Friday, February 22, 2013

Bridal Showers, Bachelorette Ideas, Gifts, & Everything Else!

Most important thing if you're going to take ONE, and only one thing away from this post is:

Make the bride feel special, amazing, beautiful, and all else in between. 
She deserves every minute of every moment!

I can't tell you how wonderful I felt, month after month. I had a full weekend with my girls and 
other friends doing all sorts of things, bridal showers thrown by both sides of the family, and one 
from a family friend. It was like party after party, celebrating us! Everybody involved made 
me feel on top of the world. I can't thank everybody enough that participated in 
the festivities.

 And because I'm obsessed with looking back through photos and reminiscing this week about
our wedding and all other events, I figured why not give you some ideas to celebrate the bride!
This is what you'll get out of this huge post:

1) Bachelorette day or weekend ideas
2) Bridal shower ideas & tips
3) Bridal shower decor ideas & DIYs
4) Food, food, and more food ideas based on shower themes
5) Games of all sorts
6) Gift ideas for the bride and/or couple
7) Fun gift wrapping suggestions
8) In general, motivation, ideas, & creativity for all you MOHs and BMs
(or steal the ideas on here; either works, but help by sharing where it came from!)

A Full Weekend Event
Just like the wedding, think about what you want for your bachelorette day, weekend, or
simple shower. Knowing that I had a couple girls coming from out of town, we decided to
combine all the action into one weekend. Even if they aren't in town, I'd suggest it! It makes
for one heck of a weekend with your favorite people! Do you want adventure, a party, just to
relax, or maybe only have a bridal shower? Have them all if you desire, you choose!

Make it fun for all and be sure you take these times to celebrate you (the bride) because the
only other time you'll get it is on your birthday. And that's only once a year. So take advantage
of lots of you during your wedding year! It's not selfish and if someone says it is,
tell them to come talk to me.

What We Did
*Rafted in the freezing cold
*Ate and drank garbage food and got a little wild at Courtney's house 
*Enjoyed some silly/fun bachelorette games and opened sexy lingerie gifts from the girls
*Headed to a local bar for some country music and line dancing
*Celebrated the bride with a bridal shower with friends and family the following day

Talk about a jam packed weekend of fun, adventure, crazy, and good times with friends and family!
It all goes back to how you want to celebrate you and what screams you.
Here are some ideas for all different types of brides.

Adventure Bride
I love adventure and the outdoors, so why not tie it into your weekend with everything else?
A few of my bridesmaids aren't as into it, but I loved putting them through the rafting to scare
the poo out of them. It was fun watching them squirm a bit before we started rafting. That came
back to bite me when I was the one who fell out of the raft. Karma. Boo karma. Nevertheless,
it makes everybody step outside their box in various situations such as these.

Running a 5k race together
Rock climbing 
(scare those who are afraid of a gym. Heaven forbide you take people 
outside to climb who have never done so in their entire life!)
Boating-soak up that sun & see who can stay on the tube longest
(see what it's like for all your girls to camp together, ha! Invite me because I'd love to see it)

Getting rafting appropriate

Comfort Bride
I love staying at home. Sometimes more than I should. For those brides out there who are more of a home-body, let them stick to their comfort. Plan a day or night in with all her friends inside!
You can still get crazy, have a good time, and make a great bachelorette party all by staying in.
It's not necessary to go out to a club, make a big trip, or have to go all out for anything.
Why not just stay in and do it all in the comfort of your own home?

It's exactly what we did during our weekend too! A little junk food, drinks, games, getting
ready together, you name it. All the maids and the bride in one house made for a great time!

Make a theme for staying home ("dine in", "bridal comfort", etc)
Make comfort foods 
(mini mac & cheese cups or mini grilled cheese and tomato soup for lunch/dinner;
mini stuffed mushrooms, cut fruit into mini pieces to serve for snacks;
mini pancakes on a stick with an array of topping options;
make mini desserts...see where I'm going with this)
Check out Southern Living for more ideas or Google them yourself
Mix up some good beverages. Stick to your theme if you can (a little 'southern comfort' maybe)
Get bachelorette accessories...if you don't go out with them, why not use them while you're in?
Play the typical bachelorette games. Worth it for all the humor.
Splurge on some fancy lingerie for the bride

Somehow it's a little easier doing some silly things in front of people when you're at someone's home.
If your bridesmaids aren't as familiar with each other, this is a great way to get them familiar with each other. And what better way than playing dirty games and being slightly inappropriate. It happens, secret is out. Do some of those typical bachelorette things as I said before, have fun with it!

Have fun with the girls while you're all together. Enjoy a few drinks, take some
ridiculous pictures, and get some good bachelorette accessories to do it all in!

Give the bride a little spending money while she's out and about. 
Kari hooked me up in my mini necklace purse!

Party, Get Crazy Bride
Heading to the bars is not much of my thing anymore. My early 20s, ya you could see me hanging
out at Dukes here and there. But safe to say I've moved on from that stage of my life.
I've lived it up. Now I'm just an old hag that blogs. Nevertheless, it is always kinda fun to 
head to the bar for a nice night of country music and learning to line dance!

Have a cocktail hour for friends and family at your place before heading out
Wear a sache or something that tells everybody you're the bride
(I didn't think I'd want to, but it made it that much more fun. You only do it once, right?)
Pick a bar you can just dance the night away (if so you choose)
Or pick a bar you can learn to dance 
(maybe you want country, maybe you want pole dancing. Ya never know. Pick your poison)
Rent a hotel if you're in the downtown area to crash at afterwards

Get some fun shot glasses, disposable or glass, to go along with the fun.
Eat a lot of garbage food just because you can. Feel crappy the next day, but get over it.

Get a ride in a minivan if you have to. Do what you have to do to get to the bar.

Keep It Simple Bride
Now a days, weddings can get so over the top. Where do you stop? Same thing for bridal
showers. I didn't want people to feel they needed to come to all the activities nor feel
they needed to bring me something at each event. So if you're not feeling up to much of anything
else, at least have a bridal shower. 

Bridal showers give you time to spend with some of those on your guest list you may not 
have time to chat with at the wedding. It's low key, it still gets to be all about you, and it's always 
fun to see how your maids make it all happen. I was so blessed to have wonderful 
several showers, so the creativity in everybody came out. It made such a memorable wedding year!

*Ideas for Just a Bridal Shower
Pick a theme
Plan the food menu to go along with the theme
Make easy, inexpensive, simple invites
Suggest gift ideas on the invite (if she so chooses to accept gifts)
(don't invite someone if they're not invited to the wedding, that's weird)
Make or buy decor the bride can use at her wedding or in her home later
Have a table set up for people to write their addresses on envelopes (saves the bride time)
Buy the bride cute thank you cards she can send out after the shower
What the heck, play a game or two...ones that don't make people feel uncomfortable

Real Life Themes
Red, Grey, and White Theme
(Thrown by Kari and my other maids)

Make the bride treat herself to a nice little dress for the occasion. It's
a good time to splurge a little on herself!

Mix in fresh flowers from the farmers market into wine bottles or soup cans. Buy fabric on sale
at the fabric store to use as backdrops, centerpieces, etc. Spread pictures throughout to show
who you're celebrating in case someone forgets ;-)

Have a dessert bar. Strawberry shortcakes are a great summer dessert and much lighter on the belly

Try some fruit skewers, meat/veggie skewers, chips and homemade salsa and guacamole, 
veggies and dip, some yummy Trader Joe's fruit and nut mixes, and the list can go on and on!

Gotta have some games. Makes for some good laughs and gets the creativity going in some people.
Never know what they're going to come up with!

Dress up the bride with all the necessities for how her life will be, now and way
into the future. Have her walk around, make people remember and write down the items.
The person with the best memory wins!

Vintage Lace & Lavender Theme
(This was what I put together with the help of a few others for my friend Meg)

Buy letters at the craft store when on sale, use up your lace you have in your fabric supplies
or buy a little amount to cover the letters. I was able to lightly modge podge the lace onto them

Make these, scatter them for your decor, and you've got yourself one easy DIY decor if nothing else!
If you don't have any of these laying around for your stitching projects, I'm sure your
grandma does. Ask her, use them for the bridal shower decor, then give them back to her.
Easy as that.

Backyard Decor

Have your dad hang decor up for you while you're busy doing other things. Thanks Dad
for your creative mind to use the backyard for this stuff and ability to hang heavy items without
trying to leave holes everywhere!

Entrance Table Decor

Instead of ballons outside the house, why not just put a display out in front of the house that won't be missed? Set up a table with some of their engagement pictures, the invitation to the shower that everybody will recognize, an old bottle, and tie in your lace and lavender to make the theme known!

Invites can be very simple. Print on some craft paper, utilize some leftover paint and a stencil,
wrap a lace doily around the invite (ties into the lace theme), then tie little cards onto
the invite that give guests either more detail or just have a fun design on them.

Entryway table for a game and thank you cards on their way in so they don't miss them

As I had said before, reuse fabrics you have (I just sewed lace onto the bottom to tie into the theme).
Have a table for thank you cards for people to address them (saves the bride time later).

And how about make your first game right where they are going to be...have the guests
put advice, a quote, something naughty, or whatever they want on a piece of the jenga game. The
bride goes away with not just a game to play with her hubby, but some good and awfully funny advice!

Dessert Bar

Utilize all your surfaces in your house. Make sure it's known that we're here to celebrate the bride!

Display the desserts with the bride, her husband-to-be,
and everything they have done together during their relationship through pictures.

Desserts: vanilla with lavender frosting and banana with vintage caramel buttercream
(again, stick to your theme)

Use picture frames you already have, no need to go buy new ones. Use the leftover doilies
that you purchased for the invitations as background for the pictures.
Notice the piece of lace...guess what, it's part of the same cut I got to cover the letters (tie it all in!)

Food Display

Have fun with the food. We went with the mini mac & cheese, mini stuffed
mushrooms, mini pizzas, mini mason jars filled with fresh berries, and some mini cut veggies.
Meg loves those comfort foods, so when you are choosing food items for the shower think
about what the bride loves to eat!

*Tip: maid of honors, don't be afraid to ask for help. If you want to do the decor, ask the
others to help with food or vice versa. Trust me, everybody is happy to help and looks forward
to participating in the event!

*Tip: alter wedding decor, reuse your own home decor, utilize inexpensive or on-hand fabrics, etc:
Everything on that table is reused decor that Meg and I were saving for our weddings except
for the tiered food displays (I had one and Ty's mom loaned me hers) and the
doilies were purchased at Joanns. Keep it simple, get creative, use what you have!


Give your beverages a name. It doesn't just have to be a 'mix drink' or just 'lemonade'
when it can be much more than that! Have fun with it.

Place unique cups or jars out for people to drink their beverages from. Add in some
stylish straws they can sip with (check out Amazon for good deals on large quantities and you can
use the leftover straws at another time). Let them continue to refill until they've wiped you clean!

2 in 1: Game as Decor Idea

Another game that won't put people in awkward positions (some of them can if you've been
to a few showers here and there, especially when you don't know the bride all that well)
Display pictures of the two of them from baby up until high school/college time. Ask their moms
for pictures. Trust me, they have some well kept secret photos. Bring them out. Makes for a
great laugh and see them in their 'prime' days before they knew each other!
Put numbers on each picture, have a little sheet of paper for guests to write the ages of each
picture onto, and whoever has the most correct, wins!

Couples Bridal Shower
Theme: 'How We Met' the ball field

Ball Field Specialties!

(Food to go along with the theme. Have you figured it out yet?)

Gifts for the guests to take home with them...good ol' CJs!

Some more decor

Photos of us playing sports back in the day!

Take photos with your gifts. They're great props.

And be extremely nerdy when you get the chance. Ty tends to take advantage of a little more so.

*Other Bridal Shower Ideas:
Just Family bridal shower
Modern Style
Honeymoon Theme

Gift Ideas For The Bride
*Registry items*
 (always helpful, it is what they need right?)

If you're giving the bride a kitchen appliance or utensil, why not give the food you need to use it with!

*Themed Baskets*
Find a neat way to package up all the gifts, whether it be a pretty basket or using
the gift itself to put the rest of your gifts into.

-'Adventure Time'-hiking/camping stuff
-'Game Time'-basket of games for rainy days or outdoor games (horseshoes, holey board, etc.)
-'Honeymoon Essentials'-get a gift card to a restaurant or for an activity where they are honeymooning to along with towels, magazines, books, and so on of items they could use while relaxing
-'In the kitchen'-cooking utensils with pot/pan, cookbook with bakeware and ingredients
-'Spice It Up'-go to one of those specialty spice places and get a basket of spices, oils, and vinegars
-'Date Night'-get the couple a gift card to a restaurant, movie tickets, etc.
-'Transportation Needs'-a bucket filled with car cleaning supplies
-'In The Garden'-fill a bucket or a neat flower pot with garden tools, flowers, hose, etc.
-'Party Time'-items for dinner dates, catering, parties, etc. (napkins, napkin rings, serving items)

Garden themed gift all tucked into a bucket and wrapped with a tool belt, stuffed with many
of the items the bride will need for gardening

Catering/party theme...a dish to serve food along with all the napkins and napkin rings

Gift Wrapping
Unfortunately I didn't save all the wrapping to the gifts or even take pictures of some of the
fancy things people came up with. I wish I had. Instead, I will send you elsewhere to gather some
great wrapping ideas. It always makes it that much more fun to give as well as to receive!

Style Me Pretty
Birdcage with Gifts Inside
Quite the Variety-Wedding & Holiday
Themed Gift Basket

Make paper flowers to cover your gift bag rather than stuffing it with tissue paper.
These were a hit. Everybody loved the idea! (made by Tammy Kramer)

That's all we have for you at the moment. I think it's about time you get to planning anyway!

Now it's your turn:
Help us out by sharing our blog if you enjoy reading it and have gotten some of your crafty,
foody, or other such inspiration from us! We'd appreciate more visitors to the blog, so share the
blog link on facebook, repost our recipes and crafts, or tell your friends.

Until next time!
The Stanleys