Newlyweds Share Their Wedding-Night Sex Stories (and Tips!)

Tips for Hottest Honeymoon Sex from Real Brides

Photo: Getty Images

For some, wedding-night sex is a no-brainer — and a steamy one at that. While for others, it takes planning, coordination (and a limit on cocktail consumption) to ensure a post-nuptials romp. But no matter which category you might fall into, there are certain wedding-night mishaps and obstacles that can definitely kill the mood. So take note from these brides and grooms — they’re sharing their own personal wedding night stories and tips to help your first night as man and wife be hot as ever.

Pick your petals carefully

“We retired to our Chamber of Love to find that my maid of honor had thoughtfully scattered peonies on the bed. I had an allergy attack, sneezing and gasping all over the place. My husband spent 15 minutes ridding the room of flowers. We still had sex, but I sneezed the entire time!” — Diane, Maplewood, N.J.

Deal with your dress

“My husband couldn’t figure out my corset. Finally he got frustrated and just ripped it off. Hot, right? But by then we were so tired, we just went through the motions and fell asleep.” — Aimee, Charlotte, N.C.

See more: 10 Old-Fashioned Ways to Blow Your Husband’s Mind in Bed

Have a food plan

“We had decided to wait until our wedding night to have sex. But since we didn’t eat much at the wedding, we were starving by the time we got to the hotel! We had to find snacks before we could do anything else.” — Susan, Denver

Don’t let anything get in your way

“We threw a small reception at our apartment, so we had to clean up after. I remember thinking, ‘I am so not getting laid.’ Surprise: My wife was not only up for it but really passionate. I’ll always remember that night.” — Doug, Chicago

Want more genius planning tips? For the best wedding dresses, advice, and big-day inspiration, pick up the BRIDES June/July 2015 issue, on newsstands now and available for download here!


5 Spa-Inspired Beauty Products to Help You De-Stress Before the Big Day

Spa Beauty Products To Help De-Stress

Photo: Getty Images

Starting the official wedding-day countdown? Eliminate jitters by pampering yourself with relaxing beauty treatments — without stepping foot in a spa. Here, a few indulgent products you’ll love to try at home.

Intelligent Nutrients Destress Express Hair & Body Oil

This mood-lifting elixir contains a blend of organic oils like peppermint, spearmint, and rosemary to nourish and hydrate your hair. For the full, spa-like experience, try their recommended three-step process: Put a drop of oil under your nose, or place it in the palm of your hand, and inhale. (This, they say, will help clear your mind.) Then, massage the oil onto dry hair, starting from the ends and working your way up to your scalp. After your hair is fully saturated, wait a few minutes, then shampoo to rinse it out. Voilà — shiny hair and a zen mood. $43.25, available at Intelligent Nutrients

Wei Golden Root Purifying Mud Mask

These herb-infused mud masks help minimize the appearance of pores, eradicate breakouts, and give you a serious glow. They’re also individually wrapped, so they stay fresh with each use. What we’re really suckers for, though, is the brush you use to apply them. It’s super soft and makes you feel like you’re getting a professional treatment! $42, available at Sephora

See more: The Trick to Finding the Most Flattering Pink Lipstick for Your Wedding

Kerstin Florian Mineral Wellness Soak with Eucalyptus

Can’t remember the last time you took a bath? Set aside an evening to just that — and be sure to use bath salts, like these, which help detoxify and nourish your body. They also contain a plethora of minerals and trace elements, like sulfur, which clears congestion, colloidal silver, an antiseptic that softens skin, and iron, which promotes oxygen circulation to give you a healthy glow. We recommend brewing a cup of herbal tea and having a stack of magazines on hand (like, um, BRIDES!) to help you unwind. $9, available at Kerstin Florian

Essie Spa Pedicure So Sole Good

With its delicious coconut scent, this exfoliating foot scrub will make you feel like you’re already on a tropical honeymoon. Rub it on your feet and legs in circular motions, rinse off, apply a body oil or lotion, and put cotton socks on after to really soak in the moisture. $10.99, available at Target

See more: 4 Healthy Meal Delivery Services to Try Before Your Wedding

Frank Body Body Scrub

This organic, natural body exfoliator uses coffee grounds to stimulate blood flow, cold-pressed almond oil to moisturize, and brown sugar and sea salt to exfoliate, cleanse, and clarify. Use it allover in the shower for soft, radiant skin that smells delish, too. One word of warning, though: It might make you want a cup of coffee, like, immediately after. $14.95, available at Frank Body

3 Brides on Their Last Night as a Single Lady

Brides on Last Night as Single Woman

Photo: Getty Images

BW and AM: Before Wedding and After Marriage. Your whole life changes in just one night after you say “I do,” so we wanted to find out how brides spent their last night as a single lady. Here, three stories.

The Bride Who Used the Last Night as a Stress Reliever

Olivia, whose life as a married woman began four years ago come August, says, “Ok, this doesn’t paint me in the best light but I went to a local bar and had tons of drinks with three girlfriends who were in town for my wedding.” Warming to her story, Olivia relives the happy memory: “We had fried foods, martinis and did lots of dancing.” Afterward the friends “crawled into my hotel room bed, makeup still on our faces and laughed about being young, about how I was the first of us to get married and how my hubby to be was so different than all my high school boyfriends.”

Olivia says it was a huge “stress reliever” after months of planning a wedding. “I just let it all go and had a blast with all my closest friends — it’s exactly what I needed,” she says.

See More: Party On, Girls! Listen To Our Bachelorette-Party Playlist

The Bride Who Downed Jell-O Shots

Married two years, Tiffany explains, “My last night as a single woman was fun, nerve-wracking and stomach-turning.” Instead of holding her rehearsal dinner at a restaurant, the bridal party descended on Tiffany’s mom for a “huge dinner with music, drinks, Jell-O shots, a variety of food and just great people.”

Tiffany wants it on record her sister made her do orange peel shots, but once she was finally in bed many questions crossed her mind: Would she make it down the aisle without crying; would her husband cry as she walked down the aisle toward him; would people actually show up for the wedding; would the food be good?

Tiffany ends, “Although my mind was scattered, one thing I knew for sure: the next day I was marrying my best friend. If everything else fell apart, that would still be the case. And that has proven to be true.”

The Bride Who Had a Date Night with Her Groom

When Caitlin wed in 2011 she and Jose had been together 10 years. Each had been married before. This time would be different — relaxed and intimate (25 people). Since she had done it before, there were no nerves on the night before the big day. Caitlin remembers, “We saw no need to sleep separately.” Instead they shared Chinese food, cuddled up, and watched the most appropriate movie possible — Bridesmaids!

Sherry Amatenstein is a New York City-based marriage therapist and author.

Amy Schumer Photobombed One Couple’s Central Park Engagement Shoot — See the Pic!

Amy Schumer Engagement Shoot Photobomb

Photo: Alisha Siegel

Amy Schumer is showing up everywhere lately! First, she pranks Kimye on the red carpet. Then, a few weeks ago, she crashes Kaitlyn Bristowe’s group date onThe Bachelorette. And now, she’s photobombing engagement shoots.

Grooms-to-be Joseph Turnage and Brandon Moore were snapping sweet engagement photos in Central Park with their photographer Alisha Siegel when the funny woman (and consummate prankster) Amy Schumer ran by on a jog. Naturally, the comedian stopped and had to get in on the action. Schumer screamed out: “Oh my god! Are you taking engagement photos? Let me get in one!” Siegel told People of the run-in.

“I thought it was a little weird but I said yes anyways,” the photographer continued. “She took off her sunglasses, we snapped a quick pic, and right after she says, ‘You guys know I’m like reeeeeeal famous.’ I take another look it hit me that it was Amy Schumer!”

See more: Jennifer Hudson’s “I Still Love You” Video Stands Up for Marriage Equality

The whole thing was pretty shocking, Siegel admits. Especially since they all didn’t realize it was Amy until she said so! “My face went totally blank and I said, ‘Oh my god! Amy! I love you!’ Needless to say I was pretty excited,” Siegel said of the shoot’s cameo.

The couple themselves — who will be exchanging vows in Manhattan this October — were equally flabbergasted by Schumer’s surprise appearance.

On her website’s blog post about the engagement shoot, Siegel also elaborated that this couple is extra special. “Maybe it was the cocktails we had beforehand, or the fact that Amy Schumer insisted she get in a photo,” she wrote. “Whatever it was, the day seemed to be magical, natural, and so much fun. I cannot wait to photograph their wedding day in October…it is going to be a seriously special night, I can already feel it.”

We’re gunning for Schumer to show up for another cameo!

This Couple Returned to the College Where They Met for Their Summer Nuptials

Annapolis, Maryland Colorful Afternoon Wedding - Bride and Groom

Photo: Lindsay Hite of Readyluck

Jacquelyn Fradette met Lee Goldsmith during her freshman year of college (his junior) in 2003. Despite mutal friends introducing the pair, the sparks didn’t fly until two years later when they met again in August 2005 and they officially became a couple. Seven years later, when Jacquelyn was in Chicago visiting Lee during a break from her summer internship, he surprised her with a proposal — and an empty bottle of Elmer’s Glue. “The backstory is that the second year we were dating I mentioned that as a kid I love when I got glue on my hands in art class because it was fun to peel it off,” the bride says. The groom emptied out a bottle and stashed a three-stone sapphire engagement ring inside. “I couldn’t believe he remembered that joke from almost seven years earlier.”

They enjoyed a two-year engagement before tying the knot in Annapolis, Maryland at St. John’s College, the very same place where they first met. They wanted their day to feel like a fun and elegant garden party, and asked Lindsay Hite of Readyluck Photography to document their special day.

Annapolis, Maryland Colorful Afternoon Wedding - Floral Wedding Paper Divas Wedding Invitation

Photo: Lindsay Hite of Readyluck

Jacquelyn and Lee chose floral stationery from Wedding Paper Divas to invite guests to their afternoon celebration. Their ceremony took place in McDowell Hall, which holds a unique historical significance. “It was previously used by General George Washington, so a brief history was placed on the back of the wedding program for all to appreciate the history of the space,” the bride remembers.

Annapolis, Maryland Colorful Afternoon Wedding - One-Shoulder Lace Wedding Dress
Annapolis, Maryland Colorful Afternoon Wedding - Wedding Undo with Flowers
Annapolis, Maryland Colorful Afternoon Wedding - Blush and White Bouquet

Photo: Lindsay Hite of Readyluck

The bride chose a one-shoulder lace wedding dress from Ulla-Maija. When she fell in love with two different styles at a trunk show, the designer himself suggested they combine the two styles. “He pointed out that because they used the same lace he could easily just combine the two dresses,” Jacquelyn says. “That sealed the deal! The dress turned out more beautiful than I could have imagined.”

Since it was a daytime wedding, the bride wanted to keep her accessories simple. She decided to skip a necklace and earrings in favor of a romantic updo accented with four small Stephanotis blooms. She carried a bouquet of white, ivory, and champagne roses and peonies.

Annapolis, Maryland Colorful Afternoon Wedding - Pink J.Crew Bridesmaids Dresses

Photo: Lindsay Hite of Readyluck

Jacquelyn wanted her ceremony and reception to feel vibrant and fun, so bold-hued bridesmaids’ dresses were a must. When she saw her favorite hot-pink shade on sale at J.Crew, the bride asked her attendants to move fast. “It was the easiest decision of the wedding and it looked great on everyone,” she says of the punchy style. They kept their colorful theme going with bouquets of bright orange roses, blue garden roses, purple lisianthus, and blue delphinium.

Annapolis, Maryland Colorful Afternoon Wedding - Navy Blue Suit with Pink Bowtie

Photo: Lindsay Hite of Readyluck

Lee chose to keep his look classic. He donned a three-piece blue suit and hot pink bowtie.

Annapolis, Maryland Colorful Afternoon Wedding - St. John's College Ceremony Space
Annapolis, Maryland Colorful Afternoon Wedding - Pre-Ceremony Music

Photo: Lindsay Hite of Readyluck

Their ceremony space didn’t need much dressing up, so the couple added colorful arrangements to chairs along the aisle and brought in moss towers topped with bright blooms as an altar. As guests found their seats, the bride’s sister played several songs on flute.

Annapolis, Maryland Colorful Afternoon Wedding - Bride and Groom Reciting Personalized Vows
Annapolis, Maryland Colorful Afternoon Wedding - Bride and Groom Recessional

Photo: Lindsay Hite of Readyluck

“We both wrote our own vows,” Jacquelyn says. “We both shared why we loved each other so much and how excited we were for our future together. We will never forget the experience of sharing our hopes for the future in front of everyone.”

Annapolis, Maryland Colorful Afternoon Wedding - Post Ceremony Signature Cocktail

Photo: Lindsay Hite of Readyluck

Immediately following their ceremony, a nearby server brought the couple a celebratory drink that they enjoyed as they stole away for some alone time. The both sipped a French 75, their signature drink, as they chatted. “It was so special to have those few minutes just the two of us to be excited about the day,” the bride remembers.

Annapolis, Maryland Colorful Afternoon Wedding - Moss Escort Card Wall
Annapolis, Maryland Colorful Afternoon Wedding - Reception Space with Bright Flowers

Photo: Lindsay Hite of Readyluck

The couple then joined their guests for a lunchtime reception in Randall Hall. Seating assignments were pinned to a large moss board that was placed at the front entrance.

Annapolis, Maryland Colorful Afternoon Wedding - Colorful Floral Centerpieces
Annapolis, Maryland Colorful Afternoon Wedding - Centerpieces with Hydrangea and Stock

Photo: Lindsay Hite of Readyluck

Inside the reception space, damask-printed linens topped tables and centerpieces with hydrangeas, roses, stock, and delphinium added plenty of color to their space.

Annapolis, Maryland Colorful Afternoon Wedding - Small Plates Reception Food
Annapolis, Maryland Colorful Afternoon Wedding - Small Plate Reception Food Options
Annapolis, Maryland Colorful Afternoon Wedding - Three-Tiered Wedding Cake with Sugar Pansies

Photo: Lindsay Hite of Readyluck

“We wanted to make sure the food was appropriate for lunch and not too heavy,” the bride says of selecting a menu. “Since I am from Massachusetts and Lee is from Philadelphia, we wanted the food to reflect some of our favorites from our hometowns.” They went with a “small plates” style meal and everyone enjoyed three courses including crab cakes, New England clam chowder, and pulled pork sandwiches.

They cut into a three-tiered wedding cake decorated with sugar pansies, which was served alongside trays of macarons and fruit tarts. But the reveling didn’t stop then! The couple hosted an after party later that evening at Harry Browne’s Restaurant and Bar.

Annapolis, Maryland Colorful Afternoon Wedding - Bride and Groom Outside

Photo: Lindsay Hite of Readyluck

Jacquelyn and Lee, who honeymooned in Scotland, both suggest that other couples keep in mind the type of experience they want their guests to have. “People spend a lot of money to travel to your wedding so you should think about what the day will be like for them,” the bride says. “It made a lot of the harder logistical decisions flow very easily when we put ourselves in the shoes of a guest.”

Ceremony & Reception Venue: St. John’s College || Bride’s Wedding Dress: Ulla-Maija Couture || Bride’s Shoes: Kate Spade || Bride’s Hair & Makeup: Sarah Elizabeth Artistry || Bridesmaids’ Dresses: J.Crew || Mother of the Bride Dress: Adrianna Papell || Groom’s Attire: Bar III || Engagement Ring & Wedding Bands: W.F. Beardsley Silver and Goldsmith || Flowers: Intrigue Designs || Invitations & Paper Products: Wedding Paper Divas || Ceremony & Reception Music: Tobias Russell; Philip Torre || Catering & Rentals: Ken’s Creative Kitchen || Wedding Cake: Patisserie Poupon || Transportation: Transportation Solutions || Accommodations: Loews Annapolis Hotel; The Westin Annapolis || After Party: Harry Browne’s Restaurant and Bar || Photographer: Lindsay Hite of Readyluck

For more local wedding vendor listings, go here!

Did you love the bright blooms at this Maryland wedding? Then check out another flower-filled affair in the video below!

How to Seat Even Your Most Difficult Wedding Guests

What Guests Expect to See at a Wedding

Photo: Getty Images

Seating your bridal party may be no problem — but assigning Crazy Aunt Sally or your freshly single second cousin can call for several face-to-palm moments of frustration. “Creating the seating chart can be just as hard as deciding who to invite to your wedding,” admits Jennae Saltzman, owner of Blush & Whim. Not only do some people you’d rather not attend end up sneaking onto the guest list and therefore seating chart, but “most venues offer tables that seat eight to 10 people, and the average couple finds that the ‘magic’ number for their groupings is over or well under that.”

But don’t panic yet. You can still find the perfect seats for even your most difficult wedding guests with these expert tips.

Start by organizing your guests into groups.

Spread out a blown-up version of your floor plan, and write your guests’ names onto skinny Post-It notes. “Divide your family and friends into groups, and start sticking groupings onto your floor plan,” says Saltzman. “When you run into couples who don’t know anyone or controversial groupings, look to seat those guests with more outgoing guests or people they have things in common with so they feel comfortable — or buffer by moving those guests to opposite sides of the room.”

See More: How to Survive Wedding Planning with Your (Overbearing) Mom

Keep an open mind to alternative seating plans.

If a traditional seating chart is giving you too many headaches over too many straggling, difficult guests, “consider opting for a East Coast style reception where there is a lot of movement and mix of high and low tables without assignments,” says Saltzman, “or mix up your floor plan by using harvest-style tables that include everyone at the same long table.”

And in case you’re still ready to pull out your hair over a seating chart, here’s a plan for every difficult guest on your list:

Your single friend you met at a yoga class.

“Seat her with your college girlfriends who are also still single and ready to hit the dance floor all night,” says Saltzman.

Your boss and his wife.

“Seat them with your parents’ family friends or your childhood neighbors so they don’t have to listen to inside family stories all night,” she says.

Your divorced aunt and uncle.

“Seat them across the room from each other to diffuse any tension,” suggests Saltzman.

Your friend who drinks too much.

“Seat them as far away from the bar as possible so they don’t get out of hand!” Saltzman says.

Don’t Freak Out If Your Location Falls Through the Day of Your Wedding

Wedding Venue Falls Through

Photo: Getty Images

There are seemingly countless nightmare scenarios when it comes to the big day, and we prefer not to think about most of them. But one potential that you might want to consider — just to be safe — is your ceremony or reception location suddenly falling through. It’s highly unlikely but when it does happen, it can be disastrous. So what are a bride and groom to do?

If it falls through in the midst of planning…

Being prepared ahead of time for this kind of worst-case scenario is the best way to make sure it doesn’t ruin your day. Do a ton of research to find out which venues are the most highly rated and reliable before making an investment.

“My biggest piece of advice is to work with a reputable wedding planner who will only recommend venues that are tried and true,” says Michelle Gainey, owner, lead planner, and designer at Atlanta-based Lemiga Events. “We can help save some of the heartache.”

Gainey has had to pivot around difficult issues including inclement weather, a venue catching fire, one closing due to bankruptcy, and a wedding that had been booked when a major festival would be taking place nearby.

“We have a team of vendors we work closely with and we try to come up with an alternate plan,” she says.

But this type of professional network might be inaccessible to couples who haven’t enlisted the help of a planner. If you’re not able to hire one, Gainey recommends appointing someone you trust to take the lead on any issues that arise the day of, whether it’s a maid of honor, a family member, or a proactive aunt. This will help take some of the stress off of you and your future husband.

See More: 6 Ways To Calm A Bride’s Nerves On The Big Day

Once you’ve selected a venue, you’ll want to make sure that you have a written contract with specified terms of agreement. You might also want to consider wedding insurance, which can offer some financial protection.

If it falls through just before the big day…

As the wedding approaches, good communication is key. Gainey recommends doing a final walk-through at the venue and with all vendors around 30 days prior to the big event to confirm the details. Brides and grooms should also make final phone calls the week of the wedding to reconfirm and tie up any loose ends.

To keep lines of communication open, Lindsay Landman, president and creative director of Lindsay Landman Events in New York, suggests giving vendors more than just your cell. When you’re having your hair and makeup done the morning of your wedding, you’re probably not worried about checking voicemails. So be sure to give the vendor your fiancés contact information, as well as your mom’s or someone else who will be nearby.

If it falls through the day of your wedding…

Thankfully, same-day cancelation is extremely rare, according to Landman, who says that you’re likely to have at least a few days’ warning. That said, if the location does fail on the big day, she recommends first alerting all guests.

The next step is to evaluate the situation. Would you and your fiancé rather reschedule the wedding and get married weeks or months later, or do you really want to tie the knot that day no matter what?

“if you have a ton of family and friends who have flown in, you have to find some way to make the best use of the day,” Gainey says. On the flip side, if everyone is local and you’re amenable to postponing the event, you can certainly call everyone and let them know.

Once you’ve made that key decision, you need to figure out where you stand with all of the other vendors. If they’re available on another feasible date then you can probably postpone your nuptials. If not, you may need to reevaluate. And don’t forget to consider any lost deposits.

If you decide to stick with the current day, ask the other venues that you considered whether they’re able to host your wedding. For this reason, it’s important not to burn any bridges while you’re planning, Landman says.

“Know your location and your surroundings so you can start reaching out to places nearby,” adds Stacy McCain of Stacy McCain Event Planning in Northern California. She suggests thinking of anything with indoor space, including restaurants, wineries, art galleries, and mixed-use spaces (like a warehouse that’s turns into a nightclub).

And it’s never too late to hire a coordinator. McCain says that when she’s already booked, she always has a list of great colleagues and other planners she can recommend.

What We’re Pinning This Week: Rustic Centerpieces to Wanderlusty Honeymoons

Visit BRIDES’s profile on Pinterest.

Every week, we round up our favorite Pinterest pins of the week, from helpful visual guides to gorgeous wedding-dress inspiration, to show you what’s popular in the bridal world right now. Read on to see everything we’re currently pinning, repinning, and obsessing over.

Love the soothing scent of lavender and the bloom’s pretty purple shade? You’re in luck — this pin shows you how to make an easy, rustic centerpiece with some sprigs, mason jars, and a wooden box.

We’re all for a simple wedding cakes like this one. Simple white buttercream, greenery, and delicate white flowers are all you need for a classically beautiful statement.

Finally! There are so many pieces of stationery you have to think about for your wedding — escort cards, thank-you notes, the list goes on — but this pretty little pin will explain it all. Put this on your wedding invite board ASAP.

This is why we love Pinterest. Cute, creative, and cost-effective ideas like this menu written on an oversized leaf are everywhere! We’re obsessed with this one.

Have you thought about jetting off to an African safari or beach for your honeymoon? Trust us, after seeing this pin, you’ll definitely want to.

Like what you see? Don’t forget to follow BRIDES

8 Beach Wedding Dresses for a Chic Summer Bride

Beach Wedding Dress Sheath Style

Photo: Noe Dewitt

Our new rule for beach weddings? There are no rules. Welcome to the new and oh-so-stylish way to do island I do’s.

For our June/July 2015 issue we dove in to all things beach wedding style — and had a blast shooting the story on Grand Cayman’s famous Seven Mile Beach, which happens to be the site of hundreds of weddings each year. (The Cayman Islands are one of the easiest spots in the Caribbean where you can wed. It’s even possible to get married the same day you arrive!) Lucky for us, our crew came back with a few tips for your destination nuptials:

1. Go local with your menu, because the just-caught seafood and jerk pork are amazing. (One of our go-to spots: Anchor & Den at the Grand Cayman Marriott.)

2. Hook guests up with an ecoadventure, like snorkeling with sea turtles at Eden Rock or feeding the gentle giants at Stingray City.

3. And before you leave, take one last dip in the crystal-clear waters of hidden Smith Cove with your husband. Wherever you go, tell them Brides sent you.

But the most important take away? There is no “must” style for a beach wedding dress. From blush tulle to crisp separates, these gowns are guaranteed to shine in the sand.

Above: This sheath from Elizabeth and James’s new evening capsule collection is a no-brainer for the modern beach bride. Dress, $695, Elizabeth and James available at Shopbop; Hat, Babajaan; Necklace, Aurélie Bidermann; Ring, Eva Fehren

Beach Wedding Ship Dress Style

Photo: Noe Dewitt

It doesn’t get any cooler than a slip dress. Bonus: It’s packable. (Just don’t forget the steamer.) Silk-satin sheath, $1,920, Johanna Johnson; Earrings and bracelet, Aurélie Bidermann; Rings, Eva Fehren

Beach Wedding Dress Silk Lace Gown

Photo: Noe Dewitt

The only way to rock a ball gown on the beach: Choose wispy layers that blow beautifully in the breeze. Silk-organza gown with Chantilly-lace appliqués, price upon request, Samuelle Couture

Beach Wedding Dress Cutout Sheath Style

Photo: Noe Dewitt

The side cutouts add a hint of skin to a simple covered-up sheath. Silk-organza dress, $7,300, Houghton; Bracelet, Aurélie Bidermann; Ring, Eva Fehren

Beach Wedding Dress Crop Top Skirt

Photo: Noe Dewitt

A crop top gives a tropical twist to this ladylike look. Pair it with heels in bright, poppy colors and you’re good to go. Silk top and skirt, $1,100, Lakum; Earrings, Dior; Ring, Eva Fehren; Shoes, Sophia Webster

Beach Wedding Dress Bikini

Photo: Noe Dewitt

What to wear to a pre-wedding beach bash? A white bikini, a matching tunic, and don’t forget the sun-kissed glow. Tunic, Zimmerman; Swimsuit, Eres; Earrings and bracelet, Aurélie Bidermann; Ring, Eva Fehren; Bag, Samudra; Sunglasses, Westward Leaning

Beach Wedding Dress Caftan Cover Up

Photo: Noe Dewitt

A glam caftan works double duty as a casual getting-ready dress and the chicest cover-up you’ve ever seen. Sequined silk-georgette caftan with beaded tassel, $6,025, <a href="https://www.carol-” target=”blank”>Carol Hannah; Necklace, Dezso by Sara Beltrán; Ring, Eva Fehren; Sandals, Ancient Greek Sandals

See more: How to Handle Long-Distance Wedding Planning

Beach Wedding Dress Ball Gown

Photo: Noe Dewitt

This is how to do sparkle by the sea. Think subtle beading on an illusion bodice and layers of soft tulle: formal and effortless. Ball gown, $9,660, Inbal Dror; Earrings, Oscar de la Renta; Ring, Eva Fehren

Want more genius planning tips? For the best wedding dresses, advice, and big-day inspiration, pick up the BRIDES June/July 2015 issue, on newsstands now and available for download here!

Drop 5 Pounds Fast! How to Do It Before Your Wedding Day

Lose Weight Before Wedding

Photo: Arthur Belebeau

Trying to lose that last inch before your big day? A jam-packed schedule, seemingly non-stop appointments and, not to mention, balancing a full-time job on top of planning a wedding isn’t exactly the recipe for a successful weight-loss routine — but these simple, easy-to-implement tricks will help you nudge that stubborn scale.

Ditch the cocktails.

Between bachelorette bashes and shower toasts, brides have endless opps to imbibe. Alcohol’s empty calories are a killer, so abstaining can make a big difference, says Lauren Slayton, a nutritionist in New York City and author of The Little Book of Thin. “I recently worked with a bride who cut out alcohol three weeks before her wedding, and she lost six pounds,” she says. If you can’t bear to quit the booze entirely, alternate each drink with a glass of water, and choose white-wine spritzers over beer or sugary cocktails. You’ll slash those calories and hydrate at the same time.

Keep snacks simple.

“You want something rich in either protein or fiber so you feel fuller longer,” says Lisa Young, adjunct professor of nutrition at New York University. That means choosing fail-safe options like string cheese, fruit, jerky, or preportioned nuts or hummus. Whatever you munch on between meals, pick two or three favorites and stick to them religiously. “The more variety we have, the more we eat,” says Slayton. “It’s better to bore yourself thin.”

Get creative with your veggies.

As you know, they’re filled with fiber and loaded with vitamins and antioxidants. “And if you’re eating them, you’re not eating something else — like cookies!” says Young. Aim for two cups a couple of times a day. Jazz them up with hot sauce, turmeric, or ginger; toss them into smoothies and soups; or try “spiralizing,” a.k.a. using a special tool that creates “noodles” out of veggies like zucchini or squash to take the place of pasta.

See more: What You Should Be Eating While Wedding Planning

Make a plan.

You’re mapping out your reception to perfection, so why not your meals? “Planning is everything,” says Young. “When you don’t have anything lined up, you end up grabbing whatever’s available.” Take five minutes each morning to picture exactly what you’re going to eat for your meals and snacks. If you’re going to be at work or running errands, pack your purse with healthy stuff so you’re not tempted by the siren song of Dunkin’ Donuts. Apples, pears, and individual packets of nut butter are great options.

Supercharge your workout regimen.

Going through the same motions on the elliptical every time? Congratulations: You’ve likely hit a plateau. Shock your system by adding a weekly “double session” workout. Think indoor cycling in the morning and weight lifting that night or a prework run followed by an after-work barre class. You should also up your general activity. “You need to move. The more you sit, the fewer calories you burn,” says New York City trainer David Kirsch, who suggests quick sessions of squats, stretches, or push-ups throughout the day. “These little things add up and help keep you mindful of your end goal.”

Try a cleanse — but don’t starve yourself.

Liquid-only plans leave you ravenous and are often packed with sugar, Slayton says, “but food-based cleanses add good fats and roughage.” We like the wellness kits from Urban Remedy, which combine organic juices with veggie-based meals, snacks, and even desserts. DIY-ing your own juice cleanse? Don’t be afraid to supplement with healthy foods like salmon or almonds. “That doesn’t mean you’re a failure,” says Slayton. “It just means you’re normal!”