looking for a sponsor?

One topic that I have tried to research while trying to take my blog to the next level is finding sponsors. While I am definitely not an expert on the subject, I thought it might be helpful to tell you how I gained my blog sponsor, UPrinting.com. A couple months ago I had commented (and won!) a giveaway from Bridechka and the Wedding and then received an email asking if I would like to apply for a blog sponsorship. I filled out the simple form online, and before I knew it I had an email in my inbox telling me that UPrinting wanted to sponsor my blog! They are very generous and offer lots of giveaways to their bloggers. If you are interested, here's a little more information about the programs that UPrinting offers:

Why UPrinting.com isn't your average printing company:

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So go now and apply for your own blog sponsorship this.very.second!


hairspiration revisited.

My hair and makeup trials are taking place this coming weekend, and I've been scrambling to put together some pictures to show the stylist the look I'm going for. This is where the problem lies. I'm no longer certain I know exactly what look I'd like to achieve on the big day. If you remember from my last hairspiration post (which was months ago) I wanted a low side bun, much like these two.



While I still love the low side bun, lately I've been drawn towards photos of the low side ponytail. I know what you're thinking... not much of a departure from the initial inspiration, but enough to warrant another set of pictures!
(all from Project Wedding)
I'll probably bring in both sets of photos and have the stylist play with both looks to see what will work best. I am really hoping this trial goes well so I don't have to think about hairstyles anymore!
Which look is your favorite? Are you wearing your hair up or down for your wedding?

welcome wishpot-ters!

For those of you who stopped by from Wishpot, welcome! I'm glad to have you here! Hope you enjoy reading about my small town wedding. I'd love to hear your comments!For the rest of my dear readers, if you haven't checked out my very first guest post on the Wishpot Wedding Blog today, go now! Then come back and tell me your thoughts!


multi-tasking table numbers.

I like to multi-task. Even when it comes to centerpieces. Every table at the wedding will have three centerpieces; the outer two being purple vases filled with green and white hydrangea, and one centerpiece in the center (umm redundant much?) comprised of a green wine bottle with a single purple dahlia. So every table needs a green wine bottle. What else does every table need? A table number, of course. So rather than creating more work for myself, I decided to multi-task and combine the two!

I think I've mentioned before that I'm rather thrifty (or "cheap" if you'd prefer) especially when it comes to things I'll never use again. Centerpieces fall into that category. For the middle centerpiece we wanted a certain type of green wine bottle that has a unique shape... and also happens to house one of our favorite wines! So instead of buying a bunch of wine just to get the bottles (although that may have been more fun), we asked a local restaurant that sells this type of wine if they would keep the empty bottles! We're picking up the final bottles this week. They've saved over 40 of them for us. And it cost us ZERO dollars. How's that for thrifty?

Now that we have our wine bottle centerpieces, I've been working on how to make the bottles function as table numbers as well. I looked to Miss Joey's post for inspiration and decided to use the same flourish pattern we've been using throughout the paper goods to liven them up a little. I put together a quick prototype to see what they would look like.
Not terrible, but definitely not perfect either. For the real thing I'll add white cardstock behind the number to make it easier to read, and I'll probably use words rather than actual numbers to make it look a little fancier.

As always, a question for the group... do you think the gold label on the upper portion of the bottle needs to be removed?

Has anyone else considered making their centerpieces do double duty?


tweet tweet.

Rather than doing anything productive tonight (other than testing a few potential signature drinks for the wedding) I joined Twitter! Follow me... asmalltownbride!


to d-i-y or don't-i-y.

I am still debating whether or not to make the boutonnieres for the groomsmen or just get fresh ones from the florist. It's not really about the cost; our quote is for $10 each which is pretty reasonable. I'm just worried that I'll make them and then regret it when I see the pictures. I don't intend on making one for the groom--his will have dahlias to match my bouquet and will be made by the florist. Of course I can give her matching ribbon to tie them all together, but I'm worried they won't look right with a mixture of fresh and fake flowers.

To refresh your memory, here's trial #1:
Here is a look at trial #2:
I may or may not add a fresh button mum or two to the real deal (much like the first trial), I just didn't have any when I put this one together. I'm unsure about the little berry-like things. I tried to add them for some extra color, but they look weird to me.

This is the picture I gave the florist for the groom's boutonniere. It will have hypericum berries instead of the stringy green things in the picture (not sure what they're called) I'd have her add the same purple ribbon and the flower will be purple as well.
So what do you think? Should I scrap the idea and just have the florist use fresh flowers for the groomsmen bouts'? Or should I stop overanalyzing things and make them myself? With or without the colored berry things? With real berries instead? Do tell!


a pretty ball of flowers.

I've always loved the look of a flower girl carrying a pomander. They are just too cute (both the flowers and the little girls of course!)

Oddly enough, the pomander was the first elements I knew for sure would be making an appearance on our big day. As usual, I took the opportunity as an excuse for another DIY project. Here's what I came up with:

I'll admit, I was a bad blogger and didn't take pictures of the process. But this is an easy one, so no pictures are required!

Silk flowers
Styrofoam ball
Hot glue gun & glue sticks
Ribbon (I used a little less than 2 yards)
Something to poke holes with--a pencil works well

1. Take your flowers off of the main stem. There should be a small stem left on the flower so you can attach it to the styrofoam ball. If you're using small flowers such as hydrangeas like I did, you don't have to separate them into individual flowers, just separate them into smaller groups.
2. Use your pencil to poke a hole in the styrofoam ball (go into the ball about an inch or so to make sure the stem will fit.)
3. Fill the hole with some hot glue.
4. Place the stem of the flower into the hole and let it dry.
5. Repeat these steps until your styrofoam ball is completely covered in flowers, only leaving a small bare spot at the top to attach your ribbon.
6. Cut a slit in the bare spot of the ball to attach the ribbon. Make sure the slit is as wide as your ribbon width so it fits properly.
7. Fold your ribbon in half. Measure the desired length of your wrist strap from the folded end (mine is about 6"). Mark this spot.
8. Fill the slit with hot glue.
9. Place the marked portion of your ribbon into the slit on the ball. Do not put the folded end or the two open ends into the slit, only your wrist strap marks. You are basically just glueing in a little fold at that mark to hold the ribbon in place.
10. For good measure, stick a few straight pins in on an angle to make sure the ribbon doesn't fall out if the pomander is whipped around (it is for a little girl to carry after all, this will probably happen).
11. After the glue is dry, take your two open ribbon ends and tie a bow with the folded wrist strap coming out of the top of the bow.
12. Trim the ends of the ribbon as desired.
13. Find a cute flower girl to carry your pomander!

Did anyone else use a pomander for their flower girl?


shower number two.

I recently received an exciting piece of mail! No, it wasn't another bachelor party postcard (although I'll be sure to report on those as I get them). The mail I received was the invitation to my second (and final) bridal shower! This one's hosted by a family friend with help from my mother, and will consist of mostly guests from my side of the family, along with some friends and bridesmaids that couldn't make it to the first one.
Like the last one, much of it is a surprise to me. I know it will be held at the host's lake house on the 4th of July weekend, and that's about it. I can't wait to see what they've been planning!


ceremony assistance...part two.

First of all, thank you so much for all of your suggestions in part one of this series! I listened to all of them, and there were a ton of options for beautiful processional songs. The results of the poll ended up with a tie between Prelude in C and Jesu, Joy of Man's Desiring. So of course, the only logical choice for me was to not pick either of them... okay maybe it wasn't logical, but that is what happened.

My bridesmaid Anna plays the piano, and since we're having only a pianist for the ceremony, I figured I should get some options from her. She came up with a ton of choices, and I found two songs that I absolutely love!

Remember how I said I didn't want Canon in D as one of the processional pieces? Well...I changed my mind the second I heard this arrangement:

Yep, you can call me a hypocrit. The grandparents, parents, and the wedding party will be walking down to this arrangement of Canon in D.

I actually contemplated whether or not I should only play Canon in D and just time my entrance to one of the parts in which the music builds up in the song. After getting lots of opinions from family members, I've decided to add second song for the bridal entrance. That song will be Hymne by Vangelis.

Finally, the processional songs are selected! It was more difficult than it probably should have been to check that one off the list.

Next item on the agenda-- the song that our sisters will sing.

As I mentioned in my last music post, two of our sisters are talented singers. We really want them to sing a song during the ceremony. This will probably be used as the offertory song, while some other family members are bringing up the gifts. Ideally it would be something that is more on the traditional side; I think throwing a contemporary song into the Catholic ceremony while we're using classical music for all of the other songs might sound a little out of place. The only song that has come to my mind so far is Ave Maria.

While I think this song is beautiful, I'd like to hear a few more options before we select a song.

So hive, this is where you come in! Do you have any suggestions for traditional-ish songs that our sisters could sing? I'm looking forward to your recommendations... I need all the help I can get!


the big 2-0-0.

This is my 200th post! Can you believe it? Thank you, my lovely readers, for continuing to follow along with all of my planning and random inspiration. I love reading all of your comments, so keep them coming!

I like that I have a good mix of readers on this blog. Some friends and family, fellow brides-to-be, and a few fabulous vendors! Oh yeah, and the groomsmen. They have been reading lately, so if you find really weird comments that don't make a lot of sense... blame it on the groomsmen. They like to make fun of me for blogging, and call me "small town bride" in person now to mock me, yet they still have this blog as a bookmark on their iPhones. I think it's sweet.

They also wrote me some really nice postcards while in Milwaukee for the bachelor party last weekend. They've started to arrive in the mail. Check this one out.
p.s. The scary part -- this one's written by a future doctor. Be careful where you take your children for medical treatment!

Gotta love the groomsmen. *muah*



Have I mentioned yet that we are planning to have a photobooth of sorts set up at our reception? We will be setting up a backdrop for pictures in the cocktail area. Our Canon D60 camera will be set up on a tripod (that my boss gave to me for free... thanks boss!) and we bought a wireless remote (with a gift card we got for buying our camera) for people to snap their own pictures with! My cousin will be there to troubleshoot and will probably take the pictures during the rush at the beginning of the reception, but for the most part it will be self-service.

(source--you can also get the clipart for this lace one here)

Originally I wanted to find a damask fabric that matched our colors for the backdrop, but I didn't find anything I liked enough and/or that was cheap enough for me to buy. Instead, we opted for a plum colored king sized sheet from Ikea that was about $14. I might take some inspiration from Mrs. Taffy and paint on a flourish pattern, but we'll see where it ends up on the priority list. I designed a poster that gives some instructions and was printed compliments of UPrinting, which we will hopefully set up on a easel or table next to the backdrop. All that's left to do is mount it on a posterboard... which I also got for free from my work. Score! So the total photobooth cost for us will be $14, which may be one of the cheapest photobooth investments ever! Plus, we can reuse the sheet in our home after the wedding. How's that for practical?
Have you ever been to a wedding with a photobooth (or "faux"tobooth)? Was it a hit with the guests?

registry wishes.

Hey dudes and dudettes... check out who's joined the ranks of the Wishpot Wedding Experts!
So far I've added a few of the items we're most excited about on our registry, but check back soon for some recommendations on items that would be excellent additions to your own wedding wishlist!


sponsored post: abazias diamonds.

Diamonds. They're every girl's best friend. Abazias has what all the girls want -- lots and lots of diamonds. Over 150,000 of them to be exact! In case you've never heard of Abazias, let me tell you a little bit about the company. Abazias is an online jewelry store with a huge selection of gorgeous engagement rings, wedding bands, and other types of jewelry. They offer high quality diamonds for the lowest prices around. Quality, selection, and value - not much more you could ask for!

Want to learn about the 4 C's? Their website has lessons that include all the meanings behind cut, clarity, color, and carat. Not sure whether a solitare engagement ring is your style? Use the ring builder feature to find your dream ring. Then email it to your boyfriend! I'm sure he'll get the picture!!

If you're looking for a piece of jewelry, but hesitant about buying it online and not being able to see it in person, be sure to take advantage of the 10 day return policy. If you decide its not your style, simply return it within the 10 day period, no questions asked.

Here are a few of my favorite things from Abazias...

I would love to have this bracelet!
I am a sucker for pearls. This would go perfectly with my wedding dress.
Right hand ring, perhaps? It would work as a wedding band too!
I love the look of the asscher cut! Sooooo pretty.
Looking at diamonds is too much fun! Now go to the Abazias website and pick out a few of your own favorite things!


learning to dance, step one.

Newsflash... the Mascaras are not good dancers. I danced for seven years waaaay back when, but I definitely didn't retain much and now I feel ridiculous trying to dance. Mr. M is just... not good either. We have this weird fear of doing the high school sway while everyone is watching us dance for the first time as Mr. and Mrs. I mean it's our first dance as a married couple, it should be done right, don't you think? We've been talking about getting lessons since we first got engaged, and we finally found a ballroom dance studio this past week. We had our introductory lesson and really enjoyed it!

We learned the very very basic steps of the rumba, foxtrot, waltz, and the hustle. We very quickly decided that we are not fans of the hustle. The rest were enjoyable though. I kind of like using the whole floor in the foxtrot! Our instructor was a fun guy and was pretty outgoing, which is just what we needed to break out of our shells a bit (we are engineers after all). He did a lot of the "BAM", "BOOM", "POW" business (apparently channeling his inner Black Eyed Peas?) but we'll forgive him for that.

At the end of the lesson, while we definitely didn't feel as though we were ready for the real deal, we at least had the confidence that we are capable of pulling it off. The instructor told Mr. M that he had a really strong posture (and kept calling him Tom, since apparently he resembles Tom Cruise) and that I dance really "light"... which I guess is a good thing because it means I'm not dragging my man around the dance floor. Go us!

We ended up signing up for an additional four lessons, and I'm pretty excited about it! Our next lesson is tomorrow, so I'll let you know how it goes!

Did anyone else decide to brush up on their dancing skills before the big day?


a tea party.

When my sister Dani and I were little, we used to spend hours playing tea party with my aunt. She would break out her best English accent and make up ridiculous names for us like "Mrs. Snodgrass" and "Miss Tiddlywink". I'm pretty sure we were close to having water poisoning...we seriously drank SO much water out of our little pink plastic teacups! Sometimes I miss being a kid.

When I saw this Alice in Wonderland themed bridal shower on Project Wedding, I immediately thought of our days playing tea party. Seriously, how fun would it be to be a guest at this party? Everything is so whimisical and bright!
I'm definitely filing this one away in the inspiration folder, just in case I have to host a shower or girly party sometime soon!


the bachelor party.

This weekend my fiance will be painting the town of Milwaukee red, or whatever color it is that men paint a town...blue perhaps? Either way, he and his boys will be having a blast! He says he'll take pictures, so maybe we'll have a guest blogger with a full report next week! Now that I think about it, maybe not the full report. A partial one could be fun though.

The party should be pretty crazy. Buses rented starting at 9AM, brewery tours, tailgates, and baseball games are all involved. Also the chocolate chip cookies that I baked. Oh yeah, and I can't forget the beer and Jack Daniels. I'm not sure how most brides feel about their fiance's bachelor parties, but I'm so excited for him! He has been so tolerant of all the wedding hooplah lately, he deserves a night out with friends!

While he's gone, I am (sort of) looking forward to getting some things checked off our list. Namely finishing the rest of our table runners. The bachelor party sounds so much more appealing.

How did you feel about your fiance's bachelor party? Were you excited for him or worried?


no more doubts.

So I haven't posted anything about my dress since it arrived in March. My reason being that I was just SO unsure about it. I felt like I had jumped in a little too fast and bought my dress without doing much research, and I wasn't sure if it was really "the one" for me anymore.

Despite my hesitation, I had my first fitting on the weekend of my bridal shower. I'm getting my alterations done by a friend of Mr. M's family, who actually altered both of his sisters' wedding dresses as well. I would have had no problem altering my dress at The Bride's Room, where I bought it, but I figured I'd save the money and get it done at home. By someone who knows me. Or at least knows my soon-to-be family.

For the fitting, I brought my dress, veil, shoes, and jewelry. My mom, future mother-in-law, and littlest sister (and BM) Gaby all came with me. It was my mom's first time seeing me in my dress, so I wanted to make sure she got the full effect. I also wanted to make sure that I got the full effect, and was hoping it would get rid of the doubts I had about the dress. I put it all on and we got right to work figuring out what needed to be done.

Since I'd lost some weight since I bought the dress (officially 10 pounds as of today, yippee!) it was too big on top and needed to be taken in about an inch on each side. I'm decently tall (5'8") and wearing flats, so the dress length was perfect. I talked to her about removing some or all of the beading on top (I am really not a fan of beading and sparkles) and we decided to take it slow and just remove the sequins in the centers of the flowers for now. No problem. The only other thing we had to worry about was the bustle.

I had no idea how I wanted the dress bustled, but I did know I wanted it to blend in with the tucks and draping on the dress. Immediately the lady tried the overbustle approach. I wasn't feeling it. Everything on my dress flows down and to the side, so pulling the train up and over all of the draping just didn't look right at all. At first I was hesistant to say anything, but since I was already feeling a little so-so about the dress, I didn't want to like it any less!

I suggested we try an underbustle. She said she wasn't sure how it would look, but tried it anyway. Then she proceeded to "ooh" and "ahh" about how beautiful it looked and blended in with the details on the dress! She put a few pins in and told me to come back the next time I came home.

I went back a couple weeks ago while I was visiting my parents. She had already taken the sides in, and had worked on pinning the bustle exactly how she would sew it. She had also removed the weird sequin centers of the flowers on the top of the dress, just like we talked about.

Although she had taken it in a tad too far on the sides (nothing a little more diet and exercise can't fix in the next 3 months, or worst case -- letting it out a bit), the rest of the dress was perfect! I love.love.love the bustle. So much, in fact, that I will be wearing it bustled...all day. As in, including the ceremony. No train for this bride!

I love that I'll be able to move around without an entourage fixing my dress during the ceremony. And that no one will be worried about learning how to bustle it correctly before the reception. The best part is... I like my dress again! The train was just all wrong for me.

Did you have doubts about your dress? What did you do to get rid of them?


ceremony assistance...part one.

With the majority of the wedding plans so far, I've had a clear vision as to what we're going for. The ceremony music is one of the things that is a little fuzzy, to say the least. So who better to help me combat my indecisiveness than you, hive?

Let's start at the bridal processional, shall we? A lot of lovely brides-to-be have a specific song that they've been dreaming of walking down the aisle to since they were little girls. There is no such song in my mind. I have no clue what song I want to walk down the aisle to. I do, however, know a few songs I do not want to enter the church to, including Canon in D and the Wedding March (you know...dum dum da dum...that one). Nothing wrong with those songs, I've just been to a ton of weddings in my day and I'm looking for something a little outside the norm. I am getting married in the Catholic church though, so whatever songs I choose cannot be too far ourside of the norm. Also, we are having a pianist play at the ceremony, so I need songs that don't need other instruments to sound right. So what are the options?

The only two songs I've found that I like enough to use for the bridal processional are:

Prelude in C (Major)

and Jesu, Joy of Man's Desiring

I really really really like Prelude in C for some reason, but I worry that it will be sort of anticlimatic if I use Jesu, Joy of Man's Desiring before it for the wedding party processional . It just doesn't seem to have enough "oomph" if you know what I mean. But I really really like it.

I feel like Jesu, Joy of Man's Desiring is the safe one of the two choices for the bridal processional. It's pretty and I really do like it, but it feels a little more "norm" to me.

The other issue I am questioning is whether to have an instrumental song like the two above, or to have one or two of our sisters sing a song for the processional instead. My cousin's wife walked down the aisle to her friend singing Ave Maria, and it was absolutely beautiful! If we went this route, I am clueless as to which song to have them sing to!

So I ask you, knowledgeable brides (and grooms)-to-be, which song do you think I should walk down the aisle to?

a. Prelude in C (Major)
b. Jesu, Joy of Man's Desiring
c. Instrumental song, but those are both horrible choices! I will share a much better song for with you in the comments!
d. Have sisters sing, I will recommend a song in the comments!


slowly but surely.

Things are s l o w l y coming together on our wedding invitations! I sent the final guest list to the calligrapher today, so the envelopes should be addressed soon! We've been working hard to put together the parts that we can until we get the guts of the invites back from the printer. They'll be back tomorrow, and then the paper cutting marathon begins! I can't wait to see the final product come together!
Did you make your own invitations? Do you think it was worth all the hard work in the end?


a pretty little dress.

Ladies and gents, we have a flowergirl dress.  I had previously posted about some of the options, but never gave you the final selection!  I'm sure you've been waiting in suspense.  Or not.
Either way, when I first laid eyes on this adorable dress from TheBoutiqueBaby on Etsy, I knew it was the one.  

Since the seller only had pink and cream available, I asked if she could make the same dress in ivory to match the color of my wedding dress.  She said yes, and a couple weeks later I had a pretty little dress for our flowergirl!

While I was home a few weeks ago for my bridal shower, I had Ali try it on to make sure it fit.  She was being a little shy, so this is the only picture I have of her, and it is blurry! 
You'll just have to trust me when I say it is beautiful on her!  I love that the bubble hem matches the hem of the bridesmaids dresses, and the little fabric flowers are just too cute!  I also love that it is a little away from the norm, being short and all.  I can't wait to see her walk down the aisle in this dress!

Did you opt for an untraditional flowergirl dress?


my wedding workbook.

Have you guys heard about My Wedding Workbook?  
It's a free online wedding planner that is full of useful features like a budget planner to track payments, a guest list and RSVP tracker, and my favorite, the CHECKLIST!  
I love looking at the checklists on wedding planning websites to make sure I haven't forgotten anything.  The best part is that on My Wedding Workbook, the checklist tasks can be added to your calendar, and you can receive email updates to remind you that you need to finalize your reception menu, for example.  It's pretty sweet, so you should head on over to the website and try it for yourself!  


in love.

I'm pretty much in love with this rehearsal dinner designed by Amy Nichols and featured on Style Me Pretty. I want to know what the wedding itself looked like if the rehearsal dinner was this beautiful!
If I wasn't having such a hard time finding ribbon in our wedding colors, I would totally use this idea for chair decorations at our reception! Who knew something so simple could dress up a wooden chair so much?

Photos by Timothy Teague

I'm also loving the way the napkins are rolled and tied with ribbon. This one, I think I may try to replicate!

With only 3 months left to go, I've been trying to limit my intake of new ideas, because honestly there's just not enough time left to implement any more ideas! But its so hard to not be inspired while looking at wedding blogs! Is anyone else trying not to be inspired as their countdown starts winding down?


a simple slideshow.

I was fortunate enough to win a 16x20" canvas print recently from UPrinting.com, so tonight we picked out which picture we want to blow up and put on canvas.  We picked this engagement photo, taken by h.vivio photo.
We'll probably display it near the entryway at the wedding, along some other pictures from over the years.  We were originally going to have a slideshow in the normal sense of the word, but then we got lazy.  I don't want to figure out where to get a projector, etc. for the wedding.  Nor do I want to stop everything that's going on in order to play a slideshow during dinner.  I'd rather people look at pictures at their leisure if they're interested while they're having a drink during the cocktail hour.  So we are going to string up some photos along a wire, a la Mrs. Cherry Pie, or maybe a ribbon to dress it up a bit.  We'll put the canvas print somewhere in the mix and we'll be all set!

I've delegated this project to my fiance, and I'm glad I don't have to worry about it.  I do have to get on the ball and find pictures of me from my childhood, but besides that, it's all him!  Here are a few pictures I think we'll hang up.
New Years 2008

Random date night 2007

St. Patty's Day 2007

Bahamas Trip 2006

More from the Bahamas

A friend's wedding in summer '06

Dance recital, I must've been about 9 here.  I primarily want to use this one to embarrass my sister/MOH!

Easter morning, probably in '92 or so?

I must be about 6 or 7 in this one.  Check out those sweet bangs.  Gotta love the early '90s.

Unfortunately for you all, Mr. M's sisters don't put old pictures of him on facebook like mine do, and he hasn't scanned them in yet.  So no old photos of the other half quite yet.  I'll post some after he scans them!

Are you planning on having a slideshow at your wedding, or did you opt for the photo display route?