Saturday, November 19, 2011

Bridesmaids in Black: Funereal or Chic?

Please, let me credit you. Not sure where I got this from.

Oh my.
I've been silent this week because after an intense tasting with a potential caterer, my fiancee and his mother, there wasn't a whole lot to say. I was in shock for a good 24 hours after being verbally steam rollered on repeat for god knows how long. I'm not going to go into extreme detail, so a lot of this won't really sound that bad because it's out of context.
If you were there in person and got the full picture, let me tell you - it was something else.

 First question after sitting down with the caterer is: why are we having a caterer? Why aren't we getting married at one of the places where you don't have to rent the table cloths, the plates and the napkins? Don`t I know how much work this will be to organize?
AlI I can think is why didn't we have this conversation in the car or better yet, before I confirmed the tasting. She then starts asking about how much we paid for the venue and if we can get our money back, just keeps going.

To be fair to her: she is not in the loop about our plans because we haven't seen her lately.

To be fair to us/me: I didn't know she wanted to help pay until well after I started planning - which was two whole seconds after the engagement because despite not being a wedding person, I just want to get the sh*t done.

On top of it, I would rather get married at a place where they already have everything. I don't care about napkins and silverware. The thought of picking that stuff out gives me a headache, except that the places I liked either came in at $250 a head or don't fit my oversized immediate family.
Yes, I always thought that if I ever got married it would be at City Hall followed by dinner or lunch at a great restaurant. Guess what? The thought of cutting out most of my family and friends from sharing that with me broke my heart. So here we are, at this weird diner in an industrial area tasting our potential wedding menu.

Anyhow, let's skip ahead. This is about bridesmaids in black after all.
If you want to read the best wedding rant ever check out The Ranty Bride (Liz Lewis).
It encapsulates 99.9% of how I feel and frankly I started this blog to be positive, not to rant (I know, too late...).
Saying yes is about being open to things you never thought you would. Sound cheesy? To quote a certain NDP member: f*ck you. Seriously. I struggle against my own negativism every day and want to enjoy this.

Fast forward to: wedding colours. As I've mentioned before, the colour of the hall is this:

What matches with salmon? Not a whole lot, in my opinion. Sure, you could go matchy-matchy but it might look like a pepto-bismal disaster. Worrying about pictures and the future re-use of bridesmaids dresses, I chose black with a few accents for the florals.

As an alternate, I have been considering a midnight shade of navy blue (along with the rest of the internet it seems...).

I know, subtle difference, right? I'm a designer, these subtle differences matter and maybe that blue has a little more pop than black. Nothing is set in stone - yet.
The response:
Black?  Black?  What is this? A funeral? Why black? 
This is after being told we are apparently having a "casual" wedding because we are serving poutine as a late night snack. Who knew?

What do you think? Is black chic or too sombre? These ladies look pretty happy.

Manolo for the Brides
Bizarrely enough, after the wedding inquisition she emailed my loving fiancee to tell him that she thought we had made a good choice with our caterer and that she only wants the best for us.

(if you just didn't get enough)

Money. It can make things uncomfortable.
I spent a long time paying my own way through school and an even longer time paying it back. I have one loan left. My fiancee and I also want to buy a house, after sorting out the wedding.
My family may contribute, but it's unlikely to be in the form of large sums of money.
My fiancee's mother is in her seventies, doesn't own her house and doesn't have a pension.
She still works.
She wants to help us, but frankly we are uneasy about it. We didn't ask, she offered.
We feel she should save her money for her and we should save money on the wedding wherever we can -  despite her desire for everything to "be the best".  She is critical and questioning because she wants it to be exactly that: the best day her son ever had.
I think it can still be amazing without blowing wads of cash, but am finding it a struggle in this city and with 100 guests which is why, to quote the Ranty Bride my house looks like Hurricane Michael's came barreling through (right now, it's a Category 3)
There are worse things in life than having someone who wants to help pay for your wedding, so instead of being upset at the critques and challenges I received, I'm strategizing for the next tasting...

Friday, November 11, 2011

DIY Wedding Trial: Paper Flowers

Did I make these? Yes.
Would I make them for my wedding? Undecided.
Sure, these are easy enough to make compared to deciphering instructions for the Kawasaki Rose, but don't mistake easy for quick and depending on your choice of paper, these lovelies aren't necessarily cheap. I bought a combination pack of chiyogami paper because I couldn't resist, but $25 worth didn't make a whole lot of flowers. I also bought a pack of origami paper from the art store for $2.99 and I'm sure that from a distance you wouldn't be able to tell which was which.

I am attracted to the idea of paper flowers for a few reasons. Mainly because I can prep them far in advance without having to stress over centerpieces or floral arrangements on the day of my wedding.
I have many friends who could assist on this (provided they had enough wine to drink) and my fiance is half Japanese, so it could be a nice way to tie in a bit of tradition, even if it is just the paper. I also like that I could do centerpieces as blocks of colour seeing as I'm having a hard enough time figuring out what works with salmon and happen to love colour. But...I do really love cut flowers.
I still may use these to make kusudama balls, maybe for our ceremony.
Or I might try for more of the tissue paper look or just an increase in scale. How amazing are these:

Chanel Couture Spring/Summer 2009

A few tips for aspiring brides:
- Pre-cut origami paper is the way to go. I love the chiyogami, but had to cut it all down which is time consuming unless you invest in a handy-dandy paper cutter.
- Get an assembly line going. This isn't true origami, you need glue. Someone can be folding, another gluing, and if you like the fancy paper like me, someone's bound to be cutting.
- If you do involve your friends, make it fun. A little wine and some snacks go a long way to making helpers happy.

If you want the flowers but don't want to do the work, head to Etsy!


Thursday, November 10, 2011

The Wedding Centerpiece: Do it Yourself Inspiration- Paper

 Wreath by:
Since Pinterest seems to have a waiting list, I'll make my own inspiration board right here on my very own blog. I guess people re-posting pictures of cute dogs and boys takes priority over planning a wedding. To each their own frivolities... I'm just miffed I'm not on the inside.

Getting engaged has opened a whole new world of the internet up for me. I now spend a ridiculous amount of time searching.
For anything.
And everything.
In the process I've discovered some amazing and lovely things, and I've only just begun.

My venue has a sparkly chandelier. A gas chandelier. Meaning: no votive candles or any other kind of flammable sort of candles for me. While racking (wracking? decide) my brain over paper or real flowers, I've also been thinking about centerpieces and centerpiece alternatives in general. I could just get some LED lights and dump them into a votive holder, but it would be more fun to do something creative with said holder (don't you think?).

This is the part where I admit how madly in love I am with Ruffled. There are so many do it yourself projects and inspirations on this site I can hardly decide! Thanks to weddinggawker for bringing Ruffled to my attention.  Here are a just a few of the many great ideas I am hoping to test out over the next few months before I make my final decision.

  Ruffled: DIY Paper Cone Art Installation

I love this backdrop! Unfortunately I can't hang anything at my venue, but I was considering modifying this idea into a centerpiece for my LED lights. I think light coming through this would look amazing. I can imagine it being a combination of the image above and the wreath at the top of the post by
I feel it would be a nice variation on all the paper wheels floating around.

 Of course, it's equally as hard to decide between using paper and these elegant lanterns, also from Ruffled.

Ruffled: DIY Aluminum Vases + Lanterns
Ruffled: DIY Aluminum Vases + Lanterns

Monday, November 7, 2011

The Photo Booth

Image: Smilebooth, Warby Parker 7

You want it, don't you.  That's right, you know what I am talking about. A photo booth. At your wedding. See how cool your guests can look through the eyes of  Smilebooth . Don't you want these people at your wedding? Oh wait, you probably want your friends at your wedding...but did I mention how cool they will look?

Are you sad because you live in Canada and think the Smilebooth is inaccessible to you?
Not so, my friends.  The lovely peeps at Mango Studios here in Toronto (amazing photographers in their own right) can hook you right up.

Now, if your wedding budget is starting to creep and you are looking for something a little more, shall we's a Groupon that's right up your alley . It doesn't have the same hipster vibe, but I am more than certain you could personalize it with a small amount of elbow grease and a touch of creativity. This booth prints out on the spot with one copy for your guests and one copy for your guest book. Saves you from getting favour gifts like these.

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Your Dress for Less

Dreaming of Vera Wang on a shoe string budget?
I wasn't. I wasn't even sure I would wear a wedding dress. I thought I might find a designer frock at Holt Renfrew or on Saks Fifth Avenue online, something along the lines of this George Hobeika Fall 2011 gown:

Georges Hobeika Couture Fall 2011

I confess:  I didn't spend my childhood imagining my wedding day let alone my wedding dress, and the sea of white splashed across the pages of bridal magazines was freaking me out as much as the potential price.
After making a trip to Holt Renfrew and trying on a beautiful $3000 gown by Wayne Clark I decided it was time to hone in on the budget. $3000 being more than double the budget. 
After waxing poetic about vintage gowns and ordering online, a few smart married ladies told me that regardless of what I thought I wanted, I really shouldn't rob myself of the experience of the bridal salon - so true.

The  Brides' Project
As one of my best ladies pointed out, it was smart to come here first.  Why? Aside from the proceeds of your purchase going to a good cause, it's self serve. You and your ladies can select whatever you'd like to try on at will. Selection is limited to whatever is on hand, but I was lucky enough to find two potential gowns and set one aside for consideration. 
They also have lovely headpieces by Lilliput Hats . I definitely recommend going with friends. You'll need help getting in and out of all those gowns, and putting them back where you found them. I am considering donating my dress to the cause after my wedding.

Despite a fruitful day at The Brides' Project, I found "the dress" at Becker's Bridal.
Biggest way to save on your dress?  Be open to buying a sample. I got my dress for less than half the sticker price. Yes, it needs a little repairing and closer to the day if I determine it needs dry cleaning I may not have saved as much as I would have liked, but  so far I am happy that I found something well within my budget.  I also asked about samples at White, a store which houses some of the top designers, and tried on a Monique Lhuillier that I could have purchased for a fraction of the original price. 

Several online sites now have used wedding gowns for sale. If you have your eye on a $10 000 gown but have a meager budget it's a worthwhile consideration.  
The one catch was having to bring the dress home earlier than expected. I had nowhere to store it! Happily some friends of ours have offered to keep it safe within their closet instead of it hanging like some kind of wedding specter in the corner of our room.

Happy hunting...


Saturday, November 5, 2011

The Wedding Favour

The best part about being engaged? Suggestions and offers. The get handed out like candy, and some of it you want and some of it you want to casually toss in the garbage.
Of course, it's all well- meaning and you never know where a suggestion might lead you, but sometimes you can't help but laugh. For example:

What are they? Swarovski encrusted pens that come apart to reveal a usb key tucked away inside, and they can be engraved! Did I mention they are only $85?
Times 100 guests that equals a fortune. No thanks.
I feel sort of bad trashing them because the person who suggested them happens to like them a lot. I was thinking more along the lines of:

from Martha Stewart Weddings
In fact, the most basic and appealing was one single cookie inside a clear plastic bag with a sticker on it (a link I apparently forgot to save on one of my many obsessive searches).
Done and done.

The risk of something like this however is that I am already thinking of a few things and it seems that if you want to go D.I.Y. and not exhaust yourself, you have to go simple.
I am not simple. I notoriously complicate things, so something as basic as ordering a pen that someone else makes and delivers to me might be a heck of a lot easier than dealing with cookies or making my own centerpieces or...the list goes on.
What's your favourite favour?

Friday, November 4, 2011

The Wedding Centerpiece: to D.I.Y. or Not?

After casually looking online and in the Toronto Life Wedding Guide I have to say: I was shocked. Bouquets starting at $100? Who knew? But so far that's been the case for with everything to do with weddings: it costs more than you think, and then some.

Battling with a tight budget means deciding what you want vs. what you need, and often paring that list down once again. I've been exploring the options from D.I.Y origami flowers and feather boutonnières (both to be covered in other posts) to making my own floral centerpieces.

The pros? Saving money. I hope. I've been trying to meet with florists to see what I can get for my budget. If nothing else I will have them put together the bouquets as I'd rather not be dragging around a handful of wilted flowers. I was in love with what I saw from Jaiden's Petals, but they are on vacation the weekend of my wedding. I'm hoping to connect with Coriander Girl soon.

The cons? Several. First of all, I'm not a florist. I am a designer however, and the sort that thinks they can figure out anything - which is hardly the case - but I'll certainly give it my all trying. I don't know what quantities to buy for my wedding day, and I don't know how smart it is to be trying to arrange 13 centerpieces at the last minute. We will be getting married later in the day and the venue is large enough for me to go there, put the flowers together and get ready. I have to get ready there anyway, so why not get the flowers ready too? I can also enlist some of my ladies to help me out. Is it crazy? Maybe. Check out how today's experiment went.

What's this?

Thirty-five dollars worth of flowers and berries and stuff that I picked up at Ave and Dav.
I have no idea what the "theme" is or what colours I want at my wedding. I just know that the hall is an unflattering shade of salmon and that I want my ladies to be in black.
I like a lot of different flowers and chose today's bunch around the lovely thistles that happened to be a the store. What do you think? Legit centerpieces or no?