Category Archives: Favors and Gifts

Best of: Etsy Bridesmaid Gifts

A roundup of a few of my favorite finds on Etsy right now.

A classy lady needs a classy flask, am I right? Groomsmen can’t have all the fun. The high-heeled boot and vintage-looking wash say “I’m a lady, but I can hold my liquor.”

You spent so much time on those wedding photos, why not present your maids with rustic custom frames to display them? Send the seller a picture of your bridesmaids’ dresses and he’ll hand draw a gown to match, then burn it into the wood along with your maid’s name.

Supply your girls with comfy and cute handprinted TOMS so they can dance the night away.

Perfect for those bridesmaid survival kits I know you’re planning on making. The seller will also personalize with your names, wedding date—whatever you want!

These button-front kaftans will look great and keep you from messing up your hair and makeup while getting ready the day of the wedding. Available in long or short styles, drawstring or buttons. The silk floral prints are stunning!

Why not just get them something cute? These patterned wristlets are sweet as can be with a dainty bow and perfect for storing their essentials the day of the wedding. No bulky bags, but cell, gloss, etc on hand.

Will You Be My Bridesmaid Stamp

Let’s admit it: We’ve all swooned over those sweet “Will You Be My Bridesmaid” kerchiefs. You know the ones I mean: vintage printed hankies with a little message scrawled in the center. But almost $30 a pop, the price can add up pretty fast, especially if you have a lot of bridesmaids. So imagine my surprise and joy when I stumbled on this “Will You Be My Bridesmaid” stamp from Southern Fried Paper! You can DIY as many hankies as you like for the price of one from some other retailers! The stamp is available in a classic cursive and floral motif. Just purchase hankies at the nearest flea market or make your own with a few yards of fabric and some iron-on hemming tape.

Bridesmaid Gifts from Lydali

I’m super excited to bring you a roundup of bridesmaid gifts from Lydali, a line of global handmade goods that connects you with artistans in developing countries around the globe. Oh, and it just so happens to be cofounded by my freshmen-year roommate, Ali Price! I’m so happy to see Ali’s business taking off and super impressed with the gorgeous collection she and her business partner (and fellow Wake Forest grad) Lydia Harter have curated. Here are a few of my favorite items, which would all be beautiful (and socially conscious) gifts for brides to give their maids. Ali was also nice enough to share a little about how her business got started, her tips for others hoping to do the same, and even a few special memories from her own wedding. Check out her interview below!

These banana bark and fabric bangles are absolutely stunning and highly stackable. Each bangle is handmade in Tanzania, where women peel the bark from the trees, treat it, then turn it into bangles with the help of colorful locally produced fabrics. $35 for a set of three

These soft cotton clutches handmade in Guatemala make perfect makeup bags or pouches for bridesmaid emergency kits. I particularly love the coral diamond print and the two-tone tassels. $24

I couldn’t resist adding a second set of clutches because they made me think about needlepoint in a new way. I’ve always associated this craft with bygone eras, but seeing it here in modern colors and striking florals (gotta love the pomegranate flower!) made me swoon. The bags come straight to you from a folk art fair in Uzbekistan. $25

I’ve always been a sucker for a leather-bound book and this one is no exception. These 40-page honey-colored journals are made by women in Northern India and the proceeds go to funding literacy in the region. $15

UB: So tell me about starting Lydali! How did you get the idea?

Ali: I was in Bali last year and I started talking to one of my friends who lived in Bali and was working with artisans there. She was employing talented people to make really beautiful jewelry and accessories, but she was having trouble finding a market for their products outside of friends and family. I had experience working with artisans in Kenya, and I knew that my friend’s issue was common—small groups of artisans were making really unique products with great stories behind them, but no one knew about it. I puzzled over that problem for the rest of my time in Indonesia, and then when I was on the 16-hour flight back to San Francisco, I came up with the idea for a store that housed a well-curated collection of artisan-made products from all over the world. Back in San Francisco, I talked to my buyer friend Lydia Harter about it, and she immediately signed on. A few months later, we launched Lydali.

UB: Can you tell me about how you track down these amazing artisans?

Ali: We have a couple of different ways of connecting with artisans, but most of the connections happen through friends and friends of friends. One of my favorite connections came from having my family friend, Jay, and his wife, Diana, who had just moved to the Bay Area over for brunch. They had been living in Haiti for the past few years, and Diana had been working with women who were amputees as a result of the 2010 earthquake. She helped to train the women to sew and make bags and hair accessories, and I loved the story and the products. A few weeks after the brunch, we had their products up on Lydali! (Here they are, if you want to see.)

UB: Do you have any advice for young women trying to set up an online business?

Ali: I was a little bit intimidated by the prospect of setting up an online business. Don’t be afraid to go for it, and once you start taking steps to make it happen, things start feeling easier. I reached out to anyone and everyone who was doing something even vaguely related and had conversations with them. So many great learnings came out of talking to others who had started businesses themselves or worked in similar fields. We also were really lucky to have lots of talented friends who wanted to help, so we had friends styling our products, taking photos, writing copy for our website, and helping us find more artisans to work with. Think about the talent you have around you, and don’t be afraid to ask for help.

UB: Since this is a bridesmaid blog, I have to throw in a wedding question! Can you share a special memory from your own wedding?

Ali: So, I mentioned that I worked with artisan women in Kenya when I was in college. Well, for my wedding, they sent me this hilariously awful pink plastic ring box that played music for our rings to be carried in for the ceremony. It clashed completely with my style and the style of the wedding, but it was such a sweet thing for them to think to send. We didn’t use it for the actual wedding, but we did bring it out beforehand for pictures so that I could thank the women for the thoughtful gift. (I attached the only picture of it I could find, which doesn’t really capture the true ugliness of this thing!)

Emergency kits for bridesmaids

Over Labor Day weekend while catching up with friends in D.C., we went shopping on 14th Street and I stumbled upon these adorable emergency kits for bridesmaids at Pulp. (I also saw like a million hilarious and/or gorgeous greeting cards. If you live in the area, stop by!)

The “minimergency” kits ($16) include fixes for absolutely everything that might go wrong short of “runaway bride” syndrome. You’ll find your obvious essentials—hairspray, clear nail polish, nail polish remover, emery board, breath freshener, dental floss, deodorant towelette, facial tissue, blotting tissues, bobby pins, pain relievers, a tampon, and antacids.

Borderline emergency essentials include extra earring backs to replace lost ones, sewing kit for rips or drooping hems, double-sided tape for boob-related issues (surprisingly frequent), stain remover for lunchtime accidents, and adhesive bandages for uncomfortable shoes and minor injuries (hair styling can be deadly).

And for the height of emergencies, there are extra wedding bands. Hey, just in case!

Worried about the groomsmen as well? Check out their matching kits.

Tanks for Parties or Bridal Prep

The Wedding Chicks is a great bridal resource, but it also has a shop with some fairly adorable tees and tanks that would be perfect to wear while getting ready the day of the wedding or at a bachelorette party. I’ve compiled some of my favorite styles below and you can check out their totes, hankies and more here. The orders are custom and each tank set is available in a “bride,” “bridesmaid,” and “maid/matron of honor” option with different colors to choose from. Some can also be customized with names and dates. The tanks go for $24 apiece.

Vintage

Nautical

Paisley

But my absolute favorite? This cozy bridal sweatshirt, also available in bridesmaid and MOH options, at $48 each.

A Year of Date Nights

Today on Ultimate Bridesmaid we welcome guest poster Tara from Spotofteadesigns.com. I was totally inspired by Tara’s super-creative shower gift—A Year of Date Nights! See how she pulled it off below.
Hello UB followers! My name is Tara and I’m the T of Spotofteadesigns.com! Since 2010, I will have been involved in 6 weddings as a bridesmaid, maid of honor and a bride-to-be for my upcoming September wedding. Needless to say I’m in full-on wedding mode these days! As a bridesmaid, I’m used to the plan to chip in for an expensive item off the bride’s registry, but in one particular case, all the big ticket items were already taken. We came up with another plan.
As a big Pinterest user, I was very excited to come across this post from Shannon Brown’s Life in General Blog. She gave her husband a Christmas gift that included 12 envelopes of planned dates for the full year. I loved this concept and used it as inspiration for my bride’s group gift, which we nicknamed A Year of Date Nights.
At her shower, Allie, the bride, was only able to open a large box containing all the wrapped gifts you see above, and a descriptive poem explaining the concept. Each month after their wedding, Allie and her hubby, Tim, are allowed to open that month’s gift. Upon reading it, they’ll be able to pick a day on their calendar to enjoy the date. Since the couple only wed in May, as of this post only 2 gifts have been opened that I can share.For June, Allie and Tim opened a mini pizza box containing an empty frozen yogurt container. Inside they received gift cards for dinner and dessert at their local pizza and froyo locations.
For July, they opened a handmade card with a gift card to Wegmans. They were instructed to buy some steaks and trimmings, then enjoy a sunny BBQ for two on their backyard patio.
Not all her gifts had to do with food, but I can’t reveal the rest until they open the gifts as the months pass.
Below are a few suggestions for other bridesmaids who might want to make their own Year of Date Nights gift: Continue reading

Personalized Bridal Hangers

During the long hours of bridal prep, it’s nice to have a few surprises for the bride, especially those that present good photo ops. Enter Two Broads Design, purveyors of very affordable custom hangers.

Personalize name, hanger color, wire color and ribbon color to create a pretty keepsake for the day for under $20.


Or, for the bride, snag personalized hangers for your bridesmaids! After all, they’re the ones who are going to have trouble keeping track of whose dress is whose!