A Hunting Lodge & Classic Cocktails Couple Shower

If you’re ready to be transported, this autumn couple shower will do the trick, taking you to a dinner party in a rustic hunting lodge following a day of horseback riding and quail hunting. The inspiration for the decor comes from two classic cocktails: an Old Fashioned for him and mulled wine for her. Deep burgundy shades with pine green and hints of gold set the tone for a luxurious yet rustic dining room in which the guests could enjoy a dinner of roasted quail and corn and zucchini succotash followed by Jim Beam chocolate pecan pies and drunken pumpkin tarts (to name just a few of the treats on the menu). We particularly love the hand-lettered menus and illustrated cocktail signs that bring personality to the space. The theme is even reflected in the guests’ attire, with the gentlemen donning windowpane jackets and quilted vests and the ladies sporting riding boots and earth tones. Pass the mulled wine!A Hunting Lodge & Classic Cocktails Couple Shower | Ultimate Bridesmaid | Jeannine Marie Photography A Hunting Lodge & Classic Cocktails Couple Shower | Ultimate Bridesmaid | Jeannine Marie Photography A Hunting Lodge & Classic Cocktails Couple Shower | Ultimate Bridesmaid | Jeannine Marie Photography A Hunting Lodge & Classic Cocktails Couple Shower | Ultimate Bridesmaid | Jeannine Marie Photography A Hunting Lodge & Classic Cocktails Couple Shower | Ultimate Bridesmaid | Jeannine Marie Photography A Hunting Lodge & Classic Cocktails Couple Shower | Ultimate Bridesmaid | Jeannine Marie Photography A Hunting Lodge & Classic Cocktails Couple Shower | Ultimate Bridesmaid | Jeannine Marie Photography A Hunting Lodge & Classic Cocktails Couple Shower | Ultimate Bridesmaid | Jeannine Marie Photography A Hunting Lodge & Classic Cocktails Couple Shower | Ultimate Bridesmaid | Jeannine Marie Photography A Hunting Lodge & Classic Cocktails Couple Shower | Ultimate Bridesmaid | Jeannine Marie Photography A Hunting Lodge & Classic Cocktails Couple Shower | Ultimate Bridesmaid | Jeannine Marie Photography A Hunting Lodge & Classic Cocktails Couple Shower | Ultimate Bridesmaid | Jeannine Marie Photography A Hunting Lodge & Classic Cocktails Couple Shower | Ultimate Bridesmaid | Jeannine Marie Photography A Hunting Lodge & Classic Cocktails Couple Shower | Ultimate Bridesmaid | Jeannine Marie Photography A Hunting Lodge & Classic Cocktails Couple Shower | Ultimate Bridesmaid | Jeannine Marie Photography A Hunting Lodge & Classic Cocktails Couple Shower | Ultimate Bridesmaid | Jeannine Marie Photography A Hunting Lodge & Classic Cocktails Couple Shower | Ultimate Bridesmaid | Jeannine Marie Photography A Hunting Lodge & Classic Cocktails Couple Shower | Ultimate Bridesmaid | Jeannine Marie Photography A Hunting Lodge & Classic Cocktails Couple Shower | Ultimate Bridesmaid | Jeannine Marie Photography A Hunting Lodge & Classic Cocktails Couple Shower | Ultimate Bridesmaid | Jeannine Marie Photography

Photography:  Jeannine Marie Photography | Venue: Blaisdell Manor | Rentals: Après Party and Tent RentalRustic Elegance | Florals: Artemisia Studios | Apparel: Atmosfere, Kisa Boutique | Event Planning: Belle Noelle Events + Design | Hair: Jen Santoro Rotty | Makeup: Sarah Elizabeth Artistry | Jewelry: Kisa Boutique, Litany Jewelry, Tess + Tricia | Paper Goods: Lauren Kracht Design | Other: Matthew Krousey Ceramics | Baked Goods: Sara’s Tipsy Pies | Personal Stylist: Svetlana Colville | Catering: Three Sons Signature Cuisine | Cocktails: With a Twist

Ultimate Bridesmaid is 4 Years Old!

Ultimate Bridesmaid 4th BirthdayThat’s right, Ultimate Bridesmaid has been around for 4 years! I feel like the blog has come full circle because four years ago I was writing about my experiences as a MOH planning a bachelorette weekend in Savannah. And tomorrow I’ll be hopping on a plane for my own bachelorette weekend in Charleston! I am beyond excited for this weekend, firstly because I did not have to do anything. Seeing the bachelorette weekend from the bride’s side has made me appreciate maids of honor even more. There are so many moving parts to planning a wedding that it’s just an absolute relief to have one aspect of it that you don’t have to worry about at all. So I’m just full of pure excitement for this weekend, no anxieties about planning or what to bring! I can’t wait to spend a relaxing and fun weekend with my girls! ALL THE EMOTIONS!

So what were some of my favorite posts of the year?

Will You Be My Bridesmaid Box

My Will You Be My Bridesmaid Boxes
I loved sharing this DIY for my “Will You Be My Bridesmaid?” gifts, with a handmade photo card and travel-themed gifts for my destination wedding in Maine.

Bachelorette Travel Guides
I was able to add lots of new bachelorette city guides this year (including Key West, New York City, Savannah and Disney World) and created one spot where you can find them all. And I have plans for lots more in the coming year. One of my favorite growing areas of the site.

50 Simple & Stylish DIY Bridal Shower & Bachelorette Decor Ideas
Researching and writing huge roundups like this can be incredibly time consuming, but I think it’s so worth it in the end because it gives you so much inspiration and content all in one place. And you seem to think so too! It’s one of your favorite posts of the year.

My Whole30
This was a very personal post that deviated from our usually scheduled programming, but one I’m really proud of and glad I wrote. Health and weight loss are not topics I usually feel comfortable discussing, but my January Whole30 experience was incredibly positive and made me feel empowered and ready to share. I did a second Whole30 in March on the DL, and have been eating about 80% Whole30 in my daily life: 100% Whole30 on weekdays with some wine and off-plan dinners or treats on the weekends. And when I go on vacation (like my bachelorette tomorrow!!!), I feel both in control of decisions about what I eat and zero guilt about my indulgences. Since January, I have lost 30 lbs. (!!) and am back down to my healthiest weight, like, ever. But for more on all the things I love about Whole30, you can read my very long (and very real) post.

Plus, I got to share some truly gorgeous real bridal showers and bachelorette parties. I am always blown away by the creativity I see in these parties. I try to choose events that go outside the norm, that truly show the personality of the bride and just show real women having a kickass time together. Thanks to all the photographers who shared their amazing work with me this year!

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Top row: Winter Girls Getaway to Lake Louise, Pastel Garden Boudoir ShowerFlower Crown Crafting Bridal Shower
Middle row: Midcentury Modern Garden Party, Key West Bachelorette, Modern Geometric Gold Bridal Shower
Bottom row: Green & Gold Favorite Things Bridal Shower, 70s-Style Wonderland Bridal Shower, Madonna Inn Bachelorette

A Madonna Inn Bachelorette Weekend

A night in the iconic Madonna Inn has been on my bucket list for awhile, so I’m seriously crushing over this bachelorette weekend. The landmark inn is known for its elaborately themed rooms and kitschy, whimsical decor, with suites decorated in styles ranging from Swiss chalet to African safari (indoor waterfall included). This bride asked each guest to bring an outrageous and colorful dress for a photo shoot by Brandi Lopez Photography on the hotel grounds. Many chose to finally get a second wear out of an old bridesmaid dress or their prom dress, while a few ladies channeled the 80s with thrifted frocks. The weekend included a night out in downtown San Luis Obispo and a Saturday afternoon wine tasting in Paso Robles.

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Pineapple Bridal Shower Inspiration

Achieve sweet summer perfection with a pineapple-themed bridal shower luau. And let’s be serious, pineapples are everywhere right now, meaning decorating for this theme will be so very simple. The adorable pineapple invitation from Paper Source is actually listed as a House Warming invite, but it just seemed too perfect for a bridal shower to me. A couple quick edits and it’s transformed! And I’m maybe a little bit obsessed with the pineapple sundress. Much needed addition to my summer wardrobe? Pineapples can find their way into your food, your drinks, and you decor in a snap. Pineapple bridal shower inspiration board

Image credits: Pineapple bridal shower invitation, pineapple flower vase, tiki cups, pineapple of my eye sign, pineapple piñata, pineapple drink cart, pineapple dress

A French Country Tea Party Shower

A well-done party theme has the power to transport you, say, from the streets of Toronto to the French countryside. And this chic styled shoot is the perfect example, as a group of talented vendors created the feeling of wandering through the flower and antique markets in Paris. The keys to this effect are the abundance of spring blooms and the thoughtfully selected vintage pieces that add character and charm to the space. Soft seasonal colors take center stage with bouquets of tulips, hydrangea and garden roses spilling out of silver urns and an amazing orchid display filling a wrought-iron birdcage. The showstopping floral work on the cake seamlessly blends into the garden setting—the petals practically look real! A French Country Tea Party Shower | Ultimate Bridesmaid | Sunny Kaura Photography A French Country Tea Party Shower | Ultimate Bridesmaid | Sunny Kaura Photography A French Country Tea Party Shower | Ultimate Bridesmaid | Sunny Kaura Photography A French Country Tea Party Shower | Ultimate Bridesmaid | Sunny Kaura Photography A French Country Tea Party Shower | Ultimate Bridesmaid | Sunny Kaura Photography A French Country Tea Party Shower | Ultimate Bridesmaid | Sunny Kaura Photography A French Country Tea Party Shower | Ultimate Bridesmaid | Sunny Kaura Photography A French Country Tea Party Shower | Ultimate Bridesmaid | Sunny Kaura Photography A French Country Tea Party Shower | Ultimate Bridesmaid | Sunny Kaura Photography A French Country Tea Party Shower | Ultimate Bridesmaid | Sunny Kaura Photography A French Country Tea Party Shower | Ultimate Bridesmaid | Sunny Kaura Photography A French Country Tea Party Shower | Ultimate Bridesmaid | Sunny Kaura Photography A French Country Tea Party Shower | Ultimate Bridesmaid | Sunny Kaura Photography

Photography: Sunny Kaura Photography | Venue: The Richmond | Invitations: Alicia’s Infinity | Event Planning: August In Bloom | Event Design: Cate & Co. Designs  | Florals: Opening Night Flowers | Cake: SK Confectionery

What It’s Like to be a Bridesmaid Today: Survey Results

A few months ago, we asked you to share some thoughts on being a bridesmaid today with a quick survey. The goal of the survey was to find out what it’s really like to be a bridesmaid today. We all have a traditional idea of the job, but what’s the reality? For example, we think of a bridesmaid as being able to attend dress fittings or meet up with the bride on weekends to do DIY projects. But since 64% of bridesmaids don’t live in the same city as the bride, that’s just not the reality. Likewise, the classic bachelorette stereotype is a police man showing up at the hotel room with a boom box. (P.S. He’s not really a cop.) But only 3% of readers said they’d want a stripper at their bachelorette party! Here’s what we discovered through our survey. What It's Like to be a Bridesmaid Today: Ultimate Bridesmaid Survey Says

I was very interested in the responses to how bridesmaid dresses were chosen, since I think sometimes the images we see online don’t reflect the reality. Mismatched dresses are incredibly popular on Pinterest and wedding blogs, but our survey found that 47% of brides were still selecting one dress for their bridesmaids and 22% were picking a few dresses for the maids to choose from. Only 27% of brides are giving their bridesmaids varying degrees of freedom to find their own dress, from giving them a color palette to work with (15%) to providing just a few guidelines, like length or level of formality (8%). Of that 27%, only 4% of brides gave the bridesmaids total freedom to choose any dress.

I’m also always interested to see what you think the best and worst parts of being a bridesmaid are. As in our last bridesmaid survey, the cost came in as the #1 complaint about being a bridesmaid, with 66% of respondees saying it was the worst. Our most common write-in complaints were about bridesmaid dresses, from the cost (“the cost of bridesmaid dresses is totally out of control these days”) to your inability to wear them again (“no matter what people say, I’m not going to be able to wear my dress on many other occasions”) to the unintentional horrors of trying to color match with the other bridesmaids when the bride gives you dress-selecting freedom (“I know it’s all Pinterest-chic to have everyone in different hues, but it’s just a pain in the rear end for the bridesmaids”).

On the plus side, there are things you totally love about being a bridesmaid. Namely, being there for your friend on her special day! A lot of you wrote in about your experiencing getting ready with the bride before the wedding, saying “Those were some of my favorite memories from my wedding and from when I was a bridesmaid. It’s so special,” and “I love the idea of being there with friends past and present for the bride. It’s the core of the bridesmaid idea, but it’s what is most beautiful to me!”

A Chic Neon Kentucky Derby Party Styled Shoot

For the horsewoman in your life (or the girl who is still holding out that unicorns are real!), we love this modern take on a Kentucky Derby party, held at a local stable. Event designers Ivory & Beau chose a chic color palette of neon pink, sherbet orange and soft grey. The addition of geometric elements, from the chunky gemstone jewelry worn by the bride and her maids to the gem-shaped photo backdrop made for the perfect funky and bold update to a classically rustic setting. Lisa Frank all grown up or Derby Day gone wild—you decide!
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Photography: Two Chics Photography | Venue: Rum Creek Farm | Event Design, Florals and Styling: Ivory & Beau | Invitations: Design Studio South | Jewelry: Betsy Pittard Designs | Hair: Grand Oak Salon and Spa | Makeup: Intensify by Patience | Catering: Ooh La La Catering GA | Cocktails: Spodee Wine