Friday, June 27, 2014

Wedding Recap #1 - The Flowers

Hey guys, remember me?  I have a feeling that the majority of those 19 followers have long since gotten married and abandoned the wedding blog scene, but I finally have the motivation to do some recaps while off work for the summer, so let's roll with it. 

If you remember, and if you don't, I decided to have the florist put together the corsages and boutonnieres and left the remaining burden on myself.  I ordered 200 white roses, 150 white carnations and 150 white pompons/cushion/mums from Sam's Club and needed to make 5 bouquets and 8 centerpieces.  I had previously tried the whole shipping-flowers-thing with my high school students for prom earlier that year with great success and the savings was pretty big ($300 total for all those flowers)!

Once the flowers arrive at your door, they need to hydrate for at least a day before you want to start working with them so I had them set for delivery on Thursday and they appeared on my doorstep, perfectly on time, like this:
Once inside, they come packaged together in clumps, usually in two layers to help protect the buds:
They have you cut the stems at the bottom and then hydrate/feed them in buckets of water.  I had previously gone to Wal-Mart and bought a few buckets, but the bakery also gave me some for free, you just have to ask!
And there you have 500 flowers in my bathroom!
I let them hydrate over night and then come Friday morning we started assembling everything.  My mom was there to help me and she started working on the centerpieces.
Photo Credit:  Grant Watkins Photography
I started with my bouquet and then worked my way through the bridesmaids'.  The hardest part was definitely putting the ribbon on there, but Adam surprisingly ended up being very talented at this and became head ribbon-on-bouquet man:
Photo Credit:  Grant Watkins Photography
Photo Credit:  Grant Watkins Photography
And the bridesmaids' slightly smaller versions, with peacock blue ribbon instead.
Photo Credit:  Grant Watkins Photography
All in all I definitely over-ordered, but I was more afraid of not having enough flowers and having to scramble at the last minute and that just wasn't worth it! We ended up having over a bucket of mums left and then I put the extra roses in a large vase on the cake table (which the bridesmaids ended up stealing some to make me a bouquet to use in the toss (sealed with electrical tape instead of ribbon though). 
Photo Credit:  Grant Watkins Photography
 We'll talk about cake and the bouquet toss later...
Photo Credit:  Grant Watkins Photography
Photo Credit:  Grant Watkins Photography
After the wedding, Adam's mom ended up taking the leftover flowers since we couldn't really enjoy them on the honeymoon and all worked out splendidly. Considering that the florist quoted me $300 on just the centerpieces alone, I was very proud that I was able to squeeze the bouquets in that price and also have the stamp of my handiwork on one more element. 
Anyone else attempt/are thinking about the DIY flower route, do share!  Any readers still out there...? Stop by and say hi!

Wednesday, July 10, 2013


The Monday after the wedding, we set off for our honeymoon in Cancun, Mexico. If you remember, we really didn't care where we went, but like everyone says, you have to go right away or you never end up going.
We unfortunately don't have a full-service airport here in Manhattan.  It does fly daily to Dallas and Chicago, but the flight times were just awful to get us into Cancun at a reasonable time. Thus, we flew out of Kansas City and stopped over in Houston.  It made for a rather long day with a two hour drive, arriving two hours early, a two hour flight followed by a three hour layover and finally another two hour flight.  But we did arrive at our hotel, Krystal Cancun, by dinner time and started cashing in on our all-inclusive resort!
The view from our balcony
We didn't make any reservations or plans other than the hotel and airfare.  With all of the wedding planning, we decided that the honeymoon was going to be unplanned and spontaneous. I did look up some places to have some ideas, but it was so nice to leave it up to the moment to decide what we wanted to do, if we wanted to do something.
The hotel had plently of day beds and cabanas, so we found ourselves sitting around outside with frozen drinks in hand quite often.  Since I am a textbook dermatological nightmare, we spent lots of time in the shade and under a layer of sunscreen!
I also got to drink my favorite Mexican beer that I cannot find in the United States. After I graduated from college and spent a month living in Chihuahua City, MX, I was hooked on this guy!
All in all, we did end up doing some fun things and we both had an awesome time.

We went to the alternative US embassy, Wal-mart, by bus. The Cancun bus system was pretty awesome.  For 9 pesos you could get a ride around the hotel zone or downtown, equaling about 75 cents.

On our second to last day, we went to this park called Xplor, about 30 miles south of Cancun.  In our hotel, there were some travel companies there each day.  We made friends with an Alberto and we bought our park tickets through him.  For an extra $15 each, his company came and picked us up with their shuttle and took us and another two couples to the park and back home. We also used them to get to and from the airport which was much cheaper than a taxi and just as easy!

Xplor was cool because it was in the heart of the jungle, just off the coastline and was based around some caves that were discovered. 

Ziplining (this was the ending of one of the circuits)
Paddleboats through the underground river (with Adam doing all the work!) 

and ATVing through the jungle
There was also a river that you could swim through the caves, but I didn't bring my camera for that one!  Overall, we had a lot of fun and was great to do something more adventurous than sit on the beach and drink alcohol all day!  We definitely slept in the shuttle on the ride back to the hotel!
On our last full day in Cancun, we decided to go parasailing.  We went back to Alberto to see if he could hook us up and he did not disappoint.  It was nice because we could pay him with a credit card and he could give us a prepaid voucher that we could take to the vendor.   We waited on the beach for awhile and then we were taxied out to the actual boat with a smaller boat.  And up we went...what a view as my dad would say.

Bridesmaid H recommended parasailing and I'm so glad that we went.  We were up in the air for about 15 minutes and it was so neat and calming.  I'm not a huge fan of heights, but it was very manageable. We took off from the boat and landed back on there as well so the only time we got wet was getting into the little "taxi" boat.

Before our last day was up, we did visit the Cancun Maya Museum.
That area has tons of archaeological sites to visit (remember when I went to Uxmal last year?) so walking through the museum was not only a great break from the hot, humid air, but it was cool to see all the artifacts and some small ruins outside.

And that was basically our 6 day/5 night trip to Cancun, Mexico.  We took lots of naps, relaxed, did some exploring, spoke some Spanish, and ate/drank a whole bunch.  We both were really happy with the choice we made and we even left a few things to do in the event that we ever come back. 

The only downside?  The food.  I wouldn't call myself or Adam picky eaters, but we were really disappointed with the food that our hotel served.  I didn't really have high expectations going in, but the main hotel restaurant served the same buffet foods everyday for breakfast, lunch and dinner(respectively) and had a rather limited selection.  We did order room service once, but it wasn't super fresh either.  On our last day, we found a burger stand at the far edge of the hotel that had the most amazing cheeseburgers and fresh french fries, but it was a little late by then (and completely Americanized)! Since it was all-inclusive, we didn't want to eat out anywhere else because we were already paying for our foods.

The hotel did have a dine-out option that we did use for two of the evenings.  You can pick between three different restaurants and order off a very limited menu (like 5 items - cheeseburgers, caesar salad, sandwich, etc) but tip and drinks weren't included so you felt obligated to order a drink or dessert to help the waiter out.   We ventured to Senor Frog's and the Hard Rock Cafe.  Hard Rock definitely won the competition because it didn't have people coming by your table asking to take your picture or make you a balloon hat for a fee!

And my advice for future honeymooners -
Take lots of pictures
Milk the fact that it's your honeymoon as much as possible
Don't expect everyone to speak English (something that really surprised me...most of the guests in our hotel were other Spanish-speaking families)
Take time to relax and just enjoy each other's company
Take naps
Be informed about where you are going, but don't micromanage your trip
Enjoy the first few days of married life!

Where did you go/are planning to go for your honeymoon?  Any other advice or suggestions to add?

Monday, July 8, 2013

The Gifting

Sounds like a movie title about aliens taking over your mind, eh?

But rather, let's talk about wedding party/family gifts. Note:  I am a terrible blogger when it comes to this post as the only pictures that I have are from the bridesmaids' gifts.  Sorry.

For our parents, we wanted to do something sentimental and also something that they could use.
1. For my mom/step-dad, we gave them tickets to the local Discovery Center (they've been wanting to go together) and also a plate that I wrote on with Sharpie and baked in the oven.  A picture would be great here, but it said:
"For all you've done,
For all you've been.
For all you are,
Thank you"
It also had some parenting words written on the edges like love, guidance, caring, etc. and then had
our names and the wedding date at the bottom.  My parents have several plates on display in their house similar to this.  When my brother and I were both born, they ordered some with our birth information on it and they also received one as a wedding gift when they got married.
2.  For my dad/step-mom, we got them an Omaha Steaks gift certificate and a picture frame.  The frame had three 4x6 openings so I put a picture of my dad and I when I was little in the first one, a poem about Dads in the second one and drew a picture of stick people in the third one saying, "Lindsy-Dad wedding picture goes here." My parents divorced when I was three, so I imagine that Dad doesn't have a whole lot of pictures of me from when I was little. He really seemed to like it and mentioned how long it had been since he had even seen that picture.
3. For Adam's mom, we also made a plate for her and then got her a gift certificiate for a massage.  We struggled with what to get her, but it seemed to go over well.
4.  For Adam's Dad, we also had a rough time.  Adam's dad doesn't have the greatest living situation, so chances are, to get him something nice, he either doesn't have a place to put it or it will get lost and broken. There is one wall where he hangs all of his pictures and things so we wanted to give him something that could be put up there.  We went to hobby lobby and bought a wood slab.  We then found a Dad poem that was more fitting for a son and wrote it on there/decorated it with a fine-tipped sharpie.  We bought some mounting hardware and slapped that on the back.  We also got him a book because he loves to read (Game of Thrones, of course!).
For the groomsmen and ushers
Adam and I went to Wal-mart and bought large beer mugs.  Adam tried to engrave the mugs with etching cream, but he's not as OCD as me and didn't want to take the time to do them like I did for the Will you be my bridesmaid gifts.  He did etch their first initial into the bottom of the glass free-hand.  We then went to the liquor store and bought a variety of mini bottles of alcohol and then filled the mugs with tissue paper and liquor. 
For my 17-year-old brother, however, we got him a bottle of sweet tea and attached three $10 Chipotle gift cards to it.  He wasn't disappointed.
And for the bridesmaids (finally, pictures!)
I bought 5 tote bags off Amazon for about $5 each (with shipping).  I wanted to make them a goody bag with some different supplies for the wedding. 
I bought some iron-on transfer paper and made a design that I wanted to add to the front.  I decided to use their first initial and use a variety of shades of blue so that each girl had a slightly different color.
I did have to reverse the image so that it would iron on correctly!
I followed the instructions on the iron-on paper (melting the tote bag a little!), and we sucessfully had 4 bridesmaids tote bags:
I filled their bags with flip-flops from David's Bridal that matched their dresses, a make-up bag with deodorant, lotion and chapstick, their bracelets and necklaces that I made them for the wedding day, some granola bars and chocolate to help cure their hunger for the day and a couple mini-bottles of alcohol as well (just in case!). I also told the girls that I would pay for their hair updo's or or any other salon service of equal price (since only two bridesmaids did get their hair done) as the rest of my gift to them.
So there are our gifts!  I am so glad that we only had 4 bridesmaids/groomsmen because they can certainly add up!  Having a few extra sets of parents didn't help either, but by making some of the gifts ourselves, it made them more personal but also helped us save some money!
What did you do for wedding party gifts?  Any cool ideas for me to regret missing out on?

Saturday, July 6, 2013 the Bathroom?

I'm back...
...and feeling a little more married! 

Since the final days before the wedding were a little crazy, I have a few tiny projects that I was waiting to share (or didn't have time to share).  Once we get the official wedding pictures back, we'll start doing some recaps!

Bathroom Baskets:
Since I've come across them, I've always thought bathroom baskets were a cool idea.  It's nice to have an extra hair tie lying around or some gum just to freshen up.  I went to Dollar Tree and bought three wicker baskets, two 3.5x5 picture frames and all the contents from there and also Wal-mart. 

Between the frames, baskets and contents, the total came to about $50.  A little expensive in my mind, but I have all the leftovers to use myself.  The girls and I all got ready at the reception hall (since there wasn't anywhere to do so at the church), so it came in handy when we were getting ready to have an extra bobby pin or make-up remover, or safety pins in Bridesmaid H's case!
The men's basket

...and the women's

Each basket had a sign beside it in a small 3.5x5 frame like you see below (except without that pink heart!).

Here are the contents for each basket in case you are wondering:
Spray deodorant, bandaids, tide to go pen, day quil, ibuprofin, tylenol, antacid, disinfecting wipes, antibacterial soap, kleenex, lint roller, scissors, pen, q-tips, nail clippers, hand lotion, eye drops, contact solution, mini-toothbrushes, flossers, chewing gum, breath strips

Women's (in addition to the men's basket):
Bobby pins, hair ties, hair spray, static guard, wrinkle releaser, nail kit, pads, tampons, safety pins and a sewing kit

So there's my very common, very stolen idea for the bathroom baskets. Very few items were actually opened or used, but I feel like it was a nice and fun touch to add for our guests.

Thursday, June 20, 2013

Wedding Week #2

If you missed Wedding Week Post 1, we are saving my sanity by creating Twitter-quality updates about the upcoming wedding and my recent projects so that I don't feel like a bad blogger. Please do comment if you would like a tutorial for something, just keep in mind that it will be July before you see it!

1. Got my hair did
I went in last week with mom to get a trial-run done with the hairstylist for my wedding-day hair. Mom wasn't sure if she wanted to get her hair done, so she tagged along with me and we got dolled up together (and went to Applebee's afterwards looking incredibly over-dressed...or over-haired...or something). I'm keeping the back as a secret now, but just imagine a pretty white flower and bobby pins with pearls on the end and we'll see how close you get to the final product later!
2. Bought some wine
Not much to say here. We're having Yellow Tail (Moscato, Pinot Grigio and Pinot Noir), Franzia Chillable Red (Adam's Mom's fave :D), and SutterHome White Zinfandel (my mom's favorite). We're giving each table a bottle of Andre champagne for the wedding toasts. It's the kind that I always drink at New Years, so if it's good enough for me, it's good enough for my guests to get for free! Maid of Honor N requested her own special bottle, which I agreed to. She's been known to steal champagne bottles off of guests' tables, so we're going to try to avoid that!
Thankfully we have a good booze security system
3.  Wedding Favors
I made our favors using Hershey's kisses and cellophane candy bags.  It was a pretty inexpensive way to combine the candy rather than the mini-boxes or jars.  I bought some Washi Tape with hearts on it and used it to seal the bag shut on the back side and then put a sticker with our names on it (from the VistaPrint order) on the front.  If you're looking to do candy, the cheapest I found was at Walmart.  I looked online at some places, but Wal-mart matched or beat those prices.  I bought plain, caramel, and almond kisses and hugs to give the favors a little variety.  I really wanted to put little stickers on the bottom of the kisses, but the night that I wanted to bag them I didn't have the patience to go out and buy little stickers and delay the process any more.
4.  Grandma's Charm
I mentioned about a month ago that I wanted to get a charm of my Grandma's to put on my bouquet to carry with me at the wedding.  My mom and I went out to my Grandpa's house last week to look through some of her stuff.  She and my grandpa used to own a thrift store and so they have a ton of things in her house and jewelry was no exception.  Grandpa showed me to her costume jewelry first, but nothing really spoke to me and I wanted something that was a little more personal.  Grandma had some really old jewelry that was passed down to her from when she lived in Germany, but it made me deathly afraid that something might happen to it.  Then I found the perfect thing, a guardian angel on a bracelet chain.
It really has no value (monetarily), but my Grandma used to wear a pin each day on her shirt with this exact same guardian angel (or an American Flag).  She had a couple of extras, so my mom is going to wear one at the wedding and then we are going to give one to my mom's best friend who is also our coordinator for the day.
5. Copycat Success
A long time ago, I stumbled upon this image that showed up on Pinterest.  It links back to WeddingBee, and the image is from The Knot, but I can't seem to find the original source.
I knew I wanted to do these for the wedding, so I bought 2 vases at Hobby Lobby for 50% off, submersible LED lights, fishing line and weights and baby's breath and set to work.  I had some floating candles that I had inherited from another wedding, so I was set.  And we succeeded!  Check out what will be hanging out on each side of the bar:
The light at the bottom will need to be repositioned better for the real thing, but it's kinda hard to make these ahead of time and just drop the light in there and hope it works.  The batteries are supposed to last 12+ hours, so maybe I'll just cross my fingers on the wedding day and turn them on in the afternoon.  Well see!
And that's it for Wedding Week #2.  Next time you'll hear from me, I'll probably be a Mrs!

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Wedding Week!

In honor of this being the official Wedding Week, my posts are going to be a series of pictures with tiny descriptions.  If there's something that completely blows your mind, leave a comment so I can do a July!

1.  Dinner Menus - a rather unnecessary element to the wedding, but we're getting navy linen napkins and I want to fold them and tuck the menus in the pockets for each place setting.  I made them 3-per-page (landscape layout) on Microsoft Publisher so the dimensions are 3.5 x 8.  I wanted there to be some element of entertainment for people while they are waiting, so I added a Sudoku puzzle and crossword to the back.  There are easy-to-find generators on the interwebs, so that's what I used.

2.  Seating Chart - I went back and forth about doing this.  Ultimately Adam and I decided that there are too many groups of people that will be attending this wedding that don't fit together.  When we tell people that there is a seating chart, they groan, but in reality we are trying to do them a favor by seating them with people they are comfortable with and not forcing them to "reserve" seats for the rest of their group that hasn't shown up yet.  (I think we have some family members that are scarred from school seating charts). The biggest pain was knowing exactly who was coming to the wedding - kids names, correct spellings, undecided people, etc.  It made for a lot more phone calls than I would have done otherwise. 

3.  Table Numbers - since we assigned tables to our guests, each table needed a number.  We originally were going to have each table named after a Game of Thrones family.  We don't have anything nerdy in the wedding yet and thought that would be fun.  I also wanted to put a number on them (underneathe the family name) so that there was some sort of logical order that could help our guests find their tables easier without having to wander around the whole room. I ordered some frames from Oriental Trading, but they were really too small to put a name and a table number.  Thus, we have boring table numbers, but they will do!
4.  And finally, to conclude this Wedding Week post, I got a new job! I will be teaching at Manhattan High School next year and am extremely excited to not have to commute to work anymore.  MHS is my alma mater and I am looking forward to working with my former teachers.  It is really sad to be leaving my Wakefield family, and I didn't find out until the last day of school, so I never got a chance to say goodbye to the kids. But all things aside, I am looking forward to the change and think it will make me a better teacher in the long run.
Lindsy, you say, this isn't wedding related.
I know, but it took me a ton of time to move out of a classroom that I have steadily filled for the past five years and it took away from some of my wedding planning.  And I share a ton about my life here so why not throw in some other content.
My empty classroom and a full storage unit.
Stay tuned for another helping of Wedding Week posts.  And then recaps.  And tutorials.  Hooray!

Sunday, June 9, 2013

Rehearsal Dinner Blues

If you remember, Adam and I love our rehearsal dinner location, the Hibachi Hut

Well, I got this email on Monday, May 27th (Memorial Day) and it broke my heart:
Not only was I shocked that I didn't get to go have one last Long Island or their amazing ranch, but we no longer have a rehearsal dinner location!
Now, Memorial Day isn't exactly the prime time to be finding a new restaurant/caterer/location. I will say that I let it completely ruin my day off because we spent it trying to figure out what to do when the wedding was only 4 weeks away.  More than anything, I was frustrated.  They had already made the arrangements to lease the building to this other restaurant, so why couldn't they have given me a call and a little advanced notice?
We still don't really know the details of why they closed so suddenly.  The owners are getting older and I could see them wanting to retire, but I always figured that their son and partial owner would eventually take over.  There definitely could have been factors outside of the public eye, but it is sad to see it go.  On the bright side, the CEO of company Adam works for bought the Hibachi Hut name, recipes and it will be re-opening under new ownership, in a new location, in a few months (but it still doesn't solve our know, the important things here!).
Starting that Tuesday, we began our search (Part 2) of a rehearsal dinner location. I called a couple of places around town and got some information.  Adam's Dad made a phone call for us to a place where he knows the owner and did the same.  A lot of places were already booked, they didn't have a separate room for us or they wanted at least $1000 in sales to secure the group reservation. Well, we're not spending $1000 (and by we, I mean Adam's Dad).  We finally settled on Rambler's Steakhouse.  They have a room off to the side, we can select the menu and there's no reservation or amount that we have to secure to use it. 
And so, we're in the process of picking out our menu now.  I RE-printed our rehearsal dinner invitations, opened up all the envelopes that were already sealed, stamped and ready to go in the mail with the incorrect information and replaced it with the correct ones.  Got the glue and scotch tape out and resealed them (not the prettiest for Perfectionist Lindsy) and sent them off with the right destination this time. I still find it so strange (and lucky) that I had those rehearsal invitations sitting around for about a week and never stuck them in the mailbox. Yay procrastination.
For our rehearsal/dinner invitations, I did some searching on Etsy and found some designs I liked.  I let Adam pick and then went to work in PowerPoint, yes PowerPoint again.  I'm pretty happy with how they turned out, but don't sue me if these were you Etsy invitations that I copied!  I downloaded a ton of fonts from (in order of appearance below):  Trajan Pro, Ornaments Labels and Frames, Riot Squad, Castro Script, Gabriola(standard font), and Frosting for Breakfast. 
Here they are!
For the wedding party and parents:
For grandparents:
I did same them as image files and then put them into a Word document so that it would print 2 per page.  I had to use Adam's computer and it really messed with the image quality when saving as pictures, so watch out for that!  I previously had a Mac and it let you control the image quality from the save box, but Windows wasn't as nice (at least the version of PowerPoint that he has wasn't).
We decided not to include aunts/uncles and people that are coming from out of town in the rehearsal dinner. While it would be nice to see them and spend time with them, we really couldn't justify the extra spending because it would add a lot more people.  We're already at about 35 people, so that will be plenty!
And rehearse we shall!  Thank goodness we didn't have to pay Hibachi Hut a deposit or I would be even more bummed/angry than before.  While it's been a huge pain in the ass, it will work out just fine this way, we'll rehearse and it will be spectacular.