Wednesday, May 25, 2011

A Quick Bunting Tutorial

The second little detail I conquered for our party wasn't really Disney related at all.  But visions of bunting were swirling around in my head, and I knew our Countdown was the perfect opportunity to try my hand at this adorable darling of the wedding world:

Bundles of bunting!
I haven't measured out how much I made, but I'd estimate it's somewhere around 60ft.  Yikes.  The whole project took me about four nights: two to cut out the triangles, two to glue them on string (or, about 8 episodes of Battlestar Galactica).  Supplies were minimal, just scrapbook paper and embroidery thread - I ended up using ten sheets of paper total.

Materials from
For the most part, I followed the mini-bunting tutorial that Mrs. Stripes posted on Weddingbee.  However, after a day or two of fruitless searching, I couldn't find a diamond or triangle punch for a decent price.  The frugal part of me didn't want to spend $13.99 on a crafty puncher that I'd only use for one project.  So instead, I cut out the pennants using regular scissors.  Here's the easy way to fold and cut your paper for perfect 2" x 1.5" pennants:

Not my photo, but you get the idea [src]
1.  Accordion fold your paper so that each fold is as long as you want your pennants.  For 12"x12" scrapbook paper, this meant folding it 6 times so that each fold was 2" across.

2.  Cut your strip in half, and then fourths.  Now your strip should be 2" x 3", fold it in half one more time:

3.  At this point your paper is about 12 layers thick, but you should still be able to cut it.  Cut from the corners of the short end to the middle of the long end to cut out your triangle:

The benefit of this is that in addition to the 6 pennants you cut out, you get another 3 pennants along the folded edge.  This way, each sheet of paper should yield 32 flags.  Plus, they're pre-folded!

From there, I just used a glue stick and pasted them on my embroidery string at regular intervals.  I liked the look with a little bit of spacing, but you could paste them so they touch, too.  And voila!

Kitties love bunting, too
*All personal photos unless otherwise noted

Monday, May 23, 2011

Countdown to... Countdown!

We're a week away from my and M's 365 Day Countdown Party, which means preparations are in high gear!  (It also means we're almost a year away from our wedding...eek!)  We've been planning this party for almost a month, but somehow there's still a TON to do.  I've been doing my best to tackle some of my DIY projects early on, but of course they're the smallest of details that probably no one will notice but me.  Still, they make me happy and I'm here to share them with you, fellow brides, who understand why vintage teacups and washi tape are absolute essentials.  Right??

As I've mentioned, our Countdown Party is Disney themed.  And what better way to throw a party than to take some inspiration from the wackiest party in Wonderland....

From Disney's Alice in Wonderland

Since learning about bridal blogging, I've swooned over garden-party weddings complete with vintage saucers, but that kind of wedding is not in the cards for us.  However, since our e-party is on a much smaller scale, we can bring a little of that whimsy to life!  I'm thinking vintage teacups to serve punch, and some classic Alice catchphrases:

Drink tags and Washi-tape flags
Punch cups

The drink tags are made with shipping labels and tied with bakers twine.  After my first draft decorating the drink tags I decided to add some flair with a gold calligraphy pen.  The flags are just washi tape wrapped around tall toothpicks with some decorative cuts to the end.  I cut them up with scissors, but I bet if you have a triangle or diamond punch it would go even faster.  I'm planning to stick them into cupcakes or some sturdy hors d'oeuvres. 

The shipping tags, washi tape, and bakers twine I bought from a cute etsy store, Parcel and Paper, who offers an abundance of adorable paper products.  The teacup pictured above was bought at my local thrift store.  I've collected about 20 mismatched teacups so far and I'm looking forward to seeing how they all look together (after a run through the dishwasher...). 

Have you had any dashed wedding plans brought to life in other ways?  How do feel about small details - waste of time, or worth it?

Friday, May 20, 2011


Last Saturday, M's parents invited us over for (as they named it) a "Welcome Y to the Family!" party.  M is the eldest of three boys, so his mom is pretty excited about finally having a girl in the family.  Her and her husband put together a wonderful afternoon of M's favorite foods (teriyaki beef and kalua pig), a whole lotta family, and a wine tasting with wines from our vineyard!  I didn't get to take any pictures because I was so busy getting wedding advice and eating delicious gouda, so you'll have to settle for some pictures of our delicious wine.

Tasting room at OHV
Let me just say, I love the wines at our venue.  When we were picking a vineyard our decision was probably based 60% on aesthetics, 30% on wine, and maybe 10% on other stuff like convenience, price, blah blah blah.  I know, we're terrible.  That said, I felt super lucky that we stumbled on a place with a gorgeous view and a fantastic selection of wines.  Especially since the first day we visited, tasting the wine was about all we could do.

However, I'm well aware that my taste in wines is incredibly biased toward sweet, fruity wines.  So when we first thought about what we'd be serving at our wedding, I immediately voted for the crisp, fruity rosé and the sweeter vidal blanc.  In my mind that fit the requirements of a white and a red and everyone would be happy (especially me).  Luckily, the wine tasting that M's mom organized gave me a lot of insight into what wines his family liked and didn't like, who might drink wine and who would opt for beer/liquor, and just how many wines we should serve.

So without further ado, our first draft at a wine list:

Rosie's Rosé and Vidal Blanc

Woohoo!  Maybe I don't have terrible taste after all!  Rosie's Rosé was almost universally liked by everyone at the party, and was the first bottle to empty after the tasting.  The Vidal was slightly less popular, but definitely won out the whites category (okay, maybe it was the only wine in the whites category).  M's brother/best man liked it the best, as well as a few of his aunts.  And it's certainly my favorite, so I suppose that's worth something...!

Wicked Bottom

I always think of this Chambourcin as OHV's signature red, so I was happily surprised to see that it was the favorite red wine, winning out over their Cabernet Franc and the fruity an Sambradh.   Although I didn't anticipate serving a red wine at our reception, knowing that so many of M's uncles liked it made me think twice. 


Chambourcin Dessert Wine

Another unanticipated favorite was the dessert wine.  Not pictured on OHV's website, M and I picked up a bottle during our first visit after enjoying it at the tasting.  I didn't think it would appeal to most people since it's very berry sweet, but to my surprise, everyone loved it.  If we have room in our budget, I could definitely see serving a glass during the cake cutting - sort of like the opposite of a champagne toast!

As you can tell, we ended up doubling our list.  Luckily, having our wedding at a vineyard gives us a lot of options for wine.  We could even hold a tasting during the reception if we wanted!  OHV has made it easy for us to pick and choose bottles and aren't limiting us to buy in crate quantities.  Plus if we run out of an unexpected favorite, they'll walk up to the tasting room and grab a few more bottles.  Of course, we'll probably have to do some more "research" at our Countdown Party next weekend, but this was a great start at finding out what wine we should serve.

And thanks Mr. and Mrs. T - you threw us an awesome party!  Can't wait to get down with you guys at the reception!  

What about you guys - what are you serving?  Did you get any input from friends and family?  And have I convinced you VA brides to go buy a bottle of OHV wine yet?  ;)  (pssst:  They sell it at Total Wine...)

All pictures from Old House Vineyard's website, unless otherwise stated.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Thrifting Finds

A couple of weekends ago, M and I went down to Culpeper to visit our wedding venue and pick up some wine.  (The perks of getting married at a vineyard, let me tell you them...)  When we got off the highway, M saw an army surplus store and asked if we could go in so he could get some camo pants for paintball.  Since I'd been dragging him around to talk to caterers, I thought it was only fair that we stop in for a minute.  As we pulled in he pointed out that it was an indoor flea market as well, and pointed to some rugs they had in the front.  I was not optimistic, but decided to browse the cramped little flea market while he shopped for pants.

Slindy's Flea Market (courtesy of Google satellite view)
Talk about your diamonds in the rough.  Innocuous from the outside, Slindy's was a treasure trove inside.  The cramped room we walked into led to an underground basement of 7 or 8 rooms crammed high with furniture, vases, records, dishes, anything you could wish for*.  M quickly abandoned his search for pants and we spent the next hour investigating the flea market.  We picked up some cool stuff, but there were a lot of things I would have liked to get if I'd known what to do with them.

[personal photo]
There was an entire room filled with vases - I counted over 70 of the red vases on the top shelf, and probably 30 of the little blue vases on the bottom.  We seriously considered making red one of our wedding colors when we found out they were all on sale for $1 each. 

[personal photo]
I found about two dozen of these gold hanging pots in two different sizes.  I didn't pick any up, but I'm thinking about buying them the next time we're down there.  What do you think - wedding decor?  They're about 4 in and 6 in across.  I'm considering putting candles or flowers in them and hanging them around our venue, which already has hooks on the outer walls.  Any ideas?  Anyone know what these actually are??

Luckily we did find a few things that we bought right away, I'll share those with you guys a little later.  In the meanwhile, if you're in Culpeper, I recommend checking out Slindy's (especially if your wedding colors are red and you need vases... just saying). 

*Except a cake stand.  I was wishing for a cake stand.  :(

Monday, May 16, 2011

Flower Power

A long time ago (like, last month), I promised myself I would never use flower balls or pomanders for our wedding decor.  They were just too everywhere, I thought.  It seemed like every bridal blog had a tutorial for tissue paper pomanders, and every bride had at least a few strung up at her reception.

But lately, images like these have been changing my mind...


Breathtaking, no? [src]

Pomanders for the flower girl are pretty common, but what about...

Mini flower balls for the bridesmaids...  [source]
...Or a whimsical moss ball bouquet for the bride? [from]

Still, it wasn't until I saw this picture that I realized how beautiful these little fluffy flowers looked as aisle decor:


Love at first sight?  I think so!  I went out and bought 16 short shepherd's hooks at Dollar Tree practically the next day.  My grand vision is to spray paint them gold and hang a mix of purple flower balls and lanterns on each side of the aisle.  Our ceremony site has white chairs like the ones pictures above, and the walkway from the boardwalk to the pergola is paved with slate flagstones so I think the overall effect will be pretty similar to my inspiration photo.

Like this maybe?  [src above, photoshopped by moi]

So what's your opinion on pomanders?  Love them?  Hate them?  Have you ever had a strong opinion change the more you looked at pictures?

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Be Our Guest

I'm pretty sure all our Countdown Party invites are out by now, so time to show them off! :)

I knew from the get-go that I wanted a soft, whimsical looking invite. I wanted balloons like in Up and nothing too overtly Disney. I was digging pastels and ended up using purple and yellow just because I like those colors so much.  I added a light blue so it didn't took too much like wedding-color overload.  And finally, we decided on the phrase, "Be our guest" to clue people in on what we were planning:

Attempt 1 [personal photo]
My first try was with the big round balloons, which I liked, but I really didn't like the weird spacing for the information at the bottom.  M said my balloons looked like lollipops, which is understandable, and although I liked the presence/presents pun, it felt weird to write it in.  To be honest, including anything about presents (even not wanting them) seemed grabby to me.

I made a few changes, came up with a different layout, and added in the free Waltograph font I ended up using on the envelopes:

Final version [personal photo]
On the back, I created a map of our neighborhood since parking is a little weird:

[personal photo]
It wasn't until after everything was printed that I noticed a number of mistakes.  Did you see the big, glaring error?  Here's a hint, it's correct on my first version and terribly, terribly wrong on the final version.  ....That's right, we're hosting a party in the past.  2010 to be precise.  Whoops.  If I had thought through it more I would have changed the wording to "Saturday, May 28" so there would be no confusion, but oh well.  Hopefully everyone will get what we mean. 

The other errors were less important, but still annoying: 
1) I'd really meant to have round balloons like the first draft, but somewhere along the line they got stretched into oval.  Not a big deal, but I wish I'd noticed earlier so I could have fixed it. 
2)  The map on the back is really hard to read where parking/our house is.  If I'd thought it through more, I would have made it bigger.  Luckily most of our guests have been to our house and dealt with the unusual parking situation before.

I'd run the draft by M and my mom, but none of us found these errors until it was too late.  Another lesson learned for invites: show a draft to an uninterested party and triple, quadruple, quintuple check it!

Our final, printed invite [personal photo]

Monday, May 9, 2011

Enveloper Pusher

Last week, M and I mailed the invites to our Countdown Party.  It was my first foray into the wonderful world of stationary and design and a good crash course for DIYing our save the dates and actual wedding invites.  I designed the invitation, then outsourced the printing to VistaPrint because I had a $50 for $10 Living Social deal I wanted to use.  We went with flat cards with a glossy, color front and matte black/white back.  But I'll reveal those to you on Wednesday, when hopefully all our guests have gotten them!

Today we're talking envelopes.  Who knew that such a little package could yield such fun (and anguish)?  I used the default white paper envelopes that VistaPrint gave us for free, mostly because the cards were such a weird size I didn't want to try and match envelopes.  It made me sad that they weren't more colorful, but luckily I solved the problem myself by accident...

[personal photo]
About halfway through printing we started running out of ink, and my printer produced some awesome color effects!  Addresses printed in purple and fuchsia – and one lucky guest who got a rainbow-effect with multiple colors!  Eventually we had to give up and buy more ink because the addresses became illegible, but I think about 30% of our guests got a cool color for their address.

Clearly I didn't mind the color change, and buying more ink only set us back a day and maybe 3 envelopes that got ruined.  All in all, no big deal, but definitely a cautionary tale for when we print our invites.  I have a feeling I'll be a lot more picky about color, and will be sure to give the task plenty of time.  Another thing to keep in mind is always ordering more envelopes than needed!  Luckily we had extra invites and envelopes, because it took me about 6 tries (on 2 envelopes) to get the text aligned properly, and another 6 or so envelopes messed up when the printer fed wrong.  Again, no big deal because we had the extras.

My favorite part of the whole invite, though, is the stamps.  As soon as I knew we were having a Disney themed e-party, I started searching for stamps.  Unfortunately, the post office doesn't have any current Disney stamps (though they're coming out with an awesome Pixar collection later this summer... so jealous!)


Instead I turned to eBay, and found quite a few options.  I settled on the Disney Romance sheet for obvious reasons, which sold at just a little higher than face value once you added in shipping.  Since they're only 39¢, I found these vintage Walt Disney stamps from 1968 to get up to current letter postage.  Don't they look sweet together?  



 Has anyone else become stamp-obsessed once you started sending (or receiving) invites?  Would you buy vintage stamps off eBay?  

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Surprise, Surprise

This weekend M and I celebrated our two-year dating anniversary.  Yep, we got engaged before we'd even been dating for two years, and what's more, we moved in together after only dating about 3 months.  What can I say?  When you know, you know.

Because we're saving for the wedding we didn't splurge too much on our anniversary.  We thought about going to a Bed and Breakfast for the weekend, but since those can often cost upwards of $300 for two nights we decided to stay a little closer to home.  Just up the street from us is the Reston Town Center - one of my favorite places in Northern Virginia.  We go here all the time for dinner and movies, so when we found out they were having a wine festival on the weekend of our anniversary, we were sold.

Why, yes, now that you mention it, we do love wine!

Not us, but we did enjoy some sipping on the hill [src]
Afterwards, I managed to surprise M with a fancy schmancy room for the night at the Hyatt.  And I mean, really surprise!  I snuck an overnight bag into the car while he wasn't looking, and checked in under the premise of using the lobby bathroom.  I am SO sneaky.  ;)  The cost wasn't nearly as high as those B&Bs, and I upgraded to have champagne and strawberries waiting for us in the room.

Here's what you should know about me.  I love surprises.  I love being surprised, and I love surprising other people (especially M!).  Last year for our anniversary I booked a whole trip in secret, then on the morning we left, doctored up fake airplane tickets for a different (less exciting) location, and didn't reveal that we were actually going to Las Vegas* until we were at the gate.  The look of excitement on his face was completely worth it!

Just chillin with our homie  (personal photo)
So when it comes to our wedding, I don't think I'll be able to resist the urge to surprise him.  Whether it's a groom's gift of cigars, an engraving in his ring, or an upgrade for a vendor service he has his heart set on, I want to give him something special on our big day.  Aside from the perfect wife, of course.  ;)

Did you surprise your groom on your wedding day?  Are you planning to?  You can tell me, I promise I won't let him know!

*Not Las Vecas