Posted in Bride To Be Tips

Planning Your Bridal Shower – Practical Items To Add To Your Registry

Planning your bridal shower registry can be fun, stressful and daunting. Going to the store and using that little scanner is just about one of the best feelings in the world, however, tread lightly because I am about to share with you what you need vs. what you want on your bridal registry.

When planning your registry there are a few things to consider, do you already live with your partner? How much stuff have you already accumulated together? How much space do you have to store your goodies in once you pack that car up and drive home from your shower?

My husband and I both had a mishmash of things we had accumulated over the years as we both had lived on our own prior to moving in together. We live in a 900 sq ft apartment, although we have a utility room, spare room and attic space, we still seem to have trouble finding proper room for things.

I will admit when planning our wedding registry, we did go a little willy-nilly, however, nothing we had on our registry wasn’t actually practical, it just wasn’t practical for the space we currently have.

I was very reluctant to put anything too “pricey” or completely unpractical on our registry because, I of course, have looked at some other couples registries and have scoffed at some of the bullsh*t that they have put on their list.

Another thing that I took into consideration while planning my registry was what my friends and family would be willing to pay and or afford and the stores available to them. Ultimately, I chose Target and Amazon, for two very good reasons. Number one Target, a physical store, is very prominent in the area we live in and nearly every next town over has one even if there’s not one locally. Many people enjoy going to a physical store to find your registry items, as it feels more personal to them rather than ordering from an online store. Also, Target has a great online selection, if a guest would rather opt for a ship to store instead they can do so.

Secondly, I chose Amazon due to the fact that we were greatly in pandemic mode in my home state of Michigan this time last year and I felt that the option for a guest to send a gift to our home without feeling obligated to physically come to the shower, reducing the risk of possible COVID exposure would be more convenient for those who didn’t feel comfortable going to the restaurant where the shower was located.

We received so many beautiful gifts from friends, family, and loved ones and overall it was an amazingly special day. I remember being so overwhelmed by how many gifts we received that it took me almost two weeks and a ton of organization to get everything put away.

Unfortunately, I no longer have access to my registry to show you what we put on it, however I will give you a list of the best and most used items that we received and provide links to where the items are from:

Target

Keurig K-Mini Single-Serve K-Cup Pod Coffee Maker

This Keurig Mini was one of the first items to be purchased off of my registry, and I was absolutely thrilled (thank you GiGi)! At the time, I had some knock off Keurig coffee maker that would take forever to brew a cup of coffee and would splash everywhere! Hands down, this is the most used item from my registry that I use every single morning.

Sunbeam 4 Slice Extra-Wide Slot Toaster

I was also thrilled to see the Sunbeam 4 slice toaster purchased from my registry (thank you, Jessica!) as I had been without a toaster for about four years. Subsequently, I was also happy because Sean and I could both have two pieces of toast at the same time without having to put it under the broiler in the oven. Brilliant!

Crock-Pot 6qt Programmable Cook & Carry Slow Cooker

Since I moved out on my own in 2014 I have been using an old Hamilton Beach slow cooker I had put in layaway at Kmart when I started loading up on items I would need for my apartment as well as an old Crockpot that was my aunt’s (hey Shellz) circa 1980 something. Often, I would like to dual cook meals in the two slow cookers, so I could freeze them and have leftovers for the week. Now, anyone who owns an older slow cooker knows the horror of having to take it to a potluck and have the lid slide all over, compromising the whole meal. Not this one! It has nice latches that hold the top on for maximum security when in travel, as well as digital settings where you can choose the temperature at which you want to cook your food at instead of the traditional warm, medium, or high settings.

Rachael Ray Create Delicious 13pc Aluminum Nonstick Cookware Set

When planning my bridal registry, I knew it was the perfect opportunity to add some new cookware for my kitchen. Since I have been living on my own, I have gone through 2 to 3 different “starter” sets of pots and pans, until I finally invested in a stainless steel set. This Rachel Ray 13-piece set has been the perfect addition as we love to cook and go through tons of cookware while doing so, and having a nice variety definitely helps!

Threshold™ 400 Thread Count Solid Performance Pillowcase Set

Threshold™ 400 Thread Count Printed Performance Sheet Set

Threshold™ 300 Thread Count Organic Cotton Solid Sheet Set

I don’t know what it is about these Threshold sheets, but they have got a strong hold on me. I remember this brand being the first “nice” set of sheets I ever invested in, and I haven’t turned back since! They are extremely durable and soft, with very deep pockets, which is a must when you have a tossing and turning partner. It seems like with every wash they get cozier and softer. I currently have four sets and not one of them has started to wear down or have rips, tears, or holes in them. If you want to invest in some good quality sheets for an affordable price, I highly recommend anything from the Target Threshold line, you will not be disappointed.

Casaluna™ Heavyweight Linen Blend Quilt

We spend a lot of time in our bedroom watching movies, taking naps and hanging out with our favorite kitties. This Casaluna Heavyweight Linen Blend Quilt feels so amazing on our bed and gives us the perfect amount of warmness throughout all the Midwestern seasons. I also like that we chose the black quilt due to any stains, spills or pet accidents (of the vomiting variety). It is easy to throw right into the washing machine and dry on a regular heat cycle. Again, another product made with very high quality at a fair price that will last a long time.

Casaluna™ Oversized Solid Bed Throw

To be 100% transparent with you, I absolutely hate this blanket, however, my husband absolutely loves it. It is a nice oversized chunky blanket that covers him completely (he is approximately 6 ft) and it gives him a sense of comfort like a weighted blanket. It is a beautiful piece for your bed and made with very high quality, however, it just isn’t my personal cup of tea due to the way it feels for some odd reason. I have thrown this in the washing machine multiple times and dried on low heat, and it comes out feeling very soft and nice, but it’s just not a blanket I personally enjoy using.

AllerEase Ultimate Mattress Protector

This should go without saying, but always have a protector on your mattress, please. It will save you so much trouble keeping it clean and will increase the longevity of your mattress.

The one regret I do have with this mattress protector is not getting something that is waterproof. We recently had an accident in bed where our trouble kitty, Lucy, spilled a whole cup of water from the night stand on to the bed, soaking the pillows and mattress. Luckily it was just water, however, you don’t want any kind of mold or fungus growing in your mattress.

Fair warning, this mattress protector is very taxing to actually put on your mattress as you must fully put the mattress inside it. This product is not a mattress topper, which I initially thought it was when I added it to our registry. So zipping the mattress inside can be a bit of a task.

Brightroom™ Twisted Rope Hamper Blue

Currently, we own three of these hampers and we both love them. They are very deep and have the capacity to hold a ton of clothing and towels (if you hate doing laundry as much as we do). We assigned one for towels, one for Sean’s clothing and the other for my clothing to keep our items separate and easy to locate when needed. These hampers are definitely a great investment, especially if you have to take laundry to a laundromat or a facility within your apartment complex. They are not too shabby on the eyes, easy to store in a closet, and overall a nice little luxury item in your home.

Amazon

Sixteen Piece Stainless Steel Measuring Cups and Spoons Set with Silicone Handle

These stainless steel measuring cups and spoons are an absolutely perfect addition to anyone’s kitchen, regardless if you are super into cooking or not so much. The assortment of cup and spoon sizes are wonderful, and they are super easy to store and keep clean. Definitely a must-have for anyone starting out on their own or with their partner.

Mixed Flat & Terry Kitchen Towels Set of Six

These kitchen towels, unlike many cheaper towels, absorb water quickly and actually dry your dishes nicely. Prior to my wedding shower, I would only buy dishtowels at the Dollar Tree and was never really happy with the way they fell apart so quickly and would leave fabric residue on my clean dishes. Amazon has a nice variation of colors and patterns in this set, I chose teal as all of my kitchen accessories and accents are teal. Definitely highly recommended for a wedding shower registry- I also highly recommend asking for a quantity of two sets if you are just starting out or if you want to replace your old towels.

HEPA Air Purifier for Home Bedroom for Dust, Odor, and Pet Dander

This little air purifier is great if you have pets or have an old air flow system, like we do in our apartment. It works great in small spaces such as a bedroom or office and keeps the air free of dust and pet hair. I am really glad that I put this on my registry, as it has significantly reduced the allergens in the air and creates a clean environment for your respiratory system.

KitchenAid Expandable Stainless Steel Colander

The KitchenAid Expandable Colander is one of the most useful items I own. For years, I had small colander’s that were an absolute nightmare to use if you even had a few dishes in the sink. Just the thought of the colander sitting in the bottom of the sink grosses me out. I love that this fits perfectly over the sink and has a great expandable length that fits most standard sinks. I will warn you it tends to be a bit taxing to keep clean when soft or mushy items get stuck to the mesh, however, if you give it a good soak in some warm soapy water and use a good scrubby sponge over it, it cleans up very nicely.

Maples Rugs Pelham Vintage Kitchen Rugs Non Skid Washable Accent Area Carpet 

I am so like my Mother and Nana when it comes to changing out home decor such as rugs. I absolutely love having a nice accent rug, especially in the kitchen. I added three of these to my registry, one for the stove and refrigerator areas, as well as below the sink. These rugs are very durable, non-slip, and best of all machine washable. Amazon has a great variety of colors, patterns, and sizes to choose from. Again, I choose a teal accent to match my current kitchen decor. Overall, they are a great price (starting at $12.99) very durable, and add a classy look to wherever you may choose to place them.

Lemeya Twenty-Piece Gold Silverware Set, Stainless Steel Cutlery Utensils

Although I still have some mismatched silverware from previous sets I’ve owned in the past eight years, it is nice to finally have a gorgeous matching set such as this. The pieces are heavy, durable, and large and are beautiful to showcase when entertaining guests. They are very easy to keep clean and have yet to be scratched, and the gold plating has yet to chip off from normal wear and tear.

To be honest, this is not the exact set that I had on my registry as at the time, all that was available was the standard size fork, spoon and butter knife set. I believe it was service for four, and I put two on my registry, so I would have service for eight in total.

Keep in mind that these pieces are larger than your standard size silverware and can sometimes be difficult to store in your kitchen drawers, so make sure you have ample room, so you don’t get a drawer jam up.

Audio-Technica Automatic Bluetooth Stereo Turntable

Sean and I had always talked about starting a vinyl record collection and decided that our one random fun thing we would add to our registry would be this Bluetooth stereo turntable. No one purchased it off of the registry for my bridal shower, however, one afternoon (post bridal shower) I stepped outside and seen an Amazon package, neither of us had ordered anything, and I was super curious as to what it was. I brought it in, opened it and to my surprise it was the record player! A cousin of Sean’s who lives out of state and couldn’t make it to the wedding had found our registry online and sent it to us as a wedding gift! We were both beyond thrilled! We haven’t had a chance to use it yet due to limited space, however, I was sent a Lou Reed box set collection of records, as a wedding gift, and I am dying to play them!

Our Current Storage Solution

Furinno Turn-N-Tube 4-Tier Multipurpose Shelf Display Rack

As I’ve mentioned, we are living with limited space. Luckily, inside our apartment we have a decent sized utility room with our own personal washer and dryer, and have four of these shelves lining the walls. We owned two prior to our shower to put household supplies on, and then ordered an additional two shelves for our new appliances and kitchen gadgets we received as gifts from the shower. These shelves are extremely useful, are the perfect size for what we are currently working with, and are easily accessible. They are also super easy to put together and very lightweight. Amazon also has a nice variety of different colors and sizes as well to fit any space you are looking to organize.

Our Wedding Shower: August 7, 2021

For some reason, planning my bridal shower was more stressful than actually planning the wedding. We had a few hiccups during the planning process and had to change locations at the last minute. I wanted to go with an Alice in Wonderland themed shower, for me, it holds a special purpose. I have always loved the story of Alice in Wonderland, from the original 1958 Disney movie to the book by Lewis Carroll, I have always identified with Alice- a girl lost in a nonsense world trying to make sense of something she can’t quite understand. My bridal shower was, in a way, me growing up and leaving the child I was in the past. I had found my soulmate, I was to be a wife, and I had finally come into my own.

I wish I would have been able to do all the cool ideas my Matron of Honor and I came up with, however, due to the last minute location change a lot of our ideas had to be scrapped. The spirit of Wonderland was still a part of my day, with beautiful tea pots full of wild flowers and framed quotes from the book. Overall, the day turned out beautiful, and I thank my mother-in-law, Sharon, for helping me pull off my special day.

Posted in Bride To Be Tips

Things They Don’t Tell You About Planning A Wedding

I’ve been told the two biggest stresses in a relationship are planning a wedding and buying a house / moving-in exactly one year, my husband and I accomplished both things. I’m not going to say that either one of the processes were exceptionally joyful- but, somehow, we got through it, together.

I am collaborating with my husband on this post as a reflection on the past year of our lives and as a cautionary tale for those of you who are currently in the wedding planning phases or about to be.

Here are our words of wisdom from our own wedding planning experience:

Save Early, Save Often

Once that engagement ring is on your finger- immediately start planning your wedding. Start researching venues and vendors immediately- this way you can start loosely creating a budget, and start saving that cash because we are here to tell you, it isn’t cheap. Every little thing adds up, and you want to be as financially prepared and as stable as possible up until your big day. Unexpected expenses are as sure as death and taxes during your wedding planning phase, so be prepared.

Some examples of unexpected expenses we faced were:

Booking two chapels after already putting a deposit down on one, as our initial chapel burned to the ground shortly after we booked it

Clothing expenses for wedding related events such as engagement photos, bridal shower, and rehearsal dinner

Essentials for bridesmaids (fur stoles, emergency kits, and hygiene products)

STAMPS! Stamps for DAYS-shower invites, shower thank you cards, wedding invitations (always add a stamp if you are expecting guests to mail back RSVP cards) and wedding thank you cards

Ways To Save Money

It’s always great to have an open bar-however, you will never need the deluxe package. It’s (hopefully) not the last cocktail your guests will have in their life, and they certainly won’t be reminiscing on how good that Jack and Coke was. A mid-tier bar package will do you just fine, so opt to put that extra money you were planning on using for alcohol on other aspects of your wedding

Chose your date wisely-opt for a cheaper day of the week, such as a Friday or a Sunday. Many venues offer large discounts on any day other than a Saturday. Another great piece of advice is that at different times of the year, such the holidays, many venues offer even larger discounts as it is their “off season.” However, do remember that if you get married on a weekday there is a higher chance that fewer people will show up to your actual wedding ceremony, so try not to take it personally.

Opt For The Better Menu Selection

Now that you’ve saved a nice chunk of dough with the mid-tier bar and opting for a day other than a Saturday, you can use those savings to put towards better menu options. No one wants to go to a wedding and the food is absolute sh*t. Make sure to give your guests a decent amount of options for dinner-we stuck with the traditional beef, chicken, fish, and pasta (no meat sauce), with sides of potatoes, green beans, with bread and salad.

Research A Good Photographer

Other than your own personal memories, the only way you are going to be able to look back upon your big day (unless you have a videographer-we did not) is through photos. I asked many people who had been married within the last 5-7 years who their photographer was looking for referrals and not one person that I asked was happy with the photographer they used. I heard so many horror stories from photographers getting drunk at the reception, canceling at the last minute, or not receiving photos for six months to a year afterwards.

On a whim, I looked up photographers in the greater Detroit area on Facebook around 11 months prior to the wedding and found an excellent photography duo Adrienne & Amber Photography based out of Royal Oak, MI. These ladies were absolutely phenomenal! They have been featured on The Knot and were awarded into The Knot Best of Weddings Hall of Fame, as well as award winners of the Couple’s Choice Awards with WEDDINGWIRE. This incredible duo are two best friends who own a business together, doing what they love, it can’t get much better than that! You can read more about the ladies here.

We initially met with Adrienne and we kind of did an interview process with each other during our first visit to make ensure they were a good fit for us and us for them. We were also offered a free engagement shoot session upon booking our wedding date with them. I will never forget the generosity they had shown to us during that engagement shoot-Adrienne and Amber went a bought us a bottle of champagne on their way to the location to help us relax as we were extremely anxious and running late, which was super sweet of them. They made us feel so relaxed and comfortable during the shoot, playing soothing music, guiding us in natural poses and making us feel confident in ourselves.

Working with Adrienne and Amber on our wedding day was just as amazing. We put full trust in them to pick out the best locations based on what we were looking for, and they sure did deliver.

We couldn’t be happier with our photos and 100% recommend checking them out and yes they DO travel! You can check out their website here.

Your Bridesmaids Don’t All Have To Wear The Same Dress

The days of bridesmaids all wearing the same dress in unison are over-unless that is your preference! Personally, as the bride, I wanted to take into account the differences in my bridesmaid’s personal style preference and what they would be most comfortable in for the duration of the wedding day. The only two rules I set in place were: the dresses all had to be in the color plum, and they had to be purchased from David’s Bridal. I went with David’s Bridal, as two out of my three bridesmaids live out of state and I knew that there would be a David’s somewhere near the vicinity of their location. Each girl picked their own dress according to their own style.

Ask For Advice But Don’t Feel Pressured To Take It

I went through this a lot during my wedding planning process. As a first time bride and groom, there are going to be tons of uncertainties and questions that you are going to ask others who have been through this phase in their life- but remember, not all advice is good advice. It is your day, regardless of what anyone suggests or advises you. Always remember to go with your gut and don’t feel that you need to put on airs because someone who may have had a fancier, higher budget wedding than you can afford is telling you to do something that isn’t feasible. At the end of the day, your wedding is about you and your soon-to-be spouse, so do things your way.

Be Prepared For People To Show Their True Colors-The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly

Let’s face it, in planning a wedding there are a lot of people that you have to rely on, be prepared for people to show their true colors. You will come to realize that some family and friends who you considered your ride or dies aren’t going to be willing to pull through or show support. Wedding planning is a very emotional, high stress time for the bride and groom, however, others seem to just look at it a blip in time. Then again, there are others who you never expected to pull through or be there for you will actually turn out to be your biggest supporters. When it comes to people always expect the unexpected, you may come to realize those you hold closest are just fair-weather friends and family.

Always Be Prepared For The Unexpected

Although our wedding turned out beautifully we hit a lot of bumps in the road on our way to happily ever after including:

  • The uncertainty of the COVID pandemic caused
  • The initial wedding chapel nearly burning to the ground
  • Our cake was the incorrect color
  • The original DJ had to find a replacement DJ after coming up positive with COVID and notifying us a little more than 24 hours in advance
  • Having to drop a groomsman and find a replacement approximately two weeks prior to the wedding
  • People who RSVP’ed “yes” not showing up / People who RSVP’ed “no” actually showing up

In conclusion, wedding planning is definitely not easy and not always fun, however, if you have a supportive significant other to lean on you can make it through any adversity that comes your way. We hope this helped anyone planning a wedding and that your day turns out as beautiful as ours did.

Love,

Amanda & Sean