Saturday, October 30, 2010

DIY Save-the-Date cards... done!

I am happy to announce that the first round of wedding stationary is complete. I made 50 cards to hold my save-the-date magnets. They are only slightly different from my original design. The front is exactly the same, in place of the little poem on the inside, I provided guests with hotel and rental car information. I decided to give this information to guests in written form just in case some one is not able to look at the wedding website. It also gives me a chance to emphasize the fact that only a limited number of hotel rooms are available due to the popularity of our wedding date.

I used three different shades of purple cardstock for my cards. My original intention was to purchase identical shades of cardstock, only when I went to the craft store, I discovered that the cardstock that was sold by sheet was almost a dollar a piece. It was also different on the front and back. My mom found a package of varying shades of purple cardstock for $2.50. All the purples coordinate, and I still have quite a bit of cardstock left over. Besides, I have a variety of purples in the wedding, so I'm quite happy with my choice. I also think they look really nice all grouped together.

The biggest challenge I had was figuring out how to attach the magnets to the cards. I wanted to attach the magnet so that it didn't fall on the ground when guests open the cards, but I wanted to make it obvious that the magnet is supposed to come off the card. The solution was surprisingly simple, I found some removable adhesive squares at the craft store and attached each magnet with one square.

All that is left to do now is to put the cards in envelopes to be mailed out in January. I want to wait until after the holidays to minimize the risk of people accidentally throwing the cards away. Logically speaking, with all the excitement of the holidays, the last thing on most people's minds will be making travel arrangements for next September.

Friday, October 29, 2010

Something Blue

So, maybe this isn't as appropriate as some of my other posts... but I wanted to cover ALL aspects of the wedding.

We all know how the rhyme goes: Something old, something new, something borrowed, something blue. Like many brides before me, I'm hoping to include all four in my bridal outfit. Statistically, the most common place for a bride to wear blue is on her garter. Mine are purple. The next choice is for blue shoes, again, mine are going to be purple. For a couple of days, I tried to reason that purple is, kind of, a shade of blue. That didn't go over so well. Then I got the idea, what about blue underwear? I pity the wedding guests that ask me wear my blue is...

That being decided, over the weekend, my mom and I were out shopping. I wasn't looking for anything in particular, we were actually on an errand for Tom. Low and behold, I found a pair of lacy blue panties. So cute, so girly, so blue... and on sale! So I bought them, and now I have my something blue.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Having second thoughts... on the cake!

So, when Tom and I first started planning our wedding, we got this wonderful idea in our head of having a cheesecake buffet instead of a traditional wedding cake. Then we looked into the cost of ordering enough cheesecake to feed 100+ people, and fell in love with the romance of making our own cheesecakes. We both love to cook and I'm always bragging about how I love to bake. It seemed like an awesome idea. Then reality kicked in. Assuming each cheesecake could feed 10 people, I would need to make between 10 and 15 cheesecakes. Secondly, to prevent them from going stale, I would have to figure out how to remove the cheesecake from the spring form pan and then freeze it. I would also have to find space to freeze  10 to 15 cheesecakes. Then would be the pain staking issue of thawing all those cheesecakes without them going soggy. Once everything was baked, frozen, and thawed, I would then have to figure out how and when to transport all the cheesecake to our reception venue on the morning of the wedding. After thinking about all of this, I was seriously beginning to question if I would ever want to see a cheesecake again by the time my reception came around, let alone have it be the first dessert of my married life. Thank goodness this reality kick hit me now, and not two weeks before the wedding amidst a never ending sea of cheesecake.

Where now? Tom and I are looking into the more traditional wedding cake, with some minor upgrades. First of all, no fondant. Tom describes it best by saying it tastes like plastic. Secondly, we want a square cake instead of the traditional round one. We just like the clean lines. We also want ivory on ivory, again, for that clean look. We've been searching around online, and have found a couple pictures that we like. We are also beginning to talk to a couple of bakers, so we will see what comes along. I'm excited for the prospect of cake tasting.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Tracking Down the Photographer

Much to Tom's chagrin, our wedding photography package includes an engagement session. For those of you keeping track, this means TWO engagement sessions for us. The first session was taken by my mom over Labor Day weekend at our wedding venue. The second will be taken by the professional who is also taking our wedding pictures. Tom HATES having his picture taken. In fact, hatred would be an understatement. He loathes the idea. That is why I am insisting on the second engagement session, rather than swapping it out for something else.

Before I am accused of being insensitive, let me give my case. Wedding photography is expensive. As far as our wedding budget goes, the only thing more expensive than the photography is catering dinner for all 100 or so of my guests. If I'm going to pay more than $1000 for pictures, they better be good pictures. Hence the second engagement session. I already have all the engagement pictures I want. The ones that my mom took are gorgeous, and I have them displayed all over the place. I also used them for our save-the-dates and I plan on using them for our invitations. The reason I am going for the second engagement session for a trial run with the photographer. How do our personalities blend, is he someone we can work with? How do his pictures come out, is it our style? and most importantly, can he capture good pictures of Tom, without Tom necessarily realizing he is having his picture taken? The company that we purchased our photography package from has several photographers, so better to find this information out early when I still have the chance to switch if I need to.

When I chose the photographer, I did so because I fell in love with his portfolio. I have always loved "art shots" in photography, and that is really what I want our wedding photography to be. The way I look at it, anybody can take pictures of me in my dress, but a true photographer can catch the overall feel of the wedding. It took me countless phone calls to the manager of the company providing the photography and the tuxes to finally get a phone call from the photographer. I finally have the photographers phone number and email address, now it is just a matter of figuring out where, and when we want our professional engagement pictures done.

Friday, October 22, 2010

Am I a bride, or a travel agent?

Yesterday I was all giddy about the reality of having a reception space. Then the reality kicked in, that I was having a wedding and that in about 10 1/2 months (holy crap time is flying...) I will have over 100 people in town from all over the country for our wedding. The first thought that came to mind was "what am I going to do with everyone?" Seriously, as horrible as this sounds, throughout my wedding planning, I haven't really put much thought into my guests. Where are they going to stay? How are they going to get around? I was suddenly overcome with questions, not to mention, I've traveled; nothing is more of a pain in the butt than being in an area that I am unfamiliar with and not knowing how to get to the simplest of things. That being said, I got to work.

The first thing I did was visit This website was recommended to me by another bride on one of the discussion boards I frequent. You simply put in some information about the number of guests and the city you are in, and area hotels submit bids for group blocks. Very handy indeed. I also was able to score a group discount code on rental cars for my guests.

Once I confirmed our reception venue, I immediately called their corporate line and arranged a room block of 30 rooms at the venue, with a considerable discount. Tom then encouraged me to call two other hotels that are within easy walking distance of the reception venue. All in all, I have 60 rooms blocked off for my guests.

Finally, I made a wedding map on My map includes various wedding venues, such as the rehearsal dinner site, ceremony venue, reception venue, and Sunday brunch venue; as well as some points of interest for people who may not be familiar with the area, such as hotels, restaurants, points of interest, the local Catholic church, hospitals, shopping, the closest Wal-Mart, and movie theaters. By the end of the day, I felt much more prepared to welcome my guests. I want them to be comfortable and enjoy their time in Maine. As the big day gets closer, I am going to make welcome bags as well, one for each hotel room that I blocked off. But alas, that is for another day, and another post.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Reception Venue? Check!!!

We have a reception venue!!! Oh my goodness, a major stress is off of my shoulders! A couple of weeks ago, I mentioned that we had two places in mind, but it was just a matter of coming up with a deposit. The problem is that one venue had a significantly cheaper deposit, but was more expensive in the long run. Today, I called the second venue, which had a significantly larger deposit, but is ultimately cheaper in the long run. I explained our situation, and the event coordinator agreed to work with us on the deposit, and booked us for 9.10.11! I was so excited that I started to cry. Happy tears of course. With much excitement I can announce that our reception venue is the Ramada Conference Center!

Our reception will be taking place in the Grand Ballroom, which seats up to 300 people, so I have no fears of my guest list exploding again. At the same time, our guest list is just about done, and it looks like it is capping out at 150 people. For those of you keeping track, that is three times the original number. Anyways, back to gushing about the reception venue. We have a huge dance floor, a "stage" for the head table area, chandeliers above each table, a cash bar, awesome catering options, gorgeous lobby and courtyard. I'm just a little excited.

Now that we have a reception, the whole wedding seems that much more real. Everything is falling into place, and I feel like I can actually start planning the party part. Life is good. If I could only find a job, it would be perfect.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Groomsmen's attire and the F.O.B.

The groomsmen's tux is very similar to the groom's tux, just a couple colors are reversed. Tom's overall goal with the groomsmen's tuxes was to find something that actually looked formal enough to be a tux. Over the years, tuxes have become more casual in style, and Tom did not want the tuxes to be mistaken for suits. To the left is the tux that the groomsmen, our ring bearer, and our junior usher will wear. It consists of a black, notch lapel jacket, flat-front pants, ivory micro-fiber shirt, Victorian lilac vest, Victorian lilac ascot tie, and black and gold cufflinks and studs.

As I mentioned before, we seem to have a thing about throwing tradition out the window with our wedding, and Tom has decided to have a groomswoman in the wedding party. At first we were at a loss with how to dress her, should we put her in a tux? A black version of the bridesmaid's dress? After doing a Google image search for a groomswoman's dress for inspiration, we decided to put her in a black dress with a Victorian lilac sash to match the groomsmen's vests. We actually chose Alfred Angelo dress style 6545.

The final piece of attire that we chose was a tux for my step-father, who will henceforth be referred to as the F.O.B. (father of the bride). Our original intention was to give him the same tux as the groomsmen, just with a celadon vest instead of a Victorian lilac one. Unfortunately, the vest pattern we chose does not come in celadon, and the only available celadon vest did not have a matching ascot style tie. So the F.O.B. will be wearing a celadon windsor style tie instead. That is the actual reason his tux is slightly different, but after thinking things through and discussing it with my mother, I think that it is better that the F.O.B. has a slightly different tux because it differentiates him from the groomsmen. My step-father is wearing a tux out of formality because he is walking me down the aisle along with my mom, he's not one of the groomsmen, so he shouldn't look like one. Just like how we don't want our groomswoman, or my mother, to look like a bridesmaid.

That's it for attire, for now. My sister will be visiting in November, at which time will officially decide the girl's attire. I have already chosen my dress, but I am waiting for my sister to visit before I deposit it and order it. I also have a pretty good idea about what I want the bridesmaids to wear, but again, I want to wait until my sister can try some dresses on before I post anything about it.

Monday, October 18, 2010

Tom's Tux

As I mentioned, when we booked our photographer we chose and booked our tuxedos at the same time. I guess in terms of wedding planning, we are doing everything out of order and really throwing tradition out the window. I mean, our ceremony is planned to the exact detail, but we don't have a reception venue yet, and now we have our men's attire picked out and reserved, and I haven't deposited my dress yet, and we haven't "officially" chosen the bridesmaids dress either. Our wedding will come together, just maybe in a slightly different order than everyone is used to. Then again, we aren't exactly the type of couple that everyone is used to either. Anyways, I digress, back to the point of the post. We have tuxes!!!

Yesterday morning I posted an inspiration board about Tom's tux. I was actually a bit sneaky, and posted an actual picture of Tom's tux as part of the inspiration board. It was all Tom's idea. Yes, he is wearing an ivory jacket, and I think it looks awesome. Way back in August when my mother and I went dress shopping and picked out MY dress, I told Tom that his tux would have to be kind of vintage-y looking because my dress definitely has more of a vintage feel to it. He was all about it. So, we went to the tux shop on Saturday, and Tom started putting together tuxes with an ivory jacket. I'm not going to lie, I was a more than a little skeptical at the time. Not to mention, I couldn't really see the finished "look." That evening, Tom sent me to a web site that allowed me to design a tux, and I designed the exact tux that Tom ordered, I became giddy. Then, to further cement the deal, Tom did a google search for a 50's wedding picture. Sure enough, the groom was wearing an ivory jacket. My Tom not only listened to my request, he hit an all out homerun in picking his tux. Now I can't wait to see him in it.

Because I know that people will be curious, here are the details of Tom's tux:

  • Black, flat-front pants
  • Ivory, notch-lapel jacket
  • Black microfiber shirt
  • Ivory vest
  • Victorian lilac ascot
  • Pearl and gold cuff links and studs
  • Black patent leather shoes
It is a lot of fun to go tux shopping with your fiancé. Fair warning, the mental images of your fiancé in the tuxes is absolutely killer, and a total moment of "holy crap, I'm getting married!"

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Inspiration Board- The Groom

The Groom

Photographer, Check!

Yesterday, Tom and I sat down with a potential photographer. We listened to what they had to say, ooohed and aaahed over their albums, looked at the package, and despite the seemingly better and better deals they threw at us, we walked away. Tom and I never make major decisions in the heat of the moment, we like to take some time, digest, and think things through before signing on the dotted line. I'm happy we did. We knew we wanted 7 hours of photography, a DVD of all the pictures, and after the presentation, a wedding album. We are on a bit of a budget, so our original plan was to purchase one of the cheaper packages and simply add several hours of photography to that. Over dinner, Tom did the math, and realized that it was actually a better deal to go with a slightly larger package that included additional hours of photography. So I e-mailed the place back, and this morning, I was presented with a deal that I just couldn't refuse. I talked to Tom about it when he got home from work, and off we went to sign the photography contract!

The package contains:

  • DVD of all the pictures with reprint rights
  • 8"x10" professionally designed album with 20 pages
  • 11"x14" wall portrait
  • online gallery 30 days after the wedding
  • online slide show of the wedding album
  • engagement sitting with 8"x10" portrait
  • 6 hours of professional photography
The two bonuses I chose were an additional hour of photography for free and a second photographer. 

I am beyond words excited. We also chose and deposited the men's tuxedos, but that is for another post. 

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Invitation Mock-Up

I wanted to start by apologizing for not posting in about a week, the stress of the wedding, specifically the stress of not having money to make necessary deposits on the wedding is really starting to get to me, so I spent the last week by focusing on job hunting. I had a job interview today, and it went really well. I am keeping my fingers crossed, and I am supposed to hear back on Monday.

Anyways, the last time I posted, I discussed my invitation inspiration, and commented about how I ordered samples from Paper and More so that I could start working on an invitation mock-up. Fast forward to yesterday afternoon, I checked the mail and a small package had arrived with my name on it. This is what was inside...
I ordered two different thicknesses of cream vellum, a cream linen pocket fold, a purple solid pocket fold, a sand solid envelope, a cream linen envelope, a sand solid 4-bar envelope, two sheets of cream card stock, one sheet of purple card stock, one sheet of cream linen card stock, and one sheet of light green card stock. I pulled out my paper cutter and started to play.

The first thing I did was trim the card stock for my base. Paper and More gives excellent directions on their website. Basically, the base panel measures 5"x7" and they recommend using a 4.5"x6.5" base to achieve a layered look. After playing around with different base panels and pocket folds, and seeking the advise of my mother and Tom, we collectively decided that the best combination was the purple pocket fold with a cream base panel. The purple base on the cream pocket fold did not look right under the vellum. The next step was to add the picture. I printed 4"x6" pictures off of my computer, I used my favorite engagement picture. I printed both color and black and white, but ultimately decided to go with black and white because it looked better under the vellum. I glued the picture to my base panel, lining up the bottom edge (to leave room on top for a bow). Then I cut my vellum. I tried two thicknesses of vellum, both of which went through my inkjet printer easily. The thicker one did smudge a bit, but not enough for me to be concerned, and I did not have my printer on "high quality" printing at the time. I created a template for the vellum such that the verse would be centered when cut out. This template is available on my template page to the right.  Once I had my vellum cut, I carefully punched two holes through the base panel and the vellum, and tied a bow with green ribbon to hold everything together. Then I glued my completed base to the blank panel of the pocket fold. For my mock-up I used a simple glue stick; however, for the actual invites I intend to get a more durable adhesive.

With the base done, it was time to move on to the inserts. I created four inserts for my invitations, a reception card, directions card, accommodations card, and an RSVP card with a coordinating envelope. This was really more a matter of playing around with Open Office in order to develop a template. I played with the margins, such that each insert card was 6" high (per recommendations by Paper and More) and varied in width by 1/2" to create a layered effect. My RSVP card is narrower such that it would fit neatly inside a 4-bar envelope. 

The final step was to create a belly band. This is truly in draft form, but at least I have an idea of how I want it to look. I started with some extra green ribbon that I had from another craft project cut long enough to wrap around the closed pocket fold. I then added a scrap of cream card stock stamped with a star matted on a scrap of the green card stock. For the actual invitations, I plan on using a slightly narrower green gauzy ribbon without stripes in it, I also plan on using a more silvery green for the matting color, and a starfish instead of a star. Like I said, it's a draft, but it gives me an idea. 
Once all that was done, I chose an envelope. I ordered both the cream linen and sand solid because I was concerned that the sand color would not match up with the cream card stock. It matches perfectly. So, I am going to use the sand solid envelope because it is more cost effective than the linen paper, and to be honest, people throw the envelop away anyway. Overall, I am beyond excited with my invitations. If you compare the completed mock-up with my inspiration below, I definitely created what I was trying to achieve. Now I just need volunteers to help me make about 50 of these things before June... 

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Invitation Inspiration

Working on some wedding odds and ends today. I ordered a bunch of samples from Paper and More this morning, so in a week or so I get to start playing around with invitation mock-ups. I have two major inspirations for my invitations...

The image on the top is from Rexcraft. I love the idea of using one of our engagement pictures as part of the invitation with the wording written out on a vellum overlay. Below is a generic pocket fold that I found on google images. I love the idea of pocket folds, I like how everything looks so organized with all the inserts so cleanly placed in the pockets, I also love the belly band that goes around the finished product. My plan is to combine the two, to use the design on top as my base for my pocket fold invitation. The dilemma that I am running into is colors, which is why I ordered a bunch of samples.  

My options are: 
  1. A cream linen pocketfold, with a purple base (under cream vellum). With cream linen insert cards and cream linen envelopes. The belly band would likely be a green ribbon with a purple square of cardstock behind a cream square that is stamped with either an "L" or a starfish.
  2. A dark purple pocketfold, with a light green base (under cream vellum). With cream insert cards (not linen), and sand envelopes. The belly band would likely be green ribbon with a green square of cardstock behind a cream square that is stamped with either an "L" or a starfish.
With either color scheme, I'm using a black and white picture.

The dilemmas that I am running into are 1.) I'm concerned about the shade of purple. One of the major jobs of a wedding invitation is to present the wedding colors. I was only able to order a dark shade of purple, and our wedding color is more of a silvery purple. 2.) If I do a cream pocketfold with cream insert cards it will be too much cream, but if I do the inserts on a different color they may not be easy to read. 

So, we shall see how things go. Has anyone else run into dilemmas when designing their invitations?

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Photo Guest Book- Close Ups!

I ordered my photo guest book from Shutterfly and it arrived last week. I was very impressed with the promptness of shipping, from the day I clicked the "order" button to the day it arrived in my mailbox was only about two weeks. The quality is amazing, it looks like a professionally made book, which is exactly what I was going for. I am so impressed with it, that I plan on making a larger photobook of our wedding pictures after the wedding. I ordered an 8x8 hardcover photobook with 20 pages. Tom and I registered at Target, and one of the perks of doing so was a $20 gift card to Shutterfly. So, with shipping I paid less than $15.

The inside cover and cover pages on the front and back are solid white, which leaves tons of space for guests to sign, in addition, I left plenty of white space between pictures to all guests to sign there as well. This is the cover page, which says "Please Sign Our Guest Book And leave your best wishes for the new Mr. and Mrs.!"

This is one of my favorite pages, I love the full page picture

This is another favorite page, the picture of the ocean came out so crisp it just looks awesome. You can also see all the white space for guests to sign

On each page, I added a quote in our signature purple. 

For the back cover, I made a collage. 
As I have said before, I absolutely love my photo guest book. I like that it has our engagement pictures in it and is more like a coffee table book than your traditional guest book. It is something that I can see us displaying, at least for our first year of marriage, out in the open rather than just tucking it away in a drawer or a curio cabinet. I look forward to seeing it with all my guests signatures and well wishes, it is sure to become a keepsake that we will cherish for years to come.

Sunday, October 3, 2010

DIY Garter and the Search for Undergarments

Mom and I went shopping this afternoon. We had some time to kill, so we started to look for a mother-of-the-bride dress, then we started looking for purple shoes for me, and somehow we started looking for undergarments for me. To keep this post family friendly, I will just say that I am "well endowed" on top, and the seamstress at the bridal shop already informed me that it would not be possible to add a built-in bra to my dress. So I'm looking for a corset. To spare details, I will just say that I have a couple of contenders, and Tom and I will be going corset shopping in the near future. I plan on ordering my dress in November, so I will need to have my undergarments figured out by then so that I can have accurate measurements taken. Since we were working on under-the-dress things, I decided to make my garters for my project this week. I made two, and they are identical. They were fairly easy to make, and brought back memories of middle school when my home ec teacher taught me how to make hair scrunchies.

You will need:

  • 3" satin ribbon 
  • 1" lace
  • 1/2" elastic
  • Safety Pin
  • 1/8" satin ribbon in a contrasting color to the other ribbon
  • Shells, pearls, charms, or whatever else you want for embellishment
  • Measuring tape
  • Pins
  • Sewing machine or needle and thread
  • Iron
  • Hot glue gun
What you do: 
  1. With the measuring tape, measure around your mid to upper thigh (this is a fun project to have your fiancé do). Add about an inch to that measurement, that is how much of the 3" satin ribbon and lace your will need. 
  2. With the right side of the 3" ribbon facing you, line up the top edge of the lace with the top edge of the ribbon. Fold the ribbon in half, the lace should be completely inside the ribbon. Use pins to keep everything together.
  3. Stitch through all three layers (ribbon, lace, ribbon) with a 1/4" seam allowance. You should have a narrow tube. 
  4. Flip the tube inside out, if you did this correctly, you should have a tube of ribbon with the lace underneath and the seam on the inside of the ribbon. 
  5. Iron the ribbon so that it lies flat. Run a top stitch next to the crease formed by ironing. This will create a ribbon casing that lies flat.
  6. Cut your elastic about 3/4 of the length of your ribbon, it should be able to stretch around your mid to upper thigh comfortably. 
  7. Pin the safety pin through one end of the elastic, and insert the elastic into the ribbon casing. Be careful not to twist the elastic, and hold the end. Thread the safety pin through the ribbon casing, gathering the ribbon as you go. 
  8. Stitch the two ends of the elastic together. 
  9. Pull one end of the ribbon over the other end, tuck it under to hide the raw edges, and stitch closed.
  10. Cut about 6" of 1/8" ribbon. Put a drop of hot glue on the front of the garter, and attach the narrow ribbon. I also added a string of pearls at this point.
  11. Once the glue is hard, tie the narrow into a bow. 
  12. Put a drop of hot glue on top of the bow and attach any other embellishments, I added a seashell to continue my beach theme.
You now have a handmade garter that will match your wedding colors perfectly. It is also more comfortable to wear than many commercially made garters because the elastic is completely covered by ribbon.

Saturday, October 2, 2010

Wedding Planning Bio

I made a planning bio, I actually got this idea from various "knotties" from the message boards on The Knot. The whole point is to have a place on the web to keep track of wedding planning, this in turn can be visited by other "knotties" so they can get an idea of the overall concept of your wedding. I also made mine so that the wedding party can keep up to date with wedding planning since they are literally scattered across the country. I made my bio through and I found it very easy to use. I know how to do html and all, but I really liked the "drag and drop" format for making a web page. I put this whole page together over the course of an afternoon. So if you are interested in my wedding planning, or if you want to see all my DIY projects together or whatever, here is my planning bio.