Thursday, December 23, 2010

Sneaky Little Elves

I've been a bad blogger lately. I promise it will get back to normal after the holidays. We've just had so much to do. Now that we've married off a sister, we have to Christmas shop, bake, and even sneak over to the newlyweds house to do a little decorating!

Now, those of you that are fancy and southern know what a "display" is. For my Yankee friends, it's tables set up with the couples' beautiful wedding gifts, invitations, and photos on display.

My parent's have had these tables up for weeks. Two nights before the wedding, we had some of our family friends over for a "Sip and See" where we drank Poinsettia's and looked at all of the gifts, while discussing the last minute details of the wedding. You see, we Southerner's can find any excuse to have a party!

So, after the couple left for their Cancun honeymoon, we crept over to their house and set up a few of the gifts for them to come home to. Don't worry, we kept the display in tact. The trick is hiding all of the boxes underneath the tables. We also bought a Christmas tree and put their new ornaments (a bonus for getting married at the holidays, lots of new ornaments!) on it. Tonight, we're bringing over milk, eggs, and a breakfast casserole for the two to enjoy Christmas morning before coming over to open gifts with their nosy relatives.

We hope they enjoy their surprise on Friday night, when they get home from the airport. We love you, Katie and Chase!

Monday, December 20, 2010

Busy, Busy, Busy

Sorry, dear readers, I've been a bit busy. My older sister, Katie, got married on Saturday in Fort Worth, Texas to a wonderful man named Chase. It was a spectacular event to be a part of and I promise to give you a big recap soon, as well as pictures and some tips for your big day. I learned a whole host of new things that I can't wait to share! I may be biased, but I think she looked SMASHING! To read Katie and Chase's wedding announcement, please go here.

Happy holidays everyone, I hope you and yours really enjoy the next few days!

Photo courtesy of Mike Lewis Photography

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Tips for Finding the Perfect Dress

You've just gotten engaged, you picked a date and a venue, and now it's time to gather up your friends and family to start looking at dresses. I've worked as a bridal consultant, and I have several tidbits of information to share with you, hopefully to make it easier.

Start shopping early! Wedding gowns take anywhere from 4-6 months to come in, so it's recommended to order 8 months ahead of your wedding day. You will want time for alterations and if you're planning on having bridal portraits made you'll need time for that too. If you wait too late you may have to pay a rush fee to get your gown in time, and why throw away $100 if you don't have to? If you are already past the 4 month mark, start searching for sample sales.

Make appointments and keep them. Most salons are by appointment only, so that they can give you the correct amount of attention. If you have made an appointment and cannot make it, either cancel or reschedule. It's rude to take a time slot and not show up, particularly on busy days such as Saturday.

Look online or through magazines to get a handle on what type of dress you like. Are you mad for ball gowns or do you see yourself in a slinky sheath? Please, please, please keep in mind to only use this as a tool for ideas for a dress, don't attempt to find THE dress through Maggie Sottero's website. You may never find that dress at any store and you will drive yourself crazy. I don't ever suggest ordering a gown that you have not had on your body. The models for those gowns are 5'10 and weigh 100 pounds so unless you're built identically, the dresses will look completely different on you. Once you have a few ideas swirling in your head, either print them out or tear them out to bring with you as you shop. Pictures are worth a thousand words and will help your sales associate get inside your head.

Have a budget before going in. You don't want to leave your budget open ended, only to fall in love with a gown twice the price of what you can spend. There are lovely dresses found at every price point, so stay true to what fits your price point.

I think it's best to go with only a few people. I have seen way too many brides in tears over all the opinions spewed at them. This is your wedding dress, people tend to like what they would personally wear. Your mom's advice that a certain detail is making your booty look big is good to know. If she tells you she hates corset backs, and you love them, ignore her.

Wear your hair close to how you think you will wear it on the day. This doesn't mean you need to have it done at a salon, but, if you want a low chignon wear your hair in a pony tail. This way your consultant can put a veil on you where you'll be wearing one, and you can get a better idea of the whole picture.

You should bring undergarments, even though most stores have corset bras to try on with, do you really want to wear a bra put on by hundreds of people before you? Yuck. If you are at all conscious of your weight it's also not a bad idea to bring Spanx.  I could practically be a spokes model for this company, so if you don't own a pair, go buy some!

Be open minded. A huge majority of the gowns I've sold have been to brides who at first turned their noses up at the gown. The dresses look so different on, and a good consultant knows how the dresses fit and how it should look on you. Trust the person you are working with and if it were me, I'd ask them to pull a few "wild cards" to try on.

Don't try on too many. The girls who try on 200 dresses are miserable, everything runs together and it's nearly impossible to choose one. There is no end to pretty things in the bridal world, so don't do yourself a disservice and put on every dress at every store in a 100 mile radius. Very few people have a crying "Say Yes to the Dress" moment. For many brides it's a logical choice that requires some thought. Try to leave every store with three favorites, at most, sleep on it, and go back. Many brides come back to try on by themselves, it's just easier to make a decision that way.

Keep your wedding in mind. If you're getting married on the beach, it's not quite appropriate to order a satin ball gown. It's best to be practical and not lose sight of the big picture. While you won't be as comfortable as when you're wearing your favorite sweat pants, you do want to be somewhat at ease.

If you get extremely torn and can't choose, try to picture your wedding day. There is a difference between a beautiful dress and your wedding dress. If one makes you feel a little more "bridal," then it's probably your dress. When that doesn't work, imagine if one of the two or three dresses were discontinued. Would you be more upset about one gown than another? And lastly, not that his opinion matters too much, (obviously he will think you are stunning regardless of what you wear) is there one dress that your fiance would like more than the others?

Once you have settled on a style, be careful who you buy from. Do. Not. Buy. Online. I don't mean you shouldn't buy a handmade dress off of Etsy, but if you found a Pronovias dress for 1/3 retail price, it's probably not the real thing. I've had girls come crying in the shop because they bought a dress online only to discover it's a cheap knock off. I've seen dresses with no boning, no crinoline, and no support. If something is too good to be true, it probably is.

If you found a store that you liked more than all of the others, see if they can order your favorite gown. Good customer service goes a long way, so be aware of the store's reputation.

If your dress has a scalloped lace hem or beaded detail, ask about the length before you order. Most designers will let you change the length when you order for a small fee.

If you are between sizes, order up. It's much easier to take in a dress than to let it out. Don't let the number bother you. Every one has to go up one to two sizes in bridal. Would you rather a small number or a dress that zips?

Be positive that this is your dress. Most stores have a zero return policy, and no one wants to be a two-dress-bride. The gowns aren't sitting in a warehouse, they are custom made, so you can't change your mind unless you decide to sell the dress online.

Good luck, and I hope you find the perfect dress for you! If you have any questions, please contact me at

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

I've Got Sunshine on a Cloudy Day

Yellow is all the rage lately, and is the perfect wedding color for a bright and springy wedding. You can't help but feel all warm inside with this sunny shade.

Pretty and fun, this yellow wedding cake is awesome, blossom!

You totally want to take a cab to your wedding now, don't you?

Photos by:

The perfect drink for a warm afternoon. Add some rum in it for a delicious cocktail!

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

First-Class Favors

I honestly don't think that favors are necessary at a wedding. They can prove to be massive wastes of money. It usually costs a decent chunk of change to get anything worth giving, but here are a few pretty wonderful favor ideas.

Etsy comes through once again, this time with Ivy Lane Design's custom matchboxes. You can get them with your wedding colors and they are eco friendly to boot! Oh, and did I mention that they are adorable?

For those of you that are gettin' hitched in Vegas, I think these would be a witty gift for your guests.

Purse size and very useful, I'm fond of these personalized mint tins available through Beacoup. There are so many options, it would be hard not to find something that went with the style of your wedding. And, if your future father in law is a close talker with bad breath, these will come in handy!

As a chocolate lover, I'll always happily eat a cute chocolate bar at a reception. Wedding Star has some darling wrappers, like this one, that is peacock themed. They have so many colors and options, you're bound to find something that works with your wedding.

Luna Bazaar is a fabulous place to look for lanterns, paper lanterns, paper fans, and the like. They also have many exquisite candle holders that would do double duty as decorations and favors, like this brown rice paper votive holder.

If you prefer more of a vintage look, I think their faceted, vintage glass tea light holders are outstanding. I'd love to take one of those home with me!

Planning a holiday wedding? Look at these ornament place card holders. They are useful to you for a seated dinner, but your guests may take them home and hang them on their tree! They're pretty, too. 

Getting married in a vineyard? I've got the perfect favor for you!.Wine cork spreaders. Because, really, what goes better with wine than cheese?

Monday, December 6, 2010

Brilliant Bridesmaid Dresses

Let's face it, finding flattering and attractive bridesmaid dresses is a nightmare. It's difficult to ask your friends to spend their hard earned money on shapeless, satin bags. After a lot of looking, I've come across some beautiful dresses.

I am dying for one of Amanda Archer's dresses. They are unbelievably cute, and custom made. I love this dress in cotton for a more casual spring wedding, but the same design is also offered in silk.

And here is another one of her designs in a real wedding
Watters, Wtoo Bridesmaid collections are always fabulous. They are beautifully constructed, and come in great fabrics. If you're looking for sleek and simple, I think style 854 is an understated and classic look.

After working with Bari Jay multiple times, and even meeting their designer, I can't say enough good things about this line. They seem to do their best work with chiffon, and I've yet to see someone look unattractive in style 103

If you want superb style, but low prices, look into Pretty Maids by House of Wu. They have so many color options, you can make most dresses short, tea-length, or long for a small fee, and you can change the fabric. What's not to love? Catch site of this darling dress, style 22384.

Frills and ruffles and pockets, oh my! Jordan has made a fun and flirty halter that would look great on any size!

Jim Hjelm is always a great option, especially if price isn't an issue. JH5056 is a knock-out look, and would be splendid for a retro wedding.

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Toast to You

      If you want a guestbook that is outside of the norm, and you love wine, check out this idea. It would be best to begin this project a few months before the wedding, so you can collect a decent amount of bottles.

      You will need to have a collection of your favorite wines. Choose some that you and your fiance will enjoy drinking in the months after your wedding. For everyone to have enough room to write you a message, you'll need about one bottle of wine per 5 guests. Don't drink alcohol? You can do a similar project with jars of jam or fancy bottles of soda. You will either need to find a free wine label template on the internet, or purchase some personalized labels. I love these labels from Bottle Your Brand.

     You will also need double sided tape, 8x10in paper cut in half, hotdog style and pens. I love the way these pens from Sharpie write and they come in so many fun colors!
      Soak the bottle overnight in lukewarm water, the label should be easy to remove, but a butter knife may be of assistance. Allow them ample time to dry before applying the labels. 
        Connect the strips of paper behind your wine label, so that the label has little "tabs" that extend, this will be where your guests can write notes and well wishes. Using the double sided tape, attach the labels to your bottles of wine, and have them set up at the reception with pens. 

       In the months following, as you enjoy your wine and your little notes, be sure to remove the labels and save them in a scrap book or photo album.

Friday, December 3, 2010

Holiday Pie Cupcakes

You read that right. Pie and cupcakes together...Can you say "Mmmmm!" Also, have you noticed that my blog seems to be centered around dessert a lot so far? 

Check out how to make these at Mommy Topics, a great blog for those Suzy Homemakers out there.

These would be great for an intimate reception or delicious treats at a bridesmaids luncheon. I can't wait to make these for Christmas!

Thursday, December 2, 2010

A Breathtaking Bouquet

     Back in June I went to a lovely wedding of my friend's Nick and Callan. She planned the whole thing herself and there were so many personal touches that made it unforgettable.

     Her gorgeous bouquet blew me away with the creativity and sentiment behind it. She decided early on in the planning process that she would not have flowers at the wedding at all. Table centerpieces were fun and named after famous couples, the bridesmaids carried scrolls which they read from during the ceremony, and all other aspects of decor were glowing candles.

     Still, she didn't quite know what to carry down the aisle. She has a very large family and was wishing there were a way to incorporate them into the ceremony, without having each of them stand up at the altar. It was important to feel as though those close to her were "with her" as she sauntered down the aisle at The Las Colinas Country Club in Irving, Texas. While she was pondering this thought, it occurred to her that she could carry memories and moments from those closest to her on her wedding day and solve the bouquet problem. I'm all about killing two birds with one stone, and she nailed it. She sent out the following letter to her family members and closest friends:

Hi everyone!!

I've decided that instead of flowers for my wedding bouquet I want to hold something incredibly special and memorable! What I've decided to do is request a copy of an item that is meaningful to you from either your wedding or your personal life. It can be your wedding program, wedding invite, lyrics to the song you danced to or your favorite love song, a letter to me of any type of encouragement (because you know I will need it!), funny memory you have of me, or anything at all that means something to you that you want me to hold (and calm me down!) when I'm walking down the aisle!

After I recieve all the copies I'm going to transfer them to thin, ivory "flower paper" and make beautiful paper roses out of all the wonderful, meaningful events/letters given to me by all the people I love the most and that will be my wedding bouquet!



     Everyone sent her fantastic pieces from wedding photos, to invitations, napkins to copies of marriage certificates, and even a few copies of the actual vows said from her aunt's weddings. Those that were unmarried wrote letters that shared inside jokes, poems, and lyrics. She says that as she received these pieces and read each one the feeling was "indescribable." She brought everything she needed copies of into FedEx Office and had them transfer everything onto thin, ivory paper. She researched how to make paper flowers, and after multiple attempts, had a good friend assist her in making her one of a kind paper bouquet. They are attached to wire covered in flower tape, and the "stems" are wrapped in light gray ribbon. Here is a great tutorial from Martha Stewart on how to construct paper flowers. Project Wedding also has a great how-to on paper bouquets.

     At the reception we guests could walk around and check out all of the letters and vows that were a part of her bouquet, it was so winsome and unique. The best part is, Callan gets to keep her extraordinary bouquet forever! 

Can you believe these are all paper flowers?