My Bridal Shower + Registry Tips

I am so excited to share my bridal shower on the blog! Last weekend my mom threw me the most special shower. Many months ago when she was in her early planning stages I decided I definitely wanted my shower to be a surprise. We agreed that coming up with a fake story or event to get me to the shower (without also blowing the surprise) would be tough. One of my bridesmaids shared a great idea to avoid this scenario. The mother of the bride tells the bride the morning of her shower that it’s ‘shower day,’ with cute signs, flowers, decorations, etc. I don’t live at home anymore {weird!} so my mom decided she would still figure out how to surprise me the morning of.

The morning of my bridal shower day was a bit rainy, so I slept later than usual because my room was so dark. My fiance of course was in on the surprise, so at 7am {moments after I opened my eyes} he let my mom and MOH into the house and they BARGED into my room. Decked out in rain coats with flowers and cameras they pulled off the surprise! My mom also made me a hair appointment for that morning, so I didn’t feel as rushed getting ready.

My mom didn’t miss a single detail. My shower was Pinterest perfect. We both LOVE the Gilmore Girls, so she incorporated so many details from the show. She made chocolates covered in Gilmore Girl’s sayings, decorated the tables with Fruit Loops and Pop Tarts, the center pieces were filled with coffee beans and she even found Gilmore Girls bobble heads! I love how much my mom personalized my shower because it made my day extra special. She and my bridesmaids put together so many pictures, including a “Meet the Maids” scrapbook. I love to cook, so my mom also sent out recipe cards with my invitations and collected them in a wooden recipe box. I can’t wait to continue collecting recipes from friends and family. My mom included a few special gifts such a toasting flutes, cake forks, a piece of my grandma’s shirt {something blue} to sew into my wedding dress and my christening bonnet from my great aunt {something old}.

Registry Tips

I think registering is all about finding the balance between necessities and splurge items. Your bridal shower is a time for you to get some great house hold items that you may not be able to or think of buying for yourself.

In the end, I think I over-registered because some women in my life kept telling me that I didn’t have enough. I was really hesitant to add odds and ends like wooden spoons, spatulas, whisks, ice cream bowls and decorations because I knew these were things I could easily buy for myself. I didn’t get many of these extra items, but some of the extras I added at the end were purchased over some of my sought after items. I think my biggest tip would be to register for what you really want, so you get those items. You don’t want your registry to be too small, but if it’s filled with your must-haves, you have a better chance of getting them all. I ended up getting a lot of gift cards which will allow me to buy any extra items as I need them. (Update 11/19/17 – Looking back now I think all of the gifts I got worked out great. I didn’t end up returning much at all. It just took me a few months to work through all of the boxes. The slow cooker I registered for was terrible, so I am on the hunt for a new one. I got a lot of giftcards which I have been using to buy anything else I want. My biggest recommend is to register for what you want and need, but be practical! If you like to cook get great cookware! If you hate cooking, maybe that’s not the category to splurge in. At the end of the summer my co-workers had a bridal shower for me and got me the white Le Creuset Dutch oven I registered for and I LOVE LOVE LOVE it!)

We registered at Bed, Bath and Beyond and Pottery Barn. BBB is a great choice because you can always use a 20% off coupon which helps make items more affordable (especially the small appliances). PB can be a little tricky because store locations are limited and their online specials change daily. My invitations also said “Home Depot giftcards as also appreciated.” We really appreciate all the HD gift cards we got because we’re still renovating our house.

My Top 10 Registry Items

Kitchen Aid Mixer

Cuisinart Blender

Cuisinart Food Processor

Cuisinart Hand Blender

Nespresso 

Large Service of Flatwear

Shark Steam Mop

Cuisinart Stainless Steel Pots & Pans

PotteryBarn Duvet and Quilt

Dinnerwear Set

The Kitchen Aid stand mixer was a splurge item that I knew I definitely wanted. Although I am not huge into baking (yet), I have always felt that it is a staple kitchen appliance (unless you of course do no cooking or baking of any kind). Similarly, a good blender, food processor and hand blender are great staples too. The blender I linked above is awesome. I found that a lot of the appliances on the market today are bulky, but this blender isn’t too big. It is also super powerful. I love using a food processor to chop up veggies. A food processor can be a huge time saver for dinner prep. My hubby-to-be has also learned how to use it which makes it easier for him to get dinner started when I am running late. Hand blender or immersion blenders are awesome for pureeing soups! I cannot wait to use it this fall and winter.

The day we went to register an espresso machine wasn’t on our original list. The more we thought about it the more it seemed like something we would get use out of. After all, Mike and a lot of the men in my family drink espresso. I am so happy we decided to register for a Nespresso machine because we’ve used it everyday since we got it. We really love the milk frother it came with too.

Our number one most needed item was flatwear. When we moved into our house we were using hand-me-downs from my great aunts! I went with a simple design that would be timeless, but it was important to me that we got a large service. The set we chose came with serving spoons and steak knives.

I love the Shark steam mop we got. Our house has wood floors throughout, so I am always hesitant using a steam mop, but this one has three different settings. Honestly, nothing cleans the floors as well as a steam mop, especially this one because it has a huge pad.

Another item I knew we would definitely register for was a good pot and pans set. We went with a really nice brushed stainless set from Cuisinart. I opted for stainless because I think stainless wears better. Teflon eventually chips and wears down. I really like that the entire set is stove and oven safe. I can’t wait to put all of these to good use!

Our master bedroom isn’t finished yet, but I know I wanted to have all new bedding ready to go. I love simple quilts, so I opted for blue one from PB. I actually have the same one on our bed now in white which will eventually become out guest room bedding. I also registered for a white duvet cover and insert to give us more options for colder months and style.

I knew I 100% did not want china or crystal. I just don’t think they’re practical anymore and they’re very expensive which would take away from other gifts I had my eye on. Instead, I registered for  good everyday dinnerware. It took me a long time to find a set that I liked, but once I found this set at PB I started my second registry. I registered for both bone and grey, so I could mix and match the colors {our entire house is white, beige, grey and light blue – makes decorating very easy}. The dinner plates for this set are HUGE. They’re so big that they don’t actually fit in our upper cabinets, so we have them in a bottom drawer. They’re also a little big for the dishwasher. I didn’t take the size into consideration at all when I picked them out, but I think they will be perfect for the holidays 🙂

 

xo Miss Alyss

Gift Guide: Will You Be My Bridesmaid?

Asking the most special ladies in your life to be part of your “bride tribe” is so exciting, but it can also be stressful. I wanted to ask each of them with a special gift. I did not start any of my wedding planning immediately after getting engaged. I decided to wait a few months to soak in the goodness of our engagement before getting caught up in the wedding plans. My delayed start resulted in my bridesmaids’ gifts to arriving later than planned, but luckily before our engagement party. I didn’t want to go too crazy with gifts, so I decided on personalized wine glasses, nail polish and a sweet card.  Our engagement party was hosted at a wine and beer bar, so the wine glasses were the perfect gift. Both the wine glasses and cards were purchased on Etsy. Some of my girls had a good hunch they would be a bridemaid and others did not. It was so special to surprise them and ask them to be part of my wedding day. Nothing better than happy tears!

20161008_115142

The wine glasses and flower girl tumbler were by Weddings By Leann on Etsy in colors midnight and copper metallic. I also ordered a matching “Future Mrs.” and “One Lucky Mr.” wine and beer glass set for Mike and I to use the day of our engagement party. The seller was very responsive via Etsy messages which helped me to make sure the fonts and colors of each item were coordinated. The glasses arrived in 3-4 weeks and were wrapped so perfectly! Lots of bubble wrap, so all arrived in perfect condition. It’s been 8 months and mine is still perfect. I use it all the time, but only wash it by hand.

I ordered “Will You Be My Bridesmaid?” cards from The Lion and The Lark on Etsy as well. This seller was also very responsive via Etsy messages which helped me to order a matching flower girl card. This order was an instant download which I had printed at Staples.

With each glass I gave the girls a nail polish. The bridemaids got Essie Sole Mate (a perfect plum shade for fall) and my flower girl got a confetti polish by China Glaze.

DSC_3099
Photo by Annie Harris Photography

My Engagement Ring | Finding the Perfect Fit

Thanks for visiting my blog! I am trying to make more of an effort to blog regularly and have been considering adding a wedding planning section to my page too. I love reading tips from brides-to-be and would love to share some of mine as well. I decided to write this very long blog about the issues I’ve had with sizing my engagement ring. I have learned it happens to more brides than you would think. I have slim fingers, but my engagement ring finger knuckle is just big enough to be causing me sizing issues. Fear not my fellow brides, you are not alone and you will get your ring to fit!!


I was shocked when my fiance proposed in May 2016; it was totally unexpected. Of course I knew we would get married, but I thought our engagement was farther down the road. We never had serious talks about the type of ring I wanted. He just knew that I wanted everything to be a surprise. I totally didn’t care how he popped the question! When he proposed we had been together for about 5.5 years, so in that time I had slipped him some ring ideas. If I sent him a photo, I would hope he at least glanced at it, but we never talked about it. I just crossed my fingers hope that when the time came the proposal and the ring would be a perfect fit for me! With the help of a great jeweler he picked out the perfect diamond and setting for me. I have been in love with my ring from the second he slid it on my finger (and I realized it was an engagement ring and he wasn’t kidding…which took a few seconds). My ring is an oval diamond with a halo and pave band. I don’t know any of the specifics and I am happy to keep it that way.

Engagement Ring

I was so set on EVERYTHING being a surprise that I never had my left ring finger professionally sized. Towards the end of college I also stopped wearing rings all together, so I became unfamiliar with my true ring size. When my cousin got engaged a few years ago, I knew her ring was a 5.75 which seemed like a good fit for me too. Boy, was I wrong! I really wish I just took a random trip the a jeweler to be sized once I know my fiance was “the one.”

After a month of being engaged we went back to the jeweler to talk to her about re-sizing my ring. At that time my ring was flipping all around and I could slide it off easily. I actually started wrapping a Band-aid around the bottom of the ring to help keep it in place. This was the first time I experienced a jeweler’s perspective of how an engagement ring should fit. Jewelers want it to be very, very snug.  I was very nervous about having my ring made smaller. At a 5.75, it seemed so tiny already! That day the jeweler sized me at a 5.25 and was even swaying me to a 5, but I just thought it would be too tight. She also mentioned that due to my setting she wouldn’t be able to re-size my ring more than 1 size to protect the setting itself. When I got my ring back it fit and all was good.

Towards the end of October when the weather turned cool my ring started flipping around. It also took very little effort for me to slide it over my knuckle. Knowing that it wasn’t the dead of winter yet, I started to worry about my ring sliding off. It was so loose that I felt it could get caught in my pocket or a glove. I once again resorted to wrapping a Band-aid around the ring to help secure it. I was hoping I could make it through the winter with the ring as it was and decided what to do the following summer when I would pick out my wedding band.

After a few weeks of having my ring flipping around I stopped at a local jeweler to see if I could get a ring guard. The jeweler had a great reputation and is comparable to the jeweler who made my ring. She did not recommend a ring guard because the diamonds on my band come pretty far down and a ring guard could damage the setting around them. Instead she gave me a clear tape like ring guard to wrap around my finger to help secure my ring until I decided on a more permanent solution. After a few more weeks, I couldn’t take it any longer and decided to have ring balls soddered into my engagement ring. The balls were a good semi-permanent solution that would help re-size my ring, but they could be taken off in the future if needed.

My ring felt funny and very snug with the ring balls, but the jeweler said that’s how an engagement ring should fit and after a few days I wouldn’t notice the balls. Within a few hours I actually didn’t notice the ring balls. It was snug, but I could get it on in the morning and off at night. It was even still flipping around at times. After Christmas I noticed my ring was more snug than usual, but I didn’t think much of it until New Year’s Eve. I fell asleep on the couch for a few hours and when I woke up I could not get my ring off. Although I didn’t want to, I went to bed with it on, knowing my finger would only swell more while I was sleeping.

I woke up knowing that I shouldn’t try to take my ring off so I relaxed, had breakfast, drank a good amount of water and put an ice cube on my finger. I even watched TV with my hand above my head. Even though the ring wasn’t budging over my knuckle I was still able to spin it around the base of my finger. With ice, Windex, coconut oil and the Grace of God, I got my ring off, but it was VERY uncomfortable.

Once my ring was off, my knuckle was now noticeably swollen and throbbing. I immediately realized I probably should have left my ring on (for a few days if needed) until my knuckle swelling subsided. Forcing it off only made the situation worse. By that evening, I realized that a callus had formed around my knuckle from the pressure of my ring. Gross! Fortunately, I wasn’t as gross or noticeable as it sounds, but it was definitely preventing my ring from sliding on and off.

20170101_125218.jpg

Over the course of three weeks I had my ring balls shaved down twice then had them removed entirely. I could get the ring on, but because of the callus getting my ring off was still very difficult. My finger was so sore! I decided to keep my ring off for an entire week to let all swelling subside. I called my dermatologist’s office to see what they would recommend. They suggested I liberally apply Aquaphor throughout the day and a thick layer at night with a band-aid. After a few days of lotion-ing up my hands constantly with Aquahor and Eucerin hand lotion my finger healed.

My ring fits the way it did after having it sized. It wiggles around and comes off with just a bit of effort. It’s not perfect and without a doubt is going to be bit annoying, but I am more comfortable this way. Now that I have experienced two extremes of ring sizing, I much rather it be spinning around a bit and not causing pain to my knuckle. This summer I will be picking out my wedding band which I plan to order in a size 5 and will decide if my engagement ring needs to be resized to a size 5 too.

My advice to fiances-to-be is to get your finger sized before you get engaged and when it comes to sizing, go with your gut. No one can decide how your ring should feel on your finger, but you.

Update 11/21/17: I am now married and wear my wedding band with my engagement ring. When I ordered my wedding band, I found out that my engagement ring was special ordered in a size 4.75 and was re-sized to a 4.25. I think it was a mistake on Mike or the jeweler’s part, but it worked in my favor. My ring was never a 5.75. It wouldn’t have even stayed on my hand if it was! My wedding band was also ordered in a 4.25. Together both rings fit more snug than alone, but there are some days I think I need a size 4. Overall, they fit fine and I love them. I have realized that my fingers fluctuate in size and some days my rings spin, and that’s okay!

20170116_150831.jpg
Back to “normal”

Here are the at home “treatments” that I think helped me out the most to reduce swelling and get rid of the callus. I am not a doctor or any kind of medical professional. These are just the tricks that worked for me.

-Keep your ring off for at least 1 week (power through girl, I know that advice makes you want to cry!)

-To reduce swelling, try icing your knuckle a few times a day, take Tylenol if needed and soak your hand in warm water with epsom salt

– Wash your hands with an exfloiating cleanser (I used my Derma-E glycolic acid face cleanser for a gentle exflotiation)

-After soaking your finger or showering, lightly buff the callus with a gentle pumice stone

– Apply Aquahor ointment to the irritated area throughout the day

-Apply a good quality hand cream througough the day (I like Eucerin)

-At night apply vitamin E (straight from a vitamin E capsule) to the irriated area then apply aquaphor and a Band-aid

-Apply a fesh lemon peel around your knuckle and secure with a Band-aid. After a few hours remove it and gently buff with pumice stone then apply Aquaphor, vitamin E and hand cream.

-Breath! It will all be okay!

I hope this blog was helpful to anyone experiencing the same problem! Leave me a comment below to let me know or share your own experience. Would you like to read more engagement/wedding blogs? Let me know!

xo Miss Alyss