Friday, March 26, 2010

Bouquet Blues (or rather, blue bouquets)

As you might remember from this post, I have begun searching for a cheap way to incorporate flowers into my wedding.  I've definitely still got a lot of research to do, but I figured I'd start small and figure out what I'm looking for in a bouquet and then expand its look to the rest of the wedding.

I've always loved roses, and I've known for ages that I want them to feature in my wedding.  At the same time, I value diversity, and I know I'd like to incorporate lots of kinds of flowers.  Keeping these two things in mind, I started photo hunting and came up with these:

I like that this bouquet has a mere sprinkling of roses, and having lots of greenery as filling would work well with our color scheme.  Also, I'm digging the bluish leaves that would also work well colorwise.  Obviously, we'd have to have different colored roses, but I love the natural but elegant feel of this bouquet.

I think this is adorable.  The colors would not work at all for us, but finding blue and white alternatives would be really cute.

Again, I like the natural look of this bouquet, and this one is closer to our color scheme.  I would like to incorporate a little purple into our bouquet if I can (let's just say that if this was my wedding instead of our wedding, the colors would be pink, purple, and blue, no question).

Of these, I like the first one the best, but if I could pull off a combination of these, I think it would be awesome.

Now the hard part:  what flowers to use?  Well, we can check off roses and even guess that I'll be using white ones as they would probably fit best with ocean colors (white = surf, right?).  That leaves me on a quest for blue flowers and greens.

Copying this bouquet would make a lot of sense for us.  It's got roses in the right amounts, and the blue hydrangeas also work perfectly with our colors.  The hydrangeas are also awesome because they grow in my parents' backyard, and if we time our wedding right, I might be able to harvest them.  However, this is just a little too neat for me.  If I do something like this, I'd like to spruce it up with more kinds of flowers and a little more color.  Perhaps I could stick in something like these:

Using lavender blooms (which were unnamed on the webpage, anyone know what they're called?) like these would give me that dash of purple without overwhelming the bouquet.

I also love these:

These purplish-blue hydrangeas have the kind of rich color that attracts me to blue in the first place.  They also remind me of the ocean a little bit, and that makes them awesome for our wedding.  I might throw in a few white calla lillies too as I like the depth that they give to bouquets.

Alright, so now I need your help.  What blues, greens, and whites do you think would work well in a bouquet?  Also, as I still know nothing about how these flowers grow, what flowers are available in these colors in California during the summer?  Does anyone know when the flowers in these pictures bloom?  And where?  Which bouquets do you like and why?  Also, if anyone has any pictures of bouquets that they think I might like, I would love to see them.  Thanks!

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Alright, it's personal post time

Daniel and I are no strangers to long distance relationships.  We basically started out in one, and then a year after we had been living together, we spent four months being 6,000 miles apart before being a measly 2,000 miles apart until we had been in a long distance relationship for 2 years (summers excluded).  Obviously, it has been really, really nice for us to have been living together for almost a year straight without having to worry about moving apart again.

Right now, Daniel is still in CA because the lucky bastard gets 2 weeks for Spring Break.  He's coming home tomorrow, but right now, I pretty much haven't seen him in a week, and I really miss him.  And you know what?  It feels GREAT!  It is so awesome to miss someone even when you know you're going to see him again in less than a week instead of resigning yourself to not seeing him again for 2 months.  I LOVE being able to be a normal couple who only takes normal lengths of time apart.

Which brings me to the point I think I was trying to make.  I have a certain, shall we say, attraction to jobs that involve traveling.  This may have something to do with the fact that I love traveling (I mean, maybe it's just possible the two are connected).  One of the hardest things about committing to marrying Daniel for me was knowing that I wouldn't get to run off to various foreign countries and live there for years.  I'd still like to do a year in South America or Asia at some point, but it's so much more complicated when you have to take someone's elses opinions, career, and life into account.

But it's times like this that remind me that being with Daniel is so much more important to me than exploring the world.  When I was traveling Europe for five weeks straight, I was miserable half the time because I missed him and wanted him to be there with me.  When I'm traveling alone, I'm always thinking about what Daniel would love to see.  And when I'm exhausted because babies have been screaming at me all day, and I'm stressed out because I have no money, coming home to Daniel reminds me that leaving my friends and family and moving to the frozen landscape that is Chicago was totally worth it because I get to be with him.

Because we've spent so much time apart, I really don't take the time we have together for granted.  Still, it's nice to be reminded of how integral Daniel is to my happiness.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Joey and Heather's Wedding

On March 12th, the Ce and I headed to the San Francisco Bay Area to see two good friends get married.  When we arrived at Oakland Airport, it was raining.  The wedding was the next day.  It was supposed to be outdoors.  I felt pretty bad for the bride and groom, especially because I tend to bring rain to places in California that I want to be warm and sunny.  Nevertheless, we made the trek up to Sonoma that day in hopes of a better tomorrow.

Boy did we get it!  Their wedding day had cloudless skies and was even a little bit warm.  We drove the groom over to the venue to drop some things off and then headed to a park across the street so that they could take pictures.  Enter first problem of the day.  Their photographer never showed up.  No idea what happened to her still, but I guess this shows that if you're going to pick a family member to do your pictures, picking a responsible one will save you headaches.  Problem number two:  the bride's hair appointment ran late, so even if the photographer had been there, they couldn't have done pictures.  Fortunately, I was able to take a few quick pictures before they needed to get to the venue.

The Depot Hotel is not actually a hotel oddly enough.  It once was as you can tell by the lovely courtyard with a reflecting pool in the back.  This was the spot where Joey and Heather got married.

 personal photo

And that's my Ce in the background getting ready to officiate the ceremony.  This was very much a quaint wedding with perhaps sixty people in attendance.  The site worked very well for that.  Since it is now a restaurant, the Depot caters to small crowds, and the back courtyard was not even big enough for everyone to sit down.  This worked really well to make the wedding space fit the number of people in attendance because you could never really tell how many people were there in such a small space, making the wedding seem grander than it actually was.

Joey and Heather were looking for simplicity in their wedding.  They are not much for tradition.  They met online, were friends for over a year before elevating their relationship, and dated online for about four years before meeting in person.  Finally, in August of 2006, Joey hopped on a plane to Ohio, and they spent a week together doing things that need not be mentioned here.  Less than a year later, they had moved in together.  About a year ago, they decided to get married.  Not your average love story, and I know it probably seems crazy that they went so long without meeting, but if you knew them, you'd understand.

Anyway, the ceremony was short and personal with little flair.  I'm not going to post my pictures of it just yet because Joey and Heather haven't seen them, but I will share a few from the reception.

Since the Depot is now a restaurant, finding good food was not an issue for this couple.  Everything was excellent, particularly the pasta bolognese.  Like the ceremony, the reception was simple.  It was more like having a large group of friends come to a restaurant together than a traditional wedding reception, but it worked really well with the location.  The restaurant had a simple beauty of its own, and it didn't need much help from Joey and Heather.

My favorite part of the wedding was the favors.  They made little mice out of chocolate-covered maraschino cherries with a Hershey's kiss stuck on the front for a nose and M&M's for ears.

personal photos

So cute!  I also loved the other personal touch they gave this wedding.  Instead of a guest book, they bought five bottles of wine, one to open on each of their next five anniversaries, and had the guests sign them in gold and silver sharpies.

personal photo

I loved it!  Apparently, this is a growing wedding trend, and I may have to steal this idea as well as the mice.

Overall, it was a very nice wedding that showed that you don't have to go all out or spend a ton of money to have a lovely, memorable day.  And I got to steal ideas from them, so, you know, I'm good.

What has jumped out at you at weddings you've seen?  What ways can you make a wedding simple and memorable at the same time?

Saturday, March 20, 2010


Well, I just got back from California, and I could not wait to tell you about my awesome experience at Capri Laguna.  As you might remember from my earlier venue post, Capri Laguna was a place I had never been to but thought we could afford and really wanted to check out.  I was going to avoid looking at venues on this trip due to major time constraints, but I happened to be near Laguna Beach on Thursday, so I decided to go take a quick look at Capri Laguna to see whether I was getting my hopes up for nothing.

I wasn't.  The location is exactly what it made itself out to be.  Both the upper and lower decks had EXACTLY the view that I wanted:  ocean, waves, and even a palm tree blowing in the breeze.  The lower deck is pretty close to the sand, so we'll have to see if Daniel is OK with that, but I really don't think it would be a problem in the evening.  I loved that the lower deck had a gazebo AND a more open covering that we could still dress up nicely.  And what a place to take pictures!  We could get us overlooking the ocean, in the gazebo, and on the sand all with only minutes to walk!  And the hotel is very quaint which I think will work well for us since we're going for the intimate wedding feel.  Also, as a friend pointed out, less space equals more of a reason to turn potential guests away, and frankly, I'm going to need all the help I can get in that department.

Downside:  why money of course!  After seeing the site, I figured out that the $1,200 and $3,000 locations that I originally thought were separate wedding options are actually the ceremony and reception site fees respectively, bringing our total site cost to $4,200.  This is still doable because their catering company has really good deals, but it would definitely put a strain on our budget and would have to include a lot of fixings (tables, chairs, tablecloths, etc.) for it to be a real possibility.  We'll definitely have to meet with somebody when we move back to California to talk about what they can offer us before I get my hopes up too much, and I'm still on the look-out for a site that will only require a permit from the government, but it's very nice to know that we might have a real venue option!

Thursday, March 11, 2010

California Here I Come

FYI, I will be MIA for the next weekish as I am going to California for a wedding and then going to see my friends and family.  BUT, I have much to discuss and will have even more when I get back as I critique and pick apart the first wedding I've been to since I got engaged.  Yay!

Rings: A New Hope

So apparently Daniel is a lot better at looking for rings than I am because as soon as I posted my ring searching woes, he found a bunch of things that might work for us.

We both really like these:


I had never seen a mokume ring until looking at the first ring from this post, but when I show it to Daniel, we both really liked the merging of metals, and he found a bunch of multicolored rings which we both really like.
There are some other possibilities we are considering, but this style is definitely something I think we could be happy with, so we will be asking our jeweler about it when we make an appointment (which should be soon, so stay tuned!).

Monday, March 8, 2010

Great Bridal Expo

I had quite the wedding-filled weekend, topped off with my very first bridal expo!  I have been intrigued with these galas of wedding goodies for a while now, but I haven't been seeking them out because, well, Chicago vendors aren't going to do much for my California wedding.  But when The Knot sent me two free tickets to the Great Bridal Expo in Chicago, I knew the time had come to check one of these babies out.

I wasn't expecting much.  Mostly, I went for the free food and stuff, the wedding dress runway show, and the chance to be surrounded by pretty wedding goodies.  I was surprised to find that the expo was really helpful.  Having done almost all of my research online so far, it was nice to be able to talk to actual, genuine people about their products.  For instance, I've done a little bit of cake research, but it's hard to get a sense of how big of a cake you need to feed x amount of people, and I was able to talk to a vendor who showed me how big their slices are and about what size cake I would want for my small tiered cake plus cupcakes plan.  There are some things that are just better discussed in person.

The biggest surprise for me though was that there were A LOT of honeymoon vendors which was great because them I can actually use.  For some reason, I never really associate the honeymoon with the wedding.  I think it's just too many things for me to think about when you add a vacation into the mix, but I'd say almost half of the vendors were honeymoon-related which was really helpful.  I now have a very large stack of packets on Caribbean cruises and resorts to go through, and while I haven't looked through them all yet, several have given me hope of actually having a tropical honeymoon.  There are quite a few all-inclusive cruises that we might actually be able to afford :).

So all in all, the Great Bridal Expo was definitely worth a visit.  If it's coming to a city near you, I would definitely go check it out, especially if you take advantage of the free tickets from The Knot.

Sunday, March 7, 2010

Rings, Rings Everywhere and not a Thing for Me

The most frustrating thing about wedding planning for me right now is that I want to get started and get ideas that I can use and start planning.  However, being over 2,000 miles from our wedding location makes things really difficult.  Add that to the fact that I don't really know where I'm going to be living next year, and planning basically screeches to a halt.  However, there is one thing that I not only can do but really should do while I'm in Chicago, and that is find our rings.  Daniel's family is good friends with a jeweler who can get us a major discount (as he did for my engagement ring), so we're almost certainly going to buy from him, and it would be really helpful to have the rings done while we still have access to him.

This will not be my favorite task.  Since this is the part of the wedding that is really forever (in addition to the actual marriage part of course) and is something we will deal with everyday, this is one of the more stressful decisions I'm going to have to make.  Especially because we have very problematic tastes.

I have decided that I hate most wedding bands.  Plain ones are just so PLAIN.  As you may have noticed from my dress hunt, I don't do plain well.  But at the same time, I don't want something dripping in diamonds either, partly because I just don't care for diamonds, but mostly because I really want us to have complimentary rings if possible.  I feel like since the wedding band is a symbol of unity, ours should at least look something alike.  Both Daniel and I know we want something unique, but neither of us could tell you exactly what we want.

A couple of our good friends are getting married next weekend, and we both really liked their rings.  They got ones that were inlaid with stones, but not your average precious stones.  They were dark and looked kind of like a very dark wood.  They were very different.  We like that.  But I don't feel like their rings are "me," so we'll probably do something a little different.

I found these:


I thought this was pretty cool.  I really like the interlocking design thing.  That says marriage to me.  Problem is, it's a bit manly for me, and it would be cooler if Daniel and I each had a part of the ring, and they fit together, like a friendship bracelet (I have a thing about friendship bracelets,  OK?  I swear I'm not five).  Of course, that would never actually work because his finger is about twice the size of mine.  Next.

I like the design, but it just doesn't say wedding to me.  Next.


Love it!  Too bad neither of us is really into music.  But I'm seriously keeping this for when my brother gets married.


These are all from Tacori.  They are all cool designs.  I would not buy any of them.
This is my problem.  I'm picky.  Daniel is also picky.  Finding something we agree on is going to be difficult, but finding something we love in the first place is going to be REALLY difficult.  Hopefully, his jeweler will have some ideas because I sure don't.

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Search for the Perfect Dress: So It Begins (Part 1)

Dress shopping is by far my favorite part of wedding planning.  Even though I basically haven't decided on anything else yet, I am pretty sure I've found my dress as you may have figured out from this post.  It took more than ten bridal boutiques and literally hundreds of dresses for me to find "the one," and I figured if there is any journey that it is important for me to share with you, it's this one.

I started looking at wedding dresses before I got engaged.  Like, significantly before I got engaged.  This seems to be a habit with me.  I have always been strongly attracted to formal dresses, and I started trying on prom dresses when I was twelve.  In fact, Daniel will probably do a Groom-inations post at some point about how weary he is of following me into formal dress shops whenever we go shopping.  Needless to say, I was eager to try on wedding dresses long before I had a good reason to do so.

My friend Laura gave me an excuse.  She started patrolling during our junior year of college and eventually asked if I wanted to go try on wedding dresses with her.  I wasn't hard to convince.  As neither of us were engaged at this point, we were a bit anxious when we walked into Kate's Kouture for the first time, especially since we didn't even have an appointment.  We needn't have been.  Kate is one of the nicest people I've ever met, and she was exceptionally welcoming and helpful even though she only had half-an-hour free before she had an appointment and even though we had no idea what we were doing.  We tried on two dresses each, and both of us fell in love instantly.  Seriously, this shop may not be huge, but it's got good stuff, and if you live anywhere near the San Francisco Bay Area, I would highly recommend stopping by Kate's, for the service if nothing else.

Since we had such a good experience, we made an actual appointment to go back and brought along a friend who was engaged for real! but already had a dress.  It was during this visit that I fell in love with my first dress.  Even then (almost two years ago) this dress had been discontinued and was only available off the rack, so I don't have pictures, but I really wish I did because it had the most beautiful sweetheart neckline I have ever seen (Even now.  Remember, I've worn hundreds of dresses).  At the time, it was exactly what I was looking for:  sweetheart neckline, cap sleeves, A-line, decorative but not overdone.  And being off the rack, it would have cost me about $400 with the major alterations it would have needed.  I came very close to buying that dress when I actually got engaged.  But it never felt quite right enough for me to do it, and now I'm glad I didn't because I've definitely found dresses I liked more since.  Still, it was a great start to my dress hunt, and I still feel like I owe Kate a lot.

Classy Wedding by the Sea