Tuesday, May 29, 2012

DIY Wedding Program Fans, Part 2

I took a break from sharing pictures of our program fan project to tell you about attending the Jorge Manuel Upon a Star event I attended with Mrs. Pony.  It's time to get back to those details!  As you may remember, I had the print center at work print our programs with some pretty bad results.  A trip to an independent print shop fixed everything.  I didn't have too many extra sheets of the expensive card stock I ordered from Cards & Pockets, so the second printer had to use the backs of the pieces that were used (ruined?) by the first. 

When I got home, I used a corner punch to round the corners of the card stock sheets.  This was surprisingly time consuming work.  The Martha Stewart punch I used could only handle two sheets of card stock at a time.  I had 200 sheets of card stock and four corners on each sheet, so I had 400 punches to make (it actually took more than that because I didn't discover the punch could take two sheets until I was a good bit into the stack of paper).

I followed Weddingbee's Mrs. Bunting's advice and used some packing tape to secure the fan sticks I bought on Etsy to the card stock. I had to stare at that first, botched print job for hours while I taped. 

I've extolled the virtues of the adhesive tape runner before and like others before me, found it to be the perfect tool for securing the two sides of the program fan together.  You can just barely see the shiny lines of adhesive in the picture I took of this step:

Finally, I had to line up the two sides of the program and apply pressure to get them to stick together.  The second printer did the cuts for me and the two sides were exactly the same size, but I did my best.  

When it came time to assemble the program fans, I was a little disappointed.  Some of the ink on the "inside" of the fans could be seen around the edges once the fan was put together.

I contemplated painting the edges or running marker around them, but that should have been done before they were put together.  What's more, when I tested using a marker on the edges, the paper soaked up the ink unevenly and the result wasn't very nice looking.

If I was doing this project six months ago, the perfectionist in me would have scrapped everything and started over.  I am giving myself permission to use the fans as they are.  I hope people can focus on the illustration and program content instead of the edges.

Did you have to settle for less than perfect results on a project you tackled during wedding planning?
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Friday, May 25, 2012

DIY Wedding Program Fans, Part 1

I don't know where I first saw a picture of a wedding program that doubled as a fan, but I loved the idea immediately.  I knew I'd be making some for our wedding eventually.  When I started to work on a design recently, I wasn't happy with any of my drafts.  I originally tried to use the "monogram" I wrote about a while back.  I didn't like the results. I kept wishing that our program fans could look like our guest book poster.

By AmpersandInk Designs (with minor edits on names)

I decided to reach out to Tasha Montgomery, the artist behind AmpersandInk Designs and our beautiful poster.  We loved the illustration that Tasha created for our poster and were thrilled when she gave us permission to use it on our program fans.

Now that I had permission to use the illustration, I had to change the text to work for our program.  While I consider myself pretty tech savvy, I had always been intimidated by the software programs I'd need to use to make the edits (Photoshop, InDesign, Illustrator, etc.).  I spent a few frustrating nights at the computer before things finally "clicked" for me while using Illustrator.  Suddenly, I was tweaking layout and using glyphs (pretty characters that come with a font that you can't use in simpler word processing programs).

I was so proud of the final product.  I had wanted to print the programs at home, but my Epson Artisan can't handle the nice, linen card stock that I bought from Cards & Pockets for this project.  A colleague suggested I take the files and paper to our copy center at work.  They were happy to do personal jobs. Their prices seemed reasonable and the brochures they did for our office always looked great.  I dropped everything off and almost sprinted to pick them up two days later when I got the call that they job was done.

They did it all wrong.

I opened the box and my heart sank.  They had resized my image to fit the entire page.  Perhaps I missed a setting that would prevent that in Illustrator, but every time I test printed the files, the size was exactly as I designed it.  I couldn't really have 8.5" x 11" fans!  They'd look ridiculous!

What's more, the quality of the printing varied dramatically throughout the stack.  Some pieces were just fine, others were faded out, as if the machine that printed them was low on ink.  They also told me that they lost about 30 pieces of my beautiful card stock to a printer jam.  I was kind of puzzled by that, but there was nothing I could do about it.

To their credit, they offered to reprint the job and not change the size, but they didn't have any paper that was nearly as nice as the card stock I gave them.  I didn't even have enough card stock left for that and I didn't feel like there was any guarantee that the quality of the color would be better.

I quickly emailed T&N Printing, the people who printed my guest book poster.  I asked if they'd be willing to print on the back of the paper I had and they told me to come right over. Within minutes of walking in the door, they handed me the product of a test print.  I think I heard birds singing.

As I waited, I looked around the shop and saw about half a dozen jobs that were being done for other offices where I work, including the President's office.  That was telling!

The staff at the shop was nice enough to do all the cutting for me, too.  I had anticipated spending some time with my office's paper cutter after hours, but a big, paper cutting machine took care of that task pretty quickly.

The print shop at work didn't charge me for the job when they saw my reaction to the finished product and acknowledged that they had resized my images.  I know how much they would have charged me, though, and expect to pay more at the independent printer.  In the end, T&N charged me half what the print shop at work would have charged.  I was stunned and very grateful.

I'm so happy with the final product.  The size is perfect, the colors are strong, and the text (which I can't really show) looks fantastic.  I'm so excited to move to the next part of this project, putting the fans together.

The first job vs. the second

Did you have any vendor mishaps?  How did you resolve them?
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Thursday, May 24, 2012

Passing the Jorge Manuel Veil

You may remember that I won my Jorge Manuel wedding gown last year in the designer's very first Upon a Star contest.  I originally encountered a Jorge Manuel gown in person at the beautiful Hitched bridal salon in Georgetown (that's in Washington, DC) about a year ago and decided to enter the contest to win one of his creations.  I wound up flying to Charleston to pick up my gown, but I still consider my journey to being a Jorge Manuel bride to have started at Hitched.

Jorge enjoyed the contest from his side so much that he decided to make it a tradition.  This year's contest was hosted by Hitched and I was thrilled when I was invited to the salon to announce the newest Upon a Star winner.  This year's gown is going to be custom made, but a sample of the design was on display.  Isn't it gorgeous?

The Eternal Flame gown by Jorge Manuel / Photo by Chris Anderson of Route 1 Multimedia
 / Used with permission

As soon as I arrived at Hitched, the staff whisked me off to the back room where salon owners Carin Levine and Julia Kepniss introduced designer Jorge Manuel.  Jorge talked about his inspiration for the Upon a Star contest and about the construction of this year's dress, the Eternal Flame gown.

Julia, Carin, me, Jorge Manuel / Photo by Chris Anderson of Route 1 Multimedia / Used with permission

 Each finalist in attendance was introduced and given a wonderful bag of gifts.  It was then my turn to talk about entering the first contest a year ago and winning my dress, the Star gown.  Soon, the big moment was at hand.  It was time to open the envelope and announce the second winner of the Upon a Star contest...

Announcing the winner! / Photo by Chris Anderson of Route 1 Multimedia / Used with permission

I cried out the name of the winner, Farisa Dastvar, and the room erupted. She hugged Jorge, her mother (I think it was her mother) started to cry, and I ran over to offer my congratulations.  The ladies at Hitched had put a veil on me and I was to transfer the veil to the winner, beauty pageant style.  I hope I didn't hurt poor Farisa when I smashed the comb into her hair.  I was so excited!

Passing the veil / Photo by Chris Anderson of Route 1 Multimedia / Used with permission

Everyone swarmed Farisa to take pictures and I got to step away and catch up with Weddingbee's own Mrs. Pony!  We met at the little Bee brunch Miss Fox wrote about a couple weeks ago and I was so excited that she was able to come to the party.  Chris Anderson, the professional photographer covering the party, took a picture of us and it wound up on the top of the blog post that Jorge Manuel's team wrote about the event. 

Me and Jessica, aka "Mrs. Pony" / Photo by Chris Anderson of Route 1 Multimedia / Used with permission
Mrs. Pony and I looked through all the gowns that were at Hitched for that weekend's Jorge Manuel trunk show.  Kyle Leverett, Jorge's Operations Manager walked us through the current collection and told us some stories about life behind the scenes in the couture bridal world, including one hilarious story about the lengths they went to acquire a piglet for an Alice in Wonderland themed photo shoot for a past collection.

 Dresses from Jorge's Rococo and Iris collections 

Later, as Pony and I talked with Jorge and Kyle, I started to feel silly for having been intimidated by Jorge back when I won my gown.  Jorge wants to know his brides. He wants to know about their weddings.  I never though about the fact that designers don't always get to know about where their dresses wind up.  While we see all the pieces of the wedding puzzle in our minds, they just know their one piece. 

Being part of this year's contest made the amazing experience of being a Jorge Manuel bride come full circle. I'm just days away from wearing my Upon a Star gown and Farisa is just starting her journey.  While I don't know her, I feel connected to her and other Jorge Manuel brides because of this experience.

Did you get to meet the designer of your wedding gown?  Do you feel connected to other brides who wear gowns by the same designer?
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Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Pondering Old, New, Borrowed, and Blue

With a couple weeks to go before our wedding day, I started getting questions about whether I have my somethings old, new, borrowed, and blue lined up.  To be honest, my attention has been diverted to other details and I haven't really thought out how I'd adhere to that tradition. 

Early on, I assumed my something old or something borrowed would be a lace mantilla veil that's been in my family for a few decades.  I've never actually seen this veil and was excited by the idea of wearing it.  I was a little disappointed when my mother told me that it wouldn't go with my dress.  My dress' designer, Jorge Manuel, made a veil to go with my dress, so I have a lovely veil to wear regardless.

Finding something new is pretty easy.  My dress, my shoes, and some other accessories are all new.  These days, I doubt many people have trouble with this part of the tradition!

For my something blue, I have my blue, sparkly reception shoes from BHLDN, but I also bought a dress label that my seamstress is sewing into my gown.  I've had it for about a year and can't wait to see it in my dress.

Now, I have to start thinking about my something old and my something borrowed.  I have some offers from family members and I think I have both items covered.  Last weekend, Marc's mother gave me two items to consider.

First, she gave me a charm that she used to have on a bracelet years ago.  It has Marc's name on it.

She also showed me a pin that's been in her family for many years. It's an art deco piece that can turn into shoe clips if you manipulate the locking mechanism on the back.  She thought I'd want to use it in shoe clip form, but I immediately thought it was the perfect size to be pinned to the handle of my bouquet.

It's a good thing I prefer it as a pin because we couldn't figure out how to work the "lock" on the back of the pin to pull it apart into shoe clips.  Maybe we need to take it to the people at Antiques Roadshow and see if they can figure it out. 

I still don't feel like I have everything settled and I have a feeling something will just have to do a double check before we leave the bridal suite to make sure we cover our bases.  I'm not a superstitious person, so I won't be devastated if I don't fulfill the saying.

How do you feel about the "something borrowed" phrase?  Did you pay close attention to the different items you needed?  Did you double count anything?  What do you think happens when a bride doesn't pay attention to this tradition?
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Wednesday, May 16, 2012

The Five-Shoe Bride

I'm embarrassed to share this, I am currently looking for my fifth pair of wedding shoes.  I'm kicking myself.  I was in denial about the height of the J. Crew d'orsays that I scored for $8 a year ago.  At a fitting on Saturday, my seamstress looked at me prancing and swooshing around her shop and told me something had to change.  She either had to hem the skirt of the dress or I had to get higher heels.

Now, the shoes are a tad large on me to start with and I was only going to wear them for the ceremony as a result.  Combining too-large heels and a too-long skirt might result in me being flat on my face at some point on the walk down the aisle.  Instead of hemming the dress, I've decided to use this as an opportunity to buy a new pair of shoes that actually fit and were comfortable.  I also decided that I would look for a pair of wedges for the outdoor ceremony. 

In looking for a pair of wedges that were formal enough to wear with my wedding gown, I've been surprised by how limited the options are.  Surly there are enough people out there getting married outdoors to warrant a nice selection of special occasion shoes with a wedge heel? 

So far, the only shoe I've found has been the this one by Nina:

Nina Electra via NinaShoes.com

Part of me thinks that I should just put a pair in my shopping basket and call of the search for other options.  With the wedding around the corner, I should really have the shoe situation squared away by now.  I never imagined that I'd still be looking at shoes just weeks before my wedding.

Did you leave anything to the last minute in your wedding planning?  How did things work out?
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Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Managing a Dog at a Wedding (and Last Minute Details)

Remember Baxter? He's my little golden retriever, who has been my sidekick for the last five years.  Very early in our wedding planning, I debated having Baxter in our wedding.  I feared that he'd be uncomfortable or the logistics of getting him to and from our venue would prove too difficult.  Almost every comment from my original post about this encouraged me to include Bax in our big day.  One bee even photoshopped an image of our little guy with a bride and groom to encourage me.

We settled on including Baxter pretty soon after that.  Marc and I wasn't exactly in agreement about what Bax should wear, though.  Marc thought the bow tie collar was have was the perfect outfit for our Little Bear.  I put it on him for holidays and special occasions.

I had a slightly different idea. I had seen floral wreaths that my florists, Pat and Sherry Spencer of Pat's Floral Designs, had made for dogs on a few wedding blogs.  I thought Baxter would look adorable with a floral wreath around his neck.

In the end, I was a bit more passionate about the floral wreath than Marc was about the bow tie, so the wreath wins.  I bought Baxter a black collar, lead, and Gentle Leader harness to be the foundation for his look and I think he looked very sharp.

Of course, now we had to deal with the logistics of getting Baxter to the wedding and returning him home after our ceremony.  We considered asking a few of our friends to do this, but we didn't want anyone to miss out on part of the day because they were ferrying a dog around.  We considered asking a few neighbors who are students, but our wedding day is their moving day.

I almost gave up on Baxter being in the wedding, but as luck would have it, I saw a Living Social email about hiring an errand running company, based in Charlottesville, that operates in Virginia, DC, and Maryland called Vivacity to do all kinds of tasks, including pet sitting.  I quickly emailed the company to ask if our "task" fit into their pet sitting parameters and got a lovely email back from the owner, Ashleigh Ward, saying she'd be happy to help us.  I quickly purchased the Living Social deal and felt relieved that we wouldn't be burdening a guest with the role of chauffeur for Baxter.

I recently met Ashleigh for coffee to talk about our time line.  I brought Bax along so they could meet, in case she wasn't a "dog person."  It turns out that she has two dogs herself, so she's completely comfortable with taking care of Baxter on our wedding day. She put me at ease almost immediately.

I decided that I might also hire her to do some of the last minute jobs that come up just before the wedding.  I'm not sure I can juggle dropping welcome bags off at area hotels, transporting linens to the venue, picking up my dress (from where it'll be steamed) and other tasks on the same day as our rehearsal.  It might be nice to have someone else to help us on the day before the big day.

How are you planning on handling last minute wedding tasks?
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Friday, May 11, 2012

Seating Guests at a LARGE Event

As of Saturday, we have gotten replies to 100% of our wedding invitations.  For some reason, we felt like it might not happen, but we managed to get in touch with all of our guests who hadn't replied and got their answers.  Now, it's time to focus on table arrangements.

In light of my commitment to paperless wedding planning, I originally signed up for a website that aims to facilitate the seating assignment process.  Unfortunately, it has no upload function, so you must do a considerable amount of data entry before you can do anything.  I dutifully typed in all of our guests and when I was almost done, the whole thing crashed on me.  It was a lovely hour that I wasn't about to repeat.

Perhaps the seating arrangement website crashing was a good thing.  Marc was actually very excited about this task.  He had pen and paper at the ready, but I had other plans.  Since he was enthusiastic, I decided to make the process a little more fun.

I pulled out my awesome circle cutter outer thing, bought during one of those sales that Michaels runs when everything with Martha Stewart's name on it is 40% and you can use a coupon to get another 25% off.  Since buying the circle cutter outer, I haven't used it, so I christened it by cutting out eight circles that would be our tables.

I then used Post-It flags to represent each couple or guest that is coming to our wedding.  I color coded them based on the social group of which they are a part (bridal party, my colleagues and friends, my family, Marc's colleagues and friends, Marc's family, and our mutual friends).  

Instead of the traditional head table, we are renting two farm tables from our florists, Pat and Sherry from Pat's Floral Design (Pat's husband/Sherry's father made the tables).  They can fit 8-10 people each and we'll probably have 17 people at those tables.  While our round tables can fit 10 people, we though it'd be nice to give everyone a little more elbow room, so we're seating eight people at each table.

The first attempt at putting everyone at a table went really well.  The groups emerged rather naturally.  We put our older guests at the tables closets to the dance floor so they wouldn't feel removed from the party if they wanted to sit down.  We put some of the younger people on the outskirts, assuming they might be more apt to stay on the dance floor once they get there. We were left with this:

We were quite proud of ourselves, but left the arrangement up for a day to see how we felt about it.  The next afternoon, we wondered if clustering people from similar social groups was a mistake.  Would the left side of the room mingle with the right side of the room?  What's more, we love all of these people and we think most of them would like each other, so perhaps it might be more fun to mix the tables up a bit.

We left our older friends and family where they were, but shuffled some of the younger folks around.  We even mixed a few tables because there were a few couples that we thought would really enjoy meeting each other.  Perhaps it's a little silly, but I kind of hope some new friendships come out of those mixed tables. 

What factors do you consider when seating guests for a party or event?   What tools do you use?

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Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Stalking the Mailman

There comes a time in every couple's wedding planning journey when the stalking begins.  With the RSVP deadline looming, your ears become trained to distinguish the sound of the mail truck from that of other types of vehicles.  On days when no responses arrive, you can't help but get a little cynical about your loved ones' abilities to fill out a card and use a pre-stamped and pre-addressed envelope.

On our RSVP deadline day, here's how our response numbers looked:

Yes, I originally spelled the meat dish as tender lion.

I removed the "+1" lines for everyone who declined and was pretty shocked by how few people declined our invitation.  Doing the math, though, we were right at 80% acceptance, which falls right in line with the wisdom of the Weddingbee forum, where people say that 20% of your invited guests won't be able to attend.

A bride who is getting married this weekend at my venue told me that quite a few guests on her list put their reply cards in the mail on the RSVP deadline date, so we might get a few more cards this week.  Sure enough, a few more cards trickled in.  We started making calls and emailing the guests with outstanding replies and got answers out of almost everyone.  Three days after our deadline, here is how our numbers look:

One of the three missing replies if from a "+1" and that's just fine with us.  The other two are a bit of a surprise...but they shall remain anonymous. 

Just for fun, I thought I'd share our favorite reply card, which came from Marc's sister.  Her son, one of our ring bearers, also signed the card.

To hopefully help those who are still waiting for response cards to arrive, I thought I'd describe the emotional roller coaster I've been on this week.  Four days ago, the day before our RSVP deadline, I was extremely worried and anxious about our numbers.  Three days ago, I was anxious and puzzled.  I thought something must be wrong with the mail or our wedding website.  Surly, more people meant to respond by now?  Two days ago, I was frustrated.  Our wedding can't possibly be anyone's first wedding.  They must know what the card is for, right?  Yesterday, I was worried again.  We were over our projected number and I started to think about the ripple effect of that.  Today, I'm at peace.

Did you experience some emotional ups and downs while waiting for your guests to respond to your invitation?  Did you have to track a few stragglers down after your RSVP deadline?

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Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Going to the Courthouse

A couple days ago, we made a spontaneous decision.  We were getting ready for work and Marc said "let's just go to the courthouse this morning."  We had talked about it a few times, but never made any concrete decisions about going there.  That morning seemed like the perfect time.

So we went. 

We went to the wrong building at first.  The guard there told us where to go and wished us good luck as we headed to the door.  We weren't sure if he meant we wished us luck finding the right building or wished us luck in our marriage.  We'll assume the latter.

Once inside, we made our way to the Office of the Circuit Court Clerk and told her what we wanted to do.  We showed us into a room that was the color of Pepto-Bismol and told us someone would be right with us.

About twenty minutes later, we walked out with this:

If it wasn't clear, we were just getting our marriage license, which is good for the next 60 days.  We had the date that we could start going to the clerk's office circled on the calendar and with about a month to go, the time seemed right.

It's amazing that getting a marriage license is so easy in Virginia.  We showed our IDs, spelled out the names or our parents, and we were done.  All we have to do is have our officiant fill out the forms and then drop them in the mail the day after the wedding.

So, I guess it's official!  We're getting married!  This is another one of those "things just got real" moments.  I had those feelings when we mailed our Save the Date cards and when our invitations went out, but this feeling is a bit different.  We're getting married SOON!

What were your "this just got real" moments while you were planning?

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Monday, May 7, 2012

A Lesson in Linens

Back in December, I contemplated ordering linens that were a close match to my bridesmaids' dresses.  Our venue's beautiful reception space was a wonderful, but fairly neutral slate.  I'm not a fan of overly colorful lighting schemes, so the linens seemed like a natural place to bring in that pretty blue.

A Craigslist seller led me to the company that had linens that were almost a perfect match for J. Crew's Matisse Blue dresses.  I ordered a swatch to be sure and was pretty excited when it came.  The napkins had to be ordered in increments of 12, so I wound up with more than I thought I would need. 

Just a few weeks ago, I started thinking about the rustic tables that our venue, Pippin Hill, has for use around the space.  They don't exactly fit with my vision for the space.  I met our DOC, Amanda Gray, at the venue to talk about the placement of those tables and decide on how they'd be draped.

We decided to drape five of the tall, bar height tables that are on the patio, where our cocktail hour will be held.  We also decided to put one large, rectangular table on the patio for my escort card board, guestbook poster, and card box.  Those items would be moved inside to another draped table during the reception.  We also decided to drape the cake table at the far end of the space, under a huge mirror.

I quickly placed an order with TableLinensforLess.com for the linens we'd need.  They arrived in just a few days and I laid them out on my sofa to take a look at them.

I got confused when every single tablecloth had rounded corners.  Five of the tables were round, but I had ordered square or rectangular tablecloths for the other tables.  I checked and double checked, thinking that I missed something.  Alas, every one of them was rounded.

I called the company a little worried and the customer service representative calmly explained that when rectangular or square tables get over a certain size, rounding the corners helps the tablecloth drape properly.  She said that if the fabric was a perfect square or rectangle, the corners who puddle on the floor and not look right. I sheepishly apologized for bothering them and explained that I had never ordered linens as large as these before.

Talk about an embarrassing moment!  I was certain there had been some sort of mistake.  I'm so thankful that the customer service person was understanding.

Did you have a moment when you were convinced something wedding related was wrong and all was just fine?
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Friday, May 4, 2012

Paperless wedding planning

While running an errand last week, I spotting a display full of wedding planning books and binders at a stationary store that made me stop and browse.  You see, I never bought any sort of planning tool when we got engaged.  I was curious about the contents of the binders and decided to take a look at them.

Most had pretty, pastel dividers for every aspect of a wedding.  They had pockets for brochures, slots for business cards, and sheet protectors for truly precious pieces of paper.

Was I missing something?  I have a folder that our venue gave us with our menu and contract in it and I've thrown a few things in there since, but I haven't found the wedding planning process to be paper intensive. 

I asked a few other brides if they had wedding planning binders and got these pictures back in response:

 Photos by friends / Used with permission

I thought I'd run down the tools I used in my wedding planning and how I stayed relatively paper free in the process.  The tools I used were from multiple websites.  I looked at a number of options and went with whatever one had the format I liked best.  When one site went down for maintenance a few weeks ago, I realized how lucky I was to be using multiple sites.  There were brides who were only using that one site and therefore lost access to their budget, guest list, and wedding websites for the duration of the outage.

1. Budget 
I managed my budget through Wedding Wire.  I liked the three-column design and how quick and easy it was to edit (and completely remove) the different elements on the page.

2. Wedding Website, Guest List, and Meal Selections
I made a site for our wedding on multiple websites before picking Project Wedding for ours.  The determining factor was the simplicity of the URL.  Our URL is just six letters followed by .projectwedding.com.  I can't tell you how many time I've seen wedding website URLs that are something like www.___.com/ourweddingwebsite/JohnSmithandJaneDoewedding. 

I also liked that their sites have pretty designs, but are pretty straightforward.  I've seen a few wedding websites with music or animation that slowed down how quickly I could get information.  Some of those sites don't play nicely with ipads, either.

Project Wedding also had an online RSVP feature that we could use to track menu selections. 

3.  Task Checklist
Like many, I started my planning by looking at The Knot's wedding checklist.  I was immediately turned off by the repetition (I think creating programs is on there in some way at least three times) and some of the fluff items on the list (enjoying your wedding day is an item on the list).  I think there were about 275 items on the list.

I wound up using Wedding Wire's checklist much more often.  There was still a little repetition, but it wasn't nearly as overwhelming as The Knot's list.

4. Gift/Thank You Note Tracker
The stores where I registered offered a gift tracker, but I opted to use the one at Wedding Wire.  None of these tools seemed great, but Wedding Wire's let me upload a spreadsheet and go from there.  Others required a bit more work to set up.

5. Inspiration
I started wedding planning just as invitations to beta test Pinterest were floating around the design blog community.  At first, I used The Knot to find inspiration, but quickly moved to Pinterest since The Knot doesn't have a very good search function and finding inspiration requires going through page upon page of images that are the size of a postage stamp.

6. Contracts
Perhaps this isn't the norm, but almost all of my vendors sent contracts by email.  The gmail account we created just for the wedding has all of those emails saved.  When we got something by mail, I scanned it and saved it to a wedding folder on my computer.  I'll probably print contracts out for Amanda Gray, our Day-of Coordinator.

When vendors have given me paper, I've tried to only take what is truly necessary from them.  At bridal shows, I only gave my contact information to vendors I knew I'd be working with, which I think helped keep the paper to a minimum (some commenters with bridal show connections didn't like that, but I didn't want to be on too many mailing lists).

Did you do most of your wedding planning online?  What tools did you find most helpful?
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Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Wedding Poaching

With a little over a month to go before our wedding, it's time to wrap up loose ends.  I have a few unfinished projects and need to get started on the paper related projects that I couldn't tackle too early.  Complicating my plans is a business trip that has taken me away from Charlottesville for a week.

I decided to use a break in appointments to go to the only Christmas Tree Shoppe in my region to get candles for the glass votive holders that I bought a few weeks ago. I already bought some huge, pillar candles for my Christmas Tree Shop lanterns months ago and knew they sold votive candles in bulk.

I made a beeline for the candle section as soon as I walked through the doors of shop.  Stacks of votive candles took up the entire bottom shelf of the section and the candles were arranged by color.  On both ends of the candle rainbow, there were empty spaces.  There wasn't a single white votive holder in the section.  In disbelief, I circled the racks thinking that there was some magic supply of white candles that I had overlooked. 

After picking up a few random items, I made my way to the check out, a little sad that I didn't accomplish my mission for the trip. As I looked around, I noticed the area where staff seem to be items that need to be returned to the shelves.  Next to the "go back" bins was a shopping cart...

After I checked out, I scurried to the cart and found a candle stash.  All those white candles that were missing from the shelves seemed to be right in front of me. Had some shopper momentarily abandoned their cart or were these headed back to the shelves?  I went to the customer service desk to ask and got some bad news.

The candles were on hold.  Another bride had set them aside a day ago. The clerk at the customer service desk said that there had been a sign on the cart saying she was coming back that night.  The manager overheard and said that the sign came off this morning, once 24 hours had passed since she put the candles on hold.  They were mine to take!

I felt a little guilty as I pulled package after package of candles out of the cart.  I felt like I was poaching items from another bride's wedding.  When the manager came over and thanked me for saving them from putting all of the candles back on the shelves, I felt a little better.

Did you have to get a little competitive with other brides during your wedding planning?  Are you especially proud that you acquired something that was rare in high demand for your wedding?
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Tuesday, May 1, 2012

How to Make an Exit from a Wedding

Getting married and having our reception in the same location has allowed us to avoid talking about wedding transportation during much of our planning.  We've had a few short conversations about the logistics of getting things and people to Pippin Hill, the vineyard where we'll be getting married, but haven't really talked about making our getaway at the end of the night.

As the day gets closer, there's more day dreaming about how all these plans will turn out and we've done some talking about how we'll leave the vineyard when the party is over.  I've always been a fan of antique limousines and imagined myself riding in a classic Rolls Royce.  I'm not sure a fifteen minute, one way trip would be worth a limo company's time.

Notice who is driving? / From Snippet and Ink / Photo by Jimena Roquero / Via Lover.ly

Another option is to rent a classic sport car.  Marc and I both love this idea, but we're not too excited about driving it ourselves after our reception.  The photos would be charming, though, don't you think?  When I shared the classic sports car idea with my Maid of Honor, she offered to drive the car for us and to take care of picking it up and returning it.  I thought that was so generous, but most of the sports cars we saw had two seats. 

My Day of Coordinator gave me a tip that the owner of the sports car rental business in our area had a four seater that he drove for another one of her couples.  I emailed him right away, but he's already busy on our wedding date.  That would have been too perfect if it had worked out.

Jodi Miller's wedding (a photographer who lives near me!) / From Southern Weddings

I decided to submit a quote request with one of the local limo companies that has a classic Rolls that I love (it's navy blue!) and I'll see what happens.  I'm setting myself up for budget busting quote already.  Maybe, just maybe, there's a slight chance that having a Friday wedding will finally work in our favor and there won't be a minimum?  That's probably wishful thinking.

What options did you consider for your getaway?  How did you wind up making your exit after your wedding reception?
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