Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Invitation Innards

I was so excited to finally have my maps, which meant I could then put the "innards" of the invitations together. Since we had this extra piece to include, it gave me a perfect excuse to create belly bands with some extra ribbon I had. What do you think of the final product?

After downloading Dafont's LP Flowers 2, I found a shape that would match our damask theme. I laid these out in Microsoft Publisher and then printed them out on white cardstock. Using my handy 2-inch scallop cutter (that I think I use for every project now!), I cut out the disks.

I had a bunch of black grosgrain ribbon that I was previously going to use for the bridesmaid bouquets. I cut the ribbon into lengths that would tightly "bundle" the invitation pieces with a little overlap for taping. I had enough to bundle over half of our invitations. Not wanting to spend any more money, I used some thinner white ribbon that I had on hand to finish the rest. I ended up really liking the look of the white as much as I liked the black ribbon.

Using super strong double stick tape (the package claims it's permanent), I wrapped each invitation packet with a piece of ribbon and secured it with the tape. I then taped a circle to the center of each one, hiding the place where the ribbon overlaps. Sneaky!

Stacking them as I went, I gathered quite the pile sitting precariously next to me on the sofa...and they magically didn't topple over, even when I got up! (to get the camera, of course, to document my stellar stacking abilities)

This was a project that I easily completed in one evening. Yes, it got a bit tedious toward the end. I was hunched over, sore, and my finger was shredded by the end of the tape dispenser. But I'm in love with the final results and hope that our guests - at the very least - appreciate that pieces of paper won't be fluttering to the ground when they open their invitations!

While I wouldn't claim that the tape I used ("Duck" brand double sided tape) is permanent, it seems to be quite secure. When I took the bundles out a few days later, only one of the 75 had come unstuck and the rest were holding strong! It's out of my hands once those babies hit the mailbox...

Were you able to complete an extra project from start to finish, using only items you already had?


Monday, June 29, 2009

Guy Style Down the Aisle

Ok, I will admit it - my posts have been incredibly sexist. Where has the focus been on the guy attire?! The ladies tend to get a lot more screen time between dresses, shoes, hairstyles, jewelry, etc etc. Even though it is often the case that the guys don't even think about that they're wearing until 3 days before the wedding when they pick up their tuxes, their appearance is equally as important!

Of course, I wasn't intentionally leaving the guys out in the cold...Mr. S and I just hadn't had the time to pick out their tuxes. Since I had last Friday off, Mr. S and I ventured to a nearby MW Tux to pick everything out. I let Mr. S take the lead and choose what he liked best...I just sat back and nodded along!

He settled on this great Calvin Klein tux with a faint grey pinstripe. I love it! It's also more slim of a fit, which is great because Mr. S's tuxes often end up being a little big and boxy on him. We were assured this would be perfect for him.

Source: MW Tux

You can kind of see the pinstripe in this detail shot, but again, it's a very unpronounced pinstripe. I think this is perfect because it gives it a little texture/interest without being too distracting.

Source: MW Tux

Mr. S will be sporting a plain white vest (no pattern or detail) along with this tie that we'd recently purchased.

Source: ties.com

The rest of the guys will have plain black vests and ties. If we happen to find extra money lying around, we might get the guys black and white striped ties, but I don't anticipate there being gobs of money just begging to be spent. And, we already got the groomsmen fabulous gifts, remember?!

Did your guy take the lead on choosing his wedding day attire?


Sunday, June 28, 2009

Favors...All in the Details

I posted a little while back on our favor change from a candy/dessert buffet to making a donation to a local non-profit bakery and giving out samples of their tasty maple cashew granola to our guests.

To ensure we wouldn't change our minds to something else, I quickly ordered 125 3"x5" muslin bags from Etsy and we picked up a stamp from Jo-Ann Fabric that said "all you need is love." I gave Mr. S the stamp and a green ink pad and he stamped away. Cute, right?

Using my handy dandy 2-inch scallop cutter (one of my favorite wedding/crafty purchases thus far!), I laid out a message to attach to the muslin favor bags. Each bag will have three of these scallops - 1 with a thank you message from us, 1 with information about Blue Sky Bakery, and 1 with the address and web site of the bakery. Using my recent purchase of a Fiskars Eyelet Punch & Setter (another fun crafty tool), I joined all three tags together with an eyelet and threaded through it the strings of the muslin bag, like so:

Oh, and don't forget about the good stuff...this to die for maple cashew granola! I bought 3"x4" plastic ziploc bags from Etsy that fit perfectly inside of the muslin bags. It's not more than a few bites of granola-y goodness, but hopefully those who live in Chicago will seek the bakery out to get some more!

Now we just have to wait until the week of the wedding to pick up bags and bags of granola to fill all of these tiny little bags. We've talked to the bakery and it sounds like they should be able to fill our huge granola order for that week! Beyond the granola (I'm estimating spending about $180 on it), the rest of the items - from the bags to the tags - was less than $60 for 125 favors. Yay!

Beyond the fact that we're making a charitable contribution and supporting a great cause, my favorite detail of the favors is how great the "all you need is love" stamp looks on the bags. What little detail really makes your favor special?


Friday, June 26, 2009

Fabulous Mappin'

Say it with me: "Map love, love, love!"

Source: Pantomime Papers

"Penny" of Pantomime Papers a.k.a. Miss Snapdragon a.k.a. Heather has truly outdone herself! When I heard she was creating custom maps I jumped on it immediately and contacted her about creating one for our wedding.

Since everything on our wedding day will be very close together within Oak Park, we didn't feel our guests needed a map to show them how to get from point A to point B. Instead, because Oak Park boasts so many sites to be seen (from Frank Lloyd Wright's studio to Ernest Hemingway's birthplace), we wanted to make sure our guests knew everything that Oak Park has to offer - in addition to the Stiletto festivities, of course!

Heather seemed very excited about creating a whimsical map that was focused more on fun and not at all on coordinates. I sent her a list of locations we wanted to include, and Heather went to work designing a 4x6 map.

I definitely wanted to include the historic Lake Theater - it's so iconic! The Green Line "L" train to downtown Chicago was a must, also. Take the Green Line to be "green" for our wedding, people!

It's great how the Frank Lloyd Wright studio was not only worked in, but Heather suggested this great Wright motif for the map overall. And see? Ernest Hemingway is hard at work right by our reception site!

As soon as Heather sent me the file, we places an order for 4x6 postcards from Overnight Prints. On the back, we included a message from Mr. S and I to our guests, welcoming them to Oak Park and encouraging them to see the sites while they visit. We also took this opportunity to plug our hotel block as well, since it's only been listed on our wedding web site and we really want people to stay there (not only will it be fun, we need a certain number of rooms booked in our block for us to stay in the suite for free!).

I can't wait to share with you how we're incorporating these maps into our invitation suite! For more of Heather's maps, check out Miss Bruschetta's Philly map and Heather's web site.

What extra piece really put your invitations over the top?


Thursday, June 25, 2009

Steve on Elizabeth Anne Designs!

Why am I beaming from ear-to-ear today? Steve was featured today on Elizabeth Anne Designs!

The site featured a recent engagement session Steve shot in San Francisco earlier this month with a fabulous couple, Amanda and Matt! While I get no glory for the day, I was on the sidelines carrying camera gear and Amanda's purse. It was so much fun to watch Steve work and then getting to weigh in on favorites when he started the editing process. It was a fun day and such a great couple to get to know - I wish I could be there for their wedding later this summer!

Check out more of Steve's work at Steve Koo Photography.


Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Why I Chose to Be DOC'd

I went back and forth, back and forth on whether or not we needed a day of coordinator (DOC) for our wedding. I even went so far as to contact some coordinators last year to find out pricing. But then I allowed my budget to rear its ugly head and decided that this was an extra cost I just couldn't justify.

Fast forward to this past January. I started to worry more and more about the actual events of the wedding day and who would do what. It was these babies that really started to have me worried:

No, you don't need to question "is Stiletto crazy?" I had legitimate concerns here! I was planning to have tealights across all of the tables, which I know is a very common wedding decor item. Other brides probably don't have mini breakdowns over them. But I seriously just couldn't fathom who might be lighting all of these candles before the reception started.

My reception site - while fabulous - doesn't really have someone who I felt would be running around on our behalf to attend to these little details. While our contact there is so great to work with, I don't really see this as her role. I didn't really think this was the job of the catering staff, either. Certainly they have more important things to attend to than running around with a lighter!

I decided enough was enough! A DOC was just what we needed, and the tealights gave me justification, I felt, to hire one. I sent emails out to almost everyone I could track down in the Chicago-area (unless they had their prices on their web sites and I knew off the bat they were out of my league!).

In the end, we hired Marilyn of Honey Bee Weddings. When we sat down with her, she was so incredibly nice, but we also could tell that Marilyn wasn't a pushover and that she would make sure our timeline stayed in place and that the day went smoothly. Hiring Marilyn as our DOC is something that I've never looked back on with regret, even as money for the wedding gets tight! When I think about my family, Mr. S and I not having to worry about things running off course/not arriving/not being set up, etc - the peace of mind is worth every penny!

Of course, DOC's aren't just there to light candles, duh! Who else would be there standing beyind you, making sure your train is laying flat before you walk down the aisle?


And, I don't know about you, but I want that clock to be a happy fellow on the day of. But I don't want to even so much as glance at a timeline of the day!


And, of course, there are a million other odds and ends that a DOC can take care of, from making sure you and your bridal party have something to eat while you're getting ready as well as setting up and breaking down of ceremony decor, to coordinating your rehearsal and making sure your gifts are taken to the car at the end of the night.

Who says you can't buy peace of mind?


Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Gettin' Low, Gettin' Low...Arrangements

As I recently posted, we've gone through some centerpiece adjustments and will have lovely branch centerpieces for 8 of our receptions tables. We're left with 6 or 7 tables (depending on the number of guests) to outfit with "low" arrangements.

Since my original plan was to have a single stem on each of the 15 tables, I had already been budgeting around $9/table for this, or $135 total. Now that 8 of the tables are otherwise taken care of, that $135 can go toward just 7 tables. That gives me around $19/table to play around with.

I still want to use one of these small Crate & Barrel vases on each of those tables for the low arrangements (I mean, I have them, I may as well use them...):

When I was recently looking around for some green floral inspiration, I happened across these two low arrangements on With This Ring.

This first arrangement is pretty and definitely green(!!) but I don't know if it's as vibrant as I'd like.

Source: With This Ring

However, I'm swooning over this second arrangement (and it's a bathroom arrangement, of all things!). It's vibrant and fresh, which is what we've been trying to achieve overall. These kermit pompon mums have been growing on me a lot, too...might be cute to incorporate in other places as well?!

I'd love it if the bridesmaid bouquets had this "fresh" feel as well to them. No, no, I'm not planning on changing any flowers - I still want hydrangeas (which this arrangement has), dahlias and ranunculus in all of the bouquets, but I'm liking how these mums "pop." Maybe they could be added in?

I'll be sitting down with my florist in about two weeks - I plan on showing her this inspiration picture and seeing what my $20 an arrangement can buy me! I'm so excited to share with her all of my inspiration so far regarding all of the flowers for the wedding and hear what suggestions she may have.


Monday, June 22, 2009

Centerpieces: Revisited and Redefined

Way back when I posted about the different centerpiece items I'd purchased from Crate & Barrel. If you link over, you'll see the cute little tealight holders, vases, and black chargers. In my mind it was going to be simple, chic, and budget friendly! I'd pick a great bloom to go in each vase, wrap ribbon around the vases and place everything on damask table squares.

I finally compiled everything a month or two ago to see my vision come to life. Here she is:

It could be worse...but could be better, to say the least. Please disregard the yellow gerber daisy, I had picked up whatever flowers they had at Whole Foods. The picture frame is a placeholder for whatever we're using for our table numbers. There was just no "wow" to it. It's fine, gets the job done...but Mr. S and I wanted to see what else we could do without throwing a ton of money at the centerpieces. I'd spent about $225 for enough tealight holders, vases, chargers and fabric to outfit 15 tables.

Oh and if you're wondering - Momma Stiletto is kindly making the table squares for us! Doesn't the first one look great? I love the fabric we ended up choosing, and I'm hoping to take the squares after the wedding and turning them into a keepsake such as pillows or something of the like.

Anyway, Mr. S and I got to researching different options that we thought we could pull off with minimal investment. The general rule seems to be taller = expensive, so we wanted to get some height on the tables. One centerpiece-of-the-moment seems to be branches. So we went into full force research mode finding good DIY's for branch centerpieces and pricing them out. Word to the wise - branches can be very expensive!

I came across an online store called Nettleton Hollow, which has branches that are reasonably affordable. Better yet, they have a blog with great DIY advice for their projects (quite smart, if you ask me!). On their blog I found this fabulous DIY for flowering birch branches combined with dried grass.

I decided to go for it and bought all of the supplies they suggested, and enough to decorate 8 of our tables. I've got one done and I LOVE it!

If you're thinking about doing this yourself, here's a breakdown of what I bought, what I did, and links to the products. Of course, that blog post I mentioned gives a great DIY as well!

Natural Birch Branches: $16.50/bundle

Fountain Grass: $12.50/bundle

I used 18" tall square glass vases: $6.45 each (I found square to be cheaper than cylinder vases and had to bit the bullet and pay the somewhat hefty shipping!)

Small white silk flowers: bought 4 bunches from Jo-Ann Fabrics on sale for $1.00 a bunch, cut them off of the stem

They suggest using 6 of the birch branches and a half of a bundle of fountain grass per arrangement, as I did above. Each bundle of birch branches has approximately 25 branches. So I bought 4 bundles of fountain grass and two bundles of birch branches. I think the biggest cost saver of this project is using the fountain grass to give your arrangement some more volume rather than using the more costly birch branches.

So, including shipping I spent right around $100 for the branches and grass (I was amazed at how reasonable their shipping was!). The 8 vases were $75 including shipping, and around $4.00 on little silk flowers. So, $180 total or around $22.50 per table. Amazing! The only downer was the vases - they seem to have some paint spilled in them and smell a bit like paint. Wha?! It wasn't worth contacting the company about but I probably wouldn't order anything else from them.

After purchasing all of the items, just use a hot glue gun to glue a few flowers on the branches - I think less is definitely more with the flowers, but that's just my opinion!

I love that this gives us some height, some of our green is pulled through via the fountain grass and brings some drama to the tables that we were otherwise lacking. Of course, we still have 6 or 7 more tables to "outfit" with centerpieces! Since I have all of those short vases from Crate and Barrel, and I had been budgeting for a bloom at each table that now won't be needed for 8 of the tables, I have a plan brewing that I'll share with you soon!

Did you decide that your centerpieces needed a little extra "oomph" from what you were originally planning?


Saturday, June 20, 2009

Google Has Nothin' on This Map

Miss Bruschetta just posted her fabulous Philadelphia map created by the ever-so-talented Miss Snapdragon of Pantomime Papers, more familiarly known as Heather. As soon as I saw Miss Bruschetta's post I couldn't wait to share my map too, but I'm not prepared to show the full enchilada! Plans are in place to use this map as a fun insert in our wedding invitations, so you'll see the map in full when everything is printed and ready to go.

Both Mr. S and I were blown away by Heather's work - I had thought it would be fun to have a cute map, but when we saw what Heather had created I realized that this will most definitely be one of my most favorite keepsakes from the wedding. I can't wait to frame a copy!

So here's a sneak peak of our whimsical Oak Park map - complete with some Frank Lloyd Wright influences and a whole lotta sights to see.

Source: Pantomime Papers

Stay tuned for the whole map and to find out how we're going to use it in our invitations as a special touch for our guests.


Thursday, June 18, 2009

Determined Not to be Frock-less

At the end of July, I will have one very full day/night of celebrating with the ladies! My one and only bridal shower will be taking place in the afternoon, following by my bachelorette party extravaganza in the evening. Why, you might ask, would I jam pack all of this into one day?

As it so happens, 3 of the 5 Stiletto bridesmaids are spread out throughout the country - San Diego, New York City and Tampa to be exact. I didn't feel comfortable asking them to fly in for a separate shower and bachelorette PLUS the wedding in September, and I didn't want to sacrifice the opportunity to celebrate with all of them! So I made the executive decision to lump it all together into one fun weekend. Good thing I'm taking off the Friday before and the Monday after from work to effectively prepare and recover!

While the date has been set for quite sometime, I've been on the prowl for some smashing ensembles to celebrate the day. I was most worried about a shower dress, as I can find any old cute black dress for the bachelorette. I loved this dress from ModCloth, but it's forever out of stock. This cute little retro number from Bettie Page completely stole my heart but was more than I wanted to spend, and I honestly didn't know how many opportunities I'd have to wear it again (other than when I put on my pearls and heels and vacuum the rug, of course). I wanted to love this one from Macy's, but the colors just seemed...off. I swooned over this lovely Nine West dress, but they didn't have my size. On a side note, who knew Nine West had such cute dresses?!

In searching Bluefly's site one more time this morning (as they are, of course, having a dress sale!), I came across this simple and cute blue and white dress:

Source: Blue Fly

I saw it while eating my cereal this morning, but by the time I got off the train and into work, it was sold out. Nooooo! About 20 minutes later, I was sending off the link to one of my bridesmaids to show her the dress I could have had if only I had acted faster, and it was available again! Only one left, and in my size. Score! Click, click, purchased...and under budget at $60, definitely rewearable (it feels kind of beachy to me...could totally go on the honeymoon!).

Sick and tired of the dress search, I moved on to nailing down the perfect bachelorette party dress. I'm sure Bluefly probably had some cute stuff, but I was in such a rush to get that shower dress ordered I didn't take the time to look. Don't worry, everyone and their brother seems to be having a dress sale today, so I trotted on over to Banana Republic.

Last weekend I had tried on this fancy little dress in yellow, but the store didn't have my size. I think it's sassy and fun in either color. But for the big night out, black to me is the best, classic choice.

Source: Banana Republic

It may be a little bit fancier than what I'd planned, but I don't have a classic black dress in my wardrobe, and this would definitely fill that need. I could get something slightly, err, flashier for the party, but I'm not that flashy of a girl and I'm not sure how often I'd be able to wear it again. And in this economy, repurposing in key, ladies!

I was so relieved to have both dresses ordered, and assuming they both fit, it will be smooth sailing from here. With so many other details to take care of, I couldn't spend any more time and energy obsessing over the perfect frock!

Do you buy special occasion dresses that you know can pull "double duty" for other events?


Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Exactly Like Heaven

Finding the right music has been a struggle, from the recessional to the first dance and beyond. We want the music to reflect our style and to be the right fit. However, I didn't want to spend a great amount of time and energy finding the song that the bridal party will walk down to.

In all of the weddings I've been to since I started planning my own, I cannot remember the song anyone has used for the bridal party entrance, whether they were traditional or more modern ceremonies. Absolutely nothing has stuck in my mind. So, rather than overthink this one, when Mr. S and I hit upon something that we both loved, it was chosen without a second thought.

I know many couples out there have gravitated toward the Vitamin String Quartet for their beautiful instrumental covers of popular songs. Their cover of The Cure's "Just Like Heaven" is absolutely perfect. It's beautifully done and will be a perfect fit on the day. This decision is absolutely set!

Have you used Vitamin String Quartet in your ceremony music?


Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Frightful Nightfuls

Mr. S and I enjoyed a fabulous long weekend in San Francisco...he needed to travel there to shoot an engagement session with an absolutely fabulous couple, I simply tagged along and we made a long weekend out of it (and I got to play photographer's assistant around SF's fun Mission neighborhood, ending with a super tasty "Mission Burrito"). Miss Peeptoe's "Honeymoon in my Hometown" post was great inspiration as we planned our trip!

However, in the midst of our mini-vacation loveliness, my dreams were filled with wedding doom...duh, duh, DUH.

Over the course of one night, I had two frustrating dreams, one after the other. Here, come sit down and I'll share...

No Bling
The scene is set. Mr. S and I are at our jeweler's looking at wedding bands. Mr. S has chosen some sort of funky custom wedding band that's more of a cuff that goes up half his arm and is made of black and gray rubber. I kid you not, it was pretty awful. I kept on talking about the sweet little ring I've been in love with for months and shared how I had tried it on somewhere else and just loved it. The jeweler kept on putting me off, telling me he would order in something soon for me to try on. That's all well and good, but I was there to try on some rings! I said that even though I found one I liked, I'd still be happy to try some other options on. No dice - the jeweler ignored my many requests and returned to Mr. S's cuff of awfulness. The dream ended with me being incredibly upset that I had not tried on a single ring.

Not nightmarish enough? Don't worry, the dreams kept on comin'.

Late, Late for a Very Important Date
Getting ready at my parents' house about 3 hours south of Chicago is not in my wedding plans. In my dream, it was very much a reality as I was there getting my hair and makeup done, knowing full well I still had a 3 hour commute ahead of me. My dress was also being altered down there. Soon we were less than an hour from the wedding...wha?! I rushed to pick up my dress, trying it on one more time before taking it away. Currently Mr. S and I are debating the whole "first look" thing. In my dream, this was taken care of by him coming to the alterations place with me and being taught how to bustle my dress! I was horrified that our first look boiled down to dress logistics. There was no time to be too upset as I knew we had to rush to Chicago. A random assortment of people were driving up to Chicago with me; Momma Stiletto was at the wheel. I was sitting in the back seat in a panic. Mom assured me that it would only take an hour to get there, if that, and that we'd just be a little late. I was distraught, overwhelmed and absolutely positive that I was going to miss my wedding.

While seeming tame now, these counted as nightmares in my book, and I was incredibly tense on Sunday morning. But nothing compared to my nightmare on Sunday night...

Let's Call the Whole Thing Off
While thinking that everything in our relationship was just peachy, Mr. S let me know that he just didn't feel that "spark" anymore, and he'd been told that once that spark was gone, you could never get it back. He casually called off our wedding and ended our relationship. I was absolutely devastated. In the dream, we were very close to the wedding date, but had not yet sent out the invitations. But still, I had to let everyone know it was over. I absolutely dwelled on the fact that I had to call my alterations person and ask her to only clean my dress, not alter it. I was also saddened that I had to contact one Etsy seller and let her know that the ribbon I purchased from her would not be used in the wedding. Amidst my devastation of having to start everything over - new relationship, home, everything - Mr. S let me know that he had looked at my blog posts of my wedding dress and that it wasn't anything he would have expected me to pick out, and that he "didn't care for it." Talk about kicking you while you're down.

After this last dream, I felt drained and depressed. Everything felt so real from all of these dreams, and having non-stop wedding dreams in one weekend was incredibly frustrating. But most of them I can understand - one of my biggest pet peaves is being late, hence the dream where I most definitely didn't make it to the church on time. And, of course, not trying on wedding bands while Mr. S picks out something garish is a bummer. I've also had other dreams about my cake being wrong, which makes sense as well.

But the third dream...really shook me up! This goes far beyond planning and logistic snafus, it hits right at the core of our relationship. I'm certainly not fearful about the strength of us or our "spark," were are 100% a-o-k. Whew. Seriously, though, whatever happened to wedding nightmares where you just show up minus your dress?!

What wedding nightmares have really knocked your socks off?


Thursday, June 11, 2009

Giving Stylish "Thanks"

I never thought I'd love a thank you card more...until I saw Etsy seller Rasideas' "Around the House" thank you notes. The gray is just perfect (all of the walls in our condo are painted gray, and we love it!), and the clean simplicity of these cards fits our style to a "t."

And, aren't they perfect because at my bridal shower in July people will kindly be buying us our...

Source for all photos: Etsy
...kitchen utensils...

...wine glasses...

...some cute yellow towels for our bathroom...

...gift cards we can use toward a tv stand we love...

...and toward some fabulous dining room chairs we desperately need...

I have some time before my end-of-July shower, so I must simply hold off on even contacting Rasideas for the time being (as desperately as I want to!)...of the things this wedding absolutely needs right now, thank you cards aren't a priority right now. But I can still drool over them, right?

Each set of 10 comes with these 5 different lovely designs and customized with your names.

What's next on your "Etsy lineup"?


Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Fit to Be Tied

I have a ribbon problem. I can't stop buying it! The fact that there is such a wide variety of ribbon to peruse on Etsy doesn't help either. Let's take a walk through my wedding...from the ribbon's point of view.

Ribbon #1

My first ribbon purchase this winter was this 1-inch wide black ribbon with white stitching from Ribbon Stop. I ordered 10 yards of this and planned many, many uses for it. Now, I think I have it narrowed down to wrapping around centerpiece vases that I purchased awhile back (I'll post later about this), ceremony decorations, and keeping the rest readily available for other projects that may arise, such as wrapping bridal party gifts and other decor needs.

Source: Ribbon Stop

Ribbon #2

I thought Ribbon #1 would be fine for everything, but once I started thinking about bouquets I had to make some decisions. I picked up this 1 1/2-inch wide white grosgrain ribbon from Etsy's Cindy's Bow-Tique. My plan is to hand this over to my florist to wrap my bouquet stem with. I really like the texture of this ribbon as opposed to more "satiny" ribbons.

Source: Etsy

Ribbon #3

To accompany Ribbon #2 on my bouquet, I found this lovely narrow striped 1/16 of an inch ribbon from Etsy's Caramelos. I am in LOVE with it. I like that it's a different texture from other ribbons that I have bought. I'm planning on asking my florist to use to to tie the L-O-V-E typewriter keys onto my bouquet stem (a la Mrs. Lovebug) and to wrap the stems of the boutteniers. I'd like to also use it as a part of our favors packaging and elsewhere, so I'm hopeful that Caramelos has more!

Source: Etsy

Ribbon #4

Cindy's Bow-Tique strikes again! I bought 10 yards of this 7/8-inch black grosgrain ribbon, intending to use it to wrap the bridesmaids bouquets, but I've found another option (#5!). Hmm. I certainly can find a use for black ribbon, right? Since nothing about it screams "wedding" maybe I'll just have a good supply of black ribbon on hand for years to come!

Source: Etsy

Ribbon #5

Love it! Just purchased it and can't wait. Etsy's Scrap with Style had this wide-striped 7/8-inch ribbon. I picked up 6 yards of this to use to wrap the bridesmaids' bouquets. I certainly hope that's enough (a little over 1 yard per bouquet?). If not, I know where I can find more! I had been trying to find a really fun ribbon to use for this, and all I was finding were polka dots. I think this is going to look fabulous alongside everything else.

Source: Etsy

Ribbon #6

And finally...ribbon 6! Another great find today - from Cindy's Bow-Tique again! Remember my escort cards that are going to be placed on beds of wheatgrass? Instead of purchasing nicer-looking containers for the wheatgrass, my florist just suggested I have her wrap the containers the wheatgrass come in with ribbon. She never specified the ribbon width I would need - this is 1 1/2 inches wide, so hopefully it's wide enough. I'm stepping outside of my typical green and starting to mix up the greens a little bit...I know, living on the edge!

Source: Etsy

I think I may be officially banned from buying ribbon! But I think it's always the little details that count. And, I'm hoping to pass off all of the necessary ribbon to my florist when we meet in July, so it was really helpful to purchase ribbon that was just going to be for the floral elements and have other ribbon in hand for the decor projects I need to work on.

Seeing everything lined up together, I'm really glad I've integrated some striped elements into the mix, since we'll be having damask touches on the tables - I think this makes for a nice contrast!

Are you putting a personal touch on your bouquet(s)?


Monday, June 8, 2009

Coming Up Daisies: Escort Cards

Way, way back in the dark ages...you know, in March of 2008 when I furiously started planning this wedding, I fell in love with escort cards tucked neatly in beds of wheatgrass. And really, what's not to love? It's bold, vibrant, matches our color scheme...and if we get really ambitious we can make healthy smoothies with it the next day!

I didn't, however, want to use the standard folded escort cards. I wanted paper flowers.

Source: Brooklyn Bride

For the past year (yes, year!) I have searched high and low for the perfect way to fulfill my vision. I've always loved origami, so I tried any and every folded flower I could find instructions for (beyond the basic lily...far too easy, and I wanted to show off some mad origami skillz). But every option I found either wouldn't have set well in the wheatgrass, would be difficult to attach a leaf to, or just simply involved far too many steps for me to make 60+ flowers.

Another roadblock with orgami was the paper. Most of the prints I found just didn't fit in with our color scheme, and I didn't want to use a non-origami paper as origami paper is really the most convenient to fold with and it's already in perfect squares.

I finally gave up the origami dream and trolled the Internet searching for a better solution. I came across a papercrafting blog called Scrappy Habits that has a great tutorial for incredibly cute paper flowers.

Source: Scrappy Habits

I immediately bought the supplies I needed from JoAnn Fabric - black and white cardstock, teeny green brads and a 2-inch scalloped circle cutter. I decided to use black cardstock as the base for all of the flowers, and then for the top piece, half are plain white cardstock and half are cut from pages from a book of love poems by Chilean poet Pablo Neruda. I like how the poems look as flowers, and that if guests look closely they'll find snippets of loving words.

It only took me about an hour to use the handy little scallop cutter to punch all of these out. Then, another evening Mr. S helped me cut, fold the petals and put them together with the green brads. But...of course we don't know seating assignments yet! The greatest part of this project is that we could pre-make all of the flowers that we need, and then when we have the seating assignments, make the leaves with the guests' names and attach them.

For the leaves, I created a teardrop leaf shape in Microsoft Publisher. To ease the process, I just outlined them with a green dot pattern, so I can just cut around the pattern and not have it look too sloppy (I hope!). On each one I'll print the names and seating assignments in a very light grey and then trace over them with a felt tip pen, like I did here. I used a typewriter font to match the font we're using on our invitations and in other places (sorry for the blurry picture, this is what happens when Mr. S is off shooting weddings...I'm left to my own devices with the camera!).

Our box full of flowers is complete and just waiting for leaves! I'm so glad to have knocked out this project so early in the game, and I'm excited to see all of these blooms scattered across the trays of wheatgrass.

I'll leave you with a snippet from the Pablo Neruda poem "Not Only the Fire":

Ah my life,
it is not only the fire that burns between us
but all of life,
the simple story,
the simple love
of a woman and a man
like everyone.
Did you do anything special with your escort cards?


Saturday, June 6, 2009

Gettin' Altered for the Altar

Rule #1 of alterations - if you can, bring someone with you. I had been worried about going to my first fitting by myself (4 of my 5 bridesmaids don't live in Chicago), but the experience was perfectly fine except for from a photographic standpoint. I would have loved to have a ton of pictures snapped, but of course the seamstress needing to be pinning, not snapping!

Check out my awesome photography and the front of my beautiful dress:

If you look at the waist, you'll see the flower I ordered awhile back from 5eizen on Etsy. As a part of the alterations process, the flower will be attached.

Source: Etsy

Of course, the most exciting part of the alterations process is getting the bustle done! Since my dress has so many tiers of fabric, I was intrigued to find out how the bustle would look. Here's the back of my dress without a bustle:

And here it is all pinned up, how the bustle will look (I was able to get her to snap one picture!):

Apparently a French bustle (or having it go underneath) looks best for my dress...she was definitely pinning a lot, so I wonder how many hooks will be in place!

I said goodbye to my dress and will see it again in early September, sigh. Since I purchased it as a sample dress, it needs to be cleaned. My seamstress will send it out to be cleaned before I see it again - one less thing for me to worry about.

While my alterations were about $150 more than I'd anticipated spending (although, truly, I had no clue what to expect) and I had to deal with the added sticker shock of paying for the cleaning (another cost I was clueless on), I have to remind myself that we got such a fabulous deal on the dress and to just take a deep breath!

For those of you in Chicago, I went to Ms. Couture at North/Clybourn, who had great reviews online! The store is really cute and my experience was fabulous. Best part of it? The dress didn't need to be let out at all, and she even encouraged me not to lose any weight between now and the wedding - she definitely knows how to make a bride-to-be feel fabulous!

Did you go solo for your first fitting or did you bring along your entourage?


Thursday, June 4, 2009

It's Gonna Be a Hot, Hot Honeymoon!

Yes, in about 3 1/2 months, this is what Mr. S and I will be looking at:


We're both getting really excited about honeymooning in Aruba! It was very important to me that we take a honeymoon immediately after the wedding...I wanted that feeling of just jetting off after the big day and being just "us" for awhile before real life comes back into the picture. But unfortunately, we weren't sure what we could really afford to do. In stepped the Stiletto parents, who never took a "true" honeymoon, and didn't want us to miss the opportunity. They ever so generously gifted us 1 week of their timeshare, ours to trade for whatever location was available for our desired week.

We looked at the Dominican Repulic (not the best location, we decided, for September) and I daydreamed about Thailand, Bali and New Zealand...however, even though the accommodations were covered, we still had to get ourselves there!

On one of my daily searches through the timeshare web site last November, Aruba popped up. I started talking to different people who had been, and heard fabulous things - clean, safe, hot (seriously, their only season is, you guess it, HOT!), and far south, outside of that pesky hurricane zone. Check it out, Aruba is WAAAY down there:


We decided we needed to jump on this opportunity and book the trip...after checking flights, of course! We were able to get roundtrip airfare with short layovers in Miami each way for around $900 for the two of us. Fan-tastic! If we had waited until about now to secure a location, I'm sure there would have been many more options - timeshares are great for trading at the last minute. But I'm very glad we took care of this when we did. We booked our flights in December, so other than meals and activities (re: laying on the beach!), everything is paid for.

We'll be staying here, at Marriott's Aruba Ocean Club.


We'll have more of a small condo equipped with a kitchen rather than just a room. There is a Marriott resort right by the timeshare, where we should have access to all of the amenities such as their pool, spa, and casino, should we want to gamble away our wedding gifts (I kid, I kid).

Mr. S and I are so grateful for my parents' generosity and helping us have a beautiful, relaxing honeymoon! At this stage in the game, it's also great to know that we won't have to shell out tons of money to make this happen...one less thing to be budgeting at this point. Plus...Mr. S has never been to the ocean before and it's been years since I've been! He was a wee bit hesitant about the trip at first, thinking we'd be bored. Now I think he's realizing that the "boredom" will really be "relaxation" and will be very welcome.

What part of your honeymoon are you most excited about?


Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Green Grumbles Be Gone!

Yah, you're seeing "our" green with other floral greens, and it's OKAY! Where were you, With This Ring, a few days ago when I was stupidly stressing about greens?!

Source: With This Ring

In scrolling through her wedding, there are so many similarities to mine - bold green, black and white damask, etc. But I also noticed that there are different shades of green represented throughout the wedding, and not just with the flowers. The flower girl dresses, pashminas for the bridesmaids, etc.

Source: With This Ring

If I hadn't been having a "green crisis" when I was reading through these posts, I honestly don't think I would have even acknowledged that the greens were different...I would have just enjoyed looking at her wedding and seeing how fabulous all of the little details were. And I know (or at least hope) that everyone will think the same about my wedding, whether I showcase 1 or 10 different shades of green.

All of you readers have given me great feedback as I was wavering on such a silly little detail - the color/flower of groomsmen boutonnieres. I'm vowing to not think about it again, to take examples of the green with me when I meet with my florist in July and let her help me make a decision that not only will look great, but will hold up well throughout the day. Because I'm going to guess that as a floral designer, her intentions are the same as mine - a beautiful end result!

What has given you perspective on planning "dilemmas," whether big or small?


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