Jenn, also known as Bender, who mysteriously disappeared from the blogosphere last week!
Between traveling back to Chicago and friends and relatives coming into town a few days later, it has been wedding mania around here and I am loving it!
Saturday was the big day: a bridal shower and bachelorette party all in under 24 hours! Fortunately, I had amazing friends like Mara to document the day in photos.
I promise I won’t steal all of your photos, girly. 😉 Mara wrote an amazing recap here: Showering the Bender. She truly encapsulated the amazing detail and planning that went into the shower. I have my Maid of Honor, Sam, to thank for that. She is amazing and destined for greatness as an event planner.
From left to right: Lauren (bridesmaid), me, Sam (bridesmaid and MOH) and Caitlin (bridesmaid)!
The decor that Sam picked out and set up that day – with help from my other amazing bridesmaids, Caitlin and Lauren – was elegant, beautiful and, best of all, PURPLE!
I was amazed by every detail and near tears when I walked in the room and saw my family and friends there to greet me (I was “fashionably” late as usual – this time because I forgot the white wine)!
My aunts, cousins and Mama Bender were there! Plus my wonderful friends, including Sarah, who flew all the way from Pittsburgh (she’s far left in the second picture). I truly appreciated having you there!
Karla, who flew home from NYC for the holiday weekend and was kind enough to come visit, too! And last but never least was Jill, my business partner-in-crime and the one who made sure I didn’t have a panic attack when I forgot said wine. 😉
After gabbing it up, we sat down to feast! Appetizers included Chicken, Wild Mushroom and Smoked Gouda Pizza (it was so…GOUDA!!) and the infamous Wildfire Chopped Salad.
For the main dishes, we had a choice of Cedar-Planked Salmon or Horseradish Crusted Filet. These are two of my absolute favorite entrees on the menu and they did not disappoint.
There were also several side dishes, including corn bread (with whole corn kernels in it, which made it extra awesome), wild rice pilaf and creamed spinach.
But we always save the best for last…
PHOEBE’S CUPCAKES! You may remember my obsession with them senior year in college. Two of my favorite flavors, Salted Caramel (left) and Red Velvet (right) were displayed in beautiful shades of purple and ivory. I had a red velvet at the shower – and a salted caramel later on!
After our glorious, belly-filling lunch, we went around the table telling embarrassing stories and it was determined that in my prior life – as a little girl – I loved wearing tiaras and pretending to be a princess. In my current life, I am a lover of wine and maybe-that-bender-definition-hit-closer-to-home-than-I-initially-realized. We have all decided it is a good thing Bobby and I chose Napa for the honeymoon. 😉
Once the ha-ha-hilarious stories were finished being told, we went to work on a few bridal games! Mara won a purse content contest and my bridesmaid Caitlin and I ended up winning first place in the game of Toilet Paper Bride.
An achievement to share with the grandchildren someday, I am sure. What I am not sure of is what exactly we were going for with the headband feather look. Watch for it on the runway next spring.
I can’t be the only one posted wearing toilet paper.
Before we knew it, FOUR hours had passed and the shower was over. Time flies when you are having fun and the conversation flows easily! I received some lovely gifts that both Bobby and I are so thankful for. New kitchen gadgets, utensils, plates, glasses and even some of our favorite foods. Our kitchen is now packed with love – and I can’t wait to make some new recipes!
I said goodbye to my wonderful family and headed back down to the city with Jill to relax for a bit before the night’s festivities. Eventually, we grabbed a cab and headed to our “mystery first location” of the night, which turned out to be the gorgeous Hotel Monaco!
My wonderful Maid of Honor got us a suite and when the door was opened, I was greeted by an amazing array of bachelorette decorations! Everything from the windows, to the walls, to the bed to the bathroom (the second run-in with alternative uses for toilet paper that day) was decorated. I’ll leave some of it to the imagination, but here are a couple of hints.
We were ready to have some fun. First up on the list? Pedicures! A sweet and talented Nail Stylist named Lisa Mattoni-Miller was there to pamper us – a truly unexpected and fun treat!
I ended up going with a purple color from Essie’s Fall Collection called Merino Cool.
The rest of the night was filled with laughter, good food and good friends. We visited Rockit Bar & Grill for dinner and I had an amazing turkey burger with sweet potato fries. Then we headed to Second City for a late night comedy extravaganza. It was my first time visiting, but I love sketch and improv comedy and thought the actors all did a great job!
There is more to say, but I’ve got to leave a little bit of mystery here. 😉 It was a bachelorette party, after all! But in case you were wondering, the answer is yes. A veiled tiara, pink sash and light up ring were involved. Good thing I am absolutely terrified of immensely enjoy being the center of attention.
It was a great day and I am so lucky to have such amazing family and friends!
The rest of the weekend was filled with more fun with those who were in town. I spent today getting back to normal and eying up the boxes in my kitchen, willing them to magically organize themselves. So far, no movement, but we are hoping to tackle that project tomorrow! It will be fun.
And that, in a nutshell, is my definition of a Bridal Bender!
Big thanks again to Mara for being so wonderful! Did you know? This month she is running a fundraiser on her blog called “Clicks for Books” that benefits the A to Z Literacy project! Every click on her blog for the month of September will earn money to help kids in Zambia get the books they need for a good education. I encourage you to pay her a visit and pass the word around, link back, tweet, etc.!
Question: How did you spend your long weekend?
Back to the grind, we go! I promise not to desert you for so long. 40 DAYS TO GO!!!