Thursday, May 21, 2009

LL Bean Bags

As many of you know, I am a big fan of giving LL Bean Boat & Tote bags with the bride's new initials as part of the shower gift. I recently did this for Bride #6. When I got an e-mail after I placed the order that the color I chose was now out of stock- I wasn't happy. I called LL Bean, and they were so great and accommodating! I had originally ordered the medium bag with long handles, and they were totally out of purple mediums- so they gave me the large purple bag and didn't charge me for shipping. It ended up being cheaper than the medium with shipping! Then, since I was a novice at ordering the large bag (the medium with long handles is my usual standard)- I ordered the large bag with the long handles rather than the standard handles. Bride #6 is about 5'1", so the long handles on the large bag were WAY too big. The bag started at her waist! No problem though, I called LL Bean and even though the bag was monogrammed, I can exchange it for a new one! Plus, they're shipping the new one out with free shipping and all I have to pay for is the shipping to send the old one back. Fabulous! Lessons learned from this experience? A) When ordered Boat & Tote bags go with either the medium bag and long handles or large bag and standard handles and B) Always go with a reputable established company. Don't cheap out and order an imitation Boat & Tote bag on a cheapie website...go for the real thing. Their customer service was impeccable and they have super fast shipping!!!

Happy Bridesmaiding!

Monday, May 4, 2009

Shower Gifts

One question I am always asked about is a shower gift. There are many different opinions on shower gifts, and whether or not to get a gift off the registry or not. The fact of the matter is- you are never wrong if you stay within the registry. I mean, the bride chose that gift- obviously she wants it!
However, as one of her bridesmaids, you are obviously one of her closest friends (or family members). Who knows her better than you do? If anyone is at liberty to get a gift off the registry and know that she'll like it, it's you! Just use your judgement!
One of my favorite things to do is have all of the bridesmaids chip in together and get a sort of combination gift. Half from the registry, and half using our creative imagination! One of my most common gifts is the travel/honeymoon gift and it's a great compromise of on and off the registry. This gift can include any or all of the following items, depending on your budget.
  • Luggage that the bride registered for
  • Luggage tags (possibly even personalized with the couple's monogram or last initial)
  • LL Bean Boat & Tote bag with the bride's new initials
  • "Mrs. _____" tank top for her honeymoon or morning after brunch
  • Just Married Underwear
  • "I Love [Groom's Name]" underwear
  • Travel cosmetics bag (possibly personalized with name or bride's new initials)
  • Travel lingerie and/or shoe bags
  • Sunscreen
  • Bathing Suit Cover Up
  • Travel slippers
  • Robe (possibly personalized with name or bride's new initials)
  • Honeymoon Journal
  • Honeymoon disposable camera

I have given this to numerous brides, even for weddings that I am not in, and have always gotten the most positive reaction. They all love it!

If it's just you and you are limited, but want to go off the registry, the following are some great generic gifts that I heard are always appreciated!

  • Lingerie (use your discretion how risky you want to get here)
  • Picture frames
  • Serving Pieces
  • Gift Certificates (restaurants, spas, etc)

If you want to be really special and go off the registry, here are some other ideas.

  • Create a scrapbook of the bride and groom's pre-married life together and give her a blank album to start when they get married
  • Buy the bride a personalized recipe box with her new married name. Secretly e-mail the other bridesmaids and important family members (sisters, both moms, grandmas, aunts, etc) and fill the box with the recipes. I did this for Bride #5 and she said it was the best gift she received at her shower. She was so touched to have in her possession the recipes her friends and family members are best known for. She even gave herself the deadline of her one year anniversary to make each recipe at least once. Her husband is loving every minute of it!
  • Personalized stationary with the bride's new name

As I always say though, keep your bride in mind. If you know she really wants her registry completed- buy her something off the registry and use your creativity somewhere else. We did this for Bride #2 and Bride #4. We bought them their pots and pans and then their luggage and they were both thrilled to get the high ticket items they didn't think they would otherwise receive.

Happy Bridesmaiding!

Know Your Bride!

The most important thing I tell everyone who asks, is KNOW YOUR BRIDE! Seriously...this is her day, her year! Yes, yes- everyone likes to have fun, but if you know that your bride is the type of girl who gets mortified when she gets up in front of a large crowd, don't make her sing karaoke at her bachelorette party. If your bride can't stand getting dressed up, don't over do it on the bachelorette accessories. If she's a bit tame and modest- don't make her party all night at a club.

The same goes for a rehearsal dinner speech or a bridal shower gift. If you love to give lingerie at a shower, but have a modest bride- keep her in mind and don't embarass her. If she can't take a joke- be kind when you roast her at the rehearsal dinner.

Just remember, that even though you may have a bridezilla who demands the exact nail polish color you wear and calls you at all hours of the day with questions and demands, she IS still your friend. So try not to embarass her and tailor your gifts, activities, etc around her. Trust me, you'll want her to do the same for you when it's your turn.

Happy Bridesmaiding!