Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Picturing the Rhyme

We are of course waiting for our fabulous photographer to give us our full disk of wedding photos, but we were lucky enough to see a big blog post from her this week! Since I'm sure the Bees who have gone before me would encourage me to wait until I have all of the pictures to then decide how to do my recaps, I shall force myself to wait!


That doesn't mean I can't share with y'all my "something old, something new, something borrowed, sometihing blue." I didn't have nice pictures of everything before the wedding to share!

Withour further adieu...

Something Old

My earrings and necklace were made from vintage chandelier pieces. Are they gorgeous?! Swoon. I can't rave enough about the fabu-losity of Precious Meshes. I also had lace from my mother's wedding dress as a something old, but I want to wait to share pictures of my bouquet, so you'll just have to wait for further recaps!

Something New

What wasn't new during the wedding planning process? But, my official "something new" would have to be my fabulous Nine West shoes. At $40 they were a steal, and I definitely felt like I rocked these puppies!

Something Borrowed

I was at a loss about this one until the lovely Mrs. Avocado offered to loan her birdcage veil. I loved it! I absolutely do not regret not having a long, traditional veil. The birdcage was fun, vintage, and fabulous. I wore it the entire night - during pictures we ended up wrapping it to make somewhat of an avante garde netted poof on the top of my head, and it was equally fabulous. Thank you again, Mrs. Avocado!

Something Blue
Even though I didn't do a garter toss, I still had my cute blue garter. I'm glad we ended up not doing either toss...taking out some of those rituals meant we had more time for dancing and fun!

Please note: All photos are credited to Laurie Peacock Photography.

I hope this satiates my hunger for recaps a little bit more and that you enjoy these tasty little tidbits from our day!

Did you manage to find fun little items to complete the "something old" rhyme, or did you decide to chuck tradition all together?


Tuesday, September 29, 2009

One Happy Honeymoon Island

Mr. S and I have dropped back into real life after a wonderful wedding and honeymoon! Leaving for the honeymoon the day after the wedding was the best idea ever - while we were exhausted, it was so great to just escape for some fantastic relaxing in ARUBA!

Check out Mr. S at the airport while we had a quick bite before our flight:

And, yep - Mr. S is sportin' his ring!

I'm also excited about the honeymoon, although this picture doesn't show it!

Aruba welcomed us with hot, hot weather, sunny skies and fabulous beaches. We stayed at the Marriott's Aruba Ocean Club, which we were able to stay at by taking a week of my parents timeshare that they gifted us and trading it for this location. The bonus of staying here (beyond a free week of lodging!) was staying in a "villa" which is a 1-bedroom unit with a living room, small kitchen, bathroom and balcony.

While it wasn't fancy-shmancy, having the kitchen meant we could make some meals in! Aruba is incredibly expensive, but the local groceries stores were very reasonable. We didn't rent a car while we were there, but the Aruban bus was only $1.30 each way. So, an hour and a half and two bus rides later, we had $80 worth of groceries - Cheerios, bread, peanutbutter, beer, bananas, spaghetti and sauce, etc. We were able to eat almost every breakfast and lunch as well as some dinners just from these groceries.

When we finally made it down to the beach on our first full day (Monday), we saw where we'd be spending the bulk of our time - the palapas huts. Since it was the off season, our beach was always pretty empty and it was easy to get a hut in a good location, which we could have for the entire day. Score!

We spent money on two special activities - one was parasailing. In retrospect, I think we were overcharged a bit ($120 for the both of us), but it was something that Mr. S really wanted to do. Let me just put it out there and say that it wasn't something high on my list. I get incredibly motion sick, hate roller coasters...I mean, I can't even ride in a convertible without getting sick! But, I told myself I could handle this whole parasailing thing.

They were going to let us go up together, but after being harnesses up, I completely freaked out and said that I was absolutely not going up. So Mr. S went solo. Look how excited he is!

They told him that if you put one arm out, it means you want to come down. If you put both arms out, it means you're having a great time. Mr. S was having a great time up there.

In the meantime, I was sitting on the boat with a huge knot in my stomach, debating if it was worth having Mr. S be annoyed with me for the rest of the day if I didn't go up. Sigh. Once he came down, I knew the guys would require me to make a decision immediately, and before I knew it my harness was hooked in and I was being given instructions on how to sit as the wind lifted me off the boat.

You can't see the fear on my face in this picture, or hear the screams.

Fortunately, once I got up in the air, it was fairly smooth and tolerable for me unless we hit an air pocket. They kept me as close as they could, though, which I greatly appreciated. It was a bit peaceful up there, but after a little while (what felt like an hour but was probably 5 minutes), I stuck out my arm so they could reel me in.

Fortunately, there was always happy hour to make things right. Our hotel did two happy hour drinks for $11.34 from 2:30-4:30 every day. The only catch is that it had to be one of the three drinks they were offering that day, and both drinks had to be the same. This led Mr. S to have to agree and take turns choosing. But, since those drinks would normally be $9 or $10 each, the compromise was worth it for the savings!

I believe this day was the Banana Daiquiri:

Mr. S chose this drink, but I ended up liking it more than him, yum!

One of the other special activities we chose was a snorkeling trip. We booked through De Palm tours (since we book this in our hotel lobby), and we chose to do a 4-hour snorkel trip on a Catamaran boat. They advertise it for $75/person, but as we were talking to the person she knocked off $10 a person. So, our $65/person covered transportation to/from the boat, snorkelling gear, 3 snorkel locations, lunch and open bar for the entire trip. There were a couple of different options, but we chose the Catamaran because we figured it wouldn't rock back and forth very much since I don't handle boats very well.

So, to prepare for our big snorkelling adventure we made sure to have plenty of Balashi, the local beer. They had these great mini cans so you could easily drink them in between snorkelling (probably not the safest idea!).

Look, we're all geared up!

We had a really great time! The guys in charge weren't exactly into teaching people (although I'm sure they would have helped if someone had asked) - they just let us loose at each spot. But we both got the hang of it quickly and had a really good time. The first two spots were clear, calm and we saw tons of fish! Unfortunately, the third spot was further out and unusually choppy, so I didn't get to see the Antilla shipwreck - I kept on get knocked back! All-in-all, it was a great day-trip and it was so fun paddling around the ocean with Mr. S.

Don't worry, amidst all the fun, I checked into Weddingbee from time to time!

We decided to stay close to our hotel for dinners just because restaurants were so expensive. Our "nice dinner out" was at Simply Fish, on the Marriott Hotel property. They were doing a 3-course dinner for 2 for $89, but you had to eat at 8:30 or later. Since we're poor newlyweds (and the prices are a bit inflated at all restaurants across the boar), we went for it. While it was quite romantic seated on the beach with our feet in the sand, the infamous Aruban wind made dinner a bit of a struggle - at one point Mr. S's champagne glass flew away!

While the food we had was great, I don't know that I would have been happy if I had paid full price if they hadn't been doing the fixed price menu. Regardless, it was great having a romantic dinner on the beach.

On one of our last nights, we ate at the Pelican's Nest, a little place on a pier further up the beach from where we were staying. It was touristy food that wasn't done very well (sadly), but the ambience made it all worth it! If you get there a little bit before sunset and it's just the two of you, you can be seated on the outer edge of the pier. The sub-par food was forgotten through a view like this at sunset:

One thing that we had been warned about before the trip was all of the lizards! They are everywhere...and, to be honest, if you're eating lunch outside they will stalk you at the table. I sat through a whole lunch shooing them away with my purse, fearful they would crawl up my leg. Ewww. Just look how big and creepy this guy's toes are!

There are also, of course, these big guys - the iguanas. We didn't see them as much - we think they slept and layed low during the hotest parts of the day (as did we!). But one day we caught this guy and one of his friends chasing each other around the pool. Hilarious! But, made me glad we didn't hang out at the pool at all because these guys would just crouch under the chairs. Fortunately, they never visited the beach.

After a week of fun in the sun, it was time to go. If you're ever planning a trip to Aruba, he's a look at what you can expect to find at the airport:

At the beginning of the mural above, you can't see the big Sbarro advertisement - there were tons of Sbarro's down there! So, our last Aruban meal was Sbarro as it was either that or airport sushi.

We didn't get into Chicago until about 9:30 on Sunday evening...we grabbed our bags and cab back to our condo then hopped in our car and drove 3 hours down to my parents house to pick up our baby:

Driving back up to Chicago Monday morning, we were exhausted, tan and relaxed! The last couple of weeks before the wedding were tense, crazy and overwhelming that taking the time to disappear, nap, have some cocktails and sit in the sun was exactly what we needed! Aruba was the perfect place for us to spend that week.

I'm chomping at the bit to get pictures from our photographer...can't wait to share!


Saturday, September 26, 2009

Just Buzzing to Say Hello!

Mr. Stiletto and I enjoyed the most fabulous wedding day EVER! I can't wait to share more with you once we get the professional pictures back...I'm already dying to do recaps!

In the meantime, I'll leave you with the lovely sneak peak posted by our photographer, Laurie Peacock:

Wait?! You wanted to see my beautiful mug as well? Since we were lucky enough to have great friends and Bees in attendance, TONS of pictures were uploaded to Facebook right after the wedding!

The lovely Miss Snapdragon provided this fabulous picture of Mr. S and I leaving the church:

Can't wait to catch up on all of my Bee reading when Mr. S and I return from Aruba!


Friday, September 18, 2009

See You on the Married Side!

Well, this is it. Finito. Done. My last post as a single gal. Wheeeeeeeeeee!

To Mr. S - I'm so incredibly excited to be your wife and continue on our journey together. You're my best friend, and I know that I would even be writing this post today if it weren't for your support and encouragement...I mean, you were the one who set up my first blog and told me that I needed to stop reading blogs and start writing one. Turns out, I apparently have what it takes to blog - thank you for believing in me! I look forward to all of the wonderful things to come for us, and I have no doubt that our future will be even more amazing than the past 3 years have already been.

To you lovely ladies (and gents!) out there - 18 months ago, I could never have imagined sharing the details of my wedding with the world. But, I also couldn't have imagined planning a wedding with so many details...and that's soley because of this fabulous site, all of you fabulous brides-to-be, grooms-to-be, husbands and wives. You've been a source of encouragement and inspiration over the past 7 months, and I'm forever grateful! I've shared all of the "befores" and I can't wait to share the "afters"!

...Soon-to-be-Mrs. Stiletto

PS Watch for some Bees buzzing around the Stiletto festivities!


Wednesday, September 16, 2009

I DIY'd Pomanders Too!

Like the many Bees who have gone before me (think Mrs. D'orsay and Mrs. Spring Roll), I have opted to make tissue paper pomanders to decorate our ceremony site!

I had been searching high and low for options that would look great, be non-fussy, and affordable. I started seeing these pomanders pop up on Weddingbee and on other sites, so when I came across these instructions and saw how simple it looked, I picked up the supplies to make a couple of pomanders (I waited to buy all of the styrofoam balls until I was sure I wanted to make a lot of these).

I opted for 4-inch styrofoam balls, and would guess that it took anywhere from 15-20 flowers for each pomander. And, better yet, Mr. S got in on the flower making action and helped me make some!

I was only going to make 8 pomanders (so 4 on each side of the aisle, spaced out), but I had enough styrofoam balls and TONS of tissue paper and ribbon, so I just kept on going until I got 10 done.

Originally I had absolutely no clue how we were going to attached these to the pews. I'd bought some of these pew clips, but once I got them I realized there was just no way they'd fit over the top of the pews. I was getting SO frustrated...until, that is, we went for our last meeting with our minister a couple of weeks ago and checked out the pews. There are teeny, tiny little hooks on the end of the pews for just this purpose!!

So, as you can see below, I just took some string and, using a needle, pulled it through the top of the ribbon and created little loops. The pomanders should now perfectly hang!

This was by far one of the easiest DIY projects and I'm so glad that this is what I ended up doing! It's a minimal investment and will compliment the aesthetic of our wedding overall. Our church has a 100 year old sanctuary with dark wood and pale yellow walls, so keeping our ceremony decor as minimalist as possible will definitely compliment the space.

Are you DIY'ing your ceremony decor?


Monday, September 14, 2009

Wedding Programs...Penguin Style!

The programs are done!!! Well, almost. But half the hurdle is deciding what you want to do, designing it, printing it, cutting the paper, and then putting it all together. As of right now, half of my programs are completely done, and the rest are ready to be assembled. Not too shabby, eh?

Mr. S and I were inspired by Mrs. Penguin's programs for her Thai Water Ceremony. We liked the way the pages fanned out, and from a DIY perspective, the actual process was pretty straightforward.

I love Mrs. Penguin's lovely flower design and cool, calm colors:

Source: Weddingbee

With our Mrs. Penguin-inspired programs, we took 8.5x11" green cardstock and cut the pieces in half vertically, and scored the pieces down the middle horizontally. So, they're a bit taller and skinnier than Mrs. Penguin's, but I was able to get two covers per sheet and didn't have to put a whole lot of thought into the cutting.

Instead of putting more of the "cover sheet" on the inside, we put that on the front (we'd originally tried it as Mrs. Penguin has it, but since we weren't decorating the front, it looked like it was missing something).

We also stuck with a 2-color combination, mostly because there wasn't a third color that we really wanted to add in. Page 1 is the order of service, page 2 lists the wedding party, reader, parents, etc, and page 3 is a thank you message from Mr. S and I.

The inside pages are just slightly smaller than a quarter of a page (so they're 3.75x5"). So, between the pages and the cover, I used 77 pieces of cardstock for 52 programs (I'm debating whether or not we'll need more...our headcount is only 100).

There definitely have been some bumps in the road, most significantly being the fact that our printer always seemed to want to change the margins! I did a test run with one at the end of last week, cut it perfectly and it worked great. The next night I printed out enough for 50 programs and went to cutting...only to find out that the margins were just slightly off! So, the words are much closer to the edge on a couple of the pages than I would prefer. Disappointing, to be sure, but I'm just going to slip my photographer one of the good ones for her to snap pictures of!

This is my last big DIY project for the week, and I'm almost done...hurray!

Where did you find inspiration for your programs?


Sunday, September 13, 2009

Table Tent Cards...Done!

Whew! Time is winding down until the Stiletto festivities, so every D-I-Y must get D-O-N-E. Fortunately, I've been able to spend the past two weekends hunkered down in our condo getting some projects started and finished.

Remember when I shared the pictures Mr. S took for our table numbers? Well, I've finally been able to get the project completed!

We had 5x7" prints made of the pictures (and ordered 2 copies of each just in case we had any problems and needed a backup!). I mounted them on white cardstock and created tent cards.

Because I was using 8.5 x 11" cardstock with 5x7" pictures, the cardstock wasn't long enough to make a tent card with what was there. So, I cut strips of cardstock 2.5 x 7" and used those for the bottom - if you look you can see the patch!

I'd been putting off finishing this project, but once I sat down and got it started, it flew by! I do have to admit that I was feeling a bit down about doing the tent cards instead of black frames, which I thought would look nicer (but which I didn't really want to spend the money on), but I love the final result! I think frames would have distracted from the pictures.

Did a simple DIY project turn out better than you expected?


Wednesday, September 9, 2009

A Musical Nutshell

Whew! The Stilettos finally have their act together - we've chosen all of our special songs for the day, from ceremony to reception. I have to say, it wasn't an easy task choosing some of these songs - Mr. S and I went back and forth quite a bit.

Bridal Party Entrance

"Just Like Heaven," Vitamin String Quartet

Processional (MY song!)

"Sound of Settling," Vitamin String Quartet

I couldn't find this pesky song on YouTube, so you'll just have to settle for a link to the Amazon page. Even though the original version of this song, by Deathcab for Cutie, doesn't exactly scream wedding, it's gorgeous. Once I heard it, I knew I couldn't have any other song!

Lighting of the Unity Candle

"Alphabet City," Clare & the Reasons

I love me some Clare...


"Signed, Sealed, Delivered, I'm Yours," Stevie Wonder

We finally decided to do something more upbeat than what we were orginally going to do, and I'm SO glad. This is a celebration....we're finally getting marrrrrrriiiiied!!

Entrance to Reception

"Wouldn't It Be Nice," The Beach Boys

Cake Cutting

"All I Want Is You," Barry Louis Polisar

Mr. S chose this one...

First Dance

"Right Red Ankle," The Decemberists

Love it! Swoon.

Father/Daughter Dance

"The Way You Look Tonight," Frank Sinatra

I sent Daddy Stiletto a list of song ideas, and asked him to pick whatever he liked, whether or not it was on my list. He came back with this song. Can't go wrong with a classic!

So, there you have it - the Stiletto wedding day in a musical nutshell. I'm so glad that this is finally done, and I love the flow of the day! All of these songs express us and our musical tastes in one way or another.

Did you spend a lot of time selecting each and every song for your day?


Saturday, September 5, 2009

Some Breathing Room

Way back at the beginning of June, I dropped off my dress for alterations. This weekend, I went back in to visit my dress, check things out, and identify any other changes that might need to be made over the next two weeks.

They had sent it out for cleaning, taken up the hem just a bit, did the bustle, but had held off on adjusting the bust (which was ginormous!) and replacing the defunct zipper (since it was a sample dress). Waiting until the last minute to replace the zipper meant that if I gained or lost any weight, when she replaces the zipper she can make adjustments to the fit all in one fell swoop.

Thank goodness for that, because despite all the working out that I've been doing, a couple of pounds have decided to plant themselves right on my torso! The dress I could zip myself 3 months ago required me to seek assistance this time around. Eek!

It may look like it fits, but I definitely could not fill my lungs. Let's just say, if I needed to yawn I would have bust a seam! The seamstress encouraged me to workout between now and then. I shared that I DO work out plenty, but we're past that point....just let it out a little and we'll all sleep easier at night!

I made sure the seamstress showed my bridesmaid S how to do the bustle. She'll also show Sister Stiletto when we go for the final fitting/pick up two days before the wedding, but the more the merrier when it comes to actually do it!

I love how the bustle looks, and more than that, how the bustle is done. I've seen a lot of people who just have hooks, and I've seen those bustles completely come undone during receptions. My bustle is constructed of a bunch of numbered white ribbons hidden under the layers. They'll just match up the numbers, double knot the ribbons, and snap one clear snap. Easy and secure, right? I hope so!

And, of course, we had to give a little shout out to my fabulous shoes. Love 'em! Good thing my photographer knows I love a shoot shot or two. These babies will definitely be getting some camera time.

It was great giving my accessories a little trial run as well. The bust of my dress is still a little, err, roomy, so you can't see my necklace. That will be taken in.

Now, the veil....I did have a veil that I'd bought last fall from Etsy. It was a very simple, nice veil, but I've definitely fallen out of love with it. I'd hemmed and hawed about doing a birdcage veil, but didn't know if it was for me.

Well, remember how Mrs. Avocado rocked a fabulous birdcage? She went all sassy and wore it flipped back. So cute! When I found out that she would loan it to me, I was beside myself! We're at the stage in the game where buying anything else is not in the cards. Being able to borrow a birdcage is fabulous. AND this is also my "something borrowed" from a "happily married woman," as the tradition goes. I honestly wasn't sure what I'd be borrowin' for the day, so this was perfect.

Thanks to Mrs. Avocado, I'll be birdcaging it up. I didn't put it on perfect for my fitting - I'd probably wear it a tad lower over my eyes and at more of an angle, but you get the idea. I'm also opting NOT to wear a fascinator. Huge hair flower/feathers/etc are FABULOUS on all of you lovely brides who choose to rock them...but they're just not me. I do have a small flower that I might slip in when I take the veil off, but otherwise I'm going to keep it simple.

I do have one question for you experienced birdcage brides. Mrs. Avocado rolled it up and sent it to me. So I've been working on getting the right shape. She said she steamed it around a volleyball before her wedding. I've secured it around a balloon and kept it in the bathroom during a super-steamy shower. That helped the shape immensely! But is there anything else I can do to help with the shape?

All-in-all, I was a bit bummed that my dress is snugger than I'd like, but it was definitely fun seeing it again! But it felt more like dress up and a lot less real that I'll be rocking my dress in just two weeks. Eeeh!

Did your fitting make you feel like a bride?


Thursday, September 3, 2009

Change is Afoot

No, not this kind of change, silly! Now that we're finally nailing down the details and making decisions for the big day that is just two weeks away, we've up and changed so many details that we previously thought were set!


Head Table

I never thought we wouldn't have a head table. The head was just...there. Standard. But as I started playing around with our seating charts, I kept on getting stuck. There was no good way to divide people up and have it make sense. I was particularly struggling with who would sit at the table with my parents. Mr. S's parents won't be involved in the wedding (a detail I haven't really focused on, as it's Mr. S's personal business) and he has no siblings; my only sibling, my sister, is my made of honor; I only have one grandparent still with us. So, any other family combination that I could come up with was forever leaving someone else out.

So....I floated the idea to my parents that we would nix the head table. And, to my surprise, they really liked the idea!

Mr. S and I will be seating at a round table with my parents, my sister (MOH) and her boyfriend, Mr. S's best man and my grandfather. Perfect. Another benefit is that our wedding party can be seated with their dates, which I'm sure they will all appreciate!

I've never liked how after the dinner, the head table always seems to be abandoned. In my experience, everyone ends up going and sitting with their dates and friends. Whenever Mr. S is in a wedding, he'll come over to the table I'm at and steal my cake! Meanwhile, the piece of cake placed at the head table for him never gets touched. So not fair.

Bouquet & Garter Toss

Yet another thing I had always planned on doing - the tosses! I've had my garter for months (it's my something blue), and my florist was all prepared to create a toss bouquet for me. But we'll really have so few single people there...and the more we thought about doing it, the less we really wanted to bother with it. I think you also have to read your crowd - some will go crazy about it and fight for the bouquet (so fun!) and others will be forced up there. Let's just say that I don't think there will be any fights over the flower toss at our wedding.

So...the garter will just be for Mr. S and me and the florist is making some sort of arrangement to go on the escort card table in place of making the toss bouquet. Perfect.

I have been nervous about doing a first look. Remember? I was debating the pro's and cons this summer. This was something that Mr. S really, really wanted. As I start to think about how emotion I will probably be on that day, it's probably better for the both of us that we do it! Our timeline for that day is pretty set in stone, so it won't be an extensive photo shoot first look, but rather a "Hey, how ya doin' good lookin'?" moment. The ceremony starts at 3pm, I'll probably get to the church at 2:30, so we'll meet in a designated spot of a quick hug.

Grand Exit
We were absolutely not going to do a grand exit from the church, where everyone cheers and pelts us with things. Until recently, when Mom and Dad Stiletto requested one thing from us - pictures with them in the sanctuary after the ceremony. Photographically, Mr. S and I prefer more candid pictures vs. formals, so we hadn't arranged for any traditional formal pictures in the church. My parents would beg to differ.

So, we'll exit the church as a part of the recessional and loop around a side door and sneak back in. The rest of our guests will be ushered out of the church around the front steps. Mr. S and I will meet my parents and the photographer in the sanctuary, take a couple of quick pictures and then exit the church as our guests cheer us on.

We will not, however, be giving our guests anything to throw at us. I am incredibly paranoid about having bits of anything stuck in my hair. Just call me a spoil sport! And, photographers tend to not be huge fans of bubbles because they pop on their we'll give our photographer and her lenses a break! (also, at the last wedding I attended kept on blowing the bubbles in my face, eww!)

Whew. It definitely feels like it's the 11th hour and we're changing everything around. But, as we're just getting those crucial things submitted to our vendors - timelines, questionaires, head counts - if we're ever going to change things, it's right now.

Did you go in for some last minute changes, or did your early decisions still make sense as you got closer to the day?


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