Friday, January 29, 2010

The AA Experience

Yes I do like a drink here and there socially (used to be more often in the good ol college days), but no this post has nothing to do with alcohol.

It's all about our trip to Alfred Angelo! I can't say I was that excited about the trip to Alfred Angelo, I already have my sights set on the dress mentioned here, but as mom said, it doesn't hurt to try out more options.

I will give Alfred Angelo's (AA) much more props then David's Bridal (DB). AA had pretty much any dress I wanted to try on in my size, or bigger so I could "feel small" but having those clips placed on the back. It was nice to actually be able to see what the dresses looked like on, rather then the experience most "larger" girls have, where they have to just hold a dress up to determine if it's the one.

We all love pictures, so here we go!

Dress #1 - I can't find the dress number on the AA website
I liked the beading and rouching on this dress, but could do without the bling on the side... I thought that was just a little much. The train was also a little boring, compared to the front. Comparing this dress to my "number 1", I would like for some interest to the back, since people will be staring at it while we say our vows.

Dress #2 - AA#830
This was just too plain for me. I need a little sumpin' sumpin' and the bling on the belt just wasn't enough. Also note I wasn't too impressed by the pockets either.

Dres #3 - AA #1807
This was one of my favorites of the day. It's English netting over satin, and also had some nice side rouching. At first I always thought I wanted a lace dress, but I think this has just too much going on. One of things that keeps me from bumping my #1, is that this dress doesn't give me as much of a waist.

Very pretty train!

Here you can see mom getting in on the camera action. This was her favorite of the day hands down.

Dress #4 - AA# 2031
Another favorite of the day. I liked that it wasn't as much going on as the last one, but still had the rouching and the bling. I was a little afraid that there might be a little too much boob action in this dress.

Wanted to check it out with a veil. Note to self, don't lean back like that, makes my stomach stick out even more.

Dress #5 - AA#1136
The second I put this one on, I knew I didn't like it. Don't get me wrong, the beading and rouching were great, but the type of beading looked cheap close up, and annoyed the heck out of my underarms. I know I would be taking it out on someone by the end of the night, so no go on this dress.

And another veil, just for kicks. I think I want a fingertip length veil, in sheer with some beading on the end. I highly doubt I'll be buying one in a bridal store since they are priced so high. I'll be checking out Etsy and other Trash to Treasure sites for a veil more reasonably priced.

So there you go, the hits and misses from Alfred Angelo's. Mom and I will probably venture to two more stores, and then mark the favorites for the Bridesmaids summit at the end of March!

How many dresses did you try on after you thought you found the one?

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Vista Print

I actually stumbled across Vista Print back in the early stages of the engagement when I was looking for an online place to make our STD magnets (before we decided to make them ourselves). I’ve read that a lot of girls on the DIY Knot boards have used vista print for all types of wedding things from STD magnets & postcards, to business cards for guest to share their pictures to brochures for OOT bags.

After reading on Weddingbee that one of the bees used post cards for their RSVPs, which cut down on costs, I talked with Chris and we decided it would be a good way to save some money since postcard stamps are cheaper then normal envelope stamps. I went on Vista Print and designed a postcard uploading our monogram for the front and back.

I learned that once you sign up to receive their emails you’ll get lots of (almost daily) offers for free stuff. One Friday I checked out the “Free Friday” offers which included 100 “free” postcards (which are normally $24.99), so I went into my saved postcard design and placed the order for 100 postcards. The free postcards ended up costing $26.53 due to the $4.99 per logo/picture upload (I did 2, 1 on the entire front and another small 1 on the top of the back.), $9.99 for color (I could have been cheap and did it in black and white, but I really wanted to keep with the blue and green of the invite) and the rest was for shipping. Not the cheapest you could get, but when I looked at it, it was cheaper then purchasing all the envelopes and cardstock and ink to print the RSVPs at home. We’re also saving almost 20 cents per card in stamps since the postcard stamps are cheaper. I selected the slowest/cheapest shipping which was an estimated 25 days. I placed the order on a Friday, and received the package of postcards the following Thursday, it didn’t even take a week! I ordered the second set of 100 postcards the next weekend after finding a code for free uploads thanks to a DIY Knottie. Too bad I didn’t know of that the first time around, I could have saved myself an extra $10.

front and back of the postcard

To add a little more to the postcard, I decided to round the edges using a rounder from Michael’s (purchased of course with a coupon).

I think they turned out pretty good and I’m excited to use them in the invitation suite! I'm tossed between rounding all the edges (which mom likes better) or doing only 2 alternating corners (which Chris likes better).

How would you round the edges? Did you go with a different format for your RSVPs?

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Splurges: Videographer

The videographer topic was not included in the initial planning talks between Mr. E, my parents and myself. We figured that we could just relive the big day from all the wonderful pictures our photographer will take. At the second meeting with our planner, Kathie asked about videographers and Mama Elephant piped up that it was on her wish list if we could fit in the budget.

I thought to myself, who would really want to watch that video? It would probably be a waste of money that only we (well more so me then Mr. E) and possibly my parents would watch. But after thinking about it more, and checking out some of the awesome videos on local videographer’s websites and ones on Weddingbee like Mrs. Scissors amazing video, I was hooked. Even if it didn’t get played a million times, it would be so wonderful to actually hear Mr. E and I say our vows on that day!

We’re still doing our research to see if we can find a decent videographer that won’t break bank.

Did you or are you having a videographer at your wedding?

Thursday, January 21, 2010

A moment for my mom

This past weekend mom and I set out on a couple vendor meetings (ceremony music and one last DJ/Lighting company) and then decided to make an appointment to try on a couple of dresses.

Before you get you hopes up, there were no pictures allowed in the bridal boutique :( so I don't have any pictures of me in dresses to share with you.... at least not yet ;)

Our dress shopping outing began with a quick trip to Ross where I followed Mrs Scissors' advice on wearing some proper undergarments. Using the trusty GPS, we found our way to the bridal boutique and got there before it even opened... opps! Our appointment was at 1:30, so we waited till about 5 mins after the store opened, hoping that maybe we could get started early.

Our salesperson/dresser Marcy was so sweet! She prepared my dressing room while Mama Elephant and I started picking out some samples to try on. After Marcy saw the type of style we were going for, she began picking some out as well. We quickly accumulated quite a stack, so we stopped and headed for the dressing room. Mom sat out by the stand/mirror while I headed to back and tried on the first dress.

I walked out and could tell that my mom was having a moment... the first time she saw her only daughter in a wedding dress. It was so sweet! We both agreed that we really liked the first one (Chiffon, not lace like I thought I would want), and continued on through several dresses.

Throughout the course of our hour appointment, I think I tried on about 10 or so dresses, and definitely confirmed that I am not the satin ballgown wearing bride (major props to those brides out there that are, that dress was sooooo heavy!), and that a chiffon/ruching dress was very figure flattering for my body type. I was so happy to have a waist, which I didn'treally have with the dress I tried on at David's Bridal.

This is a beautiful dress, but just wasn't me

We listed our three top contenders with Marcy, and will be heading back there during the Bridemaids Dallas Summit so my 4 bridesmaids can see me try on some dresses.

They didn't give us the names of the designers/dress models, so I had to search high and low (based on my memory) to find the image of my favorite...I want to call it "the one" but I agree with mom that I need to try on a couple more just to make sure. I'm going to be a tease and keep you in suspense for pictures of the dress until later on :)

Did you check out more dresses after finding a favorite?

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Splurges: Photobooth

Another splurge for the wedding that we really want to fit into the budget is a photobooth.

The first pictures Mr. E and I have together were taken in a mall photobooth on our 3rd date. That photo strip still hangs on our fridge to this day. As you can guess we’ve changed a little since then.

There are a couple of cool aspects of the photobooth that really draw us into this wedding trend.

*First off, none of our friends have had one at their wedding, so I think it would be something new for them to enjoy as well.

*The booths that we are looking at all give us a CD of all the pictures taken that night, so we can go back after the wedding and look at all of our crazy fun guests

*An additional point would be to include double printouts that night. This way our guest would be able to take one home with them and the other would be left for us. Possibly put into an album for us to enjoy for years to come.

We are currently working on fitting the booth into our budget as well as our venue - depending on our final guest list there may not be enough room to fit the booth in the room with all the guests and buffet. In which case we would have to more it to the bar area or right outside the ballroom.

Have you been to a wedding with a photobooth? Did you enjoy it?

Friday, January 15, 2010

Splurges: Light ‘er up!

There were a few splurge items for the wedding that I listed as very nice to have if we have room in the budget. The first was photography and I can’t wait for Lynn Michelle to shoot our engagements, rehearsal & wedding! Another splurge was uplighting for the reception.

All images courtesy of Astounding Sounds

I think the lighting really does change the venue and totally changes the feel of the room. When researching uplighting we found that a lot of DJs offer it along with their music/MC role. We have begun the DJ search, and are hoping to kill 2 birds with 1 stone by booking a DJ that includes the lighting option.

What will you splurge on?

Saturday, January 9, 2010

Happy Birthday Dennis!

Today is my brother’s birthday! He’s turning 29 today, and will be the big 3-0 by the time our wedding rolls around next year.

Dennis & me in St. Maarten on our 2008 cruise

Dennis & Chris when we first got on the ship, Cruise 2009

My 3 favorite men: Dad, Chris and Dennis on formal night on our 2009 cruise

My brother and I are very close thanks to family vacations when we were younger. We quickly found out that if we didn’t along with each other, then we didn’t have anyone to hang out with and enjoy the vacation. I am so glad that Chris asked Dennis to be a groomsman in the wedding! Dennis may have to do double duty with the walk down the aisle since he will most likely walk our mother down and then come back and walk down with the groomsmen. There is no side door as our ceremony is outside. Not sure if that’s how it’ll go, but we’ll leave that up to the planner to decide what looks better.

Will you siblings be standing up for you on the big day?

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Great Dessert Bar Item

Due to lack of space in the venue we decided to go for the photobooth instead of the candy buffet. But if we did a dessert bar, and had the time for some homemade goodies these mini cheesecakes would be at the top of my list!

I started making these mini pieces of awesomness when I worked at my first “real world” job out of college. We would have pot lucks every month and this was a way for me to contribute and not kill anyone. I kid, I’m really not that bad of a cook, but I hated to make something and then have to reheat it in the microwave at work, that thing would take forever! I found the recipe online here, and with a few simple ingredients, a mixer (which I didn’t have the first time I made these… let me tell you beating that batter by hand was not fun!) and an oven you too can make these.

Ingredients (I doubled the original recipe to accommodate my work crowd)

Cheesecake mix
- 4 packages of Philadelphia cream cheese
- 1.5 cups of sugar
- 4 eggs
- 2 teaspoons of vanilla extract

For the cheesecake crust I used to go the easy route and just place a vanilla wafer in the bottom, but this time I thought I would try Oreo cookies.

Crust ingredients
- 1 package of Oreo cookies
- 4 tablespoons of melted butter

-2 (21 oz) cans of pie filling
- Cupcake wrappers

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and line your cupcake pans with the cupcake wrappers

To make the cheesecake filling, mix together your cream cheese, sugar, eggs and vanilla until it’s light and fluffy. Set aside while you move onto your crust.

I use a chopper attachment to my blender (since I can’t find the chopper blade for my hand mixer) to crumble the Oreo cookie. Oh how I’m looking forward to registering for that kitchen aid mixer! Mix the chopped cookies with 4 tablespoons of melted butter. This will help the crust stay together when baked.

Fill each cupcake slot a ¼ full with cookie crumble mix. Press it down with your spoon to make sure there are no holes.

Pour in some of the cheesecake mix. I would leave room at the top of each wrapper so you can top it off with filling after it bakes.

Bake for 15 mins and remove to cool. While you wait for them to bake, you can enjoy the childhood fun of licking the beaters.

Place a spoonful of pie filling to the top of each mini cheesecake (thanks Mr. E for helping) and then place in your fridge to cool.

I normally left them in the fridge overnight and took them out the next morning to take to work. How cute would these be on a dessert bar at a wedding? I know I would be eating them up!

Are you making any baked goods for your wedding?

Saturday, January 2, 2010


Happy New Year!! I can’t believe it’s been a full 10 years since we “partied like it was 1999” and dealt with the Y2K scare.

There are many goals I have for the new year including getting in shape for the wedding. I’m hoping that since we are getting closer everyday that I will be more motivated to continue with the work outs that I started at the end of last year.

2010 will bring many milestones in the wedding planning process. For one thing, after April when people ask when the wedding is, I will no longer have to say “April 23, 2011”. We will be taking our engagement pictures in a couple of months with Lynn Michelle and I will begin the official dress search. I thought it was too early to meet with/sign a contract with some vendors last year, so now that we are in 2010, I can set up those appointments, and find the best vendors for our budget.

My MOH Kristen was in town this past week, and after we met up to go over wedding stuff, we caught up on life over lunch. Well lunch happened to be in the same area as a David's bridal, so we went in to look around. I didn't know how busy they were (it was a Tuesday) but after 30 mins they took us back and I tried on a couple of dresses. Here are two pictures of the only dress that I tried on that I liked (not too many in my size in store, so I guess that's more motivation to hit the gym lol).

I really like this one, so it's a good starting point. After a couple of months of the gym (and hopefully warmer weather) I'll be setting up a weekend to try on dresses with all of my bridesmaids that can make it into to town. I can't wait!!!

I’m excited to see the plans start to come together as we get another year closer to the wedding!