Sunday, January 30

Gifts for my 'Maids

So I've started thinking about what I'd like to gift my girls for taking part in our wedding. But first...

I have a few things in mind so far, but am looking for more ideas, so if anyone has any suggestions, please share!

So, first of all, I've seen a lot of brides buy cheap, cute flip flops and bedazzle them up a bit so the bridesmaids have something comfortable to change into at the end of the night. As much as I love this idea, I know that personally I have about a zillion pairs of flip flops, and there are cuter options out there! Such as...

1. Fold-Up Ballet Flats

There are a ton of these products on the market right now: CitySlips, FootzyRolls, DamnHeels, and the better priced Dr. Scholl's Fast Flats. They are all pretty similar in style, and range from $10 - $30 in price. Has anyone ever tried these? I never have, so I don't know which ones are best. I guess I'll have to find some reviews online.

2. A cute clutch/wristlet

There are a lot of options out there! Again, I'm not quite sure what I want to get, but I don't want to spend a ton of money on them - so that Coach wristlet is probably out of the question. There are tons of great finds on Etsy, so I will probably have something custom made on there.

3. Necklaces

Pearl and Initial Personalized Sterling Silver Petite Disc Necklace with Freshwater Pearl and Oval Link Chain

White Rose Cabochon and Pearl Bridal Necklace

Swarovski Crystal And Sterling Silver Butterfly Necklace

The Sterling Bar OR The Golden Bar - Very Elegant and Delicate Necklace- By Simag

All photos from here.

Again, I haven't chosen anything yet. I think I will wait and see what dresses my girls choose, and then try to buy necklaces that match their dress and overall personal style. I will probably buy something different for each of my girls based on their style. I don't want to buy them some random necklace they'll never wear again. Also, I am not going to require them to wear the necklaces to the wedding, but they definitely can if they would like to!

4. Bridesmaid Tanks

I found this amazingly cute tutorial over on Weddingbee, so I am definitely going to add this to my list of DIY projects. I think they are so cute and this will be the perfect this to wear the morning of the wedding while we all get ready. (Of course, I'm going to make myself one as well!) So I am on the hunt for cute, inexpensive tanks to use and a bit of fabric or ribbon to craft the flowers. Question - Should I try and work this in to our wedding colour scheme, or not worry about it? I was thinking a white tank for me, and yellow ones for my maids... They are all brunette and can definitely pull yellow off. I guess we'll see what kind of tanks I can find and go from there.

5. Wedding Day Hair

That's right, Taylor Swift is one of my Maids!

Last but not least, I am going to pay for my girls to get their hair done for the wedding, should they choose. It's totally up to them if they want it done on the day of - I know sometimes people are more comfortable doing their own hair, or don't necessarily want it done by a stranger, so that's fine by me.

So far, that's it. Is that enough? I'll probably add little things here and there as I come across them, and probably find a cute reusable tote to put everything in. But if anyone has any suggestions, or if you think these gifts suck, please let me know!

What did you end up getting your bridesmaids to say Thank You?

Saturday, January 29

Honeymoon Surprise

For our honeymoon, we are doing things a little differently! D is planning the whole thing and I won't find out until we get to the airport - I'm so excited! There are a lot of things about this wedding that he has taken more of a backseat in - a lot of the details, for example! So this is the one thing that will be all him, and let me tell you, it feels nice to drop the reins on this one and let him take over.

Before we decided that he would plan the honeymoon, we talked a bit about where we would like to go and what we expect to do on our honeymoon. We are lucky because I'm a teacher, and D will have time off between law school and starting work, so we will both be off for all of July, and have lotsss of time for a nice getaway. I'm hoping that wherever we go will be for at least 2 weeks, if not longer. My parents went on a 3 week honeymoon, which I think sounds amazing. We both love traveling, so the longer we go, the more we can see and do... it should be amazing!

So what is some of our destination inspiration?

Amalfi coast in Italy. Gorgeous!

How about a tiny villa in Tuscany? Read books, drink wine, day trips to the beach...

Santorini, Greece.

Ibiza, Spain

The Maldives

So as you can see, a lot of beachy inspiration! We want to relax and not feel pressured to do a lot of 'touristy' things, but still do some exploring and not be too lazy. Neither of us has ever been to Europe so it would be a great first trip together as a married couple. There are just so many place we want to go, I'm sure he will have a tough time narrowing things down. As it gets closer to the trip, he is going to let me know a few details, like what kind of clothes to pack and how long we're going for. He's already told me we are going somewhere hot, so Operation: Bikini is on!

As it stands now, nothing is booked, but D has been researching and planning and will probably book something soon. He is going to do a great job...
I'm so excited!

How did you plan your honeymoon? Was it difficult to choose just one place?

Wednesday, January 26

Yes, I'm THAT Bride

So one of my other wedding tasks I did on the weekend was to make a newsletter for all of my bridesmaids. Oh, yes. I'm that bride. I tried to keep it light and fun, and really, I think it was necessary because we are pretty spread out and I wanted to update my girls on wedding plans and see how their doing with their dress selections. It was pretty easy to do and I think it came across okay. I tried to put some humour in it to keep it upbeat, and not too long.

I used a program called Print Shop Deluxe, which is basically low-tech, super basic free software I have on my Mac. Not sure where it came from, but it does the job well enough. So first I looked for some ideas online, for what to include in the newsletter and what I wanted to make sure was included as well. I also wanted to introduce the girls to each other (even though they already know OF each other and most have met) and exchange email addresses to make bridal event planning easier. Of course, stalking Facebook and finding ridiculous (but cute) pictures of all my girls was a must! Then I just added sections on attire, hair & makeup, bouquet suggestions (because I want input from them), and then some important info - dates of various events and a plea for crafting help.

All in all, I think it came together pretty nicely. I am just sending these out now, so I will have to let you know the reception I get with them. I'm not planning on making this a monthly occurrence, but I guess I'll see if anything super important comes up in the next few months and go from there.

Have you sent out a bridesmaid newsletter to your girls? How was it received? Do you think it is too over-the-top bride?

Tuesday, January 25

A Little Update...

At just over five months to go, the wedding plans are really starting to ramp up. Since I've been planning this for over 2 years at this point, I've pretty much come to terms with what I want and what needs to be done. I have checklists, inspiration pictures, different readings, etc. that I've come across over the years since getting engaged.

This past weekend, I sat down with my mom and MOO and went over all the projects that need to get done and what vendors still need to be decided on and booked. As we were talking, I could see my mom's eyes getting bigger and bigger, kind of taking on this glazed over, panic-stricken look. Give her time... she will come to terms with it just like I have!

So my upcoming projects in the next few weeks are faux-flower initials and finalizing what I want out table layout/centrepieces to look like, and start acquiring pieces. And here we go again!

Inspiration for the flower initials

So, a few questions:

Has anyone made these flower initials before? How do you make them without having them look cheap (like, because they are fake flowers)? Is it bad if I just use a double layer of carboard to use as the base of the letters, and then affix the flowers to that, and then paint the backs so you can't really tell it's cardboard? I just can't fathom spend $20 - $30 on wood cut-out letters when I could DIY for a lot cheaper. Also, I'm thinking mixing white and yellow flowers, and then using black or grey ribbon to hang them. Cute, right?

Okay, now on the the tables. I am going to try and describe what's in my mind and try to get some feedback on what it will look like. (Yeesh, this is so hard!) Okay, so our tables are square, and I want to have black, floor-length tablecloths with a sheer grey overlay (not covering the whole table, just a square in the middle - not sure what it's called!). For our centrepieces, I am thinking a mix of yellow and white flowers (but grouped by colour, not mixed) in short, silver vases, surrounded by lots of different sized white candles in clear vases. Whew! What do we think? Does that sound like a cohesive look? The dinnerware will all be white or silver, and for the napkins I'm thinking a nice bright yellow. Let's see if I have some pictures to show...

Overall room inspiration (oh, the lanterns!)

Mix and match flowers

Lots and lots of candles

So that's where my head's at right now. I guess eventually I need to make some decisions! It's just so much more fun to look at all the pretty pictures and put of making actual decisions!

Did you have trouble combining all your inspiration into one cohesive look?

** Also, sorry about the absence! Things have been crazyyyy around home, but I'm back! Hopefully there are still some of you reading out there! xoxo

Saturday, January 8

The Shoe Saga Continues...

So I've been stalking every online shoe retailer I can think of, looking for inspiration and for the perfect wedding shoes. Today I found these babies:

NAUGHTY MONKEY Women's Double Vision Sandal

They are super close to my original inspiration
here, but I'm just not feeling it. Don't get me wrong, they are pretty cute, but not only will these babies put me at just about the same height as D (who's 6'4") but I will probably trip my way down the aisle in them. And forget dancing all night!

What's a girl to do? Any yellow/black/white shoe inspiration for me?

The Proposal

So I realized that I haven't shared my proposal story yet, and it's a good one (in my opinion!), so prepare yourself...

Let me set the scene. It was 2008, and D and I were just coming off a year of living in Japan. We spent the year teaching English, and it was a year of many firsts. First time living away from home, first time living together. It was amazing. So, our time in Japan was coming to an end, and we packed up our apartment and decided to spend our last week in Tokyo before heading home.

View of Tokyo from Odaiba

The first thing we wanted to do in Tokyo was to climb Mt Fuji. It was something we had been planning all year, and although we hadn't necessarily 'trained' for it, we had been mentally preparing for the long hike since deciding to attempt the climb. (Seriously... climbing Fuji is pretty difficult, and every Japanese person we told said we were crazy, and we had friends who had tried and failed many times. Yeah... intimidating). So we prepared ourselves, bought climbing supplies, and bought bus tickets, and Operation:Fuji was ON!

Getting ready to climb. How sexy are we?

So we climbed. And climbed and climbed. Based on advice, we timed our climb to start at night to get to the summit for sunrise. The climb itself is around 8 hours, so we started at 8 PM to give ourselves lots of time. Little did I know, the whole time D has something very special in his backpack! We probably picked one of the worst times to climb, but we were determined to make it to the top. It was pouring rain the whole time, and totally miserable (hence our rain coats). Even though it was August, it was freezing, but as we started hiking, it was hot so we were sweating, but it was cold because it was raining. So yuck!

Hours and hours and hours later, we were making progress. We had reached the summit, and even though the sun had already risen (it took us a while to get there) it was still cloudy so we couldn't really tell what was happening. Suddenly, the clouds started to part and blue sky peeked through. We did it!

By this point, it had taken us 10 hours to climb the mountain. We had already been up since the previous morning when we traveled from Tokyo to Fuji, so we were going on 24 hours. I was sweaty, tired, hungry, cold, and a little bit sick from the altitude, so I didn't want to do anything except sit in the little huts they have at the top and eat some miso soup. Not a happy camper. Of course, D had other plans. He went out to explore to summit (I later found out he was 'scoping' locations) and came back and tried to get me out of the hut. I was so out of it, I told him to go ahead and enjoy it without me, I was too tired, I promised I wouldn't be upset that I missed it, etc. He finally convinced me to get up and go with him, so I did.

We walked to the edge of the mountaintop and just enjoyed the view. It was amazing! We took a ton of pictures, and enjoyed the warmth of the sun that was finally starting to shine through. We were above the clouds but below another level of clouds, which was so weird. But still amazing. While we were enjoying the view, D started acting all lovey dovey and a bit out of the ordinary, but I was so out of it myself, I didn't really think anything was up. By this point, he had put the ringbox in his pocket, and was ready to go. Finally, he took my hands, got down on one knee, and said some of the most sweetest things. Of course, I can't remember. But of course, I said yes! And believe it or not, I didn't even cry... and I am a BIG crier. I think it was because I was so tired and not feeling great, and it didn't really hit me what was actually happening.

So happy!

I think it was such a perfect way to propose and it's definitely a great story that we will always have. It was a great way to cap off our year in Japan, and I definitely earned that ring! After a 10 hour hike, in the pouring rain, through sweat, tears, and just overall yuckiness, I deserved that ring! I wonder if I had known he had that ring in his backpack if it would have made the climb easier? Not sure...

And best ever, we kept the engagement a secret because we were going home in a few days, so we didn't tell anyone. When we finally got home, we had a HUGE entourage of people waiting at the airport - all of our parents, my grandparents, an aunt, some brothers and sisters. Seriously, ridiculous. So we came out of the doors, and everyone started cheering (well, not really cheering, but you know...), and then they stopped, so we were kind of awkwardly standing there, and I just blurted out 'We're engaged!' It was such a funny way to tell a big chunk of our families, and a great memory!

Anyways, if you made it through this marathon post, thank you. It was kind of a doozy! Tell me your proposal story, I love them all.

Thursday, January 6


So, funny story. (I can't believe I didn't share this sooner!)

The day I purchased my wedding dress, I was wearing my dress and prancing around the dressing room because we were waiting for one of my BMs to show up. I was chatting with my sister/MOH, and was telling her that I was going to call her my 'Moe' from now on because she was my Maid of Honour. Maid of Honour/MOH/Moe... get it?

So my lovely little sis, darling that she is, turns to me and says: 'Wait, don't you mean MOO?' We kind of blankly stared at each other for about ten seconds, then she continued: 'You know, MAID. OF. ONOR?' It took me an additional 5 seconds of blank staring before I realized what she was saying and that she wasn't calling herself a cow. I, of course, being the awesome big sister that I am, promptly laughed in her faced and said: "Think about what you just said to me..." She totally caught on to her mistake, I think as she was saying it, but it was so so funny.

Ah, my little sis. She's definitely good for the lols! And that's how my MOH became my MOO.

Any funny wedding stories to share?

Wednesday, January 5

Save the Dates: Budget Breakdown

Okay, so here is the cost breakdown for the save the dates. Prices are before tax, obvs!

A2 White Envelopes (Staples) - $15.60
Wrapping Paper (to line envelopes) (Dollarama) - $1.00
4 x 5 White Cardstock Cards - Free!
Alphabet Stamps (Dollarama) - $1.00
Polkadot Stamp (Michaels) - $1.50
Black Ink Pad (Michaels) - $1.75
Yellow Ink Pad (Michaels) - $1.50
12 x 12 Yellow/Black Print Paper (Michaels) - $1.69
1/8" Round Hole Punch (Michaels) - $4.75
100 Yds Black and White Twine (eBay) - $3.98 (Used less than half)
100 Custom Magnets (Vistaprint) - $8.99
Miscellaneous (pens, double sided tape, paper cutter) - $5.00

Total for 60 Save the Dates: $46.76
Stamps for 40 Cards - $21.00 (The rest were hand-delivered at Christmas)
Grand Total - $67.76

Price per Save the Date (without stamp) - $0.62
Price per Save the Date (with stamp) - $1.13

So all in all, not too expensive. I think if you don't include the cost of stamps, $0.62 for a save the date isn't too bad. I think it definitely was a huge learning process and it has definitely shown me more of what I want to do for the invites (colour!). Also, we have leftovers of almost everything, because we had to order 100 magnets and the envelopes only came in packs of 50. Also, a lot of the supplies we used can be used in future projects, so those were necessary costs that won't have to be repurchased for the invites.

So, I'm happy with how they turned out and I'm glad to see the costs didn't get out of control. Especially since everything was bought in bits and pieces, and I didn't look at costs until now. Phew!

Did your Save the Dates turn out how you anticipated?

Tuesday, January 4

Special Delivery

They're done! Hallelujah, the Save the Dates are done. Now, time for the big reveal...

Hand addressed envelopes

A few polka dots to add detail

Who's that peeking out? (And notice the lined envelopes)

There it is! All wrapped up in a lovely twine bow.

Take off the magnet to put it on your fridge, and voila!

The whole package

So that's them. My very first DIY, aww! They were pretty grueling to do, but so far they have been well-received, even if a lot of people aren't sure what a save the date is. I definitely learned a lot in making these, and will keep a lot if things in mind for when I do the invitations.

Some thoughts:

1. We printed the cards using our home printer, and while they look okay, they still look obviously home printed. I'm not sure what our invitations are going to end up looking like, but I think we will definitely look into having them professionally printed to save ourselves the hassle and so they look nicer.

2. While the overall look is pretty cohesive, I wish there was more colour. I wish we had used a coloured envelope instead of white. Another bad thing about the white envelope was that you could kind of see through it. No bueno.

3. Hand-addressing all the envelopes was TEDIOUS. Until I got the hang of it, I kept making silly little mistakes and having to start over. Annoying. And even though the overall 'calligraphy' isn't hideous, I'm not sure how worth the stress it was. So maybe we will hire an actual calligrapher for the invites, or I'm thinking some funky wraparound labels.

Anyways, I know they're not the best of the best, but they're cute, and the most important part of the whole package is the magnet which I love. I'm just happy they're done and gone!

So what do you think?

Next, I will put up a cost breakdown because I'm curious as to how much this little project cost!

Reality TV Junkies, Unite!

New episodes of Say Yes to the Dress and Four Weddings start this week!

Anyone else excited? This stuff is like crack for brides...

Monday, January 3

Virtual Planning

Well friends, I'm a long-distance fiancée again. Le sad. I just dropped D off at the airport - he's heading back to Toronto to finish his last semester of law school. But with the wedding just over 6 months away, and D coming home in only 4 months, I think the time will go by pretty fast, especially with all the wedding plans ramping up. We can do it!

One of the ways we are staying organized is by using Google docs. I didn't really know what this was all about until last week when we were looking for a way to make a list and stay in touch with wedding stuff while D's gone. I somehow stumbled upon Google docs, and it seems like a pretty good solution. And all you need is a Gmail account. Perfect! So for those who don't know, Google docs are basically online documents (like anything you could do in Office, like word documents and spreadsheets). After opening a new document, you can share it with other people who have Gmail accounts. Then you both have access to the docs and can access it and edit it as necessary. So easy, right?

So we sat down and put together a to-do list (which D promptly went in and changed to "To-Poo List" ... Oh, boys...) and now are starting to get organized. (And only slightly panicked). I was also able to upload our guest list and budget planning spreadsheets so they are localized in one place, we both have access to it, and in the case that my computer crashes (again), we have it saved somewhere safe.

How are you keeping all your wedding planning organized?