we're off! and other last minute details.

Well, one of us is off. The car is packed and I'll be making my way back to the UP tomorrow after work! My fiance (that's one of the last times I'll get to say that word) will be staying for one more night and coming up on Wednesday after work. The rest of the week will be filled with the projects I couldn't do from afar, mainly packaging the favors and putting together the OOT bags, final meetings with a few vendors, etc. The decorating at the reception site begins tomorrow as well, so I'll be checking in now and then to see the progress. Maybe I'll even post the progress if I have time (keyword: IF)!

Until then, I'll leave you with a picture of the last project I finished yesterday: the escort card display! Sorry for the terrible picture, but the cameras are already packed so I had to resort to using my phone. The escort cards are finished as well, and they will hang from the ribbons going across the board. Thank you to the lovely Mrs. Quiche for the last minute inspiration and escort card cutting assistance!
If you are thinking "that is one huge escort card board" you are right...it's 4'x6'. Remember, it has to fit about 325 cards on it! I just hope people can reach the top and bottom rows!

I'm curious, if you had a large wedding, how did you display all the cards? I'm thinking a table would be much more practical for so many escort cards!


postcard giveaway winners!

Well we have two winners! These lucky gals will receive 200 custom postcards from UPrinting.com!

Congratulations to An Aqua Juel and awna jade for winning! Ladies, I'll be emailing you shortly with the details!


planning the escape.

With only a little over a week left until the wedding, I cannot help but look past the wedding and move onto the honeymoon. Don't get me wrong, I am very excited for the wedding, the marriage, and everything that comes with being husband and wife. But at this point I am slightly stressed, a little anxious, and looking forward to VACATION!

The morning after the wedding we'll be waking up early (well, relatively early considering the fact that it's the day after our wedding) and making the drive back to Chicago. We'll be switching our bags with our pre-packed honeymoon luggage, grabbing a bottle of champagne, and taking a nice ride in a towncar to the airport. Wondering where we're going?
Well let's see. We'll start in Barcelona, where we board our 12-day Mediterranean cruise! On the way, we'll take in sights in Monte Carlo before heading to Italy. We'll visit Florence, Rome, and Naples (and let's not forget eat lots of pasta and drink some vino!) Then we'll be off to Greece, where we'll see Santorini and Athens. Our next stop will be Dubrovnik, Croatia, which I've heard is absolutely breathtaking. We'll end the trip with a night in Venice (and a gondala ride of course) before making our way to the US and back to the real world.

Now do you understand why I can't wait? I thought so! I even bought a Sea-Band and some Dramamine today, just to be prepared. I'm hoping my motion sickness won't affect me, but I'd rather be safe than sorry!
Have I mentioned I haven't been on a real out-of-the-Midwest vacation since I graduated from college 3 years ago? This honeymoon is much needed. I can't wait to spend 2 whole weeks cruising the Mediterranean and exploring Europe with my HUSBAND!

Is anyone else on pins and needles waiting for their honeymoon? Has anyone else (besides our lovely Snappy on her Sistamoon) been on a Mediterranean cruise? Anything I should be aware of?


custom postcard giveaway!

Two weeks from today, this girl is getting married! I can't believe how fast time has flown by. What better way to celebrate the two week mark than with a giveaway?

Today we're giving away 200 custom postcards from UPrinting.com! Wondering how you could use 200 custom postcards? That's easy!
Make postcard save the dates using one of your engagement pictures.
Or thank you cards with a wedding photo.

There are tons of way you could use these. Custom greeting cards, Christmas cards, moving announcements, the list goes on!

To enter to win 200 custom postcards (your choice of standard size, finish, and full color on both sides) , simply comment below telling me how you'd use your postcards, and make sure to include a valid email address!
You can gain an extra entry if you become a follower or are already a follower (please say so in the comments)
You can gain 2 extra entries if you tweet about this post (make sure to include your twitter name in the comments!): "How would you use your 200 custom postcards? @asmalltownbride http://asmalltownbride.blogspot.com"

I will randomly pick 2 winners next Friday. Contest ends at 11pm Central on Thursday. Winners must pay shipping, offer is valid for US shipping only.

Good luck!


wedding marathon.

This weekend, we're off to the first of four weddings (not counting our own) that we have to go to in the next nine weeks. Yes, that means 5 out of 9 weekends will be spent celebrating marriage. Talk about a wedding marathon! And to top it off, 2 of the additional weekends (or weeks, actually) will be spent on our honeymoon (to be blogged about soon, I swear!) It's going to be a busy two months in the Mascara household!

This weekend one of our groomsmen will be getting married in the Traverse City, MI area. It's a barn wedding, so I am very excited! I've never been to a barn wedding but if it's anything like Mrs. Cherry Pie's, it should be amazing! I have a new appreciation for all of the little details at weddings after I've been planning our own. I'll be sure to take some pictures and share them with you when I get back!

Has anyone else had a wedding marathon? How many weddings in how many weeks? Let's see what the record is!


the makeup trial.

This past weekend I went back up to the UP for the last time before the wedding. In addition to vendor meetings to make sure everyone is on the right track for the big day, I had my makeup trial.

When I got to the salon, Leah, the girl who will be doing my makeup, told me to look at the makeup book they have to see if there were any pictures I liked. I had done a little research myself beforehand, but due to printer issues at my parents' house (and trying to print the pictures 5 minutes before the trial) I had arrived emptyhanded. I showed her a picture in the book with a lighter shade of eyeshadow on the inner half of the eye and darker on the outer half. I said I'd really like to emphasize my eyes and she agreed that that was a good idea. Then she went to work.

For foundation she applied a mix of tinted moisturizer, foundation, and some kind of shimmery add-in. While I don't ever wear foundation, it was light and didn't feel like my face was suffocating, as some foundations make me feel. She added a little bronzer and blush as well.

For the eyes she applied two shades of brown, lighter on the inside, and darker on the outside. She also applied some brown eyeliner and black mascara. For lips, we went with a light pink color with some gloss on top.

When I looked in the mirror, I was a little disappointed. Since I typically wear slate gray eyeliner and more gray than brown eyeshadow, I felt like the brown made me look a like I was wearing almost no makeup. I should feel more "pretty" on my wedding day than on any normal day, right? I thought so. So I asked if for the day-of we could switch to more grays than browns. She said of course, and actually fixed it for me right then because she wanted to make sure we figured out exactly what to do on the wedding day. She wanted me to wash my face and she would only do my eyes over, but I asked if she could just put it over the brown since I wanted to see how the foundation held up through the whole day.

For try #2 she used a gray eyeshadow across the whole lid, with a gray/black liner. I looked in the mirror again and suggested we add a little purplish-gray color in the crease for a little more dimension. She agreed and after the addition we were finished!

Here's the final look (forgive the self snaps and bad lighting, there was no one around to take pictures for me!)

Here's how it looks with my dress (I had my final fitting when I was home too!)

I'm still a little torn about the look. I feel like my eye makeup doesn't show up in the pictures I took right after the trial. The picture at my dress fitting is better, but there it almost looks too dark! And my face looks a little too shiny for my taste. I wish I had payed attention as to whether my face was actually shiny of if the shine in the pictures is due to the shimmer in the foundation. I'm very particular about my makeup, so I think next time I'll look in the mirror between steps so I can see if we're going in the right direction! I'm also going to get some individual fake eyelashes to add to the look.

What do you think? Is there anything you'd change? I am open to suggestions!


simplest DIY project ever...OOT totes!

Please forgive me for all the DIY posts lately. Honestly it's all I've been doing the past few weeks! Here's a project that anyone can do...it's super simple! So easy in fact, I'm not sure it requires pictures. But I took some for you anyway!

I'm not sure where I first found them, but for a long time now I've wanted to use canvas bags to fill with goodies for our out-of-town guests. I always seem to be an OOT guest at weddings, and it is so nice to have some snacks already in the hotel room when you are tired and hungry after a long drive. Our guests will find these cuties filled with treats in their rooms!

And now for the super simple tutorial:

You will need:
  • Tote bags (canvas, paper, most things will work) I ordered my bags from cheaptotes.com
  • Stamp
  • Stamp pad
  • Something to place inside the bag to prevent bleeding to the back (I used a blank stencil but cardboard would work too!)
1. Lay your bag on a hard, flat surface.
2. Place cardboard or whatever you are using to prevent bleeding inside the bag in the area you want your design.
3. Load stamp with ink.
4. Position stamp where you want your design.
5. Firmly press down to transfer ink.
6. Carefully lift stamp off of bag.
7. Let dry and admire your pretty new tote bag!
Here are all of our bags, just waiting to be filled to make our guests smile!

This is one of those projects that took almost no thought and only an hour or two to finish! So simple and yet so satisfying to check it off the list!

Did you opt to give out OOT bags? Did your guests appreciate them?


"faux"tobooth prep and props.

We've recently started to gather props and supplies for our "faux"tobooth! I was in Paper Source this past weekend for something totally unrelated, when I came across these chalkboard prints! At $6.95 a piece, I had to have them! We'll mount them on some foam board and they'll be ready to write on!

I also had some little cards made to tell our guests how to get their photobooth pictures, as well as providing instructions on how they can upload their own photos to our website. They arrived today and they look fantastic! Thank you, UPrinting! I actually had them printed on 2 x 3" business cards, and they are the perfect size to fit in our guests' pockets or purses. Now I'm just hoping they will actually use them!

Since we already have the backdrop, camera, tripod, and wireless remote, all that's left for the "faux"tobooth are a few fun props (think hats and mustaches) and possibly a light of some kind. Any suggestions for cool props or types of lights we should use?


another invite.

Last week I sent out our rehearsal dinner invitations! While not completely necessary, I really wanted to send out invites for the rehearsal dinner so there was no question as to who was invited and to make sure everyone knew what the plan was for dinner. Also, since our RD will be at Mr. M's parents' house on a lake outside of town, I wanted to make sure people knew how to get there!

I found my inspiration for the invitation design a few months ago, and even put them together a few weeks ahead of when I needed to send them! I was pretty proud of myself of being so on top of these.
The invitations were made with the same ruby stardream metallic cardstock, green flourish paper, and white linen paper we've been using throughout all of our paper projects. I added a teal blue ribbon to tie in the ribbon we had our wedding invites, and used the same fonts we used on those as well. We opted to use kraft envelopes for these, simply because I love kraft paper. Mr. M printed the addresses on the envelopes using our printer, which ended up being the most frustrating step in the whole process. Let's just say our printer does not share my love of kraft paper!
Printer difficulties aside, this was the stationary project that I enjoyed the most. This may or may not have something to do with the fact that there were actually a manageable amount of invites that needed to be made! 32 RD invites versus 215 wedding invitations is a HUGE difference when DIYing (and even when not DIYing, for that matter)!
Did anyone else send out rehearsal dinner invites? Did they make life easier for your guests?


i have a handover.

handover (n.)
1. Unpleasant physical effects, usually affecting the hands, following the heavy use of a corner rounder to make wedding programs or other stationary.
After rounding 3,000 corners this weekend (with the help of two lovely bridesmaids), you could say that I have a handover. My palms are so sore, and I know the other girls feel the same! I wouldn't be surprised if actual bruises form within the next few days. But as far as I'm concerned, it was worth it! I won't be showing you the final product until after the wedding, but here's a sneak peek at the little works of art we created to house the details of our wedding ceremony.
They're not quite finished yet (I need to add some final touches, including our names!), but at least the corner rounding and handovers are out of the way! I had to retire two corner rounder punches after this project!

Did anyone else experience soreness after finishing a wedding project? Working out doesn't count for this one :)


saving our seats.

Obviously, there is no question as to where the bride and groom sit at their own reception. Head table or sweetheart table, either way, the newly married couple usually know where they should sit, and no honorable wedding guest would dare take those seats. Are the little signs we see designating the chairs for the happy couple unnecessary? Probably. But are they super cute and just begging for a photo op? Most definitely!
Mrs. Cupcake's chair signs.
I took a cue from a few of my favorite detail shots and made our own "Mr." and "Mrs." signs to tie onto our chairs.
Note: This was pre-prioritizing. I was counting down the months at this point, not days!

I think we'll also put our Goose Grease cake toppers at our places, just in case we forget where we'll be sitting (or maybe just because they are adorable).
How are you saving your seats at your reception?


the final countdown.

One month from now, I will be walking down the aisle to meet my groom. It is kind of surreal to me how fast time has been moving lately. It seems like Adam proposed just last week, but it's been over a year now! This engagement has been one of the most fun and exciting times for the for us as a couple, and also one of the most stressful times, trying to juggle all of the wedding planning along with our normal lives. Speaking of stress...I'm beginning to feel it. I have a few too many items to finish in the next 31 days, and I'm praying that somehow I'll be able to put everything together.
It's a little frustrating that I have so much left on the to-do list. I vowed from the beginning of our engagement to not put things off, and to get as far ahead as possible on wedding projects, to avoid the stress and not get overwhelmed during crunch time. I really have done as much as I can every week, but I still have a ton left to do. Is all of it necessary? No. But like many other brides, I appreciate the little details that make the wedding "us" and don't really want to cut those projects out unless I absolutely have to. I'm not to that point just yet. Give me a couple weeks, and I'm sure I'll be there.

Luckily for me, at least I won't have to cut out the big projects. My matron of honor Dona has graciously volunteered for fly down for the weekend from Minneapolis to help me with the big stuff. The biggest item on our list: the programs. I have a rough prototype and all of the supplies, so hopefully we'll be able to crank these out on Saturday. Also on the list...figuring out signature drinks. I have a few recipes I'd like to try, so we will definitely be sampling some drinky drinks while DIYing. Hopefully it doesn't impair our crafting skills too much. I guess we'll find out, won't we? The last big thing on the weekend list is our "slideshow", which actually isn't a slideshow at all but an arrangement of pictures hung up in the cocktail area.

IF we manage to finish all of these projects, I have another list of smaller things that need to get done, like finishing the tags for our guestbook and making signs for the drink menu, bathroom baskets, etc. If we get all of those tasks done too? Well, then maybe I'll be able to breathe again.

At least until I have to make the escort cards...

Anyone else nearing the one month mark? Are you feeling the pressure? What's left on your to-do list?



I believe that just about every bachelorette party I have ever been to has one thing in common. No, I'm not thinking of drinking, although that is usually a part of them as well. I'm thinking of the "paraphernalia" as I like to call it. Tiaras, veils, giant light-up rings, and the ever so important sashes designating the bride-to-be as the bachelorette.

Sporting my very own bachelorette sash made by my MOH Dona.

Since I am somewhat familiar with a sewing machine, and very well-versed in puffy paint application, I have been previously called upon to be the Maker-of-the-Sash.
Dona modeling the sash I made for her bachelorette party last year.

In attending my bridesmaid Dana's bachelorette party only two weeks after my own (while the "paraphernalia" was fresh in my mind), it was only natural for me to be deemed the Maker-of-the-Sash yet again.

Due to this little thing called wedding planning, I had an ample supply of bridal fabrics laying around my house to choose from. I chose the same ivory silk dupioni I had used to make my garter, which may or may not have been due to the fact that it was still sitting out on the cutting mat when the time came to make the sash. I also had some blue tulle from a project that I had planned months ago and then decided not to make. And we all know I had plenty of teal taffeta laying around from those still-not-finished table runners I keep mentioning.

If I was smart, I would have taken pictures of the process so those of you who are also deemed Maker-of-the-Sash could have a tutorial, but alas, I am not that on top of things. You will just have to trust me that the steps involve cutting the silk duponi, pleating and pinning the blue tulle, cutting out letters to spell out "the bride" and adding some additional blue tulle to tie a knot at the bottom of the sash. Sew it all together (and glue the letters on---I was not about to sew them) and voila! A cute and classy bachelorette sash is born!
Here is the bachelorette herself, wearing her bridal sash all day long! I think she liked it :)
Has anyone else been deemed Maker-of-the-Sash? I'll admit, it's one of my favorite jobs when it comes to planning bachelorette parties!


finishing the favors.

Early on in the planning process, we decided on our wedding favors. With a serious disdain for knick-knacks and a guest list of 325, we knew we wanted our favors to serve a purpose and come with an affordable price tag. Being a professional wedding guest myself (I should really count how many weddings I've been to in recent history) I thought back to the types of favors that I appreciate the most. The edible variety have always been my favorite. They are enjoyable and useful and don't collect dust on my shelves. They make my tummy happy after a few hours of drinking and dancing. Really, what's not to love? Edible favors were the clear winners in our book.

Since my family has always been quite proficient in the baking department, the type of edible favor was a no-brainer. We would have to bake some sort of cake. But what kind do we give as a favor if we are serving wedding cake at the reception? Oh yes, the most delicious kind of cake ever...my mother's cardamom cakes. Delicious and dense, resembling more of a coffee cake than wedding cake, they can be made in cute little bundt cake pans, glazed, and sprinkled with powdered sugar. They also freeze well, which was important since there was no way we'd be waiting until the last few days before the wedding to knock out 325 of these babies. We made a few test cakes, froze them, and ate them after one month and two months. They both tasted fine after thawing, and we sold on the mini cardamom cake favors.

Mama Mascara and Future Mama-in-Law Mascara graciously volunteered to make the cakes (bless their hearts!) and I bought them each the cake pans they'd need to make them. When mid-July came around, I sent out an email reminding them it was time to start baking! They both went to work, and in the past two weeks they baked up a storm. I kept track of how many each of them made, and I got the call yesterday saying the last cake was baked! They've got about 350 cakes stored in their respective freezers, just waiting to be packaged up in these little boxes and set at each place setting!

I am so thankful for our mothers for taking on this task, and hopefully our guests will appreciate the delicious home-baked goodies (and the pretty packaging).

Did you opt for homemade favors? Did you make them or did someone else do you a favor?