Author Archives: Caitlin

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!

A French Country Garden Bridal Shower in British Columbia

Rustic meets chic at the Little White House in Fort Langley, Canada, for this garden bridal shower with a Parisian twist. The intimate cafe vibe mixes high and low with rough barnwood walls contrasting the sparkling chandeliers. Gorgeous florals by Alice at Floralista added an simple freshness to the space. Bride Paula entered through the secret garden in back to find her friends and family gathered for her tea luncheon, beautifully captured by photographer Mikaela Ruth.

Photography: Mikaela Ruth Photography | Venue: Little White House in Fort Langley | Florals: Floralista

Win 2 Tickets to the 3rd NYC NotWedding!

Engaged in New York? Win 2 tickets to the 3rd NYC NotWedding!

All the wedding fun, none of the drama—that should be the NotWedding’s motto. Conceived as a bridal show alternative, it’s also just a pretty dang fun party. A married couple renews their vows in a gorgeous setting (this season they’ll be at the Green Building, which is something of a blank canvas, so I can’t wait to see what they create!) while local brides-to-be get to see vendors at work. Everything else you love about a wedding—gourmet treats, freely (and free) flowing bubbly, a dessert bar, photo booth fun, dance floor shenanigans—you’ll find it.

The best part? Ultimate Bridesmaid is giving away 2 tickets to the 3rd NYC NotWedding, Sept. 23rd at the Green Building in Brooklyn. I highly recommend it as a fun night out with a girlfriend, or feel free to bring your fiance along—I saw plenty of ‘em hitting up the bar at May’s event. To enter to win, leave a comment on this post or like our Facebook page, then submit your contact info through the Rafflecopter form below.

*No purchase necessary. A winner will be selected at random by Rafflecopter on 9/16/14. Winner will be notified via email by Ultimate Bridesmaid and must respond within 48 hours to claim their prize. Winner grants Ultimate Bridesmaid the right to share the winner’s email address with the giveaway sponsor (The NotWedding) for the sole purpose of delivering the prize to the winner. No email addresses will be used or retained to send promotional materials. The prize will consist of two tickets to The NotWedding held in Brooklyn on 9/23/14. Winner is responsible for his or her own transportation to and from event. Prize cannot be redeemed for cash or substituted for anything other than the stated prize.

33 Spectacular Bachelorette Party Ideas

Forget what you think a bachelorette party should be. Your bachelorette party should reflect your tastes and interests. It should include the kinds of things you love to do. Here, a list of 33 bachelorette party ideas. Some are themes that could carry an entire party, others are activities to incorporate in a long bachelorette weekend. Whatever you decide to do, make sure your bachelorette party reflects who you are—and please, no penises.

1. Weekend in the City

33 Spectacular Bachelorette Party Ideas: Weekend in the City! | Ultimate Bridesmaid

Bachelorette weekends have become de rigueur as many women have groups of friends spread out across the country (or the world). Very few people can gather their nearest and dearest from even a 50-mile radius, so it makes sense to spend a weekend together to maximize time and fun. Check out our planning guide for advice on putting together a bachelorette weekend, especially from afar. More from this Bachelorette Shoot in Baltimore’s Little Italy.

2. Glitter and glamour

Pile on the sparkle and sequins for a glitsy night out. Don’t own a sequined dress? Rent one! Rent the Runway carries tons of sequined styles and one can be yours for the night for as low as $30 (we particularly love this deep burgundy number from Badgley Mischka—stunning!). More from this Glitter Bachelorette Shoot.

3. Yoga

Starting your day with a yoga class will make the bride feel good about herself and allow her to let loose with her friends as well. After the class, head to brunch, then complete your mind/body refresh with manicures…and maybe toss some mimosas in there somewhere. Image via Bridal Musings.

4. Art class

If the idea of a stripper makes you feel icky, but you still want to incorporate something a bit risque at your bachelorette, this is so the party for you. An instructor at The Artful Bachelorette will lead you through a study of the male nude, while a charming topless waiter serves you champagne and appetizers. Image via Stone Fox Tales.

5. Weekend at the beach

Pack your sunnies and your swimsuit, it’s beach time! More from this Breezy, Beachy Bachelorette in Provence.

6. Lingerie

Challenge yourself to look outside of Victoria’s Secret—which I have nothing against. Honestly, I buy most of my undies there. But this is a special occasion and it’s an opportunity for you to gift the bride something fun and different. Try Honeydew Intimates for colorful, cute pieces, L’Agent by Agent Provocateur for something sexy or Wildfox for adorable vintage-inspired PJ sets. More from this Rustic Vintage Shower.

7. Cruise

Take to the seas for a cruise with your favorite ladies. Enjoy signature cocktails while lounging on the pool deck, or book a shore excursion to add a bit of adventure. Zip lining, anyone?

8. Wine tasting

Spend the afternoon at a winery and enjoy both a tasting and a meal, or book transportation to take you and your group to multiple spots in one afternoon. You don’t have to go to Napa to throw a wine tasting party—you’ll be surprised to find how many local vineyards there are all over the country. More from this Sunshine and Wine Bridal Party Luncheon.

9. Brewery

Not a wine girl? No problem! The craft brewery industry is booming and many offer tours and tasting—or host a beer tasting party of your own! Order in artisanal pizzas (because seriously, nothing goes better with beer than pizza), or look for a class on pairing beer with food. Image via Glitter Guide.

10. Dance class

Isn’t dancing more fun without those pesky boys anyway? They just get in the way of your sweet moves. Image via Style Me Pretty.

11. Cocktail party

Serve the bride’s favorite cocktails along with a few nibbles. To add an element of fun, teach your guests how to make a more advanced cocktail, or one they may not have ever tried before—does everyone know how to flame an orange?! More from this Love is in the Air Bachelorette.

12. Cooking class

Prepare a gourmet meal with your besties. You can learn a new skill, like pasta making, and then enjoy the fruits (and vegetables) of your labor. More from this Cooking Classy Bachelorette.

13. Spa party

Book a spa day, or, for a more budget-friendly option, host a spa party at home. There are lots of recipes for home beauty treatments, like this green tea and honey mask. Image via Ruffled.

14. Glamping

Or just plain camping—the glamor part is totally optional. Park an Airstream, rent a cabin or set up tents, then get the fire going. Be adventurous with your cooking. You’d be surprised what you can create on an open flame (try some of these!). Image via Zipporah K Photography.

15. Blow Dry Bar

A blow dry bar is the perfect stop to kick off a bachelorette weekend before a fun night out. Salons like Drybar offer party packages and cocktails to sip while you get pretty. Order your hair mai tai–style for a beachy, breezy look. Image via Style Me Pretty.

16. Road trip

Like camping, only mobile! Cadillac optional. Plan a few destinations and quirky roadside stops, but be sure to explore a bit off the beaten path. Check out this app that will help you plan your route and find cool stops along the way. Image via Roadtrippers.

17. Lake house

Rent a house at the lake (or make puppy eyes at a friend who has access to one) and enjoy hours of sun and fun. Just lounging on the dock together will be a perfect relaxation before her big day. Barbecue on the patio and serve up Moscow mules. Image via Jay Adores.

18. Lawn party

Before we had barbecues, we had “lawn parties.” Just think of it as a classed up outdoor gathering. Wear a sundress, break out the croquet set and serve a picnic lunch. Image via Style Me Pretty.

19. Flea market

A perfect outing for a crafty bride. Browse the stalls of antiques and handcrafted objects from local vendors, then be sure to hit up the ubiquitous food trucks. More from this LA Renegade Art Fair Bachelorette.

20. Belly dancing

Set the mood with candlelight and sequined pillows and hire a bellydance instructor for the night. It’s a little sensual, a lot fun and a pretty good workout to boot! More from this Bellydance Bachelorette in South Africa.

21. Ghost Tour

Get everyone good and freaked out with a ghost tour, a great activity to add to your agenda, especially in some of the older cities in the South, like Savannah, Charleston or New Orleans. I particularly enjoyed the ghost tour/bar crawl I took with Tara’s Tours in Savannah. Or check out this New Orleans Bachelorette.

22. Zombies

Want something out of the box? This is it! Zombie bride and her zombie bridesmaids hit the town. If you happen to be in Minneapolis, make sure to schedule a stop at the zombie-themed bar, Donny Dirk’s Zombie Den. More from this Zombie Bachelorette.

23. Museum tour

Ok, this is not just any museum tour. Museum Hack offers a bachelorette-themed tour of the Metropolitan Museum of Art in NYC. The guides are open to thematic direction from you, but we love this suggestion: Butts of the Met. Image via Museum Hack.

24. Karaoke

Don’t Stop Believing? I never have. Power up your vocal cords with a night of karaoke. I personally love places that offer private rooms for large parties. You won’t have to wait for hours for your turn and the more timid girls may work up the nerve to hop onstage since you’re just among friends. It is nonstop fun. Image via J. Michelle Photography.

25. Rock climbing

Whether your an avid climber or just want to try something new, doing something active at your bachelorette party will make you feel great—especially if it’s followed by a night of cocktails and 3am pizza orders. These lovely ladies went way beyond the rock wall, with a dodgeball game and even a romp in a grown-up ball pit. Image via Brave Bird Photography.

26. Amusement park

Forget wedding planning. Embrace your inner Disney princess, leave your Muggle friends behind or feed your roller coaster habit with a day at an amusement park. Prepare for plenty of photo ops and just plain silly fun. Image via Merevin.

27. Ladies Who Brunch

I’ve always thought of brunch as an excuse to eat eggs late and drink champagne early. And I will gladly celebrate that excuse. More from this New Orleans Bachelorette.

28. Food Tour

Food tours are a great way to sample the local cuisine and see a bit of a new city. I’ve personally enjoyed the Gourmet Walks tour in San Francisco and the Music City Bites and Sites tour in Nashville. Pro tip: Do not eat before a food tour. Seriously, you will regret it. Check out our NYC Dining Guide here.

29. Cycling

There’s something really relaxing and intimate about cycling with friends. You feel the breeze in your hair and find yourself talking about this, that and everything as the scenery passes. Bike rentals can be great for city tours or more scenic country outings. Image via Wedding Chicks.

30. 1920s Speakeasy

Decadence, glamor, candlelight and alcohol—what more do you need for a classy bachelorette party? Channel the Roaring 20s with a speakeasy vibe, strong cocktails and tiny canapés. Fancy yourself up with feathered hats, drop-waist dresses and kitten heels and indulge in parlor games of old—maybe a tarot reading is in order. Image via Ruffled.

31. Tubing

Find yourself a lazy river, rent some tubes and enjoy floating on the water and laughing with your pals. Rent an extra tube as your floating bar—just load a cooler with ice and beverages and tie it to your rafts. Image via Dashboard Diary.

32. Flower Arranging Class

If you’ve ever bought a bouquet from the local grocery and tried to arrange your own flowers, you know that it truly is an art. Book a class to learn to create simple and gorgeous arrangements—the DIY bride could use this time to concept wedding bouquets or centerpieces. Image via Style Me Pretty.

33. Fruit Picking

A perfect daytime diversion for the summer or fall, fruit picking is inexpensive and yields delicious edibles. Don’t just think pies and tarts though. Transform whatever you pick into a cocktail that evening. Apples = sangria. Peaches = bellinis. Berries = just about anything! Image via Extra Petite.

Did you plan a unique activity for your or a friend’s bachelorette? Leave suggestions in the comments! 

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.