Bridal party ideas for Stampede

This is the time of year when brides and their girlfriends celebrate in preparation for summer weddings.  If you’re from Calgary, you know it’s also Stampede time.    This shoot is all about a bride honouring her friends and asking them to be her bridesmaids, while inspiring you with bridal party ideas.   To pay homage to our city, home of the “Greatest Outdoor Show on Earth”, our bride Kari, selected her maids in Stampede style, with a pancake breakfast. She invited them to brunch serving local delicacies, and offered each a taste of the big day to come.


This time of year brings certain images to my mind…parades, horses, cowboys, mini donuts, carnival rides, marching bands, the list goes on. For 10 days, our city goes into cowboy mode and welcomes the world.  This shoot is filled with Calgary Stampede hallmarks like stacks of steaming pancakes, bags of sugary donuts and denim, lots of denim. Locals are accustomed to seeing wagon wheels, kerchiefs and hay bales during Stampede week, so to change things up a little, this breakfast had a casual, “Boho” feel.  You don’t have to be a bride to appreciate these ideas.  If you’re hosting your own Stampede celebration, then this shoot is for you.

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The pancake breakfast is a local institution dating back to early Stampedes when cowboys served pancakes from the back of their chuck wagons. Hundreds of pancake breakfasts take place across our city during the exhibition. As a twist on the traditional flapjacks, Kari served stacks of mini-cakes with fresh berries and Canadian maple syrup.

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Denim pockets, snipped from pairs of thrifted jeans, served as napkin and place card holders.  Thanks to Randi from Dukes & Duchesses for the idea.  By stringing the pockets on a vintage, leather belt, a vertical fixture was created.  Inside, each bridesmaid found a personal request from the Kari to join her on the big day (cards courtesy of Modern Pulp).

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The pockets also made adorable napkin holders.


A sunny floral chandelier was suspended over the breakfast table, bursting with yellow blooms in varying sizes and textures.  “Buffalo Beans” (Thermopsis rhombifolia) local spring wildflowers, completed the arrangement.


A succulent planter, repurposed from a pallet, made a rustic yet fresh backdrop for the brunch.  Here are the instructions if you’re interested in making your own.

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Kari gave her maids a personalized, wooden gift box. Each box was made unique by covering it with a favorite photo of the bride and that friend, and was filled with treats including a stackable bracelet from Leah Alexandra, a shoe gift card, nail polish and a packet of mini donuts.   They were embellished with a denim band (a remnant from the thrifted jeans) and ricrac.


Kari included a cheeky list of vows to her maids.

I vow to

  1. Pamper my maids. You are scheduled for a manicure & pedicure the day before the wedding. My treat!
  2. Let you choose your own dress. Select a gown you feel beautiful in from the enclosed color palette.
  3. Arrange for a hair and make-up artist to help make you your most beautiful at the wedding.
  4. Ply you with gems. Enjoy the bracelet!
  5. Make the bridal party photo session short and sweet.
  6. Excuse you from the receiving line.
  7. Provide Starbucks, water and treats between the ceremony and reception.
  8. Ignore the tradition of having you dance with a groomsman you don’t know.
  9. Be sweet to your feet. Find a gift card from a favorite shoe store inside.
  10. Suppress any “Bridezilla” tendencies.

The Bride 

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Ali from Modern Pulp crafted these feathers, dipped in gold and glitter. They were a fun addition to the denim pockets and gift boxes.


Custom stationery by Ali from Modern Pulp.

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You are the Sugar to my Donut, Please “Donut”say No, “Donut” know what I would do without you…these were the playful sayings that Ali from Modern Pulp added to the paper bags holding steaming mini-donuts.

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A mini-donut also makes the cutest drink garnish, no?


Thank you Kari and her bridesmaid, Stephanie, for helping us share bridal party ideas.


Stampede stationery by Modern Pulp

Hair stylist:  Lyana Gibert of The Art of Beauty

Jewelry:  Leah Alexandra

Apparel:  Free People

Stephanie’s sandals:  Nine West

Bridal party ideas styled and photographed by Tara Whittaker Photography

  1. Bonnie says:

    What wonderful ideas and so beautifully put together! I LOVE it!

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