Thursday, April 30, 2009

On Wars...Err, Bride Wars

I've been remiss from posting this last took me out west to Denver. I was working like crazy and was literally inside of my hotel from Saturday evening to Tuesday evening, barely seeing the light of day. Ugh. Needless to say, all things wedding was pretty far from my mind.

Thankfully, my return flight provided me with a wedding infusion through the in flight entertainment. I was flipping through the channels and was less than thrilled with the 5 options they provided - the Disney channel, an old episode of The Office, and a couple of other random selections I flipped right by. But wait, is that Kate Hudson? And Anne Hathaway, is that you? Score. Bride Wars.

Source: IMP Awards

I'd heard less than stellar reviews of this chick flick. But hey, sit me down and I'll watch anything that might included a veil or a slice of cake these never know where you'll find inspiration. Especially on the plane - it's not like I had anywhere to go. Unfortunately, since more time was spend on feuding than flowers, I didn't gain any great inspiration.

Oh yeah, and the fact that my flight landed before the end of the movie, I didn't quite make it to the weddings, where I might have at least found out if war of the brides ended in two beautiful weddings (judging by the clip I saw on tv where Hathaway is attacking Hudson down the aisle, things probably didn't go quite as planned).

Anyway, I digress. I'm not here to talk through the ins and outs of a chick flick. Except for little one detail...the impetus for this post. Why didn't the brides blame their planner?! Yes, this woman right here.

Source: Click the City

I just don't get it. I understand that she was supposed to be the best in the business in NYC and the hookup for the Plaza, but seriously. It was her office that messed up the wedding dates and she offered no solutions for them. And then, throughout the planning process, she did nothing to try and bring the clients together, which you'd think she'd want to do just to make her life easier. I mean, come on, did she really want to produce a wedding where the bride has bright blue hair? Geesh.

Would you be this complacent with your planner or other vendor if a snafu of this magnitude happened, or would you push for a solution? I mean, you are the bride, the reason for the wedding season...


Friday, April 24, 2009

Bridesmaids Gifts: Part 3

So, for those of you who might be following me (because, of course, I'm sure my gathering of bridesmaids gifts has left you on the edge of you set since my last installment!), so far I've shared the great clutches I'm making for my bridesmaids and the vintage hankies that will be tucked inside. That left me at a grand total of $65.11 for my 5 bridesmaids. But, of course, gifts for the bridal party wouldn't be complete without jewelry. One piece I'm really excited about are the earrings that the ladies will be wearing.

These fabulous baubles by Etsy's Precious Meshes will be worn by me. I believe I've shared them before...swoon. I just love them! Emily is working on a custom necklace for me to match these lovely earrings, and I can't wait to share the final outcome...I think it's going to be lovely!

Source: Etsy

So I wanted to find something that would be like my earrings but with a twist. I also, of course, have been focusing on wearability for the girls after the wedding - this was my ultimate goal with their dresses. In searching for jewelry, Etsy's kalliART came to the rescue! I loved the look of these wire-wrapped "pure" earrings. They're dangly and fun and coordinate with the crystal look of my earrings.

Source: Etsy

Source: Etsy

And, because I was ordering 5 pairs of these babies, kalliART even cut me a deal! Reason 1,827,302 why I love Etsy. I was able to get 5 pairs for $80 (including shipping). How fabulous! I love how these will sparkle on their ears, but they're still a great neutral piece of jewelry that can be mixed in with their daily wardrobes.

So...we're at a grand total so far of $145.11 for my 5 bridesmaids, or $29.00 a person! Woo! It's actually really fun tracking all of that, because over time you pick up something here, something there, and before you know it you've spent an outrageous amount of money. Going back through my purchases reassures me that I've not only found special little things to give the ladies, but I've managed to keep my budget in check. I still have a couple other items to share, but thus far things are looking good and I can't wait to package everything together!


Thursday, April 23, 2009

Prepping for the Gun Show

It's takes a lot for this self-proclaimed Cardio Queen to back away from the elliptical and scoot on over to the weights side of the gym. In fact, it has taken me almost 3 years of working out with Mr. S to finally make the leap. But a bride-to-be has to do what a bride-to-be has to do.

Source: Daily Mail Online

No, don't worry, that's not my inspirational picture that's helping me through the workouts. As if. While I'd definitely prefer not to have chicken wings on the day-of, I have no need to see the veins popping out of my biceps as I walk down the aisle. As if.

Anyway, back to cheating on my elliptical machine. I've grown to have a strong affection for certain ellipticals at the gym, and I don't like giving up my 65 minute workout for anything else. That 65 minutes is full of me pushing myself to not give up on myself, work through the fatigue and frustration until I hit the last 20 minutes and I sail through it. Unfortunately, though, when you've been sticking with the same workout for a couple of years, your body adapts. Cruel, isn't it?

Last weekend I finally gave in - the Cardio Queen left her "throne" and went on over to the dark side. And you know what? It actually wasn't that bad. It was, well, kind of fun. I've never known what half of those contraptions do, and it was interesting to learn. And, more importantly, it was great to learn from Mr. S. Normally when we walk into the gym, we go our separate ways, get in our individual workouts and meet up after an hour. We have it down to a science, really. I'm sure I cramp is style a little bit as he teaches me what to do and we figure out how much (or, err, how little!) weight I can handle, but it's fun. We get to spend that precious time together.

I've only lifted twice so far, and will probably be reserving my lifting times for Friday nights or early weekend mornings when the gym is a little quieter and the weights section is far less intimidating. And I'm not about to give up a lot of my regular cardio time! But I know that without mixing in different workouts and pushing my body in different ways, I'll never look fan-freaking-tastic on my wedding day! And besides, what's better than quality time with my man and sculpting my guns?


Thursday, April 16, 2009

Pieces of Us

I was torn on this whole toasting thing. I had found a couple of viable options for toasting flutes on Etsy. They're cute and would easily go with our theme...but I was feeling a little "meh" about them. And a little "meh" on whether or not we even needed to buy anything at all, or just use whatever was placed in front of us.

But then Tina from With This Ring, I Obsess chimed in and shared she was going back and forth on this and was so glad she decided to do something special. I tracked back through her fabulous blog and found the great champagne glasses that she so cleverly personalized with charms from Paloma's Nest (did I mention that I <3>?!). Such a cute, clever idea Tina!

After searching on Etsy...yet again I was saved! I found this fabulous pair of platinum-rimmed vintage champagne glasses from Little Byrd Vintage. Oh, and did I mention that they were only $10?! I scooped them up immediately!

Source: Etsy

But, what to do, what to do for that extra little detail (you know, one of those details you obsess over, but only you and your mister will even notice!). I love the scrabble tile pendants I've been seeing all over the place on Etsy. They're so cute, but I'm not a big necklace purchaser in general, so I've never really had the urge to buy one...until, of course, my champagne glasses need some pizzaz!

Piece of Me Pendants on Etsy has an amazing variety of pendant designs...including... dahdahdah...a cupcake and a camera! Get it, get it? I love to bake, Mr. S is a passionate photographer...and the cupcake is even covered in sweet little hearts! They were only $5.95 each and I can easily reuse the pendants for other purposes (or even as a necklace, of course) after the wedding. Score!

Source: Etsy

Source: Etsy

I won't lie...the only less than stellar part of this $22 toasting project of mine was actually attaching the pendants to the stems of the glasses. I used white ribbon that I had on hand, and it was really quite too wide to do me any good. Did I stop and wait until I had something better? Of course not. I crammed the ribbon through the little pendant opening and somehow managed to wrap it around the stem of the glasses in a somewhat orderly fashion.

I could always swap the ribbon out later for a better look, but the they've really grown on me. I like that the pendants are positioned high up on the stems of the glasses and they're snuggly tied into place.

All-in-all, I love the sweet details of these petite little "his and her" glasses and that we'll be able to use them to toast special celebrations for years to come! (Whew...another detail...DONE!)


Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Even Cupcakes Need a Top

I've raved many times over about my fabulous cake topper by Etsy's Goose Grease. I was so lucky to find a great option that not only fits our personalities, but will be a great keepsake after the day.

But, not doing a cake, you say? Maybe, I don't know, you're leaning toward a fabulous tower of cupcakes? Well, I have good news for you! You can still have a Goose Grease topper, created in your image, but created in perfect proportion to a cupcake or the mini tier you're cutting into.

A great feature of the cupcake toppers is that they sit atop a toothpicks, which slide perfectly into the cake. Then, when you're done using them, you can easily remove the toothpick and use the toppers as a keepsake.

I chose to display my little bride and groom in the sweetest, most fabulous cupcake that I whipped up...a cherry vanilla cupcake with a simple cherry frosting. A-mazing! Check out the recipe here if you want to add some sweetness to your day!


Monday, April 13, 2009

Google and Ye Shall Find

Somewhere along the way, flower uncertainty has taken ahold of me. I'm all over the map here. I've seriously considered anemones, but the chances are high that they will not be in season for my Saturday in September. Integrating hypericum berries has stayed on the list, but they're more of an accent than a feature, and probably will be an accent for the bridesmaids, not for moi. I've even gone as far as to contemplate the bouquet stem, as you may remember.

My criteria is this...white. Interesting. Unique. Full of texture. Oh ya, and in season in September, please!

All kidding aside, it's really important to me that I have strong inspiration photos to take along with me when I meet with my florist in a couple of months. I tend to be too much of a people pleaser and get taken down a completely different direction than the one I had really wanted. When someone else gets really excited, I quite often will agree with them...only to end up walking away with something that I don't want. This is how I ended up with bright orange hair upon leaving a salon a few years back. I most definitely don't want the equivalent of "Raggedy Ann hair" when my wedding bouquet is handed over to me.

On searching, I found three flowers that all come in white and fill all of my requirements: ranunculus, hydrangea and dahlias. Through the magic of Google Images, I plugged 'ranunculus, hydrangea and dahlia bouquet' in the search field, and voila! Some great options came my way that were fluffy, white and unique using varied combinations of my desired flowers.

Inspiration #1

This bride's bouquet incorporates dahlias, ranunculus, sweet pea, hyacinth, gardenias, and hydrangeas. Just so you're keepin' up with me, this bouquet apparently has all of my target flowers, plus some! I love how much texture they've managed to get out of all white flowers. I think my florist could do something lovely with these three plus a few other whites, as was done here, to achieve the great texture.

What also really caught my eye was the bridesmaid bouquet to the left of the bride. This is a great way to feature the dahlia, and I could integrate hypericum berries into the bridesmaids' bouquets to get that extra texture and green in there, without being over the top. I love it! No matter what I end up doing for mine, I think this is a strong contender as inspiration for the bridesmaids...I'm not able to budget a lot for their bouquets, so I want to incorporate flowers that whose blooms can really fill some space!


Inspiration #2

This bouquet features carnations, dahlias, ranunculus and spider mums. So two of my picks are featured here, but I could if I wanted to probably recreate this entire bouquet - I believe all of these would be in season in September. I like the textures here, but I'm not a huge fan of spider mums. It also looks like there are roses in the bouquet, but the description didn't say so. Moving on...


Inspiration #3

This lovely bouquet includes hydrangea, peonies, roses, ranunculus, tulips and dusty miller. The dusty miller is lovely for an added touch of something special for a winter wedding. Probably not for September, though. What grabbed me was the fullness of this bouquet and how "fluffy" it seems. It's very romantic.

Source: Katie Elfers Inspired Floral Design

So, I think #1 and #3 are probably leading the way for me. I'm really determined right now to work dahlias into the overall scheme because my centerpieces are just going to feature single stems, and I think dahlias would look perfect for this. I also really enjoy these great pom balls I've been seeing around (such as from Etsy Seller Pom Love), which I think are so dahlia-esque.

Source: Etsy

Any favorites out of #1, #2, and #3? Any white September flowers that I haven't thought of (excluding orchids, roses and calla lilies...all great, just not for me)?


Sunday, April 12, 2009

Goin' Glam for the Honeymoon

The day after our wedding, the Stilettos will be taking off for sunny, hot and south of the hurricane zone Aruba. We're excited to enjoy lazy days on the beach with icy cold beer and no agenda. By the time of our wedding, we will have been in planning mode for a year and half. Relaxation will be a must. I, of course, will not feel blissfully happy unless I love what I'm wearing and how I look in it.

One big hold in the process is the fact that this little lady has not been in swimming shape for quite a few years, and therefore has zero comfort in a bathing suit. After a year and a half of intense working out and healthy eating, I've managed to lose 30 pounds and feel great. Going from a size 8/10 to a 2/4 has been have no idea! Being in bikini shape for the honeymoon would make me so incredibly happy. But despite dropping the pounds, I'm far from being ready to picking up a collection of string bikinis.

I certainly wish I looked like this:

Source: Victoria's Secret, $36.50

Despite the fact that since I've never actually worn a bikini and so in my mind it's the equivalent of walking down the street in my underwear, I'm absolutely not toned. Yes, the scale has continued to go down - which is great! - but when you lose a significant amount of weight, significant toning needs to be a part of the process. I'm hoping that over the next 5 months, I might be there. But in the short term, I've found a lot of great options that aren't quite, err, revealing, but are still sexy swimwear in my book.

I love vintage-style swimwear from the 40s, 50s, and early 60s. Pin up girls are so sexy, no? I came across Norma Kamali, and fell in love. Her pieces are exactly what I've been looking for. This high-waisted bikini is magnificent and glamorous. It's a little more expensive than I'd like to invest in a bathing suit, but I'm keeping it on the list as a know, if I win the lottery before the wedding. Sigh.

Source: Norma Kamali, $175

It may not be couture, but this high-wasted bikini is more in my price range with very similar elements. Don't judge the picture (or the Web site) harshly. This line of Esther Williams swimwear is designed by, well, Esther Williams, pin up girl of the 1940s. Who would know pin up girl style swimwear better than her? And, I can actually vouch for the merchandise - a few years back I ordered a one-piece suit in similar vintage style from the site. It's cute! Again, it's not couture, but has phenomenol support to hide your not-so-favorite parts.

Source: Esther Williams Swimwear, $79

Polka dots are always fabulously fun and vintage. I love this one-piece. Similar to the one I bought from the Esther Williams site but a little more fun. Big white sunglasses would be so cute with this while lounging by the pool!

Source: Pin Up Girl Clothing, $68

This suit also comes in black but the yellow is darling as well. I love the little ruffle without making it old lady-ish and the simple halter detail.

Source: Victoria's Secret, $58

Va-va-va-voom! I don't know if I'll be feeling quite this feisty before hitting the beach, but this is a great option if I feel like living on the edge.

Source: Pin Up Girl Clothing, $80

Of course, my goal is to be skimpy bikini-ready by the honeymoon, but I think I'd still want to take along at least one of these fabulous high-waisted bikinis and a vintage-y one piece...I definitely want to bring some glamour with me to the beaches of Aruba.


Thursday, April 9, 2009

Come On, Show Me Some Stem...

While I may be concerned about the flowers going into my bouquet, I'm just as concerned about the bouquet's "down there." That's right, ladies and gents, I'm obsessed with stem. Too small is a little bit stingy, and too big to grip with one hand is just slightly over the top in my book. I want my bouquet to be just right.

I'm planning a full-blown post later on about the details my bouquet will have, but one element I will share is Mrs. Lovebug's typewriter key adornments. I had been inspired by Mrs. Lovebug's theme very early on and had hoped to do a full vintage typewriter theme, but as planning has proceeded, the L-O-V-E on the bouquet is the only detail that has remained. And I love it to pieces.

Source: Weddingbee

Like I said, I'm a wee bit obsessed with stem. And I like to see it. Bouquets where the stem is completely covered just don't do it for me. Of course, to each her own! I'm sure this is the look that many ladies are after, but not this lady. I want to see just the right amount of stem.

I love the simplicity of this bouquet's stem and to me it's just the perfect size to easily tote around on the wedding day.

Source: Stem Florists

As far as stems go, this is probably as big as I would want before it would just be too much. This bouquet also scores some points because I'm still trying to decide what flowers will make up my "all white with a touch of green" look. This bouquet is very wild flower chic.

Source: Squidoo

This bouquet's stem feels very rustic almost. It seems like this amount of ribbon would be the very, very minimum I'd be able to have in order to spell out L-O-V-E but still allow plenty of stem peepin' through.

Source: Toppers with Glitz

Am I just a little too focused on this silly little detail? Possibly. But there's just something so aesthetically pleasing about the perfect bouquet...from top to bottom! I've allocated almost a quarter of my small floral budget for a perfectly lush bouquet, and I'm going to love every minute of it - from the moment they place it in my hand to the end of the night where they have to pry it away. Why? Because I'll never have the opportunity again as to be so extravagent to run around with a pricey allotment of my favorite flowers and then, to top it all off, toss said flowers at a grabby group of ladies in formalwear. Score! I simply can't wait.


Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Doggy "I Do"

I won't lie...these days, Stiletto has puppy on the brain. Charlie has been a member of our family for a little over 3 weeks now, and we've been loving every minute of it (despite the draining of our bank accounts, lack of sleep, 5:30am walks...). While we've had cats for a few years, we are such proud pup parents!

Doesn't that face just look so innocent?! Like he would never, ever wake you up at 3am crying? Or chase your beloved (err, somewhat spoiled and overindulged) felines around the house?

We're slowly but surely learning the right things to do to keep Charlie happy and healthy while training him to be an obedient member of the Stiletto family. And in the process, we're learning more about ourselves, being selfless, and how different we often react in stressful situations. Our "parenting styles" are definitely showing their true colors.

However, as much as we love Charlie, I don't know that we'd go quite so far as to welcome him into the wedding ceremony. I mean, no offense to Charlie, but he does have a natural inclination to bark/whine/jump/drool/shed/etc. He's not exactly bred for fancy affairs. But maybe your pooch is. Or you just want some sort of representation of your pooch on the wedding day. With that in mind, I've scouted some great ideas for including your canine in the big day, whether or not you want to actually lead them down the aisle for the festivities.

Remember my fabulous cake topper by Etsy's Goose Grease? No worries. They can also create your pooch for only $10! Cats too! And I think they even do fish. Go on, get your whole family up there on the cake! How cute would this be?!

Source: Etsy

Don't leave your dog out of the fun - make him or her part of the ceremony! This custom collar features a ring pillow so your pooch can trot on down the aisle with rings in tow! Etsy seller The Modern Petshop sells this flowered collar for $50, ring pillow is priced separately. I love the red poppy!

Source: Etsy

Strapped for table numbers? Show off your pup! Etsy seller By Invite Only Design will create 5 x 7 table numbers for $2.75 each with the photo you provide. So cute!

Source: Etsy

Give your friend a modern look with this fashionable tie. For only $8.00 Etsy's Dogties has this chic black dog tie. However, they have a full selection of ties in different colors and patterns. I think this would look smashing on a basset hound!

Source: Etsy

You're picking out a fabulous dress for the day, so why can't she? Etsy's Hatz4brats is selling this custom couture gown for $60. Just promise not to make her go on a doggy diet to fit into it on the big day!

Source: Etsy

There are so many options to incorporating your dogs into the wedding day, and this is a trend that seems to be continuing to grow. We're pampering our pets more and more - from doggy daycare to spas to pricey boutiques. Because we invest so much time and love into our pets, does it then make sense to have them there on the big day?


Sunday, April 5, 2009

Check Out Our Ride

I had always seen myself as a vintage limo type of bride. Mr. S and I running off to an elegant classic car while our family and friends cheered us on was a dream. An outrageously expensive dream, that is.

Source: Wedding Guide Chicago

Classic limos don't come cheap. By any means. And I scoured the internet for every single company in the Chicago area that might have classic limos, hoping for the perfect car at a bargain basement price. Let me tell you - the amount of limo companies out there is astounding and overwhelming. I searched over a few months with mounting frustration (and yes, I definitely put the cart before the, err, limo and was working on this side project before my florist, baker, and dress had even been found).

I understand why I was finding such high prices - I can assume that the cost of maintaining these cards warrants the high hourly rate. But spending $700, $800, even $900 on a car (and then gratuity!) was not in the cards for us.

The other downside is that there is no 1930s version of the hummer, and with our 10-person bridal party plus Mr. S and I, even if I could fork over the cash for a classic limo our bridal party would be left to fend for themselves.

Getting a limo - any limo - was something that I then began to debate. Our church, reception site, and hotel are all within a mile of one another. That's one aspect of our wedding day that I love so much - everything is so close together and accessible for us and our guests. So do we even need to shell out hundreds of dollars on a limo? That money could certainly be allocated somewhere else, or better yet - saved!

However, I still will need to get from the hotel to the church. The thought of scooting into the back of my mom and dad's car in my wedding dress wasn't incredibly appealing. And do we then ask our wedding party to drive themselves around that day? Do I rent a Lincoln Town Car just for Mr. S and I to get around? So many decisions!

Source: Deja Vu Limos

More scouring of the internet revealed that it's incredibly hard to find a limo for 12 people that's not a stretch SUV. Mr. S and I just aren't fans of stretch Hummers or Expeditions and really wanted to find something more in keeping with our aesthetic.

I finally landed on Deja Vu Limos in Chicago and found a 12-passenger stretch Chrysler 300...amazingly in budget! We're getting it for 4 hours at $600 (including gratuity!). Since our ceremony starts at 3pm and our reception starts at 6pm, this will allow us plenty of time for picking us up at the hotel beforehand and taking us around for photos after the ceremony.

Sure, it's not the sweet vintage ride that I had dreamed of. But some compromises I think are worth making. Will I look back on my wedding day and bemoan the fact that I didn't get the car that I wanted? Most likely not. Sure, I won't be posing for pictures in front of the Crysler 300 as I might in front of a classic car, but we'll be surrounded by friends and sipping on champagne...what could be better?!


Thursday, April 2, 2009

Am I a Short Hair Bride?!

I thought I had a pretty firm idea as to what I wanted my hair to look like on my wedding day. I even posted a few favorites of mine that I've seen online, and they've all fallen into a "structured bun" category. I think we often feel that if you don't have hair down to your derriere in preparation for your wedding day, you're out of luck. I've felt it too, as I continue to grow it out and refuse to snip off more than the very ends.

However, Wed in the White City got me thinking about this whole hair thing this week (thank you for sharing your hair plans and cute new 'do!). She took control of her locks and got the cutest bob, and then shared her inspiration for her wedding day hair. Love it!

I've been hating my hair for months now and keep on telling myself that after the wedding, I'll be free to chop it off. I'm no stranger to short hair - I think throughout college I tried out every length from 2 inches on down - so I keep on dreaming about the sassy cute cut I'll have. But what if I don't have to wait? I still have 5 1/2 month until the wedding, so possibly I have enough time to play around a bit. And if I take inspiration pictures with me, I could at least tell my stylist that I need a cut that could do this or that.

So I've gathered some inspiration. I won't lie - it's difficult to find good styles for short hair. But with what I did find...I was pleasantly surprised!

Style #1: Elegant Chignon
I love how this feels a little bit 1960s. It's simple and yet has some great volume to it. I'm no stylist but I don't think you need a lot of length to get this accomplished!

Style #2: Short Hair Bun
What?! I can get the look of a bun without having long, flowing locks? Sign me up! I love this - it's very refined and pulled together, very similar to what I've been wanting.

Style #3: Curly Up Do
Hmm. Maybe a little prom-like? But again, I love I'm finding a variety of options out there for short hair up-do's.

Source: The Bridal Beauty Salon

Style #4: Roaring 20's 'Do
I definitely don't think I could pull this off and doesn't really scream "wedding hair" to me, but I thought it was too cute not to share. But if you're doing an Art Deco-themed wedding or something along those lines, I think this would be a fabulous option!

Source: Zimbio

Checking out all of these options is making my fingers itch to dial my stylist and let her chop! I've been getting so antsy for a change, and when you consider that I've been engaged for over a year now, the restraints for keeping my hair long have been in place for quite some time. I still hesitate...I want to love my hair on the day. However, I need to keep reminding myself that just because your hair doesn't hit your shoulders, you can still do something that is elaborate and now, what's a girl to do?


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