WHAT TO WEAR...
OK, of course the wedding is all about the bride and groom, but I think one of the best ways to honor them and show your love is by being the best-dressed guest. I mean, you can't really see yourself so looking great is practically a gift to them. (Kidding!)
But seriously, you need to wear something, I was initially a little stumped by what to wear. The ceremony was dressy, but the reception was more casual (a lot of people actually changed into regular weekend wear)...but as the sister of the groom, I knew I'd be in a million pictures and I didn't really feel like changing, so I wanted to find something that would work all day long. If you need to dress for a casual fancy event, here are a couple of options to consider. On the left is what I wore, on the right is another option I played around with:
absolute steal from Anthropologie a few months ago -- it's sold out now, but this Elie Tahari dress has the same soft, watery effect. The style and color of the dress felt right for the casual reception, so to make it work for the ceremony I added a few sparkly accessories -- earrings, wedges (similar), and a conversation starting bag (note: I actually forgot the bag I wanted to carry and had to raid my mom's closet, but I definitely would have carried this crazy one!). I kept my makeup simple, finished off with a pretty rose lipstick (and...subtle fake lashes. What, these pictures will last forever!).
RIGHT: This dress reads very pale on screen, but it is definitely a soft shade of rose and should not earn you any dirty looks from the bride. It is so light and airy, I really hoped it would go on sale before the wedding but no such luck. I would add simple flat sandals, a clever bag, and oversized glam sunglasses (I hated these when I first start seeing them but now I keep looking for reasons to buy myself a pair). And this bright and creamy red lipstick is perfect for daytime.
WHAT TO GIFT...
A slight twist to this event is that my brother and SIL didn't want it to feel too much like a wedding, so they cut out some of the traditional bits...like a registry. This made gift giving really tricky -- when I asked for ideas, my brother said "workout clothes and a new golf bag". Thanks, kid.
I decided to get them a nice hefty Visa gift card so they could buy something they need or splurge on dinners on their honeymoon, but I wanted them to have something to open. Here are some of the ideas I came up with that might work for the tricky couples that you have to buy for:
TOP: Sure, everyone loves their Keurig, but a french press makes a really great cup of coffee. It is also a lifesaver during an unexpected power outage or if you want to bring along your own coffee option when you're traveling (I know people who do this -- yes, they're a little crazy). And then you can add these classic Anthropologie Monogram Mugs with a little twist -- whenever these use these "LOVE" mugs, they'll remember their happy day. (My actual gift to my brother and SIL was very similar -- I bought this adorable mini pie maker and "LOVE" dessert plates, a nod to the pies they served at their wedding).
BOTTOM: I haven't found the right person to give this gift to, but I will -- a beautiful, practical cutting board made special with an engraved recipe. You can provide any handwritten recipe and have it engraved right into the board. Handwriting is so personal and special, and this is the perfect way to celebrate a beloved family recipe. It would pair wonderfully with a great set of knives -- I love these colorful ones.
There were a few other little touches that I loved about this wedding. My SIL wanted the reception to feel simple and a bit rustic, and she found some great ways to achieve that. She was really smart about the flowers. Rather than work with a florist, she decided to do them herself. She gathered a bunch of mason jars, bottles, and other little glass vessels from friends, relatives, and garage sales, and then went to a local farm and asked to buy some wildflowers. She got three enormous buckets of flowers that she used to make tons of little arrangements, a small bouquet, a boutonniere for my brother, etc. She spent exactly $75 on the flowers and just a few dollars on glassware. A traditional florist will charge more than that for the bride's bouquet, so this was a great deal. The ladies in the family helped make the arrangements the night before the wedding, and I think they looked pretty great (and it was fun spotting "my" arrangements in various places throughout the reception):
|The finished arrangements, ready to be deployed|
Both of our families are filled with earthy crunchy treehuggers, so I was thrilled to see these charming and environmentally-friendly bamboo plates and cutlery. And how cute are these palm leaf bowls?? Everything was really affordable and incredibly sturdy, and it was nice to have the convenience of disposable without feeling guilty about the waste. Would be great for any big parties, BBQs, etc.
PS -- I surprised my future SIL with one of these hangers (hers was a Mrs. X, with her new last name) -- it was perfect for a few great photo ops and her wedding dress is still hanging from it today! A very affordable little luxury that makes a great shower gift.