Sunday Bunday!

Oh, Bakerella.  You started so innocently with just a few cupcake-pops and cheesecake-pops:

Adorably tiny bites of cake!

Adorably tiny bites of cake!

 And then you got me hooked with your sweet bunny-pops:

Bun bun yum yums

Bun bun yum yums

Cottontail cuteness

Cottontail cuteness

Now I’m loving all kinds of pops!  Sheep-pops, Santa-hat-pops…and especially these hilariously diverse chick-pops:

Chick pops!

Which one's your fav?

Check out the Bakerella blog for recipes and instructions regarding patriotic pops, turkey pops, Christmas pops, Hello Kitty pops, flower pops, and more!  It’s truly inspiring, as evidenced by the many bakers who’ve created cute pops since Bakerella’s first creations!

July 26, 2009. Bunnies, Foodies, Sweets. 2 comments.

Time-a Line-a Ding Dong Day

The faster you read the title of this post, the more fun it sounds!

I think I’ve figured out a big-picture timeline of our wedding day:

12:00  Get Ready
2:00   Outdoor Pictures
4:00   Ceremony
6:00   Cocktail Hour
7:00   Dinner
8:00   Dancing
12:00  Good night!

This is definitely not set in stone, as we don’t even have a ceremony or reception site reserved!  I found some more great references for creating wedding day timelines.  For now, I only want a rough outline of the day—just to see what 8 hours of photography can cover.  It looks like our photographer could come at 1:00 for some getting-ready shots, and then leave at 9:00 after capturing the essential reception shots (first dance, toasts, cake-cutting).  As our day gets closer, I’ll refer back to the following sites to help me sort out all the little details!

  • Kate Parker Weddings recently posted a wedding day schedule from her wedding planner-extraordinaire perspective.
  • Weddingbee has a timeline Wiki with links to real bride’s timelines.  Check out Mrs. Pomegranate’s for all the tiny details.
  • Blue Orchid describes oft-forgotten elements and the importance of a (secretly) padded timeline.
  • Bella Sugar created a useful beauty timeline for the big day.
  • Anne Ruthman offers wedding day scheduling advice from a photographer’s perspective.

July 25, 2009. Schedules. Leave a comment.

Timing the Day

HOORAY!  We have a wedding photographer!  More on that exciting news soon! 😉

Our photographer will be with us for 8 hours, which led me to wonder if that is enough time for everything.  Since we won’t have our reception at a place with lush gardens and outdoor wonders, I wanted to take some wedding pictures in a scenic park.  I tried creating a general timeline for the wedding day to see how much 8 hours would cover, but I really have no idea where to start.  Thankfully, there are other fabulous wedding websites out there with plenty of advice!

A Wedding Timeline and Schedule

A Wedding Timeline

Weddingchicks has this detailed wedding day schedule which I adore, because it’s broken down into small increments–down to 5 minutes at some points!  And it includes nuggets of wisdom like these:

“7:10.  Salads Plated and Speeches *TIP* Serve salads BEFORE speeches. Speeches that run long make for wilting salads and put dinner behind schedule.”
“7:45.  Entrées Served *TIP* Serve your vendors as you are served so they can take a break and be back for all of the action! No one likes their picture taken while they are eating so it’s the perfect time.” 

I’m on the lookout for more advice regarding wedding timelines.  If I come across anything else that helps me, I’ll share it here!

July 24, 2009. Schedules. Leave a comment.

A Day for Serious Business

One lovely afternoon, Adam and I were in the car, on the way home from the train station.  Earlier that day, I had gone to a bridal salon so I could try on wedding dresses!  Here is the conversation that followed:

“Did you like any of the dresses?”
“Yes!  I love two of them.  But I think I like one more.”
“What did it look like?”
“I’m not gonna tell you!…….It was fancy.  And beautiful.  Do you wanna go see it?” [Way to stay strong, Hannah.]
“No, I can wait.  How much does it cost?”
“I don’t know.”
“You didn’t ask how much it cost?”
“No.  It didn’t say on the price tags, and the lady never mentioned it.”
“You could ask.”
“But it feels like a secret.  I don’t want to impose.”
“So you’re planning to buy the dress, but you don’t know how much it costs?”
“Yes.”

This happened a few months ago…before I started listening to Adam’s advice, noted in my previous post.  Nowadays, I think I’m slightly better at talking with wedding vendors.  I’m learning to state our needs, find out important details, and even do a teeny bit of negotiating!  Here are some things I try to keep in mind when working with wedding vendors, so that I’m not such a wimp:

  1. Know my budget.  And don’t apologize for it.  I get comments about how big it is and about how small it is.  Oh well, I say, oh well!
  2. Do a ton of research on the vendor.  And not just on their website.  I’m surprised at how many vendor associations I find just by asking friends and family!  Also, blogs of local photographers can give you an inside look at venues and vendors; so can online reviews.  Lastly, I have a ton of wedding magazines, and I cut out ads for the vendors I’m considering.  I think it’s interesting to see how they advertise themselves.
  3. Ask about prices.  Don’t feel intrusive for asking.  This goes for huge expenses down to the cost of the smallest details.  Since many of the vendors I like don’t state their prices, I feel like I’m stepping on toes by asking.  But if I’m paying, I have a right to know.
  4. Make that change!  All of our contacts have been willing to change their packages.  I’ve inserted and taken out hors d’ouevres, chair covers, specialty linens, and champagne toasts from catering packages.  I feel like it’s a hassle for the event coordinators to send me a revised, personalized package (and for us to be different from their “standard wedding format”), but I also don’t want them to provide things we really don’t need.
  5. Work with nice people.  Almost everyone we’ve met has been very kind and professional, which makes it easier for us to share ideas and trust them with our event!
  6. Find a vendor that has an amazing deal going on!  If it’s for a limited time, it’s worth asking if they’ll extend the special for you.  Then I don’t need to negotiate a great deal–they’ve already offered it to the world.  Ahhh, that’s totally the way to go.
  7. Bring the fiance along.  I went to a few venues by myself and came away with a TON more questions than when I would go with Adam.  I’m so abnormally shy when meeting new people.  When we’re together, we work off of each other to better communicate our perspective and to better understand the person’s (or company’s) style, methods, and personality.

Wow, when I type it all out, it looks like a lot to remember!  But it all boils down to creating the smoothest possible business transaction between two friendly parties.  It helps that I’m not doing it alone…and that my teammate is my super-business-savvy fiance!  With his help, I know we’ll find the sweet, fun, and, of course, budget-friendly vendors we need for our special day!

July 21, 2009. What I've Learned. 1 comment.

Day to be a Tough Cookie

Okay, so this cookie may not actually be tough…but check out the ferosha-fierce chihuahua!

Okay, so this cookie might not be tough, but check out the ferosh chihuahua!

She is one tough cookie!

I’ll start this post with a little background.  I met my best friend, J, when we were freshmen in high school.  We bonded quickly over our fondness for Sanrio, giggling, and girlie movies.  At the time, we were of the sweet and easy-to-push-around variety.  When someone was mean to us at our first job (serving froyo at TCBY), we would go into the back room and cry. 😕  That’s just how we dealt with confrontation.

We’re more assertive than we were in our TCBY days, but I think I still have a lot more growing to do.  Like many girls, it’s hard for me to put myself first.  I feel terrible when I inconvenience others or have to ask for what I need.  So when it comes to negotiating, I’m not exactly your go-to gal.

However, the love of my life taught me a very important lesson.  I’ll share my paraphrased version here:

:idea:When money is involved, the interaction between two people is about business.  It is not about personal sacrifice or hurt feelings.  It’s about a transaction.

His advice is incredibly eye-opening for me.  The best part is, the more I apply it in our wedding planning, the more it sinks in!  So my next post will include all of my new tips on how to be a brutally fierce negotiator!  Just teasing.  I’ll just compile some things I try to remember when dealing with wedding vendors, so that I stop being “personal sacrifice girl” and start finding my inner tough cookie!

July 21, 2009. What I've Learned. Leave a comment.

Sunday Bunday!

Can you imagine opening up your lunchbox at school and finding this deliciousness?

Bunny bento

Bunny bento

 This bento looks healthy, delicious, and filling.  And besides the practicality, it’s totally cute!  I’m saving this picture as inspiration for future picnics and kids’ lunchboxes 😉  Happy Sunday Bunday!

Picture from Bento Business.

July 20, 2009. Bunnies, Foodies. 2 comments.

Venue Day: Signature Events…again!

I’m back with more thoughts on Signature Events at Seven Bridges!  The pictures below don’t do the place justice.  I either failed to use flash or my flash wasn’t powerful enough, so I had to lighten the pictures until they turned grainy.  Pro-photographer, I am not!

The hallway

The hallway from the lobby to the ballroom

Signature Events is the one and only venue that had beautiful hallways.  I saw many hallways that were too wall-papered, too pink, or too glitzy.  I love seeing brick and wood indoors, and they used both in bold amounts with such clean lines.  Will anyone else notice the handsome hallways?  Who knows, but I’ll have a little smile on my face while walking (skipping?  sashaying?) through them!

The area outside the ballroom

The area outside the ballroom

The lobby is to the left of the ballroom, and this room is to the right.  Another aspect I like about Signature Events is that everyone would be in the ballroom together.  A banquet hall we visited placed the bar in a room across the hall; a country club gave guests access to the whole building; and a hotel gives guests an excuse to leave the ballroom and run up to their hotel room for as long as they want!  I don’t want to trap my guests, but I’d love to see them all together in one room.  The lobby and this area outside the ballroom are perfect for stepping out for air and a quieter conversation.

The room set up for a wedding

The room set up for a wedding

Mmmm, a wide open space for our big celebration!  I adore how the ballroom looks with fabric draped across the ceiling and thick, baby blue sashes. Usually chair covers make me think of ghosts (silly, yes, I know), so I try to avoid them. But here, they look cute, harmless, and not overly fabric-y. Maybe the dark wood panels on the walls will be fine. It actually looks like it would be very bright and white in this room with the lights on!

I think Signature Events has become a front-runner because of its proximity to home, contemporary style, and our awesome contact.  I still need to find out a few things before we move forward with it.  Like what can we do about the giant picture frames on the walls?  And while the food looks artistic, what does it taste like?  Are their gardens large enough to take outdoor pictures there?  And how much would it cost to have fabric draped across the ceiling like in the picture above?  I wonder what questions other brides feel it’s important to ask before deciding on a venue!

July 16, 2009. Decor, Venue. Leave a comment.

Venue Day: Signature Events

Oh, be strong, my fragile heart.  I think I’ve lost Danada House. 

I just couldn’t get the combination of outside catering + rental fees to work.  It started at several thousands of dollars out of my league, and try as I might, I could only get it down to a few less thousands of dollars out of my league.  The beautiful atrium was definitely worth trying for.

It’s time to move forward and consider our other options.  We’ve visited tons of places, and the first one that really felt like “us” was Signature Events in Woodridge.  The pictures below are from their website.

Pretty rows of pretty chairs

Pretty rows of pretty chairs

 The picture above shows where we could have our ceremony.  I’m secretly hoping the sun and clouds will let us have an outdoor ceremony!  This spot definitely looks like…well, the outside of a building.  But I have a fruitful imagination and can already envision a silky aisle runner lined with pink petals and large candles…colorful programs lying on each seat with a cone of petals or bright strands of ribbon hanging from the back of each chair. 

The room where we would have the reception

Part of the ballroom

I love the clean, classy ballroom.  The above picture actually shows the parts of the reception room that I feel uneasy about.  The wood panels across the walls are so dark…would they take away from our light, cheery color scheme?  Also, I’m not a fan of the framed pictures on the walls.  I’m assuming they’re photos of old-time celebrities.  I’d love to cover them with photos of our parents and grandparents…it’d be even cuter if we enlarged and framed their wedding pictures!  We’ll have to ask if we can do this.

Adorable!  Tomato soup with grilled cheese.

Adorable! Tomato soup with grilled cheese.

And what is this cuteness, you might ask?  It is our soup of choice: the tomato soup shooters!  I love thoughtful food presentation, and we’d definitely get that at Signature Events.  I’ve seen pictures of their artistically plated entrees, and they all look divine.  Hopefully I’ll get to share some of those when we go in for a tasting!

July 16, 2009. Decor, Venue. 1 comment.

A Blustery Day?

No matter what wedding date a couple chooses, they probably have some concerns about the weather.  Will it be hot or rainy; blustery or sticky?  Springtime in the Chicago area is especially unpredictable.  Sometimes we skip spring altogether, going straight from an unbearably long winter into summer!

To get an idea of what to expect for our April 2010 wedding, I conducted some research on Weather.com.  Since we haven’t chosen an exact date yet, I saved the whole month!  It’s pretty long, so I’ll just post the first half:

Average weather in April

Average weather in April

In the wintertime, we’d probably miss the sunset by the time we sat down for dinner.  But in April, we’ll be settled at our tables, ready to enjoy the beautiful sunset through the windows 🙂  I expected those average temperatures, and I’m mentally prepared for chilly weather.  Of course, I would be thrilled if our day hit a record high temperature!

Did you know that Weather.com has a whole section of their website devoted to Wedding Planning?  You can track your wedding day weather, get tips for outdoor weddings, and check out their honeymoon planner!  The graph below is from their wedding section and might be helpful for a couple who hasn’t selected their wedding month yet:

The average monthly temps for our area

Weather info for my area

The Wedding Planner by the Weather Channel is a helpful guide, but even with all the statistics, you never know what the weather may bring!

July 14, 2009. Chicago. Leave a comment.

Sunday Bunday!

I wonder if all the other women who married into Adam’s family were thrilled to become a Mrs. Bunny.  I wonder if they considered wearing a cottontail at their reception (just for a little while!) and bought every bunny-shaped cookie cutter, paper puncher, and pot holder in sight.

I wonder if they squealed with joy when they saw this brand of sleepwear at Macys:

Jenni by Jennifer Moore

Jenni by Jennifer Moore

The Jenni clothing line appeared on my radar a little before Christmas of last year.  Their long-eared logo appeared on every pajama pant, sock, and panty…and I couldn’t get enough!  Under the guise of shopping for everyone on my Christmas list, I visited every Macy’s in the area to check out their selection of Jenni stuff! 

Check out the pom-pom slipper-socks!

Check out the pom-pom slipper-socks!

At that time, I bought quite a few items from their line, including pajamas, knee-high socks, and the slipper-socks above in pink.  Since then, I haven’t been near the sleepwear section at Macy’s.  There’s no reason why, but it’s probably a good thing.  A twenty-something’s wardrobe can only contain so much bunny-ness before it starts raising concerns.

Top picture from the Macy’s website.
Bottom picture from Amazon.com.

July 12, 2009. Bunnies. Leave a comment.

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