To Share or Not to Share? That Is the Engagement-Period Question

Engagement Social Media Etiquette

Photo: Getty Images

In the afterglow of an engagement or in the throes of wedding planning, it's simple — if not natural! — to take to social media, sharing every photo, every idea and even a countdown to your big day. But a recent study revealed that people dislike others who post too many details about their relationships, sappy messages to their partner and "relfies" (selfies taken with your significant other).

"Too often, we end up comparing ourselves to others and wondering if we are being shortchanged in life — especially when it comes to relationships," explains Shannon Belew, author of The Art of Social Selling. "The problem escalates when sharing becomes a seemingly endless stream of status updates and pictures from these super cute and happy couples. And as you would expect, newly-engaged couples and brides have a tendency to over share."

So what's a bride-to-be to do? While there's no magic formula to prevent over-sharing, these simple tips should keep you from losing Facebook friends.

— Make sure you're mixing up the number and type of posts you're putting online each day. "Balance out the number of all-about-you posts by sharing and commenting on posts from others," suggest Belew. "And share a greater amount of non-personal posts, like trending videos, interesting articles and news."

— Consider sharing milestone events when in comes to your engagement and wedding, such as your engagement party and bridal shower photos, and leave out the updates on your floral choices.

See More: 3 Things to Remember While Planning Your Engagement Party

— "If you're worried you might be crossing the line of over-sharing, look to your friends for confirmation," Belew says. "Indicators that you're over-sharing often come directly from your friends' responses — or their lack of responses." So if the number of likes or positive comments on your posts start to dwindle, consider dialing it back a bit.

— Friends, family members and especially coworkers who see you post about your engagement and wedding but who are not involved in your planning or big day could be resentful of your updates. "You may also want to consider creating a specific list of your closest friends and post the majority of updates only to that list," Belew suggest. "Then, you can make sure that fewer posts go out to your 'public' list of Facebook contacts."

— But perhaps most importantly: "Don't feel bad about sharing exciting engagement and wedding news — it is your special day after all!" Belew says. "And your friends generally want to share in that happiness, but in measured amounts. Think about how you feel when friends over-share. If you can honestly admit that it's at a level where you would be irritated by the barrage of happiness, then your friends are probably over it, too."

Read more: To Share or Not to Share? That Is the Engagement-Period Question

Creative Wedding Cake Toppers for All Types of Couples

Even the prettiest wedding cake can use some help to take it to the next level. Sure, you can top your dessert with colorful flowers or carefully-crafted fondant designs, but we'll always love the finishing effect of a creative cake topper. Couples are finding toppers that reflect their personal style, with adornments that range from playful to chic. Here are a few of our favorites:

Laser-Cut Sign (above): Laser-cut signs are affordable toppers that look elegant and luxe, but won't break your budget. We love cute sayings, like the one seen above, but your initials or wedding date would also work.

Modern Figurines: Animal figurines have become wildly popular topper options, but these little blue bears are among our favorites. Paired with a chalkboard-inspired mini sign, they're perfect for a quirky couple.

Classic Figurines: If you do want to go the traditional route, this a great way to make typical bride and groom figurines feel a bit more fresh. A playful bunting banner makes the look less formal, and you can customize it to say just about anything you'd like.

A Classic Bunting Banner: A custom-made banner is perfect for a rustic or casual bash. This option, with the bride and groom's names, is understated and elegant.

A Thematic Topper: Find a topper that represents a hobby you and your groom share. This playful tandem bike is playful, but still looks stylish atop the tiered dessert.

Read more: Creative Wedding Cake Toppers for All Types of Couples

Wedding Hairstyles 101: How to DIY This Dreamy Half-Up Look

Half-Up Wedding Hairstyle

While classic buns or chic twists are perennially popular wedding hairstyles, not every bride wants a super formal up-do on her big day. In fact, many modern brides are choosing romantic, flowing hairstyles that look effortless, yet still feel special enough to be paired with a gorgeous wedding dress. But if you're the type of bride-to-be who wants a look that's formal and relaxed, consider this half-up hairstyle.

Thanks to a cool center part, light-as-air curls, and a volumized crown, this dreamy look will perfectly suit the bride-to-be who wants an elevated version of her everyday style on her big day. And, surprisingly, it's super easy to achieve, meaning you can try this style on your own, too! Consider it for your rehearsal dinner, bridal shower, or even your bachelorette party so you can test drive it before you walk down the aisle.

Follow our step-by-step instructions to master this half-up hairstyles and watch the look come to life in the video below!

1. Center part your hair. Then, using a one-inch barrel curling iron, curl sections of your hair.
2. Lightly tease the section of hair at your crown.
3. Leaving out face-framing pieces, pull back the top half of your hair and secure it with bobby pins. Keep your hair center parted.
4. Gently secure the face-framing pieces at the back of your head with bobby pins.
5. Brush out your curls a bit so they don't look too perfect and finish with a touch of flexible-hold hairspray.
6. Smile!

[embedded content] Video by Fantasma Films; Hair: David Cotteblanche for Red Market Salon; Makeup: Gina Monte for Red Market Salon

Read more: Wedding Hairstyles 101: How to DIY This Dreamy Half-Up Look

Bigger Weddings Lead to Happier Marriages, a New Study Says!

Big Wedding Means Happier Marriage

Photo: IFC Films/Courtesy Neal Peters Collection

Throwing a small wedding? You might want to think again. According to a new report from the National Marriage Project, couples who throw larger, more formal weddings generally have happier marriages.

The survey asked 418 recently married couples a series of questions, aiming to find a correlation between the size of the couple's big day and the quality of their marriage, the Washington Post reports. "Quality of marriage" came down to a set of questions related to happiness in the union, such as how often they confide in one another, if they have any thoughts of breaking up, and general questions about how the marriage has been going.

See more: 7 Happy-Marriage Secrets Every Newlywed Should Know

The study found that the more formal the wedding, the happier the marriage — and a good 41 percent of subjects surveyed had just that, as opposed to the 28 percent who didn't throw an outlandish affair. The study also found that couples who had children before getting married (like so many of our favorite celebs) were less likely to have a formal wedding, and thus, were less happy in their marriages.

The number of guests subjects had at their wedding also largely correlated with marital bliss. Participants with 150 guests or more accounted for 47 percent of happy marriages. Fewer guests corresponded with the lower percentile of happy marriages. Of course, the authors of this study couldn't account for outside factors like the wedding's price or how much either set of parents contributed to the budget.

See more: The Secret to a Blissful Marriage: 5 Things Happily Married Women Know

If this all seems like some sort of conspiracy to get people to plan big, fancy weddings, it's not! Other psychologists have backed up this theory, as well. As Galena K. Rhoades and Scott M. Stanley, the authors of this most recent study, wrote in their findings:

"[T]here is some reason to believe that having more witnesses at a wedding may actually strengthen marital quality. According to the work of psychologist Charles Kiesler (Kiesler, 1971), commitment is strengthened when it is publicly declared because individuals strive to maintain consistency between what they say and what they do."

Remember, though, to take this data with a grain of salt. While having more family and friends present to witness your commitment may make your marriage happier, the sample here is relatively small. At the end of the day, you should have the wedding of your dreams, and the rest should all fall into place!

Read more: Bigger Weddings Lead to Happier Marriages, a New Study Says!

5 Fun Ways to Surprise Your Guy at His Bachelor Party

Fun Flirty Ways to Surprise Fiance at Bachelor Party

Photo: Getty Images

Popping out of a giant cake in a blingy bridal bikini at your guy's bachelor party is one thing (may we strongly suggest you don't do this), but sending him a sweet surprise that'll only enhance his night and make all his boys think you're like, the best fiancé ever? Now, that's something we can totally get on board with. Whether your man is headed to the Big Apple or Sin City, you're sure to impress him with one of these five fun and flirty surprises, courtesy of Joanne Barken, founder of The Bach.

1. A New York City Bachelor Party
If there's one way to a man's heart, it's definitely through his stomach! "While you don't want to micromanage your groom's bachelor party plans, sending him a fun surprise while he's away with his boys is a sweet way to let him know you care," says Barken. For Big Apple-partygoers, there's nothing quite like bagels and coffee to nurse a bad hangover the morning after. Barken suggests surprising the guys and ordering them a delivery of bagels, cream cheese, lox and coffee after their big night out. Check the hotel menu too, as any and all morning munchies (no matter what they are) are bound to be appreciated.

2. An Outdoorsy Bachelor Party
If your groom is off to the wilderness for a few days with his buddies, Barken recommends baking a batch of his favorite cookies or sweet treats for him to share with the guys around the campfire. Stash them in his bag or car last minute, along with a cute note addressed to everyone. "If you're a bit challenged in the kitchen, just mix up some tasty trail mix for them to munch on while hiking," Barken adds.

See More: So He Thinks He Can Dance: How to Coach Your Groom Through the First Dance

3. A Miami Bachelor Party
If the boys are Miami bound, you can pretty much guess how they'll be spending a majority of their time: hitting up clubs and fist pumping at pool parties. "Surprise them with a bottle of the groom's favorite liquor to help them keep the celebration going," offers Barken. Or, you know, get the party started in the first place.

4. An Austin or Nashville Bachelor Party
The live music-loving groom will appreciate all of the performances he can squeeze into a guys' weekend (and then some!), points out Barken. "Find a local musician in the area and coordinate with the best man to have the artist join them for a jam session while they pregame." Bonus points if it's someone your guy really digs.

5. A Las Vegas Bachelor Party
No bachelor party in Vegas is complete without a suite! Barken advises calling ahead and upgrading your groom's hotel room to an awesome suite. "Just have the hotel put the difference on your credit card. Both him and his friends will love having a cool spot to pregame at," she says.

Read more: 5 Fun Ways to Surprise Your Guy at His Bachelor Party

How to Choose a Destination Wedding Venue Without Seeing It in Person

Just because you're getting married in paradise doesn't mean you have the time or money to fly back and forth whenever you want (ugh, we wish though!). While it certainly isn't ideal to book a wedding venue site unseen, you can do so with the utmost confidence by following these simple tips.

1. Check it out via Skype
Thank goodness for modern technology! If you absolutely can't wait to set a date, ask your planner (or a local friend or family member) to visit your favorite venues for you and do a virtual walk-through via Skype or Facetime, suggests Charleston-based wedding planner Francesca DiSalvo-Follmer of Pure Luxe Bride.

2. Use Google maps
According to Isadora Martin-Dye, owner of Rixey Manor in Virginia, photographers can be very clever in concealing bordering eyesores, such as a noisy highway. To avoid a potential wedding disaster, she recommends using Google maps to peep aerial photos of the venue or resort before you book. "Study what is neighboring your dream location so you won't be surprised later."

See More: 5 Questions to Guide You to Your Perfect Destination Wedding Venue

3. Know the neighbors
Beautiful brochures and wedding websites may fail to mention one pretty important detail: the neighbors. Is your venue located on the same street as a nightclub? Your guests may not appreciate music blasting until 4 a.m.

4. Find out about any renovation plans
There really is nothing worse than booking the wedding venue of your dreams only to show up a year later and the place is unrecognizable. "I've heard horror stories of brides that are planning a wedding in a beautiful resort, only to find out when they arrive that construction, and updates to key features that drew them there in the first place, like a pool, are out of commission," notes Martin-Dye. "Make sure that someone can confirm (and get in writing) that your day will not be disrupted by building crews," she advises.

5. Browse local wedding blogs
In addition to checking out the venue's own website, DiSalvo-Follmer says it's a great idea to browse local wedding blogs and search the venue name to see galleries of different weddings and how the space was utilized. That way, you can get a better feel as to whether or not it will work for your vision and guest list.

Read more: How to Choose a Destination Wedding Venue Without Seeing It in Person

WATCH: Our Favorite Celebrity Couples Take on the #ALSIceBucketChallenge & the Results Are Adorable

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Taking the social media world by storm over the course of the past few weeks, the #ALSIceBucketChallenge has raised a ton of awareness and millions of dollars for this worthy cause. Celebs have not only been happy to participate, but eager to nominate one another too. Our favorite of the icy bunch? Adorable, A-list married couples who choose to take the challenge together. Below, take a look at the cutest star pairs' ice bucket challenge videos!

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John Krasinski and Emily Blunt: When the new parents of baby Hazel took on the challenge, it was, unsurprisingly, funny and original. First, John did the challenge with a tiny mug, shortly after which Emily Blunt walks on by and dumps a huge bucket of ice water onto him. To get his wife back, John ambushes Emily when she's carrying groceries from the car. "What are you doing?!" she asks confused as he's running towards her with a tub of ice water. Watch both videos above!

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Ben Affleck and Jennifer Garner: When it came time for Ben to do the ice bucket challenge, the Affleck's proved, yet again, that their relationship is forever strong and absolutely adorable. After listing who he nominates — including his wife holding the bucket next to him — Jen dumps the icy bucket over his head. Immediately after, Ben pulls her into the pool with him. The cutest part, though, are their kids giggles in the background. Watch above!

I'm getting nervous fashion bunnies! 😬 x vb #ALS #icebucketchallenge https://t.co/IBqjFPRvRe

— Victoria Beckham (@victoriabeckham) August 19, 2014

David Beckham and Victoria Beckham: Posh and Becks are probably one of our all-time favorite celeb couples. And while they didn't do the challenge together, Victoria posted the video of David Beckham getting dumped with water (which, is enough for us — look at those abs!) hinting that she was up next.

Have a favorite celebrity couple ice bucket challenge video of your own? Sound off on our Facebook page!

Read more: WATCH: Our Favorite Celebrity Couples Take on the #ALSIceBucketChallenge & the Results Are Adorable

5 Things That You Might Not Realize Are Ruining Your Wedding Photos

You've spent months prepping and primping for your wedding day, and you've hired your dream photographer to capture it all. The last thing you want is to have little distractions ruin an otherwise perfect shot. Luckily, that doesn't have to happen. We asked wedding photographers Trent Bailey, owner of Trent Bailey Photography, and Jacob Whyman, founder of Whyman Studios, to share five things to keep in mind that could be negatively impacting your photos.

1. Brands and Logos
Powering up for your big day with a venti skim latte? Make sure you move that Starbucks cup out of view before your photographer starts shooting your getting ready photos. "Anything that is not relevant to the scene — in this case you getting your hair or makeup done — takes away from the shot," says Whyman. "And random logos always look distracting in photos."

2. Guests in the Aisle
Usually when shooting the processional, the primary photographer is crouched down at the front of the aisle and the secondary photographer is following the bride from behind. If Uncle Bob suddenly pops (or even leans) into the aisle to get an iPhone pic, there goes your professional shot. "Make sure that guests stay out the aisle and are not holding phones — or even worse — iPads in the air trying to take photos," says Bailey.

See More: Every Single Question You Need to Ask Your Photographer

3. Speakers, Poles, and Microphone Stands
When it comes to shooting the ceremony, photographers have no choice but to work with what they're given. So don't give our photographer a ceremony setup cluttered with speakers and microphone stands. "If speakers are necessary, make sure to put them far away from the altar," says Bailey. Whyman adds: "Also don't put anything directly behind where the bride and groom are standing — for example, poles holding up decorations — or it might look like they have things coming out of their heads in the pictures."

4. Purses on the Tables
In order to get the gorgeous décor photos you want, make sure your photographer gets first access to the reception area, before you let any guests in, advises Whyman. "A couple purses here, a half empty drink there — and you've lost that pristine setting you wanted to capture."

5. Videography Equipment
Photographers and videographers are constantly competing the get the shot, and often in the process they get in each other's way. "If I'm shooting a first dance, the last thing I want to see in the background of the photo is another vendor at work," says Whyman. "My biggest recommendation here is to ask your photographer for videographer referrals. Often, photographers will be able to recommend someone they work well with and have a system in place so they're not getting in the other person's way."

Read more: 5 Things That You Might Not Realize Are Ruining Your Wedding Photos

6 Wedding D

Reception Decor Don'ts

Photo: Lynne Brubaker Photography


When you're searching for reception décor inspiration, it's easy to find plenty of tips on what to do — from what type of tables you should rent and endless ideas for standout centerpieces. But even the prettiest details can be undone by little-known décor don'ts. So, in an effort to help you nail your decorative details, we came up with six pitfalls to help you ensure the prettiest reception ever.

Don't put bridesmaids' bouquets around the cake.
While decorating your reception space with your bridesmaids' bouquets can be a huge budget-saver, they just don't work around your wedding cake. After the ceremony, pop the arrangements in pretty vases and place them on your escort card table or bar.

Don't use floating or bright-white candles.
We love a candle-lit reception space, but pure-white candles can look harsh and tea lights suspended in water aren't as elegant as candelabras. Opt for buttery ivory tapers instead since this more subtle hue will lend a romantic vibe to your reception while the taller flames will feel formal.

Don't mix clashing textures on your tables.
Cloth napkins are a reception must, but avoid fabrics that pair poorly. For example, a satin napkin paired with a natural linen tablecloth is too jarring and will keep your reception tables from looking refined. Instead, pick one fabric in complementary colors to add variety.

See More: The Top 30 Online Wedding Sources

Don't have tables preset with bread rolls and butter balls.
For an elegant seated dinner, forgo the communal bread basket. If you do want to serve bread, the wait staff can provide fresh rolls with the first course.

Don't try napkin origami.
A simple rectangle looks crisp and neat, so forgo fancy folded options in favor of a classic fold. If you want something slightly more interesting, choose a bold color or decorative design.

Don't expose table legs.
No matter how lovely your tables are, if you've chosen to have tablecloths, make sure you're selecting the right length. Linens should "puddle" at the floor — meaning they'll gather slightly at the base of the table rather than hanging inches above the ground.

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Read more: 6 Wedding D

The Ultimate Guide to Cruising the Caribbean

Caribbean Honeymoon Cruises

Photo: Getty Images

Narrowing down your dream honeymoon destination is a task (albeit, a fun one!) that's best to check off your to-do list well before your wedding. But if you're at a stalemate trying to pick between multiple Caribbean locales, then consider a cruise. Today's cruise lines offer world-class dinning, high-end accommodations, and the ability to visit several destinations without having to book another flight. We've compiled an all-inclusive guide to cruising the Caribbean with ease. From where to stay the night before your ship departs (hint: we recommend the Ritz-Carlton if your port is popular Fort Lauderdale) to how to spend your days at sea, we've got all the tips you'll need to ensure your cruise honeymoon is picture perfect.

A Caribbean cruise is ideal for honeymooners thanks to their all-inclusive rates, which means you won't have to tote cash or credit cards around the ship. Plus, you'll be able to appropriately budget for your post-wedding getaway far in advance. You can also book on-board spa treatments, lounge poolside, and visit some of the most spectacular islands by day. Remember to pick a cruise liner that hits at least a few of the following: St. Barts, Antigua, St. Lucia, and Grenada, along with the other more popular Caribbean locales. We've even created a handy guide for what to pack for your cruise, so you'll be stylish at the port, during "Captain's Night" and by the pool.

Ready to get planning?

Click through to see our honeymooners' guide to cruising the Caribbean!

Read more: The Ultimate Guide to Cruising the Caribbean

3 Things The Groom's Parents Should Do

Although the groom's parents have a smaller role than that of the mother of the bride and the father of the bride, they are considered co-hosts of the wedding, regardless of whether or not they've contributed financially. This is especially true if they uphold their end of certain responsibilities that are traditionally attributed to the parents of the groom. What do these include? Here are three etiquette guidelines that they should follow:

What kind of gift (if any) does the groom's parents give?
Whatever they feel appropriate, whether it's from the registry or not. Possibilities include a family heirloom, china, silver, or crystal, shares of stock, or perhaps a monetary gift to be put toward a car, a home, or the honeymoon.

What pre-wedding events do they throw?
They should arrange a pre-wedding get-together with the bride's parents, at their home or in a restaurant. Also, they traditionally host the rehearsal dinner. If the parents of the groom are from out of town, the bride's mother may suggest a site or caterer. However, the groom's parents are still invited to the rehearsal dinner even if they do not host it.

Which wedding expenses are the groom's parents generally in charge of?
These may include the engagement and wedding rings, marriage license, clergy fees, corsages, boutonnieres, bride's bouquet, usher's gifts, liquor, music, and honeymoon.

Read more: 3 Things The Groom's Parents Should Do

Watch This Hilarious Video of a Best Man Toasting to the Tune of Frozen's "Let It Go"

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A good wedding toast covers a few key elements: it's preferably brief, thoughtful and sentimental. A great wedding toast, however, usually breaks all of these rules and reinvents what it means to honor a couple. Case in point: Best man Joe.

When Joey Boyes, who has now changed his Twitter handle to reflect his now famed role, was tapped to toast his best friend Dom Clark and his new wife Rebecca this past weekend, the creative groomsman penned a hilarious and incredibly sweet tribute to the tune of "Let It Go" from Frozen.

According to the Daily Mail, Boyes began working on the song six months ago. "I've known Dom all my life and I wanted to do something special. We both did theatre when we were young and Beck loves Disney so this seemed perfect," Boyes says.

As the music of the familiar Disney song starts to play, the guests roar with laughter. And as the best man croons his version of the first line, it's clear this thoughtful guy isn't just mimicking the original tune. "The bride wears white on her wedding tonight and her husband's looking. After years of dating mongers, he's finally found a queen," he sings.

See More: Who Gives the Toast at the Wedding Reception?

From his boisterous rendition, we learn that Dom played a role in the groom's outfit selection. "The groom, he too, looks great, I'm sure you'll all agree. He couldn't get it wrong 'cause he's dressed like me."

As he breaks into his version of the chorus, the couple and their guests can hardly contain themselves. "Best man Joe says hello to the couple with the brightest spark! Best man Joe says hello to the brand new Mrs. Clark. 'Cause here I stand on your wedding day, let us raise a glass."

He even shares an emotional tribute to the groom's late father, saying, "I know your dad is smiling up there on his cloud. And on behalf of him I want to tell you he's so proud."

To finish out the touching song, Joe invites the entire reception to stand and clink glasses in honor of the newlyweds. "Best man Joe says hello! Take your glass, let's raise a toast. 'Cause here we stand on their wedding day. To the newlyweds — hope this will be the perfect day."

All we can say is we wouldn't have wanted to be the maid of honor who followed Joe!

Read more: Watch This Hilarious Video of a Best Man Toasting to the Tune of Frozen's "Let It Go"