A Bridal Shower Checklist

Bridal showers are one of my favorite things to plan because I love the small, intimacy of them. Gathering together with the closest ladies in your life is a beautiful experience in itself so everything I do beyond that is just meant to highlight that atmosphere. Bridal showers are full of opportunities to go wild with the details without breaking the bank. Use my five-step checklist for a beautiful and meaningful bridal shower...  

1. Cute Invites

Your invites set the mood for your event as well as your guests. They are the first detail your guests see and it gives them a sneak peek at what the day holds.

vintage floral bridal shower

Choose an invitation that best represents the mood you want to set. Sometimes I get lucky and find what I'm looking for at Target or TJ Max, but most of the time I order (this also  saves me from doing the work of all the handwriting myself). These invites are from Emily Costopoulos Photography Film & Design. For $15 you can order the digital file, and then edit and print the number your want. Or for $45, she will do the edits and then mail 20 printed invites with envelopes to your door. She also offers custom design if you can't find what you are looking for. 

2. Thoughtful Menu and Presentation

I'm a firm believer that good food speaks to the heart and beautiful food just tastes better.

bridal shower buffet

Your menu matters and how you display it sets the mood. I use real china and glassware whenever possible because that's what my Grandmother always did to make something feel special. Even if it was just a back yard picnic, when she let us use the real dishes, my cousins and I always felt like we were hosting the Queen of England. 

floral bridal shower
vintage dessert plates
pink glassware

Here's a sample menu from Etiquette Catering Co. for the perfect summer bridal shower: 

Mini Tea Cucumber Sandwiches
Watermelon & Feta Cubes (the perfect mix of sweet and salty)
Deviled eggs (our famous deviled eggs are classic with an elevated flavor)
Mini Pesto Toast Crostini (with melted Havarti and heirloom tomatoes)
Caprese Bites (tomatoes, mozzarella, greens, and balsamic)
Mac and Cheese Bites
Bacon Wrapped Dates (stuffed with goat cheese)
Baby Greek Salad (served in a sweet sample size)

3. Something To Do

Give your guests something to do, and I don't mean just another Pinterest game. Think outside the box and spend time doing something together creates an atmosphere for lasting memories. How fun would a bouquet bar be!?

bouquet bar sign

Playing with sweet-smelling floral allows your guests to work with their hands and take home a tangible memory from the party. Other ideas I am in love with: making a sugar scrub, reading poetry, playing lawn games, or potting plants.  

bouquet bar
bouquet bar bridal shower
bouquet bar

4. Photo Backdrop

Designate a place for a fun photo. Use a pretty chair or two, hang some greenery. It's simple reminder to document the memories! 

bridal shower

5. Fun Favors

My rule for favors is, I don't send my friends home with anything I wouldn't want to be sent home with. This avoids giving favors just for favors' sake.  These white chocolate marshmallow pops from Fireside S'mores were perfect "something white' favors. 

bridal shower favors from fireside s'mores

Photography: Cadey Reisner Weddings
Design + Rentals: The Vintage Lease

Determine Your Design Style BEFORE Pinterest

“Every great design begins with an even better story,” Lorinda Mamo. My favorite part of the planning process is in the design because it allows me to help my clients examine who they are as individuals and who they are as a couple to create an event that is beautiful, thoughtful and entirely their own. Deciding on the design aesthetic early will help take the stress out of the planning process because the overall look and feel of the event helps determines everything from the venue to the smallest of details. 

So, that said. How do you go about determining your design style? BEFORE you type anything into Pinterest, here are four things you need to consider.  

1. Think about YOU. 

            I don't want to scare you, but to have a wedding that is unique to you, you need to know who "you" is. What do you like? Think about what's in your closet and how you like to decorate your home. What are you favorite pieces? What colors do you gravitate towards; are they neutral or bold and bright? Do you lean more towards casual or are you the type who lives in heels and loves it? The type of clothes you have tell a lot about what you like to do. People who love the outdoors have clothes that reflect the time they spend in it. This might influence you to choose an outdoor venue setting over an indoor one. Thinking about where you like to shop, restaurants and coffee shops that make you sigh in happiness can help too. What is the decor like in these places? What kind of music do they have playing? What is it about them that you love so much? Can you put a name to their design style? Industrial. Chic. European. Vintage. Vintage Modern. Eclectic. Boho. My suggestion is to start by taking your little wedding notebook down to one of these spots, order something off the menu, and write down some of these details. 

2. Think about HIM. 

            So, now you need to think about your guy. What does he like? This is his day too, so you want to make sure he is represented on your big day. Marriage is about the coming together of two separates into one, so it might as well start right on day one. This is a conversation you need to have early. What do they want? Are they comfortable saying their vows in front of the 300 people you want to invite? Do they want to wear a formal tuxedo or would they prefer something else? When you are planning a day this big, with this many details, be prepared to make compromises. And be creative in your solutions. If vows in front of 300 people sounds like walking the plank to your future husband, maybe consider intimate vows or a private ceremony with more people invited to a larger reception. This is your day and there isn't a rulebook. 

3. Think about who you are TOGETHER. 

             Remember, there is no other love story on the face of the planet like yours. And when it comes to your wedding, your wedding is a NEW thing! Sure you got inspiration from other weddings, and yes, there are definitely design styles you gravitate towards. But its the beauty of putting it all together in a new way that is so special. The design is really a culmination of the two of you melded into one. It represents more than just a color scheme and tabletop decorations. It is a reflection of who you are as people, what you value and what makes your heart sing. 

4. Gather inspiration. 

              Here is a list of a few of my favorite places to gather wedding inspo (and don't forget to bookmark your favorite weddings!) ...

Blogs.

Magazines.
    I'm a sucker for hardcopy because I like to hold something in my hand, turn crisp pages, and smell new print. Plus the pictures are big and I can rip ones out that I like and pin it to my mood boards. My current go to magazines are Dainty Obsessions and Rocky Mountain Bride. Dainty Obsessions is based out of Sioux Falls, SD so you will see real Black Hills weddings, but more than that, what I love about Dainty is that they are always on the hunt for new and different. They seek to inspire. It's overall aesthetic is light, bright, and airy. Rocky Mountain Bride has a bit of a moodier vibe. They tend to feature darker color palette and photography style and will really appeal to the couple in love with epic outdoor adventures as the flavor of the Rockies is in every wedding. RMB follows the trail of the Rockies and as such extends from the Southwest states all the way into Canada. 

Instagram.
      I will admit it. I love Instagram. Sooo many beautiful things happening on there. When it comes to determining your design style, the best way to use this platform is by following your favorite wedding blogs and professionals. Pay attention to the tags and shout outs, they just might lead you to book a vendor or help you find your dream pair of shoes. And I almost forgot hashtags. When you find photos you like, look at the list of hashtags and use those to search for more like images. Last Insta tip...follow local vendors to see what they offer, who they like to work with, and what their personality is. It will also keep you informed of any upcoming events so you don't miss out!! 

Pinterest.
     Please note: I do not hate Pinterest. I just think it is not the first step to wedding planning. And if it is the first step, it is the first step to overload and overwhelm. If you have done the groundwork I described above, Pinterest can be a great way to search specific styles, color palettes, and ideas. For example, you've decided you love snacks at weddings so you want to provide your guests with a trail mix bar of your favorite munchies. Typing "trail mix bar" into Pinterest will pull up a load of cute ways to style one. And I'm not saying you shouldn't have a Pinterest board. I am saying that you want to use Pinterest AFTER you have decided on your style, perhaps even your venue, as a way to collect workable ideas all into one spot. Having a Pinterest board is very helpful when it comes to describing what you want to your vendors. Oftentimes, my brides will pin their favorite pieces from my website to their board so that when we have a consultation, I know what pieces they are looking at. If you want to read more about using Pinterest to plan your wedding, read this blog post by Every Last Detail.

I hope this post leaves you feeling ready to conquer the world...or at least nail down your design style! And remember, we are here to help! We offer design consultations, digital styling boards, site visit, layout renderings and so much more. Visit our services page to learn more. Oooh and don't forget, follow me below!!    xoxo Sarah  

Sarah Enos of The Vintage Lease

Was this post helpful!? I'd love to hear from you. Email me at thevintagelease@gmail.com

Rent Vs. Buy

When I started planning my wedding 10 years ago, eeek! has it really been that long!? I didn't even consider renting. Honestly, it just didn't cross my mind. I was the ultimate DIY bride even before there was Pinterest. Yes, I was a pre-Pinterest bride. Yes I'm still a little bitter.  And my wedding and reception took place in a very small, rural town in eastern Montana where the nearest Walmart was 80 miles away with no local rental companies. I sourced everything, but the good thing is you don't have to.

Today on the blog, I want to discuss the pros and cons of renting vs. buying decor for your wedding. I am a rental company, but I also care about your budget. I want you to enjoy planning and feel good about the choices you've made and the money you've spent along the way. I'm going to borrow from my vintage rental friends at Queen City Vignette in Cincinatti, Ohio who outlined the rent vs. buy conversation into these 5 topics, which I've expanded upon for you.

Collecting

vintage brass candlesticks
vintage plates

Collecting vintage items can be really fun, but it requires a lot of time and energy. I've spent years growing my collection, first personally and then for the business. I have items from as far away as Maine in order to vary my collection. Buying your own vintage items is an excellent option if you intend to re use the item in your home. But if you just plan to resell, be warned. With the increase of vintage stores, online markets, and new replica pieces, reselling vintage is a tough game. 

Budgeting and Targeted Spending

vintage red couch

Rental items are typically a fraction of the price of buying new. We are able to rent the couch for $100 even though we bought it for $1500 because we have plans to rent, and rent, and rent again. Deciding to buy your items can find you scoring deals, but it becomes hard to track spending and when you fall in love with an over-priced item, its hard to say no. Without really knowing how your rental budget will play out, it is easy to spend too much too quickly, and you find yourself blowing your cake budget because all those centerpieces really added up. With a rental co, you receive a proposal with a clear bottom line, allowing you to continue planning with other vendors. 

Storage

mismatch wooden chairs

Ahhh....the ever elusive storage problem. During the months and weeks leading up to the wedding, bride's (or their parents) end up with a wedding room. The wedding room used to be a guest room or a closet, or maybe a little pile on the other side of the bed, but it grows bigger and bigger as the day of the event draws near. One of the strongest reasons for renting vs. buying is that all those wedding things have to go somewhere. And a mismatch wooden chair collection, a vintage lounge, and mismatch china for 150 is hard to keep in the wedding room. 

Styling and Setup

wedding styling services

One of the most over looked details a DIY bride underestimates is the wedding day timeline. All those tables don't set themselves . And the dishes NEVER wash themselves. One of the things I hear most from my brides is that they were so glad they didn't have to think about their wedding decorations on the day of their wedding, knowing a professional was taking care of it all, so that neither they nor their loved ones had to. 

Delivery and Venue Logistics

Renting means you pay a delivery fee, and then think no more about how your items magically arrive on the day of your wedding. Professionals will take their inventory, meticulously pack it and check it off their list, load it up and bring it over. They work with your venue to determine times of delivery and pick up to ensure deadlines are met. When you buy your decor, this is on you. Packing, sorting, finding a vehicle big enough or taking 50 small trips in your mom's minivan, and then you're done. You will be off in wedded bliss. But your loved ones aren't. Someone has to clean up and pack up and be out of the venue at the appointed time.

 

Ultimately, I don't want you to read this and think I despise the DIY bride, because I don't. I was one, remember!? I just want to bring your attention to some things you may not have thought about. This is your wedding; you know yourself and those that will be with you on your special day. Have those conversations and make sure everyone is on the same page! Happy planning! As always, let me know if I can help :) 

xoxo Sarah

Sarah Enos owner of The Vintage Lease vintage rental co