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Wednesday, June 30, 2010

British Shower: The Invitations

Woo hoo, invitations for BM Pumpkin's shower! I was so excited to get started on these and, not gonna lie, was using them as a bit of a trial run to see how challenging it would be to do the invites for my wedding all by myself.

Disclaimer: These are, like, semi-DIY. Kinda like that show Semi-Homemade Cooking.

http://images.meredith.com/bhg/images/2005/11/p_SandraLeeCooking2.jpg
source

This show cracks me up. I swear, one time she bought a bundt cake from the store, put large marshmallows in the middle, and frosted the whole thing with green icing. I think it was for St. Patrick's Day.

Anyway, these invites were also semi homemade. I decided to combine the shower invites and bachelorette invites since both events were on the same day. I also decided not to make the invitations British themed, since the theme for the shower was a surprise and I do not trust 30 women to keep a secret. Instead, I used Pumpkin's wedding colors which are Carolina blue, black, and white.

I got the shower invite and matching recipe card from www.downloadandprint.com. I printed them out on my computer on white cardstock I got from Michaels. I printed them in two batches, which made some color variation and I have no idea why.


Crappy pics by me. I did prop them on a Brides magazine though.

Then I decided, since sometimes guests get confused, that they might need some explanation on the recipe card. Being a Type A freak (about only some things - I was def not concerned with ten zillion shades of blue on the invites), I really wanted the recipe cards to be a surprise. Plus, I wanted to encourage people to send the card back even if they couldn't come. This was important since a lot of the guests, including the groom's family, live far away. So I made this...get ready to be impressed....



I know. It's amazing. Look, I was doing this on a Mac which is still new to me, so it really was more challenging than it appears....

Finally (or so I thought), I needed to make the bachelorette invitation. I toyed with making it hot pink but my inner matchy-matchy bride won out. I came up with this gem:


Note the dotted border. Fancy huh?

Whew. I breathed a sigh of relief. Everything was printed, right? Not quite yet, I realized. What about some of those snazzy wrap around address labels?
I used the famous Martha Stweart template but then made it my own! See the dotted lines?

OK, now we're finish...oh, wait. I need something to contain this four piece invitation suite. Hmmmmmmm. How about...

-a heart paper clip to attach the recipe instructions to the recipe card

and

-some black dotted ribbon to tie it altogether!
But wait, do you see something in the top left corner? What's that black and white daisy print?

Behold, there is no truer statement than "Necessity is the mother of invention." I stuffed these beautiful envelopes, turned the envelope over, and noticed that the lovely black dotted ribbon was clearly evident through the envelope, ruining all the hard effort I had put into both the inside invitation and the outside of the envelope. I had done a lot of work, designing, printing, cutting, and cursing my Mac and printer for their uncooperative ways. I had made wraparound address labels, for goodness sake! Was I going to let this flimsy, see through, tramp of an envelope foil my invitation suite at last???

HELL no. I was not.

I knew probably I was the only one who would notice. I knew I was the only one who cared. Mr. Magic said "Just leave it, it's fine." But no. Tramp envelope had to go.

I went to Michael's for the umpteenth time that day and bought a book of 8x8 black, white, and grey card stock. In retrospect, I should have gone with something thinner, but oh well, live and learn. I followed this tutorial.


Mini Magic couldn't wait to rip into hers!

OK, now that the envelope is properly clad, we're done. Except...now the envelopes were so full that simply licking and sticking was not enough. Since I already had sticker paper from the labels, I just busted out a bunch of round stickers outlined in dots with the bride and groom's initials in them, used a circle punch to cut them out, and stuck those bad boys on!


Note: I have no idea why this envelope looks so banged up. This was after traveling and being devoured by that sister of mine!

After making these invitations for 30 women, I'm telling you, I felt exhausted. It took way longer than I had anticipated. But, it was a LOT of fun! And now I am a bit more familiar with the process. I'm still toying with how much work I want to put in for my own invites.

I'll leave you with some last pics and a question - did you outsource your invites or DIY? Why?

The invitations suite in all it's glory!


Mini Magic so excited for her first shower and bachelorette party!

Because it rains a lot in England...

We decided to throw Miss Penguin (aka my BFF) a British Shower! No really...it does rain a lot there. And she studied abroad there, loves The Beatles more than anything, and is basically a freak for anything British. So, a British themed shower it is!

Here's a sneak peak of the fabulousness of it!



More DIY details to come later....

Monday, June 28, 2010

E-Pics: Bring Your Own...

Wedding planning is kind of funny, in that most of the folks planning weddings have never done it before. So, each new experience is, well, new. And that means, you aren't sure how to do it. And by "you," I really mean "me."

So here's what I did right and what could be improved upon with the e-pics, aside from my anxiety.

What this Polar Bear did right:

1. Brought water for me, Mr PB, and our lovely photographers. It was hot, and the water was somewhat refreshing.

2. Brought 2 handheld fans I purchased from REI.


One was tiny, the other spritzed water. We didn't really use the water fan (hello, makeup disaster!) but it was nice to know they were there if we needed them.

3. Brought some blotting sheets along. My makeup artist said to get them, so I did.

4. Wore the best shoes in the entire world. I've posted about them before, but I'm not linking it here. I'm gonna surprise you with the awesome pro pics (when I get them).

5. Wore jewelry that had special meaning to me, or that I just really really love. Like my e-ring, bracelets that remind me of my sister, and a necklace from Mr. PB's mom.

What this Polar Bear could have done better:

1. Used the blotting sheets. Just an idea.

2. Brought bug spray! Oh my, the bugs started getting bad and I am a total mosquito magnet. I think we all walked away with at least ten fresh bites.

3. Thought more about what Mr. PB and I do to show each other affection. Like, he has always been into giving me kisses on my forehead. But I didn't think about it, and we were both kind of nervous so it didn't just naturally happen.

4. Gotten a magical bag that would float alongside us and carry the water, keys, sunglasses, fans, etc. for us. Our photographers ended up carrying our bag, because if we carried it, it was too hard for them to take pics of us - I'd have to put the bag down and it was just ruining the flow. I'm not really sure how to fix this, hence the magic bag. You know, like the one Hermione has that can hold anything, but is tiny and she can stuff it in her sock? Yeah, like that bag.

source

Ok, hopefully those tips are helpful for someone out there in weddingblog land. I cannot wait to see our pro pics!!!!

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

"Oh anxiety...

You're mine all the time..." Those lyrics are from The Never, a local band that we love (and can you guys put out some new music soon, please? ok thanks.)



I'm an anxious person. I tend to do some catastrophic thinking. That's when your thoughts run away from you in your mind. It goes a little somethin' like this:

"OMG, I totally have no idea what that professor was talking about in bio class. I mean, does he think I'm like, a biologist or something? Seriously, this isn't Yale. I'm totally going to fail. But I have to pass Bio 11 to be a psychologist don't I??? OMG. I'm never going to be a psychologist. I'm going to flunk out of college, and I'll end up living on the street and I'll be homeless and pan handleing illegally and addicted to crack and meth and like, I don't know, whatever other drugs are out there, and I'll be telling all the college students who walk by me that I used to be one of them and now JUST LOOK AT ME!!!!!!!!!!" (This is pretty accurate of an actual freakout I had freshman year, although perhaps this recap is not quite as dramatic.)

That's catastrophic thinking. I might have done a smidge of it yesterday on the day of our engagement pictures.

First, I worried about the temperature (which I had been worrying about ever since the first really hot day in NC this year). Then I worried about the light. I worried about whether we'd be natural/romantic/interesting/pretty/handsome enough. I worried about whether my teeth (freed from braces only six months ago) would look straight and white enough. Were my arms too bony (yes). Was the green tank top highlighting the pudge around my middle (yes). Were my hands too veiny (yes). Could I do anything about this? NO. Well, except try on a million outfits and finally pick one that did not make my middle look pudgey - the orange shirt may make me look like I'm trying to hide a baby bump though. Should be awesome for the save the dates!

During the actual engagement shoot, I primarily thought "Are these pictures turning out well?" and "Is my bra showing?" and "OMG, I bet my pores look huge" and "These are going to be the sweatiest photos ever, I just know it." There was a lot of nervous laughing, on my part.
Good Lord, I am a worrying mess!

But today, I realized several things. Several very important things.

1. We have awesome photographers. I'm sure they were able to get enough good shots of us. And even if not, it is NOT the end of the world. Far far from it.

2. The whole experience probably would have been a lot better if I was not so freaked out about taking good photos and really just focused on enjoying the time there with Mr. PB. A LOT better. And probably would have resulted in more natural photos too.

3. Most importantly, I have an AMAZING fiance. Yesterday, he was calm and cool and chillaxin'. I figured he would be uptight and irritable for me making him be in the hot hot heat, and asking him to smile and look natural while having two photogs snapping away at him...but he was NOT. He was great, and even though I could tell he was kind of nervous (hello, we both were!), he really made an effort and I know he was mostly doing it because he knows how important it is to me. And the two of us and our relationship is the most important thing.

So I've learned an important lesson, one that I hope I can carry with me through the rest of this planning, and keep forefront in my mind on our wedding day. The most important thing is US. The rest, well, it's just details.

Oh, and some anti-anxiety meds might be in order.

Learn any lessons the hard way?

Monday, June 21, 2010

I Don't Usually: Dress Mr. Polar Bear

Really! I'm not that girl (not that there is anything wrong with that). But apparently, I AM that fiancee. Or, I am that bridezilla, if you're feelin' nasty.

So, here's the sitch. Mr. Polar Bear dresses pretty well on his own. When I first met him (which no, I don't remember when I exactly met him, sheesh, it's just a figurative expression here OK?), he liked to rock some jeans, a button down shirt with the sleeves rolled up...and a tie. On every day occasions. He looked cute and a little bit eccentric, and it's one of the reasons why I liked him.

Now he dresses pretty much the same, except no tie. He has to wear a suit to work, and in his free time he wears raggedy jeans that are too big, and button down shirts, and occasionally a funny t-shirt or a musically influenced t-shirt.

He looks kinda pissed here huh? He hates camping.

He knows I like him to wear a polo shirt, so he will wear one approximately six time a year.

Looking through my photos, I noticed he mostly wears the polo shirt
on special occasions, for instance, when I got my Master's degree in Social Work.

The times I have helped dress him have been for Halloween and costume parties. One year we went as Amy Winehouse and her boyfriend Blake (I still cannot believe he did this). One time I suggested he be Dumbledore, but he put the costume together himself. And then there was the 80s party....

Not sure why we look so angry here.

But the one time I really put the smack down on clothes was for the e-pics. As previously mentioned, his jeans are pretty raggedy...the hems are totally gone, and they are holey. So we went to Nordstroms (aka denim mecca). Luckily, they were having their big Men's Sale and some metrosexual salesman really helped us out big time. Mr. Polar Bear walked away with 3 pair of well fitting jeans...and a new, blue polo shirt! I think he's excited about the jeans, and mostly got the shirt to oblige me. Now he's all ready for our engagement shoot tomorrow!

Too bad I nixed my e-pic outfit and am making a last minute change! I'll let you know about that when I, um, figure out what I'm wearing!

Do you dress your significant other, and if so, how does he/she feel about it?

I'm a freakin GENIUS!!! (NOT.)

Or an alternate title could be...How This Bride FAILED in E-pic Planning.

What's going on, you ask in alarm? Well, I'll tell you....

I scheduled our e-pics for June 22 at 5:30pm - you know, to capture that awesome sunset style that's so pretty - like this!

http://farm3.static.flickr.com/2668/3875552268_d8206c38f3_b.jpg
samoancuban photography
They are our awesome photographers too!

The reason I scheduled our e-pics for June 22 (aka tomorrow! eek!) is because our awesome photographers are based in Baltimore, MD...but they are currently vacationing in Wilmington, NC...which is 2.5 hours from where me and MR PB are! So it's more convenient this way, and travel fees are less.

But...

June 21st is the summer solstice, which is the longest day of the year. That means the sunset is much later in the day. Like, 9pm. Timing FAIL.

Also...

It's freaking hot outside. As my father and I like to say, it is, in fact, "hotter than a nanny goat in a pepper patch." It's wayyyyyyyyyyyy hotter than normal, and tomorrow is going to be a high of 95 freaking degrees. Add some lovely North Cackalacky humidity in there, and you have one giant TEMPERATURE FAIL.

Timing Fail + Temperature Fail + Our awesome photographers....could this still = really awesome pics of me and Mr. PB????

Did you have a time where you FAILed to consider the temperature or timing of something in planning for your wedding?

Friday, June 18, 2010

"A surprise is coming on Monday"... - Part Deux

So, I'm watching in awe as these men bring in my shiny new washer and dryer. Then they say "OK, we'll be right back with the stove."


Miley Cyrus "Say What?" Montage
("OK, Miss Polar Bear has flipped," you're thinking. Look, I work with kids so I know a lot about Hannah Montana. Although I do like that Wizards of Waverly Place with that cutie pie Selena Gomez wayyyyyyy more.)

After having a Miley/Hannah moment...

"Delivery guy say what say what?!?!?"

I freaked out! I jumped up and said "We're getting a new stove TOO??? Wait, are we millionaires now????????????" Mr. Polar Bear assured me that we are not millionaires, that he got a great deal and his work had been going well, and thus he was upgrading some of our old, outdated things.

Woo-freaking-hoo* y'all! I have a new washer, dryer, and stove AND the *American Expletive Fixation is alive and well!

What has your SO surprised you with? Was it a good surprise or a bad one?

Thursday, June 17, 2010

The Hunt Continues....

After resting and researching, we headed out to check out some more venues. Truth be told, we probably looked at way more than six. I suppressed the thought of some of them. So these are the three it boiled down to.
http://i.ytimg.com/vi/mS3nN6PH96Y/hqdefault.jpg
Are you my wedding venue? source

#4: Snipes Farm: This place is not super well known in our town, but it IS known among the indie kids. I definitely do not consider myself to be an "indie kid" but I am friends with some of them! They won't let me in their club because I wear too much pink (and other bright colors), have blonde hair, listen to pop music and country, and think those fake mustaches on a stick are absolutely ridiculous.* I know. My one reader probably just left. I've totally lost any audience I ever had.

OK, so Snipes Farm was local, affordable (one of the least expensive sites we found), and "cool." We went to check it out in person, and they had this great tree to have the ceremony under:
http://www.aweddingminister.com/snipes_farm_in_October.jpg
source
and this cool "barn" to have the reception in:
http://2.bp.blogspot.com/_OGEFsBBd8AA/SsvmMteC_gI/AAAAAAAADaQ/IeyorvNXToE/s400/delaney-jake+wedding+snipesfarmretreat+kayelily+1003090002.JPG
source
But...well, Mr. PB thought it was a bit too country. I wasn't a huge fan of the concrete floors in the barn. While I thought it had potential, Mr. PB was not feeling it - and lord knows I want him comfortable and happy on the wedding day! So, this was also just NOT RIGHT.

Next! #5: The Barn at Valhalla. Yes, Viking Heaven. It's owned by a guy named Duffy, and he has a crazy website here that lists a lot of don'ts, such as:

It is not cool for your guests to be honking the horns of their cars at 11:59PM.

Limit all sexual activities to a room upstairs if you have chosen to rent the upstairs. Please dispose of any “evidence of love making” rather than leaving “it” on the floor.

Obviously, we had to check this place out!
barnatvalhalla
The Barn at Night

http://www.aweddingminister.com/barn%20at%20valhalla%201011080001.JPG
And during the day...

0001
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There are beautiful wood walkways, a lake, an gigantic stone outdoor fireplace, and a gazebo.

And it was in our price range! My concerns were that the inside of the actual barn was kind of small, so the reception would be an indoor and outdoor reception. How does this work? How do people know when we are dancing? Am I going to need a bullhorn to alert them that we are cutting the cake? Are all the boys going to be in the gazebo while the girls are tearing it up on the dance floor in the barn? And if so, is that a problem????

I have some anxiety, can you tell?

We had one more place to check out, and I was really excited about it! Why? Because one of the owners of The Inn at Bingham School was French. Ok, he was actually from Texas, but he spoke French. And I love anything French!!!

pretty huh?

So, this is a historic site. It was once a Boarding School for young men but now is a beautiful bed and breakfast. The grounds are lovely, the rooms are luxurious and amazing, and it felt perfect for a beautiful, outdoor, under the trees wedding with a tented reception. Ahhhhhh. AND...bonus! There were several friendly cats that hung out on the property!

What was the problem then? Well, I had no problem...except for the Confederate memorabilia in the Inn (hey, we live in NC and history is history...but still). And then there was the mention of the slave quarters and the fact that some of the larger stones on the property might have been slaves' gravestones. While this is not uncommon in the South, again...still not giving me good juju. Plus, Mr. PB did NOT like the place, and both our mothers thought it seemed like just a "nice yard." I think they were totally freaked about us not getting married in a church or another physical structure. Also, this place was about twice as much as Snipes Farm and Valhalla.

Soooooooo, what'd we pick? Well, if you've been reading along you'll already know, but those of you who are new and were able to keep reading after that indie mustache dig should be rewarded. You will be excited to know that we chose...the...

Awesome huh? We're gonna have lots of fun decorating the many different areas of this venue.

How many venues did you have to look at before finding the one? Did the venue you chose have a list of Dos and Dont's as hilarious as mine?

*If you want mustaches on a stick at your wedding, more power to you, and I'm sure the pics will be awesome!*


Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Are You Our Wedding Venue?

 http://i.ytimg.com/vi/mS3nN6PH96Y/hqdefault.jpg

The first big thing Mr. Magic and I really started thinking about was the venue. I really felt like a venue would set the tone for our wedding, and he basically had no idea what to do, so he went along with me on our venue hunt. We looked at a lot, but these were the six main contenders.

Venue #1: In my mind, I had The Perfect Venue alllllllllll picked out, and had been lusting after it since we visited it in May 2010 with a group of friends. So yes, I wanted to get married there (and, ok, I may have already priced it out) six months before we got engaged. I'm nothing if not efficient (except when I am inefficient...or procrastinating...or disorganized).

OK, so what was this "perfect" venue? Bald Head Island of course! It's a tiny island off the NC coast...you can only get to it by ferry and there are no cars there, only golf carts!

Ceremony in this intimate, romantic chapel (the water is behind it!)

Reception under oak trees and the Old Baldy Lighthouse, under the stars.

Pretty huh? Also, wayyyyyyyy out of our budget, and not as convenient as some of the other venues...it is about one hour drive from some of my family, but four hours drive from me, Mr. Magic, and most of his family. So, this venue (although really lovely) was just not right. I know some Bees are getting married there and all I can say is, I am way, way jealous. Also, I make a lovely wedding guest/helper.

Venue #2: Fearrington Barn in Pittsboro, NC. I had lusted after this venue even before the Bald Head Island one. It's only 30 minutes away from Mr. Magic and I, it's very romantic, and they have striped cows. See?
http://sug.gs/lee/cow.jpg

http://pic30.picturetrail.com/VOL1563/7128022/20225964/367154064.jpg

Alas, we had already been to one wedding here, and while it was very lovely, we wanted to do something different. Oh and also, it was wayyyyyyy too expensive also. See a theme here? Next!

Venue #3: We checked out Chapel Hill Bed and Breakfast because it met our price requirements. I'm a quick learner, so after being wooed and broken hearted by the fancy-schmancy places, I figured I'd try to stick to our budget.

This place was nearby and very affordable. Unfortunately, where we would have wanted to have the ceremony was right off the road, and while it's not a super busy road, we definitely noticed the traffic while we were just there visiting. Nixed.

Venue #4: Snipes Farm. This place is not super well known in our town, but it is known among the indie kids. I definitely do not consider myself to be an "indie kid" but I am friends with some of them! They won't let me in their club because I wear too much pink, have blonde hair, listen to pop music and country, and think those fake mustaches on a stick are absolutely ridiculous.* I know. My one reader probably just left...first I insult sweetheart lace gowns, now this. I've totally lost any audience I ever had. I'm just saying, I am misunderstood by the indie crowd...kinda like Pam from True Blood.

Anyway, Snipes Farm was local, affordable (one of the least expensive sites we found), and "cool." We went to check it out in person, and they had this great tree to have the ceremony under:
http://www.aweddingminister.com/snipes_farm_in_October.jpg
and this cool "barn" to have the reception in:
http://2.bp.blogspot.com/_OGEFsBBd8AA/SsvmMteC_gI/AAAAAAAADaQ/IeyorvNXToE/s400/delaney-jake+wedding+snipesfarmretreat+kayelily+1003090002.JPG

But...well, Mr. Magic thought it was a bit too country...again. I wasn't a huge fan of the concrete floors in the barn. While I thought it had potential, Mr. Magic was not feeling it - and Lord knows I want him comfortable and happy on the wedding day! This place got the axe.

Venue #5: The Barn at Valhalla. Yes, Viking Heaven. It's owned by a guy named Duffy, and he has a crazy website that lists a lot of rules. See?

 
barnatvalhalla

http://www.aweddingminister.com/barn%20at%20valhalla%201011080001.JPG

0001

There are beautiful wood walkways, a lake, a gigantic stone outdoor fireplace, and a gazebo (where Duffy told us that more than one couple has gone to consummate their marriage. No judgment...ok, a little...).

And it was in our price range! My concerns were that the inside of the actual barn was kind of small, so the reception would be an indoor and outdoor reception. How does this work? How do people know when we are dancing? Am I going to need a bullhorn to alert them that we are cutting the cake? Are all the boys going to be in the gazebo while the girls are tearing it up on the dance floor in the barn? And if so, is that a problem????

I have some anxiety, can you tell?

Venue #6: We had one more place to check out, and I was really excited about it! Why? Because one of the owners of The Inn at Bingham School was French. Ok, he was actually from Texas, but he spoke French. And I love anything French!!!

pretty huh? 
 
So, this is a historic site. It was once a boarding school for young men but now it is a beautiful bed and breakfast. The grounds are lovely, the rooms are luxurious and amazing, and it felt perfect for a beautiful, outdoor, under the trees wedding with a tented reception. Ahhhhhh. AND...bonus! There were several friendly cats that hung out on the property!

What was the problem then? Well, I had no problem...except for the Confederate memorabilia in the Inn (hey, we live in NC and history is history...but still...not giving me a good vibe). And then there was the mention of the slave quarters and the fact that some of the larger stones on the property might have been slaves' gravestones. While this is not uncommon in the South, again...still not giving me good juju. Plus, Mr. Magic did not like the place, and both our mothers thought it seemed like just a "nice yard." I think they were totally freaked about us not getting married in a church or other physical structure. Also, this place was about twice as much as Snipes Farm and Valhalla. Dunzo!

Soooooooo, what'd we pick? Well, if you've been reading along you'll already know, but those of you who are new and were able to keep reading after that indie mustache dig should be rewarded. You will be excited to know that we chose...the...
How many venues did you have to look at before finding the one? Did the venue you chose have a list of Dos and Dont's as hilarious as mine?

*If you want mustaches on a stick at your wedding, more power to you...I just have like, a mental block when it comes to those things! Please don't hate me....*