March 29, 2011

Where, Oh Where, Should the Reception Be? Part 4

Thank goodness for the internet. More and more establishments are going digital on the World Wide Web, and Thousand Island wedding venues are no exception! So here's a Thousand Islands venue update:

Another venue has come into the running, Riley's by the River!

The exterior of Riley's on the River, a restaurant in Alexandria Bay, NY.Despite not having many photos of the establishment online, it is a new restaurant, which means decor-wise it is leaps and bounds ahead of all other Thousand Island venues that I have found online.

I finally had the guts to start emailing some of these more mysterious venues, and quickly after I inquired about having a large event at the restaurant, I got a very helpful response!

The whole restaurant can hold up to 130 people, and has a lounge area as well. (Need to check out this lounge area one day, sounds promising!)

You cannot reserve the whole place in the busy season, Memorial Day through Labor Day, but I would plan on having the wedding in early to mid May to hopefully have nice weather without dying of heat stroke, so that shouldn't be a problem. XD

This place is part of the Captain Thomas's Resort, and they have another floating restaurant called Capt's Landing. However, getting photos of the interior of this place is even harder than Riley's, and from the outside I feel it may be a little to "rustic" for my tastes.

Photo of the exterior of Capt's Landing, a restaurant in Alexandria Bay, NY.Their email response even had a buffet menu and beverage price sheet attached! Even though I'm set on a served dinner, I'm sure something can be worked out.

Based off of the information I received, here is a review of Riley's as a venue possibility:

Riley's By The River -

Riley's by the River, a restaurant in Alexandria Bay, NY.
Cost for a buffet dinner with rolls, salad, 3 entrees, 2 side dishes, dessert, and coffee = $21.95 per person
Total for 100 guests = $2195
7.75% sales tax = $170
18% gratuity = $395
Food subtotal = $2,760

3 hours full open bar = $23.50 per person
Total for 100 guests = $2350
7.75% sales tax = $182
18% gratuity = $423
Bar subtotal = $2,955

Grand total for 100 guests = $5,715

Since this is a buffet menu, the choices are very basic, good standbys but nothing too fancy. I'm sure once we tweak the menu a bit the price per person will increase, but at least it's a decent starting point.

-most updated restaurant in the Thousand Islands!
-therefore the decor is much more pleasing
-therefore it has character!
-it comes with tables, chairs, linens, etc.
-waterfront views of the pier and harbor!
-has a lounge area
-can rent the entire restaurant in the slow season
-for the moment it's cheaper than the other choices
-I can transport all guests to and from the castle for $850

-little information or photos online
-no views of the castle
-only a three hour limit on the open bar
-even though it is part of a resort, the rooms are pretty lacking

Realistically? This is probably one of my top choices now! :D

And it's always good to have more choices!

March 28, 2011

Rosette Madness!

Whew! That whole My Fair Wedding series was a doozy! Sorry about the lack of posts, home improvement projects are keeping me busy now! :D Now we're back to our normally scheduled wedding prettiness! :D

Spring has officially sprung! :D

Even though it takes a while in chilly Buffalo to actually believe it, all last week we were blessed with wonderfully warm, sunny weather!

Call me fickle but my purple, flowery, summer wedding vision is sounding better and better each day! XD So I figure I"ll talk about my summer plans for the Thousand Islands wedding in the spring and summer, and shift focus to my Buffalo winter wedding plans in the fall and winter. Then I'll always be relevant to the season! lol

Another reason for wishing for warmer wedding days and the great outdoors? The wonderful, romantic, addicting trend of rosettes!

I. Love. Them. I WANT THEM!!!

These better still be around when I get engaged, XD because I don't know if I can live without them!!!

These big, beautiful flowers are popping up everywhere in fashion lately:

On wedding dresses:

A stunning white rosette textured wedding dress!
This is a stunning prom dress from Sherri Hill, style 2223, covered in rosettes and comes in white! However be careful with most prom/bridal sites online, many of them have a no return policy or a ridiculous restocking fee...

On shoes:

Pretty grey suede rosette shoes.These grey suede heels are from Forever 21 and are just $25.80! So cute!

On purses:

A cute pink rosette clutch purse.This cute little number is a pink rose clutch going for $29.50 at Bag Madness. Yes, the only color they're selling is pink, but if that's your thing, grab one for the spring season!

On hair accessories:

Cute white rosette bobby pin.This cute little hair pin is from Etsy! Brydferth sells many pretty and delicate rosette accessories, and this bobby pin for $12 is just one of the many she sells.

And also making a stunning appearance in other wedding aspects too!

On cakes:

A very pretty rose frosted cake.This cake is from I Am Baker, and it's SO FRIGGING ADORABLE! I can't wait to make something like this when I actually have company over! lol You can find the tutorial here! :D

On table runners:

A stunning and unique dark purple rosette table runner.This runner is from an Etsy seller, floratouch, and sells the most beautiful runners I have ever seen! Yes they are pricey at $18 each, :( but they are beautiful! *sighs*

Dear rosettes,

Please be so frigging popular that you are still around in a couple years...or at least let me get an "out-of-style" rosette wedding dress for a killer price! :D Love ya always,


March 18, 2011

How to Get A Phantom Wedding Like David Tutera's My Fair Wedding: Budget

Okay, you finally finished putting together your own David Tutera - My Fair Wedding: Phantom of the Opera wedding! :D Woot!

But how much money did you end up spending on your fancy shindig?

The way I have been estimating the prices for this Phantom wedding was either giving the precise cost of each item, or if there were multiple options, giving the cheapest and most expensive range of each item, such as full rose floral centerpieces vs. carnation and rose floral centerpieces.

However, for this post, to make it easier to see the price differences of going for the cheaper alternative versus the more expensive ones, I will do two different budget breakdowns: one for the cheapest venue and all the more affordable alternatives, and one for the most expensive venue and all the more extravagant alternatives.

Budget break down for the super thrifty:

Location Fees: free with food and drink purchase
Food: $1495
Drinks: $1375
Linens: $646.20
Cake: $198.48
Gratuities: $517
Decorations (other than floral): $84.98
Total: $4,316.66

Dress: $159.98 (ebay is usually made-to-order, so no alternations should be needed)
Tuxedo: free with groomsmen rentals
Total: $159.98

String Quartet for Ceremony: greatly varies
Total: $+?

Taxes: $251
Total: $251

Bouquets, Boutonnieres, and Corsages: $307.69
Reception Flowers: $603.81
Table Centerpieces: $253.23
Candles: $73.94
Lighting: $192
Total: $1,430.67

Wedding Favors: $78.51
Total: $78.51

Total spent: $6,236.82+

Budget breakdown for the budget-minded with some splurges:

Location, Food, Drinks: $4895
Linens: $847.10
Cake: $376.88
Gratuities: $832
Decorations (other than floral): $174.99
Total: $7,125.97

Dress: $350 (ebay is usually made-to-order, so no alternations should be needed)
Tuxedo: free with groomsmen rentals
Total: $350

String Quartet for Ceremony: greatly varies
Total: $+?

Taxes: $428
Total: $428

Bouquets, Boutonnieres, and Corsages: $307.69
Reception Flowers: $754.81
Table Centerpieces: $253.23
Candles: $73.94
Lighting: $172
Total: $1,561.67

Wedding Favors: $153.17
Total: $153.17

Total spent: $9,618.81+


Take into account, this includes half of the things you will need for a wedding. I will try to list the missing items with an estimated price. I do not know what it will cost you exactly! I am only trying to help estimate the budget. When in doubt, I always estimate higher. It's better to prepare for more rather than less.

This does not include the following:

-Photographer = $1500+
-Photo Album = $20+
-Prints = $100+
-Videographer = greatly varies
-DJ = $500+
-Officiant = $350
-Marriage License = $40 for NY state
-Ceremony fees = greatly varies
-Ceremony decor = $100+
-Save-the-Dates = $80+
-Invitations = $175+
-Thank You Cards = $30+
-Stamps = $176
-Programs = $50+
-Guest Book = $25+
-Escort Cards = $20+
-Wedding Rings = $800+
-Transportation for couple and bridal party = $400+
-Bridal Accessories = $95+
-Hair Stylist = $80+
-Makeup Artist = $40+
-Day-Of Coordinator = $400+
-Gifts = greatly varies
-Tips = $500+
-Rehearsal Dinner = greatly varies
-Hotel Stay for Wedding Night = $200+

Estimated missing subtotal = $5,681+

So adding this to the two subtotals, we get...

Total Estimate for Phantom of the Opera Wedding = $11,917.82+ - $15,299.81+

I feel that this disproves the myth that you have to spend a crapton of money to have a really fancy looking affair. It takes a lot of hard work and research to keep costs down, but it will all work out in the end!

So don't feel discouraged and stay thrifty, my friends! <3

March 17, 2011

How to Get A Phantom Wedding Like David Tutera's My Fair Wedding: All The Details

Okay, so you're almost there!

You booked the perfect venue, set up the lighting, gathered the linens for the tables, did a test run for your DIY rose bouquets, assembled the floral centerpieces, ordered the cake, picked out your bridesmaid dresses, picked out your wedding dress, AND purchased the favors, it's now time to tie up loose ends!

Step 10: Take care of the rest of the details.

This is a compilation of all the other elements that make a wedding like the My Fair Wedding - Phantom of the Opera wedding that really didn't have enough work or detail to get its own post.

The Guys:

A handsome group of groomsmen in tuxes.Have them look like the dashing Phantom himself by renting traditional black tuxes. Usually you can get a deal of a free groom's tux if you rent tuxes for the whole bridal party at once! I have always loved guys in red, however any combination of white, black and red for vests, shirts, or ties will work for this wedding!

Cost for groom's tux: free!

The Ceremony Site:

Any church will work wonderfully for this type of wedding, especially one that is a little more ornate and decorated. Hopefully they already have some candelabras for your use for the altar, and perhaps more candles can line the aisle, with some red rose petals of course.

If you are not a religious couple, then look for a romantic, very decorated space that won't need too much extra decor to make it fit in with the Phantom theme.

Cost for ceremony site: varies

A ceremony site is so personal, there are countless ways you could go with the site and the decor. If you are smart with your choices this shouldn't break the bank.

The Music:

A college string quartet.A string quartet (or trio) for the ceremony is almost a must. However, musicians can get very expensive, even for short amounts of time.

I recommend either finding a local college music group or doing auditions at the local colleges in your area to look for affordable string musicians. These students are looking for any sort of extra cash, so as long as you are reasonable and take their travel expenses into account, you should find a more than capable group to work with.

Try to make a contract with them (I don't know the true details of creating a contract between two people that don't have a literal company, perhaps try to involve the college? Hmmm...I'll have to look into that) that has either a backup plan, a statement of reimbursement, or no payment at all if for some reason someone in the group cannot attend. Some students have very changeable schedules.

Also be sure to be clear on the dress of the students. Try not to be too unreasonable and ask them to purchase suits or rent expensive tuxes, their budgets are very limited. (If you're dealing with an actual organized band, this may be easier.) It will be easier on all parties to request something along the lines of formal wear, button down shirts and slacks for the guys, nice blouse and slacks/long skirt for the girls, you get the picture.

Cost for music: varies

The First Dance:

What made the dance floor so cool in the My Fair Wedding episode was that it had fog! How fitting is that for the Phantom?! This can be done by purchasing fog machines and placing them in optimized spots on the dance floor.

After Halloween sales are your best friend in this situation. I'll give you the pricing now, however they will be much cheaper once the Halloween madness is over for the year.

The quality of the fog machine your purchase will determine how many you need or how much you need to fiddle with them the day of. With some limited research, I found that the run of the mill fog machine will not give you that low-lying fog-floor effect without making your own makeshift cooling device. You could either look at the eHow fog chiller tutorial, or you could just accept that $200 is okay amount to spend on a proper fog machine and materials to save yourself that one extra DIY project.

Here is an affordable low-lying fog machine from Spirit Halloween for $64.99, it is sold out right now but may be back in stock in time for the Halloween season.

An affordable low-lying fog machine.This will take any standard fog machine fluid, Spirit Halloween sells a gallon for $19.99.

A more expensive fog machine for $150 on Amazon is the Mister Kool low-lying fog machine. This is given a very good description on the Got Fog? website, it seems to be exactly what you want for a wedding, with easy setup, standard materials needed, and even a remote timer!

Mister Kool low-lying fog machine.This machine takes Kool Fog, and a gallon of this will cost you $24.99 on Amazon.

A money and time saving tip is to start the fog machine shortly before your first dance, (to build up the fog,) and then just run the machine until the fog runs out. If you're doing this on your own, you don't want to have to keep running to the machine to refill on fluid or ice. If you insist on having fog the whole night, have a dedicated person supervising the machine to make sure things are running smoothly.

Also be sure to place them where no one can trip over any power cords or kick the machines! If there is a DJ booth that is a great place to place them, otherwise you would have to look at your venue to figure out the best placement. Also watch out for strong air conditioning vents or fans that could redirect the fog's flow.

Cost for fog machine: $84.98 - $174.99

Grand total for all details: $84.98+ - $174.99+

Now, the final evaluation: How much does a David Tutera wedding really cost you? Find out next post!

March 16, 2011

How to Get A Phantom Wedding Like David Tutera's My Fair Wedding: Favors

After trying to wrap up the David Tutera - My Fair Wedding series in just one more post, I realized that one of the items did have enough information and choices to warrant its very own post, so here it is!

Step 9: Purchase favors.

Two words: masquerade masks!

This was a really fun element in David Tutera's Phantom of the Opera vision, and including this is more affordable than you think.

All your guests can have black masks like these half masks from Oriental Trading Company, 24 for just $3.49!!!

Very affordable black masquerade masks.
Show off your bridal party by giving them these very stylish but still very affordable feather masks, 12 for just $19.99!

Very affordable black and white feather masquerade masks.If you don't want your bridal party to be as flashy, then these lacy lovelies from Crafta will work just as nicely! Each mask starts at $1.99 each and goes down to $1.59 each when you buy 6 or more!

An affordable gold and lace masquerade mask.The groomsmen are more difficult, just because there aren't as many formal mens masks that don't cost a bundle.

These black masks from Crafta go nicely with the gold lace masks, and are still affordable at $1.99 each, $1.59 each when you buy 6 or more. However, they do not go nicely with the black and white feather masks.

An affordable mens black masquerade mask.However, these black and silver masks from Amazon will work very well with the black and white feather masks! And for $4.63 each, they're not too shabby pricewise.

An affordable black and silver masquerade mask.
You can have a lot more fun with your mask and your groom's mask. Make sure you stand out from the crowd! One of my favorite masks for a groom would have to be this one from House of Masquerades for $17.95. Very formal Phantom :)

A handsome mens masquerade mask.Another great mask is this black and gold one on Amazon for $9.99. Very classic!

A fancy and formal mens masquerade mask.
For you, the elegant bride, I have some lovely white, over-the-top, high feather options! :D

The first, a lovely design from Crafta for $15.99:

A gorgeous white feather bridal masquerade mask.The second, a very similar, but cheaper, option from Mardi Gras Beads and Supplies for $9.90:

A gorgeous white feather bridal masquerade mask.If you want something a little different, try this mask from Party City for $19.99:

A unique white feather bridal masquerade mask.And if you want to splurge a bit on yourself, there's this lovely for $50 from Success Creations:

A gorgeous white feather masquerade mask.
Photo copyright by Success Creations

All these masks should be on sticks and have any strings or ties removed, just for ease of use. You would have spent way too much effort getting your makeup right to endanger it by plastering a mask on your face! (And I'm sure the other ladies at your wedding will feel the same way!)

Where to get the sticks? A fantastic place to buy them in bulk is at! You can get 100 1/4" diameter, 36" long dowels for $22! Give them a quick coat of paint, then hot glue or epoxy them onto the masks!

Total cost for favors: $78.51 - $153.17

Now (seriously) on to Step 10: All the Little Details!

March 14, 2011

Your Comments Are Awesome!


I was so used to not getting many comments on my posts, and going crazy trying to get a job, that I didn't realize so many awesome readers were posting comments! You guys rock!

I like to respond to most comments, mostly to say thank you!

So sorry for the delayed responses and thank you's!

I need to start checking my blog email more often XD


March 13, 2011

How to Get A Phantom Wedding Like David Tutera's My Fair Wedding: Wedding Dress

(Sorry for the delay in posting, I just got a new job, so there was a lot of agonizing waiting and stress beforehand! XP)

Now that your ladies are all pretty, it's time for the bride to find a gorgeous dress!

Step 8: Find a wedding dress.

Now, I'll be honest, the wedding dress David Tutera picked for this Phantom bride was a pretty classic, elegant ballgown. Nothing that was too couture or out there, which makes it really easy to find a nice dress that fits the Phantom wedding.

Again, I'm going to look for dresses from the always-affordable ebay, to insure that any bride can purchase one for herself!

(Obviously, this isn't a full, complete list of any sort, given how many dresses exist out there! It is just a few that caught my eye!)

If you want generally the same feel as the TV show, you need similar pickups in the front of the dress, like this ballgown for $179:

A stunning wedding dress with unique pickups in the front.or even this more classic a-line dress for $175:

A classic a-line wedding gown with pickups in the front.The next two ballgowns are soo romantic, they fit in just perfectly, especially the dress with the lovely gold coloring! *ack I die!*

A delicately pretty ballgown for $159.98:

A delicate yet stunning ballgown wedding dress.And a detailed gold ballgown for $179:

An amazingly detailed embroidered gold cream ballgown wedding dress.If you're the kind to want to completely become Christine Daae, then this era-fitting ballgown for $350 is just the thing you need:

An old era, vintage, long sleeve lace ballgown wedding dress.This one just reminds me of the dress Christine wears when she's singing "Think of Me" onstage, a romantic floral ballgown for $168:

A romantic, floral ballgown wedding dress.Finally, if you want a more modern twist on the Phantom, then this statement dress for $188 is just the thing:

A modern take on an elegant ballgown wedding dress.
*drool* So many pretty ballgowns, so little time! XD

Cost for wedding dress = $159.98 - $350

On to the final installment of the David Tutera - My Fair Wedding series, Step 9: All the Little Details!

March 7, 2011

The Wedding Everyone Is Talking About...

I guess it would be kinda silly not to post about one of the most anticipated weddings of this year--Kate and William's Royal Wedding.

Prince William and Kate Middleton cute couple photo.I have to say I am very interested in this and will be watching, my mom always had an interest in Princess Diana so I'm curious to see what her son's wedding day will be like.

I can't help but wonder though, how Kate, I mean "Catherine", is handling all the publicity and public opinions about their big day.

I first saw it on Martha Stewart The Bride's Guide... "If I were Kate, I would/should choose a classic wedding dress, with clean lines..." Well, you're not Kate. Why are you choosing something for her? She seems very capable of choosing herself!

A stylish Kate Middleton and Prince William.
I have to say, I love her style too :)
I've also seen opinions on all sorts of aspects of their wedding, how their cake should look, what flowers she should have, how many people the couple should be allowed to invite?!, etc, and it's just seems so strange to me.

Perhaps it's just due to the fact that I'm not really engaged yet and that every bride goes through this...but I'm sure Kate's on a bigger scale than most of us. :)

I mean a future mother-in-law is one thing, but the Queen of England is most definitely another! o.0 I can see how Kate could be easily pushed aside to make room for what a royal wedding "should be".

Princess Diana and Prince Charles wedding photo.
Gorgeous for Diana...but most likely not for Kate...
I'm not saying they are a weak couple and won't make their voice known when they want to, I just hope Kate, (and William too!) get the things they want most on their wedding day.

And that's my two cents :)

March 1, 2011

How to Get A Phantom Wedding Like David Tutera's My Fair Wedding: Bridesmaid Dresses

Now that you have your cake set, you need to dress your lovely ladies for the occasion!

Step 7: Find bridesmaid dresses.

Sung Boutique did the bridesmaid dresses for the Phantom of the Opera wedding, and posted the exact styles they give the bride as choices in the show.

You can buy the exact styles, however each one will cost you at least $200 each... XP

So I'll list each dress with it's price and then list some more affordable alternatives I found.

Dress 1: Black Lace Prom Dress on sale for $192:

A stunning black lace prom dress used for some of the bridesmaids in David Tutera's My Fair Wedding Phantom of the Opera episode.Affordable alternatives:

-Roberta Jacquard Gown from the BonTon, $98:

An affordable formal black bridesmaids dress.Yes, it is not as fancy looking as the original, but it does have a bit more going for it than a regular, trumpet style bridesmaid dress. It has a pretty flower pattern, elegant style, and with the little bits of ruching on the top, it should look decent on all your bridesmaids.

-Black Evening Gown from Formal Gallery, found by Sears, $149:

An affordable dramatic black bridesmaid dress.Now while it's only $43 less than the original, this has the same sort of dramatic playfulness and texture the Sung dress has! I kinda love this dress, very elegant and romantic and just plain gorgeous!

Dress 2: Black Gold Lace Sequin Evening Dress on sale for $248:

A dazzling black gold lace sequin evening dress used for some of the bridesmaids in David Tutera's My Fair Wedding Phantom of the Opera episode.Affordable alternative:

-Black Prom Evening Gown from Formal Gallery, found by Sears, $139:

An affordable dramatic black and gold bridesmaid dress.Being such a unique dress, I was so happy to find something quite similar to the original! Also being the most expensive of the three dresses, I was happy to find a dramatic yet romantic gown for over $100 less! Woot.

Dress 3: Wine Strapless Tafetta Evening Gown for $196:

<br />A dramatic wine strapless tafetta evening gown used for some of the bridesmaids in David Tutera's My Fair Wedding Phantom of the Opera episode.Affordable alternatives:

-Satin Bandage Gown with Crystal Pin from Amazon, $79.99:

An affordable elegant burgundy bridesmaids dress.This is very, very similar to the original, simple, elegant lines with a touch of bling. The only thing this dress is missing is the true trumpet silhouette, however with that gorgeous ruching I feel that will not be missed :)

-Strapless Ball Gown from Amazon, $93:

An affordable elegant red bridesmaids dress.This does not have the same bling as the original, however the silhouette of the dress is very similar. Very elegant, perhaps a bit too detailed, but for $93 each, this will make your maids' wallets much happier.

Once you ordered the dresses, accessorize your maids with pearl necklaces and earrings, and you're all set! Don't worry about getting real pearls, your maids *shouldn't* mind and it will help everyone save money!

Cost for bridesmaid dresses and accessories = varies

I put varies because the cost of bridesmaid attire for the bride will be a personal choice. You may pay for their dresses, or may chip in a set amount for each maid. You may give them their accessories as gifts, or just one special component. You may have other ideas for bridesmaid gifts. So this is really entirely up to you.

Now that your bridesmaids are all pretty, it's your turn! We go on to Step 8: The bride's dress!!!

An Affordable Wedding Book Every Bride MUST Have

Okay, I checked out the 9th edition of Bridal Bargains from my local library,

Bridal Bargains wedding book, very helpful for saving money on a wedding.
(Great money saving tip: Check out as many recent wedding books and magazines you can from your local library for free!)
read only up to page 40, and I am already thoroughly convinced that I will buy the newest edition if I ever get engaged.

This. book. is. gold.

It's down-to-earth, tells you like it is, no fuss, no games. If you have any intentions on saving money on your wedding budget, YOU MUST HAVE THIS BOOK! Read the whole thing, and then carry it around with you everywhere!

These authors really know what they're talking about, and they mention all the little things that even I wouldn't have thought of, but are fundamentally important, such as using a credit card for all your wedding purchases to protect your investment. Apparently most credit card purchases above $50 or more within certain restrictions are protected by law. I didn't know this, probably due to my lack of a real generic credit card :P But that's another story XD

They also will help you debunk lots of myths the Wedding Industrial Complex wants you to believe in order to help their bottom line. It's harsh but it's true! It will tell you what to avoid and where to go for lots of lovely wedding necessities.

In other words, it's awesome!

But enough of me blabbing about the book's content, go read for yourself!

(Perhaps I should put a disclaimer after each of these almost-an-advertisement posts, no one is paying me for any endorsements you find in my blog, (sadly, lol) this is just my personal, albeit strong, opinion. XD)