The Black Tux + Piper's Pantone Picks

Last week,  I was introduced to a company I had never heard of before, but definitely wish I had! The company is  The Black Tux, which is your "not so traditional online suit and tuxedo rental company." Their website is so cool: you go online, pick out the desired look for your wedding or event, and in put all of the measurement and payment information right there. I think this is a great option for wedding parties where most of the groomsmen live out of town. They can just login once and be done!

The Black Tux inspired me to pick my favorite look on their site, and pair it with complimentary details in this year's Pantone colors: Rose Quartz and Serenity.  I was super excited, because while planning my own wedding, I've also mentally planned about a half a dozen more! This collaboration was the perfect excuse to dream up what I might do differently if I were planning a different look for my wedding.

Floral prints are a big trend for 2016, especially in bridesmaids dresses. I love how this one encapsulates both the Rose Quartz and Serenity colors in a muted and pastel way. The soft floral pattern of this Plum Pretty Sugar Couture Billy dress adds depth and a touch of romance to the dress without the possibility of competing with the bride!

Dress | Pumps | Earrings | Clutch | Gloss

The Black Tux
Complementing the dress are these soft pink Coach heels {I love the scalloped edges--what great detail!} and these pendant Kendra Scott earrings in the same color. This metallic blue clutch coordinates nicely with the colors in the dress. I think a clutch is a great addition to the bridesmaid ensemble, as it provides a cute way to carry all the wedding day essentials without the hassle of hauling around your normal purse with such a pretty gown.

A great way to finish off the look is with this stunning, sparkly lip gloss. While bridesmaids may not mind wearing the exact same dress, they may not all want the exact same make up style. Consistency is key, in regards to amount and formality, and the same lip color is a nice way to tie it all together. I love lipstick, but know a lot of ladies are fearful of such a color commitment. I love the soft hue of this Milani gloss, and all the glitter in it, too!

Be sure to check out The Black Tux suit and tuxedo rentals if you're planning a wedding, and want an easy option for the men in your life! I really loved their navy tux with the black lapel, but my favorite was this one, the notched lapel tuxedo. The sheen in the lapel and the pant-stripe adds such a glamorous touch which is totally my style!

Get in touch with The Black Tux: Facebook | Instagram | Website | Twitter | Pinterest

P.S. We are exactly one month away from the big wedding day! Yippee! 

Weekend Recap: Easter 2016

Have you ever been glad that it's Monday? I hate to say it, but I really am. Not that Easter with my family wasn't wonderful, but let's just say the weekend didn't end on the highest note...

Friday was a great chill day for me. The office was closed, so I slept in, cleaned the house, had lunch with friends, and worked on thank you notes from last Saturday's shower. You can read about how to be an excellent thank you note writer on my friend Wendy's blog, here. I had hoped to get them out sooner, but got them in the mail within a week of the event. I try to do them as soon as possible, otherwise my to-do list just gets longer and longer!

On Saturday, Christopher and I went to one of our pre-marital counseling sessions {in Georgia you get a discount on your marriage license if you go!}, ran errands, then headed to South Carolina for Easter with my family.

We had a wonderful church service at First Baptist on Sunday morning. It was great to see our friends and those who won't be able to make it to our wedding next month one more time before we're a married couple! My mother had made lunch reservations at Victor's in the new Hotel Florence, which was fab! Brunch was delicious, and I love the aesthetic of the space--it should definitely be a stop on your list if you ever make it through Flo-town.

Lunch is unfortunately where my current stresses began: I got a call saying my bank account had been compromised for a couple hundred dollars. Of course this would happen on the week I have to pay for the wedding venue. Luckily, we caught it before a second attempt last night for another large sum. While I know this will be resolved with the bank, it is unfortunately one of those stresses that is just hanging out in the back of my mind constantly.

It was rainy all weekend, and we had to drive home in the rain and spring break traffic. Yuck. I almost had a very bad accident, too--when I was finally able to skid to a stop to avoid someone who had blatantly pulled out in front of me, Christopher couldn't even see the front of their car, it was that close to mine. I was extremely thankful when we finally made it home safe and sound.

Although silly, this morning's frustrations stem from social media. This is a huge part of my job, and my life. I love connecting with friends and family through pictures and stories online. The recent algorithm changes in both Facebook and now Instagram are driving me nuts. I now have to login to a separate website to fully access my blog and our business' Facebook page. Obnoxious! Now, Instagram, otherwise known in my book as the most perfect of all social media outlets, is changing their feed from chronological to show you pictures they "think" you will like. Well Insta, I only follow accounts that I "know" I will like, so I don't need you picking out things all willy-nilly!

Follow me on Instagram @piperellice and be
sure to click the little three dots and "Turn on notifications"
to keep seeing my feed!
I was glad to get to work this morning, finding comfort in my routine and a big cup of coffee. I've already been to the bank to begin the fraud resolution process, and I'm just hoping that it doesn't take the full 10 business days to get this squared away. In the midst of my stress, although minor in the grand scheme of things, I'm reminded of the love and sacrifice Jesus made for us every time I drive by the churches in town that have their Easter decorations standing strong. I'm claiming his peace to make it through the day, and the week.

Follow me on Snapchat @piperellice to see all of our
upcoming beach bash shenanigans! 
On another note, my bachelorette weekend is here! A few of us are leaving Thursday night after work to head to Amelia Island for a long weekend with the girls. I'm super excited, but fingers crossed that the weather forecast changes and the rain stays far away!

Featured: Gainesville Times' Bride & Groom Magazine

Back in January, my friend Kim {who hosted The Sweetest Shower}, called me about a week before the event to see if I was interested in having my shower featured in an upcoming edition of the Gainesville Times' special edition magazine, Bride & Groom.

Of course I said yes--what an honor, and a surprise! I love creatively themed bridal showers, and was so excited to share mine with readers. After the shower, and dinner at the Cheesecake Factory, I stayed up into the early morning hours editing pictures to send just in time for the deadline. After weeks of anticipation, we finally got our hands on some copies! Kim mailed me one last week, and I think it turned out great.

Check out my "Featured" page to see a few other places I've popped up!

How I Saved Hundreds Using Vistaprint for My Wedding

Weddings are expensive. Just how expensive? Averages in recent years come in anywhere between $27,000 and $35,000 depending on your area of the country. Those are staggering numbers. Those numbers equal a new car, or a down payment on a house!

I like to live life on the frugal side, and I've been very intentional about being as conservative as possible when planning my wedding which can be extremely difficult with a glamorous, southern theme. Looking at Save the Date and invitation suite ideas quickly became overwhelming regarding my budget. While I loved the beautiful pieces at some of the well-known invitation sites, I couldn't stand the price tag. We would be needing at least 150 complete suites, and some of the designs ran upwards of $1,000 for all the necessary pieces! Factor in postage, and my budget was blown.

So I began to consider other options. I'm not even sure how I initially stumbled upon Vistaprint, but I quickly realized that financially, this was the way to go. Vistaprint has a large selection of Save the Date and wedding invitation designs, some of which can be magnets or cards, and all in a variety of styles and sizes to fit your budget.

I was really particular about what Save the Date design I wanted. I knew this would set the tone for our big day. I also really wanted a vertical picture design for a magnet which ended up being harder to find than I could have ever expected! Luckily, Vistaprint also has a design option that I was able to utilize. I located a free Save the Date template that we both loved which I uploaded to the designer. Two steps, and I was done! The price {which ended up being less than a dollar a piece, thanks to a promotion running at that time} included the large magnet and matching envelopes, and more than fit into my budget.

My only issue with the Vistaprint process is that the freebie included envelopes are incredibly thin. For me, it wasn't a big deal to use them for the Save the Date mailings, and the inner envelope of the wedding invitation suite. But the amazingly quick production and shipping times easily make up for that small inconvenience. I received a lot of positive feedback about the magnets, which are not too thick or thin {just the right weight for a regular 49 cent stamp!}. I think everyone loved the vertical look as it really stands out on their refrigerator. 

Christopher and I went back and forth about the best design for our wedding invitation. We're very traditional, so we tend to lean towards classic designs, but sometimes the invitation suite is the best place to throw in something a little trendier. Ultimately we decided on this customizable design from Vistaprint. There are a few popular color choices, and the pale pink was perfect for our wedding palette. There were also a few different paper weights and materials, to really customize each look to your liking. 

I loved how Vistaprint has pre-designed complimentary pieces for the RSVP card, the wedding program, and more. We had the invitation, the RSVP card and corresponding pre-addressed envelope, and a business card designed to match the suite which included our wedding website where all accommodations and directions information was listed.

Because I think the traditional two envelopes is important, I ordered matching pink envelopes from a different vendor. I loved how the paper shimmered in the light. I addressed everything with two different sized gold calligraphy pens from Hobby Lobby. The suite is wrapped up in a satin ribbon, with a gold wax seal featuring an 'M'. The wax seal was probably the coolest part, even though it took me forever. It's actual made to fit in the glue gun! Anyone who knows me knows that the idea of dripping wax neatly onto a specific spot was just not going to happen.

I purchased an embossing stamp before I even sent out the Save the Dates and let me tell you, this thing has been a life saver. There is no way I could have written my address on the back of 300 Save the Dates and wedding invitations in a timely manner! Even though the embossing sometimes made my hand a little tired, this is an easy task for a helper to do if you choose to go this route.

I’ve received a ton of wedding invitations in the last year or so, and I know a lot of friends who have planned weddings recently. With that being said—one of the biggest dilemmas facing brides and guests alike {myself included} is who to invite. For some, it's adults only. For others, no invitation is sent and it's just featured in the local newspaper. We found ourselves in an interesting mix with a very specific guest list. 

In an effort to be clear from the beginning, and not hurt any feelings after assumptions were made, we created two RSVP cards. One was the traditional format, seen below, and the other was identical with the exception of a brief line stating "The bride & groom have reserved ___ seats for you." While addressing the inner envelope in theory should clearly identify who specifically is invited, this is not always the case. I have been invited to a few weddings where my long standing fiance was not included on the invitation. Of course spouses, fiance/fiancee's, and long-term significant others that we knew were included, but we felt that while we could not accommodate every sweet child or plus one, this would be the best way to communicate our inclusions. 

We also decided to omit the traditional "M" on the RSVP response line, as neither of us are huge fans of it, and because it is becoming increasingly accepted and popular to remove the confusing "M!"

I loved the additional swirling infinity details included on the backs of the cards, and the back flap of the RSVP envelope. All of the products felt like they came from a more expensive vendor, and we've been incredibly pleased with the results. Overall, I spent just over $500 for the magnets, the entire wedding suite and postage. Not too bad!

Want to order something for yourself? Use this referral link to check everything out!

P.S. Don't forget to number the backs of the RSVP cards in case a few are returned without names on them! This has been a lifesaver. Also, find a good tracking system to keep all addresses, names of invitees, and responses in one place. I've used this one, and it's been great!

Pretty & Pink Party

This past Saturday, my bridesmaids hosted a bridal shower for me in Statesboro. The best part? It was held at the Phi Mu house! It was so meaningful to have such a special event held at a place full of memories and meaning in my life. Plus, it's beautiful and pink inside and out which only added to the fun!

My maid and matron of honor prepped all the food and decor, which included a naked cake, my favorite lemon squares and deviled eggs, and other goodies.

Kirstie, my Maid of Honor, made a lot of the decorations using her sister's vinyl cutter, including this "Future Mrs. McAfee" pin that I wore! She spray painted cute frames from the dollar store to display a few of my favorite love quotes and important dates throughout the room. She also used the vinyl to make the countdown to "I Do" frame, to monogram the acrylic recipe box, and customize the "Bride" tea cup with the shower date.

The picture above in the gold frame is actually the first picture Christopher and I ever took together! It was the night of Phi Mu formal, and we took pictures in the cotton field across the street from my neighborhood. 

Publix petit fours are my mother's and my favorite treat! My Matron of Honor, Niki, picked up a tray decorated with pink flowers for the afternoon's spread. It was the perfect touch! 

Outfit Details: Dress | Earrings | Bracelet | Pumps

My mother and mother-in-law; both sweet enough to make the trip to Statesboro for the shower! So glad to have both of these women in my life. 

My lovely bridesmaid hostesses...I think we have a pretty strong Lilly following between us...

I apparently don't know how to cut a cake. Glad I have 40 or so days to figure it out! Kirstie planned one bridal shower game for me after we enjoyed our snacks. She had asked Christopher a variety of questions and gotten his answers, and then asked me to answer the same questions. For every answer I got wrong, I had to put a piece of bubble gum in my mouth. I got a bunch wrong, and ended up with a mouth full of strawberry gum--so much so, that I could barely breathe! Needless to say, I am not very good with questionnaires at showers!

Christopher and I were given so many beautiful gifts Saturday, and we're so blessed. But I am mostly so thankful for the time everyone has taken out of their busy schedules to celebrate with me and spend time together. It's made this whole experience so meaningful. 

Busy weeks are ahead: Easter this weekend, bachelorette bash the next, and our final shower the weekend after that. I can't believe how fast things have gone! Oh, and Happy Spring!

P.S. If you have any yummy "newlywed recipes" to share, please leave them in the comments below so I can add them to my fancy monogram recipe box! 

Winner, Winner, Oyster Dinner!

Congratulations to our winner, Sarah M.! Check your email for how to claim your prize, and thank you to everyone for playing. There are plenty of other giveaways in the works, so be sure to subscribe {in the box to the right} to get new posts delivered to your inbox!

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My Favorite YouTube Workouts

Last week, I shared two of my favorite low carb recipes {you can check them out here}. As someone who basically hates to exercise, it's really hard for me to get motivated. A few weeks ago, I realized that I would be on the beach in a bikini at the end of the month for my bachelorette and wanted to tone it up a bit! So I thought I'd share a few of my favorite workout videos that I watch on YouTube at home on my Fire TV. 

In high school, I found this Prevention Fitness Systems belly, butt and thighs video. For some reason, I loved it. It's quick and pretty high energy, and I don't find Chris Freytag to be annoying like some video instructors can be. It's kind of old school, but it's an oldie but goodie for me!

I've recently discovered a love for the kettle bell, and love that it's a hard workout I can do at home. There are quite a few different kettle bell workouts, but this one is quick and easy to knock out in less than half an hour. Be sure to keep your pets away when doing the kettle bell...both of my pups are curious, and have come close to getting knocked in the head once or twice!

My family has something my brother refers to as "The Densmore Pooch." We all have it. It's the worst. And it doesn't help that crunches are also the worst. I really like this lower ab routine because it targets "the pooch" in short, minute-long bursts so I don't get bored or too miserable. Ten minutes for abs is about all I can take. It's also a great routine if all you have is ten minutes, or want to tack it on to the end of a longer video. 

I'm not really a yoga fan, but with the added stress of wedding planning really taking it's toll lately {bad dreams, back aches, etc.}, I thought I would focus on incorporating some yoga into my routine to help de-stress over the next few weeks. The Tone It Up girls are total goals, and their bikini body series is great. I like the specific toning movements included in this yoga-focused video, and it's a great "rest day" option. 

What are your favorite YouTube workouts? Share in the links below to keep me going! And don't forget to register for my spring giveaway...winner to be announced tomorrow at noon! 

Blue Bridal Dress + Giveaway!

In an attempt to really "do the blog thing," I bring you my first Outfit of the Day post {#ootd} and giveaway! I've not really done an outfit post before because I don't have a regular photographer just yet, but hope to do more once I'm married and have an live-in photographer. {Shout out to my sweet mother for taking these shots.}

As I've discussed before, I've really debated over wearing white to all of my pre-wedding events. I love white, seriously. But I cannot get over the "no white before Easter" rule. I'm trying, a little. The occasional white shorts on a really warm spring day. But a full-on white dress is just a mental block for me. Plus, I've got two stunners waiting in my closet for a bachelorette outing and the rehearsal dinner!

When a bridesmaid sent this dress over to me in white, I loved it! It's so classic. And when I discovered that it also came in the most perfect Tiffany blue/minty color, I was sold! Besides white, this blue says "bridal" to me! I also knew that in this color, it would become a great work dress, too.
Flashback to a few months ago when I stumbled upon a Savannah Instagram account of this precious southern sister, Emily. All about Lilly Pulitzer and coastal style, she makes these fantastic gold oyster shell necklaces! They are too cool, and come in a variety of sizes and colors. When I saw the gold and pearls, I knew this would be the perfect accessory to this bridal shower dress in the spring, and what's more bridal than pearls?

Coupled with Kate Spade pearls and some nude wedges, this combo really popped against the beautiful spring buds in South Carolina last weekend. I truly felt like a bride while celebrating with my church family on Saturday afternoon. 

Details: Dress | Earrings | Necklace | Shoes{Similar} | Bracelet |Watch

P.S. Isn't my mom the cutest in her Buckhead Betties dress and navy pumps?! Love it!

I absolutely love my oyster and pearl necklace; I've gotten so many compliments on it. I asked Emily if she would like to partner with me for my very first blog giveaway, and she said yes! Shello Dahling and Starting Out Southern blog bring you the following Easter goodies giveaway, complete with your very own hot pink Shello Dahling necklace, the hot pink lipstick I wore above, and a beautiful blush pink nail polish, all perfect for spring. Enter below, starting at 11:00 a.m. today {March 15, 2016}! Winner will be announced Friday, March 18, by noon!

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