Wedding Planning: A New Journey

Hello all!

I am in the process of attempting to plan my wedding to my fantastic fiance.  I have trouble deciding what to have for lunch most days, so I am pretty much terrified at the prospect of planning such a huge event!  At this point, I am in the beginning stages of planning.  I am hoping that chronicling my journey here will help me organize my thoughts and maybe help someone else who feels as overwhelmed as I do, and I welcome any (positive and constructive) suggestions you may have!

Last week, I made a few forward steps to get started!

1.  I went to Barnes and Noble and picked up these to help myself get motivated and organized!  I picked this organizer because it has an actual 3-ring binder as well as a 3-hole punch inside, and I thought that could help me keep organized more easily.  However, after looking more closely at the content, it doesn’t seem as helpful.  I’m considering exchanging it for one that is better suited to my wedding style and budget.

2.  I checked out my first wedding venue with my mom!  I found the experience a little overwhelming, but overall very helpful! It feels good to have gotten a tangible start to the process and feel like something has been completed.  Although I plan to continue looking at a few more options since this was only the first, I think that this particular venue is a real possibility.  It combines a classy feeling with the option to add some fun and personal touches.  In addition, the wedding coordinator is AMAZING, which I think will be an extremely helpful thing in the long run.  She seems to be on the same wavelength as I am when it comes to ideas, so that’s really going to come in handy if we choose this venue.  In addition, she spent nearly THREE hours with my mom and me, discussing options, ideas, decorating plans she had previously implemented, helping choose tentative color schemes, touring the facility, etc.  She was SO wonderful, that I could consider choosing the venue based on her alone.  In short, I feel MUCH better about the next steps in planning after checking out the first venue and meeting with the wedding coordinator.  Here are some lessons that I’ve taken from this experience:

  1. Choose a venue that has a vibe with which you connect.
  2. Look into the details, too, not just the overall look of the venue.  For example, this particular venue’s banquet rooms are names for Founding Fathers and other famous historical figures from the American Revolution, which I think is cool because it ties into our Washington, D.C. proposal!
  3. Make sure the wedding/event coordinator goes through the package information and pricing with you.  Find out where you can cut corners, what options can be customized, and what can be changed.  For example, if the package includes an open/hosted bar for the entire reception, but you only want to have it for the cocktail hour, find out if the venue can accomodate this preference and what change it will make with the package price.
  4. Ask about extra fees, taxes, and gratuity!
  5. Take a look at the bridal changing area and see if you like it.
  6. Check out the ceremony site, if there is one, even if you aren’t really planning to use it.  You never know what you might find!
  7. Choose a wedding coordinator who “gets” you!  If he or she doesn’t like the same ideas you do, it’s going to make things much more stressful and difficult.  If you LOVE every idea that he or she suggests or tells you they’ve done in the past, you’ve got a winner!

I’m sure I’ll have more to add to this list as time goes on, but these are a few things that I noticed during the appointment and thought would be important!

3.  I chose my dress!!!!!!  Sorry for all the exclamation points… but not really 🙂  My mom and I really went just to look at a bridal salon that a family friend recommended to see if we would be interested in scheduling an appointment.  But, it turned out that they weren’t that busy, so they had me try a couple things on.  The first dress was pretty, but just not quite my style.  But the second one… It’s perfect!  Obviously I can’t post a photo just yet, but I am so excited to have found a dress that I love and by such happy accident!  I cried, my mom cried, even the consultant cried!  I was a little reluctant to say “yes” right away, but once they had me completely try it on (it wasn’t actually available in-store in my size, so it took a little consultant magic) and they reminded me that it was on sale for nearly half off, I just couldn’t pass it up!  Let’s just say that the dress incorporates some of my favorite things in the world, and I can’t wait for MY dress to come in so I can try it on over winter break!

 

Okay, well, I think that just about covers it for now!  I hope that you have enjoyed this first installment, and please let me know if you have and questions, comments, or suggestions!

 

XOXO

Perfect Pearls

Pearls… the classic piece  that ought to be found in every proper girl’s jewelry box.  Pearls can be used to dress up or down, they match nearly everything, and they are the perfect classic accent when you want to feel either sophisticated OR fun.  They can be conservative, sexy, understated, or bold.  In short, pearls are the best accessory!

Please keep in mind that pearls, as is the case with most things worth keeping, are quite expensive.  However, it is entirely possible to own pearls for everyday wear that are much less costly.  Honestly, one of my favorite pearl necklaces cost about $18 at Claire’s.  Obviously, those aren’t REAL pearls, but who cares?  They get the job done, and I don’t have to be concerned about them breaking or losing them.  I do think that every woman should strive to own a real set of pearls as an adult, but I think it is perfectly acceptable to wear the less expensive substitutes in the meantime!

Pearls are one of the single most classic accessories a girl can sport.  Every time I wear them, I feel instantly more sophisticated and put-together.  Though probably not the best match for sweats at home, pearls can match just about everything else.  They come in different colors, strands of different lengths, bracelets, earrings, and are being paired in jewelry with different styles of late.  I’ve collected some photos that I think show the versatility of pearls while also showcasing some of my favorite looks!  Hope you enjoy, and please feel free to share some of your favorites in the comments, too!

Strands of different length
It doesn’t get any more classy!
Amazing pearl and lace DIY bracelet! (Click the photo to link to the tutorial!)
Chanel + Pearls = Perfection
Pearls… the perfect accessory for a wedding gown!
Love pearls!
Pearls come in a variety of shades… these are just a few!
Pearls can be sexy, too
Pearls are not just for jewelry! Blair Waldorf turns them into a perfect headband!
Mixed materials
Pearl chandelier!

Triumvirate of Heels

One of my favorite brands of heels is Nina.  I have found them to be affordable, comfortable, and cute… which is a rare triumvirate!  Here are my two favorite pairs, in addition to one I’ve had my eye on.

Nina Gretel Evening Sandal in Black

These were my first pair of Nina shoes and they have lasted me almost 5 years now!  I can actually stand in them for hours, which is a pretty big deal for me and heels.  That may be a little on the “party shoe” side, but I have found that they can work with a more low key outfit, too.  I chose them initially because i loved the cool crossover pattern and the bit of bling, but I’ve kept them as a staple because they are so comfortable and versatile!

Nina Evelixa in Red

I was in the market for some sexy red heels, and I ran across a pair of these at Ross on sale for only $25!  They had a little mark on the side (I’m assuming that’s why they were at Ross), but it was barely noticeable.  I am in love with these shoes!  The heel isn’t too high, so like the black ones above, I can actually wear them without wanting to cry or consider going barefoot in public.  I wore them to my family’s “Holiday Chic” party this past winter… they were perfect!

I’ve gotten tons of compliments on both pairs.  I think that’s partly because they’re completely adorable, but also because I have actually been able to wear them in public more than once.  I don’t generally do very well in heels, so the fact that I’ve been able to wear these many times and enjoy them speaks volumes.

Because I have loved both so much, I’ve been considering these for my wedding shoes! (Assuming I can’t make the Louboutins from my previous post, The Perfect Heels, work out… le sigh.)

Nina Electra in White Luster Satin

I love them!  I’m pretty sure they’ll be comfortable based on my past experience, they’re classy, classic, and feminine (I love the bow!), and they won’t be tempted to slide off my heel because of the strap around the ankle (one of my favorite parts about the “Gretel”).  The trouble is that I won’t actually be getting married for at least three years (we’re waiting until after law school), and I haven’t even begun to pick a dress or venue.  Chances are that by that time, I’ll have either changed my mind or these will no longer be in stock anywhere, but we’ll see!

Anyway, I thought it would be fun to share with you a brand that I have thoroughly enjoyed and found practical.  I hope that you will share with me your favorite brands and styles, too!  Please leave a comment with your go-to brand!

Fun Frames

Ever have an occasion (birthday, Christmas, congratulations, etc.) for which you need a gift for someone… but have NO idea what to get them?  Sure, you care about them enough to give a gift, but maybe not to spend a fortune on it.  Or maybe you just enjoy crafting, like I do!

One of my favorite gifts to give is picture frames.  I try to never give anyone an empty frame.  I usually try to find a photo that is related to the occasion in some way (ie. using a photo of the couple in an engagement gift) or include a carefully written or prettily typed quote.  Of course, the recipient can always put whatever he/she wants into the frame later, but I think it’s nice to give them something that’s already ready to go.

There are different ways to go about this, depending on your level of skill and enjoyment with crafting, your budget, time constraints, etc.  Here are a couple of examples:

Crafty Frame:

I made this frame for a friend’s engagement gift.  I took a plain wooden frame (I found it at Michael’s, but you can get them at just about any craft store, Wal Mart, etc.) and painted the edges white and the main front blue.  I used some of my favorite scrapbooking stuff to decorate the frame, including alpha stickers, 3-D decorations, sticky rhinestones, and rub-ons (on the bottom left).  I also bought wooden letters to spell “love”, painted them, and stuck them on with a hot glue gun.  I chose a photo that I found on her facebook page of her new fiancé  proposing.  She LOVED the frame and it still adorns her office nearly two years later!  The total cost to make the frame was about $5-7, but I admit that I did already have some of the decorations, the paint, and other supplies.  It may have been inexpensive, but she definitely appreciated the time and personalization that went into the gift.

Photo Collage Frame:

I was going to a wedding, and the bride and groom had this photo frame on their registry.  Rather than just sticking an empty frame in a gift bag and calling it a day, I filled the frame with photos of the couple and put their wedding invitation in the center spot.  They LOVED it!  It was a great way to give them something on their registry but personalize it to make it a bit more special.  Plus, I figure every married couple is getting tons of things to set up their home, and this one was ready to hang!

 

These are only a couple of examples, but I hope it’s a good start to convey the idea.  If anyone is interested, I’d be more than happy to do a “part 2” post later and share some others.  Or, if you have any “perfect gift” ideas you’d like to share, please leave a comment… I’d love to hear!

The Perfect Heels

Ever since I read Lauren Conrad’s book Style, I have been obsessed with her “perfect” black pumps.  As far as I can tell, they are the best pair of every-occasion heels I have ever seen.  I would have agreed that they’re perfect… except the price.  I refuse to even go try them on because if they fit and were as comfortable as LC claims, I’d be seriously tempted to spend the nearly $800 to make them mine.

Christian Louboutin’s Bibi Black Suede Pumps

You can find more info at Christian Louboutin’s site here.  What, you already have black heels you love? Oh don’t worry.  They come in tons of colors and you don’t have to have suede.

Of course, in my endless search to find these on sale (it’s been unsuccessful so far), I’ve become obsessed with not only these, but Louboutins in general.  That man is a genius!  There are definitely some styles that are totally over the top, but there are tons that I adore.  I made an entire board for “Loubis” on Pinterest, in fact, so that I could enjoy their spendor all the time.  Here are just a few examples…

Louboutin wedding shoes?!? YES PLEASE!  They are so elegant and pretty! If I spend less on the dress, does that mean I can have these?

Not my usual style, but I like them!  The color is awesome and the cris-cross design is captivating.

I can’t imagine spending nearly $800 on any pair of shoes, and certainly not any I couldn’t wear EVERY day.  But these are just so pretty!  I love that they’re lavender!

Also part of the logo for the TV show Harry’s Law, these are amazing.  The fact that the peep toe is RED is so sexy!  Can you say “party time?”

Of course, these are only a few of my favorites.  If you have any Loubis you love, please post a comment and let me know!  I’m always anxious to see more!  If you’ve ever owned a pair, please tell me they’re horrible so I’m no longer tempted! 😉  Hahaha… I probably won’t believe you anyway, so please feel free to rate them honestly!