May 26, 2010

More Glorious Ebay Wedding Dresses

Before I leave for almost a week, here are more lovely dresses to admire!!! :D

Recent bid plus shipping: $169

An antiqued ballgown wedding dress.
Buy it now: $166

This a-line dress has a lovely lace look to it.
Buy it now: $168

Recent bid plus shipping: $155

I love the way this wedding dress has a fitted top, but tons of flowing material on the bottom!
Buy it now: $199

Love the draping and the beading on this wedding gown.
Buy it now plus shipping: $227

The pop of color and the brooch on this wedding dress are so pretty, even if the beading is a little subdued.

May 23, 2010

Ahhh, the Sound of a Violin...

I love string instruments :D

They just sound gorgeous, period.

I used to play the violin back in middle school, and quitting when I got to high school was probably one of the stupidest things I've ever done. I have my own violin now, and I hope to start my lessons again very soon!

So naturally, I would love some musicians at my wedding. They can be a bit formal however, so I think it would fit best in the ceremony and/or cocktail hour. Usually at the reception people just want to dance and have fun, and the crowd that would be there probably isn't the crowd to rock to Beethoven, XD And if I'm dancing to songs that I know and love, I want to hear the originals, so a band for the reception really wouldn't be a good fit either.

I do have a slight connection in this area, one of my sister's friends plays an instrument, and I'm hoping for a slight discount if I hire her. I'm thinking paying for her hotel room for 2 nights instead of an hourly fee since she would be traveling? Hmmm... something to keep in mind anyways...

May 20, 2010

You Have a Drink, and I Have a Notepad...

Weddings are just fun in general, but when you're engaged (or just a little wedding happy :P) they are goldmines for ideas!!!

A really great way to see how a wedding idea pans out is to see it in action, so when I do attend weddings, I'm also taking mental notes throughout the experience.

My bf knows me pretty well, the first wedding we attended he told me "Don't get any ideas." Although I think it was too late by then, tee hee :D

We will be going to one next week, and I'm really excited to see how this one turns out. They seem to be a more modern couple, and really have their ideas in mind, not just what the masses are doing these days.

I'll be sure to post what I liked and what worked in a couple weeks!

May 18, 2010

To DJ or Not to DJ?

As I was thinking of any way I could possibly cut the budget down a few thousand, XP, I wondered, do I really need a DJ? I looked into a few articles about this very subject, and many sources (quite a few of them DJ sites,) say yes, it will make your life easier.

One post from Raleigh Wedding Ideas states that it depends on what you want for the mood of the reception. If you just want music running and few announcements, (what I'm looking for,) then an Ipod setup and designated sound person should work. If you want "all-night dance fest with lights, effects, and an emcee to keep the energy up," (what my bf may want,) "then yes, you need a DJ." Also in the post are helpful hints if you're going the DIY route.

On a more cautionary note, another article, "To DJ or not to DJ: Why an “iPod Wedding is a Bad Idea," (btw I swear I didn't take the title from this XD) warns brides of the many issues with the diy DJ route:

1) Unless you already have a great sound system, you'll have to rent one. Also you'll need a backup ipod.

- Well it's a good thing my bf does own a great sound system then! And we also have many tech-savvy friends, an extra ipod should not be a problem.

2) You'll need someone to "run" the Ipod and "guard" the equipment.

- As long as we have a nice mixed up order to our songs, have someone cue the songs for the dances and pause at the proper times, and put it out of the way, I don't see how this is too much of an issue.

3) You'll need lighting equipment for a proper ambiance.

- I could live without it. (bf might again, be another story)

4) You'll need wireless microphones.

- These can be rented and might even be included with the venue, depending.

5) What if you rented gear breaks down?

- DJs really know how to repair equipment? Just kidding, they may have backup equipment for such an occasion, so this is a reasonable warning.

6) You'll have to transport it and set it up.

- As a penny-pinching, diy bride, I'll have to set up a LOT of things...this is where I get help from willing (hopefully XP) family and friends.

7) The family member/friend helping may not have such a great time, and you may have to pay them.

- This would be discussed with said family member or friend, and if there is a big issue finding someone willing to help, well I guess we'll need a DJ then. But it's not like I would force anyone to do it...

8) They have liability insurance in case the equipment burns the place down.

- Even though this sounds very much like my mother, lol, it is a very good point.

9) You may have to purchase the music you want.

- My bf's and my sister's music selection are so ridiculously large that I don't forsee buying more than a couple songs at the most.

10) An Ipod does not blend the songs together, and this may cause awkward moments on the dance floor.

- Very true, but a determined tech-savvy girl like me can find a program that would blend the songs together! :D May not be at the proper places, (i.e. sounds horrible for a second or two,) but perhaps it would be better than awkward silences? :P

11) DJs keep the reception organized and time the events well.

- If I find the right person to help, and make it very, very simple to follow our instructions, then I think I could pull it off. Hmmm, I'm thinking said person has many alarms on his/her phone, on vibrate, so they can tell when they should be doing something, lol.

In my opinion, there shouldn't be too many "events" that will have to be announced extravagantly. The first dance, toasts, father-daughter dance, bouquet toss, etc, yeah, they need to be announced, but what does it matter if an attending friend does it or not? I don't need a show, I just need an announcement. *shrugs*

Also I feel that my bf and I, with a bit of input, could put together a fun and generally pleasing music list for the reception. I mean we're both reasonable people, it's not like we're going to bore or bother the hell out of the guests with one type of very narrowly liked music.

But I'll be honest, there will be at least a few unique songs very much favored by the bride or groom, lol. (Hey it's our wedding, the guests can handle 1 or 2 songs that represent us, :D)

Bottom line: If my bf feels the same way I do about this, we could possibly make it work. Otherwise, I'll be searching for a somewhat-reasonably priced DJ...

May 17, 2010

A Bouquet Update!

Update for the diy bouquet post:

Astonishingly the flowers lasted about 5 days in water!!!

The flowers were weak at that point, (i.e. shake it and it would become a bouquet of stems) but they still looked pretty!

An exception was the lilacs, those did not last more than 2-3 days before they completely shrunk and wilted.

An interesting fact I found is that tulips keep growing after they have been cut, so it was amusing to see the tulips sprouting out of the bouquet!

I have to say I'm pretty happy with those supermarket flowers!

May 15, 2010

Glorious Ebay and Its Lovely Wedding Dresses

Unless there are a lot of hidden catches that I don't see simply being a shopper, ebay is the only way to go if you're looking for an affordable wedding dress.

Prices are usually between $150 and $550 for custom fit dresses, and some even come with customization options to boot!

Don't get me wrong, I love dresses, but you can only wear this dress for one day! :P It's not like any other formal gown where you can dust off the cobwebs and go out for a fancy dinner or dance. So might as well get your money's worth :)

What kind of dress do I want? I want a dress that's a looker!!!

Something showy and extravagant, because it's one of the few times in your lifetime that you can be! Something very detailed and balanced, with beading favored over lace.

Right now I'm a huge fan of the ballgown style, however with my 5' stature I may have to change my mind very quickly, such dresses tend to swallow up us short girls! XP (Perhaps I need some platform shoes, lol)

Most importantly, I want something unique, but now I am wondering if the following dresses are wayyy too expected for a castle wedding...hmmm...

Buy it now: $158, this one has always been a favorite of mine! :D

A stunning ballgown wedding dress.
Buy it now: $149

Beaded and very pretty wedding gown.
Buy it now: $148

A trumpet style wedding dress that's simply gorgeous.
Buy it now plus shipping: $209

A pretty, a-line, lace wedding gown.
Buy it now plus shipping: $565, omg... *drools* 8P

A detailed and stunning wedding gown!

May 13, 2010

Oh How I Do Love Dresses...

So after all that budgeting, I'm looking at something I won't be buying-- bridesmaid dresses!

I want my lovely bridesmaids to look, well lovely, so I don't want some strange, freakish dress they are forced to buy and wear for the occasion.

They should be in some shade of purple, and I'm not sure whether to go knee-length or full-length...

Here are some that caught my eye:

(the first one comes in many colors)

A glamorous bridesmaid dress.
A flowy, Grecian bridesmaids dress.
Such a cute springtime bridesmaids dress.
A little causal, but still a cute and sweet bridesmaids dress.
Please ladies, leave this ugly bridesmaids dress online...

Just kidding about that last one XD

May 12, 2010

The Beginnings of a Wedding Budget, Part 2

Okay, after breathing through a paper bag for a few minutes, I think I recovered enough from the last post. So onward with the pricing horrors...

(all of these are based on getting cardstock in bulk and making them myself)
Invitations: $50
Save-the-Dates: $30
RSVP Cards: $0 (I don't want them but my mom does and she promised to pay for them, lol)
Programs: $25
Thank You Cards: $30 (buy bulk cards too)
Stamps: $120 (would have been around $160 but my mom is paying postage for the RSVP cards, and this is for the invites, save-the-dates and the thank you cards)
Guest Book: $25
Total: $280

Bride's Ring: $500
Groom's Ring: $500
Total: $1,000

Transport to Ceremony: $300
Transport to Reception: $2000
Total: $2,300
This is all completely up in the air, because I will have 100 out-of-town guests, some with cars, some without. All of them need transportation to the island, that would be $600 round trip, $300 one way. I can't afford it, but the best way to get everyone to the reception is to go by boat! And have the cocktail hour on that boat! But that's a private charter, plus food and drink, so that's a lot of money for something that's really extraneous. But it's the most straightforward way of doing things, so I'm including it in the budget until I figure out a better/cheaper way.

Wedding Favors: $150 (if I'm having favors, they have to be cheap!)
Gifts for Bridesmaids: $100
Gifts for Groomsmen: $60 (he'll probably just give them nice beer, lol)
Gifts for Parents: $0 (my parents have already said no to gifts, and *hopefully* his parents will agree to none as well)
Gifts for Each Other: $75 (we won't over-do it)
Total: $385

Location Fees: $1300 ($6.50 per person, per 1.5 hours)
Officiant's Fee: $350 (researched price)
Total: $1,650

Wedding Coordinator: $0 (can't afford one :P)
Rehearsal Dinner: $0 (praying his parents will do this for us)
Engagement Party: $0 (no point)
Showers: $0 (if my family/friends want to throw one, great! if not, that's great too!)
Salon Appointments: $150
Bachelorette Party: $50 (hoping my girls will buy me drinks, lol)
Brunch: $150 (hoping to have add-ons to an already included continental breakfast at a hotel)
Hotel Room: $250
Total: $600

Semi-Total: $6,215
Grand Total: $20,680

Oookkaayy then. That's kinda $5.7K over my budget...and that's already including the cheapest venue package I could find a lot of DIY projects...

This is going to be quite the challenge.

May 11, 2010

The Beginnings of a Wedding Budget, Part 1

Whew! That last post was a doozy!

But gasp! I haven't even given a low-down of the budget yet, the major crux of my entire blog! D: That has to be fixed.

One helpful wedding budget spreadsheet can be found here, this one is great because it lists many different items that you wouldn't think to include right off the bat, so there will be less surprise dollar bills flying out of your wallet later XP

I'll be honest, when I first tried this out, I unrealistically changed a lot of prices just to ease the sticker-shock and my sanity, XP, but here I put in the awful, estimated truth:

Location, Rentals, Food, Drinks: $6000 (based on some research, but this is one of the lowest numbers that included an open bar)
Extra Linens: $70 (if they don't have colored ones for rent)
Cake: $300 (and this is probably low, I just refuse to pay more for a silly cake)
Service Fees: $1500 (complete guess, based on the $6000)
Gratuities: $750 (also a complete guess)
Total: $8,620

Dress: $300 (ebay baby! plus alterations)
Tuxedo: $0 (groom's tux is usually free with groomsmen's)
Veil: $40 (planning to make my own)
Jewelry (minus the rings): $30
Shoes: $30 (gotta love Payless! :D)
Garter: $10
Total: $410

Extra Prints: $500 (hoping some prints are included in a package)
Photo Album: $20 (doesn't have to be anything fancy)
Videographer: $800
DVD Copies: $30 (they don't cost that much to make/burn)
Total: $2,850

DJ: $500 (debating about this...really don't care if I don't have a DJ to announce things/events...)
Musicians for Ceremony: $500
Total: $1,000

Marriage License: $40 (actual researched value for NY state)
Taxes: $500 (complete guess)
Tips: $500 (also complete guess)
Total: $1,040

Bouquets: $140 (making my own, obviously :D)
Boutonnieres: $30 (making these too)
Corsages: $20 (and these...I think I'll need some help, lol)
Ceremony Flowers: $125 (guess for how much a florist's flower swag costs plus lots of rose petals...)
Reception Flowers: $15 (use the ceremony's flowers and bouquets plus some more rose petals)
Table Centerpieces: $180 (for about 12 tables...?)
Cake Table: $10 (eh, the cake should be the center of attention anyway)
Candles: $25 (lots of tea lights...)
Total: $545

Semi-Total: $14,465

And I'm only halfway done.

To be continued...

May 10, 2010

How to Make a DIY Wedding Bouquet

Yes, I know it's a bit early to practice making wedding bouquets, but certain circumstances arose:

1) My mom laughed at me when I told her I would try to do my own flowers
2) Mother's Day = flowers everywhere!

So it looked like a good time to get a bunch of lovely flowers and prove to my mother I can accomplish something... :P

I found a fantastic tutorial online that gave enough tips and thorough instructions to make me feel confident enough to try this out.

So, let's make a bouquet!!! :D

First, the flowers: I wanted purple and white flowers, more along the blueish-purple side of things but that color is very hard to find in your local grocery store, so I decided pinkish-purple wouldn't be a disaster. All flowers were purchased at Wegmans, a local grocery store chain, and were in water for about 2 days.

Flowers purchased from Wegmans, a local grocery store, that is the greatest grocery store ever. But that's a different story.
12 White Roses - $10
Light Purple Stock - $9
10 Purple Tulips - $6
Waxflower (greenery with little pink flowers) - $4
Statice (dark purple filler) - $4
4 Leatherleaf (ferns) - $3
Lilacs from my parent's backyard - FREE!
Flower Total: $36 plus tax

It may look like I overdid it on flowers, but wait and see, the size turns out to be pretty decent, so be prepared when making your own.

You will also need floral tape, $2, about 30in of string or twine, white ribbon, $1 at the Dollar Tree :D, 2-3 pearl studded pins, scissors, and a pair of sharp cutters/snips.

Supplies you will need for your bouquet.
Second, prepping the flowers: Even though it sounds destructive, florists recommend that you strip off all the leaves of any flower and strip off the bottom two thirds of the greenery, minus the ferns. They do this because only the tops will show in a hand-tied bouquet, and the extra foliage will just get in the way. This took me about an hour.

All the pretty flowers cut and cleaned!
Before you go on, tie a loop about 3 inches down the string and knot it. This will be used later to make your life easier when securing the bouquet.

Make sure you do this! You won't have enough hands to tie a knot later.
Third, putting the flowers together: I would have taken more pictures of the construction process, but handling the bouquet is a bit difficult to get used to and the last thing I wanted to do was try to stretch my hand out and take a picture, loosen my grip and loose the partial arrangement I spent 20min doing.

My recommendation? Unless you are literally using hydrangea like the tutorial, DO NOT just start poking flowers into your bouquet. I did this the first time around and all I did was making a tangled mess of flower stems, plus I was killing the lilacs and getting little purple flowers everywhere... other tutorials like this one show a different arrangement method of rotating the bouquet and constructing it from the center --> out. To be honest, I didn't rotate mine, :P too hard to do but I did add flowers in a clockwise fashion, as if I was rotating the bouquet anyways.

Another method I used was trying to spread out each flower evenly among the bouquet. If you see a spot/side that needs a certain flower, add it in. Keep trying to evenly distribute everything and I really can't see how you can go wrong.

My bouquet, about to be tied.
Another lovely tip is to have some greenery (I had the ferns) to add on at the very end, arranging them all along the sides of the bouquet to create a "collar" of sorts, making it look more finished.

Also another key point is to make sure you are making a dome shape, do this by putting the flowers at more of an angle towards the floor as you add more and more flowers. By the end of it, you should have a spray of pretty flowers, plus a wide spray of stems underneath it:

That's a lot of stems.
Fourth, securing the bouquet: The tip in this tutorial is great for this part because it makes things SO much easier! All I did was wrap the string around the bouquet at the stems, threaded it through the loop, and pulled until tight.

However, I should have pulled it until firm, and then checked the flowers to make sure that is how I want them arranged, i.e. the flowers are at the proper heights, nothing shifted around too much, etc. Because once you tie the string, those flowers aren't going anywhere! Then I continued to wrap around the stems a few times, and knotted the end before the loop and the other end of the string.

The bouquet, tightly tied.
Fifth, wrapping the stems: A friend helping you hold the bottom of the stems together while you wrap is very, very helpful in this part, because the floral tape will snap if you pull it too hard. You want the tape to go down far enough so you can hold the bouquet comfortably with two hands and not touch the stems.

Not the best job wrapping the stems with floral tape, but it serves its purpose.
Now trim the ends one inch below the tape.

Sixth, wrapping the stems with ribbon:
The only issues I had with this was water dripping on my ribbon and the ribbon looking a bit see-through in certain places, but as long as you try to wrap the ribbon evenly, there's no real issues here. Pin the end into the bouquet with the pearl studded pins, upwards into the stems.

Perhaps thicker ribbon will hide some of the lumps in your stems.
There you have it!!! A lovely wedding bouquet! Not too bad for a first timer, huh?

OMG it looks so pretty!
Another view of the wedding bouquet.
Note the hanging rose...yeah be careful with your stems, they can be pretty fragile.

May 6, 2010

Well Enough About Soaps...

Back to wedding plans!

Here are a few essentials for my wedding, no-questions-asked:

1) The ceremony at Boldt Castle
2) A sit-down meal with food that has some class and detail
3) An open bar
4) Have a reception in the Watertown, NY/Kingston, ON area
5) Light purple as a wedding color

Unfortunately, the sit-down meal, the open bar, and the out-of-town destination will probably increase the budget the most, but I feel they are untouchable for the following reasons:

Why, oh why, a sit-down meal:
I'm a very much a foodie, and so is my bf, we love going out to eat, and we both love cooking! (although my bf does most of cooking these days, :P) My wonderful bf has come up with dishes that he describes as "sirloin steaks with a mushroom and balsamic vinegar cream sauce, with a little touch of thyme and rosemary", sounding like one of the chefs on the Food Network :) So the wedding could not represent us fully if it did not have amazing food, case closed.

Why, oh why, an open bar:
My bf has a heritage of Irish, Scottish, and German. In other words, he was born to drink, lol. So he family, in turn, is too. And his friends? Cheered at the last wedding we went to when the bar came back out after dinner. Yeah...the bar needs to be there XD

And the castle!?:
To be honest, this is my "wow factor" for my wedding, without it, my wedding would be exactly the same as every other run-of-the-mill, church and hotel wedding. I know there are other ways of creating a "wow factor", but ladies, this is a castle we're talking about here! Wouldn't YOU want to be married at a castle if you had the chance?!? I think I've made my point.

May 4, 2010

The Results of My Rosey Quest

So I went to 4 Dollar Tree's.

And I managed to find 17 packages of just light purple rose soaps! They cost me a grand total of $18.50! :D

Apparently there were more color combinations than I thought, I was able to find white, light pink, bright pink, light purple, and light green for a monochromatic set, and another combo-colored set in white and peach!

Since my favorite color of all time is purple, (if you haven't guessed from my blog,) I was happy to get all purple flowers!

I was so excited with my find that I had to try them out when I got home!

So here's my quick review:

When you take them out of the container, they feel a lot like foam, and you're wondering if you really bought soaps or if the store just labeled them wrong...But alas! Once you put a teared-off petal under water it dissolves and turns to soap!

...I do wish though it didn't stick to my hand in a slightly gooey-soapy mess...your hands do get clean, because you're trying to wash/scrape the soap away...perhaps warmer water might make these easier to deal with.

Also they don't really have that strong of a scent, but that's nothing that a little body spray/perfume won't fix :)

However these things are sturdy enough that you could potentially thread them with a wire or string and do a craft project with them, as long as liquids aren't involved anyway.

In my opinion, I think these things have enough character that I don't care if they're a bit hard to wash with, but that is my honest assessment of them for any brides to be out there.

May 2, 2010

Oh. My. Goodness.

I have found the cutest soaps I've ever seen.

They are shaped like roses, and you break off one petal at a time to wash your hands!

Rose flower soaps from the Dollar Tree
Rose flower soaps from the Dollar Tree
They would be perfect as wedding favors or just something adorable to dress up the bathroom area wherever I have the reception, or perhaps something cute to put in the welcome bags for my 100 out-of-town guests!

They can be ordered online, but only by the case--no idea what I would do with 324 of these things...

And the greatest part of all?

9 of these lovely creations...for just $1

Hmmm, looks like I'll be making a trip to the Dollar Tree in the near future... :D

May 1, 2010

Bringing a Crowd

So now I want a destination wedding, a good 4 hours away, but somehow still want 100 of the closest friends and family to come join us. I realize this probably won't happen and there will be people who will be unable to come.

I guess it's a good thing my family is small and most of the friends I want to invite will be my bridemaids :) So I don't see how I could be too disappointed with the turnout.

The bf's invite list --> much, much, larger than mine, but most of the relatives and a decent amount of his friends don't live in our hometown anyways, so I'm sure the same amount would travel to his wedding whether we had in it in Western NY or the Thousand Islands.

One of my biggest worries: my bf is an only child and he has mentioned that his parents may want to throw a HUGE shindig that could be more than just out-of-control...I mean his cousin had a wedding with 500 guests for crying out loud!!! Can you even imagine!?! D8

So I've already come up with a guest list ground rule: If you want more than 100 guests that badly, you'll have to pay for them. It sounds a bit rude, but the realistic fact is, I will barely be able to pay for 100 guests, so the money simply won't be there for an extra 100 heads...

But I'll deal with that when I'm actually engaged :)