Friday, September 9, 2011

Wording Wedding Invitiations

Momma Kettle and I working out wedding invitation wording. It took a whole night of sitting at the dining room table at her house. We bugged Daddy Kettle, Mr. Kettle, and both Mima and Poppa Kettle about spellings for the invitation. But we got it worked out.

I know she and I are both very particular about certain things, but I really didn't think it would take that long. Naive and foolish I was. I want to go over what we came up with, without revealing our actual wording, of course. And I need your help hive.

Host Line

Image of host line on invitation via Epiphany Events edited by me
People choose all sorts of ways to do this part of the invitation. My parents are paying for the whole wedding, so they're names are definitely going on the host line, but Mima and Poppa Kettle are helping out financially and so many other ways that they're going on the invite too. It was a pretty easy decision as it's been important to all of use since the engagement was official to be all in it together and really join together as a family.

Reception Card

Reception card image via
Our ceremony and reception are going to be in the same place, requiring no travel. We figure that's best since our wedding is in Illinois in February. So, we decided not to have a reception card. It would be a waste of money and paper.

RSVP Cards

Image via Photocard Chef
This RSVP card is lovely, but it's far too simple for our needs with our wedding. We have to give people a date to RSVP by otherwise they won't bother (our engagement party showed us me that). We have to tell them how many seats are reserved for their household so they don't bring extra guests who won't have food at the reception.

We have to have lines for them to write out the names of all attending guests since... ahem... we don't actually know how to spell all the names of invited guests (like some of Mr. Kettle's cousins' kids... and some significant others of my cousins...). We also have to have them choose a food selection so we know what to order. Having an exact food order will make a difference of up to $1000 in price for reception food, so We.Need.To.Know!

And lastly, I really want some cute and fun wording for the RSVPs or to leave a space for guests to write notes. I've seen it in so many bee invitations and I want it! But how do I make that fit on an already overstuffed card? I've hand-drawn the basics for you to see what I'm visualizing. I apologize for the crappy blackberry phone, but I had no other options at the time of this post.
Personal extra crappy photo. I tried to adjust the photo so you could see it better. You can get the basics, right?

1. So I need something better than Accept/Decline, but I don't have a lot of room for extra words. I want something clever. This is where you come in hive. I need suggestions that are fun, but not so cheeky that Momma Kettle and Mr. Kettle veto them immediately. Please help!

2. Yes, we really do need that many lines. Most of our households have at least 4 people in them, and several have more. 4 was splitting the difference. None of us are going to make hundreds of phone calls to track these people down for name spelling. And we need it so we have it for once and all. Also, we have to have a seating chart, which means place cards, which means we need lines for names.

3. What should I put on the back? Should I leave room for notes? How about a drawing? How should I word my request that I want people to get creative with their responses? Will it be overkill since I'm requesting something similar for our guestbook at the wedding?

Hive, I know you can help me. You will save me from myself and my desires that don't have a creative support.

Thursday, September 8, 2011

I'm Ready For My Close Up - Choosing A Photographer

So I know you all are dying to hear which photographer we went with. I'm sure it will be a huge surprise and all that. Drum roll please...

Drum roll via
No, no no! Cute drum roll please...
Image: cute drumroll via Macam Macam Ada Shop Blog
That's better. Okay, so we're going with . If you read my first posts about our photographer, you're not surprised by this news. As much as I loved our second option, I just couldn't get down with their prices.

I asked Mr. Kettle to tell the woman when she called back that we were going to go with another photographer because we just couldn't make the budget work with their prices, but that we appreciated their time. He told me he'd take care of it and I didn't have to worry another thought about it. I love it when that man takes care of business!

Then I pulled out the information from Jolie Images and called them back. I informed them I wanted to sign a contract for their services and I will be going into their office before work one day this week to sign on the dotted line. I'm so excited to have another thing crossed off the list.

So far we have clothes for everyone except the hostesses, a venue, a photographer and videographer, our musicians for ceremony and reception, our officiants, and a stationer. We still need to choose our menu (scheduled for next month), pick a florist (meeting scheduled all this month), find clothes for the hostesses (eh, I don't know), find a day-of-coordinator, and all the major details will be done. That's about 60% done. That's not bad for only being engaged 3 months. But then again, we only have 5 more months to go. Yikes!

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

I'm Ready For My Close Up - Our Second Photographer Option

After our meeting with our first photographer, I was really looking forward to having our meeting with our second photographer. From all the glowing review from Mima Kettle and FSIL Grand, I knew I'd enjoy that meeting as well.
Image: Bella Pictures
They opted to do a conference call meeting with Mr. Kettle and I because our schedules are horrendous and that's the only way we'd be able to meet within a couple weeks. Mr. Kettle and I were at Mima and Poppa Kettle's house when the call came in. The woman we spoke to was friendly and excited about our wedding. She was excited to show us the options for what they could do for us. And they were having a 40% of sale. Winning!

Mr. Kettle really took the lead for this photographer, which made me very happy. After being so satisfied after our first interview, my excitement for these second photographers was surface level at best, so he provided the buoy of excitement.

Image: Buoy by
She gave us her spiel and it all sounded pretty lovely. They were able to provide the same services as the other people we met with. They knew our budget and said they could make it fit. Things were a la carte, but with that 40% off, I was hopeful that something could be worked out.

Then... well... I went from hopeful to just plain disheartened y'all. She added up what we wanted and it came to a ridiculously high number. First, imagine you're in Chicago at Chicago prices. Then read through what all we wanted and see what number you guess in your head. I want to read this in the comments section people.

  1. Photography for the whole day at one location, including getting-ready-shots. Basically 9.5 hrs.
  2. Videography also for the whole day.
  3. A portrait setup for the reception.
  4. A wedding album for us, including copyrights to all photos available as a disc.
  5. A wedding video, plus all the unedited footage on separate DVDs.
Her price? $1000? Nope. $2000? Keep going. $3000, not there yet. $4000? Take out the album and the rights to the photos and the unedited footage of the wedding, and we came in just under $4000. That's including the the 40% discount.

After regaining consciousness, I asked Mr. Kettle to put her on hold. I then asked him to see what our budget we told her ($2500) could get us. She ran through the numbers again and told us we could get a photographer and videographer for the reception, pictures of our wedding party during the cocktail hour (not before like I'd much prefer), and the main highlights of the reception (i.e., the first 2 hrs). We still would have to order everything else a la carte.

I was just... I still can't find words for how I felt in that moment. Those exorbitant prices were why I gave up on photographers originally and began to get stalked by them on my e-mail and voicemail. So we could shell over $2500 (before taxes and tip and travel charges) and get our photos and videos taken. We just wouldn't be able to get any record of it without shelling over almost that much again. That's right, if we got everything we were being offered by the first place.

I was suddenly glad the meeting wasn't face-to-face because I know I have no poker face, and I would've given her one of these:
The Kettles Find a Cupboard :  wedding chicago venues Picture030 Picture030
Personal photo: thinly veiled displeasure face
Mr. Kettle heard the rest of her options. She asked us if there was any wiggle room in our budget, and he said maybe. She said she would get with her boss and see what they could do for us.

I didn't know how they could get the price down any further on top of already having the sale for 40% off. After having seen their pictures, I knew we'd get a great photographer, if it was in our budget.

Want to see some photos of their lovely work?

All pictures via Bella Pictures

In the next post, I'll tell you who we chose.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

How To Be A Rebel Bride - Wedding Party Attire Edition

I like to consider myself a rebel in some respects. I know it's wholly not true, but it's really fun to talk and blog about. So in continuing with the rebellious spirit of previous posts, I'd like to cover all the "rebellious" things that concern our wedding party attire that have gone down so far.

Bridesmaid Dress Price Shopping
Our actual dresses are not very rebellious. In fact, the dresses are some of the most popular being sold by Bill Levkoff right now.

What makes the dresses rebellious was our search for the lowest price. Those on a budget understand this. You can't settle for the first price a store tells you, especially if it seems ridiculously high. Thanks to Google (my best internet friend) and you ladies here at the hive, I've found the lowest possibly price for this dress available right now online.

We pushed back ordering the dress by two months in an effort to secure the lowest price. We know our dresses are now set to deliver the week of Christmas, which is a recipe for disaster. We're rebels though, so we took that chance. We may be using scissors and my old ass Singer sewing machine to hem the dresses, but we'll make it work.

Bridesmaid Dress Selection
In a previous post, I discussed dress shopping for the bridesmaids, maids of honor, jr. bridesmaids, and flower girls. I glossed over our selection process, but I want to highlight it now.

As a bride that is pretty opinionated about clothes, I took a step back and decided not to force dresses on my girls they wouldn't love wearing. The best pictures come from when you're feeling beautiful inside and out, and I wanted that for my girls.

At both stores we dress hunted, they picked out every dress they tried on. I only glanced at the dresses, and I made not one single selection for them to try on. They grabbed all the dresses they thought they would look good in. My only input was to veto dresses that I definitely didn't want them wearing. This basically included one should gowns and gowns with useless fabric.

Image: One Shoulder Bridesmaid Dresses by
I don't know why, but I am not a fan of one shoulder dresses
Image: Bill Levkoff #628
Seriously?! It's the faux bow that I meant, but just look at this number! If anyone knows someone who looks amazing in this gown, please send me a pic 'cause I won't believe it 'til I see it!

My Wedding Dress
I'm not going to show a picture of it again, but I have in a previous post. Just go look through my older posts so I don't have to send Mr. Kettle away, I like when he reads my posts (Stalker!).

My dress is not white. I told Momma Kettle I'd be wearing something other than white. I don't think she really believed it until we were putting down a deposit on my coffee/natural dress.

Also, my dress is tea length. I'm not having a train, and I will be showing off my fabulous shoes all night!

I didn't go full rebel and wear a birdcage veil. My mother wants me in a fingertip length veil with a blusher, and we found one that looks amazing, so that's what I'll be wearing.

Clothes For The Groomsmen/Groom
I let Mr. Kettle pick out the clothes for the men. I told him and GM Light that they simply had to get a tux or suit in gray or black and hopefully have the option of a colored tie/vest combo and I left it at that. Lots of brides wouldn't leave it up to their guys, but I went out on faith.

I regretted it when he came back calling colored vests prom-y and wanting to wear an ascot. After a couple of weeks of rough conversations about it, we reached a compromise. This made things go much smoother.

In the end, we stuck with the original plan and Mr. Kettle is picking out what he wants, not what I'd prefer. I guess Mr. Kettle is a rebel too, huh? He got his way and I know the guys will look fabulous on our wedding day. The more I get used to the idea of the clothing selections, the more I'm excited to see how it all comes together.

Clothes For The Ushers and Ring Bearers
Well now, hive, if you've gotten to know me by now, you know I have a mild control freak streak in me and Mr. Kettle has turned me into a world class person-who-compromises. Our compromise for the groomsmen wearing what he wanted was that the ushers and ring bearers would wear what I wanted.

I want the ushers to match the hostesses so the 5 of them match up but remain inconspicuous as they move around getting things done. And the ring bearers have to be tightly coordinated with my clothes since they and the flower girls will be the last down the aisle before me.

Have you made any decisions for clothing that went against tradition or the obvious desires of others? Are you a real rebel?

Monday, September 5, 2011

Extra, Extra, Read All About It!

My best man, BM Doc, has an older brother who was engaged while we were in college. His wedding party was spread out geographically. The best way for him to keep everyone in the loop was to let them know is a very classic way: a newsletter.

I loved this idea then, and I love it still now. While we have five people in our wedding party out of town, that's actually only a small fraction of our hugely large wedding party. But needing to keep everyone on the same page has been... a task.

In order to better serve the needs of our my sanity, I came up with a great newsletter. This isn't just for the bridesmaids though. It will go to the bridesmaids, the jr. bridesmaids and bridal attendants, the groomsmen, the parents of the flowers girls and ring bearers, and also to the ushers and hostesses. That's a lot o' mail to send out. But it will be worth it to keep anything from falling through the cracks.

I'm not sure how often I'll have to do these newsletters, but this one was right before the 6 months-to-wedding mark, so there's no way to tell. In this newsletter, I covered: an introduction of who was all in the wedding party (in case anyone didn't know yet); a reminder of our engagement party in 2 weeks; information about our changed venue; clothing FAQs, as we're coming up on the date to order these items; other cute-sy things.

I tried to make it interesting visually and interesting to read. Lots of white space, nice graphics, pictures, and a fluid layout are all essential to making a great newsletter. It wouldn't be my first choice, but I made the whole thing in our wedding colors. The taupe came out a bit too orange, but I think it will do.

I imagine I'll have to do another one of these at least in December right before the bridal luncheon. And probably another one in January for the wedding shower and bachelor/bachelorette party. And of course, one with final instructions leading up to the wedding weekend.

And of course, by now you're dying to see the newsletter. No? Well, I want you to see it anyway. Tell me what you think of the layout. I used a screenshot so you could see the intended taupe color instead of what came out of the printer.

The writing really didn't look as small on the printout as it looks in the picture.I was really hoping they would like it. I didn't intend to come up with anything so awesome that people are putting it in their scrapbooks, but I did want to keep them abreast of everything without having to make 40 calls. Score one for finding a way to have less stress with my gargantuan wedding party.

Okay hive. I first wrote that post right after I made the flyer, about 10 days before our engagement party. I must confess, I never actually sent it out. Organization FAIL. But it was a great first try and I'm looking forward to doing it again in the next couple months, and actually sending this one out. And I just ordered online 100 stamps from the post office that will be delivered to my house.

That should circumvent my biggest problem of acquiring stamps. I can hand off stamped envelopes to anyone other than me and they'll get mailed. At least that's the plan. Wish me luck that we I get out another version of these before the bridal shower/luncheon/hobby day.

Sunday, September 4, 2011

The Verdict On The Ascot

In a previous post, I talked about Mr. Kettle and his journey to get clothes for the men in the wedding party. I talked about the ascot he wanted to wear and how I was very much against it.

I put up a poll and asked if you all thought he should go with the ascot or not. Some people put up some comments that were... harsh... to say the least. Ouch guys. You know Mr. Kettle reads this blog, right? As well as his mother, Mima Kettle. You can't say those things like we're having girl time over martinis. But I digress.

Most of you seemed to think he should be able to wear what he wants since that's what I'm doing. I don't necessarily agree with that because he and I have lots of input regularly on what we wear from day to day. I checked with him to make sure he was okay with my dress length, color, and style. Believe me, if he'd wanted me in an all white trumpet gown with a 10 ft train and I didn't look terrible in it, that might be what I was wearing. But again, I digress.

The hive voted on the poll, over 100 people gave their opinions. It was about even, but now it keeps creeping in the direction of... ascot! I have to say at first this didn't make me happy. Mr. Kettle and I got into 2-3 pretty heated discussions about it. It wasn't even about the ascot (at least not on my end), but the tux in general, as well as communication between him and other male members of the wedding party. It was bad, real bad.

I think after he and I got into it at Mima and Poppa Kettle's house this past Sunday, the dams broke. He realized he was kind of being a jerk. I realized I was kind of being a jerk. We both stopped our jerkiness and came to a compromise.

Image: Compromise Cartoon via Calbuzz
 Our compromise was that he would get the ascot. Mima Kettle pointed out that he didn't have much of a neck anyways, so losing it wasn't a big deal. He will probably get a black ascot to wear with the black tuxes the men will be wearing. The groomsmen will wear black tuxes, black vests, and purple ties. The ushers will wear black tuxes, taupe vests, and taupe ties. The ring bearers will wear black tuxes, taupe vests, and taupe bow ties. Daddy Kettle and Poppa Kettle will both wear black tuxes, black vests, and black ties.

I agreed to help Mr. Kettle make sure he was getting the right colors for the suits, and he agreed to let me pester him about informing the wedding party guys of what their responsibilities are for their wedding day clothes. Here is what they'll be wearing.

Image: Perry Ellis Virgo Tux via Formally Modern Tuxedo
Hot right? They will look fantastic on their day, ascot and all. It feels good to let go of my apprehensions and not let my crazy bride brain cause a rift in otherwise happy feelings Mr. Kettle and I have had toward each other throughout the planning process.

Bride Brain Image via Tara Getting Married Blog
This particular picture can be traced back through several blogs that always source yet another blog.

How did you settle differences in wedding planning ideas? What are your guys wearing for your wedding?