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I've collected several photos through the image search feature on Google. If any of the featured images are yours, please contact me so I can add a credit if I haven't done so already. I will also gladly remove an image upon request. And please return the favor of crediting: if you use one of my photos, please link back to me! Thanks for all the inspiration!

Friday, January 30, 2009

Engagement Photo Session Date Is Set!

We've finally set our engagement photo session date for February 21st! It'll be earlier on the same day as our engagement party so we can just bask in a whole day of engagement festivities. As I've mentioned before, our session will take place in Athens, GA, aka the Classic City. We met here, attend college here, live together here, and share in our favorite past time here: Georgia football! If it weren't for growing up dreaming of a wedding in Savannah and living here for six years, I would have easily chosen Athens as the site for our wedding. But we'll still have plenty of parties and showers here and our engagement photos will be in our guest book, so I think I've covered Athens pretty well.

I wanted to share with everyone some of the places I would love to have as a backdrop of our photos (especially those of you who have been unfortunate enough to never visit this amazing city).

Easily one of the most recognizable icons in Athens is the Arch that separates downtown from the University of Georgia campus. A lot of people don't realize that the campus was the first thing built in Athens and the surrounding city (namely downtown) was then built around it. It is said that any underclassman that walk under the Arch will never graduate. Needless to say, I've steered clear (Even though I already have one degree, I don't want my other one compromised!).

Just across the street from the Arch is historic downtown Athens. It's full of so many landmarks that anyone who's ever been to Athens would recognize in an instant. One of the more famous buildings is the Georgia Theatre. Some of you may remember it from the music video of some singer/songwriter guy named John Mayer (who is that guy? :P). He shot "No Such Thing" in the GA Theatre. Athens music scene is insanely full of crazy good talent. R.E.M. and the B-52's of just a few other names to come out of this city.

I love all of the historic buildings in Athens. Here's a photo of the Tanner Building (now used for art classes) that is just gorgeous.

The Chapel on North Campus has been the sight for many many many weddings over the years. It would be just plain romantic to have a picture in front of this building.

Last but absolutely not least is Sanford Stadium. There's no way we'd have an e-session without including shots of the stadium in the background. But our photographer Lindsi had an even better idea: how about INSIDE it? We've spent countless Saturdays in the fall inside the stadium, so why not capture some of that in our photos? So we called around and got permission to shoot inside! This is the part of the session I'm most excited about (for obvious reasons!). I cannot wait to see how these shots turn out!

February 21st can't get here soon enough! Now I just need to find an outfit for the session...

"There's a saying in Georgia:
If you lead a good life and say your prayers,
when you die you'll go to Athens."
-The Princeton Review-

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Red Hot Wedding Day Shoes

[Edit] I forgot to mention that I got my ring back today! Saying I'm absolutely thrilled is an understatement. :)

Now that I've finally picked out wedding colors, I can start thinking about color details. I absolutely love the emerging trend of wedding shoes in the same hue as one of the wedding's accent colors. Because deep red is one of my colors, I will be shopping for shoes something like this:

Photo Source

Wearing fabulous shoes is so me, not to mention they'll make for great photo ops!

How many of you are secretly thinking I'm crazy for wanting to wear stilettos for an outdoor ceremony on grass right now? Well don't worry, I've thought this through! Since Chris is 6'2 and I'm barely 5'6, wearing flats is completely out of the question for me. I'm wearing sky high heels and found a way to do it without sinking into the grass on the way down the aisle: heel stoppers!

They come in so many designs, most in clear with crystal designs. They make the surface of the heel wider so you don't sink into the ground. I love these so much that I'll be including them in my BM's gift baskets for the bridesmaids' luncheon so my girls can wear heels as well during the ceremony! (Haha, I just realized that my girls are going to know everything I'm getting/doing for them because of this blog! Oh well!)

Speaking of shoes, I found a cute idea where all the BM's sign the bottom of the shoes after the ceremony so it makes them even more special. Definitely going to do that! :)

Homemade Centerpieces & Lighting

I've decided that I'm going to make my centerpieces a DIY project. I'm just not big on floral arrangements because quite frankly, flowers die. Of course if I had an unlimited budget, I'd be more for elaborate floral arrangements in a heartbeat.

So my idea for the centerpieces is to focus on mood lighting. I want a soft, romantic feel to the reception hall. And since I have a slight love for vintage/antique items, I think I've found my choice as the focal point for the tables. I'll be doing a combination of lanterns, tea lights, floating candles, candelabras, and submerged flowers (preferably orchids).

Here's the overall "feel" I'm going for:

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Every other table will have either a lantern surrounded by tea lights, the floating candles and submerged flowers in mason jars, or a vintage-style candelabra to keep with the southern theme.

One of the clear perks of making my own centerpieces is getting to keep my creations after the wedding. I will be able to use them as home decor, sell what I don't need, or even dress them up as gifts for friends! Not to mention I'll save tons of moolah on the floral bill!

Here's some pictures of the items I have my eye on:

These are the main lanterns I want for the reception site. I can get enough of these to decorate the whole space for less than $50! They'll look super cute after the wedding as indoor and/or outdoor decor for our home.

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I love the "southern" nostalgia of mason jars. And I've found cases of a dozen for only $8.99 online! The submerged flowers will be in mason jars as well as tea lights and/or floating candles. I might do ribbons in my colors like this:

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In a perfect world, I'd be able to catch fireflies to display in some of the jars like this. I also love the tea lights around jar. Simple but enchanting.

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Here's what I'm talking about with the submerged orchids and floating candles. Just imagine these in mason jars.

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I also love candles that float in a sea of water pearls. I want to up the romantic appeal by using vintage inspired candle holders. Is that yard sale/flea market rummaging I see in my future?

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Don't you just LOVE the effect created using floating candles in water pearls?

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I found battery operated LED paper lanterns online for only $5 a piece. I'm going to scatter these along the ceiling of the hall to compliment the mini lights already in the site (click here for pics from Savannah Station). Here's an idea of what it'll look like (but I'll have far fewer lanterns):

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I absolutely LOVE fancy chandeliers. But since it would be outrageously expensive to buy and install some, I'll do the next best option: elaborate candelabras dripping with crystals! This will be a very cheap DIY compared to buying them. I can spray paint the candelabra and attach the crystals (sold a dime a dozen online) myself. Anyone who knows me knows I have to have some "glitter & sparkle" somewhere in the reception, so this will be it!

This one is only $14 on Ebay! I might not have to make them after all! How adorable is this?!?

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Last but not least, I want to incorporate my favorite pattern, damask, on the tables. Instead of doing it in black and white, I'll probably have the pattern in cream tones to go along with our color scheme and add a little class to the otherwise very laid-back decor.

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I know that it seems like a lot, but it'll basically allow for about 3 different table themes (for our 10 tables) throughout the room instead of cookie cutters of one style. I like the idea of mismatched but still complimentary decor for different tables.

Oh, I just filed my taxes today and I'll be using some of that money to put down deposits on vendors (finally!). I'm excited to actually start paying for things instead of just daydreaming about what I want. :)

Sunday, January 25, 2009

We have our photographer!!!

After much deliberation, Chris and I finally chose our wedding photographer. The winner is... *drumroll*...the fabulous Lindsi Jones! She was able to fit everything I wanted within my budget. Here's what I'm getting:

Engagement Session
Bridal Portrait Session
Rehearsal Dinner Coverage
Unlimited Wedding Day Coverage
2 Photographers
Images on DVD
Printing & Personal Use Privileges

We're currently setting up our engagement photo session which will be in Athens. We chose Athens because it's where our hearts will always live. If we weren't getting married in Savannah, it would definitely be Athens. I'm planning on making a yearbook style guestbook with our engagement photos for the wedding. This way we'll have a touch of the Classic City in our wedding! :)

I'm wrapping up this update quickly because I need to be out the door in 20 minutes. Chris and I are heading to the California Pizza Kitchen in Atlanta to eat dinner with one of his groomsmen, Dan, and Dan's wife. Brooke & Jimmy (who are also in the wedding party) will be joining us since they live in Atlanta as well. Can't wait to get on the road, I'm hungry! :D

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

My Wedding Colors & Possible Bridesmaids' Dresses!

So I had originally planned to dedicate this post to finding my wedding colors with my readers' help. But after spending a few hours brainstorming at my one of my bridesmaids' house along with another BM, I have not only found my colors, but also some choices for their dresses. Thank you Ashley and Brittany!

Here they are! I'm going with shimmery deep chocolate (color shown doesn't do it justice), taupes, and champagne-brown hues and a deep red. It's hard to really show it online, but I think the pictures of the BM dresses will help get the point across. I'll be using the brown colors as the main hues for the BM dresses and my dress sash. The red will be used as an accent on flowers and the men's ties and some decor.

As for the BM dresses, I found some Jim Hjelm designs (my fave bridal designer) that I absolutely loved awhile back. But I put them in the back of my head because they are a little pricier and didn't want to put my girls in an awkward position of possibly not being able to afford them. But after receiving a catalog from Hjelm today and showing the girls the dresses, they both agreed that they loved them and have more than enough time to save for them (the dresses average around $210-250). We haven't decided on long or short, but we've picked out a few style choices with my wedding color combo. We wrote down the pros and cons for having long and short dresses, so once we see them in person it'll be easier to make a decision if I haven't by then.

Here goes!

This is one of my favorites. I love the pockets and it would fit loose enough for the girls to dance in!

Style JH5818

This is like a short version of the previous dress and is Brittany's favorite.

Style JH5863T

When I first saw this, I thought it was a long dress. I was pleasantly surprised when I noticed it's short! This was Ashley's fave.

Style JH5808T

I also liked this dress just because of the color combo. It looks so classy.

Style JH5701T

All of these dresses have different versions of each (different top styles like v-neck or strapless, or color combos, etc.). I'm making an appointment with High Maintenance in Athens for the last weekend in January to go look at some of these dresses. Not only are they an authorized Jim Hjelm seller, but I've also been a client of theirs before! I bought my last pageant gown from the store and loved all their staff. My mom, Brittany, and I (and any other BM who want to come) will go that weekend to check out the dresses in person. I'm also going to "test-drive" some wedding gowns there and at David's Bridal so I'll know what style I really like and my true size before hitting the ROTBs in March.

Other big news: Brittany is throwing us an engagement party at her house on February 21st! I'm getting together a guest list for her and then it's all in her and my other bridesmaids' hands from then on. It'll be nice not to have to plan something and just show up and enjoy the night. Can't wait!

Sunday, January 18, 2009

The E-Ring Blues & Registry News!

Today was a very sad day. I had to part ways with my engagement ring so it could be sized. It will take a couple of weeks for us to be reacquainted. Ladies and gentlemen considering engagement: if you have the chance to size the ring BEFORE the proposal, DO IT. It has been TORTURE not having my ring to stare at like usual, and it's only been about 8 hours without it. :(

The good news of the day was having my mom visit. We went out to eat for lunch and then did our usual shopping trips around town. We decided to get a jump start on my registries while we were out and about. I know it's early, but I'm afraid that when the time comes to do this (according to a suggested wedding time line) I'll be too busy with finals or an internship. Gift registries sort of intimidate me because I don't really know what I'll need or will really use. It feels so "adult" to upgrade from our cheap silverware (and sometimes plastic-ware) to formal flatware or from busted pots to amazing professional cookware. Then there's the fact that Chris and I have been living together for over a year, so we already have a lot of things that are typical on registry lists. So it was great having my mom there to help guide me around what I'll really need and what I won't.

We made our first stop at Macy's and I almost felt shunned by the 20-something-"I don't really want to be working today"-girl who was supposed to give the "personal bridal registry consulting" as describe online. We stayed for about 15 minutes and only registered for the Vera Wang Love Knots toasting flutes, a towel set, and an ice cream maker before we decided to give up and leave. But I did get a nice tote with a whole bunch of freebies like a wedding planner geared for Georgia brides! Not a total loss.

Next, we went to Bed Bath & Beyond and were blown away by their registry consultant. We ended up staying for almost 4 hours getting the VIP treatment. Our consultant, Michael, explained all the perks and rewards of their registry (like getting to shop before and after the store closes and getting free stuff just for signing up for certain items!) and gave us a tour of the store and recommended items. Their consultants don't work on any kind of commission and they have to take classes to learn about all the different brands of items they sell, so I felt confident that he knew his stuff and was really trying to help me get the things I need. What's more is that he's currently engaged and is going through all the same processes I am! He's working at BB&B until his fiance finishes grad school at UGA. I made sure to get his card so we could have him help every time I come in (since I only finished going through about 1/4 of the store in those 4 hours!). I was so impressed by their assistance that I'm canceling my Macy's registry. Besides, they had all the same items at BB&B for better prices. I was worried about the lack of BB&B around south Georgia, but if people want to buy from there, they can order everything online and have it shipped to their house or to mine.

Mom's coming back up in a couple weeks so I'll finish registering at BB&B and probably hit Target and one other store that weekend. I'm just getting the basics down now so I can add other items later on without feeling rushed to pick out things as our shower dates approach. I'm the type of girl who likes to get things out of the way sooner than later.

I better get to bed. Before Mom leaves tomorrow we're going to drive around Athens and take pictures of landmarks so I can finally fill my frames on my "Athens Wall" in the living room! :)

Next post: Help me pick out my wedding colors!

Friday, January 16, 2009

We have our officiant!!!

I'm extremely thrilled to announce that my hometown pastor will marry me and Chris! I've attended Messiah Lutheran Church in Valdosta, GA since 1999. My pastor, Rev. Richard Pieplow, and his wife will travel to Savannah to officiate our wedding ceremony.

I was fortunate enough to get to choose my religious denomination when I was younger. My family never really attended church when I was a child, so I would tag along with friends here and there to different church services (everything from Southern Baptist to Pentecostal). I never quite felt like I "fit in" even though I enjoyed the messages of the services. It was the style in which those messages were delivered that made me know they just weren't right for me.

After my father died in 1998, my mom decided it was time to turn to God to help answer some of our questions and problems. Her best friend was already attending a church, so it was only natural that she picked the same one. That church, Messiah Lutheran, ended up being my pick as well. It was also the church that handled my dad's funeral and I remember how much Pastor Pieplow's words helped my mom during that time.

My mom wanted us to go with her the first few times when we began attending. But she made it clear that it was our decision whether we wanted to continue to go after that. Ultimately, my little brother and sister and I decided this was the right place for us. Every Sunday, we made the 40 minute drive to Valdosta to attend Sunday/youth group school, Confirmation classes, and the regular service. We all became very involved in different ways from performing acolyting duties to helping in the nursery and setting up the altar. We've performed in Christmas "pageants", read Bible readings during the service, and volunteered as ushers. Anytime there was something to help out with, our family was there. We even all got baptised on the same day at that church! I'll never forget officially being welcomed into our new church family.

Over the years, I've moved away to attend college and haven't had the chance to make it back to my hometown church as much as I'd like. I now really only attend on Easter and Christmas Eve and a couple random Sundays when I know I can get a late start on the road back to Athens after a weekend visit. It's always refreshing to go back and catch up with everyone from the congregation (everyone knows everyone!) and hear one of Pastor's classic sermons that always starts with a funny story. Although I found another church in Athens, it's never compared to "my" church.

I'm really looking forward to having such a special person be such an intrical part of the beginning of our marriage. Pastor Pieplow has been there for my family in our toughest times and he'll be there in some of our happiest times! :)

Monday, January 12, 2009

Bridesmaids' Tea Party Luncheon

Bride Wars was SO much fun! I had a blast with Ashley, Brittany, and Amanda (except for the part when they kicked me out of the car so they could discuss secret things about me that I can only assume were ideas for the bachelorette party! :P). The movie was super cute and I identified so much with Kate Hudson's character, Liv. If you're thinking about seeing it, go! Especially if you're a soon-to-be bride! But I'll just say this: if I were in their situation, it would have never gotten that far. Someone, namely the wedding planner, would have gotten their butts sued BIG TIME. haha Oh, and Anne Hathaway's legs during the bachelorette party scene made me want to get my "cottage cheese" legs in the gym quick! ;)

I've slacked on updating the blog because I had so much to do this weekend. Besides the movie, I met up with old work friends and met Chris' best man, Don, for the first time. Don and his wife Meredith were so awesome. It felt as though we've known each other for years! They recently moved to Greenville, S.C. from Charlotte, N.C., so we should be able to see them more often now since it's only about 2 hours away. Now I just have to meet Dan, the only other groomsman I've never met. I already speak to him a lot on Facebook, so I know he and his wife will be awesome as well. I am loving making new friends, especially ones that are already Chris's friends and are married. I'll still love all my single friends, but there's something comforting about having married friends to go to for advice or to just hang out with as couples.

Back to wedding planning! I've realized how much my A.D.D. is interfering with my planning. I simply don't plan in a logical order because I'm at the mercy of ideas spasticly popping into my head at any time. The latest idea is for my bridesmaids luncheon. I want to do something really fun and girly. So I've decided that I'm going to treat my ladies to an old fashioned tea party!

I did some research and found a place in Savannah called the Savannah Tea Room. They have a variety of teas and sweets and lunch items and even wine and champagne. But to make this even more fun, I want the girls to dress in "tea party" dresses & hats (think Kentucky Derby style!). I told the girls about my idea for the luncheon this weekend and they love it! Now I just have to find a place that sells affordable hats for the tea party. Any ideas?

Good Lord. I just glanced at the clock and I need to go to bed.

Photo Source

Thursday, January 8, 2009

The one bad thing about my fall wedding... that there's a UGA football game on it. When Chris and I picked out our date-before we even got engaged-it was originally a bye weekend. Chris and I are HUGE college football fans, so I didn't want my dream of an autumn wedding to conflict with a UGA game. But since picking the date, the university added some nobody football school to the schedule. Who's ever heard of Tennessee Tech? Nobody? That's what I thought.

What's worse is that it's a home game in Athens, where a handful of our guests (and us) are living now. I'm hoping people will be okay with missing this game. I'm guessing it'll be a 12:30 pm kickoff with an easy win (at least on paper), so Dawg fans on my guest list will be able to watch the entire game-if aired on a network in Savannah-before the wedding even begins. I'm looking into getting a TV in the reception area somewhere so people can stay up to date with other big games that day (including me!). I have to find out if they already have cable hookups to do this. I feel like the guys in those Verizon V-Cast commercials who are checking score updates during a wedding and honeymoon. I know Chris and I both will ask for updates at least a couple times during the reception from people with iPhones and whatnot. haha

Again, today is short on the wedding updates because I started spring semester and have to work until almost 1 am tonight. This is going to be interesting how much wedding stuff I accomplish now that I back at work and school... Thank goodness there's summer break before the wedding!

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Our (tentative) Wedding Menu!

Thanks to my fabulous future sis-in-law, Chris and I have our tentative wedding menu from The Lady & Sons! As soon as I have the $200 to reserve them, it'll be official!

Without further ado, my "Southern Comfort Food" wedding menu:

Hors D'oeuvres for the Cocktail Hour:
(Made by my lovely mother to save money)

Veggie Platter
Fruit Platter
Cheese & Crackers Platter
Pigs in a Blanket w/ Dipping Sauce

(served buffet style)


Baked Chicken
BBQ Pork
Country Steak in Gravy
Crab Cakes
Scallops wrapped in Applewood Smoked Bacon

Side Items:

Mac n Cheese
Creamed Potatoes
Corn on the Cob
Green Beans

(besides bride & groom's cake)

-Peach Cobbler
-Candy Buffet Table (DIY by yours truly)

(first 3 also served during ceremony)

-Sweet AND unsweetened tea
-Lemonade (another DIY)
-Bottled Coca Cola (possibility)
-Alcohol (full open bar)

Although we haven't finalized the final guest list count, we're doing our preliminary head count at 75 people ATTENDING. We'll probably send out close to 110 invites, but we already know about 20 family members who will not be able to make the trip (from California & NY). So with 75 people, our total for the catering will be $1959 or $26 a person. This total includes fees for chafing dishes, an action chef, place settings (stainless flatware, dinner, salad plates, water, red & white wine glasses, and champagne flutes), and of course taxes. And because The Lady & Sons are a preferred caterer of Savannah Station, we won't have to worry about paying $500 to let an outside caterer feed our guests. And the Station provides tables and chairs included in the cost of renting the facility. Of course, we're overestimating costs so we're not caught off guard if more people RSVP than we expected.

Even though we're doing a buffet for dinner, I still want to have a seating chart. I think it's important that I use this once in a lifetime event as a way to let everyone meet each other. Without a chart, people tend to sit next to friends and don't mingle much. I will think the chart out very carefully to match people with similar interests and personalities who've never met (but I won't separate couples). I just know that all these people will never gather in the same place again and it would be a shame for people to miss out on the opportunity to get to know someone Chris & I love better.

I should get to bed. I have the start of my last semester of traditional classes tomorrow.

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Bride Wars!

I'm counting down the days until Saturday, when I'll have my first official outing with my maids. We're going to lunch and then a matinee of "Bride Wars" in a nearby town (best neutral meeting place).

My maids are scattered from Atlanta to Savannah, so I'm planning a couple get-togethers between now and November so they can get to know each other better. I want my wedding events to be big parties where everyone has fun. I think it's necessary that everyone become friends before those big events leading up to the wedding day. At Leslie's wedding, we all had so much fun because almost everyone in the wedding party had already hung out a few times before.

No new wedding planning updates today, other than my growing frustration with not finding one photographer that meets all my needs while staying within my budget. I know I'm going to have to sacrifice something, but I just haven't quite comes to terms with this yet. :(

The best news of the day: Amanda got my camera and phone back from the limo and overnight shipped them to me, so I should have them by tomorrow afternoon! Get ready for those much overdue proposal pictures!!! :D

Photo Source

Monday, January 5, 2009

The Running of the Brides

As I've already mentioned, I'm on a very tight budget for my wedding. I'm not even sure of the final budget number (I'm dreading the "how much can you help me" talk with my mom) but I have a working number in my head. It's going to come from left over loan money, lots of extra shifts at work, cutting back in everyday spending, selling stuff on Ebay, whatever Mom can give, and of course, Chris's family.

I prefer not to list the budget number until after the wedding, where I promise I will break down all the wedding costs one by one. And if any of you are REALLY wanting to know how much I'm spending, I'm sure that you'll be able to keep track with individual items as I book, reserve, and pay for them. But that would make you a borderline stalker. :P

With all that said, I will routinely list ways I'm planning on saving money during the planning/paying process. One of those ways is with the dress. I know a lot of girls would never dream of the dress being anything BUT the most important item on the budget. I'm not one of those girls. I'm willing to save on the dress to add to another area (photography!) on my wedding day. Brides wear their dresses for maybe 12 hours max and then never again.

Don't get me wrong. I definitely want a gorgeous gown that will illicit gasps & awes as I walk down the aisle. But I'm not willing to spend a lot on it. Period. This is where "The Running of the Brides" comes in. Once a year, select Filene's Basements hold an event where thousands of designer gowns are marked down drastically for brides-to-be. I'm fortunate enough to be living a little over an hour outside of Atlanta where one of these events are held. So can you guess what I'll be doing on March 20th this year?!?! My bridesmaids have already signed on to help take out anyone standing between me and my dream dress! Haha...but seriously, I'm sure Ashley might cut someone for me! ;)

I'll only have to take about $750 with me to the ROBs because they only sell dresses at 3 price points: $249, $499, and $699! They once had a $10,000 dress sell for $199 back in the day! So no matter what, I know I'll find my dream dress for an awesome deal.

The day before ROBs, my girls and I are going to have a sleepover so I can "drill" my mini army on what I want so they know what to grab. I'll also outfit my team with matching outfits so we get the full effect of the day (maybe the classic BM tank tops?). I've already had a style of dress in mind and I've even found a designer that carries a lot of those styles. I'll update later with more details on my dream wedding dress, but to hold you over here's an idea of what I'm wanting:

Photo Sources

Anyways, I ran across an awesome opportunity today regarding ROBs. is hosting a contest where a bride can win a dress from the event and even have her team outfitted in matching outfits for free! I thought about not posting it here in a public forum (who wants to slim their chances), but I'll look at it as good karma. ;) If I make it to the finals, I'll be coming back to hit everyone up for votes!

Reception Food & Catering

I'm in LOVE with my bridal party. They're all just as gung-ho as I am about the wedding planning! Two of my girls are already married and a third will be married by the time my wedding rolls around. This means I get to learn from their experiences for free! Who needs a wedding planner?!?

Anyways, I've already told them that I want the theme of my wedding to be "Romantic Southern Charm". In keeping with that theme, I want a sort of upscale take on southern comfort food but without the upscale price.

Well, my soon to be sister-in-law, Leslie, called today to let me know she did some searching of local caterers (she lives in my host city, Savannah). She found out that Paula Deen's (you may know her from the Food Network) restaurant The Lady & Sons is actually very affordable. I can get the Southern Buffet delivered to my site for $18.99 a head plus tax. I pick from 3 meats and 4 sides (including mac and cheese, my fave). I would also get cheese biscuits, one choice of 3 dessert options, and tea (sweet & unsweetened). I can also get fancy chafing dishes and hire their servers if I wish.

I think this is an amazing price considering The has my suggested per person food cost at nearly $60 a head. The only thing missing is seafood. Chris loves seafood and because our wedding will be on the coast, it's only appropriate to have some. So Leslie even sent them an email and asked how much more it would be to add items like crab cakes and the shrimp and grits. She hasn't heard back yet, but I thanked her big time for taking the initiative!

I hope this works out. Leslie, who just had a wedding in December of 2007, said that catering prices don't get much better than that.

Sunday, January 4, 2009

My Reception Dress!

I've always known I would want a separate dress to wear for the dancing portion of my reception. I don't want to get my wedding gown trashed after I break it down for one too many songs, lol. So after dinner, the cutting of the cake, the bouquet toss, and the first couple of dances, I'm going to change into a "bridal cocktail dress". We'll also probably hit River Street for the "after party" and I'll need a short dress to party in. I may add an inexpensive short veil to the ensemble since I'm not too keen on one for my actual wedding gown, but feel like I'll miss getting to wear one on my wedding day. This way, people will know I'm a bride while we're out on the town. I had originally planned to buy a dress like this:

But because I'm trying to keep the budget as tight as possible, I decided I'd just wear the dress I got engaged in on New Year's Eve! It's a Betsey Johnson "Teen Vogue" Strapless Sequin cocktail dress with a hot pink/fuchsia sash. Here's a picture of it:

This idea is perfect for four reasons:

1. I get more use out of this "special occasion only" dress.

2. I don't have to spend money on a new reception dress. This dress originally cost over $400 in the B.J. stores. But I found it on Ebay for $170 and then did a "Best Offer" for $100 shipped! On top of that, I'm selling other dresses on Ebay I don't wear anymore to make up for what I spent on it. I never spend that much money on ANY clothing because I'll typically end up feeling guilty about the purchase later. But this time I had no regrets because I ended up getting engaged in it! :)

3. It'll have a special significance since the only times I would have worn it will be the day I got engaged and the day I got married.

4. It'll be my way of getting my favorite color into the wedding: hot pink! I would never make pink one of my wedding colors because my groom and groomsmen would kill me. Not to mention hot pink doesn't really go with a fall wedding... So this way I can have my cake and eat it, too. Pun intended. ;)

Btw, if you'd like to help support my "wedding fund", you can buy a dress from me off Ebay here!

Wedding Photography

Today I spent most of my waking hours comparing photographers' wedding galleries online. Photography is one of my top priorities (along with the food/alcohol-let's get this party started!). It's the one thing that really lasts after the wedding comes and goes (besides our love, but that's understood).

I ended up making a spreadsheet with different categories to compare all of the top photographers I have my eye on. The categories included pricing, amount of wedding day coverage, whether they have more than one photographer or an assistant, whether they shoot in a photojournalist style, whether they provide options for an engagement photo session and rehearsal dinner coverage, and finally whether they charge travel fees. I then contacted each one with a list of what I am looking for in a photographer and my wedding date. Almost all of them have responded and sent a price list. One already has my date booked; hence the reason I am so on top of things!

Here are my top 3 choices right now:

Belletti Photography:

I actually met the photographer, Shannon, while attending a bridal show with a friend. She's very sweet and her work is absolutely STUNNING. Of course, so are her prices. But really, for everything she includes-2 photographers AND all day shooting PLUS no travel fee for my engagement photo shoot which will be in Athens, not to mention the sheer quality of her work-she's really quite fair. I may have to sell a kidney on the black market to afford her, but I probably wouldn't regret it. ;)

Gandy Photographers:

This is a husband and wife team and I know some of their clients. I was sold on them when I read their "message to the bride". This couple really seems to be in touch with what the typical bride is looking for when it comes to documenting her wedding. I haven't heard back from them yet, so their prices may be the make or break point for this choice.

Lindsi Jones Photography:

Lindsi actually graduated a couple years ahead of me from the same high school. She has done several of my friends' weddings (my matron of honor, Amanda, was one of her first clients!) and she continues to grow in her skills. Her work is gorgeous yet she is definitely the most affordable choice.

I think it may just come down to my what I can afford on my budget. Let me know what you think of these choices and whether you can make any recommendations!

Friday, January 2, 2009

My Dream Ceremony and Reception Sites

On the night of my engagement I left not only my beloved camera with all my photos from the occasion, but also my cell phone in the limo. I haven't really had the chance to talk to loved ones about my great news (except on Chris's phone which is ironically falling apart and drops calls at all the worst moments). I'll admit, it's been kind of nice not having the phone ring off the hook, but there are definitely more cons than pros to being phone-less.

One of those cons is not being able to officially snatch up my dream ceremony and reception sites. Since Chris and I have been planning to get engaged for a couple months now, I have already scouted out locations for the wedding. Today, I planned to try and get something done after sleeping in late and then bumming around. As soon as I thought to call for details on how to reserve these places, I remembered that I had no phone. :(

For those who don't know by now, I've always dreamed of a fall wedding in Savannah. Although fall is usually considered the "off season" for weddings, I'm still paranoid that I'm going to miss out on these vital locations.

Guess you're wondering what the locations are? Well, for my ceremony, Chris and I chose the charming Whitfield Square in historic downtown Savannah. It has this cute white gazebo that will be the perfect backdrop for the ceremony. As for the reception site, I have my eye on Savannah Station, which is only a mile from the ceremony site. I love the history of the station and the fact that the interior works with our colors (which are deep red and either chocolate brown or black, not sure yet which one). We're planning on renting a trolley to take our guests back and forth between the two sites since we'll be asking them to park at the reception site.

I'm hoping to have my phone by Monday so I can hop on these reservations. In the meantime, enjoy the photos of the two sites!

Savannah Station Photos Source

My Ring!

For those of you wondering what my ring looks like, here it is!

It's a 1.5 t.w. carat round cut center diamond surrounded by a halo and micro-pave band set in 14k white gold (we're going to re-plate it in platinum on our 5 year anniversary) and it has a matching wedding band. I actually got to pick out my own ring! This was after a couple months of researching rings that fit Chris's high standards and my very picky taste. :)

Chris had to have a temporary sizer put on it because he didn't have time to properly size it before the proposal.

We're getting my current ring appraised and insured and then sent off for verification since it didn't come with a grading report (we purchased from Zale's because this was the only setting I've found that I liked in months of research). Depending on what the report states, Chris wants to upgrade the diamond and pass down the current one to our daughter one day. I really don't care if we upgrade this one or not, because I'm in love with it as is!

If we do it that way, Chris will get the diamond that matches his standards and I get the setting I loved! We love that my ring has room to grow as we pass milestone anniversaries!

So long story short, we don't know all the c's quite yet. But I DO know it doesn't have any visible imperfections.

It's no secret...weddings are overwhelming!

It's 4:30 am. Why am I still up? Because I just got engaged (on New Year's Eve 2008) and I'm already falling into an abyss of browsing the internet for wedding ideas! I can't stop! I'm tired, a little hungry, and my eyes are starting to hurt from glaring at the computer screen. Yet, I keep going. I've even started my official wedding blog (hint hint: you're reading it) and set up my wedding website (found at

This will be the place where I document every step of the wedding planning. I hope to entertain my friends and family while keeping them informed with all the decisions I make. I hope to inspire other brides-to-be out there on the world wide web the way I've been getting inspired tonight. I hope to keep my sanity by using this blog as a "catch all" wedding planning organizer (I'm a type A, ADD, perfectionist. No bridezilla, right?).

I hope you bookmark this blog and visit often, sharing your comments and suggestions along the way.

Here's to the official start of my wedding planning adventure! Oh, and Happy New Year's everyone!