Category Archives: For the Bride

Best of Etsy Bridesmaid Gifts: Bags and Jewelry Under $30

Many brides like to choose bridesmaid gifts that their maids can wear to their wedding, but I also love the idea of just choosing something fun that you know your girls will love and that they can mix into their daily ensemble. Bags and jewelry are always welcome—what girl doesn’t love a handy new tote or a little extra sparkle? Plus, one size fits all and lots of Etsy vendors allow you to purchase assortments of different colors and prints. Bonus: These picks are all under $30.

You got a diamond, so why shouldn’t they? I’m quite taken with this stunning little bamboo ring (and it will be way more affordable than your rock, at $19.92).diamond bamboo rings | Etsy Bridesmaid Gifts Under $30 | Ultimate BridesmaidBrighten up their day with this soft vegan leather foldover clutch accented with a punch of neon yellow (and it’s a steal at only $26). 
neon clutch | Etsy Bridesmaid Gifts Under $30 | Ultimate Bridesmaid

I’m loving the bold graphic statement of these leather cuffs ($18), laser cut with tribal patterns (and perfect with jeans and a chambray shirt, don’t you think?). tribal leather cuffs | Etsy Bridesmaid Gifts Under $30 | Ultimate BridesmaidYou can never, ever have too many totes, especially delicate arrow-printed ones, made from recycled organic cotton ($24.50). arrow tote | Etsy Bridesmaid Gifts Under $30 | Ultimate BridesmaidMix and match these enamel-dipped brass feather hairpins with their favorite colors. Can’t you just see them tucked into a loose braid? ($10 each, plus buy 3 get one free!) (similar here)feather hair clips | Etsy Bridesmaid Gifts Under $30 | Ultimate Bridesmaid

Looking for a cute bag to stuff with bridesmaid survival gear? Look no further. Dotted with stars and trees, this linen pouch will double as a stylish makeup bag after your big day ($29.94). bag trees and stars | Etsy Bridesmaid Gifts Under $30 | Ultimate Bridesmaid

BHLDN Pop-Up in NYC, Oct. 14-20

Yesterday I had the treat (chai tea included) of shopping BHLDN’s Pop-Up Bridal Shop on the Upper East Side, in New York until Oct. 20. If you’re not familiar with BHLDN (pronounced “Beholden,” by the way), you’re in for a feast of delight. Anthropologie’s sister store brings the Anthro style to wedding attire, with unique gowns and dresses that feature tons of lace, shimmer, ruffles and beading. The styles are feminine and soft, but definitely stand out from the crowd. Many of the gowns on offer strayed from traditional wedding white, moving toward sandy tans, soft greys and even pale pinks. The shop features a selection of wedding gowns, reception dresses, fine jewelry, and bridal headpieces. (Sorry, no shoes ladies.)

001 IMG_0693 002 003 IMG_0696Though they didn’t stock their full bridesmaid collection (curses!), there are a few dresses for the maids and a lot of short reception dresses that would work for bridesmaids in need of neutral and white dresses, which continues to be a huge bridesmaid trend. Of course, I had to try on a few things! Here are my two favorites (please excuse horrid selfies).

004

I almoooooost bought this one, even though I have no occasion on which to wear it. Should an occasion present itself, I will be on the website in a heartbeat. The cut is incredibly flattering and the lace is just beautiful. 005This one was super fun and would make a great party dress as well. The best part was that even though it’s covered in beads, it’s incredibly comfortable and not too heavy. Would be a great dancing dress!

BHLDN Pop-Up Shop | Oct 14–20 | @ Anthropologie 1230 Third Ave, between 71st and 72nd Streets

The Bride’s Pledge to Her Bridesmaids

Last week I shared my slightly cheeky but heartfelt Bridesmaid’s Pledge to the Bride. Well, it’s only fair that the bride make a few commitments to her maids as well. After all, the bride really sets the tone for the wedding festivities—a relaxed bride makes all the difference. For me, what’s most important is remembering that even though wedding planning is stressful, you still need to be there for your best girlfriends just as they are there for you. This would be a great Will You Be My Bridesmaid idea!

the brides pledge to her bridesmaids

A Bride’s Pledge to her Bridesmaids

I, [insert your name here], being of sound mind and happy heart, joyfully ask you to be my bridesmaid. I pledge to uphold the following provisions and ask that the bridesmaids uphold the points set out in the Bridesmaid’s Pledge to the Bride.

  • I pledge to make no demands, as I understand that friends do not demand things of each other.
  • I pledge to remember that while this wedding is consuming my life, you still have one. I ask that you excuse me if I talk too much about calla lilies. I still love you and want to hear about your life, so tell me what’s up.
  • I pledge to be conscious of your budget throughout this endeavor and to be understanding should you be unable to attend a bachelorette party or shower due to cost or distance. I will miss you, but I will understand.
  • I pledge to try not to share every single wedding detail with you—unless you’re really into this shit, in which case, let’s talk taffeta!
  • I pledge to choose a bridesmaid dress at a reasonable cost and in a style and color that I actually think will look good on you.
  • I pledge to let you wear your hair however you desire.
  • I pledge to try not to freak out if things don’t go exactly how I planned. I ask that you let me know, gently, if I am being insane.
  • I pledge to remember that our friendship is more important than any little detail and that the most important thing is that you’ll be there by my side on my wedding day.

Most importantly, I pledge to be what I pledged to be the day we became friends: there for you through it all, the best friend I can be.

Will You Be My Bridesmaid idea: The Bride's Pledge to her Bridesmaids

Want a copy to email to or print for brides in your life? Download the PDF here: The Bride’s Pledge to Her Bridesmaids.

And don’t forget to take a look at our companion pledge: The Bridesmaid’s Pledge to the Bride.

(Adorable photo of my friend Amanda and her sister via Alicia Lauren Photography.)

The Bridesmaid’s Pledge to the Bride

I love, love, love getting emails from my readers and I’m so honored that many of you have trusted me with bridesmaid-related problems that have arisen and asked for my advice. Some of these problems have the potential to cause a lot of heartache between friends, so the most wonderful feeling for me is when I’m able to help someone resolve an issue without them jeopardizing their friendship with the bride or bridesmaid. I’ve realized that a lot of the time we just need to be reminded of what is most important. So I decided to ask myself, “When I sign up to be a bridesmaid, what am I promising my friend? What are the givens, the things I can guarantee? And what do I expect from the bride in return?” I thought about the kind of friend I want to be, the things I want to do for my brides and the type of bride I’d like to be as well. I wrote down every little issue that might arise, from tiny annoyances to major troubles, and summed it all up in two “pledges,” one for the bridesmaids and one for the bride. Ok, some of these are not totally serious, but it is all heartfelt (though I am totally serious about no undergarment-shaped baked good—if I see one more corset cookie…). What’s most important is to remember to be there for your friend, above all else—to be kind, to be patient, to be loving, and to just generally continue to be the friend you’ve always been.

The Bridesmaid's Pledge to the Bride

The Bridesmaid’s Pledge to the Bride

I, [insert your name here], being of sound mind and happy heart, joyfully agree to be your bridesmaid. I pledge to uphold the following provisions and ask that the bride uphold the points set out in the Bride’s Pledge to Her Bridesmaids.

  • I pledge to bring laughter and smiles into your life whenever you’re feeling stressed.
  • I pledge to take your frantic calls regarding cake decorators and try my hardest to take your concerns regarding buttercream versus fondant seriously.
  • I pledge to hold my tongue if I do not like the flowers, venue, and/or color scheme you pick for your wedding. I will remember that it is your wedding, not mine, and that I am your bridesmaid, not your event planner.
  • I pledge to attend your bachelorette party and bridal shower, if distance and finances permit, and I ask that if I can’t come, you know that it’s not because I don’t want to be there. I know you might be sad, but I ask that you understand.
  • I pledge to wear whatever bridesmaid dress you deem perfect for your special day, though I ask that it not be too shiny or too tight.
  • I pledge to be a source of positivity and encouragement to you.
  • I pledge to be on time the day of the wedding (despite any previous difficulties with punctuality).
  •  I pledge to help calm your nerves as we wait for the ceremony, be it with drugs and alcohol or hugs and squeals.

Maid of honor clause:

  • I pledge to plan a bachelorette party you will actually enjoy. It will be classy, it will be fun, but most importantly, it will be you. There shall be no objects shaped like a penis and absolutely no baked goods in the shape of undergarments or shoes.
  • I pledge that your bridal shower shall not involve gowns made of toilet paper.
  • I pledge to toast you at your wedding. I pledge not to mention your ex’s or that one time in Cabo, and I pledge not to have too much to drink before the toast (afterwards, all bets are off).

Most importantly, I pledge to be what I pledged to be the day we became friends: there for you through it all, the best friend I can be.

bridesmaids pledge to the bride

****

Brides, make sure to check back soon for the Bride’s Pledge to her Bridesmaids so you can keep up your end of the bargain!

Want a copy to email to or print for your ladies? Download the PDF here: The Bridesmaid’s Pledge to the Bride.

(Adorable photo of my friend Amanda and her sister via Alicia Lauren Photography.)

A Sunshine and Wine Bridal Party Luncheon

Bride Jess went above and beyond for her bridal party luncheon with a wine tasting at Firestone Vineyards near Santa Barbara, California. Cheerful sunflowers dotted the tables in the outdoor picnic area as the ladies sipped citrusy izze sodas and noshed on cheese plates, one seriously impressive submarine sandwich and delicate French macarons. And can we talk about the bride’s style? I’m crushing over her cream knit lace dress and asymmetric bauble necklace. Photographer Nicole of Sorella Muse couldn’t help but enjoy herself throughout the wedding weekend as Jess encouraged her to take time out to just be in the moment—Nicole even gave a speech at the rehearsal dinner! Jess ended the bridal luncheon with a special gift bag for each of her maids—get the full list of her stylish picks below!

A Sunshine and Wine Bridal Party Luncheon | Ultimate Bridesmaid | Sorella Muse Photography Venue: Firestone Vineyard

Photography: Sorella Muse Photography

Catering: Succulent Cafe

In the bridesmaid gift bags: Stella and Dot soiree stud earrings, TOMS in Earthwise Pink, Arden Living candle in lemon ginger, essie nail polish, BCBGeneration neon yellow LA tank, and monogrammed button-down for bridal prep!

Will You Be My Bridesmaid Cards from Allie Ruth

Allie Ruth bridesmaid cards | Misti Fraser Photography

Asking your best friends to share your special day as your bridesmaids and maid of honor can be very emotional for both of you (let’s be real, I have cried). And the scrapbooker in me loves the idea of a card or small gift to commemorate that moment. Enter these vibrant floral “Will You Be My Bridesmaid?” cards from designer Allie Ruth. My favorite part? The delicate hand lettering, which makes each card feel one of a kind. Allie paired up with photographer Misti Fraser for a bridesmaid mini shoot to show off these stunning cards. Check out Allie’s entire collection here, including bridesmaid hankies.will you be my bridesmaid allie ruth 2 Allie Ruth bridesmaid cards | Misti Fraser Photographywill you be my bridesmaid alllie ruthAllie Ruth bridesmaid cards | Misti Fraser Photography

Do I Have to Open Gifts at My Bridal Shower?

I recently came across an article on a popular bridal website about opening gifts at the shower. The reader asks if it’s necessary to open gifts at the shower and the writer replies “‘Fraid so, since receiving gifts—and opening them—is the main focus of a shower.” She then goes on to recommend that you “figure out a few gracious stock responses that you can use after unwrapping each gift (“Thank you so much—I love it!” or “Oh, wow—how gorgeous!” are good ones)” and maybe even “recruit a witty friend” to “oooh and ahhh where appropriate.”

HOLY HECK! This is the worst advice I’ve ever heard. Practice sounding appreciative?!? Stand in front of the mirror and repeat “Oh wow—how gorgeous” until it sounds sincere?!?! Recruit a “witty friend” to fill dead air?!?! Oh my GOD! Do not do this!

View More: http://dyannajoyphotography.pass.us/kellie-bridal-shower

Photo courtesy of Dyanna Joy Photography.

Saying that the purpose of a bridal shower is to receive and open gifts is like saying that receiving gifts is the purpose of any party—birthdays, housewarmings, graduation. It is not! The purpose of a shower should be to gather with all the women in your life to celebrate your upcoming marriage. Can gifts be involved? Of course! But making them the centerpiece of the shower is one of the reasons bridal showers have a bad rep. This is why people think showers are boring! No one likes watching people open presents for two hours.

Do I think you should open your gifts at the party? Yes, I do. Does everyone have to sit around you in a circle and ooh and ahh (possibly only because they have been selected as your witty friend, though how this is witty I don’t know)? Nope!

Here are some ideas for making gift opening more enjoyable for everyone and less awkward for you, all of which do not involve you acting fake or recruiting friends to save you when things get awkward.

  • Pick a gift from the gift table and then find the giver. Privately open it with the giver so they can see your reaction and so you can thank them right away, then place the open gift back on the table so others can see it if they’re interested in what you’re received. This eliminates the awkward “gift opening circle” but still allows you to show your appreciation to your guests for bringing a gift.
  • If you have only a few gifts to open, go ahead and do it all at once, but encourage guests to eat and drink while you’re opening. Have some music playing so that the mood is still festive and no one feels like the party has ground to a halt just because you’re opening gifts.
  • Open the gifts while standing by the gift table. Again, this encourages movement and will keep the guests from settling into boring present lethargy. It will be easy for you to run over and give someone a hug instead of those awkward sitting hugs. Ugh.
  • If you do want to recruit a helper, ask them to make this announcement (or make it yourself): “Carrie is going to open her gifts, but she really wants you all to keep having fun! Feel free to keep the party going if you’re not interested in how many blenders she’s going to receive!”

No matter how or when you open your gifts, I think it’s important to send a thank you note. Some people may find this old fashioned, but if you’ve ever received a thoughtful thank you note, you know how warm and fuzzy it makes you feel. Make sure the women in your life know that you appreciate them by sending a note that thanks them for coming to your shower, mentions their gift and shows them how much you love it.