One way to know you’ve found your perfect match? You are both totally down with being photographed in onesies! Bride Kulsoom chose to have a laid-back Netflix and Chill bridal shower and showed up in the most perfect purple unicorn onesie. Her friends were totally onboard as well, arriving as dragons, superheroes and more. One of the highlights? Kulsoom’s finance Mehdi arriving in his own matching shark onesie! From a popcorn bar to personalized Netflix and Chill signs to a cute photo booth with a metallic WIFEY balloon wall, these bridesmaids went all out to make Kulsoom feel special and celebrate her upcoming marriage. We love unique bridal shower themes that are inspired by the bride’s personality, and we can’t stop smiling at this fun-filled shower.
The thing that they don’t tell you about getting married is that aside from the obvious benefit of uniting you with your soulmate for eternity, it also brings you closer to the women in your life. From texts and emails about the wedding to the special events dedicated to celebrating with your girlfriends, the process of getting married can be a celebration of female friendships as well as romantic love, with fun events like bridal showers and bachelorette parties helping you stay in touch with your girlfriends on a deeper level.
Like a lot of modern women, many of my closest girlfriends do not live in the same city as me. I’ve been working my way up the East Coast for the last decade and leaving close friends in my wake, from my oldest friends who I’ve known since grade school to my college girlfriends who I’m still close with almost ten years after our graduation (eek!). And now that I live in New York, life is just an exercise in watching friends move away. People leave the city all the time and in-person friendships become long distance in an instant. Which is to say that many of the relationships that matter most to me are long distance, and keeping up with them takes work. And I’d be lying if I said we all didn’t look forward to our next friend getting engaged as an excuse to see each other. YES, now we can plan a totally fun girls getaway weekend! Oh yeah, and we’re so happy for you too… But more importantly, bachelorette!
But what happens after everyone gets hitched? As I enter my early 30s, I’ve seen the last of my single friends start to get engaged and many of my friends start families. And I’d be sad to see those girls trips disappear in the process. So what’s a girl to do? Here’s how to stay in touch with your girlfriends by throwing a yearly girls getaway. It’s just like a bachelorette—just with a different name!
Keep Throwing Bachelorette Parties (You Can Call Them Girls Getaways If You Want)
Call it whatever you want—the intent is the same. You’re getting together to spend time with your best girlfriends. No bride is necessary, but you’re still allowed to have matching tank tops, themed parties and a weekend hashtag. Whatever you think is fun, do it—fancy brunches, gift bags, pool floats, wacky tours, whatever! The schedules you’ve dreamed up for bachelorette parties in the past work just as well for a girls getaway and you don’t need a life event like a wedding to justify them. Tell your girlfriends you want to throw a TK party once a year.
Make It a Yearly Tradition
If you’re like me (aka a crazy person), you plan out like all your vacation time at the beginning of the year. If I have a spare day, I will plan a trip. So planning to host your yearly girls trip around the same time each year will help ensure that more people are able to go. Weigh the pros and cons of holiday weekends (you don’t have to take time off of work and can always reserve that day so more people will be conflict-free, but prices may be higher, destinations more crowded, and some people may have family traditions that take precedence). Pick a month or holiday (spring break, Labor Day, the second week of June) and try to make your trip happen around that week each year. Developing routines helps make things a reality.
You Don’t Have to Go Big
If you’re able to spend a weekend in Paris or book a Fijian getaway with your favorite ladies, congratulations! I envy you! But you don’t have to travel internationally or break the bank. Thinking big can be intimidating, so sometimes doing something familiar makes it easier to actually make it happen. Suggest an area you’ve visited before and loved. Take turns visiting each other’s home city to save on costs. Rent a cabin in the woods, visit an area known for its wineries or pick a quiet local beach town and discover its charms. Make a shortlist of cities you’ve wanted to visit and work your way through them. If friends live on opposite coasts, institute an alternating coast rule—one year pick an East Coast destination and the next go west, which will help mitigate flight costs over time. Doing something is better than doing nothing, so don’t put up roadblocks.
Be a Leader
Chances are a lot of your girlfriends feel the same way you do—they want to see you more often but someone has to take the first step. Sometimes vocalizing something is all you need to do to get the ball rolling. Even if you know you won’t have the time to spearhead the entire weekend, taking a concrete action, like emailing out a cool AirBnb listing that’s caught your eye or floating a free weekend as the perfect time to meet up, may be all that’s needed to make this trip happen.
Just Go…Even If Some People Say No
Life is busy and not everyone is going to be able to commit to a yearly girls trip. Everyone has different priorities, and going on girls trips may not be in the cards for all your friends—maybe they’ve just had a baby, are on a tight budget after purchasing a home, or just don’t have enough vacation days to spend that year—and that’s OK. Don’t let a few no’s from the group keep you from saying yes. Go with the girls who want to and are able. Not having the whole group may seem like a bummer, but an even bigger bummer would be not doing anything at all.
Photo by Tara Libbey Photography.
For bride Morgan’s bachelorette party, her friends decked out a house by the sea in beachy peach and turquoise shades. The star of the party was the custom donut wall, decorated with peonies, greenery, balloons and, of course, donuts, each topped with a diamond cutout to look like an engagement ring. Mini bottles of champagne added to the festive atmosphere, along with seaside accents like pineapple drink stirrers and starfish decor. Sidney Leigh Photography was there to capture this gorgeous DIY bachelorette party.
For bride Alyssa’s bohemian bridal shower, her friends transformed a shady backyard into an idyllic retreat, complete with a teepee hideaway. Guests picnicked on the lawn, enjoying fresh summer salads and a naked cake bursting with berries and cream. The simple photo booth DIY came together by draping neutral ribbons from a clothesline—add a handy Fujifilm Instax camera and you’re set! As an extra-special touch, all of the guests dressed in neutral shades ranging from white and taupe to soft pinks and greens, which resulted in some stunning group pictures that make this look like the most sophisticated garden party ever. While Alyssa is usually the photographer in the group (see her work here at Alyssa Wilcox Photography), her sister stepped in to capture the special moments of the day.
This summer I took a quick getaway to the Hudson Valley with my mom for a girls weekend. There’s a tranquility about escaping New York City for the quiet, leafy beauty of upstate New York, especially in the summer, and I’ve shared my tips for camping in the Hudson Valley before. This was the first time that I visited the Hudson Valley without roughing it—instead of hiking and canoeing, we enjoyed an artistic weekend that included shopping in local boutiques, visiting a sculpture art center and taking in some al fresco theater.
We stayed in Beacon, New York, at the newly opened Inn and Spa at Beacon. After we checked in, we were exploring the solarium and roof deck on the top floor when we met the owner and designer of the hotel. He immediately asked us which room we were staying in, and when he found out we were on the top floor, he offered to upgrade us to a different room since they were planning to have construction done on the upper roof deck the next morning, and he didn’t want us to be disturbed by the workmen. He was so thoughtful, and we ended up in a room that was even more spacious than the one we had booked, with two separate bedrooms for my mom and me. I also had a relaxing massage at the spa the next morning. Overall, we loved our stay and would highly recommend this inn to those traveling in the area.
We spent some time shopping on Beacon’s Main Street, which is lined with galleries, vintage clothing shops and quirky gift stores. I bought a few dresses at Echo, some playful stocking stuffers for my nieces at Dream in Plastic, and a handmade glass bloom vase at Riverwinds Gallery.
That evening, we headed to the Boscobel House and Gardens for the Hudson Valley Shakespeare Festival. Boscobel House is located right on the Hudson River with a view of West Point across the valley. It is the site of the Hudson Valley Shakespeare Festival each year. The festival runs throughout the summer, starting in early June and playing through Labor Day weekend. The lineup includes some Shakespeare plays, but also plays about Shakespeare, like the one we saw, or plays that feel appropriate for the theme and setting. This year everyone was buzzing about the performance of Pride and Prejudice. We saw The Book of Will, a new original play about the two men responsible for securing William Shakespeare’s legacy by publishing his works. The show was inventive and engrossing, and the stellar cast effortlessly blended language of Shakespeare’s time with modern idioms, often to comedic effect.
Most of the guests arrive about an hour before the show and picnic on the lawn, and we saw plenty of people popping champagne bottles and kids playing in the grass before the show. There is also a cafe on site, so we were able to partake of our own picnic dinner and drinks as well. The performances are under a tent on the lawn, and the cast really utilizes the setting of the vast estate to their advantage. The show began with the entire cast appearing out of thin air from beyond the ridge near the river and parading up to the tent to applause and fanfare from the guests. The Shakespeare Festival usually has 3-4 rotating shows, and the same cast appears in each performance, which I think is really impressive and also adds to the authenticity, since in Shakespeare’s day that’s the way a theater company would operate as well. If you have the chance to see a performance, absolutely go!
The next day, we took a trip to Storm King Art Center. I’ve visited this sprawling art park before, but wanted the chance to share its 500 acres featuring hundreds of sculptures with my mom. The work is mostly modern, and is very much site specific, meant to be viewed in contrast or in harmony with the surrounding fields, mountains and sky. When I visited with my husband, we hiked around on the trails to see the different sculptures, but with my mom we took the tram tour, which was a great way to see the highlights of the park (and avoid getting a terrible sunburn too!).
I hope this post helps inspire you to plan your own Hudson Valley getaway.
Olivia’s beautiful, simple summer picnic bridal shower was held on the back patio of a local restaurant, where guests enjoyed al fresco dining in a secluded back garden decorated with roses, hydrangeas, hand-lettered signs and cream and navy linens. Keeping with the sweet and simple picnic theme, each guest received a jar of homemade jam as a party favor, and cobblers made by the groom’s mother were served in adorable mini-mason jars. Olivia exuded sweetness the whole day long as her guests showered her with love and attention and some unique bridal shower gifts, like an umbrella (for the SHOWER, get it?) with a surprise inside: cash tied to the spokes of the umbrella!
For this unique painting party bridal shower, bride Jordynne and her guests started the day off with a painting class at Olive’s Mud Puddle, a sip and paint shop in South Carolina, where they each created a personal “Tree of Love” paintings. When Jordynne got home, she found a secret shower set up for her—Victoria’s Secret, that is! The house was decorated in pink and black everything, including plenty of bags filled with lingerie and a stunning custom cake topped with a stiletto. Phylicia of Posh Moments Photography was there to capture every special moment of the day.