December Edition 22, Real Bride
How 1 Real Bride Proposed to her Bridesmaids
Tell us about YOU; who are you, where do you live and what do you do?
Hi there, thank you so much for including me in this! My name is Kaitlin and I live with my fiance in an 1800s cottage in Bucks County, Pennsylvania. I would consider myself a self-proclaimed romantic at heart, living for the little moments in life and romanticizing each and every one, no matter how big or how small. My philosophy for living creatively is to take the poetic approach in whatever I do and to essentially look at my days and moments through a lens of love and intention.
I own a design studio, Aurora Designed, where I create art for a living and design brands and websites for other artists and creatives. I mimic poetry and romance in my work, and within our home, and pull inspiration from all things artistic, soulful, and storytelling. I fill my space with things woven with story and meaning, more specifically, with thrifted books, collected art, antique furniture, and lots and lots of layers and curated finds. My goal in my home, relationships, work, daily life, and in our wedding, is to have it all feel layered, intentional, poetic, artistic, and curated.
When & where are you getting married?
My fiance and I are getting married on October 7, 2023 at the beautiful Rushmore Estate in Hudson Valley, New York. The theme or “aesthetic” encompassing our wedding is Tuscan Countryside, and our venue is a mixture of California-winery and countryside-estate. The building and property is infused with old world charm and weaves together both history and luxury into its ambiance.
When is your Bachelorette? Do you know where you’re going?
My bachelorette might be the only aspect of our wedding that I haven’t quite brought to fruition just yet! It will most likely be during the summer months and somewhere with both water and desert — maybe Utah or California!? I am hoping for a mix between vintage western aesthetic and artistic old-soul vibes (not sure how on Earth I will pull those two together but I love a challenge). My dream bachelorette vision is to be with my girls wearing my favorite cowboy hat and vintage fringed denim while painting pottery and drinking wine. Or mezcal margaritas.
Tell us about your recent bridesmaid dinner? Did you have a theme, what was the vibe, how did you choose the aesthetic?
Rather than calling my girls my “bridesmaids”, “bride tribe”, or anything of that sort, I am instead calling them my “wine, pasta, and love club” — so in an effort to mirror the wedding theme and this little term I came up with, the theme of the dinner party was also the Tuscan Countryside vibe with lots of wine, pasta, and love. To give the tablescape that Italian countryside feel, I set up the pergola in our cottage’s backyard with twinkle lights, layed out vintage lace and linen tablecloths, sourced organic pots and earthy greenery, lit plenty of pillar candles, tied pink bows around antique glassware, wrote out the most perfect Gigi and Olive place cards, and sprinkled rosemary and pears along the center. For the dinner itself, I (with the help of my mama) put together a bunch of fun appetizers along with (of course) wine, pasta, and pizza. And to finish it off, a vintage “wine, pasta, and love club” cake with cherries on top.
How many Bridesmaids are you having?I am having 7 bridesmaids: my three best friends from childhood, my 3 best friends from college, and my fiance’ sister that I will soon be lucky enough to call my own.
What items did you gift for your Bridesmaid proposals?
Oh gosh, this was my favourite part (probably because gift giving is one of my love languages). I’ll start of with the box, or more so, the bag — I wanted my girls to have something that they could use during both wedding events and just for fun, so I got “wine, pasta, and love club” embroidered on little canvas bags inspired by the trending L.L.Bean totes. Next I included wine bottles with custom labels (each of these had a cheers/toast written by me on the back). The wine label designs then mirrored the custom crewnecks which I also included in their tote bags. The crewnecks I can’t take too much credit for, since I saw similar designs on Tiktok and Instagram, but nonetheless still custom to our wedding and perfect for cooler night festivities next fall.
I also included “Ciao” claw hair clips from Etsy (continuing the Italian aesthetic of course), vintage floral art prints, and Italian-inspired packaged chocolate from the one and only Gigi and Olive. My favorite part of their proposal gifts was their hand-written note personalized for each girl (also from Gigi and Olive) with “to my Bridesmaid” and “to my maid of honor” printed at the top. In each note I described what each friendship meant to me and why I wanted each woman to be standing next to me on my special day.
What was your most expensive purchase? Was it worth it?
For my bridesmaid proposal, my most expensive purchase might be a tie between the embroidered bags, custom claw clips, and printed crewnecks. Most of the time when you are getting things customized like that it will most likely be at a higher cost, but at the same time incredibly worth it. If I haven’t made it totally obvious already, I love creating custom, intentional experiences and moments and will absolutely invest in bringing them to life.
For my bridal wardrobe in general, my most expensive purchases were my two wedding morning robe options (one from Gigi and Olive and the other from a boutique called Stone Cold Fox), and both are absolutely worth it. When it comes to fashion, I am happy to invest in pieces that are made well and simply beautiful in general. My wedding morning will be one of the most special mornings of my life and I want to make sure each part of it is done intentionally, especially with what I’ll be wearing during those last hours as a fiance!
What was your best budget purchase?
For my bridesmaid proposal, my best budget purchases were the pieces I collected from antique and thrift stores (the glassware, tablecloths, plant pots, etc). Those kinds of stores carry the BEST gems that nobody else will have. They are one of a kind treasures and one of my favorite ways to make an event feel intentional, layered, and unique.
For my bridal wardrobe in general, the best budget purchase is actually my wedding purse — also sourced from an antique store ;) I have such a thing for vintage purses with the hand-done beading and, (I kid you not), I cried when I found the one I might be using for my wedding day. Again, it just feels so unique and special knowing that nobody else will have it and also that it was used for another love story prior to mine.
What are your 3 top tips to other brides planning on asking their Bridesmaids and looking to do something special?
Oh I love this question! First I would say to make a night of it (if that’s possible with everyone’s location and such). It’s truly not often that you get to spend time with all of the special people from different chapters of life, and your wedding events are one of those moments where they will gather around to celebrate you — so definitely try to make a whole night of it.
Second, curate things your bridesmaids will actually use. I really wanted to give my girls a custom experience and get them excited, rather than simply purchasing things that mirrored the concept of “bridesmaid” that you’ve seen everywhere. A lot of cute small businesses and Etsy stores have great options for more personalized, different, and more usable things. Gigi and Olive, for example, has a ton of little gifts that are perfect for a bridesmaid proposal that aren’t overdone and overused such as hair bows, socks, baseball hats, cocktail gift boxes, etc. Overall, your bridesmaid proposal gifts don’t always need to be “bridesmaid” related, they can simply be intentional gifts that reflect the theme of the wedding or proposal event that your girls can use both leading up to AND after the wedding.
Third, and this might be the designer in me speaking, is to create an on-going aesthetic that you can infuse into all of your wedding events. For me, it would be the Italian Countryside theme — and by weaving each event (like the bridesmaid proposal) with this theme, you can create somewhat of a motif that then provides a branding to all of your wedding events and makes your girls feel like each piece was intentional and curated with meaning behind it — SO extra, I know, but also so fun :)
What is the next thing on your Bridal to do list?
The next thing on my bridal to-do list is actually to find my wedding dress, which I am surprisingly really struggling with! What I am looking for is something very untraditional, poetic, layered, textured, and just “different” and finding it is a bit harder than I thought it would be. There are so many gorgeous gowns and designers out there that make the decision very difficult. On the bright side, the search has given me many champagne-filled New York City dates with my mom — so I’m not complaining!
I will give one piece of advice on that note that one of my wedding dress stylists said to me: you’re going to find a lot of gowns that feel like “you” and ones that capture different parts of your personality… the key is to figure out which “you” you want to embody the most on your special day — wild and daring, romantic and poetic, sexy and fierce, classic and timeless, etc. — and then the dress that captures that description the most is your dress :)
How can other Brides follow you?
Design Instagram: @auroradesigned
Follow Kaitlin to find out more about her wedding journey! If you're a real bride or groom getting married and have had a bridal event you'd like us to feature please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org - we'd love to hear from you!