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

Ice + Song: A Styled Elopement

The word elopement used to be reserved for shotgun weddings, shy people, or those that had something to hide. As a cheaper version of a real wedding, oftentimes it lacked personality and was defined by a sense of rush and hurry. 

Good news, friends! Times have changed and over the past several years, people have been redefining elopement to mean something else entirely. Modern day elopement is a chance for an intimacy that is beautifully curated to represent you as a couple. You can choose a place that speaks to you, wherever that might be. If you want to wear your favorite pair of boots, you can. If you love details, you can still have them. Freedom is key and traditions are just guidelines. So if you want to get married in front of a frozen waterfall and serenade your lover by violin, you can...

Ice + Song

Tucked away in Spearfish Canyon, the frozen outline of Bridal Veil Falls was a natural backdrop for this intimate elopement.  Blues, greys, and caramels made up the color palette. I was inspired by the thought of frozen water over the rocks of the canyon. The bride wore a BHLDN gown and carried a simple greenery bouquet. Her hat, boots, and fur coat were carefully selected to represent her sense of adventure and confident style. The groom's simple white shirt and navy pants reflected his freedom to choose comfort over formality. As if they were going on a picnic, they walked across a creek with a basket, blanket, and celebratory champagne to get to the ceremony spot. He read her his vows and she serenaded him with a violin solo in front of a sheet of ice. 

Rental Love: Vintage Music Stand ($15), Woven Basket ($10), Blanket ($5), Smoke goblets ($3)

musical elopement
Spearfish Canyon
musical black hills elopement
Black Hills Elopement
winter elopement
winter elopement
boho winter bride
black hills elopement
hat and boots bride
frozen waterfall elopement
frozen waterfall elopement black hills
frozen waterfall black hills elopement
unconventional wedding ring
winter elopement
winter bride
winter black hills bride
black hills winter elopement
ice + song elopement
violin winter bride
ice + song styled elopement
ice + song winter elopement
winter picnic elopement
ice and song elopement
winter elopement picnic
black hills winter elopement
black hills elopement
black hills elopement
winter elopement black hills
black hills elopement
black hills elopement
black hills elopement
black hills elopement
frozen waterfall elopement
frozen waterfall elopement
winter elopement picnic black hills
winter elopement
black hills elopement
black hills elopement

Emily Costopoulos has such an artistic soul; be it through her camera lens, design skills, or written word. You need to read her blog post that tells her perspective on our frozen waterfall elopement. Side note, you should have seen this lady balance on a log in high heeled boots and holding her camera as we crossed a running creek. It was epic!

Location: Spearfish Canyon, Black Hills South Dakota
Photography: Emily Costopoulos Photography, Film & Design
Design + Rentals: The Vintage Lease
Paper + Calligraphy: Emily Costopoulos Photography, Film & Design
Dress: BHLDN
Hat & Boots: S & Co Boutique
Ring Box: The Mrs. Box
Models: Jennifer and Luke Enos

Pssst, Emily and I are on a quest to showcase what's unique, beautiful, and unexpected about elopements in the Black Hills. If you have any ideas or locations you think we should highlight, let us know! And don't forget to follow along on our social media for sneak peeks! 

Galentine's Day

It was a gal only event on Sunday (with maybe the exception of one handsome baby boy). We laughed, we chatted, we sipped, we ate treats, and we wrapped bouquets in brown paper and tied them with string. These are truly a few of my favorite things. 

Just a few highlights.... bouquet bar . champagne marshmallows . message macaroons . handmade watercolor calligraphy escort cards . vintage dessert dishes . pink goblets .  hand stamped jewelry . ladies celebrating ladies . 

bouquet bar
bouquet bar
bouquet bar
bouquet bar
galentine's day
bouquet bar
bouquet bar
galentine party escort display
watercolor escort cards
galentine party
marshmallow pop favors
galentine party
vintage dessert dishes
anti pasti platter
Bakehouse cupcakes
message macaroons
champagne marshmallows
pink goblets
pink goblets
galentine party
galentine party
milkglass and brass
galentine party
galentine party
gold flatware
tailored faith co. jewelry
Tailored Faith co. jewelry
Tailored Faith co. jewelry
emily costopolous
Galentine's Day
mama love
Galentine's Day
Galentine's Day
Galentine's Day
Galentine's Day

My favorite part of the day was when a girl won a prize and then WITHOUT EVEN PEEKING INSIDE, gave it to her friend. And that, my dear friends, is exactly the kind of love we celebrated this Galentine’s Day.

Thank you to all the ladies that joined us to spend a few hours to celebrate mother, daughter, sister, and friend loves. When I dreamed up this event, I had you in mind. I wanted to create a beautiful space for you to enjoy each other’s company and make memories, so I hope we did just that.

All good parties have good people behind them. This one was no exception. A very special thank you to all our friendors, this event would not have been possible without you!

Photography: Cadey Reisner Weddings
Design, Styling, & Rentals: The Vintage Lease
Host: Love Struck Bridal Boutique
Invites, Calligraphy, & Video: Emily Costopoulos
Floral: Victoria’s Garden
Food: Anythings Possible Catering Co., Bakehouse, Fireside S’mores
Jewelry: Tailored Faith Co. 
Sponsored Prizes: Aj’s Wicked Salon & Spa, Planet Hair, Hotel Alex Johnson, S & Co Boutique, Studio LB, Indigo Blue, Tailored Faith Co., Cadey Reisner Weddings, Love Struck Bridal Boutique, Emily Costopoulos, The Vintage Lease

And special thanks to Justina and Tessa Walter for being the best drop in helpers ever!

Rental Love: Dorilla buffet, Petal desk, Farmhouse bar, Dotty dresser, goblets, dessert plates, vintage gold flatware, milkglass vases, brass candlesticks, handkerchiefs, serveware, three pane window, Gladys, Deloria, peacock chair, vintage linen
 

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