Thursday, May 19, 2011

Frill, with a Splash of Pink and Sparkle

I don't know what could describe a better gift for a flower girl!

(this post could also be titled: Exhibit A - Why I Need a New Camera)

Last month I was part of a 14 person caravan down to Fort Wayne, Indiana for a Vera Bradley Outlet Sale. Yes. 14 people. 2 minivans. We left at 2:00 AM, and got to Fort Wayne around 5:00 AM (Panera isn't even open at that hour, in case you were wondering). Now, I got lots and lots of deals that day, but today I'm going to focus on the gift I'm giving to my flower girl, Grace.

I didn't have anything in particular in mind as I scoured the tables mountains of purses. But then I saw a table with some of Vera's Frill collection. It was PERFECT for Grace. This collection is a more graphic take on her patterns, and all of the items have a durable plastic-y covering (Not in like a gramma's-squeaky-slip-cover covering, but more like a super durable, un-stainable covering).

I SEARCHED for something pink, but I only came up with something purple. I figured that since it has flowers on it it would be ok... let's hope so! Now, because of my horrible camera and lack of natural light in the rainy, gloomy middle of nowhere, the colors and pictures aren't the best quality. It was hard to take a no-flash picture without it ending up blurry, and it was hard to get the color to look right when I used the flash... ugh. So, even though you see a total of 4 pictures, keep in mind there are about 27 others on my computer that didn't make the cut!

[I may or may not have set up a mini-photo shoot with a chair draped in a tablecloth as a backdrop...]

Rosie Posie Hipster - which should make a perfect purse for a 6 year old when the long strap is knotted. You can see the other colors here

 So what's inside this cute little hipster? A bottle and some tissue paper?

 Sweet Pea bubble bath - chosen solely for its pink color. And of course, because it's bubble bath. Who doesn't love bubbles!

 I picked up this necklace because it's pink. She'll wear it in the wedding, even though it doesn't match any of our colors. I kind of don't care. I figure that since she's the one who has to wear it, she may as well like the color! And she'll probably get more mileage out of it after the wedding!
Curse you, camera, for blurry pictures!
 I'm also looking for a small, inexpensive tiara that she can wear. Any ideas where I can find one for under $10? All of the tiaras I've found are either huge, gaudy, or $25+.

What would you pick as a gift for a flower girl? Any ideas for something that could take the place of a tiara if I can't find one?

Monday, May 16, 2011

Our (Awful) Song

or, why you shouldn't choose a song while you're drunk.

Josh and I had been dating for about 6 months and we still didn't have a "song." For some reason, this bothered me, and I pestered him for weeks insisting that we must find the song that perfectly told our story and was meaningful and full of love and all those other lofty goals the perfect couple song must attain. He wasn't concerned. He felt that we would find a song eventually, and it would be just fine regardless of what it was.

Ha. Men. They just think they know everything...

A few weeks later we attended the wedding of my college roommate. After copious amounts of wine (me) and beer (Josh) we were tearing up the dance floor. Naturally. Then the first slow song came on, so of course, we had to dance together. It was then and there, with cartoon pink puffy hearts emanating from our clouded-with-new-love heads, we proclaimed that THIS would be our song.

Aerosmith - I Don't Wanna Miss A Thing
In that instant of time, it was perfect for the following reasons: We both liked Aerosmith, and it was a slow song. Yeah, I know. Great reasons, right?

The next morning, as I woke up with my familiar wine-induced headache, I had a flashback to our decision. Cringe. I didn't want THAT song to be OUR song. Don't get me wrong: I don't hate the song. I just don't want our song to be connected to every Fun Night/Sadie Hawkins/Homecoming/Prom/Any Other Dance I Attended Between The Ages Of 13-18. I had danced with other guys to that song; it just wasn't meaningful to me.

I mentioned this to Josh, but he brushed it off. He liked the idea of that song, and I didn't want to push the issue on something so trivial (to him, but kinda important to me at the time). So I let it go.

For approximately 13 months...

Sure, we had talked about it, and I told Josh I wasn't convinced it should be our song. We didn't start seriously talking about it until we started talking about our first dance as a married couple. I had to put my foot down. I'm sure Josh didn't (and still doesn't) understand why I don't want to dance with him to this song, but he's at least humoring me.

We've entertained (or at least I've thought about) quite a variety of songs. My main criteria was that it not be something so common that it would be connected to other weddings or dances, but still be easy for our band to play. I'm sure these will seem familiar to some of you out there, but here in the middle of nowhere, they're fairly unheard of. Here were a few ideas:

Dashboard Confessional - Stolen
Ahhhh I love me some Dashboard.

Ingrid Michaelson - The Way I Am 
I adore her, and this song, but it's become quite popular. Plus, I'm not sure our band could really do this justice and keep the vibe of the song.

Creedence Clearwater Revival - As Long As I Can See The Light (one of Josh's favorite bands)

 What we ultimately decided on is a song I've loved for years. It's actually been in a few movies and TV soundtracks, which normally would be a deterrent. However, I played it for Josh and he actually liked it. I love the sound, the lyrics, and the fact that I haven't heard it played at any high school functions.

Feels Like Home - Chantal Kreviazuk, written by Randy Newman
I like this version because they've incorporated a guitar, which is what our band will be doing, too.

I'm so glad we finally decided on a song!

What would be your choice for a wedding song? What immediately puts a song on the "no list" for you?

Friday, May 13, 2011

Location, Location, Location

So... I've only seen our venue in person one time. 


And I didn't even take pictures. [Insert 'fail' or *facepalm* comment here]

Our guest list is coming in at around the 340 mark... and our venue holds 300, so I'm told. I remember thinking that it might be a tight fit for 300 people when we visited about 6 months ago, but I brushed off my fears, figuring it must be larger than it looks. 

I keep stalking their website to calm my fears, but I'm afraid it's only making it worse. I love how everything looks, but I'm just doubtful that all of our people will fit. It's probably the one part of our wedding that I'm freaking out about. It makes my stomach clench up in knots when I look at the pictures, but yet, I continue to do so... I guess it's my crazy bride brain getting the best of me.

But, like I said, I love how it looks, and I think it will be the perfect backdrop to our baby's breath and bright colored tables (I'll post about my ideas for that in a little bit!).

The view as you pull in. All of the windows to the left of the entry way are part of the reception hall. The other half is a bar/American Legion.
There's a circular dance floor in the center where they set up the buffet tables. I'm worried we won't have room for our food because we'll need to seat people there! Also, it would be ideal for our band to set up before dinner, but if there are people seated on the dance floor, that won't be possible...

Another view of the room. I loooove the higher ceilings and natural light. Any guesses on how big those tables are? I was hoping that they're 60 inch tables, and that 10 people can fit at them.

There's a nice patio, so I guess we can stick the people we don't like outside :) Just kidding!!

Did you have a freak out during your planning? Do you think my venue actually seats 300? (Just say yes to make me feel better :) )

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Inspiration to [Almost] Reality

A while back, I posted about my floral inspiration of spider mums, bells of Ireland, and baby's breath. Well, I finally got to meet with a two florists about our wedding flowers! We've decided to go the DIY route, so we were looking for a florist that could order our flowers, provide a space for us to put them together, and provide cooler storage so my pretty petals don't melt away in the August heat.

I even found a few new pictures to show my florists for inspiration. And of course, my printer picked this day to crap out on a few colors, so it was a little difficult to show the flower-ladies exactly what I wanted when my green spider mums looked more like dandelions.



And I even learned of some new flowers to obsess over! These beauties will be making an appearance in my bouquet:
Green Gladiolus
I loooooove the shape of these, and the color is perfect. It's green without being lime-y, yet still bright enough to pop out against my dress.

Blue Dendrobium Orchid
When I heard that these were orchids, I immediately wrote them off as being too expensive. Orchids in my budget? No way! However, these are relatively cheap - about $4.00 a stem - and each stem has at least 2 blooms. These will be in my bouquet and Josh's boutonniere only as a way to set us apart (as if the white dress wouldn't be enough...). 

For the groomsmen/ushers/fathers/grandpas, we opted for a simple boutonniere like this, with the addition of a peacock feather:


However, I'm also liking the idea of using green wheat as a nod to our farming background, but I can't really find a picture of what I'm envisioning.

What flowers are your favorites? Did you discover a new preferred bloom after talking to a florist?

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Winner Winner Chicken Dinner!!

That's me!!

Josh and I have been looking (well, I've been looking; Josh has been more or less kinda sorta listening to my ramblings on the comparisons of different motifs on toasting flutes and cake knives) and haven't been able to find a design we liked that we were willing to pay the asking price for (some of these things aren't that attractive, and are pretttty darn expensive!). 

I actually won a blog contest, and I'm SUPER excited about it! Ashley at Bride on a Budget held a contest and the winner had her choice of a plethora of things from Things Remembered. I entered after I saw the beautiful Seed Pearl Wedding Set that Ashley reviewed. I loved it! Check it out:

Both pictures via Things Remembered
I originally planned on having our wedding date and names engraved on the set, but I'm also contemplating something else... I think it would be nice to have a meaningful song lyric or quote on the set so we can lend it to other family members (a "something borrowed" perhaps?), and pass it down to other generations.

I'm still thinking about it...

Thoughts? Names vs. quote/lyric? Suggestions for a quote/lyric?

Make sure you check out Ashley's blogs: Bride on a Budget and Wife on a Budget. She has GREAT tips for saving money and staying organized in this crazy world! Thanks again, Ashley!

Saturday, May 7, 2011

Dressin' the [Little] Girl!

Once my bridesmaids' dresses were picked out, it was time to focus on the flower girl! From the get go, I really wasn't that opinionated about what our flower girl would wear. I decided to give her a choice: white dress like mine, or tutu made of green and teal tulle. Grace chose to wear a white dress like mine! 

One of my bridesmaids is also getting married this year, and her mom told me to check Burlington Coat Factory for flower girl dresses. She said instead of spending $100+, it was much more affordable. That made me happy - I tend to feel like a guilty puppy when I choose people to be a part of our wedding, and then make them shell out tons of greenbacks in order to do so. Am I the only one?


I decided to stop by Burlington Coat Factory to see what they had, and I ended up buying 4 dresses for Grace to choose from. Since we live about 45 minutes away from a 'big city' it made more sense for me to bring the dresses to Grace instead of the other way around. I thought this was a good solution because it gave Grace the ability to choose what dress she wanted, but I could have a little more control over the price and style. After she selected a dress, I would just have to return the other 3. It worked out perfectly!

I brought the dresses over to Grace's house and we had a mini fashion show! She tried the dresses on and then we took pictures with her perfectly pink bedroom walls as a background.

Admittedly, this was my favorite before she tried it on.  I liked the woven detail and little pearl accents. But Grace wasn't as crazy about it. The fit wasn't right, and it just didn't make her happy. And, a happy flower girl is a happy bride!

I placed my bets on this dress as the winner before she tried it on. It has a sequin flower midsection with little sequin flowers all over the skirt. I don't think Grace hated it, but she definitely had her sights on a different dress...

This was the last dress Grace tried on, and it was clear that she liked another one better. This dress reminded me of Belle from Beauty and the Beast with the swoopy organza around the neckline, but it just wasn't exactly right.

The clear winner of the night! This was actually the first dress Grace tried on, and I think she was comparing all others to it. With its mini pick-ups and detachable rosette, we've got ourselves a flower girl dress!

You'll notice that Grace's smile is much bigger in the first dress she tried on (which is the last one pictured in the post... just because I wanted it to be a little confusing for you all...) which I think says it all!

How did you pick your flower girl's dress? Did you allow the flower girl to have any choice in the matter?

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

My Un-mismatched Bridal Party

Yeah, I'm an English teacher, and I used a double negative in my blog title. What are you gonna do about it? That's what I thought : )

So, we left off with me explaining my choice of two different dresses for my ladies:
Alfred Angelo via

The shocker, to me, was that each of my 6 bridesmaids chose to wear the same dress! All of them opted for the first picture, the one shoulder dress. I was surprised. I thought at least one or two would pick differently. Oh well... I can make them look less matchy-matchy in other ways (more about that later, or matl if you're hip to the text/IM lingo).

[Time - Out  In case you forgot, the dresses will be a mossy green color. I would post a picture of what Alfred Angelo shows online, but the color is horrible on the web. The only bit of it I've seen in real life is a small swatch of fabric since they don't carry any sample dresses in that color/fabric combination. Ok, time in!]

Remember the things I wanted? Here's how I think I did in keeping these things in mind:
  • Budget - ehh... these dresses rang up at $170. The shop we purchased them from offered a 10% discount if the girls paid in full up front, so they ended up getting a small discount after tax. This was higher than I really wanted, but under $200, so I guess it could have been worse.
  • Comfort - I haven't tried the dress on, but I think it will be extremely comfortable. There is a lot of support, or so I'm told, for the more well-endowed girls, and the fabric moves really well. I don't think any of the girls will have to worry about sweating to death.
  • Versatility - The light fabric and flattering color, combined with a short cut and interesting neckline, SHOULD lend itself well to rewearing. I know, I know. Cue the 27 Dresses quote, right? But seriously, I think I would wear this dress to a cocktail party. It definitely doesn't scream "I was a bridesmaid's dress." At least not too loudly : )
What do you think?  Have you ever worn a bridesmaid's dress over again? What made it rewearable?

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Dressin' the Ladies

For some reason, when I read the title of this post, I can't help but say it (in my mind... and maybe out loud) in the voice of the Rob Schneider's Copy Guy from SNL. If you don't know what I'm talking about, Google it. Having worked in an office setting for 8+ years, I heard this guy mimicked quite a bit...
Makin' the copies....

Ahem... sorry about that... I just had to.

What will my ladies be wearing? Well, thanks for asking. It was kind of a tough choice. I had visions of beautiful bridal parties like these:
 I love how each bridesmaid's personality showed through their choice of dress. I adore the mis-matched look!

As we browsed for dresses, I wanted to make sure I was conscious of a few things:
  • Budget - I have been in countless weddings where I've shelled out some big $$s for a dress. I didn't want to make my girls suffer when it came to their pocketbooks. Anything over $200 was out of the question, and I really wanted to stay around $150 if possible.
  • Comfort - Our wedding is August 20, in Michigan. AKA, the 20th of Humid and Heat. I knew that long dresses were going to make me unpopular with my 'maids. I prefer short dresses anyway, so this wasn't a biggie to me. I wanted a fabric that would be breathable and looser fitting, so no European satin or taffeta. Also, I wanted a designer who had multiple styles in the same fabric, so my girls could choose what style they wanted. I've worn countless strapless dresses, and I hate them. I didn't want to do that to my girls.
  • Versatility - And OK, I know every bride says this, but it was important that my 'maids be able to wear these dresses again, or at least have the option. That meant I was going for a re-wearable color, cut, and fabric.
Keeping the budget in mind, we set up an appointment at David's Bridal. I had the lovely Ashley and Lindsey accompanying me as models, and Josh's mom Adeline for encouragement and another perspective. At David's Bridal, we found their cotton collection, which boasts affordable prices and lots of bright colors.

Definitely contemplating the dress-with-socks look. Pretty fashionable, no? ;)

The colors were great, but not exactly what we were looking for. But the POCKETS! Ahhhh I desperately wanted my girls to have a dress with pockets! We liked the styles of these dresses, especially the red and green dresses you see in the third picture. The major drawback to these dresses was the fabric. While light and airy, the cotton material wrinkled like crazy! I didn't want anyone feeling like they couldn't sit down once they got their dress on for fear of a wrinkled behind, so we scrapped the David's Bridal dresses.

Our next stop was a bridal shop that carried one of the dresses Lindsey tried on the day after Josh and I got engaged. She was in love with it, and we wanted feedback from a few other sets of eyes.
This is an Alfred Angelo in silk charmeuse. Don't fret - it comes in solid colors, too. The fabric is amazingly light and breezy, and the shade of green was just right. Picture a mossy green that gets lighter or darker depending on how the light hits it... I would show you the color swatch on Alfred Angelo's website, but it's all wrong. It makes the dress look, well, dull.

Although Lindsey and Ashley tried on other dresses, our talk always came back to this one.

As an added bonus, it has a sister:
Alfred Angelo via Wedding Shoppe Inc
This sassy one shouldered number provided another option for my girls to wear, if they so desired.

My mind was made up: I would offer either Alfred Angelo dress as options for my girls, and they could pick the dress that suited them the best. I was excited to see how my version of mis-matched girls would come together!

Stay tuned for the breakdown of exactly how mis-matched my wedding party would be, and whether I feel I kept my concerns in mind...

How was the hunt for your bridesmaids' dresses? What was important to you as you searched? Do you have a bridesmaid dress horror story (we all LOVE to hear them!) that influenced your decision?

Monday, May 2, 2011

The Little Ones

I knew from the beginning of our planning that we would have kids involved and invited to our wedding. As of right now, about one-fifth of our guest list is kids (about 50 out of 300). I completely understand the appeal of an adults-only reception, but Josh and I have too many kids in our lives that are too important to be excluded from our day. Plus, I think they are just too cute for words when they're all dressed up!

I may be biased, but I have the CUTEST flower girl and ring bearers in the world. Yeah. I said it. The absolute CUTEST! See for yourself:

This is Grace, our flower girl. She's Josh's cousin and she's adorable! In this picture she's showing a calf at the local fair, and proudly sporting her big ribbon! She's the girliest tomboy I've ever met, and she has a take-no-crap attitude. By the time the wedding rolls around, she'll be 6 years old, and will be the perfect person to help the ring bearers down the aisle.

This is Quentin, one of our ring bearers and Grace's brother. He has an infectious smile that will make the girls go crazy in a few years! He's showing his calf here, too. He loves trucks, tractors, and helping out on the farm. I'm excited to see him all dressed up with his adorable smile on our wedding day.

This is Carter, my friend Ashley's son. Are those not the most beautiful blue eyes you've ever seen! Carter will be 5 at the wedding, and will have practiced walking down the aisle in Ashley's wedding this May. He's so full of energy and I'm glad he'll have a part in our  big day.

So, there you have it! I told you I have the cutest flower girl and ring bearers in the world!

Did you have a flower girl or ring bearer at your wedding, or was it a no-kid zone? How did you decide which little ones would accompany you down the aisle?

Sunday, May 1, 2011

The Big Invite Reveal

Need a quick refresher? Read this to hear about my plans and fails for our invites, and read here to see a list of my inspirations and examples of not-so-inspiring options I designed.

K? Are we all caught up? Good!

So I took the advice of my sister and practiced some more with the fonts, spacing, and color. After about 2 days of working on it, my next draft was finished - and I was damn proud.

Ahhh it just makes me happy :)
Josh was pleased with it, too, so it was done! This is what our invite would look like.

But what about the rest of it?

Well, I wanted EVERYTHING! But I knew I couldn’t have everything because a) we’re on a budget, and b) well, as much as I like to rock some gaudy looks from time to time, I guess this isn't quite the place for it.

So, we narrowed down our list of wants. I knew that I wanted these three things: Dark grey envelopes (preferably with white ink addresses or wrap around labels… *swoooooon*), a “different size” (ie: not 5x7), and pockets! I chose to go through Cards & Pockets because I had heard such great things about them. Once I saw their pictures and prices, I was sold! 

Here are the different pieces of our invites:
6x6 pocketfolds in Fairway
Invitation mat in Emerald

Square envelopes in Dark Grey

 All images courtesy of Cards & Pockets

I am SO excited to see these come together, because the colors are so much better in person! I'm still undecided about what will go on the front. Probably a monogram or design of some sort.

What should I put on the front of my invitation? Any ideas would be SO helpful! Did you have a long process with lots of fails for any of your wedding items? What did you do?