Category Archives: Bridesmaids

9 Money Saving Tips for the Bachelorette Party

We’re all familiar with the concept of “get the look for less.” Well, let’s call this “get the bachelorette for less.” Bachelorette expenses can add up quickly, so here are a few ways to keep costs down for everyone while still creating a memorable, kickass bachelorette party.

9 Money Saving Tips for the Bachelorette Party

Instead of hopping on a flight…
Pick a central location that’s drivable for most of your guests. The highest cost associated with a bachelorette party is usually the flight ticket. Choosing a location that is close to most of your guests will greatly help reduce costs for all. This may require you to do a little research and to think creatively to find alternatives to far-off locales that still offer the activities and vibe your bride is looking for. Instead of a getaway to Napa, look into nearby wineries—almost every state has them! Rather than booking a trip to Vegas, consider the nearest big city instead. From Charlotte to Nashville to Seattle, there’s plenty of fun bachelorette action to be had, without the Vegas price tag. Rather than a beachfront hotel in Miami, rent a lake house or choose a beach that’s closer to home (and more affordable). Keep an open mind and be creative. You may be glad you picked a less flashy destination when you find out how much the areas closest to you have to offer—and how much you’ll save.

9 Money Saving Tips for the Bachelorette Party

Instead of booking hotel rooms…
Host the guests at your house. The second highest expense for a bachelorette party is lodging. Hosting can be stressful but, if your group is cool with blow-up mattresses and crashing on the couch, it will ultimately save them a lot of money. If hosting isn’t an option as none of your guests live in the chosen destination, look at Airbnb and vrbo.com for vacation rental options. You’ll have more space in a home and will enjoy common areas like a living room and backyard. Plus, access to a kitchen will allow you to save money by eating in at least a few times. Just be sure to be mindful of hefty cleaning charges and refundable deposits and leave the place the way you found it.

9 Money Saving Tips for the Bachelorette Party

Instead of going out for a fancy dinner…
Cook a gourmet meal at home. Dining in can save you a ton of money. You can make a meal at home for a fraction of what it would cost in a restaurant. Just the savings on wine alone ($10 bottles at home rather than $25 bottles at a restaurant) will go a long way. Tasting Table has a few tips for planning a stress-free dinner party. The host can take care of the main dish while guests provide appetizers, dessert and drinks. Keep appetizers simple with a cheese board (who does not love cheese?), asking a few guests to bring cheese, crackers, bread, grapes, olives and/or cured meats. Assign other guests a bottle of wine or liquor (ask for a mid-priced option) and necessary mixers. For dessert, a store-bought cake or pie from a local bakery with a scoop of ice cream is all you need (or see our tips below to snaz up a grocery store cake).

9 Money Saving Tips for the Bachelorette Party

Instead of splurging on a limo…
Plot a course for the night that is walkable and then take a taxi home. Renting transportation for the whole night can end up being a big waste of money if very little of your time will be spent in that expensive party bus or limo. If you’re planning to go to multiple bars or clubs, try to pick destinations that are close together so your group can just mosey from one place to the next. Then just have a local taxi company’s number in your phone or your Uber app ready when it comes time to call it a night.

9 Money Saving Tips for the Bachelorette Party

Instead of mailing printed invitations…
Send stylish (and free) evites from Paperless Post. These digital cards are as pretty as printed stationery, even arriving in your inbox with a custom envelope that unfolds to reveal the invitation. Paperless Post collaborates with lots of stylish designers as well, like Kate Spade, Jonathan Adler, Kelly Wearstler and J.Crew.

9 Money Saving Tips for the Bachelorette Party

Instead of going overboard on decor…
Harness the talents of your guests and utilize what you have. Make flower arrangements by gathering blooms from a guest’s garden. A lacy tablecloth can become a photo booth backdrop. Wheel a bar cart outside and—boom!—you’ve got a sense of whimsy. Set the table with mismatched vintage dishes borrowed from friends and relatives. Make the cute bunting banner you see above in minutes.

9 Money Saving Tips for the Bachelorette Party

Instead of starting the night at a fancy cocktail bar…
Host a cocktail hour in your hotel or home. At $8–$12 a pop (depending on where you live), cocktails can add up quickly. Having a few drinks in your home or hotel room before you go out will greatly decrease the cost of liquor throughout the night. Create a specialty cocktail for the bride and ask around to see if anyone collects pretty glassware. Or, break out the paint pens to dress up inexpensive plastic cocktail glasses (time to channel your inner sorority sister, girls). You can also use this time to play a few bachelorette party games, like the Fiancé Quiz or a game of Most Likely To. You probably don’t want to be asking the bride what her favorite sex position is in a crowded bar or loudly declaring who is most likely to hook up with someone tonight as that potential hookup looks on.

9 Money Saving Tips for the Bachelorette Party

Instead of ordering a fancy custom cake…
Dress up a store-bought cake with a few easy tweaks. Dip a knife in warm water and then run it over the frosting to replace the grocery store look with a more rustic, hand-done finish. Then decorate with whatever you have on hand: herbs like rosemary, fruit like lemons or grapefruit slices, flowers, edible glitter, or a big pile of candy.

9 Money Saving Tips for the Bachelorette Party

Instead of buying an expensive shower gift…
Team up with a friend or two to create a wine basket for her first year of marriage. If you don’t buy a lot of wine, here’s a little secret: Good wine does not have to be expensive. My favorite section at my local wine store is entitled “Cheap and Delicious” and the wines are just that. Trader Joe’s wine shop is a discount wine dream or take a look at wine.com for highly rated but low-priced wines.

Photo credits, top to bottom: Sorella Muse Photography, Dyanna Joy Photography, Cameron Leung Photography, Tiltawhirl Photography, Paperless Post, Maru Photography, Sweet Root Village, Mintwood Photo Co., Ultimate Bridesmaid 

Frock + Flowers // Springtime Yellows

Frock + Flowers: Pair yellow dresses with neutral flowers in whites and pale pink, with pops of greenery

I have to give it to these girls: Yellow is a hard color to pull off. I cannot do it, personally. But I have to say that when I see a row of sunshine-hued bridesmaids, it just makes me smile. Yellow is a happy color and brings a joyful vibe to the wedding party. Choose a soft pastel shade for a beach wedding or a deeper mustard color for a casual, woodsy event. Bonus points: Match your shade of yellow to the time of day and the season: light for a daytime spring wedding, deeper for an evening autumnal event. Since the yellow itself is such a vibrant, show-stealing color, it’s best to go muted with your flower palette. Whites and greens are gorgeous, or add subtle pops of pastel pink and yellow for contrast and depth.

Top left: Style Me Pretty | Top right: Style Me Pretty | Bottom left: Wedding Chicks | Bottom right: Project Wedding

What’s Wrong With The Bachelorette Party (And How We Can Fix It)

bacelorette party copyLet’s play a little game of word association. What images come to mind when I say “bachelorette”? My guess is that most people imagine very similar scenarios—a wild night out, pink and black decorations, penis straws, a tiara and sash, a male stripper. There is a very narrow idea of what a bachelorette party includes, but the reality is that not only is that idea outdated and wrong, but it’s also kind of insulting.

So I’ll just come out and say it.  I hate the ubiquitous pink and black bachelorette color palette. I hate the invitations covered in high heels, bras and leopard print. I hate the phrase “last fling before the ring.” I hate novelty penis products. I hate strippers (not the people themselves, just the expectation that there should be one at my bachelorette party).

The reason I’m so against this type of party is that, for most women, it’s incredibly unnatural. It isn’t authentic. It has nothing to do with the kind of person they are, with their interests, their life. It turns them into just another girl in a cheap tiara.

And yet, women feel pressured into having this kind of party. This image of the bachelorette is so pervasive that sometime it can feel like the very definition of the event. It’s a “last night of freedom” and a chance to “go wild.” But I’m here to tell you, it’s not. Or at least, it doesn’t have to be. For some women, the wild and crazy bachelorette party that ends with a policeman wearing sunglasses and toting a boombox knocking at your door is exactly what they want—and that’s totally fine. The point is that way too many women have that type of party not because it’s something they want but because it’s something they think they have to do.

Perhaps looking at the reasons why we throw a bachelorette party could help. Though the phrase “last fling before the ring” may be branded onto T-shirts and invitations galore, the vast majority of brides are not using the bachelorette as a chance to cheat on their fiancé. The bachelorette really isn’t about men—so why are all the decorations and traditions so focused on them?

What the bachelorette should be about is women and specifically the bride’s friendships with women. The bachelorette is in a sense a return to singlehood—but not to the part of your single days that involved man-hunting. It’s to the way you celebrated with women when you were single. It’s reforging the bond you felt at slumber parties growing up or at those late-night gab sessions in college when you stayed up till 4am with your best girlfriends, eating ice cream out of the carton or passing around a bottle of cheap wine you conned some senior boy into buying for you. It’s to the way you laugh with women, the things you like to do with women, the feeling you get when you’re just with the girls.

Part of my mission with this blog has been to inspire women to create parties for themselves. Parties that reflect their interests, that celebrate the things and the people they love. This can mean a quiet getaway to a cabin in the mountains, a day of surfing lessons followed by a beach bonfire or a backyard BBQ with lawn games and cold beers. It can mean a cooking class followed by the four-course dinner you all created or a belly dancing lesson at a hookah lounge. It can mean dressing up in little black dresses or applying zombie makeup to hit the local bars. It can mean a trip to Las Vegas or a weekend in Napa. It can mean whatever you want it to mean—as long as it’s you.

14 Perfect Winter Bridesmaid Looks

Anybody else cold right now? Well, your bridesmaids shouldn’t have to be. If you’re having a winter wedding, you’re certainly going to want to take some gorgeous pictures in the freshly fallen snow…but your ladies probably aren’t going to look too happy while shivering in sleeveless chiffon dresses. Dress them for the weather and keep them looking cute at the same time with these winter bridesmaid looks. Plus, check out our Winter Bridesmaids Pinterest board for even more ideas.

Coats

I so love the idea of matching coats for a snowy winter wedding. Just be sensitive to cost. If you ask your girls to purchase matching coats, let them choose their own dresses to wear underneath in a basic black or other neutral shade. If you ask them to purchase matching bridesmaid dresses, let them wear their own coat—leather jackets or jean jackets won’t show much variation in pictures anyway.
14 Perfect Winter Bridesmaid Looks: Coats 14 Perfect Winter Bridesmaid Looks: Coats Top: Mountainside Bride | Bottom: The Bridal Detective

Fur Wraps

Nothing looks as cozy and snuggly as a fur wrap—though we prefer the faux kind or a vintage hand-me-down from grandma, please.
14 Perfect Winter Bridesmaid Looks: Faux Fur Wraps 14 Perfect Winter Bridesmaid Looks: Fur WrapsTop: Emily Steffen Photography | Bottom: Ruffled

Cardigans

I am a cardigan woman. I basically wear cardigans year-round. It is one of the top reasons I left Florida for New York (OK, not really, but really great bonus, am I right?). Belted with a cute pencil skirt, it can even take the place of a traditional bridesmaid dress.
14 Perfect Winter Bridesmaid Looks: Cardigans 14 Perfect Winter Bridesmaid Looks: CardigansTop: Style Me Pretty | Bottom: Green Wedding Shoes

Winter Boots

Heels and snow do not mix. But you know what’s adorable? Bridesmaids in galoshes! They can slip into a shoe of their choice for the reception or just rock their booties on the dance floor!
14 Perfect Winter Bridesmaid Looks: Boots 14 Perfect Winter Bridesmaid Looks: BootsTop: Huffington Post | Bottom: Junebug Weddings

Long Sleeves

A lacy or sequined long-sleeve frock will look chic and keep your bridesmaids warm. There are more silhouettes than strapless out there! 14 Perfect Winter Bridesmaid Looks: Long Sleeves 14 Perfect Winter Bridesmaid Looks: Long SleevesTop: Green Wedding Shoes | Bottom: Apple Brides

Scarves

A scarf is a simple and incredibly affordable way to add warmth to the bridesmaid look. Layer a classic winter white on colored dresses or opt for a tartan or textured scarf with neutral-toned frocks. 14 Perfect Winter Bridesmaid Looks: Scarves14 Perfect Winter Bridesmaid Looks: ScarvesTop: Wedding Obsession| Bottom: Southern Weddings

Shawls

A shawl is the most classic accessory to add warmth to a bridesmaid look. To keep it from feeling dated, choose a color that contrasts with the bridesmaid dresses for a more impactful, modern look. The one exception? Nudes and neutrals always look  great layered together—just vary texture and pattern for visual interest.
14 Perfect Winter Bridesmaid Looks: Shawls 14 Perfect Winter Bridesmaid Looks: ShawlsTop: Southern Weddings | Bottom: Style Me Pretty

Bachelorette Survival Kits

Bachelorette survival kits can be created by the hostess of the bachelorette party as a party favor or can be put together by the bride as a thank-you to her friends for organizing a fantastic weekend. Try to fill the bag with a mix of little things the guests will find useful, but that are also cute and thoughtful. Band-Aids might be useful in a crisis, but she’ll probably appreciate a nice shade of nail polish or a cute hair band more. Treat the term “survival” loosely. Every survival kit starts with the perfect (and hopefully reusable) bag though, so here are some of my favorite finds. Want even more inspiration? Check out our Bridesmaid Survival Kit Pinterest board.
Bachelorette Survival Kits

Finch and Fox creates personalized hangover kit bags that are absolutely adorable. Bags can be designed to reflect the city or state where the event will be held or the theme of the weekend, like a fiesta or wine tasting, for a truly personal keepsake.

Bachelorette Survival Kits

For my ladies across the pond, I adore this neon hen tote. If you don’t mind the 2014 in the corner, you can get this bag at a deep discount right now (only 9.62!) and you could probably cover the date up with a custom sticker or patch. Otherwise, a 2015 version should appear soon!

Bachelorette Survival Kits

Ok, these aren’t bags, but they’re too adorable and perfect not to mention! These personalized hair band favors from Flhair Accessories can be customized to fit your colors and theme for the weekend. I am such a huge fan of the modern typography and stylish color combinations Emma puts together!

Bachelorette Survival Kits

Words to live by, girls. Words to live by. Fill these canvas pouches with a few (inexpensive) beauty products, like your favorite shade of essie nail polish, a Stila lipgloss and Burt’s Bees hand salve. Browse the checkout area at Sephora for lots of travel- or sample-size products to add in.

Bachelorette Survival Kits

This “Plan to get a tan” tote is perfect for a beach weekend. Fill with sunscreen, a brightly colored pair of sunglasses, the latest celebrity gossip mag and a bottle of hydrating coconut water. Ready for fun in the sun!

Bachelorette Survival KitsI love the bold typography on these kraft paper bags, which can be stamped with the date and location of your party, or even a personal party slogan you dream up. At about 5×7″, they can hold more than you’d think too. Try a mini bottle of their favorite liquor, a few Tattly removable tattoos, and directions to where you’ll all share a much-needed Bloody Mary the morning after.

Bachelorette Survival Kits

Not really the DIY type? I got you covered. Check out Minimergency Kits by Pinch Provisions. These little pouches come in a huge array of colors and patterns, like these metallic striped ones, and are prefilled with lots of handy little items, like double-sided tape, dental floss and even a tampon. For a quick-fix personalization, just add each guest’s name to a tag and tie to the zipper with a gold ribbon.

A Bit of Fall (Social Media) Cleaning

Well folks, we’ve entered the wedding slow season, those few months after most weddings have ended for the year (except those amazing winter weddings that make bridal scarfs and evergreen bouquets totally a thing) and before the onslaught of proposals that will occur around the holidays. So what’s a bridesmaid blogger to do with her time? Check some much-needed social media improvements and additions off her list!

First up, Ultimate Bridesmaid joined Instagram. So overdue, am I right?! I’ve had a personal Instagram account for awhile now but I really didn’t want to turn it into a blog account as well. Because I need an outlet for posting pictures of my adorable nieces picking pumpkins or my attempts at flower arranging (apparently I Instagram flowers the way some people Instagram food). So I finally figured out how to have two accounts on one phone and now you get pretty bridal shower photos! There’s so much to share since I basically have the whole history of Ultimate Bridesmaid to catch up on, so I’ve been having a kind of neverending #tbt as I share my favorite party photos.

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Instagram is too addicting. Like, it may be rivaling Pinterest as my new favorite social outlet. (Just kidding Pinterest, don’t be mad! You got some love too.)

Next up: Pinterest clean-up and expansion. I realized that some of the general Pinterest boards that I started way back at the Dawn of the Pin were getting a little unfocused—namely boards with titles like “Bridal Showers” or “Bridesmaids.” I took a look at what was actually on these boards and then broke them out into a bunch of new ones with more focused themes. Which means you get really cool ideas for creating Bridesmaid Survival Kits for the bachelorette or wedding day. Or a ton of Will You Be My Bridesmaid cards all in one place! Isn’t that so much more helpful? Some other new boards to check out: Bridal Shower Invitations, Bridesmaid Duties, Bridesmaid Brunch and Bridesmaid Gifts and Favors.

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I work hard for you guys, for real.

I have a few more Pinterest boards up my sleeves, so keep checking back for more updates! And leave special requests in the comments. What party inspiration or bridesmaid resources are you searching for and coming up empty?

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.
An Almost a Mrs. Donut Bridesmaid Brunch | Ultimate Bridesmaid | Angela Cox Photography An Almost a Mrs. Donut Bridesmaid Brunch | Ultimate Bridesmaid | Angela Cox Photography An Almost a Mrs. Donut Bridesmaid Brunch | Ultimate Bridesmaid | Angela Cox Photography An Almost a Mrs. Donut Bridesmaid Brunch | Ultimate Bridesmaid | Angela Cox Photography An Almost a Mrs. Donut Bridesmaid Brunch | Ultimate Bridesmaid | Angela Cox Photography An Almost a Mrs. Donut Bridesmaid Brunch | Ultimate Bridesmaid | Angela Cox Photography An Almost a Mrs. Donut Bridesmaid Brunch | Ultimate Bridesmaid | Angela Cox Photography An Almost a Mrs. Donut Bridesmaid Brunch | Ultimate Bridesmaid | Angela Cox Photography An Almost a Mrs. Donut Bridesmaid Brunch | Ultimate Bridesmaid | Angela Cox Photography An Almost a Mrs. Donut Bridesmaid Brunch | Ultimate Bridesmaid | Angela Cox Photography An Almost a Mrs. Donut Bridesmaid Brunch | Ultimate Bridesmaid | Angela Cox Photography An Almost a Mrs. Donut Bridesmaid Brunch | Ultimate Bridesmaid | Angela Cox Photography An Almost a Mrs. Donut Bridesmaid Brunch | Ultimate Bridesmaid | Angela Cox Photography An Almost a Mrs. Donut Bridesmaid Brunch | Ultimate Bridesmaid | Angela Cox Photography An Almost a Mrs. Donut Bridesmaid Brunch | Ultimate Bridesmaid | Angela Cox Photography An Almost a Mrs. Donut Bridesmaid Brunch | Ultimate Bridesmaid | Angela Cox Photography An Almost a Mrs. Donut Bridesmaid Brunch | Ultimate Bridesmaid | Angela Cox Photography An Almost a Mrs. Donut Bridesmaid Brunch | Ultimate Bridesmaid | Angela Cox Photography An Almost a Mrs. Donut Bridesmaid Brunch | Ultimate Bridesmaid | Angela Cox Photography An Almost a Mrs. Donut Bridesmaid Brunch | Ultimate Bridesmaid | Angela Cox Photography An Almost a Mrs. Donut Bridesmaid Brunch | Ultimate Bridesmaid | Angela Cox Photography

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