Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Bonjour Hive!

Like all Bees before me, let me start off by saying how EXCITED I am to be here! When I found out that I was chosen to be the newest bee, I was at work & had to run into the presentation binding room to jump up and down & squeal! Stalking, err, perusing, Weddingbee is one of my favorite pastimes and I am honored to be here with all of you :)

My fiancé and I decided that “Miss Quiche” suits me perfectly, as it is one of my signature dishes. I even make mini quiche for most soirées. And as you can probably tell, I am a bit of a Francophile (just call me Madamoiselle Quiche!). I studied in Lyon, France during college & it changed my life.

I am from Ohio and have been living in Chicago for the past 6 years. Ohio State is my alma mater, and I am a die-hard Buckeye fan. I am obsessed with interior design and one day (soon?) hope to work for myself full-time. My family and friends mean the world to me, and I wouldn’t be where I am today without them. I am a bookaholic & my life has been known to come to a screeching halt when engrossed in a great book (I’m talking to you, Edward Cullen, Anne Boleyn, Paulo Coelho, Jane Green and Jen Lancaster!). I tend to overuse ampersands & parenthetical phrases (but I can’t help it!).

Mr. Quiche and I met over 5 years ago and have been together for 4. He is an encore groom with 2 small children, which isn’t always easy, but we work through it - Together. He is truly my best friend & I can’t imagine spending my life with anyone else by my side. We are equals. We balance each other. We are in this together, for the long haul, and couldn't be more excited.

We are getting married in Jamaica, mon, & I can’t wait to share my wedding planning experiences with you, as I attempt to DIY our DW wedding.

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Goodbye, Christmas. Welcome back, Wedding Planning!

Christmas is my favorite holiday, hands down. I love everything about it – the tree, the lights, the decorations, the food, the music (with a few exceptions – Santa Baby, Feliz Navidad, Mele Kalikimaka – they should be banned from the airwaves!), the cards, spending time with family, giving and receiving…I love it all! I am always sad to see it end so quickly.

Speaking of Christmas cards, what do you usually do with them once the holidays are over? Some people save them from year to year to keep a running tally of who to send to the following year, some discard them on the 26th. For the bride and groom that are trying to think of any way they can save money (not just wedding related!), I have a SUPER easy DIY and green way to reuse those cards – cut them up and make gift tags. You can then just pack them away in the Christmas box for next year. You’ll never have to spend additional money on tags again. Plus, almost all Christmas cards are gorgeous, so they’ll make a perfect addition to the top of any present.

Happy cutting!

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Happy Holidays!

My blog will be on a temporary hiatus as I travel to Ohio for the holidays.

I hope you have a wonderful and safe holiday season!


Thursday, December 18, 2008

Engagement Picture in the News Journal? Check!

Since I was a little girl, the first (and usually only) part of the Mansfield News Journal I would read was in the Moments of Life section - engagements, marriages, anniversaries. After leaving good ol' Mansfield, Ohio, my mom would periodically send me clippings of friends, ex-boyfriends who were getting married. Now living in Chicago & in the age of technology, I check their website weekly to see if anyone I know is celebrating a moment of life.

We just recieved the proof of our engagement story! It will be in the December 28th paper - I can now check this off of my "Life List".

p.s. Another item on my "Life List" that was checked off last year:

Running through a vineyard? Check! We "snuck" into a quite famous winery in Tuscany...shh!

Wedding realted or not - what are some things that you've checked off of your Life List?

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

I admit it - I'm a sucker for these!

An interesting article popped up today posing the question "Do Romantic Comedies Spoil Our Love Lives"?

As a helpless lover of all things chick-flick/lit, this article intrigued me. I was hoping for a little "more" from the article, but even without reading it, you get the idea.

Even more helpless when said movie/book is British...

Do people have unrealistic expectations of love and relationships after watching this particular genre of movies? I, for one, feel like I can differentiate between real life and the movies...but I have to admit that I feel temporarily wistful after watching them. But I know that isn't reality (right?). And frankly, sometimes I feel like parts of my life and love are romantic-comedy material!

I wouldn't go so far as to say that they are "ruining" our love lives, but the concept is interesting. What do you think?

Dance, dance!

Ted and I are such “music” people, that I don’t trust leaving the song decisions up to a Jamaican DJ. We don't want the same old song and dance (Electric Slide, Shout!, you get the point...).

The resort provides a Jamaican Mento band (I had no idea what one was, either!) as part of our general wedding package. I am glad that we’re going to have some Jamaican music for the ceremony, but I don’t want that to be the sole source of entertainment for the reception. As you may remember, the movie Love Actually played a major role in our engagement, and I want to find a subtle way to incorporate it into our ceremony. During the wedding scene, they walk back down the aisle to a crowd-participation version of “All We Need is Love”. I don’t know if I can get the guests to pick up a trombone and play along, but am hoping to find a way to have the band press “play” on my ipod as the ceremony is ending. It’s my goal to get this to work out!

There is also a reggae band that you can hire for the reception, but at $3,000 a night, it’s WAAAAY outside of our budget. Speaker and microphone rental are available for $150, so I think we’ve decided to have an ipod reception. This makes me happy because we can dictate exactly what we want to hear.

As we are also celebrating our family and friends, I thought of one way to honor our married guests during the reception – asking them what their “first dance” song was when they were married, and those songs can fulfill our slow dance portion of the night. I considered opening this up to everyone by putting song request line on the RSVP card, but ultimately decided against it.

Speaking of first dances, Ted and I have mad love and respect for Jack Johnson. I introduced him to Ted right after we started dating, and Ted was blown away. Jack’s played a big role in our lives, so we are dancing to “Better Together”. It should be…interesting…as it is slightly faster than a slow song, but not fast enough to be a fast song. We “practiced” the other day while standing in the kitchen, and let’s just say it wasn’t perfect.

Mr. Quiche claims it’s because I try to lead & I need to stop, but I beg to differ ;)

What is your first dance song? Are you having an ipod reception to save money?

Monday, December 15, 2008

Put religions and traditions in a blender & press “Start”!

We want our wedding to do more than celebrate our love, we want it to celebrate our family and friends and how they have contributed to us and our lives, separate and together. The resort has a “textbook” ceremony package, complete with vows and readings – but to me, that just isn’t personal enough.

I am Catholic and Ted is a (lapsed) Greek Orthodox. It is important to me to incorporate some religious aspects in our ceremony, and it will probably happen in the form of different readings. Our friends come from all backgrounds and all religions and it would be interesting to incorporate aspects of each of their customs into our ceremony. Hindu, Buddhist, Jewish, Muslim and various Christian religions, you name it! We share a mutual interest in other cultures and what a great way to celebrate our friends and family.

At least one of our groomsmen, and several guests, are Hindu. I searched around for something we could incorporate into our ceremony and came across this beautiful passage. It could be read during the ceremony or printed in the program:

“Te santu jard—istayah sampriyau royisnu sumansyamanau
Pasyema sharadah shatam jivema sharadah shatam shrunuyam shardah shatam”

“We should be able to live a graceful life that is full of mutual love and warmth. Our sentiments should be auspicious.
We should be able to see for a hundred years, live a healthy life of a hundred years and listen the music of spring for a hundred years.”

Mehendi is also a Hindu ritual. Some believe that the depth of the henna’s color indicates how well a bride will be treated by her mother-in-law. The longer the color lasts, the less likelihood of a catfight. One real perk is that with henna on her hands, the bride is excused from any housework (yeah!), leaving her plenty of time to bond with her husband — and make a baby :)

Jamaican and African-American weddings sometimes include a Broom Jumping Ceremony. It is my assumption that this dates back to slavery days when slaves would marry in secret & jump the broom as a sign of unity. A google seach lead me to the meaning behind this tradition:

“Jumping the broom is a popular African-American wedding tradition that symbolizes the sweeping away of the old and the welcoming of the new.”

I'd love to hear any traditions or customs that you may have!

Are you incorporating other customs into your wedding? Is it because it’s something that you’ve always liked, or as a way to celebrate your guests?

*this post is not meant to offend, harm or be insensitive to any person or group. it is merely a research post on customs that i’ve sourced online – they may or may not be entirely accurate.

Will You Become...

I may be slightly biased, but I do believe that I may have the best proposal story. Ever (yes, biased).

Let me take you back to a gorgeous July 2nd… (it's long, but bear with me - it's worth it!)

Having celebrated our birthdays (they are 5 days and x years apart) the week before with a group of our closest friends, Ted had the idea for the two of us to celebrate on this particular Wednesday night – make dinner together, watch a movie. We both worked all day & around 4 p.m., he called and offered to pick me up from work. Excited that I wouldn’t have to slink into the underworld that is the Grand Red Line el stop, I said “Great – thanks!” We got home around 5:20 and Ted told me to just relax and read or watch TV and he would take care of making dinner. Once it was ready, I came out to a lovely cheese fondue (my favorite), a bottle of wine and candles on the coffee table. Just before we ate, he suggested that we watch “Love Actually”. Right, so this is my absolute favorite movie & one I tend to watch by myself, in the dark & cry (okay, we have watched it together before in the past, but Ted just doesn’t feel the need to watch it over & over & over). He started the movie instantly. It seemed a little early to start the movie, but I went along with it (side note – I fall asleep around 20 – 30 minutes into every movie that we watch at home & he wanted to make sure that didn’t happen!). We enjoyed our fondue and wine & Ted stopped at one point to give me my “surprise” (gift)…Guitar Heroes for the Wii! I became addicted to this game while visiting our friend in NYC, so was very excited!

I thought it was a bit strange that the sound was a little off from the lips & stranger yet that Ted didn’t spend an hour trying to figure out what the h*ll was wrong, as he would NEVER stand for watching a movie like that. Anyway, the movie continued & around the 93 minute mark, this is what we saw:

Incredible, right? Ted knows that this is my FAVORITE scene in the movie. I mean, come on! He is pouring his heart out to the woman he loves (but can’t have)! Ted poured his heart out to me (& luckily, he CAN have me!), we pushed pause and he got down on one knee in front of the couch. I said “YES!” and proceeded to cry for a good 5 minutes or so. We were so happy and excited :)

We then started to make rounds of phone calls to family and friends who shared in our excitement. Ted’s friend (and Best Man) R invited us to meet him out for a celebratory drink. He knew Ted was proposing that night, so surprised us by gathering some friends at Erie Café (where we had our first “real” date). My friend (and Bridesmaid) N and her boyfriend were at the theater in the middle of Sex and the City & when I told her, they left the movie to meet us – how great is that?! It was awesome to be able to toast to our engagement with our friends in the same place we had our first date!

I can’t explain how much it means to me - the thought, time and effort that went in to making this the perfect proposal for us. & we will have it forever (Ted also set up our video camera on the desk to get my reaction and the actual proposal!) Do any of you have the moment captured on film?

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Monogram and Invitation Design(er)

As you have seen, I DIY’d our Save the Dates. That lovely monogram didn’t come from me, however, and I wanted to let you in on a little Etsy secret: mtkdesigns.

For the graphic design challenged bride, an Etsy search results in a plethora of invitation designers. I have to admit that I thought working with a graphic designer was going to be out of our budget, but one of the first ones I came across was Karen of mtkdesigns. I love her simple, no fuss style. She also has a blog, so once I checked that out and viewed some of her past designs, I knew I wanted to hire her to design our monograms and invitations. And here is the best part:

Monogram design + Invitation design + RSVP design = $32. Yes, you read that right. Thirty two buckaroos.

I contacted her and bought the initial package. I emailed her my vision for our STD monogram (whimsical, tropical – but not hit-you-over-the-head tropical). She worked with me through several different versions until it was “just right” for us.

Versions #1 & 2 - We decided that the pink one was just too…pink. We loved the first one & decided to go with that. What an easy wedding decision!

She even humored Ted, who had the idea to do the monogram in the colors of the Jamaican flag. I have to admit, I liked the idea (props to Ted!), but ultimately wanted our Save the Date to reflect the colors of the wedding.

Once we shrunk down the logo to fit on business card sized paper, we realized it was hard to read our names and especially the date. She sent two more and we ended up choosing the one that aligned the date to the left. It was still too hard to read the number over the palm tree trunk!

Then all you do is modify to to fit whatever you're making and print if off on your home printer(yep, saving more $$). She is a DREAM to work with! I can’t wait to get started on our invitation and RSVP design!

p.s. mtk - you charge WAY TOO little for your amazing, creative services!

Did you end up finding a dream vendor or service that cost a lot less than you thought it would?

Monday, December 8, 2008

DIY Dilemas - Flower Trial

As excited as I am to be getting married in Jamaica, I feel that having a destination wedding puts a serious damper on my DIY hopes and dreams. If we were getting married in Chicago, I’m afraid that I’d want to do everything from invitations to flowers to hanging lights to you name it! Our Jamaican par-tay will streamline my potential projects. I tend to get ahead of myself when it comes to any type of project, so perhaps this is actually a GOOD thing.

One aspect that I want (and will try my hardest to achieve) to DIY are the flowers. A (singular) bouquet and boutinnere are included in our wedding package. And let me tell you – they are not pretty.

For some reason, anthuriums creep. me. out.

(okay, so they may be pretty, but definitely NOT my style)

Did I mention that I have 7 bridesmaids? Well, I do (and more on those lovely ladies later) & the prices from their “preferred” floral vendor are exorbitant. For example, on a DW blog that I follow, a new bride just returned from Coyaba and spent THREE HUNDRED DOLLARS on one, simple orchid bouquet.

Don’t get me wrong, it is beautiful, but seriously? $300? For a budget bride? I don’t think so.

I posted a question on that same blog, asking any Montego Bay brides if they knew of any local wholesale florists. Luckily, one gal wrote back that she DIY’d her DW flowers & found a wholesale vendor. They don’t have a website or anything, so it makes me a little nervous, but I do have their email address and plan on contacting them. Some friends (and Ted) think I’m crazy for wanting to do this, but personally, I think it will help keep me busy & I know a few of them, my mom and sisters won’t mind helping out. In their defense, they probably want to save me from a potential meltdown, should something not work out.

I stopped at the grocery on my walk home from the train the other night to pick up some roses, and below are the results. Keep in mind that I want something VERY simple, no greenery, no fluff, etc. Also, this entire process took me around 20 minutes - so they are by no means perfect &/or what they would look like on the wedding day - I'll need to practice, people!

I started by gathering my supplies (scissors, rubber bands, ribbon), then stripping the roses of thorns and leaves.

I then simply gathered the heads of the roses (6 for bridesmaids) and secured them with a rubber band. I didn't have floral tape, and feel this may have kept them together a little nicer.

After banding them, I took a length of my favorite wedding ribbon :) and wrapped it around the stem. The ribbon is 5/8" and I definitely think that a wider ribbon would look nicer.

I want my girls to carry deep pink flowers, so I played around with the color a bit (I bought orange-y flowers since it was close to Thanksgiving).

I'd like to carry a slightly fuller bouquet, so here I added 6 roses to the bunch.

& again, in pink:

To save money, I also plan on using the bridesmaid bouquets as centerpieces after pictures are done. Just plop them into a waiting vase & voila! “Free” centerpiece!

What do you think? Am I crazy for attempting this myself? Should I just suck it up and buy bouquets from the florist?

Friday, December 5, 2008

Beautiful (& free!) Baubles

A month ago, I entered a contest on one of my favorite wedding blogs, Weddingbee. The contest was sponsored by Tejani Couture Jewelry & each entrant had to tell them which Tejani necklace was their favorite. There was no "and why?" tacked on the end, but I added it to my answer in the hopes that it would help me win. Here is the necklace that I chose & why:

"I absolutely adore the entire Dainty collection, but the perfect compliment to my dainty, feminine, flowy dress would have to be Style # B0711. The drop pendant style, paired with the crossover-V neckline would be simply stunning."

A couple of days later, I was notified that I had won the contest!

These types of contests are a win-win-win for everyone involved. Tejani, as it directs hundreds of brides-to-be to their website; Weddingbee, if there was some sort of promotional sponsoship; and the winner (me), as these gorgeous earrings were just dropped on my desk today!

Pardon the big, red Clifford desk. Red is our architecture firms signature color ;)

I'm not sure if I'll wear them on my wedding day or not - I'll have to try it on with my dress to see if they are "too much" or not. I really haven't even thought of wedding day jewelry yet (note to self: Add to ever-growing list)! However, the next time I am at C's house, you'd better believe I will bring these babies with me to check it out!

The rep from Tejani also informed me that they are having a trunk show in Chicago February 27th - March 1st!

Have you won any contests or came across something for free that helped save your wedding budget?

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Chicago Brides - Macy's Bridal Trunk Show Dates!

For all of you dress and accessory-shopping Chicago brides, Macy's has released the dates of their upcoming trunk shows! When the wind is a'whipping and the mercury shrinks further and further, escape to bridal fabulousness at the State Street Macy's.


Here you go!

December 5-7
Accessories Trunk Show

December 9-14
Annual Sample Sale

December 19-28

January 2-4

January 9-11
Simone Carvalli

January 16-18

January 23-25

Trunk Show Hours:
Friday 10:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m.
Saturday 10:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m.
Sunday 11:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m.

Also, any purchases you make the during the trunk show are an additional 10% off (essentially only taking care of the RIDICULOUS Cook County taxes, but when you're spending that much money, it's worth it!).

Appointments are recommended; Call (312) 781-3545 or email

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

For 1, it’s Wedding, Round 2

This post is somewhat personal, but I figure if I am sharing not only my wedding planning experiences with you, but also some details of our relationship, I should talk a little bit about our pasts.

I mentioned it briefly in a previous post, that Ted has been married before. I don’t want to delve into the details of his previous relationship, and feel I wouldn’t give a very biased view of things ;) They were married for a few years, and suffice to say, it didn’t work out. They also have 2 children. He has been divorced for over 6 years.

When we first started dating, it didn’t really bother me. If you remember, we were friends for awhile before we started dating, so there really was nothing to “hide”. I guess you could say, on the surface, I knew what I was getting myself into, but it really is so much more that just that. Relationships are hard enough as it is, let alone throwing in 2 kids and an ex-wife. Priorities are different. Dynamics change. Sometimes, I was a pretty selfish girlfriend, and that just does not work when there are little ones to consider. There were times when I would get upset because I felt like the kids were taking time away from Ted & I being together (I know, it’s horrible, but I am just being honest.). I would get annoyed and resentful. Especially when it came to his ex-wife. Talking to my mom was so helpful, as she told me to relax and just ENJOY the time we have with them. They are only little once, so why get bent out of shape when you could be having fun?

It was the first time I’d ever dated anyone with kids and it wasn’t (and still isn’t, as anyone with kids knows!) always easy, but we have all managed to raise 2 pretty great kids. We are to the point where neither one of them remember me NOT being there, as A was 4 and J was 2. His ex-wife and I actually get along very well. We all see each other or are together quite a bit, so it is just easier to get along…or if I’m in a bad mood, to fake it :) It makes Ted’s life a lot easier, and that is what is important to me.

While there are low times when I wish that we didn’t have to “deal” with all of this, I love Ted (& everything that comes with him) more than anything in this world. We are so close and genuinely enjoy spending our time and lives together. I can’t imagine going through my days and nights with anyone else. We’ve made the decision to do this together and we are committed to doing the best we can for the two of us and our new family.

My darling Theodore and I at our friends wedding in the Tuscan countryside (talk about an amazing wedding!)

Monday, December 1, 2008

Jamaican Locations, Part Deux

Two years ago, my mom and step-dad married on the grounds at the Hibiscus Lodge Hotel in Ocho Rios. Ted and I were the sole wedding guests/witnesses/wedding party/etc. It was very special for all of us to share in this event together. We were sad that my other sisters and now step-sisters (Yes, you read that right – all sisters. Pete is a saint…6 women!) couldn’t make it, but school/work/life made it hard for everyone else to attend.

Anyway, the grounds of this little hotel are gorgeous & HUGE. We decided to check it out for our wedding as well, as it would be meaningful to me to get married at the same place my mom did. We also decided to stay the night at the hotel in order to “test” out the rooms (they are very cheap, which would be nice for our guests), the food, service and overall ambiance of the hotel. Well…let’s just say that what we experienced 2 years prior are some of the only redeeming qualities of the hotel. The grounds and food (very important, though). Our room was threadbare and awful – but we found out that we could still have the wedding and reception at the hotel and have our guests stay somewhere else in Ocho Rios.

Beautiful flowers

If they spent the same amount of resources on their rooms as they do their grounds, this would be a great little hotel!

Our next plan was to brave the drive to Negril to check out a smaller place called Rondel Village. Reviews on TripAdvisor were all over the board with regards to the hotel, but brides who had been married there loved it, and the price was right. Once we checked out of the Hibiscus Lodge, we just did not feel like spending the gorgeous day driving to Negril.

At this point we were both 100% sure of our choice – we decided that we would get married at the first stop on our research trip – Coyaba Resort. We hopped in the car and headed straight back to Coyaba. Once we drove through the gates, parked and headed into the gorgeous, open air lobby, we were greeted with the same cool towel, rum punch and a “Hey! Kristin and Ted! You’re back!”. We knew right then that we made the right decision. We then proceeded to meet with another member of the management team to discuss details, then spent the rest of the day on the beach (well, I did at least. Ted can sit still for about 4 ½ minutes before he is off and snorkeling/exploring/chatting up the locals/etc.).

What a fantastic vacation – oops, I did it again (I have nothing but love for you Britney!) – what a fantastic RESEARCH trip!

Like some brides and their wedding dress, did you spend a lot of time trying out numerous locations, only to end up choosing the first one?