Tuesday, September 18, 2012

DIY Wedding: Card Book

All throughout our engagement, we got cards. Cards came when people found out we got engaged. Cards came with presents throughout the 10 months we were engaged. And of course, we got cards at the wedding. Instead of just throwing them in a box and never looking at them again, I wanted to make something with them that I would look at from time to time. 

I found this pin on Pintrest and changed it slightly to fit my needs. 

I liked the idea of making a book of sorts for all of the cards we got. One weekend when Keegan and I drove to a bigger town (a.k.a. one that has a Michaels and Hobby Lobby,) I grabbed a hole punch and two rings to make my book. Helpful suggestion, the only place we could find the rings was in the embroidery floss section. They're used to keep embroidery floss bobbins together like so: 

 Anyways, first thing I did was arrange the cards in order of size.  

  I then decided where I wanted my holes to be and marked it on the edge of each card. (It's kind of hard to see, but there are two pencil lines on the edges.)  

And then I punched away! (Suggestion: get a strong hole punch. Unfortunately I wasn't able to finish this project in one day because some of the 3-fold cards were too thick for our hole punch to get through. Keegan bent it in half trying to punch through them.) 

After you get all of your cards punched, thread them onto your rings and ta-da! A card book that (hopefully) you'll look through more often then if they were just in a box. 

Sunday, September 9, 2012

DIY Wedding: Candy Bar

I'll admit it, the candy bar trend sucked me in. I have an insane sweet tooth and loved the idea of snacking on some of my favorite candies during the wedding. Little did I know that I'd be so busy dancing and seeing everyone that I wasn't able to enjoy any of it! 

After I had fallen head over heels for the candy bar, I started looking up prices. Many websites and blogs I found suggested buying in bulk over the internet from places like Candy Warehouse. Don't get me wrong, websites like these are great if you are interested in finding candy in your wedding colors or a specific type (sour, chocolate, etc.) However, they are expensive. I've heard at some websites the shipping costs more than the actual candy itself. With that in mind, plus not wanting to deal with ordering candy a few days before the wedding and hoping that it made it in time, I decided to go a different route. 

I started browsing Sam's Club to see what they had to offer. I wasn't able to find candy in only our wedding colors, but I was able to get some of our favorite candies for a fraction of the price I would have paid at a wholesaler online. I got Tootsie Rolls, Laffy Taffey, Sour Punch Straws, DumDum Suckers, Starbursts, Skittles and AirHeads for under $50. It was enough to fill our candy bar and we even had some left over (we're still whittling down the DumDum suckers.) I put the candy in jars, most of which Keegan's mom donated for the wedding. We put pictures of our parents and grandparents at their wedding day behind the jars and ta-da! One sweet candy bar. (This is where our "Love is Sweet" bunting was supposed to go, but it didn't get put up.) 

Now, shopping at Sam's worked for us because we didn't really care if we only served green and orange candies. We just chose candies that we enjoyed and that we could pawn off on our friends and families if we had any left over (we gave my parents the majority of a 5 lb. bag of Tootsie Rolls.) If you're interested in doing a candy bar but can't stand spending hundreds of dollars online, Sam's might be a great budget saver!

(I was in no way compensated for this post by any company.) 

DIY Wedding: Guest "Favors"

When I first started wedding planning, I was bombarded with websites full of trinkets that were supposed to be used as wedding favors. Picture frames, chocolates, coasters; it all seemed like a huge waste of money to me. I decided pretty early on that either I was going to either do a donation "favor" or not do one at all. 

I know that there are two schools of thought on donation "favors;" those for it and those against it. Out of all of the reasons I've read that people are against it, the most common I've seen is that guests don't like them because they don't get to choose where "their" money goes. The bride and groom might choose a charity that their guests don't support so they don't feel comfortable donating "their" money. Because of this, I decided that I wanted our guests to have a say on where "their" money went. We chose two foundations that are both close to our hearts and our families. My dad was diagnosed with Antiphospholipid Antibody Syndrome about 10 years ago and Keegan's uncle was diagnosed with Pancreatic Cancer earlier this year so we decided those were the charities we wanted to support. 

We contacted both my dad and Keegan's uncle and told them what we were planning so they wouldn't be taken aback on the day of the wedding and also so they could suggest charities we could donate to. Both of them had foundations that have helped them and wanted to donate money towards so that's how we chose the Antiphospholipid Antibody Syndrome Foundation of America and the The Sol Goldman Pancreatic Cancer Research Center at Johns Hopkins. 

To allow our guests to participate in the donation, we gave each of them a card with two tokens. On the card it explained why we wanted to do the donation, what the charities were, and why they were important to us. Many of our guests knew about my dad's and Keegan's uncle's struggle with their diseases so they knew why the charities were important. The card also explained that each token was worth $3 and that the guest could choose where "their" money went. We had two jars next to our guest book with labels for the tokens. Throughout the night our guests placed their tokens in the jars. After we got back from our honeymoon, we tallied up the donations and wrote each charity a check. 

Sheet explaining the charities and the coins

Jars for the tokens (before they were placed next to the guest book.)

Sunday, August 26, 2012

DIY Wedding: Budget

I was really hoping to start on our recaps and posting pictures of projects that I didn't get to post before the wedding, but our photographer has been swamped with senior pictures and other weddings so he's a little slow on getting us our pictures back. Hopefully we'll have them by the end of next week!

Anyways, onto our budget. When we first started talking about the wedding, we weren't really sure how much we should try and budget for. I did some research and found out that weddings in our location, (Columbia, Missouri,) average over $21,00! I knew that I could have the wedding we wanted for less, so we settled on about $10,000.

We invited about 292 people (this included everyone having a plus 1 and children,) however we only had about 115 people come.

Attire ( 11% of budget)
  • Bride's Dress, Veil, Preservation and Shipping: $1,697.74
  • Tuxedo for Keegan: $156.00
  • Shoes: $57.41
  • Garter: $10
  • Alterations: $187.44
  • Flower Girl Sashes: $20
  • Maid of Honor Sash: $20
Budgeted: $1,100
Actual Total: $2,148.59

How we saved:
  • I told my consultant at Victoria's Bridal that I wanted to spend no more than $1,500 total (including veil, alterations and tax.) Of course she pushed me to buy at the top of my price point so that's why I went over on our budgeted amount. Compared to other dresses I had my eye on, however, the one I purchased wasn't too expensive. 
  • We had only Keegan rent a tux; the boys wore their own white shirt and blank pants. We bought them all ties for approximately $2/tie off of Ebay. 
  • The girls all bought their own bridesmaids dresses. I told them what color I wanted at David's Bridal so they would all match, but cut, style and fabric were all up to them. This way, they could spend as much or as little as they wanted. 
  • I made my garter which is why it was so cheap. It was approximately $10 for all of the supplies I needed and I have a lot left over. I used this tutorial and wrote about my experience here
Photography (8% of budget)
  • Engagement pictures: $250.00
  • Wedding Photographer: $975.00
  • Videography: $850.00
Budgeted: $800.00
Actual Total: $2,075.00

How we saved:
  • We had my friend and co-worker do our engagement pictures. Since she was just starting out on engagement/wedding photography, she gave us a great deal. We basically had her for as long as we wanted and she agreed to do two locations/multiple clothing changes for us. She also brought along her roommate for support so we got two photographers for the price of one! Don't be afraid to use frendors, they can be a great way to save money and will be much more invested in giving you a quality product instead of just working for a check. 
  • Our wedding photographer, Dan Wilson of PhotoWrx, did my sister's senior pictures so I knew I enjoyed his style and my mom and sister told me he was a great guy to work with. We met with him when we were in Missouri for the holidays and he told us about his packages. We decided on the one that best fit our needs and then Dan allowed us to tweak it a bit. An example: we wanted the digital rights to our pictures instead of just getting prints or a photo book so he allowed us to do that and took of the cost of prints. We also got a $75 discount from getting a referral from my sister. Don't be afraid to talk to your vendors. They may be able to substitute somethings to get your business. 
  • I found our videographer, Ramon Salinas of Aurora Video Services on Craigslist. I had finally convinced Keegan that we needed one about 4 months before the wedding so I needed to find out cheap and fast. Craigslist can be full of strange people and rip-offs, so I would advise you to be careful, but you can also find awesome deals there. I had lengthy email and phone conversations with Ramon, saw some of his work and ultimately decided to sign even though it was still a bit of a risk. Again, as with our photographer, I asked if I could move some things around to make the price lower. Instead of staying for the entire reception, Ramon stayed only until the toasts and tosses were done. He also had a second shooter for only a few hours which cut down on costs. It doesn't hurt to ask if your vendors are willing to knock down their prices a bit. The worse they can say is no!
Music (7% of budget)
  •  DJ: $495.00 (for 6 hours)
  • Musicians for ceremony: $250
Budgeted: $700.00
Actual Total: $745.00

How we saved:
  • I found our DJ, Rusty Jones of Professional Sound Services just by doing a Google Search of DJs in our location. After comparing a bunch of DJs, Rusty was by far the cheapest so we decided to go with him.
  • Our musicians for the ceremony were Michael, a friend of Keegan's from school and Michael's brother, Ethan. After figuring out that it wouldn't really work for us to get sound equipment out to the ceremony space, we realized that we needed some more "traditional" musicians. We didn't really want (or want to pay for) a quartet so we asked Michael if he would be willing to play his cello for the ceremony. He offered to have Ethan play guitar with him to add more depth to the music. Michael and Ethan played for approximately 30 minutes before the wedding started as guests were getting seated and for the entrance and exit of the bridal party during the ceremony. Michael's wife, Liz did sound for the guys and the entire group did an amazing job. Again, use frendors to your advantage! 
Rings (2% of the budget)

  • Both bride's and grooms rings: $671.79
Budgeted: $471.79
Actual total: $671.79

How we saved:
  • When Keegan bought my engagement ring, he saved money by buying a "promise ring." From what I can tell, "promise rings" are extremely similar to engagement rings, just without the designer name(normally) and the price tag. (The cost of my engagement ring is not in the total for the wedding budget, but if I remember correctly, it was no more than $300.)
  • When we bought our wedding rings, Keegan's was easy. He wanted something subtle but original. He also needed something made out of a metal that would be easy to cut through in case of an emergency at his work. As for me, we needed something that would mesh well with the odd shape of my engagement ring. Because of this we were somewhat at the mercy of the store and their selection, but we ended up finding a ring that fit well and wasn't too expensive. In hindsight, Keegan wishes that he had spent a little more money for a wedding set so that we didn't have to go through the headache of finding a wedding ring that fit with my strange shaped engagement ring. 
  • Tip: shop during sales. Every time we went into the mall, Kay, where we bought our rings, seemed to have a sale going on. We bought our wedding rings during a 50% off sale so that bought the total way down.
Decorations (6% of the budget)
  • Bride's bouquet: $25
  • Ceremony Fans: $10
  • Baskets: $10
  • "Candles" $20
  • Flower girl baskets: $16
  • Guest Book $20
  • Wooden Disks: $60
  • Flower petals: $20
Budgeted: $600
Total: Not 100% sure
(The reason I'm not 100% sure about the price of our decorations is because we used many aspects of our expenses in different places in the wedding. For example, our "favors" were made out of extra paper from our invitations.)

How we saved:
  • DIY, DIY, DIY. Honestly, I saved half of our money by DIYing all of our decorations and shopping sales. Every week Hobby Lobby and Michaels offer coupons. Every week they have sales that can be used for wedding related things. We bought glass canisters for our "favors" when Michaels was having a 50% off glass sale. Add on a 40% off coupon and we got two canisters for under the price of one. 
  • Another example is our guest book. We found a huge frame at Hobby Lobby for $20. We took out the picture that was in it, cut our own matte from random pieces of matte we had laying around my work and added some markers. Voila! Instant guest book for $20 that we can now hang on our wall. 
  • We also saved in a huge amount of money by not using flowers. I knew that flowers were one of the biggest wedding expenses so I decided from the get-go that we weren't going to use them. The only time flowers were used in our wedding was my fake flower bouqet ($25) and the flower petals our flower girls threw (~$20)

Stationary (6% of budget)
  • Save The Dates: $152
  • Natural Linen Paper (250 sheets) $18.95
  • Natural Linen Paper (250 sheets) $18.95
  • Racing Green Paper (250 sheets) $42.95
  • Avocado Paper (50 sheets) $10.95
  • Chocolate Paper (50 sheets) $15.95
  • Mandarin Paper (50 sheets) $15.95
  • Outside envelopes (150) $44.95
  • RSVP Envelopes (150) $32.85
  • Stamps $132.00
Budgeted: $600.00
Actual Total: $496.50

How we saved:
  • We saved the most money by making our own save the dates and invitations. When we first got engaged, I started looking at invitations and STDs and saving my inspiration. I knew that I wanted to make our own stationary simply to save money so I found online tutorials on how to make my favorite parts of certain invitations and then meshed them all together into my own creation. If you're not into the DIY route, you can always look on Etsy and have someone design your invitations and then you print them yourselves. If you don't have a good printer, Kinkos and sometimes the UPS Store will print for you. 

Food (50% of budget)
  • Room Fee: $450
  • Tables & Chairs: free (included in room fee)
  • Food: ~ $880 ($8/person)
  • Drinks: $150
  • Keg: $120
  • Wine: $108
  • Cake: $270
  • Linens: $92.53
  • Service Fee: $200
  • Taxes and misc.: $114.66
Budgeted: $5,000
Actual Total: $2,385.19

How we saved:
  • We saved the most by having our wedding catered by a grocery store, Hy-Vee. We had looked into "private" restaurants and catering companies but they were way out of our price range. We were (well at least I was) apprehensive about having a grocery store cater our wedding, but it worked out extremely well. For just over $2,000 they were able to provide us food, drinks, alcohol and our cupcakes/cake plus set up and take down. We were quoted $2,000 for just the food at some places. The moral of the story is don't cut out restaurants and catering opportunities that aren't "traditional." Get pizzas from your favorite pizza place. Do appetizers instead of an entire sit down meal. Have a BBQ. There are so many ways to feed guests that don't have to break the bank. 

Overall, we came in around $9,500. Under our budget and most importantly, a number we were comfortable with. I truly believe that a wonderful wedding can be made on any budget. If you're willing to DIY a few aspects (or have friends/family DIY,) use frendors and shop around, you can stay within your budget.

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Bridal Blues

Also dubbed post-wedding-blues or post-wedding depression

As I was getting closer to our wedding day, the thought running through my head was, "I'm going to be so glad when all this planning, crafting, DIY-ing is done. I'm going to come home every night after work and do nothing. It'll be glorious."

How wrong I was. Don't get me wrong, after the wedding finished, I let out a huge sign of relief and hugged Keegan for a job well done. We had planned, financed and executed what will most likely be the biggest party of our lives. We had organized friends and families from two different countries, numerous different states and uncounted different cities. We fed, entertained and interacted with said guests. Oh, and we got married too.

The first few days of the honeymoon were full of wedded bliss. We had traveled close to 20 hours in total to finally collapse on our bed in the Smokey Mountains that would be ours for the next week. We went out and explored, vegged in front of the Olympics and ate whatever we wanted without fear of fitting into dresses and tuxes. On day 4 of the honeymoon, however, I started getting the itch. The itch to do something. I had spent the last 10 months coming home from work, spending my weekends and some work hours (sssshhhh) researching, contacting vendors, crafting and planning. I didn't know what to do with myself now that I didn't have to do something. My body and mind had forgotten how to just relax. How to just sit in front of the T.V. without folding programs or making invitations. How to go to bed without a million and one thoughts about linens, colors, people and things running through my head.

I didn't think that I would get the bridal blues. I figured that after the wedding was over, I'd just go back to my before-wedding life and that would be that. I'd come home from work, hang out with Keegan, eat dinner, and eventually go to bed. Our weekends wouldn't be used for wedding things anymore. We could go places! See people! Sleep in! I was wrong. I'm still getting used to the fact that we don't really have anything to do besides go to work, eat, clean the house, and sleep. Honestly, I kind of miss the feeling of running around like a chicken with its head cut off that came with wedding planning.

I find myself staring at the computer because I don't really know what to do. I don't have DIY ideas to look up, vendors to contact, schedules to plan. Now, I just check my email, Facebook, blogs and that's about it. Throw in some Pintrest when I'm especially bored and I'm done.

Our house is still a mess of wedding related things. Presents and programs are scattered all over our living room. We've just now started to unpack presents and actually use them. Even though the mess bugs the crap out of me, I'm not 100% ready to put it away. I honestly don't know what to do with 20 extra programs or 75 tissue packets that no one used because they weren't put out. Half of  me doesn't want to throw away or put away the wedding memories. The other half just doesn't want to deal with wedding related things anymore.

I've found myself almost mourning my wedding. It bugs me to look at wedding related things because I keep thinking to myself, "Oh I was going to do that!" or "I wish I had done that instead!" Don't, get me wrong, I love my wedding and how it turned out, and I realize that it was just one day in a lifetime of days with Keegan, but it's still hard to get out of that planning mindset. Honestly, I've hated anyone who's asked about the wedding. I know that they're just curious and are hoping that everything went well, but I don't want to talk about it. I don't think I've fully processed it yet, and no matter how many times someone asks me, I don't feel different.

I know that one day, hopefully soon, I'll get over this. I'll stop thinking about wedding things and start wishing to see my wedding pictures. Someday, my life will be full of thoughts of dogs and babies. Until then, I'm just going to let myself "mourn" and give the side-eye to anyone who asks about the wedding. Eventually, I'll pack up the wedding stuff and unpack the presents. I'll turn the "wedding room" back into my studio like it was intended and I'll start doing DIY things for around the house and our eventual kids. I'll be able to talk to my engaged friends about their wedding without wanting to punch them in the face for asking how I did X, Y or Z. It'll happen one day, but until then, unless you want a popsicle stick to the jugular, don't ask how the wedding went.

Sunday, August 12, 2012

We're Married!

It's official! The wedding went off without much of a hitch and it was wonderful. We just got back from our honeymoon about an hour ago and are now faced with the daunting task of unpacking luggage, wedding presents, and going through hundreds of pictures of the wedding as well as a pile of thank you notes. I'm going to try and get back into the swing of things with posting, but it may take me a little bit to get things sorted. I'll probably start off with posting about our honeymoon and reviews of our vendors as I wait for our professional pictures to come in.  I'll also have more tutorials for some of the final projects I completed in the days and weeks leading up to the wedding.

I'm so happy to be back!

Saturday, August 4, 2012

It's Wedding Day!

I can't believe that it's my wedding day. Last night was my bachelorette which was so much fun.

I just can't believe everyone who is here to support us. Aunts, uncles, cousins, friends and family have all descended on Columbia to help us pull this together. The love that we've been feeling from friends and family has been overwhelming.

Keegan, I love you more than words can convey. You are my biggest supporter and my best friend. My partner in crime and my voice of reason. You are there to pick me up when I'm down and to bring me down to earth when I get a big head.

After 10 months of planning the biggest party of my life, I'm so ready to do this. I can't wait to see Keegan as I walk down the aisle. I can't wait to hear there ceremony that my dad wrote. I can't wait to hang out with family and friends who have come so far to support us. Most of all I can't wait to be a Mrs!

Here's to my last day as a Miss. Let's do this!