Monday, August 31, 2009

Wedding Cake Inspiration: Part One

Wedding Cake.

Yum =] Just the thought of it makes me happy.  There's something about cake to me, that just evokes happiness and celebration.  Just the sort of things you'd want on your wedding day. 

Maybe it stems back to all the wonderful cakes my mom would have made for our birthdays.  A close family friend of ours is an excellent baker and she never failed to outdo herself while we were growing up.  I had a teddy bear shaped cake for my first birthday, big bird shaped when I was 4 or 5, a cake with keys for my 16th....and many others in between.

She's wonderful, and she's agreed to make my wedding cake.  Which makes her even more wonderful =]  So even though I won't need to know for a long time what my wedding cake is going to be made of, or what it's going to look like, a girl can't help but pull together ideas early!!

So here goes:

I love the simple round tiers with the green banding on the bottoms and the little dots are adorable, but not polka-dottie.  Not so much do I love the flowers on top.

The green in this is more appropriate, but I'm not totally sold on the swirlies.

This is one of the only square cakes in my saved folder, and I think I just like it for the banding.  Not a fan of the orchids randomly placed among the tiers.

I love how each tier has a different design, but it's very lacking in color.  No all-white cakes for us!

This could be cute and simple, with the appropriate green.

This last picture is the way I'm currently leaning right now, with maybe the cute dots from the first picture.  I want a band of green spider mums going around the base of just the bottom tier and possibly worked in as the cake topper as well.

I haven't even begun to think about the inside of the cake, because there are just too many yummy possibilities!!  For now my eyes are content to wander on the beauty that is the icing =]

Honoring Those Before Us

With all the looking and searching I've been doing for different aspects of my wedding, I have run into "memorial" type things pretty frequently.  It has had been thinking for awhile now.  On my side of the family, my only close relative to pass has been my Grandpa when I was younger.  Mr. T still has all of his close relatives.  While I do have great aunts and uncles, great grandparents, etc that have passed away, I never actually knew them.  So to me, a full blown memorial table, or dedication in the program just doesn't seem fitting. 

I'm also afraid it might add a sort of depressing tone to the day.  I do like the idea though of having a charm attached to my bouquet, and since it would just be my Grandpa, it wouldn't start to look too cluttered.

The more I have thought about it, I really think it would be nice to honor all of our family members before us that have entered into marriage.  Mr. T and I are extremely lucky to have family that has stuck together and not given up when times have gotten tough.

I think it would be nice to put together a collage of sorts honoring our parents, grandparents, aunts and uncles, great-grandparents, great aunts and uncles, cousins, etc that have married before us.

I can see something like this, with all of our relatives wedding day pictures sitting by the gift table, or possibly the entrance table containing the escort cards.  I think it would be something that would draw a lot of attention and spark stories of times past.  I already have wedding pictures of most of my relatives, all the way back to my great-great-grandparents, so I would just need to get Mr. T's and come up with a nice way to display them.

Are any of you doing anything to honor, or remember family members that have either passed, or are still living today??

Saturday, August 29, 2009

The Perfect Gift For Your Groom

The time has come for a little self-advertising.
Whether you call it cornhole, or bean bags, most of you probably either love it, or have never heard of it.  For those of you who have, imagine gifting your new hubby with a set customized to his favorite sports team or work logo.  They're perfect to take camping or tailgating, and just as nice to have at home for a get together with friends.

You may be able to find him a blank set somewhere, slap a decal on it and call it a day.

But I can offer you a custom, hand-painted set.  That makes for limitless possibilities.  You're not just stuck with the major sports teams that you can find decals for.  With my boards, we can create anything you'd like.  A highschool mascot, a police force logo, a Miller Lite logo, you name it and I'll paint it.

My boards measure 41"x24" on top and the sides are 4" deep.  The legs fold in and out, so you're not transporting big bulky sets.  First they are painted with two coats of water-repellent paint.  Then the image is hand painted, and three coats of sealant is applied.  You will never have to worry about the design getting scratched off, or the wood rotting from rain.
As you can see the legs fold down, and can be put back for transport/storage.

Your custom set will also include 10 bean bags.  The game only requires 8, so this includes an extra for each color should something happen.  They are made out of heavy duty duck-cloth canvas and weigh one pound each.  They are made in two colors that complement the board.

You pick the background paint color, the design you want, and the color of the bags.
These were made for a 21st birthday and everyone signed the back in permanent marker.
Right now these are only available to those of you in Illinois, southern Wisconsin, and western Indiana because I will deliver them to you.  Unless you are willing to pay for shipping, but I have no idea how much it would cost.
The cost of this custom set, including the bean bags is $175.00
Please let me know today if you're interested!!
*All images above taken by me.
*All sets above hand-painted by me.
(To date I have made: Packers, Brewers, Badgers, Illini Chief Head, Lightning McQueen and Tow-Mater from Disney's 'Cars', Florida Gators)

DIY: Escort Cards

So if you guys haven't realized yet, I'm doing things waaaay early.  I mean I still have 9 months to go and I just did my escort cards?!

(p.s. Apparently there is a difference between an escort card and a place card.  Guests will pick up an escort card when first coming in and it will direct them to which table they are seated at.  Once arriving at the table indicated by the escort card, a placecard will indicate which seat they are supposed to be seated at.)

And since I could care less who sits by who (I'm sure they are more than capable of figuring that out on their own) I'm going with the escort card.

Now before you start thinking I'm crazy, and how could I possibly know who is coming when I haven't even sent out my Save the Dates yet, let alone my invitations and gotten RSVPs back, I only did some of them!  And by some, I mean about 60.  Which, in the grand scheme of 300 potential guests, isn't much.  I did some of my close family and friends that I know will be there without a doubt.

This was my "trial run" of sorts, so I could figure out how they would work and how much paper I would need, etc.  And even though they were technically a trial, I will be using them because they turned out fantastic!

1.)  I started by cutting my green cardstock to 4"x5".  I scored a line at 2.5" and folded it in half to make a tent.  The front of the card measures 4"x2.5".

2.)  I made a template with Microsoft Digital Image Suite so I had a 4"x2.5" square and I added in the name.  I was able to fit 10 names per 8.5x11" piece of white cardstock.

As you can see each name has the first letter of the last name in the background.

3.)  I cut these out with my paper cutter and attached them to the center of the tent.

All 60 lined up.

They don't currently have table numbers on them, because well, we're 9 months out!!  And I figured it would be easier this way so I can do the table assignments at the end.  I'm going to print out another square, or possible on a label, the table number as well as information about my surprise favor (I know I keep bringing it up, but I will tell you about it soon, I promise) and place it on the inside of the tent.

So there you have it.  Quick and easy.  I'd say it took about an hour and a half to design, print, cut, and attach all 60 of these.

Price Breakdown as follows:
6 tents out of each $0.33 piece of green cardstock
10 names out of each $.05 piece of white cardstock
300 escort cards = $18.00

Friday, August 28, 2009

They're Ordered!!

I ordered my Save the Dates today!  According to Vistaprint they should arrive in 21 days.  BUT, I've chosen the slow delivery option from them before (because the shipping price is just so much better) and my stuff arrived in only about a week and a half.

So I'd say, unofficially anyways, that I should be sending them out within two weeks or so =]

So as you know I had a little bit of a dilemma when trying to decide which design to go with.  After lots of input from the lovely ladies at Weddingbee, and talking with my mother and of course getting the go-ahead from Mr. T, I finally made the decision.

In the end, I went with my favorite picture and the vertical layout.....
...and the horizontal back.

So with an amazing coupon deal I got from signing up for Vistaprint's emailing list, I was able to order 200 postcards, front and back, full color, for $30.00 shipping included.
I even received an email that waived the fee for the design upload.

I can't wait to get them in the mail and start putting addresses on them.  Soon enough everyone will know when and where we're getting married!!

Thursday, August 27, 2009

DIY: Bridesmaid Newsletter

I have two bridesmaids in Chicago, one in Macomb, one in Iowa, and one in Wisconsin.  They're kind of all over the place and a little bit hard to keep track of.  I thought it would be nice to send out a newsletter every couple of months to keep them on top of things and in-the-know.
Yeah, I could call them.
But it's much more fun for me to create cute stuff and print it out.  And when everything is by text or email these days, who doesn't like getting actual mail from time to time?? I know I love it.  Especially when I'm away at school. 
Plus, when it's down on paper it's easier to remember.

So in about an hour or so I put together the following with Microsoft Digital Image Suite: (more on this later, but it's one of my favorite programs)

Page 1
Includes all of the bridal party and their phone numbers, as well as a thank you and the link to our engagement pictures.

Page 2
Talks about the dress they're going to buy as well as what I'd like for them to do for shoes and jewelry.

Page 3
Shows a preliminary outline for the day as well as where the ceremony and reception will be.

Page 4
I let them know where I have hotels blocked and also asked them if we could all try and get together in November.  It also has our website on the bottom.
* The font I used was dearjoe4 from
* Click on images for larger view.

So there you have it.  A quick, and simple project that I enjoyed spending some time on.  And a nice little bit of mail for my girls =]

Green With Envy....Shoe Envy That Is

I can't help but think of "Pretty Toes" and "Bubble Toes" while getting ready to put this much effort into writing about the gorgeous shoes that will cover my toesies.

When I first got engaged and was on one of many marathon "Google" sessions looking for ideas and pictures of what I'd like, I couldn't help but notice the oh-so-popular trend of colored shoes that we all know and love.  It just makes for some adorable pictures.

Well I decided right away that I just had to have adorable green shoes.  So I started my search.  I came up with some really adorable options, and I would have loved to have any one of them...
BP by Nordstrom (source)
Nine West Satin Jojus in Green
BP Enlightment by Nordstrom
.....but I was running into problem after problem trying to buy them!  Either I couldn't figure out the name of the shoe, or they were simply sold out, everywhere.  The Jojus I gave up on quickly after realizing they've been gone for awhile.  Check out any bridal blog and I'm sure you'll see posts by brides "Desperately seeking Green Satin Jojus". 
So then I moved onto the BP Enlightment shoe thinking I might get lucky.  I called up Nordstrom's and had them check all the stores.  I was THIS! close to ordering a pair.  The operator said she found a size 7 in one store, and I asked her to look then for an 8 also.  (I wear a 7.5 and I figured an 8 would fit better than a 7)  Well she couldn't find any 8's so when she went back to order my 7's they were nowhere to be found!
So there went that dream.  I went back to searching the internet and ebay and scouring the Classified ads on Weddingbee hoping someone would put up a pair for sale.  I mean they'd only be worn for about 12 hours, my feet don't mind sharing someone else's shoes =]
Have any of you gotten your hopes up for that one perfect item, only to see them come crashing down??

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Our Venues, Part Two: The Reception

We were engaged around 3:00PM, back home to IL around midnight, and had our venue picked out by about 12:30 that night.

Not officially or anything, but we definitely knew where we wanted to be....or so we thought.  We were both originally planning on going with The Country Mansion in the neighboring town of Dwight, IL.  The place is gorgeous, we've both been to weddings out there, and let's face it..there just aren't many choices when you're living in the town we live in.  As an added bonus, it would only be about 5 minutes away from the church.

So I called them up and got a price list from them and made sure that our date was available and then had her "hold" the date for me for a week.  At the end of the week we still hadn't made any choices so she continued to hold it for another week.  During this time my mom was talking to her friends and the Morris Country Club came up as a suggestion.  So we decided to go check it out.

From the moment we got there we were all sold.  Tim Gourley, the manager and man in charge of weddings is wonderful to work with.  He treated us all to a brunch the day we went out to have a look so we could test out the food a little and see what we thought.  And let me tell you, it was absolutely delicious!

Let me show you what made us change our minds....
Just look at the gorgeous tented ceiling!  It is heated in the winter and air conditioned in the summer.
The round tables will be covered in floor length white linens.
Where the head table will be....and do you see those beautiful chivari chairs?? They're included =]
The entrance from the parking lot.  There are another set of double doors at the end of this hallway to enter the main room.  The table with seating cards will be placed out here along with a surprise I'll share with you later.

And the bonus?  I know you're probably wondering how a beautiful place like this could get any better....but I'm about to shock you all.

It's free.  Yes I said free =]  The room rental is free, the tables and linens are free, the chairs are free, the plates, cups, silverware etc. are free.  There is no cake cutting fee or any other silly things like that.  The only thing we have to pay for is the food and the alcohol.  We will have the place for 6.5 hours or so.  Our contract says it goes until 11PM but we are allowed to stay past then without any additional fees if the party just isn't ready to stop.
The reason for this awesome deal is because they just recently put up this tent and switched managers, so Tim is trying to start over and really start to build up this aspect of the Country Club.  In time they will charge for all of these things, but for now he's just trying to get people in.
And in case you're wondering, the food isn't outrageously priced.  We're most likely going with a $20 dollar plate along with the option to have a $7 kids meal.
Yeah, it's gonna be awesome.  Feel free to be jealous.  And then, if you're from the area, give Tim a call.

Our Venues, Part One: The Church

Where we would have our wedding was a no brainer for Mr. T and I.  It was going to be in a church, no doubt about that.  And there was also no question that it would be in the adorable, old, country-farm church that Mr. T's family has been going to for years, Trinity Goodfarm Lutheran Church.
A little background on our religions first.  We are both Lutherans, while I'm of the ELCA variety and the Mr. is LCMS.  Not a huge difference in my opinion, but that's just me.  My family had stopped going to our church years ago.  A new pastor came in and really shook things up, and most of the congregation left.  So they're in the process of finding their new "home" so I don't belong to a church right now.  So the obvious choice was to have it at Mr. T's church which I've attended numerous times since we started dating.

Let me show you some pictures, and I think you'll get the idea why I'm so excited about this church.  It's just so cute!
The front of the church.  The doors on the left lead to the fellowship hall.  To the right (out-of-shot) are the front doors.
And here is the out-of-shot view from the previous picture.  The cute red front doors. (Ignore my family wandering around!)
A sign in the front yard that I'm hoping we can put our names on =]
"Brides-Eye View" from the front of the church looking back.
The altar at the front of the church.  I just love all the gorgeous woodwork in this church and you can catch a glimpse here, but the entire church has beautiful, original stained glass windows.
The fellowship hall decorated for Easter.  We can use this in the case of overflow.  (This is a definite possibility but more on that later.)
The kitchen that us girls can get dressed in if we decide not to come ready.

The best part about this is that it is a very small congregation, so there was no competition for our date.  And, Mr. T's dad is the president of the church, so for the price of a donation made to the church, our ceremony location is set.

So now you know where we will be getting married in less than 9 months!  This is the church I will say "I do" in and promise to love Mr. T for better or for worse, surrounded by all of our family and friends.
And let me just say, I can't wait!!

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Save the Date Postcards

Allright, so here's the deal.  I have created a few different options for the front of the postcard and I need your help deciding!
So this is my favorite picture of all our engagement pictures, and I really like the way this is layed out, but I'm just not sure if having the front layout be vertical will go with the back being horizontal.  Think that's a problem??
Here's option  #2 with my favorite picture still, but zoomed in so it will fit the horizontal layout.  Cute, but you don't see the fullness of the piggyback ride =]
And here is option #3.  It is layed out horizontally and you get to see the whole deal of my favorite, and then it adds in another picture I like.  I'm just not sure I love it.

And here is the back of the postcard.  I'll write in the addresses by hand and then sign our names over on the left in that blank.

So what do you guys think?? Do you like Option #1, 2, or 3??  And if you pick #1,  do you think it matters that it's vertical while the back isn't??

DIY: Thank You Parasol

During one of my marathon idea gathering days, I was searching the web for something cute and fun to do with our Thank You's.  I had seen before a couple holding signs saying thank you and was looking to do something along those lines.  The best way I've come up with for getting ideas is to simply type into Google Images what you're looking for.  Somewhere along the line I found Thank You Parasols and simply fell in love.

At first I started looking for places to buy them but I was seeing them for $50+ and didn't want to spend that much on something that would only be used one time.  So I put that idea on the back burner for awhile.
Until one day, Weddingbee came to the rescue again!!  Mrs. Spring Roll posted a tutorial showing us all how she made her own.
It sounded simple enough, and cheap! so I had to try it.

I ordered this chartreuse green parasol from Pearl River.  It cost more than the $5.50 white one Mrs. Spring Roll ordered, but I decided I wanted a pop of color in my pictures.  So $11.50 plus $8.00 in shipping and a week later a box arrived on my porch with my pretty Parasol!

I followed the directions Mrs. Spring Roll provided in her tutorial step-by-step, excluding the use of pins to hold on the stencil.  I simply held them in place because I didn't know if the pin pokes would show or not, and let's face it, I was too lazy to run upstairs and grab some!

I outlined the stencil with a pen and painted it in with black acrylic paint I had laying around.

And here is the finished result, for under $20.00

I used Scriptina as my font which I downloaded for free from

 I can't wait to see what it will look like in our pictures!  Are any of you doing something fun to use for your Thank You cards?

DIY: Unity Candle

I wanted a really cute unity candle set without spending a fortune, so of course I made my own.

Here is my semi-finished unity candle set.
And a close up on the center pillar.

Price Breakdown:
2 Tapers (1.98 each) @ 50% off = 1.98
Pillar 6.00 @ 50% off = 3.00
2 Taper Holders (0.99 each) @ 50% off = 0.99
Taper Holder 6.00 @ 50% off = 3.00
Vellum and ribbon I had from previous projects.
TOTAL= $8.97

I bought all of the supplies at Hobby Lobby when they were on sale for 50% off.  Seeing this put together, and with the cute holders, I'm inclined not to have a floral unity candle arrangement made.  Our florist originally included this in our quote, but doing without will save us $50.

I would include a tutorial but it is easy enough.  I simply printed out our monogram and date on vellum paper and trimmed it to size.  I attached black and green ribbon to the top and back.  And that's all it took!

I'm still thinking about adding ribbon to the tapers and possibly adding a thicker green ribbon behind the black and green ribbon that is currently on the pillar.

What do you all think?  Should I say no to the flower arrangement?  Does the set look good as is, or does it need a little further embellishment?

Bridesmaids Jewelry

So the other day I was shopping Gordman's with a friend, her brother, and mom after moving down to school.  We went in to look for shorts for her brother, and staring me right in the face as soon as we walked in the front door was the jewelry section.  I started browing, initially looking for earrings to make a DIY brooch with (but more about that later).  Then I found the most perfect necklaces!!
Remember the dresses the girls will be wearing?  If not here's a quick reminder.
I really wanted to go with a necklace that was green in color since the top of the dresses are white.  I think the ones I found are perfect, I just need to try it on with the dress next time I make it home.  I promise ya'll I'll show you what it looks like.

And here's the best part.... the price!  They were each on sale for $9.98 and they come with a pair of earrings (which I'm not sold on yet, but I'll put up pics soon).  The even better part?? Although I feel slightly bad about this, I didn't notice it until I was out in the car.  The cashier only charged me for 4 of the 5 necklaces I bought!!  So a nice $40 and all my girls will have jewelry to wear =]

Have any of you received an unexpected "good deal" while wedding shopping? 

A Few of My Favorite Engagement Pictures

I just thought I would share with you all a few of my favorite pictures and do a little recap of our photoshoot.  We met up with our photographer Brandy Swartz of Photography By Brandy back on August 2nd.  Mr. T and I had come home from MN for the weekend to go to a wedding and we thought it would be the perfect time to squeeze in a session before we headed back later that afternoon.

We met up with her and introduced ourselves for the first time.  Neither one of us had met her before because I chose to do all of our initial set up with her over the phone and through email.  I didn't need to see her portfolio or negotiate prices with her, because I had seen her work before and she was charging one flat fee and I just couldn't say no!!

We started out across the street from our courthouse in a little square tucked away in between the downtown buildings.  She takes a lot of pictures here and there are many neat features that can make for awesome backgrounds!
We started out here on the stair case where she snapped a bunch of pictures.
Then we moved about 10 feet over to this old, distressed brick wall and spiral staircase that adds a lot of dimension to the background.
Connected onto this little square was a brick alleyway with cute little doors.
After this we both hopped in our cars and drove a couple of blocks down the street to the canal.
This is one of my favorites.  My feet were sore from being in heels at the wedding the night before, so I took them off and jumped on Mr. T's back.  Brandy turned around and caught us!
We stood out on a dock overlooking the water.
We held hands.
We kissed =]
And that was that.  All in all it took about 45 minutes and she gave us a disc with 121 finished and retouched pictures.  I'd say it was a success.
Mr. T said he really enjoyed it because he got to hold me and kiss me and I couldn't push him away!  He thinks he's funny, but sometimes he tries to hold on while I'm right in the middle of something and it just makes it harder to get things done!!
This was a nice slow down from our hectic lives, and it was actually the last day we spent together before parting ways for four months, so it's nice to have these to look back on that day.

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