Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Ugly Bridesmaid Dresses-Too Tacky to Believe!

Wow-when we first stumbled across Tackyweddings, we almost thought we were in heaven. Honestly, no dress that your bride has paraded in front of you at David's Bridal can even come close to these beauties.

 (Image found here)
 Wow-just wow. It's every little girl's dream to look like Barbie but who knew she wanted all of her friends to parade in two-piece ballgowns too? 

(Image found here)
Nothing says classy like bright orange showgirl costumes.  Nothing!

(Image found here)

A picture does speak more loudly than words...I mean, how is this wedding not taking place in Elvis's chapel in Vegas?

To see even more of these ugly bridesmaid dresses head over to Tacky Weddings.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Is Potluck Okay for a Bridal Shower?

Q: We're trying to keep costs down and were thinking of doing a potluck for the bridal shower food.  One of the bridesmaids said she thought it was tacky.  Is it considered okay?

A: Potluck is not okay from an etiquette standpoint for a bridal shower. A wedding shower is the only wedding-related event where a guest is expected to bring a gift. Asking the guests to also bring food is considered inappropriate and tacky.

Besides the etiquette issues, potluck always presents other problems. Where will you keep the food until it's ready to be served?  What about allergies to food? What about guests who live an hour or so away from the shower venue-how are they expected to keep dishes cold or hot?

Of course, one option is to have the bridal party do the potluck; this would be okay as the guests are not bringing the food. 

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Wishing Wells for Bridal Showers

What are wishing wells?
For a bridal shower, a wishing well is in addition to the main gift. Besides the main gift, each guest brings a small household item, with the value of the gift being around $5-$10. The idea is that these are items that are useful for the new couple, but that they may have over-looked in the wedding registry process.  

Keep in mind that wishing wells for weddings are different-wishing wells are often a synonym for card boxes and are where guests could give cash or money as gifts.

Will guests assume there is a wishing well?
Most guests for a bridal shower will assume there will be a wishing well. If a theme isn't specified the guests will assume it is a household wishing well.  However to be on the safe side make sure a wishing well is put on the bridal shower invites.

Does the wishing well have to have a theme?
No, it doesn't but many times shower hosts choose a theme to go with the theme of the shower and to give guests guidance in picking their gifts.  We've listed themes below. Remember when picking a theme that the gifts are expected to be low in price so make sure any theme goes well with a low price.

Are the wishing well gifts supposed to be opened at the shower?
Unlike the other gifts given at a shower, wishing well gifts do not have to be opened at the shower. (Think about it-how exciting would it be to see the bride open up oven mitts and batteries!) However, some hosts do put the wishing well gifts in a basket or so and have the bride go through it at the end of opening up her big gifts.

Do guests have to give a wishing well gift?
NO! There's no pressure on guests to give a wishing well gift. Many guests don't as they feel as though their wedding shower gift is enough.  However, a wishing well is considered appropriate and not considered tacky at all.

Kitchen-small gadgets, such as teaspoons, measuring cups, ice cream scoop, measuring cups, measuring spoons, pot holders, dish towels, and mixing spoons. 

* Bath-bath soaps, guests towels, or a night light.

* Lingerie-underwear or panties.  

* Garden-seed packets, gloves, hand tools, kneeling mat.   

* Tea Party-tea bags, strainer, tea cozy.     

* Travel-luggage locks, luggage ID, journal.     

* Handyman-screwdriver, hammer, duct tape.     

* Crafter- glue sticks, stamps and ink pad.   

* Beach-suntan lotion, water bottle, sunglasses.    

* Spa-votive candles, nail polish, lotion. 

* Lottery-lottery tickets.

* Charity-canned food, non-perishable food.

* Wine-wine charms.

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Bridal Shower/ Party Planning Guide: Social Couture

Wow, Social Couture is a fabulous website for the hostess that specializes in packaged custom party themes! Hostesses looking to create gorgeous events can purchase full design sets complete with table top accessories for 8 place settings or buy individual items and create a look inspired by their divine designs.  No more running around for the perfect centerpiece-the designers have done the work for you.  The best part of their designs-nothing is showery so you can re-use these for occasions (New Year's Eve, dinner parties) to come.

Shop by themes, like the Preppy Party (shown above) where splashes of pink and navy combine for a preppy landscape.  Preppy Party consists of pink linen napkins, pink and white grosgrain napkin rings, lime-green cotton place mats, black and white vine-print plates, frosted white votives, and silver mint julep cups for flowers

The Tiffany blue bridal shower is just perfect for a shower-formal and elegant yet casual and beautiful at the same time.  Other themes include the Black Vine Dinner Party with its inspiration from Palm Springs, Hawaii Five-O for a modern luau, or an Asian Affair with its colorful take on a Japanese tea party. For each theme you can purchase a complete tabletop setting-prices range from $175 to $225 for a setting for 8 guests. For example, for $175 the Preppy Party set comes with
  • 8 Azalea Linen Hemstitched Napkins
  • 8 Vine Side Plates (8)
  • 8 Bamboo Plates (9)
  • 8 Pink & White Grosgrain Napkin Rings
  • 6 Frosted White Votives
  • Large Silver Mint Julep Cup
  • 2 Silver Bowls
  • 8 Anyday Lime Placemats
  • 12 Clear Place card Holders
  • Black Place cards (Pack of 10).
It's a party in a box, albeit much chicer than most party in a boxes are.

Of course you can also purchase individual pieces at Social Couture that are sure to liven up your next soiree or shower. The Vase Corset, shown above, is a corset that slips over a regular glass vase and definitely livens up the vase. The corset, which is a steal at $15, comes in black and black, black and red, and black and pink.  How great would this be at a lingerie shower or a bachelorette party!

Or the incredibly multi-use Black Chainlink Blumebud which is a fabulous bud vase, placecard holder and favor. Use these for your next garden themed bridal shower; although at this price ($9 for 6) they're inexpensive enough to use for regular dinner parties.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

How to Save Money By Buying Used or Secondhand Bridesmaid Dresses

Looking for gently used, worn once bridesmaid dresses to save money? Luckily there are quite a few places to find some.  By doing this, you can often save 50 to 75% off the regular retail price of a bridesmaid gown.

Tips to keep in mind when looking for used bridesmaid dresses:
  • It's easier to look for dresses if you keep your search as generic as possible.  If the bride has her heart set on all of her girls wearing an Alfred Angelo Bridesmaids Style 7016 in Cobalt then the search will be harder. If meanwhile, the bride has only selected a color for the maids or a silhouette (or both) the chances of finding dresses will be higher.
  • Budget in shipping, alterations, and a possible second dress for your dress budget.  A $75 used gown might seem like a good deal but factor in $25 shipping only to find out the dress looks horrible on you-you're now out $100 and still have to find a bridesmaid dress.
  • Also factor in dry-cleaning and pressing.  If the dress has been worn, it most likely will need to be cleaned and pressed.  Most bridal salons do this for free.
  • Searching might take patience-be prepared to wait it out.
 Tips for Buying Secondhand Bridesmaid Dresses Online
  • Ask about returns. Some sellers will let you return the dresses but you must pay shipping so factor it into your dress budget.
  • Ask detailed questions about the dress's measurements, size, and whether its been altered or not.  Depending on what alterations a dress has had dress might not be able to be altered more.  Don't be afraid to tell the seller that you're 5'10" and ask her if she thinks the dress will fit.
  • Take measurements before you buy. Remember that it is easier to take in than let out aka err on the side of buying a dress that's a size higher than smaller.  Don't assume that your bust size is a 34 because thats what bra size you wear.
  • Get detailed pictures of the dress, especially any stains, rips, and tears.
Tips for Buying Secondhand Bridesmaid Dresses In Person
  • Prepare for it the same way you would for dress shopping in regular clothing boutiques and bridal salons.  Wear the same shoes you're planning on wearing, as well as a comfortable strapless bra.
  • Inspect the dress carefully to see if there are any stains, rips, and tears-many of these will be noticeable if repaired and will push up the cost of alterations.

    Where to Find Secondhand Bridesmaid Dresses Online
    WeddingBee-The complete, no-thrills bridal blog has a great classifieds section where you can post dresses you're looking for (as generic as full-length violet dresses or as specific as 5 Bari Jay 351 dresses in wisteria.)

    Recycled Bride-What else would you expect from a site promoting the use of re-using wedding items and goods? Find bridesmaid dress listings here, as well as listings for wedding gowns, decor, MOB gowns, and more. For gowns you can search by designer, color, and location.

    Ebay-Of course, the auction giant Ebay is also a great starting point for finding used bridesmaid dresses.  The downside to Ebay is that many dresses are only listed for 3, 5, or 7 days.  Save your search as a saved search and then re-run it frequently.

    Craig's List-The beauty of this classified site is that the classifieds are local letting you save on shipping and possibly getting to try the dresses on before you buy.

    Places to Find Secondhand Bridesmaid Dresses
    Consignment Shops-Many consignment stores have special occasion gowns and bridesmaid gowns.  Find local resale stores at  Consignment Shops and Resale Shopping.  Tip: Before going, call up the stores and see if they carry bridesmaid dresses-many consignment stores specialize in children's wear or casual wear so save yourself a trip.

    Thrift Stores-Thrift stores, where someone donated their gowns to a non-profit, can often be a good source of finding secondhand gowns.  Since the gowns were donated and the proceeds are going to charity, the dresses are often extremely cheap too!  Find local thrift stores near you with The Thrift Shopper or head to your local Salvation Army or Goodwill.

    Wednesday, April 14, 2010

    {CLOSED} GIVEAWAY: Rembrandt 2 Hour Whitening Kit & Toothpaste

    Chances are that before any big event in your life-hot date, job interview, class reunion, you whiten your teeth.  Who doesn't want their teeth to be dazzling in photos or in person?

    Well Rembrandt has a product for the procrastinators like me who forget until the day before a party and thus don't have time for the 2 week whitening strips.  Rembrandt's 2 hour whitening kit can whiten your teeth in 2 hours-you read that right, 2 hours!

    The way it works: 
    • FILL the bottom of the trays with the whitening gel.
    • APPLY tray to teeth and start your first 20-minute session. When time is up, rinse your mouth and the tray with water.
    • REST 10 minutes.
    • REPEAT the 20-minute wear, 10-minute break method 3 more times (totaling 2 hours).
    Be sure to read and follow instructions before you use it!

    The end result-visibly whiter teeth in 2 hours not 2 weeks! For more information on the 2 hour Whitening Kit visit Rembrandt.  Best of all, the product typically retails for about $20.25-you can find coupons on the website too! 

    To keep teeth white try the Rembrandt Plus Peroxide Wintergreen Toothpaste. With this toothpaste, you can whiten your smile while restoring tooth enamel. It's formulated with a rapid-release peroxide that starts working immediately on contact for visibly whiter teeth.

    GIVEAWAY: Rembrandt has agreed to giveaway ONE Rembrandt 2 Hour Whitening Kit and ONE Rembrandt Toothpaste.   

    To enter:  Please leave a comment on any post-come back here and tell me what you posted and where. This entry must be done before the rest of the extra entries can be done.

    For more entries:
    Be sure to leave a comment for EACH additional entry that you complete.
    1 extra entry-Follow us on Blogger or through Google Friend Connect
    1 extra entry-Twitter this contest (leave the Tweet)
    1 extra entry-Enter my other contests (please let me know which ones)
    3 extra entries-Write a blog post on your blog about the contest (leave the link please)

    This sweepstakes is seen on Cashnet Sweeps, Online-Sweepstakes, and Prizey!

    This giveaway is now closed-congrats to Justine M. (comment No. 12)!

    Disclosure: We have not received any monetary compensation for this review or giveaway.  Rembrandt is providing the merchandise and did provide us with a sample.

    The Legal:
    • Contest begins  April 14, 2010  and ends on April 25, 2010 at midnight. All entries must be posted by midnight to qualify.
    • You must include your email address or your entries will not be counted. (Or check to see if your e-mail is included in your blogger profile.)
    • US residents only.  Void where prohibited.
    • 18 and over only.
    • The winner is responsible for any taxes on the prize.

    Tuesday, April 13, 2010

    Real Showers: Outdoor Garden Bridal Shower

    Having a bridal shower in a garden is fairly popular.  Once you see this gem from fellow blogger RubyEllen you'll see why.

    Decorations-When you host a bridal shower outside in a garden, you don't have to do much in extra decorations as this gorgeous outdoor shower found on Cakies will attest to.  The host  lugged some of her vintage cafe chairs outside and made some flower garland for decorations.
    Tip: Want to make flower garland for decoration? Find out how to make it here.

    Games-Instead of traditional games by itself, the hosts made a pinata for the shower, inspired by this one. However, this pinata was made with pages of a vintage book with some saying "Linda loves John" (the bride and groom) on some of the pages.
    The guests then played the "underwear game." To play the game, each guests were to bring a underwear/lingerie gift that matched their personality and then  (the bride) had to guess who each underwear/lingerie gift was from. She did pretty well, but she did have 18 wrong guesses. The penalty for each wrong guess was one spin before hitting the pinata.

    Favors-The host  made some red velvet cupcakes in a jar and styled it just like Martha adding calligraphy to the top of the jars.
    Tip: Learn how to make cupcakes in a jar with this tutorial. Cupcakes in a jar make a great favor for many reasons-they're easy for guests to transport home and can be kept outside without worrying about bugs and insects getting to them.
     Want to see even more of this shower-head to Cakies.

    Bridal Shower Game: Panty/Underwear Game

    Bridal Shower Game: Panty/Underwear Game

    The Idea: How well does the bride know what her friends wear as underoos

    What you Need:
    Ask each guest to bring underwear or lingerie for the bride that matches their personality.

    How to Play: 
    The bride then has to guess who each underwear/lingerie gift was from.Think of something embarrassing for the bride to do for each wrong answer.

    Bachelorette Parties-This is also a great game for bachelorette parties.  Play before you head out for the night.

    Monday, April 12, 2010

    Invite the Bride's Co-workers to Bachelorette Party?

    Bachlorette Party Etiquette
    Q:We're putting together the guest list for the bride's bachelorette party and are wondering should we invite the bride's co-workers?

    A: For both bachelorette parties and bridal showers, it's fine for the bride to have a say in the guest list.  This might be even more important with a bachelorette party.  Depending on what activities you're planning on doing and how close the bride is with her co-workers, the bride might or might not want her co-workers to be there.  The bride might be fine with her co-workers being at her bachelorette party if you're doing dinner and drinks, but might feel awkward at having her cubicle mates see her grinding with an exotic dancer.  (Remember also that guests shouldn't be invited to a bachelorette party if they're not invited to the wedding so if her co-workers aren't invited to the wedding skip the bachelorette party invites!)

    Should junior bridesmaids pay for a bridal shower?

    Bridal Shower Etiquette 
    Q: Does the junior bridesmaid have to pay for the bridal shower?

    A: Junior bridesmaids, who are between the age of 9 to 14 years old, are not expected to throw or pay for wedding showers.  It's unreasonable to expect a girl that young to pay when she realistically can't even work.  However, the junior bridesmaid definitely could be invited to the bridal shower, depending on her age, maturity, and the theme.  If the junior bridesmaid is old enough to, then she could help out with other parts of the shower rather than simply paying by helping set-up, make favors, and make food.

    DIY Bridal Shower Contest

    DIY projects are huge-they're a great way to add some originality and creativity to a bridal shower.  And here at The Perfect Bridesmaid, we're always looking for more (and so are our readers!) That's why we're  proud to have our first DIY Bridal Shower contest.
    What are we looking for? Anything related to a bridal shower-invites, centerpieces, favors, decorations, cake-toppers, etc. Be creative-did you use something for a bachelorette party or engagement party that would also be great for a wedding shower? A craft for a wedding that would work for a shower? Submit it! 

    To enter the contest:
    • Email me (dana@theperfectbridesmaid.com) 4-8 images that are each at least 600 pixels wide (you can submit the photos as attachments or in the e-mail text);
    • A list of supplies with links to where to find them;
    • Step by step instructions
    • Description of the project
    The Rules
    Everyone is welcome to participate. Brides, bridesmaids, event planners, florists, DIYers, anyone! 

    You can submit as many projects as you would like to increase your chances of winning-please send separate e-mails for each project.  

    If you have a blog where the project is featured, please include a link to it but still include the above information too.

    Entries close on April 22, 2010. Entries will be posted in the order they were received. The best projects will be chosen and posted. Voting will begin April 26, 2010 and end May 4, 2010. 

    The Winners
    First-place gets $100 cash! That's right $100 smackeroos!

    Thursday, April 8, 2010

    Introducing Shabby Apple-Vintage Inspired Bridesmaid Dresses

    Shabby Apple, the purveyor of vintage inspired and absolutely romantic dresses, has launched a bridesmaids collection making it easier for brides who want retro bridesmaid dresses.  Each dress is available in a variety of sizes from XXS to a plus-size large and in several popular bridesmaid colors like pink sapphire (hot pink), onyx (black), and rhodolite (purple).  Each dress is also carefully constructed for each individual order and occasion and made of  sturdy, durable, figure-loving fabrics in cuts that are classy and classic.

    Take a look at the Jack and Jill dress.  Sculpted sleeves are tucked into a pleated bodice to create a delicate portrait neckline, while the nipped waist and shape-loving poly sateen of the bodice and skirt give you a flattering shape. (Love the adorable couple names!)

    Or the Penelope and Odysseus dress with its cute puffed sleeves and a ruffled neckline which set this dress apart from regular belted wrap dresses, while featuring a cinched waist that helps keep your shape.

    Other than the dresses in the Bridesmaids collection, Shabby Apple features quite a few that would be perfect for any wedding although especially so for one with vintage touches or a vintage theme.  Their little black dress collection features several dresses that would have made Audrey Hepburn swoon.  Of course, their dresses are also perfect for many occasions-bridal showers, work, or just hanging out. 

    All images are copyright Shabby Apple

    Uneven Bridal Party

    Is the bridal party you're in evenly matched? In the past it was very common to hear a bride complain to a friend that she would have invited the friend but then the "numbers" would be uneven.  However, this is changing.  According to research by My Wedding Workbook 21.1% of brides said they plan to have four bridesmaids and 20.4% said they'll have four groomsmen while 16.2% said they'll have five groomsmen, and 15.3% five bridesmaids.

    The difference in number was slight which indicates that most mismatching brides are usually only one or two people off from having correlating numbers of aisle mates. It's still rare to see eight bridesmaids and two groomsmen.  The mismatched bridesmaid to groomsmen ratio that proved most popular was 5:4. 

    While symmetrical bridal parties are still the most popular, brides are definitely having new twists on wedding traditions.  

    Wednesday, April 7, 2010

    Bachelorette Party: Mobile Spas

    Can't get the girls to go away for a weekend of spa treatments and pampering or maybe you can't all afford it?  Have no fear-a wide variety of mobile spas can come to you.  These mobile spas allow you to have manicures and massages in the comfort of your own home.  And if you're looking to have a bachelorette party spa day, the mobile spa is a great idea.
    • Mobile Spa offers facials, body treatments, massages, and manicures and pedicures. Try the Half Day of indulgence / relaxation for $175 which includes Body Exfoliation - Full Body Glow,  30 minute L'aromatherapie Massage,  SPA Pedicure and SPA Manicure with locations in Atlanta, Baltimore, Boston, Chicago, Los Angeles, Maine, New Hampshire, Richmond, and Vermont
    • The Mobile Day Spa offers Girls Night in with 5 facials, 5 manicures, 5 pedicures, fruit tray & herbal tea for just $575 plus travel in the Atlanta area.
    • Zen, a mobile spa, in the Denver area offers many affordable packages like the Short and Sweet where for $75 per person you can have a 30 minute massage and a 30 minute facial.
    Expect to spend about $150 to $300 per person on average for the spa parties although prices can vary dramatically depending on what services everyone gets.  

    To keep costs down, consider getting services that you and the girls would have done anyways like manicures or waxing.

    "Girls Night In"
    5 Facials
    5 Manicures
    5 Pedicures
    Fruit Tray & Herbal Tea
               $575 (plus travel)

    Tuesday, April 6, 2010

    {CLOSED} Giveaway: Miss Now Mrs. Gift Card

    Want to change your name after you get married? Or does your favorite bride want to change her name?  MissNowMrs is a name change service designed to help new brides change their name.  Basically, this service lets you (or the user) answer a few questions based on their state, then uses those answers to fill out forms like  Social Security, IRS 8822, U.S. Passport, USPS, State Driver's License and State Voter Registration forms as well as notification letters for all of the creditors.  Basically all you have to do is print out the forms, sign them, and mail them to the appropriate places.
    MissNowMrs claims it saves the average bride 13 hours of time by putting all of the forms together in one easy to use website.  I think it could potentially save more than 13 hours-I have so many married friends who didn't even know where to start to change their name. Do you go to the DMV first or the Social Security office? That's 13 hours that could be spent doing anything else, like shopping or opening up wedding gifts.

    MissNowMrs also helps in a variety of situations.  Thinking about hyphenating your name or taking your maiden name as your middle name-MissNowMrs can assist with that.  Changing your name after being married for a few years, say after having a baby? MissNowMrs can help with that.

    At just $29.95, the MissNowMrs service is available as a convenient gift card to give as gifts. It makes a great bridal shower gift, engagement party gift, or wedding gift.  It's one of those gifts that every bride would enjoy but probably would never think to buy for herself.  It works in all 50 states, too. (Of course, a bride could purchase the service herself to use.)

    Win One! MissNowMrs is giving away one gift card (valued at $29.95) to one lucky The Perfect Bridesmaid reader!
    To enter: Tell us what you normally give for bridal shower gifts. This entry must be done before the rest of the extra entries can be done.

    For more entries:
    Be sure to leave a comment for EACH additional entry that you complete.
    1 extra entry-Follow us on Blogger or through Google Friend Connect
    1 extra entry-Post on your Facebook status (leave the link please)
    1 extra entry-Twitter this contest (leave the Tweet)
    3 extra entries-Write a blog post on your blog about the contest (leave the link please)

    This giveaway is now closed-the winner is Comment No.2-Princess Christy!

    This sweepstakes is seen on Cashnet Sweeps, Online-Sweepstakes, and Prizey!

    Disclosure: We have not received any monetary compensation for this review or giveaway.  MissNowMrs is providing the gift card. However, The Perfect Bridesmaid is an affiliate of MissNowMrs which means we may receive compensation for any traffic sent to MissNowMrs or any gift cards purchased through this website.  However, this compensation has not affected the content of the above post.

    The Legal:
    • Contest begins  April 6, 2010  and ends on April 19, 2010 at midnight. All entries must be posted by midnight to qualify.
    • You must include your email address or your entries will not be counted. (Or check to see if your e-mail is included in your blogger profile.)
    • US residents only.
    • 18 and over only.

    Thursday, April 1, 2010

    FREE Bridal Shower Ginkgo Collection Download

    What a great freebie- an entire bridal shower collection for FREE as a download.  Included are gift or favor tags, favor box decorations, registry cards, and menus-basically everything you need to have a well-coordinated shower.  The design is also pretty too-a simple blue ginkgo design.  Best of all, you can buy the matching invites from Etsy seller Simply Pretty Prints.

    Drink of the Day: Flower Child

    This drink recipe "Flower Child" comes from the Square One website. Square One is an organic vodka that can be used in place of regular vodkas.  This recipe is vodka infused with tea for a drink that is sure to be a hit at the bridal shower party.

    2 oz. Square One Organic Vodka infused with Numi Organic “Velvet Garden” white rose tea
    1 oz. hibiscus flower unsweetened concentrate (“Eva” brand – buy online at www.mexgrocer.com)
    1/2 oz. organic agave nectar
    1/2 oz. fresh lemon juice
    ¼ oz. Cointreau
    Dash of Peychaud's bitters

    Mix all ingredients in a cocktail shaker and shake for 30 seconds. Strain into martini glass. Garnish with a rose petal (if available) or a lemon twist.

    Infusion: Pour vodka into a pitcher or other glass receptacle. Use 6 teabags per 750 ml. Infuse for 4-6 hours, remove bags and pour infusion back into vodka bottle.