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

Christmas Cheer Tablescape

"The best way to spread Christmas Cheer, is singing loud for all to hear." And while we completely agree with you, Buddy the Elf, we think crafting a beautiful tablescape has to be right up there too. And gingerbread bundt cake, that too right!? Recipe at the bottom... 

Christmas tablescape

We know the holidays can get crazy busy and picking out table decor might be the last thing on your agenda. Or maybe your family, like mine, is so large, paper products are the saving grace that keeps you from having to meet Santa in the middle of the night. But even if one of those rings true, I hope this post helps you save time, energy, and money. And even if you use paper plates and plastic silverware, you can still set a darling little table and spread the Christmas cheer. 

First, you want to think about your space and what you already have in your inventory. I knew the staple of Cadey's dining area was a gorgeous handcrafted table from local co Fitch Finds & Designs. It would have been silly to cover that up with too much linen so I opted for an eye catching buffalo check napkin instead.

Christmas tablescape
Christmas tablescape vintage rental
Christmas tablescape
Christmas buffalo check

Cadey's style is definitely very modern farmhouse so the color palette of black, white, and green was a seamless fit. I love to mix metallics so I chose vintage gold flatware, brass candlesticks, and silver ribbon napkin rings to add a little shine. Mixing metallics is very in right now, which makes it easier to collect things from around your house without having to worry about everything being exactly the same.

Christmas tablescape
Christmas tablescape buffalo check
Christmas tablescape

You can add balance elsewhere by keeping the color palette simple and all the glassware the same. Vintage green goblets and clear cut glass wine goblets blended in with the color scheme, but caught light to add just the right amount of sparkle. I added the amber dessert dishes as an afterthought because the pattern is so lovely and I knew they would look almost gold against the table. 

Christmas tablescape
Christmas tablescape

When designing a tablescape, most people spend the most thought and money on the centerpiece. They either use the same one every year or head to the store and buy a new one, every year. Both are frustrating situations. The first is boring and the second is expensive and exhausting. For this table, I wanted to design a practical, easy, and inexpensive centerpiece. Thus the dessert course became the focal point.

Christmas tablescape

Normally it just sits over on the counter at the end of the food line. But as a centerpiece, it steals the show.

Gingerbread bundt cake

If you put your tablescape up early in the season, and your dessert isn't made yet, use the cake stand to display pinecones, old books, Christmas cookies, gingerbread houses---there are lots of options. Or you could just go with the candlesticks until showtime, that would be lovely too.

Christmas tablescape

And just FYI, foraging your greens is a real thing now (save those tree trimmings!), but greenery can also be found at the grocery store or floral shop. These greens were a whopping $4 and came with a few evergreen variations, including juniper berries. Side note, fresh floral smells ahhhmazing. 

Christmas tablescape

Rent this look: $64 (candlesticks, gold and white plates, gold flatware, napkin rings, green goblets, cut glass goblets, amber dessert dishes, cut glass and silver cake stand). 

Special thanks to my friend Cadey of Cadey Reisner Weddings for opening up her home, popping the champagne, and taking all these gorgeous pictures. Not to mention all the laughs we had trying to get Rizzo to pose in front of the fireplace or put his paws on the table!

wine gift
Christmas tablescape
Christmas tablescape
Christmas dog

P.S. Here's a gingerbread bundt cake recipe. And make sure you grease and flour that bundt pan thoroughly

Gingerbread Cake

Gingerbread bundt cake

 

INGREDIENTS

cream together
1⁄2 cup shortening
1⁄3 cup sugar
2⁄3 cup molasses
2 large eggs

mix in a separate bowl
1 3⁄4 cups flour
1⁄2 teaspoon salt
1⁄2 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 1⁄2 teaspoons ginger
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1⁄2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1⁄4 teaspoon ground cloves
2⁄3 cup sour milk (add 3 1/2 teaspoons vinegar to whole milk)

DIRECTIONS

1.    Preheat oven to 350°.
2.    Grease and flour an 8" square pan (or use Pam).
3.    The ingredients listed under "cream together" should be added one ingredient at a time, creaming in between each addition.
4.    When you have finished adding/creaming all the liquid ingredients, keep beating the liquid mixture, folding in the dry mixture, alternating with the 2/3 cup sour milk.
5.    Once everything is mixed in, pour the batter into the prepared pan.
6.    Bake at 350°. Check for doneness by inserting a toothpick in the middle.
7.    When it comes out clean, it's done.

recipe from Genius Kitchen

Gingerbread bundt cake

Styled Shoot: Homestake, History Meets Modern.

It all started with a chair. It’s true! When our golden tufted wingback armchair Hearst was added to the VL collection, a delightful idea popped into my head. I'm a history buff, so Hearst got his namesake from gold mine baron George Hearst, owner and proprietor of the Homestake Mining Co. in Lead, South Dakota. From 1877 to 2002, Homestake was one of the largest gold mining businesses in North America and left an undeniable legacy in our little corner of the world. So when I was dreaming up The VL’s first styled shoot, I knew I had to showcase our history rich region as a place for a modern elopement style wedding. And what could be richer than a gold mine? Thus the theme for this styled shoot became Homestake, History Meets Modern.  

Black Hills styled shoot

 Everything about this shoot has a historical flavor with a modern twist, even the location itself.  A rich mining history with modern scientific advancements, the small town of Lead was a perfect fit.  I stumbled upon the Sanford Lab Homestake Visitor Center when I was "tour guiding" for my parents who were visiting from Maine.  A museum of both history and science, the Visitor Center tells the  story of the Homestake Mining Company and the modern science behind the experiments taking place 4,850 ft below the surface. And when I saw the circular piece of the Davis experiment (if you don't know what I'm talking about then you need to take a trip to the Visitor Center) with the expansive Open Cut as its background, my heart said, now this would be an epic place to get married

Sanford Lab Homestake Visitor Center
Black Hills grass
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 The color palette was inspired by Black Hills Gold jewelry--black, blush, gold, and leafy greens.  I wanted to inspire beyond the typical  bridal accessories and chose a black onyx ring, black tear drop earrings, and a delicate leaf patterned necklace and bracelet set. The groom modeled a classic Black Hills Gold band and a simple black leather strapped watch. 

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Black Hills styled shoot
Landstrom's Black Hills Gold groom watch
Black Hills Gold wedding rings

 The invitation suite created by Emily Costopoulos Photography & Design was totally on pointe. Moody black watercolor invites on hand torn paper, brushed with gold leaf, set the tone for the invitation suite. Beautiful script, blush pink RSVP cards, and a hand drawn map put this suite in a collection entirely out of this world. It felt old, yet edgy. 

Black Hills moody invitation suite
Black Hills Gold invitation suite
Black Hills moody invitation suite
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Black Hills map invitation suite

 The VL mismatch wooden chair collection provided seating, and the ceremony scene took place in front of the impressive 20 ft mine shaft with the raw and rugged Open Cut looming in the background. Greenery encircled oil lanterns and vintage rugs decorated the aisle, drawing the eye to octagonal gold pedestals bearing gorgeous floral arrangements provided by Victoria's Garden. The florals complimented the theme perfectly with hues of blush, neutrals, and pops of dark color, framed in greenery and pampas grass. 

Black Hills styled shoot
Mismatch wooden chairs ceremony
Oil lantern aisle decor
Aisle decor
Sanford Lab Homestake Visitor Center
Altar decor with pampas grass
Black Hills elopement wedding

 The bride and groom's apparel was selected to highlight the history meets modern theme. I chose a simple and chic Madison James gown from Love Struck Bridal Boutique with clean lines and plenty of romance.  Stylists from  AJ's Wicked Salon + Spa gave the bride a natural eye palette with bold lips and a romantic side-swept hairstyle that completed that old meets new look. For her bouquet, a loose asymmetrical floral arrangement was carried in an heirloom bride's basket for a truly unique look. The groom's apparel was classic casual with sandstone brown pants, a white button down, and suspenders. He looked like he could have walked straight out of the 1880 Homestake Mining Co.   

industrial bride
Bride's basket
industrial bride
modern chic bride
Black Hills Gold earrings
casual groom
Black Hills Gold men's watch
casual groom
casual groom
casual groom
Homestake styled shoot
Homestake styled shoot

 Outside on the concrete patio overlooking the Open Cut, our heirloom sweetheart table was draped in flowy blush chiffon, the bride's basket florals, and brass candlesticks. Black taper candles and velvet napkins added a pop of dark color to an otherwise light and romantic tablescape. Vintage gold flatware, china from our extensive collection, and layered goblets took this look to the next level. Calligraphy on rocks from the Open Cut and a menu for two designed by Emily Costopoulos Photography & Design gave a personalized and intimate feeling to this sweetheart tablescape. 

Black and blush sweetheart table
Black and blush tablescape
Black and blush tablescape
Black and blush tablescape
Black and blush sweetheart table
menu
gold flatware
Black and blush floral centerpiece
Black Hills wedding styled shoot
sweetheart table
sweetheart table
Homestake styled shoot
Homestake styled shoot
First dance
First dance
industrial wedding

 The tiered cake from Bakehouse exceeded expectations and brought the old and modern theme to life. The bottom tier  was modern with its marbled grey black fondant and gold leaf details. In contrast, the top tier, a naked cake with hints of gold, perfected reflected its natural surroundings. Sitting on top of a vintage gold rimmed cake stand, the cake was topped with real floral and surrounded by gold dusted chocolate macaroons in cut glass dessert dishes. A champagne station on our gold Venetian side table, complete with a vintage ice bucket and champagne flutes, stood ready to toast the happy couple. 

Moody naked marbled cake
Black and white cake
Octagon cake table
Industrial modern cake
Dark chocolate macaroons with gold flecks
Black Hills styled shoot
Toasting station
Toasting station
Black Hills wedding
Black Hills wedding
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Inside the Visitor Center, first looks were exchanged before the couple moved on to a comfy lounge area, perfectly curated to  provide an intimate setting for the bride and groom to read their vows. Verendrye, our intricately detailed floral Victorian settee, was the perfect focal point of a comfortable and stylish seating area.  Flanked by velvet chairs in blush and gold, the lounge area stayed true to the color palette. These old furniture pieces really stood out among the modern scientific displays of the Visitor Center. 

First look
First look
Black Hills styled shoot
Sanford Lab Homestake Visitor Center lounge
wedding lounge
lounge details
lounge details
Sanford Lab Homestake Visitor Center
Black Hills wedding
Black Hills styled shoot
Reading vows in the lounge
Black Hills styled shoot
Reading vows in the lounge
Intimate vows
Intimate vows
Black Hills wedding
Open Cut wedding

As the sun began to set, the bride threw on a blush suede jacket and booties from Altar Ego Fashions and we  hiked a hillside for some epic light shots and one last dance. I am always amazed by the skills of Cadey Reisner Weddings and these perfectly dreamy, sun streaming shots are classic examples of her work. 

unique bridal bouquet
classic eyes and bold lips
Black Hills styled shoot
Black Hills styled shoot
Homestake styled shoot
Black Hills wedding
Homestake styled shoot
booties and jacket bride
bridal booties
blush jacket bride
blush jacket bride
Black Hills wedding
South Dakota wedding
street dance
first dance

I can not find words to completely express my gratitude towards the vendors who shared their talents to make this styled shoot come alive. I am truly thankful. As I approached each vendor with my vision for the shoot and ideas for what I wanted things to look and feel like, each took my vision and added their personal touch and expertise. They are all wonderful people and would make an excellent choice for your special day, always going above and beyond in everything they do! 

Photography: Cadey Reisner Weddings
Planning + Styling + Rentals: The Vintage Lease
Floral: Victoria's Garden
Invitation Suite + Calligraphy: Emily Costopoulos Photography & Design
Dress: Love Struck Bridal Boutique
Jacket + Booties: Alter Ego Fashions
Makeup + Hair: @kylie_hairmadness of  AJ's Wicked Salon & Spa
Jewelry: Landstroms Jewelry, Downtown Location
Cake + Macaroons: Bakehouse
Video: Emily Costopoulos Photography & Design
Venue: The Sanford Lab Homestake Visitor Center
Real Couple: @cm_brewster , @samwcoil

3 Tips To Nail a Styled Engagement Session

One of my new favorite things is a styled engagement session. I like to think of them as a sneak peak, mini version of your big day. Ultimately, the concept is the same, just on a smaller scale. 

When planning a wedding, you are trying to create an experience that encompasses your new life together; who you are as a couple and who you have been. It is both a reflection of each of you and a celebration of who you now are together. You invite your closest friends and family members to share in that experience. The point of a styled engagement session is to start that experience with your initial introduction of the merging of two lives into forever togetherness. Here are 3 tips I used when working with  JC + Shelby to style their e-session with Cadey Reisner Weddings

engagement photos

1. Tell the love story. 

When I first spoke with Shelby, I asked her to tell me about how they had met, what they liked to do together, what she loved most about JC, etc. I needed learn who they were as a couple in order to plan their session. From their first meeting at Pactola where JC showed up in a Hawaiian shirt and peace sign sunglasses, it was clear they were going to spend a lot of time laughing together. Shelby described them as a couple who loves to be together doing things they love--hiking, golfing, traveling, wake surfing, skiing, eating Armadillo's strawberry butter icecream, watching Netflix, and hanging out with friends and family--just to name a few. From this, I was inspired to incorporate a few of their favorites into the session: the great outdoors, an easy and relaxed couch scene, and Armadillo's ice cream :)    

2. Use the color palette. 

Shelby shared her wedding inspiration board with me and it was filled with all things berry toned and dark, teal green. I immediately thought of Cheryl and some new velvet green pillows I had just purchased. She also mentioned that she would be using these photos for save the date cards. Thus, using this color palette would make a well curated and seamless transition between engagement announcements and wedding invites. 

3. Incorporate the vision. 

This e-session needed to highlight JC + Shelby's couple personality while foreshadowing their big day. Shelby's inspiration board had a well defined vision that is best defined as romantic boho. Pairing classic romantic style and colors with boho vibes, this style is both eclectic and refined. The red velvet couch and antiqued brass accents pair perfectly with the boho elements of a rustic crate, an entirely greenery bouquet, and Shelby's lace maxi.   

I had no idea what she was going to come up with which made it such a lovely surprise when I saw it for the first time. I don’t think I could have envisioned a more beautiful, romantic boho look. Looking back at our engagement pictures I couldn’t be more obsessed with how they turned out...The Vintage Lease definitely delivers Pinterest worthy styling services and I am so happy to have chosen Sarah to be a part of my engagement pictures.
— Shelby
3 Tips to Style Your Engagement Session
boho lux engagement session
styled engagement session
ice cream engagement
3 Tips to Nail Your Styled Engagement Session
ice cream engagement photos
ice cream engagement session
3 Tips to Nail your Styled Engagement Session
engagement photos
engagement bouquet
save the date
3 Tips to Nail your Styled Engagement Session

Are you ready to book your styled engagement session!? Drop us a line today.