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A Bride On A Budget by Lisa Sokolowski - 1w ago
I'm a big fan of action stations at weddings. They give guests something to do. And that's important because your cocktail hour can get a little boring. You and your bridal party are off taking photos while the rest of your guests are quickly running out of small talk and crudités. An action station gives them both something to do and something to talk about. This DIY wedding bruschetta bar is perfect for your big day.


DIY Wedding Bruschetta Bar
The really fun thing about bruschetta is you can top it with pretty much anything. Your limit is your imagination. You can create spreads, top it with meat, or (my favorite) a nice piece of cheese.

Now, I'm writing this with the notion that you are creating this for your own wedding, shower, or rehearsal dinner. We had three types of bruschetta at our wedding, and our venue handled it. This post, though, is if you are planning on handling it.

And a big thanks to Gifts.com for help with the post. The site provided the photos to us and helped with the pairing ideas. You can check out the site's blog for other how to posts or the site itself for gift ideas (I have a few that I just put on my Things I Need list).

What You'll Need:

  • Italian or French bread
  • Bruschetta spreads:
    • Tapenade
    • Hummus
    • Pesto
    • Tomato salsa
  • Bruschetta meat pairings
  • Bruschetta cheese pairings
  • Additional toppings (beans, olives, almonds, fruit, etc.)

What You'll Do:

Slice your bread into 1/4 inch slices and toast it. Bruschetta is known for its crispy toast, so you want to crisp yours up.

Create your spreads. Make whatever you like best, but if you need examples, I have recipes for my four favorites. Put each in a separate bowl and label it so your guests know what each spread is.


Bruschetta spreads recipes:
Tapenade:
In a food processor, combine 1 cup olives (pitted), 1 tablespoon capers, 2 cloves garlic, 1 tablespoon lemon juice, and 2 tablespoons olive oil. You can also add salt and pepper to taste.

You can choose any kinds of olives you want. Make it half green and half black, make a batch of each, whatever you like.

Hummus:
In a food processor, combine 1 can chickpeas or garbanzo beans (drained and rinsed), 4 cloves garlic, and 2 tablespoons olive oil. This is your base. After this, you can stir in anything your guests might like: hot sauce, chopped olives, red pepper flakes, etc.

Personally, we roast our garlic first to give the hummus a little bit of a smoky flavor. It does add a little more time to your hummus, so it might be something you want to do for yourself but not for your wedding.

Pesto:
My favorite pesto is Pete's kale and walnut pesto. I think it's a lot better than pesto made with basil and pine nuts, plus it's a lot more cost effective because kale is a lot cheaper than pesto.

To make it, put 2 cups kale, 1 clove garlic, 1/3 cup chopped walnuts, 2 tablespoons lemon juice, 1/2 cup olive oil, 1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese, plus salt and pepper to taste, in a food processor until combined. With this one, we toast the walnuts first but you can skip it.

Tomato salsa:
This is the most common bruschetta topping. And it's the easiest. Okay, they're all pretty simple, but this one doesn't even need a fancy food processor. Just some knife skills.

Finely chop 6 Roma tomatoes, 1 small red onion, shallots, and your favorite herbs (I suggest fresh parsley). Stir in 1 tablespoon of olive oil and a splash of lemon. Combine them.


Bruschetta meat pairings:
Gifts.com suggests coppa, pancetta, prosciutto, salami, and smoked salmon.

You'll want to set these out on platters or serving boards and be sure to label them. People may not be exactly sure what each meat and what it pairs with. Create cute flags with the name of the meat, affix them to toothpicks, and stick them into the meats.


Bruschetta cheese pairings:
Gifts.com suggests brie, burrata, feta, goat cheese, Gorgonzola, mascarpone, mozzarella, Parmesan, and ricotta.

Personally, I would buy a large chalkboard slab and write the names of the cheese on it.  You can also make our DIY chalkboard serving tray.

What you'll want to do is give your guests suggestions on what spreads, meats, and cheeses to pair together. Sure, they can do whatever they want, but suggestions are helpful.

My favorite suggestions: pesto, mozzarella, and panchetta; tapenade, salami, and Parmesan; and tomato salsa and prosciutto.

To set up your DIY Wedding Bruschetta Bar, start with a long table. Put small cocktail plates and napkins on one end of a table. In the middle, put your spreads, meats, and cheeses, plus serving spoons. Everything will be served buffet style, which is a good way for your guests to get up and move around.
BRIDAL BABBLE: What would you add to this DIY Wedding Bruschetta Bar?
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In the beginning of wedding planning, I wanted cupcakes as our dessert. See, there's an amazing cupcake place in town and I wanted all of our guests to try them. Since the majority of our guests were coming from out of town, this was their only chance to have them.

But my mom talked me out of it. She told me that when I look back on my wedding photos, I'd have wished I had a cake. At first, I just went with a cake to appease her but now, I couldn't agree more. I loved our wedding cake -- loved the look, the flavors, and the photos.

Maybe you don't want a cake though. Maybe you have jophaboia (that's the fear of cake, which, yes, is a thing). Or maybe you are having a budget wedding and can't afford $5 a slice. Here are some wedding cake alternatives for you.


Wedding Cake Alternatives (by season)
Winter Wedding Cake Alternatives
Creme Brulee
I love the caramelized sugar crust of a creme brulee. Cracking into it is really the best part of the dessert. It would be so fun to give each of your guests a small ramekin of creme brulee instead of a cake.

Hot Chocolate Pudding Cups
I love hot chocolate in the winter, but you can't just give a mug of it in place of a wedding cake. You can, however, give pudding cups. Top them with mini marshmallows, just like you would hot chocolate. Serve them with candy cane spoons too for fun. If you're having a backyard wedding, you can make your own homemade pudding cups using our recipe.


Spring Wedding Cake Alternatives
Macaroons
Macaroons were the new cupcakes a few years ago, and they haven't left the dessert scene. They're usually made in pretty pastel colors, making them the perfect wedding cake alternatives for your spring wedding.

Key Lime Cupcakes
Fruit and spring are a perfect match, so it was hard for me to narrow this down. After much thought, I think key lime cupcakes are the best use of fruit in a cupcake. You can even top it with lime slices too.


Summer Wedding Cake Alternatives
S'mores
I love action stations for weddings and everyone loves s'mores. This is a great marriage (wow, bad pun) of that. This is best for a summer wedding because it might be too chilly for any other season. If you don't have a fit pit outdoors, you could always do this with fondue (and then have your guests dip their marshmallows in graham cracker crumbs).

Ice Cream Sandwiches
I love ice cream, but you can't really give out a bowl of ice cream as a wedding dessert. You can do an ice cream action station, which is amazing and so much fun for your guests (trust me; I was at a wedding recently with one). But, if you don't have room for a buffet, ice cream sandwiches are easy. Plus, you can order them rolled in sprinkles that match your wedding colors to coordinate a little.

Fall Wedding Cake Alternatives
Mini Apples Pies
I thought about having a fall wedding just so I could give out mini apples pies with dessert. It was just such a fun idea. You could serve them warm, then have a server walking around offering a scoop of vanilla ice cream to top the pies.

Apple Cider Doughnuts
One of my favorite things about fall is apple cider. It's delicious, so the more I can have it, the better. And no one I know can go apple picking without picking up some apple cider doughnuts. They just screams fall, making them a great wedding cake alternative for your fall wedding.

Any Season Honorable Mention
Cookie Plates
Personally this isn't for me. They don't scream wedding, but so many people offer them at weddings, this list of wedding cake alternatives needed them.
BRIDAL BABBLE: Which of these wedding cake alternatives is your favorite?
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A Bride On A Budget by Lisa Sokolowski - 2w ago
I am the biggest fan of the discount produce rack at my local grocery store. I check it every time I go shopping. Mostly, I'm on the hunt for ripe bananas. I found a ton last time I was in the store, too many to make banana bread. So instead, I made banana nut muffins.

As I was making them, I kept thinking how perfect they would be for a bridal shower brunch. If you're planning on throwing one, you need to add these muffins to your menu.


Banana Nut Muffins
What You'll Need:

  • 3 ripe bananas
  • 1 stick unsalted butter
  • 1/4 cup milk
  • 1 egg
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1.5 cups flour
  • 1.5 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/2 cup white sugar
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup chopped walnuts

What You'll Do:

Pre-heat the oven to 350.

Peel and mash your bananas until they are complete mush. I use a potato masher to make this a little easier. Melt the butter and stir it into the bananas. Add the milk, egg, and vanilla and stir until it is all completely incorporated.

Add the flour, baking soda, salt, nutmeg, cinnamon, sugars, and half the walnuts. Stir very gently until everything is incorporated.

Fill a cupcake-lined muffin pan about 2/3 of the way full, then top each with a generous amount of leftover walnuts.

Bake for 25 minutes, then cool the muffins on a wire rack.

If you have a nut allergy, you can substitute the nuts for mini chocolate chips. If you are, double the chocolate chips to 1 cup instead of a half cup. Then, instead of splitting them between the batter and a topping, stir all the chips into the batter itself.

If you're looking for other recipes for a bridal shower, I have a few you will love:


BRIDAL BABBLE: Would you make these banana nut muffins for a bridal shower?

Planning a bridal shower?
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Planning your honeymoon can be a lot more fun than planning your wedding. You don't have to worry about napkin colors and salad dressings. You really just have to worry about where you want to go to unwind. But then you have to decide between a domestic and international honeymoon.

Pete and I went to this amazing resort in Mexico on our first vacation together. It was probably the best vacation I've ever been on as a couple. Our most recent vacation together was to Hilton Head Island (which was more of a working vacation, actually, but we got a couples massage and there's no way to not feel like you're on vacation when you're getting one of those).

So we know a little bit about both domestic and international travel (especially Pete; before I met him, he both backpacked Europe and drove cross-country living out of his car). Hopefully what we know will help you decide.


6 Differences Between A Domestic And International Honeymoon
Since we are based in North Carolina, I'm considering domestic to be within the United States and international to be anything outside of the US. If you're reading this from anywhere outside of the US, things might be a little different for you.

Also, just as a catch-all: double check any of this information with the country or establishment where you'll be staying. There may be specific rules enforced that I don't cover here.

1. A passport.
If you're traveling within the United States, you can leave your passport at home. If you're traveling outside the country, you need a passport. And that includes if you're traveling to Canada and Mexico, depending on how you travel. You used to be able to walk across the border to Canada with a license, now you need at least a passport card.

If you're even toying with the idea of traveling internationally, double check your passport and make sure it is valid (or get a passport if you don't have one yet). You'll need to collect a few documents, including your birth certificate, plus passport-sized headshots, and head to a passport agency. Your passport will then be processed, and that can take time. You don't want to be stressed waiting for it.

And, if you decide last minute that you want to travel internationally, and you realize your passport is expired, you can expedite it. But that takes time, money, and isn't a guarantee.

2. You don't have to pay for luggage on international.
Your luggage allotment is different based on your airline carrier when you're flying domestic. Many include the cost of a carry on bag in your ticket price, but you have to pay additionally for any checked luggage. And then, of course, you have to worry about the weight of your checked luggage because if you go over, you have to pay more.

When you fly internationally, most ticket prices include the cost of a checked bag. Last time we flew to Japan, my grandma flew first class and she was able to check two bags for free (as long as they were under the airline's weight limit). So you can definitely pack all your cute clothes and shoes if you're going on an international honeymoon.

You can do that on a domestic one too, if you pay to check a bag, but you might be trying to shove everything into a carry on to save on costs.

3. Converting money.
If you're traveling somewhere internationally, you most likely have to change your money from dollars into the local currency. Of course, there are exceptions to this, but mostly, if you're traveling somewhere else, you'll need their money.

If you plan ahead of time, you can start watching exchange rates. We did this when we went to Japan. We monitored for a while before we actually decided to call our bank to exchange dollars to yen. You really want to exchange when the dollar is doing well so you don't lose out. Our bank will exchange money, which is a lot better than trying to do it at the airport. I've always found airport rates to not be as great as the bank.

If you don't spend all your money on your trip, you're going to have to change your money back to dollars. If you can afford to hang on to it until you get a good exchange rate to change it back, go for it. Most people can't afford to sit on foreign currency, though.

4. Are you insured?
You don't want to think about getting sick or hurt on your honeymoon. You just want to think about sipping a fruity drink by the beach. But the reality is people do get sick and injured on vacation. If you're traveling domestically, your insurance will usually cover you. But internationally? That's a different story.

And insurance doesn't just mean health insurance. Decide if you need any traveler's insurance and find out what it will cover. It does, often, cover trip cancellation or interruption. So if there is an emergency where you are and you have to evacuate, or if there is an emergency at home that you have to get back to, travel insurance should cover you.

5. What can you bring back?
The morning we flew home from Mexico, I grabbed some fruit from the breakfast buffet so we could have something to eat on flights. Well, there was a banana I didn't eat so when the customs form came around me being me, I declared a banana. Well, you can't bring fruit back from Mexico. Of course, I didn't know this and got stuck at customs.

It's not just fruit that you have to declare on your custom when you're flying internationally. You have to declare anything you've purchased on your trip and pay taxes when necessary.

If you're flying domestically, you don't have to declare anything on a customs form because you don't have to go through customs.

6. Customs.
When you're flying internationally, you have to go through customs. It's a little more involved than flying through a domestic flight. You have to provide your passport, speak with someone about your trip,  and get an approval to enter the country.

Domestically, you just walk through the airport and you're on your honeymoon.

Customs always makes me nervous, even though I never have anything to be nervous about. I guess I just watch too much television.

BRIDAL BABBLE: What are your reasons for choosing between a domestic and international honeymoon?

Planning your honeymoon?
We have a few other posts for you to check out.

How To Prepare For TSA For Your Honeymoon Flight

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This 5 Ways To Share Your Wedding Photos post is sponsored, but all thoughts and opinions belong to A Bride On A Budget.

When we got our wedding photos back, we had over 1,300 photos. Those were the touched up, edited, good versions of our photos. I can't even imagine how many there were when you add in the raw photos.

But even with 1,300, it was near impossible to print them all and mail them to our parents. Those would be such heavy envelopes to mail. You want to get the photos to your families, though, so I came up with a few ways help you share.


5 Ways To Share Your Wedding Photos
1. Google Drive.
When we went to Japan, we took a ton of photos. Pete took the photos, loaded them to his computer, and put them on Google Drive. Everyone who had the link was able to edit and add their own photos. That way, we could all share our photos. And anyone who didn't have photos were still able to access the link and download whatever they wanted.

You can do the same with your wedding photos. Create a link on Google (or something similar) and add it to your wedding website. Make it so anyone with the link can edit, so every one of your guests will be able to add their own photos. Then, everyone can download their favorites and do with them as they please.

2. Prints.
When we sent out thank you cards, we included one photo in every card. I went through all our photos and found one photo of every friend/couple. I had them printed and put one photo print in every card. That way, our friends and family who came to the wedding but didn't have access to our professional wedding photos were able to see at least one photo of themselves.

They were also able to see photos of us. I put a few of my favorite photos on our thank you cards. One was from the ceremony, two from downtown, and one from the reception. So, if our guests missed any part of our day, they were able to see it in photos.

For other people (our parents, and those who really helped us out), I actually gifted them prints in frames. I only put frames on dressers and shelves, not on walls. If you are sharing photos with someone like that, go with either smaller frames or canvas wraps.


3. Custom USB Drive.
This one is very similar to what we did. We got our photos on a custom USB drive from our photographers. Our names and wedding date were printed on the outside and our photos were loaded to the drive. It was in a box with our photographers' logo on it. I. Was. Floored. I had never seen something like this before and I thought it was incredible.

When it was time for us to share the photos with Pete's dad, we picked up a standard USB drive and loaded the photos on to it. But, oh how I wish I could have made it a little more special.

So you wouldn't believe how I felt when I learned about Artsy Couture recently and, guys, the boutique photo lab sells custom USB drives. You can add your own photos to the drive itself (horizontal photos are recommended) when you order it. When it arrives, you can load it with all your wedding photos. You can choose either an 8GB or 16GB drive, but I recommend getting the larger one. High-res photos take up a lot of room, so you want to get one that can hold all your photos. You can also choose premium acrylic, premium wood, or standard white. Plus, you can add a customize presentation box, which makes for a great gift idea.

4. Photo Books.
Our wedding photographer gave us a book of photo proofs with our USB drive. Each photo was labeled with the same file name as the photo on the USB drive so it was easy to figure out which was which.

When my mom was in town after we got married, I let her look at the book of photo proofs. She wrote her favorites down, then I downloaded them in a file from the USB drive to create a photo book for her. She wrote down a separate list for a photo book for my grandma too, so I made her a book as well. It was a great way to narrow down the photos and show my grandma photos that she would care about. She was able to see all her grandchildren and friends in her photo book and didn't have to skip through photos of our friends and anyone she didn't know to get to the photos she wanted to see.


5. Social Media.
If you have time to upload a ton of photos, social media is a great option. I only uploaded a handful of ours, but I don't use Facebook that often. Some of my friends upload hundreds of their wedding photos, and I just love it -- especially if I wasn't able to make it to the wedding. Being able to see photos from when the couple is getting ready until when they're leaving the reception, it really makes you feel like you're there.

If your album is public, your friends will be able to tag themselves and share the photos that they want to their own timeline. That way, they'll have them easily accessible when they want to print them.

Be sure to check out the Artsy Couture blog for more inspiration. You'll get tips on mobile photos, learn about this season's hottest product: foil, and more. And you can easily go from the brand's blog to its website, where you can see all the products the Maryland-based company has to offer. Plus, be sure to follow the brand on social media:

Artsy Couture: Facebook | Twitter | Pinterest | Instagram

Actually, following Artsy Couture on social media is part of our giveaway entries. Yup, giveaway! We are giving one lucky person a custom 16GB USB from Artsy Couture. The winner gets to choose the style.

This giveaway starts now and ends at 11:59pm EST on January 30. The winner must be a US resident who is 18 or older at the time of entry. The winner must respond to a winning email within 24 hours in order to claim the prize or another winner may be selected. A Bride On A Budget is not responsible for prize fulfillment.

Good luck.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

BRIDAL BABBLE: What ways are you planning on sharing your wedding photos?
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Last year, I cancelled Christmas. It was our first Christmas in our new home, but my grandma had passed away a few weeks before and I wasn't in the mood to celebrate. This year, I wanted to make it a special season, so we got our first Christmas tree.

I was taking it down over the weekend and really wanted to remember our first tree, so I decided to make a personalized Christmas ornament. If you are taking down your first tree, you might want to make this DIY our first Christmas tree ornament too.



DIY Our First Christmas Tree Ornament

I should note that this is our first real Christmas tree. We had a fake tree every year before 2017. You need a real tree to make this one. It won't work with a fake one, for obvious reasons.



What You'll Need:

What You'll Do:

Clip off a few branches from your Christmas tree. Our bottom branches seemed a lot healthier than our top branches, so I would suggest using ones from the bottom. You aren't gonna use whole branches, rather one- to two-inch pieces of them. Set them aside.

Using the permanent ink marker, write "OUR FIRST TREE" on three separate lines on the glass ornament, making sure each word is a little bigger than the word on top of it. You know, so it looks like a triangle -- or a Christmas tree. Draw a star (smaller than the word "our") on top. Write the year (smaller than the word "tree" so it looks like the tree trunk) on the bottom.

Stuff your Christmas tree branches into the ornament.

That's it. Now, just put it away until you can hang it on your tree next year.

BRIDAL BABBLE: Would you make this DIY Our First Christmas Tree Ornament?

Want to make more personalized ornament?


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If you love this Bacon-Wrapped Crackers recipe, be sure to Yum it here: Yum

I was trying to think of an appetizer to bring to my friend's Christmas Eve/birthday. She and her family, they're bacon people. There are people who like bacon, and then there are bacon people. But no matter what, bacon is a crowd pleaser. So I created what I've been calling bacon crack: bacon-wrapped crackers topped with brown sugar.

Oh. My. Gosh.

These are my absolute most favorite appetizer I've ever made. They're so good. And they're the perfect bridal shower appetizer, especially if you're in charge of the menu. They're simple to put together, slow cook for a while, and don't need any attention so you can go on cooking the rest of the menu. And they'll please everyone (unless, of course, you have a vegan at the party).


Bacon-Wrapped Crackers Topped With Brown SugarThis recipe is enough to make one batch of 36 crackers. You might want to make a couple batches depending on how many people you have, how much food you're planning to make, and how many you think you're gonna snack on before you serve them.



What You'll Need:

  • 12 slices of bacon
  • 36 rectangle-shaped crackers
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar


What You'll Do:

Pre-heat the oven to 250.

Put a cooling rack on top of a foil-lined cookie sheet.


Cut the bacon into thirds.


Wrap one-third of bacon around the center of a cracker. Place the cracker, bacon-fold size down, on the cooling rack. Continue until the bacon it done.


Sprinkle brown sugar on top of the bacon.

Bake for 1.5 hours.


Now, you're going to want to eat these right away, but try and resist. These are a lot better if you let them cool completely before you serve them. Waiting gives the crackers a chance to harden up again and it gives you a chance to finish cooking for the bridal shower.

If you're looking for other recipes for your bridal shower menu, we have a few Bridal Shower Desserts:


BRIDAL BABBLE: Would you make these bacon-wrapped crackers for your bridal shower?

Are you hosting a bridal shower?
Check out our tips for throwing the perfect bridal shower.
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It's so strange to me that 2017 is over. Honestly, I'm not sure that 2017 even started for me. The entire year is just a blur. I can't even tell you five things that happened to me this year. It's a very strange feeling to just lose a entire year, and yet , that's exactly what I feel happened to 2017.

Yet 2017 has come ... and gone. That makes it time for another annual round up.

As I have in the past, I have two year end wrap up lists. The first is the top ten posts read in 2017 and the second is the top ten posts written in 2017.



Top Ten Posts Read in 2017 on A Bride On A Budget
  1. Wedding DIY: Preserving Your Flowers At Home
  2. Why You Should Always Go Wedding Shopping At The Dollar Store
  3. DIY: Twine-Wrapped Wine Bottle Centerpieces Tutorial
  4. Bridal Shower Word Search (free printable)
  5. DIY Bachelorette Party Drink Spinner
  6. Black Friday Wedding Deals
  7. What Exactly Is Pre-Cana? (And answers to all your other marriage prep questions)
  8. Five Tips About Getting Your Wedding Hair Done
  9. Get Bridal Guide Magazine For Free
  10. Famous Couples Bridal Shower Game (free printable)
Top Ten Posts Written in 2017 on A Bride On A Budget
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A Bride On A Budget by Lisa Sokolowski - 2M ago
We had a summer wedding because it just made more sense. Almost all of our wedding guests were traveling, so it was just easier for them to travel during summer vacation. We had a candy bar because I love chocolate and thought a bag of chocolate and candies on the way out was so much fun. If we had a winter wedding, though, we would have done a DIY hot chocolate bar on the way out.

See, I love hot chocolate. I drank it every day before school, and it's a treat I even drink now. So it would have been so much fun to put together a hot chocolate bar with personalized cups, signs, and toppings.

If you're having a winter wedding and want something special, this DIY hot chocolate bar is exactly what you're looking for.


DIY Hot Chocolate Bar
If you're having this at your wedding, you need to put together all the DIY elements yourself, then hand them off to your venue coordinator. If you want to make sure it looks the way you intended, set it up at home and take a photo. Tape that photo to the top of the box containing the elements so you can assure it's the way you want. If you don't have the ability to take a photo, you can always draw one.

Also, big thank you to Shutterfly for helping us with the images and printable for this post. Shutterfly created neutral printables that will match your wedding colors no matter what they are. That's absolutely perfect and means you don't have to design your own.

What You'll Need:



What You'll Do:


Make your hot chocolate mix.
My mix is an equal ratio of sugar to unsweetened cocoa powder, plus one pinch of salt. Two tablespoons of mix is one 8oz. cup of hot chocolate. Store your mix in a glass jar to bring to your venue.

You can have them either leave the mix in your glass jars or combine it with hot milk and add it to a pitcher. If you have them mix it, be sure to tell them two tablespoons of milk per 8oz. of milk.


Put together your cups.
Purchase paper cups in your wedding colors. Cut out the printables and glue them to one side of each cup. Let them dry completely.


Assemble your printables.
Head over to this link for a variety of printables. You'll find one that says hot chocolate (this will go on the pitcher with the hot chocolate) and another that says hot milk (this goes on a second pitcher).

There are also flag printables for items like marshmallows, peppermint, and more. Put a small bit of glue on the back of each, then affix them to the top of skewer sticks. Get a glass jar for each topping, then stick the skewer in each jar. Print out the larger tags for things like the syrups, then affix them around bottles with baker's twine.

Make your hot chocolate spoons.
Some of your guests may prefer hot chocolate spoons instead of using a powdered mix. The spoons are easy to make (find our complete tutorial here). Your guests can stir the hot chocolate spoons into the hot milk.


Create your chalkboard.
You'll want to give your guests a little direction with the hot chocolate bar. A fun way to do that is to write out a chalkboard for them. Writing something like "Pour hot cocoa & pile on toppings or pour hot milk & dunk choco sticks" is a big help.


Think about snacks.
I'm a big fan of not baking anything for your wedding yourself. There's just not enough time. I promise you. But talk to your caterer or your cake vendor. Explain to them that you're planning a hot chocolate bar and see if they can create any sweet treats (hot chocolate mini cupcakes, maybe) to compliment your hot chocolate bar. Put them out on the table with your hot chocolate bar items to finish the night perfectly.
BRIDAL BABBLE: What toppings would you add to your DIY hot chocolate bar?
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If you love this recipe, be sure to Yum it here: Yum

Cookies are the quintessential bridal shower dessert. Yes, of course, you're going to order a cake that says, "Showers of happiness" on it because that's what you do even though, let's be honest, showers of happiness doesn't actually make much sense.

But you get a cake because you get a cake. You also should put out cookies because everyone loves cookies. You can go to a store and pick up a tray of cookies for a gazillion dollars a pound or you can make your own cookies. Personally, I say make them. I have an amazing recipe for Italian Rainbow Cookies that taste exactly like any you'd get out of a bakery up north. They are a little labor intensive, but they're so worth it.


Italian Rainbow Cookies

Keep in mind, these are a two day cookie. You do have to let them sit in the fridge overnight before you put the chocolate on them. So they're not something you can make the morning of before everyone comes over. 

They do keep really well in the freezer (we've kept them there for weeks before), so feel free to make them as early as you need to.



What You'll Need: 


What You'll Do:

Preheat your oven to 350.



Separate your eggs. In a stand mixer, beat the egg whites using the wire whip until stiff peaks form. Set the eggs aside.


Also in the stand mixer, but this time using the flat beater, combine the almond paste, butter, sugar, and egg yolks.


When they're combined, add in the flour. Do half, beat until combined, then add the second half. Combine. Fold in the egg whites.


Separate the batter into three separate bowls. Add eight drops of red food coloring to one and stir until it is combined. Add eight drops of green food coloring to the second and stir until combined. Leave the third as is.

Let the dough rest for about 20 minutes.


Line three 9x13 pans with parchment paper. Spread one dough per pan, trying to make all three as even as possible.

Bake each pan, simultaneously, for about ten minutes, until the ends become golden brown.

Let them cool completely.


Take the green cake out of the pan, and put it on a large piece of foil. Sread the raspberry jam on top of the green cake. You want to make sure it as even as possible. Anything too thick can drip into your cake.

Place the yellow cake on top of the jam. Spread the apricot preserve on top, again, as evenly as possible.

Top with the red cake. Now, with this one, make sure you are putting the top against the jam. That way, the top of the cookie will be the flat bottom of the cake.

Wrap the cookie completely in foil, then put it back into a 9x13 pan. Put your heaviest cookbooks on top of the cookie and refrigerate overnight.


The next morning, melt the chocolate chips. Pour the chocolate on top of the cookie and spread it evenly. 

When the chocolate is completely cooled, cut the cookies into rectangles.

These would be great to put out on a three-tier serving stand. I would suggest a homemade fudge on the top tier, these on the middle tier, and our mint to be chocolate mint muffins on the bottom tier.

BRIDAL BABBLE: Would you make these Italian Rainbow Cookies?

Planning a bridal shower?
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