The Wedding Gifts Real Couples Exchanged on Their Wedding Day

Weddings are a gift in and of themselves. After all, isn't the promise to love one another for an eternity the best present of all? Sure. But that doesn't mean that the bride and groom can't exchange something special, too! Countless couples choose to exchange wedding gifts[1] on the morning of their wedding. Whether they're big or small, bride and groom gifts are sweet tokens of the almost-newlyweds' love and appreciation for each other, adding yet another memorable moment and providing another keepsake of an already unforgettable wedding day.

Some brides will gift their groom a classic, elegant watch. Other partners will simply write love letters[2] to one another to be opened as they're getting ready for their ceremony. While your wedding rings[3] and commitment are already gifts enough, these bride and groom wedding gifts[4] are undeniably romantic!

Brides asked real married couples to share what wedding gifts they exchanged on the big day. Here's what they had to say.

"We decided to give one another perfume and cologne that we picked out. It had to be a brand we never used before, so it was a new scent and we had to wear it that day. Now, whenever we use it for special occasions, the smell takes us right back to our wedding day. I love that we did that." —Nicole and Chris[5]

"We exchanged ridiculously expensive watches. We figured it's a once in a lifetime day—why not give each other something luxurious? If we didn't then, when would we?" —Jaclyn and Matt

"We exchanged experiences on our honeymoon! He gave me a wine tasting dinner on a cliff in Santorini at Canaves Oia, and I gave him a rooftop cocktail tasting on a high balcony restaurant in Rome. A food and drink theme!" —Jennifer and Tyler[6]

"He gave me a Tiffany & Co. necklace with my new last initial, and I gave him an album of boudoir photos." —Heather and Gil[7]

"I gave him a watch. He got me a necklace with my new monogram, and a necklace I was asking for forever, it said 'love' in black diamonds." —Stacy & Kevin

"I got my husband a custom painted acoustic guitar that was personalized for him. It's now displayed in our house. He got me a Louis Vuitton purse that I use every day!" —Arielle and Elliot

"We didn't exchange gifts. Paying for a wedding was gift enough for us!" —Jenna and Stephen

See more: 47 Unique Bridesmaid Gifts That Your Bridal Party Will Definitely Reuse[8]

References

  1. ^ wedding gifts (www.brides.com)
  2. ^ love letters (www.brides.com)
  3. ^ wedding rings (www.brides.com)
  4. ^ bride and groom wedding gifts (www.brides.com)
  5. ^ perfume (www.brides.com)
  6. ^ Santorini (www.brides.com)
  7. ^ boudoir photos (www.brides.com)
  8. ^ 47 Unique Bridesmaid Gifts That Your Bridal Party Will Definitely Reuse (www.brides.com)

10 Wedding Cake Servers You Can Buy Now

Sure, you've been to your cake tasting[1] and have your wedding cake all picked out down to the very last frosting rose on top. But have you selected your wedding cake server yet? Wedding cake servers are a must for picture-perfect cake-cutting[2] photos. And considering the delicious history behind wedding cakes, that's a moment you definitely won't want to miss.

When it comes to wedding cakes[3], the history of traditions is...rich? Interesting, for sure. For instance, in Ancient Rome there was a tradition of having a cake made of wheat or barley that was broken over the bride's head. BROKEN OVER HER HEAD. Apparently this symbolized good fortune? (If ever there was a time for the thinking emoji it is here). Oh, and the pillars that you sometimes see between wedding cake tiers? Those began as broomsticks covered in frosting. BROOMSTICKS. Also, there was a myth that bridesmaids could "dream up" their future husbands, so they would take a piece of the wedding cake home and put it under their pillow. This seems wildly impractical during a time where washing linens was not as simple as throwing them in a machine. Times have changed, y'all.

One tradition that still persists is the cutting of the cake[4], which started because weddings began growing in size[5]. Thus, the cake kept getting larger and the icing became much denser so it could support the weight of all those layers. The bride could no longer cut through the icing alone, so the groom began assisting. Of course this tradition[6] is rife with symbolism—the joining of your union, working together, and a promise to always provide for each other.

Since the cutting of the wedding cake[7] is so common and routine now, why not have a pretty wedding cake server to go with it? They're usually quite inexpensive and it's something you can keep forever afterward. We kind of even like the idea of framing it or doing something to preserve it in an artsy way!

Here are 10 of our favorite wedding cake servers you can buy now.

See more: 8 Gorgeous Cake Stands from Etsy[8]

References

  1. ^ cake tasting (www.brides.com)
  2. ^ cake-cutting (www.brides.com)
  3. ^ wedding cakes (www.brides.com)
  4. ^ cake (www.brides.com)
  5. ^ growing in size (www.brides.com)
  6. ^ tradition (www.brides.com)
  7. ^ cutting of the wedding cake (www.brides.com)
  8. ^ 8 Gorgeous Cake Stands from Etsy (www.brides.com)

Here’s Everything You Need to Buy After You Get Engaged

The long-awaited moment has finally arrived—your partner popped the question[1]. Congrats! Once you've posted your obligatory glorious ring selfie[2] and told your mom the big news, it's time to get down to business and splurge on some much-needed pre-wedding swag. Here's everything you need to buy after you get engaged.

This new relationship status is a huge deal, so there are certain things you need to snag right after the engagement[3] in order to celebrate and plan your future wedding accordingly. From obnoxiously cute his-and-hers "Just Engaged" gear to chic wedding organizers that are bound to become your new best friend, check out our starter kit for everything you need to buy after you get engaged. Happy pre-marital shopping!

See more: 17 Engagement Party Decorations to Celebrate the Newly Betrothed Couple in Style[4]


10 Best New Holiday Cookbooks Perfect for a Cozy Winter

Brrrr. It's getting cold out there! The winter season is all about retreating inside, getting cozy[1] and sharing time with family and friends—especially around the table[2]. Warm soups and stews[3], delectable desserts, and festive cocktails abound. Because we're all heading indoors (and putting diets[4] aside until January), it's also a great time to experiment with some new recipes.

Luckily, a lot of new cookbooks tend to come out during the holiday season, just in time for holiday baking[5] and gift giving. This year's selection is no exception, with new offerings from fan faves like Ina Garten, Yotam Ottolenghi and Dorie Greenspan, in addition to a few exciting new debut authors who take us around the world with their innovative recipes and creative twists. For a foodie, a cookbook it's literally a gift that keeps giving, providing inspiration, ideas, and (hopefully) some delicious meals all year round.

Here are 11 amazing new holiday cookbooks to keep you warm all winter long.

References

  1. ^ getting cozy (www.brides.com)
  2. ^ table (www.brides.com)
  3. ^ soups and stews (www.brides.com)
  4. ^ diets (www.brides.com)
  5. ^ baking (www.brides.com)

The Newlywed’s Guide to Hosting Thanksgiving Dinner

Hosting Thanksgiving Dinner this year? We've got you covered! Camille Styles is the founder and creative director of lifestyle and entertaining blog CamilleStyles.com[1], as well as the author of Camille Styles Entertaining[2], a book that inspires readers through the seasons with ideas for life's big celebrations. Here, the Austin, Texas-based lifestyle expert shares her top tips for throwing a fabulous first Thanksgiving dinner.

My husband and I have been hosting Thanksgiving[3] dinner for both sides of our family since the first year we got married. Though we've had our share of hiccups (from faulty plumbing to a fried turkey that burnt to a crisp), each year gets a little more seamless, and yes, delicious. If you'll be taking on hosting duties this year, never fear: I've made all the mistakes first, so that you don't have to. Here are my favorite ways to honor tradition, put a fresh twist on the big meal, and avoid any disasters in the process.

Create a Thanksgiving day timeline

There's only one way to ensure a stress-free and seamless Thanksgiving[4]: detailed, down-to-the-minute planning. Create a timeline counting down the 24 hours before mealtime, listing exactly when all menu items should be prepared. Then put that list on the refrigerator door and follow it to the letter.

Create "zones" in your space devoted to specific activities

Before guests arrive, designate a spot for coats and purses, a place for younger kids to play, and a self-serve bar that's separate from the food so that guests flow throughout the room and maximize available space.

Rethink your furniture arrangement to create more space

So your four-person kitchen table won't fit all the friends and family you'd like to seat for the feast? Consider moving the dining table into the living room, and extending it with folding tables that you can line up end-to-end and cover with a pretty autumnal tablecloth.

Include a couple of menu items that can be served at room temperature so that you're not scrambling to get every single item out at once

I'll make an appetizer like a cheese and meat board[5] that can sit out unattended for a a while during cocktail hour. Sides like a Brussels sprouts salad and cranberry sauce are delicious at room temperature, so you can put those out first while you slice the turkey and keep the sweet potatoes warm in the oven.

Try out an unexpected color palette

In lieu of the more traditional autumnal oranges and browns, I like using a palette of indigo, earthy wood, organic greens and white. Then, to create a unified design, I'll use table linens, dishes, serving pieces and flowers that fit into that color family. Sticking within a limited palette is the quickest way to make a major visual impact while keeping the details simple!

Think beyond the floral centerpiece

In the fall, I love to forage for beautiful leaves and interesting berries or acorns to incorporate into a centerpiece[6]. Pomegranates, winter squash and pears also make unexpected additions to the table and are a modern spin on the iconic image of an abundant cornucopia

Incorporate tradition in new ways

Since Thanksgiving is all about tradition, I love to honor the past by incorporating family heirlooms or treasured antiques on the table. I'll add a metallic glint with my mom's vintage brass candlesticks that add a bit of polish to the otherwise natural centerpiece.

Serve food buffet-style

Although I love a family style meal where big platters are passed around the table and shared, Thanksgiving is a day when I usually set up a buffet near the dining table. When a menu calls for more than three items, it's nice to move everything off the table so that things don't feel too crowded.

See More: How to Have Sex at Your In-Laws House This Thanksgiving[7]

Ask for help

The holidays are a great time to enlist the help of family and friends and ask everyone to contribute one of their favorite dishes to the meal. I have everyone "sign up" in advance so I can make sure we've got all the bases covered and there's not too much overlap (or you might end up with three pumpkin pies!)

Don't strive for perfection

This is a holiday that's about counting our blessings, so ditch the pressure, stress, and unrealistic expectations, and instead embrace an attitude that puts the focus back on having fun and creating great memories with the people you care about.

Need some more inspiration? Here are 10 essentials you need for entertaining this Thanksgiving[8]!

Photo Courtesy of Trouva

A Modern Tray

You don't need to worry about bringing everything to the table and clearing it all little by little—serve your guests (and clear the mess) in style with a sleek and modern serving tray.

SHOP NOW: Trouva[9], $26.18

Photo Courtesy of ABC Home

Plates in an Unexpected Palette

Just like Camille suggests, have a little fun with your table color palette instead of sticking to "fall" colors! We like this palette of blush, white, and adding a little drama with black or slate gray.

SHOP NOW: ABC Home[10], $78+

Photo Courtesy of Urban Outfitters

A Unique Take on the Chip and Dip

Leave the expected (boring) chip and dip sets in the pantry and pull out something with a little more flair, like this orange cut-out bowl. Because serving snacks should still be festive!

SHOP NOW: Urban Outfitters[11], $46

Photo Courtesy of Terrain

A Cheese Board (or 3)

There's no such thing as too much cheese when you entertain (or in general) so make sure you've got plenty of cheese boards at the ready for serving ease.

SHOP NOW: Terrain[12], $68

Photo Courtesy of Sur La Table

A "Make Anything in This" Dutch Oven

These Le Creuset Dutch ovens are classics for a reason. They last forever (seriously, generations), they look beautiful oven to table, and you can make half of your Thanksgiving dinner just using them alone (granted you'll need more than one!).

SHOP NOW: Sur la Table,[13] $339.95

Photo Courtesy of Food52

A Heavy-Duty Cutting Board

When it comes to Thanksgiving dinner prep, there's no room for wimpy cutting boards. Do yourself a favor and get this beauty—it's a real hard worker with a deep juice groove on one side, a phone slot on the other, and lots of roominess for your very own chopping olympics.

SHOP NOW: Food52[14], $99

Photo Courtesy of H+M

A Non-Fussy Tablecloth

Time to buck tradition! Don't go buying a plastic one, but there's no reason a relaxed linen covering can't be made just as pretty as your grandmother's white lace tablecloth.

SHOP NOW: H+M[15], $49.95

Photo Courtesy of H+M

Carafes For All The Beverages

Whether you're serving up a batch cocktail or a bevy of fresh squeezed juices, do *not* put any ugly plastic jugs on your tables! Just get a few of these beautiful (and inexpensive) carafes for an easy presentation upgrade.

SHOP NOW: H+M[16], $17.99

Photo Courtesy of Food52

Non-Turkey Place Card Holders

Yes yes, we know you know better than to use those odd ceramic fall themed place card holders, so do yourself (and your guests) a favor and check out these modern beauties. Oh *and* the double as napkin rings—two birds, one stone!

SHOP NOW: Food52[17], $40+

Photo Courtesy of Food52

Tupperware You're Not Ashamed of

You've had that warped, cheap plastic Tupperware forever. This Thanksgiving, give yourself the gift of these beautiful containers, (hello, colors!) so you can smile as you're putting away the leftovers instead of grimacing.

SHOP NOW: Food52[18], $25+

References

  1. ^ CamilleStyles.com (camillestylesinc.com)
  2. ^ Camille Styles Entertaining (www.amazon.com)
  3. ^ Thanksgiving (www.brides.com)
  4. ^ Thanksgiving (www.brides.com)
  5. ^ cheese and meat board (www.brides.com)
  6. ^ centerpiece (www.brides.com)
  7. ^ How to Have Sex at Your In-Laws House This Thanksgiving (www.brides.com)
  8. ^ Thanksgiving (www.brides.com)
  9. ^ Trouva (www.trouva.com)
  10. ^ ABC Home (www.abchome.com)
  11. ^ Urban Outfitters (www.urbanoutfitters.com)
  12. ^ Terrain (www.shopterrain.com)
  13. ^ Sur la Table, (www.surlatable.com)
  14. ^ Food52 (food52.com)
  15. ^ H+M (www2.hm.com)
  16. ^ H+M (www2.hm.com)
  17. ^ Food52 (food52.com)
  18. ^ Food52 (food52.com)

17 Serving Pieces That Will Make Thanksgiving a Breeze

It's that time of year again! The holidays are fast approaching, and family and friends are going to be gathering together to eat, drink[1] and lounge about together (recovering from the festivities). If you're an engaged or newlywed couple, there's a chance that you may be hosting[2] at least some of the holiday festivities, if not the big event itself. Either way, it's definitely a good idea to register for some multi-use serving pieces so you'll be ready to host any future event that might come your way.

The trick for family-style serving or a buffet[3] set up is to have a range of serving pieces in different shapes and sizes. That means you'll have a dedicated spot for everything from garlicky green beans and sweet potato casserole to Aunt Sylvia's famous pecan pie. It's especially important during a meal where a lot of people may be bringing potluck-style dishes to be ready to decant or re-plate on the fly if you need to (those delicious pumpkin cookies definitely deserve a better display than the crinkled aluminum foil they came in).

It might seem like a lot when you're registering[4], but hopefully you'll use these pieces again and again over the years, whether it's a wine-and-cheese[5] night with friends or just a cozy[6] evening in with the two of you.

References

  1. ^ drink (www.brides.com)
  2. ^ hosting (www.brides.com)
  3. ^ buffet (www.brides.com)
  4. ^ registering (www.brides.com)
  5. ^ wine-and-cheese (www.brides.com)
  6. ^ cozy (www.brides.com)

15 Cool Vases for Your Home

Vases are a great way to add color, texture, and interesting shapes to your living space. Whether or not you're using them to display fresh or faux flowers[1] and branches, or are just showing them off as decorative elements in your home, a good collection of vases are a must-have for your registry[2].

Stock up on vessels in a range of shapes and sizes so you'll be prepared for different types of flowers (large branches are going to need a very different kind of container than a bouquet of roses[3] from the corner store). Smaller vases can be clustered on a bookshelf or displayed as part of a centerpiece[4] on a dining room table. Large containers can be used to make bold statement in an entryway or in the corner of a room, whether they're left empty or filled with faux branches or sculptural faux leaves.

Bud vases are also good to have on hand for decking out a breakfast-in-bed[5] tray or adding some color to unexpected areas like a bathroom shelf. Just make sure that you don't go overboard with tons of tiny vases that will add to your clutter[6] (unless you have a dedicated storage space to stash them). It's better to have just a few statement vases that you love and want to use again and again. In general, a vase that's tapered at the top is more useful than a wide-mouthed one (you'll need fewer flowers to make the arrangement look polished). A single-stem vase, whether it's a tiny bud vase or a large scale bottleneck style, will make the flower display that much easier.

Here are a few of our favorites!

References

  1. ^ faux flowers (www.brides.com)
  2. ^ registry (www.brides.com)
  3. ^ roses (www.brides.com)
  4. ^ centerpiece (www.brides.com)
  5. ^ breakfast-in-bed (www.brides.com)
  6. ^ clutter (www.brides.com)

15 Amazing Ceramics You Can Buy on Etsy

Etsy is definitely one of our favorite spots for one-of-a-kind decor pieces. It's a literal treasure trove of unique home pieces, from artwork and accent lighting to pillows and throws. And if you're searching for good tabletop items, you won't be disappointed. Handmade ceramics are one of the very best things to find on Etsy; there are so many gorgeous pieces to choose from, and often times at really affordable price points.

When it comes to ceramics, it's good to look for pieces that might work well in your everyday lifestyle. Love your morning coffee ritual? Then there's nothing better than a pair of matching handmade mugs to share with you S.O. in the am. If the two of you are big entertainers, a mix of serving platters in different shapes and sizes will make sharing meals "family style" so much more enjoyable.

Handmade ceramics can sometimes be more of an investment than regular, run-of-the-mill pieces, but adding a few handmade statement pieces is really going to help make your tabletop feel special. It's also great to know that you're supporting small businesses and artisans in their craft. If you're just starting out and are on a budget, you might want to go with a set of classic, matching white plates for the bulk of your dinnerware, but add color and texture with handmade accent pieces like platters, dessert plates and other pieces. You can gradually add to your collection as time goes on. Your dinner table vibe may be slightly mismatched, but will have totally authentic and creative look.


6 Apps that Can Help You Nail Gift Giving

Finding the perfect gift isn’t easy to do, especially when people have so many parties leading up to their wedding (engagement gift, plus bridal shower gift, plus wedding gift...). And, in a day and age where grab and go gift-cards are sometimes just too convenient, the art of gift giving can (and does) get lost.

Luckily, you can thank good ‘ole technology to help you not only give the perfect gift, but with less stress and time, too.

From engagement parties to showers, birthdays to anniversaries and beyond – here are some helpful apps to help you nail gift giving.

With a curated array of unique lifestyle items and home decor, Fab has something for everyone and every style. With departments including home, art, tech, and “fun and style,” you can find funky and fun home accents and decor that are sure to please any preference. As an added incentive, you can earn points within the app as a Fab Insider, which will accrue towards your next purchase. And, shipping over $75 is free, with free returns.

Not only a great service to keep your gift cards organized and digitized, Gyft also enables you to send e-gift cards to any recipient, along with an accompanying note or video. As a perfect way to say “thanks” or “thinking of you," send an instant gift card from over hundreds of retailers seamlessly and instantly.

Gifts on demand? Yes, please! Without needing to track down the recipients shipping address, you can shop from categories including tech and gadgets, alcohol, flowers, gourmet, and more – and then gift on demand! You can even set birthday and event reminders while adding personalized messaging, too. The best part? Gifts are added weekly so there’s always fresh and fun new options!

No need to panic if you forgot to send a bouquet for a special day, and no need to pay exorbitant rush shipping costs either. Enter, Bloomthat. Available in select cities, you can now have fresh and seasonal arrangements that are not only guaranteed to always match their picture, but are even available with same day delivery.

If you’re looking to give something a bit different or unique, aha might have just what you’re looking for. With over 25,000 items from artisans and designers throughout over 45 countries, you can send an amazing gift to be on its way to your recipient within 60 seconds. The best part? With a “buy now, pay later” option, you only pay when your gift is digitally accepted (or it can be swapped, too!) AND standard shipping within the United States is free.

See more: 50 Unique Wedding Gift Ideas That Fit All of Your Guests' Budgets[1]

In keeping with the gifts-on-demand trend, how about something more experiential? Who couldn’t use a massage these days? Thanks to Zeel, you can seamlessly order a massage for a lucky recipient who is in some need of R&R. The service provides a background checked and certified massage therapist who will come to your home, and the gratuity is included in the pricing so the lucky gift-getter has nothing more to do.


55 Best Engagement Gift Ideas for Couples in 2019

'Tis the season to celebrate—and your newly engaged friends have quite a lot to toast to! With your social feeds flooded with countless new ring selfies, now's the prime time to whip out a few special engagement gift ideas for couples who recently updated their status to engaged. After all, if the dynamic duo in your life is throwing an engagement party[1], it will be your first opportunity to send your wrapped-with-a-bow best wishes to the happy couple. (If they are hosting a celebratory shindig, though, it's not customary[2] to give an engagement gift, but you know better than to show up empty-handed!)

But if choosing a gift for one person is hard, finding the perfect engagement gift for a couple has to be near impossible, right? Wrong! We already did all of the legwork for you with our list of this year's top gifts for all to-be-weds[3]. You're welcome.

We'll admit it—finding a gift for a pair of soon-to-be newlyweds can get dicey. Sure, you want to get them something totally gorg, but you don't want to buy any bold decor pieces that could clash with their wedding registry[4] picks. And remember: You'll soon be shelling out for shower and wedding gifts[5] in the months to come, so you don't want to dole out a fortune. UGH! Can someone please just tell you what they actually want for once?! Well, you can consider this the engaged couple's unofficial wish list.

We've rounded up our top gift picks that any set of nearly-weds are pretty much guaranteed to love. From personalized presents[6] (because what bride-to-be doesn't want to monogram everything?) to kitchen must-haves, these totally gorgeous engagement gifts are enough to get your friends to want to marry YOU—if they weren't already engaged, that is!

The best part? The budget-conscience[7] can breathe a sigh of relief. Our gift guide hits an array of price points that'll suit anyone and everyone. If you're wondering how much to splurge[8] on an engagement gift for the happy pair, first consider your relationship to the future spouses, as well as how much you plan to spend on their wedding as whole. From there, map out your budget, but aim to keep things within the $20 to $100 range.

See more: How to Choose the Perfect Wedding Registry Gift[9]

So what are you waiting for? Browse below to discover the best engagement gifts for couples in 2019.

References

  1. ^ engagement party (www.brides.com)
  2. ^ not customary (www.brides.com)
  3. ^ all to-be-weds (www.brides.com)
  4. ^ wedding registry (www.brides.com)
  5. ^ wedding gifts (www.brides.com)
  6. ^ personalized presents (www.brides.com)
  7. ^ budget-conscience (www.brides.com)
  8. ^ how much to splurge (www.brides.com)
  9. ^ How to Choose the Perfect Wedding Registry Gift (www.brides.com)