Tag Archives: wedding

The beau and his compadres

Though so much focus is given to the bridal duds, I would be remiss if I didn’t give The Beau some time in the wedding fashion spotlight. Because, for seriousness, he is going to be looking pretty spiffy on said day.

When we started talking about what the Mister would wear on the big day, we wanted all options to be on the table: renting a tux, renting a suit, buying a suit or just going super casual with button-down shirts and a tie or something along those lines. The more we talked about it, the easier the decision became. We weren’t too keen on shelling out a couple hundred bucks for a rental suit or tux, when we knew buying a new suit meant he would then have something nice to keep and wear again. And so we embarked on a hunt for a black suit.

We veered from our course of action a bit, however, when we stumbled upon a dapper charcoal gray number at men’s store Bachrach. It became pretty clear to me that gray is the Mister’s color. He looked so handsome! So we purchased a charcoal gray suit and altered our plans a bit. Mr. Groom would wear his charcoal gray suit, and he would ask his attendants to wear black. We figured it wasn’t a bad thing for him to stand out and be a little different. I mean, it is sort of his his day to shine, right?

With charcoal tux purchased, The Beau set forth asking his three male attendants to wear any nice, black suit they might have or to see about purchasing or borrowing one. It turned out none actually had a black suit they could wear for the occasion, but all expressed excitement at the opportunity to purchase a suit they knew they would get some wear out of – which is what we had hoped would be the case!

That simply left The Beau’s one female attendant, whom – after much surfing of the Interwebs – we have decided to dub a groomslady! Lovely groomslady R has been such a sport and agreeable to anything, in terms of attire. We ultimately decided to have R wear the same dress my bridesmaids will be wearing, except instead of purple, hers will be black to match the fellows. And instead of silver shoes, like the other girls, she’ll wear black heels that match theirs.

I’m pretty excited! I think we’re going to be one good-looking bunch!


Dealing with stress

It continually amazes me how stressful planning a wedding can be. I realize the beau and I purposefully chose the route of a larger-scale wedding and reception with all our friends and family present, as opposed to the calmer course of going to the courthouse by ourselves. Therefore, on some level, we readily accepted as givens all the stressors of wedding planning. But it doesn’t make the stress any less palatable.

I’ve found my stress comes in waves. It was worst, by far, in the first few weeks of being engaged. As someone with a proclivity (booyah for opportunities to use fancy words!) to stress and be anxious, it didn’t surprise me that I began to stress about the wedding planning virtually the instant we were engaged. What did surprise me is how bad it was. For the life of me, I couldn’t sleep. I was like a kid at Christmas too excited to find out what Santa Claus might bring me. I probably only slept a couple of hours a night the first week or two we were engaged. This was because my head was filled to the brim with ideas, to-do lists and dream sequences of various wedding-day scenarios (both good and bad!). And, I couldn’t eat. I simply wasn’t hungry – mostly because my stomach was perpetually in knots. It was as though some part of me felt like I needed to have all the wedding planning finished already. Even though we had months and months sprawling before us!

Thankfully, with each item I’ve checked off the seemingly neverending to-do list, my stress lessens. But it does pop up randomly from time to time. It’s strange what makes it rear its head. I couldn’t care less that I didn’t have a solution to my I-don’t-want-to-pay-a-gazillion-dollars-for-real-flowers conundrum. Yet, for some reason, I was getting panicky about not finding the right shoes, even though I had plenty of time. Sigh. It’s crazy how stress-inducing this process can be. And perhaps even crazier that I let it be stress inducing.

Talking it over with the hubs-to-be always makes me feel better when I start to stress. He is a constant calming force. He’s wizard-like in his mellowing abilities. He can inevitably talk me down from any frenzied state. And he reminds me time after time what’s important and what’s not. He puts things in perspective. It’s easy to remember why I’m marrying this guy and why I’m (semi) embracing all this stress!

Bachelorette Par-tay

I wanna dance with somebody. I wanna feel the heat with somebody. I wanna dance with somebody, with somebody who loves me. – Whitney Houston

Is it wrong that every time I picture my bachelorette party, my head is filled with poptastic ’80s tunes like “I Wanna Dance With Somebody?” For reals, I loved the video for that song when I was a kid. And now, forever, I associate giant hair, neon colors and paint-splattered walls with a good time. Is that so wrong? Ok, so maybe I am in the wrong era for an acid-washed bachelorette party, but a girl can dream, right?

In all seriousness, I am pumped about getting together with some of my favorite gal pals and painting the town red for a night (Hmm, maybe paint-splattered walls aren’t out of the question, after all!). One of the hardest parts of planning this wedding from a state I only recently moved to has been being away from my BFFs. I miss them like whoa, and I cannot wait to be reunited and spend a weekend letting loose and celebrating the end of one chapter and beginning of another with them.

In just a few short weeks, I get to put on my party shoes and have a weekend o’ fun in one of my favorite places in the world, Charleston, S.C. I hope we eat lots of delicious southern specialties, have a few drinks and have more than a few laughs. I am in desperate need of time with my girls!

The ceremony deets: everything that leads up to “I do”

Just like with all aspects of planning a wedding, planning the ceremony means making some pretty big decisions. The nice thing is that it can be as elaborate and over-the-top or as scaled back and minimalistic as you want (10-minute service, anyone?). No matter how many weddings you’ve been to where a cheesy ritual has made you roll your eyes or the length has made you nod off to sleep, this is finally your chance to shine.

It is kinda crazy, however, just how much there is to think about. Oy vey. Much more goes into creating a meaningful ceremony than I had ever really anticipated.

This is what we’re currently mulling over:

  • Music
  • I’m doing a happy dance about this one because two of my favorite peeps are going to be lending their musical talents to the big day. My cousin JK has agreed to play flute, and a dear friend is playing the piano. And these, my friends, are some of the songs I’m considering for various parts of the ceremony, because I loves me some Vivaldi.

    And, I kinda really, really love this. Adele is freaking amazing. And this song is gorgeous.

  • How we want the bridesmaids and groomsmen to enter
  • I’m kinda stuck on this one. There are too many stinkin’ possibilities! The groom’s attendants (I gots to be fair; it’s not just groomsmen – it’s groomsmen and a groom’s lady!) could process first, with the bridesmaids processing after them. Or the groom’s attendants and bridesmaids could process together. Or the groom’s attendants could be in place already and just the bridesmaids could process. Whew! There sure are a lot of different ways to go about getting a group of people to the front of a church!

  • In what ways we want to involve family members
  • I am loving working on this aspect of the ceremony. We want to share our day with our loved ones and include as many of them as possible in important ways. One way we plan to include our mothers is by asking them to read a passage – from a book, a poem, a song, anything – that means something to them that they think might be meaningful to us. We’re also tossing around some different ideas that might involve all the guests, though we haven’t really decided on anything on that front.

  • What rituals or special ceremonies we want to perform
  • I know it might be horribly clichéd, but we plan to have a unity candle. Though this particular rite has been performed at oodles of ceremonies before ours, I’ve always loved it. I think there’s something really special about the symbolism of unifying two as one. And, the best part is that our candle brings a little bit of the beau’s hometown to the ceremony – the candles are from A.I. Root Candle Co., which is based where he is from in Ohio!

  • What Biblical and other passages we want read
  • I’ve always known I wanted passages from the Bible to be read during our ceremony, but determining which ones is proving harder than I thought. I really don’t want to use the same passages I’ve heard at so many other weddings before. I want to find passages meaningful to me, to us. I’m a big fan of Ecclesiastes 4:9
    “Two are better than one, because they have a good return for their work: If one falls down, his friend can help him up. But pity the man who falls and has no one to help him up!”

  • What vows we’d like to say
  • I’m pretty sure we’re going to say standard vows. There was a time I considered writing my own, but at this point I’m thinking that’s probably not what I want to do.

    Yikes! There’s so much to consider!

Dress talk. My favorite kind of talk.

I might just be the teensiest bit excited. Ok, ok, that’s a lie. I’m a whole lotta excited. I picked up my wedding dress from the seamstress yesterday after having been separated from my dear taffeta friend for six weeks, so the sewing whiz could work her magic and create a bustle where none was before. And, friends, it is beautimous!

Let me back up just a tad. I’m getting ahead of myself in my hyperventilating state of over-excitement here. Let’s just rewind to the actual purchasing of said dress first. I was crazy lucky and found my dress early (we’d only been engaged a month!) during a visit to Raleigh. I had my mother, my future MIL and my sister/MOH in tow, and the day of trying on dresses had started pretty poorly. We started at David’s Bridal, where I tried on about half a dozen gowns. And every. single. one. looked yuck on me. It was so disappointing. I know plenty of people who have had success at David’s Bridal, but for some reason the stars were just not aligning for me that day. I had yet to have a moment where I walked out of the dressing room and felt bridal. With a case of the woe-is-mes, we headed to our next destination, a new boutique in Raleigh called A Bridal World. And this is where the magic happened. It was the second dress I tried on it, and it was that moment I had been longing for. I felt beautiful. I felt like a bride. The dress fit like a glove, like it was made for me. And my shopping companions seemed to agree. Their faces said it all. Whereas before, we had all shared looks that consisted of crinkled noses or raised eyebrows, everybody was all grins. I knew it was the one.

It was strange, however, because the one was nothing like I envisioned the one would look like. In all my pouring over bridal magazines and websites, I had created an image in my mind of what I wanted. I didn’t want strapless. Rather, I wanted straps or sleeves of some type. I especially liked bateau necklines. I also was in love with the idea of lace. I drooled over practically every photo I saw of dresses dripping in lace. It seemed so elegant, so timeless, so feminine. And I wasn’t crazy about the idea of a big skirt, with lots of poof. I wanted straight, streamlined. Ladies and gents, my dress is none of the things on my initial checklist. It’s strapless, it’s not lace and it’s a decently-full A-line. It just goes to show that looking at pictures and actually trying on gowns are two very different things. I realized after trying on the styles I liked on paper that they didn’t look good on me. Strapless was most becoming on me. And lace for some reason wasn’t working for me once I had it on. And man, do I love my flouncy skirt!

But, as I’ve mentioned before, part of the fun of this whole process is in more than just having a dress, it’s about creating an ensemble. And so I have been elated in the month and a half my dress has been gone to make some super fun ensemble purchases. I decided I liked the idea of poof – and color! – so much that I purchased a crinoline and dyed it purple. I also couldn’t let go of the idea of lace, and so I searched for a shrug or jacket that could bring some lace to my look. I ultimately found a lovely lace bolero jacket on tulipbridal.com that is amazing. I could not be more pleased with it. And, in the meantime I had also purchased my fabulous purple wedding shoes!

So yesterday’s reunion with my dress was a reunion of epic proportions. It was the first time I had the opportunity to try all the pieces together, and I seriously couldn’t have asked for better. I love my wedding day ensemble!

Though I don’t have many photos of the whole ensemble (it’s hard to take self portraits!), I have a couple of pictures to share.

My beautiful bolero jacket!

The shoes!


The crinoline looks more purple under the dress than it initially seemed to me after dying it. I'm pretty pumped about it.

Planning for the engagement photos

This bride-to-be is getting excited. And not about the big day. (Well, of course about the big day, but that’s an ever-present excitement!) But about a different day. I’m talking about the day the beau and I get to meet with our photographer and spend a couple of hours being silly and making googly eyes at one another in front of a camera. Our engagement photo shoot is just a few weeks away, and I am stoked.

In the meantime, I am trying desperately to prepare. Probably the three biggest concerns of mine have been: 1) my hair 2) my teeth and 3) what to wear.

In preparation for the wedding, I have been growing my hair out. You might not know it, seeing as how my hair is only shoulder length. But for reals, it’s a good bit longer than I was keeping it pre-engagement. I was opting to keep it in sort of a long bob between my ears and chin. My hair is thin and gets stringy looking when I grow it out, so shorter ‘dos definitely suit me better.
This is how I prefer it:

But, realizing that longer hair maximizes options for wedding hair styles, I have been growing it out. Which makes me look in the mirror every day and go “ugh!” Because it looks pretty yuck, if you ask me.

So, since it looks pretty yuck, I’m definitely a little concerned about the engagement photos. Hence my decision to make an appointment at a hair salon to see about getting a body boost or a wave put in. Right now, this lackluster hair just isn’t cutting it. I gots to do something about it. So hopefully I will have pretty hair for our engagement session!

The second thing I’m worried about is my teeth. I love cheesing for photos. (Seriously, you can ask anyone who knows me. I am basically one big, ginormous, walking piece of cheese.) But I have always hated the fact that my teeth have never been white. Like ever. I’m always envious of friends and strangers alike who boast pearly whites that really are pearly white. Mine are more cream. Or eggshell. Or, well, just not white. Anyway, it bothers me sometimes in photos. So, I have been using a Rembrandt whitening mouthwash twice a day in hopes of helping the situation. It seems to be helping a little, but I’m still not where I’d like to be. About a week before our photos, if my teeth are still feeling dingy, I might have to look into buying whitening trays.

And thirdly, I flat out do not know what to wear. For seriousness. A dress? Cute jeans with flats? Cute jeans with boots? It doesn’t help that I have no idea what the weather is going to be like at the end of September. It could be mild and pleasant. Or it could be cold and windy. I’m thinking this might be a last-minute kind of decision.

Up close and personal w/ the bouquets

Since we got engaged, so many pieces of this big wedding-planning puzzle have fallen so easily into place. I found my dress about a month after the beau popped the question. We found our ceremony and reception venues with ease. Wedding colors seemed to fall into our laps. For all that came effortlessly, one thing remained a big fat question mark: wedding flowers.

For some brides, having lots of lush flowers and greenery is a must. I began to realize it was not a priority for me. While I love, love flowers, I couldn’t imagine devoting a significant portion of our budget to flowers that would potentially have a super short shelf life. Aside from the money factor, it just didn’t feel very green to me. Granted, I’m not the most environmentally-conscious person there is, but I feel like I try. And as much as I love flowers that bloom in the park or my potted orchids, I was uncomfortable with the idea of flowers doomed to die.

Once I’d made the decision that I didn’t need or want flowers that were the real deal, I began to mull over possible alternatives. And alternatives there are! It’s awesome how many other options are out there.

I loved the idea of fans, spread beautifully before each girl.

But then I decided for a December wedding, fans probably don’t make that much sense. I think they would be gorgeous for a spring or summer wedding, but are probably not as suited to the colder, winter months. I mean, let’s be honest, who’s going to be fanning themselves in December? (Although in North Carolina, one can never be too sure!)

So, with the idea of fitting the winter theme in mind, I trudged forward. And straight into hand muffs. And for a little while, I was sold. I loved how quaint and different the idea of the muff is.

But then, slowly but surely, I stopped being in love with the idea of hand muffs.

And for a time, I considered candles.

As before, however, I wasn’t completely sold. The more I thought about it, I realized I had been coming back to one idea over and over: a crochet bouquet.

Now, I know this means I run the risk of people thinking I’m an old lady or just flat-out crazy, but that’s ok with me. I’m pumped about the idea of flowers o’ yarn! So I hit the web in search of the perfect flower to comprise my bouquets, and presto, landed on http://www.planetjune.com.

I followed the super easy instructions for the Basic Rose. Our main color is going to be purple, with blue and silver accents. I decided to make blue and silver/gray flowers for my lovely bridesmaids to carry, while I wanted a deep purple hue.

This is where I found my pattern:

It gives step-by-step instructions for making a rose:

For making the calyx, or the green underside of the rose:

For sewing them together:

And voila!

I strayed from the instructions on this site a bit when it came to making the stem for the rose. I used floral wire bent in half, to give it some thickness, and I wrapped it in green yarn several times over. I jabbed the wire through the flowers and clamped the wire down on the inside of the flower. Then I wrapped the bottoms in green floral tape and pinned everything together with a couple of pretty floral pins!

I love how my bridesmaid bouquets turned out:

Now I just have to assemble mine!

Crochet projects: from purses to favors to wedding bouquets

For better or worse (wait, those sound like wedding vows!), I have decided to crochet several different decorations and other wedding-day essentials. I know I run the risk of some people thinking I’m either super cheesy or a 97-year-old trapped in a 28-year-old’s body, but I don’t really care.

Though I have picked up a crochet hook and yarn and fiddled around from time to time for literally a decade or more (My mother can crochet anything, and I always got the bug when I watched her work.), it wasn’t until a year ago I sat down and made myself complete a project. That project was a scarf. And I had so much freakin’ fun I made about 10 or 12 more. Seriously. I gave practically everyone I know a scarf for Christmas last year. I was giddy over having conquered this new skill.

Anyway, with my newfound love for all things yarn, I decided to put my fingers to work and embark on some wedding-related projects. Those projects include: favor bags (Yes, even though you can buy multi-packs of favor bags at virtually any craft store, I decided to make my own.), an evening bag for myself for the big day and an absolutely adorable Amigurumi (a type of stuffed crochet toy or object) bride and groom in the form of two peas in a pod that I’ll share more about later. And, perhaps more important than anything else, I decided to crochet my and my bridesmaid’s bouquets. Call me crazy, but after struggling for months to decide what to carry and getting nowhere, it seemed like the perfect solution.

Here are a few pictures of some of my completed/near completed projects (evening bag, favor bags and  bridesmaid bouquets):

Ways to personalize the wedding-day look, the headpiece edition

Like all brides, I want to look beautiful on my wedding day. But more than that, I want to look special, unique. Thankfully, there are oodles of ways to personalize a wedding-day look. There’s the style of the dress, the jewelry, the shoes, the hair – and of course, what you put in/on your hair!

I’ve been excited in recent weeks to see my wedding-day ensemble come together. I’ve had my dress from pretty early on in this process, and it’s been sort of like working at a canvas with a palette in hand, adding touches of color and pizzazz here and there. The first big accessories were the headpieces, which I am super stoked about. (*Spoiler Alert*: Go away, hubby-to-be if you are reading this!) When I purchased my dress, I also bought a lovely, simple veil. I love it because it’s really elegant and really minimalistic. It’s the kind that’s attached to a little comb you just stick into your hair at the back of your head and let it cascade down your back a bit. And, my most favorite part of all: a tiara! I have long had an infatuation with the bejeweled, bedazzled headpiece that is the tiara. Way before the newest royalty in Great Britain stole our hearts with her vintage wedding-day look that included a tiara sparkly and sophisticated enough for a princess, I have loved how beautiful these miniature crowns can be.

Now, I just need to figure out what the heck to do about my hair and makeup and we’ll just about have a legitimate wedding look created!

Adventures in crinoline dying

After trying to think of ways to customize my wedding-day look, I was ecstatic when I came across a few deliciously colorful photos in the web-o-sphere of brides who decided to wear colored crinolines beneath their dresses. It was love at first sight. I absolutely loved the fun pop of color these wardrobe pieces provided. And I also loved the wide range of uses of the colored crinoline; some brides went for all-out, super vibrant color, while others opted for subtle hues of pinks or blues that gave just a slight nod to the whimsical.

I decided I had to give it a go. What better way to continue to pay homage to my personal favorite color *purple* and the weaving in of the color into my wedding day? I read several helpful how-to guides for dying using the magical color changer RIT dye and weighed the pros and cons of using powdered dye (more concentrated but there’s less of it) over liquid dye (less likely to dye as darkly as you might want but there’s more of it). I opted for liquid dye. I also opted for the ease of washing-machine dying. It required running hot water, detergent and bleach through the machine a time or two afterward to clean it out, but I figured it was a safer bet than potentially ruining a sink or a bathtub in my apartment.

So, with bottle of liquid dye in hand, I stuffed the layers of poofy crinoline I had purchased from Amazon into the hot pool of purple water in the washing machine and ran it for about 30 minutes.

The results were so-so. The tulle part (the fun part!) is a lovely light purple. However, the rest of the crinoline came out a cotton-candy shade of pink. Whoops. I had worried that might happen, as I had read that polyester doesn’t dye particularly well and I really had a hard time finding a crinoline that wasn’t polyester. So now I am left trying to decide whether it’s worth re-dying or going the more dangerous route of cutting the fabric away from the tulle since that’s the part I care the most about anyway.