Wedding Day Reflection: Destress

My mother is a florist (on top of the million other things she does, really-she’s amazing).  She is currently working on flowers for another wedding that is happening this weekend (congrats to you!!), and I’m pitching in where I can.  As I work on some arrangements, under strict guidance of course, I can only think of the bride and if she is stressed or is really sitting back and taking the whole experience in.

When I got my hair done, the hairdresser couldn’t believe I was getting married because I was so calm. I wasn’t freaking out, I was simply taking it all in.  That got me thinking, why freak out? I mean, yea, it’s a big day, it changes the rest of your life, but it’s about you and your partner, it isn’t about the party or if something isn’t right.

 

Don’t get me wrong, I was stressed the month before the wedding (my family and Mister can attest to that! Sorry! :)).  The little things were bothering me (the white’s weren’t the same white, my tan line (rather off-whiteness) wasn’t the same shape as my dress) really, silly little things that I am sure no one noticed.  But it took my Mister to remind me that it was our day, and we only get one, so to simply enjoy it.

And that is what I did.  Our rehearsal was small and intimate, and the dinner was a BBQ in our backyard.  We tested out the garden games for the wedding and had an early night.  I spent the evening frosting cupcakes with my Aunt,  MOH, a very dear friend and the MOH’s hubby.  It was so fun and carefree.

The morning of I woke up around 8 after getting a full 8 hours of sleep.  I wasn’t stressed or worried: at that point, what wasn’t done wasn’t getting done and really, what did it matter if there wasn’t humus for people to dip their veggies in? There was dip! My MOH picked me up for our hair appointment, where it was just the two of us (and Atira!!!) in the shop.  We had so much fun, laughing, relaxing and simply taking in the day.  One of my favorite memories is watching Sara getting her hair curled and realizing how lucky I was to have her as my best friend and MOH (and how darn pretty she was/is).

I was able to get ready surrounded by my incredibly close friends.  We laughed and there was no stress. None, at all.  I loved being able to share a drink with some of the most important women (womyn) in my life.  And being in a room with that much beauty can only make you happy/  I knew I was marrying the right man, I mean, he was the whole reason for the day.  That and I looked good ;).

As I walked down the aisle, there was no one else, just the Mister.  I stopped at the bottom of the aisle with my father and did a little head nod, to let the Mister know everything was okay, I was ready, and to say “Hey, what’s up?” I am sure no one else noticed, but he did, and it set us at ease.   He was/is my guy. I wasn’t stressed, I was so excited, I couldn’t wait to get to the “I Do’s” and to just kiss him! That was the most stressful part, not being able to give him a kiss when I saw him because he looked so darn handsome and I could tell he was nervous (that and it was so sweet when he cried as I walked down the aisle!!!).

But really…thinking about how stressed people become over their weddings…there is no real reason for it.  There are things that need to get done to have the party, but really, no one will remember that the peanut butter brownies weren’t put out (sorry guys…they were amazing though!). They will, however, remember how the Mister and I looked at each other, the love and warmth from the entire party, how comfortable and fun it was, and that is was truly a beautiful day.

So, take a step back from it all, remember it’s only one day and it goes by far too quickly.  Enjoy every second of it, and to the beautiful bride tomorrow: I hope you are totally relaxed and may your day (and lives)  be filled with love and laughter.

 

 

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DIY Bow Ties

I love bow ties.  Hands down, I think they are the most adorable things within a man’s wardrobe, well bow ties and suspenders.  But they really go hand-in-hand.  I knew I wanted bow ties for the gents at the wedding.  I, however, didn’t want to pony up a lot of money for them.  So I made them.

I made two pink ones for the Mister and his best man (his brother, who is fantastic), and two yellow ones for my brothers (whom I adore).  I had the yellow fabric and I bought the pink (a fabric quarter) from JoAnn’s-this was on sale, and I spent…oh…$1 or $2 on it? I also bought some interfacing (roughly $2), to keep the bow ties stiff.   This is the tutorial I used from A Beautiful Mess! I cheated and used stitch witchery to put everything together (no sewwwwwing for this lady!).  The only difference between mine and A Beautiful Mess’ is that I used interfacing to stiffen up the bow ties: you cut your interfacing the same size as your fabric, and iron it on (as per the directions).

I couldn’t find bow tie clips (gah, the horror!), but in a moment of clarity, I realized I could make it a snap on! I bought a pack of four from Wal-Mart: I think they ran me about $5 (no more than that for sure).  I measured each of their necks with fabric I attached to the back of the bow tie and stitched on the snaps.  Make sure you stitch them on the correct way or else you’ll be re-doing them. I had to do this twice.  Also, when  you measure their necks, give a little extra space for their collared shirts.  My brother said it was a little snug (as his face was turning purple 😉 )

Anyway, check them out!

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My brothers and their yellow bow ties!

The groom and his best man, Brent

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My brothers and I with their yellow bow ties!

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Groom and Best Man!

 

I think they turned out great and only cost roughly $10 (that’s $2.50 per bow tie!) to make all of them! Amazing, eh?

 

 

 

We’ve had Jasper for a year today!

Two posts-One day (this is not normal!)! But, it is a totally worthy reason to post!

We rescued our dog, Jasper, a year ago today, and man-oh-man, how our  life has changed.

If you take a gander at my old Blog, you can read about Jasper hereand how he entered our life.  This past year has been such a growing experience for the Mister, Jasper and I.  Our lives turned from this orderly, casual, going out whenever we wanted, no worries about travelling, young adulthood, to one swallowed up by our dogs needs, dog parks, vet visits, long walks and a love that is totally unconditional.

Growing up I always had dogs: rather, my Mother took care of the dogs and we (my brothers and I) just played with them.  I never realized how much work a dog is, or how freaking expensive they are. To all those who are on the fence about getting a dog, think long and hard about it: you have to love that animal, treasure him/her, take care of it unconditionally, if it throws up, you need to clean it up (before he/she does), you have to get it food and water: they are  a ton of work.  Even when thinking about the trials we’ve been through with Jasper, (like him eating an entire tray of brownies…out of a glass container, which he pulled off the counter and shattered….), I wouldn’t change him for the world.  He is truly the best dog (we really lucked out). My only regret was that we didn’t get him as a puppy (he would have been adorable).  But, I’m glad we were able to rescue a dog, give him love and a great home.

We really do love Jasper: he greets us every time we come home like he hasn’t seen us for years.  He is a fantastic snuggle buddy when the Mister and I are apart.  He always has a smile on his face, he kinda knows how to play fetch.  He loves to swim and chase ducks.  He loves to lay right in the middle of the kitchen, in case you drop anything. He’ll follow you around from room to room. He hates yelling, and instantly “apologizes” for doing anything wrong.  He’ll warm your heart and be your friend forever if you give him a dog-bone. (I feel a little bit like I’m writing his dating profile! haha!)

All-in-all, even though Jasper is a ton of work, I wouldn’t change it for the world.  He is (hands down) the best dog, especially for us.

Please bare with me as I post far too many photos of Jasper 🙂

Redneck dog! eek!

Redneck dog! eek!

Swimmer boy

Swimmer boy

He "noses" all about how cute he is ;)

He “noses” all about how cute he is 😉

Get these off of me, Mom!

Get these off of me, Mom!

So handsome!

So handsome!

Jasper and the Mister!

Jasper and the Mister!

Jasper and I!

Jasper and I!

Wedding Invitations and Save the Dates!

People need to know about your wedding right? I mean, if you don’t send invitations, you’ll just be throwing a party for yourself and the hubster.  I mean, this would be pretty alright, but that’s a lot of money just to have a party for two people 🙂

So the Mister’s family is from Canada (eh!), more specifically British Columbia and Alberta (further out West) and my family and the mass majority of my friends are from the East Coast USA! We decided to have our wedding in New York for a number of different reasons.  Anyway, because people would have to travel, we wanted to give people enough time to book their necessary holiday travel.  We sent our Save-the-dates out around 6 months in advance (more than enough time to book necessary travel arrangements).

I knew I wanted something casual, so off to Pinterest I went. I found the most adorable DIY Save-the-dates. You can check them out hereThey are super adorable and exactly what I was looking for.  However, these were being mailed in the UK and their postal service allows for different items to be on the outside of their package (as does the US, but with an extra cost…we’ll get to that later).  I did away with the raffia ribbon and went with an adorable pink heart on the back.

I bought all of the paper (heavy card stock for the card: which you can’t tell from the photos, but had a white bark pattern on the inside and was a brown bag colour on the outside. for the heart, it was a cotton based pink paper with little raised gold bumps) from Joann Fabrics, with a coupon, of course.  I believe it was like a 35-50% off total purchase, so the Save-the-dates cost me…um…maybe $20 to make? My MOH and I spent an evening trying to figure out the printing configuration, but when we did, we were set! We made a template of the necessary size and got set to printing, hand writing the names, folding and  sealing with a little love (the adorable pink heart…which we cut by hand).

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This adorable picture was taken by one of my girlfriends, Jessica! Thank goodness for her, or else I wouldn’t have a photo of the save the dates!

So, how stinking cute are those? Well, I was totally prepared to pay the regular standard postage, but uh…because of those adorable little pink hearts, I had to pay a little extra because they needed to be hand processed so the hearts didn’t rip! I mean, it was totally worth it, but it was an unexpected cost.

For the invitations, I search for someone to make them for the longest time, but I simply couldn’t bring myself to actually pay someone thousands to make me invitations! So, I went to Etsy (oh, that site makes me so happy…maybe not my wallet, but my heart is happy). I searched for a bit until I found exactly what I wanted.  The shop is called SplashofSilver and were amazing to work with.  Robbie and I went back and forth maybe 4 or 5 times.  He was able to get the colours exactly right and incorporate the font (Lobster) I had used on the Save-The-Dates.  FYI-You can find some adorable FREE fonts online!  In a couple of days, I had my file of invitations (Main invitation, Thank you cards, Directions and the RSVP cards.  The total was $50, and was so worth it. Instead of bringing my files to a kinkos or another printing place, I decided to print my own out! Whoa, getting spicy here.

I have a canon printer and my ink (for both the black and colour) costs $50. I bought one pack for everything.  Then I bought the card stock, which was…um…max $10.  I also had to buy the envelopes, those cost $10 for over 100 (so now I have extra!).  I bought plain ivory envelopes, because let’s be honest, people just throw them away. So now I’m in a total of $120 for invitations (custom made invitations too boot!). It took me a day or two to print off everything.  Then my MOH and I spent a night stuffing envelopes-which was a lot of fun.

I made some detailed directions for those coming from out of town (not all the guests got them) and printed them on regular coloured paper…pink I think, that we had around the house.  I also wasn’t sure how to tell people it was okay to bring a guest, so I made a little “business card” size simply saying “Please bring a guest!” (or something similar to that).

I also got my thank you cards along with my purchase from SplashofSilver.  I bought coloured card stock ($8) and sweet little scalloped envelopes from the dollar store ($1 for 6).  I also bought cute little hearts (to play off the hearts from the Save the Dates!) for $1. I printed them off and then I trimmed them with a pair of scalloped scissors I had (uh…who’s crafty now?!). I also added in a photo or two to each Thank you Card.  I printed them off for less than .13cents a piece. So, that was…$20!

A word to the wise, our RSVP’s were postcards (adorable) that the guests were able to write a mad-lib sorts on the back.  (I’ll write a post about those later!). But, I made our RSVP cards a little too big for the standard postcard size, so I had to purchase extra postage: just be aware of your sizing, before you purchase your stamps. 🙂

Things I learned from making your own invitations and save-the-dates:

  • Stay within your budget (man, I feel like a broken record here).
  • Find something that reflects your style and how you want to present your wedding to your guests.
  • Don’t be afraid to DIY it! You CAN do it! Even if you make a couple of mistakes, it’ll still save you a TON of money to make your own.
  • Make sure to have someone proof your documents (I misspelled our website, but thankfully my MOH caught it before we printed it all).
  • Make sure you check your postage BEFORE you buy stamps. 🙂
  • If you are mailing invitations outside of the country and want your RSVP’s back, make sure you put the correct postage on them. We were able to get stamps (From Canada-shipping to the US) for our Canadian guests.
  • Don’t waste money where it’s not necessary.
  • Save your RSVP’s 🙂
  • Total cost of Invitations, Thank you cards, envelopes and Save the Dates (Sans postage): $161 for  (compared to $1000’s you COULD spend)!

The Wedding Dress

I know we’ve all see those wedding shows that are far too popular.  The ones where brides spend a crazy amount on a dress and you scoff at their choice and claim you’ll NEVER spend that much on a dress…for one day. But let’s be honest, we all want to look amazing on this big day and will sometimes succumb to those nasty retail demons. I mean, I almost did!

My MOH and I went wedding dress shopping and I knew I wanted lace (cha-ching) and something that was flattering to my build. We found a beautiful dress (Allure 2455).  Oh hello gorgeous! I still love this dress, however, I did NOT love the price tag.  It was so difficult to walk away from this dress, but, I knew I didn’t want to spend that kind of money on a dress…for one day. (A wedding is one day, a marriage is a life time!)

Allure 2455 Wedding Dress

As I love to find a deal and wanted to save money wherever possible, my MOH and I took to the internet.  We tried sites like TheKnot, PreOwnedWeddingDresses, WeddingBee and even Ebay. We looked for weeks for this dress, maybe even months.  The problem with trying to find a dress online is well…the sizing.  So we widen our search to similar dresses.  That’s when my MOH found it! On Etsy from DressbLee‘s shop!!!

Etsy Wedding Dress

I know what you’re thinking…buying your wedding dress off the internet, that’s crazy! And it’s coming from China…”Man this girl is crazy!” You know, I felt I was a little nuts too, I read all of the horrifying reviews online, but there had only been positive reviews from this specific shop, so I took the chance. I paid a total of $250 (including shipping) for my dress. Much less than the Allure dress, and I love this neck line so much more because I’m a bit busty and we were married in a church (hello modesty!).

I sent my measurements in to the shop and within two-three weeks I received my dress! I was blown away at the quality of it and that it actually fit!! I received nothing but compliments on my dress.  Few people actually believe I only spent $250 on it!  I did have to get it bustled and the shoulders taken in a little bit at a local tailors…this cost me $20-$30.  So in total, I spent $270-$280 on my dress.  I had enough left over in my dress budget that I was able to buy a second shorter dress for the reception, which I picked up at JCP for $40! I’ve even worn the short dress twice since the wedding!

Here are some shots from the wedding and of my dress! I just love(d) how it looks:

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Like I said earlier, I bought a second shorter dress (It gets hot in NY in June!) Check it out! 🙂

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This photo makes my heart sing (I mean, all of them do, really…) But this photo is of my girlfriends from Freshman year of college. And it’s us, through and through.

To summarize, how to save money on your wedding dress:

  • Go and shop around, try on dresses and find exactly what you want
  • STICK TO YOUR BUDGET, it doesn’t matter what the lady on Say Yes to The Dress spends, it’s YOUR wedding and you need to stay with what is comfortable for you!
  • Seriously, don’t break your bank on a dress…you wear it once.
  • Don’t be afraid to use a second hand dress, a thrifted find or even a hand-me-down. There’s more love in a previously worn dress.
  • Don’t be pressured into buying a dress: I’m so glad I only had my MOH with me when I found the Allure dress, she is a thrifty chic too, so she knew my budget and didn’t push me into buying something I would feel guilty about later.
  • If you do get a second dress, make sure it’s practical.  I love my little white dress and love that I can wear it again!

Desserts For The Wedding

Okay-I love sweets.  Hands down, I would prefer a piece of chocolate cake over anything else. I knew that when we got married, I wanted to dessert table, but I also knew that it would cost a fortune. So I made my own desserts (with a little help from my Aunt and friends!)

Firstly, I decided on what would be on the dessert table.  I polled the Mister on what he would like and came up with a list.  Our dessert table consisted of:

  • Chocolate-chip cookies (8 dozen)
  • Peanut-butter cookies (8 dozen)
  • Oatmeal Raisin cookies (8 dozen)
  • Oatmeal raisin chocolate-chip cookies (3 dozen)-I use this recipe and added the chocolate-chips
  • Chocolate brownies (these were all bite sized: Thanks Aunt Tasha) There was an assortment of types: nuts, plain, m&m and they all had either chocolate frosting or a drizzle on them! (I have no idea how many we made…like 16 dozen??) Follow the direction on the back of the box!
  • Chocolate Peanut-butter truffle brownies (3 dozen)
  • Lemon loaf (7 loafs)
  • Chocolate cupcakes with a chocolate buttercream frosting-for the frosting, play around with the amount of cocoa powered you use and adjusted the liquid amount accordingly.  (I think there were…4-5 dozen)
  • Lemon cupcakes with a lemon buttercream frosting (use lemon juice instead of other extracts) (same again…4-5 dozen) Just follow the directions on the box: I also added in a couple squeezes from fresh lemon juice.  We coloured the frosting pink and yellow 🙂
  • The only things we bought were from Wegmans: A small chocolate cake, a small lemon raspberry cake, a cheesecake for my Maid of Honour because it was her birthday! and a tiny cake for our 1 year anniversary! A total of $50!

Phew! Just reading that makes me want a cookie! Hahah.  I know, you’re probably thinking, “She’s crazy” and you’d be right, but I didn’t want to spend a lot.  In total my dessert table cost me $150 (including what was purchased from Wegmans!!!).  You can freeze everything, so long as it is in an air-tight container. I made the cookies two weeks in advance over two rainy days and stuck them in our freezer. I then made the cupcakes and froze them (unfrosted).  We made the brownies a couple of days before and froze those too!

We pulled the cupcakes out the day before the wedding and frosted them.  My MOH, her husband (who is amazing at frosting cupcakes) and my good friend spent roughly an hour and a half frosting them all. We also put sprinkles on the cupcakes and brownie bites.  I bought the white pearls from Joann Fabrics with a 50% off coupon.

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Where we saved money:

  • Buy things on sale.  Brownie and cake mixes go on sale all the time.  Stock pile those suckers.
  • Buy your cupcake liners from a Dollar Store.
  • Limit yourself to a few different desserts.  I made what the Mister and I like.
  • Make things ahead when ingredients are on sale and freeze them!
  • We clearly had far too many of everything (uh, that love of sweets kicked in), so make sure you only make enough for a couple of extras.  I was handing out cookies by the dozen to guests!

I hope this helps you!

Making The Move!!!

I’m making the move in so many different ways!

  • I’ve decided, after toying around with Blogspot and essentially abandoning my previous blog (http://lemoninlove.blogspot.ca), to make the move over to  Wordpress.  There are several reasons for this: I worked with WordPress at a previous job and it was super user friendly and Lemony Love left off in our pre-married life.
  • We’re married now! We were wed on June 15, 2013 in an adorable ceremony in central New York.  It was everything we’d hoped for and more! The weather was BEAUTIFUL and we were surrounded by our family and close friends.  (I’ll post more about the wedding and how we saved money!!)
  • The Mister was offered his dream job in Calgary, AB, so we’re making the move to the Great White North! We’re waiting on a couple of things to finalize, but are SO excited to start this stage in our lives.  We’ve even bought a house! 🙂

So this, will be the adventures of the newest chapter in our lives from DIY, to cooking, to anything that tickles my fancy to post about.  Enjoy the ride, I know we will! 🙂

Kiss!