Friday, March 30, 2012

{Special Party} The Great Wedding Dress Saga

Seriously, planning a wedding is such an emotional journey! True, I am quite an emotional person, usually shedding sappy tears of joy at least once a day. I can't be the only person who gets choked up over random internet videos of dogs and weddings. Anyhow...

I have a dress. I can't believe I haven't mentioned that yet. Its stunning, and definitely not that I  had originally been looking for. Since my hubby-to-be reads the blog, I can't post pics of me in the winner, but I will share of the ones I at least tried on, and an almost winner!!

In the past six months, I have shared a few pics of dresses I liked. I have always loved a one shoulder silhouette, and a slimmer fit through the midsection. But then I found myself pinning lace and fuller gowns.

Fluvia by CYMBELINE Paris

Vera Wang Emmeline, photo from this wedding

Reem Acra, photo from this stunner of a wedding
So when my best friend, who is also getting married this summer, called me to go try on dresses (for the first time) I was pretty open minded. One of our friends pulled this dress for me. It didn't look like much in the bag, but I was smitten when I put it on.

I LOVED the whimsical flowers on the bottom, and the way it hugged my figure. I put in on hold for 2 weeks, for a measly $10, which was a worthy sacrifice, as it gave me a good direction for the future. My concerns with the dress were:
  1. My mom wasn't there to see it, nor would she be for several months. The dress was a sample, so there was no ordering a custom one. Buy it or risk losing it sort of deal. 
  2. Ivory. I'm not a pure white person, however, it was a little more dingy than I was wanting. 
  3. With the fullness of the skirt and the fabric, where the bustle would have landed would have been quite uncomfortable while sitting down. It was also quite heavy for my September outdoor nuptials. 

It did pass the dancing test though!

But I did have an amazing time with my girlfriends, and learned a lot about my style, which helped immensely when I travelled to Portland to shop with my mom a few weeks later.

I got an email from The Knot, informing me of two bridal events on the same weekend I would be in Portland. One was Brides Against Breast Cancer, which is charity event. It was held at a downtown hotel, and basically was a conference room full of gowns, organized by size, with a couture section. Nearly all the gowns were under $1000. Score.

We hit the racks, and pulled about seven gowns for me to try on. The fitting room is not for the shy, with curtained, flimsy dressing rooms. Ladies were staking out corners with their entourages, to try on as many gowns as possible. Only a couple were memorable from my session.

This was a halter, I would have removed the straps if I had chosen it. 

Stunner of a train

Ivory whimsical lace number. I would have removed the straps again, as well as that d*#n bow...

Loved the flare on this one

Back of a Maggie Sottero destination series gown. I had actually pulled this dress out of a magazine. It ended up being too flowy for my country wedding. 

While I loved the Maggie gown, my thoughts kept going back to the lace gown. For some reason, I loved the originality of it. I have no idea who the designer was and thus wasn't able to track it down after the fact. I do however, highly recommend any bride to check out Brides against Breast Cancer. The staff of volunteers was extremely helpful, with seamstresses on hand to make recommendations about alterations and help with fit. A very professional group, dedicated to a great cause!

After lunch and a glass of wine to ease my anxiety over the thought of NEVER finding a gown, my mom and I ended up at Anna's Bridal in Lake Oswego. There was a Matthew Christopher trunk show going on that day, and Mister Matthew himself was there! Such a handsome charmer. My mom immediately saw a dress she loved, which was one of his designs The Peggy Sue. Keep in mind, he is a couture designer, my budget was $1000. Apparently my mothers was a little higher. We pulled a few other dresses, including a light grey lace gown, and a whimsical A-Line.
While the Peggy Sue was fabulous, it was much, much fuller than I wanted, and I wasn't feeling it, although my mother teared up instantly. You can't force a dress though.
I loved the lace gown as well, but we weren't quite there.
Whimsical A-Line was next, and we had pulled it since the skirt was similar to the one I loved in Bend. As soon as I saw my reflection, I couldn't stand still. I always do this move called 'wagging my tail', where I kind of shake my booty around (weird dog person), and it was out of control. I was in LOVE!!!
My mom loved the dress as well, but the sample MC fit me so well, Anna offered us a little deal off the original $2700 price tag. I tried it on one more time for mama, but it wasn't it. I loved the A-Line. Back on it went, and thats when the tears came and I knew.
You always hear about that 'feeling', and it is true. In my gown, I feel like the most beautiful version of myself, ever. It was also under my budget of $1000, which made me very very happy.
I can't show you all the dress just yet, but here is this link, so you can use your imagination. It is #2048, by Casablanca Bridal. Since this is a dress you custom order, I omitted the rhinestone belt and made a change to the back as well. It should arrive in early June, I can hardly stand the wait!!

Oh and if you're wondering about my bestie, she ended up ordering a dress from Anna's as well!! Hers is a Paloma Blanca, with a fuller skirt, a belt and pockets!!

Wow, that was fun to recap that exciting time in my life. My advice for brides shopping for a gown is stay within a budget YOU are comfortable with (don't forget the cost of alterations), and don't let others opinions cloud your vision. There IS a dress out there for you, and you WILL find it. Don't give up!!
Only a couple more months till I see my gown again! Now I am hunting for accessories. Any tips or advice? Thanks for the help!!

Thursday, March 15, 2012

DIY Save the Date Postcards

Hey hey lovecats!!

From today, our wedding is exactly six months away. Holy moly, where does the time go? It seems like just yesterday this happened...

And now we are halfway there already. Crikey. 
I didn't plan it this way, but we mailed out our Save the Date postcards a couple days ago, and they will be arriving exactly 6 months ahead of our wedding. What natural timing I have. I'm not sure what proper etiquette calls for in terms of getting save the date cards out, but since we are having a destination wedding, I think giving guests an early heads up is helpful. 

Anyhow, back when we first got engaged, I set up a bare bones budget. After a few brief chats with my parents and James, we set our budget, which is in the neighborhood of 13k, about half as much as the national average for a wedding.   So far, so good, but when it came to planning wedding paper products, I realized how easy it would be to blow the budget here. 

After playing around on Microsoft Publisher for a couple weeks, we were able to design our own Save the Date postcards, and get them printed locally for $55! Thats whats up! Here's how we did it... 

Pinterest browsing led me to create a paper products 'board', which all of my early inspiration landed on. I discovered an awesome website called The Wedding Chicks, which has free templates to create entire wedding invitation suites! Amazing right? So we played around with that for a while, and eventually circled back to our early wedding inspiration... 

The Aspen tree we carved our initials into back in 2008. So I googled Aspen tree clip art, and found a lovely image that reminds us of a drawing.
Here is how the front turned out...

So many Save the Dates are the same. A photo of the couple, which doesn't necessarily reflect what the wedding will be like. James and I really wanted our guests to get a little sneak peek of what our wedding day will look like, and we feel that this shows it.

Without further ado, here is the back.

We did make a wedding website, which is that lovely blur on the bottom right. Sorry stalkers. Love you all.

My suggestions here are play around with layout and format until you find the right look. Under Page Setup on Microsoft Publisher, you can set margins and custom layouts. This is also where you flip between Portrait (long page) or Landscape (wide page). I also suggest having a glass of wine or two, it makes the successes sweeter and the failures (you KNOW I have lots of those) easier to handle.
Overall, just do what makes YOU and your fiance' happy.
Lately, I've been struggling with too many hands in the wedding basket. I am an approval seeker, and am also surrounded by people who mean well, but offer too many opinions. After a couple minor meltdowns, I have decided to stop asking for so much input, and just do what makes me happy. And it is making wedding planning sooo much easier.

So that's where we stand folks! Coming right along. Have a wonderful weekend, and lets pray for some spring-like weather!!
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