Wonderful Wedding Vendors

flowers

It’s okay if you’re still missing a few vendors on your list for the big day. Here are a few photographers, videographers, wedding cake decorators and flowers shops, as well as what they can offer you and your fiance on or before your wedding day.

Photo credit: Airstream PhotoBooth

This creative and mobile photo booth uses Daisy, a 1967 vintage airstream, to travel to your wedding, fraternity/sorority party, or corporate event location and provide fun and entertaining photos for your memory book! Airstream PhotoBooth was created by Chris and Yvonne Johnson, who are also the owners of Austin Imagery Photography. Daisy is a fully-functioning photography studio on wheels including professional cameras, lighting and on-the-spot printers. You can rent Daisy and their services for a variety of prices, the Modern Package for $950 or the Vintage Package for $1,150. Both packages offer photo props, unlimited photos, digital images, online viewing, set up and take down, and up to 3 hours of service. They travel all over Austin and the Texas Hill Country areas as well as outside those areas, but extra travel fees may be applied to any outlying locations.

photoPhoto credit: New Road Productions

New Road Wedding Photography and Videography that serves the greater Austin area, including the Texas Hill Country. Most of the photography and videography is done by Wes Sheperd with the help of additional photographers depending on the package ordered. Wes offers a variety of photography packages: Silver, Gold, Platinum, and Diamond, that can be requested for 6 or 8 hours ranging from $1700-$2750. His videography packages include Silver, Gold and Platinum that can be booked for 6 or 8 hours ranging from $900-$1800. Wes uses all professional equipment and has a resume that boasts work with HGTV, Discovery Channel, Travel Channel, DIY Network, as well as having won WeddingWire’s Bride’s Choice Award in 2012 and in 2013. We love working with Wes and his production company here at Lotus Ranch and hope you will too!

Simon Lee Bakery

SimonLee12-406x600Photo credit: Simon Lee Bakery

This is an excellent place to order your wedding treats from! Located just outside Austin in Pflugerville and with over 35 years in combined experience, their motto is “Simon Lee…when it has to be perfect.” They have an extensive menu to choose from including, but not limited to, white french vanilla, italian cream carrot cake, red velvet, marble cake, cheesecakes, fruit toppings, chocolate truffle and more! Simon Lee decorates their cakes beautifully and can make a cake for the bride and groom, as well! They have won the Austin Wedding Day Style Elegant Style Award, The Knot’s Best of Wedding Picks from 2007-2012, and the 2010 Bride’s Choice Award.

Whim Floral Design

prom dresses online shop 2016Photo credit: Whim Floral Design

Whim precisely caters your flowers to you: your personality, likes, dislikes, style, budget and the season (remember, not all flowers are available at all times of the year). They offer a “Signature Collection” which includes consultation, bouquets, boutonnieres, centerpieces, cocktail arrangements, aisle petals or chair flowers, and a custom proposal with one revision. The “Custom Floral Package” includes your favorite flowers (in season), custom proposal with two revisions, complimentary farmer’s market visit, and the option to rent or own vessels (candelabras, elegant vases, backdrops, unique antiques, etc.). You can also opt for their “DIY Floral Package” which includes seasonal fresh flowers for up to 150 guests, along with a link to a video tutorial on how to put bouquets and floral arrangements together. You have the option of picking up flowers that are fresh from the market two days before the wedding, or already prepped and cleaned flowers 1-2 days prior.

No matter which vendor you choose for your wedding, make sure you are comfortable with the arrangements you have made and that you have clearly stated to your vendor what you want from them. If you have a question, ask them, because it is much easier to negotiate in the beginning rather than a few days or weeks away from your wedding date.

-Nikki

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Bachelorette Party Games

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I recently attended a bachelorette party in San Antonio and will be attending another one in New Orleans this summer. We played a fun game to help the bride prepare for her honeymoon and it got me thinking about what games we could come up with for New Orleans! So here are just a few ways you can celebrate with the bride-to-be whether it’s a casual dinner and drinks or a night out on the town.

Name That Lingerie

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On the invite for the bachelorette party, the maid of honor (MOH) listed the bride-to-be’s size and requested that everyone bring a set of lingerie. After dinner, each gift was opened and the group helped name each set. The MOH will put together a “menu” using the names we picked. On each night of the honeymoon, the groom will pick an item off the menu and the bride will wear it. We had so much fun coming up with different names, ranging from sweet and innocent to sexy and mysterious. Some ideas we had include: Pink-a-Boo, Wild Thang, Nip Slip, Turqoise Delight and everyone’s favorite, The Cherry Popper.

he said she said

The MOH created a list of quotes from the bride and groom, some obvious and some difficult. We each had to circle the name of either the bride or groom next to the quote we thought was theirs. Whoever had the most correctly circled won a prize! Depending on the type of bachelorette party you have this could mean cute little trinkets or a drink at the next bar. This game is a good way to get to know the bride or groom, whichever you don’t know as well, a little better as well as encourage conversation between members of the group who don’t know each other.

Who Knows the Bachelorette?

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This game is similar to the previous one except it’s all about the bride-to-be! The MOH hands out sheets of paper with facts about the bachelorette for guests to finish filling out. Some suggestions for this are: drink of choice, shoe size, most overused phrase, her nickname for her fiance, honeymoon destination, etc. The game works best if there is a mix of easy and difficult questions.

scavenger hunt

You can have a lot of fun with this game if your bachelorette party is a night out on the town! Get a photo with the bartenders, photobomb a stranger’s picture without being caught, take a picture with a cop pretending to handcuff you, take a picture with a flaming shot and then take it, ask someone to marry you, find someone with the same first name as the groom, etc. Be creative and have fun! Keep in mind who is going to be attending the party because that could change the tasks on the scavenger hunt, especially if you know someone very outgoing.

Drink If….

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This is a good game to start the night out with! All participants must drink if… you’re the youngest, the oldest, holding a beer, wearing a necklace, have blue eyes, hate your boss, don’t know the bride’s middle name, etc. This game is probably best planned by both the bride-to-be and the MOH together since the bride will probably know more about all the attendees. Have specific people in mind when listing the drink if… tasks, it will make it more fun if everyone is assured a chance to drink if…

Last but not least, the hangover kits!!

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Please be kind to your bridesmaids and MOH and provide them with a handy kit to cure any illness the next morning. You can put things in there like aspirin, sunglasses, breath mints, gatorade, water, altoids, bandaids, alka seltzer and 5 hour energy. Your bridesmaids will be sure to thank you for this (and yourself, too)!

-Nikki

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The Wedding Send Off

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Congratulations! You’re married and now that you’ve eaten, talked and danced the night away, all that’s left is the bride and groom send off. The old traditional send off with rice is rarely used anymore because most venues don’t allow it. There are plenty of fun alternatives, however, that are sure to be even better than rice! Make sure and confirm with your venue that whatever item you end up using is allowed there.

Sparklers

sparklers

The most common send off at weddings these days are sparklers. I recommend filling some pots with dirt and placing them on either side of where you want the guests to line up for the send off. Place long sparklers in the pots so that guests, especially children, won’t be too close to the end of the sparkler. These are great for creating an arch for the bride and groom to walk through as guests are lined up on either side. Shorter sparklers are better if you would prefer taking pictures of words and designs you make with the sparklers.

Balloons

balloons

LED light balloons are a great idea for a send off! You can place them wherever you want and you don’t have to worry about them not showing up in pictures at night. They create the perfect glow to see the bride and groom off on their new life together. They can be purchased at many online stores as well as your local party store and come in a variety of colors. Tie the balloons to chairs or hand them out to guests to hold!

Noise Makers

noise makers

Any children in attendance will love this idea, the adults maybe/maybe not! It is, however, only going to last for a few minutes so it shouldn’t be too bad. It’s a celebration, it should sound like one, too! Buy them online, in your local party store, or make your own with glass bottles and knick knacks.

Confetti

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This will make a mess, a huge mess! But who doesn’t love confetti? You can buy already made confetti poppers or you can make your own with recycled colored paper. Again, make sure your wedding venue is okay with your guests using these because they will get everywhere.

Paper Lanterns

paper lanterns

Paper lanterns have grown in popularity over the last few years, although they have been traditional for some families for many years. They give a magical glow to your send off and guests of all ages will enjoy lighting and sending off their own lantern.

Bubbles

bubbles

Bubbles are the new rice! Bubbles, bubbles everywhere at almost any wedding you’ll attend. They’re fun, small, inexpensive and everyone knows how to use them. The best part? Absolutely no clean up! Shop around for different types of bubble containers and decide if you want to go small and traditional or big and colorful.

Red Carpet

red carpet

Want to feel glamorous? Have your guests line up on either side of a red carpet and take pictures of you and your groom with the flash on. Disposable cameras are inexpensive and polaroid cameras are more expensive but can give an instant photo. Consider leaving in a limo as well and you and your groom are sure to feel like celebrities!

-Nikki

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So, You’re Engaged…

Lotus Ranch

So, you’re engaged…now what? Congratulations! It’s time to celebrate for a little while. But, eventually, you need to get down to business and start planning (or calling wedding planners). There’s no need to feel too overwhelmed in the beginning as long as you don’t try to take on everything at once. Use this helpful timeline to plan a few things at a time, and hopefully you’ll be on your way to a stress-free wedding day! Depending on how long your engagement is, this timeline may be extended.

After Engagement

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First, you need to set a budget, choose your bridal party, create your guest list and narrow down a few dates for the big day. You don’t need to pick a location yet, but you might want to start researching places that you would like. Some venues can be booked full for almost an entire year in advance, so it’s best to find out early on if they’re available. Creating a wedding website is optional, but I highly recommend it! It’s a good way to keep yourself and all of your wedding details organized. Also, you can defer a lot of your guests’ questions to your website instead of everyone calling you for answers.

1 Year Before

venue

Research photographers and look at their portfolios, and start shopping for your wedding dress! You will feel more comfortable having plenty of time to choose a dress, and then get it altered. Find your wedding venue, and book it! Make sure you find out if they have accommodations for sleeping over and a reception dinner. If not, research nearby hotels who have rooms available for your dinner and guests. No need to book it just yet, you can do that closer to the big day. Also ask the venue if they have an officiant and book them if you do not have one already.

11 Months Before

flowers

Find a florist and decide what flowers you would like to use, and how many of each kind you will need, for bouquets and/or decorations. Think about what you want to use for centerpieces (i.e. flowers, candles, vases, photographs) and begin gathering those materials. Also, discuss what type of food you want to have and book a caterer. Keep in mind any guests you know who have allergies. A lot of caterers can provide an alternative for those with food allergies.

8 Months Before

weddingregistry

Book the photographer/videographer you decided on now. Make sure to meet with them and discuss the pictures you absolutely want taken, along with any ideas the photographer may have. Now is also the time to start your wedding registry. After you have registered, send your save the dates out to your guests; include the link to your wedding website if you have one, which should give them your wedding registry info.

7 Months Before

cake

Research and meet with a baker for your bride and groom cake, as well as any cupcakes or side treats you wish to have. Meet with your photographer and take your engagement photos. You may take them earlier depending on how you want them to look and if you need to gather any props for the photos.

5 Months Before

linens

Arrange to rent any linens, tables or chairs you may need. Make sure to discuss what specific measurements you think will need. When in doubt, I recommend getting longer linens and a few extra tables and chairs. You can always cancel a table or two closer to the date if you find out it won’t be needed. Book a DJ or band and find out if you need to provide any extra sound equipment for them. If so, arrange to rent that equipment as well. If your wedding venue does not have a space, book a location for your rehearsal and rehearsal dinner.

4 Months Before

groom attire

Decide on the groom and groomsmen attire and have them fitted and altered as needed. This is also the time where you can complete your attire, i.e. shoes, lingerie, veil, jewelry. And now the fun part: booking the honeymoon!! You can do this step earlier, but make sure you book it no later than 4 months prior, just in case. Start trying different makeup and hairstyles; use Pinterest for a DIY approach, but most makeup counters in department stores will give a demonstration with a  small purchase.

3 Months Before

limo

If your wedding venue does not have accommodations on site, this is the time to book those arrangements elsewhere. Now that you know where you are getting married, where the reception is and where you are going to stay after the wedding, you can book a car/limo to take you there if you wish.

2 Months Before

invitation

Check with all of your vendors, caterers, DJs, etc. to make sure everyone is on the same schedule and still confirmed for the big day. Send out your invitations about 8 weeks prior to your wedding day. Again, include the link to your wedding website.

1 Month Before

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Get your marriage license, have your final dress fitting, and start buying your bridesmaid’s gifts. Also arrange any spa day treatments or special bridesmaid activities now.

1 Week Before

Confirm the arrival times with all of your vendors, pick up your wedding dress and break in your shoes!

Finally, relax! There will be some details that still need to be worked out but you can be confident in the fact that all of your vendors and guests have been confirmed, and your wedding day is only a few days away. Congratulations and enjoy!

-Nikki

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Homemade Spa Treatment

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So your big day is coming up and you used most of your budget already? No problem! You don’t have to go to a fancy spa to get pampered before your wedding, you can do it right at home with your bridesmaids. I would recommend gathering the materials and preparing the following concoctions prior to the day you wish to use them, just to save time, unless the directions specifically say to prepare and use while fresh.

exfoliating scrub

Homemade Exfoliating Sugar Scrub by Foxy Whole Foodie

To make about 1, 1/2 cups you will need the following: 1/2 cup sugar, 1/2 cup salt, 1/2 cup slightly melted coconut oil, and your favorite essential oil.

You can use all salt or all sugar but you may find that sugar dissolves more by itself. Add the sugar and salt to a container that you can seal, maybe an old exfoliating scrub container. Melt the coconut oil in a bowl for about 5-8 seconds and gently stir; it will melt at 75 degrees. Add the melted coconut oil to the sugar and salt mixture, and stir until it seems fully mixed. Finally, stir in about 15 drops of your favorite essential oil to give the scrub the desired scent.

deep-hair-conditioner

Natural Deep Hair Conditioner by Petit Elefant

You will need: 1 shower cap, 1 avocado, 2 tablespoons olive oil (or coconut oil), 2 tablespoons water, and 2 tablespoons whipped heavy cream.

The recipe calls for olive oil, but I much prefer to use coconut oil as a substitute whenever I see a recipe that calls for olive oil. Combine all of the ingredients and comb it through your hair. Put on the shower cap and wait for about 20 minutes before rinsing with lukewarm water. You may want to shampoo your hair afterwards as it will probably smell like avocado.

facial steam

Facial Steam by The Mountain Rose Blog

You will need: 1/8 cup organic Green Sencha Leaf Tea, 1/4 cup dried organic Lemon Balm, 1-2 tablespoons dried organic Peppermint

The ingredients may take a little longer to find because they are organic but this facial steam will moisturize, relax muscles, plump wrinkles, eliminate toxins and dirt, and increase circulation. Place the three ingredients into a large glass, or ceramic, bowl. Boil water, pour it into the bowl and immediately cover it with a towel. The hot water will cause oils to be released from the ingredients and you do not want them to escape into the air. Let that steep, or sit, for about 5 minutes. Place the bowl so that you can comfortably lean over it with your face over the bowl. Remove the towel, place your face over the bowl, and recover the bowl plus your head with a towel so that the steam doesn’t escape. Close your eyes and breathe deeply for about 10 minutes, and you should feel refreshed, relaxed and rejuvenated!

epsom-salt-detox-bath

Detoxifying Bath Soak

I mentioned to my grandmother one day that I had been looking for a good detoxifying bath recipe that didn’t have too many ingredients and she gave me this recipe. You will need: 1 cup Epsom Salt, 1 cup baking soda

Fill your bathtub with as much hot water as you can handle, remember it will seem extra hot when you first get in but your body will adjust. As the tub is filling, pour the Epsom salt and baking soda slowly near the faucet. I usually swirl the water around with my hand a little to make sure it spreads to the other side of the tub, too. Once the bath is full, get in and soak for 40 minutes. You will sweat! I repeat, you will sweat! It may feel a little uncomfortable depending on how hot the water is but try to last the full 40 minutes if you can (if you can’t, its ok; I got out after 30 minutes the first time I tried this). Drink plenty of water during and after this bath. I buy the Epsom Salt that has eucalyptus in it for added benefits and a pleasant smell. You can use ginger root shavings or an essential oil to create the aroma you prefer.

body butter

DIY Body Butter by Bes Skincare

You will need: 1 cup Coconut Oil, 1 tsp Vitamin E oil, your favorite essential oil

You can easily buy a body butter from stores like Bath and Body or Victoria’s Secret, but if you want a cheaper, more organic lotion then making your own is the way to go. Combine the ingredients in a mixing bowl and mix on high for at least 5 minutes or until it is creamy and whipped. Put the mixture into a clean glass jar with a lid you can seal, and store it at room temperature or in the refrigerator.

-Nikki

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Summer Weddings are Near!

sunscreen

Summer is coming up quickly and it’s a beautiful time for weddings! Most flowers are in season and a lot of warm colors become popular, which makes it easier to decorate your theme. The bad thing about summer in Texas? It’s hot!! Here are some ideas to help you and your guests stay safe from the hot sun and enjoy your day instead.

sunscreen

Provide sunscreen packets for guests who forgot to bring their own. This is especially helpful if you are having an outdoor reception with limited shade available.

fan program

Program fans are perfect for an outdoor ceremony because they let your guests know what is going on and keeps them cool at the same time! They are also very easy to coordinate with your color scheme.

sunglasses

Put a table with sunglasses near the entrance for guests to grab before they sit down so everyone can enjoy the ceremony without squinting the whole time. You can find some cute and cheap, generic sunglasses online.

bug spray

If your ceremony or reception is in an area highly populated by bugs, provide your guests with bug protection. Skin So Soft is my personal favorite and it works best against mosquitoes because they don’t like the smell. (Added bonus! It makes your skin so soft and silky, hence the name)

water

Instead of plain water add lemons, limes, or cucumbers to add a little refreshing flavor.

lights lights

Lanterns and fairy lights are cute ways to light up the night in the summertime. Electric candles can be bought online or found at a dollar store and put in mason jars. Fill them with colored glass pebbles for a nice colorful glow!

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A Twist On Outdoor Seating

So you’re planning you’re wedding.  You have decided to have it outside and you have picked out the arch, the aisle, the aisle decor but the only question remaining is what are you’re guests going to sit on?  You could go with the traditional seating that everyone has already seen or you can turn it up a notch.

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Add some throw pillows on the benches for a more home like feel outdoors.  Its also a great way to tie in you’re colors in a simple way on these plain wooden benches.

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Maybe its a destination wedding outside on a beach?  These clear chairs are cool because they don’t take away from the natural beauty of the beach.

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These plastic lawn chairs could be fun for a summer wedding.  Its a cute way to tie in all of you’re colors and then you can even keep them after the wedding for later use!

 

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I love these small wooden benches covered in vintage fabrics!  This would be absolutely precious for an earthy theme.

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These cushioned pallets are not only clean and simple looking but also comfortable for guests!  Spreading flower petals on them is also a great idea for adding in some decorations.

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Alternating bench colors between wood and white is such a great idea.  It adds a little something extra that I had never seen before.

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Tree stumps with wood planks are a great idea for an outdoor wedding and cost efficient too!

 

 

From tree stumps to vintage covered cushions these innovative ideas for wedding seating are a must.

 

Hilary Clemons

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Wedding & Reception Lighting

The perfect lighting can make your ceremony so beautiful and can be manipulated to point everyone’s focus on you and your hubby.

Wine Bottle

Re-use old bottles and attach blow torch mechanisms before mounting them on walls or porch beams. Have them monogrammed for a classy touch.

Beachy Lights

If you’re having a beach wedding or just a beach themed reception, put sand in different size jars and then add a candle in the color of your choice. Add some seashells and get coconut scented candles for an even beachier feel.

Chandelier

If you’re having an outdoor reception, hang chandeliers from tree branches so that they hang over the center of the tables.

Candle Patterns

If you’re having a garden reception or wedding, buy a lot of little candles (can be found at a dollar store) and arrange them in a beautiful pattern. Guests will be in awe and they make for great pictures after the ceremony.

Doily Lights

This is an adorable DIY project! Glue doilies to inflated balloons and pop the balloons after the doily dries. Place them wherever you want and put a small battery operated candle inside.

Starry Lights

Miniature soft blue/white light strands can be strung across a courtyard for a wonderful starry night effect.

Light Pathway

Line the pathway with lanterns on the ground, and have strands hung along the trees leading up to more lights where the ceremony will take place. It will bring your guests attention right to the front where you and your hubby tie the knot!

LED & Orchids

Place LED lights in small fish bowls with clear glass stones and an orchid (or other flower of your choice) for a creative and easy lighting look that glows.

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The Perfect Wedding Arch

From the classic look to a completely innovative idea; who knew there were so many choices for a wedding arch these days?  Creativity seems to be key when it comes to weddings and I had no idea there were so many options for wedding arches.  Hopefully, if you have been debating about what kind of arch to get married under, these ideas will help you out!

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These doors with a small chandelier are a great twist to a rustic/antique wedding theme.  The different textures and colors of the doors would look great in pictures and would add a little something extra to the wedding aisle.

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For a beach wedding you can piece together shells to assemble a breathtaking arch.  This could be a great DIY project and will save a few extra bucks too!

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This simple piece of fabric draped over the tree branches is beautiful for a wedding arch.  You could even spice it up with colored or printed fabric to add more color to the backdrop.

All of these arches are great because they are fairly simple and cost efficient.  Some of these you can even do yourself which could be a fun project for you and you’re bridesmaids or maybe even you and you’re soon to be husband.  Hopefully these ideas will help spark you’re creative juices and assist you in planning out how you would like you’re wedding arch to be!

 

 

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Mr. & Mrs. Memorabilia

Balloons

A great way to decorate your new home together with your hubby is with Mr. & Mrs. themed memorabilia that you either received as a gift or used during your wedding. You won’t get tired of seeing everyday when you’re in the “honeymoon stage,” and it gives you time to decide together how you would like to decorate when, or if, you don’t want to use them anymore.

Wine Glasses

Wine glasses are usually always on everyone’s wedding registry so ask your guests to customize yours. You can even add designs like silhouettes, bowties, bouqets, or customized colors.

Bathroom Pictures

Baby photos are cute and slightly embarrassing but putting your baby bath photos in the bathroom is cuter and isn’t prominently displayed.

Wine Stoppers

Mr. & Mrs. wine stoppers are adorable and the perfect bridal shower gifts! You can never have too many, especially when you need to try all the wines you received from guests so that you can truthfully tell them in their thank you note that you have tasted it.

Coasters

Coasters are the best way to protect your furniture and are one of the easiest DIY projects on Pinterest. For more sentimentality use some marble or stone from your first house together, and then simply paint or use stickers to decorate them.

Luggage Tags

Luggage tags for the honeymoon, of course! These are especially cute because it gives the bride two tags, which if we’re being honest, is definitely needed.

T-shirts

You and your hubby can have matching shirts at the airport on your way to the honeymoon to let everyone know you’re newlyweds.

Pillows

Decorate your first bed together with cute personalized pillows that have your wedding date on them. (You can also use them to label your side and his side)

Chair Signs

This sign is adorable for the reception and you can order one for the groom, as well!

Balloons

If you’re having a simple reception or after wedding tea party, balloons are a great way to mark the entrance to the venue or above the bride and groom’s chair.

Ornaments

These ornaments are perfect for the bride and groom’s first Christmas tree together.

Most of these can be DIY, my favorite, or custom ordered on a variety of websites. If you go the DIY route, you can have a craft making activity at your bridal shower.

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