Sunday, April 29, 2012

Sharp dressed men!

We've covered the bridesmaids' attire, so what about the groomsmen? 

Since it's going to be pretty warm in Austin in late September, I immediately nixed the idea of tuxedos.  Our wedding just isn't going to be that formal, and I couldn't picture tuxes at all.  Hot black wool and layers of shirts and vests under the hot Texas sun?  No thank you!  So, I started to toy with the idea of lightweight suits and colorful ties.

Grey might be nice:

Image via Style Me Pretty / Photo by Steve Steinhardt

Image via It's a Bride's Life / Photo by Tinywater Photography

Or khaki?

Image via / Suit from Bonobos
Image via Shorely Chic / Photo by Kat Braman Photography

Or maybe navy!

Image via The Knot / Photo by Andrea Hallgren Photography

And how can you go wrong if the Prince is a fan?

Image via The Urban Gent

I ultimately decided on something very similar to what Prince William is wearing above - the groomsmen will be in navy suits and light blue shirts, with magenta ties.  I purchased matching ties for everyone, but they can all wear their own suits, shirts, and shoes, which is an economical option.  Our dads and Mr. C's stepdad can either wear navy suits, or navy blazers with khakis, and still fit right in for photos and the ceremony.

Just yesterday, my order from Charles Tyrwhitt actually arrived, with ties for Mr. C, the groomsmen, and my dad, and a shirt for Mr. C. 

Snazzy! / Shirt and Tie from Charles Tyrwhitt

And finally, for Mr. C, we were planning to order a custom made navy cotton and silk suit from Indochino.  Should be the least oppressive option in terms of fabrics, and pretty fun to have a custom made suit for the big day.  I also wanted to get him a fun lining color as a surprise.  But alas, they don't have that fabric available any longer, so it's back to the drawing board on the suit. 

Regardless, I can really start to see everything coming together now that I can picture us all standing together in pictures.  Whee!

How did you decide on groom and groomsmen attire?  Did you go with traditional tuxes, or something a little different?

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Home away from home....

Before I chose our wedding date, I checked all the event listings and calendars I could find for the Austin area, and couldn't find anything that coincided with our date.  Shortly after I booked our date, I found out that there is not only a home University of Texas football game that weekend (how could I forget to check that?!), there is also a very large Texas school administrators conference happening, which means a large number of hotel rooms are already booked up or being held for the weekend.

Back in December, I booked small room blocks at two Austin hotels for the Friday and Saturday nights of our wedding weekend - one is downtown within walking distance of bars and such, and one is about 15-20 minutes south of town, on the way to the wedding site.

I found out back in April that the block at the downtown hotel was already full, and we were told we're not able to add more rooms to it, as the hotel was close to sold out and they couldn't offer any additional rooms at discounted rates.  !!!  The other one still had plenty of rooms available, but that hotel is not downtown, which I think is where a lot of our guests would probably prefer to stay.

I feel like we did what we could to suggest that our guests make their reservations early.  We sent a cute little miniMoo card with a link to our website and a suggestion to book hotel rooms early inside our save the dates back in January.  Our website also implores people to book hotel rooms early, as there aren't likely to be reasonably priced rooms available close to downtown if they wait until closer to the event.   We've also told everyone we've talked to that they should book now, not later.

I suppose the guests who want to stay downtown will have to just seek out a room on their own, but they had better do it fast!  We'll still run transportation from both of our suggested hotels out to the wedding site, but now it seems like a lot of guests will still have to get themselves to one of the hotels in order to catch the bus.   I'm just concerned that some guests will wait too long and not have a decent and/or reasonably priced place to stay.

Ugh.  Did anyone else experience this anxiety/frustration regarding accommodations for guests?

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

A collection of cakes...

My aunt makes wedding cakes.  I've watched her work at her kitchen table on cakes, trim, latticework, roses and all that jazz since I was little.  It was a no-brainer to ask her to make our cake for our wedding day, and happily, she has agreed to do it. 

The challenge came in when deciding how the cake-making would work, logistically.  She lives about a five hour drive from the wedding site, which means she'll probably need to bake and freeze the layers ahead of time.  Then she'll need some time in Austin to put the cake together and decorate it.  When staying at a hotel, this proves to be a bit of a challenge.

I did decide one thing that should make life a lot easier - instead of having a stacked/tiered wedding cake, we are going to have several stand-alone layer cakes.  Think something like this:

Photos by Pobke Photography / Cakes by Sugar and Spice Cakes / Event by White Room Events

Or this:
Image via (and cakes by) Sweetapolita

Or this:
Image via Wedding Chicks / Photos by Imaginale Design / 
Cakes by friends and AJ's Fine Foods / Event by Rust and Lace

Maybe we'll have one smaller stacked cake as the one we'll ceremonially cut, like in the images above?  Not sure yet, but I definitely like the idea of different cakes on different platters of varying heights.

I'm also not a fondant girl - give me soft frosting all the way!  And I'm loving the simple but pretty ruffled/swirled look, maybe with some flowers on top for prettiness - here is some more tasty eye candy for you:

Image via Style Me Pretty / Photo by Michael + Anna Costa 

Image via Emmaline Bride / Cake by Call Me Cupcake
Image via design*sponge / Cake stand from Herriott Grace
Image via (and cake by) Objetivo: Cupcake Perfecto

I can just see some beautifully textured cakes perched on pretty platters at our reception.   I can't wait to talk with my aunt to finalize the plan and make sure she has everything she needs to make this work on the day of.  We have to talk flavors, colors, and sizes.  I can almost taste them already!

Did you have a cake at your wedding, or many cakes, or no cake at all?  If you did, how did you decide what your cake would look like?

Monday, April 23, 2012

A stitch in time...

I decided a while ago that for table numbers, I wanted to use embroidery.  We're going with a rustic chic kind of theme, so the home-yness of hand-stitched accents using muslin and thread just felt right to me.

We also decided to name the tables after the parts of a sailboat, since that means more to us than plain ol' numbers, and then we can also avoid any issues with people who might want to be seated at low numbered tables vs. high... (trying to think of everything, here!)

Parts of a boat!  / Image via Maharishi University of Management

I recently sat down with all my tools to give the embroidered names a try.

First I printed out templates for the names, using the same font from our wedding invitations and save-the-dates (Wendy):

That's "mast" and "boom."  

Then I cut some muslin, traced the table name on the muslin with pencil, and placed it into an embroidery hoop.

Can you see the traced version on the muslin?

I started my first attempt with raspberry-colored embroidery thread, but it was just too thin to make an impact.  Then I tried using multiple strands, but it was a bit of pain to keep it from snagging up, and still seemed too light.  Then I remembered some not-too-thick yarn I'd used for a project a while back, and ran to grab a bigger needle and that yarn out of my craft room.

The yarn is too dark, but it makes the right line thickness!
That's the embroidery thread that I started out with on the upper right of the photo.

Bingo!  That would work.  I ordered the mulberry color and patiently awaited its arrival.  It got here this weekend so I sat down to start over again on the "boom" hoop - and this is the result!


Using this awesome guide from Mary Corbet's Needle n' Thread, I chose stem stitch to "write" the name with thread.  Stem stitch gives it the neat rope effect.  I think it turned out pretty well!

Pretty rope effect of stem stitch.

Can't wait to do something like 20 more of these...

What did you use for your table names/numbers?  Did you try a DIY project?

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Kick up your heels!

I've already posted about shoes once.  I do so love shoes.

I've been keeping an eye on those blue Kate Spades.  Let's all remind ourselves how pretty they are:

Oooh...ahhhh.... / Kate Spade Karmen / Image via Endless

I haven't pounced on them yet because I am waiting for them to be marked down.  Still love them, though.

One recent Friday morning at work, one of my coworkers mentioned to me that the Gilt sale for the day was going to be all wedding-related.  I managed to grab a moment just after noon when the sale opened to pop online and see what was listed.   As I scrolled through the shoe listings, I came across these:

Screenshot from my shopping adventure on Gilt

Yes, those pretty little numbers are Kate Spades!  For half-price!  I flirted with the idea of the light blue for a moment, but my size disappeared as I was checking them out.  Then I hopped over to look at the magenta, and thought they just might be the perfect pop of color under my dress.  Similar to the bridesmaids dresses, but not too matchy-matchy...

Kate Spade Cam Too / Image via Gilt

Into my shopping cart they went, and in a few days they will be on their way to me!  Even if they turn out not to be "the" shoes (I do still love the blue Karmens...and I've definitely heard of brides going through multiple purchases before finding the right ones), I was excited to find them. I can't wait to check them out in person and try them on when they arrive.

Did you go with colored shoes for your wedding?  What pop of color did you choose?

Saturday, April 21, 2012

Lady in red...

Um.  Have you seen the Vera Wang dresses from Bridal Market this year?   They. Are. Gorgeous.  And RED!  Here are three of my favorites:

Vera Wang / Image via Merci New York
Vera Wang / Image via Merci New York
Vera Wang / Image via Merci New York

I mean, wow.  If I had the guts to go for a red gown, these would definitely be at the top of my list.

Did you think about going with a non-white/ivory wedding gown?  What color caught your eye?

Friday, April 20, 2012

Crowning glory...

For many years now, I've worn my hair relatively short, and straight.  This despite the fact that my hair is actually curly.  (Grass is always greener syndrome?!)   When I met Mr. C, back in the fall of 2007, my hair was short and straight, not to mention blonde.  

Mr. C and me on our third date in November 2007!  Blond hair, short(ish), and straight.
That's Bosley sneaking into the photo on the bottom right.

 Over the years that we've known each other, I've gone from that to a few other lengths and colors:

Longer, and a bit darker, but still straight - fall 2009.

Shorter again, and darker still...and straight - August 2010.

No dyeing involved in the darker color, but rather the lack of highlighting.  That last photo is back to my full natural color.

In spring of 2011, I decided to go back to my full natural texture, too.
The night of our engagement in October 2011 - still dark, but now longer and curly!

I've been growing it out for about a year, and I think by September it should be perfect for a pretty updo on our wedding day.  Maybe something like one of these:

Image via Style Me Pretty / Photo by Heidi Ryder Photography

Image via The Knot / Photo by Eric Cable

Have any of you grown out your hair for your wedding?  Or decided to stop fighting your natural texture?

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Music to process by...

(Yup, I just said proCESS.  As in, walking down the aisle.  Try it with a British accent and it sounds even more awesome!)

I am a girl who loves music.  I was in band and orchestra for years (clarinets rule!)  Once I got to college, I got involved in other things, but my love for music remained.

I haven't been able to picture the whole ceremony just yet, but I have known from the beginning that I would like live music for the processional and recessional.  I was leaning toward a string trio or quartet, but I couldn't quite determine what kind of music they should play.  Classical is the traditional route, and I am a fan (see band/orchestra involvement above), but Mr. C is not the band/orchestra kid that I am, so that didn't seem like the right choice as it wouldn't mean that much to him.  I figured I'd just poke around and see what I found, and maybe it would work itself out.  Perhaps there would be some people who would learn some popular songs for our event?

I did some research on string quartets, trios, and duos in Austin, but wasn't really feeling any of them that much.  I found a string group in San Antonio and another one in Houston that both made a point to emphasize their popular music repertoire, but they would have had to travel, and they were pretty costly already.

Then I stumbled on Stephen Bright, who is a classical harp/cathedral guitarist in Austin.

A cathedral guitar has 10 strings:

Image via Cathedral Guitar

Pretty cool, no?  I have always loved acoustic guitar music, and this seemed like fancied-up acoustic guitar, which both Mr. C and I could appreciate and enjoy.

Stephen has a wealth of mp3s on his site, showcasing his range of songs.  Finding Death Cab for Cutie listed right next to Nickel Creek made me think that Stephen was definitely our guy.  After sending him a quick email, he responded that he was available for our date!  He also said he'd be happy to learn whatever songs we would like to have played for our ceremony, as he wholeheartedly believes people should have the music that matters to them at their wedding.

Sold!  Stephen will be providing his gorgeous guitar music for our ceremony.  I've identified the song I'll be walking down the aisle to, but have yet to decide on the other tunes.  I'm sure he'll make them all sound beautiful.

Did you have a preference for live vs. recorded music at your ceremony?   How did you find your ceremony musicians?

Monday, April 16, 2012

Wedding words...

I stumbled on this adorable Ogden Nash poem while browsing for ceremony readings:

I Do, I Will, I Have - Ogden Nash

How wise I am to have instructed the butler to instruct the first footman
to instruct the second footman to instruct the doorman to order my
I am about to volunteer a definition of marriage.
Just as I know that there are two Hagens, Walter and Copen,
I know that marriage is a legal and religious alliance entered into by a
man who can't sleep with the window shut and a woman who can't
sleep with the window open.
Moreover, just as I am unsure of the difference between flora and fauna
and flotsam and jetsam,
I am quite sure that marriage is the alliance of two people one of whom
never remembers birthdays and the other never forgetsam,
And he refuses to believe there is a leak in the water pipe or the gas pipe
and she is convinced she is about to asphyxiate or drown,
And she says Quick get up and get my hairbrushes off the windowsill,
it's raining in, and he replies Oh they're all right, it's only raining
straight down.
That is why marriage is so much more interesting than divorce,
Because it's the only known example of the happy meeting of the
immovable object and the irresistible force.
So I hope husbands and wives will continue to debate and combat over
everything debatable and combatable,
Because I believe a little incompatibility is the spice of life, particularly if
he has income and she is pattable.

Poem found at

The "happy meeting of the immovable object and the irresistible force!"  I love it.  Plus, it's short and sweet, which is a must.  We'll have to see if it makes the final cut.

How did you find your ceremony readings?

Sunday, April 15, 2012

A picture is worth a thousand words...

I am by no means a "fancy photographer," but I love beautiful photos.  I'm a point-and-shoot girl, but I manage to turn out some pretty shots.  Sailing has made me even more ambitious with my photo-taking (oceans!  skies!  sunlight!), and we have some of my work blown up and printed on big canvases in our house.  I took this one a couple of summers ago on Long Island Sound:

Photo by Miss Cauldron - Long Island Sound, September 2010

Due to my love of photos, I was really excited to book a photographer who could capture all the moments at our wedding - it was one of the first things I started working on after we locked in a venue.  

I relied heavily on the internet when searching for photographers - Google search, wedding blogs, and wedding vendor reviews were my initial stops.  I quickly found one of the best things to do was to scroll through photos on Style Me Pretty: Texas and check out the photo credits for the ones I liked the most.  I knew I didn't want anything too trendy - some of the current vintage-y washes and heavily edited shots were just not for me.  At the same time, I didn't want anything too stiff and formal - natural, fun, relaxed, and pretty seemed to be the mood I was liking the best.  Capturing tangible emotion in the frame was really important to me, too.  And the detail shots had to be creative, not just flat. 

Photo by Sweet Caroline Photography

Image via Style Me Pretty / Photo by The Nichols

Photo by Jessica Barfield

Image via Style Me Pretty / Photo by Two Pair Photography

Image via Style Me Pretty / Photo by Urban Grey

Image from Style Me Pretty / Photo by Amelia Tarbet

I also noticed that I was really liking photos from husband-and-wife photo teams.  I'm not sure why, but several married-couple vendors hit my top ten list. 

For the photographers whose blogs and websites showed me what I liked, I reached out via email to find out more about their availability and costs.  After hearing back, I scheduled phone calls with the photographers who said they were available and within my budget, and I drafted a list of questions for each one.  I spent a week of evenings on the phone with six different photographers, and for ones that were definite possibilities, I asked them to send me a link to a full wedding proof site, so I could see alllll of the photos they took at an event, not just the super-special ones on their blogs.  Taking a look at full sets of photos really helped narrow things down!

I had a couple of possibilities after that week of phone interviews, but there was one thing nagging me - I just hadn't felt like I "clicked" with any of the photographers as well as I felt I should.  (Anyone else think hiring vendors from afar is like having a phone call before a blind date?!) 

Then one of the photographers on my list who actually wasn't available for our date, Jessica Barfield, sent me a very sweet note back recommending yet another husband-and-wife team, Sara and Rocky.  I took a look at their website and concluded that yes, they fit the bill.  

Photo by Sara and Rocky Photography

So, I sent them an email, and - bummer!  They weren't available on our date either.  But they also sent back a great and very personable email, and they recommended some friends of theirs, Lindsey and Beto...another husband-and-wife team who had a similar approach and style.  

Feeling somewhat optimistic about this chain letter of recommendations, I checked out Lindsey and Beto's website and blog, and they definitely passed the litmus test.  

Photo by Lindsey + Beto

Photo by Lindsey + Beto

Photo by Lindsey + Beto

Photos by Lindsey + Beto

I dashed off a note, and got a fun email back from Lindsey saying they were available, hooray!  When we did get on the phone to chat, she and I hit it off immediately.  Plus, she grew up about 20 minutes from where Mr. C grew up in Michigan.  Random!  At the end of our chat, I asked for links to a couple of their full proofing sites, and I loved 95% of their shots.  

Photo by Lindsey + Beto

It was clear to me that she and Beto were going to be our wedding photographers, and I booked them shortly afterward.  Yay!  One more (very important!) vendor checked off the list.

Was photography a big deal for you?  How did you find your photographer?