How To

Choosing A Wedding Dress

Choosing a wedding dress is the biggest decision of your wedding, alongside choosing your venue!  The dress will set the stage for the event theme and and is also something you hold on to for a long time.  You will forever have a photo of you, in your dress, with your husband on your desk/in your house… But you already knew that, right? 

With that being said, I’m not going to add to your stress by reminding you how important picking the right one is; instead, I’m going to help you navigate the options and make the process easier!

The first step in picking the perfect dress is to establish a budget.  Getting a dollar value in mind will help narrow down choices and save the heart ache of falling in love with a dress that’s way out of your price range.  You’ll want to consider all the possible extra expenses, such as a belt, veil, jewelry, alterations, a crown (if that’s your style), and even dry cleaning!  All of these thing quickly drive up the price of your purchase!

The next thing you’ll want to do before you prepare for your big shopping day is get an idea of styles of dresses you like!  You can start by browsing magazines, Pinterest, and other wedding blogs to get a sense of your like and dislikes.  Keep in mind while you are browsing, hair styles are a big part of what complete the look for your wedding day, so you’ll want to choose styles that will complement your hair, as well.  For example, a flowy, simple dress may look gorgeous on that model with perfect, long hair all tossed in a flawless, messy braid, but your short bob may not have enough interest to dress up the plain dress.  You’d need a detail necklace or statement earrings to bring that kind of detail to the same look, all of which cost a fortune as you add on details!  It’s not impossible, but spending some time considering all of your options will make the process much easier.

After you’ve settled on a look and have a few ideas in your mind, it’s time to gather your girlfriends and head to the boutique!  I advise researching the store you are booking with before you go.  Check out the lines they carry, their average price portfolio, and if they have seasonal “sample sales.”  The place you purchase from is just as important as the dress itself.  You want to go somewhere that has experienced dress experts, and somewhere they understand your style.  There is nothing worse that walking out in a dress you love, only to be met by someone with completely different taste than you.  It is also infuriating to have an expensive dress (that’s outside your budget) presented to you, only to find out you couldn’t have it, even if you sold your liver!  Moral of the story?  DO YOUR RESEARCH BEFORE YOU BROWSE!

Now that you’ve gathered all of your girlfriends, family, and bridesmaids, it’s time to hit the fitting room!  But what dresses will you try on?  Explaining your look to your representative is vital!  She may let you browse the racks, in addition to pulling a few of her favs for you.  Don’t be hesitant to let her help, she has a lot more experience with dresses being made for different body types.  Also, don’t be shy to try on samples if they are having a sample sale… The dress may have been tried on a thousand times, but it’s 1/3 of the cost and a quick dry clean and alteration will make it brand new, custom fit for you.   Trust me ;) It’s beautiful, eh?


Raise your arms!!  HERE COMES THE DRESS—This is the most exciting part!  It’s the most important part too.  You’re in your first dress… YAY!  You walk out, mom cries, the whole world is revolving around you.  It’s easy to begin to feel overwhelmed, in this moment!  But take a deep breath and bask in it.  It’s your day!  However, take my advice.  Don’t fall in love with the first dress.  Trying on wedding dresses is a different experience; you’ve looked forward to this moment your entire life and no matter what dress you are in, you will feel special.  It takes a few dresses to get used to the idea that they are allllll beautiful dresses.  They are wedding dresses and someone will wear them on the prettiest day of their life.  THAT BEING SAID…. They are not all your wedding dress. 


So how do you pick?  My advice?  Try on a hundred dresses.  Take your time.  Love all of them.  (Don’t worry) you’ll hate some too.  But take the time to really process the dresses.  Go to lunch and mull the options over.  I promise…. I had always heard that “when you know, you know.”  I didn’t believe it after trying on a thousand dresses that left me in tears, but believe me when I say… It’s true.  You just know!

Don’t let price, selection, or the sales clerk get you down.  There is 100% a dress made just for you.  You just have to enjoy to journey of finding it!






A huge thanks to:

Blue Bridal in Downtown Denver for my gorgeous dress!  My experience was amazing and couldn’t have been an easier/more pleasant!


Walnut Street Photography for capturing the most perfect day of my life.  You were wonderful to work with and absolutely professional with all of my family!



An Effortlessly Urban Ensemble

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I know I promised you all an in depth look at my cousin Alex’s gold career last Friday, but as it often happens at the Byron Nelson… One glass of champagne leads to one flight of champagne leads to the Grey Goose VIP lounge leads to eating pizza in a hot tub with 10.8 miles of walking under your belt… So it’s understandable that I didn’t deliver as promised!  HOWEVER— I promise that post is still coming, along with the amazing time we had at the Four Season Las Colinas! 

Instead of the “sports feature”, I thought I’d go ahead and share this fabulous look perfect for any day on the course.  It’s comfortable, sensible, and great for any activity that calls for tons of walking!

With the Byron behind us and the Colonial (another PGA golf tournament) ahead of us, finding an outfit that has some style, yet can also be described as practical is imperative! 

Let’s dig in!  This look has been self-titled “Effortlessly Urban”…. Why?  Because those are two words that come to mind with this outfit. 

The graphic tee is sleek, edgy, and casual, but can be paired with a fun skirt to create the ultimate stylish look!  The skirt choice was carefully calculated, as I needed something to draw on the edginess of the shirt, but not overwhelm the look with a dark nature.  Naturally, a feminine leather skirt was the perfect match.  It also needed to be slightly form fitting, to keep the look light and fresh.  A heavier skirt, or even a tool skirt, would have made the look “overdone” and could easily be looked at as trying too hard.

I had a blast playing on the urban feel of the top and skirt, so I threw in some fun tennis shoes to make the look more comfortable and keep with the feel of the ensemble!  Keeping the color palette neutral through the whole look, I was able to avoid awkward contrasts, keeping these very different piece cohesive and flowing, as patterns and fabrics changed.  

The last thing I did to tie this look together, was add in some fun girlie earrings!!  If you haven’t read my review on how I made these gems, you’ll definitely want to check it out HERE.

I’ve linked a few good options for those of you who love this look, but think you’d struggle to accomplish it on your own—shop my look below!

All of these shots were captured by the one and only Noah Berg, of Noah Berg Photography!  Check out his Instagram: @NoahBergPhotograph

How to Choose a Wedding Venue

You're engaged!!  Congratulations!!  What an exciting time in your lives. 

I'm sure all of the emotions and excitement is still brewing, but (as all past brides know) beginning the planning portion of the Big Day can be a bit stressful.  If you're looking for advice on finding a wedding venue, you've come to the right place!  Over the next few weeks, I'm going to be reviewing our venues and sharing wedding tips & tricks!  Today's post is all about making the biggest decision a bit easier.  I have advice for all brides, and a few extra for those looking for a venue in the Rocky Mountains!

What's the first step, you ask?  Hands down the first step in wedding planning is determining your BUDGET!  I know.. It's a huge step.  Sitting down and talking about your expectations and wants is a great first step and definitely helps to open a line of communication!  Keep in mind, your "budget" doesn't have to be set in stone.. it 100% can be a range.  Instead of focusing on your hard fast number, it may be better to say "I would like to spend X dollars, but would be comfortable if we had to go to XX dollars."

Once you have your budget, you're ready to take the first step!  Picking your venue is excited and nerve-racking at the same time... Good news is it's similar to dress shopping; when you know, YOU KNOW!  The first thing you'll want to do is grab a venue catalog.  What's that you ask?  It a magazine put together by the region you are looking to get married in!  TIP: if you are looking to get married in Colorado.  You'll want to grab The Rocky Mountain Bride Magazine.  I've linked their website to help, but you can grab a hard copy at any bookstore!  The reason I suggest this method is the convenience of being a one-stop-shop with overviews, menus, and pictures!  I researched over 300 venues in a day, if that isn't testament enough!  After flipping through the magazine, go back and take a second look at the venues you flagged.  Sometimes your style changes as you are looking!  This helps you to refine the decisions you made first and filter out any that might not be as good as the others.  Narrow it down to 7 or 8 and you'll be ready to move on!

After you have narrowed it down, you'll start feeling less stressed and start feeling more excited!  You'll need to channel this energy to get over the next step -- calling the venues!  I, personally, visited the websites of my top 8 and created a summary document in Word to keep snips of my favorite pictures and an overview of the venue!  Once you have this "summary report" (if you will) built, you'll be excited to know it's time to call the venues!!

The response you get from the venues is VERY important.  It's you're big day and you are going to be spending a lot of money with the venue of choice, so they should be eager to make you happy and want to meet you!  Ask the following questions on your interview and be sure to take notes:

  • What is the rental fee?  Does that include the ceremony?
  • Do you provide catering? Either way, am I allowed to bring in my caterer of choice?
  • Is there a fee per guest, or is it included in the catering?
  • What is included in the rental fee?
  • Do you have a list of preferred vendors I have to work with?
  • How much time is included in my rental?
  • Will there be someone on site the day of the wedding to help keep things going smoothly?
  • What is your minimum and maximum capacity?
  • How far are you from the nearest airport? (This will be very important for out of town guests)
  • Where do guests normally stay?
  • Do they have a liquor license?  If not, how will bringing in outside vendors work?
  • If they don't provide catering, do they have a kitchen on site available for rent?  Is it industrial grade and is there a fee?

This should give you a pretty clear idea on what they are willing to provide and if they would be in your price range.  It will also help get the ball rolling and other questions will inevitably come up!  Remember to take notes and put them in your little report!

Now that you've done all the background work, you saved yourself the wasted time of going to see venues that are out of your range, or not willing to work with you!  Next comes the BEST part!!  Present your findings to your Hubby-to-Be and schedule appointments to see your top 2.  You can take time before your meeting to think of tailored questions for that particular venue. 

Once you are at your meeting and venue tour, you'll instantly feel which one is right for you!  We felt it instantly at The Bella Sera Event Center in Brighton, CO.  I'll be giving a full review of our venue next week, complete with pictures and all the details about the AMAZING venue.  I would recommend it to any couple looking for the perfect night!  I've attached a feeeeew photos of our Big Night, sorry to be such a tease :)

xoxo- R