Category Archives: the planning

This way or that? Things that haven’t been decided on yet…

Bye-Bye, Budget. Hello, DIY.

I recently decided that I need to reel my budget in a little.  For the past few months of planning, it’s been like a wild little pony that doesn’t listen to directions.  I needed the Budget Whisperer, and it came in the form of my fiance.  🙂

I had kinda just been saying, “Oh well,” when it came to things that we were planning on for our wedding.  Then I received my flower/decor proposal from my wedding planner, and I was a little stunned.  Now don’t get me wrong, I love my planner.  Cynthia is fantastic.  She is very patient, creative, organized, and has given me some fantastic deals.  

The problem was that at our last meeting, she had mentioned that her company has a gazebo that they are building to look exactly like the pavilion at the end of the Twilight movie:  


It is perfect!  It is exactly what I had hoped for!  I thought I was getting it for free.

Insert tire screetches.

It’s not free.  And now, upon reflection, I feel incredibly naive to think that I would have just been given this pavilion.  On the flower budget, it is listed to rent for $1150 which includes delivery, set up, and tear down.  This just isn’t in the budget, and A about had a cow when he found out how much it would cost.  He basically put his foot down, and he doesn’t do that very often.  

I tried to look at the rest of the flower/decor budget to see if there were things that I could cut that would justify the gazebo, but I would basically have to get ride of most if not all of our other decor.  

There is some glimmer of hope.  A and his father (and I) are pretty crafty/handy and have a pretty good build it on your own ability.  This weekend, we are going to Lowes to scout out parts and price this thing out.  I have a sneaking suspicion that I could build it for $500 or less and then sell it or use it when we are done.  It would be lovely to have the gazebo in our back yard after the wedding…  

I was kind of disappointed, but the fact that we are saving big time money and having a challenge of building it ourselves is kind of invigorating.  I will do follow up posts on this major DIY project as it unfolds.  

Here is another DIY project that I found on This Young House that I am considering at this point.  I’m not sure if we’ll need them or not, but if we do, we know how to do it for super cheap!  

These pretty globes are none other than the $1-3 replacement globes that you can find at your local hardware store.  

glass-lantern-detail-after-picture - this young house

Here they are lit up at nighttime:  

front-porch-makeover-at-night-diy-bhg-home-depot1 - this young house

I think they cast a lovely glow around them!  You could put a tea light, battery operated tea light, or (something I’m dying to try) a throwie!  Have you heard of these magical things?  

throwies instructables dot com

They cost about 10-20 cents each in materials to make, and they last for ten times longer than batterie operated tea-lights.  Check out how to make these here on the Instructables website.  

We are also looking at other options to save money.  We have cut our guest list from 160 to 120 and are hoping for an even 100 for dinner.  I wouldn’t mind inviting more people to stop by for dancing and cocktails later in the evening.  This has saved major money as dinner is about $40 a head.  

I am really trying to figure out now what we want and how we can accomplish these things in the most cost effective way.  What was/is/will be your best way to save money in your budget?  Have you had any amazing experiences or ideas for DIY projects?  Please share!

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One tradition that I would like to see come back in full force is the bridal tea.  I believe this event is pretty popular in other parts of the country, but I have to admit, that we Midwesterners don’t really see it happen very often.  

I’m bringing the tea party back…YEAH…

Them other brides don’t know how to act 

I think you’re hungry whats inside your bag?

So sit right down and I’ll get the grocery sack. 

Take em’ to the bridge…

 Okay, so I hope to not have plastic grocery sacks at my bridal tea, but how many tea-eque words can rhyme with “-ack”?  At my fantasy bridal tea, all my favorite ladies dress up in sundresses and big hats, and we take cute little sandwiches and bottles of wine into a secluded meadow for a picnic.

picnic_0001While I’m not sure whether or not I’d get my mom and future mother-in-law to sit on the ground, I might get them to come to an Alice in Wonderland inspired tea party!  Oh yeah.  I went there…Check this inspiration board featured this week by Project Wedding:

project wedding alice and wonderland te

Oh, and of course there is always the option of taking our tea at the Ritz-Carlton Chicago where we could sit here:

ritz tea

And eat these:

picnic 3

But at about $30 a head plus tax and gratuity, I’m not sure this cha-cha bride can put on the Ritz, aka Neverland, for her girls.  I’ll have to think on this one.  



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check and check. and check. and check…

check i.ehow.comOkay, so I don’t really write checks anymore.  I make almost all my payments online.  In fact, I don’t even have physical checks anymore.  I ran out about 4 months ago and figured that I didn’t want to order a new set until I have my new name after getting married.  Then…THEN my friends, I will have checks again. 

Anyhoo, this post is about getting things checked (off my to-do list) and getting things checked (paid for).  

This is what I got done this morning:

I signed the contract for our band, The Funktastic 5, and mailed it out.  We are very excited about this band.  Everyone loves them, they’ve got variety and energy, and I think it’s really going to help everyone get up and dancing at our wedding.  CHECK.  

I sent in the room block reservation form for our out-of-town guests.  CHECK.  

I signed the contract for our photobooth (Joe’s Photobooth).  Yay!!!!  I still need to write a physical check for this, so I’m going to wait until I get paid on the 1st to send this in.  That way I can up what I pay my FI, and he can write the check.  (ps:  I just ran that by my FI who is sitting 10 feet away from me who laughed when I asked him to write a check.  He thinks it’s HILARIOUS that I’m in check hiatus.)  CHECK.  

I also am being a good girl and making copies of everything and keeping all contracts and what not safe in my wedding expandable folder.  CHECK.  

I scheduled my first dress fitting appointment for June 12th.  At this appointment, I’ll be trying on the muslin mock up.  This will be a VERY interesting appointment as it will be the first time that I’ve actually seen Brandie Thomas‘s handywork.  I’ll take lots of pictures and post about that after the fitting.  CHECK.  

The last check (to-do) that I got done today was that I sent our invitation designer, Lindsey Ryan, all of our wedding info.  This was something that I had put off for some reason.  Gathering information was just something that I did not have time to do this last month until my grad classes were done for the semester.  I finally got all my ducks in a row, and she’s got all the information she needs to start designing our stationery suite.  I also asked her if she’d like to meet in person when I drive to Chicago on the 12th for my dress fitting.  CHECK!  

I’m le tired.

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Filed under the dress, the money, the planning, the stationery

Silhouettes are delightful…

I start to freak out if I can’t find a common thread that ties a group of objects together.  If I don’t have a great accessory or if my eyeliner falls short for the day, it kinda puts a damper on things for me.  I know.  It’s obsessive and shallow, but I keep these little digs in my head and don’t usually vocalize them.  I am afraid, however, that I need to vocalize my common thread that I hope to see flowing throughout our wedding theme.  

I’ve spoken before that we want a vintage garden look, and one thing that we are going to add to this is a silhouette of our faces.  I think this will come in SO handy in so many ways:  stationery, decorations, even bathroom signs!  

Today I am going to feature many pictures featuring silhouettes. 


Okay, two things.

Number 1:  I’m pissed because I can’t figure out how to display the damn pdf file in this post.  But if you click on the link there, you’ll see all my lovely silhouette pictures.  And I know that you can’t start a sentence with “but”….or “and”.  Thank you to lmariea for commenting on how to fix this!  

Number 2:  As per my resolution to give credit to images, I’m a little agast because I have no credit saved for any of these images.  If you see one of your own personal images, please send me a comment or an email so that I can properly praise your lovely work!

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Deep blue’d, dressed, and denied.


OMG!  This palate featured on Southern Weddings stole my heart away.  The symphony of colors is perfect!  Yes, fuckettes, I said symphony of colors.  The warm olive and deep majolica blue are now my specific colors.  I had pretty much narrowed in on blue and green with a splash of yellow and pink in there somewhere, but there are probably 100 shades of the “apple green” that I wanted and even more shades of navy blue.  This.  Is. It.  

Update on a few things (as I have been MIA the last few weeks):  

I got a nice little rejection letter from the job that I had applied for.  A little moment of heartbreak, and I’m over it.  I’m a firm believer in that things happen for a reason, and this job was not for me.  

As far as the dress give away triathalon, I ended up picking the Kathlin Argiro “Zoe” dress:  

Zoey_raspberryfaille_500px_alternate2It was the pockets that captured my heart.  I ordered it in white silk dupioni (the same fabric that my wedding dress has), and this hot little number will serve as my after-party dress.  Ialsoordereditinasize10…WHAAAAAAAAA???  Yes, ladies, I’ve done the cliched unevitable.  I’m currently a size 14, and I’ve ordered the dress in a 10.  This maneuver gives me an incentive to keep my ass working out.  I may even use this dress for our engagement photos this fall.  Yum.  That is…If I can keep losing the weight.  I will keep you updated on Secret Mission LosetheAss.

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I’m alive!

airbrush-3Hi, folks!  I’m back! 

If you’ve followed my tweets this week, then you’ve noticed a pattern of swine flu jokes and bitter remarks about a never ending headache.  I have been held prisoner by my sinuses this week.  😦  Have you ever had a headache that has gone on for a full week?  I had not had that bastardly experience until this week.  I eventually went to the doc on Wednesday, and she said that my sinuses were bruised.  How does one do that exactly?  I had never heard of that before.  Anyhoo, she had me go fill a couple of Rx’s and get some over the counter cold stuff.  I’ve been on my drug cocktail now for a couple of days, and today, Friday, I’ll be going back to work.  Wahoo! 

What does that torture device at the top have to do with my health?  Nada!  It’s an airbrush gun!  Since I have looked like death all week, I have a hunger for make up and beauty products.  So let’s talk make up. 

My regular make up regimine works fairly well for me.  I wear an under and over eye concealer (I’m normally a racoon), powder blush, powder bronzer, cream eye-shadow, pencil eye liner, and mascara.  All my make up is drug-store brand, and I receive compliments pretty regularly about my make up which is nice.

For our wedding day though, I’m going to want something that is picture ready and flawless and lasting.  I have heard over and over again that the Bare Escentuals (sp) are the way to go, but last year I had a professional apply this brand on me, and I thought it aged me.  I felt like it was heavy and messy and settled into wrinkles that I didn’t even know I had.  So I will NOT be going that route. 

I am pretty positive that I want to invest the money into hiring an airbrush make up artist.  I’ve seen amazing pictures of brides’ before and after pictures with airbrushing, and it’s amazing!  My friend, Emily, who got married a couple of years ago also had it, and she never looked better.  It was just this natural glowing flawless face. 

Look at this before and after.  (It’s actually out of order.  It shows her after then her before.)  This girl is a natural beauty, but look what the airbrushing does!  It’s as if she became this ethereal angel!


Amazing, right?  And here’s another.  Bellicimo!  These pictures are obviously from the same make up artist…hmm…I should find them…and stalk them…and kidnap them…and strap them to a chair with only their airbrushing hand free to move so they can do my make up each morning. 


So this is the way to go for me.  I also hear wonderful things like that the make up lasts way longer without needing touch ups than other make up applications.  That’s great! 

So where to start?  A simple Google search of spas that offer airbrush make-up returns nada so far.  My next move is to call the local beauty schools or search for Chicago make-up artists that travel.  *sigh* Cha-ching.  Cha-ching.  Oh man.  I’ll keep you posted for this. 

PS  My strategy on the “trial” make up session.  I will schedule my boudoire shoot for the same day as my trial so that I can put that make up to good use!  🙂

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Excuse me, can I get in? I’m the bride.


We are a year and a half away from our wedding day.  We have plenty of time.  No worries.  I’ve booked the photographer, the ceremony/reception venue, the caterer, the florist, the dress, and made the downpayment for the invitations.  Our budget has escalated some as we’ve refined our wedding day tastes, and we’re okay with that.  I still try to look for ways to trim our budget while still retaining the things that we love, and one idea keeps flashing in my mind:  Slash the guest list!   Yesterday, Miss Mary Jane of posted about this topic, and it got me thinking.  Reducing the guest list can be beneficial for many reasons. 

First, it’s the number one way of saving money.  We are spending roughly $75 per person for food and drink at our wedding, so cutting 10 people, for example, would save us $750.  That’s quite a chunk of change. 

Second, we are not overly social people.   On a typical Friday or Saturday night, you could most likely find us relaxing at home rather than being out and about.  A smaller wedding would be more in alignment with our lifestyle.

Third, my friends are currently dominating the guest list.  I looked yesterday at our rough draft of a guest list, and my friends alone take up over half of the invites.  This is a reality check.  I do not need to invite every last person that I know.  I have to come to terms with the fact that not inviting someone doesn’t mean you don’t like them or care for them. 

Because of this, I am considering cutting our guest list by about 40%.  Our venue will hold about 150 people for dinner.  Right now, our guest list sits at about 160.  Granted, not all of those people will be able to come.  If you follow the typical rule that 25% of your invitees can’t make it, then that puts our estimation at 120.  That’s pretty good, but I’d even be okay with the guest list going down to 100 even.  That would be swell with me. 

I think the slashing of our guest list will be relatively easy.  I will start with my co-workers.  I wouldn’t feel too terrible if I just said that I wasn’t inviting anyone from work.  A isn’t inviting anyone from his work…  It’s not a big deal.  I don’t hang out with anyone outside of school.  I may invite a couple choice people but make them swear that they don’t tell.  Or I may just say f-it, and not invite anyone from work period.  That would save 13 people right there. 

The other parts of our guest list that may not flesh out would be the group of friends who is a little unrully and doesn’t care to invite their significant others.  Don’t even get me started.  They are wild.  They are naughty.  They are fabulous.  So while I am inviting 16 people including spouses, really half of that won’t really come.  There’s 8 more guests chopped.

I am also inviting a handful of people that I worked with at my summer job in New Jersey which I had for years.  I love these people and would love it if they could come, but the reality is that they’d be traveling from far and (world) wide, so they may not be able to make it at all.  I’m guessing at least half of them won’t be able to come.  There’s another 5 seats saved.  So right there, I’ve mentally chopped off 26 guests bringing our guest count down to 135….and our budget down about $2000.  Makes sense to me.  Well.  That wasn’t so bad!  I’m going to keep chopping…

Is anyone else making “tough” decisions about their guest lists?

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The solution to my indecision…

tornadolightningSo I’ve spoken before about my amazing planner, Cynthia, who is a total gift along this wedding adventure.  In the picture above, I am represented by the tornado with ideas flying around destroying everything in sight.  Cynthia is represented by the lightening bolt because she focuses my attention and grounds me.  (That was an electrical pun…excuse my lameness…)  Cynthia is fantastic at appeasing my ramblings and giving me a good dose of reality and vision along the way. 

Cynthia also will be my florist and has been utterly patient in the back and forth emailing and meetings about flowers.  As with all decisions made by me, I go through about 40 revisions before I settle.  Let’s take a walk through of the evolution of my flowers and decor ideas.

Soon after we were engaged, I found this picture of a bouquet of carnations. 

bouquet-15I thought the carnations were so pretty enmassed together, and I thought they would make lovely centerpieces and bouquets.  I even considered doing DIY centerpieces since arranging flowers is so easy right?  (Note the sarcasm. :-))

Then I started finding pictures of cymbidium orchids and fell in love.  This is when my wedding vision was much more streamlined and modern.  flowers-13


At the time, I was imagining lots of geometry and minimalistic decor.  I realized in a panic one morning that my theme was bordering on Asian which was not the direction that I wanted to go. 

I have to thank Style Me Pretty for being the source of the inspiration for our wedding theme.  Their inspiration boards for all styles really helped me sort out my ideas and focus in on what I truely wanted to see for our wedding. 

I started to find pictures of peonies and garden roses that really made my skirt fly up:



Gooooooooooorge!  Now we were getting somewhere.  I love the full, robust blossoms.  My vision became much more garden and much less modern…

Now my vision is as follows:

lush, garden, glow, warm, hospitable, rustle

While that doesn’t translate into flower names, it does sync with these pictures:




I even found a bouquet that will use my original idea, carnations, and still go with this refined vision:



So my flowers for bouquets and centerpieces now revolve around carnations, garden roses, hypericum berries, and bells of Ireland.  And some fruit…I’m loving the idea of incorporating some lemons and limes into the bunch!

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