bridesmaid tips

Tuesdays with Ty - Bachelorette Bash

Since most all of my friends are already married and never get out on the town anymore everyone was looking forward to getting away and having a fun girls weekend!!  My Matron of Honor, Nancy, is the ultimate planner.  We started talking bachelorette weekend not long after we got engaged.  We threw around some ideas, but really there was no doubt where I wanted to go...Nashville, Tennessee!!  It has a super fun music scene, great restaurants, shopping and is only a 3 hour drive.  Since I used to live there it holds a special place in my heart. Nancy worked with Elizabeth Henderson of Polka Dot Papers to come up with the CUTEST  invitation ever.  She also included an itenerary and cost info to all of the other girls with the invitation. 

We started off driving down together and checked into the chic Hotel Indigo.  After settling in we went to ultra yummy Lime and had the best margaritas and sangria ever!  From there we hit the town for some live music and dancing at Tin Roof and Legends Corner.  Twirl Girl, Angela, sent me the cutest sash to wear out (pictured below)!!  It was even personalized in our wedding colors!  Thanks, Ange!

Sunday was a day of brunch and shopping at the best spots in Nashville.  We decided to fore go another night out on the town and have a slumber party!  We ordered pizza, sipped champagne and had my "personal" shower.  It was just what we all needed.

It was the most wonderful weekend filled with friendship and laughter.  I cannot thank my friends enough for taking the time away from their own families to travel to Nashville to celebrate with me. 

Bridesmaid Bachelorette Party Tips:

  •  When planning, think of what the bride will want to do.  My friends chose all of my favorite things and it was absolutely perfect.  If she's not into going out...then plan a night in!
  • It does not matter what you do or how much money you spend, it is the time together that will be remembered the most.
  • Make something memorable - my friends all chipped in and made me a picture book of us through the years.  My Matron of Honor headed up the project and collected pictures and made the book online.  It is priceless and I will always treasure it:)

Happy Planning!


Tuesdays with Ty - Bronzed Bride

It is about this time every Spring when the sun dresses and tank tops come out of hibernation that I wish I had a naturally dark complexion...or had just gotten back from a week at the beach!  But since both of those are not true I have officially started my self tanning experiment.

I decided to start experimenting early so I can have the process down pat just in time for the I can be a perfectly bronzed bride.  Luckily, one of our Twirl brides is a manager at Fusion Tanning Studios here in Lexington and offered me great advice.  I have done 2 self tanning sessions so far in the Mystic Tan booth and am very pleased with the results!  Here is what I found to work best:

  • Take a shower and exfoliate before you go.
  • DO purchase the little foot bottom covers to stand on.  My feet were HILARIOUS the first time.  Yuck!
  • Use LOTS of the barrier cream on your hands.  Apparently I didn't use enough the first time and my hands were not pretty.  My second time I asked how much to use and they were perfect.
  • Do not shower or sweat the night you go (good excuse for not working out:)
  • I do recommend going in the evening...the smell is a little strange.  I think it's more of a self-conscious thing, but still.  They also have scents you can add, I am going to try that next time!
  • Start with a light application...better safe than sorry!  The first time I did the lightest version and second added a "bronze boost".  I definitely recommend the boost!

While it sounds like a lot of hassle, it really is not.  It only takes about 10-15 minutes total time.  I was very reluctant at first because I had bad experiences when the spray tan first came out a few years ago, but things have drastically improved since then.  I love the results and can't wait to go again!  You will feel tan and beautiful like you have just spent a day at the beach.

Fusion Tanning Studios also has bridal party packages that can benefit both bridesmaids and brides!  Ask your local tanning salon if they don't mention it! 

Bridesmaid tip:  If your bride has mentioned trying self tanning chip in and get her a package to try it out.  It would make a great personal shower gift:)

Happy Tanning!


Tuesdays with Ty - Keeping your engagement ring sparkly

After getting the engagement ring of my dreams I hardly ever wanted to take it off...whether to shower, sleep, exercise or anything!  My ring has become a permanent fixture on my hand.  With that much wear it is bound to get a little dingy ever once in a while, so I did some research on how to keep it sparkling just like the day Brandon slipped it on my finger!

When to take it off:  Jewelers will tell you to take it off to exercise, shower, sleep...but let's be realistic.  I take mine off to shower, when I am cooking and using my hands in meat, cleaning with chemicals,  and I would if I worked outside (but that doesn't really happen). 

Cleaning:  I clean my ring about once a week.  It doesn't have to be anything special.  A toothbrush with soft bristles and a small bowl of warm, soapy water will do just fine.  Many jewelry stores also sell a container of jewelry cleaner with a small brush that is also convenient.  Also remember to stop up the sink anytime you have your ring off around an open drain!

Care:  Take your ring into your jeweler once or twice a year to have the setting checked.  This will prevent the prongs being loosened due to wear and losing your diamond!  A few hours without it is better than a tragedy.

White Gold:  You may or may not know that white gold is simply yellow gold plated with rhodium.  If your ring is white gold you may notice after a while that it is not as shiny as it once was.  This just means it is time for your ring to have the rhodium refreshed and sometimes is required twice a year.  This is also a good time to have the prongs checked and have it professionally cleaned. 

Platinum:  Rings in a platinum setting may just need to be buffed every once in a while to refresh their shine.  Your jeweler can also take care of this for you. 

Bridesmaid Tip:  When your friends get engaged get them a goodie bag and include jewelry cleaner and a ring holder in it:)  They will be two things she won't want to be without!

Happy Planning!



Tuesdays with Ty - Wedding Invitations

Selecting your save the date cards and invitations are very important in setting the tone for your big day!  Brides these days have a ton of options to choose from and that can make it more difficult.  After  your colors, theme, venue and time are selected it is your choice on whether to send a save the date.  Personally, we decided to save a bit of money and fore go the save the date.    That being said, I have received so many cute options before!  Refrigerator magnets, Christmas cards...even a save the date via Facebook...yes, you read that right Facebook is taking over the world! 

In order to get an idea of what style you like look at different planning blogs and websites.  For example, Style Me Pretty has gorgeous pictures of real weddings and lists the vendors they use.  There are also some preferred vendors listed so you can browse their websites and see what you fall in love with and find your personal style.

Personally, I am mix between traditional and fun and I think that reflects perfectly in our invitation.  Luckily, I have a dear friend, Elizabeth Henderson with Polka Dot Papers, that has been helping me with invitations for years now.  In our meeting I told her my preliminary ideas and also came prepared with how many invitations we needed and when we wanted to get them in the mail (8 weeks prior to the date).   She produced some samples for me and we chose the font style and look we liked best!  I LOVE what she came up with and it perfectly incorporates our style and colors without going overboard.  One other thing we did to save a bit of money is a reply postcard!  This saves having to buy another envelope and postcard postage is about half of what a normal stamp costs.  If you are tech saavy, you can set up a wedding website and request guests to RSVP via internet!  One of my New York friends did this last year and it was too cool!

The next question calligraphy or not calligraphy??  While it is traditional and gorgeous, we took an easier route and are having Polka Dot Papers print the outside and inside envelopes for us.  Technology makes this super simple these days via an Excel Spreadsheet and mail merge.  This will save us a ton of time and money, but still look nice and match the font on our invitation.

Bridesmaid Tip: Offer to help your bride with the stuffing/stamping of the invitations!  Have a girls night...pop open a bottle of wine and enjoy!  This will take a load off of your bride's shoulders and give you an excuse for a girls night too:)

Happy Planning!


Tuesdays with Ty - Wedding Shower Time

Friday was my very first wedding shower! My dear friend Hillary and her mother hosted "A Taste of Tuscany with Ty" at the best Italian restaurant in Lexington, Portofino.  It was only appropriate for Hillary (8 months prego, BTW) to host an Italian themed party, since her family is Italian. 

Upon entering the cozy Wine Room, the centerpieces featured bright fuchsia flowers and grapes in a clear round bowl with wine corks in the bottom.  Each arrangement had Italian wedding wishes on a card as well.   The place cards were all placed in wine corks as well and had Italian sayings on them. We all enjoyed a fabulous dinner and then devoured the favors of Italian kisses, chocolate covered grapes and Italian Confetti for dessert!

I must admit it was quite strange to be the one finally in the spot light opening the gifts and having pictures taken...but it was too much fun!!  The generosity and love you feel from your friends and family is amazing.  Hillary and Mary certainly outdid themselves and pulled off the perfectly planned shower.

Bridesmaid Tips that will make your shower outstanding:

  • Select a theme and stick with it.  It will help you stay consistent and make everything memorable.
  • Purchase thank you notes for the bride so she is prepared to send them immediately following the shower (Hillary even addressed them all for me!)
  • Have someone write down all the gifts and who they are from so the bride has it all together for thank you notes.
  • Do not go overboard on the shower games.  We just did one for the door prize...if anyone wants a copy I am happy to send:)

Bride tips:

  • Take a small hostess gift to show your appreciation for the person having the shower for you.  It does not have to be anything fancy...just thoughtful.
  • Send your thank you notes as soon as possible!  This is very important and appreciated by everyone.  They don't have to be long, just to let them know you appreciate their generosity.
  • Savor every minute of this time!!

Happy Planning!


Tuesdays with Ty - Planning the Honeymoon

On these cold, snowy days in Kentucky I am longing for tropical breezes and sunshine!  What better time to plan our honeymoon??!! 

Since we were pretty much snowed in yesterday, Brandon and I started researching honeymoon spots and weighing our pros and cons for each location.  Where do you begin, you may ask??  We started with deciding what kind of trip we want...a relaxing, tropical get-away where we can lay on the beach with a few good books and not worry about anything other than what fruity daiquiri to try next or where to eat that night.   There are lots of options out there depending on what type honeymoon you want.  We won't have more than a week due to his work schedule and mine with Twirl, so somewhere far, far away isn't ideal for us.  We are sticking with somewhere within a 4-5 hour flight so the relaxation can begin right away!  That being said, we will end up in either Mexico or the Caribbean!

There are TONS of great options out there for helping you plan if you are doing it on your own.  You can always go the Sandals All-Inclusive route - they have tons of great locations and know how to treat honeymooners.  My best friend just went to Sandals St. Lucia and loved every minute of it.  There are usually local representatives you can speak with about different options and they will help tailor your trip to exactly what you want.

Travelzoois another great website for deals on trips.  Yesterday I found a trip to Playa del Carmen Mexico to a great resort for a heck of a deal!  I also found a 6 day trip to the Amalfi coast of Italy for an unbelievable price.  If we had more time, believe me we would be in Italy!  My suggestion if you find any hotel on a deal website like this is to look it up on TripAdvisor and read the traveler reviews on everything.  You can usually get a good feel of how the resort will treat you, how the food is, etc.  That way you can make an informed decision on your trip.  Expedia and Orbitz usually are a big help when looking for deals as well.

In the end, it just comes down to what you and your fiance want out of the Honeymoon experience.  You can make any budget work and have a fabulous trip!

Bridesmaid Tip:  Sign up for Travelzoo or other travel website "Deals of the Week" to keep your eyes open for deals to send your bride for her honeymoon.  Any little bit of help is welcomed when trying to plan everything.

Tuesdays with Ty - The Guest List

This part of wedding planning could quite possibly be the trickiest and stressful part of your wedding experience.  Parents, grandparents, friends all giving their input and putting the stress on who you need to invite!!  It is enough to drive any bride crazy.

No one really realizes  just how many people you know until you start making your wedding guest list.  I suggest you start this process soon after the engagement before you start looking for venues.  You will need to know the core group of people you have to fit and most all places you visit will ask you how big your wedding will be.   This will also help with the catering and bar budget and everything else!

We started making an Excel spreadsheet (yes, I know, I am a dork) of family on one page and friends on another.  That way both lists were organized and separated.  You can make columns for each name, address, what names you want on inside envelope and it also gives you a central location to keep the RSVPs as they come in.  You can also keep track of gifts each guests sends as well and have their address handy for thank you notes!  This one list will keep you organized throughout your wedding process:)

So now the tough part.  Where do you draw the line on who to invite?  We set a budget and are trying really hard to stay within it.  Our guest list way exceeds the budget we set, but our wedding falls on a holiday weekend, so we are assuming that may play into who will actually be able to make it.  We also made the preliminary list and THEN asked the parents if anyone important was left off.  This will eliminate them adding a ton of people that you may end up having to trim down.  While you want to keep them happy (especially if they are helping to pay) this is your wedding and you don't want a ton of people there you don't know. 

Also remember a few etiquette not invite anyone to a shower or wedding function that will not be invited to the wedding.  Never tell someone you can't wait to come to their wedding unless you are 100% sure you are invited.   Another biggie is whether or not to let single friends bring a guest.  While tradition says you don't have to give them a plus one unless they are seriously dating someone, if you can swing it with your budget it is always nice to give them the option.  I was the single girl for years and it was never fun to be reminded that I didn't even have the choice to bring anyone.

Bridesmaid tip: Help keep your bride calm through the process of the guest list.  Offer her advice on if she should invite her kindergarten teacher just because her mom wants her to...and help her realize it will all be ok in the end!

Happy Planning!


Tuesdays with Ty - Rehearsal Dinner Planning

Rules for planning rehearsal dinners in today's modern times is not as simple as it once was when it was just handed over to the future in-laws.  Today's couples are faced with divorce and very busy family schedules.  Brandon and I are one of those couples that have financial support from his family, but they do not have the time to help with the planning.  We didn't let it stress us out...we just talked about the type of dinner we wanted and went for it!

You may remember back from my first blog that Brandon and I LOVE Mexican food and even celebrated at a Mexican restaurant the night we got engaged.  So when the rehearsal dinner brainstorming session began to find a relaxed and affordable menu a Fiesta was at the top of our list!  Who doesn't love chips and salsa, tacos and margaritas?!

We started searching for a rehearsal dinner spot in Lexington that would let us  bring in our own caterer and alcohol.  That is not an easy task!  Luckily, I stumbled upon The Limestone Club downtown Lexington only one block from The Carrick House where our wedding (and rehearsal) will be.  The Limestone Club is a shotgun style building that is open and very casually elegant.  Tables and chairs are included in the price of the rental and they have many other add-ons you can take advantage of like linen service and bartenders.  They also have an iPod dock for your use as well.  Best of can bring in any caterer and alcohol you like!  It is all very affordable.

We started doing research on what kind of catering we could do and checked into Qdoba.  For around $8.00 a person you can have chips, salsa, queso dip and a hot taco or burrito bar!  YUM!  We are also going to have my personal fave...a margarita bar and Mexican beer bar (Corona, Dos Equis)! 

To get ideas for decor, I went to the old standby, Google, and searched "Fiesta Rehearsal Dinner".  This is where I found our invitations and color inspiration!  I found the invitation below and immediately contacted the owner of the Empress Stationery blog to get pricing and information.  This was exactly what I was looking for!  We are going to use aqua linens on the tables and make DIY tissue paper pom-poms for the table decor.  These are all over Etsy if you do not want to DIY:)

And last but certainly not least...rehearsal dinner attire!  After having such a hard time choosing bridesmaid dresses, my rehearsal dinner dress came pretty easily.  One of Twirl's designers, Thread,  came out with a new Blossom Print in their Spring 2010 collection.  I fell in love with the Shiloh dress in the Fuchsia and Ice colors!  It will be perfect for our fiesta and any other style rehearsal dinner you are having!

Bridesmaid Tip: If your bride is planning her own Rehearsal Dinner...offer to help with decor or organization of the event.  It will help her stay organized and not get too frazzled!

Tuesdays with Ty - Starting your Wedding Registry

Now that you have all of the big things done...chosen your bridal gown and picked out the cutest bridesmaid dresses from you get to make your wish list for wedding gifts!  This is the only time in your life that you can pick out gifts and friends will ask where they can buy them for you!  To make the most of it, I suggest asking your bridesmaids their advice!

Since we both have had our own houses, Brandon and I took an assessment of our top priorities for the registry.  We decided to be traditional and register for nice China and stemware because we do like to entertain and it will be useful in the future.   We also decided to find flatware that will be appropriate for everyday use and nice enough to use with our China.  I also wanted to select new everyday use dishes that will last through the years and not become dated after using them for a while.  So after thinking long and hard about what we wanted, we chose to register at the following places and why:

  • Macy's - Great selection of China, Flatware, Stemware, Towels, Cookware.  Always having a sale!  They also do fun "Sip and Scans" in the evenings where you can enjoy appetizers and drinks and socialize with other couples.  Macy's also offers rewards back to the couple on their Macy's card for everything purchased off your registry.
  • Bed Bath and Beyond - Great selection of the same China, Kitchen Gadgets and Bakeware.  They are always sending out 20% off coupons so that makes it nice and more affordable for guests as well!
  • Pottery Barn - I LOVE Pottery Barn - everyday dishes, glassware, serveware.  It was a must for me.  Classic style that will last for years.
  • Lowe's - This one was Brandon's request.  Do you know how many trips you make to Lowe's when you are working on a house project??

Tips from my bridesmaids:

  • Nancy: "Register not just for items for today but things you may want to use 5, 10 or 20 years down the road. I love my china and silver I registered for even though I don't have a dining room now to use it, I know I will one day!"
  • Deanna: "Just relax and have fun.....register for everything that you think that you might want, you can always take it back."
  • Katherine:  "Let your man take the scanning gun.  I apparently “stole” the gun from Les, and I still hear about it to this day!  You can always go online and make adjustments afterward, so let them have their fun!" 
  • Hillary:  "Don’t hold back…this is the time to register for those things that you never buy for yourself!  And.. My mother always says every girl has to have at least one thing from Tiffany’s for a wedding gift!"
  • Jodi:  "When I registered for dinnerware, I registered for something that I could use current day.  Six years later, the set no longer matches the decor in my kitchen.  I wish I would have registered for china that I could have passed down to my daughter when she was married - something plain, classic, and something you only bring out for special occasions."

Happy Shopping!

- Ty