Valentine’s Day Ideas for Engaged and Newlywed Couples

bowling valentineValentine’s Day is next week! And as an engaged or newly married couple, you may not have the resources for a romantic getaway or extravagant dinner. Here are some ideas to make your day special!

1. Have a picnic lunch. If your offices are nearby, why not sneak away for a long lunch at a park? (This is great for us in sunny Florida, but this may not be an option for other parts of the country. How about an indoor picnic after work?)

2. Buy a case of wine. But no, don’t drink it all on Valentine’s Day! Label each bottle with an event you will share in the future – such as “the birth of our first child” or “our first fight as a married couple.” But don’t forget to label one “Valentine’s Day 2013!”

3. Cook a romantic dinner at home. But rather than one person doing all the work, one of you can cook the main course while the other does the appetizers and dessert. Check out Pinterest or AllRecipes.com for some menu ideas!

4. Personally deliver flowers. Anyone can call an 800-number and order flowers. But it’s much more special if you visit a local florist and buy some loose blooms. Then surprise your special someone at work with a personal delivery!

5. Go bowling. Ok, I know what you’re thinking. Bowling isn’t exactly the way most people want to spend Valentine’s. But guess who does? My sweetie. He bowls every Thursday night (actually Wednesdays and Thursdays), and since Valentine’s Day falls on a Thursday this year, guess where he’ll be? Not that I mind – I’m a fan of showing love and appreciation every day, not just one day a year! But guess what? I might just go hang out at the bowling alley next Thursday night. ♥

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What is a House Party?

wrist corsage

I know. You’re asking yourself, “Isn’t that what we had in college? Or for the Super Bowl?”

Well, the term “house party” actually applies to weddings too! With Florida being in “the South” but not always truly “Southern,” you may not have heard this term before. Your house party is usually made up of women that you want to honor, but may not be close enough to be bridesmaids. For example, a college roommate you aren’t that close to anymore, the groom’s sister, or your twelve cousins.

Here are some facts about house party girls:

  • They don’t stand at the alter during the ceremony, but they have seats of honor in front.
  • They may have “jobs” during the wedding: reader, guest book attendant, handing out programs, etc.
  • They don’t wear the same dresses as the bridesmaids; they choose their own dress, making it much more affordable! (Often they wear a Little Black Dress)
  • They take part in all the pre-wedding festivities, such as showers, bachelorette parties, and getting-ready photos.
  • The bride gives them a small gift, similar to the bridesmaids, to thank them for their help.
  • It’s a beautiful gesture to give them a corsage or hair flower to designate them as someone special on the wedding day.

What a great way to honor these special women without having 20 ladies in your bridal party! There can also be men in the house party – usually they are ushers at the ceremony, and will have similar seats of honor. They may were tuxedos, but often wear suits with boutonnieres.

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Jacksonville Wedding Venue Tour

We had a great time last Sunday participating in the first Jacksonville Wedding Venue Tour, hosted by our friends at The Wedding Loft. The premise is that brides and grooms visit four venues, all set up as they would be for a wedding, and they get to enjoy food and entertainment while meeting great wedding professionals. It’s like a bridal show on wheels!

We were at The Carling, which is an interesting historic venue in Downtown Jacksonville. The building was formerly the Carling Hotel/Hotel Roosevelt, built in 1925; now it’s home to gorgeous apartments! Restored architectural features include Palladian windows, terrazo floors, and a beautiful marble staircase to the private event space.

Thanks to J’Adore Studios for the fun photos! To see more photos from the tour, check out Liz’s blog post.

Jacksonville Wedding Venue Tour

The Jacksonville Wedding Venue Tour attendees on the bus!

Jacksonville Wedding Venue Tour

At the entrance to The Carling

Jacksonville Wedding Venue Tour

Jacksonville Wedding Venue Tour

Design and florals by Blush 129

Jacksonville Wedding Venue Tour

Cake and cupcakes by Choux Bakery

Jacksonville Wedding Venue Tour

Food by D’Vine Cuisine

Spotlight: The Engagement Ring Studio


This week, I had the opportunity to meet the lovely ladies at The Engagement Ring Studio. As a small studio, they offer a personal approach to selecting the perfect engagement ring. They work one-on-one with grooms to select the ideal ring for his bride, or custom design one if nothing is “just right.”

Rather than a sea of glass cases, the studio has open displays where the rings can easily be viewed, touched, and admired. In addition, they have a selection of earrings, necklaces, as well as non-diamond options.

I was impressed that they are dedicated to designing a ring that not only the bride will love, but the groom will be comfortable with price-wise. Before they even start looking at diamonds, they look at budget. Much better than the guilt-trip guys often get at the major chain stores!

Already have the ring? The Engagement Ring Studio can also help with custom-designed wedding bands and bridal party gifts.  Also, check out their seminars, “Beer, Wings & Rings” where guys can learn how to buy the perfect engagement ring.

2013 Wedding Trend: The Great Gatsby

I remember reading The Great Gatsby for the first time in high school. I was in love. The imagery is still so vivid in my mind, and I re-read the novel at least once a year. So it’s safe to say that the day the new movie staring Leonardo DiCaprio, Toby Maguire, and Carey Mulligan opens on May 10th, I’ll be there. But I’m also loving the 20’s inspiration we are seeing in fashion, decor, and yes, weddings.

It’s easy to take a theme too far in a wedding, and the wedding ends up looking like a costume party. But there are ways to incorporate touches of a theme without making it too “theme-y.” Here are some examples:


A classic lace dress, embellished with a vintage (or vintage-inspired) belt, flower or other accessory.


And speaking of accessories, how about some beautiful chandelier earrings? And these feature Emerald, the 2013 Pantone Color of the Year.


Touches of gold, silver, crystal, diamonds and pearls – playing up the decadence of the era.


This cake could be very modern, but the gold accents play up the Jazz Age feel.


These gorgeous linens, lit underneath the table, add texture that is reminiscent of 20’s fashions. And the dangling crystals… need I say more?


This ceremony area is definitely a statement! Without the chandeliers, this could take on a number of styles. But the gold and crystals really add opulence.

Adding feathers and rhinestones to your bouquets is another nod to the Jazz Age influence, but these additions look beautiful in many styles of bouquets.

For more inspirational photos, and for the sources of the photos featured in this post, check out our Great Gatsby/Jazz Age/Roaring 20s Inspiration board on Pinterest. And if you haven’t read the book, get thee to a library or pick up a copy for your Kindle on Amazon!