With only three and a half short months before I become Mrs. Camera, my to-do checklist is dwindling down in the loveliest way. Unfortunately, an open box remains next to “Bridal Party Gifts.” Seeing this makes the panic set in, for the millionth time.
As a reminder, we have eight bridesmaids and eight groomsmen. That’s sixteen members of the wedding party to gift…not including something for the flower girl and ring bearer, but they’re three and a half and two and a half, and not picky.
I’ve seen every common bridesmaid gift out there—personalized stationary, shot glasses, robes, travel coffee mugs, you name it. I just can’t seem to nail down an idea that I like, that would fit everyone, and that’s within our preset $20 limit per person. Below are some of the options I have put on the “possible ideas” list for my bridesmaids, though none are particularly jumping out at me.
1. Jewelry Roll: When my brother married his wife a few years ago, I was a bridesmaid and received a roll similar to this. I use it whenever I travel, and have found it quite useful. Mine is not personalized, but a lot of websites have options to do so.
Image via The Organized Bride Store
2. Tote Bags: I love tote bags, especially these from Land’s End or L.L. Bean. Unfortunately, the ones I find to be more useful are the larger ones, which tend to run over $30, out of our budget. I also am not sure if anyone else would actually enjoy them as much as I do.
After whisking ourselves to the hotel, I believe we immediately overwhelmed the desk clerk. I mean, you can’t blame the guy. Four girls (SIL T was with MIL O on her way over) pull up in two cars jam packed with lots of bags, a huge wedding dress, a steamer, and several bottles of champagne, and then they expect you to find a solution to their luggage problem. We were a hot mess, freezing, and ready to get our asses inside!
We unloaded, got the cars parked, and made our way up to our two rooms. This was not so much planned, but rather was more of a called-too-late-to-get-a-suite…then realized that still wouldn’t have worked because the boys needed a room to get ready in, too. So two rooms we had, and we separated our stuff out and got comfy so I could shower them in gifts.
These ladies had done so much for me throughout the planning process. My besties were there through the ups and downs, the good and the bad, the “I can’t wait!” days and the “I hate my arms so much I want to cry” days. It was only logical that I would shower them with gifts just as they had showered me with gifts (and love!) a few months before.
(My life right now is Arrested Development, which none of them watch, so I was trying to explain how this shirt IS Arrested Development without even saying anything. They didn’t get it. I gave up.)
This night easily produced some of my most memorable quotes from our rehearsal and wedding days. The first came when trying to hang my beauty of a dress. Standing on the bed, I wasn’t tall enough to reach the glass window pane thing, and I thought I was going to break my neck. (So did poor Alison, our DOC, who had just come down to grab a few things, not see me fall!)
It’s time to discuss gifts in this photo heavy post! I tried to be concise but I also wanted to squeeze it into one post so bear with me and hopefully you’ll get some ideas for gifts for your family or bridal party!
First, three tips: 1) Shop early. You know you’ll need gifts so no need to wait until the last month. 2) Make a list of everyone you want to thank early so you don’t forget anyone. 3) A theme can help guide your gifting.
Here are the gifts we bought for those involved with the Sword Wedding starting with the ladies!
Bridesmaids and Honor Attendants: Dressing for the wedding.
The first decision I made was to gift them their jewelry for the wedding (including the infamous tartan necklace which is not pictured in the photo above and a pair of earrings), and from there I added a black scarf/wrap to keep them warm during outdoor photos. I also added a lip plumper lipstick from Victoria’s Secret, plus notebooks for the maids and mugs for the honor attendants.
My favorite piece that we gave the ladies was their custom-made reusable tote bags found on Etsy (which you’ll soon notice is a theme with me).
I love shopping. For me. For other people. Doesn’t matter. And I also love my bridesmaids. So it’s no surprise that I am having such an awesome time searching for the perfect gifts for my favorite friends.
The problem? I love my bridesmaids so much that I want to get them so much stuff! But my poor wallet can’t handle buying everything they deserve. Enter you. Want to see what I’m considering? Want to tell me your favorites?
But first…a message to my bridesmaids. (I’m pretty sure they don’t read Weddingbee, but with my luck, today would be the first day they visit the site.)
Now that I’ve got that out of the way, let’s get down to the good stuff. I’ve got several ideas for what to get my bridesmaids. I want the gifts to be things that they love but things that also remind them or me of our friendship.
I knew I wanted to gift my girls something awesome. Save my sister, I’ve been in (or will be) in all my ‘maids’ weddings, and they were incredibly generous with their gifts…like, really generous. Plus, they took a lot of the good ideas!
First, in lieu of a card, I got everyone a copy of this book:
(Photo via Deep Discount / Book by Sandol Stoddard Warburg)
We’re using part of it as one of our readings, and I love how it appropriately translates from how I feel about Wolfman to how I feel about my ‘maids. Some sample pages:
I like the concept of giving each member of the wedding party a little something to say “thank you” (because they are investing time and money) and “you’re awesome.”
Gifts for BM E and MOH R (top row), BM P and BM K (bottom row)
Deciding what to give to my bridesmaids was a gradual process. In the end, I decided to gift each a necklace to wear at the wedding and an assortment of useful things (mostly stationery items) from Japan. The stationery gifts were a reflection of my interests (paper lover = me) and also allowed me to pick items to suit each ladies’ taste. Each gift bag included…
Most of our invites are going to be handed out by us personally; some people were actually surprised when I mentioned mailing some. We’re mailing invites to different parts of Mexico, USA, Canada, one to Scotland, and maybe one Nicaragua (maybe we’ll email that one). USA and Canada are not a big deal because we’ll just cross the border and mail them from Arizona—piece of cake. The problem is the ones going within Mexico.
See, as bad as it sounds, I don’t trust the Mexican postal service—they’ve lost and mistreated too many packages for me to believe in them. Even Mr. Toadstool’s cousin, who got married a few years ago, told us to email them their invite because, when she got married, almost half her invites were lost in transit.
Another reason to distrust them? In March I sent my BMs their “Would you be my bridesmaid?” packages:
I just added the address labels on top and taped the lid.
Yay for three-day weekends—they were made for wedding planning. Unfortunately, I didn’t get a whole lot of crafting done this time around—but I did tackle one project.
But first—Potion Gals, don’t read this post!
When it came to giving gifts to our bridal party, it was so hard to narrow down our selections. No gift seemed enough to express our gratitude for not only standing with us, but for being helpful and supportive every day of our lives.
We set our budgets fairly high, and set out on the search for something that would be fun, could be used at the wedding, and would definitely be used after. I had been trolling around for some purses and handbags on eBay earlier in the year. And when it came time for the Coach Factory Sale, I was invited to the “event.” There, I found these beauties:
I picked different colors for the girls. MOH Wino is a bright personality, so I got her the coral (they call it Geranium). For BM Sis, I got a patent blue. I felt she would love the shiny pop feel it had. And BMs Pow and Dash got the nude color. They’re fashionistas, and nude accessories are versatile. I snagged a black one for myself!
My bridesmaids are a very nosy bunch, so first things first:
UNICORN BRIDESMAIDS, read no further unless you wish to meet the same, sad fate as this poor, skewered bunny!
|Bunny Kebob, anyone? Image based on artwork created by Weddingbee; edited by Mr. Unicorn.|
Are they gone?
DISCLAIMER: No bunnies were harmed in the making of this gory graphic.
One of my job responsibilities at the library where I work is to run teen craft nights. I can plan whatever I want for these, so I’ve been finding ways to slip wedding-related crafts into something teens would like to do too. Thus far we’ve made fabric-flower headbands, covered button earrings—we’ve even baked and decorated cupcakes.
I would love to do a chevron clutch for my bridesmaids, but I haven’t found any yet that fit my price range or style that I like. I decided I could probably make them; if I found the right bag at the right price, how hard could it be? Since I had a craft night coming, I decided we’d make tote bags, and I could practice my chevron stripe. If you want to make a tote bag for your out-of-town bags, bridesmaids’ tote bags, just for fun beach bags—here’s a really easy tutorial:
(all photos personal)
Supplies you’ll need:
Step 1: Trace a chevron stripe onto cardboard and cut it out:
Hello there Hive! Mr. Coyote and I are back from our wonderful honeymoon and even though we loved every minute of it, we’re ready to get back to normal (or as normal as it can get in the Coyote household). Before I jump into our honeymoon recaps, I have a few pre-wedding things that I never had a chance to share with you! Well, technically that’s a lie. I did have time to share this upcoming post with you, but I have a few family members and close friends who read Weddingbee and I really wanted to surprise them with their gifts!
What wasn’t a surprise was that I covered the cost of having the ladies’ hair done professionally, but that was really more of a gift for me than anyone else, so I wanted to give them something a little bit more personal and tangible. First, I used a Vistaprint Groupon to purchase personalized tote bags for each of them:
I kinda left this project for the last minute and only managed to snap a photo of two of the six totes before they were packed away. Each tote had a design that reflected their personality and their name printed along the bottom.
Then I filled the bags with a bottle of wine and a bag of Godiva truffles (yum!). I figured I was all set with gifts for my ladies until I saw this tutorial and decided that I needed to jazz the wine bottles up a bit (but I didn’t get nearly as detailed). I simply removed the original wine label and used some of the leftover card stock from our invitations to make this:
As I promised, I wanted to share the honeymoon bag I created for one of my bridesmaids who had her school shower recently.
I know that her regular shower is coming up and she’s going to be getting so many things she needs from her registry, and the school she is currently working at generously got her a donation toward her honeymoon. So, sticking with the honeymoon theme, I decided for her school shower to put together a bag of goodies they can use on their trip to Antigua. I wasn’t going to spend a lot—I had only collected money from five teachers other than myself, so here’s the total breakdown of the honeymoon beach bag:
(all photos personal)
I went to the Christmas Tree Shops, because who doesn’t love a bargain? I picked out a big purple paisley bag. One of her wedding colors is eggplant, so the purple bag went nicely ($7.99).
I mentioned already the Fake Spade toiletry bags I made for her and her fiance($0.24 for the bags). I filled each of the bags, one with suntan lotion, aloe, and spray ($9.98). The other was filled with candy and snacks for the flights or the beach ($7.50). I added flip-flops ($3.99) that were white with hearts and a tulle flower decoration—very bridal—and two metal water bottles good for traveling ($1 each, so $2 total), and they also had Target brand beach coverups, which I found in purple for only $7.99!
I found this sign there too, which was too cute not to include. I was going to get a beach-themed picture frame, but the bride LOVES quote signs like these, and this was perfect ($6.99).
I love Kate Spade as much as the next bride (maybe a teensy bit more than most—more on that later). However, there are times where I draw the line in how much I love her versus how much money I am willing to spend. Fake Spades are what we call knock-off Kates. When I was younger I may have purchased one or two fakes on Canal Street in NYC, and sometimes they are so good you can’t even tell the difference (sometimes not so much!). But I didn’t buy a Fake Spade this time—I made one!
One of my bridesmaids is getting married this summer, and as a teacher you get a school shower along with your regular shower. It’s a little intense, but it’s always a good time. Teachers are always getting married in the summer (except me!). This week, I had two showers back-to-back. These showers, like regular showers, ADD UP. I was in charge of the group gift from my school for my bridesmaid’s school shower. (She has since moved to a different school, which is why we weren’t in charge of the whole shower!) I decided to put together a cute honeymoon bag for her and her husband-to-be, and I LOVE the Kate Spade toiletries bag, but there was NO WAY I was going to spend $60 on a cosmetics bag, so I got creative.
The REAL Kate Spade
I bought two plain cosmetics bags. I couldn’t find one in white that I really liked, so I settled for blue. Bonus—they were on clearance and I got each bag for 12 cents!!
I found a font that I liked, sized it, printed it, and stuck it in the toiletry bag.
(all pictures below are personal)
Deciding on gifts for my bridesmaids was a difficult decision. While I found lots of jewelry I really liked, I was worried the tastes of seven girls wouldn’t allow for me to get one piece and have every girl actually enjoy it. The more I thought about it, the more I wanted something everyone could use and would enjoy individually. And that is when I stumbled upon AO3 designs—creators of customizable clutches!
Image via Ao3 Designs blog
I love them and love that each girl could have her own personality shine through! But there are SO many options! I didn’t want to flat out tell my maids what their gifts would be and allow them to choose, so instead I narrowed down the options to only chevron patterns and made a cute little PowerPoint presentation: