Author Archives: Caitlin

Frock + Flowers // Springtime Yellows

Frock + Flowers: Pair yellow dresses with neutral flowers in whites and pale pink, with pops of greenery

I have to give it to these girls: Yellow is a hard color to pull off. I cannot do it, personally. But I have to say that when I see a row of sunshine-hued bridesmaids, it just makes me smile. Yellow is a happy color and brings a joyful vibe to the wedding party. Choose a soft pastel shade for a beach wedding or a deeper mustard color for a casual, woodsy event. Bonus points: Match your shade of yellow to the time of day and the season: light for a daytime spring wedding, deeper for an evening autumnal event. Since the yellow itself is such a vibrant, show-stealing color, it’s best to go muted with your flower palette. Whites and greens are gorgeous, or add subtle pops of pastel pink and yellow for contrast and depth.

Top left: Style Me Pretty | Top right: Style Me Pretty | Bottom left: Wedding Chicks | Bottom right: Project Wedding

What’s Wrong With The Bachelorette Party (And How We Can Fix It)

bacelorette party copyLet’s play a little game of word association. What images come to mind when I say “bachelorette”? My guess is that most people imagine very similar scenarios—a wild night out, pink and black decorations, penis straws, a tiara and sash, a male stripper. There is a very narrow idea of what a bachelorette party includes, but the reality is that not only is that idea outdated and wrong, but it’s also kind of insulting.

So I’ll just come out and say it.  I hate the ubiquitous pink and black bachelorette color palette. I hate the invitations covered in high heels, bras and leopard print. I hate the phrase “last fling before the ring.” I hate novelty penis products. I hate strippers (not the people themselves, just the expectation that there should be one at my bachelorette party).

The reason I’m so against this type of party is that, for most women, it’s incredibly unnatural. It isn’t authentic. It has nothing to do with the kind of person they are, with their interests, their life. It turns them into just another girl in a cheap tiara.

And yet, women feel pressured into having this kind of party. This image of the bachelorette is so pervasive that sometime it can feel like the very definition of the event. It’s a “last night of freedom” and a chance to “go wild.” But I’m here to tell you, it’s not. Or at least, it doesn’t have to be. For some women, the wild and crazy bachelorette party that ends with a policeman wearing sunglasses and toting a boombox knocking at your door is exactly what they want—and that’s totally fine. The point is that way too many women have that type of party not because it’s something they want but because it’s something they think they have to do.

Perhaps looking at the reasons why we throw a bachelorette party could help. Though the phrase “last fling before the ring” may be branded onto T-shirts and invitations galore, the vast majority of brides are not using the bachelorette as a chance to cheat on their fiancé. The bachelorette really isn’t about men—so why are all the decorations and traditions so focused on them?

What the bachelorette should be about is women and specifically the bride’s friendships with women. The bachelorette is in a sense a return to singlehood—but not to the part of your single days that involved man-hunting. It’s to the way you celebrated with women when you were single. It’s reforging the bond you felt at slumber parties growing up or at those late-night gab sessions in college when you stayed up till 4am with your best girlfriends, eating ice cream out of the carton or passing around a bottle of cheap wine you conned some senior boy into buying for you. It’s to the way you laugh with women, the things you like to do with women, the feeling you get when you’re just with the girls.

Part of my mission with this blog has been to inspire women to create parties for themselves. Parties that reflect their interests, that celebrate the things and the people they love. This can mean a quiet getaway to a cabin in the mountains, a day of surfing lessons followed by a beach bonfire or a backyard BBQ with lawn games and cold beers. It can mean a cooking class followed by the four-course dinner you all created or a belly dancing lesson at a hookah lounge. It can mean dressing up in little black dresses or applying zombie makeup to hit the local bars. It can mean a trip to Las Vegas or a weekend in Napa. It can mean whatever you want it to mean—as long as it’s you.

A Sweet Strawberries and Champagne Garden Bridal Brunch

This bridal brunch inspiration shoot perfectly demonstrates something I firmly believe: Beautiful does not have to equal expensive. Simple touches like a vase of tulips and sweet strawberries to top the champagne glasses add pops of red to tie the rustic decor together and accent the natural beauty of this inviting Georgia garden. Plus, you’ll never believe where that gorgeous cake is from…the Publix bakery! Well, the inside is at least. “We scraped off the original icing decorations and used a spatula (and a little warm water) to rough up the way-too-perfect grocery store look,” says photographer Lydia of Mintwood Photo Co. “Add a few sprigs of rosemary and sliced lemons to the top and ta-da!”
A Sweet Strawberries and Champagne Garden Bridal Brunch | Ultimate Bridesmaid | Mintwood Photo Co.A Sweet Strawberries and Champagne Garden Bridal Brunch | Ultimate Bridesmaid | Mintwood Photo Co.A Sweet Strawberries and Champagne Garden Bridal Brunch | Ultimate Bridesmaid | Mintwood Photo Co. A Sweet Strawberries and Champagne Garden Bridal Brunch | Ultimate Bridesmaid | Mintwood Photo Co. A Sweet Strawberries and Champagne Garden Bridal Brunch | Ultimate Bridesmaid | Mintwood Photo Co. A Sweet Strawberries and Champagne Garden Bridal Brunch | Ultimate Bridesmaid | Mintwood Photo Co.A Sweet Strawberries and Champagne Garden Bridal Brunch | Ultimate Bridesmaid | Mintwood Photo Co. A Sweet Strawberries and Champagne Garden Bridal Brunch | Ultimate Bridesmaid | Mintwood Photo Co. A Sweet Strawberries and Champagne Garden Bridal Brunch | Ultimate Bridesmaid | Mintwood Photo Co.A Sweet Strawberries and Champagne Garden Bridal Brunch | Ultimate Bridesmaid | Mintwood Photo Co. A Sweet Strawberries and Champagne Garden Bridal Brunch | Ultimate Bridesmaid | Mintwood Photo Co. A Sweet Strawberries and Champagne Garden Bridal Brunch | Ultimate Bridesmaid | Mintwood Photo Co. A Sweet Strawberries and Champagne Garden Bridal Brunch | Ultimate Bridesmaid | Mintwood Photo Co. A Sweet Strawberries and Champagne Garden Bridal Brunch | Ultimate Bridesmaid | Mintwood Photo Co. A Sweet Strawberries and Champagne Garden Bridal Brunch | Ultimate Bridesmaid | Mintwood Photo Co.

Photography: Mintwood Photo Co. | Party game: Beau Coup

A Modern Whimsy Poolside Bridal Shower

Bride Hanna’s closest friends all lent their considerable talents to create a beautiful shower at this modern home in Palm Springs (an AirB&B find with a rock ‘n’ roll vibe). The DIY bridesmaids created two tablescapes that day: First, they took the opportunity to mock up the design for the wedding—a rustic, natural spread incorporating simple eucalyptus leaves and the stunning hand-drawn programs by Kathy Choi of A Young April—before transforming the patio into a playful, whimsical retreat for the bridal shower, introducing cabbages as greenery, quirky little owls and soft, feathery florals and tassels. Photographer and friend of the bride Jessica Park says her favorite moment of the day was, in fact, one of the simplest: “We were all just sipping on our homemade sangrias around the table. Shoes off, feet up, completely relaxed, and chatting away on a beautiful sunny day.” Which is exactly what a bridal shower should be all about.

A Modern Whimsy Poolside Bridal Shower | Ultimate Bridesmaid | Jessica Park PhotographyA Modern Whimsy Poolside Bridal Shower | Ultimate Bridesmaid | Jessica Park PhotographyA Modern Whimsy Poolside Bridal Shower | Ultimate Bridesmaid | Jessica Park Photography A Modern Whimsy Poolside Bridal Shower | Ultimate Bridesmaid | Jessica Park Photography A Modern Whimsy Poolside Bridal Shower | Ultimate Bridesmaid | Jessica Park PhotographyA Modern Whimsy Poolside Bridal Shower | Ultimate Bridesmaid | Jessica Park PhotographyA Modern Whimsy Poolside Bridal Shower | Ultimate Bridesmaid | Jessica Park Photography A Modern Whimsy Poolside Bridal Shower | Ultimate Bridesmaid | Jessica Park PhotographyA Modern Whimsy Poolside Bridal Shower | Ultimate Bridesmaid | Jessica Park Photography A Modern Whimsy Poolside Bridal Shower | Ultimate Bridesmaid | Jessica Park Photography A Modern Whimsy Poolside Bridal Shower | Ultimate Bridesmaid | Jessica Park Photography A Modern Whimsy Poolside Bridal Shower | Ultimate Bridesmaid | Jessica Park PhotographyA Modern Whimsy Poolside Bridal Shower | Ultimate Bridesmaid | Jessica Park Photography A Modern Whimsy Poolside Bridal Shower | Ultimate Bridesmaid | Jessica Park Photography A Modern Whimsy Poolside Bridal Shower | Ultimate Bridesmaid | Jessica Park PhotographyA Modern Whimsy Poolside Bridal Shower | Ultimate Bridesmaid | Jessica Park Photography A Modern Whimsy Poolside Bridal Shower | Ultimate Bridesmaid | Jessica Park PhotographyA Modern Whimsy Poolside Bridal Shower | Ultimate Bridesmaid | Jessica Park Photography A Modern Whimsy Poolside Bridal Shower | Ultimate Bridesmaid | Jessica Park PhotographyA Modern Whimsy Poolside Bridal Shower | Ultimate Bridesmaid | Jessica Park Photography A Modern Whimsy Poolside Bridal Shower | Ultimate Bridesmaid | Jessica Park Photography A Modern Whimsy Poolside Bridal Shower | Ultimate Bridesmaid | Jessica Park PhotographyA Modern Whimsy Poolside Bridal Shower | Ultimate Bridesmaid | Jessica Park Photography A Modern Whimsy Poolside Bridal Shower | Ultimate Bridesmaid | Jessica Park Photography

Photography: Jessica Park Photography | Stationery & Printed Paper Goods: Kathy Choi of A Young April | Floral Arrangements and Crown: Stacy Seow | Frills + Tassels: Jihan of Geronimo Balloons

14 Perfect Winter Bridesmaid Looks

Anybody else cold right now? Well, your bridesmaids shouldn’t have to be. If you’re having a winter wedding, you’re certainly going to want to take some gorgeous pictures in the freshly fallen snow…but your ladies probably aren’t going to look too happy while shivering in sleeveless chiffon dresses. Dress them for the weather and keep them looking cute at the same time with these winter bridesmaid looks. Plus, check out our Winter Bridesmaids Pinterest board for even more ideas.

Coats

I so love the idea of matching coats for a snowy winter wedding. Just be sensitive to cost. If you ask your girls to purchase matching coats, let them choose their own dresses to wear underneath in a basic black or other neutral shade. If you ask them to purchase matching bridesmaid dresses, let them wear their own coat—leather jackets or jean jackets won’t show much variation in pictures anyway.
14 Perfect Winter Bridesmaid Looks: Coats 14 Perfect Winter Bridesmaid Looks: Coats Top: Mountainside Bride | Bottom: The Bridal Detective

Fur Wraps

Nothing looks as cozy and snuggly as a fur wrap—though we prefer the faux kind or a vintage hand-me-down from grandma, please.
14 Perfect Winter Bridesmaid Looks: Faux Fur Wraps 14 Perfect Winter Bridesmaid Looks: Fur WrapsTop: Emily Steffen Photography | Bottom: Ruffled

Cardigans

I am a cardigan woman. I basically wear cardigans year-round. It is one of the top reasons I left Florida for New York (OK, not really, but really great bonus, am I right?). Belted with a cute pencil skirt, it can even take the place of a traditional bridesmaid dress.
14 Perfect Winter Bridesmaid Looks: Cardigans 14 Perfect Winter Bridesmaid Looks: CardigansTop: Style Me Pretty | Bottom: Green Wedding Shoes

Winter Boots

Heels and snow do not mix. But you know what’s adorable? Bridesmaids in galoshes! They can slip into a shoe of their choice for the reception or just rock their booties on the dance floor!
14 Perfect Winter Bridesmaid Looks: Boots 14 Perfect Winter Bridesmaid Looks: BootsTop: Huffington Post | Bottom: Junebug Weddings

Long Sleeves

A lacy or sequined long-sleeve frock will look chic and keep your bridesmaids warm. There are more silhouettes than strapless out there! 14 Perfect Winter Bridesmaid Looks: Long Sleeves 14 Perfect Winter Bridesmaid Looks: Long SleevesTop: Green Wedding Shoes | Bottom: Apple Brides

Scarves

A scarf is a simple and incredibly affordable way to add warmth to the bridesmaid look. Layer a classic winter white on colored dresses or opt for a tartan or textured scarf with neutral-toned frocks. 14 Perfect Winter Bridesmaid Looks: Scarves14 Perfect Winter Bridesmaid Looks: ScarvesTop: Wedding Obsession| Bottom: Southern Weddings

Shawls

A shawl is the most classic accessory to add warmth to a bridesmaid look. To keep it from feeling dated, choose a color that contrasts with the bridesmaid dresses for a more impactful, modern look. The one exception? Nudes and neutrals always look  great layered together—just vary texture and pattern for visual interest.
14 Perfect Winter Bridesmaid Looks: Shawls 14 Perfect Winter Bridesmaid Looks: ShawlsTop: Southern Weddings | Bottom: Style Me Pretty

Bachelorette Survival Kits

Bachelorette survival kits can be created by the hostess of the bachelorette party as a party favor or can be put together by the bride as a thank-you to her friends for organizing a fantastic weekend. Try to fill the bag with a mix of little things the guests will find useful, but that are also cute and thoughtful. Band-Aids might be useful in a crisis, but she’ll probably appreciate a nice shade of nail polish or a cute hair band more. Treat the term “survival” loosely. Every survival kit starts with the perfect (and hopefully reusable) bag though, so here are some of my favorite finds. Want even more inspiration? Check out our Bridesmaid Survival Kit Pinterest board.
Bachelorette Survival Kits

Finch and Fox creates personalized hangover kit bags that are absolutely adorable. Bags can be designed to reflect the city or state where the event will be held or the theme of the weekend, like a fiesta or wine tasting, for a truly personal keepsake.

Bachelorette Survival Kits

For my ladies across the pond, I adore this neon hen tote. If you don’t mind the 2014 in the corner, you can get this bag at a deep discount right now (only 9.62!) and you could probably cover the date up with a custom sticker or patch. Otherwise, a 2015 version should appear soon!

Bachelorette Survival Kits

Ok, these aren’t bags, but they’re too adorable and perfect not to mention! These personalized hair band favors from Flhair Accessories can be customized to fit your colors and theme for the weekend. I am such a huge fan of the modern typography and stylish color combinations Emma puts together!

Bachelorette Survival Kits

Words to live by, girls. Words to live by. Fill these canvas pouches with a few (inexpensive) beauty products, like your favorite shade of essie nail polish, a Stila lipgloss and Burt’s Bees hand salve. Browse the checkout area at Sephora for lots of travel- or sample-size products to add in.

Bachelorette Survival Kits

This “Plan to get a tan” tote is perfect for a beach weekend. Fill with sunscreen, a brightly colored pair of sunglasses, the latest celebrity gossip mag and a bottle of hydrating coconut water. Ready for fun in the sun!

Bachelorette Survival KitsI love the bold typography on these kraft paper bags, which can be stamped with the date and location of your party, or even a personal party slogan you dream up. At about 5×7″, they can hold more than you’d think too. Try a mini bottle of their favorite liquor, a few Tattly removable tattoos, and directions to where you’ll all share a much-needed Bloody Mary the morning after.

Bachelorette Survival Kits

Not really the DIY type? I got you covered. Check out Minimergency Kits by Pinch Provisions. These little pouches come in a huge array of colors and patterns, like these metallic striped ones, and are prefilled with lots of handy little items, like double-sided tape, dental floss and even a tampon. For a quick-fix personalization, just add each guest’s name to a tag and tie to the zipper with a gold ribbon.

Merry Christmas + An Engagement (Mine)

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So, there’s something I’ve been meaning to tell you…

I got engaged!!!!! Did I not say that yet? It’s honestly so exciting and amazing and wonderful, but it’s kinda awkward to just shout to the Internet, am I right? So now you know. I’m engaged! Andrew and I have been together for over four wonderful years and I was so excited when he asked that I was literally like “Is this for real?” and then we picked out a gorgeous ring together that I’m both obsessed with and also petrified that I will drop onto the subway tracks, so thank god for jewelry insurance and YEAH. It’s awesome. Love is the best.

Andrew and I met about four and a half years ago—on match.com. And before you ask, no, I do not plan to go on the commercials as a success story. I love telling people that we met online though because it was such a fun experience for me all around and it led to meeting the person I love. For those who are nervous about trying online dating, I have to take a moment to encourage you to try it. In the few months before I met Andrew, I went on more dates than I ever had been on in my life, and met some very nice guys who bought me dinner and drinks and were generally interesting or at the very least pleasant. The worst I could say about those fellows was that a few were sort-of boring—although there is one I assume was killed in a tragic accident because he never called me back for a second date.

I also firmly believe that Andrew and I would have never met if not for the internet. I worked in publishing while he worked in property management, I lived on the Upper East Side while he lived in Brooklyn, we didn’t even go out in the same neighborhoods—it just would have been very unlikely. But it only took me about three months of dating on Match to meet Andrew, and we instantly clicked.

Andrew planned our first date, which impressed me because boys are usually terrible at things like that. But he took the time to choose fun, casual spots with lots of interaction, perfect for a first meeting. We started with drinks at a local watering hole in the East Village, then headed to Crif Dogs for seriously amped up hot dogs (try the tsunami dog covered in pineapple and teriyaki sauce, for reals) and finished the night at Ace Bar for a flirty game of darts and skeeball. You know how sometime you just feel completely comfortable around a person immediately? And they make you laugh without even trying? And you leave the night feeling like even though you never stopped talking there are still one thousand things you don’t know about them yet? That’s how I felt with Andrew from day one—and still do.

I could go into a thousand little stories about how our relationship developed: making pizzas at his house, the many ways Andrew tried to impress me on some of our earliest dates always to be thwarted by New York City in some way… But one of the defining moments of our relationship was most definitely our trip to Iceland. We were about three months into our relationship, on the subway taking one of the hour-long trips between my house and his when Andrew casually asked if I’d like to go to Iceland. I was instantly like, “Uhm, are your serious? Heck yes, I want to go to Iceland!” His response: a very excited “Really?” I called my friend Meryl to ask if I was being insane for committing to going on an international vacation with a man I’d known for three months, because seriously that’s what girlfriends are for, and Meryl was like, “It is totally insane. And you should totally do it.”

Iceland was either going to make or break our relationship, and it definitely made it. We had so many adventures driving around the otherworldly little country in our tiny compact rental car. We bathed in the hot springs at the Blue Lagoon while storm clouds rolled in. We let our GPS coerce us into taking a very narrow, very potholed dirt road, considered turning back for the sake of our fragile car but decided to press on only to come upon a herd of roaming ponies moments later, who then let us pet them (true story). We saw more waterfalls and rainbows than I’ve ever seen before. We drove that same intrepid car out onto the black sand beaches, and were nearly stranded there. We explored a glacier.

That trip set the tone for our relationship and some of the qualities we love and bring out in each other: adventure, laughter, encouragement, support. Also, Andrew’s tendency to make ridiculous faces in photographs.

Cutting down a Christmas tree

I could go on and on, but I guess I just wanted to share this little snippet from my life. We haven’t set a wedding date yet. I’m honestly still trying to figure out what kind of wedding I want! That may surprise you since I’m a wedding blogger, but I think that actually makes it more difficult for me because I’ve seen so many great ideas and can imagine lots of different wedding scenarios that fit our personalities. I could see our wedding happening in Brooklyn, the Catskills, the coast of Maine—even Iceland! Right now I’m taking the time to enjoy being engaged and we’ll figure out this wedding thing soon.

Anyway, Merry Christmas from my family to yours!