An Around the Clock Bridal Shower with a Twist

Bride Jillian of style blog Rhyme & Reason was delighted with her Around the Clock bridal shower with a little bit of a twist. Each guest was assigned a general time of day—morning, cocktail hour, dinner or late night—but the three hostesses and the bride’s mother each picked a holiday and chose cute decor for that occasion. The bride is now fully ready to host Easter, Cinco de Mayo, Thanksgiving and Christmas. Photographer Elyse Hall captured this modern event in sunny Arizona. (P.S. if you need a little help picking a gift for an Around the Clock shower, check out our hour-by-hour gift guide right here.)

An Around the Clock Bridal Shower with a Twist | Ultimate Bridesmaid | Elyse Hall Photography Mint green table setting for a bridal shower. An Around the Clock Bridal Shower with a Twist | Ultimate Bridesmaid | Elyse Hall Photography An Around the Clock Bridal Shower with a Twist | Ultimate Bridesmaid | Elyse Hall Photography An Around the Clock Bridal Shower with a Twist | Ultimate Bridesmaid | Elyse Hall Photography Cocktail tables for a bridal shower. An Around the Clock Bridal Shower with a Twist | Ultimate Bridesmaid | Elyse Hall Photography Cute geometric dress for a bridal shower. An Around the Clock Bridal Shower with a Twist | Ultimate Bridesmaid | Elyse Hall Photography Around the Clock bridal shower cake. An Around the Clock Bridal Shower with a Twist | Ultimate Bridesmaid | Elyse Hall Photography Around the Clock bridal shower cake. An Around the Clock Bridal Shower with a Twist | Ultimate Bridesmaid | Elyse Hall Photography An Around the Clock Bridal Shower with a Twist | Ultimate Bridesmaid | Elyse Hall Photography For a twist on the traditional Around the Clock bridal shower, a few of the guests were assigned holidays. An Around the Clock Bridal Shower with a Twist | Ultimate Bridesmaid | Elyse Hall Photography For a twist on the traditional Around the Clock bridal shower, a few of the guests were assigned holidays. An Around the Clock Bridal Shower with a Twist | Ultimate Bridesmaid | Elyse Hall Photography For a twist on the traditional Around the Clock bridal shower, a few of the guests were assigned holidays. An Around the Clock Bridal Shower with a Twist | Ultimate Bridesmaid | Elyse Hall Photography For a twist on the traditional Around the Clock bridal shower, a few of the guests were assigned holidays. An Around the Clock Bridal Shower with a Twist | Ultimate Bridesmaid | Elyse Hall Photography An Around the Clock Bridal Shower with a Twist | Ultimate Bridesmaid | Elyse Hall Photography Cute geometric print dress for a bridal shower. An Around the Clock Bridal Shower with a Twist | Ultimate Bridesmaid | Elyse Hall Photography An Around the Clock Bridal Shower with a Twist | Ultimate Bridesmaid | Elyse Hall Photography An Around the Clock Bridal Shower with a Twist | Ultimate Bridesmaid | Elyse Hall Photography

Our Honeymoon in Spain: Ronda

The small town of Ronda in Andalusia was my favorite destination in Spain. It’s the kind of town that makes the tour bus schedule as a photo op and lunch spot, but I found Ronda to be well worth a two-day stay. Reason 1: You will need at least a full day to explore everything this gorgeous city on a hill has to offer. Ronda has a completely unique geography; the city is built atop a hill and a deep gorge bisects it into an older historic center and a newer (emphasis on the “er”—it’s still like hundreds of years old) section bustling with restaurants and shops. The sections are connected by two spectacular bridges, which are a draw in and of themselves. The New Bridge, or Puente Nuevo, looks torn straight from the pages of a fantasy novel, with towering stone supports and a waterfall cascading through it. If that doesn’t convince you to add Ronda to your itinerary, I don’t know what will.

We visited Ronda as part of our 10-day honeymoon in Spain. I’ve written separate posts for each destination on our trip, and linked them all below. Here is our 10-day Spain itinerary:

Three days in Barcelona
Two days in Córdoba
Two days in Ronda
Two days in Granada
One day in Gavà

So here is our Ronda travel guide!

We spent two days in Ronda as part of our 10-day honeymoon in Spain. Click to see our Ronda travel guide, including where to stay, what to do and where to eat!

Day 1

First up: El Torcal de Antequera

This portion of our trip was a nice change from our urban explorations, as we spent the majority of our time hiking the Spanish countryside. We drove our rental car from Cordoba to Ronda, but along the way we made a stop at El Torcal de Antequera, a beautiful nature reserve known for its stunning and unique rock formations. It was actually listed as one of the New York TImes’s 52 Places To Go in 2017. The winding drive will take you up a mountainside to a parking area and visitors center. From there, you can choose one of two loop routes. The green trail is shorter at just about a mile and should take about 45 minutes to hike. We chose the longer yellow route, which is approximately 2 miles and takes about two hours to hike. The trail is winding and rocky, so you’ll definitely want to wear good hiking shoes. The vistas throughout are spectacular, meandering along rocky ridges and through valleys surrounded by stone formations that reminded me of drip sand castles.

El Torcal de Antequera. We stopped at El Torcal on our way to Ronda as part of our 10-day honeymoon in Spain. Click to see our Ronda travel guide, including where to stay, what to do and where to eat! El Torcal de Antequera. We stopped at El Torcal on our way to Ronda as part of our 10-day honeymoon in Spain. Click to see our Ronda travel guide, including where to stay, what to do and where to eat! El Torcal de Antequera. We stopped at El Torcal on our way to Ronda as part of our 10-day honeymoon in Spain. Click to see our Ronda travel guide, including where to stay, what to do and where to eat! El Torcal de Antequera. We stopped at El Torcal on our way to Ronda as part of our 10-day honeymoon in Spain. Click to see our Ronda travel guide, including where to stay, what to do and where to eat! El Torcal de Antequera. We stopped at El Torcal on our way to Ronda as part of our 10-day honeymoon in Spain. Click to see our Ronda travel guide, including where to stay, what to do and where to eat!

Our Ronda Hotel

After our hike at El Torcal, we finished our drive to Ronda and checked into Hotel Montelirio. This was the first hotel I booked for our trip because it is one of the only hotels located right along the plateau’s edge with a view of the Puente Nuevo and the surrounding mountains. We booked a room with a view and it absolutely took my breath away. I would give the hotel 5 out of 5 stars. It’s centrally located off a charming side street and the building itself is beautiful and well maintained, with sweeping marble staircases, a stained glass front door and rich woodwork throughout. Each room is named after a city and decorated in kind—we stayed in the Marrakesh room, which featured wooden screens and a yellow and blue canopy dotted with stars. My only critique is that the wood screen door to the bathroom left a little privacy to be desired…I may be married now, but I still like some alone time in the bathroom, please. But in all seriousness, we loved this hotel. The staff was so friendly and accommodating and the location is unbeatable.

This was the view from our window:

The view of Ronda from our room in the Hotel Montelirio. We visited Ronda for two days as part of our 10-day honeymoon in Spain. Click to see our Ronda travel guide, including where to stay, what to do and where to eat! The view of Ronda from our room in the Hotel Montelirio. We visited Ronda for two days as part of our 10-day honeymoon in Spain. Click to see our Ronda travel guide, including where to stay, what to do and where to eat! The view of Ronda from our room in the Hotel Montelirio. We visited Ronda for two days as part of our 10-day honeymoon in Spain. Click to see our Ronda travel guide, including where to stay, what to do and where to eat!

Hi, I live here now.

Day 2

Exploring Ronda’s Old City and Hiking Into the Puente Nuevo Gorge

Ronda is the kind of city with a surprise around every turn. We decided to walk through the old section of the city to get to the base of the gorge (called el Tajo) for the best view of the Puente Nuevo or New Bridge. Along the way, we saw the old city walls, beautiful stone churches, charming houses and cobbled squares.

Once we left the city walls behind, we hiked a short way down a rural lane past a horse farm, and then up to a viewpoint called the Arco del Cristo, with spectacular views of the city of Ronda and the Puente Nuevo bridge. There are some more advanced hikes that you can do to get closer to the bridge and the waterfall streaming through the gorge. We did a portion of one that took us past some interesting ruins and a fast-flowing stream. Unfortunately, we weren’t prepared for the difficulty level of the hike. We hit a section that required you to lower yourself down onto a narrow wooden board and walk across it, and Andrew and I were worried about the stability of the board, and our ability to get back up without any equipment. It was frustrating because we could literally see a mountain pool just beyond the board that you could swim in…but it would have been too dangerous to attempt on our own, especially since we didn’t see any other hikers on the path. But you can do a short portion of the hike with just good walking shoes. No matter where you decide to walk, you will be guaranteed gorgeous views.

Ronda, Spain. We visited Ronda for two days as part of our 10-day honeymoon in Spain. Click to see our Ronda travel guide, including where to stay, what to do and where to eat! Ronda, Spain. We visited Ronda for two days as part of our 10-day honeymoon in Spain. Click to see our Ronda travel guide, including where to stay, what to do and where to eat! Ronda, Spain. We visited Ronda for two days as part of our 10-day honeymoon in Spain. Click to see our Ronda travel guide, including where to stay, what to do and where to eat! Ronda, Spain. We visited Ronda for two days as part of our 10-day honeymoon in Spain. Click to see our Ronda travel guide, including where to stay, what to do and where to eat! Ronda, Spain. We visited Ronda for two days as part of our 10-day honeymoon in Spain. Click to see our Ronda travel guide, including where to stay, what to do and where to eat! Ronda, Spain. We visited Ronda for two days as part of our 10-day honeymoon in Spain. Click to see our Ronda travel guide, including where to stay, what to do and where to eat! Puente Nuevo or New Bridge, Ronda, Spain. We visited Ronda for two days as part of our 10-day honeymoon in Spain. Click to see our Ronda travel guide, including where to stay, what to do and where to eat! Puente Nuevo or New Bridge, Ronda, Spain. We visited Ronda for two days as part of our 10-day honeymoon in Spain. Click to see our Ronda travel guide, including where to stay, what to do and where to eat! Hiking near the Puente Nuevo or New Bridge, Ronda, Spain. We visited Ronda for two days as part of our 10-day honeymoon in Spain. Click to see our Ronda travel guide, including where to stay, what to do and where to eat! Hiking near the Puente Nuevo or New Bridge, Ronda, Spain. We visited Ronda for two days as part of our 10-day honeymoon in Spain. Click to see our Ronda travel guide, including where to stay, what to do and where to eat!

The New City + The Bullring

After a little rest, we headed to the opposite side of the Puente Nuevo bridge to explore a bit of the new city. This side of the city has more shops and restaurants, but also quaint squares filled with people enjoying an afternoon drink. We found a lovely park with a promenade right along the cliffside, with stunning views of the surrounding countryside.

We also decided to stop for a visit at Ronda’s Plaza de Toros, or Bullring. There was not actually a bull fight going on there…in fact, I wouldn’t have wanted to visit if there was. But they have a bullfighting museum and we decided it was worth taking a peek since we were right there. I thought the entrance fee was much too high for what it was though and wouldn’t recommend this as a must-see in Ronda unless you’re really interested in bull fighting.

Ronda, Spain. We visited Ronda for two days as part of our 10-day honeymoon in Spain. Click to see our Ronda travel guide, including where to stay, what to do and where to eat! A wall covered in Iberico ham in Ronda, Spain. We visited Ronda for two days as part of our 10-day honeymoon in Spain. Click to see our Ronda travel guide, including where to stay, what to do and where to eat! Ronda, Spain. We visited Ronda for two days as part of our 10-day honeymoon in Spain. Click to see our Ronda travel guide, including where to stay, what to do and where to eat! Ronda, Spain. We visited Ronda for two days as part of our 10-day honeymoon in Spain. Click to see our Ronda travel guide, including where to stay, what to do and where to eat! Plaza de Toros or bull ring, Ronda, Spain. We visited Ronda for two days as part of our 10-day honeymoon in Spain. Click to see our Ronda travel guide, including where to stay, what to do and where to eat! Plaza de Toros or bull ring, Ronda, Spain. We visited Ronda for two days as part of our 10-day honeymoon in Spain. Click to see our Ronda travel guide, including where to stay, what to do and where to eat! Plaza de Toros or bull ring, Ronda, Spain. We visited Ronda for two days as part of our 10-day honeymoon in Spain. Click to see our Ronda travel guide, including where to stay, what to do and where to eat!

Dinner with a View

For our last dinner in Ronda, we made a reservation at the restaurant at our hotel, which is called the Albacara Restaurant, because it is seriously the best view in the city. Their terrace looks out over the cliff and all the surrounding country, and faces west so you can watch the sun set over the mountains. They only have about 8 tables on the terrace though, so a reservation is a must. The food was also superb. We shared an appetizer of crab in puff pastry, and then I had a salmon roulade for dinner while Andrew had a giant leg of lamb. If you are looking for a super romantic dinner, this is it. A must-do in Ronda!

Dinner at Albacara, Ronda, Spain. We visited Ronda for two days as part of our 10-day honeymoon in Spain. Click to see our Ronda travel guide, including where to stay, what to do and where to eat! Dinner at Albacara, Ronda, Spain. We visited Ronda for two days as part of our 10-day honeymoon in Spain. Click to see our Ronda travel guide, including where to stay, what to do and where to eat!

A Zoo Bachelorette Party

For bride Unsa’s bachelorette party, her friends and bridesmaids chose an activity they knew the bride would adore—a trip to the zoo with special access to the animal exhibits! The group traveled to The Good Zoo at Oglebay Resort in West Virginia and worked with an animal trainer to feed and train three different animals: red pandas, ring-tailed lemurs and river otters. Afterward, the ladies headed home for a picnic and mini photo shoot with Courtney of CTG Photography, who also captured their animal encounters. We love this unique zoo bachelorette —the bachelorette party should be tailored to the bride’s personality and interests, just like this one!

For this unique zoo bachelorette party, the bride and her friends got to feed and train animals like these ring-tailed lemurs! A Zoo Bachelorette Party | Ultimate Bridesmaid | CTG Photography For this unique zoo bachelorette party, the bride and her friends got to feed and train animals like these ring-tailed lemurs! A Zoo Bachelorette Party | Ultimate Bridesmaid | CTG Photography For this unique zoo bachelorette party, the bride and her friends got to feed and train animals like these ring-tailed lemurs! A Zoo Bachelorette Party | Ultimate Bridesmaid | CTG Photography For this unique zoo bachelorette party, the bride and her friends got to feed and train animals like these ring-tailed lemurs! A Zoo Bachelorette Party | Ultimate Bridesmaid | CTG Photography For this unique zoo bachelorette party, the bride and her friends got to feed and train animals like these red pandas! A Zoo Bachelorette Party | Ultimate Bridesmaid | CTG Photography For this unique zoo bachelorette party, the bride and her friends got to feed and train animals like these red pandas! A Zoo Bachelorette Party | Ultimate Bridesmaid | CTG Photography For this unique zoo bachelorette party, the bride and her friends got to feed and train animals like these red pandas! A Zoo Bachelorette Party | Ultimate Bridesmaid | CTG Photography For this unique zoo bachelorette party, the bride and her friends got to feed and train animals like these red pandas! A Zoo Bachelorette Party | Ultimate Bridesmaid | CTG Photography For this unique zoo bachelorette party, the bride and her friends got to feed and train animals like these red pandas! A Zoo Bachelorette Party | Ultimate Bridesmaid | CTG Photography A Zoo Bachelorette Party | Ultimate Bridesmaid | CTG Photography A Zoo Bachelorette Party | Ultimate Bridesmaid | CTG Photography For this unique zoo bachelorette party, the bride and her friends got to feed and train animals like these river otters! A Zoo Bachelorette Party | Ultimate Bridesmaid | CTG Photography For this unique zoo bachelorette party, the bride and her friends got to feed and train animals like these river otters! A Zoo Bachelorette Party | Ultimate Bridesmaid | CTG Photography For this unique zoo bachelorette party, the bride and her friends got to feed and train animals like these river otters! A Zoo Bachelorette Party | Ultimate Bridesmaid | CTG Photography A Zoo Bachelorette Party | Ultimate Bridesmaid | CTG Photography A Zoo Bachelorette Party | Ultimate Bridesmaid | CTG Photography A Zoo Bachelorette Party | Ultimate Bridesmaid | CTG Photography A Zoo Bachelorette Party | Ultimate Bridesmaid | CTG Photography A Zoo Bachelorette Party | Ultimate Bridesmaid | CTG Photography

Nashville Bachelorette Weekend Guide

This Nashville bachelorette weekend guide has been a long time in coming. When I first visited Nashville in 2014, I saw bachelorette parties on every corner. And it’s not hard to understand why! The city is alive with art, live music on every corner and a signature Southern charm. But I wanted to ask a local expert to pen this guide to the perfect Nashville bachelorette weekend. Enter Lisa and Erin of Bachelorette Boutique. When I first spoke with the co-owners of this Nashville-based bachelorette planning service, I instantly knew we shared the goal of helping women create modern, stylish bachelorette parties that appeal to the bride’s unique personality and tastes. I asked them to share some of their favorite spots in Nashville for a bachelorette bash. Need more help? Bachelorette Boutique offers instant online booking for fun services like flower crown classes, private concerts or a “champagne bathtub.”

Here are Lisa and Erin’s recommendations for the perfect Nashville bachelorette weekend.

Nashville Bachelorette Weekend Guide: Where to stay, what to do and where to eat and drink for a perfect Nashville bachelorette party

Live Music Everywhere

Nashville Bachelorette Weekend Guide: Where to stay, what to do and where to eat and drink for the perfect Nashville bacheloretteThere’s nothing quite like the sun on your face, a drink in your hand and the perfect soundtrack playing through your bachelorette weekend. In Music City the playlist never stops, with live bands in every bar and on every corner. Long known for its host of top country stars, Nashville has become much more than just country music, with all genres from rock to bluegrass and jazz taking center stage.

Where to Visit: Broadway’s honky tonk bars are a must-visit for your bachelorette party. Try Tootsie’s or The Stage for a rooftop vibe and classic country. For a more personal experience, take your group to the renowned Bluebird Cafe, or check out the calendar at Mercy Lounge—they host a ’90s cover band once a month!

Southern History & Charm

Nashville Bachelorette Weekend Guide: Where to stay, what to do and where to eat and drink for the perfect Nashville bachelorette

Beyond Nashville’s urban vibes, the city is filled with friendly Southerners, historic plantations and some truly Instagramable neighborhoods. For a unique experience, take your bachelorette party over to the historic Belle Meade Plantation for a wine tasting or pairing. This 1820s Southern mansion sits on 34 acres and will make you feel as though you’ve been whisked away to the Old South.

More History to Love: Grab dinner at The Standard at The Smith House, an 1840s townhouse with a hidden champagne cellar in the basement, or for a quick day trip, escape to Lynchburg for a tour of the original Jack Daniel’s distillery. Don’t forget to order a sweet tea!

Incredible Nightlife and Restaurants

Nashville Bachelorette Weekend Guide: Where to stay, what to do and where to eat and drink for the perfect Nashville bachelorette

From shrimp and grits to freshly baked biscuits, Nashville does Southern food right. On a recent trip, Anthony Bourdain heralded Nashville as a “food haven with the most awesome music in the history of the world, maybe even the universe.” Long story short, Nashville knows how to eat and it knows how to party.

What the Locals Know: Make your group reservations early since restaurants fill up fast. There’s a new restaurant to try every week, but recently we’re loving Le Sel for their brunch punch bowls, Butchertown Hall for shareable tapas and Biscuit Love for some truly amazing fresh biscuits, as the name implies.

Nashville Bachelorette Weekend Guide: Where to stay, what to do and where to eat and drink for the perfect Nashville bachelorette

For the best bachelorette spots to drink and hang out, grab a cocktail and a bowling ball at Pinewood Social, a rooftop rosé at the Thompson Hotel’s L.A. Jackson, bourbon and music at Skull’s Rainbow Room, or don your best boots and head to Broadway for all-night dancing. For our complete list of restaurant recommendations, check out our Nashville Restaurant Guide.

Bachelorette Insider Tips

With so many guides and reviews on what Nashville has to offer, it can be difficult to know where to start. If you’re interested in planning a bachelorette trip to Nashville, here are a few tips to make your stay unforgettable.

Nashville Bachelorette Weekend Guide: Where to stay, what to do and where to eat and drink for the perfect Nashville bachelorette

Hotels and AirBnb: Book your accommodations early! Nashville’s rooms book up quickly, so make sure to lock in your favorite spot as soon as you know your bachelorette party dates. Try to stay in Midtown, The Gulch or Germantown for the most convenient proximity to attractions. Many hotel rooms will allow up to four girls in a room and Airbnb houses can accommodate up to 12 or 15 guests. We love the 21c Museum Hotel for its art and design, and the Thompson Hotel for its prime location and amenities. For an indie experience, try East Nashville’s Urban Cowboy Bed & Breakfast, recently featured in Vogue.

Transportation: Nashville is teeming with Ubers and Lyfts and we’ve never actually waited more than 3 minutes for one to arrive at the door. The Nashville airport has a dedicated ride share pick-up area, and a trip to downtown’s core only takes about 15 minutes, sans traffic. If you’d rather skip that trip, groups can always grab a private SUV to transport them around in style. Champagne included.

Filling Your Weekend: Don’t waste a minute. There’s so much to see and do in Nashville that it can be easy to arrive overwhelmed or under-researched. Make a list of your top “must-visits” so you don’t get sucked into tourist traps while you’re here.

Nashville Bachelorette Weekend Guide: Where to stay, what to do and where to eat and drink for the perfect Nashville bachelorette

ABOUT BACHELORETTE BOUTIQUE

Bachelorette Boutique is a luxury planning company based in Nashville, Tennessee. Launched with a mission to modernize the bachelorette industry, they offer a completely online booking experience to save you stress and time. Let them create a custom weekend tailored around you, or book your own unique services online like flower crown-making classes, a private performance with a Nashville singer-songwriter, or the Champagne Bathtub: a real claw foot bathtub delivered to your door and filled with bottles of champagne. Learn more at www.luxurybachelorette.com.

Image credits from top: Veuve Clicquot, Bachelorette Boutique-Hazardous Taste, Biscuit Love, Pinewood Social, Thompson Nashville, Urban Cowboy B&B

Our Honeymoon in Spain: Cordoba

Andrew and I took a two-part honeymoon: We traveled to Scotland right after our wedding in October of 2016 (you can read about our trip to Scotland here) and then saved up our vacation days to travel to Spain for 10 days in May of 2017, starting with three days in Barcelona, which you can read about here. Next up: two days in Cordoba!

Since we did so much, I’m going to write separate posts about each destination and I’ll link them all below. Here is our 10-day Spain itinerary:

Three days in Barcelona
Two days in Córdoba
Two days in Ronda
Two days in Granada
One day in Gavà

And now, on to our Córdoba travel guide! We took a short flight from Barcelona to Seville on Vueling, a very affordable regional Spanish air carrier, then rented a car at the Seville airport. Many people were surprised that we didn’t choose to stay in Seville, and I’d love to see the city someday, but I really wanted to spend more time in Córdoba, so we decided to skip Seville on this trip.

  • Tip: If you need an automatic car (like we do), make sure you book one in advance! The majority of cars in Europe are manual, so you’ll need to reserve the automatic to make sure you get one! I also recommend choosing a small compact car. While the highways in Spain were excellent with nice wide and well paved roads, the roads in cities can be pretty narrow and having a smaller car will help you navigate any tight squeezes with a bit more confidence.

Here’s our Cordoba travel guide.

Travel guide for two days in Cordoba. This was the second stop on our 10-day honeymoon to Spain. Click for our full itinerary and recommendations!

Day 1

Our Hotel

We stayed at the Eurostars Palace in Cordoba. I’d give this hotel 4 stars out of 5. The hotel is located right outside of the old city and at the edge of a large city park. It is very conveniently located to all the major sights and the popular Victoria Market is just a few steps away. The hotel is very modern in design—it’s covered in this interesting steel structure with holes in it, which kind of obstructs the views, but also kind of looks cool. There is a nice little pool on the roof, and we also liked the rooftop bar. I’d say the one downside is that the hotel is a very popular event venue—we saw both a conference and a wedding while we were there. But I’d definitely recommend this hotel if you’re looking for a good central location with modern amenities.

The Eurostars Palace hotel in Cordoba, Spain. Click for our travel guide to two days in Cordoba, and our full 10-day trip to Spain!

Exploring Cordoba

Cordoba has so much charm and character and we really enjoyed just exploring the streets. It’s a small enough city to feel manageable and not overwhelming, but large enough to keep you busy for a long weekend. The streets are lined with colorful buildings and the window boxes are often bursting with flowers. Each square is paved with mosaics made of polished stone pebbles, and there’s a lovely promenade on the river. Really a charming place to visit and my second favorite city on our trip (favorite goes to Ronda, which I’ll write about next).

Cordoba, Spain. Click for our travel guide to two days in Cordoba, and our full 10-day trip to Spain! Tea shop, Cordoba, Spain. Click for our travel guide to two days in Cordoba, and our full 10-day trip to Spain! Cordoba, Spain. Click for our travel guide to two days in Cordoba, and our full 10-day trip to Spain! Cordoba, Spain. Click for our travel guide to two days in Cordoba, and our full 10-day trip to Spain! Cordoba, Spain. Click for our travel guide to two days in Cordoba, and our full 10-day trip to Spain!

La Mezquita

One of the reasons I wanted to travel to Andalusia was to see the Moorish architecture that is so unique to that region. La Mezquita is a perfect example of that. The site was originally a mosque, but was transformed into a cathedral after the Christians conquered the region in the 13th century. The combination of the two types of architecture is really stunning. You enter a hall filled with red-and-white striped arches, and can find tombs decorated with Catholic icons and statues lining the walls. At the center of the Mezquita, the architecture dramatically shifts to the Renaissance with a soaring domed ceiling decorated in white and gold relief. In other areas of the mosque-turned-cathedral, you can find gold-leaf Islamic designs and tile work. It’s truly a stunning combination of two very different design styles.

La Mezquita, Cordoba, Spain. Click for our travel guide to two days in Cordoba, and our full 10-day trip to Spain! La Mezquita, Cordoba, Spain. Click for our travel guide to two days in Cordoba, and our full 10-day trip to Spain! La Mezquita, Cordoba, Spain. Click for our travel guide to two days in Cordoba, and our full 10-day trip to Spain! La Mezquita, Cordoba, Spain. Click for our travel guide to two days in Cordoba, and our full 10-day trip to Spain! La Mezquita, Cordoba, Spain. Click for our travel guide to two days in Cordoba, and our full 10-day trip to Spain! La Mezquita, Cordoba, Spain. Click for our travel guide to two days in Cordoba, and our full 10-day trip to Spain!

Spanish-Asian Fusion and Oxtail Churros

By the time we got to Cordoba, Andrew and I were a little burned out on traditional Spanish tapas. I mean, I love Iberico ham and croquetas as much as the next person, but I can’t eat that every night. So we tried two modern Spanish restaurants during our stay in Cordoba and loved them both. The first, La Furgo, was a fusion restaurant that included Asian and French influences. We loved the dumplings, which were filled with traditional Japanese flavors but topped with Spanish ham and saffron threads. Our second night, we dined at Garum 2.1, a modern Spanish tapas restaurant. We had a ton of great dishes here, but our favorite was an oxtail churro with a bitter chocolate dipping sauce—yum! Both of these restaurants are near the river in a really nice area that’s less touristy than the streets right around La Mesquita and La Alcazar.

La Furgo restaurant, Cordoba, Spain. Click for our travel guide to two days in Cordoba, and our full 10-day trip to Spain!

Day 2

Alcázar de los Reyes Cristianos

The Alcazar is a medieval fortress that was one of the primary residences of Isabella I of Castile and Ferdinand II of Aragon. It’s well known for its stunning formal gardens, including sculpted topiaries and fountains. We visited the Alcazar on a Sunday, when they unfortunately close the doors at 3pm…and we got there at like 2pm, so we didn’t have much time to explore more than just the gardens. Whoops!

Alcazar de Cordoba, Spain. Click for our travel guide to two days in Cordoba, and our full 10-day trip to Spain! Alcazar de Cordoba, Spain. Click for our travel guide to two days in Cordoba, and our full 10-day trip to Spain! Alcazar de Cordoba, Spain. Click for our travel guide to two days in Cordoba, and our full 10-day trip to Spain! Alcazar de Cordoba, Spain. Click for our travel guide to two days in Cordoba, and our full 10-day trip to Spain! Fish at Alcazar de Cordoba, Spain. Click for our travel guide to two days in Cordoba, and our full 10-day trip to Spain!

Festival de los Patios

I specifically planned our visit to Cordoba to coincide with the Festival of the Patios. This festival is held in early May each year and residents around the city open their courtyards to the public and decorate them with gorgeous displays of flowers and plants. I’m a little bit of a voyeur when it comes to other people’s homes—I’m all about an open house—so being able to wander into people’s gardens around the city is like a perfect festival for me. You can grab a map to see which homes are participating, and there is also a pretty great website that alerts you to which patios are experiencing heavy traffic. Really helpful!

We decided to head to an area of the city away from the main tourist center to explore the Festival of the Patios, which was a great idea because we got to see more of the character of the city and the gardens we visited were a little less crowded.

The Festival of the Patios in Cordoba, Spain. Click for our travel guide to two days in Cordoba, and our full 10-day trip to Spain! The Festival of the Patios in Cordoba, Spain. Click for our travel guide to two days in Cordoba, and our full 10-day trip to Spain! The Festival of the Patios in Cordoba, Spain. Click for our travel guide to two days in Cordoba, and our full 10-day trip to Spain! The Festival of the Patios in Cordoba, Spain. Click for our travel guide to two days in Cordoba, and our full 10-day trip to Spain!

Next up: Two days in Ronda!

Our Honeymoon in Spain: Barcelona

Andrew and I took a two-part honeymoon: We traveled to Scotland right after our wedding in October of 2016 (you can read about our trip to Scotland here) and then saved up our vacation days to travel to Spain for 10 days in May of 2017, starting with three days in Barcelona.

I have been wanting to visit Spain for over a decade. It all started with a missed flight. In college, I studied abroad in London and my girlfriends and I would often take long-weekend trips around Europe. We had planned to visit a friend who was studying in Salamanca, Spain, and booked a flight on the low-cost air carrier Ryanair, departing from London’s Stansted airport, which I lovingly referred to as the seventh circle of hell. Well, let’s just say we did not budget enough time to fight through London’s rush-hour traffic to Stansted and we missed our flight. Since Ryanair only had one flight to our destination a day (this was almost a decade ago, so I have no idea what their flight schedules are like now), we had to scrap the trip since by the time we got to Spain we would have had less than 24 hours before we had to turn around and come right back. We consoled ourselves at the only Spanish restaurant we could find in London with paella and sangria.

Fast forward to 2017 and my dream of traveling to Spain finally became a reality. I spent a lot of time trying to decide which cities and regions we should visit in Spain. It is a huge country, and we really could not see everything we wanted to in 10 days. Conclusion: We will have to go back! Barcelona was at the top of my wish list because I’ve long been obsessed with Gaudí’s art and architecture, and I knew I wanted to visit the Andalusia region in the south of Spain for its unique Moorish influence. Here is our 10-day Spain itinerary:

Three days in Barcelona
Two days in Córdoba
Two days in Ronda
Two days in Granada
One day in Gavà

Since we did so much, I’m going to write separate posts about each destination and I’ll link them all above. First up, our three days in Barcelona!

Travel guide for three days in Barcelona. This was the first stop on our 10-day honeymoon in Spain. Click for our full itinerary and recommendations!

Day 1

Our Hotel

We stayed at the Hotel Catalonia Portal de l’Angel and I would give the hotel 3.5 out of 5 stars. Pros: A very central location within easy walking distance of both the Gothic Quarter and the Eixample neighborhoods, as well as a subway line. We also had a room with a large private balcony overlooking the back courtyard, which was the best feature of the hotel. We enjoyed sitting out on our patio in the evenings and sharing a glass of wine together before heading out for dinner. Cons: Though the location is very centralized, it is on a very busy shopping street with stores like Zara and H&M next door—not exactly a neighborhood with character. Also, I felt the service at the hotel was a little sub par for the price. As an example, when I asked for a corkscrew to open a bottle of wine, I was told that the hotel only had one, so I’d have to bring my bottle down to the bar to get the wine opened. I’m sorry, but it’s impossible that they only have one bottle opener… Overall, the hotel was a serviceable and comfortable base of operations for our stay in Barcelona.

The view from our balcony at the Hotel Catalonia Portal de l'Angel in Barcelona. We stayed here for three days in Barcelona during our 10-day honeymoon in Spain. Click for our full itinerary and recommendations! The view from our balcony at the Hotel Catalonia Portal de l'Angel in Barcelona. We stayed here for three days in Barcelona during our 10-day honeymoon in Spain. Click for our full itinerary and recommendations!

Dinner in the Gothic Quarter (+ My Gin Tonic Love Affair)

After a little rest to recover from our jet lag, we headed to the Gothic Quarter for dinner. It is true that most restaurants do not open until 7 or 8 o’clock at night. Andrew and I really didn’t have a problem adapting to this though. We just kind of moved all our meals back, and we also didn’t mind being the first people in a restaurant when it opened at 8pm. We had a very traditional tapas meal our first night at La Alcoba Azul, and it was one of my favorite restaurants that we stopped at in Barcelona. Highly recommended! We split jamón Ibérico (a must-have in Spain), manchego cheese and a few other tapas. I was also introduced to my new obsession: Spanish gin tonics.

You guys, gin and tonics in Spain are like nothing you have ever experienced. First of all, they are served in humongous glasses that look like a cross between a margarita glass and a red wine glass. Insane! Second, they are garnished with all kinds of fun extras, like pink peppercorns, thyme sprigs, star anise, orange peel, apple slices…it’s heaven! I had sooooo many gin tonics on this trip (lose the “and” when ordering in Spain).

  • Tip: Spain is a very cash-centric country! We stopped at a lot of cash-only restaurants and shops, so make sure you always have some on hand or you’ll miss out on great locations.

Tapas at La Alcoba Azul in the Gothic Quarter in Barcelona. We started our 10-day honeymoon in Spain with three days in Barcelona. Click for our full itinerary and recommendations!

Day 2

La Sagrada Familia

Our first stop on day two was La Sagrada Família, the basilica designed by Antoni Gaudí that is still under construction to this day—they have been working on it over 150 years!

  • Tip: Buy your tickets online ahead of time! Entrance to La Sagrada Família is timed. If you buy your tickets online, you can show up at your appointed entry time and get right in. If you wait to buy at the basilica, you will have to stand in a ticket line and then wait around for your entrance time, which could be an hour or more of waiting time before you even get to enter. Also, make sure to book a separate ticket to visit one of the two towers! This entrance is not included with the general ticket. You need a second ticket (also with a timed entry) to go up into the towers. We got the Top Views ticket package to see everything, and visited the tower on the Passion facade.

Each side of the basilica has its own character. The Nativity facade is intricately carved with elaborate animals, flowers and figures representing the holy family. It is perhaps the most traditional of the facades, with soft, flowing lines. Once you step inside, you enter a forest of white columns that soar up to a starburst ceiling above. The stained glass windows paint the eastern side of the interior in warm sunrise hues of red and orange, while the western side is bathed in twilight colors of blue and violet. The Passion facade was perhaps my favorite because of the modern, almost surreal style of the figures. They had the feeling of chess pieces come to life—incredibly striking and eerie.

The Passion facade of La Sagrada Familia in Barcelona. We started our 10-day honeymoon in Spain with three days in Barcelona. Click for our full itinerary and recommendations! Light streaming through the stained glass at La Sagrada Familia in Barcelona. We started our 10-day honeymoon in Spain with three days in Barcelona. Click for our full itinerary and recommendations! The interior of La Sagrada Familia in Barcelona. We started our 10-day honeymoon in Spain with three days in Barcelona. Click for our full itinerary and recommendations! The Passion facade of La Sagrada Familia in Barcelona. We started our 10-day honeymoon in Spain with three days in Barcelona. Click for our full itinerary and recommendations! The Passion facade of La Sagrada Familia in Barcelona. We started our 10-day honeymoon in Spain with three days in Barcelona. Click for our full itinerary and recommendations! Detail on the Passion facade of La Sagrada Familia in Barcelona. We started our 10-day honeymoon in Spain with three days in Barcelona. Click for our full itinerary and recommendations! The view from the Passion tower of La Sagrada Familia in Barcelona. We started our 10-day honeymoon in Spain with three days in Barcelona. Click for our full itinerary and recommendations!

Gaudi Houses: La Pedrera and Casa Batllo

After our visit to La Sagrada Família, we walked into the stylish Eixample neighborhood to visit La Pedrera and Casa Batlló, both located on the busy Passeig de Gràcia. The road is a nice stroll, akin to walking down Fifth Avenue in New York City, past designer shop windows and beautiful apartment facades. We visited the interior of Le Pedrera, but were feeling a bit tired after all our walking in the hot sun, so we opted to skip the interior of Casa Batlló. My favorite part of Le Pedrera was the rooftop, which is dotted with tiled sculptures that look like giant rooks, and an undulating layout that reminds you of shifting sands.

La Pedrera in Barcelona. We started our 10-day honeymoon in Spain with three days in Barcelona. Click for our full itinerary and recommendations! The rooftop of La Pedrera in Barcelona. We started our 10-day honeymoon in Spain with three days in Barcelona. Click for our full itinerary and recommendations! The rooftop of La Pedrera in Barcelona. We started our 10-day honeymoon in Spain with three days in Barcelona. Click for our full itinerary and recommendations! Visiting La Pedrera in Barcelona. We started our 10-day honeymoon in Spain with three days in Barcelona. Click for our full itinerary and recommendations! La Pedrera in Barcelona. We started our 10-day honeymoon in Spain with three days in Barcelona. Click for our full itinerary and recommendations!

The exterior of Casa Batllo was absolutely gorgeous. It is studded with a rainbow-colored mosaic that shimmers in the sun like dragon scales.

Casa Batllo in Barcelona. We started our 10-day honeymoon in Spain with three days in Barcelona. Click for our full itinerary and recommendations! Detail of the exterior of Casa Batllo in Barcelona. We started our 10-day honeymoon in Spain with three days in Barcelona. Click for our full itinerary and recommendations!

Pintxos on Calle Blai

For the evening, we headed to the Poble Sec neighborhood to do a tapas bar crawl on Calle Blai. All of the restaurants on this road specialize in a type of tapa called pintxos or pinchos, which is a bite-sized tapa typically served on a slice of bread and speared with a toothpick. You help yourself from a bar lined with jewel-like pintxos, then the waitress counts up your toothpicks at the end of your meal to know how much to charge you. Our favorite was La Tasqueta de Blai, but we also liked Blai 9. It’s fun to stroll down the street, grab a caña (small beer) or vino blanco and a few pintxos at each bar.

Pintxos at La Tasqueta de Blai in the Poble Sec neighborhood of Barcelona. We started our 10-day honeymoon in Spain with three days in Barcelona. Click for our full itinerary and recommendations! Pintxos on Calle Blai in the Poble Sec neighborhood of Barcelona. We started our 10-day honeymoon in Spain with three days in Barcelona. Click for our full itinerary and recommendations!

Day 3

Park Guell

For our last day in Barcelona, we took the subway up to Park Güell, another Gaudí must-see spot. This sprawling park was originally designed as a planned community, and highlights include some of Gaudi’s best mosaic work and whimsical slanted avenues.

  • Tip: Just like for Sagrada Familia, you should purchase your tickets in advance online for Park Güell. There are two sections of the park: the free-access area, which you can explore anytime at your leisure, and the Monumental Zone, which requires a timed entry ticket. All of Gaudí’s best architectural works are in the Monumental Zone, so you definitely want to make the effort to visit this section. I recommend arriving 30 minutes to an hour before your timed entry time to explore the free-access zone before entering the Monumental Zone.

Park Guell in Barcelona. We started our 10-day honeymoon in Spain with three days in Barcelona. Click for our full itinerary and recommendations! Park Guell in Barcelona. We started our 10-day honeymoon in Spain with three days in Barcelona. Click for our full itinerary and recommendations! Park Guell in Barcelona. We started our 10-day honeymoon in Spain with three days in Barcelona. Click for our full itinerary and recommendations! Park Guell in Barcelona. We started our 10-day honeymoon in Spain with three days in Barcelona. Click for our full itinerary and recommendations! Park Guell in Barcelona. We started our 10-day honeymoon in Spain with three days in Barcelona. Click for our full itinerary and recommendations! Park Guell in Barcelona. We started our 10-day honeymoon in Spain with three days in Barcelona. Click for our full itinerary and recommendations! Park Guell in Barcelona. We started our 10-day honeymoon in Spain with three days in Barcelona. Click for our full itinerary and recommendations! Park Guell in Barcelona. We started our 10-day honeymoon in Spain with three days in Barcelona. Click for our full itinerary and recommendations!

Still to come: Two days in Cordoba, two days in Ronda, two days in Granada and one day in Gava.

Completely Custom Bridal Shower Invitations with Basic Invite

Basic Invite is one of the few websites that allows you to customize almost every element of the invitation. I’m not just talking the font color and type here. You can literally change the color of the background and each design element to perfectly match your party theme. Below I’ve created three inspiration boards to show you the versatility of Basic Invite’s bridal shower invitations—a Kate Spade bridal shower, a Paris boudoir bridal shower and a tropical bridal shower. P.S. Brides, you’ll find equally customizable wedding invitations, wedding save the dates and more!

Kate Spade Bridal Shower

For this Kate Spade bridal shower inspiration board, I left the Basic Invite Kate Spade invitation exactly as designed since the color palette was already 100% perfect for the Kate Spade theme. Literally every element of this invitation can be customized though, from the color of the stripes to the tones of the flowers and leaves. The no-fail combination for a Kate Spade bridal shower is black and white stripes + pink flowers. Here are a few tips to put together a gorgeous Kate Spade bridal shower.

  • Adorn cookies or macarons with stripes, polka dots and cute sayings like “Pop, Fizz, Clink” and “Eat Cake for Breakfast.”
  • A bold black and white striped look for the bride is the perfect twist on traditional bridal shower white.
  • Add sparkle with a pink sequin table runner and glitter-dipped champagne glasses.
  • Don’t forget lots of pink blooms, like peonies and roses. And check out this cute bridal shower balloon game to complete the party.

Plan a Kate Spade bridal shower with these ideas. Start with a completely custom Kate Spade bridal shower invitation from Basic Invite, then add lots of black and white stripes and pink accents. Click for more ideas!

Image credits: Basic Invite Floral Stripe Bridal Shower Invitation, Kate Spade cookies and macarons, polka dot and striped straws, striped bridal shower look, balloon bridal shower game, pink sequin Kate Spade table decor, Mrs. fireplace decor, glitter-dipped champagne glasses

Paris Boudoir Bridal Shower

As the city of love, Paris is the perfect inspiration for a bridal shower. I used a French patisserie as my staring point and incorporated a classy and feminine boudoir theme to give the event a little extra French flair. I started with this Basic Invite Paris bridal shower invitation, which I customized with a few tweaks to perfectly fit the event. I updated the font, switched the bride’s name to a matte gold and added a blue accent.

  • Ask your guests to dress in comfortable and chic boudoir attire—that could mean tulle skirts and floral corsets or silky pajamas with flowing robes.
  • Set up a flower crown crafting bar or arrange for a class so that guests can create beautiful headpieces of their own.
  • French macarons are a must, of course. A signature drink like this refreshing rosé cocktail is the perfect complement.

Does the bride love Paris? Plan her a Parisian boudoir bridal shower with these ideas! Start with a completely custom Paris bridal shower invitation from Basic Invite, then add a flower crown crafting bar, a rose cocktail and plenty of macarons of course. Click for more ideas!

Image credits: Basic Invite Paris Bridal Shower Invitation, boudoir bridal shower attire, white Parisian salon decor, rosé cocktail, bridal shower slumber party, macaron bar, flower crown crafting bar

Tropical Bridal Shower

For this last inspiration board, I wanted to show you just how powerful the Basic Invite editing tool is, so I literally changed EVERY single color on their Garden Party Bridal Shower invitation. The original is on the left and my updated version is on the right.

Completely custom bridal shower invitations from Basic Invite. The invitation on the left is the original and you can see every element has been customized on the right! Perfect for a garden party bridal shower or tropical bridal shower. Click for more inspiration.

My new vibrant colors gave the Garden Party Bridal Shower Invitation from Basic Invite a more tropical vibe, perfect for a summer bridal shower. Here are a few more tips for putting together the perfect tropical bridal shower. Plus, check out our Pinterest board for more ideas.

  • You’ve seen a mimosa bar at every bridal shower—switch it up with a sangria bar!
  • Incorporate tropical flowers, succulents and summer fruits like pineapples and watermelon into your decor for a lush summertime vibe.
  • Serve fresh, light dishes like summer fruit salad in a coconut shell or watermelon popsicles.

Plan a tropical bridal shower with these ideas: Start with a completely custom bridal shower invitation from Basic Invite, add a sangria bar and decorate with plenty of fresh summer fruits and flowers

Image credits: Basic Invite Garden Party Bridal Shower Invitation, palm tree balloons, sangria bar, pineapple piñata, watermelon popsicles, tropical table setting, coconut summer fruit bowls

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