Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Invitation Thought for my Honey

Honey, I think that you should head over to YeeHaw, a letterpress studio in Knoxville, TN that does wedding invitations. According to Good Mouse, Bad Mouse, they "love thowing things together for cheap." And, in case you needed further encouragement to check them out, I know you will love them because they made this sign:

By YeeHaw Industrial Letterpress via Good Mouse, Bad Mouse
P.S. Zombies are not a phenomena that particularly interests me, but they tickle/amuse/intrigue my honey. I must admit that part of what I like about our relationship is that I am able to enjoy or appreciate things in which I have no real interest merely because they mean something to him. That is, that in our sharing a life, I get to share in his quirky interests. And that just makes life more fun! I am the serious part of our relationship (although he does tend to wax philosophical from time to time) and I love that he embraces the whimsical and ridiculous in life. We help create balance for each other and, hopeful, in our life that we will build.

Monday, March 30, 2009

No Dress... Yet

So, I didn't find a dress that I fell in love with on our visit to the vintage store this weekend, but my girlfriend who accompanied me, who isn't even engaged (or planning to be soon), did! It is certainly a gem of a store and I plan to go back soon, wedding dress or not :)

Friday, March 27, 2009

Wedding Dress Shopping

This weekend, I am going to the vintage store where she got her wedding dress. Wish me luck!

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

An Award for Me?

I received an award from One Barefoot Bride and I am so so touched! When I began planning my wedding, I didn't really know where to start, what to do, or how to process all the information and messages I had absorbed about weddings my entire life. Then I found this wonderful community of women on the web who seemed a lot like me, except smarter and with so much to share. Because I value the wisdom and information these women shared with me, I thought I should give back to the community that has given me so much. So, I started this little blog to post my thoughts and ideas and to post my inspiration for my wedding in the hopes that it might help other brides the way these blogs have helped me. But, I didn't really expect that in such a short time I would earn such a touching recognition from a fellow blogger for my efforts. So, thank you, thank you One Barefoot Bride! I am so grateful to you and all my readers that you actually stop by to read what I have to say from time to time.

I am changing the rules for this award. Why? Well, because I got this award for having ATTITUDE and I decided to pass it along with some changes. So, I am nominating blogs that have ATTITUDE or for which I am GRATEFUL. If you are a recipient of this award, I hope that you will enjoy it and, only if you would like to share the blog-love that you:

1. Put the logo on your blog or post

2. Nominate at least 10 blogs who show great ATTITUDE and /or GRATITUDE and

3. Be sure to link to your nominees in your post

4. Let them know they've received this award by commenting on their blog

5. Share the love and link to this post and to the person from whom you received the award

And without further ado (okay, there was a lot of ado), here are my nominees:

A Practical Wedding: I have said this before, but it bears repeating, I LOVE Meg's blog and the community of women that I have found through it. Her thoughts are always so timely (like, telling me not to stress about my budget when that is the worry that is foremost on my mind) and poignant. Time after time, the real weddings she shares make me sigh or even cry a little and are an endless source of inspiration for how I want my wedding to feel--real and like us.

2000 Dollar Wedding: I love Sara's down to earth approach to weddings and marriage. She and Matt pulled off a wonderful celebration of love that was focused on exactly what was important. And, now that their wedding is over, she continues to field questions and update her blog, so that all of us have a place to go when we need advice about living and loving out of our values and without breaking the bank.

Darling Dexter: Whitney has sass, style, and skills! Oh, and she threw a wonderful, beautiful, amazing wedding complete with handmaid dresses and self-designed... well, almost everything. I admire her openness in sharing her endeavors--sewing, moving, starting school--and thoughts on how to live. And she is a constant source of inspiration--if I want to see something amazing, her blog is the first place I check.

A $10,000 Wedding: I am not sure that I have anything much to say about this one other than she has ATTITUDE, so go check it out! And she has a $10,000 budget. And she shares her ideas and creative solutions for doing just about everything at her wedding. And she manages to keep a sense of humor through it all.

Peonies and Polaroids: She started her own etsy store to sell her beautiful photography and demonstrated such tenacity and courage in doing so. I don't know what demonstrates attitude, if that doesn't. Plus, she also had a absolutely beautiful beautiful wedding that makes me want to scrap my plans and run over to Europe and to get hitched. Oh, and I love reading her prose--stories that just sound so beautiful and make me imagine that I am curled up with some tea in my favorite chair each time she shares one.

And a couple of honorary nominations--

NieNie Dialogues: Reading this helps me remember what is really important. And its not the wedding. It is the marriage that we are committing to build that will provide a foundation of love and support for each other and our family.

A blog that shall not be named (why? becuase its private): My friends with whom I am out of touch use their blog to update friends and family on their growing family. I also like reading this because it reminds me of what I want to get out of our marriage and I love hearing about how they deal with life with two little boys.

Whew! I know that's not ten, but I think this blog post has taken on a life of its own, so I should end it now.

Finding Balance

Woman Holding a Balance by Jan Vermeer found here
As you may have guessed from the title of this blog, I aspire to live my life mindfully. To me, that means making decisions consciously and being present to enjoy life. I have found that terrifically hard to do in my present circumstances. Planning a wedding makes it difficult to live in the present because so much time and energy gets sucked into planning one day in the future. There is also the mental, emotional, and spirtual preparation my fiance and I have engaged in to prepare ourselves for married life. There is also the temporariness of my job, friends, and living situation because I am only here in Memphis for a year. This makes this year feel even more like a time of transition instead of my actual settled life. This feeling is only compounded by living in a transient place while planning a wedding. And, on top of that, my love is many many miles away. Sometimes I do believe the old adage that "home is where the heart is" and my heart lives no where near my home. It is difficult having such an important part of my life not actually present in my life. It makes it very easy to be disconnected from my present circumstance and to discount all the experiences that I am enjoying now because I am so busy preparing for my wedding, my marriage, and being together with my fiance. I am just waiting and preparing but not necessarily living. Or perhaps that is wrong, perhaps I need to appreciate that some periods in life are about waiting and preparing and that that doesn't make them any less your life. After reading Whitney of Darling Dexter's Contemplation Series: Step Away from the Computer, I realized that I was also seeking balance. Balance between the present and the future. Balance between missing my fiance and enjoying my single life in Memphis. Have you gotten caught in this trap while planning your wedding? How have you dealt with it successfully?

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Next Vendor: Day of Coordinator

So, of all the decisions that we have made about our wedding, the one that I feel most confident about is our choice of Day of Coordinator. We are using Kate Z. from Dettagli Weddings. We met with three different wedding coordinators (two specifically for DOC services) and Dettagli's prices were in the middle of what we considered. Katie, the owner, has been very professional, accomodating (i.e., she drove half an hour outside the city to meet with us), and responsive. Because I am not in Chicago, we haven't met with our actual DOC in person, but we did speak to her for about an hour and a half on the phone. And it was the first time that I felt really excited about the wedding; like, hey someone gets what we want to do and thinks we can actually make it happen. We are very excited and glad that we decided to cut back elsewhere in order to afford to put someone else in charge on our wedding day so that we (and our families) can truly appreciate all our hard work and effort (and money spent) and be truly present at our wedding.

Monday, March 23, 2009

Save the Dates

Our Save the Dates are here and I spent a portion of Sunday addressing them. I am pretty happy with how they turned out (sorry for the poor picture quality). We ended up using VistaPrints and I think the total cost is right around $50 including postage. Our engagement photos and the design were free and loving provided by one of our best men (you can see more cute pictures of us on his website). We ended up using a VistaPrint special for 100 FREE standard-sized postcards. Uploading, proofs, and shipping came to $26. Then, I spent another $27 on postcard stamps.

I think the quality is pretty good. There is a streak towards the right-hand side, but it isn't very obvious. The process was very easy--VistaPrints provides templates so you know what size to design your own postcard, then you just upload it. The only downside is all the spam that I get from them, but since we got a pretty good deal on our Save the Dates, I am not complaining.

Now, I just hope that the recipients enjoy them as much as we do :)

Friday, March 20, 2009

No post AGAIN today

Sorry for the lack of posts. Work has been busy and I feel a bit whiny after looking at our budget again and realizing how much it will cost. And, well, I just feel like if its going to cost that much it should be perfect. And it won't be; it will just be good enough for us. Happy Friday. I hope everyone is enjoying some nice Spring-like weather.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009


I am in a bit of a quandry over our colors. Not that I feel the need to have a matchy-matchy wedding, just that a color scheme helps unify everything so it looks pretty and coherent. We had been planning to do white and apple green with bridesmaids in Navy. My mom is convinced that I should have blue hydrangeas in my bouquet. Which would work--bridesmaids in blue with white and green bouquets and me in white with a blue and white bouquet. But then I see bouquets like the one pictured here and just fall in love. It is so beautiful. Am I limiting myself with such muted colors? Should I not take advantage of the beautiful flowers in bright colors? Unfortunately, I don't really have a good eye to be able to figure out a palette that works together without limiting myself to specific colors. Sigh. I think this is one of those things I don't have to decide quite yet.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Bonus St. Patrick's Day Post

Aww... I just got a no-reason-except-I-love-you present from my sweetie. Pretty greeen earrings appropriate for St. Patrick's Day and to celebrate 180 days until we are wed along with a lovely card. I am truly a lucky girl with a wonderful fiance.

Reception Venue

Image from here
Our reception venue is Historic Pleasant Home (also known as the John Farson House) is located in Oak Park Illinois. We were deperate to avoid a traditional ballroom and really liked that this location has beautiful outdoor space--it is located adjacent to a park. This was also the perfect space for several other reasons:
* It was also more affordable than most other venues that we considered.
* It was available! (We only had eleven months to plan our wedding, so availability was a major factor for us.)
* It's about a seven-minute drive from our Church.
* It's within walking distance of a reasonably priced hotel, which means that we can save money on transporting guests to the reception location and that our guests aren't required to pay a lot on a hotel room to attend our wedding.
* There is a CTA ("L") and Metra stop within a block of the hotel, so guests can easily head downtown to explore Chicago in about twenty minutes. (And they can take public transportation from the airport, saving on car rental.)
* There are shops and restaurants located nearby.
The only drawback of the space is that, not being a traditional ballroom, there isn't one localized place for gathering. We will have to get creative. If the weather is nice, we are hoping to take advantage of the outdoor space. So, that's our venue. It seems like such a perfect choice now, but it still took many weeks (or was it months?) for us to finalize our decision. And I think my mother is still convinced that it would be better, cheaper, and easier if we had just picked a ballroom ;) Oh well, you can't please everyone. So, I suppose if we can't find a caterer we can always make it a picnic reception at the last minute. Always, like to have a back-up plan.

Monday, March 16, 2009

When we fight with the one we love

This is a picture of my honey over Thanksgiving--as you can tell, he was dressed for dinner but still downstairs hanging out playing video games with the kids. I love this picture. My sweetheart is not perfect (thank God!). He is a kid at heart, which means that he is fun and sweet and loving and trusting. But, he can also be, err... irresponsible. So, when I ask him to do wedding-related stuff, sometimes it doesn't get done on time without me checking in a couple times. Which is, annoying. Anyway, this combined with long distance and stress I've been under at work led to a pretty nasty fight on Saturday. Not fun. But, in the end we were able to talk about things that had been bothering us, so we, at least, got something productive out of it. I know that getting married will not fix any of the issues we have now and that we will have a whole new set of difficulties to deal with when we actually see each other every day. It's something we look forward to now, but my sweetie likes to tease that it won't take long before we are sick of each other and desperately trying to find out what happened to our alone time. I know we'll be okay if I keep in mind that what I love most about my future husband is also what drives me the most crazy. Oh! And to remember not to sweat the small stuff (and that it's mostly small stuff).

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Productive Weekend

Well, we spent some time this weekend working on wedding stuff and managed to:

1) Finish up our Save the Date design and order them
2) Launch our Wedding Website
3) Register for our pre-Cana class
4) Send off our contract for Entertainment

Yay! We actually got something done. And we also picked out an invitation, until I changed my mind. The good news is that we are making progress, so I will count this as a successful weekend.

Friday, March 13, 2009


So, as I mentioned before, we still don't have a caterer (e.g., food, or tables and chairs, or glasses, or linens) for our wedding and we only have six months to go. We have had a comedy of errors in picking a venue and caterer that all stemmed from our burgeoning guest list. Apparently, many caterers who will cater events with 100-125 people will not cater events of 175-200 people. But, I talked to a new caterer yesterday and they seemed very nice. Although, I haven't received a proposal yet (over 24 hours later), so I hope I haven't scared her away with my desperation (ohmigosh i don't have a caterer! i need food! but we are working on a budget! please help! and make it cheap!). Oh well! I am keeping my fingers crossed hoping this will work out and we will have a caterer and I will feel much less stressed (well that and once we send out our Save the Dates and I find a dress and ....). At least it will be one more (big) item off the list. Plus, since this is our single biggest expense, I am hoping that after we see the damage, acknowledge it, sign for it, and pay a deposit I will be able to feel less bad about how much this is all costing (see, it's done, can't do anything about it).
Image from here.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

What does it mean to be a "wife"?

So, one of the hardest things for me in contemplating the fact that I will be married in six months is the idea of becoming a "wife." I will be someone's wife. Being a sister or a daughter hasn't felt like such a defining label. I couldn't imagine being anyone's wife but my sweetie's, but still. In part its that getting married involves giving up your independence, something that I have always cherished (if you talk to my parents they will tell you that I tried to win my independence from them way before my time). I am looking forward to all the positives of being married. For us that includes seeing each other every day. I really hope that we aren't approaching this whole married things with rose-colored glasses. We acknowledge, for example, that being around each other much more than we have become accustomed to seeing each other will (at times) drive both of us a little crazy. But I still am struggling with the idea of becoming a wife--a new and scary creature. Part of me recognizes that this is silly. That I will still be me and that my honey will still be my honey after the wedding. Perhaps it's that I feel like being a wife involves more responsibility, which I don't quite feel up to. Perhaps it's the perfectionist in me that knows that despite how hard I try, I will fail from time to time to be a "good wife," whatever that means and that is scared at failing. Maybe I just need to come up with a new word instead of wife that I might be more comfortable with... any thoughts on what that might be?

6 months to go...

Image courtesy of Matthew Michael Photography
Our wedding is in 6 months from today! And boy are we behind. We don't have a caterer yet and I don't have a dress yet and we haven't even sent out our Save the Dates. What to do, what to do? Take a deep breath and realize that it will all be okay and that we will figure all these little details out. The important thing is that we have a venue and a priest, so I'm pretty sure that at the very least we will be getting married that day.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009


I have been having the hardest time picking out invitations that I adore. Most I find are fine and will get the job done. But, I haven't found any that I was head over heels about until I checked out Printable Press that Meg posted about today. Kimi's designs are AMAZING! And because I couldn't pick just one, here are my favorites (so far):

All images from Printable Press

Tuesday, March 10, 2009


So, for our honeymoon, we are debating between Thailand and Europe. In Europe we would fly into Paris, then head to the South of France, over to Italy and then take a sailing trip around Greece. We are planning on going for three to four weeks because we will both be in between jobs and we figure that we should take advantage of the time off.

Europe: I have been advocating for Europe because I have never been (okay, I have but I was a baby and I don't remember so it doesn't count) and I have always imagined my honeymoon being the opportunity to travel in Europe for a while.

Thailand: My honey is advocating for this one because it is beautiful, cheap, and exotic. Plus, it makes sense to use a long vacation to go to a location that is more difficult to get to. We could always go to Europe for a week-long vacation, but that would be much harder with Thailand. And it is awfully picturesque:

And, while we are there, we can take a side trip to Cambodia, which is also pretty awesome.

So, I think we are leaning towards Thailand. I think I am persuaded that it will be cheaper (and I am the money worrier), so since we've decided to take such a long vacation going somewhere further away and less expensive makes more sense. Anyone have any thoughts on this one?

Monday, March 9, 2009


I know that we are way past Valentine's Day, but I had the opportunity to reflect a little bit on love this past weekend. It was the first time I had seen my honey since Valentine's Day weekend. We have only been able to see each other one weekend every three weeks since the New Year and it's just plain difficult. It always takes a while to build intimacy and get used to the fact that we are actually together. And sometimes it feels like as soon as we get to that happy comfortable place it's time to leave again. Which brings me to my reflection on love. I have this preconcieved notion that because we don't see each other very often, when we do, we should act and feel very intensely in love. Like I should always want to be smooching him or staring dreamily into his eyes. And I don't. Sometimes I just feel comfortable like the way you felt cuddled up with your blankey. It's just the comfort of spending time with my best friend. Don't get me wrong, there is plenty of smooching. I just mean that I enjoy our time together the most when I am not pressuring myself to feel or act like a star-crossed lover. Perhaps none of this is surprising in any way to anyone reading this. But for me it's an adjustment--loving in a peaceful comfortable way instead of an intense all-consuming way. And accepting that even though I don't feel intensely in love with my fiance all the time, that doesn't mean we need to re-examine our decision to get married. At least someone else agrees with me:

"Love is a temporary madness. It erupts like an earthquake and then subsides. And when it subsides you have to make a decision. You have to work out whether your roots have become so entwined together that it is inconceivable that you should ever part. Because this is what love is. Love is not breathlessness, it is not excitement, it is not the promulgation of promises of eternal passion. That is just being in love which any of us can convince ourselves we are. Love itself is what is left over when being in love has burned away, and this is both an art and a fortunate accident. Your mother and I had it, we had roots that grew towards each other underground, and when all the pretty blossom had fallen from our branches we found that we were one tree and not two. "
-- Captain Corelli's Mandolin

Friday, March 6, 2009

Alternative to a White Dress

If I wasn't planning to wear a white dress at my wedding, I would want to wear this stunning green dress. Hands down. No questions asked. It is simply the most beautiful dress I have seen a bride wear (perhaps this is because I am partial to green).

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Alternative to a Wedding Album

Images from Good Stcok Press & Bindery
How cute are these photo accordian books by Good Stock? I think I would much prefer to give these to our families instead of the traditional wedding albums. What are you doing for wedding albums?

Peonies & Polariods' Etsy Shop

Image by Peonies

Peonies new Etsy shop is open (yay!) and you can purchase a beautiful print like this one. You can also win a free print if you leave a comment here by Saturday the 7th.

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Reception Decoration Ideas

Some pretty pictures I have been collecting for wedding reception inspiration. Unfortunately, I don't have the source for many of these (if you know it, let me know so that I can add it).

Monday, March 2, 2009

Vendor #2: Photographers

Image courtesy of Cathy & David Photographers

We are so excited about Cathy & David Photographers, our wedding photographers. I love the expression and emotion they captured in this photo. They are actually based in Indiana, but have an incredibly reasonable travel fee. They have been so responsive and flexible. We are so very excited about working with them on our wedding day. I would encourage brides to look outside of their market for wedding photographers. We were able to find a wonderful photographer who offered what we were looking for at a reasonable price and who was available by not constraining ourselves to a Chicago-based photographer (although there are also many wonderful Chicago-based wedding photographers).

Sunday, March 1, 2009

Thanks to a Talented Friend

One of our best men in our wedding (yes, there are two) is also a very talented photographer and graphic designer. He is a part-time wedding photographer in the Nashville area and graciously took some engagement photos of us over New Year's. He has also been designing (and re-designing) our Save the Dates. Apparently, while I do not care about the steak knives, I do care about the Save the Dates. Who knew. Here are a couple designs he has done for us and they are just awesome. I am so lucky that such a talented individual has been willing to spend his time designing these for us for free. It is so much fun to pick out pretty designs without having to check the what they cost before you fall in love with them. I actually think we are leaning towards another design that I don't have a jpeg of. But they are all so great, I just can't decide. Please leave me a comment and let me know which one is your favorite!