The one where Bridezilla was just a stressed out girl with a 3 ct. ring

The one where Bridezilla was just a stressed out girl with a 3 ct. ring

OKURRRR! Soooo…I saw y’alls hands raised up in support with me. I received the text messages that said “preach”. Y’all slid in my DMs & said “yassss”. (SERIOUSLY…ALL OF THAT REALLY HAPPENED). But now, I gotta stand up for my bride babes & help them not make the mistakes that my little birds tweet, tweet, tweeted into my ear about their friends floating down the aisle. This is a much longer blog, but it’s meant to provide a helping manicured hand to my sistas out there! Don’t panic everyone. I know I’ve never been in a bride’s shoes, so I reached out to my good friend and local Louisiana blogger, Katelyn Ehrhardt. Katelyn is the blogger behind “Full of Heart“, who recently got married on May 12, 2018 (ALMOST ONE YEAR AGO). Today, I’m going to touch on 4 different categories:
  1. Bridesmaid Dresses
  2. Showers/Parties
  3. Bachelorette party
  4. Bridal luncheons

Bridesmaid Dresses

Bridesmaids don’t necessarily care if their dress is from the upmost hoity toity boutique or if it’s from David’s Bridal. WE REALLY DO NOT CARE. What we care about is the cha-ching…PRICE of the dress we will most likely wear once because we did not even pick it out ourselves. I do believe, though, if you make it an experience, your bridesmaids will appreciate it.

Katelyn’s experience was smooth as butter. Read what she has to say about Bella Bridesmaids & her day of bridesmaid dress shopping!

“Besides the engagement party, one of the first events that all of your bridesmaids will be together is bridesmaid dress shopping. I know bridesmaid dress shopping can get hectic with so many opinions and take a long time depending on the size of your group and how many dresses you want to try on. I decided to make this process easier. A week before our bridesmaid dress shopping appointment with all of the girls, me, my mom, and ONE of my bridesmaids went bridesmaid dress shopping. We tried on over ten dresses and narrowed it down to three that I loved! By doing this in advance I knew I was going to make the dress shopping experience with all of the bridesmaids shorter and less stressful. And I am so happy I did this!

The girls arrived at Bella Bridesmaids, which this is the best place for bridesmaid dress shopping. The owner, Jenn was so personal and fun! I was able to bring in champagne and OJ for mimosas, and she blocked out time for us so that we were the only ones in the store. Talk about the VIP treatment! The girls tried on both dresses, and I let them decide which one they wanted. At the end of the day, they are the ones who are buying these dresses and they have to wear them, not me. Letting them decide on the dress gave them control of the situation and made them feel valued and important. And since I loved the three dresses I narrowed it down to, I was completely fine with whatever decision they made. After shopping, we all went to eat brunch together so everyone could bond even more.”

One more suggestion is asking gif there is a bridesmaid dress discount from wherever you purchased YOUR dress from. Chances are, you can secure a squeezed in deal or some additional assistance since you already cashed out there before. The key is doing your research beforehand on pricing, styles & locations.

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Showers/Parties

It’s my party and I’ll cry throw as many as I desire if I want to! That’s right, brides…PARTY HARDY! There is no problem in throwing a million and one showers – this is YOU AND YOUR BOO’S SPECIAL DAY (wedding) SEASON. I’m not even throwing sarcasm in this. I know you’re yelling from the rooftops “I WANT IT ALL” (courtesy of Freddie). BUT, just be aware of a few courtesy rules. To make things easier, I’m breaking down “Showers” into 3 categories – Couple Shower, Bridal Shower & Miscellaneous Parties (engagement parties, stock the bar parties).

Couple Shower

Showers for both the bride and the groom are sometimes called “Jack and Jill” showers, and extremely popular. Although they tend to revolve around gifts, here’s the skinny…

What is it?

  • This is a great way for the couple’s personality to shine through prior to the wedding & it involves games, a speech from the couple & lots of happiness.
  • There is food, music, sometimes games, but always lots of fun!
  • Some people sub a couple shower for a themed party, such as a “honey-do shower” or a “stock the bar party”. If this is the case, you will still definitely need to provide a gift for that event even if it’s labeled as a miscellaneous event.
  • A couple shower is closer to a cocktail or dinner party than it is to a bridal shower’s cutesy daytime event.
  • Although it is traditionally hosted during the evening, it is perfectly fine to have it mid-day.

Who hosts?

  • To me, this shower is not as much as a necessity as a bridal shower, but you still need a host for it.
  • It had long been considered a financial responsibility that the bride and/or groom’s family financially host the couple shower.
  • If neither family can assist, the couple themselves can host the event as a thank you for everything the wedding party & loved ones have done throughout this period.
  • Remember, this is a COUPLE SHOWER, so you might want to limit the guest list to a proper girl/boy ratio.

Where do you host a couples shower?

  • From an afternoon barbecue at the groom’s parents’ place to a cocktail party at Baru, there are no hard rules about location.
  • This event is a little more rowdier than the bridal shower, so don’t be afraid to dress a little more funky or drop it low on the dance floor!

Bridal Shower

Bridal showers are one of my most favorite traditions! They give off all of the auras I crave: femininity & girly-ness. This is a fine time to single out the bride & make her feel ever so loved ❤

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What is it?

  • The general outline is usually the same: food, drinks, a few games, and an opportunity for the bride to open gifts surrounded by her guests.
  • Don’t sweat if you don’t love opening gifts in public. You can always set aside to open up at home along with your fiancé.
  • Speaking of that lovely man, it is tradition that your fiancé arrives toward the end of the shower as a surprise for the bride. This tradition is a sweet way to include him in your ladies-only celebration, as well as help get those gifts to their rightful home!

Who hosts?

  • It had long been considered a breach of etiquette for the bride’s family members to host showers.
  • Why? Because the main point of a shower is to give gifts to the bride and it could seem as if her family were asking for…GIFTS.
  • Although that is strictly tradition, anyone can host the bridal shower – other family members can step in if common sense dictates a solution.
  • The maid/matron of honor and the bridesmaids are NOT required to host a shower as part of their official responsibilities.
  • If need be, the bride’s bridal party can also offer to host the party.
    • If the bride’s family members are unable to physically or financially assist in planning, the bride’s bridal should probably OFFER (key word) to organize and come up with Plan B.

Where do you host a bridal shower?

  • From a friend’s backyard to a Abita Beer Brewery, it does not matter where a shower is held – as long as the bride is surrounded by the ones she loves most!

Couple & Bridal Shower Wrap Up

Where do you host a shower?

  • If the bride’s bridal party or family is spread around a variety of locations, it is sometimes difficult to pinpoint a common geographic location to gather and celebrate.
  • If the bride still lives relatively close to home, the shower can be held in her hometown.
  • If she lives in a city hours away or in a different state, it may still be more convenient for the bride to travel to her shower if most of the guests live locally.
  • Go with what you (financially) feel!

Who hosts?

  • Sometimes several of the bride’s friends or the bridal party along with relatives may host the shower together, sharing the expenses and the organizing.
  • Let individual circumstances be your guide, but make sure you determine a host based on who is offering you.
  • No matter who is hosting, keep clear communication flowing so you don’t end up with two separate bridal or couple showers!

When is a couple & bridal shower held?

  • The ideal timing is between three months to two weeks prior the big day!
  • Choose a date that is convenient for both the bride and her guests of choice, even if that means combining a bachelorette party in the evening after an mid-morning shower.
  • Despite a date, make sure that the bride has an organized wedding registry prior to the delivery of invitations.

What’s up with the invites?

  • Invitations should ideally be mailed out four to six weeks before showers.
  • Make sure to include the bride’s/couple’s name(s), the date, the time, the location, registry information, a way to RSVP, and the names of whoever is hosting.
  • It’s A-O-K for the hostess to include gift registry information WITH (but not ON) the invitation.
  • A registry list is just a SUGGESTION, so it’s important to remember that the choice of a gift is always up to the guest (although here in the south, it’s traditionally noted as a proper move to provide a small something for the bride).
    • A bridal shower is a pre-wedding celebration in honor of the bride that traditionally is an opportunity for guests to give her gifts to help set up her new home.
    • A couple shower still revolves around gifts, but they’re presented to both the bride and the groom. This means that there is a mix of home goods and guy-friendly gadgets.

Miscellaneous Parties

From engagement parties to masquerades, miscellaneous parties are always a blast!

  • Miscellaneous parties can be hosted from the second the ring is popped (engagement party) to the morning after the wedding (morning after brunch).
  • If the couple opts to have a couple shower PLUS additional parties (such as a “stock the bar party” or “masquerade”) only one gift should suffice. Either give a gift for the Couple Shower OR additional miscellaneous party.
  • Lingerie showers are optional based on finances & modesty of the bride. Sometimes, a lingerie shower can replace a bridal shower or can be hosted during the bachelorette party, since it is made up of mainly the bridal party and maybe a few family members.
  • These parties are not traditionally necessary, but are very fun to include if you physically & financially can & if time permits.
  • Have a wonderful time at these parties because they were intended not to solely receive a present, but to either announce a couple’s engagement or have one last celebration with those who have supported them along this journey to the altar!

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Things to remember…

Showers are more of an intimate party…not a gathering that mirrors the wedding number list. Make sure the guest list is usually made up of the couple’s close friends, family, and attendants. The host usually consults the bride to be sure that shower guests are wedding guests. Normally, anyone invited to your shower should be invited to the wedding. There is only one exception: when coworkers throw an office shower for the bride. Multiple showers are okay, but be sure to invite different guests to each party. EVERYONE DOESN’T NEED TO BE INVITED TO EVERYTHING! Generally, only close family and members of the wedding party may be invited to more than one shower.

As a guest, if you’re invited to more than one shower, you only need to bring a gift to the first one (that stands for members of the wedding party, too). If you don’t want to come to the second party empty-handed, you can always bring something inexpensive, such as a small bouquet, chocolates, or even some homemade goodies. Brides, if you all have guests in this position, it’s proper to make a mention of their previous gift or send them a “thank you” note prior to the second shower/event.

One thing that I have done in the past (if I am invited to more than two showers/parties/events/extravaganzas prior to a couple’s wedding) is: I bought the bride/groom only one gift that is within my budget, but yet splurging for the entire wedding season. This way, instead of breaking up a bride’s gift in $20-30 increments, I can just spend a larger sum on a more desired gift.

Better Homes & Garden Gina

My mother, Gina, frowns upon that move, because it isn’t traditionally polite. She’s literally the epitome of a Southern Homes & Garden Magazine. After heeding her advice, I have considered giving my bride friends $20-30 gift cards per party. Although we tend to think of gift cards as impersonal, it’s not extremely personal anyways to buy a gift the couple *cough* bride *cough* picked out to create a list for you. It’s not like you had the grand idea to buy a gold plated trashcan.

Whatever works within your budget should work for the bride. She should understand that we are all young adults. Some of us are just living off of hot dogs, whereas others are thriving at Meril. IT IS TOTALLY COOL. I surely hope that Linda doesn’t remember 43 years down the road that I gifted her a beautiful Kitchen Aid mixer for the bridal shower, yet didn’t give her a gift for the actual day of the wedding. If she does hold grudge for that, then screw her & I’m pissed I got her a freaking mixer.

Now each person has different circumstances, & perhaps all of these rules do not pertain to certain couples based on situations. But, one thing rings true for brides & grooms: NEVER EVER EVER EVER EVER TELL A PERSON HE/SHE IS HOSTING/PAYING FOR ANY PARTY. V bad manners. Remember to keep it classy, kids.

Bachelorette Party

Bachelorette parties can be insane or low-key…it’s all in what the bride is going for, but the bridal party really should add in their input. Living in New Orleans is a blessing for travel – we have an international airport & one of the largest ship ports in the world. Katelyn decided to take advantage of the port in New Orleans (especially since 8/9 of her bridesmaids live in the Big Easy) & opted for a Carnival cruise to Mexico

“Another more affordable and less stressful experience I wanted was my bachelorette party. You hear stories about some brides wanting these elaborate bachelorette trips that can cost between $700-$1000. That just seems selfish and unrealistic. I wanted as many of my bridesmaids to be able to come on my trip to celebrate with me, and if I had chosen that route, maybe two of them would have come. That’s no fun!”

“…the biggest plus was that everyone paid the same amount of money, and everything was paid for before we event stepped foot on the ship. We never had to worry about what activities we were going to have to plan or what meals we were going to eat since it was all inclusive. Once we were on board, it was smooth sailing from there (LOL boat jokes)!”

Although the trip was about $500.00 compared to a beach trip for $80.00 or $175.00, some brides & bridal parties agree that the extra fee is rational in the sense that there’s:

  • Always an activity to take part in – you can watch a comedy show, check out the casino or take part in a bartending contest…the options are limitless!
  • Minimal planning for MOH or bridesmaids
  • No restrictions to any meal or bar, since there’s 24/7 access to food & alcohol
  • No thinking about money on board. You don’t have to worry about juggling different receipts, budgets, credit cards, etc. because everything is inclusive…so you only need to budget only one cost – the trip itself!
  • Everyone pretty much stays together & there’s minimal venturing off, because there’s only so many places you can end up on a ship.

I understand $500.00 for your gal pal’s bachelorette trip is not in everyone’s budget. But, do take in mind that a bachelorette trip should be as stress-free as possible & all of those options mentioned above in the bullets take hours of planning, budgeting, etc. Do not fret, though. A more wallet-friendly bachelorette party with some background planning is completely do-able with the proper help. Check out what Kelsey Petry, the owner of the I Do Krewe and KP Travel has to say on affordable bachelorette trips:

  1. Staycation in NOLA/Be a Tourist in Your Own Hometown – rent out an AirBnB or transform someone’s home to save money. Try a ghost tour, cocktail tour, cooking class, etc.
  2. Pick a destination within driving distance to make the road trip part of the fun. Honestly, some of my favorite memories from past bachelorette parties are the actual road trips themselves to Gulf Shores and Austin. One time our car broke down on the way to Disney, and it was quite the comical sequence of events that I will never forget (we made it though!).
  3. Expand the invite list to friends, moms, aunts, etc. outside of the bridal party to help split the cost.
  4. Consult a travel agent! Contrary to belief, agents can help save you money (hey, KP Travel!) if you’re looking into an all-inclusive resort or cruise. Some resorts let you split a room four-ways, or even get a villa to house eight girls. Although it sounds like cha-ching, cha-ching, it’s worth the convenience. No awkward bill splitting, no stressful grocery buying trips, no planning out “who’s going to buy the next round of shots for the bride”; you can simply relax and enjoy the vacation without seeing a bill the entire weekend 🙂
  5. Have someone open a new rewards credit card, put all purchases on their card and reap the benefits! At least someone will be happy, ha!
  6. Tie in the bachelorette to a festival, or some kind of all-day event. This way, everyone has the option to spend as little or as much as they want on food and drinks without making anyone feel uncomfortable.

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My 5 tips for brides are:

  1. Tell your expectations ahead of time…LIKE WHEN YOU ASK GIRLS TO BE IN YOUR WEDDING. “Oh, a bachelorette party to Disney World is something I’ve always dreamed of!”. Not my cup of tea for a wild night out as a single lady, but if you would rather trade in a stripper for Mickey…GO FOR IT!
  2. Don’t be upset if girls can’t attend your ideal trip because it is too far, too long or too expensive. Also, don’t be upset if dates you chose don’t always work for everyone else. Adulting sucks. Sometimes we have financial, family & work demands. It’s just the way the cookie crumbles. This leads me to #3…
  3. After admitting to everyone what your dream trip would be or consist of you need to ask everyone what their budget is. Have an estimated budget breakdown for the trip you dream of, but be prepared for backlash if it’s not what everyone can afford.
  4. If your Vegas extravaganza is waaaaay out of budget…time to re-evaluate the plan again. Ask people for suggestions & roll with the punches.
  5. BE FLEXIBLE. Would you rather a trip to Miami that only 3/6 girls can attend or a staycation off of Bourbon Street that 6/6 girls can make it to? You have to focus on what’s more important – for some girls it’s the destination, whereas others just want a fun time with all of their friends present.

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If you’re flying out of the country or to some boutique town (like the Hamptons or Charleston) for a bachelorette trip, you can’t expect everyone to attend. Those trips just don’t match everyone’s budgets or vacation calendars. But a staycation in NOLA…my friends are fired if someone complains about that! I would imagine something of that caliber would fall less than $200.00 per person for a Friday through Sunday experience. I am so blessed to live in a city that bachelorette parties actually come to on the reg – so there’s no shame in the staycation game if your city does hold charm or a wild side.

Bridal Luncheons

We celebrate at an engagement party & a morning-after brunch; but, there’s one wedding party that is often overlooked: the bridal luncheon. This is also known as “the bridesmaid’s luncheon”. Because the honor of being a bridesmaid in today’s day & age can require a large sum of money and time, a bridal luncheon is a wonderful gesture of appreciation and hospitality. My mom has such fond memories of her special Bridal Luncheon she hosted for her lovely bridal party, and I hope to (one day) host it in the same location as she did – in the garden room of Commander’s Palace. I am SO in favor in adding this exclusive, ladies-only affair back on every bride’s itinerary A-S-A-P! Here’s the tea on it.

When to throw:

  • Some bridal luncheons are held within a two to three week span prior to your wedding, whereas others are held in the days immediately before the wedding.
  • If the bridesmaids are all out of towners, consider hosting the event the day before the wedding in the late morning.

Where to throw:

  • Traditionally, this event is a luncheon, brunch, or even a tea party.
  • The location is 110% your choice. You can host the event at either a home or at a restaurant.
  • Some brides have traded in the luncheon idea with a trip to the salon with champagne, or something that’s feminine and low key with no boys allowed.

Who hosts:

  • In Southern communities, the bride and/or her mother host the event.
  • A close friend or relative of the bride and her mother can also host the party.

Who to invite:

  • The bride
  • Her maid and/or matron of honor
  • All her bridesmaids
  • The flower girl and her mother
  • The bride’s mother
  • The groom’s mother

It’s also nice to include (but not necessary)

  • Any sisters of the bride and/or groom who aren’t attendants
  • The bride’s grandmothers
  • The groom’s grandmothers
  • Aunts
  • Godmothers
    **The guest list follows many of the same guidelines as a bridal shower, though it’s often more intimate.

What happens during the event:

  • The main focus of the event is to acknowledge and thank your bridesmaids for all of their hard work and contributions.
  • This is the perfect time to distribute any gifts you have for your bridesmaids to thank them for their support throughout this exciting time in your life – especially if you intend on them wearing the gifts as you walk down the aisle!
  • Although it isn’t necessary, the bride can make a short toast.
  • Use this one last pre-wedding event as an opportunity to take a deep breath, relax & enjoy some time spent with the closest women in your life in lieu of your big day.

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Wrap Up

As Katelyn said best, “Being a bridesmaid is both an honor and a choice. You don’t have to say ‘yes’ just because you are asked.” In this day & age, it is frowned upon to just simply say NO. & that is the brattiest move I have ever heard of. When asking your bride tribe to join you at your side on your big day, be sure to tell them ahead of time the financial commitment they will be making if they agree to be one of your babes when popping the question. If they financially cannot commit, you CANNOT be upset with these women. Instead, celebrate them as an usher, greeter or reader. But if these women can financially commit, make sure your team still feels, “(I still wanted my girls to feel) important and respected. I valued their time and commitment to my special day, so I tried to make certain aspects easier and smoother for them.”

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Easy & smooth. What better way to glide through your wedding while dishing your best gals the R-E-S-P-E-C-T they need?

Please email me (theblondecubanita@gmail.com) or DM me (@allisonherrera) any questions, comments, or concerns you may have regarding this article. I know sometimes that people can take posts personally, but just know that a my writing isn’t a Pulitzer Prize piece. It’s not a best read blog or book. But to me, writing should evoke an emotion from the reader. Whether it draws out happiness, sadness, empathy, joy, guilt, etc., well written subjects fall hand in hand with emotions. The reader, though, must understand that these emotions are not solely bc of the writer pointing fingers at them. No. The writer doesn’t necessarily take in account who the reader is, their past, or any other unnecessary elements. The writer doesn’t even necessarily draw from personal experiences. But, the reader feels emotions by putting themselves in the writing…by conveying what the situation is & what they have in common with the hero or villain. I can’t MAKE a reader feel anything. I can’t MAKE a reader believe what ignited the pen or keyboard behind my fingers. But, when all is said & done, writing is meant to awake what’s inside of you & instill a feeling. So, if you feel a feeling, let it go…but know that that’s a well written piece & that I have done a wonderful job. At the end of the day, y’all know I’m here for you 💕 Until next time…

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