Monday, August 31, 2009

Leave Your Message...After the Picture!

We went through a million ideas for our guest book - from an adorable "wish tree" to a typewriter tell-all to everything in between. We finally settled on the Polaroid guest book. It incorporates Mr. S's love of photography and it's an interactive element with our guests.

Since we knew we wanted to do one of these:

We went on Amazon and got one of these (and later picked up a second at a garage sale for $5, and it works!):


We then bought plenty of packs of these from Amazon (our high end was 120 guests, so we bought 6 packs or 60 exposures. We used one pack to test out the cameras and bought another to replace it, and now our guests count is hovering closer to 100, so we'll have plenty to spare!):


Later, I searched high and low for perfect place to put the pictures. We finally settled on this album from Jenni Bick - I had a hard time finding an album with black pages that was the right size with the right amount of pages. We paid around $40 for the 14 1/4" x 11 3/4" album, but now it's on sale for $20, argh! There's an array of collors (we chose the green, in the second picture) and you can even have a message embossed on the front for an extra fee (we didn't).


This weekend I picked up some great white gel pens from The Paper Source for our guests to leave their messages. I bought some white photo corners and using a Polaroid picture, Mr. S and I adhered the corners to each page, so guests can slip their pictures in.

We'll include a sign by the book that says something along these lines (I know I stole this from somewhere - thanks if it was from you!):

Please find your picture,
place it in the guest book,
and leave us with your words of
wit, wisdom and well wishes
to help us commemorate our wedding!

Word to the wise - a Polaroid guest book is a significant investment between the camera and film, unless you're lucky enough to have all of that on hand. In retrospect, we may have done something different and put that money elsewhere, but we know it will be a cute keepsake in the end.

So buying things, I can do. But when it came down to the logistics of it all, I was flabbergasted! When do we do what, and how will we make sure our guests will jump on board?! I finally settled on this:
  • During the cocktail hour (when we'll be taking pictures) two of our ushers will take the cameras and snap pictures of our guests. We could even have them give the guests a little card to remind them to look for their picture later.
  • The ushers and our coordinator will help make sure the pictures make their way upstairs to the guest book table outside of the ballroom (or, we could put the guest book in the cocktail hour room and move it up at the end)
  • Our coordinator will encourage folks to find their picture on the table, place it in the guest book and write a message

Hopefully having all of the pictures taken at one time when everyone is congregated together will be easiest. That will only leave out the wedding party who may have to do theirs after the cocktail hour (if we make it back too late). Then, it's just as easy as encouraging people to circle back, find their pictures and sign!

How have you managed the logistics of unique guests books? Do you have any suggestions for me so make sure it runs smoothly?


Saturday, August 29, 2009

Grab Your Name and Find Your Number...

In the early dark ages of my wedding planning, I found and fell in love with my great cake topper. Remember? I also developed the escort cards that will nestle into bed of wheat grass at the reception, as you might recall.

However, one topic I haven't touched on are my table numbers. How are my cake toppers involved in this topic, you ask? Well, I decided that I couldn't just have my cute little cake topper have such a short life. The mini Stilettos needed their time in the limelight. So, when I ordered my topper, I asked Goose Grease to not attach our mini me's to the round base - we needed to be able to move them around for a little photo shoot (we'll glue them onto the base ourselves before the wedding).

Oh yes, you heard me correctly. We let our wooden selves work if for the camera, and through this are able to share bits and pieces of ourselves and our life together to our wedding guests.

These are the final pictures we're getting developed, which Mr. S added numbers to using Adobe Illustrator.

We wanted to have our pup Charlie in one shot. We assumed this would be quite tricky as he can be rather, err, rambunctious, but as soon as we set the toppers onto the floor, Charlie started posing for the camera. I kid you not. You would have thought we had sat him down beforehand and explained what was going to happen, with him nodding his head in agreement. Charlie, apparently, is an old pro when it comes to photo shoots.

Linus, on the other hand, decided to give us some love and affection. Every single time, it was I who was about to topple over. At least we know how he really feels!

I like to think that Mr. S and I were on the forefront of the Wii revolution. We had ours within days of it coming out - a friend of ours bought it and decided he didn't want it, so Mr. S bought it off of him. I gave him such a hard time about the purchase, but in retrospect we are lucky we got it when we did - these babies were difficult to get your hands on for quite some time!


I devour books like it was my job. I've already started in on one of the books I bought for the honeymoon (oops!). I can never get books that are long enough to last me more than a week or two. Yes, I have a bit of a literary addiction.


We've been engaged for 18 months. The ring had to make it into these at some point, didn't it? I like that it seems Mr. S is in the midst of the proposal!


We've recently become Scrabble addicts, thanks to our downstairs neighbors. They even gifted us an extra Travel Scrabble set that they had, so we will definitely be taking it on our honeymoon. Yes, we're cool like that.


We buy a lot of bananas. If you ever came to our house, you'd see a bowl on our kitchen island filled with bananas at all stage of ripeness (I prefer them when they still have a hint of green to them, yum!). I think we buy something like 15 bananas a week. I'm sure people at the grocery store assume we have triplets at home.


I bake. In another life, I had/have a baking blog, but that's on hiatus until the wedding planning craziness subsides. You know, when I'm an old married lady. Oh yah, and when I'm not concerned about holding back on the calories because the knowledge of wearing a certain white dress in front of my loved ones is looming before me. Just sayin'.

Here's our other sweetheart, Basil. I love that she looks like a giant here, because she's really our most petite pet (and yes, if you're counting, we have 3 pets).

Mr. S is a fine art and wedding photographer. Over the past few years, photography has crept into every aspect of our lives, and has brought forth so many great friends and experiences!


If you've been following my story at all, you know that the word "gym" is a verb in our household (ie - Are we gyming today?"). Working out/being healthy for us isn't solely for the wedding, but it definitely helps as we're getting closer to the big day.


We like a glass of wine now and then. Our neighbors who introduced us to Scrabble also introduced us to this sparkling shiraz - The Black Chook. It's from Australia and is so incredibly tasty. I highly recommend!


Mr. S loves to cook. I do not (remember? I got my own number above for baking!). Fortunately, he keeps us both fed. A few weeks ago he was really into making risotto with sweet peas and spicy pork andouille sausage. Mouth watering yet?

We get coffee as much as is humanly possible. I normally stick with lattes, but when I was in Italy last summer I fell in love with just getting a shot of espresso - straightforward and to the point. I love that we're sailing away in our own little espresso cups.


I can't say that our lives are dramatically influenced by eggs, but doesn't this make for a cute picture? The one thing I have to say about eggs is that Mr. S may handle the cooking, but every time I ask him to hard boil some eggs I have to remind him 18 times how to do it. It lets me feel a little superior in the kitchen!

Unfortunately, we may only end having 13 guest tables at our reception because of the way our head count is going. So, all of these might not be needed. If we put one at the head table (which I hadn't planned on doing) the espresso picture will make the cut! We'll see.

So I'm sure you're thinking to yourself "This is all well and good, Miss S, but what are you doing with all of these snap shots?" Stay tuned and I'll show you how these autobiographical table numbers will be displayed!

Are you incorporating anything about yourselves into the table numbers?


Thursday, August 27, 2009

For Tired Little Piggys

It's been a long while since my fabulous wedding day shoes have made their way into a post! I've had them for months and months, and while I've cheated on them a few times with some other eye candy, they're here to stay. I feel sex-ay when I slide these on!

They don't match my dress at all (they're more of a yellow-y ivory and my dress is diamond white), but I would never abandon them just for that. Plus, they were a steal at $40! They're the Nine West 'Gohana' for those who want stilettos like Stiletto!

Source: Overstock

While I can rock out a pair of heals when the occasion calls for it, especially when I'm running high on adrenaline, me thinks my toes may want a bit of a rest toward the end of the night. Of course, I may do just fine in my heels, but I absolutely need to have a backup plan just in case.

Enter, my back up plan...

Source: Gap

I had actually been searching for a cute pair of green flats, but found nothing I liked. In fact, almost everything I found I didn't like, and if I did like them I couldn't afford them. Most of the flats I was finding felt to business-y. Then, this morning I found these babies on the Gap's web site, on sale for $24.99. That's a great deal, if you ask me, and I can totally wear these after the wedding as well!

They are canvas, so they don't look incredibly dressy. But as no one will be eye-to-eye with my shoes (and if they do, that'll be quite the rockin' party!), I think the pattern helps dress them up enough.

What are your "plan B" shoes?


Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Some of Our Guests Will Be Flyin' Solo

I've been watching our guest count grow and grow over the past couple of weeks. The jury is still out for about 10 of the 72 invites we sent out, but the RSVP deadline isn't until this Friday. I think that's a pretty good response rate so far!

We've had very few declines...6 to be exact, in addition to the 5 invites we sent to some family members that we were pretty sure wouldn't be making the trip, but we needed to send an invitation to. Otherwise, people are apparently excited to celebrate with the Stilettos! Yay.

But what has really surprised me about the response cards is that so many of our guests are not taking advantage of their "plus one" status! I know that there are different schools of thought on this who plus one situation. There are some who feel if you're not in a relationship, you should forfeit your plus one. And I understand that - weddings are expensive and each additional guest can really add up!

However, I personally feel that our guests should be able to bring someone with them that they'll have a good time with! Especially if they may not know a lot of other people at the wedding - they should be able to have someone with them to hang out with throughout the afternoon and evening.

We also set our goal of having a max of 120 guests at the wedding, and sent out 72 invitations (or invited 144 people if everyone brought a plus one). If approximately 25% of your invited guests are not able to make it (a pretty safe assumption), we invited just under that 25% mark. So we most definitely have room for our guests to cash in their plus one!

This is probably a silly thing for me to be picking up on, but I just found it curious that we have so many "1's" on our spreadsheet. I guess this will make it easier to do those pesky seating assignments...?!

How do you feel about the "plus 1" debate - should guests feel free to bring a friend along, or is the "plus 1" reserved for significant others only?


Monday, August 24, 2009

A Bee's Life: Stiletto's Thoughts

On Discovering The Bee...
I found Weddingbee before I got engaged, when I had a girlfriend who was looking for her wedding dress. We had already gone to various boutiques in Chicago, but she had hit a wall on finding "the one." I was digging around online trying to find new places for us to visit, and I came across Weddingbee and a post by a Chicago Bee (who? I have no clue!) and her dress shopping experience. I thought the site was cool and helpful, but I didn't dig any deeper...I mean, I wasn't even thinking of getting married!

Fast forward 6 months when a ring was slipped onto my finger, pushing me deep into planning. I came across ideas online of using a vintage typewriter as a guest book...we both loved it (and have since changed plans, ha!). Searching for typewriter-themed weddings, I came across Mrs. Lovebug. Swoon. I sat for hours pouring over her planning and recaps and thinking how cool it must be to have your wedding story chronicled in such a way. I started reading the 'bee off and on in the early parts of my engagement.

On blogging...
I had a baking blog for a couple of years before I started my wedding blog. I enjoy it, but I've never really found my voice there. Since getting engaged in March of '08, I was getting completely overwhelmed with everything. So in January of this year, I decided I was going to start a wedding blog and use that as an outlet for saving my sanity. As I started my wedding blog, I kept Weddingbee in mind. What would it take to be one of their bloggers?

I looked at the guidelines provided and the criteria for applying, and as soon as I had the minimum number of posts written, I sent my application in. In the meantime, I was blogging furiously...and absolutely loving it, feeling I had finally discovered my "blogging voice." A few weeks after applying, I was pleasantly surprised to receive an email from someone who said I could call her "Pengy," wanting to know if I was still interested in being a Bee and if so, what icon would I like to choose? I was floored, overwhelmed, and so honored to have been accepted!

On being a Bee...
Weddingbee is 100% always on my mind. Sometimes I wish I had more time to respond to readers, comment on the boards, and have more inspired posts...but it's hard! I generally write my posts in the morning before my workday starts - all in one sitting! By the time my posts make their way onto Weddingbee, it's usually late afternoon and I'm heading home from work, so I get flooded with comments that I want to be able to respond to. Sometimes I'm better at responding than others.

I'm always thinking about everything I'm doing for the wedding and if there's a blog post there. Do I need to take some pictures of a project? Research something out? Write up instructions for a project? Find great inspiration photos? But no matter what it is, I'm always bursting to share! I think back to how I ate up every single one of Mrs. Lovebug's posts. I'd love it if even one person was following me now, or will in the future, and use pieces of my wedding as inspiration as they go through the winding road of the wedding planning process. So I make sure I share everything that I possibly can!

...but my one guilty habit I'm going to admit to you here? Doing projects just because I want to blog about them! There, I said it. Wow, it feels good to come clean! Wanting to feel like I have the coolest wedding on the block has led me to be up to my elbows in projects half-started and projects I'm hoping to do. What's a girl to do?

At the end of the day, I can't even begin to think about what things would have been like if I hadn't sent in my application...and if I hadn't been lucky enough to be selected. I've never seen a warmer, more inspiring group of readers on any other wedding site. And as for the Bees...while I wasn't always an avid reader, I am now obsessed with each and every one of your weddings...from those that have passed to those that are just around the corner! On most days I am still in awe that I'm able to be a part of this group.


Friday, August 21, 2009

A Day of Good & Evil: Part 2

Remember my lovely Part 1 where Sister Stiletto threw me a fabulous bridal shower? Well, once it was over we skedaddled out of there, drove into the city to our suite at the Hard Rock Hotel, changed, and then hopped into a cab for a mysterious destination.

Here we are, on our way...

When we walked into Circuit Night Club, where they have, err, review shows, I was quite hesitant and definitely had not had enough to drink at the point in the day.

See Exhibit A:

The ladies tried to get me in the spirit by bedazzling me with a sparkly tiara (which did not illicit a better reaction):

A bachelorette sash did indeed bring out a little excitement:

Although, I needed help in figuring out how to put it on:

And, of course, don't forget the veil:

Oh, and did I mention I was lucky enough to get my own special straw? That little extra accessory went with me EVERYWHERE that evening:

Here we all are waiting for the show to begin. I was still quite apprehensive and not excited about the fact that my seat was right in front of the stage. Fortunately, there were 4 or 5 other bachelorettes there that evening, so the torture was distributed evenly amongst the soon-to-be-wed ladies.

I learned a lot that evening, so below are my tips and tricks for navigating through situations like these.

#1 For any of you first timers like me, the gentlemen give you instructions on what to do when they come up to you. Notice him guiding my hands. Why, you ask? Because otherwise I would have crawled under the table to get away. When in doubt, act confused and uncomfortable, but also understand that any feeling of personal space will be completely thrown out the window.

#2 Take the term "dollared up" and live it, learn it, love it. In establishments like these, one must be "dollared" or the gentlemen are less gentlemenly and tell you that you need to be dollared up and then walk away in a teeny bit of a huff. Which was fine by me, but my ladies insisted that I be dollared up throughout the evening.

#3 It may look uncomfortable keeping those dollars in place, but don't worry. When the gentlemen come by, they perform magic tricks.

The dollars are going...



#4 Surround yourself by all of your best girls and a good time will be had by all.

Here we are by the end of the evening (minus a couple) fact, this is the only picture I have of all of my bridesmaids and myself all together!

I had so much fun out with all of my ladies! I'd been concerned that I would drink too much and have a rough night, but I did fabulous and ended up being one of the least hungover out of the group! (Of course, I did pass out by about 1:00am or so, hee) And, once I got used to all of my added "accessories," I was rockin' that veil and tiara like there was no tomorrow.

What new things did you learn at your bachelorette party?


Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Gettin' My Hair & Face Done

A little while back I had posted about my hair inspirations in preparation for my hair trial. There's so much great inspiration out there, but I was nervous that I'd pick out styles that my hair wouldn't cooperate with, or that I wouldn't end up liking.

I'd finally narrowed it down to this great style:

Source: Flickr

But this was also a favorite of mine from long, long ago. I think it was one of the first styles that I had really liked way back when!

Source: The Knot

I had my trial this week with the fabulous Morgan Blaul, who I couldn't rave about enough! She was so fun to work with, honest about what would or wouldn't work for me, and completely open to my nosey dog and cats as they gave her hair and makeup gear a once over.

At the end of my 2 1/2 hour trial, Morgan left me with this lovely, lovely hair:

I loooooove it! I had only showed Morgan the first picture, above, but my hair seems to have ended up as a good combination of the two pictures above, which is great! I love them both, and Morgan executed my vision to a "T." I did try out little hair pins with crystals in them, as you can see, but I wasn't really digging them so I don't think I'll go that route on the wedding day.

And, of course, Morgan rocked out my makeup. I didn't really have any true ideas about what I might want...I had looked for some inspiration online, but I was incredibly open to what Morgan had to suggest.

Whatcha think?

I'll admit, I'm sure Morgan thought I didn't like it because I went into a state of shock the first time I looked in the mirror, but it's only because I wear so little makeup on a daily basis, and I've never had my makeup professionally done before. I looooved the eyelashes she put on me, I felt so vampy! Overall the makeup felt fresh and meticulously done.

I had Morgan put my veil on me to see how it would work. To be honest, I had been feeling a bit "ugh" about my veil for the past few weeks, and the trial confirmed for me that I just don't think I want to wear it on my wedding day. But don't worry, I have a Plan B up my sleeve!

I loved my day of beauty, but was so sad to wash off the makeup, peel off the eyelashes, and take all of the pins out of my hair (although I loved the beautiful curls I was left with!). And, without a doubt, Mr. S was in love with my wedding day look almost more than I was!

Did you hair and makeup person/people hit it out of the park on the first try, or did you have to set up some follow up trials to get it just right?


Monday, August 17, 2009

A Day of Good & Evil: Part 1

A few weeks ago, Sister Stiletto threw me a fabulous weekend of celebration. We started off with my bridal shower, and since all of the wedding events were taking place in Oak Park, the shower was here as well. Sister S found the Oak Park Art League - doesn't it look like a little cottage tucked in the woods? So darling!


This was a perfect location for the shower - personal, cute and the (very reasonable!) rental fee goes to support the Art League, which is a non-profit offering art classes and providing gallery space to artists.

Sister S made the space look so cute - I was pleasantly surprised when I walked in the room! Vases of bright pink flowers were scattered about the room and black and white touches made their way in as well. It felt very fresh and bridal and sweet! The boxes on the table were the favors for the guests - cupcake mixes with labels that say "Miss Stiletto & Mr. Stiletto - the perfect mix," and heart-shaped measuring spoons tied on top. Too cute!

Sister Stiletto, me, and Momma Stiletto all together at the shower! Momma Stiletto helped with a lot of the details for the day as well.

I had been VERY anxious leading up to the shower and having everyone watch me open presents. I won't lie, I was very relieved when the last present was opened and I could breathe again.

I did try to make sure I read every card...

...and show my excitement about things such as frying pans (wow that sucker was heavy!)...

...and do circus tricks with some presents (no, don't worry, I don't have three arms! A lovely bridesmaid helped me display these awesome green bowels from Crate & Barrel!)...

...and marvel at the size of this pancake flipper...

...and try and keep myself from asking "Are we done yet?" I could only handle prying open so many Crate & Barrel boxes before I was done in!

Fortunately, once presents were done it was time for CUPCAKES!! Sister S went to Molly's Cupcakes in the city that morning and picked up these lovelies. Half were strawberry shortcake and the other half were super-rich chocolate ganache with a raspberry filling. AND I got to keep the fun cupcake stand after the shower as an extra gift from Sister S, plus the leftover cupcakes went straight into my new cupcake caddy. Woo hoo!

When all was said and done, I had a lovely time at my shower! My bridesmaids never let my mimosa glass get empty, and I was only forced to play one game, whew. I couldn't have asked for anything better.

Of course, once the lovely festivities were over, the day had just begun for some of us - the bachelorette party was about ready to get into full swing! Stay tuned for "A Day of Good & Evil: Part 2 - The Bachelorette Party."

The highlight of my shower was being surrounded by friends and family (and, err, cupcakes!). What was the highlight of your shower?


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