Tuesday, June 29, 2010

A recommendation

This site, save-on-crafts ,offers the best deals I've seen so far on wedding decor, including:

Sola shell flowers $4.99 for 12.
This 13inch galvanized tub for only $6.99. 

Simple glass votive holders $10.80 for 24.
Wood framed black board arrow for only $17. 

Our Reception Site

I'm so excited because we decided on a reception site! We'll be hosting our reception at our former company. It's a restored Georgian mansion on about 22 acres and overlooking a reservoir. It's a good deal for us because its FREE!

We will be paying for a large white tent, tables, chairs, etc. so it's not exactly cheap but we can swing it thanks to no venue charge and our decision to do our own catering and alcohol. We'll hire people to help on the big day but paying our own staff is still hundreds less than paying catering staff.

I'm very happy because the property is beautiful and it will enable us to have a lovely garden party style reception! We'll have dancing and lawn games for our guests.

More photos:

Where we'll set up the tent. The dance floor will be the patio. 

22 acres of pretty property like this. 

View from the back (where the tent will be). 

The drive up to the building. The property was once called Tall Oaks.

A view of the reservoir from the front. 

The front. 

Decoration with wine corks

I've been collecting wine corks for a few years now to make wine cork bulletin boards. But they'd also make great place card holders or could be quite pretty piled in a vase. They'd work with most any theme but would be particularly great for a European theme or a wine and chocolate theme reception. 

                                                           Photo by Casa Quickie
Have friends and family save their corks as well so you're now spending your wedding budget on wine! 

Monday, June 28, 2010

Food and entertaining

I regularly tune into The Splendid Table. I listen to the free podcasts for cooking inspiration. Lynne Rossetto Kasper is the host and she often shares her cater-it-yourself or grow-it-yourself ideas. I highly recommend the show if you're interested in food and entertaining and it'll also be a big help in inspiring a reception menu. 
She also gives great advice on the best kitchen tools. I've heard some brides-to-be call her up to ask about what kinds of pots and pans to put on their registry

Friday, June 25, 2010

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Dancing the night away

You may have seen this one before. Its not exactly my style but I think it looks like a blast!

This one is a little less popular but I love that they pretend to start a formal first dance and then surprise everyone by breaking it down.

Searching for a venue

Terrace at the Greenville Country Club, Wilmington DE

I'm not exaggerating when I say that I've looked at all the usual venues in a 40 mile radius and 95% of them are out of our range. Even the few lower priced places, like the dreaded Church basement option, came in surprisingly high. So, now I'm hunting for an unusual venue. One that's not often used, maybe never been rented for a wedding reception.

The big key to keeping your reception within the budget is to find a venue that will let you bring in your own caterer/let you cater and let you bring your own alcohol. That will give you the opportunity to save much more. For example, most of these venue's charge about $70 per person for food and $14+ per person for a limited bar. For 200 people, that would cost us $14,000 for food and $2800 for alcohol (maybe a little less because we'll have kids there). But with no venue restrictions, we could find a caterer who would serve for around $30 per person for food or we could cater it ourselves for about $7 per person. We could buy alcohol for a full bar or about $1400. It's a huge savings!

We've decided to cater it ourselves (with help of course) to keep us within the budget and still host a lovely reception. It's going to be a lot of work but we're up for it. I'll post my menu, timeline, and lists as it gets closer.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Looking for a sweet simple centerpiece

Mason Jars. They're super cheap. You can collect them at yard sales, stores like Big Lots, on eBay or, if you're from a small mid-western town like I am, from just about every women in the town. You can dress them up with ribbon or twine or you can wrap them in a pretty patterned paper or wall paper. Just hot glue the flaps closed and voila- cute vase. Covering them is nice if you're not looking for country charm. For a more modern wedding theme maybe cover them in chalkboard paper. 

Add a few big blooms like roses or hydrangeas, or wildflowers for something more informal, and your centerpieces are finished.

Mason Jar inspiration board by Dave and Jen

They're also great for holding candles or even twinkle lights if you need more lighting.

Photo by Paloma Images

Family portrait display

Photo via the Knot
A wedding is a perfect time to celebrate the other marriages in your family, particularly those marriages that have lasted a long time. Guests will appreciate seeing these family portraits and its a great way to remember loved ones. Consider the size of your family when you begin preparing the display. If you have a big family, then only display wedding portraits from both of your parents and grandparents. Choose frames that match your theme and colors. Maybe modern sleek frames, bright patterned frames or antique frames. 

I'm definitely going to do this. I think I'll display them on the entrance table and I'll use different kinds of metallic frames - silver, gold, rose gold, bronze, etc.

Monday, June 21, 2010

The best inspiration boards

There are a lot of great wedding blogs out there but Snippet & Ink is my favorite. Everything Kathryn posts on her blog snippet & ink is beautiful, most notably her inspiration boards. She's famous for them. Just go to her blog and search your colors/theme and you'll end up with a list of at least a dozen inspiration boards. If you're planning a wedding, looking for cute gift ideas, or just interested in pretty things check out her blog. 

One of my favorites:

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Father-daughter dance.

Happy Father's Day!  

                My dad and I at a football game

In honor of Father's Day, I thought I'd list the songs I'm considering for the father-daughter dance:

In My Life by the Beatles, but maybe a cover by another group

The Best Day by Taylor Swift

My Girl by the Temptations

What a Wonderful World by Louis Armstrong

Unforgettable by Nat King Cole and Natalie Cole

Father's Song by Matt Redman 

I Am by Nicole Nordeman

Friday, June 18, 2010

Wedding Shoes.

How cute is this?
                                               Photo by Aaron Delesie

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Want to have a chic wedding on a budget?

Have a Spanish themed wedding! Serve tapas, those small plates of different fruits, cheeses, meats, soups, and veggies cooked in different ways. Order a ton so your guests are well fed and choose a variety like 10-15 different types in both hot and cold styles. It's a great way to serve something fancy and fresh while staying within the budget. Plus, it helps you save on all the dishes and larger tables that you might need to rent to host a formal dinner party. 

Save some money on alcohol and offer beer, wine and a signature drink of Sangria instead of a full bar. Sangria tastes delicious and you can make it yourself! Mix it all the day before and store it in big glass pitchers in the fridge. It'll taste better if you mix it in advance anyway, so all those flavors can mingle. Have an appointed friend or the bartender transfer it to beautiful large glass pitchers and put them on either corner of the bar for display. Not only is it inexpensive and refreshing but it makes a beautiful display as well.  

Here's a great sangria recipe from a pro at Allrecipes.com:

  • 1 orange
  • 1 lemon
  • 1 lime
  • 1 medium all purpose apples, pared, cored and sliced
  • 1 cup pitted cherries
  • 1 cup fresh pineapple chunks
  • 3/4 cup brandy
  • 1 (750 milliliter) bottle dry red wine
  • 1 (12 ounce) can lemon-lime soda to taste
  • 1 cup orange juice to taste


  1. Slice the orange, lemon, and lime into thin rounds. Place the citrus in a pitcher with the apples, cherries, and pineapple. Pour in the brandy and refrigerate for 2 hours of more. Chill the bottle of red wine, lemon-lime soda, and orange juice at the same time.
  2. Gently crush the fruits with a spoon, then stir in the red wine, lemon-lime soda, and orange juice. Add additional brandy or orange juice to taste.

Serve it in a jar like this (you can find them at Crate and Barrel, Target and similar stores)

Since you're saving on food and alcohol, you might be able to swing some more expensive details like...
  • Lot's of lace on your dress and/or veil.
                                                       Available at Nordstrom.com

  • Have your bridesmaids rock a colored lace dresses or a chic black sheath. Perhaps one these little black dresses:
                          Dresses available at Nordstrom.com

  • Decorate with bright colors like red and pink to showcase that famous Spanish passion.
                 Photos from Projectwedding.com

  • Instead of the traditional jewelry gift for your bridesmaids, consider some hot red shoes instead. I've always loved the idea of giving fun shoes as a gift!
                                         Photo from Projectwedding.com

  • Maybe have some sort of small entertainment like a flamenco dancer, guitar player or fireworks if your venu permits.
  • I think it would be fantastic to ride off in a carriage pulled by a dark black pair of andalucian horses. Like this one:

  • Take a honeymoon to Spain!

If this theme interests you, take a look at Aaron and Barbara's Spanish style wedding showcased on utterlyengaged.com.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Just Married

   Photo by Martha Stewart Weddings

I love this. Martha Stewart Weddings has a million ideas particularly for some lovely DIY projects. This would be cute at the reception or draped on the back window of the get-away car or as a surprise decoration in their house/apartment. 

Things I'm wondering about...

#1 Do I really need to assign seats at the reception? It seems like a lot of work when people seem capable of picking their own seats. It does add a certain formality to the event which I can't decide if that's desirable or not. 

#2 Is a guest book necessary? I thought no. But will I regret not having one? I could do something fun with it rather than the traditional book but again, is it really important?

                                                        My dream invitations from Cheree Berry paper

#3 Will people think it's rude if I don't include an RSVP card? Etiquette says its rude to send one but everyone sends them now. I suspect that by todays standards, its rude not to include one. Furthermore, I suspect that, if people don't receive a card, they won't RSVP. 

#4 Date, Food, and Venue decisions still need to be settled. AH!


The above photo is the reason why I'm getting married. 

When I get stressed out about wedding plans, I just remind myself that contrary to the wedding industry's blaring message, this will not be the "perfect day", its not "all about me and what I want" and while this day will be wonderful, it will not be "the single best day of my life". I'm convinced that they sell those messages to freak us out and convince us to spend more money. "How can it be the perfect day if you don't have potted trees at your reception!!!!"

If you're planning a wedding remind yourself of the big picture reason. It brings my focus back to how much I love my finace' and how excited I am to get married and celebrate with my nearest and dearest guests!

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Cater your own wedding for 150+ guests

I've been researching the "cater your own wedding" option and this is the best guide that I've found so far and probably the most realistic way to cater for a 150+ guests. The visionary and author, Andrea, has put together some very specific details including check-lists on her blog Forkable.

Her approach was to put together a fresh gourmet sandwich/salad bar filled with items that could be prepared in advance and served cold. She ended up with a great spread for less than $1500 which is a great deal! She does give a series of warnings including 1-people will tell you that you're crazy, 2-you will need a lot of volunteers, especially on the day of the wedding, 2-it takes meticulous planning and list-making to pull it off.

But here it is. It can be done!

                                                         Photos from Forkable

Rain on your wedding day.

Prepare a contingency plan for a rainy day. I don't think you have to avoid outdoor photos altogether (though you might if it's a downpour). How about embracing the rainy weather with the appropriate accessories? I plan to have them on hand, just in case for some fun photos.

The classic trench. If you don't already own one, this might be a good excuse to pick one out.

I love this ruffled one. Wouldn't this be pretty over a wedding dress?

Rain day shoe attire. You can rock your heels once you're in the Church but these Wellies will keep your feet dry and warm when you're en route. And they'd make for a cute photo op.
A classic black umbrella. Maybe add a white monogram or your new last name.