AYW Exclusive: How to Throw a Winning Bridal Shower

‘Tis the season…of romantic, wintry proposals! And with proposals, come months spent planning- weddings, of course, but also, wedding showers. If you’re the lucky friend or family member taking on the potentially daunting task of throwing a bridal shower for the special bride-to-be in your life, read on for a simple how-to…


The guest list: first things first! Answer the following questions: will this be a ladies only event? a couple’s shower? a lingerie shower? This information helps determine who will receive an invitation. In some cases, the guest list may be limited to bridesmaids, close friends + close-in-age female family members. In others, invitations are extended to elder family members of the bride and groom, family friends, etc. The “theme” usually plays a role in dictating who appropriate guests are. Bringing us to our next topic of conversation..

The theme: Upon choosing the general type of shower you’ll be throwing, consider choosing a theme based on the bride’s personality + preferences. Does she have a favorite vacation spot? A love for travel? Does she prefer a certain type of cuisine? Have a favorite, festive cocktail? It’s what makes any event unique: the details, large and small, that are designed with the belle of the ball in mind. Once you’ve decided on a theme, get your creative wheels turning! Hop on Pinterest or a wedding + lifestyle blog and keep your eyes open for adaptable ideas for decor, cuisine, signature drinks, and fun event-specific group activities. We love how this tropical styled shoot we created could be easily translated in to a fun, summery shower theme idea! And finally…


The execution: We always recommend working with trustworthy vendors, no matter how small or large the event you’re coordinating may be. Trust your florist, caterer, stationer (etc.) to help in making creative decisions. Be sure to thoroughly explain your vision for a specified theme, and allow for their professional input as often as necessary. If you’re DIY-ing any portion of the event, don’t be afraid to delegate! It’s likely that there are other close family members and friends that would be honored to help in pulling the shower together.

Most importantly- have fun!  And we don’t just mean during the shower- we firmly believe that the planning process of any event should be enjoyable and memorable. Savor these celebratory moments leading up to the big day, you’ll wish you could relive them later on!

And, of course, should the task of planning a shower seem too daunting, the doors to our AYW office are always open! :)


Allen Tsai Photography, Simply Mox Paper, Culinary Art Catering, The Wildflower Floral Design

Real Wedding: Johnson-McLamb

We’ve been waiting with bated breath to see the photos of this out-of-a-dream October wedding since the moment this sweet AYW couple said “I do.” We knew it early on in the journey of planning and designing this outdoor Fall soiree: Taylor and Chris’ celebration would be an evening to remember.

Guests were driven from the Lovers Lane United Methodist Church ceremony to Downton Dallas’ Nasher Sculpture Center. In the heart of the big city, this coveted sculpture garden venue was the perfect location for Taylor and Chris’ families to entertain their beloved guests. During the cocktail hour, a jazz band played whiled guests sipped on signature drinks- complete with customized stir sticks and beverage napkins adorned with the couple’s monogram, designed by Southern Fried Paper. Upon the happy couple’s entrance, the party found their escort cards tied with dainty twine to a stunning boxwood trellis wall display. Dinner tables were decked with bright, bold linen and statement centerpieces full of unexpected texture and pastel blooms thanks to Bella Acento and Bella Flora. The bridal party took their seats at a jaw-droppingly gorgeous farmstead-style head table; topped with a floral garland runner and lovely blue china. The guests of honor, Taylor and Chris, found their chairs draped in free-form greenery with “Mr.” and “Mrs.” chair back signage. Swanky lounge furniture surrounded an all-white dance floor, and everyone danced under sparkly string lights to an epic performance by band, Signed, Sealed, Delivered. The cake, created by Panini Bakery, was (almost) too pretty to eat. At the end of a fabulous evening spent under the stars, custom favor boxes of Godiva chocolate were picked up by each guest after they said farewell to the newlyweds with waving ribbon wands.

Needless to say, these images (captured beautifully by Jennifer Yarbro) have us all kinds of “heart eyes,” and we’re pretty sure they’ll have you gushing, too. Take a look at this sneak peek preview and check back on our Facebook page later this week for a complete album of all the prettiness!


Real Wedding: Turner – Price

AYW lead designer and planner, Rachel Burt, loves getting to know her clients’ families. So, of course, it’s a special honor when the little sister of a past AYW bride reconnects with Rachel following her own engagement. Such was the case with this week’s Real Wedding feature, and we couldn’t have been more thrilled to be apart of a second Turner family affair. Add on the adventure of Claire and groom, Michael’s, destination venue… let’s just say, we were smitten.

A bayside resort was the perfect, scenic backdrop for Claire and Michael’s nuptials. Fortunately, the threat of impending rain was bypassed and their Horseshoe Bay yacht club reception took place as hoped: under bright, clear skies. Fabulous weather, signature cocktails, romantic cafe string lighting, a glowing bride and groom, and the sound of waves lapping against the dock of the bay made for a dreamy Fall wedding. A couple of our favorite details: an escort card wall display complete with a horseshoe tied to each guest’s table assignment, and the bride and groom’s grand exit by way of speed boat. Enjoy a few preview images, captured by Gerri Flory Photography, of this pretty September evening- we’re pretty sure they’ll have you smitten and wishing for warmer days, too. The full album will be on our Facebook page later this week!







Real Wedding: Pantuso-Schaible Ceremony

If we had to put our finger on a single word to describe the design of this week’s As You Wish real wedding, it’d be originality. Bride, Ashley, had a flair for things creative, modern, and out of the ordinary and thus, Dallas’ Wyly Theater provided the perfect backdrop for this b-e-a-utiful celebration. Awe-inducing floral and lighting installations, provided by Bella Flora, brought lead planner and designer, Rachel Burt’s, vision to life. This wedding was so jam-packed with pretty, we couldn’t fit it all in a single blog post. So today, we’re sharing images- perfectly captured by Carter Rose of f8 Studio- of Ashley and Jason’s ceremony. Be sure to click your way back to the blog next week to see the equally gorgeous photos from their reception!

The wedding took place on July 11th (7/11) so, naturally, 7/11 Slurpees were in order for the bridal party!

The celebration would have been incomplete without Ashley and Jason’s beloved Bull Terrier pup.. how cute is that floral collar?!

With a pilot groom, it was most fitting to substitute a flight logbook for a traditional guestbook!

Real Wedding: Bell – Flax

As You Wish bride, Sarah, is one of those rare gems: a woman with brains, beauty, and athletic ability. On top of studying her way through nursing school, she was an esteemed college athlete. In fact, it was her and groom, Landon’s, athletic propensity that caused their paths to cross. A match made in  ’peanut and cracker jack’ heaven: they played softball and baseball for the same university. Needless to say, their wedding celebration at the Ritz paid plenty of tribute to the pair’s sports backgrounds. Their college mascot even paraded through the reception… awe-some.

Make no mistake, Sarah’s feminine and glamorous taste in decor wasn’t sacrificed in their wedding design. The reception showcased over the top floral centerpieces and a va-va-voom head table. Chandeliers were outsourced and suspended from the ceiling of the ballroom, and a gorgeous double-halo by Bella Flora hung over the center of the dance floor. Check back on our Facebook page later this week for more photos from this timelessly stunning affair!

Thanks to Perez Photography for these gorgeous images!

Life of a Bride: Unique Takes on the Typical “First Look”

It’s been a great debate amongst brides since the alternative to age-old tradition hit the wedding scene: to do a First Look with your groom, or not. We’ve seen insanely sweet groom reactions and hugely successful couple photographs turn out in both cases. Like every element of your wedding day, we believe the decision to see each other before the ceremony is a matter of personal preference.

Today, we thought we’d share some of our As You Wish couples’ First Look photos that have kept our cheeks sore from smiling… AND some creative, alternative photo options if you’re considering opting out of a typical First Look between a bride and groom.

How precious is this blindfolded take on the “First Look?” It was so fun to watch the groom blindly reach for his bride’s hand.

Photographers helped to stage these “First Moments” around the corner of open door ways.

The sweetest! These Mothers + Fathers of the bride had unforgettable reactions upon seeing their daughter in her gown.

These brides chose to do a big reveal for all their maids- an adorable photo-op.

What will you choose to do on your wedding day?!

Photo Credits, in order of appearance: Leslie Spurlock Photography, Christographer, Sara & Rocky Photography, Jonathan Ivy Photography, Joseph Mark Photography, A Guy and A Girl Weddings, Creative Shotz Photography, Jenny Martell Photography, Allison Davis Photography, Joshua Aull Photography, The Three Photography, Sarah Kate Photography, f8 Studio, Mary Beth Tyson Photography

Life of a Bride: Bridal Party Photos

We won’t go so far to say that a wedding weekend doesn’t revolve entirely around a bride and groom, because..well, it does. Nonetheless, there is another handful of characters that play an unmatched role in the celebration’s festivities: the bridal party. A conglomeration of faces that have stood near the bride and groom through mountains high and valleys low; it’s only suitable that they stand beside the happy couple as they say “I do.” Our As You Wish team has worked with a whole slew of brides and their maids, and grooms and their men- each unique in number and personality. So, we thought we’d share some of our favorite AYW bridal party photos- both posed and candid, from past weddings. (Brides-to-be, feel free to take note of these photo-op’s, you might see something you’d like to recreate!)

Photos by: Perez Photography, Jennifer Yarbro, Andrew Chan Photography, The Three, Mary Beth Tyson, A Guy and A Girl Weddings, John Christopher Photographs, Katie Norris Portrait Arts, Creative Shotz Photography, Lightly Photography, Sara + Rocky, Sarah Kate Photography

Looks We Love: Bridal Braids

Each season, we purvey a beauty trend or two that begs to stick around for awhile. Braided updo’s and face-framing accents have done just that. We believe it has something to do with their wild versatility. Braids, contrary to the “bohemian-only stereotype” they may have carried around in years passed, can be customized to create a wedding day look that combines fun and whimsical with formal.

We’re big fans of styling our brides and their maids with braided up-do’s of varying forms and textures for hair that offers charm, functionality, and stability throughout a full day of wedding festivities. And an AYW planner’s tip: bring photos of your most-loved braided looks to your day-of-wedding hair stylist BEFORE your wedding date for a trial run. It’s best to experiment in advance and let an industry professional create an individualized look that best suits your facial features, bridal style, and personal preference.

We skimmed the inter webs to find unique braided styles that best struck our fancy. Scroll on for some serious ‘braided meets bridal’ inspiration…

Photo Credits: From top left- 1. Zoe Lonergarn Photo, 2. My Day, 3. My Day, 4. Lindsey Shaun 5. Betsi Ewing Studio 6. BHLDN & Nick Dale Photo, 7. BHLDN, 8. Barefootblonde, 9. Barefootblonde, 10. Bridal Musings, 11. Society Bride, 12. Tracy Melton Artistry

Trending: Bridesmaid Invites

Today we’re talking cute and creative ways to ask your girls to stand by your side on the special day! Inviting your bridesmaids to be apart of your engagement and wedding can be an opportune time to let each of them know just how doggone lucky you feel to have them in your life.

Our rule of thumb for this girly affair: set the tone for your wedding as early as you can, and let your maids-to-be in on it! You’re going to need all the help you can get in the months leading up to your big day, and the more vitally important you make your loved ones feel, the more harmonious the planning process will seem.

We’ve scouted a few ideas that we’d like to encourage our As You Wish brides to employ as they invite their bridesmaids to be apart of their journey to the altar..

A Very Important Vessel

Start with a container of any kind- a heart-shaped cardboard box, a mason jar, whatever suits your fancy (check out Etsy.com for a whole host of unique, customizable jars and boxes). Next step- stuff it full of elements that pertain to your wedding day and your friendship. Get personal, and individualize each vessel for your bridesmaids-to-be. A must: include any design elements of your wedding that you’ve decided on. Snatch a few pantone color swatches from your local hardware store. (We love the idea of punching heart-shapes from color swatches specific to your design scheme!) Or, put together an inspiration page of your favorite pinterest finds and print it out for each bridesmaid- they’ll be just as excited about your ideas as you are! Even better, grab a bottle of nail polish that you’d have them wear on the wedding day. Stick in a gift card to their preferred coffee shop, their favorite candy bar, or sweet treat. Include a hand written note with some of the housekeeping details- the wedding date and location, the game plan for finding their attire for the big day, a list of all your bridesmaid’s names, etc. Surprise them with this little treasure left at their door step, or for out of town friends and family members, create a package full of love to be shipped their way (no breakables, though!)

Ask it in Icing

Let’s face it, no girl can say no to dessert. Hand deliver a cupcake from the most divine bakery in town, inscribed with your very important question: “Will you be my bridesmaid?” For out-of-town girls, see if their local bake shoppe does delivery!

Hit Two Birds with One Stone

Give a special bride-to-maids gift when you ask them to stand by your side, instead of waiting until the weekend-of the wedding. Dainty jewelry with each girl’s monogram is typically well-loved by all.

Make them Search for it

What we love about scavenger hunts: they’re sure to start the bonding process among different friend groups early on in the journey to the altar. Consider this idea if all of your bridesmaids live in the same city, and especially if not all of them have met. Corral all of the girls at a central location, and leave clues connected to you, your recent engagement, your future wedding, or your friendships with each of them to guide them to various locations throughout town. Have the final destination be a bar or restaurant where you can meet them and celebrate, drinks on you!

Put it on Paper

Calling all scrapbook lovers! Purchase specialty craft paper that mimics your wedding design scheme. Create a tabbed booklet, complete with photos of you and each bridesmaid-to-be, outlining the details of their maid-ship. Start by popping the big question on the cover of the booklet. Include a page for your color swatches, their wedding day attire, all of the bridesmaid’s names (phone numbers and emails are a good idea, too), the wedding date and location, other important known dates, etc. Conclude with a letter expressing your gratitude for them. Wah-Lah!

Photo Credits: Jenny Martell Photography, www.laurenconrad.com, www.flickr.com, www.etsy.com, Sarah Kate Photography, www.collider.com, www.limnandlovely.com

Pin-Worthy Pretties: Wedding Shoes

There’s nothing like a little shoe envy to keep you inspired for your upcoming big day! We’ve gathered a few of our favorite shoe pictures from recent As you wish… brides that are sure to give you the shopping fever!

We’ve noticed that while some brides like to incorporate a bright pop of color on their feet, the vast majority tend to lean toward a more neutral color palette under their wedding dress. A great way to still stand out while keeping things calm is to pick a shoe with a metallic hue and a little sparkle or shine!  Take a look at some seriously fabulous examples below and be sure to “Pin” your favorites!


The right amount of shine and sparkle takes these basic shoe styles to the next level:

(A Guy and A Girl Weddings)

(Kym Skiles w/ f8studio)

(Geoff Duncan Photography)


If you’re looking to kick it up a notch, consider a metallic shoe with a fun embellishment:

(Jenny Martell Photography)


And if strappy sandals are more your style, the same rules apply here as well!

(Jennifer Yarbro Photography)

(Amanda McCollum w/ Lightly Photography)


Happy Pinning!

And be sure to take a look at our Pinterest boards for plenty more wedding inspiration!