Monday, October 25, 2010

My favorite wedding planning book.

I just went to the Amazon main page, and it recommended that I buy this book:

Apparently Amazon doesn't realize that I already own that book. If you don't already own this book, I would strongly recommend it. I have at least 50 wedding planning books, but I think that this is the book that I found the most helpful. It's called The Wedding Book: The Big Book for Your Big Day by Mindy Weiss. Mindy Weiss is an amazing wedding planner. You may have heard of her before, she was responsible for Ellen DeGeneres and Portia De Rossi's beautiful wedding. This book contains a wonderful collection of information. It is full of great details, ideas, examples, and recommendations. It also includes lists of questions* to ask each of your vendors, which I found especially helpful. I honestly took either a list of written questions, or this book with me to every meeting I ever had with a potential wedding vendor. I know that a few of them teased me about my organizational skills at the time, but every single vendor at the wedding ended up complimenting us on what a pleasure it was to work at such a well organized event, and how impressed they were that things went so smoothly, especially without the help of a wedding planner or a coordinator. I don't think things would've gone nearly as smoothly without some of the tips I picked up from this book. If you only buy one wedding planning book, this is the one that I would recommend.

* Another book that had good lists of questions to ask your potential wedding vendors was this book: Bridal Bargains: Secrets to Throwing A Fantastic Wedding On A Realistic Budget. This link is for the new 2010 edition that will be released on November 15th. I used the 2009 edition, but every edition of this book has always received great reviews.

Friday, October 22, 2010

I'm ordering our Christmas cards from!

Now that the wedding is over, I've started to look toward the future and I'm already getting excited about the upcoming holidays. I can't wait to send out Christmas cards with "our" last name -- preferably with a fun picture of Dylan and me together! Maybe we'll even use a picture of us with our dogs, since that's what we've come to think of as our little family.

Some of you may have noticed that I have an ad for Minted on the sidebar of my blog. I've been very choosy about putting any ads up, because I'm very big on only giving props to companies or products that I would actually use myself. The ladies at Minted are exactly that kind of company. Recently they sent me an assortment of samples of their holiday cards, and I can't tell you how impressed I was with them. Their stationery is lovely online, but it's even more impressive in person.

As anyone who has read my blog will know, I am a details girl. Minted does not disappoint. They have details that I love. Specifically, they have coordinated envelope liners and wrap-around labels available for most of their designs! Even the backs of most of the cards have coordinated patterns. They've thought of everything, and I love that. I also love that they give you different paper choices and color choices for so many of their designs, so you can customize them just to your liking. I'm personally a fan of the pearlescent paper for a lot of the holiday cards I've looked at, but it all depends on your style and preference.

I've spent hours admiring the samples they sent me, and looking at all of the designs on their website to try to narrow it down to some of my favorites. I don't think there's a single one that I didn't like, so narrowing it down has been more difficult than I expected.

These are just some of my favorites:

{clicking on the pictures will take you right to that card on Minted}

{Love and Peace Eternal -- whimsical, folksy, eclectic and unique}

{Celebration -- elegant, classic, and understated}

{Mittens -- festive, cute and cozy. I love both the font and the mittens!}

{Holiday Stripes -- traditional with flair, preppy, a nice balance of masculine and feminine}

{Octavia -- rustic, kitschy, vintage, and charming}

{Woodland Wonderland -- woodland critters with a faux bois birch bark monogram! Love it!}

{Mistletoe Wreath -- artsy, warm, and sweet}

{Reinpet -- what's not to love about your pets with reindeer antlers? And I love the liner!}

{Joyeux Noel + St Nick -- This is one of the samples I've seen in person, and it's a lovely charcoal gray. The liner and label that came with my sample are a pretty muted peach color. You know how I love gray and peach together! I think this one is especially adorable if you've got a cute little munchkin to show off!}

{Delicate Flourishes -- ornate and pretty without being bonk-you-over-the-head 'holiday'}

If you want to go all out, what about sending gorgeous mini-books as your Christmas cards?

My favorites include:

This Airmail Holiday Minibook would be perfect if you got to travel somewhere exotic this year. Maybe you could showcase some honeymoon pictures?

This Peppermint Ribbon Holiday Minibook is a little kitschy, and a lot adorable.

And this Snowflake Window Holiday Minibook is perfect if you want something rich and wintery, without being red and green.

For those brides-to-be who are still in the thick of wedding planning and aren't even thinking about the holidays yet, Minted also has gorgeous wedding stationery, from save-the-dates to invitations and thank you cards. On November 1st, they're launching an exciting new addition of photo calendars that would make perfect save-the-dates, or New Year's greetings for those of us who tend to get too busy during the actual holidays to get our holiday cards in the mail!

So what do you think? Which holiday cards should we send out this year?

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Happy Sweetest Day!

What better day to start catching up on my wedding blogging? If you've never heard of Sweetest Day, you aren't the only one. Google it. I think of it as an October version of Valentine's Day, but more simple. It's a day to celebrate the people who help to make your life sweet.

Besides Dylan, most of the people who help to make my life sweeter were present at my lovely bridal shower, so that's what I wanted to share today.

First, the bridal shower invitations:
(I blurred some of the personal details to protect privacy.)

These invitations were the cutest! They're actually from Martha Stewart, and you customize them yourself. They include the adorable pop-up wedding cake invitations, the printable inserts, RSVP enclosures (which we used as direction cards instead), the eyelet lace belly bands, and envelopes. I added the little daisy embellishments, which were also from Martha Stewart.

The morning of my bridal shower, my maid of honor Melissa, my dear friend Samantha and I all went for mani-pedis at a local beauty school.

My mom and her best friend Amelia hosted my bridal shower at Amelia's beautiful home. They put on quite a spread! Samantha made devilled eggs, and my friend Joanna made the fun cupcakes!

My mom has always been quite the chocolatier, so she made tuxedo chocolate covered strawberries. She also played bartender, and made us huckleberry mojitos!

My mom and Amelia both made different kinds of pasta salads.

We toasted with white peach puree and champagne from Ambrosia Bistro -- Yum! My mom gave a really beautiful toast that sent me right into the ugly cry. Thank you Mom! :-P

My favorite girls! From left to right: Bryne, Joanna, Melissa, me, Kristi and Samantha.

And now with our lovely Pink Mustaches for Girls! (I love this picture the most.)

It was the most beautiful bridal shower I ever could have hoped for!

Monday, October 4, 2010

Our engagement session with Matt Shumate!

First off, I just want to let everyone know that I plan to post a TON of wedding stuff in the next couple of months. Our wedding is in just a few days, and wedding planning has just been far too insane for me to blog all about it. We have worked so hard to make things come together, and I am so excited to share all of our wedding details with everyone!

Now I want to share our engagement session photos with Matt Shumate!

Our original plan was to have our engagement session done at the county fair. We thought it would be fun, and there would be built-in props and cool background lighting. Unfortunately, my beloved great-grandmother died a few days before the fair. Since the fair only comes once a year, we were going to try to struggle through it, but when Matt heard my voice he told me that I was way too stressed, and that we should wait until I was feeling more up to it. I'm glad that we did, because (as you can see in the photos), it was a lot easier to smile and laugh than it would have been.

Matt is a great guy, a very creative photographer, and about the furthest thing from a diva artiste as you can get. For those of you who know me, or who have been reading my blog long enough, you'll know that I tend to be very sassy. Matt lobbed it right back at me, and we all had a good time. (Except for the weather. It was gray, chilly, windy as all hell, and rained on us for the last little while.)

Please forgive my windblown hair and chubby laughing face, but I still think the pictures came out pretty cute. I especially like the ones of Dylan laughing, and these:

Please think good thoughts for us this week, and keep your fingers crossed for our big day! 10-9-10 here we come!

Many more wedding details to come soon!