The Bride’s Checklist

There are certain wedding day essentials no bride should be without. Here are some tips from two past brides on what worked or took up space for them in their wedding day essentials haul. Tag all the special brides in your life.

After months maybe years of planning, it’s almost time for the big day!  The week before your wedding is likely to be a tad hectic with some last-minute tasks to get through. It’s crunch time, and you’re pretty sure you’ve got everything in order….kinda…sorta? Don’t fret! Two Brides come together and give you the scope of what you may want to add to your list or ditch from the list!

Let get to it!

Eleni’s List

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Things I’m so glad I had 

Emergency kit – My wonderful bridesmaids put together the BEST emergency kit. I’m sure I’m forgetting a few things but this was what they had in my emergency bag.

  • Breath Mints
  • mirror
  • tweezers
  • tissues
  • asprin
  • hairspray
  • bobbypins
  • deodrant
  • Fashion tape ( which I used a ton of)
  • band aids
  • SNACKS (my girls know me so well)
  • safety pins

 

Breakfast – My husband had some of the groomsmen pop into my airbnb early in the morning and leave a box of breakfast tacos. I WISH I had a picture but the tacos formed the shape of a heart.

 

Quiet Time – Weddings are BUSY to say the least and we had a huge wedding party. I’ve been a bridesmaid in enough weddings to know that the “getting ready” process for the bride is hectic. I realized very early on that I did not want to get ready with any of my bridesmaids, not because I didn’t want to be around them but because I wanted to peacefully get ready and prepare myself for day to come. I’m so glad I was able to get ready with my sister the first half of the morning and finish the rest with my mom and grandmother. Having just them around was so special. My hair and makeup artist are also my personal friends so it was nice to enjoy them before the wedding started. I met up with my bridesmaids at the church when it was time for pictures.
Things I wish I’d had:
Better Vendors – There are some vendors who I wish we wouldn’t of hired. I wont name shame but replacing them could of made a few things go smoother. Research your vendors and try to see them in action before you hire them.
Things I had but didn’t really need:
Guestbook – Don’t stress about this unless you really need something on your coffee table.
My Phone : I wish I had just turned it off. I only had it while I got ready but it did add to my stress since I was checking on all vendors, etc. My junior bridesmaids had two jobs once they met up with me 1. make sure my purse made it to the reception. 2. take my phone away. This task was PERFECT for two 10 year old twins. I never saw my phone or purse again till the end of the night.
Things I’m so glad I didn’t have:
First look before the wedding – Photographers push HARD on having this done. We stood our ground on waiting to see each other. Worth it.
Speeches – With a wedding party of over 20, 5 parents and 3 grandparents in attendance, we knew there was no way that we could give everyone an opportunity to speak at this wedding without boring the guest. So, the majority of our speeches were given at rehearsal dinner. To us, it made more sense to have intimate speeches with people that actually know the stories and inside jokes. At the wedding we just had our parents speak and koumbara.
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Claire’s List 

My best friend (Kirby) recently married the wonderful Claire Langseth! She truly has became one of my best friends from the moment Kirby introduced us.Thank you, Claire for giving in your input and doing this blog post with me!

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Things I’m so glad I had:

Water: My dad packed a cooler of water and put it in the bridal room for myself and the bridesmaids. You don’t think about drinking water when you’re running around like a chicken with your head cut off, but you should! Keep yourself hydrated so you stay feeling good on your big day.
Band-aids: Obviously, I (stupidly) didn’t break in my beautiful white shoes before the big day because I didn’t want to get them dirty. But those suckers rubbed some nasty blisters on my heels. So band-aids came in handy, and a change of shoes for the reception was also a lifesaver.
24-hour lasting liquid lipstick and gloss: I bought my lipstick before my make-up trial, and I ended up changing my mind on what color I wanted about 7 more times. But I’m so glad I went with a long-lasting liquid lipstick because the color never wore off and when my lips got dry during pictures I just put a little bit of the gloss on. I tried out several different brands (Sephora, CoverGirl, Maybelline) during my quest for the right color and they all worked really well.
Clip-Board: If you don’t have a team of people managing every little detail of your wedding for the entire day, then you may consider printing off all of your relevant info (wedding party and immediate family list with phone numbers, vendor list with phone numbers, schedule, etc.) just so you have all the information someone might need for your wedding easily at hand.
Things I wish I’d had:
Costume tape: This seems like a no-brainer that I just didn’t even think about. But one of the sleeves of my dress would occasionally droop a little, and if I’d had some tape that would have fixed that issue easily.
Snacks: At my wedding we took all of our photos, including wedding party and immediate family, before the ceremony. That put some people waiting around at the chapel for a couple of hours. I wish I had provided some snacks for them. Some people made a run to the store for snacks and drinks, but I wish they hadn’t needed to.
Hangers: During the waiting around before the ceremony, some of the groomsmen got hot and understandably took off their jackets. But those jackets ended up crumpled up in a chair and some of them got pretty wrinkly. I wish I had brought some hangers for the guys to take off their jackets and put them in the coat closet.
Things I had but didn’t really need:
Spare Rings: Everyone told us to have an extra set of cheap rings just in case we forgot our real ones. A week before the wedding (while I still had time to think about all the details) I put together a “Day of Wedding Emergency Package” with all sorts of stuff (bobby pins, mints, hair spray, spare rings, etc.) and I made sure the real rings were in there too. Then I gave the package to my wedding coordinator the night before the wedding and she took care of it from there. So good preparation took care of needing to worry about that.
Decorative sign asking people to turn off their phones: This was unfortunately not effective. Even though I posted a sign about it in the chapel, I printed it on the programs, and the officiant made an announcement about it, people still got out their phones and took pictures during the ceremony.
Things I’m so glad I didn’t have:
My phone: I didn’t have my phone on me at all. It was put in a bag at our hotel room where we went that night. So I was totally cut off from the world and it was wonderful. I got to truly soak in every second of that magical day.

 

 

A mix of fun from both weddings! 

XoXo – Mrs. Kramer & Mrs. Langseth! 

 

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What is a Greek Orthodox Wedding?

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I’m sure the burning question is there ( because we always get asked) Yes, Jacob converted and is Greek Orthodox. Below is a picture of him after he was baptized. No, he did not get baptized in a kiddie pool like in My Big Fat Greek Wedding.

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So now that that’s out of the way. We are going to share our ceremony pictures! We had a Greek Orthodox wedding at Saint Basil the Great in Houston. We both mutually agree that our favorite part of our WHOLE wedding was the ceremony. Maybe the service was so exceptional because we understood and spent time studying what each process meant. Nonetheless it was perfect.

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The sacrament of marriage in the Eastern Orthodox Church joins two believers into one. Sacrament of Marriage consists of.

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  • The Exchange of Rings
  • The lighting of the Candles
  • The Crowning
  • The Readings from the Bible
  • The Drinking of the Common Cup
  • The Ceremonial Walk
  • Lastly, the Proclamation of Husband & Wife.

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The Rings! 

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The rings are first blessed by the priest and then exchanged between bride & groom. The rings are blessed by the priest, who touches the foreheads of the Bride and Groom three times with them. He does this three times in the Name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, first from the groom to the bride, and then from the bride to the groom. The back and forth movement can be interpreted to mean that the lives of the two are being entwined into one

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The priest then places the rings on the ring fingers of the right hands of the two. It is noteworthy that the right hands are used in the putting on of the rings, since according to all Biblical knowledge we have, it is the right hand of God that blesses; it was to the right hand of the Father that Christ ascended; it is to the right that those who will inherit eternal life will go.The rings are then exchanged three times on the fingers of the bride and groom by the Best Man BUT in our case since our Best Man isnt Greek Orthodox our Maid of Honor( Koumbara) did it. This exchange further expression and witness that the lives of the two are being brought together. The exchange signifies that in married life, the weakness of one partner will be compensated by the strength of the other. Apart, the newly betrothed are incomplete, but together they are made perfect.

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What are wedding candles are how are they used?

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The bride and groom each hold a lighted candle during the service. The candles remind the couple of the light of Christ who is with them throughout the sacrament and their coming life together.

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The wedding candles are usually tapered, white and 18″ – 24″ in height. They are lit by the priest during the service and handed to the couple to hold for part of the service. Our candles were beautifully decorated by my sister with mini olive tree branches. They looked SOOOOO GREEK!

What are stefana (Stéfana)? The Crowning of the Bride and Groom. 

The Crowning is the highlight and focal point of the Sacrament of Holy matrimony. The priest then takes two wedding crowns, or Stefana, and blesses the bride and groom in the name of the Father, and the Son, and the Holy Spirit, and then places the crowns upon their heads

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Stefana are used for The Crowning of the couple. The wedding crowns (Stéfana) are the signs of glory and honor with which God crowns the Bride and Groom during the sacrament. The Bride and Groom are crowned as king and queen of their home, which they will rule with wisdom, justice, and integrity. They represent the couple’s giving of one life totally to the other and through the other to Christ. At the end of the wedding service, the crowns are removed from the couple and the priest prays that God will receive these crowns into His Kingdom. We have ours hanging in our bedroom now in a beautiful box made from Greece ( Thanks Tsounakas Family!)

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After the priest places the Stéfana on the heads of the Bride and Groom, the Koumbara exchanges the crowns three times as witness to the sealing of the union. The crown swapping begins with the koumbaro/a behind the bride and groom – and the koumbaro/a places the crowns three times on the head before the procession around the altar. The bride is at left, the groom at right.
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PLACEMENT #1: The koumbara holds the crowns in his or her hand and crosses his hands, RIGHT hand over the left , and then places the crowns on the heads of the bride and groom.

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Father trying to convince me to do the Our Father prayer in all three languages. We settled on me just doing it in Spanish and he would do it in Greek 🙂

PLACEMENT #2: The koumbara lifts the crowns off the head and then switches the crowns in her hand by uncrossing herhands, RIGHT hand back over the left and then around under the left hand. The arms end up crossed and the same crown goes back onto the brides head, and the same crown back onto the groom’s head.
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PLACEMENT #3: For the third switch, the koumbaro will move his right hand back under the right and then around over again the left hand.
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The order is specific and symbolic – the right hand leads over the left on the first switch/placement – just as the right hand leads with all religious ceremonies. Generally the crowns are interchangeable or identical. If the crowns are specific for the bride and groom, then the groom’s crown starts on the bride and the bride’s crown starts on the groom. That way after the exchange, they are resting groom’s crown on the groom’s head and bride’s crown on the bride’s head. They wear the crowns this way for the remainder of the ceremony and as they circle the altar.
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  • The Readings from the Bible

The reading is done after the Crowning. The designated reading from the scriptures is from the Epistle of St. Paul to the Ephesians where Paul talks of love and respect.

  • The Drinking of the Common Cup

The Orthodox Wedding tradition ceremony has a ritual of the drinking of the common cup. On the altar table is a wine decanter with wine and a common cup. After the priest reads Bible passages, the priest pours the wine into the single cup and the bride and groom take three sips of wine from the shared cup.

The ritual of the common cup is based on the wedding of Cana of Galilee, where Jesus turned water into wine. Just as wine was drunk at the wedding in Cana, the Bride and Groom share a common cup of unconsecrated wine, symbolizing the sharing of all that life will bring. The cup represents life and symbolizes they will share everything. Their sorrows will be divided in half and their joy will be doubled.

Here is a picture of us drinking from the common cup:

  • The Ceremonial Walk

The priest lead us, hands joined, in a circle around the holy table as we took our first steps as husband and wife. (Disclaimer – Jacob and I were legally married a year before our orthodox wedding, but this just felt like we officially became Husband and Wife!)

The circling around the table signifies the promise of the husband and wife to preserve their marriage bond until death parts them. The ceremony is concluded with the priest invoking God’s blessings and removing the crowns.

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  • Lastly, the Proclamation of Husband & Wife.

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OMG you made it to the end! Give yourself a long pat on the back!!

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DIY Bridesmaids Bouquet

I (Eleni) like real flowers as much as the next person BUT I love the ability to reuse things. Although these flowers were a SAVE money wise, I had a few more useful ideas for these beauties

  1. They sat on the sweetheart table
  2. My bridesmaids can keep their bouquets as keepsakes

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Difficulty:✂

Materials: You are welcome to use any flower combo you wish. I used the following

  • Mini Olive Leaf Bundle Bush ( $9.99)
  • Eucalyptus Bush ( $18.99)
  • White & Cream Peony Bush ($11.99)
  • Gold Ribbon (3.99)

Tools:

  • Hot Glue Gun

I bought my flower bunches from Hobby Lobby. The flowers were 50% off the average price that week. I also used a 40% coupon, that was applied to my ribbon.

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My overall total was under $25 for six bouquets & one center piece ( I used left over flowers for a wreath project).

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Instructions: 
1. Prepare stems by cutting into useable pieces. Use your wire cutters and and trim off  all the excess leaves, leaving only one or two close to the flower. After you have your single stem flower wire and tape stems as necessary. This allows you to extend the length of a flower easily.

2. Choose 2-4 flowers to start the base of your bouquet. I started with one stem of lamb’s ear, a couple olive steams and a stem of white Peony .

3. Wrap your bouquet in floral tape, starting at the top and traveling down the stem bunch. This will give your bouquet a little added support.

4.Cut a piece of ribbon about a yard long and put a dot of hot glue on the back of the stems and wrap the ribbon around the stems. Pin with hot glue gun and voila you have yourself a fake flower  bouquet.

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15 First Dance Songs

we are sharing our wedding photos along with some tips. First up is our first dance.

As much as we’d love to bombard you with all our wedding photos, we figured it would be nice to add some tips, advice and show what we did.

Our first dance was an easy pick. We wanted something classic and timeless. We picked “At Last” by Etta James (but there is a Beyonce version as well).The #1 rule is to keep things personal. It doesn’t matter if your first dance song is unique, popular, old, new, slow, fast, or anything else. All that matters is that you and your fiancé think it’s the right one for you. Have fun picking!

Here are some songs that landed on our list and hopefully help you with picking the first dance!

1. “Can’t Help Falling In Love,” Elvis Presley
Lyrics you’ll love: “Like a river flows surely to the sea/Darling so it goes/some things are meant to be”

2.”Better Together” by Jack Johnson
This song is entirely sweet with a soft but playful acoustic melody. Probably a more underrated first dance song, but a favorite!

3. “The Way You Look Tonight” – Frank Sinatra
Lyrics you’ll love: “Some day, when I’m awfully low / When the world is cold / I will feel a glow just thinking of you / And the way you look tonight / Yes, you’re lovely, with your smile so warm.”

4. “L-O-V-E,” Nat King Cole
Lyrics you’ll love: “Love is all that I can give to you/Love is more than just a game for two/Two in love can make it.”

5. “Thinking Out Loud” – Ed Sheeran
Lyrics you’ll love: When your legs don’t work like they used to before / And I can’t sweep you off of your feet / Will your mouth still remember the taste of my love? / Will your eyes still smile from?

6. “Make You Feel My Love” – Adele
Adele’s voice just asks to be sung as a first dance!

7. “All My Life” by K-Ci & JoJo
A classic. Cant go wrong with this song.

8. “You and I (Nobody in the World)” by John Legend
This song was ALMOST our first dance! We love this song.

9. ” Ordinary People” by John Legend
Jacob’s favorite song. This was another song that almost made it on our dance floor. We love this song because it’s so real and shows love isn’t perfect.

10. “Perfect” by Ed Sheeran
Reasonably new song and just a perfect love song.

11. ” With You I Am” by Cody Johnson
Lyrics you’ll love: ” Who’s that guy with a big ole smile as wide as the Rio Grande. … Same ole boy but a whole lot better whenever you holding my hand. I used to poke fun at them punch drunk lovers.”

12. “Die a Happy Man” by Thomas Rhett
Personal favorite. Kinda slow but so romantic!

13. “God Gave Me You” by Blake Shelton
Lyrics you’ll love: ” ‘Cause God gave me you for the ups and downs
God gave me you for the days of doubt.For when I think I’ve lost my way.”

14. “My Best Friend” by Tim McGraw
Lyrics you’ll love: “You’re more than a lover.There could never be another.To make me feel the way you do Oh we just get closer.”

15.” You’re Still The One” by Shania Twain
This one has to be a classic! Who doesn’t love singing this song on the top of their lungs!!

Have any to add to the list? Comment in the post to help those planning brides.

IKEA bed frame turned seating chart

Check out our seating chart. This isn’t our best work yet but considering we did this two days before the wedding, I’ll take it.

Obligatory new young couple first place together calls for some IKEA furniture.

Well it was functional for the year we used it, the bed frame literally came apart as our movers tried to move us into our now home. We both knew this would happen and expected it to.

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I hate throwing things away (no, I’m not a hoarder) but I had hoped to give this bed frame a longer time frame. Once the frame became trash after our move, my self-talk went something like “if you don’t find a way to use this within two weeks, you better trash it, girlie” also I better have found a use because I knew Jacob would throw it away himself if I didn’t.

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It then hit me WEDDING SEATING CHART!!!I pulled out my handy dandy cricut and got to work! First , of course have your wedding list and RSVP’s complete! My husband is savvy with excel so we where able to group people in an orderly fashion ( The Knot does this for you)

Grooms family

Brides family

Fraternity brothers

Sorority sisters

Church friends

Coworkers

Brides parents friends

Grooms parents friends

If you hate excel, you do have options. The Knot is super resourceful. Well, most of our guest sent back their RSVP cards, some decided on RSVPing on the Knot (if we had to go back in time, I would have skipped out on the RSVP cards and stuck only to the Knot.)  The Knot takes the RSVP then categories households which is also super efficient.The program then lets you export the list into excel. IS THAT EASY!!!!!

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KNOT

The Knot made making a seating chart somewhat bearable. If it were up to us we wouldn’t have a seating chart, and we couldn’t care less where everyone sat but because our cater needed to know where specific meals went this not only made their lives more comfortable it made having the exact number of tables out for room purposes resourceful as well. I printed the list of our final guest count and got to cutting. I left families, group, together, so it was easier to visualize the said table.

Difficulty : ✂✂

Time consuming: 🕐🕓🕗

Step One :Have your seating chart done & grab your cricut

  1. Downloaded winter calligraphy font from da font (or any font you prefer). After you download the font, when you go to the cricut you can find it easily by clicking “system fonts” to choose your text font.
  2. Measure your width and give yourself a guessimate of how much space you have for your lettering. I really did just eyeball this beacause I’m the most impatient.

img_3769 4. Once all the letters are cut, place onto your board.

Here comes the fun part part-

Jacob and I thought we would make the whole seating chart using vinly and quickly realized what a mistake that was and had to scrap that plan two days before the wedding.

img_4201 It was not only so time consuming but hard to keep neat and put together, it wasnt very easy to edit. we scraped that idea and went with escort cards.

I cut 2 x 3.5 cards using my cricut and we glued them onto the board.

img_3771 After all the gluing of the 3.5 x 2.5 cards got placed, Grennery was put along the edges to make it more pleasing to the eye. This seating chart wasn’t our best work yet, but it got the job done. Share your ideas and or what you used as a seating chart.

img_4409.jpg Promise the end result looked a lot nicer, I will update with more photos once we get photos back from our photographer.

Colorado Bachelorette Party

#Elenibachshitcrazy 

What do friends, adventure, and LOTS of food have in common? They were all very integral parts of my bachelorette weekend getaway, of course! I’m so excited to share the details from our time in Denver, Colorado.

It was the perfectly planned trip to Colorado, including whitewater rafting and an ongoing list of local restaurants, I couldn’t wait to get off the airplane and get this party started but the moment I got onto Denver land a headache creeped in, nausea kicked into high gear and all I could worry about was finding the nearest trashcan. That’s the curse of altitude sickness, my friends. Upon landing I sat near a trash can till my sister figured her way out of riding the shuttle for the 6th time.

All 7 of us stayed in the Santa Fe Arts District of Denver in a spacious townhouse and used Turo for the first time. I’d have to say; I will forever use Turo as a rental car in new cities. Not only is it a third of the cost compared to renting a vehicle, but it was also a cheaper option and way of getting around for a big group. (shameless plug: Click HERE to use my Turo code, and we both win!) Uber was only used once when we went out and bounced around Denver nightlife. (My uber code gives you $20: elenim105ue )

My Koumbara (more on what that is, is for another post) had a bag of goodies waiting for me at our Airbnb. I was SO excited to get this party started.

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My Koumbara put together welcome kits for the girls which included – Inflatable drink holders which varied from pink flamingos to unicorns, cookies shaped in the form of butts, sunscreen, silicone wine glasses, Tylenol, and candy! My sorority little had fun Drake-themed shirts ready for all the ladies to put on ( thanks, Little)

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Girls just wanna have fun!

MOH booked us an appointment for much-needed spa time which OF COURSE included champagne. Allowing me to open the bottle was the first mistake of the weekend. Next on the agenda was an outdoorsy activity. Whats a Colorado trip without some outdoor fun?? We decided to go on the 1/3 day trip option for white water rafting, so we could enjoy the rest of the evening in the city. White water rafting was a BLAST! We did learn that

  1. The water is COLD (even in July) so don’t wear cotton
  2. The gear STINKS so mentally prepare yourself
  3. You forget about the stench and coldness because the ride is so much fun!!

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Couldn’t forget a bachelorette touch with my bride one piece swimsuit!

Denver Night life

My outfit of choice was a bodycon white off the shoulder ruffle dress.
I’m not a huge fan of sashes so my MOH gifted me a “BRIDE” headband to wear for the weekend. I accessorized with a clutch handbag with Mrs. on the front of it.

My bridesmaids hosted a lingerie shower for me at our Airbnb before we went out for dinner. My MOH decorated the kitchen/ dining area in celebration and had a drink and snack station going for us while we enjoyed their surprise shower for me.

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The girls and I chose to go to  Ophelia’s that night for the atmosphere. It was 90’s night, and we all enjoyed singing at the top of our lungs while enjoying our dinner. We then walked over to a few clubs and bars down broadway street before calling it a night!

Here are some of the local restauanrts we went ate at : 

Little Mans ice cream: I would say is a staple spot to visit. Little Mans also has the cutest shirts avaiable for purchase! Parking may be hard to find especially during the weekend. We went on a Sunday, and the plaza had a huge dog event going on, luckily all of us are dog lovers so this made the super long line bearable.

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My Brother’s Bar: Denver’s oldest Saloon. They have GREAT comfort food!

Jelly Cafe: Jelly’s breakfast is fantastic, reasonably priced and comes with the cutest atmosphere to enjoy it in. Side note – Jelly’s doughnuts are to die for so save room!

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The Original Pancake House: FYI the Denver omelet is HUGE, so dont order that if youre looking for a light meal before white water rafting.

Sassafras American Eatery: Not ashamed to admit  fried pickles were ordered three times….

Melita’s Greek Cafe & Market: Quick, delicious deli with the sweetest staff. Great for customers looking for a quick bite during lunch.

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Special thanks to my bridesmaids who helped to make my bachelorette getaway so special!!!

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Check out the fresh pedicure chanclas.

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