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Save The Dates, Revisited...

I've had some time to work on our Save the Dates this weekend, and I keep coming back to the card from Ceci NY above. I just love those green flowers! I think that's why I can't seem to get the postcard just right, it's maybe just not for me. So I started looking around at some of my other favorite invitation designers for inspiration (since we're not exactly getting married in a castle!) and I found these:
The gorgeous Save the Date above is from Merrilee Designs, the person who's also behind It's Lovely! Again, I am in love with the flowers & how they have that vintage feel without seeming too "girly."
And then I found this design, on the Brown Sugar Design blog! I love practically everything they design, but this is amazing. It's actually the front of a custom made map, but the flowers were used on the entire invitation suite! So, this is it for sure. I love the look and feel of all of them, now I just have to make one of my own...hooray for inspiration!

Rosanna

I could be a little behind, but I just discovered Rosanna and her tableware is fantastic (not to mention unique and reasonably priced)! The gorgeous pitcher above is only $40, and the "La Petite Black Dress" plates below are only $30 for a set of four. She even offers a registry & you can order online! There are some fantastic cake pedestals, and I think so many of her things could also make great bridesmaids gifts...
And, naturally, what drew me in the first place was a baroque pattern:

ABS Dress

In my never ending quest for wedding shoes, I came across this ABS dress at Nordstrom. Not only is it stunning, it's only $378! There is boning in the bodice and a side slit as well. If you're still looking for a dress & don't want to spend a heap of cash, buy this one!


Succulents

In my quest for something "different," I thought about the possibility of using succulents in the wedding for quite awhile at the beginning of the planning process. I landed on hydrangeas instead, but I still love the way succulents look. The colors in the plant above are so soft and pretty, and the texture of the succulents is so fantastic. I could even see these clustered as centerpieces (images from The Martha Blog):
Then this morning I came across a wedding shot by Julie Mikos...I've seen succulents used in bouquets before but never quite like this! It's so unique & I really love the boutonniere. B is really against using anything "girly" for the boutonnieres, or anything that even remotely resembles a berry. I think we might be able to get away with that one. My bouquet is already planned out, but the bouts are another story! Would it be weird to only use succulents in the bouts?

Monique Lhuillier at Home

In this month's Elle Decor, Monique Lhuillier's home is featured. Not surprisingly, it's extremely beautiful - clean and simple, but incredibly stylish. I really love her use of gray, mixed in with ivory and other neutrals. These are just a few of the pictures, you can check out a slideshow of some of the other rooms here. (As always, click the pics for a larger view)

Chalkboard Flower Pots

Those Pottery Barn flower pots have me intrigued...I like how they're black and I can fill them with something green, and use white chalk for the names. And in a very short search online, I found some regular terra cotta pots from Ikea for about .85 cents and some chalkboard spray paint for around $5 per can. Factor in some labor (again, thankful for handy Dads) and these could easily be recreated for under $200. Hmmmm....

Karl Johnson Silhouettes

This morning, a friend of mine pointed me in the direction of Karl Johnson's blog. After I started looking through it I realized that I've admired his work before, I just didn't realize it was him! Karl's work has been feature in Elegant Bride, Domino, and many other publications. And best of all, I found pictures of silhouettes Karl created for the Kip's Bay Designer Show House in NYC:

Even More Save the Date Talk...

Getting sick of it yet? I think that I might be! I just can't seem to get them right, but here are a few more attempts. I took the picture and both adjusted the colors & threw a vintage wash over it. It definitely looks "vintage" but I don't know that I really like the muted tones...part of what I liked about the original picture was the bright colors. Anyway, I then tried out the lettering in a few different colors: Don't like the orange, so I tried a different shade of green: I am not sure I really like that either. I tried a bunch of different colors and just couldn't seem to find one that looked right. I suppose I could go with plain white, but that seems a little boring! I would love to hear what you all think...I am almost leaning towards the original these days:

elum

I am not spelling the name right because I don't know how to make that little bar above the "u" but I love the company! I've seen the elum ads before in MS weddings, and this time I went to their website. Not only do they have fantastic letterpress goods, there are these great journals! Some great last minute Christmas ideas if you need them...
I adore these green & black letterpress notecards:

More Vintage Postcards!

I got an e-mail today from Valery, who so generously agreed to let me share her postcard save the dates! These were actually created for her by Lisa Hoffman at Ceci NY...so perfect. Valery and her fiance are having a destination wedding in Jamaica next year and after being inspired by some vintage Jamaican postcards on ebay, Lisa used a stock photo to create this save the date. Valery said she just tweaked the color to make it look more vintage, and that they printed it on textured cotton paper to make everything seem more authentic. Like most of the Ceci postcards, this was actually a foldover card that opens up to reveal information about the wedding and various accommodations. I won't show all of it because I don't want to broadcast all of their details, but the back of the postcard is below. Such beautiful work...thank you SO much for sharing, Valery!

Monograms!

If anyone is in the market for some damask monograms, stop what you're doing and head over to Lucky Designs immediately! Great work, Erin!

Black & White Cakes

I can't remember where the first picture came from, but the second is from Pink Cake Box. Throw some green ribbon on the second one and I would be sold!

One Style, Two Shoes

I saw these shoes a little while ago in the summer issue of In Style Weddings and think it's such a good idea. The shoes pictured above are from Matt Bernson & they're a little pricey, but the concept is still genius! Since most brides end up switching shoes in during the reception, or at the very least picking comfortable shoes for the entire day, this would be a great way to have height for pictures and comfort for the rest of the day. If you have a short dress wearing two shoes would be easy, but even if you have a long one the bustle will help out a little with length if you put on flats at the reception. Buying two pairs of shoes might be quite the splurge, but if they were something you could wear afterwards it would be worth it!

Flowers

I still need to post about my experience with the florist, but for now I'll leave you with this picture! For the centerpieces we've tentatively decided on three tall cylinder vases in varying heights, filled with bright green hydrangeas and black river rocks on the bottom. So it won't look quite like the picture above, but you can get the idea of the green and black contrast! I am off to NYC for a meeting...hope everyone has a great weekend!

Covered Cake Plate


Erin over at Lucky Me used a picture of this cake plate in an inspiration board today, and I had to investigate a little further. It's a little on the pricey side for a cake plate, but might be one of those things I register for in the hopes that someone will like it enough to give it to us! I mean, it could be an heirloom, right? ;)

A Veil of Secrecy

Well, not really. But I couldn't think of any other clever titles for this post that involved the word "veil." Anyway - I've decided on a long veil! I was already leaning towards one, because I have fantasies of pictures like the one above. But when my Mom and I went to go pick up my dress I tried some on. When I put on the long veil with my dress, the woman at the boutique said "Oh wow, that's such a classic look." Sold. I decided to order from veilshop.com, seeing as how their prices are a fraction of what veils costs in the bridal salons. I decided on standard fullness, and chapel length. That way it just rests on the ground a little bit, and isn't longer than my train. I ordered color samples from veilshop, and they arrived this week! Now it's just a matter of taking the samples to my parent's house to compare them to the dress....which, naturally, means I might have to try it on 75 more times. Here are some other pics that provided me with some inspiration for a long veil (one of which, I won't say which one in case a some people are lurking, looks a lot like a certain someone's dress):

More Vintage Save the Dates

I got an e-mail yesterday from Suzy in Los Angeles, who used a vintage postcard from their venue to create save the dates! She actually made two cards, one with the date information and another with travel info and a blank back. She addressed the blank side of the postcard, and then combined both postcards in a clear envelope & mailed them. I also have pictures of the back sides of the postcards, but when I blurred out her name & info it took away from the overall look too much. So I decided to just show the front...great, right? Suzy also suggested I look on ebay for some vintage postcards of Lake Geneva - something I never thought of because I've been so focused on finding digital images. When I took a look, I found these:

Brad seems to like the idea of making the picture that we took look more vintage, instead of using one of these. I am torn - mostly because I really love that first one of the pier. I think I am going to go ahead and bid on the pier postcard, and try to make our picture look more vintage at the same time. So, we'll see! But thanks again, Suzy, for sharing your Save the Date!

Save The Date?

I am still considering going the vintage postcard route for our save the dates, and while I was looking around this week I found the Chicago postcard above. I just thought it was cool, if we were getting married in the city I would definitely use something like that! But since we aren't, I worked on the Lake Geneva postcard a little more. I converted the picture into sort-of a watercolor painting in photoshop, and then added some text to the top: The example I found has some flourishes below the name of the city, so I tried this: Not sure I really like that though. So, then I made the font bigger and put some larger flourishes on the left side only: What do you think? I don't think I like the second one anymore...and now I am thinking the first one might be my favorite. But I would love to hear what you think!

Springtime in December

I got my January issue of MS Living today, and actually took a picture of the cover I loved it so much! It's the middle of winter and Martha has this gorgeous yellow & white kitchen on the front of her magazine, that inevitably makes me think of spring. So while everyone else is posting about mistletoe and eggnog, I created a simple springtime wedding board that could easily take place in that kitchen ;)

A Wedding on a Budget - Real Tips!

A few weeks ago I got an e-mail about Jennifer, a bride who planned almost her entire wedding using things she found on e-bay. Jen was going to school, working part time and getting ready to move to a different state, all while trying to plan her wedding! Some e-mails were exchanged back and forth, and Jen agreed to let me interview her & get her advice for those of us trying to plan a stylish wedding that doesn't cost a fortune. It turned out to be a little long, but it's worth the read!

With This Ring: What led you to buy items for your wedding in this unconventional way? Would you recommend this route to other brides?

Jen: I turned to eBay because I was on a budget, I have unique and very particular personal tastes, and had a great idea of what I wanted. Plus, I planned our wedding while working on my senior thesis (Experiential Poetry Readings: Catharsis for Author and Audience), coordinating a move to another state, and working 28 hours a week as a Patient Advocate in our local community hospital ED.

My daily schedule looked a bit like this: 5am wakeup, breakfast, homework, 8am class, class until 2pm, work 3 - 11pm, wedding planning/purchasing 11 pm until midnight (or so...:), senior thesis work 12 - 2 or 3 am. Wash, rinse, drink lots of coffee, repeat. I didn't have time to jet around doing traditional wedding shopping. Cruising eBay was something I could do when I had the time (and money).

WTR: Please tell us a little about what exactly you bought for your wedding on eBay.

Jen: Well, everything I wore except my sassy blue undies came from eBay. My wedding gown was an Ian Stuart worn in a fashion show in Canada. Pure silk, pleated halter top, full skirt - GORGEOUS and so comfy I wore it without regret for 12 hours. $1,200 or more retail, I got it for $430 including shipping.

My barrettes, our cobalt blue glass toasting goblets (which we still have), marzipan fruits to decorate the wedding cake, assorted cobalt glass and heirloom silver to supplement the family pieces we used to cluster flowers for centerpieces, the bridesmaids dresses for all my bridesmaids (varying styles in hues from silver to pewter - all were either in school or on a strict budget at the time so I set a limit of $30 per dress and hit it), even my wedding ring - a gorgeous vintage 1950s platinum and diamond shebang we got for just over $300 and appraised at over $1500. Not bad for bargain shopping, and it's completely 'me.'

WTR: What wedding item were you most excited about finding?

Jen: Probably our guest bench. Unfortunately that's being shipped in an ocean liner to The Netherlands right now (my husband was just relocated and I'll join him early next month), so I can't take a photo for you. I'll send one in a few weeks though! It was handmade with distressed white barnwood. We had all the guests sign it with a black Sharpie. It has been prominently placed in each of the 6 homes we've lived in since our wedding, and when we unpack it the place finally feels finished. It was about $60 bucks with shipping, and bears the last signature of my husband's uncle Paul, who died after battling melanoma about a week after the wedding. We went directly from our honeymoon cruise to his memorial in Pennsylvania, so his writing is an even more powerful memory of life and love for us.

WTR: Where there any “close calls” on the auctions, or did you ever not get an item you were hoping for?

Jen: I actually missed out on a couple of pairs of shoes. I wanted some really sweet Vera Wang mules but kept losing those auctions. Ironically, I ended up going barefoot for most of our beautiful reception, which was outdoors at Fall Creek Farm (my aunt and uncle's farm and residence) in Maryland.

WTR: Would you mind sharing what the overall budget of your wedding was? Did you stick to it?

Jen: Let me just tell you it was under 10k. WAY under 10k. And yep, I stuck to it on everything except the honeymoon, which we splurged on as the result of a very generous family gift. I did look at honeymoon possibilities on eBay, but just couldn't find one that thrilled us. We booked our cruise through CruCon, an outlet, after reading about them on Travelzoo.com. I also looked at rentals in exotic locales on the VRBO (Vacation Rentals By Owner) site...looked like there were some good bargains there, especially for those with frequent flyer miles to redeem.

WTR: What tips do you have for other brides on a budget?

Jen: Oh boy. I could seriously write a book on this one. But the most important one for me was this:Throw out just about all the crap they tell you you MUST have for the perfect wedding. Sit down with your partner and decide on the top 3 things you'll remember in 50 years. What do you want your kids to see in your photo album? How do you want the people who attend to feel? This helped us realize we wanted a party with great live music (we went with classic rock band Bad Neighbors from Baltimore), excellent food, and hay rides. Yes, hay rides. Also croquet, a wedding pinata, and no obligatory speeches (the best man and maid of honor gave short funny ones).

We also got married in a beautiful church. We didn't pay a cent to decorate with flowers, since it was gorgeous as is. Thinking about the mood we wanted to create for our guests and ourselves helped inform all the other wedding-related decisions, including our budget. We alloted the greatest amount for food, provided by a caterer we found using recommendations on TheKnot.com. Next was the photographer, Chris Hensel, based out of Pennsylvania. We did so well budgeting we had extra left over for things like a pinata (GREAT pics and GREAT fun), a croquet set (my favorite wedding photo was actually my grandmother and my husband side by side, Muz holding a croquet mallet like she owned that field and my new hubby Brandon holding a Corona, his suit jacket slung over one shoulder - priceless!), and some other fun things.

I guess that's the point, buy based on what it'll take for you to have fun. Maybe that means a 5 course dinner at your favorite Thai place for 50 people, and maybe it means a cathedral wedding and a reception cruise, but be sure it reflects who you are. Then get all kinds of creative and use the talents of friends and family to make the day even more meaningful and affordable.

WTR: What tips do you have for other brides hoping to buy items for their weddings on eBay?

Jen: Have a general idea but you want, but be open to change. Always ALWAYS stick to a budget and don't let yourself go beyond your max bid, no matter how tempted you are. Use the newer auction notification features including cell alerts and IM...especially for larger items like a gown, groomsman's tie, etc. I exactly knew when I found THE perfect cake topper out of hundreds of options (a deep cobalt blue vintage glass Eiffel Tower, since we were engaged while on a trip to Paris and Dijon France), but I didn't know I had found the perfect dress until the photo jumped out at me after hours of laptop-browsing.

Whether you buy on eBay or not, read and look at hundreds of options. To ramp up my excitement and get a good idea of what my tastes would embody in special occasion planning, I read tons of magazines from the library. They covered things from of course wedding planning to interior design, architecture, photography, even National Geographic. ANY photos I liked I bought the issue, cut them out, and tacked them up on a small corkboard 'mood board' that contained swatches of fabric, paint samples that helped me isolate color choices and explore complementary themes, ribbon, doodles, stationary samples, and other bits of wedding stuff. I loved the board so much that I actually hung it up in our first apartment after the wedding!

The good news is that eBay can certainly help any bride stick to a budget, even if the most valuable thing you're missing is an abundance of time to plan. Also, shooting an eBay auction page to a friend or family member to get their feedback is so simple just about anyone can do it. We certainly wouldn't have had (according to one of my younger female cousins) "the wedding of the century" without eBay. As a matter of fact, my family thinks nothing is funnier than when another cousin got married. At her rehearsal dinner, she raised a glass to Jen, her cousin who "got married like a champ."

Thank you, Jen!!

I think I represent everyone when I say, "guest bench?!" That's such a fantastic idea! I've asked Jen if she'll share a few more pictures from her wedding, so I'll be sure to post those when I hear back from her. Hope you all enjoyed the interview!