pretty calligraphy.

There's something about a hand-addressed envelope in a pretty font that makes me swoon. While definitely not necessary, calligraphy can add a little extra elegance to an invitation suite or an escort card. I've been drawn to calligraphy ever since I was little. My aunt even bought me a calligraphy book for my birthday one year when I was about 10 and I practiced until I ran out of ink! Lately I've been drawn to less tradtional forms of calligraphy. I love how these invitations found on Brooklyn Bride are addressed. They look casual and slightly messy, like the person who addressed them wasn't even trying to make it look pretty. And I love the look of having all lowercase letters.

Jessica of tying the knot just opened up her own calligraphy shop called Penned & Pretty. Her writing styles are also more contemporary than traditional calligraphy.

The last style, called "Pretty Adorable" lives up to its name, and it's definitely my favorite! Congrats Jessica on opening your shop!

frilly dresses.

I've been seeing some gorgeous dresses around the wedding blog world lately. I'm not typically a fan of super frilly dresses, but there are always a few exceptions. These three definitely fall into the exception category.

They are right when they say you should stop looking at dresses once you buy one. I'm anxiously waiting for mine to arrive sometime in March. I only hope I will love it as much as I love these.

Dress 1 from Vera Wang
Dress 2 via With This Ring... Photo by Susan Stripling.
Dress 3 via Elizabeth Anne Designs. Photo by Amy Squires.



I've been tagged by a few people recently and I haven't forgotten about it! Sorry it took so long.

Heidi at 2 State Bride and Goldie at A Bride's Golden Moments gave me the Blog Luv award.
Thanks girls! I love both of your blogs as well!

Brenn at Where Preppy Meets Hippie tagged me. Here are the rules:

Step 1: respond and rework—answer the questions on your own blog, replace one question that you dislike with a question of your own invention, add one more question of your own. Step 2: tag—eight other un-tagged people will be tagged.

Make a list of things you can see without getting up: my wonderful fiance, the TV, my wedding binder, my recent Etsy purchase, my Diet Mtn. Dew, my ring!

What were you like when you were five? Really shy. And an only child at that point, so a little spoiled. And in love with my cabbage patch kids.

What are you wearing now? Sweats and a t-shirt. It's almost bed time!

What color is your bedroom? White. I'm too cheap to buy paint for my apartment since I'll have to repaint before I move.

What’s the last thing you read/are currently reading? Work stuff. For pleasure, The Tipping Point and wedding magazines.

Do you nap a lot? In college I was a professional napper. Now I don't have time.

Who was the last person you hugged? Adam

What’s your current obsession/addiction? wedding blogs

What was the last thing you said aloud? I can't remember! It's been like 2 minutes. My memory isn't that great.

What websites do you always visit when you go online? Email, blogger

What was the last thing you bought? A turkey with cranberry mayo sandwich from the cafeteria for lunch. It was delicious if you were wondering.

What are you listening to right now? Top Chef!

What movie are (or were!) you most excited to show your kids? I've never thought of this before. Disney movies I guess?

If you could have any super power, what would it be? Teleportation. I feel like I'm always driving somewhere.

What is your favorite weather, and why? 80 degrees and sunny. Because it never happens here.

What was the last reality tv show you watched? Currently watching Top Chef.

What is your most challenging goal right now? Focusing on work when I have a wedding to plan. It's hard!

Say something to the person who tagged you: Hi Brenn, thanks for tagging me! Your new layout looks great!

If you could have a house–totally paid for, fully furnished–anywhere in the world, where would you want it to be? I know where it wouldn't be....anywhere in Illinois.

Favorite vacation spot? Really anywhere that's warmer than here would be fabulous. I loved Southern France so I guess I'd have to say that's my fave so far.

What is your favorite children’s book? Bugs in Boxes...makes me think of my aunt. She was the coolest.

Name one thing you just can’t resist no matter how bad it is for you: Chicken and Sun-dried Tomato Alfredo from The Cheesecake Factory. Really, any kind of pasta actually.

What can't you live without? Adam, my family and friends, Diet Mtn. Dew, ae tank tops, Burts Bees chapstick, brushing my teeth. That is quite a random list.

If you could have any job in the world , what would it be? I'd love to have my own business where I can be creative all day long. Or if I could design artificial hearts that would be fun too. Either one :)

Now I tag:

{amy lynn} at {with the pixie grin}
Kristen Nichols at All Things Lovely
Jenn at With This Ring....
Sherry at My Little Black Book
Stephanie at Run, Knit, Get Hitched!
The Mrs. at The Adventures of Mrs. Reagan

I know that's only 6, but that's all I've got for today!


thank you.

Thank you EAD for posting pictures of this gorgeous wedding, and letting me know that single dahlias and mums in vases can look elegant!
This arrangement is very pretty as well...maybe I can get Adam to make some wooden boxes. Really, any excuse to use a power tool is fine with him.
Photos by whitebox weddings via Elizabeth Anne Designs.

a little (more) help.

From the last post on Dona's bridesmaids bouquets, I think the purple tulips are in the lead so far. Michelle asked me to do a couple more with white flowers, so here they are.
The first is a bouquet of a few white calla lillies, and the second is a bouquet of anemones. I personally still like the purple tulips. What about you?

the cake. or should i say cakes?

I found it. Finally, the inspiration for the wedding cake. Thank you Jessica from tying the knot for posting this on your blog today!
Mom, please start looking for a good fondant recipe. I will be in charge of making the flowers.


flowergirl attire.

I've been looking for some cute flowergirl dresses for little Ali, and came up with a few cute ones.
The first two are from Fox 'n Lily, and at $220 and $230, they are out of our price range.
I found this dress on ebay seller goodgirldress. It is similar to the style of my dress and only about $45.
Then I found this dress from etsy seller TheBoutiqueBaby.
It is so adorable! One more reason why I love etsy. And it's still reasonable at $54. I think I'm going to ask her if she'll make it in ivory.

too cute.

Seriously, how cute are these shirts for a little flower girl or ring bearer?

Shirts from MyPersonalizedTshirt on Etsy.

a little help.

My bridesmaid Dona is getting married this May and is trying to decide on the bridesmaids bouquets. Our dresses are white with navy blue flower print, and we are wearing cute light yellow wedges. She wants to use purple flowers for the bouquets but she's worried it won't look right with the white/navy/yellow of our outfits. I put together a few pictures of what we would look like with a few different bouquets, some in purple, some in yellow.

I think the purple or yellow tulips would look really cute, as well as the yellow calla lillies. The purple hydrangeas don't really look right, not sure if it's because of the blue-ish tint of the flowers or because the shape of the flowers is similar to the flowers on the dress, but something just isn't working.

Which is your favorite?

p.s. Sorry I cut your head out of this picture Michelle...I wasn't sure if you wanted your picture all over my blog!


another productive weekend.

We accomplished a lot this weekend! On Friday, we took a break from wedding stuff to go to Bonefish Grill for dinner. Their Bing Bang Shrimp is amazing! It was nice to have a normal date night for a change!

Saturday, we went to the Crate & Barrel in Northbrook (it's a huge store) and cleaned up our registry. Then we went to Macy's and signed up for a registry there as well since that's where we found the china we like. They have awesome deals when you sign up there! They give you a red tote bag from Victorinox (the company that makes swiss army knives) when you start your registry. Then if you have a Macy's card you get 5% in-store credit for whatever people buy off your registry, and 10% in-store credit on whatever you buy yourself between the time you register and your wedding date. That's a pretty good deal! The lady that helped us set up our registry was really nice and we came up with a good list of things to scan there.

Now we only have one more place to register since we need a local place for those guests who aren't quite as internet-savvy (Iron Mountain doesn't have a Crate & Barrel or a Macy's, and the closest ones are an hour and half away. But since Shopko doesn't let you update your registry online (very inconvenient!) we have to wait until the next time we visit our parents to do it.

After registering, we stopped at a JoAnn Fabrics to find some material to make ties out of. We didn't have any luck, but we did find a paper cutter on sale (75% off) and an awesome sale on cardstock. 12x12 sheets of the linen textured cardstock were 6 sheets for $0.96. And they had the perfect color green! We went to two stores and bought 100 green sheets and 100 white sheets total. They had to ring up every sheet separately which is ridiculous, and needless to say everyone in line behind us hated us. But we got enough paper for the save-the-dates and probably most of the invites. The sale is going on until Jan. 31st if anyone is looking for a great deal on cardstock!

Today I went back to Macy's to use my 20% off for opening a new credit card. I picked up Adam's wedding gift (I'm going to keep it a secret, sorry!), a bracelet and earrings to wear with my dress (pictures will be coming soon), and a wonderful new scent for the big day.
I haven't shopped for perfume in awhile, so I forgot how sick it makes me! My nose felt like it was going to start bleeding at any moment and I was naseous after it, but I swear this perfume smells amazing! The lady behind the counter told me that it was created specifically for brides to wear on their wedding day, and the bottle is designed to look like a dress, so I figure it's a good choice. She was so excited to help me pick out my wedding day fragrance, she even made me give her a hug after I bought it. A little awkward, but she was sweet.

Then I went back to JoAnn's to buy the material for my veil and crinoline. I didn't find the right size tulle for the veil, but I did get the supplies for the crinoline. I'll be sure to document the process of how to make it in case anyone else is too cheap to buy it!



Happy Friday! I think Adam and I might venture down to Aurora this weekend to get my ring fixed (the people at Jared in Schaumburg did an awful job when they resized it). While we're there, we are going to look at wedding bands. I really want to engrave something meaningful into the inside of the band, but I'm not sure what to write. If anyone has any ideas, feel free to comment!

I found this picture on Brooklyn Bride today, and it makes me want to order these rings.
Seriously, a ring that imprints the words "always." on my finger would be perfect!

Ring and photo by Yoon Jung Yun via Brooklyn Bride.


initial inspiration.

My bridesmaid Dana just got engaged on Jan. 2nd! I'm so excited for her! She has asked me to stand in her wedding, so I think it's my duty to give her some inspiration to get going on the wedding planning. She's still trying to determine a color scheme (among other more important things, such as the date and the location of the wedding) so we looked at some pictures tonight while watching Grey's and I put some color boards together.

The first one is based on a picture she had seen of a bouquet with indigo, aqua, and orange flowers. I didn't have the exact picture, but we found something similar to start out with. I added a little green in the mix as well. I think it definitely has potential!
The next one is a little more classic, and I think it will go well with her fiance's uniform (he's a Marine). Slate blue/gray, gold, and white.
Which do you like best?

All photos via Style Me Pretty, Snippet & Ink, and The Bride's Cafe.

card basket.

I've been trying to think of something to use as a card box for awhile now. I don't want to make a box that looks like a cake, or buy a wooden card box that I won't really have a use for after the wedding. I'm thinking some kind of a vase or basket for the cards would be fine. Today while browsing the sale items at CB2, I found this green side table.

Turn it upside down, tie a big purple or teal satin bow around it, and I think it has potential to hold the cards. And the best part? After the wedding we can use it for its original purpose.

Table from CB2.



I heart this font! Here's a sneak peak at the font I am using for our save-the-dates.
Love it! The best part...it's free from here.

onto the next accessory.

I've been thinking about making a silk flower to put in my hair for awhile now. This picture sells me on the idea.

It also sells me on the idea of taking a picture in a boat, but I'd be nervous about falling into the water! I actually think they are trying to trick us in this picture. Doesn't it look like the boat is on the dock? I guess that's how you do it without getting wet! This couple is smart.

Now to start shopping for hair flower materials. I'll keep you posted.

Photo by Luke Walker via Elizabeth Anne Designs.


That's how much I saved on the beautiful teal satin flats I purchased last night on Amazon. Not too bad for shoes that have gotten such good reviews (here, here, and here)! I was having fun playing the waiting game to see if they were going to come down in price again, and they were reduced today. I figured I've been taking my chances for awhile now and I'd be really disappointed if they sold out before I bought them. So I ordered them last night and they will be arriving in a few days! Exciting! Ras flats from amazon.



One alternative color scheme I considered for a long time was gray and yellow. It is just so modern and elegant. While looking for branches for our wishing tree tonight, I came upon this flower called the craspedia. While they don't look like your typical flower, I think they would be the perfect element to add to a simple and modern gray and yellow wedding.

Inspiration boards from only the best -- Snippet & Ink. Craspedia from Nettleton Hollow.


checking things off.

I like the satisfaction of checking something off a list (who doesn't, really) so I am going to check a few things off of the ever-growing list of wedding-related tasks.

1. Bridesmaids dresses -- Done! My wonderful bridesmaids all ordered their dresses last week so I can check this one off! And the best part is I actually think they are happy with them!

2. Engagement announcement -- Done! We filled out the form and soon our faces will be plastered all over The Daily News. I'm not sure if I'm excited about that, but hey it's another thing to check off the list!

3. Mockup invitation supplies -- Ordered! Now we play the waiting game until they arrive!

4. Hotel rooms -- Blocked! No more having to worry about not having enough rooms on Labor Day weekend. We decided to go with three hotels at different price points, one of which has some nice perks for us if people stay there!

I think that's it for the moment, but I hope to keep this progress going! Also the swatch of my dress finally arrived so I can begin the next of the DIY projects, including my veil, crinoline, and hair flower. Here's the inspiration for my crinoline:
Photo by hazelnut photography. If you haven't looked at this blog yet, you should! Jordana's pictures are gorgeous.


big fluffy bows.

How fun are these big bows? We could use them as a more original take on the chinese lantern idea. I'm seeing a bow theme come out in this wedding. Bows on the bridesmaids dresses, my shoes, my clutch, possibly the bouquets. And now possibly hanging from the ceiling of our venue!
Photo from Martha Stewart Weddings.

love notes.

No matter what gift I decide to get for Adam on our wedding day, I think it would be ten times better with a heartfelt note written on one of these:
Little wooden cards from Paloma's Nest on Etsy. Perfect, I think. Don't you?


weekend recap part two.

Thankfully, Sunday was a much more successful day than Saturday. First, Adam and I went through our engagement pictures and decided on a picture to use for our engagement announcement. We worked on cropping the picture and filled out the paperwork so all we'd have to do was print the picture and put it in the mail. Next, I went to look for fabric to use to make our own ties for the groomsmen if all else fails. I didn't find any, but I did find the stuff for one other project I needed to work on. Sorry, that one is still a secret!
When I got home I realized that the flowers that Adam had bought me last week were getting to be at the end of their prime, so I took them out of the vase and made a mock-up of what my bouquet would look like. It turned out I didn't have enough of the mums (I'm pretty sure they are mums not dahlias) to make a bouquet big enough, but it gave me a general idea.
The flowers also look pretty in the purple vases we bought at the dollar store. We bought 100 of them! It's hard to tell from the picture but the vases are purple. I think we'll probably put green and white hydrangeas in these vases rather than the mums or dahlias.
For the taller centerpieces, we'll be using Mamertino wine bottles. I'm thinking we'll remove the labels, but I'm not sure yet. The flowers in this vase will probably be dahlias or mums. I didn't want to pull the leaves off the flower and ruin it, but we'd probably take them off for the final arrangements. It looks kind of weird with the leaves sticking out.Some of the wedding elements grouped together. They won't be arranged this way for the wedding but it helps show how the colors will work together.
After playing florist for a little while, it was time to make dinner. Since Adam won our bowling bet the night before, I had to make chili. He ended up helping with it which was nice and while we waited for it to simmer I worked on my "secret project" while Adam researched honeymoon possibilities. We ate dinner and then went to the gym. When I came home I did the last thing on my to do list for the weekend... made red velvet cupcakes! And let me tell you they were pretty delicious. Definitely on the list of possibilities for the wedding.
Sunday was a busy day but I felt a little less stressed out after getting so much accomplished! Yay for productive days!
All photos are my own.

weekend recap.

After work on Friday, I came home and started looking for some wedding-related things online and began to feel really overwhelmed. There are so many things we have left to do before September! There are less than 8 months left until the big day and it feels like I will never get everything done! So in order to feel a little more organized, I printed out all of the wedding planning forms from the Russell + Hazel website and started filling them in. This led me to feel even more stressed out because there were so many blank lines that I didn't know how to fill in!

On Saturday, I expressed to Adam how stressed I was beginning to feel about the wedding, so we spent the day trying to check things off the never-ending list.

First, we went to the mall (in a snowstorm I might add) in order to find a few things. We were looking for moss green ties for the groomsmen and teal ties for our dads. I never realized how hard it would be to find plain satin ties! We were wildly unsuccessful. We also were looking for the teal satin flats I've been eyeing for the wedding. I'd read some reviews online that they run a little small so I wanted to try them on before I ordered them from amazon. Sadly, I couldn't find them anywhere. I also wanted to look for some wedding day jewelry, and didn't get much accomplished in this category because I have no clue where to start. I still don't know what kind of jewelry I want to wear! There is so much to choose from it's just overwhelming to me.

The only thing that we accomplished at the mall was to pick up our champagne flutes and decide that we like the rest of the set that goes with them. So we will have to add another store to register at... yet another thing to do.

Next we went to Men's Wearhouse, because I had found some ties online that I thought could work for our dads. They had the ties, and they were the right color, but one of them had a spot on it that was really noticeable. So we decided we'd just buy them at another store.

We drove a few blocks more and stopped at David's Bridal so I could get swatches of the bridesmaids dresses. It was crazy in there as usual, and I had a frustrating encounter with the girls at the front desk. I explained to them that I needed swatches of the taffeta dress in plum, juniper, and olivine, and they told me that they only carry swatches of their satin dresses, not the taffeta ones. Does anyone else think this makes absolutely no sense? Why would you make swatches of all the dresses you sell except the taffeta ones? Stupid.

On our way home we stopped at another Men's Wearhouse, where they also had the teal ties, but none in extra long (my dad is sort of tall) so we couldn't buy the ties here either.

Our last stop was Michaels, where I had seen that all flower stems were 50% off. I've been wanting to make "a" and "h" letters out of hydrangeas to hang on the doors of the church. We found the perfect shade of hydrangeas and brought the entire stock they had to the front, only to find out that they were considered "bushes" and not "stems" and weren't included in the sale. This was the point where we gave up for the day, brought the hydrangea "bushes" back to their spot in the aisle and went home.

We spent the entire day trying to get wedding tasks accomplished and the only thing we had to show for it were our champagne flutes. Which are beautiful by the way, but we still did not cross anything off the list!

When we got home, we ordered the teal ties from the Men's Wearhouse website before we went out for the night. I think our dads will look pretty handsome sporting these teal ties and matching pocket squares!
Ties from Men's Wearhouse.


dress dilemma...solved!

I've finally solved the dilemma I posted about here, where I couldn't decide between using two or three colors for the bridesmaids dresses. I've decided that we'll be going with just two of the colors, teal and plum. The guys will be wearing moss/olive green ties. I think this is the best option for a few reasons:

1. I want everyone to have their first choice for color. It just so happens that the order happens to be teal, plum, teal, plum, teal, plum, teal. Ask and you shall receive!

2. I am anal and I like order. The order of the dresses when using three colors and not giving all of the girls their first choice in color is less than perfect.

3. With the girls having (most likely) green bouquets, I think the flowers with the green dresses would blend in a little more than I'd like.

4. I think the balance of the green bouquets and green ties will tie everything together enough that we won't need the green dresses. And my bridal party will look less like a rainbow. Hooray!

So it's been decided. I plan on calling all of my lovely bridesmaids this weekend to tell them the news and to let them order their dresses. They are going to look beautiful walking down the aisle in these pretty dresses! And the guys will be looking dapper as well in their pinstriped suits and green ties!

Photoshopped image from my MOH Dani.

toasting flutes.

My future mother-in-law as been asking for awhile now if we could pick out some toasting flutes for the wedding. This is one of those things for the wedding that I think only the people directly involved (aka the bride, groom, and whoever buys them) actually notices. But I also think that it's one of those items that should be displayed in the dining room after the wedding, so I wanted to make sure we really liked them.

On our wedding day, Adam and I will be toasting with our very own Vera Wang "Grosgrain" champagne flutes (shown in the middle). Are they cute?
I like them so much, I'm thinking we may very well register for the rest of the china set that goes with them!
Flutes and china by Vera Wang from Macy's.

i found it!

The perfect clutch to carry all of the items I cannot live without on the day I get married. Now if only it would go on sale...
Clutch by J.Crew.

red velvet cupcakes.

Happy Friday! I hope you have some fun plans for the weekend! Our weekend will consist of blocking hotel rooms, working on save-the-dates, submitting our engagement picture to the paper, and registering at Target and Crate and Barrel. I'd also like to make these red velvet cupcakes, and use it as sort of a cake testing for the wedding.

2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 cups sugar
1 teaspoon
baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon cocoa powder
1 1/2 cups
vegetable oil
1 cup buttermilk, room temperature
2 large eggs, room temperature
2 tablespoons red food coloring
1 teaspoon white distilled vinegar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
For the Cream
Cheese Frosting:
1 pound cream cheese, softened
2 sticks butter, softened
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
4 cups sifted confectioners' sugar
Chopped pecans and fresh raspberries or strawberries, for garnish

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Line 2 (12-cup) muffin pans with cupcake papers.
In a medium mixing bowl, sift together the flour, sugar, baking soda, salt, and cocoa powder. In a large bowl gently beat together the oil, buttermilk, eggs, food coloring, vinegar, and vanilla with a handheld electric mixer. Add the sifted dry ingredients to the wet and mix until smooth and thoroughly combined.
Divide the batter evenly among the cupcake tins about 2/3 filled. Bake in oven for about 20 to 22 minutes, turning the pans once, half way through. Test the cupcakes with a toothpick for doneness. Remove from oven and cool completely before frosting.
For the Cream Cheese Frosting:
In a large mixing bowl, beat the cream cheese, butter and vanilla together until smooth. Add the sugar and on low speed, beat until incorporated. Increase the speed to high and mix until very light and fluffy.
Garnish with chopped pecans and a fresh raspberry or strawberry.

Since my mom's making our wedding cake, I already know what her cakes taste like. But I'd like to try a new recipe and if it's good, I'll just have her practice a little before the wedding! I'll let you know how they turn out! And if you have any other great cake recipes send them my way!

Recipe by Paula Dean of the Food Network.


wedding rentals.

With our reception being held at the local armory, we are on our own when it comes to dinnerware. I'm trying to find some reasonable options when it comes to the look vs. price of plates, silverware, etc. I refuse to use paper plates and plastic silverware. I think it would work to just use a charger plate that looks somewhat pretty but can also be used as a dinner plate, to make the table look nice and keep the costs down. But I'm not having much luck. These plates are nice, but at $4.00 a plate, not including the rest of the dishes, glasses, silverware, etc... I'll pass. Seriously, who can afford that on top of everything else?
If anyone knows of any nationwide rental places, or someone in the Green Bay/Appleton, WI area or Upper Michigan... please let me know!

Photo from here.


button mums.

I love button mums. They are just so cute! I've been waiting to find a picture of a bouquet of button mums and haven't been able to find any (although I haven't been looking very hard). I think I'd like to incorporate these flowers into the wedding, possibly in the bridesmaids bouquets. So today while I was looking through the real wedding featured on Style Me Pretty today, I found one!
The flowers look like they're choking a little bit, I think I would make the bouquet fuller and tie the ribbon a little lower. But I think it has potential! Otherwise maybe the girls could have mixed bouquets, something like this:
Except a little smaller and substituting small stems of hydrangeas for the roses.

Which do you like the most?

Photos by Jonathon Canlas via Style Me Pretty.