My Addiction to Michaels

I have a serious addiction to Michaels.  In the past two weeks I’ve been to three different locations a total of eight times.  Aside from buying out the entire store (which I’m in the process of doing), I’m currently stocking up on cylinder vases.  I need about sixty altogether!

You see my Mom is my florist, and since I’m getting married about a hundred miles away from her shop, I have to be selective about what the centerpieces will be.  She will be coming to the hotel we are staying at the day before the wedding for the rehearsal dinner, and won’t have access to large coolers to store all of the wedding day flowers. I needed to come up with something that wouldn’t be difficult to assemble or transport, and would hold up well overnight, without being in a cooler.  I’ve always loved the look of centerpieces with candlelight, so after scouring the web for ideas, I decided to go for a large cylinder vase filled with a floating orchid, with two smaller cylinder vases with floating candles.  There will be dozens of votive candles on each table as well.

My Inspiration:

Image via Elizabeth Anne Designs/Styled by Styled Creative/Photo by Maria Labbancz Photography

Transporting a few containers of orchids wouldn’t take up too much room, and they last for quite a few days in water.  Unfortunately my Mom didn’t have all of the cylinder vases I wanted, so I’ve been slowly acquiring them on my various trips to Michaels.

Comparing the vases in the store:

The two smaller vases are 15″ cylinder vases, the taller one is a 19″ cylinder vase.

We have almost all of the tall vases we need (20 – one per table) and about half of the smaller vases (40 in all – two per table).

Of course Fiance could only take so much of following me around Michaels before he found other methods to pass the time (yes, he somehow came across a hula hoop).

What was your inspiration for flowers?


Cutting the Cake

Among the many things on the wedding ‘to purchase’ list was a cake serving set.  You know, the one that will be in all the pictures next to the wedding cake, the one that Fiance and I will use to cut out an amazing slice of heaven (I’m assuming it will be amazing – we have yet to actually pick out a baker).

I didn’t want to purchase one that we would use on the wedding day and forget about after the fact.  I wanted a set that we could use for holidays and future family functions.

When we started searching we found ones that were personalized with the wedding date and the couple’s names.  Although many couples like serving sets like the one below, it seemed to be too ‘wedding related’ to use for all our family gatherings.

Image via The Knot

On the flip side, we could go with something completely different that could match potential dishware in the future.  My personal favorite?  The Mackenzie Childs serving set.

Image via Neiman Marcus

Unfortunately that set didn’t seem to go with the overall feel of our wedding and Fiance wasn’t a fan.

After searching some more, I finally found a serving set I loved that was simple, personalized and from one of my favorite stores – Pottery Barn.

Image via Pottery Barn

I had the ends of the serving set monogrammed with an ‘S’ for my new last name.  I love how it came out!

Personal Photo

Personal Photo

I can’t wait to use the set on our wedding day – and for years to come.  Did you personalize a cake serving set, or pick one out that matched future serving ware?

The Hardest Part of Wedding Planning

The wedding planning process has been one of the most exciting times of my life, but it has also been one of the most difficult as well.  A little over six months ago I lost my father to cancer.

Before then when I pictured my wedding day, my father was walking me down the aisle, marveling at his little girl and twirling me around on the dance floor.

He was diagnosed in July 2010.  At that time the cancer had already developed into stage four, but somehow I was still optimistic that he would beat it.

The following March Fiance asked my father for my hand in marriage.  It still means the world to me that he did that – and I know it meant the world to my Dad, who happily gave permission (he was secretly waiting for Fiance to propose too!).

After numerous rounds of chemo and radiation, it appeared that my Dad was starting to get better.  Somehow I knew it was too good to be true.  A little over a year after his diagnosis, another tumor was spotted, and this time, getting rid of it turned out to be unsuccessful.  I’ll always remember sitting at Panera with my Mom, asking her if he would be a part of my wedding, and having her tell me that he only had another six months to live (my wedding was a year away at that point).

It turned out we didn’t have six months.  Less than one month after that conversation I received a phone call on a Monday night after work.  My Dad had suffered a heart attack, and I needed to come home. (He had an existing heart condition, and the year of chemo and recent surgery was too much on his heart.) I immediately called the DJ we were to meet with that night in tears (I had actually never met him face to face) and told him I needed to postpone.  Fiance walked in the door and immediately helped me put some items together and get on the road to drive the three hours to my hometown.  It was surreal.  I didn’t know what to pack, how long I would be home, and if God forbid, if I needed dressier clothes for a funeral.

I hated myself for not putting together a memory book for my father, telling him how much he meant to me.  How long had it been on my to do list, and I still only had a rough draft of a letter written out.

When I arrived at the hospital I was brought into the ICU room where he was, and given five minutes alone to say my goodbyes. He was awake, but unable to speak, and unresponsive.   I held his hand, told him I loved him, and that he didn’t have to fight anymore.  Saying goodbye was devastating.

I would never get a chance to walk down the aisle with my father.  He would never twirl me on the dance floor and tell me how beautiful I looked in my wedding dress.  Another thought that broke my heart – he would never have the opportunity to meet his future grandchildren someday.

My family rejoined me in the room, and together we said goodbye.  He passed away about twenty minutes after I got to the hospital.

So while wedding planning is exciting, and I cannot wait to become Fiance’s wife, part of me has a heavy heart while I simultaneously plan the happiest day of my life while still grieving over the saddest.

My Dad and I on Christmas morning a few years ago

(I will be doing two more posts about this topic – one on the topic of switching the wedding date to accommodate a sick family member, and one on remembering my father during our wedding day).

Toast to You


I have a serious obsession with Kate Spade.  My picture frames and vases are all Kate Spade.  My wedding shoes are Kate Spade (more on that soon!) and of course – so are my toasting flutes.

I knew I definitely wanted to order toasting flutes for the wedding – I liked the idea of having a special glass, but I also really liked the idea that Fiance and I could use them every year on our anniversary (and any other special occasion).  The Kate Spade flutes were a little pricey, but I wanted something special and was able to purchase them during a Macy’s twenty percent off event.  I was so happy to receive them, and cannot wait to toast with them for years to come!

Kate Spade Flutes

Did you purchase special toasting flutes?

I Guess We’ll Just Have to Drink More Wine

One of projects that I wanted to do myself was the escort cards for the reception.  Fiance and I are having our reception at a winery and while there is no theme to the wedding, I wanted to highlight our venue a little.

I originally thought about using wine corks to hold the individual name cards.

Image via Project Wedding

They look so pretty and are perfect for our reception!  When I showed this idea to Fiance, he told me that we would have to drink more wine to accommodate our need for all those corks (um, yes please!).

Now we just had to figure out how many corks we needed.  If we invited 200 guests, we would need about 200 corks, or maybe 120 if we included couples on one card instead of individually listing each person on a separate card.  Maybe we could manage that many wine corks if we enlisted the help of some of our family and friends (and of course if we drank more wine).

Then I came up with an even better idea – why not make a wine cork board that I can display at the wedding, but also use after the wedding is over to display notes and things.  It would look beautiful and also serve as a nice reminder of our special day.  I was sold.  (Fiance just kind of nodded and told me ‘sounds nice’ meaning ‘go with it, let me know how it turns out’.)

My Inspiration for the wine cork board:

Image via Wine Enthusiast

I had the perfect frame already that was originally intended for a picture collage.  Unfortunately the glass broke before I had a chance to hang it, and I never had a new piece cut.

Judging by the size of the frame, I knew I needed a lot more than 200 corks, and there was no way Fiance and I could drink that much wine (even though we did buy more with that intention).  A quick internet search led me to stores that sell corks and to eBay.  I ended up going the eBay route and purchased a lot of 500 corks. (One thing I learned through this process was to only bid on the listings for wood corks.  There were some that included champagne corks and synthetic corks, however for this project I needed all wood corks).

After receiving the first set of 500 I realized I needed more, and I found another set of 500 that I bid on.

With all 1,000 corks in place I got to work arranging them – although it was a fun project, it took longer than anticipated.  The corks were all different sizes, and came from many different wineries (a benefit from ordering them off of different sellers on ebay).  Of course when arranging the corks I had to pay special attention to make sure I matched the shorter and taller ones together so they fit on the board.

I first laid out the pattern to make sure it was what I wanted.

Next – I got out my glue gun and extra glue sticks.

I found the easiest way for me to do this project was to glue the corks after I had laid them all out.  I would pick up one cork at a time, glue the back and place it down on the board.  That way I had already had a base pattern and it was a simple task of gluing them all down.

Finally I had my finished product (two hours and fourteen glue sticks later).

I still need to order escort cards, and I plan to stick each one on the board with a pin.

I’m really happy with how it turned out, and even happier that it will be something we can use in the future.

Are there any projects you’re doing that you will display after your wedding?

No Food at the Food Tasting?

One of the things I was most looking forward to in the wedding planning process was when Fiance and I would have the opportunity to plan out our menu.  Our venue offered three dinner options including a buffet, sit down dinner and stations.  I immediately gravitated towards the stations with thoughts of a mashed potato bar, salad bar, fajita station, pasta station and carving station (a little something for everyone).  The sit down options looked good too, and I couldn’t wait to sit down with Fiance to taste everything.

Last week Fiance and I made the hour and a half trip to our venue, purposely not eating much beforehand in anticipation of all the wonderful food we were about to try.  When we got to the winery we met with our catering manager (who has an exclusive catering contract with our venue).  She led us to the bar area of the reception room, and we sat down at a table and reviewed our options.

She immediately persuaded us against the stations (so many lines, people have to work for their food, the younger crowd may enjoy it, but the older crowd is always confused with stations).  She told us that stations were great for a cocktail party with no assigned seating, but for a formal wedding dinner, a buffet or sit down dinner would be our best bet.

Both Fiance and I agreed we liked the presentation of a sit down dinner (since they were both comparable in price) and immediately decided on offering our guests a choice of beef, chicken or a vegetarian option.  We talked through the menu and picked our favorite dishes.

At this point we expected to actually try our favorites.  Fiance asked if we were going to sample any of the options.  The catering manager responded that she could arrange a tasting for us when we came back to meet with wedding coordinator at our venue.

We were both really surprised they didn’t do a tasting with us from the beginning – and a little disappointed.  Our reception is by far the most expensive item of our wedding, and when we offer our guests a choice of food, we want to be able to recommend an option or tell them how good it tastes.  We wanted to try a few different options and then choose.  I think I was also disappointed because all of my married friends talked about how much they loved planning their menu and the food tasting.

I emailed the catering manager two days later and requested to come back and sample the food before we ordered our invitations.

What was your experience with selecting a menu?  Did you actually get to try out the food when you planned the menu?

Oh How Suite

The suite I’ve reserved for my wedding day that is.  Once Fiance proposed my mind immediately started swarming with ideas and the ever growing to-do list.  The first was to pick a reception spot (one week later.. check!).  The second was supposed to be ‘find a church’ or ‘research photographer’.  However that list quickly changed once we made the decision to have our wedding out of town.  My mission then switched to booking our hotel suite so I would have a place to get ready in.

Luckily for me I knew exactly what hotel I wanted to use for our wedding block  The Woodcliff Hotel and Spa is close to our reception venue, is set on top of a hill (which offers beautiful views) and offers complimentary shuttle service to our guests to and from our reception.  Fiance and I have stayed there twice to celebrate birthdays. It was no surprise that once we booked our reception venue, I was immediately looking at the hotel’s website.

Since I won’t be getting ready at the home I live in or the home I grew up in, I knew I wanted to get ready for the most important day of my life (thus far) in a beautiful setting that had enough room for me to feel relaxed.   The Woodcliff was the perfect place to look, as they offered a few different suites to choose from.  However after quickly perusing their website, there was only one suite I envisioned getting ready in on my wedding day.  The Art Deco.

What’s so special about this suite?

  • Over 1110 square feet to get ready in (and with eight bridesmaids, one junior, MOTB, MOTG and a makeup artist or two…that space is absolutely necessary since I’m afraid I may be overwhelmed by so many people the morning of)
  • Two floors (in case I need to escape the madness!)
  • Two bathrooms (another huge plus)
  • Adorable spiral staircase (looks great in photos)
  • First floor living room, dining area and wet bar (again, more space to spread out and relax)

It’s very popular among brides – and I booked the suite fifteen months before the wedding.  Crazy?  Maybe.  But I knew I wanted to get ready there, so there was no point in procrastinating.

The suite is a little pricey – I originally only booked it for the night before the wedding (maybe have a little girls night beforehand and relax the morning of the wedding).  Fiance and I knew we would be getting back from wedding festivities late and didn’t need a fancy hotel room for our wedding night, so we decided to book a standard hotel room instead.

That lasted for about one month.  After discussing the suite some more, Fiance said he really wanted to stay there too (we’re not staying together the night before the wedding) – so we will be going back to the suite the night of our wedding and relaxing in that extremely large space the next morning, ordering breakfast for two, and not leaving until this kick us out 🙂

(All photos provided by The Woodcliff Hotel)

Was anyone else overly excited about their wedding night accommodations?