Monday, April 25, 2011

It's Up! It's Up!

My introductory Weddingbee post has gone live!

http://www.weddingbee.com/2011/04/25/san-francisco-brides-4/

I'm still editing old archives to run this first week or so, and I plan to get back to new content starting next week.  To be honest, I'm feeling a little bit rusty since I haven't written an honest-to-goodness new post in over a week.  Hopefully it'll be like that old adage of riding a bike (except I haven't ridden a bike in years, so I don't have much faith I still remember how to do that, either!). 

Anywhoodles...  back to incessantly checking for comments.  :-)

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Linking Up to the New Blog

To help me manage my archived posts as I'm beginning to write for Weddingbee, I've started a new blog that will contain all of my Weddingbee-specific entries.  For now my plan is to leave this blog active and update it with any new posts, wedding or non-wedding related, but I reserve the right to change my mind about that as time goes on.  :-) 

Here's the link to the new blog, where you can see a sneak peek of my first Weddingbee post (including my icon choice!) before it actually goes live over on the 'bee.

http://meticulouswedding.blogspot.com/

I'm still not sure when I'll be introduced, but once my intro post goes up you can be damn sure I'll let you know.  So many ways to follow me now!

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Whee! for Some Exciting News!

Just a head's up that posting is gonna be light for the next few days because of some out-of-this-world news I got yesterday...

I'm going to be blogging for Weddingbee!!!!!!!!!!!!

Whee!  Yay!!!!  Hooray!!!!!!!

I know - enough already with the exclamation points.  Duly noted.  But seriously, I haven't wanted something so much in a really, really long time and I think I'm still recovering from the shock of finding out that my little ol' blog was selected from a "fairly large pool of applicants."  I'm still waiting to hear back from the powers that be about how it will all work, but I expect that I'll be introduced over there in the next few days.  Until I get confirmation, I don't wanna reveal too much - ya know, just in case they decide to take it back or something.  But as soon as I have concrete details, you better believe I'll fill you in right away.

Have you ever heard of Weddingbee?  And will you follow me over there once I'm announced?

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Trying To Keep It All Organized

Many moons ago a document was forged, upon which was painstakingly penned a list of all tasks, known and imagined, in order that peace and tranquility might be obtained by those soon to be betrothed.

Translation:  We made a wedding to-do list on Google Docs. 


Why Google Docs?  One word: convenience.  It's super easy to share and edit the list together because it's accessible from anywhere.  Interestingly, Mr. NM doesn't like the "spreadsheet" layout I prefer.  His primary complaints (and I agree with them, just not enough to change anything) are that the list extends beyond the width of the screen and that adding a lot of info into one cell increases the size of all the cells in that row.  So he chooses to maintain a separate Google Doc with all the same info, just in list form. 


I prefer the spreadsheet because I like to color-code the boxes as we're working on things so I can quickly see what's finished (blue), in-progress (yellow), and not yet started (white).  If you're following along closely here, you'll notice that we were kicking ass in January, slowed down but were still active in February, really lost our mojo in March, and have been totally helpless in April.  Thank goodness it's so easy to cut and paste tasks to reassign them to a later month.  Not that I ever do that.  Nuh uh...  not me.

We also use Google Docs to track all of our budgeting and spending.  Theoretically this is wonderful because either of us could add our expenses to the list.  Practically speaking, I'm the one who updates this list with my own purchases plus the receipts given to me by Mr. NM.  I love that I can access my documents from work or home or anywhere else.  So when I'm on my lunch break and feeling overwhelmed with worry that I didn't account for the $8 glue sticks I bought last week, I can quickly log on and reassure myself that every.little.thing has indeed been tracked.




Speaking of Google organizational tools, I can't neglect to mention Gmail.  I dearly, dearly love it for its labels, folders, archiving, search features, and the ability to Gchat with people in real time.  By my estimation, it is far and away the best email system out there. 

The only other "organization" system I've used is some well-labeled computer folders in which I store inspiration pictures I come across online.  No one else has these folders, right?  :-) 


At some point I put together a wedding binder and a folder of all my magazine clippings, but I haven't touched those in months and truthfully I've never even missed them.  Given what an internet junkie I am, I guess it makes sense that all my organizational tools are online.  Works for me!

What kinds of stuff have you needed to organize, and what tools get the job done for you?

Thursday, April 14, 2011

That's So Tight(s)!


How much do you adore those patterned tights?!?  As soon as I saw this picture I thought they'd be absolutely perfect for our wedding party peeps in dresses, what with that whole multi-pattern thing we have going on. 

Mr. NM - not so sold on the concept.  (Cue 'Wahwahhhh' sound effect.)

I don't know why, but I have this constant desire to funkify our wedding - give it a little punch, a little edge, a little something unexpected.  I think it's because I like to think of us as punchy and edgy and unexpected, but maybe we're not.  Or maybe even if we are, it doesn't mean we have to bring it into our wedding design.  Anyway, moving on to the next idea...

Do you sometimes struggle with a theme - like whether to have one in the first place, how to choose one if you do want one, or where to draw the line once you have one?  Because I certainly do.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Buffet of My Dreams

A few days ago I finally dragged all of our dessert buffet components out of storage so we could finalize our dessert list and then get to gluing all those stands together.  First I needed to lay them all out so we could decide which plates went with which bases, but our dining room table wasn't sufficient for this since it's not even close to the 8-foot length of our venue tables.  Imagine my surprise (and extraordinary luck, I might add) when I found out our window seat is exactly 8 feet long! 


Mr. NM preferred a more random look, but the meticulous part(s) of me just couldn't handle it.  I *love* symmetry, so I just HAD to evenly arrange the designs of the top plates.  I did throw him a bone a teensy bit by mixing up the black/white bases somewhat, and even that just about stretched me to the limit!  Once I squeeze a little E6000 onto these babies, they'll be good to go.

And what will be displayed on top of these awesome stands, you ask?  Oh, just let me tell you...
  • small decorative (fondant?) cake - to go in the center for our cake cutting
  • caramel cake
  • lemon cake
  • chocolate cake
  • white cake
  • apple pie
  • berry pie (cherry? strawberry?)
  • cheesecake
  • mint chocolate cookies
  • sugar cookies
  • whoopie pies or oatmeal cookies
  • mint cookies
  • peanut brittle
  • donut holes
  • brownies
  • rice krispy treats
Sixteen stands = sixteen desserts.  Mmmm....  I so can't wait for this wedding!  We're also considering scattering mini cupcakes around the stands if it looks like we won't have enough servings, but I kinda think we're going to be okay.  Now the only question is how to acquire all of those desserts.  I could bake them myself, delegate some of the baking responsibility to other people, buy them, or do some combination of all those.  Whatever way we go, I still can't fathom how all of this stuff will get from our house to our venue.  We're talking boxes and boxes of stuff plus a boatload of desserts. 

Ugh...  I'll think about that another time.  For now, only happy thoughts about 16 dessert options!

What desserts would you choose if you were going to create a dessert buffet?  Would you try to please everyone, or just pick your favorites?

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Curvy Girl Clothing Sites

Maybe it's because our engagement shoot is rapidly approaching.  Or maybe it's because I've started to think about packing for our honeymoon.  Or maybe it's because I have to start dress shopping soon (seriously, I know, I have to).  Whatever the reason, I've been spending a ridiculous amount of time lately thinking about clothes. 

I won't whine about it again here, though I will reiterate that shopping can be tough when you're a curvy girl.  But courtesy of a very slow day at work on Wednesday, I've finally pulled my head out of the sand and gone into full-fledged plus-size fashion research mode... and *!whoa!* is there a lot more out there since the last time I looked!  Granted, the last time I looked for new clothes resources was several years ago, but that just makes me even more ecstatic to see all these fashionable, age appropriate, and relatively affordable options!  So get ready, all my curvy ladies.  With the list I'm about to lay out for you, I guarantee you'll be able to find fabulous frocks for a shower, photo shoot, wedding, honeymoon, or any other occasion under the sun. 

(Clicking the links will take you to the product page.)

              {Macy's}           {Target}              {Avenue}            {Lane Bryant}             {Torrid}             {Gap}

        {Old Navy}      {Asos Curve}       {City Chic}      {Dorothy Perkins}         {missphit}             {lucielu}


     {Fashion to Figure}    {Monif C.}      {Apple Bottoms}        {SimplyBe}       {Forever 21+}         {eShakti}


     {Carmakoma}      {Size Appeal}            {evans}              {Style369}               {Igigi}      {ShopTranslated}

A few notes:  Several sites offer free shipping AND free return shipping.  All of the European sites ship to the US.  Sometimes there's a 10-20% discount for first-time shoppers or if you sign up for email notices, so keep your eyes peeled for those offers.  Apparently the Forever 21+ line is available in some stores, but not all.  If I'm not mistaken, the Gap and Old Navy plus size lines are exclusively online at this point, though sometimes you can make returns in the stores.  eShakti offers customization options for the neckline, sleeve length, and hem length on nearly all their items for only $7.50/item.  And last but not least, Igigi has a bridal line!  Want proof? 


{source - Igigi Celine Wedding Gown, $375}

There's some serious *swooning* happening over on this side of my computer screen.  I have a feeling my credit card is soon going to be in a world of hurt...

So curvy girls, have any of you shopped at any of these places before or do you have any fav plus size stores that I neglected to mention here?  If you have any words of wisdom, speak up now so I can maximize the impending financial ruin! 

Friday, April 8, 2011

Mail Time!

Guess what we got in the mail yesterday...


It's a shower invitation!  And y'all, I can hardly contain my excitement -- Eep!Squeal!Do-the-happy-dance!  My FSIL really hit it out of the park (again).  I love the styling, with the bright bold colors and the distinctly casual, modern feel.  Not to mention that the whole co-ed setup is so very 'us.'  And of course the thoughtfulness of her, Mr. NM's mom, and Mr. NM's aunt is enough to make me wanna burst from all the pride and anticipation I feel about becoming, well, another branch of their family tree! 

I'm a little nervous about being a guest of honor, so I'll be happy to share that spotlight with Mr. NM.  Of course, now the pressure's on to find a fabulous dress to rock at the shower.  Even though FSIL's wedding shower was 3 years ago, I still remember the incredible outfit she wore that day, and it's a lot to live up to in my mind.  (Side note: I'm totally aware that no one else will know of this comparison except me.  But since I am me, it clearly totally matters.)  Thankfully I've been a little clothes crazy lately, so hopefully it won't pose that much of a problem.  Full post on curvy girl clothes craziness coming soon!

So tell me, have you ever been to a co-ed shower?  If so, how did it compare to a single-sex shower?  If not, is there anything appealing to you about a co-ed shower?

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Give Us Money to Travel... Please.

Two years ago when Mr. NM and I bought our house together, we got rid of all our college décor once and for all.  Then we spent a lot of time replacing all those knick knacks with new things - things we loved, that would last a long time and most importantly, things that weren't made of plastic .  So we already have great pots, pans, towels, bedding, and all the other typical registry stuff.  And trust me when I say that our postage stamp of a house in San Francisco doesn't afford a lot of room to store a bunch of other gifts, no matter how lovely and thoughtful they are.  So we knew from really early on that our primary wedding registry would be for our honeymoon.  It's pretty much the only thing that we could really use contributions for at this point (unless there's a student loan registry out there, which I'm sure there is), and it gets bonus points for actually being a unique and memorable gift for us since we're not frequent travelers. 

Mr. NM was tasked with researching honeymoon funds and choosing one that was reputable, would be easy for our guests, and had reasonable fees.  I thought I'd share his research with you, in hopes that it saves you from having to reinvent the wheel by researching these yourself.  Hope it's helpful!  BTdubs, all the sites included in the list below are established businesses with generally positive reviews.

The Honeymoon

{logo via thehoneymoon.com}

  • Free set-up.
  • Service fee is based on the size of the total gift (7.5% for $0-$500, 6.5% for $500-$1000, 5.5% for $1000+).  It can either be paid by the couple or paid by the gift-giver at time of purchase.
  • No fee for withdrawal.
  • Money is delivered to you by check 5 days prior to your departure date, and another check will come 30 days later when your registry is closed.
Distinctive Honeymoons
  • Non-refundable set-up fee of $100.
  • They create the registry for you, and you can let them know if you want to make changes.
  • Gift-givers are charged a 9% service fee.
  • Money delivered to you via check 2 weeks before your honeymoon, or earlier if requested.  Another check mailed to you 2 weeks after honeymoon, when your account is closed.
Send Us Off

{logo via sentusoff.com}
  • Free set-up.
  • 7.5% service fee paid by the couple when money is withdrawn from the account.  No additional fees are added to gift-givers' purchases.
  • Money mailed to you via check a week before your wedding date.
  • Account stays open for 12 months after the wedding.  New checks are mailed each month a gift is given in that month.
  • Confusing information about splitting up costs for bigger ticket items:  "Keep in mind that there is no way to split up one of these pieces into multiple payments; all gifts must be purchased on a single credit card." 
A Great Affair


{logo via agreataffair.com

  • Free set-up.
  • 7% service fee.  You choose if it is charged to your gift-givers at the time of purchase or whether it's deducted from your gift at the time you withdraw the money.
  • You designate up to 2 withdrawal dates.
  • 90% of available funds sent to you via check at your first withdrawal date.  Remaindar of money sent to you via check 30 days after your event, when the account is closed.

Honeyfund
{logo via honeyfund.com}
  • Free set-up for basic account or $29 charge for premium account (no ads).
  • No service fees.
  • Money comes directly to the couple from their gift-givers, either in the form of cash or check or via credit card through Paypal.  No withdrawals are needed.
  • Couple needs a premier or business level Paypal account (free to sign up for) in order to receive credit card payments, but gift-givers do not need a Paypal account.
  • Paypal fees of 2.9% + $.30 per transaction are deducted for credit card gifts made through Paypal.
  • No customer service available for guests who aren't internet savvy.
Traveler's Joy

{logo via travelersjoy.com}
  • Free set-up.
  • 7.5% service fee paid deducted from the gift amount at the time the money is given.
  • Money can be withdrawn via check, Paypal, ACH ($3 fee), or international wire transfer ($30 fee).
  • Money can be withdrawn at any time, and you can make as many separate withdrawals as you wish.
  • Account remains open for 2 years after your event date.
Honeymoon Wishes / HoneyLuna / The Big Day

  • These 3 companies appear to be run off the same platform and are the same in nearly every way, other than the graphics on their pages.
  • Free set-up.
  • Registry fees can be waived when travel is booked through the same company.
  • 3% service charge for all credit card purchases.
  • 7% service fee.  You choose if it is charged to your gift-givers at the time of purchase or whether it's deducted from your gift at the time you withdraw the money.
  • Money can be withdrawn at any time, as many times as you wish.
  • You can receive the money via check or ACH transfer (no fee).
  • Account stays active until you delete it.
Can you guess which one we chose?  It was actually a super simple decision for us.  After looking at everything side-by-side, we realized that all the sites had many of the same things to offer - minimal set-up fees, the ability to customize our registry, and simple user interfaces.  We decided to go with Honeyfund because they had the lowest service fees ("lowest" like none, or only 2.9% for credit cards) and it gave us the most control over our gift money.  We opted to pay the $29 premium fee, both because we liked the upgraded graphics and so that our guests could pay by credit card via Paypal.  Because the money comes directly to us, we'll be able to spend it immediately on our honeymoon rather than putting everything on the credit card and then using the registry money to pay ourselves back.  But just to cover all our bases, we also have limited registries at Amazon.com (for guests who prefer to give material items) and Macy's (for guests who need a brick-and-mortar option).

Now I just have to tell you where we decided to go!  But I'm holding on to that secret for a while, just because I can.  :-)

If you could register for anything in the world and no one would judge you for it, what would you register for?  (I'm thinking that student loan registry sounds really appealing, even if I'd have to keep it open for the rest of my life to successfully reach the monetary goal...)

Monday, April 4, 2011

Engagement Photo Props... Or Not?

Our engagement shoot is almost exactly one month away, and one pressing question we need to answer is whether or not to use props in some of the photos.  Like many of you wedding blog readers, I'm always amazed by picnic or random furniture in a field engagement shoots. 




Gorgeous - and So. Much. Work.  Seriously.  I do not have the energy to even think about how to make all that happen.  But I do see the appeal of some less labor-intensive prop options.  Having something to interact with might help us appear a little less awkward and camera shy than we actually are.  Plus, depending on what props we chose, it could be a way to personalize the pictures a bit.  So last summer I cobbled together a few props for us, should we decide to use them.  (Yes, you read that right - last summer.  What can I say?  I was unemployed and loving it!)


I originally bought this ampersand and outfitted it with the black and white houndstooth pattern to hang between our chairs at the reception.  But then I thought we could get double use out of it if I just created other fun paper coverings for it and brought it with us to the engagement shoot. 


This large white frame began as a really ugly garage sale purchase, but a little primer and glossy white spray paint gave it a second go at life.  Regardless of whether or not we use this for our engagement shoot, it's potentially useful as a photobooth prop or a set-up for escort cards or something. 


I made this super-simple, super-cheap pennant banner especially for our engagement shoot because we hope to use one of the final images to create thank you cards we can send for shower and wedding gifts.  We'll probably just trust our photographers to determine whether we should hold the ends ourselves or string it up somewhere.  Either way, we liked the idea of personalizing our thank you cards a bit and we hope our guests will appreciate it as well.



These, my fair readers, are our dissertations.  I will now give you a moment to pause, stare, admire, and bow down if you must.  Take your time.  I know, it's incredible.  Two little books (*ahem* one [mine] a bit smaller than the other) representing the culmination of a combined 87 zillion years of schooling.  I have no freaking idea how we could use these without it looking totally random, but these little devils have been a BIG part of our relationship history so if we're going the prop route then it only makes sense to try and include them.

That's IF we go the prop route.  I'm concerned that this measly collection of items will be too minimal to make any kind of artistic impact.  Plus I've flipped through the engagement shoots on our photographers' website and most of them don't feature any props.  Surely many of those couples were just as nervous and camera shy as we are, yet they look wonderful in their pictures.  So now I'm just not sure.  Obviously we'll try to keep the 'thank you' banner because we already have a use in mind for it, but we might end up scrapping everything else.  We still have a few weeks to make a final decision and, if we can't decide, I guess we could just lug all of it with us and let our photographers sort through it.  Ya know, pass the buck.  Easy peasy. 

What do you think - should we bring the props with us?  And have you ever used props for a photo shoot, or do you prefer a more au naturale look?

Saturday, April 2, 2011

In Love With Ombré

I might be a little late to the game when it comes to this ombré thing, but now that I'm here I've certainly become a ridiculously huge fan.  From my extensive research it's clear to me that one cannot dare to write the words "ombré" and "wedding" in the same sentence without including an obligatory picture of Gwen Stefani's wedding gown.  So here is my offering to the ombré wedding gods.


With that out of the way, I can now freely admit that my ombré craze truly had nothing to do with the incredible Ms. Stefani.  Actually, I don't have the slightest clue when exactly this love affair began.  All I know is that one day I was clicking through some inspiration pictures on my computer and noticed I'd saved a fair amount of images containing color gradients.  Once I realized that, I began searching more earnestly to see how we could make ombré work for our wedding. 

First up, a potential pièce de résistance.  I know it's not a wedding dress (as painfully evidenced by the fact that the image I'm linking to below is from a homecoming dress site...  ouch!), but it could be, right?  A mind-blowingly phenomenal, non-traditional, show-stopper of a wedding dress?  It makes my heart skip a beat...


But wait, there's more!  Don't for a second think that the ombré goodness would have to stop there!


 

 

 

 


 


 

 


Clearly we could ombré-fy our wedding from top-to-bottom: apparel, accessories, linens, gifts...  everything!  The key, of course, would be to use just a few choice items - enough to make a statement, but not so many that the statement ends up being, "LOOK AT US, WE HAVE AN OMBRE THEME!  EVERYTHING IS OMBRE!  DID YOU NOTICE IT?  HUH?  DID YOU?  I KNOW YOU DID!"  Because...  uhh...  that's just... sad... and embarrassing.

In any case, it's not like ombré would be the only thing going on at our wedding.  We're also rocking that super chic mix of black, white, and gray patterns I've talked so much about, and we clearly wouldn't want to overshadow that.  (Not that it would even be possible to do so.)  So maybe I'll limit the ombré to that one stellar dress...

Have you come across any inspiration image that really took your breath away?  And have you found any particular idea that you knew you just HAD to incorporate into your wedding, even if you weren't quite sure how to do it?