The Groom's part.

This article from Here Comes the Guide, California talks about how Grooms are becoming more involved in the planning stage of weddings than ever. It compares the old: "If for some reason he felt compelled to voice an opinion on wedding matters, his future wife and mother-in-law might very well have dismissed him, tsk-tsking disdainfully about the folly of a man mucking about in women’s business." to the new: "over the last decade the involved mate has become standard, with men taking on some to all aspects of their wedding-day arrangements." It goes on to explain that couples experience benefits through bonding together under pressure instead of feeling the strain from wedding planning. It also explains that the men who help plan their weddings tend to feel more satisfied in the whole ordeal.

source. His job is not to simply put these things on, look pretty, and say "I do" anymore.

My wonderful groom wants to be as involved in the wedding as he can. He regularly reminds me that this is his day, too, and he would like to be represented just as much as I am - changing the emphasis from choices that are "me" to choices that are more "us". It makes me swoon inside when he is the first to bring up our wedding in conversation - I love knowing that he cares about this thing that will bring us together as one just as much as I do.

There are, however, some hilarious setbacks to having an involved groom - like these wacky and/or clever suggestions:

- When I told him I wasn't too keen on the garter toss idea, he suggested we get a T-shirt cannon launch men's boxers towards our guests instead.

- He wants to wear a kilt to celebrate his Scottish heritage, but I'm pretty sure he's not quite Scottish enough to pull it off. At all.

- Without even discussing cake topper ideas with him at all, he suggested we get figurines of ourselves looking adventurous (with binoculars, etc) and place them across the table from one another on the cake buffet and have them looking out towards the other. He thought a nod to adventure would fit the travel aspect of our theme - Even though I already had a plan for our topper, I liked this idea so much that it has morphed into "adventurous" table numbers which I'll discuss later.

Is your groom involved in the wedding planning process? What funny ideas has he come up with while planning?


The cane sugar soda hour.

I need to preface this post by explaining that we are not having a dry wedding. There will be wine served at dinner and a champagne toast. There is also a pub in the room right next door to our reception room, and it's full bar will be open and willing to serve anyone who wants their goods. However, we will also have a few people at our wedding who struggle with alcohol (one recovering alcoholic in particular who we want to respect) and many people who do not drink anyway. So, we thought it best to not have the traditional cocktail hour - where alcohol is the focal point of the event. The Pine Hills Lodge normally hosts the cocktail hour inside the pub. We thought that ushering everyone directly into the bar area was not a way to respect our non-drinking guests. So, we're having our "cocktail hour" outside on the deck instead!


We will not be providing alcohol for our guests during this hour, but for those who can't wait until dinner for a drink will be free to go into the pub and buy themselves a beer or cocktail. I prefer not to call it a "cash bar" since we have chosen to provide non-alcoholic beverages instead - essentially anyone who decides to go over to the pub is more than welcome to, but they would be actively leaving the set wedding events to do so.

Obviously the name "cocktail hour" is far less fitting for an event like ours, so I have taken to calling it the "appetizer hour" instead - the Lodge will be providing trays of fresh fruit, veggies and dip, and cheese and crackers for our guests to munch on. What I'm most excited about for this hour, though, is the soda we're offering.

source. More inspiration from Mrs. Cherry Pie.

Now, I am pretty picky about soda. I try to not drink it as a general rule, but there are some sodas I just can't pass up. While I stay far away from the generic cans and foountain sods, I love love love sodas made with natural sugar. The Lodge originally told us that they could provide sodas for us at a set cost, but after learning more about my desires, they have decided to allow us to bring in our own bottled sodas. (score!) Here's a peek at some of the stuff I'll be shopping for:


Mexican coke! This is the number one cause that keeps me from a strict no-soda diet. I used to take advantage of every oppertunity I had to get this stuff, but now that it's available at Costco, pretty much every taco shop in San Diego has it readily available.


IBC Root Beer! David and I are both huge Root Beer fans - growing up, it was the only soda I would drink - and think IBC is most definitely one of the very best. We might even throw in some IBC Cream Soda to the mix.


and finally, Jones Soda will provide many more flavor options for our guests and of course is another source of cane sugar sodas. I love their photo labels. There are just too many flavors to choose from! Hopefully we can get a hold of some good multi-packs.

I have a few other ideas up my sleeve to incorporate even more rare sodas, but that's information for a later post.

The Lodge will provide up with two large bins like the ones in Cherry Pie's photo above, and I'm planning on getting some ribbon and twine to tie around them and make them pretty. I really hope this detail adds a fun (and tasty) element to our "appetizer hour".


The Truth (Money, Family, and Stress, OH MY!)

Remember all my "lame excuses" as to why I wasn't blogging about wedding planning for awhile? Well, there's more to it than I let on.

Just about a year and a half ago, my dad fell (he either passed out, had a seizure or stroke, or something... we will never really know), fractured his skull, and suffered extensive brain damage. He experienced a miracle recovery, - no joke, the doctors were shocked at how quickly he was up and mostly functioning again - but some things will never heal or ever be the same. For one thing, he will never be able to smell or taste ever again. The brain can use cells from other ares to replace cells in lacking areas, but cannot do so for some reason with the section of the brain that recognizes smells/taste. (I'm no doctor. Instead of trying to explain reasons, I'll just stick to describing symptoms.) For another, more important thing, his personality has changed. He doesn't really have a filter and tends to say very hurtful things - often not meaning them, but there is just no rationality behind it at all. Also, any anxieties and worried he had that may have led him to pass out or what not have only gotten worse since.

One common symptom attributed to brain injury is the fact that people's worst qualities tend to be accentuated after their injury. For my dad, besides his less than kind comments and reactions to family, this was his anxiety about money. For as long as I've lived, my dad has driven himself absolutely crazy thinking/worrying/stressing about money. He has specific systems to every aspect of life from when and where we eat to which cars we drive when based on what is most economical. He makes an excel spreadsheet for every little thing you could possibly imagine. I can't even begin to explain how my dad's mind works when it comes to money, or how many seemingly irrational things he has done or forced us to do just because it saved a miniscule amount. Now, add the fact that the brain injury worsens these features + the fact that the brain injury and hospital time itself cost us a lot of money + my dad losing his job because he can no longer handle the work + oh, you know, we've kinda been living in an economic crisis, and you've got a pretty big problem.

Often, when any kind of conflict arises among members of my family (which, of course, all conflicts in my family revolve around money), my dad basically throws all of the time and work and money he has spent on us through the years back into our faces. He had it stuck in his mind that nobody in my family respected him or appreciated anything he has given us. This is completely irrational, but he constantly treated us as if it were true. I basically got to the point that I believed that the only way my dad would believe that I loved him was if I would never expect or accept another penny from him.

So, David and I decided to pay for our wedding ourselves.

After making our decision known to my parents, they came to us to say that they have always planned on paying for my wedding and would still like to do so. David has been through some major financial struggles and has absolutely nothing saved to put towards our wedding and will be living from paycheck to paycheck for the foreseeable future, and I am a new college graduate who is totally unemployed. We really had no clue as to when we could possibly begin saving towards our wedding, so we decided to accept their offer. Through the following planning process, however, I had a constant fear that my dad's contribution for our wedding would stress him out to the point that he would not enjoy himself there; or worse, I worried that he would someday throw the expense back in my face and make me feel guilty for my own wedding.

Well, tonight was huge. After I came very close to moving out and cutting all financial ties from my family (including calling our venue and canceling the wedding), my dad and I had a very important talk. I told him that I felt I needed to be completely financially free of him before he would recognize that I appreciate him, and he told me that he saw that the fact that I showed the desire to escape as some proof to show that I did not truly understand the weight of paying for life on my own and thus, that I could not fully appreciate him. Basically, our actions and reactions towards one another did nothing but make the others actions and reactions worse. Our opinions of the situation were at a complete 180 degrees from one another, and it only made the situation worse for both of us. I don't think that tonight solved everything, but I definitely think it was some very significant progress.

Now, don't get me wrong. I love my father and I truly do absolutely appreciate that fact that he has worked hard his whole life to support and provide for me. (The fact that I'm coming out of college debt free and with a fair chunk of savings is pretty awesome) I still feel that the best way to respect him would be to have a job, be financially stable, and not expect anything of him (money-wise) again. However, for the time being, I am relying on his support in many ways, and I need to work on showing my appreciation more. Our wedding, to me, is a big step for everyone. While he is paying a big chunk of the expenses, he is by no means paying for everything. I am putting every penny of my own forward that I possibly can. I believe that this, along with saving as much as I can for David and my future, will prove to him that I understand the realities of life and am ready to be independent. David's parents have also graciously donated a fair sum. However, I have also decided to see this as the one last big thing my dad does for me. I will accept his gift gratefully and show my appreciation. I want to show him that I have learned how to manage money and budget well, so the total expense of the wedding is very important to me, and I also want him to know that I am not ungrateful nor do I expect him to continually provide for me. I plan to accept his offer to pay for some major wedding expenses, but from that point forward, I will be financially independent from him.

Among all the tulle and sugar, and great wedding details comes one of the most stressful and life-changing times of many people's lives. So, there's a little bit of truth. This wedding is not just good fun, it's a part of the big picture of how difficult life can be, how big life changes can be, and how families and money and the combination of the two can be very very complicated. I am glad that the big blow-up happened tonight, no matter how difficult it was, and I am glad that this wedding marks a very important point in my relationship with my parents and my financial independence.


Top it all off.

I've already discussed having a cake buffet instead of the traditional, tiered cake. However, I still want to find a way to include a cute, unique cake topper in there somewhere. I'm thinking we will have a main cake in the middle - maybe raised higher than the rest. It can have a topper, be the focal point for photos, and be the cake we cut (if we do the cake cutting).

There are so many super creative and unique cake topper ideas out there. Here are just a few:

source for both.

Mii and Xbox Avatar toppers! These cuties are handmade by Paul Pape Designs to look exactly like your own personalized Mii icon from the Nintendo Wii or your Avatar from the Xbox 360.

David is a big fan/player/connoisseur of video games, so I'm sure he would love these. I admit I have both a Mii (or two) and an Avatar on his game systems, so we would have models to make these. I think the Mii figures would make a better topper, since Nintendo gives more freedom to customize every element of the face to look more like you. Plus, I prefer the Wii to the big and scary Xbox. ;) Unfortunately, at $150-$250 each these are out of our budget and they don't quite fit our decor, so we probably won't be choosing these. Moving on...

source for both.

Polariods! I LOVE this couple's Polaroid cupcake topper. However, since Polaroid stopped production in 2008, there may be too many complications to make this topper a reality.


Birdies! Of course, I am another huge fan of the absolutely adorable Ann Wood handmade bird toppers. I mean, who wouldn't love these little guys? These are also, unfortunately, way out of our price range, and are consistently sold out. Bees have blogged about other options. I love bird designs, but since they're on our china, earrings I wear on a daily basis, and our living room chairs, I think including them in our wedding might be overkill.


Monograms. I think Monogram cake toppers are very elegant, simple, and beautiful all at the same time. It certainly personalizes the cake (I mean, they're the couple's initials, after all). However, as I've already discussed, our monogram doesn't quite work.

This one (below) uses just first name initials and is really cute. I would consider something like this if I felt like it fit our theme better.


I think that monogram toppers are a great choice for some, but I definitely think they would look better on a traditional cake instead of among many cakes in a buffet.

These ideas all make great cakes look even better, and at the right wedding could be the perfect choice. They just aren't quite right for us. So, what will we choose as a topper? Stay tuned while I share our journey to the perfect cake topper.


Postmark the guests Part II: Postcard Picks.

Part One.

One rainy day, (in San Diego. In August. Yes, it happens... sometimes) my wonderful best friend/MOH/FSIL and I decided to take a journey down Antique Row and look around a bit. I was mostly looking for vintage suitcases, but certainly had the guestbook postcards in mind as well.

First, we hit up the delicious Antique Row Cafe for breakfast - their Cinnamon Apple Pancakes can't be beat. Then, we started wandering through some of the shops. After rummaging through four or five stores and finding nothing, we were about to give up - apparently it wasn't our day. We ran across the street to one last store, Zac's Attic.


This quaint little store had so much to offer, and the owner was very knowledgeable and extremely helpful. I told him I was looking for suitcases, and he explained that he sells tons of them all the time, but that the best way to find them is by going to some of the estate sales he hosts. He put me on his mailing list to inform me of his next sale. We were just about to head out the door, when I spotted a box of vintage postcards.

"Do all of these have writing on the back?" I asked as I began sorting through them.
"No, some of them are blank." He said, and started rummaging through the piles of stuff around him. "Those are part of my normal stock - they're a dollar each." He then held up a big bunch of postcards from the back, "These, however, I'll sell to you five for a buck."
I instantly abandoned the pile I was sorting through and grabbed the bundle he was holding out to me. It still took some sorting, but the majority of the postcards were blank and beautiful.

personal photo.
These are just a few of my favorites. Aren't they great?

personal photo.
See? Totally blank on the backs - I can't wait until they're filled with notes from our guests!

I bought 75 postcards in all - only $15 plus tax. About half of them are smaller and have pictures from California, Oregon, and Washington. The other half are a little bit larger and have pictures from Europe - mostly Italy. I love them so much that I keep looking through each and every one.

So, if the "normal stock" cost $1 each, how did I get such a great deal? Well, the owner explained that my postcards were from a bunch of stuff that he was preparing for the upcoming estate sale. He wasn't even supposed to be in the store that day, but his employee called in sick, so he brought some stuff to go through in with him. He had literally just looked through the postcards when we came in. Amazing, huh?

We certainly got lucky, and I think you could too with enough diligence. I plan to go to all the estate sales I can and routinely scour the antique stores until I get my suitcases.


Eye Candy.

I've assembled a bunch of pictures that I absolutely adore. The best thing about this particular batch of lovelies is that they're rustic and woodsy and are all photos that look similar to some we can probably snag at our own location.

Our venue used to have treehouses just like this. Sad. I wish they were still there.

source for all three.





Sigh. I want some of my own. Now, please?


50 first engagement shoots.

I found this video on weddingbee user LatteLove's blog and just had to pay it forward. Sorry to anyone who has already seen it. This has to be the cutest thing I've ever seen. In fact, it's almost too cute.

Adrian Sanny Prewedding from Axioo on Vimeo.

The photographer, Axioo, says:

"We attempted the challenging "50 First Dates" concept into their theme. Stories of their dates doing movies, dinners, walking int the park, lazing around the weekends, grocery shopping, self-photos, lunches, playgrounds. We are madly in love with their photos! It really shows in every shot."

They look like they're having so much fun! I just want to know how they could have possibly done so many clothing and location changes in one shoot.

Taster Tester.

Yesterday, David, his younger brother, his sister (my MOH), and I headed out to Julian to taste some of the meats and sauces at the Pine Hills Lodge to finalize our menu. We still have a lot of time to change our minds of course, but it sure was nice to get a taste, be assured that our wedding food will be fab, and check the whole decision process of our "to do" list.

When we arrived, we were seated, brought water, and Hanna (the lodge's proprietor) brought us their album of photos from previous weddings there to page through. Michel, the very French and very fun chef then came out and explained that he would be bringing out the various dishes of meats one or two at a time.


We're ready to test out some tasty foods! (note: I don't love this picture. We were in a hurry to get to Julian, so I have no makeup on whatsoever. I'm also in dire need of a haircut/bangs trim. But, I love you all and wanted to document our day. Hooray!)


Have I told you how much I love this family? If you're single, I highly recommend dating siblings of your best friends - it eventually leads to gaining said best friends in your family! :)

All of our meat choices were off of the least expensive menu that the Pine Hills Lodge has to offer (at $27 per person). They offer more expensive menus (at $31 and $40 per person), which include Salmon, Top Sirloin, Stuffed Chicken, Prime Rib, etc, but we were quite satisfied with our cheaper options. We were supposed to choose two dishes from the various meat/sauce options to be to main entrees in our dinner buffet.

Anyway, on to the food!


First, Michel brought out the Classic American Angus Beef Pot Roast. It was good. So tender, so tasty. I decided after the very first bite that I wanted to include this dish on our menu. 3/4 of us were sold and loved loved loved it!


Next came the Roast Pork Loin with Apricot Chipotle Sauce. This was David and his brother's favorite. The sauce had a surprising spiciness, but was also very sweet. I agreed that this was the most interesting sauce of all of our options, but the pork did not seem to be as great a quality of meat as the pot roast had been.

sorry this picture is so blurry, the lighting was less than ideal for my poor point and shoot.

Our alternate pork option was the Roast Pork Loin with Jack Daniels Sauce. I generally love Jack Daniels sauce on meats (it's the main redeeming factor of TGIFriday's to me), but we all agreed that this one wasn't anything really special. Moving on.


The first chicken dish we tried was the Grilled Chicken Cacciatore. This was another favorite of ours. The tomato sauce was seasoned really nicely, and it complimented the chicken well.


The Grilled Chicken with Port Wine Sauce was one I was most excited about just by the name of it, but after trying it, none of us were too impressed. Like the Jack Daniels sauce, it just didn't seem to have as much character as some of the other options.


Our final chicken option was the Chicken Supreme. I'm not really sure what was so "supreme" about it - it was just chicken in a white sauce - but, it was my first pick for chicken. David liked it, too, but thought that the sauce was a little weak. Not to fear, we were told to pick one of these sauces to mix with it:


The basil sauce (left) and the dill (right) were both very good. David chose the basil since I couldn't decide. The dill would be absolutely fabulous on salmon.

Our final choices were the pot roast and the chicken supreme with the basil sauce. We decided against the chicken cacciatore because it seemed more fitting to have a light sauce with the chicken to go against the red meat. Our final menu is as follows:

Mixed Green Salad with Ranch and Balsamic Dressing
Classic American Angus Beef Pot Roast
Grilled Chicken Breast Supreme with Basil Sauce
Rosemary Roasted Red Skin Potatoes
Green Beans Almondine
Rolls & Butter

David and I both declared that we would probably be eating the pot roast at the wedding. We're both big chicken people (Chick-fil-A anyone?), but that pot roast was too good to pass up.

After our tasting and talking over a few more details with the staff at the lodge, we headed over to Mom's Apple Pies for some wonderful apple pie goodness. (David and I have been going through both seasons of Pushing Daisies, so I have been craving pie for some time now.)


Some of these delicious pies will most definitely be included in our cake/pie buffet.

What do you think? I'm getting hungry just typing this all out.

Did your venue automatically provide a caterer? Did you do a tasting with them even though you didn't have any other choice in caterers? What are you most excited about food-wise for your wedding?

*all photos my own.


Early Weekending.

I have spent much of the week staring at my computer screen - (Job hunting, wedding planning, time wasting) - and have decided to start a "weekend break" early by not posting/reading as much today and into the weekend. I hope you all have a fantastic weekend and embrace the last fragments of summer!

Ohh, and we're going to our venue for a tasting on Sunday, so I'll be back on Monday for sure to post about that. :)


Pour me Some Champagne.

When most people are asked what type of glass one were to serve champagne in, they would most likely launch into a description of a tall, thin glass. A champagne flute.


The illustrious Vera Wang "love knot" flutes (above) have become a common staple on the wedding industry's "must have" list.

What most people don't know, however, is that a champagne glass is nothing like these stately, lean flutes. They're shorter, wider, and oh-so wonderfully vintage.


Here, Alfred Hitchcock makes his cameo in Notorious while champagne is being poured into some beautiful champagne glasses.

It's tradition to include a champagne toast in weddings. Because this toast is supposed to be a special part of the reception, many couples purchase a special set of toasting flutes to use and store away as keepsakes.

Well, who needs a flute? I think having a beautiful set of vintage champagne glasses would be a much better fit for our wedding, don't you?

You do? Wonderful, because lookie what I picked up at an estate sale a while back for next to nothing:
personal photo.

Aren't they lovely? I sure think so. I bought them originally intending to use them as ice cream dishes (which, don't worry, I'll still use them for ice cream all the time after the wedding), but I think they're the perfect thing to toast our guests with my new husband with. I sure hope we get lots of great detail photos with these babies.

Haven't had enough of vintage champagne glasses? Check these out:



something blue, perhaps?


This site sells these engraved glasses (below) for only $23.90 among their many varieties of standard toasting flutes.



DIY: A Flower for my Hand.

I love love love the hair flower trend that has taken weddings by storm. There are so many creative and talented artists on sites like etsy that I wouldn't even know where to begin picking one out.

source: ohmydeer!.

I pose as a crafty person and I tend to think my creativity is one of my best features. That said, though, I often disappoint myself. I just rarely actually get around to all the crafty things I dream about or plan on doing. I have decided that the best way to fix that problem is by undertaking as many DIY projects as possible for this wedding. Of course, a hair flower was one of the first things to fall into that category.

I didn't fully trust my skills, however, so I decided to take on a test project first. I bought this vintage leather clutch from a thrift store for only $3.


It was cute and seemed like a great accessory for my wedding look, but it was missing a certain oomph. So, I decided to make a flower for the clutch first.

First, I gathered my supplies:
Glue Gun, Scissors, Clutch, Silk Flowers, Pearls, Feathers, and Sewing supplies (not pictured). Everything (except the glue gun, scissors, clutch, and sewing stuff) was purchased from Michael's during their summer madness sale for 25% off!)

Then, I pulled apart the silk flower:

The petals were all curled into the form of the original flower, so I ironed mine a bit. Once they were flat enough to work with, but still curled enough to give the flower some volume, I piled them on top of each other with the petals staggered.

After they were piled to my liking, I pinned the petals together (this is very important because at one point, I tried to sew it without the pins, and the petals came out of the form I wanted)

(Sorry, I don't have pictures for this part of the process)
After they were safely pinned together, I sewed the middles together. Just a few stitches held them all very nicely. The form of the flower was now compete - time to decorate! I then took six small pearls and strung them on fishing wire. I tied the two ends of the fishing wire, so the pearls were in a circle, and hot glued them to the inside of the flower. Then, I took one large pearl and hot glued it to the center.

Finally, I took some feather accents and hot glued them to the back of the flower.

and, my beautiful flower was done!


Here she is on the clutch:

So, what do you think?
Will it be overkill to wear one of these in my hair and on the clutch. Since it turned out so nicely, I'm thinking about just using this one as my hair flower and doing something else to decorate the clutch - but, it sure does look good on the the clutch. What should I do?

*All images (except the first one) by me.