Thursday, October 13, 2011

The Classy Bachelorette

Gone are the days when the words “bachelorette party” only incurs images of excessive drinking and inappropriate accessories. I recently planned bachelorette festivities for one of my best friends, and I was happily pleased to find a wealth of ideas for fun activities that wouldn’t embarrass the bride (or everyone with her!) that would still be a unique event she will always remember.  As you begin working on your plans, think about what the bride enjoys and how she would like to spend time with her friends. After all, the day is about her! Whether it’s one night or an entire weekend with the girls, bachelorette parties are meant to bring everyone together and shower the bachelorette with love and good wishes before she begins a new life with her husband.  And maybe showering her with presents too...
Some unique ideas to get you started:
Host a spa day. Why not get everyone together for manicures, pedicures, facials or massages? To save some money at my friend’s bachelorette, we paid a family friend who is also a masseuse to come over for 2-3 hours and give “mini-massages” to everyone, which was a big hit. Head out to a spa for a full day, half day, or do-it-yourself at home - you don't have to bust your budget for a day of relaxation.
Attention Foodies! Attend a cooking class or make dinner together (if you have a smaller group). Pick a theme the bride would love - french food, fondue, comfort food, anything would work - and enjoy a good meal with great friends.
Like wine? Visit a winery for the day, or look into how much it would be to hire a sommelier for a few hours to come over for a professional wine tasting. Serve cheese, bread, and fresh fruit as appetizers. Play games and give away bottles of wine as prizes, or head out to your favorite restaurant in town and test your new knowledge.
Out on the town. Bring your group to a comedy club and call ahead to see if they can make the bride the center of attention (if she's up for it!). Dance studios sometimes offer “girls night out” packages for a bride who would love to learn to salsa....or maybe some more risqué moves! Even just renting a limo for the night to take you around can be the most fun part.
Tea, anyone? Host a fancy tea party and show off your backyard, or go to a real tea room. A lady-like bride would love the opportunity to show off her new hat and share finger sandwiches, petit fours, and scones with her besties.  A friend of mine once made homemade tea bags as the favor for a bridal shower, and everyone loved them!

If you want to stay in, hiring a professional for a few hours could be tons of fun.  A cook, a masseuse, a tarot card reader, card dealer (why not bring Vegas to your living room?), dance instructor - just let the bride blow off some stress of planning the big day and have fun!

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Eco-Friendly Weddings

Sustainability is a hot topic, and why not in regards to events? Unfortunately, it’s not always easy or economical to go green when you host an event for a group of people, but it can be possible without sacrificing your budget, elegance or sanity.
An obvious start, using recycled paper for your invitations can be a quick solution. There are so many options, and companies like Crane and Co. produce beautiful paper that is 100% biodegradable or organic cotton. Unlike events where Evites might be appropriate, your wedding invites can also cut back on printed sheets or additional envelopes. For a really unique idea, check out Botantical Paper Works for paper embedded with...wait for it...SEEDS!! Guests can plant your invitation in their backyard and it turns into flowers, plants or herbs instead of ending up in a landfill. Seeds can also be a great wedding favor, as a symbol for beginning a new part of your life.

Everyone wants the perfect dress, but maybe your perfect dress can be one that was used by others as well. This might not be everyone’s cup of tea, but it’s worth it to check out websites that help recycle dresses which might otherwise go to waste. Some are even bought but never worn with the tags still on them. Try Recycled Bride  or Once Wed and check out what's out there.
If you’re not sure whether to keep your gown, consider donating it to charity or selling it and donating the proceeds. Your bridesmaids can donate their used gowns to charities such as The Glass Slipper Project or Fairy Godmothers Inc., both of which help give underprivileged teens a chance to find a prom dress if they can’t afford it.
Cooking organic or all-natural can be expensive, so maybe consider taking any leftover food from the reception dinner to a local shelter or soup kitchen instead. Just shopping local grocery store or farmer's market (or your caterer doing so) can make a big difference, as well as choosing fruits and veggies that are in season and don’t need to be grown in a greenhouse. Same with flowers, which is cheaper no matter who your florist is!
Go with the "green" theme and look at vintage materials for decorations, or raid your recently married friends' garage to see who might have supplies you can re-purpose. You can also look at outdoor venues or those run by non-profit organizations. Use all-natural makeup/beauty products and register for earth-friendly housewares. Explain to guests what it means to you to be green and why you made certain decisions in your wedding planning, and they will be happy to jump in the green boat with you.
Finally, check out the I Do Foundation to find ways to support charities through your special day! There are a million ways to be mindful of the environment when throwing a bash - I hope these help you get started :)