Monday, August 31, 2009

She's Crafty*

Let the DIY race officially begin! Last week, I made the ring pillow, based off of this one I found on Once Wed. The problem with me and DIY is that I'm a pretty harsh critic of my own work, so I'm rarely satisfied with anything I make. I think it looks OK...not great, but OK.

I also started our escort card tree, based off of this one that I originally saw on Style Me Pretty.

First, I hit up a major chain craft store for supplies. Then I headed over to San Diego's wholesale flower market, and found the supplies I needed for MUCH cheaper.

This coming weekend, I'll be visiting my mother-in-law-to-be. She generously offered to help me sew the table runners. Here's the fabric we'll be using, nestled alongside the 150 mason jars currently residing in our guest bedroom.

I've also enlisted a friend to make the flower girl baskets, plus there's still the photo booth supplies, guest welcome baskets, and a banner for the rehearsal dinner. And I'm sure I'm forgetting something much to do, so few hours in each day!

*You may be upset to learn that, for the record, I don't really like the Beastie Boys. Sorry.

Saturday, August 29, 2009

Popular Culture No Longer Applies to Me

I promise to return next week with wedding related blog posts, but in the meantime, I'm focusing on that other part of my life that has nothing to do with being a bride: music photography.

This weekend, I'm shooting Street Scene 2009. So for now, here's a snapshot from day one. I guess I am officially old, because I cannot for the life of me figure out why anyone would want to wear this:

But even when I was younger, I had an extreme distaste for American Apparel once they abandoned promoting themselves as "sweatshop free" and decided that it was more important to market themselves as the official outfitters of 70s soft core. That and the fact that every band t-shirt I've bought that was an American Apparel shirt immediately shrank and changed color upon washing. But I digress.

Shooting bands seems to have snapped me out of the funk I've been feeling all week, which is a very, very good thing. Be sure to watch for my upcoming shots on Jambase.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Guest Blog: A Taste of Toast

*I'm pleased to present another guest blog by Laura! I didn't go through the whole caterer search, since I knew that I wanted to have my reception at a restaurant. However, because of my day job, I was pretty familiar with all the big caterers in town. It's great to see this smaller catering group provide brides with such a great, creative option!

After my fiancé and I chose our awesome venue, the next logical step was food. We started the search based on a list of “preferred caterers” our venue recommended. On the list was Toast Catering. Just hours after I’d emailed Toast my inquiry, I got a call back from Sam, the chef. He immediately made a great impression. He asked what our favorite restaurants were and if there were any special things to consider. There were. My fiancé and I are vegetarian, so we wanted an all veg menu. Also, our budget was on the modest side.

Just a couple days later, I received an email from Sam that contained the menu choices and our proposal. Everything looked good - AND was in our budget! Hooray! I decided on what our menu would be for our tasting and we scheduled a date.

The tasting was really cool. Sam and his wife, Kim, are the owners of Toast. They share a commercial kitchen in La Mesa and for events, like our tasting, they book the kitchen and use it to prepare food. They also bring an oven/stove to the event site on the day of and make food there so everything is fresh! Sam handles all of the cooking and Kim helps with the “front of house” activities like tables, etc.

After introductions and some preliminary questions about our wedding came the food. My fiancé and I loved it. The menu included vegetarian twists on typical meat dishes, like vegetable wellington:

And mini tomato burgers:

Plus falafel, stuffed peppers and more! It was amazingly wonderful. For each course, Sam and Kim explained what it was and left so we could eat and talk about the food. Both Sam and Kim were amazing. They were polite and not at all pushy.

After a totally opposite tasting with a second caterer the next day, my fiancé and I knew that we were sold on Toast. Sam and Kim are really nice and genuine people and the food was by far the best. Now we’ve signed on with them and are looking forward to moving onto the next step – linen colors.

Monday, August 24, 2009

I Just Know That Something Good is Gonna Happen

Yes, dear reader, you already know how important a role music will play in our wedding. Our string trio, Caprice Strings, is specially arranging two songs for playing during our ceremony (not going to spill the beans just yet on what those two are!). Our reception, much to the dismay of cheesy wedding DJs everywhere, will be DJd by an ipod. JT's already taking a crack at composing the playlist. We've selected the songs, and now he is painstakingly editing transitions, adjusting levels, etc. Frankly, I can't imagine not using an could you relinquish control over your playlist like that?

I'm not going to give it all away, but here are some teasers:

Whiskeytown - Don't Wanna Know Why
The Misfits - Astro Zombies
Kate Bush - Cloudbusting
Wilco - California Stars
The Delays - Long Time Coming
Broken Social Scene - Almost Crimes
Sleater-Kinney - Modern Girl
Elliott Smith - Pretty (Ugly Before)
Wolf Parade - I'll Believe in Anything

Some we chose because they are just fun, some we chose because of the meaning or sentiment, and some we chose just because of a special connection to the song. Plus, we've picked out a great song for our first that I hope will have a special meaning for our families. You'll just have to wait to see why!

Thursday, August 20, 2009

¡Dios Mio!

Check out this gorgeous shot from our wedding photographer Aaron Thompson. He snapped it at a recent wedding reception at Casa Guadalajara in Old Town's Bazaar del Mundo. How fun does this look?

And just imagine all the fun ways you could play off the setting. Loteria card-inspired invitations (the photo below is of Loteria-inspired table place cards, via Style Me Pretty).

Plus, it'd be a great place to break out this cake topper by Skull Queen. JT and I loved the idea of using this cake topper, back when we were considering this venue as a possible reception site.

They don't post their full catering information online, but based on the prices at the restaurant itself, you could probably have a pretty festive yet cost effective shindig at Casa Guadalajara.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Dress Rehearsal

The one thing that's a little sad about choosing your wedding attire is knowing that that's it -- you only get one outfit, one "look" for your wedding day. I know some women are jumping on the bandwagon of having two dresses, one for the ceremony and one for the reception, but unless you are loaded or your second dress was super cheap, it's just not practical.

Don't get me wrong -- I LOVE my ensemble and my look. Trust me, when you see the photos after the event, you will too. But I can't help but be smitten by all the other cute fashion statements I could be making, especially when it comes to the little things like hair accessories. When searching for wedding makeup tips, I read a feature on Martha Stewart Weddings some time back that said something to the effect of "you want to look like yourself on your wedding day, but why not try out a new or bold look at your rehearsal dinner?" Sounds like fun, right?

Check out these cute hair options. The other day I asked JT if it would be weird to wear a veil on the day of the rehearsal. I mean, how many opportunities in your life do you have to wear a veil anyway?

The clip above from Baroque and Roll has a hint of veil, and this headband below from Be Something New has even more veil, without actually being a veil. I think it'd be perfect for a rehearsal dinner!

Or, this other cute headband from Be Something New would be a fun choice. No veil, but it still has a hint of bride to it, yet it's understated enough to be worn on a non-wedding occasion. Maybe I'll need two: one for the rehearsal and one for the shower. I'm basically using all wedding week activities as an excuse to purchase fabulous accessories.

Monday, August 17, 2009

Ring Around the Budget

As I've hinted in the past couple of posts, we've had some unexpected and major expenses crop up lately, and we've been looking for areas to trim from the budget. One area that JT brilliantly saw that could be downsized was his ring. I had been anticipating that he would want a plain brushed platinum band. Simple, classic, and...expensive. But after doing a bit of research, JT found two other metal options that he really likes that also happen to be much cheaper than platinum: titanium and palladium.

Palladium is in the platinum family, so it's similar in hardness, color, etc. But it's not quite the darling of the jewelry industry the way that its sister metal is, so it's more cost effective. JT found this ring by DragonsBreath on Etsy that he really likes:

I really like it, too. I love the natural look of the hammered finish.

Titanium is an even more affordable option. It looks very "manly," so it's become quite popular in men's rings, and it's not hard to find titanium rings at major jewelry retailers these days. The downside to titanium is that it's so strong, it can't be resized once it's cast. So if JT gains or loses any weight, he'd have to get a new ring. But, as he put it, the cost of a titanium ring is so cheap, that it wouldn't be a very big deal to get it replaced. These two are from TitaniumKnights:

Both great, and at less than $100 each, he's right -- it wouldn't be a big deal to replace it if in a few years it no longer fit. Though that does seem slightly unsentimental, but is sentiment worth the extra money? Sometimes you just have to be practical. I won't love him any less with an inexpensive ring.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Basket Case

With some big financial issues springing up this week (man, I wish I didn't own a car!), we've been looking at ways to trim the wedding budget. Not that I think our budget is heavy on splurges, but there are a couple, so anything we can trim, we will.

One thing that came to mind was flower girl baskets. We've got three flower girls, and rather than having the florist do them, it would save us a bit of cash to buy and fill them ourselves.

In case you haven't picked up on it yet from my other blog posts, I seriously think that Etsy is the greatest thing to ever happen to wedding planning. Check out these adorable baskets, all handmade and all at reasonable prices to boot.

I'm loving this birch one from NHWoodscreations. I love how natural it looks. Nothing like those white shellacked ones that are the standard wedding fare.

This one from Yandebridal is adorable too! I'm a complete sucker for cute woodland creatures.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Kiss and Makeup

Professional makeup and I had a bit of a falling out*. I'm super picky to begin with, but the fact that I have to pay for each trial session I book with a makeup artist isn't helping, because I'm basically being penalized for being extra picky.

One of my friends suggested that I hit up the Laura Mercier counter in Fashion Valley, because she had had good results there. I never, ever thought that I'd get good results at a mall makeup counter, but I figured some free experimentation never hurt anyone.

I went in with a totally different approach than that first professional trial. Rather than showing the artist pictures and trying to create a specific look, I told very nice Laura Mercier artist, Jessica, that I was still trying to figure out my look and was hoping to get some suggestions. And this time, I brought along a friend for reinforcement, feedback and picture taking.

Jessica went a completely different way than the previous look I had tried. More natural, with slightly earthy green eye shadows and much subtler lips and cheeks. It really was a pretty great result -- nothing like I had originally thought I wanted, but I had to admit, the more natural and (dare I say) more "summery" look was actually kind of nice on me.

That said, when I got home, JT said that he missed the red lipstick. So, to try and blend the two styles, I changed up the lipstick. Bold lips, more natural on the rest.

Maybe this is the compromise I need? A little dramatic, not super dramatic? What do you all think?

*Incidentally, I just had to sink a ton of money into repairing my car. So to compensate, we're having to look for areas of the wedding budget we can tighten. Makeup might be I might end up doing my own makeup after all.

Sunday, August 9, 2009

Good Decisions

Here it is -- JT's actual suit! He chose wisely, didn't he? Almost makes you think you're looking at a picture of Justin Timberlake, huh? They do have the same initials, after all...

It's amazing what a difference the little details make, too. The very first time he tried it on, he was wearing it with a t-shirt and no shoes. The second time, he added a dress shirt and shoes from the store. Suddenly, even though it looked good the first time, it now looked much better. Incidentally, when asking for a dress shirt at Ted Baker, I asked for "just a white shirt," something that wouldn't detract from the suit. The salesgirl looked at me baffled and said "this is Ted Baker...we don't have white shirts!" He ended up trying it on with a light green shirt.

Once we got it home, he tried it on with one of his shirts, one of his ties, and his own shoes. And as you can see, it all works wonderfully. Ditto for me and my ensemble. My friend and I had a little dress up session this afternoon now that I have all of my accessories purchased and in hand. Once all the pieces are together, they are so much more powerful than they were individually. Funny, that's kind of how I feel about me and JT.

That's why I think I chose wisely, too.

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Trial and Error

Tonight I had my first makeup trial. I saw first, because there will be others. This artist came recommended by someone I trust, so I was holding out good hopes for the appointment, even though I've rarely been happy after having my makeup done by someone else.

Since we've got a lot of vintage flair to our wedding, I was thinking of going with an old Hollywood kind of make up style. You know, red lips, black eye-liner. Here's an example of one of the photos I brought in as a guide:

I'm generally pretty comfortable with heavy makeup in the past, but lately I've been wearing less and less. And just about every wedding resource out there says "don't go nuts with your makeup -- you'll want to look natural and look like yourself." Well, I felt like the end result was very dramatic, nowhere near natural. Not that it was necessarily a bad thing, and I still looked like "myself," just myself in very dramatic makeup.

Looking at the picture, it doesn't look nearly as dramatic as it did in person. In fact, the picture looks pretty darn good, but I think the flash is washing it out a bit, making the colors less pronounced. JT agrees that, in person, it looked more dramatic (the blush in particular). So I'm not sure what to dramatic OK? Will people think I've gone overboard? Will I look way too made up? Or should I just embrace being super glamorous?

Monday, August 3, 2009

Cool Venue Option: Condor's Nest Ranch

Trying to help my recently engaged friend come up with some unique wedding venue options (she, too, is not a fan of the whole hotel-ballroom-thing), I stumbled across this venue. It didn't really work for the style of event that she and her fiance had in mind, but it was so darn cool, that I just had to share it with the world!

The Condor's Nest Ranch is way up in the northeast corner of the county, just shy of Temecula, really. It is the perfect mix of kitschy and down home farm, perfect for a hipster barbecue wedding!

What I loved most after checking out their website was not only how cute it was (I mean, that helps, a LOT!) but also the affordability and all the options for crafting your event. Their pre-planned packages break down to basically $100 per person, but that amount includes everything you could ever possibly need for a wedding, including food, beverages, bartenders, tables, linens, a DJ, all venue fees, set-up and clean up,'s a pretty darn good deal!

And if the pre-packaged plan isn't your thing, you can mix and match and play with all of their options a la carte, too. Even their menu has limitless options, ranging from super cute BBQ style (peach cobbler, at a wedding? I love it!) to rack of lamb to kobe beef sliders to tapas!

There's rooms for you and your family or guests to stay in overnight, and with no neighbors within earshot, your party really can go all night! And bonus points for the fact that the property is running over with adorable animals, from peacocks to llamas.

If I had found this place sooner during my planning process, it would have been a major contender!

Sunday, August 2, 2009

Groom Guest Blog: Following Suit

*Sorry for the lack of posts last week -- I'll try to not let that happen again this week! Let's get the week kicked off right with a Groom Guest Blog from JT: the suit has been purchased!

After a long day of trying on suits (probably about a dozen or more after all was said and done), I had a lot of different retailers and looks to consider. But when it came right down to it, only about three different suits I tried on really had a chance of coming home to my closet. The finalists were Banana Republic, Theory and Ted Baker.

With the idea that trying on the suits I liked a second time would help me reach a decision, we started right back where we came from, at Ted Baker. This time around, Candice suggested I try the suit(s) on with a dress shirt and a pair of dress shoes, just to get the complete picture of how I would look once everything came together.

I stepped out of the dressing room, and my decision was made. It's funny how much of a difference a few seemingly minor elements make, but once the complete outfit was on, I knew that this* was the suit. And once the tailor was called in to get the measurements just right, I was able to visualize just how awesome it would look once all the alterations were made.

So, I tip my hat to Ted Baker, and their fab selection, from which I was able to find the one special suit I would have the honor of wearing on my wedding day.

*editor's note: the suit shown in the link isn't the exact suit -- it's the same cut, but the fabric pattern and color is slightly different. For reference, it's the second of the Ted Baker suits in JT's previous post.