Tuesday, September 28, 2010

BIG ANNOUNCEMENT and Quick post on color

We are meeting with Maureen on Sunday, so until then, I will say no more, because I know no more.

Hey all two followers, I have some ideas about color!!

First of all, a late November wedding is going to be full of browns, reds, oranges, and yellows. The sky will be blue (hopefully:-) and the grass will be green... This doesn't leave a whole lot of options. I do know (and already talked to Kyle about this) that I don't think black will mesh in and I would like the groom and groomsmen to wear brown... any major objections??

I also don't want to go overboard, BUT the reception is going to be in a white banquet hall, which means that after the ceremony, a little color will be very welcome.

Here is what I am thinking: plum with small burnt orange accents and teal with small burnt orange accents:

That being said, I don't think the plum goes with the teal; while plum can associate with orange and teal can associate with orange, plum and teal cannot associate with each other.

Lastly, I am struggling because I think the teal will fit better into my theme, but I like this dark blue better:
    ...help... and more importantly, how do I incorporate these things?

Bridesmaid dresses, shoes, flowers... comments...

Monday, September 27, 2010


The knot says "14 months to go!" Except it was in all caps and big font. 14 months is a long time. Plenty of time in fact, to start thinking about what can and cannot be DIY. Also plenty of time to assemble the bride's and groom's parties. Start thinking about vendors. I've been thinking about dresses... of course.

Here are my ideas about what can be DIY:

  • Save-the-dates
  • Invitations
  • Cake (because I bake cakes, Kyle and I do, from scratch, the old-fashioned way):

And this cake, our cake, doesn't have to be shaped any funny way, it just needs to be a couple tiers, and taste good! C'mon!!! My mom thinks I'm crazy... So does Kyle.

  • Some of the flowers; like centerpieces and boutonnieres, again, everyone thinks I won't have time to do all this, but I say that I'm not going to be doing anything else for at least the week prior to the wedding, and that's when flowers and cake need to get done! Also, I will try to post, as time goes by, pictures of the general idea of what I want for centerpieces and other flowers, and you'll have an idea that I'm not trying to go big and bold, but simplistic and, well, homemade looking.
  • Reception decorations... it's fall, nature is the most generous with its own decorations in the fall!
  • Favors; my mom and I are both excited about this, we have lots of ideas and every single one of them is easy peasy!!
  • Hair and make-up, at least my own, because my face can't take a lot of make-up anyway, and that's all make-up artists do is put too much make-up on you. It's going to be very simple, just covering up any skin tone uneven-ness and putting on some mascara, blush and eyeliner and maybe a little eyeshadow... but that's a stretch. Hair is going to be a cinch because all I'm doing is a semi-messy side ponytail. End of story.

Things that cannot be DIY:

  • Dresses... any of them, and of course suits
  • Photography, at least not completely, I am, however, relying on my family and friends for some nice candid shots
  • DJ, I think, I honestly feel like all they do is play an ipod or an itunes library full of songs that I will have to put together... what exactly do they get paid so much for??? But I also realize that we need someone to let everyone know that this is the first dance, then this is the parents' dance, then this is the bouquet toss, then this is cake cutting... but I wonder if I care about sticking to some ridiculous regimented schedule... ?
  • The rest of the flowers... maybe, the bouquets I am worried about even thinking of attempting myself, BUT I am really worried that the bouquets will turn out too girly and flowery, what I want is wheat stalks, a few wildflowers, maybe some thistle because it's hilarious and looks like a cartoon, perhaps some ferns, a little twig or two, and some pheasant feathers, wrap it up with some linen or twine... sounds woodsy, I know, but that's the point! This is the best so far:

But maybe a deep purple flower instead of the burnt orange. And please don't get me wrong, I actually still really like the burnt orange, but I'm thinking that one of my prominent colors is going to be a deep plum purple with maybe some burnt orange accents. We'll address color in another post... In fact, probably really soon, like in the next post.

Well, now I'm excited about colors so I will leave this where it is, just some thoughts about saving some money and being creative. I can't stress enough that the DIY aspect is really a 50/50; yes I want to save money, but equally important is putting my own stamp on this wedding, getting family, my fiance, and our friends involved, and having fun doing artsy and crafty stuff together!! C'mon, where's your spirit of adventure?! I'm saying it now and I will continue to say it: This is going to be fun!!

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Wedding Checklist

Alrighty!! We need to start talking about other stuff! So far all I've touched on is location, and of course, this is muchos importante, but it's not the only thing that exists, of course. I think it might be the hardest, but it's just one thing! Here's a quick list of everything off the top of my head that I need to start thinking about:

Bridesmaid dresses

Can I just say first off to any of my bridesmaids that might be reading, this is all I want for my bachelorette party:
Please make a note of it

I think I am going to tackle each of these individually, give them their own posts, it's only fair... to unnamed nobodies... ok, it's for my sanity and my fingers.

More location updates!!

I wanted to also make notes on the other places I hadn't yet visited since my last posts. Namely:
Lime Spring Farm and Cameron Estate Inn.

Mmm'kay, first of all, I want to start by saying that Lime Spring Farm had no info on their site about pricing, I think this is kind of skeazy, but I really wanted to see it, I hate walking in blind, but I had to walk in!! It was great, and because Kyle and my parents were there, I didn't take any video. They had a good amount of availability too, including the date 9-10-11. How cool would that have been?!?!

Now for the horrible, terrible, no good, very bad news: Rental is $6500 for the day with an additional $2600 fee for the ceremony. Add to all this the catering, which will be about $5000, alcohol another $1000. Flowers, $500. Photographer $1500-$2500, depending on who I choose. Cake, invitations, decorations, DJ... That equals at least $20,000... are you kidding me?!?!?! We immediately realized why none of this information is online and got out of there as soon as we could. Also, the reception would have been under a tent, on a concrete slab. I didn't say it then, but I don't like that. Anyway, the point of the story is that it would have been nice, there was a lot of nice attention to detail, but not worth that price, double every other place we were looking at.

Cameron Estate Inn was nice on the outside; this old, 1700 or 1800 mansion with 17 B&B style rooms, one with this awesome claw foot tub. The feel of the whole place was very plantation-ish, but in a good way, you know, highlighting the good parts of a plantation. Anyway, the ceremony sites were nice and they had limitless availability (which unfortunately also raises red flags). You know the bridge I posted two posts ago? Well, that bridge is too hard to get to for any of our guests that are even remotely immobile, not the mention impossible for anyone with a walker or a wheelchair. Anyway, the problem came when we walked into the reception site. It looked as though they tried to update it but forgot the whole theme and look or the rest of the estate, so it's just a decent banquet hall, nothing special, and definitely not estate-ish. So my mom and I were both turned off by it, but we enjoyed the champagne provided by the coordinators!

Memo to me, I don't care how cheap it makes me look, we will be having Verdi champagne at my wedding!!

Location Update!!

OK! So I have been to more places than I care to count, some I am embarrassed to have gone and visited, in hindsight that is. There was no way for me to know exactly what I was going to love until I walked right up to it and it slapped me in the face. Well, guess what slapped me in the face:

RIVERDALE MANOR!!! The problem: no availability until Thanksgiving weekend 2011!! But how can I say no to this place?!

Check out my videos!! Here is the outside:

Here is the outside close-up of the different structures:

Inside the pavilion with Maureen, the wedding coordinator (and my Mama!):

The back porch for cocktails:

Very importantly; inside the reception hall aka the ballroom:

This hallway leads from the reception hall to the farmhouse, an historic building on the property where the bride and groom will be getting ready. The hallway is adorable, that's why I have to show it, also, it's  the alternate location for cocktail hour in the case of inclement weather. Cocktail hour would also spill into the farmhouse where hors d'oeuvres will be laid out. I didn't take footage of the farmhouse... and in reality, that just makes me look like a dumbass:

Shots of the outdoor ceremony sites, which we would not use in late November, but here they are anyway, and check out the egret and the blue heron that came to watch!:

Lastly, panoramic views of the farmhouse, the hallway, the reception hall, and the Sycamore ceremony site (the pavilion is hidden by trees, but it's right next to the reception hall... that place with the great big gorgeous windows!):

So in short, how can I say no? It gave me that feeling I felt I was supposed to feel, finally, the feeling that I could start to envision our wedding there. The rental price goes down in November and it goes down even further if we have the wedding on Friday, November 25th (as opposed to Saturday the 26th). There is no catering minimum we have to hit, and Maureen was ready with several photos of late November weddings that looked great. I think I will miss some of the foliage, but it won't be totally gone (just mostly, haha). And I started thinking about the fact that Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday and always associating my wedding with my favorite holiday is a lucky thing most people probably don't get to do. Now, the only problem is, will Kyle always associate our wedding with the Friday after Thanksgiving or will he actually remember the date ; P Just kidding babe! Actually, I'll tell you the only problem, how many of my hunter relatives are going to give me a hard time over this??? You could not come.

Friday, September 17, 2010

Location Location Location...

Everyone knows this is important. So this is a very important post. We haven't even discussed budget yet, and of course that's important, but for the most part, if a location's packages are reasonable, you can always make the rest of the wedding fit into your budget. There are resources all over the web for what you can and cannot do yourself. It depends also on how important your time is. If it will take you a week to hand make all your invitations, is it worth it for you to possibly save $500+? Ummmm, yeah, yes it is. Flowers?? That may be another story. Are you really good at doing your own hair and make-up? Do you really need a mani/pedi?

Anyway, I'm getting off-topic. There are a lot of possibilities of ceremony/reception sites. Because I could fill this whole page with images from all these places I mentioned in my last post, I will just touch briefly on the one picture that made me fall in love with each place. That's right, I'm in love with like 6 inanimate places right now. It's all very one-sided.

The Stone Barn: the second place we visited after Morris, this happened last weekend.
This should need no explanation, I love the old broken down feel of it. Can you see sort of a Lady of the Lake haunting this place? Wearing a flowing wedding gown and drifting across the pond? Well... I can, and it's pretty in my head, ethereal.

The reception hall was nice and had the red brick and the old wood, it was really what I thought I wanted. The drawback to this place, and it's a pretty big one, is that because we don't have enough people, we can't do our wedding down at the mill, BUT, if there's another wedding at the mill that day, we can't even go near it for pictures!!

Stroudsmoor Country Inn: our third visit, day after Stone Barn.

I think this one is self-explanatory as well. Here, I get the feel of a deer lost in the woods, or a Lady in the Woods type thing, I see a flowy, ethereal dress again. God I can't wait till I get to start talking about dresses! The reception hall is hunting lodge-like. I really liked how it tied into the woodland chapel theme. Kyle then becomes the hunter. Get it??? My only problem with this place is I have a bad feeling about budget here. The food is well-priced, the alcohol packages are double what I think they should be but still not outrageous, but everything else? I just have a bad feeling in my gut that we will not be able to find a well-priced photographer, florist, or DJ. The woman who showed us around gave us some common figures... we're talking vendors who cost as much as the whole wedding. Obviously you shop around and whatnot, but the Poconos is a romantic place, there's all sorts of weddings and honeymoons that take place there... people will pay that much, so who can blame them for charging that much??

The point is, I haven't had that feeling in my tummy yet, unfortunately for my fiance.

On to Mom's suggestions; Cameron Estate Inn: this Sunday!
This place is sweet, quaint, nice. It's not knocking my socks off yet, but everyone there that I've talked to is really nice and I'm willing to give the place a try. The ceremony site is nice, but so far, this bridge is what I'm most looking forward to seeing. AND, to make matters better, the tour they offer is a champagne tour. Count me in!!

Riverdale Manor... I honestly don't know where to start...

Please go to their website and look at pictures. I'm so worried that I won't be able to afford them, they seem expensive, but if it's as great as I think it may be, I might be splurging and just preparing my butt for the whopping I'm going to give it later. I do have a year to start saving for the debt I'm going to accrue...

Anyway, we'll see this place on Sunday as well.

By the way, while we're on it, Regents' Glen is out, I am not even going to visit a place where I have to dress up just to get in. Country Club my ass. Besides, they'll probably take one look at me and say "Uh uh, we do not allow dark people on our property." That's so disrespectful. Regents' Glen, please don't sue me. I hereby state that I have no actual knowledge of their sentiments towards people of color, I just enjoy racially-charged jokes, especially when it comes to country clubs.

My last favorite place!! Lime Spring Farm... If they'd only return their phone calls though!
This place feels so sweet to me. It also has a giant mural of a chicken on a wall of a barn. I mean, what more could I ask for? It's playful and romantic, it would just be a sweet wedding there. Unfortunately, they have absolutely no information about weddings on their website. Even the "brochure" where I got this photo; almost no info in it. Certainly nothing about pricing, menus, inclusions. So, ummm, still waiting on you to get back to me, Lime Spring.


That is all...

Thursday, September 16, 2010

With Hawaii out...

Where are we going to get married??? Even though this thought is about three weeks old, I'm still struggling with it, so it's still a present tense question!! Where are we going to get married?? First thing I looked for was garden wedding, because believe it or not, I don't want to get married on a beach. The appeal of Hawaii was the garden, with beach adjacent, it was paradise, it is paradise, that's why we're still honeymooning there. But, that's not for awhile, I don't get to relax in paradise until we get married! So, garden wedding it is.

We scoped out gardens in the area, the first one that pops up is Morris Arboretum northeast of Philly.


Yeah, and this barely scratches the surface

So, I schedule a meeting, and we go see the place, this was two weeks ago.

Turns out you can't have ceremonies at any of the sites pictured, they have special (and by special I mean completely unremarkable) sites right on the front lawn for the ceremony and the "reception hall" looks like an old basement. It was a huge disappointment, I thought it would be a bad idea to get married at a place where I was only there for the photo ops. Obviously I can just get those online. Next please.

It occurred to me about this time that gardens were too pretty and girly, or something like that, not exactly sure what was going through my head, but what I can tell you is this, my idea of a garden wedding was never going to be beautiful anywhere other than Hawaii. I asked myself, what is distinctly American? What can I do that would make me feel unique? What does America do better than any other country (other than baseball, football... nothing sports-related please)? BARN WEDDING!!

I mean look how great that looks! It took me a few days to realize that I was nowhere near as unique as I thought I was. Barn weddings are huge business, which means they charge an arm and a leg, they offer nothing as far as inclusive packages, and they're all booked up for September/October 2011. It was a huge letdown, firstly because I started looking at prices, now mind you, I didn't have a budget in mind yet, I was just scoping things out. But these people wanted $3000-$7000 just for a rental fee!! And let me reiterate, this includes NOTHING! No food, no alcohol, no tables, no chairs, no linens, no flowers, no DJ, no photographer. Like I said, huge huge letdown, I was so excited about wearing my cowboy hat and buying some really nice cowboy boots and rocking out country style. My favorite is still The Hayloft (the second picture) but you'll be lucky if you can get in there anytime within the next two years! For some reason that I'll never understand, they refuse to do weddings in October, instead they choose to do the Haunted Hayloft, which is fine, I'm sure it's good revenue... hey isn't a Haunted Hayloft kind of a night time-like event?? Well whatever, I'm sure they have to set up the barn a certain way and they can't break it all down for one dumb girl's wedding. The Hayloft was really well-priced and most everything was included. I still get depressed when I think about it, The Hayloft will always be the barn that got away, because God forbid, I tried to plan my wedding a year in advance instead of two.

I don't wanna' talk about that anymore... I continued my search, my mom found a few places, I found a few places. When you google search barn wedding or rustic wedding, a lot of things come up, but a recurring theme, and also two places I also saw on the knot were The Stone Barn in Kennett Square and Stroudsmoor Country Inn up in the Poconos. Along with that, my mom found Cameron Estate in Lancaster, PA and Regents' Glen in York, PA and my sister suggested Lime Spring Farm in Lancaster, PA. Last but not least, I also stumbled across the Historic Riverdale Manor in Lancaster, PA. This entry is already quite long, so I'll dedicate a whole new post to it if I can get to it tonight.

I can feel it, we're close, we can almost start thinking about wedding dresses!!!

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Off to the races

Now, I think it should go without saying that I've been looking at wedding dresses for awhile now. But in my defense, I have not been planning my wedding since I was 4. I was too busy eating dirt and scraping my knees trying to keep up with the boys in my neighborhood. I met a sweet sweet young woman named Danielle who worked in the lab next to mine and she introduced me to Kleinfeld so it wasn't my doing. She directed me to their website and explained to me how to set up an account and pick wedding dresses. Anyway, that's beside the point, I didn't know how to plan a wedding. That's the point. Soon after the engagement, a fellow engaged woman told me about the knot so that's where I started. I loved how they listed so many vendors and I could set a date and it would count down for me, it has a budget calculator, and a monthly checklist. Whew, fun fun fun!!

OK, soooo, the first thing I did was call my mom and say "Mom!! We want to get married in Hawaii!!"

I know, right?!

Yeah, that lasted about 5 minutes. My mom made it clear that that was going to be impossible because there was no way certain people were going to able to make it. Looooong story short, she made me understand that the wedding is for the family... not for me. Well, for me too, but that it would be incomplete without a full family present. Kyle still doesn't agree, but that's just because in Hawaii, they do everything for you. Doing the wedding here automatically meant now we have to find a location, find a photographer, find a caterer, a florist, a DJ. Ugh. But hey, the knot exists for a reason!

So now I get to start really planning a wedding...

Back to August 21st 2010

A day that will replay forever in my mind. Kyle and I went to Long Island to visit the Long Island Wineries, one of our favorite places in the whole world. There's over 30 vineyards on the North and South forks of Long Island, NY. You should check them out, they're romantic, and of course, there's wine! The vineyards are on the same latitude as Brodeaux, France so the whites are not so dry and the reds are just perfect. We've been together for 4 and a half years now so I was getting to that point of wanting him to propose, but not quite to that nagging phase. I always hoped, but never expected. So he actually took me by surprise when he pulled out a box and got down on one knee.
Not much else to say about that... Look at it!! It was exactly what I wanted. I have long fingers so the marquis cut was something I've wanted ever since I could think about an engagement ring, which wasn't until I realized how much I loved Kyle. Cheesy I know. Not everything about me or us is cheesy, but I've been feeling particularly cheesy ever since that day.

Didn't take me long after the initial shock wore off to decide it was time to start thinking about a wedding.

First Post!

According to theknot.com, I've got 374 days until my wedding... but i don't know when I'm getting married, so that number's most likely going to change. Until then, Welcome!! Thanks for stopping by! I'm Ashley and I'm blogging because it gives me something to do with my hands when I can't stop thinking about all these wedding details. As soon as I figure out when I'm getting married, and as soon as I figure out how to put a counter on my page, you can count down with me, if you feel like it, that is. Or, just enjoy... it should be interesting.