Tag Archives: diy

My First Home DIY Project

21 Feb

Good morning! 

When Zach and I bought our home last summer, it was pretty much move-in ready. We liked the paint colors and general decor of the house, so we just moved our stuff and started living there. Despite having a lot of ideas of things we wanted to do eventually, we agreed with could live with the house as is — with one major exception: The downstairs/guest bathroom. 

downstairs bath 1

This is actually the only photo I have of the bathroom in (some of) it’s former glory. The previous owners were kind (?) enough to also leave the fishing-themed shower curtain and garbage can, which you can see from this photo I replaced promptly. Also, that cabinet above the toilet was just — odd. I’m pretty sure that the previous owners re-did the kitchen and this cabinet was left over. It was very awkward in the small space. 

The above picture was taken as I was prepping to remove the wallpaper. I used a steamer (as you can see above) to remove it. It was very slow going. I swear, they used some sort of industrial bathroom-strength wallpaper glue on that wallpaper. It took me a whole day to remove one wall, and then an entire day to do the other wall. Next, I removed and painted the baseboards and chair rail, and painted the trim around the door. Then, the bathroom stayed like that for about…5 months. 

Finally, about a week or so ago, we bought the paint and started painting the walls: 

 

Painting progress

Painting progress

When I painted the trim, I used white Valspar paint + primer that we had in the basement. When we decided on the main colors for above and below the chair rail, I decided to use a light grey above and a darker grey below. Well, lesson learned: Always go a shade or two darker than what you think you will need to use. The “grey” color above the chair rail looks identical to the white trim and white ceiling (I think it comes through a little more grey here. In person, there is no difference). Here’s how it looked in progress after I painted below the chair rail: 

bathroom edit 2

 

I’ve never painted a whole room myself before, so I was really worried about the splotchy-ness of the paint, but I was told to relax, it would look better when it was dry and it did! Before I painted, Zach took down the eyesore of a cabinet, and then last night he hung some beautiful white floating shelves. Here is the finished product: 

bathroom done 2 edit

 

I bought a few accent pieces at Target last night — that cute yellow bowl (holding cotton balls) and that yellow candle (smells SO good). Despite sticking to the yellow/grey theme, I love the pop of green with the towel. I’ll probably add a blue one too. I also hung a couple prints from our wedding. This one reads “This will be the best day ever”. 

bathroom done 3 edit

This print reads: “We are so glad you are here” –  Zach said, “We are so glad you’re in the bathroom!?” — he’s a joker. But I wanted the guest bath to feel warm and welcoming to guests! Hopefully nobody else takes it that way 🙂 

bathroom done 4 edit

 

..and a shot of the shower curtain, which was a wedding gift and I love. 

I’m so happy with how it turned out! The floating shelves are functional, but so much better looking than that bulky cabinet. The only thing I’m regretting right now is not buying a hand towel/bath towel in this design last night at Target: 

target towel

 

…but Zach agrees it would fit perfectly so we’re planning to go back and get it this weekend. I’m so, so pleased with how this little project turned out. I have always wanted to be a person who does her own home projects. I realize this is just a small one, but hopefully we’ll branch out to larger projects soon. I’d love to do a backsplash in the kitchen! 

Question of the Day: 
Do you like doing home repairs? 

 

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Wedding Wednesday #6: 4 months to go

3 Jun

weddingwednesday

A little late, and I skipped a month. Can you tell I’ve been busy!? Wedding planning had taken a backseat to other responsibilities recently, but I’m back and determined to get as much done as possible. I have a bunch of crafting, planning and purchasing to do. Zach and I have set up a day to sit down with my parents to finalize our budget so we can be 100% sure where the money is coming from for everything. I can’t believe the wedding is in 4 months. I’ve gone from the “I’ve got plenty of time!” attitude to total crunch time, and it’s making me crazy!

One big point of stress is figuring out where the money will come from for everything. Also, Zach and I have been working on something else huge in our lives recently which I should have more information about soon, so I feel a little strapped for cash lately.

But, let’s get on with it, shall we?

Need:

  • Venue — Reserved and paid for! 
  • Caterer — Caterer booked and partially paid for
  • Alcohol — Signature cocktails decided on, pricing wine/beer now. 
  • Escort Cards — We’ve decided to do away with assigned seating for now. I don’t know if Zach is 100% on board with this idea, but for now I’ve decided to nix it because it’s one less thing I have to do.  
  • Guest List  — the guest list has been finalized! 
  • My Dress — Please see below. 
  • My Veil — Something borrowed — I have it and it looks great with my dress. 
  • Bolero for over dressIt arrived, and it is PERFECT! I can’t wait for you to see it. Everyone who has seen it with the dress says it is just that special something that makes the dress “pop” — if you’re looking for something simple, elegant and handmade check out Wearable Artz  — Amy really did a perfect job.
  • Hair accessories for bride/bridesmaids? — Still thinking about this. 
  • Ties/socks for the groomsmen/ring bearerThe groomsmen have their outfits picked out, matching socks have been acquired. 
  • Shoes for the bride — If anyone sees any amazing yellow shoes, please send me the link!  
  • Guest Book — Recieved! It’s perfect 🙂 
  • Save the Date InvitationsCheck! Here is my post about the Save the Dates.
  • Invitations — I’ve seen a mock up of the invites and I’m so excited to share this with you! But it will have to wait until they have been mailed 🙂 
  • Welcome bags for out of town guests — This is something we will deal with a little closer to the wedding. I have some ideas. 
  • Bridesmaid dresses — One bridesmaid is fully outfitted, another has ordered her dress (but won’t get it until a month before the wedding) and we’re working on the rest. 
  • CakeWe’ve had our cake consultation. We are doing a naked cake, the flavors of the layers are: Vanilla, Boston Creme and lemon. Need to make the cake topper. 
  • Centerpieces — Yarn-wrapped wine bottles (see below), 3 per table Handmade runners and tea lights, and framed prints — so far I have some bottles wrapped, the prints have been framed and the fabric for the runners has been ordered. Need to decide on flowers for the wine bottles (will do silk flowers) 
  • OfficiantI’ve emailed Adam (our officiant) again to give him a bit of an idea of where we were going with that. We will set up a meeting this spring to finalize everything. 
  • Photographer — My SIL-to-be and her wedding photographer partner are our wedding photographers. They do amazing work, so I’m pretty pleased about this.  
  • DJ – Zach has been in touch with our wedding DJ’s. They are friends of ours so we are just playing chicken on a price right now. 
  • The “somethings”Check! Veil, earrings, bracelet, dress
  • JewelryCheck! I have a lovely pair of blue earrings and I’ve commissioned a local jewelry designer to do a nice simple necklace for me, and of course my great-grandmother’s bracelet.  
  • Our wedding bands — We really need to get this done. 
  • Bridesmaid Gifts —  I’ve ordered part of this, just looking for a few more things. 
  • Groomsmen Gifts — Zach has ordered a few things. 
  • Rehearsal Dinner — I’ve spoken with a couple friends who are willing to host a BBQ the day before the wedding, so we will have somewhere to do this. We’ve talked about a pig roast with catered sides. If we do it this way, the rehearsal dinner can be a more casual affair that everyone who is coming to the wedding can attend. 
  • Wedding RegistriesMacy’s, Target and online for cash gifts. 
  • Thank you cards — Love the idea of a photo of us on the day holding a Thank You! sign
  • Hotel Room blockthis was taken care of when we booked the venue
  • Hair person — I’m going to cut all of my hair off. See below. 
  • Garter — I’m probably just going to make this, something like this
  • Our toasting flutes — Here are a few I like
  • Cake cutter/spatula
  • Day-of Coordinator(s) — a friend has offered to help out with this. THANK YOU, Sarah!! 
  • Programs — I have this planned in my head, just need to order the materials and put them together. I’ll do a post on it when I finish them. 
  • Cake Topper — need to make. 
  • Flowers — See below. 
  • Songs for the ceremony
  • Ceremony Readings — I’m going with readings from Children’s books. I have two picked out already. 
  • “First Dance” Songs
  • Bridal Shower — One down, one to go. 
  • Bachelorette Party
  • Bachelor Party
  • Table Numbers — No need for this if we don’t have a seating chart. 
  • Favors — homemade lemon cookies in gray CD sleeves (already purchased). I’ve been pricing buttons. Baking 150 homemade cookies is feeling overwhelming already. 
  • Other reception/ceremony decor — need chalkboards, various sized jars and bottles, backdrop and photo frames…I’ll be frequenting the local flea markets/antique shops this summer for these items. 
  • Photo booth — I think I’ve definitely decided to go with a DIY photo “area” instead of a traditional booth (they are SO expensive). I think people will have just as much fun taking their own photos, especially since I’m encouraging everyone to bring cameras with them. 
  • Flower Girl attireSee below! 
  • Honeymoon.  — Zach and I are forgoing the Honeymoon to instead go on our annual beach trip with our friends about a month before the wedding. Since this is where we got engaged last year, I couldn’t imagine skipping it. 

Bridal Shower! 

The first thing I want to talk about is my very first bridal shower! A few of my bridesmaids and I went back to Pittsburgh for a lovely shower hosted by maid of honor (and sister), Michelle and my mom. It was so lovely!

2013-05-04 13.05.13

 

At this point in wedding planning, I would definitely say that the best part is getting to see/talk to so many family members and friends that you don’t usually see/talk to. I loved getting to see some old friends and family, and it’s nice to see my immediate family because I don’t get to see them as often as I’d like. It was also really fun getting to bring my girlfriends home and let them meet my family.

2013-05-04 14.43.00-2

 

The shower had the cutest tea-party theme and everyone got to take home a unique tea cup and a vanilla flavored sugar cube shaped like a heart. I still haven’t used mine! I got some very nice gifts, but most importantly I felt very showered with love — it was awesome!

Flowers 

Zach and I had a meeting with a florist on Saturday. I showed her some photos:

flowers

…and now she’s working on a quote for me. As I’ve mentioned, our DIY centerpieces will be yarn-wrapped wine bottles with some sort of flowers, a framed print and a home made table runner (more on those below). I was originally planning on buying fake flowers for the centerpieces, but I’ve decided that it may be just as cost effective to get real flowers since I’ll only be doing a single bud in each. Jenni is going to run a quote with those and without them, so I can see if the costs will work. I’m pretty confident that Jenni will come up with something spectacular, but as usual I’m worried about cost. I’ll just have to weigh my options when it comes to flowers.

Fabric Table “Runners” 

My friend Mandee is a talented seamstress, and she has very kindly agreed to make the table “runners” for the tables. We will have 18 large round tables. Luckily, our venue provides the table cloths, but I wanted something a little more, especially considering our centerpieces aren’t going to be too over the top.

Mandee pushed me to order the fabric already (I’m the worst procrastinator!) and we got it just recently:

Picture1

 

These are just a few of the designs I picked, and Mandee will use a yellow binding around all of them with a decorative stitch. I have no doubt these will turn out amazing!

As of right now, the only things I’m working on are the decor items. We have most of the big things taken care of. Somehow, I still feel like things could get out of control at any moment!

Question of the Day:
If you had to choose wedding colors, what would they be? 

Wedding Wednesday #5: 6 months to go

27 Mar

weddingwednesday

How many times have I mentioned how awesome it is to have a sister-in-law who is a photographer?? We have so many amazing photos of us because of her and I’m eternally grateful. The above photo was taken earlier this month before my annual work Gala, on a rare lovely day. I love it!

I have been very productive with wedding stuff this month. There is still so much to do, don’t get me wrong, but we got a lot done this month, so let’s keep the momentum, shall we?

Need:

  • Venue — Reserved and as of posting this, we only owe $200 on the venue! 
  • Caterer — We have a caterer, folks! Woo hoo! See below for more. 
  • Alcohol — After reading this post by Meghann at Meals and Miles about how she stocked her bar, I’m confident we can do a full bar at our wedding as well. I’ve reached out to a couple people I know to see if they would like to be our bartender. I’ve changed my mind — AGAIN! See below for my thoughts on this. 
  • Escort Cards — Going back and forth about this. I think I might just do a clothesline with pretty tags hung with clothespins. 
  • Guest List 
  • My Dress — Love it! 
  • My Veil — Something borrowed — I have it and it looks great with my dress. 
  • Bolero for over dressIt arrived, and it is PERFECT! I can’t wait for you to see it. Everyone who has seen it with the dress says it is just that special something that makes the dress “pop” — if you’re looking for something simple, elegant and handmade check out Wearable Artz  — Amy really did a perfect job.
  • Hair accessories for bride/bridesmaids? — Some yellow flower accessory for all of us — I spoke with someone recently about making these. 
  • Ties/socks for the groomsmen/ring bearerThe groomsmen have their outfits picked out, and we have ordered matching socks for all of them. 
  • Shoes for the bride — If anyone sees any amazing yellow shoes, please send me the link!  
  • Guest Book — Recieved! It’s perfect 🙂 
  • Save the Date InvitationsCheck! Here is my post about the Save the Dates.
  • Invitations — a dear friend and groomsman is designing them. I fully trust him, so I’m not worried about this at all. 
  • Welcome bags for out of town guests — This is something we will deal with a little closer to the wedding. I have some ideas. 
  • Bridesmaid dresses — One bridesmaid has purchased her dress! Woo hoo! I’m absolutely not worried about this at all. I search for dresses every once in a while, and there is no shortage of cute dresses that will look adorable together. See below for more on this. 
  • CakeWe’ve had our cake consultation. We are doing a naked cake, the flavors of the layers are: Vanilla, Boston Creme and lemon. So glad a dear friend is doing this. Now I need to decide on cake toppers. More on this below. 
  • Centerpieces — Yarn-wrapped wine bottles (see below), 3 per table Handmade runners and tea lights, and framed prints (see below) 
  • OfficiantI’ve emailed Adam (our officiant) again to give him a bit of an idea of where we were going with that. We will set up a meeting this spring to finalize everything. 
  • Photographer — My SIL-to-be and her wedding photographer partner are our wedding photographers. They do amazing work, so I’m pretty pleased about this.  
  • DJ – We have two friends who are in an incredible band and are great DJ’s. They have agreed to be our DJ, and I really think they are going to do a great job. 
  • The “somethings”Check! Veil, earrings, bracelet, dress
  • JewelryCheck! I have a lovely pair of blue earrings and I’ve commissioned a local jewelry designer to do a nice simple necklace for me, and of course my great-grandmother’s bracelet.  
  • Our wedding bands — Still haven’t done this! Slackers! 
  • Bridesmaid Gifts —  I’ve ordered part of this, just looking for a few more things. 
  • Groomsmen Gifts — Zach has ordered a few things. 
  • Rehearsal Dinner — I’ve spoken with a couple friends who are willing to host a BBQ the day before the wedding, so we will have somewhere to do this. We’ve talked about a pig roast with catered sides. If we do it this way, the rehearsal dinner can be a more casual affair that everyone who is coming to the wedding can attend. 
  • Wedding RegistriesMacy’s, Target and online for cash gifts. 
  • Thank you cards — Love the idea of a photo of us on the day holding a Thank You! sign
  • Hotel Room blockthis was taken care of when we booked the venue
  • Hair person — I think we have this
  • Garter — I’m probably just going to make this, something like this
  • Our toasting flutes — Here are a few I like
  • Cake cutter/spatula
  • Day-of Coordinator(s) — a friend has offered to help out with this. THANK YOU, Sarah!! 
  • Programs — I have this planned in my head, just need to order the materials and put them together. I’ll do a post on it when I finish them. 
  • Cake Topper — see below
  • Flowers — One of my to-do items for next month is to price three things: a professional florist, DIY flower kits online and buying my own flowers from Kroger.  
  • Songs for the ceremony
  • Ceremony Readings — I’m going with readings from Children’s books. I have two picked out already. 
  • “First Dance” Songs
  • Bridal Shower — Apparently there are TWO bridal showers in the works for me! I’m a very lucky and loved girl. 
  • Bachelorette Party
  • Bachelor Party
  • Table Numbers — I bookmarked this tutorial , and even if I don’t use their printable, the idea of using binder clips is genius (and cheap!) 
  • Favors — homemade lemon cookies in gray CD sleeves (already purchased). I’ve been pricing buttons. Baking 150 homemade cookies is feeling overwhelming already. 
  • Other reception/ceremony decor — need chalkboards, various sized jars and bottles, backdrop and photo frames…I’ll be frequenting the local flea markets/antique shops this summer for these items. 
  • Photo booth — I think I’ve definitely decided to go with a DIY photo “area” instead of a traditional booth (they are SO expensive). I think people will have just as much fun taking their own photos, especially since I’m encouraging everyone to bring cameras with them. 
  • Flower Girl attireSee below! 
  • Honeymoon!? — Zach and I are forgoing the Honeymoon to instead go on our annual beach trip with our friends about a month before the wedding. Since this is where we got engaged last year, I couldn’t imagine skipping it. 

Caterer: 

Yay! We have a caterer, and I could not be more happy about it. I spoke with several caterers early this month and was feeling very pressed. I ended up sending a (refundable) $100 deposit to a caterer I had only spoken with in order for her to save my date (she didn’t do tastings, so if we went with her, we’d just have to trust her on the menu). However, I set up a consultation and tasting with the ladies at Sweet & Sassy Bakery, who had come highly recommended. After speaking with Annette and setting up our tasting,  I was very happy with her menu suggestions, but I was worried about the price. The price quote by the other caterer had been very reasonable, and her menu was quite basic. Annette was talking about a simple, yet elegant menu and I was sure she would quote me  a much higher price.

Zach and I went to the tasting last week, and the food was amazing! We’re going with a simple Italian menu — spaghetti with meat sauce or marinara, and a chicken penne pasta with a Tuscan cream sauce for the main entrees, a garden salad with a choice of homemade dressings, and rolls with rosemary and basil sea salt. They also provide the flatware and plates, and two drink choices (we went with tea and a fruit-infused water). When she quoted me the price, it was very reasonable, so I wrote her a check on the spot for 30% of our total cost. I called the other caterer and got my deposit back right away. I’m so glad to have that taken care of!

Alcohol: 

In talking to Annette, she mentioned that some people cut alcohol costs by buying beer and wine, and then limiting the liquor selections by designing one or two signature cocktails and only buying the ingredients for those. I really loved this idea! I’ve already thought of one idea (a bourbon based cocktail with ginger simple syrup), and we’re going to try to think of one more. Zach’s only request is that one is called The Zachary Daiquiri.

Bridesmaids Dresses: 

As I’ve mentioned, one of my best ladies has purchased a dress. I’m leaving it up to the others to pick out their dresses, but if I get stressed, I’ll force them to let me go shopping with them, haha 🙂

One concern I’ve heard is that a bunch of mismatched dresses won’t look cohesive, but in order to sort of get an idea of what it would look like, I took a bunch of dresses I’ve recently pinned on Pinterest, and made an inspiration board of what they would look like together:

Picture1

love how this looks! One of those dresses is the one that’s already been purchased, but I won’t say which 🙂 What do you think? Keep in mind that the looks will be tied together with yellow shoes and yellow flowers in their hair.

Cake Topper:

LOVE this idea! The love birds will be super easy to make, and the Billy Buttons (the yellow flowers) are what I’m planning on putting in the bouquets and boutineers, so it will tie everything together. I also love the pop of color with the pink flower, and the rustic look that the baby’s breath gives it. My cake will be much bigger than this, but what I love about my cake designer is that if I just give her a mess of the flowers and the birds, she’ll make it look awesome.

More centerpiece ideas: 

Originally, I had decided on three yarn-wrapped wine bottles per table with baby’s breath or some other flowers in them. However, this month, I decided to cut that down to two bottles, and add a print to each table. Here’s what I came up with:

prints

This is just a sample, I made 10 total (I just used PicMonkey, it was super easy) and had them printed through Shutterfly. They arrived this week! The next step is to buy some frames. I’m planning on getting dollar store wooden frames and painting them white and then grey to make them look a little rustic. I’m counting on having 20 tables total, so I’ll have to repeat each print twice. The one that says, “We are so glad you are here”, I made one extra for the table with the guest book.

Flower Girl attire: 

Purchased!

flower girl

I bought this adorable outfit this month, and the whole shebang was less than $50! I had the idea that Easter dresses would be on sale around now, and I figured I’d find something adorable and yellow in that selection. I was right! I’m thinking plain white mary jane shoes with this.

I also purchased this on a whim this month:

Purchased from this Etsy shop, I can’t wait to hang my wedding dress on this while we get ready. Frivolous purchase, perhaps, but something I felt I definitely needed! Of course, mine will say 9.28.13 and Mrs. Browning!

Wedding Wednesday #4: 7 months to go

27 Feb

wedding wednesday

Where does the time go? I feel like just yesterday, Zach and I were walking on the beach in North Carolina and he got down on one knee to put a ring on my finger. Now, we’re right in the middle of planning the biggest party of our lives!

I’ve got to be honest: I’m starting to feel the stress of wedding planning in a big way. When I get things done, it’s a relief, but only a tiny one because there is so much more to do. When I’m not doing wedding related tasks, I feel guilty. The way I chill out and calm down is to picture the wedding, which I know is going to be incredible, and amazingly fun!

Need:

  • Venue — Reserved and (partially) paid for (as the balance gets lower on this, I get happier and happier!) 
  • Caterer — I have narrowed this down to 2 caterers. We have a tasting scheduled for March 11th, and we’ll know more then. 
  • Alcohol — After reading this post by Meghann at Meals and Miles about how she stocked her bar, I’m confident we can do a full bar at our wedding as well. I’ve reached out to a couple people I know to see if they would like to be our bartender
  • Escort Cards — Going back and forth about this. I think I might just do a clothesline with pretty tags hung with clothespins. 
  • Guest List 
  • My Dress — Love it! 
  • My Veil — Something borrowed — I have it and it looks great with my dress. 
  • Bolero for over dressIt arrived, and it is PERFECT! I can’t wait for you to see it. Everyone who has seen it with the dress says it is just that special something that makes the dress “pop” — if you’re looking for something simple, elegant and handmade check out Wearable Artz  — Amy really did a perfect job.
  • Hair accessories for bride/bridesmaids? — Some yellow flower accessory for all of us — I spoke with someone recently about making these. 
  • Ties/socks for the groomsmen/ring bearer — We decided this month that along with the suits of their own choosing (grey, but mismatched), the groomsmen will also wear a yellow tie of their own choosing. Matching socks have been received.  
  • Shoes for the bride — I’ve actually changed my mind about this, more about it later. 
  • Guest Book — Recieved! It’s perfect 🙂 
  • Save the Date InvitationsCheck! Here is my post about the Save the Dates.
  • Invitations — a dear friend and groomsman is designing them. I fully trust him, so I’m not worried about this at all. 
  • Welcome bags for out of town guests — This is something we will deal with a little closer to the wedding. I have some ideas. 
  • Bridesmaid dresses — One bridesmaid has purchased her dress! Woo hoo! I made an appointment with David’s Bridal for late March to look at bridesmaids dresses and talk about alterations for my dress. 
  • Groomsmen attire: Everyone has decided what they will wear and we have purchased the matching socks for the groomsmen
  • Cake:
  • Centerpieces — Yarn-wrapped wine bottles (see below), 3 per table Handmade runners and tea lights. 
  • OfficiantI’ve emailed Adam (our officiant) again to give him a bit of an idea of where we were going with that. We will set up a meeting this spring to finalize everything. 
  • Photographer — My SIL to be is a wedding photographer, having a photographer friend be her second shooter. 
  • DJ – Zach is handling this 
  • The “somethings”Check! Veil, earrings, bracelet, dress
  • JewelryCheck! I have a lovely pair of blue earrings and I’ve commissioned a local jewelry designer to do a nice simple necklace for me, and of course my great-grandmother’s bracelet.  
  • Our wedding bands — Will probably go this coming weekend to have my engagement ring cleaned and serviced, and we will look at wedding bands then.  
  • Bridesmaid Gifts —  I’ve ordered part of this, just looking for a few more things. 
  • Groomsmen Gifts — Zach has ordered a few things. 
  • Rehearsal Dinner — I’ve spoken with a couple friends who are willing to host a BBQ the day before the wedding, so we will have somewhere to do this. We’ve talked about a pig roast with catered sides. If we do it this way, the rehearsal dinner can be a more casual affair that everyone who is coming to the wedding can attend. 
  • Wedding RegistriesMacy’s, Target and online for cash gifts. 
  • Thank you cards — Love the idea of a photo of us on the day holding a Thank You! sign
  • Hotel Room blockthis was taken care of when we booked the venue
  • Hair person — I think we have this
  • Garter — I’m probably just going to make this, something like this
  • Our toasting flutes — Here are a few I like
  • Cake cutter/spatula
  • Day-of Coordinator(s) — a friend has offered to help out with this. THANK YOU, Sarah!! 
  • ProgramsI have this covered, just need to order the materials and put them together
  • Cake Topper? – Will buy a flower topper for the cake from a local florist. The cake topper may be my only real flowers besides the boutineers, because….
  • Flowers — I’m thinking about going purely with the DIY/paper flower route. More about that later, but look at this link for an idea of where I’m headed. 
  • Songs for the ceremony
  • Ceremony Readings — I’m going with readings from Children’s books. I have two picked out already. 
  • “First Dance” Songs
  • Bridal Shower — Apparently there are TWO bridal showers in the works for me! I’m a very lucky and loved girl. 
  • Bachelorette Party
  • Bachelor Party
  • Table Numbers —  I’m changing my mind about this… 
  • Favors — homemade lemon cookies in gray CD sleeves (already purchased). Need stickers to seal sleeves. — Update: I may purchase the cookies rather than making them. Again, I don’t want to get overwhelmed with DIY projects. Also, I’m also thinking about custom-made buttons. We’ll see.
  • Other reception/ceremony decor — need chalkboards, various sized jars and bottles, backdrop…I’ll be frequenting the local flea markets/antique shops this summer for these items. 
  • Photo booth — I think I’ve definitely decided to go with a DIY photo “area” instead of a traditional booth (they are SO expensive). I think people will have just as much fun taking their own photos, especially since I’m encouraging everyone to bring cameras with them. 
  • Flower Girl attire — This is cute
  • Honeymoon!? — Zach and I are forgoing the Honeymoon to instead go on our annual beach trip with our friends about a month before the wedding. Since this is where we got engaged last year, I couldn’t imagine skipping it. 

Here are the things we have worked on this month:

I’m really embarrassed to say that this month has been less of a hands-on month and more of a thinking about things, calling people month. I wish I had a ton of things to show you, but I just don’t!

1. Caterer

I’ve spoken to three caterers. We set up a tasting with one for March 11th, the second caterer just gave me the available menus over the phone (plus I know someone who has had their food, so I’m confident it will be good), and the third is a bit pricey for the available options. So, I’ve ruled out the third caterer. The only problem is that I don’t want the second caterer to book my date while I’m waiting to go to the tasting for the first caterer. Luckily, she offers the option of giving her a refundable deposit to hold the date, and since it’s just a couple of weeks I’m probably going to do that.

2. Wedding Bands

It’s been 6 months since we got engaged (time flies, I tell ya!), so it’s time to take my engagement ring in to be cleaned/serviced. That means we’ll probably start by looking at wedding bands at the jewelry store where he bought my engagement ring. We’re both thinking we want something really simple. I adore my engagement ring:

Just in case you forgot what it looks like :)

Just in case you forgot what it looks like 🙂

….so I’m going to let it take center stage on my finger. I’ll get something simple that fits with my engagement ring, and that will be that. It will be nice to pick something out for Zach. I’m super excited to see him with a wedding band on his finger. It makes me feel all giddy inside, actually 🙂

3. Bridal Showers

I’ve been approached by my mom and sister and one of my bridesmaids about Bridal Shower plans, which I honestly cannot be more excited about. It just makes me so happy that people want to throw me a party. I love my friends and family so much, and it makes me so happy that they are as excited about this as I am.

4. Honeymoon (ish)

Zach and I might be the first engaged couple on earth to take their honeymoon before their wedding, but it’s looking more and more like that’s what’s going to happen. We got engaged during the annual beach trip with our friends, and at first I imagined we’d forgo that trip this year since it usually happens about a month before the date we had planned to get married, but to be honest, I just can’t even imagine skipping this trip. It has honestly been the best week of my life this past two years, especially last year, with getting engaged right at the beginning of the week. Plus, we just might not have the money and/or time to go away right after the wedding, so we figured, “Why not!?” — I’ll just have to work extra hard to tie up any loose ends before we leave and when we get back. I guess it’s not your traditional honeymoon, but we’re not your traditional couple, either.

The other thing I really need to do this month is to meet with a florist. I need to know how much that is going to cost before I start shopping for all the little things.

Until next month!

Question of the Day:
Did you take a honeymoon? Where? 

 

Wedding: Favor Idea!

21 Sep

I generally hate wedding favors. When I started planning this wedding (uhh, less than a month ago? haha), I decided I wanted something people would enjoy as a favor. My first idea was this:

Which, while not exactly original, is adorable. But the more I thought about our budget, the more I realized that if we want to have up to 150 people at our wedding (which I really do!  I realized that keeping it small wouldn’t make me as happy), this could get pretty pricey. While the handle-less mason jars are slightly less expensive, I realized buying the jars and even making the chalkboard labels was going to set us back at least $300, so I started looking around at other ideas.

Again, I’m pretty down on ‘traditional’ favor ideas. Nobody likes Jordan Almonds. Nobody. They are gross. Sorry, but they are.

So, today on Offbeat Bride (does anyone else freaking love that blog!?) there was this post, which taught you how to make these cookie favors, super easy and pretty inexpensive, but most importantly personal and something people might actually enjoy!

Photo Credit: Offbeat Bride

I immediately ran with the idea! I figured I could totally personalize these to my wedding colors/style. Here’s my inspiration board for it:

See below for cookie picture credit

I already snagged those CD covers in the middle from Amazon, for less than $10 for $200 (thrifty!). The cookie recipe and photo can be found here. I printed out a basic lemon cookie recipe, but I love the vegan recipe found on that blog. The most pricey part will be the stickers, which will cost about $50. If I can get the ingredients for the cookies for about $40, that would put me in for about $100 for favors.

But you know, I don’t want to get too caught up with making everything cheap. That’s why I like this idea. My bridesmaids and I can get together and make these beautiful favors, which are inexpensive, but also very personal and thoughtful. Because I want my wedding to be a labor of love. I want it to look nice, but I want it to feel absolutely amazing. 🙂

Question of the Day:
What did you have as wedding favors at your wedding? (If it was Jordan Almonds, I apologize!)

Wedding: Guest List, Attendants, Venue Shopping and My Decor Inspiration Board

7 Sep

I have jumped right into wedding planning. For someone who was never really that interested in having a wedding at all, I sure have embraced the idea quickly!

Of course, it helps that all of my friends and family are probably as excited about it as I am. I don’t think of my wedding day as my day — it’s OUR day — and not just for me and Zach. So many people have contributed to our relationship, love us, are cheering for us. That makes us a stronger couple so despite the fact that I never really was interested in having a wedding (I really thought we’d go the elopement or Justice of the Peace route), I’ve embraced it because I want to create a beautiful day that we can share with the people we care about the most.

Our plan for the day is a low-stress, lovely, DIY affair with some delicious food, drinks and a whole lot of love. So, we’ve started from the beginning.

Step 1: The Date
While this isn’t set in stone (I need to make sure we have a venue before I can say for sure), we have decided on September 28th, 2013. Fall in WV is a great time to have a wedding, as there are tons of trees changing colors. I also just love the fall!

Step 2: The Guest List
This part was the first tough part. I want to invite everyone, but we can’t. We have a very small budget. It’s very hard to figure out who to invite and who to leave off.  Right now we’re just adding everyone and figuring it out later.

Step 3: The Attendants
We both have picked the friends and family who will stand next to us while we commit to the rest our lives together. I can’t announce Zach’s picks yet, as he hasn’t asked them (I have — I’m way less patient than he is), so I’ll save introductions for another post.

Step 4: The Venue
We’ve started making appointments to look at venues, even though our guest list isn’t set in stone. As I’ve mentioned we are on a tight budget (prepare to hear that a lot), so right now I’m restricting my search to anything our Parks Board has to offer, which is a lot! Today, we went to see this place: 

St. Cloud Commons

At a very reasonable $170/day, I was excited about this, and they do have lots and lots of (pretty) outdoor space, with lots of trees (which will be great in the fall!)  The website says it seats about 100, but it’s very small. I don’t think we’d be able to fit 100 people in there having dinner, with a dance floor. So, St. Cloud Commons isn’t for us. On to the next one!

Step 5: Dreaming about everything!
I’ve just been spending pretty much all of my time thinking about how I want it to look (but that’s not as important as how it will feel), what I’d like my dress to look like, and how wonderful it will be to announce my intention to spend the rest of my life with my best friend to all of the people I love! I’m very excited! The other day I was going through Pinterest and dreaming about all the decor, table decorations, etc. when I put this together. I call it a ‘vision board’ for decor and table centerpieces:

Image source: Who knows! Pinterest!

Bright yellow mums, bottles painted grey (not blue like in the photo), tissue paper poms hanging from the ceiling. It’s all going to very DIY and fun.

So, yes. It’s all a big jumble of excitement right now, but I have no doubt I’ll be able to pull this together. I’ve been reading a few books too, which I highly recommend. I’m all about keeping wedding planning low-stress, as inexpensive as possible, and not making it all about the bride. I pledge to include Zach (when he wants to be included, sometimes he just doesn’t have an opinion and that’s fine) at all junctures, and rely on the expertise of my wise bridesmaids (they truly are). I also pledge to remember that the only thing that must happen on September 28th, 2013 is that we must end up married by the end of the day. Regardless of anything else, if we are married at the end of the day, it will be a success.

Here are the books I’ve been reading:

A Practical Wedding by Meg Keene. This is a great book! It’s easy (even at the very beginning of wedding planning) to get caught up in the millions of details that wedding blogs, magazines, and even well meaning people want to tell you are so important, but Meg reminds us that the most important thing is getting married. One of the first exercises Meg has you do is to print out one of those exhaustive bridal checklists. Then, you take a red pen and circle the essential things. Which basically are: a person to marry, an officiant and clothes. That’s it. Then, take the green pen and circle the things that are most important to you. Not what everyone tells you is most important, but what you think is important. Then take the red pen again and cross everything else out. That doesn’t mean they won’t be included in your wedding, but it gives you permission to not stress out about it. That was a very fun exercise! You can also read Meg’s blog here.

 

 

Your Wedding Your Way by Sharon Naylor hits the same chord as Keene’s book. It’s not about tradition, it’s about what you want for your day. I know, above I said it’s not just your day, and that’s right, but it’s also not every Tom, Dick and Harry’s day either. I’ll be honest I just started this one, but so far it’s great.

You can find all of my book and DVD recommendations in my Amazon Store here.

Question of the day:
I want to hear about your wedding, or a fun wedding you’ve been to! Go!