5 Chic Updos to Keep you Cool at Summer Weddings

If you’re attending a summer wedding, you’re likely thinking about how you can stay cool while also looking chic. There’s nothing pleasant about sweating in your formal dress, so try out these stylish updos that will keep your hair off your face and your look perfectly intact.

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Photo by bark
  • The chignon. The chignon is a classic look that’s also easy to style, so even the most amateur home hairstylist can do it herself.
  • Boho braids. Braids are very popular this year, so if you’re looking for an updo that’s also totally on trend, this is the look to choose. Try Heidi braids that wrap around your head, or go for a simple, loose French braid with some wispy pieces around the face.
  • A top knot. The top knot isn’t just your go-to hairstyle for lazy nights in — it’s also a chic look for formal occasions! Slick your hair back with some gel to give it a more polished look.
  • A low ponytail. Draw a sharp part down the middle or the side of your hair, and then secure it at the nape of your neck with a matching elastic. If you want, you can even wrap a few strands of hair around the elastic to keep it hidden.
  • A loose, messy bun. If you prefer a style that’s a bit less rigid, curl your hair all over and gather it in a messy bun at the top of your head.
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The Power of Flowers

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The flowers are one of the most important parts of your wedding, and they’re always very special to both the bride and groom and the happy couple’s guests. Once the wedding is through, however, there is simply no way to save each and every bouquet, corsage and centerpiece, and many couples are left wondering what to do with all of those beloved flowers.

One increasingly popular option is to donate your wedding flowers to a worthy cause. After you give a commemorative bouquet to wedding guests who request one, you can gather the remaining flowers and have them delivered to a hospice, a hospital or even a retirement home to bring some joy to someone else’s day. Here are a few great tips for recycling your wedding’s flowers — and helping them play double-duty in spreading happiness to people all over the city.

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Photo Credit: Power of Flowers
  • Speak with Power of Flowers. Power of Flowers is a Boston-based non-profit organization that takes your used wedding flowers and delivers them to worthy causes in the area. By working with Power of Flowers, you won’t have to worry about a thing once your wedding is through; their kind-hearted staff will take care of everything.
  • Choose your own worthy cause. If no non-profit exists near you (or if you simply prefer to choose the recipient yourself), you can also do a web search to find nearby hospices or nursing homes.
  • Work with your florist. Since your florist is in charge of delivering the flowers and setting them up on the big day, he or she will likely also deliver them to the donation destination of your choice. Just make sure to discuss your plans with the florist ahead of time so that everything goes smoothly during cleanup.
  • Check into tax deductions. While you likely only want to make sure that your flowers brighten the day of someone in need, you may also be entitled to a tax deduction for your kindness. Check with Power of Flowers to see if they provide tax deductible receipts for the market value of your flowers.

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Around the City Feature: Boston Common

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Hampshire House is proud to be located in a city as historic and vibrant as Boston, and we encourage our guests to get to know the city and take full advantage of all that it has to offer. One particular area of interest is the nearby Boston Common, which many know as America’s oldest park.

Boston Common dates back more than 350 years, all the way to Colonial times during our country’s shaky beginnings. During the 1700s it was a place for the Colonial militia to group themselves for the Revolution, and it was also the place where the British army created an encampment for more than eight years. George Washington and John Adams celebrated America’s independence at Boston Common once the war was through, and in the 1860s, anti-slavery meetings were held on the park’s historic grounds.

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Photo by Vignesh Ananth

The park didn’t really become a park until 1913, when Frederick Law Olmsted’s sons created paved walkways, spread lush soil and planted green trees. Later in the 20th century, Martin Luther King, Jr. gave speeches in Boston Commons, and many civil rights rallies were held on the grounds. Pope John Paul II even celebrated a mass in the park in 1979.

Today, Boston Common is one of the most popular and scenic parks in all of Boston. Visitors spend their time strolling through the well-maintained walking paths, admiring the fountains and brushing up on the park’s history through its beautiful statues. For more athletic visitors, there are also a number of ball fields, playgrounds and even the beloved Frog Pond, which freezes over in the winter for skating.

If you’re a bit of a history buff, you’ll be happy to know that the Friends of the Public Garden have created a brochure detailing Boston Commons’ storied history. On your next free afternoon or before a visit to Hampshire House, be sure to visit this historic park and immerse yourself in a truly fascinating piece of Boston’s past.

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New England Council Events at Hampshire House

On Thursday, August 18, Hampshire House will host a Congressional Roundtable with Rep. Steny Hoyer. The House Democratic Whip is currently serving his 18th term representing the state of Maryland’s 5th Congressional District, and this event will give people the chance to get to know Hoyer and what he stands for.

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Rep. Steny Hoyer is the second-ranking member of the House Democratic Leadership, and he acts as a liaison between the members and the Democratic leadership. He coordinates strategy within the Caucus, and he is in charge of mobilizing the party vote.

The Hampshire House has hosted many events with the New England Council in the past including an event for Representative Niki Tsongas who represents the 3rd Congressional District of Massachusetts last March which went very well.

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The Congressional Roundtable with Rep. Steny Hoyer will begin at 8:30 a.m. on August 18, and it will end at 10 a.m. To RSVP, visit the New England Council’s website.

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Unique Hair Trends for the Modern Brides

Instead of the usual tight up-do or a long, wavy style, many modern brides are searching for hair trends that are a bit more unique. If you want your hair to make more of a statement on your big day, you might want to try out one of these fun hairstyles.

  • Boho braids. If you’re planning a bohemian wedding, braided hairstyles are a must-have. Try one with long, loose waves and braids at the crown, or go for two Heidi braids that wrap all the way around your head.
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Photo by srivard72
  • A chic topknot. Who says that the topknot is only for casual days? With a fresh face of makeup and some sleek, shiny product, your favorite off-duty hairstyle can play double duty on your wedding day.
  • Beachy waves. While perfectly coiffed waves may feel a bit too stuffy for many modern brides, tousled, beachy waves strike the perfect balance between soft and romantic. Achieve this look with curling irons in a few different sizes, some salt spray and a good shake of the hair with your fingers.
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Photo by Bellafaye Garden
  • A fascinator. For modern brides who love vintage vibes, adding a fascinator-style hat is a great way to take your wedding look from pretty to fabulous. Add a dramatic fascinator over a sleek chignon, or even wear one to balance out a long hairstyle.
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Around the City: Jamaica Pond

Boston is filled with beautiful, natural areas that offer a respite from the hustle and bustle of city life, but you need a bit of local know-how in order to find them. Jamaica Pond is one such spot, and it makes a great place to have a picnic, go for a run and otherwise get away from it all on a warm summer’s day.

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Photo by eviltomthai

Jamaica Pond is located in the Jamaica Plain neighborhood of Boston, and it’s also a part of the city’s “Emerald Necklace” of parks.  The park was first founded way back in 1892, and even despite its numerous changes, its natural essence is still much the same as it was back then. Today, there is a 1.5-mile paved path that winds its way around the pond, creating a wonderful place for walking, jogging or riding bikes for exercise.

The pond itself spans 68 acres, and its “kettle” shape was formed by glacial activity. Its average depth is approximately 25 feet around the edges and 53 feet deep at the center, which makes for great fishing with the proper licenses. The Massachusetts Division of Fisheries and Wildlife stocks the pond with fish every year, and visitors can even rent rowboats and kayaks at the on-site Jamaica Pond Boat House. If you’re not familiar with sailing, you can even take lessons through the Courageous Sailing Center.

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Photo by jongela19

Aside from its great everyday activities, Jamaica Pond is also home to annual events like the yearly Lantern Parade. This family-friendly parade is held every October, and it features community residents parading around the lake at sunset with handmade lanterns, true to Dutch tradition. Approximately 4,000 residents take part in the Lantern Parade each year, and it is a truly stunning sight to see. With so much development in the city, this locale offers a respite from the hustle and bustle, providing its lush and verdant green space for your enjoyment.

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Wedding Etiquette: What to Wear as a Guest

Whether your social calendar is filled with weddings this season or you’re invited to your first wedding of the year, most people say that they’re never quite sure what to wear. From formal affairs to laid-back bashes, these helpful tips will show you what to wear for any type of wedding.

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Photo by bloomfieldevents
  • If the wedding invitation says “black tie,” you can’t get around the dress code. For men, this often means renting a tuxedo complete with a cummerbund and tie. For the ladies, you can’t go wrong with a classic, floor-length evening gown and some great high heels.
  • If the dress code is simply formal, you have a bit more wiggle room when it comes to your outfit. Men will fit right in in a smart suit and shiny pair of dress shoes, while women can wear floor-length, tea-length or even short dresses, provided that they’re more formal than your usual attire.
  • Nowadays, many weddings are more casual, and that means more leniencies when it comes to the dress code. Ladies will want to wear a sundress in warmer weather or a cocktail dress in colder temperatures, but if you know the couple personally, you may want to go more casual or more formal, depending on their wishes. For men, a suit and tie is customary, but if you know that the affair is more laid-back, you may even wear slacks and a button-down shirt without the jacket and tie.
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How to Incorporate Children into a Wedding

Aside from the traditional ring bearer and flower girl, there aren’t many roles for young children in a wedding. Unfortunately, this means that many couples are forced to leave out the children in their family or choose between them.

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Photo by Mannia&Titta

If you want to incorporate more children into your special day, there are a number of nontraditional ways to do so. Here are just a few creative ideas that will allow all of your favorite kids to share in your wedding ceremony.

  • Add junior bridesmaids or groomsmen. If you have children or teens in your family who are a bit older, you can ask them to be “junior” bridesmaids or groomsmen. These roles share the same importance as traditional bridesmaids and groomsmen, but they may have less responsibility.
  • Add a train bearer. Just like you have a ring bearer, you can ask a little boy or girl to be a train bearer for the bride. This role involves holding the bride’s train when she walks down the aisle.
  • Have them hand out programs. Children between the ages of 5 and 10 will enjoy being in charge of the programs or hymnals at your ceremony. Instruct them to hand out these important items to guests when they enter the building.
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Photo by merfam
  • Add ushers. Both girls and boys who are a bit older can also act as ushers who direct guests to their seats.
  • Use multiple flower girls. Who says that you can only have one flower girl? If you have a few specials girls (or even boys!) in your life, give them all a basket of flower petals to toss before the bride comes down the aisle.
  • Ask them to do a reading. Since children are usually very excited about learning to read, asking a young boy or girl to give a simple reading at your ceremony is a cute way to make kids feel important. This task is best reserved for more outgoing children, or if the child is shy, he or she may like to do a reading with a partner.
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Untold Stories of the Boston Public Garden

The Boston Public Garden is one of the most serene spaces in the city, but even if you’re a frequent visitor, you still may not know all there is to know about the garden’s history. This lush garden was America’s first public botanical garden, and it’s still one of the city’s proudest attractions. From its incredible origins to its additions over the years, the Boston Public Garden is just as rich in history as it is in greenery.

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Photo by tvanhoosear

On the “Untold Stories of the Public Garden” tour, guests of all ages will learn about the history, horticulture and sculptures found throughout the garden’s grounds. This free guided walking tour is a great way to get out and enjoy the Boston Public Garden while also learning inside information, and even if you’ve visited the gardens dozens of times, it offers a brand new way to look at this beautiful space.

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Photo by vladislav.bezrukov

Boston Public Garden volunteers lead these fascinating tours, and they offer a wealth of information about how the gardens were founded and how they’ve changed over the years. Tours take place Tuesdays through Thursdays at 10 a.m. and 4 p.m., and if you’d like to join on, simply meet at the “Make Way for Ducklings” statues.

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Wedding Feature: Kristen and Kevin

Today’s featured Hampshire House wedding is Kristen and Kevin’s elegant affair. Despite some dreary weather and the threat of rain all day long, the happy couple’s wedding went off without a hitch — and with only a few raindrops!

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Kristen wore a floor-length gown from Stella York, which she purchased at Party Dress Express. The dress featured layer upon layer of white chiffon at the skirt, a sweetheart neckline rimmed in lace, and thin, lace shoulder straps that matched the rose-shaped lace details along the waist. Kevin looked dapper in a dark grey suit with a white undershirt, as well as a black tie. Together, the pair looked timeless and still totally modern, which suited their classic wedding.

Before the wedding itself, the couple met up for their first look at Hampshire House with local photographer Ali Cali Photo. Plans to wander about the Public Gardens were quickly foiled by the day’s rainstorms, but luckily, they were able to snap a few shots with the bride’s parents before heading indoors for the rest of the photos. They even got a few silly snaps in front of the park’s bronze ducks!

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Once they arrived at Hampshire House, Kristen and Kevin (and photographer Ali) completed their photo session. With the addition of timeless white roses and sprigs of green ivy from Cedar Grove Gardens (plus Hampshire House’s stunning architecture) they were able to capture the moments before their nuptials in a truly special way.  They got a few great shots on Hampshire House’s stunning spiral staircase, which is always a favorite with soon-to-be-married couples.

The couple was married in front of an intimate group of family and friends in Hampshire House’s library. Floor-to-ceiling wooden bookcases filled with antique books created a beautiful backdrop, while the home’s stately fireplace was adorned with romantic candles and matching white roses to go with the rest of their wedding’s theme.

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Once the ceremony was over, the newly minted couple and their smiling guests retreated to the dining room for a delicious meal and a champagne toast. Hampshire House’s long, spacious dining tables comfortably accommodated all of the wedding guests, while white tablecloths, white and soft pink centerpieces and simple white china gave the meal a look of understated luxury.

After dinner was through, Kristen and Kevin cut their three-tiered cake, which was provided by Cakes to Remember. The white icing was decorated with tiny white swirls and a tasteful bouquet of the wedding flowers on top, and guests seemed to enjoy every bite.

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Soon, the lights at Hampshire House were dimmed and the tables were pushed aside to make room for dancing. International String Trio provided the music for the ceremony and cocktail hour, but once it was time for the real party to start, DJ Ron from Entertainment Specialists played everyone’s favorite hits. The low lights and glittering chandeliers guaranteed a packed dance floor, and guests enjoyed dancing the night away in celebration of Kristen and Kevin.

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Everyone at Hampshire House wishes Kristen and Kevin a lifetime of happiness. Thank you for choosing to have your wedding day with us!

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