Sunday, March 12, 2017

Ring Pillow

When I first got engaged I did the whole magazine/pintirest/blog thing, and there was so much about DIY. I tried to think of ways to do DIY, but really for our wedding there hasn't been much to DIY. Until the ring pillow! We looked at a few in stores, but there weren't many options and Bradley and I didn't really like any. So I picked up an 80c roll of fabric, ribbon, and a small bag of stuffing and sat down to make it. (I did already have things like: sewing machine, needles and thread and stuff, and snaps for the rings.)

Our ring pillow is a little unique in that is has to be fitted to a dog harness for Batman. So I always knew I would have to sew it a little bit. At first it was going to be simply white, but function won out. Since the fabric we found in the scraps bin at the hobby store is really thin, I used bias tape and sewed it on with the blue thread I plan to use on the inside hem of my dress. It added a pretty design to the front, so it worked out. :)

I know this wasn't a very long post, but I wanted to show the pillow! It is so small and cute and I'm so happy with it!!!

34 Days Until the Wedding

Wednesday, March 1, 2017

Buying Wedding Bands

I know I usually post this at the end of the post but... 45 days until the wedding! Bradley pointed out of me that the lists for wedding planning (if you don't have one, I recommend the Offbeat Bride one) will be a couple of pages long, and the first couple of pages are 12/9-3 months and then from there it explodes. There is so much to do in the last stretch of wedding planning! I am so thankful we chose our venue because it is all inclusive and very easy! Wedding planning has been so fun.

The last major wedding thing we did was get wedding bands. At some point our officiant said that the exchanging of rings was part of the legal part of the ceremony. Now, a disclaimer, I'm not always a fantastic listener, so what I got out of this was "if something happens and you don't get rings you won't get married". What she probably meant was something else, but nevertheless, I walked into wedding band shopping with a very strict 'this must be done' attitude.

We've looked at bands before, one time when we brought in my engagement ring to be serviced and another when we were walking in the mall. So we knew the prices we were getting into, but it was important for Bradley that we get a ring in store, and since I hadn't fallen in love with any off the low cost alternatives I found online (Berricle sells a variety of gorgeous CZ rings, and even shows plenty of user submitted photos of them, but I just didn't find the one there) I didn't argue.

We first checked out Shane Co, we both love their commercials and it seemed as good a place as any to start. The building looked like a library and had a little pond thing inside, so we felt all of our wildest dreams about the place had been found, but unfortunately hopes were dashed. For starters, all of their rings are very expensive. Yes, they include a lifetime warranty and all that jazz, but they are still much more expensive than other retailers. They also tout their unique and large selection- their actual selection was nothing of the sort. (Though that may be the location we went to, I'm not sure.) Their designs weren't varied and there weren't a lot of options. Overall we were underwhelmed and disappointed that the amazing commercials did not represent an amazing store.

After Shane Co we went to Jared, and wow! The first thing I noticed was how bright the store was, and open. There were so many glass cases! We looked around on our own before we were helped (they hadn't ignored us, we were simply looking around to begin with) and the person who helped us was very helpful and patient. We were both able to find rings and are super excited to wear them. He had to special order his, though, because his hands are so big, and I had to get mine sized down because my hand is so tiny (5 and a half!). I picked them up the other day and we have them sitting put up in shelving.

Isn't it gorgeous?!?!!! It's so detailed and beautiful, and I can't wait to wear it. In fact, I had to put it on and take it off super quick when I tested the size because I was so worried I'd get attached and not take it off.  They didn't have it sitting with all of the rings, it was in another case, which is why I advise you to look around the whole store. I wouldn't have found this one if I hadn't, and it's exactly what I've been describing since I started thinking about it.

Can't wait to put it on and get married!

45 Days Until The Wedding

Tuesday, February 28, 2017

Rehearsal Dinner

So other than the wedding itself, the only event we have to plan is the rehearsal dinner. We were forced to put planning this off for two reasons. One, the venue we are using has a rehearsal as part of the package, and we didn't schedule that with them until a couple of weeks ago. Two, my dad is very restricted on when he can come into town because of work, so we needed to wait until his flight was booked to plan the wedding.

Well we did the floral and first meeting with the venue a couple of weeks ago, and we now know that my dad will land in ATL at 11A on the Friday before the wedding. Our rehearsal starts at 2, so we pick up my dad and drive straight to Acworth. After that, at 3, we will have our 'dinner'.

Picking a place for the dinner had to include a lot of considerations, not the least of which was location. We wanted to have somewhere nearby the venue, and in addition because none of us are familiar with Acworth, having somewhere easy to get to from the venue was also a well intended desire. We lucked out! We tired a BBQ place by the venue, literally down the street on the left, and loved it.

JD's BBQ is delicious! When we told them we were hoping to have our rehearsal dinner there they offered us samples so we could try more sides, and they were brilliant. The bbq, the ocra, the greens, the cole slaw, the everything. All of it amazing. Not to mention that the serving sizes are huge.

After eating there we knew for sure they were a place to go, and our waitress let us know that the manager that would plan and work with us wasn't in yet, but would be in a couple of hours. So I called back in a couple hours later and she really was a delight to work with.

We chose two meats (pulled pork and chicken), two sides (green beans and cole slaw because, no matter how much I loved the greens and ocra, they're food that many people don't like and we want everyone to enjoy the meal), chopped salad, and desert (banana pudding, but I know Bradley probably wants to change that). In addition to this she is going to decorate the table with flowers, and drinks are included.

I love the decoration of the restaurant, and since the patio is outside we'll be able to take Batman with us, as long as it doesn't rain. She's going to use mason jars for the flowers, and an eclectic set of dishes that I am so excited about. Bradley doesn't like flowers or eclectic dishes, but he doesn't care at all because he just loves BBQ. This isn't to say that I'm steamrolling, however, as the dishes are simply what they use. They're going to set us up on picnic benches, put together so it's one long table, and serve the food family style. It's an amazing meal planned and I am so excited, especially when the rehearsal has even less people than the wedding, so it really is just close family and friends.

In another post I mentioned that I decided against getting a dress just for the rehearsal dinner. This was for a lot of reasons. To start, a bbq dinner doesn't really lend itself to dresses and slacks. It's going to be a more jeans and t shirt affair, though nicer shirts than Bradley's "I'm done adulting for today". Not to mention that my dad will literally be going from airplane to rehearsal, so it'd be a little inconvenient for him if he needed to wear slacks. Finally, it seemed like an extra expense for me to get a dress as I don't currently have one that would work.

In wedding planning there are a lot of extra things written out like you need them. New shoes, rehearsal dress, extra reception dress, professional makeup, DJ- all things that some people want/desire/need, but not everyone. Every wedding is different, and I'm finding that for us, some things we just don't need. A new dress for the rehearsal dinner cost money we'd rather spend on our honeymoon, for me to get better makeup for the day of, or for Bradley to get a nicer trimmer for his beard.

Everyone going to the rehearsal is updated, and it's nice to have it already planned. It was so easy to work with the manager at JD's, and everything worked out nicely. I'm certain that this will be a great meal and time to celebrate with my most immediate family and friends.

One month and 15 days until the wedding.

Friday, February 24, 2017

AnRSVP- Online RSVPs?

So a long long time ago, before Trump was president, before my hair was curly, before I got mono, before time itself, really, I posted that I would talk about AnRSVP another time. Then I promptly forgot about that, took a hiatus from blogging, and here we are!

For those of you even a little considering online RSVP-ing, I seriously recommend AnRSVP. It is super super easy for both you and your guests. You can embed it in your wedding website (we made ours with Wix, and purchased a URL through GoDaddy that redirects to the Wix site) or even create custom URLs for each guest to navigate to. That isn't to say that the AnRSVP link for the whole event is complicated, ours is just our names .

As far as your use, it's super easy to set up. You can import a guest list or put them in manually. Setting up guests as a group is also easy, and you can put in nicknames for them as well. It is also very simple to add plus ones, so that only the people allowed plus ones can RSVP a plus one. You can add questions (like- do you have any food allergies?) to the RSVP process as well. The RSVP is very very customize-able. You can even add other events, such as rehearsal dinners or bridal showers.

AnRSVP does have an app, and they also have 'statistics' which show you in a pie chart and list how many people replied that they can and will make the wedding. It is a quick and easy way to see everything, and it even shows you how many invitations to get. (For example, we invited 49 people in total, with plus ones and such, but only needed 30 invitations.)

I love this tool, and it is a lot easier and cheaper than sending people RSVP cards pre-stamped with their invitation. Guests have no trouble with it, even your grandparents who aren't so savvy with a computer. I know that sending out physical RSVP cards is nicer, but the budget saving and ease of use for an RSVP website tool just cannot be ignored.

One month and 22 days until the wedding.

Thursday, February 23, 2017

Wedding Attire Update and Promise

So despite the order of the title, I'm going to start with my promise. I promise to not forget to blog anymore! I don't want to abandon this, and the promise is more to myself than anyone else, because I want to be able to look back at my wedding planning in the future and see all that happened.

Okay, moving on from that, to my attire! I've already bought my dress, and so I've been left to sort out the details. For starters, I needed to get alterations done.

Alterations turned out more annoying than I anticipated. I got my dress at Formally Yours in Lilburn, a fantastic bridal store that I highly recommend. Especially if you're having any bridesmaids wearing dresses that more conservative people would say should not, because one of my male bridesmaids got his dress there and they were very very helpful. What I would not recommend is getting your dress altered by the woman they recommend. I called her and she was very very rude, and before even looking at the dress quoted me more than $500. After that I shopped around and ended up with Dora Baker's Bridal Alterations. She is amazing. She does work the right way (ie- she had to entirely take out my corset and put the loops back in, and it looks brand new) and doesn't inflate prices. My total came out to less than $300, and she is completely understanding about budgets and the like. Not to mention that she is very cool, so the hour long alterations fittings will not be filled with awkward silence.

After taking it to Dora I found out that the material on my dress needed to be cleaned before it was altered because it would shrink in the cleaning process. (Thank you Dora for saving my dress!) After shopping around and getting quotes (some over $100!) I found Crystal Blue Cleaners. My dress looks so clean and beautiful after going there, it was the floor model so it really needed help. Especially with less than $100 for the price (I specified that I didn't want it pressed or anything) it just could not be beat. They did a great job, it only took a week, and again I highly recommend them.

Since then the work that Dora had done on my dress has me flabbergasted. Honestly, my dress pristine white and fitting my body properly (though we still have the train to hem up and the breast to tighten, the body of the dress fits and the bottom layers of the hem are shortened, as well as some damage fixed), I don't understand why I liked it in the store, it looks so much better now. I told Bradley last night, you're going to love my dress. Not just because even if he doesn't he is gonna lie, but because it is just that amazing I know he will.

Can you believe these were $80?!

Other than alterations, I also needed shoes. My plan had been to find some cute blue heels, blue like sky blue on a summer day blue, but blue like sky blue on a summer day blue shoes have not been easy to find. I don't want to shop online and get shoes that don't fit, and the one pair I found that were basically what I wanted didn't scream to me. In the end, I'm not a big fan of heels and wouldn't wear blue heels ever again anyway. Not to mention I'm only wearing heels during the short ceremony, and they'll be covered by my dress. I've decided to wear a pair of tan/beige heels that I love and already own -no one will know about the scratches on them if you don't tell, ;)- and probably some tennis shoes for the rest of the night. It's just not that important to me to have brand new shoes that I'll never wear again, so letting this fall to the wayside is easy to do.

On the day of the wedding, when I'm walking down the aisle with my dad will be the first time that Bradley has seen me in my dress. That's not the only tradition I'll be following, I'm also going to have 'Something Old, Something New, Something Borrowed, and Something Blue'.

My something borrowed and old both come from my grandmother on my dads side. She is loaning me a gold bracelet she got from my grandfather long ago. She takes great care of the amazing jewelry she has, and my grandfather has always picked out nice items for her. I'm very grateful she is letting me borrow it.

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My other something old will be the bracelet that Bradley got me for our two year anniversary. It's not super old, a little over 2 years (it will be almost two and a half by our wedding), but I just love it and, additionally, I think it will stack gorgeously will the bracelet my grandmother is loaning me.

My something new is actually going to be my dress, so no picture for that. It's not super creative, but I think it fits, and I just love my dress so much. My ring is also new, and once we get those from the jeweler I'll do a full post with pictures of the beauty that is the ring.

Going to print this on fabric and sew it into the dress.

My something blue is actually an idea I basically stole from Sisterhood of the Traveling pants (and I might have read it on Pinterest, I honestly don't remember, as the early days of the engagement are now a blur of personal ideas and Pinterest and wedding blogs). I'm going to use blue thread to sew in my wedding date to the inside hem of the dress. No one will see it, so I'm open to suggestions for another something blue, but I am so excited because of this next part. After the wedding I want to donate my dress, and I'm hopeful to pass on the tradition. That way, in 20 years, the inside of the dress is littered with wedding dates in blue thread. I get giddy thinking about it because it is such a cute idea!

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Other than that, my wedding day attire now only includes my hair and makeup. My hair I planed to get done by a woman who worked at a salon near me, but I recently learned (while trying to get a link to the salon) that she moved to Sugar Hill, so I guess I'll have to go back to the salon and see if anyone there can do it. I'll go this weekend and let you guys know. I simply can't do the amazing braided up do that I want, so I'll have to find someone, but I'm sure that I will. My makeup, at least, I plan to do myself. I've been practicing, and I think I've gotten good. That and my nails are two things I want to do myself, because I want a simple look and I am confident that I can do that on my own.

So my wedding day attire is pretty much sorted, which is nice. I had planned on having a dress for the rehearsal dinner, but after planning the rehearsal dinner it seemed unnecessary and kind of impractical. Everyone is just gonna wear jeans and the like, but I'll detail the dinner itself in another post. (This one is getting kind of lengthy.)

So that's my wedding day attire! I'm so excited, and having everything sorted is nice, though the fact that the woman I'd planned on doing my hair moved is less than exciting. Still, I'm confident it will all pan out. This weekend I'm getting some makeup so I can start focusing less on learning makeup and more on deciding how I am going to do it on the day of.

Expect updates as wedding planning turns daily, and thanks for reading.

One month and 23 days until the wedding.

Monday, October 10, 2016

Wedding Dress Bought, Tuxes Rented, Invitations Sent, and Much Much More to Come!

Hello all, it may feel like it has been a while since I posted. That's because it has! After finding a venue at The Conservatory (one of the first places we looked that became available after they changed their pricing) we kind of took a hiatus from wedding planning. I did get my wedding dress though, it's in my closet in a blue bag. It's the first 'test' of our marriage for Bradley to not look at it, and I do feel bad for waving it in his face when I know he really wants to see it and thinks it's a stupid superstition. Alas, there is nothing I can do about that for now. I need to focus on finding quotes for alterations (it is a little big, just a little, and needs the train removed) and then cleaning (it was the floor model, as the dress has since been discontinued).

My dress isn't the only clothing we've got sorted out. Bradley's tux, along with anyone else in the bridal party wearing a tux's tux, is already reserved at Men's Warehouse. His tux rental includes everything, including the socks. This is great, because it means the only thing left for us to worry about, clothing wise, is getting my dress prepared, whatever I'm going to wear to the rehearsal dinner, shoes for the day of, and my 'something old, something new, something borrowed, and something blue'. Did I say only? Seems like we still have a lot to go!

When my mother came into town a couple of weeks ago it was reminded to me (more so than the monthly reminder of paying the venue) that I am planning a wedding. It was thanks to my mother that I realized something, if we want people to come, we should probably send out wedding invitations. Thankfully, I'd already done hours of research on Save the Dates. With 6 months (and five days) until the wedding, we decided to forgo Save the Dates for invitations. 

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I sent out the invitations on Saturday with some pretty heart stamps from the post office. Including the one to our roommate, which, I know is only, like, 50c, but the principle of sending an invitation by mail to someone we live with seems a little ridiculous. Especially when I know he doesn't care if it is mailed or not. Ah well, less than a dollar, and know I'll know when people start getting their invitations. Of course, it'll get to John (our roommate) and Bradley's family before it gets to mine. Most of his side is local, and if they're not they're still fairly close. With the recent news that my sister will soon be moving out of state, literally everyone from 'my side' is going to be out of state. That's making our Acworth (AKA 1 hour away) wedding a destination wedding for half of the attendants. Which is why we're sending invitations to a wedding 6 months in advance. It is also why we insisted on a Saturday wedding.

After going to the post office I went to Target, because I love Target, and on a whim I stopped by the salon in the same strip. I spoke to a woman and began to get an idea of pricing and the like to get my hair done for the wedding. (Simply because the updo braid I've been obsessed with for years is far beyond my capability.) We talked about how to do my makeup, if I decide to do that, and I showed her a picture of what I was thinking of for my hair. Had I known I was going to stop by I would have brought my scrap book full of creepy cut up heads, but it was a non issue because it is 2016 and I had my phone on me. She gave me her card and instagram information and I really liked her. I think I'm going to go to her for my hair, and afterwards my sister agreed she'd get her hair done too, so we'll both get $20 off!

With the wedding so far out, there is a lot that we can't do yet. (For example, the woman I talked to at the salon recommended doing my hair trial in January.) However, there is a lot that we can.
  • Plan the rehearsal dinner. We need to schedule the rehearsal with the venue, and then book the dinner. If possible, we'd love to get catering and do it at the venue, but we need to first confirm with them that that is an option. If not, we will need to look at restaurants around the venue.
  • Figure out our 'party favors' for the guests. We've got some ideas, but we need to make the decision and go for it. 
  • Purchase small items for the wedding. IE- my shoes, guestbook supplies, etc.
  • Book officiant. Can you believe I almost forgot about this? 
  • Book photographer. Our venue has a partnership with photographers in the area, so we get a reduced rate, but we need to book them soon or they may not be available. 
  • Choose food for the reception. This is actually already booked, we're going tomorrow to taste and decide.
  • Plan honeymoon. I, for example, have an appointment on November 7th to get my passport, which I will need for our trip to Dublin.
 One second it seems that there is nothing to do, the next I feel swamped. I'm very happy that we have almost a year to plan, though I can't believe I've been engaged for almost a year is surprising. Time flies when you're having fun!

6 months and 5 days until the wedding.

Monday, July 25, 2016

We Set the Date!

We booked an all inclusive wedding venue in Acworth, GA and our date is officially set! April 15, 2017! What's great about this place is it is gorgeous. This is one of the first venues we looked at, and none of the venues that followed were even close. Unlike most venues, there is both a bridal and a grooms ready room. It is a perfect old building, they have beautiful exposed brick and iron with Christmas lights. They have a beautiful outdoor area for the ceremony and if it rains they'll move it indoor.

It is fantastic and I am just so happy that we have our wedding date set!
Exactly 8 months and 21 days from now.