Category Archives: Bridesmaids

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

The 10 Most Overdone Bridesmaid Photos on Pinterest

You’ve been meticulously planning your wedding for months—well, let’s be honest, more like years via your secret “Future Mrs.” Pinterest board. So it’s understandable that you’ve seen a lot of cute wedding photos. Here’s the trouble. What may have started out as a cute and original idea has had all the cuteness and originality sucked out of it when a simple search yields dozens, if not hundreds, of girls doing the exact. same. thing.

Pinterest can be an amazing tool and asset. But too often we try to turn it into a dream xerox machine. There are a few great articles written by photographers and bloggers alike about the effect of Pinterest on the wedding industry. They talk about how Pinterest discourages the creative process and creates both unreal expectations and a copy-cat culturePinstrosity and #pinfails are the ultimate expression of that phenomenon. You see something you love and you try to make it yourself, and you fail…epically. Unfortunately, while we’re quite used to thinking of nail art tutorials and simple peanut butter souffle recipes as ripe for a pinstrosity, we don’t often think about wedding photography that way—but we should. Trying to recreate an image you love will have the same result. What looked natural and beautiful or freakin hilarious on Pinterest will most likely look forced and awkward when you try it yourself. This is because taking a good photograph is not the same as following a recipe. It’s much, much harder.

What’s frustrating about this problem is that it comes from a good place, a place of wanting to be creative and unique. Pinterest really is very inspiring. For me, there’s a strong element of discovery in Pinterest. In particular, it has led me to a ton of blogs I would have never otherwise found. It has introduced me to artists, photographers and designers who are doing amazing work. In a practical sense, I have used Pinterest for party planning, recipe hunting and even Christmas list making. I also use it to pin pretty pictures of ice creams that I will never make—but I know it’s just an ice cream dream…really!

So, without further ado, the top 10 bridesmaid-related photos that are way overdone. Don’t let Pinterest create a wedding shot list for you. Let yourself live in the moment of the day and see if you don’t unintentionally create an authentic moment that translates into a beautiful photograph that someday finds its way onto this list.

1. Bride and MOH Jumping on the Bed

Photo by Brad Ross

How bout we make this rule: If you have not jumped on a bed in the last ten years, you do not get to do this. I think that seems fair.

2. The Bridesmaids Pose

Photo by The Bird and the Bear

Did you even like this movie? Please tell me you’ve at least seen it. Also, their poses aren’t that interesting. So you’re just doing weirdly specific poses from a 2011 comedy. This is going to get dated fast.

3. Don’t Corrupt the Flower Girl

Photo by Maria Vicencio

I love that this image is so popular that we have collected agreed on a phrase for this pose: “Don’t corrupt the flower girl.” If you’d like to be truly horrified, look up some of the less successful attempts at recreating the above original.

4. How We Met the Bride (With Chalkboard, Of Course)

Photo by Katy Hall Photography

Here’s a case where the first time someone ever did this, it was cute. Now? Played out. Also, so many chalkboards! Why the chalkboards, all the time, everywhere?

5. Bridesmaids at the Bar

Photo by Miller Miller Photography

Uggghhhh, cheese factor times one thousand. Also, did they all legitimately chug a beer before the wedding? Because to get it upside down like that, you gotta be draining that thing.

6. We’re All Wearing Such Cute Matching Floral Robes

Photo by Melanie Lust Photography

I mean, I get it. Robes are cute. But this particular type of robe is just every-freakin-where.

7. Just Wait Till You See Her!

Photo by Perry Vaile

The conceit behind this one is that you’re supposed to take this picture and then text it to the groom right before the wedding. My first thought is: Is the groom supposed to think this is cute? Clever? I’d wager money he will think neither. Second thought: What do you do if you don’t have exactly six bridesmaids?

8. Bouquet Face

The 10 Most Overdone Bridesmaid Photos on Pinterest

Photo by Dani Fine Photography

You spent so much time on your makeup, ladies. Why hide your faces?

9. Your Affection Disgusts Us

Photo by Ricky Stern Photography

No one is that disgusted by kissing. I mean, they should at least be going to second base for this to make any sense.

10. Bridesmaid Booty Shot

This one just cropped up recently, but it’s threatening to gain popularity. Please, for the love of all that is good and holy, please, do not let this happen.

Rent Designer Bridesmaid Dresses with Style the Aisle

Let’s face it—picking out and purchasing a bridesmaid dress doesn’t often top your list of favorite bridesmaid duties. Prices can be sky high and no matter how many times we say we’ll wear them again, we rarely do. Enter Style the Aisle, a genius bridesmaid dress rental company stocking some of the top styles from designer bridesmaid lines like Lula Kate and Johanna August. I asked cofounder Erica Gellerman to share a bit of background on how Style the Aisle came to be, which designers are next on her wish list—and what bridesmaid traditions she loves (and can’t stand).

So tell me, how did Style the Aisle begin?
My good friend Meaghan [and now Style the Aisle cofounder] was married two years before I was and during planning I asked her for a lot of advice. After my wedding, we started talking about what the most frustrating part of the wedding process was and I said that for me it was picking the bridesmaid dresses. That really struck a chord with her and we started to brainstorm what would have made finding the right dresses easier. With that, we came up with the idea for Style the Aisle.

How did you choose dresses for your own bridesmaids? Was it difficult to find something that ticked all the boxes?
It was incredibly difficult! That’s really what started the business. When I was planning my wedding, I lived in North Carolina and my bridesmaids were scattered around California, which made trying on dresses together nearly impossible. I also really wanted to keep the dresses affordable while still being gorgeous. I knew they likely would only wear them once, so price was really important to me. I scoured the internet and actually did look for bridesmaid dress rental options, but I didn’t find anything that was quite right. In the end, we chose cocktail dresses that everyone could buy online, but they weren’t the perfect dresses.

Tell me about the process of choosing designers for Style the Aisle. Who is on your list of dream designers to add?
Choosing designers was such a fun process. Meaghan and I already had a list of designers we admired, but we wanted to do thorough research. We bought stacks of magazines and scoured the blogs pulling out any dresses we loved. After that, we made a prioritized list and started reaching out to them one by one. We weren’t sure what to expect, but to our surprise, everyone was really friendly and interested in the idea.
Our next priority is adding on dresses from our current designers. They have such beautiful collections and we really offer such a small taste of their gorgeous dresses. So before adding anyone else we want to make sure we’re doing justice to their collection and brand. After that, we have a pretty short list of designers we want to add, but on the top of the list is Amsale and Jenny Yoo.

What has been the most exciting or rewarding moment of launching Style the Aisle so far?
I would have to say our best moment so far was the moment when our first order came in. It was such an exciting moment to sit back and realize that a perfect stranger had seen what we were doing loved it, and trusted us enough to dress her bridal party. We also get so excited every time we get an email or a photo from a bride after a wedding. It makes us remember exactly why we started this business.

What bridesmaid trend or tradition do you love the most?
It’s not so much one tradition that I love the most, but I love all of the festivities where you can really celebrate your friendships and spend quality time with the amazing ladies in your wedding. These are the people who know you best and who have been with you through all of your highs and lows over the past years. I love celebrating those special friendships as well as celebrating the excitement of your marriage.

Ok, we have to know the flip side…which bridesmaid trend or tradition would you like to see disappear?
All of the drama and headache that goes into bridesmaid dress shopping!

One last question: I see that you’re a Duke fan. I went to Wake Forest undergrad. Can we still be friends? Also, name one thing you miss the most from North Carolina.
I think so…but definitely not in March.
There are so many things I miss about North Carolina, but number one is the BBQ! I also miss the gorgeous trees and picturesque country roads; it’s such a beautiful place.

Photography: Caroline Lima Photography | Dresses: Kirribilla for Style the Aisle

For more on renting bridesmaid dresses from Style the Aisle, check out all the details and browse their collections here.

An Adventure Awaits Travel Bridal Shower

One of the defining moments in my relationship with my boyfriend, Andrew, was a trip we took to Iceland after only a few months of dating. From exploring glaciers and hiking by waterfalls to almost stranding our rental car on the black sand beach, the adventure brought us close together. So when I saw this Adventure Awaits travel-themed shower captured by photographer and the bride’s future sister-in-law Aly Carroll, I was immediately smitten. Bride Natalie’s bridesmaids and family rummaged through their houses for vintage suitcases, cameras and globes to set the world-traveling mood. Each table centerpiece included a tag marking a milestone or special memory in the couple’s relationship, from their first date to running a triathlon together in Lima, Peru. Guests enjoyed a yogurt and treat bar complete with berry baskets and a nude cake from The Bake Shoppe (love this trend, by the way—down with fondant!). Even the games had an international theme, as guests were challenged to translate different words and phrases based on the theme of “love.” Me encanta!

Photography: Aly Carroll Photography | Invitations: BeyondDigital | Florals and Event Design: Shelly Sarver Designs | Cupcakes: Mama CT’s Cupcakes | Cake: The Bake Shoppe | Venue: Evangelical Covenant Church, Des Moines | Decor: Target, Hobby Lobby, vintage items from family and friends

Frock + Flowers // Gold Dress + White Bouquet

What flowers should you pair with a gold bridesmaid dress? Frock + Flowers // Gold dresses with white flowers with pops of pale pink and orange

Frock + Flowers is your guide for choosing which flowers to pair with your bridesmaid dresses. For this inaugural Frock + Flowers post, I paired gold metallic dresses with light-colored flowers in whites with pops of pale pink and orange. Gold is such a glamorous choice for a bridesmaid dress, but the light bouquets add a softness and femininity when paired with this sexy shade. It’s the perfect way to ground the sparkle, especially for a daytime or outdoor wedding in the spring and summer.

Frock: Gold, metallic dresses

Flowers: White bouquets with pops of pale pink and orange

The vibe: Soft glamour, subtle sparkle

Image credits: Top left: 100 Layer Cake | Top right: Style Me Pretty | Bottom left: Elizabeth Anne Designs | Bottom right: 100 Layer Cake

The Best of Ultimate Bridesmaid’s Year 2

— year two milestones —

This year, Ultimate Bridesmaid hit 1,000,000 views…on my birthday. That’s right, folks. While I was snowed in at a Poconos resort (true story), blissfully avoiding contact with my email and the Internet, the blog dial quietly rolled over 1 million visitors. And in the four short months since, we’re already edging up on 1,500,000—which means over 100,000 people are visiting each month! Thank you so much! I can’t even explain how grateful I am to those of you who check in and have followed along on my adventure in blogging.

— all-time top posts —

These two posts bring in over half of the traffic to Ultimate Bridesmaid, through both Pinterest and organic searches. The Ultimate Maid of Honor Speech held the title of #1 last year as well, but 5 Bridal Shower Games That Don’t Suck made a serge this year (and seems poised to pass). I said this last year and I’ll say it again: Seeing that the top posts on the blog are articles I’ve written and put a lot of my honest opinion and heartfelt advice into means a lot to me. Putting together party features and inspiration boards is incredibly fun and, I’ll admit it, kind of easy. But the stats don’t lie. The posts you come to the most often are the advice and tutorial posts—meaning the ones I spend weeks on, the ones with few to no pictures (but still something pinnable—always something pinnable!), the ones that get to the heart of real issues and offer actionable advice. The parties make the blog look pretty, but these posts are its heart.

A great example of this is a post that did surprisingly well this year: an article on how to tell a friend she’s not one of your bridesmaids. While it wasn’t in the top 10, it did extremely well for what I thought would be kind of a niche topic. I wrote it based on a reader question, because I thought it seemed like a legitimate issue and something that would require delicacy and might cause brides a lot of stress and strain friendships. And it’s obviously true, because that post didn’t get buried in the archive—far from it! Ultimate Bridesmaid has always been about the positive aspects of being a bridesmaid: celebrating friendship, creating memorable occasions, enjoying special moments with your best friends (and yeah, cute dresses too). But there’s way more to being a bridesmaid than the fun stuff and I always try to help you through the tough moments so you can get to the champagne and glitter with your friendship and sanity intact.

your new favorites this year

Many of the articles in the top 10 posts from our first year made the list again, but rather than repeat, I wanted to highlight a few new posts that were top performers this year. In fact, one of these even shot up to the fourth most-viewed post on the site!

21 Spectacular Bridal Shower Themes

Everyone needs a little inspiration to get the creative juices flowing. Instead of letting you default to bridal tea party (though if that’s your cup of tea, cheers!), I pulled together a list of 21 spectacular bridal shower themes to help you personalize this pre-wedding bash. (Apologies for tea puns.)

The Bridesmaid Packing List for the Wedding Day

The bridesmaid packing list for the wedding day

Detailing everything you need for her big day, this packing list is meant to help you get organized and arrive at her wedding with everything you need, plus a few helpful tips to make the day go smoothly. As the number four all-time favorite post on the site, it’s no surprise that a few readers chimed in with amazing suggestions to expand the list. Thank you all!

Wine Basket Bridal Shower Gift

This post was a treat to write because I got to partner with my creative friend Amanda, who wrote eight original poems for this classic bridal shower gift. A bottle of wine celebrates eight milestones in their marriage, from the honeymoon to their first house to a random night of romance. Free printables included!

A Guide to Bridesmaid Dress Fabrics and Finishes

A guide to bridesmaid dress fabrics and finishes

This post technically went up in our first year, but it really took off this year, with lots of you weighing in on your favorite fabrics and asking questions about avoiding sweat marks and pulling off mixing fabrics. I also updated the article this year with a few new fabrications (well, not newly created, just new to the list), like mikado and faille.

— your favorite showers and parties —

I love, love sharing real bridal showers and bachelorette parties. I feel excited about every single party I’ve shared because each one is just so personal and unique. That’s the number one factor that goes into selecting the parties featured here. Is the bride’s personality and style reflected in this party? Is a little bit of happiness rubbing off on me just from looking at the pictures? Here are a few of your favorites, plus the details I personally love.

A Rustic Vintage Bridal Shower in Utah
A Rustic Vintage Bridal Shower | Ultimate Bridesmaid | Alixann Loosle PhotographyHighlights:
The classiest lace panty display I’ve ever seen
The creative photo display made using a glass jug and tree branches
Potted succulent party favors displayed on vintage luggage—need I say more?

A Glitter Bachelorette Shoot in South Carolina

A Glitter Bachelorette Party in South Carolina | Ultimate Bridesmaid | Paige Winn PhotographyHighlights:
Biodegradable glitter
Some seriously stylish metallic dresses
A stunning diamond ring buried in all that confetti

A Kitschy-Cute 50s Housewife Bridal Shower

A Kitchsy-Cute 50s Housewife Bridal Shower | Ultimate Bridesmaid | Lovely Bee PhotographyHighlights:
Four words: grilled cheese food truck
Dress-form cakes sporting vintage blue and red frocks
Patterned aprons and wooden spoon party favors

A Sunshine and Wine Bridal Party Luncheon

A Sunshine and Wine Bridal Luncheon | Ultimate Bridesmaid | Sorella Muse Photography

Highlights:
The bride’s stylish white knit dress
The thoughtful bridesmaid gift bags complete with Toms, Stella and Dot earrings and more
Wine, cheese and that epic submarine sandwich

A Chic Chevron and Stripe Handmade Bridal Shower

Highlights: Chevron, floral, polka dots, stripes—so many stunning patterns!
The cookbook guest book

Thank you all for an amazing second year. I’m grateful to all the amazing photographers who have shared their work with me; the bridesmaids and brides who have submitted stories and images from their showers and parties; and the artists and vendors who have worked with me and been so generous with their time and advice. I can’t wait to see what year three brings!