Palm Springs Before the Ring

I am lucky to be asked frequently to contribute custom pieces for weddings, showers and bachelorette events. You know your girl LOVES a theme, so I am particularly excited when I get to make something unique to the event's colors and spirit. When my sister Nicole and her fiance Frank announced their engagement, I was of course completely thrilled about their lifetime full of love and yaddi yadda...but I could not wait to help make her big day and the celebrations leading up to it special!

While she gave me free reign on the bridal shower, we worked together on planning her bachelorette party weekend. We're both big planners and travelers, so it was an easy collaboration! She stayed out of the decor and surprises, but helped to make the trip easy, comfortable and fun for her whole crew!

PALM SPRINGS

We decided on Palm Springs for a few reasons. Firstly, we wanted somewhere warm in March and with the weather the last few years it's hard to guarantee somewhere will be warm in early Spring! Secondly, as centrality wasn't an option because her amazing group of friends would be flying from all over the country (Seattle, New York, North Carolina, Illinois, Ohio, etc.), we could really land just about anywhere! Her vision for the perfect weekend wasn't about bar hopping, so much as fun and sun with her crew, so we wanted to rent a house big enough to fit our group of 17 and for the most part, camp out there! She and I also love to go somewhere we've never been before, and Palm Springs fit that bill, too.

THEME

 

While there is no evidence that any flamingos live in Palm Springs and I'm quite sure you can only get pineapples at the grocery store, I couldn't resist making this trend the subject of our theme! I focused on pink, yellow and green as our colors of choice and incorporated fun phrases like "Let's Flamingle" and "Party Like a Pineapple" in the printable paper decor from Etsy. I found some kitschy paper pineapples and palm leaves on Amazon and topped them off with pops of color throughout the house in the form of very cheap paper poms. I really wanted a photo backdrop, but they were pricey. A stroke of genius and I bought this perfect pineapple shower curtain which was exactly what I was looking for! Pool floaties were a must and while the giant flamingo and pineapple were obvious, we topped it off with a beer pong float and unicorn for good measure. And because we were on vacation, we couldn't be bothered to hold our own drinks, so these mini 'mingos did that for us!

Snapchat is my sis' jam and she really wanted to have a filter for the party. As a surprise, I had a different one made for every day of the weekend! I found one I loved on Etsy from SnappyDays and made two using Canva. They were a big hit and fit the theme perfectly!

ITINERARY

 

Special thanks to Happy Party Studio for making the schedule look extra cute!

Thursday

To make things as easy breezy as possible, we scheduled rental cars to get the girls from LAX to Palm Springs in different shifts. Even though I wanted to ride with my sis, I insisted she go in another car to do the Costco run so the girls in mine could get to the house early to setup some surprises! This was an amazing plan until our Airbnb situation went downhill...more on that in a minute.

Nicole wanted a relaxed weekend, with an emphasis on spending quality pool and cocktail time with her friends so we focused most of our activities at the house. Thursday the gals were coming in at all different times, so we made dinner (& drinks, duh) at home and enjoyed the warm weather!

We had booked an incredible house that would sleep 17 under a mile from downtown Palm Springs through Airbnb. When we were just 20 minutes outside of PS, our host called to let us know he had to cancel our reservation due to a "gas leak." It's a busy time in Palm Springs and finding a house that comfortably fits a large group is no easy task, so there was a lot of scrambling on our end to make things work.

To kick things off in Palm Springs, (and while we waited to figure out how to fix our problem) we enjoyed brunch at Jake's and craft brews and micheladas at Draughtsman. After a lot of calling and a minor amount of panicking, I was able to locate another gorgeous house that could accommodate our needs! The only trick was, it was about 40 minutes away in La Quinta. At a certain point, we had to embrace the chaos and go with the new home! Ultimately, it ended up being incredible as the views of the mountains were stunning and the Old Town of La Quinta was darling. Check out the house here - and shout out to Bunnie of Vacation Palm Springs for helping us in a pinch!

Friday

Friday we kicked off the day with a little breakfast and in-home yoga from Tristan of Gatto Yoga. It was an incredible way to start the morning and Tristan was lots of fun. Highly recommend!

While we had hoped to do the Aerial Tram in Joshua Tree National Park in the afternoon, we had to skip it. We had dinner reservations in Palm Springs that night and decided not to spend the majority of our day back and forth in the car. Our day instead was spent poolside!

We headed into Palm Springs for dinner and drinks. We started off at Truss & Twine for some artisanal cocktails (try the Southside and the Three Dots & a Dash) and then did dinner at Trio. We had a large group, so opted for a prix fixe menu with a starter, entree and dessert. They were great to work with ahead of time and the prix fixe offered a variety of options for any appetite. After dinner, we headed out to Hunters followed by Chill for dancing and mischief, followed by a longggggg Lyft ride home!

Saturday

Saturday we treated ourselves to brunch catered by Todd Konkol Food. Todd brought us an incredible spread with insanely yummy vegetarian quiche (everyone asked for the recipe), turkey sausage, breakfast sweet potatoes, blueberry apple coffee cake, almond danish, fresh fruit and bagels. It was decadent and made with clean ingredients! Todd brought everything ready to serve, so after a few minutes of setup we were happily munching away.

Later that evening, Todd came back to make us a Mexican fiesta and he brought along a secret ingredient, a bartender to make us fresh margaritas! The apps alone were enough for a meal - fresh quac, pico, quesadillas and shrimp ceviche, and then fresh tacos and cauliflower rice and beans. The bride's favorite desserts include peanut butter and chocolate, and Todd did not disappoint! He created a chocolate fudge cake with peanut butter frosting, along with nutter butter cookies with peanut butter filling, dipped in bittersweet chocolate! It was so relaxing to have someone else do the cooking and cleanup and not have to lift a finger or leave the house! 

Sunday

The majority of our group had earlier flights, but for those of us with red-eyes, we asked for a late checkout and spent the day finishing off the food from Saturday at the pool! On our way back to Los Angeles, we stopped to see the world's biggest dinosaurs in Cabazon! It was a nice, quick, campy break from the California traffic. We ended the evening in Santa Monica at Del Friscos for dinner before rushing to the airport.

ACTIVITIES

Games

I worked with a couple of Nicole's best friends to come up with some fun activities for the weekend. Nicole is not really into games that focus all the attention on her, so we knew they had to involve everyone else's special connections, too.

The first thing we did was collect 3+ inside jokes or funny memories via a Google form with Nicole from everyone attending, along with 2+ toasts to read aloud and celebrate Nicole & Frank. Nicole's friend Jackie printed all of the answers individually and pasted them onto cards. While in the pool, we read each toast or joke individually and Nicole had to guess who it came from. If she got it right, they had to drink - but if she got it wrong, she had to! It was fun and also helped to provide context and backstories between different groups of friends attending.

Undies

We also had every girl bring a different pair of undies and strung them up on a clothesline. The undies were unwrapped and Nicole had to try to guess who brought each pair. Some were basic (think hanky pankies) and some were silly (like cats and Beauty and the Beast).

Coloring page

Lately, I've been designing a lot of coloring pages for bridal and baby showers. At the last minute, I decided to whip up a little coloring page for the bachelorette party that fit the theme for a relaxing, poolside activity. I was not sure how this would go over, but Saturday night I walked outside to find a dozen girls coloring away! It was a fun add-on and I'd highly recommend it!

Video

Nicole's favorite was a video I recorded of Frank answering about 15 different questions about he and Nicole. Some of the answers were sweet, others were hilarious. It was a really fun way to incorporate the groom into the event and made for some ridiculous bloopers as well. Nicole had to guess all of Frank's answers and I'd say she got at least 75% percent of them right! While I'd love to share the video (It's a hoot), some things are better kept a secret! :)

GIFT BAGS

If you've been following my insta story lately, you've undoubtedly seen the killer gift bags my sister and I put together for all of the girls attending the party. I must say, these were pretty boss and I think a huge hit with the girls! Here's a breakdown of the contents.

Tees/Tanks

When my friends at Little Chicago Clothing Co. asked me to design some pieces for their Entourage line a month after my sister got engaged, I was like EUREKA. My sister and I were born and raised in Ohio and even though she lives in Chicago, she'll be getting married in Cincinnati. Most of her best friends she met in Cleveland where we grew up, Cincinnati where she worked for years and Athens where we went to college. These shirts are a perfect fit! I let girls choose their preference of tank or tee for comfort, and I selected a rainbow of bright, tropical colors to fit our theme.

Totes

I designed a special tote bag for the weekend that is fun and cheeky and doesn't scream "WEDDING" so it can be used as a beach/shopping bag long-term. My sister and I both wanted everything in the bags to be reusable after the weekend; no specialized items that said "Nicole's Bachelorette Party 2017" because it often feels tacky to use them after the fact. This tote bag hits that mark! And of course I asked my pals at Little Chicago to print these for me!

Tumblers

With 17 girls staying hydrated over the weekend, we didn't want to waste an inordinate number of plastic cups. We had tumblers made with each girl's name, so they wouldn't be mixed up (even though ironically almost every girl on the trip shared their name with someone else on the trip!). Rewined Designed helped me to turn my handwriting into vinyl stickers so the cups could be dishwasher safe; she also included a pineapple or flamingo on each one to match our theme and gave the bride a special bridal version, too!

Custom name straws

I can't for the life of me remember where I saw this idea, but when I sent it to my sister we knew we just had to have them! Each girl had an incredible straw made by Krazy Straws with their name in pink, green or yellow as a keepsake. It also made for some incredible photos!

Hair ties

I HATE getting my hair wet in the pool, so these ties from Azurea Studio was a must-have for me. And with adorable pineapples and flamingos and some fun wordplay packaging, what could be better?

A BACHELORETTE TO REMEMBER

We had an absolute blast. I know that the weekend would have been incredible just having all 17 of these women in the same place, but the special touches, theme, house, delicious food, inordinate number of cocktails and handmade creations made it all the more magical!

What's the next big event you're planning? Maybe you can include some of these clever ideas into your event!

xo. Natalie