Monday, November 30, 2009

Contest Time! Contest Time!

Oh, you guys are so lucky. I totally want to back up two months and wear a garter like this! Well, I can live vicariously through other brides quite well, so I hope you all enter this fabulous new contest!

Remember a couple weeks ago when I showed all those pretty garters from Florrie Minton Couture? No? Well, go here and read about it.

I just love the look and style of these beautiful garters so much that I had to offer them as a contest! Had to! Good thing Claire, the brains, brawn and beauty behind Florrie Mitton, was game.

Alright, alright. I'm getting to the contest already. Claire has most graciously agreed to offer one of her available styles (your choice) to one incredibly lucky reader. Don't see the perfect garter? That's OK. She'll just go ahead and create a custom-made garter just for you. Yes, ladies. You read that correctly. Custom-made. All for you. For free.

So here's what ya gotta do. And of course, the more you do, the more entries you get!

1. Go to Florrie Mitton Couture and pick out your fave style. Since Claire doesn't have a blog yet, go ahead and add her to your favorites on Etsy if you are lovin' her stuff like I do.
2. Come back here and leave me a comment. (1 entry)
3. Become a follower if you aren't already or tell me that you're a current follower. (2 entries)
4. Tweet! Tweet! Tweet! Ya gotta follow me on Twitter so I can read it! Don't forget to tell me you did! (3 entries)
5. Re-post this contest on your blog and let me know you did! (4 entries)
6. Get the word out there about these beautiful garters! If you post the info on another wedding board or chat room, please include the link in your comment! (5 entries)

This contest will run all week long while I'm slaving away at a conference in Dallas. The contest will close at midnight on Friday, December 4th! Get your entries in! Have fun!

Sunday, November 29, 2009

It's Coming......

The new contest, that is........

Bright and early, tomorrow morning! Make sure you check it out! :)


Friday, November 27, 2009

Holiday Stats - Thus Far!

Just a quick check-in on what's happening thus far in the Thanksgiving Holiday festivities of The Thirty-Something Bride and The Candyman. .

  • The Potato-Off was a bust. The Candyman's mashed potatoes where too loose to be tasty. I went with my own personal concoction of Twice-Baked Potato Casserole (layer mashed potatoes caramelized onions, chopped bacon and sharp cheddar cheese and repeat and bake) was too salty.
  • I braved Black Friday and went to Green Hills Mall (for you non-locals, it's the fancy-schmancy mall in Nashville). I'm about $150 lighter in the wallet (thank you, Sephora and Express) but got a lot of stuff. Disappointed in the J. Crew selection.
  • I also went to the reader-suggested pedicure place. The service was better, but the atmosphere wasn't quite as pleasant. Hm, conflicting nail spa quandaries to ponder at a future date.
  • In my shopping absence, The Candyman brought down Christmas stuff from the attic. WITHOUT BEING ASKED TO. How fabulous is that?
  • I have my first new hair brush after like years with my other brush. Isn't it like, unsanitary not get a new brush or clean your current one. I am so gross.
  • I am seriously considering taking the last piece of pie. I have already had a giant piece today WITH Cool Whip (that shit is so effin' good). The Cadyman has already had WAY more than his share. I need to covet the last piece.
  • New Moon was a total bust. Even the C6PA (Crazy 6-Pack Abs) of Jacob could not lull me into the level of stupidity needed to get past Bella's bad breathing/acting. And that's saying a lot. I am easily swayed to stupidity. Particularly when it involves C6PA.
  • I ran into my college freshman roommate at Green Hills Mall. I haven't seen her since 1989. How. Weird. Is. That. I'll tell you: very. I just couldn't get over the fact that she looked exactly the same. Has everyone in the world stopped aging, but me?
So, THE CONTEST.... Are you ready for it? I am so excited. I think you guys are really going to like it. I'll have it all ready to go on MONDAY! Don't miss it!!!

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Cookin' Up A Contest! (and "I Wish" Wednesday!)


What's cookin' over here at The Thirty-Something Bride headquarters? Well, it ain't just a deep fried turkey, my friends. A contest, that's what! I am so, so excited, you have no idea. Here's just a little hint for what's in store....

1. De-vine. De-Gorgeous. De-Lovely. De-Lish.
2. There's customization involved.
3. Etsy, so you know it's groovy.

All will be revealed soon enough. Until then, you're going to have to make do with the hints!

Besides, everyone will be so stuffed with turkey tomorrow, it'll be tough to rouse anyone into any sort of excitement. Unless you're going to see New Moon, that is (like me). It's OK to admit it. Here, I'll go first: I am physically attracted to a 17 year-old boy named Taylor Lautner. In some states, that's perfectly legal (for instance, North Carolina). Surprisingly here in Tennessee, it's not legal. But come February when he turns 18, he's as legal as they come. So technically I am considered a perv, but only for 3 more months.


I'd like to give thanks to all of our Armed Forces both domestic and overseas and to their families at home who will be without their soldiers tomorrow.
I want to give thanks to my friends and family who I hope are blessed with happiness and good health.
And my wish is that (now and for always) when there is a person in need, someone will reach out a helping hand.
I want to give thanks to The Candyman, because he effing rocks! Love you, Baby!

Happy Thanksgiving, y'all!

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

The Worst of 2010

I was thumbing through the 2010 bridal collections and looking for divine inspiration for....something. I'm not sure what. Maybe I was just ogling the best of Zac Posen and Vera.

*le sigh*

At any rate, I found myself aghast at all that is hideous in the bridal world. Now, I get couture, I really do. I am a huge fan of the detail and workmanship that goes into and and I understand why it's so expensive. What I don't understand is why designers would choose to adorn the human body in a way that is so unattractive is beyond me. Beauty may be in the eye of the holder, but this is my blog and I say what's ugly around here.

Hi, Slut! Is that a whip in her hand? Just curious.

Lady GaGa meets Maddona circa Like A Virgin meets a small bag of sheer material.

Clearly, she pissed about something.

"This is ground control to Major Tom..."

I'm speechless. I can't even come up with a snarky remark. It's that bad.

But what about the bridesmaids? Oh, we've got those too.

She's the MOH. The maids are hiding in her skirt.

Merry Christmas!

Any bride who makes another woman wear a dress like this needs to have the ever-loving crap beat out of her.

So you know, I just thought I share some fashion faux pas with you. I'm not going to share the designers names with you simply because I would hate to promote The Ugly in any way, shape or form. However, all the pics are from here. It's not the photographers fault they had to shoot dresses that look like a bag of assholes*.

*Slang cred to Marizzle. Word.

Monday, November 23, 2009

Back to Budgets

Seeing that it's Monday (blech) and I have a cold (sniff/cough/wheeze), I thought I'd get back to the nasty task of budgets. So far we've determined this:

1. I was on/under-budget on the venue because I am an idiot.
2. I was over-budget on my dress because gown preservation is effing expensive.
3. I was under budget on flowers. Hooray!
4. I was over-budget on beauty because I am a vain, vain woman.
5. We were over-budget on transportation, but there were LOTS of factors that screwed that up.

Here are some quickies:

We were slightly under budget on the ceremony. Why? Because we saved $60 on our marriage license that we got by going to pre-marital counseling, which cost us $35 a visit. Hmmmm, wait a minute.....

WEDDING TIP #8: GO TO PRE-MARITAL COUNSELING! There is no shame in it. There is no admission of guilt that your relationship sucks. It means that you are a caring, thinking, committed individual who wants to have a successful relationship. Period.

I'm going to touch on this further. The Candyman and I are still going to counseling. Why? Because we care for each other. And because we totally don't know how to fight. I come from a non-confrontational, southern, white, Anglo-Saxon Episcopalian approach to arguing: never in public, never in private and only behind some one's back. The Candyman has a dad and four brothers: fight it out until some one's bleeding, then call a truce. You can see how our arguing styles differ. Neither is right, but it's what we know so we have to learn our way of fighting. That can be super-duper hard and it clearly takes lots of practice. Our therapist is our coach. She listens, tells us where we made mistakes and we practice again. Even Tiger Woods has a coach and needs to practice.

Groom's attire was on budget - that one was easy. Sadly, because our wedding party was not large, we did not get the groom's tuxedo for free. Whatever.

I guess were over on gifts. Sigh. Over budget again. I knew I would be getting presents for people who played a part in the ceremony, like our friend who read a poem (I'll talk about the ceremony soon, I promise!) and for our "ushers." I also got a gift for our planner. I intended to get her some token something or other while I was overseas. However, I saw an oil painting that I loved and bought that instead! It was the right thing to do simply because it felt like more of a heartfelt gift than some lame earrings or something. Tabitha ended up being such an amazing addition to the planning process and to our celebration, I couldn't have done it without her! I also spent a little more money on The Candyman's gift than I intended, but it was SO worth it!

The Candyman doesn't wear a watch (I have no idea how he does this) and I decided to get him a nice one, for when he goes to court to do his attorney-ing. I was looking all around and found nothing that really was him. Around that time, I was off having coffee with Tabitha and we were walking back to our cars and we noticed that something had moved into the abandoned gas station on 12th avenue. It was imogene & willie. If you are local, you must go here. Must. Cool stuff galore, including the 1974 Bulova Accutron watch. The Candyman was born in '74! Perfect! The version above is just slightly different than what I got him. It doesn't have the swoopy face frame - it's just plain. It does have the original leather band though and it was in perfect condition. It took me all of about 5 seconds to buy it.

What did The Candyman get me? Oddly, he bought my present right next door at Moda! He bought me an original Julia Martin painting. She is my most favorite local artist. The painting The Candyman got me is the second one from the left on the bottom row.

It was the most perfect present ever! Thanks hunny-bunny-puffin-face-schmoopy-pie! He thinks I knew what my present was. How? Because I just happened to run into Julia at my Girl's Night Out soiree. I was pretty sure I had convinced her to give me the last of her paintings in her Grey Garden series as a wedding gift. She was a little tipsy, as was I, so I think that makes the arrangement null and void. However, I mentioned it to The Candyman and he thought I was baiting him! How ironical.

What did you get for your hunny-bunny-puffin-face-schmoopy-pie? Are you giving gifts? No one say ya gotta, just so you know.

Sunday, November 22, 2009


All right folks, here's the deal. I need some help. Today, The Candyman and I started discussing out Thanksgiving Day menu. We have decided that we are going to have The Newlywed Thanksgiving Feast and invite ourselves, naturally.

We are going to test out our new baby deep fryer and deep fry a small breast. The Candyman will make ham. We agreed on grilled broccoli with bleu cheese as the "veggie." Hardly a fibrous dish with all the cheese, but who cares. It's effing Thanksgiving!

I'll make a cranberry mousse and we might have dressing and biscuits. We still haven't figured out dessert, but we have decided to have a potato-off. We are going to see who can make the dankest potato dish. He makes some really dank mashed potatoes that totally beat mine so I'm going to have bring out the big guns. I know there are things I want to have in my potatoes:
  • Bacon (um, duh.)
  • Cheese
I think I have a running chance at the title of Potato Master if I also involve heavy cream, another pork, sour cream and maybe some bread crumbs of some sort. I want to make potatoes au gratin on crack. I've got my mom's recipe that is pretty darn nasty. There are cheese and bacon involved in that recipe, but I think he's had it before. I think he's expecting it.

I need a recipe. I need a deep, dark, dank potato dish that will bring The Candyman to his knees. I want it to be so good it'll make you wanna slap your momma. I've got one I'm thinking about, but want options. If you have a nasty-naughty-dirty potato recipe, please send it my way. Know a good recipe link, tell me that too. You can post as a comment or send to my email at You want me to win, right? You know I'll for sure feature the recipe here! :)

Wedding Harmony

If You're not familiar with Vicki Grafton and My Simple Details, you should be. Vicki planned her own Bali wedding and it's been plastered all over the place. I'm sure you've seen in on Style Me Pretty or even recently on The Budget Savvy Bride's Wedding of the Week. Anyway, Vicki was the planner for the event in the below video. The camera work leaves a little to be desired, but it wasn't like it was being filmed by a real videographer (at least I HOPE not). Still, you get the gist. Really clever and those guys can SING!


Best Groomsmen Medley from Vicki Grafton on Vimeo.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

The Piggy Bank Effect

OK, before I totally get back into the budget recaps, I'm going to share with you a little Saving Secret. Now, The Candyman wasn't quite on-board with this process until the week before the wedding when I showed him all the cold, hard cash. 'Nuff said after that. As unconventional (or perhaps old school) as this may seem in today's world of ATM's and on-line banking, it really did work. Here's what I'm talking about. I'm going to call it The Piggy Bank Effect.

As I'm sure a lot of you who are paying for your wedding yourselves know, ya gotta save a lot of money. That's hard, especially in today's bullshit economy, right? To save the big dollars, I set up two automatic transfers with my bank that happened once at the beginning of each month and once in the middle. The first transfer was a large one and went along with my mortgage and such. That's always a sparse time of month anyway, so I just made it worse - on purpose. Money is a mind game - make sure you play with yourself. *OK, just typed that, realized what I typed and am totally not changing it. I totally advocate play-dates with yourself.*

The second transfer wasn't as big, so when that payday came around, I felt sorta rich and not so poor. That was nice.

Now here's where The Piggy Bank Effect took place. In addition to the above savings, I played another little game with myself. I took out about the same amount of money I did every week prior to financial lock down (anywhere from $40-$100). I took HALF of that money every time I did and distributed it into envelopes that were going to be the CASH payments that were due the day of the wedding. I had envelopes for the officiant, the DJ, our Packard driver Reggie, the chapel, the ceremony guitarist and Julie at J Bangs Salon.
By not having as much cash in my wallet, I spent less. I gave up Starbucks, pedicures and recreational shopping (this was some what replaced by wedding shopping so I didn't feel deprived at all).

The other thing I did was steal money from The Candyman. Yes, ladies - it's true. Whenever I did his laundry, I'd check all the pockets for loose change and bills. The bills went into the envelopes and the change into a big glass jar on top of the fridge. The Candyman caught me doing this and started sneaking in money himself! It was awesome! Team effort! The weekend before the wedding, we took all the change down to Publix and put it in that change machine thing. The Candyman and I made a pretty serious bet on the total. He won. I have yet to make due, but I never back out on a bet. I can't remember the total, but it was around $80 or $90! Sweet!

By doing this over the course of 10 months, we saved over $1000 in those stupid envelopes! And, all my payments were ready to go, labeled to the appropriate vendor! I think that made Tabitha, my planner, happy.

Don't trust yourself not to tap the envelopes of the change jar? Appoint a trusted source to hide the money from you, if you can. Or count the money together as a team and promise not to touch it, week to week. That way, you are both accountable. If you need to tap it for an emergency (this does not include the new Jimmy Choo collection at H&M), make sure you talk about it first.

I'm going to guess that most financial analysts would not condone my savings methods, suggesting I transfer that money into an account on a weekly basis. But seriously, I had a lot more fun this way. I could see the dollars adding up and it gave me GREAT pleasure and satisfaction to seal up each completed envelope one by one. Even The Candyman was surprised at how much we had saved by pilfering from ourselves!

The great thing about this now is that we can continue to do it. I'm allowing pedicures back in the mix, but it doesn't have to be bi-weekly, as was my prior addiction. The Candyman and I go out to eat again, versus tuna casserole and my "pasta bake specials" that we seemed to live on during our engagement. We allow ourselves trips to Publix instead of Wal-Mart, because Wal-Mart sucks (but damn it, it's cheaper!), we like the produce better and we can dance in aisles to the music. It's fun.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

"I Wish" Wednesday


I would like to know how it is humanly possible for me to still not have enough time in one day to get everything done I want to get done and not be up at 5am and to bed at midnight.

I want to know. There are freaky people who do that crap. Seriously. Does it involve methylamphetamines?I want to know.

Let's see, there' work.....always a pain in the ass. I try to get to the gym 3 times a week (yeah, last month I went TWICE...all month long. And I wonder where those extra pounds came from. I think
I know.) I get home, cook dinner (or nuke soup), read the mail, watch ONE nightly show, answer email, try to catch up on Google reader and then suddenly, it's like 10:30pm and since I'm old, I have to go to bed. How is that possible?

There are way too many thing I want to do. Like:

Sew veils for an Etsy shop
Make ribbon necklaces for an Etsy shop
Make hair toys for an Etsy shop
Start my Christmas cards
Start my Christmas shopping (OK, I have done that already)
Start going back to Bikram Yoga
Figure out my Christmas wrapping theme for this year (I like when it all coordinates)
Bake some banana bread with the frozen bananas in the freezer
Go see New Moon with The Candyman
Get a facial
Get a pedicure
Write my friend Abby her long over-due email
Figure out if I want to have a baby

You know, just stuff.
I wish I had more time. That's my wish on this Wednesday. I think I might have wished for more time once before on a wishful Wednesday. I can double-up, right? I think so. It's my blog, right? Right.
Happy Hump Day, party-people.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Inspired by The Inspired Bride

I have not been a big fan of the garter toss or the bouquet toss, for that matter. The history behind the garter toss is not one that brought a whole lotta "Yes! Let's do that at our wedding!" sort of feeling to the planning process. The idea was nixed before it was even considered. However, if you'd like an interesting read on the history of the garter toss, please go and read it here. Shouldn't all brides know the history behind the tradition? I think so.

That being said, Holy Garter Toss! Did I see some awesome garters today. I hate direct re-posting of info out on the Wedding Blog-o-Sphere, but I just can't help myself. Just look at these and you'll get why I just have to. This blog cred totally goes to The Inspired Bride because she's the sassiest on the sidewalk, posting such fabulousness as this.

These beautiful creations make me wish I wore a garter, just for the hell of it. These are by Etsy shop Florrie Mitton Couture. Couture indeed. Since I didn't price garters out at all, I have no idea how budget-friendly they are. The last photo there of the garter in the box is $25. Hell, I pay that. It's oh-so chic. Yes, please.

So go to her Etsy shop and get a garter.

Nail Art

I'm taking a break from the budget recaps to share what I think is becoming a trend - and a scary one at that. Nail Art. Little did I know that there are entire freakin' websites dedicated to nails and nail art. Have I been living under a rock? Perhaps I've just been slightly distracted by The Martha and Style Me Pretty to look further into the depths of fashion.

Now, y'all know I did my best to grow my nails out for The Big Show. I was boo-hooing about it here. I didn't do such a great job. Neither did my manicurist. But in the end, everything really was fine.

So, I'm flipping through the October Vogue (I'm still a little behind in my magazine reading) and I see this article about Nail Art. Now you know if it's in Vogue there's got to be some validity to the trend, right? I mean, come on. They don' just make that shit up. Do they? I don't think so. And if you do think so (or know so), keep it to yourself. I like my fantasy world.

So I found one of the places on-line that Vogue talks about. It's called Valley and it's in NYC. It's a real kooky kind of site. However, I thought I'd share with you a few things I found there. All photos courtesy of Valley.

This shot is what prompted me to blog about this. LOOK AT THE SIZE OF THAT EFFING DIAMOND! My question is this: why in God's name would anyone detract from that ring with a hideous bedazzled NY on their ring finger? Sadly, money and good taste do not go hand in hand.

Mmmmm, Klassy.

I'm sad this picture is so small. You can't see the double-knuckle ring that reads "MelisciousB." Goes well with her Paul-Stanley-esque nails.

"There's a party goin' on right here, a celebration to last throughout the years. So bring your good times and your laughter too. We're gonna celebrate and party with you. Come on now - Celebration! Let's all celebrate and have a good time! Celebration - we gonna celebrate and have a good time." Nail fashion by Kool and the Gang.

I like the light gold tips. Pass on the bling though.

This is about as far as I would go. I actually think this is kinda cute.

Please enjoy this budgetus interruptus.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Transportation: Another Budget Blower!

While the spaghetti sauce de-frosts downstairs, I'm going to start my blog about our transportation. If any of you read with any regularity, you'll know that The Candyman was truck-challenged the month before our wedding. You can read about it here, if you forgot.

As y'all know, I was so excited about the sweet ride we rented from Owen Chapel to Mere Bulles. Our man, Reggie Slaughter, owns a 1939 Packard. Our service was what you call a "transfer." A transfer is a one-time fee to pick you up and drop you off. No paying for hours while the driver sits and waits while you dance the night away.

Photos courtesy my friend Scott!

Our original plan was to pay for a transfer with Reggie from Owen Chapel to Mere Bulles. We'd get some hot pics with the car from JCP and have a fun ride as newly marrieds!

Well, as the wedding day continued to approach, The Candyman's truck was still in the shop. It was going to be our "get-away" car after the reception. It's big. It's white. It would be fun. At the time he was driving some little rental POS. I was NOT going to be driven away in that thing. I was sure to have issues getting in the darn thing with The Dress and all.

We were seriously just 2 or 3 days to The Big Show and we had no ride. In a total awesome turn of fate, I happened to get a congratulations card from an unexpected source. That card contained $200, cold hard cash. And, thank you very much for the well-timed cash advance!

What I did was I called Reggie at the last minute about doing another transfer. He agreed and even gave us a discount on transfer #2. So, instead of paying something crazy like you might here, we just paid for the transfer twice. Since he wasn't booked, it was last minute, and we had a fun time on the phone together, he cut us a deal.

WEDDING TIP #6: Be pleasant to ALL vendors you encounter, even the ones who try to screw you. Why? Because you never know. Vent later to the hubs-to-be, but never be mean.

WEDDING TIP #7: It can never hurt to ask, so ASK! I got lucky with Reggie and didn't have to pay an hourly rate for 5 hours.

However, as lucky as I got, we still went over because we needed transportation! I could have sucked it up, but by this point in the game, I was like, "Fuck it. We're spending the money." Seriously, be careful here my beautiful little brides-to-be. That "fuck it" attitude, if used without discretion, can bite you in the bridal booty. We got lucky though and I only really had to pull the "fuck it" card once. Oh, OK twice if you count the Beauty Budget. Sheesh.

We also had another transportation issue that came in a little higher than we expected. We knew for the last half of the planning that we were going to need to rent a handicap van to help out some family members. That ended up being a lot more expensive than we thought, but was a necessary evil that we just accepted and moved on from.

So, all told, we went over in our transportation budget by 25%. Yup. That's right. But, if you don't count the magical $200 cold-hard-cash we got, we only went over 10%. Give me a calculator and I can justify anything! :)

Friday, November 13, 2009

How to Blow Your Beauty Budget

I want to preface this blog post with this: I felt absolutely STUNNING on my wedding day. I think I might have mentioned this fact once or a bazillion times, but seriously, I felt soooooo good. Like, I feel like I knocked it out of the mother-effing park. I cannot remember an occasion in my life where I felt I looked as good as I did on my wedding day. My body felt good (no weird, last minute bloating), my skin looked good (thank you, prescription zit cream) and my hair was exactly as I had envisioned it. I can only hope that all you brides out there get as lucky as I did in regards to feeling so wonderful.

Now, let me tell you about how it cost me an arm and leg to get that way. And, let me also tell you that it was worth EVERY DAMN PENNY.

So y'all know that I had a couple of trials that just didn't work out.

WEDDING TIP #4: If you don't like the end result of your trials - SPEAK UP!

For some reason, when it comes to my hair and my make-up, I am just so unsure about it all. I mean, I wear make-up and I can do my hair to my satisfaction on a daily basis. But when other people do it, I am just in a state of shock or something where I can't speak my mind. I know, hard to believe, right? I think it's why I pay an amount just short of my mortgage to get my hair cut and colored. I trust my stylist because she's really really really good. I just hand over the cash, because I know I won't walk out looking like a total tool. Sadly, my stylist is so good that she doesn't do wedding hair any more. Why work weekends when you don't have to, right? I wouldn't.

So after two failed trials, I was getting desperate. And scared. Tabitha helped me out by suggesting I go to Julie at J.Bangs Salon. Tabitha set up the appointments and really handled all that for me, which was a huge relief. The trial went much better than the other two. You can read about it here.

After the trial, I knew I liked my hair, but it wasn't just exactly right. Tabitha told me not to worry, that we could revise the day of. She was right! It was exactly how I wanted it! I did bring in a final picture to discuss the small changes. Julie was totally down with it.

Hi! Nervous much?

I just love my DIY hair toys.

So here's how the $ all shook out in the end. My first failed trial was free (whew!). My second failed trial was $100. Hm, bummer. My third trial was $130. So now, I've paid $230 to figure out how I want to look. That does seem excessive, yes?

I knew how much the day-of would be (sort of). I know Tabitha told me and I know my heart skipped a little beat when she did, but like any good bride on her third trial, I ignored it. I was happy with Julie and I wasn't going to think about hair and make-up for one second longer. I was planning on having my MOH's hair done too and I knew that would be added on top. I still didn't care.

I had initially planned for all sorts of beauty treatments: facial, massage, all that stuff! Sadly, I just ran out of time. Probably a lot better for my budget in the end. Check it out.

The Mani/Pedi was for both me and my MOH, which I knew I was going to do, but forgot to put in the budget. Oops. Same with including her hair in the mix. I knew I was going to pay for it, but just forgot to budget it in. Oops numero dos.

WEDDING TIP #5: If you have a small wedding party, don't forget to talk to them about day-of beauty way in advance and hold everyone to those decisions. You don't want last minute additions to blow your budget.

I totally didn't do this at all. My mom starting talking to me about having her hair done on the day-of, about a week before the wedding. I just about fainted in the car when she said this! Not good, because I was driving. I was nervous about fitting it in timing-wise and well as budget-wise. I know that she'd end up picking up the tab (or try to) and I didn't want that to happen either. I just didn't want to think about it at that point since the schedule had been made and all that. I assured her that her own skills and the timing of the pictures would be wonderful. On that fact I was absolutely right because my mom looked like a million bucks (no pictures of her yet without the tinted spectacles. Ugh.). Her dress was the most perfect color brown (she matched our color palette!) and she even found great shoes (a challenge for her)!

I never even really talked to my MOH about hair or make-up either. Like what we were going to do and that I was going to pay for it. I should have done that!

So yes. I went WAY over budget on the beauty. Like, 56% over budget. Ouch. But like I said, it was worth every penny for how I felt that day. If you think you might have an area that is going to go over budget - don't kid yourself. Pad the hell out it. If you come in under, sweet.

So, where are you (or did you) pad the budget? Did you need it all or did you save?

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Jimmy Choo Loves H&M


Just so you know, Jimmy Choo has paired up with H&M. All you lucky duckies who have an H&M where you live (Nashville, not so much), you'd better get there early. FYI:

"The retailer is expecting a crowd of bargain-hunting shoppers and will introduce a system where the first 160 people in line receive a bracelet that allows them into the designated collaboration area for a limited time.

After two hours, the designated area will be opened up for all customers, however, every customer will have a limit of buying no more than one size in shoes or garments or on piece in accessories per product per customer."

If you go and buy, please send me a picture so I can drool in jealously. Happy Shopping!

The Bloomin' Truth - Flower Budget

I'm not big on flowers. I knew this wasn't going to be a huge chunk of my money. Don't get me wrong, I love flowers. But they are so expensive. And they die.

On top of it, I used to work for FTD. I was the Product Development manager for their floral containers. I know a lot more about the inner workings of flower shops, florists and floral wholesalers than the average bride, in my opinion. I certainly know what I don't like:

Leather Leaf (hello, 1985)
Plumosus (it sheds little tiny green needles - like a mofo!)
Bear Grass (hello, 1997)
Baby's Breath (unless you are doing an all Gypsophilia thing like these:)

From The Martha, of course.

Found this on The Sweetest Occasion. Never knew about this blog. It's AWESOME!

I found this on Weddingbee (God, how I hate that site), but don't know the original source. If ya know it, lemme know!

I am not a big rose kind of girl. I like some weird flowers, most of them happen to be cheap. Lucky me! Now, I don't know if this was the smartest thing for me to do, but I only interviewed one florist. Yup. Just one. And I have no recollection as to how I found her. I think I was just hunting on-line, found a link to her on some seriously obscure wedding web-site and then found examples of her work on Flickr. I made an appointment, talked to her about what I wanted and what I knew about flowers. I was up front about flowers not being the bulk of my budget and that I wanted to trim the fat at every possible turn. She was totally down with it. Her name is Angela Sadler.

I think we went through about 6 or 7 quotes until we got to where I wanted it. The thing is, I had a hard time deciding what I actually wanted to do with the flowers at the reception. You can read about that here. I finally decided, bit the bullet and went for staggered bud vases scattered on the tables, mixed with small votives (provided for FREE by Mere Bulles!). I got my bud vases on sale at Crate and Barrel, Target and Ikea and had a total of 5 different shapes and styles. I bought WAY too many. The good thing was that I was able to return ALL the vases to Target (I did get a merchandise credit because I had purchased them long ago), and I sold a good chunk of the C&B bud vases to Angela. I still have the Ikea ones and some of the C&B ones that I will offer to sell here as soon as I can get my act together.

I met with Angela a few weeks before the wedding at the local wholesale florist place to review and pick out flowers as well as to show Angela the bud vases. Apparently, most brides don't do this. Angela made a comment about how involved I was! I'm not sure if this was a good thing or what, but I like to see what I'm buying. Anyway, you can see what we did here.

We kept the ceremony flowers super-simple since I knew it was going to be a short service. Why pay tons of money for something people are going to see for 30 minutes, tops? Owen Chapel has it's own unique charm, so I didn't want to over-do it. We had wreaths on the doors, a large wreath inside and two large alter arrangements.

How did I save? A few ways:

1. I saved $25 on the large wreath by purchasing the wreath myself. It was about $13 with tax and coupon use at JoAnn's, so it saved a little over $10. Hey - every little bit counts!
2. I saved $5 each ($10) on the door wreaths. I bought those on sale at Micheal's for $3 for both.
3. Going the bud vase route versus centerpieces saved me about $500 from the original quote! Angela had really affordable arrangements using BIG flowers like hydrangeas, football mums, gerbers and stock. We used really beautiful variegate pittsporum and snow berries as the filler, both affordable.
4. We had one large corsage for my mom and then smaller corsages for the other females in the group (no MOG for us, so no need).
5. We used really big, really inexpensive flowers in my bouquet: gerbers and football mums. The most expensive flower was a garden rose that we added, just to make it a little different than the MOH's bouquet.
6. I had my go-to girl Alecia take one of the alter arrangements as well as the door wreaths to Mere Bulles to add to the ambiance there.
7. I chose teeny tiny little button mums with fern curls for the boutonnieres. The guys really liked them and they were CHEAP!

Here's the budget breakdown.

The delivery and set up was "free" - I just took out the bud vases Angela bought in trade. The total here doesn't count the $60 I made back from the returned Target vases. Hopefully, I'll get a little more back if I sell the remaining Ikea and C&B vases. I was really hoping to come in under $1500 on this and I might in the end. Who knows.

There was one thing that I didn't like about all of the flowers and that was the handle on my bouquet. Again, I blame no one but myself for not being more specific. I had wanted the stems of my bouquet wrapped in the left over lace from my mom's mantilla. I mean WRAPPED - like how they do it with the ribbon. I also had a pearl pin I wanted put on. Well, she used just the teeny-tiniest piece of lace, I think to preserve the lace usage, but that's not what I wanted. She could have used it all! At any rate, the lace shifted around as did the pin and looked a little tattered at the end. I assumed that the bouquet stems would be wrapped all the way down to their ends. That wasn't the case. I was afraid that the stems would touch my dress and leave a mark during photographs!

Wedding Tip #3: Be as specific as you can. Assume nothing. If you don't ever ask for it, you can't be sure of what you are going to get. If a vendor gets snippy because you're asking too many questions or giving lots of direction, let them or move on. You have a right to know exactly what you are paying for.

I really enjoyed working with my florist. She was happy to give me references, even one who had a wedding at Owen Chapel before! I contacted everyone and they sang Angela's praises and were straight up about her short-comings, the only one being that she wasn't one to reply immediately to emails. Knowing this bit of information saved me a lot of worry. Since I knew she would eventually reply, I could contact her in advance of needed info and wait out the response. She knew if I called, I needed her and she would call back in a jiffy. She was a great vendor to work with. I liked her personally and kinda wanted to get to know her more and just hang out. I think because I was around her age, she got me. That's how it all ended up though - we hired the vendors who understood The Candyman and I as people and treated us that way. That makes it all good.

The flowers were simple and beautiful. Mixed with the candlelight at Mere Bulles - they were STUNNING! The good thing about using the bud vases was that we were able to add them to different areas in the venue without a bunch of extra arrangement costs. We had some added to the fireplace mantel, the place card table and the cake table.


Wednesday, November 11, 2009

"I Wish" Wednesday

Wishing The Candyman HAPPY MONTH-A-VERSARY!

Here's to a bazillion more months, just like this last one.
(OK, well maybe not including last week, so let's not count that one. I call DO OVER!)

WEDDING TIP #3 - Just cuz you get married, doesn't mean all the same relationship crap that's hard work goes away. It means you get to work harder at it.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Budget ReCap -o- Rama: The Reception Venue

You guys know that I was totally in love with our reception venue, Mere Bulles from the moment we stepped inside. The brown walls and ivory crown molding are accented by amazing artwork all over what was once the grand manor house of Maryland Farms (horse breeding country, back in the day). Right when you walk in, there's a killer spiral staircase with a gorgeous chandelier. The main dining room has a gorgeous old mantle and fireplace. There are built in bookshelves all over the house and it's just so damn inviting.

This feeling was extended to us by the fabulousness of one Carlin McQuiddy, their kick-ass events coordinator. I mean, she fed us their famous Charleston She-Crab Bisque the second we came in for our appointment. I mean, damn. She'd never even met The Candyman and she knew the way to his heart - straight through his stomach!

I have nothing but good things to say about Carlin and the fine people over at Mere Bulles. They took care of us. The treated us with respect and were attentive and responsive to every single thing we requested. We made one mistake though. Ooooops. Here it is:

WEDDING TIP #2: It's possible to get too distracted by the details. Don't forget to double check your budget. You might be really far UNDER.

Yes, UNDER. Here's what happened. Again, I can only really blame only myself for this. Carlin said she should take a little of the blame, so I'll give her some too. If you have a band or DJ at Mere Bulles, you have to do a whole house buy out because it's a house and you can hear the music throughout. At our first meeting when Carlin told us the price of a whole house buy out, I put my spoon down (remember, she was feeding us) and was about to bolt. She quickly informed us that a whole house buy out on a Sunday was HALF THE PRICE of a Friday or Saturday. I picked my spoon back up and said, "Carlin, please tell me more." The Candyman was oblivious to this. There was food.

You can also bring your own wine into Mere Bulles even though you have to pay a cork fee. I knew I could get budget savvy with the booze so opted for this as well.

Here's where I fucked it all up:

See, I had this AMAZING spreadsheet, y'all. Seriously. Formulas and links and all that crap. I love Excel spreadsheets. Like, love them. My dad is the Master of Things Excel and I call him all the time for advanced workshops via the phone. Anyway, I had this kick-ass spreadsheet that linked the booze tally page to the Mere Bulles tally page, that all linked up to the total page. Sweet, right? Right.

One day at work, I found this other formula and format that I thought was uber-bitchin' so I did that during my lunch hour. I sent the spreadsheet home to myself and did a little copy and paste into the Master of All Mack-Daddy Spreadsheets. Yeah. When I put the new format into one of the worksheets, I erased the link that went from the booze tally to the Mere Bulles tally and NEVER fucking noticed. NEVER.

As the RSVPs came in, I updated both worksheets and the totals went down on their SEPARATE pages. However, I didn't really look at those pages individually because I had already set up all the functions, so all I had to do was update the number of people. The overall total was going down but not by NEARLY enough. And again, I NEVER fucking noticed. Yes, there are a lot of "fucks" in this particular blog. You'd drop the F-bomb a lot too if you were $1000 UNDER the house buy-out.

Here's what this means. I started out with a total of 88 people and 21 kids invited to the wedding. I allotted total food and alcohol for that many people, erring on the high side for booze. As the numbers went down, the food and liquor pages went down, as did the total, but it was only pulling from the food tally. I basically had budgeted that 66 adults would drink 200 beers and six cases of wine. Yeah, sure. Maybe if those 66 adults were 21 years old at a freakin' South Padre Spring Break wet t-shirt contest. WTF?

I want to know when exactly I got so stupid. Was it the diamond on my finger? Was I constantly distracted by the shiny things? Or just constantly distracted? Oh, who knows. So here's what happened....

I come cruising into Mere Bulles (gushing, mind you because everything looked so damn pretty), the DJ is announcing us and I see people standing around with cocktails. Not cocktails in the generic, I'm-offering-beer-and-wine, but like scotch on the rocks and martinis. Lots of them. Um, what? I can't see THIS many people ponying up for cocktails when there's FREE beer and wine. I desperately make eye contact with Tabitha and she pulls me directly over and starts talking. Fast.

Tabitha: Don't freak. You're under budget. The manager opened the bar.

Me: WHAT?!?

Tabitha: Dude, you're UNDER budget. The manager ran the numbers and he says that every person in this room can have 6 drinks and you will still be UNDER budget. He opened the bar.

Me: WHAT?!? No. That can't be right. I ran the numbers too (and I did, just not the way I thought I had)! No. No. No.

Tabitha: Yes. I swear it's OK.

In my head: Do NOT let this freak you out. Do NOT let this freak you out. Trust the manager. Trust Tabitha. Let it go.

Me: OK, fine. But I swear, if we go over budget because the bar is open.....

Tabitha: You won't.

Me: OK. I need a drink.

And guess what? We were still WAY under budget. I could have served prime rib. I didn't have to buy all my wine and worry about having good wine and not going over budget. I didn't have to mess with all of that.

The thing is, I am so okay with everything. People enjoyed the food. People enjoyed the drinks. Everyone had what they wanted and that was perfect. I still don't care about prime rib because I think it's disgusting. Our wine was yummy. And I could return the unopened portion, which off-set the $1000 under budget by $300+.

And here's the BEST part. Mere Bulles did not have to open the bar. I had a signed contract that stated wine, which would be provided by me and beer, provided by them. They, by all legal accounts, did NOT have to open the bar. And they did. Because they are cool. Because they are fair and because they are a classy establishment who cares about their clients. Period. They were going to get paid regardless of what they served and they went above what was legally and contractually required. How often do you hear about THAT in the WIC (Wedding Industry Complex)?

On top of it, Carlin sent us some gift certificates that we can use at Mere Bulles. Again, she didn't have to do that. It was a super-nice perk.

Here's some other fabulous things about Mere Bulles:

1. The staff was top-notch. People commented frequently to me that the service was great.
2. The food was top notch. I heard "best wedding food" several times.
3. The staff participated in an impromptu group dance during the reception. Fun!
4. The staff loaded all the presents for me into my parent's car.
5. The staff had all of our chargers and bud vases cleaned and cleared and packed up and ready for us to pick up the next day.
6. Carlin's immediate responses to any and all of my inquiries.
7. They were concerned that my cake plates were a little wobbly. The cut all the cakes so people could just pick up a piece and enjoy! Nice. No stupid cake cutting fee (clearly the dumbest up-charge in the world).

Thanks to everyone at Mere Bulles for a wonderful reception! Regardless of where I came in, it was the most perfect evening ever and worth every penny, spent or not!

I'm sure there will be more pictures to come. I pulled these of Mere Bulles from their website gallery.

Monday, November 9, 2009

Fall 2010 - Already?

I mean, damn. Already? Like Christmas has already hit retail and it's a nano-second after Halloween. I'm working on June 2010 (like, we are so behind schedule) and fashion has just cranked out Fall 2010. Nice. I was pondering and perusing the runway fashions and have decided to share my favorites. In no particular order.

Yummy Zac Posen! This makes me wish I'd gotten married in January, but only for like a second.

Angel Sanchez. Let's take the giant flowers out of our hair and put them on the dress. Much better.

This is from the BCBG Maz Azaria Cruise Collection, but I think it's a beach wedding gown - for sure!

Oh, hello....and a gorgeous farewell on the backside of this stunning Christos gown. 

I am dying over the gobs and gobs of pearls. A million times yes. Thank you, Douglas Hannant

This is the one aspect that I wished I'd had - a little something peeking out. Gorgeousness by Farah Angsana.

Lace by Jim Hjelm.

Lovely, lovely layers by Junko Yoshioka.

This totally reminds me of the amazing St. Pucchi gown I tried on. Alas, this little number is all Monique. You know, Ms. Lhuillier.

The latest from Vera Wang. She just nails it every damn time.

Who is your favorite designer? Me? I just la-la-love St. Pucchi. He's got this weird sort of Thierry Mugler sort of vibe so him.Not that I would wear any of his dresses, I just really appreciate the artistry behind them. I did try this one on and was in heaven until I looked at the price tag.

And just so you know, I'm compiling some budget stuff to go over for the venue, so hold onto your wallets, I'll be back to the budgets ASAP!