Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Dress(less) Distress

I'm not sure how to tell you this, so I'll just go ahead and say it:  I don't have a wedding dress. 

With a month to go, I fear that I may end up walking down the aisle in the nude, like girlfriend up there.  

You may be asking, how did this happen?

Well, it's a long story and I can't get into the nitty gritty of it.  So I will tell you that there was an issue with the order, a miscommunication, that resulted in a less than perfect dress.  Yes, I could have worn it but I would have hated it.  I would have resented the store and myself for playing nice and being too polite about something as important as my wedding dress.  So I complained about my dress and pointed out the mistake.  There was an emergency fitting, and a conversation between a manager and myself and *POOF*..."look mom, no dress!"  And for the record, there are no hard feelings with the salon, I know a ton of people that have had amazing experiences with them.    

That being said, I should feel like this right now:

But I'm too busy looking for replacements.  It looks like I'm going to have to purchase a sample and make it work!

I'm strangely confident that I will be able to find a dress that makes me smile (that's within my budget) and ready in time for the wedding.  In fact, I'm going to take this on like a challenge!  With one month to go, I'm back at square one, determined to find my dream dress.  Will it be possible for me to keep my cool and find a gown without too many tears shed?  

We'll see! 

Have you run into any major wedding drama before your big day?  How were you able to overcome it?

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Holding On To The Memories

My must-have accessory for our wedding day is not my earrings.  And it's not my veil. Nope, my must have accessory is going to be something to remember my loved ones that are no longer here.

It's been a little over a year since my Papou (grandfather) passed away, and I miss him terribly.   And a few years back, I lost my Abuelita.  It would mean so much to me to keep them both close to my heart on my wedding day.  So I've started to look for ways to honor them on my bouquet. 

My florist started me off by suggesting I wrap the handle of the bouquet with something meaningful to the person I want to remember.  Like a hanky, a piece of jewelry, or even a rosary.  But with two people in mind, it was hard to find two small items that fit together without being too bulky for the bouquet.  

I love this gorgeous charm by Paloma's Nest. It's custom, so you can really make it personal.  I like the idea of using two, one to mark the occasion and one with a monogram of the person you want to carry with you.  

These picture charms are beautiful.  I love the idea of carrying a picture of the loved one you would like to remember.  The glass is  a modern and delicate touch. 

And I love the idea of using a vintage locket, something that you might have worn in the past, as a more subtle way to remember your loved ones. 

I think I'm leaning toward the locket.  I already have one that I've worn for years, but it needs a little love.  And I like that a locket has enough room for two pictures inside, perfect for me. 

Are you remembering your loved ones in a special way?

Wednesday, May 25, 2011


It's time to get real with myself here.  


My four page, color coded list needs a makeover.  

Excuse me, I meant, a make-under.  

Step one: GET REAL.  Time is running out!

Step two: Cross off almost everything that isn't essential.  

Step three:  Delegate, relax and enjoy the ride!

It sounds really easy to say but now that we're only a few weeks away I need to cut my list down, but I seem to be adding things to it every day!  

So I've tried to cut it down to the essentials.  Table runners?  Pretty essential.  Drink flags? Cute, but I think people can probably stir their drinks with whatever our venue has.  But they are so cute!

Just. So. Cute.  

So I'm giving myself two weeks to work on my checklist, and then...this color coded list of stress turns into a pumpkin.  I have to keep things in perspective, I don't have time to do all the DIY I had in mind.  So if it's too hard, or too expensive, or just too complicated for the few hours I have to give after work then away it goes!

Have you had to cut back on projects you planned for your wedding?  Or were you able to accomplish everything?

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

DIY Decor - The No Sew Burlap Table Runner!

I've been drooling over pictures of burlap table runners for months now.  But after shopping around, I found that purchasing these things could run me $20-$30 per table.  So I did a tiny bit of research (like, 5 minutes worth) and bought myself a roll of burlap, determined to a stab at making my own table runners.  

First, I ran to my closet and dragged my sewing machine out prepared to take on the challenge.  Then my genius Lil' $is asked me "why don't you just use Stitch Witchery?"  And that's when the daunting task became easy enough for me.

I found this amazing tutorial Living with Lindsay and got to work!

Supplies used:
- Burlap
- Scissors/Fabric Shears
- Seam Gauge
- Ruler
- Tape Measure
- Sharpie
- Stitch Witchery
- Iron

Step 1 - Get the dimensions for your table.  I learned from the tutorial that table runners are typically about 14"-18" wide and should typically be 6"-8" longer than your table.  Now according to the tutorial I read, you should leave a two inch seam allowance but I didn't.  I went with a one inch seam allowance, which I'll explain a little later. 

Our tables are approximately 88'x 47'.

So I ended up cutting out pieces of fabric that were 20"x102".

One thing I learned about burlap is that it's very, um, "natural" and has a bit of a smell to it.  Once you cut the pieces, you'll need to wash and air dry them but I don't recommend using the heavy duty cycle because you'll shred the fabric and end up with a mess in the machine. 

Next, I grabbed the seam gauge and started folding the hem over 1"  and used pins to keep it in place.  Now, I initially started with 2" seams and planned to fold the edges twice over themselves to hide the raw edge but I quickly realized that the burlap was too bulky for this.  My solution was to fold it over once, cut it as cleanly as possible then leave the edges raw. Sadly it took me a couple minutes of disappointment to realize that it's burlap!  Raw edges are expected!  And hopefully no one at the wedding will be picking them up and checking out my handiwork.  

But if you want to hide the frayed edges of the burlap, you can use a little grosgrain ribbon and some hot glue (but careful, too much glue will seep through the fabric) to cover the fringe.

Then it was time to iron!  Set it on the highest heat and steam setting--the burlap needs the heat.  Then press your hem.  

Tuck your Stitch Witchery in the hem and get to work!  You'll need to place a damp cloth between the fabric and the iron.  Place your iron on top of the cloth and then hold for about ten seconds.  Lift and repeat.   

Remember when I said that burlap was very natural aka it has a smell to it?  It wasn't totally gone after I washed the fabric.  So I added about a teaspoon of Febreeze to the water in the iron. You could also use an essential oil like Lavender or Eucalyptus (just not too much!)  and that should do the trick! Just be careful not to use too much, the goal is to eliminate odor not to create another one.  

AND TADAAAAAA!  The no-sew burlap table runner!

On a scale of 1 to 5, I'd give this project a 1.5 for difficulty.  It took some practice to get the handle of making really straight edges. Some of my runners look a little wonky.  

But overall I'm thrilled!  So thrilled I set up a little tablescape for you all:  candle, books, orchid, and giant mylar kitty toy.  You know...just some stuff I had lyin' around...

So what do you think?  Have you taken on any decor DIYs?

Friday, May 20, 2011

My Crowning Glory

It's one thing to decide on a style of veil.  It's an entirely other thing to find that veil in your price range. After some thought, I set my heart on a cathedral length drop veil with lace trim to compliment my dress.  

I didn't have to think too hard about it.  It was the same veil that was placed on my head just before I said yes to my dress--as Monte from Say Yes: ATL would say, it's the veil I wore when they "jacked me up."

My first instinct was to call Kleinfeld to inquire about the veil I had originally tried on,cathedral length drop veil with lace edging, and got an estimate of $1,200.  I tried to be polite as I picked up my jaw from the floor and hung up at the same time (they don't teach you these things in school, folks).  

So I began looking around local shops.  I found some contenders by Enzoani that came in at the $400-$500 mark, but I wasn't in love.  And for $500, I better be in love with whatever I'm buying.  It started to feel like I was going to have to rethink my veil, when one day, out of nowhere, I remembered a veil post from WeddingBee by the lovely Mrs. Lime that lead me to Candi Merle of Crowning Glory Designs.  Her reviews were stellar, and her work was gorgeous. Just look:

So, I crossed my fingers and emailed her and she was as amazing--the reviews were spot on (duh, I know).  She mailed samples to me right away, and once I'd picked the lace for the veil she gave me a quote.  JAW DROP, again.  This time it was for good reason:  my veil, my gorgeous lace-trimmed-custom-veil, was a tiny fraction of what I was originally quoted.  Just a few weeks later, the veil of my dreams arrived on my doorstep.  

Wanna see?

Whoops!  Didn't realize how impossible it would be to take a decent picture of an enormous veil...will you forgive me if I just share these previews until I can finagle some pics of me wearing my whole ensemble?  Please?

I am overjoyed by how it turned out.  The lace, oh the delicious 3 inch lace border, is exactly what I wanted!  Can't wait to see it in action!

Working with Candi was a pleasure.  She was really easy to communicate with (and she lives in California, so there was a decent time difference), extremely responsive, and she was able to translate my description into a real veil that's just perfect for me!    

How about you?  Are you wearing a veil or hair accessory?  Did you go the custom route?   


Thursday, May 19, 2011

Crazy Sweet

This might be the cutest proposal ever.  

So sweet, so cute, and just a little crazy.  Perfect for a couple of movie buffs.  

But now the question remains, how did he do that?

Bear's proposal was perfect for us, a night I'll never forget.  But if I had to rate it's "OMG this is crazy" factor we'd be somewhere at a 6.  Maybe.  

So how about you?  Did you have an unusual, or "crazy" proposal?  Have you ever witnessed anything like this?

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

It's Here! Or, the Drama of My Dress Delivery

I was at work yesterday, minding my own business, when this box was dropped off at my desk.  I'd almost forgotten that last week the bridal salon sent me an email with my the tracking number for my dress!

And then a few days later, this was dropped off to me:

My first thoughts were  "that's it?  The box is so small!  Oh my God that's my DRESS!"  But my train of thought was interrupted when my friend from the Shipping department said, "you should know it's a little wet on the bottom..."


WET!?  How wet are we talking about here?!

Oh.  My heart sank.  We're talking wet AND muddy.  We're talking wet, muddy, soaked through, dented, and torn.  

The horror.  Here's a closer look:

Look at that sad box.  Yeap.  That box contained my wedding dress.  

I got on the phone with customer service, and explained the situation with as much composure as I could muster.  And then, to my shock and dismay, the customer service rep told me to open the box.

Now, this might not make sense if I don't explain the rules here.  When you purchase your dress, you can choose to have it shipped to the store or to your house.  If you choose to have it shipped to your home, you have to sign a document (and have it notarized) agreeing that you will not open the box.  And if you open the box, you're agreeing that any damages to the dress are no longer the store's responsibility.  

After some prodding and assurances that this was the exception to the rule, I grabbed some napkins and my scissors and started opening the box to assess the damage.  I held my breath and tried to steady my shaking hands as I struggled with the soggy cardboard.  

There was mud under the tape I pulled up.  Lovely, eh?  

This whole process dragged on for what felt like an hour, until finally my dress emerged.

My heart sank a little further when I saw the water beading.  It was hard to tell if it was on the garment bag, or in it.  

(I never thought the sneak peek for my dress would look like this)

My dress made it!  After a few more minutes of scrutiny, it appears that luck was on my side--FedEx was notsomuch on my side, but no harm (to my wedding dress!) no foul.  No muddy rainwater stains to be seen.  

Fingers crossed all goes well at my first fitting this week!

Have you run into any wedding dress drama?  Please share!

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Contests: Attention, Military Brides

I just came across this contest for free wedding photography!  The winning couple will get:

  • Up to 6 hours of ceremony and wedding day coverage
  • Engagement or Day After session
  • A disk of Hi-Resolution images of the wedding day
  • Password protected online gallery for 60 days

We won't be throwing our names in the hat, but I thought I'd pass this along.  

Good luck!

To enter visit Melissa Biador's blog by clicking here.

Friday, May 13, 2011

The Long and Short of It

I have a sartorial dilemma on my hands, err, head.  

Do I go with a veil that is short, contemporary and fresh?

(source clockwise from top left - 1, 2, 3, 4, 5)

Or do I stick with the classic drama of a long drop veil?

On the one hand, I love the ease of wearing a short veil.  It's sophisticated--no need to worry about an excited guest tugging on it as they give you a hug.  

And look at this delicate blusher by Twigs and Honey:

Oooh...I think this might be what they mean by "short and sweet."

But I can't get my mind off of the drop veil.  A drop veil is essentially a piece of tulle that is pinned into your hair, without any bunching. Simple!  And just look at this:

It's surprising to me that I'm leaning toward the longer veil.  I love how the veil stops just at her flowers.  If you asked me a few months back I would have said that I was going for a blusher for sure.  But now, I'm thinking I might go for the drop veil, maybe with a little lace.  And I'll have to be on my guard to make sure that no one tugs on it too hard.  

Oh the decisions, will they ever stop?! 

Have you decided on a veil?  Are you going for a long or short veil?  Or no veil at all?

Thursday, May 12, 2011

All Aglow: Made with Love [DIY]

This post is pretty much top-secret. So I'll give you a hint and meet you after the jump.

-  XO

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Seeing Red

No, I'm not mad, I'm hungry.  And when it comes to our wedding cake there is only one option.  My favorite cake ever, red velvet.

(source clockwise from top left: 1, 2, 3, 4)

We've had our minds made up on the flavor of our cake since day two of this planning process.  The convo went something like this:

Me: Oh my gosh, we get to try CAKES!  I LOVE CAKE! 
Bear: Mmm, yaaa cake.  You do really love cake.
Me: What kind of cake should we get?
Bear: (Tilting his head sideways and shrugging) Can we get red velvet?
Me:  YES!  We're getting red velvet!

And that is how we let my stomach make the decisions from time to time.  

But really, I should confess to you that I absolutely adore cake. It's the strangest thing to me because until a few years back I was kinda ambivalent, cake was for birthdays only.  But one day, my love for cake switched on like a light and that was it.  I hold red velvet responsible, because it is, in fact, my Achilles' Heel of cakes.  It got so bad that my friends at work started calling me Miss Red Velvet, but I had to put a stop to it.  Something about being called "Red Velvet" that made me a little uncomfortable...

Anyway, what's red velvet cake you say?

There are a ton of descriptions floating around on the internet, and even more stories of the origins of this red confection, but a red velvet cake is simply a layer cake similar to Devil's Food cake.  Originally the cake was red because of the Dutch-Processed cocoa powder that was used to make it, but now red food coloring (and sometimes beet juice)is added to get the bright hue. The cake is incredibly moist (ugh, does that word make anyone else shudder?) and has a slight cocoa flavor to it.  Red velvet is traditionally iced with cream cheese frosting, it's crowning glory if you ask me.  Seriously, slap some cream cheese frosting on a piece of cardboard and I'd probably eat it. 

Red Velvet Cake was also made famous as the groom's cake in the movie "Steel Magnolias," which is where I first caught sight of it.  And I've been obsessed ever since.  I know red velvet wedding cake has been a bit of a trend in the wedding world, but so be it.  I'm sold on it!

Did you or do you have a particular wedding cake flavor in mind?  What flavor did you go with?

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

A PSA for all Those Who Fear 'PDE'

And what's a PDE, you say?  

Move over PDA, it's time to share the spotlight because we're talking about a public display of emotion.  (And can someone tell me where I can find a pair of those sweet onion goggles?)

If I had to disclose my top three wedding related fears #2 would be my fear of crying uncontrollably all day because I am a big time crier.  Big time.  (Ok top three?  1. The aisle 2. Crying uncontrollably all day 3. Showing up nekkid)

I cry when I get mad*.  I cry when I am happy.  I cry when I'm so happy that I start laughing and crying.  I cry when I am surprised and when I'm embarrassed.  I cry when I'm super stressed out. I well up when I see an especially touching commercial (like hello ASPCA and Pampers?).  I cry when I see other people cry.  And I well up when I think about our wedding day.  

I am a big fat cry baby.  

My public displays of emotion have haunted me for my entire life.  As I child, I was tormented because I was the cry baby of the group.  Always was.  As I got older, I got a better handle on the waterworks but over the past year or so they've returned with a vengeance. 

You may be reading this thinking, "what's the big deal? Plenty of people cry at their weddings."  And you're right.  But not everyone is like me.  I'm not just scared of crying as I walk down the aisle, and I'm not scared of my ugly cry face (it's ugly, but it comes with the territory)--I'm scared of crying off and on for the entire DAY in front of all those people, especially when there's a good chunk of them that I don't know all that well.

Well, after some thought and some conversation with my friends I've come to the conclusion that no matter how scared I am to cry uncontrollably at my wedding--it's OK to bawl.  It's fine.  And any fear I have is mostly of people judging me to be a little unhinged or something.  And you know what?  Anyone that would judge a person for crying on their wedding day is wrong.  Just plain wrong.  And I think that every person we're asking to join in our special day will get it.  A wedding is an emotional event, ours will be no different!  SO GO AHEAD AND CRY IT OUT!

You can try not to ruin your makeup.  But if you're a crier, like me, you'll probably need to stash a bag of touch up cosmetics somewhere in your dress, and have your bridesmaids stocked up on Kleenex.  Just like me.  

So are you a crier?  Did you cry on your wedding day? 

* Nothing is worse than getting so mad at someone that you think you need to scream or tell them off, and then before you do, a hot tear just starts to roll down your cheek.  It totally kills the effect of, "I'm mad at you right now, and I'm not intimidated by you at all."

Monday, May 9, 2011

The Shoe Saga: Finally, a Touch of Red (White) & Blue

So, the last time I mentioned my (amazingly perfect, oh-my-God-I-can't-believe-I-found-them) wedding shoes. I told you that some dress doubt and subsequent internet searching lead to a pair of lightly-loved Christian Louboutin blue Bow T Dorcet pumps--my dream wedding shoes.  And after a nail-biting few days and emails the shoes were MINE.  ALL MINE.  

And when they arrived (to my office by the way, it took every bit of self control not to rip open the box and dance around my desk), they looked like this:

Gorgeous, but in need of a shoe doctor.  

I poked around on the internet and found a listing of shoe docs in NYC from the Louboutin site.  But I couldn't decide where to drop them off--I was a little scared that I would regret the decision. Did I have a reason for that?  Nope.  I was just a little nervous to leave my amazing find anywhere and I couldn't find the time to hop on the train to New York between work and wedding projects.  The 45 minute train ride sounded like torture to me.  Never mind that I live in a commuter area and no one but me considers the train ride to be a long trip.  What can I say?  There's just never enough time for anything when you're stressed, ya know? 

So I took a chance, and brought these babies down to North Carolina on a recent trip, where I dropped them off at Santana Creative.  They were also listed on the Louboutin site and at the very least I'd be on vacation, so there'd be plenty of time to drop them off and pick them up.  

And just a few days later, they were mine again and good as new!

They cleaned the satin for me, and there are virtually no signs of previous wear.

And because they were just a tiny bit too big for me, I had them add a pad to the heel, which you can see if you look closely.  

Lastly, I had them "touch up the lipstick," or revive the lovely red soles back to their former glory.  Long story short: Santana Creative Rocks!

And just like that, my pipe dream became a reality.  I'm still in shock that I got my dream shoes, (pinch me, please. or don't) and I catch myself sneaking a peek in my bag of bridal accessories to make sure they're still there and they're still mine.  Obsessive? Perhaps.  But it's mostly excitement.  I got the shoes, I got a great deal on them, and I'm going to wear them on the most amazing day EVER.  Yeah, "mostly" excitement.  

Have you scored a great deal on any of your wedding day accessories?  Is there any accessory in particular that you are excited to wear?

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Let The Good Times Roll!

Guess who isn't going on a honeymoon right away?

Oh, yes. I hear that's the rumor (good guess).  But no, not those crazy kids!


(photo by Lucy Clement)

Yeap. That's us.  And we're postponing our honeymoon until next year sometime, when he gets to take a great big chunk of leave.  Unfortunately, he has just a few days after the wedding and it's back to work!

From what I hear, this is pretty common for military families.  Sometimes, training and deployment schedules don't work out at all and honeymoons are postponed indefintely.  I know a couple women who married their husbands just days before they deployed, barely enough time for a ceremony.  So, we're lucky.  Because we have time for a mini-moon.  

So right after the wedding we're headed to (fabulous) New Orleans!

Four days of amazing, mouth-watering, food.

Amazing live music from places like Preservation Hall and Tipitina's.  (Plus I just found out that Mary J. Blige will be in town for festival, um...YES!)

And a whole lot of nothing.  Because I really think we're gonna need a break.  

It's a toss up between the food and the nothing for me--they are tied for the "thing-I-am-looking-forward-to-the-most."  New Orleans is a little tradition for us, we've gone at least once a year since we started dating and it's always an amazing time.  It's has a big place in our hearts and we couldn't imagine a better post-nuptial getaway!  

So how about you?  What are your honeymoon plans?  Anyone else mini-mooning it?