Thursday, December 22, 2011

Wedding Cake Ornament

Guess who's back?  Ok, it's just for one holiday post, but I loved coming back for the randomizer series and wanted to drop back in and share one of my recent projects.

I have been intrigued by polymer clay ever since we ordered our cake toppers from Etsy seller Mud Cards.  Keren did such an amazing job on the first topper, that we had her make a second one as well.

Since our engagement in 2009, I've tried to get a different ornament each holiday season to remember that year by. With Christmas around the corner, I started to think about what our ornament for this year would be.  Being our first newlywed Christmas, I wanted this ornament to be special and DIY it.

But what should I make?

I threw around a couple of ideas, before I circled back to my original (and favorite) idea, a replica of our wedding cake!  After a quick stop at Michael's, who was having a sale on clay (originally $2.29, on sale 4 for $5), it was time to get started.

I rounded out the white cake base and then started to work on the mini suitcase topper.  I didn't have a darker green for the round suitcase, so I changed it up with a swirl of the two colors.

I worked the black into handles and the mini monogram on the front of the center suitcase.

Next up was the little green plaques that mapped out some of our destinations together.  There was no way I would be able to write on them, but that's OK - they still give the same effect.

Rolling the tiny blue balls for the path between the plaques was a little tedious (and I lost more than a couple along the way), but I favored the 3D effect over drawing them on.  The finishing touch was to stick in a wire loop so we'll easily be able to hang it on our tree with ribbon or a hook.  I baked it for 23 minutes at 225 degrees and out came this little reminder of our wedding day. 

 And for a little comparison, our cake on our wedding day and the ornament.

Picture on the left taken by Lynn Michelle

With all of the left over clay I feel the need to make something else, but for now I'll just sit back and gaze at the little masterpiece.

What do you think?  Does is it look like a mini replica of our cake? Do you have any special ornaments from the year you were engaged or your first married Christmas?

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Randomizer Series: Elephant Wedding

I loved the idea of revisiting our wedding day with a random pick of pictures.  Here is a random snapshot of the Elephant Wedding starting off with our first look.  Not the prettiest of faces, but it shows how emotional I was to see Mr. E for the first time on our wedding day.

Our photographer had a fun time getting our custom Chucks to balance on a mirror for this shot.  You'll also see one of the bee charms that have been a part of several bee weddings since then.

Right after Mr. E dropped my first piece of cake, I was sure to have a little protection under his piece.

This next shot is of Daddy E and his best friend from childhood who traveled all the way from Trinidad and Tobago to celebrate our wedding day.

One of our readers for the ceremony is someone who has known me all of my life.  Ms. M is the mother of BM Philly and our parents have been friends since they met in Lamaze class with our older brothers. She read The Art of a Good Marriage by Wilfred Arlan Peterson.

I loved all of the travel themed DIY projects that we completed for our wedding including our suitcase card box.

Love, love, love the blue that my friends wore, it popped so well against the green outdoors!

We had an anniversary dance for all of the married couples at our reception. The longest married couple was my aunt and uncle who have been together for 49 years. 

Love this shot of GM Runner & BM Aggie (who are married) with our friend M.  It reminds me of the fun we had the semester that we pledged our business frat.

And last, but not least, this picture was taken as Daddy E and I waited to take our walk.  I guess we misjudged the timing of our bridal party because we had to step it up to get downstairs and out the door.  Oh well, can't start the ceremony without us, right?

If you would like to see more of our blue and green, travel themed wedding you can check out the recap links at the bottom of this post.

For those still planning, what has been your favorite aspect so far?  For the married ladies out there, have you gotten around to printing out any photos from your wedding?  7 months later and I still have not done that.

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

It's So Hard To Say Goodbye

Not only to yesterday, but also to you - the hive.  I held off long enough to share our album and video with you, and now it looks like it's time to say goodbye.

I can still remember the rush of excitement I felt when I received that acceptance email from Pengy a little over a year ago.  Your warm welcome and incredibly sweet comments as I shared with you our blue and green, travel themed wedding truly made an impact.  Not only on our special day, but also in my heart.  I don't think there are words to express how much this experience has meant to me.

Weddingbee inspired me to find my inner DIY crafter and create various projects as well as all of our paper products from our invites to those infamous programs.  You weren't just there for all of the fun, pretty stuff.  You were there when vendors fell off the face of the planet and when the stress became just a little bit too much.  And for that, I can't thank you enough.

This may be my "goodbye" post, but I'll still be around here and there.  If I can find any wedding related posts up my sleeve, you know I'll be happy to pop back in.  I'm kinda hooked on this whole blogging thing, so you can find me over at Oh Lordy! where I talk about our married life and the future hunt for our house.  Hopefully I can incorporate some of these DIY skills to turn that house into a home.

I can't believe that we've come to the end of our wedding journey, which you can catch up on over on the Elephant wiki page.  If I could say thank you a million times, I still don't think it would be enough for all of the love and support you have given me over the past year. Before the tears start rolling down my face again, I better wrap this up.  Thank you from the bottom of my heart, and I hope you all have absolutely amazing, love filled wedding days and beautiful marriages!

Love Always,

Mrs. Elephant / Mrs. E / Lauren

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Wedding Memories

Our album & wedding video are in and they are AMAZING!!!

Part of our wedding package included an album for us and one for each set of parents.  After seeing the pictures on our online gallery, I knew we would end up adding a couple of additional pages to our album.  Our fabulous photographer Lynn mentioned that our wedding, with all of it's details, would look pretty awesome in a unique 20 x 8  flipbook style and after seeing a couple of layouts we agreed and upgraded.

We debated between green and brown for the cover, even put it to a vote on Lynn's blog.  As you can see green won out (which is what we were leaning towards from the beginning).

The title page will always remind me of reading Mr. E's book while getting ready.  We love all of the different layouts Lynn and Vivie designed for our album.

But my favorites are the full page layouts.  Maybe that is also because they are my favorite pictures, so seeing them in 20 x 8 size just makes me smile.

I love how thick the pages are, as well as how they lay flat.

The green lizard skin wraps from the front all the way to the back.

I'm a big fan of the metal cover!  I couldn't figure out how to get the best shot, but I think you can kinda tell from this one.

And just for comparison, here's the album with little Gypsy.   It's longer and heavier than she is, not that that is very difficult since she is less than 10 pounds.

It must have been the weekend to relive our wedding because we also received our video montage!  I'm not gonna lie, I've watched this thing more than a handful of times. It's kinda cute how nervous Mr. E was when he was reciting his vows.  

Will you be getting an album with your wedding pictures?  Is it included in your package, or will you DIY one? Did you have your vows recorded on video (by a videographer or family/friend)?

All photos of the album are personal.  Pictures in the album are from Lynn Michelle

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Rock Me Like A Hurricane

This past weekend Mr. E, the fam and I traveled up to Philly to celebrate the wedding of BM Philly and her husband D.

The weekend was filled with wonderful events from the welcome BBQ on Thursday, to the rehearsal and cocktail party on Friday to the big event on Saturday.  Of course the weather was a big topic of interest as Hurricane Irene was heading our way.

BM Philly and her mom worked so hard on the beautiful purple and green wedding details many of which were DIY such as the programs, flip flop baskets, ceremony decor and cake pops.

BM Philly even surprised D with a Boston Sports themed groom's cake at the cocktail party on Friday. I like to think she got that idea from all of her dedicated reading of Weddingbee :)

Unfortunately their plans of a gorgeous garden wedding were dashed by the torrential downpour and wind thanks to Irene.  Their wedding was still amazingly beautiful even though the tornado warnings shut the party down a little early.  The food was amazing, the cocktails were flowing and we made more than one trip to the photo booth not worrying about the rain until the very end.

With warnings of the hurricane approaching and transportation in the Tri state area shutting down, there were more than a handful of guests that understandably decided not to make the trip to the wedding.  If you were a bride in that position, would you want to receive cancellation calls and texts ahead of time, or after the wedding?  Was anyone else's wedding effected by the hurricane this past weekend?

*I know that weddings are more of a first world problem.  My heart goes out to those that lost loved ones or their houses in Hurricane Irene.

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Passport To Love: Budget Breakdown

Let's talk numbers, shall we?  As a financial operations analyst, numbers are actually my friend.  Give me some spreadsheets and I'm a happy camper.

You may remember that we extended our engagement into a 25 month period in order to save up enough money for the wedding that we wanted to have. We were fortunate to receive some financial help from my parents, Mr. E and I paid the other 65%.  I'm going to be very honest with you all, we ended up spending a pretty penny on the wedding.  There were splurges that were not needed, but totally wanted.   We ended up going over budget, (but I'm throwing in everything I can possibly think of) so here's how it breaks down.  It's a little long, but I added pictures to help :)

Guests: 120
Original Budget: $35,000

Venue: The Tribute Golf Club, The Colony TX

Cost: $15,926.51 (38.7%).  Obviously the biggest ticket item in our budget.  This included the ceremony space and chairs, rooms for the bridal party to get ready in, ballroom for the 5 hour reception, all of the chairs & tables, dance floor, service staff, food & alcohol for 120 people, the Crowne suite for our wedding night and breakfast the next morning.  We added onto our package with a 3rd entree and the mac & cheese bar.

Planner, Flowers, Decor: Kathie Seeley with Grand Events

Cost: $4,330.33 (10.5%).  Kathie was truly amazing!  She was one of the first vendors that we booked and was with us every step of the way, even through staff turn over at our venue.  She did an amazing job keeping me calm during the planning period and setting up every single one of my DIY projects on the day of.  She did all of our flowers, which included 2 arrangements for the ceremony space, 13 centerpieces, 4 bouquets plus a toss bouquet, 12 corsages for the moms and aunts, 11 bouts for all of the guys, flowers for the cake stands & napkin wraps, and arrangements for the cocktail tables and guest book table.  She dealt with ordering the linens (napkins, table cloths, chair sashes, chiavari chairs for the bride and groom)  from BBJ linens, so that's all rolled up into this cost.  Other items in this amount include all of the candles on the tables, the fabric for the gazebo and an extra team member to insure all of the DIY projects were set up right (it took some time for someone to stuff each and every one of the take out boxes with our chocolates).  I know that wedding set up would not have looked as perfect as it did without Kathie.

Photographer: Lynn Michelle Photography

Cost: $6,495 (15.8%).  Pictures were my number one priority when it came to the wedding.  These were going to be the lasting memories for such a fantastic day and we went for the one of the largest packages available.  Lynn was simply amazing.  We booked her in 2009, yep nearly 2 years before our 2011 wedding.  Lynn and her team captured every single one of our DIY projects as well as all of the love and laughter that was a part of our big day.  This amount included engagement pictures, a canvas wrap, rehearsal and rehearsal dinner coverage, 3 photographers on the wedding day for 10 hours (although they were there early and stayed late), guest cards that we included in our thank you cards to let guest know about the online gallery, an album for us and 2 parent albums.  If I had to do it again, I would book Lynn in a heart beat! LOVE her!

DJ & Lighting: Blair Sparkman with Party All The Time Productions

Cost: $2,400 (5.8%). Blair was a vendor suggestion from our planner Kathie, and he was a fantastic deal!  This cost included the DJ service, microphones for the ceremony, uplighting and pinspotting all around the reception room.  As our final guest count came in, we decided to add in the custom gobo of our wedding logo.

Videography: Austin Walton Productions

Cost: $2,056.75 (5.0%).  Videography was one of those splurges that we didn't factor into our original budget.  As the planning period progressed and I saw so many beautiful videos online, I really wanted to squeeze it in.  Austin did an amazing job of coordinating with the photographers to ensure that he wasn't getting into their shot, and he is really such a nice person!   We haven't seen our video yet because it's a 4-5 month turn around, but I'll come back and share it with you all if you still want to see it.

Ceremony Music: Steve McDonald, Steel drums booked through Islands in the Sun Productions

Cost: $475 (1.2%).  The steel drums may have caused me a little stress, but it meant the world to surprise Daddy E with them.

Photo Booth: Premiere Booth

Cost: $1,040 (2.5%).  I loved the pictures that we received from the photo booth.  Our guests had a blast and I can't wait to put all of the extra strips in a scrapbook.  The cost  included 5 hours of use, set up and break down as well as a staff member to run it, and a CD of all images which had the strips as well as individual shots.

Cake: Candy Haven

Cost: $715 (1.7%).  We ordered 2 delicious cakes with some custom work as well as 40 double dipped strawberries.

Attire: Bride & Groom

Cost:  $1,936.50 (4.7%).  Mr. E's rental suit was free since we had 5 other guys renting theirs, so this amount includes my dress (621.67), alterations (120) my hair pin (37.89), our custom chucks (140), Mr. E's tie (15), cufflinks (32.05) my heels (25.40), garter set (29.49) and hair and makeup for myself, 4 bridesmaids and my mom (915).  Mama E gifted me my veil and my beautiful necklace.

DIY: Paper products and wedding decor

Cost: appx $1,750 (4.3%).  This is approximate because I didn't keep track of each and every trip to Michael's.  This includes all of our various paper products and postage (invites, save the dates, rehearsal dinner invites, programs, menus, etc) as well as other decor items like our cake toppers, props for the photo booth, napkins, matches, sparklers, serving set, flip flops, baskets, bubbles, OOT boxes & snacks, wood signs, guestbook set up, take out boxes, chocolate ingredients and more.

Rings, Party Gifts & Miscellaneous

Cost: $2,460.35 (6.0%) This included: our two bands and engraving, gifts for the bridal party (necklaces, earrings, coach bags, ties, custom converse shoes, gift cards), our parents (ties, hankies, gift cards), a donation for our officiant, our marriage license, tips for vendors, 1 hotel room for Mr. E and another for my girls and me on Friday night.

Send Off Brunch: Fairfield Inn & Suites.

Personal Photo

Cost: $1,565.67 (3.8%).  An Easter Sunday brunch for 50 of our guests.

Whew!  That covers just about everything except for the rehearsal dinner which my parents paid for, our minimoon in San Antonio and our honeymoon in Mexico.

The grand total is $41,151.11.  That looks so crazy because we were over by $6K. In our defense, when we first came up with our original estimate there were numerous items that we did not include in it like our attire, bridal party gifts, DIY projects, send off brunch, our rings, and splurges like the photo booth, videography and lighting.  Also the price per person at our venue went up from the time we booked to the time we paid (package prices are not in the contract, only the amount for the spaces as well as a food and beverage minimum).

When we first started planning, I didn't think that we would spend nearly this much money, but as we saved more and more we decided to give into more of our splurges.  There are so many little things that you don't think about that pop up close to the wedding (like hotel rooms, marriage licenses, tips for vendors, extra materials for DIY projects), so my advice would be to have some extra in the budget as the wedding day gets closer.  The best part about this final amount is that we did not have one single bill to pay after the wedding, and the entire weekend was totally worth it!

With that, I would say the Elephant "Passport To Love" recaps are now officially complete.  Hopefully the percentage breakdown will help another bride out there!

Did you add things to your original budget as you progressed in your planning?

All photos from Lynn Michelle unless otherwise noted.