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Dear Inspired: Bridal Shower Help

Posted by Becca Olcott March 25, 2013 10:00 AM

bridal shower image
photo via
Dear Becca and Casey,

I'm writing in as the maid of honor to a bride. I live here in Boston, and she is all the way in St. Louis. I am having a hard time taking on the shower alone, however I fear that it is too burdensome to ask the other maids who live in St Louis to take over the planning. Am I thinking too much?

Thanks, Cross Country MOH

Dear Cross Country MOH,

When it comes to shower planning you should 100% ask for help. If I were to put myself in the position of the other maids as a local to a bride, I would happily step up to the plate to help host. According to Emily Post online, "Must the bridesmaids host a shower?
Contrary to popular belief, the maid/matron of honor and the bridesmaids are not required to host a shower as part of their official responsibilities, though they certainly can if they want to.​" So there, you heard it straight from the horses mouth, you're not even required to host, although it is a nice gesture to help in the process. Perhaps you can work on some of the decorating ideas and invitations from afar.

​I hope you feel at ease asking for help, because by all means, you should!

In the studio with: Tryst Beauty

Posted by Casey Harrison March 22, 2013 08:14 AM

From time to time, we'd love to feature local vendors who we think are truly fantastic. We have worked with these people and believe in their brands. We thought it would be fun to bring you our collection of curated local vendors for your planning purposes! We want you to know that these are our personal opinions and these are not paid advertisers.


What began as an incredibly popular on-location wedding makeup service (they beautified 72 brides last year alone!) called Blush eventually grew into a brick-and-mortar skincare mecca called Tryst. When you first walk into Tryst, you feel immediately welcomed by the comfortable surroundings and the smiling faces that greet you. Crisp white walls displaying their makeup line shine with sun let in by the wall of windows. We met with the three lovely ladies of Tryst (owner Kelly, Corrie, and Caitlin) and asked them a few questions about how their business came to be.

When did your interest in makeup begin?
When I was 3! I had my father put a piece of plywood with lights in it and I had silver eyeliner. I had pictures of Farrah Fawcett... I have always loved it! Kevyn Aucoin was such an inspiration too - he is the master of transforming people into other people. I would stare at his books and drool, and he is who I aspired to be. I always loved makeup, but then I looked at a Kevyn Aucoin book at that was it for me.

Tryst 1.jpg

What services do you offer?
Facials, precision brows because brows are super important to framing the eye (we do brow rehab all the time), lash extensions with Xtreme lash, makeup lessons, and a really fun service where we help women purge their makeup bags of unneccessary products.

JM3A9633.jpgTryst 2.jpg

What's your favorite thing about doing makeup?
The transformation! I never get tired of the transformation, and then seeing the look on somebody's face when they look in the mirror. Sometimes when a bride realizes that's how they'll look on their wedding day, they cry. Just the other day we did makeup on a woman with gold eyes and red lips, and I swear she turned into a completely new person! Her posture changed, she was posing in the mirror - those never get old.


How do you see the Pantone color of the year (emerald) being used in the makeup world?It's a great compliment to eggplant, so anyone wearing green can have a beautiful eggplant shadow. If you're going to use eggplant though, it has to be a really deep color. Green makeup can obviously be tricky, but it's possible to do it a pretty and subtle way.

Tell us about your makeup line!
I always knew I wanted to have a makeup line because there were things I couldn't find. I know the tricks, and I wanted to put those into your hands and make it one step instead of ten. We wanted to make something really customizable. Our palettes are user-friendly, more economic, and completely personal to every person. It was a labor of love, but it's so important to me.

What type of makeup is in your purse at all times?
Lip gloss! 10,000 different kinds.

Any tips for brides to get their skin in tip-top shape before their wedding?
I have a lot of tips! Never start a new regime the week of the wedding. No sun exposure right before the wedding either! Another doozy that we see is when brides grab a peel or dermabrasion from Groupon the week of their wedding and their skin reacts badly to it.

I recommend starting six months ahead. We offer a bridal package which includes four facials and a brow design. Brows are just as important as makeup! Everything is totally customized to each bride's skin type. That way, we can prepare that bride months in advance so that when they come in to have their makeup done it's a clean, dewy palette.


We can say from experience that coming to Tryst will leave you feeling glowy, relaxed, and happy. If you are still looking for makeup for your wedding day, check them out here!

Do or Don't: Mason Jar Centerpieces

Posted by Becca Olcott March 20, 2013 09:30 AM

mason jar weddings
image by Jenny Moloney
Many brides ask me about using mason jars for reception centerpiece vases. From my point of view as a floral designer, they're a don't. Hear me out.

In theory, mason jars are a convenient way to save some money and highlight the rustic chic wedding that has been so popular the past several seasons.

Here are the issues: 1. The jars are not necessarily a cost saver. Often times, if we are limited to mason jars for flowers we are compelled to arrange several vases per table which means more arrangements and more cost. 2. I love surprising designs, and mason jars are starting to give off a whiff of cliché. How about wrapping plants in burlap or a feed sack? Don't hesitate to push the envelope a little.

Granted, this is only my opinion, and I am considering wedding designs on a daily basis. If you're a bride who is dying to use mason jars, I'm not going to rain on your parade. By all means, use them happily and confidently. It's your wedding and you only get to do it once.


For a totally different topic...Do you want to get your start in the wedding industry? My girlfriends over at the coolest letterpress shop this side of the Mississipi are hiring for their store manager position. That's right! The elusive store manager position at Gus and Ruby Letterpress is accepting applicants, and it'd be silly to miss this narrow window of opportunity. If you get the job, mark my words, I will be jealous. Like severely jealous. Planted in thriving Portsmouth, Gus and Ruby's greatest asset is a team of fabulously talented, hilarious and super thoughtful ladies who all strike the perfect balance of work hard/play hard. Fill out your applications today.

Dear Inspired: Should I book local vendors for a destination wedding?

Posted by Casey Harrison March 18, 2013 01:45 PM

Dear Becca and Casey,

I have a question for you! I am getting married in the Dominican Republic next year, and I am just starting to research vendors. I know of some local vendors who I really love, but I can't decide if it makes more sense to fly people out, or to book vendors who are local to the area. Do you have experience with destination weddings? What are some things to consider?

Thanks so much in advance!

Beachy Bride

Dear Beachy,

This is a really good question! I know lots of brides with destination weddings struggle with the same thing. There are lots of things to consider:

- Different vendors come with different considerations. For example, it might seem easier for a photographer to travel than for a floral designer to travel, but both can and do. Florists can find a flower market no matter where the wedding is located, and photographers can pack up their equipment and bring it along.
- Since you will be avoiding travel fees (which can add up), it makes the most financial sense to try to find vendors local to where your wedding will be. Shop around!
- I think it's important to support the community where your wedding is located, so it can be really great to work with local people. They will also know the area, will probably have worked at your venue before, and will be familiar with local resources (spots for photos, where to hook up their sound equipment, etc).
- One really important thing to consider is work permits. For weddings outside the US, you must do some research and see if the country requires your vendors to provide a work permit. Most do, and your vendors can get in some major trouble for working in another country without permission.

There really are pros and cons to both approaches. If you aren't finding anyone in the Dominican whose work you are attracted to, you should definitely consider flying someone out. Make sure to do some good research first, though - there are great vendors everywhere! And make sure NOT to forget to research permits for your vendors - you don't want them locked up in customs while your wedding is starting! :)

Best of luck,


Inspiration alert! Carats and Cake!!

Posted by Becca Olcott March 15, 2013 08:11 AM

Last night Case and I attended an amazing meet-up/networking event hosted by three incredibly talented women in the Boston area, Emily Starr Alfano (owner of MStarr Event and Design) , Sofi Madison (owner of Olives and Grace) and Kate Pokorny (owner of Pluck PR).

As women swapped stories and passions, I couldn't help but be inspired by the buzz. It was a great reminder of how important it is to surround yourself with positive people, energy and spirit. And I'm not just talking business here, I'm talking real life, the teams you build for your everyday, whether it's a business, your community, your wedding vendors, your running buddies, whatever the case may be, it's important!

So, what's this have to do with weddings? Well, Kate of Pluck PR, who I mentioned before, last night she introduced us all to Carats and Cake. Yup folks, not the kind you bite, the kind that bling. It's this amazing new site where both vendors and past brides can share their weddings and brides-to-be can ooohhh and aaaahhh as they plan their perfect day. Now head on over and check it out!

Happy Friday, y'all.

Do or Don't: Emailing your thank-you notes

Posted by Casey Harrison March 13, 2013 11:18 AM

In this day and age, it is rare to receive a handwritten note. Email is used for everything from scheduling appointments to inviting friends to an event to sharing exciting news. However, wedding thank-you cards are one thing that should be left to snail mail. The guests at your wedding showed their support, celebrated with you, and maybe even gave you a gift. The least you can do is show your gratitude with a short note! Especially in this digital age, it is so nice to see a piece of "real" mail sitting in the mailbox.

The "official" etiquette rule is that you have until one year after the wedding to get your thank-you cards out. I'd shoot for somewhere closer to three months. I remember feeling overwhelmed by all the writing I had to do, but make a goal of writing five (or ten) cards a day, and they'll be done in no time! Your new husband should help out, too - there's no rule that the bride must do all the writing! :)

Have a wonderful wintry weekend!

Posted by Casey Harrison March 8, 2013 10:57 AM

What are you up to this weekend? Hopefully you can stay inside with a warm drink and enjoy this winter snow through the windows. Spring is nearly upon us (looks like we might hit 50 on Tuesday!) but for now, I'm still enjoying hibernating.

So work on your invitation design, answer emails to your vendors, or do a little online shopping for some new honeymoon outfits. Spring will be here before we know it. Happy planning!

I'll leave you with some winter inspiration from a recent winter wedding in Vermont...
JM3A8349.jpg Photo by Hello Love Photography

Do or Don't: Cutting The Cake

Posted by Becca Olcott March 6, 2013 06:00 AM

Brace yourselves, romantics. For me? The cake cutting, the whole smooshy-face frosting thing? So over it. I say don't get into the public cake cutting rigmarole at all. In my opinion, it's a waste of precious dance floor time. Not only do you leave your gluten free guests high and dry, you also shame walk yourself through crushing cake into your beloved's face, and the thanks you get is buttercream in your hair. Awesome. At this point at best the tradition is played out, all that hullabaloo for one cliched album shot.

In no way am I suggesting skip dessert, in fact, sweets are pretty much essential. A great sweets solution I've seen is to offer a dessert bar of assorted treats including cake, but not strictly cake. That way guests can get their fix on their own time. Plus when you have a dessert table, there's an easy opportunity for you to offer goodies for many of the dietary restrictions so many of your guests might have!
photo credit: the ever-so talented Heidi of White Loft Studio

Dear Inspired: Should I give my photographer a shot list?

Posted by Casey Harrison March 4, 2013 11:04 AM

Dear Becca and Casey,

I have been reading lots of wedding magazines that suggest giving your photographer a list of photos to take. Do you think this is really necessary? It just seems like another thing to get done before the wedding, and I'm nervous I'm going to run out of time!

Thanks in advance for your help!

Laid-Back Bride

Dear Laid-Back Bride,

Thanks for writing! I definitely do not consider shot lists mandatory, and I do not specifically request them from my clients. Every photographer has a list in their head of the "don't-miss" shots (dress, shoes, standard family groupings, etc.), and they are careful to capture these moments.

What I do suggest is creating a short list of things that are unique to your wedding. If you spent weeks making a custom display of photos that will be in a corner of the reception, or if there is a scrap of fabric from your Grandma's dress sewn into the lining of yours, it can be helpful to give your photographer a heads-up. Likewise, if you have fifteen aunts and uncles and want photos taken with each of them, it can be helpful to make a list of family photos that we can cross off as we go.

A huge shot list can even be detrimental to your photographer, as it can limit the amount of time they have to take candid and creative shots of your wedding day. A brief one warning the photographer about out-of-the-ordinary shots should be all you need!

Best of luck!


IMG_1866.jpg>Photo by Hello Love Photography

Do Something Creative This Weekend

Posted by Becca Olcott March 1, 2013 07:30 AM

Happy March 1st and happy Friday! This weekend I am inspired to do something creative, perhaps a little something sewn. Why don't you try that DIY for your wedding that you've been thinking about? After all, Spring is (almost) in the air. Please feel free to post your DIYs we would love to see what you're working on!
Photo credit: Michelle Wentworth

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