Monday, April 11, 2011

Preparation Do's and Dont's

Every bride will have a long list of beautification procedures including:
Long Term:
Be in shape
Clear skin

Short term:
Hair cut/color

Recently I just got a month pass to the gym as well as an outdoor bootcamp so that pain should start soon. However Mr. FMB did have one demand.... no rugby before the wedding, a month before. :(

Why is he so mean?

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

DIY surprises from the homeland....

While I have been trying to put my life together after getting a shock last week... my step-mom has been a busy bee back at home with some DIY projects for the rehearsal dinner. This morning I awoke to pictures of invitations and small take home baskets, both crafted out of paper.

Aren't they great!

Having some help with all the wedding planning is essential! I hope you have some extra hands on your side.

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Please do NOT give us anything!!!

Well part of getting married and buying a new house at the same time is that you get everything to put in it right? Well we have had to highly publicize that we do not want any physical gifts at the shower or wedding... none... zip... zilch.... ok well maybe if its small enough to fit in a standard envelope. If there was anyway to ask for cash in a polite way we would kindly direct our guests and loving friends in that direction. Yet I fear any hint given that we prefer cash would have Miss Manners knocking down my door.

Why are we so adamant about this? Well lets play a game... how much does the following box cost to ship to England (helmet and dog for size reference and I believe it was around 22lbs):

Guestimate the shipping cost?

If you said $50 you would be wrong, if you said $100 you still would be wrong and too low.... after shipping and customs was paid it was a total of $150 to ship things I already owned to myself in England. And yes for those of you who are counting that is more than the value of what was in the box.

As it would cost us more than the costs of our plane tickets to ship items back to the UK we really would prefer people do not give us gifts in hand. As much as we would like cash (I am not asking for it, just implying that we would prefer it as it travels digitally) we also would like to provide a registry for those who wish to gift us with a new addition to our house. However we needed to register in England to avoid the customs and shipping.

So it turns out besides our families and wedding party.... our gift registry is the only thing that overlaps for both weddings. Although the English do say many words funny and have odd looking plugs things work the same here in general. Some department stores are nicer than others and we choose ours because the carried our pattern for the china. So on a sunny weekend we took trains and buses to Solihull (try saying with without a British accent) and went to John Lewis.

Most importantly we wanted a full set of proper china (serving for 12) and I had chosen the Vera Wang Lace pattern in platinum. Surprisingly Mr. FMB did not find this too "grandma" and agreed on it:

The pans were a bit more a compromise. I wanted copper, Mr. FMB wanted non-stick and we both wanted metal handles so pans can go stove top to oven. After picking up and weighing everything on display we decided on John Lewis' mid-range collection that had a good heavy feel and nice look to the handles. We ordered all the standard pots and pans and threw in a pasta boiler for me and a wok for Mr. FMB:

Next came the fun items:
Classy scale that is both practical and pretty

The essential mixer to replace the one I willed to a friend when I left Boston

Kenwood food processor/blender/juicer/dishwasher/vacuum... very versatile
(I heard it walks the dog too)
A cheese dome.... I love cheese... If I could I would marry cheese

We had fantastic fun going around the store scanning everything we liked. We did opt for basic white good quality linens as we have no clue what our decor will be. I even added a few lovely vases and decor items that I would really like but not purchase myself out of practicality. At the end we had a gift certificate for coffee and dessert each at their restaurant. It was a lovely way to end a Sunday afternoon of hard wedding work.

Why did you decide to register where you did? Did you think it was as fun as I did?

Don't make me push send....

Now that we had agreed on which invites to order we actually had to order them. I knew that I wanted a traditional wording and to include his parents names as many invitees have not had a chance to meet Mr. FMB's parents. (They are equally awesome as mine and we just had a lovely tea at our house this weekend for Mum's day in England. Included were a proper roast dinner, game of cards and a walk around the local park- I could not make this up if I tried.)

So armed with my basics I hunted the web for acceptable wording. Just to make it clear my parents are hosting the US event and are not divorced and neither are his parents. (If some of these factors are different there are 1000 other permutations of how to word):

Mr. and Mrs. Charles Smith
request the honor of your presence
at the marriage of their daughter
Isabella Marie
Edward Jonathan Callahan
on Saturday, November 27
at half past eight o'clock in the evening
153 North Rosewood Street
Wisteria, California

This was a fine basic template so we used this to start our wording which ended up as so:

DadFirstName and StepMomFirstName LastName
request the honour of your presence
at the marriage of their daughter
My full name including middle
His full name with middle
son of FirstName and FirstName Their LastName
on Saturday, the twenty-third of July
Two thousand and eleven
at three o'clock in the afternoon
Name of Chapel
Name of College
Worcester, MA

Reception to immediately follow

A mouth full right?! Well after everyone proofread it (including some strangers we pulled over on the street) we ordered them. I really hated to officially hit send as I was terrified that something had to be wrong with them. But apparently the crisis was averted and they came back just as I wanted, except the envelope liner as I forgot to call to change the order- oh well!

I think they turned out alright. All for a cost of $363/125 invites (budget was $350 but we were including stampage which will be another $100). We had to over order a bit as we are sending out 96 invitations and it was either 100 or 120 and we did spend a little extra to have the return address printed on the back of the envelope and add a line of text to the invite and RSVP card.

As I will not be stateside until May we will not mail out the invites till June 1st. I am setting up the file and the FMB parents are practicing on envelopes like Miss Cinnamon Bun did here:
Until then I will put away thoughts of the US invites and focus on my list of 1000 other tasks.

Were you nervous about making mistakes on your invites? When they arrived was it what you expected? Did you stay in budget?

Monday, April 4, 2011

On the topic of stationary....

While I was "home home" in January (home is Boston where I was living, home home is NY where I grew up... not sure what I call England) the FMB parents trapped me at the kitchen table for some serious wedding work- invitations. I am not sure how they lured me into actually making decisions but I think wine and cheese were involved so they were playing dirty and tricking me.

So I opened up my nifty wedding binder and took out all my ideas for invitations- oh wait there was only one-
Isn't it cute and gardenish and my favorite color green? However there was one major problem, Mr. FMB hated it. Mr. FMB and I have very very different tastes and I am sure we will have many arguments ahead over the decor for the new house. Since it was just a piece of paper (wedding blasphemy I know, please don't strike me down wedding gods) I decided to not fight him on it and went to the website this was from,, to browse what else they had. Fortunately they had many different varieties for under $150/100 invites (the budget was $350 with postage*)

First I checked out the monogram idea:

However even after searching online I can not for the life of me figure out whose letter goes on it. (I like his letter "M" better than my "C" except when I was a child and getting in alphabetical order- sorry future kids) So I moved on to the damask style ones to go along with our STD:

After giving myself a migraine with all the swirls and curls I decided to back up and go to basics (in clothing language- button down and pearls):

After a quick online chat with Mr. FMB (thank you gchat) we settled with a clean cut pressed white shirt version of a wedding invite:
Now I just needed to figure out how to order them...

Did you purchase online or did you need to see them in person? With the cost of invitations soaring to $10/invite or more do you think that its worth spending on or did you decide to save on them?

*Postage disclaimer- "dem stamps expensive!" I advise to estimate at least $1/invite for stampage and more if you have square invites or heavy ones. But do remember that it is not one invite/person because of families and couples. OK go estimate away and then curse the USPS.

Friday, April 1, 2011

Save the dates (all the dates)...

Knowing for the US wedding we would have several people traveling we sent out the STD very early in September. For less than $100 we were able to make send and get them out. A brief way of doing this was as follows:

1) Get a great picture of the two of you without hiring a professional. ex- take it yourself, have a family member or a stranger in the park. Our best one after all that turned out to be this:

2) Browse places that print photo cards. We happened to be on a tight time line and needed to have them made and addressed ASAP so we checked out templates and (and the like) and Examples of what you can get are as follows (with much in between):

3) Insert photo, write up text, order (pick up an hour later)

4) Hand write, attach stamp and get in the mail in under 24 hours.....

Luckily... for the UK we had a bit more time. Also both of us feel that this is more a celebration and party and less formal. I also had become obsessed with this:

Dinosaurs and Hellogoodbye singing our cake cutting song.... its too perfect not to use. So Mr. FMB took the reigns and has sketched this up for our UK STD:

Very much less formal... but also very us. Any thoughts or suggestions?

Did you design your own stationary from scratch or borrowed a template? As a STD is sent out early (before out budget was discussed) did you end up spending more or less on it? How much should it cost just to let people know?

One, Two.....

They say that bad things come in threes. Yesterday AM I was laid off, This AM I have been battling a computer virus for three hours (I think I have won)... am I a sane person to be afraid to get out of bed tomorrow morning?

Never the less there are important wedding things to get done. None of which I am going to do today. Instead I am going to dream about the dress I plan on wearing to the Sheff-do at night. (I also do recognize with current events that I may not be able to afford any of these.)

I apologize I am not sure where I got this one. I love the sleeves and the glitzy detail for the evening.

BHLDN- I love that this is not a traditional ball gown but people will still know that I am the bride.

Justin Alexander- How can you not love this dress in the ivory/coffee. If I could justify the $1000 price tag it would already be ordered.

David's Bridal- Cute cocktail chic but a little too daytime. However it is very affordable.

David's Bridal- Again very affordable but perhaps not enough glamor to go along with Mr. FMB's tux for the evening.

Are you a two dress type of bride? If so do you feel guilty for spending on another dress? Would you consider selling the dress after to save money?