Monday, November 29, 2010

It's DIY . . . Now wipe your Mouth!

One of the first major projects that I decided to tackle for our reception was making napkins. Why make napkins? Truth be told I could just as easily use paper napkins (I mean hello! You wipe your mouth and hands on them) or we could have probably swung it and rented cloth napkins. They are not that expensive to rent in the grand scheme of things.

But no! Some part of my brain says, “the napkins must be unique, the napkins must be homemade, and surely doing it ourselves will save tons of money!”
Well, hmm, brain, I hate to break it to ya, but I think we spent way more money on the fabric than it would have cost just to rent the darn things. But unique? Check! Homemade? Most definitely! I think they will add such an elegant and colorful addition to our table décor. Because in wedding world napkins morph from utilitarian to “décor”, right? Of course, duh. . .
Only one problem: I had no idea how to make napkins. Let me give you a little background here. I was really into theater in high school. I spent a lot of time. . .correction. . I ate, slept, and basically LIVED in our theater in high school. On stage diva extraordinaire? No, not this chick. I was the black wearing, headphone sporting, paint on my face backstage girl. I worked the sound booth, the lighting, had a stint as Student Director and spent many, many (did I say many, cause it was a lot) hours constructing sets and costumes. I got pretty familiar with my mom’s sewing machine during those years. It too took up residence in our tech theater department during our tech theater costume finals. It’s not exactly a new model, so it takes some finesse to work. Here it is!

Totally kidding, the machine is in fact, not that old. Ok for realz this time:

Personal Photo
Hello napkin making new best friend, yes it probably knows I am buttering it up so it will be nice to me during our napkin making adventure. It was time to get friendly with the Singer again.
It took me an hour just to re-learn how to thread the machine. . . there were definitely grumblings heard from the dining room during this process.
After a quick trip to Hobby Lobby for supplies (ha! Lies, the lady at the fabric counter knows me by name because I spent so long in there) I returned home to set up napkin making base camp. Can you see the explosion of crap behind the sewing machine? Yep, our dining room aka “base camp”.
I found a great tutorial online for how to make one sided napkins. I needed to know how to do two sided though, so I winged it (wung it? darn you grammar!). You see, when you use a nice pretty non-cotton fabric on the front, it essentially becomes, as Nate observed, a pretty lap decoration and nothing more. In order to actually serve the function of a grease and liquid absorbing napkin, it has to have a cotton-esque or linen fabric on the back. Linen = holy cow batman that's expensive! So I went with good old cotton.
Here's the skinny on making the napkins!
The supplies:
Above Pictured: Large cutting mat, yard stick, rotary cuter (seriously, make the investment, buy this, it will save time and your sanity), scissors, pins, thread, and seam ripper (cause mistakes happen)
First: cut your fabric into the square size of your choice. I wanted my napkins to be around 12" and since I was going to have a 1/2" edge around my seam, I cut my squares at 13". Your fabric, your choice.

Second: Line up your front and back fabric squares. Make sure the "fronts" are facing each other, cause you will eventually turn the fabric inside out.

See the threads hanging? yeah, backside out, like I said

Three: Pin the fabric in place! Make sure your pins won't get in the way of your sewing machine foot when you are running it through, you may have to test this out to get the right width.

Four: Sew Sew sew! You want to sew around 3 sides of the fabric leaving about a 2 inch gap on the fourth side. It's like sewing a pillow case! Only . . . no pillow. . .

Five: Reach in and pull the fabric inside out and end up with a wonky looking blob like this

Six. . oh jeeze you can count never mind. Use the blunt end of a pencil, or other stick object to straighten out the corners of your fabric. I went with a wooden grill skewer.

Once you have all the corners poked out and nice and straight, run the napkin back through the machine to sew the 2 inch opening shut, then iron and admire the results!

Sage green front with useful cotton backing!

These napkins are going to provide a great pop of color on our ivory linens and I think they will fit right in with our southern affair with a pride and prejudice twist.

So I have appr. 65 more of these to go, but hey, Nate won't mind not being able to use our table for the next 2 months, right?. . .right?

What DIY projects have you tackled lately? Were your efforts met with success?

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Putting the www in Wedding

I know I want to keep our invites simple. The invite itself, a postcard style RSVP, and the outer envelope. No fancy pocket fold contraptions, no "wedding booklet", no belly bands. Just clean and simple (read, less expensive).

Therein lies the problem. If I want simple invites, then I need another way to inform our guests about all the things that would traditionally go into the invitation. Directions, lodging, reception and ceremony info, and registry preferences. So what's a girl in 2010 to do?

Create a wedding website. 99% of our guests are tech savvy enough to type in a URL, and a website is by far the easiest way for all of our guests to access any info they may possibly need about our wedding. In fact, it may be more information than they ever care to know.

I spent a good chunk of time today reading up on all the major "create your own" wedding websites. Some are free, some are not. Let's explore.

Wedsite was just. . .o.k. I wasn't really impressed by the templates and the interface was not very intuitive. Moving on. . .


eWedding is a great site. It offers a variety of templates and is fairly user friendly. Yet I still felt like I couldn't customize the templates enough and they all seemed to be very "modern" looking.

{Wedding Website from the Knot}
Way before we even got engaged, I was a shameless member of the knot. When you sign up with the knot, you automatically have a website that is linked to your profile that also syncs with your guest list manager on the site. It was easy to use, and I even set one up for us to show how easy it is. The templates were kind of . . .meh. I wanted a website that I could truly customize and make it truly look like us.

I ultimately decided to go with wedding window

Although this one is not free (a monthly membership to have unlimited use of the site) I was really really impressed with this site. Creating our website was so incredibly easy and I was able to customize the colors, photos, text, well, pretty much everything about the site. It also comes with a handy budget tracker and guest list manager that is so fun to use! 45 minutes worth of fiddling with it, and here are the results

As we add info to the site, it will show up on the left hand side. Yeah, it's a little blank right now, but I am crushing on our wedding website big time! Now when we send out our invites, the only info they will need to know is our URL! I plan on adding information in the coming weeks so the website will be ready to go when guests receive their invites.

How have you used technology to make your wedding or life easier? Did you decide to make a wedding website?

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Our Cake gets a Crown

Yep, I'm talking about our cake topper, the "crowning" glory of the pretty confection that will take center stage during our reception. Don't ask me why this was one of the first details that I focused on after all the major stuff was decided, cause I have no idea. O.k. that's a complete and utter lie. I focused on deciding on our cake topper early on because of one very very scary (for my wallet) discovery; Etsy. This crafty website for all things handmade and vintage quickly made its way into my favorites toolbar and I haven't looked back since. I love the discoveries I have made on there; fun, unique items from jewelry to wooden signs to original artwork. It's a treasure chest of goodness! And with so many different sellers, everyone can find something in there price range.

O.k. since Etsy isn't paying me by the line for marketing I'll shut up about how much I love them (but I do so so much!). On my very first trip through Etsy I had cake toppers on the brain, so it was for cake toppers that I went a 'searchin. Cuteness overload! I knew I didn't want the traditional cake topper, bride in white, groom in tux,  surrounded by white plastic and lace, you get the picture. Who knew there were so many amazing cake topper options? Behold the toppers!

Cute as pie turtle toppers from seller kikuike
A totally unique take on the traditional topper by seller mudcards
Ok so this next one is definitely not my style, but how cool would it be for a Dia De Los Muertos or Goth themed wedding!
Creepy but cool skeleton cake toppers from seller  fuzzydicecreations

I could go on and on, there are animal toppers, stick people toppers, wire figurine toppers, custom carved wood toppers, and yes, plenty of the traditional ones too (boiled shrimp, fried shrimp, shrimp scampi, shrimp sauté. . .Bubba Gump anyone?). I found so many that I liked, but none that I couldn't live without. Then I stumbled upon seller BentBranch and my heart melted at the sight. . . oh how freakin adorable is this?!
I convod Krista, sewing mastermind behind this cutie lovebird and she set up a custom listing for me. We went back and forth several times as I was so picky about the fabrics to use on the boy and girl bird. (Don't let anyone tell you that the details don't matter, because they do). Krista even added a little sign with our wedding date in the middle that really brought it all together. I am so impatient when it comes to things like this, but she was so prompt to respond to all of my questions! She was so easy to work with and I couldn't be happier with how the process went with her. We finalized everything, I gave her the go ahead, and then the hardest part of all, I had to wait. . . Did I mention my lack of patience? Oh right, yeah I did, several times.

A couple weeks went by. Then one day after work I went to check my mailbox and found the package fronm BentBranch waiting for me! It was like Christmas . . . times ten. 

Oh what's this? A package? For Moi?
 Oh boy oh boy oh boy! Here are the adorable results

I think these will be a perfect addition to our cake and cannot believe how well they turned out.

Anyone else out there an Etsy addict? What's your cure? Cold turkey? Or do you give in to the awesomeness?

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Wedding Doors

I bought two doors today. . but these are no ordinary doors. They are the wedding doors.

{Wedding Door number one, aren't you lovely}

{Wedding Door number two, I heart you}
These doors travelled well over a hundred miles to be with me, and although our relationship is new; I'm in love already. A found an amazing antique dealer and artist out of Alabama who had some wooden shutters for sale. The conversation went a little like this:

"Hello, this is Joseph?"

"Hi Joseph, my name is Katie, I'm responding to your ad for some hardwood shutters that you have listed on craigslist."

"Oh, yes! Are you interested in the shutters?"

"Well. . .no actually, I'm not"

"Ok so. . ."

"You see the door that's in the corner of the picture? Will you sell me that?"

A ridiculously low price sealed the deal, and they were on their way to Atlanta in a pickup truck. Worn, weathered, and showing their age, these doors are just. . . perfect.

Now, you may wonder, what on earth would I use two old doors for?

Hint Hint, it has something to do with this:


Do I smell a DIY project? Why yes, yes I do. You'll see more of these wedding doors, because they will be making an appearance at the reception. For the time being, they are taking up what little space I have in my dining  room and furbaby Elmo thinks they smell very very strange.

Sunday, November 7, 2010

My Right Hand Retailers

I've gotten quite used to ducking into stores every day on my way home from work, looking for. . .well I'm rarely sure of what I'm looking for other than "for the wedding". Sometimes I look to get inspired, other times I'm shopping for any excuse to start another crazy crafting project (I'm a glutton for punishment). If a detail from an inspiration shoot catches my eye, I suddenly think I'm Martha Stewart and dash off to the store to gather my supplies.

A couple hours later when I am throwing the hot glue gun across the room and muttering obscentities, I second guess my Martha Stewart-ness.

Crafting abilities aside, there are a handful of retailers, both online and brick and mortar, that have become my go to places when I need (insert litany of random wedding crap that I am accumulating) for our big day.

Online all things handmade and vintage mecca Etsy

{From etsy seller thebackporchshoppe}

 {From etsy seller heknowsmyname}

{From etsy seller cupcakesocial}

{From etsy seller lampgoods}

Whether it's signage, veils, invitations, or jewelry, etsy has got it all. I feel good about shopping here too; it's a website for the small business owner who has got some serious talent. Oh and the mason jar sconce? It has nothing to do with wedding shopping, I just really really want one.

Crafting Castle Michaels

With their amazing coupon deals and the ability to house pretty much everything under the crafting sun, I have been going to Michaels quite often to find materials for my paper, stamping, cutting, glueing, and painting projects. I can get in serious trouble in this store. My wallet gets the shakes when I step foot on the premises. Don't worry wallet, the crazy crafting only has 6 months left to go.

Paper Source

With an online store and a location not too far from me, this has been a great place to look for the right card stock and textured paper for all of my little projects that have come up. I am going to personalize our eventual invitations with a pretty envelope liner. This will be my first place to look.

Antique stores, lots and lots of antique stores.

What better place to find milk glass vases, unique display items, and other vintage treasures than at the hundreds of antique stores that are sprinkled throughout my part of the state? I was never much of an antique shopper before I started planning, but I have learned to love the thrill of the find. Especially when I do some haggling with the owner and get some great prices on items! I have managed to score some great blue mason jars and a really cool looking barrel so far. Frankly, I have no idea how I will use them yet. I'll find a place for them, though Nate has his doubts about the barrel . . .

What have been your go to places in the planning process? If you're not planning, is there a store that you always seem to find exactly what you are looking for?

Friday, November 5, 2010

The Tale of the Unplanned Planner

Old Self, pre-wedding education says:

"Small wedding of maybe 50 people tops, wedding in a city that I've been to before, nothing too out of the norm in terms of concept. . how hard can it be?"

Ha, haha, hahahahaha!

Old Self, I laugh in your face.

Planning weddings is hard y'all. Not hard in a "wah, poor me, I have to pick a shade of peach" hard. I'm talking about some major number crunching, spreadsheet creating, negotiating and following up with vendors, and juggling a bunch of monkeys (aka our friends and family. . no offense), spending hours on the computer to create one stupid program kind of hard. I really, honestly, truly thought that I could handle planning our wedding all by my little self. Yet when I started to research, I discovered that there was so much more to this than pick a dress, grab the groom, and go.

So I lived, I learned, and then I got Luvs. . or rather I fell in love, with the ladies at Southern Protocol.

Ah Lizz and Sara, I remember it like it was yesterday. A rainy spring evening, me standing outside the restaurant that the rest of my family was already inside, enjoying their dinners and leaving me to my wedding craziness. I talked with Lizz and Sara for 5 minutes, trying to drown out the crappy 80's music that said restaurant was blasting out the speakers, and they just. . . got it. I hardly had to explain what I wanted, and they started to put into words what I had been trying to conceptualize for months. I was completely at ease and to be honest, completely giddy over the fact that they sounded as pumped about our wedding as I did.

It has been the best money ever spent. You think me to be dramatic? For your consideration, ladies and gentlemen of the jury:

Not sure the best caterer to go with in Charleston? Oh I'll e-mail Sara, she'll know

Need an idea for the right table linens that will go with the napkins? Oh I'll e-mail Sara, she'll know

Help! My future in-laws need ideas for a perfect rehearsal dinner location! Oh I'll e-mail Sara, she'll know, she always knows.

See what I mean? This is just the tip of the iceberg. I could go on and on about the pros of having a planner, but you get the gist.  I'm so glad I decided on having a wedding planner; it has made planning this wedding FUN, not frustrating. Not to mention, Sara has been a fantastic mediator for all of the little "sticky" issues that come up. I don't have to be the bad guy, which I love. I'm a conflict avoider, what can I say?

I know that having a wedding planner is not for everyone. Heck, when we first started all this, I didn't even think it would be possible budget wise. We made it work Tim Gunn style, and I'm so so glad we did. If you can't fit a full on wedding planner into the budget, get a DOC (day of coordinator). Trust me, I've heard from other brides, you don't want to be cat coraler on your wedding day, you want to be the bride.

Would you, or did you, consider hiring a planner for your big day? Or are you the brave bride going it alone?

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Inspiration Origination

I wish I could take credit for having a completely unique, all new ideas, never before created wedding. Let's be honest though, that's pretty much impossible. With the thousands and thousands of weddings that occur each year, it's a safe bet that whatever idea you may have, someone, somewhere, in some fashion or form, has done it before.

Take heart! This is not a bad thing. I can take all of the things that I love most from other's weddings and mesh them together; adding a dash of my own perspective and personality. No worry about not being unique, because even if I were to borrow every single idea from anothers wedding, it is still unique because it is OUR wedding.

Without further ado, I present the weddings that came before me, and why I love them oh so much.

The first wedding is in fact, not a real wedding at all, but an inspiration shoot styled by the talented Anne Sage over at The City Sage. All photos from this shoot were taken by Lisa Lefkowitz . Pride and Prejudice was the dream for this shoot. I love the modern regency elements that were incorporated; it was a perfect balance of feminine details and refined elegance that defined the period.

O.k. o.k. the pictures really speak for themselves


Soft feminine florals and fluffy petals

Vintage looking frames and a classy jacket for the groom


Scroll work patterns were abundant and milk glass and ceramic completed the garden party vibe.

I was also smitten with the wedding of Alicia and Ian in Tabernash, CO. Alicia, who was Miss (now Mrs!) Cowboy Boot on weddingbee, planned the perfect country vintage wedding on the ranch that had me squealing with delight.





Ali and Ian's wedding is what really sealed the deal for me in terms of color palette. Before I really got into the thick of planning, I had been under the assumption that I would be going with a much brighter color palette.

This wedding changed all that.

The peaches and cream colors that gave a soft ethereal glow to the decor and attire was just so romantic to me. Natural, organic, and such an attention to detail. Granted, our wedding will not be country in the slightest, but there are some major elements of this wedding that I plan on pulling in; including that yummy pie bar (more coming on that!). I also loved the natural looking flowers that Ali chose as her centerpieces and bouquet. Almost as if she had wandered through a garden and gathered them up.

This next wedding is a more recent addition to my inspiration palette. As soon as I saw it, I thought of "Elizabeth Darcy meets southern charm".

The Classic Bride wedding


I love the creeping fig climbing the walls, the large urns with overflowing southern blooms of hydrangea and magnolia, and the simple elegance.


The classic southern details of this wedding are everywhere! Spanish moss initials? Genius I tell you! The crisp white and green palette and the sterling silver accents really give a timeless quality to this wedding.

With the amazing pictures from these weddings as my spring board, I knew that I had the makings of a super cool (fabulous? chique? posh?) no, just really cool wedding. So thank you brides of yesterday, for giving this bride of tomorrow a freaking clue as to what her wedding should look like.

Where did you get your inspiration from? All in one place? Or a little of this, a little of that?