Getting Ready: The Essentials


You know how the best part of a night out is always getting ready with your girlfriends? Well the ultimate getting ready party is the morning of your wedding. It’s an excuse to sip mimosas, get ready and count down your last hours as a single gal.


Here are a few tips to have a great morning:

1. Think about the space – if you’re going to take getting ready photos, a space with bright, natural light space will photograph best. Often hotels will offer you a bridal suite at the room rate if you fill a certain number of rooms in the room block. To keep things simple, it can be fun to have a sleepover with your bridesmaids the night before in the suite (and then there’s no need to worry about latecomers in the morning!).

2. Think through your start time – If you’ll be having your hair and make-up done professionally, stylists usually want 30-40 minutes per head for hair and make-up artists will need the same for make-up.

3. Musichappy music can keep you feeling calm the morning of.

4. Food – keep everyone fed and well hydrated. I recommend hot coffee and a fridge full of LaCroix and mimosas (even better when served in these)!

Lunch the day of is something brides often forget about – you may be too nervous to eat, but avoid hangry bridesmaids by providing bagels and fruit, vegan donuts, or other bites.

5. Casual but cute – a great gift for your bridesmaids is something that will pull getting ready photos together. Soft PJs or robes are good options (go for something that can be opened/unbuttoned without smearing make-up!).


Father of the Bride Toasts


One of the most common questions I get from brides today is about Father of the Bride toasts – while some dads are ready to gush, more often, it can be hard for dads to capture how much they love you and what this day means to them in a few paragraphs.


If your dad is struggling to find the words for your big day, this “Dad Libs” works like a charm:


It works well to end the speech with a toast. A traditional one like this is always an option:

May you have a happy and successful marriage.

May God bless your marriage and your children.

May we remind you that a good marriage is based on friendship as well as love.

When children find true love, their parents find true joy.

To your joy and ours from this day forward!

For more inspiration, you can read what my dad said when I married my husband here.

Finally, if your dad is not going to be a part of your wedding for some reason, remember there are lots of other ways to kick off the reception – with a blessing from your officiant, a speech from someone else who raised you, or a welcome toast from the bride and groom!

Preserving Your Top Tier

We asked Tracy Kohler, owner and head pastry chef at Farina Bakery, for her tips on preserving the top layer of your wedding cake for your one-year anniversary. Here’s what she recommends:

1. Be sure to chill your cake before you begin to wrap it.

You want to make sure to preserve your icing by allowing it to harden before prepping it for storage. Buttercream is a very soft icing; put it in the fridge or freezer for an hour until the icing hardens, then wrap it up.

2. Remove any decorations

If there are any added elements to your cake such as sugar work or chocolate work, be sure to remove them (you want the plastic wrap to be tight and decorations will allow airflow in). To preserve things like sugar flowers, keep them in a box at room temperature away from any heat sources.

3. Wrap it up!

Once you have a firm frosting, wrap that pretty little cake up in double plastic wrap, avoiding any air bubbles. Do not use tinfoil (it will make your cake taste like aluminum!). Tip: be sure to include a box of baking soda in your freezer, this will remove any smells from the freezer that you do not want to transfer into your cake!

4. Defrost and enjoy!

The night before your anniversary, move the cake from the freezer to the fridge to allow it to thaw. Keep it wrapped at this point. On your anniversary, remove the wrapping and allow it to come to room temperature 3-4 hours prior to serving, then it’s ready to enjoy!

And to make it extra special, serve with a cake stand (love this one!) and a classic cake cutter. Put this on top for a sweet touch!

Something Old, Something New, Something Borrowed, Something Blu


There’s an old English rhyme that goes “Something Olde, Something New, Something Borrowed, Something Blue, and a Sixpence in your Shoe” – these little tokens are said to be good luck for your wedding day. Here are a few ideas of what I’ve seen brides take with them down the aisle (and photos of my own something borrowed and blue!).


Something old represents continuity. Some ideas:

  • Family jewelry, like your mom’s pearl earrings, a locket, or your grandmother’s rosary (could be wrapped around your bouquet)
  • A vintage car to leave the church as a married couple
  • If you have a winter wedding, a family fur or stole is a great option (I got married in December in Minnesota and wore my grandmother’s fur to the ceremony!)


Something new symbolizes optimism for your new life ahead. Some ideas:

  • A new name. If you’re taking your fiancée’s name, you can have your new monogram sewn into your dress (Stitch Above the Rest will monogram your new married monogram into the inside of your dress… in blue if you like!)
  • Something new for the night before the wedding

Something borrowed symbolizes borrowed happiness. Some ideas:

  • Your dad’s handkerchief, in case you get teary
  • A veil – your mom’s wedding dress from the ‘80s may not be the look you’re going for, but veils often have a timeless look
  • A clutch for essentials (I borrowed a dear friend’s white YSL clutch for my own wedding. For her wedding, she carried a Mrs. clutch and had it personalized to include her new last name!)
  • Consider something from your soon-to-be mother-in-law – is there something special the women in your fiancée’s family have that you could use? (Kate Middleton borrowed a tiara from Queen Elizabeth on her wedding day)

Something blue stands for purity, love, and fidelity. Some sweet ideas:

  • The classic (and my pick!) is blue shoes (I like these, these and these) – you can also add blue bows to a favorite pair of heels
  • Blue wellies would be great for a farm wedding, winter wedding or rainy day!

A sixpence in your shoe is a wish for good fortune and prosperity and is traditionally gifted by the father of the bride (though this one remains largely a British custom and is often skipped in American weddings!).

5 Reasons Why Every Couple Should do Engagement Photos


We asked Gina Zeidler, wedding photographer extraordinaire, for her take on engagement photo shoots. Here’s what she said:

“I am crazy passionate and head over heels in love with engagement sessions. During my consults, I really express to my clients how much value is stored up in their engagement session and why I think they are a must for all of my couples. Why?

1. It’s essential that you get used to being behind your wedding photographer’s camera before your big day.

For most bride and grooms, the last photographer they were encountered with was their graduation photographer or possibly your last family shot at the old time studio. Most of the time grooms- to be dread engagement sessions, because they remember feeling completely awkward back in high school in front of the camera. I want to break that mold at the engagement session. I want my couples to know we are going to have fun. You are going to laugh at me. You are going to laugh at each other. We will get to know each other more and you’ll see how I do what I do. I want each of my clients to not worry one tiny bit about how pictures are going to go, how they should stand or what they should do with their hands. I have got you covered! I want them to see me on their wedding day as an old friend coming to make them do that “weird laugh and walk thing” or the” act like it’s cold outside and hug up on each other” thing. I want my flow and direction to feel like old hat. Easy Peasy.

2. It’s a free date night.

Here you are all looking pretty and having to hold hands, smooch and stare into each other’s eyes. How often to you actually rub noses or squeeze your someone? Soak each other in! We are all so busy these days, alone time with the ones we love is priceless I also encourage my couples to go somewhere after our session even if it’s just for coffee and enjoy themselves.

3. Use it as a trial run.

This mention is more for my brides than the beaus. This is a great time to try out your make up or do a test run with your hair before the wedding. Here you can try a couple things and see what looks best in photos. It truly helps to meet with your stylists and to get comfortable with them too.You could also test out attire or shoes to see what feels best.

4. You are creating your own art.

I know this might sound ridiculously cheesy, but if you put your heart and your authenticity into your engagement session you are creating art that represents you as a couple. I love nothing more than collaborating with couples and coming up with concepts that come from their everyday. Whether it be wrestling, hiking mountains, your puppy. These images are timeless because they define you.

5. Because they are just stinkin fun.

Everyone has a unique story and my favorite thing to do is listen to you both and come up with something that resonates with your real life and your hearts. We are always having a good time, because you are typically doing things that you love with the one that you love. Win. Win. I promise.”


For more of Gina’s work or to reach out regarding her photography services email her at or follow her on Instagram @ginazeidler!