Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Practical Jokes

Since I have started this blog so many people have been contacting me with stories of being a bridesmaid for a bridezilla.  In my positive opinion, the bride turns into a bridezilla when she is just overstressed and wants the day to go absolutely perfect.  It's so important for the bride and her bridesmaids to take a step back and remember this is just one day and you will go back to being friends after.  That being said, as a bridesmaid its your duty to be there as much as possible for the bride, but as the bride remember these girls are you best friends and not your slaves!  Everyone should enjoy the process and when times get stressful make light of the situation.

A friend shared with me an email her sister sent to all her bridesmaids and I cannot get it out of my head.  I think it is just hysterical and I made her send it to me because I need to share with all of you.

Email from bride, Ashley...
Hi Ladies,
For those of you in Chicago... happy snow storm day!!! 
Anyway, I wanted to get your thoughts on a couple things.  Since I'm wearing my hair down and wavy I want to put something simple in my hair - like a hair pin or comb or whatever they are called.  I found this today and I think it's amazing.  You know I cannot make decisions though so need to your thoughts before I order because I'm not sure if you can return.
Also, don't hate me, but I'd really like it if you guys wore the same shoes.  I found these and they are super affordable and on sale.  The heel isn't that high so you'll def. be able to dance in them!

Last... since I'm wearing my hair down I will need you guys to all do up-do's so my hair will look different.  I know I'm telling you this really early, but I wanted you to know so you can start looking for some ideas in  magazines.  Love you all and I can't wait for July!!
After the email was sent not a single one of her bridesmaids responded because they actually thought she was being serious!  Ashley would never have worn that crown, required the girls to buy those kitten heels, or forced them to wear their hair up.  I love how Ashley is able to laugh and play lighthearted jokes on her bridesmaids.  Although Ashley is under a tremendous amount of stress planning a destination wedding, she hasn't forgotten her bridesmaids are her best friends and she is enjoying the journey with them:)

Do you have any funny stories you would like to share?  I would love to hear them!!

Monday, January 30, 2012

{Guest Post} The Bride's Perspective: Smaller Wedding

Happy Monday!  Today I am very excited to introduce a new series "The Brides Perspective." Being the perfect bridesmaid means understanding where the bride is coming from and being there when her emotions may get in the way of her excitment.  Having never been a bride, I can't personally write on my own wedding experiences and I want to help everyone reading this be the best bridesmaid and friend possible.  Therefore, I am going to turn to brides in the blogging world to share some insight on how and why they made the decisions they did for their big day.

The first edition is written by one of my close friends, Siera Rubenstein.  Siera is a manager at SARCA, one of my favorite boutiques in Chicago, and is frequently featured on their blog.  I hope you enjoy because Siera has agreed to be a regular for "The Bride's Perspective" series!

Hi COAPB fans! My name is Siera Rubenstein and I was recently married September 24th, 2011 at the Park Hyatt in Chicago. I’m so excited that Traci invited me here to share all the special moments that went into our wedding. 

My first installment is on why I opted on having a smaller, intimate wedding. Adam and I wanted something that would feel more intimate and not an event where there would be people that we didn’t necessarily know (maybe friends of our parents etc.). We were a tad selfish when it came to this part, but we though “you get married once, do it the way you want to rather then what other people wanted.” 

We each had all of our closest friends, best family friends, and of course our family there to celebrate with us. We wanted everyone to feel as though they were a guest at our home rather than a guest at a huge event where they wouldn’t even be able to see the bride and groom. Although there were a few bumps in the road, I think we accomplished it with flying colors! 

My advice to all you soon to be brides out there: do what feels best to you and your fiancĂ©. This is your special day to celebrate your love for each other, no one else. No matter what you do or how many people attend it will be a special day in your lives that you will never forget!  

Friday, January 27, 2012

Flashback Friday: Ali and Mike's Wedding

Welcome back to Flashback Friday!  Today we are taking a look at the wedding of one of my oldest and dearest friends, Ali (Snyderman) Fishman.  When Ali called me to tell me she was engaged I couldn't believe how far our friendship had come.  I met Ali in first grade and over the past nineteen years we have shared so many milestones together.  I could hardly contain myself Ali was getting married and I was going to be her bridesmaid- it was such an exciting moment!

As surprised as I was that we were finally old enough to get married, the fact she was marrying Mike was no surprise at all.  They have been together since their senior year of High School, and they couldn't be more perfect for each other.  Their wedding was purely magical and I was so fortunate to have had the chance to be a part of it!

Photographer: North Shore Photography
Band: Becca Kaufman Orchestra
Party Planner: Barbara Moss
Makeup: Elise Brill
Hair: Robin Dipaolo

One of my favorite moments was watching Ali get in to her dress and truly become a bride!
The first time they saw each other had everyone in tears.

Ali's wedding brought us all back together.  Since the wedding, we have dinner together every first Wednesday of the month- a tradition we have labeled "Wacky Wednesday."

Ali and Mike stayed true to themselves and entered the reception to "The Interlude" by Jay-Z. They LOVE Jay-Z and the song was a perfect fit for the occasion. "Allow me to reintroduce myself..."

My favorite pics of me and my bestie from the night.

Ali wanted a white dance floor sooooo badly, so as part of her wedding gift Mike made it happen... you can tell she loved it!

I love you both and I hope I did justice to your amazing wedding!

Special thank you to Anna at North Shore Photography for letting me use her beautiful pictures!

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Southern Wedding Week: Send Off

Sorry I am running so late getting my post up today, but I was busy packing this morning because after work I am heading to NYC!  One of my besties, Judi, moved there this summer and I am finally going to visit her (it is also her birthday tomorrow). I will take many pictures and the good ones I will share with you next week:)

Also, I need to wish one of my dearest friends since first grade, Samantha Marks, a happy birthday.  Hope you have a great weekend celebrating.

Send Off

In the South, at the end of the reception, guests throw flowers or streamers at the bride and groom as they leave.  I have seen this in movies, but I never thought of associating it with Southern weddings.  Apparently, it happens all the time in the South!  I assume it happens in the North as well but just not as often.

Mike and Drew Lehmann's send off

Marc and Lauren Sancton's send off (Lindsey's Sister)

I hope you have all enjoyed my Southern Wedding Week! Thank you again to Lindsey Fox and Stephanie Veeder for all their Southern insight.

Jenny and Jon are two of my good friends that fell in love our senior year and will be getting married this June in Dallas, Texas.  I cannot wait to experience my first Southern Wedding!

Are these traditions accurate?  Do you have any traditions where you are from that differ from the norm?

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Southern Wedding Week: Hospitality Suite and House Party

Hospitality Suite

I experienced my first hospitality suite at a wedding in St. Louis this past October.  The bride was from St. Louis, but the groom was from New Orleans so her parents picked up on this tradition.  The hospitality suite was available all weekend long for those guests of the wedding that were staying at the hotel.  They had snacks and drinks and even brunch the morning of the wedding.  It is a great place to hang out if there isn't much to do and many times there is a TV set up so guests can watch whatever sporting event is taking place that day.  Often, the family provides alcohol in the hospitality suite which makes it the ideal location for the after party.

A few of my school friends eating brunch in the hospitality suite

House Party-Texas Thing!

Until yesterday I was planning on posting about the house party being a southern thing.  Luckily my friend informed me a house party is ONLY a Texas thing!  Anyways, in Texas, the house party is a way for the bride to honor those close friends she has not asked to be bridesmaids.  The house party can range from about 3-10 girls.  Typically, they are included in all the wedding activities such as showers, bachelorette parties, and rehearsal dinners.  Some brides may have the girls all wear a certain color and some may even have them walk down the aisle.  It is really up to the bride on how involved she wants the house party to be. 

My friend Lindsey was in the house party at this wedding so she was invited to the rehearsal dinner

What do you think about having a hospitality suite and house party?  I would love to have a hospitality suite at my wedding even though I am not a Southerner.  Check back tomorrow for more  Southern Wedding Week!

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Southern Wedding Week: Groom's Cake

Welcome back to Southern Wedding Week!

Groom's Cake

The groom's cake is the ultimate tradition associated with southern weddings. It is a typically a gift from the bride, and is displayed on a separate table than the couple's wedding cake. Usually this cake is smaller in size, and has only one layer of dark cake (usually chocolate). The bride will have this cake made to reflect a certain hobby or passion of the groom. For example, many of my friends from college that met their husbands at The University of Texas will have a cake made in the shape of a Longhorn or the Clock Tower. The cake can be served as dessert alongside the couple's wedding cake or even cut and put in to-go boxes the for guests to take home. Although it is an added expense to the wedding, it is very popular in the South and grooms look forward to seeing what their bride selected for them.

I have never been to a wedding with a groom's cake, so the examples below are my favorite cakes I have found when viewing some friend's weddings on Facebook. If you read my blog and you see your cake feel free to make a shout out!

Drew and Allison Firestone

Scott and Elizabeth Rubinsky

Adam and Jami Lazarov

Monday, January 23, 2012

Southern Wedding Week: Bridal Luncheon

Weddings are so wonderful because they bring all your college friends together, many of which you haven't seen since graduation (or the last school friend's wedding).  I went to the University of Texas in Austin, and many of my college friends weddings will be taking place in the South.  Did you know there are many traditions that take place at Southern Weddings that Northerners such as myself have never heard of?  This week I am going to highlight these traditions, and in order to differentiate between Northern and Southern Weddings, I've turned to my friends, Stephanie Veeder and Lindsey Fox.  Stephanie and Lindsey grew up in Texas and now live in Chicago and have been to their fair share of weddings from both regions.

Bridal Luncheon

I came up with the idea to do Southern Wedding Week when I heard Lindsey talk about a Bridal Luncheon at dinner the other night.  I figured it was just a different title for a shower.  I was wrong.  The bridal luncheon is given by the bride (or bride's family) as a way of honoring her bridesmaids, and is typically thrown the day of the rehearsal dinner.  The luncheon is an opportunity to relax and spend time together before the craziness of the weekend begins.  It is also an opportune time for the bride to give her maids' gifts, and sometimes the bridesmaids bring gifts for the bride.

Found this bridal luncheon setup on Pintrest 

I LOVE this concept.  What better way to kickoff your wedding weekend than to have all of your best friends in a room together.  Many times if you do not live near your bridesmaids it is a lot to ask of them to fly in for the showers and the bachelorette party.  With a bridal luncheon you will have all the bridesmaids in the same room and allow them some time to get to know each other.

Let me know if you are from the North and had a Bridal Luncheon, or if you have any opinions on it.

Please check back tomorrow for some more insight into Southern Weddings!

Friday, January 20, 2012

Fab Five Friday: My First Time Guest Blogging!!

I promise next week I will be back with a new Flashback Friday, but today I can't contain my excitement that I am making my debut as a guest blogger!  If you are from Chicago, then hopefully you have checked out one of my favorite stores in the Gold Coast, SARCA.  One of my dear friends, Siera, is the manager and she asked me to guest blog on their "Fab Five Fridays."   So please, go on over to SARCA and check out my Fab Five!! 


Allison Parris- Beaded Fringe Dress $650 
When I am a bride and it is time for me to choose a rehearsal dinner dress hopefully SARCA still has this Allison Parris piece.  It is fun and flirty and any bride wearing this would grab the attention of everyone in the room.

Finders Keepers-Magic Dance Dress $175
I love this LBD for a bachelorette party. What better time to look hot than when you are helping a best friend celebrate her last fling before the ring.  You can bet I will be wearing this in February at a bachelorette party in Austin.

Station to Station dress $165
The most important duty of a bridesmaid at a shower is to help the bride open gifts, and fast.  Why not make sure you look fabulous doing it? The back on this dress will photograph perfect and the yellow is such a nice color for a spring shower.  

Friend of Mine dress $175
Honeymoon Hot?  Yes please!  Just because the wedding is over, why not rock this dress on the sands of some picturesque beach?  Of course I love Maxi dresses, but if you still have your banging body from the wedding you should 100% flaunt yourself in front of your brand new hubby in this Friends of Mine dress.

Damen+Division Bridesmaid Earrings $150
OK, I swear, when I picked these I had NO idea they were called the "Bridesmaid Earrings," but apparently the designer knows whats up. When you are a bridesmaid in a wedding you don't get to wear what you want to the wedding, so I like to make it count at the rehearsal dinner. These earrings are the perfect way to dress up your favorite LBD.

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Secret Perks of Being a Bridesmaid

Obviously, the greatest part about being a bridesmaid is getting to stand by your friends side on the biggest day of her life.  However, there are also a few perks which help make the experience that much better!

#1 One of the greatest perks of all.... you get to be one of the firsts to see the bride in her dress and watch her as she sees herself as a bride for the first time!

#2 If the ceremony is held at the same venue as the reception you will be one of the first guests out of room AKA one of the firsts in line at the bar.  My boyfriend, David, and I have it down to a science, I walk out of the room, floor it to the bar, grab a champagne for me and a scotch for him.  I love this perk because you are the first to get a drink and you come off as a wonderful girlfriend:)

First drink of the night

#3 This perk comes right after #2.  Now that we have a drink we can be first in line at any appetizer station.  If you have been getting ready all day you are going to be so excited for that cocktail hour and all the appetizers it entails!

#4 Private time with the bride.. I mean the ultimate bathroom experience.  When you are a bridesmaid the bride is definitely going to need your help because you will have been trained to help her go to the bathroom!  It may sound a little silly, but trying to help her with all that huge dress is hysterical and you get to share it with her.

#5 Barefoot bridesmaids.. lets face it shoes hurt.  After standing up for at least thirty minutes during the ceremony your feet are pretty much shot for the rest of the night.  Luckily, many brides realize this and give cute flip flops as gifts!  If you don't think your bride will give them to you I highly recommend bringing them for yourself.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Biggest Myth about Wedding Dress Shopping

I feel like it is a right of passage to step into a bridal shop.  Whether you are picking out your own wedding dress, or you going with a friend or family member for their dress, when you walk through those doors you are living a moment you will keep with you forever.

My sister asked only my mom and I to come with her and it couldn't have been a more magical day... except for one thing was missing.. CHAMPAGNE!

We walked in and I was expecting to be handed a glass over flowing with bubbly, but there was none in sight.  I figured okay that's strange maybe when we are put in a dressing room there will be a bottle chilling.  To my surprise there wasn't even a stand with glasses waiting to be filled.  At this point I thought silly me why would a store just hand out champagne to just anyone. you must have to say yes to a dress and then the celebrations will begin.  

Well, she picked her dress and we all clapped and cheered with excitement.  Then, as they lead us into a private room I knew the time had arrived, but then all that happened was they asked us to pay.  So yes, the day was wonderful my sister got the dress of her dreams, but I walked away from the experience baffled.  

Why in every movie and TV show do they always show girls drinking champagne and giggling over these dresses?  It isn't true and I feel as a professional bridesmaid I must make sure everyone is aware!


"What's Your Number"

Okay, so I just wanted to give you all the heads up if you are expecting that magical toast!  I am in no way saying I only wanted to go for the booze, I just had always pictures that moment with a glass in hand.

Don't worry we managed to still celebrate on our own!

Did you expect champagne when you went shopping for a dress?  Did you get it?

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

What to Wear When you're NOT the Bridesmaid

If you are not a bridesmaid you get the luxury of choosing what dress you wear to a wedding. You can go to your store of choice, try on plenty of options, and walk away with a dress you would happily wear to two or three of your upcoming weddings.  The problem is that singledress will probably be featured in all of your friends Facebook albums and pretty soon that dress you loved will be hanging in the back of your closet.

 Aside from the two weddings I am standing up in this year, I am a guest at six others.  As a Twenty-Five year old I cannot sanely budget a brand new dress for every event I attend.  I would freak out, but I found the answer... Rent the Runway!   I learned about RTR from my one of my best friends that rented this Tibi dress for a wedding we attended in October.

If you are new to weddings you may be new to RTR so let me explain.  You can rent a designer dress for a fraction of the price. 

You pick from over 95 designers and they have dresses for any occasion.  Once you find a dream dress:
  1. Select a size (they let you pick a second size for free)
  2. Pick a delivery date (they suggest 1-2 days before the wedding/event)
  3. Add any accessories (they give you tons to choose from)
If it is a destination wedding they will send it directly to your hotel.  I would always bring a backup just in case it doesn't fit, but with two sizes to pick from it usually does.  For a small additional charge you can pick a second dress and they will send you two sizes of that dress as well!  If none of the dresses you receive fit you can send them back for no charge.

Ok, now that I explained it lets play....  I would for sure rent this dress:

Pair it with these:
I obviously would get so much use out of these I really should just buy them.

Then to finish the look...

I would rent these:

And borrow this from my Mom:
Judith Leiber

Rent the Runway is an affordable way to wear your dream designer and ensure you are not wearing the same dress to every wedding you attend this season!

Monday, January 16, 2012

VIP Dressing Room

Getting ready with the bride is probably the best part about being a bridesmaid.  The bride spends her wedding weekend juggling her time between her fiance/husband, family and friends.  However, for a few hours the day of the wedding, she gets to relax with her best friends (and girls from her immediate family) and enjoy some intense primping.

Whether you are a bridesmaid or a bride here is a quick insiders guide to what goes on in the exclusive bridal suite.

The bride will organize a few people to be in the bridal suite to do your hair and makeup.  She may even decide to give this to you as a gift or let you pick one or the other.  She should send out an email a few weeks before with all the details and get a head count of who wants what.  On the day of the wedding, she will have a schedule for how she wants the day to run.  It doesn't matter where you are on the schedule someone has to go first and someone has to go last.  Just be a good friend and do your best to get there on time; this will help keep the bride calm.   Unless you just want them to only blow out your hair make sure you come with your hair dry and straight.  If your hair doesn't keep curls they normally suggest you coming with day old hair.

The Bride and I getting ready

The bride will normally provide food and drink throughout the day.  It is so important for both the bridesmaids and the bride to eat and stay hydrated.  If you are in charge of ordering the food make sure to keep in mind that nobody wants anything messy or that will give you bad breath.  Who want to eat onions and then sit in front of a makeup artist?  Alcohol... see how your bride and her family feels about drinking while getting ready.  If they don't provide it or ask for you to bring it I would suggest not doing so.  It is a LONG day and unless they are endorsing it you may just add stress. 

Some bridesmaids hanging out in the bridal suite

I think it makes for some great pictures when everyone is wearing the same thing while getting ready.  Whether it is a robe, jumpsuit or your own creative outfit of choice it really brings the group together.  Often times the bride cannot afford to do everything she wants, if she isn't planning to give you something to wear, why not wrap up all the robes and give them to her as a shower gift?  Of course these weddings get expensive, so that is when you need to get creative.  Check back to future posts for more wardrobe and gift ideas.
Robes I had made for my sisters wedding

One wedding we had leggings made

Bride gave us these robes (do not mind my hair if you can find me)

This is the VIP time to be with the bride.  Make sure you enjoy every second of it because she will remember this forever.  Plan for someone in the bridal party to bring the ipod speakers (many hotels provide them) and someone to make a mix for getting ready.  The bride thinks she is in control of everything, but show her how excited you really are to be there by throwing in some cute suprises.  I'd tell you some examples now but what would I talk about in future posts?

This wedding brought old friends together and we just had the time of our lives.

Friday, January 6, 2012

Flashback Friday: My Sister's Wedding

Welcome to Flashback Friday!  I have been so blessed to have the opportunity to be in and attend so many exquisite weddings, and every Friday I will share with you some of my favorite highlights.

August 28th, 2010 is a day that I will never forget - my sister's picturesque wedding.  My Mom and sister  planned a fairytale wedding, and surprisingly, they were able to keep most of it a secret from everyone, including me!  They could not have done any of it without their extraordinary wedding planner, Reva Nathan. 

Normally, the pictures I post won't be this fantastic, but I was able to get these off of INSIDE Weddings where the wedding was featured in the Spring 2010 issue photographed by KingenSmith.

The wedding took place at the Four Seasons Chicago.

My beautiful family (only picture from my camera).

The bridesmaid dresses looked fantastic on everyone, they were just so flattering!

They got married in the round, which was very intimate setting (even with close to 400 guests).

Best part of the ceremony: Groom walked in to "Eye of the Tiger" (arms up in the air of course).
The crystals, the flowers, the lighting everything was just perfect!

Just after midnight the room drastically changed colors and servers marched out with over sized sundaes for each guest (you could opt to share with the person next to you).

My sister and her husband fell in love in Miami so it only seemed right to heat things up after dessert by turning the room into a Salsa Club. Guest were wowed with a performance given by professional salsa dancers followed by a serenade to the bride by Ken Arlen of the Ken Arlen Orchestra.

They passed out mini chocolate cigars, Cuban espresso drinks, and mojitos.

The night was magical and I know my sister and brother-in-law can never thank my parents enough for giving them their dream wedding. Hopefully, they will be satisfied with the grandson they will be bringing into this world in February.

I hope you enjoyed looking back at my sisters wedding with me!  I am off to visit her and my nephew to be in Michigan this afternoon (if the weather in Chicago permits).  I just want to thank everyone for a wonderful first week in the blogging world.  I promise to be back next week with more insight into what it takes to be a "Professional Bridesmaid!"