December 30, 2008

Rustic Formal Events

I absolutely love these photos from Colin Cooke, seen on the Housemartin, the Ink & Peat blog. I think I'm drawn to rustic settings because of the beautiful contrast made between them and a formal occasion. Plus my wedding was rustic, so I always get a warm feeling seeing photos and settings like these... Definitely more to come on this topic!

December 26, 2008

Eyebrows and Orajel

Well, the Orajel didn't relieve the pain from the eyebrow plucking, but it formed a lovely hard crust of matted down eyebrows that really added to my look. It will be all the rage soon, just wait.

I want to find the author of the beauty article that suggested this idea and kick her in the shins.

December 23, 2008

Painful Eyebrow Plucking!

My friends think I'm weird, but it REALLY hurts me when I pluck my eyebrows. At the first pluck I'm already watery-eyed and bright red. I read somewhere that putting Orajel or another mouth numbing substance on your eyebrows will make it painless (or at least pain-free). I'm going to give it a try tonight. More later...

December 22, 2008

A Kid's Christmas Birthday Party OR How the Gingerbread House Transcends Christmas

I'm not sure how many kids actually have their birthdays on Christmas, but I can tell you from experience that having a birthday anywhere within the 2 weeks before and after means that you get ripped off with the whole presents and party deal. I think this means that you have to try extra hard to make the birthday special amidst all of the other excitement going on.

After reading YogaMum's account of making gingerbread houses with her kids, I thought yes, it sounds like a mess, but I often make just as much of a mess by myself... and how much fun did those kids have?? So I think especially around Christmas making gingerbread houses at a birthday party would be awesome. (Probably splitting kids into groups of 3 or 4 and having an adult at each house would help with the damage control and sharing issues. Recruit some friends to drink some nog and eat some candy with you!)

When I was a kid our family had a collection of cast iron molds for cookies and cornbread and a gingerbread house mold like this one. It was pretty great because it had trees and other accessories besides just house walls and roof. From what I hear, you can also buy one-time kits at Trader Joe's and Ikea. Also, if you're super talented, you could just roll out some dough and design your own house from scratch. I'd suggest this if you are an engineer, an artist, an architect, or anything but a perfectionist. :)

Suggested toppings: anything really, but red hots, gumdrops, mini candy canes, peppermints, sprinkles of all colors, etc. are the common adornments. To truly make this party a birthday party and not just a Christmas party, I'd suggest adding some food coloring to the royal icing to make different color options and branching out from the traditional candy to include tootsie rolls, Nerds, that candy that's shaped like fruit—what's that one called??—anything to make it more fun and more just a big candyfest instead of Christmas:

Invitation Styles

As someone with a printing background, I really appreciate Gina DeDominici's post of different invitation styles. She has images featuring different types of folds and self-contained invitation styles, and this is really helpful as a visual descriptor to bridge the gap between the printing-minded and the masses. :)

December 17, 2008

Wedding Movies and Wedding Scenes

The weather here has been kind of crappy lately, and it's perfect for snuggling up on the couch and watching a good movie. Some movies about weddings or with good wedding scenes (you can check them out on IMDB or request them on Netflix!):
  • Love Actually
  • Mamma Mia!
  • Monsoon Wedding
  • Father of the Bride (Did anyone else know that the Steve Martin movie was a remake??)
  • Steel Magnolias
  • My Big Fat Greek Wedding
  • Wedding Crashers (ha!)
  • Runaway Bride
  • Bend It Like Beckham
  • Kill Bill
  • Sweet Home Alabama
  • Made of Honor
  • The Godfather
  • The Wedding Planner
  • Monster-in-Law
  • Clueless (at the end!)
  • Bridget Jones: the Edge of Reason (at the end again!)
  • The Wedding Date
  • The Best Man
  • The Princess Bride
  • The Marrying Man
  • The Graduate (classic wedding scene!)
  • Sixteen Candles
  • Oklahoma!
Recommended wedding movies that I have yet to see:
  • Father of the Bride (1950 version)
  • A Wedding
  • That Old Feeling
  • It Happened One Night
  • The Deer Hunter
  • It Had To Be You
  • Betsy's Wedding
  • The Philadelphia Story
  • 27 Dresses
  • Four Weddings and a Funeral
  • Muriel's Wedding
  • The Bachelor
  • The Other Sister
  • My Best Friend's Wedding
Can you think of more? Recommendations welcome!!

December 16, 2008

Winter Wedding Invitation—Sam & Thad

A year ago yesterday Samantha and Thad were married, and I designed their wedding invitations and stationery based on the embroidered flowers on Sam's veil. These invitations were a simple but elegant way to personalize another detail of their day.

Happy anniversary you two! :)

December 13, 2008

Reflex Blue Wedding

I love reflex blue!!! It's a color in a standardized matching system (PMS) that printers all over the world use—I have a PMS swatchbook, and it's such good inspiration for finding just the right shade. Anytime I'm out and see something this shade, I am immediately drawn to it. To me, reflex blue is bold, powerful, and strong; its counterbalance would be a bright yellow. If these colors were used somewhat sparingly with mostly neutral surroundings, a modern minimalist wedding would emerge. My inspiration board:

From top, l to r: Gorgeous bridesmaid dress from Nordstrom; simple but elegant cake from the Knot (I love the brooch-like accents!); tie by Krisar; beautiful yellow bouquet featured by Olde Town Florist Weddings; Top of the Town in Arlington; Beaded purse and heels from Asos; blue bouquet seen on Something Blue; gorgeous submerged yellow flowers from a real wedding on the Knot; a fun arrangement with willow branches seen on Project Wedding; vintage glasses from my personal collection :)

I haven't been to Top of the Town yet, bu
t I think their view is so impressive that it almost doesn't matter what the inside looks like! I want to go sometime to soak up the view and try the food... ah, research is so grueling! :)

December 12, 2008

Vintage Wedding Dresses/ Rockabilly Wedding

My friend Lea has always said that she is going to have a non-traditional wedding in Vegas. I suggested that she check out some vintage prom dresses to wear as her wedding dress—my favorite site for finding vintage dresses is Vintageous—they have SO MANY dresses! The only thing is that you have to surf often because these dresses get snapped up quick.

This is my pick for Lea:I think we could make this pretty easily ourselves, now that I think of it.

And some fun Lea shoes from Zappos:
Cute and EASY pin-up girl hair tutorial from ilovegerardo on YouTube! And slightly less easy (for me—I'm bad at blending) but very detailed makeup from askmemakeup.

Her man can get his outfit off of eBay... there are a ton of "rockabilly suits" there.

Rockabilly wedding cake? Why yes, please! From My House is Better Than Yours on Flickr, via Offbeat Bride.Or she can just go to the Viva Las Vegas Wedding Chapel and ask for the Rockabilly Package—with optional Elvis cake add-on! (I LOVE Elvis, who doesn't??)
And the next time Lea goes to Portland to visit her friend Jessica (or the next time she shops online), she can pick up this swimsuit from Popina—the better to lounge by the pool in! (I wouldn't trust a vintage swimsuit. I guess it's personal preference...)

Wedding Snobs

I am usually very hesitant to call someone a bridezilla because it seems that anytime a woman asserts herself and stands up for herself in a business setting, she's suddenly a bitch or, in the case of weddings, a bridezilla. I mean, if I asked for and paid for a bouquet of orange roses and you bring me orange carnations, am I supposed to just say, "That's all right, I know you tried. Thank you for your service??"

However, I don't hold back from calling someone a wedding snob. Seriously, I like things to match and would love to have all coordinated items, but this post from A Practical Wedding scares me: In The Paper Store

Really? Really? Most people are happy just to be buying wedding invitations, since that means that they have found the person they want to spend the rest of their life with. And you're worried about what your invitations will "say about the wedding?" What kind of bad impression do you think people are going to have?

"Oh my god, Mitzi, did you see Bunny's wedding invitations? They are black and fuschia. I mean really, I thought she had better taste."


He Who Pays Also Has Control

This is a classic question: how much control does the person paying for the wedding get? Should it be proportional to the amount of the budget they are contributing? How would you split up the decisions? If your parents pay for your entire wedding, do they get a final say in all decisions?

I were a parent I could see where I might want to have some control of where my money is going. I guess I would draw the line at matters of taste. If my kid likes hot pink and yellow and wants those as her wedding colors, well why should I stop her just because I think that would be hideous? But if she wanted to spend half of her budget on her wedding dress, I might step in and get her back on track.

My personal opinion is that if it is your wedding, you should be able to make decisions within reason. It's YOUR day, right? What do you think—how much control should the financiers get?

Here is are some other opinions on this classic dilemma:
Discussions on, and the "expert" opinion
OK, more from TheKnot
Info from The First Dance
Question/Answer at The Wedding Bee
VideoJug (AWESOME website... I could easily get trapped here during work hours!)
iVillage wedding advice
Aussies weigh in on their views

There are tons more but they all seem to be saying the same thing I said. I have a problem with seeing both sides to the story, never committing to one opinion, but in this case I think you have to take a compromising position (ha!) on all issues.

My parents were great and literally just gave what they wanted to give and said have at it. Of course, I was so excited that I told them about all the plans, but they just said "that's nice" and "you're so organized!" Because I am. :)

December 10, 2008

Sewn Invitations

Something that I really love is sewing on paper. Well, I love the look of it. I haven't tried it yet (lazy!) but I really want to. What really kicked off this obsession was seeing Kathy's invitations (right) in The Knot magazine last fall when I was planning my wedding. She was so generous to share her how-to, supply list, fonts, etc. to everyone, all for free!

Here are some other cool examples I found:

Wedding invitation from larawysong @ Flickr via Kate's Wedding.

Simple but awesome Bar Mitzvah invitation from Luscious Verde.

Cute invitation by doorsixteen on Flickr

I like that this is a sewn booklet, but that they also did a thicker sewn trim on the covers. From Tess McCabe in Australia.

So this isn't really sewn in the photo, but would be an excellent candidate! This kind of added border sewn on can embellish almost anything. From Tiny Prints. (P.S. I really like the name Jack for a kid. So cute!)

It looks simple, but I'm not sure sewing a button on paper would be so easy. I think you'd have to do it by hand, and on some pretty thick paper. From Better Homes and Gardens.

OK, now it's practice time... :)

December 9, 2008

Wedding Invitation Wording for Dummies

Sometimes it's easy to write your invitations—if your parents are still together, if you don't hate your middle name (or your SO's middle name), etc.—but most of the time getting the wording right is a battle, and you end up going in circles trying to get it "just right."
Other places for inspiration, if you're looking for something more creative:
Or, just shoot me an email and we'll see what we can come up with! :)

December 8, 2008

Re: Locket Up

I totally bought this locket from MStevenson Deisgns after I wrote about it in November, and it came this weekend! It's so beautiful and the inside is a lot larger than I thought. Now I just have to figure out the best picture of AP to put inside... also how to get it to stay in there. Do I use double-sided tape? (I feel like that may not work so well.) Do I glue it in? With what kind of glue? What if I want to change the picture out? Any ideas???

Did You Know: Old, New, Borrowed, Blue, Shoe??

So we've all heard the little wedding ditty: "Something old, something new, something borrowed, something blue..." but as I often find out, not many people have heard the last part: "and a silver sixpence in your shoe." The origin of this rhyme is generally accepted as being Victorian, but some of the customs that it refers to are as old as ancient Rome.

Something Old
According to The Phrase Finder, "something old" respresents continuity in the form of the couple's friends or family who will support them during their marriage. Items usually are given to the bride by a happily married woman, to pass the happiness on to the new bride. Often the "something old" will be a piece of family jewelry or other keepsake item. My husband's family has a diamond that has been passed down through generations and reset in each wife's engagement ring, so I had a special something old right off the bat!

Something New
No shortage of options here—but for the traditional symbolism, Georgia Girl's page on wedding traditions says that the wedding gown is often chosen as "something new," meant to represent good fortune, success and good hopes for a bright future in a new life. It makes sense that you'd want to step out to your new life in your new dress!

Something Borrowed
The symbolism behind "something borrowed" is similar to "something old," except that the bride would have to return the valued item to ensure good luck, according to The Phrase Finder. Georgia Girl agrees and restresses the value of the borrowed item coming from a happily married woman.

Something Blue
This is actually the oldest part of the traditions and has lots of meaning behind it. Ancient Romans believed that blue was the color of love, modesty, and fidelity, according to Ask Yahoo. It is also well known that the Christian Virgin Mary is most often depicted wearing blue, and the color has been associated with purity since biblical times. All three of the aforementioned sites mention that in ancient Israel, brides would wear a blue ribbon in their hair to represent fidelity, and often both the bride and groom would wear a blue band on the bottom of their wedding attire. Before the late 19th century, blue was a popular color for wedding gowns. (I LOVE this idea, see the blue gown I found!)

A Silver Sixpence in Your Shoe
A quick lesson for the non-British among us: Wikipedia says a sixpence is a coin worth 1/40th of a British pound, made of sterling silver until 1920. The first sixpences were struck in 1551 and continued until the acceptance of decimalisation in 1967. Ask Yahoo says that the shoe custom may date back to a Scottish custom of the groom putting a silver coin under his foot for good luck. In any case, the sixpence represents financial security and wealth of both money and children. Some brides substitute a penny or a dime in their shoe (left shoe for best results). Andy's grandfather collected foreign currency and I was lucky enough to find an actual silver sixpence!

This whole poem is the most purely symbolic tradition in wedding lore, and can be taken as seriously or as lightheartedly as you want. I had the old diamond, new dress, borrowed my mom's pearls, wore blue underwear, and had the sixpence in my shoe because although I'm not superstitious, my wedding wasn't the time to push it!

December 6, 2008

Wedding Dress Fears

I knew I wanted my mom to make my wedding dress because she has mad skillz :) and it would be a special way to include her since she lives 9 hours away. But I was scared to go into the chi-chi bridal shops and try on dresses that were meant to be worn on super-thin models. (I've gained about 25 lbs. since meeting Andy, and have struggled with "image" issues for a long time.) I was so afraid of trying on dresses that I never did, I just looked at lots of photos and went with something I knew had worked in the past. (We ended up making me a new dress 2 weeks before the wedding, but that's another story!)

I wish that I had read this post by Miss Cleveland Park at DC Nearlyweds before we got married. Don't get me wrong, my mom did a fabulous job and she/I have gotten SO many compliments on the dress. It looked amazing on me and it was so comfortable! My favorite part was that the skirt was velvet (we got married in October) which I find so luxurious.

Anyway, I wish I had read the post because it would have given me the courage to just try on different things and see what looked good on me and what I liked. It doesn't even have to be a wedding shop; just going and trying on formal dresses at Macy's will give you an idea of what you like and don't like. Just make sure you take a trusted, blunt friend who will not give you bad advice! :-D

Awesome photo by Rachel Naft!

Wedding Ink

Before we got married, Andy and I were discussed wedding rings. He didn't know if
  1. he would be able to stand wearing a ring, and
  2. he would be able to wear it to work, since he works with machinery.
So he told me he would get a wedding ring tattoo if the metal ring didn't work out. It really touched me that he would permanently mark himself for me. As I mulled it around, I felt like I could definitely get a wedding ring tattoo as well.

My friend Amanda got her most recent tattoo done at Jinx Proof in Georgetown. I'm not sure which artist did hers, but I like Susan's work:
So what would it look like? I thought I might get his name on the front and the wedding date on the back, but I decided to look for other people's wedding ring tattoos and found some interesting results:There were tons more images I'm just not sure what would best represent my feelings and what I'd feel comfortable with having on my body.

What do you think? Would you ever get a tattoo under or instead of a wedding ring?

December 4, 2008


Yesterday my sister-in-law Amy ordered the bridesmaids' dresses for her March wedding. The dresses are all from Alfred Angelo, and her color is "tealness." (why do they have to come up with weird names? why not just "teal"?) The three bridesmaids have all different dresses:

The maid of honor has a different dress in the same color, it's a full length gown but she might get it shortened to match the other bridesmaids. I think it would be nice for her to have a floor-length dress to show off her "specialness!"

December 3, 2008

Dead Flowers?

No... dried flowers. Big difference!

It's hard to think of non-floral fall centerpieces that don't include pumpkins. Nothing wrong with pumpkins, this bride just didn't want to include them for her October wedding! This is what we came up with for her rustic wedding in the woods:

These centerpieces were made from different dried botanicals, including wheat and lavender, with pheasant feathers and cattails. Anchored by small river rocks in Mason jars and tied with twine, they were surrounded by larger river rocks and simple votive candles.

On the other half of the tables, we used store-bought wreaths of fat grasses and placed hurricanes with tall pillars in the middle. The pillars were anchored by—guess what?—lentils. Why buy craft sand when you can buy lentils for 89¢ per 16 oz. bag? :) Plus, it just added to the outdoorsy feel of the decor.

All photos by the fabulous Rachel Naft!

November 30, 2008

Skiing Anyone?

Inspired by this weekend's ski trip, I thought it would be fun to imagine a skiing-themed wedding. Enjoy!

What a fun groom's cake—"Another One Bites the Dust" via

I love the incorporation of the mini pine cones in this bouquet via Captured Soul's Flickr spot.

Gardenia centerpieces via Red Envelope (obviously would not buy them all from here!) Gardenias smell so great, but would be bad for anyone with sensitive noses or allergies.

How adorable?!! I wonder if you got all bundled up you could pull this off in the winter too?? Photo by Kari Douma by way of Awesome Photographs

So unique and personalized! From

I LOVE LOVE LOVE everything about this dress from Love by Enzoani. The color, the draping, the embellishments... Photo from The Knot.

November 27, 2008

Locket Up

I have always loved lockets—the idea that you've got a secret is very appealing. They're great for weddings, whether a photo of your sweetie around your neck or a photo of a lost loved one pinned to your bouquet. A locket would also be a nice gift for a bat mitzvah, sweet 16, or quincenera, because what girl doesn't love jewelry? :) You could pre-fill the locket with a special photo or leave it up to the secrets of her heart.

Some great lockets of all shapes and sizes:
Dahlia Jewels
Banana Republic
MStevenson Designs (AWESOME)
Old But New
Red Envelope

November 26, 2008

Spotlight on: Pen and Ink Calligraphy

Oh so pretty! I love the uniform look of calligraphy, and I envy those who do it well—like Lisa Ridgely of Pen and Ink. She's self-taught, if you can believe that, and her different styles are gorgeous. My favorite is the "Sarah" not because it's my name :-D but because of its understated elegance. The loops and swirls are beautiful, but my personal style is more simple.

November 25, 2008

Designated Driving for All Guests

If alcohol will be served, always consider extra precautions to make the party safer:
  • The bride and groom should always have someone driving them from the reception, whether they drink or not, because it's just more fun. :)
  • If the party is at the hotel where the guests will be staying, great! Problem solved.
  • If guests are staying elsewhere, be sure to ask the concierge ahead of time to make sure that there are cabs available to take your guests back to their own accomodations.
  • If the party is at a location without taxi service, hire a shuttle bus to deliver your guests to and from the site. Some may choose not to ride, but you have provided a safe way to get back to their hotel. Let guests know ahead of time by including this item on the response cards:

    There will be a shuttle bus available at the Hampton Inn for the journey to ThorpeWood.
    Would you like us to save you a seat on the shuttle bus?
    ___Yes, please ___No, thank you

    This also will help you estimate the number of people the bus needs to hold—really helpful when it's time to reserve!
One transportation service in the D.C. area that I have worked with is Bowen Bus Service, headquartered in rural Maryland (but available for locations in the entire metro area). They have charter buses, school bus shuttles, and limo services; I have yet to find a working website for them, but their number is (443) 535-0203 and I work with Jackie.

No Bar is Better Than a Cash Bar

Despite the relaxation of "proper etiquette" in today's society, the bottom line is that these people are your GUESTS. They have given up at least two of these, if not more:
  • Their time—maybe the most important of the list.
  • A wedding gift—even if it's small, it's something they gave up for you.
  • Transportation costs—plane, train, automobile rental, you name it.
  • Accomodations—unless your entire guest list is from one area, someone is going to have to pony up for a place to stay.
  • New clothes, haircut, etc.—sure, this is optional, but if they are representing you, you'd want them looking their finest!
I think it's completely inappropriate to have a cash bar at a wedding. If you can't afford it, don't have alcohol at all.

However, I was interested and a little shocked to find these responses to "Dear Abby." I don't think having your guests pay for their own drinks allows you to wash your hands of the matter and feel that you are not responsible for what happens to them. You're still providing the alcohol.

November 24, 2008

Did You Know? (Postcard Sizes)

If you're making your own Save the Date announcements and you want to get the postcard rate (a lot cheaper than letter), your postcard needs to be between 3.5 and 4.25" tall and between 5-6" wide.

Birdcage Veil: To Make or To Buy?

It seems like everyone and their sister are wearing birdcage veils lately. And it's easy to see why this style of veil is so trendy: they are SUPER cute! Not for everyone, either by personal taste or face shape, these veils will add a cute touch to any gown.

The easiest way to get one is, as with most things, to buy one. There are a ton of veil sellers online; two bigger websites are Something Bold and BirdcageVeils. Within the realm of birdcage veils, these suppliers have multiple styles, from not only with simple combs, to veils with flowers or feathers, to multi-layer veils with lots of volume.

Another source, and maybe one that's a little more fun, is to hunt for handmade birdcage veils on Etsy. I just did a search, and you can find birdcage veils between $130 and $5, depending on your taste and how much you want going on up there. My favorites are by sellers Joei Reed Custom Millinery (if you want to be unique, kick it up a notch with some color or a hat!) and Brenda's Bridal Veils (she has lots of ready-to-wear variety and she takes custom orders as well!).

Other than purchasing your birdcage veil, you could also try your hand at making it, if you're crafty (or even if not—it's not very hard to make the simple net-and-bobbypins style) or if you have a friend/sister/mother you can talk into trying it. The absolute best site that I found with directions was There are step-by-step instructions along with old-school illustrations to show you what to do. Another site with directions is this personal site where the author describes how she made her simple net-only veil and has a little hand drawing to boot.

To make or to buy? That is a question you have to answer for yourself.