Sunday, January 31, 2010

Yummy Signage, Anyone?

As a rather picky eater, with some food allergies, I tend to steer clear of buffets, or when I do eat at one (mainly in Vegas!), I stick to only recognizable foods. I'm just not adventurous enough to try new things, unless I know what they are, and it seems many buffets don't think it's necessary to label their food items.

So as a courtesy to our guests, I've made 4" x 6" framed signs for our buffet, so they will know what they're eating. And I found the frames on sale at Joann's for only $2.99 each! This will be a good alternative to a menu, since it really isn't practical to have a menu at the place setting when people will be serving themselves, plus it's an excuse for yet another project with my beloved paper! :)

(the tri tip will be hand carved to order by our chef at a carving station)


Prior to the buffet dinner, we will have passed hors d'oeuvres, so I think guests will have to fend for themselves to figure out what those are (or just ask the waiter!). Our guests will be able to choose from:
  • Smoked Trout & Apple Salad on Cucumber Rounds
  • Crab Cakes with Chili-Lime Aioli
  • Flatbread Pizza with Caramelized Onions, Pancetta & Gruyere Cheese
  • And on an 8 foot table there will be a Selection of Cheeses, Marinated Vegetables & Fresh Fruits (Triple Cream Brie, Point Reyes Blue, Sharp Irish Cheddar, Fresh Mozzarella, Picholine & Calamata Olives, Sundried Tomatoes, & Artichoke Hearts, Assorted Seasonal Fruits)

There will also be bread and salad served at the table before the buffet dinner, but since we chose a simple Classic Caesar Salad with Crisp Romaine, Croutons & Parmesan Reggiano Cheese, I'm thinking our guests can figure out the salad by themselves!

Are you having a sit down or buffet dinner at your reception, and will you be incorporating any signage or menus for your guests?

(unless otherwise noted, all pictures in this post were taken by me)

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Gettin' My Somethings On, Part 1: Old and Borrowed

I know that not everyone does the "something old, something new, something borrowed, something blue" tradition these days, but I'm going to. For no other reason than....well, why not? :)

I'd already had something in mind for my something old, which happens to also be blue, but my mom came up with options that are so much better! And options that I can borrow, taking care of that something too, as well as things that will honor women in my family who are no longer with us.

First, I will borrow a small purse that belonged to my great, great aunt. She was one of my favorite people in the world, and more like a third grandmother to me, since I spent so much time at her house growing up. This is a picture my mom took of the purse, which is probably from the 1920s or 1930s, since my aunt was born in 1902.

It will need a bit of repair, since some of the beading is coming loose, and it also needs a strap added, as it currently only has a finger sized loop at the top. My mom also took pictures of it with two possible strap options.

Next, I will be borrowing a beautiful handkerchief that belonged to my grandma on my mom's side. It even is trimmed in blue, although I'm not considering it my something blue.

And finally, I have a third something old, but this one won't be borrowed from my mom, since it now belongs to me. When I was about 3 years old I gave my grandma on my dad's side a little pink bear. I have no idea where this little bear came from, but I remember having a couple of different colored ones when I was very young. My grandma kept this little pink bear in her purse with her until she passed away when I was in college. It needs a little cleaning up, after all, it lived in the bottom of a purse for 20 years, but I'm sure it will feel right at home being carried on my wedding day in my great great aunt's clutch, with my other grandmother's handkerchief.

I'm so excited about having these old, borrowed, meaningful and beautiful items with me on our wedding day. I'm lucky enough to still have both of my grandfathers around, and now, in a small way, it will be like my two grandmothers and aunt are there too, sharing in the big day.

Have you picked your "somethings" yet? And are you doing anything to honor passed loved ones on your wedding day?

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

I Wanna ROCK With You...At Our Guestbook Table!

Early on in our wedding planning, Mr. Cola and I spent hours looking online for unique guestbook ideas (ok, ok, really I looked online for hours while he watched TV, and I'd just tell him what I was finding). We really wanted something different, not just a book that would sit on a shelf somewhere in our home after the wedding. So we looked at a ton of options, including something similar to what Miss Poodle is doing with a tree, platters that could be signed by our guests, and we even considered a wine bottle, like Mrs. Sunbeam used.

But the unconventional guestbook idea that really stuck out to us was a bride who decided to take rocks from her backyard fountain, and have
guests sign the rocks. I thought this was about the coolest idea ever, and so we decided to borrow it, with a little modification!

Before heading to the bridal fair earlier this month, my mom and I stopped at Lyngso Garden Materials to scope out some rocks. The ones I liked best were the 2 x 3 inch La Paz:

We are going to have to go back and pick through the barrel of rocks to find the best ones that are flat and round, and will be perfect for writing on. And once they're cleaned off, they will be ready to be displayed on our guestbook table, along with this sign:

(Note to self: no DIY'ing is allowed while on cold medication. The first version of this sign didn't have a "d" in the word "wisdom." Thank goodness for blogging, because if I hadn't taken a picture of the sign and looked at it later, I would have unknowingly let this typo go to our wedding!)

So guests will know to sign the rocks with Sharpie markers like so (we will also have a couple rocks already signed in advance, to make it even more clear to our guests):
And after signing the guestbook, they will put the signed rocks in another one of our cute baskets:

After our wedding day, we plan to get a large clear vase for displaying the signed rocks in our home, with some tall dried grass or bamboo, similar to arrangements we already have decorating our home. Along the lines of this, but bigger, and with rocks in the vase:


I'm so excited about our unconventional guestbook! This way, we will always have the thoughts of our friends and family on display as decor in our home!

And on another rocky note, while we were looking at guestbook rocks, we also looked at smaller rocks for the vases that will be used in our tall centerpieces and small cocktail table arrangements, which if you remember, will look something like these:
We brought along a vase and tried the 1/4 to 1/2 inch La Paz, but it was a little on the small side, and too grey:

So instead we'll be using these 3/4 inch Pami Pebbles that have more of a brown color, which will go nicely with our wood grain paper elements on the tables.

ROCK TIPS: If you're planning on purchasing rocks for any of your DIY projects, keep in mind that you don't need to pay extra for the polished river rocks if they will be underwater in an arrangement. Polished rocks are a lot more expensive, and when they're underwater you can't tell the difference! Also, be sure to bring a water bottle with you when shopping for rocks. As you can see in the above picture, the rocks in the center are damp (we didn't bring a water bottle with us, and had to dig down a little to find damp rocks), and the color is much more brown when the rocks are wet. We wished we'd had some water on us to pour on the rocks, to see the real color they'll be when submerged.

What are you doing for your guestbook, something more traditional or something unconventional? And are you incorporating rocks in any way as part of your wedding decor?

(unless otherwise noted, all pictures in this post are personal photos)

Sunday, January 24, 2010

The Vendors That Could Have Been....

It strikes me as odd that, even in this economy, I sometimes feel like some wedding vendors don't want my money.


Now, this post may sound like a bit of a rant, but I like to think it's more of a venting of a frustration with vendors, that I'm sure others have had...

See, it's no secret that I like to research, to the point of going overboard sometimes. But when searching for wedding vendors (and, well, wedding everything!), I know I'm not going to be happy making a decision until I've seen every. option. available. I need to compare pricing, service policies, pretty much everything to make an informed decision. (And to save money too, since the more I research, the better discounts I usually find!)

And because I spend about 12-14 hours a day on my computer, I like to do almost all of my wedding research online. I like the ease of just shooting off e-mails to request quotes from many vendors at once (all separate e-mails though), or filling out the online quote request forms, rather than having to individually call each and every vendor. Convenience for the 2010 bride and all that jazz, right?

But for some reason, I've found that in almost every one of my quests to research vendors online, there are invariably some vendors who just don't respond. For example, in my search for a DOC, there were 4 or 5 that never e-mailed me back. Party rental places who I've contacted about their rental policies and delivery charges who've been silent. Bridal salons who have a 'Contact Us' form on their website, but never responded to the inquiries. Last week I requested about 10 online quotes for charter buses, guess how many have e-mailed me back? One!

And what's even worse are the vendors who will make initial contact with you, and then drop off the face of the planet. Most recently, I was looking into having a garlic fries cart for an end of the night snack for all our guests, since garlic is my favorite food. I found the only cart in the area, e-mailed them, and they responded right away saying they could do it, and I immediately e-mailed them back saying I would verify with our venue that it would be allowed, and they e-mailed me right back saying just give them a call. I was excited, yay for vendors with a right now response time. So I called them a few days later and left a voicemail with all the details. Nothing. That was a week before the holidays, so I gave them the benefit of the doubt, but after leaving another voicemail earlier this month, followed by two follow up e-mails, I've given up on my dream of having a portable garlic fries cart at our wedding. :(

So my question to the hive is, has this happened to any of you? Are there vendors you've contacted that have never respond, even after several follow ups? I guess we should look at it as a way to weed out the bad vendors?

Thursday, January 21, 2010

What Can You Get For Cheap During The After Holiday Sales?

Lots and lots of awesome photobooth props!

I really should have posted this back in early November, right after Halloween, but I just came across the box of props again last night. And I know there are a lot of newly engaged ladies out there who may have year long engagements, so keep this in mind: if you're having a photobooth and want props, hit up the party stores the day after Halloween for fantastic deals. I got a ton of props and everything was 50-90% off! (and I'm guessing you might have similar success in the after Valentine's Day and after St. Patrick's Day sales, especially if you're looking for props in pink, red or green)

And here is all of my loot, which I got for a whooping $36 on sale!

(beards, sparkly and feathered hats, clown wig, rainbow mohawk wig, 3 feather boas, feather mardis gras masks, glasses with noses attached, a tiara, king's crown)

(lots of leis, a coconut shell bikini top, clown noses, 4 mustaches*, and some pop up hats)

* The mustaches are the only thing not from the party stores, and not included in my $36 total. I got them from an Etsy seller for $5 each, since I didn't feel like spending the time to make them myself.

I hope our guests will take entertaining pictures like these with the props in our DIY photobooth.

{Source 1, Source 2, Source 3}

If you're having a photobooth, will you be gathering fun props for your guests to use? And do you have any other tips for the hive on where to find great deals?

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Reminder: The Bay Area Meet Up Is Tomorrow Night!

Bay Area readers, don't forget that our Weddingbee Meet Up is happening tomorrow night!

Join us in the bar at 6:30PM at Cosmopolitan Restaurant & Bar, 121 Spear Street, just off the Embarcadero in San Francisco. Share your wedding planning experiences and get to know other local brides!


Cosmopolitan is about a block and a half from the Embarcadero BART station, and parking is free with validation in the garage.

Looking forward to meeting you all!

Monday, January 18, 2010

Registering CAN Be Easy!

Or, our unconventional registry that turned conventional....

A while ago I showed you all how I made our own honeymoon registry on our wedding website using PayPal, but I thought I'd touch on the alternate registry we did through as well.

I've read a lot of blog posts about the stress of registering. The guilt, the indecision, the overwhelming fear of the registry gun, the pressure from the store representative to put massively expensive items on your registry....the list goes on and on. But for us (er, I, since Mr. Cola didn't really want to be bothered with this) it was pretty dang easy!

It all started with me sitting on my couch with my laptop, and I thought to myself, "Gee, what can I register us for that we'll actually use? We have a kitchen and home full of stuff already, it's not the newest stuff, but we already have it!"

So I started adding less conventional registry items we could
really use, like Kelty 20-Degree Sleeping Bags, camping headlamps, a pool cue holder, Washington State Cougars Billiard Balls, and a Dual-Zone 18-Bottle Ventilated Wine Cooler.

(pictures taken from the Amazon listings)

But then I started thinking, "Well, Mr. C really needs a new suitcase....and oh! I wonder if they have any cool garlic peeling devices....or maybe a cupcake carrier for taking them to work..." and promptly added a new set of luggage, several garlic peeling items, and several cupcake accessories to the registry.

{Sources from left to right, top row: Luggage Set, Garlic Peeler, Garlic Twist, bottom row: Cupcake Courier, Mini Muffin (Cupcake!) Pan, Regular Muffin (Cupcake!) Pan}

And then when I showed Mr. C how our registry was coming along, to see if he wanted to add or delete anything, he insisted that we must register for a new "grilled cheese pan." Grilled cheese sandwiches are his specialty, and our old pan from college was pretty warped, so I added a new one to the registry.
{Source: Revere Polished Aluminum 11-Inch Nonstick Square Frying Pan}

From here it just started going downhill into boring old conventional registry-land. I was in the cookware section now, and in no time a Rachael Ray 10-Piece Cook Set, 6-Quart Programmable Slow Cooker, Magic Bullet Deluxe, and quite a few other random kitchen gadgets were added.

Around this time is when I discovered the Universal Registry, which allows you to add anything from any website to your Amazon registry, so it's all in one place for your guests. It was all over then! I was bit by the registering bug and added new bedding from Linens and Things (click the description link on these for the photo source).

Adirondack bench, coffee table, 2 chairs with ottomans and 2 side tables, from Adirondack Chair Showroom, 'cause I would love some nice outdoor furniture:

then I had to go and decide that maybe the hand-me-down, not-so-pretty stoneware plates we've had for 10 years needed to be upgraded, so I registered for this lovely set of dishes, along with matching platters and salt and pepper shakers, by Pfaltzgraff:

Which only led to me thinking that since we don't have a dining room table, maybe we needed one to put these pretty new dishes on. So I hit up Ikea and added an expandable table, 6 matching chairs, and a sideboard.

Altogether we have 46 items on our Amazon registry, or a little over $3,000 worth of stuff. That's about $30 per person for our 100 person guest list, so I'm guessing that's about right, combined with our honeymoon registry. But do we really care if we get any, or all of this stuff? Not really! Shopping online for everything was fun for me, and now we have a list of stuff already researched and flagged for whenever we might want to buy this stuff for ourselves.

So all in all, this is one wedding blogger who found the registering process nothing but fun and easy! No guilt because, well, if people don't want to get us something we registered for, they won't, no big deal. It wasn't hard to pick things because I'm an online shopping addict. And we never went to a store, so we didn't have to deal with any of that drama either.

How did registering turn out for you? And do you enjoy adding/deleting/playing with your registry over the months leading up to your wedding as much as I do? :)

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Rehearsal Dinner Centerpieces

Since we're tackling all the wedding day flowers ourselves, I didn't want to have to add the rehearsal dinner centerpieces into the mix; we would be busy enough arranging flowers as it was. So even though I just know David Tutera* will be shaking his head in disappointment at me, I decided to pre-arrange the centerpieces using silk flowers. (*he tends to mock the use of silk flowers in weddings on his show)

I already accounted for the cost of the blue LED lanterns that I bought from Luna Bazaar in my post about decorating our rehearsal dinner location, like this mock up I designed:

But I still had to buy the silk flowers, which I got from Save On Crafts. The quality of the fake gardenias at Michaels just wasn't that great (i.e. they really looked fake), but I was quite happy with these that I ended up getting online. They are actually supposed to be used for unity candles, and are a mix of gardenia, stephanotis and leaves. These were $4.19 each before shipping, and I ordered 12, two for each table (actually, I'm thinking we'll only need 5 tables at the RD, but made an extra, just in case).

Then it was time to construct the centerpieces. As a base, I used the laser cutter to make 9" circles out of cardboard (the LED lanterns are 5" wide at the base, and I needed 2" of overhang around the lanterns for the flowers).

I then cut the silk flower rings in half, using 4 halves (or 2 rings) for each cardboard circle, and hot glued them to the cardboard.

Putting the LED lantern in the middle, between the silk flowers, it looked pretty good, unless you were sitting down, looking at it lower and from the side.....

As you can see in the picture directly above, from the side the cardboard is still visible, because of the way the silk flower stems curve up. Boo! This was definitely not something that I could live with, so I searched through my random craft supplies and came up with a green sharpie marker and old ceramic mosaic tiles in blue and white to save the day. The green sharpie would make the cardboard blend in with the flower stems, and the mini tiles could be used to make a short planter of sorts once they were glued to the side of the cardboard circle, covering the stems and edge of the cardboard!

Good save! These looked much cleaner from the side after the addition of the faux tile planters!

I had just enough tiles on hand to make 3 with alternating blue and white tiles, and 3 with all white tiles. And Hailey, one of my fur babies, helped!

Have you done anything ahead of time using silk flowers? And were you surprised at how well they turned out, or did you have trouble finding good quality silk flowers, like I did at first?

(all pictures in this post by me)