IDEAS FROM RACH'S WEDDING
Rachael Ray and her husband John planned a romantic, fairy-tale wedding in a Tuscan castle that was a dream come true. Flip through Rachael's wedding album for great ideas, tips and more.
When you're doing everything yourself, salvation lies in planning. To begin, make an appointment with your caterer. Then, give your DJ a month to get your song choices together. Choose flowers immediately, and call wholesale florists to see how long it'll take to get them. Order them a month in advance.
Think like a local: Don't overlook the region's specialty foods and drinks. They'll add to the experience and are usually more cost-effective. Use your destination to inspire the decorations, too.
For a second wedding, try to keep the ceremony mellow. Dress simply, with an unembellished style in and off-white or bisque. The groom could wear a dark suit with a light or bright solid tie.
Planning a wedding that's reflective of two backgrounds is tricky. Remember that the most important first step is that the soon-to-be husband and wife get on the same page. Talk about your vision for the ceremony before involving anyone else.
Try Rachael and John's wedding menu, which started with three appetizers: tomatoes stuffed with eggplant caponata, artichoke flan and pappa al pomodoro (bread and tomato soup). For the entrée, they decided on beef with Brunello sauce.
If you're planning a daytime wedding, a next-day wedding brunch for family and out-of-town guests or a bridal lunch, these easy-to-make menus will help you keep things stress-free -- and delicious.
We love these ideas to decorate your wedding cake, using everyday treats for special effect. All of them are very easy to do yourself (or share with your caterer!).
FAVORITE WEDDING CAKES
Forget boring vanilla -- say "I do" to the innovative flavors of these wedding cakes from across the country.
EASY WEDDING CENTERPIECES
Save serious cash by making your own tabletoppers, like this one: For a terrarium-like effect, place a block of floral foam on a cake stand and prick stems of leaves, vines and greens through it. Add a few colorful flowers in between the greens, and top with a glass dome. Have leftover blooms? Lay them on small saucers or bread plates around the table.
GRETTA'S WEDDING BEAUTY TIPS
Set on keeping it simple? Say "I do" to an easy updo. Pull back hair into this elegant low bun in no time, and add a fresh-cut flower or a jeweled barrette.
PERSONALIZED WEDDING FAVORS
Download, personalize and print personalized candy bar wrappers as wedding party favors. Buy jumbo chocolate bars, then customize wrappers with your name and date.
BOUQUET + FLOWER ARRANGEMENTS
Create flower arrangements for the table -- or for your bouquets -- that will last with this easy tip: Fill the container with cold water and add a drop of bleach to fight bacteria. Cut the stems so they are one and a half times the height of the vase.
SETTING THE TABLE
If you're hosting a bridal shower, engagement party, family dinner or next-morning brunch, get the basics on setting a table. Not sure which glass to fill with water and which with wine? Look to your knife. At a formally set table, the tip will point most closely to the water glass. The wine glasses will be slightly more outside.
THE FIRST DANCE
Remember this for your first moves as married couple: Dancing dips are easiest coming out of a turn. Stand facing your partner with one hand in his and the other firmly resting on his shoulder. Let him twirl you by tucking you underneath his arm, then corralling you in.
WRITE A LOVE LETTER
Give your soon-to-be-spouse a love letter before the ceremony. Remember, write like you speak, instead of trying to impress your partner with flowery, thesaurus-style language. That way, your love letter will read as if it’s really coming from you.
LOOK GREAT IN CANDLELIGHT
Luckily, candlelight, which you'll probably have at your reception, evens skin tone and helps hide flaws. Skip liners and lipsticks: They’ll appear more dramatic in this light, so a dark red pout may be too much. Instead, try a tinted lipgloss or sheer stain for a soft, natural smile.
BRIGHTEN YOUR SMILE
Tone down the rest of your makeup to make sure your smile is the star for wedding photos: Use concealer to even your skin tone, dust on a translucent pressed powder, and sweep on a blush that is just a shade or two pinker than your natural color. Finish the natural look with mascara.
Our travel editor, every day gina, is blogging insider tips on her fave wedding, honeymoon and romantic destinations from April 1 to April 30 in our Every Day Stuff blog.
Thinking of a cruise for your honeymoon? Even the most reluctant cruiser will appreciate Hawaii’s unsurpassed beauty, which looks even better from the bow of a ship. You'll stop at Maui, Hawaii, Kauai and Oahu, so landlubbers can explore active volcanoes, lush canyons and endless beaches.
TAKE BETTER HONEYMOON PHOTOS
To take a better self-portrait of you and your hubby, reach out as far as you can so your two faces have a backdrop. Shoot from above to avoid double chins.
STAY HEALTHY ON YOUR HONEYMOON
There's nothing worse than an upset stomach after your wedding! Remember to pack peppermint tea, and sip the potent stomach soother at the first sign of tummy trouble.