My Bachlorette Party!

Honestly, I am not a huge fan of traditional bachelorette parties. I feel that these parties can be a burden on the bridesmaids and just a little silly. My MOH knew my feelings towards bachelorette parties for years, but she really wanted me to have “my day” where everyone was there to celebrate me as the bride-to-be. When I think about it that way, it’s a really sweet idea!

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I told my MOH to keep my party classy, low key and simple. Admittedly, I am a bit of a homebody, but I wanted to do something out of the ordinary for my party. I had taken a cooking class with my mom years ago at Sur la Table and later learned that you can book a private cooking class. It’s not a secret that I like to cook {hello blog attempt #3!} so I knew this would be a good idea for my bachelorette party and that is just what my girls planned for me.

After getting together for lunch, I met the girls for pre-class drinks and then it was off to Sur la Table. I was greeted by a bunch of my favorite ladies (my mom, aunts, cousins & bridesmaids). Sur la Table setup a long table for us to eat at once our three course meal was ready. The best part was that it was all gluten-free! It included shrimp, steak, salad and green beans with a butter pudding for dessert. All of the ingredients are pre-measured and neatly laid out for your group, but you still get to prep, chop and cook the ingredients. We all loved our dinner, but the dessert wasn’t our favorite.

We were split up into small groups of 3 or 4 around the kitchen. Each group prepared the same foods and the instructor lead us through each step. I proudly sported a bride-to-be sash and there was no shortage of bride-themed props. We were also allowed to bring in your own alcohol, so there was plenty of champagne and prosecco to go around. At the end of the class the instructor provides everyone with the recipes to take home.

If you are unsure of bachelorette party ideas, I encourage you to think outside of the box and find something you would enjoy doing with your favorite ‘maids. I absolutely loved this class, and we all had so much fun. I recommend taking a class at Sur la Table and personally look forward to doing it again. My family and friends want to make it a yearly tradition  because it was such a good time. This class was the perfect party for me!

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xo Miss Alyss

Wedding Planning: Decor + Keeping it Simple!

One of the biggest stresses of wedding planning is in realizing the amount of details to be coordinated. As my planning progressed, I found a theme which helped to sort out the details that were most important to me. In all areas of my life, I like to have coordination and organization, so it was important that the same held true for planning my wedding decor.

My goal was to find the perfect combination of cozy, rustic and glam without going over the top. As I have {or will} mention in some of my other wedding blogs, I re-used much of my decor for my engagement party, bridal shower and wedding day. It was a tremendous time and money saver!  I was most excited about smaller decor details in the last few weeks before the wedding , when everything started coming together. On the day of my wedding I barely noticed some of the decorations we added, but it was sweet to hear from family and friends how much they appreciated the beauty of our weddings’ details.

I purchased most of my “signage” on Etsy through instant downloads and had everything printed at Staples. All of my “rustic glam” signs were from this seller on Etsy.  I actually purchased a few signs last year for my engagement party and reached out to her again for my wedding. I found a few odds and ends at HomeGoods along with some inexpensive picture frames from Walmart. I found this “love is sweet sign,” on Amazon. Costs can add up, so be sure to do some research!

{Disclaimer: I are a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for me to earn fees by linking to Amazon.com and affiliated sites. All opinions/recommendations are my own.}

My ceremony programs, menus, place card tags and labels for the favors were purchased from this Etsy seller.  I decided to use 2-in-1 favors and place cards. We chose wine bottles as our favor, and we added custom labels and attached the place card  to the bottle with twine. I absolutely loved them! I kept the hotel bags really simple and just used this tag which I attached to the bags with twine. The hotel bags included water bottles, Kind granola bars, Swedish Fish, North Fork Chips and Advil. This chips are from a local company on Long Island, and I really liked being able to include a small local business in my wedding.

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A really special decor touch were pictures of parents and grandparents on their wedding day. I put them in 8×10 frames on a built-in bookshelf at our venue. I think it’s a really nice way to incorporate parents and grandparents into the special day.

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I don’t have photos of my flip-flop or bathroom baskets, but I do think they are a nice additional touch for the guests. As a guest at other weddings, I’ve always appreciated them. My mom purchased all of my flip-flops well in advance during the Old Navy $1 flip-flop sale. I think she actually got them for $0.90 by opening a store credit card. I found two metal baskets at Michael’s Craft store on clearance for $5 each to use to store the flip-flops {I now use them for blankets in my living room}. My mother-in-law made the bathroom baskets filled with travel sized toiletries. I think the top items are mouth wash, hair ties, hair spray and mints. No need to go overboard!

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Two weeks before my wedding, I was still thinking about the entrance sign I hadn’t purchased. Since ordering instant downloads from Etsy had worked so well, I figured this would be a good option for a welcome sign too. I purchased a welcome sign and photo frame on Etsy for around $20 each, but was surprised when I went to Staples to have them printed. To have a 24×36 poster printed and mounted to foam board, costs about $70! Without the mounting a poster costs $35, and that was still before buying additional supplies to mount the poster myself. The pre-made wood entrance signs I originally had my eye on were about $80, so they actually would have been a better option than printing it myself. (Disclaimer: It wasn’t until my husband was proof reading this blog that he knew I wasted money on these!)

When I went to my venue a few days before my wedding to drop off my decor, I took a look around and realized there wasn’t an optimal spot for a welcome sign anyway. In reflecting on the wedding planning, I am happy knowing I didn’t spend money on the welcome sign because I don’t think anyone would have really noticed it anyway! When the big day comes, the small details don’t matter all that much. What matters most is that you enjoy the day and all of the people around you. And that’s just what I did!

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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