Wedding Planning Tips from Real Bride Lauren


Today I want you to meet Lauren Rote Youash, a newlywed, one year as of November,  who found a brand new life passion when she was going through the wedding planning process. (Sound familiar? The same thing happened to me!) Like myself, Lauren continues to share her own tips from her big day. I think that you’ll find that her perspective is unique, tips are incredibly helpful, and it’s all tied together with her beautiful vision and exquisite level of taste.Lauren_And_Edmond_1782-1.jpg

  1. Hi, Lauren! I know you have a new-found passion for weddings, what was so special about the wedding planning process that gave you the desire to create wedding content for other brides? This is a great question. I definitely didn’t plan on the social growth that occurred after my wedding day. I started to receive messages from other brides at all different stages of the planning process. And I was often asked the same question over and over, so something just clicked in my mind. If brides are seeking my advice, I want to give it to them. For me, being able to play even the smallest role in a brides decision making for one of the greatest days of her life, is truly the greatest joy.
  2. What was the best part of your personal wedding planning process? Ah this is so hard! I loved so much of it. Designing our invitations was really fun for me. We worked with a custom invitation designer who really brought my vision to life. Choosing the cardstock, colors, fonts, etc. was so much. I really got to be creative and imagine my guests opening each invitation and thinking, “wow, this is stunning.” At least that’s what I hope they said! I also really enjoyed planning the personal touches to the event; napkins (“I been drankin”), bar decals (Drunk in Love & Bad & Boozy), petal toss (It just got real). I wanted to bring our sense of
    humor and personality to our wedding. Guests LOVED it!
  3. Do you have any regrets on how you handled wedding planning? If you could do something over, what would it be? Stress less ;). As if that’s possible. Overall I actually was really organized, and I managed to find a wedding planner that was just as type A as me. However, the weeks leading up to our wedding I was definitely stressed. Mostly about the weather. Even though we got married in Los Angeles, November can still be tricky. 6 days before our wedding, it said it was going to rain. Cue the panic, the tears, and the stress breakouts. But hey, it didn’t rain. All that stress was for nothing. Ultimately though if it still said rain the day before the wedding, we would have had a backup plan. I think as long as brides really plan ahead (meaning 1 year+) and organize what needs to be done each month, the process can be really seamless.
  4. Do you have any tips for events leading up to the big day like showers, bachelorette party or rehearsal dinner? I chose not to have a bridal shower. This concept seemed really old school to me, and the thought of all the women in my life handing me unnecessary gifts was daunting. Of course my family tried to persuade me to have one, but I held my ground. The bachelorette party should be nothing but FUN. Don’t get worried about the friends who don’t all know each other. We’re all big girls. I think a lot of brides stress out about conjoining friend groups, understandably. But, try to remember you don’t need to play host and worry about making everyone happy. The girls will play nice. They are all there for the same reason, to celebrate YOU. I even had friends that didn’t know each other before my bachelorette, and hit it off that weekend, and stayed talking long after! I love it!
  5. What was your experience like when planning the details of the wedding ceremony? Where did you go for inspiration for all of the details? I studied wedding videos on YouTube for weeks. I quickly learned what I liked and what I didn’t like. I always knew I wanted a short ceremony that was really personal. This is why we chose to have a friend marry us, and why we wrote our own vows. The ceremony was a whole 20 minutes of laughing, crying, and more laughing. It took some time to figure out what songs I wanted for the ceremony (processional, bridal, and recessional). I spent hours looking for the perfect songs. I think I stumbled across Daniel Jang on Instagram. My bridal party walked down to his cover of “All Of Me”. The song I walked down the aisle to was Hailey Reinhart’s cover of “Can’t Help Falling in Love”. And our recessional song was “Signed, Sealed, Delivered” by Stevie Wonder.Lauren_And_Edmond_1356
  6. How about planning the reception? What was your theme and can you tell me more about the incredible lights?! Our wedding planner really helped in planning the reception timeline; when to start the speeches, first dances, cake cutting etc. There is a method to the madness. I knew I wanted our reception to be magical & romantic. So of course, LOTS of candles & flowers. I found a photo of similar lighting set up on Pinterest. Lauren Rote YouashI brought the photo to my Rental vendor and he said he could do it! I couldn’t believe it. The lights were above and beyond our expectations. I pulled from both Pinterest and Instagram for reception inspo. I made a public Pinterest board of my bridal inspiration for anyone to check out.
  7. Do you have tips for working with wedding vendors? What about working with creative wedding vendors like photo and video, in particular? Yes. This applies to all vendors – be as specific as you can. You have to remember, these guys have done hundreds, maybe thousands of weddings. Instill your trust in them, but also be as precise as you can. Bring photos, drawings, any kind of examples as you can so it’s crystal clear what you want. Most vendors will appreciate this because it usually makes their job easier! Keep the guessing game out of it. For photography, make a shot list. And if there are photos that you know you want to recreate on your wedding, send them to your photographer in advance! Same goes for video. If there are YouTube videos that you love parts of, send them to your videographer in advance so he/she understands what shots you love, and how you like your videos edited.
  8. Now looking back, is there a wedding planning detail that brides often overlook, but shouldn’t? Yes. I think brides often overlook lighting. I recently did a post on this. The post is pretty specific to brides who are getting married outdoors, but the lighting is still, if not more important indoors. Understanding where the sun sets, what time it sets, and where shadows will be during your ceremony can really make or break your wedding photos.
  9. What’s your top tip for how to keep the wedding planning process focused on you and your future spouse so that the final outcome is a reflection of your relationship? Ah. I love this question. My best advice is to be strong. I know some parents can be very hands on, and insert themselves as it’s their own wedding. There is always going to be some give and take, but the best thing you can do is be honest with what you want and what you DON’T want. This applies to your parents, vendors, and your planner. Be sure to play with personal details where you can, like signage, napkins, songs, pictures etc. Writing your own vows is a great way to personalize the ceremony- adding those inside jokes only you and your spouse know. Ultimately, stay strong and be decisive.

Vendor Love:

Venue: Hummingbird Nest Ranch
Planning: Encore Event & Design
Photographer: Jordan Voth
Videographer: Rayne Films
DJ: Vox Djs
Catering: Contemporary Catering
Florals: Unique Floral Designs
Rentals: A Rental Connection
Dress: Galia Lahav

Lauren, thank you so much for sharing your wedding experiences with me! For any of my readers that are interested in learning more of her tips, visit her website at or follow her (…you will NOT be dissapointed!)

With love,

Girl with a diamond ring

Follow Me on Instagram and Pinterest for More

10 Reasons to Elope From a Real Bride

7-18-2017 5-30-31 PM

Newlyed Margaret (Meg) Woodward Herd recently eloped in Dallas, Texas. She and her now-hubby, Joseph, are absolutely beaming in their photos and it’s crystal clear that they made the right decision for their special day.

A shoutout to Swink Photography for capturing all of the special moments from their elopement. The bride contributes a lot of the success from the big day to their photographer, Betsy, who helped create intimate moments that will last for a lifetime.31712215_973795852797341_8724603394645295104_n

Are you considering the upsides of an elopement? Here is what this real bride had to say for her top 10 reasons to elope!

10. Your officiant can provide you with refreshments of your choosing immediately after the ceremony, with NO judgment.


9. Extremely small wedding parties = saved money, less obnoxious outfits, and more time for sister tattoo rubbing.


7. You can pass the time staring at the beautiful sunset while your bride tries to pull off a tearful sneak attack.


6. Your vows can contain inappropriate jokes not suitable for church settings or in the presence of relatives.

5. You save money on flowers. And food. And decorations. And music. And space. The list goes on…

4. Everyone loves a group photo…old friends, distant relatives, wedding party, etc. But you know what everyone loves more? Taking no more than five minutes to complete all different combinations of said photos.

3. Cake for two, anyone?

2. There is little risk of a ring bearer/flower girl melt down when your fur baby holds the title. Also, how adorable is a puppy in a bow tie?! He gives any toddler in a tuxedo a run for his money.


1. Because at the end of it all, you shouldn’t focus too much on the flowers, or the food, or the decoration, or any of the little details that go into the party planning. It leaves more room for focusing on exactly your way and  how he/she looked the first time you saw each other right before you said “I do.” Or how that first kiss as man and wife felt. Or how his/her voice sounded saying their vows. Or how your heart felt, most importantly.


Congratulations! I LOVE that you two threw tradition out the window to make some really special memories together as you enter this new season hand in hand.

Follow Swink Photography to see more of Betsy’s work:




With love,

Girl with a diamond ring

Follow Me on Instagram and Pinterest for More

10 Things I Loved About Your Wedding

Over the years I have attended a lot of weddings, and each stand out in their own unique ways. One that knocked me off my feet earlier this year was the wedding between Isabella Ella and Ivan Miya, now the Miyas!


  1. The Theme Both Isabella and Ivan have strong Christian faith and have made it a very personal foundation for their future marriage. This was very clear through their theme. The bride told me, “We really wanted our guests to feel a touch of heaven. It was planned to be an experience that gave them pieces of what heaven might feel like.”

Both the ceremony and reception were held on the grounds of a beautiful home that was rented out for the evening. There was lush greenery and flowers almost everywhere you looked which made it feel magical.

  1. The Music Once all guests were seated at the ceremony, you could tell it was a formal and special event. When the music started, it was beautiful. The Godparents and parents walked down to an instrumental version of “When I Fall in Love.” And then the groom walked down the aisle…and the Super Mario Brothers theme song began to play! Not only did this add to the youthfulness and festive spirit, but it also taught you something about the groom (who is a 3D character artist) and his love for video games.

And then the bride walked down to “Best of My Love” which was a proclamation to her groom. This also let you know about her joyful personality and desire for their future together. The best part? They were both played with saxophone instrumental track so it still felt very uniform.

  1. The Flower Girls Angels Isabella’s nieces came down the aisle wearing wings (made by the Mother of the Bride)! I had never seen this and it really took their heavenly detail to perfection over the top.

  1. The Bride’s Entrance She stood at the top of a grand staircase and literally threw the bottom of her two-piece flowy dress in the air. It was a stunning moment and everyone was in awe. She took her time and gracefully walked down the stairs towards her father.

  1. The Vows They had their own vows written on scrolls. The bride started hers with “Hear ye, hear ye!” which led to a really cute moment of laughter between them and their guests. The vows were heartfelt and spoke of how they believe that God has ordained their love story and brought them together after years of praying for the right mate.

  1. The Seating Chart and Table Names There were beautiful large antique mirrors adorned with gorgeous flowers that displayed the seating assignments. Each of the tables were named after words found in the Bible that they wanted to plant into their marriage as well as speak into the lives of their guests. Words included things like “gratitude”, “faith”, and “patience.” Once you got to the table, each of the names were written on gold terrariums displayed in the center of each table. The terrariums represented gems that will be found in heaven, and added to the sweet sentiment of the reception.

  1. The Sweetheart Table There was a grand sofa settee where the bride and groom sat for the reception. It had flowers around it and felt luxurious.

  1. The Photo Booth Photo booths are ALWAYS fun and let’s just say…they even had a prop of a green Hulk hand! The backdrop of the photo booth was a stunning gold glitter drape that made it feel really elevated, and the bride and groom even got in there to take their own shots! (A MUST!) Once the photos were posted, guests were encouraged to post their photos and snapshots from their wedding experience with the hashtag “#CincoDeMiya.” (The wedding was ON Cinco De Mayo…get it?!)

  1. The Guestbook The Dr. Seuss book “Oh, The Places You’ll Go!” was laid out to be signed by each of the guests. According to the couple, it’s a statement of their upcoming life adventures and is a book that their future kids can read one day. It was a colorful and youthful pop.
  1. The Favors There were two! Each seat at the reception had a bottle opener with a sign that said “Keys to the Kingdom.” Useful AND tied in to their faith-based theme! And then, as guests were leaving, they were each able to take home a small box with a Tiramisu macaroon called “Tira-miss-you.”

These were just my top 10 details of a very special day that showcased the love between two very special people. Truly a slice of heaven! Thanks for sharing your special day with me, Isabella and Ivan.

Before we go, here is some more vendor love:

With love,

Girl with a diamond ring

Follow Me on Instagram and Pinterest For More

10 Things I Loved About Your Wedding

I’m excited to kick off a new blog series with highlights of real weddings. I’ll pick my top 10 favorite aspects of the big day to share with my readers. I recently had the pleasure of attending the wedding of Amanda and Ben, now, Mr. and Mrs. Puff! It was a special family-oriented event with amazing food and drink, all on the backdrop of a beautiful castle from the 1800s.


  1. Venue The wedding took place on the grounds of the Lyndhurst Mansion which had sprawling green hills and a formal gothic-style castle. It was positioned right next to the Hudson river which added beautiful views, especially when the sun was setting.Puff Wedding - 718
  2. Photographer While the photography was also a highlight, the actual photographer was a stand out! Luisa Wall is a personal friend of the bride and she was absolutely beaming. Any time you looked over at her, she had a big grin on her face. She was one of the first people there and the last to leave but you never saw her sweat. Her love and dedication put towards to capturing the special moments was really touching to see.Luisa.png
  3. Flowers The flowers were all silk and fit in perfectly with the shabby chic theme. While I’m normally not a big fan of silk flowers, the bouquets and centerpieces were absolutely stunning. Each piece was hand crafted by the brides mom and really added to the special day. The flowers were a smart investment because they now double-up as home decor for the bridal party. (Don’t you love this photo?!)
    Puff Wedding - 852.jpg
  4. Bride’s Incorporation of Diabetes Amanda lives with type 1 diabetes and manages her health with an insulin pump and continuous glucose monitor. These are two separate devices that she wears all of the time, and she knew she had to wear them on her wedding day. When she searched for a dress, she found one with pockets that could hold her diabetes devices. (She even worked with her seamstress to make some alterations to the pockets so she could easily access what she needed.) Since diabetes is a big part of her life story, it was nice to see that it didn’t hold her back and she was able to find a way to incorporate it into her big day.Puff Wedding - 124
  5. Bride’s Manicure Amanda always has a perfect manicure so her wedding day was no exception! She used a beautiful rose gold color on her ring finger and light pink nails on the rest of her hand. This made her ring finger stand out and tied together beautifully with her rose gold jewelry. All of her bridesmaids also incorporated rose gold into their manicures in different ways.Puff Wedding - 1072(1)
  6. Bride’s Dancing Shoes Her Toms wedges were gorgeous for the ceremony and first dance, and then she put on her dancing shoes! I’ve seen Converse done before at weddings, but never with ribbon-shoe laces!
    Puff Wedding - 50
  7. The Shabby Chic Theme The dainty yet rustic decor was tied throughout all of the details, both big and small. Their guestbook and gift table were great examples of that. The guestbook in particular was so smart because it also matches their home decor and will look really nice on a wall displaying their last initial and wedding wishes!Puff Wedding - 346
  8. The Quote in the Toast  The Maid of Honor gave a lovely toast at the reception and shared this Dr. Suess quote which was completely wedding-appropriate! “We are all a little weird and life’s a little weird, and when we find someone whos weirdness is compatible with ours, we join up with them and fall in mutual weirdness and call it love.”
    Puff Wedding - 1517
  9. The Gender Reveal While the couple were celebrating their life of newlyweds, they also celebrated another life chapter: becoming new parents. At their reception, the bride and groom opened up poppers with their bridal party that shared the gender reveal! They were able to announce to all of their guests that they would be having a baby girl this fall.Puff Wedding - 1269.jpg
  10. Dessert Parade All of the food from the cocktail hour through to the reception was amazing, but the dessert “took the cake.” After a traditional cake-cutting and serving, the servers came by each table one by one, each with a unique dessert in their hand. They called it a “dessert parade.” It was decadent, extravagant and absolutely delicious.Puff Wedding - 1855

These were just my top 10 details of a very special day that showcased the love between two very special people. I hope you liked them, too!

Before we go, here is some more vendor love:

With love,

Girl with a diamond ring

Follow Me on Instagram and Pinterest for More


I’m on Pinterest!


Check out the brand new Girl with a Diamond Ring social media platform; I’m on Pinterest! Boards include wedding tips on photography and wedding favors, wedding style for the whole wedding party, and a large variety of wedding themes.

Check it out at, follow along, and happy pinning! Any ideas? Let me know.

With love,

Girl with a diamond ring

Follow Me on Instagram and Pinterest for More