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My mom and I have spent quite a bit of time over the past few months playing with our floral budget. Initially, B and I weren’t planning on having a videographer. We were very strongly urged to hire one from our family members, including my Uncle Fran and Aunt Maria who broke their wedding video out for their kids on thair aniversary. So, we played around with the money we’d allotted for florals, and had lots of conversations like, “Well, if we take two callas from each high centerpiece, then that should save us a total of…” Our florist has been absolutely wonderful to work with– she’s all over pinching pennies without sacrificing the style and look I love.  

That also means that we’re forgoeing on a couple of flower ideas, as well as DIY-ing a bit more. For example, we’re nixing fresh church flowers. My mom and I were frustrated about the price  of flowers for cocktail tables. Tiny bud vases with a single stem, which our guests would see for an hour and while on their way to the restroom, should not cost us much money at all. When we were crunching numbers, the overpriced cocktail budvases were the first to go.

Since I love a DIY project, I’ve come up with a few ideas of easy things that my mom, sister and I could do ourselves, along with any bridesmaids who care to lend a hand. Check it out!

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This is shown here as a Centerpiece, so I’d have to hem it in size-wise. I love the citrus in the vase; nothing I couldn’t do myself with a quick trip to the food store!

I love the incorporation of non-floral elements. Like this apple.

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I like this one, but I’m frightened by a few things. 1.) I have a lot of goofy uncles who might decide it would be funny to eat my cocktail-hour centerpiece. 2.) There are a lot of rowdy little boys who might decide it would be funny to throw my cocktail-hour centerpiece. And 3.) there are a lot of fussy people who might not have any idea what to make of my cocktail-hour centerpiece. On the other hand, the apple-nest in cheap, easy for me to do well in advance, and… well… cheap. Another reason I like it is that bar, I want to incorporate vases like these to frame the space of the bar.

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Photos by Amy Squires on Style Me Pretty.

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I love the apples in the vases! Especially because they work with our color scheme, as well as a potential… signature cocktail. Yep. There. I said it. The thing is, the little nest-apples aren’t my favorite, though I love the tall vases of apples (maybe a smaller vase of halved limes?). There’s also the idea of reusing the mason jars from the rehearsal dinner and doing something along the lines of these options.

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As the night goes on and guests walk through the cocktail hour space, it will be nice to have the soft glow of candles.

Now, the one you’ve been waiting for. My very favorite.

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So tiny, so simple, so unique. I imagine that I’ll have to plant the wheat grass myself– how long does wheat grass take to grow? A packet of seeds can’t cost more than $3 from a hardware/garden store. We’ll plant the grass in small, square glass votive holders, purchased from AC Moore, Michaels, or (fingers crossed!) the dollar store. $12. Then, we’ll make a run to Produce Junction the day before the wedding and pick up a bouquet of 2 dozen, barely open white roses, for the grand total of $9.99. Thus, I could have simply DIY cocktail hour centerpieces for $25, when I was initially quoted over $100. Haha! Triumph!

One really nice aspect of having the rehearsal dinner on Thursday night instead of Friday is that I’ll have a bit of time to get together low-stress DIY items– like the kind that involve flowers– before the bibg day. Friday will also feature some fun festivities…… but more on that later.

What about you? Can you manage to pull of DIY centerpieces the day before? Am I crazy, or is this a legit idea?

Detox?

Yesterday evening, my sister and I drove an hour to the airport. We stopped at our favorite sushi place for dinner, where she scolded me for drinking root beer with my sushi. Then, we got on a plane and flew home to spend the Easter holiday with our family. Before jumping on the jetplane, we stopped at Hudson News or Borders-to-go or something like that, and got magazines for the flight. For the past two and a half years, I’ve picked up a wedding magazine. They’re just my favorites, engaged or not. Yesterday evening, I did the same as usual, picking up a copy of Inside Weddings, spring 2009.

Rach and I sat at our gate. Before opening up the magazine, I popped into Starbucks to grab a cup of coffee, since I hadn’t slept much the night before. I had a lovely time talking with the Barrista– from the way she handed my my change and my latte, I realized that she was from Ethiopia, which I love so deeply, having visited last winter. We talked about Ethiopia for a little while, and had a really pleasant time. Unbeknownst to me, my entrails were about to be turned into mush.

Back at the gate, I flipped open my magazine. Rachel sat on her computer. All was calm and quiet with the world. And then I saw it. And had a heart attack.

Featured in this issue of Inside Weddings  was over-the-top wedding after over-the-top wedding. I’m talking multi-million dollar affairs. Fourteen bridesmaids in one, seventeen bridesmaids in another. HUGE chuppas upon covered in flowers. Centerpieces made of roses shaped into swans. Two Monique Luhlier dresses for one event.

One bride and groom rented the Kodak Theater in Hollywood. You know the one– it’s where they host The Oscars. This same couple had a gospel choir, hired professional dancers to pose as stunt doubles for their first dance.

I thought I was going to die.

My latte sat forgotten at my feet.

Once I reminded myself to breathe– inhale, exhale, repeat– and was able to stick my eyes back into my head, I started to get really angry. I mean really angry. My sister, meanwhile, had leaned over my shoulder to look at the weddings in question, and exclaimed, “I want my wedding to look like that!” And I got angrier.

I should blame it on the wedding industry, which I knowingly take part in and enjoy thoroughly. But I just don’t think that’s it. No vendor that I have ever spoken to has suggested that Brandon and I order centerpieces made out of swan-roses, or get a Sylvia Weinstock cake flown in from New York. It just hasn’t happened.

There’s just something about being bigger and better, keeping up with the Joneses and all that, that absolutely incensces me about those weddings. It’s not that they depreciate the value of our wedding– nothing can really do that. But they do set up so many expectations that I cannot (and don’t want to) live up to– no one can.

So, I’ve decided I need to work on anger management. Which I think means… no more wedding magzines. I LOVE Martha Stewart Weddings, and with my lovely subscription, I will still read with voracity. Sure, I’ll read the blogs I love. And maybe, once in awhile, I’ll pick up a magazine at Borders– not to buy, just to peruse. What I don’t want is to see another wedding at the Kodak Theater. This isn’t a production, it’s a wedding. And if magazines and real weddings are going to take my mind away from the sentimentality and turn it into one big show, then c’est la vie.

I spend more time than I should procrastinating online. Partly because I don’t want to do work. Partly because my mind is occupied by mostly wedding related things. And partly because I have no self-control.

One thing I enjoy doing, beyond looking at my Registry at a near-obsessed level, is checking out the spring line of dresses to find a Rehearsal Dinner dress. My favorites include Bluefly, Nordstom, and, of course, Anthropologie. I thought that I’d found the dress I wanted to wear at Anthro. I was a little wary of wearing a green dress- isn’t that a little campy? Wearing theme colors to the rehearsal dinner?

I tried it on in the store a few weeks ago and loved it, but was turned off by the color. Though I love it, I felt a bit too matchy-matchy. I kept coming back to it though, because I was a bit tired of not finding a dress I liked at any other store.

Here she is!

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In this picture, it looks more blue-green. But in the store, trust me, it’s green. No doubt about it. It’s very cute– I love the sash, and the material is shantung with a chiffon overlay. While investigating online, I fell in love with these yellow shoes, by Nina, from Zappos. Yes, yellow shoes. Don’t ask me why, but I just love the idea of yellow shoes. Imagine them, with the dress above, and a sunflower in my hair.

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Now, if the dress were actually the color that it appears above, I think it would be very cute. But, considering the color is a very bold green, I think I would look like a crayon. I love the shoes nonetheless; they’re also cute in brown, so I think I might just buy them.

Anyway, that to say, it’s back to the drawing board on the rehearsal dinner dress. This one is a great backup, but I’m just not sold as of yet. I’m pretty picky about the dresses I wear– they have to be just the right fit. The dress from Anthro happened to be just the right fit– just not the right color.

Where do you shop for dresses? Any rehearsal dinner must-haves? How do you feel about wearing white to the rehearsal?

Tedium

Well, there’s nothing like entering addresses into an Excel Spreadsheet to spice up a stormy Sunday night.

I love planning my wedding. Take that back, I love planning things, from birthday parties, to showers, to fundraisers. It’s so fun to make a vision come to life. The past few weeks of wedding planning, however, have been less than exciting– calling vendors to check on details, working on addresses and fine-tuning the guest list, figuring out costs of hair/makeup/beauty– all while attempting to remain upbeat and love the experience.

Everything feels like another item to add to a list. Call the florist– check! Arrange day-of makeup– check! Arrange day of hair for self and bridesmaids– almost. Take care of myself– definitely not. The idea of pampering myself with a manicure, or a trip to Sephora for a nice facial scrub is just something else to add to the list of wedding things that need to be completed.

How do you keep yourself from getting lost in the tedium? When you see nothing but to-do lists, how do you zoom out and focus on the experience as a whole?

As they say, the Devil’s In the Details.

Sitting Pretty

One thing that I’ve been waffling about is a Sweetheart Table. I can’t decide about it. I’d loved the idea initially, instead of a long head table with mostly vacated seats– let’s face it, the wedding party never sits down, anyway. But, a few months ago, this idea was called into question– a bridal publication (I can’t remember which) pooh-poohed the Sweetheart Table, saying, “Isn’t that what the honeymoon is for?”

I did a bit of research for this post, visiting some major wedding industry publications as consultants. The Knot seems to think that a Sweetheart Table is romantic, but Martha  (my lover) has this to say: “The traditional “sweetheart” table-for-two can make a couple feel isolated and self-conscious.”

So I have to ask: am I doing something wrong?

I’d never seen a Sweetheart Table until fairly recently. I’d thought it was a new, breakaway trend and that I was being a free-thinking, modern bride! Turns out, Martha says it’s traditional! So, what do you think? Are Brandon and I isolating guests by enjoying our meal by ourselves? (I have a tendency to think a Sweetheart Table would improve our chances of actually eating, though I’m not holding out much hope.) Or, are we enjoying a romantic night together, while avoiding the politics of seating? What do you think?

And, before you make a judgment, please see the following inspiration photos for the Sweetheart Table:

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And I’ll plop my own bouquet right in the center. Just to remind you– it looks like this (clearly, I have a thing for callas):

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Imagine how absolutely lovely a Sweetheart Table could look! I love the potential decor… but is that a good enough reason? Comment with your opinion!

I’m joining the ranks of brides who have a few personal achievement goals to meet before the big day. Since before B and I got engaged, I’ve been growing out my hair. I’ve worn it short for the past four or five years, and so I’m ready to have it long again. I know that bridal experts suggest wearing your hair in a similar fashion to your everyday style. But, for our August affair, I’d really like to wear my hair up and off my neck. I don’t want a stiff-looking updo, definitely something loose and natural looking. But it still requires long hair. Here’s the progress so far!

Last March with two of my bridesmaids (Christie and Lauren)– ignore the flannel-ware.

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You can see that my hair barely touches my shoulders. OK, so a little bit of work to do.  By the time I was in my friend and bridesmaid Melissa’s wedding in June, my hair was looking like this. This picture was taken on the way to her bachelorette party in Atlantic City.

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Despite its very short length, a hairdresser was able to make it look like this…

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Photo by Exposure Photostyle

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Photo by Exposure Photostyle

Isn’t she just a beautiful bride?!

dsc04407B and I stole a few moments to take some pictures with my sister. This one is a bit blurry, but you can see what my hair is doing. I want it a bit more natural looking than this– I don’t usually do poofy things with my hair, but I think I’d also like it to have a bit of a wave like my hair normally has.

On the day we got engaged at the end of July, my hair looked like this…

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(Brandon was excited in this picture, because he knew we were getting engaged and I still didn’t. How silly.) At engagement shots in November…

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Photo by Kamila Harris Photography

And most recently, it looks like this!

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I was very intent on making a hat at my cousin’s shower. Anyway, at this point, it’s past my shoulders in the back, but I feel like I have big swathy-chunks of hair from the front layers. What should I do about this? Is it OK to cut and put layers in, or should I just let it grow for the big ol’ day? I know it’s a small inconvenience– that is, hair that’s a bit of an awkward length at the moment– so I need to keep the end goal in mind. Any suggestions?

And, for those of you brides who have joined the Post-Wedding Chop club, is it worth it? Do you wish you’d kept it long? Recommend a new cut for a new life?

New Look

Thought I’d try out a fun new look for the blog– let me know what you think!

Meanwhile, I’m listening to the following adorable iTunes Genius Playlist:

I’m Yours by Jason Mraz

Viva La Vida by Coldplay

Banana Pancakes by Jack Johnson

Falling in Love at a Coffee Shop by Landon Pigg

Foundations by Kate Nash

Ironic by Alanis Morissette

Fast Car by Tracy Chapman

Imagine by John Lennon

Maps by the Yeah Yeah Yeahs

1234 by Feist

Falling Slowly by Glen Hansard, Once soundtrack

Linger by the Cranberries

Crash Into Me by DMB

Fire and Rain by James Taylor.

I sense a music post coming up… anyone else?