Wine Letters

After the success of my first wine DIY project I decided to try out another.

Many of you had suggested that I contact my reception venue for wine corks (the first time around I bought a few on eBay..and by a few I mean over 1,000).  You ladies were right – when we visited our venue for a meeting a couple weeks ago we came away with a bag full of corks.

All the corks from my venue

The catering manager told me that most brides use the corks for table assignments, however I plan to pin escort cards to the giant wine cork board I made a few months ago.  Luckily I had another project in mind to incorporate all the additional corks.

Enter the wine letters.

Image via Addicted 2 Decorating

I’ve seen pictures of these adorable letters all over the internet, and decided Fiance and I needed them in our lives.  In one of my recent trips to Hobby Lobby I picked up two wood letters to use as a base for the project.  I picked up an ‘S’ and ‘J’ (for our first names) for $3.00 a piece.

Then I got to work.  Luckily only three items were needed to complete this project: wood letters, wine corks and a glue gun.

I started out by placing the corks on the board to ensure I had enough and to adjust the placement of the corks if necessary, due to size.  Once I was happy with how it looked, I picked up the corks one at time, placed glue on the bottom, and put it back in place.  I thought about gluing the sides as well, however decided against it since the corks seemed to stay on fine with just the glue on the bottom.

(Sadly no wine was consumed during this project, even though I’m a firm believer that wine and crafting are a great combination).

The finished product:

I plan to put these on the guest book table with an “&” of some sorts in between (probably won’t be made out of corks, unless of course we drink a lot more wine).

What recent projects have you been working on?

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Trying to Get Ahead

Like Miss Archer, I have been dealing with wedding stress a little bit more lately.  For me this happened at the three month mark (we are now about eleve weeks out!).  Many of my married friends have warned me about the stress that coincides with the end of planning, which I’d like to call stage four.  The way I see it, the planning process is broken down into four stages:

Stage One – You first get engaged.  Ahh.. the possibilities are endless.  You buy bridal magazines, scour the web, make appointments.  You start to envision your wedding.

Stage Two – Wait, there’s a budget involved in wedding planning?  And wait… weddings cost what?!?  If this didn’t happen to you.. well consider yourself lucky.  This is when you need to strike that fine balance between planning the wedding of your dreams and being practical (is there such a thing as practicality in the wedding world?)  At this point you start to book all of your major vendors and different pieces of the wedding puzzle fall into place.

Stage Three – Then there is a lull (especially if you have a longer engagement).  The vendors have been selected at this point, but the wedding is still a few months away, so you take a step back from the wedding planning until..

Stage Four – OMG the wedding is in three months?!  Suddenly the to do list which was getting so small just got ten times bigger.  Choosing the ceremony venue just turned into planning the order of the ceremony, will there be readings, will there be songs, what about programs and a flower toss exit?

Everyone’s wedding planning experience is different, but I’ve often heard that the last few months can be kind of crazy.  And it’s true.

I have a unique personality in that I’m all or nothing.  I have to have total control or I’ll be laid back.  I plan and plan, but somehow things don’t get done until the last minute (but they will get done).

I don’t want to be a stressed out bride for the last three months, so lately I’ve been spending more time pouring over my to do list and calendar.  The perfect balance for me is to do something (anything!) wedding related every day at least for the next month (who am I kidding, it will probably be every day until the wedding).  I’d rather spend ten minutes a day trying to get ahead than five hours on a Saturday debating if I should spend it wedding planning or out with friends.

Some of the things that I have been doing to get ahead include:

  • Tackling wedding invites – everyday I address 5-10.  We ordered envelopes separate from our invites, so while we wait for the invites to arrive, I have been getting a head start on addressing the outer envelopes, putting stamps on and writing our guests’ names on the inner envelopes.
  • Along the same lines – pre addressing shower thank you notes.  I know some people ask their guests to do this at the shower.  In my experience I have found the younger guests don’t mind, but older guests sometimes find it rude.  I don’t mind writing them out, so I spent some down time in between stage three and four of the process pre addressing envelopes so once the shower was over I would have an easier time sending out thank you notes.
  • Emails – I have been dealing with my vendors quite a bit through email.  So every week I try to run through my list of vendors and see if there are any I need to be in contact with, whether it’s following up on a payment, arranging our next meeting, etc.  This helps me space out our meetings as well .
  • Online and in store wedding purchases  –I made a list of all the things we would need to purchase for the ceremony/reception – gifts for the wedding party, programs, favors, a veil, tie, cocktail napkins, cake topper, etc.  I then went ahead and looked to see if there were any long lead times I needed  to keep in consideration (remember how ___ wanted a custom cake topper?  That was also something I wanted and I too contacted ___ and she wasn’t able to accommodate my request for a cake topper three months in advance.  So now I’m looking ahead and purchasing all custom items before in stock items).
  • Putting together items for out of town bags/gift baskets – this seems to be an item that creeps up for most couples.  And I get it.  It’s a frivolous thing that is a nice addition, but doesn’t need to be included.  I decided at the beginning I wanted to do both for my guests.  I made a list of items that we would need, so whenever I’m out at Target I try to pick up a couple things I know is on that list.  I have started to brainstorm welcome bags for the OOT guests and purchased bags and non perishable items in advance.
  • Lists – ah yes, and then there are the lists.  I may sound crazy, but I have a notebook with a list for everything – and whenever an idea hits, I add it.  I’ve even created a list of packing items that I’ll need personally to get ready on the wedding day and items we need to drop off at the church and reception.  It helps to visualize the day in advance and walk through the ceremony – do you see an aisle runner?  If so add it to the list.  Will there be a unity candle (remember you’ll need three and a stand) or a sand ceremony?  You’ll need to pick up those supplies.  I have even found it helpful to put everything I might need on a list and then re-evaluate and take items off if I decide I don’t need it.

Will I have everything together beforehand?  Probably not.  Things will come up.  But the more I can take care of now – even if it’s something small – the less that I’ll have to worry about when the actual wedding is just days away.

Have you been experiencing wedding stress?  How have you dealt with it?  How do you plan to stay ahead of your to do list?  Also – what ideas do you have to include in an out of town bag or bathroom basket?

Miss Fairy and Fiance – A Quick Intro

Hi hive!  Just like Miss Toadstool, I started singing I’m a B once I saw the official weddingbee email come through.  I’m so excited to be sharing our wedding experiences with you and hope you enjoy reading about them just as much as I enjoy writing about them. 🙂

You may be wondering – why Miss Fairy? I actually had a really hard time choosing a character!  I am sometime very indecisive, but I continuously went back to her because I thought she was so darn cute.  So Fairy it is.

Now on to who we are and where it all started…

Fiance and I met in 2006.  We both disagree on where we actually met and who asked who out (he asked me… twice).  We started dating in late 2007, and moved in together in 2008.. along with Fiance’s brother (kind of like ‘You, Me and Dupree’).  I learned a lot from living with Fiance and his brother for so long.  While Fiance’s brother has since moved out, I’m happy to report that I think of him as my own brother and we still get along great.  Finally in 2011 Fiance proposed, and we’ve been busy ever since planning for our September 2012 wedding.

Our first New Year’s Eve together!

Fiance is my better half and makes me laugh daily (which is a major plus).  We don’t take ourselves too seriously and are enjoying the wedding planning process…for the most part.  While I’ve planned a majority of the smaller details, Fiance gives me his input on everything, and I love having him involved, even if he does come up with some crazy ideas (more on that at another time).

Celebrating the Christmas tree lighting!

I can’t wait to marry my best friend in just a few months!

At a family dinner

*All pictures are personal

Weekend of weddings!

Fiance and I have a busy weekend ahead.  Saturday my best friend is getting married and I’m honored to serve as her maid of honor.  Sunday we travel out of town for a wedding that Fiance is in.  I’m beyond excited to see two weddings of our closest friends!!

I was telling one of my coworkers about it and she made a comment that I thought was odd.  ‘Aren’t you just going to look at those weddings and think mine is way better?’  I looked at her for a moment surprised that someone would say that.  While I can see where she would say that (I’ll be honest, I think it’s common for brides to want to think their wedding is going to be the beyond fabulous, and one of the best their guests have ever been to), I am happy to say that I feel the complete opposite.  I think KNOW that both of the weddings we will be attending this weekend will be absolutely beautiful.  They may be similar, they may be different, but bottom line is that two really great couples we know are getting married, and that’s all that matters.

I’ll admit, I’m excited to see all of their details!  I know Fiance and I will definitely notice all the little details that may go unnoticed by other guests.  For example, I am excited to see what their table numbers will look like, what readings they choose, the order of the reception (will the first dance be before or after dinner?), if they decided to get chair covers, etc.

But in the grand scheme of things, all those details don’t matter. The weddings that have stood out the most to me weren’t because the couple had great details or an awesome menu.  I usually remember how I felt during the wedding, how the bride and groom looked at each other, and if they radiated happiness.  It’s so easy to get caught up in the details, the stress, making sure everything goes perfectly.  But in the end – if the couple is having a great time on their wedding day, so will the guests.

It’s something that I strive to remind myself as I find myself in the middle of the planning process.  Have you been to any weddings while in the midst of planning your own?

Favorite Fitness Apps

I realize this is mostly a wedding blog – however I think most brides will attest that they want to look their absolute best on their wedding day – I know I do.  Like some brides, I have tried to be more diligent about what I’ve been eating lately and how often I make it to the gym or exercise.

I’m content with my weight right now – but I’m not happy with it.  A couple years ago I switched jobs (only to come back to my previous employer a year and a half later).  During that time I put on about fifteen pounds – blame it on working too many hours, not enough sleep, lack of willpower to all the food the office, sheer laziness, no time for fitness and a lot of stress.

With the wedding right around the corner, I know I could be a little more diligent about getting back to the weight I used to be at.  Not only is it a healthier weight for me, but working out and watching what I eat just makes me feel better.  And I know that will be very helpful to my morale the last couple months before the wedding!

With that said, I’ve turned to my iPhone for an extra boost to eat right and work out.  There are so many great wellness apps out there, and I’ve included a few of my favorites.

RunKeeper

Image via RunKeeper 

This app is great for all the runners (or wannabe runners) out there.  The app will track your distance, pace and overall time.  I love that while I’m listening to my ipod I will also get updates on my progress every five minutes during my run.  It also tracks all of your runs, so you can go back and see how often you run, any improvements, and notes about your run.  It’s a much cheaper alternative to a garmin (which I would love someday).

Nike Training Club

Image via iTunes Nike Training Club

This is a great app that gives you full body workouts on the go.  Simply select what kind of workout you want or what body area you want to focus on.  There are also workouts based on how much time you have.  The app includes demonstrations so you know how to do the move correctly, and it will keep track of how much time you have left in the workout.  If you workout enough you get rewards points to unlock new workouts.  Perfect for someone who travels or can’t always make it to the gym.

Lose It!

Image via Lose It!

This is a great app to track your food intake.  You can enter in your weight and height and goal weight and then how soon you want hit your goal weight.  It will provide with the number of calories you should eat each day to make your goal.  When I did this it gave me a small amount of calories (I had an ambitious goal), however when you add in physical activity, it gives you extra food calories to consume.  I don’t use this app religiously, but it’s a great indicator of where you are at, and helps track how many calories are in the different meals you eat.  You can also set up reminders throughout the day to log in your meals.

GymPact

Image via GymPact

This app keeps you accountable for going to the gym.  You sign up (with a credit card number) and make a pact to workout at the gym x amount of days per week.  You then set a penalty for how much money per day you will lose if you don’t make it to the gym x amount of days per week.  To give you an example of how it works, I have set my pact for three days a week with $5 at stake per workout.  Each time I go to the gym I ‘check in’ on the app and workout.  As long as I workout for at least thirty minutes, it counts.  Once I’m done I ‘check out’ (if you drive away without doing so, the app will automatically log you out of your workout, but it still counts if you worked out long enough).  At the end of every week you earn money based off of other people’s pacts.  Translation:  I made it to the gym for at least thirty minutes three times a week (because that was my pact) I don’t owe anything and I make money (usually $2 a week) based off of other’s not making their pacts.  If I workout less than three times during the week I don’t make any money and my credit card is charged $5 per day I didn’t make it (after happing once I didn’t let it happen again).  I’ve had this app now for about three months and have only been penalized once.  One thing to keep in mind – you can only count a workout at a gym (running outside doesn’t count).  It will verify the address based on location – but good news, yoga studios and other fitness studios count.

Pandora

Image via Pandora

And lastly, I had to add in Pandora.  While not a fitness app, it always provides me great music to get through my workouts.

Have you used any fitness/wellness apps to get in shape?  If so, which ones?

Food Tasting Part 2

So you may remember when we met with our catering manager to discuss our menu.  Fiance and I were hopeful to try out the food during this meeting, but came away with only a discussion of what our menu would entail.

After that meeting I scheduled an actual food tasting with our caterer.  We were going to meet her in three weeks on a Sunday afternoon.  With that meeting set up, we also scheduled a meeting with a potential organist for the ceremony.  Everything was all set.  Or so I thought.

The Friday before our scheduled tasting I received an email from the catering manager confirming that we were not meeting and that the scheduled time must not have worked out for us.  I was so confused – we were definitely still planning on meeting, and I immediately wrote her back to tell her so.

And then I waited.  Waited to receive an email back from her saying that of course we were still meeting.  The work day went on.  And I waited.  Fiance called the venue to see if he could get a hold of the catering manager.

Turns out she couldn’t meet with us.  I was so disappointed.  We were counting on this appointment so we could order the invitations the following week.  I was disappointed that even with email correspondence back and forth she didn’t remember we were planning on our tasting. I couldn’t figure out the disconnect and was so discouraged.

Fiance and I still traveled the three hours round trip to meet with our organist since that meeting was also scheduled for the same day (which was a success – yay!) But we left without our scheduled food tasting, and confused about why it didn’t work out.

The day after our scheduled tasting I received a voicemail from the caterer apologizing for the mix up (she had confused us with another couple who also wanted to meet on our time) and offered to make it up to us by making the one and a half hour drive to our home for a tasting.  I was so relieved.  Fiancé called the caterer and set up dinner for the following evening after work (yay  – not only would we meet our invitation deadline after all, we also got to have our reception meal for dinner).

The next day our caterer came by at 6:00 p.m. with a tray of food – filet mignon, two pieces of the chicken, manicotti and salad.

She told us to put the meats and pasta in the oven for fifteen minutes and to heat up the sauces, and we were ready to go.  She said her goodbyes (and another apology) and she was on her way.  Fiance and I both had anticipated her staying for our tasting, but once she left we were both excited to have a nice, relaxing meal together just the two of us.

We set up the table in the dining room (a rare occurrence in our home), lit some candles and popped two bottles of wine (because we had to try white and red with our meal).  I heated up all the food and prepared the salad, and we were good to go.

Fiance happy to try the menu

Getting all the sauces ready

This is how our menu ended up:

Appetizers – We didn’t try these, but on our day we will be serving the standard cheese/crackers/crudités/dip along with California rolls, brie cheese bites with raspberry filling and bacon wrapped scallops.

For the dinner:

  • Orchard Salad – Mixed greens, pears, feta, walnuts, craisins and a pear vinaigrette

Verdict – So good!  I loved it and was craving it the next day – even Fiance loved it (he was a little skeptical about mixing fruit in his salad).

Dinner Choices

  • Cheese Manicotti with a tomato sauce for our vegetarian option

Verdict – Unimpressive – Fiance and I both agreed it wasn’t bad, but it wasn’t our favorite.  We will be switching the vegetarian option to the vegetable lasagna (we won’t be trying it first, so hopefully it’s a winner)

  • Chicken stuffed with prosciutto, basil, sundried tomatoes and mozzarella served with a Chardonnay Sauce

Verdict – It was really good – it had a lot of flavor and we are sticking with this menu choice

  • Filet Mignon – our caterer provided us with two sauces to try out on top of the steak.  The first was a port wine sauce and the second was a gorgonzola butter sauce.  Both completely different from each other.

Verdict – We went with the Filet Mignon topped with gorgonzola butter cream sauce.  It enhanced the flavor of steak without being overbearing.  The port wine sauce was good – but reminded me of eating a beef stew instead of a nice filet.

We are very happy with our final dinner selection, and even more happy with the outcome of our cancelled tasting – even though it didn’t work out as originally planned, the caterer made it up to us and we had a fantastic date night at home, enjoying the meal we will be eating on our wedding day.

Did any vendors go out of their way to help you plan your day?  What did (or will) you include on your menu?

Sneak Peak at the Flowers

This past weekend I traveled to my hometown to celebrate Mother’s Day with my family.  I made sure to pack three of the vases that I had acquired through my many trips to TJ Maxx, Marshalls, Michaels and AC Moore (while I’ve enjoyed going in all the stores, I must admit I’m excited for the day I can go in and leisurely browse, instead of scooping up my 40% off item at the time and running to the next store).

Mom was nice enough to order my a large pink orchid to test out in the face (which was a pleasant surprise since we hadn’t coordinated our my bringing home a vase with her ordering the flowers).

If you recall from my previous post I wanted each table to have one large cylinder vase filled with an orchid, and two smaller cylinder vases on each side with a floating candle.  We would also be filling the tables with votive candles to add lots of candlelight throughout the room.

When we first put the orchid in with a little bit of water at the bottom it looked a little plain (I know that is the look I was obviously going for, but I still felt like it was missing something).  Mom suggested marbles or stones in the bottom, and brought out a mix of clear and white colored stones – the perks of putting it together in her florist shop.

  • Helpful Tip #1 – When putting in stones in large cylinder vases, you need to very carefully drop them in as close to the bottom as possible.  We dropped the first ones in too high and cracked the bottom of the vase (oops!)  The vase still worked for our purpose, but I’m afraid the crack might get bigger, and unfortunately won’t be able to use it for the wedding.
  • Helpful  Tip #2 – Which brings me to my next tip –always have a couple spare vases – if one breaks on the wedding date I want to make sure there is a spare.
  • Helpful Tip #3 – Do not transport vases with marbles or stones.  Instead, transport everything separately to the reception site and place stones in the vases at place setting to ensure the vase doesn’t crack in the moving process. 

With the stones at the bottom, I was happier with the overall look.

Still I wanted something a little more.

I asked Momma Florist if I could submerge the entire orchid in water.  She said yes, and Fiance got to work filling the entire vase with water.

  • Helpful Tip #4 – When putting water in a bigger vase, it is much easier to use a watering can or pitcher and fill with the vase already on the table.  It may seem a little tedious (especially if the vase isn’t close to a sink), however it prevents dropping the vase filled to the brim with water.

The arrangement ended up turning out exactly how I wanted it – I loved that it was simple but would provide a great backdrop to our reception.  The orchid was a perfect choice since it’s easy to transport, and doesn’t need to be refrigerated overnight (both are crucial since Momma Florist will have to transport the flowers a day before the wedding and we are having the reception out of town, with very little cooler space to store the flowers).

We will be adding one more element to the flowers on the wedding day – a submersible light that will be placed inside the vase and add an extra element of light, similar to the vase below (ours will be clear – I’m hoping it blend well with all the candlelight!)

Source

I’m so happy I finally got to see what the centerpiece would look like, and can’t wait to see it on the wedding day!