Bridal Shower and Wedding Decor

If you’ve been following my blog posts the last few months you’ll know that I got engaged and have been planning a wedding. You can read about the planning process thus far in my posts Wedding Planning on a Budget Part I and Wedding Planning on a Budget Part II. In this post, I will be sharing how my mom and I have been using doilies, paint, scrapbook paper, ribbons, “K” stickers, picture corners, string, and old farm windows to make some really personal touches for both the bridal shower and the wedding.

Our world has looked something like this the last few weeks…

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First, I LOVE being Irish and this was maginified after my trip to Ireland/Northern Ireland 2 years ago. Our wedding is ironically SO traditional that people think we’re being UNtraditional! One of the traditions that I fell in love with is hand tying or handfasting.

The Handfasting Ceremony is an ancient Celtic tradition symbolizing the joining of two people in marriage. There are many versions of this gesture illustrating the union of husband and wife and is the origin of the phrase “tying the knot.”

In the Celtic tradition, the Handfasting Ceremony includes 13 ribbons, each with its own meaning.

Hand fasting is an ancient Roman and Celtic wedding tradition which involves tying the bride and Groom’s hands together to symbolize coming together and remaining together. During the Roman Empire, the couple’s hands were tied together with grape vines and rope which explains the origination of the phrase “tying the knot.”

Handfasting was also later used as a form of marriage in the British Isles during the early Christian era. The couple’s hands were tied together with a cord in front of friends and family and were then considered legally married. They would have a formal wedding ceremony later when a priest was available to officiate.

Colors

Red – will, love, strength, fertility, courage, health, vigor, passion

Orange – encouragement, adaptability, stimulation, attraction, plenty, kindness.

Yellow – attraction, charm, confidence, balance, harmony

Green – fertility, luck, prosperity, nurturing, beauty, health, love

Dark Blue -for a safe journey, longevity & strength

Light Blue – tranquility, understanding, patience, health

Purple – healing, health, strength, power, progress

Black – strength, empowerment, wisdom/vision, success, pure love

White – spiritual purity, truth, peace, serenity and devotion

Gray – balance, neutrality

Pink – love, unity, honor, truth, romance, happiness

Brown – for healing , skills & talent, nurturing, home & hearth, the earth.

To begin, I got 12 rolls of 1 inch satin ribbon. I made 4, 3 strand braids.

  1. Dark blue, light blue, gray.
  2. Orange, red, yellow
  3. Pink, purple, green
  4. Black, white, brown

 

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From those 4 braids, I braided them all together in a 4 strand braid. This is the pattern I followed, which was much easier than I thought it would be. dd2a85afe3973c777e6a755377a77cd3.jpg

It took about 10ft of each ribbon to make this strand. After braiding it all together, I took it all apart. The ribbons will be laid out to have well wishes, blessings, and love, written on them by women who attend the bridal shower. Their love will literally be braided into our vows.

I love old farm house windows. I like old things in general more often than not. We had a few at our house, my future MIL had some, and she found a few on the side of the road from people redoing their house. Each mom made a window with pictures of Ethan and I, and a window of us through the years.

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We used the windows, pictures, acrylic paints, clear picture corners, and window/chalk markers. They will be used to decorate both the shower and the wedding.

Other windows will be used for the hot chocolate bar at the wedding, favors/guest book, a memorial window, and one with a saying on it that we just like.

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My mom wanted to have something to string across the front of some tables, and on the wall to create a little backdrop while I open gifts. We were really struggling to find something pre-made that we liked. The shower is pastel colors, I’m not really into gold or rose gold, so finding something to go with our theme was non-existent. Using doilies we got at Michaels, rainbow twine, and some square scrapbook paper, my ma made this really cute swags. All she did was fold the doilies and paper over the rainbow twine and secure them closed with a single piece of double-sided sticky tape. BOOM! Quick and easy AND they match the shower stuff perfectly! Each doilie pack came with 40, so we have more than enough to give each guest a doilie for their tea cup at each place setting as well.

You can see they made a great little addition and cute place to snap some photos!

Each guest is getting a jar of homemade strawberry jam, a honey stick from a local bee keeper, and 2 tea bags. I am all about the personal touches. I found these great “K” stickers at Michaels for a little more than $1. Each jar got a “K” just to add some personalization.

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On each bag there is a folded doilie. On the doilie I wrote their name, their table name, and “How Sweet of You to Come!” We got basic white doilies, ribbon in a few different colors, and paper bags in a few pretty colors.

I’ve been to so many beautiful wedding and bridal showers that are just impersonal. You could remove the bride and groom and be at anyone’s wedding or shower. The personal touches are what make a wedding or shower, whether our own initials/monograms, or our guests. It is so easy to make your guests feel special and make your day YOURS.

Stay tuned as more decorations are completed over the next few months! Follow me on instagram@brunetteswithbrains to keep up with the latest posts and news!

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Cleaning Box Bridal Shower Gift

I have been back on the bridal shower gift buying wagon. Refer to my Pantry Stocker Gift Basket post for a more thorough understanding. This time, it was for my friend Liv (who has been featured for a number of reasons on the blog).

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For once, I’m not the shortest one in the picture! Liv with 3/4 bridesmaids  

She is actually from Nebraska and had a major bridal shower out there over spring break. Her Pennsylvania shower was for friends and family that obviously did not attend the NE shower. Her future MIL and I decided to make it a pantry stocking shower. She had gotten the vast majority of her registry of “stuff” at the first shower. She and her fiance have a place out in NE, where he is already residing, but it still needs filled.

For this particular shower, his mother created a gift list to “stock her pantry.” These items included everything from cooking stuff like spices and pastas, to medicine cabinet stuff like cotton balls and q-tips. I went a slightly different route and did cleaning supplies. This gift is double hilarious because Liv and I are both known to be….well….not the neatest people in the world.

Here is my list:

Comet (Spray and powder)

Bleach

Lysol

Windex

Mr. Clean Magic Eraser

Baking Soda

Sponges

Vinegar

Clorox Wipes

TileX

Pledge All Purpose Spray

I may be missing one or two things, and I’m sure you could come up with another 50 products you also swear by. I made a pit stop at JoAnn Fabrics where they had collapsable ottomans (about 24x24X24). I made that the vessel of my gift, along with pink and white tissue paper to match the Kate Spade themed bridal shower. I simply put layers of tissue paper and made it look pretty and covered each item in the box. She also got a word document of my favorite ways to use the above products. You can find it below.

How to Clean (almost) Anything

What you’ll need: vinegar, baking soda, dawn dish soap, and lemon juice.

Greasy stove? Use baking soda and dawn to create a paste.

Clean your bathtub and bathroom? Baking soda and vinegar. You can mix it as a paste or sprinkle baking soda in the tub and spray/pour vinegar on top. Add in some lemon juice to help get rid of stains, disinfect, and for added smell bonus.

Cleaning your carpets? Sprinkle baking soda on and let sit for at least 15 minutes before vacuuming to help absorb smells and pick up pet hair.

Carpet stain? If the carpet is a color other than white, tan, or a light shade, avoid the baking soda and lemon juice, they can pull color. Stick to vinegar and dawn. They’ll lift most stains out of carpet. Remember to DAB not scrub. Add vinegar to carpet shampooers for the same affect. The above are also perfect for pet stains/accidents.

Hard water deposits? Mix vinegar and lemon juice. They will dissolve most deposits with just a bit of soaking. For heavy deposits, you might need to scrub with a toothbrush and grab the baking soda for added scrub.

Laundry? Vinegar is great to add to any load of clothes. It’s especially good to add to blankets, towels, and pillows to help reduce mildew smell and freshen things up. Lemon is another great additive and has the added bonus of a clean smell. Dawn will remove numerous stains from clothes including: grease, blood, grass, grape juice, spaghetti sauce…you get the drift.

 

Some Other Helpful Hints:

Use the magic eraser to scrub off scuffs and keep shoes clean and sparkling!

Comet is the bees-knees when it comes to bathroom cleaning! It’s great for around the drain, or to sprinkle in your toilet since it has a bit more grit to it!

TileX is essentially bleach, and can be used to spray your shower curtain to help keep mildew away as well as keep your tiles clean!

 

What would you include in a cleaning box? Are there any tricks you swear by? Share them below!

Pantry Stocker Bridal Shower Basket

I graduated from a Christian college. Cue the looks, laughs, jokes, and eye rolling.

Miraculously, I made it all of the way through 4 ½ years of Christian college without going to a single wedding. True story. This also means that now everyone is finally getting married and that also means bridal shower gifts.

As per usual, the dishes, the linens, the crock pots, the door mats, the silver ware, and cups all go on the registry. Couples sign up for all of the stuff to stock their homes and it’s lovely. But then they actually get their homes. They move in. And there’s nothing to put on those beautiful new plates. And, the bathroom needs cleaned before anyone will use it. Heaven forbid someone cuts a finger and you have to rummage through boxes, hoping SOMEWHERE there is a band-aide.

First shopping trips are expensive. On top of regular groceries, you have to stock your cabinets. There’s the medicine cabinet, the pantry, the cleaning shelf…..It doesn’t seem like a lot but it adds up very quickly. More often than not, families get a lot of the stuff. It’s useful; don’t get me wrong. When I have my shower one day, I will love those pots and pans like there’s no tomorrow. The “stuff” is needed and practical. But so often, things are double bought, or you realize after you get something that it’s not as needed as you once thought and you end up exchanging, returning, or regifting. It happens to everyone.

In recent months, my friends and I have had conversations with statements like:

“Can someone buy my pantry? I love everything on my registry, but really, I don’t need 6 sets of sheets. That grocery bill is going to be killer.”

“Why do people not buy things like Advil for bridal showers? They do it at baby showers. That should be a thing.”

My friend Liv and I went in together to help stock our friend Katie’s pantry for her bridal shower.

What we got:

Flour

Granulated sugar

Brown Sugar

Powdered Sugar

Cookie Mix

Brownie Mix

Bisquick

Minute Rice

Mac n Cheese

Pronto Pasta

Baking Soda

Baking Powder

Salt

Pepper

Peanut Butter

Jelly

Cooking Spray

Vegetable Oil

Chocolate chips

Basket

Using LOTS of coupons, we were able to make this super useful basket for under $50. We got the groceries from Target (we have a problem, we openly admit it), and the basket from JoAnn Fabrics. I had a wicked good coupon. Using LOTS of coupons, we were able to make basket for under $50. I simply wrapped each piece with tissue paper and stuffed a few extra in to help cover some tops and give it some style.

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The Power of a Praying Wife- Part I

I am not a wife. At least, not yet. However, like most future brides, I’m sure there is some fear. NO I AM NOT RUNNING AWAY! Am I sure that Ethan is my better half? Absolutely. Do I think there is anyone else in the world who could put up with me forever? Nope. Is there any one else I would rather drive crazy with my crazy? Not a chance. He compliments who I am as a person with his own stellar qualities. So why am I afraid?

Because being a wife is scary! Being a “modern Christian” wife is doubly scary. Not only are we supposed to be Proverbs 31 women, but we’re supposed to have careers too. If you read Proverbs 31, that woman’s life and job WAS being a house mom/wife. Talk about some pressure. How are we going to delegate chores? Cooking? Cleaning? How are we going to balance church, careers and a family!? Am I going to be able to do enough? Will I be able to balance everything? Will I be enough?

I don’t remember where I saw this but about 2 years ago I read this statement “Pray to be the wife your future husband is praying for,” and it changed my heart. We are taught that God will send us the perfect man, we just have to pray for it. As girls and women, it is important to remember that moms and boys are praying for future wives like you’re praying for a husband. I encourage you to get into the Word and look at who YOU need to be. Be the woman a man would want to marry. Get your heart, attitude and actions in alignment. Little did I know 2 years ago that God was really preparing me and changing me to be the woman I needed to be for the most incredible, kind, encouraging and perfect man I could ever imagine!

I wrote that about two weeks before Ethan pulled off the best surprise ever by asking me to be his wife. I’ve graduated college and Ethan is finishing up his masters. We’re both working, but kind of in limbo. I’m subbing; and as a theology major, his job options are kind of limited. We are trying to make decisions balanced between the fact that we are getting married, but we aren’t actually married yet. We have NO idea where the Lord is leading us or what we are doing. We just know that we are supposed to be together and are taking it one day and one step at a time, together.

My answer to all of this? Buckle down, start taking my own advice, and the advice of millions of people before me- start praying! I had been looking for a new devotional and settled on The Power of a Praying Wife by Stormie Omartian. She has written a number of books, and this one is part of her “Power of Praying” series.

Again, I’m not a wife. I’m a “I’m almost a wife so that counts for something RIGHT!?” I’m 3 days in. I started a day early since February is short, and I will have to either read 2 in one day, or go a day into March for the length of this study. This is what I’ve learned so far:

  1. That advice that I came across two years ago, is SO important. It is important to pray that the Lord work in your life to prepare you to be a good partner, and continue to pray it! Just because you find a man does not mean that you should stop! You will continue to grow, change, and face new challenges together and as an individual. Praying that God continues to work in you and make you the best team-mate is imperative. With His help, you CAN balance, do, and be, everything you need to be for your best friend, and for yourself.
  2. Not knowing what or how to pray just means you need to think outside of the box. I have been praying for direction, for jobs, for encouragement…the typical things. And they are fine! Those ideas are all chapters in the devotional. But other things like: faith, self image, his walk, his reputation, his purpose- these are all things that we as wives, and almost wives, can pray for as well. If you still aren’t quite sure HOW to pray for these things, Stormie provides sample guided prayers at the end of each chapter. She also includes what she calls “Power Tools,” which are Bible verses that go along with each focus. They might be my favorite part! *Prayers and Power Tools are available in newer copies that include new content, or separately in a book on their own.*
  3. Praying for your husband is one of the most important things that you can do in your relationship. If there is a problem, changing a man will not happen without His help. If things are going well, you should still pray for guidance, wisdom, and continued blessings. Don’t forget to thank God when things are good. The power of prayer can literally move mountains. In the first chapter, she refers to prayer as the ‘ultimate love language.’ “We want to be on the same path together. We want to be deeply compatible, lifelong companions, and have the love that lasts a lifetime. Prayer, as the ultimate love language, can make that happen” (27).

Geez. Only 3 days in, and I’ve already taken in so much. I will never be a perfect wife. Try as I might, we will have a pile or two of laundry. Dishes may get left in the sink now and again. I won’t always remember to clean the hair monster out of the tub. But I know that just by praying, and making the conscious effort, that God will change me, mould me, and bless me so that I can be the best partner, team-mate, peanut butter to his jelly, and wife that I can be. I can not wait to see what mountains are moved at the end of these 31 days.

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For more of Stormie’s books and about her, check out https://stormieomartian.com/ You can also Like her on Facebook and follow her on instagram @stormieomartian.

To keep up with my own progress through the devotional, and find out what else is happening on the blog, follow me on instagram @brunetteswithbrains.

 

“I Do” to the Erin Condren Wedding Planner

Now that I have the bling, I had to get the planner. Before we move on, in case you haven’t read “I Got Distracted…

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Anyway, shocking, I didn’t just get any old planner, I got myself an Erin Condren Wedding Planner! Ok, so I may have gotten it MONTHS ago with the HOPE that I’d be marrying this man. I kept it hidden away and forgotten in its little box, waiting patiently to be used. Obviously I’m super excited to now have the chance to use it! My teacher planner and Life Planner have been AMAZING, and I’ve gotten wedding planners for other friends; so finally getting to use it for myself is double fun! For ease of life, I am just using my wedding planner as my life planner for the next year as well- why not!? I use the month view more than anything and I have plenty of stickers left from my life planner this past year! It works!

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Front and Back

The front portion of the planner has month views for which ever month span you chose. After each month view is a notes page, similar to the teacher planner. I write my work schedule, birthdays, meetings, and obviously, when to get wedding things like sending save-the-dates out!

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The second portion of the planner is like a wedding planning guide. There is space for a guest list, bridal party, reception stuff, wedding tips, a time line, a budget checklist, music, photography, flowers, cake and food tastings, and vendor contact list. We have excel spread sheets for our guest list and budget, but I also hand-wrote our budget in so that when we are having conversations with vendors I have that info with me!

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PS our photographer is the always lovely Kate Serbin of Freckled Perspective. She’s amazing!

ENTIRE last section of the planner has blank pages and lined pages for doodles, writing notes, ideas, and lists.

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There is also the usual clear pocket pouch in the back that is GREAT for keeping business cards! It comes stuffed with EC Compliment Cards, coil clip, do-it-all dots, and referral cards to hand out to friends who love your EC.

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The stickers in the back are specific to the wedding planner. They say things like: register, caterer, photographer, bridesmaids, mani-pedi, hair appt, book honeymoon, shower, bachelorette, bachelor, favors, programs, big day, get license, limo/shuttle, save the dates, book hotels, website, officiant, music, bride gifts, groom gifts, buy invites, bakery, buy rings, party!, dress shop, fitting, and blanks. There is a sheet of varying shades of purple and a sheet of varying shades of blue. The last 2 sticker sheets are completely blank in the basic rainbow of colors. I had left over stickers from my 2015 Life Planner that I cut out and slid into the back pocket of my wedding planner.

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I have already started taking notes, and getting stuff from my pinterest and writing them down in my planner. We are definitely in full wedding planning swing! How is it that even though the wedding is almost a year away, it feels like everything gets done in the first 6 months! :O

This is the perfect gift to give to any newly engaged Bride or get for your own wedding organization! Use this referral link to receive a $10 coupon to get your own Erin Condren Wedding Planner, Life Planner, or one of her other AWESOME products!

Darling Disney Bridal Shower

Christian college kid problems- everyone gets married. I made it almost 4 and one half whole years before finally being invited to a wedding from school. One of the perks, or downfalls, of being a commuter; depending on how you look at it. This, is a feat, matched by few in the world of CCKs. Not only was I finally invited to a wedding, but I was asked to be IN the wedding! This meant helping to plan a bridal shower. When the bride’s MOH contacted us, she shared that she was thinking of a Disney Princess theme. The bride LOVES Disney. I was asked what I would like to be in charge of: food, decorations, games etc. I couldn’t help myself, I HAD to pick decorations.

Then came the realization- how do I plan a Disney Princess themed bridal shower and NOT make it look like a 5 years olds birthday party. Well. I love Disney. I work at a craft store. Pinterest is my best friend. And I have an inability to not over plan things. It was actually relatively easy to come up with ideas that were more allusions to the theme than “HI I’M A DISNEY PRINCESS PARTY!”

The Bride’s favorite princess is Belle. Her grandmother collects tea cups and tea pots, so this was a no brainer. 11998796_10207471794378131_676422762_n

I used a yellow table-cloth, red tulle, and a tea-pot. I happen to own a copy of “The Story of King Arthur and His Knights,” the book Belle reads to Beast in the movie. I also own 2 sets of Beauty and the Beast figurines from when I was Belle in our school musical. The rose is a tall, skinny, glass hurricane with a single silk rose petal and silk rose, submerged in water; to look like the enchanted rose from Beauty and the Beast.

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I gave each table a theme, and this one was Jasmine. I tried to stick with the more “classic” princesses since they were more well-known. I cut blue tulle into diamonds and layered them into a star. I also had small sticker jewels that I placed around as well. The other bridesmaids/family had the jars that I used in the center.

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Originally I was going to buy a fake white pumpkin and glitter it myself, but I found this super cute silver sequins one. You can’t have a Cinderella table without one! I used a light blue table cloth and light blue tulle. I again used the sticker jewels as well as sticker pearls. I picked up the blue crown at JoAnns. Coincidentally, the shower favors were little plastic “glass slippers” with baggies of mints. I couldn’t have planned that any better with this table.

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I’m not going to lie, I kinda think this might have been my favorite table. The purple table-cloth and green tulle sea shell lend itself to none other than the Little Mermaid. I used a smaller glass bowl and filled it with decorative blue/green stones, sea shells and water. I placed a few around the bowl along with “thingamabobs,” AKA- forks.

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Hi ho! Hi ho! Snow White was too much fun. A blue table-cloth and yellow tulle were my base. I pulled apples from the bride’s back yard and simply glittered them with red glitter. I got an unfinished little bird house for under $1 and painted it to match Snow White’s colors. I had the Doc sitting on a shelf in my room. There was no way to do this table scape without mirrors, so small mirrors were placed around the center as well.

I had been at a bridal shower earlier in the summer and loved the idea of giving guests the opportunity to write notes of well wishes, date ideas, advice, etc for the bride and groom. This table was the first idea I had when planning the shower. 11998437_10207471795178151_886444668_nThis was the well wishes table. It was just a small round table with a blue table-cloth with a lace overlay. I got a 18×18 canvas and painted on “A dream is a wish your heart makes.” I then used a clear glitter paint over the entire thing to add some sparkle and whimsy. Guests wrote down their notes on index cards and placed them in the vase.

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For the gift table, the mother of the bride had bought a picture frame as a gift, we used a blue expo marker to write “gifts,” and covered the table in a white table-cloth. This table didn’t need much more decoration than that- the gifts took care of decorating.

BONUS- I made the punch, and it was SO super easy. I’m sorry, I don’t have a picture to go with it.

Ingredients:

1 bottle Sprite

1 bottle of raspberry lemonade

105

 

 

 

 

 

1 pint fresh raspberries frozen, or 2 cups frozen raspberries

  1. Chill all ingredients before mixing
  2. Pour sprite/lemonade in a bowl
  3. Add frozen raspberries

That’s it. Super easy. Super yummy. Everyone loved it and thought it had been some super complicated recipe….NOPE!