Friday, April 29, 2016

Bridesmaids Gift Idea: Knot Jewelry

I'm a huge fan of puns. If you remember, our engagement party favors had personalized peppermint patties that said "mint to be" on them. Knot jewelry to thank your bridesmaids for helping you tie the knot absolutely falls in line with my favorite puns.

I figured I can't be the only one who has had this idea, so I went through a bunch of items and picked out my favorite knot jewelry pieces (so you don't have to search; you can just shop).

knot jewelry

Bridesmaids Gift Idea: Knot Jewelry

BRIDAL BABBLE: What is your favorite knot item in the list?

Looking for more bridesmaid gift ideas?

Check out our Top Ten Bridesmaids Gift Ideas.


Thursday, April 28, 2016

Tricks For Ordering Dresses Online

Azazie sent this dress to A Bride On A Budget. All thoughts and opinions belong to A Bride On A Budget.

I'll be honest: Wedding dress shopping made me feel fat.

In real life, I wear a size 0 or 2 in clothes with numbers, and XS or S in clothes with letters. In dresses, I'm generally a 4. So when I went wedding dress shopping and the consultants were pulling 10's and 12's, I silently laughed to myself. They must be due for an eye exam, I thought.

Oh no. When I put on those dresses and they fit (some with the help of a clamp in the back, some without), I silently cried to myself. I felt fat. Really fat. And when a consultant pulled my eventual wedding dress and told me it was a European cut so it was a size smaller than American dresses ... and that my dress was the only one of its kind ... and a European size 8, it took all the prayers I could muster (plus some clever handiwork by the consultant) to get me into it.

And then she told me to lose ten pounds.

That's not exactly the feeling you want to have when you're trying on dresses for the day when you should feel most beautiful.

I got over it, lost a couple pounds before wedding day, got into my European size 8 dress (and, with the help of a friend, got out of it), and felt beautiful. I look back on photos and I just really love my dress -- regardless of what size the tag says it was.

But, had I been shopping online for a dress and not in stores, I would have bought a size 4. I would have never in my wildest dreams thought to order anything larger because, in real life, I'm not larger. But wedding dresses -- and bridesmaids dresses too -- they make their own rules.

So dress shopping online can be scary -- especially because you're not buying some cheap department store dress with a coupon. You're spending quite a bit of money and many online sites have a non-existent return policy. Plus, many sites that sell wedding dresses have a long lag time, like three to four months oftentimes. So if you order the wrong size, you don't have time for an exchange even if that was a possibility.

For someone like me, it's all too nerve-wracking.

And that's why I really am a fan of Azazie. The online dress shop has a ton of dresses, but that's not the best part. It also has a sample program. Right now, it's available for bridal gowns and will return this spring for bridesmaids dresses. You choose up to two bridal gowns, try them for a small fee (which covers shipping), and then return them within a week. It helps to see how the dress fits and really helps to determine what size you need.

Keep in mind, if you're between sizes, it's easier to suck up your pride and go up a size than suck in your stomach and go down a size.

We got a chance to order the Nadia dress in spa. I ordered up a size because I have a wide rib cage and dresses are often tight on me there, making it hard to zip. If you're unsure about sizing, you can talk with a specialist at Azazie. I did, but I'm stubborn and still ordered a size up ... and then had to get it taken in. So the lesson, really, is listen to the people who do this for a living. They know what's up.

The dress itself is beautiful. It came in a dress bag, which is especially great if you're traveling to a wedding. The dress bag will keep it safe.

Now, just a few facts about ordering dresses online, in case you're considering it:

Tricks For Ordering Dresses Online

  • Not all dresses are created equally. Just because you are a size 4 at one store doesn't mean you are at another. Look for a size chart on each website to make sure you are ordering a dress that fits.
  • Not all dresses can be returned. If you are hesitant about ordering, check out the site's return policy. Some have one, some don't, some have one for certain items only.
  • Be sure to use a secured site only. If you're paying by credit card, you want to make sure the website is secured. Look for a little lock in your web browser. You want to make sure your payment method is secure and won't be stolen.
  • Try and get a swatch before ordering. If you can get a swatch first, get one. You'll be able to see the color and fabric before, so you know if it's what you want or not.
  • Order with time to spare. Dresses take time to make, and you want to leave enough time for the dress to be created -- and then altered by your local seamstress if you need.

BRIDAL BABBLE: Did you order your dress online? Tell us your story in the comments.

Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Ten Tips To Help You Stay On Your Wedding Diet

I don't diet. When I found my wedding dress and my consultant told me I could lose ten pounds, I probably gave her a little side eye. She dropped it down to five pounds, but that was still five pounds more than I ever tried to shed in my life. I've always been skinny and I've never had to count calories. But I wanted my dress to be perfect, so if five pounds was the answer then five pounds was gonna happen.

That meant sticking to a wedding diet, though. Awful, right?

If you want to look like the best version of yourself on your wedding day, I totally support that. I would never support trying to lose a few hundred pounds before the big day because, honestly, you'll look like someone else in your photos (and, well, if you do have a few hundred pounds that you think you could lose, you'll probably want to consult a doctor about that. I can't -- legally or realistically -- help you with that journey).

But, if you're on a wedding diet and need a little bit of help to stay on it, these tips are here for you.

Is a wedding diet daunting when you think about it? You can get ten tips to help you stay on your wedding diet from

Ten Tips To Help You Stay On Your Wedding Diet

1. Don't buy crap.
If you don't buy it, it won't be in your house, and you can't eat it. I follow this line of thinking every time I'm at the grocery store. Sure, a bag of chips looks great, but if I buy it and bring it home, I'll eat it. My willpower is not strong. If I leave it in the store, I'm leaving the temptation behind too.

If you really want to snack, buy healthier options. Find healthy snacks that you really enjoy and make sure those are in your pantry -- especially if you have a roommate who is bringing home delicious cookies.

2. Drink water.
Sometimes, when you feel hungry, you're just thirsty. I'm not sure how it happens, but it's a thing. Seriously. You can Google it. So when you're thirsty, before you grab a snack, grab your bottle of water. Drink some water and then wait. If you're still hungry after a bit, then you were hungry. But if the water subsides the hunger, your body was just confused. And if that's the case, you just added zero calories to your day but still filled up.

3. Use an app.
If you track your calories in an app, you'll feel guilty about that piece of chocolate. Trust me. Every time I logged mine into an app, I felt like it was judging me. Three Ferrero Rocher chocolates were 219 calories and I feel like the app was like, "Are you planning on having more calories from chocolate today than from breakfast?" So just having that in my mind, knowing I would have to log the chocolate, it made me stop snacking on it. Instead, I would portion control Pepperidge Farm Goldfish or strawberries.

4. Buy fun size chocolates if you really need a fix.
I'd be lying if I said wedding planning didn't make me want to indulge. But if I did, my vice was one fun sized Nestle Crunch bar. I got my fix and didn't ruin my entire day. If you need to curb a craving, do it with a small dose of whatever you're yearning for.

5. Use the buddy system.
If your fiance is eating some delicious looking pasta swimming in cream sauce, your grilled chicken won't compare. You'll dip a bit of garlic bread into his sauce and one bite will turn into a plateful. Trust me, it will tempt you. But if he is also having salmon and spinach for dinner, it'll be easier to stay on track.

6. Cook at home.
And if you're trying that buddy system, try it at home. Instead of having date night at a restaurant, cook at home. It'll be fun to do it together, plus, you'll know what's going into your meals. Food at restaurants taste good, but so many of those yummy entrees are made in tons of butter. You don't really want to be that girl who is asking the waiter to ask the chef to change the cooking method just to suit your new diet. It's much easier to just do it yourself.

7. Brown bag it. 
Keep chicken and salad in the house and use it to make your lunch the night before. That way, you're not getting fast food on work days. If you're running around planning your wedding and, in a pinch, you need to grab something on the go, you can ask your trusty app. It will actually give you the healthiest option at each fast food restaurant so you can at least make a good decision.

The same goes for breakfast. With some fast food joints serving all day breakfast, it's tempting to grab it on your way into the office. Instead, make yours at home. Pete will make us smoothies before he goes to bed and we have them for breakfast the next morning. By planning ahead, you can make better decisions.

8. Don't drink your calories. 
Beer, soda, mixed drinks, they all come with a lot of potential calories. If you can drink water instead, you won't be drinking your calories away. If you're not a fan of water, you can always try to add something like low-calorie Crystal Light. And if you want a soda when you're out, order a diet soda.

9. Weigh yourself every day.
I know the almighty they will tell you not to weigh yourself every day. But I disagree. A lot. You need to know where you're at and if the changes you're making are working. If you wait a week or two between stepping on the scale, you could have been unknowingly gaining weight. And you won't really be able to pinpoint where the gain is coming from. Or, on the opposite side, if you're losing weight, you won't know what is working. So, investing in a good scale and getting on it often will really help you to know where you're at.

10. Limit your ketchup.
Did you know ketchup has more calories per ounce than soda? When I heard that, it just blew my mind. It's just empty calories. Other condiments can be too. So be aware of what you're adding to your food. If you like bagels, try olive oil instead of butter. If you get a salad and need dressing, have it on the side and dip the prongs of your fork into the dressing before stabbing your salad. You'll get the taste of the dressing with way less calories.

BRIDAL BABBLE: What other tips do you have to help brides stay on their wedding diet?