Is it a good or bad thing when you're absent from your own blog?

I actually have started a new job since April, and I guess I've been getting in the swing of things with that.

But here's what's new:

We've decided on a bakery - Laura's Bakery

I ordered my shoes.

My dress is being shipped to CLT as I type.

My bridesmaids and flowergirls have ordered their desses and both my mum and motherinlaw have purchased theirs!

David picked out the men's tuxes.

We more or less have a finalized guestlist.

We've met with the catering manager at the hotel.

We've booked a DJ.

We have had our engagement pictures done finally!

We've been paying on our wedding rings.

I have been designing our invitations and will be handmaking them.

We got our save the dates out!!!!! (Even with stupid Polar Bear stamps because that's the only 28 cent stamp USPS puts out :( )

I think that's about all. Keep a look out for these smiling faces in your mail!


Shoes Shoes SHOES!

So on my list of things to do, one that I can clearly work on often is finding the right shoes.
Here are my requirements:
-Low to no heel (outdoor wedding in the grass)
-Not too casual
-Not too matronly
-Not too expensive
-The perfect shade of green
Yes that's right. I'm going with the newish trend of matching my bridal shoes to one of my wedding colors. What better way to ensure you could wear the shoes again plus add a little flavor to your outfit?!
Unfortunately, finding the perfect shoes has been more difficult than I thought. All the other blogging brides out there seem to not have any trouble. I'm just hoping I can find something nice this spring when green is in...

But for now, I'll leave you with shoes to lust over...

RSVP Ivana ($89) and RSVP Lauren ($75)

Via Zappos

Colin Stuart Eyelet Peep-toe Pump ($89)

Via Victoria's Secret


Another dress down....

Since I haven't blogged about it yet, I should let you know that we've conquered bridesmaid dresses, flowergirl dresses, and now my mom's dress!

I'm so excited about how everything is working out.

For my bridesmaids, I knew I wanted them in something tea-length/knee-length, and in a color and fabric they might be able to wear again. (Doesn't every bride say that?!)

My flowergirls I wanted in something non-traditional. While the bridesmaids wear one of the two wedding colors, my girls will be in the other instead of bland white. They're going to be so sweet! Maybe they can even wear the dresses again too!
And last weekend I was in PA shopping with my mom. We found THE DRESS at The Winner. (It's a Western PA staple!) Of course it was the first we saw and the first she tried on. That's how us Winner girls are! Not fussy, but we know what we want when we want it!
So next is my mother-in-law, and then we'll worry about the boys!
I can't wait to get my dress back!!!!

I want to keep the dresses kind of a secret, so here's a tiny sneak peak:


Bling Bliiiiiiiing

I am a beautiful jewelry gal.
I am not a kitchy, trendy jewelry gal.

Don't get me wrong. I have a few pairs of funky looking earrings (that I almost never wear), but primarily, I love the silver/white gold with diamonds/stones type jewelry.
And vintage or intricate jewelry is by far my favorite style.

So in considering my jewelry for the big day, obviously I've been drawn to vintage(looking-I'm on a budget!) jewelry. That's why I have been drooling over this month's Martha Stewart Weddings magazine! Just look:

There are quite a few in there that are just darling. But need I remind you of how great MY ring is?!

Okay, now that I got that our of my system... ;)

I have been looking for jewelry to wear with my dress, but my problem is I have this thing. Maybe it's unique to me, I don't know.

I cannot stand wearing BOTH a necklace and earrings for any occassion. It's just too much going on! And stud earrings look silly on me because I have along neck. I'm a chandalier earring girl. So do I do earrings and not the necklace? And what if the necklace competes with my veil or doesn't match the beading on the dress or what if there's soooo much beading on the dress that even earrings would compete.... Or what if my 90-ft train.... ??

Okay, so some of that was to throw David off the trail when he inevitably reads this blog. But do you see my point? I have major OCD issues when it comes to wearing jewelry, and I just want it to look pretty without surrendering my comfort.

So the necklace and earings are on hold. But there is something else I absolutely love and want more than you know....

Again, from Martha, some of the most beautiful bracelets ever! I love the top one in the middle, the top one on the left, and the bottom one on the left if it weren't turquoise. For a bracelet, if I have one, I'm going big or going home. How glamorous are these?!

Finally, I've made one other decision: Hair jewelry!

I love my veil and don't want anything to detract from it, so I've decided that in my "change" from the ceremony to the reception, I'm gonna make like a rich bride. Instead of having two dresses (which I believe is ridiculous in one nite anyway), I'll have two hair pieces! My veil will be for the ceremony only. Then I'll take the veil out and add in a beautiful piece of hair jewelry to glam things up after hours!

My picks so far?

Tigerlily jewelry has some incredible pieces. I'm not totally decided, but just look at their loveliness!

And these are just the combs! Look at the headbands!


Now, for my maids I'd love to do something like this I found via Mackenzie on Something Old, Something new.

From PenelliBelle on Etsy

I love love LOVE the side clasps! I don't know if this is something that will work with the dresses we have picked out right now, but I love these!

That's all the jewelry pron for now!

Monograms baby!

So I commissioned Jessica over at Jessica's Design Shop to do some monograms for me that I can use of programs, invitations, or even embroidery! She did a fantastic job, and with this broke bride's budget she did right by me!

I have two sneak peaks for you:

This one has been released onto our wedding website. (And if you haven't seen it yet, shame on you!)

Super cure, eh?! I told Jessica that we had decided on a fall theme, and I really liked the idea of using chocolate brown and pear green (playing on the pair idea) instead of the typical fall oranges and reds!

Number Two World Premeire:

My mother had been planning on passing the hankercheif she had at her wedding, but she couldn't find it. Instead, she's having a new one hand-tatted for me and wanted a design to use for the monogram. She's having it done with our colors and everything! Soooo thoughtful and talk about keepsake!

You'll have to wait until the wedding for her other handiworks to be revealed!

She also does really great design work for anything from invitations to labels, wedding or not! I'm thinking I'd like to have stationery made after the wedding with my new initials on it!
Check her out!

Another one bites the dust!

Another thing to cross off my "to-do" list:

We booked our DJ!

He's actually an acquaintance of David's so it wasn't much of a question of his abilities.
They've been in business 20 years, and the guy is super nice.
I present to you: Chubby's Karaoke!

(And no, we're not actually doing karaoke at the reception. They do regular DJing too!)

I am, in fact, still planning a wedding...

I know it's been quite a while since my last post.

Things have been hectic to say the least with my lack of employment, etc.
So, in hopes of catching up, I'm planning on posting several smaller blogs today to keep things neat and tidy!

First things first since I got inspired to actually post from reading another wedding blog:

I absolutely ADORE this idea from Heather of "We Met in a Bar" (The best couples do meet there after all!!)

Activity books for the kiddos!

Like Heather, I won't have that many kids at the wedding, but I think it's a very sweet and thoughtful idea. Plus I get to craft some more!

Seriously go checkout some more of her stuff....


I have ideas out the Wazoo!

So now that we've nailed down some pretty big stuff, I'm onto the details that I'm hoping will make my wedding memorable.

It's hard because I've seen so many great ideas on all the different blogs I frequent, but not all the ideas align with the theme I'm trying to convey in my wedding.

For those of you unaware, I've been pulling together a lot of vintage, antique, and heirloom influences. So today, I'm going to provide a quick rundown of some favorite ideas. I'm not sure which ones will make the cut yet, but we'll just have to wait and see!

For My OOTers:
We already know that with the wedding being in Charlotte, we'll have plenty of out of town guests. Because of that, we're having our reception at the hotel we hope everyone will stay at. So I've been brainstorming for non-traditional OOT bags. I came across these lovelies from Blissweddingsmarket.com

Wouldn't it be awesome to present some Charlotte-specific totes for all my guests making a small vacation out of our wedding?! I just have to find someone who does "Charlotte" specifically now!

I got my birthday card in the mail today from my Grandma. She's 90 years old and doesn't write much anymore, but she handwrote my address on the envelope. I am so flattered and grateful for that!
The more I got to looking at it, she has the PERFECT handwriting for an heirloom wedding. Through i-diy, I found a great fontmaker and I'm hoping she'll agree to make my Grandmother's handwriting into a font. It's something I'll be able to have long AFTER the wedding, but I'd love to address all the invitations with it and use it throughout the wedding!

I have absolutely fallen in love with all things lace, including doilies! And what better place to find lacey-ideas than Country Living?
They have two articles on ideas for decorating with doilies. Even if I don't use all the ideas for my wedding, I may use them at home!
My mom has vowed to collect some for me, and I can't wait for fleamarket weather!

Do me a favor....
This might actually be the most difficult to nail down. I've always been a firm believer that wedding favors should be eatable. Why give somebody junk that they won't have a purpose for the day after your wedding? So I've been brainstorming on favors and came up with this beauty:
Gormet Marshmallows via Plush Puffs! They have a bunch of different flavors to choose from and the price is reasonable! How cute would these be wrapped in little cellophane bags with a gift tag on them?

On the other hand, I also like nontraditional favors like these:

I know it's not something anyone would really use after the wedding, but isn't it just a cute touch to the reception? I'd love to provide something like this just for fun, but not in place of a favor. I don't know if it's in the budget though. And unfortunately the company that gave me this idea doesn't offer the cork coasters anymore, and I think they're just the coolest looking ones.

They have the other ones here for anyone who's interested.

Decor Encore
I've found a few things I'd like to include in my decor, but once again, it's narrowing down to a cohesive idea. Our colors are Chocolate Brown and Pear Green. We're playing on the idea of "The Perfect Pair" by using pears. I'm custom designing centerpieces. I also want to keep including that "heirloom" or "vintage" feel. For example, I absolutely ADORE these from Decorative Country Living:

I tried handmaking a couple and found it was a pretty easy diy. I got all the white buttons I could find off my grandmother and will continue to collect them. I don't like how they've used all the same button here, so I fully intend to mix and match!
Where will I hang these? Glad you asked:

Per my request, David's mom and my mom have been looking thru pictures of us, respectively, from when we were younger. We're going to hang them similar to this with some of my button hearts breaking up the clusters of pictures. I'm hoping we can hang them in the cocktail/cookie table area for people to oogle while waiting for the reception to start! I've seen some of the pictures my mom has picked out already. It's going to be quite the show ;)

We're also doing the giant matted picture for a guestbook thing. I know this isn't novel, but I don't think I'd ever get a guestbook back out, and this is something that will become an heirloom for my family as the years go on. I really like the thought of being able to see those signatures and well wishes for years to come.

Stuff still in the works:
Figuring out how to decorate the ceremony site has been interesting. Purchasing yards of lace is not cheap and I HATE taffeta. We want to keep that area simple since we're already outside and it'll be beautiful as it is.

Centerpieces have also been tricky. We've been planning to do them mainly in whites and greens using pears and china and very little floral additions. I'm thinking of doing Chocolate table linens, and I think the white and green would pop.

As for me, jewelry, shoes, my attendants dresses and jewelry are all still up in the air, but I hope to get those nailed down soon.

And as for papercraft, I just got the finished results from Jessica of Jessica's Design Shop on the monograms and such I will be using. She did a great job and I highly recommend her for anyone looking for some personalized work! I'll be posting sneak peaks of that stuff soon enough.

Last but not least, I've updated our wedding website! The Knot released some new user-friendly designs and I took advantage hardcore! I'm so proud of it so if you haven't visited it already, please do and leave us some love! I also may have leaked one of Jessica's designs somewhere on the page too!



Awful First Dances

So this post is going to come across as a little hypocritical.
David and I have briefly talked about what song we want to do our first dance to. We don't really have any songs that are particularly meaningful, so we're going with one we just really like.

But in searching for songs and inspiration, I've found myself glued to the awfulness of Youtube.

As a former ballroom dance instructor, I never realized what people looked like once they left my studio. Youtube has provided me that horror.

I've taught my share of "First Wedding Dance couples." I've turned out a few dances that I felt proud of. Some people wanted to simply dance on beat and feel comfortable busting out a couple moves instead of doing the "prom sway." Other couples (mainly the brides to be) wanted elaborate dances choreographed for them. Typically, these were always the people who would felt they had to impress a bunch of people, but refused to devote the time or money to accomplishing this task. Talk about frustrating to teach.

Knowing that I love to dance, David had inquired as to what I wanted to do for our dance. After watching many Youtube videos of people who look hopelessly uncomfortable, entirely too involved in thought, and terribly scared, I easily decided I didn't want to choreograph anything.
I honestly would be happy with swaying as long as I was actually enjoying our first dance. Doing a couple of turns would be fine by me too. But seeing people struggle to get their dance "right" and try to be something they're not makes me sad. Well, sometimes it makes me laugh.

The only great choreographed dances I've seen have been the "bust it out side by side" dances which are fun to watch. Unfortunately they're waaaaay overdone now.

Not to mention the fact that most of these brides choose these hideous ball gowns and/or strapless gowns which make it 10 times more difficult to dance in. For brides that don't realize it, those huge gowns also ensure the people don't see most of what you're doing because they hide your legs and body so much that all people have to focus on is your bad posture and awkward armstyling. Oh, and people will be looking at the way you glare at your new husband for not getting the steps right.

And my other pet peeve? When the couples don't even have their hands correct. Men, you lead, and you offer your new wife your left hand. Otherwise, it just looks like she's gonna be wearing the pants in the family!

But for now, I'll leave you to wonder what song we've chosen for OUR first dance.
And I'll leave you to wonder what THESE people were thinking!

Seriously, what is this? A party or a performance?


She's got the dress!!!!

But no, you won't be getting pictures this post!

Last weekend I took a trip up to PA to go dress shopping with my mom, my sister-in-law, and my mom's best friend (who is basically a second mom to me).

We decided we'd travel to Pittsburgh for some non-corporate shopping and I made an appointment at a store in the Strip district called Carlisle's of Pittsburgh. With a reputation like "America's Oldest Bridal Salon" how could you go wrong, right?

Anyone that knows me knows that once I get my mind set on something, I'm a stickler for getting what I want. So when I walked into that salon at 11am, I knew what I would be getting. I'll spare the details here, to keep it a surprise, but I flat-out told my salesperson, Cathy, what I would be looking for. She made a couple of suggestions right off that I shot down immediately, and I'm not sure if she was impressed or put off by it!

I probably tried on 8 dresses, tops.

I found MY dress within an hour.

I tried MY dress on once, then again, then once again after one more crack at the racks.

Cathy added the perfect veil (a type I had in mind in all my internet research) and that was it!

My sister-in-law snapped a couple of quick cell phone pics (what would we do without technology?!) of the bust of the dress to get jewelry ideas.

It was pretty much decided quickly, and everyone who came agreed. In fact, my second mom barely let me get 3 steps out of the dressing room before she cried out, "That's the one!"

Needless to say, I'm pretty excited. It's been ordered and will take about six months to get into Pittsburgh. That'll be about the time I head to PA for a bridal shower, so I'm picking up the gown and bringing it back to Charlotte for any alterations.

Now, what to do about shoes? ;)



Because we're having an outdoor wedding, we've decided to forego the usual Unity Candle.

Instead, we're going to be doing something safer and creating more of a keepsake for years to come. No one in David's family is familiar with it, but I've seen wedding sand used in place of the candle, so after some discussion and research, we've decided on it.

(Click the image for a cool article on it)

We just received our "sample sand" in the mail from Moonglow Candles and now I have to decide which colors I like best. For the wedding, we've decided on Chocolate Brown (a tribute to the fall) and a Pear Green (because we're such a perfect "pair") as our colors. To be honest, finding the right shade of green has been rather annoying for me. I want our wedding to look "fall-like" but I don't want it to look like Halloween or Thanksgiving. I'm only using orange as accents in the flowers and what not. But finding the right green also means making sure I don't choose "puke green" as my fiancé so lovingly calls it, or bright summer green.

Onto the sand.

The neat thing about this company is that they actually match the sand color to dresses from David's Bridal. Unfortunately, I'm probably not going to get any of the attendants' dresses at David's Bridal. Nevertheless, they had a huge assortment of colors to choose from and will sell you samples of each. Now we just have to decide which we like best.

The other thing I like about this idea is that we'll have the sand in this jar for our bookcase, mantle, etc. for years to come. It's a beautiful keepsake, and we're planning on having the glasses engraved with our names and wedding date.
I think it will be a nice touch!


The Cookie Table

A cookie table complete with buckeyes!

As I had said before, I had given David a "must" for our wedding from the get-go. I truly wanted to be married outdoors.

But there were a couple other "musts" that snuck in there along the way.

For example, growing up in Western PA, I wanted my "heritage" to be considered despite having the wedding in North Carolina. Thus began the Great Cookie Table lesson.

For anyone who calls Western PA (and Eastern Ohio for that matter) home, you should be familiar with this wedding tradition. In fact, I'm not sure I've ever been to a wedding without a cookie table!

For those of you unfamiliar to the tradition (like my future in-laws), I'll briefly summarize.
In the days leading up to the wedding, the bride, her bridesmaids, and all the women in her family work on the cookie table. Often, there will be a get-together for one of the baking sessions, but everyone is also expected to contribute individually. After all, how many ovens does the average person have?
The women will bake all kinds of cookies--everything from peanut butter blossoms to pizzelles to lady's fingers to thumb print cookies to lemon bars to buckeyes (again a western pa thing) to old family recipes!
There is always quite the spread. And when all is said and done, depending on the determination of the family, there can easily be waaaaay more cookies than were ever needed.

Regardless, the cookies are put on display for the guests in the reception hall and are open for eating as soon as guests arrive. They more or less take the place of appetizers. Often, the bride and groom also put out boxes for their guests to cart cookies home in.
But the most entertaining part is seeing which cookies get eaten up first. In my experience, it's the buckeyes, but that's because Western Pennsylvanians know what buckeyes are! It'll be interesting to see what goes first at my wedding!

Pittsburgh Wedding Essentials offers this advice:
  • Your cookie table should have something with chocolate, something with fruit, something with nuts and something with just butter, which will appeal to all the guests. She suggests a lemon bar or something similar for summer weddings.
This cookie table also takes the place of a dessert table which I've seen mentioned in a lot of wedding blogs. Our guests can choose to have cake and/or cookies, so we don't have to offer additional desserts for those who don't like cake.

The cookie tables are also always beautifully set up and decorated. There are often layers made using cake dishes, serving trays, etc.

The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette said it better than I could:

"Wedding guests may not remember the maid of honor or the best man, but they'll remember the cookies."

If little girls dream of their wedding, I think I was dreaming of my cookie table! And wonderful David was nice enough to oblige me! We cleared it with the hotel we're considering, so now it's just time to start gathering recipes!

Informative cookie table links:

Wikipedia knows how it is
Chowhound readers weigh in
NPR even considers it news worthy
The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette offers recipes for the table
Pittsburgh Wedding Essentials ... from a Vendor's point of view
Suite 101 works it
Cocktail Moms blog catches the cookie itch

And an informative Youtube video!


The Ceremony

When we started planning, I had told David I wanted two things: a fall wedding and an outdoor ceremony.
I found out that "fall" in North Carolina means November if I don't want my guests sweating thru their clothes! I'm pretty excited about a November wedding though. The trees will finally be turning down here, and my northern guests get a nice mini-vacation from winter!

So after looking at calendars we settled on a date:
November 14th, 2009

The next step was to decide where we would get married. I just recently joined David's church. We come from the same denomination, so I've felt at home there since I moved back to Charlotte.
His church has always been a large part of his life having grown up just across the street from it.
Knowing I wanted to get married outside, he suggested the park just down the street at the corner...
I give you Independence Park!

It's the oldest park in Charlotte. You can't see it in this picture, but if you stand under the arch you see here (where we'll be married) you can see the tops of the buildings downtown. There's a rose garden on the other end of the park, but as soon as I saw this arch in the fall I fell in love with it. There's also a stone wading pool with stone benches behind the arch.

The best part? It's literally a block and half from our church! We're having our Pastor perform the service and the church's coordinator will be helping us out also. But pending unreliable weather, we've also reserved the church. Should we need to move to our "rain location" our guests will only have a short drive/walk to the church.

I'm not planning on needing much to decorate because it will be so beautiful outside already.
But to dress the stone arch (and possibly chairs) for a wedding, I've been planning on including lace.
On a side note-- I hate hate HATE tule/netting/all things cheesy-wedding, so there will be none of that at my wedding! But keeping with my love for all things antique, I'll be searching out things like lace.

Pretty much, my whole wedding has been inspired by my beautiful engagement ring. The detail in it looks almost "lace-like" so I want to incorporate that into both the ceremony and the reception.

The downside? I went to a giant fabric warehouse type store with my future mother-in-law the other day to brainstorm and see what they had. Turns out, lace is NOT cheap. Don't tell David!
It'll be the one thing I think I have to splurge on, but I think it'll be worth it! It'll lend a little class and romance.

I'm very excited about being married outside. The times I've been fortunate enough to travel, I've always been drawn to the natural beauty of the great outdoors, and I feel like there is no better way to honor God than to ask his blessing on our marriage surrounded by His beauty.

The Engagement

David asked me to marry him January 27th, 2009.

We had been talking about marriage for a while, I kinda knew it was coming, and he still caught me completely off-guard! That's just one of the little things I love about him.

If you want the full story, you can head over to our Wedsite. But I will briefly flaunt the ring:

He picked it out himself, and the only guidlines I gave him were as follows: I wanted a square/radiant/princess type stone, it had to be white gold, and I wanted it to look somewhat antique. I told him it was fine if it actually was antique (something I know lots of brides cringe over), and I also told him that I wasn't too concerned over the quality or size of the stone. To this day, he still knows more about diamonds than I do. I just knew I wanted a really pretty decorative band. I tried to find pictures on the internet to show him what I liked and we shopped together once.
Other than that, I flat out told him I didn't want to pick out my ring. I've had it in my head since I was little that the man I'm meant to marry will know me well enough that he will pick out the perfect ring to suit me.

And David so picked out that ring! I love him :)

From Diamonds Direct in Southpark

I have no idea how much it's worth, but to me it's absolutely priceless.
And I got the best compliment from a girlfriend at church over it. It's definitely not an antique, but she thought it looked like an heirloom! Just what I wanted to hear! :)

Now it's on to planning the wedding!!


We're Getting Married!!!

In an effort to get organized and keep friends and family abreast of what's going on with the wedding, I've decided to blog it. Big surprise eh?

I'll be posting ideas as well as any pertinent information for all our out of town guests!