I’m still waiting on our pictures before I start my recaps (le sigh), but I did want to take this time to share a DIY project that I was keeping a secret until the wedding: the gift bags I made for the ladies in our bridal party.
(All photos personal)
I started with some plain canvas bags from Michaels and some Martha Stewart multi-surface craft paint. Our wedding colors, if you remember, were yellow and gray, so I stuck with that theme for these bags as well.
Another holiday season is descending upon us (rather quickly, huh?) and I thought there was no better way to get into the gift-giving spirit than by sharing the gifts Mr. Jet and I gave to our amazing families and attendants.
If you’re stumped on gifts for your girls and guys, maybe these ideas will inspire!
For the parents…
For all of our parents and Nana, we purchased 8×10 frames to match their home decor with an IOU for a printed wedding photo of their choosing. We also took our parents out for a nice Portuguese feast the night after the wedding as an extra thank you for all of their support.
For the guys…
BRIDESMAIDS, PLEASE READ ANOTHER POST. THIS IS NOT FOR YOUR EYES.
Okay. Now that that’s out of the way, let’s talk bridesmaids’ gifts. Being a planner, I started thinking about this pretty much the moment I settled on my bridal party. What to get for my girls?
The approach I took was to think about gifts that I would normally give. Not necessarily wedding themed, just gifts that I might give for Christmas or a birthday or just because. I didn’t want to give anyone something that they feel obligated to use on the wedding day, either. My first idea was monogrammed L.L. Bean totes—I’m a sucker for anything monogrammed, and L.L. Bean totes are amazing. So amazing, in fact, that both of my sisters already had their own. So…back to the drawing board.
I got really hung up on giving everyone some sort of purse/bag, because I figured I could fill them up with other things. Like a grown-up goody bag! Downside was every bag I came across was either poor quality or too pricey to buy in triplicate. So I took matters into my own hands and decided to make my own bags.
Disclaimer: I’ve been sewing for years, so this project wasn’t much of a challenge. But the tutorial I’m going to show you guys is so simple that it could absolutely be one of your first projects! Maybe not the first thing you ever sew, but definitely the third or fourth. If you can sew a straight line, you can make these gorgeous clutches.
I am waiting for pictures to come back to give you all the recaps that you want, but in the meantime I still have details of the day that I want to share with you. When it comes to gift giving, I think I am pretty darn good. When it comes to acting with restraint when it comes to staying within a budget, I have room for improvement! That meant when thinking about gift for the bridal party, Mr. Scooter and I had to set very very clear bounds. I will save our overall budget spend on the bridal-party gifts until we recap our overall spending, but I will say that the gifts we got our bridal party are ones that they will use again.
I knew early on that I wanted to gift my girls with items they could wear while we were getting ready. I wanted the gifts to make them smile and also make our wedding a memorable and fun time. I also knew that my gift (like their bridesmaids’ dresses) would have to be representative of each lady. Each bridesmaid received the following:
Since a majority of the items were things I wanted them to wear or bring while we were getting ready, I wanted to give it to them ahead of time. When I asked them to be a part of my bridal party, I went ahead and split up the responsibilities of planning the bridal shower and bachelorette party. During my bachelorette party, I gave them to BM Jas and BM JuJu. Unfortunately, BM TuTu couldn’t make the party, so I set up a time to give it to her prior to the big weekend. BM Dee, Brande, and Brandy received theirs at the bridal shower. BM Maranda was not able to make either since she lives out of state, so I just shipped her gift.
When it came to selecting presents for my bridesmaids, I jumped in with excitement. I knew right away that I was going to pay for their hair on the day of the wedding. That was never a question for me—I wanted them to look and feel lovely on our wedding day and I wanted to pamper them.
I didn’t really consider that a gift, though, as I’d always heard that if you want your bridesmaids to have an updo you, as the bride, should pay for it. (This is, of course, dependent on budget, but I included it in ours.)
From here I may have gone a little overboard, but given the chance to do it over I don’t think I’d do it differently.
The first thing I picked up for the ladies were robes to wear while we were getting ready. I love the photos where everyone is in matching robes and I wanted to recreate that for us.
Image via Wedding Prep Gals
After doing a bit of research, I settled on robes from Wedding Prep Gals. I liked that they were made by a small business and they were very elegant. I discovered them on Etsy, but I recommend ordering from their website because their ordering form is a lot more streamlined.
The next gift that I had been stalking online for a while were the personalized name hangers. I wasn’t sure if I was going to make them myself or bite the bullet and buy them, but the day after Thanksgiving last year there was a Black Friday sale from an Etsy seller and I picked up a hanger for myself and one each for the ladies for $6 each. Score!
My bachelorette party is coming and I wanted to create something cute and funny that my friends could use. Here is the problem—I needed my “hangover kit” to be quick, simple…and cheap. The details of my night are being kept a secret from me, so in order to get an idea of how many kits I would need to make, I had to ask for a range from BM Jasmin. She told me that I should prepare enough for 15-20 (oh…my excitement for this epic party just grew that much more).
In order to make these simple kits, you will need:
Inside of each bag, I put candy that I like (Starburst, Jolly Rancher suckers, BlowPops, Orbitz gum), a can of ginger ale, peanut butter crackers, small bottle of Barcardi Rum, Advil (four pills).
I set up my brown paper bags for the assembly line. I know only 17 bags are pictured, but I made 20. As I was throwing the contents in the bags, I got a nostalgic feeling of being in elementary school when I got to put the Valentine’s Day candy in everyone’s bag. That was my favorite part (along with writing the names).
Back in May I mentioned I was having some difficulty coming up with what to get my bridesmaids as thank you gifts for playing such important roles in my big day. I finally decided that, as a veteran bridesmaid, I would want not only something fun, but something useful. With that in mind, I knew what I wanted to get them was…a bunch of things in a bag!
I found a tutorial online on how to make these cute canvas bags here and used it to write each bridesmaid’s initial in either navy or yellow, with a gray doily pattern.
(All photos personal)
Then, I tied a ribbon in their favorite color around the handles of their bag. BM FUN. got a rainbow ribbon because, well, rainbow is her favorite color. She will be having a “rainbow” colored wedding in October—I’ll be sure to share with you all.
Don’t let the title startle you—this is about a super-cute gift I made, but I couldn’t come up with anything better!
My friend Priyanka (we call her Pri for short) is getting married! She and her fiancé met at Purdue University right around the time Pri had given up on love! Everything about their love story is right out of a sappy romance novel, and I LOVE IT! Pri is this free spirit who loves to meet new people and can be naive about the world (and its harsh realities) at times. Pat (her fiancé) is more on the serious side but has this fun spontaneous streak about himself! Together they are great for one another. And as a friend, you can’t ask for too much more!
Pri’s bridal party was a lot of fun! They sent the Evite for her bachelorette party about a month and half earlier. Unfortunately, I had a prior engagement during the weekend, so I had to turn it down. I was really bummed about it, but just when I thought I was going to miss out on the fun, I got an email from the bridal party inviting me to participate from afar! How awesome was that? I thought it was a pretty genius move myself. I mean…the bride-to-be is still getting gifts and I don’t have to feel like I got left out of the fun times!
What was the activity, you ask? Well, you had to provide the bride-to-be with a small gift (read: underwear) and a card/clue of who it was from. Sometime during this weekend of fun activities, Pri would open the gifts and try to guess who they were from! Boy oh boy do I love surprises, and I pride myself on being a halfway decent gift-giver. So this was right up my alley! Here is what I came up with:
I am not having bridesmaids at our Japanese or American weddings. In Japan, there is no such things as bridesmaids, and I don’t have anyone that I am that close to in Florida. I do, however, have five women who are helping me a lot with the Japanese wedding, and I wanted to get them a few “semi-bridesmaid” gifts.
I just want to say that I am horrible at gift giving. If I could just give everyone money I would be very happy, but that is considered rude so I had to really put my thinking cap on for this.
I don’t know about you, but I would be happy with any of these gifts.
Unfortunately, my thinking cap did not work, so I called my sister and she helped me out. My sister is an amazing gift giver and party planner, so I knew she would be helpful.
Do you remember Funfetti cupcakes?
|Mmmm….sugar. Via Preppy Pink Blondie|
My best friend, BM Veronica, and I were all about Funfetti in high school, baking up cupcakes for birthdays and Valentine’s day and PMS and just because we were 15 year old girls craving a sugar high. Maybe’s that’s where my not-so-secret confetti obsession came in. It’s this funny side of me that loves all things glitter, polka dots, and of course sprinkles (yum!).
I’ve been trying to buy little gifts and start DIY projects as I see them and as I have extra money available. I know that if I wait until the last minute, they will never get done! It’s also a lot easier to purchase gifts $50 at a time when I see a good deal, rather than trying to spend all of that money at once so close to the wedding.
When I spotted these adorable chevron clutches in our wedding colors at Pick Your Plum, I knew they’d be a perfect (and at $7.95 each, inexpensive) gift for my maids.
I am a jewelry-holic. It’s true, and it’s a problem. I especially love necklaces. The bigger, the better. Here is some photographic proof:
Personal Photo / Go Apps!
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!)
“Looking for cute and affordable favors? Put the treat of your choice in adorable boxes from Weddingbee Favors!”
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.