Monday, March 28, 2011

DIY "The Little White Dress"

A couple of weeks ago, I teased everyone with some pictures of a DIY project that I was working on. Well, I've finished that project. As you can probably gather from my post title, I made my "little white dress."

The "little white dress" is a current trend in the wedding industry, I don't think the dress has any specific definition; I've seen various designers offer them as party dresses for the reception, travel-friendly dresses for destination weddings, and as rehearsal dinner dresses. I thought the idea was cute, and I was looking for a new sewing project, so I decided to make my own. My "little white dress" will have two uses, as my rehearsal dinner dress, and again during our mini-moon as a dinner dress.

Without further ado, here is my "little white dress."

It still needs the bottom hem, which means that I need to figure out how long I want it to be. It currently hits right below my knee, I might hem it to knee length. Hemming is a pain, so it can wait. The picture only does the dress limited justice. It's made of ivory crepe, and it's fully lined. It's an A-line style halter dress, and the purple sash is meant to go around the waist. I love it. 

I also made a bolero jacket to go with it. September can be breezy, so I want to have an option that would cover my shoulders. This is likely how I will wear it for dinner during our mini-moon. 

Either way I wear it, I'll be rocking my purple shoes.   

Friday, March 25, 2011

DIY Belly Bands

In lieu of inner envelopes, I decided to use belly bands to hold our pocketfold invitations closed. As you can see from the picture to the left, the belly band adds a really nice finishing touch. This is one (of several) areas where the final product differs from our mock-up in that the mock-up used a green ribbon and a star (not a starfish). I switched from green ribbon to ivory organza because I could not find the green in the width or price range that I wanted. The star used in the mock-up was one my mother had on hand, and I always had the intention of replacing it with a starfish stamp. Now that I've completed 80 belly bands I can report that they are easy to make, but it quickly becomes repetitive. I did mine in groups of 20, which was about all that I could stand in one sitting.

The first thing I did was make the starfish squares. This is where many people put their monogram, but I was trying to avoid using the monogram until after the wedding. I use the term "was" because Tom and I purchased a wax sealer for our envelopes, but I digress. Anyways, I cut 80  1.5"x1.5" squares out of ivory cardstock. I used scraps from all of my invitation inserts. I used a paper cutter to do this, but scissors and a ruler will get the job done. Once all my ivory squares were cut, I stamped them with starfish in purple ink. Then I let the ivory squares dry while I cut the green squares, which are 2"x2".

Then I simply used glue stick (the same kind you use for scrapbooking) to attach the ivory square to the green square.

Once all the squares are assembled and the glue is dry, you are ready to make belly bands.

You will need:
  • Ribbon  (I used 1" wide organza ribbon)
  • Squares (assembled above)
  • Scissors
  • An assembled pocketfold invitation (with all inserts)
  • Glue dots

  1. Wrap your ribbon around your invitation. You want about an inch of overlap, you also want to wrap the invitation somewhat loosely so that guests will be able to easily slide the belly band off. Once you are able to figure out the length you need, cut the ribbon and use that length as a template to cut the rest of your ribbon. 
  2. Take a piece of cut ribbon and wrap it around an invitation, secure in place with two glue dots. Note how my invitation remains slightly open after the ribbon is wrapped and secured, this is how you want yours to look. 
  3. Attach the square over the glue dots used to secure the ribbon with two additional glue dots. 
  4. Place the invitation square side down, and repeat for each additional invitation. I found that the weight of the invitations being stacked was enough to crease the ribbon at the sides and hold the invitations closed. Some people also like to stack all the invitations and put a weight on top for 24-hours. 

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Rehearsal Dinner, err Picnic

I think Tom and I have changed our minds about the rehearsal dinner more times than we have about the wedding. It's definitely been more of a pain in the rear end to plan. Our initial plan was to have a barbecue in my mother's backyard. Then reality struck, and Tom and I decided we did not want to spend the evening before our wedding doing dishes and cleaning up my mother's house. Then we started looking at restaurants, but reality struck again. Our wedding party is made up of a slew of picky eaters, and we struggled to find a restaurant that would satisfy everyone. To add, who exactly was invited to the rehearsal dinner? Just the wedding party? What about their immediate families that would be stuck in a hotel room without a car? What about other out-of-town guests that were traveling/staying with members of the wedding party? Cue the headache. 

Then, one day, while thinking of our ceremony venue, Tom and I had an epiphany.

We'll have our rehearsal dinner on the beach! A picnic! Our entire wedding party is coming from out-of-state and will be in town a couple of days before the wedding (their choice, not ours). Tom and I were trying to think of activities to do with everyone that would allow us to show them around Maine. Why not spend a day on the ocean? 

We decided to hold the ceremony rehearsal around 2 in the afternoon, followed by a rehearsal picnic on the beach. The wedding party is invited, of course, along with their significant others and children. If a couple of out-of-town guests want to show up, that's cool too. The entire point is we want to have a nice, relaxing afternoon before the hustle and bustle of the wedding the next day. 

So, we figured out the venue, what are we going to feed everyone? 

Italians! Italians are a Maine thing, it's essentially a sub sandwich (just don't say that to a local), it's deli meat, cheese, tomatoes, onions, green peppers, and pickles on Italian bread with a little oil. We are looking to give our wedding party the "Maine experience," there is nothing more Maine than a good Italian sandwich, except maybe whoopie pies, and we are serving those for dessert. I spent my day on Monday calling a local sandwich shop and, with the exception of paper plates and stuff, our rehearsal picnic is set.

Our menu: 
Italian sandwiches; choice of roast beef, turkey, ham, or salami
Finger sandwiches; choice of chicken salad, ham salad, egg salad, or seafood salad
Garden salad
Whoopie Pie

Have you planned your rehearsal dinner?

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

My Hair

Jenny, age 2
My hair took forever to grow. My mom has told me stories about how she would dress me up in a yellow dress, and people would still assume I was a boy. I didn't have my first hair cut until I was almost three years old. My younger sister had her first hair cut shortly after. I am happy to report that once my hair decided to start growing, it made up for the first few years, and then some.

For as long I as I can remember, I've had long hair. When I say long, I mean at least below my shoulders, usually about halfway down my back. I have had short hair twice, short hair being defined as chin length. At first I welcomed the change, then I quickly decided that I did not like it. I love how versatile long hair is. I can leave it down, ponytail, braid, head band, barrettes, the whole gamut. On fancy occasions, I have even been known to take a curling iron to it.

I look like a dork
As far as color goes, my hair likes to march to the beat of it's own drummer. When I was really little, it was a dirty blonde, as I've gotten older it has darkened a little, but I do not quite consider myself a brunette. I'm not a blonde either. I have always had reddish highlights, and on a couple of occasions I've dyed my hair auburn. In my teens, I hated the color, as an adult, I've come to accept it.

The one downside, MAJOR downside to my hair is that it is baby fine. If I don't wash it every day, it goes flat and looks oily. As far as hair products go, I can only use hairspray, and only certain brands of that. Otherwise, my hair is weighed down and looks limp and icky. My hair also refuses to hold curls for more than an hour or so. In terms of wearing it down, I can get about two hours out of it until it becomes stringy, so I have to carry a hair brush with me (thank goodness for the ones that fold!). I love my hair, it's just a bit high maintenance.

I really don't want to be messing my hair on my wedding day. Between being the center of attention of a hundred or so guests, and the frequent camera flashes, stringy hair really is not much of a option either. My standby solution to this dilemma is to just get a total updo. This is what I've done for prom and other weddings I've attended. It has worked thus far, so why change something that works. It's also become quite a game for me to pull out all the bobby pins at the end of the night. My record is 47 bobby pins and a hair elastic, which held my hair up for my friend Jennie's wedding. I was a bridesmaid. My "usual" is a classic French twist with a couple of "spaghetti strings" in the front (it's the closest I can get to curls). For our wedding, I decided to go a little different. Still doing the total updo, but after looking at hundreds of wedding hair pictures online, I decided that I want loops. Tons of loops.


I gave the above pictures to the spa that the girls are going to get ready at on the morning of the wedding. The lady that I spoke to told me that it should not be a problem to put my hair up in a similar way, and she went on to explain that they have a stylist at the salon that specializes in this type of updo! She also explained that it takes a lot of hair to be able to do an updo like this, but that I should not have a problem. My hair trial is going to be this summer, so we will see how everything goes.

How do you want to/ how did you wear your hair on your wedding day? Did you have a pre-wedding hair trial?

Saturday, March 19, 2011

I Booked a Spa!

Last month, Tom and I went to a bridal show. One of the featured vendors was a local day spa. They were giving free mineral make-up demonstrations, so I decided to give it a try. The end result was the appearance of flawless skin. For me, this is huge. We'll just say that my teen-aged years were not very kind to my complexion. On top of that, the spa offered a bridal area where the bride and the bridesmaids could get ready for the big day. I was intrigued and took a brochure with the intention of giving them a call in the near future.

Well, I called them on Wednesday, and set up an appointment to visit the spa this past Thursday. I've never been inside a spa, and I think my jaw hit the floor when I walked in. The place is gorgeous, yet incredibly calming. Soft music is playing throughout, there are couches and comfy chairs throughout. It just looks like the kind of place you would want to hang out for a significant amount of time. I met with their consultant, she gave me a tour of the entire spa, including the bridal area, which consists of two dressing rooms and a large sitting area. The way it works is this, if the bride books a bridal package, than she and her bridal party can get ready in the bridal area for no charge. The consultant even offered to set up my bridesmaid's tea for me in the sitting room. The photographer is more than welcome to come to the spa to take pictures of the bride getting ready, and my florist can deliver our flowers to the front desk. It just works out perfectly. Then the best part, the prices are extremely reasonable. I booked two packages for myself the same day to reserve the bridal area, and Tom and I decided that we are going to book appointments for our mothers as a wedding gift. My bridesmaids are more than welcome to book services as well, and several are going to join me for a "spa day" on the Thursday before the wedding.

As for my services? The Thursday before the wedding, I'm going to have a massage, facial, manicure, and pedicure. Then the day of, I am going to have my hair and make-up done. This is going to be my first time ever at a spa, and to say that I'm excited is actually quite the understatement.

Friday, March 11, 2011

DIY Invitations- Work in Progress

On Thursday I got a package in the mail, it's contents are pictured to the left: 80 pocketfolds, 100 large and small envelopes, and a package of cream colored vellum. This can only mean one thing, invitation assembling is imminent.

This isn't the very beginning of the invitation project, I purchased ivory coverstock from a local office supply store back in February, and I have been slowly chipping away at printing and cutting inserts. With the exception of editing a couple RSVP cards and cutting out cards with our website information on it, I am happy to say the inserts are almost done.

With any luck, in the next couple of weeks I should have a pile of completed wedding invitations.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Six Months!

Six months! When did this happen, and where did all the time go? The wedding will be here before we know it!

First and foremost, my big news! I lost my job back in July of 2010 and I have been feverishly attempting to find a job since. Aside from household living expenses, even the most budget conscious of weddings still cost money. Tom managed to find me a job, we will be working for the same company. I start in early April.

Back to wedding. In terms of planning, this has been a rather relaxed month. All of the vendors are currently booked, and most of my DIY projects are done, so I really have not had much to do on either front. We did manage to get over to a local rental place and reserve all of the chairs for our ceremony. I also tried my hand at personalized hangers, and I think I did a pretty good job. I did a couple other DIY projects, but unfortunately they are presents for my bridesmaids, and since they occasionally read my blog, I'll have to wait until after the wedding to post about them. The majority of the time spent on the wedding this month has been in the form of shopping. I was able to find artificial starfish at a really good price, and, most importantly, Tom and I took advantage of a sale and ordered our wedding rings.

Tom and I also had the opportunity to attend our first bridal show, which happened to be held at our reception venue. While I was not able to get much benefit out of the many vendors featured at the bridal show, I was able to see a reception table all set up, and overall walked away with a much more cohesive image of what our wedding will look like.

I'm still in the process of collecting measurements and deposits from my bridesmaids, it looks like their dresses should be ordered in the next week or two. Our ceremony has been finalized and mailed out to our officiants. I have not heard back from either of them about it, so perhaps I should follow up. Our music playlist is still a work in progress, but that's okay for now.

As we get closer to the wedding, my list of "little things" to do seems to be growing. In the next month, I plan to assemble all of our invitations. I really want to get this done before I start working again. I also need to begin planning our rehearsal dinner and figure out food for that. Last on my list, I need to start figuring out where I am going to have my hair and make-up done on the morning of the wedding.

Until next month!

Saturday, March 5, 2011

Valentine's Day, Part Two

Valentine's Day is a special holiday for me and Tom, aside from being a holiday of love, it is also our dating anniversary and our engagement anniversary. We decided to do something special this year since it is the year that we marry, and our last dating anniversary that we celebrate. As you can see from the picture to your left, I was thoroughly spoiled. Over the course of several days, I was given a set of freshwater pearl earrings, a purple sock monkey, a vase full of chocolates, and a flower arrangement from the same florist that is doing our wedding flowers. The purple roses in the arrangement are the same type of roses that will be in my wedding bouquet and Tom's boutonniere. Tom did good. He also took me out to dinner at a local German restaurant. In return, I bought Tom a box of chocolates, a bottle of Grey Goose vodka, and a set of hockey tickets. Valentine's was a bit over two weeks ago, tonight is the hockey game. We shall call this Valentine's Day, Part Two.

Tom has always been an avid hockey fan, so I am happy to report that I got him tickets fitting for a hockey fan. Second row, next to the penalty box. This is going to be good. We are also going to Buffalo Wild Wings for dinner before the game.

Have I mentioned how much I love spoiling my Tom?

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

With this Ring...

A little over a year ago, Tom proposed and gave me my engagement ring. To say I love my ring would be an understatement. I just over six months, we get to exchange rings again. Rings that we ordered last week. Tom and I crossed another "biggie" off of the wedding checklist.

We were originally planning to purchase our rings in June. The primary reason being that we were going to purchase our rings from the same jewelry store that Tom purchased my engagement ring from. It happens to be a national chain store, so we were not concerned about the rings taking long to come in once we ordered them, in fact, a jeweler at the store promised us that the rings would only take about six weeks to come in.

I went to the jewelry store last week to have my engagement ring inspected. I have to bring it in every six months to be inspected to keep the warranty up to date. It's a quick errand to do, and they steam clean it in the process, so I am rewarded with my ring looking brand new again. Anyway, while there, I noticed that they were having a significant sale on their bridal jewelry. Specifically, the wedding band that goes with my engagement ring was on sale for a significant discount. I mentioned the sale to Tom when I picked him up from work, and we went directly back to the jewelry store.

Without further ado, here are our rings.

My ring is a 1/4 carat diamond channel band set in white gold. The ring is designed to fit around my engagement ring. Tom's ring is a 6mm yellow gold ring. He wanted something simple. I was originally going to get a simple band, but because my hands are so small (I wear a size 5!) combined with the sale, my diamond ring is about the same price as the simple band. Tom was going to get a narrower band, but the sale permitted him to get the wider band that he wanted.

I promise that I will have better pictures of the rings once we physically have them. My ring is on special order and is not expected to arrive until May (good thing we didn't wait last minute to order), Tom's ring is in, but we put it on layaway until we can pay it off. Now that we have rings, the wedding seems even more real. I had a definite "bride" moment when I watched Tom try different rings on.