Thursday, April 29, 2010

shower it up

Two weeks ago in Indiana, both of my mom's best friends threw me a shower at White Hawk Country Club, with help from my bridesmaid M. It was so unexpected and generous.
Everything was so thoughtful. The centerpieces were single pink peony blooms, the exact color of pink peonies I chose for the wedding.
Even the cupcakes were color-coordinated. All the cupcakeries in DC do not hold a candle to these!
I was also completely spared from any embarrassing games, bless them. I showed up, ate a lovely lunch, opened gifts, and mingled with the guests.
my mom, who coincidentally, sewed her dress!

trying not to break the ribbon while bridesmaid M takes notes

I guess I played one game that I didn't know I was playing, where the number of ribbons I break predict the number of kids I have? I had no idea that was a thing. Once I found out, I became super careful. I only broke one after the whole day!

This shower was really fun and touching, too, because most of the guests were my mom's friends that I grew up around. Being surrounded and supported by women like them has been such a positive influence in my life, so having them there meant a lot to me.

On a related note, I smuggled 48.5 pounds of gifts home with me and TSA must think I have a major Martha Stewart problem.

How was your shower experience? Or if you haven't had yours yet, what are you most looking forward to about the shower?

Wednesday, April 28, 2010


At some crazy point in time I thought I'd do a candy buffet. With money and time dwindling, I decided to skip the project. My caterer provides a Viennese table with chocolates and cookies, so it ultimately felt like overkill, despite how much I love the concept.

I truly think favors are optional, but I have a friend in Bloomington who is quite the accomplished baker, between him and his partner. We talked about doing cheesecake pops dipped in chocolate, but realized they weren't the safest food to leave lying around. We mused over macarons and then laughed at how hard they are (props to all of you who are successful!). Today, they sent me different - and easier - cookie ideas and I knew we had found the perfect favor.

Whoopie pies. I've decided they're the Hoosier cousin of the macaron. No fussy aged yolks and oven doors cracked open under a full moon with the eye of newt, just straight forward cookie-cakes filled with frosting. Hells yes.

Would you be excited to get a whoopie pie? Do they make you go "Whoopieeeeee"?

Saturday, April 24, 2010

take a place card

I decided to assign seats at the wedding, not so much influenced by etiquette, but by the pretty factor.

So I created a template in InDesign and copied all of the names of invitees. While it'd save some paper and energy to wait for the full list of replies, I've decided getting this little project out of the way was more important. Sorry Earth Day.

I printed the templates onto some lightweight cardstock and revisited my evil paper cutter. Halfway through cutting everything, I realized how badly I needed a new blade, so the following card looks jagged and sad and I promise I won't use it for the wedding.
Are you taking the place card plunge?

Thursday, April 22, 2010

confessions of a discount designer shopper

I am all about the discount and these days, it's all about the designer discount.

My retailer of choice is The Outnet. Why? Let me show you the ways:
  • Christian Louboutin flats for $170
  • Marc by Marc Jacobs blouse for $25
  • Valentino jacket for $1
  • Paul & Joe jeans for $30
The Outnet is full of win mostly because of their weekend sales and their impeccably edited stock. This is the discount site of Net-a-Porter, so you pretty much know from the get-go that everything is fantastic. But the best thing ever is the weekend sales they run. They're usually thematic, like pastels or jeans or coats, and the discount is deep: extra 45% or 50% off, most of the time.

There are so many wedding-worthy accessories and honeymoon clothes!
Clockwise from left: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5

Sign up for their notifications and you'll never miss a sale. I wish I was being paid by them to say all of this, but unfortunately I'm not.

Do you chase after designer discounts too?

Sunday, April 18, 2010

a shower hack

I just got back from my trip home for my bridal shower and while I don't have pictures yet, I do want to share one really clever thing!

Bridesmaid M printed out labels for every woman that indicated yes on the RSVP. So as I opened gifts, she merely had to slap the respective label next to the gift items! I thought it was brilliant. It's going to make writing thank you notes so simple!

Friday, April 16, 2010

Ceremony Muzak

For the ceremony music, we knew right away that we wanted to have Kirk's brother play. He's a jazz guitar student and insanely talented. So knowing there would be an electric guitar at our ceremony, it wasn't too hard picking out songs. Plus, our ceremony isn't in a church, so we've been free to be as secular as we want to be!

While people are being seated, Kirk's brother will play Jeff Buckley's version of "Hallelujah." I love Leonard Cohen, but this version of the song is unbelievable. Yes, I am trying to make people cry as soon as they sit down.

Then I'll walk down the aisle to "The Wind." I think this song is about a journey (I hate explication), so it's apt for a walk to the biggest commitment of my life.

"I listen to the wind
to the wind of my soul
Where I'll end up well I think,
only God really knows"

When our lovely ceremony finishes, we'll walk back to "Wouldn't It Be Nice." I'm really hoping people spontaneously start singing along. At least I will.

"Maybe if we think and wish and hope and pray it might come true
Baby then there wouldn't be a single thing we couldn't do
We could be married
And then we'd be happy"

I'm the type of person that associates music with moments. If I hear a specific song, it triggers my memory and I'm sent back to freshman year of college in my dorm or a family road trip to Florida. So I'm really, really happy to have some of our favorite songs playing during the ceremony, for this reason.

Are you picking ceremony songs with special meaning or are you hoping to create new meanings for them?

Thursday, April 15, 2010

going rogue

My bridal shower is this weekend, which means I'm flying into Chicago tomorrow and then hustling around the northwest Indiana region until I come back Sunday evening. Suffice it to say, I will be missing, but I will share my outfit, the deets from the shower, and actually bother to work on wedding stuff once I get back.

toodles till then!

Monday, April 12, 2010

wedding countdowns: don't remind me

I have a little confession: every time I see a post on the boards about wedding to-do lists or countdowns, I feel physically ill. My heart starts racing, I feel woozy and light-headed, and I look for a happier, less stressful post. I am in denial about my wedding date, people.

I have to-do lists scattered throughout my email inbox. Do I look at them anymore? No. I can't handle the reality of this impending date, where so many different variables have to come together, very expensive variables, I might add.

I'm not in freak-out territory yet. My wedding shower is this weekend and I've told myself to get down to brass tacks afterward. I'm not even doing DIY on the magnitude of so many other brides! I'm simply overwhelmed by the sheer amount of details and the giant deadline.

How do you deal with wedding lists and countdowns? Are you in denial like me or are you totally organized and prepared and if you are, tell me how!

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

press the button: the last stand

I won't beat around the bush: the invites are finished. I have pretty mixed feelings about the whole process: I love that I was able to incorporate my fonts and colors, but I hate how much time I spent on them. They're done though, so I'll stop complaining.

Because I'm so pro, I did an official photoshoot on a wrinkled sheet. Like I said, pro.

Pardon the random spaces.

My biggest piece of advice for doing your own invites: order way more envelopes than you think you need. I had to order a second set because I cut it too close the first time and misspelled my hometown's name on seven envelopes.

I want to give it to straight when it comes to the invites and their cost, so here it is, based on 55 invitations:

Letterpressed invite only: $150
Crane Cardstock: $40
Envelopes (rsvp & invitation): $20
Cardstock for liners: $20
Paper cutter: $20
Twine: $15
RSVP labels: $25
Ribbon: $3
Postage: $57 (oversized and square envelope = $$)

Total: $350

I excluded the cost of fonts, which would've been $150.

Product Sources:
Letterpress - Lucky Duck Press
Invite cardstock - Crane Paper
Envelopes - Cards and Pockets
Liner Cardstock - Discount Cardstock
Twine - Divine Twine
Labels - Paper Source

Because I'm kind and benevolent, I brought out a piece of fabric for one glamour shot.
And I'll never talk about invitations again.

the chair incident

As I was leaving work today, I called my mom to get an update on some vendor calls she made for me. She had two objectives: see how much lighting would cost and reserve the rental chairs for the ceremony and reception.

Let's go backwards though. When I first booked at the IMU, Kirk and I went to Bloomington to talk to the venue coordinator. I specifically asked about gold chiavari chairs and she said she had some in her garage right now and they cost $3/chair. I knew that was a very low price, but assumed the IMU just had low prices! She also informed us the ceremony chairs would have to be rented from a company and gave us that number.
Then last week my parents went down to Bloomington to meet with the florist and the coordinator again. At the meeting with the coordinator, my mom asked about the chiavari chairs and was informed that the IMU doesn't have them, they're also from the rental company. Okay. She sometimes gets the chairs delivered to her house, explaining the whole garage spiel.

So my mom calls the rental company today to reserve the chiavari chairs. They are not $3. Not even close. They're $8.50! We don't have the budget for that and even if we did, there's an extra $300 delivery fee because they're in Indianapolis.

I know they're just chairs, but I was devastated. I've never really liked our reception room, but the fact that we'd have nice chairs and linens and some possible lighting was a compromise for me.

I'll go ahead and chalk this up to a massive miscommunication on my coordinator's part. Maybe I didn't ask enough questions about the chairs originally and get clarification. But this was one small aspect of the wedding that I was really looking forward to having.

I'm now trying to figure out if there's a way to have both the ceremony and reception outside in the courtyard and at least share the rented wooden chairs we'll be getting. If anyone has any advice on such an endeavor, feel free to comment below! Or if you just want to complain about chairs, that's fine too :)

Friday, April 2, 2010

press the button: the other half

I am in the thick of making my invitations. I have the letterpress invites. I printed the envelopes. So it was time to make the rest of the suite: the hotel card and the reply card.

I printed the secondary pieces at home to save money. I used the same color of Crane paper as the letterpress invites to maintain consistency. So I printed all of these pieces out, multiple "cards" to a sheet of letter-sized paper.
Then the cutting began. Let's just say I didn't enjoy this part.
This took me several hours. Several tedious, annoying, agonizing, soul-crushing hours. I prefer not to think about it.
What lengths have you gone to in the name of DIY?