When you think of the pattern Damask, you may think Grandma’s boring kitchen table linens, ugly floral patterns…or just plain ol’…”old!”
But think again. Because Damask is back! And it’s one of the primary inspirations for my wedding color “palette.”

From the runway-ready clothing and accessories to the latest Martha Stewart tablesettings, the Damask pattern has reinvented itself and is a fabulous way to accent tables…or anything for the matter in a unique and visually stimulating way!
One fabulous new rendition of damask is the so-called “Retro” Damask pattern.
Two designers with hot renditions of damask are Michael Miller Fabrics and Joel Dewberry.

The new ‘pop’ colors damask is showing itself in are great.
But my favorite is a bold and crisp classic black and white damask accented with a bright, funky-colored flower or other object. It says “elegant” “vintage” and “ultra-modern” simultaneously!

Damask table runner place setting.

Modern damask notecard from The Paper Cafe
Hmmmm…the more I look at that black and white print with that bright green color, the more I wanna change our colors….!


October 29, 2007. decorations, inspiration. 5 comments.

I Did it Myyyyy Wayyyy!

One of my (kind of) DIY projects is my invitations.
From the time I first spotted the “pocketfold” invitations (latest trend in wedding invites) I knew I had to have them. I also knew I didn’t want to pay $400-$500 for them. So I found a way around that!
First, I contacted a fabulous graphic designer who I ‘met’ on IndieBride. I loved the way she had made her own pocketfolds, so I contacted her through her Etsy shop to make mine. Basically I just told her what my style and colors were, picked out some art at IStockPhoto and sent her all of my text. A week later I had the high resolution files for this (a simulation):

The designer made me 6 custom pieces: an invite, two detail cards, an rsvp postcard and a save-the-date card. The design (including cost of stock art) was $70.

Now…the printing is up to me. I plan on using VistaPrint and the designer formatted all of my invitation pieces to print on VistaPrint’s oversized postcards (cheaper than printing on their invitation cards–but same cardstock quality).

So the question is: after paying for a custom design, printing fees and envelopes…will I actually SAVE money by doing it myself?
To find out, below I compare my costs with those of a popular pocketfold web store, MyGatsby.

First, MyGatsby
100 pocketfolds: $150.00
100 Invitations: $92.00
100 RSVPs+envelope: $75.00
100 Detail 1 cards: $49.00
100 Detail 2 cards: $49.00

Now, my DIY pockets-
100 pocketfolds from Cards and Pockets Store: $100
100 Invitations: $50
100 RSVP postcards: FREE (VistaPrint promo)
100 Detail 1 cards: $50
100 Detail 2 cards: $50
Custom Design: $70

Plus, MyGatsby charges $45.00 for 100 envelopes and I can get 100 from EnvelopeMall on my own for $23.00.

I do plan on buying some cool ribbon and accents to finish off the pockets, but I would have done the same thing with MyGatsby’s.

So overall, if you like assembling things and DIY, this could be for you. Of course you’ll have to take a trip to your local Michael‘s or craft store to get some adhesive spray, double-sided tape or glue dots. But that’s a very minor expense and one you would incur anyway because you have to pay MyGatsby extra to assemble your pockets:)

Enter Sinatra: “And more, much more than this…I did it myyyy wayyyy!”
I can’t wait to put ’em together!

October 24, 2007. invitations. 4 comments.

Bouquet Bling!

Ladies, you have to check out my latest find: Bouquet Jewels.
You’ve probably seen how many florists are adorning bouquets with rhinestone buckles and accents. Well, in the case that you are doing your own bouquet or you’d like to buy a very affordable accent for your bouquet to give your florist, this web site has some great buys and ideas.
My favorites:
In the “Bling It On” collection, there are self-adhesive 5mm rhinestones in 17 colors that you can stick to just about anything: fabric on your bouquet, cake numbers, even photo frames. $4.99 per sheet of 100.

They also have ribbon and crystal buckles you could adorn your flowers with. And crystal butterflies, pins and other things you can use to give your flowers a modern and sparkly flair.
I’ll keep looking for more online shops that have these kind of things.
Do you know of any?

October 23, 2007. Uncategorized. Leave a comment.

A Moon for me and my Honey: Part III

Part I: Intro to DR
Part II: Europe is Out

So today we reserved our honeymoon trip in Punta Cana, which I discussed fairly extensively before.
I guess I was expecting to write about a bunch of other honeymoon options, and then be torn as to where we should go…
But considering our budget constraints for this part of our wedding, the all-inclusive in DR seemed perfect.
Hawaii was an option, but as lovely as I heard it was, it didn’t seem “exotic” or interesting enough being a part of the United States. I know that’s silly…but I was really adamant about leaving the country…
I also looked at Bali and the Cook Islands, but wayy too expensive for us at this point.
And as I noted last week, Europe was out of the question because of the lagging dollar.
So, DR, here we come!

In a prior post I talked about how TripAdvisor is such a wonderful resource when researching vacations/hotels/etc. I love it because travellers from all over the world can rate, write a description of and even share candid photos of a resort. TripAdvisor then averages out these ratings and provides overall ratings for an entity–even breaking it down in ways like:”Best resorts for honeymooners” “Best resort for singles” “Best for families.” There are also active message boards.

However, another great resource I just found is Frommers, the travel version of Zagat’s. In addition to the yearly travel guidebooks Frommers puts out, the traveler extraordinaire now has a web site that is a wealth of information on everywhere in the world.

You can search by country or destination and find the best places to go for what you want to do, and straightforward info about the country, what it has to offer, what to expect.There are also active message boards.
I think Frommers combined with TripAdvisor is a smart way to research your vacation.

October 21, 2007. Honeymoon. Leave a comment.

Our E-Photos

We got them back in the mail less than a week after taking them in Cleveland. Ken Blaze did our photos, and did a great job. He’s awesome to work with and really says that a couple should “be themselves” in portraits. So that’s what we did!

October 20, 2007. real photos. 1 comment.

A Moon for Me and my Honey: Part II

An op-ed in today’s USA Today was very interesting, especially as we’re considering our honeymoon location. The article talks about all the signs that the U.S. is becoming a “2nd-Rate” world power–and the author supports this claim mainly by comparing the U.S. to experiences OUTSIDE OF the U.S.
Of most interest to me was the fact that the U.S. dollar is worth about HALF what the Euro is worth! In fact, the US dollar is now equal to the Canadian dollar!
Hard to believe, because most Americans innately are ethnocentric and see themselves as living in the most “superior” country…But it’s true. Our money isn’t worth much many places…

This really MATTERS when thinking about travelling, and basically makes vacationing anywhere in Europe totally out of the question!
Check out the article: “From afar, America resembles a 2nd-rate power. Hints of our diminished state can be seen in our paranoia, our swooning U.S. dollar and our untidy airports.”
*Do you agree with the article? Have you travelled overseas to find that your green dollars didn’t get you very far?

October 18, 2007. Honeymoon. Leave a comment.

Review: Wedshare.com

This is not a review.
This is a rave!
Fiance and I now have our own personal dot-com wedding web site! It is powered through a content management system hosted by Wedshare. Now, let me say, I was at first skeptical whether I was going to get my $79 dollar’s worth from buying a website.
But after setting up our site and exploring all of the features, I must say it is WELL worth the money and everyone should have one! Here’s why:
1)Novelty Factor:
I mean…it’s your OWN web site! You decide how long it stays up (and pay accordingly). You can add photos, music, your love story. It’s very personal and your guests can log on and sign your online guestbook!
2) Ease of Use Factor
Sure…if you’re a computer programmer or if you’re just extra programming savvy, them make your own site from scratch. But like most people, web content management programs, like Wedshare, basically walk you through how to set up and maintain your site.
3)Online RSVP Factor
Wedshare and some other sites allow a very thorough online RSVP process so guests can reply online instead of through mail. This is not only convenient, it’s fast! I was impressed with how thorough Wedshare’s system is. It let’s me import our guest list from an Excel sheet. So when guests register online all they have to do is enter their first and last names. The system then recognizes them and specifies how many seats have been reserved in their name, tells them details like “this event is adult-only,” and even lets them choose what they want to eat (if you’re having a meal with several options). The system then logs their response and sends me an e-mail letting me know someone has responded.
4)Organization Factor
In addition to tracking your guests and multiple events at a time (e.g. wedding/reception/rehearsal) Wedshare has a built-in budget-tracking system which is very useful.
5)Communication Factor
You can password-protect pages on your Wedshare site that are targeted at certain people…say, your bridal party. On ours, we have “bridesmaids” and “groomsmen” pages that will have all the info the bridal party needs and even has a forum.
6) Not-Cheesy Factor
Many templated web sites simply look cheesy and cookie-cutter, but most of Wedshare’s templates look pretty good, especially after customized. Our web page also has multi-media hosting capacity, so we can add slideshows, video etc…

My main attraction to Wedshare was the online RSVP. Competitively priced and easy to use, unless my Wedshare screws up when it actually comes time for guests to use it…this site gets an A+.

October 17, 2007. reviews, vendors. Leave a comment.

Say Yes to the Dress!

I did it! This weekend… I said “I do”… to my gown!
Now, if you’ve been following the blog, you know that I have been rather indecisive concerning my dress…

**Below is a timeline of the dress saga:**

-I began with a narrative declaration of the style of gown I wished to have.
-Then, I continued with some bridal shopping adventures in New York and Maryland.
-Then, even more shopping that I didn’t blog…
-Then, I proceeded to compare several gowns and nervously seek advice.
-Then, I had the nerve to declare to the world that I had FOUND my gown. (Knowing I was still unsure…)

Now, I am proud and resolved to announce that this weekend my mommy and I found the gown!
And I even sealed the deal by putting down a deposit.
I found my dress at the Today’s Bride magazine bridal show in Independence, Ohio on Sunday.
Basically, there were tons of wedding vendors that mom and I had went to check out, but it happens that an Ohio bridal salon, Henri’s Cloud 9, actually had a showroom on site where they were selling gowns with a one-day-only discount.

Here’s how it went:
**dozens of brides-to-be and bridezillas frantically looking through racks of dresses in a tiny, crowded showroom in a corner of a hotel**

Me to Henri’s employee, Jason:
“Where are the sexy/fitted/trumpet gowns in here?” Trying to bypass the looking-through-racks thing and doing crazy body movements to show that I wanted a form-fitting gown.

“I’ll find them!” He pulls two gowns, one he says is a Henry Roth that retails for $3,000. Henry Roth isn’t making dresses anymore, that’s why it’s marked down to $799, he says.
The Roth was gorgeous. Material and color were pretty but it was too plain for me and didn’t look amazing on. The second dress Jason pulled just wasn’t what I had in mind.

However, as I was getting dressed, I looked up…and I saw thee dress! Outside of my fitting room curtain, a girl was looking at herself in the mirror in MY dream dress. All I could see was the perfect shape of the dress and the embellishment that was shining through the curtain. I peeked out and grabbed my mom and Jason, and in my own bridezilla moment I crossed my arms and said:
Get me that dress. That is MY dress. She needs to take it off!”

Well… the girl didn’t like the dress. Said she wanted something “simpler” so she and I traded gowns.

I slipped into the gown(a Fall 2007 Christina Wu).
It fit me like a glove.
I bargained them down about three-hundred dollars below the retail price (it retailed a bit out of my budget).
Fiance paid deposit with his credit card over the phone.
And the rest is history!


October 16, 2007. fashion, gowns, vendors. 4 comments.


So–I very briefly have talked about the planning of my, ahem, bachelorette party here, just to say that I was concerned about my grad student sis planning it all alone.
Well, do I have news for you!
She now has help!
Introducing sis, and my girls (from back to front) M, C and S.

Aren’t they soo cute!
C,M and S–three fabulous ladies who I have been friends with for a long time (we all went to high school in Cleveland-area together and are now living in DC-area)have graciously stepped up to help sis with planning the bach’ and M is also helping out with a bunch of other stuff. And Sis…the look on her face says it all…
So, I’m really happy!
Basically, after sipping on a concoction of white wine, vodka, lemon lime club soda, lemons and limes at the e-party, the ladies were in a good mood and had a LOT to say about the idea of me having my bach’ in C-town.
Here’s a foggy account of how it went:

Me: “I mean, my sister is planning the bach’.”
S: “OMG–It’s going to be in Cleveland?? What are we going to do?! You shouldn’t have it in Cleveland!”
M: “I know! Why do you want to do it the night before your wedding, anyway? You will look horrible the next day! And so will your bridesmaids. That’s really not a good idea. Noone does that anymore.”
Me: “Ummmm….”
S: “I mean, it doesn’t even have to be in Vegas. It could be in Miami. But it could at least be here in DC where there are things to do.”
C: laughing
M/S/C: “Look, we’ll just help plan it!”

So there you have it. There are now 3 lovely ladies helping my sis with my bach’!
And I know one thing: with 4 planners, it better be a night to remember!
What are you doing for your bachelorette?

October 10, 2007. about, planning. Leave a comment.

Review: TheAmericanWedding.com

Customer Service: A
Quality: C
So, I have ordered some invitation samples, just to see what’s out there in terms of printing and quality.
As I said before, I am in the process of getting invites designed so I will likely not go with a ‘wedding invitation company,’ but I still was curious.
TheAmericanWedding, a web-based store that sells invitations and other wedding related things, had great deals on invites–like 100 invitations + envelopes with raised printing for $130.
So, I ordered these samples of the “Bold Curves” and “Parisian” invitations:

The web site has hundreds of invites to choose some, and though most don’t appeal to me, they do have a good selection.
The samples looked exactly as pictured when they arrived, and they arrived quickly.
But when I showed the samples to fiance he said: “Umm…I like the style, but don’t they feel kinda homemade? Like construction paper?”
He was right. The samples don’t look cheap, but they are not constructed on very heavy card stock. I think the paper is heavier than construction paper, but not as sturdy as I would imagine a formal invitation should be.
So overall, I think this web site has a good selection and is great for customer service because of the fast ship. But, unless you are on a super tight budget I would suggest looking elsewhere due to the quality of the paper used.
It is worth noting, however, that they do offer raised printing, and I thought the printing looked fine.
Lesson of the day: Order SAMPLES!!

October 7, 2007. reviews, vendors. 1 comment.

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