Maid for each other: The Solution.

So, in my last post, we had discovered that ordering our perfect bridesmaid dress would be extremely complicated at best, and we were left at square one at a store with extremely helpful, patient, and kind sales ladies. We couldn't get the dress we wanted, but I also didn't want to just leave after these ladies had been so wonderful by searching the entire store, website, calling the company, etc. to find the dress for us.

Since we couldn't have the perfect dress, - the dress I've taken to calling the "magical mystery dress" as my last post implies - we decided to do the next best thing. We went with the mix and match idea!

I thought that letting the girls pick their own dresses would be the easy route, but I was wrong. Since reds/burgundys are very difficult to match and I was afraid of the colors clashing, we had to stick with one designer. But, the girls had to try on dresses from multiple designers to decide which one we should actually go with. Getting four very different girls to pull basically every dress off the rack and find things they like, agree on a designer, and find something they like by that designer is hard, yo. With that being said, we did finally decide on Alfred Angelo (simply because they had the most options, by far), and came up with four different dresses that we could order in the same color that suited each girl. It got so crazy and stressful at times that our sales lady, Erika, ended up hugging me as we left and went to get me water and things throughout the process. She was such a sweetheart, and I am so glad we ended up coming to a decision and buying something from her store.

So, without further ado: here are (most of) my maids and their dresses!

personal photo

MOH S and BM J found dresses pretty quickly that flattered them wonderfully. The one on J is way too big, but I know when it fits her it will be great, and I fell head over heels for how flattering the one on S was in person.

personal photo

Two-headed twin BM S chose this cute dress. (I have better pictures of her in it, but I couldn't resist the two-headed joke...) Unfortunately, I don't have a picture of her second head - er, her twin, BM L, in her dress.

Here are their dresses from Alfred Angelo's site and in our color: (*note: the website's color coordinator is WAY off - these dresses are shown in "wine", but they look NOTHING like the wine color swatch we were shown)


My fifth and final bridesmaid has yet to choose a dress, but she will be down here in about two weeks and we will go pick one then. I'm so excited to have most of the bridesmaid decision-making done.

The only concern brought up was that these dresses don't have the same vintage look and feel as our "magical mystery dress" or the rest of the wedding. I think with the right accessories we can fix that, though.

So, what do you think? Did I do the right thing by letting the girls pick different dresses, or should I have searched harder to get the original "magical mystery dress"? Will your bridesmaids match or mis-match? Do my girls' picks even work with my dress and wedding theme?


Maid for each other: The Magical Mystery Dress.

First off, I want to warn all of you who still need to go wedding dress, bridesmaid dress, or mother of the bride dress shopping: Black Friday (or the weekend surrounding any family-based holiday for that matter) is not a good day to try to pursue your search. Although it was easy to think that nobody would be dress shopping since anyone who was out would clearly be at Best Buy getting super deals on electronics, but apparently that's what everyone thought. Add that to the fact that this is the time that a lot of mothers, grandmothers, cousins, siblings, etc are in town visiting and may not have another opportunity to see their little girl in her big pouffy dress before the big day, and you have some pretty crowded dress stores. That being said, we went to two different stores - both were crowded, but one basically blew us off completely and the other gave us more time and attention than I would have even expected on a normal day. It's hit or miss, I guess.

Now, on to the dress shopping extravaganza!

What started as a really quick plan to get my girls together, try on the perfect dress one more time, size the girls, and order the dresses turned into a full day (really, we were looking at dresses and swatches and such for hours!) of confusion, stress, and uncertainty which led to some pretty significant bridesmaid success!

Remember the dress that we found, but I was sad because it had been dicontinued? And remember how I was glad to report that I had found it again? Well, the plot thickens. All but one of my bridesmaids, my mother, and I met at the store where I had found the dress and the girls began trying it on.

personal photo.

and, by golly, it magically looked good on all of them. These girls have very differing shapes and sizes, but this dress was seriously travelling pants style or something. Since we had already decided that the dress looked great with my own and since all five girls had now tried it on and loved it, we proceeded to check out the fabric swatches and decide on a color. It was too easy.

Yeah, too easy. Turns out, the store only had teeny tiny fabric swatches glued to a piece of cardstock, and I absolutely could not tell if their shade of burgundy was right for us. I asked to see an actual dress in that color, but the sales lady explained that they only had the sample dresses out that came in more "spring" colors and the "winter" colored dresses were in the back. Since it was so busy, she said we would have to come back on Sunday so she could pull the dress for us. Um, no thanks. We decided to find another store that would be able to actually show us the colors we were workin' with.

Once at the new store, the sales ladies were immediately very attentive and helpful. Although they did not have an actual dress in the color I wanted from the exact designer, the woman pulled a bunch of dresses in similar shades, got their fabric swatches (which were much bigger and allowed us to actually see the color), and laid it against the dresses until she could find one in the closest shade possible. The winning colored dress was perfect. I was absolutely sold on the burgundy color for our perfect dress. Again, easy peasy - we had everything figured out, right?

Wrong. The second store did not have the dress. Not only that, but the dress didn't show up in any catalogues, was still nowhere to be seen on the website, and was otherwise nowhere to be found. When I explained that I didn't have a style number because there were absolutely no tags on the dress, - not even a designer, size, or washing instructions tag - the sales girls expressed concern about the legitimacy of the other store. They said that the dress was most likely indeed discontinued and explained that they had heard sketchy things about the store in question before. They were worried we would not actually get the dresses we ordered or worse. Of course, I couldn't completely dismiss one store purely from the speculations of another, but I had already felt kinde sketchy about the first store and the people at the second were so helpful and patient that my trust in the other store or even of the existence of our perfect dress started to waver.

So, there we were, me and four bridesmaids - we had the perfect color but no actual access to the perfect dress. What were we supposed to do?


Will you...?

Four of my five bridesmaids, my mom, and I are going shopping for bridesmaid dresses on Friday. I know, going dress shopping on Black Friday seems like either a fantastic idea or a horrible one - I'll fill you in later on which it turns out to be. We're going today because it was really the only day that I could get everyone together (actually, we had originally picked the day when all five bridesmaids could be there, unfortunately, one still can't make it.)

Anyway, in the spirit of our bridesmaid outing, I have decided to reach into the depths of my previous crafts and show you how I originally asked (some of) my bridesmaids to be in our wedding party.

I wanted to make cute little cards to give each girl when I asked them like I have seen so many bees do, but one afternoon, I had an opportunity to see some of the girls and had not made anything yet. Unwilling to give up my dream, I ran down to Michaels, got a few supplies, and whipped these out in a matter of minutes.

I just used a cute edge punch to make the embossed design on the bottom, used individual letter rubber stamps for the writing, and glued the flower cut-outs on. Sadly, the stamp set I bought was lacking a question mark.

I'm not thrilled with how these turned out, but the girls liked them. Unfortunately, I only actually gave these cards to two of my girls. In my defense, my mom had already stolen my thunder by telling my sisters they would be bridesmaids, and the fifth girl was added to our wedding party a little later, and David and I personally asked her together.

I did put all these supplies to good use one more time, though. I made this card for a wedding I attended last year, and I actually like it a lot better than the bridesmaid cards.

Did you do something special to ask your bridesmaids to join your wedding, or did your lofty dreams wilt a bit like mine?


Oh Honey Honey: Part 3 - Why we booked it.

When David and I really started talking about our honeymoon, I learned something that changed our plans completely. I had always assumed that David would not want to go somewhere beachy or tropical because he grew up in San Diego and hates going to the beach here. When he told me that he would actually enjoy an island honeymoon and that his criteria for the trip were more important than the location, I started new research.

We ended up deciding to go to Jamaica - somewhere I have never ever imagined us going before, but we are super excited about it now.

[1] We don't have to worry about money while we're there - all-inclusive would be best.

- Not only did my research show me that the Caribbean (Jamaica, in particular) introduced the original all-inclusive resort, but it's really the only place to go to have the full all-inclusive experience. The idea of paying one flat rate for everything - super nice room, great service, fine dining for all meals, snacks, unlimited drinks, plenty of activities, taxes, and all tips and gratuity - seems to not exist outside of the Caribbean. I read that Hawaii does not have all-inclusives because the economy could not handle it and the resorts would not make any money. I have heard that there are a few all-inclusive resorts in Europe, but apparently they are incredibly expensive, and I have not found any information on them or what they actually include.
- Technically, we could have planned and budgeted everything out in advance and gone to normal (not all-inclusive) route, but that seemed like so much work and left room for unforeseen changes and charges.


[2] We don't have to stick to someone's schedule or itinerary.

- Really, a cruise was the best option for us until we started thinking about this criteria. A cruise is really they only other way to have everything included and not have to count pennies during the actual vacation. However, cruises also have pretty strict schedules - yes, when they're at port we have all day to explore the area, but we also have to be back at the ship at a specific time so as not to be left behind. We decided we would not enjoy ourselves as much if we were worried about getting back. Cruises also have set dinner times, and often seat couples with other groups of people - both seemed to take away from the romantic and free feelings we wanted.
- The "no schedules" criteria was also the main reason we ruled out many of the places I actually really want to visit some day. My "must travel" list includes places like New York City, many places in Europe, etc. We decided these places would not be fitting honeymoon spots because there are so many places and things I would want to see that we would constantly running from one thing to another.
- The all-inclusive Caribbean resorts really stood out in this category - I read many travellers' reviews where they said they didn't look at a clock once during their stay. Many of the restaurants do not require reservations, and we would be staying in one place at the resort instead of trying to fit everything in or worrying about our room leaving us to get to the next destination.

[3] We can relax all we want, but still have fun things to do.

- True, we decided not to go somewhere full of places to go and things to see because we wanted to relax, but the idea of strictly relaxing and laying around with nothing else to do made me feel like we'd eventually get bored. My impression of Island resorts has always been that people lay around the beach all day, every day and there's not much else to do. When I discovered that our resort includes kayaking, windsurfing, snorkeling, scuba diving, tennis, golf, beach volleyball, board games, and more for free as well as the option to book additional tours and excursions, I was sold. The beach and pools are there for true relaxation and the moment we get bored, there's plenty to do.


[4] I would really like to go on a zip line / ropes course of some sort.

- What can I say? I love 'em. I'm sure there are many places we could have gone to do this, but since Jamaica met the rest of our criteria and the resort offers a ropes course and zip line through the jungle as one of their tour packages, it was icing on the cake.

Does your honeymoon destination fit all of your criteria? Did you end up going somewhere completely unexpected like us, or are you going to a destination you've always dreamed of?

Stay tuned for more specific information about our resort and why I'm so very excited!


Oh honey honey, part 2: Your turn.

Part one.

Okay, so I asked what the best honeymoon option was to fit our stipulations and desires, and clearly we were all on the same page. My research quickly took me to the Carribbean, just like most of you suggested. I guess the "all-inclusive" part tipped you off. In fact, Jamaica introduced the very first all-inclusive resort to the world and the Caribbean has shaped what we expect out of such places (and are really some of the only true "all-inclusive" options with room, food, drinks, activities, tips and gratuities, taxes, and transportation included).

So, before I spend time talking about our own trip (which is officially BOOKED!), I wanted to let ya'll know that if you haven't yet booked your caribbean vacation/honeymoon, you need to run - don't walk! - to Sandals.com where they are offering 65% off their land rates (and more!) for any vacations in 2010 if you book before Wednesday!!! I spent a LOT of time getting quotes for various options, and if you can swing it, some of the nicest rooms and resorts have offers for getting the 65% off plus up to two nights free and $250 in spa credit. Really, one of the vacations that I priced at $5,000-ish was a full $12,000 off from what it used to cost! There are less elaborate packages with major savings as well.

Many sources have told me that the Sandals resorts are some of the best all-inclusive resorts in the world. In fact, the only downside in most cases was that they tend to be too pricy. So, go! Book some of the best hotels at a great rate and thank me later.


Happy Hundred (and one)!

Yesterday was my one hundredth post on The Bride Side. Since I didn't actually notice until last night, and friday seems a great day to celebrate, today's post will be a celebratory, commemorative, one hundred and one post. Thanks so much to every lovely person who has been following and commenting - you are all so dear to me, and your encouragement and suggestions are what keep me going.

Please have a great Friday, and fabulous weekend, and enjoy this jaw-droppingly amazing, super unique, and way stylish wedding that I found on Style Me Pretty.

The bride wore PURPLE! She's a clothes designer, so her dress was an incredibly important to the wedding day. I have a bridesmaid who would probably die and go to heaven when she sees this. I think this is hands down the most beautiful colored wedding dress I have ever seen, and it inspires me to use even more non-traditional and unique elements in our own wedding. I especially love how the bridesmaids' white dresses throw more of a twist on the tradition and balance out the color.

The groom didn't look so bad himself. I love his well-fitted grey suit, and the comfort in knowing that black shoes look okay with grey. This is very similar to the look we're wanting for David (which I will discuss in another post).

source for all photos.

and the details! Ahh - swoon! The deep purple looks so sophisticated and elegant while still holding such charm.

Simply Bloom, the photographers of this wedding are now also officially on my must-stalk list. I'm in love!


Oh Honey Honey.

Just a few days ago, David and I started taking our honeymoon thoughts and plans much more seriously. I guess I finally realized that in order to go anywhere that takes advance planning, we would have to have it figured out, like, yesterday.

In a perfect world where we had all the money we could dream of, we would honeymoon in Europe. More specifically, we would honeymoon in Ireland, Italy (Cinque Terre!), and Greece.


We would stay in Ireland because we visited some friends in Northern Ireland last January and loved it. David felt more connected to the place and the people than anywhere else, and I would love to be able to see it in the summer. Plus, the word "honeymoon" originated in Ireland, so the idea of going there on our honeymoon makes me smile.


I went to Cinque Terre for a one day hike while I visited Italy a few summers ago. The very moment I saw the town of Vernazza, I knew I wanted to go back there with David, and thought our honeymoon would be a great time. As soon as I told him about Vernazza and showed him pictures, David mentioned wanting to honeymoon there without knowing I had the same thought.


Greece, to me, is somewhere that I dream of going but don't really feel I will ever justify doing so. Once, David promised me that we would go there together someday, so I figured it would be a perfect addition to our dream honeymoon.

Unfortunately, to go to these places and get the quality of vacation I'm hoping for our honeymoon, we would have to stay a very long time and spend a lot of money. There would be so much to do and take advantage of while traveling Europe that we would be too busy to fit it into a reasonable amount of time and still feel relaxed, and I'm sure that juggling transportation, multiple hotels, and exchange rates could end up costing us. big time.

When thinking more realistically - on a poor people's budget - we came up with a few options as well. We decided we would like to vacation in Maine, experience California's lovely bed and breakfasts, or take a cruise from a nearby port.


I would really like to visit Maine someday, but I've decided that it just doesn't feel like a honeymoon to me. Plus, I have so many friends spread across the country that I would feel bad flying somewhere without a visit or two. Also, if we're going to spend money on airfare, we might as well go somewhere more exotic, right?


The bed and breakfast idea is still a very ideal and charming one to me, but if we can, I would rather leave our own state. Again, this is definitely something I want to do someday, but not necessarily for our honeymoon.


Going on a cruise is a great option because it provides an all-inclusive vacation to multiple destinations without any work. We're fortunate enough to live near a few ports, so we wouldn't have to include any travel costs. However, I have been on cruises to both Alaska and Mexico, so no affordable cruise leaving from California would feel very special or new to me. This was our prime option for quite awhile, but after I thought about how I get sea sick, have already been on the potential cruises, and we don't want to follow a strict port/ship schedule, we have pretty much decided against it.

So, now that we have vetoed our prime options, we started from square one. When David and I compiled our most important desires for our honeymoon, we got this list:

[1] We don't have to worry about money while we're there - all-inclusive would be best.
[2] We don't have to stick to someone's schedule or itinerary.
[3] We can relax all we want, but still have fun things to do.
[4] I would really like to go on a zip line / ropes course of some sort. (Not totally necessary, but it would be fun... haha)

Where can we go that would fit this criteria and not destroy our wallets? Any suggestions?
I've been doing a lot of research, but haven't come up with the perfect answer yet.

Where are you going on your honeymoon? How did you decide?


Dress me up: Part 5 - A Decision!

Part One.
Part Two.
Part Three.
Part Four.

I left off by saying my choice between my final three dresses was an obvious one, and it was. One dress seemed to be the perfect combination of the elements I loved about the other two, and it was absolutely perfect for the look/theme/feel of our wedding.

So, which one did I choose?

This one, more than any others, is a no fiance zone. David, you really don't want to click further.



Seeing as I am planning on DIYing the majority of our wedding, I guess it's safe to say that I'm a moderately crafty person. In fact, on a scale of interest, ideas, and desire, I am a very crafty person. The moderate comes from the count of how much I actually follow through with.

In fact, I am moderately involved or very interested in many of the elements that make a wedding happen. I love love love music and have wanted to be a musician since I was a kid. After many failed singing auditions and disasters with trying to learn various instruments, I have embraced that music is not my forte. I love any and all kinds of art - I have even painted a few things and really wish I could make some of the amazing design elements that many wedding design and paper design pros make - but, again, the interest is stronger than the actual talent. Another thing I dabble in, but don't actually feel like I could pursue professionally is photography.

Italy. 2007.

Paris and Northern Ireland trip, 2008.

Lake Tahoe, 2006.

Roommate art shoot, 2008.

*All photos taken and owned by me. Please credit me where it's due.

My interest and personal experience with photography plays a major role in why our wedding photography is so important to me. Although I don't necessarily have the skills to adapt to all kinds of situations, I have very strong opinions on what makes a good photo, and (unfortunately) I have seen a lot of what I consider to be bad wedding photos. I am super excited about our photographer, but just know anything wedding photo related made/makes for a big decision on my part.

Since I dabble in so many arts but don't take one in particular as my calling or passion, wedding planning has become a fabulous way to express myself in all sorts of ways. I am so excited about expanding all kinds of skills by diving into more projects, and I hope I can take away a more concrete idea of what art forms I feel I can pursue. I love how weddings tend to bring out the most creative, stylish, and talented parts of people.

What about you? What art forms do you dabble in and how are you using it for your wedding?


Dress me up: Part 4 - Three, two, one - presto!

Part One.
Part Two.
Part Three.

I was supposed to be a bridesmaid this past summer for one of my college roommates. Unfortunately, the wedding never happened, but in the original planning stages, I visited her local bridal salon in San Jose with my friend on a few occasions - to get her dress, to pick out my bridesmaid dress, and finally, to try on dresses myself.

Meet, Elegant Lace, my new love:


(This post has been copied from my Livejournal)

My experience at Elegant Lace couldn't have been better. Even though I was late, (oops! There was rain and tons of traffic...) the ladies in the shop were ready for me and excited to see me. Synthia, my personal sales lady, led me around the store, telling me where to find each silhouette among their hundreds (thousands? there were SO MANY) of gowns. She then gave me a bunch of shower curtain rings and told me to tag the dresses I was most interested in. This system worked so well for me; I was able to see all the dresses and pick them out for myself without being asked to actually drag them around myself. Synthia then let me try on all of my chosen dresses and, after discovering my style, brought me a few of her own picks.

Sorry, I've included a lot of cuts lately, but this one's for real - David, DO NOT click this link.


Agent Sexytime.

During my trip back up to the bay area, one of my friends dragged me (okay, it didn't take much coercion) into the Agent Provocateur store in San Francisco.

That store has some really out there way not my kind of thing styles, but they also have some stunning and lovely things that made me tempted to spend way too much money than I ever should on lingerie.

The rest of this post is not suitable for work, fiances, or anyone who might be offended by models in barely there lingerie.


Dress me up: Part 3 - Vintage love.

Part One.
Part Two.

Living in Berkeley for four years was a fabulous experience. There's no place like it. In addition to unrivaled academics, poiltical radicals, and crazy people there is an abundance of great food, culture, and stores. One of my favorite parts of town was the down College Avenue in the Rockridge district in Oakland. Man, I miss living in Berkeley*.

Oh right, wedding dresses. So, while exploring Rockridge one lovely day, I stumbled upon Recapture, a fabulous vintage boutique that specializes in re-purposing vintage bridal gowns for the modern bride by making slight changes to the fit, sleeves, and necklines while still keeping their vintage beauty. (Okay, that was a long sentence. Long story short: this lady rocks, and the store has tons of vintage lovelies.) So, I made an appointment and convinced myself it would be the greatest thing ever to purchase a vintage gown. (yeah, Laura - how many times can you use the word "vintage" in one post?)

Okay, love, you know the drill. More wedding dress photos means time for you to stop reading. Everyone else, read on...


Date Savers: The Finished Product!

I am pleased to be able to finally show you our finished save the dates! It took quite awhile to get all of the addresses we needed (Note to all you brides (and/or grooms!) out there: COMPILE ADDRESSES EARLY!), but these beauties are finally complete and in the mail.

Oh, look - something pretty came in the mail...

the back of the envelope gives a little sneak peek... (PS - remember that globe with our initials - It looks like we'll have some sort of a reoccurring monogram after all)...

Open it up... oh look - pretty map, and... our names!

Pull out the card and voila! Our beautiful save the dates!

all photos by me. It pained me to blur out all that personal information -
they're even prettier when you can see everything.

Squeal! I am so pleased and proud of my little babies and I can't wait to hear what our guests think.

As you can see, I decided against using the map background on the actual cards like my inspiration, but used it as an envelope liner instead. Honestly, the envelopes are more elaborate (and took a lot more work) than the cards themselves, but I'm okay with that - I love how it all looks together. Besides, I think the wrapping of a gift is almost more important than the gift itself - why should these be any different?

What do you think? These were pretty simple to make, but I will be posting a tutorial soon if any of you are interested.


Postmark the guests Part III: A case for the cards.

Part I.
Part II.

I have been perusing Craigslist religiously in order to find vintage luggage for our pictures and postcard guestbook. Finally, just the other day, it paid off. I found this lovely vintage cosmetic case, and jumped on it.

personal photos.
I love how the postcards look inside!

The couple that I purchased it from were just wonderful to work with. I spoke to the wife on the phone and she gave me great directions to their home and gracefully accepted my offer of $15 for the case. When David and I went to pick it up, her husband was home and spoke with us for awhile about the wedding, congratulated us, and spoke a bit about their own winery wedding years ago. I think this was by far my best Craigsist experience to date, and I'm so excited to use this case for our guestbook table.

What's better? I found this photo on Style Me Pretty the other day, and I'm so excited to incorporate our case into photos now as well.

check out the rest of this awesome engagement shoot!

What do you think? Is this not the perfect final touch for our guestbook? Do you have any other suggestions for using the case?


Dress me up: Part 2

Part One.

The second time my two friends and I made joint dress appointments, we went to two different shops - and had two very different experiences. The first is not worth going into detail about. Let's just say the sales lady lost our appointment, insulted us, did not know the dresses, and pretty much ushered us out of her store and leave it at that.

The next shop, Flair in San Francisco was a much better experience.

The second we walked in the door, the smiling sales lady greeted us with handshakes and introductions. She apologized for not booking us for a longer appointment since we all wanted to try on dresses, and took us one at a time to get an idea of our style. She explained each dress that she showed us with great detail and praised each one's different aspects. Throughout the hour, we were able to enjoy fun conversation with her as well as take time on each dress for discussion and consideration of it. The atmosphere was very relaxed, not stuffy, but they still had some very beautiful, high quality dresses. She was even the one to suggest we take pictures and wrote little cards with all the information of the dresses that we had each liked most for us as we left. The only downside to this store and experience was that they only carried about 20 different dresses at most. I guess this is because Flair is predominantly a bridesmaid dress shop, but we didn't know that upon booking our appointment.

From this point forward, I will be showing photos of myself wearing wedding dresses. If you are engaged to me, you probably do not want to proceed.


More hay bale goodness.

Remember when I talked about using hay bales as seats and how neat it might be to have seats in the round or facing all directions towards the bride and groom?

Well, this wedding did both.

Ruffled Blog.

I love the whole wedding, but those hay bales really deserved to be posted on here. It's a beautiful combination of two of my favorite unique ceremony seating ideas, and leaves me wishing we could do more with our own ceremony site.


Dress me up: Part 1 - the search begins.

I started looking for wedding dresses months before David and I were officially engaged. That might be a major faux pas, but I had friends who were engaged and legitimately looking and I was just so darn excited. Two good friends at school and I went to a few stores and booked group appointments to try on dresses at each. I know dress shopping is supposed to be a personal experience where all the attention is on the bride, but honestly, it's really fun to go and play dress up with engaged gal pals! Plus, we had plenty of time to really think about each dress we wore while the other girls had a chance to change.

The very first time we went shopping, my friend Nicole and I wandered in (sans appointment) to a Berkeley shop called Kate's Kouture. My boss had recently purchased her dress from there and had given me great reviews. Kate was wonderful, and welcomed us in for a few minutes before her next appointment came. She even apologized to us that she was so booked that day even though we were the ones who had not thought ahead to make an appointment. We only tried on about two dresses each, but we loved the experience so much that we quickly made a real appointment to come back with a third close-to-wedding friend.

Even though Kate encouraged us to take pictures (yes, really! She's awesome), we unfortunately had no camera. While there, though I fell vicim to the "fall in love with the first dress you try on" curse (I swear that's a real thing), and seriously considered buying a dress on the spot. Really, the only things keeping me from getting it were the facts that I did not yet have a ring and that I didn't want to miss out on more opportunities to go dress shopping.


She's called Sierra, by Maggie Sottero and I loved her. I'm thinking a big part of my love was from the initial "Oh my, I'm wearing a wedding dress!" feeling, so I'm glad I didn't go overboard and buy this dress, but I am sad I didn't purchase a dress from Kate since she was so great.

There were many more shops to visit, dresses to try on, and "THIS IS IT!" moments to come. Stay tuned as my dress journey continues!



As you can probably see, my blog has been undergoing a makeover. Honestly, I haven't tried to figure out this much html since I decided I needed to totally customize my myspace page in high school (let me tell you, it looked good). The background is obviously not my own (you know, in case the "shabbyblogs.com" label on there didn't already give that away), and I'm not sure I'm keeping it, but it's nice for now, yes?

I'm very unhappy with the fact that the header isn't centered, and any tutorials I could find to fix it were way over my head - anyone wanna help a girl out?

Also, I finally figured out how to hide things behind cuts - do you like how the posts below look with the cut just past the first image, or should I expand them back to normal? I'm most excited about the cuts so I can start posting pictures of my dress journey (yay!), so if you don't actually like this more streamlined look for the majority of the posts, please let me know.

Thanks, and welcome to the new (in progress) Bride Side! :)

edit: I don't think I like the cuts on every post. I am removing them and only using them to hide things that choice people should not see. If you liked the "streamlined" version, please let me know.

Back to the wedding world.

Our save the dates are really coming along - I promise I will share them soon. Until then, I'd like to share some more map items I have collected to further our theme.

I've already shared our postcard guestbook album, but in case you forgot, here it is in all it's antique map glory:


Also, as you probably noticed on our save the date sneak peek, vintage globes will have their place in our wedding as well. I spend a lot of time scouring map stores, ebay, and antique shops looking for a nice antique globe. It seemed like I was going to have to spend at least $40 on anything that came close to what I wanted, until I found this:

personal photo.

My mom and I found it one afternoon when she was visiting me in the Bay Area. We decided to drive around Marin County, and my lovely was just sitting outside an antique store waiting for me. And get this, I got it for only twelve dollars! It's not quite as elegant as some, but it's definitely old fashioned, and will fit our rustic theme just fine. I plan on setting it on our guestbook table or some other decorative display.

personal photo. Gratuitous ring shot on my globe.

Finally, I found this among some of my parents' things when I was getting ready to host a garage sale this summer:

personal photo.

This US map puzzle was mine when I was a kid, and I have reclaimed it. I plan on using it on a kids' table to bring our theme to the little ones as well.

Of course, the map/globe theme will also be used throughout our paper goods and possibly in our centerpieces in some way. What other ways can I incorporate this theme? What can I do to make the theme clear and lovely without being overkill?

If you have a theme for your wedding, how are you incorporating it?

The best birthday.

Thanks everyone for the birthday and get well wishes. I am feeling much better now, and so very relieved. (Really, I have never been more excited to feel hungry than I did upon waking this morning!) Anyway, like I said, I had a pretty spectacular birthday.

The day started with a surprise celebration at Chick-fil-A! David works there, and he had it all set up with his co-workers to provide balloons and a birthday card at our table. I was gifted a free breakfast platter and coupons for free food later. My dear friend and bridesmaid, J, surprised me by joining us, and we had a beautiful breakfast. Then, we headed up to Disneyland.

Now, I have been to Disneyland hundreds of times and many of them have been close to free since I used my annual passes to death over the years, but there really is something special about getting in totally free. I handed over my "golden ticket" certificate from disneyland's birthday site and they handed me these:




I'm so sorry I've been MIA for a few days. After celebrating my birthday (which was perfect, by the way), I got sick. I went back to work yesterday, but I'm still feeling off today. Anyway, my mom and I finally got back to work on our save the dates last night, so they will be finished and ready for me to share soon!