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Bridesmaid “Ask” Bags

It’s official – I now have a wonderful set of ladies to help me celebrate our big day! I’m so excited and happy that they all said yes! The special group consists as my cousin as my maid-of-honor (I was hers two years ago for her gorgeous winter wedding), my future sister-in-law, and three of my closest friends.

Because they all mean so much to me, I wanted to find a special way to ask them if they would do me the honor of being by my side next September. I thought that a nautical themed bag would be the perfect touch!

I bought 5 canvas tote bags at my local craft supply store, as well as some navy fabric paint. I’ve always loved Sea Bags, particularly the ones with large numbers, and thought it would be a cute way to easily remember our wedding date! Typography and numbers will be a very important part of the aesthetic for our wedding, so the large numbers start to help enforce this theme.

I printed templates using the same typeface used on our Save the Dates, and cut out stencils. I then traced and hand painted each of the bags. A tiny “2014″ demonstrates the date, but I think that the bags have a more abstract numerical look – unless you knew they were meant to represent a wedding date, perhaps you’d never guess!

I attached the little note above to the top of each bag with a poof of turquoise and swiss dot tulle.

Inside each bag I included a bridal “cheat sheet” which had all of the information each lady would need, as well as a few simple rules. I also put together a set of swatches of preferred dress colors to choose from. I thought it would be an easy reference to bring out shopping!

The soft grey-green, white, and navy are our core wedding colors, with a punch of bright coral every so often. I love the coral envelopes I was able to find at the Paper Source, and am moderately obsessed with the little turquoise brads used to create the book and swatch package.

Overall, I’m really happy with how the bags turned out, and thrilled that everyone said yes!!

80th Birthday Party

My Grandmother is turning 80 in November, and we recently threw a birthday celebration for her and 60 of her local friends. My family planned and coordinated the entire event, with everyone pitching in to make food, and my brother and cousin acting as bartenders. I created the event theme, which allowed me to tie everything together – from the handmade invitations and decor, to the event signage, all the way down to the napkins and plates, I tried to make sure it was a cohesive event that represented the fun, slightly quirky, guest-of-honor.

We rented a 15×30 ft tent to make sure we’d have a dry place if it rained, and also used one of the buildings on my family’s property that previously housed a local shellfishing business. Being able to have the party in a place with so much family history and character really added to the event.

To decorate the tent, I made large tissue paper pom-poms in shades of pink, red and orange to tie in with the floral theme of the invitations. They added a punch of color to the ceiling, and looked pretty as they swayed with the breeze.

The centerpieces for the tables were wreathes of paper flowers. Some of the wreaths held a single glass hurricane and candle, and some larger ones had a set of three in various heights and sizes. Each table had a slightly different centerpiece, which added depth to the decorations, and the colors really stood out against white tablecloths. I made the wreaths by creating small crepe paper flowers of different sizes and colors and adhering them to cardboard ring bases. They turned out exactly as I hoped, adding a punch of color to the tables with a simple, elegant design.

Food was very important to me for the party – I wanted everything to be bite size, require no utensils, and be a little different than “normal” finger food. We also had a bar with wine, beer, sodas and juice, as well as the star of the show – the “mimi.” The mimi was our specialty cocktail, per request of my grandmother, (who we all call Mimi) which was a strawberry basil margarita.

We had a nice blend of fresh, sweet and savory treats, from individual dip cups with crudites (I loved these and will be making them for other occasions – so cute and easy!) and fruit kabobs….

…to cranberry, turkey and arugula wraps, cucumber and herb tea sandwiches…

…and wonderful sweets including snickerdoodles, fudge brownies, blonde brownies, and raspberry pecan crumb bars.

The food turned out great, and looked so pretty arranged on white plates of various sizes. We were able to cut nice bite-sized pieces of the baked goods by freezing them in large blocks after baking, and slicing while frozen right before the event.

I wanted to tie the invitation into the party itself, and I was able to incorporate the paper I used for the liners in the envelopes into signage for the guest book and specialty cocktail. We asked all of the guests to write a little note on 4×6 paper in various shades of pink, orange, and coral. We are combining these notes with photos of the event into a special album for my grandmother to remember her party!

Because 80 is such a milestone, I wanted to include some pictures of my grandmother through the years. I set up a little vignette inside the “Shuckin’ House” (as we fondly call the building which previously housed the shellfish business) complete with antique frames, vintage signage I found already on the shelves, buoys, and a little clothesline to display more photos. I loved the mix of vintage and modern, and the mini clothespins looked so cute! Everyone enjoyed looking at the photos and reminiscing, so it made a fun stopping point on the way to the bar.

The bar set up ended up being one of my favorite parts of the event – I used a table that is always in the Shuckin’ House and is usually covered in oyster bags, waders, and fishing lines. It was so fun to clean it up and see it used in a different way. The table itself is gorgeous – it has a metal top with a beautiful patina, and was used by my great-grandfather when he was in the shellfishing business. We set up galvanized buckets in white and silver with ice and drinks, and my brother and cousin helped pour beer, wine, and the specialty cocktail.

We all had a wonderful time celebrating 80 years – my grandmother looked beautiful, we had perfect weather, and everyone enjoyed visiting and chatting. It was a great event, and I think all of the decor and food turned out just how we had all hoped.

Here’s to many more celebrations!