Friday, October 31, 2008

Stupid Purchase??

So while at the Salvation Army shopping for part of Tom's Halloween costume, I ran across this:

Well, minus the iron stand. The price? $12.50. What it's selling for at Target is $29.99.
I didn't buy it. YET.
I figured I could sleep on it and go back the next day (today) and pick it up if I wanted to. And I do WANT to. I'm just not sure if it's worth it.
The idea would be to get 2, (I can always purchase the other from Target or check out a different Salvation Army since they get Target cast-offs), and set up a table at the ceremony for beverages.
Like this:
Cute idea, no?
As much as I love it, and know it would be fairly simple to pull off (some water, lemonade mix, some sliced lemon to float on top and a few cups), I feel like it's definitely something we could do without.
But on the other hand, for $50 (after purchasing both jars and the table cloth), it seems like it could be a nice touch that is much appreciated. Remember, it will be a warm, June afternoon outside and I'm sure people would appreciate some cool water & lemonade.
Hmmm. Maybe I could just buy the one for $12.50 and serve water only...
PS - In case you're wondering and I didn't mention it earlier, Tom's Halloween costume is the Hulk. He's teaching at his elementary school this morning, so he's been directed to take lots of pictures of him and the kids. Hopefully I'll be able to post them this weekend!!!

Happy Halloween!!

For your viewing enjoyment, a Halloween wedding:

(Courtesy of Pumpkin Plaid)

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Picture Time :)

Photography, as one of the few lasting artifacts of a wedding (alongside the marriage and misc. apparel), has become a rather important priority to us. And while Tom cares more about the substance and I the style (story of my life), finding a photographer to capture both is quite a task.

As such, here is the short list of qualities that we need:

- Must be able to work within budget. MUST.
- Shoots digitally, and will give us the rights to all photos thereafter.
- Photojournalistic style, with fine art emphasis.
- 2 photographers would be ideal.
- Personality is HUGE. Must be patient, creative & flexible. :-)

Tall order, no??

The good news is that I think I've found someone. The bad news is, well, there is no bad news! For now. Hoorah!

We were originally scheduled to meet with her this weekend, but as we don't have an official contract with the venue, meaning our date is subject to change, I thought it would be best to wait until everything was confirmed.

I'll post some of her photos once the contract is signed and whatnot...

'Til then, here's a quick peek at some candid photos from other photographers who specialize in this style...

(All courtesy of Snippet & Ink)

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Frivolous, But Factual

So you might have remembered me posting about these in many of my Gocco posts, but alas, I love them, so I'm talking about them again.

Well, okay, I didn't actually talk about these, I just posted the picture.

This clever, clever bride took the time to Gocco 1,000+ napkins, each containing one of five random facts about the couple.

How much fun is that?!? (Crazy ton of work, but FUN!). And considering we're doing the hors d'oeurves-y type of reception, I'm guessing cocktail napkins would be abounding anyway.

So, without further ado, I thought I'd throw some more random facts about Tom and I out there in case I plan to Gocco my life away in the future:

  1. So obviously marching band was a huge part of how we ended up dating. (Well, that and a football injury, but I digress.) Normally, Tom played the trombone. When we started dating, however, Tom had a strong command of the finger cymbals, which he aptly renamed "The Man Cymbals."
  2. The first time I met Tom's mom was at about 11 pm at night on a Saturday, when she was forced to come and pick us up in her bathrobe and slippers. Tom had broken his key in half and we couldn't get in his car. At this time, I was suffering from "exhaustion," but was being tested for mono, among other things. She later sent me a piece of apple pie to help me feel better. :)
  3. When Tom had asked me out for our first date, he was on his way to football practice and didn't have time to write my phone number down. Instead, I wrote it on his arm. He proceeded to sweat most of it off during practice, and almost lost it.
  4. Tom and I have both changed our career paths. I once planned on being a high school English teacher, and Tom originally was majoring in History.
  5. Not only has Tom picked out the names of his future children (Olivia, Aiden, Declan & Natalie --- okay, Natalie's mine, but I get some say, right??), he's also picked out the names of his future pets. The names for the dogs include Nelson, Godina, Romulus, Copernicus, Sienna, Kingsley, and a big ol' Mastiff named Periwinkle.
  6. While we're looking at a Mediterranean cruise as our honeymoon, our dream vacation would be a trip to Australia.
  7. Tom has already claimed the basement in our future house as his "Man Cave." Not only is it named, he already has wall paint (Notre Dame green), furniture (a tan/beige sectional big enough to seat 15), and decor (framed Buccaneers jerseys & memorabilia) picked out. Consider this an open invitation to our house for the 2011 Superbowl.
  8. In the span of about 2 years, I've had four or five different wedding plans. First was the fall affair at the Chicago Botanical Gardens. That was traded for the fall affair in Door County, complete with party bus transportation. Next came the tapas reception at one of our favorite restaurants, Meson Sabika. Then came the Catholic Church ceremony/tented Lake Katherine reception. Now we're working on the Danada House affair...

Can you guys think of anything random/fun about us?? Please post in the comments section... :-)

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Multi-Purpose Programs!

So I've had the vision in my head for dual-purpose programs, and as much as I tried to explain them to people, I don't think I was getting my vision across.

And then I found these and all was right in the world. Sorta.

So I want something similar to these, but a little more rectangular in shape, and the paper will be the bluish/aqua to match the invitations. I also want to be able to use both sides of the program, the first for the actual ceremony, and the back for the wedding party and a brief note, much like this example.

I really like the idea of the blue paper, but I'm afraid that the ink (either white or green) will be too difficult to read, especially with the smaller font. We might end up going the ivory paper route with the blue writing, which I think will look better.


Friday, October 24, 2008

Drink Up!

So no party, big or small, is complete without beverages. Especially of the adult kind.

Now it's no surprise that I'm unhappy about the "standard" bar package. (Crowd begins booing).

It's not like I'm trying to be difficult or high maintenance, I just think that standard=boring. Or at least for me. And that's probably because I'm overstimulated on Dunkin Donuts coffee half the time.

But, if I had to choose between spending $16/person on a standard bar package, only to have half of our families nurse their carafe of lemon water on the table, or spending $16/person to have a few fun, exotic drinks, the ULTIMATE coffee bar, and some fun non-alcoholic beverages, I'd obviously choose the latter.

So that said, here are my ideas:

"Signature" drinks: An appletini, a Cuba Libre (rum, coke & lime), and two others (maybe something frozen like a pina colada or strawberry margarita? and something more classic like standard martini??)

Detailed signage at the bar will alert people to their choices, much like a menu:

Wine: 1 red, 1 white. Most people don't drink it anyway.

Beer: We're gonna have a kegger!!! Except, of course, without the red plastic cups. And the $5 admission fee. Instead, we'll have the bartender "hide" it behind his stand and serve it in classy pilsner glasses, like so:

High class, people, high class. And yes, we'll have a standard and a lite. And maybe an import if you people behave.

And, for the piece de resistance, the ULTIMATE coffee bar. (I'm not really sure why I feel the need to capitalize this, it just seems appropriate.)

Coffee: Regular & Decaf
Hot Cocoa: Regular & Dark
Syrups: Vanilla, caramel & mint
Cordials: Bailey's & Kahlua
Extras: Whipped cream, chocolate shavings, sprinkles :-)

Umm ---YUM!!

PS - As stated previously, I have something even better up my sleeve for the non-alcoholic beverages. It's just too good of an idea to share right now. Maybe once I finalize it with the caterer....well, once we finalize a caterer....haha

Thursday, October 23, 2008

DIY Craziness.

So anyone who knows me understands that DIY projects are pretty much my forte. You also know that I tend to take on huge projects, convince myself that they're super easy and inexpensive, then leave them half-finished (the plaques sitting in the computer room, Mom?).

So when I start thinking about the DIY wedding projects, my natural tendency is to go pretty crazy. And by crazy, I mean I've pondered actually doing the catering myself (and yes, I talked myself out of that pretty stinking quickly!). So here's the list of projects I'm definitely going to do myself:

  • Invites
  • Programs
  • Favors
  • Table menus
  • Seating chart
  • Veil
  • Wreaths for the doors (Stupid project, but I'm finished already)

Here's a list of projects I'd like to do myself, but would be okay outsourcing:

  • Ceremony arch/chuppah knock-off
  • Misc. ceremony decor (chair/aisle decorations)
  • Reception centerpieces
  • Flower girl wands (the wand part, not the actual flowers...)

Hmm...I can't seem to think of any more out there. Anybody else??

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

An Unofficial Decision: Timing, Food & Drinks

So though I sort of took a wedding break last week, my unfortunate little brain has been working overtime thinking about all this lately. As I'm a person who can't really handle situations left unsettled, it's not surprising that I'm trying to plan timelines and make decisions 20 months before the wedding.

Gross number, I know.

So, I haven't really consulted Tom about all this yet (mainly because I know his response will be "Umm, yeah, sure." followed by a "Wait, we never talked about this." two months later). BUT, the following are all the thoughts swimming in my pretty little head and I really don't want them up there anymore.

Reception type: Heavy Hors d'ouerves --- Instead of having a separate cocktail hour and "stations" type dinner hour, we'll just combine them. The food will be ready once the ceremony ends, so everyone will gather in the house, grab a drink, we'll walk in, have a toast or two and grace, then everyone can dig in. Meanwhile, we'll sneak out the back for some pictures, then come in when we're finished to kick off the dancing...

Food: Upscale colloquial. Is that even a term? Well, it is now. My thoughts are to stick with some of the foods that we love, but dress them up a bit. For instance, Tom and I spend obscene amounts of time and money at Buffalo Wild Wings. I think it's only appropriate to have buffalo wing bites on skewers, or something similar. And how about those super fun miniature burgers? And of course, my favorite idea ever: the mashed potato bar!!! We'd probably still do the carved prime rib and the fresh fruit and cream station, too.

Drinks: Undecided. Still. Ugh. So I'm still really torn on this whole issue. I love the idea of doing a few signature cocktails, and while I don't think a full bar is necessary (especially at 3:00 in the afternoon), I still feel like that's being a poor host. But when you host a dinner party at your home, how many people have a full bar prepared anyway? Don't you most of the time offer guests their choice of a few beers, wines, and a cocktail or two??? My initial thoughts are an Appletini, Jack & Coke (Tom's favorite), and maybe a mojito. Of course, we'd probably offer a few beers (Rolling Rock --again, Tom's favorite-- and Corona), and a white and red wine, too. Then towards the mid/end of the night, we'd break out the coffee/cocoa bar (more to follow on that later!). Plus, I have another trick up my sleeve for the non-alcoholic beverages.

Reader question: What's the most popular drink to order at bars? Also, what do you usually order???

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Just Another Reason I Love Danada :)

So I've been searching this morning, to no avail, for more pictures of the Danada House. But this time, I'm trying to find more of the outside.

One thing that Tom and I instantly fell in love with was the property the house was on, as well as the house & atrium. True to his very personality, the first thing Tom said when he saw the lawn behind the house was "We could bring up our bag sets to play while you guys are getting ready. Wait, maybe we could even play football."

Football was nixed pretty quickly, as I don't think bruises are the fashion statement we want to be making that day. Bags, however, has sort of stuck and morphed into another non-traditional idea.

Since the whole point of the day is really to reflect our personalities and the relationship we've developed, I think it's only normal to want the aspects of the day to reflect that, too. And I guess, since I'm marrying a fitness/P.E. nut, that includes lawn sports. :-)

I actually really like the idea of the guys hanging out that morning, just relaxing and playing around as only they do best. I think it would help reduce anxiety, and give them an outlet for extra energy.

I do, as always though, have one stipulation. The men must wear these:

Friday, October 17, 2008

Now, Now, No Fighting...

Alas, the arguing of two of my sisters over the maid/matron of honor position has brought up a topic we haven't discusses yet: The Bridal Party.

It almost sounds like a death sentence, doesn't it?

It looks as if we're going to have a bit of a lopsided group...Tom, though he denies it, is a social butterfly who hates to hurt people's feelings. Killer combination when creating a bridal party.

I on the other hand, occasionally known as the Ice Queen at work, could really care less. I find it to be more of a burden than a joy to be a bridesmaid, and don't know why people are so eager to drop hundreds of dollars on a dress, pair of shoes, and jewelry that they'll never wear again (AND NO MATTER WHAT PEOPLE SAY, YOU NEVER REALLY DO WEAR IT AGAIN!).

So, while nothing is finalized, as the wedding really still is a long way away and many things can change, it looks like we'll have 3 girls, 5 boys, and a plethora of young children scampering around.

Despite being extremely anal about pretty much everything, I've actually surprised myself (and Tom) and don't care that we'll be lopsided. Okay, maybe I protested a bit at first, but I acquiesced after about 5 minutes --- probably a record.

Since we're not having a head table, seating isn't really an issue, and as long as the photographer's creative, we'll be fine :) This isn't 1982 (thank God!), so we'll be forgoing matching bridesmaid dresses, bridal party numbers, shoulder pads, and butt bows. Well, except I might make Nicole wear one --- partly as punishment for not reading my blog regularly, and partly to protect her butt in case she falls again!! ;)

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Paper Cuts...

Well, before yesterday's incident, I had been planning on discussing invitations and whatnot. Well, a little "paper cut" is no reason, not to, right??

Maybe if I share my vision, you will understand the obsession that drove me to Michael's last night.

I want this:

Except the green will be blue, and the pink will be green.


And, I want programs like these:

Except I want those to be blue as well. But I'll settle for white/ivory, with blue or green (or both!) ink. I just think they'd be perfect for an outdoor June ceremony :)

Oh, le sigh, I can only picture each one of them sitting perfectly on a white wooden garden chair.

And then, of course, I picture a big gust of wind or rain and I cry.

The High Price of Being a Bargain Shopper...

As I've mentioned previously, I'll be designing my own invitations using the Gocco. And for this project, I've been religiously stocking up on some fantastic paper sold at Michael's. As they tend to send 40% or 50% coupons weekly, I've been making the weekly trek to buy my paper.

Obsessive, yeah, I know.

Fast forward to last night --- the clincher. I was about to buy the last set of reply cards. THE LAST SET!!! I had 120 invitations, 120 envelopes, and 100 reply cards. I only needed 1 more pack. And to help in my excursion, I brought along my trusty sidekick and maid of honor, my sister Nicole.

I had the paper in my hand, and Nicole was grabbing random Halloween accessories, including a foam hat, when tragedy struck. No really, this isn't a metaphor for an out of stock item.

Nicole, who is wearing a walking cast for a fractured ankle, slipped and fell on the tile. Coming down, she somehow clipped the side of her head on a merchandise rack. At first, I was more worried about her ankle and if she had twisted anything. Until we saw the blood. Somehow she managed to cut behind her ear --- a pretty nasty cut that looked like it needed stitches. So the paramedics (who were amazingly nice & friendly!) came and took us to the hospital. As she's being wheeled out on the gurney, Nicole asks me to buy her pirate hat.

Crazy girl. I didn't do it, nor did I buy my paper.

But alas, I've assigned Tom to the mission, as I really don't want to be going back there anytime soon. I'm glad that was the last set we needed!!

Ambulance ride: $200
7 Stitches: $150
200 sheets of gauze: $50

Attempting to save $1.31 on paper?? Priceless.

Here's to hoping the rest of the wedding planning stays stitches free!!!!!!!!!

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

While We're On the Apparel Train...

Love this. LOVE IT. Maybe more than Tom. Don't tell him I said that.

It's from Bonzie, goddess of all Etsy wraps/shrugs.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Bridesmaid Dresses: Take 2 (or 3?)

I don't really have an idea of what I want for the bridesmaid dresses, which is odd, because I'm usually a pretty particular person. I think I'll know when I see it, though.

And I might have just seen it.

Aria Dresses seems to be a great solution to the bridesmaid dress conundrum:

Colors that appeal to me, styles that look good on all, look that fits with the garden-type feel but matches the formality of my dress, and affordability.

It's a lot to ask for. But as my mother always reminds me, "Ask and ye shall receive."

Look: my colors! And look: eyelet! (it screams "garden party"!)

Okay, so I'm thinking the eyelet might be a little much for my dress, so we should probably stick with the shantung or the duchess satin:

Aaahh, much better. Me likey. **Note to self/photographer: Don't ask bridesmaids to "lean closer" to bride. Resulting picture looks ridiculous.

But wait! Don't we need different styles of dresses in the same colors and fabrics???


And another plus?? Dresses average about $160 for the shorter style and about $190 for floor-length. Holla!

Monday, October 13, 2008

Please Direct Your Attention to the Top Right Corner.

Good looking couple, eh? ;)

Now, look up about an inch.

Looking at the poll? Good!

So let's talk times, here. If we have the flexibility to have the wedding whenever we want, what would be the best time?

There are a variety of factors that influence this decision, including but not limited to # of out of town guests (Tom's grandparents and a few aunts and or uncles), availability of caterer/photographer/officiant, driving distance for guests, etc.

I really like the idea of a 2 p.m. ceremony with cocktails at 2:30 and dinner to follow around 3:30. Could that even really be called dinner??

Or instead, could we do something entirely unique with the ceremony at 2:00 and the actual food served at 2:30? If it was more cocktail-style as we envision, it might make for a smooth transition...? We can do our entrance, a quick toast or two, then escape for pictures as everyone eats and mingles, then begin the dancing at 3:30...?

If the reception ends around 6:30, that's still PLENTY of sunlight for the out-of-towners to drive home in, and we have lots of time for an after-party (read: Bowling!)

The only downside I can think of is just the awkward mealtime.

Deal breaker?

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Looking Ahead to the Weekend...

Tom and I have a fantastic, albeit busy, weekend ahead. In reality, that's how the next few weekends are looking. I can't complain, though. I like being busy :)

On Saturday, I'm taking my goddaughter out on a "date." For her birthday/Christmas gift, I purchased a subscription to a local children's theater. I bought her the book that this play is based off of, If You Take a Mouse to School. I thought it was appropriate, given that she started Kindergarten. I'm really excited about our December show, Hansel & Gretel. I've also signed us up for a Gingerbread House making class!! :)

Later that night, I'll be accompanying my mother to wedding since my dad can't make it. I'm mainly going to take notes, checkout the florist & bakery, and get a free meal. :)

Sunday morning, Tom and I are volunteering at the Chicago Marathon. A coworker of mine was involved with the staffing of the aid stations, so Tom and I decided it would be a fun opportunity to be a part of it. We'll be either handing out water or bananas at Aid Station 19. :)

Sunday afternoon, we're hoping to catch a quick nap. We're leaving for the race at 6 am, and hope to be back by 1. After that, we have to cleanup and get ready to take family pictures. These should be quite interesting, as we now have 3 little ones to attempt to get to smile at once. It'll be fun to see how they all turn out! :)

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

True Story.

So those of you who know us will know this, and those of you who haven't known me for more than, say, 10 blog posts, probably won't.

Originally, Tom and I had planned on getting married in the fall. Late September, to be exact.

This was the plan as late as March of this year. There were several factors in deciding to move the wedding to summer, including the fact that Tom will be a teacher once he graduates. Getting married at the beginning of the school year didn't seem like such a great plan.

And now that we're in full summer wedding planning mode, I couldn't be happier.

And then, I stumble upon pictures like this that make me regret that we changed the date.

Doesn't this look delicious??????

True Story.

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Le Sigh.

Not only am I not really in the mood to talk wedding right now, I don't really have the time to peruse pictures and such like I normally do.

Work is absolutely crazy, with 2 members of my team on vacation. When you take into consideration my team is only 4 people generally, I have a bit more to do this week...

However, I'd like to catch you up to speed about this weekend. We're definitely in talks about putting down a deposit on the Danada House. I went in on Sunday hoping that I would be impressed and it wouldn't be another let-down. Not only was I impressed with the place, but I found the coordinator so extremely helpful and knowledgeable that it definitely put my mind at ease. We talked prices, capacity, future renovations and how they would affect us, weather contingency plans, etc. We got to see it set up for a wedding, and even got to see the bride, too. Poor girl. It rained all day. :(

Anyway, I'll let you all know (obviously) what happens from here. I'd rather not jinx it, so I'll probably not talk about it until after we've officially reserved it.

And while this seems like a great task to have done, now comes the more tedious vendors: florists, photographers, and caterers. My goal is to use the fall & early winter to scope out possibilities, gather references, etc. Then I'm hoping to actually begin meeting with these people in late winter/early spring. I'd rather wait to do this until late spring, but with Tom being so busy, we have few options. And most of the best vendors book up a year early, so waiting until summer is definitely out. Ugh.

Friday, October 3, 2008

Let's Recap, Shall We?

The past few weeks have been rather topsy-turvey in Weddingland.

We've ditched the original venue, are still in discussions about the ceremony location (well, actually not discussions - the decision's up to Tom...), honed in on small details, purchased a Gocco, and began a few DIY projects that will hopefully be featured soon. So, I thought that this would be an opportune time to recap.

When picturing the wedding months ago, I never really pictured the "theme" revolving around an object. I thought it would be dictated by the location, the time, or the season. And to a degree, it still is. But I've found myself making decisions based on a particular picture.

This picture:

(The Knot)

"I love her, and true love lasts a lifetime." (Nicole, name that movie!!)

This bouquet has really come to embody what I want to see from the day. It's elegant, fresh, fun, and just downright pretty.

I also love this. Not necessarily the daisies, but the overall look:

(Sweet Paul, via Snippet & Ink)

And I've bought these:


It was a weak moment, I confess. But they match! And they were on clearance!!

And, sigh, this:

(The Danada House)

I've fallen in love with the Danada House. And I'm hoping that this weekend will only solidify that, rather than change it. We'll be meeting with the coordinator on Sunday, and will get to see it setup for a wedding :)

Thursday, October 2, 2008

All in the Details...

So as I spend more time looking at pictures, thinking about venues, etc., the vision of the day becomes a clearer picture in my mind. Though I'm prone to changing it often (I've "planned" for at least 4 different places/dates now), I feel fairly certain that this vision will stick.

But that's partly because I've already spent money on the paper for the invites and the dress, so there's no way to turn back now! ;)

So anyhoodle, I've spent some time the past few days thinking about what the wedding would be like at any of the sites below, and the vision is fairly similar. I'd like to stick with the common chord of "garden elegance" but still have the fun, fresh touches that stop this from becoming a stuffy affair.

Idea #1: Lace.

I like lace in small quantities. I certainly don't want it everywhere, lest this look like the special occasion fabric section at a craft store, but I'd like to incorporate it in small touches. For instance, the tables:

(DeNormandie Party Linens)

Please ignore the crazy centerpiece and chair that could double as a fancy toilet. However, please pay special attention to the lace topper. Picture that on top of both pool blue and apple green linens. In my head, I think the blue will look better, but I like the color green more.

I'd also like to incorporate it into the ceremony (if it is outdoors, that is), but having it become part of the canopy (sorta like a chuppa), or even as an aisle runner (in lieu of flower petals).

And I love it at the bottom of this dress too:

(Jenny Yoo Bridal)

Just barely noticeable :)

Idea #2: Flowers.

Fairly self-explanatory, right? Too bad there's this little problem called a BUDGET. So, my thoughts for fresh flower centerpieces without the cost are this:

or actually doing a simple DIY project the night before. I can get vases as cheap as $2 a piece, and we could make a run to Trader Joe's or even a regular grocery store and buy several of their mixed bouquets. They can easily be split in half (or smaller depending on the size of the vases), running the cost to approx. $5 per arrangement.

Sigh. Roses and lace? I really am a lot more girly than I let on to be.