Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Newlyweds!

Greetings from the other side!  I am officially married and it still feels unreal :)  While the weekend was an emotional roller coaster (mostly in a good way) and the weather in Montreal was crap, the actual wedding day itself was pure perfection from the moment the hair and makeup artists arrived until the last song at 2:00am.  I am still amazed at how all the details, timing and PARTYING went off without a hitch and how everything came together.  It was a weekend filled with family, friends, love, laughter, tears of joy, and one that the two of us will treasure for the rest of our lives.

We even got a teaser photo from our photographers which makes me SO excited to see the rest of the photos :)
Seriously was the best day ever / Photo Credit: Sarelle Photos
Oh and I know I had left you all hanging for months in regards to my wedding dress so I can now finally reveal...it was the Benicarlo by Pronovias!  I have to give a shout out to bee user Miss Care Bear who totally figured it out from the very beginning.  How did you know?!?

All photos personal.


It'll probably be a few weeks until we get all the photos back from our photogs, but I may start my recaps earlier if we end up getting more teaser shots.  Looking forward to sharing the details with you all!
Friday, May 24, 2013

The Day Before the Best. Day. Ever

Hive, I can't believe I'm finally getting married tomorrow.  I'm sitting here in our amazing room, blow drying my hair and just had room service delivered because I realized I forgot to eat today.  I spent a glorious morning at the spa getting a massage and pedicure....and remembering to eat completely slipped my mind.  I got back to the room and Mr. M came about 30 minutes later, gave me crap for not eating and immediately ordered me room service (this is why he's a keeper).  Saying that the past few days have a complete whirlwind is an under statement!

All photos are personal.
Incredible room--this is where us ladies will get primped tomorrow
Caesar Salad courtesy of room service
As our friends and family have been getting in to Montreal over the past 3 days, it's been such an overwhelming feeling to see all these people we know and love gathering in one location.  They've traveled from near and far to be here and it's just...incredible.  Mr. M and I have been so busy the past few days running last minute wedding errands, greeting people as they get to town, dinners, and more that I have to keep remembering to cherish this time and enjoy the moment.

The weather has been pretty shitty here with these weird off and on showers and there's a good chance it might rain tomorrow, but for as much as that was getting me down (Montreal is such a beautiful city so it's too bad it hasn't been sunny the whole time), it seems like all our guests so far are having a ball--people are exploring the city, trying new restaurants, going on tours, checking out the spas, etc.  The welcome bags and itineraries were also a big hit so I'm glad that worked out :)

After I'm done with my hair, I've got to get dressed for our ceremony rehearsal at 5:30--luckily there was no other event at the hotel today so they've already started setting up the ceremony space (whoo-hoo!), then off to the Welcome Dinner at 7pm.

I'm a lot more calm than I thought I would be at this point--the only things stressing me out right now are the weather (which I know, there's nothing I can do about) and about getting some sleep.  I didn't sleep well at all last night so that's the biggest thing I'm freaked out about.  Otherwise, everything seems ready to go for tomorrow.  Now I've just got to focus on staying as calm as possible, while enjoying every moment of this incredible weekend.  All in preparation for tomorrow, which I'm expecting to be the BEST. DAY. EVER.

Wish me luck hive and see you on the other side!!
Wednesday, May 22, 2013

The Getting-Ready Playlist

Being the Type-A person that I am, I of course had to plan in advance a kick ass playlist that me and the girls can listen to as we get our hair and makeup done the morning of the wedding.  Mr. M and I booked the penthouse for the day before and the day of the wedding, giving us ladies and the stylists plenty of room to spread out.
We'll be getting our makeup professionally done! / Image via The Knot
With that in mind, how could I not create the perfect getting-ready playlist?  Most of you know by now how music-obsessed I am (if you remember my intro post), but I'd categorize my favorite genre as indie rock.  But for this, I wanted to make a playlist with some fun pop music that us ladies could sing along to.  This includes songs by the "Divas" (Madonna, Whitney, Britney, Gaga, Beyonce) as well as some awesome 80s, 90s and 2000s jams.  Feel free to steal this playlist!

Wedding Morning Mix by Primp My Bride on Grooveshark
Monday, May 20, 2013

About that Last Name...

Image via One Wed
I know this topic of name-changing has been covered numerous times, but I just wanted to add in my two cents since I'm getting married this week.

As a kid, I never liked my name.  My first name isn't common at all here in the US (it is however very common in French-speaking countries...which meant nothing to me since I didn't live in a French-speaking country.)  I remember getting so annoyed as a kid when we'd go on family vacations and I'd never find my name on those touristy chotchkies (keychains, license plates, picture frames, etc.).  I'd give my sister the side eye every time she found her name and was able to buy said chotchkies (she has a very common American name).

And my last name?  Don't even get me started.  First off, it's long.  Second, on first glance, many people think it looks like a jumble of letters and thus deemed it unpronounceable.  The way my last name would get butchered in grade school would have given anyone a complex about names.  Why couldn't I have an easy one, like Smith?  When I got to high school though, the self name-hate eased up a little bit--friends gave me some pretty hilarious nicknames for my first and last name so I decided that maybe it wasn't the end of the world to have such an uncommon name--didn't mean I had to love it though.

Then after I graduated college and started a career in the digital advertising world--a job in which 80% of my day was either talking on the phone or emailing people, something new started to happen.  People would be like "Wow you have such an interesting name.  Where is it from?"  I can't count the number of times that people simply wanted to spend an extra minute or two chatting about the origin of my name and how to pronounce my last name.  After years and years of this, I started to think huh, maybe my name isn't so bad.  It was a memorable name--memorable enough for people to take time out of their lives just to simply ask about it.  It was a unique name.  It was me.  And all of a sudden, I absolutely loved my name.  After years of (stupidly) loathing it for superficial reasons, I finally made peace with my name--after all, it was me.

Fast forward to being a bride-to-be.  I wanted to give you all that back story above to say that initially, I had no plans of changing my last name whatsoever.  Mr. M has a nice last name that isn't very common either, but it's way shorter than mine and very easy to pronounce.  However, I didn't care that it would be easier to fill out my name on forms, or give my name to customer service reps on the phone.  It was me and that was it.  Now, Mr. M is a pretty level-headed guy, but this was definitely an issue we debated for some time.  After awhile, he begrudgingly let the issue go but he said the children would absolutely have his last name (and I actually agreed with him on that one--more on why later).

I've been giving it some more thought over the past few months and usually I've very unwavering in my convictions--and I rarely change my mind about something once it's set (that's the stubborn Taurus in me).  But oddly enough, I decided that maybe it wouldn't kill me to compromise.  My compromise is that I will change my last name when we have our first child.  Because there is a slim chance our children will look anything like either of us (being a an interracial couple and all), I didn't want there to be a disconnect in the family name which might further confuse the child(ren). 

In the meantime, I will unofficially hyphenate my name across my social media sites, email, etc.  Even though that will probably drive everyone nuts since I'll have the longest last name ever--I really could give two craps.  This is my way of easing in to a new identity when it took me so long to come to terms with my own.

What will you be doing with your last name?
Wednesday, May 15, 2013

DIY: Guest OOT Bags

The title of this post may be a tad misleading--while I 100% DIY'd the guest welcome bags, I got the weekend itineraries printed through an awesome vendor on Etsy (more on that later).

For the bags, I wanted to provide travel-weary guests with a selection of sweet snacks, salty snacks, gum, Advil and bottled water.  To save on costs, couples will be getting one bag each (but extra goodies inside to share).  Originally I was going to order all the snacks through Minimus, a great site to order mini versions of all kinds of snacks.  That was until I was shopping at BJ's one day and realized I could get all the economy-sized snacks I needed there--the prices were cheaper and I wouldn't have to pay for shipping.

With that in mind, here is a list of my welcome bag purchases (and their prices) below.

All photos are personal.
  • 6 Baker's Dozen Medium Gift Bags: $6.99 each (Michaels)
  • 2 32-count Poland Spring Bottled Water: $5.99 each (BJs)
  • 2 24-count Welch's Fruit Snacks: $7.49 each (BJs)
  • 2 30-count Baked Lays Smart Mix: $11.99 each (BJs)
  • 2 30-count Right Bite 100 Calorie Snacks: $9.99 (BJs)
  • 2 40-count Doublemint Gum: $7.29 each (BJs)
  • 2 50-count Advil: $13.20 each (Amazon)
  • 100 Sheets of Teal Tissue Paper: $8.00 (Amazon)
      Grand Total: $161.90

Not too shabby!  As for the itineraries--I wasn't quite sure what I wanted the layout to be but I knew I wanted to include a ton of info including a welcome note, weekend schedule, important phone numbers, things to do and places to eat in Montreal.  I was browsing Etsy one day and came across a great shop called The Paper Proposal run by the fabulous Cristina.  She makes these great tiered itineraries that are small enough to fit in a purse.  I sent her my wedding colors and the information, and after a few revisions (she works with you until every proof is perfect), these beauties arrived in the mail.
Welcome note and 6 tiers of info
Helpful info for guests
Food, food and more food!
Fun things to do around town

These weren't cheap (about $3.54 each since I wanted an extra page) but I'm very pleased with them and I think our guests will find them helpful--which hopefully minimizes people calling us too much throughout the weekend (although on the Phone Number page I did specify "call anyone below, just not the bride!").

What are you including in your welcome bags?










Monday, May 13, 2013

DIY: Oh Sh*t Kit

Disclaimer: I wish I made up the name "Oh Shit Kit" but alas I saw it on OffBeat Bride while looking for inspo for my bridal emergency kit.  It's just way more fun to say than "bridal emergency kit".

As I've mentioned many times here, I'm the furthest from a DIY'er as you can be.  However this week I have a number of projects I'm working on that I consider to be DIY (not in an arts-and-crafts kind of way but more in a gather-random-things-and-put-them-in-bags kind of way).  So to start off, I wanted to share my first project that was super simple and very necessary in case of wedding day beauty emergencies.  Hence, the Oh Shit Kit in two simple steps.

Step One: get a one gallon Ziploc bag to hold all your items.  
Step Two: Jam all the items Place the items below into said Ziploc bag in an orderly fashion.  That's it!

Here's a breakdown of what's included in my kit--about 90% of the items were things I already had around the house so I'm giving myself points for saving some dough.

All photos are personal.
                               
Items Owned

Beauty
  • Q-Tips
  • Cotton pads
  • Bobby pins
  • Makeup sharpener
  • Makeup remover
  • Nail File
  • Clear nail polish
  • Deodorant
  • Lotion
  • Chapstick
  • Hair ties
  • Tweezers
  • Grooming scissors 
Body
  • Personal wipes
  • Panty liners
  • Emergen-C
  • Gas-X
  • Tums
  • Cough drops
  • Ibuprofen
  • Floss
Miscellaneous
  • Sewing kit
  • Safety pins
  • Super Glue (you never know if someone's heel may break!)
  • Tide Stick
  • White Chalk (to cover up wedding dress stains)
Items Purchased
  • Double-Sided Fashion Tape: $8.47 (Amazon)
  • Banaid Friction Block (to prevent shoe blisters): $5.69 (Target)
  • Clear Bandaids: $2.79 (Target)
  • Nail Polish Remover: $0.97 (Target)
Total: $17.92
I'm actually surprised that everything fit into one Ziploc bag
And there you have it!  Will you be making your own "Oh Shit" kit?  Are there any vital items missing from mine? 
Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Bridal Undergarments...Vavavoom!!

So I'm not going to lie--I was actually a tad disappointed when I learned at my first fitting that I didn't need to wear a bra with my dress.  I had already done hours of research trying to find the perfect undergarment and learned all sorts of things about bridal shape wear.  At my most recent fitting, the seamstress just ended up sewing cups into the dress.  Practical? Yes.  But boring!!!!

If I did have to purchase something for under the dress, here are the ones I would have considered.

FYI some of these images may be a tad bit NSFW so view with caution!
Dominique Embroidered Lace Torsolette / Image via Classic ShapeWear
Agent Provocateur Kate Corset / Image via Agent Provocateur
Bare Necessities long-line underwire bra / Image via The Knot
Dominique long-line smooth strapless bra / Image via The Knot
 Now as for something I can potentially purchase--I'm currently searching for some sexy yet comfortable black underwear.  And I'm not talking Agent Provocateur sexy--there's no way I can justify spending $200 for a single pair of undies.  I heard the brand Hanky Panky makes cute ones but I'm also looking for something preferably made from cotton.  Oh and no thongs!  This booty needs full coverage (even under a ball gown).

Will you be wearing bridal shapewear?  Also, do you have any recommendations for cute inexpensive undies?
Monday, May 6, 2013

To Tip or Not to Tip...that is the Question

Ah, this is probably one of the most hotly debated wedding topics out there.  After money gets budgeted for items both big and small, one thing that never seems to get factored in (at least not in the beginning) are the vendor tips.  This can potentially add hundreds or thousands of dollars to any wedding budget, so I wanted to discuss the different sides of the issue and see what you guys think.
Image via NBC News
Pro-Tipping
Plain and simple, people on this side of the argument feel that vendors should be tipped (for a job well done of course).  Just like you tip a waiter, bartender or hair stylist, there seems to be a standard in the industry for tipping the people who made your big day possible.  The norm is anywhere between 15% - 20% but there are also some set costs ($50 for this person, $200 for that person) depending on who you are tipping and for what service.

Against Tipping
The two arguments I read/hear the most on this side of the debate are 1) "I don't get tipped at work for doing my job.  Why is it any different in this situation?" and 2) "I just dropped a shit ton of money on this once-in-a-lifetime event and you want me to pay how much extra?".  Some people even argue that nearly all wedding vendors charge engaged couples the "wedding markup".  Because you may already paying a premium for wedding services, some believe that paying anything more is unnecessary. 

So far, this infographic I found below has helped shed some more light onto this issue for a third option that is somewhere in-between.  Basically it states that you don't need to tip any vendors that own their own business (since they set the price of their services). 
Very helpful inforgraphic guide on tipping / Image via Wedding Bells
So hive, where do you stand on the issue?  Will you or won't you (tip that is)?
Friday, May 3, 2013

The "Man-Scent"

As I mentioned last week, I found my signature scent and was able to snag it for free (holla!!)  As I continued to walk through Sephora, I started thinking about Mr. M and how it would be cool (at least in my mind) for him to have a wedding day scent as well.  But Mr. M is not really into "man-scents".  The only hint of fragrance on him is his Irish Spring soap and Old Spice deodorant--such a manly man.  Actually, the first cologne he ever owned was a bottle of Armani Code for Men I bought him during the first year of our relationship.   He ended up wearing it for quite a few months but now 8 years later, I believe it's sitting in a box somewhere in the basement.  Oh well, at least he tried!

So while in the men's fragrance section, I asked the lady what were the new hot scents for guys and what she would recommend as a wedding day man-scent.  The first one she highly recommended was Gucci Guilty for Men.
Gucci Guilty / Image via Sephora
 Hive, this scent is DIVINE--it smells incredible.  I couldn't stop sniffing the scent stick and was instantly hooked.

Next up was Cartier Declaration for Men.
Image via Sephora
This smelled good--very good, but it was the complete opposite of Gucci Guilty.  It's so light that the lady told me both men and women can use it.  It has hints of fruit and spice--definitely not your typical man-scent.

Last up was my beloved Armani Code for Men--the scent that will always remind me of our first year together.
Image via Perfumania
So I requested samples of all three to bring home to Mr. M for him to decide.  Ultimately he chose Gucci Guilty, which I'm actually very happy about since it was my favorite.  Armani Code is wonderful but like I said, it reminds me of our first year together.  It'll be nice for him to wear something new that'll remind me of the next chapter of our lives together :)

Would you consider getting a "man-scent" for your fiance to wear on the wedding day?
Thursday, May 2, 2013

A Scent Fit for a Bride

I used to be obsessed with perfume and body scents.  I would hit up Bath & Body Works every few months like it was no one's business and probably owned 3 or 4 bottles of fancy perfume at any given time.  But when I developed seasonal allergies 10 years ago, strong scents started to irritate the hell out of me and I could no longer stand ones that were too flowery or fruity.  The only perfume I could tolerate was Armani Code--it's a sexy, musky scent that's my going-out-at-night go to.  I first used it 7 years ago and it is still the only bottle of perfume I own.
Armani Code / Image via Sephora
I hadn't given much thought to a wedding day scent until I started reading posts from the other Bee Bloggers and realized it was maybe something to consider.  I assumed I would wear Armani Code but since it's currently my signature scent, I thought it might be nice to wear something totally different and unique throughout the wedding weekend (and like Miss Jack Rabbit's fiance, Mr. M also notices if I wear a new scent).  So I went to Sephora one day and tested out a bunch of scents.  My favorite by far was actually Lancome's La Vie est Belle. It's feminine and floral but very light--pretty much the opposite of what I've been wearing--but I love it!
La Vie est Belle / Image via Macy's
At first I ordered a bottle from Macy's but when it came, it had that slight alcoholy smell that's a tell-tale sign of a bottle gone bad.  As I went to return it, it dawned on me that I was nuts for spending $55 on a bottle of perfume that I may not continue to wear after the wedding day.  So instead, I went back to Sephora for a few mini samples and voila, I now have my signature scent...for free!  With the free mini samples in mind I figured I should get Mr. M to wear a nice scent for the wedding day as well...more details in the next post :)

What will be your signature scent for the wedding?