Friday, December 15, 2017

Wedding Dress

Since the wedding has long passed, I can finally make a post about my wedding dress shopping! My wedding dress prompted many, many seasons of "Say Yes to the Dress" to be streamed and a lot of time spent googling things like "summer wedding dress with lace" and "pros and cons of strapless dresses". It was a fun process (though not a big as romance movies would have you believe) that actually took place in multiple states. It was three trips before I picked my dress, and I loved the one I ended up with.

Shopping at David's Bridal

So the first time I went shopping I went with my bridesmaids to David's Bridal. They were nearby and easy to look at, and for my first time looking I just wanted a basic shop. I tried on a ton of dresses, and you can thank my sister for the pictures because she took them for my mother, who was in Colorado at the time. 

Pretty, but underwhelming
The first dress I tried on was a very basic white dress. It was pleated over the breasts and had a pretty sheer top. The silhouette was really nice, but that was the thing. It was really nice and I felt no real attraction to it. It was pretty but we agreed to move on.

You can see the consultant in the back completely done with myself and my bridesmaids.
The second dress was very similar to the first, but the sheer top of the skirt looked more like basic tulle than I wanted, and the overall layering was too simple for me. It was at this point in the process that between myself and my bridesmaids the consultant was questioning our sanity. Alls well that ends well, we had fun. 

You can see my face trying very hard not to be rude to the dress.
This dress was easily my least favorite. I wanted lace, but this lace was chunky and not very spaced out. The belt on the dress cinched it in at a favorable place, but it was a little too much bling for me. It doesn't help that the lace over the chest and shoulders was far, far too big and the fabric over the chest abruptly switched to lace as opposed to a transition. As my bridesmaids put it, it looked like something my great-grandmother would have worn, and not in a cute vintage way.

I think the pointy boobs were the selling point of this dress.
This dress actually hit a lot of what I wanted. I wanted lace, check, I wanted a corset, check, I wanted something that flared out but wasn't big, check. With that, nothing about this dress really hit me. Not to mention that it wasn't very flowy, the boobs literally came to a point and the flare at the skirt came from four specific points. Unfortunately, another miss.

I still can't believe Vera Wang has a dress with such an obvious seam.
This dress was actually, overall, gorgeous. I loved the lace detail, the sweetheart neckline, and overall fit. Unfortunately, no one else liked it, and most importantly it had the most obnoxious seam. It looked as if the dress had been made in two separate parts and folded and hemmed together in a fashion that a 12-year-old learning to sew would do. Vera Wang is a huge designer in the wedding dress world, so I was blown away that she has such a shoddily made dress. 

Another one bites the dust- is this dress appropriate to post on the internet?
This dress I actually picked out myself. I had seen it in a magazine and fallen in love. It had straps, something I leaned against, and it wasn't even white but I loved it. Really really guys, this dress (while too big) I loved. However, my bridesmaids gladly acted as the voice of reason. A fitted version of this dress actually would have been way worse on the boobs, and there would be plenty of time to wear booby-dresses in the future. 

So in summary, David's Bridal didn't win in the end. That said, I had a great time going with my bridesmaids and it started really helping me decide on a wedding dress. 

Colorado Dress Pick

Doesn't this look like my husband is going to answer his vows with "As you wish"?
Okay, so I don't have a ton of pictures from when I went dress shopping in Colorado (when I also looked at a ton of flower). In fact, the dress I picked is the only dress I have pictures of. I also have no idea what the name of the wedding dress shop, but I know it's in Colorado on Broadway between downtown Englewood and Denver. The shop was kind of small, but it was a really cute shop and the consultants were really nice. I really really wanted to find my dress there because I was with my mom, something I wouldn't have back in Georgia. I picked this dress to be my dress, even showed pictures to friends, family, and coworkers. It's easy to see why, it was really pretty. It was simple but flattering, it had lace, and it allowed me to wear a normal bra. It also helps that it looked really cute with my doc martins. However, after getting back in Georgia, I began to have doubts. I wanted a dress with a corset back, and this didn't have that. As pretty as it was it didn't sit with me, and I kept looking. 

Georgia Dress Pick

So my mother visited again a couple of months later, and we used this time to shop around. We first went to a bridal shop that was having a sale, but that wasn't a huge success so we moved on to Formally Yours.
You may think this dress is perfect, but wait until you see it fitted!
I tried on a few dresses, and nothing was really hitting, until my mom made the consultant let me try this on. I feel bad for the consultant, but I'm also so glad my mom annoyed her until she gave this to me because lace or not this dress was perfect! It had sheer layering and the pleating on the front was amazing! What hit me the most about this dress was how amazing I looked in it, and it wasn't even fitted yet! The dress was well over the $1,000 mark but it was discontinued and the floor model, so we got it for well under the $1,000 mark. 

So my face may be cut off but gorgeous dress!


So Formally Yours suggested an alteration vendor, but the lady was rude. I looked around and found Dora Baker, who did an amazing job. Not only is she very talented at alterations, but she worked around both my work schedule and my I-need-someone-here-but-everyone-is-out-of-state schedule. After she was done the original dress looked, by comparison, terrible! 

 I mean, look at the waist! Look at the reflection of the corset back in the mirror! Look at the re-pleated fabric in the front! Dora convinced me to keep a short train, and I'm so glad I did. Look at how pretty!

It's good that the dress looked amazing then, and we got pictures, because by the end of my wedding it was a little worse for wear. xD

8 Months Since the Wedding

Hair and Out of State Bridesmaids

Why hello everyone! First of all, it's true, I'm Mrs. HelloBeautifulChild now. xD As the wedding came closer it was too much to also post. (For example, my mother, father, grandmother, and godfather all stayed with us and our roommate in our three bedroom house for the week or so before the wedding. Oh yeah, but more on that later.) Things started to go wrong, and as I explained before, most of the wedding planning is in a month or so before the day of. I still want this record though, so I'm going to backtrack and tell the tale of the rest of our wedding planning. Starting now with my wedding hair.

I've mentioned a million times that I wanted to have a fancy braid for my hair on the day of the wedding. It's a style that appeals to me because it is obviously so gorgeous and I think updos look wonderful with strapless wedding dresses. (What? I mentioned my wedding dress? Since the day passed, I can do that now. :D ) Unfortunately, my original hairstylist moved locations. I called in later, after finally getting ahold of my sister (which had been difficult due to conflicting schedules but not at all her fault) to see if she wanted to get her hair done too, to get an updated quote with the new stylist. (I needed a new quote as prices can range from stylist to stylist.) I found out then and there that the timing was going to be difficult and stressful. In addition, the cost was significantly higher than my original quote. It sucked to do, but it was becoming clear that my fancy braid wasn't going to happen.

Without a braid for my hair, my mother and grandmother urged me to get a veil and do something special. It was one of those things that I cared maybe 40% about, and they cared about 80%. They wanted me to have a special day, and that meant even the little things were special. At a crafts store we picked up a very basic veil and a pretty beaded leaf thingy for my hair. (They don't seem to still sell it, but this looks very similar to the 'pretty beaded leaf thingy'. I'm not linking the veil because, quite frankly, I don't remember too much what it looked like.) I could manage an updo, and without precious and detailed braids, these accessories would make it look much more put together.

8 Months Since the Wedding

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.