A Kate Spade Bridal Shower Brunch

You know what je l’adore? Tulle skirts. And bold statement stripes. And cute graphic tees. And this Kate Spade bridal shower. I am seriously already shopping for my own version of bride Lauren’s stylish ensemble and her contagious smile absolutely conveys the happy-time vibes at this brunch, captured by Stacy of Set Free Photography. The navy and gold color palette creates a bit of a nautical feeling, but the pop of pink gives it a modern twist. Guests enjoyed stuffed French toast (Lauren’s favorite) and mimosas before cutting into the cake shaped like a Kate Spade jewelry box (plus, Lauren got to open the real thing later that day).
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Photography: Set Free Photography | Planner: Along Came Stephanie | Venue: The Verandah River House | Rentals: Alter Elements | Florals: Signature Florals | Cake: Kakes by Karen | Hair & Makeup: Me Too

Frock + Flowers // Dark Fall Bouquets

How to create a fall bridesmaid bouquet

It’s full-on fall now, folks, and with that comes a slight shift in the wedding color palette as bold jewel tones and all the colors of autumn leaves find their way into bridesmaid dresses and bouquets. Creating a fall look is all about embracing dark colors, letting a little forest green or purply brown sneak its way in. These bouquets feature magenta and crimson statement flowers, like roses, dahlias and protea with pops of blue thistles and yellow billy balls. Try incorporating robust, deep greenery like eucalyptus or fall berries to add earthiness.

Image credits: Top left: The Bride’s Cafe | Top right: Wedding Chicks | Bottom left: Naturally Yours Events | Bottom right: Ruffled

A Bit of Fall (Social Media) Cleaning

Well folks, we’ve entered the wedding slow season, those few months after most weddings have ended for the year (except those amazing winter weddings that make bridal scarfs and evergreen bouquets totally a thing) and before the onslaught of proposals that will occur around the holidays. So what’s a bridesmaid blogger to do with her time? Check some much-needed social media improvements and additions off her list!

First up, Ultimate Bridesmaid joined Instagram. So overdue, am I right?! I’ve had a personal Instagram account for awhile now but I really didn’t want to turn it into a blog account as well. Because I need an outlet for posting pictures of my adorable nieces picking pumpkins or my attempts at flower arranging (apparently I Instagram flowers the way some people Instagram food). So I finally figured out how to have two accounts on one phone and now you get pretty bridal shower photos! There’s so much to share since I basically have the whole history of Ultimate Bridesmaid to catch up on, so I’ve been having a kind of neverending #tbt as I share my favorite party photos.

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Instagram is too addicting. Like, it may be rivaling Pinterest as my new favorite social outlet. (Just kidding Pinterest, don’t be mad! You got some love too.)

Next up: Pinterest clean-up and expansion. I realized that some of the general Pinterest boards that I started way back at the Dawn of the Pin were getting a little unfocused—namely boards with titles like “Bridal Showers” or “Bridesmaids.” I took a look at what was actually on these boards and then broke them out into a bunch of new ones with more focused themes. Which means you get really cool ideas for creating Bridesmaid Survival Kits for the bachelorette or wedding day. Or a ton of Will You Be My Bridesmaid cards all in one place! Isn’t that so much more helpful? Some other new boards to check out: Bridal Shower Invitations, Bridesmaid Duties, Bridesmaid Brunch and Bridesmaid Gifts and Favors.

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I work hard for you guys, for real.

I have a few more Pinterest boards up my sleeves, so keep checking back for more updates! And leave special requests in the comments. What party inspiration or bridesmaid resources are you searching for and coming up empty?

An “Almost a Mrs.” Donut Bridal Brunch

As the bags you’ll see below so cleverly state, “okay, you had me at donuts.” Photographer Angela Cox and event stylist Suzie of Static Couture dreamed up this “Almost a Mrs.” bridesmaid brunch for the first Greenville NotWedding. In addition to the stunning donut centerpiece, the bride and her maids had a gorgeous spread to enjoy, highlighting blueberries and grapefruit with blueberry scones, grapefruit halves, and a twist on the classic mimosa: grapefruit juice topped with berries. These ladies look beyond gorgeous and oh so relaxed in their comfy lightweight shifts done in soft neutrals and accented with statement necklaces made of natural materials—plus fuzzy woolen socks, of course. Cobalt blue shibori accents were the perfect explosion of pattern, giving the industrial space an earthy, warm vibe. The whole shoot just makes me want to cozy up with my own hot cup of coffee and warm pair of slippers.
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Photography: Angela Cox Photography | Donuts: Circa Doughnut | Fruit & Scones: Swamp Rabbit Cafe | Paper goods: Jankun Creative Studio | Florals & Styling:  Statice Couture Florals & Event Design | Platters, serving spoons, shibori and table accents: Knack Studio  | Clothing & Necklaces: Savvy Inc. Boutique | Rings: Danielle Miller Jewelry | Makeup & Hair: Isabelle Schreier

Maid of Honor Speech Writing Prompts

Maid of Honor Speech Writing Tips and Prompts

This post could probably be entitled “creative writing tips” because that’s really what writing a speech is all about—with the caveat that whatever you write needs to sounds natural when spoken aloud. Since getting started is usually the hardest part, I’ve compiled a list of prompts that will help you organize your thoughts about the bride and groom and focus your speech. I’ve also written on how to format your speech and some maid of honor speech do’s and don’ts, if you’re looking for more info.

To start writing a speech, I am a firm advocate of just vomiting out whatever enters your mind (from your fingers, not your mouth). Other people would call this “stream of consciousness” or “spontaneous writing,” but “word vomiting” is just as apt. The whole idea is to not worry about choosing the right word or turn of phrase. You want to focus on ideas rather than word choice. Organization and finesse can come later. What you need to start are the broad strokes. Sometimes I don’t even write full sentences. I just jot down phrases or words that enter my head. I skip around. I leave my thoughts unfinished. I just get something out there. Don’t worry if what you’re writing doesn’t make sense. Let yourself go.

Once you have all those words down, read over what you’ve written. What has potential to be expanded? What catches your attention? Do you see some of the same words and ideas coming up again and again? Sometimes getting out your thoughts shows you the shape of what you want to say. To give you a really good example, when I started writing this post I thought it would be a step-by-step guide to writing a maid of honor speech. But as I was word vomiting (don’t worry, I feel fine now), I realized that I was focusing a lot on the barriers that keep us from starting to write a speech and how we can overcome them. So I modified my idea, organized my thoughts and turned this post into what you see today.

Still struggling? Here are a few tiny tricks I use to help with my writing process and some general advice on maid of honor speeches in particular.

1. If you get stuck on a word, or find yourself slowing up as you grasp for a particular concept, just type “TK” and move on. TK is a editing term that means “to come” (don’t ask about the K instead of a C, I don’t know). TK is really useful because it frees you to keep writing, but you know you need to come back later and find that perfect word.

2. Sometimes your brain needs a warm-up. If I’m struggling with writing, I like to tackle a simple task or mental problem. I feel like it gets my brain organized and ready to think without all the creative frustration that can come from writing. So for example, I might work on putting together a shopping list or read a blog post by a writer I admire. Endless scrolling on Instagram or catching up on Real Housewives won’t encourage your mind to be active. Quite the opposite—those activities are like pause buttons for your brain waves.

3. Resist the urge to use or modify a canned speech from the internet. Resist, resist, resist! 95% of the ones I have read are horrible—like truly cringe-inducing. The number one thing you speech should be is personal and there is no way you’ll get that from a template.

And here are your writing prompts. Use these to get you started. Hopefully these ideas will help you find the nugget of a story or idea that will lead to the perfect speech.

Maid of Honor Speech Writing Prompts

What words best describe the bride?

What words best describe the groom?

What words best describe their relationship?

How did you meet the bride?

How did the bride and groom meet?

What did they do on their first date?

What did you think of the groom when you first met him?

What’s your favorite story about the couple?

What do you admire about their relationship?

How did the groom propose?

What are some of the highlights or milestones of their relationship?

What were some of the challenges they faced in their relationship?

What’s your favorite story to tell about the bride?

Is there a story that epitomizes the bride?

Is there a story that epitomizes their relationship?

What hobbies and interests, like and dislikes do the couple share? How has that enhanced their relationship?

What hobbies or interests, likes or dislikes do they differ on? Has that led to any funny stories?

Have they tried to introduce their spouse to something new? Has it succeeded or failed (hopefully in spectacular fashion)?

Tips for writing your maid of honor speech, with lots of writing prompts to get the ideas flowing

 

Photograph by Christa Nicole Photography.

A Bridal Crafting Party + A DIY Bunting Banner + A Raspberry Iced Tea Recipe

Bride Gemma enticed her bridesmaids into helping her with some of her DIY projects by throwing a pretty little summer picnic on the rolling hills surrounding her grandmother’s home. The ladies gathered for a meal of love-inspired bites all shaped like hearts, including chocolate-filled cronuts (a croissant + a donut) and tomato soup paired with mini heart-shaped grilled cheeses. A hair and makeup artist herself, this DIY bride used the occasion to trial the wedding-day hair and makeup for all of her bridesmaids, resulting in gorgeous fishtail braids and casually tousled up-dos. Scroll through the sweet shots from this sunny afternoon from Maru Photography and find two bonus DIYs below: the recipe for the refreshing raspberry and citrus-infused iced tea the ladies enjoyed and instructions for the delicate bunting banner they created.

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Citrus-Infused Raspberry Iced Tea

A light, fruity tea forms the base of this recipe. For the best result, you’ll need to brew your own using loose tea leaves. Bride Gemma used a blend called Cosmopolitan that incorporates raspberry and strawberry notes. If you can’t find that exact blend, simply substitute another herbal fruit tea. David’s Tea Mighty Aphrodite would be a perfect fit.

Ingredients:
6 cups raspberry tea, brewed strong
1/2 cup simple syrup
Juice of 1 lime
Juice of 1/2 lemon
1 lime, sliced (+ lime peel twists for garnish)
A handful of raspberries to garnish
Ice

Directions:
Brew a strong batch of raspberry tea, then allow it to cool completely. Mix tea, simple syrup, lemon and lime juice together in a pitcher. Add raspberries and lime slices, then fill pitcher with ice. Take a sip and then dilute with more ice or water if necessary. Add a swizzle stick with raspberries or a lime twist to each glass for a pop of color. Enjoy!

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Bunting Banner

Gemma and her bridesmaids crafted these chic bunting banners to add a vintage, handmade vibe to her country hall wedding. On the wedding day, the banners crisscrossed the rafters along with strings of twinkling cafe lights.

Supplies:
3-5 different fabrics in varying patterns or colors
Sharp scissors
Double-sided tape
Fishing wire or a pretty string or ribbon cut to the desired length of the complete banner

Instructions:
1. Cut strips of fabric that are about 2 inches wide and vary in length from about 10 to 14 inches. Be sure to test your fabric out—avoid those that frays easily.
2. Fold each strip of fabric in half. Place double-sided tape between the two sides, leaving enough room to string the fishing wire or a ribbon through.
3. String on your fabric strips in a repeating pattern or go for a random look—either can work!