Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Just Days Before 'I Do': The Must Have, Dress Saving Emergency Bag

A week before our wedding, I added putting together a “dress cleaning emergency bag” to my to do list.

I had already planned on having a bag with the necessities with me, like makeup and a sweater, but after reading a post on one of my daily blog reads,
Thoughts of the All Consumed Bride, I decided to add some emergency dress cleaning items to my bag. And it’s a good thing I did, because my dress managed to get pretty dirty during our first look, even though I’d had it bustled before we left the hotel to avoid this very issue!

(it's hard to see in this picture, but there was a label on the top of the bag listing the things that needed to be added at the last minute, so I wouldn't forget anything)

When Mr. Cola and I arrived at our venue, about 40 minutes before the ceremony start time, I suggested to my MOH/sister that we go unbustle my dress, to make sure it didn’t need to be ironed or anything before walking down the aisle. If you remember this photo from my alterations
post, I had a hidden bustle that looked sort of like a bubble skirt in the back.

I had decided a few minutes before we rushed out of the hotel after getting ready that I wanted to wear my 2 ½ inch platform flip flops for our first look, saving my feet from extra time in my 4 ½ inch wedding heels. Well, this decision to be 2 inches shorter for our first look, combined with my bustle style that had my train fold up underneath the skirt, meant I was exposing the middle section of my train to the ground. Oops!

Our first look was awesome and amazing (and deserves of a post of its own), and I did try hard to not get my dress dirty. But it happened, and when my sister took out my bustle not long before the ceremony was to start, I was super glad I’d packed my emergency bag full of supplies!

I was swarmed by all 3 of my bridesmaids and my mom, and everyone had the same mission: to get my dress cleaned!

(Ever the faithful blogger, I was trying to get pictures over my shoulder of them cleaning! All I got was cleavage shots though, so I'll spare you all.)

Man, I love these ladies, they were on their hands and knees in their dresses, scrubbing away, and then ironing out the wet spots.

I could do nothing more than stand there, in the incredibly hot bridal suite (more like a closet), trying not to die from the heat, and touch up my makeup while being bumped from behind. Strangely though, it wasn’t a stressful time for me (just really hot), because I immediately came up with another contingency plan; if they couldn’t get it clean, we would just rebustle my dress for the ceremony, no big deal.

(See? Calm and collected, waiting to see if my dress would get cleaned in time.)

The dress did come clean though, and was dried with about 5 minutes to spare. And I was very glad for the chance to show off the long train of my dress at our ceremony!

So now that I shared this little story with you, I thought I’d also share everything that was in my dress-saving emergency bag, which I mostly packed the weekend before our wedding.

The dress cleaning items:

- bottle of club soda

- bottle of water

- lint roller

- washcloth

- paper towels

- tissues
- clothes iron with really good steaming power

- mini sewing kit and safety pins
- tide pen

- Shout cleaning wipes

- chalk (I actually didn’t have this in my bag, because my dress wasn’t white, but I’m adding it to the list for you because I’ve heard it can work well to cover small spots on white dresses)

(and by the way, it was a combo of the club soda and Shout wipes that got my dress cleaned, plus the iron to get it dried)

The rest of the items in my bag:
- my purse (with all the things I normally carry in it like my hairbrush, mints, extra lipstick, etc)

- Clean and Clear oil absorbing sheets (I used these on my face throughout the night, they worked really well for not taking off my air brush makeup, but got rid of a lot of the shininess that would show up in pictures.)

- my full makeup bag

- deodorant & perfume

- chapstick

- cardigan sweater

- aerosol sunscreen (SPF 45, which my
DOC helped me put on just minutes before our ceremony, holding up a sweater to not get any on my dress)
- Band-Aids
- hair scrunchiis and extra bobby pins

- flip flops (well, actually when I arrived at our venue, my wedding shoes were in the bag because I was wearing the flip flops)
- our wedding bands (I didn't want to trust anyone else!)

- granola bars
- cell phone charger

- portfolio (with all driving directions, vendor contact list and contracts, extra copy of the ceremony and vows, marriage license, etc)

- Plus there were a lot of useful things in my bathroom baskets that I could have used if needed, like hairspray, cough drops, nail file, etc.

A small battery powered fan would have been useful too, but I didn't think it would be anywhere near as hot as it ended up being. Our photographers just posted this picture on their Facebook page from a recent wedding they shot, and it cracks me up. I would have totally done the same thing if I'd had a fan handy!

I tried to keep a lot of the items in my bag neatly organized into plastic bags (and also just in case any of the liquid items decided to leak all over).

In conclusion, I highly, highly recommend bringing some dress cleaning items with you on your wedding day. You can never be too careful!

Are you planning on having an emergency bag on hand on your wedding day? What other items would you add?

(unless otherwise noted, all pictures in this post are personal photos, taken by myself, my family or wedding party)

Monday, July 26, 2010

One Last Date With The Laser Cutter

To make our thank you cards!

I've written many times about the other things we made using the laser cutter at Mr. Cola's office, including rubber stamps, our cupcake tower, invitations and escort cards. And with only one wedding project left, I wasn't going to pass up the opportunity to use it a final time!

Also, I was only able to find one "Thank You" paper punch in stores for some reason, but I wanted something a little different than the all caps text with the star/flower shape on top.

So instead I spent an afternoon at Mr. C's office, cutting out the words "thank you" in the font we used on all our other wedding paper products.

I didn't want to buy any more paper, since we still had some left over from other projects, so I used the same wood grain and green paper from LCI Paper, and the lavender paper from Paper and More than we used on our invites. It was easy enough to x-acto a single sheet in half, and use a lighter (aka cheapie bone folder) to fold it in half to make a card.

Pre-wedding, every trip I made to Michaels Crafts I would buy them out of the chocolate and lavender ribbon, so I ended up having enough of that left over to use on these cards as well. I just cut the ribbon to size, and glued the two layers together, and I was ready to assemble!

Which, compared to almost all our other DIY projects, was really easy. Just wrap the ribbon around the front half of the card, gluing it only on the front. Then glue the Thank You wood grain paper on top of that, add a paper flower to a corner, and done!

Well, almost done. I then printed out guest's fauxtobooth pictures on my printer, and made super quick photo upload cards. As you can see below, the reason I didn't glue the ribbon to the inside of the card was because I used it to hold the guest's photo (or one of the teaser pics of Mr. C and I, for older guests who didn't use the fauxtobooth) and the photo upload card inside the thank you card (we only included the photo card if we thought they were someone who might have brought a digital camera). We figured most of our guests would enjoy a photo of themselves looking silly in the fauxtobooth, rather than a photo of us.
(my handwriting sucks, so I'm only gonna show you the inside of a blank card)

I've found that writing the thank yous in batches of about 10 at a time every couple of nights helps with the hand cramping, and we've got about half of them out the door so far. With all this non-wedding-planning time on our hands, I hope to finish the rest within the next week or so.

So there you have it, our last (sniff! sniff!) wedding paper project. I'm so glad we waited until after the wedding to make these, because we sure wouldn't have had time to do much before. We did, however, send guests who sent gifts way in advance their thank you cards before the wedding, but they were plain dollar bin cards.

How soon after (or before!) your wedding do you plan on working on your thank you cards?

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Edible Hibiscus Flowers: The Signature Drink I Wish We'd Had

Now that we discussed how to pee in your wedding dress, lets talk about a minor regret I have about our wedding: we didn't do a signature drink. We just couldn't think of a really special drink, and it got pushed to the wayside for more important projects. But oh, if only we had found out about this sooner in the planning process!

One of my bridesmaids gifted me something amazing a couple of days before our wedding--edible hibiscus flowers from Australia.

These little flowers taste amazing, sort of like candied raspberry rhubarb, and look so cool in the bottom of a drink! Even better, if you put one of the flowers in champagne, along with a little of the syrup, the bubbles in the champagne actually make the flower open up more, for the perfect, edible garnish!

If only I would have found out about these sooner, I would have totally had Wild Hibiscus Champagne waiting on trays as soon as our ceremony ended. You can buy jars with 50 flowers for $35 online here.

The side of the jar also has a bunch of recipes for other cocktails featuring the flowers, which of course I had to try. Luckily I had everything needed for a Wild Hibiscus Daiquiri on hand.

The result? Serious yummage, and one of the most unique garnishes I've ever come across. It kind of reminds me of across between a jellyfish and Seymour from Little Shop of Horrors.
(all pictures in this post are personal photos)

The lime juice clouded the drink a little, so I think for presentation purposes the champagne cocktail was better. But at home I didn't care, this daiquiri was damn good! And I'll admit, I munched several more of the flowers while making it!

Have you come across anything post-wedding that you wish you could have incorporated into your big day? And please tell me someone is going to use these edible hibiscus flowers in your signature cocktail, I want to live vicariously through you!

Sunday, July 18, 2010

How To Pee At Your Party

Alright, time to lay down some wedding day wisdom! Regarding peeing!

I know this is something we’ve all thought about, or will have to think about. How the heck do you use the restroom in a wedding dress? It’s not easy, no matter how you look at it, that’s for sure. Especially if you have a dress with lots of material and poof, like an A-line or ball gown.

After purchasing my dress back in October, I looked on the Weddingbee boards and Googled for advice on how exactly to go about doing this. There was no way I was gonna hold it all night, and the ridonk rumor about bridal diapers wasn’t something I’d ever consider! But I basically found the same advice over and over, to get help from one of your bridesmaids.

Would you like to see a little illustration on the recommended way of peeing in a wedding gown, and the different way I found to work better? Thought so!

(And yeah, even though I’m a pretty dedicated blogger, I didn’t have someone take pictures of me in the bathroom so I could blog about it. You’ll have to make do with my lame line drawings. Apparently I’m pretty good at Photoshop, but not so much when it comes to actually drawing something in Illustrator!)

First, grab your MOH and enter the handicapped stall in the bathroom together.
Facing away from the toilet, have your MOH lift up your dress from behind.

Back toward the toilet, with your MOH standing behind you, squished up next to one side of the toilet.

Sit down, with her holding your dress up over the back of the toilet.

Ok, so I had a lot of problems with this recommended way of relieving yourself. First, I’m not a big fan of doing my business in front of people. We definitely have a “closed door” policy in our house! Plus, holding your dress up above your head could easily pull out your bustle, or potentially mess up your hair if the dress bumps into the back of your head. Not to mention the fact that you’ll have to interrupt the fun that your MOH or bridesmaid is having at your reception, and drag them off the dance floor to attend to your bladder’s needs.

So I thought I’d share the way I peed at my party with you all, because I found it a lot easier to pull off!

First, enter the handicapped stall by yourself.

Approach the toilet, facing the toilet, and pull up the front of your dress.

Take off your panties so they are either only on one leg, or you can take them off altogether.

Straddle the toilet, continuing to hold the front of your dress up. Get rid of all that champagne you’ve been drinking all night! ;)

And….that’s it! SO much easier than the two person alternative, and as a bonus, some alone time. In fact, this was the only time I had to myself our entire wedding day (the bathroom was empty except for me), and I relished the couple of minutes by myself, not having to talk to people!

So tell me, have you given this much though yet? Which way will you be peeing while wearing your wedding dress?

Friday, July 16, 2010


For those of you who read this blog in Google Reader, and can't see my sidebar, I wanted to let you all know that I have a new blog!

The Handcrafted Life will be where I will share my life as a newlywed, and once I've finished my recaps on this blog, I will move entirely over to this new site.

So far I've only got a few posts up, but I hope to start sharing some upcoming projects around our house, with a dash of my attempts to learn to cook, and maybe some travel planning and randomness thrown in. It's actually very refreshing to not write exclusively about weddings!

I hope you'll stop by The Handcrafted Life when you get a chance and subscribe. Leave me a comment with a link to your blog too, since I'm looking for newlywed blogs to add to my reader, and I definitely want to stay in touch with all my wedding blogger friends once your weddings are over too!

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Down To The Wire DIY: Embroidered Veil

As many of you know, veils are freakin' expensive. For just a little piece of tulle! I know when I was dress shopping, and the sales clerks would shove a veil on my head, I would flip out about the $150+ price.

And of course, with all the many crafty projects for our wedding, I thought, "sure, no problem, a DIY veil, easy-peasy!"

Uh, yeah. There's a reason why veils are so expensive. They're HARD to embellish!

If I'd wanted a plain tulle veil it would have been much easier. Or even a ribbon or crystal trimmed one. But oh no, not me, I wanted an embroidered veil!

So. Here's the details on how we made a two layer embroidered fingertip length veil. There are already a lot of great posts out there on the veil construction itself, so I won't touch too much on that, but focus more on the preparation for the embroidering.

And by the way, this final product was about attempt 7 on this project, which is why it only got finished a few days before the wedding. That's because tulle is flimsy and rips easily, so it needs a stabilizer to make it stiff enough to be embroidered; an embroidery ring just didn't work. We ended up using a water soluble stabilizer to stiffen the tulle and washed out the stabilizer after the embroidery was complete.

Start by laying the fabric out and marking the outline of the veil. Spread out the tulle, and using a string held in the center of the fabric and permanent marker, trace around the outline of the veil, so you get an evenly spaced line. Be very careful not to tear the tulle while marking. Mark the outline slightly larger than the finished veil size; the mark will be cut off when finishing the veil.

Cut Ultra Solvy into small pieces and dissolve it in a small amount of water in a baking pan or bowl. We dissolved 18” of Ultra Solvy in about a cup of water. It takes a LOT of stirring to dissolve (as in, like 45 minutes of stirring). If the Ultra Solvy doesn’t dissolve, heat the mixture in the oven to 200 degrees and then stir some more.

Prepare a flat, smooth surface for working with the Solvy. We used plastic sheeting laid out on an old counter.

Spread the Solvy mixture over the area of the veil to be embroidered. My veil was embroidered mainly on the edge, so we spread about 6” of Solvy just inside the outline mark. Let the Solvy dry completely. Gently pull the veil off the work surface. Be very careful when pulling up the tulle or it will rip and you'll have to start over!

Embroider the veil with whatever design you like (or whatever design you can get to look halfway decent on the tulle. Some experimenting is VERY necessary before you start sewing on the actual veil itself!), using an embroidery sewing machine. We borrowed this one from my aunt who helped with my dress alterations. Or you could always embroider it by hand, if you have gobs of time. But I didn't even get to try my finished veil on until the Thursday before the wedding, so I obviously had no extra time for that! Sew only on the areas coated with Solvy.

Trim the outside edge of the veil, cutting off the outline mark you made with the permanent marker. I had a scalloped edge on my veil.

Next, gently wash the Solvy out of the veil by soaking it in water.

We then further embellished my veil by gluing small pearl beads on the embroidery. You could also use sequins or crystals if you wanted some extra bling.

Finally, to complete the veil, gather it at the top using a whipstitch and attach it to a comb or clips. I hated the way combs messed up my hair when trying on veils at bridal salons, so insisted on using clips instead. If you're only planning to wear your veil for part of your wedding day, I recommend experimenting with different combs and clips when you do your hair trial, to find the best option for not messing up your hairstyle when you take the veil off.

And the final product!

I don't have any detailed pictures of me wearing it on our wedding day yet, but I know our pro pictures will be ready soon!

If you're wearing one, did you DIY or buy your veil? And were you shocked when you first learned just how expensive veils really are?

Monday, July 12, 2010

Flavor Of The Month: Love!

Well hi there! And happy Monday, JULY TWELVTH! Yep, that’s right, today is our one month anniversary of getting MARRIED!

And we’re loving it!

So many people have asked us things like “Does it feel different being married?” or “Has anything changed since tying the knot?” And my answer is yes and no.

I’ve written several times about the fact that Mr. Cola is my best friend, how we’ve known each other for 10 years, been dating over 7 years, and have lived together for longer than we’ve dated (we were friends and roommates first). So on one hand, nothing very significant has changed on the home front; we didn’t move in together for the first time, we didn’t get a new house, and we aren’t adjusting to each others quirks. On this end of things, the only thing different was we came home from our honeymoon to a mostly clean house for a change. And it’s managed to stay pretty clean, because I’ve been taking a break from messy DIY projects (although that’s about to change, we need to get on our thank you cards!).

(photo from our webcam fauxtobooth)

But even in our everyday, boring lives, things DO seem a little different. Better. More full of love. It’s hard to explain, really, but sort of like….all the little things Mr. Cola and I do together now, like going grocery shopping or deciding what to do this weekend is….richer. We’ve been partners in life for a very, very long time, but now, it’s an even stronger bond. I didn’t really think much would change after our wedding, and for the most part it hasn’t, but in small and unexpected places, like a glance I’ll get from Mr. C, or him getting me something to drink while he’s up without me even asking, I feel even more loved than ever, and more love for my *husband* than I’d ever thought possible.

Or maybe it’s just the sexy glint off his wedding band that I keep seeing! ;)

All joking aside, we do have some changes coming our way. I’ll have to go through the PITA name change process sooner or later, but so far all I’ve done is change my signature line on my work emails. We’ll get a joint savings account, and make a budget plan for our future goal of buying a house (not an easy goal to reach in the Bay Area!). Together we will set forth to accomplish the goals we’ve been talking about for years, and while I’m sure it won’t be easy, I’m so looking forward to our life, and our future, together. As old married folks! (and I'm also SO looking forward to sharing our wedding day recaps with you very soon!)

(guest photo)

What changes do you think will happen after your wedding, or newlyweds, has much changed? And happy 1 month anniversary to all the other June 12th brides out there!