Sunday, May 22, 2011

The Vision Became Reality

Well, here it is...the day after My First Daughter's Wedding!

This month has flown by. I am much too tired to post much, other than to say that in spite of some big trials and challenges in the week and days leading up to the wedding, everything turned out wonderfully well.

Throughout this year, the plans have been playing like a movie in my head (of course spurred on and inspired by my daughter's desires and wishes for the wedding.) I can honestly say that everything turned out very close to, if not exactly as we had envisioned it. All the research, planning, and hard work are definitely worth it. And it so amazing to watch it all happen pretty much as you had hoped for.

It was a giant effort for everyone involved to pull off the meaningful, beautiful ceremony and great party for approximately 170 people that happened yesterday. Thanks also to God, who smiled on us! He knew all along that my daughter and her groom were destined for eachother, and all the rest was just window dressing! Weddings are a joyous occasion for family and friends to celebrate the union of two people and the beginning of a new family, and they are a picture of God's plans for us. (And it is documented that the Lord Himself attended at least one wedding, so they must be very important to Him!)

I know I am biased, but I think my daughter was the most beautiful, classic bride I have ever seen! Her dress, veil, hair, and makeup were stunning. Even the flirty little hairclip I made for her at the last minute to wear at the reception turned out remarkably well.

I felt comfortable the whole day -- my MOB dress was like a second skin -- it was so worth the time it took to hunt it down, and have it fitted by our excellent seamstress, Penny! (Well, my shoes did pinch a little after a few hours, I must admit...)

The groom, maids and the groomsmen looked absolutely marvelous. (And yes, even the FOB in his spiffy new suit.) The floral pieces -- what can I say? Blue hydrangeas are my new favorite flower and will now always remind me of my daughter's wedding!

To that I might add, wedding planners and coordinators are worth every penny you can scrape together to hire one. My daughter and I would have had a very difficult time pulling this even off without Denise's help, and definitely would not have been able to enjoy the day as we did, unencumbered by the details! And she did the beautifal flowers too --a double blessing!

We will have to wait a bit for the wedding photos to be available..have also been checking to see if anyone posts anything I can "borrow" on Facebook. Meanwhile, since the dress has now been seen by our wedding guests, I can now post one of my daughter's formal portraits:

Will post pictures of the ceremony and reception and more details later..I am glad its over, am looking forward to some rest, but now am wondering what to do with my time now that all this is behind us?

Monday, May 2, 2011

Putting it All Together (Our D-I-Y Projects)

The long Easter weekend brought my daughter and I some extra days off from school and work to devote to our craft projects for the wedding. The Do-It-Yourself (D-I-Y) websites and magazines like Martha Stewart Weddings promised overall cost savings, and individualized customization of your wedding designs. Coming up with ideas for designs is super-fun for me, but actually creating the art is beyond my comfort zone. So for me, the easier the better!

Besides the display stand for our cake balls (taking the place of the groom's cake), for which we had painstakingly shopped for the materials several weeks prior, I had also hit upon some easy cost-saving favor ideas. When I conveyed my ideas to my daughter and the relatively low cost of doing them, she was highly enthusiastic and gave me free reign to go for it!

She wanted to have bubbles as a favor for the guests to use at Send-Off time when she and her groom depart the reception. She had already ordered white and light blue bubble tubes with a heart design on one end from's "Wedding Shop". They arrived shortly, and while cute, I thought they needed a little extra something to make them extra special.

To dress them up a little, I ordered labels from and had them printed with the phrase "Love is In the Air" --(Get it?---bubbles in the air?) Can't take full credit -- I had seen this idea online. These labels also carried the couple's first names and the wedding date. I also thought tying light blue ribbons would be a nice added frill. My "prototype" came out really well!

So, the Maid of Honor (my younger daughter) was also home from college for Easter, and she and I took care of applying the labels to the first 2 of 5 boxes of bubbles right away. I applied the labels to 2 more boxes of bubbles in later days myself, when I happened to be sitting around watching TV. One box to go (with less than 3 weeks left before the wedding.) Now I am second-guessing the ribbon. How long will it take to tie 200 little bows like this, and is it really worth it?!

My other idea was to supply take-home boxes for guests to pack up leftover wedding cake and cake balls into. After a long Internet search with price comparisons of different container options, I settled upon pint-sized Chinese take-out boxes as the best bang for our buck. I ordered them from PaperMart:

To my happy surprise, the boxes arrived pre-assembled, except for the top flap! The cupcakes might be a bit snug in them, but I think they will work and they will definitely be ideal for leftover cake balls. The only problem was they were just plain white, and again I thought a little something could be added to make them personalized. The answer -- more labels with the couple's names and wedding date! What can I say -- labels are cheap, they are easy, and they definitely personalize! For these labels, the vendor I chose was:

The Maid of Honor and I knocked out putting labels on all 150 takeout boxes the first night she was home for Easter Break, while settled on the couch watching a movie. I think they look fine, considering the guests will likely get these smudged with icing and cake oils, and probably will not keep them anyway.

The Bride did not get off free. She had her crafting hat on for that Easter weekend, too. She and I set about decorating the heavy corrugated cardboard cake ball tree. And yes, as I feared, we had to make another trip to Hobby Lobby to buy more ribbon and materials, after we determined that a) some of the ribbon was too sheer for the edges of the tiers, (it did not hide the cardboard that well) and b) for appearance sake, we would need to cover the supporting columns as well as the tiers themselves, and c) we did not purchase enough yardage of ribbon to begin with, either for this project or the larger square cupcake tree. Another $50 in materials was chalked up to the cake display budget. And we had not even ordered the "topper" yet for this University of Florida Gator-themed cake ball display.

Well, after much trial and error, we got it accomplished -- here is the final product, (just imagine a Gator figurine on top amidst the orange and blue ribbon, and cake balls lying on the tiers!) At least now my daughter has some experience under her belt for decorating the large square cupcake display, which will hopefully hold 250 cupcakes. However, she will be doing that with the help of the groom's Mom and grandmothers. I pray that they have more crafting skills than I do, and although it was kind of fun, I am pretty glad I'm about done with D-I-Y.

Is it all worth it? Well, there is a certain satisfaction in knowing that your hands personally contributed to making the wedding (hopefully) more special and beautiful. As far as cost savings -- well, honestly for a busy Bride who is a full time student and her Mom who has a full time job, I'm not so sure that the cuts to our bottom line will be worth the extra time and effort it took, especially since we don't particularly enjoy crafting that much to begin with. And the materials often can put a pinch in your wallet, unless you are able to order in bulk. (The ribbons and trim for the cupcake tiers turned out to be fairly expensive, yet the Chinese takout boxes and labels were quite reasonable because I ordered so many of them.) It all depends on each individual bride's circumstances, her vision for the wedding, and how much friends and family will be able to help out, I suppose.

Now, about tying those little bows on the bubble tubes, ... should I, or shouldn't I...?


Here is a photo collage of the finished cake stands, (now that the wedding is over, they can now be "unveiled"!) Everyone seemed to really like the cupcake instead of cake idea, and especially raved about the cakeballs. Guests commented on how unusual, but nicely done, the displays were! (Even my hubby admitted they turned out much nicer than he thought they would!) And by the way, we should not have added on the extra 50 cupcakes to our original order...just about all the Chinese takeout boxes were used for leftover cupcakes. The cakeballs on the other hand, were devoured...not much left but crumbs of them!