Thursday, January 31, 2013

Keep your head up, keep your love

The Lumineers - Stubborn Love

What we're listening to, and loving, today

Sunday, January 27, 2013

Under the Covers

Or a veil....

I've been thinking, A LOT, about the whole wedding veil thing. I absolutely, hands down, definitely am going to wear one. There is no doubt about it. The problem is that I already bought one, and like with my dress, which I got over, and now am sooo happy with the purchase... to the point that I may be seen on any given night forcing my ever-accommodating big sister help me into just so I can see it one more time, but yea, like I did with my dress, I'm having serious buyer's remorse.

I never really had any serious vision of what I would wear on my Wedding day other than "of course, I'll wear white" and "yes, there will be a veil", and just fleeting thoughts of "ooh that would be pretty". That makes it very hard to narrow down the choices and even harder to actually make a decision (which let's face it, is not my strong suit to begin with). So it was surprising to me that I managed to snag my veil and dress all in the same shopping trip, all at one store, on my first time out... Amazing! The problem is I'm not really an impulse-buyer, I'm a browse-shop around-think about it-wait for it to go on sale-or- never actually go back and buy it kind of girl. So the wedding whirlwind that was New Years Eve is just not my typical M.O., but it felt totally right at the time. The problem is that I haven't stopped looking for things I already got and now...

Now, I think you could even say that I have veil envy.... or maybe it's just confusion. You see, I LOVE my veil and it is so pretty but I keep looking back at Style Me Pretty (all images below can be found in this gallery) and I just can't help but wonder if I'd like something else better...

Something like the lacy mantilla veils or the long beautiful cathedral veils... ahhh, to die for...

Or maybe a sweet little blusher... oh if only I could really be that brave.

And then there's this slew of gorgeous fingertip grazing beauties that just make me dizzy because they're soo... just pretty.



Sooo many choices, and just one head. I would love to go into detail about the veil that I have currently in my possession but my husband-to-be is quite devious and would love nothing more than to know exactly what I'll be wearing when I meet him in church that day so for now, I'll just have to post the things I like to take the temperature of the peanut gallery.

P.S. If I keep this up, Jay is going to block Style Me Pretty just like he did Google Shopping on our computer.

Monday, January 14, 2013

A Picture's Worth 1000 Words

Today we met with Steph at Saltwater Studios. She was super friendly and I cannot wait to work further with her! She has a great eye and all her pictures are just naturally beautiful. She doesn't use a lot of faux lighting or crazy flashes. I totally love the softness of her images.

She met with us super-early which we totally appreciated because Jay was not off for MLK day. She also made a beeline for my heart by baking delish spice cake cupcakes with white chocolate frosting. Mmmm they were so good! I'm pretty sure all my Weight Watchers points were used on cupcakes that day.

I had met Steph at the Philly Bridal Expo and since we were the first couple to contact her after the event, we won this great canvas or metal print! (well we will get it after the pictures are taken, of course!)

We totally hit it off with her. So well that Jay had to remind me it was a vendor meeting, not a friendship meeting.... oops! All in all, it was a great day and we were so happy to have another thing checked off our to-do list!

Sunday, January 13, 2013

Venues- the search continues

I talked about my stalking a few posts back and then hinted at it again yesterday, but today the search for the perfect wedding venue continues...

Today we visited the William Penn Inn. I met my sister and my mom for brunch. It was incredible. Three rooms of delicious food buffets, each one as great as the last. After filling up on mimosas and coffee and trying a little bit of everything they had to offer, we were ready to meet with the wedding coordinator

 Colleen led us through the Banquet entrance. It didn't look so pink when we got there, but this is a great day-time view.

We went into the Carriage Room (the main Ballroom at the William Penn Inn). It was set up like this image below for a wedding ceremony.  It looked a lot less sparkly without all the beautiful Christmas decorations and I'm so glad I did some stalking a few weeks back because I don't know that I would have been sold on this space without all the festive decor, although the chandeliers are pretty spectacular!

 My inner-fat-kid did cartwheels when Colleen showed us this picture. And my inner-Christmas-addict did back flips when I saw this pretty red and gold dessert set up. 


Just like that, I was sold. I know Jay will love this place. It's a very classic and elegant restaurant with a traditional old-world feel. Right up his alley.  I can't wait to take him to brunch next weekend so that he can see it too! (and I can get more bananas foster Belgian waffles)!

Saturday, January 12, 2013

Venues - The search is (officially) On

After much deliberation, and many dirty looks from The-Wedding-Planning-Elite, Jay and I have decided to embrace the possibility of change to our wedding vision board. (yes, Jay will kill me when he reads that he has been included in a sentence with the words "vision board").

What the vendors say:"October is the new June". I can't tell you how many times we've heard those words over the last 6 weeks. Apparently, we should have been booking vendors and venues about 2 years ago if we wanted to book something that looks like my Good Ol' Reception Board above. We weren't engaged then though, so that would have been a little cart-before-the-horse, if you ask me.  Also, as it turns out, the rentals and catering costs for an event like this were more than we were prepared to spend. It's a good thing I'm none-to-attached to these things or I would be facing critical disappointment levels right now. The only thing I'll be sad to part with will be the twinkle lights and lanterns. Oh, how I love them.

In brighter news, I spent this week on PartySpace, looking for vendors. If you haven't visited this site, I HIGHLY recommend it! It is very convenient for one-stop shopping browsing. That is where I found this! The Lake House Inn... dream venue come true!



I showed pictures to my mom and my sisters yesterday and when I went to my mom's this morning to help her dismantle the Christmas decorations :( I was bombarded with questions about the place and why we didn't look here to begin with! (because I didn't find it until yesterday!?!?) So we checked out their link and as it turns out, they were available on October 5!! What were the odds!? We called, they were having an open house! We went over to check it out and were floored! This place seriously has everything you could want! It was absolutely stunning. Tent-feel, over-night accommodations, lakefront with water views, not to mention the fire-pit and after party accoutrements!  It was perfect!

Then there was the people who came right before us. Literally, the couple that walked in directly before us! One October date, one couple ahead of us. We lost it. As it turns out, this place was also on the pricy side and for an off-season wedding (because those were now the only dates available) it was going to be about $10k over our budget (and that's only accounting for venue, bar and catering, not dress, DJ/band, photographer, flowers). Disappointment checks in. I should have known it was too good to be true.

I was so upset when I got home, Jay made me promise not to go on their site again. He also said all the right things... "no matter where we have the reception, it will be beautiful because we will be married" and promised me that everything was going to work out for the best, which he's usually right about these things. So I closed their website and their facebook page and have not visited them again, and promise not to linger on this post after it is published. :)

Also, this is where this venue fell on the checklist:

1) Capacity for 200+ guests (my huge fam + Jay's friends = giant guest list)
2) Somewhere neither of us have been for a wedding
3) Close proximity to hotels and the church
4) Unique venue - anything that makes it stand out from the standard reception hall/country club
5) Must fit in the Budget (maybe this should be the first consideration, but the other things are so much more important to me)

The good news is, we got a great little advertisement in the mail last week so I had already scheduled an appointment at the William Penn Inn for tomorrow along with a reservation for Brunch before The Lake House was even on my radar, so things are already looking up :)

Thursday, January 10, 2013

What does the Perfect Venue look like?

Let's talk about the Must-Haves for our venue-

1) Capacity for 200+ guests (my huge fam + Jay's friends = giant guest list)
2) Somewhere neither of us have been for a wedding
3) Close proximity to hotels and the church
4) Unique venue - anything that makes it stand out from the standard reception hall/country club
5) Must fit in the Budget (maybe this should be the first consideration, but the other things are so much more important to me)

Some of my Favorites:

Pros: unique and industrial, open space, floor to ceiling windows, blank canvas and has an outdoor space.
John Armich Photography
Susan Stripling Photography
Cons: it's almost too big, holds 600-700 people but might look empty if we're *only* having 200 people. and doesn't meet 3 or 5 so it's out.

Pros: interesting combination of rustic and Mediterranean, has an outdoor space.Separate rooms for Cocktails, dinner, and dancing.

John Armich Photography

John Armich Photography

Cons: the space feels kind of choppy, and it only holds up to 200 people so it doesn't meet #1. Also doesn't fall into #5 so it's out of the running, too.

Pros: unique and industrial, open space, floor to ceiling windows, blank canvas and has an outdoor space.

Wedding Wire

The Knot

Cons: Doesn't meet #3, nothing even remotely close. Also, doesn't meet #5, because we'd be required to use their approved vendors and by the time we get everything we need/want, it puts us over budget.

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

My Love/Hate Relationship with Pinterest

Part of me loves Pinterest. I'm totally and completely obsessed, pinning beautiful pictures left and right. I adore all the inspirational ideas that can be found in just a quick wedding search. I love love love having a place to store images, and more importantly, the links that go with them. It is terribly convenient being able to share boards with my mom, sisters, and friends and that they can see all the things I am envisioning without the pretty getting lost in translation.

There is something just innately right about Pinterest. It is the most efficient outlet for storing and sharing and it really speaks to my OCD tendencies.

That said, I have a love/hate relationship with Pinterest. My number ONE biggest issue with this site, or more with the blogger-masses who post on it, is that most pins are seriously devalued. Either by price, or by ease of completion. I love when I see pictures of twinkle-light wrapped trees with beautiful glass lanterns filled with fresh flowers or candles hanging from them. Stunning.... and yes, the supplies are easy and inexpensive enough. What they fail to convey in those perfectly staged photos is 1) who are you getting to decorate those trees, 2) who is going to hang all those pretty lanterns, 3) who is lighting all the candles or filling those hanging vases with water and perfect flowers? Well, maybe your answer is "the wedding planner" and a tip of the hat to you, my friends, and a hand in your pocket maybe too! For us girls on the efficiency-wedding planning end of things (which is still a ridiculously substantial fund, considering it's all for 1 day) sometimes the finds on Pinterest that look budget-friendly are not, AT ALL.

Another disappointment I have faced with Pinterest (and if I'm being honest, Style Me Pretty, is also guilty of this) is the way they glorify "backyard weddings" and establish them as budget-friendly. News Flash fellow brides!!!! That is just not the case. The cost of rentals (tents, tables, chairs, lights, generators, BATHROOMS, etc.) plus the cost of a caterer (who still wants to charge you what you'd be paying at the venue... even though they don't come with bathrooms) is astronomical.  I say this in all seriousness... if you are having more than 100 people to an affair in your backyard or on a farm that hasn't been refurbed into a reception venue, you really need to consider portable toilets, or a bathroom trailer... and these options run from $3000-$5000, so just keep that in mind.

Another huge disadvantage here is that a lot of those pretty outdoor weddings take place in California or other equally-perfect weather places, and for a girl like me, an outdoor wedding in Philadelphia, PA is just sooooo risky! It could be raining, it could be gorgeous! There could be a hurricane, there could be a tornado, there could be drought-like conditions or it could be record-breaking heat. All that, and it doesn't matter what time of year you try... the weather is just terribly unpredictable.

That said, I do love Pinterest. I would even admit that I might be addicted to it. I have deemed the love of my life, my fiance, also the keeper of all things sane. He has been designated as the person to pull me back down to earth when I get carried away by pins.

Monday, January 7, 2013


So I failed to mention in my previous posts that Shiela (and Elisabeth) and I did some serious venue-stalking last weekend (12/29).

We had spent that Saturday at the Expo then went shopping for supplies for wedding crafts for Shiela's friend Beth, who is getting married in April. On the way home, we just happened to be driving past the William Penn Inn.


Back story - I've driven past this place thousands of times in my life. I have never once, not ever, stepped foot inside the building. It is absolutely beautiful all year round, but especially at Christmas when they have extra light outside on all the bushes and in greens and in wreaths.


The place is just magnificent! I love it so much. Which is crazy to say since I've never been inside, let alone eaten the food.

So needless to say on Saturday night while we were on our way home, my sister pulled into the banquet entrance and told me to go inside to take a peek. She wanted me to see it in all it's Christmas-decorated-glory. I am soooooooo glad I did because when I walked in, I saw the banquet room swagged with beautiful greens glittering with gold and ivory accents.  I am not exaggerating when I say that it took my breath away. The woman who was working in the coat check, and so graciously let me go in and look around found me staring at the decorations like a small child.

I could tell by the way she vividly explained the layout of the room and how things would look different for a wedding that she too was in love with this place. That speaks volumes to me as I was a coat-check girl, a hostess, a waitress, and a bartender at one time or another in my life and I know how easy it is to lose the awe factor when you work somewhere.

I was pretty-much sold on a Christmas wedding right then and there.

Saturday, January 5, 2013

The Philly Bridal Expo

Even though I've been sick as a dog this week, today I was feeling slightly better... or drugged up enough not to waste the day in bed. I also got tickets to the Philly Bridal Expo and as my first official outing with Bridesmaids, I did not intend to miss it!

Alyssa, Shiela, and I trudged out in the not-too-freezing cold and took the train into the city. The expo had lots of vendors- florists, caterers giving out food, bakeries giving out cake, salons giving out make up and updos, and even a mobile spray-tan or teeth-whitening option! Who knew!?

We got tons and tons of very helpful information and then we made our way over to the Downtown Marriott, which is actually attached to the convention center, so that was very nice! The Marriott did not disappoint, they had a great photobooth where we got our pictures taken and a complementary bookmark to hold the strip. We got some more delicious food samples, including mimosas, amazing pumpkin cake from Anne's Cake Pan (it seriously was to die for!) and even a Starbucks Hot Cocoa/Coffee bar.

All in all, it was a terrific day and we got tons of info to continue the hunt for the perfect venue/vendors.

Friday, January 4, 2013

Visions of an outdoor affair

If I said I've been dreaming of my Wedding Day since I was little, that wouldn't be a lie. If I said I've been planning my wedding since I was 15, that would also not be a lie. If I said that Jay and I have been talking about our wedding for almost the same amount of time that we've been together, that, again, is not a lie.

We have discussed, at length, the vision we both have for our Wedding Day and it looks a little like this:

My Vision

 Jay's Vision
(found on pinterest, source deleted)

Fortunately, we have been able to tie in games, twinkle lights, whiskey, outdoors, beer, candlelight, and cigars to something really great! At least how we're seeing it in our heads... We share a love of yard games and craft brews, so in the end we may not be having a flip-cup tournament, but we do have ideas of a cocktail hour playing bocci or cornhole.

Jay doesn't love twinkle lights as much as I do, but he sure is good at letting me have my way ;) Our plan is to set up a tent on my Grandparent's property (they live on a lovely 16-acre farm with a pond). The cocktail hour would be held on the flagstone patio under lighted Maple trees and then transition to the tent for the reception.

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Happy Birthday!!! Happy New Year!!!!!

HAPPIEST OF BIRTHDAYS to my big-brother, Gary!! 
Love you so much and I hope you have the best day!

Gary reading to Elisabeth

And a little Bridesmaid lovin'... when I was shopping for my wedding dress yesterday, we also lucked out and scored big deals on Cara and Alyssa's dresses! The long-gray vision has come to fruition. At least for 2 of my girls!

Alyssa's Dress
Cara's Dress

HAPPY HAPPY NEW YEAR to all my friends, family, and blog-stalkers! Hope you enjoy this Vanilla Bean New Year's Cake brought to you by the Blue-Eyed Bakers! YUM!!!