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Archive for August, 2011

Craft Trials

As the wedding gets closer and closer (only 9 months away!) I can’t help but let my mind wander all over the magical land of wedding details. I’ve got crafts on the brain people. Last week, unable to control myself, I took a little stroll through Michael’s (an arts and crafts store). I told myself that I would just look around and maybe pick up a few things to do some craft trials on to see what I was artistically capable of accomplishing and what I needed to leave up to the crafting professionals. I must have looked a little loony walking around the store putting things into my basket and them taking them out again (I definitely need a full set of alphabet stamps…no I don’t…yes I do…wait, no I don’t). I wrestled with the strong desire to stock up on navy and light pink craft supplies of every kind (ribbon, paper, ink, paint, candles, etc) and managed to get out of store, albeit a little mentally frazzled, with minimal damage done to my bank account. I collected a light sampling of supplies that provided me with enough ammunition to make one or two attempts at each crafting endeavor.
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I found a pretty cool website that allows you to design and print your own Save the Date cards. I’m pretty set on the idea of having the Save the Dates printed on magnetic paper so that 1)  they won’t fall off the fridge every time you open it thereby encouraging the recipient to throw it away and miss the wedding completely! 2) they function as an actual magnet encouraging the recipient to keep it forever and always, and because 3) magnet Save the Dates are the new, cool, hip thing to do DUH. I foolishly thought that there wasn’t much to making a magnetic Save the Date. I purchased some magnetic photo paper and got to printing. They printed out beautifully. Cutting them, was another story entirely. I finally managed to make a clean straight cut with the aid of a super sharp craft knife, a multilined quilting ruler and a cutting board covered in two sizes of grid. One of these babies took me a whopping 35 minutes to complete and I still managed to cut half of John’s head and three letters of writing off of the finished product. The verdict came in: too hard, time consuming, and frustrating to complete at home 😦 Luckily the website has the option to have them printed and cut by a machine and shipped to my doorstep without any exacto-knifing on my part, phew.

The second project I attempted had a much better result. A crafty website that I stumbled upon earlier in the year had the magnificent idea of making lace-covered candle holders for decoration around the reception site. I purchased some small lace doilies, a candle, some fake luminary candles, and a small candle holder. I managed to hot glue may way to victory with this project, producing the beautiful craft below.

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I think that I’ll pick up some lace ribbon to try as an alternative to the doilies to see if I can minimize the appearance of the seams when the lights are off. I have a million other craft ideas that I want to consider for the reception so there will most likely be a round two (and maybe even three) to the craft trials as we get closer to the wedding.

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The One

I found my wedding dress! After my first day of wedding dress shopping I was a little overwhelmed and, while I had found a dress that I really loved, I was not yet ready to commit to it (it was my first day trying on dresses for crying out loud!). I decided to postpone any decision making until I had made a couple more dress appointments and tried on a few more dresses. My mom and I made an appointment at a bridal salon in Alexandria last Sunday. When we arrived,  we  were dealt the “its only my second day working here” consultant who wasn’t comfortable enough with their stock to help us pull dresses. My mom and I, being the professional dress shoppers that we had become after the weekend before, went to work looking through the dresses. We managed to flip through all of the dresses in the store in under 20 minutes only managing to pull about 20 to try on 🙂

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As I emerged from the fitting room I found out that my consultant  hadn’t yet learned how to clip the dresses back so as I tried them on they all looked 4 sizes too big and I had to result to pulling them tight behind my back with one hand while looking in the mirror and trying to re-imagine myself with two arms on my wedding day in the dress (talk about mentally exhausting). Needless to say, it wasn’t a magical experience. My mom and I got through about half of the dresses before we called it quits. Despite the less than stellar experience, I did find a dress that piqued my interest. Fortunately, it was by the same designer as the dream dress from the first shopping day. Literally as soon as we stepped foot out of the salon my mom and I were on the phone with the boutique that had my original favorite dress making an appointment for this week to try both dresses on back to back so that I could see both dresses clipped  back to my size with both arms in view.

As the week crept by I kept thinking about both dresses, going back and forth in my head about how each of them looked on me. By Friday morning I had convinced myself that I would never ever ever decide on a perfect dress and that I was absolutely positively doomed. Somehow, I managed to make it through the week despite my crippling dress doubt.

As my mom and I arrived at the bridal salon on Friday evening, my absolute favorite bridal consultant out of all of my appointments lived up to her status by having both dresses ready for me to try on in the dressing room. First, she helped me get into the new dress that I had discovered on Sunday in Alexandria. As I stepped out in front of the mirrors I looked at the dress, I loved it. At this point I was still conflicted and the cloud of wedding dress doom lingered near by. It was time to try on the original dream dress….As I shimmied my way into the layers of fabric and was strapped, buttoned, zipped and clipped in, I could just feel the rightness of this dress. As I stepped out in front of the mirrors my initial love with the dress was absolutely multiplied by the time that I had spent away from it looking for other dresses. This was without a doubt THE ONE. This was the dress that made my mother cry as she saw me walk out of the dressing room, this was the dress that I felt absolutely stunning in, this was the dress.

I am infinitely glad that I took the time to walk away from the dress the first day that I started looking. The time that I spent looking at other dresses and continuing the shopping experience only made my decision easier when I tried the dress on again. The second time I put it on, I had removed all doubt from my mind about whether or not this dress was my dress, it simply was.

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Too Many Dresses

As I mentioned in my last blog post, the adventure of dress shopping began last weekend. I had three appointments set up throughout the day (10:00AM, 12:00PM, and 2:00PM). We started our day at 9:30 when my mother and I picked up my maid of honor and one of my bridesmaids who both graciously dedicated an entire Saturday to the cause. I wanted to try on a few dresses that I had seen online and the first store claimed to have three of them available.

As we walked in, the very first moments of my very first wedding dress appointment were marred by a quick and venomous snap from the saleswomen working behind the counter asking if we had made an appointment. As we explained that we did indeed have an appointment, she held a quick standing evaluation of what I was looking for, she barely glanced at the pictures I had gathered representing the dress features that I found most appealing. After explaining the silhouette, neckline, and material that I was interested in and mentioning the three dress style numbers that they said they had, she was quick to dash my hopes of trying on anything remotely close to what I was looking for. The shop was small and had ONE dress that even came close to what I was looking for (except for the fact that it had super sized, tacky flowers made of tulle all over it). Not to be deterred by what I was looking for, the saleswomen brought in 10 or so dresses for me to shimmy in to. I’ll save you the agony of suspense by telling you that none of these dresses turned out to be my dream dress, shocking I know. One advantage to this store was that in trying on dresses that were different from the style that I thought I would like, I found out that I could broaden my search to include other silhouettes that I hadn’t seriously considered. A downside to wanting to try on a wider variety of dress styles is that you have to try on two or three times as many dresses at each store. It also makes things confusing when you find two dresses that you love that are two very different styles (“but I like them both for different reasons!!!”) I’ll get to that dress love triangle later in the post. Needless to say we left the first store empty handed and feeling a little dejected. Luckily, I had two more appointments scheduled providing me with ample time (and dresses) to aid in my search.

As we walked into the second store we were immediately impressed (and terrified) at the number of dresses they had to offer. There were literally dresses hanging from every inch of this store. I’m talking racks and racks of wedding dresses, dresses hanging from the walls, dresses in back rooms, it was both overwhelming and extremely exciting. Just walking in to this second store re-energized the entire day. A wonderfully kind and helpful saleswomen looked through my magazine cutouts and computer printouts to get a better idea of what I was looking for. She then unleashed us on the dresses, pointing us in the general direction of some that  I might like. They, unlike the first store, actually had one of the dresses that I wanted to try on! I pulled 10 or so dresses and loved the first one I tried on. I tried on another one and like it A LOT. I tried on one of my dream dresses and LOVED it. I had a serious problem. I loved two dresses and really really like a third one. The two that I loved were VERY different styles which just made my tangled dress love affair more complicated. I loved the shape, detail, and material of both, even though they were almost exact opposites of one another. I made up my mind to eliminate the third dress because although it was beautiful it didn’t really contend with the other two. We all had to stop qualifying each dress I tried on as “so beautiful” because lets face it, with the exception of the super tacky tulle flower covered dresses, they were all beautiful. After trying on all 10 dresses, I had two solid competitors. A nice thing about this store was that we were allowed to take pictures of the dresses as I was trying them on. They also wrote down the designer and style number of the dresses that I liked. I left the store excited, confused, and torn between the two dresses. Even with pictures of me in the dresses and style numbers in hand I had no idea how I was ever going to decide between the two.

We grabbed a quick lunch and then drove over to my third appointment. I tried to back out of it seeing as how I had already found two dresses that I liked and the thought of finding more beautiful dresses that I loved was a daunting one. However, I’m glad that I went because the third store was the absolute best experience of the day. It was a smaller boutique with a more focused selection of dresses. The saleswomen sat me down as soon as we got there and asked me about my budget, looked through my scrapbook of wedding ideas, and started to pull dresses for me. She got a few in the dressing room and I started to try them on. The first couple were beautiful (of course) but the third dress was stunning. I put it on and immediately fell in love with it. So much so that I momentarily forgot what the two previous dream dresses even looked like. The dress was completed when the saleswomen found the perfect veil which only added to the wedding day vision. It was too good to be true. I tried on a few dresses after that one but the deciding process was easy, was it as awesome as the other dress? Every answer to that question was “no”, so after a few rapid dress evaluations we decided to put the dream dress back on. It was still perfect. Had this not been my first day dress shopping I probably would have purchased the dress right then and there. However, I decided to walk away and sleep on it. It probably took every ounce of self control that I had to decide to leave the store without making that purchase, but I didn’t want to buy the first dress that I fell madly in love with on my first day of dress shopping. Years of dating had prepared me well for this day. The way that I see it, trying to find the perfect wedding dress is a lot like trying to find the right guy. You try on a lot of duds, some nice ones, a few “perfect” ones, and in the end you choose one to buy. I didn’t want to “marry” the first dress that I fell in love with without playing the dress field a little more. The fact that I found dresses that I loved and would have purchased at the second store and then I found an even better dress at the third store made me wonder about the dress possibilities at the fourth or the fifth store. At the second store I was even considering buying two dresses and having a wardrobe change mid wedding day (yes I was having a diva moment). I’m not counting out the last perfect dress from the third store, I just didn’t want to commit so early on in the process. My mom and I are heading out tomorrow to continue the search. Luckily this time we have a “perfect” dress point of reference to judge all future dresses against. I’ll leave you with a very cropped picture of me deliriously happy in my perfect dress (can’t give too much away if it actually becomes “the one”!) as well as the bridesmaid dress that Ashley picked out 😉

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