Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Hotel California

Well technically we're talking about a very specific area of California... but you get the idea. *the true name of the hotel has been omitted for the sake of confidentiality.

All of my bridal timelines say that somewhere around 6 months you should start reserving blocks of rooms for your guests.  I just want to reiterate that we're closer to the 7.5 mark, as some background information as you read.

So I called the hotel that is partnered with our venue (both in terms of discounted rates and a complementary shuttle).  Everything goes along smoothly, and Casey promptly returns my calls. Then disaster strikes.  Okay maybe not a real disaster, but it was a curve ball of epic proportions.

Enter: Long Beach Grand Prix.

Oh yes, the event that causes all true Long Beach citizens a momentary wince of apprehension.  The noise and crowds are just short of legendary, and it literally takes the city a good month or so to prepare.

Why didn't you think of this Future Mrs. H?  Well, friends, simply put, I'm not getting married in Long Beach, how the heck was I to know that this cursed event could ruin my wedding plans from two cities and a bridge over?!?!?

This means quite a few things.  (1) My lovely discounted prices have evaporated.  Casey is a great guy and was able to provide us with a bit of a discount from the rates that the other guests will be using that weekend, but it's the principle that has me waving my fist in the air, crying out to God at the injustice.

Gone With the Wind
Somehow, I get the feeling Scarlett knows what I mean. (The family connection to the movie must have something to do with, but alas, that is a story for another day).

That brings us to (2): they can only hold 15 rooms.  I originally anticipated needing between 25-30.  EEK!  I'm not sure what this really means for guests.  I have looked into other hotels, but there is a similar situation going on in all the surrounding cities.  I guess it really will be first come first serve, and our family members coming from out of town will take precedence.  In my defense, I have warned everyone about the situation. It's really up to them at this point to figure out what they will need to do.

If we switch hotels, which realistically really won't solve many (if any) problems - we also lose the shuttle.  I just hope people realize that this is, in fact, a SITUATION, and one that will need to be handled early.  I'm telling myself not to worry about the people that try and wait until next January... but I am sure I will never hear the end of it.

Monday, August 29, 2011

These Shoes Were Made for Walkin' (down the aisle)

Well friends, I am happy to report that serious shoe efforts were made this weekend.  We ordered 16 more gross of rhinestones... yes, thats right... 16 gross.  Maybe you aren't aware of how many rhinestones that is, let me break down the numbers.

1 gross = 144 pieces

We originally bought 2 different sizes (16ss and 20ss) per color, and 4 colors total: Silk AB, Crystal AB, Tanzanite, Purple Haze... and we got 2 gross per size per color.

Thats 16 gross to start! And we just about ran out (we still have about half of our original amount in the silk and crystal colors (so 1 gross per color - maybe), however, we were completely out of both shades of purple).

So yes, we just got 16 more gross in just the purple.

16 gross = 2304 pieces x 2 = 4,608 stones purchased thus far!!!!!

AND WE'RE NOT EVEN HALFWAY DONE YET! Well, thats a bit of a misconception, the stones have been purchase but not applied, we may have left overs. (cross your fingers).

Anyway, now that you with me on the intensity of the rhinestone situation, would you like to see the shoes version 6.5?

Ta-da! They're really coming along aren't they? *insert wistful sigh here* I cannot, I repeat, CANNOT wait to wear these... the way they sparkle is overwhelmingly beautiful... I wish the pictures did them justice.

Anyhoo - stay tuned for the final result... if you're still with me that long! =) haha


Friday, August 26, 2011

I Know Why the Birdcaged Veil Sings

This post was going to be titled Veiled Animosity, for the sheer fact that this stupid detail has caused me more anxiety then just about anything next to the budget and maybe the bridesmaids dresses.  But this, my darlings, is the story of my quest for the most amazing finishing touch.

When you imagine a bride, of course you think of a poofy white dress, but a bride is not a bride without the veil.  Otherwise what is she really, but a pretty girl in a white dress?

My biggest issue with the veil is that I just can't imagine it on me.  I think subconsciously I always imagined the drama of a cathedral length veil (for those of you that are not currently living and breathing weddings, that means it's really long and drags on the floor.)  But my dress... ah, Caroline how I miss you (yes, I named my dress Caroline, deal with it)... has so much detail that a veil that length would just compete with it.  Add to that my very tall shoes and tendency to fall down and go BOOM, well that just seems to be a recipe for disaster.

I also can't imagine a veil that only goes to the shoulders... it reminds me of the 80s in a bad way, and I LOVE the 80s.  With the hair style I have in mind though, and the earrings I plan on wearing it would just be a whole lot of competition.

This leaves me with one of two veil options: (1) Birdcage; or (2) Waist/Hip/Fingertip -yes, this seems like multiple options, but its essentially the same thing.  I teeter between the two.  It's not easy to pick a veil site unseen, oh and did I mention how frickin expensive these flimsy things are... we're talking anywhere from $20-$2400. No joke, google it.  Can you imagine paying that much and then, god forbid, stepping on it and tearing it. Ugh, it gives me a stomachache just thinking about it!

So here are the remaining possibilities:
Rtisan @ Etsy

VeilsbyMartha @ Etsy
dsbridal @ Etsy

Mariosbridal @ Etsy

I found those contenders on Etsy, and then I found my real inspiration, which as inspiration has a tendency to do, threw me in a whole new direction. 

Vintage Lace Cap with Veil

Isn't it gorgeous?  The issue with this is of course the price, but also, because it's vintage the actual tulle of the veil is discolored, meaning it would have to be replaced.  My idea though, would be a lace skull cap (no not a doily sitting on my head, but a fitted cap similar to what the Jewish men wear) with the birdcage veil across the face.

My research unfortunately did not turn up to many caps of this sort.  That means I have to make one, find one, or move on.  We may be in luck, because my Grandma think that what I am describing sounds like what she wore on her wedding day... and if that's still around it would be incredible. So I have my fingers, toes and eyes, crossed.

I love the idea of the cap with the birdcage because then it will really capture the vintage feel I am going for.  I think I can make a birdcage veil on my own pretty easily.  I found the Russian Netting for only $4, and I have rhinestones from my shoes, so I just went to Joann's and picked up a hair comb and some jewelry string... this should be easy, but I am Megan so I'm sure I'll end up gluing myself to it or something.  Hopefully I create my very own birdcage veil, and then I can focus on finding that cap.  My plan B is to just use the strap from Caroline and turn it into a fascinator, which was actually part of the informal plan anyways...

However if this idea goes down in flames like my favor idea did the other day, I may just find a veil similar to picture 2 of the waist length above... who knows. I spent about 6 hours the other night trying to figure out what I want, and then couldn't sleep because I was about 5 minutes away from buying the horribly overpriced skull cap... arg.  This truly is a stressful process, and not because anyone else is pressuring me, I just want so badly for all the details to come together and to create that perfect look.  Yes, I'll admit to keeping it a secret, this insane desire to make my little girl dream come true.

Alright, since you asked, I will tell you my secret dream:

I want to be a beautiful bride, and I want my groom to lose his breath and tear up when he sees me for the first time in fully bridal regalia... I want my dreams to come together and each little piece brings me that much closer to it.  It's just such a ridiculous process, I mean I'm 7.5 months away and I feel like if I don't get this veil situation figured out ASAP all my carefully erected pieces will fall down. Like Jenga, but not as fun.

So there you have it, my plan and my fears.  Hopefully my DIY adventures go well this weekend.  I don't know if my sanity, or my bank account, can handle anymore game changers...

Wish me luck friends, I could use some help from the DIY gods over the next few days....

Cue music please... here I go again, on my own... (I figured they always have music in the movies when the protagonist is about to embark on an epic journey, seems fitting I would get some too!) After all, aren't I the star of this whole fiasco?

Favored, or... How Goldilocks' Bears Became Homeless.

I was sitting at my desk, pretending to be busily working away... (as usual) when it hit me.  We're talking mack truck slams into me and I am now Pancake Megan, hits me.  Chocolate. Covered. GummyBears (one word, because now I am excited and there's no time to waste breathing).

These little guys played a bit of a roll in the good 'ol courtship of the soon to be Mr and Mrs.  There was even a point when the store was closing and they were on sale about a dollar a bag... ahh memories.

Anyway, back to reality... Wedding Favors are a pain in the ass. There, I said it, please don't hate me.  I think there are two kinds of brides when it comes to this.  You're either really excited about finding that perfect little something for your guests to fondly remember the perfection that was your wedding, or you realize that it's (insert expletive here) expensive, you're already over budget and have spent ever last creative cell in your body on what kind of buttons the groomsmen need... if you are a B Bride, in this scenario, then the last thing you care about is thinking about a gift for your guests, who will never all be satisfied and/or will forget it.

I float somewhere in the middle, but am much more of a B then an A (probably for the first time in my life!).  I'm sorry, I can't help it and I really don't feel all that guilty about it.  However, since my brilliant idea of a week ago, I realize that I can make this fun and budget friendly.

Most wedding favors run at least a couple of bucks a person (once packaging is factored in).  This is where Bulk shopping comes into play... or in my case bulk buying squared.  Usually you only get a small number of your favors per package, but if I split up packs of the gummies.... well each bag is 8-12 people... and each bag is less then the cost of what it would take for 3 people for any other favor I looked into... are you seeing the magic here?  Drool worthy, adorable little bears at a budget friendly price.  And it's edible, which usually scores high with almost all party guests.

Okay, now that we're on the same page... here comes the crowning glory of my plan (or so I think at the time, but just go with it, I am on my soapbox already and you can't stop me now! - or did the phrase go, it's my party and I can cry if I want to? but I digress...) Baby Food Jars.

 The perfect sized mason jar (the heavily favored packaging of choice for 90% of DIY brides).  Plus, mason jars would add just the perfect touch of the vintage elegance we're going for.

I imagined something like this, but with lace instead of fabric, and no labels.

I thought I was a genius, I know people with babies, can't they just wash out the jars and hand 'em over... I mean it's not like they have hundreds of chocolate covered gummies that need homes... which means that the packaging would be pennies.

Here is where my lovely bird of an idea crashes and burns.  Epic flames.  (1) All the babies I know are onto real food. jerks. (2) Those still on the good stuff only use the plastic containers.  tree hugging hippies. Arg.  So then I did a little research... I thought I found a great solution:

Meet the hex jar.  No logo on lid, super cute, perfect size, good price... then when you calculate the shipping for 140+ of these bad boys, and after you pick yourself up on the floor while rubbing your head from where it smacked the table on your way down, you start to notice all your carefully thought out scheming has left you back where you started.  Solidly in the B category. sonofamonkey.  

Now what to do?  Do you give up on you moment of brillancy and look for yet another alternative? or do you just get more creative.  Seems I am firmly on B's boat yet again.  After so many months of having no idea what I wanted to do, I can't abandon my little chocolate friends to a perpetual state of homelessness. I must find them a suitable home, so that my guests can happily eat them one by one -without the dreaded melty chocolate hands- yes, I must do this.  Both for the happiness of my guests, and for the sake of my sanity.

So.  Here we are... Time to be brilliant again.  I think I'm ready for another moment of glory.  Just waiting on that mack truck to show me the light...

Friday, August 19, 2011

Lighting a Fire

Man, did I light a fire under my butt or what? (that rhymes, hee hee).  Since my now notorious post (I suppose referring to a specific post 3 different times is enough to make it notorious) regarding our Hydra of a To-Do list, I have crossed off almost half of it! The biggest items (which have brought the most relief) are the muscian, dj and the BM dresses.  I talked all about the dresses yesterday, so let me share our musical entertainment.

For the cocktail/dinner hours, we wanted someone who could class the place up a little. =)  With our venue being as romantic and magical as it is, we wanted to set that romantic mood.  We tossed around quite a few possibilities, and thought we had found some great options, that is, until we saw how much it was going to cost us to have a jazz trio place for 1.5 - 2 hours. HOLY CANNOLI! Okay, back to the drawing board.

We used a combo of recommendations and the website Gig Masters, which I have to say really makes things convenient.  We were able to bid out what we needed, down to the location and exact times, so that our musicians could give us as detailed an estimate as possible.

I suppose I could bore you with all the tedious trial and error, I know I love to be detailed, but in an effort to cut to the chase, here are the winners:

Cocktail/Dinner Entertainment -
Gary Gould and the Saxophone PLUS (we will just be utilizing the saxophone)

First, take a second or two to meet Gary...

We spent hours watching his youtube videos, I think 3 months after finding him, no one ever impressed us as much as he did.  (or perhaps we were just inspired by The Sexy Sax Man).  Gary is obviously talented, but also really nice and funny.  He's just the kind of person that we can place our trust is, knowing that the result will be exactly what we want.

After finding Gary, it was important that "Party" time be just as special.  Just like we needed Gary to set the mood, we needed our DJ to be able to do the same and really get the dancing portion of our evening started. Since we were splitting our budget between two different entertainers, price was really important.  We didn't need all the bells and whistles so many DJ services try and offer, it would ruin the mood of the venue itself with too many flashing lights or fog machines.  We turned back to Gig Masters, and found DJ Mike.

-DJ Extraordinare
DJ Mike Gonzo

While DJ Mike's video isn't on youtube, he does have a promo video on GigMasters (click here).

He responded to us within an hour of both our initial estimate request, and our follow-up questions (with reassurance and humor!) He's just as professional and fun as Gary, without being arrogant or overblown.  (DJs are intense!)

We are so excited about both of our choices, and can't wait for you to all meet them too!


Thursday, August 18, 2011

Saying YES to the Bridesmaids Dress

And what a mission this was.  I went back and forth between so many dresses.  The first real contender was in the right price range, but wasn't really "vintage," plus my grandma hated it and a BM hated that it had pockets. Enough drama there to have me moving on.

Then I found the perfect dress.  The color was amazing.  The back was sexy in an elegant way, it was simply but it had a flower detail that matched my dress.  It was way over budget, okay so that was out.

Then, my darling MOH found this little number (sorry the pictures are C*&^):

Photos Courtesy of Lightinthebox.com

 in this Color - "Regency" 
Finally! Something flirty and fun, with that vintage edge.  I can just imagine the twirling that will be going on at the reception.  The length is perfect, the cut is flattering, the chiffon gives the dress the touch of romance that I really want for our day (and it's perfect for Spring and the Garden reception), AND its less then what my BMs gave me as a budget.  So win win win, win win.

So far 3 out of 6 BMs approve... thats a majority in my mind. =) Hopefully there aren't any major hiccups and I can put this item of my to-do list behind me!


Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Busy as a Beav....err Bride?

Since sitting down over the weekend and compiling the dreaded to-do list, I have knocked out quite a few little items.  Let's review shall we?

1. Finish stoning shoes. [go to downtown]: Sat down with Mom and a glass of wine, worked until we literally ran out of stones; now to go buy more!
2. Buy Will's shoes - stone. He has selected the ones he wants, now to buy them!
3. Finalize Menu.
4. Finalize Cake details w/ Jenny. -email sent, awaiting updated estimate
5. Call Gary Gould back, figure out deposit situation and nail down details. -called, emails exchanges, awaiting contract.
6. Find a DJ.
7. Order STDs and Invites.
8. Finalize Guest List so that I can do #7.
9. Bridal Party clothes... find dress similar to inspiration but for less; select GM and GL outfits; talk to Jen about FG dresses -Can we make these?
10. Work on Brooch Bouquet (figure out how to handle bouts. and BM bouquets). -Almost halfway done with the Brooches we have in hand (45 out of 76) The wired brooches are currently suspended off our living room wall, and we have about 50 more brooches coming in the next few weeks a-la-ebay!
11. Get veil. -have begun the search
12. Are we adding things to Centerpieces? Figure out what if any.
13. Start collecting Generations of Love pictures, get them framed.
14. Start planning for Bar - design menu.
15. Engagement pictures, is this still happening?
16. Finalize wedding registry.
17. Honeymoon - get the ball rolling.
18. Nail down main ceremony details; start drafting program.
19. Flower girl baskets.
20. Ceremony music, how am I split this up?
21. Flowers - how much of any am I going to incorporate, and what? [candles in Church?]
22. Trip to downtown w/ Tess to get necklace stuff.
23. BM gifts - Ashley -main piece ordered. =)

Okay so thats 7 things that are in process.  Not too shabby right?  I also ordered a few things from VP with my nifty "free" coupons, so I can finish up the Photosharing cards in a few weeks (not even an item on the list, see how this thing multiplies like a Hydra?) I also have a wine date with my MOH for Friday and we'll work on something then too... probably the bridal party attire...

See, look at me go! Motivated and ready for action. =) Aren't  you proud of me too?

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Brooch Bouquet... Officially Official.

Ever since seeing one in US I have wanted to do this, once I investigated I realized that this is becoming more and more popular.  Also its a) time consuming b) not cheap c) time consuming.   I was hesitant to take this one, knowing the other projects I also wanted to do, however, I wasn't thinking about my super crafty amazing fiance.

This is a project right up his alley, it involves scouring for old things (aka playing american pickers), it lets him make something with his hands, it's tedious and, when it's done, it will be a show stopper.  He's been the biggest supporter of this idea, and he might be more excited about it then I am.  Because this is a labor of love, and adds to the budget a bit there will have to be some sacrifices, but I think, since this will become an heirloom, that it will be worth it.

So far after our first day of hunting we found about 79 pieces.  We lucked out with a bunch of amazing earrings which really buffed up that number. We spent a large part of the afternoon on Vintage Row on 4th street, but the real winner was an antique shop named Grandma's Darlings.  That place is insane, Will and I literally got lost.  We were separated, and couldn't find each other, and then I had to grab a manager to grab pieces for us, and couldn't remember where we were suppose to go.  The owners loved us so much they ended up discounting one of the more expensive pieces and then let us pick out of their personal collection and donated it!

Knowing that we hand picked every single piece is such a feeling.  The experience and memories of this process makes me break out into goosebumps.  This really is something that I get to have for the rest of my life.  I can't wait for our future children to hear about this story.

Since we have all our big pieces now we really need some filler pieces, which is where Ebay comes into play.  They say that you need between 60-80 for the bride's bouquet, and Will and I think about 3-4 per bout. (and come to think of it the moms should probably have some as well...)  This is where we are stuck.  Do the BMs and GM/L get full ones, or do we mix the flowers and the brooches, and how much more $$ is it either way?  I think the families should have a mix. Which means our 79, while impressive... isn't going to cut it.  Luckily ebay has huge lots of costume/vintage jewelry so even though there are 50+ pieces, and you maybe only like 4 or 5... you only pay $5 for the lot, and you can't see everything in the pictures so maybe there are hidden gems.  There's ways to make this work, we just need to determine our level of commitment to this.

Anyhoo, enough ranting, ready for some pictures?!?!?
The Loot... impressive right?

Blacks and Greens

White and Rainbows/Cameos

Purples (sadly lacking) and Blues


Metals: Silvers and Golds
Yellows, Oranges and Red
Will's Bout.


T - 8 months, and counting!

Can you believe it!! I feel like I was just creating all of my countdown pictures a week ago.  This last month flew by.  I'm not sure if I am more excited or shocked.  When we planned on an April 2012 wedding... back in November of 2010, it felt like it was NEVER going to get here.  I have been gathering ideas and planning since day 1, and when just a week ago I would have said I'm on top of everything I'm so far ahead, now I'm having wedding dreams where things aren't finished and I keep finding myself listing all of things that need to be done in my head.  Funny how things can change so quickly.

In an effort to best find my sanity, I thought I would compile a list of the things that are still hanging over my head, and the things that were taken care of in the last month.  Hopefully when I see how much was accomplished I won't be so stressed out about everything left over!!! (Here's to hoping).  Alright, Father of the Bride is on the TV, Scooty is purring in my lap, and a big cup of coffee is in hand err... sitting beside me.

Projects & Items Tackled in the Last Month:
-Finished Pre-Marriage Counseling with the Church (attended two meetings with the Sorias, and learned so! much about communication, avoiding misunderstandings, recognizing and appreciating personality differences (THE 5 LOVE LANGUAGES -invaluable), learning about "precious moments" and how to hold on to those mid-argument, and a plethora of other great tips).

-Tears of Joy Packets -DONE! BM Sarah came over one afternoon and we knocked these (and our heads) out.  After a few mishaps, it was a pretty fun and easy project, nothing a little Dirty Dancing on the TV didn't speed along.

-BM Bags -All but finished... I need to work on Ashley's, and gather her goodies, since we upped our Bridal Party (an unplanned by happy event!)

-Cake! Tasting done, flavors selected.  Need to finalize the tiers and nail down deposits with Jenny.

-Brooch compiling commenced! Project Brooch bouquet has begun (I think Will is more excited then I am hee hee).

-Selected something Blue. Very excited about this.

-Initial call to Gary Gould, need to call him back though!

Gosh, I thought there was more. Argh.  Well, I did visit the site with Aunt Nancy, Gma, Aunt J and Mom.  We found out that the ceremony space is being revamped and now it can be the dance floor (best discovery).

Okay, now for the much scarier To-Do List (no particular order):
1. Finish stoning shoes. [go to downtown]
2. Buy Will's shoes - stone.
3. Finalize Menu.
4. Finalize Cake details w/ Jenny.
5. Call Gary Gould back, figure out deposit situation and nail down details.
6. Find a DJ.
7. Order STDs and Invites.
8. Finalize Guest List so that I can do #7.
9. Bridal Party clothes... find dress similar to inspiration but for less; select GM and GL outfits; talk to Jen about FG dresses -Can we make these?
10. Work on Brooch Bouquet (figure out how to handle bouts. and BM bouquets).
11. Get veil.
12. Are we adding things to Centerpieces? Figure out what if any.
13. Start collecting Generations of Love pictures, get them framed.
14. Start planning for Bar - design menu.
15. Engagement pictures, is this still happening?
16. Finalize wedding registry.
17. Honeymoon - get the ball rolling.
18. Nail down main ceremony details; start drafting program.
19. Flower girl baskets.
20. Ceremony music, how am I split this up?
21. Flowers - how much of any am I going to incorporate, and what? [candles in Church?]
22. Trip to downtown w/ Tess to get necklace stuff.
23. BM gifts - Ashley

Alright, that's all I can think of off the top of my head, and I refuse to look for more things to add to that crazy list! I had about 6 things on the accomplished list and 23 on the to-do list.  Holy Cow! The most stressful thing is that just about all of these are going to also mean $$$. Ugh. Okay, no more of this, the excitement has officially been beaten down by the stress, and I need to go re-find it so time to think on the Brooch Bouquet...

Until Next Month..........