pictures in puddles, remix

February 24, 2010

So I’m not the only one who apparently loves reflection pictures!

Junebug Weddings recently posted about reflections in pictures too, with a new selection to admire. I love the first Amelia Lyon picture (I think I’ve mentioned how much I like her before…) but I still think Jerry’s is the best :P

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ring bearer something

February 23, 2010

There are tons (upon tons) of things I could blog about at this point, but I figured I’d take a break from dress-related posts and talk about something totally different.

Our flower girl and ring bearer are two cute toddlers (twins!)- Davey (David) and Lauren. They’re going to be just about 2 and a half by the time the wedding comes around and so I’m fully prepared for the possibility that they might not make it down the aisle due to fear, crying, crankiness, or the general unpredictability of toddlers.

Regardless, I’m going to hope for the best and plan as if they’ll make it smiling cutely down the aisle. I contemplated the idea of doing something non-traditional (since we are, in a lot of ways, nontraditional) but haven’t fully decided one way or the other. I’ve bought the twins balloons before and since balloons start with B, I thought it might be cute to have them walk down the aisle with green/purple balloons. Bryan kind of vetoed the idea because it seemed informal and borderline tacky, but the idea’s not fully removed from my mind…

We picked up a simple little basket for Lauren at one of the many random wedding stores in LA’s garment district a few weeks back but I didn’t like any of the super white satin-y pillows for Davey. I know there are better alternatives but still have to do some Etsy searching to see what’s out there.

The Palmoa’s Nest ring bearer bowl has been around for a little while and is very pretty, ceramic, and can be re-used as decor after the wedding. It’s a little pricey, though, and I’m not sure a two-and-a-half year old would be able to handle it all that gentle-y…

There are a lot of blog/forums posts on this subject but I haven’t seen anything I LOVED yet. A lot of people suggest some kind of floral or plant type pillow, a stuffed animal, a vintage ring box or tin… but none of those really feel like US.

If we end up going with a ring bearer pillow, I’ll probably try to find someone on Etsy who can make one in our colors- like WhiteThistleBridal or Woomi or…

from WhiteThistleBridal

from Woomi

You know what’s hilarious? As I was typing this post and rummaging through Etsy, I found EXACTLY what we wanted for our wedding. AHA! I’ll post about it after the purchase is made & arrives… :) :) :)

I am so thankful for my bridesmaids. I chose three really good friends from church/college and so far, they’ve been nothing but super supportive and accommodating. Lena, my MOH, Sally, and Junia also have a lot in common: they’re all Kim’s (my future last name, EEK!) and they’re all teachers-in-training- with Lena applying for grad programs, Sally working on her credential at CSU Eastbay, and Junia teaching abroad in Taiwan.

Since there were only three of them, I had to nix the idea of matching colors in different styles, a trend I 100% support and love. In the early, early stages of planning, I had seriously considered having them wear black (the uber practical and most classy) but I later realized that having them wear color would add to the colorful-ness of the wedding and help alleviate the need for more flowers. Then, after choosing my colors- plum/purple and sage/light green- I knew I wanted them to wear purple given how green the vineyard and setting around them would be. Thus began my search for purple dresses!

Like most of the wedding world, I loved Jenny Yoo and J Crew for their dresses that come in a variety of lovely styles and colors. Unfortunately, most were in the $150-250 price range and therefore over my budget. I wanted to try to find dresses under $100 and so I remembered that a lot of my married friends and previous brides have found their bridesmaids dresses through non-official bridesmaids channels, like Target, Anthropologie, Ann Taylor, Newport News, Victoria’s Secret, etc. After combing through most of those websites, I found a couple dresses I liked at Target (surprise surprise!):

These dresses were a little on the casual side, but because the color seemed right and they were under $100 (plus free shipping and returns to store), I ordered them in a few sizes to see if they might work. I kind of like the look of long bridesmaids dresses but because my bridesmaids are all varying heights, I conceded that shorter dresses would eliminate at least some of the alterations necessary.

Meanwhile, I also began hunting for shoes. Target again pulled through with really pretty purple pumps:
Given my height (5’10”) and Bryan’s height (5’8″), these pretty pumps weren’t an option for me- but they were definitely an option for my bridesmaids! My three bridesmaids are all significantly shorter than our groomsmen (5’2″, 5’3″ and 5’5″ compared with 6’4″, 6’2″, and 5’9″) and so I ordered some of these shoes to compare other bridesmaids dresses and all of the varying shades of purple.

I was really happy with these finds, but in the end, I didn’t really need them… to be continued!

bridal salon visit #4

February 17, 2010

Destination #3: Jessica McClintock Outlet, San Francisco (Yelp)

So technically this was not a bridal salon- it was more of a wedding dress outlet. To compare, it was kind of like a TJ Maxx or Nordstrom Rack… no plushy carpet, no pretty decorations, just lots of racks of pretty intensely discounted dresses. Based on Yelp and the comments of a few friends, I didn’t have high hopes to find THE DRESS at the outlet, but hey, you never know! The mere possibility of finding a dress for less than $100 was pretty dang enticing.

Lena, my MOH, and I coordinated our schedules and figured out the Muni schedule so that we could take an extended lunch break and trek out to the outlet. After reading some of the Yelp reviews, I was expecting some kind of crazy sample sale madness, but t was WAY less crazy than I had expected, maybe because it was around 11am on a weekday. Lena and I were among the only people there, so we had lots of space to comb through the racks and pull things we liked.

The larger half of the store is dedicated to bridesmaids dresses (or party/special occasion dresses, I guess) in a variety of colors. There were maybe 3 or 4 dresses in purple and so we looked at the one we liked and Lena tried it on. Unfortunately they didn’t have the sizes we needed, but if they did, the $60 price tag would have been a really good deal. We would have had to get them altered so I guess it would cost more but… whatever. Everything’s final sale there, so we moved on!

We then combed through the racks of wedding dresses and pulled almost anything in my size just for the sake of trying it on. There were maybe 5 or 6 different styles I pulled from the racks, which weren’t organized by size or style or anything like that. We went into the huge-o changing room (locker room style, no pictures) and tried on the dresses.

I didn’t like most of the dresses, but the last one I tried on caught my attention. It had a small train (unlike all of the other dresses) and even though it was simple, it was simple in a pretty, minimalistic way. I actually hadn’t wanted to try it on because it looked too simple, but I’m glad I did.

Lesson Learned #5: Looks can be deceiving! Try and try again!

I LOVED the price tag (~$60?) but the only real problem with the dress was that it was too short in the front (hovered over the ground instead of on in) and I wasn’t sure how much work it would be to get it altered. Juuust in case, I tried on a few other dresses in the same size but the same issue came up– too short :( It was a weird issue because it didn’t come up at any of the other salons, but good to know, I guess.

Another random note- given the nature of the store and the changing room, all of the dresses were really dirty on the bottom and along the train- so cleaning fees are something to consider.

Given the return policy and how I wasn’t 100% in love with the dress, I left it there. I figured that if I didn’t find any thing I really liked in SoCal that coming weekend, I could fall back on the $100 plan B… B for SUPER budget-friendly!

the (paper) goods

February 12, 2010

Although I’ve only been posting about the wedding dress search, TONS has been going on behind the scenes… I just haven’t had the time or energy to document it all. But, I will! … or I’ll try to, at least.

Thankfully one of my “vendors”, Janet of Whimsical Thumb, has decided to start blogging as well! As soon as everything goes more public with the theme and design and invitations and website, she’ll post pictures and such on her blog. Here’s the general status of everything (invitations, envelopes, directions insert, thank you cards, etcetc), and she already somewhat document the huge headache (and later victory) that came from trying to print addresses onto our envelopes (instead of using *icky* labels or paying for super expensive calligraphy) on this post.

Taking a step back, I love paper and could easily spend thousands of dollars on all of our stationery. Like many others, I love the classic, elegant look of letterpress invitations but it clearly (and unfortunately) wasn’t in our budget. The next best thing was to make sure that what we printed digitally was custom and personalized. After pouring over different sites and blogs, checking out other people’s featured work, I concluded that I liked a mix of simple, modern elements with cute, playful colors and fonts. Although I love the look of pretty orchids and flowery designs (like those on Wedding Paper Divas), they were a little too generic for me!

So, I had a lot of ideas about what I wanted my invitations and such to look like, which led to dozens (if not hundreds?) of email exchanges and GChat conversations over the intricacies of design, things she needed from me, paper measurements, and more. We had a lot of fun drawing on scratch paper and napkins, going back and forth about different ways to fold the paper, different sizes of paper, crazy in-the-clouds ideas like perforation and punching out holes, but I’m really really happy with what we came up with.

Janet’s GREAT at what she does, and I’m so excited to send them out soon!

bridal salon visit #3

February 11, 2010

Destination #3: Trudys, Campbell (Yelp)

Trudy’s was kind of a mix between Glamour Closet and Bay Area Bridal for me. It had the huge selection and dozens of consultants running around, but it also felt a little more luxurious. They had lemon infused water and small cookies available when you walked in– that says something, right?

I didn’t see a super unanimous love for any one consultant, so I didn’t ask for anyone in particular when scheduling my appointment. It’s funny, actually, how I ended up with an appointment. I had called and was told that they didn’t have anything that fit my availability so I kind of gave up. Buuuut, then, I was perusing the website and they have a form you can fill out with preferred times to schedule an appointment. I figured it couldn’t hurt to try again, and guess what? Appointment confirmed. Wahoo!

Lesson learned #3: Try and try again!

I was introduced to Sheryl when I got there and she walked me over to a really quiet part of the salon and asked me some questions about my date, preferred styles, size, budget, etc. She then disappeared for a little while perusing the hundreds of dresses around. She had a very different approach to everything than Jessica at Bay Area Bridal. Rather than just bringing me dresses I had picked out or liked, she kind of tried to problem solve and brought different types of dresses each time. I could tell she was really trying to find something perfect for me.

I had mentioned my whole no-strapless dream but also admitted that I knew it was really difficult to find based on what I had already seen. But… she was so nice about it! I could tell she was really trying because she brought me a couple of dresses with straps initially, one that I kind of liked from Mori Lee. Lena and my other friend didn’t really like the dresses she had brought out, so out she went again. Tried a couple of strapless dresses that were just okay- I think there was a little too much beadwork and embellishment on them. Then she kind of asked about lace and brought out this lacey beaded type dress with straps and a high back. I tried it on and initially didn’t really like it, but when I turned around and saw the high back, I LOVED. Seriously girls, high back is so pretty. Hahahaha… the rest of the dress didn’t look quite right or fit quite perfectly (the bust in particular) so I took it off and tried more.

Then, when Sheryl was looking for more dresses, I noticed the price tag on the lace dress. $400. WHAT THE. $400?!?!?! I tried it on again… she tried to show me how we could alter it and such, and I seriously, seriously considered buying the dress. In the end, it was a no- but seriously, $400? I was really surprised because the dress was really different than anything I had ever imagined wearing on my wedding day… but I was glad I had tried it on and went through that experience.

Lesson learned #4: Try on dresses you would never imagine wearing. What do you have to lose?

By this time, I was getting a little bit of wedding-dress fatigue so we thanked Sheryl and left. I didn’t expect to get hit by wedding-dress lightning, but I’m definitely hoping I find my dress this upcoming weekend when I go back to LA. *crossing fingers!*

bridal salon visit #2

February 10, 2010

Destination #2: Bay Area Bridal, Cupertino (Yelp)

A few Saturdays back, Bryan and I took a trip to the South Bay to meet up with a few friends who lived in the San Jose/Fremont area. Inbetween lunch and dinner, a good friend & my Maid of Honor, Lena, joined me in visiting two of the more well-known stores.

Bay Area Bridal definitely had a different feel than my visit to Glamour Closet. When I walked in, they had me sign in and then showed me these huge binders full of dresses and asked me to pull out the ones that I liked. I pulled about 10 images and then met with Jessica, my consultant for the day. The people of Yelp LOVE Jessica so I made sure to ask for her when I made my appointment.

Lesson learned #2: Different bridal consultants make a huge impact!

She was kind of younger, Chinese, and definitely knew her stuff. She asked my budget and then told me which of the dresses worked within that range (less than $1000). One of the dresses she removed I actually had really liked, so I ended up trying on 1 dress out of my desired price range, 2-3 that I had picked from the binder, and another 2-3 that Jessica picked based on my feedback and comments.

Jessica took me into a glorified fitting room and helped me getting into one dress… then the next, the next, etc. She was cheerful despite how busy she seemed, and offered feedback whenever I asked. There were a handful of other parties there at the same time, but I didn’t really mind. I ended up liking two of the Maggie Sottero dresses I had tried on (Adele and Madison, I think? both between $800-900) and then the too-expensive dress that I had asked for- Mikaella 1409 ($1210). They let us take pictures so I have a few to remember the dresses- including some with veils. I don’t really love love veils, but I once overheard a conversation where the mom or consultant or friend basically told the bride, “Your wedding is the only day you get to wear a train and a veil, so do it!” I’ll probably follow her advice. :)

Because the wedding’s coming up so soon, I’m unable to go the normal route and order a dress from the maker and have it shipped here, etc. Instead, I’ll probably end up buying a sample dress (I think I’m a size 10, mayyybe an 8 depending on the dress) and hopefully bargaining a little.

As I left, Jessica gave me her card and all the info on the two dresses I had liked and told me to call her if I ended up finding another dress I liked somewhere else because they could always try to make it work here too. I left Bay Area pretty content since I had found a couple of things I liked and that’s always good news!

Some conclusions/thoughts:

  • I like Taffeta! It’s not as clingy and has a slightly more casual feel, which would work with the outdoor ceremony/reception. I’m not attached to it, but definitely something I’m thinking about.
  • Pockets are definitely as awesome as they sound. Maybe they’d be too dangerous because I’d be so tempted to stick my Blackberry in my pocket…
  • I prefer straight over sweetheart necklines
  • I’m probably going to end up with a strapless dress (despite all my non-strapless ranting earlier) purely because of selection and options available
Okay. Next stop, Trudys!