My 'Build the Bar' Bridal Shower

Back in July, I mentioned that my bridal shower was coming up and i was picking out dresses. It was so so wonderful and I thought I'd share with you guys some of the details that made it so special and give some ideas if you're looking to host a shower of your own. Shower 5

My bridesmaids asked me at the beginning of the summer if I wanted it to have a theme. I do think that its nice to have a bit of a theme to streamline the gift situation so that a smaller group of close women to you don't have to sift through your entire registry. Plus, we were still 8 months out from the wedding so Erik and I didn't really have a good handle on our registry yet. So I was talking to a friend of mine and she mentioned she had recently been to a "Build the Bar" shower and I thought that sounded like a great idea! Long ago Erik and I decided we wanted a nicely designed and well stocked bar in our future home so this was the perfect way to let our friends and family be a part of that tradition.

Shower Main

This week I wanted to just share some of the beautiful images that were captured by our talented friend Rebekah Gough that showcase the details of the day along with some links to the resources that my girls used. Next week I'm going to round up some amazing gift ideas based on what I received if you're looking for something to help someone prettify their home bar. Perfect as we approach the holidays!

Shower 10

Danielle, my Maid of Honor, blogged about the invitations that Minted so generously provided here and here which gives you a pretty good idea of the tone of the party. Perfect colors for me and just that right touch of whimsey.

Shower 7

Shower 4

The girls decided to do small bite and cocktail pairings and they found an awesome book called Tiny Food Party that they used. They made sliders, crab cakes, and teeny tiny churros. So amazing! Danielle found milk bottles at Ikea that matched the invitations perfectly and filled them with flowers from our local farmers market.

Shower 3

They also used this download from Jones Design Company to make labels for 3 bottles of wine: One for the night we get back from our honeymoon, one for our first christmas, and one for our first anniversary. Such a sweet idea - the gift that keeps on giving (well, for the first year, at least!)

Shower 9

Oh, and my darling fiance stopped by the end of the party to bring flowers for the important ladies in his life (me, his mom, my mom). He's a keeper ;)

Shower 1

Shower 2

It was such a joyful day, and it really was nice to be able to capture that summer sun as part of our wedding festivities since everything else will be late winter/early spring.

Thanks to all my bridesmaids, friends, and family to helped make this day so special and to Rebekah Gough for the amazing photos.


Bride Blogger Emily | Nice to meet you!

Hello E&I Readers! My name is Emily, I recently got engaged in June to an awesome guy named Ryan.   He popped the question as we were standing on Lover's Beach in Cabo San Lucas with a gorgeous custom engagement ring from Brilliant Earth, which he designed himself-major props to him!  The best part was my sister captured every moment on camera!  Ryan and I live in Portland, Oregon with our Golden Retriever-Roxy.EandI_1EandI_2EandI_3

The photos above were taken by my sweet sister, she had no idea this was happening!  The photos she took I will cherish forever- she did an amazing job of capturing every moment while crying tears of joy and excitement!  My engagement ring is gold- with a gorgeous hammered effect all around the band.  I cannot wait to design the wedding band with Ryan- that post will come later. :)


I am so excited to share with you my wedding inspirations over the next few months!  I am an avid blog-reader and since becoming engaged have enjoyed finding wedding blogs to obsess over now too.  Our wedding will be bright/colorful, rustic/DIY and budget friendly.  I hope I can help you with ideas on where to cut cost, when to splurge and in the end still have the gorgeous wedding of your dreams!

A few weeks ago Ryan and I finally booked the venue and picked our wedding date!  We had been going back and forth with the idea of a destination wedding in Mexico or staying local in Portland, Oregon.  We met half way and decided on a mini-destination wedding in beautiful Bend, Oregon.  Bend has stolen our hearts, we love taking weekend trips with friends/family and with an average of 300+ sunny days a year, what is not to like!  We picked a venue through the Bend Park and Recreation District called Aspen Hall-located in Shevlin Park.


Aspen Hall 4 Aspen Hall 5

B28(pp_w760_h456)Source: Top | Middle Left | Middle Right | Below

We fell in love right away with the venue!  Aspen Hall had everything we wanted with indoor/outdoor space and the gorgeous landscape of Central Oregon.  Another added bonus is it was well within our budget that we set aside for the venue space.

Before signing off I wanted to include a few photos that have caught my eye to shape the vision for our wedding.


I love this table for the reception!  I think ivory, burlap or a light brown tablecloth will fit perfectly into the indoor space at Aspen Hall.  It will compliment the exposed craftsman-style wooden beams and the huge brick fireplace.

streamersbright_colorful_diy_rainbow_wedding_colorado_9b6308876b08b854e553288652d8489a2Sources: Top | Middle |  Bottom

My ideas around the ceremony altar are crafty, colorful yet simple.  We will get married with the small Lake as the backdrop, so I do not want something that is too overbearing as the nature being backdrop is gorgeous enough.

jill-thomas-4bridalpartySource: Above |Below

Thank you for reading and cannot wait till my next post is ready!

Until next time-


Fun at the bar

  One of the things we were looking for in a venue - although it wasn't mandatory - was the ability to stock our own bar. And luckily for us, we found a venue that would allow us to do that. Not only will we save a good amount of money by bringing in our own alcohol, but we can customize which types of beverage we want to serve, and we can showcase some local wineries, breweries, and distilleries. Because we're saving on what we're serving, I thought it would be fun to make some bar accessories to make this a really fun part of the party. The bar will be the focal point of the cocktail hour between ceremony and dinner, so I thought it would be fun to infuse people's drinks with the spirit of the event: Bright, Bold, with a little quirk. Here are some of my favorite ideas I've found so far:

DIY-Gumball-Drink-Stirrers-600x900Source: Studio DIY

ombre_skewers_final2Source: Somewhere Splendid

cocktail-stirrers-scout-blog-101Source: Scout Blog

These geometric stirrers definitely capture our aesthetic, and they're really cute! I think painting each facade a different color with a stirrer or two for 150 guests might be a bit much, though.

geo_stirrers2-350x400Source: Confetti Pop

Instead, I think I'll buy plain wood faceted beads and we'll casually dip dye them in bright colors like these ones I found on etsy. After I round up the supplies I'll be sure to share how they turn out! Now that the weather is cooling down and we're coming inside from a seattle summer I've got DIYs up my sleeve left and right!


Source: Like Beads 8

 What are your ideas for sprucing up drinks for your guests




Letterpress at home

According to most wedding ettiquette guides, the time to send save the dates is approximately 6 months before your big day. Well, last week marked 7 months to go for us, so time to get cranking on getting Save the Dates ready, stamped, and out the door! 749595683911_SVxdU3Ib_l


Source: Designspiration

I've been thinking for a little while about what I wanted to do, whether I wanted to buy something off the shelf, have something designed for us, or make it on my own. There are tons of ideas on my Big Day and Pretty Paper pinterest boards that are all across the charts. We're still toying with the idea of having our invites custom designed, so I decided I would save some money on the save the dates and DIY them.



Source: Lifestyle Crafts

My friend Jenny has a Letterpress set up from Lifestyle Crafts (the first generation of the one seen here) that she let me play with recently, and I was surprised that it really was an easy way to get a quality letterpress look on your own. I spent some time in photoshop and then I've ordered a custom plate and am ready to get printing. It arrived about a week after I ordered it and the customer service folks at Lifestyle were great in helping me tweak a couple things to get the best quality image.

Brianne Save the Date

Source: The Ravenna Girls

The nice thing about having plates made is that you have a 6" x 8" surface area to order, so you can get extra images to use for escort cards, coasters, or stationery with your new married name. Our Save the Date design is just the upper left portion of the image above. I deconstructed our custom pattern, and also added some components like calligraphy we had done for some address stamps last Christmas (calligraphy by A Fabulous Fete). Hopefully some of these components I will be able to use again and again.



Source: Oh So Beautiful Paper

I have the plate in hand and now I'm just waiting to choose which paper I'll use. I have some beautiful teal watercolor paper and was originally planning to do a painted treatment similar to this beautiful piece, but I'm not sure thats going to work with the letterpress ink so I'm still in brainstorming mode. Will keep you posted! I'm also sharing some sneak peeks of the process on my instagram account (I'm @ravennagirlb) if you want to follow along there!

Grand Entrance

9c06b54f320776f22d05f2516587c030Source: Utah Bride Blog

Remember a couple weeks ago when I was scheming ideas for our ceremony backdrop? Now that the wheels are turning there I'm turning my attention toward the venue entry to see if I can repurpose some of the DIY elements. While I love love the inside of our venue, the exterior is pretty quiet from the street. Its a sleek black storefront on an urban street. I don't dislike it, but I think i'd like to add some elements so that our guests will know that they're entering our event from the street.

I've pulled some ideas of elements we might like to add. Since we have an urban venue, I'd like to find a way to interpret some of these more rustic ideas into something that will make sense for the surroundings.

Manchik theater wedding

Source: The Manchiks

I like the lights in the image above to lend a vintage theatrical vibe to the entry. We don't have an overhang, but perhaps we could find an element to build upon.

I also love love the idea of a little bling on the ground as guests arrive:


Source: 100 layer cake

I also like the idea of a beautiful sign to bring in some of the design elements we've come up with so far.

Urban-San-Francisco-wedding-Allison-and-Brandon-30Source: Meg Ruth Photo, 100 layer cake

The benefits of our venue entrance are a wide clear sidewalk, a sleek painted storefront and display windows (which we can decorate). [Thats an actual shot of our entrance below] I'm thinking of adding some simple colors to the windows, and outside flanking the entry with some greenery and bold shapes. Perhaps some acrylic shapes mounted to a sleek black archway? I've wanted some large fiddle leaf houseplants, so I'm thinking of buying them for the big day then giving them a sunny home in our living room. And who can resist a giant balloon? Can't wait to see how we can make these all come together.

Entry Decor copy

Sources: Julep (bunting), Southern Botanical (Fiddle Leaf), Matt Shumate (EM Fine Art Exterior Photo) Design Love Fest (Acrylic Backdrop - by Michelle Edgemont), Green Wedding Shoes (Balloon)


I'm Loving Leather

  I'm obsessing over leather when it comes to fashion, interiors and of course weddings! It is a whole new approach to the rustic wedding that we all know and love. Leather can be incredibly sophisticated with a little calligraphy action. Gorgeous right?


1. That calligraphy menu is just to die for. 2 & 3: Jose Villa's wedding had one of the best invitation suite's ever. The mix of organic textures, calligraphy, and of course leather is making my hear skip a beat. Similarly. those place cards from their wedding were so sophisticated. 4. These notepad favors are such a perfect touch for a beautiful wedding.

Wedding Wine Tasting


 Source for all images: Better Homes & Gardens

 Last week I mentioned that we wanted to take advantage of summer weather in Seattle to have my bridal shower, even though we still have months until the wedding. It was completely amazing and I can't wait to share details! Since the sun shines on, we've also talked about another summer party: a BBQ hosted with the purpose to pick our wedding wines.

Alfresco Dining 1

We're going to send invites with a per bottle price maximum and do a blind test with our friends and bridal party to try and choose the bottles that we'll buy for the big day (our venue lets us bring our own alcohol). We felt like this would be a fun way to get the families together, enjoy the sunshine, and give some involvement into the planning process.



Alfresco Dining 2


In anticipation, I've been pinning ideas for decor and food for this little outdoor soiree. Can't wait to share which bottles we chose!

{doable} Do It Yourself

This week has been full of crafting for me. Over the past few months I've realized I should outsource some of the projects (thank you etsy!) and other projects were simple enough to do myself. Here are some of the images that have inspired me to get my DIY on, followed by my personal tips to get the jobs done.

Lavender bunches with escort cards

7fcfdf074d7c4df73fe1e94ef84ea10cd5f0335e6f2e8fbe59da09639abd35c3-001 Sources: Top, Bottom 

Menus and a lace runner for the head table:

Wedding Crafts1 Sources: Left, Center, Right

Metallic assorted bottles for the welcome party:

Wedding Crafts29b5e911693dc542ba4402bcdf6251513-001 Sources: LeftRightBottom

This is how it went for me...

DIY No-Sew Table Runner: SUPPLIES: Lace Fabric | Fabric Scissors | Tape Measure

Wedding Crafts3

I bought the lace fabric at a discount fabric store for $23. I measured the fabric to make sure it would run the length of the table and have enough to hang down on either side. I then cut the fabric to the width I wanted. I realized if I gathered the fabric, as shown, the edges would be hidden and therefore don't need to be finished. I will be using the jute twine from the escort cards to tie each end like in my inspiration image. This project worked well for me because we only have one farm table as our head table. The other tables are round and will just have the standard linens. If you wanted to do this for more tables, you could easily get two runners out of the width - just make sure you get the length you need so you don't have breaks in the fabric.

DIY Stamped & Embossed Menus: SUPPLIES: Stamps | Stamp Pad | Kraft Paper | Embossing Powder | Embossing Tool

Wedding Crafts5

I used stamps and the heat embossing powder and tool for the top oval and 'Menu' part. For the rest, I used the white pen to write it out. It took me a couple tries to get the layout and spacing just right. To help myself from writing at a slant, I used a piece of thicker, contrasting paper and held that under the line I was writing. Then, as I wrote each item, I watched the space between my line and the other piece of paper. Slant avoided! I did enough for two per table.

DIY Metallic Bottles: SUPPLIES: Assorted Bottles | Primer Spray | Metallic Spray

Wedding Crafts4

For my welcome party, I knew I wanted something cost effective and related to wine since it will be held at a Springhouse Cellar - a tasting room in Hood River, OR. I found the images of gold and silver wine and champagne bottles and HAD to give it a try.

I left the labels on and used a primer and then metallic spray bottles - I just went to my local paint store and they helped me figure out what to buy. In addition to the bottles, I also sprayed some corks to sprinkle around the bottles and I called my florist who said she would provide the single stems of white and green flowers. Easy! And all-in it will come to under $90 to decorate about six tables. Not bad, right?! *Hint: take your engagement ring off and don't do this the week before your wedding - or use some gloves!

DIY Lavender Bunch Escort Cards: SUPPLIES: Lavender Sprig | Jute Twine | Cloth Pins | Small Cards (used business card sized paper from Paper Source) | Hole Punch | Pen

I haven't done this project yet, but my florist recommended grouping couples and families onto one card - that way you have less to do and the display at the wedding won't be overwhelming.

Happy crafting and happy Fourth of July to you all!


Floral Alternatives

When we first starting putting our wedding budget together, something occurred to me that was a little surprising. I decided that I didn't want cut flowers. Now don't get me wrong, I think a lot of wedding florals are gorrrrgeous, but for a couple reasons I just didn't feel like they were right for our day. Mainly, I had so many other visual ideas, that I was afraid florals would be something to compete with many other things going on. Plus I was concerned over their temporary nature.

Shortly into planning, however, I talked to some friends in the industry who said they'd been to weddings without a floral component and things just felt stark. So they encouraged me that if I didn't want traditional cut flowers, I work some natural components into the decor in some way. After doing a little research I came up with three options:

1. Live Plants to fit in with a Pacific Northwest spring wedding. Instead of succulents, this would mean moss, ferns, and bulbs.


Source: Poppytalk


Source: The Natural Wedding Company


2. Paper flowers. There are a ton of amazing tutorials out there right now, and I like that these read as a little more bold and geometric.


Source: Icing Designs


Source: The House that Lars Built

3. Abstract installation: Something floral inspired but with a contemporary twist.


Source: You are my fave


Source: Anthropologie

I think right now I'm leaning toward a combination of paper flowers set amongst some maidenhair ferns for some nice contrast. Hopefully this idea can be easily interpreted into centerpieces and bouquets. I'll keep you all posted on how


Style It: Ceremony Sign

Ceremony signs are one of my favorite wedding details. I think they are one of the most special decorations you could have on your wedding day. Whatever you choose to do with that altar, make it a true reflection of you. I get lots and lots of emails about my ceremony sign, and even more emails about those fabulous doors. So how do you achieve the look? And where does it all come from? So here it goes!

Style It:

It is so easy to style a fabulous ceremony sign for your wedding day. Check out what you need to make it happen!