Thursday, February 21, 2013

What Phrase to Engrave?

Mr. M and I just spent a fab weekend in NYC and were able to get the ball rolling on a major to-do item--we visited the jeweler to select our wedding rings.  We were running late (due to some terrible traffic, ugh!) but Mr. M managed to pick out his ring in less than 10 minutes.  He apparently had already done a bunch of research online and decided that a sleek and classic style was really what he wanted (he's never consistently worn a piece of jewelery in his life so he also wanted something very lightweight and durable).  And we saved major $$ since he decided on an alternative metal (Cobalt).
This is the ring he selected with a 4.5MM width / Image via Benchmark Rings
The decision for my ring was a bit more complicated.  Here is a picture of my ring from our engagement shoot;
Photo by Sarelle Photos
More detailed pic of my ring / Personal Photo
Because the ring setting is pretty intricate, we basically have to get the same designer to create the wedding band--which means I have to ship my engagement ring off to California for a week so he can customize the band to exactly fit the e-ring.   For now, I'm ordering it plain (no diamonds) since it's more cost-effective.

Now our biggest dilemma is deciding on the engraving for his ring (mine will be too small to have one).  Should we stick with the standard name/initials and wedding date?  A song lyric? The symbol for infinity?  Our dorky nicknames for each other?  I found this old post by Mrs. Hibiscus that had some great engraving ideas and also came across these articles for inspo;

 The Knot
TLC Weddings

What will you be engraving on your ring(s)?
Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Primp My Bride is on Twitter!

I've finally figured out how to use twitter (took me long enough!)  Follow me for more wedding-related goodness;

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Wedding Planning Lessons I've Learned so Far

Now that Mr. M and I are in double digit territory, I thought I'd share some lessons I've learned and things I've realized throughout this crazy wedding planning process.

Image via Wedding Salon
  • Your budget can easily be larger than what you originally thought it would be if 1) you've never planned a wedding before or 2) you have no idea the true cost of wedding things.
  • You and your fiance may argue about the most RIDICULOUS things for the wedding.  How you overcome these arguments is probably good practice for your marriage.
  • Establish with your family from the very beginning what you and your fiance want for your wedding (whether that's no children, or a circus act during the reception).  This will save you from much stress later on when everyone and their mother thinks they can tell you what to do.
  • Organization is key--it's what holds everything together and helps you keep your sanity.
  • Communication is key--if you are pissed at your bridesmaid (for example), take a step back before you snap and calmly assess the best way to handle the situation.
  •  Pick your battles wisely.  Very wisely.
  • No matter how strict you are, mom and dad will always manage to add extra guests to the guest list.
    • If they do, only you can judge if the drama will pass or if it'll cause World War 3 amongst your family.
  • Some vendors just do not understand the value and stress relief of a prompt reply, but make sure you can spot the different between a vendor who just occasionally drops the ball on communication and one that communicates with you frequently until the deposit is paid and then falls off the face of the earth.
  • Try not to let the little details sneak up on you.  It's better to do some tasks wayyy earlier in the planning game than to let it wait until the last minute.
  • Resist the urge to talk about your wedding all the time...unless someone asks, of course. 
  • Don't be afraid to make up your own rules when it comes to invitation wording.  You'll thank yourself later for it.
  • A few invitations will get lost in the mail (for whatever reason).  Once the invites have been out for at least 2 or 3 weeks, start following up with people who have not yet returned the RSVP card to ensure they've actually received the invite.
    • Make sure you ordered a few extra invitations in case the above happens so you can re-send the invites if need be.
  • Some guests are just incapable of returning the RSVP card despite how simple you make it for them.  Kindly remind guests a few times that you'd really appreciate them mailing in their response (texting you or writing on your Facebook wall that they will be coming is not acceptable). 
I imagine the next few months will bring even more lessons my way so I'll make sure to write a follow up post.

Have any of the things above happened to you as well?  Are there any other key lessons you've learned so far as you get closer to your wedding date?
Friday, February 15, 2013

The Double Digit Countdown Dance!

Nothing left for me to do but dance (oh and 100 other wedding-related tasks) / Image via
While I don't exactly have a real dance, I'd like to think it would look something like the animal's above.  When we first started working on our wedding website I added a little countdown on the welcome page and at the time, it read 488 days until the big day.  And this week?  We've finally hit double digits baby!!  We've obviously come a loooong way since the early days of planning, so with that in mind, I want to share a very topline recap of what we've done and what we still have left to do (in terms of wedding planning).

- Wedding website created
- Venue, Photographer, Wedding Planner, DJ, Florist, Baker, Hair & Makeup artists, Officiant, String Quartet booked
- Photobooth, up-lighting and lounge decor booked (through DJ)
- Said yes to the dress
- Room blocks reserved
- Wedding night accommodations booked
- STDs sent
- Registries created
- Bridesmaid dresses chosen and ordered
- Rehearsal dinner location booked
- Reception rentals ordered
- Shoes, veil, hair fascinator purchased
- First fitting down, 2nd scheduled in two months
- Invitations sent
- Honeymoon plans finalized
- Ceremony music selected
- Final wedding planning trip scheduled
- FINALLY started P90X to whip my ass in shape

With all the major things out of the way, it seems like the final few months are all about the details, so here is just a snippet of our still massive to-do list;

- Select wedding rings
- Order wedding day jewelry
- Mr. M to select materials/style for custom suit
- Mr. M to provide Groomsmen with info on where to rent suits
- Chase down guests who have not yet RSVP'd
- Food tasting at venue
- Determine vendor meals
- Food tasting at Welcome dinner location
- Final hair & makeup trial
- Select Bachelorette party and Welcome dinner dresses
- Submit reception music list to DJ 
- Order reception stuff
- Order welcome bag supplies
- Create welcome bag and bridal party itineraries
- Order ceremony programs, escort cards, table names and all other necessary printed materials
- Seating arrangements.  UGH.
- Get marriage license (hands down the most important upcoming to-do)
My mantra / Image via Wikipedia
 Okay I'm going to stop here before I hyperventilate over the remaining to-dos.  When I feel overwhelmed, I have to remember to take a step back, breathe and always tackle what we consider priorities first.

If you are also getting close to your wedding date, does your upcoming to-do list look anything like mine?
Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Beauty Inspiration for the Big Day

With my hair & makeup trial coming up in a month, I've been scouring the interwebs to find the perfect looks and started off with hair styles.  I pinned ones that would look great with a feather fascinator and veil, like the images below;
Image via
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But ultimately I fell in love with this Tyra Banks hairstyle.  It's a side bob with a structured wave;
Image via
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If the wave is too difficult to execute, I'd be okay with something like this;
Image via Polyvore
 I'm still deciding on the exact makeup look, but I know I'd like a somewhat smokey-eye and possibly eyeshadow with gold tones.  For lips, I'm not sure yet, but nude seems to be the trend (though I think I'd opt more for a lip with gold undertones);
Image via Pinterest
Image via Pinterest
Image via Pinterest

Image via StyleMePretty
Image via CelebrityBrideGuide
So many looks to choose from!  I guess I'll send all the makeup inspo to my makeup artist so she can get an idea of what I'm looking for and we'll take it from there. 

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

The 3rd (and Final) Planning Trip

As we near the 3 month mark later this month until our wedding, Mr. M and I knew we'd have to schedule one last planning trip up to Montreal before the big wedding weekend.  We've decided to go next month, and on this trip we will be taking care of the following things;

Food Tasting
Finally!  I've been waiting one year for this (ever since seeing the delicious menu).  We've skipped the dessert that was originally in our package to get more hor d'oeuvres during cocktail hour--we're doing this because we're having an outside baker bring in our cupcake tower, so didn't feel like we needed additional dessert.  I'll write a post about the food details after the tasting.

Wedding Day Scheduling with Planner
We'll be meeting with our wedding planner in person to discuss the nitty gritty details regarding vendors and scheduling for the wedding day.  She sent us these forms to fill out (at least to the best of our ability at this point) as a way to start coordinating everything, which we'll be reviewing during out meeting next month.

Hair & Makeup Trial
As I mentioned in my engagement shoot post, I had a hair & makeup trial with my stylists the morning of the shoot, so I could see how well everything would hold up during the day (and how it all photographed as well).  The hair stylist did a fantastic job and I was really pleased with how my hair turned out. 

For makeup, I really liked what the makeup artist did with my eyes and lips, however the foundation color she used was a little off--it was just too light for my skin.  I was able to fix it after she left (I had a darker shade with me) but you better believe that will not be happening the day of the wedding--hence the necessity of this final trial.  More on hair & makeup inspo for the big day in my next post.

Viewing Rental Items in Person
We hired the company who will be providing rentals for the wedding day all via email.  The rentals include white spandex chair covers, teal chair sashes, teal napkins and gold table runners (the venue already includes white table clothes).  It'll be great to see the actual set up in person so there won't be any surprises on the wedding day.  As I mentioned in this post, this is the closest image I could create in regards to how I'm envisioning the tablescapes;
My Virtual Tablescape (Teal and Gold) / Created on

We'll also be checking out some restaurants we haven't yet been to, adding to the growing list of recommendations for our guests to check out throughout the wedding weekend.

For you destination brides, how many planning trips did you take to your location before the wedding day?

Friday, February 8, 2013

Freestyle Fridays - Awesome 80s

Because today just feels like an 80's kind of day.  Oh and if anyone actually knows/remembers the song "Pass the Dutchie" you get extra cool points.

Enjoy the music, have a great weekend, and stay safe and warm East Coasters!

Freestyle Fridays - Awesome 80s by Primp My Bride on Grooveshark
Thursday, February 7, 2013

Rehearsal Dinner Location

Since we plan on having a pretty formal wedding (in terms of attire, but not in behavior!) I wanted something as casual and low maintenance as possible for our rehearsal dinner.  Side note: we're actually calling this a "Welcome Dinner" since everyone's invited--oooh the joys of a destination wedding!

Mr. M and I searched high and low prior to our 2nd wedding planning trip to Montreal back in July--we needed a venue capable of hosting at least 100 people that had inexpensive food and beverage options.  It was actually quite difficult to find a place that met this criteria, so when I finally came across a large micro-brewery in Old Montreal (which is only 4 blocks from the hotel where we're getting married--huge bonus points there), I reallly hoped it would work out. 

The bar is called Les 3 Brasseurs (or The 3 Brewers in English) and is deceptively larger on the inside than it looks from outside.  When we met with the event director there, we learned that it was actually large enough to host over 400 people!  Large venue?  Check.  The place is SUPER cool on the inside--they brew their own beers so the huge brew tanks are visible all throughout the interior.

The bar's exterior / Image via
Huge brew tanks / Image via
The upstairs bar / Image via
There's a perfect space available for a group of 100 in a section of the bar upstairs, so it'll be nice to have our own space within the huge bar.  We also discussed menu options with the event director and while initially we were looking in to buffet options, we realized it would cost WAYY more to feed everyone than we were comfortable spending.  So I asked if we could instead order a bunch of items a la carte and just order tons of appetizers and non-alcoholic beverages that would be enough for our group.  In doing so, the overall budget was lower than we anticipated (which made us very happy!)  We also opted for a cash bar--we'll be feeding people a fancy meal with a 9 hour open bar for the reception the next day, so we figured people can buy their own booze for this event.

For the menu, we've decided on a mix of flamms (which are like super thin-crust pizzas), poutine (fries covered in cheese and gravy, a Quebec staple), chicken wings, a few veggie plates and salads.  Also, we can order more food as the night goes on in case we run out.  

Another bonus to hosting the welcome dinner here is that Mr. M is quite the lover of beer (after all, he is from Wisconsin).  This will appeal to MANY of our guests who are also beer "connoisseurs".  While I am NOT a fan of beer, they have an awesome hard cider that was delicious and of course tons of wine.  A win-win overall! 

How many people will you have at your rehearsal (or welcome) dinner?  Are you opting for a more casual event?
Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Wedding Music Part I: The Ceremony

Right around the time we got engaged, I started thinking about ceremony music (wayyy too early in the planning process I know, but I couldn't help myself).  While I think classical/traditional wedding music is beautiful, I knew FH and I would want to have songs that were more contemporary.  Afterall, we are major music junkies.  While browsing online one day, I came across the various works of the Vitamin String Quartet.  Now I know VSQ is old news to anyone with wedding on the brain, however I had never heard of them prior to planning my own wedding...and I remember feeling like I had just struck gold.  This was exactly what we had in mind for our wedding--string versions of our favorite contemporary songs.
Image via
We asked our wedding planner for string quartet recommendations and we ultimately decided to move forward with Ontario-based Cadenza Strings.  They have a TON of contemporary songs in their reportoire and charge a small fee to learn any new ones.  Last month, it was time to submit our selections so they could learn any new songs in time for the wedding.

As I browsed online through a number of Vitamin String Quartet songs for inspiration, I remember the one that stood out the most to me was their version of "Fix You" by Coldplay.  As soon as the song was over, I just knew I would walk down the aisle to this song.  As cheesy as it sounds, the first (dozen) times I listened to the song, I kept tearing up.  I thought it was so beautiful and there's even a cue about halfway through the song that sounds like the perfect part for a grand bridal entrance.  Check out the song below.

Fix You by Vitamin String Quartet on Grooveshark

At first, FH was a little iffy about the song (he thought the lyrics weren't exactly wedding-worthy but my argument was that there wouldn't be any lyrics!) but he did agree that the string version was really nice.  As a compromise, I promised he could pick the recessional song if I could have this as the processional (marriage is all about compromise after all, right?)  He's decided on "Home" by Edward Sharpe & the Magnetic Zeros and I wholeheartedly agreed since the song is one of our favorites.

We also asked our string quartet to learn one more song, "So Here We Are" by Bloc Party.  This will be one of five or six prelude songs and is another song that is very special to us--Bloc Party was the first concert FH and I had ever gone to together (7 years ago this summer!) and the band we've seen the most--I think we've seen them 5 times. The rest of the prelude songs are already on the quartet's repertoire, so here they are for your listening pleasure.

Can't Help Falling in Love by Vitamin String Quartet on Grooveshark
Something by The String Quartet on Grooveshark
Haiti by Strung Out on Grooveshark
Neighbourhood #1 (Tunnels) by Strung Out on Grooveshark

Will you be choosing non-traditional music for your ceremony? 
Monday, February 4, 2013

The Honeymooners

FH and I have a serious case of wanderlust.  As I mentioned in my intro post, we LOVE to travel.  We travel mostly for pleasure but FH also travels a ton for work.  So when deciding on a honeymoon location, we narrowed down the numerous options by asking ourselves a few simple questions.  What area of the world have we never been to?  Which countries are in our top 5 of places we'd love to visit?  Where else can you hug a Koala or go on a Lord of the Rings tour?  The answer to each question was without a doubt, Australia & New Zealand. 
I've reluctantly accepted the fact that you can't ride a kangaroo / Image via
My favorite New Zealanders Brett, Jemaine and Murray (from Flight of the Conchords) / Image via
We made the decision on these countries last summer and were even more encouraged when in my research I came across Down Under Endeavours, a Chicago-based travel agency with expertise in the South Pacific area.  Now I've never used a travel agency to plan vacations and have always planned every trip myself, however because we're traveling so far and we both know absolutely nothing about either country, I figured it was time we relinquish vacation planning duties to the experts.  And I'm so glad we did!

The company specializes in highly customized travel itineraries which was right up our alley.  With all the intense wedding planning going on, FH thankfully took the lead on planning the honeymoon and has been working closely with our travel specialist to put everything together.  He told her the things we enjoy (beach, adventure and nature, LOTS of wine & food because seriously, Australia and New Zealand produce some of the best wines in the world) and she came back with recommended locations that best fit our interests.

Some of our itinerary stops include adventurous locations like the Great Barrier Reef, the Daintree Rainforest and the Glow Worm Caves.  A few of the activities we have planned include scuba diving (for the first time, yikes) at the Reef, bike tours, wine tours, a boat tour of Milford Sound, seeing a performance at the Sydney opera house, a Lord of the Rings tour and possibly a cooking class or two.  The custom itinerary designed for us includes hotels, private transportation, most activities and some of the airfare since we're going to a number of different cities.
Great Barrier Reef Marine Life / Image via
Daintree Rainforest / Image via
Glow Worm Caves / Image via
And the best part?  FH is a frequent flier on Delta and he's racked up a TON of miles over the past few years.  Because of this, we were able to exchange miles to 1) get free round-trip airfare to Sydney and 2) get upgraded to business class both ways...for free.  I nearly pooped my pants when FH booked this sweet deal--and he still has a ton of miles leftover (I also have a good amount of miles which we're saving for a future trip).

This will be one of the most epic journeys of our lifetime (and hopefully not the last)--we are going for 3 1/2 weeks since we saved a TON of money on airfare.  Since we're having a destination wedding in May, we've decided to wait until September to honeymoon, giving us something fun to look forward to (other than our marriage of course!) once all the wedding hoopla is over.  September is also our dating anniversary month and the day we leave will be our 8 year anniversary.  I am SO pumped!!!

If going on a honeymoon, will you plan it yourself or use a travel agency?  Are you going right after the wedding or are you putting it off for a few weeks/months?

Friday, February 1, 2013

Freestyle Fridays - 2/1/13

Happy Friday and 1st of February folks!  There's no particular theme for this week's edition of Freestyle Fridays--I've just recently started listening to Lana Del Rey again and even though the girl can't quite cut it in a live setting (remember that SNL performance?  Yikes), the album version of her songs are actually pretty good.  Some of my favorites include "Blue Jeans", "National Anthem", "Ride", "Radio" and of course "Video Games".  Enjoy!

Freestyle Fridays - 2/1/13 by Primp My Bride on Grooveshark