Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Real Wedding Teaser: A Doughnut Cake

Last weekend one of my distant cousins, Meagan got married! I've only seen a few pictures of the wedding and I'm anxiously awaiting the rest (so that I can report back to you with all the details), but this is something I just couldn't wait to share.

Check out their awesome doughnut cake:

Doesn't this picture make you want a doughnut, like right now?

Please note that unfortunately, I do not have the name of their photographer to credit this photo. I promise to update this post as soon as I get that information. More of this real wedding soon!

Monday, June 28, 2010

The Brooches Debate Chiavari vs. Banquet Chairs

We're trying to think outside of the box when it comes to our wedding...

Not necessarily in terms of creativity, but in terms of the "box," many brides and grooms (especially brides) get into when it comes to their must haves. Most of us want the best of the best. The best caterer, the best DJ, the best photographer, and there's nothing wrong with that, except for that most of us can't afford the best of everything. In our case, we're splurging on the venue and photography. We feel like these are lasting investments (if you will), or really (that's just a fancy way of saying) the things we can justify spending thousands of dollars on.

When it comes to the trendy extras like a candy bar or photobooth, we're really having to restrain ourselves. We want it, but our budget simply doesn't have room for it all. For instance, I LOVED the smilebooth. We discovered it during our trip to New York at the Wedding Party, and it was my "must have," item for months. Seriously. Months. I told Aaron I didn't care how much it cost, and when we found it was approximately $1500 somehow (lol) I convinced myself that was reasonable.

Did I mention that was on top of our wedding costs? Yeah. Mr. B wasn't buying it.
Then I got on this kick about having a wedding planner. Mr. B wasn't convinced we needed one until we met with a few, and all the sudden he was all, "we can't do this without one!" Despite his lenancy on the issue, I knew our budget wasn't going to handle a smithbooth AND a planner. So I had to chose.

Of course, the planner was more jusifiable.We'd be utilizing the money we spent throughout the year and not just on one day (we wanted a full-time planner). Not only that, we definitely felt the planner would earn their fee by saving us money on the caterer, flortist, and other wedding-related expenses.

So alas, I had to say goodbye to my beloved smilebooth. 

Smooth. I gave in on the smilebooth. Mr. B and I got the planner we felt we needed. Easy peasy. Then, something came up I wasn't so quick to overlook, which bring me to our current debate: chiavari versus banquet chairs.

Even though the cost isn't as high as the cost of a planner and smilebooth, a few hundred dollars goes a long way in the wedding-budget world. You don't want to throw away $200 or $500 on just anything, because there are a lot of good uses for that money (like contributing to more expensive items).

I'm not a fan of banquet chairs (no offense to brides out there that are planning to use them or that did). I think chiavari chairs are so much more beautiful! In the words of our planner, "They significantly upscale the design of the room!" AMEN!

But, I have to ask. Is this minor? Am I being a spoiled bride? Should I be more lax about this kind of thing? Who is going to notice the chairs?

Well, I will. I just think chiavari chairs takes a dining room from "all that's nice," to "wow, that's sophisticated!"
What's really the difference these two types of chairs, you ask?


Are chiavari chairs worth the splurge?

Were banquet chairs included at your venue? Did you use them?

Friday, June 25, 2010

Must Haves: Vintage Furniture

I'm the daughter of trash pickers and proud!

Yeah, I said it. So what.

I pride myself on my ability to find goodies at low costs, bought second hand, or found for free. That's right, found for free! You might have guessed this from my bio - lover of all things vintage/antique/thrift/or homemade. You'll find I'm a sucker for a deal. I thrive on a good bargain!

Remember my seating inspiration? Many of you were concerned about the cost and rightfully so. Renting lounge furntiure, especially the expensive kind can get really expensive and fast! My solution is to go second hand. Seriously. Mama brooch and I have found some pretty amazing furniture curbside.

The thing is, our venue is perfect for this aesthetic because it's historic and has a very antique charm, and I want to keep that consistant throughout our wedding.

Take this couch for instance.


I'll admit, I love it because it's green. It's olive green (my favorite color), but don't you think we could find this somewhere cheap (hello craigslist) and sell it later? I sold all of my furniture when I graduated from college (I sold furniture, some pretty nice stuff too, throughout college). I know firsthand what BO means. And it just might be the only way I'll get the seating I desire.

My thought: why rent overpriced lounge furniture that you'll never get to use again, instead of bringing in your own pieces that can be less expensive and recycled.

On a recent trip to our venue, which I'll talk more about in another post, Mr. B and I took some time to brainstorm the decoration and use of this huge patio behind the manor. It's next to the garden and behind the dining area. We really want the space to be utilized, but we don't want to put a tent up, because we think it will obstruct the amazing view.

My vote is to put lounge furniture in this area. Let me re-phrase: vintage lounge furniture. Let's stage it people! Let's pull together some really cool vintage pieces and mix them with a few modern touches. Add a table with our guest book and put a drink station nearby.

We need something that is going to draw people out here. Something that will get people utilizing this space. More importantly... let's get some awesome pictures! Can anyone else see the bridal party taking this space over and getting some photo ops!! 

Here is the space I'm talking about:


You see my vision, but you're not sure we're going to find the vintage furniture seen on Style Me Pretty and in the pages of Martha Stewart Weddings mag? Think again! How about this charming vintage vanity for sale locally! I love it. It's exactly the type of furniture I'm talking about in this post. Check out the black dresser below. Both for sale on craigslist!

Still can't see my vision? Then take a look at these photos from a few real weddings, where the brides apparently had the same vision as me.

I'm so in love with this look:

What are you using to spruce up your wedding venue?

Do you like vintage furniture? Will you use it at your wedding?

A Different Kind of Bubbly

When I fell in love with our venue, I didn't know that sparklers were prohibited from the property. Boo! I've always wanted sparklers. From the beginning, as we sometimes say. I knew from the beginning. 

Needless to say, I was really disappointed when I found out we weren't going to be able to have them. I sulked for a long time about it, but eventually, I realized the pros of our venue far out way the cons, and I just have to get over having sparklers.

My backup? Bubbles. Yes, bubbles. I'm one of thhoosseee brides. Haha. I wasn't sold on the bubbles at first, but thrift store hopping (my favorite pasttime), I found a bunch of packs of wedding bubbles for about 25 cents each (score!). It seemed like a sign! Hey! They're usually $1! What a steal, right?! I thought so.

I also got excited about decorating the bottles. That's going to be such a fun and easy DIY project. Right now they look pretty plain and boring, but of course, we plan on adding some color! Some pink and green. Woot Woot! I also was thinking of making labels or a sign that says "Love is in the Air," or something sweet like that! Ideas?

The morale of the story? Not all dashed wedding dreams have a sad ending. In this case, it turns out my sparkler dilemma has turned into a really exciting project and (as you can see from the pictures below) some really cool photos hopefully. Not to mention loads of fun for our guests (especially the younger crowd)!

Will you have bubbles or sparklers?

Did you have to revise some of your wedding plans when you found your venue?

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Signature Drinks

It's officially summer and the hot weather has me thinking about what we're going to have to keep our guests cool. Let's try on these aweomse bevies to keep our guests hydrated!

I love these containers. What are they called? Where do we get them?

Regular and Raspberry Mojitos!


Root beer floats. One of Aaron's favs!

Ice teas!

What types of drinks are you going to (or did you) have?

Sunday, June 20, 2010

A Honeymoon in Paradise

If we could afford it, this is where we'd be going on our honeymoon...

Beautiful doesn't describe it!

(Photo credit here)

I discovered Santorini while browsing through TripAdvisor. Aaron and I have been talking a lot about our honeymoon, and we've been really overwhelmed by the variety of places to go. Much like the wedding planning, we're overwhelmed with comparing all of the options and all of their associated costs.

As many of you know, I'm an avid reader of Weddingbee, and it was over there that I discovered TripAdvisor. It's really an awesome website and it's helped me to feel extremely equipted to make an informed decision about our honeymoon!

I love reading the reviews. They are so helpful! I also love the traveler's photos and the quick links to hotels, flight, and entertainment information. With TripAdvisor (and no, this is not a sponsored post), I feel confident we're going to figure out our honeymoon very soon.

The rates at Santorini aren't bad either. Especially when we've run into resorts that cost upwards of $600 a night, which is way out of our budget! The only downfalls with this honeymoon are the cost and length of the flight. Kayak's lowest fare to Thira Island National Airport (nearby) is a whopping $1000. It is also a 15 hour flight - yuck! That would not be fun.

The other downfall is that it's not all inclusive. We didn't want to have to worry about money on our honeymoon. It would be nice to have everything included, but at a place like this, I don't see us needing to spend to much. It would be fun to snorkel and jet ski, but we can do that anywhere anytime! In Greece, I'm sure we'll spend most of our time taking in the view.

The best parts are obvious, it's secluded, romantic, exotic (there aren't beaches like this around the states) and if you don't believe me, check out the 278 positive reviews (and thousands of pictures) on TripAdvisor.

There is only ONE bad review, and there complaint was that it was far away from the world, which is fine by us! That would be a bonus!   

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Yes, Another Post About Invitations

I've been obsessed with wedding invitations lately.

I know, I know. What else is new?

It's crazy. I feel like a germaine shepherd looking for a missing child. Seriously, that's how I feel. Whenever I see invitations, my ears perk up, my sense of smell improves, and my eyes pop out a little. I feel like I need to find them. Like I should have found them yesterday.

I know it's going to take me aaawwwhhiillleee to decide on our invites. It takes me aaawwwhhhiiilllleee to decide on pretty much everything, so the invitations (being one of the most important elements of our wedding) is hardly an exception. I worry that if I don't find them, when the time comes when we have to order something, I'm going to be a ball of tears crying, "but, but I don't know what I want!"

Like many of you,  my search began on the internet. I searched thousands of stationary web sites -- thousands, I tell ya! Who knew stationary was such a booming buisness?

I even ordered samples! I've ordered about a dozen and each time hoped they would be the one. Too bad, I only really like one (of the six) samples I ordered from Wedding Paper Divas (seebelow). It's termography printing. Swwwooon!

My other inspirations are solely from online. I haven't seen these in person, but I still think they deserve a spot among my favorites. Remember the invitations I swore were perfect a few weeks back? Those pretty green and peach ones I absolutely adore! Here's a picture to jog your memory:

Well, I think I can add the Whimsical Scroll Wedding Invitations from Blush Paperie to my invitation inspiration file too. They almost have the ones above beat. I love the swirls. I'm really into swirls right now!

Purple is definitely not my color, but the good news is that fonts and colors are customizable!


Look at these same invitations in our colors:

Gorgeous, no?

Big difference, huh?

Way big difference. I love this design in the green and pink. It's festive, feminine, and do you see those butterflies?!? Where did they come from? They weren't on the original design, but I love them! These were obviously made for me!

They are subtle and go really well with our garden theme...

Could these be the ones for us? More to come on this later.

Are you constantly inspired by invitations (or is it just me)?

How did you decide on your invitations?

Monday, June 14, 2010

Our Engagement Party: The Details

It's official, I love photography!

Our friend Vanessa sent us a few pictures of the engagement party this morning and I'm extremely pleased with her work! Vanessa and I went to high school together and we have the same circle of friends. She got her college degree in photography and lives in New York now, but she made a special trip to Virginia to take pictures at our party.

I'm so thrilled that she captured all of the details of our day, because as many of you know, a bride loves her details! There's absolutely no way that Aaron or I could have taken such amazing photos. Everyone was busy visiting with each other and as you can see from my previous post, we didn't get many pictures. We put a lot of thought and effort into the planning and set up of the party, and having these shots makes it all worth it.

Almost all of our details were DIY or the work of family and friends. My coworker's mom made the cake and it was delicious (I mean it was de.lic.ious!). If you live in Virginia and are looking for a fabulous and affordable aspiring baker, contact me so I can give you her info! I created the welcome sign and put together the collage of engagement photos. My grandmother helped me decorate the frame with flowers and my mom was the genius behind our game "check mate!"

A very special thanks to Vanessa! Please use us as a reference in the future, because we will highly recommend you! We know you cut us a huge deal and we're extremely thankful. I see a bright future in photography ahead for you! You did an amazing job! Whoever said professional photography is the only way to go, didn't have the talented friends we do!






Did you have a professional photographer for your wedding and wedding-related events?

Have you ever asked a friend to take pictures and been extremely happy with the result?

Friday, June 11, 2010

Our Engagement Party: A Huge Success!

Our highly anticipated engagement party was a huge success!!

The turnout was stunning! More than 40 people came out to celebrate!  EVERYONE was there. Friends, family, and coworkers turned out in numbers. We were so pleased!! The food was delicious too! Our potluck provided more than enough. We had everything from ribs to deviled eggs, it was all southern comfort food of course! My diet was totally shot! 

People really got into it!

It's something about weddings that people must love, because our family was totally into it. We were a bit worried that nobody would want to wear nametags or participate in the group game, but boy, were we wrong! Folks snatched up the name tags like they were goin out of style! Everyone filled them out with excitement, giving themselves descriptive titles like, "future mother in law," and "1st cousin."

Everyone loved my mom's game, "Checkmate!"

Everyone was asked to write down a question to ask Aaron or myself about one another. This was to see if we're ready to get married, which is why the game is called check mate. It's also because Aaron and I love to play chess. If people couldn't think of a question, they were asked to write down a bit of marriage advice. My mom had this little bell and everytime she rang it, Aaron and I would have to pick a number. Whoever had the paper with that number on it had to share thier question or advice.

It was definitely a bit embaressing for Aaron and me, because we had to stand in front of a room full of 40 people, but it was 40 people we love and adore, so we enjoyed it. Everyone really, really had fun sharing thier advice and/or asking us questions! We did a really good job answering questions about each other too!! This was

Aaron's Cousin: "Aaron, if Sara is upset (not at you, but upset), what do you say to make her feel better?"

This was the million dollar question! If we could take back all the questions that night and have just one, it'd be this one, because everyone loved it! Aaron's answer hit the nail on the head and everyone from family to coworkers knew it!

To make me feel better Aaron tells me to "piss on it," which is one of my granny's favorite sangs! Bahahahaha! A bit crude for a grandmother, but if you knew mine you'd understand! She's a firecracker and trust me, she hardly ever gets bashful, but when Aaron said this, her face turned totally red and whole room went up in laughs!

The best part was the speeches...

We weren't really expecting it, but a lot of our friends and family stood up to give us a toast. Aaron's dad, his godmother, my mom, my dad, and Aaron's sister all said something to cheers to our engagement. Aaron's sister totally made me cry. We've been friends for a really long time and she said she always knew I was perfect for her brother! It was a special moment (one that I'll never forget and treasure)! *tear*

We asked a friend to take pictures at the party (of all the details so I could share with you readers!!), but we haven't gotten them yet. Here are some pictures Aaron's dad took of our fabulous friends and family:

My dad, stepmom, and little sister:

Aaron's godparents:

My little sister aka the junior bridesmaid:

Two of my aunts:

My coworker and the delicious cake her mom made:

Mr. B and my granny:

The MOH and me (and Mr. B's mom):

Did you have an engagement party? 


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