Author Archives: Caitlin

A Chic Neon Kentucky Derby Party Styled Shoot

For the horsewoman in your life (or the girl who is still holding out that unicorns are real!), we love this modern take on a Kentucky Derby party, held at a local stable. Event designers Ivory & Beau chose a chic color palette of neon pink, sherbet orange and soft grey. The addition of geometric elements, from the chunky gemstone jewelry worn by the bride and her maids to the gem-shaped photo backdrop made for the perfect funky and bold update to a classically rustic setting. Lisa Frank all grown up or Derby Day gone wild—you decide!
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Photography: Two Chics Photography | Venue: Rum Creek Farm | Event Design, Florals and Styling: Ivory & Beau | Invitations: Design Studio South | Jewelry: Betsy Pittard Designs | Hair: Grand Oak Salon and Spa | Makeup: Intensify by Patience | Catering: Ooh La La Catering GA | Cocktails: Spodee Wine

Frock + Flowers // Peachy Keen

Peach orange bridesmaid dresses

This palette has me feeling a little bit like eating a creamsicle. A sweet sherbet orange is such a perfect spring or summer hue and should pair with equally delicate shades on the pastel side of the floral palette. We love seeing a gradient of colors in the blooms, from bright white to matching soft orange to sunset hues. This is a look that feels best when the blooms create harmony rather than contrast. Now where’s that ice cream I requested?

Image credits: Top left: Style Me Pretty | Top right: Style Me Pretty | Bottom left: Style Me Pretty | Bottom right: Southern Weddings

Help! How do I hide my new pregnancy at a bachelorette party?

How to keep your early pregnancy a secret at a bachelorette party

I’m only a few weeks pregnant and attending my friend’s bachelorette party. Obviously I’m planning not to drink, but I don’t feel comfortable sharing my news yet. What’s the best way to hide that I’m pregnant so I can avoid questions I’m not ready to answer?

How to hide an early pregnancy at a bachelorette (aka not drink without anyone noticing)Isn’t it weird that people are like detectives when it comes to not drinking?! They really have to get to the bottom of why there’s no alcohol in your glass! I recently did a Whole30, a diet plan that eliminates alcohol (among other things) for 30 days, and while I was on it I went to a happy hour. When I ordered a seltzer with lime, someone immediately blurted out, “what, are you pregnant?!” The answer was no, but honestly, why can’t people control themselves? There are a thousand reasons I might not want to drink today. I was tempted to be like, “no, but I am a recovering alcoholic, thanks!” It’s really very rude for people to question your reasons for not drinking, but that doesn’t change the fact that they do it all the time. If you ordered a cheeseburger with salad instead of fries, would everyone at the table be like, “oh my god, why didn’t Karen order the fries? Let’s grill her about it in front of the whole group!” No, they wouldn’t! OK, sorry, that’s my rant on people being nosy about alcohol. On to your problem! You want to attend the bachelorette party, but you don’t want to have to explain yourself or field questions on whether you’re preggers or not. Here’s what to do.

First, consider telling the bride or your best friend at the party. That way, you’ll have someone who knows your situation and can help you be sneaky. If someone orders a round of shots, you can give yours to the bride and no one will think anything of it. If you don’t feel comfortable telling the bride, then the person you need to make friends with is your server. Head to the bar on your own as soon as you arrive and tell your server you won’t be drinking tonight, but you don’t want your friends to know. You aren’t the first woman to experience this, and chances are your server will be totally game to help! Tell the server to bring you a seltzer with lime in a cocktail glass and keep them coming all night long, no matter what you order in front of your friends. It will look like you’re drinking vodka sodas all night and no one will be the wiser. Another good fakeout drink is a fruity cocktail prepared without alcohol. If you act like you’re drinking, most of the time no one will notice a thing.

What if someone hands you a drink or buys a round of shots? Two courses of action. Option 1: Accept the drink and say thank you. Then hold it in your hand for a minute or two and once the attention has shifted elsewhere, casually set it aside and switch back to your fake cocktail. If you are discrete, no one will notice. They’ll just assume you downed that thing! Second option, especially with shots: Claim you absolutely cannot stand that liquor. “Oh my gosh, thank you so much, but I cannot do tequila shots. It was the first liquor that made me sick in college and now I just can’t touch it! I’m just going to grab another vodka soda!” Everyone has the one liquor they cannot stand, so this excuse should be pretty widely accepted. Offer your extra shot to the bride and take a big glug of your seltzer and lime.

If anyone sniffs you out and asks that rude question, “hey, why aren’t you drinking?”, you can also use the old “I’m on antibiotics” trick or tell them you’re in the middle of a cleanse that doesn’t allow alcohol and you really want to see it through. When I was not drinking for Whole30, I found that the thing people were most concerned about was that I wasn’t having any fun because I wasn’t drinking. This couldn’t be further from the truth. You really can attend an event and not drink alcohol and have a great time (shocker, I know). But sometimes all people need to leave you alone is reassurance that you are having fun. So if someone finds out you aren’t drinking, give your antibiotic or diet excuse, then smile and say, “But don’t worry, I am having a blast! Let’s go dance!”

Garden Party Bridal Shower Inspiration Board

Why do we love a garden party shower? Because the decor couldn’t be easier to pull off or more gorgeous. Just add flowers to everything, from the top of the cake to the ice cubes in your cocktails. Gift each guest a mini succulent or packet of seeds to enhance their own gardens or ask an expert florist to give a class on making the perfect bouquet or flower crowns. Keep your menu light and colorful with loads of fresh spring vegetables (you can even get creative with plating—check out the mini hummus pots below!). You can’t go wrong with an abundance of spring blooms, a few patio chairs and a little sunshine.
A Garden Party Bridal Shower Inspiration Board

Image credits: Midcentury garden party, wheelbarrow seed pack favors, seed pack table setting, flower mini cakes, branch photo display, crudite bar, flower cocktail, floral envelopes, DIY flower chandelier, hummus carrot pots

A Historic Downtown Coffeeshop Bridal Shower

If Rory Gilmore’s bridal shower was held at Luke’s Diner, I imagine it would go something like this. But Stars Hollow ain’t got nothing on bride Ashley’s picturesque hometown of Chatham, Ontario. Her bridesmaids picked the local William Street Cafe in the heart of the historic downtown district  for her harvest bridal shower. The exposed brick walls and vintage neon signs at this classic coffeeshop made the perfect backdrops for photographer Nicole DeJoseph to snap a few portraits of the group. A Historic Downtown Coffeeshop Bridal Shower | Ultimate Bridesmaid | Nicole DeJoseph Photography A Historic Downtown Coffeeshop Bridal Shower | Ultimate Bridesmaid | Nicole DeJoseph Photography A Historic Downtown Coffeeshop Bridal Shower | Ultimate Bridesmaid | Nicole DeJoseph Photography A Historic Downtown Coffeeshop Bridal Shower | Ultimate Bridesmaid | Nicole DeJoseph Photography A Historic Downtown Coffeeshop Bridal Shower | Ultimate Bridesmaid | Nicole DeJoseph Photography A Historic Downtown Coffeeshop Bridal Shower | Ultimate Bridesmaid | Nicole DeJoseph Photography A Historic Downtown Coffeeshop Bridal Shower | Ultimate Bridesmaid | Nicole DeJoseph Photography A Historic Downtown Coffeeshop Bridal Shower | Ultimate Bridesmaid | Nicole DeJoseph Photography A Historic Downtown Coffeeshop Bridal Shower | Ultimate Bridesmaid | Nicole DeJoseph PhotographyA Historic Downtown Coffeeshop Bridal Shower | Ultimate Bridesmaid | Nicole DeJoseph PhotographyA Historic Downtown Coffeeshop Bridal Shower | Ultimate Bridesmaid | Nicole DeJoseph Photography

My Favorite Reads of 2015

Once upon a time, a long, long time ago, I had a book review blog. And then I started this blog and it was just too much. Though I was still reading just as much as ever, I couldn’t keep up with Ultimate Bridesmaid and work a full-time job and have a life and blog about books. So my book blog fell by the wayside, but I certainly didn’t stop reading and I definitely didn’t stop having opinions about what I read. I even tried to write a really long recap post of every book I read last year, but it was exhausting. So finally I just decided to share a selection of my favorite reads from last year with you. 

My Favorite Reads of 2015

If you’re looking for something totally different, try The Bees by Laline Paull
Tired of reading about how messed up we humans are? Take a break from the cares of the human world with this book told from the perspective of a lowly worker bee. You immediately get sucked into the captivating but alien world of the hive as Flora 717 struggles to find her place. Born a sanitation worker, she stifles an unnatural urge to have a baby, the sole duty of the hive’s Queen. I ended up learning a lot about bees while also being totally engrossed in the Handmaid’s Tale-like struggle of one bee to rise above her birth.

If you already miss Downton Abbey, read Below Stairs by Margaret Powell.
This kitchen maid’s memoir inspired both Downton Abbey and the older television show Upstairs, Downstairs. Margaret Powell went into service at a young age and eventually rose through the ranks to become a cook. Her exploits include trying to find a nice young man to marry at any cost and her work in several houses across England gives a broad picture of the different circumstances servants endured. Her voice is so witty and fresh and she does a marvelous job of having a laugh at the goings on both upstairs and down. I sped through this book. Reminded me a lot of Home Cooking by Laurie Colwin, another really chatty and fun little memoir.

If you’re looking for a vacation read with substance, try The Vacationers by Emma Straub.
Sometimes you’re in a space where you need a certain book and The Vactioners just fit the time in my life when I read it. It’s a little bit like The Corrections lite, but with better scenery. It may have officially renewed my desire to go to Spain, but it’s by no means a fluffy beach read. Behind the stunning portrait of Mallorca is a family in crisis: Franny and Jim are dealing with the fallout from his workplace affair with a much-younger woman, their daughter Sylvia is hell-bent on losing her virginity before she heads to college in the fall and their son Bobby is trying to find a way to ask his father to bail him out of debt from a pyramid scheme he’s sunk his savings into.

If you love dystopian novels, try Station Eleven by Emily St. John Mendel.
I might have said I was getting a little worn out by the dystopian genre, but then I read Station Eleven and realized I was just tired of poor renditions on that theme. Station Eleven manages to take well-trodden territory and make it fresh. Part of its appeal is the unique premise: a group of minstrels moving through the post-apocalyptic wilderness trying to maintain their humanity by performing for survivors.

If you want a fun, light beach or plane read, try Crazy Rich Asians by Kevin Kwan.
I don’t know about you, but I can’t read all award-winning serious literature. Sometimes I just needs something easy breezy and fun. Kwan’s Crazy Rich Asians fits the bill, opening a window on a world I knew nothing about: the lives of the super-rich Asian JetSet elite of Singapore. Kwan grew up in this world, so his stories are by no means exaggerations (in fact, he claims he toned it down a little bit).

If you love historical fiction, read Wolf Hall by Hilary Mantel.
Wolf Hall manages to add something to the conversation about a period of history that’s been absolutely papered with fiction. I’ve read a lot of books about the reign of King Henry VIII, but this is the first to be told from a perspective outside the royal family (Thomas Cromwell is the novel’s focus). It’s also the first fictionalization of this time period I’ve read that isn’t dominated by the romance, seduction and gender politics of the court. Though that’s certainly still an element of the story, both the religious revolution and feudal struggles for power are given equal weight, which forms a more interesting (and probably more realistic) picture of what was going on in Henry’s court.

If you’re looking for a tragic romance, try Euphoria by Lily King.
A really lovely book with a captivating, unique premise. Euphoria is set in the thirties at the very dawn of anthropology as a science. Established anthropologist Andrew Bankson has made a name for himself studying the Kiona tribe in New Guinea, but feels utterly alone in the field. He meets a young couple, Nell and Fen, who are just starting out in their research and immediately latches on to them in hopes of companionship and maybe more. Bankson helps Nell and Fen find a nearby tribe to study, but it become clear to him over time that Fen feels threatened by his wife’s natural affinity for working with native peoples. Fen’s professional jealousy combined with Bankson’s growing attachment to Nell leads the threesome down a dark road.  

A 70s-Style Wonderland Bridal Shower

I truly feel like I’ve fallen down a rabbit hole into this magical Wonderland bridal shower with a lot of 70s swing. Can I move in to this fabulous Scottsdale, Arizona, estate? I will settle for a chair by the pool with my name on it! Bride Elizabeth has her own clothing line, Revolution Rags, which donates ten percent of its profits to animal rescue (stylish and compassionate!). Elizabeth’s friends added touches of whimsy to the already out-of-this-world back garden by dotting the lush hedge with oversized playing cards and creating a photo backdrop with neon carnations. Guests enjoyed a gourmet lunch along with a stocked poolside bubbly bar and photographer Paul Yerrick was there to capture all the magic (both digitally and on film!). A 70s-Style Wonderland Bridal Shower | Ultimate Bridesmaid | Paul Yerrick Photography A 70s-Style Wonderland Bridal Shower | Ultimate Bridesmaid | Paul Yerrick Photography A 70s-Style Wonderland Bridal Shower | Ultimate Bridesmaid | Paul Yerrick Photography A 70s-Style Wonderland Bridal Shower | Ultimate Bridesmaid | Paul Yerrick Photography A 70s-Style Wonderland Bridal Shower | Ultimate Bridesmaid | Paul Yerrick Photography A 70s-Style Wonderland Bridal Shower | Ultimate Bridesmaid | Paul Yerrick Photography A 70s-Style Wonderland Bridal Shower | Ultimate Bridesmaid | Paul Yerrick Photography A 70s-Style Wonderland Bridal Shower | Ultimate Bridesmaid | Paul Yerrick Photography A 70s-Style Wonderland Bridal Shower | Ultimate Bridesmaid | Paul Yerrick Photography A 70s-Style Wonderland Bridal Shower | Ultimate Bridesmaid | Paul Yerrick Photography A 70s-Style Wonderland Bridal Shower | Ultimate Bridesmaid | Paul Yerrick Photography A 70s-Style Wonderland Bridal Shower | Ultimate Bridesmaid | Paul Yerrick Photography A 70s-Style Wonderland Bridal Shower | Ultimate Bridesmaid | Paul Yerrick Photography A 70s-Style Wonderland Bridal Shower | Ultimate Bridesmaid | Paul Yerrick Photography A 70s-Style Wonderland Bridal Shower | Ultimate Bridesmaid | Paul Yerrick Photography A 70s-Style Wonderland Bridal Shower | Ultimate Bridesmaid | Paul Yerrick Photography A 70s-Style Wonderland Bridal Shower | Ultimate Bridesmaid | Paul Yerrick Photography A 70s-Style Wonderland Bridal Shower | Ultimate Bridesmaid | Paul Yerrick Photography A 70s-Style Wonderland Bridal Shower | Ultimate Bridesmaid | Paul Yerrick Photography A 70s-Style Wonderland Bridal Shower | Ultimate Bridesmaid | Paul Yerrick Photography A 70s-Style Wonderland Bridal Shower | Ultimate Bridesmaid | Paul Yerrick Photography A 70s-Style Wonderland Bridal Shower | Ultimate Bridesmaid | Paul Yerrick Photography A 70s-Style Wonderland Bridal Shower | Ultimate Bridesmaid | Paul Yerrick Photography A 70s-Style Wonderland Bridal Shower | Ultimate Bridesmaid | Paul Yerrick Photography A 70s-Style Wonderland Bridal Shower | Ultimate Bridesmaid | Paul Yerrick Photography A 70s-Style Wonderland Bridal Shower | Ultimate Bridesmaid | Paul Yerrick Photography A 70s-Style Wonderland Bridal Shower | Ultimate Bridesmaid | Paul Yerrick Photography A 70s-Style Wonderland Bridal Shower | Ultimate Bridesmaid | Paul Yerrick Photography A 70s-Style Wonderland Bridal Shower | Ultimate Bridesmaid | Paul Yerrick Photography A 70s-Style Wonderland Bridal Shower | Ultimate Bridesmaid | Paul Yerrick Photography A 70s-Style Wonderland Bridal Shower | Ultimate Bridesmaid | Paul Yerrick Photography A 70s-Style Wonderland Bridal Shower | Ultimate Bridesmaid | Paul Yerrick Photography A 70s-Style Wonderland Bridal Shower | Ultimate Bridesmaid | Paul Yerrick Photography A 70s-Style Wonderland Bridal Shower | Ultimate Bridesmaid | Paul Yerrick Photography A 70s-Style Wonderland Bridal Shower | Ultimate Bridesmaid | Paul Yerrick Photography A 70s-Style Wonderland Bridal Shower | Ultimate Bridesmaid | Paul Yerrick Photography A 70s-Style Wonderland Bridal Shower | Ultimate Bridesmaid | Paul Yerrick Photography