Author Archives: Caitlin

Our Northeast Charm Wedding in Maine

Hi guys,

You may have noticed a little bit of radio silence and that’s because…

Caitlin & Andrew's Northeast Harbor Wedding | Ultimate Bridesmaid | Brett & Jessica Photography

I got MARRIED!

About a month before my wedding, I decided I needed a little break from blogging. Because the month before your wedding is when ALL your vendors desperately need your attention to confirm every last detail and talk through every contingency. So in order to have the energy to focus on my full-time office job as well as the finishing touches of my wedding, I just did not have the mental capacity to update this space as well. But here I am and here’s my wedding update! Warning: It’s going to be a long one!

A lot of people asked me how Andrew and I chose Maine as our wedding destination since we’re not from there. The answer is that in the second year of our relationship, we took a trip to Bar Harbor together and fell in love with it (and which each other, duh). Afterwards, we talked about making a trip to Maine a yearly tradition and both strongly felt it was something we wanted to do. As a couple, we love a balance of traditions (like camping every fall or going to the beach for Fourth of July) and exploring new places in our travels. So every year since, we’ve gone to Mount Desert Island together to hike in Acadia National Park, enjoy lobster at Beal’s Lobster Pound, play mini golf at Pirate’s Cove and sip local brews in Bar Harbor.

Our wedding venue was the Asticou Inn, a gorgeous historic inn that’s been open since 1883 and overlooks Northeast Harbor. It has the classic New England charm we wanted to share with our guests from around the country, from its floral wallpaper and antique furnishings to the Adirondack chairs on the lawn. They also happened to have the perfect event coordinator for me. While I did all the planning and design for our wedding, Sue from the Asticou handled the day-of logistics and truly did an amazing job of executing. I realized early in my wedding planning process that I didn’t need an event designer. I knew exactly what I wanted our wedding to look and feel like—I just needed someone to carry out that vision so I wasn’t arranging place cards or directing lighting installation on the day of my wedding! Sue was perfect for that.

Every wedding will experience a hiccup or two, and we were very lucky to have only very minor ones. The first happened on Thursday afternoon, when my maid of honor Meryl texted me to say that the Bangor, Maine, airport was temporarily closed due to a plane stuck on the runway. This caused delays and cancellations for a few of our guests and ended up resulting in my mom and brother not getting in on Thursday as planned and missing the dinner at our favorite lobster pound on Thursday night. And while that really, really sucked, air delays and travel issues are just a natural part of a destination wedding. If 100% of your guests are traveling to your event—as was the case with our wedding—there are going to be issues, and you just have to be ready for that. The important thing is that everyone makes it to the wedding, and my mom and brother arrived Friday afternoon with plenty of time to spare.

Friday morning is also when Andrew and I realized two things about getting married we hadn’t anticipated: (1) Getting married is like being a D-list celebrity. Everywhere you go, people wave at you, smile at you, want to hug you, etc. (2) Pursuant to number one, when getting married, you must budget 15–20 extra minutes into literally everything you do to spend time talking to guests who see you and want to talk to you. Someone will see you while you’re carrying your breakfast to your table and start chatting and hugging you and your breakfast will get cold if you do not extricate yourself. So those are my two nuggets of wisdom for you.

Our wedding welcome dinner was Friday night at the Lompoc Café in Bar Harbor. We called it a “welcome dinner” rather than a rehearsal dinner because all of our guests were invited. This is common etiquette for a destination wedding when all guests travel to the event. We chose the Lompoc Café because we wanted our guests to have an opportunity to check out Bar Harbor and we wanted a very casual vibe, with people mingling, ordering drinks from the bar and catching up. The Lompoc has a rustic cabin feel and there’s a covered, heated porch as well as an outdoor seating area with bocce ball. It turned out to be a great venue and guests mingled while enjoying delicious pizzas and salads made from seasonal local ingredients.

I have to take a moment to compliment our amazing wedding photographers, Brett and Jessica Donar. We did a photo session together in Acadia National Park, they shot our welcome dinner and then our whole wedding day. We could not love the pictures more. Brett and Jessica were laid-back and easy to work with, and their direction was totally natural. I felt comfortable with them right away and I think it shows in the pictures.

Andrew and I spent the night before our wedding together. Though I know the tradition is for brides and grooms to spend the night apart and not see each other until right before the wedding, that honestly didn’t appeal to me at all. I wanted to spend the night before and morning of my wedding snuggling with him, talking with him, being excited with him. Anything else would have felt weird.

The morning of the wedding, we encountered snafu number two. I had ordered custom table signs on Etsy that were supposed to be paintings of places Andrew and I had been together. The vendor, Lefty Lady Chalk Shop, had told me she was shipping the signs to the inn, but then a week before the wedding she stopped communicating completely and never sent the signs. I held out hope till the day of the wedding that they would magically show up in the mail…but they didn’t. (The Lefty Lady Chalk Shop has since disappeared from Etsy and Etsy refunded me, but this girl basically got away with it and never gave me an explanation.) My bridesmaids and I were forced to think on the fly to come up with a solution. I mentioned that I had black and white rough draft pencil sketches from the artist on my computer and my bridesmaid Marisa got to work cleaning them up in Photoshop, printed the signs in the inn’s front office and delivered them to Sue. All of my bridesmaids told me they thought the versions we made turned out even better than the final product would have been, but I was just grateful to have such supportive, helpful friends. The value of amazing bridesmaids!!

Around noon, I sent my Mom down to the tent to check on how things were looking because I knew she would be the perfect person to direct the look. She’s an amazing hostess and her house and table always look like something out of a magazine. When she came back up, the first thing she said was “Caitlin, the flowers are amazing.” I knew if Mom loved the flowers we were in good shape because her house is always full of them. A few minutes later the florist, Annie of Broadturn Farm, arrived with our bouquets and we got a taste of how beautiful they would be. The bouquets were full of vibrant fall colors—reds, yellows, purples—and all kinds of texture, including fallen leaves and eucalyptus. They were gorgeous.

Meryl helped me get into my dress, which was the Watters Beilin lace sheath with cap sleeves. I also wore my grandma’s fur wrap—her brother was a furrier and made it for her and it has her name embroidered on the inside. It was really special to me to incorporate her into the wedding in some way because she passed away a few years ago and we were very close. I also wore an emerald heart bracelet from my Mom as my something borrowed. It was so special to wear pieces from these two important women in my life.

We did bridal party pictures at the ceremony site, which gave me a chance to sneak into the tent and see it decorated for the first time—it looked amazing, honestly so close to image I had in my head. The long farm tables were left bare to let the deep wood show and then a garland ran down the middle with flowers and candles woven in. Each place was set with white china and accented by a vintage green goblet set on top of a custom coaster I created. The makeshift table signs looked great too. In one corner of the tent was a seating area with a deep green velvet couch and three antique armchairs in gold and green. In the center of the tent was the band stage and dance floor and on the other side was a rustic wood bar draped with a garland and the dessert table. The dessert table turned out totally over the top. We had cakes and pies from a local bakery, cookies from a Youngstown bakery and Momofuku in New York, and our family’s traditional dessert, kolache, homemade by my aunt and dad.

Before the ceremony, my bridesmaid Michele had asked me if I thought I would cry and I said I didn’t think so. I felt calm. I was doing great…until Andrew said his vows. Then I broke down and cried all through my own vows. The officiant actually started crying too! Afterwards all of our guests asked us if we knew her and said they had never seen an officiant cry at a wedding before! We used this set of vows that I found a few months before the wedding. I just immediately connected with the language—it was exactly what I wanted to say and captured how I feel about love and commitment. I shared them with Andrew and we agreed they were perfect for us.

After the ceremony, we took a few last pictures together. We followed a little trail behind the inn down to the shore and I jumped through mud in my wedding dress to get out to a rock so we could get a shot of us right on the water. Then we headed to our cocktail hour (more like hour and a half) so we could finally party! We specifically planned the cocktail hour to be a bit longer so we would get to enjoy some of it.

Around 6pm, the guests headed down to the tent, which was set right by the water. It was really, really hard for me to pick a first dance song, but we finally chose Redbone’s “Come and Get Your Love,” which I think was perfect for us. We are really silly together and loved getting to laugh and smile and sing to each other while we were dancing to this. Throughout the night people commented to me on how great Silver Arrow Band was. They had amazing energy and two killer singers as well as a horn section (my personal must-have). Their range was also incredible—they played jazz at cocktail hour and music across the decades and for all ages at our reception. They are all young music students and graduates trying to make a living in the music business and their passion really shows in what they do.

About halfway through the night a bonfire was lit and that became a gathering place for people who wanted a quieter spot to sit and talk. At one of the band breaks, I saw Sue rush in and ask them to make everyone go outside the tent for a surprise. It was fireworks! My Mom and Dad had arranged them for us without me knowing! The fireworks were shot off from a boat in the harbor and honestly at one point I thought the boat was on fire. It was the perfect ending to an amazing weekend.

For those planning your own Maine wedding, my full vendor list is at the bottom of this post. I highly endorse all these people; they were amazing to work with! And feel free to email me with questions about any of them or planning a wedding in Maine—I’m happy to help!

The Asticou Inn. Our Northeast Charm Wedding in Maine | Ultimate Bridesmaid | Brett & Jessica Photography The Asticou Inn. Our Northeast Charm Wedding in Maine | Ultimate Bridesmaid | Brett & Jessica Photography Cranberry Lodge at the Asticou Inn | Our Northeast Charm Wedding in Maine | Ultimate Bridesmaid | Brett & Jessica Photography Getting ready with my bridesmaids in the Cranberry Lodge at the Asticou Inn | Our Northeast Charm Wedding in Maine | Ultimate Bridesmaid | Brett & Jessica Photography Our Northeast Charm Wedding in Maine | Ultimate Bridesmaid | Brett & Jessica Photography Watters Beilin bridal gown | Our Northeast Charm Wedding in Maine | Ultimate Bridesmaid | Brett & Jessica Photography My grandmother's vintage fur made for her by her brother | Our Northeast Charm Wedding in Maine | Ultimate Bridesmaid | Brett & Jessica Photography My grandmother's name embroidered in her vintage fur wrap, made for her by her brother | Our Northeast Charm Wedding in Maine | Ultimate Bridesmaid | Brett & Jessica Photography Fall bridesmaid bouquets with dahlias and eucalyptus by Broadturn Farm | Our 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Wedding venue: Asticou Inn | Photography: Brett & Jessica Photography | Flowers: Broadturn Farm | Rentals: Wallace Events | Vintage rentals: A Family Affair Maine | Band: Silver Arrow Band | Hair and Makeup: Echo Salon | Transportation: Acadia Transportation Services | Officiant: Malen Hsu of All-in-One Weddings | Rehearsal dinner venue: Lompoc Cafe

A Spa Day Bachelorette + Tea Party Bridal Shower in North Carolina

The first week in August, I traveled to North Carolina for my friend Jae’s wedding. Jae got engaged in April and pulled off an amazing wedding in only four months (and on a budget too)! Now, she has specifically asked me to clarify that a four-month engagement does not mean the bride is pregnant!! Since both she and her now-husband Jason are teachers, she really wanted to get married during summer vacation when she would have a lot of time to devote to planning and could just enjoy the event. And waiting over a year just didn’t seem right for her. Planning a wedding in four months seemed impossible to me, but Jae absolutely made it look easy. I was blown away with how easily she pulled everything together. But I shouldn’t have been—Jae is like the most organized, proactive person in the universe. Her wedding was beautiful and everything came together perfectly.

But Jae’s short engagement did mean that we didn’t have time to dedicate a full weekend to bachelorette festivities…so we decided to pack everything into her wedding weekend! That meant a bachelorette on Saturday, a bridal shower on Sunday, and the wedding on Monday! (One of Jae’s pro tips for getting married on a budget: Have a Monday or Friday wedding!) At first I was nervous about trying to do so much in one weekend. Honestly, I was worried that I would be totally burned out by the wedding reception. But it turned out to be fantastic! I think the key was that each of our events had a very different energy: we had relaxing spa time, a high-energy bachelorette night, a classy tea party. All of the events were so different and I thought we had the perfect balance of relaxing, socializing and fun!

I started the weekend with a plane delay that made me about an hour late for our bachelorette spa day. I have to give credit to the amazing team at Balance Day Spa in Greensboro. I had basically missed my massage time slot, but they were able to move some of their appointments around to make sure I got a 30-minute massage. And after a rough morning of air travel, I SO needed it! The spa is lovely and relaxing, with a peaceful lounge area in the women’s locker room where we set up a mimosa bar and other refreshments. After our massages and manicures, Jae surprised us with thoughtful bridesmaid gift bags. Each bag included a monogrammed silk robe to wear on the morning of the wedding, monogrammed clutches and (my favorite) a personalized framed memento of our friendship, in which she shared some of her favorite memories with each of us. The gifts were so thoughtful—there were definitely a few tears shed!

A Spa Day Bachelorette in North Carolina | Ultimate Bridesmaid A Spa Day Bachelorette in North Carolina | Ultimate Bridesmaid A Spa Day Bachelorette in North Carolina | Ultimate Bridesmaid A Spa Day Bachelorette in North Carolina | Ultimate Bridesmaid A Spa Day Bachelorette in North Carolina | Ultimate Bridesmaid | Monogrammed bridesmaid robes A Spa Day Bachelorette in North Carolina | Ultimate Bridesmaid | Personalized bridesmaid gift A Spa Day Bachelorette in North Carolina | Ultimate Bridesmaid | Personalized bridesmaid gift

Afterward, we headed to dinner in downtown Greensboro at Liberty Oak, then back to the hotel for a bachelorette slumber party. Jae wanted a low-key night with her girlfriends with lots of laughing. We tried to incorporate a lot of Jae’s favorite things into the weekend—for instance, Harry Potter and FRIENDS. For her bachelorette favors, I found these awesome House Bride Harry Potter themed tank tops. Not only did they look great, they were also super comfortable—and the seller even rushed the order to get them to me on time. They were perfect. We started up a marathon of FRIENDS wedding episodes (half of the wedding party can quote FRIENDS on command) and played a few bachelorette games, including the fiance quiz, a bridal mad lib and a wedding version of 5 Second Rule (stay tuned for more on that).

The next morning, we hosted a tea party shower in the lobby of the O.Henry Hotel, which was also the venue for Jae’s wedding and where we were all staying. I cannot compliment this hotel enough. The service was superb. The night before, I must have called the front desk 10 times for different things—could we have a DVD player brought up, could we have a wine opener, oh no one of us is locked out of our room, oh no we can’t figure out how to make the DVD player work! Seriously, if I had any problem, I just called the front desk…and they fixed it for me. They were so generous, thoughtful and helpful. They really made our stay perfect.

For the shower, we served an afternoon tea for Jae’s friends and relatives, and played a “how well do you know the bride” game. Each guest left with a sprinkle party favor with a handmade tag you can download here. We also asked all the guests to bring Jae a recipe on a personalized recipe card and it was so fun to see the different recipes she got. They completely matched the personalities and tastes of the senders, from quinoa salad to ice cream bar cake. (My own contribution was a spice blend I use on everything…and yes, it’s Whole30.)

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Finally, I’ll share a little peek of us getting ready on wedding day in our monogrammed robes!! O.Henry Hotel Wedding | Ultimate Bridesmaid | Bride getting ready at the O.Henry hotel O.Henry Hotel Wedding | Ultimate Bridesmaid | Bridesmaid getting ready at the O.Henry Hotel in a monogrammed robe O.Henry Hotel Wedding | Ultimate Bridesmaid | Bridesmaid getting ready at the O.Henry Hotel in a monogrammed robe O.Henry Hotel Wedding | Ultimate Bridesmaid | Wedding party bride and bridesmaids getting ready at the O.Henry Hotel

Congratulations, Jae!!!

“Sprinkle on the Love” Bridal Shower Favors

Tea party shower in Greensboro, North Carolina at the O. Henry Hotel I recently spent the weekend in Greensboro, North Carolina, for my wonderful friend Jae’s wedding. We had a packed schedule of activities, including a bachelorette spa day and slumber party, a bridal shower tea party and, of course, the wedding! It was wonderful to spend so much quality time with some of my favorite ladies. I even got to spend the night before the wedding with Jae, which was super special. One unexpected consequence of getting married: it can bring you closer to the women in your life!

I wanted to share one quick DIY with you: the favor tags I made for the bridal shower. My fellow bridesmaids and I had talked about the idea of giving sprinkles as bridal shower favors for awhile, since Jae is maybe kinda a little obsessed with them. So when I saw these adorable sprinkles were 50% off at Paper Source, I jumped on that shizz!

Once we had the sprinkles, fellow bridesmaid Lexy came up with the cute tagline “Sprinkle on the Love for Jae’s Shower” and I set to work making tags to personalize the favors.

Free printable bridal shower party favor tags: Sprinkle on the Love for the Bridal Shower. The best part? I made a version that you can use! Simply click on the PDF link below for the best resolution. You can download a printable PDF of the tags here.

Free printable bridal shower party favor tags: Sprinkle on the Love for the Bridal Shower.

You can download a printable PDF of the tags here.

Want to get super-crazy sprinkle ridiculous? Paper Source actually has even more sprinkle goodies—including this wrapping paper I’m obsessed with.

Bachelorette or Bridal Shower Game: Create a Hilarious Personalized Mad Lib

The great news about this game is that the bride already did a lot of the work for you, and she doesn’t even know it! To create a hilarious and personalized Mad Lib game to play at the bachelorette or bridal shower, simply head to the bride’s wedding website and click on her “About Us” or “Our Story” page. Here, most couples will have included a paragraph or two describing their relationship—how they met, some of the high points of their relationship, how they fell in love, how he proposed. This is perfect material for a Mad Lib. Simply copy and paste the bride’s words into a Word doc and then get to work choosing key words to cut out.

Create a hilarious personalized mad lib game for a bridal shower or bachelorette party. Plus, it's so easy since the bride has already done half the work for you!

I’ll use my own wedding website as an example. First, go through and identify words that have potential to be replaced. I’ve highlighted some in red below.

Caitlin and Andrew met in New York City in 2010. We met on Match.com (and no, we will not be auditioning for the commercials) and immediately felt at ease with each other, finding that we shared a sense of humor and a love of literature, traveling and the outdoors. While we couldn’t find much common grounds in our music tastes, we soon found ourselves exploring NYC together and growing closer as we learned more about each other (eventually we would even find some bands we could both tolerate).

When we had been dating for only a few months, Andrew asked Caitlin if she wanted to take a trip to Iceland with him. Caitlin was surprised to be asked to go on an international vacation together so soon but (after conferring with some of her girlfriends and deciding that yes, this was crazy, but yes, it was also awesome) she decided to go for it. It turned out to be one of the most amazing trips we’ve ever been on and set the tone for our relationship: encouraging each other to try new things, supporting each other through challenges, and laughing along the way.

After three years of heavy commuting from Caitlin’s apartment on the Upper East Side to Andrew’s apartment in Brooklyn (including Caitlin hysterically calling Andrew a record 21 times in one night when she found a mouse in her apartment at 1am), we moved into our apartment in Brooklyn’s Park Slope, where we are still living today. Five years after our first whirlwind trip abroad, we’re still going on crazy adventures and loving every minute of it.

I recommend leaving a maximum of 20-30 blanks, depending on the length of the bios. Mine was really long (because, hi, I like to write) so this version has 30 blanks. I even cut a few sentences that didn’t have good Mad Lib potential because mine was just too long. You want to have at least one blank per sentence. To figure out whether it will be funny or not, just slot in sex words while you’re working on it. You want to find the words in the sentence that will have the greatest impact. For example, in the first sentence, I want to keep “Caitlin and Andrew met” because it gives me the potential for a funny explanation of how we met. Changing the year wouldn’t be very funny, so choosing the place is the best word to change in the sentence. In general, you should keep the names of the bride and groom because you want it to be about them. And don’t change so many words that their story becomes unrecognizable.

You can also choose phrases rather than single words. For example, replacing just “at ease” might result in an awkward turn of phrase because of “with each other” following it. But if we just replace that whole phrase “at ease with each other” with a feeling, we’re guaranteed to get something that works. We’ll immediately feel “sexy” or “nauseous.”

Next you need to write out a list of the types of words you need. Here’s where you need to stretch your high school English muscles. You don’t have to follow the exact format of the original. For example, with my first blank “New York City,” I could say “city” but the answer wouldn’t be very funny. It’s much better to just say “place.” Then Andrew and I can meet in a bathroom or at a sex club. You can also lead the witness a little to make the Mad Lib funnier and specifically ask for the type of words you want. For example, if you want a place, just say place. If you want a number, just say number. If you want a body party, say body part.

If your high school English skills are a little rusty, here’s a quick guide to a few of the most common parts of speech to slot in.

noun: a person, place or thing (bride, strip club, wedding ring)
proper noun: a specific person or place (Michael Jackson, Disney World)
gerund: here’s some advanced shit for you. A gerund is derived from a verb, but functions as a noun. You can identify them because they always end in -ing. In the example above, “commuting” and “traveling” are gerunds.

verb: an action word (wiggle, run, jump)
For verbs, make sure to communicate the tense you need. You will probably need past tense, present tense and verbs ending in -ing (present participles).

adjective: describes a noun (in the example above, crazy and awesome are adjectives)

adverb: describes or modifies a verb, adjective or another adverb (hint: adverbs often end in -ly, like warmly or kindly)

interjection: a word or phrase that expresses surprise or emotion (WTF! Yikes! Hooray!)

If you’re worried about how the Mad Lib will work, try taking it on a test drive with one other person (maybe someone who won’t be attending the party). This will help you figure out if any of the blanks aren’t really working. But don’t stress over it too much. It’s a Mad Lib, it’s supposed to be a little wacky!

A Flower Crowns & Champagne Backyard Bridal Shower

This backyard bridal shower got a splash of 70s style with flower crowns and bell-sleeved dresses in the dreamy California sunshine. Bride Kelsey and her bridesmaids popped a few bottles of champagne to get the party started while each guest donned a delicate baby’s breath flower crown. An adorable bunting banner displayed pictures of the bride and groom over the years for a twist on the “guess their ages” game. Mini succulents in copper pots served as a party favor, encouraging guests to “let love grow.” Dulcet Creative was there to capture the beautiful event.
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The Ultimate Simple, No-Fuss Bridal Shower Game: Scratch-Off Cards!

Let’s face it: You can only fill out a zany, mildly inappropriate mad lib or wrap a grown woman in toilet paper so many times before you start to feel ridiculous. But what never gets old? Winning things! For the bride who doesn’t want cheesy bridal shower games, but does want a small interactive activity at her shower, try these wedding scratch-off cards! Give each guest a card as they arrive or place them at each table setting. The winner’s card will be marked with “I DO!” It’s quick, simple, and absolutely no skill is involved. And you still get to hand out a cute prize. Win/win. Check out more colors and other games at Beau Coup
The Ultimate Simple, No-Fuss Bridal Shower Game: Scratch-Off Cards! from Beau-Coup The Ultimate Simple, No-Fuss Bridal Shower Game: Scratch-Off Cards! from Beau-Coup The Ultimate Simple, No-Fuss Bridal Shower Game: Scratch-Off Cards! from Beau-Coup

Photographs by Mintwood Photo Co.

“Let’s Flamingle” Flamingo Bridal Shower Inspiration

Q: What should we do at a flamingo-themed bridal shower? A: Let’s flamingle, of course! I love the recent flamingo explosion, from pool floats to cute tank tops. The theme is perfect for a summer beach bridal shower, Palm Springs or Miami Beach bachelorette, or just a party in your own backyard. Put together this DIY flamingo ring toss game and serve your signature flamingo pink cocktail topped with one of these printable flamingo straw tags. And can we talk about this flamingo pool float cake?! It is everything. I want it in my life. For more flamingo inspiration, check out our Let’s Flamingle party board on Pinterest.
Flamingo Bridal Shower Inspiration for a Let's Flamingle party. Flamingo desserts, flamingo decorations and more!

Image credits: Let’s Flamingle banner, DIY flamingo ring toss, flamingo cocktail glasses, flamingo pool float cake, flamingo sugar cookies, printable flamingo straw tags, Let’s Flamingle bridal shower welcome sign