Great bridal shower gift ideas

My sister texted me tonight saying she's going to a bridal shower and has no clue what to get the bride and wondered if I had any ideas. Because I'm in the wedding industry I totally should have ideas and lots of them, right? Well, I was a little embarrassed to admit that I didn't have a blog post that could help her, but I promised that soon I would. So, here it is! 

Super Adorbs Apron

I know it's super sexist to say that now that she's becoming a wife she needs an apron, but I'll tell you a little secret: I didn't cook until I was married. I mean, I knew how to make scrambled eggs and miso soup but I mostly ate take out from the Whole Foods deli because I didn't know how to cook. So I would have LOVED an apron as a bridal shower gift! Check out this cute and colorful apron.

Bake, Rattle, and Roll Apron

Colorful Nautical Notecards

These sweet nautical notecards are perfect for a bride getting married in Maine! I would freakin' love a set of these and would totally use them. The handwritten note is coming back in style (thank god) and you might even get one of these as a thank you note if you give her this sweet gift! 

Sea My Guest Notecard Set

Jewelry Organizer-Thingy

I need one of these soooo badly! This is the perfect give because it's the kind of thing that your friend might not buy herself but she probably totally needs. My necklaces are a knotted mess and my earrings are all over the place. I would LOVE to get this sweet copper jewelry stand

Wrangle Your Bangles Jewelry Stand

Framable Botanical Prints

I adore these! Every since seeing Alicia Florrick's wall of framed botanical and bird prints I've wanted to do the same thing in my living room. I think they would look so pretty framed and laid out in a grid. Maybe get two sets so she can really make a statement. Would your bride friend like these beautiful botanical prints

Seed What I Mean? Print Set - 9.75 x 8.25

Otter Tape Dispenser

Ergmagahd! Apparently I'm just putting together a list of things I want because I MUST have this otter tape dispenser. He's so dang cute, just look at that face! Another little story...this year for our anniversary I got my husband a card that said "We're meant for each otter!" Cute, right? I know, and so is this adorable otter tape dispenser. I promise you, your friend doesn't already have one. ;)

Alma Otter Tape Dispenser

Everyone Needs Gold Bowls

Ok, yeah, this post is totally just a list of things I want. LOL! But, c'mon, who wouldn't want these awesome gold bowls? They even have matching gold mugs, but I think I like the bowls even better. If she doesn't want to eat ice cream out of them, then maybe she can use them for her hair ties or rings or keys or nuts or candies or...whatever.  

Gold Crush Bowl Set

Mrs. Wine Tote

And, because she's becoming a Mrs. this little canvas wine tote would be a perfect bridal shower gift! And a wine tote is yet another useful item that people don't usually buy for themselves. And, you can totally put a bottle of champagne in it and tell her it's to bring to the bridal suite on wedding day! What a thoughtful gift. Give her this miss to mrs. wine tote and she'll know you really "get" her. 

Hugs and Mrs. Wine Tote

Little Retro Nightgown

It's traditional to get the bride some lingerie for her bridal shower, so why not get her something cute she can wear on her honeymoon. This cute little nightgown could fit most figures and is super flattering and totally sweet. C'mon, it's not like you're getting her leopard print g-strings. 

Love Story of My Life Nightgown

Studs are The Hoops

Is she into jewelry? Studs are making a comeback, so maybe get her this charming set of pastel-y colored earrings. Every time she wears them she'll think of you. And if you're wondering what to get *me* for Christmas, I'd love these! 

Hello, Retro Earring Set

You Need More Sleep

You didn't think I'd make it through a whole post about gift ideas without throwing in something with cats on it, did you? Maybe you don't know me well enough yet. I'm a proud, crazy cat lady to two sweet cats, Felix and Bean. They even have their own Instagram account where you can see the life they live in Maine. So, yeah, I, like, really love cats! Hey, maybe your friend does to! Get her this funny cat advice book

You Need More Sleep: Advice from Cats

I truly, honestly love every item in this post. I'm also part of the ModCloth affiliate program and the links on this page are affiliate links. 

enter to win a free seawicks candle

remember a little while back i did a blog post about this fantatic little shop that just opened up in my town? and remember i told you how amazing their 100% soy candles are? and remember i told you the candles are just perfect for wedding favors? 

well you could WIN one of those candles!

seawicks is giving away a "beach girl" glass candle and a "beach girl" candle tin to one of my lucky readers! yippie! 


all you need to do to enter is like the seawick candle company facebook page (and while you're there why not like my page, too!) and then leave a comment below telling me where you'll put your awesome new beach girl candles!

entries will be accepted until 11:59 p.m. on thursday, august 22nd. only one entry per person and you must leave an email address in your comment.  

UPDATE: and the winner is...willow! congratulations, willow, your candle is on its way! 

maine made wedding favors

i have the best idea for your maine wedding favors! here in our little town of damariscotta, maine, there is a shop that crafts the most amazing 100% soy candles. they're just about the only candles i've ever used that smell exactly like the scent. for example, i have the garden lilac scent and it totally smells like lilacs, not like your grandmother's soap. so, let's learn a little more about the seawicks candle company

the owners

founded by michael and cara, seawicks started in edgecomb, maine about six years ago. for years they sold their candles wholesale but they just opened their first storefront in my town. they pour all their candles by hand and right now have about 21 scents and are always adding more. michael and cara have awesome taste. their little shop is lightfilled and full of goodies from local artisans; goodies like saltwater taffy, jewelry, linens, scarves, soaps, note cards and even vintage beachy antique furniture. i want to live in their shop! 


wedding favors

they often get orders of candles for wedding favors and i'm telling you this would be the perfect favor that your guests would actually LOVE! pick a scent that works with your wedding theme. you can order online or shop at a retailer in your area. 

other gift ideas

other ideas for these amazing candles: gifts for attendants, thank you gifts for parents, housewarming gifts for the wedding couple, "welcome to maine" gift bag items, a gift for yourself to remember maine, a gift for your wedding officiant (wink, wink!). either way, feel good about your purchases since they donate $.50 from every glass candle purchase to conservation efforts. what's not to love about this maine company (and they didn't pay me to say that!)?

all photos by a sweet start 


maine made artisan cutting boards {giveaway}

one of the best things about writing a blog is that you can feature business and services from your friends. it can act as a forum for me to promote people and businesses i know are doing exceptional work. i try to focus exclusively on maine businesses and today i want to introduce you to Of Maine Wood. see below for instructions on entering the giveaway!

Of Maine Wood is a new and emerging family business in Blue Hill, Maine. i've known the family, the chittendens, since i was a little girl. actually, they lived right down the road from us in new hampshire and one of the sisters used to babysit me. so it's with great enthusiasm that i introduce their products to you. 

they craft kitchen and table boards "to celebrate the natural marvel of wood and the love of food presentation." Tina, one of the sisters, explains the company this way: 

The key elements of our business really center on our desire to use local woods either to Maine or the American North East that have either fallen in storms or have been collected locally. We then mill our own logs in Blue Hill and use a solar kiln to dry the boards. As the drying process uses solar energy, in cloudier months such as last February, it may take a bit longer. We are not in a hurry!

Once the boards are dried (takes about three months) we then really look at each one carefully to get a sense of the individual grain pattern and texture of each tree and then use templates to cut the boards. Each one is from a single piece of wood - no lamentation.

Once the board is cut, it is then hand sanded and finished with a beeswax/mineral oil finish.

We have two lines: the core collection and the live edge. The core is more closely associated with serving and presentation but can also be cut on (we stamp one side of each board and recommend that if someone is going to cut on it, that they use that side) Live edge pieces are all completely individual.

what a gorgeous and thoughtful wedding or anniversary gift these boards would make. i can just picture a display of exquisite cheeses laid out across the board ready for a party, can't you!?

2solar kiln.jpg

a solar kiln is used to dry the wood


how the boards are laid out on each plank


cutting out the boards


the finishing process


the core collection


the brett set


want to win one of the boards?! we're giving away:

The Classic board (9 3/8 x 15 1/8 inches). It's perfect for preparing vegetables and meats, but also functions as an excellent small serving tray. The Classic board fits into every kitchen setting. $65.00 value! (US shipping only)

follow these simple instructions to be entered to win a gorgeous board from Of Maine Woods!

1) like Of Maine Wood on Facebook (required). feel free to like A Sweet Start on Facebook, too (optional).

2) leave a comment on this blog about what you would use the board for.

we'll pick a winner on april 26th and announce it on both Facebook pages. you have until 11:59 p.m. on thursday, april 25th to enter the giveaway. good luck! 

nautical maine home goods

last week i had the pleasure of attending an open house at uptown studio in rockland, maine. what a great store. it's owned by tori, who is an artist. her store is almost more like a gallery really. she has fantastic nautical inspired home goods: table clothes, aprons, linen napkins, tote bags, and more. her goods would be perfect gifts for the special people in your wedding. or, if you're attending a maine wedding, they would make perfect gifts for newlyweds.   

Original Designs · Maine Made · Local, Modern & Vintage Inspired...Expect the Unexpected

LiveME maine-inspired apparel and accessories giveaway

this is so exciting! not only do we have a guest post/interview with the owner of LiveME maine-inspired apparel and accessories, but he's giving away a LoveME tote bag!!! find out how to win the tote bag at the bottom of this post. 

we can all thank pinterest for this blog post. one day as i was pinning i came across the LoveME camp mug and fell in love (ha, ha). the LiveME products, all with different slogans, are are so quintessentially maine, if you get married here it would be awesome to include them in your wedding. 

here is my interview with owner chris avantaggio.

How did LiveME get its start?
BeerME was actually the first design. It started as a t-shirt design I created for a bunch of friends. Every year we would go to the Maine Brewer's Festival and wearing bright colors made it easy for us to find each other in the crowd. In the fall of 2009 we wanted to do something a little more fun, so I put this t-shirt design together and we printed them on blaze orange t-shirts. It turned out to be pretty popular so I just kept making them.

What was the second design you came up with and how do you think up new ones?
I think the second design was LoveME, but we released 4 new designs several months after BeerME became LiveME. Now we have around 12, and only release a couple of new designs a year. We try to make them appealing to what people love about Maine.

When did LiveME become your full time job?
LiveME is still a passion project for me. It's a lot of late nights and weekends. I currently work full time as an advertising Art Director.

Do you sell in retail stores in Maine or only online?
The best way to shop our entire collection is on our LiveME website. But you can also find a selection of our merchandise in Portland at Zane, Old Port Card Works, Mexicali Blues, Newbury Comics and at Central Street Farmhouse in Bangor.

What if someone wants to purchase a large quantity of, say, LoveME camp mugs for their wedding, can you accommodate special orders like that?
Absolutely. We have done many bulk orders for weddings and the camp mugs make perfect glassware for signature cocktails and drinks. We also do a lot of custom orders such as tote bags, koozies, and t-shirts for wedding favors. We have a contact section on our site for inquiries.

Where are your products made?
Almost all of our apparel is made in America and printed in Portland, Maine.

Whats the most popular product you sell?
The BeerME and LoveME t-shirts are topsellers.

Whats the best part of running your own small business?
Creative freedom.

Whats one thing your customers should know about LiveME?
Where a small family run company that loves Maine!


want to own your own LoveME tote bag?! of course you do! all you have to do is follow these simple instructions:

  1. go over to LiveME's facebook page and "like" it
  2. leave a comment on this blog telling me which is your favorite LiveME design
  3. that's it!

i'll pick a random winner on valentine's day, february 14, 2013 and announce the winner on my facebook page and my twitter account. you may only enter once. feel free to "like" my facebook page, too, although that's not necessary to win. 


maine wedding gifts

terry hire photography | maine photographer

are you looking for gifts? either you're a couple getting married in maine and you're looking for authentic maine gifts for your wedding party or family members, or you're attending a wedding in maine and you want to give the happy couple a gift from maine. may i humbly offer the following list of incredible gift ideas!

alan claude print

terry hire photograph (see image above)

quench metalworks piece

black dinah chocolatiers chocolate

luksin designs piece

sea bag bag

maine float rope company mat

ll bean hudsons bay point blanket

maine sailing adventure on the frances

maine magazine subscription

maineshare donation in honor of

anything from craft/artisan vendors at the maine organic farmer and gardener association annual common ground country fair held the third weekend in september in unity, maine. everything has to be manufactured or created in maine, so you know you're supporting the local economy. 

and if you really can't figure out what to give, check with the wedding couple to see if they're registered with betterment gift registry

do you have other ideas? put them in the comments below.