Monday, February 28, 2011

The Social: Getting our Drink On!

Twelve days until our social and we haven't ordered our alcohol yet! Needless to say I'm starting to have mini anxiety attacks that we'll have to cancel everything because I couldn't get the alcohol.

So today at lunch I walked over to a MLCC to pay for a liquor permit and order the different types of alcohol, only to be told that the permit holder can't drink on the night of the permit, which excludes me since I'm sure I will have more then one. But this is definitely one responsibility that my Mr can take on, as he doesn't drink, ever, and neither does two of his groomsmen. They suggest that someone either then the bride or groom get the permit as we will possibly be busy when they come to inspect, so I might get his groomsman that live two blocks from us to go and sign the permit.

Apparently I have 10 business days to apply before the event which means TODAY! Luckily the MLCC by our house is open until 10pm today.

The type of Sales Permit I need is called a Family Oriented Event and costs $50.

The quantity of liquor that we can order is based on maximum allowable units, which is calculated as the number of adults attending / 5. (We have 375 capacity/5 = 75 units)

One Unit of Liquor =
  • one bottle containing not more than 750 ml of spirits or fortified wine;
  • 24 bottles or cans of beer each containing not more than 355ml;
  • 3000ml of wine or less (3 x1L bottles or 4x750 ml bottles; or
  • 24 bottles or cans of coolers or ciders each containing not more than 355ml.

So my MOH K and I have come up with the following liquor order, hopefully it covers our attendees' preferences:

  1. 120 Bud Lite = 5 Units
  2. 120 Lab Lite = 5 Units
  3. 108 Budweiser = 4.5 Units
  4. 108 MGD = 4.5 Units
  5. 72 Kokanee = 3 Units
  6. 72 Fort Garry Dark = 3 Units
  7. 10 bottles of Absolut Vodka = 10 Units
  8. 15 bottles of Club Whiskey/Rye = 15 Units
  9. 11 bottles of Barcardi Rum = 11 Units
  10. 7 bottles of Beffeater Gin = 7 Units
  11. 3 Raspberry Sour Puss = 3 Units
  12. 14 Yellow Tail Sauv Blan & 2 Yellow Tail Cab Sav 750ml bottles = 4units

The venue is providing us with pop for mix (Coke/Sprite/etc) but this weekend I also plan to pick up Cranberry Juice, Orange Juice, Tonic, and Clamato/Tomato Juice as additional mix for drinks. As well as limes, lemons, Worcestershire and Tabasco Sauce. Socials that I have attended with these extras have always gone over well and make people happy. Hopefully happy enough to buy more drinks!

Expected profit from alcohol sales = $1500 - 3000.

Do you have to go through a similar process in acquiring alcohol for your wedding where you live?

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Confessions: Wedding Nightmares

I am a very calm and rational person in my day to day life. My Mr has made comments through out the years about how I'm not a drama queen or overly emotional like some women (I'm not sure who he's comparing me to but I digress). My job is also a very a highly stressful position, or so people say, as I juggle a lot of responsibilities and have a boss that tends to get moody. Yet I have been told over and over how calm I am by coworkers, employers and associates.

What's my point, you might be asking yourself right now? My point is that although I rarely outwardly exhibit stress through meltdowns (not that it hasn't happened though), the stress and worry still builds up inside me and has to be released somehow.

A lot of times I don't even realise that it is getting bad until its too late. And by too late I mean I get nightmares.

But these aren't the scary monster filled nightmares of my childhood. These are anxiety ridden and panic attack filled dreams where all of my worries come true. I want to cry in my dreams and I can't. I wake with a heavy chest and can't fall back asleep, even if its 3am in the morning. So I just lay there in bed worrying more.

These dreams use to pop up just before a big trip and feature me forgetting my passport or missing my flight. But now our wedding is taking front stage and let me tell you, it sucks! Just before I started working on my save the dates in December I experienced an entire week of these anxiety inducing nightmares.

They almost always end up with the wedding happening but I'm only have a few things organized and its a huge mess. The invitations don't go out. The dress is ruined. The replacement dress is ruined. The groomsmen and my Mr aren't where they are suppose to be. And EVERYONE expects me to fix it.

The wide awake and rational me understands that this isn't what will happen and that if something does go wrong it won't be the end of the world but when ever I'm falling a little behind on my planning or I hit a snag, I'm greeted with these dreams when I fall asleep.

I think the worst part for me is the anxiety it leave me after I wake up and it takes me a few hours to shake. Some days I daydream of cancelling the wedding and eloping so I don't have to deal with them anymore but knowing me I'd start having nightmares of dealing with disappointed family members.

I can't be the only one that feels like this...can I? How do you experience the inevitable stress that comes with planning a wedding? And how do you handle it.

Completely Unrelated to Weddings Side Note: Hyperbole and a Half is the best online comic/humor blog I've read in a long time. Completely addicted...I serious recommend reading it. I've laughed so hard I was crying at my desk a few times!

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Creating our Save the Dates: Step 4 - Putting it all together

Once I had everything printed and cut, my final step, before I could mail them off to friends and family members, was adhering the sticker to the invitation.

This is where the stitching I mentioned in Step 3 comes in.

As the sticker needs to be functional it had to stay on its backing, so I placed one sticker on each invitation and used my sewing machine to stitch it onto the Kraft paper. I used a turquoise thread that I had in the house that matched the text on the invitation quite nicely.

Originally I was going to stitch down the length of either side of the invitation but I didn't like the final product so I opted to stitch a border around the sticker.

I also wasn't sure what type of stitching to do so I ran it through the machine a few times on different settings. I realized quickly that the stitching couldn't be too close together or it would eat through the paper, completely detaching the sticker end from the rest of the invitation.

Here is the end product... (please excuse the bad lighting, I took these pictures after midnight in our dining room while my Mr slept in the other room)...I was very happy how they turned out in the end.

I ended up making just shy of 80 Save the Dates, not enough to send to everyone on our growing guest list but I only wanted to give them to the family and friends that I knew I would be inviting for sure, and wanted them to have enough notice to schedule the date.

I saved some stamps by including them with our annual Christmas cards, hence why I HAD to get them out in December.

The best feed back I received was actually from one of my employers who told me that his wife and sister both thought it was very unique and nice. As I NEVER talk about my wedding plans with him he didn't realize how much a comment like that would mean to me, which made it all the more meaningful. It made my day when he told me.

On a side note, I was surprised how many people haven't actually used the sticker on their calendar yet and just have it on their fridge. In fact there were a few that didn't even know there was a sticker, so in hindsight I probably should have worded it "Use this sticker to Mark Your Calendar" rather than the shortened version of "Mark Your Calendar" but I had thought it was obvious as had my friends that had proofed it.

What are your thoughts? Did your Save the Dates turn out the way you wanted? Were you surprised by any of the feedback?

Creating our Save the Dates: Step 3 - Formatting and Printing

I guess I should take a step back and actually show you my inspiration before I get into the details of how I put it all together. I got a little ahead of myself with the Font selection yesterday.

First, I wanted to use Kraft paper somehow in my save the dates and carry it into my invitations later. When I saw these invitations featured on Style Me Pretty I decided that I need to also try my hand at adding stitching.


I also decided on setting my font to fill the width of the invitation like these save the dates that I had found on 100 Layer Cake.


Now I just had to put it all together and make it work.

I purchased 8.5 x 11 Kraft card stock from Michael's, and to give myself a little more room I opted to split the paper into 3 - 3.6"x8.5" sections in Word, rather then in 4 - 4.25"x5.5" sections.

I searched through Google image results and Save the Date Websites to come up with the wording I wanted and combined a few that I liked, to it ours. I didn't want to go formal as I felt that would clash with the casual wedding we were planning. My Mr thinks its a little silly but I thought it suited us and so we went with this...

I also left space at the bottom of each column so that I could adhere the sticker to each invitation.

*Originally I was going to have the black text white but when I went to print it I realized quickly that that wouldn't work as I don't have white toner, and since I was printing on Kraft paper I couldn't even do the an outline in another color so it would look white. I tried greys and yellows but they didn't show up well, so I settled on black.

After I designed the invitations I needed to put the stickers together. I wanted round stickers for this and my mother was visiting at the time, so she made a visit to Michael's for me. She could only find ONE type of round sticker, the Gartner Chocolate and Ivory Circle Favor Tags.


Luckily they matched well with my Kraft paper but they turned out to be very annoying to format and print as they were on 3.5"x11" strips. The color laser printer wouldn't feed them properly so I had to manual feed them one at a time through my desktop black and white laser printer, which meant I had to forgo colored text as I had originally planned.

Gartner does provide a free template on their website which I downloaded but again they weren't that user friendly.

If I could do it again I would have ordered 8.5x11 sheets of round stickers off one the the online label sites but I procrastinated and wanted them out before Christmas, so I adapted.

I fully expect people to use the sticker on their calendar to mark the date, so I included enough information on the sticker to stand alone and not need the Save the Date for reference. But I was also working with a small space, so I went with this...

Once I printed everything I cut them up with a paper cutter. Unfortunately I didn't space things as perfectly in Word as I had thought so the invitations were all the same width but at least the cuts were even and who's going to take their invitation over to someone else's house and compare?!

I have decided NOT to sweat the small stuff!

Next up...Putting it all together.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Creating our Save the Dates: Step 2 - Finding the Fonts

Once I knew what direction I wanted to go in for the save the dates, my next step was finding the perfect fonts but since I'm trying to stay on a budget I couldn't get carried away. I limited my search to the FREE font sites like & I wanted to have a handwritten look to the invitations so I narrowed my search accordingly.

This is a sample of text from my actual STDs, using the fonts I chose...

{Sketch Rockwell - Bold}

Although the heart over the i's & j's sold me on the Kaileen font, it does have a downside. The 1's and /'s are replaced with little girls making the wedding date and website address awkward to read. Case in point...

So I downloaded a similar font to the Kaileen to substitute the 1's and /'s....I wasn't giving up those hearts!

{Ashley for ONLY the 1's}

After I downloaded the fonts to my desk top I needed to get them installed so that I could use them in Word, where I was creating the STDs.

(I don't have Adobe Illustrator or Photoshop on my computer anymore and didn't want to pay $1000 so I'm making Microsoft Office work for me...I might have to reevaluate come invitation time.)

To install fonts for Microsoft Office use you need to install them in Windows, not the software itself like you would with Adobe. Below is a simple step by step for installing fonts into Windows 7, which is what I have on this computer. It is slightly different for Windows 2000 and I've noted the additional steps. (I've never used Vista so I can't speak to that one)

  1. You will first need to go to your Local Disk Drive (usually the C:)
  2. Inside that folder locate your Windows Folder and click on it
  3. Inside the Windows folder locate the Fonts folder and click on it
  4. In Windows 7 all you need to do is grab and drag the downloaded font that is saved to your desktop into the font folder. It will install by itself. Easy Peesy!
  5. Now if you are in Windows 2000 you will need to go to the File tab in the Font folder and select "Install New Font". A new window will pop up, from there you will use the browse function to locate the fonts saved on your desktop, select all the files you want installed and click OK. All done!
  6. Once you have installed the fonts you can open up any Microsoft Office program and find the font listed in the font drop down list.

Please remember that if you email the document to another computer that hasn't installed the fonts they will be replaced with another of Windows default fonts, such as Ariel. If you just want to send it to the printers or show a friend what you have done I suggest saving the file as a PDF or a JPEG so that the font turns into a picture and doesn't change. If you need to edit it at another computer you should email the font files along with it and install them on that computer...which is what I did when I moved it back and forth from my work and home computers.

I hope this was helpful to someone! Did I miss anything?

Making the Playlist: Stuck Like Glue

I've been procrastinating and haven't called the dance studio that was recommended to me for our dance lessons. I did try contacting two other studios but apparently dance studios don't have office staff nor do they like to return voice messages. So I still don't know what type of dance we will do for our first dance...translation...I don't know what my Mr will be able to handle.

But if we could pull off a Fox Trot or something similarly fast and up beat I would put Sugarland's Stuck Like Glue in the running. One, it makes me smile and feel good. But more importantly, I like how it talks about a relationship that has lasted, even through rough patches, because they love each other.

Granted the music video looks like she is a stalker that kidnapped the one she 'loved' so here's a none video version with the lyrics.

What do you think? Would you consider having your first dance to something more up beat?

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Creating our Save the Dates: Step 1 - Deciding what to do.

**Sorry, I owe you a few posts. I was away for the long weekend and didn't get these done before I left!**

Sometimes I feel out of place as a bride because picking out flowers and my dress aren't that exciting for me. Don't get me wrong, I want to look good but that's about the limit of my interest.
But then mention stationary and I could talk for days. I am completely obsessed with creating a cohesive invitation set for my wedding. Having my Save the Dates, Invitations & Thank yous all match is extremely important to me.

So when December was fast approaching and I had yet to decide on what I would be doing for my Save the Dates I started stressing out. I had anxiety nightmares about my wedding and even started having "writer's block" for my blog as I couldn't think of anything else.

And then it came to me, and all was good in the world again...

I didn't want to do the engagement photo save the date as I had already sent out Christmas cards in 2009 with a professional picture of us, using Shutterfly.

{Personal Image}

I also didn't want to do a calendar. Although I think they are really cute and love a lot of the ideas out there, there are A LOT of them out there and I wanted something a little more unique. But I also wanted something that was practical and would help people remember when our wedding was. So I searched through the websites and images that google gave me and finally found these...


They definitely aren't a new idea, coming from the Winter 2007 Martha Stewart's Wedding magazine but in the three years that I have been following wedding blogs I don't remember seeing them featured. So I was sold.

What do you think of stickers verses mini calendars? Did you even have Save the Dates?

Next Step, finding the right fonts...

Monday, February 14, 2011

The Social: Decorating

As I previously mentioned, MAKING MONEY is the primary objective of the wedding social so there isn't really a lot of room in my tight budget for decorations. I had originally assumed that I would leave it bare bones but the DIY bride in me has not enjoyed this idea from the start.

First I spoke to my mother, who is a very talented artist, and asked her to paint a banner for the entrance with Mr and my names on it. We are going to do it on a large ream of kraft paper...

**Side Note: I come from a small town, that's main industry is a Pulp and Paper Mill so kraft paper is easy to come by and my parents actually already had a roll that they use for their annual pig roast to cover the tables.**

...and she will paint it in our colors of grey, yellow and turquoise. I'm going to visit them this weekend so hopefully she's started it and I can take some pictures, if not you'll just have to wait until I post pictures of the social next month.

Then my Mr and I drove out to visit my BM - K, her husband and son on Saturday, and she suggested wrapping white mini lights around branches for decorations at the doors. Genius! She is going to collect lights from her extended family and I will do the same. And since I'm going to visit my parents this weekend I will be able to get as many branches as I want since their property has over an acre of trees, and my sister's property has even more.

I was think we could to a combination of containers with thick branches and ones with thin branches, like these...

Now I'm trying to think of a few other additions that I can put together very inexpensively or ideally FREE.

I really like the hanging ribbon/streamer look but I can't go out and get material to cut into strips, unless I could manage to not damage it so that I could reuse it for the ribbons in the trees at the wedding ceremony. Otherwise my budget may only have room for dollar store white crepe paper streamers and I'm not sure if that would look too tacky.

I could drape them like this behind the DJ or Prize table....

Or if I could get a ladder high enough that they wouldn't be ripped down by drunken people I could even attempt something like this...although I would need A LOT of streamers to make it look good...

What are your thoughts on cheap/free DIY decorations? Any suggests that would go with what I already mentioned?

Friday, February 11, 2011

A Happy Bride is a Healthy Bride: Improving my Posture

I've never maintained proper posture. I remember my father pulling my shoulders back as I sat in front of the TV Saturday mornings, reminding me to sit up straight but as soon as he walked out of the room, and sometimes even before, I would return to my slouching. I thought it was more 'comfortable'. Why don't I listen!!

And then came puberty. Lets just say that my girls are not light weights. With the combination of bad habits and my reluctance to appear like I'm sticking my chest out, on the believe that this will make my breasts look even bigger, I continue to slouch unconsciously to this date.

My mister has taken on my father's role of reminding me to stand out straight, which tends to be annoying and I return said comments with a snarky one of my own about how he should try hauling these puppies around (referring to my breasts of course!). But he's completely right, I just hate the reminder.

On Tuesday I received the proofs for my professional shoot for work. I had to choose 2 pictures out of 14 proofs. I had remembered to dress appropriately and even touched up my makeup before I had gotten them taken. I thought I had been making an effort to stand up straight and yet this is the type of pose I got to choose from...

{Personal Photo}

It's not my worst slouch but this is definitely NOT how I want to look on my wedding day. I would like to prevent rounded shoulders in my wedding pictures...heck in ANY picture going forward.

Poor posture doesn't just making your shoulders look rounded, but your breast look saggy and stomach seems to stick out more.

After thinking about this Tuesday night, I showed up at the gym on Wednesday morning to be lectured by one of the trainers, that has been away for the last year in Australia, about how I need to stand up straight and have better posture.

Feels like a SIGN to do

So when I got to work on Thursday, I ordered a stability ball from our affiliated fitness supply store and had my assistant pick it up while she was doing errands. I'm now using this as my office chair.


Because of my height, I'm 5'7", I went with the 65cm (medium) sized ball and had it firmly inflated which has less resistance to movement, meaning it rolls more smoothly and present more of a balance challenge.

On top of forcing me to maintain better posture at my desk, I will also be working my core muscles while I maintain balance. So far I'm really enjoying it.

And if nothing else, when I'm getting a little bored staring at my computer screen entering in payables or working on a spread sheet I can take a mini break to bounce up and down on my ball. {Full Disclosure: I'm currently bouncing right now as I listen to music and type this.}

What do you think? Anyone else use a stability ball instead of a chair at their office? Or do you have other suggestions of things I should try to build up my back strength and improve my posture BEFORE the wedding day?

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

The Bridesmaids: Dresses & Shoes

A few months ago when I settled on gray & yellow with turquoise accents for my colors, MOH K helped come up with these inspiration boards for each girls outfits, which I sent out in an email to them so they would have an idea of what they would be wearing.

{source: Unknown - unfortunately I lost all of the links to these pictures as they were stored in a Word document}

The Dresses:

My future MIL is an extremely talented seamstress and I'm very lucky to have her helping me.

{Personal Photo: Bridesmaid dresses in a rough silk that she made for a wedding in 2009}

She is taking these dress pictures and finding similar patterns to make each girl their own dress. She is having a little difficulty grasping the idea of the word INSPIRATION, as she keeps worrying about finding the right grey materials for each dress and whether they would be the right weight. She definitely didn't like MOH K & my cotton fabric pick, as she though it would wrinkle but we where looking for casual...I can wear this dress again...verses the typical bridal fabrics that no matter how convincing you say "This is something I'll wear again" you know it's a lie.

We finally settled on a crepe fabric which we will use the non shiny side of. We purchased the material when I still had 4 bridesmaids but it was on sale and cost me $120.

Details on making the dresses to come in future posts.

The Shoes:

Last spring the idea of finding yellow shoes seemed very easy as they seemed to be in every store window but when we actually started looking for specific shoes we were coming up dry. As the ceremony is going to take place on grass, high heels will not be the best option. Not to mention that the only bridesmaid that wears heels on a regular bases in the 5'10'' MOH K, the 5'3" MOH M and BM K are more of ballet flats and sandals type of girls.

So our search was limited to yellow flats and sandals. Since I planned for them to wear tights, sandals with the thong between the toes was also out. Trips to Mall of America and Las Vegas turned up with nothing.

I was starting to worry that they would have to go with the back up plan of grey or blue shoes with yellow clips.

And then MOH K came through again and sent me the link for, not only are the a lot of yellow flats to pick from but they are all less then $20! So now I'm waiting to hear back from the three of them of what they like so that I can put in an order and save on shipping.


Stay tuned for the BM's accessories...

Monday, February 7, 2011

Looking After the Pennies: Using Reward Miles to Help Your Wedding Budget

I am not the savviest of budget brides, which isn't great when I'm trying to pull off a 200+ guest wedding for less then $15,000.

I don't enter the online draws or visit wedding shows to get great deals and enter their giveaways. I want to be a coupon cutter but I fail miserably. I find a great coupon in a Michael's flyer, stick it in my purse and tell myself that I'll use it for wedding supplies but forget about it until after the due date.

But the one thing that I do make use of are my reward miles. I love reward miles.



I've had an Air Miles card for over 10 years now and was able to redeem the few 100 points that I accumulated grocery shopping on gift cards and a digital camera. But about 3 years ago when I FINALLY got a handle on my consumer debt, that I managed to accumulate while going to university, and could pay my credit cards off monthly I decided to switch my VISA from a basic card to one that allowed me to collect points for airfare. Since then I have redeemed over 100,000 points for plane tickets which only cost me the airport taxes and fees, plus my annual fee for the card.
Translation, I've saved approximately $3000 on airfare.
One of those flights that I purchased was for my Bachelorette Party in NYC this spring! My best friend K also used her points to get her plane ticket. After fees we spent $130/each, whereas the other girls that are going are spending at least $700/round trip.
And after the wedding has been paid for in June, I will be logging on again to use my points to purchase our domestic flights for our honeymoon, as the city we live in doesn't fly direct to New Zealand. Being able to save $1000 on our honeymoon makes collecting reward miles worth it to me!
Additionally we decided to get a American Express for the specific purpose of shopping at Costco. We both feel that we should benefit from spending money and since Costco doesn't take VISA or Master Card (which are the separate cards we have – which both accumulate points. Mine the VISA and his MC collects points for free groceries), we felt it was worth getting an American Express, so I opted for the Air Miles one which helps bump up those points each month.
I still don't collect a lot of Air Miles points, as opposed to my Aeroplan VISA, but I have been able to get enough to purchase a PS3 which I will be putting in my silent auction as one of the grand prize at our social next month.

I would like to include a disclaimer along with my praise of reward miles collecting. If you carry a balance on your credit cards and pay monthly interest it is NOT a good idea to sign up for one of these credit cards as the interest rate is always a few percentage points higher than the basic cards which means what you end up paying for in interest cancels out what you save on airfare and other rewards. In this case I would suggest sticking with the rewards cards that aren't attached to a credit card. You might not accumulate the points as fast but you won't go into debt doing it!
Happy Shopping!!

Friday, February 4, 2011

Just Because...Bridesmaids

Although this isn't relevant to my wedding planning it is wedding related and I love wedding movies so I had to share this trailer for this upcoming movie. I plan of going as soon as it hits theaters!

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Making the Playlist: The Look of Love

I'm starting to realize that my personal music collection tends to be alittle depressing lyrically. Alot of love lost and broken hearts so I will probably need to look else where for appropriate cocktail hour love songs...