Thursday, April 29, 2010

So how much?

I thought I'd do a cost break down on the bouquets for you all, so here goes:

Per bouquet (bridesmaids bouquet, 20ish flowers used per bouquet):

1 yard satin fabric, regular price $10/yard, used 40% off coupon, so $6/yard (right?)
20 floral stems, $2 for 75, so $0.54
1 bouquet holder, $2
Half a roll of ivory ribbon, $1
Rhinestone pins (some were gifts, but for most of the bridesmaids I bought rhinestone earrings at thrift stores, had my dad cut off the earring back with a drill thing and then hotglued a pin back on), $1
3 inch ostrich feathers, 5 used, $2.55
Hot glue, thread, pearl-headed pins, maybe $0.50

Total cost for 1 bridesmaid's bouquet: $14.09

HELL YES! Especially since the 6 hydrangea bouquets I originally looked at were going to cost me at least $500 and all of these cost under $100, including my bouquet.

The huge cost of these was elbow grease. Sewing those flowers is more time consuming than I could ever tell you (though trial and error added a good month on to this project), and then you have to sew them to a took way longer than I thought it would. I can honestly say that at least 5-6 hours was spent per bridesmaid's bouquet, and mine took even longer since mine is bigger and uses more flowers.

Also, the cost of the rhinestone pins could really get crazy, it just depends on how you do it. If you go into an antique store and buy the 100% perfect ones, they can go up to $50 a pin. I got lucky with rhinestone earrings that I then turned in to pins, and I bought them at a thrift store that the antique store crowd tends to stay away from, so that price point might not be realistic if you aren't willing to dig.

I am so, so glad I did these. Out of all the stuff we're doing for the wedding, I am most proud of these. I had almost nothing to go off of but I figured them out (adding to the time involved), and I am beyond thrilled with them.

I'm probably not going to be able to stop myself from shoving my bouquet in people's faces at the wedding while saying "LOOK WHAT I MADE!"

Have you done anything for the wedding that you are crazy proud of or that saved you a ton of money?

I swear I will eventually stop harping about some point that is yet to be determined.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Brain Dump

-We definitely are getting a new pastor for the wedding, according to the church event coordinator. None of them require pre-marital counseling, so Ryan is in the clear. Hopefully we will meet with them soon. And they asked me if we had a preference for the gender of the pastor...and I'm going to be reverse sexist here and say having a female pastor would rock my face off. I was raised Catholic and didn't see a woman preaching until I went to a friend's confirmation my freshman year in high school. It blew my mind to see a female bishop!

-The church wants $70 to use their fellowship hall for our rehearsal dinner, which sucks because we're paying them $800 for 3 hours of church rental and the services of a pastor. Kind of a lot.

-I watched Food Inc. last night and I'm going to be the crazy mom who won't let their kids eat meat unless I know where it came from. There was a food safety advocate in the movie who lost her 2 1/2 year old son to E. Coli. Also, I can't eat meat anymore unless I know where it came from. Those Centralized Animal Feeding Operations are the most disgusting and inhumane things I have ever seen. And Tyson and the USDA are the devil.

-I also watched the PBS Masterpiece version of Wuthering Heights last night while I worked overlays for the reception tables (I get to re do 75% of them because the glue seeped through....super pumped about it ) and Heathcliff is one crazy *sshole. How Emily Bronte dreamed up someone like him after living such a cloistered life I will never know. Now that I watched the movie and kind of figured out what's going on, I might attempt the book after I finish Sense and Sensibility. I also watched The Diary of Anne Frank and it was AMAZING because it was so accurate that it was creepy. The characters were much more like they were in real life (Anne's diary was not kind to Mr. Dussel, but he was really a debonair womanizer who missed his fiance) and the set was perfect. They worked really hard to make it historically correct, and the 5 diary pages Mr. Frank pulled from publication are reflected in the story line. Definitely the best adaptation I've ever seen, and you can watch it here for free until May 12th.

-I talked to the girl who's doing my hair for the wedding last night and she is super cool.

-It's sunny out today for the first time in a while!

-My bachelorette party sounds like so. much. fun, from what little I've picked up.

-My pansy dog caught a blue jay today....bad*ss.

-The dress shop has completely forgotten about me. My alterations were supposed to be done last month but they haven't called, and I'll feel like the B word if I call to ask if it's done even though I shouldn't feel that way...they were supposed to call me weeks ago and haven't. I also had to call the shoe shop because they forgot to call and tell me my shoes were done and the church forgot to call me too. Isn't it dumb that I feel bad calling these people? It's all those B words out there making me paranoid about sounding like one.

-Kristin Chenowith freaking owns and Sue Slyvester's quip about Kenyan racing teams was the best.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

They're Done!

The bouquets I have been working on since AUGUST are finished! And they are exactly what I had in my is so exciting to be able to create something and have it match up perfectly with what you had in your head, isn't it?

Alli modeled one for me:

Here's more of a close up:

And the bottom so you can see how I covered that not-especially-attractive bouquet holder. The ribbon wrap is 100% perfect but I think it's definitely close enough.

My bouquet is a touch bigger, and will have an aqua handle wrap. I found the rhinestone pins at thrift stores...a few of them are earrings that my dad used his saw/drill thingy to cut the earring part off, then I hot glued a pin back from Hobby Lobby on and pinned them into the bouquet.

So all 5 bridesmaid's bouquets are done, I'm waiting on feathers for mine. I ordered 3 inch feathers that worked nicely for the smaller bridesmaid's bouquets, but they weren't big enough for mine. I got the feathers for an amazing price from Etsy seller SimplySilverbyHeena. She's awesome, so if you need feathers check her out!

I am so thrilled with these, I can't wait to see how they look with my dress!

Want to make your own?

Here's the inspiration for my bouquet, and here's how I made the satin flowers. This is how I shaped the bouquet.

Don't want to make your own because it takes an obnoxiously lengthy amount of time? E-mail me, we'll talk!

So what do you think ladies? Don't they look 1000000x better than this attempt!

Monday, April 26, 2010

Threads Remembered Update!

Remember when I did that kick *ss giveaway a while back for my aunt and cousin's new company, Threads Remembered? Threads Remembered takes clothing and turns them in to pillows that make wonderful keep sakes. My fam is doing some pretty amazing things and they make killer ring bearer pillows, so go check them out!

Stephanie was the lucky winner, and she is kind enough to keep us posted as a favorite article of clothing is redone into a keepsake pillow!

Stephanie of The Life of a Husband and a Wife and I Do at the Zoo was the lucky winner, and she was kind enough to drop me a line telling me where she's at in the pillow-making process. Stephanie says:

I'm a HUGE slacker, what can I say?! I'm sorry...despite my less than stellar skills at actually picking an item, photographing said item (seriously, it's been hanging in my closet all picked out for about a month now) and packaging it up to mail off to Stacy's aunt and cousin...whew, I'm less than stellar at a lot, huh!?...I am UBER pumped about this prize!!!!!

After much deliberation with the hubby, we decided against the ideas of: my wedding gown, my mom's wedding gown, a Dallas Cowboy jersey, my baby blanket, an item of my mom's clothing...and we picked something that was sentimental just to us.

A classic Old Navy button up teal shirt of my hubby's from their late winter/early spring 2006 collection.

You see, we picked this item because it means so much to both of us. We hope to use it to decorate our future baby's nursery one day, but in the meantime the fabulous pocket pillow will live in our bedroom as a reminder of where we started.

I bought said shirt for hubby way back in January 2006. I was OBSESSED with that fabulous shade of aqua at the time and bought him a shirt and me a sweater to match. Yup. Be glad you weren't my boyfriend! What's even worse, we'd only been dating since September 2005. I'm an all in or all out kinda gal! My purchases were intentional so we could be matchy-matchy on our First Valentine's Day. Go ahead, gag some more, its ok...Our First Valetine's Day as an Official Couple getting ready to move from VA to IN on our own together was a trip to Philly to see my FAVE, the Piano Man himself, Billy Joel.

We drove up to Philly and had an amazingly romantic weekend together - despite our car breaking down and being towed to the closet Nissan dealership in NJ and despite the BLIZZARD that hit Philly that weekend. In all seriousness, we fell more in love that weekend and knew we'd get through anything together. We explored downtown, ate delicious food, walked around the zoo and aquarium and capped the weekend with Billy's concert. Its a memory that will never fade. So, we picked this shirt to be made into something we can both catch a glimpse of daily and remember our beginning.

Hubby's shirt is all packed up and has been dropped off at UPS en route to Stacy's fam who will be working their imaginations and sewing magic to create a one of a kind future family heirloom for moi.


And THANK YOU Stephanie for taking a moment out of your crazy busy life to keep us posted...I know I am excited to see how it turns out! And be sure to go over and say hi to Stephanie at The Life of a Husband and a Wife. And she even took the time to put a nice people like that, don't you? Stephanie I think the world needs more of you!

Friday, April 23, 2010


Since I did the bouquets on my own (they are DONE you all, I cannot WAIT to show them to you!) and Ryan has an extreme dislike of boutonnieres (yes, wedding planning has taught me how to spell that word...we've obviously been engaged for too long), it didn't make much sense to employ a florist for a few corsages, one for Ryan's mom, one for my mom, and one for my grandma. Oh and one for my mom's best friend who is mom #2. So I decided to make them. This was actually one of the very first wedding decisions I stuck to and I never once changed my mind, which I find impressive considering my track record.

Anyway, I made the 4 corsages out of organza flowers. I did a tutorial of them here. I also used these flowers in my toss bouquet.

I used pearl beads in the center because I figured they would match pretty much anything the ladies decide to wear. Here's my sister Allison modeling one:

She should skip grad school and go into hand modeling, what do you think?

Fuzzy close up:

I wanted to give the ladies options on how to wear them, so I bought pin backs from Hobby Lobby. They were in the beading aisle and were maybe $1 for 50 or so. I hot glued 2 ivory ribbons cut on a slant so they wouldn't fray on the back of the corsage and hot glued the pin back on top of that.

This way, the corsage can be worn pinned on a dress/jacket or tied on the wrist. I felt super clever until I realized that if they wear them on their wrist, the pin back might be annoying. I tried it on though and it didn't bother me, and Alli said it didn't bother her either so I'm going to go with "it works" on this one and leave it at that! I'm also going to equip the guest book attendants with scissors, so if the corsages are pinned on then the ribbons can be cut off.

Super cheap project, and I already had the flowers made, so it took 10 minutes for all 4! I think they are really pretty, too, and will make a nice keepsake.

Are you doing corsages for the ladies in your life?

Have a lovely weekend...Ryan's coming down tonight, my friend Melissa is coming over for dinner AND the printers just called and said the proof of the invites is ready!

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Clothes and the Sewing of Them

So I attempted to sew a ruffled wrap dress from a vintage pattern I picked up at a local thrift store. I invested pennies in the project, making the dress from super cheap lining and a vintage flowered bed sheet.

It is of my personal experience due to this project that choosing a pattern with 16 pieces as your first attempt at sewing is a poor, poor idea. And one of the those pieces was plan for that was to cross that bridge when I came to it.

I learned quite a bit from that major mishap that ended with me shouting at the dress "I HATE YOU" repeatedly. #1, never try to cut out pattern pieces on the floor because they won't be just right and #2, let's just keep it simple for now. 16 pattern pieces does NOT fit the definition of keeping it simple.

Armed with this new knowledge, I located a seemingly simple (foreshadowing, anyone?) pattern on Burda Style. It was a free download, and I had no problems printing the pattern out, taping it together and cutting it out. I intentionally chose a pattern with very few pieces (6, to be exact) and no complicated fitting requirements like darts or anything. I knew the zipper was going to be a problem (I quake in fear before zippers) but my grandma generously offered to help me when I got to that point.

Here's the dress in question:

I bought some cheap teal cotton fabric (on sale for $1.99/yard, woohoo!) and did everything I was supposed to do...washed, dried and ironed the fabric before cutting out, etc. I cut out the pieces on my cutting "table" (a cardboard measuring thing my mom scored at Goodwill set on top of my bed, it works very nicely) and last night I sat down to puzzle it out.

It all began well. The first step was to add the gathers in the middle of the bodice, which I had never done before, so I whipped out my handy dandy sewing machine manual and investigated how to add gathers. I practiced on a piece of scrap fabric first and the gathering was very successful. Encouraged, I proceeded to gather the actual pattern pieces with an impressive degree of success. Then I sewed the wrong things together, picked out the seam, figured out what actually needed to be sewn, obsessed that it was obvious I picked out a seam, got Alli's opinion (she told me I was being anal retentive), sewed the right thing together and then moved on to the next step.

Which makes no fing sense whatsoever. So I went to Burda's website where there was 1 commenter saying the instructions made zero sense and another 100 commenters who keep harping on how "easy" this dress was to put together. Which made me feel like a.) the instructions are vague, its not just me and b.) EVERYONE ELSE FIGURED IT OUT I MUST BE STUPID.

Also, a sewing blogger recently did a review on the pattern magazines she sews from and lo and behold, she mentions how obnoxious Burda's directions are.

I'm sure if I were an experienced seamstress, I could figure this out. But I am so far from that. I am a complete beginner, and instructions that assume I know all about garment construction are not helpful.

So, I'm taking over the instructions in question to my mom. My mom sewed us so many Halloween costumes, and she improvised and owl costume when I was the Owl in Winnie the Pooh. She makes T-shirt quilts and blankets too, she knows her stuff. If she can't help, then I'm taking this all the way to the grandma. She is an award winning quilter and she sewed countless garments for her 7 kids and for her many grandkids. When I was little, she always sewed her granddaughters Easter dresses.

I WILL figure this out.

Even I have to start making educated guesses and sewing what looks like it needs to be sewn together, together. Ripping out seams doesn't scare me.

This must be part of the learning process....that, or I just keep making terrible first project decisions.

Anyone else out there trying to teach themselves a new skill and hitting some roadblocks?

*Urgent Update: After posting on the blog I mentioned above about how Burda's instructions are driving me to tears, she wrote back and said that their online instructions are way, way better to the print-out ones. And after glancing at them, I now know where to put the pieces in questions, a million thank you's Fehr Trade! I just love the blogging world.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010


I'm not wearing a veil, and the cute wedding hair flowers look tough to rock with me wearing my hair down and everything, but I kind of want a headband. A sparkly one.

I really like the double look:

You know how I feel about leaves....

God bless Emma Pilsbury....

I don't know how well those pretty satin ribbon headbands would really stay put though, and WHOA are they pricey.

But this one is only $9, it's not satin so I know it would stay put, and it would be a piece of cake to pin a rhinestone pin on one side:

Hmmm. Even if it doesn't work for the wedding, pretty much every day is messy bun day in these parts and a headband such as this would dress this daily occurrence up very nicely.

Shipping's only a $1.50. This might have to happen.

What are you wearing in your hair? My friend Melissa has some lovely plans, I can't wait to see them!

Monday, April 19, 2010

Marathon Day and Engage-versary!

Today is Marathon Day in Boston (shout out to Kristy! Next year my friend, we watch it together!). Last year on Marathon Day, I got engaged and it was amazing. Even though tomorrow is officially our "engage-a-versary," today feels like it more due to the race. So here's a re-port of last year's marathon day and how Ryan and I managed to get engaged.

Originally posted May 12, 2009.

I love the way that Ryan proposed! I couldn't have asked for anything better, it was perfect.

We went to Boston April 17th-April 21st. Ryan ran the marathon on Monday, April 20th, 2009. That's him the red shorts and black singlet, black arm warmers.

Ryan ran an absolutely amazing race. He placed 158 overall, out of about 25,000 runners. He PR'd at 2:38:46, about 6 minute miles. He is really hard on himself, and even he was thrilled with his time. Everyone was ecstatic about his race (everyone being me, his parents, his best friend, and his best friends wife).

After the race, we went to the Sam Adam's brewery. It's actually their research and development facility, where they test all of their new beers.

After the brewery tour and tasting (yay!), we headed to Hopkinton, MA, where the start line to the marathon is. Ryan wanted to get some pictures here, and I wanted to see it anyway, being a running nerd myself. Someday, if I get good enough, I will be crossing this myself. I would love to run Boston.

We took lots of pictures, and Ryan said that he wanted a picture of a certain street sign. I thought it was kind of odd--it was a pretty non-descript street sign. So across the street we went to take the picture. I took it, and Ryan started hugging me and saying these really nice, sweet, things. It didn't strike me as odd until he kept saying these wonderful things, and before I knew it, he was down on one knee! How he got down on one knee after racing 26.2 miles, I don't know, but he did it. (He did say it hurt, though!) Of course I said yes, and his parents, best friend, and best friend's wife (who were all across the street documenting this for us) starting cheering. I was teary, and Ryan started hugging me again--I was very close to falling over, so this was a good thing. We hugged for a long time. Then Ryan holds the ring up and says "Would you like to put this on now?" It was everything I wanted the proposal to be, times 1000.

That's us right after he asked me, when we had both calmed down enough to pose for a picture. I love the grin on his face...getting him to smile like this in pictures is impossible.

So we've been engaged for 364 days now...and I am so, so ready to get married! How long is too long for an engagment? It's been nice in terms of planning and mental prep, but dang...I'm ready. What do you think about how long engagements should be? Any marathoners out there who ran Boston this year?

Friday, April 16, 2010

I laughed...hard

I had a conversation a while ago with a student teacher friend of mine, it is as follows.

Her: So one of my students is in ISS all next week.

Me: What'd they do?

Her: He pooped in the sink.

Me: He what?!

Her: He pooped in the sink, like a cat.

Me: ??!!

Her: Like a pissed off cat.

Happy Friday everyone!

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Books I want to read

To be updated continuously because the little scraps of paper I have books written down on are started to fill up my drawers.

Every Man Dies Alone, Hans Fallada
God is not a Christian nor a Jew nor a Muslim now a Hindu....God Dwells with Us, in Us, Around us, Carlton Pearson
Couple Skills: Making Your Relationship Work, McKay, Fanning, Paleg (it actually works quite well but I'd like it to stay that way)
His Needs, Her Needs: Building an Affair Proof Marriage, William Harley (see above)
The Proud Villeins, Valeria Anand
The Guinea Pig Diaries: My Life as an Experient, AJ Jacobs


I just watched the most amazing video on the costume shop of the NYC Ballet, check it out here.

100 Days

Courtesy of the always wonderful registry countdowns, I learned today that Ryan and I are getting married in 100 days.

Good lord, it could not come fast enough.

We're having a conversation about job stuff when I'm in St. Louis this weekend. It's going to be a rough one I think, and I'm not necessarily looking forward to it, but I am so anxious to have some direction here, to have a game plan.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010


The bouquets are done (except for mine, but once I get the feathers in, that's a 10 minute deal), the handkerchiefs are done, the corsages are done, the bags for the bridesmaids are done....all I really have left to do on the DIY front is the table overlays for the reception and adding ribbon to the cardbox (and um, post that stuff that I haven't camera broke so now I have to harass Alli, so taking pictures is a slower process). Neither challenging or time intensive, as they mainly employ copious amounts of glue.

This should be great news! I have a pattern for a dress I want to make for my sister Alli, and I have a stack of things I want to make apparel-wise for myself, such as this obi-style skirt. But sewing clothes scares the crap out of me, as I fear messing up...even though I know with sewing that messing up in inevitable. It will happen, it's simply a matter of when and how badly. That's why I love doing a mock-up first out of fabric that doesn't cost lots. So I need to give myself a serious pep talk and get to it.

Honestly, making all of the things that I've made for this wedding has been so much more satisfying then I thought possible. Seeing something outrageously expensive or beautiful that I love and then recreating it myself, sans directions in many cases, feels so good! Knowing that so many personal touches are headed in the direction of people I care very much about makes me happy. And I am really proud of myself for doing all that I've done DIY wise, because it turns out that I really enjoy it and the stuff I've done has turned out better than I could have hoped. Who knew, right?

But I'm a bit sad that I'm out of projects at the moment. I think I need to put my big-girl pants on and stop being a pansy about the scary sewing patterns.

Are you done with your projects, or are you just beginning? Were you slightly sad that they were over?

I just finished reading.....

Daisy Fay and the Miracle Man, by Fannie Flagg.

I love Fannie Flagg when I need a pick me up, don't you? And her characters are so wonderful - they stick with you. This book is about a rambunctious 10 year old named Daisy Fay with a fun-loving alcoholic daddy and a prim and proper mother who gets herself in to sooo much trouble. The ending is perfect and this book is such a great feel good book, read it if you need to be cheered up.

Also just finished The Cherished Wives by Valerie Anand last night.

If you dig historical fiction, read this book. It was so good....and oh how I am glad to live now, where I have rights as a woman. This book follows several generations of Whitmead women who always seem to be limited by the power hungry men in their lives. The first Whitmead woman you meet, Lucy Ann, has to deal with a controlling husband who leaves her for years at a time while he's in India, blames a miscarriage on her and refuses to let her interact with people that he has not pre-screened and approved. You also meet Lucy Ann's daughter in law, Emma, and Emma's daughters, and they all have to deal with the crazy isolation that Lucy Ann did. I am definitely going to look into more of Ms. Anand's books, this was wonderful. The ending was absolutely chilling.

What are you reading right now?

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

A Speed Bump

I called the church we're getting married in yesterday to confirm/double check the times, as our invitations are almost done. I usually get stuck talking to their secretary, who is really nice but doesn't do much with events. Yesterday I got to talk to their official event planner, who is lovely all around and beyond nice. She verified the times, we decided on a time for the rehearsal dinner (7 p.m.), etc, etc...and then she mentioned that the pastor who's going to be marrying us had just announced that he was leaving. She was sooooo upset, and she said she had a whole list of brides to call and she didn't know what to do.

The church was the most important thing to me, just like Ryan's most important deal was the guest list, so I guess I should've been more upset than I am...but I'm not at all. The key thing is the church we're getting married in, not necessarily the pastor. It is so, so important to me that we get married in a church that reflects Ryan and I's values and beliefs, and the Unitarian Universalist church certainly does so. I feel confident that pastor of the UU church will reflect the beliefs important to both Ryan and I, so a pastor switch-up isn't a huge deal to me. Plus, the event coordinator said they have 4 other pastors who are on hand to do weddings for them, and depending on when the pastor who was going to marry us leaves, he might still be able to do it, so it might be a total non-issue. Bottom line, we will have either our pastor marry us, or we'll have the choice of other pastors who can marry us. A pastor from that church will marry us, which seems to me to be the important part.

The biggest thing that could throw a wrench into me being OK with this is that the pastor who was/might still marry us gave us free reign with the ceremony, from start to finish it's been up to us, and we're 85% done writing it, so that would be a problem if the new pastor had their own way of doing it (not that I think they would, it's a UU wedding and they are traditionally highly personalized but still...everyone has their own way of doing things.).

The other problem I forsee if we have to switch pastors....pre-marital counseling. The pastor who was/might still marry us did not require anything that remotely resembled pre-marital counseling. Ryan is concerned that the new pastor will...very concerned. It kind of made his year that we weren't going to have to do it. Side note: In exchange for no marriage prep, we're doing dance lessons...I'll take it.

So yeah...we might be out a pastor. Ryan's more concerned about it than I am, because GOD FORBID we have to do pre-marital counseling (just kidding....kind of, he actually has really good solid reasons that he doesn't want to do it and I have looked into as well and agree with him...just don't tell him that he was right on that front, ok?). But I know that this is going to work out, I am positive of that.

Also, the event coordinator at the church said that we MIGHT be able to rent their fellowship hall for a minimal donation for the rehearsal dinner, which would be excellent news!

Any speed bumps popping up in your way lately?

Monday, April 12, 2010


Finding a hotel to block some rooms in for our wedding was so, so much harder than I thought it would be, but there's a happy ending to this saga!

Our reception hall is in downtown St. Louis, making hotels expensive. Even a room at the Drury Inn was $160, and we wanted to keep the price under $120 and hopefully find another option under $100. I called about 12 different hotels, which took forever, because with most of them they transfer you to their national sales people, and you have to yell into the phone which city you're getting married in and blah blah blah...way more time consuming than I thought it would be. I also scratched any hotel off the list that required us to take on any financial responsibility for the unbooked rooms, which was only 1 or 2 anyway.

So get this....Ryan and I almost got in a tiff over 2 different Holiday Inns....there were 2, one right on the highway and very conveniently located, and one that wasn't so conveniently located. The one right off the highway would not answer their phone, and when they did they were always really confused and not helpful at all. Their manager never returned my phone calls and I could never even get a group rate from these people, so I was sick of dealing with them. The not-so-conveniently located Holiday Inn had the nicest people ever on staff, the rate was decent and they were great to work with. I wanted to book with them because I was beyond frustrated with the other Holiday Inn and Ryan wanted to book with the other one because of their location. Grrrr. I finally told him to figure out what other hotels to look into because I could not deal with those people anymore.

Which lead to the discovery of the Courtyard St. Louis Downtown by Marriott. Cue heavenly light and angelic singing. The location was perfect, the parking was free, the people were wonderful and helpful and the rate....oh the rate. $79 for a room with a king bed and a sleeper sofa, $95 for a room with 2 queen beds. Way better than we were expecting! They're holding 15 rooms for us Friday night and 15 rooms for us the day of the wedding. If we don't fill up those rooms by June 25th, then they are no longer reserved, and if we do fill those up, we can start another block (depending on availability of course). So a happy ending! I'll be staying here with my family Friday night and then I think Ryan and I might stay at the Renaissance by Marriott a couple blocks away Saturday night. I wanted to book a block with them, but the location wasn't ideal and parking was $14/day.

Anyway, the Courtyard's lobby was recently redone and the entire hotel is lovely.

The rooms are simple but comfortable. We stayed in a Fairfield by Marriott in Boston last spring and the rooms looked a lot like this.

I am so, so glad to have this crossed off our list, and at such a great rate and in such a nice hotel.

What did you do for hotels for your wedding?

Friday, April 9, 2010

Addressing the envelopes

So Ryan and I have been discussing envelopes lately. Exciting, no? We found some aqua ones we dig that I need to order, and I mentioned that there were some cute red oval printable labels on Paper Source that we could use. Following is the approximate conversation that ensued:

Me: So Paper Source has these red oval printable labels we could use for the envelopes, they'd be like $20. They have cuter ones but they are stupid expensive.

Ryan: Do we really need labels? You could spend that $20 shopping on our honeymoon (OK I totally added that sentence). I mean, why don't we just hand write the addresses on there?

Me: Long Pause. We can't afford calligraphy, that's like $2 an envelope.

Ryan: No, I'm saying we can write the addresses on there.

This is when I noticed a huge problem. Having been immersed in blogland since day 1 of wedding planning, it had never occurred to me until that exact moment that you could actually hand write addresses on to envelopes yourself without teaching yourself calligraphy.

I know. Ridiculous. I was too embarrassed to say that to Ryan, because really....that had never occurred to me. That's embarrassing.

So, I'm going to sweet talk my sister/maid of honor Alli into handwriting some addresses for me, because her handwriting is lovely, and I'm going to do my best to write addresses as neatly as possible. My handwriting is passable if I slow it down.

There's our game plan...handwriting. And it'll be just fine....and free.

How are you addressing your envelopes? Have you had any crazy moments like I did?

Thursday, April 8, 2010


My sister and maid of honor Alli was nice enough to put together a toss bouquet for me last weekend, since there is no way in hell I am tossing the satin flower bouquet I have slaved (I mean labored over with love) (they're almost done by the way, I'm just waiting for some feathers I ordered off Etsy to arrive!). I had a bunch of flowers laying around from before I really figured out exactly what I wanted for my bouquets, and I figured these would make a nice toss bouquet. (Want to make these super easy organza flowers for yourself? Here's a tutorial!)

The flowers were conveniently already sewn onto stems, so Alli just arranged them into a bouquet-ish shape, wrapped the stems in floral tape, and then did a ribbon wrap with some Martha Stewart ribbon we got at Big Lots for $1. Alli is a perfectionist and she is bothered that so much of the stem is showing...but I think it looks fab.

My room is such a mess, I'm sorry you have to look at it....and I've set up a sewing area on my desk, and when you sew you have to press things all the time, so I drug the ironing board and iron up from the basement and I just keep it in my room now. Classy. Also I've been in St. Louis for the past 3 weekends and cleaning is high on my priority list for the weekend.

Simple, easy, pretty, and thanks to Alli, DONE. These organza flowers took so little time and they were just sitting around going to waster, so I'm glad we could use them.

I have more organza flowers that are not sewn on to stems and I'm going to use them for pins/corsages for the moms and grandma. I'm going to glue a pin onto the back and sew ribbons onto the back, so the ladies can wear them as a pin or as a corsage...and if they pick the pin option then they can just cut the ribbons off. I do want to put pearls in the middle of the ones the moms/grandma will be wearing instead of the aqua or red beads, I think there's a higher chance of it matching better.

Can you bear to toss your bouquet or are you doing a separate toss bouquet? What are you doing corsage-wise for the women in your life?

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Dads and Grandpa

My dad has carried a handkerchief as long as I can remember. If we skinned our knees or had a runny nose when we were little, the handkerchief was there. When I got a little older I'd embroider dad a set for Christmas or his birthday, so I knew I wanted to do something special for the wedding. Ryan's dad occasionally carries a handkerchief and Ryan mentioned that his grandpa would like one as well.

I bought a set of 3 Charter Club handkerchiefs at Macy's for $10, and I bought red and aqua embroidery thread at Hobby Lobby for $2. I could've gotten away with way less thread, too, since embroidery thread has 6 strands in it and I separated it to use 2. So one piece of thread could go 3 times as long (the stitches were thick and sloppy looking with all 6 strands, 2 definitely looked the best).

I typed up the words I wanted in the font we used for our invites. It's called Tagettes and I downloaded it for free from After washing, drying and ironing the handkerchiefs, I traced over the typed up words in with a pencil so I'd have something to go from.

After that I just used a simple outline stitch, and that was it, really. I got all 3 done in 3 days, it took about 1-1.5 per handkerchief. (Here's a good tutorial on stitches, the one I used for these was an outline stitch).

Anyway, here's the one I made for Ryan's grandpa:

And I made 2 of this one, one for Ryan's dad and one for my dad.

I am thrilled with how they turned out. They are not perfect, but I love that they don't look machine stitched, they look handmaid. I hope the dads and grandpa like them as much as I do!

Also I really miss having these to work on already...anyone need any embroidery done? I can really only do the cross stitch and outline stitch!

Does your dad carry a handkerchief?

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Oooo la la!

I sewed my garter...months ago and I'm just now getting around to blogging it. Oops!

Future Hubs: Please vacate the premises immediately.

So Ryan and a bunch of his runner friends are on this running team they call "Omega Falcon" and their colors are royal blue and orange. Since almost all of the Omega Falcon runners will be in attendance at the wedding, I had to the garter in those colors, right? Right. But I have love in my heart for dotted swiss, and the challenge was to mix that girly fabric with the sporty colors. I found some dotted swiss tulle at Hobby Lobby for the low low price of $4 a yard and picked up 1/4 of a yard for almost nothing. The ribbon I also got at Hob Lob when it was half off for like $1.

Ta da! Please ignore how pasty my legs are.

Making this was super unscientific and very much a trial-and-error process. I basically cut material in rectangles and sewed it to a piece of elastic until I got what I wanted. The piece of tulle is much longer that the elastic, and when I sewed the 2 pieces together I stretched the elastic out with 1 hand while sewing, so when I was done sewing the elastic contracted and gave the tulle that nice gather.

It's nothing fancy by any means, but it'll do. I keep seeing other garters on the blogosphere that I want to attempt (like this one), but I think I just need to let this project be. My friend Melissa did mention that she might have me sew her garter, which opens that realm of exploration back up!

Did you ever finish a project and were then tempted to do it all over thanks to too-much-inspiration?

Monday, April 5, 2010

Cold Feet?

As the wedding gets closer and closer (shout out to Bowie Bride, she's a week after me!), more people are asking me if I'm getting nervous.

I'm not nervous though, not a bit. If we run out of beer (God forbid) there's a discount liquor store down the street. If someone doesn't like something....too bad. If people get lost with the aid of the directions and map that we're providing, not my problem. If there aren't enough seats in the church, the pastor can add chairs in the vestibule. I'm just not nervous about this stuff, I'm not under the impression in any way that it's going to be a "perfect" day. I'm sure we'll think it's perfect no matter what happens.

Because we're getting married. This has been quite the revelation lately! We're getting married and I am not in the least bit nervous about it. The vows and the commitment part, what Ryan and I will be promising each nerves there.

Have you gotten this question yet, and if so, what do you say? Are you nervous?

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Ryan hates it when I brag on him, so I really try not to do it often.

But I can't help it.

I called the restaurant that we were hoping to have our rehearsal dinner at yesterday. Every time I called, I kept getting a busy tone. I was browsing the internet to see if there was another number when I found out that the restaurant had closed, putting us back to square one with the rehearsal dinner.

I told Ryan and he said "I am going to find us a place so you don't have to worry about it, you have enough to do."

Love my involved groom.