Wedding Shoes Revisited

2013-12-13 22.33.38Just a quick update for today; I bought my wedding shoes several months ago with the idea that I’d probably dye them to match my dress. Problem is… it’s not easy to match the colour exactly, especially when I don’t even have my dress (as it’s at the seamstress being altered). So, this may sound scary but… I opted for pink.

My thinking was, it’s hard to go wrong when you’re not really trying to match a specific colour, and it might look pretty to have a bit of pink peeking out the bottom of my dress while I walk. So, I bought the dye, a sponge brush (I read online you don’t actually dip your shoes in the dye, but brush it on), covered the buckle in masking tape and went at it. Surprisingly, they turned out great!

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Kids Packs Revisited, Escort Cards, and My First Bridal Shower!

It’s no surprise that weddings are hard work, that’s why I was so excited this past weekend to finally take a break and actually ENJOY the wedding process! My Aunty Darla and Cousin Corrinna planned a wonderful bridal shower for me, with the theme “something blue”. It was so much fun, but I think my favourite part of all was just seeing my family. There really are too few occasions where I get to see them these days.

There were wonderful gifts, hilarious games, and of course… an evil ribbon hat made by none other than my oh-so wonderful fiance ๐Ÿ˜›

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All in all it was a lot of fun, and lucky me… I get a SECOND shower in a couple weeks! ๐Ÿ™‚ This one will be planned by my maid of honour, Jessica, best man, Craig, and will include friends, my dad’s side of the family, and Jason’s family (and of course any from my mom’s side who wish to come to a second shower!)

Escort Cards
So I mentioned recently that I had completed the seating arrangements, and the next step for me was to make a visually appealing way for the guests to figure out where they’re sitting once they get to the reception. I had already spoken to a decoration rental company at a wedding show I had been to recently, Vintage Meant for Rent, and they had the perfect bird cage for the job. It’s about 3 or 4 feet tall, 2 or 3 feet wide, flat and comes with an easel to sit on. It’s really beautiful and totally fits the bird theme we’ve got going ๐Ÿ™‚
ย 

2014-04-10 18.43.25So I hit Michaels (seemingly my home-away-from-home lately) and picked up some supplies to make escort cards to clip to the birdcage.

2014-04-10 18.43.34It was a little difficult to get my printer to print on the vellum, but I think they turned out quite nice, and I even found clothespins to match!

 

 

Kids Packs Revisited
2014-04-10 18.23.55In an earlier post I mentioned that I was going to put together some kids packs, well they’re finished! Here’s what I included…

Blank cardboard masks, butterflies for the girls, bears for the boys.
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Packs of crayons, spiderman for the boys, tinkerbell for the girls.
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Stickers, Monsters Inc. for the boys, Disney Princesses for the girls.
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Play-doh and mini skateboards.
2014-04-10 18.25.41 2014-04-10 18.26.25

Ring-pops and marshmallow roses (I figured they were wedding-ish treats).
2014-04-10 18.25.50 2014-04-10 18.29.38

Activity books, Minnie Mouse for the girls, Cars for the boys. I think they’re probably a bit young for some of the older kids, but I figure there’s enough stuff in the boxes that if they don’t like them there’s other things to play with. On the positive, I found them at the dollar store in packs of four for $1.50!
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And lastly, I bought some Lego packs forย  the boys. I really liked these packs in particular because you can make 3 different things with each and they were pretty inexpensive (at least by Lego standards) as I found them on sale at Chapters. There are four boys total, so I bought 2 car packs and 2 airplane packs (I figure the older ones can have the airplanes).
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And for the girls, I found some craft packs at Michaels. I would have liked to have gotten all friendship bracelets, but they only had 3, so I also bought 3 pony bead packs. I’ll give the friendship bracelets to the older ones, and the pony beads to the younger ones.
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Unfortunately, the boxes didn’t really fit in the kids pack boxes I had bought, and one of them had a scratch on the front. So, I bought some little gift boxes and repackaged them to fit and tied them with some of my custom wedding ribbon.
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And, because Lego is so damn expensive… I included little tiaras for the girls as well!
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Hopefully the kids will enjoy them!
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Anyways, that’s all for today… things are really picking up and there’s not much time left!

Daerina

April 5, 2014

Just a quick update, I promise I will do a proper update soon but I’ve been super busy with my new job and getting details finalized for the wedding I just haven’t had time!

Place Cards!

Place Cards!

However, the deadline for RSVPs to be returned was this past Thursday, and as of today I have now received a response from every single person!ย  I have also finalized the seating arrangement, and printed all of the place cards.

The final numbers are:
Total Guests: 89

Beef: 61
Duck: 24
Vegan: 4

[PSA/Rant] Photography Update: First Big Wedding Problem

I have waited a couple of weeks to post this, as I wanted to be sure that my refund cheque cleared before posting. This post will be half public service announcement and half rant. Essentially, about 8 months ago we met with a photographer, Arnold Bogdan, paid a $750 deposit, and signed a contract. Here’s where the PSA comes in;

If you sign ANY contracts, make sure that there is a clause giving you, as the client,
some compensation should the vendor cancel at the last minute!

As it turns out, while there are typically clauses allowing for compensation on the vendor’s part should the client cancel, a clause protecting the client is pretty rare. Fortunately, most vendors are pretty reasonable about amending their contracts to make you happy, especially to add in a clause that is unlikely to be used. You may wish to ask them to make a stipulation in the clause that says they only need to compensate you for any non-emergency reason they need to cancel, because I’m sure if they get into a car accident the day before your wedding, or a family member passes away, you wouldn’t want to hold them accountable.

Anyways, so 8 months ago we signed a contract, paid our deposit, and figured we were all set for a photographer. Until our photographer decided to get a new job at Translink (our local public transit company). We get an email from him about a month ago, 2 months before the wedding and 7 months after we paid the deposit, that went like this:

I am writing to you with not the greatest of news. Unfortunately, due to previously unforseen circumstances, I will not be able to photograph your wedding. Due to a new professional commitment, I have discontinued offering wedding services altogether.

I do have a few things I am happy to offer to you in order to rectify this situation :

Option 1. I am happy to refund you in full for any monies paid up till today, and cancel our agreement. I would still provide you with the engagement session book free of charge. If you choose this please email me your mailing address and who the refund cheque should be mailed out to.

Option 2. I can assign my backup photographer and she can photograph your wedding for you. She shoots in the same style as I, and thus would deliver similar images to mine. We can continue the contract as agreed minus me being at the wedding. She would shoot the day, and deliver the images to me. I would edit them, and deal with the albums as agreed. I can provide you with samples of her work should you need.

So sorry for this situation, and I thank you in advance for your understanding. Please let me know which option you prefer

I should at this point note that not only did he screw us over this close to our wedding, but he obviously didn’t even bother to look into who he was emailing, because we did not have our engagement photos taken with him. So the little “compensation” he was offering was completely useless to us.

“I am happy to refund you in full for any monies paid up till today, and cancel our agreement.” Well, it’s sure good that you’re happy, but I’m certainly not. I contemplated taking legal action, but figured it would not be worth the time and effort involved, and there is a good chance he would have been forced to fulfill the contract, and somehow I don’t think those photos would be all that great.

If he had canceled for a legitimate reason such as a death in the family, illness, or something on a similar level… that would have been understandable. But canceling to take on a new job is completely unreasonable. He could have and should have made his new employer aware upon hiring him that he had previous professional commitments he needed to keep, but then… that would have been professional.

Following the original email, I emailed him back the same day asking for examples of his backup photographer’s work as I was not sure I’d be able to find an available photographer with reasonable prices this close to the wedding date. I also inquired if there would still be two photographers at the wedding, as that is what we are paying for. It took him a whole week to respond, he claimed it was an email issue that he never received my email, but it seems a bit convenient that he just happened to Facebook message me later the same day that I emailed him asking if he could respond to my original email.

He didn’t respond to my question about the additional photographer, but said he would check his backup photographer’s availability for the day. I wonder what would have happened if he or she was unavailable. I guess I’ll never know, because another week went by with no word from him (a month and a half till the wedding!), and so I emailed him again telling him to forget it and to just give us our deposit back.

A week later I get a cheque from him… which he just so happened to forget to write the date on. He also included a carefully worded letter with the cheque that basically said if I cash the cheque I can’t follow up later with legal action. I considered just writing the date in myself and cashing the cheque, but saner heads prevailed (namely my Mom’s and my best man’s). The bank will not cash the cheque without a date, and legally if I write anything on a cheque it is considered fraud. I didn’t want to take my chances so I told him to send me a new cheque. Fortunately this one was all good and it (somewhat surprisingly) did not bounce.

TLDR; If you ever want to get an eight month interest free loan of $750,
pretend to be a photographer!

Anyways… in the end, it actually worked out for the best. We were able to find new photographers, McDonald Photography, and it actually worked out to be roughly $1000 cheaper than Arnold Bogdan, and their minimum package includes a lot more than pretty well every other photographer I’ve spoken to. Their minimum package includes 8 hours of coverage by 2 photographers for only $1300. Most places will charge $2000 for 6 hours of coverage by 1 photographer. Additionally, they were super nice people, and were able to tell us that they were available on May 3rd right at the wedding show we met them at. This won major points with Jason, as another company we spoke to at the show didn’t even have their calendar with them and couldn’t tell us if they could do it. I didn’t mind so much, but I guess it does make sense if it is your livelihood, you should have your calendar with you at a wedding show, or at least know when you’re available.

They also have photographed weddings at Queen Elizabeth park before and were able to show us a lot of pictures from there, and Jason (who has much more knowledge about photography than I do) said he felt their photography skills were better than Arnold’s anyways.

Days Until the Wedding: 1 month, 11 days
Total Cost So Far: $12,842.57

Guestbook and Kid’s Packs

Just a couple things to update on today…

Our guestbook arrived this week! I created it using Shutterfly, and all in all it cost about $43 after shipping. The site is a bit frustrating to use at times, some delay and lag from flash becoming overloaded, but in the end the final product was worth the frustration.

Serendipitous Ink Smudge!

Serendipitous Ink Smudge!

I was a little annoyed at myself as I had a “typo” on one of the pages. It wasn’t a typo anyone would really notice except myself, I had accidentally put May 21st as the date on a photo when it was actually taken on May 8th (the photo was timestamped as May 21st, which was the date it was loaded into the computer, not the date it was taken). The error was so small and unnoticeable that I couldn’t justify ordering a whole new book over it. However, serendipitously one of the pages had an ink smudge on it that must have occurred during printing. I contacted shutterfly and let them know about the smudge and also that if possible I’d like to fix the typo, they were super helpful and gave me a full credit towards one 8×11″ photobook and rush delivery shipping, so I was able to fix the error and re-order the book. And aside from the smudge, the book is perfect!

I also managed to find a nice pen set at Bowring to go along with the book, it was on sale for about $18.

2014-03-11 13.09.15Kid’s Packs
I’ve been working on creating kid’s packs. It’s a little tricky because we have 10 kids invited between the ages of 7 and 12. I’m sure I will need to vary them a bit based on age, but I’m not too sure how to do that. I found the most perfect boxes at the dollar store, and so far I’ve got crayons, blank cardboard masks (butterflies for girls, bears for boys), a tiara (for the girls), mini skateboards, and a marshmallow rose. I plan on finding some activity books and maybe a couple more things, but I’m thinking I’ll wait until after my first wedding shower so I can maybe talk to my cousin about what the older kids might like in their packs.

2014-03-10 18.58.58Lastly, I received my custom ribbon this week as well. It turned out great, except that the pink ribbon is so pale pink that I thought it was white or ivory… It looks very slightly pink when it’s on the roll, but otherwise you’d never know. I did email the company about it but haven’t heard back.

Days Until the Wedding: 1 month, 20 days
Total Cost So Far: $13,387.57

Big Update: Two Months to Go!

Bridesmaid Dresses and the Flowergirl Dress
I’ll start by following up on where I left off after my last update. We went back to Tiffany Bridal to look at dresses, but ultimately went with a different dress than what I originally intended.

This was the original dress I came back to the store for

This was the original dress I came back to the store for

The lady at the shop made a good point about solid (non-ruched) satin, that it will show every bump and roll and may not be so comfortable to wear for some body types. So we looked for a style that was ruched to be more flattering for most body types, but still maintained the lace-over-satin style that I loved so much about the original dress I saw.

This was a very close second choice

This was a very close second choice

It was a tough decision, and I changed my mind part-way through about whether I wanted a long dress or tea-length, but ultimately we went with a long black satin dress, with some layering that mimics ruching, and black lace over pink satin at the top. Even better, the bridesmaid who was unhappy in the beginning with my taste, was ecstatic that I chose a dress that she actually liked, and the maid of honour was happy with my choice as well.

So we ordered the dresses, and the next day Jason’s sister sent over her measurements so they are set and being made as we speak I type!

The style I was looking for (not colours).

The style I was looking for (not colours).

Craig (best man) made a good suggestion while we were dress shopping about the flowergirl dress. He suggested that since the flowergirl is still growing (and growing fast) that maybe I could take some pictures of dresses in the style I like and send them to Jason’s sister, Michelle, and she could order one over in the UK so it would be easier to have fitted.

The dress we found online

The dress we found online

So I took a couple pictures, and later on Jason and I looked online and actually found a dress shop based in the UK with a dress that was perfect. It was the style I wanted, and also had little butterflies along the skirt that totally matches the theme of the wedding. We sent the link to Michelle and she had it ordered right away.


This is the purse I ordered, except with a silver frame.

This is the purse I ordered, except with a silver frame.

A Different Purse
I mentioned in an earlier post that my mom had lent a vintage purse to me from her collection, but the more I thought about it, and at mention from my Maid of Honour as well as my mom, the purse wasn’t really a wedding-style purse. I did like the idea of it because it would be something borrowed and old, but I suppose the blue handkerchief my mom is lending me also satisfies those requirements as well. My mom had referred me to a shop on Etsy that specializes in custom purses, and had a style and colour that would match my dress really well. Even better, it is based out of Nova Scotia, Canada, so the shipping should be cheaper and faster. I ordered a ruched purse in cream, with a silver metal frame, and light pink satin lining. Over all, I am much happier with this choice, although I did like the idea of borrowing a purse from my mom.


Guest List and RSVPs

As I mentioned last time, I finally mailed out my invitations about 3 weeks ago, and I’m excited to say that starting the week after I have been getting a steady 2 RSVPs back per day, except for one day where I received 5!

As I have been getting them in, I am updating my guest list (of course), but one thing I have done that I would definitely recommend is that I uploaded my guest list to google docs and shared it with my parents, Jason, the best man, and the maid of honour. This way, they can get a real-time updated version of who is attending any time they want, which I’m sure will help out when they are planning the shower, bachelorette, and bachelor parties. I have also added a sheet for each event with just the guests I would recommend inviting. Of course, it’s only a guideline and it’s ultimately up to them who to invite, but I figured it might give them a good starting point.

2014-03-03 17.39.38I have also been printing off place cards as RSVPs come in. I bought some sheets of place cards from staples, they come with a nice pearlescent border, and are perforated which makes it super easy to print off and pop out. I added a rose icon to the design, which not only makes it look a little nicer, but should help the caterers know who is eating which dish. Pink roses are for the duck, black roses are for the beef, and green roses are for vegetarian/vegan.


Table Favours

I will probably start working on engraving the table favour boxes as RSVPs come in as well, and just last week I ordered the custom M&Ms. I was extremely surprised with how quickly I received them. Because they were coming from the US and being foodstuffs, I anticipated they would sit in customs for weeks… but as it turns out, they actually rush perishables. I ordered them on Saturday, and received them Tuesday morning! If I had known how quick it would be I probably would have waited a bit longer, but they can sit in my fridge for a couple months I guess ๐Ÿ˜› The printing is not perfect, but I suppose I probably shouldn’t have expected them to be. Even regular M&Ms aren’t perfect. But they are still definitely cute, and probably delicious! (I won’t be opening them for awhile!)

Anyways, that’s all for today… only 2 months to go! My total amount spent is probably becoming very inaccurate as small details are adding up, but I’ll do my best to keep it up to date.

Days Until the Wedding: 2 months
Total Cost So Far: $13,200.57

Nifty Wedding Apps, Invitations and Bridesmaids Dresses

I really wanted to give an update about two new apps I’ve downloaded. You may remember from one of my first posts that my search for a decent wedding planning app was rather unsuccessful, but I’m happy to say I’ve found a new app that is not only free, but also absolutely awesome. If I had found this app when I first started planning, I probably would not have bothered buying a real wedding planner.

2014-02-11 17.04.14The app I’m talking about is Easy Weddings which is available for both iOS and Android.

2014-02-11 12.35.57It includes a countdown checklist with all the tasks that need to be done and when they should be completed, with the option to add your own custom tasks and delete the default ones that don’t apply.

2014-02-11 12.35.26It includes a guest list planner, which has options to import contacts from Facebook, from your device contacts, or create a new contact completely.ย You can have multiple guest lists, such as ceremony, reception, shower, bachelorette, etc. Some useful features include; the ability to add people to groups (for example if you want to keep all members of a family together), you can tag guests as children, guests with infants, guests with special dietary needs, and of course a toggle for guests whose invitations have been sent, guests who have RSVP’d as attending, and those who have declined. Even better, you can easily filter all of your guests by these tags, so you can quickly and easily get an updated count of who is coming, who hasn’t responded, which guests are kids, or which have special dietary needs. One feature I wish this section had was the option to add a meal choice so that I could check off who would like the beef and who would like the duck, however there is a notes section for each guest which should work for keeping track of that. The guests lists are also automatically loaded into the seating planner section of the app, which makes planning out the seating at the reception very easy.

2014-02-11 12.36.23The app has a budget tracker, which is pretty standard as far as wedding budget planners go. You can set an overall wedding budget, a budget per item, what each item costs, how much was paid, and the amount owed is automatically calculated. I like that it gives suggestions for each item if you really have no idea how much each thing should cost. Although one thing I do not like about this part of the app is that while you can add your own custom items, you can’t remove the default items, however you can easily just set all dollar amounts to zero for the items that do not apply.

2014-02-11 17.04.26There is also a section for suppliers, where you can keep track of your vendors and potential vendors, complete with their contact info and any notes you want to include. It seems like the app has the capacity for finding nearby vendors based on your location, however it does not bring up anything for Vancouver. Based on the URL of the easy weddings website, I would assume that this is an Australian app, and you’d probably have better results if you’re Australian as well.

Lastly, there is a general notes section which I have not really used yet, but I can see that it would also be pretty useful for any ideas you might have that you want to keep track of, including scheduling, speeches, vows and readings, etc.

All in all, I think it’s an awesome app and a definite must-have for any bride-to-be. I especially like how it keeps track of how “complete” your wedding is based on the sections you have filled out and your budget and task list progress. Our wedding is 61% complete!


Wedpics

2014-02-12 01.43.15The other app I have recently downloaded (and set up) is Wedpics. We had heard about similar apps early on in the planning process and had planned to research a little later on, and it was actually Jason who found this one in particular and suggested it to me. It’s basically an app that anyone at your wedding can download for free, input your wedding code, and then upload any photos and videos they take during the big day to a communal “site” complete with the ability to sort by album (i.e. ceremony album, reception album, shower album, etc.), and a live feed of what photos and videos have been uploaded, and by whom. The website has table cards that you can either order or download and print yourself with instructions for downloading the app, and an option to download a fun scavenger hunt to encourage people to take photos of specific things. Afterwards, you can either order prints of the photos (I believe this feature is only available in the US), or you can download the original high-res image if you bring up the album on your PC. There are many apps out there that are similar to wedpics, however many are not free, most do not support video, and in general this one seems to have the highest ratings and best reviews.


Bridesmaids Dresses… [Rant Warning]

Forewarning, this is going to probably be a rant or at least close to a rant.

So… I got together with my parents, my maid of honour, best man, and one of my bridesmaids (the other bridesmaid lives in Wales) to go dress shopping for the bridesmaids and flower girl dresses this past weekend. We started out at David’s Bridal in Langley, made our way over to the wedding district on Columbia Street in New Westminster, and ended up at the wedding district on East Hastings. It was easily the most stressful and least fun part of the entire wedding planning process to date.

To start, Moore’s clothing once again, has pissed me off. We went all the way out to Langley to David’s Bridal because Moore’s told me that they share the same colour palettes and that they would have dress colours that would match the pink of the groomsmen’s vests exactly. Well, they don’t. In fact, they had never even heard of “bubblegum pink”. For those that aren’t from Vancouver, Langley is not near by. This was not a good start to the day.

Second, it seems I am about a month or two late on tackling this task. Four out of five places we went into gave me a look like I’m crazy and said they couldn’t turn it around that quickly, others looked at me like I’m crazy and said they might be able to pull it off but it would probably cost extra for a rush fee.

Third, I didn’t realize you would have to take off your shoes in every single shop. Even the ones that didn’t have carpet. It didn’t really bother me so much, though if I had known I probably would have worn shoes that are easier to slip in and out of instead of knee-high zip-up boots, but I was more concerned with my Mom. She does not have the best mobility, so walking from store to store was difficult enough, let alone walking around without shoes and taking them off and putting them on over and over. Unfortunately because of this, combined with the surprising lack of seating in most of the shops, she was not able to go to all of the stores with us and had to sit in the car after awhile ๐Ÿ˜ฆ I really would have liked her to be there and weigh in on the dresses, so I was pretty disappointed with the stores and their lack of accommodation. We could not have possibly been the only group to ever come in that had a person who could not stand and walk around for long periods of time. On the positive, there were one or two stores I went into that I was able to gauge that I would be miserable in based on the 70+ pairs of shoes at the entry way (surprisingly, I am not exaggerating with that number) and didn’t bother to waste my time looking around the store.

Fourth, teenagers. It seems February is the prime time of the year for all 17 year old girls to trample the fancy dress stores looking for their prom dresses. Go figure. I guess this was also my fault for leaving this so late, but suffice it to say, every single store we went into was crammed to the ceiling with loud, obnoxious, teenage girls who all want to be prom queen and have the irritating diva attitude to prove it.

Fifth, customer service (or lack thereof). Maybe it was because they, too, had to deal with hoards of teenage girls, but none of the stores we went into seemed to give a crap about us. They were rude, unaccommodating, and in every store we went into instead of being helpful when we inquired about bridesmaids dresses, we were told to simply put our name down because there was at least a 30 minute wait for the fitting rooms.

Sixth, just general frustration. I’d start looking at dresses, 2 seconds later someone would call my name to look at a dress, I’d go back to looking, 2 seconds later someone else would call, rinse and repeat over and over. It was really aggravating! Fortunately I think my maid of honour and my mom picked up on how stressed I was getting pretty quickly and not only backed off a bit, but also tried their best to calm me down. It was also very frustrating that several of the dresses that I picked out that I liked were styles that “could not be ordered” for whatever reason.

Seventh, difference in taste. I guess this comes with bridesmaid dress shopping regardless of circumstance, but I learned very quickly that my maid of honour, my bridesmaid, and I have very different tastes in style. Namely the bridesmaid who was able to attend. I really appreciated my maid of honour’s attitude of “I may not like it, but it’s your wedding so I’ll wear it”, but although she’s an awesome friend and I love her to bits, my bridesmaid did not share that attitude. I don’t want my wedding party to be miserable by any means, so I’d like to at least find something they don’t hate, but nearly every dress that I picked out, my bridesmaid was not happy with. She asked for a pencil skirt style dress over and over despite my explaining that the majority of the wedding party would not be comfortable in a pencil skirt and A-line style dresses are much more flattering for most body types. She even suggested that her dress be altered to be pencil skirt style and the others be left A-line, which I am definitely NOT okay with. It was an uphill battle.

And lastly, limited time… eventually I realized that despite getting started at around 10am, it was now 4:30pm, the stores close at 5:00pm, and I still hadn’t found what I was looking for. I cut my browsing time down significantly, and sometimes eliminated entire stores pretty quickly based on one or two factors. This was the case when I walked into a shop on East Hastings. I took my boots off, walked around, found a dress I liked, $799. Walked a bit more, another dress I liked, $399. So I put my boots back on and got the hell out of there. As I started to leave, I anxiously looked around for my crew and couldn’t find my bridesmaid, so I hovered impatiently at the door for her and she finally came from the back of the store and waved me to come see something. I shook my head and told her we were leaving, I was not going to waste precious time taking off my boots and putting them back on at 4:45pm to look at more dresses in a store where the average dress (which was not all that spectacular) cost between $400 and $800, and the people working there couldn’t even be bothered to give us the time of day. She said that they were 15% off, but in my mind 15% off of $800 is still too expensive. She would not let it go. Like I said, I love her to bits, and she’s one of the kindest and most caring people I know, and I definitely want her up there standing beside me on the big day, but obviously she could not tell just how stressed I was, as it took all of my patience and willpower to bite my tongue as she still brought it up hours later how I would not go look at the dresses in the back of that store. I try not to be a “bridezilla” or “pull rank”, I really do. And I think until this point I haven’t done so during the entire wedding planning process, I genuinely try to make everyone happy (usually at the expense of my sanity) despite everyone constantly telling me “it’s your wedding, do what you want!”. But I don’t care if we pass a shop where every dress is $10 and comes with a free kitten, if I don’t want to look at the dresses, I’m the bride and I don’t have to. Although to be fair, if I found a store like that, there is no way I would not go into it…

Anyways… after that day of stress, I finally found a dress that I really liked (I was a bit rushed so I didn’t get a picture yet), and it was at a store that actually seemed to care! The woman could tell I was a frazzled I guess because she kept telling me it would be okay, we’d find the dress and we’d get them ordered in time. That won huge brownie points for me, because while she is on commission, so are all of the other stores, but they still couldn’t give us the time of day. Furthermore, the woman who was so nice to me actually worked at the bridal shop, not the bridesmaid dress shop (the store had two shops side-by-side), and she told me to make an appointment and we’d get it all figured out… so she likely wouldn’t get a commission out of me anyways. Unfortunately, the dress I liked was $270… I spoke to Jason and we decided to offer to the wedding party that if they paid for around $150-170 of their dress, we would pay the difference, and then my parents chimed in and offered to pay for $100 of the difference as well which took a lot of pressure off.

So, I’ve booked an appointment at Tiffany Bridal to get ‘er done! I’ll update on the results after the appointment ๐Ÿ™‚


Achievement Unlocked: Invitations Sent!

So after we finished dress shopping we came back to our place and set up an assembly line of assembling invitations. Everyone was taping and cutting and had their own little jobs and it came along quite quickly. We got everything probably about two-thirds complete by the time my parents went home and we decided to call it quits for the night in favour of drinking away the stresses from earlier (the best man and maid of honour kept pouring me drinks the whole time we were doing invitations… they’re so awesome!). The next day, Jason and I had a How I Met Your Mother marathon and finished the rest of the invitation assembly and mailed them out the following day. I’m really happy with how they turned out, I just wish I could see everyone’s faces when they receive them!

Anyways, that’s all for today!

Days Until the Wedding: 2 months, 19 days
Total Cost So Far: $11,556.57

My Big Fat Wedding Update!

Hunker down everyone, this is gonna be a big’un!

So, for those of you who haven’t been involved in planning a wedding… there’s kind of a “lull” in the middle… You get engaged, it’s about a year out, and you panic and get all the early stuff figured out like venues and vendors, but then suddenly there isn’t really a lot to do until a few months before the wedding. That’s kind of what happened with me, I got my venues, my dress, my photographer, and then I kind of took a couple month hiatus from the whole wedding planning thing over the holidays. The downside of that is that January hit, and suddenly it dawned on me… oh shit, I have like 3 and a half months until the wedding!! Eep! So I kicked it into high gear and (combined with looking for a new job) have been a very busy girl these past few weeks.

So, I’ll do my best to keep this post as organized as possible, even though it’s really going to be all over the place!

2014-01-12 13.28.23The Wedding Show… I do? I don’t.
I’ll start with the big fancy wedding show I went to. Every year, Vancouver has a big ass wedding fair in January, but unfortunately last January I had only just became engaged, and hadn’t really jumped on board with the whole planning things out yet, so I missed out. This year, it turned out to be kind of the opposite story. Jason and I went to the show, and basically skipped over 75% of the booths because we already had planned out those parts of the wedding.

2014-01-12 13.52.59So I’m talking about The Wedding Fair that took place on January 12th, at the Westin Bayshore. It’s pretty much the biggest wedding show in the Vancouver area, I even remember hearing ads for it on the radio when I was in elementary school.

2014-01-12 13.29.20To be honest, I don’t know how any bride-to-be could go to that show without their groom-to-be… the swag bag was absolutely massive, and when I got home I threw it on my bathroom scale and it came out to about 15lbs! Poor Jason had to lug that thing around the whole time… and to be honest, it was a very disappointing swag bag. At the little wedding show I went to last year out in Coquitlam, there were chocolates, candles, y’know… actual swag. 2014-01-12 14.31.33But the wedding fair… their “swag” consisted of quite literally, just paper. I got a few free magazines, which is about as close to swag as you’re going to get there, but I haven’t even bothered to read them because I am really just so done with bridal magazines. They’re all the same, wedding dress after wedding dress that I don’t need (because I already have mine) and couldn’t afford even if I wanted them, and diamond engagement rings… because people who are engaged somehow need to buy engagement rings? I kind of thought that was the whole… husband-to-be’s job to buy you an engagement ring before he asked you to marry him? I’d understand if they were wedding bands but… 9 times out of 10, nope.

2014-01-12 13.22.46

He could sell me anything!

All in all, while it did get my wedding excitement going and I had a fun time out with my hubby, I was relatively disappointed in the wedding fair itself. If I had to guess, I’d say it was 50% travel agencies, 15% venues, 15% photographers, 10% DJ companies, and 10% other stuff. Considering we’re planning to hold off on honeymoon planning until after the wedding, and we already have our venues, photographer, and DJ figured out… it wasn’t worth the time nor money. Although, one vendor brought their adorable dog with them to the show (best. sales. strategy. ever), so maybe meeting that little guy made it worth it.

Limousines and Weddingful… my new favourite go-to- wedding site!
I did get a couple of good things out of that show however, one is my new favourite wedding resource, weddingful.com. Basically they list all the nearby wedding vendors by category, they include reviews, ratings, prices, discounts, and availability for your wedding day. The weddingful booth had a little wheel you could spin for prizes and discounts, I actually managed to spin the wheel and get the best prize, 15% off anything booked through weddingful!

So, my awesome maid of honour did some phoning and research and I managed to get my limousines all booked, and took advantage of not only the 15% off I received at the wedding fair, but also a 20% discount they had through their site as well! All in all, I booked 2 limousines for 4 hours with King Limousine Service for only about $665.

Invitations
The other big thing I got out of the wedding show was a business card from Making Memories Scrapbooking. They do wonderful custom invitations, and I was very impressed with the sample invitation they included with their pamphlet. So, the best man and I went over there last week and over a few hours I went through countless invitation samples they had, picked out 10-15 of them that each had an aspect that I liked (font, colour, embossing, etc). By the time we left, I had put together a design that I really liked, and they should be ready to pick up this week. I saved a little money by ordering them not assembled, with the plan that between my parents, Jason, the best man, and maid of honour, we could get them all put together in a night. I also saved some money by buying the paper to make my own RSVP cards, and managed to get the design finished and all the cards printed up last night. All in all, it came to about $573 for 60 invitations, along with enough stamps to send them all out and to pre-stamp the RSVP envelopes.

 

One Ring to Rule Them All… (Yep, I went there.)
The final good thing I got out of the wedding fair, is that I spoke to Michael Hill Jewelers. Some time ago, one of the diamonds had fallen out of my engagement ring (I was so devastated!). So I stopped by the Michael Hill booth at the show and asked if I brought the ring in, if they’d be able to replace the diamond and for how much. I spoke to the store manager from the Metrotown location and he was so nice, and said they would do it for $30, no problem.

2014-01-16 17.15.51So, a couple weeks back, the best man and I ran over to Metrotown to get the ring fixed, and well… everything was just so shiny and pretty… long story short, I saw a wedding band that I immediately fell in love with. It’s an enhancer style wedding band, meaning it takes the place of both the wedding band and the anniversary band, so in my eyes I felt that it was definitely worth the price because I’m getting two rings for one! 0.5ct, blue and white diamonds, white gold, and matches my engagement ring perfectly. It was even already the right size! Unfortunately, my engagement ring was not made for it… and didn’t quite fit, but they told me that they could send it in with my engagement ring and ask the goldsmith to adjust the band so that the engagement ring fits nicely within the band.

2014-01-28 20.49.15The ring was regular $1500, and they offered it to me for $1200, plus free rhodium plating for my engagement ring so the metal would match a little better to the wedding band. It was a lot of money, and I was originally planning to buy a ring I had seen online for only about $300, so we went off to think about it, grabbed a coffee, and walked around the mall looking in other jewellery stores. None of the other stores even had the enhancer style wedding bands, let alone ones with blue diamonds… until we went to People’s Jewelers. They not only had an enhancer style wedding band with blue and white diamonds… they had the same wedding band that Michael Hill had. They were selling theirs for $999, and had a deal on for zero tax. Since Michael Hill already had my engagement ring, and since the manager was so nice at the show, I went back to Michaels to give them the opportunity to keep my business. 2014-01-28 20.49.46I told them I could get the exact same ring at People’s for $999 after tax, they not only honoured that price they also included the complimentary rhodium plating for the engagement ring! So I went and picked up the rings last week, and they’re perfect! The engagement ring looks like it was made for the wedding band, and fits perfectly. The only downside is that Jason won’t let me wear the wedding band until we’re married! ๐Ÿ˜ฆ

Something Old, Something New, Something Borrowed, and Something Blue!
2014-02-04 15.44.09Over the past few months I have been slowly gathering my wedding accessories… I stopped in at a little shop just about a block away sometime before Christmas, and found a necklace I absolutely loved. It was a little difficult to decide whether I should get it as my wedding colours are black, white, and pink, and the necklace is silver and blue, but I opted to go with it because it would match my rings. My good friend, neighbour, and bridesmaid gave me two pairs of earrings (I have 2 holes in my ears) for Christmas that I mentioned I would love to wear for the wedding. 2013-12-13 22.33.38And I managed to find my wedding shoes on sale at Shoe Warehouse. Unfortunately the shoes are a little too white compared to my dress which is just off-white, but they are dyeable so I will be hesitantly experimenting with that in the near future…

2014-02-04 15.47.43While that pretty well covers my something new, my Mom has helped me out with finding my something old, something borrowed, and something blue by not only letting me pick out a purse from her vintage and antique purse collection, but also by lending me a beautiful blue handkerchief that was hand-sewn by Austrian nuns. I picked out a black and pink beaded purse (to match my wedding colours) from the 1940’s. There were many other purses I liked but they were either not quite the right colours, or not quite big enough to fit my cell phone.

I am currently working on the veil, the mother of a mutual friend of my maid of honour and I is a seamstress and agreed to make my veil for me (I have specific tastes). All I need to do is go out and get the material, and she is going make it for the reasonable price of $12/hr with an estimate of about 3 hours.

I also happened to pick up some flip-flops for the honeymoon (when we get to that) while I was out this past weekend… they write “Just Married” in the sand when you walk!

A Few Major’s
There are a few important, but… scattered things that we worked out over the past couple months as well. Firstly, we hired our DJ for the reception. My maid of honour recommended a friend of hers, DJ Zavarella, and the price was pretty awesome! $475 for a wedding DJ? I’m sold!

Another major, was well… the wedding party. It was a little up in the air because we weren’t sure who would be able to make it out to the wedding from Wales to be there for Jason. Unfortunately it doesn’t look like many will be able to come, but on the positive I have some wonderful friends and family who are more than willing to stand up there beside the both of us. My best friend, Craig, will be best man, my best girl-friend (aka my wifey), Jess, will be my maid of honour. Jason’s sister, Michelle, as well as my neighbour and good friend, Valerie, being bridesmaids. My brothers, Brad and Grant, will both be groomsmen, with Brad hesitantly agreeing to MC as well. Michelle’s kids, Daniel and Bethan, will be ringbearer and flowergirl respectively ๐Ÿ™‚

2014-01-16 19.49.19

Pink Vests!

So of course, once we figured out the wedding party, the next step was to get our tuxedos sorted. I’m really more of a fan of the “suit-style” tuxedo, not really fond of shiny lapels… so we went for black Vera Wang suit-style tuxedos, white shirts (no ruffles!), black ties, with pink vests for the groomsmen, and a white vest for Jason. I think it looks pretty good!

We’re planning on heading out this weekend to get the bridesmaids dresses picked out, then the pressure will be much lighter!

Getting Into My Wedding Bod…
Some of you may be following my other blog, focused on my dieting and weight loss progress, but for those who aren’t, here’s a small progress update. I started my wedding diet back in September and am proud to say that I am coming along very well! I am officially more than half way to my goal weight, and while I don’t think that I will reach that by the wedding, I am already more than happy with the progress I have made. I am officially down 43lbs since September 16th, and my wedding dress is fitting better and better all the time.

Bits and Pieces (Mostly Decor)
Finally… (yes, this is coming to an end!) there are a lot of little bits and pieces that we’ve gathered, mostly decorations. Craig, Jess, Jason, my parents, and I went over to the reception site a couple weeks ago and took measurements of practically everything. I found out that the hotel will put vases with floating candles in the many wall sconces around the reception site at no cost… score! One less expense on decorations, and one less thing to worry about. I also found out that the tentative lunch meeting that was to be scheduled at the reception site for earlier in the day on my wedding day fell through, which means we can decorate the site ourselves and don’t have to put out money on a decorator!

2014-02-04 15.41.40I’ve found that Christmas has provided me with a few decorations to save some money, I set aside some silver birds I had on my tree, and my parents have set aside several boxes of clear Christmas lights. There are a lot of windows at the reception site, with gold rails along most of them. I’m thinking of wrapping the bars with tulle and Christmas lights… so when we go to find fabric for my veil, we’ll also pick out some bolts of tulle.

2014-02-04 17.19.17I picked up four vases (one extra just in case) at the dollar store as well as three white rose rings to go around the bottoms, I plan to use those as the centerpieces for the head table and place the LED roses we bought last summer in each. 2014-02-04 14.09.02I also found some pink butterfly lights at the dollar store for $2 per string, so I cleared out all that they had. They look really pretty on the box, but after getting them home and turning them on, it turns out the lights are red and not clear (as it shows on the box). I think I’ll probably still use them, but they don’t look quite as nice as I expected.

2014-02-04 15.42.42I found some pink and white rose petals at Wal-Mart for $5, a garland of vines and pink roses at Michaels ($14 after a 40% off coupon) to decorate the top of the archway that my Dad made by hand, 2014-02-04 14.22.13and wedding bubbles (instead of rice) at Michael’s for $22 (on sale, plus 40% off coupon). The bubbles are a little plain, but with adding a pinch of pink glitter that I picked up at the dollar store, they look better already. I plan to order some custom ribbon in the next couple of weeks to tie on to the bubbles which should add a nice finishing touch.

2014-02-01 17.09.08Lastly, I found a perfect set of toasting glasses over at a store on west 4th in Kits. They were only $43, and absolutely awesome… Yep, the glass comes out and the stems are joined together as a stand.

We have a lot more ideas for decorations that are in the works, and I have to say that my best man and maid of honour are being absolutely amazing at helping me get organized and helping me to get out there and get things done! Unfortunately Jason has been working crazy long hours lately as the project he is working on is coming to a close (as much as 20 hour work days), so I know I would not be able to do all of this without them!

Phew! Okay! That’s all for now ๐Ÿ™‚ Thanks for reading everyone!

Days Until the Wedding: 2 months, 27 days
Total Cost So Far: $11,556.57

Achievement Unlocked: Centrepieces! … and Engagement Photos!

Well, it’s been awhile since my last update… mainly because the whole wedding planning has slowed down quite a bit. Most of the real “urgent” things have been booked, the only things I really want to get on top of in the next month or two is the transportation and DJ. Otherwise, things are pretty relaxed at the moment… calm before the storm I expect!

I did manage to get all the pieces for my centrepieces though! Over the labour day long weekend Michaels had a 50% off coupon, so my parents printed off about 15 coupons and we drove to nearly every Michaels in the lower mainland, and between my parents, Jason, and myself we picked up enough oversized wine glasses to have one per table plus an extra “just in case”.

Then there was one small panic attack however… the lily pads I bought at Dollarama turned out to be a summer item and pretty much the day after I bought all the white and pinks ones at the Dollarama nearest to me, all the others in the lower mainland decided to pack their summer stuff away and bring out their fall items… My Dad called around to every store and none had the lilypads out for sale anymore, and none could be convinced to unpack them for us. Just when I was about to give up, Jason suggested we go to the Richmond Night Market because last year when we visited the night market he had bought me a lilypad just like as the ones I was looking for, but in a different colour. As luck would have it, we found a booth at the market that had the lilypads, although they didn’t have the same colour of pink I wanted, they did have plenty of white ones, so I bought extra white and I’ll see about scouting out Dollarama in the Spring to look for some pink ones. But the main point is, the panic is over ๐Ÿ™‚

I had a little trouble with the diamond shaped gems as well, I bought all the clear gems that the Dollarama nearest to me had, but I had to visit about 3 or 4 other stores before I found one that had more.

So, we have the glasses, the gems, the lilypads, and a few weeks ago the submersible LEDs arrived in the mail followed shortly by the votive candles. Centrepieces… complete!

Stormy likes the LEDs too!

Stormy likes the LEDs too!

The submersible LEDs are better than I expected, they’re small, they sink regardless of carbonation, and the colours are beautiful. The votive candles ended up being even more expensive than expected due to custom fees… but still a pretty decent price in the end. I tested one out and it lasted more than 11 hours, so I’m pretty happy with them as well.

The next step was to figure out what liquid to use… we bought a bottle of non-generic brand club soda, a bottle of 7-Up, and we were going to buy a bottle of raspberry gingerale but they didn’t have any in stock. After testing and comparing, we were probably better off not buying the gingerale because it was pretty obvious from the 7-Up that regular soft drinks are heavier than the gems and/or too carbonated because the gems floated to the top and there was no way of getting them to sink. So, we’ll go with club soda… they do float at the top to start but then after maybe half an hour they begin to move, sink, float, and generally look epic.


Another item we checked off our list recently was to get our engagement photos done. My brother was amazing enough to do it as a wedding gift for us, and the photos turned out pretty great! Here are a few of my favourites…

Days Until the Wedding: 6 months, 26 days
Total Cost So Far: $10,225.96

“THE Dress” and Centrepieces

Big news today! I found…. THE dress! Obviously I can’t post any photos of it, but I’m sure there will be many photos in about 8 and a half months ๐Ÿ˜›

The wonderful thing is that it was (nearly) the first dress I tried on. I went to one dress shop about 3 or 4 months ago just for fun, I was pretty sure I wouldn’t be seriously looking until November or December to give myself enough time to get a bit more in shape. They didn’t have much in my size that I liked at that shop, but it was still fun to try a couple on.

And then, a few days ago my Mom told me she found a bridal liquidation shop online and suggested we go check it out. So, this past Saturday we had planned to take a trip out and scout some places that may have cheap decor and cake making materials, so my Mom said that I should leave Jason at home and we could head over to Action Bridal Liquidators and see what they have to offer. We weren’t sure what kind of prices they would have, they advertised 70% off retail prices, but without actually posting any prices that could mean anything.

I’m not going to lie, the place is pretty overwhelming to walk in to. It was absolutely PACKED with row after row of racks and racks of wedding dresses (as well as tuxedos, bridesmaids dresses, mother of the bride/groom dresses, accessories, etc). We were directed to the racks that would have my size, and I immediately picked out two to try on. I tried the first dress, and it fit nearly perfectly and looked amazing. My Mom loved it, my Dad loved it, the sales girls loved it, and so did I. It was a dress made for me! I did try on the other I picked out as well as a couple the sales girl picked out for me, but in the end I decided to go ahead with the first dress because it was honestly just perfect. The retail tag price for the dress was $1600 and they were selling it for $630, but they gave it to us for $500 plus tax, which came in well under my $800 budget. Fortunately it is made in such a way that I can still lose weight and it wouldn’t be too difficult to alter.

So… that’s done! One more big step towards the big day complete.

While I was out with my parents we also stopped at a couple of other places to look around. Firstly we stopped at Scoop-N-Save, which is a store that caters specifically for cake baking and decorating. That store was pretty overwhelming too, but I think it was mostly because I was very much out of my depth. I realized pretty quickly that we were going about this the wrong way and that we would be better off going home and putting together a plan of what we want the cake to look like, and then go to Scoop-N-Save for supplies, instead of just blindly spending money on items we wouldn’t really know if we would or wouldn’t need.

Next, we stopped at Creative Packaging. Not really for anything specific, although I did think they may have some invitation paper or ideas, but generally to get some inspiration. Unfortunately I didn’t come away with much, aside from a couple packages of cupcake cups.

Cupcake cups to line the table favour boxes.

Cupcake cups to line the table favour boxes.

I had been looking for very small cupcake cups to line the table favour boxes before filling them with the custom M&M’s, and they just so happened to have the right size at 100 for $1.39.

Creative Packaging does have some awesome and inspirational ideas, and I would definitely recommend checking them out for your own wedding planning ideas, but in the end it wasn’t right for me.

The last place we stopped at was Michaels (again). After our last vase search I went away and thought about the centrepiece plan that I had, and decided that I really needed to re-vamp the whole idea. The idea of the different sized vases filled with water, gems, submerged flowers, and floating candles was very beautiful, but requires so many small pieces that the effort and price was just not worth it. At the end of the day, if I’m willing to be more flexible and open-minded to different ideas, I could end up with a centrepiece that is just as beautiful for a fraction of the price. 2013-08-25 18.03.38So that’s what I did… Last time I was at Michaels I had seen some large vases shaped like oversized champagne glasses, and I absolutely loved them. I kept them in mind and toyed with the idea of using them as decorations on the head table. But after taking a step back to re-think the centrepieces, I thought it may just work out to use those instead. Ultimately 1 vase per table will be cheaper than 4 or 5, and in all my browsing on pinterest I must have seen at least 10 different variations on the vases with flowers, water, gems, and candles idea…

However, I have never seen any photos of centrepieces using an oversized champagne glass! The glasses are $27.99 each, but Michaels seems to put out a 40% off coupon every week that brings it down to $18.81 each (after taxes), which after looking around online, turns out isn’t too bad! Between Jason, my parents, and myself, we should have no problem getting 10 champagne glasses before the wedding. So we stopped at Michaels and I picked up one glass to experiment on, and today Jason and I went over to the local dollar store to see about getting some things to test out our ideas with (and only spent $16.68!).

Experimentation time!

Experimentation time!

We picked up some clear acrylic diamond-shaped gems for the bottom of the glass, some club soda (to keep it looking fizzy!), and a few other things.

We were a little surprised to find that when we put the gems in the bottom and poured in the club soda, the gems floated… at first it was disappointing, but then we noticed that the only thing making them float was the carbonation of the club soda, and that they weren’t staying at the top but actually moving up and down in the glass which gave a pretty awesome effect. We had some smaller, pink acrylic gems that we added as well but decided to take them out because they actually were floating. I added a couple drops of red food colouring to the club soda to give it a pink hue, and added a floating water lily… and voila! Centrepiece design achieved! My Mom and I prefer the pink lily, while Jason and one of my bridesmaids, Valerie, preferred the white lily, so we will probably mix and match and have some of both.

We did notice that the club soda didn’t stay fizzy for very long, so we are going to have to do some research and experiment with various ideas before we find something that will last the duration of the reception. If anyone out there has any ideas, please do comment! ๐Ÿ™‚ Valerie made a few suggestions, but I am pretty firm on wanting it to look fizzy and carbonated and most importantly, like champagne would look, and not foamy, frothy, or smokey.

I would definitely like to add a submersible LED (preferably one that changes colour) into the bottom of the glass, amongst the gems, so I did some research and found the cheapest place I could find them was actually from Amazon, at $9.99 for 10. I ordered 2 packs and after shipping, it came to $35.95.

I also plan to scatter extra diamond gems around the base of the glass, and add a few votive candles as well. I found a great site that has votive candles for very cheap, although I found out that the deal isn’t quiteย as good for us Canadian shoppers, but to be honest, it’s still a pretty good price over all. 72 votive candles + 72 candle holders in various colours for $39.99. Unfortunately, the shipping ended up being $35.32… but still, that’s only just over $1 per candle, and it includes the holder as well. Really, not a bad price at all, and the votives last up to 10 hours which is perfect. So, I placed the order and they are on their way!

All in all, I calculated the price for all the champagne glass centrepieces to be roughly $350, whereas with the old vase/flower/gems/water/candle idea we were looking at somewhere around the $625 range.

So, with that there goes another detail pretty much complete! Things are coming along quite nicely, and we still have several months to go!

Days Until the Wedding: 8 months, 9 days
Total Cost So Far: $10,043.96