Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Classic Art Inspiration

Sorry for the day - I tried to post this yesterday, and Blogger wouldn't let me upload any images!  Whoops...

This weekend, M and I snuck off to New York to surprise my dad for his birthday/Father's Day.  While we were there, we couldn't resist getting a little touristy and visiting some of the attractions, like Rockefeller Center and the Museum of Modern Art.  We don't visit museums too often (though, living near DC, I think I've almost reached black-out in Smithsonian bingo) so it's nice to take a few hours and wander around, viewing the works of the greats.  Of course, being engaged, I couldn't help but wonder how some of those paintings could make their way into a wedding...

Reflections of Clouds on the Water-Lily Pond by Claude Monet

Monet has always been one of my favorite painters, thanks to the influence of my mom and her love of impressionist art. His most famous paintings are the water lily still lifes he spent the later years of his life working on, and I lingered in this room the longest to see his gorgeous triptych up close.

Sources  Center:, 1), 2), 3), 4), 5), 6), 7), 8), 9), 10), 11), 12)

For a Monet inspired wedding, I picture soft pastel blues and greens, with pops of sapphire blue.  Water lilies might be hard to find for a bouquet, but white mums and light blue hydrangeas would work well with this palette too.  Floating centerpeices are one of the easiest DIY projects and would really bring the outdoors into your reception hall.
And of course, if you choose a botanical garden or a Japanese koi pond for your venue, half of your work is done for you!   

So what do you think?  Have you been inspired by classic art at all? 

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Inspiration Round-Up

M and I are off on a secret mission today, so I'm updating quickly and from the past so you'll have something to greet you on Friday.  And what better than some wedding loveliness?  Joining Pinterest has opened me up to a world of awesome pictures, here are some of my faves!

Easy reception decor with a big impact:


I love how they mixed lace with the flowers for extra oomph:


And I thought custom address stamps were cute!  This Etsy seller makes portrait stamps!

SUCH a pretty cake!

I can't find the original source on this one, but it's so sweet!  Let me know if you know the proper credit and I'll update:

Have a happy weekend!

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

I get by with a little help from my friends

If you've been following along so far, you know this much about me: 
  • I procrastinate like no one's business, and 
  • I'm bad at accepting help.
That does not bode well for wedding planning, does it?
The fact is, when M and I first got engaged I spent all my time looking for venues, pricing caterers, oogling photographers... and 4 months later, only one vendor has been booked.  It was past time to get serious, but I was still stalling.  Part of it was bitterness because a few vendors I liked didn't work out (more on that later) and part of it was just bridal brain exhaustion.  Too many decisions and too many options meant I just didn't care anymore.

It was a little like this.  [src]
Luckily, I have some pretty awesome people in my corner.  When I confessed to my MOH, sister Toshella, how much trouble I was having finding a photographer and how they were all starting to blur together, she immediately volunteered to head up the search.  She's the most budget-conscious person I know and has great taste - after all, she hired these amazing photographers for her wedding in New Orleans:

All images (c) Bill and Mendy Wolfe
However, even with MOH S finding photographers in my price range and organizing them in a spreadsheet with price and comments, I was still overwhelmed by taking charge of contacting them, setting up meetings, and making a choice on top of everything else I had to do.  Yikes. 

That's where helper #2 comes in.... my very own husband-to-be.  A lot of brides complain that their fiancés "don't do anything to help out with the wedding."  I'm no exception - I started venting to M last night using those exact same words.  It started out with a whine about how I was three weeks late calling a caterer and how much I hate phone calls, and devolved into me ranting about why I had to do all this stuff anyway, and couldn't he take the initiative to help out?  Maybe it was unfair, but it felt true to my stressed out brain.

Thankfully, what could have been a bad argument turned into a reasonable discussion about what exactly he could take off my plate.  He told me he felt like I had "secret bride criteria" regarding every decision and that he didn't know how to be that picky.  When it came to picking a photographer with a good portfolio, he was clueless.  On the other hand, something that felt stressful to me, like talking to a caterer about what we could afford and what meal options were available, was totally up his alley.  Once we established that we were on the same page regarding catering needs (and that I didn't have any secret formula to decide which is better, Eggplant Parmesan or Three-cheese Tortellini) he took over the task.

And just like that, the two things stressing me out the most were shared between my two biggest supporters.  It feels good to not micro-manage every decision.  And even though there are probably great photographers that I'll never see because they don't make it onto sister Toshella's list, or catering details we won't pursue because M doesn't see them as important, the most important thing is that these decisions are manageable again and we can finally make some forward progress.


Monday, June 13, 2011

Breaking the Ice

There was one aspect of our Countdown Party which almost got left on the chopping block... party games. Having grown up on horror stories of bad bridal shower games and the Newlywed show, I didn't really think that a party game was necessary. However, early on in planning we thought it would be cute to hide "Mickey"s around the house and have people compete to find them. The game was inspired by the Disney tradition of "Hidden Mickeys":

A Hidden Mickey on a carosel ride at the BoardWalk Resort [src]
The Disney official history goes like this: Hidden Mickeys started in the late 1980’s in Epcot as an inside joke among the Imagineers. Hiding Mickey around WDW was just plain fun! However, Jim Hill ( believes in this "unofficial history": Hidden Mickeys were born as the Imagineers were designing Epcot in the late 1970's and early 1980's. At that time, Disney management felt that the characters belonged in the Magic Kingdom only. The Imagineers disagreed and began slipping Mickeys into Epcot! I suspect that Mickey Mouse designs that were previously in place in WDW (and Disneyland) also became known as Hidden Mickeys. Because of the popularity of HM’s, Imagineers are encouraged to place them in new construction. [src]

We made a list 27 places to place HMs around our house, but by the day of the party, still hadn't made a single one.  I was ready to give up on the project, but M recruited my Dad and began cutting Mickey ears out of construction paper and placing them around any circular object they could find! 

Two HMs "hidden" in our Welcome banner
Magnets disguised as HMs

By the start of the party we had all 27 HMs up, and people actually had a blast trying to find them all.  It gave guests something to do when they first arrived, when everyone's a little awkward anyway.  M's brother and Best Man really took to the challenge and found all 27 within the first half hour!

The other party game we played was a variation of the popular Baby Shower "Pin" game.  As guests walked in we gave them a necklace, and instructed them that if they heard someone say the word "wedding" they could steal their beads.  At the end of the night whoever had the most beads would win.

Our friend Andrew won his necklaces legitimately....
I was the worst at this game, naturally!  People kept trying to steal my necklace, so after a while future-FIL gave me all the beads he'd won just to see how quickly I'd run through them.  :D

All in all, it made me think differently about party games.  While they may seem outdated or cheesy, they really did get people comfortable and talking to each other.  I've been to a few weddings where there are icebreakers during the cocktail hour or rehearsal dinner, and after this experience I think it's definitely something we'll include.

How do you all feel about icebreaker games?  Fun or cheesy?  Are you going to include any at your wedding or at a party?

Friday, June 10, 2011

A Memorabilia Museum

One of the Countdown Party decorations I'd planned from the very beginning was a museum-like display of some iconic Disney memorabilia.  Unfortunately, even though I'd had this idea in mind for over a month, and knew almost exactly what I wanted represented, and even bought and painted the frames weeks before our party...

M was kind enough to spray paint the frames that weren't already gold
...well, you guessed it.  This became a last minute DIY project.  I'm not sure why I procrastinated so long on a project I wanted to complete so badly.  I think I was overwhelmed by the enormity of the task, and afraid that it wouldn't turn out exactly as it looked in my head.

But I shouldn't have worried, because after 3 hours of kneeling on the floor with a hot glue gun while my mom made potato salad (mmmm) my Memorabilia Museum turned out exactly how I pictured it!

A compilation of all the frames and their "captions"

I made six displays using frames I'd found in thrift stores, heavy black poster board, ribbon, and props for each movie.  For inspiration, we picked films that were near and dear to us (Aladdin, Beauty & The Beast, and M's favorite, Lilo & Stitch) and some that were more 'classic' like Cinderella and Snow White.  Our guests loved them, and it made me happy to see people wandering around the perimeter of our backyard (where the frames were prettying up our ugly fence) as if it really was a museum. 

My only regrets came from rushing the project to finish it at the last moment.  Although I never intended them to be permanent works of art, some of the backings were already starting to fall off by the end of the night because I'd hot glued them to the frames so carelessly.  My other nit-picky mistake was how the ribbons looked once they were staple-gunned on.  The little corners and ends of ribbon sticking out past the frames could have been fixed so easily and it would have made for a more polished product.  I wish I'd taken to heart the saying, "If a job is worth doing, it's worth doing well"  - and I certainly will in the future!  But I'm glad that we included this in our party,  and I'm sure those frames will find reuse in our wedding decorations...

Monday, June 6, 2011

Countdown Party Recaps!

Hi everyone, and sorry for the lack of updates last week!  I took off Friday and Monday to prepare for our Countdown Party and spend some quality time with my parents and had every intention of sharing some e-party recaps with you guys on Wednesday.  Well... of course, then my computer crashed in a Blue-Screen-Of-Death kind of way and took the rest of the week to fix.

Kitties are always to blame [src]
But I'm back and I have a ton of pictures and stories to tell about our Countdown Party, which was, in a word, LEGEN - (wait for it) - DARY!

M and I thanking everyone for coming out with a toast
We had about 20 people make it out, including both sets of our parents and several of Matt's groomsmen.  I was worried that having an engagement party 3 months after we got engaged - and hosted in our house, nonetheless! - would seem overkill to some guests, but to my delight everyone loved the idea of our "-1 anniversary" party.  It was really heartwarming to have so many people celebrating our relationship and excited to hear details about the wedding.  To anyone who is wavering about hosting their own e-party, I say go for it!

An epic game of Jenga took place

The day of the party was stressful though, and honestly, I don't think it would have been nearly as successful if my parents weren't there.  My mom cooked pretty much all the food while my dad helped us hang decorations.  I thought I'd been proactive by making some of the decorations ahead of time (like my bunting) but there were still SO many things to do that day!  There were a lot of projects we could (and should!) have made in advance, and a few ideas we had to cut because of time.  Overall, it went off without a hitch, but I learned some important lessons that I'll keep in mind for our wedding.  You hear these again and again in the wedding world, but somehow you don't take them to heart until you experience them yourself.  Things like "accept help and delegate!" and "don't procrastinate!" really do ring true.

Dads are always willing to help taste test!

I'm excited to share some of our last-minute projects and decorations with you guys, and share some ideas for those of you who might be planning your own engagement parties.  Stay tuned!