These five Vera Bradley ladies hear wedding bells ringing in the distance. We invited them to gather for a little cake tasting and girl talk. From colors to venues to selecting the perfect gown, we covered all the details that go into planning the perfect day, with each bride-to-be sharing her idea of the ideal bridesmaids gift. Join us for a pre-wedding afternoon on the patio.
From left to right: Ashley S., Lauren B., Rebecca S., Sam S., Samantha E.
On the guest list:
Ashley S. | International Design Specialist
Wedding date: August 31, 2013
“I chose the Small Colorblock Tote. I actually ordered each a different pattern monogrammed with their initials and I’m going to do a wedding emergency kit and maybe a mini bottle of champagne.”
Lauren B. | Product Development Administrative Assistant
Wedding date: I just got engaged, but we’re thinking April 12, 2014.
“The gift I chose is the little Kisslock Manicure Set. I just think it is really cute and the perfect thing to throw in your purse.”
Samantha “Sam” S. | Web Project Coordinator
Wedding date: August 2, 2014
“I chose the 2014 Agenda. We are so far out that I wanted to give something to all of my bridesmaids to remember when their dress fittings and other important events are.”
Samantha E. | Merchandise Planner
Wedding date: December 27, 2013
“I chose the Bangle Set. My colors are Tiffany and Co.® blue and red, so I’m hoping the Plum Crazy will match with the blue.”
Rebecca S. | Marketing Coordinator
Wedding date: June 6, 2013
“I chose the Seashore Tote because I am doing a destination wedding in Cabo San Lucas, Mexico. I thought it was a cute for them to take to the pool or beach.”
Q. So, how did he propose?
Lauren: Mine’s pretty funny. I’m from North Carolina, and we went to Wilmington – right along the coast – where our first date happened. We were walking along the beach and all of the sudden he said, “Oh look at this shell!” Well, it was an abalone shell, which we had talked about on the way down. They are only found in California, which is where my fiance is from, and I was like, “Wait, aren’t these only in California?” And he said, “Yeah, that’s really weird, let’s dig around in the sand … “ Finally I was like okay, whatever, and did it just for fun. I was digging around in the sand and felt this glass bottle. I pulled it out, and there was a little scroll in the bottle with the ring around it; a little message in a bottle. And then he got down on one knee!
Sam: Mine is definitely not that great! We had gone out to dinner on the anniversary of the first time he told me he loved me at the restaurant where he did it. But he chickened out proposing there! He had actually said it in the parking lot, so when we went out I thought he was going to propose then but it had been raining, so he didn’t want to get down on one knee. So we went back to our apartment and he proposed there. And our dog was barking because we weren’t paying attention to him. It was really representative of us, so it was really kind of perfect.
Samantha: So mine is not as great either …
Rebecca: We should have ended with you, Lauren!
Samantha: My fiance is not romantic whatsoever, which is okay! We’ve actually been engaged for almost 3 years. We were home from college for Christmas and going to dinner for our 8-year anniversary. Every year I’d ask, “Can we go to the Christmas lights at the zoo?” And he never wanted to. This year, he wanted to go! So we went to dinner and the zoo lights afterwards and we were just walking around and I had no idea. He stopped and took his cell phone out and was taking pictures. I remember thinking, “I’m freezing? What are you doing?” I turned around and he was staring at me with the biggest eyes – like a deer in headlights – and that’s when he got down on one knee and I started crying.
Rebecca: We got engaged about a year ago, and were actually in Maui for our best friends’ wedding. He knew he wanted to propose there, so everyone knew and they were in on it. His plan was to go to Haleakala, a dormant volcano in Maui, and if you get there really early, you can watch the sunrise over the clouds. His plan was to go the first day, but I guess he tried to wake me up and I just didn’t get up! That whole day – everyone had expected it to happen – he was praying no one was going to say anything. The next day, we got up and it was dark outside and we drove up the mountains – it takes hours – and it was freezing. He asked this other couple to take pictures of us. So while this guy was taking pictures of us, he got down on one knee and we have pictures of it.
Ashley: Mine is not so glamorous. I was running The Twin Cities Marathon, and my brother and sister-in-law live there, so we had family at the race. I crossed the finish line and that’s when I qualified for Boston. He proposed at the finish line, so it was a very emotional day!
Lauren: It’s so fitting for you!
Ashley: Yeah, you know I thought a lot of girls probably wouldn’t have liked that but that was a good idea!
Q. What is your color scheme?
Rebecca: It’s kind of a peach – light peachy – and ivory.
Lauren: That will be perfect for a destination wedding!
Rebecca: Yeah, and our ceremony will be at sunset, so I thought it would look really pretty.
Samantha: I’m doing Tiffany & Co.® blue – one of my favorite colors – and red.
Sam: I change my mind every week I think.
Lauren: I haven’t really chosen any yet, but I’m thinking mint and coral since we’d love to do it on the beach, too. Or classic black, white and red.
Ashley: My colors are pretty neutral. My bridesmaids are going to be mismatched, so the colors are blush, champagne, a really soft grey and ivory. We’re getting married at the Embassy Theatre [in Fort Wayne, IN], so I thought those colors would be really pretty.
Q. How many wedding dresses did you try before you found the one?
Lauren: I haven’t tried on any, but I actually worked at a bridal store for 3 years, so I’ve seen every dress you can imagine!
Ashley: Well, I wanted to go to Chicago to find a wedding dress. So I went and the appointments are so short. You only get an hour at each place, and I thought, “If you think I can pick my wedding dress in an hour, you’re living in a dream world!” But I tried on 3 dresses and thought I found “the one.” My mom said, “Let’s just go to one or two places in Fort Wayne, you never know.” And I ended up finding my dress here. I think I only tried on like 5 dresses. I knew I wanted it to be obnoxiously blinged out. It’s kind of obnoxious!
Rebecca: I only tried on about 10. I had done extensive pinning before, so I knew what I wanted. I ended up going in a little bit of a different direction but then I went back after I bought it and I had pinned it!
Samantha: I probably tried on about 10, too. I kind of shopped around, and found my dress in Fort Wayne.
Ashley: You see these shows, and the girls say, “Oh, I tried on 98 dresses …” and I think how? How do you remember no. 14?
Lauren: The truth is, they don’t!
Samantha: I thought for sure I would try on a ton, and the third one I tried I really liked. So now, do I keep trying? I think I’ll try a few more. The one I really love is so different. I thought I wanted lace and fitted, and it’s more of a princess thing.
Lauren: I want something with a really awesome back! Have you ever seen Claire Pettibone designs? I love her styles. The backs are really ornate and very artsy. It’s really a work of art.
Sam: And people see the back of your dress so much at the ceremony!
Q. How did your coworkers react when you announced your engagement?
Ashley: Well, there are always the screams. You know if there are screams, someone is engaged or someone is pregnant. So yes, there were screams!
Sam: My team had a secret code word on Twitter. We knew it was coming. He had my ring for a while, and everyone would ask if he did it. So we came up with a code word and I tweeted it. I think within minutes everyone knew! He was like, why are you on your phone right now?
Lauren: It’s so hard to keep it a secret! I was like, Facebook.
Ashley: My fiancé picked up the ring on his way to the airport. I think he knew if he got it any sooner, I would find it!
Samantha: I was home on Christmas, and my manager emailed me saying, “So, I hear you have some good news for us,” and my whole team on the email.
Q. So, how are you handling the planning and staying organized?
Lauren: I’m not very far along, but I have a little 3-ring binder and a few Vera Bradley notebooks, so I’m prepared. Since North Carolina is so far away, I feel like I’m going to rely on my mom and friends a lot.
Sam: I use Basecamp. Our team actually uses it to stay organized for work, but there’s a personal version as well. I can assign my mom and fiancé milestones, which are basically tasks. You can save files on there; it’s great.
Samantha: My mom keeps me sane! She’s my Matron of Honor, and we are super close. She’s taking control, which I’m so thankful for, and she keeps me on pace so I don’t feel stressed.
Rebecca: I really don’t have that much to do. The biggest thing was picking the resort where we were going to have it. And all of the resorts have wedding coordinators. So now, there’s really not much to do except get down there!
Sam: And then all of your guests get a vacation.
Lauren: How many people are you having?
Rebecca: I think close to 40 people. It’s a little more than we expected.
Lauren: Yeah, I’m looking at maybe 50, tops, for mine.
Ashley: Well, we’re at about 340 right now …
All: Oh my gosh!
Ashley: My fiancé comes from a huge family. His family – aunts, uncles and first cousins – is well over 100 people. So, I was, I don’t want to say “doomed,” but there was no other option but to have a big wedding. So, it’s going to be a big party and there will be seating in the balcony!
Q. Will you incorporate any Vera Bradley colors?
Sam: I’ve been looking at them for inspiration because I’m bad at picking out what colors go with what. I like Sun Valley, the idea of navy bridesmaids dresses and something a little brighter.
Samantha: I want to incorporate it with the Bangle Set because Vera Bradley is such a big part of my life now.
Sam: I love the monogram idea, so now I’m thinking of that, maybe with a travel bag.
Q. What are some of your favorite personal touches?
Ashley: My invitations. Our wedding is kind of vintage, kind of glamorous, and our invitations are being printed on vintage handkerchiefs. I think that is probably my favorite part, the whole vintage theme.
Sam: I like the signature drink idea in a color of the wedding.
Samantha: I want to do sparklers since it will be at night. I’ve seen these little cards on Pinterest that have a quote and then you put a sparkler through, so I thought that would be cute.
Rebecca: My fiancé’s hobby is brewing his own beer, so I saw on Pinterest these personalized beer coozies! I don’t know if that’s really classy or not but I found these really cute ones with script font. It’s fun!
Lauren: I love the little d.i.y. centerpieces on Pinterest with the mason jars and the twine.
Sam: What did people do before Pinterest?
Rebecca: I set up my Pinterest wedding board in the airport, right after we got engaged!
Sam: I had one before I got engaged.
Ashley: Oh, me too!
Sam: I have a baby board right now!
Lauren: I wish someone could take my Pinterest board, and just make a wedding out of that.
Ashley: That’s what I did with my florist, photographer and the girl who is helping me at the venue. I emailed them the link to my Pinterest board and said this is what I’m going for.
Q. What has been the most difficult part in the planning?
Sam: So far, I think getting everyone to agree on things.
Lauren: For me, it’s been the venue. I’ve been looking at a lot of venues, and it’s been a challenge planning from Indiana for North Carolina. And we want it at the coast so we’ll have to make an extra 3-hour trip. But we’ll get there eventually!
Ashley: I think accommodating the numbers. Your choices are very limited if your party is over 200 people, so we had to get creative.
Samantha: I felt like every time I got on Pinterest I was like, “oh yeah, I need to think about that!” I think collecting all of the details and making sure I haven’t missed anything has been the hardest.
Ashley: My Matron of Honor bought me a book when I got engaged, and it has folders in it and checklists and is tabbed. That thing is the gospel to me! My mom is like, “When do we need to do this? Hold on, let me check the book.”
Sam: Mine is from The Knot and is a big binder. I love The Knot!
Rebecca: My Maid of Honor got me one of the May books. They are really cute, and you can personalize them. So she got me one with my new name on it. On the inside it has everything like budgets – actual vs. spent- and it’s small so I can carry it in my purse.
Q. How has your fiancé been handling everything?
Lauren: He says he’s just going to show up, and I say it’s your wedding too! I think once we have the date and venue he’ll be more, “What can I do to help?”
Sam: He has a few very specific ideas that come out of nowhere, like, “I want one of our colors to be orange,” but other than that, he doesn’t care.
Rebecca: I don’t think my fiancé even knows what our colors are! I don’t think he could tell me. And that’s okay!
Samantha: I’ve been letting him decide what he wants to be a part of. Like he wanted input on the cake tasting and the bridal party number.
Sam: The beer.
Ashley: Food and alcohol are the only priorities for him. Other than that, he doesn’t care.
Q. What are you most looking forward to?
Lauren: The honeymoon!
Sam: I think the reception itself.
Ashley: Having such a big family and so many friends, it will be so nice to have everyone in one spot. To have all of our friends and family together will be awesome.
Lauren: That’s true. I rarely get to see my friends and family.
Rebecca: That’s how we are, too. We moved here from Springfield, MO, and didn’t know anyone. So we’re excited to see our friends and family for a week. I’m also excited to have my dress on and be done up and be at that spot. It will be very exciting!
Sam: Yeah, that will be fun to be dressed up and get ready.
Rebecca: I feel like, as a girl, you think about that moment for your entire life. And you will be there, in that moment!
Sam: I feel like it will go so fast.
Q. Is anyone doing a reception or going away dress?
Sam: I’ll probably have white dresses for the rehearsal dinner and the brunch after, but I’ll probably stay in the same thing for the ceremony and reception. I’ll love my dress so much I won’t want to change!
Q. What are your honeymoon plans?
Rebecca: We’re staying in Cabo San Lucas.
Lauren: I’d love to go to Hawaii … I’m just throwing it out there!
Ashley: We are going to Riviera Maya, Mexico.
Samantha: We’re looking at St. Martin’s. I wanted to go somewhere we both haven’t been.
Sam: We’re thinking about Barcelona or Paris. I really want to do something in Europe.
Ashley: I think you have to go to Paris. It sounds cliché, but it’s so romantic. It’s amazing!
Sam: I’ve been there once, but it was a really short visit and it would be totally different for our honeymoon.
Q. What bags are essential for your honeymoon travels?
Rebecca: The Garment Bag.
Ashley: I have to have the Grand Cosmetic; it is my life! I love it.
Lauren: And the Straighten Up and Curl.
Samantha: That’s one of my favorites, too. And my Hanging Organizer; I never go anywhere without that.
Lauren: And the Jewelry Folio.
Rebecca: I was just about to say that!
Lauren: The Weekender or Grand Traveler, maybe just for my shoes!
Sam: I usually grab a Tote for my carry on because I don’t want anything too big to hit people with in the aisle.
Q. Rebecca, you’re wedding is so close! Any advice for Lauren, who just recently got engaged?
Lauren: I’ll take all you have!
Rebecca: Do what you want to do. Don’t get caught up in all of the advice everyone wants to give you. Go with your vision, and try not to second-guess yourself. I do that! I picked this but what if something better comes out? Or I’ll see something on Pinterest and think, I should have done that!
Ashley: I feel like I could have six different weddings, I’m the same way. I second-guess myself all the time. Just go with it.