Thursday, July 30, 2009
Tuesday, July 28, 2009
I shared awhile back the story of where Mr. S bought my engagement ring, and the style of wedding band I wanted. Simple. A few diamonds evenly spaced around the band.
Well, a couple of weeks ago Mr. S and I took a trip back to Chicago's jewelers row to seek out our weddings bands. I bought along pictures of what exactly I thought I wanted and we tried on ring after ring. When I finally tried on the ring that I'd thought I had to have, it just didn't do anything for me as a wedding band (as a ring on the other hand? Perfect, sign me up! But not with my e-ring).
I ended up finding an AMAZINGLY sparkly ring with prong-set round cut diamonds. Swoon. But it would have put us at the top of our ring budget (we'd been looking to spend $1,200 max for both bands). Hmm. I put on my budget hat and tried on another happily sparkly band with round cut channel set diamonds over the top half of the band that was SO freaking under budget, there wasn't a question which ring I'd choose. I love me a bargain.
Mr. S wavered between a brushed white gold band and a shiny tungsten band...he happened to fall in love with the tungsten which was also very budget-friendly...woo hoo!
Here's some shots of the rings (please disregard the horrendous lack of focus...my camera was dying)...
...I secretly love wearin' these together around the house, shhh....
We picked up our rings last week, all sized and ready to go, and while there they spruced up my e-ring...I'll be perfectly honest - bling looks a whole lot bigger when it's all shiny and clean! My e-ring has never looked better.
I'm so pleased that we both got rings we love but only spent $675 of our $1,200 budget. I definitely don't think you have to empty your wallet to find something special. AND with the leftover money that we'd allocated for our rings, we can go ahead and pay off one of our vendors now rather than in September (I'm so excited to have one less payment leading up to the wedding!).
Did you stay within or bust the budget when you picked our your wedding bands?
Monday, July 27, 2009
I'm fresh from my bridal shower/bachelorette weekend, and I can't wait to share the fabulous details of the day and night! While I wait for my lovely bridesmaids to send some pictures my way, I thought I'd share the gifts I put together for the bridesmaids.
Mrs. Latte's gifts for her bridesmaids had stuck in my head and I knew I wanted to do something similar...but lacking creativity, I decided not to reinvent the wheel and instead just take her idea (thank you, Mrs. Latte!).
Please don't mind my awful photography...these weren't completed until just before the shower, so I had to quickly snap some shots!
I bought these great gable boxes that were the perfect size, and using a handwriting font printed out the "thank you" message onto card stock, which I then cut out using pinking shears and glued onto the boxes.
Using a mixture of typewriter font and the handwriting font I printed the messages onto cardstock, cut them out, punched a hole into each with a heart-shaped punched and tied them onto the items with my favorite black and white ribbon.
...some yummy cinnamon scented soap...
...yummy smelling candles...
...and my favorite chocolate chip cookies using this recipe and sprinkling the top of each cookie with sea salt pre-baking to get the perfect salty-sweet combo...
I'm so glad I was able to give each one of my five bridesmaids a little thank you for giving me such a great weekend!
Coming up...the Stiletto shower and later the bachelorette extravaganza!
Did you do anything special to thank your bridesmaids?
Friday, July 24, 2009
I refused to do a first look out of convenience, and he conceded. He even suggested we not have our photographer there if I wanted it to be more personal and just us.
I'm still just torn. It would be nice to have that special moment together beforehand, but I wonder if it will take away some of the anticipation and excitement of me walking down the aisle. With our timeline we'd have to do the first look right before the ceremony start time, and it would have to be at the church which wouldn't leave us a lot of options for great first look settings. I don't want to risk guests seeing me beforehand, so we'd have to be sneaky and find a private place that would look nice (should we choose to photograph it...which, knowing us, we probably would do).
I wish I could have my cake and eat it too...experience the first look, but also experience Mr. S and I seeing each other for the first time that day as I walk down the aisle.
Wasn't Mr. & Mrs. Cupcake's first look just lovely?
All you married ladies out there, how did you make your decision about the first look? For those of you still planning, what factors are helping you make your decision?
Thursday, July 23, 2009
I also busted out those pesky whitening trays. Can you believe that if you actually use your teeth whitener more than once in one week, you can see the difference?! My pearly whites may not blind you, but they're on the road to recovery.
I've decided to nix the "lovely" roots I've been sporting since I got highlights back in February and get my color done tomorrow. Not only will my hair be glossy and beautiful for this weekend, but I can start to determine the perfect shade for the wedding day.
Bridesmaids A and D will be rolling into town on Friday, so we're going to get mani/pedis - I anticipate showing off my bling in style at the shower!
Tuesday, July 21, 2009
My invitations are officially out of my hands and out of my mind as of today! I lugged them all to work on the train and mailed them from the (oh so convenient!) post office in my building.
And, of course, who doesn't need an entourage when sending their invites?! My co-worker Megan was kind enough to accompany me down there to snap a few shots of the big ta-da (please don't mind that I rolled out of bed a tad late today and didn't put on a drop of make up, ugh).
Last night I sealed them all and packed them up for the journey on the train. Don't they look nice? That damask pattern across the top of the envelopes is one of my favorite details.
The only minor set back was the fact that the flap on the envelopes was rather large and so there was a big gap on either side after I had sealed the envelopes. Fortunately, we noticed this pretty early in the process, so it was nothing that a little glue stick couldn't fix as I sealed away.
Whew. Not only am I glad to get these into the hands of our invitees, I'm excited that some space will be freed up...these have been stored in our house since February!
Did you breath a big sigh of relief when you mailed your invitations, or were you sorry to see them go?
Sunday, July 19, 2009
Remember when I had this great DIY idea for a vintage suitcase card box? Yahhhh...my first attempt turned out so badly I couldn't stand to snap a picture of it before it landed in the trash. So, I went with my backup plan.
When I was planning my candy buffet, I picked up this black cake stand, which happened to come in a great box. I'm not using the cake stand anymore, but it's been sitting around my kitchen in that box. It only made sense to stop trying to think of something new and go with what works - a hat box turned card box.
Mr. S cut a slot out of the center with a box cutter, then I took some extra damask fabric I had on hand to cover the top. I didn't have big enough of a piece of fabric to cover the whole top, so I used two separate pieces.
I hot glued it in place on the top, then...
I flipped it over and gathered pieces, pulling the fabric tight, and glued it in place. I didn't have the patience to try and get it smooth, so instead I pulled it so that it looked gathered around the side.
To cover up some not-so-nice edges around the slot, I glued some ribbon in place and tucked it into the underside of the lid.
The finished box! It's simple and a little rough around the edges...but I finished it in less than an hour using materials I already had in the house.
I'm glad I ended up going with a classic idea rather than trying to reinvent the wheel for my card box - one more completed project is incredibly helpful at this stage of the game!
What are you using for the card box at your reception?
Friday, July 17, 2009
The rehearsal dinner has been the source of some strife in the Stiletto household these past few months. We haven't been able to find any places to host it!
I know you're thinking to yourself, "Stiletto, what's the deal? You live in Chicago and are surrounded by so many fabulous restaurants." That may be true, but the wedding events are taking place just west of the city in Oak Park, and I've been bending over backwards to keep everything in Oak Park, within walking distance of the church!
While Oak Park has some fabulous restaurants, the ones that could actually accomodate our group just didn't grab our interests. Or if they did, we'd have to empty our wallets and then some to host our nearest and dearest.
So, we opened up our search to Chicago's West Loop, which is about 10 miles straight east of Oak Park. The West Loop has some fabulous restaurants to choose from - almost too many! Fortunately, a friend suggested de cero, a self-described modern taqueria.
The restaurant just happens to have a room the perfect size for our little group (20-25), availability on our date, and no room rental fees if we keep it to 2 hours or less.
Don't you just love this long table that's in one of their private rooms:
And their list of drinks sounds absolutely scrumptious, including a raspberry basil daiqueri, a peach and chamomile cholada and a strawberry mint marguerita - only a taste of what's on their fabulous drink menu.
duck, queso, pico de gallo, mashed pinto beans and crema
How did you decide where to host your rehearsal dinner?
Wednesday, July 15, 2009
Much to my surprise, I received the tape faster than I often receive items shipped from within the US...and the tape is absolutely fabulous!
I immediately took one of the shorter vases and started playing around with arranging the tape. I love that if I mess up, I can easily pull it off and start over. What do you think of the first attempt?
Since we still have a couple of months to go, I'm going to hold off on decorating the rest of the vases. I think these are going to look fabulous on the head table, and I won't sit there worrying about some ribbon or paper just popping off in the middle of dinner...decorating with tape was the best idea EVER!
What unique products are you integrating into your decor?
Monday, July 13, 2009
I've posted about the in's and out's of our invitations...we've had them in our house since about February, but actually taking the final step - addressing these suckers - took some planning. We have these fabulous outer envelopes, but I just didn't know what to do in order to stay in line with the integrity of the design. Oh yeah, and in line with that pesky budget.
Along with many others, I fell in love with this easy way to mimic calligraphy, as posted on Project Wedding. I'm sure many others have hopped on board with this great project, including Miss Piglet (her invitations are fabulous!).
I liked this idea, but having done many a mail merge at work, I absolutely hate running envelopes through the printer because I've been witness to far too many fatalities - jamming, crookedness, black marks, you name it. I just couldn't subject my precious invitations to a chancy procedure. But since the whole project just boiled down to tracing, I decided there had to be a way to piggyback on this project.
I present to you my makeshift light box:
Taking one of the little click lights that we have on the underside of our kitchen cabinets, I took the glass out of a picture frame and propped it up on two books, sliding the light underneath. Voila! This setup was perfect for illuminating the addresses (of course, if I had dark envelopes this project would not work).
Here's a sample of a finished envelope (don't mind the messy blurring that I did to hide the full address):
It's not perfect, but it fits with our design exactly. The rest of the invitation was done in a typewriter font, so I used that for the addresses. This font also tends to be a little irregular, which lends itself perfectly to tracing! It would be fun to try this out with a more calligraphy font, but that's another project for another day.
If you're thinking of going this route because you can't stand the thought of running your envelopes through the printer, here's what I did:
- Set up a labels mail merge through Microsoft Word
- Use Avery Label 5168 (5" x 3.5")
- Set up your font, centering and spacing preferences, and set your address text toward the bottom of the label (you'll need to experiment to find the right place; the first line of mine started at the 3" mark on the label)
- Before completing the merge, also make all borders thick black lines
- Complete the merge and go through the individual "labels" to make any adjustments, check for errors, etc*
- Print your "labels" onto regular printer paper
- Use a paper cutter to cut out the "labels" - the black lines at the bottoms of the rectangles can be used as guides when you're cutting them to ensure a straight line, especially if you don't have a paper cutter and are using scissors
- What are intended to be labels are actually perfect for slipping right into your envelopes to then trace
For me, this was such a painless process, except for the pain in my hand as I addressed away! The mail merge makes it incredibly seamless, allowing you to pull straight from the Excel list you're maintaining.
Of the 73 invitations I have to address, all but six are done! And, I didn't mess up on a single invitation thus far...I think it's safe to call this project a success.
How did you choose to address your invitations?
Wednesday, July 8, 2009
Tuesday, July 7, 2009
I'm not a big makeup wearer (shhh....I went all winter long without wearing a single bit of powder or shadow to work!). On top of that, I generally get told that based on my skin tone, brown hair and blue eyes, I can pull off any shades of makeup, hair color, and clothes. While it's nice to be chameleon, definitive answers like "you look best in blush tones" or "never wear the color yellow" would be incredibly helpful.
I mean, I don't want to end up looking like this:
I received great feedback on my recent hair post and think I have settled on "option D" as my inspiration. I didn't even realize until today that this was the same picture that Mrs. Yorkie used at her trial!
It's great having hair ideas nailed down, but there's this whole face of mine to contend with. I don't have strong opinions on makeup, nor do I have celebrity inspiration or a picture in my head of what I might look like. Beyond, well, looking better. Hee. I, however, really liked Miss Cowboy Boot's recent trial. I liked the freshness of her inspiration looks and her makeup came out looking beautiful.
When I think about myself, my dress and my overall "look" that I envision for my wedding day, I think the word sweet encompasses everything. My dress is very soft and romantic. To each her own, but to me soft and romantic does not equal smoky eyes or bold red lips. I like the idea of "fresh."
So, here I am -
And here's some inspiration (the best I could do for finding pictures that were "rosy" and "fresh"):
Sunday, July 5, 2009
Mr. S and I met with our minister this weekend to begin discussing the type of ceremony we might like. The next time we meet we'll really get into the details, but this meeting was to get us thinking about what is important to us.
In the car on the way to church, we discussed how we didn't want a unity candle because it didn't really feel like us. Of course, the topic came up later in our meeting, and we shared our feelings about it. Our minister, however, gave us a completely new outlook.
We had been thinking about the thing and the stuff more than the meaning. Wikipedia states that it "is to symbolize the union of two individuals, becoming one in commitment." Our minister outlined something similar to this, but she also made another great point. When we light the unity candle, it's our time as a couple during the ceremony to have our moment together - amidst the roomful of onlookers - to quietly say special things to one another. I liked that - our time. We're still in debate on doing a first look (he's pro, I'm anti), so maybe this unity candle time can be all our own?
We're definitely now considering making this a part of the ceremony, as we explore other traditions, verses, poems and songs that will make the ceremony special and a part of us. In true Miss Stiletto form, I've scouted some unity candle inspiration on Etsy, although you'd better believe if we choose to do this I'll be diy'ing this project!
Here's some inspiration I found that would fit with our color scheme:
Thursday, July 2, 2009
Wednesday, July 1, 2009
I know I'm going to have to schedule my hair and makeup trial soon. Great, right? If I could nail down what I wanted, I'd be stoked. I've no clue about make nor do I have any inspiration (or know where to look for some!), so that's a post for another day.
I debated on different hairstyles previously, and even thought about being a short hair bride. Now it's time to stop debating and getting real...what's a girl to choose?
This is my hair currently...except I'd curled it for a wedding and I'm sporting some fabulously awful roots (I'm hoping to make the color a bit richer before the day). I've got a decent amount of length going on, but my hair is pretty thin.
So, please help me decide!
A. This is still my frontrunner - I had posted it before. Not only do I love the cool loops, even though I can't see the front I imagine that there's some volume/interest going on. I don't want my hair flat against my head if at all possible.
B. So great! I love this. Although I hate that on The Knot you often only get a shot of the back. As I said above, I want volume. But this woven effect is fabulous.