Thursday, December 30, 2010

Ringing in the New Year

Mr. E and I have been lucky enough to spend every New Year’s Eve together since we started dating (which isn't always easy when you're dating someone who works on holidays)

Out in Dallas ringing in 2008

A quieter New Year’s Eve at home to ring in 2009

Partying with MOH Navy and her husband to ring in 2010

Every new year brings challenges and triumphs and I am so happy to be able to share those with Mr. E. This New Year will be extra special with our wedding right around the corner and BM Philly's wedding in August!

My goals for the new year include eating healthier (no bigger motivator than that big white dress!), finishing up DIY projects in advance to reduce stress that week of the wedding, enjoying our wedding day to the fullest and starting a happy, healthy marriage!

I hope that everyone has a wonderful New Year!

What are your plans to ring in 2011?  Do you have any wedding related New Year's resolutions?

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

A Soupy Romance & Wedding Day Gift

As weird as it may seem, soup has played an interesting part in our relationship. Back in '07, we were preparing for our first Christmas together and Mr. E asked what I would like.  I joked with him that I was running low on soup so it would be great if he could pick some up.  We laughed about it, but Mr E. actually incorporated soup into my gift.

Gypsy checking out the gift of soup & Ramen 

Along with all of that soup was a beautiful diamond necklace.  The running joke of soup as a gift has continued since then and was even incorporated into Mr. E's proposal where the ring was inside of a personalized soup can.

I love how Mr. E has kept the joke going, and I would love to incorporate a soup can into a little wedding day gift for him.  We already decided to splurge a little on our honeymoon room as a wedding gift to ourselves, but I still want to have a little something for him to open on the big day.  I'm in the works of making a soup can to hold his gift (more on that later), but I still need to pick something to put in that can.

I want to give him cufflinks, but I'm stuck on which pair to order.  As you may remember, Mr. E is a gamer, so it's only fitting that his cufflinks reflect that.  Here are a couple that have caught my eye.

Mario Mushrooms from Etsy Seller The Clay Creation

PS3 Controllers from TheClayCreation

XBox 360 Controllers from TheClayCreation

Or maybe I should change it up and go with a gift to reference his love of zombies.  We love The Walking Dead!!! Mr. E even read all of the graphic novels for it, the first non school related reading I have seen him do in a long time.

Zombie brains from TheClayCreation

Will you be gifting your groom anything for the wedding?

Monday, December 27, 2010

A little taste of my Philly roots

In West Philadelphia, born and raised
On the playground was where I spent most of my days
Chillin out, maxin, relaxin all cool
And all shooting some b-ball outside of the school

Truth be told I was really raised in a suburb a good 26 miles outside of Philly, but we all know it's easier to just say the largest "big city".  Now that I have Fresh Prince playing in your head, join me as I reminisce about my Philly childhood.

In 2008 Mama elephant’s family reunion was back in her hometown in New Jersey, and Mr. E came along for his first meeting of my crazy, awesome extended family. We all flew out a couple days early so we could experience Philly before heading to Jersey. We saw Independence Hall….

…We toured the liberty bell center…

…checked out Betsy Ross’ house…

…traveled down Elfain’s Alley…

….and enjoyed lunch at Pat’s… we love our cheesesteaks!

After our family barbeque in Lawnside, NJ, we spent the weekend down the shore at Atlantic City.

Before returning to the airport, we hit up Pathmark and loaded our carry on suitcases with treats you can only find on the East coast including scrapple, pork roll and tastykakes. Mr. E and I brought home 6 boxes each and those things were gone in no time!

While reading Mrs. Cupcake’s recaps on Weddingbee I became a little jealous of her late night reception snack of tastykakes and milk.

Mrs. Cupcakes Tastykakes (source)

I showed Mr. E the pictures and he was all for the idea of getting some for our reception. The difficult part is, of course they don’t sell them in Texas. :(

But there may be hope! BM Philly still lives on the east coast as does her mom (who will be a reader at our wedding) and some of my mom's family members. We’re planning on asking them to pick up some boxes of tastycakes the week of the wedding and then ship them to my mom. If the plan works, our Texas friends and families would be able to enjoy a little piece of my home.

Was there anything that you brought in to your reception that reminded you of home?

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Wedding Easter Bunny?

I know that for 97% of the brides out there (totally made up percentage by me) the Easter Bunny has nothing to do with their wedding planning... unfortunately for us, it does.

BM Philly and me with the Easter Bunny back in the day

When we first got engaged we picked the closest Saturday to our dating anniversary which was April 24, 2010. When we moved the wedding back a year Mr. E still wanted to go with the Saturday closest to the date we started dating. This was one wedding related thing he really wanted and I had no problem with it.

So we started planning, meeting with venues and booking vendors all with the date of April 23, 2011. Now this was back in 2009, so maybe our vendors didn't look at a calendar (much like us), but about 5 months after we booked the venue I got a random text from Mr. E (not all that random because we tend to text through our work days, but the question was a little random) asking if I knew what April 24, 2011 was.

I thought he was being cute so I texted back "the day after our wedding" and he responded with, "true, but it's also Easter". Really?!?! Our wedding is Easter weekend? I guess it's not so hard to believe since Easter Sunday changes every year, but it normally stays around the end of March or beginning of April.

Long story short - since we are not getting married at our church and none of our vendors have a problem with that Saturday, we'll be keeping our date! And to tie in a little of the Easter feel, I picked up some of this when it was 50% off after Easter this year.

It'll be great to fill the bottom of our favor take out boxes.

Now I just need to figure out what to put in those favor boxes.

Did you have, or think of having, your wedding during a holiday weekend?

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

What happens to the flowers after the wedding?

While I am not the biggest fan of flowers, I decided that since we are spending money on them for the wedding I would like to do something with them after the night is over.

Originally Mama Elephant wanted to send them to our church, but since it will be Easter Sunday we already know that the sanctuary will be filled with lilies. There are now talks of reusing some of the centerpieces at our send off brunch the morning after the wedding.  I told mom if she could keep from guests taking them home, they're all hers!

I'm really only interested in saving my bouquet, but how?

Option 1: Preservation - Air Dry
A popular, easy and cheap way to preserve the bouquet would be to hang it upside down and let it air dry.  I used this method on my bouquet from MOH Navy's wedding, then placed it in a vase to decorate our dinning room table.

I have heard that these dried flowers (in particular roses and peonies) may attract little moths, so you may want to bag up the bouquet and place it in the freezer for a week.

Option 2: Preservation - Freeze Dried
According to this site "The process for freeze dried flowers is the state-of-the-art and most effective method for flower preservation today.  It is an innovative vacuum process that takes approximately four weeks depending on the flower.  Freeze dried flowers go through a process in which water is removed as vapor directly from ice, without passing through the liquid state."

Freeze drying the bouquet would be the best method if I wanted to keep the bouquet in a shadow box after the wedding.

Option 3: Flowers Into Art
I originally saw this idea in an issue of Brides magazine, where companies like Flowers into Paintings will preserve your wedding bouquet and turn it into art.  This is a pricey option, but how awesome and sentimental would that art piece be in your house?  They use canvas wraps as the base for the art and we all know how much I have grown to love canvas wraps!

Are there any other ideas out there? Will you be saving your bridal bouquet?  

Monday, December 20, 2010

Private Dancer

Sorry Tina Turner, no dancing for money here. The title is actually in reference to a private last dance at our reception.  I first learned about the private last dance at BM Aggie & Groomsman Runner's wedding.  As the guests left to prepare for the grand exit from the reception, the bride and groom stayed behind in the reception room to have one last dance all alone.

The plan is to have all of the guests exit to prepare for our send off, the DJ will start our song and then leave the room as well.  We won't be completely alone, one of our photographers will remain to take some shots as we enjoy the last minutes of our wedding day.  I am so excited for this moment!

(Source for both images)

Mr. E and I narrowed it down to 2 potential songs for our private last dance: Jason Mraz "I'm Yours"

 Or Eric Benet's "Spend My Life With You".

We decided that "I'm Yours" will be fun for all of our guests so it will be one of our last crowd dances, making "Spend My Life With You" our last private dance song.

Have you heard of the private last dance? Will you have one at your wedding?

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Good Morning Beautiful

Funny thing about our first dance song, I was originally introduced to it by my college roommate freshman year.  She was in love with "Good Morning Beautiful" by Steve Holy, and I heard it more than a handful of times in our dorm room.  The more I listened to it, the more it stuck in my head so I went ahead and download it.  Take a listen!

As you may remember Mr E and I met on  We emailed back and forth for about a month and a half before our first date, and due to distance and his crazy school/work schedule there were numerous text messages during the week between dates.  So much so that I remember during one of my trips to Vegas we were texting to the point that I had to call and up my package before I went over.  One of my favorite memories from all of that email/texting communication is that Mr. E would usually start the day off with "Good Morning Beautiful".  I thought it was so sweet and it always put a smile on my face.

As our relationship grew and talks of marriage were a normal occurrence, we thought of possible first dance songs.  We pulled up my iTunes playlist and this song stuck out, not only for title but also for the lyrics.

"I couldn't see the light
I didn't know day from night
I had no reason to care
But since you came along
I can face the dawn,
'Cause I know you'll be there"

Mr. E went through a pretty dark and depressing phase in his life prior to going online.  I won't go into details since that is his personal story, but I can tell you that he was not satisfied with the path that his life had taken.  Our talks of an initial meet up were actually postponed due to the "rut" that he felt he was in.  Obviously words can't express how happy I am that he made the choice to take matters into his own hands and work towards the life that he wanted for himself and now for both of us.

This song spoke to us, and became our top pick. I can't wait to dance with him and remember that while life isn't always what you want, a change for the better might be right around the corner.  Or in our case, a click away ;)

How did you and your fiancée decide on your first dance song?  Do you remember where you were when you first heard it?

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

When is it time to cut my losses?

I have held out hope for nearly 6 months, but I'm starting to think it's probably time to move on.

As I've mentioned once or twice, we want to have steel drums at our wedding as a nod to my dad's heritage.  I was so excited when we started to put this surprise into action, but now I'm more upset than anything else.  I first contacted the steel drum player back in December of last year and everything was great.  We spoke on the phone, he was quick to respond via email, and we even drove to his home studio to hear him play.  I probably would have booked him that day, but Mama E was wise and suggested that we go and see him in action during one of his spring or summer gigs so we could see a performance that was not hindered by his sleeping fiancée in the next room (as it was when we went to his house).

As the months passed, he continued to contact me about his gigs which unfortunately did not work with my schedule.  Finally as June rolled around, I made the decision that I didn't want to lose this vendor so I asked to have the contract sent to me.  That was 6 months, 6 emails, 2 phone calls and 1 voice message ago.  I gave him the benefit of the doubt because the summer was his busy season and he had his own wedding and honeymoon at the end of September.  Every time I emailed for a follow up, he would apologize and say that he would get it out as soon as possible.

If this was any other vendor I would have dropped them long ago, but unfortunately there is not a huge pool of steel drummers in the Dallas area.  I keep holding out hope that he will get back to me, but in the mean time I have done some additional research and found one other steel drum duo in the area.  I know that the holidays are busy, but I'm crossing my fingers that this one will work out quickly and I can just drop the first vendor.  I don't want to write any "good riddance" emails until I have the 2nd vendor confirmed in writing.

Did you have any unresponsive vendors?  How long would you give them before dropping them and continuing on your search?

Monday, December 13, 2010

Score one for the budget!!

Since our ceremony and reception will be at the same location, it cuts down on our (as in Mr. E and I, but we are paying for the shuttle for our guests that are staying in our hotel blocks) transportation cost. Since our wedding package includes a free night stay at the Tribute, that drops down our required transportation cost to zero!

We’ll drive ourselves (separately) to the venue the day of the wedding and then use my car to drive to our send off brunch the next morning.

I do want to have a “send off” where the guests wave good bye and our photographer gets some good shots of us leaving. When talking to our planner about the possible rental of a golf cart just to ride down the street and come back, she let us know that the Tribute will let us use one for free. Wow! That’s one word you don’t get to hear too often (if at all) during wedding planning so we are thrilled to take them up on their offer. Our planner also let us know that in order to max out our floral arrangements from the ceremony, that she will re-use it to decorate the golf cart while we are dancing the night away.

I can picture it now, Mr. E and me driving off in a decorated one of these!

How will you ride off into the night after your reception?

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Play That Funky Music Part 2

Warning: Prepare yourself for possible music overload!

Once the ceremony music was nailed down, we moved onto the reception music. We'll be kicking it off with the bridal party dancing in to Brother E's favorite song, It Takes Two by Rob Base. (It's even his ringtone on my iPhone when he calls)

Mr. E and I will relive our first concert with an entrance to a little Fall Out Boy. Not your normal entrance song, but it means something to us and we can't wait to rock out a little.

I'll talk about our first dance in another post due to it's back story.  I'm really looking forward to dancing with Daddy Elephant to Louis Armstrong's What A Wonderful World.

Thanks to Mr. E's love of gaming, his groom's cake with be shaped like his favorite system. I thought it would be only too perfect to add a little humor into our cake cutting!

We're still debating on what to end the party with, but our front runner right now is Journey's Don't Stop Believin'.

What type of songs are you planning on for your reception? Will you have a mix of music genres?

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Play That Funky Music Part 1

Time for some Elephant ceremony music!

As a nod to my dad's home country Trinidad and Tobago, we will be having a steel drum duo for the ceremony music. The seating of the parents will be to "Jesu, Joy Of Man's Desiring"

Followed by the bridal party to my favorite traditional wedding song, Pachelbel's Canon in D

I had a hard time picking the song that I wanted to walk down to. Both Mr. E and I love Somewhere Over the Rainbow by Israel Kamakawiwo’ole and wanted to work it into the wedding day one way or another. When I found this clip, we knew that was it!

I can not wait to walk down the aisle to this song. I tear up just thinking about it right now. Want to know a secret? After we selected this song, we were watching last season's finale of Glee, where they sing it at the end. Mr. E and I both shed a couple tears. I was so happy to see that it affected him the same way it affected me.

Once our first kiss as husband and wife has ended, we'll head off to Bob Marley's One Love.

Stay tuned for Part 2 with our reception music selections!

Did you work with your FI to select the ceremony music? Do you have a mix of traditional and non traditional wedding songs?

Monday, December 6, 2010

Help with the Elephant Invites?

Hey there Hive!  I really appreciated all of your help with Mr. E's tie (we're going with the green and blue stand out!) and was hoping that you would like to help with the Elephant invitations. You know you "wanta"! Hmmm, now all I can think of are those Fanta commercials... Wanta Fanta, don't ya wanta?

Sorry for the mini sidetrack there, anywho. The pieces of our DIY invites are coming together pretty nicely, although my back is starting to kill me with all of the quality time spent with my paper cutter.  I want to hold off showing you the whole product until it's complete, but I could really use your help with our belly sneak peek ahead.

When we first started to draft the invites, we thought a simple square belly band with the names of the guests would be great.  Cut out the need for an inner envelope?  I'm all for it! I even picked up a 2x2 square punch to make it easier on myself, and prevent major screw ups around the border.  Don't mind the ribbon, this is a mock up that has been slipped on and off quite a bit.

As time passed (slowly) I realized there wasn't really any travel tie in between our invites and the rest of our paper products such as our save the dates.  Maybe I needed a little tie in?  I decided the easiest way would be to change up the belly band into the shape of a luggage tag.

At first I was all for it, but now I'm starting to feel that it maybe OK (or even better) to leave out the travel tie in and use the original square.  I've already cut out the green backing for each option, but I will admit that it would probably be faster to cut out the names with the 2x2 square punch than the travel tag which would involve more time with the paper cutter.

So Hive what do you think, square or luggage tag?

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Rehearsal Eats

I'm really looking forward to kicking off the wedding weekend with our nearest and dearest at our rehearsal Friday night.  What better way to bribe them to listen up at the rehearsal than food?  As soon as we're done with the rehearsal we'll be heading over to Blue Mesa for some Tex-Mex good times!

We've already reserved one of the 2 "party" rooms for our rehearsal dinner.  I'm really excited to show off some Tex-Mex to our East Coast family and friends who don't get to enjoy it nearly enough... or like ever haha.

Here are some of the items on our buffet style menu (their site doesn't have any yummy food pictures, but I wanted to make you hungry so I added in some google images)

-Rainbow Chips
-Red Salsa and Fire Roasted Salsa


- Southwestern Caesar Salad with green and red peppers, grilled corn, cotija cheese and cornbread croutons
- Grilled Fajitas - combination chicken and steak with cheese, sour cream and pico de gallo

- Blue Corn Cheese Enchiladas

- Ginger rice
- Smoky black beans
- Sweet corn cake

And for dessert - Cinnamon Churros with warm chocolate and caramel sauces

All I can say is YUM!

Will you be having a rehearsal dinner?  What type of food will you be eating?