A Super Successful Bridal Shower Gift that Everyone Can and Should Make!

I spend more time on Pinterest than I do sleeping so I didn’t expect to see anything new at my bridal shower when I was opening my gifts.

I was SO WRONG. I guess Pinterest is pretty big… my future sister-in-law walked in with this amazing thing!!

Ever see one of those before? It’s a wedding countdown! It’s like an advent calendar for Christmas when you’re counting down the days to get your gifts only instead of toys, you’re counting down to the biggest gift of all – marriage.

Awww. So Sappy.

I Snapped opening it every day
I tried to wait until every night except the last night so I could look forward to it all day!

When your wedding’s coming up, you’re all excited and enveloped by the impending magic, yet you still have to go about daily life – commute, work, all that jazz – and be around loads of people who don’t see the days as any more exciting than the last. so it’s nice to have something to come home to that just feeds that excitement a little bit.

So, since I loved my advent so much, I HAD to make one for my friend Emily’s upcoming nuptials!

I tag-teamed with my sister-in-law (a different sister-in-law, I have five!) and off we went to our favorite store: The Dollar Store. Okay I KNOW that sounds a little cheap, but think about it, if you’re going to give someone 10-12 gifts, they can’t all cost and arm and a leg. Plus, Emily’s wedding was extra special because not only was she getting married, but she has a 7 year-old daughter whom we wanted to include.

Our mission: 24 gifts – 12 for the bride, 12 for her daughter/flower girl. AND we wanted each day of gift opening to be related in some way (for example if we gave Emily socks, we wanted to give her daughter socks).

Now, we did our research (Pinsearch?) before we set off and tried to get ideas, but most posts only showed the final gift of wrapped presents and not what was IN all of the presents, so we were kinda on our own.

Our method was to stroll around the dollar store until we found something that one of the girls would like, then try to find something or think of something to go with it. As we went we began to have ideas for things we couldn’t find at the Dollar Store so we got just a couple other things at Marshalls (another FAVORITE of ours!)

So here’s the whole shabang!

Plus I made little notes to go with each in hopes of explaining why we chose some of the gifts we chose.

Since this is an advent calendar, you count down like a rocket launch.

12. Candles – a fragrance we liked for Emily and a cutsy cupcake for her daughter. Dollar Store.
11. Their favorite candies – thankfully she wasn’t on any pre-wedding diet or anything. Besides, with only about a week to go until the wedding she wouldn’t want to do anything to make her dress not fit anyway! Dollar Store.
10. Hairbrushes – you can seriously never have enough. Dollar Store.
9. Panties/socks – we had to get the bride panties, but it felt weird to buy her daughter some too, so we got her socks. Marshalls.
8. Nail polish – something girly that they both love! Dollar Store.
7. Matching spandex – we blew our budget with this gift… but the bride and groom met while training for a marathon and what mom doesn’t want to match her little girl?? We HAD to! Marshalls.
6. Magic expanding facecloths – if you haven’t gotten any of these before, you need to! They’re so much fun, they’re facecloths, but they come vacuumed into a shape (in this case a heart) then they expand in water. The bride also had a theme of Beauty and the Beast for her wedding so the princess washcloths were perfect. Dollar Store.
5. Bath bomb/bubble soap – we knew the bride loves bath bombs, but we didn’t know how her daughter felt about baths… so we got her play bubbles. Dollar Store.
4. Wine glass/snack water bottle – this gift isn’t quite done in the pictures and it’s driving me CRAZY because I know I have a picture of the final but I can’t find it anywhere! I have access to a vinyl cutter so I used that to personalize the sticker with a “Mrs. Greene” sticker, then we found an adorable drink/snack combo water bottle for her daughter. In liu of a picture of the final glass, here’s a snapshot of the design. Dollar Store.

I was pretty proud of it 🙂

3. Flip-flops – the bride was going somewhere South for her Honeymoon and her daughter was getting a beach vacation after the wedding, so these seemed appropriate. Dollar Store.
2. Pregnancy test/Small plant – okay, so this one’s the most risque… but the bride had, on more than one occasion, mentioned a honeymoon baby so we had to! And what do you get for a little girl who shouldn’t know anything about the miracle of birth just yet? A seedling! Dollar Store/Marshalls.
1. Earrings/Candy Necklaces – we knew we wanted to give the bride some jewelry to open the night before our wedding, but there was no way we could swing two pricey pieces. Besides, we’re pretty sure the 7 year-old would much rather candy than some silly old necklace or something. Marshalls/Dollar Store.

The final result!

My sister-in-law and I decided at the beginning that we didn’t want to restrict ourselves to only gifts that we could tack on a board, especially for two giftees, so we decided at the beginning that we were going to use a basket.

QUICK TIP: Make sure to budget in the basket or board to hold everything as well as the wrapping paper and jazz. We got the PERFECT wrapping paper at the dollar store, but the basket wasn’t cheap at Marshalls. It was worth the extra money, though, because we wanted her to be able to use it after.

Also, I definitely suggest writing a “rules” or “how-to” on the gift. Especially in the hullabaloo of getting ready for a wedding, no bride can be expected to sit down and figure out how this whole thing works or remember you verbally telling her. I certainly couldn’t. I re-read the instructions on my count-down a bunch of times before opening my first one so I could ensure I got the whole experience!

I’m already pumped for the next wedding so I can make another one of these!!



Tru Wuv and Other High School Awkwardness

On September 9th, 2009, I walked to school with a tray a lemon flavored cupcakes because during the 15 minutes that my friends and I had before class began, my friend Amanda and I decided we would be married in the noisy, bustling cafeteria. Our friend Hanna stood before us and read those sacred words,

“Mawage. Mawage is wot bwings us togeder tooday. Mawage, that bwessed awangment, that dweam wifin a dweam… And wuv, tru wuv, will fowow you foweva… So tweasure your wuv.”

The Princess Bride

I was a self-proclaimed awkward kid when I was in Middle and High School, although honestly I didn’t need to proclaim it myself because everyone else was doing it for me. I ran into some bullying issues when I was in 6th grade, but I was lucky enough to have a mother who gave me the support and confidence that I needed to get through it – by which I mean make new friends.

Since lunchtime was the longest stretch of time that we had to socialize, I devised my plan of attack for then. Our cafeteria had this really weird layout to it – two large platforms on either side with tables on them and then more tables in the middle which was lower. My “friends” and I would sit at a table on one of the platforms and I could see across to a table on the other platform where there was a girl (who I’d later learn was Amanda) who was loud and commanding and everyone just seem to listen to her and want to talk to her all at the same time.

I thought, “you know, that kinda looks like a good bunch of weirdos over there so I’m going to go sit with them – but I’mma go ahead and sit as far away from that popular one as possible because every time I try to interact with anyone popular, it doesn’t go terribly well”

All this is not to say that I had a low self-esteem, I was just realistic. 

So I picked up my tray and crossed the depths of the lower cafeteria to the other platform to find friends who didn’t just like totally leave me out of sleepovers (still kind of a dick move, Deanna).  

Anyway, this diagram below depicts exactly how I (an introvert) became bffs with Amanda (an extrovert):

I’d link this for credit, but I found it from someone who didn’t link the credit… Not sure what the proper etiquette is for this.

Thus a relatively elaborate story was set in motion when Amanda “proposed” to me in the water at a grandfather’s camp at her birthday bash. The story grew until my new friends and I had fabricated an entire extended family together complete with a mythical pet (our friend Gus), a set of triplets (who were not the ACTUAL triplets in the friend group), and a jar of SunButter as our grandfather. By the time we were seniors in high school, Amanda and I had to take a hard look at each other and decide that maybe we should pull it back a little bit – people might actually start to think we’re lesbians and we’re both really big fans of guys. 

However, the endearing terms her being my “hubby” and me being her “wifey” never quite made it out of our vocabulary.

Now, 7 years later after mine and Amanda’s lives diverged both in culture and geographically, we’ve found that we’re the type of friends who can go months without speaking, yet come together like no time has passed.

At one of those together times, she told me her boyfriend proposed to her!

Now real talk, I love Amanda dearly but I never had a whole lot of faith in her taste in men. BUT. The man she’s now engaged to is the first man I believe is worthy of her and I’m SO freaking excited for them!

In my natural DIY way I decided that I would make them an engagement present because, you know, that’s what I do, and that the most appropriate gift would be to give those vows that Amanda and I made on 9/9/09, back to her.

So here it is – the outside shape is a heart because, you know, cheesy romantic love stuff, and the silhouette actually is a tracing I did of the actors in the movie. Ironically, in the movie the quote is what was said at the wedding ceremony of the evil guy and princess (who of course didn’t actually end up together), but who’s really paying attention to that fact…

Originally when I made this for her, it was just a personal use piece so I honestly just googled “The Princess Bride Font Free” and I got a bunch of results. Since The Princess Bride only really has a title to go off of for font, I just found one with a kind of swoopy, serify look to it. Eventually I decided I wanted to make it possible for other people to use my cut file so I ended up going back and searching for a “free for commercial use” font and I found another really nice one called Harrington.

For the lights, I just ordered some fairy string lights off of Amazon that had a small double A battery pack. They make them with button batteries, the really little 3 volt batteries, but I wanted it to last a little longer than such a small battery would allow. I hot glued the battery pack to the back of the heart, making sure that she could still open it to replace the batteries, then I just made a mess of the string lights and used little dots of hot glue to secure it all around the outer and inner edges. Finally, I added little legs made out of stacked, laser cut circles (essentially diy dowels) to the back of it that were just ever so slightly taller than the battery pack so that she could attach the legs to the wall and the battery pack wouldn’t be an issue.

I like to design my pieces with love, it’s more motivating.

Want to Make One?

Click here to check out the design on my Etsy!