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Part Two: Real Wedding - Harbor Springs, MI

Welcome back! As promised, this post is full of more pictures as well as some budget friendly tips you can use in your own planning process. Anne and Blair saved money in three important places - the ceremony, flowers and overall decor. The church they chose didn't allow decorations so that was an easy slash from the budget. But in addition, they opted to simply have a trumpeter play during the ceremony (much less expensive than a quartet) and asked Blair's friends who sang in glee club to serenade their guests.
As I already mentioned, Anne's mom and grandma made all the pants for the groomsmen from fabric purchased on ebay. Since Anne chose a neutral and readily available color, the bridesmaids dresses were purchased at half price from jcrew. The boys in all of their seersucker glory:
And the coup de grace, the DIY centerpieces and table runners. Its a little hard to tell in the picture, but the runners are made of seersucker material as well and also crafted by Anne's talented mom. Anne picked up the snapdragons for the centerpieces from a local farmer's market the day before the wedding. They stripped and cut them at her grandmother's house, transported them in buckets to the club, and put them together in the basement. Aren't they beautiful?
I love a good bustle shot and this one is no exception. Anne and Blair danced to "Life is Beautiful" by Keb Mo and she shared some of her favorite lyrics, "I don't want to be without you at the party. So easily forgotten but the most important thing is that I love you, I do, and I want to spend my days and nights walking through this crazy world with you." She and Blair like the lyrics so much that they added that portion to the back of their programs.

In addition to sharing her pictures, Anne was nice enough to offer up some advice to all of you who are still planning:
My advice to brides is to go with what makes you happy, not with what The Knot or other wedding websites say you should have. We didn't have a big ballroom, tall centerpieces, a late night snack, or a candy bar and I still had tons of compliments on everything. While it's so easy to get sucked into the gorgeous weddings and think that's what a truly elegant wedding should be, ours was just as nice and perfect for the vision we had. If you truly love something (the dress, the cake, the flowers) then decide what you are willing to give up in other areas to meet your budget. We didn't have a cake because Blair and I just didn't care and didn't want to spend the money. I loved that we immediately crossed something off the to do list and off the budget! I also loved doing the flowers the day before the wedding. If you are going to do something like that, though, just make sure you have help and schedule the time accordingly. Also, ask your husband what he wants and what his ideas are. Blair and I have been to lots of weddings together so we knew a lot of what we did and didn't like. His outfit dictated the rest of our wedding, and he was the one to pick it out. I planned almost everything else around what he had chosen to wear, and it made our planning so much better because it really reflected both of us.

Thank you so much, Anne and Blair! I hope you all enjoyed the posts and have a lovely weekend. If you're interested in submitting your wedding to be featured on the blog, just shoot me an email!

Real Wedding - Harbor Springs, MI

Anne and Blair were married in August of last year, in the lakeside town of Harbor Springs. There were some amazing DIY elements to their wedding and Anne has some great budget friendly suggestions, so we'll just get right into it! See those seersucker pants Blair is wearing above? Anne's mother and grandmother made them for all of the boys in the wedding party. They found the fabric for a great price on ebay and then went to work!The beautiful flowers? They almost didn't happen. Anne never really "clicked" with her florist, and despite considering making the bouquets herself she decided to trust the florist and go with the flow. When the bouquets arrived the day of the wedding everyone agreed that they were a disaster so the matron of honor and another bridesmaid went to a family member's garden, picked fresh flowers, and completely remade the bouquets themselves! Seriously great job ladies... The church was actually a summer only chapel so that made for some challenges in the planning process, but the cozy and intimate feel was exactly what they were hoping for. I adore this shot from the ceremony!

Come back this afternoon to see the DIY table runners, centerpieces and all of Anne's great advice for trimming your budget.

Sneak Peek...

Here is a peek at a beautiful wedding that will be featured tomorrow. It took place in a small lake town and comes complete with some great budget friendly ideas!

The Dress - From Long to Short

Remember the amazing wedding of Beka and Jesse? Beka had a gorgeous long dress that transformed into a short one when it was time for the reception. Hers was a Monique Lhuillier that she had customized so that the bottom two layers could be removed. {Images from the talented Marie Labbancz} I was looking at dresses on Etsy the other day, and look what I found! Etsy seller Hay-Lo Designs takes vintages dresses and fixes them up to make them into unique pieces. This dress is named LuLu:
Same sweetheart neckline, gorgeous layers. I am not sure the layers could be altered in the same way, but its a possibility! And the best part, this dress would be a lot easier on the budget.
If someone snatches it up be sure to let me know, so I can ooh and aah at you.

Outdoor Chandeliers

I haven't done this in awhile, but today I am fresh out of inspiring ideas. I have some great content for you later in the week, but for now all I can think of is to share this beautiful outdoor setting with you. Its from Amy Butler's book (who knew) found via The City Sage. What is inspiring all of you these days?

Red Carpet Dresses - Academy Awards

I surely won't be the only person to mention this, but there were a lot of Oscar dresses that could easily be translated to the aisle. The one above is by far my favorite...just lovely.

And did you see Robin Roberts wearing jcrew? Fantastic!
{Images from E! Online, Yahoo Movies, and ABC News}


Don't forget that you have until the end of the day (11:59PM CST) to fill out the survey for a chance to win an etched glass monogram. I will announce the winner tomorrow afternoon! {Photo by Stephanie Williams}

Block Party Press

I really enjoy gifts that you wouldn't normally buy for yourself, but are something to be cherished all the same. I was just randomly browsing through etsy last night and came across these adorable magnets from block party press. They come in all different styles and colors, so you could find different styles for each of your bridesmaids (or shower hostesses, readers, etc).
They also offer all sorts of jewelry, pendants, hair pins, and these fantastic cuff links:
I would (wood? hehe) love to see a wedding party decked out in those. Have a lovely weekend - don't forget that you have through Sunday to take part in the survey!

Floral Inspiration

The part of our wedding that I struggled with the most was the flowers for both the ceremony and the reception. I didn't know much about floral arrangements, but when knew what I did like when I saw it. Our color scheme limited me greatly and I didn't have a very big portion of our budget dedicated to the flowers. I am sure you've seen this beautiful table scape from Courtney of Flush Designs on Once Wed, but I thought it was worth publishing again.
All of these flowers also fit into a really specific color scheme, but do so without seeming like "too much." They also use berries and other greenery so well, which would likely make them relatively inexpensive.
These arrangements (also from Flush Designs) incorporate different elements that make the centerpiece so much more interesting. I guess the point I am trying to make is - don't feel trapped when it comes to picking your flowers. There are florists out there who are very willing to come up with suggestions that fit into your budget and incorporate other elements to spice things up a bit. Thanks for the pics, Courtney!

India Rose

The founder of India Rose was part of the first design team at Pottery Barn, then went on to design products for Anthropologie, Crate & Barrel, and more. Now she has her own store full of beautiful home furnishings and textiles (I swear this isn't a paid endorsement or something, I just think this store is the coolest).
The majority of their products are really reasonably priced and since I know most of you are in the market for bridesmaids gifts, they have some great ideas. A lot of people (myself included) go with monogrammed tote bags filled with goodies, but what about something like the tote above? It's only $42...fill it with a cute wrap and some of your favorite cosmetics (lip gloss, etc) and you're good to go. And it goes without saying that I adore that black & white clutch.
I feel like stationery is something you normally don't splurge on for yourself, which makes for a great gift. You can get the whole set pictured above (and gift wrapped) for only $39. Lovely!

Thank You, Thank You...

I am so excited about the level of participation in the survey so far, you are all full of amazing suggestions and such great feedback. I hope you know how very much I appreciate it! If you aren't sure what I am talking about just read this post. You have until the end of the week to participate and enter for a chance to win a "etched glass" monogram from uppercase living. I promise you will see changes and improvements to the blog based on your feedback, some of which I've already started thinking about. Truly - thank you all so much!

{I should also mention - the flowers in that picture are actually carnations. I would have never guessed!}

A Survey and a Giveaway

Uppercase Living offers the cutest vinyl applique products to customize your home, and even your wedding. You can put them on virtually any surface (glass, walls, aisle runners, dance floors, etc) and they can even be used outdoors. The very sweet Kim Wrigley has offered up a giveaway for you all, but I am throwing in a catch!
I am trying to improve the blog as much as possible, so when you take this short survey (really, its only 10 questions) you'll be entered to win the adorable "etched glass" monogram pictured above. The monogram is six inches high and you'll get to pick whatever letter you like. You have through the weekend to take the survey, I will close everything down at 11:59 PM (CST) on Sunday, February 22nd.

Absolutely anyone can enter, you don't have to be a bride or even associated with weddings. If you check into the blog now and again, please take a minute to fill out the survey! There is a section where you can leave your name and email address for the contest, feel free to just use your initials or just leave it blank if you want to remain anonymous. Thank you!


J.crew is at it again with some amazing photo shoots. It seems like balloons have been popping up (no pun intended) all over the place these days, no surprise that J.crew is right on trend.
They also have some great prices on really cute jewelry, love this necklace which could look adorable on bridesmaids. These are really cute as well - I was nervous about giving our bridesmaids such bold necklaces to wear, but we got a lot of compliments on them and they look great in pictures. Plus, they're easy to wear again!
If you have the day off today I hope you're enjoying it!

Happy Valentines Day

After the week I've had, this is kind of how I am feeling about Valentines Day. But it's nothing that a nice dinner and some wine won't cure! I hope you all have a lovely day and enjoy it no matter how you choose to celebrate.

Sponsor Spotlight - Papeterie

We have yet another amazing sponsor on the blog, Papeterie. They are a design studio full of talented people who offer a variety of stationery products - invitations, save the dates, thank you cards, place cards, table number, menus, and even favor boxes. Papeterie prints all of their designs in house, so that they can ensure the best quality work.They offer both letterpress and flat printed options, meaning that they have something available for every budget. Both are very reasonably priced but you can find some invitations in their classic line that are less than $70 for 25 invites.
Their designs are both fresh and classic, and if you can't find something you absolutely love they also offer custom design services. Right now they have some designs that are on sale for 50% off, check them out here.Read all about their services here and also be sure to check out the Papeterie blog to see their latest designs (and also get a peek into their studio). Welcome to the blog, Papeterie!

Real Wedding - San Juan Capistrano, CA

One more wedding from Erin Hearts Court this week, the beautiful couple of Rebecca and Ryan. They were married on November 1st in California at a gorgeous outdoor ceremony.
I had never thought of this, but what a great way to still utilize a unity candle outdoors. Rebecca and Ryan simply put their candles in lanterns - genius!
Love the black, white and yellow. And all the bridesmaids dresses have pockets...I can attest to the fact that they are not only cute but quite handy!
Rebecca made all of these cute bird tags herself.
Courtney said that the entire wedding was quite emotional, as evidenced by this picture. I don't even know what's happening and it makes me teary just to look at it.
The small details on the cake are so beautiful...
Thanks so much for sharing this wedding, Erin and Courtney! I hope you all have a wonderful weekend.