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The Spreadsheet

19 Sep

I haven’t properly published the Spreadsheet, so HERE IT IS.

How to use:
1. Fill in any missing items.
2. Add your own details to the list instead of the suggestions I’ve included.
3. Predict the cost of each item.
4. Use the sum formula for each month and make sure it’s not too heavy in any one month. If you see a huge discrepancy, move some things around until you have a manageable amount each month. Split up huge ticket items (like venue, catering, etc) among all the months to disperse the burden. Put the money in savings or make payments to the vendors monthly.
5. When you’ve completed an item, change the color of that row so you know it’s done. You can even right-click on the row and hide it to get it out of your view.
6. Add in silly tasks that seem insignificant- you can delegate them to other people if you start feeling overwhelmed.
7. Move items around if you feel like you’re not doing enough, or doing too much. Once something has been designated inside a month, DON’T THINK ABOUT IT UNTIL THAT MONTH ARRIVES. That’s the whole idea.

GOOD LUCK! Weddings be the bestest.


Kid Bags!

14 Sep

Part of the benefit of having a big family is having lots and LOTS of kids around. I credit most of my good qualities from this particular feature of our family, as I believe kids are the best people in the world, and with the most insight. Because of this, I wanted to make sure the kids at our wedding knew we were thinking about them, and that we wanted them to have a good time.

some of the incredible kids at our wedding.

I kicked around several ideas. We thought we might have a “kid room” filled with Wii TVs, cots for stretching out, coloring tables, etc. It kind of got vetoed since we didn’t have a great spot for it at the venue. We also GENUINELY considered getting a bounce house. The venue looked at me like I was nuts when I asked if we could have it- and then basically said no. HA! Who doesn’t love bounce houses?

See? Even newlyweds like to bounce.

I enlisted the help of my bridesmaid/confidant/double cousin Carolyn to help me with the task. Not only is she mega kid-oriented, but she’s a craftaholic like me. She suggested we make little bags for each kid, filled with activities, and pass them out to the tables after the ceremony.

And where else would I look for inexpensive, fantastic kid treats than….

My sister and I would pore over these catalogs and buy all kinds of cheap plastic goodies at low, low prices. It was the perfect spot to find a variety of kid stuff for our guests. We ended up with the following (amongst other things):

Mini Water Ball Yo-Yos

Zoo Animal Tattoos

Animal Masks

Personalized Carnival Crayons — These were INCREDIBLE! We made them say “Rachel and Eric Get Hitched, 02-05-11″… SO CUTE

Die Cast Cars for the Dudes

Flower Rings for the Chicks

Carolyn put them together in the most adorable little bags with each kid’s name on it. Lamentably, they didn’t get passed out on the actual day (I noticed too late- at 10 pm- that they were still sitting against the wall). I was so distraught over this that I sent them in the mail to each kid after the big day was over (they were just too darned cute).

I will say, however, that the kids should have been the least of my worries. They made themselves the stars of the show. They danced until they dropped. They ran around and socialized with the best of them. The kids in my family don’t need no stinkin’ kid bags. They make their own way.


1 Sep

I know I am sorely delinquent in writing posts, and I swear I will get on the horse very, very soon… in the meantime, check THIS out!!!

I finally received some feedback from the templates I’ve been selling on etsy. One of my brides made all her bouquets from my template. Check out how amazing they are:


How NOT to be a Bridezilla

23 Jun

First of all, let me say that it’s not your fault if you’re feeling a little bit ‘zilla. The term itself wouldn’t exist if it weren’t for the social construct that pushes us to feel like weddings are the end-all, be-all. Personally, I wasn’t a little girl who dreamed of fluffy white dresses and champagne toasts, but by the time my wedding rolled around, I certainly felt the pressure of society on me to make our wedding something epic. Seriously, we have MANY television shows dedicated solely to weddings- buying your dress, being mean to your bridesmaids, you name it.

My point is, it’s not your fault if you feel yourself getting tense, impatient, and maybe even a touch snarky. No matter how chill you are in real life, weddings do crazy things to people, so don’t be hard on yourself.

That being said, there are a few key things you can do to make sure you don’t start berating innocent people or having breakdowns over the shade of your dyed shoes.

1. DELEGATE. Now, when I say delegate, I don’t mean “give your cousin a task and then micromanage it until you could have just done it yourself.” I mean GENUINELY delegate tasks. Be super specific about how you want things done, hand them off, and forget about them. Pick reliable people. Don’t over-delegate- I almost fell into that trap. Pick a couple people who you know want to help and have the time, and give them several things to do. If you spread your stuff over too many people, it’ll be hard to keep track of. Maids of Honor are good for this kind of thing 🙂

2. PLAN FOR YOUR GUESTS. This is huge. When I was on my quest to lose weight for the wedding, I used to sit on my exercise bike and in my head, pretend I was a guests invited to my wedding. I’d go through each step of the process and think about what guests would enjoy, what they’d even notice, and which things would totally go unnoticed. If you think of things this way, you’ll stop stressing about whether or not the white of your pearls matches the white of the napkins. Literally, nobody will notice that crap, and you’ll cut back on a million things to worry about. Also, the things that made the biggest difference at our wedding were the things that we planned for people to have fun with- our live performances that included tons of people, our photo booth, the audience participation in our ceremony, and the little poems about our relationship we had on each table. That’s what made the night fun- not the fact that I stamped a freakin’ sun and stump on every piece of paper in the wedding. That was cool, but definitely not what made the night.

3. ENJOY THE PROCESS. Obviously this seems silly since we’re talking about how stressful the whole thing is- but what I mean is that if you are stressed out for the nine months leading up to your wedding, you’re going to be stressed out the day-of, too. What a waste of nine months! You’re engaged! You’re about to marry the man/woman of your dreams. Don’t let anything get out of hand. Enjoy the time leading up to it, and there will be way less stress when it’s time to walk down the aisle. If you start feeling on the fritz, see Step 4.

4. TAKE TIME FOR BOTH OF YOU. Go on dates. Get massages. Don’t let the REASON for the wedding slip away from you. You love this person. Enjoy them.

and last, but not least…

5. SAY NO TO SAY YES TO THE DRESS. Stop watching stupid shows about weddings. Watch stuff that gives you a break from the whole deal. Try LOST or Dexter.

How to Shop for Your Dress

30 May

I know I’ve already posted about MY dress, but since I’ve been working at a bridal shop, I feel like I have SO MUCH ADVICE just brimming out of my consultant brain that I would love to share. Not only would I LOVE to share it… I feel like I NEED TO. So many people who come to the shop make so many first-timer mistakes (and who wouldn’t? you’re a first-timer. duh). In addition, I’m going to sprinkle this blog with my favorite dresses just to keep you interested.

Jim Hjelm 8061: This ruffled halter has been haunting me for months. I try it on sometimes at the shop. It’s really good.

Here we go!

1. Know Your Budget. This seems like a no-brainer, but some people come in with the “I’ll just try on everything” attitude and aren’t willing to discuss budget, but this is a bad idea. If you fall in love with a $6k Lazaro, you’re in love. There’s no turning back. And as much as you might search and search, your first love will never leave you. Be careful, know your budget.

For example, this dress may look simple, but costs a pantload. It’s worth it though- light as a feather, breathable 100% silk, and seamless craftsmanship by Lea Ann Belter.

2. Know Your Budget: Part Deux. Do you know how much wedding dresses cost? Do you think they cost $100 or $10,000? You could be right on both counts, but in general, you’re wrong. On average, a wedding gown costs between $1000-$2000. If you’ve been checking out David’s Bridal and Vera Wang, you better streamline your research and figure out where your REAL budget is- because you don’t want any nasty surprises.

This particular gown is one of those that make the brides I put in it gasp- it’s super affordable but looks like a million bucks. WToo is good for that kind of thing.

3. BE OPEN MINDED. I know it’s hard, since you’ve been hitting up every single wedding site there is, and you are 100% sure you want a very simple gown with not a lot of beading or sparkle, something that hides your thighs and has straps. But guess what. No, you don’t. You want a heavy satin gown with lace all over it, asymmetrical ruching, strapless with a sweetheart neckline. You absolutely HAVE to go into your appointment with an open mind. We try on jeans, shirts, bras all the time- but we never try on bridal gowns. Let your consultant guide you when you go in- they know what’s up, and they’ll help you find something awesome.

For example, a dress like this might seem like it won’t work on someone without a model’s frame, but it actually looks amazing on pretty much everybody. Promise.

4. BRING TWO PEOPLE. Do not bring your entire flock of bridesmaids, your mother, your mother-in-law-to-be, your neighbor and your flower girls. Bring two people whose opinions you trust. Any more than that, and the opinions flying around start hitting you in the wrong place. I know it feels like you should include all your friends in this process, but you can include them by showing them the dress you choose once the deposit is down and order is placed. As great as your friends might be, they just might not be the best ones to have around in this process. Choose two people. Or less.

5. BE HONEST: Your consultant didn’t design the gowns you’re trying on. Be honest with her and let her know what you’re liking and not liking about the dresses. Being super nice to them will not help the process.

This bohemian gown by former lingerie designer Claire Pettibone is an excellent combination of comfort, artistry, and elegance.

5. JUST DO IT. If you find the dress of your dreams, just buy it. Don’t spend three months visiting every shop in town just to be sure. There are a million great dresses out there, but if you find one that is in your budget and makes you feel all warm and fuzzy, JUST DO IT. Give yourself a break. It’s a dress! The hard part is finding the guy- the dress shouldn’t be a stressful, long, drawn out process. Once you get your dress, you will stop looking at other dresses, and you will move on to all the other details you have to plan for the wedding. Believe your feelings and buy the dress.

Now, get out there and get yourself a dress! XOXO

The Paper Flowers

7 Apr

It’s time.

I’ve waited long enough to tell you about the fantastic paper flowers we created for our wedding. Again, let’s tell the whole story, shall we?

When we first moved to Portland, I made these flowers from Paper Source (which conveniently came in a kit in our colors):

When we got engaged, I knew I wanted to make paper flowers for the girls because these came out so freaking adorable. However, Sir Eric of Pickypants decided they were a little too simple. Even so, I tried some variations:

… to no avail. We had seen some ranunculus online, which in the meantime have been deleted (dang!) and we absolutely LOVED the intensity with which they used petals, the natural look of the worked paper, and the beautiful colors. Eric started in making new templates. He figured out how to shape the paper. At long last we had this:

The closest we had come to success! We still weren’t in love with the way the petals were laying against each other, or the fact that the center wasn’t closed, so we experimented some more and eventually got to THIS place, the land of open, closed, and lovely flowers:

Making these flowers was ridiculously time consuming and labor intensive. Our hands were bloody from blisters from cutting cardstock. Our wrists were sore, too. The pads of our hands were SO sore from shaping the flowers. We had to take breaks every day (some people took more breaks than others if you know what I mean). We had friends help us cut (I even made some high school TAs help me cut when I was subbing, haha!). Our house was covered in paper scraps, glue shards, and floral tape.

But we had THESE:

photo credit ashley forrette

We made a bridal bouquet, too, and of course, cake flowers.

By popular demand, all of these flowers, templates, and kits to make the flowers are available to buy!

Sunny and Stumpy, my new etsy shop, has all the goodies. Check out the press I have been getting! Gets me super pumped!

Style Unveiled
Emmaline Bride
One Wed
All You Need Is Love
Isn’t that cool? Paper Flowers 4 Lyfe.

The Program

1 Apr

My number one concern for most of the wedding (and an anxiety I am still dealing with now) is to make sure that all the people who helped were thanked appropriately. As I’ve said before, we had an incredible number of people contribute. We decided that the program (of course) was the best place to do this.

Most people reserve program use for “OOE” or “Order of Events” and cast of characters- which of course we were going to do as well- but my primary thought while designing the program was a huge list of thank-yous.

I had seen a picture in a magazine (escaping me currently) that had wedding invitations created with all different kinds of fonts, justified and kerned so that they filled every last little nook and cranny of the invite. I LOVED HOW IT LOOKED… but could not convince fair Eric to use it for our invite (and I agree- it was a touch whimsical for our style, we wanted something more wedding-y, less quirky).

However. When it came time for the PROGRAM…. oh yes. Bring it on, font explosion!

photo credit ashley forrette

We tried to use interesting language for our OOE- instead of simply listing events, we made it sound cool: “Pepe, Chris and Vicki speak of love. We say our vows. We get hitched. You cheer.” — Cause hey, that’s how we talk!
photo credit ashley forrette

We also used THE ENTIRE BACK OF THE PROGRAM to thank a ton of people who helped for the wedding. Because of time constraints, some helpers (Grace! Your cheese plates were divoon! THANK YOU!) did not make it on the program… but we did our best! It was something we waited as long as we could to print- and thank goodness- because things definitely changed close to the date.

Want this for your wedding? Visit Sunny and Stumpy, my new etsy shop, and let me make you a program JUST LIKE THIS!