Stephanie

7 unique ways to invite guests to use WedPics
by Stephanie

Here at Wedding Party, we aim to make everything about your engagement and wedding planning easier. Our blog, of course, is here for inspiration and advice 24/7, 365 days of the year. However, another great tool you might want to use is our photo sharing app, WedPics! With a custom wedding website and app created just for you, you'll be able to inform guests about important event info, let them see who else is coming to the wedding, and provide fun, private space for them to share all the photos they take from your engagement party to your wedding day.

Once you set up your account on WedPics, you'll be able to see the great benefits of using our service to communicate and share your wedding with guests. However, nothing these days is really a "build-it-and-they-will-come" situation. You've got to invite guests to use WedPics to make the most of it! Of course, we have a simple, built-in way to invite your guests to WedPics via email, text message, or Facebook messages. But let's face it -- sometimes you need to use more unique tactics to catch your guests' attention.

Here are some simple tips for easy ways to get your guests on board with WedPics, and start getting everyone excited for the big day!

1. Ease them into it at your engagement party or bridal shower

You don't need to wait until just before the wedding day to get everyone on board -- in fact, we'd encourage you to get guests joined to WedPics as soon as possible!

Why, you ask? Well, for one, you'll be able to get more photos and communicate more easily about all the events that lead up to your special day, like your engagement party or bridal shower. It also gets guests used to using WedPics as the central place for them to see everything wedding-related -- so on your wedding day, they'll already be pros at using it! Also, imagine having all your memories from all your invitees in one place. Way easier to put together the best photo album of your wedding possible.

2. Get your bridal party on board, and tell them to spread the word

Your bridal party is there to support you on their wedding day, and (for the most part) want to help you make this process easier. So why not put them to work? Getting them on board with WedPics is a snap, and they'll love the fun and dedicated space to share everything about your wedding journey.

Once you've got your bridal party on board, move on to Phase 2: delegate! Ask your bridal party to spread the word about WedPics for you. They'll love being your advocate, and making sure guests know they can stay updated about your wedding with WedPics.

3. Let guests know in your invitations

A very easy way to spread the word about WedPics to your guests is to include a small card in your custom save the date cards with instructions on how to use WedPics. You can purchase app cards for just this purpose on WedPics.com or via the app.  You can even use the code WEDPARTY to save $10 on your order!

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4. Include info in your welcome bags

Closer to the wedding day, you'll have guests from out of town trickling in. If you've set up welcome bags or packets for them, why not add in info about WedPics?

An added bonus -- if you've set up gatherings or hangouts for your guests to attend prior to your wedding day, you can mention that all the event info is on WedPics, and that they can see other guests who might attend! It's a great way to encourage guests to get to know each other before your wedding day, and that's just more fun for everyone.

Love this idea? Learn more about unique ways to welcome guests from out of town here.

5. Chalkboard it up!

On your wedding day, you can even incorporate decor with WedPics instructions at your ceremony or reception. We love what this couple did with the chalkboard sign at their ceremony!

Photo by  BeauTiedAffair

6. Remind them at dinner

Did your guests miss the chalkboard sign? Or are you having an unplugged ceremony? No matter -- your guests can still have fun using WedPics at your reception. Leaving place cards with instructions on how to join at reception tables is a simple way to get the word out, without too much effort.

Photo by  PurpleScrunch

Photo by PurpleScrunch

7. Create an I-Spy game!

We love this idea, because it not only gets guests on board with WedPics, but it also ensures that your guests are entertained and you are getting the photos you want from guests! Create an i-Spy game with a list of photos that guests should take at the reception (bride and groom kissing, best dance moves, etc).

Then, encourage them to upload their best pictures to WedPics! Before you know it you'll have hundreds of images for your thank you photo cards to remember your special day, and your guests will have a blast.

Want to get inspired? Check out our post on creating an i-Spy game for guests here.

Brides, are there any of you out there who are using WedPics for your special day? Let us know if you are, and tell us how you got YOUR guests involved! Learn more about WedPics or download it on your smartphone to start sharing your wedding day!

Related Products:

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The ultimate wedding ceremony planning checklist
by Stephanie

Photo by  Emily Wren  via  Mod Wedding

Photo by Emily Wren via Mod Wedding

The wedding ceremony — in an ideal world, this would have been one of the first things you would have planned for the big day, seeing as well... the wedding ceremony is kind of the main point of your wedding, right? However, if this is something you're scrambling to plan a few weeks before the wedding day you're not alone — after picking the templates for your photo albums online, custom wedding announcements, email exchanges with your caterer, coordinator and photographer, planning your ceremony might not have been high on your list of priorities!

Once you sit down to tackle wedding ceremony planning, you might find that there's a lot more moving parts to the 30-minute ceremony than you might have anticipated. You'll need to set up a rehearsal time, touch base with your officiant, find readers and ushers, write vows... and that's all without even mentioning the decor and details! No need for panic though — as a bride who's going through the exact same scenario, I found it was helpful to break down the event into a wedding ceremony planning checklist with sub-tasks and to-do's to stay organized. With this cheat sheet, planning your ceremony will go from feeling insurmountable to being incredibly simple!

The rehearsal:

Before you start planning the ceremony, you should definitely make sure you have a ceremony rehearsal planned before the big day! While you won't be running through the ceremony verbatim, the wedding rehearsal is helpful for you and the wedding party to determine the "choreography" of the ceremony — how fast to walk down the aisle, how to space out at the altar, etc. When planning the rehearsal, make sure to confirm:

  • When and where are you rehearsing? (Many venues include a complimentary hour before the wedding day for your rehearsal — check and see if that's in your contract!)

  • Who can make it? Ideally your officiant, members of your wedding party and parents are there.

  • Who is running it — your coordinator or officiant? Both people are probably perfectly capable of running a rehearsal, so determine early who will be calling the shots and organizing your wedding part to limit confusion.

The prelude, processional and recessional:

One of the things that you will need to figure out early is the prelude, processional and recessional — what order you'll be walking in, what music to play, etc. Some things to consider:

  • Who will be doing your ceremony music? Will you use your DJ, or need to hire musicians?

  • What music will you play for the prelude?

  • What special song choices will you play for the processional, the bride's walk and the recessional?

  • Who is walking down the aisle, and what order are they in?

  • Who will be accompanying the bride down the aisle?

The ceremony content

Let's move on to the core part of your ceremony — it's content.

Figure out the ceremony timeline:

If you've hired an officiant or religious figure to run your ceremony, talk with them about their typical wedding ceremony timeline. Chances are they've done this before, and there's a specific formula or format they tend to follow. (Think: processional, opening remarks, readings, prayers, etc.) Once you have an idea of what their ceremony content timeline looks like, figure out if there's anything you'd like to include or exclude and communicate that with them as soon as possible. The sooner you're both on the same page about ceremony content, the better!

Decide on ceremony readings

Once you have the content timeline figured out, decide on your ceremony readings (if you are having any). What passages, poems, songs, etc will you be incorporating, and who will be reading them? Make sure you ask your ceremony readers about fulfilling this role early, so they have time to prepare — or so you have time to find someone else if they aren't up to the task!

Write your vows

Lastly, your vows. Will you be using traditional religious vows, writing personal vows, or writing special vows together? Decide what you want to do early and don't leave the writing to the last minute. Great vows take time and thoughtfulness — two things that might be in short supply the night before your wedding!

Don't forget the rings!

Seriously, don't forget the rings. Make sure you know who will be handling them (traditionally the best man) on the wedding day, from the morning right up until you need them at the ceremony.

The program:

What to include:

You have a few options for your wedding program — you could opt to save paper with a chalkboard sign, go for the traditional printed route, or get creative with one of these awesome wedding ceremony ideas. In terms of content, your program should include:

  • Your names

  • The date and location

  • An outline of the ceremony content

  • The name of the officiant

  • The names of your wedding party

  • The names of your parents

  • Any other optional notes — your wedding hashtag, a meaningful quote, a note to turn off cell phones, etc.

Before you press print...

Make sure to run your program by your officiant! Some religiously affiliated officiants may have a format for you to follow with the programs, or notes on how to word certain parts of the ceremony. Of course, the final content and design of the program is up to you but it doesn't hurt to cover your bases! Get inspired with these creative save the date ideas as well.

The people:

There are a few important roles in your wedding ceremony that you may or may not have filled yet. Consider this a reminder to reach out to people if you need them to fulfill any of the roles below!

  • Ushers

  • Flowergirl

  • Ringbearer

  • Ceremony readers

  • Who will hold on to your rings?

Ceremony decor:

How much or little you decide to decorate your ceremony is completely up to you — many couples opt to have lots of details and decor for maximum visual impact at their ceremony, while others opt not to spend too much time or energy on ceremony decor. In some cases, if you have a particularly  scenic or stunning ceremony venue, you might not need that much decor to make a statement. I personally am choosing not to decorate the ceremony too extensively, as well — your guests are only going to be sitting there for about 30 minutes!

Below is a list of common ceremony decor items for weddings — what you choose to use is up to you, so think of this list as more of a reference!

Photo by  Kikitopgraphy  via  Swooned Mag

 

  • A backdrop, arch, chuppah or similar background ceremony decor

  • Aisle runner

  • Chair decor for the aisle seats

  • Signs — either to direct people where to sit, or for the program

  • Confetti, streamers, etc. for the recessional

  • A wedding program (more on that in a minute)

Phew! That's quite a long list of planning tasks and to-do's, but hopefully with this checklist you'll be able to plan an amazing and memorable wedding ceremony in no time. How did you plan your wedding ceremonies, brides and grooms? Let us know your secrets to memorable wedding ceremony success in the comments!

Related Products

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A whimsical handmade wedding by Janelle Elise Photography
by Stephanie

There are weddings that instantly make you fall in love — fall in love with the couple, the guests, the details and every other amazing part of a wedding day. Well, today's wedding is exactly that! Alexandra and Nick were married in a sweet church ceremony and had a completely whimsical handmade wedding reception put together by family members and friends.

To make it even more special, Alexandra wore her grandmother's wedding dress, and her mother hired a totally unexpected but awesome surprise for the couple... let's just say you're going to want to read more to see every amazing part of this unique handmade day, captured perfectly by Janelle Elise Photography!

"I wore my grandmothers wedding dress for our ceremony, 50 years after she was married and she was there to see it. The dress was made by my great grandmother. My bridesmaids dresses were handmade as well for the special day."

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"We had a beautiful ceremony at Grace Episcopal church, walked through Downtown Asheville with our bridal party taking pictures as we made our way to our reception venue."

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"We did everything on our own, and ALL the decorations were DIY. The light canopy was constructed and hung by my father and in-laws, flowers arranged by friends and family. We didn't hire anyone from outside the family (or friend group) for any part of the catering, decorating, DJing, photography, etc. We danced. All. Night. Long. Had local brews and donuts, and it was all with our best friends and family."

"By far the best present we received was a SURPRISE New Orleans style brass band showing up at the reception. This was planned by my mother and some family friends. We paraded Downtown Asheville with the band AND the entire wedding party and danced in Pack Square. There were nearly 180 of us walking the streets. We had people pouring out of restaurants and shops taking pictures and joining the celebration. It was INCREDIBLE."

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How gorgeous is Alexandra and Nick's big day? This is a truly special day with so many personal touches, and we are so glad we got to share it. Congrats to the happy couple!

Vendors:

Ceremony venue: Grace Episcopal Church | Reception venue: YMI Cultural Center | Flowers: DIY | Cake: Krispy Kreme Donuts | Makeup and hair: Bride & friends DIY | DJ: Family friend | Photography: Janelle Elise Photography |

6 steps to create a stunning DIY wedding dessert table
by Stephanie

Dessert Table Wedding Tips

The wedding dessert table has become just as important as the wedding photo books or nuptial photo invitations as many couples opt to skip the giant wedding cake for a more varied assortment of sugary goodies. After all, why choose one dessert when you could offer your guests a whole buffet table full of your favorite desserts? Not only does the dessert table offer your wedding guests more choices, it also can be more cost effective, depending on what type of desserts you're serving, and how much of it you're DIYing.

While a dessert table might seem pretty straightforward (cakes + donuts = success, right?) event styling rookies might have a tough time creating a DIY wedding dessert table that looks as drool-worthy as the sweet spreads on Pinterest. So how do you create a beautiful and affordable dessert table in a pinch? We've broken down the process with a few steps and resources to help guide your way.

Step 1: Pick a theme

As with all other elements of your wedding, like picking the right wedding thank you cards or save the date cards, you're going to want to follow some kind of cohesive theme when it comes to your dessert table. Having a Gatsby-themed art-deco wedding? Make sure to incorporate any colors and motifs from your wedding theme to the dessert table. Picking cake plates, decor and tablecloths or a backdrop within this theme is a good starting point. (More on decor and dishes later...)

For extra added impression, add some themed touches to your desserts — you can do this with a fun cake topper, edible glitter, colorful floral touches... you get the idea. No need to get too fancy with the food — plain white frosted desserts provide the perfect palette to make these themes or colors pop.

2. Height

The difference between a blah and beautiful wedding dessert table is HEIGHT — this is the one key element that will turn an ordinary table full of desserts into a Pin-worthy masterpiece. It creates depth and visual interest, and allows you to emphasize the most important elements of your dessert table, like the cake.

So how does one achieve height on their dessert table? Cake stands are an obvious choice, and allows for you to create a cute display for each dessert. Make sure to find a varied assortment of sizes and heights — having a table full of cake stands that are the same height wouldn't have quite the same visual effect you're looking for.

If you don't have a bunch of cake stands to use for your dessert table, you can find some fairly affordable options if you search around! Our recommendations:

  • Home goods! Get thee to a Home Goods and find incredibly affordable cake plates. Just do it.

  • Pier 1 has a few basic glass and ceramic cake plates for under $20

  • Ikea is one of the best places to get affordable decor for cheap. Cake stands are no exception!

If you don't have the budget, time or energy to find cake stands for your dessert table, you have a few options to add height to your dessert table:

  1. DIY it: You can create your own cake stands! We love this DIY tutorial by The Bearfoot Baker and this DIY tutorial by Wedding Chicks. You'll be whipping up the perfect dessert table stands in no time!

  2. Use vintage crates, boxes, or whatever else you can find that will create height: Who says you need to use cake stands? If your wedding has a rustic theme, old wooden crates or boxes could work just as well to create height. Or, cover your stands with fabric or the tablecloth to disguise the stand. Easy!

3. Decor elements

Okay, you have a theme for your dessert table and you know you've got to add some height. Great! Just a few more steps... bear with me now!

You're dessert table is going to look pretty darn sparse if you don't have something else on the surface to fill it out, visually speaking. The easiest way to fill out your dessert table with decor is to add flowers, candles and/or whatever else you're using for decor. Make sure when you're talking with your florist (or whoever is doing your flowers) that you mention needing a few extra vases for your dessert table. Adding in candles might not be a bad idea either.

There's no fast and quick rule to how many vases, candles or extra decor you'll need — a lot of this will depend on how much space you'll have on the table once the desserts are placed. Make sure that your table doesn't end up looking too crowded and cluttered, though! Give each dessert stand and piece of decor some space. Remember you might also have serving utensils, silverware or dishes on the the tables as well — this may affect how many pieces of decor you'll need to add.

Photo by  Smitten Studio

4. A backdrop

Okay, technically you can do without a backdrop, but it really helps to call out your dessert table and give it that extra-special touch, and doesn't have to cost a fortune. Some amazing backdrop ideas we've seen include:

  • Ballons

  • Ribbon garlands

  • Photo garlands

  • Marquis lights

  • A simple fabric backdrop

Photo by  Ameris  via  100 Layer Cake

Photo by Ameris via 100 Layer Cake

 

5. Signage

Your guests are going to want to know what tasty desserts they can choose from! Make sure to clearly mark the desserts with place cards or other simple DIY signage. Nuff said.

 

6. Your desserts!

Okay last step — make sure you have your desserts planned out and ready to go on the big day! If you're doing a DIY wedding dessert table, that probably means you'll need to do more than just pick up your wedding cake from the bakery. If you caterer or baker isn't planning on delivering your wedding desserts, make sure you have a trusted family member or friend assigned to pick up the cake and any other cupcakes/donuts/cookies/whatever that you'll need for the dessert table.

(While you're at it, read our tips for saving money on your wedding cake...)

In terms of quantity, think of it this way — it's always better to have more food than not enough, and that goes doubly for desserts! A good rule of thumb from Sweet and Saucy Shop is:

  • For a table full of mini-desserts (no cake), allocate about 3-4 mini-desserts per person. (Editor's note: take this down to 1-2 mini-desserts per person if you're also having cake.)

  • You don't want to overwhelm guests with options, so choose 2-3 more options than what you're allotting per guests. For example, if you are assuming 3 mini-desserts per person, you should have about 5-6 dessert options.

That means if you're having a dessert table and a wedding cake for 100 people, you should have about:

  • 2-3 servings (including cake slices) per person, or about 250 dessert servings total.

  • 4-5 different types of desserts to choose from

Now that you've gotten all the planning tips you need to create the best DIY wedding dessert table ever, it's time to go forth and conquer! Which of you brides are planning on DIYing your dessert tables, and how did you accomplish a stunning spread? Let us know in the comments!

Related Wedding Products:

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A timeless outdoor wedding by Majesta Patterson
by Stephanie

There details that you can't deny are elegant and timeless when it comes to weddings: lace dresses, pink roses, a dapper tux and impeccable decor are just a few things that come to mind. Which is why when we see an elegant and timeless outdoor wedding like today's Saratoga Springs celebration, we can't help but immediately be drawn to it!

Majesta Patterson did a superb job of capturing Stefanie and Rich's wedding day, which took place in the gorgeous green forests right above Santa Cruz. Stefanie's bridesmaids are a vision in shades of purple and periwinkle, but of course no one tops the bride! And together, Stefanie and Rich look unbelievably happy under that fantastic chuppah. Read on for more of this charming and timeless outdoor wedding!

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How adorable are they? Congrats to Stefanie and Rich, and thanks to Majesta Patterson for sharing this gorgeous wedding with us!

Vendors:

Venue: Saratoga Springs | Videography: Patterson Films | Hair & Makeup: Beauty by Cherise Hughes | Florist: Unique Touch Florals | Cake: Nothing Bundt Cakes | Film Scans by: Richard Photo Lab

A shabby chic country wedding by Gage Blake Photography
by Stephanie

There's nothing lovelier than seeing a wedding where a bride and groom actually have FUN on the big day — and today's couple, Janelle and Tyler, did just that! It's clear that the bride and groom are best friends and were so excited to get married on the big day. Janelle looked gorgeous in her strapless lace gown and Tyler and his groomsmen were perfectly dapper in gray suits. With pops of pink and rustic decor like mason jars, burlap and lace, their rustic, shabby chic country wedding in Ohio was perfect. Luckily, Gage Blake Photography was there to capture the entire day from start to finish!

A few words from the bride:

The most memorable moment of our wedding was the ENTIRE day! I loved every part of the day and I would not have changed a thing. From the start with the moms and my girls, to the ceremony where everything became "official", to the pictures where the weather was perfect, and ending with an awesome party filled with food, fun, family, and friends. 

Click through to get inspired by Janelle and Tyler's wedding day!

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Congrats to Janelle and Tyler, and thanks to Gage Blake Photography for sharing this special shabby chic country wedding day!

Vendors:

Photographers: Gage Blake Photography | Ceremony Venue: First United Methodist | Reception Venue: Ole Zim’s Wagon Shed | Florist: Rick Heimbaugh | DJ/Entertainment: Marco Ontiveros

22 jaw-dropping celebrity engagement rings
by Stephanie

Iggy Azalea just joined the ranks of engaged celebrities sporting serious bling when (now-fiancé) Nick Young proposed earlier this week with a $500,000 yellow diamond ring. Yes, you read that right — her sparkling stunner is a half million dollars. Catch a video of the proposal here!

We decided that with Iggy's jaw-dropping bling, it was high time to take a look back on some of our favorite celebrity engagement rings. From multi-carat icebergs to colored gemstones and tasteful silhouettes, these celeb engagement rings really run the gamut in terms of style, but every single one is simply swoon-worthy. We know who's sporting our favorite sparkly rings... but which ones will you love?

Nicki Reed's flower-shaped diamond ring

Ashlee Simpson's custom-designed vintage ruby ring

Elizabeth Hurley's sapphire stunner

Katherine McPhee's classic round diamond engagment ring

Penelope Cruz's vintage-inspired sapphire ring

Halle Berry's unique emerald engagement ring

Carrie Underwood's yellow diamond

Photo by  Glamour

Photo by Glamour

Blake Lively's much-loved oval diamond & rose gold ring

Photo by  Harpers Bazaar

Heidi Klum's GIANT yellow diamond

Princess Kate's classic sapphire heirloom ring

A personal favorite: Olivia Wilde's diamond and emerald stunner

Scarlett Johansson's vintage art-deco engagement ring

Christina Aguilera's vintage diamond beauty

Is Nicki engaged? This giant yellow diamond ring seems to say yes...

A classic cushion-cut diamond is always a good idea

Jaime Lynn Spears' diamond is SO sparkly

Ashley Tisdale's double halo ring is ginormous

Love Kelly Osbourne's simple and elegant round diamond ring

Lauren Conrad's classic solitaire is timeless

Kim K's GIANT diamond ring is giant in North West's hand!

Lady Gaga's heart shaped diamond is certainly one-of-a-kind!

Well, I'm pretty much obsessed with Olivia Wilde and Blake Lively's engagement rings... but really, who isn't?! Don't forget to Pin your favorite engagement ring, and big congrats to Iggy Azalea and Nick Young!

An elegant San Francisco engagement by Majesta Patterson
by Stephanie

One of the most memorable parts of the wedding planning process is taking your engagement photos — you'll spend a few special hours giggling with your future spouse, get to know your photographer and get some amazing photos out of it to boot! It goes without saying that Bryan and Amy, the couple from today's shoot, had a simply gorgeous, elegant San Francisco engagement session with Majesta Patterson.

With the rustic, rolling hills of California as the backdrop, this is one engagement shoot you won't want to miss. Plus, how cute is Amy's white tulle skirt? Read on for more!

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How cute are they? Majesta Patterson did such an amazing job capturing Bryan and Amy's special engagement — we're sure their wedding day is going to be completely beautiful! Congrats to the happy couple...