Apr 24, 2012

Our Favors

I know there's a lot of debate about favors. Some people think they're unnecessary, and some people (like me) can't fathom not having them. 

Actually, I have lots of opinions on favors. I'm easily grossed out by homemade jams and similar cooked-at-home-and-packaged stuff, and I also hate donations (Not that I think giving a donation is a bad idea, just that I like to keep that stuff more private, rather than shoving my good deed in everyone's face). 

Okay, so with all my pickiness out in the open, here's what I chose, feel free to have your own say about it:

Champagne glasses! I used the monogram from our invitations, and Mr. B painstakingly centered our names and wedding date around the monogram. 

We ordered the glasses from Discountmugs.com , and I was really happy with them. They offer 10% discounts frequently, so we wound up paying about $360 for 200 glasses. Their shipping was fast, with nothing broken in transit, and the glass quality was very good.

The favors will be set out on a table at the end of the wedding, and I opted for a little DIY to jazz them up:

First, I made "thank you" tags:

These were really simple:
1.  Create a 3 colum by 7 row landscape table in Microsoft Word, sizing each cell to be 1" tall and 3" long. I made the table borders a very light gray so that I had guidelines for cutting them out.
2. Type your text- we just put "Thank you! Tracy and Brad" on them, in our wedding fonts of Edwardian Script and Garamond.
3. We printed them on Opal Stardream cardstock from Cards and Pockets, and cut them out (with a razor and straight edge, not scissors).
4. Mr. B punched a hole in the tags and I used the best corner rounder ever to make a 1/4" rounded corner on each tag.
5. Finally, I ran the edges through a gold ink pad so they'd match the gold edges on our invite (not that ANYONE will notice).

I promise you can have the tags finished in like an hour and a half.  I popped open a Sam Adams, got into the swing of things, and they were done before I knew it.

We attached the thank you tags with a sheer gold ribbon from Nashville Wraps, and stuffed them with french vanilla tissue paper shred, also from Nashville Wraps.

In an aside, Nashville Wraps is another company I have to really recommend. I paid $2.85 cents for 25 yards of ribbon (yes, you're reading that right), which was more than enough for 200 glasses. I paid only $6.85 for one pound of shred, again, more than enough for this project.

So for less than $10 we really added to the favors and made them look really nice, rather than just having a collection of glasses on the table.

And if you don't need shred or ribbon, they sell a humongous amount of gift bags, boxes, tissue paper, or any kind of packaging you could imagine, in all different colors and patterns, at wholesale prices. And no, they're not paying me to say this, I just think it is a really great resource for all of us crazy DIY brides!

What are you guys doing for favors? And do you get really opinionated about them too?

(all pics are personal, and terrible, sorry)

Apr 23, 2012

We Have Wedding Rings!

This past Friday, Mr. B and I picked up our wedding bands!! I figured I'd share because who doesn't love looking at some good old ring porn?

I plan to wear my rings on separate hands, as I could not find a wedding band that matched my engagement ring. There is one designed specially for it, but it is super ugly. And also really expensive.

So I just opted for my dream band, which doesn't go at all, and I'll just move the engagement ring to my right hand.

I went with a shared setting half eternity band:
I think it looks beautiful and classic, and can definitely stand on its own. (And in the future I can possibly get some more, in different stones/shapes, to stack!) I suppose I could also wear them together, but that's a little over the top for me. It hides the pretty detail in my e-ring.

Mr. B also opted for simple and classic, choosing a white gold Art Carved ring with a brushed finished and milgrain detail:

And here they are together:

Good thing these bad boys are locked away, otherwise I'd be extremely tempted to just start wearing it now!

Apr 12, 2012

Post Wedding Goals

I looked at my calendar yesterday and realized that almost every ounce of time I have in the next two months is going to the wedding. And I am loving every second of it, so much so that I am nervous I'm going to go into a post wedding withdrawal.

I love to be busy, creative, and at work on a project, so the wedding is a perfect outlet for me. But without it, I'll have more time to work on other things, so I set some goals up for myself:
1. Have people over more. I want us to have the kind of house where people always come to, and right now we're not really there. I'd love to have our families over more, plus we've got some close friends moving three blocks from us, so I hope they're ready for lots of Italian Sunday dinners!

The last time we had people over was the Superbowl!

Which, btw, I got totally carried away with  I love party planning! 

2. I also really need to go through all our engagement/shower gifts and see what we're keeping, returning, etc. I can't say I need 18 place settings of china, nor can I believe I actually received that many.
Think I'll drop down to 12 and buy some of those pretty crystal glasses! (Personal Pic)

3. Paint our apartment. I think we have a pretty nice place, but the landlord painted it this awful peachy beige with salmon colored molding. It. Is. Hideous. 
4. Also in terms of apartment decor, I've discovered a great blog, The Peak of Tres Chic, which features tons of amazing design inspiration. I turned our second bedroom into my walk-in closet, and now I want to further morph it into an oasis of girly glam, with this picture as my inspiration:

Love the lavendar and mirrored furniture!

5. Keep blogging. Started this blog to become a bee (fail, twice over), but I really love blogging so I want to continue. Without a wedding to yap about, I'm torn between doing a straight up food blog, or a more all-encompassing lifestyle blog.

You'd see stuff like this- a recent lunch of sausage and bean soup with escarole (Personal pic)

 6. Get my career act together. For the past 3.5 years, I have been a government budget analyst, flip flopping around to three army bases. While I loved my first two locations, I'm kind of hating the current one, but am not in a spot in life where I can make big moves. Since I've gotta stay put for now, I'm going to work on improving my attitude and taking charge of what I can to make it better (I do recognize I'm 50% of the issue). In the meantime, maybe I'll think about some other options or further schooling. Technically this goal should start next week, not post wedding, but whatever.

My beloved original base- now closed, hence all my career movement (Source)

7. And finally, translate some of that wedding energy into great things for my friends! I've got a few weddings next July, so I'm looking forward to having more freedom to work on showers and surprises for them.

So that's just what I'm thinking, who knows what real life will bring? Anyone else have some post wedding goals?

Apr 10, 2012

Floral Look

So I haven't shared something with you, mostly because it's not the hugest deal in the world, but Mr. B and I decided to switch florists a little while back. When we booked ours I was really excited about it, but over time we had a few miscommunications, I found her a bit cold in personality, and when I began delving into the idea of rental items, I realized she was shockingly overcharging me for things- $40 for plain tablecloths, $5 per votive candle on tables when I'd want around 9 per table, that kind of thing.

So on the recommendation of a wedding planner, we booked our house florist, Touch of Elegance instead. I instantly loved Lisa, the florist there, because she was warm and really excited about her job. She had fun looking at my inspiration board, immediately whipping out fabric swatches, brainstorming napkin ideas, and sharing a flurry of sample photos. I felt like she really understood what I wanted, and she was giving us much better prices. So we switched.

And this past weekend, we saw our sample centerpieces, which I think fit in perfectly with our theme of  formal, traditional elegance:
The centerpieces are a vintage look gold candelabra, stuffed with peonies, hydrangeas, some type of chrysanthemum, and dendrobium orchids. We're also going to be adding hanging bits of ivy as well.

Something else I liked about Lisa's work was her attention to detail. Our last florist would only give us plain white tealight candles, no votives, included with our centerpiece. Lisa is giving us nine candles, an assortment of votives and floating pillars, all included- no $5 per candle rental fee. We're switching these plain votive holders in the picture to a gold mercury glass look: 

I really love the look Lisa captured and am really happy with this particular flower arrangement. However, there's one thing I need your opinions on, and that would be our linens:

I LOVE this linen. I think it perfectly encapsulates our theme and I think it's absolutely beautiful. However, sometimes I think that in order to pull off a look the right way, you have to exercise restraint and cut something you love. I'm concerned that this blue linen is too much blue for the room. I'm afraid it might match the carpet too much. Here's a pic:

It's really similar to the carpet. I'm not sure that having that carpet and very similar tablecloths is too much. Maybe I should be opting for a damask linen in the beigey color in the carpet, so that it coordinates but isn't the same shade.

What do you guys think? Use the linen pictured here, or opt for something else?

Apr 9, 2012

Tasting Recap

Apparently our wedding is fast approaching, because Mr. B and I have just had a whirlwind week of wedding tasks, including the super fun food tasting!

Attending our tasting made both us and our parents feel so relaxed about our venue choice, not that I was doubting it. We met our coordinator, Alex, for the first time, and she was unbelievably organized and sweet, putting us all at ease. She led us into a private room in the kitchen, with a glass wall so we could watch the chef do his thing (I didn't realize this and sat with my back to the view- whoops!).

We started with wine. Our venue offers a red and white option served tableside during the party, and our wine waiter (yes, wine waiter) led us through a tasting of three whites and three reds. We settled on a Laboure-Roi Sauvignon Blanc and Pinot Noir for the table wine, though all six varietals will be available at the bars throughout the reception.

Next, we sampled three appetizer choices: a delicious crab cake, perfectly seared scallops with chive oil, and mozzarella en carozza, basically a fancy grilled cheese with slices of salty prosciutto. Though all were delicious, we chose the mozzarella option, figuring it was the most crowd pleasing.

We also chose to combine our appetizer and salad courses to leave more time for dancing, so that's the big pile of baby greens you see there. It's topped with a smoked tomato vinaigrette.

We sampled the three entree choices for the wedding.  They were served exactly as they would be presented on the big day, both in look and generous portion size.

For the seafood option, we selected halibut served over risotto and wilted greens, and topped with a relish of capers, olives, and sundried tomatoes. It was delicious. Mr. B's mom loved it.

For the chicken dish, we chose a garlic and herb roasted Cornish hen, cut up and served with a bread pudding (which reminded me of Rachael Ray's "stuffin muffins"), and roasted root vegetables. This was easily the majority favorite.

And for the beef, we'll be serving an herb-seared filet mignon with a port wine sauce. I don't eat steak, yet I'm considering ordering this, that's how good it was. It was tender with a nice charred crust, mmm. We sampled it with a potato gratin with gruyere cheese (delicious!) and rosemary baby carrots, but opted to swap the carrots for asparagaus to get a little green on the plate. I have a hang up of always thinking a plate needs green.

We will be having a Viennese display for dessert, so we got to sample a chef's selection of desserts, including pineapple upside down cake, blueberry frangipane, cherry chocolate mousse, mini tarts, and cheesecake. Our Viennese also features a flambe station and a "boardwalk station," serving zeppoles in mini paper bags. My Jersey shore upbringing is extremely excited about this.

We sampled our cake as well. I loved the way they presented it- we chose three sponges and three fillings, and were able to mix and match to find the flavor combo we liked.

We surprised ourselves by opting for a hazelnut sponge cake and chocolate parfait filling. I could care less about cake, but really found this very delicious.

We also got to go through our cocktail hour menu options, though we didn't taste anything. It's extensive, with fifteen passed hors d'ouevres and multiple stations. We chose the offerings for our carving station, pasta station, saute stations, and opted to include a paella station and raw bar as well.

Overall, our tasting was phenomenal. I do expect that the food quality may drop a bit when they're cooking for 225, but it started out so good that I really don't think anything will be bad. I was super happy with our venue and the classy, organized way they handled everything.

The wedding is starting to feel really real now and it is so exciting to see it all take shape! I loved going for the tasting!

(All pics courtesy my iPhone)

Apr 5, 2012

Invite Reveal

Our invites are out and responses are coming back!!! Which means I can finally share them with you guys!

Our beautiful calligraphy is the first thing guests will see in their mailbox:
Carmela did an amazing job, right? I am 120% IN LOVE with this calligraphy. Let's see a close up, of another invite:


So then they open it up to see a more familiar, friendly version of their names, in the same awesome calligraphy:

Then the inner envelope with its pretty gold liner:

The invitation suite includes a beautiful customized card with all the accommodations and website details. I'm glad we spent the extra money to create this, I think it really makes the invitation look classy. Our elegant reply cards are here as well:

And finally, the invitation!

 I love them!!

Apr 3, 2012

Honeymoon Style

Lately, my mind has wandered from the wedding to the honeymoon. With all the new summer clothes coming out in stores (and on fashion blogs!) I keep bookmarking awesome outfits to keep in mind for nights in Hawaii.

I'll start with the obvious, which would be a collection of brightly colored bikinis for the beach. I have a personal rule to never spend more thant $20 on the whole swimsuit, so I get a lot of these in Old Navy sales and at Forever 21.

I'm going to pack my favorite coverup, which I scored for only $9 in Macy's last year. This picture may not do it justice but I think it's so glam:

Personal Pic

I just bought a hot pink blazer in H&M and I am so excited to try out these looks, since I already have a white dress and white capris:

I saw this awesome outfit on Atlantic Pacific,

which reminded me that I own some very similar items:

(Personal Pic)

Love this daytime casual outfit with shorts, though you can bet I'd skip the hat:

Not to mention these super cute jellys I got for the beach:

Personal Pic- The brand is called Dizzy, I bought them in a local boutique.

So there's my start to honeymoon packing! Anyone else get weirdly excited to plan outfits for trips??