Friday, May 28, 2010

Hair me out

You don't have to laugh at my stupid jokes.  I'm used to being the only one who laughs at them.  

Moving on.  

As you may have guessed, this post is about hair.  Well, it's sort of about hair.  You see, I've known since day one that I want an updo for our wedding day, which means that I absolutely need to hire a hair stylist.  I do not have any "friendors" who can do this for me, and I am completely and totally inept at styling my own hair.  Because our wedding is in a rural mountain community, there are only a handful of local salons and most of them don't have websites where I can browse their portfolios.  This leaves me looking at out of town stylists that do on location work.  So many of these on location stylists have amazing portfolios and I'm totally falling in love with their work - including their makeup artistry.  

Yes, I am second guessing my decision to do my own makeup.  I am very confident in my ability to do great everyday makeup.  But I'm not professionally trained, and I know that my skills are limited.  

But then I think back to every time I've had my makeup done at a cosmetics counter and how I almost always hate something about the look, so that makes me nervous too.  I know that's what trial runs are for, but I do not want to waste a ton of time and money (trial runs are expensive, yo!) on multiple trials.  This thought then leads me to the people with the best portfolios I can find, people who I am completely confident will do a fantastic job.  In other words, people who charge way more money than I want to spend on hair and makeup!  You see the vicious cycle here???  

Maybe I just need to do a hair trial with one of the salons up in the mountains and I will forget about the travelling hair and makeup roadshows.  Then I can have my simple updo, do my own makeup, and all will be right with the world.  But I have to admit, as a makeup lover I do love the idea of having my makeup professionally done.

Ack!  I don't know what to do!!!  I can't decide what I like more - saving money or pampering myself.  

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Why I Would Consider Eloping

(Photo by Lillian & Leonard)

This photo sums it up.  Just me and the Mister (and an officiant) vowing to spend the rest of our lives together.  No white dress, no guests, no DIY details and absolutely nothing to distract us from what really matters - our commitment to each other.  

There's a certain allure to eloping that I have not been able to shake.  I wonder if the people in this photograph were able to feel and experience the emotions that come along with such a major milestone more fully and deeply because they stripped their wedding of all of the extraneous stuff.  I worry from time to time that I won't be able to be 100% emotionally present at our wedding because of all stress that comes along with the stuff.  I've even entertained the thought of eloping a couple of days before our wedding to hedge my bets, so to speak.  But the Mister isn't as attracted to the idea of eloping as I am and I understand that.   I love the wedding we are planning.  I'll just have to work extra hard to make sure that I get myself into that space where I can ignore everything but the man I am marrying as I make my way down the aisle.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Lounging Around

Lounge areas are all the rage right now in weddingland.  I love the concept, but so far I've only seen it executed in a hip, modern, minimalist fashion.


I love this look, but it isn't exactly the aesthetic we're shooting for at our wedding.  Actually, it's the complete opposite aesthetic, and this kind of setup would look totally out of place at our mountain lodge venue.  But the pull of the lounge area magic is too much to resist!  I started researching lounge furniture rentals and realized that pretty much everything on the market is exactly like what is pictured above - stark and modern.  In other words, a total no-go.  To make matters worse, the one set I did find that was do-able was outrageously expensive.  Like $875 for one sectional sofa plus delivery fees expensive.  But it sure is purdy.
(Napa sectional from Designer8*)

Whoa Nelly!  This put a crimp in our lounge area aspirations for a little bit.  But then I started looking into just buying a couple of patio sets and realized that we could easily buy two (if not three or four) full patio sets for way less than what one sectional rental would cost.  Granted, they won't be of the highest quality, but they'll work for our purposes.  And hopefully we can resell them on Craigslist after the wedding to recoup some of the costs.  Here are a few of the contenders.  

(Wilson & Fisher Carrington Set from Big Lots)

(Mainstays Sand Dune Set From WalMart)

(Fontaine Urban Seating Set from Home Depot)

The top two are the cheapest, and a little bland in color.  But that's nothing that a few throw pillows can't fix!  Though I love the idea of a sectional, I decided that love seats and chairs will give us more flexibility in the floor plan (Is it a floor plan when it is outside?  A deck plan maybe?).  We're only doing the lounge area in a small portion of our reception space, so flexibility is good.  Plus, sectionals are crazy expensive.

We're probably going to wait until September to buy so we can hopefully get some good end of summer sales.  Plus, I have NO IDEA where we would store multiple patio sets for the next 4+ months.  

Are any of you out there jumping on the lounge area bandwagon?

Monday, May 24, 2010

Details Details: Salvaging Our Napkins

I don't love our napkins.  But that's old news.  After playing with them a little bit this weekend, I decided that we're going to live with our bad decision and use them anyway.  After all, they're just napkins, right?

We inherited forks and spoons from the Mister's sister (hot tip:  buying real utensils from Sam's Club catering section online is cheaper than buying decent disposable utensils) and spending a whopping $22 on knives, we've got everything we need to get our napkins and utensils prepared well in advance of the wedding.  It just comes down to how we want to package them up.  I like a simple rolled up and secured with a napkin ring look.  Here's what I'm thinking may work.

(Simple Paper Napkin Rings from Good Housekeeping)

These would look great if you stuck a sprig of dried lavendar or rosemary or something in it too!  I can think of infinite variations on these napkin rings, so they leave lots of room for creativity.  Love it!

(From Lucky Me!)

These are made from Saran Wrap tubes, but paper towels, toilet paper or any other cardboard tube will do, I'm sure.  My only concern is that with our napkins, in their infinite cheapness, won't fill out the napkin ring as well as these beautiful, heavy weigh linens.  I'll have to do a test run first before I decide to embark on this project.

And then there's the tissue paper flower.  I love the two-toned flower in this picture.  My main concern with these is that the flowers will all have to be re-fluffed the day of the wedding because they'll get crushed in storage. 

So in case you can't tell, I'm leaning toward doing napkin rings a la the first picture.  Which ones do you like?  Any other great ideas?

Saturday, May 22, 2010

I Wish This Post Had Scratch & Sniff Capabilities

Our meeting with a florist that was scheduled for last Friday got rescheduled to this weekend.  In preparation for the meeting, I made this bad boy

An inspiration board!!!  Eleven months into our engagement, and with just over four months left, I finally made my very first inspiration board.  I'm so proud of myself.  I used Mosaic Maker to put this together and it was ridiculously simple.  The center picture is our centerpiece inspiration, which we are essentially copying.  The rest is inspiration for my bouquet and for small miscellaneous arrangements for the guest book table, cake table, etc. etc.  Unfortunately, I forgot to note where each of these images came from, but they're all from the usual suspects - The Knot, Weddingbee, and Project Wedding.

Happy Weekend everyone!

Wednesday, May 19, 2010


When you're planning a wedding on a budget (regardless of how big or small that budget may be) you've got to prioritize.  You've got to pick the things that are most important to you, figure out what you can do without, and budget accordingly.  When we sat down and put together our budget way back in the day, our top priorities were location and food.  We were willing to spend more money for a location that we really loved and that gave us free reign to do what we wanted.  And we've known from the get-go that we want BBQ catering and let the food quality drive our catering decision, not the price per head.

But then.  Oh, but then.

But then you start to get into the nitty gritty of planning and realized that you have a whole new crop of things that are priorities for you and we did not budget for them as if they were priorities.  Case in point?  Music.  I budgeted $0 for music.  That's because we knew we didn't want a DJ and would just use our iTunes.  I knew we'd have to download music, but decided that any downloading costs could be written off.  I didn't even budget for a sound system because I thought it was included with our venue.  Well as time went on, the Mister had a brilliant idea to buy some jukebox software and a touch screen and fashion a DIY jukebox, if you will.  We'll have regular playlists for most of the wedding, and then after dinner we'll unleash our guests on the jukebox.  We both absolutely love this idea and it's a new top priority.  Had I known, I would have budgeted for it.  Another example is decorations.  I was totally naive about how much it would cost to do the decorations we both had in mind from the beginning, and now with only tablecloths and centerpieces purchased, I have roughly $300 left in that category and it has to cover flowers AND all of the other decorations we want.

So where does that leave us?  With a need to re-prioritize and reassess our budget.  Luckily, when we first sat down and talked money we agreed on a budget range and our budget is calculated for the lowest end of that range.  So we could go $3,000 over budget and still be within our original range.  It still gives me a little heartburn, but we can afford it.   But what makes it all better for me is that I know we are being thoughtful about it.  Any budget increases will be for things we really, truly want.  Things that are priorities.  Things that will be memorable to us.

Have you had to re-prioritize and re-assess your budget?  What unplanned priorities have you had to make accommodations for?

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

All the Small Things

I've been tackling the small things lately.  Those unglamorous, easily forgotten things that still need to get done.  And in my book, the earlier they get done, the better.  I'm trying to front load my to-do list so that as the wedding gets closer the only things on it are stuff that couldn't be done earlier.

So yesterday I spent my lunch hour talking to our insurance agent about "day of event" insurance coverage
and calling equipment rental companies to get quotes for patio heater rentals and rescheduling our meeting with a potential florist.  This weekend we'll be taking a trip up the mountains to our venue so we can do things like take measurements, figure out where there are electrical outlets, do a rough floor plan and figure out what kind of sound equipment we need to rent.  And hopefully this week will do a test print on the paper samples we ordered for our invitations to make sure there are no issues and I can go ahead and order the paper.

I find all of these little tasks oddly satisfying.  They're "easy" tasks that can be done in no time.  Not overwhelming at all!  Oh, and I love that how fast checks are accumulating on my checklist.  I'm a Type-A dork like that.

Monday, May 17, 2010

Spring Cleaning

This weekend I got motivated to do some spring cleaning, mostly to make some room for our ever growing stash of wedding stuff.  For the longest time our guest bedroom was ground zero for all things wedding related.  After a while it started to look like a bomb went off in there, so I organized it a couple of months ago.  Well, in those couple of months, the wedding merch grew exponentially.  And my sister moved in with us and is occupying the guest bedroom.  Needless to say, we were in need of a new location for our boxes, Rubbermaid containers, and garment bags.  The garage was out of the question.  We're heading into summer and I'm afraid the heat will damage our stuff.  So that left us with one choice - the office.  But the office was in worse condition than the guest bedroom!  We literally still have unpacked boxes in there from when we bought this house two years ago.  Aye aye aye.

We managed to get rid of a ginormous 30 gallon trash bag full of stuff and then some.  We're not done by any means, but made some good progress.  Here's the proof!

Yes, believe it or not, this is actually a vast improvement on what it was before.  But there's still not enough room to move in all of our wedding stuff.  Sigh.

Are wedding goods taking over your living space?

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

I have a confession.  I have never worn black eyeliner.  Ever.  In my life.  I was searching the interwebs for makeup inspiration for our upcoming engagement shoot and realized that the images I was drawn to the most all involved black eyeliner - cat eyed black eyeliner, to be precise.  So I decided it was time to expand my horizons.  I made an impromptu trip to my local drug store, and got to experimenting.

Here's the inspiration I found.  I love how the black eyeliner really draws the attention to the eyes.  And no eyeliner on the bottom keeps the eyes from looking too small.

(Michelle Trachtenberg, found at Glamour)

(Taylor Swift, via Beauty Snob.  Yes, you've seen this one before.)

(Rebecca Romijn, from InStyle)

Armed with these inspiration photos and a tutorial, I got to work.  Unfortunately, it's impossible to take photographs of yourself while you're using both hands to apply eye makeup, so all I've got is a before and after.




I realized how horrible the lighting in my bathroom is and decided to show you the "after" in daylight.  And just so you don't think I'm reckless, I was at a stoplight when I took this picture!

Oops, I forgot the flash.  But here's a close(ish) up of what I did.  It's just a thin black line that gets a little wider as it progresses toward the outer corners and then extends beyond the outer corners and flares up a little toward the end of my eyebrows.  For shadow, I lightly applied some deep gray eyeshadow and put some highlight in the inner corners and under the eyebrows.  Add two coats of mascara and voila!

What do you think?  Are you experimenting with different looks for your wedding/e-pics?

Monday, May 10, 2010

Laying down the (in)law

Our wedding planning journey has been relatively drama-free, save for one hot topic:  the guest list.  I thought we had our guest list issues nipped in the bud some time ago but this weekend it reared its ugly head once again.  Long story short - my future father in law asked us to add another couple to our guest list, on top of the 12 or so people he requested we add the first go around.  The Mister told him we'd talk about it and get back to him, which was totally the right move because after a long talk with the Mister on our 4 hour drive back home from Vegas yesterday I think we've come up with an approach that will really put this issue to rest this time.

During the aforementioned long talk, the Mister and I really got to the heart of why the guest list is such a sensitive issue for us.  It's not about having a "small" wedding, though our wedding will be on the smaller side.  It's about being surrounded by the people that mean the most to us, the people who know us and love us.  Whether that's 50 people or 200 people doesn't really matter.  For me in particular, keeping the guest list to just those people who have meaning in our lives is extremely important.  I am a private person (believe it or not) and don't share my emotions with many people.  I fear that if there are lots of people at our wedding that I don't know that well, I'm not going to be able to really open up and experience a full range of emotions.  I'm afraid that the day will feel less special.  Valid or not, those are my fears.  Realizing that I cannot let my fears control my life, I am willing to compromise and let our parents invite some of their friends to our wedding.

So here's the grand compromise.  Each set of parents will get to invite a predetermined number of guests.  It is their job to pick who they want.  We haven't set the number yet, but it won't be huge.  Right now we're thinking each set of parents can invite four or six people, but we need to sit down with our guest list and do some calculating to see where that would put us in terms of likely attendees.  Money is a bit of a concern due to our venue's tiered pricing schedule.  If we go over 100 people, our site fee goes up.  So we'd like to avoid that at all costs.   But once we set the number there will be no budging; no last minute pleas for extra invites will be granted.  The Mister and I are a united front.

This approach works for us for several reasons.  First, it lays clear boundaries for my future father in law.  He is the only one who has made special requests for invitees.  My parents have not asked us to add anyone to our guest list, and my future mother in law has had no problem telling her friends and co-workers that they might not be invited because we're keeping it to our close friends and family.  That said, I think that my parents might be a little upset if they realize that we let my future father in law invite all of these people and that we didn't extend the same courtesy to them.  So we'll head that problem off at the pass.  Finally, after thinking things through, I think that letting my parents (my Dad especially) invite a few friends will make the wedding more enjoyable for them.  There's no two ways about it - our wedding attendance is going to be lopsided with way more of the Mister's friends and family attending than mine.  My parents divorced two years ago and I doubt anyone from my Dad's side of the family will be there.  So it will be nice for him to have a few people he knows at the wedding that aren't from my Mom's side of the family.

So, that's where we're at.  We haven't communicated this decision to our parents yet (and no, they don't know about this blog), so it remains to be seen how well it goes over.  I think the Mister and I need to develop a strategy for how to deal with it if our plan blows up in our faces first.

Have you had major guest list drama?  How did you lay down the law?

Friday, May 7, 2010

Viva Las Vegas

I'm off to Las Vegas for the weekend!  I love Vegas.  It's like Epcot Center on crack.  While I have definitely entertained the idea of eloping in the past, don't worry I'm past that now.  I'll be back and blogging about my wedding plans for five.more.months.  Gawd that sounds like a long time.  Maybe I'm not past my eloping phase!

Nah, just kidding.  My future in laws would kill me.  Not a good way to start a marriage.

Have a great weekend everyone!

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Coed Showers

No, not that kind of shower.  Get your mind out of the gutter!

My sister/MOH asked me recently if I wanted a Jack and Jill shower or if I wanted to stick with a ladies-only bash.  It hadn't even crossed my mind to have a Jack and Jill shower, but once she mentioned the idea, it was like a lightening bolt hit me.  Of course!  A Jack and Jill shower will cure all of my apprehensions about having a bridal shower.

Yes, I have apprehensions about having a bridal shower.  Mostly because I have had almost no fun at every single baby and bridal shower I have attended.  No offense to any traditionalists out there, but the idea of getting a bunch of women together so you can play asinine games (I'm looking at you inventor of the toilet paper bridal gown game) and coo over spatulas makes me throw up a little in my mouth.  And don't even get me started on the lingerie gifts.  The thought of opening up a gift bag full of thongs in front of a room full of women makes me die a little on the inside.  Okay, okay, I'm exaggerating.  And I don't mean to sound ungrateful.  While I may be very excited to receive the cookware we registered for, I don't expect everyone else to share my sentiments.  And as for the lingerie...well, I'm not exaggerating on that one. 

(My sentiments exactly.  Source)

If my sister were to attempt to throw me a ladies-only shower, I would give her specific instructions to eliminate all games.  Period.  End of Story.  And while she's at it, she could just forget about giving the shower a theme (why is it that every shower I have been to has had a theme?  Isn't the theme - congrats, you're getting married!?).  While just mixing and mingling and enjoying the company of the guests is fine with me, I know that many of the (cough *older* cough) ladies who will be invited to my shower would come with certain expectations and might actually vocalize those expectations.  Now, these ladies know me and know I can handle whatever they say, but they don't know my sister.  I do know my sister, and know that she would NOT be able to handle it.  Not from strangers, anyway.  And I don't want to put that on her.  The last thing she needs is to feel like she didn't do a good enough job. 

But a Jack and Jill shower eliminates all of those expectations!  So I can have my game-free, laid-back shower without running the risk of my sister having a nervious breakdown.  It's a win-win, folks. 

What kind of shower are you having?

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

I need a stylist ASAP

It's May already???  Crap.  

We've had our engagement picture session scheduled for Friday, May 14th for a long time now.  We scheduled the session so long ago that I never really thought about what we were going to wear for the shoot because, you know, there was PLENTY of time to think about stuff like that.  And now our engagement picture session is less than two weeks away.  And we're going to Las Vegas this weekend with the Mister's family for his cousin's graduation.  Read: I have no time to go shopping for new clothes for our e-pics.  

That means I'll have to rely on the tried and true "shopping in my closet" method.  You know what I'm talking about - when you go through your clothes and re-discover items you forgot about and pair up items that you never put together before to create whole new outfits.  I think I can pull it off.  I'm thinking we'll need two outfits - one casual and one a little more dressed up.  The casual should be easy, though I may have a hard time deciding between several contenders.  After going a quick run-through, here's a few options I have.  

Depending on what outfit the Mister picks the jeans will be either a dark wash trouser jean or a cuffed straight legged jean.  Do you have a favorite?

It's the dressed up outfit I'm really concerned about.  The Mister really wants to wear a classic suit for the dressy pictures, which means I should wear something that is more classic and less fun and funky.  I have a great Calvin Klein LBD that fits the bill, but not much else.  I'm concerned that all black is too drab.  I could pull a Michelle Obama and throw a cardigan over it to give it some pizzaz.  Another drawback is that I don't really like my legs, so I'm afraid if I wear a knee length dress I'm just going to end up hating every full body shot.


I guess I'll just have to keep digging through my closet and keep my fingers crossed that I can find something.  

Monday, May 3, 2010

Invitation Mock Ups

The Mister and I finally put together a mock up of our invitations and they are looking pretty good, if I do say so myself.  I'd love to take the credit for these babies, but they're really a joint project.  I found the inspiration, the Mister did (most) of the actual design, and then I provided (ahem) "constructive criticism," which got us here:


We decided on a booklet style invitation.  For the purposes of this mock up, we used deep purple cover weight paper we picked up at Michael's, but for the real deal we are going to order actual invitation backings with matching paper for the cover.  We're leaning toward Stardream paper in Ruby.  We used a craft punch to put the heart into the cover, so that white you see is actually the first page of the invite.


You can see the craft punched heart concept a little better in this picture.  The first page of the invitation will be printed on a colored vellum, but we haven't picked one out yet, so we just used regular copy paper.  We tried printing on some tracing paper and that was a disaster.  The quote we selected to print on this page is from Herman Hesse - "If I know what love is, it is because of you." It was the Mister's idea to have a quote printed on vellum for the first page of the invite, but I found the quote.  I actually found about 10 different quotes I liked and he shot down every single one except for this one.


Now we get down to the nitty gritty.  We decided to tab our invitation a la Mrs. Lime so the invitation page is actually the shortest page in the booklet with each page thereafter a little bit longer.  I came up with the wording for this page and the Mister designed it.

Caveats:  this is cheap-o paper from Michaels and is not what we'll be using for the real deal, and I am not 100% sold on the fonts.  The Mister and I are still debating what kind of paper we'll use for the meat of the invitation.  And as for the fonts, well this has been the one source of disagreement in the invitation design process.  He never likes what I pick and I never like what he picks.  Sigh.  We'll find something we both agree upon eventually, I'm sure.


The map was made in PowerPoint by the Mister in about 15 minutes.  This was after I spent about 2 hours trying to make a decent map and it was a complete and utter FAIL.


We have a really comprehensive wedding website, but we figured that we should include some of the more important information in the invitation itself.  I know my paternal grandparents (who live in a town of 500 people in Kansas that is literally in the middle of nowhere) don't have internet access so I never want to make the assumption that people will just go to our wedding website for information.  And the Mister really wanted to include the menu because the food is that important to us.


My original idea was to have the RSVP page be a full page like the others but perforated so the RSVP postcard could be ripped out.  The Mister thought this was too much work so we decided to just attach the RSVP postcard to the backing with clear photo corners.  The design of the RSVP card isn't complete.  We decided that we didn't like what we had on the left hand side as we were getting ready to do do the mock up.

- It seems like every DIY invitation suite I found online was done in Photoshop or Illustrator or InDesign or some other fancy schmancy software.  These bad boys were made in Microsoft Office.  So don't sweat it if you don't have access to specialized software!

- I'm not gonna lie.  This was our second mock up.  Our first one came out so bad that the Mister actually wondered if we got in over our head.  I assured him that we didn't, we just needed to make a few tweaks to the design and it would be much easier.  We did, and it was.  So don't panic if your first mock up comes out looking like a kindergarten craft project.  That's the whole point of doing a mock up.

- Fancy paper goes a long way if you are printing at home.  We have a laser printer, and even though we haven't picked out the actual paper we will use yet, we do know that we need to nicer paper to make up for the fact that most (if not all) of this will be printed in black.

So...what do you think?