Thursday, December 15, 2011

Invitation Celebration

Our wedding invitations are done!! They were mailed out last week, and I'm quite certain everyone has received them. Well, everyone except my cousin who live in Mexico. Hers was returned to my parents' house.

There were some hiccups on the way to getting these invitations all done and ready to be sent out, but this is a celebration, so we're going to focus on the positive. A group effort between me, Momma Kettle, Daddy Kettle, and a couple family friends got the job done.

The invitations were designed by an amazing photographer/graphic designer who's dating one of Mr. Kettle's friends. She did amazing work and I'm super excited about how they turned out. They perfectly fit my vision of the wedding of being a quirky twist on a classic. So enough talking, on to the pictures and captions!

Personal Image: I took this without the flash, so you could see the more ivory cream color of the outer envelope

Personal Image: Return Address on the back!

Personal Image: You open the outer envelope to reveal an inner envelope just for you.

Personal Image: You open the inner envelope to reveal the cutest liver EVER and a wonderfully purple invitation.

Personal Image: A shiny envelope with a satin belly band held together by our monogram.

Personal Image: Open it to reveal the invitation suite. My favorite part is how the design at the top of the inserts coordinate to make a complete design element.

Personal Image: Directions page with the cute map the venue provided for us.

Personal Image: Accommodations card which makes the best use of white space ever.

Personal Image: RSVP card. Hive, you can bring 3 people with you!

Personal Image: The whole suite all together. I love the sheen on several parts.

I was so impressed with how our designer took into account my suggestions and decor desires and made this lovely suite. It took us... days... to put these together, but it was a labor of love. I'm so happy these have gone out. I can't wait until the RSVPs start rolling in!

Did you go with a non-traditional source to get your invitations? How long did it take to receive your first RSVP response?

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

It's So Fluffy!!

Hive, I've been a tease. I talked about all these DIY projects I had coming up, and then I immediately started talking about everything else but that.

While I did have my bridal shower this past weekend, I will give you at least one DIY post before I get to re-capping that loveliness. If my title wasn't obvious enough (everyone hasn't seen Despicable Me, although they should!), this screenshot should help.

Image via Hello Again Girls / Screenshot from Despicable Me
What's fluffy, but not a stuffed animal? A pillow of course! For my first DIY project I've (mostly) finished, I made the ring bearer pillows. Okay, okay, so I've only made one so far, but I wanted to share it. And the other will be identical, so there will be nothing new there.

I first learned to make pillows as a girl scout at age 10. I do have my beloved sewing machine that belonged to my grandmother, but I preferred to make these pillows by hand.

Step 1: Get fabric, thread, needles, pins, scissors, and other sewing supplies.
Personal Image: thread, needles glue, rings

Personal Image: fabric, stuffing, possible ribbons

Step 2: Fold your fabric over on itself to cut out the pattern for the pillow. Figure out the size pillow you want and trace onto the fabric. I was using slippery satin, so I pinned the two sides together (inside out!) to ensure a smooth pattern. I wanted a size similar to a box I had in the house, so I just traced that and cut around it.

Personal Image: I used a sketch pencil to trace the shape I wanted.

Step 3: Pin the fabric together at intervals around the line you've traced. I wanted a ribbon to go across the front of the pillow, so I pinned the ribbon also to keep it in place.

Personal Image: Pins all around with a ribbon for flair.

Step 4: Begin to sew along the line you traced. Take extra care at the corners to ensure a tight stitch. It's easy to just go around the corner and end up with loose stitches that won't hold their shape. If you don't know how to sew, Google it, and watch one of the videos.

Personal Image: See how the stitches get even tighter at the corner?

Personal Image: Kitty Kettle thought trying to eat the thread was helping. She's so sweet.

Step 5: Leave a bit open on one side to stuff the pillow. turn it inside out and make sure the stitches are strong, if there are any weak spots, re-sew them. I chose to leave the side with the other end of the ribbon open so I could hand sew it after I knew how full the pillow would be stuffed. If I hadn't done this, the ribbon on the front might pucker.

Personal Image: See how sharp those corners are?

Step 6: Begin to stuff your pillow. Start with the corners, making sure they'll stay stuffed and keep their shape. Don't overfill the pillow or you won't be able to hand-sew it shut. Also, make sure not to pull on the threads you've already stitched. No tearing seams, especially if you are using delicate fabric.

Personal Image: Just when you think you're done stuffing, you should probably add a bit more to the corners.

Step 7: I added gold rings here that I'll use to tie through the ribbons that hold our wedding bands. Pin the other end of the ribbon to the fabric and sew really small stitches to close the pillow. This uses a different stitch and might require another Google search to confirm your stitch before you begin.

Personal Image: Fold the extra ribbon end so it's tucked into the finished pillow.

Step 8: Have a glass of wine and admire your work!

Personal Image: Wine not pictured.

I do wonder if I should jazz up the pillow some. I wanted a very simple clean look, and that's what I got, but I anticipate concerns of it being too plain. I'm using sparkly ribbon when we actually tie the rings to the pillow and the ring bearers are 6-year old twins who are guys' guys. What do you think?

Personal Image: Too much ribbon?

Have you ever sewn by hand? What was your first DIY project you'll actually use at your wedding?

Monday, December 12, 2011

Last Friday Night (TGIF)

No dancing on table tops or maxing out credit cards, but I'm sure at least one person woke up wondering if they had a hickey or a bruise. This post is all about partying without having a truly good reason to do so.

The one benefit of having such a large wedding party that's comprised of people I spend a ton of time with already is all the extra hanging out that takes on a wedding theme. We already have 5 official wedding-related events. But this post is about the unoffical events. We had a bridezilla pizza party, we're coming up on Part 2 of our three part makeup-for-the-chicks party. And last Friday night, we had a signature drink party.

Purple Signature Drink Image by Wedding by Color

Our venue has a number of drink packages to choose from for the reception. The one we went with includes a signature drink. They had several options we could choose from or we could develop our own. Mr. Kettle and I quickly decided to develop our own.

We also quickly decided to include a good number of our friends who will be in/at the wedding. BM Law's birthday was Saturday and we went to dinner on Friday to celebrate.

Personal image: BM Law after she was crowned birthday girl.
The after party for her birthday was the signature drink party. By the way, how many times can one use the word "party" in one post?

Earlier that day, I went to a liquor heaven store with BM Milk and BM Libra and we bought what felt like one of everything. I just wanted to be sure we had options for everything I might want in a drink, and it happened to be a lot. Just look at the picture.

Personal image: We certainly had a lot of options to choose from for mixing.

We had those bottle, a blender, a bag of ice, and a measuring cup. Everyone took turns making drinks. The funniest part was trying to keep track of recipes. Measuring in ounces instead of  "a splash of this and a drop of that" proved quite amusing. We all had tiny tiny shot glasses we used to try tiny tiny samples of each drink. The ones that were good were up for a vote. We asked, "would you drink this all night?"

If more than half the group voted yes, the drink became a contender. There were about 20 of us there, and after a couple hours, we were all tipsy and had three really strong options for our signature drink.

Eventually, Mr. Kettle and I will make all three for our parents and then we'll pick one and name it. I have to admit that I'm making this decision waaaay more complicated than it should be. But it's worth it because we had a lot of fun with our friends, and we won't have to worry about stocking our bar for at least another 6-12 months.

Did you have a signature drink at your wedding? Any suggestions for a cute drink title? Do you spend a lot of time with your wedding party?

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Ideas Borrowed From Weddingbee

I've gotten a lot of great ideas from Weddingbee over the months. I know it's my job to put out inspiration and give the details of my plans for others to read, but I've gotten as much out of it as I've put it.

I decided to put in a sampling of some of my favorite posts that have given me some amazing ideas for my wedding, for posts, or hell just for everyday life. These are my top 9. I guess I could have found one more, but I figured I'd just stick with the ones I've been saving up for months now. If you're new to the hive, I suggest you read these. They may give you inspiration anew!

Mrs. Hyena's idea to put the garter on the football was genius. We have a ton of young un-married people coming to our wedding (at least 50 on the guest list). I am looking forward to the garter and bouquet tosses. But most weddings I've been to feature reluctant catchers. If he puts my garter on a football, they guys will actually want to catch it. Plus, it's a great reminder of the day we moved into together and an inside jokes amongst all our friends that our football belongs to me and not Mr. Kettle.

Mrs. Macarons idea to use Nailtiques for nail growth changed my life. If you've read any of my posts, you can tell I have a flair for, ahem, dramatic language But seriously, the Nailtiques was amazing. Seriously, read my post about it. And it turns out Mr. Kettle loves long nails. Like, really really loves them. So I'll be using Nailtiques long after my wedding to give my man what he wants.

Mrs. Swan's Natural Hair information is super useful. My locs aren't as long as hers were when she got married, but if you are looking for unique hairstyles or natural hairstyles, check out this post. They can be done even with hair that isn't locked, and they're just so pretty!

Mrs. Eggs Benedict gave me a great idea for doing the same wedding vows even though we've written our own. Mr. Kettle wants us to write our own vows, but I'm not so comfortable with that huge display of affection coming from me in front of all of those people. Somehow, the thought that we'd be saying the same thing makes me more comfortable. I hadn't thought of it until I read her post.

Mrs. Hyena's name change suggestion. One thing about getting married I'm dreading (I know, I know, there should be nothing to dread) is all the paperwork involved in changing my name. If you have a ton of things your name is on (license, bank account, insurance, credit cards, cell phone bill, lease, etc.), check out this post for a tip on how to make the process go easier.

Miss Cannon's post on trends was dead on for the summer. If you want to know what was all the rage in the summer, check out this post. It's interesting to see which trends are still popping up and which ones aren't. Are you embracing or shunning any of her mentioned trends?

The comments on Miss Sunhat's post about the guest book had amazing ideas! I've already done a guestbook post myself, but the comments on this post were some of the most unique ideas I've heard.

Mrs. Waffle's illustrations inspiring me to pick up a sketchbook and colored pencils. I've put a couple of comic strip thingees that I've drawn in posts. They're meant to be funny or cute. I don't know if I've accomplished my goal, but the idea came from Mrs. Waffle. How cute is that pic of her in the bee costume?

Miss Fox and her great idea about wedding bands influenced my rings. I just linked to this in a post yesterday, but in case you missed it, here it is again. There are a lot of halo engagement rings in the hive, and if you're looking for the options for your ring, this post covers most of them.

Have you found any great ideas on Weddingbee you'd love to share with someone who may have missed it?

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Bands On Our Hands

Alternate post title: He went to Jared! Again!

I love my engagement ring, and I've never regretted the choice for such a unique ring. There's only one issue: I want to wear my engagement right and wedding band on the same finger, and I didn't want a gap between the rings.

Ms. Fox wrote a post that perfectly describes my problem.And to show my version of these issues, some ring porn.
Personal image: My ring hanging out with my new natural long nails!
Personal image: My ring being all shiny and distracting from my skin (not a fan of my hands)
 Personal image: I got all artistic with these shots at one of Mr. Kettle's last outdoor gigs. I can't wait for next summer already!

Personal image: My ring hanging out at a club. That girl likes to have fun (the wall behind her was advertising Absinthe!).
Now that I've shown you the ring, perhaps you can understand my dilemma. But when I saw Ms. Fox's post, I was so happy. She's the first person to ever talk of a ring with criss-crossed bands.

I admit I had my head in the sand about wedding bands. I didn't want to face the inevitable contoured band that we'd have to pay to get made since the ring was made. But a light emerged and I shook off the sand and headed to Jared's website where I figured we'd purchase our rings from.
14K White Gold 1/4 Carat t.w. Diamond Band
Image via Jared
 They didn't seem to have a lot of options, but I didn't give up hope as they always have a larger selection in store. Mr. Kettle and I stopped through one productive weekend and tried on bands. I found several bands that were perfect.

They criss-crossed once, twice, even three times. So many diamonds. They were so shiny! They were actually a bit too shiny. They just didn't really look right. Mr. Kettle and I aren't shiny people. Unless you count carmex for him and occasional glitter eye shadow for me.

We took a break from looking at my rings to look for his. He tried on a band with diamonds and confirmed we are NOT shiny people. He ended trying to decide between two bands. He was going to pick one that matched one of my earlier rings options, but I could tell he wasn't happy about the choice.

When I mentioned it was too bad the one detail (black bands on the ring) couldn't be matched in my ring, the jeweler took us to another case. It was like that list bit of sand still left over keeping from imagining other options finally shook off. I saw the perfect ring and it matched his perfectly!

Mr. Kettle and I are shiny people, but we are unique-twist-on-a-classic look people. So, after much talking, here are our wedding bands!
Personal image: They wrapped them up pretty for us to take home!

Personal image: Our individually boxed rings.

Personal image: Okay, now I'm just being a tease.

Personal image: Our rings!!! Black and white diamonds in white gold for me and black banded white gold for him.

Personal image: Just his ring getting a solo shot.

Personal image: Just my ring.

Personal image: My two rings together. As Stacy London would say, "it doesn't have to match, but it goes."

Personal image: The two rings together. There's still a gap, but it's a gap with attitude!
How did you pick your wedding bands? Are you wearing your engagement and wedding rings on the same finger?

Monday, December 5, 2011

A Honeymoon That's Perfect For Us

Hive, I've talked about my honeymoon way waaay more than I ever intended. It's like a bar joke that won't ever die. "Two newlyweds walk into a bar on their honeymoon..." Or, you know, something more clever and memorable than that.

I have good news to share and then I won't speak of the honeymoon again until recaps. Our honeymoon is booked! Woot!

It's not at all the honeymoon I imagined and wrote about before. There were just too many obstacles in our way. Mr. Kettle has taught me so much about compromise since we've been together and that really came in handy when we were sorting out the details of our honeymoon.

To refresh your memory: I saw our honeymoon as a wonderful holiday triple threat. We were going to do Carnival, Valentine's Day, and Mardi Gras. We were going to Panama and New Orleans and it was going to be wonderful.

The price ended up being more than I expected, so we waited to re-assess our funds before we booked. The day I was going to book the trip (to make sure the New Orleans hotel wasn't full), something major changed. Mr. Kettle got word of a great opportunity for his music. He's a musician and a teacher and he's damn good at both.

The only thing about this opportunity it is was the week after our wedding, when we were supposed to be in Panama. Being the awesome almost-wife that I am, I reasoned that we could go to Carnival another year. And maybe with more advance planning, we could actually go to Rio de Janeiro in Brazil. Trading in a warm beach hotel for a hotel in the city of Chicago in February isn't what I was thinking, but it will allow us to be in the city the week after our wedding.

We are going to stay in a hotel in the city, so we'll still be honeymooning, we'll just also be working on Mr. Kettle's music opportunities. And we'll be going to New Orleans still for Mardi Gras. Searching for hotels in Chicago was a lot of fun. I compared options and found an amazing deal on a wonderful hotel and spa right smack in the middle of downtown.
Image via / Dana Hotel and Spa
Image via QuikBook / Do you see that view?
Image via / I could see having dinner there!
They also have in-room couples' massages. I'm thinking a relaxing week followed by a big party in New Orleans will be perfect for us. It makes sense for the Kettles that a big part of honeymoon includes Mr. Kettle's music. I wouldn't have it any other way.

Are you going/Have you gone on a honeymoon? How long did it take to secure your plans?

Thursday, December 1, 2011

It's Time To DIY!

After breathing a huge sigh of relief that all the big decisions were made for the wedding, I realized I still had a ton to do. But I felt good about this y'all. I had a lot o' DIY projects to get started on. I had checked a good number of things off my huge list, but nothing from that first column, the DIY column.

Personal image: Checking more off each day, but I've got to do better on that first column!
My DIY projects are numerous. And there are less than 75 days to my wedding. But I think I can do it! The nest several posts will detail my attempts at:

Table Numbers
Flower Girl Baskets
Ring Bearer Pillows
Place Cards
Ceremony Programs
Reception Menus
Seating Chart
Frames for the Theme Decorations
Out of Town Bags

I started with my idea for table numbers. I've searched high and low for what I was thinking of. I didn't find anything similar to what I had in mind. The luck I had with my guestbook idea was not to be repeated. Oh well!

For your entertainment, a cartoon to explain my efforts.

Personal image: I thought and thought of exactly what I wanted.

Personal image: I searched all over the internet, but nothing was just right.

Personal image: I went table number shopping and got a lot more than I intended.

Personal image: So about those table numbers. Yeah, a bigger project than I intended. Do It Yourself Plus Your Father And His Power Tools!!!
And just what did my trip to Hobby Lobby yield?

Personal image: That's everything I need to make everything listed above except the OOT bags. Don't even ask how much it cost, but I think it is less than what I'd pay someone else...

Yup, that's a lot of stuff. Looking at it makes me excited though. I can't wait to share with you how I've tackled that large pile of stuff and turned it into usable stuff for my wedding!

Are you doing DIY projects? What's your best/favorite/hardest one?

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

It Takes Two To Get Us Down The Aisle

I've mentioned once or twice how large our wedding party is. Part of the reason it's so large is that we're counting everyone, including our two officiants. They are two men who each like a member of either mine or Mr. Kettle's family. They are our pastors.

They both do pre-marital counseling for couples they marry. Mr. Kettle and I couldn't decide which one we wanted to do our counseling, so we committed to doing it with both. Now, we didn't think about how busy our schedules are. It's been a very long time since we made that commitment, and we are just now going to our counseling sessions.

There are some similarities between the two sessions. We left each one feeling pretty good about our plan to get married. There isn't much that was brought up (at least so far) that we haven't already discussed in detail.

Also, Mr. Kettle and I are pretty well matched in a couple ways. For one, we're both apparently teenagers when it comes to certain subjects. You know what I mean. We took a look at our counseling workbook, saw the word sex, and broke into giggles.

I doubt we would've done that if it weren't for the fact that we were alone in the room, but it was made all the more funny to us because we were across the table from each other and we started laughing at exactly the same time. Definitely a classic moment for us as a couple.

But on a more serious note, this counseling has done what I thinks it's supposed to do. It's made us take a long hard look at our relationship and really assess if we're making the right decision. We've talked about God, communication, love, trust, empathy, compassion, fun, and yes even sex.

If it turned out that we weren't ready for marriage in the eyes of the men who are supposed to marry us, we'd be back to the drawing board, trying to make it right. Luckily, we seem to be on the right page.

Did you have pre-marital counseling? Did it leave you feeling good about your decision to marry?

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Making Decisions Left and Right

I love purple statice. I thought I was getting purple status, but after looking at the picture from before (and a quick Google search to confirm), I was actually getting purple statice. This is an amazing flower. They're so bright and vibrant. And it's a sturdy flower, which is great because I really like to run my hand over it again and again. I can't help it because it feels like a lei.

Image via FlowerShop Network

Image via Luau Shirts / When I rub my fingers over the statice in my bouquet, I'll be thinking warm and welcoming thoughts!
We recently had our meeting with our venue to sort out some details of the wedding day. We picked linens and napkins and table runners, all things I don't really care very much about. But it was a productive meeting to make sure our venue and our family was on the same page.

It's becoming a bit of a routine to roll into these places with lots o' people. There me, Mr. Kettle, Momma (and sometimes Daddy) Kettle, Mima (and sometimes Poppa) Kettle, and maybe one or two more. I'm continually impressed with these vendors who don't seem fazed by us. We come in full of jokes and distracting laughter. No meeting lasts less than 90 min, even when it's supposed to be an hour. If I had to do this all over again, one of my top priorities for vendors is that they are patient with a good sense of humor and no problem repeating themselves.

Since I was still unable to decide between two florists who had come up with very similar ideas for our wedding flowers, we decided to have a flower-off! In my mind, we'd have the two florists show up to our venue. One would be wearing red, the other blue. They'd battle it out with bouquets, table arrangement, and altar flowers. After a tough battle, one would emerge victorious, and I'd have the perfect florist.

In reality, it was much more tame. Mima Kettle picked up a sample table arrangement from one of the florists. The other florist volunteered to come to the venue and and bring two sample table arrangements with him. When we first saw them both, we weren't happy. There wasn't a clear winner. All of my newfound confidence at having re-learned my ability to make decisions deflated.

But as our supposed-to-be-one-hour-long meeting with the vendor continued, it suddenly hit me, I really liked one waaaaay more than the other. Luckily, it was the vendor who was actually there who's sample I preferred. The flowers were just right, and the decision to leave the hydrangeas out was perfect. Curly willow, which was previously my heart's desire, suddenly didn't look so hot.

We chatted with him about a couple of things we wanted edited with the flowers, and he re-did a quick estimate, and we handed him a deposit check. I was so thrilled because in that moment, that meant that all the major decisions for the wedding day were done. And we made our deadline of having them all finished by Nov. 15th!!

Wedding Venue, Day-of-Coordinator, Florist, Clothes, Hotel, Invitations, Music, Food, Cake, Done!!! We were engaged for 5 months and 14 days when we had everything done, so that's pretty good. But we were just 91 days from the wedding, so that's not so good. I figure it's what happens with a relatively short engagement (less than one year).

How long did it take you to get to the end of planning the major wedding decisions? How happy were you when it was all finally done?