Monthly Archives: October 2010

Wedding Rewind: Gifts for My Girls, III + Gifts for Our Parents

Yesterday I showed you what we gifted our dudes, and promised that today I would show you the girls’ gifts!  If you’ll remember, I also made them survival kits like the guys’, as well as hangers to use for their dresses on the day of the wedding…but I didn’t stop there!

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Each girl got a plethora of goodies.  Unfortunately, I seem to have lost my mind when I was taking these photos, as I didn’t take any individual photos of their gifts!  So, here’s a quick run-down of what they received:

Each girl got a monogram bag, incorporating their favorite color.  They also got a mini matching makeup bag to complement (all ordered from that four-letter-word-wedding-website…you know the one!).  They also received silver picture frames, for which I will be gifting them each a photo of us together on the wedding day.  I also got them their jewelry for the wedding, which looks like this up close:

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Lastly, each girl got a set of Rolleez, which are rollable flats that fold up and fit in your purse.  Here is where I have to make a disclaimer, and I’m sorry, but I have to use swear words.  Rolleez and the company that makes them, 3sekonds.com, is the MOST FUCKED UP COMPANY EVER.  From not shipping my order for months, to receiving a partial shipment, to terrible customer service (like NO customer service) to receiving an email LAST WEEK that my order had shipped (hello, I received it two months ago already dumb-asses!), this is the WORST experience I have ever had ordering something online.  If you are looking for rollable flats, DO NOT ORDER FROM THIS COMPANY.  EVER.  I can give you recommendations for MUCH better companies that I wished I would have gone through, so just ask!

Ok, rant over.

I wrapped most of their little gifts individual, but decided to use their monogrammed bags as the gift bags—I got corresponding tissue paper to stuff each one with.  All wrapped up and ready to go, they looked like this:

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I even did a mini-bag for our flower girl! 

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She received some kids’ makeup and bath stuff, as well as a little necklace for her to wear:

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Our ring bearer received a toy fit for boys (remote control airport), but I forgot to take a picture of it.  Here it is all wrapped up:

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And I realized that I didn’t show you yesterday how I wrapped up the boys’ gifts:

Gifts 005 All set to match our wedding colors!

Lastly, we got our parents gifts as well.  Our dads received Fleet Farm gift cards (hey, what can we say?  We knew they’d love them), and my dad received a special treat.  You see, his favorite food, much like me, is POPCORN.  After we finished stuffing our favors, we still had a whole 5 pound bag left.  Guess who got that?

DSCN0690 Here he is cheering about it.  Yep, my dad was really excited, haha!

Our moms gifts were very near and dear to my heart.  First, I have to give props where props are due:  I originally got the idea from Mrs. Cheeseburger on WeddingbeeWe gifted each mom with a set of three diamond rings…one ring to represent the C____ family (my family), one ring to represent the S______ family (Dr. Groomy’s family), and one ring to represent our new combined family.

I unfortunately didn’t take any pictures of the actual rings, but here is what they looked like:

Rings  
(Source)

We ordered them from Reeds Jewelers, and we didn’t have any problems—they were very easy to work with. 

And this is one of the only shots I got of one of the moms opening her gift…they both cried, so I hope my mother-in-law doesn’t mind me posting this picture! 

Brad and Amy's Wedding 10-09-10 054Bonus:  you can see she is wearing one of the nametags I made for everyone! 

But that wasn’t the end of the crying that night…stay tuned!

What did you get your bridesmaids?

*All photos by me, family or friends unless otherwise noted.

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Wedding Rewind: Gifts for the Dudes, II

So, before I delve into recaps of our honeymoon, I want to go back and post a few things I didn’t get a chance to post before the wedding.  You already saw my vlog from last week about our favors, but I never posted the rest of the gifts for our wedding party!  Today, the Dudes!

Brad and Amy's Wedding 10-09-10 037So dapper!  (Photo by my FIL)

If you’ll remember, I made each guy a survival kit to use on the day of the wedding.  In hindsight, I should have included shoelaces in this kit (a story I’ll regale you with another time—needless to say, there is a groomsmen missing in the above photo!!!!). But that’s not the only thing we gifted our guys! 

First, a special gift for our 5 groomsmen:  here in Milwaukee, we have an MLB team you might have heard of…the Milwaukee Brewers.  And we have a little tradition at our ballpark called the Racing Sausages:

Sausages
(Source)

5 groomsmen, 5 racing sausages.  Coincidence?  I think not.  So we got each of them a racing sausage t-shirt!

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Here’s what they look like on the front and back:

Menus, etc 013  Front

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Back

Next, we got each guy (including our ushers now) these awesome beer glasses:

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I originally heard of these through the totally fabulous Mrs. French Fries and thought they would be a great gift for our dudes.  Each one has a different mustache, and we got them personalized with each guy’s nickname:

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This one was for our “Chief Usher” (and a blog reader!), my best guy friend TD.  They’re from the Etsy shop Jack Glass Studios
He was amaze-balls to work with and I highly recommend them!

Dr. Groomy also picked up a special gift for the guys when he was at his barber shop.  Ladies, I did NOT have anything to do with this one:

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Yes, that would be a product called Fresh Balls.  Yes, it’s for what you think it’s for.  And that’s all I’m going to say about that.

Lastly, we got each guy their favorite hard liquor.  Hey, we’re nothing if not realists and we knew they would love it!  Here are their gifts all together:

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We had all these gifts picked out and wrapped up pretty early, so we didn’t have to worry about that the week of the wedding.  I definitely recommend planning ahead, as it was one less thing for me to worry about! 

Stay tuned tomorrow when I recap what I got my girls.  Until then, tell me: What did you get your groomsmen & ushers?  If you’re not married yet, have you thought about what you might gift them?

*All photos by me unless otherwise noted.

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The Very Last Project…

Our Favors!

So, I was a bad blogger and in the crazy week leading up to the wedding, I must have misplaced the photos I took of our favor-filling process.  If you’ll remember, we decided to give popcorn favors!  Lucky you, though, I was smart enough to take a video, so you get to hear my voice and see me looking less than stellar (Dudes, I was tired.  Forgive me.).  So, here’s a quick peek at us putting together our favors!  Shout out to my sister and my bridesmaid Beezus for helping me with these. 

And here’s what they looked like on the tables:

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Our guests loved them and they were a huge hit.  It only took about 3 hours to get everything put together, so it was definitely worth the effort!

Did you or are you DIYing your favors?

(All photo/video by me, friends, or family).

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I’m Back…

Amy 2

…and I’m married!

Married

It. Was. Amazing.  Seriously, seriously, amazing.  And I have so many wonderful stories to share with you guys!  Please excuse me this week, as I get caught up at the office, at home, and on the blog.  A HUGE THANKS to all my guest bloggers last week—you guys did a great job!  I plan on recapping our honeymoon and then getting down to the business of the big day…plus I have a few last minute projects to share with you guys (well, ONE last minute project…our favors!).  It’ll be slow going around here this week but I promise to get moving on everything quickly!  Our pro pics will be available in about a month, but don’t worry—I have plenty of other pictures and posts to share with you until then!

Thank you all so much for your wonderful, sweet comments on the blog and Twitter during those magical days leading up to, during, and after the wedding.  It is so much appreciated and I held you all near and dear to my heart that day!

And to tide you over a bit, here’s some of my favorite pictures I’ve seen so far of the day:

(All photos by myself, family, or friends)

Brad and Amy's Wedding 10-09-10 110Exchanging rings…

Brad and Amy's Wedding 10-09-10 117This is my “Eeeeeeee, We’re Married!” face.

Brad and Amy's Wedding 10-09-10 124Sealed with a kiss!

Amy 1Immediately after the ceremony, waiting to corral the troops for pictures.

Dr. Groomy Love this photo of Dr. Groomy on our bus.  He looked so dapper!!

Bridal PartyI have to say that we have a damn good looking bridal party.  Love these guys! 

So with that, I’m back.  Did you miss me?!

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Why Consider Sending Email Wedding Invitations?

And with this post, we’re wrapping up the week of guest posts.  I’d like to thank everyone who posted for me—you guys are amazing!  I’ll be back next week to regale you with stories of our wedding and honeymoon (oh my gosh, I can’t believe we’re married!).  In the meantime, we’re going to finish up this week with a guest post written by the founder of Glö.  Guys, this is such a neat idea.  So, without further ado, here is Taryn Westberg with a post about online wedding invitations!

I receive lots of questions from couples who ask: “Are email wedding invitations an appropriate option for my celebration?” Now I am a little biased, but I think email wedding invitations are a smart, savvy and sophisticated choice! My husband and I sent email wedding invitations for our own wedding in 2007 (supplemented with 5 simple paper invitations for our older relatives.) Our guests loved them and they made wedding planning SO much easier for me.

Based on my own experiences, plus feedback from the modern-minded couples who are using Glö  to send their invites online, here are some of the key benefits I can rave about:

1) They save LOTs of time!

Let’s face it – you are busy! It’s not like work, your social life or other activities simply dissolve because you’re planning a wedding. Think about the time it takes to address envelopes and stuff them (not to mention sticking stamps.) Also, I found that it was WAY easier to collect my guests’ email addresses, as opposed to their snail mail addresses. I had most of the emails to begin with, and I haven’t collected mailing addresses in a book since my summer camp days.

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2) They save trees

Now I don’t know exactly how many trees it takes for all the world’s couples to get married each year, but between wedding cards, envelopes, RSVP cards, RSVP envelopes, and anything else stuffed inside envelopes – It’s a lot! Yikes! If trees could talk, they’d probably say, “Come lie in my shade and have a cuddle with your honey.” And probably not, “Cut me down and mail me out so that someone can throw me away.”

3) They save your budget

The postage alone for 150 invitations and RSVP reply cards costs around US $150. Plus the average couple in the US spends between US$650-850 on the actual invitations. That’s a lot of budget that could go towards food, wine and music.

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4) They offer instant RSVP Gratification

The thing we loved the most about sending wedding invites by email was that we could instantly see who had opened them and who had RSVPed. The night we sent our invitations, we stayed up until 3am refreshing the site and high-fiving one another with happiness at each ‘YES!’ response.

5) They are convenient for your guests

One thing I hear over and over from Glö couples is how much their guests have loved receiving email invitations and RSVPing online. With email wedding invitations and a wedding website, guests have all the information they need at their fingertips and can easily RSVP for themselves and anyone else in their party. Plus they can access the information at any time on a computer or smart phone, or they can decide whether to print anything out and stick it on the wall or carry it with them.

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Email wedding invitations aren’t right for every couple, but they definitely make a statement. They say, “we’re modern, smart and savvy and I care about making my wedding fun and easy for my guests to attend.”

I am constantly amazed at how each Glö-couple’s personality shines through in their email wedding invitations and wedding website designs. For some inspiration – check out the real Glö-bie posts on glo-bride.com.

About Taryn:  Taryn is the founder of Glö, where she works to provide modern-minded couples with personalized online wedding communications — from email invitations and save the dates, to wedding websites with online RSVPs. Learn more about Glö at www.glosite.com or follow Taryn and her staff on Twitter @GloWedding.

*Editor’s Disclaimer:  I did not receive any compensation for this post…I just think that the staff at Glö is really awesome and this is such a great idea!  Mmmkay?  Mmmk.  [I’m lookin’ at you, FCC!]

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Top Ten Tips for Saving Money on your Wedding Vendors

This morning’s guest post comes from Ashley over at Bride on a Budget.  Her blog is amazing for keeping your sanity when you’re trying to plan a wedding (and save your budget!).  Thanks so much for posting for me, Ashley!  Here she is with her best money-saving tips:

1. Do your research. The more vendors you look at, the more likely you’re going to find one that you love in your budget.

2. Ask other brides who they used. Go on wedding message boards like The Knot and Project Wedding to find brides in your area. They can give you first hand opinion on who to use and who to avoid.

3. Look in places you wouldn’t normally look. Vendors that are just starting out often post on Craigslist advertising their low prices. Also, check out Weddingbee, where vendors will sometimes give away services for free in exchange for a review.

4. Negotiate. Most vendors are willing to go cheaper than what they originally quoted you. Tell them how much you like their work, but you just can’t afford it. Give them your budget and see what they can provide you with for that amount.

5. Don’t be afraid to use your discounts. A lot of vendors will give discounts to military personnel. Also, some will give discounts for students, teachers, medical professionals, etc. You won’t know unless you ask.

6. Decide what you have to have and what you’re more flexible on. This will allow vendors to be more flexible and give you more for your money.

7. Use friends and family members who have talents. If you have a friend who is a fantastic musician, ask if they’re perform at your wedding ceremony. If your uncle owns a restaurant, see if he’ll cater for a discounted price.

8. Branch out from traditional wedding vendors. Just because a vendor doesn’t have wedding in front of their title doesn’t mean they aren’t just as good. A lot of photographers who do mostly family shoots will also do weddings on the side. And florists who don’t often do wedding bouquets could still make a gorgeous one for you. Meet with them and see if you like their style and ideas.

9. Have your wedding in an off-season. A lot of vendors will give discounts during their less busy parts of the year. They don’t get as much business in December as they do in June, so they’re willing to book you for cheaper because some money is better than no money.

10. Have your wedding on an off day. If you really have you heart set on having a wedding in June, but can’t afford it, look into having your wedding on a Friday or Sunday. Less people get married on those days and wedding vendors love the extra business.

Now that you’ve heard my top tips for saving money on your wedding vendors, feel free to share your own tips with us. What did you do to save money?

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Second Chances

Today’s guest post comes from Amanda, over at Manda:  In Training.  We actually just recently became blog friends, so I am so happy that she is able to guest post for me!  Take it away, Amanda!

I’m going to tell you a classic love story. Boy is born and raised in New Jersey. Girl is born and raised in Wisconsin. Boy and girl meet on the internet. Boy and girl fall in love. Boy proposes to girl. Boy moves halfway across the country to be with girl. Boy and girl get married exactly a year after they meet. Boy and girl have a luxurious and relaxing honeymoon in lovely…Rhinelander?

I know, I know. Not your typical love story. Then again, Blake and I aren’t your typical couple. Allow me to explain.

Blake and I met on a website called LiveJournal, which was THE site to be on before blogs became THE thing to have. Both of us, huge fans of American Idol, joined a community to discuss the show with other people. I read one of his posts and agreed 100%. I commented, we became “friends,” and the rest, as they say, is history.

He was in love with his best friend at the time, as was I. The more we talked on the phone and computer, the more we forgot about them. We decided that we were going to exchange Christmas cards. I am really glad I waited to send mine, because I was not expecting a bracelet or the request to come visit me in my card. Needless to say, we set a date for him to visit, and I was elated because I would have my first real Valentine. I, however, did not expect one of the best days of my life to occur at one of the worst times in my life.

You see, part of the reason that Blake and I bonded was that we were raised so similarly. Growing up in proud Sicilian households, we were both raised in tri-generational households. We were both so used to having our grandparents around. A stroke the year before had left my grandmother paralyzed on her left side and she was losing the will to fight. Cancer struck Blake’s grandfather and he was deteriorating a little bit more each day. The day that Blake and I met face to face was the day of my grandmother’s funeral.

When I called to tell him that she passed, I expected for him to reschedule his visit. Instead, he stood by my side the entire night and met my entire family at once. I should have known then that he was the one for me, but it was only after a pep talk from my mother that I truly realized that my angel in heaven had brought me my angel on Earth.

Fast forward six months and we are engaged and moving Blake to Milwaukee so that we can be together forever. Fast forward another six months and we are married. We really did not waste much time because we knew that we wanted to be together.

Wedding 
However, being two twenty-somethings in school full-time and working full-time, proved to have the best of our honeymoon plans. A honeymoon in February was just not in the cards for us. We spent two lovely days holed up in a hotel, but that wasn’t a honeymoon. It was a breather from all of the pomp and circumstance of a wedding, and all of the after-wedding events. We knew that we would have to have a honeymoon in August because it was when we were both eligible for time off from our jobs. We did not have a lot of money, so even with Blake’s flight benefits (he works for an airline), we would not be able to leave the state.

My mother found an ad in my father’s union newspaper for a cottage in Rhinelander for $300 for the entire week. It was right near a lake and it was completely furnished with a full kitchen. It sounded like the perfect plan. We jumped at it, and that August we were off for a week of sunshine, water and domestic life with few worries. We thought it was going to be our own, cheaper, version of paradise. Boy, were we wrong!

We finally find the cottage after four plus hours of driving, pay the remainder of the fee, and go to settle in for the week. It happened to be the hottest week of the year, might I add. We expect to be cooled off as we enter our haven, and realize that it is not air conditioned. We forgot to ask and assumed. As my grandfather always said, what happens when you assume is that you make an “ass of u and me.”

Not quite discouraged yet, we decided to unpack later and take a trip around the lake in the peddle boat we were told we could use. The lake stunk like a sewer, and the peddle boat squeaked so loudly that we could not hear one another. Our relaxing afternoon turned into a comedy as we tried to turn the boat around. My husband accidentally knocked me in the pungent water and fell in himself trying to save me.

Drenched in what looked and smelled like pond scum, we decide go inside and wash up. I quite honestly think I’ve seen larger bathrooms in Polly Pocket toys. After my shower, I decide to take a nap and realize the bed in the “master suite” was a double. We are used to a king-sized bed. Blake, not much of a napper, decided to lounge around by the television, which shockingly was not black and white. When I awoke, we decided to make dinner together. The “fully-furnished kitchen” was older than either one of us and all of the appliances worked as such.

We still tried to make the best of it by using the grill instead and eating outside, which was cooler than the inside. We were eaten alive by mosquitoes and flies, and even the bug spray we were wearing did not help. After running inside, we did not even think about the bag of lingerie I had packed. Our evening was spent playing card games and watching Degrassi: The Next Generation on DVD. Warm, itchy, and frustrated, we went to bed.

Waking up the next morning, we realized we could not spend another night like that. We quickly devised a plan to set the mattress up with the couch pillows to make a larger bed in the kitchen. Not the most ideal setup, but it worked. We went shopping in wonderful downtown Rhinelander for the half-hour it took us to get around. We tried the lake again, but the smell still turned us off. We played more card games and finished our DVD set.

After the fourth day of this, we realized we couldn’t take anymore. We drove home the next morning. We were not relaxed and did not enjoy our honeymoon. When we came home, my parents told us that they had a very similar experience on their honeymoon twenty-five years ago. We were comforted, but still could not laugh about the fact that we did not have the honeymoon of our dreams. At the end of the day, we enjoyed each other’s company and that is what mattered.

That, my friends, was almost five years ago. February 11, 2011 marks our five-year anniversary. These five years haven’t all been sugar and spice, however. We have dealt with successes and failures, births and deaths, greatest joys and seemingly unbearable sorrows. The very same thing that brought us together, the computer, almost tore us apart. Curiosity almost killed the cat, you could say. Amid all of that, we started our own family, and put our all into our son. In a family of three, sometimes you forget that it all happened because two people fell in love. It’s easy to put the spouse on the backburner and focus on the child. We were both guilty of this.

We decided on our fourth anniversary that we were going to go all out for our fifth anniversary. Most people did not think we would make it past our first, so this was big. Besides, we wanted to celebrate not giving up when it was the easiest thing to do. Unfortunately, in today’s day and age, making it to a fifth anniversary is a huge deal. We had seen more divorces than happy endings in our friendships. Lastly, we decided that we needed to do something to focus on the two of us.

We knew that we did not want to stay in the state. This meant that we had to get the “okay” from my parents. After we got the okay, we jumped into a cruise to the Mexican Riviera. A few months later, when it was time to make the necessary plans, we realized that we may have bitten off a little more than we could chew. First off, we would not be able to get to our son easily if something happened. We trust my parents, but accidents happen, especially with a terribly two-year-old who may be just a little hyper. Secondly, “free flight benefits” is a fancy term for standby. If we got bumped on our flight, we missed our cruise.

My parents returned from Las Vegas completely refreshed and happy (not to mention $1,000 richer, but Mom was lucky this time around). We started thinking that maybe that could be an option. As we started looking at the prices, we realized that we should have done this all along. So we booked a hotel at a great price farther down the strip. The South Point (where Jerry Lewis holds his telethons) has a bowling alley, a bingo hall, a movie theatre, and restaurants galore. We are a far cry from no air conditioning, a double bed, an ancient kitchen, and mosquitoes galore. We can walk the strip and do all of the gambling and drinking we wish, but then we can walk back to our quiet hotel.

Hotel 
We also decided that since we are in Sin City, we should rent a cheesy chapel and renew our vows. We had thought about doing that on the cruise, but it proved to be more expensive than our budget would allow. So I looked around and we’ve rented the Victorian Chapel at the Chapel of the Flowers. It’s a cute little chapel and even with just the two of us and the officiant, it’s going to be special.

If anything, I see this as our second chance. Our honeydoom, as I like to call it, did not start our marriage off on the right foot. We, however, persevered and made it through all of the struggles. Without those rough times, we would not enjoy and cherish the good times as much as we do. I am excited to spend an entire week with just my husband and get back to basics. It all started with just him and I and it will all end the same.

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