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Gemvara Blog » Brides Guide
2 July

Top 11 Ways To Have a Patriotic Wedding Any Time of the Year



Top 11 Ways To Have a Patriotic Wedding Any Time of the Year

July fourth is independence Day here in the USA, so naturally our thoughts this month turn to patriotism. While we tend to think of it in terms of fireworks and red, white, and blue everything, the definition is actually much wider. The term encompasses support of and pride in the very fabric of what makes the country unique: its history, achievements, diverse culture, favorite pastimes and, most importantly, those who protect our freedom and safety as we go about our everyday lives. In that spirit, here are eleven ideas for your patriotic wedding or event:

1. Support our troops by foregoing a cake, favors, or other aspect of the wedding and giving to one of the top rated charities. My pinboard here lists all those rated four stars by Charity Navigator.

2. Donate to a charity that supports veterans, firefighters, or police officers and use “charity place cards”  made specifically for the purpose. The pinboard referenced above contains the best run charities.

3. Celebrate America’s rustic roots by using items that represent how our ancestors lived. See the top six ideas in my last blog article, here.  You may also find the mason jar decorations brainstorming section on my website here.

4. Buy only American-made products for the wedding. It can be tough to find 100% American components, but buying US made is the next best thing. Gemvara’s jewelry, for example, is all made in the US.  For hand crafted items, Etsy is a good place to look. While items on the site are sold from all around the world, you can look on each seller’s profile to find out where she lives.

5. Get married at an historical location.  Here in St. Louis, Missouri, for example, you can get married and have your reception at The Old Courthouse, built in 1828.

6. Get married at a baseball park. It has been said baseball is America’s favorite pastime. Families have shared good times around the game since its inception in the 18th century, so why not celebrate this relationship with your favorite team? Our St. Louis Cardinals, for example, offer several ceremony and reception  packages.

7. Serve traditional American fare. Food is another aspect of our country’s history we look upon fondly. And nothing captures traditional American culture more than the iconic apple pie and hot dogs. Of course, your traditions may vary, so another approach is to preserve your unique American heritage by serving great-grandma’s and other family specialties from both families.

8. Serve red, white, and blue food and drink. There are many ways to bring the red, white, and blue theme into food choices. One way is to include blueberries, bananas, strawberries, whipped cream, watermelon, salsa, white cheese, or some of the numerous other patriotic-colored foods. You can also add colorful decorations (like sprinkles) or wrap food in patriotic packaging (like red striped popcorn bags or red, white, and blue hotdog wrappers).

9. Make your wedding colors red, white, blue. Chose full-on stars and stripes, a subtle integration of the color scheme, or something in between. And matching Brides and Groom’s Band in red, white and blue gemstones!

10. Display flags and other patriotic decorations. Some ideas: actual flagsgarland, star shaped confetti, or any of a number of similar decorations. Also, red, white, and blue gumballs in bulk are great to layer inside clear vases for centerpieces.

11. Set off Fireworks. Sparklers are especially popular and available anytime of year. Guests celebrate as you arrive at the reception (or whenever you think the time is right).

I hope these thoughts have given you new ideas for your own wedding. For even more inspiration, take a look at my Patriotic Wedding Pinterest board here.

Create your dream wedding  jewelry on!


About Bobette Kyle

Bobette is owner and publisher of, where you can create your dream wedding on a do-it-yourself budget via the site’s tips, tutorials, videos, and products.

Products are from hundreds of merchants, ranging in size from well-known department stores to niche boutiques. You can find items in their inventory through a unique product search engine that eliminates your need to look at each website individually. It looks in all stores’ stock and compiles a list of results for you. You can also take a look at current sales and other offers, many not published on the merchants’ own sites here.

About the Photographers

Brandilyn Davidson, Brandilyn Davidson Photography
Wedding under the tent and red tie groom
Brandilyn serves the Tri-Cities, Johnson City Tennessee area.

Natasha and Craig Blick, Pie&
3 Tier wedding pie
The Blicks own the Pie& specialty pie shop in Keighley, West Yorkshire, England.

Jon and Ashley Bruschi, Fixed Focal Photography
Sparkler wedding
The Bruschis live in the Woodstock, Georgia area, but will travel to further locations.

26 June

Bridesmaid Gift Guide from The Budget Savvy Bride

As the bride, you will have hundreds of decisions to make. After you’ve chosen who to include in your bridal party to stand beside you on your special day, you’ll need to decide on the PERFECT gift to express your gratitude for her friendship. Here’s a few of my very favorite gift ideas for your bridesmaids:


1. Custom iPhone Cases from Pencil Shavings Studio: $39.99. These chic cases come in a variety of colors and tons of adorable patterns, giving you the opportunity to create a completely custom case for each bridesmaid! Because, let’s face it- your iPhone is one of your most used accessories so it’s gotta look cute, right? Your gals are sure to love them.
2. Custom Hardcover Journals from Paper Coterie: $18.00. These are the cutest hardcover journals- excellent quality, and you can customize them with your names and a photo of you with each bridesmaid, creating a special momento for each friend. I just love these, they’ve become a go-to when I need a special gift. Their tools are super easy to use to customize your own with different colors and photos.
3. Bright colored makeup bag: $30.00. Every girl needs a cute bag to tote her makeup essentials around in, so why not get her a super cute one? This example is from Kate Spade and is on sale. Something fun to get for a friend if they don’t like to splurge on designer pieces for themselves. (They usually have these items in a variety of patterns and colors in the sale section- great for gifts!)
4. Nail polishes from Essie: $8.00. Essie always has the cutest colors and you can easily pick them up at your local Target. Pick out a hue for each gal and maybe even put them in the cute makeup bag you snagged!
5. Birchbox Subscription: $10/month. You can give this awesome beauty sample service as a gift to each maid- just choose the number of months you’d like to gift and each gal will receive a box of hand picked beauty samples just for her! This is a gift that keeps on giving if you gift her multiple months, so she’ll remember your gratitude each time she sees that cute little pink box in her mail each month!

Shop for Bridesmaid gifts on!

18 June

Top 6 Rustic Wedding Trends from


Summer is upon us, as are weddings with a bit (or more) informality. While the traditional fairytale wedding will always be alive and well, today’s open-minded approach of nearly anything goes has broadened horizons to include unique venues and product choices unheard of only a few years ago. Rustic weddings–including rural venues and country style decor–are one such trend. While the overall look can vary dramatically from one event to the next, there are several themes that tend to appear over and over again in these fun weddings.  Six of these are below, along with links to topical pin boards from my Pinterest account and other resources.

The Great Outdoors. Every type of large outdoor space has probably been used for a wedding. Favorites for a rustic flair are farms, ranches, wineries, open fields, and back yards overlooking the countryside. All can add a unique ambiance and incredible backdrops for photos. Get more inspiration here, from my Outdoor Wedding Ideas board on Pinterest.

Barns. If you have lived in urban areas your entire life, you probably picture a barn as messy and smelly. For the most part, this is not so. Clear it out, sweep the floor, and you have a perfect venue for a good time.

Some of the most beautiful wedding receptions are held in barns. This is because a barn’s structure naturally provides many places to hang decorations and lighting from both the rafters and walls. Take a look at the Barn Weddings pinboard  and you will see what I mean.

Mason Jars.  Originally created for canning foods in the mid-1800s, the mason jar is now a decorating staple in some circles. In fact, my daughter and I recently finished a new mason jar brainstorming section on There is a video plus nine different centerpiece looks to help get the “creative juices” flowing.  Also, you can check out the Mason Jar Wedding pinboard here.


Chalkboards. These are no longer relegated to only the classroom. For a rustic sign, add a distressed frame and handwritten note. A modern day version–chalkboard paint –is even more popular. Spray or brush it onto anything from wine glasses to boards or plywood. After drying, you have your own custom sign surface on which to write anything you would like, such as directions, seating charts, or menus. See what others have done here.


Cowboy Boots for the Girls. Country singing star Miranda Lambert wore them in her wedding to Blake Shelton, as did her bridesmaids,  but they weren’t the first. This is a trend that has been quietly building over the last couple of years and is continuing to be popular for country-rustic nuptials. Miranda chose white for herself and brown for the rest of the wedding party. Other brides have worn brown boots, with non-matching colored boots for the bridesmaids or some other variation. Take a look here for ideas.

Burlap. The first time I heard of burlap as a decorating material I was befuddled. The stuff potato sacks are made from? Yes, that stuff! It turns out the material is surprisingly versatile and attractive. You can dress it up with lace, pair it with wildflowers and twine for a “down home country” look, or anything in between. Favors, bouquets, table cloths, centerpieces, and chair covers are a few of the ways burlap is making an appearance in weddings. (Many real life ideas are here) The best way to purchase the fabric by the bolt or roll is through an online store. You can find several options–including dyed burlap–here.

I hope these suggestions have inspired several ideas for your own rustic wedding. Happy planning!

Looking for wedding bands? Customize your own on


About the Author

Bobette Kyle is owner and publisher. The Website helps create dream weddings on do-it-yourself budgets and includes tips, tutorials, and videos.

The site also contains products from hundreds of merchants, ranging in size from well-known department stores to niche boutiques. Shoppers on can find offers and products in several ways, including current offers and deal from hundreds of merchants, here.

11 June

Bridal Blogger Highlights: Ringspotters

What inspired you to create your blog? 

My sister and I have always had a thing for jewelry – engagement rings in particular. When I was living in Chicago taking the bus to and from work every day, I was the person who would blatantly stare at other girls’ bling. And so, in February of 2010, when my sister and I both happened to be on maternity leave at the same time, we decided to start RingSpotters as a pet project! It has grown over the years and  served as the platform for our latest venture, Idojour – a new online bridal boutique.

What makes your blog unique? 

Both at RingSpotters and Idojour, we spend a lot of time creating content that we think will resonate with readers. We pour our hearts and souls into finding the best pieces and creating content that we are proud to share – from wedding day tips and celebrity engagement and wedding news to gorgeous bling and reader submission. And of course, we like to keep things clean, elegant and pretty.

How would you describe your personal style? 

As a mom and an entrepreneur, comfort comes first. I’ll typically stick to neutral tones (blacks, grays and whites) and flats, but will accessorize with a colorful purse, chunky earrings or large sunglasses. When I dress up, however, I love to play with color and prints, experiment with bold makeup and funky up-dos (because my curly hair will never behave on its own) and will, without fail, don a pair of sky high heels.

What is your favorite piece on Gemvara? 

I am obsessed with stackable rings – I love mixing and matching different pieces to create something unique and feminine. I would create a stack of delicate rings in 18k white gold in cool, tropical hues.


How would you style your favorite Gemvara piece?
I would wear them with the following outfit to one of the 4 summer weddings that I will be attending over the next few months!




9 June

Wedding Wares: Bride to Be

dress, shoes, earrings / dress, shoes, pendant / dress, shoes, drops

In the weekly column “Wedding Wares” we’ve given you tips for how to dress as a wedding guest, a bridesmaid and with our final segment we’re giving you our advice for what to wear as the bride.

Whether it be a garden theme, beach wedding or formal affair, the bridal gown is the most important dress at a wedding so we put a lot of thought into our picks. This lacy gown with scalloping detail from Ann Taylor seemed like an ideal choice for a garden party, while the strapless, lightweight chiffon dress is perfect for a beachy destination. We also loved the jeweled details on the Aidan Mattox halter dress for a formal wedding because let’s face it, we love jewels.

Second to the importance of the gown is the jewelry. We love the idea of wearing blue dangling drops (they can be your something blue!) to add some color to an all white ensemble. Simple diamond studs always look classy and a cute pendant is a nice touch for a casual wedding.

Which look is your favorite?

7 June

Miley Cyrus and Liam Hemsworth are Engaged!


If you haven’t heard yet, Miley Cyrus and Liam Hemsworth are tying the knot after dating on and off for three years.  Girls everywhere, including here at Gemvara, are distraught at the news of Hemsworth becoming officially off the market, despite our adoration of Cyrus.  But the juiciest details of this love story is, of course, the ring.  Hemsworth and jeweler Neil Lane worked together to create the antique 3.5 carat cushion cut diamond set in 18 carat yellow gold.  The ring also has intricate detailing with carved diamond floral motifs in an art nouveau pattern.

Luckily for those of us who don’t have a high profile celebrity jeweler on speed dial (or the Hemsworth brothers for that matter), Gemvara has several options that resemble Cyrus’ dazzling ring.



Shop Similar Rings Now


6 June

Curator of the Moment: Offbeat Bride

We were lucky to pair up with some of our favorite advocates of personalized wedding and engagement jewelry and have them hand select some of their favorite gemvara pieces to showcase on our homepage. And since their offbeat world is so fascinating, we decided to have them tell us about it in their own words.

Tell us little bit about yourself and how Offbeat Bride was started:

“I started working with Ariel and her team as Assistant Editor for Offbeat Bride a little over a year ago. I work from my home office in Chicago, Illinois as a web consultant and designer. Offbeat Bride was founded by Ariel Meadow Stallings in 2007 as a vehicle for her book Offbeat Bride: Creative Alternatives for Independent Brides. The blog eclipsed the book and Ariel had to bring on more staff to accommodate the growing audience.

What initially began as a book promotional project slowly grew into a completely different beast — a blog updated daily with tons of “wedding porn” (photos from real people’s really offbeat weddings), advice, and inspiration for couples who are working to create authentic weddings full of intention and personality. It’s now our pleasure to serve up inspiration for over 480,000 readers every month.”

Offbeat Bride is a part of the Offbeat Empire of sites including,, and

What is your favorite Real Wedding featured on Offbeat Bride?

Since I get to edit each real wedding submission, I get attached to quite a few. But if I had to choose, there was one elopement that had me swooning from its charm. The amazing video of the day certainly helped. Laura Beth & Jesse’s spontanous fun-filled elopement and “drunch” wedding.  Photo by Jennie Andrews

I also have to include a masquerade wedding featuring some fantastic artwork made by the groom. He hand-carved the statues based on a popular “Doctor Who” episode for their décor, and it looked incredible, as the entire wedding did. Phantom meets Halloween in this DIY masquerade wedding in Florida.  Photo by Palm Beach Photography

What are your favorite wedding trends for 2012?

I love seeing brides and grooms choose their attire based on loving the outfit and its ability to be re-worn. This gives us lots of short dresses, quirky suits, colorful dresses, etc to feature. It really lends some variety to our featured weddings and allows the bride and groom to choose something that really fits their personality. (photo by 2 Brides)

Additionally, I love how couples are incorporating other activities into their receptions: lawn games, karaoke, video games (go go Rock Band!), and even building a Rube Goldberg machine at one wedding! Photo by Kyle Hepp

How did you select the pieces for the Offbeat Bride Gemvara curator collection?

I tried to tailor the selections to traits I associate with our readers: fiercely independent and totally creative. Gemvara is ideal for personalization. Ultimately, a lot of colored gems and mixed metals came to mind.

  • How important is customization and personalization when it comes to planning a wedding?

For readers of our site, it’s usually the ultimate goal. Almost all of our real weddings mention the desire to inject their personalities into a fairly rigid institution. We are continually surprised and inspired by the brainpower and creative spirits of our brides and grooms. When it comes to wedding bands, engagement rings, and wedding jewelry, it’s the same story. They don’t want a cookie cutter piece when they have the ability to make their mark with their own design choices.

5 June

Bridal Blogger Highlights: The Budget Savvy Bride

1.      What inspired you to create your blog?

My hubby and I had to pay for our wedding ourselves and we didn’t have a lot of money, so we knew we would have to get creative and do a lot of DIY in order to make our dream wedding a reality. I created The Budget Savvy Bride as a way to record my thoughts, ideas, and inspiration for our own wedding. At the time there were wedding blogs popping up all over the place but none that really catered to brides that had a small budget, so I just happened to fit into that niche and soon brides from all over started coming to BSB to get inspiration and ideas to save money on their own weddings!
2.      What makes your blog unique?

I think the fact that most of the weddings we feature cost less than half the national average wedding budget makes BSB unique. We help brides see that you don’t have to spend a fortune in order to have a beautiful wedding day! All of the real weddings we feature include the cost or budget breakdown so that our readers can see how the bride spent her money- it gives some realistic numbers to help them plan and prioritize their own budgets!
3.      How would you describe your personal style?

Eclectic. I’ve always been a fan of mixing dressier pieces with casual ones. I’m that girl who wears her pearls with her blue jeans. I try to be a savvy shopper and am always looking for good deals! I love to pair better quality pieces with less expensive ones and I accessorize a lot. I believe that the right accessories can totally transform an everyday, so-so outfit into something chic and stylish! I’m a big fan of color so I try to incorporate a good pop of color somewhere in my outfit, whether it’s a bold cardigan, statement necklace, or colored denim.

4.      What is your favorite piece on Gemvara?

When I first discovered Gemvara, I played around on the website for well over an hour. Being able to customize each piece with your choice of metal and gemstones is so amazingly personalized! I totally fell in love with the Cecilia ring in gold with a Citrine stone as the center and diamond pave band. It is STUNNING and amazingly priced at $935. I am a big fan of colored engagement rings so it would be a great option for an engagement ring, but I’m going to start dropping hints to my hubby about a possible 5 year anniversary present/right hand ring.

5.      How would you style your favorite Gemvara piece?

The (2) Cecilia ring is a ring you could literally wear with anything- dressy or casual! The yellow is versatile enough to pair with a wide range of colors, but I love love LOVE yellow and green or teal together. So I put together this great outfit with a fabulous (3) green dress from ModCloth that would easily be dressed up or down depending on how you accessorize it. I paired the dress with some affordable (4) tan wedges from Target, and some (1) pear drop earrings from Gemvara. Finish the look with a stack of (5) delicate gold bangles, like the ones pictured. This versatile look could be worn to a shower, wedding, or engagement party! I love it so much I’m gonna have to snag some of these pieces for myself!


gemvara-outfit-bsb (1)



23 May

Wedding Wares: Bridesmaids Edition

dress, shoes, flower pendant / dress, shoes, earrings / dress, shoes, initial neckalce

Whether you have a wedding planned for this season or just a fantasy of what you would like your future nuptials to entail, choosing your bridesmaid’s attire can be a difficult process. You want to please everyone, but most of all you have to make sure it’s something you like. For our second installment of the Wedding Wares series we’re focusing on how to dress your bridesmaids.

The first suggestion is for a garden wedding, next is a beach theme and last is a formal affair. Each outfit is appropriate and best of all, reasonably priced! I think it’s also a sweet touch to give your bridesmaids jewelry and have them wear it during the ceremony. The flower pendant is memorable because it follows the garden theme and you can never go wrong with an initial necklace.

How would you go about choosing your bridesmaid’s dresses and gifts?

18 May

Wedding Wares: Guest Attire

Wedding season is upon us and I don’t know about you, but choosing the right outfit for the right setting can be quite a challenge. There’s the friend with her wedding on the beach, the one in a traditional church setting, the black tie affair, oh and you can’t forget about the garden party. Where does a girl begin? Here are a few suggestions:


For a beach wedding you have the most freedom with how you dress. You can go pretty casual, but I think wearing a maxi dress or a flowing, short number is your best bet. Keep the shoes summery with something like espadrilles or flat sandals. And of course, go bright with your jewels. Big gems are sure to glow under the shining sun. Try Gemvara’s Monsoon Earrings and make a stunning statement.


A happy medium between beach and cocktail attire, a garden wedding calls for a sweet patterned dress with fun accessories. Bright shoes and cute, floral studs complement this look perfectly.


The most formal of the three options, cocktail calls for a knee-length dress in a solid color or a small pattern. Don’t go too overboard with this dress. Heels are a must for a wedding of this kind and your jewelry should be elegant and sophisticated. I love the Amphora Earrings from Gemvara for this look.

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