Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Shower the people you love...

So I have been waiting for a while to share the photos from my bridal shower which took place back on February 21st with all of you lovely ladies!  Unfortunately, we've had some problems with getting the photos.  You see, my family is not as 'blogger' friendly as I would like them to be.  So they are not huge on having a camera at their disposal every 30 seconds.  I did not bring my camera as my daughter and my cousin happily brought their own and assured me they snapped photos of everything.

However, when we went to download the pics from my daughter's camera, they were all deleted!  GASP!  Seriously?  WTF?  We still don't know how it happened but they were totally gone :(

I frantically asked my cousin about the pictures she took.  She said she gots lots of pics of me opening gifts and a good amount of the decorations and details that my sister took so long creating, making and setting up.  But unfortunately, she only had like 2 pics of me with my mom and a bridesmaid.  All of the photos with me and all of the guests were on my daughter's camera!  :(

Needless to say, I was pretty bummed about the whole thing.  Then it took over a month for me to get the pics from my cousin (who is also a bridesmaid) because she is battling breast cancer right now and has been laid up in bed dealing with all kinds of healing and pain from many physical problems, tests and a surgery she just recently went through.  :(  Again, another one of the stupid health issues that we are trying to struggle through and deal with in the midst of our wedding plans.  I am really praying she feels whole and healthier by the wedding day in 3 weeks because she is super adamant about how important it is to her to be there for me in the wedding.  She even postponed her surgery to have one of the tumors removed so that she could still be in the wedding!  She's crazy but I guess the doctors were okay with it.

So, here they are.  Rather than post a ton of pics here on the blog, I just put them into a Shutterfly album.  If you click the link below the album to 'view larger' then you will be able to see all of the captions and explanations of the photos below them as the slideshow plays.



Have you had any unfortunate camera or computer related disasters where something very important, memorable or precious to you was destroyed or deleted?

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Magic makes it all better

I have been frustrated with a few vendors lately...people who go back on their word, or change the plans, or somehow mess up the plans, or who I find out have something incorrect related to the wedding.  I typically discover these issues when I am touching base via e-mail or phone to confirm things with them (that have already been confirmed months or even a year ago!). 

Well, after posting a quick blurb on my Facebook status about my frustrations yesterday, I received this comment from the magician who will be strolling amongst the guests during our cocktail hour to entertain them:



I love it!

Totally made me feel better.  I can't wait for Jeff Ezell to blow our guests' minds with his amazing magic tricks and entertainment!  He has been a fun FB friend commenting on some of my wedding related posts over the past year (we booked him last February in 2009) and definitely one of the vendors I am most excited about!

And our DJ (Justin) has been super cool with helping out while trying to get all our info together for the song selections.  And he even helped 'mediate' a little spat between me and Mr Fix It last week in our meeting when he suggested we just let every member of our wedding party come in to their own song since we couldn't agree on the songs to use.  :) 

Yesterday was yet ANOTHER day of stress and wedding related drama with the inlaws which I again will refrain from sharing due to protecting the innocent :)  But thankfully, I have most of my vendors who get me focused and excited for our big day!

Do/Did any of you ladies have a vendor who helps make you feel better when you are stressed out or frustrated with other people or vendors during your wedding planning?

Monday, March 29, 2010

Do you need us there, too?

Ya know, I'm only getting married once in my life.  And I've waited 37 years for the right man to wed.  So it is kind of a big deal that I have my closest family and friends there along for the ride.

When I asked my sweet cousin, E (cousin by marriage, to my cousin, M) to be one of my bridesmaids, she cried.  It was awesome!  Not that I want to make people cry but that I had that kind of relationship that she was touched and honored to join me while taking my vows.  And of course, when it came time for the rehearsal (just 17 days from now!), I invited her along with her husband (my cousin, M) and their two children - the little girl who is my flower girl.

So when we were hanging out yesterday at my grandmother's house with the entire family, I was a little caught off guard when my Aunt S (M's mom) asked me if the rehearsal was only for the bridesmaids.  What does that mean?  At first, I thought she was asking if she and my uncle were invited to the dinner.  But then she said "You only need the girls to rehearse, right?  Like you don't need M and C (my little cousin) for the rehearsal, right?"  So I said, "No, only the girls *need* to be there. Why?" 

Aunt S:  "Well, because we are trying to do something with E & A (my other two cousins who are flying in from TN for the wedding) while they're in town and that is the only night that we have open.  So we want M & C to come with us while E & T (Bridesmaid and Flower girl) are rehearsaing."

What was I supposed to say?  I told her that was fine but really I was disappointed because I really wanted my cousins there with us at the dinner after the rehearsal.  Plus on top of that, we have booked the restaurant for 45 people and now it looks like only 37 are coming to the dinner.  So I have to call and make sure that is going to be okay.  So with those two not coming, that drops off another 2 people to meet our minimum at the restaurant.

Why do people always want to change things last minute?  Why don't people realize that to make your wedding run smoothly and not stress you out, all you want is for them to stick to the plan and not throw any loops your way or not make things more difficult?

There was more that unfolded this week (totally unrelated) to add to the wedding weekend timeline - stuff I would normally be on board with but really don't want to try to 'squeeze' in right in the middle of all else that is going on.  But I will not share that story now for sake of protecting the innocent.

Did you have any guests, family or friends throw unexpected changes into your guest lists or wedding related events?

Saturday, March 27, 2010

A super busy weekend

Today is MOVING DAY!!!

I am just taking the final things out of my dresser and living room so that the guys can grab our furniture in a few hours. 

I started assembling my programs Thursday night and am trying to do 10-20 per day.  I also need to start assembling the escort cards which I just printed up all the name tags and sticker labels for yesterday. 

Tomorrow we are having a family lunch at my grandmother's house (about an hour and a half away) since we expect this will most likely be the last time that our entire family is able to be with my grandmother*.  While we are there, Mr Fix It will stay home and work on building our cake stand, attaching a stand to our 'This Way to the Wedding Sign' and finishing up some work around the house.  He'll be missed but at this point, we just don't have the ability to take many 'days off.'  There's too much to do still.

This next week I finally have totally free of any appointments - personal or wedding related.  So I can just focus on getting the final details planned out and going over my checklists in my mind. 

20 days to go!  

*  But you never know, my Grandma is tough as nails and could end up hanging on for much longer than the hospice nurses have led us to believe :)

Thursday, March 25, 2010

I'm a big fan - of our FAN programs!

Thank you SO much all you lovely ladies who overwhelmed me with wonderful encouragement in comments on yesterday's post.  Though the rest of the day led to more wedding related frustration (post tomorrow), the night ended with us having our final menu tasting.  We do in fact LOVE our caterer, Steve of La Finestra and are excited for the yummy food he's providing as well as how amazingly accommodating he has been.  So things are moving along on the wedding front. 

The last thing I just finished were the final elements of our stationery.  Let me tell you that getting the invitations designed and done up was a LONG process - but well worth it.  The benefit is that now that I have the same girl (company) making the rest of our stationery items, she has all the colors and design elements and knows what I am looking for. 

She has just shipped the programs for the ceremony and has the place cards and some reserved seating cards in production.  For the program, again, I wanted something a little different.  When I first found these 'fan' programs on blogs and web sites, I fell in love with them.  Even though they've probably become a bit more popular, I still love the idea.  Here were the inspiration pictures I shared with Stacia of Serendipity Designs:

How cute is this program (ok, it's not a fan -
but I love the little images of guys and girls for how they listed the bridal party!)


Here's some of the great fan programs I love:





This one is actually an entire stationery set:





This one was from the wedding that inspired my color scheme:
Joyful Events Wedding Coordination

Joyful Events Wedding Coordination

And here's the proofs of what Stacia came up with for our own program:


These are the lyrics to the song that I will walk down the aisle to...we are having them printed on the back of the ceremony page of the program:
And here is our final product!!!












Did you put much thought into your programs?  Was there anything unique or significant / special about them?

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Can't you just do one thing for the wedding?!?

Well, here we are...just 23 days away from our wedding day.  Holy smokes!

I have been busy for sure and am so bummed I have not been able to comment on many of my fellow blogs I follow.  I have noticed that comments here on my own blog have been dwindling due to my lack of visiting other blogs :(  Please bare with me...it has just been crazy busy.

The good news is, that my house is almost completely packed up.  We are moving the furniture on Saturday.  I've applied for our marriage license online so we will pick that up in a week or so.  My programs are being shipped to me right now so I can assemble them (post coming tomorrow).  I finally got the pictures from my bridal shower (post coming next Tuesday).  I will be putting together escort cards in the next week or two.  I got me and Mr Fix It's Australian visas.  I am in the midst of final planning meetings and picking out our menu tonight.  Things are definitely getting done.

Overall, I've been feeling goodNot anxious, not stressed, not feeling dizzy or sick.  But now things are getting all drama again.  My mom is seriously losing it.  She lets every little thing get to her.  Understandable since she is working like crazy and also in the middle of a move (she's moving back into the condo I am about to move out of).  And of course her mother (my grandma) is dying and continues to go down hill each week.  At this rate, we are fearful that she may pass the week of our wedding.  Please pray that does not happen. 

And this past week, my daughter had a melt down over having to move 25 minutes away.  It is a long story but basically, her dad lives about 10-15 minutes from us and he has her a few days out of each week.  So on the days she is with dad (2 during school week), he drives her to school which is near our current house.  Well, I told her that she won't have to switch schools once we move into Mr Fix It's place...we'll just make the 25 minute drive to school each morning on the 2 or 3 days she is with me.  Not a big deal really.  But she thinks it's the end of the world and she is going to be 'isolated' from her friends.  Granted, she will have her license in a year and I am sure will have a car to drive herself around.  But it all came out yesterday and she and I got in a big fight about it.  My fear is she is going to go running to her father wanting to move in with him and I will be devastated.  Not what I want to be dealing with 3 weeks before our wedding (and move).

So yesterday, when I told Mr Fix It that our venue is going to require us to rent a generator to play the video on the tv's I rented for our ceremony, he flipped out.  I asked him if someone out of the 15-20 people who will be staying at his house (and mostly in our wedding party) from his family could pick up the generator on their way to the venue on the day of the wedding.  He went off on how none of them has a car to do this or whatever.  I stayed calm for a while.  And then I snapped at him:

"I have been doing EVERYTHING for this wedding and I ask you and your family to handle one simple task of picking something up when they are on their way to the venue and you can't just handle it for me?!  I am paying for it, I reserved it, I can handle getting it returned the next day, and I got the DJ to agree to unload, load and set it all up for us." 

He finally calmed down and said he'd see if his brother could help out.  I kept reminding him how we have not asked our family or wedding party to do anything at all regarding this wedding other than pay for the clothes we picked out for them and show up in their dress or tux on the day of.  Is that so difficult to ask ONE person to pick something up for us?   ARGH!

Then, after he left, his sister in law happened to call me and I told her about his little blow up.  She lives about 5 minutes from me with Mr Fix It's brother (her husband).  She said that since her hubby and son (our Jr Groomsmen) were going to be getting ready for the wedding and the pictures, she had no problem driving 15 or 20 minutes to pick up the generator for us and bring it with her when she comes for the family pictures.  I was so grateful and glad that was easily handled.  Of course, *I* am the one who got it handled...not Mr Fix It.  Whatever.

At least it's done.  I have a feeling most of the posts leading up to the wedding are going to be more of my rants and full of emotion rather than full of all of the ideas, items, and plans I've been blogging about for the past several months :)  Bare with me!

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Duck, duck, duck....goose!

Seating assignments are one of those things that are a matter of personal opinion at weddings.  There are several reasons why some do and some don't choose to assign guests to specific tables or seats.  And neither way is right or wrong, it's really just what works for you.

I have heard many people say they like being able to find whoever they want to sit with at a wedding because they know their friends or that really cute guy they're hoping to hook up with on the dance floor.  Then others say they appreciate having assigned seats because they don't have to do deal with the awkwardness of intruding on someone's table or feeling like they don't know anyone at the wedding so they aren't sure where to go. 

For me, I definitely wanted to assign seats.  Mostly because we wanted family closest to the dance floor and center of the room and because we know our family and friends and so we know who they will best click with at a table. 

For some people, trying to figure out the seating arrangements is a nightmare filled with lists of names that get crossed off and re-written in or bunches of 3 x 5 cards or little tags that get moved all over a large table or piece of paper or whatever.  But for me, well, 3 years ago when my sister got married I found this cool little online seating program for your computer.  I figured I'd share some of the features and screen shots as I have begun to assign our guests to seats.  Check it:

I imported all of my guests from an Excel spreadsheet I had created.  The program lets you add in individuals or groups (families, couples, etc).  You can enter names, addresses, contact info, etc.  It also lets you select if the guest is male or female and an adult or child.  As you can see from the list, I used the 'Notes' section to add in their relationship to the Bride & Groom. There are several columns for you to see what table they have been 'Assigned' to and you can list VIP people.  The little yellow envelopes reflect that an invitation has been sent.  Green check marks reflect that they've accepted and blue X's reflect that they declined.  This is the individual Guests view sorted by last name.



This is the Groups view which sorts the list by groups of couples or families.  Here you will also note that some guests have been assigned to tables.


This is a silly little view to show you how children are differentiated in your lists:  Check out the 'smaller' little pink or blue person next to the guests on the left.

Once all the guests have been imported, you move through some different steps (if you so choose) to add in things like which guests should be sat near each other or in the same proximity.  You can also put in information to reflect which guests should NOT be sat anywhere near each other.  Especially helpful for some of those unfortunate drama moments you are trying to prevent.  As you move through to the next screens, you can see below that there are some tabs for viewing several different types of layouts of your guests and tables.  You can view an overall floor plan (this is the one I mostly use).  Or you can view a schematic, table plan (lists each individual table on it's own page), table chart (shows all of the tables in a list format), guest chart (lists all of the guests in alphabetical order with their table assignments and even seat assignments if you choose and finally the statistics tab (shown below).


Here is a closer view of the Statistics tab which I use often.  It shows you totals of how many guests have been invited, accepted, declined, etc.  It also breaks down how many male and female guests and how many children and adult guests you have.  There are stats on how many guests have been assigned to a seat.  A very cool feature is that you can even track Meal choices as the RSVP's roll in.  We totally used this at my sister's wedding to give to the caterer.  They were able to see which guests had which meals at each table/seat assignment and how many totals of each type of meal they needed instantly. 



After you have entered all the guests' info and have begun collecting RSVP's, you can then create a floorplan.  It's a pretty user friendly program.  You simply create tables: round, square or rectangular and input the dimensions of each table.  List how many people will be sitting at each table and then drag and drop it around your room for where the table can/should be placed.  This is especially helpful for those who have to design their own room layouts.  For us, our rental company already works with our venue and knows the property so they created our room layout themselves and e-mailed it to me.  Then I just recreated the layout in the seating program.  You'll see in the room layout I created below that our dance floor is in the center of the room.The little pink and blue circle you see at the top of the dance floor will be me and Mr Fix It's sweetheart table in front of the fireplace.  The big square off to the left represents the bar and the other two long rectangular areas at the bottom of the room are outside patio areas.  All of these floor plans can be zoomed in and out and have options to switch the views and ways you can see the layout and guest assignments.  And everything can be printed up as well.



In this view, you can see that I've begun to fill in seating assignments.  The pink and blue circles represent male and female guests.  And the smaller circles represent children.  This is helpful for our coordinator as well so that when they are putting favors out, they can easily see where the kids favor boxes will be placed at each table.  And though you can't see it on this shot, there are names of the guests printed within each circle.  On the left side of the screen, you can see that some guests have table numbers next to them in the 'Assigned' column.  This is helpful because you can sort the list and it will show you all the unassigned guests so you can see if you've forgotten to seat anyone.


Here's a closer view of the shot.


What I love is that I can easily print out reports to share with my caterer and coordinator as well as large floor plans of the room to give them so they know where to place favors, place cards, etc.  And by using a computer program, you can easily drag and drop guests around the tables and room as you need to make changes or if someone cancels or sneaks in near the end.  The program will even 'Auto Assign' all the guests for you based on groups and what not and then you can go in and adjust them as needed. 

There is so much I love about this program!  It has made handling my seating assignments so much easier. 

They have updated the version since I bought mine 3 years ago so I am sure there are a lot more helpful features and better report options than what I have.  And it's only $29.95 to buy and you can even download a free 14 day trial!  Check it out here:  Perfect Table Plan

Have you decided to use assigned seating for your guests?  If so, how are you tackling the task of figuring out your floor plan and charts?

Monday, March 22, 2010

The Price of Beauty

I'm not usually too huge on getting all done up and worrying about my looks.  I know that's kind of good and bad.  But when you work in an office pretty much by yourself (my boss stops in once in a while), there's no one to really impress every day.  So my wardrobe consists of jeans, flip flops and comfy tanks or shirts.  I rarely ever wear any makeup at all, though I do make sure to cleanse my face and then moisturize it every day.  I blow dry my hair each morning (usually) but never curl it or put any product in it at all.

So why is it that now that I am getting married I am suddenly so concerned with looks type things and finding myself giving in to the beauty regimens that are available to us in this day and age?

Growing up, I never waxed any part of my body at all.  Hell, in my mid-20's my roommate told me that she couldn't handle looking at my bushy eyebrows anymore and made me start getting them waxed regularly but that was the extent of any outside help I ever received :)

Of course, when I know I have a cool vacation or super special event coming up, I will hit a tanning salon for a month before the big day so that I have a healthy glow and dark skin.  I do look better tanned...there's just no doubt about that.  But I would never do that on a regular basis and I just don't have time to lay out at a pool or beach.

Yet, here I am, 25 days before the wedding and I have been putting myself through some unfortunate torture.

A few months ago I started having almost my entire body waxed:  eyebrows, upper lip, legs (from the knee down) and full bikini area.  Now, I told you I've had my eyebrows waxed on a regular basis so I didn't think it'd be that big a deal to add in the rest of my body.  HA!!! Boy, was I wrong!  Waxing is pure torture.  I mean, it has it's benefits for sure.  But it is pure pain.  And then you can't shave in between waxings or it defeats the whole purpose of what you're trying to achieve so I turned into a hairy beast for the first few months while we were starting up :(

On top of that, I have to waste 15 minutes a day in a tanning salon as well right now in the midst of all the other crap that I am trying to accomplish.

I have visited my hair stylist's salon many more times than usual trying to work out a good hair style and color.  She and her husband are invited to the wedding, by the way - as well as my aestetician who does my waxings and facials :)

This Thursday, I will be getting Botox around my eyes to get rid of those horrible lines that show up when I smile.  I am not paying a couple grand for photos that have to all be edited just to make me look younger.

And of course I hired a stylist to do my hair and makeup for the wedding.  Not only is all of this stuff either painful or inconvenient but it is also just ridiculously expensive!

Overall, I will be so glad when the wedding is over and I can be done with all this beauty crap and just go back to being the normal regular Mrs Beever :) that Mr Fix It thinks is beautiful.

My recommendation for all of you who sweat like pigs just like me:  Dry Idea Clinical  It can be bought over the counter and is just as strong as a prescription deodorant but without the pain those can bring.  I have had perspiration problems my entire life and not until I found this deodorant a year or two ago has anything ever worked for me! 

Have any of you gorgeous ladies put yourselves through hell to try to make yourself more beautiful?  Is it worth it?

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Our Wicked Wedding Website

One of my favorite things about our wedding was the web site I created the month after we got engaged.  Back in January of 2009 I set up a site through http://www.weddingwindow.com/.  It's not free like many other sites, but I believe it offers way more than most of those free sites do. And at only $89 for 18 months worth of hosting, it was well worth the cost!

I have used it to communicate everything to our guests (family and friends): 

*  Stories about our relationship, proposal and backgrounds
*  Pictures and info about our ceremony and reception and venue
*  Collecting address information from guests
*  Receiving messages and congrats from guests via the Guestbook
*  Listing info and pics about our wedding party members
*  Collecting online RSVP's for not only the wedding but other events like showers, rehearsal, etc.
*  Sharing a calendar of events with guests about all wedding related activities
*  Listing gift registry info as well as links directly to our registries with store sites
*  Sharing a special blog, updates and news info with our guests
*  Providing contact information as well as directions to all wedding related events with maplinks directly to sites for guests to get directions
*  Providing travel and hotel information
*  Sharing fun things like Then and Now photos of the wedding party, a quiz all about me and Mr Fix It, games and puzzles using pictures of us, and other photos and video
*  Sharing information about our honeymoon details
*  Having a special page dedicated to the memory of those who have passed that are special to us
*  Providing info and references regarding all of our vendors
*  Sharing information about our house and new address

The cool thing about this site is that you can password protect the entire site or specific pages if you'd like.  You can also customize so many of the templates and add photos and video throughout the site. 

I absolutely love it and we have gotten great feedback from our guests about it as well.  One of my favorite things is they let you put the entire site on a CD when you are finished with it so you can keep it as a keepsake forever.

You can check out our site here:  http://www.staceyandjohn.weddingwindow.com/

Do you have a wedding web site?  What do you love about it?

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Moving Day and House Renovations

With just 27 days to go until the wedding, yesterday and today have been more pre-moving moving days.  A week from today, I will officially be moved in to Mr Fix It's home with my daughter.  Though technically, we won't be staying there until after the wedding day, all of our furniture will be moved in just a week from now.*

So tonight is my bachelorette party.  I am looking forward to just hanging out and having some fun socializing, food and laughs with my closest girlfriends.  But before the night begins, I am taking advantage of the fact that Mr Fix It is on his bachelor party in Vegas and moving in a bunch of stuff I can tackle on my own into his house. 

I also hired a maid service to come out this morning and clean the house from top to bottom since we're getting so close to being finished with all the house renovations.  There's a lot going on as usual...but this was a productive week.  Now, by next Saturday, I should (totally praying the Lord helps me out on this one) be able to completely done with all the 'work' that needs to be handled before the wedding.  I will be almost completely finished with all the DIY assembling and I won't be doing any more physical labor type work leading up to the big day for those last 20 days.  I'll be relaxing, getting massages, packing for the honeymoon and getting all our gear together that has been packed in the 'wedding storehouse**' for the past year!

So cool...totally almost there now!

*  I currently rent a condo from my mother.  She is moving back into the condo the same weekend that we are moving all of our furniture into Mr Fix It's place.  So I won't be homeless.  I'll just be living with my mom in my same house for the last two weeks leading up to the wedding.  Only it will technically be her home now and not mine anymore :)
**  aka the secret water heater storage area behind my daughter's closet.

Friday, March 19, 2010

Where do I sit?!?

Have you ever heard of 'within the ribbon' cards?  Many, many years ago they were something I came across that a girlfriend decided to include in her invitations for her wedding.  Basically, for the 'privileged' or family guests at your wedding, you are providing them a little card that says they shall be seated 'within the ribbon' at the ceremony.  They present the card to an usher who then takes them up to the front of the ceremony aisles.  I don't know that I would give guests cards like that, but I do know that I want the front rows of our ceremony aisles reserved for family. 

I came across some great inspiration pics via my stationery lady, Stacia of Serendipity Design.  I asked her to create signs for me to place on chairs at the ceremony like these:



This week I got the samples in the mail!!!  Here's the reserved chair cards that we will be having made to place on specific chairs and rows at our wedding:



We will place one of these cards on the end chair of the front row aisles to show which family members should sit there.  This way, our ushers just need to ask the guests if they are family and then if they are, they ask them their last name and seat them in the corresponding row.  I know, I know...some people think this is TOO planned and overboard with the organization.  What can I say?  I am a control freak :)

Oh, and here's what the cards will look like that will go on the chairs for the Mother of the Bride and Mother of the Groom:



Then for the reception, I have another little thing for the guests.  Everyone does the 'menu cards' at place settings nowadays.  But I never liked those...unless you are getting served a plated meal and want to be sure you know what you're eating.  But for us, we're having a buffet, so the menu cards will be placed on the buffet tables of course - no need for one at each place setting. 

I did have some fun info to share with the guests though that I thought would be helpful for them.  And I also wanted something to show them where to sit at their table.  I decided instead of tucking a menu card into each guest's napkin, we could tuck a helpful 'info' card into their napkin and at the top of each card would be the guest's name peeking out so they know where to sit. 

Here's what they look like, though I did ask Stacia to please move the guest's name down a bit on the page and make it larger so it stands out more:



They will stick out of the napkins similar to this photo:


So that's the stationery stuff I have going on right now.  Just trying to finalize the last of the RSVP's so we can get the placecards printed up...only 17 more people to chase down!!!

Have you given any thought to where you want people to sit at your ceremony and reception?  Do you care?  Are you trying to find some creative ways to direct guests to their seats or reserve seats?

** And stay tuned for a post about how to do easy 'seat assignments' on this Tuesday!

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Honey, honey - give us money!!!

Is that totally inappropriate?  :) 

I want to tell you about one of our gift registries today.  It's through a site called http://www.honeyfund.com/.  I heard about them from a girlfriend who married about a year and a half ago.  I think I may have told her about the idea actually and then she found the site.



Anyway, nowadays, you can opt to register for things like toasters, bedding, appliances, honeymoon travel plans and even a down payment on a new house!  You heard me.  Real Estate Agents can set up accounts for your guests to contribute to your down payment if you'd like.  I don't think I would personally go that far.  But when I heard about the opportunity to register for our honeymoon I was all over it!  Mostly because we don't need a whole ton of things for our new house since we are an 'older' more established couple.   (My girlfriend opted for the honeymoon registry because they moved into a super tiny one bedroom little studio place and didn't have room for a ton of new 'household' items.)

So, the cool thing about a honeymoon registry is that basically, your guests are just giving you cash really.  But they have different options of how to give it to you - through our site, they can pay with cash, check or using a debit or credit card via Paypal.  Of course, through Paypal, you do have to pay approximately a 3% fee on any monies received...but if you get $2,000 in gifts, then you are only paying $60 in fees.  Not bad.  And you might get more money if guests can put it on a credit card?  (You can even select an option to pass the fees onto the guests if you so choose.)

The main reason I wanted to go this route (instead of just letting guests give us cash) was because it allows your guests to feel like they are contributing a specific gift or something fun and exciting for your trip.  My sister's mother-in-law thought our site was a great idea and was excited to give us a gift of $100 yesterday towards our Resort Stay in Bali.  She doesn't have to know that in reality, the $100.00 goes into my checking account and I can use it for whatever I want - a room or groceries.  :)  Here's some of the items we registered for from our site:





It's a simple process to sign up and register for free and you can create a custom web site geared towards your trip - they even have sample vacations to suggest for you!  Here's what our site looks like:



Through honeyfund.com they offer the guests the ability to write out a message that is printed on a gift certificate with the guests' names, message and amount of gift and what they selected to give towards.  The certificates look something like this and they can include them in a card:



So what do you think?  Have you decided to go a similar route?  Did you do any unusual type of registries for your own wedding?

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

What the mom's are wearing

So Mr Fix It and I are not spring chickens at 47 and 37 years old.  Which means our moms are also a little older than maybe your average bride's mom :)  But who knows?  Maybe not.  People always say my mom looks like my sister.  She's only 18 years older than me.  Mr Fix It's mom is actually his step-mom as his real mother passed away years ago.  However, his step-mother has been married to his father for 40 years now and he calls her mom and thinks of her as such, so we don't make any distinction.  She is, afterall, the mother to his three half siblings. 

Anyway, I wanted our moms to feel comfy *and* dressy on our wedding day.  And I wanted them in age appropriate attire.  (My mom can tend to go for things that I think are a little younger than her years should allow.)  But I also didn't want to put any huge restrictions or demands on them.  So I was thrilled when we found a dress for mom that is truly flattering on her figure that we actually both love!  Not only that, but it is a very complimentary color to my girls' dresses and our wedding colors.

My mom will be in this Marc Bouwer Glammit draped gown with a little chiffon bolero:




But hers will be in this pretty dark teal color:



And Mr Fix It's mother has opted to wear a dress that her daughter picked out for her at her wedding a few years ago.  I think it matches the style and formality of my mother's gown well:

                                          

We scored on the Marc Bouwer gown as it went on sale right after Thanksgiving for $200 less than what it was listed at!  And since Mr Fix It's mom already had her gown, she obviously didn't have to come up with any extra cash. 

Have you ladies decided what your moms will be wearing on the big day?  Did you have much input or requests for them as to how you wanted them to dress?

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

ONE MONTH TO GO!!!!

Do you see this?  It's on the bottom of my blog today!




That's right, only ONE MONTH TO GO until our wedding!  Holy crap (I say that a lot nowadays)!

I am actually not stressed out right now - even with all the uncertainty in our lives with the health of my grandma and our pitbull and a lot of personal issues going on with my mom and sister and with our move and house renovations and with our finances.  I feel like maybe I can finally get excited.  I feel surprisingly calm - even though I have a to-do list that still feels a mile long only there's no longer a year or six months to handle it all :)

We are almost finished with the house renovations.  We move in all of our stuff a week from this Saturday!  But my daughter and I won't officially move in until after the wedding.  The house is definitely in order enough to where we can comfortably move in.  It is being cleaned and Mr Fix It is finishing up with the major renovations.  I keep telling him not to stress about painting the base boards and door frames and installing new carpet in the living room and hallway and our master bedroom.  Those things can wait until we get back from the honeymoon.  But he's pretty insistent about wanting to get it all done before the wedding.  We'll see how that goes. 

For now, it feels real.  Scary.  Exciting.  Overwhelming.  I have accomplished so much.  I have lots of 'paperwork' type things to handle with regards to the wedding (things like getting our marriage license, Australian visas, insurance coverage from our caterer, finalizing to-do lists with the coordinator) but all the planning is almost all done (need to finalize our song selections and grand entrance but we're very close).  The last of the DIY projects and favors are being assembled in the week or two to come.  My video will be done in about a week.  We'll be running out to pick up some gift certificates as gifts to our guys in the wedding in the next couple weeks.  It is almost time.  So surreal.

31 days to go...how long do you have to go and how do you feel at this point in your engagement?

Monday, March 15, 2010

Need some advice from fellow creative brides!

Ok, so after the ceremony and the cocktails and once all the pictures have been taken and the formalities of the evening are mostly over, it's time for the party to begin - the reception!

Of course, the big kick off to the reception is the grand entrance and introduction of the bride and groom and their wedding party.  You can always go the traditional route and just get the crowd (your guests) up on their feet and cheering and clapping for everyone.  We did this at my sister's wedding and it was super fun.  Lots of excitement in the room. 

Then you have the silly wedding parties who maybe like to dance their way in as each couple (bridesmaid and groomsmen) is announced and enters the room.  A friend had their wedding party line up on one side of the dance floor and when the bride and groom entered, they ran down the 'line' of the wedding party high fiving them all.  Kind of like when football players or basketball players enter onto a field or court.

These are totally fine (and fun) ways to come on in.  But many brides/grooms opt for a low key mellow entrance - some even only have the bride and groom announced instead of the entire wedding party.

We definitely want something fun and big and different.  Something exciting and to get the crowd pumping.  But we also really want something that speaks to our interests and who we are personally.  So I actually came up with an idea that Mr Fix It fell in love with - FINALLY!  Another win - something he was excited about.  :)

We've shared the idea with our DJs who will be announcing our grand entrance and they are on board.  But we still need to fine tune some things and so I thought I'd ask to see if any of you ladies (or guys cuz this one's for you for sure) had any suggestions or ideas to throw my way?

What we're doing:  We love to watch mixed martial arts (MMA) fights...you know, like the UFC (Ultimate Fighting Championship).  The stuff you see on pay-per-view or Spike TV.  We have several friends who will be at the wedding and share this love with us - we hang at each other's houses having 'fight nights.' 

So we decided that we wanted our wedding party introduced the same way that fighters are introduced when they enter the stadium (or ring, octagon, whatever).  If you've ever watched a fighter enter it's kind of funny.  Some act all tough and mad dog faced and have hard core metal or gangsta rap songs playing while others are all crazy and full of energy dancing around and singing to some song.  Here's a good one:


The songs they enter to are supposed to represent their personality, toughness, or just who they are.  So we are having each couple enter as if they're entering the ring for a match.

How we're doing it:  The DJ will play a different song for each couple as they're announced.  The guys will all enter from one side of the room and the girls from the other (one couple at a time).  So they will make their way through the tables and end up meeting each other on the dance floor in the center of the room.  We're telling our wedding party to go crazy with this and act all tough and like they're going to fight each other, or to just have fun and maybe dance or whatever.  Whatever they feel comfortable with.

The DJ will announce each couple a la Bruce Buffer.  Here's a sample of what we're trying to achieve:


We'll have our DJ change the words so that it goes something like this:

"And now, the moment of truth, wedding fans around the world have been waiting for!  Live, from the incredible estate of Rancho Las Lomas in Orange County, California - it's time!  Coming - out of the groom's corner - weighing in at 200 lbs and hailing from the beautiful city of Laguna Niguel, CA, it's the Electrifying Todd Baxter!"

Then for the girls we'll do the same thing but say "Arriving out of the bride's corner - stepping onto the dance floor at a height of 4' 10" and proving that big things DO come in small packages - it's Debbie the Diva Pelichowski!"

We know ladies don't want to share their weight with the world.  Anyway, we're trying to come up with some fun songs for each couple to enter to - upbeat stuff - maybe hard core for the 'fighting' spoof part of it.  And we also need some great nicknames for each person. 

So that's where you come in - any ideas for some silly or fun nicknames or for some song selections?

For the songs, remember that only the best (appropriate) parts of the songs will be used, like the chorus or intro or the part that goes with what we're doing.  So it will only be like 30 to 45 seconds per song and the DJ will cue it up to the right part and mix them all together.  So far, we're thinking of these for our playlist:

My daughter wants to use the chorus from the New Boyz song "Tie Me Down"...it's kinda fun:

The other songs we have so far are:

Let it Rock by Kevin Rudolph (My personal fave)


Bodies by Drowning Pool (a total fighter's song for sure and Mr Fix It's first choice)


And for me and Mr Fix It, when it's time for us to come in, the DJ will announce "And now, for the main event of the evening!"  And we will most likely use Queen's "We Will Rock You".  The DJ said our venue has this great thing about it (because of how old it is) to where if we start this song and get all the guests clapping their hands and stomping their feet to the beat, the whole room/floor will shake!  Kinda fun, right?


We also want to get the DJ to have the lights darker with lots of strobe lights and flashing lights and such as we all come in.  I am even thinking about getting a cute boxers robe and gloves to wear over my gown - since I have a feeling Mr Fix It might do something silly like rip his shirt off!




So girls - straighten me out...are we crazy to do this?  Should I go for the boxer's robe or will it look silly over my big ball gown?  Do you have any suggestions for nicknames or songs that we can use? 

Have you given any thought to what you'll do for your grand entrance or are you going the simple traditional quick intro route?

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Famous people at our wedding!

So I showed you a little sneak peek of my super fun and exciting wedding video that I am playing at the ceremony in just 34 days!  I absolutely cannot wait for all our guests to see our story unfold before their eyes with fun pictures, music and videos of our relationship. 

Well, it's almost done!  Thank the Lord!  I only have just a few more shots to add in sometime in the next week or two and then I will post the entire thing online to share with all of you :)

But for now, I thought I'd share the amazing little story of how that video came to be.  I'm going to try to be brief and do the abbreviated version that began all the way back mid-summer 2009:

*  Searched YouTube for creative and fun wedding montage videos
*  Found a film student who made a cool little spoof of A&E's Biography for her wedding video
*  Asked her if she could make one for me, she wanted over $500 for an 8 minute video!  Said "No thanks, I'll do it myself."
*  Copied her script from her video and rewrote it to fit our lives and story and began editing together all of our pictures and video
*  Since she wouldn't let me pay her to share her audio and video clips, I began searching YouTube to find the songs and videos she used from YouTube. Found them on the site, googled how to download videos off of YouTube (a little program via Mozilla Firefox browser) and had everything I needed to recreate her video*
*  The only thing I didn't have that she did was the voice over actor to narrate the story.  This was going to be the hard part.  She said the bulk of her fees to make the videos went to the voice over actors.  And how the heck was I going to find a voice over actor that would make this thing all come together?  I mean the narration - that voice - *IS* the one thing that makes the spoof feel very 'Hollywood.'

Well, I have said before that my daughter's Aunt and Uncle work for Jay Leno.  So I called them first and asked if they knew anyone in the industry that could help me out who would 'sound like the narrator from the E! True Hollywood Story episodes and work for dirt cheap since I was a single mom on a budget.'  She said she could talk to John Melendez, the announcer on the Tonight Show and ask him if he'd do it for like $50.  I thought that was super cool, but his voice wasn't exactly the right type.  So I began to google 'voice over actors.'  And I found it!

I came across this site that allowed VO actors to post their resumes and clips of their demos or past work.  You can upload / e-mail your script to them and they can contact you with a quote and info on how they can help you out.  You're basically hiring them over the internet.  There is no face to face or phone interaction even necessary as everything can be done via e-mail.  They record your script in their home or office recording studios and then e-mail the audio files to you or ship them to you on DVD's or whatever.  You pay most of them via PayPal or their own online payment service.  So cool!

Well, sort of cool - because several of them came back with quotes that were still high - ranging from $300-$650!!! 

But then, I found him!  A guy named Jimmy Hodson.  I listened to his demos...his voice was amazing!  He has done all kinds of promo trailers for movies like the Devil Wears Prada, The Hills Have Eyes, Cheaper by the Dozen and on and on.  He is an announcer for FOX's college football game day and is also the voice of the Divorce Court on tv!  I e-mailed him my request and script along with the YouTube link to the video the other girl had made so he could see what I was trying to achieve.  He responded back almost immediately and said he could record the script for me the next day and e-mail it back!  And he was willing to accept whatever I could afford as payment for all of this.  SCORE!

I was uber excited.  And that was how I found Mr Jimmy Hodson...super cool and super giving talented famous voice over actor.  In the course of our conversations, he mentioned that he is married to a producer at E! and that they are friends with the guy who is actually *THE* voice of the E! True Hollywood Story.  He said he could have talked to him about helping me out with doing this but I really loved his voice the best and told him I was super happy to have him do the work for me. 

So that's how we have a famous person involved in our wedding, well, our video at least :)  And when you see the video in the next week or two, you'll realize that he is not the only famous person we enlisted to put this little creation together ;)  Stay tuned....

*  Some may think it's kind of cheesy to 'steal' someone else's idea.  But the fact is, though I copied the idea in general and the format is very similar, I did change a lot of the song selections and obviously the story and photos and videos are for the most part all personal to me and Mr Fix It - they're OUR photos and videos.  Besides, I always say there are no original ideas, just something that was recreated from a past version.  And on top of that, she did put it on YouTube for the whole world to see.  Don't we all steal stuff off of YouTube at one point or another?  I mean, isn't that why we all join those stupid Facebook groups as Fans - so we can relate to others and share in the same stuff they have done or believe in? 

Saturday, March 13, 2010

I'm not kissing for glasses clinking!

So you know the tradition...you're at your wedding reception and some guy in the back of the room decides to pick up his knife and start banging it on his wine glass.  Suddenly, everyone in the room catches on and does the same and the bride and groom are somehow forced to kiss one another in an effort to get all their idiot guests to stop banging on the china they are renting from an expensive caterer!

Well, maybe that's not the right perspective on that whole thing...but you get my point.  Who started that fiasco anyway?  I believe it was a middle aged man who had repressed his inner desires to become Alex Van Halen and always longed to be a hard rock drummer.

Anyway, I refuse to do that at my own wedding.  So when the guests start clinking those glasses at some point after we've made our entrance (as I know they will), we will suddenly have the DJ make an announcement.  The guests are going to have to 'work' for that kiss if they want to see us smooch!

This is a new trend that started several years ago.  I've seen some fun ideas for this at weddings I've attended.  One of my favorites is having the emcee or DJ announce that if the guests want the bride and groom to kiss, they need to stand up at their table (with all the guests at their table) and serenade the bride and groom with a song that has the word LOVE in it.  This was fun...we did it at a friend's wedding and sang the chorus from the Bon Jovi hit "You give love a bad name."  I thought that was funny.

Well, for us, we are going to keep it a little less embarassing.  Remember back when I shared my centerpiece mockups that I showed this little silver bell sitting on the tablescape?


It's a little silver bell with an abstract man and woman intertwined.

Well, that little bell has a little place for a card to be inserted at the top like so:



It was meant to be used as an escort or place card at weddings.  But we've decided to put one on each table and make a little card that will be inserted into the top of the bell.  It has the following little poem listed on one side:

We won’t kiss for glasses clinking
But instead for this bell ringing
Just shake it high and with pride
When you can answer the question on the back side.


On the other side are trivia questions about me and Mr. Fix It.  Questions like:

*  How long have the couple been dating?
*  How did he propose?
*  Where did the couple each attend high school?
*  Where is the couple going on their honeymoon?
*  Where did he take her on their first date?
*  Name two common surf spots he frequents?

If someone at the table thinks they know the answer to the question, then they pick up the bell and ring it.  The DJ will come over with the mic and ask them to read the question, give their answer and if they're right, then me and Mr Fix It will kiss :)

May seem kind of cheesy and silly but I'll be interested to see how the guests do with the questions.  I will of course strategically place them so that I provide questions at a table where the guests will have a fighting chance of getting the answer right.  I'm not going to put a question about Mr Fix It's surf spots at the table where all my cousins from out of state are sitting, ya know?

So, what do you think?  Silly idea?  Have you decided if you're going to do anything silly or entertaining to get the guests more involved in requesting a kiss from the couple?

Friday, March 12, 2010

The 'something' post

Something old:


My jewelry (though newly made with pearls and crystals) has as it's centerpiece, an antique brooch which I had a custom designer convert into a necklace.  Since I picked up this little beauty at a vintage swap meet near my house for only $25.00, it's the perfect something old.  I also have my bracelet which is made from a clip on earring I bought at the same vintage swap meet.

Something new:


My Maggie Sottero SaBelle gown is obviously my something new.  Though I could also go with the new red Me Too shoes I bought with Mr Fix It on clearance at Nordstom's to fulfill this little part of the tradition.

Something borrowed:




This is Melody.  She is one of the girls that is in a bible study I have been leading for about 5 years now.  I have known her since high school and she is now married (1 1/2 years ago) and just got accepted to USC's med school program.  I am so proud of her.  But I am even more honored that she is letting me borrow that beautiful veil as my something borrowed on the wedding day.  It's simple and a good length for my gown.  I will only wear it for the ceremony and maybe a few photos. 

Something blue

I don't have a photo of this item, but I will have a blue brooch that was a piece of Mr Fix It's mothers costume jewelry attached to my bouquet.  She passed away long before Mr Fix It and I met when he was in his 30's.  I know he really misses her.  So when we were going through some old boxes at his place and he came across a bunch of her old jewelry and asked if I wanted any of it, I immediately saw the brooch and told him that I would be using this somehow on our wedding day :)

So let's hear it girls...are you willing to share your 'somethings' from your big day?

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Wave 'em high and proud!

First let me say thanks to all the wonderful ladies who commented yesterday just giving me that extra boost of encouragement as we head into the final stretch.  I am feeling much better today and Mr Fix It and I had a great night Tuesday just taking it a little easier...I watched LOST on tv while he started painting our bedroom and hung some bathroom fixtures.  He can never sit still!  But I feel like we are getting there and I am not quite as exhausted now.  I just need to remember to EAT!  Running around makes you forget food.  :(

Anyway, I always loved this photo of my sister and her husband walking back down the aisle with the rose petals being tossed at them:

Photo courtesy of Jim Kennedy Photographers

So I definitely figured, I'd want rose petals tossed at me and Mr Fix It as we made our way back down our aisle, too.  But something happened a few months back.  I got a looksy at a picture on a wedding web site that sold these cute little ribbon wands:



I fell in love with photos like this:



And thought to myself that this is another DIY project that I could easily tackle because it's just cutting, taping and assembling.  So while at the LA Flower Market with my cousin (BM) and a newly engaged girlfriend, I purchased a couple extra rolls of the turquoise and cranberry colored ribbon that I used to wrap my wedding favor takeout boxes.

I also bought the plastic wands from that printmyribbon.com site.  The whole thing was probably around $50 for like 200 ribbon wands.  I'll post a simple DIY step by step guide at some point in the future but it's really easy to figure out yourself.

So I've decided to leave these on the guests' chairs at the ceremony and have the ushers instruct them to wave them in the air as we make our way back down the aisle.  Anyway, the reasons I loved this idea instead of tossing petals are as follows:

1)  Every guest can be involved, not just the few that are sitting on the aisle.
2)  No mess or clean up...even though we will have the aisle lined with tons and tons of rose petals, it's easier to just pick up (or have the guests turn in) a bunch of wands rather than picking up scattered petals.
3)  Nothing thrown at me and Mr Fix It - no bubbles in our eyes, no stains on my gown from the petals (which can happen ladies), and no chance of getting my eye poked out!
4)  They match our pretty wedding colors and will hopefully make for a super cute photo op.

I was going to assemble one for every guest originally, but while putting them together at my grandma's house last week, my aunt and mom and the hospice nurse both said they didn't think any of the men would be picking up wands to wave at us.  Plus, with everyone waving wands, there would be no one left to clap for us.  :)  So I opted for only making 1/2 of the wands - putting one on every other seat at the ceremony so half the guests can wave and half can clap :)

I personally love them, though my aunt thinks they're silly.  :)  I don't care though. 

What about you, ladies?  Was there something you wanted to incorporate at your wedding that everyone thought was just silly or stupid?  What are you planning (or did you do) for your recessional or big exit at the end of the night?

wedding tickers