Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Do as I do

Are you in the market for a size 8, flirty little sparkly wedding dress? I took my own advice and posted the little gem above on OnceWed. It could be yours!!!

What does your dream dress look like?

Friday, September 17, 2010

Garlands, what!

I just entered this Hank and Hunt garland giveaway over at Souris Mariage. Hoping to use it for the reception venue...

On Your Dress Not Fitting

 [from Island Bride Jamaica-- with tips on how to fix a stuck zipper!]

Or, On My Dress Not Fitting.

Um, dress doesn't fit. See if this makes sense to you:
  • I tried on the dress at the shop
  • It was a 6, and fit almost perfectly (a little tight)
  • I ordered an 8.
  • While waiting for the dress to arrive, I lost weight.
  • The dress came, and I can't even zip it up.
  • The brand has since discontinued the style, and now the company I bought it from won't take it back or exchange the dress.

First, 3 ways to avoid this mess:
  1. DON'T get a dress from Alfred Angelo
  2. DON'T order from a third party, even though it's cheaper/you had a horrible experience at an Alfred Angelo store.
  3. DON'T order a dress that's about to be discontinued.

      Now, 4 things to do with a dress you're not going to wear and can't return:
      1. Give it away. A few wedding bloggers have started this pay-it-forward type trend of passing on their wedding gowns to brides-to-be. Check out A Practical Wedding and 2000 Dollar Wedding.
      2. Sell it. (they charge $25 for the listing until you sell it), Once Wed, Recycled Bride, ebay, amazon, craiglist...
      3. Donate it. Not to be confused with giving it away, where brides write in to say why they want/deserve the gown, donating it means putting it in a big bag and schlepping it your local donation center or drop-box. There's also Brides Against Breast Cancer, Operation Prom*, and Donate My Dress.
      4. Tear it up and make something new. The skirt part fits, so maybe I could take the bodice off, work some magic, and have a pretty, lacy skirt. Or get more extreme, and use pieces of the dress as decoration at our wedding...or make a Halloween costume for the cat**...
      While I would love to get some warm-fuzzies from giving my dress away or donating it, I gotta say, I really need the money from this dress to go to the next one (or the food at our reception). Maybe after everything is said, done, and paid for, I'll do that with the dress I actually wore.

      *At my junior prom, I remember this one senior showing up in this HUGE, white ballgown. It must have been a wedding dress.
      **I would never actually do that.


        I'm posting about my dress later today, but right now, I have to alert my readers to this post about budgets on A Practical Wedding. The content is in the comments, so read them-- they will continue to pour in, I promise.

        Wednesday, September 15, 2010

        Bridesmaid Questionnaire

        I'm not having traditional bridesmaids. In fact, my brother is going to be my Best Man (it took him a while to wrap his head around that one). I would, however, like two of my close friends to be something like bridesmaids, even though I'm not sure what that means yet. So, to help me decide (and for some fun), I wrote up a questionnaire and sent it to them.

        I broke the questions up into four sections:
        • Favorite Things: this is for help making decisions about the reception (music, food, wine, etc.) and any kind of presents I plan to get them as a thank you. For example...
          • Favorite Song
          • Favorite Cocktail
          • Favorite Color
          • Tupac or Biggie
        • The Weekend: for their wedding-related activities the weekend of the wedding (mani/pedis, hotels, sight-seeing)
        • The Big Day: readings, speeches, hair, make-up preferences
        • Getting Personal: allergies (to food or jewelry), best and worst gifts/favors they've received, special talents/places they'd especially like to help out

        I was so amused with their answers, I almost feel like they've already done their maidenly duty.

        Monday, September 13, 2010

        Free, customizable invitations? Yes please.

        I had a nice distraction from work today, thanks to some freebie templates at You liiiiiike? And what about the wording? I feel like there are too many words at the top. I mean, it's a wedding invitation. Maybe I'll say something like: "This is a wedding invitation. Here are the details:" instead.

        Thursday, September 9, 2010

        Stop and smell.

        Oftentimes, the best way to cut costs is to cut flowers from the budget (this does not mean that you wander into your neighbor's yard or hit up the closest meadow with wildflowers galore-- I wish!), and come up with non-floral centerpieces, accents, etc.

        While I get behind that strategy every once in a while, I don't usually like it.  I'm a fresh flower kind of girl.  Potted, cut, I don't care.  Give me flowers.  And NOT silk ones.  But flowers are expensive.  So how can you have fresh flowers at your event AND not blow your life savings on them?

        Here are some ideas:

        Hit up your local grocer.  Tons of supermarkets have a pretty decent selection of flowers, and they're not just for the impulsive shopper that *only* ran out to get some milk.  Turns out, they're often able to pre-order and arrange flowers...if you ask nicely.

        Try farmers markets or produce stands.  I was able to get enough flowers for around 15 tables for less than $20 at Produce Junction.  I gussied them up by putting them in nontraditional vases like cocktail glasses, and even poked some feathers in (it was a glamorous night).  Of course, this option works if you're willing to deal with what they have.  Hitting up a farmer's market the morning of your event won't guarantee you a gross of, I don't know, yellow dahlias, for example.


        Check out the flower market.  Check to see if your city-- or one near you-- has a flower market.  The Boston Flower Market, for example, is a great source for a huge inventory of wholesale flowers.

        Go online!  If you can't pick up your flowers in person, check out Blooms by the Box, an online retailer of wholesale flowers.  The also have video tutorials, should you need assistance in arranging or tying, and even prearranged flowers, in case you're need more than a little help! I was recently at a wedding with Blooms by the Box centerpieces that looked GREAT. Perhaps the bride will stop by to drop some knowledge on us later...

        [a Blooms by the Box customer creation]

        Buy what's in season.  I can't stress this tip enough.  I mean, do you eat peaches in winter?  (Local peaches in North America, that is?)  No.  Because they're not as good, and they cost much, much more to get them off-season because they come from somewhere way across the globe.  So it's important to research what flowers will be in season (around you/your event) at the time of your event.  Here's a nice, basic round-up of what's in season and when.

        Mix floral with non-floral.  I mentioned adding feathers to some centerpieces.  You could also go with twigs/sticks/branches, grass, pumpkins...get creative!  The more of the other stuff you use, the fewer flowers you need in each arrangement-- but they're still represented.



        [can I just say how in love with this birds nest I am?]

        Wednesday, September 8, 2010


        As big a fan of fresh flowers as I am, I gotta say that these brooch bouquets are absolutely stunning.  Florist Amanda Heer has expanded her services to include amazing creations made from your collection of brooches, pendants, cufflinks, earrings, watches, and the like that you send to her, along with some details on your favorite/most sentimental pieces.  She mixes in a few from her own collection, and voila!

        For more information, check out Amanda Heer's website (with a great gallery) here.

        I wonder how this would turn out if I tried it myself...(best guess: not well.)...only one way to find out!!!

        Tuesday, September 7, 2010


        You might notice that quite a few of my most recent posts attribute the post to a different date. It's because I published them on my other blog, philadelafornia, and have recently decided to separate out the wedding-specific stuff.

        So! To recap:
        Nina's personal life: philadelafornia
        Wedding stuff: So Glad That You Exist

        Carry on.

        America's Next Top Bride (from 8/24/2010)

        Photographer, check!

        That third contest I won was actually a first-come-first-served deal for Philadelphia brides. Because I'm fast like lightning, we got the deal! Half-off a celebrity wedding photographer (so he says, though I think he only did Nigel Barker's, but that's enough for me), whose rates were actually pretty reasonable in the grand scheme of the Wedding Industrial Complex in the first place.

        We put down the deposit last night. WOO HOO!!!

        Oh, but I do love Anthropologie... (from 8/17/2010)

        Haha, check out this post I stumbled upon at A Los Angeles Love.

        That is exactly what I was talking about yesterday!!

        Hi, I'm Nina, and I'm a Planaholic. (from 8/16/2010)

         [image from Martha, of course]

        I was having a Save the Date dilemma. The kind where you want to be crafty and do things entirely on your own, but you also want them to look professional.

        While I am pretty creative and crafty, sometimes getting professional quality from a DIY project just isn't in the cards. And I have to accept that. So now I have to make up my mind between a flawed product that I did myself (plus a sense of accomplishment) and a higher quality product with a price tag to match.

        I spent some time browsing professional options and others' DIY projects, and think I have made up my mind. So start checking your mailboxes soon!

        I imagine this dilemma will be a theme throughout wedding planning. Of course I want an amazing, Martha-worthy wedding full of perfect little handmade details, but I also need to accept the fact that I have a full-time job, hobbies outside of work and wedding planning, and friends to visit with.

        If there were Wedding Planaholics Anonymous meetings, their motto would be: 'One project at a time.'

        A'brewin (from 8/13/2010)

        [from Maro Designs]

        So, as I discovered during a round of dress-up last night (see yesterday's post), I do not own an off-white woven leather belt anymore. I didn't wear it very often, and when I did, it was only okay (which is why I didn't wear it often). So during this last move-- or was it the one prior?-- I donated it. I hope someone else loves it and doesn't think it's only okay.

        And for a quick wedding update (so much progress!), the following items are in the works:
        -Reception venue
        -Save the dates

        AND...I won another contest!!!  (Another two, actually, but one I'm keeping hush-hush until I know more about it.) While not a huge prize, I won a kit of felt lips, mustaches, and glasses on sticks to be used as props in photos (pictures above). Not sure if they will make an appearance at the reception yet, but they will certainly be fun to have around!

        Wedding Wear (from 8/12/2010)

        Wedding season is upon us!  Well, not mine. And it's really probably in full-swing, but the weddings I'm going to this year are both happening this month.

        The gifts have been bought, the hotel rooms have been reserved.  What is there left to do?  Why, pick out my outfits, of course! Because money's tight, I'm going to "shop my closet" for my looks.

        [Note: I don't necessarily own all of these items-- just things similar. The images are the closest representations of the pieces I actually I own I could find.]

        Wedding #1: Cape Cod. Afternoon. Ceremony in a church, outdoor reception at a farm.
        -Cool, light material
        -Covered shoulders for ceremony (sleeves, convertible or accessory)
        -Flats or wedges (lawn)

        Here's what I'm thinking. Imagine the dress is more white, with small blue dots. And any metal accents are silver, not bronze/gold/brass colored.

        What I actually have:
        Dress: J. Crew, thrifted
        Shoes: Aerosoles, Marshalls (or something like it)
        Scarf: gift
        Belt: Badass Diesel double-wrap, thrifted
        Locket: vintage, gift
        Clutch: vintage, thrifted

        The scarf would be to cover my shoulders in the church. I can leave it in the car when we get to the reception.  I'm also undecided on which scarf to take. I have a couple pretty ones in teal, so that's why I picked teal for this board.

        Wedding #2: New Jersey. Evening. Ceremony and reception in a backyard.
        -Cool, light material
        -Flats or wedges (lawn)
        -Extra-stylish because many NYC folks will be there, haha-- the pressure's on!

        Dress: unsure of the brand, Filene's Basement, Boston (the original...sob)
        Shoes: BC Footwear (ostrich!), Marshalls
        Necklace: vintage costume jewelry, gift? thrifted?
        Pearl earrings: gift
        Belt: Urban Outfitters, way back when
        Clutch: vintage, thrifted

        Okay, to be honest, I'm not really thrilled with these stylings (I think I need more POW! COLOR!). I'm going to have to go home and play a good old fashioned couple rounds of dress up!

        Thoughts? Ideas?

        57Grand, Part II (from 8/3/2010)

        ...I WON!!!

        I swore I didn't, because if you followed the polls, "He Loves Me Nautical" was way in the lead.  But I'm wondering if there was some sort of a glitch or something, because the turn-around of the winner announcement from when the contest ended was awfully long (other contest winners get announced right away).  So I double-checked, and what do you know, I really did win!!!

        The ladies over at Project Wedding put me in touch with the designers at 57Grand, so now I'm waiting to see how we do this.


        Just Shoot Us (from 7/16/2010)

        So I'm not a fan of spending money on engagement photos, which is why we aren't.

        ...We're getting them for free!!!

        After some (who am I kidding?  LOTS of) research, I tracked down a recent photography grad from U Arts in Philadelphia regarding our wedding photos.  She had already teamed up with two fellow grads to create their own business, but their portfolios were a little more artsy and a little less real people-y.  So I asked if they'd be comfortable doing a free engagement session to seal the deal with us.  It's a win-win.  We get free photos, get to try on a photographer for size, and they get to beef up their portfolio, and, if they deliver, a client.  Awesome.

        So since Richie can only listen to my fashion-related rants so many times, I'm turning to this blog to mention that I HAVE NO IDEA WHAT TO WEAR!!!

        Money's tight right now (I get paid at the end of the month, and at my 15th of the month checkpoint I wasn't in good shape, so...), so I won't be buying anything new for the shoot.

        What I want:
        • A dress
        • Light, airy (it's going to be 90 degrees!)
        • Solid color (maybe neutral)
        • Some kind of statement jewelry (that pops against the neutral, light, airy dress, yes?)
        • Cute, comfortable shoes.  I hurt my foot last weekend and am actually more comfortable in heels.  So maybe a nice sturdy pair of wedges will fit the bill.
        • My hat, maybe?  I don't want to over-accessorize, but both Richie and I wear this hat and it makes for a nice photo prop.
         AND THEN, I need another outfit, since these things usually require a couple looks.  Looks like it's time to go shopping in my closet!

        Wait for it... (from 7/2/2010)

        ....I FOUND MY DRESS!!!

        I will Yelp about the experience soon, but for now I will say that I love it and can't wait to pick out my shoes, jewelry, and other accessories (belt?  fascinator?) to go with it!

        Oh, what the heck-- here's a picture:

        Look familiar?  That's right!  I posted it as one that I liked even before going shopping!  I love that it has a kind of vintage vibe (I got it in ivory).

        So my next move will be the shoes.  I'm thinking red.  Or yellow.  Or camel.  Closed toe.  Heels.  Like:



        [report via zappos]

        I'm willing to spend more money on wedding shoes than I normally spend on shoes, so I really would like for them to be rewearable (to events and maybe even the office), so they can't be too crazy!  I also would like them to go well not only with the dress itself (obviously), but with its vintage-y style. 

        Really, I just need to start shopping!!

        More accessory posts coming soon.

        57Grand (from 6/23/2010)

        So I found this contest for three bridesmaid dresses from 57Grand if I just make an inspiration board with a re-wear idea for one of the dresses.  I chose the Orchard design, in black, because it so classic and beautiful.  All of my friends would look amazing in it, and there's so much you can do to style it for any occasion, from a cocktail party to a day of running errands. 

        While our June 2011 wedding is probably not the best time for black, I was planning on picking it for bridesmaid dresses anyway because 1) everyone already has one; 2) if they don't, they need one; 3) it's the most flattering; 4) it's the easiest to re-wear; and 5) I'm not having colors anyway!

        So without further ado, here's my re-wear inspiration board (I want this outfit badddd):
        click to enlarge!!!

        • Dress-- Orchard from 57Grand: Any bridesmaid would be thrilled with a simple LBD that they can style however they want for the wedding and for summers to come.
        • Hat-- Rat-a-Tat-Hat from Perfect for a sunny day, a bad hair day, or both!
        • Bag-- Vintage straw bag, found on Love To Know: Lightweight and roomy so as not to slow you down.
        • Shoes-- Steve Madden Women's Sysco from Comfortable and sassy.  It really doesn't get any better than that!
        • Watch-- Unisex FL46LB Mini Plasteramic Watch by Toy Watch on Playful as all get-out.  Coaxes a smile out of you every time you check the time-- even if you're running late.
        • Scarf-- It's a Crewel, Crewel Scarf from An adorable piece that cuts out the need for a necklace AND a cardigan!  Too hot?  Just pimp your handbag with it, instead!
        • Earrings-- End of the Rainbow from Anthropologie: Delicate and statement-making at the same time.  Truly wear-with-anything earrings.

        Fun Things (from 5/15/2010)

        Wedding planning is so much fun, but it's also VERY stressful.  I imagine the stress part is true for almost everyone, but sometimes I wonder if certain aspects of planning this particular wedding make this one stressful enough for the books.

        So because of that, I go through phases of being ridiculously stressed out, saying "I'm not even thinking about the wedding again until [insert date/event/goal here]!!!" and then flip over, forget about the stressful part(s), and get ridiculously excited to jump on planning with the gusto of ten brides.

        Right now, I'm in the excited phase (don't get me wrong, I'm excited about the wedding-- and even more excited about the marriage-- all the time, but sometimes the stress eclipses it a little) and am thinking about so many fun things!

        Fun things dress!  A family dress has very generously been offered to me (something borrowed? check!), but until I'm able to try it on and make a decision, here are some of my favorites:
        Alfred Angelo

        Alfred Angelo

         David's Bridal
        Jenny Yoo (this dress is named Nina!)

        Jenny Yoo (this dress is named Hannah, which, according to Richie's mom, is my Hebrew name, haha)

        I don't know where this dress came from, but I LOVE the skirt.

        More fun things to come!!!

        Decisive (from 5/10/2010)

        After talking about my last post with Richie and my mom and then sleeping on it, I've chosen a color palette!!!


        NO COLORS!

        Observe the beauty:

        Color Me Indecisive (from 5/3/2010)

        I can't seem to make up my mind regarding wedding colors.

        It's not really that big a deal, but they've been my thought of the week, especially because Richie and I are picking out stationery soon....not that anyone (except maybe crafty Bobbie) would notice if the invitations matched the linens and the flowers.  But it really has me thinking...

        At least I'm only torn between two options (and one sub-option):

        OPTION #1
        No colors at all!  Instead, plan to have flowers of all sorts of colors-- whatever's fresh-- adorn the tabletops, chuppah, my hands, Richie's lapel, etc.  It'll give it a fresh-picked, relaxed look.

        Pros: No need to worry about the color scheme; cheap, because you only get what's in season, flower-wise; pretty!, no restrictions...
        Cons: There would still be a restriction: no light, girly-colored flowers (like light pink, lavender-- the color not the plant--, etc.).  I would want BOLD, BRIGHT colors.  I'm sure I can make that clear to the florist, though.

        OPTION #2
        Bright red and bright teal (I don't know a better name for this color, but it's not quite teal.  It's one of those, "I know it when I see it" colors).

        It's my favorite color combination, and like that it's a little unexpected.  Some examples:

        OPTION #2.1
        Bright teal and bright red (and maybe pink), orange, and yellow.

        Pros: Not as strict, BOLD!,  BRIGHT!
        Cons: Too much?