Brookside Bride

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Molly in Doie Lounge

{ Photo: Corey Ann Photography }

Our wedding was on June 6, 2015 at Brookside Country Club. For months I had been searching for the perfect robes to give my bridesmaids as gifts, and I was so excited when my mom found Doie Lounge! The robes are perfect! They are so soft and comfortable and were perfect to relax in while getting ready for such a big day. My bridesmaids loved them and still tell me how they wear their robes all the time. Sara was very helpful with coordinating colors and patterns, and the robes arrived in a timely manner. These bridesmaid robes are a perfect gift for your girls and a treat for yourself. Thank you, Sara!

~ Molly M., married 6.6.15 in Ohio

Animals at Weddings

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I’ll admit it, I like cats…scratch that (pun intended), I love them! I don’t actually have a cat, but I can imagine that if I did, “Princess Cute Muffin” would be there with some kind of flower crown on. Anyone browsing weddings on Pinterest can see everything from elephants to birds, being incorporated into the big day. I don’t know if animals at weddings is a passing trend, or if it has some major staying power, but dressing up your Westie in a little bow tie does’t seem to be going anywhere soon.

kitten in flower crown

{ Photo: Amanda Keeys Photography }

doggy tux

{ Photo: Jennifer Bullock Photography }

Some people refer to their pets as their “furry kids,” so it kind of makes sense to have your kids at your wedding, don’t you agree? If you find dressing up your animal a little over the top, pets with signage are a great idea… assuming that you can trust that your four-legged friend won’t run off.

doggy signage wedding

{ Photo: Leila Brewster Photography }

small dog with sign wedding

{ Photo via Pinterest }

No pet? A llama or elephant adds an exotic touch to a destination wedding. Goats and horses complete the vision for rustic farm weddings, adding a level of authenticity and of course making for adorable and beautiful photos.

elephant in wedding

{ Photo: Amanda Kopp }

Wedding Goat

{ Photo: EP Love }

If all else fails, maybe you will be lucky enough to have an uninvited “guest” show up at just the right moment…

Deer in Wedding

{ Photo: Thru Kat’s Eye Photography }

Horse in Wedding

{ Photo: Marie Wootton Photography }




Tricky Wedding Situations

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So the venue is booked, the dress has been selected, the menu has been decided, and the cake flavor has just been settled on. It feels like you’re in the homestretch, but be forewarned: there are probably a few unforeseen obstacles you might have to overcome before the big day is ready to go off “without a hitch.” As those who have already gone through birthdays or graduations, for example, may already know all too well, weddings are another opportunity for many potentially tricky family dynamics. There are divorced families, blended families, and estranged families that many will have to negotiate. For those lucky ones whose parents are still married after all these years, you’re not off the hook either. Beware the rogue wedding guests. Yes, you will most likely have at least one of your guests call or email you at some point this year asking if they can bring a date (whom you most likely have not met). Or even worse, you may have a coworker or old friend who assumes (erroneously) that he or she is invited to the wedding. Ideally, everyone gets along, but we know life doesn’t always work that way, right? So what to do? Stay ahead of the game; here are some tips for those tricky wedding situations:

Frustrated_Bride{Photo: Via}

* Be prepared for anything. Even if you don’t write “and Guest” on the invitations, many will assume or still ask if they can bring someone. A co-worker is hanging around your cubicle seeming way too interested in the details? They may be fishing. Have your stock response prepared: “I so wish I had room for more guests but we are at capacity for our budget and/or the space.” It’s rude for them to keep pushing past this point. With that said, you should be mindful of the whole guest list. Are all of your friends either married or engaged with the exception of one or two? Don’t assume they want to come to your wedding and get seated at the singles’ table. They don’t. Again if budget allows, invite them with a guest and let them make the choice. Even if you’ve never met his or her guest, and even if they’re not that serious, you should consider each situation from the guest’s perspective. At our wedding one of my oldest friend brought her Swedish yogi guru boyfriend who lead us all in morning yoga the day of the wedding, and shared his unique moves on the dance floor. He’s no longer in the picture, but I don’t regret having him there; he’s part of our wedding story now.

* But for those people who assume they’re invited and won’t relent, listen, it’s going to be a little awkward. Most people will read the subtext of “it’s a small wedding,” or “the venue just can’t fit everyone.” I suggest thanking them for any well wishes with a big smile and a response like “we are very excited,” or even changing the subject. Yeah, it might be a little obvious what you’re doing, but it’s obvious what they’re doing too. If he or she were truly a close friend, they’d be included, right?

* What if someone invites you to their wedding but you choose not to reciprocate? You should probably have a good reason for this one. If the weddings fall within the same year, it might be awkward to attend the other one if you’re not planning on inviting them to yours. On the other hand, if you attended their wedding five or

more years ago, and only seen each other a few times since then, it is probably more understandable if you don’t return the invite.

* The divorced parents dilemma. Nowadays weddings can be hosted by anyone, but consider a neutral location especially if either parent is sensitive about a location because it reminds him or her of the past. If budget allows, make sure each side has a few of their favorite family or friends, ideally enough to make a table. It’ll make it easier for both to have their own posse. A close friend even shared that her father always got along very well with his ex-wife’s cousin and they remained close, so she invited the cousin and sat them together, which made him very happy because it showed him that her side of the family still cared about him. It is a good idea, though, to place their tables on equal and opposite sides of the room. Some divorced parents get along, some are cordial, but it’s best to place them at a distance so they don’t stress out.

* Regarding “the steps” as one friend call them – those newly minted step-siblings, in many case adults you’ve been thrown together with later in life, if you are having a large wedding (I’d say anything over 100 guests), you really have no choice but to invite them. Yes, all of them, even if you’ve gained five new siblings all of whom are married, possibly with high-school aged children. If it feels like this would distract too much from how you imagined your big day, I’d encourage a smaller wedding.

A few final thoughts: Be wary of “credit for the invite” if there’s a guest who you think has plans, so you send them an invite anyway, they very well may change their plans. Also there will almost definitely be someone who calls the week of the wedding to share excitedly that they will be able to make it after all! As the saying goes, family is family and they’re most likely not going anywhere, so handle those choices more thoughtfully. There’s simply no avoiding some wedding-guest drama, so hopefully these possible scenarios will help you to stay ahead a few steps. On the other hand, if what I’ve outlined above has sent you into a spiral, there’s always elopement; it’s highly underrated.


Liz Mathews is a Connecticut based mother, teacher, and freelance writer who blogs on children’s books and related topics at La La La. Her work has appeared in Quality Women’s Fiction, Town and Country magazine, and Literary Mama.

Everyday Kimono

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Who wishes that they could wear a robe all day, everyday? I do! Enter the “everyday kimono,” for when you can’t wear your robe out in public…. Coming soon!

Screen Shot 2015-06-04 at 6.55.25 PM


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Photos: Valorie Darling Photography, Hair: Trace Henningsen Make-up: Artistry by Danika






Wedding in the Woods

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When most people think of summer, the beach often comes to mind, but most of my favorite summer memories contain the common theme of being in the woods– camping, hiking, picnicking… there is something so magical about being surrounded by trees. Trees also provide some much needed shade, from the summer sun, and they create a natural backdrop that is hard to beat. With this in mind, I’ve rounded up some of my favorite wedding woodland inspiration, from around the web.


{ Photo: Emmaline Bride }

Place Setting_Woodland

{ Photo: Elizabeth Ann Designs }


{ Photo: Style Me Pretty }

Wooded Dinner Party

{ Photo: Laura Gordon Photography }

Wedding couple on bridge

{ Photo: Lovely Cluster }

Wooded Arch

{ Photo: Style Me Pretty }

Wooden Tee Pee Ceramony

{ Photo: Brooke Courtney Photography }

Outdoor Dinner in the Woods

{ Photo: Heather Waraksa }

Bohemian Big Sur

{ Photo: Evynn Le Valley }

The perfect way to end the night is when no one has to leave! Companies like Shelter Co can set up glamping tents for you and your guests.


{ Photo: Lovebird Photography }

I hope these photos give you the inspiration needed to start planning your wedding in the woods!



Beautiful Bridesmaid Robes

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{Photographer:  Katie Hall}

I am SO happy I purchased these beautiful bridesmaid robes – they were the perfect gift for my bridesmaids!  Sara was so incredible easy to work with and was so flexible. Everyone was in a panic about what to wear the morning of – tank top, short, yoga pants – but they were so happy to open these gifts the night before! I chose white for myself, and wanted a matching look for all my maids. I was so happy to find an almost identical, but slightly different robe for my maid of honor to wear – it helped her stand out!

The bridesmaid robes looked stunning in our photos, and were so unbelievably comfortable to wear all day. Not only were they super comfy, but they felt so luxurious! People have already begun asking where I bought them – I will be recommending these to brides left and right! Thank you Sara, for giving us the most beautiful, perfect bridesmaid robes!

~Lani T.,  married September 2nd in Massachusetts

Happy New Year

Sophie & Bridesmaids in Doie Lounge Robes

{Photo: Keepsake Photography}

After Googling beautiful robes for days I came across someone claiming Doie Lounge robes were amazing. I checked out the website and sure enough, fell in love with these robes. Unfortunately, at the time shipping to Australia was a little tricky. Sara was extremely helpful and made sure we got our robes for our New Year’s Eve wedding.

I have not had a better experience in dealing with a company direct about their products, than this. The robes are so soft and comfy. We loved getting ready in these and lounging around relaxing on the day. A huge “thank you” to Sara who made it possible for us to have these in Australia for our wedding day.

~ Sophie B. married 12.31.14 in Australia

{ Wedding Toast Tips }

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There are those few blessed and talented individuals who, when called upon to stand in front of a large group of people, are able to creatively and seamlessly deliver a toast off the cuff. For most of us, however, this is a task that requires preparation, including some researching, writing, and yes, even editing. When I think about how to explain most effectively how to write a good toast, I am reminded of the advice I give to high school seniors when they write their college essays: have a clear topic, use supporting details, end with a strong conclusion. Of course you don’t want your toast to read like a five-paragraph essay, but you do want to stay focused and try to tie everything together. The most memorable wedding toasts have a few (or at least one of these) key qualities:

Wedding Toast 2

{Photo: Emily Blake }

  • They use a clear theme. Choose one quality about the bride or groom or couple and hone in on it: Are they adventurous? Creative? Philanthropic? Choose their best quality and then select around a few specific examples that support this theme. Did they travel cross-country or do the Peace Corps? Do they love to ski or sail together? Were the high school or college sweethearts? What makes them unique as a couple?


  • They stay on track. We’ve all been attendees at that rehearsal dinner when the possibly drunk cousin or uncle or former best friend stands up and starts to ramble on with no clear plan. Even if you don’t have it all written out verbatim, you should have at least a few things written in some kind of surreptitious way – to keep you on track.


  • They use a metaphor. These are my favorites. Think about what the couple loves to do: skiing, golfing, painting… and then select an image or action within that passion to represent who they are as a person. In trying to convey one of my closest friend’s love for sailing at her wedding, I told the story of the first time she took me sailing and how each strong independent action and choice she made on that sailing cruise represented her strength of character, her easy disposition. What was missing until then? A deep and heavy keel – a foundation, which they now provided for each other. And then I went on to explain how they tied the proverbial bowline (the strongest and most reliable knot in sailing. But you get the idea…


  • They use carefully chosen quotes or poems. Readings do no only need to be relegated to the ceremony, especially since most people select “Paul’s Letter to the Corinthians” which gets way too much air-time. Check out poets Billy Collins, Philip Levine, Mary Oliver, or Marge Piercy (just to name a few) –all contemporary poets who have written eloquently and prolifically on the subject of love.


  • Choose a single anecdote from the past that highlights who they are as a person today. At my husband’s oldest friend’s rehearsal dinner, he told the story about when they were in preschool together and whenever another little boy tried to play with his best friend, my husband would hit them or knock down their blocks. It got a laugh and showed – in a clever way – their friendship’s loyalty and how they’ll always have each other’s backs.

Wedding Toast 3

{Photo Via: Pop Sugar}

Regardless of how you choose to talk about your closest friends or family members on this important day, be intentional and deliberate with how you pull your thoughts together. Everyone appreciates thoughtful wedding toasts that have clearly been planned out in advance. And, try not to drink too much beforehand; though a little alcohol can calm the nerves, it can also make for a sloppy delivery. I advise volunteering to be one of the first ones to speak – you’ll get it out of the way and then be able to sit back, relax, and listen.


Liz Mathews is a Connecticut based mother, teacher, and freelance writer who blogs on children’s books and related topics at La La La. Her work has appeared in Quality Women’s Fiction, Town and Country magazine, and Literary Mama.

Montego Bay ‘Maids

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 {Photo: Maggie Thalheimer, of Gerber and Scarpelli}

Whit and I were married at the Rose Hall Great House in Montego Bay, Jamaica in February of 2013 (the best time to escape a Chicago winter!)  95 of our friends and family joined us in Jamaica for the most memorable, fun-filled weekend.  When Whit and I were deciding on gifts for our bridal party we wanted to give them all really special gifts after all they were doing for us!  Doie Lounge bridesmaid robes were perfect.  I really had never seen anything like them, and I can’t even describe how comfy they are (I wear mine EVERY SINGLE DAY when I am getting ready, my husband jokes that I live in it, and he’s pretty much telling the truth!)

My bridesmaids absolutely loved these robes, and it was so fun to get ready in the bridesmaid robes all together.  My little sister called me last week and said thank you again for the robe as she uses it all the time (in fact she told one of her good friends to use Doie Lounge for her bridesmaid robes). It makes me so happy that it is something that the girls can wear all the time and think of our awesome wedding weekend- truly a gift that keeps on giving.

Sara was an amazing vendor to work with…she responds quickly to emails, offers great suggestions and I received the bridesmaid robes extremely quickly- I can’t say enough good things about my experience with Sara and Doie Lounge– just the best!

~Mary R. married 02.09.13, in Montego Bay, Jamaica

A Blessing To Remember

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{ Photo: Laura Ivanova }

It’s hard to just say what is one thing you’ll never forget. The entire day was perfect. My sister in law Kelsy was my Matron of Honor and three of my childhood girl friends, Katie, Britanie, and Farrah flew in from all over the country to be part of this wonderful day. I gave them the beautifully handmade robes that were so cozy and delicate. We felt so pampered with them on and made us feel so special. The dramatic weather and misty rain with the sun beaming through the dark clouds just as we were saying our vows was a moment I’ll never forget. Charles and I both wrote our own vows. When we held each others hands saying the wonderful words I’ll never forget, a feeling so intimate and powerful made our connection unbreakable. Everyone we loved was there to support us. Charles’ kids were standing up by his side, along with his dear friend Tom and my brother Butch. Moments after the ceremony our guests mentioned there even was a rainbow behind us. Then the sun was out for the rest of the evening under the picturesque dinner arbor that our caterer had decorated to a “t” of my sketch. It was a dream with the flowers hanging from the wooden beams and market lights intermixed over the romantic kings table with everyone we loved surrounding us. Things like that don’t happen everyday and it was truly a blessing to remember.

~ Stevi M, married 04.05.15, in Carmel Ca

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