Author Archives: Caitlin

Fiesta Bridal Shower Inspiration Board

Summertime and fiestas go together like tequila and limes. Which is why with just a month or so left to enjoy the season, I had to put together this fiesta inspiration board for your next bridal shower, bachelorette party or just plain ol’ backyard bash. Margaritas are a must, but try a twist with this blood orange version. I’m a bit of a taco devotee, so it was hard to pick just one to feature, but I’m smitten with these pulled pork tacos with sweet chili slaw. Keep your side dish simple with this Mexican street corn—a perfect use for the sweet, in-season kernels. To go DIY with decor, you can make your own neon papel picado bunting and even craft your own piñata—pineapple-shaped, of course! Check out more recipes and DIY decor on our Fiesta Pinterest BoardFiesta bridal shower inspirationImage Credits: Blood orange margaritas, flower crown, pulled pork tacos, “I’d Hit That” napkins, pineapple piñata, Mexican street corn, papel picado bunting, mini succulent favors.

Sparkling Grapefruit Punch with Fava Flower Ice Cubes

Event designer and culinary artist Alexandra Phelps shared the recipe for the Sparkling Grapefruit Punch with Fava Flower Ice Cubes that she served at this bohemian Bridesmaid Brunch in Napa Valley. Wheels of  Meyer lemons, oranges, grapefruits and kumquats float in the crystal punch bowl alongside delicate flower ice cubes. Alexandra used fava flowers, but any edible flower will do. The trick: Assemble the punch ahead of time, but add the flower ice cubes right before serving, to preserve them for as long as possible. This punch is perfect for your next brunch, be it bridal or otherwise.

Sparkling Grapefruit Punch with Orange & Meyer Lemon Wheels and Fava Flower Ice Cubes
Recipe by Alexandra Phelps 

Ingredients
12–16 edible flowers, such as fava flowers, pansies or sweet pea flowers
1 bottle sparking wine*
Fresh juice from 6–8 grapefruits, plus the zest of 4 grapefruits
2 cups sugar
2 cups water
2 Meyer lemons, 1 orange, 1 grapefruit and a handful of kumquats for garnish

*Want to make a non-alcoholic version? Substitute a sparkling mineral water like San Pellegrino or Perrier for the wine.

Tools
1 giant ice cube tray and one medium ice cube tray
Punch bowl

To Make the Ice Cubes
You should prepare the ice cubes a few days before making the punch. Fill each of the cubes halfway with water and place a flower on top. Place the ice cube trays in the freezer until the ice sets. Remove from the freezer and fill the rest of the cube with water. Freeze until fully set.

To make the Grapefruit Simple Syrup
Combine 2 cups sugar and 2 cups water on the stovetop over low-medium heat and stir until sugar is dissolved. Stir in the zest from the 4 grapefruits and allow to cool to room temperature. Refrigerate until ready to use. This will keep in your refrigerator for up to two weeks.

To Make the Punch
Pour half the grapefruit juice into the punch bowl. Slowly pour in the sparkling wine and mix to combine. Sweeten with the Grapefruit Simple Syrup to taste, adding more grapefruit juice if needed. Cut the Meyer lemons, orange and kumquats into wheels, and garnish punch bowl to your liking. Right before service, add the Flower Ice Cubes.

A Flower-Crowning Bridesmaid Brunch in Napa Valley

First of all, can we make it a rule that fiancés have to carry their brides-to-be to the bridal brunch? I’m head-over-heels in love with this bohemian bridesmaid brunch designed by Julia Lake Parties and captured by Taylor Gage Photography. Bride Lindsey invited the ladies to her family’s ranch in St. Helena, CA, a few days before her wedding and thanked them with a creative (and downright gorgeous) twist: a flower crowning ceremony! Once crowned and with a crystal goblet of sparkling grapefruit punch in hand, the girls set off through the vineyard on a scavenger hunt that led them through the forest to a nearby lake (toasts were plentiful). The girls each shared special memories with the bride before heading to their final surprise: a garden breakfast nook decked out with jewel-toned pillows, oriental rugs, vintage artwork and baskets overflowing with white hydrangeas and babies breath. The ladies lounged in their garden oasis and enjoyed a bountiful menu prepared by Alexandra Phelps, included such standouts as a colorful farro salad tossed with shredded Brussels sprout and pepper confetti and a tray of orange curd and lemon cream cheese tartlets.  Photography: Taylor Gage Photography | Venue: Private ranch in St. Helena, California | Event Planning, Design and Florals: Julia Lake Parties | Catering: Alexandra Phelps

Frock + Flowers // Pink Peony Abundance

Peonies are having a moment. Okay, they’ve been having a moment for quite some time now. But it’s easy to see why these soft blossoms have become a popular wedding bouquet choice. Classically pretty and impossibly full, the blooms almost beg to be touched. Here, pink peonies are paired with delicate pastel and peach gowns to create a look that’s both romantic and a bit ethereal. Each bouquet incorporates an element of green, giving the florals a fresh-from-the-garden vibe.

Image credits: Top left: Katie Pritchard Photography | Top right: Style Me Pretty | Bottom left: Magnolia Rouge | Bottom right: 100 Layer Cake

The 10 Most Overdone Bridesmaid Photos on Pinterest

You’ve been meticulously planning your wedding for months—well, let’s be honest, more like years via your secret “Future Mrs.” Pinterest board. So it’s understandable that you’ve seen a lot of cute wedding photos. Here’s the trouble. What may have started out as a cute and original idea has had all the cuteness and originality sucked out of it when a simple search yields dozens, if not hundreds, of girls doing the exact. same. thing.

Pinterest can be an amazing tool and asset. But too often we try to turn it into a dream xerox machine. There are a few great articles written by photographers and bloggers alike about the effect of Pinterest on the wedding industry. They talk about how Pinterest discourages the creative process and creates both unreal expectations and a copy-cat culturePinstrosity and #pinfails are the ultimate expression of that phenomenon. You see something you love and you try to make it yourself, and you fail…epically. Unfortunately, while we’re quite used to thinking of nail art tutorials and simple peanut butter souffle recipes as ripe for a pinstrosity, we don’t often think about wedding photography that way—but we should. Trying to recreate an image you love will have the same result. What looked natural and beautiful or freakin hilarious on Pinterest will most likely look forced and awkward when you try it yourself. This is because taking a good photograph is not the same as following a recipe. It’s much, much harder.

What’s frustrating about this problem is that it comes from a good place, a place of wanting to be creative and unique. Pinterest really is very inspiring. For me, there’s a strong element of discovery in Pinterest. In particular, it has led me to a ton of blogs I would have never otherwise found. It has introduced me to artists, photographers and designers who are doing amazing work. In a practical sense, I have used Pinterest for party planning, recipe hunting and even Christmas list making. I also use it to pin pretty pictures of ice creams that I will never make—but I know it’s just an ice cream dream…really!

So, without further ado, the top 10 bridesmaid-related photos that are way overdone. Don’t let Pinterest create a wedding shot list for you. Let yourself live in the moment of the day and see if you don’t unintentionally create an authentic moment that translates into a beautiful photograph that someday finds its way onto this list.

1. Bride and MOH Jumping on the Bed

Photo by Brad Ross

How bout we make this rule: If you have not jumped on a bed in the last ten years, you do not get to do this. I think that seems fair.

2. The Bridesmaids Pose

Photo by The Bird and the Bear

Did you even like this movie? Please tell me you’ve at least seen it. Also, their poses aren’t that interesting. So you’re just doing weirdly specific poses from a 2011 comedy. This is going to get dated fast.

3. Don’t Corrupt the Flower Girl

Photo by Maria Vicencio

I love that this image is so popular that we have collected agreed on a phrase for this pose: “Don’t corrupt the flower girl.” If you’d like to be truly horrified, look up some of the less successful attempts at recreating the above original.

4. How We Met the Bride (With Chalkboard, Of Course)

Photo by Katy Hall Photography

Here’s a case where the first time someone ever did this, it was cute. Now? Played out. Also, so many chalkboards! Why the chalkboards, all the time, everywhere?

5. Bridesmaids at the Bar

Photo by Miller Miller Photography

Uggghhhh, cheese factor times one thousand. Also, did they all legitimately chug a beer before the wedding? Because to get it upside down like that, you gotta be draining that thing.

6. We’re All Wearing Such Cute Matching Floral Robes

Photo by Melanie Lust Photography

I mean, I get it. Robes are cute. But this particular type of robe is just every-freakin-where.

7. Just Wait Till You See Her!

Photo by Perry Vaile

The conceit behind this one is that you’re supposed to take this picture and then text it to the groom right before the wedding. My first thought is: Is the groom supposed to think this is cute? Clever? I’d wager money he will think neither. Second thought: What do you do if you don’t have exactly six bridesmaids?

8. Bouquet Face

The 10 Most Overdone Bridesmaid Photos on Pinterest

Photo by Dani Fine Photography

You spent so much time on your makeup, ladies. Why hide your faces?

9. Your Affection Disgusts Us

Photo by Ricky Stern Photography

No one is that disgusted by kissing. I mean, they should at least be going to second base for this to make any sense.

10. Bridesmaid Booty Shot

This one just cropped up recently, but it’s threatening to gain popularity. Please, for the love of all that is good and holy, please, do not let this happen.

A Victorian Romance Bridal Luncheon Beneath the Oaks

Channeling Jane Eyre and Wuthering Heights, this romantic bridesmaid luncheon almost seems ripped from the pages of a gothic novel set beneath the moss-draped oaks. Photographer
Emily Gilbert and Très Chic Southern Weddings dreamed up this styled shoot for the 2nd Orlando NotWedding, choosing deep colors and vintage props—like the old-fashioned clock and globe—that created a Victorian vibe. The warm color palette—perfect for a fall bridal shower—of vibrant reds, oranges and yellows is highlighted in almost every aspect of the event, from the mimosa bar to the bicolor roses. A decadent candy bar adds a modern touch with neon orange rock candy and jewel-tone macarons. It’s Southern gothic gone glam!

Photography: e. gilbert photography  | Coordination and design: Très Chic Southern Weddings |  Venue: Orlando Science Center | Hair and makeup: Luma Bridal | Wardrobe: Bloomingdales | Rentals: Orlando Wedding & Party Rentals | Tableware: Dishie Rentals | Linens: Over the Top | Stationery: Sprinkles | Candy Buffet: Florida Candy Buffets

Rent Designer Bridesmaid Dresses with Style the Aisle

Let’s face it—picking out and purchasing a bridesmaid dress doesn’t often top your list of favorite bridesmaid duties. Prices can be sky high and no matter how many times we say we’ll wear them again, we rarely do. Enter Style the Aisle, a genius bridesmaid dress rental company stocking some of the top styles from designer bridesmaid lines like Lula Kate and Johanna August. I asked cofounder Erica Gellerman to share a bit of background on how Style the Aisle came to be, which designers are next on her wish list—and what bridesmaid traditions she loves (and can’t stand).

So tell me, how did Style the Aisle begin?
My good friend Meaghan [and now Style the Aisle cofounder] was married two years before I was and during planning I asked her for a lot of advice. After my wedding, we started talking about what the most frustrating part of the wedding process was and I said that for me it was picking the bridesmaid dresses. That really struck a chord with her and we started to brainstorm what would have made finding the right dresses easier. With that, we came up with the idea for Style the Aisle.

How did you choose dresses for your own bridesmaids? Was it difficult to find something that ticked all the boxes?
It was incredibly difficult! That’s really what started the business. When I was planning my wedding, I lived in North Carolina and my bridesmaids were scattered around California, which made trying on dresses together nearly impossible. I also really wanted to keep the dresses affordable while still being gorgeous. I knew they likely would only wear them once, so price was really important to me. I scoured the internet and actually did look for bridesmaid dress rental options, but I didn’t find anything that was quite right. In the end, we chose cocktail dresses that everyone could buy online, but they weren’t the perfect dresses.

Tell me about the process of choosing designers for Style the Aisle. Who is on your list of dream designers to add?
Choosing designers was such a fun process. Meaghan and I already had a list of designers we admired, but we wanted to do thorough research. We bought stacks of magazines and scoured the blogs pulling out any dresses we loved. After that, we made a prioritized list and started reaching out to them one by one. We weren’t sure what to expect, but to our surprise, everyone was really friendly and interested in the idea.
Our next priority is adding on dresses from our current designers. They have such beautiful collections and we really offer such a small taste of their gorgeous dresses. So before adding anyone else we want to make sure we’re doing justice to their collection and brand. After that, we have a pretty short list of designers we want to add, but on the top of the list is Amsale and Jenny Yoo.

What has been the most exciting or rewarding moment of launching Style the Aisle so far?
I would have to say our best moment so far was the moment when our first order came in. It was such an exciting moment to sit back and realize that a perfect stranger had seen what we were doing loved it, and trusted us enough to dress her bridal party. We also get so excited every time we get an email or a photo from a bride after a wedding. It makes us remember exactly why we started this business.

What bridesmaid trend or tradition do you love the most?
It’s not so much one tradition that I love the most, but I love all of the festivities where you can really celebrate your friendships and spend quality time with the amazing ladies in your wedding. These are the people who know you best and who have been with you through all of your highs and lows over the past years. I love celebrating those special friendships as well as celebrating the excitement of your marriage.

Ok, we have to know the flip side…which bridesmaid trend or tradition would you like to see disappear?
All of the drama and headache that goes into bridesmaid dress shopping!

One last question: I see that you’re a Duke fan. I went to Wake Forest undergrad. Can we still be friends? Also, name one thing you miss the most from North Carolina.
I think so…but definitely not in March.
There are so many things I miss about North Carolina, but number one is the BBQ! I also miss the gorgeous trees and picturesque country roads; it’s such a beautiful place.

Photography: Caroline Lima Photography | Dresses: Kirribilla for Style the Aisle

For more on renting bridesmaid dresses from Style the Aisle, check out all the details and browse their collections here.