Friday, November 30, 2007

It Figures!

I'm a big fan of Paloma Blanca gowns. I tried on several, and liked the way they looked, but I didn't quite feel like me in the gowns. They all had elements that I absolutely loved, but not all of them in one dress.

I loved the shape of this first dress as well as the sash, but other wise it was a bit too simple for what I wanted.

This next dress I really loved on me. I loved the sweetheart neckline, sash and the lace on the entire bodice and the bottom of the hemline. And I was almost sold on the pick-up skirt, but the entire dress wasn't really how I envisioned looking on my wedding day. I think its a beautiful dress that I can't really pull off.

This dress I looked good in, damn good if I do say so myself. The draped, ruched sash at the waist made me look like a skinny-minny. And again, I loved the lace sweetheart neckline. But this (for me) was a dress that I just looked good in, I didn't get that "bride" feeling.

So, it would figure that right after I buy my gown, Paloma Blanca has added some new gowns to their line that basically embody what I wanted to merge from the top three! Ah, well... such is life. I'm still the most content with the one I picked, and that's what matters! However, I definitely recommend checking out their new gowns, they have a very soft, romantic look to them.

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Celebrate MORE Generously

A little while back I blogged about one way to make your wedding day into a charitable celebration, and here's another that's been floating around the Wedding Blogosphere (did I really just use the word Blogosphere?!). The White Aisle, a lovely collection of relatively inexpensive wedding accessories started by Rebecca and Dade Sokoloff. The have absolutely beautiful jewelry that I just recently bought for my bridesmaids. I got each of them a brooch to pin their sashes around their waist. I got a different one for each of my 6 'maids and also got one for my adorable flower girl. I've pictured them below.

(This bottom brooch is for my flower girl!)

And while the site has some very beautiful things, some of them have an even more beautiful purpose behind them. As the Weddingbee and Style Me Pretty already blogged about, this new line of handmade silk accessories is created in Cambodia, by young women and girls trying to leave the sex trade. 100 % of the profits go back to helping to improve the living conditions of the girls. Unfortunately, I had already bought sashes for my girls' dresses before I saw this, but its definitely something I'm considering for my flower girl's sash and ring bearer's pillow. I also might get some of the silk flowers to accent some of the ceremony and reception decor. Its definitely worth checking out, they're beautiful accessories that help an amazing cause.

Monday, November 26, 2007

Can I Dress You Up In My Love?

I've been MIA for a bit, but I've gotten a ton of wedding stuff done during the past week! But I'm most excited because...

I bought my wedding dress.

How do I even begin to blog about this glorious event?!

I guess I could begin by saying I thought this would never happen. Between my indecisiveness and and my pickiness, I didn't think I would be able to settle on a dress, and had a hard time doing so. I was able to find my dress on our trip to The Bridal District in Reading, Ohio. A convenient collection of many, many wedding related stores. I'll blog later on the journey to the dress.... but right now I'm soooo excited to actually have it, I want to tell you all about it!

The Dress is a Marisa Bridal Couture Gown. It has an ever so slight sweetheart neckline, which I loved. The straight across strapless was just a bit to severe on me, and the truly sweetheart necklines were a little X-rated on my well-endowed frame. This sample dress even is a bit tighter up top than my actual dress will be.

It has the fit of the slight flare/trumpet/mermaid that I absolutely love, and complements my figure well (if I do say so myself!). It hugs my curves in a way that's flattering but not over the top. The dress is 100% silk, but looks like organza, and has lace appliqué from the knee up.

I've decided to add satin faced buttons all the way down the back of the dress as another special detail. I'm also going to add a sash to the gown. Actually, two! I'm going to wear a cream colored one for the Wedding Ceremony and a green one for the Reception... that's almost like having two dress, right?

Monday, November 19, 2007

Blue Tux Shoes

So I may not be any closer to having my wedding ensemble picked out, but I sure am making progress on my 'maids attire! Now that I have their dresses all taken care, I've moved onto a search for some fabulous footwear, and let me tell you this is no easy task!

The perfect solution would be to order these shoes from the Ann Taylor Celebrations Collection. They match perfectly, and are very cute.... with one big problem, they cost $108. Not very friendly to my bridesmaids' budgets.

With the Meadow Green Dresses and Honeydew Sashes from Ann Taylor, I was a bit baffled about what color shoes would look best. I figured I could go metallic either silver or gold. But neither of those was a real favorite. Out of the ones I did see, I really liked the popular Nine West Accolia shoe in gold, which is on sale right now for $39.99. Or the dyeable Tori thong, which runs between $35-$50 online.

But, for the first time I got some less than positive feedback from the girls, so I kept looking. And came across Blue Tux Shoes, a collection of dyeable and metallic special occasion shoes. What I liked about their shoes, is that they're simple and clean looking. I don't want all the attention to focus on the girls shoes when they have such pretty dresses and will look so beautiful, but I also don't want them in shoes that they think are a bit drab or a bit too much. So I think I've settled on a couple styles. The Kate (on the left) and the Melanie (on the right). They're very similar, and very much on sale for $39.99 each. This way the girls will all have shoes that essentially match, but have a bit of variation. I've decided that I'll have the girls try them on and buy them at the nearest retailer, and then I will collect them all to take them to get dyed together.

Saturday, November 17, 2007

Guestbook Alternatives

For awhile now, I've been considering alternatives to a traditional guest book were the guests just sign their names. I know I want a special way to remember all of the people who were at our wedding, but at first I wasn't sure just how to do so.

I considered the Polaroid Guest book option and really liked the one on the American Bridal website, and getting the Polaroid Instant Camera to go with it. I think this popular alternative is a cute way for your guests to write down their Congrats, and could be extra helpful for identifying well wishes from guests that you may not know as well, i.e. parents' friends. Although, with the cost of the book, film, and camera this alternative can end up costing upwards of $200 retail. However, you can always find these same items cheaper on ebay, especially the instant cameras. The picture guest book would work well with our theme, we just ordered Save The Dates with our pictures in the film strip style, we plan on using pictures of us holding numbers for the table numbers, and having pictures of us with friends and family up at the reception. (Geez, all these pictures of us make us sound a bit narcissistic, huh?). But I love the picture theme throughout, because it something that you can use as keepsakes for yourself or give to your family to keep long after the reception. We'd probably have the guestbook out before the ceremony and during the cocktail hour for guests to write entries.

Although I really like the Photo Guestbook idea, there's another alternative that I absolutely love as well. My fiance and I are a quite honestly a couple of winos, so we were also considering another alternative that would take advantage of this indulgence. While fans of many kinds of wine, we've discovered Firelands Winery about an hour away from us in Sandusky, that has good wine at great prices. We've tried a couple different kinds and have liked the selection thus far, and wanted to somehow incorporate it into our Wedding. So I'm thinking of setting up a table at our Reception that has 5 bottles of their Vintage Collection Wine. On each bottle, will be a small tag marked with numbers 1-5 and a pouch. We'll have a little instruction sign for our guests explaining that each number represents one of our first 5 wedding anniversaries, and would like them to write us a little note that we will wait and read on each of these anniversaries. This way we can spread the well wishes of our Wedding out over the first part of our marriage! If we decide to go this route, I'll post pictures of the tags and pouches I make, but I must admit, this will probably be the route we go.

But how will we choose which wine to use you ask? Well, it just so happens that the Winery has both a giftshop AND a tasting room. My FI has been to the Tasting Room when he was up in Sandusky for work and had a great experience, so we were planning on going up there to do a tasting of the wines, and finding one that tastes good and ages well. I'm not sure which guestbook idea we'll end up doing. I'd ideally like to do both, but I don't know how realistic that is to expect guests to write in two different kinds of guestbooks, and if we have enough extra money for those kinds of expenses.

Friday, November 16, 2007

Planning Playlist

Hello, my name is Cynthia, and I'm addicted to wedding planning...

It's true, I am addicted. The Knot, Weddingbee, Style Me Pretty, Brides, Martha Stewart, The Bride's Cafe. And I'm not even ashamed, no actually, I feel irrationally justified in my addiction. However, the piled up laundry, the still packed winter clothes, and the full dishwasher beg to differ. It is a (delightfully) terrible addiction, and I need to stop...well... at least cut back. My FI is out of town this month, so the addiction has intensified.

So what to do? It's not a terribly inordinate amount of time I spend surfing (or so I tell myself), but I'm beginning to be neglectful of the outside world. So, I've decided to create a "Planning Playlist" for my iTunes and iPod, and I've vowed to only surf the internet and pour over (the same) wedding magazines, experiment with DIY ideas until I run out of songs. This gives me about an hour of pure planning bliss each day, and then I'm done. Ok, fine sometimes I've been listening to it on repeat for 2 hours, but that's it I swear!

Below I've listed the songs on the current Planning Playlist, these are definitely subject to change. Most are songs that I love, or we're planning on incorporating into our wedding, but the cheesier Journey music at the end is specifically for my FI, so that when I'm trying out new projects, he'll be crafting right along with me. I've also tried to link some of the songs to YouTube if a good version is available...

1. The Way I Am - Ingrid Michaelson
2. Feels Like Home - Chantel Kreviazeuk (this link has Gilmore Girls clips)
3. I Never - Rilo Kiley
4. Ice Cream - Sarah McLachlan
5. Better Together - Jack Johnson
6. God Moves Through You - Jason Mraz
7. Best of What's Around - Dave Matthews Band (this link has General Hospital clips)
8. This Will Be- Natalie Cole
9. Unforgettable- Nat King Cole & Natalie Cole
10. I Can't Help Falling In Love With You- Elvis Presley
11. Warm Love- Van Morrison
12. You're My Best Friend- Queen
13. Let My Love Open The Door- Pete Townshend
14. Open Arms- Journey
15. Don't Stop Believin'- Journey

In addition to using these songs as a Planning Playlist, its also a good way to compile a sample of songs to give to our DJ. And while I'm using this as a way to keep myself under control, its mostly for the times that I'm just looking for inspiration, or toying around. When it comes to the actual execution of the DIY projects I want to use and the guest list revisions, I'll take as much time as I need... and maybe next time I'll even create a longer playlist!

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

I *Heart* Fern Curls

I just blogged about my florist last time, but I want to write a little sumthin' about a trend in floral arrangements that I absolutely love. And seems to be an especially popular trend in bouts for the boys. I saw these fern curl bouts pop up in one of the recently featured Real Weddings on The Knot, and also in The Bride's Cafe (which I discovered via Style Me Pretty recently). I find the one on the right particularly fetching, although I may be biased because its close to my wedding colors, but I think the fern curl really pops against the bright leaves and berries, which are similar to some that I was considering using as an accent for the bouquets.

I also think the fern curls look quite nice in bouquets. Below is an example, again from The Bride's Cafe. I like that they're subtle, but also offer a great texture that few flowers or leaves can offer. They really pop out of the bouquet, without looking crazy. I also think they are really adorable for detail shots as well. I mean, how cute is the one on the left that makes a little heart?!

Sunday, November 11, 2007

Pretty Posies

(these pretty bouquets that I absolutely love are from The Knot gallery)

Over Thanksgiving, I'm doing some serious Wedding planning. I live 3 hours away from my hometown where our wedding is going to be, so every visit back home is jam packed. As I previously blogged, I am going dress shopping that weekend, but I'm also meeting with our florist to do a consultation, and am really excited about that.

Our florist The Flowerman is phenomenal, and is a DIYer's (is that even really a word?) dream. They offer three different options for creating the flower arrangements for weddings:

1. Designer Weddings, "if you can dream it up, we can make it happen", this option is akin to that of a traditional florist who designs your flowers from start to finish, you also get a free consultation, itemized list, and cost saving tips/ideas. This is ideal for the bride who has an idea of what she wants, but wants the florist to put together all of the arrangements.

2. Do It Yourself Wedding Guide, this one is the dream of the DIY bride. They offer consultations, order the flowers for you & provide everything you need to create your arrangements. You choose a day right before your wedding to have a "Floral Construction Party"... how fun does that sound?! And they also recommend that you enroll in one of their Floral Design Classes before you create your wedding arrangements.

3. Combination Weddings, this is for the bride who wants to DIY, but is a bit apprehensive. You get the consultation, price quotes... and the satisfaction of doing your flowers, but with a lot more help of their staff.

And, it gets better... I've picked up a bouquet here and there for my mom when I've come home, and their prices are really reasonable. They were also picked as one of The Knot Best of 2007 AND rated with $- inexpensive.

My mom and aunt are really getting into this part of the wedding planning, they're going to go to one of the Floral Design Classes later this month, and hopefully I can go to one with them near Christmastime. I haven't decided which of the three I will go with, however, it is nice to have these options. Right now, I'm probably leaning towards the combination route, maybe making the bouts and corsages for our parents. I like the idea of those being handmade by me (and maybe my FI if I can get him into it).

Saturday, November 10, 2007

Celebrate Generously

The Wedding is your day, but its also a wonderful opportunity to raise support, money, and awareness for some of your favorite causes. We're getting ready to register this month, but we're going to do at least one or two of our registries through the I Do Foundation. All you have to do is go to their website and fill out registry info. By simply buying gifts online off your registry up to 10% of your guests' gift purchases can go towards your selected charity. Not sure which you'd like to donate to? They have a list of different charities categorized by the cause.

In addition to raising money through your gift registry, you can also do so through your Honeymoon, Invitations, and Favors. The gift registry idea would be great if you're already planning on doing a donation for your favors, here are some favor ideas from The Knot, that are both adorable and generous.

Thursday, November 8, 2007

Down the Aisle...

Its the moment it all begins. Most brides spend years anticipating it, months planning it, and hours that morning getting ready for it. For most brides, walking down the aisle is a moment of excitement and anxious butterflies. But when I first got engaged, it was the last thing I wanted to think about. Now, 6 months or so into planning, its something I've started to seriously think about.

I know for me, walking down the aisle will be one of the most wonderful moments of my life, but it could also be bittersweet. My dad died when I was younger, and now 10 years later, I'm facing a moment most girls can't imagine without their dads, and even though he's gone, I'm still one of those girls. When I first started thinking about it, I thought that I might have my mom walk me down, but we would probably cry way too much trying to walk down together. Then, like my friend Molly who also lost her dad, I thought maybe I would walk down alone, because my dad isn't replaceable. Molly is actually going to walk half way down by herself, and have her fiance meet her halfway, which I just think is adorable. Its just such a symbolic way for them to say to their friends and family how much their love together has meant, and how supportive their love is.

But I've finally decided, and asked my dad's best friend Greg. They were friends for over 35 years when my dad died, and were incredibly close. Our families have remained close over the years, and his family is my family. I know that if there were one person my dad would want to walk me down the aisle it would be Greg, he's the man my dad respected most. I've also decided that since I won't have a first dance with my dad, I'll walk down the aisle to an instrumental version of one of the songs we would have danced to, I Can't Help Falling In Love With You by Elvis Presley, or I was also considering Unforgettable, by Nat King Cole and Natalie Cole. I'm excited now to walk down the aisle, and it will be even more special to me now with Greg by my side for my dad, and one of our songs playing.

I think that if you're faced with this choice, you ultimately have to do what feels best to you. Having Greg walk me down the aisle is just one of the many options I considered, but for me, its what I'm most comfortable with, just as the decision to walk halfway down alone is perfect for my friend Molly, just as walking down the aisle alone may be the perfect tribute to how much another bride loved her father. This is one of the few wedding details that is only and all about you and what you want, no compromise.

Wednesday, November 7, 2007


You always hear that most brides are either veil brides or hair brides, its just a fact. But what if I want a beautiful veil AND gorgeous hair on my wedding day? Can I have my veil and wear it too? I'm thinking for my wedding of wearing my hair down: gorgeous, romantic curls ala Carrie Bradshaw in the final season of Sex and the City. I just think they look so soft and romantic, & perfectly embody the look I want for my wedding day. However, I don't know if I like the way a veil would look with that.

Well, I think I might have found a compromise. While searching for a veil option I liked, I stumbled upon Unveiled Bridal Designs. Its a website that specializes in custom veils. Each veil made is designed uniquely for the bride by Dorene. What most excites me about her veils, is that she specializes mainly in the birdcage style veil. What I liked is that you don't just get to pick the style, but she has a ton of different materials for the combs, flowers, beading, pearls, etc. If I do decide to wear a veil, it will definitely be one of her creations. Her designs seem to perfectly suit her brides, whether they want modern, classic, or funky. She really tries to represent their personality down to every detail. I may even see if she'll use a butterfly adorned with pearls that was part of a pin that my Grandma gave me.

Monday, November 5, 2007

Jim Hjelm: A Lovely Addiction

In my search for the dress, I've definitely fallen in love with certain styles. In my head, my perfect dress is an amalgamation of: Strapless, Sweetheart neckline, and either A-line or Mermaid/Trumpet. I also tend to fancy lace (rather than beading) and satin sashes.

But in my search for the perfect dress, I also must admit I've fallen in love with Jim Hjelm, and its getting pretty serious. I know I'm not the only one with this addiction Miss Penguin from the Weddingbee blogged about her Designer Lusting over Jim Hjelm dresses.

There are a couple that I've tried on and liked, and a couple that just look absolutely gorgeous. The crazy thing is, that there's a few different styles I like. While I've always envisioned myself as a soft, romantic bride with lace and curls, there are some sleeker more modern gowns that I absolutely love as well.

In my incessant internet surfing of bridal gowns, I've always had an aversion to bead work. I think it looks great on some girls, but I don't know that it suits me. At least that's what I thought before I fell in love with these two gowns.

I tried on the dress on the left on my first and only visit so far on the advice of the bridal consultant at Gallippo's in Toledo, Ohio. The dress also has a clean shape, and accentuates my curves rather nicely, and since the beading is only focused on the bustline it wasn't too overpowering. I love the back of the one on the right, and its a simple, but very powerful gown. They're both a bit more sleek and modern than I would have picked for myself.

While I do love, love, love these dresses there was one I tried on that has stolen my heart, and gave me that this is it feeling. Unfortunately, it also would have stolen all my money, and left me with that broke bank feeling. When I went in, I gave my consultant a price range, but I also said that I specifically wanted to try this gown on, so I, unfortunately, am the cause of my own heartbreak.

I love the lace, the thin satin ribbon, the flared shape, the slight sweetheart, sigh. But most of all, I am totally in love with the layered fluted hem at the bottom. Actually the dress is just a dream. I haven't decided if I'm going to talk myself out of the dress, suck it up and buy it, or find it online preowned. We'll see how this next dress shopping trip goes.

Friday, November 2, 2007

T-H-E Bridal District

I am e x c i t e d. I just made an appointment to go wedding dress shopping the day after Thanksgiving! Which makes me both excited and insane, but its the only day I'll be able to go with my MOH, my madre, and her madre. We're going to the Reading Bridal District down in Cincinnati, Ohio. The district is the home of over 30 different wedding related businesses and services, all within a two miles! Most of them are on the same street even.

The two bridal salons I've made appointments at are on the same street of this Bridal Mecca: European Bridal and Bridal & Formal. European Bridal used to actually be two separate stores, European Bridal and Classic Bride, that were housed in the same building, the first floor features dresses under $1800 and the second floor features gowns over $1800. I plan on trying on dresses on both floors. And Bridal & Formal is the largest wedding dress salon in the country... so I'm a bit nervous that it might be overwhelming. But I'm excited to see all of their options, and hopefully find the dress!

Thursday, November 1, 2007

Your Love Is Better Than Ice Cream

I just realized in my previous post on the glorious cake I forgot about the ice cream. Whoopsie Poops!

Graeter's Ice Cream is a little piece of heaven right here in Southwest Ohio, I'm not kidding when I say its some of the most uh-mazing stuff in the world. My personal favs are Mocha Chocolate Chip (when I'm feeling indulgent) and Blueberry Sorbet (when I'm being good), and Brandon's favorite can vary on any given day, but he has an affinity for the Black Raspberry Chip. I'm hoping to have a couple different kinds at our reception, but I have some opposition, he's mostly concerned about the cost, which is a major concern. But I know all of our in-town guests would love this hometown favorite and I'd like to give our out-of-town guests a taste (literally) of our hometown.

It would also be a cute personal touch, because we've spent so much time there together throughout the past four years. We're actually planning on doing part of our e-session there, because the store is so quaint and picture perfect. I would love to use one of the pictures from the e-session at our reception. Maybe put a framed picture on the table where the ice cream is served with the a framed copy of the lyrics to the Sarah McLachlan song Ice Cream.