Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Bachelorette Destination Ideas

When can-can girls, $20 martinis, cab fare, and genitalia themed decorations are not your style or out of your budget, where do fun girls go to give their pals bachelorette bliss?  I've been researching and collecting alternatives to the Vegas and New York bachelorette party mainstays.  I'm not the authority, but I think I know the east coast fairly well.  So with budget, entertainment, and proximity in mind, I've gathered 10 mid-Atlantic suggestions (which could easily double as local honeymoon suggestions as well!).
 Sourced from Google Maps, Locations Entered by Me
From North to South:
1. Poconos in PA
2. Nemacolin/Spa/Falling Water in PA
3. Atlantic City/Cape May/Ocean City/Jersey Shore
4. St. Mary's, MD
5. White Water Rafting in WV
6. Charlottesville Wine Weekend
7. Williamsburg, VA
8. Virginia Beach, VA
9. Outer Banks, VA
10. Charleston

1. Poconos in PA
Miss Thimble raved about her fun getaway at the Philly Bee Meet-up.  They used her family cabin, ate in, braved the local casino, and splurged on a crazy limo.  Central PA prices kept the budget in check and the gals created the party wherever they went.  The Poconos mountains also cater to those interested in lake activities, agritourism, and golf (yes, some of us gals are golfers!).

2. Nemacolin/Falling Water in PA 
Nemacolin Woodlands Resort would be a restful sanctuary in the forest of PA.  The resort is nestled away from the hustle and bustle of city living and boasts a gorgeous spa.  If you were looking to mix in activities with your relaxation, the Ohiopyle State Park offers outdoor adventures.  For the history buffs, Fort Necessity is 10 minutes down the road.  And for architecture lovers? Falling Water and Kentuck Knob, Frank Lloyd Wright designed homes, can be toured.
3. Atlantic City/Cape May/Ocean City/Jersey Shore
In the off season, the shore envelopes you in calm.  There's nothing like the salty air and the smells of the boardwalk.  For casino fun go to Atlantic City.  For more casual beach weekends, head to Cape May or Ocean City.  There's a special place in my heart for Ocean City.  The island may be dry, but you'll just save all the more by BYOBing it to an off season rental.  Bike rides down the board walk, mom & pop restaurants, ice cream shops - nostalgic genius!

4. St. Mary's, MD
History buffs and small town lovers unite!  St. Mary's is a quaint coastal town on the eastern shore.  B&Bs, tea, historical reenactments and festivals all strike my fancy. It'd be the perfect day trip from DC, Baltimore, or Philadelphia.  A boat tour of local lighthouses followed by a crab feast? Sign me up!
5. White Water Rafting in WV
Adventure, risk, reward! West Virginia white water rafting is some of the best in the country with class V rapids in some places.  This would be a great alternative for the outdoor, adventure loving bride.  Throw in a night of camping and it'd even work for a co-ed bachelor/bachelorette weekend.  
6. Charlottesville Wine Weekend
I loved a girls wine weekend in Charlottesville so much that I lobbied to return for our mini-moon! For the vino bride on the east coast, I think the drive to C-ville is oh-so-worth-it.  The fall is a busy time of year and for the best rates should be scheduled on weekends when the UVA football team plays away.  We got an exceptional rate in January, although the town was very sleepy without students and tourists.  I challenge you to have a taste at each winery in the area! 
7. Williamsburg, VA
I think Williamsburg is amazing in every season, but I especially love visiting in December when the fresh fruit and greenery decorates hearths and homes.  Wineries, history, quaint shops, outlets, and an amusement park - there's something for everyone.  The historical sites are a little bit pricier, but be on the lookout for off season specials!  
8. Virginia Beach, VA
I admit that I'm completely biased because I've missed my old home so much this summer.  The days of walking hand in hand to the beach from Mr. Palindrome's house are over, but the memories are fresher than ever as I pine for the surf and sand.  During the off season, hotel prices plummet, the parking is free downtown, and the weather is still beautiful!  If you'd rather rent a house and enjoy the laid back privacy, look in Sandbridge.
9. Outer Banks, VA
The Outer Banks is another favorite of mine because of the ocean and fond memories! Oh, and the sun rises!  Yes, west coasters are spoiled, but I've found east coast sun rises just as rewarding for those willing to exchange early morning zzz's for a short snooze later in the afternoon.  Lay at the beach, kayak, explore Kitty Hawk, enjoy the outlets, ride horses, or drive up to Corolla to see the wild horses.  If your group is athletic, consider one of the scenic runs in the area (5ks to marathons!).  Again, off season yields the best rates. 
10. Charleston
I don't know if we've just lived in the best places, or if I'm the type of person to love everywhere I go, but Charleston was my favorite city of all the places the Navy sent Mr. Palindrome.  Carriage tours, ghost tours, southern cooking, fantastic weather, and all the charm!  The beach isn't too far, shopping ranges from boutiques to outlets, and oh yeah, I need to mention the food again!  From the Raleigh/Durham area the drive is only about 3.5 hours - an easy day trip or weekend.

Do you have any mid-Atlantic locations to add to the list? 

Monday, August 23, 2010

From the Groomsmen's Perspective

I read this over on Aaron Karo's site this morning (I know a week old, but last Monday I have an excuse for having not read it):
Two of my best friends, Chi and Cat, are getting married next month. Chi sent an email to the wedding party, informing the guys we would be wearing tan suits. No one has a freaking tan suit or wants to buy or rent one, and so a flurry of hateful reply-to-alls ensued. Chi eventually acquiesced and is now allowing us to wear black suits instead. It was the first successful Groomsmen Rebellion in recorded wedding history.
So now I'm really curious.  If you had or are going to have one of the lovely tan suited weddings with pink flowers, how did you convince the guys to go along with it?  Are these groomsmen being jerks or are they just practical?

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Smooches and Invites

Invitation lists are one of the hardest things about planning a wedding.  Getting to smooch your husband is one of the best things about a wedding.  I saw this invitation from hi, friend over on Restored Style and just couldn't resist re-posting.  With the sad news, this made me smile today.  Ahhh, smooches and weddings and everything nice.

Friday, August 13, 2010

Friday Finds - There's No Place Like Maryland

A few Fridays ago, I was inspired by the theme of home and family.  Again I'm inspired by home because I'm returning to my hometown to celebrate the wedding of a dear friend from high school (check out some of her awesome wedding crafting here). So this week, I celebrate Maryland and the joining of two as one. The stained glass transom is common feature for row houses in Baltimore, and this beautiful version features Maryland's beloved blue crab and state flower.  This would be an incredibly sentimental gift for a couple's first home!  And the darling pillow? It could be used as a ring bearer pillow and then as a throw pillow for the couch.  The crab and sea glass pendant could be a sweet bouquet charm or be more prominent as a necklace in a green wedding theme.  The mallets, well the mallets everyone knows they're a sign of the feast to come!


Clockwise from Top L:
Terraza Stained Glass - Crab and Black Eyed Susan Transom
Love, California - Wool Felt Maryland
Laser Beam Creations - Crab Mallets
Seashaped - Crabby

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Personal Touches to Take the Cliche out of a Bridal Tea

Taking high tea is one my very favorite pastimes from my time studying abroad in Bath (say it the British way with me, Bah-th, ahhhhh, much more refined). Therefore, when it was suggested as the theme for my bridal shower, I was terribly excited and couldn't stop talking about clotted cream for weeks afterward.  My dear Emily is also quite the fan of those deliciously dried little leaves, brewed to perfection. 

To avoid the snobby cliche of turned up noses and outstretched pinkies, I've been thinking of ways to bring in personal touches that speak to Emily's life and loves.  After searches on Country Living and Martha Stewarts among others, I turned up several ideas:
These sweet egg cups could be set atop stacked copies of Emily's favorite mystery series by Agatha Christie to make darling centerpieces.
Or, as a nod to Emily's love of baking, perhaps we could fill measuring cups with a favorite candy of hers?  These scientific looking cups from the Container Store also tie into Emily's journey to her Ph.D. They're exceedingly nerdy and useful!

Emily is a foodie to the core, so the culinary indulgences will have to be top notch.

Sushi inspired tea sandwiches just may be the way to her heart!
This fig and goat cheese bruschetta drizzled with honey, made me think of having a crostini bar an alternative to tea sandwiches.   They could be a mixture of savory and sweet.
Speaking of bars, what about a cookie bar with a twist?  Given Emily's love of baking, perhaps we could invite a few women to bake and bring cookies, giving Emily the recipes to add to her repertoire.
In addition to staples like scones, personal sized cakes could be served as the final course.  I don't have a mini bundt pan, but I did receive a tiny cake pan as a shower gift myself similar to the one below:
I left the most important part of a tea themed bridal shower until the end.  The TEA!  First up, cutie pie tea stir ins:
Sugar cubes sitting on rose petals? Romantic, no? Or how about flavor infused sugars?  Emily sent me some delicious vanilla sugar one year for Christmas and I enjoyed baking with mine (maybe a few spoonfuls made it into my coffee as well!).
The flavor infused sugars could also be a tasty favor.
Since loose leaf teas tend to give better flavor saturation, it would be a must for brewing large pots to be shared by guests.  Custom made bags of Emily's favorite tea flavors could also  be set on the tables so that each guest could try multiple flavors either at the shower or to bring home with them.

Have you been to a bridal tea?  What was your favorite touch?

Friday, August 6, 2010

Friday Finds - Royal City

I've had NYC on the brain lately and decided to let it inspire a modern, urban Friday Finds for you this week!  I think the gown is of particular note, either for the bride or wedding party, at only $86 on sale.  I also just love the city scape on the invitations.  The rosettes on the sash are rugged and elegant while the simple twisted ring just says city lights to me.


Clockwise from L:
Nordstroms - Calvin Klein One Shoulder Satin Gown
green quince - The Loft Wedding Invitation Suite
percy - Silk Dupioni Rosettes Sash
Nested Yellow - Urban Twist

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Bride Tips from PT Happy Homemaker!

Check out Christine's tips for bridal party bliss over on the PT Happy Homemaker today!


Monday, August 2, 2010

Another Wedding??!!

You may wonder why I'm hobbling along on blog crutches, keeping the bride side alive (while the home side is thriving!).  The answer is this lady, Palindromaid of Honor Emily.

This go around, she's the bride and I'm a matron of honor (matron! yikes, but not matronly!).  Since I've never been a bridesmaid before, I'm psyched about seeing a wedding from this angle and having a part in planning some of the festivities.  Beyond party planning, fashion talking, friend supporting, I'm also really looking forward to celebrating a wedding at our mutual alma mater, Bucknell.

With an out of town shower, bachelorette, and wedding, I'll share inspiration and details along the way.  Right now I'm starting to think about the timing of the events that the bridesmaids host and we've started to look at dresses!  Emily's love of Agatha Christie, sushi, tea, and baking have already gotten my little wheels spinning in the inspiration direction.  

What were some of your first steps as a MOH?  What were some of your favorite touches from your MOH?