Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Wedding Apps

This post is somewhat of a continuation on having a plugged-in wedding. I already noted that I wanted to encourage the use of cell phones and cameras during our wedding—especially during the reception. To try to get more people to take pictures, I created the I Spy cards I told you about earlier. But then of course there's the issue of actually getting the pictures.

Many of our friends and relatives have smartphones, so we looked into paid apps like Wedding Snap or Snap the Wedding. In the end, we just didn't want to allot any amount of money towards this when 1. We were already paying a professional photographer and 2. We weren't sure how many people would actually download the app and take pictures with it. We also weren't sure about those who had cameras—why pay for a service when only half of the guests at the wedding could use it?

We moved on from this idea and set about creating a wedding website. We decided on (more on how we chose a wedding website later). While setting up our free website, we noticed that they had a wedding app available for download and integration, at no extra cost. Thinking it probably wasn't all that great, I downloaded it to test it anyway.

Kind of a cute icon! Once you open up the app and join our wedding, you see a screen like this.

I really love the look of the app. I think it's streamlined and cute without being overpowering. There's also the option to post pictures or add a note by both the app creator or the guests. Here you can see a picture that I posted with the options to add a photo or a note at the bottom of the page.

Guests can like or comment on pictures—similar to Facebook. In fact, there's optional Facebook integration throughout the app. Furthermore, as the app creator, I have the option on each post to delete, share on Facebook, save the photo, or tag people in the photo.

I invited a people to test drive the app with me—so I have a few "guests" on my guest page.

So far I am loving it! I am really excited about being able to use this for our wedding. The tricky part will be encouraging guests to download the app (it's a free download available both in the App Store and Google Play) and encouraging them to take pictures through the app or use the app to upload photos. The current plan is to hand out small cards with app information, and it's on our website too of course.

For our guests don't have smartphones, I want to encourage them to still take and share pictures—but we're still working out that aspect! So far all I have is manually uploading them to Facebook and tagging us, using a hashtag, or emailing them to our wedding address. Any other suggestions?

Pictures can be viewed "timeline" style on the app, or on our website as a photostream. Hypothetically, we could invite people who weren't able to be at the wedding to view pictures in live time on their smartphones or online. I'm thinking about asking a few people to be especially diligent about snapping pictures! Of course, we'll try to upload pictures to Facebook as well.

Whew. That's all I've got. Now, you tell me. Has anyone used this or any other apps at their wedding? Did you have success with it?

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

You're Doing What?

We're having a group run as part of our rehearsal dinner festivities.


Now, before everyone freaks out, no, the run will not be required! And yes, we're still having a dinner (we're calling it a welcome dinner now) and a time to relax and not do strenuous things. 

But, we love to run. Remember when I told you about my sisters and the bond we have with running? I'm more than thrilled to have this chance for all of us to run together—a lot of sisters would go get manicures together before the wedding, we go for a run together (although maybe we'll get manicures too). 

Personal photo / The three of us after a Thanksgiving run last fall!

Some of our friends will be joining us as well. We're not going to be racing—ahem, I say that but I'm pretty sure as competitive as some of us are this could prove less than true. On Saturday's long run I mapped out a course that I think will work. It's a 2.5 mile loop around the park where we're holding the welcome dinner. It starts at the shelter and wanders up and around the baseball fields, up a steep hill (oops, sorry about that, everyone's thighs), along the trail down by the river, around the dog park, down past some beautiful houses, and back along the river to the shelter.

Image via Cleveland Park / Awesome paint skillz by me

I've gotten positive feedback on it so far. Some of our friends are excited about running with us, and those who aren't interested don't seem bothered at all that we're going to run for 25 or 30 minutes at the end of the welcome dinner. We're titling the event the "Pre-Wedding Run & Fun in the Park," and everyone is invited. We'd love to have guests come and hang out after dinner and either run with us or just enjoy the park! There's an amazing playground for younger kids, great walking trails, and plenty of tables and benches.

The schedule will be something like this:

5:30—Welcome dinner with our immediate families and out-of-town guests
6:30—Invite all guests down to the park to hang out
7:30—Anyone who wants to is welcome to run
8:30—Everyone leaves the park around dusk!

I totally understand that there will probably only be a handful of us running. But I'm still more excited about this than anything else—besides the wedding itself of course! Anyone else doing something a little less than conventional the night before your wedding? Do you want to come run with me??

Monday, February 25, 2013

Another Bunting Post

Hive, I'm pretty sure the crown for queen of bunting goes to Miss Jackrabbit. I promise, I am not trying to dispute this, because there's no way I want to cut out 750 triangles! But I did want to do a quick post on making bunting in a smaller quantity and let you know how we're planning on using it.

In an earlier post when we were talking about my simple do-it-yourself invitations, I mentioned that I wanted to include bunting somehow in the decorations to tie in the invitations to the overall theme of the wedding. I was thinking about maybe a ten foot section or so over the fireplace and figured I could do that myself, even though I don't have any materials on hand or a sewing machine. I was thinking about using tissue paper and ribbon to cut down on cost and time.

A lady from Mr. Lemur's church who is helping out with my April bridal shower read my post and sent me an email about her making bunting for the bridal shower that I could then reuse for the wedding. How sweet is this? When I was in Detroit last weekend I went over to her house and looked through inspiration pictures—including yours, Miss Jackrabbit!

The biggest problem we had was choosing fabrics. I knew I wanted small, casual prints in shades of coral, blue, and yellow. The problem wasn't that we couldn't find any that worked—it's that there were so many fabrics to choose from! We finally decided on six different fabrics: a solid coral, a flowered coral print, a flowered light blue print, a checked yellow print, a patterned ivory print, and a flowered print that pulled in hints of coral, green, and yellow.

Even though I had been thinking just a short length, she decided to make a larger amount so that she could hang it around the room at my bridal shower. Hey—I wasn't about to complain! I have visions of draping it along the food tables or the stage.

We ended up buying 3/4 of a yard in each of the six fabrics. We then folded the fabric in half and cut it into nine inches strips, which looked like this:

We used an old Cheerios box to cut out a 7" by 9" triangle to use to trace. Then we used a rotary cutter—I had never heard of this before, but it's basically like a pizza cutter for fabric—to cut out the triangles.

The marble block you see in that picture? We used that for holding the template in place. It was so simple. Simply place the template on the fabric and zoom the rotary cutter along the edge. After moving the template a few times and a few more slices with the rotary cutter, the strip looked like this.

Ignore the rough outer edges. Those are going to get tucked under the ribbon! This picture actually shows ten triangles—each triangle is two because we folded the material in the last step. Anyway, while I was busy playing with my fabric pizza cutter, the real crafter of the two of us was applying a little bit of anti-fray glue to the diagonal edges.

Now you've seen three of the fabrics! That coral with the tiny white flowers is my favorite. After applying the glue she laid them out to dry for just a few minutes. Then it was time to sew! We had bought wide coral ribbon in the same shade as the band on my invites. After ironing it to create a crease, she started tucking the triangles in at 3.5" intervals and sewing along the ribbon. By this point I was way out of my element so I just stood and watched.

Then we stood back to admire our handiwork! After crafting about a ten foot section, we draped it along the fireplace to check it out. Hint: Each triangle was 7" wide plus 3.5" on either side. 12 triangles (two of each color) is about 129 inches, or just over 10 feet.

I'm going to pretend the reason I'm posting a really washed out picture is that now you'll have to wait around for the big reveal at the wedding! Trust me, Niki will take much better pictures and you'll be able to see our bunting in all its glory.

Anyway, I'm thrilled with the way it's turning out, and can't wait to see all of it in action at my shower and then again at the wedding. In about an hour and a half I cut out nearly all of the triangles, so now the rest of them just need to be sewed into the ribbon.

You guys are probably sick and tired of bunting posts by now, so thanks for holding on and reading! Now, tell me about the decorations at your wedding. Anyone else re-purposing shower decorations?

Saturday, February 23, 2013

A Kid-Friendly Wedding

Flower girls and ring bearers are adorable. There's no denying it. Not only do they provide a cuteness factor to the wedding, they also create perfect photo opportunities.

Image via\ / Photo by John Schnack

Image via\ / Photo by J. Shipley Photography

Although we love kids and I even love the look of kids in weddings, having a flower girl or ring bearer was not for us. The wedding participants are entirely family members, with the exception of the officiant, who is a family friend. If any of our siblings had kids, we wouldn't hesitate to include them. However, Mr. Lemur has just one married brother and neither of us have nieces or nephews. We decided not to include a non-family member in this role but to simply not have a flower girl or ring bearer.

When it comes to kids at the wedding, however, we're very open. I think the wedding lends itself to being a family affair. Both of us are very family-oriented and are friends with a number of families from our churches and communities. Also, we're getting married in a simple lodge and a casual setting. It's a morning wedding with a brunch, which makes it easier for kids to attend than an evening or late wedding.

We indicated kids were invited by including their names on the invitation and we've made it clear to families that we know that we'd love to have their kids there on the big day. I know this may cause some crying during the ceremony or a less than immaculate reception. That's ok. If we were getting married in a formal cathedral I might be more uptight about it, but I'm willing to sacrifice some things to have the families we love celebrating with us.

I want to have something for the kids to do while they're at the wedding, however. It's not necessarily a long reception, but I have no doubt they'll get bored. Remember the Scrabble tiles I talked about? I've thought about spreading some of them out on the tables, or on one table just for the kids. I've also bought crayons and started working on coloring pages for the kids. Maybe something like this?
Image via Disney Stationary

I loved Cinderella when I was a little girl, and I could include some other Disney princess wedding pages for the girls. Maybe something a little more masculine for the boys who didn't want to color Ariel and Belle!

What else could I include to keep the kids occupied? I know a lot of brides have included bags for the kids...what did you put in them? I want to make this fun for them!

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Hard Times

Oh these times are hard,
Yeah, they're making us crazy,
Don't give up on me, baby.

Mr. Lemur and I are long distance—and have been on and off throughout our entire relationship. In fact, by the time we get married we'll have been long distance for almost half of our time as a couple. So yes, I knew it would be hard going into our final four months apart. Unfortunately my trips up to Detroit are few and far between.

Personal photo

But guys, it's really tough. When I'm here I get into a pretty good routine. I work 8 to 5 or later every day, eat dinner with my sisters or roommate, go to class for several hours in the evening, run and workout, and by then it's time to go to sleep and get up the next day to do it all over again. Mr. Lemur works twelve hour shifts with a lot of overtime and runs a good bit himself. We hang out with our friends here or there when we have time. So we stay busy—and that's good. It works.

I sit here writing this fresh off a weekend in Detroit. These are the days that are hard. It's hard to focus on writing an entrepreneurship business plan. It's hard to enjoy a typical dinner with a group of family and friends. It's hard to lace up my shoes and run by myself.

Personal photo

We fight more when we're apart. It's easy to snap over something small, especially when the distance already strains emotions. Read: I am a hormonal mess.

The whole girls and chocolate thing? Yeah, that holds true for me. Dark chocolate preferably. I'm all out—you can mail me some more and we'll be best friends forever? What can I say, it was a tough day. And that bag of M&Ms from my future mother-in-law went really quickly...

Personal photo

One of us struggles taking pictures. That person is not me. I love him anyway.

Girls in a long-distance relationship: How do you make it work? Any advice for me? Encouragement? (I could use some right now.)

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Invitations Part III

Miss Part I or Part II?

Now that I had my invitations and mini Moo cards with website information, the only thing left to do was assemble the final product. I could have just dropped the Moo cards into the envelope with the invitations, but I was a little nervous that people wouldn't see them—and I wanted to do something a little more special, since I wasn't doing much else with the invitations.

I took my heart hole punch (you knew that was coming) and, well, punched some heart holes. Pretty self-explanatory, right?

Personal photo

After doing all 100 mini Moo cards, my hand was a little sore and I was bored. (I did all of them, not just the 25 with this shot. I had them stacked by picture.) Guys, if you're like me and your mom/fiance/a lot of your friends live 800+ miles away from you, doing wedding planning by yourself gets boring. Start a good show at the beginning of your wedding planning and just watch it through. And if you're like me and really bored, start a second show when you finish your first.

Anyway. All I needed now was a way to attach the cards to the invitations. I picked up two rolls of thin coral-colored ribbon. It looked like this. (I couldn't find the exact ribbon, so just pretend I was a good blogger and took a picture of the ribbon.)

Image via Easy Weddings

Note: Ten yards of ribbon is not the same as ten feet. Two rolls ended up being not quite enough (six invitations short!) so I went back to Walmart to pick up more to finish the invitations and to use with the crossword puzzle programs and I Spy cards. I was trying to mentally calculate how much I needed to buy but read "ten feet" on the rolls instead of "ten yards." So. I got a lot more than I needed. Good thing it was only $0.49 a roll!

Then I simply threaded the ribbon through one heart hole, under the picture, and out the other heart hole. I dabbed a little bit of glue on one end of the ribbon and pressed it against the other end to hold it firmly in place. Pictures always make more sense, so here's what it looked like in the end.

Personal photo / Cute carpet in my apartment, huh?

The ribbon holds the mini Moo card snug against the invitation, but all you have to do is slide the ribbon down to release the card and see the rest of the invitation information. I guess my only worry is making sure people look at the other side of the card. If you received an invitation like this, you would at least glance at the other side of the mini Moo card as you pulled it off, right? I'm hoping people will unthread the ribbon and hold onto the card since it has our picture and website.

Even just a simple project like this took me a few hours! I have way more respect for all you ladies out there to undertook a much larger invitations project now.

Tell me about your invites! And while you're at, anyone else worry about guests catching all the information on the cards? I could use some reassurance!

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

On a Plugged-In Wedding

I know I'm not the first Bee to tackle this subject, and I'm probably not the most eloquent either! Mrs. Mink and Miss Otter covered the subject well and gave arguments for having an unplugged wedding, of which there are many. Both Mrs. Mink and Miss Otter shared this photo, which shows the biggest downside of allowing guests to use their phones at will.

Image via Offbeat Bride / Photo by Solare Photography

I think all of us would say we would rather have guests watching us in person than staring at us through a tiny screen, right? So why not post a sign like this and ask guests to stay unplugged for the duration of the wedding?

Image via Weddingbee / Photo by Jodi Miller Photography

A couple of reasons. In fact, I'll number them for you. Here's my personal justification for having a plugged-in wedding—which to me means more than just allowing devices, but actually encouraging them. I'll get to that in another post!

Note: If I was getting married in a cathedral, this post would probably be different. If I was having a formal wedding, again—this post would probably be different. Everybody's situations are... different. You get it.

1. It's hard to control. I don't want to be the "cell phone" police, asking people to turn off their phones or put them away because this is my moment. No, I don't think all unplugged weddings are like that! But I don't want to feel like I'm back in high school with the teacher taking away someone's phone for texting in class.

2. I love to use my phone at weddings. I snapped this picture at my cousin's wedding over Christmas. Awful picture? Yep! Great reminder of a moment I wouldn't have otherwise? Also a resounding yes. The photographer at the wedding mainly took group shots, pictures I'll probably never see. If I hadn't taken this picture (and some others) on my iPhone, I wouldn't have any memories of hanging out with my crazy family.

Personal photo

3. I really, really want those pictures. Not the perfectly posed and framed pictures with the guys looking dapper and handsome—ok, I mean I do want those!

I mean the casual, "just happened to snap a photo as you guys were laughing" pictures. The ones the photographers can't always get, because, well they can't be everywhere at once. If you catch my dad crying as he walks back to his seat, take a picture. I want the pictures of groups of people at tables that I only got to visit with once or twice and the kids playing with their food. Heck, take a picture of your kid screaming because he can't have more cake!

I can't wait to see them.

Anyone else doing a plugged in wedding? Thoughts on unplugged versus plugged-in weddings?

Honeymoon Hotspots

From the beginning we had a pretty good idea of where we were headed for our honeymoon—but that doesn't mean I resisted the urge to Google top honeymoon destinations and drool over the beautiful locales and perfect resorts. Our honeymoon will be more low-key than any of these, but I might send a few them off to Mr. Lemur as a hint for our one-year anniversary!

1. Curacao

Image via Romantic Getaways

Anyone else not know Curacao existed until the last season of The Bachelorette? After Jef (with one f, I never did understand that...) proposed to Emily with the darling buildings in the background, I had to add this one to the list. The fact that Jef & Emily are sadly no longer together does not ruin this beautiful island for me!

2. Spain

Spanish architecture floors me. It's so stunning. And after eight years of Spanish from middle school through college, I'm due a trip to Spain! I'm secretly still listening to Spanish hip hop to stay up on the language... anybody want to borrow a six year-old Juanes CD?

3. New Zealand

My grandparents went to New Zealand five or six years ago and brought back some truly incredible pictures. Ever since then it's been in the back of my mind—and Mrs. Wallaby's beautiful honeymoon kinda reminded me that oh hey, I need to go there!

4. Peru

Image via World Wider

We love to hike and just the though of hiking somewhere like this gets me so excited! Yes, I love hiking in the Blue Ridge Mountains, and the Appalachian Trail is great. But really, do they have anything on the Andes Mountains? Actually maybe this category should just be "Mountains." I'll take any of them—Rockies, Alps, Mount Everest...

Anyone been to any of these places? Share your stories with me so I can live vicariously through you!

The Money Subject

Mrs. Wallaby does this so much better than me, but let's talk about money. I've alluded to the fact that we're throwing a pretty low-budget wedding. (There's got to be a better way of saying that.) I'm gonna try to be pretty open here, even though yeah... it's a little awkward.

My parents and Mr. Lemur's parents have graciously offered to help us, and we're choosing to spend only the money that we were given. We could spend our own money over that—but it would mean things like less money towards student loan repayment and taking out a car loan instead of paying cash for the car I just bought. I'm not saying this is what everyone should do, but as a graduate student it was the best option for us! And I'm here to tell you that if that's what you're looking to do (I know there's some of you out there!), it's totally possible.

I want to do a pre-wedding budget post to let you know our general categories. After this all goes down I'll post again and let you know the specifics! A few things: My engagement ring, our wedding bands, and our honeymoon are not included in this budget. We are paying for those ourselves, as well as gifts. The rehearsal dinner is also not included, as Mr. Lemur's parents are covering that. Anything else? Uhh, hopefully I didn't forget it! If you see something you're not sure about, just ask.

Catering: $2000

I mentioned before that we're using the caterer from our venue, who is completely reasonable. She charges per item, so a menu of six to eight items for around 120 people is totally in our price range. We're having coffee, tea, juice, sweet tea, and water, but not serving alcohol—which keeps the price down. The cakes are also included in this total price. We're doing five simple round cakes with frosting in shades of the wedding colors. I'm so excited to see how this turns out!

Venue: $1250

In the beginning we set a max of $1000 for the wedding venue. This is possible! However, our original venues that fell into this category were all booked. This is mostly due to our short engagement. My advice: If you want to save money on the venue, book early so you can pick and choose! We were really limited, although I do love our venue.

Photography: $800

This includes our engagement pictures session at $100 and a full day of wedding coverage at $700. We decided to book and up-and-coming young photographer with just a few weddings under her belt. Her original price was $1000, but we negotiated travel and lodging expense (not included), plus we're doing a separate couples session with her later in the summer (also not included) instead of taking extensive couples photos on the day of the wedding.

Bridal Outfit: $250

Ok, at this point you might be like wait what? This girl is crazy. Hold on, I promise this is possible! I got the J. Crew Sophia for $150 online new with tags. This is a $425 dress normally—so already inexpensive but I managed to get a great deal. Check around online—my veil was $10 on eBay, in perfect condition. I haven't gotten shoes or a necklace yet, so those still need to fit into this category.

Paper Items: $200

This includes the mini Moo cards, 150 envelopes, ribbon, heart hole punch, and 150 invitations printed in color. It also includes 120 crossword puzzle programs and I Spys printed in black & white and color, respectively. I'll do a complete breakdown in my final post, but I will say we managed to do all of this with money left over—we got a great deal on printing.

Decorations: $200

The bulk of this is spent on books—which I don't feel bad about because we can have these for a long time. We did get a great deal on the ones we bought and are borrowing some so we can have more than we were willing to pay for. This is also $20 for tissue paper to make flowers and poms to hang throughout the venue and $30 to buy small Scrabble letters and make larger Scrabble letters. We're borrowing some glass from family and friends and tablecloths are included with the venue, but I still need to narrow down what else I need in this category!

Miscellaneous: $300

This includes anything we haven't bought or taken care of yet. There's a lot of little things that add up! We also have to include the marriage license fee, makeup, and who knows what else...

Total: $5000

This was the total I set from the very beginning, so I'm really glad to see that with less than three months to go we're still on target to hit it. I don't anticipate anything pushing us over this, but you never know!

Anyone have any other tips? Any other brides out there planning a low-budget wedding? Anything I forgot? (I sure hope not.)

Rehearsal Dinner Logistics

I can't decide if I'm really excited about figuring out all the logistics for the wedding or completely overwhelmed. The obsessive-compulsive side of me is screaming ORGANIZE ORGANIZE ORGANIZE THIS IS AWESOME. Whether that is a good thing for my sanity is yet to be determined...

Let's talk facts. The week of the wedding is going to be insanely busy—there's no way around it. The original plan was to hold the rehearsal dinner out at the venue. They have a number of pavilions available for rental around and near a lake and walking path.

Personal photos

This would have worked perfectly for us because it's a simple picnic-style setting. The menu for the rehearsal dinner is going to be pulled pork sandwiches, coleslaw, chips, cookies, and sweet tea—so it fits.

The problem is the logistics of getting everyone there. Everyone is staying in Greenville (30-40 minutes away). The drive isn't awful, but there a few things to consider:

1. Greenville 5:00 traffic is horrible. The highways slow down, the stoplights back up, and it's just generally a mess. You don't want to get caught rushing to get somewhere at 5:00.
2. There's a 5K in Traveler's Rest (mid-way between Greenville and the wedding venue) that evening that draws 3000+ people. Traveler's Rest is a tiny town and they close down roads to handle the 5K. Mr. Lemur & I ran it last year and it took us 45 minutes to make the 15 minute drive.
3. Everyone's going to be crunched for time all day long. Do we really want people rushing to get there, rushing to get back, hurrying around the whole time? What we're actually going for with the rehearsal dinner is a laid-back time for family and close friends to mingle and talk.

In my mind, I think I scrapped the rehearsal dinner at the venue plan a long time ago. But it wasn't until last night at 11:00 when I couldn't sleep that I came up with an alternative.

Cleveland Park is three miles away from graduation and two miles away from the hotel where I reserved rooms for guests. It's a big park with eight shelters, several miles of inter-looping trails, a zoo, several playgrounds, tennis courts, and the Reedy River down the middle of it. It's also home to Rock Quarry Garden, which I happen to be very partial to, since we got engaged there.

Image via Rachel Hughes Photography / A wedding in Rocky Quarry Garden—I'm kinda jealous!

I think all around it just makes more sense. It's a lower-key evening and (hopefully) everyone will love the park as much as we do!

Anyone else do a really casual rehearsal dinner? How did you decide on a venue? Any other sentimental brides out there who want to pull in the proposal location to the wedding?

Thursday, February 7, 2013

The Guests Need Somewhere to Stay Too

Who would have thought, right? I've been so busy thinking about where to hold the wedding, where I'd stay the night before, where I'll get ready, where we'll go on our honeymoon—that I completely forgot about reserving blocks of rooms for our awesome guests.

But no big deal, the wedding is still three months away, right? Plenty of time to book a few rooms, since even though it's a nice area to visit there's not a huge demand for tourism in early May. We're not having a huge wedding plus a lot of people know friends in town to stay with, so we'll only need 10-15 rooms maximum.

Well. There are two private universities in the Greenville area, and both of them have graduations that weekend. They're not huge schools, but it definitely causes an influx of people.

Which didn't hit me until I clicked on the website of the hotel I planned to reserve rooms in from the beginning and saw that they had zero rooms available the weekend of the wedding. Zero rooms? In a tiny town like Traveler's Rest? Except... it's five minutes away from Furman University. Duh.

That would have been the best option since it's just fifteen minutes from the venue, but I immediately rebounded and told myself "That's ok, I'll just reserve rooms in Greenville. It will be an extra fifteen minutes of travel time for my guests, but they'll get to experience the area." On the plus side it is a pretty neat city. I've grown quite attached in my five years here!

Downtown hotels are really pricey, I mean I never would expect my guests to pay $319 a night, even if it's for a hotel that looks like this:

Image via Uptake

Go east of the downtown area though and you run into more booked hotels. And even if they have rooms available (there are some, although you're limited), the prices have been jacked by at least $20 because of the higher demand from local graduations.

Fortunately I found a hotel with availability that's near downtown—close, but not so close that it's wicked expensive. Rates are reasonable and the hotel looks nice without being overly ritzy. The downside of course is that it's a longer drive to the wedding venue—thirty minutes instead of fifteen. Remember though that we have a morning wedding, so guests won't be traveling late at night after a long day.

It goes both ways, you can stay close to the venue and have nothing to do or you can stay further away and have a beautiful city right there. I'm really hoping people take advantage of these kinds of sights just a mile away.

Image via City Data / Our cute Main Street

Image via Black Olive Photographic / Riverwalk along the downtown area

Image via Forbes / Listed as a top rejuvenated area!

Image via Greenville Daily Photo / Falls Park Liberty Bridge—the coolest park in the area!

Anyone smarter than me out there who anticipated these kinds of problems and booked hotels early? If it was an option, would you rather stay as close to the venue as possible or be able to check out local areas? 

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Invitations Part II

It's about time I continued my previous post about invitations with an aptly named Part II.

Remember, we had nixed the full invitation suite in favor of keeping costs and effort down, but I still wanted to do something casual yet fun. I googled "free wedding templates"—no shame, guys—and found Wedding Chicks, who has some really awesome custom wedding printables and downloads. Take the work out of it and get something personalized for free! Granted, this does not mean you're the only person to ever use that invitation. I know that—although I figure the chances are slim that someone would receive two invitations using the same template, so I decided to go with it. 

I wanted something casual and cute that was at least vaguely in our wedding colors. I think the bunting invitations were instantly my favorites.

Image via Wedding Chicks

Of course, we're not doing RSVP cards so all I downloaded was the invitation template. They had escort cards and table numbers in the same theme though, along with more in other themes.

They have a fun coral and yellow vibe to them and preserve a little bit of traditional wording and presentation along with a casual feel with the fonts and design. After messing with the wording for forever, we came up with the following. (I'm not showing a picture of ours because it would be so blurred, but it looks just like the one in the pictures with our names and information.)

Miss Lemur's Parents
Along with Mr. Lemur's Parents
Invite you to share their joy at the marriage of
Miss Lemur
Mr. Lemur
Saturday, May xx, 2013
at 11:00 in the morning
Pleasant Ridge Camp & Retreat Center
Address, Marietta, South Carolina

One other note on wording—I left this up to my parents. Because they're technically hosting the wedding (paying for most of it), tradition dictates the invitations should come from them. However, Mr. Lemur's parents are also helping us, and they're just a huge part of our lives, so we decided on essentially a joint invitation. My mom nixed wording like "Request your presence" because she felt it was too formal—they eventually decided on "Invite you to share their joy," which was actually my favorite from the beginning. So simple and happy!

A note on printing—we had ours done at my campus print shop and got an incredible deal on it. They also did a really great job. Breakdown on costs turned out to be $0.47/sheet for color printing plus $0.04/sheet for the ivory card stock. For 75 sheets (150 invitations) that was just under $40, but we got a 30% wedding discount, which put us just under $27 for all of our invitations. I'll add this and more information to our budget post at the end!

Also, I now need to have bunting somewhere at the venue. I'm thinking draped along the mantle? For real, how perfect would that be? I can match the colors pretty closely with tissue paper I'm thinking and pull in the invitations to the decorations. That's a huge victory for an obsessive-compulsive bride like me.

Don't worry, we still have to discuss assembling the invitations and printing the envelopes. Much more to come, so stay tuned for Part III!

Anyone else go the simple free route? Anybody go the opposite direction and order custom design? Those invitations are always so pretty and I love the customization! Tell me about your experiences with wedding invitations—sending and receiving.

Dressing Up the Dress

Remember when I introduced my dress and said I was excited to make it my own? Well this post is just about that! I also posted about shoes and whether or not I should splurge for expensive heels or go with a simple sandal. This girl is still undecided! But today let's talk about wedding jewelry.

I've seen a lot of pictures lately with necklaces that look something like this and they kind of make me swoon. Especially the ones with birdcage/short veils because that's what I'll be wearing!

Because the dress is so simple, I think I could get away with a bigger necklace, although maybe not something with quite that much bling even though I love them. I'm thinking a chunkier necklace that still fits the whole casual theme, maybe even something in coral.

I think this image says it best. Look at her—she's stunning. I'm absolutely loving the double strand with the hint of color that matches her sweater. Umm, can anyone find me a coral sweater please? And then let's have the weather be cold on my wedding day!

This is a short post because I really don't have anything else to say! You can say it for me, what do you think I should wear? Go with a larger necklace or stick to a traditional string of pearls or pendant? What kind of wedding jewelry did you wear?

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Let's Talk about Rings

I've already talked about my perfect proposal and the jealousy that inevitably creeps in when you compare yourself to others. Because what's right for you is almost certainly not right for someone else. Even when someone tells you "Oh, that's the exact ring I want!" (that happened this weekend), it doesn't mean their story is anything like yours—or should be! So this post is about my ring, but I want to make a few extraneous remarks too.

Miss Jackrabbit has a really awesome post on her moissanite ring and just rings in general, so I won't repeat her here! But it goes without saying that if you have a huge diamond or a small diamond or a colored gem or a scientifically-created stone (umm, cool!), the most important thing is just that you rock the heck out of that thing.

I already mentioned Mr. Lemur and I picked out the ring together, but during our the summer when we were also long distance (ugh) I wanted to get an idea for what kind of ring I liked in person, not just from pictures online.

Side note: This is how I found Weddingbee! I was searching for rings online and came across threads in the ring forum, which led me to the blog eventually.

So way back in June I went and tried on rings with a friend. For girls who want to go ring shopping but don't want to drag their significant others along: Just do it. Take a girlfriend and say "I want to look at rings to get an idea of what I might like!" They'll let you try on as many rings as you want. I told the lady at Kay's I was looking for a princess cut solitaire with a cathedral setting, and she showed me this ring.

Personal photo—The ring I preferred is on my right hand. In the second picture I'm wearing a similar but slightly bulkier ring on my left hand.

The jeweler wasn't pushy necessarily, but she definitely encouraged me to try on some other rings. I did, and each time I kept gravitating back to the simple solitaire. For me, once I figured out what I wanted, trying it on didn't make that much of a difference. It simply solidified how I had felt while looking at rings online, on other people, etc. So I sent the pictures and a link to Mr. Lemur—not subtle at all, huh?

Mr. Lemur ordered the diamond and band separately from a jeweler friend, and I may have gotten some pictures along the way. Shh. I don't think people are supposed to know he sent me the original ring pictures!

Somehow, though, when I first saw the ring I wasn't thinking "Yep, this is the one I picked out." I was thinking "We're getting married!" And having a gorgeous ring was pretty cool too.

Personal photo—I think this picture turned out pretty well for a quick shot on my iPhone in front of the waterfall where we got engaged!

So tell me your ring stories! Anyone have a really unique ring or ring story out there? Do I have any ring twins? Did you pick out your ring or did your significant other surprise you?

Heel Height

Mr. Lemur is definitely taller than I am. In this shot from our engagement pictures, you can see he easily has four or five inches on me—taller but not towering over me.

If I wear a normal-sized heel, I'm just shorter than Mr. Lemur by an inch or two. I'm totally comfortable with this, and wear heels often. Would I wear a pair of shoes like this with a 6 and 1/2 inch heel?

Image via Zappos

Well, probably not. It's just not my style! And I mean, I'm not even sure I could walk in those, but that's beside the point!

Now look at this picture of my whole family at Lake Superior this summer...

Personal photo / Mr. Lemur, me, Sister E, Sister E's Boyfriend, Sister A, Brother D

Ok, so maybe it's a slight incline. But it gets my point across—I'm definitely the shortest in the family! And Mr,. Lemur is pretty close in height to both of my sisters.

In fact, throw a pair of three or four-inch heels on either Sister E or Sister A and I'm pretty sure he'd be looking up at them. Mr. Lemur's brothers (the groomsmen) aren't necessarily tall either. Now, I'm not saying it would be a huge deal if they wore heels, but we're definitely thinking of going with a flat sandal. I'm pretty sure they'd be more comfortable like that anyway!

If they wear a more casual sandal, what should I wear? I was leaning towards heels at first, but now I love the idea of being able to walk around all day no problem, not trip on my dress, be comfortable, match my sisters... Did you wear heels and love it? Regret it? Wish you had worn the shoes of your dreams? DID wear the shoes of your dreams?