Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Some updates:

I found a letterpress operator in Portland who can do my invitations for a fantastic price so I just need to edit the invitation so it's not a full-bleed and we'll be good to go!

My local printer, 2 blocks from my house, can do Save the Date and RSVP postcards for under $15 per hundred, which is cheaper than Vistaprint AND and supports a local business. Score.

The bridesmaids are having their dresses made by hand from a person I found on Etsy.com. I got a lot of bids from people wanting to do the dresses so I'll reveal the winner and the dress style once we figure it all out.

One or more of my bridesmaids may be pregnant at my wedding, thus the handmade dresses.

We are so far registered at Target.com and CB2.com.

I am definitely getting the Maggie Sottero Rasharna dress done in blush, not all white. Not sure if I'll buy an authentic Maggie or have it handmade and modified a little though.

I think I'll be buying my own silverware for the guests at a restaurant supply store or website, since the cost of buying vs. renting is just about equal, plus renting can incur extra fees if we lose so much as one utensil. Plates will need to be rented though unless we do a major borrow-a-thon, which would be kinda cool.

I'm still undecided on photographers and we still don't have engagement picture sessions lined up.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Narrowing it down

Okay based on preliminary stuff, here's what I'm hearing the bridesmaids like:
Shrug choices for immodest dresses (and all strapless dresses WILL have at least spaghetti straps added to them so you're not pulling them up all day):

(this one's expensive, but I can find or have some handmade like this for under $30)


This would be in a turquoise color and I think it'd be cute with the white shrug
(est. $160)

Is anyone planning on getting pregnant, or think they might be showing by next October? This would be a good choice if so.
(est $140)

I like this one, and in this color too but it might be a little flamenco dancer?
(est $110)

(this I think would be great if everyone likes it)

(est $150)

Good idea for the tables! CB2.com (owned by Crate & Barrel) has these 3" square tealight frosted candle holders for only $2.95! I think these on the tables for the reception would be darling.

There are also hanging round candle holders which I think fit the theme of the reception perfectly. Darn CB2!

Does anyone feel weird about choosing "teal for the bridesmaids" after watching the Wedding Planner? I chose turquoise for my bridesmaids, but it's pretty close to teal, so sometimes when I click on a dress whose color I like, it's described as teal and because of superstition, I hit my back button. Anyone else?
Ideas for shrugs/boleros/cardigans to wear over a turquoise dress. I'd prefer white, but I like these styles:

Forever 21:


There are multiple routes to your destination

I was browsing Target.com to add items to our registry when it occurred to me that Target has cute clothing and dresses! I found the following for really cheap, which means we'd be able to add length or sleeves to them and still stay well under budget.

(couldn't post the images, see link)

Merona Ponte Scoop Neck Dress ($24.99) - turquoise

Merona Halter Party Dress ($19.98) - avalon sea

Merona Crossover Party Dress ($19.98) - avalon sea

it's not easy being green...er..modest

Upon searching for fully modest dresses that we wouldn't have to customize, add sleeves to or buy separate jackets for, I was reminded of why no one ever purchased modest dresses for homecoming or prom: they're expensive. It seems every modest dress is at least $50-100 more than it would be if it were strapless or something.

Totally Modest Terri dress ($148) - in aqua

Totally Modest A001 dress ($179) - in caribbean

Totally Modest Anita dress ($129) - in turquoise

Totally Modest Bethany dress ($188) - in turquoise or aqua

Totally Modest 915002 ($178) - in capri

Totally Modest Crystal ($248) - in aqua (it's too bad this is so expensive because naturally, it's my favorite)

Beautifully Modest B803M ($140) - in montego
(won't let me post the pic here, see the link)
I made a post a little while ago about "convertible" or "infinity" dresses, but they were upwards of $300.

Well on Etsy, I found a shop with those dresses for $98!

Various ideas and inspirations while searching for bridesmaid dresses.

(made for brides, but bridesmaids would look great in it)

(fyi: this dress is noted to be good for pregnant bridesmaids and with 3 married BMs and 9 months til the wedding, that's something to consider!)


Scavenger hunt!

Okay. I need to find a bridesmaid dress that meets the following criteria:

  • Turquoise in color
  • has a modest neckline
  • Calf or full length, must at least have option to go past knee (or can add tulle to extend length)
  • Has sleeves or can be modified to add sleeves or a cute jacket
  • Doesn't look like a "modest" gross dress
  • prefer something flowy like chiffon or thin, french satin
  • Costs less than $125 with accessories
Ready? Go!

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Bridesmaid dress ideas

So I've been trying to find some more modest dresses so Shae, Stacy and Brittany don't have to feel completely uncomfortable. Here are a few I like, all would be in the turquoise color of the first one:

(I actually really like this one)


And the 2nd and 3rd ones we can easily add sleeves and a modesty panel for the neckline.

Turquoise Chiffon Evening Dress from Sung Boutique Los Angeles

Turquoise Chiffon Evening Dress from Sung Boutique Los Angeles

I'm thinking of changing my colors to the country red and turquoise from my invitations, which means my bridesmaids would get to wear turquoise! Now I have to find some dresses that are a modest enough for them in turquoise chiffon or satin. Time to hit google!

Sunday, January 10, 2010

wedding stuff is hard

I have a new respect for people who have to plan weddings themselves. I feel pretty alone in my wedding preparations. My parents have removed themselves from supporting it, Calvin's mom is out of the picture and my 4 bridesmaids all live far away (Boise, Tulsa, Seattle, Alaska. I'm not exaggerating) so I've been pretty much figuring things out on my own. I haven't even gotten to tell anyone in person that I'm engaged and getting married, it's all been over the internet and the phone. It would be nice to have more any friends in the area.

Friday, January 8, 2010

Dream sequence

The following is JUST A DREAM! No one panic!

I had a crazy dream last night. It was like, a blooper reel from a weddings gone wrong show or something. I forgot my shoes and had to walk down the aisle in socks, the groom was drunk (which is hilarious because Calvin doesn't drink), I forgot to walk in time to the wedding march AND just cruised down the aisle without my dad (whoops). I hadn't gotten my dress fitted and when I put it on 5 minutes before walking down the aisle, it was too tight. No one knew their place, it was in an ugly church and I had forgotten to tell the officiant no long speeches, so we were standing there for like 30 minutes (with a drunk groom, no easy feat). Then, I realized as we were finishing up that I had forgotten to nail down a photographer and wasn't even sure if Calvin's cousin with a nice camera was in the audience or not. Definitely makes me glad I have 9 months left, because if we held this wedding tomorrow, this is what it would be like!

On the other side, it has reminded me of the important of the rehearsal dinner. I hadn't been feeling like it was absolutely necessary to do a rehearsal, but yes, we will be holding a rehearsal, even if we can't afford the full dinner for everyone.

Thursday, January 7, 2010

save the date

I am on a roll! Here is my newly designed save the date postcard. I decided to go ahead and design the back as well, as per USPS regulations (thus the non symmetrical look). Grayscale printing from Vistaprint is free, so I decided to do that route, rather than pay $7.49 for color. Overall, for 100 postcards, it will be about $15 shipped! Now that's a bargain.


I got the calendar from The Wedding Chicks (here). They offer a lot of fantastic, beautiful DIY freebies and I'm loving everything I've seen so far!

I designed my invitation!

Okay I think it's time for me to start keeping a design portfolio. I nailed down my invitation design (created it myself, down to my very own background pattern in photoshop thank you very much) today! I'll probably go back and redo my Save the Dates to fit into this same style too. But I'm saving those other save the dates I made. I like them.

I got my inspiration for these invites from the nostalgic, old-fashioned labels I'll be using for the candy at the reception, so it's already more appropriate to what theme I'm going with!

The picture doesn't show the colors well but the polka dots and the text are the same color, so it's a 2-color invitation. I'm not sure if I'm going to build my own letterpress or not yet, but just in case I want to go that route I can do this in black and white too. I'm in love with it. I may tweak it in the next few months, but for a single day's work building this and getting the wording down from scratch, I'm thinking not bad. If anyone wants to use this design for their own wedding, please message me, I'd love to see my designs get out into the world.
Okay, I think I have the basic timing of the wedding day worked out. Obviously, this will change as we get closer to the wedding, but I do like to have a general idea of things!

4pm-4:30: guests arrive, appetizers provided in "social hour" area
4:45: guests begin to take their seats
5:00: Flower girl walks down aisle to start ceremony
5:30: merge to reception (appetizers, movement to reception area, barbecue fires up)
6-6:30: Dinner starts to be served
7:00: Toasting, cake cutting
7:30: First dance (and dancing to continue until people head out)

How does that sound?

Food is an entirely different story. I have the candy shop and soda bar done, but as for "dinner" we are doing a barbecue with Kim, Calvin's brother-in-law, cooking. Since this is a Native wedding, I've been informed that we are having fry bread and indian tacos as well (yum!). It'll be interesting doing all this food, but since it's not fancy and pricey, I'm confident it will be within the budget. The challenge will just be getting it all cooked and eaten!

Main course choices:
hot dog
indian tacos (fry bread and chili)

And I'm trying to figure out how to estimate who will be having steaks/chicken/hot dogs. According to Calvin, there's no such thing as too many steaks, so I guess we'll just buy as many as the budget allows for and freeze the extras (to his delight) , but on the day of the ceremony, I'm thinking perhaps request cards on a table near the entrance might be a good idea, so Kim knows how many of each to cook.

Side dishes, I haven't even gotten to think about yet, but I'm thinking plain potato chips or baked potatoes or something. Definitely need ideas here.

For many brides, appetizers turn out to be the most expensive part of the budget because of the variety needed. Hopefully with a bit of creativity, I'll be able to avoid that problem. I'm still brainstorming here as well but my first thought is turkey pieces wrapped in bacon. They are easy to make and can stay on a warmer until pierced with toothpicks and placed on a tray. I'd like to do more similar appetizers, so I'll be hitting the recipe books!

Any ideas, please for heaven's sake, share them!

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

bottoms up

I was thinking about chair sashes today. I've always thought they looked bulky and tacky, but my MOH Rachell pointed out that they do go a long way to dress a place up (blue plastic folding chairs do not scream elegance). So I've been thinking about maybe doing something lightweight, like a couple layers of tulle (Fabric.com has it very reasonably priced) with a polka dot ribbon bow at the back. That way it's not too formal but still keeps things a bit more wedding-y. Thoughts?


I'm such a graphic design geek. I was ordering our save the date postcards on Vistaprint.com (first 100 free, shipping is only $6. Heck yes) when I realized I really was not thrilled about the ONLY image available for the save the dates. This was it:


So I decided I would take advantage of their offer to upload your own image for only $3.74 (again, a major deal). So I made up the image below (sized to their postcard proportions) altering Photoshop shapes and using my own text. I uploaded it to Vistaprint, but it was too low quality so I actually redid the whole thing at 300 pixels per inch because I was having so much fun (I know I know NERD ALERT).

still plain but I like it!

And on the other side, it's just a standard free grayscale postcard. I'm pretty pleased with it! Overall, the damage is still going to be something like 15 cents per postcard! I've ordered Vistaprint postcards before, so I can tell you, they are very good quality. I'm excited! I may even revamp these because after I made them, I discovered a bunch of DIY (do it yourself) wedding blogs, many of whom offered free templates and images for my use! Yay! So I played around with those a bit. I now have something like 4-5 half finished save the date postcards, which I'll revisit later when my mind is fresher. I love graphic design and I love Photoshop!
I'm getting my dress!!!!!

Karen at Bellina Bridal contacted me today with a quote to make my Maggie Sottero Rasharna dress for $900 shipped! She said it will be nearly identical. Anyway, I'll pay for it in May when Calvin's tribal money comes in and it will be ready right around the end of July! I'm super excited because it will be custom-made for me AND it's my dream dress!! I also get to eliminate the train from the dress because, let's face it, after the 5-second walk down the aisle, the train is just a big messy bundle of expensive, cumbersome fabric. After all, I'm also refusing to wear heels with the dress (which, luckily I can now do, because I won't have to get it tailored shorter!), so I might as well make the most beautiful dress of my life as comfortable as I can get away with!

Did I mention...I'm so excited!!!
I found the type of veil I want, it's the type from a Walk to Remember, with the lace on the edges. Turns out, it's called a Mantilla veil. A little awkward though, because traditionally, Mantilla veils are worn to Catholic weddings. I can still wear it though right? In the name of fashion?

Something like this, only elbow length and a bit more chic:

Now. Another idea is this adorable headband piece from Forever 21. At $4.80 it's definitely a bargain! I could even make it with a few items from the dollar store if I want it in white (which I might, because my hair is so dark). At any rate, I love the idea for the reception, perhaps. I think I'd like a traditional veil for the ceremony though. Thoughts?

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Reflections on a dress

When Fiance and I were first talking about getting married, my wedding visions were pretty simple. Barbecue in the back yard, $200 cotton dress from J Crew or something (though they do have darling flower girl dresses. more on that later). The wedding day didn't matter so much as the marriage. Then I got engaged. And things changed. 6 months ago, spending $1250 on a dress would have been completely out of the question...

But you know what? I've spent most of my life buying clothes just because they fit or just because "it'll do." I don't feel beautiful from day to day once I get dressed. Sure when I do my hair and makeup, I look great, but my clothes are always woefully lacking and I've never felt I was thin enough to pull off the things I really think are cute. It's not easy being just heavy enough to buy clothing specifically and only as a cover-up for cellulite and fat, but not heavy enough to where it doesn't matter what I wear, if that makes sense without being insulting. So for one day, ONE DAY, I want to wear something I feel and look beautiful in. Not just cute, not just adorable, not just good. I want to be stunning, not just for the guests and Fiance, but for myself. I owe it to myself to know that I am beautiful. For the rest of the wedding I'm skimping and making things myself to save money and I'm happy to do it. But I'm not shortchanging myself on my dress.

Today, I contacted the owner of Bellina Bridal regarding the Sophie dress on her Etsy site. We began to email back and forth when I mentioned I was debating between the Sophie and Maggie Sottero's Rasharna dress. The Rasharna is my first love. It just makes my heart melt to see it. But the retail price is something like $1250, and while I would spend that money in a heartbeat for it if I had it, darling Karen of Bellina Bridal is going to get back to me with a quote to do a similar but custom-made dress, just for me! She said she should probably be able to do it for under $1000, and since it will be custom to my measurements, I won't have to spend an additional $200 in alterations, so really folks, I'm potentially saving upwards of $450. Lol, see what I did there? Haha.

Monday, January 4, 2010

etsy continued

Another etsy vendor: Cardinal Ink. They make invitations for a very reasonable price, only about $54 per 25 invites with envelope included, plus a 10% discount for orders over 50 invites. I could actually order all the invitations we need for around $300. That's about the threshold where I'd consider it worth the cost to just buy them instead of hand-make them. These are my two favorites:

Another Etsy vendor, Whimsical Prints, has these really cute cherry blossom ones that would be $2 a set including response cards, a major bonus. The only type of invitation the fiance seems to like so far is anything with a cherry blossom. It's like, his symbol or something. But since I'm controlling the rest of the reception, I wouldn't mind doing something with cherry blossoms on it for the invitation. I'm actually really considering this one, since it's $1.20 per invitation + envelope and $.80 for the response card + envelope. That's a serious bargain.


I love Etsy.com. It's an awesome, overgrown site filled with tons of talented people. There's something for everyone and I love supporting individuals and small business instead of corporations.

I found several promising vendors on Etsy; Bellina Bridal of Italy (!!) makes beautiful bridal gowns at very reasonable prices. They don't even have a retail site outside of Etsy, as they are a custom-gown maker. Dresses are custom made for you and you can choose any color or tweaking on styles, etc. Very tempting!

This is the Sophie dress and I'm possibly falling in love with it. Even the fiance said whoa...that's cool.

This is the Jana dress and I LOVE the handkerchief/tiered skirt. I'm all about texture.

The Heather dress. The front is pretty standard, but I love the back of it, I think it's just gorgeous.

The more I'm going through this etsy shop and discovering these dresses, the more I'm seriously wondering if I should go this route. They are customized to my measurements so I don't have to worry about alterations or endless days of trying on a million dresses. Plus, it's a shop in ITALY. So when people ask, I can just casually say, oh it was made for me at a shop in Italy. Haha.

The long fall...

Welcome to Two Birds Bridesmaid. (small rant: if a website requires a loading page just to load all of the content, THERE'S TOO MUCH CONTENT! I don't need a Cinderella bird to lovingly drape each sentence onto the page over a period of 5 minutes! Anyway.) Turns out, this company makes a single dress style (your choice of colors and short or long length) that's basically a skirt with two really long straps attached that you twist and wrap in various ways. The premise is that your bridesmaids can have the same dress and color, but just a different design. AND, they can really really wear it afterward!

Those 4 seemingly different dresses are actually the same exact one, just wrapped differently.
I liked the idea a lot. Ordering dresses would be a snap too since they come in two sizes: size A, which fits sizes 0-14 and Size B, which fits sizes 16-24. But then I saw the price ($270 per dress) and started running. I still like the concept though, so I somehow found the blog of someone who had created her own similar dresses for her bridesmaids. Apparently this type of dress is called an Infinity dress (could I BE anymore behind on the trends?) and is quite simple to make. The site I found is: Our Wedding: The DIY, ultra-versatile bridesmaids dresses!

She handmade those dresses! Apparently they were less than $60 a dress to make. It's something that could be an option...maybe? It's really up to my bridesmaids, but there are many ways, if you make the straps wide enough, to make them into modest dresses, which several of my bridesmaids requested. So hmm.
Here's the link to instructions on making one:

Butter by Nadia also makes convertible dresses, but they're still in the same price range ($246). Still, it might be a cool and cheap idea to keep in mind.

I fell and I can't get up

I got sucked into online wedding research. Let me explain. I saw an article on SeattleTimes.com (yes, I know I don't live in Seattle anymore) announcing a new store opening: Bella Bridesmaids. I was intrigued because it was a store not for brides, but bridesmaids. So I clicked through to the BellaBridesmaids.com site, read up a bit on it, and clicked on one of the company websites of dresses they sell. More on that in the next post. Anyway I was intrigued and clicked around to see similar dresses, winding up on someone's wedding photography blog, which of course required that I look through a few peoples' weddings. Then I fell into a few wedding planner blogs with tons of awesome ideas on the little things for a wedding (chair covers, sparklers vs bubbles, etc). I also landed somehow in Etsy, searching for one thing from a blog, but ending up browsing the whole site for more wedding things. Thus, I now have 12 tabs open on my Google Chrome browser. I love the Internet! Anyway, the next few posts will discuss these various things I found! Yay!

Our Wedding: The DIY, ultra-versatile bridesmaids dresses!

Our Wedding: The DIY, ultra-versatile bridesmaids dresses!