Living in the midwest, it is not everyday where I can go to a beach and create a luxury experience for two people in love. This past February, a luxury beach elopement is just what I was able to do! Joy Bijedic, Being Joy Photography, and I styled and planned this luxury elopement experience for Malwina and Shane. This happy couple was originally from the midwest and both relocated out to San Diego due to their jobs. Everything turned out beautifully and Joy and I could not be more proud of this experience. We had a rock star team of vendors that was able to come together and pull off a romantic dinner on the La Jolla Cove beach.
Are you struggling to find something to gift to your bridesmaids? If so, keep reading!
If you have been a reader for a while, you might remember that a few weeks ago, I was sent a groomsmen gift to review. The gift was completely free and I was only responsible for providing my honest feedback. If you missed the review of gifts for guys, you can click here. After I wrote my review for the Bleacher Buddy, Joe asked if I wanted to test out some gifts for the ladies. Of course, I would be interested! Did I mention, I love getting free swag?!? I reviewed the website Bridesmaid Gifts Boutique and selected my item to review. Below are my honest thoughts for purchasing gifts for your best girlfriends from Bridesmaid Gifts Boutique.
Here are my thoughts:
Website: Very easy to navigate, constantly making updates and adding additional products to their site. Their products range in price from $11 to $285. Personalization is key with this company as your can put a name, monogram or face on pretty much anything they sell. Their selection of gifts at this point is not vastly different from other companies, but make it easy to select gifts that can be personalized. In conjunction with Groovy Guy Gifts you can find something for just about everyone in your bridal party.
Shipping: They have the standard 8-12 business day shipping but also provide expedited shipping (5 business days) for those couples who forgot that they need to get something sooner. These types of purchases can slip by without even thinking about it! Bridesmaid Gifts Boutique is currently running a sale for FREE personalization and FREE shipping on orders over $75. If you have a medium to large party, this will not be difficult as items can add up quickly. I love taking advantage of sales whenever possible!
Product: I selected the Timeless Collection Floral Kimono! The site offers several types of floral robes, but something about the navy option really spoke to me. I also know that robes are STILL a very popular bridesmaid gift. For me personally, when I get gifts like these at weddings, I am not a *huge* fan of personalization…some of your friends might be single or in the process of changing their name. A lot of people love doing this, so just take my opinion as that, opinion. You can also of course order the gift without personalization. I wanted to get the full experience, so I got my first name embroidered.
When I ordered the item, I requested a navy robe with a navy inscription of my first name. I received a navy robe with my name embroidered in pink. I reached out to the company and they noted the error. They are in the process of shipping me out a corrected robe. I understand mistakes happen and we are all human. Bridesmaid Gifts Boutique gets bonus points for owning the error and immediately setting into motion the solution. *Another reason to not wait when you are getting gifts personalized.
Packaging: The box came very quickly! I was quite surprised. It was wrapped up in a nice gift bag. I rank the packaging a 10!
Review of Product:The Timeless Collection Floral Kimono in Navy is in general a good quality robe. The colors are vibrant and the garment is professionally sewn. Despite the embroidery color issue, they embroidered my name nicely and is of good size. The robe fits well and states that it will fit most people. Even if you can not tie the robe, keeping it open will still be a nice option.
Overall Ranking out of 10: I rank this item and the website an 8.5 out of 10. Overall, great packaging, great design and excellent customer service from Bridesmaid Gifts Boutique. I did remove 1 star because of the unfortunate error in the color of my name. I am also removing a half star due to the common items on their site. I have been surprised at the improvements to the site since I last visited and look forward to seeing a wider selection of unique bridesmaid gifts. It is a brand new site, so in time, they will have as a unique selection as the Groovy Guy Gifts. I will add one star back once the corrected robe gets delivered! In general, a good way to buy gifts for anyone in your bridal party. I look forward to seeing where they take gift giving in the future.
If you know of other great gift ideas for the ladies in your life, send me a message and I will get the item and write a review of it for you!
Are you afraid of your wedding? Are you afraid that your guests won’t have any fun? That you might step on your dress and rip it? Do you wake up in cold sweats having nightmares about messing up your vows? I am here to tell you: “Be Not Afraid” Never before in your life, did you care about what shade ecru was, until now. Did you even know ecru was a color? If not, be not afraid!
When all is said and done, nothing will matter except you both are married and you are in love. Do not let the many little details that need to be done at the very last minute throw you into a stress-induced downward spiral. Your friends and family mean well, however, they are not the professionals. They have only their past wedding experience or their opinion. Trends have changed and etiquette is vastly different than it was 30 years ago. If having friends and family helping you begin to cause stress instead of relief, perhaps you might need to look into investing in a wedding planner.
Wedding planners are an investment in your mental sanity. Wedding planners are here to make your life easier. While it is an additional expense, let me give you a few tips on how to ease into the idea of hiring a pro!
Find someone who you connect with. Do they get your sense of humor? Do you find them trustworthy? You will be spending a lot of time with this person.
Make sure you understand exactly they will and will not help you with.
Make sure you are aware if they take more than one wedding/weekend. You do not want to be splitting time with another bride on your wedding day.
Find someone who will be as involved or not as involved as you wish.
Find someone who can help you manage your budget. Not having someone monitor your budget is the #1 way to blow the budget.
I am here to tell you, be not afraid! Wedding planning is tough but you will get through it. Even if you decide to not hire a professional, you will survive. You might wish the wedding to come and go as fast as possible, but you will survive. You will live to see another day. In the end, you will walk away a married couple and begin your new life…together.
If you are still waking up with nightmares, talk to your friends and family. They do not want to see you suffer. Yes, weddings are tough. They are usually the largest event you will ever host in your life. They are full of opinions, ideas and conflict. They do not have to destroy you. And if all else fails. You can always call me. I am happy to help bear the load.
If you still have questions, scroll through some of my old blog posts. I have plenty of ideas on how to kick fear in the face by being prepared and planning an epic event.
Ashley Nicole Events is not just a company, it is a person! Hi, I am Ashley Nicole. I am a Chicago based wedding and event planner and love all things weddings. I have recently gained a lot of new IG followers and Blog subscribers, so it is time I do another vendor introduction. Every time I get a notification that I have another follower, I literally do a little happy dance. It may sound corny, but it’s true. I love you guys!
There are three Ashley Nicole Events companies in the United States! No, our businesses are not related or connected in any form, other than our names…One in South Carolina, one in Denver and me! I have concluded that we are all products of the 80s and there is nothing we can do about our names. Our names are really all Ashley Nicole! Denver Ashley and I pass back and forth client information when they get confused. It is nice to have a connection and help each other along the way.
WHO I AM
I have been planning events for the past 11 years and have done everything from baptisms, baby and bridal showers, birthdays, weddings, and even a few funerals. People are really wanting to go out with a bang these days! One interesting thing to know about me is that I am really an introvert. Shocking, but I am actually a very quiet and reserved person. While I have no problem jumping on a mic giving directions to a large group of people, when I get home, I enjoy curling up on the couch.
I have been married for *almost* four years. I can’t believe it, this time has just flown by and I know the next 60 will go by just as fast. We have two dogs, Kaine and Mollie. Kaine, is an all around good boy, but a total goofball. Mollie is the more reserved, protective and serious of the two. She can be a bit feisty at times and this is something we are still working on. Just like people, dogs come with their own personality.
I am a very sarcastic person. Sometimes, this gets me into trouble and people have a hard time reading me. This means they clearly have not spent enough time with me and once they do, they realize that I am actually quite funny (In my opinion). My eye rolls, sighs, and facial expressions are simply love. I express love through sarcasm and dry humor. Trust me, it’s great. No, really…it is!
I come from a family of entrepreneurs. My grandparents owned a local floral shop for 40 years, my parents have owned their ice cream shop for 35 years and my aunt recently opened her floral shop 5 years ago after my grandparents closed their doors.. Owning your own business is hard! It is all up to you to sink or swim. With my families love and support, I am able to swim. Most dinners revolve around talking about one business or another. Valentine’s Day (and Mother’s Day) are all hands on deck at the flower shop.
If I had to pick my spirit animal, I would say, I would be Rose Nylund from the Golden Girls. I always used to think I was more like Blanche, but it has become much clearer to me that I am Rose. If you have no idea who I am talking about, please, do yourself a favor and watch all 7 seasons on Hulu. You are welcome.
WHAT I LOVE
I love bagel bites. I currently have 3 boxes of them in my freezer, each time I go to the store, I am afraid that there will be a bagel bite shortage I might run out…I basically horde bagel bites. There is a science to cooking them and if you are someone who puts them in the microwave, you, my friend, are doing it wrong.
I love office supply stores. I blame my dad for this. He has every color sharpie known to man and if there is a new gel roller pen, he owns that as well. I love the smell of a fresh notebook. Potential and possibilities lie in those blank pages. I am a habitual list maker. I will literally write things I have already accomplished on a to do list, just to get the satisfaction of crossing it off. I can’t be the only person like this? Can I?
WHAT DOES ALL OF THIS MEAN
In conclusion, I am a sarcastic, office supply-store junkie who is addicted to bagel bites and loves dogs (actually, I just love my dogs). What does this say about me? Why would you ever want me to plan an event for you? These terrible descriptions have an underlying theme. I will always tell it to you straight. You will always know where I stand. I love lists and strive to accomplish my tasks, I have awesome taste in crappy frozen food, and I am extremely loyal. If you are on #teamashley I will be loyal to you, and serve your wedding with everything I have. I will be your trusted companion and your friend andif there is ever an apocalypse, come to my house, there will be plenty of bagel bites to go around.
Weddings can be expensive, I get it. When you start reaching out to vendors and you say, “Hi, I am getting married let’s chat about how you can create my dream wedding!” you are so optimistic and excited you spend your time blissfully chatting about flowers, lighting, linens and the best photo package possible. Everything is perfect until you get their proposal and all you see are the $$$. Ensue mild panic attack.
One solution you might think of is to reach out to a friend who really likes to bake cakes or another friend who just picked up photography as a hobby. While these friends might offer to provide you with your dream wedding at a fraction of the cost or even free all together…please, for the love of all that is holy, carefully consider your options. There are plenty of ways to thoughtfully and methodically save on extra expenses. Taking a chance on an amature is not one of them. While all vendors start somewhere, there is a huge difference between running a profitable business and doing something a hobby. Below are photos of how much of a difference a professional vs amature wedding can turn out.
Let me say this again, all vendors start out somewhere. Not all new vendors are bad. Not all experienced vendors are fantastic. While I would always recommend hiring a professional to provide a service on your wedding, there are ways to cut costs on other aspects of your big day. While weddings are expensive, your sanity and the stress of wondering how something will turn out will always trump the extra few dollars. It is ALWAYS better to be safe than sorry…
Having friends who want to help contribute to your wedding is fantastic. Allow them to bake a cake for your bridal shower or have them take photos at the bachelorette party. Please, allow your friends to be guests on your big day and take a boat load of stress off your shoulders. You are hiring professionals because they will know how to handle any situation. Amateurs or hobbyists are simply not worth the nominal savings. Trust me. You and your guests will thank me for it.
If money were no object, I think that most people would instantly say, “Sure, please plan every nitty-gritty detail of my wedding. I want it to be perfect, I want to have the most amazing night of my life and I don’t want to have to worry about the details.” I believe most people assume that you have to be extremely wealthy to have every intricate detail taken care of by a professional, so clients don’t even consider Wedding Planners as an option. I am here to put those fears to rest! Yes, while wedding planners cost $$$, they are truly an investment, not only in you, but in the overall experience of planning the big day.
1. Wedding Planners know people. Let me say that again. Wedding Planners know people! Networking is their primary job and with having met so many vendors, they have the opportunity to know what the average cost of wedding services are. These planners can let you know when you are paying too much and when you are getting a great deal.
2. Let’s say for example, you fell in love with a particular photographer two years before you get engaged. You study her blog and scour her website. You tell yourself your wedding will be ruined if you do not get this very photographer. You finally get engaged. Yay! You call your dream photographer and she tells you that she is $700 over your max photography budget. You are crushed. Devastated. You fully believe that your dream wedding is ruined because your photographer crushed your spirit and you will never recover. You then, call your wedding planner. Come to find out, your wedding planner has worked with said photographer before and can chat with her to come down to just within your budget. Problem solved! *Please note, this is not always possible and do not take this example as a guarantee* This is to show that vendors create relationships with each other and can sometimes help each other and their clients.
3. Wedding planners can see the “whole picture” they will be able to inform you whether it is important to have six types of appetizers during cocktail hour or if five will be sufficient. Thus, saving you money.
4. One of the most expensive mistakes brides make is with invitations. If you are having a reception of 200 guests, commonly, people will purchase 200 invitations. In actuality, you only need to purchase 100 invitations, because couples share one invite. More money saved!
5. Pinterest. Oh, where oh where to begin with Pinterest. I have a love-hate relationship with the social media platform. While it is great to provide inspiration and over-the-top wedding ideas, it is just that. Over-the-top. Many clients will come to me saying “I saw this on Pinterest, and I want to recreate this exact picture.” If I had to price out that one photo my client showed me, it might cost well over $5,000. My client may have fallen in love with flowers that are out of season and would only increase their budget. It is my job to keep their budget down. I like to utilize Pinterest for those clients who have a difficult time describing their vision. I always let my clients know that these are inspiration photos only, and re-creating the images is essentially, stealing and we want our event to be as unique as they, the couple are.
6. Seasonal Weddings: Weddings have seasons, just like the weather. Spring and Summer weddings generally cost more than a January wedding. Some venues even offer discounts on Friday and Sunday weddings. I once worked with a venue that gave 25% off the entire cost for a Wednesday wedding. Weddings on a Wednesday? I know of three Wednesday Weddings. Maybe this will become the new trend. Make an entire week out of the wedding and not just the weekend! It is always possible to find opportunities to make informed decisions on where to save money. Let a professional planner help you along the way.
As a Wedding Planner, it is my job to listen to my clients. They may come to me with no idea of what they want or have conflicting ideas. I am here to extract all of the information I need, to put together a thoughtful, purposeful, classy event while keeping costs down. I am trained to know what is important to spend money on and what we can leave to the world of Pinterest. Yes, hiring a wedding planner is an additional cost; however, we are an investment in your time, money and personal sanity.In reality, it might be more expensive in the long run to not invest in a planner.
Every once in awhile, two wedding planning firms team up to create epic wedding celebrations. This is one of those occasions. Ashley Nicole Events and The Escandar Group collaborated on this once in a lifetime experience for Abby and John. Please watch the recap of their wedding day. With love, Ashley
Welcome to my corner of the internet! Every Tuesday, I will be posting my knowledge of the event and wedding industry. Topics will range from easy how-to’s, vendor spotlights and real life Ashley Nicole Events weddings. Throughout our time together, I want you to get to know me as a person and an event professional. If you like what you see, and want to see more…subscribe to my Youtube channel or sign up on my website for this party delivered to your inbox!