Friday, May 28, 2010

Friday Finds - Turquoise and Burnt Orange

Concluding my little series of complimentary colors (red/green, yellow/purple), now is the time to pay homage to my alma mater. I took some liberty in interpreting the orange/blue scheme and ended up building this week's Friday Finds around the lovely birded ring dish.  I can imagine the turquoise dresses for the wedding party (or even chocolate with chunky turquoise necklaces).  Perhaps a short wedding dress, carrying the clutch instead of flowers? Or perhaps orange ranunculus would be too perfect to replace.


Clockwise from Top L:
Orly Design - Ceramic Turquoise and Brown Bowl with a Pair of Orange Love Birds
Gracy Bags - The Kelsey, Pleated Clutch
Mew Paper Arts - Adelaide Save the Date
Wedding Aisle - Josephine, Russian Birdcage Veil

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Reflections on Working with an Event Designer

I hired an event designer/wedding planner for my wedding.  I feel like I just confessed to a horrible crime.  I'm a Bee!  I DIY!  I believe in the philosophy of a practical wedding!  And I hired a wedding coordinator.  The. FULL. package. Not that I feel like I should defend that decision, but I wanted to explain the process of making the decision and working with a coordinator. 

I have always loved weddings and originally thought I would have a huge role in planning my wedding.  My parents liked the idea of day-of coordinating and it seemed to be a good match at first.  However, upon further consideration, I evaluated several factors:
  1. Up until 5 months before the wedding, I was planning an out of town wedding (vendor complications resulted in our ultimate decision to wed in Norfolk).  I couldn't make it to all the vendor appointments out-of-state and I wanted a representative who could act as my proxy.
  2.  As a people pleaser, I wanted someone in my corner.  My bridesmaids were wonderful and affirming, but since they were all from out of town, they weren't able to be present all of the time when I needed back up. 
  3. I wanted someone who wouldn't cave in vendor negotiations, who would share the burden of coordinating stress, and who would execute my vision with a minimum effort on my part.  
  4. I know that having that help is a luxury, but as a consultant also working on my master's degree part time, I crunched the numbers (including considering the opportunity costs of my time) and made the investment. 
After interviewing several companies, I chose to sign a contract with {invited}.  I found the owner, Pavaune, to be highly responsive, friendly, and appreciative of my aesthetic.  Pavaune met with me, Mr. Palindrome, and the Palindrome Parents to review a detailed service list, budget, and overall design elements.  While Pavaune coordinated with vendors, my parents, and Mr. Palindrome's parents for various services and products, she always worked for us (the bride and groom).  Our interests didn't get diluted from the various sources of input. 
{invited}, founded by Pavaune

The way the pricing worked out is that I paid a percentage of the total budget for the service which ended up being slightly higher when we decided to have the wedding Norfolk instead of DC.  I believe that we made that amount back dollar for dollar in the form of vendor negotiated prices and day of coordinating services.  Anything I didn't want to do, I made a phone call or sent an email to Pavaune.  Done.  I cared less about linens so Pavaune researched all the options and pieced together a lovely custom look from a local rental place and an online retailer.  Sometimes I just needed a narrower scope to make a decision.  We needed a photo-booth back drop and Pavuane dredged through the bowels of the internet to narrow it down to two chic and affordable options.  Making one decision between two options that I already knew were within the budget was much easier than starting from scratch myself.  On other items, our relationship was more collaborative as I took bigger roles in things that I really loved (the DIY florals for example).  I had a lot of ideas and Pavaune knew when to reign it in for plausibility.  When I wanted to make chocolate bison favors so that we could get white chocolate "bride" bison, she asked if I could realistically make 300 bison in the 3 weeks before the wedding, plus move, plus be out of town for Christmas.  I needed that voice of reality.  Leading up to the wedding, I talked with Pavaune everyday.  I came to see her as a confidant and friend.

There were so many things that I didn't have to worry about leading up to the wedding and on the day of the wedding.  Looking back, the sheer number of things is overwhelming:

Who stayed at the Opera House on Wednesday to ensure we didn't pay delivery fees on the holiday?  Who set each table setting? Who gave all of the vendors the day of time line? Who coordinated the clean up at the church?  Who relentlessly tracked down absentee vendors?  Who finished and delivered all of the OOT bags?  Who oohed and awwed at my fitting?  Who assured me that my reception dress was off the hook?  Who had extra bobby pins for my fascinator?  Who delivered all of the presents to the hotel?  Who stayed up all night after the reception packing all of the DIY centerpieces and decorations?  Who facilitated between us, parents and vendors?

Pavaune.  And it was worth every single penny.
 Pavaune working seamlessly behind the scenes organizing the introductions.

When I talked with my mom in the week before the wedding and in the days following the wedding, we both commented about how we couldn't have done it ourselves. I know that many couples can't afford or don't want to prioritize their funds for a wedding planner. However, I want to stress how much of a burden is relieved when you have someone other than the bride or bride's mother coordinating the events of the day.  It could be a friend, neighbor, or any kind soul.  But I highly recommend having help of some sort.  For your sanity's sake.  :)

Are you arranging for help coordinating your wedding (professional or otherwise)?  If you're married, what was your experience like having a coordinator?

*{invited} logo and head shot from {invited} and photograph by Sam Hughes

Friday, May 21, 2010

Friday Finds - Raspberry and Sage

Continuing on my theme of complimentary colors, this week I focused on green and red.  Without being too Christmasy or too preppy, I chose a lovely Raspberry and sweet sage (with accents of a more olive nature).  The hair flowers would be darling for a flower girl while the traveling clutch could be coordinated for wedding party gifts.  The invitation set, featuring blooming peonies would be complemented by the interesting vintage postage.  I love that nature again inspired my contrasting color theme.

Clockwise from top L:
Crazy Craft Lady 9 - Sprint Time Flower Hair Clip
Verde Studio - Roses and Such
Jenny N Design - Traveler in Shabby Chic Peonies
Seaside Invitations - Idyllic Ink Collection

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Mine at Last: Inspiration Board vs. Execution Board

Remember when your wedding was just an idea?  I was reading through my archives and it was so fun to see how all of my thoughts were executed, evolved, and even discarded.

Here's my original inspiration board from nearly a year ago:

From L to R starting on the top row:
Art Deco Rhinestone Drop Earrings: Tees and More
Vintage dress display: Vintage Glam Weddings
Bridal Bouquet: Design Whimsy
Custom Feather Bridal Shoes: Emmy Custom Made Wedding Shoes
Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers: Liberty Film Festival
Lauren Bacall: Janez Life and Times
Wedding Dress: Pronovias 2008 Collection
Flawless Invitation: eInvite
Maui Coconut Cake: Marney Cakes (accessed through Inspired!!)

And this is a collage of photographs from our wedding:
*All photographs by Sam Hughes (cropping and collage by me)

I think I toed the party line on this one and ended up executing a very close interpretation, save the last minute shoes bringing in a pop of red!

Have you stood by your original vision or has your wedding evolved from your inspiration?

Friday, May 14, 2010

Friday Finds - Pansies and Violets

Breaking from my recent streak of neutrals (powerdery pinks, ivory, and navy), I was inspired by the visual punch of utilizing contrasting colors.  Our master bedroom renovation is wallowing in monochromatic neutrals of a peachy/ivory color and when Mr. Palindrome called for something "that pops," I immediately started to think of slate blues.  While my Bucknell pride ('ray for the Orange and the Blue!) might make an appearance in future Friday Finds, I wanted to delve into a color combination that I haven't used before in decorating or wedding related planning - Purple and Yellow.  I found inspiration in nature's pairings featured in flowers.

Clockwise from Top L:
Just Another Day - Purple Passion Save the Date Sample  (could also be used for shower invitations)
Design Your Home - Raqual Violet Handmade Bedding (great registry item to bring your wedding colors home)
Donnalda - Vintage Pansies Journal Spots (ideal for escort cards, bridal party gifts, etc.)
Wearing the Past - 1980s Violet Retro Pumps

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Mine at Last: Photo Booth

One of my favorite things at our wedding was our makeshift photo booth (aka fauxto booth, smile booth, etc.).  I see a lot of people asking on the boards if these are overdone or tacky.  Besides my former roommate, who was planning a wedding at the same time as me, we're the only two weddings that I've seen a photo booth at (she rented a real one that spit out the classic four picture black and white strips - very cool!).  If you love it, I say, "Do it!"
During the cocktail hour, my event designer worked with our photographer, Sam Hughes, to create a small studio space.  They tied a ribbon sign between two chairs, hoisted a few yards of fabric onto the backdrop stand that Sam brought, and then let the good times roll.  Our second shooter manned the booth and we've posted all of the pics on a Shutterfly website so guests can easily download or print them.  At first, friends and family gathered for nice shots.
A friend from high school and her fiance
My Aunt, Grandpa, and Uncle
Friends from the Navy who were recently married
Mr. Palindrome's Aunt, Uncle, and Cousins (who served as Ushers)
Friends from my consulting firm
Friends from the Navy
Friends from my hometown

Then the more adventurous guests started poking about our prop pile!
Friend from Bucknell (and also one of our readers) and her husband
Friend from Bucknell and her boyfriend (flying all the way from San Fran!)
Friends from Bucknell (two on the left also sang at our wedding and the two on the right are getting married in June!)
Palindromaid S and her husband
Motherdrome and friends
Fatherdrome and friends
Friends from church
Bison ladies representing
Denise and Palindromaid S
The groomsmen
Not to be out done, the Palindromaids strike a pose
I get in on the action
SIL J and I reenact our first dance dip
 SIL J and and I hear a fun song and then run for the dance floor

I've been mocking up photo books as gifts for family and I really love ending the books with spreads of these pictures.  It reminds me of everyone who came and shared our day with us and I think provided some fun for them as well!

Have you been to a wedding with a photo booth? Did you partake in the photo fun?

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Mine at Last: All in the Details

We had, what I considered to be, a very traditional wedding.  We married in a church, hosted a sit down reception on a Saturday, and partook of many other traditions (bird seed toss, first dance, cake cutting, etc.).  Our families and Mr. Palindrome thought our wedding was quite different (online RSVPs, red bridal shoes, individual cakes, pictures before the ceremony).  Even though I could have broken the mold more, I think that our details were the expressive icing on our cookie cutter base.

I'll take you on a little tour of some of the details that made our day.
Our semi-DIY invitations were ordered from (invitations, response cards, inner envelopes and outer envelopes).  I cut belly bands, sealed them with a wax seal, lined the outer envelopes, and hand wrote calligraphy on the envelopes.
A dear friend of mine from high school was unable to be with us on our wedding day, but she was there in spirit as she gifted me with a lovely, silk dressing robe.
One detail that isn't captured in too many photographs are my red nails.  I love this photograph because not only does it capture my fun manicure, but it also documents my last few hours as an engaged woman.
I can't tell you how many people commented on my red shoes!  I ended up wearing them the entire day (soooo comfortable!) and the number one question asked was: "What is the significance of the red?"  Our guests obviously don't read wedding blogs with any regularity. 
This photograph captures the feathery details and my something blue brooch on my bouquet.
My DIY birdcage veil featured feathers, a flower, and a sparkly rhinestone pin.
The DIY boutonnieres echoed the themes of winter and feathers. 
Our first look was a little rushed as we were running a half hour behind schedule at that point.  However, it was one of my favorite moments of the day.  Since we were separated all day, I was getting anxious to see him.  We met in a quiet lobby on one of the upper floors of the hotel. Mr. Palindrome lifted my veil (a small nod to Jewish tradition) and we just hugged for a long time.  This photograph shows my DIY clutch and the tennis bracelet that Mr. Palindrome gifted me for the Valentine's Day before his first deployment.
At the entrance of the sanctuary, we set out a vintage dresser tray with sweet vintage hankies.  I printed the sign and added it to a frame that an aunt of mine had given me in college.  Not many people took them, but we made sure that all of the grandmothers, mothers, and I had one before we went down the aisle.
My event designer, Pavaune, executed these amazing feather wreaths.  Using feather boas and foam wreath bases, she glued these wonderfully romantic decorations. She hung them on every other pew down both sides of our aisle.
For the detail shots of our rings, our photographer posed our rings on a small platter that I made by pressing paper doilies and rubber stamps into pearlescent clay.  You can make out part of the engraving on my wedding band, which we also had engraved on Mr. Palindrome's band as well:  01022010 (our palindrome wedding date!).
Rather than spend money on floral arrangements, we decided to utilize the greenery that was already decorating the sanctuary for Christmas.  To add some soft light and warm the space a bit, we lined various size candles on the ledges at the front of the church.  Mirrors underneath the candles also helped to reflect the light.
Our DIY Unity Candles are prepped and ready.  My event designer pre-burned the wicks for easy lighting during the ceremony.  The candle on the far left is the lighter candle that the mothers used to light the family candles.
Since it was such a chilly day, some guests hightailed it to the reception.  A special thanks to those who stuck around and partook of our little DIY birdseed packetsOne of the Palindromaids admitted that since her fingers had gone numb, she couldn't untie the ribbon and ended up chucking the entire packet at us.  She plays softball too, so it wasn't a gentle lob!
Once fingers were warm again at the cocktail hour, our guests exercised their digits on our fingerprint guest book.
Or they exercised their digits picking up some of our delicious appetizers!
The table settings were simple, which let the natural decorations, such as orchids in the champagne glasses shine.
I didn't let myself get too attached to chiavari chairs, but my event designer worked some magic and our long tables were lined with silver chiavari chairs and ivory cushions.
In honor of our meeting place and alma mater, Bucknell, we ordered chocolate bison from a favorite chocolate shop in Lewisburg, PA.  As soon as I received the shipment, I promptly ate one of each kind just to make sure they were as good as I remembered.  Then I ate a few more.  We also enjoyed the leftovers on our mini-moon with a glass of wine.
A friend helped me to wrap them simply in clear boxes.  We laid the bison on beds of green paper grass and finished the boxes with our DIY monogram labels.
Our vintage cake topper from an Etsian vendor was the perfect size for our 8" cakes.  Even though I don't know the story behind it, we now have our own story to attach it to and save for future generations.
These close-ups of our jazz band and variety band woodwind pieces really capture the feel of the music and the energy level that we enjoyed.

During the planning, I wasn't the biggest fan of a large, traditional wedding.  I had succumbed to the romance of eloping under a lighthouse on the Oregon coast or a family-only soiree at a beach house with cocktails by the pool.  However, it wasn't just my wedding.  It was Mr. Palindrome's wedding.  Our families love us and wanted to be involved.  I met people I had never met before at our wedding and they showered us with the same love and affection as if they'd known me from birth.  The big, fat wedding took over and I didn't die from a planning aneurysm.  In fact it was pretty fun (Evidence A: My Boogie Shoes).  However, the details really brought the wedding to a level where I felt that my personality and sense of style could define the aesthetic.  One of the best compliments I received was from a friend who told me that she could see my touches in every aspect of the wedding.  Our big wedding felt like an intimate gathering to me, in large part due to some of these details.

What special details are you looking forward to and planning?