Friday, September 30, 2011

One Ring To Rule Them All

I hope you've enjoyed ring week! Sometimes, you spend months pouring over details to make a theme a reality and sometimes they just happen. I found a wonderful article that outlines the history of the wedding ring. Ancient Egypt all the way to today. I love everything about the wedding ring. I love a circle representing eternity because it has no beginning and no end. I love the left finger's "connection" to the heart. The hole in the center of the ring is not just space either; it is important in its own right as the symbol of the gateway, or door; leading to things and events both known and unknown. It's poetic and reminiscent of Stargate. Sigh.

I found my ring yesterday, Yay! It isn't an eternity band as I had thought it would be and the sudden posibility for engraving it is thrilling. I've been searching the internet and found quite a few suggestions.

This isn't exactly an engraving, but it's pretty darn cool. Projector Ring. It's like the view finder toy meets wedding band. Here's a few fun ones people had inscribed in their rings:

  • Please return with man if found
  • Center of Gravity
  • May The Force Be With Us
I asked Mike what he thought about writing a little something inside our rings. I expected him to either have the perfect thing right off the top of his head or reject the idea completely, but he surprised me. He wants to wait a year (until our first wedding anniversary) and the engrave the rings. He thinks it would be nice to each put a promise to each other on them based on whatever emerges as the most important thing to the other person. I think it's a very sweet idea. Although "I'll pick up my socks" or "I'll do dishes once a week" wouldn't be quite as poetic as the song lyrics of Shakespeare I was imagining.

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Jewerly Mission Success

Sorry for the marathon ring posts, but that's what I've been on my mind this week. I went to try on some wedding bands. It started off on the wrong foot, I was deflated that there wasn't anything remotely like the rings I had liked online at the store. I had the same sinking feeling I got walking into the racks at David's Bridal. They were very nice, but I didn't feel like they understood what I wanted.

They did show me one "contour band" (the kind with the dip in it to accommodate the stone on the engagement ring) that I liked. When I say I liked, I mean didn't dislike as mush as the others.

It was very similar to the band part of this set. What they suggested was to "special order" (that's me the special order bride) just the band, but to get two. That way I could surround my engagement ring with them and my emerald would still be the star of the show.

I shuffled next door pretty sure the first place had been a waste of my time. I started looking at emerald rings in the second store. There were about 5 to choice from and most were yellow gold anyway. I don't care for yellow gold I never have, but jewelers love to set emeralds (my favorite stone, duh) in it. They only had one I was interested in.

It was like this one only it had diamonds and emeralds. Kind of cool, definitely different and it had emeralds, but I was still only lukewarm here. On the plus side, I did find an amazing (and reasonably priced) necklace to go with my wedding dress. You see, I start out saying an all diamond band and pearls with my dress and it all turns to emeralds. Which is fine with me because I don't know how many occasions I'll have for pearls, but I know I'll wear this beautiful necklace again.

I left there not empty handed, but a little down trodden about the wedding ring situation. I was going to exit the mall entirely when I spotted the store where Mike's cousin and his bride had recently purchased theirs. One last look, what could it hurt I thought. They had an even smaller emerald selection than the second store. However, the sales lady had really fun eye shadow on and didn't bat an eyelash at odd ring requests. When I walked over to the case of diamond bands I saw it before I even came to a full stop. The one.

It's like the one above, but prettier and not an eternity band. Low and behold trying them on convinced me I don't actually care for the stones all the way around. I also learned how hard it is to match a custom engagement ring to any band. I also learned that there are levels of custom in the jewelry world. Most of them want to swap stones in an existing ring or something like that. To start from a sketch, make a mold than a setting and select stones isn't a request they seem to get a lot. Also, as expected it's not in the budget. Which doesn't matter because the ring that stopped me in my tracks and looked good with my engagement ring is well under my ring budget. I would have put a deposit down today, but Mike would've freaked out. Yay! I really love it and since I'm not doing an eternity band I can get it engraved! Squeal!

PS: Why is nothing on the jewelry store's websites in the store? Worse, why could I not find any of the rings I looked at today on their websites? Sigh...

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

"Rock" Bands

My first love was this beautiful band I found on Tiffany's site. They called it a swing ring and wanted almost twice what my car cost for it. I found the same band at Robbins Brothers in California for a much more reasonable rate. That was years ago now. I've been Googling for months looking for that band or something like it.

Last night I found this on brilliant earth. It's beautiful, but out of the budget. I do feel much better that it still exists.

What I really want at this point is alternating diamonds and emeralds. Something different enough to suit me and match my engagement ring. I have a beautiful natural round cut emerald in my engagement ring. I saw a lot of pretty but not right rings until last night when I found this:

I LOVE this! I am sold on everything, but the price. I want to find this setting maybe with lab created emeralds and try it on. I really love it. Back to my search...

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Marrying Mr. Know-It-All

I love Michael very much. Over all he has been great during wedding planning so far. He is a very smart man, but he tends to get carried away. He likes to think he's an expert on things he doesn't know much about. Like languages he doesn't speak, cities he's never been to and recently wedding related information.

The other night when I brought up wedding rings he insisted no one wears their engagement ring and wedding band together. Wrong. All of my friends married in the last 5yrs do. My mother did, his mother did. He said not only should I not wear both, but that I should wear only my engagement ring because it'll be the prettier of the two. What? Sorry, if a girl leaves a ring in the jewelry box it is not the wedding band. The wedding band is an everyday, forever accessory.

He insisted if I got the eternity band I wanted it would "get crud in it". I tried to explain all rings do, especially when you wear them regularly, but he said everyone gets a plain metal band for this reason. I know very few couples where either person went this route myself. I ponder this, but he's just wrong. He doesn't want me to "deal with a jewelry store" and thinks it's be best to order online. What?!? No. No. No. Nope, not going to pick the most important piece of jewelry I'll ever own out online and hope it's what I wanted when it gets here. Not happening. I know exactly what I want I just have to find it.

He is so convinced of things like this I sometimes begin to doubt myself. He is not the typical groom and I'm so glad. He does care what the invitations look like or how I'll wear my hair. I just have to remember that sometimes his passionate need to protect me (from swindlers in jewelry stores or worst of all settling for something that isn't exactly what I want.) can be jarring. He means well, but by no means does he know everything or even what's best.

Monday, September 26, 2011

Update Monday!

Somehow I skipped an Update Monday last week. So, this one covers two weeks.

Done Looking Forward To
  • More DIY
  • Finishing the Invitation design
  • Ceremony writing

I'm really, really excited about the invitations coming together. It's been the most stressful part of planning so far. Mike really wanted to get the most expensive invites and design them himself. We didn't have the money or the time for that. I had terrible guilt (he made sure of that) making him settle. In the end it was the right decision and we're both so happy with how the invitations are turning out. It's just a sneak preview of what will be a glorious evening.

I'll be working on more wedding crafts and writing. Lots of writing. I have to work on the ceremony, programs and play list.

177 days!

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Not Before The Wedding

The most famous of all wedding superstitions the one everyone has heard is that the groom shouldn't see the bride before the wedding. As the above article (click the link or zoom in for easier reading) suggests like many other wedding superstitions no one is quite sure where this came from. It seems reasonable that it arose from the time of arranged marriages when it was less likely the groom would panic and call it of if his bride wasn't "unveiled" until the ceremony.

I think what modern brides cling to is not a fear of doomed marriage if the bride is seen before the wedding, but the desire for a dramatic reveal. A hollywood-esque moment where the groom sees you in slow motion and all the guests melt into a blur because you're the only two people in the universe who matter. I completely empathize with that desire, more than you know. It's a beautiful idea and a looooooong standing wedding tradition.

I, however, walk funny. I do not want to walk towards Mike slowly while everyone watches me. Blah. Not to be a politician about it, but while I love a tradition I think my definition of "before" is different than most peoples'. I think before we're dressed up equals before the wedding for me. I think everything beyond that is the wedding. While the ceremony will be a beautiful and very important the whole evening/night belongs to us. I want a dramatic reveal, but it will only be for Michael. Most couple have a lot of time alone together before they get married so having an audience is very special. We have had audience since we met and a moment that's just the two of us is an amazing and incredibly rare thing.

I want a quiet minute with him and some pictures before all the craziness of the day sweeps us away. I don't have any problem with him seeing my dress before hand I just don't want him to see me in the dress until the wedding day. Honestly, I could model it for him every month before the wedding and he still wouldn't remember what it looked like the day of until he saw me in it.

I wish every bride her moment of dramatic, romantic reveal however that's achieved.

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Etsy Strikes Again

As you know my dress is being made by an Etsy designer (PantorabyAndrea). My headpiece was made by an Etsy seller mignonnehandmade . We decided on custom wood invitations through wood chick studios on Etsy. Here's some of their work.
We also recently decided on the bridesmaid's necklace.
by JenniferMoonDesigns on Etsy. I've looked for all manner of wedding related things (& bought some). More often than purchases what I get from Etsy is inspiration.

Here's the card box inspiration I found once I decided to do a bird's nest from whitetulipboutique

There's a lot treasures on Etsy like these:
(Etsy Seller TheGeneration). Wouldn't they look beautiful with my dress? I'm working on making something like it in my size for less than $78.

I also want to take a whack projects like these (I'm not sure of the sellers I was keeping them on my inspiration list):


Etsy is kind of like the enchanted woods of Midsummer Night's Dream full of beautiful things, a place you could lost in forever and not without danger.

Friday, September 23, 2011

Bird's Nest Card Box

  • Plain large grapevine wreath
  • Smaller grapevine wreathes (to unravel)
  • Cardboard
  • Spray Adhesive
  • Brown paint
  • Foam brush
  • Assorted moss
  • Cropadile/Hole punch
  • Twist ties/barked wire

It took a break from the project, some fresh supplies and another viewing of Midsummer Night's Dream to get me started again. This time with a much bigger wreath. The nice thing about my enchanted woods decor is it's supposed to be imperfect and natural looking. It takes some pressure off. I kind of feel like I cheated this time because it was sooooo much easier than my failed first attempt. I will warn you though, working with moss gets very messy.

I turned the wreath on it's side. I cut a piece of cardboard (old Amazon box) the size of the opening (yay, recycling!). I painted the cardboard brown with acrylic paint and a foam brush. I coated it in spray adhesive I placed the wreath on top and started placing moss and twigs on the sticky surface. I poked holes in the corners of the cardboard and fed wire ties through to hold the cardboard to the wreath. The best part is I can untwist the wire and re-use the wreth after the wedding. There really wasn't much to it. I plan on letting it sit with books on it for a few more hours and then I may add some more decoration to the main wreath (nest) part. I will be making a cute little sign to the affect of thanks for feathering our nest/adding to our nest egg. It'll be cuter than it sounds. I assure you Mike will roll his eyes and sigh, but I will be pleased.

First DIY project for the actual wedding itself, done! Hurray. With cards in it!

Thursday, September 22, 2011

When You Know It's Wrong...

A friend of mine posted this article yesterday. It's called Why So Many of Us Marry The Wrong Guy. She claims 30% of the women she talked to knew they were making a mistake on their wedding day. I can easily believe this. She talks about how we can rationalize anything siting the wrong job, a ridiculous car payment and dating the wrong guy for a few. I can identify with that, for sure. It's the most common reasons the author gives for women talking themselves into a doomed marriage where I differ in opinion, slightly.

Here are the top five reason according to her research:

  1. We've dated for so long I don't want to waste all the time we have invested in the relationship.
  2. I don't want to be alone.
  3. He'll change after we get married.
  4. It is too late, too embarrassing and/or too expensive to call off the wedding
  5. He is a really nice guy; I don't want to hurt his feelings.
I think these are all in the rankings, but she doesn't mention babies! In my group of friends there were a few of us who started to hear the biological clock ticking (advance maternal age is 35) and thought this relationship's working let's get married so we can have babies. I know for me my window of opportunity was super short on making a new little human. I was acutely aware of my short window, the state of my relationship and wanting to do things the "right way".

This is why I did not want a quickie marriage when SURPRISE there'll be a new life in a little over 8mos. I wanted the baby and I wanted to raise it with Michael, but that was not mutually exclusive with marriage. Don't get me wrong here, I was fairly certain he was the one I'd marry, but I wanted to make sure I would marry him for my reasons, not because of societal pressure. Once Riley came there was a horrific surgery to survive and then when it seemed like we really had a handle on "for worse" we were both ready for marriage.

I don't think everyone is as strong as I am, though. I think most woman (regardless of their wishes) think pregnancy makes marriage a requirement. I find that sad and frustrating because I have witnessed what divorce does to those kids. Like the author points out, there will always be doubts but if you have more doubt than certainty reconsider.

I've talked about the third reason the author gives before: First Thing's First. I think we are all manipulated by the fact that the fairy tales always end with a wedding. We expect the pumpkin carriage to drive off into an ideal existence after "I do". I also believe people don't change until they are ready to and no marriage certificate or baby is going to "make them". It's not just women, Mike's first marriage was a combination of pressure to marry because of the baby and "she'll change" mentality. It has nothing to do with intelligence. We want to believe in love.

There really isn't anything wrong with believing in love it's just that we are an impatient bunch who would rather marry Mr. Right Now (since we have all the time invested, etc) than wait until it really feels like the right decision. I remember thinking in my teen years "If I'm not married by 30 I'm not going to do it." I think we're impatient society (hello instant streaming videos, etc), but beyond that woman especially want to be young brides and mothers.

Anyway, use your heads and your hearts ladies. That's my two cents on the subject. I'm 110% confident that I've made the right choice (& that it will not be easy).

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Off And Limping...

Today was not the kind of crafting day where I did Martha proud. I'm attempting to make a bird's nest card box. I started by unraveling two grapevine wreaths. I can't take credit for the idea of unraveling grapevine wreaths, my florist mentioned it when we were discussing decor. I got two small wreathes one of thinner springy-er vine and one of thicker more rigid vine. The first of which was infinitely easier to work with, obviously. Aside from being thicker and more rigid the other wreath also had thorns.

After a lot (like 2hrs) of manipulation I got the springy-er wreath into the right size circle. I wrapped it with pale green raffia and was quite pleased with myself. I went back to the other wreath with renewed vigor. I started this project trying to wrap the vine around the base of a bowl and realized it takes two pairs of hands to make that work (which I didn't have). I also realized why people don't often make bird's nests big enough for card boxes.

I was unsuccessful in stretching the second wreath to the right size by hand. So, knowing the bowl wasn't working I starting looking for something else to use as a base. I didn't have any baskets the right size I could cannibalize. I did find the a few things to try, but in the end hot glue wouldn't hold it so it didn't matter. Sigh.

Thus, through all my experimentation I decided I should have started with much larger wreathes. I'd only have to hallow them out to make room for cards and decorate. Duh. I'll get supplies tonight to try what now seems to be the more logical method. Wish me luck!

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

The Journey Of A Thousand Miles...

Begins with finally agreeing to and designing invitations! Mike and I nearly called off the wedding over our invitations. Ok, I'm being over dramatic but not by an incredible amount. Yes, it matters to us. I'm sorry to be shallow. We're event planner kind of people who want everything to be just so,we just are. It boiled down to this he wanted the engraved (aka more masculine and expensive ones) and I wanted painted ones (aka more girly and less expensive).

I originally budgeted $70 for "simple handmade invitations". I thought I'd take an afternoon,some card stock and one of Mike's drawings and make something. They're only invitations, people just throw them away afterward (with few exceptions). The problem was I couldn't find inspiration for the project. Then I found (and Mike and I agreed on) wooden invitations. Thus, killing the DIY notion.

Here's what we started with sample-wise:

Earlier on I reported slow response to messages, but that only applies to the pre-ordering period. She has been very quick to respond to messages and make changes to the design. She's been great to work with and it's alot less stressful to boss around a stranger than to try to get my groom to finish a project. We're on our third proof and it keeps getting better and better. It's very exciting.

I don't want to give too much away, but I will say we've cut down our verbose wording and added some more color. We also added fairies of course. It's been really fun watching them evolve. I think when they're done I'll do a slide show of all the proofs. Yay, invitations are happening!

Monday, September 19, 2011

Ring Pillow for Jasandra

  • The ring pillow from Sandy's wedding
  • Blue ribbon
  • Fabric scissors
  • Tiny sewing scissors
  • Hot glue gun/needle and thread

Yes, my maid of honor gave me her ring pillow knowing I would take it apart and at least change the ribbon. Turns out this little pillow will get at least two make overs. Yeah, recycled wedding stuff! So, it was super simple because Jasandra liked the button that was already on the pillow. I only needed to switch out the ribbon.

Here's the orginal pillow

Here's a close-up on the button which is a pearl with a silver design around it. J's colors are blue and silver so it worked out nicely.

Here's the transformation.

It's much prettier in person. I just cut off all the sage ribbon with fabric scissors. I also had to snip a stitch in the center of the pillow. I removed the "button" from the ribbon. It turned out it was a craft embellishment so there was no loop in back which was good. It was flat and I like the people who made the pillow was going to hot glue it back on. Then Mike helped me trim the remaining bits of sage ribbon at the seams with sewing scissors. I wrapped the blue ribbon around the pillow Christmas gift style. I tied it in a bow and considered bunching the bow up, but ended up really liking it with the bow (I hope she does). If not I can change it. Then I added the "button" and secured the whole thing with some inconspicuous hot glue placement. Viola!

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Crafty Time!!!

Hello Joann's coupons! My favorite piece of mail. I am in desperate need of the stress relief only crafting can bring. I need to cut and glue and paint and maybe even sew. Lord, how I need to make something with my hands. I had a vague project list in my noggin. I just knew wedding DIY time had arrived.

I really wanted to do a bird's nest card box. I thought it would be a cute theme related way to go. Most DIY brides seem to start their projects with a card box. I like it because our guests are "feathering our nest" or adding to our "nest egg" by giving us wedding cards. I'm going to write something cute to that effect. Here's a bird's nest someone was selling on Etsy:

Obviously, this one's for rings so it's tiny and it's holiday themed which I don't want, but very pretty.

This is one of the project idea cards from Joann's. It was good for material suggestions.

Here's my haul:
Yay! Wedding crafts, here I come. I got $25 off my purchase after all my coupons, thrity me. I bought everything I need for my bird's nest, ribbon for re-purposing the ring pillow and a wooden box to paint and decorate for the fabric pieces of the guest book quilt. I also scoped out some embellishment options for the flower girl desses. It was a nice trip.

I got a wide variety of mosses, twine, raffia and grapevine wrethes to unravel. A wooden hinged box and acrylic paints in greens and browns to paint it.

I got decoupage at the project card's suggestion to hold the nest together. Beyond that I got some pretty emerald green and lavender ribbon. I also got thin white and ivory for whatever arises. I even found green ribbon with brown mushrooms which I love. I'm thinking I may tie bows of it on the bridesmaids totes I want to make.

I even spulrged while it was on sale and got the 18 piece crafting tool kit. It's paper crafting tools of every variety. I'll use every single one of them (probably this weekend!). Can you tell how excited a new batch of crafting supplies makes me?

Many more DIY posts to come. I anticipate starting the re-ribboning of the ring pillow tomorrow. It should only take a few hours and than on to the nest. It'll have to dry over night at least once so I should have that done by the end of the week. I hope to start my fabric box this weekend. Yay!

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Field Trip!!

So, remember that field trip to the venue I've been mentioning for a few weeks? It finally happened. I've learned that coordinating the schedules of even 3 people can be very complicated. Mike, the kids and I headed down to Sunken Gardens this afternoon to meet Janine, our florist. We were armed with a tape measure, paper, pen and three creative people's imaginations.

How did we entertain the kids? No need. Big empty room equals loads of fun. The camera is not out of focus, that's how fast he was running. They chased each other, crawled through the desert (aka carpet) to the oasis (aka dance floor), danced, hid behind the pillar and made multiple trips to the water fountain. They had a great time.

We measured, by which I mean Mike measured and I scribbled furiously in short hand on a legal pad. We got every dimension we might need for decor/table set-up and then counted and noted outlet placement. It was kind of like being in a bank heist movie.

Janine listened carefully to Mike's suggestions and gave us a few things to think about. For example, far cooler than aqua beads is barked wire! It's perfect for discreetly fastening willow branches to metal beams for example. Mike's wheels are turning about their camouflage abilities in combination with their ability to conduct electricity. My nerdy David Tutera. We refined some of our prior decor ideas and for the first time really talked about table placement. What a headache. Head table? Sweetheart table? Feasting table? Where will the buffet go? How much room between tables? And so on...

Speaking of tables, Janine says the caterer is charging too much to use their plain white linens and I could get cheaper prettier ones, no problem. Exciting, now that I've looked at the black chairs and imagined the stark white table cloth under our beautiful centerpieces. It would be different if they were included, but if you can get something prettier for less, why not? We may also be draping fabric around the room and using lights and flora to decorate them.

I think two things make Janine an amazing florist: 1)She really listens to us. 2)She likes a challenge. She even offered Mike some barked wire to experiment with. She's a real team player, I just love her so much. It was good to all be in the space together. At one point I noticed the light fixtures over the dance floor, which I hadn't remembered being there.
I really like them. Nice of them to have pretty lights over the dance floor. It doesn't make up for the gratuitous wood frames we have to hide without damaging their paint, jerks. I can't imagine what use these would have had, ever.
I'm also, a little unclear on what the heck these are although they are awesome and futuristic looking. Our guess was speakers.
And speaking of the sound system, the music was on when we got up there and it's a good system (or the room has good acoustics or both).

And I will now leave you with my favorite shot of the day. Mike (in tourist attire) using an app on his phone to see if our venue has wifi.