Toasting

We’ve had our toasting flutes about 6 days after our engagement, thanks to the gift giving of 3 of Mr. C’s wonderful friends. At our impromptu engagement party in Mr.C’s hometown (Pittsburgh, PA), we were given these as an engagement gift. I loved them from the moment we opened them and knew right then that I wanted them to be part o our special day.

 

 

 

 

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Part of me does want to add a little something to them. Maybe something like this:

Possible DIY project? I think so! Seems simple enough- thin wire and small beads should make this work just fine. I’ll keep you posted once I attempt the actual work behind my ideas.

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The attire

So my first and only blog comment asked me about my dress and it made me realize I never told you guys about it.

Let’s start at the beginning. The first time I ever planned to go dress shopping was back in February, which was 13 months before the wedding. I had no intention of buying a dress. My main reason for going was that I was in Houston visiting my grandma and she wanted to go.

We went to David’s bridal, which, as many of you know, gets intensely mixed reviews. I tried on 3-4 dresses. I liked them all, but none of them wowed me. My bridal consultant disappeared for like 15 minutes, so to keep myself occupied I browsed the store and stumbled upon a dress that was discontinued and marked down ridiculously low.

I brought the dress to the dressing room and tried it on. When I first walked out and looked in the mirror, I was pretty happy with what I saw. Not estatic, but happy. The creative half of my brain started spinning at record speed. I looked at the lace work and realized that it was seamed, which meant it could most likely be taken it. I was seeing great possibilities for a semi-custom dress.

My grandmother was very supportive of my ideas and being her last grandaughter to marry, she offered to buy the dress for me. It was so incredibly sweet of her, but because I know she lives on limited income, I insisted on paying for part of the dress.

For less than $400 total, I walked out with a dress, crinny and bra. Spending a small amount on the dress will enable me to pay a seamstress to cut, shift and sew it into something different and a little more my style. I am well aware that the seamstress bill will be equivillent to the price of the dress, but it will be well worth it.

I will post pictures and the process of change as it happens… stay tuned 🙂

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DIY may not be for everyone

While I like to think of myself as a crafty person, I am also a very critical person. I have a strong attention to detail. I also have very high standards for my work.

For instance, when I started scrapbooking 3 years ago, I would work all weekend on 6-8 pages. I’d be so happy with my final result- at least for that day. Come the next weekend, I had 10 new ideas of how those pages could be better- and so their I’d sit, carefully pulling up pictures and starting all over.

In the end, did it look any better than the first go round? Probably not. But thats just my personality. A little perfectionist mixed with a splash of compulsion. So needless to say, I have to work pretty hard not to treat wedding crafts the same way. Besides my love for crafts, the drive to be a DIY bride is also an effort to stay on budget. My budget would be out the window if I allowed those feelings to attack all my wedding crafts.

But as nature intended it, my critical eye is glaring at my DIY invitation design. My minds racing with possible changes and improvements. I have everything ready to go to the printer, but I just can’t bring myself to do it yet. I have to let this feeling pass and feel a minimum of 90% positive that I have the right design. (I realize 100% assurance is out of reach for me)

So for now, my invitation suite is up in the air. Anyone else experience DIY remorse?

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I could be a pastry chef!

I really think I could! laugh at me if you wish, but I could totally see myself taking some classes at the local culinary school.

Let me back up- I truely believe that weddings bring out new interests in people. Cake making had never been an interest of mine before I started planning, but now, I can’t get enough of Ace of Cakes, Food Network Cake Challenges and Amazing Wedding Cakes. I’m obsessed. I’d love to be able to made a side career out of it. Something to allow for a little creative outlet…

What sparked my realization of brides turning vendors was an interview I conducted today. As a recruiter, I fill a variety of positions for different firms. I have recently been recruiting for a Texas Winery. They are filling an on site event coordinator position for their special events department. As I have been interviewing girls, I have heard the same sentence from nearly every applicant: “I’m currently planning my own wedding and have realized that event planning is where my passion lies!”

To be honest, I’ve even gone as far as researching a little about some basic culinary programs. Houston has the Culinary Institute LeNotre. They have 2 different pastry chef programs, one where you walk out with an associates degree and the other, just a diploma of completion.

I have a degree and never plan to make a full blown career out of this interest of mine, so I’d choose to go the shorter, simpler route. The even better part about it is you can do it all in evening classes! Awesome, right? Here is a little excerpt from the website about the program:

Program B – Baking & Pastry  

Diploma: Sous Chef Patissier – Boulanger

Length: 20 weeks day, 40 weeks evening, 748 clock hours

This program is designed for beginners with little or no skills. Instruction will cover classic and innovative baking, freezing, advance bakeshop and pastry techniques. Students will master proficiency skills in traditional and innovative ways of baking, decor and aerograph, etc. After successful completion of all coursework, students are expected to become employable as Sous Chef de Patisserie, or Bakers, and are prepared technically to operate their own bakery with the goal of becoming Executive/Chef Patissier. See our Class Schedule for Program B start dates.

Level I: Apprenticeship
(10 Weeks Day/20 Weeks Evening)
  •  Pies
  •  Tarts and Dough
  •  Quiches
  •  Danishes
  •  Cakes
  •  Petits Fours
  •  Chocolates Candies
  •  Breads
  •  Ice Cream and Sorbets
  •  Viennoiserie  
  •  Pate A Choux
  •  Entremets
Level II: Intermediate
(5 weeks Day/10 weeks Evening)
  •  Classic and Modern Cakes
  •  Cake Decoration
  •  Pastries
  •  French Cookies
  •  Chocolate Bonbons
  •  Light Cakes
  •  Croquembrouche
  •  Wedding Cakes
  •  Sugar Decoration
  •  Regional and International Breads
Level III: Advanced Baking & Pastry
(5 weeks Day/10 weeks Evening)
  •  Wedding Cakes 
  •  Sugar Decoration  
  •  Center Piece  
  •  Banquet Desserts
  • Chocolate Techniques

Who knows, maybe one day I’ll be skilled enough to be competing on Food Network Cake Challenges! Again, have your laughs.

What wedding vendor jobs would you ever consider doing?

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Pictures with the Pooches

I was told from the get go (by Mr. C) that having the pups at the wedding was a no go. I understand why.. a fancy reception hall with many breakable vases, stemware and china, not to mention me in a long white dress, is no environment for a dog, no matter how well trained. Dog +party with food = bad manners.

But everytime I see pictures like this, it makes me think if I can’t have my fur babies at the wedding, shouldn’t I at least let them have part in my bridal shoot? That is a great way to honor them and document their meaning to us.

Anyone include fur babies in any photo shoots?

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Moving Documentation

When I first began looking at our budget for the wedding (we’re talking about way back in December), I opted to not hire a videographer. My reasoning was pretty simple. First off, our photographers are going to max out on picture taking and I’m sure will not miss a thing. Second, videography in the Houston/Galveston market (which I’m sure is like so many other markets) is high and I just couldn’t reasonably fit it into our budget.

I never doubted myself on that decision until a cpuple of  weeks ago. I was at the local bridal show, Houston Bridal Extravaganza, and I somehow caught myself mesmorized by a videographers displayed sample video on his big screen projector. The movie seemed to have so much love, passion and excitement all tied into it. It varied so much from the videos I’ve seen of my aunts weddings were it was basically one man, walking around with a camera on his shoulder having everyone turn around and say hello to him. You all know that kind of video… basically all Dad’s film with this style.

But the video I watched was a story. It did an amazing job of documenting the entire day for the bride and groom to remember forever. If I could have booked that vendor right there, I would have.

But I couldn’t- budget would not allow for $1795 splurges. So I came home on a mission to shift around my budget so I could have a set dollar amount that I knew I could work within. After that, I began my search online for videographers that offered the cinematic style I yearned for. Luckily, many videographers have samples online, so it was easy to judge their work.

I found a great videographer in the area. He wasn’t in greater Houston, but not in Galveston either. He was smack dab inbetween. I sent him an email, explaining my new found love for artistic wedding videos. By sending this email, I was going out on a limb. His advertised packages were out of my price range by a few hundred dollars. I wasn’t sure what I was hoping for, but the response back was more than I could have ever expected.

Later that evening, I had an email in my inbox from the videographer thanking me for appreciating his work. He also then offered to take me up on my budgeted amount and would still give me the package I wanted. Let me tell you what he is giving me:

*Arrival 1 1/2 hrs before wedding to film everyone getting ready
*Stays until bride and groom leave
* Interviews with bride and groom immediately before wedding
*Edited highlights (5-8 min)
* All raw footage

I was so glad at how this worked out. Lesson: Vendors are willing to negotiate. Never pay the advertised price without at least asking for something less. In this case, the videographer loves what he does, appreciates his work being adored and therefore was willing to make a deal. This is one happy bride.

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Rehearsal Dinner

From the beginning of the planning phase, I failed to consider the expense Mr. C and I would incur by hosting the rehearsal dinner. We have 80% of our guests coming from out of town (and when I say out of town, I mean traveling across many states to see us wed) and we were wanting to host any and all who were in town that Friday before the wedding. Mr. C and I both feel the same way about it: Our guests are paying to fly to Texas, paying to stay in a hotel for the weekend and buying us a gift. The least we can do for them is feed and entertain them Friday night, give them a lovely ceremony Saturday evening and throw a heck of a party Saturday night. Right?

But like I said- I had a skewed version of cost in my head. Galveston typically has a higher markup on everything just because it is a tourist city. I have checked with most major restuarants on the island, but all the per head prices are a little more than we can handle, especially since we could have anywhere from 25-60 people attending. However, I did find one casual restuarant that was willing to negotiate with me, and I was able to talk them into $14.99 a person (not including drinks, tax and gratuity). This is a great price comparatively, but it still limits us from inviting our entire guest list. We’d have to keep this shindig limited to the wedding party & dates, parents and grandparents (whichis around 24 people).

Option 2: We found a decent indoor pavilion on the island that looks out onto the beach. It’s a space for 150 people (which means we will have a lot of unused space) and they provide tables and chairs. We have access to their deck as well. With this option, we could bring in our own food. My mother thinks she might even have a friend (an ex-chef to be exact) that would be willing to prepare the dinner for us at just the cost of the actual food. The rental price isn’t bad and we would get it for 4 hours, which is a nice time to eat, mingle and relax. Is it a gorgeous place? No, at least not from what I can tell from the pictures online. Would it serve the function it needs to? Yes, I think so.

If only the wedding were a little further into the year (opposed to March), then we could just rent an outdoor pavilion for a heck of alot cheaper and have a beach style bonfire to welcome our guests!

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