Friday, March 25, 2011

Creating our Favors: Step 2 - Personalizing

On the weekend of our social, my parents stayed with us. The Sunday night I was in the dining room creating my expenses spreadsheet from the night before and my mother sat down to start on a project we had come up with on one of her previous visits.

Embroidering my Mr and my initials on the fabric squares for the favours.

She wasn't impressed with my impromptu photo shoot but I need to document theses things...right?!

I had printed off cross stitch patterns for our first initials, a heart and our wedding date but my mother sketched a few options and came up with this...

Originally we thought we could stick the lid over the fabric so that it would stay on properly, like above, but found that we would have to add padding under the fabric for the entire pattern to show up clearly.
We then tried the fabric over the lid and it seems to work a lot better. (I used an elastic under the raffia ribbon to hold the fabric in place better)

As for the stitching, we decided to just do a straight stitch on everything except the heart as we have approximately 200 of these puppies to do and it will go a lot faster.

After my mother completed the first one, she traced it on tissue paper and made a few copies as there is no way I can get these done by my self in the three months that I have left!

We decided to divide the project up into sets of 50's. My mother, sister, an awesome coworker of mine and I will each take one of the four colors and set to work.
I ended up with the dark blue material. Small problem...its too dark to see through, even over a bright light, making it near impossible to trace so I've been left free handing it...

As you can see the initials, heart and date came out okay but I had a really hard time free hand stitching the 'Spread the Love', especially getting it to curve. I've decided that I am going to do all of the hearts first, then the initials & date, and when that is done I figure I will have thought of a way to transfer the outline of 'Spread the Love' onto the pattern so I can stitch it properly.
I'm currently thinking a white pen or tailor's chalk may be the way to go. Suggestions?

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Creating our Favors: Step 1 - Canning and Cutting

When it came to deciding what we would do for wedding favors, I knew what I did & didn't want.
  1. I didn't want to spend a lot of money
  2. I wanted them to be made with love
  3. I didn't want to buy something that would end up being a 'knick-knack' at the back of someones shelf
  4. I wanted it to be enjoyed and used.

So I chose to go the popular homemade jam route. My Mr is a huge fan of jam so if nothing else the left overs will go to good use. One of the main reasons I chose jam verses other food options, like honey, BBQ sauce (which based on my menu, was a strong contender) or baked goods, was that my mother has a large garden and makes her own jam every year - which meant I wasn't stepping too far out of our comfort zone and taking on a difficult DIY project.

When I told my mother last summer what I had planned, she jumped in and made all of the jam with the help of my sister and one of my aunts that was visiting her at the time. I live 6 hours away from them so they did this on their own, much thanks from me as I really don't know how to make jam!

A few months ago my mother brought down the finish jams, mainly raspberry & blueberry but she also threw in a batch of carrot marmalade with cherries. I need approximately 180 so she still has a few batches left to go.

While they were working on making the jam, I had made a trip to Fabricland with MOH K and found an amazing deal on material I plan to use for table runners. My FMIL wanted to help so I asked her to cut the material in appropriate lengths for the runners and then use the left over material to make squares to go over the jam lids.

As I didn't have the jars yet from my mother we based the size on a larger jar that had an approximately same size lids. (Granted I never bothered to actually consult my mother before doing this.)

Once my FMIL and I agreed that the size of the square looked good, she went about cutting out 200 squares. Only to finally get the jars from my mother and realize that the squares may be a little too big!

Luckily they were too BIG and not too SMALL because it was just a matter of trimming an inch of the width and length.

When my FMIL came over and saw my sample trimming job she took all 200 squares back and finished the trimming before I got a chance to do it. (Have you noticed yet in my posts that she likes to do this!? Oh well, again saved me time!)
Were you ever overly zealous to start a project only to find out that you need did it wrong and had to take a step back to fix it? Like mine, did it work out in the end or did you have to toss it and start over?
Next up: Personalizing the favors!

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Putting together My Look: The Dress

Last night my FMIL and I went to visit her SIL's SIL Stephie...if that isn't confusing! Back in the 70's Stephie had made my FMIL's wedding dress, so even though she's great seamstress she wanted Stephie's opinion on how she was going to raise the hemline of my dress.

As I've previously posted, my sister has generously lent me her wedding dress but she is about 4" shorter then me so the dress doesn't sit the same on me and I also don't want people to know right off the hop that it is her dress. I want it to look uniquely mine. BUT I don't want to permanently alter it in case others want to use it in the future.

My FMIL is going to raise the hemline to the mid calf length in the front like I want but can't cut it so she wanted someone that worked in the bridal gown industry for 40years opinion.

This is what the dress looks like with the hem as it is... (please note that the back is not completely laced up as it take along time so it would normally look a lot more form fitting)

....notice my blue shoes peeping out....

And this is approximately how high we plan to raise the front, the back will stay as is...

She will also be adding layers of crinoline under the skirt to make it fuller and not just drape against my body. First step is the hem though!

What do you think so far? I will keep you up dated on the progress!

On a side note I had my Ukranian FMIL and her no-nonsense Polish SIL's SIL talk matter of factly about how I had put ON weight since the last time I tried on the dress and when I said that I will probably lose the weight before the wedding I swear I heard crickets chirping at the silence that I was greeted with. Ughhh. Seriously! Why did I become the bride to be that gains weight?! Isn't wedding planning suppose to either stress you out until you are a tooth pick or at least motivate you to stay on a diet and exercise obsessively? I had a burger for dinner! I really need to give my butt a good kick!

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

The Bridesmaids: Changing Colors

I showed you our bridesmaid inspiration boards, which included grey dresses and yellow shoes, and I had mentioned that the search for yellow flats were causing some headaches but the website seemed to be the light at the end of the tunnel...except it wasn't. The shoes the girls liked didn't come in their sizes or weren't exactly what we were looking for, so the search continued.

Now that the spring line of clothing and shoes are out yellow doesn't seem to be as popular as last year but coral/peach is very "IN" right now and it just so happens to be one of the colors I'm using as accents in the wedding. So MOH K and I went shoe and cardigan shopping on Saturday for the three bridesmaids and came home with these combos from Spring & Cleo for each girl, we opted for the same color but different designs for each girl - the shoes are a lighter coral then the sweaters but paired with the grey dresses and turquoise necklaces I think they will look great....

For my sister, MOH M...

{Tab Pocket Cardigan in "Poppy" from Cleo}


{Windhoek flats in "Peach" from Spring}

For MOH K...

{Elbow Sleeve Shrug in "Poppy" from Cleo}


{Jovel flats in "Peach" from Spring}

For BM K
Now that we have that out of the way we need to focus on finding dress patterns that are similar to the dresses chosen on the inspiration boards or something completely different, so my MIL can get started sewing them!
What do you think of the switch from yellow to coral? Did you find your color scheme evolve as the planning proceeded?

Monday, March 21, 2011

DIY - MIL style: Dressing up the Servers

As I've previously mentioned I plan to serve my reception dinner "family style" but to do that I need servers as our caterer doesn't have enough staff to serve for 150+ guests.

And my MOH K comes to the rescue again and lined up 4 of her coworker friends to help, and in lieu of payment they would get to eat dinner after they finish serving and stay for free alcohol and dancing. Pretty great deal from where I'm standing.

As the wedding has a more casual feel to it, traditional black and white serving attire seems a little stuffy but at the same time I think there should be some sort of consistency through the servers' attire. Currently we are thinking black dresses, as they are basic and everyone has one in their closest or can borrow one, and over top of the dress they will where half aprons that I made.

In the fall, MOH K and I went with my future MIL to a fabric store to purchase the material for the bridesmaid dresses. While we were there we found a nice cream eyelet material on clearance that would be perfect for the aprons. My MIL insisted on taking it home with her as she had a cutting table and could prep the material for the patterns.

Unfortunately she doesn't always listen to me or perhaps chose to ignore the fact that I had PERSONALLY wanted to tackle this project, so when I got the material back from her the aprons were done! She did an absolutely beautiful job but that wasn't really the point, was it? Anyways I am gratefully that she wants to help out and by her tackling this project I have more time to do other wedding related things, so I am going to forget the part of her not listening to me.

Here is an example of the aprons that the servers will where...

I am thinking of personalizing the aprons by buying embroidered letters to adhere their initials on the pocket but I won't do that until we are closer to the date and I have confirmed the names of the servers as, we found out that the Rihanna concert is the same night as my wedding and 3 of the girls that volunteered to server have tickets for the show. So MOH K is looking for other friends to step in, some who are guys so we may have to alter some of these aprons slightly for them.

What do you think of the aprons? Suggestions for what the guys could where?

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Rethinking our honeymoon

A few months ago if you were to ask me where we were going on our honeymoon I would have told you we would be going for a few weeks to the North island of New Zealand but then a few things happened...

  1. The 6.3 magnitude earthquake in Christchurch New Zealand, followed by the earthquakes in Japan. - Not exactly inspiring confidence in my worrisome fiancee

  2. The 12 hour flight still wasn't sitting well with previously mentioned worrisome fiancee

  3. The most important point...because lets face it, I could change my Mr's mind if I was dead set on going to New Zealand...we want to start trying to have a baby this fall and I don't know if you have heard but they aren't cheap! Especially since we need to add an addition to our house to fit one in! So I can't justify saving money on a wedding just to blow it on a trip...all be it a beautiful one.

Since we have decided to put New Zealand on the back burner for now, we have to come up with a new location. To save money and to cut down on travel time I am focusing my search to Canadian spots.

I love the east coast and my Mr has never been but I think the west coast is more what we are looking for...its the closest to the new and wild New Zealand landscapes we will find in Canada...specifically Vancouver island in British Columbia.

I've started researching the different resorts and I am currently in love with the Pacific Sands Beach Resort in Tofino. It is a little pricey but if we stay there for three nights and travel the rest of the island for the other 3 nights it would be very affordable.

{Ocean view from Suite via Pacific Sands resort}

{Birds eye view of the resort and beach}

While we are there some of the activities that we can do are....

{Whale Watching with West Coast Aquatic Safaris}


{visit the Pacific Rim National Park Reserve}

Or maybe get enough nerve to try zip lining...although if you watched the first episode of the TV show Off the Map, I don't know....

WestCoast Wild Adventures Zipline from Cyclops on Vimeo.

When it came to planning your honeymoon did you need to do a 180 degree turn and switch your plans because of financial or other reasons? Where are you going?

Saturday, March 19, 2011

The Social: Saying Thank You

Saying thank you when you receive gifts at a shower or wedding is well known etiquette, but what about thanking people associated with a wedding social? Being a Manitoba-centric event you definitely aren't bombarded with etiquette tips on the Internet, so I decided to follow Emily Post's rule for when to send a thank you note...

It is near impossible to hand write thank you notes to everyone that purchased a ticket to our social and purchased silent auction/drink tickets, mostly because I don't actually KNOW everyone that did, since friends brought their friends. So for those wonderful people that chose to come out and support us we said thank you in person to as many as we could, as well as during the silent auction draw at midnight, and on facebook for anyone that knows me.

But taking the time to hand write a note to our friends and family that donated prizes to us, donations that came out of their own pockets, was definitely doable. So just before the social weekend I went to Michael's and purchased blank cards, a Martha Stewart doily punch and a Thank You stamp with a blue ink pad.

This week I went about making my first set of homemade thank you cards. I plan to do something similar for my shower gifts...although I have to think of a different design for the 20 people that received the social thanks yous!

{Personal Pictures}

I need to work on my stamping technique though. I had a few that weren't fully inked and some that bleed a bit on the paper. Any suggestions?

Friday, March 18, 2011

Adding to our Budget: The Bachelor Party/Trip

As I've mentioned in the past my Mr does not drink, so the typical Bachelor Party isn't really up his alley but he does have a few loves in his life and heavy metal is one of them. One of his all time favorite bands is Manowar, a band that he has never seen in person and has joked that he would miss our wedding if they were to announce a tour that conflicted with our date.

All jokes aside, a tour was announced and the ONLY date in North Amercia just so happened to be our wedding social! Because I know how much it means to him I even considered moving the social date, unfortunately all of the deposits had been paid and the tickets printed so it wasn't going to happen. And he showed that he loves me and didn't put up a fight...something I assumed I would definitely have..., but then a wonderful thing happened, they announce two more dates in North America, one of those dates being the weekend BEFORE our social and completely doable for him.

And then the next hitch happened. The concert was in Worcester, MA and we live in Winnipeg, MB....none of his friends could justify sending money on a round trip flight nor could they take the extra days off work to drive to it as two of them had just started new jobs.

But alas! I am the best fiancee EVER, because I knew how much he loved this band and thought it would be a wonderful opportunity for a Bachelor party, I suggested that we take some of our profits from the wedding social as well as scrap the idea of buying them sneakers for a groomsmen gift, and rather pay for their plane tickets so that the groomsmen could attend with him. They would have to drive to Minneapolis and back, as the flights were 50% cheaper then flights out of Winnipeg but it would make it affordable for all of them.

All but one of the four were able to go with him and three weeks later he still can't stop talking about it. I'm really glad we decided to do it.

For our social my Mr and his groomsmen all wore their tour shirts, rather then dressing up in suits which is more traditional but they were happy...

{My Mr in the middle with his four groomsmen at the social}

Did you make adjusts to wedding budget to unconventional expenses? Would you?

Thursday, March 17, 2011

The Social: An impromptu first dance

Apparently at socials the couple will have a first dance to start the night off, similar to the first dance at a wedding. We didn't think this was necessary but when it was getting close to 10 pm and there wasn't a lot of people dancing I mentioned this to our bartender and she said that people were probably waiting for us to have our first dance and since we weren't having one we should announce it so that people would get on to the dance floor!

Well the announcement went out via our DJ and the hall erupted in boos! (Mostly coming from my Mr's extended family) So I went up to the DJ and picked a Michael Buble song (I honestly don't know which one) and we had our first dance.

Have you ended up doing something to keep others happy that you weren't originally going to do?

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

The Social: My very artistic mother

When I asked my mother to make our sign for the social I was expecting a basic Congratulations Carmen & Dan text on Kraft paper, maybe in our wedding colors.

I wasn't expected to be blown away with this beautiful poster...

She had taken one of our professional photos, the same one we used for our 2009 Christmas cards, and blew it up on the projector. She says that she feels like she cheated and should get so much credited but I don't know how many people know what to trace and shade to come up with this.

Needless to say I love it and so did everyone else. I can't wait to see what she does for our wedding thumb print tree!

Do you have talented people around you to help with your wedding? What are they doing for you?

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

The Social: The Silent Auction

One of the biggest revenue generators at a social is the silent auction, especially if you have your prizes donated, rather then purchased, as you don't have really any expenses to cut into your you do with alcohol sales (which you might get 50% profits).

So the main thing my MOH K and future SIL T did on the day before the social was assemble the prize packages and wrap them up in baskets. (We took off work so we wouldn't be rushed on Saturday which was very smart since a few unplanned things came up on Saturday!)

We started with grouping packages in areas of our living room...

{MOH K and SIL T - neither like their pictures taken}

....And finished with the baskets wrapped and ready for transport the next day, in our dining room.

I also made up the price lists for the Grand Prizes and Regular Prize tickets to sell at the door, and laminated them. I talked with a few other brides and they all found that having Package deals were the preferred purchase of the guests.

{I have a finger print on my camera lens that I didn't notice until Sunday!
So the Grand Prizes are 4 for $5 and 10 for $10}

Here are the four grand prize packages that we had...

And these were the thirteen regular prizes...

We also had a door prize which was to encourage people to buy a ticket even if they couldn't attend...

The prizes were drawn at midnight and surprisingly almost 50% of the winners were my coworkers, probably because there was at least 40 of them there.

If you had a social had did your silent auction go? Did you do it differently?

Monday, March 14, 2011

The Social: I think it was a success

So our social is done and over with. We didn't have as large of a turn out as I would have hoped for what the size of our venue but we still had over 250 people attend and they all seemed to enjoy themselves, which is what I term as a success.

That, and we made a very nice profit!

I know most people don't talk about what they make at their socials but then most people also don't talk about how much they spend on their wedding, and since my goal is to show what I did in hopes that it will help someone else come up with ideas or NOT make the same mistakes as me, I guess it makes sense that I share our social budget breakdown.

To start, I wasn't organized enough to track my revenue streams so I don't know exactly which portions grossed us the most but at the end of the night, after all the ticket sales for admittance ($10/person), alcohol ($2.50/drink), silent auction prizes & 50/50 draw were in we had $8500 approximately.

Then we had to pay for our expenses, here's a breakdown:
  1. Hall Rental + Tip for bartenders = $1675

  2. DJ + Tip = $575

  3. Food for late snack (Winnipeg Old Country) = $312 (We ordered for 200 people and we have A LOT left over, luckily we have a deep freeze so my Mr will not need to go grocery shopping for sandwich ingredients for 2 months! I strongly recommend this company. They don't platter the meat on fancy trays, just Styrofoam sheets, but they pack a lot on them and it was really nice quality.)

  4. Alcohol = $1065 (We ordered for 375, the capacity of the hall, so the original bill was $2345 but we returned all the unopened alcohol and empty beer bottles to bring that expense down. The open beer cases that we have will be stored for the wedding weekend as we aren't huge beer drinkers...well I'm not a huge beer drinker, my Mr doesn't drink at all.)

  5. Ice = $75 (This was one of the only downsides of the hall we rented. They didn't have an ice maker so we had to supply our own. We bought 25 bags but only used 15. I don't think that is really a returnable item so we just gave them to my Mr's brother and his girlfriend.)

  6. Regular Silent Auction Tickets = $42.50 (I bought these at Labelle's bridal as all of the other brides to be that I talked to did the same and said they were the cheapest at $18.99/pack. They come in plastic wrapped packages and I bought 4 but only used two and since I instructed everyone never to open anything unless the previous container/package was empty, I was able to return 2 packages.)

  7. Drink tickets & raffle tickets, + plastic table sheeting = $35(I chose not to get the rest of my supplies at Labelle's as they seemed pretty pricey, rather I went to BJ Super Toys and found them a few dollars cheaper a role. They also take returns so I was able to take back my left over rolls of tickets that weren't used + the plastic wrap for basket that I didn't have to use since another bride gave me her left over stuff.)

  8. Dollarama for miscellaneous decoration supplies = $58 (I picked up plastic containers for the tables to put chips and munchies in, as well as the gift bags for the prize tickets to go in. I went with blue, yellow and white for colors. They aren't exactly my wedding colors but close and I figure I can reuse the containers for future events.)

  9. Costco for cups & drink mix = $174 (This is another place that will take returns. And I didn't even have my reciept! Love them, they just looked up my member number and found the purchases. Our bartenders put up a sign that encouraged people to reuse their cups so I was able to return half of my cups plus some drink mix that didn't get used)

  10. Party Stuff - Balloons = $97 (I said I wasn't going to use balloons for decorations but we didn't have time to do anything fancier like I had wanted and balloons are quick and easy.)

  11. Vista Print - Admittance Tickets =$20

  12. Grand Prize - Recliner = $335 (Last year I agreed to buy a recliner when there was a buy one get one free deal at one of the furniture stores and my future MIL wanted one. I paid 50% of the bill and thought it would be a good grand prize...which it was...but I didn't know then that I would have THREE other awesome grand prizes donated. I would suggest to hold off making big purchases like this until closer to your social, when you have a better idea of who is donating what. This could have been $335 more towards our wedding. Oh well, it was still a really nice prize!)

Total Expenses $4462.50

Which leaves us with approximately $4000 to put towards our wedding! This is twice as much as I was hoping for so I am really happy and feel that all of the hard work was definitely worth it!

If you live in Manitoba are you having a social?

Friday, March 11, 2011

The Social: Last Minutes Details

Tomorrow night is our social, so my MOH K and I took off work today to run around and pick up supplies and finish packaging the silent auction prizes. My future SIL is also joining us after lunch so I am working hard to stay calm and not have a mini anxiety attack when I think of all of the things that can still go wrong tomorrow!

There are blizzard and freezing rain forecasts through out the province today, so now I just have to hope that my family will be able to safely make it into the city and don't have to cancel. Tomorrow's weather is suppose to be a lot calmer. Here's crossing my fingers. I should probably turn the radio off for my own sanity!

This is definitely a warm up to our wedding. I suppose the organized part of me should be taking notes of what to do and not to do in June.

As I run around I won't have time to post, so stay tuned for my social recaps and other posts next week!

Monday, March 7, 2011

The Social: Crunch Time

Our social is only 5 days away and I'm starting to stress! I feel like this is foreshadowing my wedding anxiety to come in June.

There is the running around this week to pick up the last minute supplies that I haven't done yet, like the cups for the bar and drink and silent auction tickets. As well as deciding what type of decorations I want to throw together without breaking the bank, and organizing all of the social prizes that I have collected and had generously donated to me over the last few months into packages with signage.

But none of that stuff is what is causing my anxiety. What is giving my nightmares is not know what the attendance will be like. Our capacity is 375 people and right now I'm making a conservative guess that we should have about 200 attend, as I don't think all of the people my future MIL sold to will attend as they are older and live 30 minutes out of the city, so they probably just bought tickets to support us.

I went to a social on Saturday that was held at the same hall, mainly to check that I wasn't forgetting anything and to see how someone else set up everything. That's when I realized how large the hall is. They managed to fill it up and I did a quick count of the people in the hall after 11pm, and I guess that there was AT LEAST 250. So now I'm worried that 200 will look like the hall is empty and if it looks empty it will give the impression that the social wasn't a success.

And yes I really care about what people will say! One, I don't want people to leave because they aren't enjoying themselves but secondly I do not want people to talk later that it wasn't that great.

So now I have 5 days to try and sell as many tickets as possible so that the hall looks packed. I'm starting to look forward to my wedding where less people is better!

I will post pictures next week of how everything looked and give a recap. Wish me luck!

Friday, March 4, 2011

Putting together My Look: The Shoes

As I've mentioned in previous posts, I don't always obsess about the usual aspects of planning a wedding. One of those aspects that I haven't spent a lot of time thinking about is the shoes I will be wearing. Mainly because I decided very early in our engagement that I would be wearing a pair that I already own.

My MOH K had bought me beautiful blue shoes for my birthday a few years ago and I think they match our wedding colors extremely well. Here I am at my university graduation, ignoring the suggestion to wear black sedate shoes with my robe, wearing them...

My future MIL has taken them and had them polished by a shoemaker and is holding them hostage so that I don't wear them again until June...which is probably a good idea since there has been many times that I would have.

Not having to buy new shoes means that I have more room in my budget for other things that are a higher priority to me, like paying for my bridal parties outfits and food.

Do you have higher priorities in your budget? Have you chosen to reuse items you already own or borrow, rather then shelling out a fortune on wedding related items?

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Wedding Inspiration Overload

I realized that my addiction to wedding blogs and magazines would have some negative effects sooner or later and it has finally hit.

I have wedding inspiration overload!

Going through the 75+ wedding blog posts in my reader each day and looking at all of the beautiful pictures and ideas leaves me wanting everything and not able to make concrete decisions.

Case in invitations. It's like I have writers block or something, I have general ideas but I can't finalize my vision.

I put together a board with the main ideas I like, and as you'll probably see there are a few commonalities running through the pictures, namely the use of Kraft paper, stitching and trees

{Sources: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12}

Now I just need to pull this all together and make my invitations! Easy enough right!?!

I want to send them out at the beginning of April so I have a lot of work to do.

Did you have a hard time creating your invitations? What about wedding inspiration overload, has it ever happen to you?

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Making the Playlist: Another one for the Father Daughter Dance

When I found Steven Curtis Chapman's Cinderella I thought I was done looking for a father/daughter dance. That was until my Mr. was playing Father by Manowar, one of his favorite metal bands, for the millionth time and I actually bothered to listen to the lyrics.

Now hold on, I know Heavy Metal isn't the first style of music someone would think to use for a slow dance, let alone for the father daughter dance at their wedding but take a moment to listen to it, and read the lyrics.

It is exactly what I was looking for in a song, although I would have preferred a female singer...

My Mr would be thrilled with my choice, as would his groomsmen, but do you think the rest of the guests would enjoy listening to this as they watch me dance with my father?