Friday, March 26, 2010

Dreaming in Anxiety-Laced Technicolour

Here's a little something no one tells you about when you get engaged: You start to have wedding anxiety dreams. Lots of them. And they're really really vivid. Mine started before we got engaged actually.

One of my first anxiety wedding dreams was that Dan and my mom surprised me with a wedding. They picked my dress, the venue, everything. Our wedding was in a bar complete with football motif tiled bar height tables, plastic flowers, and some sort of god awful arch covered in tulle, twinkle lights, and more plastic flowers. I remember waking up and thinking, "Wow, that was strange..." Clearly I don't trust Dan or my mom to create the wedding of my dreams. That and I'm a control freak and readily admit to it.

Lately I've been having one recurring theme in my dreams: we keep forgetting wedding bands. And not just "we forgot them at home", it's "we couldn't be bothered to buy them". Whoopsies! So obviously I've been harassing Dan to no end to meet with the jeweler and order my band, as well as get himself sized so we can order his from Etsy!

Other themes I'm apparently paranoid about: Plastic flowers or my flowers being ugly (which I know is clearly not going to happen since our florist is amazing), the wrong music being played during the processional, and forgetting to do our photos and first look before the ceremony. For some reason this stuff doesn't bother me in my dreams and I always just roll with it and enjoy the wedding. Perhaps this is my anal-retentive side and my "I know things are going to go wrong but all that matters is that Dan, the officiant and myself show up"-rationality duking it out.

However, when your subconscious gives you lemons, make lemonade. I usually itemize all the things that "went wrong" in my dreams to create a list. Happy day!

So if in my dream my caterer forgot the dessert and we were trying to figure out how to split 60 cupcakes amongst 150 guests, I realize that I need to get working on more ideas for the dessert buffet. Forgot the first look and pre-ceremony photos? Start working on my time line for the day!

I know that as time goes by, I'll have more and more of these dreams, but it's just that. A dream. Fictional. Not reality. I know that things are going to go wrong on our day but I know that I'm most likely going to be the only one who notices. We have amazing vendors and friends who are not going to let us down. Because of that, we'll have an amazing day that's perfect for us.

Monday, March 22, 2010

Gimme the gun lady!

My married friends have often expounded the joys of creating your registry. Given that we have a house, I thought, sure it's fun for you, but what do we need?! I was wrong. You hear that? I admit to being wrong! Creating our registry was the most fun I have ever had shopping. I got to create the ultimate wish list and didn't have to pay for anything. I think I could do that every day for the rest of my life. Why doesn't every store have a registry?! Can I register for Shrove Tuesday? Halloween? The second Tuesday of July?! 

So what do two people with a house need? I've purposefully left gaps in what we have figuring that *hopefully* one day we'd get to register. New flatware is a definite. Ours is a mishmash of non-matching stuff from university, my parents, and a set from Ikea. New dishes! Dollar store plates are great, but we've realized they come from the dollar store for a reason, they stain. Thankfully they're cheap enough to replace, but maybe being grown ups and having non-staining Gordon Ramsay plates is a better idea. Matching glassware, ooohhh ahhhhh. A four slot toaster! Oh my gosh! We can make our bagels at the SAME TIME! Last but not least, a new KitchenAid 600 Pro Series mixer. *drool* This is definitely pricey, but with the completion discount after our wedding, I don't mind buying it myself later.

First we went to Crate & Barrel. The drawbacks of registering here are:
a) There are only C&B stores at Yorkdale Mall, and one in Calgary. A new one is opening in the Distillery District in Toronto soon, which seems like an odd location choice to me. 
b) People can download and print my registry online, but they can't shop online and have it delivered to us. Boo! Why do the Americans get all the good stuff?!

The pros of registering at C&B:
a) Their stuff is beautiful. This place is kid in a candy store fun for me. I want EVERYTHING!
b) They have a great price range in their items. I have items from $1.50 up to $140. 
c) The completion program is 10% off the remaining items. It's not a ton, but every penny helps. I'll take it!
d) They gave us a free gift for registering with them! I have no idea what we're going to do with it yet, but I'm sure you'll see it at our wedding somewhere. 

Next we popped over to The Bay. We met with our consultant who decided she'd rather tell me eight different ways of how I can return or exchange what we receive while Dan's eyes glossed over and my fingers itched to get my hands on the SKU gun. After what seemed to be an eternity, we got our gun and went to town! It turns out we're Gordon Ramsay whores and registered for both his pots and dishes from Royal Doulton. So pretty.

Pros of registering at The Bay:
a) Really wide selection of items from board games, to dishware, to linens, to small appliances. 
b)  There's a Bay store near just about everyone. 
c) Great price ranges and great range of product lines.
d) Really great completion bonuses. If we register for luggage for instance, we get 50% off afterwards if we buy it ourselves. Score! 
e) It's Canadian!

a) You can't add or subtract items from your registry online. You can change quantities, but that's it. You have to go to the store to update properly and add new items. 
b) No online shopping. Seriously, why can't we do this in Canada?!
c) It took me two days to access my registry online. There were "technical difficulties" with the website. 
d) No photos of the items on the registry list like on the Crate & Barrel site. It's a bit tough to decode their shorthand for the different items (I can remember trying to shop for another girlfriend off her registry list at The Bay and ended up making some saleswoman there escort me around and decode all the items one by one). Photos would also be helpful for when I go online to update quantities, etc, I need the visual cue to remember what some of the items are. 

Secrets to registry success: Give yourself lots of time. An hour at Crate & Barrel was adequate, but I'll probably go back again and add a few more items. Two hours at The Bay was not enough time given that we spent 45 minutes talking about the joys of exchanges, returns, and completion bonuses. 

Make a list! I'm really happy I made one because after we left The Bay I realized we had only crossed about four items off of our list. I'll go back another day this week and try to finish up (sans fiance who hates to shop). 

Which brings me to: Bring snacks. Men generally hate to shop. If you can sprinkle a few treats in his direction you'll all end up happier at the end of the day!

And one last note. I felt like I was beeping just about every SKU in the store, but when I went online and revisited what we had, it really doesn't look like much! It's better to register for a lot and have the completion bonus to go back and get the left over items at a good discount, than to register for too little and leave your guests frustrated that there's not much for them to choose from for your showers and wedding gifts.

Happy shopping!

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Embrace the Lace

I found an awesome table top inspiration for our wedding on the blog 100 Layer Cake. As soon as I saw it, I totally fell in love. It's elegant, has a touch of vintage charm, and is so DIY-able! 

Since I saw this, I've been scouring local thrift shops for silver teapots and so far have scored about a dozen of them ranging in price from $5-$8. It's really going to save us money on renting or buying vases from our florist, and gives a really personalized touch to the table. It's also a really cool and unexpected centrepiece give away for our guests! 

The other gorgeous part of this setting is the lace wrapped votive holders. I completely lucked out and found another bride nearby who was trying to clear out her wedding stuff which included the perfect votive holders from They're pretty much straight up and down and don't taper, which is imperative for wrapping it in lace or any fabric for that matter. I went to my local FabricLand and found a beautiful lace for $3.49/yard. I probably could have shopped around and found cheaper lace elsewhere, but since I was gifted a case of votive holders for free, I was okay to call it even. My sister/MOH came over and we cut the lace into 7" pieces and then got to sticking it on with glue dots. I tried hot glue, but it's messy and doing 72 votives that way was too many opportunities to burn my fingers. 

 (It's also important to involve at least 2 cats in the process)

We found the best way to keep the lace on was to use two glue dots at the start of your lace, one somewhere around the centre to keep it from sliding down, and then two again to close it up.It was so simple! We finished up in less than three hours including cutting all the lace. 

The finished product! I think I'm going to buy another box and do some more up I like them so much!

Cupcake Picks (and I don't mean flavours)

As a quick preamble, my apologies for my absence as of late. We've taken off on a little vacation to Vancouver to visit friends, and right now we're in Whistler while Dan snowboards and I'm wandering about taking in free concerts and the general ambiance of the Paralympic Games. It's pretty amazing here and it's spectacular to see various athletes walking around Whistler Village in their team uniforms, knowing how proud and excited they must be. We're having an absolute blast! 

Back to wedding related items though. Our bakery kicks some serious a$$. Their cake flavours are out of this world and I can hardly wait to totally pig out at our wedding! I wanted to make our cupcakes a bit more personalized though and decided to make little picks to match our invitations. It was pretty straight forward. First, I bought Avery round stickers from Staples ($18.22). Next, I popped over to Micheal's and bought some wooden sticks, I think they were about 4" long and cost about $1.50 with my 40% off coupon. 

 (This is on the top of our invitations, my inspiration)

Now for the more complicated bit. Because I wanted to make our picks match our invitations, I had to do them in Illustrator. Thank goodness for Google and this guy who created the template and uploaded it to the interwebs for the rest of the world to us. Thanks guy! 

Next, I grabbed my Elevator Buttons font that I'm using on the top of our invitations and started plopping in buttons. I played with the size of the font until it matched the circle circumference. I don't like the actual font inside the buttons, so I had to place a white circle over the font (use the shapes tool on the side bar and make sure to colour match the white of the circle to the white of your background using the eyedropper tool). 

Next, I put in the correct font for the numbers and little sayings matching our invitations.

For the back of the picks, I made a sheet just of our names and wedding date in our elevator buttons using the same template. Pretty straight forward.

And now, print! I test printed a few times, moved the buttons around to try to line it up with the test print circles, and was generally frustrated to no end because each time it printed differently. Then I decided to bite the bullet and print on a sheet of the stickers. Trust me, keep everything aligned to the template no matter what it looks like on your test print. The sticker paper is thicker and while it won't print 100% perfectly, I was willing to settle for 98%. I only needed about 60 of them, and I had 400 stickers so I printed one extra page of each side which worked out perfectly. 

Assembly is simple. Take a stick and sandwich it between your front and back stickers. 

Ta da!!!! Total project price was less than $20 and I have round stickers left over for other projects. Maybe seals for our doggie bags?

I'll drop these off to the bakery along with our cupcake wrappers (more to come on that one!) about a week before our wedding. Hooray! I'm so happy with the results!

Friday, March 05, 2010

Wah wah website

When you get engaged, you quickly realize you need a place to disseminate information to friends and family. You want a place for them to get to know who's in the wedding or what each other's family is like. A place for maps, directions, registries, and all those goodies. There are a million great free wedding websites out there and they are well used by many couples around the world. It's overwhelming and confusing when faced with so many options.

For Dan and I, we wanted something a bit more interactive. We found that the free ones offered little variety and options and just didn't suit what we were looking for. A lot of people say to never ever pay for your wedding website, I beg to differ. We came across and signed up for a free trial. Within two days I had signed up for their two year plan. Let me explain why this site in particular worked so well for us. 

First, it was really interactive. Guests can slide around photos in the background, scroll through photo albums, link to maps to our hotel and venue, the possibilities are endless. We can offer an online RSVP option to our guests, but we haven't decided on that one yet.

Second, I love that we can upload our own music. I didn't want chintz "this is the instrumental elevator music that comes standard" muzak, I wanted music that was meaningful to Dan and I. We've loaded it up with Ray Charles, Jack Johnson, John Legend and the like. Awesome! Some times I open our site and just leave the music playing the the background while I work on other stuff. Ya, I'm a wedding geek like that. 

I love that it connects to Google maps. Guests can click on the "For Travellers" page, and then click on the "map" button to get a Google map to the hotel or venue. The only thing I wish I could add on here was a map from the hotel to the venue. Or maybe I just haven't figured out how to do that yet... 

There's also a guest book in the back that our friends and family can sign. I love finding an email notification about this! A lot of our family overseas have signed our book and expressed their excitement for us which is so wonderful. It can be so hard to keep people up to date, especially people far away, so this is such a great way to keep them involved. 

We've gotten a lot of compliments on our website and I'm so happy we chose to spend the few dollars to do it. I think it's so personalized to us and we can change it and adapt it however and whenever we'd like. Love love love it! No more tears, we have a winner!

Tuesday, March 02, 2010

Watch out kitties! Duh duh... duh duh....

This is totally not wedding or food related, but it made me giggle so I had to share. Anyone who knows me knows I have an affinity for dressing up my cats. They are typically good sports about it and Peter has been known to get excited about his bat Halloween hat. 

And then I found this today:

And this:

Oh. my. god. Come on, that bat sweater matches Peter's hat PERFECTLY! How could I not?! Watch out cats, Mommy's got some new clothes for you!!!

Monday, March 01, 2010

I hate exercise.

Sorry I've been MIA, I had a wicked cold, got over for a day and then got it back from Dan. I didn't think that was actually possible. Apparently I am an exception to the norm. Anywho, I'm over it now. Over it enough to realize I really need to get serious about this whole "losing weight" thing. Let me tell you something about me: I hate exercise. I hate sweating. I hate being out of breath. I hate all of it. You know what my perfect exercise is? Pilates. You get to roll around on the floor for half an hour and your stomach has that pleasant "ooh you did something good for yourself" ache the next day. That's my type of exercise friends!

So today I decided to start Jillian Michael's 30 Day Shred. I'm not a fan of personal trainers. I hate being yelled at and pushed to my limit (goes hand in hand with the hating to sweat thing), but whatever, she's on a DVD, I can mute her if I want. I've heard really great things about the 30 Day Shred from other women so I thought I'd give it a go. 

Let me tell you something I learned today: Jillian Michaels is the devil. I am angry that she made me out of breath and sweaty. I feel like she even mocked me a little. I can't do push ups Jillian Michaels! I JUST CAN'T!!! But in the same token, I sort of love her. I sort of want to prove to her that I can get through the stupid 20 minute routine and not die. I'm pretty sure this woman will be the death of me. I like that I don't need fancy rubber balls or bands or 13 different sets of weights. All you need (on level one anyways) is your yoga mat and a couple of light hand weights. I'm positive that tomorrow I'm not going to be able to move, but whatever, for right now I'm feeling pretty good about myself. I'm one step closer to honeymoon bikini-land!

Now someone go get me a muffin!