Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Fit for a Cake

I remember a wedding-related conversation I had a long time ago with my MOH. I was just beginning to explore all the details that go into wedding planning and I said, "I don't want one of those bride-and-groom cake topper figurines." As any good MOH would do, she agreed with me, "Absolutely, that is so dated."

Of course, back then, I thought that cake toppers only looked like this

It's amazing all the things that I've learned about weddings since then, including cake toppers. I'm still not 100% into having the bride and groom on top of the cake, even if it's with something as cute as this

I'm sure you must be rolling your eyes at me, asking, "Nina, then, what the heck do you want??"

I want a crown fit for a queen a cake. Since I saw that picture, I've been obsessed with the idea of having a crown for a cake topper. Me being, well, me, went into research mode to find that exact crown that you see above. I did find the crown, along with its price. A whooping $625 - that's more than what my wedding dress cost!

I haven't given up on having a crown cake topper, even if the Mister looks at me like I'm crazy. He isn't completely on board with the idea, in fact, he didn't really care for the idea at all. I've been continuing my hunt for cute crown toppers, but haven't found too many. I just found these two yesterday.

I showed them to the Mister, to see if I could warm him up to the idea a bit more, and he seemed to like these better than the first one. In particular, he really liked the third one.

During my research, I was also looking for tutorials on how to make a wire crown. Yes, I am indeed crazy, I have been considering making the crown myself. Mind you, I have no experience making jewelry and using wire, let alone constructing a crown! I haven't completely given up on the idea, and I got some wire at home to play around with.

I visited my local Hobby Lobby yesterday (yay for having one a mere 10 minutes away from home and on the way home from work!) and as luck would have it, I found that third crown in the bridal section of the store. It was the last one left and the price was $24.99, much more reasonable than the $600+ price tag. I didn't buy it because it looked a bit banged up, and the Mister hasn't confirmed he wants to go with the crown topper. I'm also still considering giving DIY a try, even if it's just to see if I can (or can't) do it.

What do you guys think? Should I just go ahead and buy this topper, if I find it in better conditions at another Hobby Lobby store? Should I still attempt to DIY, just to appease my 'what if's'?

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Dresses for my Ladies: Inspiration

When I first started thinking about dresses for my lovely ladies, I knew from the beginning I didn't want to choose a dress and a color for them. I didn't want to force them into a particular dress or just because I'm the bride. No, I wanted them to be able to choose a dress that they'd feel comfortable and beautiful in. Unlike Alice Cullen, I don't really enjoy playing dress-up with other people.

Instead, I wanted to give them an overall idea of what my vision for them was, and let them choose a dress that fit within that vision. And what is my vision, you ask? Well, something elegant, simple, and with a vintage feel to it (detecting a pattern here?). Definitely a full-length dress, maybe a tea-length dress. As for the colors, it could be any color within our wedding colors.

For more inspiration, I turned to the interwebs. I wanted to see what was out there that could fit within the wedding's theme. I came across The Dessy Group website, where I found a lot of inspiration!

All images from The Dessy Group website

The problem? Well, the website doesn't really give you the price tag of each dress, but it does let you find a store near you that carries their dresses. Although I decided not to pursue these particular dresses unless we really had to (read: David's Bridal didn't have anything that we liked), finding them really helped me form a clearer vision for my girls.

How did you begin the dress search for your bridal party? Did you choose a dress and/or color, or did you let them choose it?

Friday, March 26, 2010

Wedding Muse

Since I first got engaged, over a year ago, I've been browsing countless magazines, websites, blogs, and forums to find inspiration and ideas for our wedding. I've also looked at many inspiration boards put together by other brides to reflect their wedding vision, and saved a few favorite ones.

When our color scheme changed, it was one of these inspiration boards that helped me decide on a new color scheme (and also reassured the Mister that I would not be using hot pink in our wedding).

I loved how the soft pink and gold went together. It just feels elegant and romantic, with a touch of vintage. Even though I have numerous images collected, links bookmarked, and online documents collecting ideas (Google Docs rocks, just ask my lovely bridesmaid), I never created my own inspiration board. I wanted to, but didn't know how to begin. I tried using Polyvore and Style Me Pretty, but it wasn't fun... until now.

I'm proud to present to you my very own inspiration board! Isn't it lovely?

While our wedding is not going to be a themed wedding, I do want it to have a certain feel. I think I was able to capture it with this inspiration board: romantic, elegant, simple, and vintage. As a side note, I love the idea of having a candy buffet, but the Mister vetoed it right away. Doesn't it look lovely though? Isn't that chocolate brown a lovely accent color? Oh, and that colorful, little rectangle on the top left corner is our color scheme.

Have you created your own inspiration board? What is your vision for your wedding?

Image Credits:  Sunday Suppers, Silpada, Green Wedding Shoes, Style Me Pretty, Johanna Hehir, Sarah Beth Designs, Wedding Art, Country Living, A Field Journal, Always A Blogsmaid

Thursday, March 25, 2010

The Fairy Tale Shoes

I was never the girl who had her whole wedding planned out. No floating fairies showering me and my prince with pixie dust as we kissed for the first time as prince and princess. However, I did dream of one thing: the dress. I know, I know. I recently shared with you my beautiful wedding dress, but there was one dress that had been my dream dress for over a decade. The one dress I knew I couldn't have.

I first laid my eyes on it back in 1998, and have found myself looking at it periodically through out the years. You see, one of my very favorite movies is Ever After. Ever since I first saw it at the movie theater, I was captivated by refreshing take on such a classic fairy tale. A wonderful Cinderella that needs no Prince Charming to rescue her! The costumes designed for the movie were gorgeous, and I was in love with one of them.

The "Just Breathe" dress. Isn't it breath-taking? It's the gown that Danielle de Barbarac (played by Drew Barrymore) wears when she goes to the ball, risking everything to tell Prince Henry the truth about herself.

When I first got engaged, I started researching the possibility of having it made for me. It was not meant to be. I simply could not afford it and had to let the dress go. It is still my dream to own one like it one day, even if I have to make it myself!

In the last few weeks, my thoughts have returned to the movie and the dress, and something occurred to me. While I won't be walking down the aisle in this gown, I still need shoes to walk in. I thought that I could maybe find Danielle's slipper.

I began to search, and didn't have to go too far before striking gold. I found these:

Aren't they amazing?? After a quick chat with my bridesmaid, I placed an order for a pair of these shoes. I know there are some risks about buying shoes online. As with clothes, sizes and fit may vary by style, which is why I reviewed their return policy prior to making a decision. But, I have to say, I absolutely love the way they look and hope they fit! If they fit but for some reason don't go well with my dress, I still plan on keeping them. I can already see myself wearing these beauties to the Bristol Renaissance Faire.

Have you had to let go of an item or idea you had dreamed of for your wedding? Were you able to incorporate a piece of it somehow?

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Color Confusion

Mister, if you're reading this post and haven't changed your mind about seeing my wedding dress before the wedding, I suggest you hit the back button of the browser!

As I mentioned before, during my appointment at David's Bridal, I was told that the dress I ended up purchasing only came in ivory. I didn't want to let the color prevent me from choosing my dream dress, after all, ivory is close enough to white (or, at least, that's what I kept telling myself the day after my purchase).

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Spring, Are You Here Yet?

Oh, hi there. Remember me? I know I've been away for a few days, but I needed a small break. Kinda like the break the beautiful weather took last Saturday. After two days of wonderful blue skies and bright sun, I woke up Saturday to a blanket of snow, plus an all-day snowfall. But now that the snow melted (again), so did the boring, white background of the blog! Like the new look? The lovely pink does remind me of spring! Spring, are you here yet?

Let's get on with some wedding goodness, shall we? During the last few days, we have tackled a few items (which I'll be posting about individually soon):
  1. Wedding Dress - I've shown you the lovely dress that I picked, but what you don't know is my dress has arrived! A week ago actually! A mere two weeks after ordering it and changing the original order two days after placing it!
  2. Bridesmaids Dresses - My awesome girls picked out their dresses and, may I say, they look gorgeous in them!
  3. Music - While we selected a DJ company back in January, we finally have a date for their Meet the DJ Night. During this event, we can meet their 17 DJs and select our top three.
  4. Tasting - The mister set up an appointment with our venue for the tasting. The other night we went through the food options and made our selections for the tasting. I really can't wait for this! Not to mention, we want to get a glimpse at their wedding cake binder.
  5. Save the Dates - I'm still working on these, but we've made a lot of progress. I'm loving the way they're coming out. The mister has been helping me, and I can't wait to share them with you.
While we have kept busy, we also need to keep working with our to do list. To keep me honest (and motivated!), I'm sharing our big-ticket items with you.

Our (Big-Ticket Items) To Do List
  1. Find (and hire) photographer
  2. Research hotel accommodations for our out-of-town guests
  3. Book hotel+flight for honeymoon
So, enough about us, how have you been? Have you tackled many wedding-related items from your list? What are your big-ticket items to do this month?

Friday, March 12, 2010

Almost Spring

Happy Friday everyone! The week is almost over and the weekend's about to start! We're quickly nearing mid-March and I'm just in awe at how fast time is going by. It's still a bit winterish here in the Midwest, but temperatures are definitely going up. Spring is near!

I really hoped this week to be productive, wedding-projects wise, but it wasn't. I started getting a little sick, so my evenings were spent laying down instead of finishing our STDs. But, we did find dresses for my MOH and BM on Sunday (more on those later) so I feel happy to check something off my list.

As for this weekend, we'll be celebrating the mister's 29th birthday. His last birthday as a single man and, with six months to go, I hope he isn't getting cold feet on me! I'm planning on taking him to dinner tonight to our favorite sushi restaurant, Kawa. Then, for dessert, we'll be going to Chili's for some Molten Chocolate Cake goodness (boy, am I grateful I didn't give up chocolate for lent!). On Saturday, his actual birthday, he wants to go with his buddies for some go-karts racing action.

In between the festivities, I plan to work on the STDs and our wedding website, and maybe try my hand at making a tissue-paper pomander.

Has the week flown by for you as well? Any special plans for the weekend?

Thursday, March 11, 2010

A Tale of Two Dresses

WARNING: Mister, if you are looking at my blog, do NOT look at this post. I'm serious, move it along!

After trying on four dresses, I was between the Vintage Romance (aka Dress #1) and the Royal Engagement (aka Dress #3).

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

T Minus Six Months

This morning, I open up Gmail for a quick scan of my inbox and there it was...

Hi Nina!
You've got 6 months to go!

Search Wedding Flower Photos
Choose Your Accessories
Order Your Invitations

Because I'm not starting to feel the pressure enough on my own, I get friendly reminders in my inbox about things I'm supposed to be doing for that extra dose of stress.

Okay, so I may not show that I'm feeling the pressure, I may seem like a relaxed bride, but my natural need to have every detail planned plagues me to no end (I absolutely hate to play it by ear, the mister is wonderful at this!).

Last night I was supposed to be relaxing. I've been feeling a little under the weather and decided to just rest (read: get home, take shower, crash on couch, eventually move to bed). When I finally moved to my bed to go to sleep for the night, I couldn't fall asleep. Thoughts of not having picked photographer yet haunted me and dollar signs for the dress alterations floated around in my head like the winged keys in Harry Potter (The Sorcerer's Stone? Anyone? No?).

It's difficult not to get stressed out and very easy to lose sight of the big picture. And it's really got me thinking about what's really important: the mister and I, taking a big step in our lives, surrounded by family and friends. As time continues to tick by (and still having big items on our list to complete), I can only hope not to get caught up in the stressful whirlwind of wedding planning and pause long enough to enjoy the ride with the mister.

To the mister, happy six-months-to-go!

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

David and Me

WARNING: The following post is not appropriate for the Mister's eyes. Mister, if you do not want to see my wedding dress, LEAVE NOW!

As you may know, I was a complete procrastinator when it came to searching for a wedding dress. I knew I had to start my search soon since I had (at the time) seven months to go before the wedding. Still, in complete putting-it-off fashion, I didn't set foot in a bridal store until the end of February.

My girls and I went to David's Bridal to begin my dress search. I armed myself with pictures of the dresses I loved from their website (sneak peek) to give to my bridal consultant. The appointment was supposed to last 90 minutes but I do believe we took a bit longer than that.

Before I start with the dresses, I have to say that I had a wonderful experience. I was very apprehensive about this particular part of the wedding planning, and I am so glad I finally pushed through and did it. I had a wonderful bridal consultant, whom I'll call J, that helped me a lot, even though she was working with another bride at the same time. She looked for different veils and head pieces to match every dress that I tried on and, before my MOH could ask for anything, she'd already have it! So J, thank you very much for all your help and attention!

Okay, on with the goods!

Friday, March 5, 2010

Ceremony Compromise

I talked about the search for our venue, but never really touched on our ceremony venue. Even though I think getting married on a beach or a boat is extremely romantic, I always knew that I wanted a church wedding.

When the mister proposed, I immediately thought of getting married at my parish church, but the mister was not overly excited about the prospect. He's more open to the idea of an outside ceremony than I am. I've always wanted a Catholic wedding, which means we have to get married in a church. The reason why I wanted to get married at my parish, and not a random Catholic church, is because it means a lot to me.

See, when I first moved to Illinois, one of the things I wanted to do was find a Catholic church and (finally) get confirmed. In my first month here, I found St. Gilbert Parish. The wonderful people there immediately made me feel welcomed and I found a great sense of community, something that really helped me through the first few months of moving away from home. I felt like I belonged. I also really wanted the parish pastor to marry us, especially since he confirmed me a little less than a year ago.

Source - St. Gilbert Church

While the mister was open to a church ceremony, he wasn't thrilled with my church of choice. See, St. Gilbert's architecture is modern, and the mister really loves cathedral-style churches. He loves the stained-glass windows and beautiful marble arches and columns.

He suggested several Catholic churches, but they were too far away. I'm going to have family flying in and the last thing we need is for any of them to get lost while going from the ceremony to the reception. St. Gilbert was the top choice, being so close to my place and to our reception venue of choice.

As luck would have it, St. Gilbert doesn't only have a church, but also a small, cozy chapel. When I first walked in there, it was for one of the sessions I was attending for my confirmation. It was beautiful. I loved it! I mentioned it to the mister and he eagerly agreed! I was surprised to say the least. After all, wasn't he pushing for a cathedral? It turns out, not only does he love cathedrals, but he also loves small, cozy chapels. Who would have thought?

 Source - St. Gilbert Chapel

I know the picture is not the best but it's all I could find. I promise to take some nice shots of the chapel to share with you!

Where do you want to get married? Did you and your mister compromise on a ceremony location?

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Breaking News: Packages Held Captive Rescued

We interrupt our regular wedding programing to bring this breaking news. After being held captive for three days, two precious members of the Mister and Nina Wedding's family were heroically rescued by Mister.

The ordeal began Monday afternoon, when the mister found a ransom note about attempting to deliver two packages. Knowing she'd be at work when the second contact attempt would take place, Nina began running through her options in her head. She could try to contact them by phone or face them directly. She decided to wait, in case the proper authorities wanted to follow a different course of action.

Upon returning from work on Tuesday afternoon, she found another ransom note left for her, indicating a second contact attempt. The threat escalated at that point, with a final delivery attempt scheduled for the following day and, if it failed, both packages would be sent to meet their maker. Nina immediately made phone contact, but after two grueling hours, one of the captors let it slip that the packages "could not be found." Had they tried to escape on their own?

The following afternoon, the mister bravely took the ransom note and drove to a (not so) secluded location, about 40 minutes away, to meet them face to face. Upon trying to rescue the packages, the captors demanded a written statement signed by Nina. Fearing retaliation against her precious packages, Nina quickly faxed them a statement. It was the longest 15 minutes for Nina and the mister, as they waited for the success (or possible failure) of meeting such a demand.

To everyone's relief, the fax came in and the captors accepted such ransom and the mister was able to bring the packages home. The Wedding family was reunited later that evening.

Safe at Home

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

The Dress Experience: Lessons Learned

Last weekend, my girls and I went to David's Bridal for my first wedding dress shopping experience. Despite all my previous hesitations, I was so glad I did it. I had so much fun, and I'm pretty sure my girls did too! Before I talk about my experience in trying on such beautiful dresses, I wanted to share with you some of my Lessons Learned from last Saturday.

1. Bring someone - But not a full entourage. Whatever you do, don't go alone, especially if it's your first time. Bring a few girls that you want to share this experience with. Not only will they provide you with emotional support but for practical reasons: taking notes, taking pictures, helping you in and out of dresses, etc. In my case, since it was a Saturday (and quite busy) my wedding consultant was helping two brides at a time. My MOH came into the dressing room with me and helped me put on (and take off) multiple gowns.

2. Don't wear make-up - Although this one is not truly a lessons learned, I think it's still a good tip. The morning of the appointment, I was tempted to put on make-up but, trust me, you won't want to. You'll be, most likely, maneuvering in a dressing room with another person, figuring out the best way to put on a particular dress. Smearing lipstick on your face (or the dress) is not something you should be worrying about while trying to find your dream dress.

3. Bring a notepad and pen/pencil - You will try on many, many dresses. There will be things you'll love and hate about them. Have someone with you taking notes, they might come in handy - especially if you want to take some time to decide which dress to choose or if you have multiple appointments.

4. Bring a camera - I know some places don't let you take pictures of the dresses you try on, but David's Bridal does. If the store you go to allows you to take pictures, go ahead and bring your camera. Trust me, you will want to document this experience! It will also help you make a decision on a dress, since you can go back and look at all the dresses you tried on from a different perspective.

5. Do your homework in advance - Check out the store's website and bring your favorite dresses with you. This will save a lot of time and will make it easier for you and your bridal consultant. It will give her an idea of what you're looking for and gives you the chance to try on the dresses you loved. You won't be able to try on every single one (time flies!) but it will definitely narrow down your search for your top ones!

6. Double-check everything - This is my single most important lesson learned of all: Ask questions, even if you have already asked them. If I had done this, it would have saved me a mini-heart attack two days after ordering the dress. We are all human, including bridal consultants, we all make mistakes. Confusion can happen, especially on a busy morning at the store. If you try on a dress you love twice, and the first time you asked if it came without a train and they said no, ask again the second time you try it on. Trust me, it won't hurt to double-check.

7. Don't be afraid to ask - The worst that can happen is that they say no. Although it sounds similar to #6, this is in a completely different context. When I was ordering my dress, and prior to me signing the receipt, they told me that "all sales are final." Two days later, I found out there was an option in the color of the dress although I was told at the time that it only came in one color. Despite what they had told me before ordering the dress, I called the store to find out if the dress did come in a second color and, if so, could I please change the dress to that second color. Don't let whatever they tell you at the store stop you from asking! Trust me, I sat at my desk for 10 or 15 minutes deciding whether to call or not. I almost didn't call, and, if I hadn't, I would have missed out in having my absolutely dream gown.

What are some of your lessons learned from your own dress shopping experience?