Author Archives: Caitlin

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.

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 

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.

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