Bridal Bender

by Jenn (eating bender) on September 6, 2010

Knock, knock!

Who’s there?


Jenn who?

Jenn, also known as Bender, who mysteriously disappeared from the blogosphere last week!

I apologize for my unexplained absence, but after That Post Where We Talk Wedding Details, I ended up going on a bridal bender. No, not that type of bender. But a bachelorette party was involved.

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. ๐Ÿ˜‰ 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 shower was held at Wildfire, a blog favorite (I’ve talked about it five times on here) that also happens to be where Bobby and I celebrated our engagement. Clearly, I am a fan!

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. ๐Ÿ˜‰

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. ๐Ÿ˜‰

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.

Much better. :mrgreen:

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. ๐Ÿ˜‰ 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 โ€œClicks for Booksโ€ 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!!!


{ 25 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Little Bookworm September 7, 2010 at 3:23 am

Sounds like a lovely weekend. :) The cupcakes look amazing, especially the purple icing! :)


2 Jessica @ How Sweet September 7, 2010 at 4:31 am

Your shower looks incredible!


3 Lauren September 7, 2010 at 4:52 am

How amazing Jenn!!! What a wonderful shower! :)


4 dianacheung September 7, 2010 at 5:32 am

first of all you look so beautiful and seems like you can’t stop smiling! :) Your friends are so caring to ensure you got the best food at the best place and with your favorite cupcakes!! Can’t wait to see what the next 40 days has in store for you! :) My weekend (sorry didn’t reply to your tweet since I was sleeping) was great! I spent time with gfs as well…who are we without our support right? :)


5 Kinsey Michaels September 7, 2010 at 5:56 am

What an amazing weekend you had! When is your actual wedding day? I am so excited for you Jenn!


6 VeggieGirl September 7, 2010 at 6:57 am

So beautiful!!!!!

How I spent my long weekend = salsa-dancing for 4.5 hours on Friday night, keg party on Saturday night, recovering on Sunday (haha), and dance practice on Monday. ALL spent with you-know-who.


7 Erica September 7, 2010 at 7:11 am

WOW! What a great time! Both the shower and the bachelorette party look amazing. Mara is such a sweetie for capturing all of the memories for you. The food at the shower looks especially tasty. I want to try the Smoked Gouda Pizza (YUM!). And the cupcakes are just beautiful. Glad you had such a good time :) We went to a wedding this weekend!


8 Jess September 7, 2010 at 7:44 am

Sounds like you had an awesome time with your bridal shower and bachelorette party!!!


9 Jennifer @ keepitsimplefoods September 7, 2010 at 7:46 am

So fun! Love the tp idea.


10 Chocolate Covered Katie September 7, 2010 at 8:17 am

Beautiful Bride-to-Be!
I wanted to thank you so much for writing on my wall yesterday. Seeing a message from you really made me smile!! :)
And I still can’t believe you’re getting married!! The photos of your shower are gorgeous,a s are you–both inside and out!


11 Alisa September 7, 2010 at 9:15 am

Seriously, how much fun. You have wonderful friends and you all look ravishing in TP! :)


12 braingutshands September 7, 2010 at 9:25 am

“it was soโ€ฆGOUDA!!”

I heart your cheesy puns. ๐Ÿ˜‰


13 Astrid September 7, 2010 at 9:45 am

40 days until the big day! Jenn, that is so exciting. You are going to be such a beautiful bride, I am sure of it! That salted caramel cupcake looks pretty phenomenal. I am going to make cupcakes for my students on my birthday (next monday), so maybe I will use this for inspiration.
Unfortunately Texas A&M does not close for Labor Day, so I still had class and taught lab. Sad.


14 Stacey (The Habit of Healthy) September 7, 2010 at 3:39 pm

No need to worry about the blog when you’ve been having such a good time! Looks like you had a blast with your friends and family. And salted caramel cupcakes just sound divine!


15 cookeatburn September 7, 2010 at 6:08 pm

What a lovely weekend you had – and your MOH/bridesmaids really did do an amazing job with the shower and bachelorette party! Enjoy these last 40 days Jenn :-D.


16 BroccoliHut September 7, 2010 at 6:15 pm

Sounds like you’ve been busy celebrating! Love the looks of those cupcakes–might have to make a stop at Phoebe’s next time I’m Chi-town.


17 Melissa Schlothan September 7, 2010 at 10:43 pm

Ahhhh!! What a fun weekend you had! I wish I could have been there to celebrate with you…of course, if you had wanted me anyhow! Looks like you had a blast!!!

And tell Sarah she looks wonderful and can’t wait to see her!!!


18 glidingcalm September 7, 2010 at 11:24 pm

AHHHHHHHHH ONE MONTH! cant even handle my excitement for you!


19 Foodie (Fab and Delicious Food) September 7, 2010 at 11:26 pm

Glad you had such a good weekend/bridal shower/bachelorette party!

Love all the food, especially the cupcakes! They look delicious!


20 Elise September 8, 2010 at 1:28 am

i read about the shower on mara’s blog, but now i have to say here, you look gorgeous…have SOOO much fun. i actually hated being the center of attention, but soak it up girl because it only gets more and more all about YOU!!!!

ps now that my wedding is over, you are REALLY on deck, haha


21 Marianne September 8, 2010 at 1:31 am

So much wedding fun to be had ๐Ÿ˜€ Definitely more exciting than my long weekend!


22 Brandi September 8, 2010 at 8:51 am

So close!!!! :) What a fabulous shower :)


23 Kristie September 8, 2010 at 3:23 pm

Wow!! What a great wedding shower, Jenn. Everything looks like a ton of fun and you look just beaming!


24 Shannon September 8, 2010 at 5:06 pm

fun times, indeed :) thanks for sharing with us!!


25 Diana (Soap & Chocolate) September 9, 2010 at 9:02 pm

AAAH so fun! So glad you had a great time–it looked great. I had bachelorette party duty myself a couple weeks ago. We planned a wine tasting tour in the Hamptons by stretch limo for the bride. Any chance you can squeeze NY into your CA wine honeymoon? ๐Ÿ˜‰

Enjoy your last weeks as a “single lady!”


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