I got off my lazy butt and snapped a few pictures of my mostly completed bridal bouquet, and one of the in-progress bridesmaid's bouquets. In total, one of these pomander bouquets takes about eight hours, though my bridal version took a bit longer because I spent more time placing the ribbons since there were more colors.
At some point I'll drill or carve a place for a dowel rod that I may add some foam to for comfort, then wrap in ribbon.
A thread on Weddingbee struck my interest today. A bride was asking other members how they knew that a vendor was right for them. It got me thinking because Dr. Light and I were very satisfied with not only how quickly we chose our vendors, but we have lots of faith that the ones we chose would do right by us.
In the Great Search for Vendors 2010, our vendor visits went as follows:
Maybe that would be akin to crazy for some people, but we did spend a lot of time researching prices, menus, and reputation before we made physical appointments.
Beyond that, however, one big thing about all our vendors stood out to me: trust. Every single vendor we selected gave us an ample amount of time to sit down and talk with the owner or main proprietor, and they shared a lot about their business with us. I find that people who are willing to give you their time, even when possibly not being paid, are much better business-people. They know that side stuff comes up.
What turned me off to the two vendors we saw but didn't select?
The first, the barn at the Denver Botanic Gardens at Chatfield. I made a viewing appointment with someone's assistant, and then found out when we got there that she had never been informed of our meeting. Luckily, she was on premises and gave us a tour anyway, but I was unhappy with the disorganization and the fact that a simple schedule could not be communicated, especially over something that was this important.
The mix-up made me afraid that other important items would not be communicated among the staff later, and I think ultimately was part of why we did not choose the venue.
The second venue was Das Meyer Bakery. I have no trust issue with them - I just liked Cake Crumbs better. :) Das Meyer's style seemed a bit more old-fashioned. Less color, less fun. But their cake WAS delicious!
As for the vendors we DID choose, here is their breakdown.
1. Venue - Meadows at Marshdale. Not only was our tour guide friendly and more than willing to show us the whole venue, their selection of linens, and to shoot the sh!t with us for a very long time, but he seemed really open to our wacky wedding plans. He definitely was interested in our business and viewed us more than an interaction. Heck, he showed us more of the property (they have several venues on the property) just because he was proud of it. He really helped make the experience for us.
2. Cake - Cake Crumbs Bakery. Both owners (husband and wife) made time to come see us. They were excited about our cake and were already talking about ideas for the design.
3. Caterer - The Food Guy. We had someone assigned to us as we first got there, but the owner kept wandering in and talking to us about options. It was fun to have him cruise around - you could really tell he liked being with customers the most! Plus, their willingness to build a menu for the event was really exciting and unique.
4. Photographer - Vanessa Kruse of Flourish Studio Photography. It was really meeting Vanessa that sealed the deal. I already loved her style of photography and her non-invasive editing. Her blog had impressed me quite a bit, but she was more than willing to bring albums and pictures that didn't make it to the blog so we could see the entire array of her work. Her personality was also wonderful - friendly, outgoing, and excited to shoot our wedding. And, as it turns out, we loved the engagement photos she took for us.
So there it is. When it comes down to it, I want someone I can trust and talk to, someone who views me more than a business transaction. I feel like our vendors are people who would take extra time out of their busy days to help answer a question or to make sure our experience with their company was exactly right.
After looking over the ideas I talked about in the last save-the-date post, we decided to go with the general idea of the books on white background.
(as a reminder)
However, when I finally sat down to work on the invites, I told Dr. Light, "You know we're not going with books, right?"
He seemed to be surprised. I guess I hadn't explained myself very well, in that I was looking at other people's sample save-the-dates to get design ideas, not subject ideas. Oh, well. He was pretty game for anything I had in mind, and as I buckled down, copy of Photoshop at hand, he cracked open World of Warcarft and proceeded to say nothing for a while.
As we were watching Supernatural last night (I had to mention it somewhere; I love that show!), I finally got around to editing pictures of our venue.
At first, I thought our venue would be easy to find. After all, aren't barns pretty popular? And, being that we live in Colorado, there should be plenty!
I was wrong.
I found about five venues that would fit the bill. One, which I'm still wishing I was independently wealthy so I could rent, as it was over $7,000 for the day. Oof. Others were too far away and a several-hour drive for our guests. That wouldn't do either, as I just can't ask anyone to stay overnight for my wedding.
Finally, the choice came down to a few local (within an hour of Denver) spots.
We ended up touring Chatfield. The barn was lovely, and I've seen a number of blogged weddings that took place there, but the space didn't fit our requirements. There just wasn't enough room for dancing, places to sit, a DJ, and a photo booth. Dang. It was out.
We never visited D-Barn, as the second venue we saw was the one we ended up loving.
Meet our Venue: The Red Barn at The Meadows at Marshdale!
This venue was perfect, not only because its three stories and ample room gave us plenty of space to fit our requirements, but the owners were amazingly easy to work with. They're not charging us for setup outside unless the weather is good, and they let us bring our own liquor in.
The venue isn't so much a barn as it is just a rustic building that looks barnish, but it was more than enough for us.
More picture-heavy Red Barn goodness below the cut!
Sometimes when I feel like I've gotten lost in the "wedding machine" of tulle, Style Me Pretty, and perfect family moments, I find that I have to go back and look at a series of photos I took for my sister about six months ago.
Meet my finger monster, Lenny.
Lenny and friends like him are going to play an important part in our wedding planning process, mainly to remind Dr. Light and me that going outside the norm is fun and okay. I carry Lenny around in my main purse, and whenever I run across him while searching for something (dang that purse is cavernous), it's a small recognition that the fun of a finger monster is exactly what I want to convey to the people I love.
Unlike some brides, I haven't yet taken the time to pull together a "board" of ideas for the wedding. Sure, I have a folder of inspirational photos and ideas, but they aren't all sitting in some 600x600 pixel image that I can whip out to say, "See this flower? This inspires me." At some point I will make an effort to post an inspiration board here. Until then: Lenny.
Why is he so important? Because Lenny and company are some of our guest favors. I can't wait for people to sit down at their tables and realize that they get a finger monster to play with, have fun with, throw away if they so desire, or put in their own purses to remind them that adults can absolutely have fun at important occasions.
Lenny also (as a friend aptly pointed out this weekend) reminds me that my wedding CAN be offbeat, while still maintaining a serious note. He inspires me to stay true to myself and the vision Dr. Light and I have for our ceremony and reception.
What reminders do you keep to help your wedding vision stay on track? Do you have an inspiration board? A tangible reminder like Lenny?
Dr. Light and I have recently started discussing our Save the Dates (which lots of people call STD's, but that confuses my poor blonde head every time because I associate that acronym with something much different, so we'll stick with the long version). A while ago we had a somewhat hilarious conversation about the actual invitations that involved a lot of me saying, "How am I going to draw that?!" and Dr. Light saying, "I love cross-hatching!"
So, for now, we are focusing on our Save the Dates.
As our wedding is in late October, we're thinking mid-to-late February for the send out, which doesn't give us a lot of time for playing around with design. I'm the one who will be designing them with my trusty copy of photoshop, and I have very few actual design skills.
Another MUST for our save-the-dates is low expense. The more colors in any document, the higher the cost. I have been trying to come up with ideas that with very little color will convey a fun, happy message!
Cue the massive saving of designs that I like for Save the Dates. A lot of these have been swiped from various places on the internet, and I admit, I did not save the source for many of them. Also, some of these are actual invitations, but I was looking at them with a save-the-date design eye. With that said, my favorite pictures are below the cut!
Clyde and Clementine are the two trucks belonging to Cake Crumbs Bakery. Coincidentally, this is the same bakery that Dr. Light and I have chosen to make our wedding cake, so we're very involved in what is going on.
Essentially, eight months after the bakery was given permission to drive their trucks around Denver and sell the most amazing cupcakes, ("Denver Excise and License [said they] were free to park anywhere in town as long as it was legal and at least 200 feet from a competing business"), Denver Zoning came back and told them that they could NOT do this for a variety of reasons. This has left Cake Crumbs unable to drive their two adorable trucks through our downtown streets and give me a reason to leave my office and eat a cupcake.
Selfish, I know. But it's also detrimental to their business because the trucks have generated so much fantastic word of mouth for them! And this is one business I really want to survive, not only because of our wedding vendor relationship with them, but because (and I cannot say this enough), their food rocks. In fact, I have two of their cupcakes currently sitting on my desk, waiting to come home for noms.
Red Velvet & Lemon, YUM!
There is currently a petition out by a Mayoral candidate to ask the City to change the laws so Denver's budding mobile food industry can continue to grow. Here's the link: http://www.romerformayor.com/CupcakeTruck
It's exciting that someone who actually has some connections within the City has become so invested in helping Cake Crumbs Bakery (and by extension, other mobile food businesses) continue to grow within Denver's community. While Dr. Light and I won't have a mobile food truck at our wedding, I wanted to post about this issue here because I've seen pictures from many weddings that did have food trucks show up, and Denver needs to have this too.
Here are a few more links explaining the issue in far greater detail than I did. If you live in Denver and happen to stumble across this post, please go sign the petition!
I'm derailing a little bit in this post because there's something important I need to talk about:
I'm a pretty heavy reader, and I find that I've been really engrossed in a few series right now, and I wanted to share them. These first three are primarily teenage lit. I've actually been reading a bit more teen lit as of late, which is surprising, but I think that the genre has really gotten quite popular, so many new and talented authors have put their first works into it.
Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins
The one I've been reading for just a couple of days and I'm almost already through is the first book of the Hunger Games Trilogy.
I am completely blown away by how much fun this book is to read, but also how quickly I have grown to love the main character. The novel is fast-paced, well-written, and when I can't read it, I sit around wishing I COULD read it.
The book is about a young girl named Katriss who must go fight in the yearly Hunger Games, a Battle Royale-esque "only one can remain" fight to the death with 23 other teens. I am still a bit surprised by how fantastic the novel is, especially since it would be considered teen literature.
I'm starting to realize that accepting financial help from a parent comes with consequences. These aren't necessarily bad; they're just something that needs to be given proper attention. After a few months of stressing over guest list choices and if we will be asked to invite certain people because my Dad is helping pay for the wedding - I got on the phone with him yesterday to let him know that I needed our lines of communication to be better.
I'm a particularly bad phone-communicator. I don't really like being on the phone for all that long; text is my chosen vehicle of communication. So all this time where I was stressing and anxious, I really should have nailed down what financial assistance with the wedding really means.
Questions I think all couples should iron out right from the beginning regarding a parent's financial assistance:
1. Does this give the parent the right to choose major aspects of the wedding such as the bride's dress? The location?
2. Will the parent get a certain number of invites to hand out - no matter who they go to?
3. Should the parent be taken to things such as tastings and viewings?
4. Is the money a gift?
These are only a few that I could come up with on short notice, but I know I've seen many brides discuss them on forums. Being able to discuss these questions can be difficult, especially if the family isn't big on open communication. I'm lucky that my dad is a pretty eloquent, thought-out kind of guy, and when I approached him about us having clearer channels, he was all for it.
How does your family communicate? Would a frank discussion about wedding costs be hushed up quickly, or would it make your life a lot easier?