Merry Brides


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Chocolate Peanut Butter Cake

A dark chocolate cake filled with creamy peanut butter frosting and topped with chocolate ganache for the ultimate peanut butter lover’s dream cake.


Dark Chocolate Cake:
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • ¼ cup cocoa powder
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 2 cups hot water (Or 1 cup hot water plus 1 cup hot coffee)
  • 5 ounces dark chocolate, chopped and melted
  • 6 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 1 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 2 large eggs
Peanut Butter Frosting
  • ¾ cup (1 ½ sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1 cup creamy peanut butter
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 1 ½ cups powdered sugar
  • 1 ½ tablespoons milk
Chocolate Glaze:
  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 2 tablespoons milk
  • 2 teaspoons corn syrup
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 ounces dark chocolate, chopped
  • 1 cup powdered sugar, sifted


For the Cake:
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line and grease two 8-inch pans with parchment circles.
  2. In the bowl of an electric mixer, sift together the flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, baking soda, salt and sugar. Mix together on low speed for 1 minute.
  3. In a small bowl, whisk together the hot water, melted chocolate, butter, vegetable oil and vanilla extract. Add the eggs and whisk quickly until combined so they don’t cook.
  4. Pour the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients all at once. Mix on medium-low speed until all combined, about two minutes.
  5. Divide batter equally into prepared pans and bake for 25-30 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out almost clean.
  6. Cool cakes in pan for 10 minutes before inverting onto a cooling rack and allow to cool completely before frosting.
For Peanut Butter Frosting:
  1. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream the butter and peanut on medium speed until pale and fluffy, about 4 minutes.
  2. Add the rest of the ingredients and mix on low speed to combine. Increase speed to medium and mix until light and fluffy.
  3. Fill and frost cake with peanut butter frosting. Chill in refrigerator while making ganache.
Chocolate Glaze
  1. In a small saucepan, combine the butter, milk, corn syrup and vanilla extract and heat over medium heat until butter is melted. Reduce heat to low and store in the chocolate until melted. Remove from heat and stir in the powdered sugar. Whisk until smooth. Let glaze cool slightly until it appears to thicken. Pour over the top of frosted cake and allow drizzle as desired. Let glaze set before topping with candy. Serve!
  2. Store refrigerated or in an airtight container for up to 3 days.

A special Thank You to Blahnik Baker for sharing this delicious recipe with us. Photo credit: Zainab Mansaray

Filed under chocolate peanut butter recipe cake dessert recipe desserts

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There’s something universally appealing about dewy, glowing skin — it makes you look fresh, full of joy, and it’s just perfect for warm summer days.


What you’ll need:

  • Cream Shadow and brush (optional)
  • Bronze Eye Pencil
  • Mascara
  • Cream Blush
  • Highlighter
  • Lip Gloss


Start with a little concealer to cover any blemishes and dark circles and pat a cream shadow like this one called “Corfu” by Nars all across the lid.


Next take a creamy dark pencil in a bronzy color and smudge it along the lash line. I used Smashbox Waterproof Shadow Liner in “Luminous Fig”.  Finish with a coat of black mascara on top and bottom lashes.


Applying the Nars Multiple in “Malibu” gives a pretty pink sheen on the apples of the cheeks. Bring out the cheekbones by adding a highlighter on top and on the brow bone. I used Stila All Over Shimmer in “Bronze Shimmer”.


Finish the look by popping on a pinky-nude lipgloss like Armani’s Lip Shimmer “16”. Voila!!! Pretty, dewy and luminous!

***  A special Thank you to Erica Davidson and Pretty Please for sharing this great tutorial with us. Photo Credits: Erica Davidson

Filed under beauty makeup wedding makeup makeup tips

20 notes


These sweet and wild green wreaths are perfect for anytime of year (just change out the ribbon to suit the season). They look gorgeous on church doors, bride and groom chairs, or as pew markers. Total cost: $5 per wreath.


  • Spool wire
  • Floral tape
  • Clippers
  • Greens (about 15 stems per wreath, we used rosemary, bay and boxwood)
  • Ribbon


1.  Form a circle (whatever size you need. Remember your wreath will be slightly bigger than the form) with the spool wire and double it over several times.

2.  Cover the circle in floral tape.


3.  Cut small pieces of greens and, take excess leaves off about an inch of the bottom stem.


4.  Secure each piece with wire.

5.  Make sure you overlap the stems to cover any wires or mechanics. You may need to fill in with a few extra pieces.


6.  You can make these up to a week ahead of time. Spray daily with water and keep in a cool, dark place.

7.  Hang with ribbon and afterwards send them home with special guests.



Add this natural touch to your big day - and have fun!


*** Photo Credit: Chelsea Fuss

Filed under DIY Greenery Ceremony Decor Go green reception decor wedding ideas

12 notes

Etsy Instant Download Cross Stitch Patterns

Q.  Do you think making a handmade embroidered gift for a bridal shower is tacky? I am a 20 year old college student and money is very tight. Do you know where I can find some cross-stitch patterns? Thanks

A. I think a handmade embroidered gift is a wonderful idea. When it comes to handmade gifts, you are only limited by your imagination.  One of the best sources for crafty inspiration is Etsy (yes I am addicted!).  I found some fun instant download cross-stitch patterns on an Etsy site called Imagination Administration

Here are some charming cross stitch pattern ideas and a brief explanation about instant download patterns……

image                               Library Card Wedding Embroidery Pattern 

What is an Instant Download Pattern?

You receive the patterns over the Internet as a PDF (Portable Document Format) file directly from an Etsy seller – how easy is that?

How does it work?

STEP 1. Add as many Instant Download Patterns as you want to your basket. You can customize & Edit some patterns

STEP 2. Proceed through checkout.

STEP 3. You will receive automatic access to your pattern PDF file, once payment is made.

When you are ready, all you need to do is open your PDF file to view it. It will open automatically in the Adobe Acrobat Reader.. You can save, view it or print your pattern from Adobe Acrobat Reader  (Free download)

image                                     Log Cabin Cross Stitch Pattern

Why would I want to buy an Instant Download Pattern?

* Save TIME – you get them instantly, (I know when I want something, I want it NOW!)

* Save MONEY – postage to some countries is more than the cost of our patterns! Instant Download e-Patterns will cost much less then having your patterns mailed via the post.

* Easy ACCESS – save your patterns on your computer for you to view or print them anytime you want.

image                                Hedgehog Love Cross Stitch Pattern

What do I get with an Instant Download Pattern?

You get the whole pattern just like it had been mailed to you, only sent to you electronically. Of course you don’t get the pretty color photograph on the front, but if the postage to send the printed pattern to you is quite high, this can work out to be a pretty expensive photo!

image                                Dollhouse Quilt Cross Stitch][‘- Pattern 

image                                  Happy Camper Cross Stitch Pattern

***  A special Thank You to Imagination Administration for allowing use to use their product photos. You can view more instant download patterns here

Filed under crafts patterns cross stitch embroidery gift ideas diy

31 notes

25 Romantic Fonts

1. Clipper Script  | 2. Daun Penh  | 3. Cac Champagne | 4. Nautik  

5. Sail | 6. Learning Curve  | 7. Parisienne  | 8. Bodoni MT Condensed

 9.  Sachiko  | 10. Lobster Two  | 11. Ever After  | 12. Brannboll

13. Castro Script  | 14. Swis 721 Outline  | 15. Little Days | 16. Italic C

17. Courier New  | 18. Frykas Light  | 19. Jellyka Bees Antique  

 20. Little Lord Fontleroy  | 21. Complex  | 22. Roman D 

 23. Euro RomanBurgues Script  |  24. Burgues Script 

25. (Title) Matilde

*** A special Thank You to Victoria Hudgins from A Subtle Revelry for sharing these great fonts with us.

Filed under fonts romantic fonts graphic design

17 notes


We definitely fell in love with this fall themed dessert table, the caramel apples look oh so delicious. See the details here.

This mint, blush and gold dessert table is so swoon-worthy.

Balloon ombre backdrop? Yes please! See more of the details here

If cake isn’t up your alley may we suggest a pie table instead perhaps? See more details here.

Loving the large pinwheel flowers and the elegant pastel color theme. See all the details here

Fruit is sweet and perfectly acceptable to have on a dessert table, plus it adds a welcome pop of color! See more of the details here.

This enchanted garden wedding is so much fun and the idea of cotton candy on your dessert table is making our mouth water! See the details here,

Including your signature wedding drinks on your dessert table? Genius! See the details here.

Now this is a clever idea, who knew a vintage ladder could create such a cute dessert table? See the details here

Getting married on the beach and still want cake? Here’s your solution. See the details here.

Sometimes just cupcakes is the way to go, mix it up with various flavors! See the details here.

So much sass and fun with this vintage red and mint dessert table. See the details here.

Bundt cake galore! Complete with crates perfect for a rustic wedding. See the details here

Milk and cookies like never before, does it get cuter? See the details here.

Small floral accents in little white cream pitchers are absolutely adorable for cake table decor. See the details here.

Emerald is everything for this lovely dessert table, accented with fun chalkboard signs. See the details here.

Looking for alternative dessert ideas? These cute little tarts are a definite must! See the details here.

Black is one of the less used colors for wedding but it can absolutely be classy as proved with this lovely cake table. See the details here.

This display technique with stacked crates was so unique we just had to add it! See the details here

This donut tower was just too cute to pass up! Don’t be afraid to go out on a limb with your desserts. See the details here

Filed under dessert table reception desserts entertaining wedding reception

89 notes

Pink Velvet Cupcakes


A soft and tender buttermilk cake is topped with a tangy cream cheese frosting to give you a delicious pink velvet cupcake perfect for your bridal or baby shower!



  • 1 ¼ cups all-purpose flour
  • ¾ teaspoon baking powder
  • ⅛ teaspoon baking soda
  • ⅛ teaspoon salt
  • ½ cup unsalted butter, room temperature
  • ½ cup granulated sugar
  • 2-3 drops pink food coloring
  • 2 eggs, room temperature
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • ½ cup buttermilk, room temperature
Cream Cheese Frosting
  • 4 ounces cream cheese, softened to room temperature
  • ½ cup unsalted butter (1 stick), room temperature
  • 3-4 cups powdered sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2-3 tablespoons heavy cream


For the cupcakes

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line cupcake tins with liners and set aside.
  2. In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt.
  3. In the bowl of an electric mixer, cream the butter and sugar until light and fluffy on medium speed, about 3 minutes. Beat in the food coloring. Add the eggs one at a time, mixing well before each addition. Scrape bowl as needed. Beat in the vanilla extract.
  4. Reduce the speed to low and slowly alternate the dry ingredients with the buttermilk, beginning and ending with the dry ingredients. Mix until just combined.
  5. Divide batter into prepared baking liners. Bake for 18 – 20 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.

For Cream Cheese Frosting

  1. In the bowl of an electric mixer, beat butter and cream cheese on medium high until completely smooth about 2-3 minutes.
  2. Reduce speed to low and add sugar, one cup at a time. Beat on low until combined. Add vanilla extract and heavy cream and beat to combine. Increase speed to medium and beat frosting until smooth and fluffy.
  3. If buttercream is not thick enough, place in fridge for 20 minutes to an hour until firm enough to pipe.

***  A special Thank You to Blahnik Baker for sharing this recipe and gorgeous photos with us.

Filed under Pink velvet cupcakes recipe cupcakes dessert cupcake recipe pink bridal shower

7 notes


Q.  I am giving my daughter and her fiance money for their honeymoon as a wedding gift. However, I would also like to give my daughter a special gift, just for her. Do you think that would be appropriate or do I need to buy her fiance a special gift also? 

Do you have any unique gift ideas? I want something my daughter would never expect. She is a fashion consultant so jewelry is definitely not an option as her style is unique. Any ideas?  

A.  I think giving your daughter a special gift is a sweet idea. Since you are paying for the honeymoon, I do not think you need to buy the groom an extra gift. If you’re worried the groom will feel left out, you can give the gift to your daughter at her bridal shower.

Since your daughter is a fashion consultant, I assume her appearance is very important to her career. So why not give her a vanity makeup mirror. 


After a quick Etsy search I found this handmade makeup mirror by Custom Vanity which would be perfect for all you makeup and hair divas (and let’s face it, most of us fit into that category…yes even you guys!)

This vanity mirror has dimmers so it will provide the perfect lighting for makeup. It simulates natural sunlight, allowing you to see full color variation, so you’ll know when your makeup is color-correct and flawless. 


Another aspect I like about this vanity mirror is the multiple plugs so you can do your makeup and straighten your hair at the same place. 


For more information please visit Custom Vanity. Since all their mirrors are handmade you can request special sizes and colors, such as, black, white, silver an expresso.

Filed under vanity wedding gift gift ideas vanity mirror makeup mirror

38 notes

DIY: Chalkboard Escort Cards

Creating charming escort cards for your wedding doesn’t have to take a lot of time or resources. Simply gather a few basic, inexpensive supplies to produce this budget-savvy, casual-chic concept. 

  • Manilla shipping tags
  • Chalkboard paint
  • Foam paintbrush
Step One
Arrange your tags on a large work surface

Step Two
Dip the foam paintbrush into the chalkboard paint and apply one brushstroke to each tag.
Step Three
Allow the paint to dry completely, then write guests names and seating information on the tags with chalk.

Step Four
Display the tags using a fabric backdrop, coordinating yarn or string and wooden clothespins.

{Tutorial & Photos by: Danyelle Matthews}

Filed under chalkboard DIY Escort Cards Place cards Entertaining Paint Seating cards wedding reception reception party

53 notes



I’m sure you’ve heard the cry of “perfectly imperfect!” It’s a way of thinking that values character, personality and sincere hard work over surface gloss or flawlessness. True to that ethic, this little tutorial sits firmly in the natural, the irregular, or maybe even the haywire! But I happen to think imperfect things are beautiful. As my body of calligraphy work can attest: I love the eccentric factor in pretty much all things.


Not everyone can be (or wants to be) a calligrapher. Nor can everyone hire a professional calligrapher when the time calls for it. But for those of you who would like to make your envelopes a bit more deluxe and delightful, I’ve got some great ideas that won’t break the bank, take little skill (just character!), and are sure to make the recipient beam. “Look what I just got in the mail!”image

These are sooo easy to make. If you have any inkling of artistic motivation you can create an eccentric envelope.

I won’t go into too much detail about technique, except to say: just do whatever comes naturally to your hand. Your own handwriting has a voice and a style. Go with it! See what happens. It might be a little ugly. So what? It’s handmade and that’s what counts.imageTry to keep the color palette limited, and decorative details simple and small. Repetition and symmetry are key. Add little flourishes that relate to the theme of your event, letter or things the person you’re sending it to would like.image

Note: Tools and materials really make or break this look. If you tried to do this with a ballpoint pen and envelopes you picked up at the pharmacy or big box art store, your finished product would not shine quite as much. I’m sure there are some of you who can make a masterpiece out of those materials, but for the rest of us, well, we need the good stuff! Here’s where to start:image

Get yourself some nice black ink, a straight pen-holder, a nib, a Japanese brush pen, and a few watercolor brushes. A full list of materials and links is at the bottom of the post for help in purchasing.


I can’t stress enough how crucial high-quality envelopes are for this look. The envelope above is a letter envelope I bought at a local stationery shop. It is Original Crown Mill 100% Cotton. You can’t go wrong with any 100% cotton envelopes or water-color envelopes. Crane also makes some very affordable every-day envelopes that are widely available in stores. Tell the person at the shop that you’re looking for envelopes that will work with pen and ink.


Pictured above are some REALLY cheap watercolors I purchased at an art store. Bottom-shelf stuff! But still completely great if you ask me. Invest in the quality watercolors if you like (recommended would be the brand Windsor & Newton), and some mixing pans. Experiment. Watercolor is your friend for these because of its naturally occurring anomalies.


-  Simple Black Ink. I highly recommend Higgins Eternal for both lettering and calligraphy.

Black Acrylic Ink  If you want inks that won’t bleed much when watercolors come near it, opt for acrylic inks.

 Straight Pen Holder and nib

Winsor & Newton Cotman Water Color Brushes: Series 222 and 668. Synthetic brushes are best for lettering because they bounce back and are stiff. These are more affordable than nice, sable brushes too.

- Any larger nylon or synthetic brush for daubs and dots

-  Angora Watercolors: These are my favorite inexpensive watercolors that I use in my studio)

-  Winsor & Newton Water Colors for a higher quality product and better mixing abilities

-  India Inks in an array of colors for use with brushes

Japanese Brush Pens

100% Cotton Envelopes

*** A special Thank You to Stephanie Fishwick for sharing this post. You can see more of Stephanie’s work on her blog.

Filed under calligraphy stationery envelopes addressing envelopes

24 notes


If you’re looking for instant hostess with the mostest status, these super simple, super adorable (reusable) DIY menus  are fair game. They add a little something something to a simple dinner party, elevating it to the utmost degree with little to no effort at all!






Step 1:   You can either use the sheets to make full size menus (8×10”), or you can cut them down to a smaller size like we did (5×7”). To cut them down, just measure the size and mark on the acrylic with the paint marker. Then score the sheet along those lines with the glass cutter. After several passes, you should be able to snap the sheet to make a clean cut. Remove any markings with glass cleaner.

Step 2:   Spray paint one side of the acrylic sheet with two light coats of spray paint. Let dry completely, about 1 hour.

Step 3:   On the clear unpainted side, handwrite your menu for the evening in paint marker. If you’d like to do a fancy script, you can print out your menu in a font of your choice, place the printout behind the menu, and trace the script in marker. *This would be easier with a lighter spray paint color or a more hazy coat of paint. Hold the menu & printout up to the window to get maximum backlighting while tracing.

Step 4:   Worried about messing up? Don’t be! Glass cleaner & paper towel let you quickly start over, and for small mistakes, a Qtip and glass cleaner have you covered. When the dinner’s over, wipe off the menu with glass cleaner and set aside to reuse at your next dinner party!

*** Thank You to Jacquelyn Clark from Style Me Pretty Living for sharing this great tutorial with us. 

 entertaining menus paint recycle acrylic

Filed under DIY entertaining paint menu menus recycle acrylic party

9 notes

Backyard Wedding Rehearsal Dinner Ideas


With all of the attention on the actual wedding day, side events like the Rehearsal Dinner can often fall by the wayside. However, a rehearsal dinner spent with loved ones can be as memorable as the wedding, 

Here are some simple ideas for your rehearsal dinner.


The Table:

Rehearsal dinners are supposed to be relaxing and fun, so don’t get too carried away with the table. Choose a simple canvas for your table setting, such as a wooden picnic table. The simpler the better so your space won’t feel overwhelming.

The Colors:

Choosing a neutral palette means you get to have more fun playing with color! I like to decorate with pops of summer colors— yellows, coral, toasty orange, and pinks! 



Don’t overload your table! Personally I like to use a table runner, instead of using a tablecloth, which can oftentimes take away from a simple, rustic look. I love exposed wood! 

The Centerpiece:


You can’t go wrong with flowers—they’re a fresh way to boast the season and add some color. I like  to cluster up-cycled jars, and fill them with flowers.


To create a cozy ambiance for an evening party string tiny lights in trees and bushes. Use plenty of votive candles.

image                                               Aloha Bay Mango Candles


Keeping the menu simple, yummy and easy enough to eat while mingling is the key to good backyard style food. BBQ foods are always a good menu idea, but if they are not your style, then don’t be afraid to think more traditional about your food choices. Comfort foods such as Macaroni and Cheese are always popular choices.


To add interest to your food displays serve food in unique dishes and bowls.

                     image                                                                  Antiqued Chaffing Dish

Ice Cream is always a favorite at a summer party. Serve simple desserts - cookies, brownies, and cupcakes on fun trays

Drink Stations

Getting creative with drink displays is a fun way to add some backyard feel to a party. Large galvanized tubs filled with ice is always a good option.   image                                         Antique Embossed Party Tub

Thinking outside the box and getting creative with your displays is a good way to put your own “stamp” on the event. You could use a canoe, or an old wheelbarrow.


Relaxation / Hang Out Area

To encourage your guests to stay and mingle after their done eating set up cozy seating areas. 


For evening parties create a cozy atmosphere with a fire pit, such as this one from Home N Hearts.


Summer evenings can sometimes be chilly so you could provide a few throw blankets to warm your guests. Comfortable guests are more likely to stay longer.

image                                         Microplush Throw Blankets

Coffee Bar


Coffee bars are a great way to help your guests relax after a large meal and to sober up any guests who may have been drinking. You could also offer hot water and tea bags for the non-coffee drinkers.

Most of all, just remember to relax and enjoy yourself. This is supposed to be a casual evening with your family and best friends before the wedding. These are the most important people in your life, so there is no need to stress yourself out trying to be perfect. Go with the flow and have fun!

** For more information on any of the products featured in this blog please visit Home N Hearts.

Filed under rehearsal dinner outdoors entertaining party backyard summer

15 notes



Supplies -
wood burning kit
wooden planks
charcoal pencil
white paper
(I got all of my supplies at Michaels. You can order wood burning kits online, any of them will work fine.)

Directions -

Step 1: On a computer, type out or design whatever you want your wooden sign to say. Choose a fabulous font that fits the style of your event. If you like the one I used in this DIY project, you can download it here! It will fit a small wooden plank perfectly.


Step 2: In order for the size of the letters or font to fit on the wooden plank, you may need to print a few copies, adjusting the size until it fits perfectly on the wood piece.

Step 3: Once you have the correct size, turn the paper over and with a charcoal pencil trace the back of your design. Make sure to trace hard enough so the charcoal will transfer onto the wooden plank.


Step 4: When all of the letters are traced, place the paper on the wooden plank with the charcoal side facing down. Press firmly on the letters to make sure they transfer nicely to the wood. Remove the paper when you’re finished.



Step 5: There should be a nice outline of your letters for you to trace. With the wood burning tool (which can get extremely hot, so be careful) start to trace and fill in the letters. Once you complete one letter move on to the next. You will get the hang of it after the first letter. Have fun!



Filed under DIY Signs wood crafts wood burning wood reception ideas