Saturday, May 30, 2009

A Different Kind of Bridal Show

Wedding industry shows happen pretty regularly in San Diego. I've never really had much interest in going, because I try to stay away from "typical" vendors. I prefer finding hidden gems. This weekend, San Diego is having yet another installment of the Thread designer trunk showcase. It's basically a giant warehouse set up with trunk shows from lots of indie designers (clothes, jewelry, other accessories). They hipster-up the event with DJs, a bar, and a couple of art installations too.

I'd been once before and remember seeing lots of great, unique accessories, mostly jewelry and handbags, so I thought I'd check it out again specifically looking for wedding hair pieces and jewelry.

I didn't find a whole lot that excited me in the way of jewelry, but I did find a couple of noteworthy designers for hair accessories. The first is Fine Line Accessories.

Her designs incorporate a lot of feathers, so that's always a plus in my book. I saw a few of her designs at Be Beauty in Little Italy as well, and they were pretty darn cute on me.

The next cool designer I found was Rachel Larraine.

Rachel has a lot of funky designs that incorporate tulle for that hint of veil. You can find her designs at a few boutiques in San Diego (including the very chic M Bride in La Jolla), but you can also find her on Etsy.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Che Bella Fiori

A lot of wedding blogs that I frequently read have a lot of posts that focus on three areas: 1. invitations 2. flowers and 3. accessories. Clearly, I love posting about accessories as well and love finding fun accessory vendors on other blogs. However, when it came to invites and flowers, I didn't need any inspiration. I already knew which vendors I planned on using.

You already know about our invite vendor, but you're probably wondering exactly who this florist is! JT and I knew pretty much from the start that we really wanted to work with Che Bella in Little Italy.

We chose them based on two main reasons. First, for the last five years, JT has been using them any time that he has bought/sent flowers to me for birthdays, anniversaries, etc. For our 5 year (dating*) anniversary, he had a dozen roses delivered to my office, and they were the most beautiful flowers I had ever seen. Ever. Everyone at work was in total awe. In fact, when he proposed, he kicked off the proposal by sending me another small Che Bella arrangement to my office with a card that read "Here's to the start of a great weekend." Little did I know that he would be proposing less than 2 hours later.

Our second reason for choosing them was the fact that Che Bella regularly supplies the floral arrangements for our reception venue, Bleu Boheme. That means that they already have an intimate knowledge of the restaurant's look and feel, and they understand how to complement it. Here's an example of some floral arrangements at the restaurant recently.

Budget florist they are not, but true artists they definitely are. I love hiring folks that I don't have to give much instruction to -- my ideal vendor will take my general ideas about theme and "feel" and run with it, taking care of all the details so that I don't have to think about them. And that's what we will get with Che Bella, which I why I'm really looking forward to working with them!

*Last December, we celebrated our eight year dating anniversary. It seems so funny that after having been together for so many years, we'll be pushing the reset button in November and will be celebrating a one-year anniversary in 2010!

Sunday, May 24, 2009

You are Invited

I was planning on waiting until I actually had them in my hands to post about our save-the-date cards, but I just couldn't contain my excitement any longer. And I know it will spoil the surprise for a few of you who will receive them in the mail, but...

We finalized the design with the fabulous Tere Mendez of Inkfancy earlier this week. How lucky are we that this amazingly talented designer happens to be JT's sister-in-law? I highly recommend her to any other SD brides out there...even if she does live in Seattle!

Saturday, May 23, 2009

Mix 'n Match: Yea or Nay?

By now you may have figured out that I'm not a fan of stereotypical wedding decor. Like round tables of 8 or 10 with one big centerpiece in the middle. We'll be going with the more and more popular long, rectangular tables decorated with a table runner and small groupings of flowers running the length of the table. The question on my mind right now is what all those flowers should be resting in. I mentioned earlier that we are following the farm-like quality of the restaurant by using various sized mason jars for the flowers.

Our florist suggested going even further with the "assorted" look, and incorporating these coffee cans** as well, since they match our color scheme:

A totally cute idea, no doubt. But I wonder if we have the potential to end up looking TOO hodgepodge...I'm starting to wonder if we should stick to all clear glass containers.

These images above via Style Me Pretty show great examples of both -- all clear glass and mix 'n match vessels. What do you think will look best?

**Update: We went to Cost Plus where they sell this coffee, and the cans look much more orange in person than they do in this photo. TOO orange. It's overpowering. So I don't think we'll be going with the coffee can idea after all, and we'll stick with a clear glass palette.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Who's Gonna Drive You Home Tonight?

If "tonight" means the evening of the wedding, it will be one Mr. Lance Haynes. I hate limos. I've never understood why they have to be so ugly. If I'm gonna shell out my hard earned cash to have someone drive me around, can't it at least be in a cool car?

There are couple of different antique car chauffeur services in San Diego, and they all seem to be about the same price range. This week, we settled on Haynes Chauffeur service. A lot of how we have picked vendors has been based on feeling. How well we jive with them, if they seem to "get" what our wedding is all about and who we are as people. When there are so many vendors out there offering the same thing at (usually) the same price, it's the only way for me that makes sense. And frankly, on my wedding day, I want to be dealing with people that are going to make me feel good and happy.

We'll be going with one of the two cars above, which will pick us up from the ceremony and take us to the reception, then pick us up at the end and take us to our hotel. We've been pretty good about keeping things realistic and not splurging on crazy stuff, but allowing ourselves a couple of cool treats (like this, and our cake topper) has helped keep it from not feeling TOO much like a budget wedding.

Monday, May 18, 2009

After debating the honeymoon for several months, we've finally decided. Barcelona was a front runner, but after talking with someone who has recently been there, we thought that maybe we wouldn't want to spend the whole week just in Barcelona. So the winner is...

Barcelona and Cannes! We'll begin with 4 nights in Barcelona, soaking up lots of culture and sangria, and then we'll head over to Cannes for three nights of a more chill pace, relaxing seaside. It was surprisingly affordable -- the difference between the three-way ticket and the round-trip ticket to one of the cities was only about $100 more.

JT and I are not big on having a lot of "stuff." We'd much rather spend our money having great experiences traveling and dining than amassing lots of things that will take up space in our home. So when we got engaged, we talked about creating a honeymoon registry (where guests can contribute to your honeymoon through an online account) in addition to a regular registry. I've only known one other person who has done this -- a former coworker used The Big Day for hers, which I contributed to when I attending her wedding. It was a good system, but their fees seem a little high. Another one that seems to be popular is Travelers Joy. Have any of you used one (either as a guest or as a bride/groom)?

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Can I get a permanent job taste-testing cakes?

This weekend has been wedding madness! It started Saturday morning with a trip the the seamstress to find out how much is will cost to get the alterations on my gown done (less than $200 -- not bad!). That was promptly followed by a meeting with a bakery, then a trip to the reception & ceremony sites for some brainstorming, then a meeting with the florist. On Sunday, we tackled honeymoon plans, selected our save-the-dates, found transportation, finished the order on our custom cake topper, and collected all the addresses for our friends and family. Phew!

As you can see, I have much to catch you all up on! Let's start with one of the most fun items: cake tasting.

Our first cake tasting appointment was at Twiggs. I've already shared with you a few of the designs that we saw on their website. After looking through their books again, we also became really partial to this design:

We thought that it would work nicely with our topper. The guys at Twiggs were great, and mentioned that if we got the topper early, they could create a design that would be based off of the details from the topper, since clearly it's an important element for us. But on to the more important issue: taste.

JT's parents joined us for the tasting. Before diving in, JT's dad mentioned that wedding cakes usually look better than they taste. He's right -- they usually do. And that's precisely what I want to avoid.

They brought out a board with small pieces of their 15 different flavors. There were two flavors that stood out to everyone as the best of the bunch: 1. Miss Hazeltine's chocolate (a very simple chocolate cake with chocolate cream cheese frosting that was wonderfully moist) and 2. the "Victorian Wedding" (a white cake with an unusual combination of raspberry and rose water!). I love chocolate, so I'm always inclined to go that way. But the Victorian had such an interesting hint of was really good as well.

They are already getting pretty booked up for our date, so we are going to have to make a decision soon. But I do feel it will be important to try out some other places too. Next on the agenda: Fab Cakes. Here's a sampling:

Thursday, May 14, 2009

I Would Dye for You

By now you've seen me post a couple of items about colorful shoes that I've found on Zappos and YOOX. Despite my online searching, I have a confession to make: I hate buying anything online if it is going to go on my body. The only exception to this is sometimes jewelry. But clothes and shoes...I really dislike the idea of not being able to try things on. Plus, fabrics and colors often end up looking different in person. I'm super fickle about how things look on me and how they fit, so buying clothing items online usually ends in disappointment for me.

I recently bought a cute, super comfortable pair of black RocketDog ballet flats (at a store, not online). I saw that they had the same pair in a light ivory color and thought "boy, those would look great with my dress."

But I really wanted to embrace the whole colorful shoes thing. Then I came home, found the new issue of Martha Stewart Living in my mailbox, opened up and found this:

A "Good Thing" about dyeing canvas sneakers. So I'm thinking "What if I got the RocketDog shoes in ivory and tried dyeing them marigold?" Sure, they aren't canvas, and they are ivory, not white, but they are also only $30. So if it doesn't work, it would hardly be the end of the world. What do you think? Worth a shot?

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Flowers by the Jar

Given the rustic, bohemian vibe of our reception venue, I'm leaning towards doing very casual flower arrangements, like clusters of hand-gathered flowers in canning jars or vintage glass bottles, like the ones seen below (images from L'amour de Vie Weddings via Style Me Pretty).

I'm also hoping that these types of arrangements will keep the costs low, especially if I can provide the jars. We have our first florist consultation on Saturday, so I'll keep you posted with what I discover.

Been MIA

I always feel guilty if I go longer than 2 days without posting anything, so I'm sorry. I've been trying to make my way through the 700 images I shot on Sunday and Monday this week. And just to prove I'm not lying, here is a photo from Sunday night's show with the lovely and talented Jenny Owen Youngs:

I've added a couple more shots from her set in my live gallery as well.

Sunday, May 10, 2009

The Wedding Website

So we've officially passed the 6-months-until-the-big-day mark, and I'm starting to feel a little panicked about everything that we have not done. I've been so busy working that we haven't gotten nearly enough wedding tasks done in the last 3 weeks. JT & I are blocking out next weekend as "wedding planning only." Things that need to get done include registering, meeting with the florist, collecting addresses and finalizing the invite list for our Save-the-dates (so that we are ready to mail as soon as they are printed), and many more little things.

One thing that's almost done is our wedding website. I started looking around at all the free wedding website templates back in February, thinking "OK, most of them are cheesy looking and kind of ugly, but I'm sure I can find something that will be decent." Um....wrong. I found absolutely nothing that I actually liked, at least in the "free" realm. I did find some options that, if I was willing to pay $20 or $30, I could customize to make more palatable. But considering I already shell out money for my domain name and my little corner of the internet, I figured why not just piggyback off that and have one of my many, many talented friends help me with the site?

So that's what we did. The lovely and amazing Laura has been hard at work putting together this little beauty for us:

You may recognize Laura's work from this blog -- she also designed the sweet little owl that greets you when you visit. Now we just have to work on getting all the content on the pages.

And in case you are wondering why I just don't provide a link to our website so that you can see it in all its glory, because this is a public blog, I'm not going to be linking to our finished wedding website. I have to keep some things private :)

Friday, May 8, 2009

Unique Hair Accessories from Be Something New

I am addicted to searching out cool hair accessories on Etsy. I could spend days on fact, I have.

Today's find is Be Something New. Their collection of headbands is absolutely gorgeous. They would be perfect for completing a wedding ensemble, but could also be worked into your everyday wardrobe.

I love the messy structure of the ribbon headband. And marigold colored feathers? You know I'm all over that one.

With many of their items falling in the $25-40 dollar range, the prices can't be beat!

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Internet Find: YOOX for Shoes

We all know about Zappos. Yes, you gotta love that when you order from them, you get your shoes pretty immediately, and you can ship them back for free if they don't work out. But searching for marigold-colored ballet flats on Zappos left me relatively unimpressed. YOOX, however, turned up pages and pages of awesome results, including some by truly noteworthy designers.

Top to bottom: Obeline, RAS, Chloe and Blowfish.

And just to show you how much of a range you can find, the Chloes sell for $230 while the Blowfish pair comes in at a whopping $35.

Monday, May 4, 2009

Internet Find: Tonic Living for Fabrics

Using large blocks of colorful fabric can be a great way to create a bold decor statement without spending a small fortune. I've been searching for unique fabrics in shades of green, marigold and brown. Making either table runners or a backdrop for a photo booth area are both on my list of possible DIY decor ideas.

Today, I discovered an amazing internet fabric vendor, Tonic Living! Check out some of these gorgeous designs in my color family:

Tonic Living is based in Toronto, Ontario, but don't fear -- they ship internationally. And, they even have a custom sewing service, which included table runners for weddings! How do ya like that?

Sunday, May 3, 2009

Gown Secrets: Ordering and Alterations

OK, believe it or not, my wedding gown in hanging in our guest bedroom as I type this! That's right, I've already got my gown in hand. We haven't registered yet, sent out save-the-dates, or booked our florist, but I have a gown.

So let's take a look at a couple of gown shopping myths. #1: You need to order your gown at least 6 months in advance. While I can't say that this is completely false, it's definitely an exageration. I was under this impression, and clearly, it was not necessary. I started looking pretty much as soon as I knew the "when" and "where" of the wedding, around the beginning of March. I went to a LOT of stores, and tried on probably close to 50 gowns. I know that I am an indecisive shopper, and I knew that simply deciding on which dress would take some time, which it did. It took a good month of shopping to feel like I was comfortable with my decision. But once I placed the order, which was early April, it took about a month from the time I placed my order until the dress arrived at the shop. Obviously, it will vary from designer to designer, but you don't need to feel panicked when you hear/read from "reputable" sources that if you haven't ordered your dress a year in advance, your ruined.

Myth #2: You need to order your dress too big so that it can be altered to fit you perfectly. I think that this myth is the result of bridal salons that have in-house alterations and can get more money out of you by getting you to spend unnecessary amounts on excessive alterations. I had someone in the biz tell me this. When I got measured, they told me that I was one size on the top and a larger size on the bottom (I do not think this is unusual for most women), so I should order the larger size. I said that based on the cut of the dress, I thought the smaller size would work. I asked them to consult with the designer. The designer agreed, the smaller size was ordered, and today, when I tried on the gown, it fit (nearly) like a glove. Yes, I will probably get some minor alterations done to make it fit perfectly, but I could easily wear it as it is now. And the shop that I purchased from actually doesn't do in-house alterations, so they didn't really have anything to gain by putting me in a dress that was too big. Plus, now I can use whomever I want to do the alterations, and hopefully get them done without too much expense.

I have so many pictures of my gown purchasing trips, but I can't show them to you yet because I can't risk JT seeing them on the blog! So you'll all just have to wait patiently until after the wedding for my recap.

Friday, May 1, 2009

DIY sure, but who sets it up?

My poor blog (and my poor wedding plans!) has been so neglected this past week. Hopefully work will finally calm down next week, and JT and I will be able to buckle down and spend some quality wedding planning time together. Despite the occasional confusions or frustrations, we both are really enjoying this process. Planning a wedding together is really fun.

But on the note of being frustrated and confused...DIY wedding projects. On the on hand, I love the idea of hand crafting decor items so that I can have them exactly they way I want them. Plus, DIY is usually a money saver. I got all jazzed up about DIYing ceremony decorations after seeing this wedding on A Practical Wedding:

How gorgeous are those ribbons? I thought about translating this ribbon tree idea into some kind of branch alter structure, or hanging bunches of these all around the nooks and crannies of the Marston House gardens.

BUT...after I make them all, who hangs them? We can't hang them up the night before - it's a public garden, and we only have it reserved for the morning of ceremony. Who knows how many would fall down or, ahem, "walk off." And obviously I can't put them up that morning because I'll be getting ready. As will my Maid-of-Honor sister and Bridesmaid sister-in-law. Same goes for all the men.

And what about the reception? I love the jars full of flowers that are shown with the table numbers in my previous post, and we could very easily buy jars and loose flowers and fill them, but who sets them up? And who delivers them to the restaurant in the morning? We can't very well ask a small and busy restaurant to hold 200 jars of flowers on a Friday night. Any of you that have DIY'd your wedding and held it somewhere other than your backyard or parents' house but somewhere where you only have a short access window? If so, we'd love your tips!