Friday, July 29, 2011

What it's all about

Just read a blog post today from OnceWed and it really resonated, I mean, all it was was an interview with a florist, but they asked her for her 5 favorite things about weddings. This is what she said:

Tell us 5 things you love about weddings? 
1. Cake!
2. The meshing of two families for the first time
3. The amazing energy of two people coming together to profess their love to the world.
4. being able to express who you are to your loved ones by creating an environment that is completely yours.
5. the feeling that you and your mate are invincible for a minute. that nothing can stop you from being your best.

It is really on point and I am in love with her favorite things! I mean, I've never really thought about what my five favorite things about weddings are, but I do love my man so so much (sorry to get mushy) and it brought to my attention that we have decided to write our own vows and I wish I could be as simply eloquent as this random florist (No offense to her, it's just today was the first I ever heard of her)!

I also wanted to make our invitations more personal than "Mr. and Mrs. so and so request the honour of your presence" blah blah blah, but whenever I try to make it personal, it comes off goofy and silly, which I love, but I don't think it's appropriate.

I think in both cases, I've been going about it the wrong way; I've been trying to stick to some format, and I know that if I just write from the gut (read: heart) it will come across correctly. I think that although Kyle and I are pretty goofy, I do want the romanticism of our relationship to come across. We have these rustic romantic invitations, rustic venue, romantic color palette... I think I need to stick with what I know.

I'm not quite comfortable yet sharing our invitations (first, because we haven't sent them out yet, obvs, and second because I'm disgusted with the wording I've got so far) so I apologize for the wordy post, but I really felt like getting across my five favorite things about our wedding (in no particular order):

  1. Us! Finally making legal what we wanted all along, so that we can start our life together
  2. Creating a day totally unique to the two of us, and collaborating together to really make the perfect day
  3. Sharing the intense love we have for each other with our families, testifying that I'm his and he's mine forever
  4. Pampering ourselves for awhile with hugs and kisses and good wishes and smiling faces; I really just want as many of our loved ones to be there as humanly possible
  5. The awesome massive party that will ensue after all that lovey dovey stuff :)
Actually, all kidding aside, this is part of where my disconnect is coming from, I tried to make the invitation wording fun because I want to reception to be fun, but I want the ceremony to be romantic and filled with love... so how do I do that? My first thought was to keep the invitation wording fun but really focus on writing uncharacteristically serious vows, but again, irreverent invitation wording just doesn't seem appropriate. So I think I am going to try to balance them... somehow. Again, I think this means just writing, from the heart-gut without trying to adhere to some format.

The invitation will have all necessary information (date, time, location... duh!) but other than that, I'm just going to invite people the way I want to invite them! And I'm going to write my vows to Kyle, and not from some 'Intro, Body, Conclusion' format I read out of a text book.

Do you agree? Disagree? Do you think that invitations have to follow a specific format? Do you think hers and his vows should follow the same format??

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

I feel like a professional!!

I did something! Wanna' see??

It started out like this:
Two cups of extra dark tea...

And a damp piece of cloth laying on some trash bags!

So I set out tonight to make me an ombre piece of cloth! (did you read my cowboy accent?? Ombre is so country sounding!) I set out a couple trashbags, marked the trashbags at 6 inch intervals and wet the cloth and wrung it out. I believe this cloth is about 2.5 meters long and maybe a meter wide (? - it's folded in half longways)

I put the tea in one of those restaurant salad dressing bottles... you know, the clear versions of those ketchup/mustard bottles at diners.

ANYWHOSITZ! I squirted my extra concentrated tea on the bottom six inches of the fabric, and as I expected, it didn't color the fabric as much as I had hoped it would; tea is not dye, so it doesn't stain fabric as well as I had hoped. But that's ok!

It actually worked out to my advantage: The tea didn't create dark blocks of color that made blending difficult.

Blending was very very easy! I just used my hand to push the tea up the fabric. I kept putting more and more on the bottom and pushing it upwards. I gradually diluted my tea and worked my way up the fabric, I kept putting more on the bottom to try and make it darker.
Finished product! Just a tip, I mean, not sure if it's a tip, not sure if it will make a difference, but I didn't wring out the excess tea, I rolled the whole thing in the trashbags and carried it outside. The tea drips downward, so it continues to the bottom to hopefully make it darker. I dunno' but I can hope. Well, I shouldn't even say that, I do like it the way it is, it's not so in your face or anything. I'm only worried about washing it making the color fade. We'll see!

In the meantime, I found a better place to hang it and there it will stay until it stops dripping tea all over the gall dern place.
Ta da!!! I'll take some better pictures in better light, I mean, I'll show it once it's actually ripped up and turned into a backdrop. This whole thing was ridiculously simple, I didn't even get dirty! I'm sure real dye would have given a much more defined ombre, but I like the subtle color and I really like how easy it was the blend the color up the fabric. The Marth Stewart link I posted a few posts ago (right below the picture of scarves) contains a video that was exactly my protocol. She's the man. I wish I could scratch this off the old to do list, but no so fast! There's a lot of fabric ripping to do yet, but I'm encouraged by how easy this was. Even if the fabric ends up being not dark enough for me, I think I can just do the same procedure over again to deepen the color, but we'll see if that's even necessary.

For now, I ombre-d!! I'm so excited!! Did anyone else tackle a new skill and surprise themselves??

Here it is some more!!

I know I already showed my hair flowers, but I felt that to really get the appropriate scale AND to officially be done with it - meaning it has a hair comb attached to the back of it now too - was the only way I could feel that it was really done.

I'm assembly-lining the bridesmaids' ones, they're about a quarter of the way done. I'm going to tackle the ombre-ing of the fabric for the fabric backdrop tonight! But until then...

I apologize for the frizzy hair, bad lighting, and blurriness. One of these days, I'll get my camera fixed and take decent pictures of everything, but until then, it started getting late and I got sillier...

So you get the picture!

The only problem is that it was a little loose. I have to figure out a way to secure it better. Other than that, I'm super excited about the completion of this tiny part of my to do list. Back to work!!

How is everyone else doing with their to do lists?

Monday, July 25, 2011

Mathematical Errors

I got one of those e-mails from project wedding or theknot or someplace today and it said I had four months to go...

I thought I had five...

Friday, July 22, 2011

Here it is!!!

Thank you all for your comments, as usual! I'm really enjoying using the other side of my brain. As a scientist, I don't get to create, I don't get to be inspired. So I'm pulling out all the stops, and I am humbled by the fact that you actually like my ideas!

Anyway, enough of that sappy stuff, I finally took pictures of my first hair accessory finished! This one will be mine... I had not intended it that way, but I kept building on it and building on it and it got so big and beautiful and so I said, 'yeah, I want this one.' Don't worry though, the others will still be beautiful, just not as large as mine. I don't know many people who would want theirs to be as large as mine, but you have to remember how large my hair is; the flower has to accommodate the hair! I have to apologize ahead of time because my real camera is acting up, not reading its memory card, so I had to take pictures with my phone, which has a decent camera, but they're still a bit blurry. Last apologetic note, I will actually take pictures of it in my hair once I have a clip or comb attached to the back... also my hair was a frizzy mess last night :)

I give you three different views since all are kinda' blurry. Put them all together and hopefully you get a sense of the whole look of the thing:

Thanks for your feedback! But don't stop now! What do you think??

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Outstanding Ombre

Ya'll, I have an obsession... I've had it for awhile, but it's hard to talk about, so I haven't brought it up till now, but I've seen a lot of blog posts about it lately, and I fall more and more in love... And I can't hold back anymore...

I am ombre obsessed:
(Oh, Martha's going to pop up a lot)
(source... not Martha)
Cap Classique featured ombre today, clothes, paper, flowers, and cakes:
And they included a bunch of links for tutorials which is awesome and all, and included Martha who's a master.

Even though it's a French term, I am in love with it. I worry that it gives a French feel to the whole affair, but then I think... only if you go overboard... Sooo, what classifies as overboard??
(I don't know, it's hard to make ombre look bad in my opinion. Plus it was a carnival themed wedding)
(I swear to you, if that purple was more burgundy, I would wear this dress and order this cake!)

Where am I going with this?? Well, one of my possible wedding gowns was advertised as blush and I got it in ivory, but you have no idea how close I was to asking if I could order it with blush underskirts. I didn't know if they could do it and I was working with a fixed budget at the time. The point is, I'm thinking of asking if they can do it now... and how much that would cost me. I wish they could just dye the underskirts in a back room... or let me do it... Yeah, no, I refuse to potentially completely F-up a $1,200 article of clothing, especially if I plan on wearing it on the most important day of my life.

While I was not sold on the whole dress being blush, I like the idea of the ivory dress with blush underskirts and burgundy shoes... Ombre!

Until I make that decision, I thought up something harmless and inexpensive for the meantime; remember my fabric backdrop? Ombre anyone??? I found a tutorial here and of course Martha's scarves follow a different method but with the same result (Martha explains it better of course). I thought up the brilliant idea of using tea! No, I'm not the only one with this idea, of course, I'm just messin'. But seriously, I haven't found a single ombre tea stained project... Not sure if I can take the principles of tea staining and apply them to ombre, but here's hoping. I figure I'll dye my fabric and then rip it, and start arranging it. Here's my plan for the layout... first, here's a picture of the alter in the pavilion at Riverdale:
(I don't want to seem like I've given up on my dream of having a nice outdoor wedding at the Sycamore site, but I just don't want to get set on an outdoor wedding for late November... and then not have a solid plan B... We picked Riverdale because of every place we looked, their plan B site is almost better than their plan A!)

The entrance to the pavilion looks the same as the alter, so here's my plan (please excuse my chicken scratch):
Pretend the roof has been taken off, you're looking at it almost bird's eye, the dotted lines represent the rest of the sides of the pavilion, which is a big oval... See it? The backdrop will hang from the support beams at the alter, and an inverse design will hang at the entrance. On either side of the backdrops will hang little chandeliers made up of the yarn orbs, which will each contain a [battery-operated] tealight. Can you see it?? I hope you can, because I see it in my head and it's awesome, unique, and cohesive, and really beautiful!

This brings up a point I made in my last post; I love this idea so much I may make mini-versions for the cake table or the gift table or somewhere, and of course, I am definitely going to do a mini-version for the backs of the bride and groom chairs. I'm super excited about this relatively easy and super inexpensive DIY (linen or other fabric costs maybe $5 a yard and tea bags are abundant at my house). This weekend, the man and I are going to the Harrington Fair in DE, but the next free weekend I get (or next week, when the man is away on business... Funny side story, he always teases me about having my other boyfriends over when he's away on business, and I tell him 'Honey, the only way I cheat on you is by shamelessly DIYing the whole time you're away') I think I will buckle down and finally do this, because it's one of the projects I'm most excited about!

I'll keep you posted about the underskirt ombre-ing! Also, I finished my first hair accessory last night but forgot to take a picture of it. I found a $5 bill on the floor this morning; score!! And last night, the man grilled up some chicken breasts and I made garlic-roasted beets and roasted potatoes with thyme and crispy bacon and I'm still on a high over how amazing that meal was! 'S a good day...

How is everyone else doing???

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Still can't decide about this map

I am in the middle of a couple DIYs and this is why I haven't posted in a few days. I believe I mentioned before, I hate having so many grand schemes and ideas but not seeing the finished product. I'm fairly certain there will be a finished product, but until then... I'm just not satisfied till something gets checked off the to do list.

But what have I done? I made my to do list longer, yay!!

  • Yarn orbs - 6 of 20 (or more) are done!
  • Hair accessories - Almost done one of four
  • Alter fabric backdrop
  • Knit shrug - halfway done... yeah, still only halfway
  • Invitations (more detailed invitation-specific to do list to come) I specifically need to make a decision about invitation wording and about the map:
  • Try to find some old frames/window frames to make chalkboards (menu, table settings, etc...)

  • Smaller scale version of the fabric backdrop for chairs/elsewhere (?)
  • Small burlap bunting

  • Old wooden swing?? Will I even be allowed to hang it???
  • Ring pillow or something for that purpose - we don't have a ringbearer, but that doesn't mean we can't have somewhere pretty for the rings to sit
  • Burlap table runners
  • Hangers!
(haven't decided yet if I can DIY this, in the meantime, giving lilafrances her due)
  • Bird cake topper - Aunt Keirsten is taking this one on!
  • Wood slice cake stand - could be solved easily by a trip to a relative's farm
  • Massive Lancaster Flower and Craft Warehouse trip!! July 30th cannot get here fast enough!!
  • Music list, collecting and organizing said music, solidifying DJ
  • Booking hotel rooms for the night before and night of the wedding
  • Men's suits
  • Regional Costa Rica flights (our flight to the main international airport is booked, but we need to book our flight to the resort ~100 miles away. Our resort is being super helpful so far BTdubs. I could not be happier so far and I haven't even gotten there... but have I mentioned how excited I am for when we finally do get there??? And see this?!?!?!?!):
(oh I have? Sorry.)

Go away real quick, Kyle...


  • Pick a dress...

Soooo yeah, I'm a tad stressed. I really really want to have product to show off! And a honeymoon to go to!! And a dress to wear!!!

But in the meantime, the man and I had dinner last night with our photographer Ben and his wife Rose:
That about sums them up. We had a fantastic time. Not just a fake fantastic time, a real fantastic time. I'm not going to force the issue, but I really like them both as more than just a photographer and his wife, I'm hopeful that last night will not be the last dinner we ever share. The point is though that although we already knew we had made the right choice of photographer, last night really solidified that.

We have pre-marital counseling coming up with my Grampa (yeah, that's how I spell it, what??), which is not going to be awkward at all ;) He asked us to do the Keirsey temperament test which was kinda' fun and he has already assured me that it's not going to be awkward. My G is a pretty with-it Grand dad so I believe him. Has anyone else taken the Myers-Briggs test?? I'm an ENFJ - the Idealist Teacher, and Kyle is an INTJ - the Rational Mastermind. No, he didn't strut around when he was given the title... at least not to my face. According to Keirsey our temperaments are made for each other... which is funny because normally I wouldn't put much stock in what a psychologist has to say about whether or not I'm meant for the man I'm going to marry... unless of course he says I am meant for the man I'm going to marry ;) Ha! Just messin'.

Anyway, I have to get to work; just over 5 months left! I have lots to do and in the mean time, I also need to get a PhD and find a real job :-\

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Thank you

I was really touched by the comments left on yesterday's post. I was honestly supposing that no one would care about budget as it's not nearly as fun to talk about as decorations and the like and moreover I was slightly worried that people would think I was throwing it in their faces that 'this is how much we're spending on our wedding, which clearly makes it better than yours.'
(Have you seen My Big Fat Gypsy Wedding yet??? You must! Also to explain the reference, you should hear how much they spend on these outrageous dresses and glass carriages and massive parties!)

Kyle mentioned that it might be perceived the same way as telling someone how much you make a year (but I showed him your comments). BUT, I'm so happy that you found it helpful/honest/eye-opening. I truly meant for it to be a candid picture of the nuts and bolts of the whole affair and you saw my intentions!

I love my readers, thanks for being awesome!!

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Breaking it down

I am finally ready! I finally feel not just ready, but impelled to post about our budget.

(Basically, this is what we're working with)

Why? You ask? It is intensely personal and might seem like way TMI to some. If you don't care to or don't want to see how much money this shindig is costing, by all means, please don't be offended (AKA skip this post).

I've recently been having trouble conceptualizing it. I've also been having trouble coming to grips with our "number" AND when I don't have a handle on money, I start freaking out that I owe somebody something and that I'm forgetting someone in some way.

Some have called me a control freak...

But I just need to be on top of things all the time.

Anyway, I also see no need to go into who is contributing what amount, suffice it to say that my parents are generously helping us out and we're all in it together. I will divulge though that of the portion that Kyle and I are paying, he's the one paying it and I'm only very slowly paying him back, like for the rest of my life. I want to make it very clear that I'm the one keeping a spreadsheet of what I owe him and I'm the one who's religiously making sure he gets paid back. I just don't have the money for these big purchases sitting around. You'd think it wouldn't be such a deal, what with deposits and all, but as it turns out, I couldn't even just up and write a check for $1,000 right now. He and my parents been my heroes so far.

These are the thoughts that stress me out. Kyle does a fantastic job trying to get me to not worry about these things by taking care of them when I'm not looking and then saying "Don't worry about it." He's an excellent saver and also very rational/logical/analytical when it comes to finances. Nothing ever really freaks him out, he sees every problem as an obstacle that he has already prepared for and he sees every triumph as the end goal that he had already planned on.

We had an "audit" in our house last night during which we really hammered out our costs, what's been paid, what still needs to be paid, etc... and I compared it today with Sure, there are items listed there that we don't have and there are things we do have that are not listed, but for me, for my peace of mind, this website really helps put things into perspective.

So without further ado:

  • Our original budget: $10,000 (pretty naive as it turned out, $10,000 is nothing in Philadelphia and even in Lancaster, $10,000 was barely going to be enough for some of the venues we looked at!) Cost of Wedding budget: $17,960 to $29,933... Okie dokie, time to re-evaluate!
  • Our venue (catering, rental fee, ceremony fee, alcohol  AND cake): $9,000. Cost of Wedding venue: between $6,298 and $10,496. Whew, it's no mean feat feeding and watering a bunch of people!
  • Our photographer: $2,800 for awesomeness. Cost of Wedding photography: between $1,377 and $2,295... well, we already knew that was going to happen.
  • Our flowers: $1,100. Cost of Wedding flowers: between $990 and $1,650. Very nice! But to be fair, I should add that their number includes decorations and because we're DIY-ing some of those, there is some hidden cost (glue, fabric, balsa wood flowers, a few country novelties), but I've been spreading them out so far that I can't keep track of them. I'm definitely going to keep that number below $500 though.
  • Our invitations (and save the dates): $325 because of DIY, not that cheap, but still cheaper than anything else I saw out there, and, oh yeah, there's the little factor of having complete control of the design! Cost of Wedding invitations: between $357 and $595, Ha! Success!!
  • Our favors: $175 (alcohol, vanilla beans, little amber bottles!) Cost of Wedding favors: between $206 and $344, booyah!!
(just Nick... Julie can come too though ;)
  • Our DJ: while this hasn't been 100% settled yet, we've been generally tossing around the number $800, for the time being, let's just use that value, especially since our DJ is a friendor! Cost of Wedding entertainment: between $876 and $1,476... that's why you want to try and find friendors!
  • Our jewelry: This is a really tough one for me because I really, truly believe that my engagement ring should not be part of the budget breakdown. So by jewelry, I am only including our wedding bands: $1,700. Cost of Wedding jewelry: between $1,351 and $2,251, perfect middle ground.
(Oh no!! the cat's out of the bag!! I hope you guys like my new dress!)
  • Our attire: This is all very tentative... not knowing what either of us is going to wear yet is tough, plus I have no idea how much alterations are going to be, but I'm going to go ahead and make an estimation of $2,500. Cost of Wedding attire: between $980 and $1,633, well, clearly they're not as well-dressed as we are.
  • Planner/consultant: not necessary
  • Transportation: not necessary
There is of course more, there are attendant/parent gifts (~$600) and vendor tips (~$500) and hotel rooms (~$250) and maybe (if I'm not dead broke) spa days and because this is already so long, I'm not going to go into the honeymoon costs; recognizing that while it's not typically something people include in the equation, it is included in our equation because we are all pooling together our resources to make this day happen. But I think for now, this paints a pretty thorough picture, at least for me.

And the magic number is:::::::

That is indeed a hard pill to swallow. What makes it toughest is that I cannot make that number smaller. I mean, short of eloping. The second toughest thing is that even if we were to go back to our original scheme of getting married in Hawaii and having a reception here, it's not like that number would get any smaller because the reception is the most expensive part. I do feel better having it written out, but it will always be mind-boggling how much money we're spending on one day. But I know, I musn't get so depressed; I know it will be worth it.

All I have to say about it is our friends and family better have the best time EVER!

Anyone else having money spaz attacks?