Unplugged Weddings

Northwest Pearls: Baby's Breath Bouquet I read an article last year about Unplugged Weddings where the bride and groom asked the guests to keep their phones and electronics put away for the duration of the ceremony and reception.

I love the idea!

The bride and groom have paid a lot of money for photography and having people's phones taking pictures in the pictures doesn't look as nice.

I had a friend who Snapchatted the bride walking down the aisle, but the friend had drawn arrows to multiple phones (and an iPad) leaning into the aisle to take photos. I'm not sure if my friend, a photographer herself (though not at that wedding) realized the irony of that photo or not. I hope she did.

And I've also seen bloggers Snapchat parts of the wedding. We get it, you have friends and you're dressed up. You do not need to use the wedding to advance your brand.

I think it's so much more respectful to the couple for the guests to not be focused on taking pictures. While your pictures may be just for your own enjoyment, they take a little bit out of their wedding. If your phone is in their photos, it dates the photos and makes them not so timeless. And the bride and groom may look out and see you on your phone at their wedding.

I'm pretty sure that I'll ask my guests to keep their phones put away for the ceremony and most, if not all, of the reception. I wouldn't want my guests' attempts at photography in my professional photographs.

What do you think?

P.S. Yes, I'm aware of the slight irony of using a photo of my bouquet from a wedding I was in, but at that moment, the professional photographers were taking photos of the newly married couple across the lawn from us, the guests were inside the venue, and the bridal party was waiting outside for their pictures to be taken. So we were in a private enough area that having our phones out wasn't disturbing anyone.

Brunch for Two

My favorite clutch is one I received from my grandmother. I love it but I don't use it often because it's not practical. But I do like to break it out for dressier occasions. Like brunch for two. Northwest Pearls: Brunch for Two Northwest Pearls: Brunch for Two

Northwest Pearls: Brunch for Two

What's one of your favorite accessories?

Bridesmaid Dress Tips

Northwest Pearls: Bridesmaid Dress Tips I was asked to be maid of honor in a wedding recently. The bride and I don't live near each other though so she gave me her specifications for the bridesmaid dresses, what color it should be and how long, and then let me pick out what I wanted. Because she chose a national chain I was able to look online at dresses and send her the links to the ones I liked to see what she thought.

I called the store and asked if I needed an appointment and was told "no" but when I got there they were really busy and I think that they wanted me to have made an appointment, so it probably would have been a good idea to make one. I tried on a few of the dresses, settled on one, and placed the order. They gave me a date for when it would be ready, it was about three months away, and off I went.

When it came in it needed alterations, something else you need to make an appointment for, so I made an appointment. But then I was thinking, I know an amazing seamstress and besides, the alteration is simple enough that the dry cleaners can probably do it.

So I took it to the dry cleaners and they were able to make the alteration in less than a week while the national store had quoted me a month do get it done. And I'm virtually positive that the price was cheaper from the dry cleaners.

So my tips for getting a bridesmaid dress are:

  • Make an appointment.
  • Bring your shoes and underthings with you.
  • Make sure you've eaten recently.
  • Bring water.
  • Go as early as possible. Another bridesmaid had her dress come in a month late which was pressing it for the wedding.
  • Get your dress at a place near you. One bridesmaid ordered hers in the town the wedding was going to be in but didn't get back there until two days before the wedding. So we were a little apprehensive that the dress would even fit.
  • See if a dry cleaners or a local seamstress can alter your dress. It might cost less!

Do you have any tips to add in the comments?

DIY Bleach Pen Shirts

Northwest Pearls: DIY Bleach Pen Shirts Another DIY we did for A's wedding was creating our own tank tops. We got light navy tank tops from Target and a bleach pen. We also had pieces of cardboard to put inside the shirts so that the bleach didn't soak through to the other side.

Armed with our pens we carefully wrote out what our tank top would say. A's said "Bride," mine said "Maid of Honor," and the other two said "Bridesmaid."

It was a little tricky to do this and I got an extra dot of bleach where I didn't want it, but overall the shirts turned out pretty good. We let them sit for a few hours before we washed off the dried and caked bleach in the sink and put the shirts in the wash. For us, where we used the bleach the shirts turned pink, not white, but it was still cool.

We wore the shirts the morning of the wedding when we went to Starbucks and when we were getting ready. These pictures aren't actually the finished product, we added some flourishes to balance the shirts out and fancy them up a bit.

Have you ever used a bleach pen on a shirt? What have you thought?

Northwest Pearls: DIY Bleach Pen Shirts

Bachelorette Hike at Garden of the Gods

For the first part of A's bachelorette party, we went on a hike at Garden of the Gods in Colorado Springs. But it wasn't just a hike, it was a hike with llamas. Northwest Pearls: Bachelorette Hike at Garden of the Gods

The llamas carried some of our water and led the way. I've been to Garden of the Gods and was expecting to go through the paved and manicured paths, but we went up into the hills behind the main area.

Northwest Pearls: Bachelorette Hike at Garden of the Gods

There weren't as many people up in the hills on the trail, but the ones we did see were interested to see a bridal party that involved llamas.

The bride wore a sash that said "Bride To Be" and the rest of us had pins that said "Team Bride." I found these things at Michael's in their wedding section.

The hike was really beautiful. There were some gorgeous viewpoints of the rocks.

Northwest Pearls: Bachelorette Hike at Garden of the Gods

Northwest Pearls: Bachelorette Hike at Garden of the Gods

Northwest Pearls: Bachelorette Hike at Garden of the Gods

Northwest Pearls: Bachelorette Hike at Garden of the Gods

Northwest Pearls: Bachelorette Hike at Garden of the Gods

We hiked to an area with picnic tables and got out our lunches from a car we'd parked nearby. The llamas were tied up nearby and were a source of interest for everyone going by. After our lunch we hiked back through the main area to where we'd parked our car.

Northwest Pearls: Bachelorette Hike at Garden of the Gods

Northwest Pearls: Bachelorette Hike at Garden of the Gods

Northwest Pearls: Bachelorette Hike at Garden of the Gods

When we got back to the cars, we went to a house where, with a lot of help, I'd gotten decorations, food, and drinks to celebrate with a few more people than could make it on the hike. It was sort of a combo bridal shower/bachelorette party, but it was fun.

Have you ever done a bachelorette party that's been out of the norm?

DIY Tissue Paper Flowers

Northwest Pearls: DIY Tissue Paper Flowers For the wedding I was apart of last week, we made tissue paper flowers for the head table.

The bride, A, bought three packs of colored tissue paper from Michael's. She found this tutorial on Pinterest from Hey, Let's Make Stuff and we followed it to make the flowers.

It didn't take long to get the hang of making the flowers. We made around 18 flowers that were then sewn onto a ribbon to span the length of the head table. Of the four possible petal styles that the original tutorial explained, we created the first two, the rounded one, and the shredded one. There was two of each color in each grouping on the table and we had one of each of those be one of those two petal styles. The only grouping of three was the white flowers in the center. They were arranged from dark blue at the outer ends of the table to white at the center in front of the bride and groom.

Sadly I don't have a picture of the final arrangement on the head table, but here's what the flowers looked like after we created them. The satin ribbon you see is what the flowers ended up being sewn onto.

Northwest Pearls: DIY Tissue Paper Flowers

Have you ever created paper flowers? What have you thought?

DIY Succulent Centerpieces

Northwest Pearls: Succulent Centerpieces Last week I went to Colorado Springs for the wedding of a college roommate. I was her maid of honor so I went down a few days early.

Another bridesmaid and I helped her with some of the DIY stuff for the wedding. We created the succulent centerpieces for the tables and the paper flowers for the head table.

Here's how we made the succulent centerpieces:

We had:

  • 15 glass bowls from Home Depot
  • 17 succulents
  • White sand from Michael's
  • Scissors
  • Clear tape
  • Plastic wrap
  • A water dropper


Northwest Pearls: Succulent Centerpieces

Northwest Pearls: Succulent Centerpieces

We took the succulents out of their plastic containers and shook some of the dirt off. Then we took a square piece of plastic wrap and wrapped it around the rest of the roots and dirt so that it wouldn't transfer to the white sand. To keep the plastic wrap on, we took a piece of tape and taped around the bottom of the plant (the top of the dirt) to make sure that the plastic wrap wouldn't go anywhere.

We poured some sand into the bowls until it was where we wanted the bottom of that succulent to be. Then we placed that succulent into the bowl and carefully poured the white sand around it.

It was a pretty easy way to create some pretty centerpieces for A's wedding.

Northwest Pearls: Succulent Centerpieces

Have you ever created centerpieces? What have you thought?


Wedding Guest Etiquette

Northwest Pearls: Wedding Guest Etiquette


As wedding season comes upon us, here's a few little etiquette rules that I try to follow:

RSVP. It's incredibly inconsiderate to not reply, even if you're not planning on going. If you know whether or not you're going to attend, then RSVP.

RSVP ASAP. The couple is probably stressing out about wedding stuff so waiting until the last minute to RSVP isn't very nice. Not everyone has an RSVP date on their invitations, but you should try to RSVP as soon as you can.

Buy a gift. This is a rule that I think may have gotten lost in translation for younger generations (or maybe it's just people that I know in the Northwest), but if you are invited, you should get the couple a gift.

Send the gift before the wedding.

Don't show up with an extra person or two if they haven't been invited. The couple has a head-count for the caterer and if they wanted you to bring the person you've been dating or your children, they would have specified and it would be okay. But if they haven't said "and guest" or listed your children's names, then you shouldn't bring them.

And here's a little tip:

When invited, since you're going to get them a gift, buy them something early. That way, if you're buying from the registry, you have many options to choose from.

You can check out more wedding etiquette from Emily Post.

Is there anything you'd add to the list?