April 28

Proposal & Wedding Story – Rachel Aschenbrand-Robinson

We are thrilled to have Rachel Aschenbrand-Robinson here today sharing her wedding story with us. Rachel is a fashion editor at People StyleWatch with over ten years working in the fashion industry. When she’s not spending time with her husband Barry and their dog, you can find Rachel advocating for animals and volunteering with Mr. Bones and Co., an animal welfare organization based in New York City. Today, Rachel shares with Wedding Paper Divas the story of how she and Barry met, the romantic proposal and all of the special details of their wedding.

Castle Hill Wedding Rhode Island

  1. How did the two of you meet?
  2. Might sound a little boring, but our first real date was on New Year’s Eve (2010) at Tavern on the Green in New York City. It was supposedly the last night they were going to be open and neither of us had ever been there before. My parents also got married there, so it was extra special for me. I’ll never forget at midnight they played “Empire State of Mind” (it had just come out at the time) and everyone was on the dance floor belting the lyrics; it was such an amazing New York moment.

    Castle Hill Wedding Rhode Island

  3. How did Barry propose?
  4. With a LOT of planning that I had almost no idea about. Barry had actually planned for it to happen before Thanksgiving 2012, but then Hurricane Sandy happened and my parents’ house got flooded so they moved into our apartment for two weeks. Once I was finally off of work in December (until the New Year) he told me we were taking a special trip to Newport, RI (one of our favorite places) to relax. Barry is actually super romantic so I really didn’t think much of it until, I heard him behind closed doors mentioning “December 17th” on the phone to someone.

    Of course I immediately told my best friend about it—who already knew what was planned—and she played completely dumb. I decided not to get too excited in case nothing happened and convinced myself it wouldn’t. When we got to Newport, Barry told me, “We can’t check into our hotel until later, so let’s stop by Castle Hill and have a drink – we’ve never been!” We sat at the bar and Barry was being a bit antsy saying how he wanted to check out their beach cottages and he wondered if they would let him see the inside of one. Barry’s very curious and kind of bold, so I wasn’t that surprised when he came back to the table and said the concierge had given him the key to one of the cottages. We just had to return the key afterwards. “They have my credit card at the bar,” he told me. Ah yes, that made sense to me. Plus, it was December 16th, so I didn’t suspect anything was going to happen. At least not for another 24 hours!

    We drove over to the cottages after we finished our drinks. I remember saying to Barry when we walked out of the Inn, “You can tell this is a classy place, the staff is SO nice here.” When we walked up to the door of the cottage I remember seeing a flicker of light in the window and thinking that housekeeping must have left the lights on in the room. But when we walked in, there were candles and rose petals all over the room. Barry walked me into the center, right in front of the fireplace and got down on one knee. It was so personal, romantic, beautiful and completely unexpected because it was the 16th (which was pure luck on Barry’s part that he pushed it all up by a day)! The staff at the Inn had coordinated everything with Barry. A staff member had even gone into the trunk of Barry’s car while we were having drinks to get two personalized champagne glasses he’d had made with our names and the date on them.

    Castle Hill Wedding Rhode Island

  5. What was the planning process like? Did you have a wedding planner or any help with the process?
  6. I think it’s clear from that proposal story that Barry is a planner; the man is ORGANIZED. We didn’t need a planner, we had the super groom! We were engaged for a year and a half, which helped because it gave us a lot of time to explore different venues and options. We read a ton of online reviews about every vendor we looked into and Barry did a lot of research regarding budgets and costs. When we finally decided on Castle Hill, they eventually assigned us an in-house planner who made sure that everything run smooth and was meticulous regarding every detail.

    Castle Hill Wedding Rhode Island

  7. Were you heavily involved, Barry, or did you let Rachel take the reins?
  8. Barry likes to say “it was 50/50, except for the bridal shower and the dress.” I think we each came to the table with our own strengths. Barry is super organized, he’s great with numbers and he is a really good negotiator. He was great with all of the logistics. I tended to get more involved in the creative aspects: color schemes, flowers, etc. That is not to say Barry didn’t have opinions too. We made every final decision together and did a lot of compromising so we were both happy.

    Castle Hill Wedding Rhode Island

  9. Rachel, I heard you had some surprises for Barry on the day of the wedding. What were they and was it hard to keep them a secret? Barry, what was your reaction to the surprises?
  10. Rachel: Our wedding song was originally going to be “All of Me,” by John Legend, but I actually ended up walking down the aisle to it instead. I wanted something Barry would see as he walked down the aisle with his parents, so one of the designers at Wedding Paper Divas worked with me to create a canvas that said “All of me loves all of you” in a beautiful brushstroke-type font and set it against a soft striped background that matched our wedding invitations. I had it set on a standing easel just at the foot of the aisle where the guest seating began and Barry would be sure not to miss it. Since we had to drop off all wedding décor at our venue the day before (not to mention, drive it all up to Rhode Island in our car!), it was kind of tricky to keep it a secret! Barry only saw a big box that he knew needed to be dropped off at Castle Hill and that he was, under no circumstances, allowed to peek into! I think he was surprised! Barry: I was totally blown away.

    Castle Hill Wedding Rhode Island

  11. What touches did you use throughout your wedding to illustrate and share your unique love story with your guests?
  12. I think it started with our invitations. When we were customizing them with the design team at Wedding Paper Divas, we were looking for something special to put on the back of the invite, rather than leave it a solid blank space. Our designer actually suggested a quote and we both immediately thought of our favorite poem by EE Cummings, “I carry your heart (I carry it in my heart).” I think that totally set the tone. We also had stamps made with a photo of our dog from our engagement shoot. Since including him in the ceremony wasn’t logistically possible, it was our way of making him a part of the wedding He also made an appearance on the plate we ate our wedding cake on, which I painted it at my bridal shower – an afternoon of pottery painting. I also painted blue and white stripes to match our invitations.

    Castle Hill Wedding Rhode Island

    We did a sailboat ride the day before the wedding with all of our out-of-town guests and close family. We asked the captain if he could take a route that would pass by Castle Hill so our guests could get a sneak peek of the venue. So many of our loved ones had never been to Newport or at least had not seen it through our eyes, so it was truly wonderful to share the experience with them. We had thank you notes made up and folded into the napkin of each guest’s place setting. We loved the idea that guests were immediately welcomed to the reception with words of gratitude. Our favors also illustrated our nautical romance theme. We had Newport Sweet Shoppe create cookies in the shapes of lighthouses and anchors with small handwritten tags attached that had each guest’s names along with their seating assignments. We ordered nautical themed pillows on Etsy (two plain striped, one that said “est. 6.8.14″ and another one with hearts and an anchor that simply said “ahoy”) to adorn the Adirondack chairs around the fire pit. We wanted details that felt personal and fun without being too kitschy.

    Castle Hill Wedding Rhode Island

    Another creative element was a white wooden lobster trap that we used as our gift card box. We actually ran all over Newport and finally found two stuffed lobster toys to put inside, perfectly positioned to be holding claws! I made a little framed sign that said “Cards” with an arrow. People thought it was hilarious. We don’t take ourselves too seriously, so it felt right! We ordered a digital file on Etsy that said “Oh Snap! Please help us capture our special day and take pictures throughout the night! Tag your pics #coocoocachoo14″(a Simon and Garfunkel reference, I’m Mrs. Robinson now after all). I printed them out and put them in frames scattered throughout the reception.

    Castle Hill Wedding Rhode Island

    Our cake (also from Newport Sweet Shoppe) was modeled after something we saw on Pinterest, the perfect nautical romance cake! It was simple with a clean anchor and some pink and orange hearts (with a coordinating cupcake tower). Barry didn’t want the wedding to be too over the top girly (it is his day too so mixing shades of blue with pops of warm colors was the perfect compromise for us. And there were lawn games: croquet, bocce ball and a Yankees vs. Red Sox version of bean bag/corn hole- Barry bought the Yankee and Red Sox decals online and we put them on.

    Castle Hill Wedding Rhode Island

  13. Did you intentionally break any traditions or etiquette rules in meaningful ways? Tell us about it.
  14. We actually got married by a very close friend of ours who got ordained online. Barry and I come from different religious backgrounds and felt it would be more personal rather than hiring clergymen who didn’t know us before the wedding. Jodi is a high school English teacher: well-read, well-spoken and knows us both extremely well (Jodi and I met at the age of two). We went over the details with her of what we wanted in the ceremony, which traditions to include(like breaking the glass), which readings we wanted (my brother read “If I Should Fall Behind” by Bruce Springsteen and Barry’s daughter read “I Carry Your Heart” by EE Cummings), then the rest was up to her to surprise us. She hit it out of the park, including personal stories and details about both of us and quoting New England poets. It was perfect. We also did a first look before the ceremony, which we highly recommend. We had a special moment, just the two of us, in a private garden on the grounds of Castle Hill, while our photographer and videographer captured it all on film. Not only was it a way to get photos done ahead of time but it was a relief to each of us to connect before “the big moment.”

    Castle Hill Wedding Rhode Island

  15. How did you incorporate the wedding stationery (or the design elements/theme of your stationery) into your wedding?
  16. See above— With our cake plate, nautical details throughout, “All of me” printed canvas, and of course our stationery set the soft, romantic, nautical tones. I loved that our invitations were chic and tasteful but a little bit non-traditional. I am obsessed with stripes and I loved the idea of incorporating them on our invitation. It felt just the right amount of personal but still subtle.

    Castle Hill Wedding Rhode Island

  17. What advice do you have for couples to help them make their wedding their way?
  18. Think about the best weddings you’ve been to and what made them stand out in your mind. Then think about what you want people to remember about yours. Never be afraid to ask for what you want, it’s ok to negotiate with vendors and be specific with your vision. It’s your day, you’re investing a lot in it and it should be exactly what you want it to be. Many times vendors just haven’t done things before simply because no one has asked. Always ask. Also, bring visuals wherever possible to show vendors exactly what you want. If a vendor can show you an example or a test run, that’s even better. Also think outside of the wedding realm for inspiration. Go to fashion, architecture, art, party, home decor magazines, blogs, Pinterest, etc. Start first with what colors, themes, etc. speak to you and go from there. And work with Wedding Paper Divas!


April 27

Charming Coral Wedding Color Ideas

The Pantone Spring 2015 Color of Strawberry Ice is our inspiration today for this charming coral wedding color ideas board. Coral is often considered a summery and warm color but you can use this color in your wedding all year round. It’s on all the top ten wedding color lists and remains a popular wedding color year after year. Coral is also the perfect color companion that matches with most shades of pink. So mix the color shades up a bit, play with it and fun! After all, it’s your wedding and this day needs to reflect your uniqueness.

Featured Wedding Paper Divas Wedding Invitation:Golden Garland

  • Wedding Paper Divas Golden Garland wedding invitation in coral, exclusively designed by Whitney Port.
  • A soaring tower of coral colored macaroons topped off with white roses is sure to be a giant hit.
  • Coral linens with plain mason jars filled with fresh flowers is simply stunning.
  • The bride and bridesmaid bouquets in coral, pink, and white Peonies and Ranunculus Bouquet

Coral Wedding Color Ideas

coral wedding color ideas

Image Sources: Tablescape | Macaroon Tower | Bride & Bridesmaids Bouquets


April 24

Tips and Ideas For Planning the Perfect Bridal Shower

Wedding Advice Videos

Today we have Wedding Paper Divas style & trend expert, Amber Harrison on the blog sharing tips and ideas on planning the perfect bridal shower. Amber Harrison is our resident authority on the latest wedding trends and etiquette guidelines. She combines tradition, personal style and the hottest trends to help each couple celebrate their unique love story on their big day.

Alright bridesmaids, this one’s for you! Are you slightly freaking out over planning a fantastic shower for your beloved bride? Not to worry. Here are some top tips for planning a breezy bridal shower that is sure to please!

  1. While technically the host gets to determine the number of guests, it is important to coordinate bride for things like the guest list and overall feel of the shower. Does she want a traditional soiree complete with games and recipe cards or a more casual affair involving cocktails and laughs? Don’t involve the bride in any other logistics! This is her chance to enjoy the day and feel celebrated without the stress of planning!
  2. It’s NOT all on you! Recruit the other bridesmaids or even eager family members for help with ideas, execution and even cost. Traditional etiquette dictates that the bride’s family should not host a shower, but things have changed! Today it is extremely common for family members to co-host, pitch in and be involved.
  3. Choose the date wisely. Showers can happen anywhere from a few months to two weeks before the wedding, but confer with important members of the family and bridal party first to make sure all the VIP guests are able to attend.
  4. When it comes to décor, make sure it represents the bride’s style and not your own…even if it’s not your taste! Don’t forget, small details go a long way. Custom coasters or napkins are affordable and make such a statement!
  5. Send invitations at least a month before the event. Remember, invitations are the first impression of your event so find something that’s true to the theme. Also, this is one of the few cases where it is appropriate to include registry information along with (not ON) the invitation.
  6. Capture the memories! No need for a professional photographer, but be sure to designate a friend or fellow maid to photograph the day. It is too easy to get distracted with hosting duties and socializing then before you know it the shower is over and you never snapped a single shot! A wedding photo book filled with all these memories would even make a great gift for the bride.

Featured Wedding Paper Divas Wedding Stationery: Bridal Shower Invitations | Coasters | Napkins

I want to hear from you! Post a comment to me below with your questions and I may answer them (anonymously, of course!) in an upcoming episode.

Don’t forget to follow along and show me all *your* favorite wedding inspiration. #SmallTalkBigDay

Follow on Instagram: @weddingpaperdivas | @amberkharrison


April 23

San Buenaventura Mission Wedding

This week’s Real Wedding features Natalie and Mitchell’s traditional church wedding at San Buenaventura Mission in Ventura California. The couple chose to make wedding planning less stressful so they hosted a non-traditional reception at Peirano’s Restaurant with no DJ, no first dance, or wedding cake. They served mini cupcakes and lemon bars from a local bakery, and after dinner their guests hung out, drank wine, and socialized with each other.

The couple also chose to keep the reception decor simple and elegant. They had mismatched gold chargers they borrowed from different family members. The flower vases were purchased at various thrift shops, and when they decided they needed more they used a few of the grooms beer growlers he had due to his craft beer obsession.

The bride chose a Sarah Seven bridal gown with Badgley Mischka peep-toe pumps. Hair and makeup by Hey Beautiful.

The couple chose Wedding Paper Divas wedding invitations Inlaid Flowers in the color Winterberry.

Photographer: Anna Delores Photography

San Buenaventura Mission Wedding Photos

San Buenaventura Mission Wedding Photos

San Buenaventura Mission Wedding Photos

San Buenaventura Mission Wedding Photos

San Buenaventura Mission Wedding Photos

San Buenaventura Mission Wedding Photos

San Buenaventura Mission Wedding Photos


April 22

Elegant Table Setting Ideas for a Rustic Bridal Shower

Gather around to celebrate the bride-to-be with this elegant rustic themed table setting, styled by the ever-so-talented Connie from About Him and Her.

rustic outdoor table setting for bridal shower

Everything from the natural incorporation of greenery, to the soft teal hues against the gold centerpieces, create a happy blend.

gold chargers teal server places custom menu cards

To play off of the rustic appeal of the natural dining table, Connie includes a set of gold floral candleholders to add the perfect dose of elegance to the table arrangement.

gold floral candleholders individual place setting

gold white custom thank you cards

Pair a set of delicately light teal colored plates with gold chargers for a pop of color. Place a set of tall candlelight holders to add height to the table setting, along with a few teal colored tea lights to match the dinnerware.

Adorn individual dinnerware with custom menu cards, and tie each menu card with gold ribbon to add an air of sleek elegance.

individual place setting with custom menu cards

Use custom cocktail napkins to complement the table setting’s color palette.

teal personalized napkins and white custom coasters

For a more rustic look, nix the traditional formal linens and let the texture and ridges of the wooden table take center stage. If you’re feeling a little fancier, prettify the space with Chiavari chairs.

white personalized menu cards

To keep your guests engaged, encourage them to share a few words of advice for the bride-to-be on personalized advice cards. The advice cards double as keepsake for the soon-to-be Mrs.

elegant and rustic gold and teal table setting table setting floral candle holders teal tea lights

Connie’s inspirational table setting and décor ideas are ideal for a garden setting, indoor brunch, or casual celebration – versatile for any of your upcoming celebrations.

Vendor Credits:

Table and Chairs: Utah Chair Rental

Gold candles/Chargers: Hoopes Weddings & Events

Plates/teal candles and gold flowers: Target

Candlesticks: Pier 1 Imports

Shop featured Wedding Paper Divas Stationery: Bridal Shower Invitations | Personalized Wedding Menus | Advice Cards

Follow Connie: Photography | Facebook | Instagram | Pinterest


April 21

How To Pop The (other) Question – Asking Bridesmaids to Be in your Wedding

We are so pleased to have Brittany, a guest blogger for our “Real Brides” blog series. Brittany is recently engaged and living in NYC with her fiancé Eric. The couple is planning their wedding which will take place in Chicago. She will be sharing tips, inspiration and ideas on the Wedding Paper Divas blog for engaged couples who are navigating the world of weddings! Today she is sharing a unique way of asking bridesmaids to be in your wedding.

Bridesmaids Invitations

After Eric’s incredibly thoughtful proposal came a special proposal series of my own: asking my family and friends to stand up with me on the big day. I’m trying to be thoughtful about putting my own personal stamp on traditions, and I was very excited to do something meaningful and memorable for my bridal party-to-be!

Bridesmaids Invitations

I had a working concept of the bridesmaids ask based on our married monogram, BEE. (This is part of the reason I was so laser-focused on a garden wedding – I thought a subtle use of bee’s as decorative detail would be really sweet, and there’s a fun play on words/double entendre with it too!) I was lucky to tap my trusted friends at Wedding Paper Divas to help me bring the concept and idea to life.

Bridesmaids Invitations

I moonlight as a jewelry designer, and I thought it would be fun to create a whimsical bracelet with a little bee charm and use that bracelet to fill out the “Will you BEE my Bridesmaid?” question.

Bridesmaids Invitations

As for a presentation card, I am smitten with Whitney Port’s Lavish Laurel design – I love the green watercolor detailing and garden feel. A very talented Wedding Paper Divas designer consulted with me on creative copy, layout and helped transform the RSVP card into a cute question-popper!

I got together with each of my family and friends so I could watch their reactions as they opened up the cards and bracelets – the extra coordination was totally worth it to see them say YES! I love that everyone can wear their bee’s at the wedding too! (Photo opp alert!)