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Although I’m sure many of us have spring and summer on our minds with the way this  crazy Midwest winter has been, this cold, icy day has me thinking about hot chocolate. What better treat after the ceremony or at the end of the reception than a hot chocolate bar complete with marshmallows and mint flavored candy sticks (or even consider including  coffee or cookies!) to warm you (and your guests) up during your winter wedding? Hot chocolate isn’t just for the holiday season. We’ve just got a few weeks left of this cold season, so we might as well embrace it, right? Warm up with a cup of hot cocoa and these pretty hot chocolate bar ideas below.


Brinton Studios via Style Me Pretty


Birdsong Photography via Polka Dot Bride


Hostess with the Mostess


Ariel Renae Photography via The Knot Blog


Green Wedding Shoes


Benjamin Edwards via BridalHood


Harwell Photography via Style Me Pretty


Rachel Peters Photography via 100 Layer Cake


Paige Alisa Photography


Angela Fortin Snyder Photography


With lots of snow blanketing the country, it’s perfectly appropriate to share this snowy Aspen style shoot with some really creative details. I’m personally loving the stamped paper goods, hot toddy bar, and glittery accessories.


From the Event Coordinator:

Aspen in the winter is truly magical. We coordinated and styled this shoot at the Aspen Meadows as a slightly different take on the traditional “Aspen winter wedding.” We wanted to offer something a bit more edgy and hipster-esque while still pulling the elements one might expect like antlers, pine cones and flashy cars!

Coordinator/Decor: Bluebird Productions / Photographer: Shannon Grey Photography / Venue/Cake: The Aspen Meadows / Bride’s Dress: Monique Lhuillier from Anna Be Bridal Salon / Bride’s Shoes: Sorel / Groom’s Attire: Ralph Lauren / Hair & Makeup: Mi Hair / Invitations & Stationery: Express Yourself / Flowers: Carolyn's Flowers / Jewelry: Meridian Jewelers / Models: Kate Ryan, Lane Johnson

I don’t know about you, but the end of 2013 was a bit of a whirlwind over here. With Thanksgiving falling so late, Christmas and New Year’s really snuck up on me. I almost didn’t feel ready to start the new year, because I had so little time to reflect on this past one. As I’m taking some time to do that this week, this style shoot featuring the Pantone Color of the Year of 2013 is definitely appropriate. The details (including the bride’s hair!) are absolutely incredible, and the snow is a perfect reflection of the reality for so many across the country right now. The team that put this shoot together did such an excellent job creatively producing/capturing it all.

From the Photographer:

 For this shoot we were inspired by the 2013 Pantone color of the year, emerald green. We wanted the theme to exude elegance, but we weren’t sure how to make it cohesive, until we met the bride. We were completely inspired by her whimsical and edgy style. I mean, how could we not, she had emerald green hair! We also loved the idea of pairing her style with the timeless elegance of the venue, Castle Cliff Estate. In searching for unique ways to incorporate emerald green into our signage, we thought, “what could be more whimsical than Wizard of Oz and the Emerald City?” Therefore, we chose our favorite Oz quote for the lollipop favors, used the yellow brick road as our table name, the Tornado for the cocktail, and a Justin Alexander gown from The Bridal Collection that had a Glenda look. Our florist, Bella Calla’s, inspiration also came to life with our Emerald city where the centerpieces and bouquet displayed the whimsical feel of walking through the forest and poppy fields. The theme also helped with our color scheme, bringing in greens, yellows (yellow brick road), and reds (the ruby slippers).

At Castle Cliff Estate we were able to use existing furniture, which was a nice backdrop to our DIY projects incorporated into the day. Many of our couples ask us about DIY opportunities for their wedding and we thought this was a fun way to showcase our ideas for DIY desserts. We made cupcakes and cake pops and our word of advice is that cake pops are a lot more difficult than they seem- we recommend using a professional, or a lot of trial runs. To go along with the unique feel of the shoot, we loved the cocktail hour marquee sign from Saddle Shoe Signs- and it was in red! We had to incorporate it somehow. Magically, it just so happened that the day of the shoot we had a major snowstorm in Colorado. The snow was not expected, but we were able to take advantage of its beauty, which added to the romance of the day and the stark color contrast.

Photographer:  Autumn Cutaia Photography//Floral Designer: Bella Calla//Event Venue: Castle Cliff Estates//DIY or Handmade Goods Designer: Saddle Shoe Signs//Event Planner: Storytellers Events//Bridesmaid Dresses: The Bridal Collection Denver//

2014 is almost here, and many brides and grooms envision celebrating their marriage surrounded by family and friends leading into the new year. I think this is a fabulous way to close out one year and start off another. I’ve been stumbling across a lot of gorgeous New Year’s Eve wedding celebration details and wanted to share them with you future brides-to-be who are considering ringing in the new year by saying ‘I Do.’ Happy New Year!

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Elisabeth Carol Photography via Style Me Pretty

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Elisabeth Carol Photography via Style Me Pretty

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Rachel May Photography via United with Love

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StudioThisIs via Style Me Pretty

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Holly Graciano Photography via Wedding Window

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Concept Photography via The Bridal Detective


Edyta Szyszlo via 100 Layer Cake


Hetler Photography via Oh Lovely Day


Hetler Photography via Oh Lovely Day


Emily Steffen Photography via Minnesota Bride


Emily Steffen Photography via Minnesota Bride




From the Photographer:

This stylized shoot took place in the foothills of Colorado. The purpose of the shoot is to embrace all seasons and to show that there isn’t a specific time of year when you should get married. Inspired by this magical time of year and the nature of Colorado, the table was decorated with ornaments, antlers, walnuts, cookies, evergreen and much more. Using holiday traditions to help collect and create details for the table made it come together perfectly. Incorporating hot cocoa, warm scarfs and love is what this time of year is all about. We wanted a vintage, elegant look for Jackie. Her lace overlay dress accompanied by a strand of pearls with her hair swept to the side gave us just that. Austin tied the whole theme together with just his scarf. The bouquet completed their look with rich reds and forest greens, wrapped like a present with a golden ribbon. 

A couple behind the scenes bloopers – we had unexpected snow, which made this shoot come out even better. We were shooting in 28 degree weather and Austin’s knee surgery got moved to two days before the shoot, he had a brace on and could barely walk! We couldn’t have asked for a better shoot, all the vendors did an amazing job!

Photographer:  KB Digital Designs//Dress Store: Amanda’s Bridal & Tux//Floral Designer: An Affair to Remember//Hair Stylist: Bangz Salon//Makeup Artist: Danica Jardien//Reception Venue: Denver Botanic Gardens at Chatfield//

While most of the country hasn’t experienced snow yet, I’m digging this little taste of wintery goodness in today’s real wedding. The couple really embraced the cold and snow, still traipsing around the Windy City for photos. And while the weather was freezing, the ceremony and family incorporated in the day was absolutely filled with warmth, including a ring warming ceremony, a family heirloom dress refashioned and reworn, and a tree cut down and brought from elsewhere to bring a bit of another “home” to Chicago.

From the Photographer:

Lindsay and Chris had a February Wedding…in Chicago. They did not let the cold weather or snow hold them back from going around the city for photos. Lindsay, in her grandmother’s gown, strapped on her Sorel boots and we photographed them downtown and in Lincoln Park. Although it was chilly, a fresh snowfall a couple of days before made the city look picturesque. All the bridesmaids and groomsmen also joined in the fun wearing their coats and boots, or just rocking the heels, for pictures. This couple had a beautiful ceremony on the third floor of The Ravenswood Event Center, and also had dinner and dancing on the third floor. This was a great way to showcase the space and the tree that Lindsay’s parents chopped and brought from Michigan on a truck. 

From the Bride and Groom:

How we met:
We literally met while walking down the street. We had both been at a summer concert at the Lincoln Park Zoo with separate groups of friends. After the concert, my friend and I headed up to Clark street to grab a few drinks. As my friend and I were walking, this very cute guy started chatting with us. We talked briefly and then went our separate ways. About an hour later, my friend and I were leaving the bar and we heard someone calling to us from down the street. We turned around to find that it was the same handsome stranger. 🙂 He came up and asked if we wanted to join him and his friends for a drink. He had the best smile, and over some late night pizza he asked if he could call me. I replied, “you better!.” He called the next day and the rest is history. 

How we got engaged:
We have a history of having picnics on the beach in Chicago in the summer, so when Chris planned a picnic for us one night in late June., I didn’t think anything of it. The forecast was for thunderstorms and I suggested several times that maybe we go to dinner instead. It now makes sense why insisted that we go for a picnic – and why he ate so fast!! After we finished eating, he got down on one knee and proposed! It was very simple, very sweet, and very much us. He cracked open the champagne he brought and watched the lightening over the lake in the distance. 

What details were most important for you for your wedding?
The actual wedding was the most important part for us. Chris’ sister, Katie, married us. The three of us wrote our own ceremony and our own vows. The ceremony was very personal. We had a small wedding, by Chicago standards, with 100 guests that were all friends and family we have know for at least 15 years! We really wanted everyone to feel welcome to have fun! (No stiff wedding traditions or over dramatic decor!)

One of favorite things that we did: we passed around our rings around during the ceremony for everyone to bless or give us their well wishes. When we did the exchange of rings towards the end of the ceremony, it was very powerful knowing it had been touched by everyone in the room. It’s so meaningful to wear my ring knowing that I’m carrying love not only from my husband, but also from our friends and family.

How did you incorporate family history into your wedding? Dress, cake topper, other details?

I wore my grandmothers wedding gown from 1941. It was originally long sleeved and with a high neckline, so we worked with Alice Padrul to re-designed the dress using all of the original fabric and buttons. Alice added some beautiful lace and detail work to update the dress while still preserving the vintage feel of the dress.

We also used the same cake topper that my grandparents used in 1941. It has been used in all of our family weddings, including my mom’s and my brother’s!

Photographer: Studio Starling / Hairstylist: Morgan Blaul / Makeup Artist: Jennifer O'Leary - Make-up by Jen / Bride’s Dress: Alice Padrul / Groom’s Attire: Men's Warehouse / Flowers & Decor: Anna Held Floral / Reception Venue: Ravenswood Event Center / Cake Baker: Molly's Cupcakes / Invitations & Stationery: Wystar Design / DJ: Natalie from Toast and Jam / Transportation: Windy City Limo

Winter is the season for icy colors and soft palettes. But, it’s also the perfect time to introduce hints of color, whether romantic hues or bold colors.

Bouquets are often filled with white flowers (roses, peonies, anemones) with natural elements (succulents, astilbe, baby’s breath, lamb’s ear, tallow berries).

And, sometimes, they feature those bold colors, like red roses, ranunculas, calla lilies, hypericum berries and chrysanthemums.

When picking flowers for your winter bouquet, be sure to work with your florist to find flowers that are in season.  This guarantees a fresher product at a relatively decent price. Use colors that best fit with your overall look and feel. And, don’t be afraid to use rich colors like reds and plums.

row 1: Scott Andrew Studio via Style Me Pretty; Amanda Eaton Photography; Melissa Hayes Photography via Style Me Pretty
row 2: Martha Stewart Weddings; Rountree Flowers via Ritzy Bee
row 3: Nadia D. Photography via Project Wedding
row 4: Jasmine Star via Style Me Pretty; Martha Stewart Weddings; Amanda Eaton Photography
row 4: Carly Mitchell Photography

A winter wedding does not have to equal soft, iridescent colors. Get bold with a strong use of color. Especially in your flower arrangements.  And, go with soft hues when necessary (like when your linens are a bold red).

Lisa Hessel Photography

If only more couples would pursue a winter wedding. Then we could share more beautiful winter details like these!

The palette of white, silver and gray combined with the candlelight provides a luminous effect in the room. And, how can you not love those long tables?

Laura Dombrowski Photographer

Well, sometimes it’s just a bit too chilly and snowy to wear a hot pair of stilettos.  Nothing wrong with a cozy pair of Uggs!

Image courtesy of Leah Lund Photography