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I’m A Bridesmaid!

Almost one year ago, I helped my best friend, Liz, walk down the aisle and marry the man of her dreams.

Today, I found out that another one of my dearest friends is going to take that special walk! Meghan, my next-door neighbor from freshman year, who ended up being my roommate for the last three years of college, is engaged!

Words cannot express how happy and excited I am for her. Meg is one of the greatest women I know. She has a kind, honest, loving heart and she deserves all the happiness in the world. I’m so excited she found it with Dwight, who we have both known since freshman year, and who she started dating sophomore year (shortly after Dustin and I got together!).

Meg called me while I was on the train riding home Friday night and it took everything in me not to start screaming like one of those girls in the movies. We’ve been talking about planning our weddings for the last four years, dreaming about what it would be like and all the different things we want to do someday. It’s so surreal to think that that time is actually here and we’ll be planning like crazy women before we know it. It’s crazy, but I really am at that age now where all of my friends are getting big-girl jobs, becoming engaged or even having children (that’s right – that best friend I mentioned earlier, Liz, is pregnant!). We’ve talked about it for so long, as if it was just this distant dream, and now it’s finally here. Insanity.

I have so many emotions right now; I can’t put them all into words. I’m just so happy for these two. Again, congratulations Meghan and Dwight! I’m so excited for both of you and love you to pieces ❤

Bachelorette Party Shenanigans

Happy Monday! I had a whirlwind weekend filled with graduations and parties — grad parties, jack ‘n’ jill parties and last but not least, Liz’s bachelorette party!

The whole gang.

As you all know, I’m the maid of honor (MOH), so tackling this party was a big deal for me. I wanted to make it personal, fun and sexy without being too over the top. After all, I needed to keep my bride and her tastes in mind the whole time and I knew she wouldn’t want anything too insane.

Blinged out with Tess.

For starters, she really loved all of the bling the bridesmaids and I got her.

Sparkly.

And I made sure not to leave us out of the shiny fun.

Colorful.

We all got our own colors with our titles on the shot glass. Everyone felt special and it makes a great souvenir for the end of the night! Tess, one of the bridesmaids, also snagged these super cute cups for us that said, “What happens at the bachelorette party stays at the bachelorette party.” I couldn’t have said it better myself!

Kelly modeling the cup.

Liz wanted everyone to know that we were with her once we hit the town, so the girls and I made our own tank tops! I found a cute “Bride” tank top for Liz, but there wasn’t anything decently priced for us bridesmaids. Off to Wal-Mart we went, where we bought plain black tank tops for $3.00 and a package of iron-on letters for about $5.00

Time to get crafty.

It took me about an hour to make the whole thing and it came out really well! You can’t even tell I ironed it on!

Before the heat.

All done!

Cute, right?

The front.

Represent.

To kick off the festivities, we gathered at Liz’s apartment, munched on taco dip and had a few drinks. We didn’t go crazy with apartment decorations because Liz has to be moved out of her apartment this week, so decking everything out would’ve caused more of a hassle. Instead, we made sure that everyone looked very festive.

Cute sashes. Cute cat. Cute girls. Win!

We played a few games, including one where we asked Liz questions about Joey. If she answered correctly, she handed out a jello shot. If she answered wrong, she had to take it herself. Each jello shot was followed up with a shot of whipped cream, one of Liz’s favorite recent discoveries.

Yum.

She did a decent job of knowing the answers 😉

After some more chit-chat, games and opening of presents, our ride arrived.

Ridin' in style.

A limo picked us up and drove us to our destination in Syracuse: Daisy Dukes!

Our driver instinctively knew about our cowboy-ness.

Liz has always wanted to ride a mechanical bull, so I figured this party was the best opportunity to do so! Daisy Dukes has a great reputation, so we hopped in the limo and hit the road for the 45-minute trek.

We whipped out a dare card for Liz that had 19 challenges for her to complete throughout the night. They were a lot of fun, but we all agreed that some girls are crazy if they complete every dare listed!

We have a special friendship.

Once we were at Daisy Dukes, we all took a ride with the bull!

Liz.

Me.

Kelly.

Tess.

Nicole.

Then we danced and drank the night away! We made a pit stop at Denny’s for some late-night grub on the way home, then crashed all over Liz’s apartment for some much-needed sleep — the signs of a successful night!

Overall, I think the party was a great success. All of the girls said they had an amazing time and I know I had a lot of fun! I’m going to follow this up with another post about the planning process, but it wasn’t too stressful because I kept Liz’s tastes in mind the whole time 🙂

Have you ever thrown a bachelorette party? What fun stuff did you do? 

Thank You from the Bride

For every wedding, the bride always says “thank you” in some way to her maid of honor and bridesmaids. Some plan an outing for everyone to go on together and others give gifts. Some wait until right before the wedding and others do it earlier. I received my thank you from Liz at the bridal shower and was instantly brought to tears.

Thanks a lot, Liz.

First, each of us received a thank you note that had a poem and hand-written note inside. I’m not going to share the note for privacy reasons, but here’s the beautiful poem she included.

When I walk down the aisle

On the day I say, “I do”

I’ll put my flowers in your hands

And I’ll be proud to stand next to you.

You’ll be the one who is by my side

On this very special day,

You’ll hold my strength in your heart

Because you stand for me in so many ways.

You have walked with me many times before,

And I am blessed to have you here now.

I treasure the honor of having you by my side

On the day that I say my vows.

Maid of Honor is not only a symbol

But a statement of loyalty and trust.

It gives new meaning to the bond

And the devotion we have between us.

So cute and heartwarming, right? I cried like a baby before I even got to the more personal stuff.

She also gave me cute little gifts that either matched my personality or would be necessary for the wedding day.

Swag.

  1. Kleenex — Because I’ve already proven that I’ll bawl like a baby at the wedding.
  2. Johnson’s body care “Melt Away Stress” Lavendar & Chamomile Lotion — Is she saying I have dry skin? I think it’s because she’s aware of how much stress I’ve been under lately.
  3. Mini Notebook — for the journalistic notes I’m always taking.
  4. Handmade blue makeup bag with my name embroidered on it — her mom made these for all of us! Super cute.

But the one that stole the show…

Shiny.

A high heel bottle opener! Shoes are my weakness and the same goes for Liz. She told me she saw the bottle opener and simply couldn’t leave the store without buying it. Obviously! Isn’t it adorable?

I'm going to be so fancy opening up bottles.

I'm in love.

If anyone could walk out of the store without this, I give them major props. It’s going to be put to good use once I’m officially moved into my new apartment 🙂

As a maid of honor, I just want to say that these gifts meant a lot to me. The actual presents were very nice and thoughtful, and I love that parts of it fit my personality rather than just a generic gift, but the note was the best part. It meant the world to me to have Liz recognize and actually thank me for the work that I’ve put into her special day. After all, weddings are a lot of work! Don’t get me wrong, I’ve loved every minute of this process and I’m glad I’m so involved with everything, but it truly meant so much to have her thank me for my efforts. She not only thanked me for my work, but reminisced on all of the good times we’ve had and everything we’ve been through together. Sometimes a little recognition is the best gift.

I truly have the best friend in the world and I cannot wait to stand next to her while she marries such an amazing guy.

Are you in any weddings this summer? What are some of the best gifts you’ve gotten from a bride? 

Bridal Shower Success

Today was an amazing day!

Cake with some bling.

Cake with some bling.

After a lot of preparation, Liz’s bridal shower finally came to fruition this morning! The whole thing went off without a hitch and I think everyone was pleased. Liz kept gushing her thanks and a lot of the guests told me what a great shower it was, so I’m going to take that to mean it was a success 🙂

I planned the shower at the V.F.W. in Yorkville, about a ten minute drive from Liz’s house. I actually stayed with Liz the entire week — I don’t have a car and she needed help packing up her apartment because she’s moving to Oklahoma three days after the wedding — so it was easy for me to pop over there at 9:30 this morning to set up for an 11 o’clock start time.

Flutes for Mimosas.

It lasted until 1:30 p.m. and everything ran together seamlessly. Nobody was left awkwardly sitting around wondering, “uhh, what’s next?” We played a few games, ate yummy food and opened tons of presents!

Liz opening presents, me taking notes.

Now that it’s over, I’ve realized there are a few key things that I really wish I had known when I began planning the bridal shower. So for all of you maid of honor’s out there, this one’s for you!

1. Do a lot of research. 

By that, I mean read a lot of blogs. There are a ton of women out there who include the details of their wedding and you can draw a lot of inspiration from them. I borrowed ideas from a lot of different parties and it helped make Liz’s unique.

Fun napkins.

2. Spend your money wisely. 

If you’re not careful, your money is going to disappear really quickly. Every time I stepped into a store, I immediately went to the wedding section and wanted to buy a billion things for the shower because everything was so cute. Luckily, my wallet screamed loud enough for me to listen and I didn’t blow all of my savings.

Look for anything that can serve multiple purposes. For example, I bought heart-shaped tealight candle holders, filled them with a tealight and set them all over the tables. Not only did they fit the theme, but they served as center pieces and I let every guest take one home as a party favor. I saved money because I didn’t have to buy separate gifts for each guest and they added a small touch of cuteness to every table.

Centerpieces = party favors.

3. Recruit help.

Don’t try to do this all by yourself. The bridesmaids know that it’s their responsibility to help with the shower and bachelorette party, so don’t think you’re alone! Plus, it’s always better to have more than one mind churning ideas — you’re more likely to come up with something great together!

Talk to all of the bridesmaids who live in the area before you book anything, too. You never know who they know. One of Liz’s bridesmaids, Kelly, works at the V.F.W. and was able to get us the pavilion for free. Talk about a huge money saver! Don’t be afraid to talk to the parents of the bride and groom either. It’s likely that they’re eager to help out in any way they can; they’re probably just waiting to be asked. Liz’s mom, Ginny, and Joey’s mom, Freida, were both phenomenal and helped with food and other here-and-there things. I definitely couldn’t have pulled off this shower if I didn’t have their help.

Some of the food.

More food.

Suuuuuuubs!

4. Make it personal. 

The bride will appreciate it and the guests will feel included. I set up a “Word of Advice” area for Liz. As the guests came in, they filled out an index card with any advice or well wishes they had for the happy bride-to-be. Everyone was smiling and chatting about what they wrote, nodding and agreeing with each different card that was voiced.

Before shot.

Any time you can add a small personal touch to the shower, do it. For one of the games, the guests filled out a “Liz Quiz,” which was “How Well Do You Know the Bride?” Everyone got a good laugh out of the guesses and the answers, and the one with the most correct got a little prize. I also put the “Word of Advice” station next to a jar that I filled with swedish fish, Liz’s favorite candy. The guests had to guess how many were in the jar and the woman with the closest guess won the whole jar!

Swim, fishies, swim.

There were 760 fish in there! Liz’s aunt Patti guessed 776, so she won! She was super kind and gave the jar to Liz, making her a very happy girl.

She was smiling all day long.

5. Have fun! 

Yes, you’ll be constantly moving around to make sure everyone has what they need and all is running smoothly. When your bride-to-be is opening presents, you’ll sit dutifully by her taking notes to make sure she gets every single thank you card correct.

Handy-dandy notebook.

But don’t forget to sit back and enjoy the whole thing! After all, you put it all together, so remember to enjoy it. A lot of the guests didn’t know me very well and I could hear them all chuckling when they saw my sense of humor come out with some of Liz’s gifts.

I like the mini whisk.

Letting loose creates opportunities for a lot of fun pictures too. One of the bridesmaids, Tess, and I were cutting the cake toward the end of the shower. I was licking some frosting that had fallen off (figures) when an idea struck me. I told Freida to grab a camera and follow me around sneakily. Can you guess what happened next?

Cake in the face!

Unfortunately for me, Liz has fast reflexes. After I got her, she managed to swipe the leftover frosting right from my fingertips. I ended up like this…

It exfoliates, right?

Everyone got a good laugh out of it and they all said they had never seen that happen at a bridal shower before. Hey, I said I wanted to make things unique!

And there you have it, my friends. Other than that, just make sure you sit down and really think about all of the little details involved with a shower. I forgot a knife to cut the cake! Little things like that pop up, so you just want to make sure your bases are covered. But like I said, remember to have fun! In the end, the bride is going to be extremely grateful you put the effort in and won’t notice if little mishaps occur.

Have you ever put on a bridal shower before? Or been to one? What was your favorite part? 

Bridal Party Bliss

Back in March, I was happily working away at Relay for Life when I got an amazing call from my best friend, Liz.

Don't worry, she told me before Facebook.

She’s getting married to Joey, a boy that we grew up with. No, they haven’t been together since we were eight, but once the engagement was announced everyone said “it’s about time.” They just always had that type of relationship.

Immediately after she told me about the engagement, she asked me to be her maid of honor (MOH). I said yes without any hesitation! Ever since then we’ve been slaving away to iron out every little detail together.

You can't beat this duo.

Oh yeah, did I mention that the wedding is July 2? Talk about putting wedding planning into overdrive — four months to get everything together is the equivalent of the big day being tomorrow in wedding world! Through Liz, I’ve learned that I will be engaged for at least one year before tying the knot. There’s so much to do!

I’ve been reading a lot of wedding blogs and I noticed that there aren’t that many posts concerning the MOH. I think this is mostly because the brides are the ones to think about posting everything, but I decided it’s time for us girls in the bridal party to get some help! Being the MOH is a lot of hard work, so I’ve decided I’m going to let you in on any little secrets I pick up on along the way.

One of the biggest things I’ve helped Liz do (that isn’t directly related to the little details of the wedding) is stay on top of her fitness and nutrition. Budgets are tight, so I took the liberty of finding some workouts we can do without the gym and healthy snacks that won’t break the bank. It’s an easy thing for me to do and it takes one thing off of her to-do list. That’s a win-win if you ask me!

One of our favorite snacks? Celery and peanut butter.

Peanut butterrrr.

Or basically anything with peanut butter. She’s as addicted to the good stuff as I am and we have really similar tastes, so incorporating this goodie into our meals has been a cinch.

Liz’s family is Russian Orthodox, so the actual wedding ceremony has a lot of traditional values incorporated into it. The ceremony is going to take about an hour and a half, and I learned that for about 15 minutes I have to hold a heavy crown over Liz’s head. Needless to say, I’ve been blasting my arms to make sure my muscles are prepped for the big day. It might not sound like a long time, but holding something heavy over your head for 15 minutes is a lot of work! The best man has to do the same thing, so obviously I have to prove that I’m stronger than him 🙂

But even if I didn’t have to hold a huge crown up, I’d still want to blast my arms. After all, it’s wedding season now, which is the equivalent of tank tops and strapless dresses. Tricep dips have quickly become my best friend. They’re easy and can be done basically everywhere, plus I always feel the burn.

Burn, baby, burn.

Cardio was always my friend, but I’ve been making sure to spice up the type of cardio I do to keep different muscles working. The other day I enjoyed some ultimate frisbee and I plan on incorporating more tennis, bicycling and yoga into my routine. Today was the first day in over a week that it didn’t rain, so I went simple and headed out for a nice run. It was about 75 degrees out, so I got my first taste of summer running since Key West — it felt so good to run in just a tank top again!

Speaking of tank tops, since my dear friend Bethany loved my last top so much, I thought I’d share today’s workout gear. This is my favorite tank top to work out in and if you ask me, it’s just plain cute.

Awkward smile.

It’s the Women’s Adidas Sport Barricade Top with CLIMACOOL ventilation. Mine’s in white and navy, but I think I’m going to buy another one now that they’re available in black and green.

Now I’m off to fit in more cardio with a pickup game of soccer!

Love.

Have you ever been MOH before? Are you going to be one soon? What things would you like to see here about wedding planning?