Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Livin' up to Mah Namesake: Brooch Bouquets

So I'm Miss Brooch, right and what's a new wedding trend?

Brooch bouquets!

Did you think I was going to let you down and not live up to mah namesake? No way! This is something I must undertake, it's only right. I have to be honest though, and say I'm not totally crazy about the all-brooch bouquets, but I do like the idea of having a few brooches in the bouquets. Especially because I collect butterfly brooches and have waiting my whole life to find a good use for them.

The butterfly brooches (and maybe some other random vintage brooches) will hopefully compliment our garden chic theme, and maybe this little idea provides some beautiful bouquet photos.

Here's a few favorites from my inspiration file:

How do you feel about brooch bouquets?

Did you add brooches to your bouquets?

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

New Takes on Tradition

We really want our wedding to be a unique and fun experience for our guests, and some of the age-old traditions, like the garter and bouquet toss don't really excite Mr. B and me. We want to do something a little different during our reception, like Mrs. Hot Wings' deal or no deal game.

We are still very much in the discussion stage of this and haven't ruled out (or made any final decisions) on our ideas, but we have tossed around quite a few ideas, which I would love to run past you gals for your opinion!

The Anniversary Dance:

First, I have to admit, this idea wasn't mine. I heard about it from my genius co-bride (my coworkers whose also engaged). We have very different styles, but every now and then one of us comes up with an idea the other has got to snag. (Confession: She does most of the brainstorming, I do most of the snagging!)

The Anniversary Dance is when all the married couples join the new bride and groom in a dance, and the MC eliminates couples based on the length of time they've been married. Eventually the couple married the longest is left dancing alongside the new couple and the reward (besides our total admiration) is the bride's bouquet! You can read more about this idea here at the Knot.

The Newlywed Game:

We're also thinking about trying The Newlywed Game. We did something similiar at our engagement party where guests asked us questions about each other. In this verison, the MC will ask us certain questions and we will raise a flag (pink for the bride and blue for the groom) to answer. I got the idea from here from Thao and Robert's blog.

It really looks like a lot of fun and I think our guests will be entertained!

Check out other new takes on tradition here on Weddingbee.

Are you keeping with the bouquet and garter toss tradition?

If not please share your wedding day games and/or activities.

Monday, September 27, 2010

Our Save the Dates: Are Finally Done!

Whew! That project was a lot more work than I anticipated, but so much fun! I still can't believe we did it. We made our own Save the Dates! Yay! Fabulous ones, too! Big, lovely magnets with our awesome engagement photos on them. Double score! Now, since I made you wait so long to see the final product, I thought I'd let my adorable pup, Rocko share the first look. Isn't he cute?

I'm so happy with the way that the envelopes turned out. Especially the labels.

It's what's inside that counts, though.

We chose three different designs for the magnets.

The first is my favorite:

Notice that we rounded the corners, like Mrs. Sunrise!

Here you can see the piles.

I'm so glad we're not having a big wedding (well, not too big).

I can't imagine making 200 of these puppies!

All ready to go! We just have to stamp 'em!

Tell me about your save the dates.

Did you make magnets? How did you package them?

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Our Save the Dates: The Legwork

Beware: This is a picture-heavy post... 

Before revealing our Save the Dates, I thought would share the how-to story. That way you have to suffer with me through the process, just as I did (muahaha!). Remember, I explained the roadblocks and hiccups we experienced trying to put them together? Well, they did, eventually, come together, one step at a time!

Step One: Making the Envelope Pretty:

Heating Tool

Lightly stamp the top left corner of each envelope:

Cover the stamped area with embossing powder:

Dump the excess embossing powder from the envelope:

Note: I flicked the paper a few times to get rid of the excess powder and quickly learned that is not the best method. It causes some of the powder to fall off of the stamp part, which is actually where you want the embossing powder to stay! A much better idea is to blow on the paper, which clears the extra powder, but allows the bulk of it to stick to the stamp.

Heat the portion of the envelope with the stamp + embossing powder with the heater and voila:

Step Two: Dressing the Magnet:

Ribbon (we chose green to match our envelopes)
Computer + Ink 

I knew I wanted to include a small note in with our save the dates. It wasn't enough for me to just throw the magnet in an envelope. So using the ribbon below, we tied a bow to hold our note.

I typed "Please Visit OurWebsite" in two columns in a document on the computer and printed it on cardstock. I cut up the pieces using a cutting board and rounded the corners:

Using a hole puncher, I put a whole in each note so that we could attach it to the ribbon. Here are a few pictures of Mama Brooch assembling the ribbon and labels:

Step Three: Addressing the Envelopes:

Cutting board
Sticker Machine

This was the last piece of the puzzle. I just had to figure out how to address the envelopes and we were done! At first, I was going to use the label below found via The Knotty Bride, but the polka dots weren't quite what I had in mind. Problem is this was the ONLY pink address label (free printable label, that is) I could find online:

It took me about a day to figure out something better. Something told me to try to make the label myself on the computer... We've all had those moments, huh? So I hopped on Microsoft Word and started playing around, adding text boxes, and borders.

Low and behold, my own little perfect labels:

I ran each label through the sticker machine, because it's only 2.5 inches wide (And guess what? I broke one trying to refill it! It was definitely not pretty! Woosah!). Eventually, I bought full sheet labels. It was a lot faster and more cost effective than the sticker machine. 

Then, finally, after all the pieces where in the envelope, I sealed it with the label: 

How did you create your Save the Dates? 

Stay Tuned, Up Next: The Reveal

*Sorry for the picture quality. Our website and wedding date, names, everything was on everything! I had to do some major blurring, hopefully you don't mind.

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Our Save the Dates: A Sneek Peak

It took me forever to figure out what I wanted to do for our save the dates. Starting was difficult. When I thought I decided, I would change my mind , and then change my mind again. I would start a project or get a really good idea, get discouraged, and be back at square one.

Know what saved me? Weddingbee. Mrs. Sunrise, in particular shared her fabulous DIY save the date magnets and envelopes, and I was inspired! I literally ran home to re-start ours and get them done. Once and for all.

It didn't go as smoothly as I would have hoped. I hit quite a few roadblocks. The first being finding a program that would allow me to add text to our pictures. Again, know what saved me? Yup, Weddingbee. I started a thread on the boards - literally desperate - asking for advice on design programs (that didn't involve knowing adobe programs like photoshop or having a mac). Someone told me about picnik and I am forever indebted! Wow! What an awesome website! I can't say enough good things about it. It was exactly what I needed. My saving grace.

Once I got our picture squared away, it was time to submit it for the magnet. I ordered about 25 just to test them and guess what? They were hideous. Seriously, we looked like martians. We were orange. I guess I got a little too carried away on picnik and enhanced the colors too much. I also added a border (which the Overnight Prints strongly recommends you do not do), and geez, I thought, "Can we please catch a break!" It felt like we were never going to get them done.

Mr. B encouraged me to contact Overnight Prints and ask for a refund. They did even better by offering to reprint them, walk me through the process, approve my image, and guarantee good quality.When they arrived, everyone fell in love. We were so happy too, because we finally had pretty save the dates. We finally had something to work with. Finally, something went our way. So we ordered a bunch more. 

Think the struggles ended there? Think again.

There was the packaging to consider. If I thought getting started and designing the save the date was tough, I didn't know what was coming! Figuring out how to decorate the save the date (just putting the magnet in the envelope was out of the question) and embellishing the envelope (heck, picking out the envelopes), was like opening up a whole 'nother can of worms.

To make a long story short, after three trips to Paper Source, two trips to AC Moore, and some serious fiddling with Microsoft Word (to create the labels), I finally had it all figured out. You can just image my excitement when it came time to assemble!!

This was what my workspace looked like (actually, it was a lot messier, but you get the idea):

Note all of the supplies. Who knew making your own save the dates would entail so much? I had a cutting board, sticker maker, corner rounder (or whatever you call that thing), ribbon, save the date stamp and ink pad, scissors, and um, oh yeah, the embossing heater, which is not pictured here (links to all of these things will be in my next post).

Also, note the coffee. I tend to drink a lot of coffee when I'm slaving away on big projects. I was cutting, then sipping, stamping, then sipping, embossing, then sipping, rounding corners, tying bows, and you guessed it, sipping.

The coffee was working, too. See how much progress I made. Definitely on a roll:

I don't want to spoil the surprise, but here's a little sneak peek of the actual save the date:

I couldn't be happier with the final result and seriously - I never thought I'd be able to say that. This was definitely a labor of love and my advice to other brides out there is to start early! I'm doing these just a week before they need to be sent out, which was not a good idea. We're way too close to the deadline and that's stressful. I've learned my lesson. I know the invitations are going to be way worse, too, so that means I need to start, um, yeah, pretty much yesterday.

A bride's work is never done!

Did you hit any roadblocks in the process of creating your save the dates? What saved you?

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Figuring Out Who Pays For What

Like many of you, I was ready to start planning my wedding before I even got engaged... And when I got engaged, I was doubly ready for the job! I started off on the most commonly known websites like The Knot and reading magazines like Brides and Get Married, and started thinking about everything from table linens to playlists.

The first few weeks, I took The Knot's checklist so seriously to the point, I printed it out and checked it pretty much everyday. Hmm, what can I click "done" for now!! And one of the bullets that remained on the checklist for a long (very long) time was Budget: Figure Out Who Pays For What.

I know this is kind of a touchy subject and like Mrs. Sloth mentioned, it's not polite to talk about money necessarily, but this was a big deal and has remained a big deal for Mr. B and I since day one. We didn't have any idea 1. how we were going to pay for our wedding and 2. who would help us make it happen.

We both sort of assumed our parents would chip in, but we didn't know to what extent. And neither of us, especially me, were prepared to ask the right questions to get answers. Deep down, I really, really, I mean, really hoped my dad would be one of those dads that said, "Money's no object. Just get what you want and foot me the bill," but apart of me knew it wouldn't go down like that.

For awhile, I sat on the "Budget" issue and prayed he would come to me. I really wanted our experience to play out like the scenes in Father of the Bride, when the mom and daughter hired a planner, and the whole family took part in the planning. That's not quite how it happened, though.

It took my parents awhile to warm up to the idea of me getting married anyway, and when I say awhile, I mean months. We talked about the date of the wedding for a long time before we even got to the budget part. This made planning really difficult too, not knowing a date and how much we had to spend, but I stuck it out and vented to the hive, and yes, I lived, even on days when I wasn't sure I would (live without a wedding date and budget, that is).

Finally, a few weeks (I think it was) after we finally settled on a date, I got up the courage to ask my dad the big question: Are you going to help? How much can you contribute?


I'm puking (not literally), praying, and on the verge of tears, anxious and scared. Feeling everything. This was the moment of truth.

My dad: "We're definitely going to help. We're planning too."


Fast forward a few weeks and I'm ranting to everyone from coworkers to friends about how I can't plan a wedding without a budget - hello! So, I really didn't have much of choice. I had to ask the question again: "Dad, we're getting to a point where we need to know much we have overall. Do you have any ideas how much you can contribute."

My dad: "Well, I'm not really sure. We'll look into it."

Ugh! Seriously.

It was a really trying time to be honest. It was kind of dark time, too. I cried a lot. Especially when we watched shows like Platinum Weddings. "Bu-bu-but why can't we have a wedding like that?"

I also grew kind of resentful since I'd always kind of assumed my dad would pay the bulk. Him and my stepmom had a very large and traditional wedding just a little over 10 years ago, and that made me wonder what the heck was going through their minds.

I'm sharing this in hopes that someone out there, anyone, has experienced something similiar. I want to tell you that my dad finally did give us a number, although vaguely. We decided to chose one aspect of our wedding that would cost approximately the amount he was willing to give, and let him own that.

I know I might sound like a spoiled brat to some of you that aren't getting any support from your parents, and I hope you don't think I'm judging your situation. I just wanted to share about some of the more challenging aspects of the planning, especially in the early stages when us brides are so excited, and yet so fragile.

How did you handle figuring out who pays for what?

Shoes That Make My Heart Flutter

I used to wear heels all the time. When I was in high school, I always tried to dress nice. Even though it didn't always come together perfectly, I tried. Luckily, my friends were some of the school's fiercest fashionistas and they always encouraged me to dress well.

 We all loved buying shoes. And I've alwasy been a sticklet for the highest heels.

My legs are my best feature and everyone knows a high heel accentuates the legs. As a matter of fact,  the weekend I met Mr. B, I wore nothing but platforms.

A few years ago, my perfect wedding shoes would have looked something like this:

or this:

Nowadays, my style is much different. While I still love getting in a pretty pair of heels for an evening on the town or out with my hubs, my everday wear is definitely flat. I work in an office, so I don't have to do a lot of walking around, but I walk to a bus every morning and I need to be comfortable.

The same goes for our wedding day. I don't want stingy feet or ouchy blisters!

But there's another reason I won't be making a cameo in heels on our wedding day and it has to do with Mr. B: we're the same height. No, I'm lying. He's probably an inch or two shorter than me. Our pictures (and everything) would like really weird if I was towering over him.

So more than likely, I'll be in a pair of lovely flats like these:

Or some pretty open-toesy ones like these:

Or more than likely, my absolute favorites, these:

What type of shoe are you wearing?

Is your man shorter than you? Will you wear heels or flats?

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Looming Projects and Decisions

One of the awesome things about being a bride blogger is connecting with other brides. I've seen more wedding inspiration than I knew existed. There's a lot out there! And it's not just brides coming up with exciting ideas either, the wedding industry has jumped onboard too, with places like The Knot and Brides magazine joining the ranks and providing innovative ways to personalize a girl's big day.

One of the not-so awesome things about this wave of inspiration: overkill. Some girls might not have a problem with this, because maybe they know what they want, or know when to stop looking, but for a big time procrastinatior and personwholikestoobsess-or, like myself, all of the inspiration can be overwhelming.

Let me re-phrase: all of the inspiation can be parallelizing.

Over the last year or so that I've know about wedding blogs and read them, I've accumulated quite the list of projects I want to do. Little and big stuff. Everything from sewing the ring bearer pillow to creating bathroom baskets. Not to mention, the save the dates, invitations, programs, blah, blah, blah, the list goes on. It's madness, really. And instead of checking things off the list, I'm adding to it.

Do you do this too?

I might be able to deal with the overwhelming amount of inspiration and long list of projects I want to do, if there wasn't an equally long list of things I have to do. Namely, choose a wedding gown, find a DJ, hire a florist... Need I say more?

Am I the only one behind on this stuff?

Mama brooch told me when I get overwhelmed with my To do List, I need to make a "Did It" list. Yes, just to make myself feel better (aren't moms great?). No seriously, it helps. It puts things in persepective,for me, at least.

Even though a lot of the little stuff aforementioned stuff hasn't been done, some really big stuff has been.

We picked the date

Found our venue

Chose a caterer &

Hired a planner. More on the latter two later. That's big! Right? We've also been feverishly stacking our dough so that when it comes time to do all the litte stuff, we've got the money to pay for it to happen.

I'm such a to do List freak though. A "Did It" list hardly satisfies my craving to do something... With that being said, I'm going to try my darnest to get some wedding-related tasks done and report back with even just a few less looming projects and decisions.

Are there any other brides that feel overwhelmed by their to do list?

Any advice on how to get some of this stuff done?


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