Monthly Archives: May 2010

Favoring Our Guests

I follow a lot of great peeps (tweeps?!) on Twitter.  One of them is the fabulous Liz Coopersmith.  If you don’t know who she is, check out her website & blog—basically, she’s a super awesome wedding planner based out in California.  She also contributes regularly to The Broke-Ass Bride, which is a hilarious wedding-planning-on-a-budget blog created by Dana (some of you may know her as Mrs. Meatball!). 

Anyways, yesterday Liz tweeted this:

Tweet

This is SO TRUE, guys.  Think about it!  I immediately tweeted back at Liz, saying this:

Tweet 2

So what’s the point of me sharing with you our Twitter conversation?  Well, if you read my guest post on Burning River Bride yesterday (or if you’ve been a reader of this blog for any length of time!), you’ll know that my wedding planning mantra has been “Stay Ahead of the Game.”  Liz’s tweet was so timely, as we are starting to think about favors!

Now,  a lot of things have been said about favors.  Some people think they’re not necessary…while others?  They’re a must.  Some people like to give food, some people like to give donations to charity, and other people like to give little tchotchkes.  I’ll be honest—I know that favors are often the first things to get cut when brides are working on a budget, but I get so disappointed when I attend a wedding with no favor.  It might sound dumb, but I just love them—I think they are a nice way to thank guests for coming, and I miss them if they’re not there!  So, let’s get real for a second about them.  Those tchotchkes are cute, but guess what?!  Likely, they’re going to end up in the junk drawer…and THAT is the point of Liz’s tweet yesterday. 

Food is definitely my most favorite favor to receive—and the ones that your guests will appreciate the most, too, me thinks.  Some of the most memorable favors I’ve gotten have been beautifully wrapped and equally delicious cookies & candies. Naturally, we’re leaning towards food as a favor, since we’re such big foodies as it is.  I like charity donations as well, but to me, no matter how noble the cause, they’re not as tangible as giving your guests a sweet treat to eat on their way home. 

Here’s some ideas I’ve found lately that I absolutely LOVE:

popcorn
(Source)

Popcorn!  One of mine and Dr. Groomy’s favorite foods.  I am HEAVILY leaning towards doing cellophane bags of popcorn tied with a bow as our favor.  We LOVE this stuff and eat it at least three times a week.

truffles  (Source)

Truffles.  Always a great idea, and there are so many cute ways to package them!

local products
(Source)

Local or homemade products…think jams and jellies, honeys, homemade dill pickles, and other local favorites. 

If you want to do a charity donation, that’s an incredible and giving idea.  Let me be clear: I think charitable donations are AWESOME.  That being said, not everyone on your guest list is going to be so into them.  May I suggest tying a tag with information about the donation to a sweet treat your guests can also enjoy?  For example, these Truffles for a Cause are adorable!

truffles 2 
(Source, via TrufflesforaCause.com)

So…those are my thoughts on favors.  Thanks to Liz for sparking a great blog topic!  I’ll keep you posted as to what we decide to do, but in the meantime:

What are your thoughts on favors?

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Filed under Food & Drink, Gifts

Guest Blogging

Hi Guys!  I am guest blogging today over at Burning River Bride, for the lovely Emily.  She and her hubby Josh just got married this past Saturday and are currently on their honeymoon in Antigua (um, who’s jealous?!  Me!).  So, if you want to learn my tips and tricks so that you too can be freakishly organized all the time, head on over to Burning River Bride to check out my post.  Thanks!

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Filed under Guest Blogging

The Color of Relief

I received a wonderful phone call the other day…our bridesmaid dresses are in—two months early!

You can imagine my excitement at this news…but I have a little confession to make:  I was secretly apprehensive about the dress we had chosen.  Actually, let me clarify—I wasn’t nervous about the dress, per say, but I was really concerned about the COLOR the dress would end up being.

Here’s the story.  When we tried on and selected the dress, the store did not have a swatch card of the color available to give to me.  You see, the store had actually LOST the swatch card for that specific designer, and hadn’t gotten a new one in…so our salesperson wasn’t sure what the exact color would be.    Umm, ok?  The salesperson cut me a swatch—from an actual dress by the same designer—in what we hoped was the color we’d be getting.  I’ve been using that swatch to match ribbons and do various projects since then, so needless to say, I was more than a little nervous about the color. 

Two of my bridesmaids went to pick up their dresses yesterday, and I am happy to say that I can finally breathe a sigh of relief!  The color is just what I was expecting…a warm gold tone.  The proof is in the pictures—behold, my lovely bridesmaid K!

Bridesmaid Dress 1

Bridesmaid Dress 2

I was thinking that I would want the girls to wear red shoes to go with the red flowers they’ll be carrying (and to match my awesome red shoes!), so she took a shoe shot for me as well so I could see.

Bridesmaid Dress 3

Looks pretty good, no?  I have yet to see the dresses in person (I am going to pick up my sister’s and one of my other bridesmaid’s tomorrow), but so far from these pictures, I am happy!

Whew!  Did you have any nerves about the dresses you chose for your ‘maids?

*All pictures are provided by my bridesmaid K…I believe they were taken on her smart phone?

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Filed under Bridesmaids, Dress & Attire

Why I Blog

Today is Blog Buddy Appreciation Day, the brain child of the awesomely fun blogger KJPugsWhen I first read this announcement on her blog, I knew I wanted to participate…because blogging is something that I really enjoying doing!

blogbuddyappreciation 

So today, I want to talk about why I blog.  Honestly though, I have to say that I debated posting about this topic for a long time this morning.  I’m not usually into writing about heavy stuff…I lean more towards writing about the fun parts of planning a wedding.  But I feel like this post needed to be written, so that I can commiserate with my Blogger Buddies who know what I mean. 

I’m so tuned into the world of blogging that I sometimes forget it’s a fairly new medium…and that not everyone understands why someone would blog.  Some of us blog to document major life accomplishments.  Others, to share knowledge and love of certain topics.  Some, to become Bees.  And still others, because writing is cathartic.  But all of us blog because it’s something we enjoy—a hobby, a past-time, something we happily devote our time to.  I blog because I LOVE TO WRITE, and blogging is an outlet for me to discuss all things wedding, without bogging down my real-life friends and family with details that I know people don’t really care about.  And I’m fine with that…because I truly do enjoy blogging, and writing in general.  And the wedding blog community is full of fantastic, supportive women who “get” things like why I spent two full days on envelope liners. 

I was recently in a social situation where I found myself regretting the one thing I have absolutely loved doing since February 2009—writing this blog.  In short, I was in a situation where the wrong use of a word (in this case, I meant to say invitation “consultant” and instead I said “specialist”—um, I blame the Miller Lite?  Who knew one word could kick off such drama.  I didn’t intend to sound like an asshole, that’s for sure.) quickly spiraled into an assault on this blog and the fact that I have really enjoyed planning our wedding.  Soon, it was no longer a discussion on wedding planning at all, but a situation where some pretty hurtful things were said to me about my lifestyle and the type of wedding I am planning.

Some of you may remember, back in the day in the very early stages of this blog, how concerned I was about becoming a bridezilla.  A simple comment, made in jest by a friend, has pervaded much of my planning—causing me to take on most of the load myself, without the help of family and friends.  Though difficult at times, this has actually been a blessing for me—I’ve been able to discover just how much I love the details, no matter how miniscule they may be.  I’ve also discovered I have a talent for this—event planning could be something I want to do with my future.  I thought I was doing a good job of not being demanding or overzealous with my friends, until I was made to feel that because I care about the details and am planning a fancy—and dare I say it, expensive—wedding, I am snobby, not as career-driven, and no longer have to “struggle” like my friends.  This blog—this place where I started writing because I didn’t want to bother my friends with minute details about ONE day—was suddenly used to hurt and laugh at me, however unintentionally the conversation might have started out.  

Ladies, listen up:  there is no right or wrong way to plan a wedding.  Some of the most beautiful weddings are at the courthouse…or on the beach…or even in a parking garage.  And yes, some of the most beautiful weddings are big, fancy, black-tie affairs.  But I totally get it.  Some brides aren’t into the planning process.  And you know what?  That’s freaking awesome too.  And if you aren’t into it, so be it!  I won’t judge.  So please don’t judge me because I AM into it. I’ve never said to any of my engaged friends, “You have to be into it like I am.  And have the same wedding as me, with the same priorities.”  That’s ludicrous. 

Dr. Groomy and I are throwing ourselves a big fancy wedding because we want to celebrate a marriage that has been a long-time in the making.  SEVEN YEARS, people—that’s a common law marriage here in Wisconsin.  So yes, we are throwing ourselves a big party.  Yes, it will be organized and detail-oriented, down to the napkins, the placecards, and God forbid—the invitations. And you know what?  We’re not apologizing for it. 

Several times during this specific situation I mentioned above, I wished I had never written this blog.  Or maybe I just wished that I had never shared it with family and friends.  I’d certainly be getting a lot less shit from people.  But you know what?  Just like our big fat fancy wedding, I don’t regret blogging one bit.  I love this space and the friends I’ve made because of it.  People who don’t even know me in real life, but who are somehow able to understand and commiserate.  Like Sabrina, for example—who I have been friends with since 2008 now.  We’ve shared weight loss & running experiences on CalorieKing.com, then wedding planning experiences and more out in the blogosphere.  Now, I can honestly say she is a close friend of mine—we talk nearly every day through emails, GChat, Facebook and blogging.  Or Emily, who is off celebrating her honeymoon as we speak—a girl who has kept me SANE during the wedding planning process.  She lets me bitch when I need to and commiserates with me when I need to complain about things.  There are so many of you who have made a difference in my life* and I wouldn’t know you if it wasn’t for blogging.  So THANK YOU.  To all of you!  For getting why I give a shit about flowers and decor and things I feel like only I would think about.  This is why I blog—because to me, this is a safe haven where I can care about these things and not feel judged.  If you’re reading this and you’re struggling to remember why YOU blog….remember that it’s the community it builds and the support we receive from perfect strangers that keeps us all coming back for more.

Happy Blog Buddy Appreciation Day, friends. 

*There are too many of you to link to or recount here…so if you’re reading this, know I am talking about YOU, too!

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Filed under Just For Fun, Random

Invitations…Make Me Nervous!*

Invites are not something I thought would be an ordeal for me.  I love paper products, so the idea of finding/buying/and/or making invitations really appealed to me.  However, now that we’re actually into the perusing/buying stage (if you’ll remember, I decided I did NOT want to DIY after I made our Save-the-Dates)…I am feeling really overwhelmed!’

I have gone to two local invitation stores here in Milwaukee, and both times I did not get the customer service I was looking for.  Without going in to too much detail, I’ll just say that customer service is a BIG deal to me and if I don’t feel right after meeting a vendor, I won’t hire them. 

So, after TWO failed meetings with local vendors, I began to peruse the internets for invitations.  I became quickly overwhelmed by all the options on Etsy and other invitation websites.  Then, I found Minted, an online invitation store where I think I finally feel at home!  I love their wide selection and their ordering process seems to be relatively easy.  Plus, they offer things like drop-in envelope liners and matching address labels, which appeals to someone like me, who still wants to infuse DIY details into the invitation suite without all the fuss of DIY. 

Here are our top contenders so far:

1

Love the Chandelier design—so formal and speaks to the grandeur of our venue.  The reply card to match is white with a black chandelier, and I love the contrast between the two!

2

I liked this one when we first ordered samples, but it’s just so-so for me now.  Plus, the matching response card is black with white writing, which will be difficult for guests unless they have a white pen!

3

LOVE this one.  This is my top choice, actually.  It’s formal and lovely, and I love how the other elements (response card, etc) match it.

4

Like this one too, but it’s very similar to a wedding invitation we received this year (Hi, Jill!), so I’m not sure I’d like to use the same style as our dear friends.

5

This one is actually Dr. Groom’s top choice.  I like it, but I am not a fan of the tulips, actually. It looks much sharper in color, but it’s not available in any colors that would match our scheme.  Evidence:

7 
Way cooler in color, no?

6

I like this one too—it’s more modern than the other ones, but still lends a formal feel, I think.

(All of the above photos are from Minted’s website!)

You’ll notice that all of our choices are black and white—and that’s on purpose.  It will be easier to pull off a more cohesive look with our reception paper products if we are working in black and white, rather than colors, which can’t always be matched exactly.   I love the cardstock options from Minted, too—their signature paper is nice and thick, but they also offer the option of using pearlescent paper, too (which I love).  We’ll be narrowing down our choice and ordering soon, me thinks!  Which one do you like?

And tell me:  did anyone else feel really overwhelmed with the invitation process?

*So, the title of this post is actually an inside joke that 99.9% of you won’t get unless you’re from Wisconsin. You see, we have this amazing singer/songwriter/comedian named Pat McCurdy, whose is a very famous character among the college-age crowd in the upper Midwest (think Milwaukee, Madison, Chicago, Green Bay, & Minneapolis).  His shows consist of just him, his guitar, and a lot of audience participation and improv.   He sings a variety of comedic, brash, and outright inappropriate songs (example:  a song about vibrators called “Electronic Friend”), but his most famous song is the one he ends every show with:  a classic Wisconsin drinking anthem called “Sex and Beer.” One of my personal Pat favorites is a little diddy called “Nervous.”  You can listen to one version of the song (the lyrics often change depending on his audience) here.  Be forewarned though:  Pat is a comedian, peeps, so he’s not always politically correct.  Don’t say I didn’t warn you!

*NOTE:  Minted has no idea who I am and I am not being reimbursed to blog about them.  I just really like their site and I think we will likely order our invites from them!

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Filed under Stationery

Let Me Eat Cake!

So, I just got back from my first cake tasting, and aside from the fact that I have a giant sugar hangover, I had an awesome time!

Little known secret about Dr. Groomy:  He hates him some sweets.  Yes people, the man does not like chocolate.  Or cake.  Or ANY of that. 

Not-so-secret secret about me:  I love me some sweets.  And my taste buds have a special affinity  for wedding cake.  People, I have run the gamut of wedding cakes at various weddings and I’m just going to go ahead and say it:  I will judge a wedding by its cake.*  Not the way it looks, necessarily,  but definitely the way it tastes.  In order to win me over and have me say your wedding was awesome-sauce, the cake must be DELISH, peeps…DE. LISH. 

[As an additional side note:  This is dumb, but I get really annoyed when I see couples cutting the cake “incorrectly.”  Take note, brides:  YOUR hand should not be separated from the knife.  According to various cake traditions and superstitions, this is very bad luck.  The bride should always hold the knife, with the groom’s hand over hers.  When I see the groom cutting the cake, me no likey!  I ALWAYS notice this in wedding photos.  What can I say?  I told you I am serious about this wedding cake business!]

All that being said, now that it’s come to the time where we need to nail down a baker, I am MORE than happy to take the reigns on this task.  And take those reigns I did!  I made an appointment with a local bakery that caters pretty strictly to just the wedding crowd.  My bridesmaid KDoc accompanied me, and we had a blast! We met with the baker, Karen of The Cake Lady, discussed options, looked through photographs, laughed, drank coffee, and of course, ate cake!  Karen was very knowledgeable and I felt right at home with her.  And with cakes like these, I knew we were in good hands!

Cake 2    Cake 3

Cake 4   Cake 5
(Source for all cake photos)

We tried the following:

001  (Photo by me)
From left to right, top row:  chocolate ganache, chocolate cake, raspberry preserves, lavender cake, lemon curd
From left to right, bottom row:  red velvet cake, white chocolate cream cheese buttercream, spice cake, vanilla bean pastry cream, vanilla cake
And that white blob in the middle is The Cake Lady’s signature vanilla buttercream

All I have to say is:  TO. DIE. FOR.  The cakes were so good and the fillings and frostings?  Fantastic!  I am very particular about my buttercream, and I am happy to say that this stuff was delightful.  The perfect amount of sweetness and buttery goodness.  My mouth is watering just thinking about it!

My favorite combinations were the spice cake (bottom row, middle) paired with the vanilla bean pastry cream, and the lavender cake (top row, right) paired with the lemon curd.  As The Bowie Bride would say, it was AMAZEballs in my mouth. 

In terms of cake styles, I found myself consistently drawn to cakes that had elements like this one:

Cake 1
(Source)

I love the mostly plain cake paired with the fondant ribbon and the gumpaste bows.  Classic and elegant, me thinks.  Karen sketched out an idea for our cake, which I will reveal to you all if we end up booking her.  She also sent me home with the rest of our samples, so that Dr. Groomy could have a taste of them too!  She’ll be sending me a quote in the next few days, so let’s all cross our fingers that the price is right.

And for those of you who were worried (ha, right):  I’ve got another cake tasting with a different baker  lined up for Dr. Groomy to attend.  I think he has to experience that at least one time, right?

Are you a big wedding cake fan?  Tell me about your bakers and cakes!

*Ok seriously, I am not really going to get all judgey judgey about your wedding if you have a not-s0-good cake.  But I DO love wedding cake and it’s the weddings that had fab cake that I always remember!

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Filed under Food & Drink

Tutorial: For Sniffles & Swabs

***BRIDAL PARTY PEEPS:  THIS TUTORIAL CONTAINS SOME ASPECTS OF YOUR GIFTS.  DO NOT PROCEED TO READ THIS ENTRY, THANKS!!***

 

 …………………..………………(are they gone yet?!)…………………………………….

 

Ok, so now that I’ve unveiled my awesome Dude & Chick Survival Kits, it’s time to show you how I made some of the components!

Most of the items were packaged in small cello bags, and closed with a sticker that tells you what the items are. For the cotton swabs and facial tissues, though, I needed to create a “holder” for them.  Note:  I did both of these projects with my Xyron sticker maker, but you could easily do this with the adhesive of your choice—spray adhesive would work great for this project!

For the cotton swab holders, you’ll need cardstock and adhesive of your choice.

Miscellaneous 020 
I started by folding the bottom of the cardstock up to make the packet the cotton swabs will go in.

Miscellaneous 021
Next, I cut the paper to size—really, I did this by sight and not by exact measurements.  I wanted a packet to hold five swabs, so I just cut what I thought would work. 

Miscellaneous 024  Next, I folded the top down and scored both folds so that they were nice and crisp.

Miscellaneous 023

 

Miscellaneous 025  The next step was cutting strips that I used to hold my packet closed.  Again, no exact measurements on these.  I cut enough strips so I could have two for each packet.

Run them through the Xyron…

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And you’re ready to stick!  I put one strip across the front, the flipped the packets over and folded them down to keep the sides closed.

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Eh voila!  A cotton swab holder. 

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Fold the top down, attach your label, and you have a completed packet. 

For the facial tissue packets, you’ll need cardstock and a label or sticker to close the packet.  These are quite easy.

Fold the cardstock around the tissue, so you have approximately the right size.  Cut accordingly.

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Score your folds so that they are nice and crisp.  Center your tissues in the middle of the packet, fold the top down, and attach your label.  Tada!  A tissue packet!

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And when they’re all done, they look like this:

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Happy Crafting!

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Filed under Gifts, How-To