Tell them Thank You!

We are now counting down to my little brother’s wedding.  In T minus 16 days, I’ll be the proud big sister standing with the other bridesmaids watching every moment up close.

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my brother’s wedding in only 2 weeks

When I think back to my wedding, one of those last minute details was personal gifts and thanks yous to those who mattered most: bridesmaids, groomsmen, family, and others who significantly helped in the journey to the day at the altar. If you read my Favors from Friends a great way to Save blogpost then this will be an expansion on my last important note: don’t forget to tell them Thank You!!!

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Bridesmaid gifts:

Traditionally brides give their bridesmaids a small gift the day of the wedding usually as everyone is getting ready. It is common for this gift to be  jewelry such as earrings, a pendant necklace, or bracelet that the bridesmaids can wear that day.

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As you may recall, I had a family friend make bracelets with purple glass beads and a golden clasp for my bridesmaids. These bracelets was casual enough my bridesmaids could wear them again buy classy enough for the wedding.

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But you do not have to be traditional and give jewelry.  How about some lip gloss, or small sample-size hand lotion? Maybe you can’t budget-in these gifts. You can alway make a small personal keep sake or of course keep it simple and write a thank you card. The gifts are no where near as important to your female friends and family then a personal thank you note recognizing their help in getting you to this significant day.

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Groomsmen gifts:

Luke chose to give out nice hunting knives to his group of Northwestern groomsmen. Although guys are not as apt to write detailed thank you notes, it is a good idea to have something small to recognize they chose to be there for you and to thank them. How about a beer or coffee mug? Sunglasses if it’s a summer wedding?

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Or maybe you just want to take some time to get coffee, a beer, or a burger with them before the wedding hits. (Some time other than the bachelor party); low key hang-out which you can do with everyone or each individually.

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Ring bearer, Flower Girl gifts

For a kid being in a wedding requires a lot of patience, wearing fancy clothes all day, and a large amount of time spent with grown-ups. So taking the time to thank them for being good is important. I chose to buy my flower girl  jewelry from Claire’s: a little costume pearl bracelet set and a necklace.

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Again, you do not have to give jewelry. What do little girls like?  Bubbles, coloring books, dolls, stuffed animals, get creative!!  I did not have a ring bearer but think about giving him small toys like bouncy balls, hot wheel cars (or a cheap version), coloring books, toy dinosaurs etc. Of course remember to buy age appropriate toy!!

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Volunteer Helpers:

I had good friends volunteer to do my hair and another to do my makeup. I knew neither one of them would accept a check for their services. So instead I bought them both gift cards for facials from our esthetician friend.  You may have all paying services, but if you have asked a friend to MC, be the DJ, wedding coordinate, take photos/video, or professionally do everyone’s hair/ makeup and they are not getting paid for it-consider at least a 5 dollar Starbucks thank you card.

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I gave these thank yous to my helpers the day of the wedding but you can always mail it to them later if you are concerned about them getting lost in the after wedding clean-up.

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Mom: (person that helped you plan/coordinate the most)

For me it was important to recognize my Mom. She was my right hand women during the whole engagement process: dealing with my stressed moments and helping me make decisions, stick to a budget, and a timeline.  So I bought my mom a ring with amber and amethyst colored stones which she could wear at the wedding.

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Your mother may not be your go-to girl. Maybe it is your maid of honor, a sister, a cousin, a roommate, or best friend. Whether you can afford a gift or not taking the time get to coffee or drinks, or just pulling them aside in the middle of pre-wedding events to share your appreciation is important. You know that without them you would have given up on trying to properly get down the aisle and given into the temptation to elope months ago.

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Grooms/Brides gift

In some circles it is also tradition that the night before the wedding the bride and groom give each other a small gift; something simple to say “thank you for getting through the past few months of craziness with me”.  After the wedding rehearsal, Luke and I sat in the car for a few quiet moments alone.  It is then that I chose to give Luke a card expressing some thoughts I felt more comfortable writing out for him then reading out-loud the next day. With this card came a Princess Bride themed mug that said “mawidge is what bwing us togevver today” and a bag of expresso beans from our favorite coffee shop. He now uses this mug for coffee breaks at work.

I got a canvas tote bag saying the same phrase

I got a canvas tote bag saying the same phrase

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Again, these gifts do not have to cost much or anything at all. Maybe it is important you express how you are feeling about your wedding the next day or want to give each other a card that says so.  Or maybe it’s important to just have a few minutes together:  go on a walk, get coffee or ice cream; something simple, something normal.

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The most important thing for all of these people is to express that you are grateful they were apart of your engagement and are there to support you on your wedding day. It  doesn’t matter how you express your thankfulness or how much you spend on their gifts-you know how best to tell them thank you.

Happy Father’s Day!!

Just as I wrote this past Mother’s Day (to read more click here) this is my first year honoring both of the men who now call me daughter. They are both hard working men who love the simple yet important elements of life: time with family, good homemade meals, the great outdoors, leading and teaching others, and working with their hands.

Luke and his father John

Luke and his father John

the men in my life (minus the brother/brother-in-law)

the men in my life (minus the brother/brother-in-law)

As with Mother’s Day, I could continue this blog post with compliments and tell of great moments with my fathers, but will continue with the wedding theme and again tell a story:

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As I mentioned in No bring bearer? No problem!!  I chose not to have a ring bearer and therefore no pillow to carry the rings down the aisle for our wedding. So what did we do instead?

My dad is a very skilled woodworker. Growing up the garage was always a woodshop. I can only remember one time my car was strategically placed in the garage around the table saws, lathes, and current projects. So when I asked my dad if he’d be willing to make a wood ring box to place in our flower girl’s basket I knew I was in for some surprising, creative, quality work.

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The result: three different wooden boxes all intricately designed, interesting, and beautiful. My father even considered my wedding colors picking light colored woods to balance out a dark strip of a highly valuable purple heart. He even asked my mom for some plush beige fabric which he used to line the boxes, making them into true jewelry boxes.

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In the end we chose the box pictured in the middle above partially for the craftsmen style and color contrast, but also because the lid slid open through grooves in the top of the box. This feature made it less likely anything would fall off or out the wedding .

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In the end all boxes were sanded, finished with layers of lacquer, and lined with the felt fabric. Now we have all three placed around the house one in our bedroom on my dresser, one in the pass through in the kitchen, and one in the built in bookshelf in the living room.

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Each serve as a safe place to put my wedding rings while I am working around the house and remind me of the patient, detailed, diligent, creative work and character of the one who made them.

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Love you Dad, hope you have a great Father’s Day!!!

No ring bearer? No problem!

About a year ago when Luke and I considered who to be in our wedding we ran into a problem. The only little boys we knew who were old enough to be ring bearers lived out of state or would not be able to come to the wedding. We didn’t want to put pressure on our out-of-state friends and family who had little boys, some of whom already had wedding responsibilities. So to make planning less complicated, we decided to forgo the idea of a ring bearer at all!

Instead we chose Makayla , a close friend of the family, to be our flower girl and bear both job titles and responsibilities.

Mikayla Easter 2011

Makayla Easter 2011

Makayla is the most intelligent, mature, and fun girl I’ve ever been around. Back in California, the two of us had girl nights watching disney movies, making cupcakes or pizza, and talking all evening.

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When I asked Makayla to be my flower girl  it seemed the adults were more excited then her about the idea, but she said yes. So we took her to a store that specialized in formal children’s wear. You could tell she was beginning to warm up to the idea of being a flower girl when she started putting on pretty dresses. Finally Makayla tried on a dress that she didn’t want to change out of.  She obviously felt like a very important princess in it. With no hesitation we bought her the dress knowing she was now ready and comfortable with being the flower-girl.

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coloring at my bridal shower

The day of my wedding Makayla patiently sat as her mom did intricate braiding of her hair. I was close by also having my hair done.

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When wedding time came, Makayla took on her role like a pro. Dropping flowers from her basket, she went down the aisle with a smile. But her job as a ring bearer meant  she also carried in her basket a wooden box my dad made with our wedding rings in it.

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At the end of the aisle she carefully handed the wood box to the best man and walked over to sit with her parents. It all worked out perfectly.

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So Thank You Makayla for being an amazing flower girl and being a big part of our special wedding day!!

Wedding Season has Begun!

I choice to take a mini-spring-break from blogging because I haven’t felt much like writing about our real-life stuff right now. Were are in the middle of some car drama and I’m in the up’s and downs of job searching. (And yes I’ll share that all with you . . . eventually).

But let’s change topics shall we?

A week ago when I was in the middle of a hectic run-around I received a very anticipated phone call. So I pulled my Walmart grocery cart to a traffic free zone and answering my phone. It was my brother  sharing the good news that he and his girlfriend had just gotten engaged!  Everyone knew it would happen very soon and we are all thrilled.

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Pacific City OR

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Thinking about their wedding plans I began to look back on some of the details of my own wedding almost 6 months ago. I didn’t pintrest my way through my engagement or blog it out. But knowing at least 8 (probably closer to 10) couples who got engaged so far this year I thought: maybe I should take sometime to share advice and details from my wedding? Maybe it will spark some creativity for those planning their weddings?

As we head into this wedding season I’ll be dispersing some details and advice blogs from a bride who has been there done that. (I think 6 months is long enough to reflect back but not so long ago that I’ve forgotten the little things.)

So for all of my engaged couples-enjoy! And for my single friends these blogs may be good to ear-mark for that future special day down the road. Or if you are not one of those single “one day, day-dreamer” types remember you’ll probably be involved in a friend or family member’s wedding in the next 5 years. Even if you were at my wedding you may be surprised by some of the sentimental small details you probably didn’t know about.

Here are some topics to look forward to:

Who to choose for the bridal party?

Special Guests: how to care for kids, grandparents, and those with allergies

4 month engagement- a timeline and some big helps

Favors from friends :a great way to $ave

The Sentimental Personal details

No ring bearer? No problem

Things to double check with DJ/MC/Video/photographer

Advice for the Bride on her big day

Tips for Bridal Party including: when planning a bridal shower/ Bachelor(ette) party

Invitations, Thank you cards, and Gratuity

And that is not all! (Yes I went on a brainstorming craze). What do you think? And don’t worry tons of pics from my wedding and updates on the bro’s wedding plans will be shared along the way!

Wedding Season had Begun!