Thursday, March 31, 2011

Let them eat the Date

Yeah... because that makes me smile more than Save the Cake. In other words, this is a post about Save the Dates and CAKE!

Why?? Well, StDs need to go out, like, last month. I mean, technically, I've heard everything: 9-12 months ahead, 6 months ahead, as soon as the engagement happens and the venue is booked. Well, I wanted to do 8 months, but then... yeah, 8 months kinda' snuck up on me.
Yup, I went there. So now I'm hoping for seven, even though that's a weird number. I don't want to wait until 6 months. My side of the guest list has addresses next to their names, thanks mostly to my Mama. I had to text/e-mail/facebook a few people, but mostly I don't have any friends, so it wasn't too difficult.

Anyway, I already showed you the part the printer was responsible for. I am responsible for the rest! I have to artistically elaborate 50 StDs (and let's not forget, I get to do it all over again for invitations... yippee!!!).

Again, here's the inspiration from weddingpaperdivas:
Except I like my deeper burgundy much better. Not only is this fuschia nonsense extremely girly, it doesn't even go with the rest of the colors on this thing. Blegh. Anyway, sorry, not relevant. Here's where my progress is:

They were all stamped in one evening. It actually took a lot less time than I thought it would... like, an hour.

Like my styled shot???

Anyway, then I used a blending pencil (a little spongy pencil thingy) and the same ink pad to dab some mud-looking stuff on the corners:
Bangerang!!! Now, I still feel like I'm being heavy-handed, I just can't let up, I'm trying so hard to be more minimal, but at least they're better than my first attempts. Lastly, I just splashed some color in there:
Whoo hoo!!! I'm super psyched at how they're turning out. Last but not least, I used my awesome glue dot applicator to glue the StD to chocolate cardstock:
The end! I worried at first that the corners would blend in with the cardstock, BUT as I had hoped, the spongy, dirt look of the brown in the corners adds a texture and it almost makes the whole thing look like there's a real clump of dirt on the corners. The only issue I'm having right now is that the blendy pencil thingy is doing a fantastic job giving the brown a spongy look, and with the burgundy, all I have is a watercolor pencil. If I had the burgundy in an ink pad, I would also sponge it on... and now I want to... but I don't have a burgundy ink pad...

Also, the only real pain (in the fingers) is coloring in all those flower buds, I have to push pretty hard and it's giving me funny finger cramps. The good thing though is that I figured that would happen, the bad thing is that doesn't make it any less unpleasant! So, in an hour last night, I go through 10. That's one fifth done, ya'll! Another hour each evening for a week and I'm done! And my fingers can handle an hour a night. Hopefully that's as long as it'll take to get addresses from Kyle's side and then, whew, StDs get mailed out!!

In the meantime, there are, of course, other things to think about... like CAKE!!! Now, who knows when you're supposed to start thinking about cake. I can't stress enough that I do have a pretty unusual wedding date and so far, availability has been no problem, but I was told by my florist (heehee, my florist) that cake decorators book fast in the area. And since she lives in the area and is around weddings all the time, I believe her.

So, let's talk cake! I bet by now, if you guys pay attention to the blogosphere, the wedding one, then you've seen these images pop up before:

Yup, the great Maggie Austin! Now, I'm not a huge fan of the frill, I just wanted to show these two pictures because I'm sure people have seen them, especially the ombre one... fan-frickin'-tastic! However, not my style. What is my style is her non-conventionality and her awesome clean lines:

I have NO idea how she gave that left hand cake that handmade paper look, but I love it, and the petals going down the side are so whimsical but still not girly or sloppy or purposeless. I want this to be a cake that Kyle won't mind either! The right hand cake I love love love for it's new take on non-traditional, lopsided cakes. It's not topsy-turvy (which I don't want at the wedding) but still not so boring and traditional. And may I point out, her fondant work is phenomenal, mine looks like total chumpsville compared to hers. But here is my all time favorite Maggie Austin cake:

I love how it looks like the cake is brushed with cocoa powder; soft and rich, they look like large square truffles! I mean, wouldn't you just want to bury your face in that??? I sure would.

So as soon as I saw someone reference her cakes, I immediately assumed she was somewhere way out of the way in California or some other place. Turns out, she's based in D.C. which isn't horribly far away from us! I went to her website and looked at her gallery. Unfortunately, she's twice the price of most cake decorators I've researched so far.

Now, I'm sorry, that cake is awesome, but I just don't care about cake enough to pay $1,000 for it. Besides her obvious, fantastic skill, what I'm attracted to is the minimalism and clean lines, without a lot of fuss, and I can get that anywhere.

So I started my search closer to home, err, I mean, my venue, and found plenty of cake decorators in the Lancaster, PA area. I'm not going to list them all out because that would be useless to most of you :)

I'm finding so much over-the-top or old fashioned or been-done-before stuff... it's frustrating! This is what I don't want:

Gaudy flowers, lots of swirls, shiny, shiny! Icky, it just doesn't fit our wedding, style, venue, personalities, etc... And swag... *shudder* now, I wouldn't go so far as to say I hate it, because I have seen it artfully done, but when it's shiny, multicolored, badly done, and covers up most of the cake, I want to reach through the computer, grab that cake, and drop it off the Comcast Tower... No offense to anyone who has/had/is having cakes that look like this... really, to each his own, I don't mean to offend anyone. If I'm not adamant about what I don't like, I won't be able to properly grasp what I am looking for. For instance, I only recently realized that I hate shiny and love the matte look. Every picture I was salivating over had a soft, matte cake in it.

Anyway, I found one cake artist who has similar taste level to Maggie Austin in Lancaster and plan on contacting them after talking to the man. See, there's four bakeries that I've already narrowed my choice down to in the area (which is huge for me! Instead of making a giant list, I just went with my gut and didn't even consider any who didn't have a website or whose work looked at all shoddy... aren't you proud of me?! FOUR!!!) and one is already standing out as least kitschy. I will introduce her if and when she becomes our baker!

Point is, more things are happening!! I'm excited!!! Bachelorette Spa Day this weekend, probably won't be on the blog. BUT, please keep in mind, blog URL is changing tomorrow!!

BLOG URL IS CHANGING TOMORROW!!! And there's no going back because the new name is on the StDs, so that's what it is!!

New blog url::::

See you all after the jump!

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Excitement!!! All around!!!

So, just a few notes! First off, I forgot to mention yesterday: as I said earlier, I didn't want to celebrate having our honeymoon booked until it was for real official, this was not just the location, but also the flights. So the point of being so happy yesterday, was that the flights are also booked, we got that great deal through American Airlines, for $4,000 less than US Airways, and of course, if I didn't already mention it, our deposit for the actual villa is down. Eeeeeeeee!!! Just wanted to clarify the reasons why I am so excited!!!

Further, I mentioned that I found a great idea for favors:

Again, thanks to Magpie Paper Works for the idea and Ruffled for posting it!

Anywho, I bought a few small (200 mL) bottles of booze to try out the different flavors given by different types of liquor; white rum or vodka is supposed to make a clean vanilla extract and spiced rum or brandy is supposed to give more flavor to the vanilla.
I got the spiced rum, but also the Bacardi Gold because Kyle said he personally thought Captain Morgan's is too potent on the spices. I figured dark rum is like spiced rum without the spice, that takes care of that. Well, I also got brandy because I'm not too familiar with brandy, have no idea whether it tastes much different from dark rum, but nonetheless, got brandy because the recipe suggests brandy as well. Lastly, of course, regular, plain old vodka for a clean extract. I think Absolut is a bit harsh, but Kyle swears that it's cleaner than most, and I guess he knows more about booze than I do.

So, on this end, I just ordered vanilla beans!!!

A lot of vanilla beans. It has to be enough for sample extract, the real thing, and also for place settings, a few beans per napkin, tied with twine (I know it's early for place settings, but who wants to pay for shipping twice???).

So I'm super psyched to get these in the mail, and I will upload some pictures of the process, because it's sure to be super fun, and of course, you can enjoy the transformation of the booze with me from clear/golden to deep brown over the course of the next few months.

For anyone going to try this at home; DO NOT throw out your beans when your extract is done. These used beans are actually perfect for vanilla sugar. And me personally? I looooooove vanilla in my coffee.

Lastly, good news everyone:


That's right, I'm pretty sure now that when I told you I bought it I forgot to tell you when it was supposed to come in... August! As I have always said, and this is no "I told you so" to my mom or anyone else, but I knew that it would be here this early. David's Bridal gives you so much crap about how you have to hurry because it's going to take 5 months, and then it takes TWO WEEKS! Are you serious??? This is now my third experience with it happening just this way (Mia's wedding dress, my bridesmaids dress for Mia's wedding, and now my wedding dress) so I feel pretty confident telling all potential David's Bridal patrons out there; take your time, and do not let them pressure you. I was not pressured as I knew this gown was the right one for me, however, I also had lots of time, so even when they told me it wouldn't be in till August, I thought to myself "oh, but yeah, I'd still have a month or so if I can't make up my mind today."

Anyway, I never did show the one. 

Kyle, unless you want us to have an unintentional, wedding-ruining first look, go away now!

Well, here she is:

Is anyone surprised? Based on my evolution towards this dress, yes, it is surprising, but based on everything I've learned about what I really want, I'm not surprised, and I'm very happy. Just so you know though, I never did have any sort of crying 'I feel like a bride' moment. And on top of all that, I still look at other gowns, just to see what else is out there, and I wouldn't put it past myself to find something that I fantasize about somewhere down the line. Yeah, I said it, but not being too emotionally attached to my current gown means that I'm not going to whine and moan when and if I do find another one. I'm either going to solidify in my mind why this one is just right, or I'm going to do the same thing I did once already...

Not to worry, I don't see that happening this time :D

Monday, March 28, 2011

It's for real now

So, everything in this post will reflect today's title...


Every time I look at the pictures now, I get all excited that we're actually going to be staying here!! For a week!!!! I am literally going to crawl out of bed every morning into my infinity pool and then fall back to sleep in the pool, then crawl up into the hammock and sleep there for a while longer, then probably crawl onto one of the porch chairs and sleep some more and eat and drink and maybe swing through the jungle at some point. You can call me Ashley the sloth, Lord of the Lazy and Luxurious!!

Also, Save the Dates are printed!!! (no rainbow text there, it's not as exciting) But here are some pictures anyway:

Kyle helped with the printing, that is, he let me print them on the office printer... Or as I like to refer to it: the Mega Awesome Fast Machine Good Job.

Only issue is that the burgundy (fancy script) came out really dark, Kyle swears he sees burgundy, I see brown :-(

Like the rough edges??? That was no accident, and no, they didn't come like that...

I spent all day tearing them all apart, and painstakingly giving them rustic-looking, bumpy edges.

When these go out, people will actually know an actual wedding is going to actually happen! I was laughing to myself about how much money (catering deposit, photography retainer, dress) is already spent, it's not like we haven't been preparing... But it was like it was a secret before, once these go out, the secret goes out with it.

People will Save the Date!

Anywho, I'm going to quit spazzing, here's what it'll all look like:

I cut out chocolate-colored cardstock to reinforce the Save the Date, and I think they look great against each other.

Don't get too excited though, they still need a few stamps and artsy additions. I have decided, upon more careful inspection of my initial inspiration, that I was a little heavy-handed in my first attempts at adding artistic touches.

Here's the inspiration from
Just picture it with my fonts and burgundy where the green is. And here's my first attempts:
Yeah, a little... crappy. But that's okay, because that's why I practiced... duh! Winning!! (sorry, I just had to throw in a Charlie Sheen reference... that man has made it instinct for me to say "Winning!" every time I say Duh! like, for the rest of my life!)

Riiight, anyway, so it won't be hard for me to start a lot less heavy-handed, and then go from there. There will be plenty more pictures to show as I go through and stamp and shade 50... yeah, 50 StDs while Kyle gets together the rest of the addresses on his side of the family. I don't envy him, because he has a lot more than I did, and some of them are a lot more extended... Best of luck, Baby, and hurry it up!

One more for real thing that's not as exciting as a honeymoon but still worth mentioning: Tara's deposit is on its way! I am a few days away from having a florist!!! It will soon be time to start talking cake. But not yet.

I would like to leave you all with my restaurant review of the month:

FOND! A very charming BYOB in South Philly. Contemporary American, with a hint of French in there. It was very rich and delicious food.

The atmosphere was a lot closer and noisier than Sonata, but still romantic and cool:
Because it's in South Philly (heavy Italian area), there were a few old, loud, rude people in there, but it didn't ruin the meal. The only reason I even mention it is because the menu and the feel of the place seems geared towards young professionals but there were very few of us there. Anyway, our waiter was one of the co-owners and was incredibly sweet. The chef came out to greet us at the end of our meal... which was delicious!

We had an amuse bouche of mushroom soup first, seared foie gras and octopus salad as apps, then

Pork belly for him...

Seared skate wing for her...

And two bottles of wine later... we had a very fun night. Thank you Fond, we'll be back, despite the loud, old people :D

Anyway, I think that's it for now. It was a great weekend, a lot of stuff is underway, and I'll keep you updated on Save the Dates!

Friday, March 25, 2011

holy crap...

8 months to go...

Pretend I wasn't here

OK, I'm sorry I kind of broke my promise: our honeymoon is booked. Getting there, not taken care of yet. We're doing flights tonight.

See, Kyle and I have started working out again, every night for an hour, P90X
Yeah, thanks.

Kyle's lost three pounds in one week by also changing his whole diet. See, let me let you in on a little annoying secret. Boys suck! As soon as they break a sweat they lose two pounds. Kyle eats fruit and loses another pound. I eat fruit and break a sweat, I gain a pound. It happens to be water weight, let's just say I picked a bad week to get back into working out, self-esteem-wise. But my face instantly started clearing up, and I do feel good... But it's like all my bodily systems have stopped doing their jobs right now just so they can retain water. They're all on strike:

Even Osmosis Jones has given up virus-fighting to retain water on my behalf!

Anyway, it kicks our butts, and like I said, it's every freakin' night, so we've had enough time to shower, eat, and go to bed after working out. So I'm being sneaky because I promised I wouldn't be back here until the honeymoon was completely booked. That being said, I suppose I should still be crazy psyched that the hotel part is booked, 50% deposit is down!

I mean, I am psyched!!!!

Sorry, the real reason I wanted to post quickly is because I want to change my blog url to be more Kyle inclusive. I tried this out yesterday and got an e-mail from my parents saying that it said my blog had been deleted. Sorry to them and to anyone else, it's changed back... obviously.

But I will be changing the url before StDs go out. I want the blog to also act as my wedding website and I want it to be more wedding appropriate. So, without further ado; the new url will be:

There, easy enough switch. Now I'll wait a week to change it officially, but just know, anyone who does not have google reader or anything, you'll have to type a new address in starting next Friday.

Next, I want to reveal our final design for invitations and StDs. I have to print out StDs very soon, and figured I'd go ahead and do another trial run with invitations while I was at it! Till then, everyone have a stellar weekend!

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

For real? Ahh!! Taxes are due in less than a month!!

I just read a blog post about someone reviewing their budget and noting that they would have enough when all was said and done to pay off their vendors when the final bills finally came in. See for anyone who does not know, you put these tiny deposits down (sometimes they're 50%, but usually they're like $100) and then a month before the wedding, you're, like, seriously broke. I picture it like the bill collector:

Except the bill collector will actually look like Maureen from Riverdale, our photog Ben, and our florist Tara, and eventually our baker. Also our DJ, the resort where we're honeymooning... am I forgetting anyone??

(I wish they all looked like Pearl :D)

Now, I'm not complaining because everyone's really been great and we're on target for budget, I think we're doing as well as we can and still have the wedding we deserve/want. HOWEVER, the problem is that as time goes on, the final numbers on these bills change!

Here's a breakdown (because I bet you don't believe me!):
Our catering bill will change as far ahead as a week before the wedding depending on the final head count.
Our photography bill will change depending on who our second photographer is.
Our florist bill will change if our number of centerpieces changes and if there are any misunderstandings and she didn't include something I wanted in the initial quote (which I think has actually already happened... maybe).
Oh yeah, and then there's an alterations bill.

Now, I know what you're going to say: "At least you can have an estimate." Do you know who you're talking to?? It's not the numbers that are making me nervous, it's the changes, it's the not-knowing part that's driving me crazy. I need goals in life to know what to aim for. You could tell me a million gagillion dollars and I mean, that would be safe, but I'd know that wasn't real. I don't like surprises, that's all. No one can tell me how much things are going to cost, but it's not their fault.

Boooo. Anyway, every now and then, I just like to whine about those things that are out of my control. I don't like not being in control.

On to things that are in my control. Save the Dates need to go out!! Like a month ago!!! AHHHHHH!!! Once I get working, I think they'll only take me a weekend solid to finish. AS SOON as they're finished I'll post pictures, I'll post some progress pictures of me going crazy colored pencilling the fiftieth one!

This actually brings up another important point, because before the StDs can go out, I need everyone's address... yeah, that's going to take longer than hand-making every invitation!! Mama... get to work!! Haha, just kidding, but only kinda'...

With trying to finish my PhD and trying to do all this wedding stuff, which, believe me, I love more than my real job, my task list isn't any bigger, it's just more pressing! Kyle's been incredibly supportive though, and has already offered to do all the printing, or at least allow me to print on his laserjet at work :) But the funny thing is that every time I think about invites and RSVPs and StDs I go 'Oh crap... I still don't have anyone's address...' I make mental notes but my mental hard drive consistently moves mental notes to my mental trashcan and then mentally deletes them forever.

I also really wanted to hold on this next post until I could say "OUR HONEYMOON IS FOR REAL BOOKED!!" but we haven't yet heard the for real confirmation that the hotel customer service person has received our secure PDF of the credit card authorization form and was able to open it and then that everything actually went through. So I don't want to get ahead of myself! But I so want to tell everyone that it's booked!! Can you tell I don't like being in this limbo?! Maybe I should take a break from letting it all out on all of you until real things are happening. You have my word I will not blog again until our honeymoon is completely booked, flight, hotel and two smoking barrels.

Anyone else having limbo issues? Are you driving yourself and those around you crazy??

"You need to relax!"

Monday, March 21, 2011

And flowers in your hair

If anyone cares to flit over to my vendors page (Eat, Drink, and Be Married), you'll notice a new addition!! Tara of Splints and Daisies now graces my vendor page! I got a quote from her today and it's even better than I expected. She's actually under my budget, and even though I realized that my budget was a little low, she still managed to come in under it. Now that being said, we haven't completely solidified some things, I might ask her to do a few more things yet.

I know I shouldn't be too thrilled still at the size of the bill, but as I mentioned a few posts ago, according to the cost calculator website, I'm on target. And Tara is really great so far, she's enthusiastic and energetic and (just like all my other vendors... huh) seems to really love our vision and be on board with making it come to life. Now, I say "our vision" and have been very careful to include Kyle in everything so far, but I guess I have to be unfair to be fair in this instance and say my vision, because Kyle just doesn't care about flowers. The few suggestions he has given me so far have been ones I forced out of him because I thought it was important to get his thoughts on EVERYTHING!! I realize now that there are a few things he's okay handing off to me alone... not only okay, downright ecstatic!

Anyway, last week was this ridiculous week that included Mia's bridal shower (I love you bridesmaids, but I don't want one of those!), meeting Tara, buying a dress...

Say what??? Yeah, I bought a wedding gown. Please believe, I am dying to post pictures but I really feel like the mystique of the whole ordeal is long since gone, and I'm trying to maintain some semblance of intrigue. I figured out though why everyone has given me such a hard time about it though. I tried to include as many people as possible in as many of my salon trips as possible. I thought everyone would really enjoy spending a day in New York and playing dress-up. Now, I'm not delusional, I know I was the one playing dress-up and everyone else was sitting around outside the dressing room, but I still thought the fanciful aspect of wedding gown shopping was something everyone would semi-enjoy once they got swept up in it. Well, I was wrong, and if I had known that, I would not have asked anyone to come with me. I apparently bored everyone, looked at way too many gowns, and went to way too many salons. I want to just let everyone know though that I thought if I did it without my best friends' and loved ones' help, you'd be mad at me for not including you...

It's a catch-22, I'm not gonna' agonize over it anymore, because it's bought. No more wedding gown shopping. It's due in in August. Maybe my superstitions will have lightened up by then (or I'll no longer care about intrigue :)).

Oh yeah, and as of today, Kyle's faxing our authorization form to Casa Chameleon to solidify our reservation!! I've got the flight on hold, it's just waiting for a credit card number. Aside from the silly little technicality of not really being paid for, OUR HONEYMOON IS BOOKED!!! It's insanely exciting; I am fortunate to have had a lot of opportunities in my lifetime for travel and seeing spectacular places, but this will be the first time I'm going to one of those places solely to be the laziest, most luxurious, spoiled new wife I can be!

Anyway, sorry no pictures today, but I have no real data for you, just invoices, receipts, contracts... I have never spent this much in one week... ever!

And it feels awesome.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Quick note about Japan and favors

As many of you might have heard, tomorrow is a day of blog silence as a tribute to the devastation in Japan:

Isn't that nifty and a really easy thing to do to show support for Japan?! I thought so too, so even though I am most likely going to get my wedding gown tonight we will all have to wait until Saturday for the announcement, which I am more than happy to wait for, aren't you?

Just one side note today that came to me via Ruffled, and is my new favorite thing that I am super psyched about!

Homemade vanilla extract!!!

It's super easy (not super cheap, but most likely not more expensive than most other favor ideas), I mean ridiculously easy... I mean insultingly easy. Here's the recipe, in telegram style:

Put vanilla beans in vodka or rum. Stop.
Wait 2 months.

Yeah, for serious, that's it, and I'm super psyched that I found out about it now, because I have plenty of time to get the beans and let the extract mature.

This, to me, is down-home, wholesome, and rustic, and I love anything vanilla. As an added bonus I've decided to do vanilla beans tucked in the napkins at each place setting instead of herbs as a tie in:

This was my original idea, now just replace the herbs with vanilla beans (I had no idea where else to put herbs and was afraid they looked out of place anyway).

Also, on a side note, this is of little consequence because I've never posted about it before, but at one point I loved the idea of putting coffee beans in the candle glasses:

(This one's from project wedding)

I absolutely love it, I love the color of coffee beans and the smell of fresh coffee beans is to die for, but then I couldn't think of any other way to tie in coffee beans, any way at all. In retrospect, I suppose I could do chocolate-covered espresso beans or something, but I still think incorporating vanilla in different ways is going to be easier than coffee beans, mostly because vanilla beans are long sticks that can get poked into things here and there, coffee beans can't go into a bouquet or a hair accessory.

As a note to anyone who doesn't like vanilla smell, the uncut beans are not too too strong, as long as they stay uncut, also the ballroom is really large, I don't think we have to worry about the smell getting too overwhelming in that space, no more so than with coffee smell... I love both, so everyone else can kind of get over it... :D

Anyway, that's all for me until the weekend. Just some things to think about and please please please pop over to that link from Ruffled to make some homemade vanilla extract for yourself, because I think that it will be so worth it, especially if you are not making 50-100 favors, just for yourself it's very cost effective... seeing as real vanilla extract is ridiculously expensive anyway!

Happy Saint Patty's Day!!!

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Flowers really are that expensive

I just did a quick cost analysis of the flowers. I won't bore you with itemized lists. If I get wholesale flowers and everything else from it would cost over $900!!! Even if Tara gave me flowers for free (I realize that wouldn't happen, I'm just trying to prove a point, sheesh) all the other supplies would still cost $500.

The point is, after doing that analysis, I'm even more receptive to her price. Especially because let's not forget that most importantly, she'll be doing the work! I won't be doing the work the day of our wedding! That's got to be worth the cost. I also can't neglect the fact that aside from actually picking wildflowers, my "vision" is not an expensive one; we don't need much besides the bouquets, boutonnieres, and centerpieces. I mean, my opinion might completely change once she actually sends me the estimate, but for now, I'm even more on board with these flowers... Until I crack and just pick some weeds from the side of the highway.

I know I know, the suspense is killing me too

So, I'm sorry that I promised to write two days ago with flower pictures and I didn't. I know also that you're all dying to know about my honeymoon drama (just play along) and I've kept you hanging.

Well, I'm very sorry, but I'm back now and more than ready to tell you about the last few days!

First of all, Honeymoon!!! I told you that I had not heard back for a week and was ready to write the serious e-mail. Well, I looked through all my e-mails the next morning and I noticed something: My first e-mail that the customer service person responded to immediately was sent to the general "info" e-mail address at Casa Chameleon. When the woman responded to me, however, she responded from her personal e-mail address associated with the hotel; I wrote to "" and she responded from "" Well, I just hit reply to reply to her, and when I saw the difference in these two e-mail addresses, it struck me that I bet I could get a quick response again if I went back to e-mailing ""

Well, I did just that, I tried it out. Monday morning I wrote an e-mail to info and said something to the effect of 'We have written a couple e-mails that have not been answered. We love your resort, we really want to stay there for our honeymoon but we'll have to choose another destination if we don't hear from you in another couple of days.' Dude, I heard back that evening! Now, while I got no explanation as to why it had taken a week for her to respond or why her e-mail wasn't working or whatever, she finally responded with the same sweet enthusiasm that she did initially.

And guess what... OUR DATES ARE OPEN!!! I wrote back to say thank you so much and please put them on hold for us, she just wrote back to me with the credit card authorization form and the guarantee that the Ultra Luxury Villa aka Honeymoon Villa is on hold for us!! When I told Kyle he promised that this weekend we would sit down and book the flights and fill out the credit card form.


Whew! But I need to calm down, on to flowers!!

I met with Tara from Splints and Daisies yesterday, it's literally a hop-skip-jump from our venue, so that's great. Her style is more contemporary but she's also rustic and doesn't do cookie cutter- what she calls- lollipop bouquets. Here's a little taste of her style:

Moss... love moss...

She's as in love with fiddlehead ferns as I am... Score!!

She likes making bouquets that look lopsided or flow a little, not just balls of perfect flowers in pinks and reds. Anyway, as I hinted before, if I had to have a florist, she's right up my alley. She's very nice and for the area, seems to be well-priced. Especially because I found out that she can do a lot of the things I wanted to do with my centerpieces (moss, wood slabs, candles) because she already has those materials. I was hesitant at first, but then when I factored in shipping and what I was going to do with 12 wood slabs after the wedding, I thought 'hey, maybe I should just let this nice lady make my life easier.'

Here's what I came to her with:

These are the flowers I want incorporated in the design (the ranunculus is there just in case, but not my favorite, because the calla lilies are better).

It's been so much easier for me to find boutonnieres that I like, and so hard to find bouquets that I like, so basically, I told her that I love the balsa wood flowers, the feathers, the twigs, the fiddleheads, winter berries or pussy willow, and the calla lilies. These things are well represented here on these bouts, sooooo, just make the bout first to represent what's here and then make a bigger version as the bouquet.

Here's all I could find as inspiration for the bouquet:

I know it seems like there's a lot here, but I don't actually like any of these. I like the deep burgundy callas (but not the other stuff in those top left and middle bouquets), I like the succulents (but not the white callas or the grasses in the top right bouquet), I like the feathers (but not the dusty miller in the middle left bouquet), I like the wheat and balsa wood flowers (but not the fabric flowers in the middle right bouquet) and finally, ALL of them are TOO BIG!! I want the bouquets to be the size of the bottom row bouquets.

Shoo, got all that Tara? Here's some more stuff:

Centerpieces was very straightforward: I'm currently collecting wine bottles (I actually have enough *Squee* already but still collecting so I can use them elsewhere if I want to) and I want just a fiddlehead fern or two and few wheat stalks sticking out. I'd like herbs at each place setting, and that's it. Then of course I still want the burlap on the table, moss on the burlap, the wood slab on the moss, and a few candles and the wine bottle on the wood slab.

Again, she has these for me to use.*

*Now of course I don't get to use them for free, I would be renting them, but if renting them from her still costs less than buying and shipping them to myself, then we've found ourselves a winner. Now, I say all this now, she hasn't yet given me a breakdown of how much this is all going to cost, but she has assured me that it's on the lower end budget-wise from the average Lancaster flower budget, which by the way is $2000!! I told her my budget was $1000 not because it is but because I really don't want to spend $2000 on something that's going to die very soon after the wedding.

Needless to say, I've re-budgeted because I realized that I've not been using very good tools to figure out my budget (theknot said flowers should cost me $300... what the frick?!). There's a website that shows average wedding cost for your zip code and breaks down how much you should expect to pay for each element, and it's making me feel a lot better about how much we're spending:

Average wedding cost in Lancaster: between $17,960 and $29,933! If we even manage to come in on the lower end of that range, I've decided I'm going to be happy. Here's a quick breakdown of why:
  • We spent more than average on the wedding bands because Kyle keeps insisting on getting me whatever I want HOWEVER, according to the website, we're still spending below average for jewelry (I'm not counting engagement ring, I'm sorry, I just can't do it, it's not a wedding cost)
  • We spent less than average on the invitations by DIYing
  • We're right in the middle of the range for attire
  • We're right on target for flowers (hopefully)
  • We're actually on the low end of the average for venue and catering, can you believe it!
  • We're spending a bit less on the DJ, because he's a good friend, but not to worry Nick, we're still not going to shaft you.
  • Our DOC comes with the venue, and I'm too anal to actually pay someone to do stuff I'm going to want to do myself before the day of anyway
  • We don't have transportation to pay for because booking 15 rooms at the nearby Hampton/Marriot gets us free shuttle service!
The only expense that's over the average is photography, Ben's a little pricey of course, even though he's less pricey than most of the photographers we've seen! But the point is, I seem to be on the right track to have a mostly budget-conscious wedding, but I'm no longer going to lie to myself and let myself think we can do this wedding for less than it's going to cost because I keep getting sticker shock and it's embarrassing when you go to vendors and they're like 'yeah, that's going to be 10 times what you want to spend.'

Anyway, I'm getting off my soap box. I go dress shopping tomorrow!!! All by myself, and I'm going to buy a dress, for real. I feel like it's best in the end for me to be there myself, even though that didn't work out so great the first time. Everyone has had different opinions and so I want it to just be me at the counter making the final decision. Plus no one else is around :-(

Oh hey, I found my long lost twin! And she's wearing my dress!!

How funny is that?! Now, a shift is happening here, it's ammo against my FMIL; is this the way you want my hair to look for the wedding?? Because this is the only way I would wear it curly... My mom is currently cringing. No worries Mama!! But still, doesn't her hair look almost right with that dress?? If I wore my hair curly for the wedding, I would actually be tempted to wear it like that! And that's the only way I would wear it curly.

So you tell me; curly and wild, or sleek and sophisticated and possibly boring???