Make a birthday cake or other special day cake oh-so-adorable with candies! Cookbook author and stylist Libbie Summers shares 11 super-simple ways that cinnamon candies, jellybeans, maltballs, and other sweet favorites can make you look like a professional cake decorator in minutes.View Video
A smart color scheme is the place to start for much of your wedding planning. Whether you'd like a subdued, elegant wedding or the bold party of the century, colors can help tell your story. Click through our favorite wedding color combinations to inspire the rest of your celebration.View Slideshow
Marie Elizabeth and Noah planned the wedding of their dreams in just five short months.
About the Couple: After getting engaged on Christmas Eve, Marie Elizabeth and Noah planned their wedding from afar in just five months. With the help of their friends and family, and a lot of online research, the couple pulled together the classic Southern affair they'd always hoped for.
In keeping with a New Orleans tradition, Marie Elizabeth knew she wanted to parade through the streets after her ceremony, so she chose these simple heels. She loved that they were stylish, but also had rubber soles that would keep her from slipping in the street. The comfort factor was also essential because she planned to stay on the dance floor all night long.
This handkerchief was originally Marie Elizabeth's christening baby bonnet that her mom saved to use in her wedding. She wrapped it around her bridal bouquet during the ceremony for a touch of tradition.
Marie Elizabeth wanted to incorporate as many of her family and friends into her wedding as possible, so she asked a good family friend to do her wedding day makeup. She wanted her makeup to look natural and elegant for her big day.
Bride's Tip: For a more down-to-earth look, ask someone you know to do your bridal hair or makeup. That way, they can take into account what you look like on a day-to-day basis, and you're guaranteed to look like yourself.
Marie Elizabeth made gift bags for her attendants filled with wedding day essentials like gum, snacks, a champagne flute for mimosas, and Foot Petals to ease the pain of their high heels. They spent the day of the wedding relaxing, watching movies, and getting their hair done in a condo above the reception location.
Marie Elizabeth knew she wouldn't make a trip back home until just before the big event, so she bought her wedding dress only two days after she got engaged. Grace by Maggie Sottero had a romantic, classic feel with a lace overlay, which was what Marie Elizabeth wanted. She also loved the ecru color that perfectly complemented her fair skin tone. To accent her dress and add sentimental value to her wedding attire, she asked a friend to help her modernized her mom's veil.
Bride's Tip: If you have to buy a dress off the rack due to time constraints, picking a dress with a corset top makes it easy to fit to size without the hassle of alterations.
Because all of Marie Elizabeth's six attendants were in town for the Christmas holidays, she asked them to join her in search of the perfect bridesmaids' dresses. Marie Elizabeth wanted something tea length but formal, so they chose this classic black, tiered A-line dress from the B2 line. The dress complemented each unique figure and provided a simple design that was easy to convert into a junior bridesmaid dress.
Bride's Tip: If your bridesmaids live in different locations, make sure the store you choose can ship the dresses to your bridesmaids. This way, your bridesmaids can conveniently alter the dresses before the wedding. Once you know the style of dress you want, you can also search online for stores that may offer a better price.
Marie Elizabeth planned her Louisiana wedding while living in Philadelphia and knew she would only have one meeting with her florist before the wedding. She decided to keep her flowers simple and classic, ultimately choosing a pretty mix of red and pink roses that would pop off her bridesmaids' black dresses.
These boutonnieres are rose petals twisted together and surrounded by hypericum berries. Noah liked the masculine look of this simple design.
Budget Saver: Instead of having your groomsmen sport full rose boutonnieres, ask your florist to make these rose petal twists. You'll save cash by using fewer roses.
Marie Elizabeth always knew she would get married in St. Peter's Catholic Church in New Iberia, Louisiana. Her mom and dad were married in the same church 25 years earlier, and her family has attended the church for many years.
To add a dash of bright summer color to their formal black-and-white theme, Marie Elizabeth chose to carry a romantic mix of red and pink roses that matched her bridesmaids' bouquets.
With the beautiful setting of St. Peter's Catholic Church, Noah and Marie Elizabeth didn't need much ceremony decor. In lieu of pew arrangements, Marie Elizabeth chose to simply place two large sprays on either side of the altar. The mix of white orchids, snapdragons, and red roses perfectly complemented the rest of their floral scheme.
Marie Elizabeth and Noah led their guests in a two-block walk from the ceremony to the reception in a traditional New Orleans Second Line, complete with a jazz ensemble. They provided their guests with handkerchiefs to wave, and the couple carried festive umbrellas made by Marie Elizabeth's dad.
Noah gave Marie Elizabeth the perfect birthday present -- dance lessons. A month before their wedding they attended private instruction sessions and choreographed their first dance to the song "I'll Be Seeing You."
Groom's Tip: Taking a dancing lesson or two can ease the stress of leading the first dance.
Marie Elizabeth and Noah dressed up their buffet table with the same flower spray that graced the altar during their ceremony. The buffet was a medley of regionally inspired heavy hors d'oeuvres for their 300 guests to enjoy.
Budget Saver: To save money (and space on the buffet table), choose a few specialty hors d'oeuvres to be passed out to guests by your servers.
Marie Elizabeth kept the table decor simple with these low centerpieces of roses, hypericum berries, and greenery. Her florist added a little flair to the clusters by wrapping rose stems around the top of the arrangement. As an added bonus, these centerpieces were also used the night before at the rehearsal dinner.
Marie Elizabeth wanted her cake to be covered in a cascade of fresh roses. This four-tier buttercream cake had alternating layers of chocolate Bavarian cream and pecan praline filling. Her cake designers used food coloring to create buttercream icing in the perfect shade of ecru to match Marie Elizabeth's dress.
Noah didn't want a themed groom cake, but he did want something that would taste delicious. He chose to stick with the traditional chocolate filling and top it with irresistible chocolate-covered strawberries.
Bride's Tip: Let your groom coordinate his own cake. Sharing the wedding planning responsibilities eases stress and allows your future husband to contribute to the personalization and ultimate success of your special day.
Wedding Location: St. Peter's Catholic Church, New Iberia, Louisiana
Reception Location: The Gouguenheim Banquet Hall, New Iberia, Louisiana, www.gouguenheim.com
Photography: DigiPics Photography, New Iberia, Louisiana, www.digipicsphotography.com
Florist: Flowerland, Lafayette, Louisiana, www.flowerlandla.com
Cake: Gambino's Bakery, www.gambinos.com
Catering: Clementine Catering by Peltier's, New Iberia, Louisiana
Dress: Antoinette's Bridal, Lafayette, Louisiana
Bridesmaids' Dresses: Imaginations, imaginations.envoguebride.com
Hair: CC Greig, SoHo Salon, Lafayette, Louisiana
Makeup: Misty Crawford, Paris Parker Salons, New Orleans, Louisiana
Tuxedos: Mary Ellen's Tux Shop, Lafayette, Louisiana