Thursday, June 30, 2011

What Does the 4th of July Mean to You?

The Fourth of July had never been my favorite holiday. Generally fighting traffic and large crowds of people, even if there are explosives being set off, is just not my cup of tea. Don’t get me wrong, I love a long weekend and an excuse to eat lots of dessert. I just enjoy it more in November or December.

This year is different though. As the nation gets ready to celebrate its independence at cook outs and parties, my brother is on his way to Afghanistan to make sure we can keep our reasons for celebrating. I don’t think it was intentional that he was deployed a few days before this patriotic holiday, but it does help me gain some perspective on the situation. I’m terrified that my little brother is fighting a war. He should be fighting with me over hogging the remote this weekend, not camped out in the Middle East! Yikes! At the same time I feel proud and inspired by his actions. Growing up we were taught to put others before ourselves and now he’s making the ultimate sacrifice for us.

This Fourth of July will mean much more to me than it has before. This year, while you’re eating hot dogs and watching fireworks with friends and loved ones, take a minute to remember the brave and selfless people who are putting their lives at home on pause so that we can continue to live ours.

And since this is technically a wedding blog, let's end with this beauty!

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Mr. & Mrs. DIY from Yours Truly

Last night Keith and I got to talking about simple pleasures. I had a less than great day and decided to focus on the tiny things that bring me joy. Now, before I go on, I need to state a disclaimer: I count seeing my husband at the end of the day a major pleasure. In fact, it’s the moment I look forward to when I walk out the door every morning. Now, back to the simple pleasures. I think we underestimate them and wed all be happier people if we spent more time recognizing them. My biggest simple pleasure (oxymoron alert!) is a neatly made bed with clean sheets. I mean, fresh-out-of-the-dryer-and-are-still-warm sheets. Ahhhhh. Another one of my favorites is a clean room. Over the weekend we cleaned our guest bedroom, which had been doubling as the wedding gift/props & accessory holding space since, um, December. It was so cluttered that I was afraid my overnight guest would be tempted to hold a midnight cocktail party with all the housewares I had piled up. (Luckily, the overnight guests were my parents and they love cocktail parties!) After we cleaned, I couldn’t stop walking into that room and admiring our work. I was surprised how good that clean room made me feel, and that is why I classify it as a simple pleasure.

Why am I rambling on about simple pleasures? Well, they are the details in life that are easy to achieve. I can’t watch a fireworks display every night, but I sure can pick up my mess and enjoy a clean room as often as I choose. The details you incorporate into your wedding are simple pleasures, too. The dress, the happy couple and the kiss are the major pleasures of the wedding. Your guests expect that much. The monogramed cocktail napkins, drink stirrers and mustaches on sticks are the simple pleasures. Wedding bloggers today are all about the details, and I think too many brides stress over them. They claim they arent creative enough, or they dont think they have enough time. Well, Im here to tell all you brides you can have your cake and eat it, too. Stop making excuses and check out this easy to execute wedding detail! A detail that is sure to pleasure your guests, the Mr. & Mrs. Chair Letters.

ta-da! Photo by Cynthia Brown Studio

If you read Follow the Bride over at Creative Odds ‘n Ends, then you saw my original how-to. If you missed it, click on over and have a look. I’ll wait.

Ok, by now I assume you’re planning your trip to the Hobby Lobby for wooden letters and ribbon. Paint ‘em up, wait till they dry, then tie them to the back of a chair for a test run. I had some trouble keeping the “S” from spinning around and adding a second ribbon seemed to secure it. What do you think? Are you feeling great already?

It’s ok if you don’t like them. Maybe you already ordered chair covers! The point I’m trying to drive home is that it’s important to spend a little time (seriously, a little) thinking about the details. You’ll love them and your guests will love them!

Tell me, what are your simple pleasures, in day-to-day life and at weddings? Anyone else have any easy DIY projects?

Monday, June 27, 2011

Blushing Bridesmaids

I have a new love. I'm head over heels for blush bridesmaid dresses. I want to kiss every bride who picks these romantic frocks. I think they look best in a flowing chiffon and paired with ivory or pink bouquets. Extra points if you're a blond! Don't you agree?

Clockwise from top left: 1 & 2: Brooke Images via Style Me Pretty; 3. Adrienne Gunde Photography 4. Mastin Studio via Perfect Bound 5. Jose Villa

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Mercury Glass Centerpieces

A few months ago I bought a few mercury glass votive candle holders from West Elm. I didn't light them until this past weekend when our power went out. Boy was I surprised when I saw the reflections they cast across the room. It was perfectly romantic and I couldn't help but think these pretty lights would be a beautiful addition to a table or mantle at a wedding.

Doesn't the mercury glass look stunning with pink and ivory flowers? I love it. I bought my votives for $5 at West Elm, but has anyone tried to make their own?

Clockwise from top left: Aileen Tran; Project Wedding; Michelle Lindsay Photography; I Do-It-Yourself; West Elm.

It's My Barge in a Box

You get married, you party all night long and in the morning you wake up and your wedding gown is in a huge heap on the floor. (Or in my case, the stiff layers of crinoline kept it standing upright.) Now what? I had spent plenty of time worrying about how my gown would make its grand exit the next morning. I had a team armed with very large garments bags in play. Their assignment was to help guide the dress down to the only vehicle with a trunk large enough for it. That was as far as my plan went.

Later my mom informed me that she had arranged to have the dress cleaned and preserved. “It sounds nice,” she said. “They put a copy of your invitation inside the box with it.” It did sound nice and I was secretly relieved that I didn’t have to make a case for saving the dress for an unknown future daughter. It was just done. But my relief turned to concern when I saw my gorgeous ball gown shoved into a three foot cardboard box. It looked like a silver coffin with a plastic window similar to a box a doll would come in. The bodice was stuffed on a paper body form and only the top of the skirt is visible. It looked like a life-sized Wedding Day Barbie, but without the beautiful skirt.

The tulle layers that I fell in love with were not visible. Scrunched inside this box, I imagined they will come out looking as shriveled as my crushed tutus that still hang in the attic. But that wasn’t really the problem as it’s unlikely anyone will wear this dress ever again. What upset me was that my wedding dress is shrink-wrapped away and my favorite part of the dress, its voluminous skirt, would be gone forever. I immediately wished for a daughter and swore I’ll open the box on her 18th, no 16th, wait 3rd birthday. Then I bowed my head for a moment of silence as I paid my last respects to my Anne Barge wedding gown.

There she is on her (only) day in the sun.
Let's all have a moment of silence for my gown.

Ok folks, has anyone else preserved their wedding dress. Does it creep you out staring at you in that wedding dress coffin? Does anyone miss it? I sort of thought I would slip it on again when no one was home and I’m slightly disappointed I can’t do that. Anyone else?

Image: Cynthia Brown Studio
Flowers: Blush Floral Design
Dress: Anne Barge