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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!

Sunday, May 31, 2009

ROCK-ing the Wedding Bands.

There wasn't any music, but I sure was dancing today. Why? Cause I bought Mr. Lab's wedding ring! Woot! AND I got it at an AMAZING steal! Double woot!

Mr. Lab came to visit me and his mom (remember, I'm staying with FMIL Lab during my internship) for the weekend and we decided to get some much needed wedding tasks done while he was in town. So we worked on our registries (our first shower is coming up in a few weeks!), mailed the save the dates, and met with our officiant (more on all of those later!).

The last thing we did was stop into Zales to peruse the men's section. I took the opportunity to have my filthy ring cleaned as Mr. Lab began trying on rings. I must say, I was very surprised at how much interest he took in the matter. He already knew he wanted a ring that was very simple and manly, but he began grilling the lady at the counter about millimeter size, fit, and metal choices. After about 15 minutes, we knew exactly what we wanted. We left the store to head straight back home and hop on the internet. That's right, we didn't buy from the store. We used them to find out Mr. Lab's ring size and metal preference then went straight to where we bought this bad puppy:

Best part? I got it for $24 shipped! They were having a 20% off sale plus free shipping! When we found this one on Amazon, he fell in love with it immediately. I felt weird about buying a ring for so little, but he assured me that this was what he wanted. So with just a few clicks of the mouse, it is now on its way to us! If he happens not to like it, Amazon has an amazing return policy, so no worries.

Mr. Lab loved the look and feel of tungsten the best. As soon as he picked out that particular metal, I knew we were looking at overpriced rings in the store. Zales sells their tungsten rings for $200-300! Here's one of the rings that he tried on in the store that is very similar to the one we purchased. We're still trying to figure out why there's such a big gap in the prices...


I've heard that the only real downside of tungsten is that the ring is nearly indestructible. This can be very scary for emergency situations. I don't want Mr. Lab to risk a finger if something were to go wrong (God forbid!), so I did a little research and found this great tutorial on emergency removal of a tungsten ring:

So now it's a win-win all around! I joke with Mr. Lab that his ring is the perfect reflection of him: strong and cheap! Trust me, if you saw Mr. Lab with his money, you'd think the same! ;)

So what about my wedding ring? Well after all that trash talk about Zales, I should come clean with the fact that my band actually came from them! Mr. Lab bought my ring as a set, so I've had it since we got engaged. The band fits snugly underneath the engagement ring:


I'm really happy that we don't have to go on a search to find my wedding band. The set option was one of the reasons why we decided on this particular ring!

Saturday, May 23, 2009


Yeah, that's right. I've been strutting around in the wedding blogging world like I actually have something to blog about. But in all actuality, my wedding plans are just that: plans.

I originally intended to share this post about my budget AFTER the wedding. But after much contemplation, I decided now is better than ever.

This is a straight pity post so feel free to stop reading at any point. No, seriously. The following is nothing but a quite pathetic rambling.

I have absolutely no clue how this wedding is going to come together by November given our VERY limited budget. When we first got engaged, we knew we'd want to keep the budget tight because we don't feel like it's necessary to spend tons to have an amazing wedding. However, as we started planning, we realized that we would still need to have at least $12,000 just to pull off a decent Savannah destination wedding for 75 guests, and that was PUSHING it. I mean, that's $15,000 UNDER the national average cost of a wedding.

So I got to work trying to figure out where this money would come from. We asked our parents if they would be willing to split the costs up evenly among all three parties instead of the traditional "bride's side pays for this, groom's side pays for that" mentality. Both of us have single mothers (FMIL just paid for FSIL's December 2007 wedding and Mama Lab has been sucked dry by the economy and some of my siblings who don't want to grow up). This option was the fairest way to go about it for everyone. After discussing the budget with the 'rents, it was agreed: both moms and the couple (and by couple, I really mean just me since Mr. Lab bought my ring) would contribute around $4,000 each.

Thing is, I think the only one who may hold up their end of the deal is FMIL Lab. She's already taking care of the entire rehearsal dinner and the open bar at the reception. My poor mom (no pun intended) keeps running into financial setbacks so she has yet to give me any money in our nearly 6 months of engagement. As for my part? Well...


It's even worse now because of my summer internships. Because I'm working at a news station, my hours are long and all over the place which means there's no time for even a part-time job. So the money I had originally planned to save over the summer is now non-existent. I've already spent about $3,000 on securing our ceremony & reception venues, a photographer, caterer, and save the dates (which arrived yesterday! yay!). So I've just about contributed my share. BUT, that money came mostly from leftover student loans. I know you fiscally responsible ones out there are cringing at the thought of using a student loan for a wedding, but it's one of my only options since I already live paycheck to paycheck. It would take at least another 5 years before Mr. Lab and I could pay for a wedding out of our own pockets, so we figured low-interest, subsidized loans were a better way to go compared to credit cards. I tried to pick up as many hours at work before leaving for the summer, but it's all going towards living expenses instead of wedding stuff now.

I fear that if my mom doesn't start helping soon, I'll be forced to use another student loan to help pay for her part. And if that happens, I won't have too much to blog about because I won't get that money until nearly September. And that's nerve-racking because it'll cut out 3 months of planning, creating, and reserving stuff for the wedding. If you've noticed, I've blogged about a lot of PLANS and not about actual purchases as it is already.

In anticipation of not having enough money as originally planned, I've been spending a lot of time finding ways to cut expenses. Here are some of the ways I'm doing this:
  • Using an up & coming photographer. Savings: $2000
  • Purchased the "digital negatives & printing rights" so I can print my own wedding albums. I'm also DIY our photo slideshow instead of relying on a photographer or videographer to do it for me. Savings: $1500
  • Forgoing fresh florals and opting for mood lighting and fake flowers instead.
  • Making my own centerpieces using bargain finds instead of buying or renting through a florist.
  • Buying an "inspired by" gown instead of its designer counterpart. Savings: $3800
  • Selling the gown I won from the Running of the Brides on Ebay to put towards other costs. Projected profit: $500
  • Reusing a dress I own for my reception/after party dress. Projected savings: $150
  • Borrowing as many items as possible from my friends' weddings. Like these candy jars. Projected savings $500
  • Having my MOH's MIL make all the wedding jewelry.
  • Using an iPod for the ceremony & cocktail hour music. Possibly for the reception as well (if we can find a reliable person to man it & the mic).
  • Using an Etsy seller to create a digital design for invites or DIY.
  • Mr. Lab's ring choice? Tungsten. Major savings.
  • Contemplating a Publix or DIY wedding cake since I want a "homemade-style" cake to fit in with our theme.
  • Doing a buffet instead of a seated dinner. Using a preferred vendor of our reception site to avoid a $500 fee.
  • Using our reception site as a back up ceremony site in the case of inclement weather. This eliminates the need for renting a tent.
  • Going a "mini-moon" instead of a honeymoon. Because the honeymoon is traditionally paid for by the groom's side, it freed up FMIL to help with the wedding itself. We're going on a "real" honeymoon on our 5th anniversary (hopefully).
  • Total projected savings so far: $9000+
I'm sure I'll find more ways to "trim the fat" off the budget along the way and still have a lovely wedding. I mean check out these beauts all under $10K! But there are some things I don't want to compromise on (like our venues).

In the meantime, I'm reminding myself to stay grateful for the fact that I'm even having a wedding. I know a lot of people out there are wishing upon shooting stars that they could have even $5K, let alone $12K for a wedding! Or the people out there who aren't even able to have a wedding because of laws or war or any other number of factors.

I guess the rainy day and the fact that I haven't seen Mr. Lab for a week now is aiding my pity party. I just hope this funk doesn't last too long...

Is your wedding budget or money woes giving you the blues?

Friday, May 15, 2009

My Ring, The Model.

Once again I spent a boring day at home. I decided to break up the monotony by doing what so many bees before me have done: take some artistic shots of my e-ring. It's like a rite of passage! Besides, my last mention of my ring broke the first rule of Weddingbee PRO Anne Ruthmann's tutorial on amazing engagement ring shots. I couldn't leave you guys with those amateur shots to remember my ring by!

So with the help of some items laying around the house and editing on iPhoto and, I came up with these new photos using my Sony Cyber-shot!

*WARNING* My ring was being a camera whore, so you'll have to excuse the number of photos. I took over 100 photos of her and narrowed it down to the 12 you're about to see!

This is a picture holder with a champagne bucket base. I had to play around with the adjustable threshold in Picnik until I couldn't see the pole for attaching a photo sticking up out it.

Sitting in the faux flowers that hang in sconces in our living room.

Some scrapbooking supplies left over from my FSIL's album I made for her engagement (still haven't finished it! eek!).

Sitting on top of crafting rhinestones. Used a focal zoom in Picnik for the effect.

This was by far the hardest photo to get. I had to use some tacky stuff (the only color I had was yellow) to keep the ring upright. I used a focal soften to draw the eye to the ring. I'm guessing the yellow down the middle is from the tacky stuff after I hit auto fix?

For these two I used the holga-ish option on Picnik. Both of these were taken on the same picture frame.

My graduation tassle.

This one was done using the 1960's option. The ring is on a fake rose petal shaped like a heart.

Cinematic scope on Picnik. The ring is on a button I wore for New Year's.

Vibrance mode with rounded edges. These are the shoes I was wearing we I got engaged! Pink's my fave color. :)

I used gritty & holga-ish on this. My ring is sitting on top of a picture frame that houses the first picture we took as an engaged couple!

I love MAC. Created using orton-ish on Picnik.

I shouldn't have to tell you what this is!

Thursday, May 14, 2009

And the Winner for Mr. & Miss Lab's Save the Date is...

The vintage Savannah postcard! They'll be customized with our information on the back, a circle around the square we're getting married at in the front, and will be super easy to send (just a stamp and they're off!).


The voting was very close between the Funky & Fun and this one. In fact, the Pose Print came in first with 40% while the postcard garnered 38% of the votes. I really appreciate everyone helping me make a timely decision.

I ended up going with this choice for a few reasons. First off, I was already leaning towards it before the voting even began. I was just wanting people to ease my mind on the idea of such a different STD. Then, I found out right after I made the post that the seller was willing to negotiate the price! As soon as I found them on Etsy, I sent a message to let her know that I was on a tight budget and she wrote back to say that because I was ordering so many, she could offer them at $.85 each! So that definitely helped seal the deal.

Finally, some of you voters gave me a good idea on how to essentially have all three designs throughout the wedding process! I get the postcard for the STD, I can use the Pose Print for a shower or party invite (which does seem more appropriate), and I can use the damask print for the actual invites and other wedding paper (menu, program, etc)! Having my cake and eating it, too! ;)

So hive, thank you for all the help! I'm sure I'll be coming to you many more times before November. Does anyone else have important decisions that they couldn't make without the hive's help?

Monday, May 11, 2009

Save the Date Options

We've already hit our 6 month mark on the wedding countdown. Because only 2 people on our guest list live in our wedding city, we need to send out STDs* to inform friends and family of our "destination wedding" SOON. But I keep going back and forth on possible STD options. How can something that's supposed to be so simple be so hard to pick out? I'm definitely gonna need the hive's help on this one.

I've been bored at home all day because of the down time between the end of classes/work and my internships. I took this rare free time as an opportunity to narrow down the choices to 3 (for now). Here they are!

Option 1: Simple & Classic

This option would ideally coordinate with the rest of the wedding paper details. Because a damask print will be incorporated in the wedding decor, why not use it on all the wedding correspondence? This option would also be perfect for incorporating an engagement photo. The particular design shown is only $16 for a digital file and I could print them anywhere, making it the cheapest option by far.

Option 2: Wedding City/Venue Theme

With this I would incorporate the city of Savannah or our venues. Maybe a train motif to symbolize Savannah Station? Or a postcard like this one from Etsy's turnofthecenturies that features Savannah's historic squares where we'll be married? I could customize the back with the essential information myself.

Option 3: Funky & Fun

But who says the STDs have to incorporate a detail from the wedding or its city at all? Maybe they can just be full of personality and completely different from all of the other wedding stationary? This is a mock up of a Pose Print STD featuring me and Mr. Lab!

I love each one for different reasons and can't choose by myself! So hive, which one do YOU think I should choose?


Option 1: Simple & Classic
Option 2: Wedding City/Venue Theme
Option 3: Funky & Fun
Option 4: None of the above. I have a great idea for a STD that fits your "Romantic Southern Charm" theme and will explain/post a link in the comment section!

*I never fail to let out a giggle when abbreviating save the date!

Hometown Newspaper Engagement Announcement

I don’t know if it’s a tradition everywhere but in the south, when you get married, you announce it to EVERYONE. Even before internet stalking-er, social-networks like Facebook emerged, the news of an impending marriage spread like wildfire where I'm from. Soon after getting engaged, my mother mentioned putting an announcement in our hometown newspaper (as if a small town couldn’t spread the news by word of mouth efficiently enough).

I decided to entertain her and emailed the newspapers to see what it takes to publish an engagement announcement. Much to my surprise, it costs money to run them. Maybe I’m the only one who didn’t know this already, but I was just always under the impression that since you were providing them with “news” they wouldn’t have otherwise (especially for the small town papers), they would just put it in for free. It makes sense to make money off of them, especially in an era when newspapers are all on the rocks. But now we’ll be out $15 for my hometown paper and $30 for Mr. Lab’s.

What’s funny about this whole newspaper announcement thing is that I’m no stranger to being featured in my hometown’s paper. I used to be somewhat of a “hometown celebrity” if you will. My town is so small that the majority of the paper is designated for school news. Because I was so involved in academics, athletics, and extracurriculars, I regularly appeared in the paper. I still have all my clippings that my grandpa would bring me (he loved seeing me in the paper) and occasionally look back at them. Here’s some of my favorite blasts from the past:

Small town = small school. So it wasn't too hard to be at the top of the class. I missed Valedictorian by a smidgen because the guy who was #1 did work-study instead of academic classes our last semester. :(

My first pageant win (only my second time competing!). I was also voted Miss Congeniality. This sparked a love for pageants and I competed for the next 5 years to earn money for college.

Me & my BFF aka MOH! She and I were the captains of our varsity soccer team. We've been friends for nearly 12 years!

It’s been 6 years since I last appeared in our paper but every time I look at one of the clippings, I feel like I've been transported back in time. The more I think about it, the more I’m glad my mom suggested the announcements. They’ll be cute keepsakes to put in a wedding scrapbook to look back on one day. We’re submitting them this week to run the next week. I’ll be sure to post the clippings when we get them!

Is anyone else running an engagement or wedding announcement in your local paper? Were you surprised by the costs?

Saturday, May 9, 2009

Mother's Day...and FMIL's Summer???

Mr. Lab and I went back to his hometown this weekend to celebrate Mother’s Day with his family. I called up my mom to see if she’d like to join us for dinner (my treat!). So she and my younger brother made the 40 min. trek over to FMIL’s house. This was a good thing for 3 reasons: 1. I got to see my mom & brother 2. We could discuss wedding stuff with both mothers present and 3. I didn’t have to go back to my hometown and face possible family drama with my sisters. Win-win-win!

Me & Mama Lab eating at a Mexican restaurant for Mother’s Day 2009! I'm guessing my hair was all messed up because I downed an entire pitcher of strawberry daiquiri almost all by myself?

But I bet you’re wondering what the title of this post is all about. Well, starting next week, I will be spending a little over a month with my FMIL. I landed an internship at a news station in the town she lives in, and rather than find a place to live, she offered to let me stay in Mr. Lab’s bedroom for free. I’m truly grateful because I would not have been able to afford to pay rent back home and an extra rent during the internship. I will be working about 5-8 hours a day at the station and am not sure if I’ll be able to find a job for the month I’m there. Thankfully, my financial aid will take care of essentials like food and gas and rent back home, but that’s all I’ll have for the summer, so money will be very tight.

FSIL, FMIL, and I in St. Petersburg a few years ago.

Luckily, FMIL Lab is like a second mother to me. She and I have always gotten along and call each other periodically to talk and catch up. She lives alone with only her Cocker Spaniel, Tobey, so I know she’ll enjoy the company of a human, haha. Plus, we’ll get to do some serious wedding planning while I’m there!

Me & FSIL in Savannah during one of my wedding planning trips.

After I finish the internship in FMIL’s town, I’ll be off to Savannah for another internship at a station there. I’ll be staying with FSIL and her hubby! I’m so glad that we all get along so well because I will be getting to know them A LOT this summer. FSIL and I have bickered a couple of times in the past, but we both talk it out and are back to normal in less than a day (we have a healthier relationship than my real sisters and I). The best part is that I’ll be living in my wedding city for a month, so I won’t have to worry about traveling the 4 hours to get some essential items on my checklist taken care of!

The only bad part about the internships (other than not making any money) will be being apart from Mr. Lab for over 2 months. We’ve already discussed trips to see each other, but it’s going to be really rough, especially since we’re getting married soon after the summer’s over. I guess we’ll see if that old adage “absences makes the heart grow fonder” is really true, huh?

Could anyone else spend an entire summer with their in-laws without going stark-raving mad?

Monday, May 4, 2009

Faux Florals: My Flower Details

It's finals week for me which means a week full of some major procrastination. Luckily, I exempted 2 finals and only have 1 left. The test isn't until Friday, so I've been getting lots of wedding planning done in the meantime. I wish studying for a test was as much fun as planning for a wedding! Ah, in a perfect world...

Anyways, I was out scouting the floral section at my local Michael's and Hobby Lobby when I made a very big decision. I am going to use as few real flowers in my wedding decor as possible. I know, I know! Some of you are thinking I've gone completely bonkers. But trust me, I've thought long and hard about this. I'm just not a flower person. Plain and simple. Because of this, I see no reason to spend tons of money on something I'm not into (and neither is Mr. Lab).

My decision was aided by the fact that silk flowers have come a LONG way in recent years. I was able to check out some of the new "true touch" peonies I wrote about earlier. I honestly wouldn't be able to tell the difference between them and real peonies unless I was either told or smelled them (and I hope I'm not inviting any creepers to my wedding who would walk up and sniff my flowers!). I would have bought some right then and there had they been the right cream color. Instead, I ordered the flowers for my bouquet from Fiori Belli. My bouquet only cost $80 shipped and will last forever! Because the blooms are so big, I probably won't need all the flowers to make the bouquet (I'm ordering 1 set of 6 stems each of cupped and full blown blossoms). I will possibly use any extra stems to make a hairpiece or in other decor. Now I have to start thinking about the ribbon for the handle of the bouquet!

As for the other floral details of the wedding, I have a few ideas in mind. I'm using either Wedding Decor Online or Psalm117 on Etsy for my flower girl pomanders (that they'll get to keep!). I am making my BM's bouquets but haven't decided on the flower I want to use. And for the ceremony, I may go the same route as Mrs. Cherry Pie and line my aisle with mason jars filled with flowers. This may be one of the few places I use real flowers. If I do, I'll reuse them in the reception space. I don't know whether I'll use sheperd's hooks or just ribbon to hang the jars yet. Which one do you prefer?

Mrs. Cherry Pie's mason jars & dahlias

Photo by Piknik Studios

Using ribbon will be cheaper and easier.

Is anyone else using fake flowers for the majority of their floral decor?