Saturday, October 13, 2012

Day 13--Centerpieces

Centerpiece decor is a lot of fun! Again, stick with your colors and style. Most centerpieces incorporate flowers however you don't have to. For centerpieces, there are few things you should consider:
  • Use odd numbers. Whether you are using vases, candles, jars, or whatever, odd numbers provide better balance.
  • Use varying heights. Whatever objects you use, have a tall, medium, and short to break it up and allow each item to be noticed.
For my centerpieces, I chose to use two different sizes of mason jars and frappucino bottles. I used two different sizes of birch slices. One was bigger for all the jars to sit on and the other I burned a heart into it. I used twine to wrap a heart-shaped doily around the biggest jar and then a colored tag around the frappucino bottle that had the date and our names. The biggest jar we filled with daisies and dahlias. The frappucino bottle had Baby's Breath in it. The smallest mason jar had pebbles and goldfish in it. All of the centerpiece items sat on a square of burlap in the center of round tables. We also made 4 different games for guests to play and had them printed on cardstock. My fiance cut pencils in half and then sharpened them all.

Here are some pictures of our centerpieces:

What did you use for your centerpieces?

Friday, October 12, 2012

Day 12--Ceremony Decorations

The decor was probably one of my favorite parts. I loved working on everything and then seeing it come to life.

When it comes to decorating for your ceremony, you need to keep your style and colors in mind. Ceremony decor includes the aisle and "altar", which often incorporate flowers. My wedding had a simple, backyard country style so I didn't want to do anything too elaborate. The backyard had an amazing view of the mountains and with the trees and fences, it already had a good amount of natural decor.

Here is the arch/arbor that we were going to have the ceremony at. This pictures obviously just shows half of it. It's in the spring time so the vine hasn't bloomed yet. I knew the greenery of the arbor would be a lot so just wanted to add some flowers in my colors and bring in some country feel with an "altar" and the aisle decoration.

My mom and I went to a flower farm to pick some flowers to plant ourselves. We were looking for simple flowers that looked like you would find them just growing wild in the country.

Dahlias are my new favorite flower ever since I started planning my wedding!

 My mom helping me get the flowers planted. We chose half barrels for the country look.

All the flowers we bought! Daisies, dahlias, and fillers.

 Finished pots!

Here is the "altar"/arbor on our wedding day. One photographer caught the other one in the picture. The arbor was so green and bountiful! I love the touch of color my half barrels added.


 Here is the "altar" up close. We used 2 haybales stacked on top of each other. To decorate the hay we laid a quilt over it. My mom had made the quilt for our engagement picture session. We had our loaf of bread and mason jar of white grape juice for communion.

 The decor along the aisle was really simple. We had 10 shepherd's hooks (5 on each side) with mason jars hung from them. We used a wired twine to wrap around the lips of the jars and make a handle to hang on the hook. We filled the jars with Baby's Breath. Simple, but very pretty.

What do you think? How did you decorate for the ceremony of your wedding?

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Day 11--Registries

This may have been one of the most overwhelming parts of wedding planning for me. How do you pick all the kitchen, bedroom, and bathroom items you want? How do you know which store to get what from? What do you do when items are no longer available and you haven't even had your showers yet? What do you do when there are several items you want from stores you can't register at?

I will start by answering the last question first because it is my favorite answer: Gift Registry 360.This site is awesome! It allows you to combine your multiple store registries into ONE list. It will link up with your online registries from Macy's, Crate and Barrel, Kohls, Amazon, Sur la Table, Target, and more. Not only that, but you can also add any item found online from any store. My fiance and I really loved this option. We had a few items we wanted from Costco, a couple from Bed, Bath, and Beyond, and some from Home Depot. Now you can register at BB&B, but we only had 2 things. So we just added them to our 360 list. We gave guests the link to our 360 list and from there they could choose anything from any of our other store registries or stand-alone items. I would highly recommend using this registry tool!

Here are the stores we registered with ranked from top to bottom with satisfaction of how the whole registry process went:
Crate & Barrel

Crate & Barrel was great! There is no store near us so we did all online registering, which is very smooth and easy to use. I would say we got about 75% of our items from this list. We have a discount card we can use for another few months on all purchases from them, love that!

Macy's was where we got all our dishes from--Fiestaware!!! We originally started at this store with a scanner. We did towels and bedding but then I later decided I didn't really like what we had picked so took it off online and went with Target options. It was nice going in the store to see colors of dishes, but when you live in a smaller city, the inventory is smaller as well so we had to do a lot online. When I went in to make returns/exchanges/completions, the lady who helped me was AMAZING. I had several receipts and different orders and colors and coupons. But she was so patient and helped get everything I needed.

Target, was honestly a pain in the butt! It is supposed to, but would not link up to our 360 site at all. After about 2 months, we got an email saying about 20 items were no longer available. And then making returns, exchanges, and completions was terrible! We got a discount completion card but I found out we could only do ONE in-store purchase and ONE online purchase. This meant I spent several hours one day sorting out what was available in my store and what was available online. Then I spent several hours the next day to actually purchase everything. The online orders did not accept my discount and I had to call customer service several times to get it straightened out. I love our items from target but not a fan of the registry system. If I had to do it over, I would ask for Target gift cards and just go and buy stuff from them without doing a registry through them.

I learned that men (at last my man) could care less about towels and sheets. Rather than put them through misery and make you upset at their disinterest (or terrible taste), just pick what you want and they will be happy with it. It was fun to let my fiance choose some tools, electronics, and camping items and give him control in those areas.

I think it is way easier to just add a ton of stuff that you love, and then sit down and look at your list online and trim things out that you have duplicates of or really don't want after all. You should have about twice as many items as invited guests I think because you will have a shower or two, plus the wedding, and some people like to buy more than one item for you. Make sure you put in an address where gifts can be sent to. It was so fun to get packages of all shapes and sizes almost every week.

It is nice and fun to be in a store with a scanner and I recommend doing that to start off. Then you can edit and keep track of your list online.

Any other tips about registries?

Here are some pictures of my fiance and I with all our gifts and then some of our wonderful items:

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Day 10--Honeymoon

Once you know the date of your wedding, you can start planning and booking your honeymoon. Here are some things you should think about in planning:
  • where do you want to go?
    • close or far?
    • tropical?
    • adventurous?
    • stateside or international?
  • how long do you want to go for?
    • short and more elaborate?
    • longer and simpler?
  • when do you want to leave?
    • the morning after your wedding?
    • a day or two after your wedding?
  • what is important?
    • nice room
    • beautiful locaton
    • activities
    • food
    • privacy
My fiance and I knew we wanted to go somewhere tropical. We also knew we did NOT want to fly out early the morning after our wedding. We instead chose two different nice hotels to stay at for our wedding night and the next night and then flew out the second morning. I really recommend this so that you get enough rest before you get on a potentially long plane ride.

We wanted to go for a week. Not too short and not too long. My fiance would only have to take one week of vacation and it would be enough time for us together to enjoy and do some fun things.

Important things to us were an all-inclusive plan and options of activities. We didn't want to spend time/money/effort finding places to eat every day. We wanted a place that had several restaurants to choose from and an all-inclusive plan so it was taken care of for us. We also wanted to be able to do a few activities while we were there.

Once we had our list of what we wanted, we started searching. We spent HOURS searching. We looked on Expedia, Travelocity, and Costco. Unfortunately, we learned that travel deals don't really exist for June-August. We searched and searched, read reviews, looked at specific hotel sites and finally chose to book through Expedia for a 6 day stay in Cabo San Lucas, Mexico. It had 6 restaurants included and we did 3 activities: ziplining, snorkel cruise, and sunset sailing.

On the sailing cruise with The Arch behind us

Lover's Beach

 We had a great honeymoon! Looking back, we did enjoy the convenience of all-inclusive but we were bummed to find out that it gave us very limited menus and we only liked half of the restaurants. Our favorite was the sushi! It was my first time eating sushi and it was so delicious!

Eruption ever!

Shrimp "tacos" I want this right now

Tucan Roll

You hear about crazy things happening to couples on their honeymoon. Whatever happens, just try to roll with it and have a good time. We missed a connecting flight home and had to spend the night in the freezing airport. But we will always remember that and be able to laugh about it!

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Day 9--Wedding Party

Who will be your MOH? (Maid of Honor) Who will be the bridesmaids? Best man? Groomsmen? Who will be ring bearer? Flower girl? Readers? Officiator?

How do you decide which people to have be a part of your special day?

Yes this topic can cause lots of drama and problems if other people in your life have expectations about their role in your wedding. Thankfully we didn't have any drama and my personal thought on that is...when it's their wedding, they can cause as much drama as they want, but for now, be quiet and put the dress/suit on! :)

Here are some tips based on my own experience.

MOH, Bridesmaids, Best Man and Groomsmen
You will need to sit down and talk with your fiance about wedding party size. Do you each want the same number of attendants? Do you want an odd or even number? (Even numbers can be nice because then with the newlywed couple you have odd numbers for pictures). Do you have people that are absolute musts like siblings?

My fiance originally wanted 8 groomsmen. This posed a problem for me because I had 5 girls in mind. Sure, I could think of others to add, but they were in pairs so I would only be able to add one and a half pairs which just wouldn't work. For him to cut back, it also came down to pairs. We talked about if having an even number of guys and girls was important. It didn't matter as much to me, but my fiance wanted it to be balanced. He did more thinking and was able to narrow it down to 5. We each have a brother so those were musts for groomsmen. He chose his brother for his Best Man, and my Maid of Honor was my best friend since childhood. We then talked about what order our wedding party would stand in and considered who they would be walking with.

I think choosing the people to stand by you on your wedding day is very important. I believe these people should be good friends who have invested in your life--friends you can always turn to if you need love, help, advice, prayer, support or anything--friends that will support you in your marriage.

Here is our good-looking wedding party:

Ring Bearer and Flower Girl
For these roles, people often turn to nieces and nephews or young cousins. Nate and I didn't have any family that was in the right age range so we went with close family friends of mine. Our dear friends who live on the farm where we had the wedding were my youth group leaders in high school and the wife is my mentor. I have known them both since before they got married and have loved watching their family grow to include 3 beautiful children. We chose their two oldest kids to be our "ring" bearer (he actually carried a sign) and flower girl. They are so special to me and did a great job! Plus I think they are just so darn cute.

Ideally, I thinkthis person should be someone that both you and your fiance know. However, we did not attend the same church so it wasn't a slam dunk answer to just choose "our" pastor. So how did we choose?

My fiance went to a larger church, and he didn't know his pastor personally. Since I was ten, my family attended a small country church and I knew my pastor well. During our time dating, Nate attended my church often and was well-acquainted with my pastor. Our other pastor options were family friends that lived out of the state. We decided to go with my pastor because of my family's relationship with him, his offer of pre-marital counseling, and Nate knowing him better than I know his pastor. He did a great ceremony and we were very happy with our choice.

How did you choose your wedding party?

Day 8--Rentals

yes...I know I am a day behind, sorry! Sometimes this Kindergarten teacher is tooooo tired to do anything but sleep.

Depending on your venue, you may need to rent a lot of pieces. If you have a venue where the tables, chairs, catering, and sound system are included, you may not need to worry about rentals very much. If however, you have a venue like will need to rent everything.

Here is a list of things you might need to rent. The underlined items are things that I rented for my wedding. Italicized items are things that I got it another way besides renting.

  • tables
  • chairs
  • tents
  • sound system (borrowed from church)
    • microphone
    • speakers
    • sound board
    • cords
  • extension cords
  • lights (borrowed from a friend)
  • heaters
  • beverage dispensers
  •  silverware (purchased from Costco)
  • dishes (purchased from Costco)
  • serveware (borrowed from church and a friend)
  • tablecloths (purchased from Smarty Had a
  • aisle runner
  • arch/arbor (already in place at venue)
  • altar (haybales)
  • decorations (made myself)
  • vases
  • cake stand & cutting utensils (borrowed from a friend)
  • outhouses and hand-washing station
Once you know your venue and approximate number of guests, you should begin researching and booking rentals as soon as possible. People reserve items for weddings many months in advance. My mom was a huge help in calling places and researching prices so we could compare. Here is a picture showing many rental items--some we did rent and some we were able to get through other means.

When you go to reserve rentals, you will most likely be asked to place a deposit. Find out how long you have until the deposit is non-refundable. Find out when you need to make another payment. You should also find out if the rental place delivers and picks up, and what is the charge?

We were really satisfied and successful with all our rentals. I think we had just the right amount of everything. The day before my wedding, the weather forecast did not look good. My dad and mom made lots of calls and figured out logistics to rent 3 extra tents at the last minute. Even though it didn't rain, I love how all the tables under the tents turned out. It was perfect!

Are there any important rental items you think I forgot? Any questions or comments about rentals?

Sunday, October 7, 2012

Day 7--Save the Dates and Invitations

Once you have picked a date and venue, you can start working on Save the Dates and Invitations.

Save the Dates are a newer trend and totally optional. Here are some things to think about to decide if you want to do Save the Dates or not:
  • how far away is your wedding? The farther away your wedding is, you may want to do Save the Dates so that guests have it reserved before they make family/vacation plans that far out.
  • how many guests will have to travel long distance? If a big number of guests will have to fly or drive a long ways, Save the Dates would be helpful so that they can make travel plans ahead of time to get good deals.
  • Save the Dates can be a great way to alert guests to your website, registries, and engagement pictures.
  • Save the Dates don't have to be expensive, in fact, they can be free!
For our Save the Dates, my dad made a postcard email with a picture of my fiance and I, the date, and a link to our website. We did have a little bit of complications in everyone viewing it the same but I loved that we did it ourselves and it was free! If you choose to do Save the Dates, you can send postcards, an email, or cards. You can make them yourselves, get postcards printed, or order it all through a vendor.

For Invitations--you should go back to your colors and style as your invitation is the first glimpse people have of your wedding. There are many vendors that will make invitations for you offering dozens of templates, fonts, wording, etc. that you can choose from.

Once again, we chose to do the invitations ourselves. It saved lots of money. We did lots of research for prices of cards and envelopes. Finally, we chose Invitation Outlet. We ordered envelopes for 5x7 cards and for small reply cards. We then bought cardstock from Staples and my dad and I created the invitations, RSVP cards, and info cards ourselves. We researched online about different wording and downloaded a pretty script font. I will  say it was a lot of work and yes some headache to get the alignment all right but once we did (and my dad was a HUGE help) it was well worth it. We took a flash drive with our PDF files to Staples along with our paper and directions of how many to print, where to cut. It worked out so great and was very cheap! I can't remember the exact price but I think including buying the cardstock, it cost less than $30 to get all our invitations, rsvp and info cards printed.

Not only did we design the invitations but then I wanted to add a cute element that tied in my colors and style. I used one of my mom's die cuts and 4 colors of cardstock to punch out 900 flowers. I then used a glue pen to stick all the flowers onto the invitations. My mom then sewed all the flowers on.

Here are our RSVP cards. We also made it an option for people to respond online at our wedding website. It was very fun getting response cards in the mail though! We did NOT include stamps for the RSVPs since we also had an online option.

If you choose to have your invitations completely made for you, do some research to find the best prices. If you choose to make them yourself, give yourself lots of time, have someone good with computers help you, double check all your important information and spelling, and make a timeline to stay on schedule with designing, printing, making, addressing, and mailing.

For addressing, some people will hire calligraphers and some will hand write themselves. It might be the "proper" thing to hand write them, I have said before, I broke rules with my wedding. Using a nice font we downloaded, my dad printed all the addresses on.

If you want to do everything the traditional way, you still can do it yourself but it just might take longer and possibly cost more. I think my way was personal, classy, and required reasonable time and money.

Invitations are such a huge thing...if you have any questions, please feel free to leave a comment and ask me!