Sunday, August 29, 2010

Picking a Wedding Date

Picking a Date:

Mr. Brooch and I only planned to have a one-year engagement. He proposed in October of 2009, and thought we'd get married the following October. The problem was that right away, we were faced with a laundry list of tasks to execute to make our dream wedding come to life, and that meant we had a lot of decisions to make and a lot of money to spend.

We also had a lot of people to please. Our parents in particular, because we are their first children in our families to get married. Well, my parents in particlar. My dad and my stepmom in particular were both very – how shall I say – hesitant to sign up for a year engagement. They kept asking, “What’s the rush?”

It was really important to me to have my parents onboard full out. I didn’t want there to be any hesitation from anyone on my wedding day. It was a really tough thing though because Mr. Brooch and I wanted to be the ones to chose our wedding day (duh!) and do what's best for us (he’s not a people pleaser like me), but in the end, I think it was more important for us to submit to our parents and give it a few more months.

I’m not going lie and say I’ve never felt sad thinking about how far off our wedding day was (like last spring, for instance it was a total downer having been engaged 6 months and know there’s another 12 months to go), but it’s par for the course. I think it's a testiment to the nature of the beast of weddings, isn't it? We have to take into account other people and especially our families-whether that be by honoring traditions or submitting to their suggestions and wishes.

Would have been easy for me to get upset that I wasn't getting my way? Definitely. But there's a silver lining. A few as a matter of fact and today, we're really actually glad we went with their advice because we've had more more time to save and plan.

I also have no doubt that when our wedding day finally does roll around, we’re going to have that feeling like, “Wow! It’s finally here!” That's going to be a wonderful thing!

It’s also kind of cool that our engagement was in the fall and our wedding will be in the spring! Every year when it starts to get cooler, we’ll be thinking back on the day Mr. Brooch proposed, and when it starts to get warmer, we’ll be thinking back on our wedding! Yay for celebrations of our relationship all year long!

Did I mention how much I love spring/garden details?

Check out some of this awesome spring inspiration:

Here's are some cool bits of advice from The Knot has on "Engagement To-Dos: Picking the Perfect Date"

-considering marrying on the day your grandparents did (go with sentimental if you can)

-consider your wedding personality (for flip-flops pick summer and for cider pick fall)

Here's what Elizabeth Anne Designs Wedvice says on "Day by Day Picking your Date"

-be flexible and don't pick a date unless you have to

-give yourself a big window, such as 2 to 3 months

-consider the discounts that apply to weekday or Sunday weddings

OH, I love this bit of advice

-Remember the one cardinal rule of wedding planning: you will never please everyone.

Project Wedding says "Don't get married on these days"

-9/11 and April Fool's Day

-During big sporting events ... hmm! Hadn't thought of that!

How did you pick your wedding date?

How long is your engagement?

Saturday, August 28, 2010

I Cried When We Found Our Venue (Tears of Joy!)

Picking a Venue:

I was absolutely overwhelmed by the wide variety of reception venues there are to choose from in the DC, Virginia, and Maryland (often referred to as DMV) area. What kind of wedding did we want?

Quaint? Like the Hendry House?

Grand? National Museum of Woman in the Arts?

Modern? Torpedo Factory Art Center?

I just didn’t know!

With so many choices, I thought I’d never be able to decide, but I found visiting the venues really helpful. It’s one thing to look at places online and it’s a whole different to see it in person. By going to a venue, we were able to find out the details (like cost and space), which sometimes completely eliminated a choice from our list because of our budget and size.

Ironically, we did not find out venue looking at venues!

We found it attending a bridal show! After checking out various venues one Saturday, we headed to our first ever bridal show. I was so excited, because I had never been to know and was dying to see what they were all about!

When we pulled into the parking lot of Oxon Hill Manor, I told Mr. Brooch, "By the way, this place is a venue. People have weddings here!" I spoke those words with no sort of motive or inkling that we were going to fall in love with the place...

Not two steps out of the car, Mr. Brooch turns to me and says, "This is my dream house!" We walked into the foyer and even though there was a lot going on (dozens of vendors, lots of people, and music playing) we stood in awe. We couldn't believe our eyes! This place is gorgeous!!

We weren't there 10 minutes before we turned to each other and confessed how impressed we were. Big wide open doors in the dining room beckoned us outside and that's when were really swept off our feet! We were stunned by the gigantic patio with gardens all around, trees in the distance surrounding the property, and a view of the Potomac river! We didn't need to say much to each other because we know the other's sentiment - this is it!

We put our excitement to the side and continued walking around to talk to different vendors. We fell in love with a crab dip from Putting on the Ritz Catering and really enjoyed talking to their rep. I was having a ball, tasting cakes and talking to various florists.

Eventually, I picked up a packet for the house and we braced ourselves...

We thought for sure this place was going to cost more than we could afford! To our surprise (and giggling excitement), it was a lot cheaper than many of the other venues we've seen and researched! It was comparable, for sure, which was a huge relief. So many places we researched were automatically ruled out because of the cost, this a good sign!

I told Mr. Brooch, "I have to see the bridal suite," which was advertised in the brochure. We inquired about it, and were pointed down the hallway to a windy staircase (with a beautiful rod iron handle) and I tell you no lie--I cried when I got to the top of those steps!

It sounds cliché, but I became so overwhelmed with joy and excitement that tears literally streamed down my face! I loved the elegance of the room. It wasn't too big, but wasn't too small. There is a couch, two chairs, a long mirror, nice bathroom, and best of all, a window view to the patio! Everything I'd wanted. I started crying even harder and sobbing to Mr. Brooch when I realized they had tissues on the coffee table.

"They even have tissues!!!" I said.

It was a moment I'll never forget. One of those moments you read about, but don't quite grasp. It felt real. This wedding thing, this getting married thing, just felt very real and very exciting all at one time. It was beautiful! It was magical! I can't wait until the day I step back into that room!

Check out these pictures of the venue (there's lots more on the way!):

One last thing!

For me no venue considerations are complete without a look at a few real weddings! Through a quick online search, I discovered a ton of gorgeous and diverse weddings that took place at Oxon Hill. Have you searched for pictures of real weddings at your venue? I highly recommend it!

Man, I have to take a deep breath looking through these pictures because I get so excited!! Especially this last photo! That's the moment every girl waits for!

How did you decide on your venue?

Did you find it by accident?

Thursday, August 26, 2010

A Storybook Proposal

Mr. Brooch's proposal was something straight out of a storybook...

(Please pardon the length of this post, I just didn't want to leave out any of the juicy details!)

He took me out of state to pop the big question, but not to just any state. A place where my father and my grandmother grew up. A place I hold dear to my heart... Tennessee. I visited a lot when I was young to see family and (more often) to go to University of Tennessee football games.

Mr. Brooch, on the other hand, went to Tennessee for a different reason. His family has been attending the International Storytelling Festival in historic Jonesborough every year since 1991. As a part of their family tradition, they stayed in the Hawley Bed & Breakfast, which just so happens to be Tennessee's oldest building in Tennessee's oldest town.

Lodging at the Hawley B&B is kind of a big deal because not just anyone can stay there. It's located at the top of a hill, literally overlooking historic Jonesborough. The town is hardly big enough to sleep the thousands that flock there for the festival, so staying at the Hawley House is a privelage.

The owner, Marcy, is the most adorable woman I think I've ever met, and her B&B is the most cozy and inviting one I've ever been to. It has all the fixings of a great Southern escape, with a wraparound porch, antique furniture, and believe it or not, there's even a train track right out front!

When I got there, I was really impressed! Mr. Brooch hit the nail on the head. This place was every bit of everything I love, and just when I thought I had seen it all, he escorted me to the "Butterfly Cottage."

A Place With My Name Written All Over It

Let me pause there and just say that I'm a butterfly freak. I know there's a lot of girls running around with a claim to love butterflies and a tattoo to prove it (something I do not have), but I truly do heart the deliciate creatures. Anyone who knows me, knows this so staying in the Butterfly Cottage was heaven!!!

The one bedroom was the most quaint house I'd ever been in!! It had a cute kitchen, beautiful mismatched furniture, butterfly touches everywhere, and a bed that made you want to dive right in!

Spoiling the Surprise, Almost!

Our first night there, Mr. Brooch and I spent a few hours lounging on the front porch of the main house. It was really nice, and I wanted him to open a card I bought for him a few days before. I offered to go get it from the cottage in his bag, but he asserted, "No, you can't go up there!" I could tell he was hiding something and I have to admit, I got really curious. At that point, I insisted.

Reluctantly, Mr. Brooch let me go, but I know he was praying to God that I didn't snoop. The thing is, I didn't have to. As soon as I pulled out his bag and unzipped the side pocket, I saw it - the ring box!!

Ahhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh! I could not believe my eyes!!!!

I didn't know what to do! I wanted to call my mom or call my best friend (someone!), but I had no time. I had to get back to Mr. Brooch and wipe the smile (and shock) off my face fast! So I grabbed the card and headed back to him. (In case you're wondering, I did not look inside the box!)

The rest of the evening, I was an emotional mess. I kept starring at Mr. Brooch with teary eyes and he didn't know what was wrong! I didn't want to let the cat out of the bag, so I just played the must-be-that-time-of-month card. I kept telling him, "I'm so happy. This is all so nice. I love it here."

The Signs Kept Coming, But I Didn't See Them

The first words out of Mr. Brooch's mouth the next morning were, "October third two thousand and ten!" He said it with such excitement and pride, and I was thinking, what's the big deal? After his shower, he ironed a nice button-down shirt and he shaved. He kept asking if he looked alright and I was like, "It's 7am on a Saturday morning. Are you kidding?"

He really tried to persuade me to dress up too. He said, "This breakfast is kind of a big deal you might want to put something nice on." I had one nice outfit for the weekend and I was saving it for church that Sunday. I told him I wanted to be comfortable. (dumb! dumb! dumb me!)

Breakfast was in the main house and it was sooooo good. We had my favorite, which is eggs benedict, and fruit, and oversized muffins. I was trying to remain pretty inconspicious because I wanted to make a good impression. I figured if I was quiet the owner and the other guests would like me, and I could come back next year.

After Breakfast, Everyone Told A Story:  Mr. Brooch's Was About A Surprise

Everyone's a storyteller in Jonesborough, so there were a lot of great tales and good laughs going around the table! Then, out of nowhere, Mr. Brooch said, "I have a story to tell." I had no idea what he was about to say, but I got really nervous. Why was he drawing attention to us? Ugh!

He turned to me and said, "On Monday, when you thought I left your house and went home, I went to your father's house." That was it ladies and gentlemen!!! That was the missing piece! All the signs had been there, but I knew he wasn't going to ask without my father's consent, and there you had it. He talked to my dad :)

Mr. Brooch Got Down On One Knee

Nervous as he could be, Mr. Brooch scooted his chair back and got down on one knee. I could see his mother and sister because they were sitting behind him, and I'll never forget the look on their faces. Their eyes were filled with tears and it was sheer excitement, shock, love, hope, nervousness, all rolled into one.

He started to sing... "There will never come a day. When you'll ever hear me say. That I want or need to be without youuuuuu... "


I grabbed my heart and fell forward. I couldn't believe it! I couldn't hold the tears back. I couldn't think. I could just feel my heart racing a mile a minute. The ring was so gorgeous! I leaned over and gave him the biggest hug!

I wish I remembered exactly what he said, but I don't. What I do remember is the look in his eyes, and it was the look of a determined and honest man! There was no question in my mind the answer was yes, but apparently, I was speechless (probably for the first and last time in my entire life)!

While I was hugging him, he said, "You didn't say anything! Is that a yes??"

"Yes," I said!

Everyone at the table was in tears! They were so overjoyed for us! Mr. Brooch's father was hilarious too! He jumped up afterward and said, "I need to get my camera!" He ran upstairs and then right back downstairs, "I can't find my camera!"

Luckily, Mr. Brooch's sister had hers handy. She snapped a few pictures and we spent the rest of the morning talking about how Mr. Brooch planned the elaborate surprise.

He told us that it had been his intention to propose on stage (in front of hundreds of people!!!) under one of the storytelling tents. He said as nervous as he was singing, he's was glad that didn't work out! 

I called everyone in my phonebook that morning and posted a picture of the ring on facebook. One of my cousins in Tennessee made the cutest remark. She said, "Bet you never thought it'd happen in Tennessee!" I could just hear her Southern draw!

For the rest of the day, I humed the song he sang and starred at my ring finger. It was magical :)

How did your fiance propose?

*all pictures not credited were taken be me or my FSIL*

Mr. Brooch is My Best Friend's Brother

Hello again...

Still very excited to be here! Weeeeeee!

I thought we'd start off talking about how Mr. Brooch and I met and um yes, me confessing that he's my best friend's brother! It's kind of a funny story how it all happened, because if it wasn't for his sister (or for my brother) we wouldn't have met!

Mr. Brooch's sister and I were really good friends in college. My sophomore year, my roommate (now my MOH) and I took a trip Panama City Beach, FL and one of our other college buddies brought his sis (now my FSIL) pre-FSIL. Immediately, the three of us clicked and when we got back to school, we hung out all the time, and became the very best of friends!

This was before Mr. Brooch was in the picture.

Are you following?

This is us (FSIL on the left, MOH in the middle, and me) when we first met:

Not long after our trip, Mr. Brooch moved to town. He didn't have any friends, because he was new to the college and so naturally, he met his sister's friends (that included me). We kind of just saw each other here and there, but I remember at one point, we ran into each on campus and talked for awhile. We exchanged numbers, but nothing really happened.

Mr. Brooch always jokes that I never gave him the time of day at first, but that's not true! I was just in my old world and I didn't really know him! Once I got to know him, I was infatuated!

A few months after our encounter on campus, he heard from his sis I was going to a cafe on campus for Bible study and he called asking if he could join me. "Sure! Why not?" We actually lived really close to each other, so he walked to my house, and together we walked to campus.

This is when I really got to see his sweet side!! He bought me a coffee when we got there and at one point during the evening when I got a little choked up, he put his hand on my leg! During our walk home, he even picked a flower for me (so cute, right?), but we went our seperate ways, and a few more weeks passed.

This time my brother came to town and we were planning a road trip to the beach for 4th of July weekend. He was going for a job opportunity and I didn't have plans so I signed on. Would you believe Mr. Brooch called just minutes before we walked out the door! Our conversation went something like this:

Mr. Brooch: What cha doing?

Me: About to go to the beach with my brother.

Mr. Brooch: Oh maybe I'll go! I've got family down there!

I thought, he's really inviting himself? Geez!! Meanwhile, my brother is in the background waving his hands in the air, "Let 'em come! I'm tried of people thinking we're dating!" Haha! A few minutes later we picked up Mr. Brooch and headed down the highway.

Right away, I liked how Mr. Brooch got along with my brother. They really hit it off and a few hours later, Mr. Brooch and I started to hit it off too. When we got to our destination, we had to drop my brother off to have dinner with the prospective employer and during our hour alone, we talked A LOT. Well, at least I did. He was so inquisitive. He wanted to know everything about me.

Yeah, yeah, I know. He was laying it on thick!

The rest of the weekend, we had a ball. My brother's employer actually let the three of us crash on his yacht (I'm not kidding! It was the coolest thing, ever!) and we spent our days at the beach. I'd read and my brother and Mr. Brooch would ride the waves. We spent the evenings eating out and going to local clubs.

Finally, on the 4th of July, I realized there were sparks flying between Mr. Brooch and I. Something had happened, something was different, and I started to really like him! It was really sweet too because we ended up flirting the whole way home. Sweet and awkward! Hello!! My brother was there! 

Anywho, when we got back, we didn't want to part ways. Like ever. We started hanging out during the week. We went out to eat and we watched movies together. He was like my new best friend and yeah, obviously he still is!

Here's some pictures of us from the early days...

This is us now...

How did you and your fiance meet?

Monday, August 23, 2010

Bee-lieve it! Dreams Really Do Come True!

I'm a bee! I'm a bee!

I can't believe they picked me!!

Wow! I am still in awe that I'm here... as Miss. Brooch! I've pined over this. I've longed for this. I've literally dreamed of this! For over a year, I've tried to explain to everyone I know, non-bloggers and wedding un-enthusiasts included, the importance of a website called Weddingbee. The importance of me blogging for Weddingbee. "I was meant to do this," I told Mr. Brooch. He's the only person who really understands how much it means.

Well, there's also this co-worker. She gets it because she's engaged and together, we've stalked the likes of Mrs. Sunrise and Mrs. Cherry Blossom. When I told her I was becoming a bee, her reaction was priceless. It went something like this:



[Jumping up and down]!



Mind you, this is all happening while we're sitting in our quiet office, inside my tiny cube, around a lot of people who have no idea what Weddingbee is. One of my other co-workers heard our excitement asked, "Do you get paid for this?" Without the slightest hesitation, my co-bride said, "No, but it's an HONOR!" I couldn't have said it better myself. It's an honor to be here and I'm elated!

Thank you for having us!

Me & Mr. Brooch

The anticipation of our wedding day has been building for quite sometime. Aaron proposed almost a year ago last October (I can't wait to tell you that story!), and we've had what we consider a long engagement.

Despite the time we've had to plan, we're actually only about a quarter of the way there. We've set a date, booked the venue, hired a planner, and we're working on choosing a caterer. As many of you know, that's just the basics. We haven't even tipped the iceberg yet!

So I bet you're wondering why I chose to be a part of the Accessories Series (and not the new cool Safari Animal Series). Who would want to be called Miss. Brooch (a name that rhymes with roach)? I'll admit. It sounds pretty old ladyish. The brooch is kind of an old school accessory and you don't see many twenty-somethings sporting brooches anymore.

Believe it or not, I have a collection of brooches! How random, right? What 25-year-old has a collection of brooches? I think I'm the only one! I collect pretty butterfly brooches like this one:

I also love (have more like an obsession with) the color green and when I saw the brooch icon was my favorite color, I couldn't resist.

Are there any other brooch babes in the house?

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

DIY Bridesmaid Dresses

I Find Wedding Inspiration Everywhere

You know how when you're engaged you see something in the store or online that totally encompasses everything you want your wedding to be? Your dress to be? Your flowers to look like? Favors? Cake? Your inner bride starts doing backflips and you think, "Eureka! This is it!"

Yeah that happens to me almost everyday. I can literally be walking through the grocery store and think, "Ou! Cherries! Those would be awesome favors!" Or walking through the flea market, see hankerchiefs, and think, "Should I buy these? Oh my gosh! We could use those!"  

I've Always Got Our Wedding On The Brain

I wish I had the kind of money to buy everything I see that I love and think we could use for our wedding, but I just don't have that kind of dough. So what do I do? I take a picture.

I don't know what I would do if I couldn't take pictures with my phone! 

Take this cute dress for instance. I saw it at Forever 21 while I was shopping for an outfit for myself this weekend. I thought "This would be such a cute bridesmaid dress!" Then of course I realize that my girls might not agree. I realize I'm at Forever 21, the dress is pretty short, and the sizes run really small. I still wanted a picture though.

Then I got to thinking, I wish I was brave enough to let my BMs pick whatever dress they wanted and do the whole mismatched thing. I really, really like that look. I've had my heart set on it for awhile, but then I started to get a little gun shy.
Be A Brave Bride

It's not because I think my BMs won't pick nice dresses. All of my friends (seriously) have emaculate taste and a sense of style I envy. It's just that I'm afraid it will look weird. Too new age for our families. Too out-of-the box. I need to get over what other people think though, right? I need to be a brave bride need to do what I want. Cause at the end of the day, there's no denying how much I love this style.

How cool is this wedding party? I love it. I absolutely love it.

so terribly sorry, but I lost the source 

Taking the Easy (or Not) Way Out

The next best thing to mismatched dresses would be the same dress in different styles. It's a trend that's been gaining popularity over the last year and designers like Two Birds are exploding on the market. It's what I like to call the Easy Way Out. Brides are able to indulge in the urge to have mismatched, fashionable maid and BMs pick how they'll wear their dress. It's the perfect middle ground, right? Wrong.

Problem with Two Birds is that the dresses are really expensive, at least for my group. While I can tell my friends that the dress converts into 11 different styles and they're getting it all for the price of one gown, it still doesn't seem right. So. Back to the basics? Not quite. 

Thank God for Bride Bloggers

The clouds parted and the sun came up when I stumbled across these images this week. Obviously the color, being olive caught my attention:

Thinking Two Birds, right? I thought the same thing. Those cool convertible dresses in green! Yippee!


Try DIY.



Convertible Dresses?

This Brides Got Balls 

Don't ask me how I stumble across such an amazingly talented bride blog. These things, I swear are divinely driven. Lisa Welge, is a Sacramento Wedding Photographer and obviously a DIY extrodinare. While searching Google for images of convertible dresses, I came across the above photos and her post right here. Once I stopped hyperventilating, I realized the post was from back in 2009.

Wait whaaaa? That must means there are pictures of her maids in these dresses on her wedding day!! Ding ding ding ding ding!!! I quickly (almost frantically) searched her website. Show me the dresses on her friends, I thought! Please, God!

Ah!! Yet another Eureka moment for the record!

Absolutely stunning and with such special, personalized touches no doubt.

This Might Be The Solution To My Problem

Or I might be one ambitious sewer! The thing is, I have a sewing machine. I'm actually learning to sew. I got it for my birthday last year and I've wanted so bad to use it to create something (anything!) for our wedding. I know this is a big undertaking, but could this be a sign? How cool would it be to be able to make my BM dresses? My friends wouldn't have to spend a dime (Lisa said it cost less than $60 to make each dress) and I get to be a brave bride!

I started to think such a thing was totally preposterous, but then I saw a trail of breadcrumbs.

The source of all the DIY goodness.

The How-To (If You Dare)

Presenting the Infinity Dress and full tutorial right here from Rostitchery...


Isn't she cute? Do you think I could make them long dresses? I wonder what material I should use. I'm going to give this project some serious thought and consideration. I need to review the instructions and recruit a more skilled sewer for help. 

Am I taking on too much?

What big DIY project did you do?

Are you thinking of having mismatched BM dresses?


Here's a great post on The Cinderella Project about this topic.


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