Saturday, August 27, 2011

My Mansion For A Day

In my last post, I talked about re-designing the budget. I mentioned that Momma Kettle was looking to move our wedding venue somewhere else other than Chateau Bu-Sche. I glossed over it at the time, but now I'm ready to talk about it.

Actually, hive, I want to shout it from the rooftops!! But first a bit of background for anyone who hasn't been stalking my Weddingbee posts. We started our wedding venue search looking for somewhere we could have the ceremony and reception. We found a great place that just wasn't right for us.

We moved on to another venue that I fell in love with, but was outside our budget. Ultimately, we went with a venue I liked and had some details that worked for us, even if it wasn't a perfect fit.

Now, back to my shouting!

Image: Houston Streaming Video
We have switched our venue to the Patrick C. Haley Mansion!!!! This was the venue I fell in love with but was outside our budget. All our budget re-working was to make this venue happen. Our classy yet raging party we all hoped to have is going to go down there! Woot!

I truly didn't believe it when Momma and Daddy Kettle told me and Mr. Kettle we were making the switch. I hesitated to believe it when they took Mima and Poppa Kettle out to Joliet to take a look. They loved it too. Then my parents came back with a contract for me to sign to transfer the deposit from Chateau Bu-Sche to the Mansion.

When I got the confirmation e-mail from the Mansion, then I believed it. It was true. The Chateau people agreed to transfer our deposit so we didn't lose it. Thank God they're owned by the same people.

So now we're having our lovely, possibly 300 guest-attended, winter wedding at the venue of my dreams. Just to remind you...

The Kettles Continue Their Search for a Cupboard :  wedding chicago venues 270 270
Personal Photo
The Kettles Continue Their Search for a Cupboard :  wedding chicago venues 274 274
Personal Photo
The Kettles Continue Their Search for a Cupboard :  wedding chicago venues 283 283
Personal Photo: I can't believe I'm actually truly really getting reading in this room!!
I figured most people wouldn't take the time to scroll down the right side of the page on my posts for Weddingbee to see that the venue listed isn't the same as the one I've been saying was our venue. Only one person asked me about it. I was glad about it since I wanted to tell our story in the order that it happened instead of glossing over the details. But now my story reflects what's posted. Yay!

Friday, August 26, 2011

Figuring Out A Wedding Budget

Every bride should know that it's very important to have your priorities in mind when figuring out where the money for your budget will go. I knew this. I just didn't know my priorities weren't so set in stone.

At first, my priorities were:
1. Food
2. Flowers
3. Clothes
4. Everything else in no particular order.

But then... I realized every venue I was even remotely interested in made their own food. So finding the perfect caterer to fill all my wedding culinary dreams wasn't going to happen. I also realized that I really love roses and wasn't very interested in much else. Variety was over-rated (at least for now).

Also, choosing the clothes for the wedding party was a relatively simple process that didn't involve more than 1 store visit to 2 store for each group of people getting clothed. And since each clothing item came in under budget, I had to reconfigure my budget priorities.

Food was now included in the reception budget that now also included ceremony budget since we were one-stop-shopping. Clothes ended up being a less significant portion of the budget. Flowers still has the same budget for now, but that's subject to change once we actually start meeting with florists.

After coming to terms with our large guest list, I realized that venue, stationary, and photography were going to have to move up in priority. Momma Kettle was also realizing around this time that perhaps Chateau Bu-Sche wasn't really where we should have the wedding. On the recommendation of a couple of colleagues/friends, she began to reconsider.

She and Daddy Kettle sat down with Mr. Kettle and I to revise our budget. This was the second time we had done this.

We discussed all the options available to us, including reducing our honeymoon budget and photography budget in order to accommodate a large number at guests at a nicer venue. We played with the numbers and ultimately decided it was worth it to try and make the change.

We knew photography was important, but we decided to find a photographer to fit into the new budget instead of splurging. Our final (for now) budget split is as follows:

Image: Calculator by Discovery Education
Music: 2.5% (yay for marrying a musician)
Wedding Day & Prep Beauty: 0.7%
Brides Clothes/Accessories: 3.3% (yay for already owning most of what I'm wearing)
Flowers: 2.25%
Gifts/Favors: 1%
Invitations: 3.75%
Photography & Videography: 6.25%
Engagement Party: 4.25%
Wedding/Reception [food, linens, decorations, drinks, etc.]: 76%

Being a one-stop-shop is expensive. But we'll get everything we want and need. It's definitely not the budget I thought we'd have, but it's the one that will give us the wedding of our dreams. When I say "our" I mean it. I think Momma Kettle has been dreaming about my wedding longer than I have.

Can You Wear Your Birthday Suit To Your Engagement Party?

No matter how much you want to bury your head in the sand and try and forget about the million and one details of wedding planning, you must take time and find actual clothes to wear. Not doing that is against the law. At least in Illinois. With this in mind, I had to figure out something to wear to my engagement party. It was shaping up be a big party, so I had to be dressed impeccably.

Well, I think I put too much pressure on myself. I didn't really have the time or money to shop the way I'd like. And I had the silly notion I should wear our wedding colors. There's only one problem with that. "Regency" isn't really in right now.

Personal photo of wedding color palette
Left to right: regency, black, taupe, ivory, gold

Color fail.

 So I branched out. I found a great dress at Delia's that I bought. I know you want to see it.

Image: Prima Ballerina Dress by Delia's
Because I am so very short, it stops right at my knees, making it perfect cocktail length. And it's a great color for summer. But it's just... plain. I'd have to jazz it up. I and don't really do jazzy. I don't have a blingy belt or jewelry or anything else like that. Sexy high heeled shoes is about all I have. So this dress would have required waaay more shopping to get it perfect.

I started searching for either another dress or some killer accessories. Of course, I started with Macy's because that store never lets me down. They had tons to choose from. I wanted something cute and sexy, but not too sexy. I wanted it simple, but not too plain. With that vague idea in mind, I came up with some favorites.

Image: Sleevless One Shoulder Ruched Cocktail Dress by Lauren by Ralph Lauren at Macy's

 Sexy and simple. But is it too simple? And should I really be wearing black to a party in the middle of August? I don't know.
Image: Floral Pleated A-Line Dress by Ellen Tracy at Macy's

 Girly and sweet, but is it sexy? On me, it will go below my knee and it looks like something I'd wear to church or work maybe...
Image: Beaded One Shoulder Draped Satin Dress by Nine West at Macy's [Temporarily unavailable]

 Let's be honest, one shoulder dresses are not my thing. I only own one and it was forced upon me through participation in a wedding. And perhaps it's too sexy? And I will clash with all the golden decorations, won't I?
Image: Asymmetrical Neck Cocktail Dress by Jessica Howard at Macy's

This one is actually called a cocktail dress. And it's exactly my style. But is it too sweet? Is it too blue? And might it be too hot for an August party at which I'll already be nervous?

Image: One Shoulder Belted Mini Cocktail Dress by BCBGMaxAzria at Macy's
Everything this man makes looks great on me. It's sexy and a soft tone, so I wouldn't be overdoing it. But I have a small frame. Perhaps it's just one detail too many. That's a lot o' ruffles. And I have a small frame, but not small hips. Le sigh.

Image: < haref=" Black Dress%26sp%3D1%26spc%3D70">Sleeveless Beaded Sheath by Ellen Tracy at Macy's

 This one kept catching my eye, but when I look at it, all I can think is my grandmother telling me I need more color and pizazz in my wardrobe. This dress is just my style though. But perhaps it's not enough. Ultimately, I decided to take a trip to the store. When shopping in-store, I always start with The Limited.

BM Milk and I, along with her adorable son, went to the mall the day of the party. Yes, I waited that long. A mix of work and other priorities made this the case. But out we went and we struck gold at The Limited. I tried on several dresses that didn't work. But the clearance rack saved us with something lovely. I'll show you the picture from the website, but you'll have to wait til the post about the party to see me in the dress.

Image: Cowlneck Dress by The Limited

Monday, August 22, 2011

Put On Some Pants!

Alternate Post Title: Clothing The Kettle Men. I chose this title because one of my favorite moments in The Hangover. It makes me think of Mr. Kettle because he's morally opposed to wearing pants when he doesn't have to. I alluded to that in a comment about MOH Sis in a previous post. Our wedding is such an occasion for which he must wear pants.

Watch the clip here. Around 2:43 is when the pants funniness begins.

Needing to have pants for our wedding, Mr. Kettle went with his best man to find tuxes for the males in our wedding party. There are a lot of males in our wedding party. There is: Mr. Kettle, my best man, his best man, my two guy attendants, and his eight groomsman. Oh, plus both our fathers, 2 ushers, and 2 ring bearers. That makes 17! Yikes!

Freak Out! Image by Bezinga
Okay, hive, I just had to get that out. I'm calm.

Mr. Kettle went out that first time and narrowed down the possibilities to two options. I asked him to take photos for the hive... but... well... there aren't any. He went back with his best man GM Light and another groomsman GM Dark (named for their skin tones, think white chocolate and dark chocolate, they have great skin) to try on the suits again.

The one picture he took shows his preference for clothing. They decided on black tuxes and black vests. Apparently, colored vest look too prom-y. This is what I get for telling Mr. Kettle the clothing was all his decision. The other thing is that he wants to wear an ascot. An ascot!!

Hive, am I being ridiculous for hating the idea of Mr. Kettle in an ascot? He likes it a lot. A lot. I think it makes him look short. I think it makes him look pretentious. He disagrees. I don't know what to do except let it go and let him wear what he wants so he's happy in his clothes on our big day. At least the groomsman will be in regular ties...

Here's a picture from my inspiration board on Weddingwire. It's more along the lines of what I saw the men wearing.

Image via
Personal image: Mr. Kettle's crappy iPhone pic

Poll: If you could choose would you go for no ascot or ascot? In full disclosure, he's going to wear a solid one, not a striped one.

Option 1: Ascot Yes! Why don't you see how awesome this looks?
Option 2: No Ascot! Is he trying to be funny by suggesting this?

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Kettle Tea Party Reminder, Take Two

After the EPIC FAIL that was my first Save-the-Date mailings, I had to get back to work to send them out. By this point, we were only about 4 weeks out from our engagement party. We knew we were going to send out the STDs and the e-party invites together, along with a moo card. The moo card was going in the STD so that we wouldn't have to put it in our actual invites (how gauche and all that...)

To review, here's how I failed before:
1. Neglecting to include the DIY SAVE-THE-DATE bunting FSIL Hon and I spent hours making.
2. Not having a design that could easily be changed to our bridesmaid-dress-induced wedding color palette change.
3. Ordering too many STDs the first time around. Did I mention I ordered 1000 of the original moo cards, thinking I would put them in every mailing? And I put the wrong date on those? Major not-yet-mentioned fail!
4. Incorrect wording that could easily be fixed, but was still a pain.

So I got back on the computer and loaded up Microsoft Word and I was determined to fix my previous wrongs. And it took me a couple tries, mostly just moving things around and messing with fonts, but I got it done!

Wanna see it? Wanna see it? Sure ya do!

Here are our Moo Cards. Can anyone tell me why they're called Moo Card? Is it an acronym? Are there cows involved?

Personal photo
Personal Photo
That lovely monogram you see there we got for free at Things Remembered for buying their set of champagne flutes and cake cutters. I'm currently very much in love with the included Christmas tree ornament. Christmas is always on mind, even in July. They have some amazing designs and we're getting them engraved with our monogram.

Here are our Save The Dates.

Personal photo
Personal Photo: I truly love love love that banner!
As you see, I still haven't blotted our my new last name. I love it so much, I want it to show. I couldn't bear to cover it up. I'm gonna be a McBride, lol! Get it? No? It's just me who watches too much Grey's Anatomy? That's fine. Moving on.

Here are our engagement party invites.

Personal photo
Personal Photo: I left up the address for the restaurant cause they're soooo good. Seriously, if you're in Chicago, try them!
We got these babies designed, ordered, assembled, and shipped in record time once we tracked down the addresses. As long as hardly anyone moves between now and the wedding, we're set!

I'm really proud of myself that I designed these all myself and they turned out to be exactly what I want our wedding to be: classic with a festive twist. I really like them, but I have to admit they're not as artistic as I'd like. They get the job done, but they are quite basic, and not quite as polished as they would be had a professional done them.

Mr. Kettle has been a well of goodness in this whole wedding planning thing. Every time I'm stumped as to the best route to go, he ends up supplying, without trying, the perfect solution. The best example of this is our wedding musicians, but I've already posted about that.

A good friend of his will be attending our wedding. His girlfriend is very sweet. She's also... wait for it... a photographer/graphic designer!! You can check out her blog here.

She agreed to take a look to see what we'd like done and we agreed to pay her for her trouble. If she designs something wonderful, I won't be surprised, but I'll be very glad I will have successfully outsourced something that is not my passion to someone who would love to do it and be good at it. So far her preliminary sketches look great and I can't wait to see how the design evolves.

Are you outsourcing any big projects you probably could DIY? Did you try to do something yourself only to graciously embrace what is/isn't a natural talent for you?