Presents for the Bride and Groom’s Parents

Both Tyler and I felt so fortunate to have such generous parents when it came to our wedding. My parents gifted us our entire wedding (mind you – after giving us a very sizable budget a couple months after we got engaged and then nearly doubled that because they wanted to ensure that we got a perfect day and didn’t have to worry about a single thing). Tyler’s Dad and his new wife gave us an absolutely incredible and extravagant honeymoon to Antigua. And finally, Tyler’s Mom gave us the perfectly intimidate (with just our family and wedding party – just like T and I wanted) Rehearsal Dinner.

Tyler and I wanted to get each of our parents something small to show our appreciation for each of their generous gifts and for their support and love.

Thanks to Pinterest, we learned that “new” wedding gift for parents seems to be handkerchiefs. I immediately fell in love with the sweet idea – and Tyler had to wrap his head around “who uses handkerchiefs anymore?!” Ha!

I absolutely LOVED the Etsy seller/shop that I worked with on these handkerchiefs. She was so easy to work with and communicate with and her work turned out fabulous! AND the shipment came a few days earlier than expected! I worked with CCBGKNIKOLICH on and would definitely recommend this vendor to other brides.

I used the same wording for both of Tyler’s parents – “Thank you for raising your son to be the man of my dreams.”

Thank you for raising your son to be the man of my dreams.

For my Mom’s handkerchief, I wrote “Today a bride, tomorrow a wife, forever your little girl. Thank you for teaching me what a marriage should be like. I love you with my whole heart for my whole life.”

Today a bride, tomorrow a wife, forever your little girl. Thank you for teaching me what a marriage should be like. I love you with my whole heart for my whole life.

For my Dad’s handkercheif, I wrote “Out of all the walks we’ve taken together, this one is by far my favorite. I love you with my whole heart for my whole life.”

Out of all the walks we've taken together this is by far my favorite. I love you with my whole heart for my whole life.

We gave each of our parents their handkerchief gifts at our rehearsal dinner (along with a note expressing our gratitude) and the gifts seemed to be well received! I mean, my Mom cried (but that’s nothing unusual – HA!), so I think they liked them.

Since my parents had done so much for Tyler and I throughout our engagement and wedding planning process, we wanted to give them something “extra” to express how much we appreciated everything they had done for us. Planning a wedding is not just a financial burden on the parents of the bride, it’s also an emotional roller coaster and a very time consuming process. My parents were nothing but supportive in every decision that Tyler and I made together and thrilled to be bringing Tyler into the family.

We decided to give these “extra” gifts to them in private with just my immediate family present. Neither of my parents like to be the center of attention and they definitely didn’t do everything that they did to be recognized by anyone (not even Tyler and I). They were both very humble in their generosity and Tyler and I wanted to respect that when giving them their gifts.

We got my Mom a solitaire pearl necklace:

Solitaire pearl necklace for the mother of the bride

And we got my Dad a Citizen watch:

Citizen watch for the father of the bride

Showered with Love, Showered with Kisses & Showered with Gifts!

So not only did my amazing core group of family and friends shower me with love last Saturday at my bridal shower, but they also showered me with a ton of gifts!

Ohh myy goodness gracious. Can I please tell you how it took four people (each of us carrying enough gifts to equal half of our body weight) to take all of my gifts to the car after the shower? And can I also please tell you how I had to get a luggage cart to get all of the presents into our apartment? And can I also please tell you how Tyler and I had to make a stock pile of presents in a corner of our living room so we could get organized?

Thank goodness we had Tyler’s oldest brother staying with us that weekend! I seriously think Tyler and I might have scattered the presents in the middle of the room and left them there if we weren’t playing host and hostess that weekend. And I know us… If those presents would have made it to the middle of the floor, they would still be there now! Ha!

So with a ton of bridal shower gifts comes a ton of thank you letters. Not so secretly, one of my biggest pet peeves is when people don’t write thank you letters. The time it takes to write a single thank you letter is so minimal, but the impact is so great. If someone is sweet enough to give you a gift (no matter if it’s your birthday, Christmas or if it’s a “just because” occasion), the least you can do is write them a proper note to thank them.

So, me being me, I set up a thoroughly detailed spreadsheet to keep track of all of the gifts Tyler and I have received. After I got all that setup, I went out to write all of my thank you notes.

Back when Tyler and I got engaged, I used our proposal pictures to make little thank you cards from Snapfish.

I’m pretty proud to say that all of my thank you notes were mailed out three days after my bridal shower! So what if I got the ultimate hand cramp writing all of those letters so quickly? ;)

Another pet peeve of mine is when things are what Tyler calls “cookie cutters.” I hate most templates and things that are just fill-in-the-blanks, so I wanted to make sure each thank you letter was personalized in some way. Sure, this took quite a bit of time, and of course, some letter were more personalized than others, but I knew that my thoughtfulness paid off when my friends started calling me to thank me for my thank you letters! Ha!

The hardest part of the thank you letter process was finding the right wording for thanking someone for a gift they sent in their absence. I ended up using wording that was similar to this: “please know that you were missed at the shower, but your well wishes were thoroughly felt on the day.”

It was also tricky finding the right wording for people who gave me lingerie. The sly little fox in me wanted to say something like “And I’m sure Tyler will sending his thanks your way after our honeymoon,” but I was ultimately too embarrassed to write that! Ha!

Graduation Thank You Card Idea

With college graduation right around the corner (at least it is in Virginia!), I thought I’d share a few ideas from my own very graduation!

NOTE: This was originally posted on my other blog, but since I’m going to be getting rid of it in a few months – I just wanted to make sure that it was still documented somewhere!

Graduation gifts are just one of the many perks of your graduation day! But let me be the one who warns you first, with those gifts comes, what will seem like thousands of thank you notes/cards to be written.

When I was younger, I use to be at a lost for words when it came to thank you cards. I never knew what to write besides “thank you for the gift.” But the saying “practice makes perfect” really holds true for me when it comes to thank you cards because, well, I’ve written my fair share of them.

Around 2-3 weeks before graduation, I had a really fun idea for my thank you cards. I love being creative and different so instead of just regular old standard thank you cards, I wanted them to be somewhat unique.

I decided to cut out a huge diploma and write “Thank You” on it. Then, two Saturdays before graduation, my boyfriend (also known as my photographer for the day) and I went on campus to capture a few pictures for me to include with my thank you cards. And we went to my favorite places on campus to take those pictures.

There’s a life-sized statue of President James Madison on our quad that everyone just loves. Students dress him in their sorority’s letters during rush week and put an alumni hat on his head during homecoming week. It’s difficult to explain, but this statue is such an integrated part of our campus culture. I haven’t met a single freshman who didn’t take a picture with him during their freshman year nor have I met a graduating senior who didn’t take one last picture with him before they left. The statue is a major part of our campus so I knew that I had to have at least one picture with him.

Another one of my stops had to be at JMU’s kissing rock. Back when JMU was Madison College, an all-girls school, girls would bring their dates to this rock right before curfew. They say that “if you kiss on the rock, you better be able to afford the rock,” meaning if a boy kisses you on there then you would eventually marry him. I’ve always loved the idea and the history of behind this rock.

I also wanted to take a picture with JMU’s Duke Dog statue. The Duke Dog is our beloved mascot, so I thought it was another perfect way to commemorate my time spent at JMU. Students really get creative when it comes to posing with our campus statues, even climbing up on the Duke Dog’s back for a picture.

The great thing about these pictures is the stories behind them. In all of my thank you cards, I included a few sentences about each picture (fairly similar to how I described them in this post).

This project would be fairly easy to do for even those who are “not artistically gifted” (as one of my friends would say). Instead of drawing the diploma free handed, Google a drawing of a diploma for reference. If you break the picture up into individual parts, it won’t be difficult to enlarge the picture onto your poster board.

It may sound corny, but the key to this simple project is to have fun with it. We took over 50 pictures, but I ended up only using about 6 of them for my thank you cards. If we weren’t having fun with this project then it could have easily been slipped to the back-burner during finals week and may have never been completed.

I’m glad that I did this little something extra because I love having these pictures and the people who received my thank you cards really appreciated them as well.