Thursday, November 4, 2010

Bouquet/Garter Toss Debate

To toss or not to toss?  That is the question. 

I mentioned this to Allen last night, and his response was, "I mean, don't we have to do that?" 

NO!  I keep telling him that we don't have to do anything we don't want to do.  I think Allen's more traditional than I ever really thought he was. 

Here's my thought process:  many of my friends are or will be married by that time, and most if not all of Allen's friends are married.  Two things I'm worried about are no one standing up to catch the bouquet or garter OR those who would stand up being embarassed.  Don't take that the wrong way, our single friends have nothing to be embarassed about.  But being put on the spot to catch something, having pictures taken of you, it's all a little..."spotlight"-ish. 

Another issue, Allen is a very private person.  I can't imagine him wanting to be on his hands and knees, going up my dress to remove a piece of fabric from around my upper thigh. 

This is definitely something we need to continue to explore. 

Brides - did you and your husband do the traditional tosses?

Single friends - do these tosses make you uncomfortable, or do you look forward to them at a wedding?

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Wedding Block: Round 2

OK, so after I wrote my post last night, I went on The Knot to take a gander at my "To Do" list to see where we are and where we need to be.  Below are the major things I saw on the list, and my thoughts on each.

Day of Coordinator - I need to make one of three decisions.  I have a close family friend that I thought would be an amazing DOC, and she's definitely my number one option.  The only drawback is that I want her to enjoy herself, and to be able to spend time with her husband at the wedding.  The other option is to ask my florist, who also provides DOC services as well.  However, she's also a guest of the wedding and I'd like for her to be able to spend time with her husband and daughter who is one of my bridesmaids.  My last option is to hire someone completely separate of these two people.  The main concern here is money.  I'm not sure what prices are for a DOC.
Ceremony Officiant - My MOH doesn't know this yet, but I've discussed with Allen the idea of having her husband officiate our wedding.  He's an ordained minister, and he's also officiating a good friend's wedding in May.  It would mean so much to me to have both of them standing by my side on that day, and would really go along with the personal feel we want for our wedding.  Allen and I need to talk about this more.
Wedding DJ - I've briefly talked to a friend who DJ's weddings, but need to set up an in person appointment with him.  My dad also has a friend from work who has a DJ business, and I think we're going to set up an appointment with him. 
Wedding Registry - We need to decide where we're going to register and just go do it.  We really want to try and do the honeymoon registry.  We'll see how that works out!
Cake - This is something Allen's really going to enjoy!  I'm not a huge cake person, I really just care about how the cake looks.  So I'll start setting up tasting appointments for us to go to and we'll make a choice soon!
Engagement Pics/Save the Dates - We're working on this now.  We've been communicating with our photographer about our options.  I'm thinking we're going to buy some chic coats , nice jeans, etc and have a winter engagement session.  Still need to run that by our photographer though. :)
Hotel Rooms - Not so sure how necessary this is.  Most of our guests are from Richmond, or surrounding areas.  I need to take a look at the guest list to see how many out of towners we'll have, and then figure out the room block situation.
Ceremony Music - I've had my heart set on a string quartet for the wedding.  I've listened to so many demos and had processional, recessional, and other music picked out.  Then I got quotes from string quartets and the prices were OUTRAGEOUS.  Holy cow, who knew having an hour of ceremony music was so expensive?!  So I think we're going to go with a string duet instead, reducing the price tremendously. 

I think the easiest things to tackle will be Wedding Registry, Cake, and Hotel Rooms.  I'll start there and report back soon!

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Wedding Block

I need to do some research on this topic, but I think I'm experiencing what I'm calling wedding block.  Sort of like writer's block, where the creator of the magic is running out of mojo.  I don't know what to do next.  Is it because I've done so much already, or because I'm disorganized?  Or is it timing, where most of the work is really done in the 4-6 months before the wedding, and between 8-10 months before there's not much to do?  Entering November, we're at 8.5 months out. 

Will things pick up soon?  Did any other brides experience the nagging symptoms of wedding block?

Monday, October 11, 2010

We like to eat: finalizing our menu

Allen and I met with our caterer this past Thursday to finalize our menu selections.  And to be honest, I think we're both really excited about what we've chosen!  See below.

Cocktail Hour Menu

Seasonal assorted fruit including but not limited to strawberries, pineapple, and kiwi
Domestic and imported cheese and crackers
Stuffed mushrooms, some with sausage some with cheese

"Fork Friendly" Heavy Hors-d'oeuvres

Beef tenderloin with assorted sauces (bearnaise, horseradish, spicy mustard) and rolls
Chicken breast skewers with thai-lime-chili marinade
Crab puffs with a spicy remoulade sauce
Mashed potato bar with "the fixins'" (whipped butter, sour cream, chives, cheese, bacon)
Caprese salad "stacks" (only way I know how to describe it)
Caesar salad

Sam Edwards is our caterer, and he's awesome!  I've spoken to several other caterers who have said they can't even come close to his prices.  Score for us! :)

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Getting inspired...

So I finally took the plunge, I made an inspiration board!  I've been wanting to do this, and I think it was finally time now that I've solidified a few things in the last couple of weeks.  I have officially replaced the green, yellow, and orange modern and clean theme with a more bold and romantic green, ivory/white, and purple.  The reason for this:  my Mom and I went to a flower show at Vogue and could not stop talking about the purple flowers on display.  They showed us tons of flowers, roses, hydrangeas, orchids, greenery, anything you can think of.  But we were drooling over the sweet pea, gladiolus, stock, hypericum berries, delphinium, bells of ireland, and lisanthius, all that came in greens, purples, and whites.  So, right then and there at the Vogue flower show, we changed the colors!  A few weeks later, I had a "phone meeting" with a potential florist and mother of one of my bridesmaids and she was totally on board with the green, purple, and white color scheme.  We both determined that working with the new color scheme would provide a lot more options. 

Without further adieu, here's my inspiration board!

Counter clockwise starting with the top left picture, here's the explanation behind the inspiration:

Candle centerpieces:  There will be tables inside the main ballroom with very similar centerpieces.  Lots of candles, giving a very romantic ambiance to the room. 
White bouquet:  This is what my bridal bouquet will resemble.  Lots of textures, different shades of white, different size and height blooms, I love it!
Purple centerpieces:  There will be several tall centerpieces that will resemble this one.  Love them!
Cake:  I'm not a cake person, but if I have to have one it has to be pretty and simple, like this one!  Buttercream icing with simple little dots of buttercream on the bottom of each tier.  Perfect!
Lit house:  This is the actual venue at night, and it portrays the exact feel I want it to have the night of our wedding.  Warm, glowing...ahh I can't wait!
Rings:  This is almost an exact replica of my engagement ring and wedding band, that I'm clearly in love with!
Bride and bridesmaids:  The focus of this picture is on the bridesmaid dresses.  They are the exact shade of shamrock as the dresses my beautiful maids will be wearing. 
Flower arbor:  I love this grapevine and flower arbor.  It is so organic and romantic, I hope we can re-create the look.
Tuxedo:  After much deliberation, I think Allen and I have agreed on a khaki-colored tuxedo.  He's going to look super fly! 

Did you put together an inspiration board?  How did it compare to the actual execution of your big day?

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Twilight Images = My Dream Come True

OK, so I know in one of my earlier posts I mentioned that we had potentially selected our photographer.  Scratch that!  I can now say, for a fact, we have selected a photographer and it's not the photographer I thought I was going to use. 

Let me start from the beginning....

From the moment one of my best friends booked Melody Smith of Twilight Images, I was hooked.  Their engagement pictures were phenomenal.  I could literally feel the emotion in the pictures of Dana and Jeremy.  Allen and I set up a meeting with Melody, and everything went really well.  It was just very early on in our search for vendors and we weren't exactly sure how the money was going to pan out.  We started to compare her with some other photographers and thought we were going to end up going with someone else.  Now, don't get me wrong, it had nothing to do with the quality of Melody's work.  Anyone that knows her knows she's top notch.  It really came down to finances. 

Weird how things happened from there...

I met with the other photographer, had every intention with signing with said photographer.  Gave my parents the contract, they were on board, and ready to turn the signed contract in with a deposit.  Timing ended up not working out for a couple of weeks for me to get together with them for transfer of the contract and money to me.  In that time frame was Dana's fabulous wedding, where I ended up meeting Melody in person.  I swear, it was like meeting a rockstar and being star struck.  She was awesome!  Here's where the real catalyst for my change of heart came....she posted teaser pictures of Dana and Jeremy's wedding on Facebook that same night.  O.  M.  G.  They are the most gorgeous pictures I've ever seen.  From that moment, I knew I had to have her. 

Here we are, two weeks after Dana's wedding, the contract is turned in and the deposit is paid.

It's official - Melody Smith is my photographer! 

Seriously, check her out.  She's ridiculous, her work is unlike anything I've seen before, and I can't believe she's mine all mine on June 11, 2011!!!!

We like to party, we like, we like to party!

So I may have mentioned in an earlier post that two of my girlfriends in my close "circle of friends" got engaged a couple weeks prior to me.  Several of our other friends in our "circle friends" are in our bridal parties and four of them decided to host an engagement party in our honor! 

If this was a precursor to how fun our weddings will be, holy moly! 

The party was hosted by four of my lovely bridesmaids, Doodle, Laura, Christina, and Kari.  It was a backyard barbeque with hamburgers, hot dogs, dips, dessert, and most importantly lots of booze!  All of the decorations were done in black and yellow (Yay Randolph-Macon!).  They had cute little streamers and bows along the picket fence, we each had wine goblets and beer steins with our monograms on them, and a capital initial that corresponded with our new last name that was accompanied by a glass dish of candles and river rocks.  It was so sweet!  I'm literally getting teary-eyed thinking about how much love and thought went into this shindig...

The party was "officially" kicked off with a toast from the hosts (with the most, haha, I had to) to the engaged couples.  From there, food was eaten, beverages were downed, and yard games were played.  The night was filled with catching up with friends, Allen's groomsmen talking about when Allen and I first met, and how much fun our weddings are going to be. 

To the hosts:  I cannot thank you all enough for throwing us such a wonderful party.  Everyone in attendance had a fabulous time, and it makes me even more excited for the wedding(s)!  You are the best friends an engaged lady could ask for. ;)

Some pictures from the party below...

Me and Bridesmaid LLB.  She gave Allen and I a very thoughtful gift: a certificate to Wawa (where we got engaged!)

Me and Matt, a good friend!

Me and my main squeeze (after much wine and loaded coronas) <3

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Are Facebook and the same thing?

369 days ago I received this message in my Facebook Inbox:

Allen Estes August 14, 2009 at 3:26pm Just looking for someone. What elem. School did you go to if you don't mind me asking

That's right.  After fifteen years of living our separate lives in the same city ten miles from each other, Allen found me on Facebook. 

It's funny how things turn out.  I would have never guessed this outcome fifteen years ago, but I'm happy it's happening this way! 

Sunday, August 8, 2010

Bridesmaid/Bride in Training

I know it's only been 12 hours since the end of my dear friend Dana's wedding reception, but I wanted to blog about it while it's still vivid in my memory.

Yesterday, August 7, 2010, I had the honor of being a bridesmaid in the wedding of a college friend.  This was the first wedding I've been a part of since being engaged, so I knew I'd be paying close attention to how Dana did things and to the things that most guests's eyes look past, the details.

I want to start by saying this was one of the best wedding experiences I've ever had in my life.  Throughout the last year, Dana has been the three C's that most brides never are - calm, cool, and collected.  This was probably the number one reason this past weekend was a blast.  From day one, Dana was such an easy bride to work with.  She let us pick out our own dresses (within limits - black taffeta from J.Crew), only requested our presence at one shower, reveled in having a laid back bachelorette party, and let us do our hair however we pleased.  This made my experience as a bridesmaid so enjoyable!

Now, to recap the day of the wedding and the details.  We arrived at the salon at 9:00 A.M.  Mind you, this is a salon none of us had been to before.  Dana and her fabulous MOH and sister Tara had to re-schedule our appointments and location to this salon because of a somewhat disastrous bridal portrait hair experience.  Word of advice, do not go to Salon del Sol on Parham road!  For the most part, we were happy with our hair, minus a couple of re-do's that were done.  Dana did have a mild moment of "oh sh!t" with her hair, but it was quickly overcome and turned out beautiful!

Afterward we headed to a local Mexican restaurant that I swear had the best margaritas I've ever had!  In true fashion, Dana insisted that she pay for the lunch and even backed up her insistence with the fact that she had "documentation" of her wanting to pay in an e-mail previously sent to the bridesmaids.  Too cute.  We had a blast just relaxing, eating Mexican, and sipping margaritas.  As a surprise, the wait staff brought out chocolate flan and sang "Happy Wedding Day" to the tune of "Happy Birthday".  It was precious, and made her feel really special.

From lunch we headed to the venue, the Country Club of Petersburg, but not without a quick pitstop at Martin's for two bottles of champagne.  We got dressed, did our makeup, and watched Dana in her preparation.  We all cried when we saw the finished product.  She was truly stunning!

After getting ready, Jeremy (Dana's new husband) and Dana did a "first look".  I wish I had pictures to show you off this.  Before going to see Jeremy, Dana was slightly on edge.  When she came back, I could simply see a calm in her facial expression and the way she was carrying herself.  She told me that she completely recommends it to anyone, rather than waiting to see your husband at the end of the aisle.  They were able to sneak away and spend a few moments together without anyone else.

Soon after the first look it was time for us to get ready to start the ceremony.  We lined up, walked down the aisle, and at this point I was fine, no tears.  The minute the MOH walked down the aisle with tears streaming down her face, I couldn't contain it.  Thank goodness for the tissues in my pocket!  And then Dana was walked down the aisle by both of her parents, one on each arm.  And again, the waterworks.  The ceremony was the perfect length, and was extremely touching.  The best part, when Dana was saying her vows and you could hear the emotion in her voice and the tears coming through her words.  Simply beautiful!

It was time for the reception!  The main ballroom was gorgeous, with black chair covers and pink chair ties surrounding tables with white linens and gorgeous flower arrangements of pinks, greens, peaches, and oranges.  They had a band, which was great!  The food was outstanding, heavy hors-d'oeuvres in stations.  Most notably the dips, stuffed mushrooms, pasta station, and caprese skewers were amazing!  The stations also allowed for good movement throughout the venue, and there always seemed to be something unique going on in each room.  We took advantage of the outdoor patio, sitting around tables, reminiscing about college and catching up with old friends.  The dance floor was continuously going with the tunes of the band blaring.  One of my fondest memories of the evening was on the dance floor when the groom sang "Save a Horse, Ride a Cowboy" to the bride.  The crowd was wild

At the end of the night, we sent the couple off with a sparkler exit at the entrance of the of the country club.  It was a beautiful exit!  But guess what?  It was staged, they faked us out!  They came back in for I'd like to refer to as a wedding encore.  More dancing and mingling occured, while mini cheeseburger sliders and hotdogs were passed around.  So much fun!

A note to the bride and groomDana and Jeremy, thank you for allowing me to be a part of your wedding festivities.  It was an honor, and I am so thrilled for the both of you.  The love you two have for one another is so blatant, and I hope it stays that way for the rest of your lives.  Best wishes to you both!

Sunday, July 18, 2010

My bridesmaids bring all the boys to the yard

So, things have slightly changed since I last posted.  We've decided that the dark blues, purples, and reds don't really match the summery wedding we're throwing.  So, the color palette is now green, yellow, and orange to match a citrus-infused reception. 

With that said, I went shopping with all six of my beautiful bridesmaids last Thursday, and their dresses have been purchased!  Before venturing to Alfred Angelo, I had perused their website for dresses that I thought were cute, fun, and would be flattering on all of them.  Upon arrival, we met with Stephanie (who was sweet as pie) and showed her some dresses in the catalogue that we liked.  We picked out several styles, and Stephanie picked out similar styles she thought would look good as well. 

Then the trying on part came.  I must say, I think they looked pretty darn cute in all of them!

Bridesmaid LLB and Bridesmaid K shown below in what was the second option.  Bridesmaid R shown in a lovely brown chiffon dress, but we decided to stick with a silk/satin material.

As cute as those dresses were, we went with the original style that we chose, and it came in the color we wanted, Shamrock!

Bridsmaids LLB, R, and K in their absolutely sexy yet classy bridesmaid dresses!  Not shown below are Bridesmaids D, LEB, and C, who looked equally sexy and classy in their dresses as well!

 After everyone being individually sized and registered, it was time to check out.  Little did we know, we'd be read our "dress buying miranda rights".  No lie!  All of the bridesmaids were asked to gather around the check out counter where the manager read them their buyer's contract.  It was slightly intense and even more annoying.  We all decided we needed some sangria afterward, so we headed to Bertucci's

Bridesmaids R, K, LEB, C, D, and me!  

This was my favorite part of the night.  Three pitchers of sangria were consumed, along with lots of yummy Italian food!  These are the moments I'm most looking forward to during the wedding planning process.  Spending timem with my best friends, making the most of the next year! 

A special "thank you" to all of them.  They have been and continue to be the most supportive friends I could ask for, and I'm so thankful for them! 

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Bridesmaid Dress Shopping: Entry 1

So, I finally sent out an e-mail to my gorgeous wedding party with a spreadsheet of their contact information and a proposition of when our first bridesmaid dress shopping extravaganza will be.  For now, we're looking at July 15th to meet for a quick bite to eat and then start the search for what will hopefully be the perfect bridesmaid dress.  One of my bridesmaid's has taken this challenge on, as she is quite the fashionista.  She has chosen several dresses from both David's Bridal and Alfred Angelo that I think will be flattering on the entire group (as if anything could possibly look bad on them, right?!?!).  What has not yet been chosen are the colors of the dresses.  I love the idea of having several colors that they can choose from, maybe three colors so there are two of every color or two colors so there are three of each color, somewhat of this inspiration

I'm excited about the first event with my bridesmaids, and can't wait to see what dresses they pick out! 

To my brides, brides-to-be, and friends who've been bridesmaids, how were your "bridesmaid dress shopping" experiences?  Did you include any original and unique ideas into your bridal party attire? 

Friday, June 11, 2010

One year mark = one year meltdown?

I woke up this morning with a grin on my face from ear to ear, know why?  Because in exactly one year I'm marrying the man I fell in love with in the first grade.  That's right. I fell in love with the man I'm marrying when we were six!  (I'll have to scan and post our elementary school class pictures, they are too funny!)  Anywho, I digress.

The real point of this post (in addition to announcing our one year mark) is to see how many of my fellow brides-to-be, and those wiser ones who are already married, have had the one year meltdown.  I haven't had my meltdown yet, but I definitely feel a greater sense of pressure and need to get my butt in gear! 

So, I pose the question, did you have a one year mark meltdown? 

We're off to celebrate with dinner and drinks!  Adios! 

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

And so it begins....on April 18, 2009

On a crisp April night under the romantic lights of a Wawa parking lot, my future husband asked me to marry him.  We enjoyed the blissful "we just got engaged" period for about 36 hours before I started to plan for a day I've been waiting on for quite some time.....OUR WEDDING!  The first couple of weeks started with generic planning, talking about budget, looking up venues, and looking at wedding magazines and websites for countless hours. And of course, creating our very preliminary Wedding Channel wedding website.  

Fast forward almost two months and the venue is booked, the dress is purchased, and a photographer and caterer have been selected (I think).  I still have a long ways to go, but I think I've made some decent progress.  My biggest feat yet is tackling the organization of such an event.  I need to make folders for each vendor with all e-mails and contracts.  I also need to come up with a firm "To Do" list so I can see what I've accomplished and what's left to be tackled.  At this point, next on the agenda is the selection of a bridesmaid dress and in return selection of the wedding colors.  I thought this would be simple.  I wanted a midnight blue for the bridesmaid dresses and for them to have reds and purples in their flowers/accessories (this was my inspiration).  This whole idea came before purchasing my wedding gown, which is ivory.  I learned in the bridal store that navy did not look so good with ivory, so my color palette may have to change.  Luckily, this is a flexible point for me.  

I plan on taking the weekend ahead to get my organization (or lack thereof) under control and put some plans in place.  We'll see how it goes!  

How have you organized your wedding plans?  What have you found to be the most effective points of planning?