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July 28, 2014

Rules of Engagement: How to plan a wedding without ending up in a huge fight with everyone on the guest list.

If you are reading this, Congratulations! That special moment FINALLY came…you are officially engaged! *squeal* You can now do all sorts of awesome things like post pictures of the ring to Facebook with the status update, “He liked it so he put a ring on it!” FYI: it’s been used, um, a lot, so maybe try something else. Anyway, you’ve arrived and you are ready to tackle the most amazing day of your life, except for one teensy-tiny detail. Everyone you ever know who got engaged and planned a wedding said it was THE WORST, MOST HORRIBLE, thing they have ever done. They fought with their moms, their fiancées, their wedding planners, and their best friends. Making all those decisions and plans was so stressful and so horrible; it makes any sane person wonder why we ever get divorced only to do it all over again. Let me be the one voice in this lone, crazy, WWF-wedding smack down world that will tell you differently. We planned our own wedding – and loved it! Seriously, my main man and I had a blast and my mom and I (and even the dreaded future Mother-in-law and I) had the best time. Was it a little stressful? Sure. Did it require a lot of decisions? Oh my goodness that is an emphatic YES! But, before we ever got started, we set some ground rules; a few “Rules of Engagement” if you will (my guy loves puns like that J), and then we refined them over the years as we worked with bride after teary-eyed bride. I’ve seen it all from fights over seemingly insignificant details like how the bride is going to style her bangs, (really, that was a real one, right there) to more emotionally complicated matters like which father figure is going to walk Miss soon-to-be Mrs down the aisle. Regardless of what type of reception, what budget, or what dress you get, there are a few tricks to planning your wedding that will ensure you can enjoy not only the amazing day, but the process of getting there.

Rule #1: Hold your horses there cowgirl!
I know, not what you were expecting right?!?! You got engaged and now you can officially run out and try on wedding dresses, whereas when you did it before the ring, you seemed a little too much like a freight train. I’m here to say right now, “Stop, pause, and wait.” You have one super-important task to do before you ever get started. I made this mistake. I got engaged and ran out literally the next day and found the perfect wedding dress. I fell in love with it, I felt beautiful in it, and nothing could ever compare. And then I turned to my mom and said, “So how much money is in the budget for this?” And my sweet mom just looked sort of confused because she and my dad hadn’t thought at all about how much they were willing to put towards a wedding. We decided that since the dress was one of the most important things for a wedding, we would just get it and settle for less than amazing in other, less-important places. Come to find out, when you are planning your wedding, EVERYTHING seems important. Every single detail seems like it will either make or break the most magical day of your life. I’m here to say right now that Rule #1 is to step back and not make a single decision or purchase until you, your finacee, and whomever is helping pay for the wedding (typically the parents) sit down and make a list of what is most important to them. Now, when you make this list, you get 5 things. If you want you can have fewer, but you can’t have more. Limit yourself. For example, the five things that were the most important to me were: my dress, the photographer, location of reception, the flowers, and matching wedding line outfits. There were definitely other things that seemed important, like the color scheme, but when my soon-to-be husband wrote out his list and his only request was to wear a divine chocolate brown tux, I knew the color scheme I had been putting together had to change, and I have never regretted that. On the other hand, I met one groom who just really wanted a chocolate wedding cake. That’s it. But, the bride couldn’t part from the traditional white wedding cake, and ten years later, she still regrets not giving him the one thing that was really important to him at their wedding. Picking what is most important to you not only helps you choose what proverbial hill you are willing to die on, but it helps you see where you can be the hero to other people and give them the special wedding too. Have your parents make this list. Have your fiancée and his/her parents make this list, and above all, you make the list and limit yourself and everyone else to five or fewer. Also, be detailed. It doesn’t help at all to say the reception is important. That’s a huge event with tons of different vendors and bills. Be more specific than that and figure out what it is about the reception that is all-important to you. For me, it was the location, for someone else it might be a string quartet or using real dishes. The more specific you are, the more likely you are to get those five things exactly how you want them.

Rule #2: Money Talks
Now that you know what is most important to you, you can run out and buy it. Um, just kidding, I was lying. It’s not time yet, but you are getting closer. Please, for the love of your Dad’s high cholesterol medication or that nest egg that you or your fiancée has managed to save, plan another sit down. Bust out a yummy fruit platter (you’re on your wedding diet remember?) and some lemon water and grab the nearest Excel nerd you can find. Now, invite all the parties interested in paying for the wedding and hammer out that budget. And no, I’m not talking the vague, “Oh we can all give $2,000.” budget. I’m saying get that Excel addict to create sheets for each event in the wedding and then line items for everything. Not just a Maid of Honor dress, but shoes and jewelry too (or you can leave that out if you aren’t going to buy her some shoes). Remember how my mom and I just looked at each other and didn’t have the foggiest idea how much we wanted to spend or were willing to spend or should spend on my wedding? Financial discipline can’t go out the window just because you’re super excited to get married, and without a firm, detailed budget in place, it’s way too easy for spending to quickly spiral out of control. Who knows…maybe you’re the lucky one with the rich daddy and a sky’s the limit budget. But, I guarantee your daddy didn’t get rich by indiscriminately spending his hard earned money. He tracked every penny, weighed each cost, and made calculated decisions. And even if he doesn’t ever say anything, he knows exactly how much of his money is going down that white, tulle-lined wedding drain. Remember that list of 5 items that are so important to you that you will faint away right in the middle of the aisle if you don’t have them? Bring that to the budget meeting. Plug all the important numbers in first (if you don’t know how much your DIY hand-painted chalkboard signs are going to cost, make an educated guess or bring a girlfriend to be doing some research while you guys forge ahead) and then see what that does to your grand total. Whatever is leftover has to be split between all the different line items and there are going to be a lot of them. Most of us end up with more line items than dollars to cover them. In that case, it’s time to start trimming, fundraising, or creatively sacrificing. Trimming is an obvious choice, but often more difficult than it sounds. Many enterprising families try to trim with the DIY route, but unless you are a well-scheduled, well-organized family, this isn’t for you. If you are one of those giftedly tactful individuals, by all means, try to squeeze a little more out of your parents or future parents-in-law. I prefer to creatively sacrifice. Let’s imagine that you have always dreamed of having a destination wedding, and it is the one thing that is on your “List”. It’s so important to you that it is the only thing on your list. You can see the tropical beach wedding, or hauntingly romantic European castle getaway. But, budget-wise, it isn’t going to happen. Now is the time to sacrifice everything on the altar of your wedding dreams. Is it possible to find a closer, but just as beautiful beach? Could the destination wedding be just for the bride, groom, and parents, and then host an open-house style reception locally in a more financially feasible location? When there is something on your list that would make all your dreams come true, but seems unattainable financially, this is the time to give up those matching leopard-print bridesmaid stilettos that look so cunningly adorable on every wedding inspiration board on Pinterest.

Rule #3: Get over it
This may sound harsh, but it is so true. Plan now to check your pride at the door for each and every cake-testing, catering sample, fabric swatch, and dress fitting. Weddings aren’t just high stress because of money, time, and decisions. It’s also high stress because emotions are running rampant in the hearts of everyone on the guest list. Cousin Janie is sad she isn’t married, your nieces are dying inside waiting to see if they get new flower girl dresses, all your girlfriends are sick-green jealous, and this doesn’t even begin to cover the mothers. Even though this is you and your fiancées moment, it’s also the moment so many other people have been dreaming of and waiting for too. Right after our wedding ceremony, my husband’s grandfather came up to us and whispered in my ear, “I’ve been waiting for you to come along for him for so long.” In that moment, it totally hit me. This wasn’t just my wedding day. I may have wanted to be the star, but the parents, friends, and family all wanted to shine too. I truly believe one of the main reasons we had so much fun planning our wedding is because my husband and I chose moments for our loved-ones to shine as well. My mom and aunt did the catering; my newly acquired sisters-in-law went shopping for their outfits with me. I had some family and friends come to the photo shoots and let the photographer boss them around. One of my closest friends helped me design my flowers. This meant I had to spend a lot of time listening to their ideas and appreciating their help. I had to walk on eggshells a few times to help them feel included, but not hurt their feelings when I went a different direction. I definitely had to compromise because our relationship and their feelings were more important than a blouse. One of the phrases we used a lot when planning the wedding was, “Let’s see if I like any of the options that are available and if not, we can go from there.” I felt like this helped me start out in a more flexible, willing mindset, but that it also helped prepare my friends and family to keep looking and not be hurt if I wasn’t totally in love with the first stuff that came along. On a side note, we were selective about where we included friends and family. If it was on my “List” and there wasn’t room for compromise, I didn’t include anyone who would be offended by me playing the “This is super important to me” card.

Rule #4: Don’t grab a cold one
I think we’ve all been there, either personally or with a loved one. How many disagreements crop up because of alcohol? Great-aunt Betty has had one too many and tells you you’re a slut for living with your fiancée before you’re married, or you need a night out and get in a huge fight with your maid of honor after too many cocktails. We’ve seen it happen or maybe it’s happened to you, but the fact of the matter is, alcohol never helped anyone make sound judgment calls or strong decisions. While you plan your wedding, stay sober. I don’t personally ever drink, but if you do enjoy a drink now and then (or maybe more than now and then) now is the time to lay off a little. You complexion, wedding diet, and teeth whitening regimen will thank you. You will also be in a way better frame of mind to handle emotions, compromise, stress, and the decision making process if you are 100% sober. If this is totally unrealistic for you or your fiancée, at least agree to come to all wedding-related events sober: the cake testing, dance lessons, reception center hunting, flowers, showers, etc. And yes, I included the bridal showers in there too! I promise you will have more fun and remember it longer with a clear mind. I even stayed off of soda because I wanted the healthiest, strongest, most energetic body and mind I could have. There are so many yummy, virgin drink options out there that are easy to find and easy to make, and a lot of them are great for skin, cellulite, hair, and metabolism. Do yourself and all of your guests a favor and stay sober. The biggest excuse I hear from brides for drinking is that it helps them relax. Well, it’s also easier for you to stick your foot in your mouth, throw up in a studio, or have a big fight with the ones you should love the most. If you need to relax, use the money you would have spent on booze and go get a facial, read a book, take a hot bath, or hire a maid to clean your apartment. Believe me when I say that staying sober will bring more fun and energy to the wedding planning than a beer ever will.

After having a great time planning my own wedding, and then spending so much time helping brides plan their wedding flowers, I hope these few tips and tricks will help you and your loved ones have not only a great wedding day, but a truly enjoyable time planning and pulling off an amazing event!

April 5, 2013

Baby Girl Diaper Cake for Baby Showers

I've been seeing loads of diaper cakes at baby showers and some of them are to die for, so when I was asked recently to host a Baby Girl Shower, I knew exactly what I wanted to do. I envisioned my diaper cake not only as a unique gift idea, but a centerpiece for the gift or food table as well. Now, I'm no awesome photographer, so I'm not going to even attempt to do a photo tutorial, but here is a link to an awesome tutorial done by the gals over at Our Best Bites.

Here are some of my tips though: I bought Target brand diapers because the patterns are the least distracting and the most likely to blend with just about any shower color/theme and I used a size 1-2 instead of the newborn because the larger size was easier to work with. Have someone there to help you roll. It was a good thing my mom just happened to show up while I was doing this because it needs four hands. I bought one more package of diapers than I thought I would need and ended up making the cake rounds a little larger and loved how it turned out! Oh and keep your glue gun handy to hold that ribbon in place.

Since I was hosting a baby girl shower, I decided to 'decorate my cake' in bows. It ended up being a great gift idea that nobody else had thought of, plus it was easy-peesy to just clip the bows all over the cake. You could, however, do all sorts of different things like pacifiers, rattles, socks, baby booties, etc. I even got to thinking how cute this would be for a baby boy to have a boy's diaper cake all covered in Hot Wheels or something like that.

Since the mom-to-be had already picked out a name, I picked up this super cute letter from Hobby Lobby as a 'cake topper'.

I got all of my bows, headbands, and ribbon from Hobby Lobby in the "Wearable Crafts" section.

Here is the finished product. I had it out as the centerpiece for the food and the OOHs and AAHs just went on and on. I got so many compliments and the soon-to-be Grandma just kept getting teary-eyed at the thought of dressing her little grandbaby girl in all these bows :)

LOVED making this little centerpiece and I especially like how it gifted so many usable items: diapers, bows, ribbon, decor...The mom-to-be and all the guests loved it!

February 23, 2013

In my dreams...

You ever have one of those days where you just wish some hot guy (preferably the one I'm married too :) would show up on your porch with a fabulous red rose bouquet and say, "Hey babe, I totally dig those sweatpants covered in the mess of overflowed toilet water (thanks kids). Let's go out to get your favorite fish tacos at Rubio's. I can't wait to sit super close to you and inhale that sensuous new scent you are wearing...what is that? Toilet, barf, laundry, spray paint? mmmm dang girl you fine!" Oh and I really want to watch Downton Abbey and eat Ben & Jerry's Chocolate Fudge Brownie ice make-out attached :)

Now that would be a modern Mr. Darcy indeed. Guess I better go shower. My husband gets off work in a few hours.

February 14, 2013

Happy Valentine's Day!!!

XOXO to all of you lovies who bother to check this quiet little spot of mine! This is me sending you one of these.... :)

Aren't those delicate little light pink and dark pink spray roses gorgeous?!?! This is a great centerpiece for that romantic dinner you are cooking up this weekend (because seriously, who has time to celebrate on a Thursday?)

But I'm also droolin at the thought of a romantic garden wedding with a bridal bouquet just brimming with these little beauties.

For those of you wondering how my Handsome Man celebrates his sexy lil' florist on Valentine's Day, check out my homemade french toast and a "fruit bouquet" that I woke up and enjoyed immensly (I have, without a doubt, totally stuffed my face and overkilled on the sugar today, as have my children. I will now be joining the rest of Facebook in proclaiming that I am doing a 7-day cleanse and clean eating for the rest of eternity!!!)

Go figure I made my husband an edible bouquet as well - sugar cookie pops in M&M's, I meant to give him the cookies, but then I had 3...or 4 or 5. Good thing there were back ups in the freezer. Another awesome man idea by my favorite cooking gals is the Bacon Bouquet on Our Best Bites. These girls are pretty serious when it comes to serious as I am about the major silk flower NO-NO!

Happy Valentine's Day - Or if you're one of my girls, you were wearing your V-day shirt with the Halloween socks while singing "Holly Jolly Christmas" by Burl Ives all day today.

January 17, 2013

Purple Wedding Bouquet

In need of some inspiration for your winter wedding?! I got it right here. Check it out - this season, ditch the Tiffany blue wedding (every girl has done it, and you my friend, are not just every girl. This is your special day. Be Creative!) and opt for some gorgeous emerald tones and pull on all those different tones and hues to make a stunning bouquet. Imagine this deep purple bouquet standing out against all that rich white/cream fabric, ruffles, lace, beadwork, and even snow if you have it, etc. Or in ruby reds, or deep greens, or or or so many choices!

To get great flowers in all one color like this purple bouquet, I like to draw on tones/hues and depth and texture. Starting with color: you can see that we didn't just go all purple roses. Although that would be pretty  in it's own way, there would be no movement, no secrets to catch the eye, nothing visually exciting making the bride want to turn it around and around searching for her favorite part. Instead, start at the lightest hue of purple with those lavender roses and then move all through the spectrum pulling in medium purples with carnation and lisianthus and then adding those deep purples with dark carnations, stock, and statice.

Loved the depth it created by varying the heights of the blooms, especially by placing the darkest purple flowers lower than the lighter ones. There is a certain appeal to that classic, perfectly rounded bouquet - especially to go with a certain style of dress. You can also create depth by varying flower types, so mix up some round/circular shaped flowers (roses, carns, tulips, etc.) with taller blooms that come on a stalk like your lisianthus and stock.

 I love me some texture when it comes to bridal bouquets! It keeps the eyes roving over the flowers and creates a lot of movement.

August 22, 2012

Jenny + Douglas = True Love :)

Meet my little sister Jenny and just know right from the get-go that I take full credit for everything "Awwww" worthy in their love story. But, this is a story that started a long time ago, roughly 5 years to be exact. Five years ago I met the man of my dreams and we got married (and had beautiful flowers at the wedding :) My main man and I had been married about two years when I met his cousin Douglas and thought to myself, "Self, this here Douglas person and my adorable sister Jenny sure would have a lot of fun on a date. They like to laugh at all the same types of things." So, I gave Douglas Jenny's number, but to my delight, he didn't even have to use it because Jenny called me right then and I told her that I had found a fun guy for her to go out with and he was right there ready to ask her that may not have been entirely true....I think he had planned on waiting a day or two, but he manned up and asked her out. My kind of guy. They went to some Outdoorsy, red-neck, Sportsman Convention and had fun, but didn't hit it off "in that way" and my husband's family all laughed and said that Jenny and Douglas were a horrible match


Fast-forward one more year and Jenny has had a string of THE MOST pathetic boyfriends! Seriously! So we take her horse-back riding and who shows up out of the blue (and no I did not plan this...divine intervention right?!?!?) Douglas. Right on cue. There was a fourth horse, and no rider. He went horse-back riding with us, and they have been going out ever since! Awwww! (I was right - they do like to laugh at all the same types of things)

It is sooo fun to do a sister's wedding. I got to really do a lot of designing as opposed to being handed a million photos off of Google Images and Pinterest and being told to, "Make it just like that."
Her dress was total Vintage Glam, and so she wanted her bouquet to be a real statement piece. Berry-red Calla Lilies with pink Waxflower, Freesia, and French Heather.

The tricky thing about red-colored calla lilies is that they come in EVERY shade of red. It is almost impossible to get them to match exactly the shade of red the bride chooses for her wedding. Sometimes they are too pink, other times too plum, and sometimes you can't get red callas at all! Jenny's bouquet turned out a little pink. I was hoping for a much deeper red. But, it is still lovely and it is so unique when compared with the rounded, hand-tied bouquet that every other bride does. Her bouquet really stands out in comparison.

Groom's Bout: Red Calla with Freesia and Waxflower. If you want your wedding to smell heavenly, use Waxflower. It is the tiniest, daintiest little thing, but it smells divine.

Thank You! Thank You! to Michael Lloyd Photography for providing me with these gorgeous images!

Ahhh my siblings: If one looks a little 2-D it is because he is a cardboard cut-out. He was serving as a missionary for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints in Mexico at the time.

All the little bitty flower girls: Want instant popularity at your wedding?! Get every flower girl ages 2+ their own little nosegay to hold. These nieces carried those little bouquets around All. Night. Long. No joke. They did not put them down. They spent all night smelling them and dancing with them, and pretending they were getting married.

I used color to keep Jenny's bouquet the focus of the pictures. That way it didn't blend in as much. As shown above, the flower girls have all-white nosegays using white roses, snapdragons, stock, and freesia. Pictured below are the bridesmaids and Maid-of-Honor (me:) I started to add pinks into their bouquets to help coordinate with Jenny's but still reserved the deepest hues of red and pink for Jenny's bouquet.

If I look like death warmed over, it is because I am four months pregnant in this picture and was still spending the majority of every day throwing up :( Dislike

Instead of going for the traditional pin-on corsage for mothers and grandmothers, Jenny bought them beaded, stretchy bracelets and we attached the flowers to those bracelets. That way, they have their corsage and then it doubles as a wedding "Thank You" gift at the end.

August 14, 2012

Vintage Lace-wrapped Vases

Ok people people, listen up! I know we all "heart" all things Martha Stewart (insert image of me barfing in my mouth right now) and consider her to be the expert on all things crafty, home decor, wedding, etc. but honestly, sometimes I look at her ja-zunk and think, "I can do you one better." Cocky -yes, True - sometimes, but not always :) However, these vintage lace-wrapped vases were one of those MAGNUM OPUS moments when Martha ain't got nothin' on my skills.

These centerpieces were used for my sister's wedding reception at the Springville Museum of Art (post about those flowers later...these centerpieces get their own sugar). We had seen some lace-wrapped vases in a floral shop, but they say the least. So we googled some more and found that our good friend Martha had also posted on some even MORE uninspiring lace-wrapped vases. Boo - but we got our heads together and came up with some vases that were not only lovely but meaningful as well.

My sister and I's grandmother was a docent at the Springville Museum of Art and the wedding reception was going to be there. She also loved costume jewelry and left us several pieces. Add to that all of her antique lace tablecloths from years of entertaining and scraps of old lace and new bits and pieces from Hobby Lobby and Michael's and this is what happened! Antique/Vintage lace-wrapped vases that incorporated her costume jewelry and lace tablecloths as a tribute to her in the museum where she worked as a docent and my sister was having her wedding reception.

I used some of her rings as centers for these satin flowers.

Antique necklaces and a brooch make for a nice side-angled vase.

More antique necklaces, plus some extra fluff-n-stuff from Hobby Lobby and Michael's craft sections.

I filled the vases with these overflowing tea-stained, antique-esque silk flowers. I don't normally go for silk flowers, but these were perfect for vintage glam centerpieces. Also, found some matchy-matchy feathers to stick in there as well.

We went the flower route, but if you are doing an evening reception (especially outdoors) these would be beautiful with votive candles in them!

Here are some of the professional shots from the night of...huge shout out to Michael Lloyd Photography for letting me use the images! If you are looking for a great photographer in Utah, give Mike Lloyd a call!