Sunday, March 29, 2009

Kind of a Big Deal...

We FINALLY picked out Mark's wedding ring!!!

Like most decisions that we've had to make, this one took us forever! We first looked at wedding bands for Mark back last February when we got engaged. Admittedly, at the time we weren't looking seriously for bands yet....but, we were still looking. We began looking pretty seriously around last October and we've probably been on 3 or 4 excursions total to look for rings for Mark. He finally narrowed it down to the fact that he wanted something with milgrain (which is great b/c my e ring and band has milgrain too!) - other than that one specific, our search was kind of all over the place. Most of the rings we looked at were white gold (or as Mark likes to call it "silver"...ha!), although some also had rose gold or yellow gold on them as well. I think it was our expedition before this last one where he found a hammered finish ring with milgrain that he liked...BUT, he didn't like it enough to buy it. I guess it just wasn't the "one"! :)

After traveling around to a few jewelry stores yesterday we went back to our favorite Bham jewelry store...Diamonds Direct (it's where we purchased the setting for my ring). This store has the largest selection and we also have a sales associate there that we love - Angela. She's used to all of our indecisiveness! :) Plus, they don't work on commission there so you never feel pressured at all. After Mark tried on whatever caught our eye we were left with only 1 ring that we REALLY liked. None of them stuck out like this ring was just something about it (um, other than the fact that it was the most expensive one out of the ones that he liked!). It looked really really good on him and I could tell that he really liked it. He was worried about the price tag, but I definitely didn't want that to affect his decision b/c this was something that he was going to be wearing every single day for the rest of his life. That's a big deal!! Although, after we decided to go with this band Angela told us that she could knock off a little over $, okay! Sold! On top of that, Diamonds Direct offers a financing option to qualified customers with no interest for 9 months. With all of our expenses for the wedding coming up this was a BIG help. That way, after the wedding is over and all of my expendable income is no longer going toward pitching in for the wedding I can easily pay the ring off and not have to stress out about it being another "wedding expense" (cause I can certainly use one less of those in the next 2 months!).

Here's the ring he chose. It's a two tone white gold and yellow gold hammered finish ring with milgrain.

I love it! What do you guys think??

I'm so happy he chose one that is classic yet also unique. That's the way I feel about my ring. And if you're wondering about my band, remember, my wedding band came in a set with my engagement ring (after we had the setting swapped that can read about that here if you're interested). Here's a pic of my rings:

I can't wait until we slip that wedding band under my engagement ring! Then it's real....then we're married. ....Just two months away!!!!!! :)

Now we just have to decide what we want to get engraved on our bands..... Hmm....

We're so happy to have this checked off of the list though and I'm SO HAPPY that he found one that he loves! :)

Saturday, March 28, 2009

You've Gotta Be Kidding Me...

...damask printed toliet paper?? Seriously???

It's true. It's REAL. Can you believe it?? I randomly came across this looking up "damask" on google images.  Apparently these ladies used it as a surprise during a girls night out weekend or something. 

How crazy is that though? Damask toliet paper?? That's, that's....AMAZING. I'm almost neurotic enough to order some. For now at least it's "almost"....once it gets closer to the wedding who knows what will happen!?! ;)

Oh, and if you're a damask bride wondering "where can you possibly get this??"...well, you can get it here

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Seamstress Wanted!

I wish the world were like Etsy's Alchemy. If you haven't checked out the Alchemy feature on Etsy then you are definitely missing out. It's no secret how awesome Etsy is....but, it took me MONTHS (honestly, years) to discover the Alchemy feature. I've commented on the awesomeness of it before, but it's just so good that I'm gonna have to do it again! I found my AMAZING invitation designer, Lindsey Ryan, through Etsy Alchemy. I simply posted what i was looking for with detailed information like quantity, quality, amount i was willing to pay, and delivery date. You can also post inspiration pictures of what you're looking for. I got around 30 "bids" from doing this and after sorting through them all I picked Lindsey to create our invitations. She worked hand in hand with me to create EXACTLY what we were looking for. I'll post more on that later...I can't WAIT to share those with you!! :)

Anyway...back to my original topic.....I need a seamstress. I really really need a seamstress. And I wish I could just post a wanted ad on Etsy's Alchemy and have amazing seamstresses contact ME and offer me bids to do the job I wanted....BUT, unfortunately that's not exactly how ALL things work! ;), I'm turning to you guys. Does anyone know a great seamstress in Birmingham, AL? They need to be VERY experienced with wedding dresses. I think my bustle is going to end up being a little complicated! :) And I'm gonna need it to be taken in pretty much all over (bust, waist, hips). I think I maybe could have used the size I think Jillian is helping me firm things up (yes!!!). 

Oh, and if you're wondering why I don't just get it taken in at the bridal boutique that I bought it from it's because that boutique is about and hour and a half away and they only take alteration appointments on Thursdays. Um, hello....I work....and I live in Birmingham!! Yeah, not happening!

So, Help? Please? :)

Beautify Me!

So I've kinda been debating on what to do with my makeup on the day of the wedding. I see different brides on weddingbee and such talking about hiring professional makeup artists for their big day and I'd love to do this BUT....I live Birmingham, AL. It's not exactly NYC or LA and we don't have a plethora of amazingly talented makeup artists that do the makeup of celebrities and such on a daily basis. So...I wasn't sure where to start or what to do. Throughout my planning process, I've hit this same road block multiple in Birmingham, things aren't as easy access as other places. I mean just look on the boards for the Knot or Weddingbee and you'll notice that there aren't nearly as many brides from AL commenting on those sites and there aren't nearly as many reviews of vendors in our area. That's just how it goes. B'ham (and AL in general) hasn't exactly picked up on this trend it seems. So, if i can't necessarily turn to the internet (where I find practically EVERYTHING for the wedding) then where could I turn??

Well, I tried asking different vendors that I'm using in Birmingham. That lead me to one makeup artist who seemed very good...but she was booked for my date. She then suggested a few others and I of course tried googling them. I found websites for two of them and from one of the girl's website I found a "cosmetic spa boutique" in Birmingham. Coincidentally, it was right around the time of my FMIL's birthday and my fiance was having trouble coming up with a present to get her. I suggested that we get her a gift certificate to NVogue (the cosmetic spa boutique) because they offered a service called "Makeup Lesson". This service included both the makeup lesson AND the cost of the lesson was redeemable in products. Sounds like a good deal, right? And who wouldn't love a makeup lesson from a professional?? (especially when they had a big event coming up like their son's wedding!!) :) So, Mark and I talked it over and we decided to get this for her as her birthday present. When I called to purchase the gift certificate I decided to inquire about bridal makeup. And guess what?? They most definitely do bridal makeup!! The fee to have this done was less than what i had been quoted previously (from the M/U artist that was booked) and it included a trial run, day-of, free lipstick AND a free makeup session for the Mother of the Bride on the day of the wedding! Um...sold!!! So, I made appointments for my FMIL and I to have our makeup done at the same time at the spa.

I told the makeup artist at Nvogue (Tammy) that I would like a fresh/natural kind of look that played up my eyes a bit. I told her I wanted something very soft and romantic, but something that would show up well and look good in pictures - not to mention last ALL day in the May heat of central Alabama!

Here's what she came up with:

So what do you guys think?? Do we have a winner??

Monday, March 23, 2009

Quick Decisions

okay, more on our invitations later (I promise!)...but for now I have a bit of an emergency decision to make.  [and yes, I might be blowing this WAY out of proportion...I realize that]

I've been working with the absolutely fabulous Lindsey from Lindsey Ryan Designs  on custom invitations. We've been working on these for a while now and she's been SO patient with me and my indecisiveness. Well, everything has been working out perfectly until just now....we hit a snag. The pocketfolds that we planned to use for the invitations are now out of stock and will not be back in stock for another 2 1/2 weeks. Um, yeah. My original deadline for invitations is next Monday (which we totally would have made had it not been for this little hiccup). I'm faced with making a quick decision so that we can keep everything on track.... 

The pocketfold we planned on using was going to be a matte black. The invitation and inserts are going to be a pearl white (shimmer) and the aqua bellyband and aqua rsvp envelope will be a shimmer as well. Well, now the only in stock pocketfolds are either a shimmer black or a linen black. I'm afraid that the shimmer will just be TOO much shimmer (i liked the matte black pocketfold that was to balance everything out) and I'm afraid that the linen black will be too textured and too much of a contrast and a different tone against the shimmer. 

I NEED HELP!!!  I have to give a decision to her by tomorrow morning so that we can order the materials and get this show on the road! So which would you pick??




Opinions Please!!!! Professing the fact that I'm crazy and making WAY too big of a deal out of this counts too!!! ;) (it's just that i've spent so much time tweaking every little detail of this invite and now when it comes time to put it all together one of the biggest pieces has been altered...ugh.)

Also, there is, actually, an option 3..... We could wait until April 9th when the matte black comes back in stock and then have them ready to send out April 13th (this would be MAILING them about 6 weeks out from the wedding).... technically, people are suppose to be receiving them 6 weeks out from the wedding. What do you guys think?? Chance it and go this route or settle for one of the alternatives???

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Honeymoon: {drumroll}.....check!!!

So it's about time, right???

We finally picked our honeymoon destination!!! 

After reading about a million TripAdvisor reviews from hotels and resorts quite literally all over the world, we've finally decided to go to.....

The Four Seasons Maui at Wailea!!!! 

And yes, that is a REAL picture taken from a guest at the FS Maui (I swiped it from Flikr, as I did with all of the pictures that will be in this post).

I'm so excited!!!! For 2 reasons really.... 1 - to go to this AMAZING resort in Hawaii with my even more amazing (official by that time) husband!! 2 - to actually have this decision made, booked and checked off our list!!

As I said, we did a TON of research for this honeymoon. TripAdvisor was a godsend. I loved that we could read literally hundreds of reviews on each destination we were considering. Not only that, but they are also ranked by location AND the reviewers (who are the actual people that traveled to these places - not travel agents or anything) can upload their personal pictures from the trip so you can get a good idea of what it REALLY looks like from a guest's perspective. Oh, and you can actually email the reviewers through the site and ask them additional questions about the destination. And speaking of reviews this place has 673 total reviews and 524 of these reviews are 5 star...and let me tell you, these tripadvisor people are not easy to please!! ;) Also solidifying our decision was the fact that this resort is one of only 3 AAA Five Diamond award winners in all of Hawaii...and it's been a Five Diamond award winner for 17 years in a row now! So yeah, sounds amazing right? I can't wait!! This will be just what we need after this whole year and a half (nearly!) of wedding planning! 

And now it's picture time...

Now we've just gotta get one of these (an underwater camera case for our Canon SD 600):

So that we can take pics like these: 


(All photos from Flickr)

Aloha!!!!!! ;)

Sunday, March 15, 2009


Yeah, so i haven't posted much lately. Have you noticed?? ;)

But I totally have not been slacking off on wedding planning....I promise!!! I've been busy! My to-do list multiplies exponentially daily. oh my. There is literally only 10 more weekends until the wedding. I can't believe it! I can't believe how quickly it's flown by. On one hand I'm so excited for the day to be here. I can't wait to marry Mark and start the rest of our lives together (officially) as a family :) But on the other hand I have so much anxiety because I feel like I still have SO much to do! 

Well, even though I haven't been blogging as much I HAVE been trying to mark things off my to-do list. A few of the things I've accomplished in the past couple weeks? Well let me tell you!

1 - Booked the Rehearsal Dinner
I'm so excited about this. I feel like the rehearsal dinner is going to be a really special time. The night before Mark and I make our lifetime commitment our families and closest friends will come together for an intimate gathering. It's a time for our families to bond, for our friends to have fun and a time for everyone to come together to celebrate mine and Mark's relationship. :) I just imagine a warm, loving environment filled with excitement and anticipation! I can't wait!! As for location, it's gonna be at the Cantina restaurant in Birmingham. The space is amazing. A large open room with VERY high ceilings and exposed brick walls. HUGE windows encircle the room. There's ambient, soft lighting with twinkle lights in all of the windows. And the food is amazing! It's an upscale mexican restaurant, described as a "unique taqueria". This is the real deal, authentic mexican food. Fresh quality ingredients served in an upscale, yet rustic, mexican environment. It's gonna be awesome! Thanks to Steve and Jan (my soon-to-be inlaws!) for setting this up! BTW....have I mentioned that Mark and I LOVE mexican food? Cause we do. A lot. A WHOLE lot! :)

2 - Ordered the Flower Girl Dresses
My good friend Stevie's daughter Leah and my future sister-in-law Allison's daughter Kaylee Beth are going to be our "honorary" flower girls. By the time the wedding gets here they will be 1 1/2 and 1 years old, respectively. Sooo...I said honorary flower girls b/c they will be just a *little* too young to be official flower girls. These little darlings involvement will be in wedding pictures only....oh, and looking adorable of course! No temper tantrums or tears at our alter! (well, maybe some tears....but hopefully not from these little girls!) :) They'll sit with their daddies or their grandparents for the ceremony. I found these cute little flower girl dresses on amazon and ordered them for the girls as their presents:

 They'll both be wearing the dress in ivory to match my wedding dress! I'm also planning to make them little aqua organza flowers for hair bows. They're gonna be too cute!

3 - Decided on Reception Music
This is a big one!! We've agonized over this decision forever (or at least it seems like it!). So we've finally decided to personalize the music just about as much as we possibly can! It's important to us to have a very personal wedding - b/c that's what it's about. It's about Mark and I joining our lives together in front of God, our family and our friends, and we wanted to make our wedding as much about US as possible. We want to share our lives with our friends and family and just enjoy and love every single part of our day. So...back to music...and what my whole spiel had to do with the music! We've decided to go with both a DJ and a Band. Now, this isn't just any DJ and any band. The DJ is a friend of my sister and brother-in-laws...he was actually a groomsman in their wedding. He's a music lover and just does the DJ gig in his spare know, to pay for that expensive music collecting hobby! His music tastes match up with ours, but he also understands that it's very important to us to please everyone with our music selections. So, I think he'll be a nice fit! We also have one of Mark's very good friends playing with his band at our reception. They're an awesome local Birmingham band called The Grenadines that really fits in with the kind of music Mark and I really enjoy - you know, that kinda low-fi, indie rock vibe. 

We're so, SO excited that they've agreed to play! Thanks Michael and Lauren! We figure that with a 3 hour reception we'll have the DJ play to begin with, play for about an hour, then we'll have the band play...probably about a 45 minute set, and then we'll have the DJ come back on to carry the dance floor on into the night...well, until 10:30 at least because that's when we have to be done with the music at the reception - which means, it's time for me & Mark to ride off into the ...errr... moonlight! 

Now this brings us to number 4..... Honeymoon. 
....I have no announcements as of now, but stay tuned because I should have some big news on this in the coming days!! :)

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Bridesmaids Shoes: Check

I finally made a decision!! ...regarding the bridesmaids' shoes at least. I think I'm averaging about 2 1/2 to 3 months on decisions nowadays. That's not too good. Especially considering the fact that we are now officially UNDER 3 MONTHS AWAY FROM THE WEDDING. Oh. My. God. I freak out just a little bit when I say that....literally, my heart starts beating faster and it feels like my throat starts to tighten. Totally NOT because I'm nervous about getting married or specifically NOT because I'm nervous about Mark or's just because I still feel like I have SO much to do!! ....and I do!! AHHH! :)

So back to the topic at hand....I picked out bridesmaid shoes. If you remember from my previous post  I was trying to decide between aqua or gunmetal shoes for my lovely ladies. Well, after MUCH back and forth, I decided to go with the gunmetal shoes. I was seriously considering the aqua shoes, specifically because of this new line: Lela Rose Unforgettable Moments. Lela Rose (a well respected up and coming wedding fashion designer) has come out with a line of dyeable shoes that are sold exclusively at Payless. Yep, Payless. Can you believe it? I checked them out in person and they're really quite cute. Although, in my opinion, I wouldn't recommend the t-strap style or the one with the little rhinestones....those two look a little cheap to me. Anyway... these shoes look great if you want to go that route. 

Our bridal party on the other hand is going to go with the option of 4 different styles of gunmetal/pewter/silver shoes. I spent forever scouring MULTIPLE websites looking for these shoes. I had several specifications in mind....
1 - must be gunmetal/pewter/silver (shades of silver varying from light to dark about mid-range in the spectrum)
2 - must be different heel heights (I wanted my ladies to be able to choose which heel height they preferred. The varying heights are 2 1/2, 3, 3 1/2, and 3 1/2 with a 1/2 inch platform)
3 - must be under $50 (I actually wanted to have different price points on these so that there would be an affordable option for everyone. The price points are $49.99, $29.97, $24.99 and $22.99)
4 - must have an array of sizes available!

And without further ado, here are the shoes!

Some of these shoes are actually on sale so I've advised my ladies to buy them ASAP to make sure that they're able to get their size!

Also, if you're wondering where the "gunmetal" color came from in our color was when the Moms were asking me what color they should wear...and also what color the grandmothers should wear. Well, obviously (if you've been reading my blog at least!) our colors are deep purple, pale aqua blue and black/white damask. Now...the bridesmaids are wearing a deep purple color (Fig in the Melissa Sweet dresses) and there will be aqua accents at both the ceremony (think ribbon wrapped around the bridesmaids bouquets and ribbon hanging from the shepherd's hooks lining the aisle) and the reception (linens, antique glassware). I didn't want there to be overkill with accent color or just sticking to two colors for attire (because I didn't like the thought of people wearing black/white printed dresses!) so I thought the gunmetal color went nicely with the purple and the aqua. We decided the MOB and the MOG should wear gunmetal, while the grandmothers would wear aqua. We also decided to pick up some nice silk gunmetal ties for the Dads as well. seems quite logical now that the bridesmaids shoes would be gunmetal.  ....Wow, it's amazing how everything comes together, huh??

So...that's that! One more thing checked off the list. Now if I could just keep up the momentum.... :) And lastly, before I head to bed, I wanted to apologize for not writing a single post last week! I was in Nashville for work at our annual conference. I feel like I lost a whole week of my life b/c now I'm coming back to a list of "to-do's" for both work AND the wedding. ....whew! :) Goodnight All!