This site takes the notion of “something borrowed” to another level, offering high-end jewelry rentals: A gorgeous $9,800 multitiered diamond necklace, for example, is rentable for just $360. Pieces arrive two days before the wedding, leaving just enough time for a last-minute dress rehearsal.
What we really love: A style consultant is available by phone or e-mail to help you pick the right jewels to complement your dress.
As the largest online jewelry retailer, this site not only offers a huge selection of engagement rings and bands at budget-friendly prices, but it's also very user-friendly, especially for jewelry novices. (See the Education page for useful tips on the four Cs and grading information.)
What we really love: The Build Your Own Ring tool, which allows you to choose your setting, accents and the diamond itself (at all sorts of price points, from just over $200 to $2 million plus).
If Behr's gorgeous hair accessories look familiar, chances are you saw some of her designs on Gossip Girl (Leighton Meester's character, Blair Waldorf, wore Behr's patent orchid headband in the season one finale). Click on the bridal collection for exquisite silk satin, beaded and antique metallic lace styles—they're chic and modern but still manage to have a beloved heirloom feel.
What we really love: If you don't see exactly what you want, Behr, a former hair accessory designer at Frederic Fekkai, will work with you to create a custom piece.
This subscription-based site is a resource you can recommend to guests who can't take along their trusted babysitters to your out-of-town wedding. The extensive child-care directory, as profiled in The New York Times and on the Today show, provides city-by-city listings plus background checks, qualifications and certificates for any caregiver in its database.
What we really love: No long-term commitment needed: For $25, subscribe for just a month (sitters range from $5 to $50 per hour).
Everything you need for your girls' night out can be found here, from the traditionally kitschy (penis straws, male blow-up dolls) to the more reserved (hot pink paper products, girly card games). There are even preassembled party kits, which include invites, banners and games.
What we really love: The free recipes for cocktails, like Between the Sheets (a blend of brandy, Triple Sec and light rum) and other dirty-sounding drinks.
A great stop for cult favorites like Biologique Recherche Paris and Dr. Sebagh, this site also offers a stellar selection of fragrances by Calypso Christiane Celle and Diptyque (and luxe, soothing candles, too).
What we really love: For $15 you can have up to six product samples sent to your home, perfect for testing new brands.
Makeup artist Laura Nadeau offers insider tips for impeccable application, hair removal, and facials and other wedding-prep treatments. She breaks down which products to use and which to avoid on your wedding day (e.g., foundations that will melt off on a summer afternoon).
What we really love: Her videos; she walks you through the application with clear instructions.
From foundations to nail polish to body cleansers, Ulta carries a staggering number of brands, including Estée Lauder, Givenchy and Stila, not to mention some drugstore varieties, too. Don't miss the impressive selection of travel-sized products, ideal for wedding-day touch-ups or a honeymoon carry-on.
What we really love: Entire ingredient lists are provided for most products—a blessing for allergy sufferers.
Having planned weddings for Heidi Klum and Seal, Brooke Shields and, most recently, Ellen and Portia, Mindy (a 2005 MB Trendsetter) happily shares her quick and easy tips on this fun, upbeat blog. She takes you through the planning process step-by-step and even posts snapshots of memorable centerpieces or table settings.
What we really love: The Gifts and Goodies section (found by clicking on Mindy's E-store): a well-edited collection of chic bridal party presents and favors, such as hand-poured candles and golf flasks for the boys.
Penned by sought-after wedding coordinator and 2004 MB Trendsetter Sasha Souza, this blog touches on everything-crafty projects, cocktail recipes, cake dilemmas and registry tips—in a friendly, honest voice.
What we really love: The Ask Sasha page, where readers' questions are fielded in detailed posts. Consider it free advice from one of the industry's best.
Seeing how other brides planned their dream weddings is a great source of inspiration, and this blog shows you every detail, from ceremony to after-party. Abby Larson posts photos from brides, planners and wedding photographers so you can view plenty of unique touches, from candid shots of the bridesmaids getting dressed to detailed pictures of table settings.
What we really love: The Color Palettes and Inspiration Boards pages, which can help pinpoint a wedding theme or color scheme.
This blog, launched in 2006 by bride-to-be Bee Kim, is now updated daily by 20 real brides across the United States and Canada, so there's always something new to read, from DIY ideas to product reviews and antidotes to wedding-planning stress.
What we really love: Message boards are categorized by city and state so you can easily chat with local brides.
By the looks of its adorably quaint site, you'd never guess this bake shop is in NYC. Luckily, it ships its famous sugar-free, gluten-free, vegan cakes and cupcakes anywhere—so it's a great option for vegan or vegetarian couples or those who want to avoid potential food allergies at their wedding. The goods are all-organic and all-natural, and taste heavenly. Popular choices include the cinnamon buns, cookie sandwiches and double chocolate crumb cake.
What we really love: You can click on any treat to see its ingredients and nutrition facts.
This NYC-based boutique, known for its hip accessories, also offers intricate, handcrafted cake toppers. (See the site's Custom Wedding section for examples.) Pieces start at $500 and require at least four months' lead time.
What we really love: Each one-of-a-kind topper is created to truly reflect the spirit of the bride and groom, in outfits, hair colors or mannerisms.
Traditional cake toppers aren't for everyone—so if you hope to put your personalities on display, you'll want to look here first. You can shop by style (new and trendy, whimsical), meaning (faith-based, ethnic) or theme (beach, garden, country and western).
What we really love: The Embrace Cake Topper: This sleek interpretation of a couple hugging is ideal for wedding cakes with a minimalist design.
Finding the best accessories for your ceremony is simple with this site, where you can pick up luxe satin ring pillows and unity candles, lace and customizable aisle runners, and colorful ribbons for bouquets and sashes. Check out the CD selection, which includes great classical music compilations you might use for your processional.
What we really love: The extensive variety of monogrammable items (sashes, pillows, flower-girl totes and more).
This newly launched site is an online travel shopping mall that donates up to 30 percent of each purchase to the charity of your choice. More than 500 sites participate, including Expedia.com, Hotels.com and Travelocity .com, and benefit groups like the ASPCA and the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation. Prices are the same as on other travel sites; the only difference is that a portion of the purchase here goes to a good cause.
What we really love: The service extends beyond travel. You'll also find clothing stores, flower shops and jewelry vendors.
Couples can create a registry on a customized Web page that supports their favorite charities. JustGive has a database of more than 1 million to choose from; we haven't seen such a high number anywhere else.
What we really love: The site can assist with other donation efforts, such as volunteering on your honeymoon.
DIY brides will appreciate the easy-to-follow, step-by-step instructions for customizing coasters, table cards and place settings. You can choose from dozens of different imprint colors, fonts and motifs.
What we really love: For just $3, you can receive five samples to make sure the shades you've selected are in sync with the colors of your wedding scheme. The $3 is refunded once you place your order.
E-mailable invitations for the engagement party or rehearsal dinner are becoming more commonplace; the problem is, most look like an e-mail. Enter this stylish site, which lets you design more sophisticated online invites using personal photos or works from established or up-and-coming artists. It also simplifies RSVPs: Guests can click on a link to submit their response.
What we really love: Photo options for wedding-themed invites include edgy shots of rings and chic floral arrangements.
Not only do we adore this site's edible offerings (candies, cookies, coffee, teas), but we're also smitten with the candles, place-card holders and bottle stoppers because of their fabulous designs and reasonable prices. You'll find creative packaging as well, like mint tins and embroidered gift bags, and a percentage of all sales goes to charity.
What we really love: The free favor-finding service. Fill out a form on the site, and you'll receive suggestions within 24 hours.
Stylish and elegant favors on this site include scented soaps, monogrammed votive candles and ceramic honey pots. For something more playful and flirty, visit the Bridal Shower Favors section, where monogrammed manicure kits, themed luggage tags and more than 180 other fun takeaways are on display.
What we really love: The premade welcome baskets (in a range of sizes), organized by theme or style.
This site's old-fashioned mini whoopie pies make fun and tasty wedding favors. There are also chocolates, cupcakes and cookies (hazelnut with chocolate-cinnamon ganache!) that can be packaged to match your color scheme or theme.
What we really love: The customized Cookie Bar offering—a surefire hit at parties.
You don't have to go to a high-end floral designer or a pricey boutique to find fabulous centerpieces, bouquets or even boutonnieres. There's a huge selection here, including a stunning assortment by renowned floral designers like Jane Carroll and Preston Bailey.
What we really love: The Same-Day option—in case of any last-minute emergencies.
MB Advisory Panel members turn to this site for original party decor items, such as driftwood candleholders or antique-ish table runners. Etsy also acts as a virtual crafts show, featuring treasures such as beaded hairpins or one-of-a-kind vintage pearl headpieces. Because the items are not mass-produced, you're truly getting a special, unique piece.
What we really love: The Alchemy page, where buyers can post requests for custom handmade objects and sellers bid on the opportunity to make them, ensuring you get what you want.
This site, for the company of the same name based in NYC's flower district, is popular among brides and wedding designers for its selection of beautiful flower pots, candles and lanterns. Smaller accents, such as seashells and coral, are other great finds.
What we really love: The Wedding and Party section, which offers faux flower petals and elegant stone runners for the ceremony aisle or a pathway at the reception.
At this online version of the Chinese department store in NYC, DIY brides load up on paper goods, such as tea-dyed stationery, as well as decorative lanterns, paper fans and parasols, all with a distinctly exotic feel.
What we really love: The Kitchenware section, where you can find inexpensive but chic coasters, napkin rings and bamboo woven table runners you can use at your reception and after.
This LA-based design boutique, opened three years ago by a former film editor and a style and pop culture journalist, is stocked with cool gifts from all over the world, from agate coasters to tiny desktop speakers.
What we really love: The $25 and Under page (in the Gifting section), with presents like wooden postcards on which you can carve your own message.
A virtual personal shopper, this innovative site helps you find attendant gifts locally-and reserves them for you. Plug in what you're looking for (makeup bag, silver bracelet, necktie, etc.), and you'll get a page or more of all the options available at stores in your area, along with the prices. Click on “Is it in stock?” to swiftly put it on hold.
What we really love: Sale info on products you're seeking can be texted to your cell phone, so you can snatch up wedding items for yourself and others as they're discounted.
Party responsibly by first visiting this site, which delivers information on recycling programs in your area. Just type in any item (plastic soda bottles, glass champagne bottles), and you'll learn where and how to arrange their disposal at a local recycling center.
What we really love: You can even find recycling centers for electronics and other hard-to-classify cast-offs here—an invaluable reference as you combine your things and his into one household.
This site provides the best options for an elegant yet environmentally sound wedding, from invitations (nonwood fiber, recycled paper) to wedding gowns (made of natural, earth-friendly fabrics) to honeymoons (green hotels).
What we really love: The DIY eco-conscious favor ideas.
The Wedding Carbon Footprint Calculator on this site estimates how much carbon dioxide your event will likely produce, based on driving and flight tabulations and typical energy used during a reception. You can then offset your emissions through TerraPass by funding clean energy and carbon-reduction projects.
What we really love: The green store, which offers rechargable batteries, portable power packs and the like.
If you're looking for a great designer bag for the big day but don't need (or want) it around forever, consider renting one at this site, which has recently gained a big following and was even referenced in the Sex and the City movie. You can join for just one month ($10) to get the members' price (you'll save 20 percent), or borrow as a guest.
What we really love: The option to buy any bag you end up loving.
This site offers healthy recipes, food diaries and portion-control guides to help you achieve your wedding-day weight. If you join the CalorieKing club ($7 per month), you'll get a diet plan, 24/7 support from an online community and tools to track your progress.
What we really love: The calculators. Plug in a number of calories, and you'll learn the amount of time needed to spend working out to burn them off; or type in the number of minutes you've worked out and find out how many calories you've burned.
For just $17 per month (after the $47 sign-up fee), you'll have full access to the site and all its useful tools, including the Points Tracker, which helps monitor your daily food intake, and charts that chronicle your weight loss. The program posts more than 1,500 delicious, calorie-conscious recipes as well as tips for when you hit the grocery store (only buy what's on your shopping list!).
What we really love: The video fitness demos, which allow you to practice those tricky moves before you get to the gym.
This online booking site helps you find bands and DJs in your area who specialize in all kinds of music, from country to jazz. Search by the type of music, watch a video of a live performance by the artists, then e-mail the ones you like most to arrange interviews.
What we really love: Days prior to the reception, a checklist that contains information like the date, time, dress code, etc., will be e-mailed to you and the band or DJ, so there's no room for mishaps.
This Web site can help you create your reception playlist by allowing you to first build a personalized radio station. The library has more than 10,000 stations, categorized by artist. And, unlike other similar sites, Slacker hardly repeats songs, and the music you love is saved in the site's database, not your hard drive, so you can access tunes anywhere.
What we really love: You can ban songs or artists, so there's no chance of hearing them again. Ever.
At this new site, you can easily make a wedding video slideshow your friends and family will actually want to watch. Simply upload photos, choose music, and in minutes, you'll get an edgy, professional-looking video. (The site was created by guys who worked in film and music editing for MTV and VH1!)
What we really love: It costs only $3 per full-length video or $30 per year for unlimited videos.
Do you have photos collecting dust in boxes or albums? Send them to this company, which will professionally scan and digitize them, crop and color-correct them, then archive the images and create online slideshows for you to show at your rehearsal dinner or reception. Scan up to 100 photos for $90.
What we really love: For just $10 more, the site will send you packaging to ensure your photos get there safely.
At this haute-shoe haven, brides can forgo the traditional white wedding style and splurge on shoes that'll get noticed (and be worn long after the big day), such as champagne-colored, beaded Giuseppe Zanotti Design peep-toes or strappy metallic styles from Badgley Mischka.
What we really love: There's free shipping and returns, plus a 365-day return policy.
In-the-know shoe-shoppers flock to this site for its huge assortment of reasonably priced heels, which are always on-trend. Brides browse the evening-shoe assortment by size, color, heel height and more to find the perfect style for their gown.
What we really love: The rotating panel of celebrity guest stylists (from wedding planner Mindy Weiss to Hollywood stylist Rachel Zoe).
For custom or high-end invitations by Dauphine Press, Ceci New York and Prentiss Douthit, this site has you covered. It also offers three ranges of calligraphy, depending on budget and style; prices start at $1.75 per invite.
What we really love: The search engine: Browse by paper weight, printing type, exclusive brands, new designs or editors' picks.
For a massive selection of save-the-dates and invitations, visit this site, which offers more than 1,000 styles. Thanks to the clearly defined categories (search by theme, color palette or price), it's easy to find what you're looking for.
What we really love: The proposal stories from brides across the country.
Getting around can be tough for out-of-town guests, so before they arrive, turn them on to Hopstop. Here you can enter an address and instantly get the best, most reliable directions by car, train, subway or bus-even taxi (it will calculate your cab fare)—for eight major cities or regions in the U.S., including Boston, New York and San Francisco.
What we really love: The itinerary feature, which enables you to add and organize destinations for your trip.
Think of this site as an online safe deposit box. When you're on your honeymoon, you can store copies of your passport, birth certificate and credit cards here for easy access in case of emergency. The site is super-secure—it uses the same encryption technology as the U.S. military—and has been endorsed by publications such as The Wall Street Journal and Fodor's.
What we really love: The service is free and accessible anywhere worldwide if you have an Internet connection and a Web browser.
This popular pick offers a Beach Finder tool to help you select a resort tailored to your specifications, plus a Price Assurance feature: If you book a flight or hotel stay through the site, and a week or two later the price goes down and someone else pays less on Orbitz, you'll get a refund (between $5 and $250) for the difference.
What we really love: You don't have to vigorously check prices; Orbitz will. And it'll automatically mail you a check. No calls or e-mails required.
You'll save big money on your honeymoon if you stop here first. It's the ultimate search engine for tracking down hotel deals—comparing rates from more than 20 sites and 120,000 hotels worldwide—based on personalized criteria (beach, spa, rustic).
What we really love: You can set up a profile to organize your itinerary and browse reports from others who have traveled to the same places, for firsthand advice.
Everyone knows this social-networking site, but are you aware that it's also a great organizational tool? You can create wedding photo albums to share with your list of friends; use the registry manager to arrange links to your gift registries; and post news on your Wedding Wall (think of it as a bulletin board for all things wedding-related).
What we really love: You can build your wedding Web site through your Facebook page and create fun quizzes for friends to vote on your party plans.
This straightforward site makes planning your reception tables a breeze. There's no software to install and no application updates to fuss over or widgets to deal with—just simple drag-and-drop tools to create a well-organized plan. The service is free for up to 50 guests, and the Basic package will help you seat up to 350 guests for just $20.
What we really love: You can also track RSVPs and meal preferences here.
This sleek and easy-to-use site melds financial planning with social networking. Create a free account to start saving toward a monetary goal (the band, honeymoon) by setting up a recurring deposit. If you opt to make your goal public, family and friends can post contributions as gifts.
What we really love: This site allows you to earn 3.9-percent (subject to change) interest on your original savings goal. Once you reach that target amount, you can transfer the funds to a MasterCard debit card or put the cash on a gift card for a partnered retailer, such as Sandals or Macy's, which will add up to 5 percent more.