I Do! (Not Know Where to Begin) Month 1: Finding My Bride Tribe

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Welcome back friends!

Today we’re going to talk about a subject near and dear to my heart: picking your bridal party. If I’m being honest, this is something I’ve thought long and hard about for years. And in that time, a lot of people have changed on the list! When we decided to keep the wedding small, I knew that it also meant that I would want to keep my bridal party small. I have so many amazing friends that I would love to have stand by my side for my big day, but if I had them all up there, who would be our guests?!

All wrapped up!

All wrapped up!

There are a lot of politics involved, and I really didn’t want to deal with that. I know we’re going to deal with that when it comes to trimming down the guest list. This should be a fun and simple choice. Traditionally you don’t need to pick your bridesmaids until the 9-12 month mark. But seeing as we’re two years out, I’m stretching the timeline a bit and didn’t want to wait that long (especially because they already knew!). That’s one of my favorite parts about having all this time before the wedding, I can really take my time to ensure that I’m doing things exactly how I want, and I have way more flexibility in when they get done. You can see our traditional one year timeline here and my modified two year timeline that I’m following here! So the decision came down to this: who am I the closest with? Who are those people that I talk to constantly and trust with my life? Like I said, there are so many great friends who would be wonderful bridesmaids, but three people were miles ahead here. My sister, my cousin (who is like a second sister), and my best friend for as long as I can remember (who is also like another sister).

At first I didn’t like the idea of having an odd number of bridesmaids, but I decided that the number isn’t what matters. I don’t have anyone else that I would put on that same level and if I started to branch out, I felt like I would get into that territory where I could potentially hurt someone’s feelings. I know it’s no fun to expect to be in someone’s bridal party and then not get asked. So by keeping it nice and small, I felt really confident in my ladies. Not that I need to justify my choices to anyone, but sometimes with the politics of wedding planning, it really feels like you do! I know that people will look at my bridal party and think “oh yeah, that makes total sense.”

Just a little something fun!

Just a little something fun!

So this was all my thought process before I even had that ring on my finger. Which meant that they all knew it and once we were engaged, I had to backpedal a little bit! Even though they knew I would be asking them, I still wanted to get them each a little something special because you only ask your girls to be your bridesmaids once! So to Etsy I went. I went personalized everything, because why not. Cute little boxes with their names on them, makeup bags with their names on them, knot bracelets with their initial on them, and probably the most perfect card I could ever find. “Now act surprised like you had no idea this was coming.” I’ll take three, please.

I think it’s so fun to get your girls a little something, especially knowing all the time and energy they’re going to be putting into helping you with your big day. Nothing crazy, but just a little something that says “I appreciate you!” I’m so lucky to have three amazing ladies to make up my tribe and so happy they all said “yes” to standing by my side! That’s a wrap for the month one breakdowns, but be sure to stay tuned because we’re only a couple weeks away from diving into month two and all things guest list, photographer, and more!

Create A Bright and Beautiful Summer Wedding

Summer weddings are magical with the glorious sunshine and beautiful weather. Incorporating touches of color with flowers and fruit adds even more vibrancy to your wedding! We put together an inspiration board to help give you some new ideas on how to add some more flare to your special day. It’s filled with some of our favorite bouquets, decorations, cakes and more for this summer season. We love the look of starting off with neutral base colors and then adding a splash of bright color on top to create a beautiful contrast. By having neutral colors in addition to the bright ones, the pieces aren’t too distracting and come together to make the perfect summer wedding!  

The Total Budget Breakdown: Bride vs. Bridesmaid

Image Source: Sanctuary Weddings

Image Source: Sanctuary Weddings

It’s no secret that weddings aren’t cheap for anyone involved. Which can make for some confusion, uneasiness, and even awkward conversations when it comes to knowing who is financially responsible for what. While some brides may shift things, there are general etiquette rules most choose to follow. So, if you’re a bride looking for some guidance, or a potential bridesmaid trying to figure out if you can afford to stand by your girl on her big day, we’re here to help debunk the mystery!

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Typically, bridesmaids will be in charge of covering the costs of their own dresses and alterations. To try and keep costs low, see if a bride is willing to do a dress rental instead of having her girls purchase expensive dresses that they may never wear again! Many brides are trending towards Rent the Runway for their bridesmaids as they can have more upscale dresses at a fraction of the cost. If that’s not the direction a bride wants to go, see if she can pick a color and let each bridesmaid pick the style dress that’s in their budget.

 
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Once again, accessories and shoes are traditionally paid by the bridesmaids. Luckily, these are things you can most likely use time and time again. These items can fall anywhere in a large range on the price scale, so it’s definitely one of those areas that you want to discuss with the bride ahead of time to determine a budget to stick to.

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The financial responsibility of the bachelorette party falls on the bridesmaids. Planning a bachelorette party can easily grow into a monster of costs, so once again, discuss with your fellow bridesmaids to set a budget to stick to! Bachelorette parties don’t need to be a huge, expensive production. Traveling to a big destination isn’t realistic for most people’s budget. Consider a staycation or a fun girls weekend roadtrip instead of jetting off somewhere.

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When it comes to traveling to the location of the wedding, that falls solely on the bridesmaid. This would be the same if you were just attending as a guest. The couple is paying for enough as it is, it’s unrealistic for everyone’s travel to be in the budget for the weekend! If the wedding is an intimate destination wedding that is out of your budget, sit down and have a discussion with the bride and try to visit different options that may help you get there for a lower cost.

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As with the travel to and from the wedding, lodging for the weekend also falls on the bridesmaids’ shoulders. Ideally the couple will have secured a hotel block for the wedding guests offering a discounted rate on rooms to help keep costs lower. If you’re going solo, try to share a room with another bridesmaid to cut costs even more!

Image Source: Simone Lennon

Image Source: Simone Lennon

 
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Even as a bridesmaid, you should still be getting the newlyweds a present. Your presence isn’t present enough in this case! Check in with the other bridesmaids and see if there’s a specific item you can split and gift together. This gets the couple something special while minimizing individual costs.

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So this is where it depends on what route the couple chooses… if there’s a traditional bridal shower, the responsibility falls on the bridesmaids. However, if the couple opts for a Jack and Jill, they’re financially responsible. Check out our guide on throwing a Jack and Jill on a budget if that’s the route you’re going! If the bridesmaids are throwing a bridal shower, there are many ways to keep costs low and usually female relatives (mothers, aunts, etc.) will also pitch in and cover a lot of the costs.

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It’s the bride’s responsibility to pay for the florals for the big day. This includes bouquets for the bridesmaids and the boutonnieres for the groomsmen. Most couples will choose a floral package that covers all of the needs for the big day. Brides beware… the flowers will be one of the largest expenses of your day! To keep costs limited, pick in-season flowers and focus on one or two special elements you want incorporated. Unfortunately, that floral arch you saved on Pinterest is probably $3,000… aka your entire floral budget.

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It’s the big day! How’s everyone getting from point a to point b? If your party is getting ready for the ceremony at a separate location, it’s on you as the bride to cover the cost of transportation to the event. Same goes for your reception being at a different venue than your ceremony. Many brides will ride in style, choosing a limo or town car to transport themselves and their crew to the festivities!

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If, as a bride, you are requiring your bridesmaids to get their hair and makeup professionally done, the financial responsibility falls on you. If the bride is not requiring her bridesmaids to get their hair and makeup done professionally, yet a bridesmaid would like to get done up by a professional, then the costs fall solely on her shoulders.

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Your girls are spending a pretty penny to support you on your big day, so show your appreciation with a small gift of gratitude! This can be something simple like a swag bag when you ask them to stand with you for the big day or maybe gifting them each a matching accessory to wear the day of the wedding. Nothing big and fancy is needed, but a small token is a great way to thank them for all they do!

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If you’re in a situation where the bridesmaids need to be on location the evening before the wedding, the lodging costs fall on the bride. Most likely this will be for the rehearsal dinner, but if your bridesmaids were attending your big day as a guest instead of in your bridal party, they wouldn’t have to be there the night before or spend the money on an additional hotel room.

Image Source: You & Your Wedding

Image Source: You & Your Wedding

While these are great guidelines to follow, it’s important to always sit down with your crew and discuss a budget and any financial concerns you have. Wedding planning is stressful enough without the lack of communication, so make everyone’s lives easier and be open and honest to give everyone the best chance of creating a magical day!

Be my Bridesmaid? Things to Consider Before Saying "I Do"

Nothing is more honorable than standing beside the bride as she says “I do” to her beloved husband; however, there are numerous things to consider before saying “I do” to becoming a bridesmaid. Being a bridesmaid is similar to having a part time job, and it will cost you both your time and money. Even though being part of a bridal party is rewarding and fun, here are your top concerns when deciding if you can take on such responsibility.


When agreeing to be a bridesmaid, it is expected that your wallet will feel some of the pressure. Between buying a bridesmaid dress, contributing to the bridal shower and bachelorette party, and possibly paying to get pampered the day of the wedding (hair and nails), it’s not a cheap journey. 

As a bridesmaid, it is expected that you attend the necessary wedding-related events, such as helping the bride pick out her dress, engagement party, the bridal shower, bachelorette party, etc. If you live far away, it is understandable to miss some events, but you should still expect to spend some time helping the bride and other bridesmaids plan.

Although you are part of the bride tribe, the big day is all about the bride, not the bridesmaids. With that being said, if you pick out a bridesmaid dress you absolutely love but the bride doesn’t agree with the style or color, or you pick a venue and the bride disagrees, be prepared to hear her say “no.” Although (hopefully) not every bride is a bridezilla, it is important to remember to listen to the bride, as it is her special day and wants everything to be a certain way. 

PV’s Forever21 Wedding Shop Faves

We’re so excited about the addition of a wedding shop to Forever21. The shop is broken down into eight categories, including options for bridesmaids, wedding guests, bridal showers and more. This shop is perfect for the everyday girl looking to find a great piece without the high price tag! Here are some of our faves.


Image courtesy of: Forever 21

Image courtesy of: Forever 21


Prefer a short dress? No problem. Our pick is the flounce bodycon dress. Don’t let the fact the term bodycon scare you off – this dress keeps it classy with adorable flounce sleeves and a nice neutral color that would look great on anyone. It sells for $29.90.

Bridesmaids

This surplice front maxi dress is simple yet elegant. Its rich color works great for a pop of color in a fall wedding. The best part? It rings in at $22.90.


Image courtesy of: Forever 21

Image courtesy of: Forever 21

Image courtesy of: Forever 21

Image courtesy of: Forever 21


This strappy sequined number works great for someone looking for something a little bit more contemporary and flashy. It’s a customer favorite and currently on sale for $22.99.


Wedding Guests

This collection has some great options for fall weddings. This first option is a cool mash-up of styles, with a high neckline and low hitting flounce sleeves. The black is classic, but we also love the maroon! The Rare London Open-Shoulder Dress is a slightly higher price point, ringing in at $58.00.


Image courtesy of: Forever 21

Image courtesy of: Forever 21


The Layered Chiffon Dress almost has a Gatsby-esque feel to it. Cute and simple, we would pair this dress with some bold jewelry and killer heels. Another reasonably priced option, coming in at $29.90.

Image courtesy of: Forever 21

Image courtesy of: Forever 21


We’re obsessed with this Contemporary Cape-Sleeve Dress! Modern and fun, coming in a gorgeous hunter green that’s perfect for fall. To top it off, it’ll only set you back $24.90!

Image courtesy of: Forever 21

Image courtesy of: Forever 21


Bridal Showers

This Contemporary Crochet Dress is to die for. Just because it’s your wedding shower, doesn’t mean you can’t still have a killer dress! Regularly $27.90, the sale price of $18.99 gives you something extra to celebrate.


Image courtesy of: Forever 21

Image courtesy of: Forever 21

Image courtesy of: Forever 21

Image courtesy of: Forever 21

Attending a wedding shower? Keep it casual and fun with a Floral Print Keyhole Romper. The sheer overlay and floral pattern gives it a nice look, and makes it easy to dress up with a fabulous belt and some flashy jewelry. It’s a bargain at $19.90.

bridal Boxes

Our #newestobsession is gift boxes! On the hunt for a gift that can express how grateful you are to your friends and family for taking part in your wedding? Custom gift boxes are the answer! Here is our round up for your viewing pleasure. Start pinning!

Photo courtesy of: Mirelle Carmichael  Designed by:  Noonan's Wine Country Designs

Photo courtesy of: Mirelle Carmichael

Designed by: Noonan's Wine Country Designs

Image courtesy of:  Loved and Found

Image courtesy of: Loved and Found

Image courtesy of:  Teak & Twine

Image courtesy of: Teak & Twine

Image courtesy of:  Box Fox

Image courtesy of: Box Fox

We wanted to learn more about the process of making these gorgeous gift boxes so we want to the source. We were lucky enough to hear from Torrance Hart, founder of Teak and Twine.

 
 
Torrence Hart, Teak and Twine

Torrence Hart, Teak and Twine

PV: How did you start Teak & Twine? What was your inspiration?

TH: My journey to Teak & Twine was less about a "eureka!" moment and more like a series of small realizations.  I spent the last eight years in the Air Force.  I loved it, but I think I always secretly kept one eye open for something I could dive into both as a wannabe entrepreneur and as a wannabe creative.

I started thinking about how the internet had made gifting easy, but had taken a lot of the personalization and love out of it. I am also a branding and packaging junkie, and I got the idea to create gifts where the packaging of each element fit together with the rest of the contents to create a unified aesthetic.  The more I thought about these two ideas, the more I started thinking that crazy-seeming question:"how about me?"  

A year later, we have had the honor of creating over 3,000 gifts for our wonderful clients; not only wedding welcome gifts that tell the story of a couple and a location, but client gifts for photographers and planners, corporate gifts, and special occasion gifts for clients to express everything from "congratulations!" to "I'm thinking of you."

PV: How do you help your clients design custom gift boxes? Where is the best place to start?

TH: My team and I love working with our clients to ensure that each gift is a perfect reflection of the event, the relationship, and the recipient.  When working with a professional on a custom client gift, we love hearing about your branding, the mood and emotions behind your brand, where you are from or usually work, and what your clients are like.  When we are making a gift for a client's friends or family, we ask about the recipients' favorite colors, scents, hobbies and places- anything that might help us get a feel for that person and what they love. We want each element we pick to be something that is going to be treasured, enjoyed, and make the gift feel like it was created especially for them!  

PV: What's your favorite part of designing?

TH: Our business is somewhat unique in that almost 100% of our clients are purchasing something for someone other than themselves. It is such a pleasure to work with folks who come to us from such a place of generosity and gratitude. Our favorite thing to hear is: "Wow, that gift is so my mom!" or "You really captured my brand perfectly."  I also love being a part of a surprise-it is SO exciting and rewarding!