNESSEE :: Laura & Jeremy :: Blessings From Above // Real Wedding

:: Blessings From Above ::

Photographed by :: Anjeanette Illustration Photography

The couple met their sophomore year at University of Tennessee in Knoxville, where Laura was studying for her Architecture degree, and Jeremy for his Sport Management degree. Jeremy planned a surprise Christmas time proposal near a pond and fountain, where he had draped his car in white Christmas lights and “Make You Feel My Love” by Adele was playing over the stereo.

Fast forward to the wedding… They say when it rains on a wedding day, blessings and good fortune are pouring down from above, and in that case Laura & Jeremy were indeed covered! Jeremy and Laura were both so giddy and excited to be getting married that the weather did not phase them! As a photographer, their positive and excited attitudes made all the difference in the world for successful photos.

In my opinion, a happy brides smile makes for the best of photos! Thankfully, we had had a brief dry moment before the storm for an intimate first look, with only a large group of deer to witness! Their wedding day in September was 7 years to the weekend from when they first began dating, and Laura said she was so excited to be marrying her best friend!

One of the most touching parts of this sweet and intimate wedding, was the display table of framed portraits of family members on their wedding days. Also, many of the items were handmade by family in a very chic and charming manner. Their guests signed well wishes into their bible, and several large groupings of soft candle light completed the warm glow.


Best Friends. Intimate. Blessed.


Photography :: Anjeanette Illustration Photography
Venue :: The Pick Inn


Gallatin, Tennessee.



San Diego, CALIFORNIA :: Beautiful In Blush // Daniel & Milton // Real LGBT Wedding

:: Beautiful In Blush ::

Submitted by :: Sabrina of La Dolce Idea {MRSter Approved – La Dolce Idea}

From Daniel (Groom) ::

Love starts with a kiss…. And so the story begins…  April 19, 2014 was the most magical day of our lives.

I would assume most of us have always dreamed of the perfect wedding, the perfect soul mate, and a love that will last for a lifetime. Unfortunately, being a gay man, we could only dream of a fairytale wedding.  At the time, society, religion, and political government forbid marriage between same sex. You can only imagine, the overwhelming joy in our hearts, the day we stood before God, our family and friends, as we exchanged our wedding vows. The love of a beautiful wedding, along with honoring and respecting the traditional meaning of a marriage, is one of life’s greatest gifts.

The love and dedication we have for each other certainly made our wedding special, however, it was the details, the planning, the commitment from others, and the support of many vendors that made our wedding a success. For those who think help isn’t needed to plan a magical wedding, think again. As much as my husband and I, take credit for our beautiful wedding, the reality is… Our wedding planner Sabrina of La Dolce Idea made our dream a magical day. She has a special relationship with the very best vendors in the industry, From wedding cakes,  to white leather diamond custom made  chairs. And let’s not forget, her ability to calmly maintain her professional grace and style, under pressure when she is dealing with a perfectionist with a temper. Sabrina delivered a perfect magical wedding… I wish I could relive our wedding day, everyday.

From Sabrina (planner):

It was truly a wonderful day filled with love and happiness, and I was honored to be part of Daniel and Milton’s wedding. The ceremony took place at the spectacular Organ Pavilion in Balboa Park. The two grooms were impeccably dressed with white jacket, black trousers and pink accents (pink was selected in honor of Daniel’s mother who died of breast cancer some years ago, and Daniel had a little silver heart tied to his boutonniere, as pictured). Bridesmaids wore pink dresses and groomsmen wore light grey suits with pink accents. Daniel and Milton’s two dogs (fully dressed!) were also part of the celebration.

For the reception at the US Grant Hotel, the Celestial Ballroom was set with round tabletops embellished with silver crushed taffeta linens, pink satin napkins, and tall glass centerpieces with cascading flowers and crystal gems. Daniel and Milton had fun making some DIY projects such as the table number holders: plain silver sign holders were decorated with a white feather and a pink ribbon bow. They looked great on the tables! Menu cards were personalized with guest names, and favors were placed next to them: they were a box of chocolates and custom imprinted lip balm sticks (what Daniel and Milton exchanged when they first met).

The couple’s impressive square table was custom made with a white fabric pattern and two rhinestone and leather chairs finished the look on stage where their names were projected onto a white chiffon backdrop. Guests were treated to a delicious dinner, and La Dolce Idea also provided a dessert table matching the color palette. Milton’s sister painted a beautiful blossom tree as a wedding gift and we used it as the table backdrop to enhance the display with macarons, cake shots, chocolate pretzels and truffles. The cake was a fabulous 6-tiered creation with buttercream petals and crystal accents, Daniel and Milton were very involved with the design and the results were incredible.

A mariachi band accompanied Milton and his mother, then Daniel joined them during family dances. The dance floor was packed all night thanks to our incredible DJ!


Blush. Wedding Day Dogs. Delicious Desserts.


Photography :: Aaron Willcox Photography
Planning, Coordination & Dessert Table :: MRSter Approved // La Dolce Idea
Ceremony Venue :: Spreckels Organ Pavilion in Balboa Park
Reception Venue :: US Grant Hotel
Catering & Chocolate Truffles :: US Grant Hotel
Stationery :: Dolldine Designs
Linens :: Sweet Ribbon Events
Floral :: Wholesale Flowers
Grooms’ Custom Table :: Hire Elegance 
Officiant :: A Ceremony Of Elegance – Rev. Deborah Young
Ceremony Music :: Eliana Strings
Cocktail Hour Music :: Sam Hosking
DJ & Lighting :: Beck’s Entertainment
Mariachi Band :: Mariachi Del Mar
Cake :: CAKE
Cake Pops & Cake Shots :: Grove Pastry Shop
Macarons :: La Reine Des Macarons
Chocolate Pretzels :: Anjolie’s Sweet Treats
Transportation :: Epic Limo


San Diego, California



:: Alternatives to Wedding Cake :: Wedding Trends

:: Alternatives To Wedding Cake ::

Written by wifey to Erika and Advisory Board member :: Shannon

Wedding Cake Alternatives Same Sex Gay Wedding

Our wedding cake was so delicious we almost ran out! I do wish we had been a little more creative like one of my favorite chef’s who recently got hitched and instead of a traditional wedding cake, she opted for a dessert buffet with layer cakes, pies and other sweet treats.

Wedding Cake Alternatives Same Sex Gay Wedding

Another unique idea for those who live free of a sweet tooth – Tiers of fancy cheese that mimic a wedding cake adorned with fruits, nuts, dried fruits, edible flowers and herbs to enhance each cheese.

Lastly, if you want to stay cheesey but still offer something sweet, my favorite option is a Cheese cake tier.

Try topping it with fresh fruit, chocolates or nuts. The flavors are limitless.

What unique wedding cakes have you experienced?

Trend Tuesday :: Creative Wedding Confetti Alternatives // Wedding Trends

:: Creative Wedding Confetti Alternatives ::

It’s trend Tuesday, and this week we are talking… wedding confetti alternatives!

The tradition of throwing wedding confetti dates back to Roman times, whereby confetti being tossed over the newlyweds at a wedding was seen to symbolize fertility. Confetti throwing is still a tradition adopted by many, but couples are now looking outside the box for alternatives to the traditional paper or rice confetti.  And you know that at MRSter, we LOVE out of the box ideas!

There are so many creative alternatives around today, I’m sure you’ve seen MANY on Pinterest, so we are going to share a few of our favorites with you…

1 :: Glitter

This is a great, yet simple, twist on traditional confetti, that your guests are sure to love. Of course, you will be covered in sparkles for the rest of the day, but who doesn’t love a little bit of added glitter and sparkle?!

Michael James Glitter

Check out James & Michael’s wedding here.

2 :: Paper Planes

Technically this one is still paper confetti, but with a modern make-over! This is a great alternative to traditional confetti, and one that children and older guests alike are sure to love. Paper planes are easy to personalize with messages, as well as making for easy clean up, therefore this alternative is a win-win all around – and perfect for aviation themed weddings!

3 :: Bubbles

Blowing bubbles is a super fun and quirky idea, and can also make for some beautiful pictures! Not only that, but they are very inexpensive and can also double up as a cute little wedding favor for your guests. These days, bubbles have become a very popular alternative, and you are now able to find the bottles in a variety of shapes and colors, such as wedding cakes and champagne glasses – so cute!

4 :: Sparklers

This is definitely one of our favorite alternatives for evening or night time weddings, as sparklers make for some amazing exit photographs! They certainly add some fun and magic to the moment – beautiful!

5 :: Mini Flags

A great way to minimize all of the clean up that you get with paper or rice confetti, is to give your guests mini flags that they can wave around as you leave the ceremony! Not only is this a cute favor, but it also makes a great photo prop if you are having a photobooth! These are a great option if you wanted something that you can personalize, and they can even be a DIY project to help you keep costs down if you are feeling creative!


Flags” by Natalia Wilson is licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0.

6 :: Balloons

Balloons are another great alternative to traditional confetti, and as they are available in a huge variety of colors, it would be easy to find some that match your wedding color palette! In addition to simply releasing the balloons after the ceremony, you could also have your guests personalize them with messages and well wishes for the new couple before they let them go!

7 :: Leaves

This is a very economical, very fun, and best of all FREE idea… One that is particularly perfect for a fall wedding! Simply gather up some leaves, and dry them in advance of the big day. Then place a couple of handfuls into some cute cones or little bags and hand them out to your guests to throw at you after tying the knot!

Sadie and Nora

Photography by Melissa Hesse of Rivets and Roses.

8 :: A Shred Of Decency

Last but certainly not least… this is personally our FAVORITE alternative! This awesome company from Ireland, called Daintree Paper came up with the most wonderful idea for wedding confetti, called ‘A Shred of Deceny’.

The company take papers, pamphlets, leaflets etc that are anti-gay, anti-marriage equality, and simply used to spread ugly lies and hate about marriage equality, and they recycle 100% of it into confetti, in support of marriage equality! All of the profits from sales of the confetti go to Yes Equality, and Daintree Paper has raised thousands of Euros for them since initiating this AMAZING idea! They then encourage you to take a photo of you celebrating with your confetti and post it on your social media platforms with the hashtag #shredofdecency to show your support for this amazing cause! Check it out here


Which of these traditional confetti alternatives is your favorite? We would love to hear some of your ideas if we haven’t listed them already!

Sian Clark // Social Media Manager