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Dazzling images from our own Merrily Wed® weddings as well as others that capture our heart from Lake Tahoe and beyond. Along with wedding design ideas, fresh trends and helpful wedding planning hints. Get comfy, take a look around and stay awhile!
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Archive for 'Ceremony'

June 19, 2014

The West Shore and the East Shore of Lake Tahoe each have a special allure that draws visitors to their sunny beaches – some sand and some rock.  They also both have a wealthy history dating back to the 18th century thanks to the aristocratic families that weaved their legacy with Tahoe lore.

George Whittel built a fabulous summer home that he named Thunderbird Lodge.  It sits in isolation on the eastern shore of Lake Tahoe.  This section of the lake is rugged and pristine, in contrast to much of the rest of Lake Tahoe’s shoreline.  His failure to allow development on the 27 miles of shoreline that he bought more likely was a result of wanting privacy than being a nature conservationist.  Regardless, it has kept this section of the lake from being developed with hotels, homes and shops.

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Thunderbird Lodge – photo courtesy of Catherine Hall Studios

Visitors to Lake Tahoe often may not be aware of historical attractions such as Thunderbird Lodge and two other mansions on the western shore that tell a tale of how the fabulously wealthy spent their summers at Tahoe back in the first half of the 1900’s.  All three homes are open to tours every summer and two of the three are beautiful venues to host your Lake Tahoe wedding.

Landscaping at the Thunderbird Lodge includes waterfalls, pools and streams connected by winding stone pathways and flourishes such as a stone shamrock and other whimsical designs.  One tunnel leads to the infamous Card House where Whittel indulged his passion for late night card games and alcohol.

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Thunderbird Lodge – photo courtesy of Catherine Hall Studios

Your wedding guests may even be able to see the Card House on a tour of the famous Thunderbird property during your wedding.  A tower was added to the original lodge after Whittel’s death by investor Jack Dreyfus Jr, where today the space is now used for weddings and special events.  The Thunderbird Lodge Preservation Society manages the proceeds from tours and events to help maintain and restore the property and the 55-ft Thunderbird mahogany yacht.

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Thunderbird Lodge – photo courtesy of Catherine Hall Studios

The Hellman-Ehrman Mansion on the west shore is the largest of these three mansions consisting of 11,703 square feet and three stories.  Hellman and his descendants used Pine Lodge from 1903 until 1965 when Hellman’s granddaughter sold it to the state of California.  It is now part of Sugar Pine State Park and commonly known as the Ehrman Mansion.  Weddings are held on the lawn by the lake and receptions are commonly located on the hilltop closer to the Pine Lodge/Ehrman Mansion.

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Ehrman Mansion – photo courtesy of Brian MacStay Photography

The third historic mansion rich in history and wealth is Vikingsholm just a little farther down the west shore from Hellman-Ehrman Mansion.  This was Lora J Knight’s summer retreat whose estimated wealth at that time was $43 million, built in 1929, and sits at the head of Emerald Bay, arguably Lake Tahoe’s most scenic spot.  She wanted the mansion to look Scandinavian as the bay reminded her of fjords in Norway.

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Vikingsholm – photo courtesy of Vikingsholm.com

She also owned tiny Fannette Island which sits in the middle of Emerald Bay.  A small stone teahouse that she built sits on its crest.  She rarely used it because of the difficulty in accessing it.  For the same reason Vikingsholm, despite its intriguing beauty, is not an ideal wedding location due to the narrow path one must hike to reach it.

Whether selecting the West Shore or the East Shore, incorporating one or more of these locations would be a great idea for visiting guests to see more of Lake Tahoe’s rich history.  And if you are lucky, one historic site may be host to your wedding itself!

Tahoe Signature of Style,

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January 17, 2013

We all know the famous Victorian poem “Something old, something new…”

 

Something old, something new
Something borrowed, something blue
And a silver sixpence in her shoe.

 

and supposedly, by carrying all of these tokens down the aisle, the bride’s marriage will be happy and bestowed with good luck.  The sixpence represents wealth and financial security and literally is worth about 6 cents.  For optimum fortune be sure to wear it in the left shoe!

“Something old” symbolizes continuity with the bride’s family and the past. “Something new” means optimism and hope for the bride’s new life ahead. “Something borrowed” is usually an item from a happily married friend or family member, whose good fortune in marriage is supposed to carry over to the new bride. The borrowed item also reminds the bride that she can depend on her friends and family.

As for blue, this color has been connected to weddings for centuries. In ancient Rome, brides wore blue to symbolize love, modesty, and fidelity.  In Christianity the Virgin Mary is commonly dressed in blue, so purity was associated with the color.  Before the late 19th century, blue was a popular color for wedding gowns, as evidenced in proverbs like, “Marry in blue, lover be true.”

We love to see how each bride will interpret these tokens for her own wedding day and put her personal stamp on this old superstition.

Here are some of our fave updated examples and modern inspirations from this traditional poem!

 

Something Old, Something New, Something Borrowed, Something BlueSomething Old:
Love this – the veil worn by one of our brides was also her mother’s AND worn by both of her sisters before her OR wrap a piece of lace or material from your mom/grandma’s gown around the stems of your bouquet OR wear a family gown altered just for you OR pin an heirloom brooch to your sash/dress on your hip…

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Something Old, Something New, Something Borrowed, Something BlueSomething New:
Modern twist – the bridal bouquet!  One of our brides had a custom fabric rosette bouquet created that will never wilt, lasting forever.  (Great potential for Something Borrowed or Something Old in the future) OR sport jewelry given as a wedding gift on morning of your wedding from your fiance OR write your personalized vows on a scrolled manuscript tucked in your bouquet OR perhaps select a new fragrance…

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Something Old, Something New, Something Borrowed, Something BlueSomething Borrowed:
Deep meaning – one of our brides carried her family bible used for generations down the aisle along with her bouquet OR wear a hair accessory from a family member in your hair OR perhaps incorporate a little token from each bridesmaid discreetly into your wedding attire OR borrow anything you need to complete your wedding day look…

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Something Old, Something New, Something Borrowed, Something BlueSomething Blue:
Another fave – blue stilettos peeping out from your dress OR wear bold Sapphire jewelry Or your bridesmaids write a personal message in blue ink on the bottom of your shoe OR write on the underside of your groom’s tie (or on the inside jacket lining) a love note in blue…

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Tahoe Signature of Style,

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December 30, 2011

As the end of this year draws near, I have little ones on my mind.  Maybe its the tradition stemming from the Greeks of using a baby to signify the new year or more likely its my own new little baby that we were recently blessed with, but either way, I have been drawn to the cute and adorable images of the smallest members of the wedding party from weddings past.  I couldn’t resist sharing a parade of photos of some of the babies that we have had the joy to see in ceremonies and hang out with at the receptions.  They sure keep us on our toes as to what they will do next!

How often I have seen a little flower girl’s gaze of awe upon the bride moments before the ceremony as she is surrounded by her bridal attendants putting on the finishing touches…  This ‘awe’ has had many faces from curiousity to  admiration to a dreamer of when one day they will be a bride themselves.  Such is part of the circle of life, little flower girls who grow up to be beautiful brides.

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The unpredictability of little ones adds that spontaneity and character to your wedding ceremony that will always make it uniquely yours.  How we watch with holded breath, but simulatneously love, when the ring bearer decides to chuck the ring pillow or if the little ones impulsively decide to add their own dance rendition to their walk down the aisle or if they decide to stand, sit, squirm anywhere but where they rehearsed the day before…

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Head wreaths for little flower girls have always been a favorite and a great compliment to the floral basket.  Magical floral wands are super popular now too for them to wave their blessing of love down the aisle…  Little boys or little girls can ring a bell to capture your guests’ attention – like they haven’t already – announcing the bride cometh.

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Besides ringing a bell and verbally announcing “Here Comes the Bride” – have bell ringers put a new spin on this by carrying a sign instead along with the ringing bells or go it alone with just the sign.  Don’t forget the backside – room here for another message from Just Married and Thank You to be used later on in some well planned photo ops.  Clever Etsy artists have lots to choose from here. 

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Alternative new ideas for ring bearers include using ring pillows that are anything but soft and cushy… these can range from floral embellished to a wooden box, burlap or other organic elements or even something as personalized as a skateboard with the rings tied to it as one of our ring bearers did last summer.  If you have a musically-favored little guy or gal (and no stage fright), they could even play a little ditty on their instrument as they walk down the aisle creating a whole new role for this little one.

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Either way – Baby New Year or my new little baby – I am glad to relive and share these wedding moments with you starring the little ones that can not only steal hearts, but also make the forgettable unforgettable. 

Have an extra special and Happy New Year!

ew ideas for ring bearers include using ring pillows that are anything but soft and cushy… these can range from floral embellished to a wooden box, burlap or other organic elements or even something as personalized as a tied to it as one of our ring bearers did last summer…  If you have a musically favored little guy or gal ey xxx

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July 22, 2011

When it comes to florals, figuring out what type of bridal bouquet is the right fit for you can sometimes be confusing.  Here are some of the most common wedding bouquet styles and even here, this is just a beginning!  Size, color and composition are altered to make a custom bouquet that is unique just like you.  Some are more traditional, some formal, some casual, some colorful – these days you can incorporate almost anything into your bouquet – fabric, feathers, branches, succulents, berries…  Find which bouquet fits your wedding style!

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Biedermeier:
A Biedermeier is a small bouquet organized in alternating color hue rings, like a bulls eye. The rings can be composed of different types of flowers or the same type in two different hues.
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Cascade:
A cascade bouquet is the most formal and traditional choice.  It has greenery and flowers that flow down from the top.  The bouquet is very full at the top and some of the flowers hang down, to give a cascading effect.  This style was very popular in the 1980’s and 1990’s, but has recently been revamped with a more modern style.
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Freeform:
The freeform bouquet does not have a specific shape or structure.  Typically the freeform bouquet has both flowers and greenery and evokes a more natural feel.  The freeform is usually hand tied with ribbon.
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Freeform, Modern:
Full of color, texture and tons of details, the modern freeform bouquet can fit many wedding styles.  With multiple flower types and natural accents like succulents, this bouquet is fresh and modern yet stylish and natural.
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Lightship Basket:
A lightship basket is a bouquet of flowers and greenery that is carried in a basket.  The lightship basket can be decorated with ribbon or just a natural basket.  They are most commonly used on the east coast and carried by bridesmaids.
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Nosegay:
The nosegay is a round, uniform bouquet.  It is typically tightly wrapped with ribbon comprised of densely packed similar blossoms and greenery.  This elegant bouquet is very
popular with modern brides.
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Pomander:
The pomander is also commonly referred to as the kissing ball.  A pomander is a ball shaped bouquet that is suspended from ribbon.  It is typically carried by flower girls, junior bridesmaids, or is used as a ceremony decoration.
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Posy:
The posy bouquet is typically an all flower bouquet; they do not contain any greenery.  The posy is the one of the more common choices of modern brides.  The posy is most commonly hand-tied with ribbon.
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June 29, 2011

Our clients often come to us desiring to put their unique twist to their reception so it fully resembles their personalities.  Why not start with the ceremony?  Let’s move beyond the ‘box’ seating layout and explore a few circular and creative set-ups for the wedding ceremony.  How fitting to literally tie the knot in the middle of your family and closest friends!

Circular seating, or 360, is a modern way to incorporate a more intimate feel for your guests (almost no seat is a bad seat) and it truly represents the ring of love.  The wedding band is a circle which represents the continuity of never-ending love.  Outdoor weddings are an ideal setting for round ceremonies with plenty of space.  Even if space should be an issue, there are ways to modify a circular design and make it work.

These below set-ups are fun and different ways to showcase your ceremony and what a wonderful way to provide a 360 view for your guests!

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This swirl set-up creates a magnificent aisle with front row seats for all.

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If limited on space, creating a half-moon or semi-circle will also work.

 

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June 23, 2011

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Mention Father of the Bride and images of Steve Martin come to mind, but not everyone can deal with stress and pressure by making us laugh… 

The Father of the Bride is a role that can be left out during the wedding planning process (except to keep up with all the payments).  He is expected to be experienced enough to cope with his nerves and expected to be strong enough to cope with his emotions.  Giving your daughter away can be a very difficult and bittersweet moment.  We thought we would help.

Take a moment and if you know someone in this role, pass on our advice!

1. Getting Over The Nerves
Nerves about the ceremony, speeches and toasts can be overwhelming.  Don’t worry all of these nervous can be settled with a little preparation.  Make sure and make it to the rehearsal that way the only thing to worry about during the ceremony is giving away “Daddy’s little girl”.  Also make sure to write and practice your speech well before your daughter’s big day.  A little preparation can go a long way when it comes to easing nerves.

2. Prepare for Your Speeches
Preparing your speeches in full before hand is the best thing you can do to ease your nerves, don’t wing it!  For more tips on how to write a great speech take a look at MW’s “Cheers Worthy Toast” post.  The Father of the Bride sets the tempo, welcomes his guests, new members of the family and speaks about his daughter while trying to not embarrass her!  Remember…Practice makes perfect!

3. Plan Your Advice
One of the most important tasks of the Father of the Bride is to pass on advice to the couple.  This advice can be in a toast, in passing, or in a letter.  Make sure to prepare what advice you would like to give the couple, many couples will remember what advice you gave them for years to come.  Remember what you’ve learned throughout your years and share it with them!

4. Be Ready for the Emotions
Men sometimes try and hide their emotions from the rest of the world.  Make sure and take some time with your daughter before the wedding to talk about what she means to you.  Many Father of the Brides believe that they will come up with the perfect thing to say when the time comes but never do.  By doing this you can remorse for never getting the chance to tell your daughter how you feel or be overwhelmed by emotions during the ceremony.

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May 27, 2011

Are you in love with color, lots of color?, and can’t decide on just one shade for your bridesmaid dress?  With a floral bridesmaid dress you can have it all.  It is fresh and playful but can also be sophisticated depending on the colors and floral design you select.  Add a carefully chosen bouquet and you have created a stunning and unforgettable look for your wedding party.

The floral design is ideal for garden weddings but with the right pattern, it is equally at home at an outdoor wedding on a vast lawn or with a tropical twist, a beach wedding.  Nothing seems more cheery in the summertime!

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You can even carry the floral pattern over to the groomsmen with matching ties for a coordinated, polished look.

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How to accessorize? By pairing your bridesmaid dress with a monochromatic bouquet you have a winning look. Maybe you are drawn to patterns and like the look of a black and white design while color spotting your bouquet?  Subtle flowers, vibrant flowers or a retro pattern – this is where your wedding style comes into play.

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Mix it up by selecting one floral pattern yet have different dress style/cut options which allows your bridesmaids to chose the style that flatters her the most.  Project Runway competitor, Jesse LeNoir, designed these one-of-a-kind bridesmaid dresses for his wedding in March 2010.  Each dress was designed to complement each bridesmaid’s body type and personal style.

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Personally, I love this look when pulled off correctly and even selected it for my own wedding.  I chose a simple silk Tommy Bahama dress with a subtle tropical pattern – after all, we were in Maui!  My gals carried green cymbidium orchids with callas which were slightly smaller than my own bouquet.  One of my favorite getting ready pics below.

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Our Top Picks:

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BHLDN Bubble Floral Dress

Chiffon Orange/Pink Floral Pretty Bridesmaids.com

Chiffon Floral from Pretty Bridesmaids.com

Long Version of Chiffon Pretty Bridesmaids.com

BCBGMaxAzaria - Ivory Dress with Floral Adorned Rosettes

Poppy Galore by Tommy Bahama

Anemones Dress by Tommy Bahama

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March 16, 2011

Dogs for many of us are our loyal companions giving us unconditional love every day and are an intrinsic part of our family.  It is only natural to want to include your canine in your wedding day.  It has become more and more common for dogs to be included in the wedding ceremony instead of a flower girl, ring bearer, groomsmen or bridesmaid.  Or better yet, create their own role in the processional as Top Dawg!

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Not only can your dog be a memorable and personable part of the ceremony but they just look so adorable.  Wedding style and color palette does not stop here either.  Don’t miss another opportunity for adding detail! 

Options range from color coordinating the leash and collar to adding a floral collar, a bow tie or even accessorizing with a leash made out of ribbon.  Your pooch will be sure to look their best.  We couldn’t resist these photos of a few our top dawgs that have graced our Merrily Wed aisles.

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Your family portrait on your wedding day wouldn’t be complete without man’s best friend, so add a spot in your wedding party for your top dawg!  The memories and photos will last a lifetime…

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