The Best Bachelorette Party Games

Disclaimer: There is one image in today’s post that may be offensive to some readers.

Getting all your favorite people together for a bachelorette party is a time in your life when you’ll feel overwhelmed with love. It’s hard to put into words the adoration you’ll feel for friends and family that would be willing to shower you with so much joy and possibly spend a vacation’s-worth of money to do so. The cool thing is that your favorite people may be from different times and places in your life: Childhood friends, college roommates, study abroad groups, and siblings will come together, and by the end of the weekend, they too have a new level of connected friendship they all share.

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This post is inspired by a bachelorette party I’m attending this weekend in which I’m Matron of Honor for my Sister-in-Law and helped come up with all of the party games. Being that some attendees will only know the bride, it’s imperative to have the weekend include group games to bring everyone together and feel welcome. Below is a list of the four top party games to get your group ready to mix and mingle.

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Photo Scavenger Hunt

On the last cruise I went on, our large group did a scavenger hunt, and it was the most fun I had the entire vacation. We ran around the cruise ship taking group photos in front of the items on the list. I don’t think I’ve ever laughed harder, and I was with a group of near strangers. A scavenger hunt needs to make your list of games regardless of where you are having your bachelorette party (though cruises are an excellent choice). Below is the prep required, how to play, and some tips.

Pre-Game Prep:

  • The scavenger hunt needs to be a long list of tasks ranked with points. The easiest and most achievable items should be worth fewer points, and the most challenging tasks should be valued with the highest points.
  • Make the list LONG. It should be nearly impossible for the teams to get everything checked off before the end of the game. You only want one winning team in the end.
  • The tasks should also incorporate the destination. For example, our scavenger hunt is in Key West, Florida, so we have included iconic murals, bars, and attractions like Mile Zero (that are only in Key West) for teams to take pictures in front of. This allows the group more exposure to the fun city they are in, and those photos will be valued.
Photo Credit: CreativeUnionDesign

How to Play:

  • Split up the group into teams (you don’t want anyone to be running all over town alone).
  • Explain what Photo Scavenger Hunt is. Since each photo needs to be the full team, they won’t try to cheat and divide and conquer to complete more tasks for more points. “Photo Scavenger Hunt is a game where each item on the list will be something you need to take a photo in front of. Your entire team must make the photo, otherwise the photo does not count towards points.”
  • Set up the parameters such as an end time, end location, and what happens if your team is late. “Regardless of if you are finished with the scavenger hunt or not, everyone is to meet at Señor Frogs by 4pm. If you are late, you will get docked one point for each late minute.” This allows the game to be fair and provides a clear end time where you can move onto the next activity, even if that’s only dinner or bar hopping. Afterall, you can’t do the scavenger hunt all day, regardless of how much fun that would be.
  • Optional: You could also incentivize teams by saying the first team back to the end destination gets a bonus 5 points.
  • Provide everyone with the list. You can do this in two ways: The first could be an actual paper, and the second could be a digital list you text to everyone right before the game begins. For our trip, we’ve opted for the text option so we don’t have to worry about losing the papers. Everyone will already have their phone on them for pictures, so digital won’t be an issue.
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Some Unique (non-location specific) List Ideas:

  • If you gifted everyone sunglasses, ask for a team selfie wearing the sunglasses. If a girl had left her glasses in the hotel room that day, they would either not be able to take that photo or have to run back to the hotel to take it.
  • Ask for a team photo in the hotel shower fully clothed. They asked for this on the cruise scavenger hunt I did, and it was hilarious ramming a group of 6 women into a TINY cruise shower.
  • Video advice to the bride from a stranger
Photo Credit: Megan Moschell

Lingerie Party Bingo

Pre-Game Prep:

  • Tell all the girls to bring a lingerie gift for the bride. You should share the bride’s sizes with them in advance.
  • Get lingerie bingo game cards (there are downloadable ones online, you can purchase from Etsy, or make them yourself for near-free) that include a good amount of clothing items as well as colors and then the bride’s reactions.
  • Clothing: thong, lace panties, push up bra, babydoll
  • Colors: something black, something cheetah print, something red
  • Reactions: mentions the groom, says “love!”, gets embarrassed
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How to Play:

  • Distribute the game cards and pens
  • The bride will open gifts, and as she opens them girls will cross off items on their grid. First girl to get a line wins!
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Lipstick Pictionary

This game is crazy fun for an evening-in. If you’re familiar with traditional Pictionary, then you’ll find this Pictionary game that’s played with lipstick instead of pens to be very entertaining.

Pre-Game Prep:

  • You’ll need a lipstick for each person. You could ask the girls to bring a lipstick they don’t love, or you could purchase lipsticks for everyone. For our game, we purchased a lipstick for everyone. We found very reasonable options on Amazon.
  • There is a really fun penis-shaped lipsticks (probably meant as a gag gift), but it would be more funny to play the game with that. I had looked high and low for it online but couldn’t find it from a website that would ship in time. If you have time, plan that out.
  • You’ll also need a lot of blank paper so you can play several rounds of the game.
  • Think of funny Pictionary silhouettes for everyone to draw. Consider that lipstick will be thick lines, so nothing too intricate.
  • Pro Tip: Maybe in the final round, make it a little more exciting by starting off with one Pictionary drawing and midway through their time limit you add an additional aspect to that drawing. It will make it more challenging for everyone to add it in. For example: “Draw a bride in her wedding gown…30 seconds later …ok, now you must make that bride in her gown riding an elephant… you have 30 more seconds”
Photo Credit: – Grown Folk Party

How to Play:

  • There are many ways to play. Consider who will tell everyone what to draw, and who will be the person that selects the winner. You could either have the Bride or Maid of Honor fully run the game and be the caller and winner selector for each round. Or the Maid of Honor could start the game off, then the winner of each round would be the next caller and winner selector.
  • To keep the game moving quickly, keep the drawing time to either 30 or 60 seconds. This will make everyone frantic to draw as quickly as possible. To make it even more fun, since this is lipstick Pictionary, all the girls must put the lipstick in their mouth and with hands behind their backs, they draw the picture.
  • A single winner will be selected each round. This is a not a group game.
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Prosecco Pong

Another fun evening-in game is prosecco pong. If you’re familiar with the party game called beer pong, then you’ll love this elevated fancy version with classy glasses (as fancy as plastic could be considered haha) and prosecco as the drink of choice.

Pre-Game Prep:

  • Prosecco pong games can be purchased online and come with the plastic prosecco cups and balls.
  • You’ll need to ensure you stock up on several bottles of prosecco, as the alcohol isn’t included with the game itself.
  • Also consider if your home or hotel room has a suitable table you could use to play. If not, consider bringing one.
Photo Credit: Talking Tables Store

How to Play:

  • The game goes as follows: Each player takes turns to throw a ping pong ball with the aim of getting it in your opponent’s cup. If the ball lands in the cup, your opponent must drink what’s in that cup. Whoever makes their opponent drink all their cups first wins, so if you’re left with no booze then you’re a loser.
  • This game could be played in teams, and if everyone is into it, you could even make it an evening tournament where everyone hangs out and chats and drinks while those whose turn it is play.
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The games will be fun enough, but it’s also nice to provide prizes for the winners, because it’s incentive to really play to their fullest. You don’t have to spend a fortune on prizes. Get creative and think about what you already have on hand. For example:

  • Use leftover supplies: For the bachelorette party I’m helping plan this upcoming weekend, we are 16 people. Upon arrival, each girl will receive a welcome bag chock full of goodies like hangover recovery supplies, fun wearables, and edible treats like candy and custom cookies. When we shopped for items to go into these bags, we found a bunch of amazing things that were usually sold in packs of 20 or more. In all the cases where we had leftovers, those leftovers made it into the prize bag. Who doesn’t love an extra face mask or pair of fun earrings?
  • Shop your house: I work in events (no surprise there haha) and always receive free branded merch that are perfect for the prize bag. I shopped my house and came up with a whole grocery bag full of incredible brand new unopened items like sunglasses, dish rags, luggage tags, portable speakers, and portable phone chargers. You name it, I feel like I had it. I think the girls are going to be really impressed with the quality and variety of the gifts, and it was totally FREE!
  • If you weren’t going to do welcome bags and have extra goodies to give away, and you shop your house and come up with nothing, you could also do prizes like winning extra time on the next game. For example, if you keep the same teams, the winning team from the night before could gain an extra 15 minutes for their scavenger hunt. That is totally free for you to offer, and the winners will be psyched to gain that time and have another chance to win, and the losing teams will work that much harder to not let them win again. And then maybe that game’s winners just wins a round of shots. Easy!
  • Pro Tip: If you can spring for it, have tiebreaker prizes too. If two groups end up with the same number of points in the scavenger hunt, they both win.
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I hope you enjoyed this post on the top five best bachelorette party games! I am so excited for this upcoming weekend’s bachelorette party! Maybe after I experience how everything plays out with the games and prizes, I’ll update this post with tips. Definitely stay tuned for an Amarvelous Honeymoon post covering Key West, Florida! This destination is incredible, and if you’ve never been, you’re missing out!

20 Ways to Incorporate Your Dog Into Your Wedding

There’s good reason why dogs have been dubbed “Man’s Best Friend.” They’re loyal, they’re loving, and they treat you like you’re part of their pack. According to the World History Encyclopedia, some of the earliest known evidence of domesticated dogs dates back to 12,000 B.C. in Turkey. That’s an ancient history of friendship between mankind and our pups!

Here is my hubby at the Göbekli Tepe archaeological site in Turkey, where some of the oldest known evidence of domesticated dogs from 12,000 B.C. was found. Stay tuned for future Amarvelous Honeymoon posts on the fabulous nation of Turkey!

So it’s no wonder why this photo went viral on Reddit late last month and became the inspiration for today’s Amarvelous Wedding blog post! The reason behind the piqued interest? The best flower girl that any newlywed couple could have asked for: their dog!

When you love your dog(s) like family, how could they not be integrated into your special day? There are many ways to include your fur-baby in your nuptials, including pre- and post-wedding inspirations, determining your dog’s day-of-event role, capturing the moments with them, and incorporating their likeness if they can’t attend the wedding. Check out the 20 adorable ideas below for inspiration for incorporating your pup into your wedding.

Before we get started, I think it’s worth noting a few key questions you should ask yourself:

  1. Does my venue allow animals? If your venue doesn’t, then some items on the list below simply won’t be feasible to pull off.
  2. Is my dog well trained/well behaved? If you have a new untrained puppy, or a trained but rambunctious pupparoo, then it might be challenging to keep tabs on them during your wedding day and could add more stress to the situation than it’s worth having them on site.
  3. Do I have something to keep them entertained? We included our dog in our ceremony, and though she is incredibly well behaved and chill, I knew the best way to ensure she was comfortable for our beach ceremony was to have a carpet down on the sand with a juicy bone waiting for her arrival. Once she walked down the aisle with the Hubbs, he passed her off to a groomsman whose role was to handle her throughout the ceremony. This was an easy task since she laid there and went to town on her bone for the full 30 minutes.
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If you answered “no” to questions 1 or 2, then don’t let that discourage you, because there are still loads of ways to include your four-legged friend, even if they can’t attend in person. Keep reading to learn more.


Pre & Post-Wedding Dog Inspirations

1. Dog Engagement Photoshoot

We included our dog into our engagement photos and do not regret it. The one tip I have is that if you want photos of just the couple, you could ask a friend or family member to come along, so after the dog photos are done, your friend can babysit while you go off and finish the shoot.

2. Dog Save the Date with a Dog Wax Seal

If opting to send a save the date, incorporating a family photo from your engagement shoot is a sweet way to include your pooch. I also love the idea of a custom wax seal. Don’t forget that this seal can be used over and over again, so it’s a great investment.

3. Featured on the Wedding Website

There are many companies that now offer a free wedding website. A few places that would be fun to include your dog on the website would be on the homepage with a family photo, on the bridal party introduction page, or adding a caricature.

4. Send Thank-You Notes From all Three of You, With a Family Photo

Our wedding thank you note included two photos: One side of the card was our favorite wedding day photo of us with our dog, and the other side was a photo of just us. I personally signed all cards from our little family of three, so why not also sign your wedding note the same way?

Determine Your Dog’s Day-Of Event Role

5. Dog of Honor / Best Man’s Friend

For a dog that’s literally your best friend, give them one of the most prominent roles of the day. It’s sweet for a bride or groom to walk down the aisle with their dog.

6. Flower Dog / Ring Bearer

You could pair up your flower girls and ring bearers with your dog, or you could have no children and only the dog walks down the aisle as this role themselves. Talk about stealing the show!

7. Honored Guest with Assigned Dog Handler

If you don’t think your dog will walk nicely down the aisle alone, then you could have them waiting at the alter so they can still be in a prominent position for photos. Assign a friend or family member to be the dog handler and care for your pup while you say your “I Dos.”

8. Videographer

I am by no means recommending you let your dog be the sole videographer of the day, but it’s definitely a silly video to have in addition to your real videographer. We attached a Go-Pro harness onto our dog’s back for the entire lead up to ceremony, ceremony, and cocktail hour. The dog’s-eye view is so sweet. You get the see people come up and give your dog love and your dog’s viewpoint from the day. Some things to be mindful of are:

  • Ensure the angle of the camera is high enough. You don’t want their head or ears blocking the camera view.
  • You want to be sure the harness is tight enough so if they shake or walk with pep in their step the camera harness doesn’t slide to one side.
  • Ensure the camera lens doesn’t get misty or foggy and blur the video. We were on the beach, and somehow at the end of the ceremony the camera lens got misty, so the cocktail hour footage isn’t nearly as clear as earlier in the day.

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9. Dogs Instead of Bouquets

This has gone viral a few times on the internet, and I love the idea, though logistically it is a challenge. A few ways this could happen is if all your bridal party brought their own dogs. You could adopt a whole litter of puppies, or you could foster a full litter of puppies. Bear in mind if adopting or fostering that this is a lot of excess work in your wedding week that you likely hadn’t planned for. But maybe you’re willing to do it for the ‘gram? haha

10. Wedding Gift

The video below is a husband giving his wife exactly the gift she always dreamed of. Definitely a sweet idea if you’ve been talking about a dog for that next chapter of life. Set up a game plan for someone to watch the pup after the gift giving though. A loud and chaotic reception dancefloor could be stressful for a dog.

Capture the Moment

11. Dog Getting Ready Photos

I kept my dog in the ladies’ getting ready room, and one of my favorite pictures is me in the chair getting my hair done and my dog simply sleeping by my feet. Another is my dog when she was awake, giving me her paw while I was getting makeup done. Sweet moments captured. Don’t be afraid to assign someone in the bridal party to give your dog walks during the morning and afternoon so you can be stress-free.

12. Bridal Party Photos

I love full bridal party photos that include dogs. It’s a picture with all of your favorite people and your favorite furry companions.

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13. Just Married Walk Photos

Right after the ceremony, if you and your new spouse can escape for a bit to have a few moments just the two of you, bring along your dog. This is the perfect time of the day for more bridal portraits, to catch a breath, and just relish in the fact that you are finally married. A sweet walk around the property with your dog makes for lovely pictures.

Incorporate Their Likeness

14. Dog-Inspired Human Accessories

There are a bunch of ways to have a photo of your dog, or a cartoon of their likeness, incorporated into pocket squares, socks, cufflinks, jewelry, dress embellishments, small photos hanging on the bouquet, etc. Get creative here!

15. Dog-Inspired Place Cards

It’s the small details sometimes that bring a wedding together. Of course, you could have a boring white place card, or you could add a little pizzazz with a drawing of your pooch.

16. Dog-Inspired Cookie Favors

Custom individual cookies with your dog’s likeness in icing would be a darling addition to the day, not to mention edible favors are the best kind!

17. Cake Topper

The sky is literally the limit when it comes to cake toppers. Nowadays, you can design nearly anything custom off and have it shipped to you in a few days’ time. I’ve seen adorable cake toppers with the couple and dogs at the top, with just the dogs at the top, and with a formal-looking cake in the front and in the back a special surprise where a statue of the dog is eating into the cake. Adorable.

18. Signature Drink

If your venue or caterer allows you to do a signature drink, then it could be cute to name it after your dog in a “punny” way. You could also get dog drink stirrers, or you could have the sign for the drink or cocktail napkins have your dog’s image printed on them.

19. Picture on Display

Often on the gifts table, the couple will put a photo from their engagement with a sign for gifts and cards. Couples sometimes also use framed photos for table numbers. If your dog couldn’t be a part of the day in person, either of these options could be sweet to incorporate them.

20. Dog Biscuit Bar

If you have a “Pets Welcomed” reception and you booked a block room at a pet-friendly hotel, or if your guests have dogs at home waiting for them, then it would be so adorable to do a small dog treat table with little cellophane bags, so guests could take home a treat to their dogs. Be sure to pick cookies that look like bones to alleviate confusion from the human treats. Also post a sign that notes that these are for the fur-babies at home. If people can have candy or dessert bars, then why can’t the pets have wedding snacks too?


As a fellow dog lover, I hope that this post brought you as much joy to read as it did for me to write. When your dog is like your family, you can share the most special day of your lives with them, or at least have a piece of them there to honor them as a cherished family member. With so many awesome ideas to include your dog, I’m sure it’ll be hard to choose just one!

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A Perfect Spring Wedding

Winter is nearly over, and wedding season is upon us! In 2021, Spring runs from Saturday, March 20th, through Sunday, June 20th. And did you know that Sunday, March 21st is National Flower Day? As the COVID vaccine becomes more readily available and infection rates decline, local municipalities are beginning to lift or loosen restrictions on social gatherings. Below we’ll cover New York’s new wedding rule, Spring holidays to avoid, and the top 21 Spring wedding inspirations to bring your 2021 wedding from end-of-winter drab to colorful-flowerful-fab!

On January 29th, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo announced that wedding guest lists could be expanded to 150 people or 50% of a venue’s capacity beginning on March 15th. All attending guests are required to receive a negative COVID test result in advance of the wedding. More details about this program are to be announced in the coming days, but this is extremely exciting news for Spring weddings!

*Note: When you click the links in this post, we may receive a commission at no extra cost to you.



1. Bright and Bold Colors

With the bright pops of color that Spring flowers bring, it’s hard to dispute that Winter is over. If you want your Spring event to dazzle, consider vibrant colors paired with colorful linens. The fun vibe is party ready!

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2. Dreamy Pastels and Watercolors

Tapping into this year’s Pantone Color of the Year, we have Ultimate Gray (PANTONE 17-5104) and Illuminating (PANTONE 13-0647). Basically… gray (silver/pewter) and yellow. This color combination is reminiscent of a bumblebee collecting pollen and is lovely for Spring.

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3. Colorful Glassware and Tablescapes

Some venues include generic and basic dinnerware, flatware, and glassware as part of the package, but not all venues have these items. If you have selected a venue where you need to rent these items anyway, then investigate fun color options. Don’t just select clear glassware because that’s what you’re used to. See if the rental company offers any rentals in your wedding colors. A colored glass can totally transform a table. And if you’re at a venue that provides these tablescape items, ask them if you rent elsewhere if they can reduce the price for you. It doesn’t hurt to ask. Maybe that cost savings will help to rent the products elsewhere and get exactly the look you want. Alternatively, you can price out rentals, and it may be cheaper to buy a full set that you get to keep after.

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4. Garden Chairs

A cross back (or X-back) chair will have a more outdoorsy garden vibe over the ever-popular chiavari chair which exudes a more elegant and formal affair.

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5. Floral Confetti

Many venues don’t allow confetti unless it’s environmentally friendly or a compostable product. I’ve seen Fall and Winter weddings use colorful leaves and heart-shaped hole punchers to create compostable confetti. In the Spring, it’s all about flower petals. Consider using fresh or dried petals. If dried, you can DIY the project far in advance of your wedding day. If fresh, consider requesting your florist deliver them with the rest of the florals fresh on wedding day. Pile them into paper cones. Hand them out before the ceremony begins. And viola! A photo-worthy ceremony exit.

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6. Floral Pet Leash and Collar

As a pet parent myself, I couldn’t imagine our special day without our sweet rescue dog. We purchased some white spray roses, succulents, floral tape and wire, and we DIY’ed a floral collar that matched the bouquets perfectly. Sure, our florist could have made this for us, but we spent five minutes making it and saved a bundle.

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7. Have Umbrellas on Hand

As the saying goes, “April showers bring May flowers.” Though this lush green and floral season is ideal for an outdoor event, it’s also rainy season in most regions of the US. If you’re planning an outdoor affair, then invest in some nice clear umbrellas in case a sun shower rolls through.

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8. Seasonal Favor

I’ve heard recently that couples are ditching wedding favors as they are believed to be an old tradition, and I’m here today to debunk that myth. Wedding favors are absolutely NOT out! That being said, the day of tchotchke trinkets is over. However, guests will always love and appreciate something edible or something alive. For a Spring twist, consider a seasonal local product such as an edible honey or jam. Or “let love grow” with flower seeds or a small potted plant.

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9. Botanical Braid or Comb

Nothing screams romantic, whimsical, bohemian, and Spring as much as flowers intertwined between locks of hair. This look is beautiful! You could make this a Bride-only look, or the Bride could have a larger more special piece and the Bridesmaids could have just a couple of sprigs laced in.

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10. Floral Arch

I’m sure everyone saw the absolutely breathtaking floral arch over the chapel entrance at Princess Beatrice’s wedding this past July. I mean, how truly marvelous and over-the-top was that? That’s not your average wedding floral statement piece. It can be quite expensive to have such a lush and grand display. Though a floral arch is pricey, consider a piece that can be used during the ceremony, then relocated to the reception and placed prominently behind the sweetheart table. Or relocate it to the reception and allow guests to utilize the arch as a photo opportunity. Don’t let the beauty (and money) go to waste.

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11. Floral Wall

Flower and greenery walls are another great floral statement piece that will wow guests. You could allow the wall to serve a purpose by displaying place cards, then when all guests have removed their name and table assignment, the wall could serve as a photo backdrop for the remainder of the evening.

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12. Flower Chandelier Installation

My favorite floral statement piece is a flower chandelier installation which looks like flowers are growing right out of the ceiling! Not every venue has the ability to hang elements from the ceiling, so you will need to speak to your venue if you love this look. If you can’t hang anything off the ceiling, then there are ways to bring in structures and hang florals off of that. I cannot stress enough that this is NOT A DIY PROJECT! These installations require hours of time to build on event day, and most florists are not capable. You’ll likely need to hire a flower designer for this type of job. A flower designer is an artist that uses plant materials and flowers as their canvas to create true one-of-a-kind floral pieces.

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13. Fresh Produce in Florals

In-season fruits and vegetables are a clever way to bring design on a dime to flower arrangements. Many exotic flowers come from overseas, making them costly to ship (raising the price per stem), but fresh local produce is crazy cheap! I am in love with citrus floral arrangements, but you could truly use any fruit or vegetable. Consider what your wedding colors are and then what produce would fit in with the palette.

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14. Wildflowers

For a super enchanted rustic boho vibe, wildflowers are where it’s at. I think there is a misconception that wildflowers will be cheap. Especially if you chose a florist that doesn’t usually source wildflowers, they may find it challenging to find you a deal on the non-popular varieties. However, if you happen to have a wildflower garden, you could save a bundle by using your own. Also, grocery stores like The Fresh Market and Trader Joe’s sell beautiful flower bundles that you can add in to supplement what you have.

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15. Edible Flowers

Edible flowers are a fun way to bring a little bit of Spring into every aspect of your wedding. Ask your caterer or baker if they know if any edible flowers that could be added to appetizers, signature drinks, deserts, or even the cake.

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16. Elderflower Signature Drink

A few years ago, I attended a wine and food event and tasted elderflower liquor and really enjoyed it. The flavor isn’t a strong floral taste, but it has a light sweet floral taste that compliments many drinks. There are plenty of recipes that can be served as a signature drink at a wedding.

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17. Floral Wedding Cake

Fresh flowers on wedding cakes are a cost-effective way to save on the intricate buttercream and fondant work. You can opt for a more basic buttercream, and then on wedding day have your florist add in fresh flowers that match your bouquet.

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Pattern Design

18. Floral Pattern Bridesmaid Dresses

Though solid color bridesmaid dresses are the norm, floral pattern dresses are very in right now. And nothing says garden more than a floral dress. Several prominent bridesmaid dress companies have begun offering patterned dresses, and it’s such a great look. Not to mention, a patterned dress is more likely to be reworn by a bridesmaid at a later occasion.

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19. Floral Pattern Invitations

The invite sets the stage for what your wedding vibe will be. If you’re having a black-tie affair or a backyard bash, the invite should tell guests that without even using words. Consider options for paper choice, pattern, colors, and font. In just one example of the wide variety of invitation options, offers 515 botanical specific wedding invitations. Good luck narrowing it down to just one!

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20. Orangery, Conservatory, Glasshouse

The most perfect Spring garden wedding venue is an orangery, conservatory, or glasshouse. You’ll most likely find a venue like this at a botanic garden, large park, or private estate. The bright glass environment will allow you to feel at one with nature while fully protected from the elements. An added bonus is that some of these structures may serve as active greenhouses so you can likely save on your flower budget as you’ll have built in greenery and florals.

Photo Credit: (The Palm House at Brooklyn Botanic Garden)

21. Tented Outdoor Garden Reception

Though being outside in the garden may be your dream wedding, I would urge you to have a backup plan in place. Yes, it’s an added fee to rent a large tent, but the peace of mind that you’ll have as you coast through wedding week will be worth it. Inclement weather is something you can’t control, but renting a tent is. If the weather is gorgeous that day, leave the sides open and use the tent as a shaded canopy. Guests can float in and out of the tent, and it won’t impede upon the garden view. And if it just so happens to be raining cats and dogs, then attach the sides of the tent to protect your guests from the elements. You can still dance the night away barefoot in the grass if you want! You’ll be dry and thanking your lucky stars you rented that tent!

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Bonus Ideas

Spring Holidays

Below I’ve outlined Spring holidays to keep in mind when scheduling your nuptials. These weekends could cause some potential hiccups. For example, on a Memorial Day weekend wedding, you and your guests might encounter upcharges for wedding fees, flights, and accommodations. Also consider the school Spring break schedule in both the area where your wedding will take place and where your guests may be traveling from (if that’s a different city). If your wedding is the same weekend as Spring break, then flights may also be higher in price.

  • Palm Sunday – Typically in March or April (Sunday, March 28, 2021)
  • Easter – Typically in March or April (Sunday, April 4, 2021)
  • Passover – Typically in March or April (Saturday, March 27 – Sunday, April 4, 2021)
  • Ramadan – Varies (Monday, April 12 – Wednesday, May 12, 2021)
  • Mother’s Day – Always the second Sunday in May (Sunday, May 9, 2021)
  • Memorial Day – Always the last Monday in May (Monday, May 31, 2021)
  • Father’s Day – Always the third Sunday in June (Sunday, June 20, 2021)


Whether your special day is this Spring or next, I hope that the 21 tips above inspired you to plan your perfect Spring wedding!

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10 Ways to Have a Safe Event During COVID

Event safety is the most important thing in this nearly post-COVID *fingers crossed* world. As we progress into 2021 and the COVID vaccine becomes more accessible, it’s important to discuss how event hosts can cover their bases to provide guests with the safest, most enjoyable event possible. Whether you’re hosting a birthday party, conference, or wedding, all 10 tips below will ensure that you’re on the right track and thinking about every facet of event safety.

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1. Follow the CDC/State/Local Restrictions

Firstly, and likely the most important, is that the guidelines from the CDC, your state, and your local municipality are followed. The only way to ensure a safe COVID event is to follow the rules. Sure, restrictions on event capacity can definitely put a damper on plans. But think of it like this: Those restrictions were decided upon by disease experts and doctors who have all the facts.

Following the rules lessens the liability risk, and not just for you, as the host, but also for the venue and the vendors at your event. I spoke to a lawyer recently who explained that only the host of the party signs the event contract. For example, the wedding couple would sign the contract with a venue and wedding planner. When a guest is attending your event, they understand that it’s a risk to attend, but they also assume that you are following all the rules. In the unfortunate scenario where someone does contract COVID and passes away, then close family members may want to sue whomever caused the unsafe conditions. Being that the guest of the wedding did not sign the contract with the venue or wedding planner, those vendors are not covered from being sued by the unhappy party.

Most venues and event vendors are already looking at the available guidance and requesting that events reduce size to fit within the limits. If you’re in the predicament of reducing your guest count, then understand that your guests know that it’s nothing personal. Of course, you wanted them there, as you invited them in the first place. Just explain that the occupancy is no longer in your hands. Perhaps offer them the ability to livestream the ceremony portion so they can still feel a part of your day. We wrote a blog post about just this solution here: How to Livestream Your Wedding Amid Coronavirus Social Distancing

Some states or local municipalities have lesser restrictions than the CDC guidelines. I would suggest that you stick to the strictest of the available guidance. Again, an expert came up with that guidance, and even though it would be nice to have as big an event as possible, I’m sure you don’t want to be the reason for a super-spreader event.

2. Promote the Vaccine

As the vaccine becomes more readily available, encourage eligible family and friends to get vaccinated. Right now, it’s still new, so you can’t successfully enforce that everyone be vaccinated to attend your event. However, as the vaccine opens to the general public, encouraging your guests to receive it can’t hurt. That’s just one more additional layer of safety for your event and loved ones.

Consider assisting the older generation who are not as tech-savvy. Most states are requiring online registration and appointments for the COVID vaccine. Navigating the digital platforms may be impossible for those without computers or internet. Getting the vaccine just might be the deciding factor on Grandma or Grandpa attending your event.

Note that the vaccines, no matter the brand, do not protect you 100% against COVID. It is imperative that even if guests are receiving shots, they still wear a mask and follow the rest of the rules at your event.

3. Offer Testing On-Site

At an additional cost to the event host, you could offer guests a rapid test upon arrival to the event. If you plan to hire a medical company for this service, then there are several factors to consider:

  • Space – On-site testing requires additional socially-distanced non-event space. Consider zones where guests wait to be tested, receive their test, and then wait for results. In addition to that, you’ll need a space where the medical team run swabs through rapid testing machines.
  • Timing – When considering the timeline for your event, you will require additional time added to the schedule if testing is taking place on site. If a ceremony begins at 5:00pm sharp, then you can ask your private medical provider how long it would take for 50 tests to be completed by 4:45pm. They’ll be able to provide you with an idea of the necessary start time. Ensure guests are aware that testing is taking place between X o’clock pm and Y o’clock pm. Also let them know that early arrival is strongly encouraged, as there is no guarantee that they will see the ceremony if they arrive late.
  • Testing Policy – You’ll want to decide on a testing policy and inform your guests of this before they arrive to your event. When a guest is cleared with a negative test, at that point they can enter the event site. However, if a guest tests positive, there are likely a few policies you could go with.
    • Do you turn away the singular guest and supply them with ceremony livestream details?
    • Do you turn away the entire household even if only one person tested positive? This is a very difficult decision. But it is possible that the rest of the household has been exposed, and their results are false negatives because the exposure is too new.
    • Do you allow the positive-tested guest to stay in the testing area for a retest? Sometimes the rapid tests are not 100% accurate, and it could have been a false positive.
  • Budget – Individual rapid tests on-site at your event could cost a pretty penny. I recently heard of an event host paying upwards of $150 per test. If offering testing on-site is important to you but budget is a concern, then consider cuts somewhere else. You could easily cut welcome bags at hotels, party favors, candy bar (which is discouraged during COVID anyway), or professional transportation services. These, among others, are small elements that no one would really miss. Consider the peace of mind that a negative test will provide them as their gift.

4. Test on the Morning of the Event

Alternatively, if testing on-site is just out of the cards due to budget, space, or another reason, then you could require guests to produce their own COVID test results. It would cost nearly nothing for you and in many cases your guests either, as many states are offering tests for free or covered under health insurance. It would take a minimal amount of time from your guests’ day, as most rapid test results are available in 15 minutes.

Guests would be directed to receive a rapid COVID test on the morning of the event. Result paperwork should be dated with the event date to ensure the results are new. Instruct guests to bring their negative test results with them to the party. They will present the paperwork to gain entrance. Just as you would assign an Usher, you could assign someone from your bridal party to manage the check-in process. Guests who received a positive COVID test should be instructed to stay home and watch the ceremony on your livestream feed.

Photo Credit:

This also prevents the COVID-positive guest from being in further contact with any additional party guests. Keep in mind that the above-mentioned testing policy should still be in place, whether you offer the test or the test is guest-provided. As long as the testing policy is transparent to the guest and on your event website, ticket, or with the invite, then guests should be understanding of your wishes.

5. Verify Temperature Upon Arrival

Contactless forehead thermometers are readily available online and reasonably cheap. For example, the one pictured below is a best-seller on, 4.5 star rated with over 31,000 reviews, and normally sells for $25.99 (though at the time of writing this post, it’s on sale for $21.62).

Purchase one contactless forehead thermometer, and assign someone from your bridal party to manage the temperature check-in process. As guests arrive, the check-in manager will hold up the thermometer to scan them. If a guest is running a low- or high-grade fever, then you would refer to your chosen testing policy. Anything over 100.4°F is an actual fever.

6. Wear a Mask

As a wedding planner, I encourage all of my couples to require that their guests wear a mask. However, no matter how many times you tell people, there will always be guests who said that they didn’t know and show up sans mask. It’s important to have a small amenity table at the entry to your event that includes disposable masks. I think the black option below will look classy paired with formalwear. As the rule goes…. only the Bride wears white 😊

As the happy wedding couple, you too should be setting an example and wearing a mask. However, it doesn’t have to be a boring black disposable mask. Get creative! After all, it is your party! The set below is made from material with “Bride” and “Groom” stitching (though it’s also available in Bride/Bride and Groom/Groom). There are also masks with clear windows so guests can see your beautiful smile on your joyful wedding day and read your lips during your vows.

7. Sanitize

There are several ways to provide hand sanitizer to guests while at your event. You could purchase one travel-size sanitizer per guest and place it on their ceremony chair. You could also have place cards with name and table number attached to each bottle. This would be theirs to keep and use as they like. The Germ-X pack below is sold in bulk on and would look lovely with a ribbon in the wedding/event colors tied around the neck of each bottle. At around $1.10 per bottle, that’s an affordable and functional party favor.

Alternatively, you could set up communal hand sanitizing stations with these large Germ-X hand sanitizer pumps from Consider strategically locating a bottle at the entrance into the ceremony, entrance into the reception, guest book signing, photo booth, bar, etc. Any high-touch zone or entry into a new space would be ideal.

8. Reduce Table Size to Households

Gone are the days of large 60” round banquet tables that seat 10 people from different households. As eating requires you to remove your mask, the safest way to dine during COVID is to have tables spaced far apart, and for each table to only seat one household. The only time during the event that masks are off should be when dining. Other times of the day during ceremony and dancing, it would be fine if guests are in closer contact.

For example, your aunt, uncle, and two cousins that all live under one roof would have a small table for four. If one of those cousins was away at college, but they have had recent exposure to their immediate family, it would still be acceptable to put all four of them at the same table. If you have two friends that are married, they would be at a small two-top. This rule only becomes challenging when you have singletons attending your event. Most parties delegate a table to those that are single, young, and ready to mingle… however, COVID is not the time for that. I would suggest you ask approval from those guests before you seat them alone or in a compromising dining situation with others. Their safety preference should be the most important thing.

9. Implement a Red, Yellow, & Green Safety System

The red, yellow, and green safety system helps alert guests of the comfort preference of other guests. The system is entirely based on the preference of the wearer, and each guest should decide the level of contact they would like to receive at the event. The premise is that this is something the guest visibly wears throughout the night so others can respect their wishes.

I would propose that this system be introduced to guests before they enter the party and be placed at the small entry table with the disposable masks and hand sanitizer. You could have three picture frames to explain the color system, then three bowls of rubber bracelets or glow stick bracelets or stickers for guests to wear. Be sure to have enough of each colored item, in case everyone at your party picks the same color.

  • Green means happy with hugs and handshakes. Maybe a green person has been vaccinated or has no underlying health conditions.
  • Yellow means OK with talking, but don’t get too close. Perhaps a yellow person has an autoimmune disorder or other underlying health condition.
  • Red means you’re keeping your distance and will wave but remain socially distanced from everyone. A red person would be high risk or perhaps elderly.

10. Rethink Food Service

Now onto the final and tastiest part of this post… the food! It’s important to talk to your caterer and see how they are changing their offerings since COVID started. The most important thing is how it’s served. Most caterers are no longer offering help-yourself appetizer stations and dinner buffets. You can certainly still have a dinner buffet, but by allowing servers to man those stations, that saves every guest from touching the serving spoons. This format knocks out the two-sided buffet options which allows guests to serve from both sides of the table and be back at their tables dining faster. Inform the DJ if you are doing a buffet with servers, because it could take more time between announcing up tables.

The safest form of dining service right now is passed hors d’oeuvres and a plated dinner. This allows guests to be more stationary, alleviating closeness in lines, touch points, and cross flow. Additionally, if a passed appetizer experiences a cough or sneeze in close proximity, they can toss the small portion of contaminated food. If your caterer will allow passed hors d’oeuvres and a plated dinner offering, take it!

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And that’s it folks… 10 ways to have a safe event during COVID. Just to recap: follow all the federal/state/city guidelines, recommend the vaccine, offer testing at your event or require guests be tested the day of the event, provide temperature checks, require masks and provide masks for those who don’t bring them, have hand sanitizer everywhere, keep the dining tables household size, allow guests to choose their comfort level with a red/yellow/green color system, and consider alternate food service options. If you can confidently check off all 10 items on our list, then you are on your way to having a safe event! Good luck, happy planning, and stay healthy!

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Epic Holiday Charcuterie Boards

Today, I’m bringing you a holiday dining idea that is totally out of the box! Being that we may be having smaller holiday gatherings this year, you might already be rethinking your regular annual menu that could feed an army. Well, look no further!

Start by throwing away everything that you thought you knew about charcuterie (pronounced “shar-coo-tuh-ree”) boards. They are not just appetizers and snacks served with wine at an evening with friends and family anymore—The new charcuterie board can be an appetizer, snack, side dish, main dish, or even dessert! Today, I’m hoping to inspire you with the basics of a charcuterie board, picking alternative food items, and dressing it up and down for any time of day or themed occasion.

In French tradition, charcuterie literally means the art of preparing and presenting cured meats. As an Italian myself, a traditional charcuterie board is one of my absolute favorite meals because it encompasses all my favorite things: delicious breads, meats, and cheeses. Sprinkle in a few fresh and dried fruits, and something pickled, and I could literally eat that kind of meal for the rest of my life and be satisfied (emotionally if not nutritionally haha).

On holidays, my family usually serves antipasto (basically the Italian version of the French charcuterie), and then we’re often nearly too full for the main course holiday dinner. Every year it gets me thinking, “Why are we going crazy cooking the traditional main course? We all enjoy charcuterie the most… why not just expand upon that?”



I feel the most important aspect of charcuterie is the presentation. This is one of the primary reasons you could serve a charcuterie as a holiday meal: the presentation is supposed to be very Instagrammable. It’s taking everyday foods and presenting them in a way that is impressive, photogenic, and holiday-worthy. Just because the phrase is “charcuterie board” doesn’t mean that you have to serve it on a board. You could… but if you didn’t have a large and traditional wooden board, then you could still wow your guests with a large platter, paper, or a whole table or kitchen island.

Once you’ve selected whether you’re using a board, platter, paper, or the whole table, then you need to figure out placement of everything on that base. You’ll likely need some bowls of varying sizes for the wetter food items. I use all white serviceware and everyday dishes in our household, so I have an abundance of crisp white items that match. You could go with all-white, clear, metallics, mix-and-match, or holiday-themed.

Utensils are important when it comes to a charcuterie board. Though it’s finger food, no one wants sticky fingers by the time they are ready to eat. You may need to include some spoons for the dips, a honey dipper, tongs for fruit, knives to cut cheese, etc. But get creative here! I wouldn’t go out and spend a fortune on utensils. Look around to see what you have in the house first, then maybe supplement with a few add-ins if necessary. The food itself should be finger food, so your guests likely won’t need many regular utensils to eat, just to serve themselves. If you do provide one dining utensil, then it could be a regular fork, cocktail fork, or a toothpick.

Placing the food on your board can seem intimidating, but there is no right or wrong way to do it. Just begin placing the largest items, bowls, or staple foods first, and then fill in around that. Layer and build up, until you fill in the gaps.

Credit: Jordan Vineyard & Winery

Finally, to finish off the topic of presentation, I want to introduce you to personalized dining boards with a wine cup holder. If you wanted to go totally extra and over the top, you could purchase each person their own wooden board instead of offering appetizer or dinner plates to eat from. This is perfect for a party atmosphere where everyone is walking around and mingling. Each guest would receive their own board that they can take home at the end of the night. It’s a practical favor. This also works wonderfully for a holiday party, because it’s a built-in gift! And check out the price… Home Depot sells the gorgeous trays shown below. They are made from a sturdy quality acacia wood in a set of four for only $27.11 ($6.75 per person). What a cheap and unique gift!

Sweet or Savory

While we’re thinking outside the box, let’s consider the fact that though traditional French charcuterie is savory meats, that doesn’t mean that a modern take on this type of dining always needs to include meat. If you don’t eat meat or dairy, or if you have other dietary restrictions, you can still enjoy a scrumptious charcuterie without those ingredients.

Your board doesn’t have to be only sweet or only savory, as people often enjoy a mix of the two. Even the traditional meat and cheese board still includes fruits. My suggestion would be to include both sweet and savory, but to also consider textures. It’s important to entice the senses and include soft, hard, mushy, crunchy, smooth, chewy, and lumpy.

Additionally, who decided charcuterie is for evenings only? Why not breakfast charcuterie, lunch charcuterie, and dessert charcuterie? You could also prepare a charcuterie board themed for a game night or family movie night. The possibilities are truly endless.

What to Include

My absolute favorite thing about a charcuterie board is that it’s a bit of a catch-all, and there is something for everyone. Your guests are bound to be wowed by the variety and assortment available. I usually begin by rummaging through my fridge and pantry to see what I have in the house that can work on my board. It helps to know what time of day you’re serving your board, and for what occasion. For example, if I was preparing a breakfast board, I would definitely be looking for different items compared to a Christmas dinner board. Below are some ideas of boards and the types of foods that you could consider including for each one.

Credit: Joshua Weissman

Breakfast – Pastries, muffins, bagels, donuts, croissants, cinnamon rolls, waffles, pancakes, French toast, cheese blintzes, bacon, sausage, smoked salmon, hard-boiled eggs, fresh fruit, yogurt cups, syrup, jam, and whipped cream

Lunch – DIY sandwiches, tacos, deli meat, deviled eggs, quiche, cheese, pickles, olives, fresh fruit, spinach artichoke dip, caponata eggplant dip, hummus, pitta bread, and crackers

Dinner – Steak, shrimp, wings, lamb chops, meatballs, warm dips, grilled vegetables, baked potatoes, couscous, tortellini, rice balls, bread, and crackers

Dessert – S’mores, chocolate and strawberries, chocolate fondue, cookies, hot cocoa, and rice krispies treats

Game/Movie Night – Popcorn, soft pretzels, crunchy pretzels, cookies, crackers, chips, dip, cheese, gummy candy, chocolate candy, sour candy, fresh fruit, fried fruit, and nuts

Portion Size

I would suggest serving everything in finger-food-sized portions.

Let’s use breakfast as our first example: If your waffle maker makes humongous waffles, then cut them down to make waffle sticks. Same for French toast. Guests won’t want to fill up on a whole slice of French toast when there is so much variety on the board, so cut them down to stick-size, and then they can try everything.

Now let’s use dinner as an example: You can absolutely serve steak on a charcuterie, but you’ll need to precut it into bite-sized strips. Lamb chops, wings, and shrimp are a great idea because they are already fairly small cuts of meat. Avoid serving food that’s so large that it requires a fork and knife to eat.

The recommended serving size for a meat and cheese platter is 3 ounces per person as an appetizer and 6 ounces per person as a main course. However, I’d suggest you up the ounces by a few per person when it’s a holiday dinner. My reasoning behind that is that sometimes people are busy on holidays mornings/days and don’t have time during the day to eat, or they hold out in anticipation of all the yummy food that’s about to come, so they may be very hungry by the time they arrive for dinner. It’s best to increase to maybe 8-10 ounces per person of protein. Don’t forget that there is much more on the board than meat and cheese, so no one will leave hungry.


I hope this post today has inspired you to come up with a new offering for the holidays this year. A charcuterie board is extremely fun, a conversation piece, a complete meal full of nutrients and includes loads of variety. It’s time to elevate the appetizers into a proper course of its own.

Happy holidays everyone!

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