Calling all bridesmaids! Throw the blushing bride-to-be a shower that's as memorable as the big day. With inventive and inspiring bridal shower themes and ideas -- vintage tea parties, glampouts, mimosa bars, and more -- your girl will be glowing all the way to the alter.View Slideshow
Sarah and Daren, a Portland, Oregon couple, chose a downtown art museum for their wedding location, and the bride's signature color -- red -- inspired the decor.
About the Couple: After meeting through Match.com, Sarah and Darren instantly knew they'd spend their lives together. In a yearlong whirlwind, they met, fell in love, got engaged, married, and went on their honeymoon. See how Sarah's vision of a soft, romantic wedding and a crimson-saturated reception came to life.
Sarah and her bridal party got ready for the big day in her parents' chic downtown loft. To help them prep for the wedding, The Bridal Loft, a local wedding assistance company, helped everyone with makeup and dressing.
During dress fittings, Sarah knew she wanted her hair in an up-do. Sharing one hair stylist with 10 bridesmaids and Mom could get a little hectic. But Sarah found an amazing stylist who was understanding, patient and flexible.
Brides Tip: Make sure to do a test hair session before your big day.
Sarah is known for her vast collection of red shoes. She has always considered it her signature color, so it was only fitting that it was the foundation of her wedding colors. For the ceremony, she chose bold 4-inch Stuart Weitzman heels (on the right). Afterward, she changed into adorable Kate Spade flats, perfect for dancing (on the left).
Sarah and Darren's monogram was featured throughout the wedding events, appearing on the programs, dance floor, and cake. A different monogram, reflecting their unmarried initials, was used for all items before the actual ceremony.
Sarah gave her florist plenty of artistic freedom when it came to designing the flowers. She explained what colors and the look that she wanted, then just trusted her florist to deliver. In the end, it was exactly what she'd imagined.
Sarah and Daren had 10 children in their wedding party -- 8 little ring bearers (their nephews) and two flower girls (friends' daughters). The girls loved twirling in their adorable red dresses from Chasing Firefly. Instead of tossing petals they carried sweet pomanders down the aisle.
The bride wanted a mix of large, soft flowers with a few green accents to carry down the aisle. Her bouquet included hyacinth, roses, tulips, peonies, and hydrangea.
Sarah's gorgeous Jim Helm gown was the first dress she tried on at the first store she visited. Although she tried on a few others to be sure, everyone agreed this was the one. She chose a long, veil with satin ribbon that matched her dress.
Bride's Tip: Go with your instincts when it comes to ordering your dress size. Sarah was training for a half-marathon during her engagement so when the dress arrived, it was several sizes too big and a nightmare during alterations.
Sarah and Daren wanted a downtown wedding filled with character and charm, so they chose the Portland Art Museum as their venue. The newly remodeled location had plenty of room for 250-plus guests and provided the simple, elegant, warm feeling they were looking for.
Sarah wanted the romantic experience of having their guests throw flower petals at them, but was afraid many people would be gone by the time the couple left the late-evening reception. Sarah's mom thought of these clever petal cones placed on the first three chairs of every row. As the couple descended down the aisle, Sarah's mom threw the first petals and everyone followed suit.
The couple was adamant about not seeing each other before the ceremony, so photos were taken while guests enjoyed cocktail hour. Sarah and Daren's photographer, Melissa of Melissa Jill Photography, spied this cool location across the street from their venue and snapped this artsy shot.
Sarah and Daren had a very large wedding party -- 10 people standing up for each of them, plus 10 kids. Sarah had originally planned for her bridesmaids to wear champagne colored dresses, but when they arrived, they were the wrong color. At the last minute, Sarah picked three simple black dresses and let her girls wear the one they liked best. Her bridesman wore a simple black suit.
Simple white dishes popped against red table linens, red napkins, and black chairs.
Years ago, Sarah fell in love with the dance-floor monogram she saw in a picture of Courteney Cox and David Arquette's wedding. When it was time to plan her own, she knew it was a must-have. Sarah was thrilled with the final look and said it made the reception truly feel like a big celebration.
Sarah and Daren wanted a long head table that allowed those in the wedding party to sit with their significant others. The newlyweds sat at the very end, near the dance floor, which allowed them to interact with their guests all night long. The rest of the guests were seated at round tables.
After finding a florist whose work she loved, Sarah told her how she wanted to feel when she entered the reception. The florist expressed that mood with a mix of red, green, black, and white. It was a complete surprise for Sarah and Darren, who loved the bold palette and pretty blooms.
Bride's Tip: If you have a florist who you completely trust, let the reception surprise you. It will leave a lot of stress out of the process.
The florist created this stunning tall centerpiece for the head table and some of the guest tables. A tall, cone-shaped vase was filled with red apples then topped with an explosion of roses and greenery.
Black-and-white paper cones dangled from pretty red ribbon and were filled with roses and greenery.
Get the Look: Scrapbooking stores are a great place to find pretty papers in your wedding colors. Simply twist them into a cone shape, secure with glue, and fill with the flowers of your choice. Hole-punch the top and string a loop of ribbon to hang the cones.
The third centerpiece was a short, lush arrangement of red flowers and greenery in a glass bowl.
As a nod to Daren and Sarah's Match.com-initiated romance, personalized matchboxes were a cute wedding favor.
Budget Saver: Customized matchboxes are an inexpensive and practical wedding favor.
Beaverton Bakery created the couple's four tier wedding cake. Square layers were topped by an antique vase, which previously topped both Sarah's mother's and grandmother's wedding cakes.
Daren is a podiatrist so this giant pair of feet was his goofy groom's cake. It was filled with yummy chocolate.
Florist: Geranium Lake Flowers; www.geraniumlake.com/
Dress: Jim Helm, AniA Collection; 503/796-9170
Hair: Lynn's Oasis Day Spa, Kelly Wisehar; 360/737-1789
Ceremony and Reception Site: Portland Art Museum; www.pam.org
Reception Decor: Royce's Prop Shop; www.thepropshop.com
Wedding and Groom's Cake: Beaverton Bakery; www.beavertonbakery.com/
Invitation, monogram and all graphic design: Boden Designs, Katie Boden; 503/206-6110
DJ: A Sound Choice Entertainment. www.asoundchoiceentertainment.com/
Photographer: Melissa Jill Photography; www.melissajill.com/
Caterer: Vibrant Table; www.vibranttable.com
Videographer: Nick Boxwell; 503/702 2863