An Urban Chic Same-Sex Bridal Shower

I cannot tell you how long I’ve been looking for a same-sex bridal shower to feature here. I try to show all different kinds of parties and people, so finding a shower for two brides has been on my list for some time. So when this gorgeous styled shoot by Laura Dee Photography hit my inbox, I maybe freaked out a litttttle bit. Inspired by the idea that “Carrie Bradshaw fell in love with Charlotte York,” this shower is a dream come true of urban chic styling with pops of color and plenty of fun. Just check out the stylish ombre pink and purple hair, stunning jewelry from TheNOTCH, moonshine mixology bar by Onyx and the one-eyed pug named Tater Tot. But what really stopped me in my tracks? The stunning portraits of the couple sharing a few quiet moments together. So perfect and sweet.

In terms of the etiquette behind throwing a gay wedding shower, the “rules” are still very fluid  (i.e., who needs rules?). Many gay couples may choose to have a joint couples shower and may even celebrate their bachelorette party together. Others will want separate parties, especially if they have different groups of close friends or family in far-flung parts of the country. Follow the brides’ leads—they will discuss what they want and then share the plan with their bridesmaids and friends. 
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Photography: Laura Dee Photography | Stationery: AvantGarde Design | Dresses: Bliss BridalJulie Allen Bridals  | Makeup: The Beauty Bar | Jewelry: theNOTCH jewelry | Event coordination: ESTOccasions | Prop rentals: General Eclectic Rentals | Flowers: Datura: a Modern Garden | Cocktails: Onyx Moonshine | Cake: A Little Imagination Cakes

Our Favorite Etsy “Will You Be My Bridesmaid?” Cards

It’s no secret that we spend a lot of time on Etsy. What’s not to love about a marketplace that promotes creative makers and artists? In addition to finding something beautiful and unique, you can feel good that you’re supporting a small business, many of which are female owned. Here, some of our favorite “Will You Be My Bridesmaid?” cards recently spotted on Etsy.  
Will You Be My Bridesmaid cards

Don’t you just love a card that tells it like it is? The cute illustration and cheeky message on this card from Julie Ann Art will bring a smile to your future maids’ faces.

Will You Be My Bridesmaid cards

Add an element of surprise with this scratch-off card from Inklings Paperie. The metallic gold pops (excuse the pun) against the soft petal pink and the dainty illustration is so sweet.

Will You Be My Bridesmaid cards

We’ve become a little bit obsessed with gemstones as of late. (Have you seen our You’re a Gem party inspiration board? It’s perfect for a bridesmaid ask party.) So it’s no surprise we heart these gemstone-dotted cards from WildHeart Paper.

Will You Be My Bridesmaid cards

Allie Ruth Designs had been printing vintage hankies with “Will You Be My Bridesmaid?” for awhile, but discovered that women had trouble incorporating the pretty linens into their everyday life with the bridesmaid message. Problem solved with this hand lettered kraft envelope containing a delicate heirloom handkerchief. Feel free to stuff in a few more surprises as well. Will You Be My Bridesmaid cards

Because honesty matters, we adore this card from Patterson Paper. Just don’t fall pretty to these overdone Pinterest-inspired bridesmaid poses!

A London Garden Tea Party Shower

Bright colors, a pretty garden setting, lots of laughter, a candy-covered cake…what’s not to love about this thoroughly modern London tea party, captured by Ronnie and Rose Photography? The formal table set in the vibrant green back garden gave the occasion a Mad Hatter feel, as the ladies enjoyed tea and cake and mugged it up a bit with tiny hats and neon sunglasses. And though the toilet paper wedding dress tradition can be a bit silly, sometimes silliness must be embraced! Bride Nicky and her friends took paper fashion to a whole new level, creating flowy designs to model on their makeshift runway.

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Bridal Shower & Bachelorette Game: What’s in Your Cell Phone?

I have to admit that I’m totally guilty of spending way too much time on my cell phone. When I go on vacation, I intentionally “cell phone detox,” which means no email, no social media, no texting—and it’s awesome. That said, why not put all our obsessive Instagramming to good use? I’ve updated the traditional “What’s in your purse” bridal shower game for the smartphone generation. Ultimate Bridesmaid presents: What’s in Your Cell Phone?

bachelorette game whats in your cell phoneI’ve created two free printable games for you. One is appropriate for a bridal shower with mixed age groups (i.e., even your mom should be able to play). The second one is designed for a bachelorette party, with questions geared toward the younger crowd that include a few racier requests. I’ve also give you the full list of questions after the jump in case you want to select the questions that you like most and create your own printout.

Don’t just pass out the sheets and let people fill in their scores though. Have the host read each question aloud and then ask guests to share their answers when appropriate. Guests can use their sheet to record their score, but make sure you keep everyone engaged and talking. Share the photos you have to hunt down, make them admit if they have Candy Crush and find out who scores the highest on rounds that award multiple points.

Make sure to download the PDF versions from the links below for the best printing results:

Bridal Shower What’s in Your Cell Phone Game

Bachelorette What’s in Your Cell Phone Game

Bridal Shower What's in Your Cell Phone Game Bachelorette What's in Your Cell Phone Game

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Camping Bachelorette Inspiration Board

Inspired by this Hiking Hen Party in Andalusian Spain, I decided it was long past time to put together an inspiration board for one of my favorite bachelorette themes: camping (strangely almost always referred to as “glamping” in connection to a bachelorette party, no matter how glamorous or otherwise the accommodations). Whether you set out in a cool vintage trailer, pitch a tent or rent a rustic mountain cabin (like this renovated barn in upstate New York that I am seriously dying to stay in, hint hint friends and relatives), getting back to nature with your girlfriends is a relaxing escape from wedding planning and a time to recharge and reconnect. I’m slightly obsessed with this “coffee, mountains & cabins” sweatshirt (a perfect gift for the bride-to-be) and P.F. Candle Co.’s campfire-scented candle (send one home with each of your guests to remind them of your woodland retreat). Dress up the campfire area with these DIY floral camp chairs and a flower campfire mandala, and spend time cooking, sharing stories and secrets and stargazing around the fire. Find more ideas on our Camping Bachelorette Party Pinterest board. Camping Bachelorette Inspiration Board
From top to bottom, left to right: Cabin sweatshirt, vintage trailer, candle, breakfast, camp cooking, the barn, campfire drinks, mugs

A Hen Party Hike in Andalusian Spain

Bride Rebecca chose to have her “hen stomp” a few days before her wedding, which was held in a rustic finca in the middle of the Sierra de Las Nieves nature park in the Andalusian region of Spain. As many of her guests had traveled far to be with her, Rebecca wanted to show them more of the gorgeous region that she calls home. Her closest friends gathered in the mountain village of Yunquera, not far from her home, to go on a hike. The trek (led by Jacqui, a friend who knew the area well) took them along country roads, down a steep gorge to a lush valley, a huge dam and the Zarzalones cave, where the Rio Grande river is born. Afterwards, the group gathered at the bride’s favorite nearby restuarant and were joined by other women from her family for a night of delicious regional food, wine and laughter. Photographer Ruth Joy, a close friend of the bride, captured the beautiful countryside walk and emotional dinner party that followed.

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From bride Rebecca:

I chose to have a long walk for my hen party because so many guests had come a long way to stay in this particularly beautiful part of the world, and I wanted to show them some special local places. As everyone had paid for their flights and accommodation, I didn’t want to ask people to start forking out for activities. My friend Jacqui, who knows the area well, led us along country roads and pathways, down a steep gorge to a lush valley, a huge dam and a cave called Zarzalones, where the Rio Grande river is born. We sat on the dam and enjoyed the surroundings with a glass of bubbly. A friend, Kayte, picked some wild flowers on the way and wove them into a crown, which I still have. A few women jumped off the dam into the crystal clear, very cold river water, to cool down after the hike. We then walked across the dam and into the cave, to find the source, where the river bubbles up from a deep underground channel. There were bats hanging from the roof, and a wonderful stillness and darkness inside. Some of us had a swim in the source pool, which was icy cold but very invigorating. This was one of my favourite moment of the whole day—bathing in the source pool while singing with some wonderful women.

After an hour or so at the cave, we made our way back up to the path, and walked the last five kilometers into the village, to a restaurant called Enara’s, my favourite in this area. The owners are so welcoming and accommodating. We had about ten more people than I’d booked for, but the lovely food just kept coming and the wine flowing. There we met the rest of the hen party—those who’d been unable to join the walk. We got changed and scrubbed up a bit in the loos, then sat down to a fantastic feast. My best lady, Steph, had prepared a Mr and Missus quiz, which got quite awkward at times because my Mum was there! Steph had also made a slideshow of photographs taken during our long friendship, along with pictures of my childhood, my family and—this part had me crying—my two daughters. 

I’m so grateful to Ruth for capturing the magic of the day with her photography. We’ve been great friends for half our lives, and I admire her talent for capturing the beauty and essence of people and places.

Photography: Ruth Joy Photography | Restaurant: Enara

9 Money Saving Tips for the Bachelorette Party

We’re all familiar with the concept of “get the look for less.” Well, let’s call this “get the bachelorette for less.” Bachelorette expenses can add up quickly, so here are a few ways to keep costs down for everyone while still creating a memorable, kickass bachelorette party.

9 Money Saving Tips for the Bachelorette Party

Instead of hopping on a flight…
Pick a central location that’s drivable for most of your guests. The highest cost associated with a bachelorette party is usually the flight ticket. Choosing a location that is close to most of your guests will greatly help reduce costs for all. This may require you to do a little research and to think creatively to find alternatives to far-off locales that still offer the activities and vibe your bride is looking for. Instead of a getaway to Napa, look into nearby wineries—almost every state has them! Rather than booking a trip to Vegas, consider the nearest big city instead. From Charlotte to Nashville to Seattle, there’s plenty of fun bachelorette action to be had, without the Vegas price tag. Rather than a beachfront hotel in Miami, rent a lake house or choose a beach that’s closer to home (and more affordable). Keep an open mind and be creative. You may be glad you picked a less flashy destination when you find out how much the areas closest to you have to offer—and how much you’ll save.

9 Money Saving Tips for the Bachelorette Party

Instead of booking hotel rooms…
Host the guests at your house. The second highest expense for a bachelorette party is lodging. Hosting can be stressful but, if your group is cool with blow-up mattresses and crashing on the couch, it will ultimately save them a lot of money. If hosting isn’t an option as none of your guests live in the chosen destination, look at Airbnb and vrbo.com for vacation rental options. You’ll have more space in a home and will enjoy common areas like a living room and backyard. Plus, access to a kitchen will allow you to save money by eating in at least a few times. Just be sure to be mindful of hefty cleaning charges and refundable deposits and leave the place the way you found it.

9 Money Saving Tips for the Bachelorette Party

Instead of going out for a fancy dinner…
Cook a gourmet meal at home. Dining in can save you a ton of money. You can make a meal at home for a fraction of what it would cost in a restaurant. Just the savings on wine alone ($10 bottles at home rather than $25 bottles at a restaurant) will go a long way. Tasting Table has a few tips for planning a stress-free dinner party. The host can take care of the main dish while guests provide appetizers, dessert and drinks. Keep appetizers simple with a cheese board (who does not love cheese?), asking a few guests to bring cheese, crackers, bread, grapes, olives and/or cured meats. Assign other guests a bottle of wine or liquor (ask for a mid-priced option) and necessary mixers. For dessert, a store-bought cake or pie from a local bakery with a scoop of ice cream is all you need (or see our tips below to snaz up a grocery store cake).

9 Money Saving Tips for the Bachelorette Party

Instead of splurging on a limo…
Plot a course for the night that is walkable and then take a taxi home. Renting transportation for the whole night can end up being a big waste of money if very little of your time will be spent in that expensive party bus or limo. If you’re planning to go to multiple bars or clubs, try to pick destinations that are close together so your group can just mosey from one place to the next. Then just have a local taxi company’s number in your phone or your Uber app ready when it comes time to call it a night.

9 Money Saving Tips for the Bachelorette Party

Instead of mailing printed invitations…
Send stylish (and free) evites from Paperless Post. These digital cards are as pretty as printed stationery, even arriving in your inbox with a custom envelope that unfolds to reveal the invitation. Paperless Post collaborates with lots of stylish designers as well, like Kate Spade, Jonathan Adler, Kelly Wearstler and J.Crew.

9 Money Saving Tips for the Bachelorette Party

Instead of going overboard on decor…
Harness the talents of your guests and utilize what you have. Make flower arrangements by gathering blooms from a guest’s garden. A lacy tablecloth can become a photo booth backdrop. Wheel a bar cart outside and—boom!—you’ve got a sense of whimsy. Set the table with mismatched vintage dishes borrowed from friends and relatives. Make the cute bunting banner you see above in minutes.

9 Money Saving Tips for the Bachelorette Party

Instead of starting the night at a fancy cocktail bar…
Host a cocktail hour in your hotel or home. At $8–$12 a pop (depending on where you live), cocktails can add up quickly. Having a few drinks in your home or hotel room before you go out will greatly decrease the cost of liquor throughout the night. Create a specialty cocktail for the bride and ask around to see if anyone collects pretty glassware. Or, break out the paint pens to dress up inexpensive plastic cocktail glasses (time to channel your inner sorority sister, girls). You can also use this time to play a few bachelorette party games, like the Fiancé Quiz or a game of Most Likely To. You probably don’t want to be asking the bride what her favorite sex position is in a crowded bar or loudly declaring who is most likely to hook up with someone tonight as that potential hookup looks on.

9 Money Saving Tips for the Bachelorette Party

Instead of ordering a fancy custom cake…
Dress up a store-bought cake with a few easy tweaks. Dip a knife in warm water and then run it over the frosting to replace the grocery store look with a more rustic, hand-done finish. Then decorate with whatever you have on hand: herbs like rosemary, fruit like lemons or grapefruit slices, flowers, edible glitter, or a big pile of candy.

9 Money Saving Tips for the Bachelorette Party

Instead of buying an expensive shower gift…
Team up with a friend or two to create a wine basket for her first year of marriage. If you don’t buy a lot of wine, here’s a little secret: Good wine does not have to be expensive. My favorite section at my local wine store is entitled “Cheap and Delicious” and the wines are just that. Trader Joe’s wine shop is a discount wine dream or take a look at wine.com for highly rated but low-priced wines.

Photo credits, top to bottom: Sorella Muse Photography, Dyanna Joy Photography, Cameron Leung Photography, Tiltawhirl Photography, Paperless Post, Maru Photography, Sweet Root Village, Mintwood Photo Co., Ultimate Bridesmaid