Feb 28, 2011

Bridal Party Cards- The Envelopes

I want to DIY parts of my wedding, but am afraid to tackle the big stuff like invites, so I’m making cards to ask my girls to be bridesmaids. This way, I can satisfy my craft craving but still keep the project small and manageable.  (and by “manageable,” I mean it is near impossible to feed thick cardstock through a printer and actually I never want to do this again).

The first thing I worked on was the envelopes, using Mrs. Hamster’s lining tutorial. I pre-printed them with everyone’s addresses, which took a fair amount of trial and error to get set up correctly- it's amazing how something looks one way on a computer screen, yet prints unrecognizably. 

I created a liner template by tracing an envelope onto a piece of cardstock and cutting it out. I'm sure you could buy something like this, but that didn't occur to me. I cut about ½ inch off the perimeter of my template to get the size right- you want it to be smaller than the envelope, so you get the nice border around your liner.

I traced around my template onto a sheet of liner paper, and cut the liners out.

I pre-folded them before spraying with glue and lining up in the envelope. This part was a little tricky, since I used a really light paper prone to crinkling. But eventually, with a little patience I was successful:

 And here are the finished envelopes! Very pretty, if I do say so myself!  I love the hot pink:

Gold on Cream Mums Paper from Paper Source, $4.95 for a 20 x 29 sheet

Feb 21, 2011

The A Team: Our Photographer!

The search is finally over!! We've booked Spark Photography out of Philadelphia, also known as choice 3 on my little pro and con sheet.  Spark is a husband and wife team with lots of photography experience, a great eye for detail, and many years of being a Knot pick.

So clearly, the choice was not an instinctual, one-look-and-I-just-knew type of thing. But I debated over choosing a photographer for a few weeks, and slowly the other ones started to fall away.  Spark had all the best qualities that we were looking for, from my favorite proofs, to the husband and wife team capturing two distinct perspectives, to their willingness to negotiate a great custom package for us. Plus, Kevin was easily the nicest vendor we met- I'm thinking when you get out of the NYC area, the kindness of people surprises you!

It became clear that my only worries about them were sort of illogical, who-knows type of things, and not legitimate cons. So once I realized that, I saw there were no cons about going with Spark. I’m so excited about it now- every time I look at their page I get more and more excited for our pictures! Here’s a few of my faves:

Feb 20, 2011


I’m interrupting the regularly scheduled photography complaints to write about something that might be a little more useful to other people: organizing your wedding planning! There’s so many things to keep track of, but I happen to be an incredibly Type A person who gets a sick thrill from a carefully organized binder, so I have loved this element of planning my wedding. In case you haven't, I'm here to share the strategies that work for me, after the jump.

Feb 14, 2011

Our Proposal Story

My proposal did not really come as a total surprise.  Mr. B had told me it would happen by a certain date, and we had gotten down to the last weekend before that date. Really, it was just a matter of it happening Friday or Saturday. And I was okay with that- I'm too much of a control freak to not have some idea what's going on! 

Tuesday of the proposal week, Mr. B told me our favorite local restaurant was running a special 3 course prix fixe menu. Knowing I was a sucker for such things, he thought we should check it out.  In all honesty, it didn’t occur to me he might propose at dinner. I figured a restaurant proposal was way too obvious, and he probably just wanted to go out.  It's not a fancy place anyway. But just in case, I took extra care getting ready Friday night- one thing I had always told him was that however he proposes, the cover story better convince me to dress up! In fact, I had picked out 3 different outfits to wear each night of the weekend, so that no matter when he did it, I'd be looking good in all the pictures we'd take!

I was getting ready when he came over to pick me up (in fact, I was wearing the hot look of black tights with a cardigan- who needs pants?). He seemed a little antsy, but I figured watching me meticulously apply mascara wasn't anyone's idea of a good time. When I was finally ready, I walked into my bedroom, where he was sitting on the computer.

"I printed out the menu for you" he said.

"Oh good! I kept meaning to look it up." Side note: I have an obsession with menus. I read them for fun sometimes when I'm bored at work (yes, it's weird) and I always have to check the menu before we go out to dinner, so I know what I'm in for (Like I said, not good with surprises!)

Only instead of handing me a computer printout of the restaurant menu, he handed me this one:

Personal Photo

It's the story of our relationship in menu format- "Appetizers" tells some stories from the beginning, "First Course" from a little later, etc. And "Dessert" was the "ice-ing on the cake"- aka my ring!! It was so cute- it was even laminated!! As I was reading the menu, he got down on one knee and presented me with the ring. We were so excited that he actually forgot to ask me to marry him until a few minutes afterward! I was surprised at my reaction- I thought I would cry, or freak out, but I just felt very calm and happy.

I ran downstairs to show my parents (even though I knew they already knew all about it, since he'd asked their permission months ago), and my dad snapped this great shot of us. I love how excited we look.

Personal Photo

After jumping up and down with my parents, he took me to the restaurant (and remembered to get my favorite wine), and I spend the majority of dinner staring at the sparkly new addition to my left hand.

When we got back to my house, I walked in the door only to be greeted by our families and some of our best friends! My mom had laid out an awesome spread, with all my favorite things (cheese platters and trays of olives, mmm), and everyone toasted us with champagne, which I may have slightly overindulged in.

Us with future groomsman Josh, MOH Jenn, and her fiance Matt

It was the most wonderful proposal I could have ever imagined, combining all the elements of a good one: something thoughtful and personal that could only work for me (the menu), a dinner date at our restaurant (dinner dates are my favorite kind, I love food), and a continued surprise celebration at my house, with everyone I love! AND a great new piece of jewelry- the exact Tacori setting I had wanted for years!!

Nice cuticles

But the best part about it is seeing that it makes him just as happy as it makes me! 

Feb 13, 2011

Choosing a Photographer, Part 2

I am unexpectedly agonizing over the decision of a photographer.  It seems that everyone has OMGsqueeeLOVE feelings about their photographer- people don’t  simply discuss their photographer, they get all high-pitched -million-exclamation points about it: “Omg, we used so-and-so and they were AWESOME! Seriously I am IN LOVE with them! Ahh!”  

Feb 9, 2011


The first time I heard the term "waiting" was when my engaged best friend referred to me as a "waiting girl" in an email. My fiance read it, and cracked up, laughing hysterically and saying, ”Only girls would have something like this.” And he’s right! Maybe we are crazy, but there does come a point when you know the ring is imminent, but it’s still not here. Waiting is one of the most exciting, but also agonizing, times, and it's nice to have a community of girls to share that with (Weddingbee, I'm looking at you). You’re dying to get engaged, you’ve allowed yourself to start looking at blogs, maybe sneaking a magazine or two, and you feel like it’s coming, yet it’s not here yet and you don’t know when it will be. My waiting period was maybe four months, only two of which really felt agonizingly long:

My best friend and her fiancé get engaged, which I think starts to subconsciously put the wheels in motion (Thanks Matt!)

For my 24th birthday, he gave me a David Yurman diamond ring, and promised to propose within the year. He then took me ring shopping to try on the Tacori I’d been drooling over.  And it was as awesome in person as it looked in the magazines! But it still didn’t feel that real- I don’t think that he told his parents we had done that, and I knew that even if we were looking, an actual engagement was still very far off. Although I did take this month as an opportunity to present him with a businesslike bulleted 5 point plan on why he should propose by Christmas (it was funny, I swear!)

Always thought promise rings were corny till I got one...haha (Source)

Well, now his parents know. He tells me that they had some family friends over for dinner, who asked when he was moving to the city where he works. He told them he was going to wait until I moved out so he could move with me. His mother reminded him that she knew I didn’t want to live together before we were married. So he took that opportunity to say, “Well maybe we will be married soon.”
Soon after that, his mother starts saying little things about things we’ll need when we live together, and starts more sentences with, “When you two are married…”

Drunken confessions begin!! It takes little more than two Coronas for the words to slip out. First I hear he’s discussing diamonds with his coworkers. Then I hear he’s asked my best friend’s fiancĂ© for jeweler information.
Only took two of these bad boys to get some choice info! Source

At this point, I am told it will be before Christmas. Unfortunately, I’m told this much too early (Christmas is still 8 weeks away, is my proposal 2 weeks away or 8 weeks?!) and I cannot stop bothering him. Since I know it’s coming, I’m not afraid of scaring him off, and I (annoyingly) press him for information. Constantly. Whoops. I kept thinking everything was a sign that it was about to happen- he left work early one random Wednesday? Well obviously  he was proposing (he wasn't). He had to "run errands" with his dad? Yeah right, he was obviously going to pick up my ring (again, wrong. Really just running errands). There may have been a temper tantrum or two. I’m not proud of it, but I’m aiming to be honest here. It sucks, and it’s hard to wait, especially when it feels so close.

The proposal! December 10, 2010! One of the most exciting days of my life, with a story to come soon!

Feb 8, 2011

One of the top 5 engagement perks...

Is being able to buy these gorgeous plates!

I have always had a softspot for cute dinnerware and serveware, but since I never had my own place, I never bought it. It was always an "I'll wait till I get married" kind of thing.

I wandered in JC Penney on a lunch break and literally stopped and did a double take when I saw these on display in the entrance. And then it hit me: I am getting married! I CAN BUY THIS STUFF!

I wish I was kidding, but this actually is one of the top 5 perks so far with being engaged. It's a silly thing to be so excited about, but I am!

Feb 5, 2011

Choosing a Photographer

Choosing our photographer has been unexpectedly difficult for us. I thought I approached the decision in a rational way, using my nifty little 4 step process:

1. Scour blogs, message boards, weddings in magazines, word of mouth suggestions, etc, to compile a master list of photograpers.
Done. And 40 lines long!

2. Visit all their websites. Their best pictures are on the front page and the banner design, so if the sites don't immediately appeal to you, cut the photographer from your list.
Done. Down to 15 people.

3. Query all of them for pricing and date availability. Obviously, you can cross off anyone out of your budget, or already booked.
Sniff. Goodbye, John Arcara and $7,000 package.

4. Make appointments to visit them, attempting to keep the appointments all within a 2 week period for efficient decision making.

So that's where it got difficult. (Step 5 would have been go to contract!) When I met with the photographers, I found that I left each meeting feeling underwhelmed and less impressed than when I had gone in. The proofs bored me, and I realized what I saw on websites was 10 awesome images, chosen from 500 mediocre ones. Some of the photographers had weird personalities- dry, sarcastic, unprofessional. One was impossible to communciate with via email- I'd reply immediately to her emails, then not hear back for two days. We went back and forth saying the same things, to the point that I wondered if I was speaking another language without realizing it.  I almost blew off our meeting, but decided to go, as I had nothing better to do. My dad came with me to lend his opinion, since Mr. B was working.

Big mistake. I was blown away by her photography. It felt like she brought a sense of artistic talent, as opposed to just capturing random snapshots. Her pictures seemed to capture beautiful lighting, and were noticeably well composed, even to an amateur like me. Though we had a strange moment in our meeting where she quizzed us on the prices other photographers quoted us (we declined to divulge the information, saying we felt a little weird) she was overall super sweet. I told her we were really interested, and that I just had to run things by my fiance and I'd be in touch.

 Some of her images (Source)

When I got home from our meeting, I realized I definitely didn't want to wait any longer to think on the decision. I knew Mr. B would agree on her, so I logged into my email, ready to ask for a contract.

Only she emailed had emailed me first, a mere 15 minutes after our meeting ended. The note simply read, "I'm so sorry, but I am no longer available for your date. I wish you luck on your search."

I was FURIOUS. Clearly, that strange moment had impacted her a lot- she had said in the meeting there were no other inquiries on my date, so how could she "suddenly" be booked? I should have listened to my gut, which gave me doubts about her just from our Gmail conversations. I was very confused, as she has nothing but good reviews online. And I'm so angry- I'd finally found a photographer I liked, only to have her wind up being an unprofessional and kind of nutty. My fiance even tested her out, using a different venue but our same wedding date, and lo and behold, she was available. And, by the way, significantly nicer in her emails to him.

So back to the drawing board, I guess.

Feb 2, 2011

Attitude Adjustment

My best friend got engaged six months before me, and while I was waiting for my ring, we’d spend our days emailing about how exciting it would be to plan our weddings together. We would visit florists together, go dress shopping, and share vendors. Planning together would be so much fun.

In reality, it is a little less collaborative than I expected, and I think this is because we have opposite approaches to wedding planning.

My friend, in life and consequently in her wedding planning, is laidback and unworried.  She set a long engagement, allowing her to take her time. She booked her venue quickly, but relaxed about the other elements of her wedding. Plus, she has always been the type of person to be satisfied. Whatever she finds and likes is good. She trusts her gut and does not nitpick. She does not need to comb through photographer after photographer to convince herself that she has found the best possible one. She finds what she likes, doesn't overthink it, and moves on. It's that simple.

I, on the other hand, have approached wedding planning in a chaotic “must-get-things-done!” frenzy. I nearly lost my shit when a snowstorm postponed my venue search (by a mere 3 days). When the first photographer and band I queried were both booked, I convinced myself that everything was booking right this second, despite hearing back from at least 10 more of each that were available on my date. My phone is constantly ringing with bands wanting to discuss their song list, email flooding with photographers setting up meetings, and florists are demanding to know if I had my dress picked out yet because obviously the bouquet needs to match. I’m scheduling appointment after appointment and feeling frustrated with constantly schlepping around the state, remaining unsatisfied, exhausting options, with contracts still unbooked. I’m panicky about gut feelings (they’re all telling me that everyone we’re looking into sucks and will ruin our wedding and I’m making terrible mistakes), when probably the panic is just a manifestation of anxiety, and not a legitimate feeling. While everyone keeps telling me, “You have time,” all I can think is that time or not, this stuff needs to get done, and I can’t relax until it does!

I can’t, and wouldn’t want, to approach my wedding like my friend. It is not in my nature to go with the flow, and I am pickier about things, and more high maintenance.  But I could stand to calm down a little bit. I’ve let this stress me out to the point where it’s not enjoyable anymore, and maybe it is time to take a step back. There is a photographer out there. There is a band. We’ll probably book our florist this Saturday. It will all get done, and you know what else? It’s a five hour party. A month from now, I'll probably have this taken care of, and once it's done, the amount of stressing I did will seem really silly. I think I am falling into the trap of losing perspective, and right now, I'm setting a goal to calm down and approach this more rationally.