boys need flowers too.

In the form of a boutonniere, that is! I'm a fan of simple ones with green hypericum berries for our ringbearers, because you know they are going to destroy them by the end of the night anyway!

Next up, the groomsmen. We'll be keeping it simple for them too, adding in a few button mums (possibly in purple, green, or a mix) to add some color. Nothing too elaborate, just something to dress us their collars a little.

Lastly and most importantly, we have the groom of course! The Mr. will be wearing a different bout than the rest of the gents, containing a purple dahlia and probably more of the same hypericum berries to tie them all together.

All that's left to decide is who will be making them! I have a florist, but I feel like these would be so simple to make. And with an estimate of around $12 per bout from our florist, it's worth it to try. I'll be sure to post an update when I do.

Is anyone else considering making their own boutonnieres?


pre-cana...no longer a mystery.

A while back I posted about our experience taking the FOCCUS survey. This past weekend, we completed the last step in order to get married in the Catholic church by attending Pre-Cana class.

Some of you might be wondering what Pre-Cana is. Before attending, Pre-Cana was always a mystery to us and a lot of other couples we know who have gone through it. According to
wikipedia: "Pre-Cana is a course or consultation Catholic couples must undergo before they can be married in a Catholic church. The name is derived from John 2:1-12, the wedding feast at Cana in Galilee, where Jesus performed the miracle of turning water into wine.
Approaches to Pre-Cana vary among Catholic dioceses and parishes. Often six weekly sessions will be led by a priest or deacon with support from a married Catholic couple. Common topic include: compatibility of the couple, basic principles of Catholic marriage and family life (namely theological meaning of marriage), conflict resolution within marriage, rules the couple is accepting to follow (including, but not limited to, natural family planning)."

Now that you have the official definition, I'll tell you a little about our experience.

We arrived at the church at 9:00 am and the first order of business was to fill out our information cards and name tags(and pay if you hadn't already paid online). There was a booklet for each couple at the table when we sat down. After everyone was settled, the facilitators, a couple that was married for over 20 years, explained how we would spend the day.

Our first exercise was finding our nametags, since after writing our names down they had collected these from us. They passed them out to other attendees and everyone was supposed to find their nametag. Not sure how this related to getting married, but I think they were just trying to break the ice.

Next, we started going through the booklet. There were doubles of most pages within the book, one for him and one for her. We were instructed to fill out the first pages and discuss. These pages consisted of writing down the top three events and people in your life, as well as a few other questions. We filled out the pages and discussed them with each other. No big surprises here, we had pretty much the same answers.

Then we had to list the top three things that we thought were important in a successful marriage. We prioritized them within our own list, then with each other, and then with other couples at our table. Then the whole group compiled a list of the things they thought were important, and of course the group's list ended up being very large. The facilitators explained how though all of these things are important in a marriage (things like trust, communication, excitement, etc) would come together in different quantities throughout different times in the marriage.

The rest of the morning was layed out very similar, filling out a page in the booklet on topics like traits of yourself and your future spouse, methods of good and bad communication, etc., then sharing between each other, then with the table, then with the whole group.

Before we broke for lunch we were asked to write a letter to each other about anything we wanted. It was nice to read what the other person said with such an open-ended letter. The fiance wrote a very sweet letter to me that I think I'll save to look back on when we're older!

After lunch, it was more of the same routine, discussing topics like budgets, intimacy (there was no sharing with the group on this topic), and children. They touched on natural family planning, but since the facilitators were not medical professionals, they did not feel comfortable going into detail. They provided more information for those interested in the form of a booklet and details on a natural family planning class.

One of last topics that we discussed was how we had experienced God's presence within our lives. It was nice to hear the stories that other people told, but no one was forced to share a story. They simply asked for volunteers.

Before we wrapped up for the day, they ended by having each couple stand up and explain how they met. Though it was nice that they wanted to make each couple feel special by sharing their story, it took forever (there were 42 couples there) and it was awkward sharing with a bunch of people we didn't know (although I realize I do this via blogging on a daily basis!).

Overall, I must admit that I was a little disappointed with my Pre-Cana experience. I went into it with the feeling that I was only going to get out of it what I put into it. I went with a positive attitude, and even convinced my very unenthusiastic fiance to try to make the best of it. When we got there, I found the topics we discussed to be very predictable, and the discussion associated with each subject was nothing I hadn't already heard. There was also a TON of time wasted. The class lasted from 9:00 am - 4:30 pm. Everyone was finished with each exercise within about 10 minutes, and we talked amongst our table for at least 15 minutes between each exercise. We probably could've finished before noon if there wasn't such a lag between exercises.

In hindsight, I wish we would have taken the class in our hometown, where it was $30 rather than $180, and then even if we didn't get anymore out of it than we did here, it wouldn't have been such a waste of money.

If you attended Pre-Cana, what was your experience like? Did you get more out of it than we did?


saving the date part 4: the cards.

Now that you've made your embossed envelopes, it's time for the more important part... the cards that will actually tell your guests which date to save.

You will need:
-cardstock or cover weight paper (I used 12x12 linen textured cardstock from JoAnn's in white and a moss green color)
-paper cutter
-corner rounding paper punch
-paper punch (I used a 1/16" punch)
-small metal brads
-large stamp (I used the Large Flourish stamp from Paper-Source)
-stamp ink (I used a Colorbox stamp pad from Paper-Source)
-artwork design


1. Design your artwork. Don't forget your crop marks and the small dot on the front page to tell you where to place your brad. I actually made the brad mark white, not black, and it was much more discreet. So much so that it wouldn't show up in the picture.
I designed our save-the-date artwork in Adobe Illustrator. I sized the cards so they would fit in the A2 envelopes we used, and made sure to maximize the number of invites per page by fitting 6 on each 12x12 sheet. This helped me save on printing costs.
Caution: Before you buy 12x12 cardstock, make sure whoever you are getting your prints from is capable of printing on 12x12 paper. Not all printers can print on paper this large!
2. Get your prints made. We used a small print shop located in the UP (called CJ Graphics if anyone is interested). It was hard to do this from a distance, but they were great to work with and called me several times asking for Pantone numbers in order to make sure the colors were what I wanted. 3. Start cutting! We found you have to make less cuts if you cut around the perimeter first, then cut between the cards. (Do as I say, not as I do! The picture below shows me cutting the perimeter last, which takes more cuts and more time!)
4. Stamp and emboss your pages, just like you did on the envelopes. 5. Assemble your pieces (we had three pages) and make sure they line up properly. Trim edges if needed. 6. Round all corners while your cards are stacked. This ensures that all of your pages will match up nicely. If you have more than three pages, you might have to split them up, as it was difficult for us to even put three in the rounder at once.7. Use your paper punch to punch a hole through all sheets in order to put your brad in.8. Insert brad and separate prongs to fasten.9. Your save-the-date cards are complete!
10. Insert your save-the-date cards into your embossed envelope and seal it shut (use your tape roller again if your envelopes are homemade). 11. Add postage and send your lovely save-the-date cards to your guests.

My last post in this series will be a budget breakdown and lessons learned, so stay tuned!

balloons and ric-rac.

How cool is this idea for escort cards from Once Wed? They would be perfect for a modern wedding.

The pink ric-rac is such a sweet detail. I am amazed at some of the things people come up with to use for wedding decor. I think this same idea could be applied to centerpieces too. Such a simple (and cheap!) DIY project that would make a big impact!


saving the date part 3: the envelopes.

There were several requests for a tutorial on how I created my save the date cards. Since there are quite a few steps, I'll break up the instructions into two posts. First up, the envelopes!

What you'll need:
- Self-healing cutting mat*

- X-acto knife*

- Bone folder*

- Tape roller*

- 8 1/2" x 11" text weight paper* (I used
Paper-Source text weight (80 lb) paper in the color Lake)

- A2 envelope template (I used the
Paper-Source template)

- Rubber stamps (I used the
Paper-Source Small and Large Flourish stamps)

- Inkpad with embossing-compatible ink (I used a Colorbox inkpad in Eggplant from

- Embossing powder (I used clear embossing powder from

- Embossing heat tool, or iron (I used an iron)

- Return address stamp (I used a customizable stamp from
Office Depot)

* You can omit these items if using ready-made envelopes

Instructions for making envelopes* (obviously, omit if using ready-made envelopes):
1. Line up point of template in top left corner, and highest point of the side of the template with the top edge of the paper.
2. If using an A2 template on 8 1/2" x 11" paper, the template will be slightly too big. This is okay as long as it's the lowest point on the side edge of the template that overlaps. This part will be hidden once your envelope is assembled.
3. Carefully use your X-Acto knife to cut around the template. If you want to do this the right way, you can trace the template and then cut on your lines. Since I'm lazy, I skipped this step. I treated my template as more of a disposable item because it saved me so much time when cutting 150 envelopes to skip this step. My template had a lot of extra cuts on it by the end of all those envelopes.
4. When all edges are cut, use a bone folder to score the folds of the envelope. This makes it much easier to get a straight fold.
5. When all 4 edges are scored, carefully fold along the score lines. Run your bone folder along the edge to make nice crisp creases.
6. Your envelope is complete! Now onto the beautification process.
Instructions for stamping and embossing envelopes
7. Place your envelope on top of a scrap of paper if you are going to make your design run off the edge like I did.
8. Load your stamp with ink.
9. Align your stamp on the envelope and press it down firmly (don't rock it back and forth or you'll get a double image.
10. Your envelope is stamped! Remove it from the scrap paper, being careful not to smudge the wet ink.
11. While the ink is still wet, pour embossing powder over the design and tap the edges of the envelope to completely cover the design with a light coat of powder.
12. When your design is covered, unfold your envelope along the edges near the design.
13. Heat embossing powder using an embossing heat tool or an iron. I find the iron works just fine, and saves me $20 and some extra space in my crafting area that would be used for the embossing tool.
14. When entire design is melted, removed from heat.
15. The front of your envelope is complete!
16. When design has cooled, flip envelope over and stamp on the return address. To do this, I found it easiest to center the envelope between two lines on my cutting mat, like so.
The line coming to the center of the envelope is what I used to align my stamp.
Press your stamp down and you've got your return address. Hopefully the post office won't actually need to use it!
17. Load your small stamp with ink.
18. Center on envelope and press down, again without rocking.
19. Emboss as you did on the front while the ink is still wet.
20. Line the edges of the bottom flap of the envelope with tape or glue.
21. Fold bottom flap in on top of side flaps to tape the bottom together.
22. Your envelopes are finished! Take a break to admire your work! Then address them however you like (I printed them out using my personal printer).

Next up in the series, the save-the-date card tutorial.

increased heart rate.

That's what I'm experiencing at this moment. Why? Because I just got the call... my dress is in! I'm a little bit excited. And a little bit nervous. I hope I still like it as much as I did when I bought it. Six months is so long to wait between the time you buy something and the time you receive it! Now I just need to find the time to pick it up. The store closes at 5 today, is it bad if I leave work early to go get it? I'm not sure if I can hold out for another day knowing it is there waiting for me.


bridesmaid times two.

This summer I have the pleasure of standing in not one but two of my friends' weddings (both of them are standing in my wedding as well). I must admit, it's kind of fun to be planning our weddings at the same time. We are all in the same boat, and whenever everyone else is tired of hearing about the weddings, we have each other to talk to!

Dana's wedding is in October, so I'll have a month to recover after our wedding. We recently picked out our bridesmaids dresses. We had a great time trying to find the perfect one, stopping at a few Chicago establishments along the way of course. We selected
strapless satin dresses from the Vineyard Collection in Pewter. I think they will look beautiful, don't you?
Dona's wedding is in May, and I am the maid of honor. You know what that means... yep, the speech. I feel like the maid of honor speech never quite measures up to the best man's for some reason. I'm struggling with what I'm going to say. I want it to be short, sweet, and to the point, with a little bit of humor thrown in as well. Easier said than done. And it's only two months away! I need to figure out what I'm going to say soon so I can practice, practice, practice because public speaking is not my forte. If anyone has any advice, I'm all ears! What was the most memorable wedding speech you've ever heard? If you've given a speech of your own, where did you turn for inspiration?


diy project: mossy initials.

One of the first projects I decided I wanted to take on for the wedding were some initials to hang on the doors of the church. They are just so pretty!

Here are my initial inspiration pictures...

Jennifer Brum

April Smith via Style Me Pretty

Here's what you'll need to make your own mossy initials.

- A large piece of styrofoam insulation (the pink stuff works just fine!) , cardboard letters would also work. We used 1/2" thick insulation and doubled up the layers for strength.

- Box cutter

- Sharpie

- Spray adhesive

- Sandpaper

- Spray paint (I used a light green color)

- Spanish moss


1. Draw the letters onto your stryofoam with a permanent marker.

2. Carefully cut the letters out with a box cutter. 3. If your styrofoam is thin like ours, trace the letter you just cut out onto more styrofoam. This will be your second layer to strengthen the letters.
4. Carefully cut out your second letter with a box cutter.5. Now you have your two layers!
6. Apply spray adhesive to the front side of the bottom layer and to the back side of the other top layer.
7. Match the edges and carefully press the two layers together. Now you will have one letter with double the thickness. 8. Use sandpaper to smooth the edges of the letter. Sand, sand, sand until all edges are complete.

9. If you are using insulation, remove the plastic covering from the top and bottom of the letter. This is an important step! If you forget to do this, the paint and glue in the next steps might rub off.
10. Spray the top, bottom, and all edges of the letter with spray paint. Be careful not to spray too close, or the paint will eat away at the styrofoam.
11. Wait for the paint to dry!
12. When the paint is dry, apply spray adhesive to the top and all edges of the letter.
13. Spread the spanish moss over the letter to cover it.
To help the moss stick, squeeze it around the edges of the letter.
14. Admire your pretty initials! Depending on how you plan on hanging them, you will have to add a ribbon, mounting tape, etc. to the back of the letter. We're going to add some plum double faced satin ribbon to the tops of ours (similar to the first inspiration photo), but I haven't ordered the ribbon yet.

Hope you enjoyed the tutorial!