As the short work week winds down and spiked eggnog for breakfast takes over, there’s one thing on the minds of not-yet-engaged gals: “Will this be the holiday season that I finally get a ring?” Even though the pandemic is putting weddings on the backburner, engagements are not slowing down just because we’re stuck at home. If you’re finding yourself getting more and more desperate with your not-so-subtle “I want to get engaged” hinting tactics, you’re not alone. According to a recent study conducted by, well, us and WeddingWire, lots of people are giving their partner little nudges that they want that ring.
We teamed up with WeddingWire to conduct the #DropAHint Study to see if we were the only ones who’ve been hinting about being ready for a proposal since like, the first date. Over 500 women aged 18-29 from around the U.S. revealed how they’ve been letting their S.O.s know they’re ready for the next step. “We’ve seen that many of our audience members aren’t shy when it comes to letting their partners know exactly what type of rings they want and when they want to get engaged,” said Aleen Kuperman-Dreksler, CEO and co-founder of Betches.
So, behold: Literal proof you’re not insane for changing your S.O.’s screensaver to a picture of the engagement ring you want. Or at least, you’re not like, more insane than the rest of us.
Hint Like Your Engagement Depends On It
Basically, the #DropAHint Study looked at how directly (or indirectly) couples share their proposal and/or engagement ring preferences with their partners, and it’s eye-opening, to say the least. Of the couples surveyed who have already gotten engaged or married, 35% said they discussed the proposal in advance. From TikTok wish lists to Pinterest boards to casually mentioning ring preferences and even repeating the words “engagement rings” into their partner’s phones for ads, these hint methods are getting majorly clever.
As for how often people are hinting, in a recent Betches Brides poll over 60% said they plan to drop hints weekly to monthly. In total, about 0ne-third expect to drop more than 15 hints before they’re actually proposed to, which means gone are the days of silently suffering for years while your lazy S.O. takes his or her sweet-ass time.
Talking About The Proposal Is Normal
While hinting you want to get engaged is one thing, outright saying it is another. And according to our study, it’s actually super common (not to mention mature. Healthy communication and coming to a mutual decision that you both want to get married? Yes, please). Out of the people who envision themselves getting engaged within the next few years, 72% said they’ve already discussed it with their partner and 39% have even chatted about what their future wedding might look like.
When it comes to the actual proposal, 14% say that know exactly how and where they want it to take place, so if you have every detail planned in your mind, don’t feel absurd. Just make sure to talk to your partner and/or adjust your expectations so you’re not disappointed if it doesn’t go down exactly how you dreamed.
Talking About The Ring Is *Also* Normal
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Going hand in hand with an engagement is the ring, and the majority (over 70%) want some bling included in the proposal. Of those, 25% know exactly what they want their ring to look like and 20% have already hinted at their preferences (and 21% say they plan to hint before their S.O. gets down on one knee). And while there are a lot of components to an engagement ring, the most popular to hint at are style and setting (55%), cut (51%), size/carat (48%), and color (39%). Additionally, 38% have dropped hints about what they don’t want. Taking it a step further, 25% have decided to have open, honest conversations about what they want in a ring and have outright told their S.O.s as well as shown them pictures.
The Holidays = Engagement Season
If you’re trying to figure out when, exactly, you might get engaged (if you’re not part of the group that already has it all planned out, that is), it looks like “engagement season” is shifting. In fact, according to the wedding pros, there’s a chance you might find a ring wrapped under the tree or presented to you in celebration of the New Year.
“Although some may think spring or summer are the most popular times for engagements, according to the 2020 WeddingWire Newlywed Report, seven out of ten of the most popular days to propose are in December, with Christmas Day, Christmas Eve and New Year’s Day ranked as the three most popular,” Jeffra Trumpower, senior creative director at WeddingWire told Business Wire. Whether it’s all the engagement ring ads that run during the holidays or just that fact that you’ve been stuck together for nine months and have been hinting endlessly, there will definitely be a proposal surge at the end of 2020 and the start of 2021.
TL;DR: Hinting Is Not A Bad Thing
The point is, waiting around for the person you’re dating to decide whether or not you should get married is, frankly, absurd. This is 2020, and while the world is basically one giant dumpster fire, that doesn’t mean your relationship has to be. If you think you’re ready to get married, that’s a decision you and your partner can make together. It’s fair for you to talk to your S.O. about wanting to make things official. In fact, it’s worked for at least 35% of responders. They talked about proposal preferences prior to getting engaged and now they’re all happily in love with rings on their fingers.
When it comes to your relationship, your engagement, and your marriage, the only thing that matters is it works for you as a couple. Whether that means you quietly wait for a proposal, hint like your life depends on it, collaboratively talk about it, or bypass the whole engagement and elope on the spot, as long as it feels authentic to your relationship, it’s the right move. Now, bring on the holiday proposals and filtered ring shots, because it’s beginning to look a lot like engagement season.
Images: Zelle Duda / Unsplash; Giphy (3)
By now, we all know COVID-19 just like, majorly sucks. And while everyone was all “2020 is the worst,” things aren’t going to magically improve as soon as the new year hits. Distributing a safe vaccine will take a while, and experts agree: Unfortunately, 2021 weddings aren’t going to look like the weddings of the past. In fact, according to lead wedding pros, it’s time to reframe your mindset.
“Change is never easy, especially when it comes to altering one’s visions for a big milestone like a wedding. The idea of ‘normal’ weddings pre-COVID is unfortunately not what we will be seeing at weddings in the near future, but that doesn’t mean that they will be any less special—they’ll just be different,” Editor in Chief of The Knot, Kristen Maxwell Cooper, tells Betches.
While that’s just about the worst news ever, there is a glimmer of hope: The projected 2021 wedding trends are actually things past brides will be jealous of. Here’s how the top wedding experts suggest making your 2021 wedding the talk of group texts, but not in a “does she not realize there’s a pandemic” kind of way.
1. Welcome Boxes & Send-Off Kits
Image: Liz Banfield, Lovestruck Events
It looks like welcome bags are a thing of the past, especially now that there are more essentials needed for guests attending weddings. “We anticipate seeing couples lean into fun and functional items that guests can use throughout the evening, like customized, beautiful face masks and personalized hand sanitizer that tie into the couple’s overall aesthetic and theme for the evening,” Jeffra Trumpower, senior creative director at WeddingWire, tells Betches. “With health and safety being top of mind, we also suggest couples take the presentation of favors into consideration and package them individually for each guest rather than have them in a communal basket.”
In addition to health essentials, adding personal touches to the boxes is a great way to make guests feel included. Think things like symbolic snacks, small games, and (of course), alcohol. Have the boxes waiting for guests in their hotel rooms or at their reception seats as a reward for not bailing on your wedding. Shade intended.
2. Tented Spaces
Images: SMS Photography; Trenholm Photo
Couples have to face the reality that indoor venues miiiiiight not be the best move for the foreseeable future, so one of the most romantic and adaptable solutions is utilizing tents. Open-air but still covered, experts agree tented ceremonies and receptions will basically become the new must-have. “Couples are leaning into nature and fresh air in ways they did not in the past,” planner and designer Jove Meyer told The Knot. “In 2021 and moving forward, outdoor weddings will be on-trend as they’re also safer for guests and vendors. Tented weddings are the new ballroom.” Extra bonus: With lighting, drapery, twinkly lights, and maybe even some fog if you’re feeling that dramatic vibe, tented events are easily some of the most stunning to attend, and that was a fact even prior to COVID.
3. Elevated Virtual Components
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The fact that the term “virtual wedding” is a thing is something no one would have predicted a few years ago, but in the time of coronavirus, virtual components are pretty much the bread and butter of modern weddings. Pre-pandemic, couples were leaning more into tech-based elements such as online invitations and RSVPs, as well as decked-out websites and purchased domain names. Now, things are even more extreme. As for how to make your Zoom wedding a little more celebratory and a little less like another meeting people have to attend, both pros suggest leaning on your vendors to come up with ideas. A few of their faves, however, are to send guests a cocktail recipe or mixing kit for celebratory toasts everyone can do together or a dessert they can munch on throughout the celebration. Additionally, consider adding some ways to allow virtual guests to interact with each other, like an online cocktail hour.
“Add a virtual waiting room or lounge for guests to mingle prior to the start of the festivities or ask guests to stay on at the end to share well wishes for you to listen to after the celebrations,” suggests Maxwell Cooper. “With a video conferencing platform, couples can also task some guests to participate in readings during the ceremony or to offer toasts at the start of the reception.” No, it’s probably not what you dreamed about when you were little, but it’s an easy way to make those who can’t attend feel included (and will guarantee you more gifts).
4. Tiny Toasts
With smaller guest lists filled with your ultimate VIPs, there’s more time and capability to allow for more wedding day toasts. While speeches are usually just reserved for the maid of honor to cry and the best man to make some awkward comments about the groom’s dating history, the wedding pros at The Knot predict that “tiny toasts” will be a thing. Which is basically just more people talking. If you plan to implement this at your event, consider getting toast requests ahead of time and/or capping them at a time limit you feel comfortable with to avoid potential droners who just wanted an excuse to hold a mic.
5. Single-Tier & Mini Cakes
Images: Erin Hannum; Jenny Fu
Since the idea of everyone crowding around a cake, breathing their gross germs all over it while the couple awkwardly feels forced to shove bite-sized pieces into each others’ mouths was kinda gross even before corona times, experts expect this tradition to change slightly in 2021. While the faux cake fight might still be a thing, serving guests from one giant pastry probably won’t be. Instead, expect to see mini cakes which will be served to guests just as cake slices would be, brought directly out from the kitchen. These cakes can range from ornate with multiple tiers or more minimalist and single-tiered depending on the budget. Either way, one thing’s clear: Mini cakes are not only hella cute, but it looks like they’re the new trend that’s here to stay.
6. Bold Decor
Image: Irina Ventresca Photography
With fewer guests in attendance, the pros are expecting couples to go even bigger by way of details and utilizing things like exaggerated floral arrangements, lighting displays, and even in the outfits themselves. “Big, bold decor and fashion choices will be front and center for couples and their guests in 2021 weddings,” explains Trumpower. After scratching off 3/4 of your guest list, there’s a good chance you’ll have room in your budget for something absurd you would have had to pass on before, like a custom neon sign, ice sculpture, or horse-drawn carriage. While it might not be the best use of the money you saved on having a smaller wedding, the fact that the photos will make everyone jealous is totally worth it.
7. Mismatched Seating & Living Room Vibes
Image: Koby Brown
Considering more and more couples will be scaling back their events, having a wedding at their/their parents’ homes is not only less stressful, but it perfectly leans into new trends. Mismatched seating and ~living room style~ aesthetics are becoming all the rage for 2021 weddings, so things like couches, lounge furniture, pillows, and throw blankets are expected to be mainstays for future celebrations. This style not only looks bomb in photos but makes the event feel even more intimate and romantic. Plus, if you picture a boho wedding (real talk: who isn’t picturing a boho wedding in 2021?), there’s a good chance you already had this look saved in some random Pinterest board, so win-win.
8. Unique Venues & Activities
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With smaller guest counts, couples are now able to get more creative with not only the venues they choose, but also the course of the event. Expect more weekend-style retreat weddings, where the ceremony takes place outside a large cabin and the celebration includes things like a welcome event, pre-wedding s’mores around a fire, and maybe even a day-after group hike. If that sounds like your own personal hell, the options are pretty much limitless since microweddings are much more adaptable. “Couples are having, in particular, ceremonies at unique places that traditionally could not host a larger crowd or event. Take advantage of the smaller guest list and consider scenic and beautiful locations that were out of the question for 100 guests, but are now perfect for your party of 10.” Which means a mini castle tucked away in an isolated town is now totally fair game.
9. Cocktail Hour for One
Passed apps, buffet-style dining, and station meals are less likely to be seen due to safety advisories, and in their place, plated meals and seated cocktail bites are expected to become the norm. While part of me doesn’t like the idea because there’s no way my individual charcuterie board will have enough cheese for my liking, at least people won’t be silently judging you as you head to the hummus table for the fourth time. Plus, just like mini cakes, mini cocktail bites will most likely be super cute and perfectly plated for a photo op.
In addition to limiting the trips to a buffet, eliminating milling around at the bar is another important factor for a Covid wedding. In place of lines at bars, couples will likely opt for things like “grab and go” stations where cans of wine, beer, and White Claw will be waiting, or have servers bring drinks to the tables much like a restaurant (just hopefully without the bill at the end).
10. Restaurant Vibes & Performances
Image: Eve Rox Photography
Another win for changes made during Covid weddings, the days of having a set number of people at a table and pairing together random folks to fill seats is officially over (praise be). Experts agree weddings are going to start looking less like a sloppy nightclub with a strange mix of attendees to more of a performance event—which will b e a good thing if grandparents are no longer subjected to the vocal stylings of Lil Jon & The East Side Boyz in their rendition of “Get Low.” Pairing friends, couples, and people who live together in bistro-style seating and hiring alternative entertainment like comedians, singers, or dancers instead of having a packed and not-so-safe dancefloor is going to be much more popular.
11. Nostalgic Elements
Image: Dezirae Webster of Dez’s Golden Moments
With more and more weddings taking place in family homes and peoples’ backyards, it makes sense couples would ditch the stuffy elements and lean into their own personal histories (which is much better, IMO). From showcasing memorabilia or pictures from their childhoods to ditching tiered cakes in favor of childhood treats, there are a lot of ways you can make nostalgia work for your wedding. “A fun spin we’ve seen couples put on dessert is to give a nod to nostalgic treats, like mini elevated homemade Pop-Tarts in a seasonal flavor or a fun—again, elevated—spin on personal Dunkaroos,” notes Trumpower. Nostalgic elements are only going to gain popularity, so now’s the time to burn your most embarrassing baby photos before your wedding planner gets his or her hands on them.
12. Bright Colors & Fierce Florals
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The days of seeing wedding party after wedding party in pale pinks and neutrals are coming to an end, and in its place, bold colors are going to be front and center for upcoming nuptials. “We’re seeing a general 1960s and 1970s nod to mod aesthetics from event decor all the way to attire. Couples are moving away from neutral color palettes, and we’re loving the ‘60s-inspired hues like chartreuse and peach and ‘90s rainbow-inspired color schemes,” explains Trumpower. In addition to colorful events, both pros agree florals are going to become even bigger for weddings (if that’s possible?), as their colors, scents, and overall “wow” factor will help fill out spaces and make any venue feel extra special.
13. Weekday & Brunch Weddings
With lots of 2020 couples choosing to reschedule their weddings to 2021, there’s 1000% going to be an uptick in weekday and Sunday weddings. While you might initially think “f*ck that,” there are some pros to opting for a weekday as opposed to a weekend. First of all, it’s way cheaper to have an event on a Monday than it is to have it on a Saturday. Secondly, while your A-list peeps will probably take off work to attend regardless, the B-list people probably RSVP “no,” which is what you hoped would happen in the first place.
As for how to pull off a non-weekend wedding, a mid-week dinner party-esque celebration or a Sunday brunch reception are a few of Trumpower’s favorite ways to do a wedding on less traditional days. While it might seem like a hassle, with a little extra planning (something 2020 couples are more than used to, unfortunately), the events will be just as great as weekend ones. “Those who are planning a weekday wedding shouldn’t be afraid to play around with the format of their events as the typical format (rehearsal dinner followed by the ceremony and reception the next day) may not work during the week,” notes Maxwell Cooper. “We recommend couples work with their wedding planner or venue coordinator to figure out the format that works best for them. The same goes with timing; if guests attending the weekday wedding will have work the next day or will have to travel long distances following the celebrations, having the festivities carry on late into the evening may cause some to head out early. By scheduling the celebrations a few hours earlier, they may be able to avoid this.”
At the end of the day, couples will need to be flexible when planning their 2021 weddings. Both pros suggest couples grieve their original plans but try not to be resistant to the way weddings look nowadays—the changes aren’t going anywhere anytime soon. But as Maxwell Cooper says: “These new visions, complete with hyper-personalized details, wow-worthy decor, unique entertainment, AND health protocols will keep loved ones safe and will generate excitement.”
While these changes might not be what you initially envisioned, it’s the whole “getting married” thing that matters. And besides, this just means everyone’s gonna have some majorly lit baby showers down the road which is something I, personally, could not be more excited about.
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Images: Victoria Priessnitz / Unsplash; Liz Banfield, Lovestruck Events; MS Photography; Trenholm Photo; Erin Hannum; Jenny Fu; Irina Ventresca Photography; Koby Brown; Eve Rox Photography; Dezirae Webster of Dez’s Golden Moments; Giphy (3)
How about them 2020 weddings, huh? Thanks to the Virus That Must Not Be Named, celebrations of all kinds look different this year. With state regulations and new reports coming out each day about hotspots and sick celebs, it’s clear COVID is not only here to stay, but it’s here to f*ck with your big day for a long time as well. Because for couples getting married during a global pandemic, pre-wedding stress is at an all-time high.
Not only do engaged folks have to budget for things like gloves, makes, and hand sanitizer, but chances are they’ve had to postpone their events (multiple times, in some cases) and the end results don’t look anything like the celebration we all dreamed off since watching Bride Wars when we were in middle school. There are a lot of aspects that majorly suck, but one of the biggest is the fact that some of your closest friends or family might not get to be there on the big day.
Whether they’re high risk, morally opposed to big gatherings during a pandemic, or can’t risk catching anything due to work or their general love of being alive and not ill, odds are there will be a few VIPs who have to change their RSVPs from “hell yessss” to “uh, actually. No.” As someone who’s recently faced a lot of “you’re the worst” backlash after RSVPing “no” to every wedding in 2020 (with plenty advance notice, mind you—I’m not going texting the bride the day before saying I can’t make it), here’s how to deal when your guests decide that your big day just isn’t worth it rn.
Remember: There’s A Literal Pandemic Happening
Not to state to obvious here, but like, the whole coronavirus thing is still a big deal. As bars, restaurants, and sex clubs open back up, you have to remember: It’s not because we’re any safer. It’s because places need to make money. Your friends who are diligent about avoiding crowds, keeping their distance, and staying home when possible aren’t being dramatic. They just like, you know, want to stay alive and want to keep their friends and family alive and healthy. While it might seem like a personal affront for them not to risk their safety to watch you marry some guy you drunkenly met at a college bar, it’s not. It’s a literal matter of not wanting to catch or spread a potentially deadly disease. Keep that in mind before giving them the cold shoulder after they give you the news.
Keep Your Cool
Yes, your guests choosing not to go to your wedding is upsetting. But the thing is, they’re not wrong here. Having an event—any event of any size—is a risk right now. Your guests wanting to stay home aren’t in the wrong here. While people always have the option to RSVP “no” to weddings, the whole virus excuse is a really good one—and the fact that they’re courteous enough to (hopefully) politely tell you they can’t attend without lecturing you about safety practices is a win. Remember: They could send you pages of data about why having a wedding rn is risky, so consider yourself spared.
So, instead of bitching out your friends who don’t feel comfortable attending, trying to remain calm. Tell them you’re bummed but understand (assuming you understand, of course) and take some time to mourn. It’s a really hard time to be getting married, but creating strife in your relationships won’t make things any easier. Be kind and compassionate and chances are they’ll still send you a gift.
Offer Virtual Options
I know Zoom weddings seem sooooooo summer 2020, but not only are they still a thing, but they’re a great option for guests who don’t feel comfortable celebrating in person. Make sure to set up virtual links so anyone who doesn’t feel great about being in crowds can still be a part of the big day. No, it’s not ideal, but as someone whose maid of honor couldn’t be at her wedding pre-COVID due to pregnancy complications, the event can still be just as special. Make cardboard cutouts of your non-attending VIPs. Set up multiple Skype stations that guests can access so they can see different parts of the party. FaceTime any besties who can’t make it as you’re getting ready. This way you can still feel the love, and your guests can feel included from home.
Keep Your Priorities Straight
I know I’ve said this before, but if you’ve scrolled through Instagram, chances are you’ve seen people living their lives like a virus isn’t still running rampant through America. Yes, weddings are about dresses and flowers and attention, but mostly they’re supposed to be about marrying the person you love. Well, that and getting a KitchenAid mixer, of course. The point is, it sucks that this once-in-a-lifetime event is happening during a pandemic, but you still get to get married (something generations of people in interracial or same-sex relationships didn’t have the option of doing), you still have friends (unless you’re a total monster to everyone who says they can’t attend), and you’ll still get to rock that overpriced diamond band. If you can make it out of this with your relationships intact and your romantic bond strong, you’ll be able to get through anything.
Plan An Event Post-COVID
It won’t be the same as having the giant wedding you originally planned, but let’s be real: The world is going to look different after this. No one is used to going into an office anymore and we haven’t worn real pants in forever so like, yeah. That ship has sailed. With so many couples having to downsize their weddings, vow renewals or post-wedding parties are 100% going to be a thing in a year or two (just like how babymoons became something to do). If you shun everyone who didn’t come to your covid wedding now, you won’t have nearly the guest list you’d like when there’s a vaccine and you can have another party.
The point is: Yes, this sucks, but your friends aren’t bad people for not coming to your wedding rn. Don’t be a d*ck and hopefully, we can all go back to grinding on the dance floor to “Get Low” while our grandparents watch in horror someday soon.
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Image: Analise Benevides on Unsplash; betchesbrides / Instagram
To quote every bride who has ever done boudoir: “Do it, you won’t regret it!” Whether you’re talking to your friends at brunch, your co-worker at happy hour, or just scanning posts from random girls in a Facebook group, there’s one thing most brides who’ve done boudoir can agree on: it’s f*cking awesome. Whether stripping down to your panties and taking glorified nudes has always been a part of your wedding plan or the new trend just has you thinking about it, we’re breaking down everything you need to know about not only doing a bridal boudoir shoot, but making it your b*tch.
First of all, the idea is scary to almost everyone at first. Getting naked (or naked-ish) in front of a stranger and taking pictures that you’re going to show to at least one other person sounds like a way to get a reality show, not celebrate your upcoming marriage. If taking photos of your scantily-clad body sounds shocking, the price tag can be even more so. The last thing most couples want to do after spending a sh*t ton of money on their wedding (and on potentially rescheduling their weddings, thanks to covid) is spend more money. The engagement photos and wedding photos are already astoundingly pricey, so why would you add another set of pictures onto the final price tag? Basically, because it makes you feel amazing. It makes your spouse feel amazing. And if you’re not going to take bangin’ nude photos of yourself now, when the hell will you?
So, whether you dream of your future husband or wife getting a pic of you rocking your garter (and only your garter) before walking down the aisle or you just want something you can look back on you’re old and wrinkled, here’s everything you need to know about doing a boudoir shoot. Warning: Your pic game is about to level TF up.
Images: D’Nichole Photography LLC
What’s The Investment?
One of the first things you’ll notice when looking for a boudoir photographer is that most of their websites talk about the importance of the investment without saying the prices. That, or you’ll get a cost that will make you low-key want to vomit. A lot of boudoir studios—while professional, talented, and all-inclusive—come with BIG price tags. Not only do you pay for hair and makeup (and sometimes access to their costume closets), but you have to purchase individual photos instead of just getting a Dropbox link with like, 30 pics (which you can then make into a book via Shutterstock or Walgreens for less than $100 as the most amazing wedding gift to your S.O. ever.)
When this is the case, oftentimes the cost of the shoot is anywhere from $100-$500. But, this is just for the shoot itself. After you have a “reveal” session where you can your photographer go through the images, select the ones you like, and add any final edits. This is how the cost gets real expensive, with each photo or file ranging from $10-$100. If you want the photographer to print a book for you, the cost goes up even more.
Don’t get me wrong—these photos are gorgeous, and if you have the means or really want an all-inclusive experience, go for it! But if you’re looking for a cheaper option (which is what I did), there are photographers out there who take photos that are just as gorgeous, but without all the additional fees. For my shoot, which took about an hour and a half, I paid $150. We shot in a gorgeous hotel in Austin (she booked multiple clients throughout the day), I provided my outfits, I did my own hair and makeup, and I even brought my own Champagne. If I do say so myself, the results are as good as people who paid $1,000, with just a little more work on my end.
Images: D’Nichole Photography LLC; Rebecca Jordan Photography
How Do You Find A Photographer?
Whether you want an all-inclusive experience where you pay per photo or something that costs a little less, the best way to find a photographer is through Instagram. Search hashtags in your city or state (like, #AustinBoudoir #AustinBoudoirPhotography or #AustinBoudoirPhotographer) and do some digging. See whose photos/styles you like and whose you don’t. Doing this, you’ll come across photographers that range from all-inclusive to just getting started. Once you find a few you like, send them an email or DM to get prices, and don’t be afraid to negotiate. If you want something added or removed from a package—or if the shoot is still out of your budget—let them know! Chances are they’ll be able to work with you or refer you to someone else.
Images: Rebecca Jordan Photography
How To Prep Emotionally
Not to sound like some new-age guru, but the key to feeling sexy is to think you’re sexy. No matter how “traditionally” hot you are, chances are you have an area or patch or section you don’t feel great about. Everyone does. Boudoir isn’t one of those “I’ll wait until I lose three pounds” kind of things. It’s more of an “I’m hot exactly as I am” kind of thing. A good photographer works with and celebrates all body types and knows how to pose you so your end results are bomb.
Instead of going into the event feeling scared and shamed, spend some time pumping yourself up, just as you would if a friend was doing the shoot. Compliment yourself. Check yourself out. Focus on everything that makes you a catch and remember that these photos are about feeling good just as much as they are about looking good (but don’t worry, you’re gonna look good—I promise).
Images: D’Nichole Photography LLC
How To Prep (Physically)
While it’s all about feeling good, for most of us, looking good for a big event helps boost self-confidence. First, think about the feel of your shoot. Do you want something casually sexy? Full-glam and sultry? Naughty-yet-bridal? Chat with your photographer, make a Pinterest board with inspiration, and have a plan for how you want the photos to look. Once you do that, prep yourself like you would for any other important situation where photos are involved.
Remove any unwanted body hair, moisturize, utilize those makeup skills you picked up on YouTube, and style your hair to go along with whichever vibe you’re shooting. It’s always a good idea to bring a curling iron, some bobby pins, makeup, and hairspray with you to the shoot (whether you’re doing your own makeup or getting it done professionally) for touchups or a quick changeup of looks. You don’t need to crash diet, cut carbs, or work out endlessly to physically prepare for the shoot. If you aren’t sure which poses flatter your body, ask your photographer for help. Let the pros do their jobs and be kind to your body.
Images: Rebecca Jordan Photography
What Do You Wear?
It should come as no surprise that you can pretty much wear (or not wear) anything to a shoot and make it sexy. While heading to the shoot (or waiting for the photographer to arrive), however, wear loose-fitting clothes to help eliminate any unwanted creases in your skin. When it comes time for the shoot, here are a few favorites to create some ~memorable~ images:
- Your bridal lingerie set (for the night of the wedding)
- Any lingerie set
- A piece of your future spouse’s clothes, like a jersey or tie
- Loooong socks and an oversized sweater
- Your wedding veil and garter
- High heels and over-the-knee boots
- A corset and thong
- A silk robe
- A white, fluffy towel
Just a note, the more you bring, the better. You never know what inspiration will strike, what lighting will look great, or what outfit you’ll wish you would have worn. While it’s important to try on all of your looks ahead of time (just to ensure everything fits and feels good), throw some extras in your bag as well.
Images: D’Nichole Photography LLC
What Happens At The Shoot?
While every photographer and experience is different, in general, it’s all pretty straightforward. You’ll arrive at the venue (or they’ll come to you). You’ll chit-chat for a few minutes. You’ll go over ideas and inspiration for the shoot (if you haven’t shown them your inspiration photos, now’s the time). Then, you’ll throw on some music, pop some Champagne, and get changed while they test the lighting.
After that, just follow the photographer’s lead—they’ll help you pose. The key to great pictures is to keep moving. Pretend you’re on America’s Next Top Model and just do sh*t. Dance around, flip your hair, move your face in different ways and directions. Arch your back, arch your feet, grab your boobs. Laugh, don’t laugh, pout, preen. The more you move, the more options you’ll have. Your photographer will direct you but don’t be afraid to speak up. Want to try something? Just say it. It’s your shoot, and their job is to create images for you. It’s better to do tons of different poses (no matter how silly you feel randomly crawling on the floor) so there are lots of options when it comes time to select your favorite photos.
Images: D’Nichole Photography LLC
How To Make It Not Weird
Before booking the shoot (or while finalizing the preparations), make sure your photographer is cool with you bringing a friend or two along. Pick pals who are not only pros at posing (yes, the friend with lots of followers will come in handy here), but aren’t afraid to both direct you and hype you up. While you want to be told how great you look, you also want to be told if you’d look a million times better if you just turned to your left half an inch. Give them your inspo Pinterest board so they can speak up about any additional looks you might want to accomplish and have them at the ready for fixing stray hairs, smudged makeup, or letting you know when you need to pull your cleavage up.
Additionally, a playlist that makes you want to dance around is your secret weapon. Blast all of your cheesy, feel-good, belt-at-the-top-of-your-lungs music. While the end result of boudoir is great, enjoying the experience and letting yourself feel like a f*cking rockstar will make you love it before you even see the end result. Also, it should go without saying, but Champagne is an absolute essential.
Images: D’Nichole Photography LLC; Rebecca Jordan Photography
Remember on NYE when everyone was convinced 2020 was going to be our golden era? We all rocked the flapper dresses, gulped the champagne, and decided that this decade was made for us. Yeah, that didn’t exactly work out the way we thought, and for anyone with plans to wed in the new decade, it’s been an absolute nightmare. With restrictions and health concerns due to a literal global pandemic, a large percentage of weddings since March have been postponed, scaled down, or ultimately, canceled.
Now, as the country begins to open up, it’s sort of tricky to tell whether or not it’s okay to move forward with wedding plans. And while it’s confusing for newlyweds, it also poses a difficult choice for guests who still make the cut on reduced guest lists. Whether you’re a frontline worker, have a compromised immune system, are looking to protect your family members, or just don’t feel comfortable being in crowds yet (since, you know, it’s strongly advised to still adhere to social distancing measures until a vaccine is developed, which could take up to 18 months), deciding not to attend a 2020 wedding is a big—yet totally warranted—decision.
While couples planning weddings should think long and hard about their celebration, ultimately, guests have the choice of whether or not to attend. And if you’ve decided to RSVP “no” to events in the near future, here’s how to do it tactfully in a way that hopefully won’t ruin your relationships.
Tell Them At The Right Time
Just like with everything wedding-related, telling someone you’re not going to their event needs to be done at the right time. If you haven’t received an invitation yet, just wait. There’s no need to hit them with a barrage of texts yet. Once it’s time to RSVP, evaluate your relationship to figure out the best way to break the news. If it’s an acquaintance, a simple “regret” with a nice note about hating to miss it should suffice. If they’re a closer pal or you’re *gasp* in the wedding, it will take a little more finesse to tell them the news.
If you happen to be in the party (ugh), bring up your concerns ASAP—you don’t want to lay this on a bride the week before her big day. If you can discuss it before ordering a dress, all the better so you’re not stuck with a $200 baby blue chiffon gown you’ll never wear in your closet. In the normal world, after committing to being in a wedding, it’s majorly f*cked up to back out. Now, however, is a different story. Tell the truth, offer a solution (like attending virtually, of course), and continue to remind them how much they mean to you.
Be Honest (But Not Too Honest)
Chances are, the couple has thought through their decision extensively. While it’s risky to have a large-scale event right now, if they’re adhering to their state’s restrictions, there’s not much you can do. Gotta love Florida and Texas! That said, there’s no reason to lie or be unclear about why you’re missing their big day. Tell them you don’t feel comfortable, express your concerns if you must, then wish them the best. While you might want to send a five-page long text rant, it’s best to keep things short, simple, and polite.
Support Them As Best You Can
If you’re close friends with the couple or in the wedding party, your decision might be met with some serious guilt-tripping. Whatever your relationship is, that’s not a reason to put yourself, your loved ones, or other people at risk, no matter what the to-be-wed couple says. Once you decide not to attend, stand firm in your decision but offer additional ways you can help. Maybe that means offering to be there for them in other ways, like organizing streaming links or sending out favors to virtual guests. Just because you’re not going to be there IRL, it doesn’t mean you can’t assist the (most likely very stressed and upset) couple.
Send A Gift
Maybe I’m just a sucker for glitter cards and giant bows (I blame my sorority days), but gifts are truly my love language. And when it comes to weddings, it’s the love language of every single couple out there. No matter how much they insist that they don’t need gifts, that they don’t want gifts, send them a GD gift. This is doubly important if you’re not attending the wedding and even more so in the time of corona. Odds are that $200 check will mean more to them now than ever.
Don’t Feel Guilty
Okay, the couple probably wants you to feel at least a little guilty. Ultimately, however, this is a very stressful time for everyone, whether you’re getting married or not. While there are complicated decisions and not-so-great solutions on both sides, at some point, you just have to commit one way or another. Be kind, be respectful, and be ready for some really raging baby showers for all of the corona couples in a few short years. Trust us, they’ve earned it.
Images: Victoria Priessnitz / Unsplash; betchesbrides / Instagram
The topic of wedding gifts, specifically whether or not a wedding guest must give one, is touchy. While it’s by no means mandatory to gift the happy couple, most consider it the right thing to do. It’s a gesture of goodwill and a lovely way to express your support of the newlyweds. That said, it’s highly likely that not every guest at a wedding will oblige. In fact, it’s been estimated that between 7 and 10% of guests at a wedding fail to give a gift. If, like me, you’re: a) petty AF and/or b) someone whose love language is receiving gifts, you may be wondering WTF is wrong with these people how to handle this situation. Fortunately for you, I’ve been through this and have some advice on the matter. To be clear, you should not accost every person on your invite list who failed to get you something off the registry, or make a passive-aggressive Facebook status derailing “how selfish people can be these days”. What you should do is take into account the particular circumstances, your relationship to the person, and act (or don’t act) accordingly.
1. The No-Show
Let me be clear. By “no-show,” I don’t mean someone that RSVPed “yes” and then failed to show up to the wedding at the eleventh hour. Barring a true emergency, that person should be ashamed and should absolutely send a gift to make up for the added stress and expense their last-minute ghosting caused. Instead, I’m talking about the person that RSVPed “no” from the get-go. While it’s certainly the classy move for such a guest to send a gift, it’s definitely not required.
How To Handle: This one is understandable, especially if the guest in question isn’t a close friend or family member. You may feel disappointed if the guest is someone near and dear to your heart, but there’s not much you can do or say without looking tacky. Make peace with the fact that this is perfectly acceptable and move on.
2. The Flaky Friend
We all have that one friend who is all over the place. They flit from event to event, and can barely remember to brush their hair, let alone put together a wedding gift. It’s inevitable that this friend is going to neglect to send a gift, even after a reasonable amount of time has passed.
How To Handle: What is a “reasonable amount of time,” you ask? Tradition has it that guests have up to one year to send a gift. But seeing as how we live in the age of next-day delivery and most of us can barely remember what we ate for lunch yesterday, this seems a bit antiquated. A couple of months appears to be the new norm. If at least that much time has passed, you consider this person a good friend, and are fairly sure it was an oversight, it might be worth having an honest conversation. But it’s important to make it about your feelings and emphasize that the nature of the gift is of no importance. For example: “I consider you a good friend and it hurt me that you didn’t even acknowledge the wedding with a card.” A true friend will immediately own the gaffe and make things right.
3. The Reciprocator
This should go without saying, but if you attended someone’s wedding and did not get them a gift, then you have no right to complain if they return the favor and arrive at your wedding empty-handed. While technically, two wrongs don’t make a right, your petty self should respect the game and do better next time.
How To Handle: Zip it, acknowledge your hypocrisy, and fix your life start practicing the Golden Rule.
4. The One Who’s Gone The Extra Mile (Literally or Figuratively)
It’s no secret that weddings aren’t cheap, especially when you consider all the other related events such as an engagement party, bachelor/bachelorette, or a bridal shower. For those guests who aren’t flush with cash, these costs can build up quickly, and adding a wedding gift on top of everything else might understandably be more than some guests can handle financially. It’s also important to consider the guests who have expended considerable time and money traveling to the wedding and other events, especially when these events are more than a brief car or train ride away. This is especially true for the members of your bridal party.
How To Handle: The best approach here is to be grateful for everything this guest has contributed up until the wedding. Whether it’s the bridesmaid who has spent hundreds, if not thousands, of dollars on celebrating you multiple times leading up to the wedding (and buying a bridesmaid dress she can never totally wear again), or the friend who flew in from a different continent to be there for your big day, try to channel your inner Elsa and let it go. If you really can’t help yourself, you can try sending a subtle hint in the thank you note by thanking this guest for their presence and see if they pick up on the signal. If they don’t, move on.
5. The Borderline Invite
This is by far the most frustrating one of the bunch. There’s always going to be at least one guest you’re hesitant about, who you ultimately decide to invite, whether it’s a colleague you’re lukewarm on, a distant high school friend you lost touch with, or some other rando. In my experience, these are often the people that treat the open bar like it’s their last night on Earth and/or end up half-dressed on the dance floor busting moves that even a dad would find uncool. This would be fine, except for the fact that these same people are the ones that conveniently forget to bring or send a gift, leaving you wondering why you invited them at all.
How To Handle: If you can’t avoid inviting this person and they do end up disappointing you, cut your losses and try to distance yourself where possible. When you do see them, be polite, but there’s no need to dredge up the subject with someone you didn’t care much about to begin with.
If you’re the type of person who doesn’t care at all about wedding gifts, you’re a unicorn and I commend you for your magnanimous spirit. For those not so blessed, it’s perfectly normal to feel slighted and a little offended, but it’s important to consider the specific circumstances and remember that it’s the gesture that matters (not how much money your guest dropped on the gift). And for those who want to drag me in the comments for having a strong opinion about this, to you I say:
Images: @oceanswide / Unsplash; Tenor (1); Giphy (5)
When it comes to 2020 weddings, there are no rules. As a fellow bride-to-be, I’ve realized there are a lot of wedding traditions I’m not into. While you may feel guilty about not doing everything your mom did at her wedding, just think, there were probably some traditions her mother did that she boycotted (it’s a vicious cycle, you see?). For example, my grandma told me it used to be tradition that the bride changed out of her dress at the end of the night and put on a suit to go off on her honeymoon. Sounds miz, right? I’m assuming all I’ll want to do is change into sweats and PTFO. My mom sure as hell didn’t do that, and I bet yours didn’t either, so don’t feel guilty about skipping one of these seven wedding traditions that should prob be retired any way.
Gender-Specific Wedding Parties
Look, it’s 2020. Gender fluid, gender neutral, whatever you want to call it, we can all agree that the gender lines are blurring, and therefore, there’s no reason to be a stickler about your best friend from college standing on the groom’s “side” because of the gender he was assigned at birth. Mix it up and go half boys and half girls, have your brother stand on your side, etc. Nobody’s going to be sitting at the ceremony whispering, “oh my God I can’t believe she has a GUY standing on HER side,” and if they do, they’re a f*cking idiot and shouldn’t be invited in the first place. Plus, women’s pantsuits are so in right now, so if you’re a woman in the groom’s wedding party, just channel your inner Ariana Madix circa Tom and Katie’s wedding and own that sh*t.
Your Parents Giving You Away
This may have been a thing back in the 1800s when literal 14-year-olds got married because they were going to die by age 30, but now that you’re a grown-ass adult, there’s no need for mommy or daddy to “give you away”. The whole idea of them handing off ownership to your spouse is pretty objectifying, IMO. Not to mention, not every person has a great relationship with their parents, and this wedding tradition can just put extra pressure on an already tense dynamic. If you want to skip this one but still compromise, you can have them walk in front of you, or at the beginning of the procession with the groom’s family if they’re salty about you walking solo.
Advice for wedding dress style: wear whatever the fuck you want
— betchesbrides (@betchesbrides) November 10, 2019
IDK who invented the idea that couples need to give each other gifts before the wedding ceremony, but isn’t like, your marriage enough of a gift? Yes, I know that sounds cheesy, but when it comes to saving money, I will use all the cliches I can to get me out of buying a really expensive watch for my fiancé (sorry, babe!). Writing a personal note should be gift enough, since you prob just spent your life savings on this massive party. I am officially launching my campaign to end pre-wedding gift exchanges between couples. WHO’S WITH ME?! I’ll take this all the way to Congress if I have to.
Wearing a Veil
I know this is one I’ll catch a lot of heat for, and I’m ready for it. When I discovered the historical meaning behind why brides wear veils, I was appalled. Basically, wearing a veil was intended to keep the groom from seeing the bride until she got up to the altar so he wouldn’t see her and run for the hills. Wow, that is so thoughtful of the inventors of the veil to hide the bride’s face until it’s too late in case the groom didn’t like her looks. A more modern-day reason to pass on a veil is the cost. Do you really want to spend $800 on a piece of tulle? I’m sure most of you reading this think I’m a veil-hater and are probably still going to wear one, but I’m just here to tell you that if you’re on the fence and the notion of “tradition” is preventing you from doing you, I’m here to tell you that it’s perfectly okay if you don’t wear one.
Late night wedding ceremony and reception, brunch menu, open bar.
GIRL. Lemme write this down for future purposes.
— jaya. (@jayacancook) December 30, 2018
I’d venture to guess that the majority of weddings take place at night (mine will be), but if you’re not into the idea of a nighttime party, why not start it earlier in the day? My cousin is having a brunch reception that goes all day and I’m not going to lie, I am STOKED. The idea of eating brunch food, getting wasted, and being in bed by 7pm sounds like heaven on earth. Is that an over exaggeration? Probably, but let’s face it, I can’t stay up all night anymore and so the idea of getting the party started early, and ending it early, sounds lovely. Plus, all-you-can-eat brunch food? Hmm, maybe I should change my start time to 11am.
The only thing worse than being seated at the singles’ table is the dreaded bouquet and garter toss. As if a guy literally crawling up his wife’s dress in front of his entire family isn’t mortifying enough, think of all the single guests at your wedding you’ll humiliate when you toss a bunch of flowers at their faces. Also, someone could get SERIOUSLY injured. At my friend’s wedding last year she hiked the football bouquet like an NFL Pro-Bowler and almost took out half of her single guests. I mean, respect, but drunk people don’t have the best reflexes, so that could have been a massacre.
I'm not getting married but I might schedule some wedding cake tastings just for fun
— Betches (@betchesluvthis) February 3, 2020
My fiancé doesn’t like frosting (I know, he’s literally a serial killer) and I don’t want an icing-free cake at our wedding, so we’re not having one at all. We’re doing a donut wall instead because I’m #basicandproud, and that way people can bring their dessert on the dance floor. We also realized that at the last four weddings we’ve gone to, we didn’t eat the cake. It’s my personal goal to make sure every guest feels sickly full at the end of the night and they can’t get there with a small slice of cake, so bring on the dessert bar! If you want a cake just for the photo opp, your caterer might be able to whip up something small so you can at least have the picture.
The new wedding rules are that there are no rules, so don’t be afraid to do you. As long as you have good booze and awesome music, everyone will have a good time.
Images: IVASH Studio / Shutterstock; betchesluvthis, betchesbrides, jayacancook / Twitter
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There’s something about weddings that just brings out the crazy in people. Given enough decisions, questions, opinions, and Google spreadsheets, even a fairly reasonable person is liable to transform into a total psycho. We hear the most stories about brides gone bananas, but there is another, arguably more sinister culprit that’s less talked about: the inconsiderate wedding guest. No more. Below are some of the more annoying questions a bride may receive from her guests, and how to respond without threatening bodily harm calmly.
1. Can You Request An Early Check-In For Us?
What You Want To Say: Sure, Aunt Helen. I’d love nothing more than to call the hotel on your behalf to do what you could easily do yourself, especially since I’m not at all busy wrangling RSVPs, trying to put together a seating chart, and explaining to my florist that I don’t know a gardenia from a hydrangea. While we’re at it, do you want me to put in your room service order too? Coddled eggs, I assume?
What You Should Say: Sure, Aunt Helen. I’ll see what the hotel can do.
2. Do You Know A Good Hairstylist Or Makeup Artist In The Area?
What You Want To Say: Despite the internal cries of pain this question is inducing, I am not, in fact, a living, breathing Yelp1 come to life. It just so happens that the good hairstylist and makeup artist I know happen to be busy that day attending to me because, you know, it’s my WEDDING. Google it like you do every other inane question you have, Martha.
What You Should Say: I’m sorry, I don’t. Here are a few I found doing a quick Google search that have good reviews.
3. Can You Tell Me What Time The Ceremony Starts/Where You’re Registered/The Venue Address/Other Previously Given Information?
What You Want To Say: It’s funny you should ask, Uncle Bob. You know that silly little set of cards I sent you a few weeks back asking you to RSVP to my wedding? It contains ALL of the details you are bothering me about now. What’s more, I even spent several hours designing a website with an address I also gave you precisely so I could avoid this very scenario!
What You Should Say: Here is . It has all of the info you need!
4. Can I Bring A Plus-One?
What You Want To Say: Uh, did you misread the invitation, Cousin Laura? I thought the omission of “& Guest” was pretty clear, but let me spell it out for you. I’ve seen you three times in the past 10 years—you’re lucky I invited you at all. Plus, I’m already wildly over-budget and would prefer not to spend another $100+ on a plate for the rando you met four months ago at a festival that you “just totally connect with.”
What You Should Say: Unfortunately, the venue is really tight on seating, so we could only give plus-ones to people who .
5. Is It Possible For The Kitchen To Prepare My Meal Without ?
What You Want To Say: It’s cute that you’re not eating carbs this month, Kevin, but I’m already working overtime with the caterer to accommodate vegetarians, people with gluten allergies, and guests who keep kosher, not to mention a friend who will literally drop dead if her dish contains tree nuts. Your fad diet does not qualify as an allergy!
What You Should Say: I’ll check with the caterer and let you know.
6. Could You Make Sure I’m Sitting With _________?
What You Want To Say: I know it’s been hard to tell, what with the invitations, wedding website with our photo, countless events and other fanfare surrounding me and my fiancé, but this wedding is not about you. Putting together a harmonious seating chart is about as simple as solving The Collatz Conjecture. I’m dealing with relatives who want to murder each other; you getting to sit next to your fave bro is NOT a priority.
What You Should Say: We’ll do our best, but we can’t make any promises. Seating charts are tricky!
7. Can You Change The Wedding Date To Accommodate My ?
What You Want To Say: No. Are you f*cking kidding me?
What You Should Say: No. Are you kidding me?
It’s inevitable that a guest is going to annoy you throughout the wedding process and probably even on the day itself. The key is to remain calm, know that you can’t please everyone, and do it your way, even if it means forever alienating Aunt Beth temporarily displeasing a guest. What other annoying wedding guest questions have you received and how did you respond? Let me know in the comments!
Images: Alasdair Elmes / Unsplash; Giphy (7)