#MyBestFriendsWedding Chapter 7 Meets #TravelTuesdays – Nola Bach Weekend Activities

You guys know by now that I can write for days on end, but this entry will be three Harry Potter books-long if I don’t reel myself in. So I’m diving right into the day-by-day itinerary of the bachelorette I planned for my biff Michelle. Buckle up!

*If you want a version of the plain hourly itinerary without my schpeal, here you go!*

Thursday, March 1st: Arrivals, Set-up, Welcome! 

I flew out early on Thursday morning to set up the apartment. Vanessa (Michelle’s future SIL) and her friend Stephanie were also flying in early for a meeting with a client, and Ashtine (bridal party) would land in the afternoon. The bride and the rest of the crew would arrive at night.  I headed to our HomeAway rental (Michelle wanted us all together, so a hotel was not really an option) as soon as I landed – this place was kind of a miracle find after endless searches on AirBnB, VRBO, etc. because 1. It’s a newly built condo (in an old building), 2. The location is PERFECT, near Bourbon and Frenchmen but not in the midst of the party craze and 3. The price was about half of what all other rentals in the area. MIRACLE I tell you! Stephanie put together the welcome boxes for the girls before heading out to her meeting, and I had a light lunch at Cafe Envie right across the street while I waited for Ashtine to arrive. Once she landed, she came with me to the nearest Walmart (the one on Tchoupitulas, which has a full Liquor Store inside) to stock up on supplies for the apartment. I’ll link you to my shopping list, which includes some things I forgot (since I’m not a coffee drinker, I forgot about the cream and sugar, but there was some in the apartment thankfully). I ordered Uber Eats from Louisiana Pizza Kitchen to have at the apartment waiting while we got the girls at the airport. Caro had this awesome idea to get picked up at the airport in a party bus, so we booked with Luxe Limousine, and our driver Darrow was AWESOME! He was there early, and even accommodated our request to stop for a drink right before dropping us off. Thanks Darrow! Once we got to the apartment, we quickly changed, ate, and headed out to party on Bourbon! The best stop of the night was undoubtedly Cats Meow, which is always a great time with nostalgia-driven karaoke, and consistently great MCs running the show! We even got on stage for a rendition of single ladies 😉

 

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Friday, March 2nd: NON-STOP Activities! 

We started off our morning with light breakfast in the apartment from our shopping spree the day before, and we had planned to do the Panty Line Poem (an activity where all in attendance get a pair of underwear that celebrates a specific milestone for the bride/couple, and goes with a poem) for Michelle at this time. We caught her totally off guard and she absolutely loved it! Then, we headed to what would probably be the most memorable meal of the whole trip (and I knew it would be) – Atchafalaya. I came here during my first trip to Nola back in 2014, and it was my first meal priority for the bach. Their largest table accommodates 12 and we were 13 so they split us in side by side tables, but it was totally fine and WORTH IT. Try the grits. Just trust me. Then, we headed to the Gray Line Original Walking Cocktail Tour, which was a very informative and fun walk around hidden gems of the French Quarter with so much history and great boozy drinks! The group got to try Absinthe, Sazeracs, Sidecars (my personal favorite), Hurricanes (the good kind, stay away from the Pat O’Brien’s blend!), and more! After the tour we headed back to the apartment to get ready for the nighttime activity: Drag Show! Now I have to say, on the website, they advertised a Diva Royale “Real Housewives of New Orleans” show which I thought would be so much fun for the group, but they called us earlier in the day to let us know that they were merging the show with the guys from Hunk-O-Mania… aka male strippers. Basically, we were REALLY going to have a bachelorette now! Ha! One of the things Michelle was VERY clear about from the beginning was: no strippers. I knew it and I was 100% down to comply, but it just so happened that things took a turn (for our benefit) and so we just rolled with it. When we got to Mags 940 (the bar where the show is hosted), I was approached by the owner of the drag show to ask if we wanted to put Michelle in the hot seat. I said it was fine as long as Michelle was only in a drag segment and not with a male stripper. They totally respected our wishes and Michelle had an awesome experience on stage with a gorgeous, funny and great queen. The rest of the brides in attendance got the full Hunk-O-Mania treatment and we had A LOT of fun watching it, but Michelle (or her fiance) definitely would not have been ok with that lol! The show ran late and we were INCREDIBLY late for our dinner reservation at Three Muses, but they were SUPER accommodating and texted us through the show and accepted our rescheduling needs and OMG the food was BEYOND delicious. This was the one place I had not tried, and it was so so good. They also don’t take parties bigger than eight, so we had to split into two tables again, but it was fine/worth it. Michelle and a few other girls kept the party going down Frenchmen Street and that was that for Friday!

 

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Saturday, March 3rd: Sisters, Beignets & Aphrodisiacs! 

During my first trip to Nola in 2014, I had Sunday brunch at the Court of Two Sisters. I remember it being delicious and a great overall experience, so when it came time to do the bachelorette itinerary, it was a no-brainer for me to host a brunch here (and I really wanted it to be a full-on floral brunch outside in the courtyard, with the live jazz band! The whole nine…) but upon doing my research this time around, it seemed the service and the food quality and variety had dramatically worsened since that visit. They were receiving really harsh reviews and it seemed their best days were behind them. I battled between doing Commander’s Palace, Brennans, Cafe Amelie, and many other brunch spots but for some reason (floral courtyard jazz!) my heart was set on the Court. Fortunately, I kept checking reviews and they seemed to be improving closer to the trip, so I pulled the trigger and made the reservation. The said they couldn’t guarantee courtyard seating but they made it happen and it was GORGEOUS. We couldn’t have asked for better weather that entire weekend, and the brunch was simply whimsically beautiful AND delicious. Everyone loved the food and gave rave reviews to everything, except the gumbo, not that it was bad but they simply had a MUCH better version at Three Muses the night before. That’s still a 99% overall, so I’ll take it! After the court, I set up the itinerary to give us time to walk around, try Cafe Du Monde/Cafe Beignet, visit the French Market, and have a lax afternoon until our 4:00pm Aphrodisiac Tour from Witches Brew Tours. Now, I can’t remember where I found this and they’ve remodeled their website since I first found the info, but this tour was awesome. Our tour guide Marillyn was just a delight, so funny and knowledgeable and she had a blast with our group. She gave us background stories on aphrodisiacs and then took us to experience them first-hand – chocolates from Sucré, hot sauces from the Pepper Palace, a quick look at toys and other fun items at Mr. Binky’s Boutique, oyster shooters from honestly I can’t remember where, and if you’re up for it, you can also fit in a quick visit to a Voodoo shop just as a learning experience. Again, can’t say enough good things about Marillyn, totally made our last afternoon in Nola a memorable fun one! And finally, for our last Nawlins supper, I booked us dinner at Criollo, inside the Monteleone hotel, so we could fit in a quick visit to the Carousel Bar. I told the girls from before the trip not to get excited about the bar as it’s IMPOSSIBLE to get a seat on it, no matter the time of the day, so they knew it was more of a picture opp than anything else. To our huge surprise/delight/amazement, because of our party size, the Criollo staff welcomed us in one of their private rooms. We felt like the Real Housewives of all the cities rolled into one, getting such VIP treatment! It really was the perfect closing to the trip. We actually sang happy birthday to Michelle here because her birthday was coming up that following week, so we took advantage to get the festivities started. After this awesome dinner, we headed out to enjoy our last night experiencing all that Bourbon had to offer, and then we made our way back to the apartment for a few hours of sleep, and back home we all went!

 

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I hope you enjoyed my endless recount of this weekend that I will forever cherish as I hope Michelle and the rest of the girls do. New Orleans is a very fun city, not for everyone, but it’s definitely a top choice destination for bachelor/bachelorette parties because of their chill party scene, yummy food (seriously, you have to make an effort to find bad food in Nola), and cheap drinks!

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Vanessa’s Wedding Items!

Remember Vanessa’s Nauti Bach a few months back? Well, time to close off her wedding events with a quick blog of the items I made for her big day!

  • Customized Champagne Flutes for the bridal party: Vanessa asked if I could personalize some champagne flutes she’d purchased for the toast during her reception, and of course I said yes! She wanted flutes for herself and her new husband, her bridesmaids, her mom and her little sister. I actually did a #CraftingWithKathy episode with some tips to get the best results while doing this, so enjoy the footage!

  • Customized Canvas Tote Bags for her guests: Vanessa reached out to me and mentioned she had purchased 36 tote bags, and asked me if I could do a design for her based on something she’d seen online. Of course I said yes, put it together, criCut it, weeded them all & borrowed my friend’s heat press to feel very legit while making them 😉

 

  • A special shirt for her dad: every father who has recently seen his daughter get married can probably attest to the accuracy of this shirt. I’ll let you all decide…

 

I DIED when she asked me for the shirt and jumped at the opportunity to make it. Funny items are my favorite to undertake.

That’s it! I am so happy I got to make these things that gave a personalized and special touch to Vanessa’s wedding ❤

#MyBestFriendsWedding, Chapter 3: The ProMOHsal!

Guys. It happened. I’m still so excited I can barely contain myself… My biff Michelle asked me to be her Maid of Honor!!!!

AHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH ❤

I wanted to share this with you all because 1. This legitimates this series even more since I’ll be documenting every moment of the journey as I #makeallthethings in my official role as crafty MOH and 2. I really think Michelle made the most meaningful boxes, so I just have to show y’all how amazingly she did!

Even though most of us knew we’d be bridesmaids because we always talk about it, it was a beautiful moment to see the boxes with our names on it, and even more – open my box and find the “Will you be my Maid of Honor?” card in there. We didn’t know when she’d ask us because she wanted to keep it a surprise, but of course the perfect moment was at the engagement party, since we’d all be there already and she didn’t have to get us together on a separate occasion. I did have a feeling she was going to do it that day because she asked me for help in making some stuff with my Cricut she was going to include in her boxes (and some for Brian’s boxes as well), and they asked for it literally in the midst of my crazy week finishing stuff for their party and all the other orders I had due that same day… But I digress 😛

So, the box-opening moment – ah! My adrenaline was rushing. Michelle’s mom, Marta was looking at me and smiling so I was super anxious and then bam. I saw the words and started jumping! Now let’s go into the BEAUTIFUL stuff my biff got for us. As you may have seen on the interwebs, the “Will You Be My Bridesmaid?” boxes are very in right now, and a lot of them have the same few items: a small bottle of champagne, a nail polish, maybe some jewelry with a knot in it (a “help me tie the knot” reference), and some other random item. Michelle wanted to do something different, and she KNOCKED it out of the park!

 

Isn’t it beautiful? This is what she included:

1. A picture of her and each bridesmaid in an adorable frame.

2. The “Rosé all day” gummies from Sugarfina.

3. A customized golden pouch with our names on it.

4. The most beautiful little compact mirror, customized with our names as well

5. The color palette preview of our dresses!

The “Color Palette” words glued to the inside of the box lid were what she asked me to cut out with my Cricut, because of course that cannot be done by hand. And for Brian, they asked me to cut out a bow tie and four buttons, to do this:

FYI – Brian’s boxes were also a knockout. He included a flask, the Cuba Libre gummies from Sugarfina as well, and a wooden bottle opener you hang on the wall with the guy’s initials engraved on it. BOSS GROOMSMEN!

Bring on the MOH duties sonnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnn!

#MyBestFriendsWedding, Chapter 2: The Engagement Party

Now that my best friend got engaged, I am the happiest crafter alive, and I’m ready to make ALL of the things. First stop: engagement party central!

My biff (that’s what we call each other :P) Michelle, like most women, has had an idea of what she wants her wedding to look like, so her mom Marta and I are going with a similar feel for the engagement party. The rustic vibe is very in right now and she likes it a lot, so let’s get to it!

Michelle’s parents have a beautiful home with a great backyard where they’ve hosted lots and lots of parties, so we know the space pretty well and have an idea of how to set things up to maximize each area. This Pinterest board has a lot of the inspiration for the stuff I made for the party, so let’s dive right in to the final products!

  • The decor: I’ll wrap a few of the items into this category so this doesn’t end up the long testament my blogs usually are hehe… Our color palette for the party was Blush Pink, Taupe, Ivory & Rose Gold. Lots of burlap, lace, and a vintage classic vibe made everything really pretty and Pinterest-y!
  • The photo booth & props: Brian (Michelle’s fiance) is very handy, so Marta and I asked him to build a rustic-looking frame that we could drape and place in the garden to create a photo booth area. Brian did such an amazing job that I almost didn’t even want to dress the frame, but at the same time I’ve been loving the mixture of delicate with rustic/industrial so with his part done, it was time to make it pop. The fabric Marta found for the frame was shiny, shimmery & splendid. I also did a “she said yaaasss” banner, and added some vintage bulbs and baby’s breath to make it all come together. To finish the look, we hung a bunch of mismatched lamps from the tree, and it all looked beautiful both during the day and at night! For the props, I wanted to do something different from what I always do, since after all, props are kind of my niche… I actually started to design a completely different idea from what it ended up being, but I’m super happy with the end result. I used burlap paper, designed the props on PowerPoint, printed them out, cut & glued them to cardstock for hold and voila! Awesome props to complement an already great photo booth area!
  • The favors: I didn’t get any good pictures of the final product here, but long story short: plastic bags, burlap strips, circle “Brian POPPED the question, Michelle said yes!” tags, popcorn. You get the idea!
  • The calligraphy: boy oh boy do I hate my handwriting/penmanship. I’ve always wanted to have pretty handwriting, but it’s just not in my skill set. I can pull off a few tries but I hate writing slowly and when I go fast, there’s no way to control the strokes… So when Marta showed me the boards and table tent signs, I kind of swallowed hard and said ok… I got this! I did those the night before the party, and I was so stressed the entire time. If I’m honest, the first tent signs didn’t come out as good as the last ones. It’s true what they say, calligraphy is a practice thing. Although some people are just born with those magically beautiful calligraphy skills!
  • Some close-ups: making this cake topper gave me so much life! I couldn’t stop staring at my Cricut cutting the rose gold card stock stuff! And I had a full blown photo shoot with the mason jars when I finished dressing them… O-B-S-E-S-S-E-D. Have I mentioned I don’t typically like burlap?! I know…
  • The edgy fun part: when it comes to Michelle’s family, there’s always something fun/edgy/borderline inappropriate thing happening, and I’m all too happy to oblige and do my part for it. This time around, Marta bought an apron for Michelle’s uncle as he’d be cooking the dinner during the party, and again, thank you Pinterest for this awesomely hilarious idea 🙂

After about a month of prep, I’m truly so happy with how everything turned out and now I can focus on the bachelorette, bridal shower and whatever Michelle asks me to make for the wedding! (please biff, let me make it allllllllllllllllllllllllll! haha kidding! no, not really…)

 

PS: Oh and one last thing – this was something new I decided to try: window cling! I wanted to make something for the bar area, so I went with some string lights, a “cheers to michelle & brian,” and that’s all she wrote! For real this time!

I added a heart with a “to” afterwards but this picture is where the window cling shows the best!

#MyBestFriendsWedding, Chapter 1 – The Proposal

AHHHHH GUYS!!!!!!!! My best friend is getting married! How awesome is that? SUPER MEGA AWESOME!

Now as you can imagine, this is every crafty person’s dream come true, because with all the joy and none of the stress on oneself, the crafting possibilities are endless. I want to make ALL OF THE THINGS, and oh, I will.

Michelle and I have been best friends along with our group for now almost 10 years (crazy!) and we’ve been through a lot together, which is what builds a super strong friendship, but even better – her family loves me and I love them, and they’ve borderline adopted me into their circle as well, so this feels like my real sister is walking down the aisle, and I’m alllll in my feelings! The best way to deal with those, you ask? Crafting, of course.

So first things first – I got a head start on the engagement surprise because her fiance reached out to me for some advice on the ring, and as soon as I got that text, you know my head went into overboard mode of what to make her/get her so I could put together a nice little “welcome to engaged life” gift for her. I wanted to give her a personalized mug, but the time frame was short, so I wouldn’t be able to place an order and thus, this would be my first wedding-related DIY project! I love all the “feyoncé” merchandise I’ve seen around, so I wanted to have the mug say that, but I didn’t want that to be the only thing on it… It had to be more personalized. So I decided to do something on both sides, and bam! Perfection.

Then, I really loved the idea of some sort of journal or album where she could include printed pictures and polaroids which are very in right now, and when I searched on amazon, this Bride To Be Book was one of the first to pop up. I wanted to see the inside, of which there were unfortunately no pictures on amazon or google, but then I found this blog that showed enough for me to pull the trigger and buy it! I was planning on bringing my Polaroid camera and snapping the moment Brian was down on one knee (which I didn’t quite get in the end because of multitasking, but still got some cute ones thankfully), and now it looks like this –

Finally, Michelle’s mom asked me to make a version of these very funny props that say “He asked” and “She Said About Damn Time,” so I found some faux wood card stock and got to work. I also brought a long a set of my standard engagement props so that we could play around photo booth style after the proposal. All in all, it was a great first opportunity to put my craftskills to use, and the beginning of a loooonggg road of engagement-and-wedding-related crafting ahead!

 

Wedding Props – Karyn & Samuel

There’s no greater feeling than working on the things you love to do, but when you get a chance to have your work be a part of the special day for a family member, it just makes everything 10 times better. When my sister got engaged, it was a very special time since she’s the first of the kids to get married, and we knew she would go all out! I loved having a chance to help her brainstorm on some stuff, and I sent her a copy of The Wedding Book by Mindy Weiss, which to this day is one of the best event-planning guides and especially helpful for brides everywhere. Highly recommend! Mindy is a renowned luxury event planner, and the book is great for any type of wedding regardless of budget, denomination or location.

When it came down to thinking of something I could physically make for the reception, I thought nothing would be more appropriate than photo booth props because I knew my sister was getting a ton of fun masks and hats and all other kinds of items for the “hora loca” (crazy hour) part of the reception. Since we are originally Venezuelan and there were a lot of people flying in for the wedding, my sister wanted to have a mix of English and Spanish props, and since she’s Jewish, I wanted to add a reference to that as well. At the time, I didn’t have my Cricut, so all of these was done printed and cut by hand!

The props were used a lot for pictures all over the reception, I lost track of them because I was having a lot of fun myself, but I did manage to get a few pictures of them!

Photo booth props always bring out the humor in everyone at any kind of event, and I really loved to be a part of the fun for my sister’s big day through my crafting 🙂 #MazelTov