Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Why Rush?

So as much as I want to start project and start posting them here for all to see, I can't help but think 'why rush?'

Our engagement has not been the most smooth and blissful point in our relationship. It has been filled with anxiety, sadness, financial stress, work worry and family conflict. Six months in and we have finally come to a point where we are happy. Yes, all those stressors still exists but we are learning to deal with them or they are subsiding.

So why create more stress now? I know I will stress over projects that aren't going as planned, plus the usual holiday stress, so why do this to myself?

With that, I won't! I am just going to enjoy the next few months and not worry about projects. I will get my accessories, get the girls dresses and... THAT IS IT!

Anyone else have a bumpy engagement? Did it get better, I hope?

Friday, November 13, 2009

Wedding Magazines

Have you noticed all the Michael's/Joanne's/AC Moore/Bed Bath and Beyond coupons in wedding magazine?

Even better... THEY DON'T EXPIRE!!!!

They are disguised as full page, gloss ads but there is a little coupon on the bottom so look carefully.

I am going through my stack of magazines as we speak... well, as I type and you read :)

Envelop Accordion

The Paper Source has a wonderful tutorial on how to make an envelop accordion.

source: http://www.paper-source.com/

Don't you just love the organization/cuteness of this?!

I have about 50 envelops left over from our STDs...

source: www.envelopmall.com

I'm not sure if our envelops will work since the flap is straight and not a point. But I might just give it a whirl because I love the accordion so much.

I think I will make them for each member of our wedding party. Each section will be used for information about the wedding (attire, rehearsal information, ceremony location and times, reception information and times, lodging information, etc.). And in the last section, I could tuck a personalized thank-you note from the Mister and I.

Can you think of another use for these lovely accordion?

My Flower Secret... No Longer a Secret

I totally plan on sharing all the tricks that I am using to plan a budget-friendly wedding.

But I did want to show you what I just found on Real Simple since it proves my flowers-on-a-budget point.

The first article is "Turn Supermarket Flowers into Beautiful Bouquets" -

The second article is "How to Budget for DIY Flowers"

The second is more relevant to my tricks and what I will be doing for our wedding.

It's funny to think people still pay for centerpieces knowing how easy they are to make and how much you can save!

Do you have any flower budget tricks? Post'em please!

The Check List - As of Today

Thank you Martha for reminding me that I have only completed 36 of 116 wedding tasks completed.

The bright side is I have all my tasks complete up to January 22. So I am ahead of the game but that number makes me feel SO behind.

This is where the Mister and I stand as of today.

Wedding Check List:

Dress found and purchased - waiting for it's arrival
Groom's attire booked- waiting to select style
Ceremony location found and booked - though a different, less strict location is still appealing
Reception venue found, booked and deposits made
Photographer found and booked
Engagement photo session completed
Save the Date made and sent
Cake baker selected and contract in the works
OOT guest hotel booked
Bridal suite booked
Florist booked
DJ booked and deposit made
Looking for bridesmaid dresses ... almost done
Looking for flower girl dresses ... almost done
Looking at hair and makeup vendors ... almost done
Looking for rehearsal dinner location ... almost done, just want to take the FILs there

Looking at my DIY list now plus Martha's to-do list makes me question time and money. I have a feeling cuts will have to be made to keep us under budget and me sane.

Are other springtime brides at the same point?

Getting Ahead of Myself

As usual, I am getting ahead of myself.

If you remember, I bought my wedding dress quickly (and have had some regret), I booked our church before we were engaged (I panicked!), I bought my bouquet broach on a whim (at least it was cheap) and I'm a self-proclaimed impulse shopper.

This over eagerness extends into other areas in my life . With job hunting, if I am perfectly qualified for a job posting, I plan on already having an interview and when I can start. With the holidays, I have already planned a menu, selected a wine list and thought about the table setting... but I don't host any family holidays at this point!

Now with house hunting, I have mentally painted and decorated and have started planning our holiday in the house.

Normal, right?

No, it isn't. I haven't mentioned the completely insane part: we haven't even SEEN the house let alone put on offer on it! We don't even know if the house is still available. But here I go again... planning a dream.

Okay, get ready for it. I am about to show you what triggered this post...

source: www.macys.com

Sorry for the small picture but it is a Wedgewood Christmas ornament, with a door knocker in the center that has the words "Our First Home 2009".

Yes, I have already found a Christmas ornament to memorialize the first Christmas we will have in a house we haven't bought or seen yet. Craaaazzzy!

Are any of your over eager planners that tend to get ahead of yourself?

Thursday, November 12, 2009


There are no words to express how fabulous this wedding is! Just look and beam with envy...

If I could change our theme... which I could still ;)... I might go with vintage glamour!

Impusle Buy, Wedding Style

I am a marketers dream! I totally fall for a good display, pretty packaging and product placement. Those checkout lines with candy, handiwipes and mascara at the grocery store, smart. The window displays for department stores, brilliant. Colin Cowie creating a winter wonderland on HSN to show his Christmas collection, well that's just being a tease!

Basically, you make it look cute and I will buy it!

Sometimes my impulse buying will poke it's little head out in places where I least expect it. And yesterday was one of those days.
I went into a local Volunteers of America with my FSIL and her two daughters, whom I call my nieces since I have been in their lives since they were 3 and 1. The girls were picking out Christmas ornaments from the 3-for-a-$1 box and my FSIL was looking for some fleece jackets for her husband (he's a farmer and goes through fleeces like water).
We were in the checkout line, I looked down into the glass display box and there it was; something I hadn't planned on buying for a while but knew I needed to have.
A broach for my bouquet...

Um, HELLO! The pic doesn't pick up on it, but there is silver in the center (like my dress), mini pearls in a silver-cream color and larger, oval pearls in a pinky-champagne color. All the colors I want in my bouquet. Too perfect! And it only cost me $8. Score!

I picked up these little clip-on earrings a few weeks ago at a church rummage sale for a full $.25...

I have kept them in my purse to help me collect other accessories and to clip on to shoes that are wedding worthy. And good thing I had them on me cause look at this match...

Even if the earrings don't make it to the final round for accessories, I am only out a quarter and I can keep them in my purse for my reference piece and not carry my broach.

Did you find a little wedding gem when you weren't looking for it?

I Heart Letterpress

I started my quest for the perfect invitation before we had a wedding date, color selection and engagement ring.

Yes, I was that girl who might have taken her "pre-engagement wedding planning" a bit too far.
But it was my love for all things related to writing (I even get jazzed over a new set of fun Post-Its) and working with paper vendors and printers in my last position, that contributed to me speeding up my wedding paper-goods search.

And I have to be honest, I am happy I did!
I could not believe the price for the coveted letterpress. When I lived in budget fantasy land, $500 for 100 invitations... just invitations, no reply card, seemed reasonable! And sure, for letterpress it is but it was never going to happen with our budget.

Slightly disappointed, I decided to start saving any and every invitation I saw online to my favorites.

When we got engaged, decided on a theme, settled on our colors and I started editing down my list, but not before I made sure our colors were not available in that style.

My mission went from loving letterpress to achieve an expensive look at a discount price.
I immediately ruled out printing our own and DIYing the invites. I don't have the patience or skill and I'm okay with that!

And the best way to get the Mister's input is to make an inspiration board and have him select what he likes.

So here is our current inspiration board...

source: 1- www.weddingpaperdivas.com , 2- www.hellolucky.com , 3, 4- www.weddingpaperdivas.com , 5- www.myjeanm.com , 6 - www.getmarried.com and 7 - www.myjeanm.com

I have been pretty fond of numbers 2,3 and 7... and of course these are the most expensive of the lot! But 3 and 7 are two of the most affordable letterpress I have found, EVER!

But my mission wears on.

Oh, and I want to give honorable mentions to Rexcraft.com and CarlsonCraft.com for their great selection and affordable prices. And who knows, I change my mind so often that we might get our invites from one of those.

Were you surprised by the cost of an invitation suite? What have been your tricks for saving money on invites?

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Peanut Butter Bumper Date

A few years ago, I introduced my cereal-crazed fiance to one of my favorite cereals, Peanut Butter Bumpers.

source: www.mothersnatural.com

Peanut Butter Bumpers are organic puffs of corn, flavored with natural peanut butter and are simply delicious!

The Mister was instantly hooked and we were going through 2 boxes a week between breakfast and late-night snacks.

When I was working, my office was two blocks from our apartment and I had to go in at 9:00 am where the Mister had to commute about 20 minutes and had to be in at 8:00 am.

His morning routine is to shower, get ready and then have breakfast. My routine is to make coffee, have breakfast and then shower and get ready.

Lucky for us, we would both be ready for breakfast at the same time. So we started our "Peanut Butter Bumper Dates". Cheesy, I know. But I loved getting our breakfast ready while the Mister was finishing getting ready for work. I would tell him it was time for our "Peanut Butter Bumper date" and he would rush to finish up so we could eat together.

It was a really great way to start a morning!

Today I was grocery shopping and there was a sale on the Bumpers (they are kind of pricey and now that I am jobless, they aren't a priority). I called the Mister to say "What cereal do you want? Bumper are on sale."

He replies, "Get Bumpers! We can have a Peanut Butter Bumper date."

And then my heart sunk: we have stopped our dates.

Our current situation doesn't allow for us to do these little cheesy moments. Living with the Mister's sister and brother-in-law has really taken a toll on our romance efforts. We find that we hide our gestures since his sister and brother-in-law are not that kind of couple (we are heavy on the romance and they are... well, not).

The more I think about it, there have been a bunch of little gestures that have faded away with time. I won't get into because some of it will make you nauseous, but they were little things that meant so much to us, would ease pain, make us laugh or offer us comfort.

I miss those little gestures.

I hope we can bring them back once we are on our own again.

Think back to the beginning of your relationship. Are there little things/gestures you use to do but don't do any more?

Let's all make a promise here and now: promise to bring back one of those gestures this week, even if it is just for one night. Okay?!

Mine is a Peanut Butter Bumper date. What is yours?

Check and Almost Check

Our save-the-dates are out the door!

Well, our save-the-dates for our families are out at least. I am still working on our friends but they will understand!

But wow, what a relief to have one more thing done. Especially, since we have started the invitation hunt. I felt more and more behind the closer we got to deciding on our invites.

It feels so official now. I can't wait to get the last batch out and to really focus on finding our invites for a steal. Hey, what can I say, I'm a bride on a budget!

What has been your biggest wedding project accomplishment so far?

Bridal Suite-ness

About a month ago, I wanted to book our wedding suite for the night of our reception.
There are a few upscale hotels near our reception venue. But there were a few factors our final hotel would have to meet before I could book.
The ideal suite would have a separate bedroom from the living area, a hot tub (for us to relax in and have a glass of champagne before we go to bed) and a view. The Mister and I are suckers for a good view!
First was the Brookwood Inn. It was very recently remodeled and plays host to one of the most luxurious steakhouses in the city.
The hotel futures a grand lobby...
... and has "5 elegant suites", as the website says.
My favorite are the Hickory and the Manhattan...

(Sorry for the pic quality. source: http://www.brookwoodinn.com/)

The suites are beautiful but they are lacking in a view and are kind of expensive for one night.

The option is the Woodcliff Lodge and Spa.

We had stayed here once before and we loved it! The hotel is nestled atop of a hill. The hill is actually the highest point of elevation in the tri-county area, allowing for the most amazing view of our city that is 20-miles away.

The landscape is well well manicured, the golf course is one of the best in the area and the restaurant is elegant without being pretentious and has an uninterrupted view of the city.

The hotel also has two-floor suites! You enter into the living and kitchen space...

... and up the spiral staircase is the hot tub room with a VIEW!

Top 4 pics - source: www.woodclifflodge.com

And since I am a Nervous-Nelly, I had to go visit the suite before I booked to to make sure I wasn't dreaming!

Oh, did I mention our suite will be pulling double duty as our wedding suite AND as the location of our bridal brunch? That explains the need for a very separate living space. This way we don't need to rush and it's kind of like having breakfast in bed, which is one of our FAVORITE things.

The candy coating on the Woodcliff suite is the price! It was under budget and I am thrilled! And it will be a surprise for the Mister... I can't wait! (wow, three exclamation points in one paragraph)

I was actually so happy with the price, I booked a room for after the rehearsal dinner for me, my sister and mom. This way we can relax for the night, then get ready for the wedding the next day.

How did you decide on a wedding night suite? Did you have requirements? Anyone else do a bridal suite brunch?

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Sign, Sealed but Not Yet Delivered

I promise, I am trying SO hard to get these Save-the-Dates out.

They are complete and they are beautiful! I have them in their beautiful neutral colored, linen envelops from the Envelop Mall...

source: http://www.envelopmall.com/

Now comes the tedious task of addressing these old girls.

I have decided since these are just Save-the-Dates and aren't actual invitations, it is okay to use the clear labels to save time and force me to start a family address book.

I am using Avery's 18660 clear address labels. What I love about Avery is you can download a template and you can input the contact information right on the template.

So should you use less than the 30 labels on the sheet, the next time you want to print labels, you can input on the template where the last label was left off. Thus, no waste!

Now, back to inputting!

What tasks are you finding most tedious?

My Dress, My Dilemma

So I tried my dress on over the weekend... again :) And as I was standing on my pedestal, staring at my bridal reflection, it hit me; how the hell am I going to accessorize this dress?!

Okay, my Mister... I love you but hit-the-road so I can post some dress pics! Thanks!
Now let's get down to business.

My "wedding day vision" was a slightly casual dress with lace details, my hair loosely up with a flower pinned to the back, killer shoes, a flushed/glowing face with soft eyes and pale pink lips. I was hoping for a... well, not casual but not too formal look. I wanted to be comfortable so I could dance the night away with the Mister and have a relaxed,vintage-elegance feel to the entire wedding.

Here is my dress (me with two of the Mister's nieces who will be part of the flower girl frenzy)...

(excuse the ugly face in the first pic... just focus on those little ladies! all pics are mine)

It's a little more formal, a bit more silver and a touch longer train than I was planning. But I fell in love when I tried it on and I could tell it was "the one" just by the feel of it; before I had even seen myself wearing it.

But now my vision is a little off. And for some reason, I am having a hard time pulling the new look together.
Would a loose up-do with a flower like this be appropriate?

source: http://www.brides.com/

The Mister and I had wanted the guys to wear khaki suites like these...

source: http://www.tuxedojunction.com/

And the girls in something light like these...

source: www.alfredangelo.com

Can you see the relaxed, vintage-elegance I was going for?

I still want this effect but I think we need to sprinkle some formal-ness over each element.

Now the new inspiration search begins!

Did your original wedding vision go out the door when you found the perfect dress/venue/any wedding element?

Thursday, November 5, 2009

DIY: Save-the-Dates

How to make our save the dates. And my apologizes for the poorly lit pics!

First, gather your supplies... scrap book paper in 4.5x6.5, ribbon, double sided tape, glue dots, index cards (for your message), photos in 4x6 and craft glue, just in case.

Second, cut a length of the ribbon (about 3 inches)...

Next you want to create a hem on the ribbon ends. So take a small square of double sided tape, place it about a half inch up from the end of the ribbon, fold the end over to stick and repeat on the other side.

Now take a glue dot, stick it on the hem of the ribbon, one on each side (it's there in the center)...

Select two of the same paper patterns and, on the blank side, stick the ribbon at the edge, in the middle. Bring the two pages together and give the ribbon-covered dots a good pinch...

Pause for a kit-kat from your niece's Halloween bag...

Print or write your information on the 3x5 blank index cards (I did ours in publisher)...

Finally, with your double sided tape, tape the back of the photo, center it on the bottom page and stick. Then double sided tape the message card, center it on the top page and stick.

They haven't been sent yet so I don't want to put up the final-final product but this will give you a good idea of the final look.
Good luck and go craft!

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Christmas Countdown

It's 50 days until Christmas, I'm just saying.

We Have Save The Dates!

The Mister and I struggled with our STDs (ha!). It shouldn't be THAT hard but we couldn't communicate our vision to our designer thus making it difficult and nerve wracking when we asked for edits and changes.
The designer is a very talented young man who is a friend of a friend. He is trying to launch his business but, it is safe to say, weddings are not the direction he plans on going.
We were about to submit another round of edits and I was stressing it because I knew the back and forth was getting stale.

But I also knew our deadline to get these bad-boys out was rapidly approaching. So while laying in bed one night earlier this week it hit me: do what I can with the skill I have.
My skill is scrap booking. I am pretty good with paper. And again, while laying there, I developed a design in my head that I don't think I have seen.

So the next morning I went to CVS, Joanne Fabrics and Staple. Yes, a random collection of store but I wasn't into wasting time and I knew each store had exactly what I needed.
First up, CVS' photo center to print off 50 of our new, FAVORITE epic...
Next was Joanne's for scrap booking supplies... paper, ribbon, glue dots and double sided tape.

And then to Staples to get blank index cards...

I returned home with my new loot and ready to crank these babies out!

I decided to do a mock-up to make sure my idea could work and this is what I got.
When pulled from the envelop...

When opened...

When posted on the fridge...

And I am in love! The Mister was shocked by how great they turned out. I am going to print the information on the index cards but overall, that is the final product!
I can't wait to get these in the mail and in the hands of our family and friends.
Did you change up a wedding plan? Was it for the better?
Did you do a DIY save the date? Do describe!


I couldn't just stick with it. I couldn't just suck it up and go with the basic STD we had developed and paid to have it designed.

We had many changes meaning I had to work with the designer, who I could tell was becoming VERY annoyed. Eventually, we ended up with this...
We swapped out our NYC trip photo with one of our engagement photos and ditched the "timeline" photos, that showed us each year in our relationship, because it was just too busy.
Then after close examination from some online friends, there were spelling and grammer mistakes that I had overlooked. Meaning, I would have to work with the designer again and I just didn't want to take up anymore of his time.
Not to mention, that when I printed the 4x6 cards, they were lacking in wow-ness and substance.
Enough is enough.
Two days ago, while laying in bed, I had an idea. The next morning, I hit up CVS, Joanne's and Staples.
You must be thinking, what a random variety of stores? Uh-hu, totally. But the results... well that is for the next post!
Did you have any VERY last minute changes when planning your wedding?

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Busy, Busy, Busy

Wow, it's been a few days since I last posted. Sorry about that!

Let's catch up.

So, the Mister and I got some great news; the government extended the $8,000 tax credit!! Earlier this week, we decided we were going to rent again, since living with his sister is getting a little tough. So I spent Monday and Tuesday scouting and looking at apartments in the areas we want to live in.

Then yesterday, we got the tax credit news. CHANGE OF PLANS!

So I have been researching the details of the tax credit and looking for mortgage brokers to assist us with getting a mortgage.

In the middle of all of this housing-hoopla, I received our envelops for our STDs!

So now I need to print, mount, stuff and label. I can't wait to get these out the door since I know I will go into hyper-house-overdrive!

I will get to the STDs tonight/tomorrow and show you how they turn out.

Any of you taking advantage of the tax credit? Any tips on buying a house while wedding planning?

Saturday, October 24, 2009

I Want Money, Lots and Lots Of Money!

I am so excited we reached our savings goal! Yes, the Mister and I had a plan to reach X-amount of dollars before the wedding so we could insure we didn't need to charge everything. And yesterday, we did it!

Well, I just spent less while the Mister saved!

We have scaled back here and there in attempts to save some dough-ray-mi. If you recall, we cut the bar time, slashed the photographer budget and kissed my Manolo Blahnik's goodbye!
I feel conflicted; we are 3-months ahead of our saving-schedule. So should we keep saving and pump up the volume on our wedding again?

It's a tough call. I mean, we can keep saving and put it towards our honeymoon...

Or maybe something a little more... permanent...

(haha... a bride can dream!)

So what would you do with a budget surplus? Splurge on the wedding? Extend the honeymoon? Or start life as a married couple with a little piece of land that is all your own?

source: all Google Image

Thursday, October 22, 2009

A Few of My Favorite Things...

I am flipping for Murad's Resurgence! Yes, this is the product Joan London pushes on the Sunday morning0 infomercial.
I purchased the starter kit from Sephora. I am only 3-days in but I am LOVING what I am seeing!
I am only 27 but I am big on aging prevention. Now, heavy-duty anti-aging products aren't for everyone. But after reading what the website and chatting with the girls at Sephora, I thought this anti-hormonal aging product might be right for me.
I have adult breakouts, red blotches, dry patches; all hormone related skin issues.
I started this in preparation for the wedding but I plan on using it long after!

What are your skin saviors? I love me some good skin products :)